Disclaimer: I do not own "Supernatural."
Author's Note: It's been awhile since I worked on a SN multi-chapter story. So here goes...
I hope you enjoy. :-)
She didn't look as angelic as he remembered. In fact, she looked a little haggard; definitely tired and possibly short-tempered if the way she was muttering under her breath was any indication.
She was at a changing table-- changing-- a baby. The baby gurgled and kicked chubby legs; she wrapped gentle, but firm fingers around them-- holding the feet still. The baby made a sound in protest; she made a shushing one in response, but didn't release him. With one hand she finished arranging and fastening the child's diaper. Then she released him and sat him up on the table, "All finished, Sammy," she murmured, smiling a little.
He must have made a sound, red-rimmed eyes lifted suddenly. They stared directly at him, then she straightened, keeping one hand on the baby, looking at him boldly; not in the way he'd expect a woman who found a 6'5 stranger in her child's nursery would. Her head tilted to one side, the way he'd seen Dean do a million times.
"You shouldn't be here." She said softly.
He opened his mouth; she spoke first, "Wake up," she ordered in a tone he never got the chance to bristle against.
He startled awake.
The room was dark and shadowed, moonlight slipping in through cracks in the window shade. Dean was sprawled every which way in the bed next to his. He lay perfectly still for a moment, trying to catch his breath. It was coming in gasps and there were tremors running through his body.
The nursery had been pale blue walls with a wooden crib, a mix of baseball and trucks. He'd never remembered that nursery, never; he'd never even seen it in pictures.
He'd never seen her as anything, but perfect. He'd never imagined her as anything, but perfect.
God. What the hell had just happened?
He sat up and swung his legs to floor. A moment later he was in the bathroom splashing cold water over his face.
It was just a dream. Just a dream. A dream.
He could smell the cookies. They made his mouth water. The kitchen was empty. Used bowls and unused cookie dough lined the counter, spoons and flour sat on the kitchen table. The house was quiet.
He took a step forward, nothing changed. Slowly he reached out and touched the cookie dough. It was soft and warm and real, he swallowed hard, and removed his hand.
The windows were open, sunlight and breeze streamed through them, fluttering white curtains that had daisy's on them. The walls seemed brighter than when he'd been here with Dean to visit Jenny.
He took another step, dipped his finger in the flour. The sack was open, a dusting covered the table, the floor was sprinkled with it.
There was a rustling at the doorway. He looked up. She stood there, watching him, a chubby dark-haired child propped on hip. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, strands of it tucked behind her ear. She wore faded jeans and t-shirt that had to belong to his Dad.
She took a step forward, "You shouldn't be here," she murmured, he had a moment to see that flash of sadness he'd once seen face to face before she spoke again, "Wake up," she ordered.
He startled awake.
The room was pitch black and he could hear Dean softly snoring in the other bed. He waited for his heartbeat to slow down, for the tremors to pass.
Just a dream, he stared into the bathroom mirror, water dripping down his face and repeated the mantra, just a dream.
She was cursing-- loud and colorful and long; not like a sailor, like a Marine. He couldn't stop his eyes from widening. She was on the phone in the kitchen, with flushed cheeks and damp hair standing out in all directions; hands waving in the air while cursed at someone. The chubby, dark-haired baby sat in a high chair happily throwing cheerios onto the floor.
"There are fuckin suds spouting from the goddamned pipes, JOHN, so NO I can't just HANDLE IT MYFUCKINSELF!!"
He knew he sputtered, he knew it, not just because she whirled on him but because-- she was cursing at Dad so how else was he supposed to react?
"WAKE UP." She snarled at him, meeting his gaze forcefully.
He snapped awake, jolting in bed.
The room was barely dim and he could see clearly that the bed next to his was empty. Dean was still out. His heart was racing more than usual and he felt nauseous. He waited and slowly the effects of the dream faded.
The water rushed from the tap down the drain in swirls of murky mist and he recited his mantra like a holy prayer; holding it out in front of him as if warding off an unimaginable evil.
It was just a dream. Just a dream. A dream.
She was picking up markers from the kitchen table, slipping them into their box, collecting sheets of paper with colorful drawings on them-- a plane in the sky, a swing set and a boy, a house with a stick family standing in front of it.
The kitchen was dim. The curtains pulled closed against the dark, moonless night. Dishes sat washed and drying on the counter.
Her hair was pulled back from her face, loose in the back. She looked tired, but content, ready for bed after a long satisfying day.
The house was quiet, but Sam could hear an indistinct rumbly voice-- a voice he knew. His Dad.
He tilted his head, instinctively trying to make out the words. A high pitched squeal, a burst of childish laughter, a cry of baby outrage...
"You really shouldn't be here."
