DISCLAIMER: I don't own Supernatural or anything to do with it
WARNING: Here be rape. It's not explicit, but it's there. I'm not entirely sure about this story… please tell me what you think of it :)
His old life was one of darkness, of sorrow, of the unknown. It was one perpetual hunt, imbued with anger and the yearning for more, for something better. Something better being a life where he wasn't woken up by nightmares, sweating, throat hoarse from screaming. A life where he didn't have to stay in empty hotel rooms, curled up on a stained couch, waiting for his family to return from their latest hunt whilst imagining all the horrible things that could happen to them out there in the unforgiving night.
He was the one that wanted normality, the one that really tried (and succeeded) at school, and the one that took part in all those boring everyday activities that all the other kids moaned about but that he absolutely loved. He was the youngest Winchester, the innocent, geeky one who was constantly polite and who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Looking back, Sam thought that it was ironic that he would turn out to be the one who was the cause of all their troubles.
He was thirteen, and he had just had yet another shouting match with father, this time because he wouldn't let Sam join the school soccer team. Dean had spent the majority of the fight sitting on the couch, staring sightlessly at the television screen. Sam knew he was hurting Dean, knew he was pissing off his father, but he couldn't help it. He was stubborn and selfish, and put himself first and foremost way more often than was prudent. He knew this, knew he could be a total jerk sometimes, but he just couldn't help it. If he wasn't like this, if he didn't rebel, he way as well have called himself Dean and been done with it. And though he loved his big brother more than anyone, he didn't want tobecome Dean. He wanted to be his own individual – wanted to have control over his own life.
It had happened in the blink of an eye. One second he was sitting on the steps outside the front door of their current apartment, still fuming from the argument, busy ripping the papers of research he had written for their latest hunt into tiny little pieces. The next second the papers were being ripped from his hands and something was hitting the back of his skull with a dull 'thunk' and causing his world to fade to black.
When he woke up, head throbbing in time with his heartbeat, he definitely wasn't at the apartment any more.
His new home – if you could call it that – was the hayloft of an abandoned farm out in the middle of… somewhere. He was there for what was the longest week of his life yet. Every morning he woke up after a night of sleeping on top of the hay, wrapped up in a scraggly old blanket, to find that someone had been up in the loft and left food and drink nestled next to the trapdoor. For the first few days he had been skittish, on edge; terrified, really. Constantly wishing and praying that his father and brother would find him, save him. By the end of the third day he had given up searching for an escape route; the trapdoor couldn't be lifted from the inside, and the one window must have been the equivalent of four storeys from the ground.
By the fifth day he had become resigned to his fate, and felt strangely apathetic towards it all. Maybe he was just in shock – he didn't know. The itchy rash he had gotten from being among the hay all the time was really pissing him off though. He supposed he should be pleased that he didn't have hay fever.
Early morning on the eighth day of his seemingly pointless captivity, Sam was woken by someone roughly shaking his shoulder. He opened bleary eyes, blinked lethargically, and then threw himself to his feet with a yelp. He immediately found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun held by a very pissed off looking female farmer. That in itself was an admittedly unnerving picture, but the real reason Sam's heart was beating double time was the fact that her eyes were completely black.
"You scream like a girl," she growled, poking him in the chest with the shotgun and forcing him to stumble back a few steps. "I expected more from one of such interest to my master; one of the famous Winchesters," the name was spoken with a sneering, mocking quality. Sam hoped that her gun would backfire the next time she tried to shoot someone.
"Your master?" His voice was hoarse, croaky with disuse.
"My master." She offered him no more information; just ushered him out of the loft, climbing down first and then keeping her gun trained on him as he descended the stairs himself. "You'll find out who he is soon enough."
Ah, the wonders of personal grooming. He hadn't really appreciated it until he had been forced to sleep among the hay and not shower, brush his hair and teeth or change his clothes for a whole week. This dingy, dirty old bathroom was a godsend; he felt a hundred times better now that he was finally clean once more. Even if it was a demon he had to thank for both his hygiene decline and his current cleanliness. He didn't know who the farmers' master was yet, even though he had been here for a further week after his stay in the loft.
He wasn't sure where here was; the farmer had bundled him into the boot of her car before driving him away. The only reason for such secrecy was that they were still in the town that the Winchesters had been living in for the past month – that's what Sam reckoned anyway.
His new home was a huge and seemingly abandoned factory. He wasn't sure what its purpose had been before it became his prison. He ate in an old cafeteria stocked with broken appliances, slept in one of the cleaner offices on a fold out bed, and washed and did his business in the old changing rooms. There were still stiff, musty overalls drooping on rusty hooks, lockers filled with personal items. Maybe the demons had attacked the place and enslaved all the workers as their hosts. Everything was still intact; it was as though the people were on a perpetual lunch break.
