Ever since the end of "Bloody Mary," I've wanted to write a Sam/Jess piece. I finally got around to it. I wanted a "normal" story, because that's what Sam's trying to be; I had a lot of fun with the domestic parts. This, of course, is not the full story—more like bits and pieces, like snapshots. It's Sam and Jessica from not-quite-the-beginning to not-quite-the-end. Written in the second-person from Jess's POV. Poem is the first half of "anyone lived in a pretty how town" by e e cummings, and it's been my favorite poem for a while now. Hope you enjoy!


When by Now and Tree by Leaf
(She Laughed His Joy, She Cried His Grief)


anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

e e cummings


The first time you notice him—really notice him, that is—he's in the library clicking away on one of the computers. You don't notice him because he's handsome, or because he looks uncomfortable with his lanky form crammed into that tiny chair, or because he's absent-mindedly chewing on his bottom lip in the most incredibly sexy way you've ever seen anyone do anything. That all comes later. The reason you notice him today is because he's in your Brit-Lit course and you were sick on Wednesday and really need to know what the assignment was.

His name is Rob or Jim or Mike or something like that—simple and easy and completely forgettable if you aren't paying attention. You really wish you could remember, because it feels awkward to ask someone a favor if you don't know his name. So you stand a few yards away by a table and try to recall. Before you can come up with anything that sounds right, though, he shuts down the window he was working in and stands, unfolding those long legs and slinging his backpack over his shoulder.

His eyes, barely visible under the thick fringe of bangs falling over his face, meet yours and it's apparent he recognizes you, too. He lifts a few fingers in a half-wave but doesn't smile. He's heading for the door and you realize you're about to miss your opportunity, so you grab your messenger bag and run after him. You fall into step with him outside, and that's actually a lot harder to do that you thought. He takes huge strides and you feel like you're half-jogging just to keep up, even with your long legs.

"Hey," you puff, feeling a cough coming on. It's raining today and you can feel the chill droplets slapping your face; for a moment the thought this is really gonna help my cold runs through your mind.

He turn and looks at you, seemingly surprised that you're still around. "Hey, Jessica," he returns, and you're frustrated that he knows your name and you don't know his.

He slows his pace immediately, and you're really grateful. You swallow against the tickling cough in your throat and smile. "I missed 19th Century British Literature Wednesday, and the professor hasn't responded to my email yet. I was wondering if you knew what was due for Monday?"

Just then a bolt of lightening cracks down, the thunder nearly simultaneous. You squeal in surprise and immediately clap your hands over your mouth, ashamed. Then you notice he has jumped about three feet to the left, so you don't feel so bad. He points to the nearby dining hall and says, "Come on." You both run for it, sneakered feet slapping at puddles on the sidewalk.

By the time you're inside, both of you are soaked. You watch the water dripping off the ends of his too-long hair as he digs around in his bag for his notebook. Suddenly you remember. "Sam!" you exclaim happily.

His head jerks up, sending droplets everywhere. "Yeah?"

"That's your name," you say, suddenly feeling foolish. "I couldn't remember earlier. Not to save my life."

Then he's smiling at you, and you're struck by how beautiful he is when he does that. He's all white teeth and dimples and partially-hidden eyes sparkling. And you think you've mentally regressed to the sixth grade because you suddenly want to write a note and pass it to your best friend. "Bethany, isn't Sam sooo cute? Do you think he could ever like me?"

But all too soon he's rattling off the requirements for the essay that's due and copying it down onto a blank sheet for you. He tears the page out and hands it to you, stuffing the notebook back into his bag and shouldering it again.

"Maybe you could tell me what was discussed in class?" you ask, hoping you don't sound as flirtatious as you think you do.

He shakes his head. "I've got work in five minutes. I'm sorry." You're comforted by the fact that he actually sounds a bit upset about that. "But, um, if you need some help on anything, just email me." He takes the paper back from you and hastily scrawls an address on the corner. Then he stuffs his hands in his pockets and takes his leave.

