A/N: Well, it's been a while since I wrote a chapter fic, what with helping out over at supernatural.tv's Virtual Season and all (unsubtle promotion ends here). Just gotta warn you before we set out on this little Road To Hell (see title of fic) that I'm kind of winging this one. I have no plan, no direction and no idea where this story is going. I hope to update it fairly regularly, but like I say I really don't have a clue so don't expect too much from me then you won't be disappointed. Real Life has a funny way of creeping up on me when I least expect it. This is a plot bunny that's been stalking me for a while and I really thought it might be fun to make something up as I go along for a change. Thus, don't expect any intricate and fiendishly clever plotting. I'm just messing with the Winchester boys' heads out of spite. (Way to sell the fic, huh?)
Spoilers: Oh, let's say everything up to and including Croatoan just so I don't upset any fellow Brits who haven't seen any of Season 2 yet.
Violence / language: Nope.
Spelling / Punctuation: All in Brit and completely unbeta'd I'm afraid. I've discovered that after writing American for the Virtual Season, I'm forgetting how to write UK, so I thought I'd get a little practice in in between seasons. Therefore feel free to substitute 'z' for 's' and drop a few 'u's whenever you feel the urge. I also put ' in strange places.
Disclaimer: All things bright and beautiful / All Winchesters great and small / All things weird and wonderful / The Kripke made them all...
If there's anyone still reading, on with the show...
PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
It always started with the boy on the lawn.
Standing there, staring up, flickering orange light reflected in big, frightened eyes.
He was clutching something to his chest, wrapped in blankets, tight in his arms like he'd never let go.
Looking up at the orange light.
"It's okay, Sammy."
Sam was four years old the first time the little boy on the lawn spoke to him.
He'd gotten himself turned around in the mall. Lost Daddy. Crawled into the back seat of a big old black car inexplicably parked in the lower mall. 'Classic Automotive Exhibition', Sam had learned many years later. But right then, all he knew was it was warm and it was dark and it smelt somehow familiar. Safe. He'd fallen asleep on the big back seat – as big as his bed back home – and he'd dreamed, as always, of the little boy on the lawn, standing with his arms wrapped around the bundle clutched against his chest, looking up at the orange light.
And the little boy had spoken.
"It's okay, Sammy."
And when Sam woke up, there was Daddy, clutching him against his chest, arms wrapped tight around him.
"It's okay, Sammy," Daddy had said.
And Sam had known right then that he was safe. Because the little boy on the lawn had told him so.
As Sam got older, he still dreamed that same dream, but as the years passed, some things became clearer, as if the image was slowly coming into focus over time.
He was five when he realised the bundle clutched so tightly in the little boy's arms was a baby. The very night his little brother was born.
Sam had fallen into a fitful sleep that night, terrified that Mommy and Daddy wouldn't love him any more now they had the New Baby to love instead.
"It's okay, Sammy," the little boy on the lawn had said, looking down at the bundle in his arms.
And for the first time Sam saw the baby, peeking out of the blankets with eyes reflecting the flickering orange light, gazing up at the little boy in rapt wonder, as if understanding every word he said.
Believing every word he said.
Sam had believed him too, and when Mommy and Daddy brought Baby Daniel back from the hospital, Sam had held him in his arms, clutched him tight to his chest, smiled down at him and whispered reassuringly, "It's okay, Danny."
Sam was eleven when he recognised the fire.
He'd been woken up in the middle of the night by a strange crackling noise and the smell of smoke, venturing out onto the landing beyond his bedroom only to have Dad thrust Baby Lucy into his arms and order him to take her and his little brother outside as fast as he could.
Sam had obeyed without question, his baby sister clutched against his chest and his little brother's hand in his.
They'd stood on the lawn and looked up at the nursery window, watching as the flames danced across the ceiling, and later that night, asleep on the sofabed at Grandma's house, one arm wrapped around Danny who'd been too scared to sleep alone, Sam had recognised the flames reflecting orange in the wide hazel eyes of the little boy on the lawn.