Sam was locked up in such a way that he was restricted to one floor only, and that was the fourth. All the windows were painted white from the outside, so light could still get in but Sam wasn't able to see his surroundings, and they were nailed down so that he couldn't open them. Someone came in every day to restock the cafeteria, but Sam never saw them, even after he had stayed up all night and day for a while to see if he could catch them. Either he was being watched by cameras and the person, demon, whatever it was used them to take the best route around Sam, or it was just some freaky demon ability. Either option was equally plausible, though Sam was leaning more towards the former.
It was in the third week of his captivity (hethought it was the third) that strange things started to happen.
It was as though he was suffering from an extremely selective form of memory loss. Sam had always had a good memory; a little too good, really, considering how vivid his nightmares were. But now, every now and then, Sam would wake up to find that the day or night before was one big blank. It was more often the evenings that he would forget, and at first Sam had just put it down to the monotony of his current lifestyle, no day standing out from any of the others. He had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no-one to talk to – except himself. And he did so almost continuously, in a vain attempt to get rid of his loneliness and homesickness. It didn't work. He needed to see someone, anyone, that was human, even if it was only from afar. Just to remind himself that he wasn't the only one left, that there was a world outside this abandoned factory.
But soon things began getting even stranger. Sam would wake up lying on the floor in a room that wasn't his own, unable to remember how he got there and what he had been doing. He woke up with stained and ripped clothes, messy hair, and once a deep cut that ran down the inside of his right arm, from wrist to elbow. The thing had been bleeding profusely, and Sam had had to endure the agony all night until he stumbled into the cafeteria in the morning to find a fully stocked first aid kit and a change of clothes that weren't bloodstained waiting for him.
He even woke up with what felt suspiciously like vicious hangovers and clothes that smelled of smoke and alcohol. He had no idea what was happening; was he sleepwalking into bars and getting pissed? Were they putting something in his food that made him horribly forgetful? Was he just imagining the whole thing? Maybe this was all just a nightmare; maybe he was insane and his whole wacky life was just one huge elaborate dream Maybe, in reality, he was sitting in a padded room, wrapped up in a straightjacket, staring unseeingly up at the ceiling, drool dripping slowly down from his open mouth.
The answer as to what was happening to Sam was a relatively long time coming for someone with as many smarts as him. One day, soon after the third bout of memory loss, as he was lying on his bed and staring up at the ceiling, thinking about nothing, it hit him. Did people forget things when they were being possessed by a demon?
This new information was eerily accurate and incredibly alarming. If his theory was true, why was a demon possessing him? Did it have access to his memories when it did? If it did, it was probably using him to get information; though Sam had no idea why, in that case, it would be keeping him here like this and possessing him continuously. It could just do so once, pluck the memories from his mind, and be done with it.
If it wasn't his mind the demon wanted, it definitely wasn't his hunting abilities. Despite being extremely knowledgeable on all things supernatural and acting as the researcher most of the time, Sam hadn't yet been on a hunt himself. That was to wait until he was fourteen.
If he lived to fourteen. If he ever saw his family again.
And that led him to the sore topic of his family. There was a nagging voice in the back of Sam's mind that had started speaking to him after his first week of captivity.They're better off without you, it sneered. You're useless at hunting; the baby of the family. Now that you've gone, they can do whatever they want. They haven't come to get you because they don't care. At first he had vehemently refused to believe such a thing, but now, he wasn't so sure that the voice was wrong. Where were they? It felt like he had spent a lifetime here, with only his thoughts for company.
He was balanced precariously on top of a wooden stool, held upright by the noose around his neck. The rope was thick and rough, chaffing his throat until it was red raw. He didn't know how long he had been in this position, how long he could keep from toppling off the chair and choking to death.
Not a second after he had thought this, the chair was yanked from underneath his feet and thrown to the side, sprawling with a clatter on the carpeted floor of the office. He gasped and coughed, yanking on the noose with his hands as his legs flailed, jerking and kicking in a vain attempt to get to solid ground. The rope was digging into his raw skin, the blood that streamed from the wound black in the dim light. He coughed again, wetly, blood coming up and staining his lips, trickling down his chin. Something cracked in his neck and he cried out in pain and horror, black creeping in at the edges of his vision until all he could see was one far off pinprick of light.Tunnel vision.
And then the light went out.
