Disclaimer: refer to chapter one
NOTE TO READERS: This chapter comes with another WARNING as it involves a character death. This chapter will contain big leaps in time frames that were necessary; otherwise this story would go on forever. I wanted to thank every reader who took the time to review or PM, thanks! Also, I wanted to say thanks to the readers who read and refrain from reviewing, I appreciate your readership, too! It's no mystery I prefer Limp!Sam stories, so perhaps that may come off as a kind of pigeon hole situation for a writer and it's not that I don't like to hurt Dean, I simply prefer the dynamics created with a hurt Sam and a protective Dean. I'm not saying I'll never write a story that is all or mostly hurt Dean, it could happen, but I'm more likely to hurt them both or just Sam, it's a toss up. So, for anyone that is put off by Sam being the constant 'hurt factor' in most if not all of my stories, I'm not sure what to say, I won't apologize for writing what I prefer and enjoy, however I hope that what I do write is enjoyed.
Thanks once again for every reader who took the time to read this story. It was the first after my long hiatus, but unfortunately it appears I may be headed into another long hiatus because of real life, but we'll see what I can swing. I appreciate every avid reader and reviewer! This chapter isn't a long haul like the last one … it's around 20 pages. Happy Reading, I hope!
Something Lost but Something Gained
By Dawn Nyberg
"Tears and fears and feeling proud to say 'I love you' right out loud, dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way … Something's lost but something's gained in living every day. I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all." Excerpt by Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now
One Year Later, December 2006, Jim's House
"It's been quiet Dean," Jim assured. "You know as well as I do that Sam hasn't had any visions for awhile."
"Yeah, but Caleb and Joshua both think Sammy might be linked to other kids … kids that the demon visited…"
"I think they may be right, but it appears his linking to them seems random and sporadic, so maybe we're in the clear, maybe…"
"Yeah, maybe, but what if the visions return? He had a few more after those first two," Dean lamented. "I'm just glad he isn't having seizures with them, I know we were thinkin' he was, but at least the doctors haven't been able to find any activity in his brain that shows a seizure disorder, but I hate that the visions cause him so much pain and they scare him to death."
"I know Dean," Jim comforted. "But, he's getting much better with them. He's not inconsolable afterward now and he's to the point he's just in a lot of pain but not losing consciousness. And, you know as well as I do when he's had anymore we forward the information to Caleb, Bobby and Joshua to check out. Sam will be taken care of Dean and your family too."
"What if the visions come back or get worse? You know Bobby has a theory that the visions are also tied to the yellow-eyed demon and Caleb exorcised that low level demon a couple months ago in New Orleans and it spoke of a coming war and children like Sammy. My little brother isn't going to be some damn pawn for that evil bastard. What if…" Dean's voice trailed off as he heard laughter in the front yard and looked out to see Sam trying his best to build a snowman with Julie and Caitlin bundled up on the porch watching.
"Then we'll deal with it," Jim replied as he followed Dean's eyes to the front porch.
"Careful Sam," Julie spoke from the porch. "You keep your gloves on or your fingers are going to freeze."
"It hard to make snowman," Sam complained as he stopped from taking his gloves off.
"Well, too bad Sammy," Julie complained. "It's too cold without them. Now, you stay here and I'm going to take Caitlin inside.
"Babu!" she waved at her uncle as she disappeared into the house. Sam smiled and waved back.
"Honey?" Dean walked into the foyer. "You okay?"
"Huh? Yeah," Julie answered easily. "I just wanted to bring Catie in to warm up. You want to go out and keep an eye on Sam. He keeps trying to sneak and take his gloves off." Dean chuckled.
"Nothing new there," Dean commented. "He hated gloves as a kid, too. Yeah, I'll go. You stay inside and warm up.
Julie took Caitlin's snowsuit off and put her in her playpen. Jim sat down in his chair and surveyed Julie as she sat down on the couch. "How're you feeling these days?"
"I swear Jim … you and Dean both … you'd think I'd never been pregnant before. The morning sickness is finally gone, thank goodness." She placed her hand on top of her slightly swollen abdomen beneath her sweater. "May won't get here soon enough," she patted her stomach.
"Yes, only five more months and I get to meet the new little one," Jim looked up with a glint in his eye. "Dean told me about your latest ultrasound."
"Yes," she laughed. "I think no matter what a man says when he has a girl he sort of wishes he had a son and now that we know we're having a boy I know he's thrilled, although he tried to not let on. I mean, I know he loves and adores Caitlin, but a boy is a boy," she jested. Jim laughed.
"Here Sammy," Dean bent down and helped his brother roll and ball the thick snow. "See it's not so hard," he assured when he could see his brother getting frustrated with the snow.
"New bbb…baby a boy, right?"
"Yeah, did Julie tell you?"
"No, I just know."
"He tell me, like Cat did." Dean stared at his sibling in awe. He was still amazed and unsettled toward his little brother's apparent psychic abilities. It scared him though that it left his brother open to an evil that wanted to covet what he was capable of, but things had been quiet and Jim's house and its land had been blessed. There were charms buried all over and Caleb and others had made sure the house was secure and safe from demons and other supernatural entities. Their old family friend Bobby Singer had come through and found a charm that Sam could wear that both warded off evil but also prevented possession. Sam wore it on a tied leather band on his wrist. He didn't really understand all the fuss and Dean wanted to keep it that way.