You smile bemusedly after him. You're not sure what just happened; it's not like you to start anything.


You're returning your tray full of used dishes to the dining hall's kitchen after dinner one day when a familiar head of shaggy hair catches your eye. You peer through the opening for the tray deposit and grin. "Sam?"

The tall man on the other side looks around, notices you, then smiles. "Hey," he says, motioning for you to put your tray on the conveyer belt so he can separate the trash from the dishes. You suddenly feel ashamed; you don't want him to have to clean up your mess. But there's no other tray return, and there are people lining up behind you. As if he knows just why you're hesitating, he shrugs, "It's my job."

You place your tray on the belt and he throws out your half-eaten reuben and drains your partially-drunk glass of grape juice. Casting a glance at you, he says, "I have a break in five minutes if you want to hang around." You do.

Four-and-a-half minutes later (not that you were counting), he emerges from the kitchen, wiping his damp forearms and hands on his grey apron. "Hey," he says again, pulling out a chair and dropping down into it.

You talk with him for half an hour, about dorm life and classes and teachers you can't stand. When the manager comes storming out, he scrambles up and trots back to his job at the tray return, but not before laughing, "I guess I'll see you tomorrow in class!"


You arrive for class early and he's already sitting in the hallway, reading. You set down your bag and slide down the wall until you're sitting next to him on the floor. He smiles at you and puts away the Byron he was studying.

He asks you how you are today. Fine. And how is he? He's okay. What is his last name, anyway? Winchester. It's Winchester. Well then, Sam Winchester, what made him decide to come to Stanford in the first place? He got a full ride, and he wants to be a lawyer. A full ride? Why is he working, then? Because free rides don't exactly cover three-by-five notecards and toothpaste and clothes and Lucky Charms. Doesn't his family send him any money for stuff like that?

You know immediately that you've made a mistake. His face darkens perceptibly and his jaw clenches. He doesn't want to talk about it, you can tell. So, quick as possible, you change the subject to Monday's lesson. He lightens up and jokes about Coleridge.

After class he stays behind to talk with the professor. You walk ahead, but slowly, hoping he'll catch up. Sure enough, he soon comes loping up behind you, all awkward smiles. He asks if you want to get some coffee, his treat. For a split second you consider the fact that he probably doesn't have a lot of cash to spare, but his smile is so sincere and his eyes so hopeful that you can't say no.

Later, as you sip your latte, you stare over the white plastic lid at him as he describes the peculiar way his roommate leaves his socks all over the dorm room. You think, Sam Winchester is the kind of guy I wouldn't mind dating. And you don't feel guilty for thinking it.


"Jess!" he calls, and you swing around to see him approaching, other students in the library falling away from him like Israelites before Goliath. He shoves his hands deep into his pockets and rocks on the balls on his feet for a moment before saying, "I'll miss you over winter break."

"Yeah," you reply, and you mean it. Your final for Brit-Lit was yesterday, so you won't have any more excuses for seeing him. It makes you sad to know you won't have to worry about racing to the classroom before him so you don't get stuck sitting behind his huge back, unable to see the teacher or the chalkboard at all.

"I'll email you, okay?" he says, fidgeting a bit.

You laugh and nod, but you know that guys are terrible correspondents and things just won't be the same come Winter Quarter. But you reach up and throw an arm around his neck anyway, and he smiles goofily.

You don't think to check your email for a few days after you've gotten home. When you do, there's a message waiting for you.


Didn't think I'd write, did you? Just wanted to let you know that I signed up for Art History with Prof. Blocker for the upcoming quarter. Oh, hey, aren't you in that class? Wow, what a coincidence. Huh. I have no idea how that happened.

Oh well. I guess you're just going to have to crane your neck to see around me for another ten weeks. Hard luck for you.


You get asked why you're grinning for hours afterwards.

By the time it's January, the folder you've labeled Sam has over a hundred messages in it.