Sam woke with a jolt, eyes stretched as wide as they could go, mouth gaping open as he tried to gasp in air but found himself unable to. He was still being suffocated – but no longer by a noose. He couldn't see much in the darkness except for the faint silhouette of a human torso, head, and shoulders leaning over him, but he could easily feel the huge hand that was pressed to his mouth. He whined, deep in the back of his throat, and the hand was removed, white teeth flashing in the darkness as the guy leered down at him.
"Hello there, Sammy. Glad you finally woke up." The voice was male and most definitely came from the mouth of a human being, but there was nothing human about it. It was cold and emotionless, and there was a tone to it that spoke of sadism and bloodlust. All he could do was stare up in horror at eyes that were completely black. The man – demon – was straddling him, thighs clamped tight around his legs whilst he held Sam's arms stretched out above his head, clamped down to the thin blue carpet. Something hard poked into Sam's thigh, and even as he tried to toughen up, to show no weakness, he let out a whimper. Oh no. Oh god no…
"You haven't been very co-operative with me, Sammy. That yellow-eyed bastard keeps boasting about you, you know. About your powers, about your destiny. How you're his favourite," the tone was mocking, with an undercurrent of rage that Sam feared would soon boil to the surface. "Liar. You have no powers to speak of, none that I can tap into. Do you think that makes me happy?" Sam stared up at him mutely, feeling rather like a gazelle being cornered by a lion. But only lionesses hunt, was his brains' useless opinion on the situation. The demon thrust viciously into the tender flesh of his thigh and he choked back a sob. "Answer me!"
The one time that Sam needed it, his impressive brainpower failed him. He couldn't think, didn't know what to do. What was the right answer? "I – I don't know," Sam managed to say in a broken little whisper. He clamped his eyelids shut when he felt hot tears prickle the back of his eyes, tears of humiliation and pain. He was so pathetic.
The demon leaned down, and Sam cringed when he felt its hot breath against his ear. "It makes me angry. Very angry." Another thrust had Sam wishing that he could just die right there. Die and haunt that son of a bitch for all eternity. "I'm afraid that I'll have to take my anger out on you, pretty boy." A hot tongue licked the shell of his ear, and Sam wanted to cry as his body betrayed him by getting aroused by the intimate touch. The demon chuckled against him, though the grating sound held no mirth. "I worked so damn hard to capture you, to get hold of this factory. And it was all for NOTHING!"
The rest of the night was blur, of pain and horror and longing. Longing for Dean, wishing that he would come bursting into the room with a shotgun in his hand and a cocky comment in his mouth. "Don't mess with my baby brother, you sonuvvabitch!"
But Dean didn't come.
The doors were unlocked.
When the doorknob twisted in his hand and the door creaked open to reveal a dark staircase, Sam couldn't find the motivation to be startled, to be glad. The door was locked before; it wasn't now. It was just a fact. That was all.
He remembered, faintly, the time when life had been worth living. When he could feel joy just through the simple acts of eating a food he liked, of learning things, of walking around a park. When he had a family. When he had a big brother. When he was so naïve.
"Sammy, please, just let it go, don't start fighting again -"
Those were the last words that Dean had said to him, though Sam wasn't entirely sure what his brother had been talking about anymore. He didn't really care, either. He didn't care about much of anything. When before life had been in sharp focus and bright colour, it was now pixelated, black and white and grey. Throughout his captivity the colours had slowly dulled, faded, but now they were completely gone. There was no glamour to life anymore. It felt like there never had been.
Without looking back, without bothering to take any supplies, Sam wandered slowly down the staircase. He was careless as to where he placed his feet even though it was pitch black; what did it matter if he fell? Who would care? How could it be worse than… be worse than…
No. He didn't want to think about it. It was nothing special anyway; it happened all the time. He was tainted now, just like countless of others had been before him. Would be after him. He didn't deserve anyone's sympathy, because when it came down to it it was his own fault that this had happened. He hadn't stopped the demon. He was too weak. He was pathetic, and the whole world would know it just by looking into his eyes.
But even though he knew he deserved their disgust, their hatred, he still couldn't face it. Couldn't face being out in civilisation again. He paused at the bottom of the third flight of stairs and sat down heavily, arms dangling between his knees as he stared into the darkness. What would he do? He didn't want to go out there; didn't want to stay in here. Why hadn't the demon just killed him? It would've been easier then, for both of them. Sam wouldn't have to live with this numbness, with a gaping hole in him where something was now missing. The demon could have lorded it over his adversary, the yellow-eyed demon.