"Does he tell you anything else?" Dean queried.
"He coming on mm…my birthday," Sam commented as he patted the snow. Dean looked at him hard for a moment.
"You're birthday? But, he isn't due until May 20 the doctor said."
"It not right, ddd…doctor wrong." Sam stopped looked at is brother for a moment. "He say my birthday. He a present," Sam smiled and a laugh escaped. He sneezed suddenly and raised his gloved hand to wipe at his nose. Dean looked at his brother's red cheeks and nose. He may be twenty-three but like a kid who doesn't pay attention when he's too cold to stay out and play Sam was ignoring the cold weather.
"Come on, Sammy … Frosty here isn't going anywhere, let's get you inside and warmed up." Dean took a hold of his brother's arm. His mind still thinking about what Sam had said.
"Want to stay. Play," Sam complained.
"Later Sammy, come on. You'll get sick," he countered. "You want to be sick for Christmas?" Sam frowned and shook his head. "Okay, then, let's get you inside."
May 2, 2007, Blue Earth Hospital, Labor and Delivery Unit
Jonathon Samuel Winchester came into the world screaming and pink at 2:30 in the afternoon. Dean watched Julie sleep soundly in her bed while he held his son swaddled in a soft blanket. He knew Jim, Sam and Caitlin would be here in a couple hours to meet the new member of the family, but he was taking his time just staring at his little boy. He had a full head of hair and like his big sister shared the same chestnut slightly curled hair that resembled Sam's. He had Dean's chin and nose and his mother's blue-green eyes. "Hey there little man," Dean cooed. "I'm your daddy. Hi Johnny," he spoke softly. "We named you after your grandpa John. I'll tell you about him when you're old enough." The baby eyed his father with curiosity and puckered and pursed his lips. Dean smiled. "Hungry, huh?"
Three Hours Later
Sam sat in a chair with Caitlin curled tightly next to him as they both looked at the baby he held cradled in one arm against his chest. "He's small like a baby doll," Caitlin laughed. "I'm his big sister."
"You are," Sam answered. "But he not baby doll, so you have to be careful," Caitlin nodded and put her finger in his tiny bobbing hand and giggled when he grabbed onto it. Dean, Julie and Jim listened to Sam when he spoke to Caitlin. He was so good with her and despite his cognitive delays they trusted him without hesitation.
"Well," Jim began. "It seems Sam is more accurate than your obstetrician, eh?" Julie laughed.
"Well, on my last check-up he said he may have miscalculated John's due date, but hey, he's healthy and here, so that's all that counts." Julie responded.
"He's like the pied-piper of kids or something," Dean joked quietly to his wife and Jim. They laughed as they all watched Sam with his niece and new nephew. "Hey, Sammy," Dean looked at his brother with a warm smile.
"Hmm?" Sam said as he looked from the baby to his big brother.
"Happy Birthday kiddo. We'll celebrate with a party as soon as we can, okay? I didn't want you to think we forgot."
"I know," Sam nodded. "It Jjj…John's bbb…birthday, too."
"Yes, it is."
Three Years Later, Jim's House, July 4, 2010
Jim's place was busy with family and friends. Julie's parents and older brother had managed to come in for the Fourth of July weekend at Jim's. Dean had invited friends from BioTech and Julie had fellow law firm colleagues there, too. There was music playing outside and the grill was loaded with hamburgers and hot dogs. Sam had friends from school there with their parents, too, but Sam seemed busy enough keeping up with his three year old nephew and seven year old niece. "Here Sammy," Dean said as he picked up his son. "I'm going to put John down for a nap," Sam nodded. He had made a lot of progress in the past year and half with his schooling. His reading level had advanced to an eighth grade level but mathematics still hovered around fourth grade. Sam's vocabulary was still building but it was a slow process due to Sam's problems with association at times. His cognitive and decision making abilities had improved to the point the doctor's said Sam was closer to being a delayed sixteen or seventeen year old with deficits, but at times his reasoning still seemed much younger. Dean was proud of every achievement his little brother had.
"Uncle Sammy," Caitlin pulled on his t-shirt. "I want to go for a walk."
"Okay, we go," Sam noticed she was dragging her Barbie Mylar balloon he had given her that he picked out himself a week ago when at the store with Jim. It was losing air and bobbed mostly on the ground and when released would hover only a couple inches or so from the ground. "Want to leave bbb…balloon?"
"No," Caitlin answered quickly. "I love it." She pulled on the pink tie attached to the balloon. Sam smiled. "Come on Uncle Sammy, we can go walk down by the pond. I want to show you the tadpoles." Sam looked at her confused and she smiled. "Baby froggies Uncle Sammy," she added. Caitlin knew her Uncle was special and that some things he didn't understand and she always seemed to know when she should help him.
"Baby froggies … they tadpoles?" Sam responded.
"Yes, Uncle Sammy," Caitlin reached up and pulled her Uncle along with her.
A few minutes later, "See!" Caitlin bounced in excitement. "There they are!"
"I see … tiny," Sam stared at the black tadpoles swimming in a small run off from the pond. A strong breeze blew through and Caitlin shrieked as her balloon string ripped from her loose grip and her balloon settled out on the pond water.
"My balloon," Caitlin lamented. Sam looked at his distraught niece.