Her voice startled him. He looked back at her, she was watching him. The box of markers in her hand, the sheets of paper carefully stacked in front of her. Her mouth opened and he tried to speak before her, but he knew even as he tried, he wouldn't be fast enough. He was never fast enough.
"Wake up," she stated.
He startled awake.
He had learned not to open his eyes until his heart rate calmed.
The room was heavily shadowed when he did open them. Dean lay on his back, perfectly still, the Vicodin doing its work.
The water stung against his bruises. He met his own dull gaze in the mirror.
A dream, he though furiously, glaring at his reflection.
It was just. a. dream.
A fuckin dream.
"You're starting to look like warmed over shit again."
Sam held himself perfectly still, resting his head against the passenger side window. He didn't want to talk to Dean about this.
He wasn't really surprised that his brother had brought it up, though; it had gotten to a point where it could no longer be ignored.
He hadn't slept a full night in over a month. Even when the dreams of his mother didn't come, he still couldn't rest. He'd wake up in the middle of the night feeling like his heart was going to beat out of his chest and unable to catch his breath as if he were having a panic attack. It took a drink of water and a pace around the room for him to feel a bit better and at least able to lie down again—no hope of sleep, though.
For the past five days Dean had been sitting up in bed when Sam exited the bathroom. The fact that he'd been willing to let Sam know he was awake and worried meant that his brother had been aware of Sam's restless nights for awhile now.
Dean would watch him silently, as Sam got back into bed, then he'd ask softly, you okay, and Sam would swallow hard and croak out a quiet yeah because it was just. a. dream.
A dream goddammit.
"What's going on, Sammy?"
Sam almost laughed at that, because really? What was he supposed to tell his brother? I think Mom is haunting me or actually I hope Mom is haunting me because if she's not than it's a whole other world of freaky shit I'd rather not deal with-- right, 'cause Dean would love that.
"Nothing." He muttered.
"Nothing has you up almost every night this month?"
"Jess loved October. The way the leaves changed-- it's nothing."
Jess had loved October, but he only brought it up because it would shut Dean up. Dean never pushed about Jess.
And that's what he needed-- for Dean to back off, because he couldn't talk him about this.
The car was silent, only the sound of the road and their breathing audible. He felt his eyes begin to slip shut and could do nothing to fight it.
She was folding laundry, the dark-haired baby sitting on the floor with a plush elephant in front of him.
She looked up immediately when he appeared, pausing as she folded a small gray t-shit with the Smurfs on it. She looked at him with a mixture of frustration and understanding in her eyes, "Honestly, you shouldn't be here," she stated calmly.
He took a step forward, that same frustration washing over him ten-fold, "I'm not trying to be!" he roared and then halted, his eyes widening, he'd never spoken to her before.
She arched an eyebrow, a smirk suddenly appearing at her lips, "Learn to control your gifts or they will control you," she warned, eyeing him critically; then she opened her mouth again.
"Wait!" He cried; it was the first time he'd been able to talk, the first time he'd been able to move.
"What does that mean?" He asked, "What does this mean?" He added, waving a hand to encompass the living room.
Her smile was sad suddenly and he felt something in his chest tighten, "An end is also a beginning," she murmured, her smile somehow brightening and becoming more heartbreaking in one instant. Then she offered him a one shoulder shrug, "... just wake up," she commanded, before he could say anything more.
He jolted awake, the word, "NO!" on his lips.
The moving scenery outside his window stopped abruptly and his stomach lunged. He reached for the door handle and emptied his breakfast onto the side of the road; barely noticing that Dean hadn't completely stopped the Impala. After the breakfast he heaved bile than dry. The world spinning and shifting; seconds, minutes, hours might have gone by before he was so exhausted he stopped convulsing.
Dean's hold was the only thing keeping him from falling face first into his own vomit. Dean who was standing, kneeling, bending? next to him, holding him with both arms and murmuring words Sam had no energy to decipher; but the tone, gruff and soft, was enough.
His brain felt like it was trying to jump though his cranium and he didn't think he'd ever be able to lift his head again. He let it fall forward, to the side. Dean was there, catching him-- murmuring, running a hand through his hair, leaning him back into the car, against the seat. Water touched his lips, tepid and stale and blessed. He swallowed as it slipped into his mouth. Something wet against his forehead, cheeks, neck...
The murmuring was getting urgent, the hand in his hair lingered, slid down to his cheek, tapped gently.
The world was steadying, his breaths coming easier, his hearing sharpened abruptly, "... come on Sammy, you're freakin me out-- come on..."
He drew in a shuddering breath and opened his eyes slowly. Dean was watching him anxiously, pale, freckles standing out, eyes wide, "You with me?" he asked.
Sam started to nod, but his skull protested, "Yeah... m'kay," he whispered.
Dean grimaced, "Yeah, I can see that, just peachy." He held the water up to Sam's lips again and he drank deeply this time.
