Each of these comes with its own ratings and warnings.

Title: Alleys of Sorrow

Fandom: "Supernatural"

Disclaimer: not my characters. just for fun.

Warnings: AU before pilot

Pairings: Sam/Jessica

Rating: PG

Wordcount: 1580

Notes: There is no disrespect meant for anyone who survived Hurricane Katrina or lost someone because of the storm. But I got hit with the idea once I realized Dean had been in New Orleans prior to getting Sam. So if anyone is offended or hurt, I beg a thousand pardons.

The morning after Katrina, Sam turned on the news and wondered if the world had gone mad. Jessica came out of the bathroom toweling her hair and asked, "Sam, what's wrong?" But then she noticed the screen and sank down beside him. "Sam?"

"It's unbelievable," Sam murmured. "Why weren't they prepared? Why didn't they get out?"

Jessica started crying and Sam pulled her close. "It'll be alright," he said, unsure if he believed it himself."

Suddenly, Jessica jerked away. "I have to call Mom," she gasped. "I don't know where Brandon is." She grabbed the phone and Sam watched her frantically dial. She collapsed back next to him and he wrapped his arms around her. "Momma," she sobbed into the phone. "Is Brandon okay?" A moment of tense silence and then she said, "Oh, thank god." Sam rubbed her back, kneaded her shoulder. "Thank god," Jessica repeated. "I love you, Momma."


They spent the day watching the news, counting their blessings. While Jessica was in the bathroom, Sam called Dean but Dean didn't answer. Sam called every ten minutes for seven hours, left increasingly frantic messages. Finally, he tried Dad.

"Yeah?" Dad answered on the first ring and relief washed through Sam.

"Dad, you're alright," he said.

"Sammy?" Dad asked. "Why wouldn't I be?"

Sam laughed mirthlessly. "You haven't seen the news? The Gulf Coast is decimated."

"What?" Dad's voice was a horrified whisper. "I've been asleep for two days. Have you heard from Dean?"

"He's… he's not with you?" Sam closed his eyes, ran his fingers through his hair.

"I sent him to Biloxi, Sam. I'm in Phoenix and I sent him to Biloxi on a hunt."

"No," Sam denied, shaking his head. "He's with you in Phoenix; he has to be, Dad."

"He's not," John whispered. Sam heard him exhale. "Keep calling him, Sam. I'm going to Biloxi. I'll be in touch when I get there."


Sam and Jessica curled up together that night. "I'm glad your cousin's safe," he said and Jessica nodded.

"He evacuated two days before landfall," she explained. "He's staying with my aunt in Tulsa until it's safe for him to see what's left of his home."

"Where'd he live?" Sam asked.

She answered, "New Orleans."


Dad called early Thursday morning. Without saying hello, Dad murmured, "He was in New Orleans."

Sam sank down onto the bed, hand clenched around the phone. "What?"

"When I didn't answer his calls, he left word with Bobby. He was headed towards Phoenix to see if I was alright, but I'd already told Bobby the hunt was over. So Dean heard about a hunt in New Orleans and was angling for there Saturday. The last message on my phone is late Saturday night and says he'd just hit the city limits."

"Dad," Sam said in a horrified whisper, "New Orleans is a war-zone."

Dad's voice was broken as he replied, "I know."

"Why the hell would he go to New Orleans?" Sam demanded, jerking upright in the bed. "He should'a seen the news, the people leaving—who in their right mind would go in?"

Dad's laughter was helpless, painful. "Because your brother is a goddamned idiot with heroic tendencies. You know that, Sammy."

Sam listened in horrified silence as Dad cracked up over the phone.


By noon, Dad called again. Jessica had gone to class, after staring at Sam for awhile. He hadn't mentioned his brother and she didn't ask.

Sam answered on the first ring.

"I can't get in, Sammy," Dad said, sounding broken and defeated. "My god…"

In all his years, Sam had never heard his father so shattered and worn. "Dad," he began, then paused.

"How's it look from the outside world, son?" Dad asked and Sam glanced back at the news, the same pictures and footage over and over.

"Like Hell," Sam murmured.


After the refugees were shipped all over the country and New Orleans combed through, Dad continued his search. Sam took a break from school; his grades and attendance guaranteed him an open spot when he came back.

Jessica kissed him goodbye, a gentle caress of his lips. "Find him, Sam," she said, meeting his eyes. "Find him and tell him he'll be the Best Man at our wedding."

Sam nodded, blinking back tears.


Dad waited in Houston for Sam to catch up. "I've called everyone Dean might possibly contact. No one's heard anything." Dad's voice was all business; emotions were shoved to the back.

For the first time, Sam thought he might understand. Dean, wherever he was, didn't need John the Father. He needed John the Hunter.