"Not far … I go get." Caitlin turned worried eyes to her Uncle. They both knew the rules no going in the pond without an adult around. She understood her Uncle was an adult but she knew her mommy and daddy had said Uncle Sammy's brain was different and he didn't think like an adult.
"No! I go get daddy and he can get it for me."
"I go … not deep," Sam pointed out. They had gone swimming in there just the previous weekend. Caitlin swam like a fish but Sam never went in without a jacket. There was a lengthy land shelf under the water and Sam's tall 6'4" height provided him a lot of clearance on the shelf, but the drop off came suddenly and the water beyond was a good twenty feet deep or so.
"No, Uncle Sammy," Caitlin put a small hand on her Uncle's arm and gently squeezed.
"I go out and back."
"You'll get all wet," she countered.
"I dry off after, I even bare foot already," Sam responded and walked into the water.
"No! Uncle Sammy, wait! Daddy say not allowed in water without your special vest," she watched with anxiety as Sam made his way out on the land shelf. She watched him stretch his hand out toward the floating balloon. He took another step to grasp the balloon and his right foot slipped off the shelf and when he twisted to regain his balance his other foot dropped off and he went under. He splashed to the surface, choking on swallowed water. "Babu!" she screamed as her uncle went under again and resurfaced. His frantic kicking and arm swinging had only worked to move him further from the safety of the land shelf. He went under again and surfaced briefly. "Babu!" Caitlin hadn't used her old nickname for her uncle in a long time. She watched her Sam drop below the surface once again, but he didn't come back up," she stared in horror before she took off running for the house. She came running into the backyard screaming with tears running down her face.
"Daddy! Daddy!" Dean turned instantly at his daughter's yells. He knew something was wrong.
"Punkie what is it?" The party stopped while Dean bent down to console his child.
"Babu," she shrieked. "Balloon … pond…. Uncle Sammy go in to get … please," she begged, her fractured and frantic speech was a dead give away to the seriousness of what was happening. Dean felt his stomach drop to his feet and his blood ran cold.
"Oh, God, no. Julie call an ambulance," he started running toward the pond followed by Jim, and Julie's older brother Nick, who was a physician with Doctors Without Borders left at a run to help, others followed. Dean reached the pond in record time and quickly saw out in the pond his brother's lifeless body floating face down in the pond. He ran into the water and quickly swum out to his brother. Nick ran into the shallows to help Dean with Sam's lanky frame. Harold, one of Jim's friends, an off-duty firefighter came into view to help Nick with Sam. Jim pulled Dean back to allow Nick and Harold to work on Sam.
Nick leaned over Sam while simultaneously checking for a carotid pulse. "He's got a pulse," he answered quickly. "Weak." He arched Sam's head back quickly and gave him two long breaths and watched his chest rise and fall. He repeated the action for a full minute and when he checked Sam's pulse again, he didn't feel the weak thump against his finger tips any longer. He dug deeper more desperate with his fingers, but still felt nothing, "dammit, lost his pulse."
"I'll do compressions," Harold answered quickly. "You take over respirations." Both professionals worked in tandem to save Sam's life. Dean watched in horror. His mind pleading quietly Not like this Sammy … please … fight … I can't lose you …
The paramedics arrived within several minutes and Nick started barking orders for cardiac meds and was demanding Sam be hooked up to a heart monitor. It took Nick only seconds to determine Sam was in ventricular fibrillation and applied the portable defibrillator to Sam's now exposed and dried off chest. "Charge to 300," he ordered. "Clear!" The paramedic lifted the ambu bag away from Sam's mouth and nose. Sam's body jerked to the delivered charge.
"Got a rhythm," Harold called out excitedly when he saw the staccato arching lines on the heart monitor. The paramedic continued to ventilate Sam when Nick noticed a bit of water coming from Sam's mouth.
"Suction," he barked and quickly suctioned Sam's mouth. The paramedic delivered a couple more forceful ventilations and Sam tensed and began coughing. Nick roughly rolled his patient and relative on his side. "That's it Sam come back to us," he encouraged. "Let's get him on a backboard and out of here now." Sam's breathing was weak but was better than the alternative. His eyes remained closed. Dean felt sick to his stomach as he watched Sam lifted and carried toward the house and the waiting ambulance. He had almost lost his brother to drowning a second time.
Jim drove Dean to the hospital behind the ambulance. Julie stayed at the house with the children and the remaining family and friends.
Outside the ER, Ambulance Bay
The ambulance rolled in and Dean was already out of the car before Jim could fully stop to let Dean out at the door while he parked. Nick jumped out of the ambulance looking stressed. Jim felt his gut clench as he noticed they had started compressions once again on Sam, "Oh, Lord, no…" he watched as Dean ran beside the gurney into the hospital.
"No! I gotta be with him," Dean barked as Nick held him back.
"Dean it's better if you stay here. I'll wait with you. I can't go in either." Nick had given the ER doctor the details of Sam's condition before passing his care off to the man.
"What happened?" Dean choked out as he stared at the closed swinging trauma doors. "His heart was beating … he was breathing…"
"He developed an arrhythmia in the ambulance," Nick answered. "Dean," he began tentatively. Dean knew that voice, that doctor tone he'd heard more than once in reference toward his brother and even his father after the car accident.
"Don't," Dean ground out. "Sammy's gonna be okay."
