Jess tried to keep busy on Saturday, even going so far as cleaning the apartment, one of her least favorite chores. This was the first time she'd been apart from Sam for more than a few hours and it made her feel totally out of sorts.
Then a large looming set of clouds rolled into the area in the afternoon as if mirroring her dampened mood. Lighting dotted the clouds as afternoon turned into evening. Jess was eating dinner alone when the rain finally started.
It rattled against the windows with fierce winds, the type of creepy night you would expect to be perfect for a Halloween slasher flick. It only helped to make her feel even more nervous about being alone.
A pillow and a blanket were her only companions as she watched a couple of B movies on TV.
She almost jumped out of her skin as a heavy knocking boomed through the apartment. Rushing to her feet, she thought it might be Sam, until she realized he wouldn't have knocked but would have just come in. Who in their right mind would drop by for a visit on a night like this?
She raised the blind a little on the window next to the door and took a peek. There was a man standing there in a long raincoat, his dark hair plastered to his head from the rain, water dripping on the floor. She didn't think she recognized him, though something about him seemed familiar. She opened the door a crack.
A lightning bolt almost instantly followed by a clap of thunder rumbled through the air outside, deafening even inside the protected stairwell. She was forced to wait several seconds before saying anything, her ears ringing. "Yes?"
The man had a short, scruffy looking beard, and very intense eyes. She was sure she'd seen him somewhere.
"I'm looking for Sam Winchester." The stranger's voice had a nice deep timber to it.
"I'm sorry, he's not here right now."
"Do you know when he'll be back?" There was something oddly intense about the way he asked.
"I doubt it'll be today. He left on a family emergency with his brother very early this morning." She considered letting him in, but with no one else there she decided against it. "Did you want to leave a message?"
"No, that's alright. Thank you very much for your time." He nodded toward her then started to turn away.
"Excuse me! Have we met? You seem very familiar."
The stranger hesitated, but then turned back to answer the question. "No, I'm sorry. I don't think we have." With that he dipped his head as if tipping a hat and left.
Jess closed the door feeling vaguely dissatisfied. She was sure she'd seen the man before somewhere, or someone like him. But where?
She turned away from the door then came to a dead stop. Her gaze fell on the picture Sam kept in the front room, the only photo of his family she'd ever seen. She stared at his father's clean shaven face getting an odd feeling of Déjà vu. With more lines on his face and a beard, wouldn't he be a dead ringer for the man she just saw?
She ran to the bedroom to see if she could see him from the window. The street was deserted except for the falling rain. She let the curtain fall, her brow furrowed. Surely she was wrong. If Sam and Dean had gone up to Jericho to find their father, there was no way he would be here. Could the man have been an uncle, perhaps? Because surely Sam would have called if they'd not found him up there, right?
Jess returned to the kitchen for her cell phone. She tried to dial Sam, but couldn't get a signal. The storm must be interfering with the service. She set the phone back, not sure she should try to call anyway. What would she say? There was a stranger here looking for you and he might have been your father? She would wait until he got back tomorrow and then mention it, once she'd gotten the scoop on how things had gone in Jericho.
The storms were over by morning, giving way to clear cloudless skies. Jess worked on her unfinished abstract painting project, willing the hours to hurry past. The bed had felt wrong without Sam's weight and radiating warmth, and she'd not slept well. So much for being an independent woman. She was sure Sam would tease her about it when she told him after he got back.
Grocery shopping and laundry whittled away a few more hours. Sam hadn't called, so she could only assume everything was okay. On a whim, she decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies to welcome him back with. She set the plate on the kitchen table where he couldn't miss it and added a note just in case. A preview of the warm welcome she hoped to give him when he got back.
The Smurf t-shirt and shorts wouldn't do for tonight. A slinky number was called for to make Sam glad to be back and sorry to have gone. A mischievous grin grew on her face. She'd show him who was naughty and nice.
She dug around in the closet until she found something suitable. She'd make him relax until he forgot all about the family drama and too happy to worry about the meeting on Monday.
All she had to do now was wait for him to show. The hardest part of all. She curled up in bed with a book and willed him to hurry.
Jess heard a noise somewhere in the apartment and sat up straight. Was her scholar finally back? Her heart speeded up at the prospect as she got out of bed. "Sam, is that you?"
She got no response and didn't hear any other sounds. Then the light next to the bed flickered, making little noises. That was odd. It stopped after a moment then did it again. She glanced out from her room and noticed the lights she'd left on for Sam were flickering as well.