It's three weeks into the new quarter and he so looks so damn cute you don't think you can stand it anymore. You've spent so much time with him lately—study sessions in the library, hanging out in the hallway before class, grabbing lunches together. Today's your birthday, and somehow he knew. He took you out to dinner at this awesome little bistro uptown, and you're so full of penne and crème brûlée right now that you could sing.

He's walking you back to your dorm now and you're at a crosswalk waiting for the light to turn. He grins at you because you said something funny, and it's just too much for you. Before you even know what you're doing, you're tugging at his jacket, pulling his face down to your level.

Then you're kissing him hard right there on the sidewalk, and all you can think about is Sam. The feel of his coat under your fingers, the smell of his shampoo, the taste of the gum he had been chewing only a moment before. And his lips are chapped and not quite as soft as you had imagined, and there's a hint of stubble itching against your skin, but it's okay. It's great, actually, because it's real.

A catcall from one of the passing cars ruins the moment, and Sam breaks away and clears his throat. He's quiet now as you walk, and you can feel the blush rising along your neck. Minutes pass this way and you're starting to get antsy. Then you realize something—notice something and have to chuckle.

He glances down at you, and you say, "Hey, Sam. Guess what?"

"What?" he says, and his voice sounds like it's tight.

You stick out your tongue, and there, cradled in the middle, is the piece of gum he had in his mouth just prior to that little scene at the crosswalk. His eyes widen, and you can tell he's realizing it's no longer in his mouth at all. You swear you can see the movement of his tongue inside his mouth, making sure it didn't get misplaced. Nope. You've got it now.

Now he's blushing and saying "Oh my god" in the most awed, disgusted, and completely impressed voice you've ever heard.

"You want it back?" you ask mischievously, and he laughs and shakes his head.

When you reach the front steps of your dorm building, he puts one of his huge hands in your hair and kisses you ever so softly. The gum stays with you, though, and too soon for your liking he's pulling back and saying goodnight and happy birthday.

When you burst into your room, the first thing you do is show your roommate the gum. She squeals, "That's disgusting! You did that to him the first time you two ever kissed?" But all the same you giggle like schoolgirls when she makes you go over all the little details of your night.


You decide you love him not long afterwards.

You love the way all of the sleeves in his shirts and coats are too short for his arms and his wrists stick out forlornly.

You love how his voice gets higher when he laughs and teases you, and how it gets so incredibly deep when he's angry.

You love how sometimes he's the biggest dork in the world, as evidenced by his now-notorious "I aced the midterm" dance.

You love the mole just to the right side of his mouth.

You love the way he looks up at you through those bangs when you catch him hunched over a book.

You love how he tries and tries to fit in the pathetically small desks in the classrooms, all to no avail.

You love how thin his legs look in jeans, and how there seems to be simply miles of denim stretching between his sneakers and the hem of his shirt.

You love how he brings you coffee doctored just the way you like it on the mornings you need it most.

You love how he shows up places just to surprise you with lunch or notes or a quick kiss.

You love his smile.

You love how, when he kisses you, his hands just float millimeters from your body, like he thinks he's not worthy to touch you, even though you know he is.

You love how, when you seize those hands and place them on your waist, he caresses you with his thumbs, swirling them against fabric and skin.

You love how, when you're scared for any reason, he wraps his body around yours and mumbles things in Latin; you don't get it, but it makes you feel better.

You love the smell of the generic-brand shampoo and deodorant he uses, because it creates a scent so uniquely his when you press your face against his neck.

You love the way he says your name between kisses, because it sounds just like a prayer.

You love that he acts like you're the most important thing in his life.

You love Sam Winchester.


Your sophomore year ends with the most horrific string of finals ever. By the time they're over, you're surprised that you still have any hair on your head; you thought for sure you had torn it all out because of stress. You haven't seen Sam in two days because his pre-law courses have been kicking his ass.