"Dean, you have to be prepared," he spoke softly. "He wasn't responding to the cardiac drugs or our attempts to shock him back into a rhythm."
"I'm not preparing for a damn thing other than they're going to come out here and tell me he's going to be okay."
Inside the Trauma Room
"Any change," Dr. Bolton looked up to the monitors and frowned. "He had a pulse before they left in the ambulance?" he asked.
"Yes, they had successful cardioversion at the location," Gayle, a nurse confirmed.
"Dr. Bolton, you want to push another atropine?" His intern, Dr. Kyle Johnson asked.
"Yeah, let's try it," he kept up with vigorous compressions. He looked at the heart monitor and saw the persistent asystole, flat line on the screen. He could see the lengthy thin scar that ran down his patient's chest from the top of his sternum to below it. "Is there a history of cardiac trouble?"
"No, but we have records on him from a previous car accident. His chest was cracked here in the ER for an aortic bleed." Gayle replied and Dr. Bolton nodded.
"Atropine in," Dr. Johnson replied as Dr. Bolton continued compressions.
"Okay, holding compressions," he looked at the monitor and saw activity. "We got V-fib," he commented urgently. "Charge to 360. Clear!"
Forty Minutes Later, The ER Waiting Room
Jim and Nick both flanked Dean in the waiting chairs as they waited. The doors to the trauma area swung open and Dean recognized the doctor that had taken over CPR on his brother as he rolled through the doors earlier. "Sam, how is he?" he stood and asked quickly dispensing with formalities and introductions. The doctor took the cue.
"We got his heart beating again," he assured. "We're monitoring him for additional arrhythmias, but he seems to be doing alright now. I think it may have been an arrhythmia brought on by low blood oxygen levels and shock."
"Is he awake?"
"Not yet, but he's responding to stimuli which considering the long term arrest is a positive sign for him."
"What about his lungs," Nick injected his voice. "Are they clear?"
"His respirations are labored but we've started him on some medications to help and he's on an oxygen mask right now."
"No ventilator," Nick pressed.
"No, not yet. His levels are low, but not low enough to warrant a vent, not yet."
"What's his neurological status? You're aware he suffered a brain injury when he was a child, also a drowning," Nick continued. He was all business as a member of his sister's family and his was in jeopardy. Dean and Jim listened.
"His pupil's were a bit sluggish, but his status has improved. He responds to painful stimuli and all tests are pointing in positive directions. I don't anticipate any further brain injury to compound what is already present." Dean let out a nervous sigh at hearing the news.
"I want to see my brother," Dean's tone brooked no argument.
"Of course, we have him in ICU for observation its standard procedure after a cardiac or respiratory arrest. And, once his lungs sound clear and his oxygen levels normalize I'll move him to our stepdown unit. I expect he'll probably regain consciousness within a few hours or so … give or take. His condition is listed as guarded right now." Nick nodded.
Two Months Later, September 2010, Jim's House
"Dean?" Julie spoke as she walked out of the kitchen.
"Jim called and said the conference in Minneapolis ran over, so he's driving back tomorrow."
"Oh, yeah? Who'd think there was that much to conference about for a religious thing," he grinned. Julie laughed.
"I don't think Jim would appreciate you referring to his national conference as a religious thing, he was a key note speaker after all, on …" she tried to remember what exactly. "Oh, the modernization of the Latin Mass, that's it," she snapped her fingers. Dean looked at his wife and chuckled.
"Or lack there of," Dean commented wryly. "Jim's pretty cool but he's old school when it comes to mass." Julie nodded.
"Daddy, Johnny hurt my Barbie," Caitlin came out of parlor room at Jim's. Dean and Julie had been house sitting and watching Sam while Jim was gone for his four day conference. Dean was glad it was Friday and BioTech had closed for a long weekend to lay new floors in the lobby and offices. Dean looked down at his seven year old daughter and saw the clearly now headless Barbie body. He bit down a laugh.
"Well, Punkie," he started as he took the injured Barbie remains from his daughter. "I'm sure he didn't mean to," he looked into the parlor and saw his four year-old son using the head in his version of bumper cars as he kept slamming his tiny toy cars into the head like an odd game of shuffle board. John was laughing as the Barbie head bounced between cars.
"He did too, he drives me nuts," she complained. Dean grinned he remembered when Sam was that age and would drive him around the bend on occasion.
"Yeah, I know, but you're his big sister, so…" Caitlin looked at her father with appraising eyes and sighed. "What?" he said innocently.
"You always say that," she reasoned. "I know I'm his big sister, but he's still driving me nuts," sometimes Dean was amazed at his daughter. She was well spoken and quick as a whip in intellect and wit. She was a little bit of him and Julie and in more ways than one a whole lot of Sam… the Sam before the lake accident.
"I'll fix it, okay?" Dean walked into the parlor. "Johnny?" His son looked up and smiled at his father.
"Daddy," he squealed. He dropped what he was playing with and stood up raising his arms for his father to pick him up. "Up Daddy, Up." Dean picked his son up and then sat down on the nearest chair switching his son to his knee. He bent over slightly and picked up the left behind and slightly battered Barbie head.
"Look little man," Dean started. "This belongs to your big sister. It's not nice to hurt her toys, okay?"
"Not hurt," John replied. "Only play," he assured.