"We'll find him, Sammy," Dad declared, looking at the Astrodome, at all the people waiting for their families, waiting for word.

"Yeah," Sam replied, determination choking the sorrow. "We have to."

Side by side, they crossed the street.


Jessica called every day, sometimes for a minute, but more often for an hour. She chattered on inanely and Sam lost himself in the words, in her voice, in the world he was beginning to suspect he'd never return to.

Dad tracked down every destination for the evacuees. He himself stayed in New Orleans for a week, checking every nook and cranny. Sam started in Houston and worked his way east. They met in Baton Rouge for a day, Dad doling out Sam's next assignment before he headed back to New Orleans.

Months passed. Dad aged years and Sam quit smiling. All over the country they looked, every single place people were sent.

Determination waned and Sorrow returned, Sorrow with hazel eyes and a devil-may-care smile.

"No one's seen him," Dad said, slumped in a booth at Denny's. "No one's heard from him. He'da contacted somebody, Sam, if he could."

Sam gulped some of his water and countered, "If he remembered."

Dad met his eyes for a moment before looking away. "You're right," he said. "Of course you're right. There's a reason—he's got amnesia." Dad nodded, hand clenched around his glass of water.

And Sam realized Dad was cracking. He'd barely held himself together after Mom, and if they never found Dean…

"He's fine, Dad," Sam told him, reaching out to grip Dad's shoulder. "Dean's fine. We'll find him because we can't do anything else."

Dad nodded again. "I know."


By February of '07, there wasn't a single stone left unturned in the continental US. Hunters had come out of the woodwork to help search, people Sam had never even heard of.

Sam had told Jessica he wouldn't be going back to Stanford. She said she'd always love him, but—and he said he understood. He wished her well.

After twenty-two years Mom's killer appeared, but Dad didn't waver from the search.

By February of '07, Sam was running on will and stubbornness, and Dad was on his last leg. Neither of them had ever expected to live in a world without Dean. Every day Sam didn't hear his voice, his soul withered just a little more. Those years he had at Stanford, that freedom—it all tasted bitter on his tongue and he hated himself for cutting Dean off so completely.

Since August and Katrina, Sam and Dad hadn't had a single fight. Not a one. The irony almost strangled him, the first time he noticed. Dean spent most of his life trying to make them get along, and finally they did—but Dean wasn't there to see it.

Dean wasn't there. He wasn't anywhere. No one could find him.

No one could find him.


By February of '07, Sam knew Dean was gone.

So he left Dad at the Roadhouse, drinking himself into a stupor, and went to New Orleans. He went to the levies that failed and looked out over the water, remembering the newscast, the terror and confusion, the dread when Dean never picked up and said his name.

Sam slowly sank to his knees, watching where the water met the sky. The tears pooled and spilled over, hitting the concrete, and he couldn't stop them, couldn't slow them.

More than anything else in the history of the world, Sam wanted Dean beside him. He sank back on his haunches, then stretched his legs out in front of him, staring at the horizon that slowly darkened. It had been slightly chilly before but after the sun set, he shivered, harshly wiped his hand across his eyes.

He just wanted to hear Dean's voice, feel Dean's hand rest on his shoulder. Just wanted to see Dean and tell him everything he never took the time to say while he had the chance.

Sam pulled up his knees, folded his arms across them, rested his chin on his crossed wrists, and stared out over the still water, the water that probably stole his brother, with no intent to ever return him.

The wind picked up, swirling about his head, and he'd almost swear he heard Dean laughing. Just the memory of his brother laughing called up an answering chuckle, but it came out as more of a sob.

"Rest, Dean," he whispered. "You earned it."

His phone rang and he pulled it out: Ellen. "Yeah?" he answered.

Dad was asking for him. So Sam assured her he'd be back soon and stood, with one more glance out over the Pontchartrain. "I miss you," he said softly and walked along the levy to where he'd parked.

He'd almost swear he felt someone watching him, but was too frightened to glance around and be wrong.

I bought a cheap watch from the crazy man
Floating down Canal
It doesn't use numbers or moving hands
It always just says "now"
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And if I had trouble the warranty said:
Breathe in, breathe out, move on
And it rained
It was nothing really new
And it blew
Seen all that before
And it poured
The earth began to strain
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war
If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don't try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on
And it rained
It was nothing really new
And it blew
Seen all that before
And it poured
The earth began to strain
Pontchartrain buried the 9th ward to the 2nd floor
According to my watch, the time is now
The past is dead and gone
Don't try to shake it, just nod your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on
Don't try to explain it, just bow your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on...

"Breath In, Breathe Out, Move On" – Jimmy Buffet