Sometimes You Hear the Bullet
Sam/Jess Preseries G/PG
Summary: After all, it was only a nightmare.
Author's Note: Beatles lyrics ficathon fic; my assigned lyrics were "Sometimes I wish I knew you well / Then I could speak my mind and tell you / Maybe you'd understand" from "I Want to Tell You," off Revolver. The title is shamelessly stolen from one of my favorite episodes of MASH.
Complete: Yes


Sam wakes in a cold sweat, his mind full of fire and fear and piercing regret. He doesn't understand any of them. He sits straight up in bed and glances at Jessica's sleeping form beside him. There is a slight smile on her face, and the sight of it comforts him.

He's not sure exactly what he was dreaming of, but he thinks that perhaps it was the same thing as whatever had been waking him up for the past few weeks, except sharper this time. Before he'd only felt a vague sense of unease, and of heat.

Tonight there is fire, and pain. Sam won't admit it, but he knows that the hard knot in his chest isn't from the buffalo wings he had for dinner, but from fear.

He lies back down and Jessica rolls over in her sleep to rest her head on his shoulder. He concentrates on the way her hair tickles his nose and neck, and tries to forget the fire.

-

When Sam comes out of the shower the next morning, Jessica is sitting on their bed looking at the picture of his parents. She looks up when he comes in.

"How did your mom die, Sam?" She gestures slightly toward the picture. "You've never told me how, just that she did."

Sam thinks about the fire and fear last night's dream had left in his mind. "I haven't?" he asks, stalling for reasons he doesn't understand. He blindly reaches into the closet for a shirt and comes out with a t-shirt decorated with flames.

Fate had always enjoyed thumbing her nose at the Winchesters.

"No," Jessica replies, drawing her legs up on the bed to sit cross-legged. "You haven't."

Sam puts back the shirt with the flames and pulls out a plain blue one. "There was a fire," he says. He turns his back to Jess as he pulls a pair of jeans out of the dresser, so he doesn't see the way her body stills and her eyes sharpen when he says this.

"In your house?"

"Yeah. And she died." Not for the first time, Sam wishes he could explain the whole thing to Jess. Surely she'd understand, he thinks. But twenty-two years of hunting haven't exactly taught him to trust his life story in just anyone's hands.

People don't want to believe that there's really something there when they hear a bump in the night, Sammy. They don't want to hear the truth. So don't tell them unless you have to, or else they might turn on you instead of what's really evil.

His father's words echoing in his head, Sam doesn't elaborate, and only feels a twinge of guilt when Jessica takes the hint and doesn't press.

-

Jessica never remembers her dreams. Only her nightmares.

Except she's only ever had one nightmare, over and over. Not every night, or even every month. But all her life, her sleep has only ever been disturbed by one thing.

Fire. And burning.

She never tells Sam. What could he do, anyway? And now that she knows fire is probably a sore subject, considering how his mom died, she knows she never will.

After all, it's only a nightmare.

-

The next night, Sam wakes at midnight with fire in his mind and Jessica's name on his lips.

He takes deep, gulping breaths and his eyes dart from the ceiling to his girlfriend's sleeping form. She isn't smiling tonight; in fact, she seems uneasy even in sleep.

Sam's eyes fix on the picture at his bedside, on the smiling faces of his parents. Not for the first time, he wishes his life had been different.

He wonders what it means, dreaming of his mother's death except with Jessica instead of his mom. Then he realizes he just can't allow himself to think of the possibilities of meaning.

He decides he must have only dreamed it because she'd asked him about his mom that morning, and the night before he'd dreamed of fire.

But when he lays back down, Jessica doesn't turn to him, and he wishes he could wake her and let the story spill out because then she would comfort and hold him, wouldn't she?

As he drifts back to sleep, the answerless question haunts him as much as the fire raging just out of reach does.

-

Five nights and five fiery nightmares later, when Sam wakes in the middle of the night, it finally isn't fire that wakes him.

He kisses Jessica goodbye, goes off into the night with his brother and shoves fire to the back of his mind.

After all, it was only a nightmare.

Right?

-

Jessica arranges fresh cookies on a plate, writes a short note, and heads to the bedroom. She's glad that Sam's coming home tonight. Maybe with him back, the uneasy feeling she's had all weekend will go away.

Last night, she dreamed of fire for the third time in a week and a half.

She starts the shower to let it warm, strips down. When she hears a noise from the bedroom, she grabs her nightgown instead of stepping into the shower.

"Sam?" she calls out, hastily pulling on the gown.

There's a figure staring out her window, dressed in a trench coat. She stops short, confused. He's too bulky to be Sam.

"Sam?" she says again, even though she knows it isn't him.

When her back hits the wall and her feet leave the floor, she forgets to be confused because she's too busy being afraid.

-

Sam tells himself that he couldn't have changed things. He tells himself that he had no way of knowing that his dreams weren't dreams after all. How was he supposed to know that he was psychic? He tells himself that even if Jess had known the truth about the Winchester family, she wouldn't have been able to escape from the one evil thing that had evaded John Winchester and his boys.

He tells himself these things.

That doesn't mean he believes them.