"No more, this isn't nice," Dean countered.
The father son debate was interrupted by Caitlin's excited claps and then Dean heard the school shuttle. He glanced at the large Grandfather clock and new it was time for Sam to be home from school. "Daddy! Uncle Sammy's home," Caitlin bounded toward the front door. John smiled with a toothy grin and clapped.
"Babu," he squirmed in his father's lap to join his big sister to meet his Uncle. John had adopted his big sister's nickname for Sam a while ago. Dean released his son.
"Okay, geez," he looked up and saw Julie watching with an amused smile. "Well, I know where I rank in my own kids eyes, huh?"
"Well," Julie hedged as she walked up to Dean and ran her hand behind his ear brushing against his hair. "You're just not Babu," she laughed. Dean pulled Julie against himself and kissed her.
Sam made his way up the driveway and saw Caitlin and John coming to meet him. He saw how Caitlin held her little brother's hand as he navigated the gravel driveway that could cause some tricky foot placements sometimes. When they were close enough she let go and launched herself at Sam. "Uncle Sammy, I missed you all day," she wrapped her arms around his neck as he picked her up and she kissed him on the cheek.
"I miss you too," he answered. He felt a tug on his jeans and looked down at his nephew. John looked up and smiled.
"Babu," he raised his hands and bobbed them up and down. Sam kissed Caitlin back and then put her down as he picked up his nephew and gave him a hug. John planted a wet sloppy kiss right on his cheek. "Love you, Babu," John replied.
"Love you, too," Sam replied. "We go inside," he put John down and held Caitlin's hand as she held her little brother's.
"How was your day at school Uncle Sammy?" Caitlin questioned. "What did you learn?"
"Fun today," Sam spoke. "We learn lots. I hate math." Caitlin smiled.
"I love numbers Uncle Sammy," she replied. "What'd you do today?"
"Play grocery store and have to read list," Sam frowned. "I not know some names and we count fff…fruit and sss….subtract fff…fruit." He was in an elementary level math class that utilized real life scenarios and hands on learning.
"You'll get it," Caitlin smiled at her uncle. "Counting can be hard," she assured when she saw that her uncle was bothered by his difficulties. "You have homework?" Sam nodded.
"I can help," she offered. "But, I know Daddy will probably want to," she smiled suddenly. "You want to practice reading my book with me tonight for bedtime?" Sam smiled and nodded at his niece. "Good." She looked at her uncle for a long moment. "Is your head okay today Uncle Sammy?" Sam nodded. "I'm glad," Caitlin replied. Her uncle had had one of his episodes the other night and it was always followed by her dad and grandpa Jim talking on the phone a lot to people she didn't really know and rarely got to meet because her dad never allowed her around when they were around. However, she knew their names and that they were good friends to her father and grandpa, she listened to everything she could. She knew their names were Caleb, Bobby, Joshua and Jefferson. Things seemed to be taken care of quickly and her uncle handled the pain of his headaches but she still worried about him. She had asked her father about the men once, and he'd only ever said, 'they're good friends Catie and when you're older I'll tell you about them.'
Later that Night
Dean walked down the hallway to collect Sam who hadn't gone to bed yet. The house was quiet. The children had all had their bath time and had been put to bed. Sam had read with Caitlin. Dean smiled to himself when he thought back to how his daughter is with her uncle she would help him with words he couldn't read or had trouble pronouncing. Dean walked into the kitchen and watched Sam labor over his math homework. His brother was hunched over his page of homework with his forehead propped in a hand. "Hey Sammy," Dean spoke lightly. "How about you take a break and try tomorrow. It's the weekend now, so you've got time. It's past your bed time." Dean had tried to help Sam earlier but his brother had wanted to try on his own. It was only four math problems but for Sam it might as well have been fifty.
"I not understand," Sam looked up and that's when Dean saw the flushed cheeks and watery eyes. Sam had been crying.
"Oh, hey kiddo," he comforted. "Now, this isn't worth getting upset over, we'll do it together, okay?"
"Not get," Sam rubbed angrily at his cheeks as he felt tears roll down his face.
"You will," Dean assured. "Let me see what you've got going on," he sat down and pulled a chair next to his little brother. He could see it was a straight forward word problem involving addition and subtraction. "Okay," he started to read. "If Susan buys eight apples at the store and gives three to Mark and two to Nancy, how many apples does Susan have left?" Sam looked at his brother with confused eyes and a tight jaw. "Easy, Sammy, it's okay," Dean comforted. "Let's try it this way … use your fingers for this one Sammy. Can you show me eight fingers?"
Sam sat there for a moment and then lifted one hand extending five fingers and then he lifted his other hand showing his brother another three fingers. "This eight," he replied with a hopeful smile.
"Great job kiddo, now that's how many apples Susan bought at the store, okay?" Sam nodded and looked at his fingers. "Now, put down your hands and show me three fingers," Dean encouraged. Sam complied. "Great, now put those down," Sam did. "Now, show me two fingers." Sam lifted two fingers. "Perfect Sammy," he congratulated. "Now, show me eight fingers again," Sam did. "Good, now if those eight fingers are eight apples and Susan gives three to Mark that means she's not going to have them anymore Sam. So, keep your eight fingers and put down three fingers and those will be the three apples to Mark," Sam looked at his fingers and tentatively lowered three leaving only one hand in the air. Dean smiled. "Yep, you're right," he encouraged. "Now, Susan has five apples left just like you have five fingers left, but she gives two more apples to Nancy, so that's two more fingers you take away," Sam lowered two more fingers and looked at his hand. "How many fingers do you have left Sammy?"