"Easy, easy--" Dean murmured and pulled the bottle back; keeping a hand on Sam's shoulder. Sam kept his head back, his eyes closed.
They stayed like that for long moments then Dean's voice rumbled above Sam,
"... you wanna get moving or you wanna sit for awhile longer?"
"--moving--" he croaked out without hesitation.
Dean patted Sam's shoulder and shut the passenger door. A moment later Sam heard his brother slide in next to him. They eased into traffic so gently Sam didn't even feel the movement, just heard it. They were moving slowly and Sam was so deeply grateful for that, he wanted to hug his brother. His eyes slid shut instead; his head was fuzzy and heavy.
He didn't want to fall asleep again. Whatever had just happened hadn't been fun and he suspected it had to do with him having been able to speak to her.
He forced his eyes to open. Sunlight made him wince, but they were moving steadily and slowly. He blinked back the headache as best he could as he carefully pulled himself up against the seat.
"Talk to me, Sammy," Dean drawled, thick worry making his voice deeper.
"I'm good," he murmured as an answer running a hand over his face.
"Bullshit. Talk to me. What's going on?" Dean paused, "What did you see?"
Sam jumped, frowning, "What?" he asked; had he said he seen something?
"Those were vision symptoms... you just had a vision didn't you?"
"No." He snapped a bit harsher than was necessary, "It was a dream. A. Dream. Just a dream, okay; so drop it. I don't want to talk about it."
"Whoa, chill." Dean soothed, shooting him a worried look, "So what? Dreams always make you puke your guts out?"
"Leave it, Dean. It was a dream. A. Fuckin. Dream."
The car was silent for a moment and Dean shot him another look, "You look like your head is about to explode so I'm gonna leave it-- for now."
Sam leaned his head back and closed his eyes; a moment later Dean's words registered and he groaned, "That's so unfair," he muttered, knowing he sounded like a five year old and not caring-- his head hurt and his mom was haunting him-- maybe, hopefully...
"When I wanna talk and you don't wanna, we don't. But if you wanna and I don't, we do-- not fair." He stated, the words slurring a little towards the end; a wave of weariness crashing over him.
He heard Dean answer with, "I'm the big brother-- that trumps fair," just as the car came to a stop.
They were pulling into a motel he realized, "Wait here," Dean told him.
He didn't bother nodding; Dean was already out of the car. Instead he laid his head back against the seat, letting his eyes slide shut. It helped with the headache-- minimally, but at this point he'd take what he could get.
Dean was tugging him out of the car suddenly and he wondered if he'd fallen asleep for a little while because it was hard to open his eyes when Dean hauled him to his feet. Not that it really mattered; he just let Dean lead him towards the motel room. He didn't need to see for that. Dean's arm was around his waist; his arm was across Dean's shoulders. The room was blissfully dim when they entered it and mattress was soft when Dean sat him on it. A moment later he was lying down, a hand at the back of his head guiding him toward a pillow.
It was easier to open his eyes away from the afternoon sunlight. Dean was standing over him, mouth drawn into a tight line, eyes narrowed at the corners, the set of his shoulders telling Sam how worried and tired he was.
He felt bad for snapping at him about the dream earlier-- Dean was trying to take care of him.
Dean's hand rested on his forehead and Sam knew then he was going to fall asleep again.
"Go to sleep, now," Dean's voice rumbled above him and Sam felt his body obey. He relaxed under his big brother's touch and prayed for a dreamless sleep.
When Sam came out of the shower the next morning, Dean was standing at the kitchenette stove. He had a fork in his right hand, scrambling something in a pan. A butter knife in his left hand, smothering something that looked like butter onto a piece of toast.
Sam stared in surprise; there was an open bag of bread on the counter. The toaster was out and on, more bread inside it. He blinked and took a step forward-- the olive green decor of the motel room melted into bright walls and daisy speckled curtains.
She was holding a fork in her right hand, scrambling eggs in a pan. A butter knife in her left hand, smothering butter onto a piece of toast.
Pain slashed across his vision; the toaster spouted more pieces of bread.
Dean reached out to grab one with his left hand.
He grabbed his head with both hands; she reached for the toast with her left hand and placed it on a plate, she picked up the butter knife again.
Black dots danced across his eyes; Dean slathered butter across the new piece of bread and stirred the eggs more rapidly.
He whimpered and bent over as pain erupted in his head; he kept his head up, his eyes still fastened on her. She turned the stove off and jumped as she caught sight of him. For the first time since he'd started seeing her, she looked surprised.
She took a step towards him as his legs gave out and his knees hit the floor.
Dean's hands were suddenly on his neck, on his face; Dean's voice a rough timbre in the background of blinding pain. A rushing sound was filling his ears and he dropped his head low, clenching his eyes shut, falling forward into the darkness.