There's a knock on your dorm door, and you wonder if your roommate has locked herself out again. You peer through the peephole and yelp in surprise because there's a big brown eye looking right back at you. You hear a deep-throated laugh on the other side of the heavy wooden door and you swing it open to reveal Sam standing there, pizza in hand and grin splitting his face.

"Hey," he says, pushing his way into the room with his shoulder. As soon as the pizza box has been set down, he sweeps you up into a rib-cracking hug. You twine your arms around his torso and you both stand there grinning stupidly at each other for a moment, just happy to be together.

Later, he's lying on your bed, watching you pack your stuff into boxes. You joke about how you never knew you could cram this many things into a room so small, and he laughs and reaches for another slice of pizza (his seventh—not that you were counting). You feel tears start pricking your eyelids, and you crush your favorite stuffed animal to your chest and whisper, "I'm going to miss you over the summer."

He stops mid-chew and swallows hard. Propping himself up on his elbows, he says quietly, "I, ah, was thinking...I don't have anywhere to go. I thought I might rent an apartment near your parents' house. You know, and find some summer work."

"Seriously?" you ask, eyes widening.

"Yeah," he replies, shielding his eyes behind his hair. "I've already priced some in the area, and I can afford an apartment about two blocks away from where you live. But, um, only if it's okay with you."

You cross the room in a flash and leap onto the bed, making Sam grunt as your body impacts with his. But you're clinging to him now, nuzzling your head against his neck, because that's some of the best news you've had in weeks. "You're awesome," you say, and kiss him. "Why didn't you tell me about these plans of yours sooner? I've been all depressed for days!"

"Well, I definitely would've if I'd known this would be your reaction!" he beams, relief and glee evident in every syllable. The narrow twin bed is barely big enough for both of your bodies, but somehow he ends up on top of you, panting and laughing. His hot breath on your face is driving you mad, and you start kissing his jaw and neck and cheekbones and anything you can reach. "And you can show me your old high school, and oh...and your favorite restaurants, and—and all the best places to hang out...and any spot that's special to you for any reason, any reason at all," he murmurs breathlessly as you start to slide your hands up his shirt. His eyes are closed as he lowers his head to your shoulder.

His fingers are fluttering around the hem of your tee when the door opens suddenly and your roommate prances in. Everybody freezes, and for a moment the only sound you can hear is the blood rushing in your ears. Then your roommate, eyes wide in shock, stammers, "Oh, damn. I'm—I'm sorry!"

Then you feel Sam's body shaking above you, and you realize he's laughing. He's gasping for breath, face still buried in your shoulder, and you think you hear him say something that sounds like "bet this never happens to Dean," but you aren't sure. He rests his forehead against yours for a moment, then pushes himself up off the bed. An "I'll call you" and a curt nod to the girl standing next to the door and he's gone.

You round on your roommate, who pleads ignorance. You instruct her in no uncertain terms that if the situation should ever be repeated, she will back out of the room without a word and find someplace else to spend the evening.


He's shredding blades of grass absently, staring up at the sky and the stars glowing there. You're both lying on your backs in the park. The heat was unbearable earlier, but now it's cooling down into a fairly pleasant July night. The cicadas are humming loudly, and you can hear cars on the road nearby, but it's quiet between the two of you.

Suddenly, his voice invades your thoughts. "I have a brother."

You're not sure what to say; he's never talked about his family before. So you continue to watch the bats circling above your head, waiting for him to go on and hoping he doesn't expect a response.

He doesn't, obviously. "His name's Dean. He's four years older than me. He can be a total bastard, and you probably wouldn't like him the first time you met him, but he's a good guy."

You pluck a dandelion from the grass and try to appear very interested in it, all the while straining to catch his every word. Your heart feels like it shatters when he continues, "My mom died when I was a baby. If it weren't for photographs, I wouldn't even know what she looked like."