"Three," Sam answered with a dimpled smile. "I have three."
"So, how many apples does Susan have left?"
"Three," Sam answered excitedly. Dean smiled and put an arm around Sam's broad shoulders.
"You did good, kiddo. See that wasn't anything to be upset about, huh? We figured it out didn't we?"
"Yeah," Sam answered quietly.
"Now, we'll do the rest tomorrow, okay? It's late Sammy and it's time for you to go to bed."
"Ccc…can we go park ttt…tomorrow?" Dean thought about and it had been a mild September with pleasant weather, so far.
"Sure Sammy, how about we all have a picnic. I'll talk to Julie." Sam smiled.
"When Uncle Jim home?"
"Tomorrow, sometime. You miss him?" Sam nodded.
"I love Uncle Jim," Sam answered honestly. "Love you, too," Sam added as he looked at his big brother.
"Yeah, me too kiddo," Dean stood up. "Come on bed time Sammy. You brush your teeth already?" He knew his brother had taken his shower already.
"All clean," Sam answered. Dean nodded and walked his little brother to his room and tucked him in. Sam may be a grown man in people's eyes but for Dean, now it just seemed like he was still taking care of a much younger brother and he'd stopped seeing his brother's true size a long time ago.
"Dean?" Julie's voice called him to the guest bedroom. He smiled and suddenly felt content … his family was healthy and safe, and he was thankful everyday that he hadn't lost his little brother two months ago … things were quiet … things were good.
Two Months Later, November 10, 2010, Jim's House
"Uncle Jim I play good," Sam spoke excitedly from the kitchen table.
"Yes, you did," Jim agreed with a smile. "You're the star of your T-ball team. You're a good hitter." Jim looked forward to every other Friday because Sam's T-Ball team for children with disabilities would play against teams from surrounding cities that had disabled youth leagues. Dean and Julie always brought the kids and they sat in the stands cheering for Sam. During the winter months they played in a large indoor facility, so the kids didn't have to play in the elements.
"Good hhh…hitter," Sam mimicked. "No run good." Jim turned and looked at the young man he considered his nephew.
"Hey, listen here young man, what have I told you about things being harder, hmm?"
"You say mmm…might be harder, but I keep trying and always do bbb…best and that is good enough."
"That's right," Jim agreed. "Sammy, some things are harder for you, but you have a wonderful spirit and you never give up, okay? As long as you always do your very best then that is all you can ask of yourself, okay?" Sam nodded.
"I kkk….keep trying," he added. Jim touched Sam's face with an open palm.
"Now, that's a Winchester. You're daddy would be proud."
"Miss him," Sam spoke quietly. "I talk to him but he never talk back."
"He's far away Sammy but he can hear you, though, I'm sure of it."
"Not mind … I know he listen," Sam looked at Jim with wide innocent eyes. Jim felt his heart swell. "Uncle Jim?"
"Want another doggie since Duncan went to doggie heaven," Sam looked at Jim.
"I miss Duncan too Sammy, maybe we will, let's wait until spring and maybe we will get a new puppy." Sam smiled.
"Thh…thank you," Sam's dimpled smile was more than enough for Jim.
"It's late kiddo … I think it's time for bed," he had had Sam take his shower earlier and brush his teeth. He was clad in sweat pants and his favorite Darth Vader t-shirt he had seen on a shopping trip to Target with Dean for clothes and had begged for it. Jim still chuckled at the site of it. It was a black t-shirt with a white outline drawing of Darth Vader and it had the words Vader was framed under the picture. Sam didn't understand the humor or even what it meant, but Jim and Dean both thought it was funny. Jim showed Sam to bed and made sure he had enough covers for the cold Minnesota November. "Snug as a bug …" he started.
"In a rug," Sam finished. "You go night-night, too?" he asked.
"Not yet kiddo," Jim answered. "Your Uncle Jim has to do some reading for the sermon this Sunday."
"Okay," Sam smiled. "Night-night, sss…sweet dreams," he said as he nestled into his covers.
"Goodnight Sammy, sweet dreams, too. Love you." Sam smiled.
"Love you too Uncle Jim … you're the bestest Uncle in the world." Jim chuckled.
"Best Uncle Sammy," he corrected. "Not bestest. And, thank you."
"Bbb…best," Sam tried the corrected word and Jim nodded in approval.
"Okay, close those peepers and sleep young man. You know what tomorrow is … don't you," his voice almost teasing. Sam smiled from ear to ear.
"Ppp…pancake Saturday," he grinned.
"Yep, bright and early as usual. I'll even warm the syrup."
"Mmm," Sam replied.
Jim turned the light off and glanced back one more time at Sam who had already closed his eyes and nestled up to his favorite stuffed toy of choice these days, a Star Wars Yoda doll that spoke a few Yoda lines if you pinched his hand in just the right spot. Sam looked so young in the half light creeping in from the hallway. It was easy to forget he was really twenty-seven. He smiled and left the door slightly cracked and walked down the hallway shutting off the light and settled in on the couch in the parlor to read over the selected Bible passages for Sunday's service.