But the boy hadn't spoken at all that time.
The house needed fixing up before they could move back in, and Mom was getting tired of living with Grandma. She fought with Dad about it sometimes, and those nights were always the ones where Sam dreamed of the boy on the lawn.
"It's okay, Sammy," he'd say reassuringly.
And of course he was right.
The house was soon fixed and they all moved back in and Mom and Dad stopped fighting and everything was okay again.
And life got busy for a while after that.
So it wasn't until the night he saw the big black car that he dreamed once more of the little boy on the lawn. Sixteenth birthday, head full of Driver's Ed, and there was that big old black car, just like the one at the mall when Sam was little, just pulling out of sight as it rounded the corner at the bottom of their street.
"Wow! Cool!" Danny had exclaimed, knowledgeably informing his older brother that they had just been privileged enough to see a '67 Chevrolet Impala, mint condition.
That night, Sam had dreamed of the big old black car, parked in the driveway behind the boy on the lawn, shiny black metal and shiny silver chrome reflecting the same dancing orange flames that had been flickering in the little boy's eyes for the past twelve years of Sam's life.
Sam was seventeen when he found out he was adopted.
Mom and Dad had meant to tell him earlier, but somehow they kept putting it off and putting it off, and before they knew it, Sam was dating girls and applying to college and drinking beer with his buddies behind the bleachers. He was tall and he could pass for twenty-one.
It didn't mean they loved him any less.
They'd been told they couldn't have kids. Unexplained young couple infertility. So they had decided to adopt.
Sammy had been eight months old and beautiful and theirs.
And then, of course, five years later, along came Daniel. A miracle, the doctors said. Even more of a miracle five years after that when Lucy had appeared completely out of the blue.
"But it doesn't mean we love you any less, honey. You're our son and always will be."
Sam had never felt so alone.
"It's okay, Sammy," the little boy on the lawn had assured him that night, squeezing the baby even tighter and leaning down towards him so their foreheads touched. "I'm here."
The next time Sam saw the boy on the lawn he was eighteen, and it was the night before he left for Stanford. All grown up and excited and terrified and lonely all at the same time. Leaving Mom and Dad and Danny and Lucy and venturing off into the unknown.
"It's okay, Sammy," the little boy had told him. "I'm here."
And Sam had believed him, because he knew he would never really be alone.
Three weeks later he met Jess.
Jessica Lee Moore.
Face of an angel, tall as a sunflower, able to drink him under the table three times over and still whup his ass at pool.
And Sam realised he need never be alone again.
He'd not dreamed of the little boy on the lawn since.
Because now he was dreaming of the girl on the ceiling.
And he'd woken up in a confused daze, screaming Jessica's name and clutching her to his chest so hard it hurt.
At first she wanted him to see a therapist. Get some help. It was stress, that was all. Finals coming up and his whole future riding on what happened in the next few weeks.
Of course he'd done brilliantly, his free ride to Stanford Law assured, and the dreams had stopped for a while.
No more Jessica pinned to the ceiling, bleeding and on fire.
Staring up at a different ceiling tonight, twenty-two years old, his arms wrapped tightly around the woman he loved, a brand new ring sparkling on her finger atop the blanket of his old bed, staring up at his childhood bedroom ceiling back in Mom and Dad's house, Lawrence, Kansas.
He'd sighed contentedly, fallen asleep with memories of the engagement party still ringing in his ears, a different woman on a different ceiling, and through the window the little boy standing on the lawn clutching the baby.
And he'd woken in a cold sweat, unable to get the woman's anguished face out of his head, long blonde curls melting in the intense heat, white nightgown raining ash down on an empty crib.
And eyes so much like those of the little boy on the lawn, both reflecting the flames that would forever dance like a wall between them.
The next night, Sam dreamed only of a man's voice, anguished and terrified, screaming a name over and over: "Mary!"
And the little boy on the lawn finally closed his eyes, saying nothing.
More to come when you least expect it. Reviews are always welcome.