He's not moving, not blinking. You can see his open eyes as he stares heavenward. "My dad kinda went over the edge when she died. He dragged my brother and me all over the country after that. We never stayed in one place long enough to call it home. When I got my full ride to Stanford, he was furious. He told me that if I left, I was to stay gone, that I wouldn't be part of the family anymore. I haven't seen him for two years now."

You feel the hot tears on your face and you grope around for his hand. You touch his arm, then twine your fingers into his, meshing your hands together as you scoot closer to his body. You can see his eyes close.

I'm here. I love you. You run these words through your mind over and over until he squeezes your hand back.

His voice breaks slightly when he whispers, "I just thought you should know."


You decide to get an apartment together once school starts back up. It doesn't take long for you both to fall into a comfortable routine. Sam does the dishes, you do the laundry. You both go grocery shopping on Saturdays. It's pleasant, and you're happy.

You're putting away clothes in the bedroom one evening in mid-November, alternating between folding t-shirts and sweats and hanging up slacks and button-downs. Beside you on the bed in a discard pile for the articles that have gone beyond their prime. A few old socks with too many holes, a shirt with a grease stain that simply won't wash out, a bra with a broken underwire, and a pair of Sam's jeans that his last growth spurt made obsolete have all been exiled there.

You hold up an old t-shirt and contemplate it. It's ancient; what you can only assume was once black fabric has long faded to grey. The collar and hem are frayed, and it's so threadbare that it's a wonder it's still holding together. It deserves to go into the discard pile, but it's also Sam's old favorite shirt. You purse your lips as you think about it. You could stuff the tee in the pile and he'd probably never notice it was gone. You could buy him some new ones this weekend.

Just then he appears in the doorway, a mug in hand. You won that particular mug a few years ago in a radio contest, and it's your favorite. The handle broke off over the summer, but you kept the mug itself, reasoning that it still worked perfectly well. Now he holds it up, suds from the dishwater clinging to the fine hairs on his arms, eyeing your mug critically as he calls your name.

Your eyes meet, then his swoop down to the shirt in your hand. You bite your lip, looking at your cup. "You weren't going to...?" he asks, indicating the discard pile.

No, you shake your head. "My mug...?"

He blushes a bit and clears his throat. "Going on the shelf," he explains, averting his eyes as you fold his tee and place it in the drawer.

So this is living together: the meshing together of old favorites that don't have any meaning to the other person. Not yet, at least.


"Oh, have some stuffing, dear," your mother says, eyes crinkling as she smiles widely.

Sam slides those huge hands of his under the porcelain dish as he smiles in return. You watch as he spoons some of the savory mixture onto his plate and passes the dish on towards your aunt. Cranberry sauce, greenbean casserole, herbed rolls, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, five-cup salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a huge helping of turkey follow until he looks a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of different foods piled in front of him.

You watch him try some of everything, complementing your mother and aunt's cooking and going for seconds and thirds of his favorite dishes. You smile when he laughs at your uncle's corny jokes, wince when your grandmother asks about his family. He is all grace and charm today and you can't help the feeling of pride growing in your chest; he is passing the familial inspection with flying colors.

At one point, the conversation turns to holidays past and Sam isn't part of it. You glance at him and your heart nearly stops. He is watching your extended family laughing and chattering about memories, head tilted ever so slightly to the side, forkful of sweet potatoes forgotten halfway to his mouth. His eyes are shining with an unreadable expression. Your hand finds his knee under the table and he turns to you, the biggest smile you think you've ever seen gracing his face. For some reason this makes you want to burst into tears.

Later, you're lying curled up with him on a couch in the living room. He's warm and soft and sleepy under you, and his arms are wrapped lazily around your waist. His fingers are twined into your belt loops, and you're so comfortable and content that you wish this time would never end.

"You know what?" he murmurs suddenly, hot breath teasing the hairs on the back of your neck. "I think that was the first time I've ever eaten home-roasted turkey."