Later the Next Morning, 9:40 AM
Sam rolled over in his bed and stretched. He wasn't great at telling time but he knew his numbers … school had tried to teach how to tell time and Jim showed him, too. He looked at the bright red numbers on his clock in his room and saw the numbers 9:40 and knew that pancake Saturday always happened when the numbers said 8:00 that way he always had time to watch his favorite cartoon that started when the clock numbers said 9:00. Sam made his way down the hallway sniffing the air trying to find the tall tale signs of Uncle Jim cooking, but he smelled nothing. He went to the kitchen and frowned when he saw nothing. He worked his way back to Jim's room and found the bed made and no sign of his uncle.
Sam walked toward the parlor in the front of the house and grinned. Jim was asleep on the couch with his Bible neatly lying open and face down on his chest with a single hand holding it in place. This wasn't an unfamiliar sight to Sam, as he'd found his uncle asleep on the couch before when he'd stayed up late preparing for sermons or lectures. He walked over and sat down on the edge of the coffee table facing his uncle. He gently pulled the Bible out from under Jim's hand and closed it setting it on the table next to him. "Uncle Jim," Sam's spoke. Jim didn't move. "Uncle Jim," Sam spoke louder and reached a hand out and patted his uncle's flannel shirt. "Wake up," Sam voice was bright. Jim didn't move. Sam scrunched his forehead and studied his uncle for a long moment. He looked peaceful and appeared to be sound asleep. He reached up and touched his uncle's face and he jerked his hand back at the coldness there, "Uncle Jim?" It was more of a question now.
Sam stared at his uncle and noticed his chest was still, "Uncle Jimmy," he pleaded louder. "Time for ppp…pancakes … wake up…" Sam felt confusion at the situation while some small part of him understood something wasn't right. "Please," Sam's begged as confused and frightened tears sprang to his eyes. Sam thought back to how still Duncan had been two months ago when he walked out to the porch to wake the dog who appeared to be sleeping on his favorite outside pillow on the porch … it was Jim that had explained to Sam why Duncan wouldn't wake up … he had gone to heaven because he was old. He recalled the stillness in Duncan and the unnerving coolness.
Ten Minutes Later
Sam sat staring at his uncle rocking back and forth with his arms wrapped tightly around himself in some form of self comforting. Sam stopped and kneeled down on his knees and leaned forward resting his head on his uncle's chest. He closed his eyes finding comfort in both the familiar feel of Jim's soft flannel and the fact it still contained a gentle scent of his uncle's aftershave. "Bye-bye, Uncle Jim, bye-bye," Sam murmured into the shirt as he nestled closer. He lifted his head and looked into his uncle's pale yet peaceful face, "Tell Daddy I say Hi," his lower lip quivered and he lowered his head once again onto Jim's chest.
A Few Minutes Later
Sam stood in the kitchen staring at the phone. He had been taught his own number and how to dial 911 for help and Jim had shown him the button that was programmed to call Dean when pushed. Sam lifted the cordless phone out of its charging cradle and hit the button that called his brother. The phone rang once, twice and on the third ring Sam heard his big brother's voice. "Hello?"
"Ddd…Dean," Sam's voice caught in his throat.
"Sammy?" Dean picked up on the timbre of his little brother's voice immediately. "Sammy, what wrong?"
"He not wake up. I think he asleep, but he not … he go to heaven," Sam rambled at a rapid fire pace and Dean could hear the fear and confusion in his brother's voice, but it was tempered with something else, grief.
"Slow down Sammy," Dean urged. "It's okay. What's wrong with Jim?"
"He go to heaven," Sam's voice sounded almost pleading into the phone … pleading for his brother to understand, so he wouldn't have to keep saying it.
"Sammy, I need you to hang up and call 911 and tell them Uncle Jim is sick and needs help, okay? I'm on my way."
"No," Sam asserted. "No help, Uncle Jim gone bye-bye … he go to heaven. He like Duncan was on porch," Sam lamented. It finally sunk in with Dean that his little brother was trying to tell him that there was no help to give that Jim was already gone, beyond help.
"Okay, okay," Dean comforted as best he could. "Sammy, listen to me kiddo, I'm on my way over … can you do your big brother a favor?"
"Yes," Sam hiccupped on the edge of crying again.
"I want you to sit out on the porch, okay? Put on your jacket and hood. Go, sit on the porch swing and wait for me. I want you to stay on the porch swing until I get there … can you do that for me?"
"Yes," his voice quavering.
"Good," Dean soothed. "Good boy, I'm leaving right now. Now, hang up and go out on the porch swing."
Four Days Later, Jim's House
There was a huge turn out for the family and friends gathering after Jim's memorial service and burial at the cemetery. Dean had been able to find a plot not far from his father's to bury Jim. He had considered the church cemetery where Jim had long spent his life, but it seemed more fitting that Jim lie near his friend, his family. His stone had been a rush delivery and was present for the burial.
James (Jim) Allen Murphy
Man of God, Loving Uncle and friend
Forever in our Hearts
The medical examiner had said it was a brain hemorrhage, and that it had been a peaceful death in his sleep. There would have been no pain and Dean was comforted by that fact. It seemed like the entire city of Blue Earth had shown to pay their respects at both the service and the gathering afterward at Jim's place. Dean looked out the parlor window and could see that Sam had sat down on the porch swing at the far end of the porch away from the crowds of mostly strangers and both Caitlin and John sat on each side flanking their uncle. They sat quietly as if sensing Sam needed the silent support. "Jules?"