"Hello?" Goose bumps covered her arms and legs. Everything seemed suddenly unnaturally quiet, like the silence before a storm. She glanced quickly around the room, trying to find anything she might use as a weapon. She quickly grabbed a pair of scissors off the art bench. She couldn't get rid of the feeling someone was in the apartment.
Gingerly, she approached the bedroom's doorway, the scissors feeling horribly inadequate. She gasped and took a step back as a dark form seemed to materialize right in front of her.
Not letting herself think, she brought forth Big Bad Jessica and thrust forward at the dark figure.
Her arm froze halfway to its target. A pair of yellow eyes appeared to glow out of the darkness from the region of the figure's face. She saw the person's hand move and abruptly she was lifted off her feet to hang from the air, the scissors falling harmlessly to the floor. Fear and confusion shot through her, even as her body was turned in midair and then sent to slam flat against the bedroom wall.
Stars flew in front of her eyes, and though she struggled, she couldn't free herself. She was like a bug caught in flypaper. It shouldn't have been possible!
The figure from the hall sauntered into the room. The light revealed a man with light colored hair, probably in his late forties or early fifties. He would probably have been considered winsome if not for the distinctly inhuman yellow eyes and the sadistic smile on his face.
"Who are you? How are you doing this?"
He ignored her frantic questions, taking his time to undress her with his almost reptilian looking eyes. "You are a pretty one, I must admit. He does seem to have rather good taste."
Her heart lurched in her chest as she realized he was talking about Sam. "What do you want?" She tried to keep the near panic from her voice, but wasn't sure how successful she'd been.
He gave her a teeth filled smile. "Rather direct, aren't you? I like that. As to what I want…" He turned from her and then sat down at the edge of their bed, his gaze locking with hers. "That would be your boyfriend."
Jess felt her blood turn cold. "He's not here and he's not coming back! So leave!" Who was this thing? Why did he want Sam? None of this should be happening!
The man chuckled with amusement. "Oh I know exactly where he is. Even now, he's on the road with his brother, eagerly on his way back home to you." He leaned back, using his arms to prop himself on the bed, totally at ease. "I'm just here to prepare a little present for him."
He nodded once and Jess felt her body move. It rose up the wall sideways then continued to travel over the ceiling. The man leaned further and further back on the bed as if figuring out her proper placement, like you would a hanging lamp or ceiling fan.
"You, you leave Sam alone!" Fear covered her from head to toe, never having felt so helpless, not even when Roger attacked her outside the apartment. Everything she was experiencing should have been impossible.
"Oh don't worry. I don't plan on doing anything to your precious scholar."
Jess's eyes widened, never having told a soul of her nickname for her lover. Terror tinged dread made her skin prickle.
"You see, Sammy is very important to me. I have plans for him. Big plans." The yellow eyes focused on her arm and she felt it move of its own volition, straightening out to the side. "But his coming here to Stanford, and especially meeting you, these things are spoiling him, taking him in a direction I don't want." Her other arm moved, also splaying to the side. "He has a destiny, our little Sammy. One I've gone to some trouble and time to set up just right." Her left leg swung out then bent up at the knee. No matter how much effort she put into it, she couldn't stop it from moving. "But you and I are going to fix it so he goes right back to where he needs to be. Honing his skills, toughening up. Time is running out and I need him to be ready."
"I won't help you! Whatever it is you think you want Sam to do, he won't!"
He laughed at her again. "Well, when I said you and I, I was only being polite. You have no say in this whatsoever, in case you haven't already noticed."
Jess's scalp tingled, an odd rustling sound coming to her ears. She realized after a moment that her hair was moving, fanning out around her head. She was being shaped, molded, to make some kind of specific image.
The man pursed his lips. "Not a bad composition, if I do say so myself. Should seem quite familiar to him when he sees it." He stared right at her. "You were wrong about his nightmares having to do with his LSAT's you see. They were actually about you and tonight. Nothing like a little angst and guilt to get someone truly motivated, don't you think?" He turned his head one way and then another. "Perfect."
Sam had dreamt of this? Of what this thing was doing to her?
The man got off the bed.
To her surprise, he picked up her book, placed the bookmark on the correct page, and set it on the nightstand. Then he neatly remade the bed.
"Please, whatever this is about, don't do this!" He was going to kill her. She didn't know how she knew, but she was more certain of it than she'd been of anything in her life. And she had the horrible sinking feeling, this thing meant for Sam to see it. Tears of fear and desperation gathered in her eyes.
