"Slave to Destiny"
Legalese: The television series, Supernatural, and all related characters and material belong to a lot of important people. I am not one of these important people. I claim ownership solely of the story idea, and no profit will be made by this.
Author's Note: I have to give a huge nod to Faye Dartmouth for inspiring this tag. Too many times, of late, I've been struck by how many people want to save Sam, while I'm much more interested in seeing Sam save himself. Faye seems to be one of the few who share in my desire to see a return to a self-confident and strong Sam - one who is not only capable, but strong and able to stand by his brother. Oh - and she also mentioned in a reply to a review that I should really try writing for this fandom. Yeah, blame her! And to my faithful Godless Providence readers - don't worry. I'm merely dabbling and will be returning to my usual haunts in no time!
Timeline: Spoiler alert for "All Hell Breaks Loose Pt 1"
Brief Description: Supernatural - tag to part one of "All Hell Breaks Loose." A mere moment of time, stretched into eternity, and for Sam, it was the moment in which months of uncertainty shifted until he was filled with a blinding, beautiful clarity.
Slave to Destiny / Destiny's Bitch
It was a split second.
No more, no less.
A mere moment of time, stretched into eternity, and for Sam, it was the moment in which months of uncertainty, months of terror, anguish, and helplessness coalesced, shifted, and changed until he was filled with a blinding, beautiful clarity.
He was standing over Jake's prostrate form, another hapless victim of the Demon's game, with the rusted bar in hand and he was ready and able to end it. One strike and Jake would be dead. One strike and Sam would be safe, and another potential pawn of the Demon would be gone. It didn't matter that Jake was a good man. It didn't matter that Sam had already come to like and respect him. In a different time, a different place, he was sure that they could have been friends. They would have made a strong front against the demon. Hell, if given the chance, there was every possibility that the young soldier would have been able to follow through with his plan: get close to the demon and end it. But though Sam was capable of many things, he understood with new certainty that going out without a fight wasn't one of them - and it was one of the most glorious revelations he had ever had.
Jake had killed Ava, snapped her neck with little show of remorse, and Jake had tried to kill him, too - had almost killed him. The soldier had stepped right into the Demon's plan, as had Ava before him, and by their actions they had tried to guarantee that only one of them would leave this ghost town alive. Jake had been given the gift of amazing strength, and he was a soldier, but while Jake couldn't have been a soldier for more than five years, Sam had been trained by one his whole life. John Winchester had raised his sons to be strong. He had taught them how to fight. He had taught them how to survive, and right now, every bit of that training was telling him to finish Jake before the other man had a chance to return the favor. To kill Jake before he came back another day, stronger, more capable, and ready and able to finish what he had started. To kill him before he became the Demon's one strong soldier.
Oh, he knew he should do it. He knew it with every fiber of his being. Hell, he knew that if Dean were in his place, his brother wouldn't hesitate to pull the metaphoric trigger.
But Sam wasn't Dean.
Sam wasn't his father.
And Sam certainly wasn't the Demon's little soldier.
For the first time since their father's death, since Jessica's death, Sam felt a shift within him as he was filled with something that was more than peace and more than understanding. His life had become a never-ending downward spiral - one whose origins he couldn't even pinpoint. Sometime after Jessica, maybe, but certainly before his dad's death. Some point in which things starting slipping out of his control, so subtly that he didn't even notice until it was too late. The edges of the tunnel had closed in, and no matter how hard Sam thrashed against the slick walls, he was further pushed, pulled, and pummeled down until he had become a weak shell of the man that his father had raised, and that his brother had always striven to protect.
Somewhere along the way he had become Destiny's bitch, a mere victim of a fate that he had never asked for, had never wanted. Control had become a myth - a fantasy - and he felt himself become more and more brittle, where each new obstacle threatened to destroy his thin shell. Dean, ever observant, ever devoted, had of course noticed the changes, and in true Dean fashion he had done the only thing he knew how: he protected. Except with each promise to protect him, to keep him from harm, to save him, Sam found the walls growing more slick and the tunnel more narrow. Dean wanted to save him, but each vow only drove him deeper, hollowed him out more... destroyed him.
Sam was dying inside, day by day as he was buffeted by the winds of Destiny, never in control of his own Fate. He was dying a slow, painful death, and soon there would be nothing left to save. Even if his brother managed to keep his promise, managed to somehow keep the Demon from getting him, it would still be too late and Sam would already be dead, though his body continued to breathe. For in this one beautiful, glorious moment Sam finally understood that the only way to survive this was for Sam to save himself.
What he felt now was euphoria. Pure, unrestrained euphoria.
His shoulder was most likely dislocated, and his body was crying out in agony. He was hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. There was mud on his clothes, blood on his skin, and the rusted iron bar was a lance of ice in his raised hand. The air breathed its chilly breath against his cheeks, and yet for the first time in a long time, Sam felt warm. Sam felt good. Sam felt in control.
There were still questions that needed answers: Had he really been infected by the Demon's blood? Was that the true source of his visions? What was his true power? Could he control demons like Ava? What of his one bout of telekinesis back in Michigan? And perhaps most importantly, why did it seem as though his mother had known the demon? Why had he been chosen?
But they were questions that could wait because in this moment, none of that mattered. The only thing that did matter was the realization, the understanding, that no matter what the demon had done in the past, it didn't have absolute power over him. Sam was still in control of himself, could still make decisions for himself... he could save himself.
In fact, he had already saved himself. Ava had made the choice to start killing, and Jake had followed suit. Jake had attacked him, and yet Sam had persevered. No one had helped Sam but himself, and while in the grand scheme of things he knew this to be a small victory, it was still a desperately needed victory all the same, because now Sam knew that he could do this. He could take back control. He could steer his life down a course that was of his choosing.
Sam was done being someone else's victim.
It was a split second.
No more, no less, and yet in that second everything had changed.
Sam had changed.
He lowered the iron bar and tossed it into the dirt. He had been trained to kill, and Sam knew that in self-defense he could take a life, but this wasn't self defense. Jake was down and out, dead to the world, and though he may later come to regret this decision, Sam turned from the unconscious man - and froze as he heard his name called out in a voice that he would always know.
Without realizing it, something tore free and Sam felt every hurt disappear. He was moving forward, his feet swiftly obeying the commands of his heart even as his mind tried to process the fact that his brother had come. It was a stupid thought, for of course his brother had come. Dean had never once failed him, and this time was no different, no matter how impossible it seemed.
And then Dean was there, rounding a corner with Bobby by his side, and they were armed and together and they were there. Sam knew that he had a big, stupid grin on his face but he didn't care because his earlier elation was still there from his moment of clarity, the euphoria carrying him forward on stumbling feet. He finally understood, finally recognized that he was once more in control of his own destiny, and that he could save himself - had saved himself. He opened his mouth to tell Dean this, to tell his brother that everything was going to be okay, that he didn't have to worry because Sam wasn't going to go evil, and Dean wouldn't have to kill him because he could save himself.
But then Dean's face changed. His eyes grew wide and scared, and his smile morphed into a frightened warning that Sam barely had time to understand before his world exploded.
If his moment of clarity had lasted an eternity, the agony of this one blotted out all time until it held no meaning. The strangest part was that the euphoria somehow survived the pain and carried over into the after. Dean was there, close in a way that was not always allowed, and his breath was fanning over Sam's cheek as he murmured words that soothed a soul that had been bruised, and beaten, and recently mended. There were the familiar promises of protection, of Dean wanting to save Sam, and this time the promises didn't hurt, or tear. They wouldn't scar, because this time Sam had already saved himself.
But then Sam died, and seriously, wasn't the irony just a bitch?