"Yeah?" she said as she put down a fresh tray of finger sandwiches.
"I'm going to go talk to Sammy, okay?"
"Yeah, I hope you can get him to say more than two words. I'm worried about him."
"Yeah, me too." Dean had been concerned for his little brother's silence. He hadn't had much to say since Jim died and had even withdrawn a little.
He walked out the front door nodding at certain people who waved or offered a sympathetic smile of support as they filtered into the house. "Hey gremlins," Dean looked at his children. "Why don't you go inside and see if Mommy needs any help, so I can talk to your Uncle Sammy for a little bit." Both children nodded and without question started to get up. They knew their father was here for their uncle now. Caitlin leaned in and gave Sam a kiss on the cheek.
"Smile Uncle Sammy," she urged. "Me and Johnny miss you." She wrapped her arms around his neck and squeezed. He hugged her back unwilling to ignore his niece.
"So," Dean began. "Let's take a walk Sammy," he urged and put both his hands down to offer a hand up to his brother. "Come on, we'll go walk by the pond and talk."
They stood by the water looking out at the silent pond. It hadn't snowed yet this year and November wasn't as cold as it usually was and Dean was thankful for that. "Talk to me Sammy," Dean encouraged. "I miss your voice." Sam looked at his older brother.
"My fault," he whispered.
"What? Sammy, none of this is your fault. Remember I told you uncle Jim had something happen in his head and that's why he went to heaven to be with Dad and Mom."
"But, I up late that night … he tired and had to read for ccc…church…."
"Hey, stop right there kiddo," Dean grasped his brother's chin firmly while remaining gentle. "You did nothing wrong, I promise you that, okay? This isn't your fault, none of it."
"Promise?" Sam looked at his brother for confirmation.
"I promise," Dean pulled Sam into a hug. He felt his younger sibling relax into him and he started rubbing comforting circles on Sam's back and held him as he cried.
"Miss Uncle Jim," Sam cried.
"I know Sammy, me too."
Seven Months Later, June 2011
"I'm happy," Julie said suddenly as she and Dean sat on the porch swing watching Sam and the children play a game of Marco Polo in the front yard. Dean had inherited Jim's entire estate when he died and they had moved into Jim's house. Sam hadn't had anymore visions and some part of Dean doubted it would stay that way, but he also knew he'd handle that when or of it happened. He had a legion of old family friends, and hunters that had known Jim and his Dad and they would help him protect Sam and his family. Dean knew one day he'd have to disclose his family's history to his children. He hated that, but they should be told and he knew that maybe one day should anything happen to him in the distant future; he'd want his grown children to look after his little brother, their uncle and make sure he was never institutionalized because he couldn't manage his own affairs. Sam was doing well in his studies at school and Dean wanted to make sure that his brother was given every opportunity to thrive in every possible aspect of life. He made sure Sam felt loved, secure and knew joy. His children were growing up healthy, strong and happy. He watched his brother laugh out loud on the front lawn as the new family dog, a chocolate colored Labrador puppy frolicked about behind Caitlin and John as they each took turns yelling …Polo… to their uncle's Marco, as they ran around their uncle who was blindfolded.
"Me too," Dean answered. As Dean watched Sam's dimpled grin. It made him smile, too. Dean still thought back to that horrible day in 1994 at Mile Lacs Lake … in a way three lives had ended that day, Sam's, his, and their father's. Yet, in that loss there had been a resurrection of sorts, a rebirth into a new life and despite what they had all lost that day and Sam's physical and mental obstacles caused by the drowning they had all thrived in such unexpected ways. Lives had been redirected and despite the tragedy that occurred in 1994, and the high cost paid by them all, especially Sammy, Dean could only be thankful for the unexpected turn their lives took that fateful day and embrace the life he and his little brother had been given as a result of untimely events. Because of Sam's unbidden sacrifice that day Dean felt he had been given a life he could have never hoped for, a life filled with enjoyment, a family, and love. He loved and knew he owed his little brother, so much.
His mind sank back to the final words of an older movie his wife loved and made him watch at least once a month on DVD, Message in a Bottle, he had never really understood the final sentiment of the film until this very moment, "if lives form a perfect circle, others take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been apart of my journey, but has also shown me what is precious, so has a love for which I can only be grateful."
And he was.
Well, not my usual story … I had never tried a Weechester through the years arc before, but it was something that was asking to be written, so I couldn't deny its request … for bad or good that's it for this story. I have several other ideas for new stories, now I only have to find the time to write them. My schedule is still pretty daunting, so anything new I write will probably be completely finished before I post it otherwise you may be forced to wait for weeks at a time between posts and I won't do that to you, but should that change I might consider starting something and trying to update every few days, we'll see.
I hope you enjoyed the story and my apologies for any parts you feel were glossed or hurried. I know you probably would have liked some more visions and/or demon action, but this was never meant to be about how they confront the demon or face the war. If I hadn't advanced this story and cut to the chase in some parts it would have never been finished.
I want to extend a big thank you to everyone that took the time to read and review. Thanks! I appreciate it!