You feel the familiar ache in your chest at this news. But he doesn't sound sad or bitter, just surprised. You squirm a bit to get a look at his face. His eyes are half-lidded and there's a flush across his cheekbones from maybe half a glass too much of the hard cider that was served with the pumpkin pie.

"It was nice," he adds slowly, and you realize he's not talking about just the turkey. He's talking about watching the parade this morning and playing catch outside with your younger cousins while dinner was cooking. He's talking about laughing along with your family around the table and being roundly praised when he offered to help with the dishes. He's talking about roaring with your father and uncle about bad calls during the football game and being babied by every woman in the house. He's talking about being part of the family.

Your eyes are misting and you blink rapidly. You turn away again and snuggle deeper into his chest, trying to sound casual when you say, "We could come back for Christmas."

He buries his face into your shoulder and you feel more than hear his reply of "I'd like that."


The gust of wet March air catches you off-guard when Sam opens the door. You shudder a bit in your thin cami, rubbing your hands over your arms as you grin at him. He's carrying in a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, two things you asked him to get for you on his way home.

He shakes his head a bit to get the bangs out of his eyes as he puts the milk away, and that's when you notice he's getting very shaggy. You laugh and reach over to tousle his hair, then order him to sit on one of the kitchen stools.

"What for?" he asks, grabbing a cookie from the bag on the counter and cramming it whole into his mouth. He brushes the crumbs from his fingers nonchalantly as he chews.

"Because I can't reach your head properly when you're standing," you reply with a smirk, retrieving a pair of scissors and snicking them together meaningfully.

You think his eyes widen, but you just can't be sure while he has the Cousin Itt thing going on, and tell him so. Begrudgingly, he sits, asking why he can't just make an appointment at a barber's in the morning. Soon you've got everything you need: towel for the hair clippings, spritzer bottle full of warm water, comb, scissors. You grin as you wrap the towel around his neck; his face seems to be stuck on "scowl" right now. You briefly think that this must be the very picture of devotion, Sam subjecting himself to your whims.

You straddle one of his knees as you wet down his hair, then comb through it. Very carefully you line up the scissors for your first cut. A gentle snick of the blades and you lower them to admire your handiwork. Not too bad, but there's a lot more to go. You're just about to raise the scissors again when Sam leans forward suddenly and pecks a kiss on the tip of your nose.

You laugh and slap him lightly on the shoulder. He grins roguishly at you and does it once more. You collect yourself and begin to cut again. A few locks later, you put down the scissors to grab the comb. He takes the opportunity to attack your cheekbone, trailing his lips down to yours for an all-too-quick kiss. Fighting down the desire to one-up him, you brandish the scissors. This time you're allowed only a few strokes before one of his hands is gripping your wrist, pulling the blades away as the other nestles into the small of your back, pulling you up his leg and against him.

You let the scissors clatter to the floor and he releases your wrist, choosing instead to cradle the back of your neck as he moves his mouth against yours. You giggle and beat your fists lightly against his chest, but he's not having any of it. Then he's shifting and standing, still keeping your body clasped against him as he chuckles deep in his throat. He spins once, twice, then he's carrying you to the bedroom as you start fiddling with the buttons on his shirt.

The next morning, you look over at him and laugh because his hair is so screwed up. He just takes it in stride, puts a ballcap on when he leaves the apartment, and comes home with a haircut.


The power's been off for two hours now because of the rolling blackouts and there's no telling when it'll come back. It's gone from late-summer sunset to pitch-black in the apartment during that time. You sit curled against Sam's side in the dark, just talking. You talk about what the coming school year will bring, what the neighbors did, what happened at work that day.

You get an idea. "Sam, what's one thing about me that surprised you?"

He's silent for a moment, then answers: "Well, I guess your right hook when I tried to teach you self-defense. Totally didn't expect that." He rubs his jaw lightly with the memory, voice amused. "What about me?"

You know immediately what to answer. "Your body."

"Huh?" he shifts, and you can picture his raised eyebrows perfectly.