"Now, now, we can't have that." Another wave of his hand and she felt herself totally freeze. Her eyes were locked staring down at the bed, and she could no longer move a single muscle, not even to speak. "It's not good to tamper with perfection."
Jess screamed, but the sound only echoed in her mind, her mouth doing nothing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the man walk off into the bathroom. Moments later she heard him flick on the light and then the shower. He then came back out into the room.
"Oh, by the way, love the plate of cookies and the sappy note. They'll add just the right touch. Couldn't have planned it better myself. So thanks for that."
She wailed inside. She didn't want to die. She had plans for her life, plans for Sam. She didn't want him to see her like this. She willed with all her heart for him not to come home tonight.
The man grinned up at her. "Ah, I think I hear the patter of little Sammy's feet coming up the stairs. So let me do one last little thing, then I can leave you love birds alone to get on with the festivities." He raised his right arm, and pointed a finger at her belly.
She felt a line of burning pain rake across it. The hairs on her body felt like they were standing on end, pressure gathering around the pain and spreading about her.
His arm came down. "All set then. Nice to have met you, Jessica Lee Moore. The pleasure, I am sure, was all mine."
With a last deep throated chuckle he was gone.
Sam! Sam! Jess focused every once of her will and tried to scream. She needed to warn him. She needed to keep him out of here. She didn't know or understand what had been done to her, but she knew it was bad. She had to let him know.
"Jess? You home?"
Her heart jumped in her chest. Get out! Get out, Sam!
She spotted his familiar long legged frame down on her left as he came into the room a minute or so later, eating the last bite of a cookie. She saw him look toward the bathroom noticing the light and the sounds from the shower and assume she was in there. His shoulders relaxed. No, Sam! No!
He sat on the edge of the bed and sighed with relief, practically in the identical spot as the yellow eyed man. He closed his eyes and dropped back with another pleased sigh, then placed his hands behind his head. Her soul cried as she saw his expression of contentment, his happiness at being back home.
Something dark dropped on his forehead and he moved first one way and then the other as a second one fell. Jess had no choice but to watch as Sam finally opened his eyes and horror swept over his face as he noticed her on the ceiling. "No!"
Sam crawled backwards up the bed, recognition and terror marking every bit of him.
The pressure Jess felt before returned and then was abruptly released. A strange whooshing sound came out from behind her. Bright tendrils of flame reached down and around, enveloping her like a protective lover.
Sam's pain pierced through her as he cowered from the fire and tried to protect himself, yet he never looked away from her or made a move to leave her.
She could feel the flames consuming her from without and within, but she didn't feel any physical pain. Her soul, however, was screaming.
"Sam. Sam!" Dean ran up to the bedroom's doorway, throwing up his arms at the flames licking about the room.
Sam was still on the bed, frozen as he continued to stare at her burning form. "No. No."
Her spirit soared as Dean suddenly dashed inside the room and grabbed his brother. Forcibly, he pushed him back toward the door, even as Sam struggled to reach out toward her. "Jess, no!"
The room became nothing but flames. Yet the look of utter misery and pain on Sam's face was all Jess could see.
Then there was a soft voice whispering to her from the right. "Come, child. Your time here is done."
She turned though she no longer had a body, and found she could move. A bright light was spilling from the corner of the ceiling, a dozen times brighter than the fire's most intense flame.
She stared at it, feeling waves of comfort and warmth coming from the light. She turned her head the other way, though, still able to hear Sam's screams of denial. Jess looked at the light again.
Then there was another voice. One that rang only in her mind. 'Don't go. He needs you.'
"Jess!" The wailing torment in Sam's voice tugged at her, her love for him weeping at his pain.
Sam didn't know about the yellow eyed man. Sam didn't know all this was done to push him in another direction. The man meant him harm. She knew this, felt it to the core of her being. He wanted to twist and destroy that which made Sam, Sam. She would not have it.
"No, child. Come to us."
Jess didn't acknowledge the light, but turned her back on it. She walked away, only one thing on her mind – Sam needed her. Somehow, someway, she'd let him know her love for him was still alive.
Things in the world weren't as she had always thought them. She'd learned that the hard way that night. But she would use this knowledge, she would learn, just as she always had, for nothing was impossible. She would find a way to protect him. She had to.
Notes: Reedited 2009. Hopefully fixed a couple of awkward places. Editing is never over! (Had hoped by this time Jess would be used again in the show aside from the peek of her we got when Sam saw her on the street…but no dice…)