"Yeah," you nod. "I mean, I'm expecting lanky geek-boy parts hidden beneath those baggy clothes of yours, and then the first time I get your shirt off, it's all bronzed Greek god, rippling muscles everywhere."

You can almost feel the heat radiating from his blush. He is quiet a moment, then deadpans, "'Bronzed Greek god'? 'Rippling muscles'? If we're getting into the Harlequin-novel imagery, I want some heaving bosoms and delving into warm, sweet mouths."

"Whatever, Eros." You play with the fabric of his t-shirt, thinking. A few minutes later, you ask, "What do you want from life?"

The silence after that question is so long that you begin to wonder if he heard you at all. You tuck your legs up under you and he sighs and whispers, "I want too much."

"Too much?" you prompt, trying your best to make out his face in the darkness.

"I want...a wedding in a white church. And a honeymoon someplace with beaches. And then I want to move to a nice house on a hill, with trees in the yard. I want a good job, a decent car, and a dog. I want a few kids who I'll get to watch grow up and who'll call me Dad for the rest of their lives. I want to get old and retire. I want to celebrate my golden anniversary. I want to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren and die happy." You can sense him biting his lip. "But that's too much to ask."

You're thrown into a waking dream of all the things he mentions, and you realize you can imagine spending the rest of your life with the man sitting beside you in the dark.

When you were growing up, you wanted to be independent. You had these grand visions of yourself as an empowered woman with a star career and a chic apartment in the city. Of crisp business suits and snappy language and power-walking in stilettos. In your visions of yourself, you had an icy beauty and no need for anyone.

Now you can suddenly see Sam's vision of you. You see yourself in a sundress, blonde hair tumbling down out of a hastily-secured knot at the base of your neck. You're just a little bit heavier, but the few extra pounds suit you by filling out your face to a heart shape. You're swinging a little girl with messy brown hair up to rest on your hip while a retriever winds around your feet. There are laugh lines around your eyes and everything seems so warm. You swallow thickly because you can see Sam approaching, a Sam with a strong build and a quick smile—like he is now, but even better. And he's patting the dog and kissing the girl and cupping your face in his hands and telling you you're beautiful. And you believe him, believe in him.

"It's not too much to ask," you say fiercely, wrapping your arms around him and crushing your face against his chest. "It's not."


Sam was right, you think, pulling the cookie sheet from the oven. When you met Dean two days ago, you didn't like him. You didn't like his smirk or his edgy mannerisms. You didn't like that Sam got defensive around him in a way you've rarely seen Sam before. But Sam also said Dean was a good man beneath all that, so you're going to give him another chance. Maybe.

The phone rings and you sprint over to pick it up. Sam's weary voice is on the other end. He sounds exhausted. No, they didn't accomplish what they'd set out to do. Yes, he's on his way home. Yes, he'll be there within the hour. He loves you too. He'll see you soon.

You hang up the phone and lean against the wall. You decide to shower before he gets there, so he can have the bathroom to himself if he wants. As you wash your hair, you hum an old song that's stuck in your head. You close your eyes and picture Sam and that little girl and the house on the hill. You're grinning silly when you turn off the tap and wrap a towel around your body.

You slip into your nightie before going into the kitchen to set out a plate of the cookies you baked all evening. They're Sam's favorite; he's so easy to please. You're still humming, practically dancing to your own private tune.

Finally, you head to the bedroom. You figure you'll read while waiting for Sam to get back. Rounding the corner, you gasp sharply. A dark silhouette is standing by the bed, back towards you. You exhale and shake your head with a smile. You step forward to embrace that tall figure, but the words "Don't scare me like that!" die on your tongue as that black shape swings around to look at you.


Your third-to-last thought: There is a strange man in my bedroom.

Your second-to-last thought: That man has yellow eyes.

Your last thought, as the pain starts and you're sliding up the wall: Sam will save me.

Sam will save me.