Theyellow-eyed demon. The one that had burned his mother on the ceiling over his crib. It was their greatest rival, the one supernatural being that they were constantly tracking. The Winchesters had always thought that it (and dad, in Sam's old opinion) had ruined their lives, but it seemed that they had been wrong. The demon was after Sam. Sam had destroyed his family, and now he had been destroyed.
It was fitting.
Sam stretched out on the cold linoleum of the stair, closed his eyes, and waited for death.
Death was slow, and it was painful. It wasn't a blissful release; it was a struggle, as even though Sam's mind had given up, his body was still working overtime to keep him alive, to stave of dehydration for as long as it possibly could.
It was as if time had stopped, lying there in the dark. The cold seeped into his bones until he was too numb to even shiver. His breathing was shallow. He couldn't hear his heartbeat. Maybe he was already dead; maybe this was the afterlife. Maybe there was no heaven and hell, just an eternity of sleepless, timeless, uninterrupted darkness. Maybe all those supernatural beings that went bump in the night were escapees, gone insane after experiencing this infinite night.
Despite himself, despite the voice in the back of his mind was telling him that he should just suffer in silence, Sam started talking to himself again, in one long unbroken whisper. Telling himself about all the good times in his life. His old life. Reminding himself of the family that he still wasn't sure really did love him. But even if they didn't love him, he loved them, and he could pretend. He had always had a great imagination, able to keep himself entertained for hours as a kid by making up fantasy worlds, drawing pictures in bright crayons as the ideas came to him. He remembered showing his dad a drawing once, one of a big happy family of people who lived in a huge, cosy castle. He had told his dad how the big brother was a strong, brave, famous dragon slayer, the mother was an amazing cook and seamstress and the best doctor in the land, the father was a fearless knight and intelligent king, and the little brother was a librarian.
It was one of the few times that he had seen John Winchester cry.
Sam wasn't sure of the difference between dreams and reality anymore; it all looked the same anyway. But when, one night, day, whatever, he felt hot breath on his cheek, the rasp of a tongue on his ear, he gave a cry of terror and sprang to his feet. His legs, unused to the weight, crumpled beneath him and he fell with a smack onto the linoleum of the landing. His heart thumped like a jackhammer, breaths quick with panicked adrenaline. He scrambled onto his hands and knees and crawled away until his back was up against the wall, and he stared out into the darkness with wide eyes. The demon –
But instead of a mirthless chuckle, instead of the squeak of shoes on linoleum, he heard a friendly whine and the clicking of claws as the thing came closer. Frowning, an idea sprang into his mind, and Sam extended a timid hand. His palm met the warm roughness of fur, which was soon exchanged for the rasp of an enthusiastic tongue.
It was a dog. Just a dog.
He gave a sigh of relief and blinked back sudden tears as memories assaulted him. Ever since the age of five, Sam had wanted a dog. He remembered begging his dad for one, pledging to take care it, saying that he won't get in your way, Daddy, please. Needless to say, Sam had never gotten his dog; it didn't mean he no longer wanted one, though. Whenever he had the chance, whenever he had wanted to be particularly difficult, he would start making offhand comments about how good it would be to have some animal companionship. How he knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday, and it happened to be four-legged, furry, and possessed of a name starting with 'd' and ending with 'og.'
The dog, apparently bored with his hand, clambered into his lap, bringing him back to reality with a jolt. He crumpled up his nose as it thrust its face into his, its hot, smelly breath invading his nostrils. "Oh, yuck. Where the hell did you come from anyway?" The dog didn't answer his question; perhaps it wanted him to shut up, because a moment later his face was getting thoroughly washed by a friendly tongue. When Sam made a gagging sound and tried to push the dog away, he was rewarded with an even more enthusiastic cleaning. He could hear the swish of air as the dog wagged its tail furiously, and tears sprung to his eyes at its friendliness, at how trusting it was. Didn't it know that Sam might hurt it?
After resigning himself to being licked for a while, he finally pushed the dog off and stood up immediately afterwards, not keen on being cornered again. His plan was foiled, however, when the dog stood up and placed two huge paws on his chest, stretching its neck up to reach his face once more.
For the first time in a long time, Sam smiled, and the black and white world was suddenly imbued with a little colour.
Life didn't become easier after Sam left his prison; in fact, it became harder. Life in the factory had been one of luxury compared to his new life on the streets. He was just thankful it was summer; winter would be hellish, as he had no bedding or warm clothes to speak of. Then again, Sam could easily procure such things through his new talent, which was sleight of hand.
He had never stolen anything before, never done anything illegal before, but it didn't take him long to get the hang of it and become an efficient pickpocket and shoplifter. He felt guilty about taking someone's hard-earned money, and so he only stole from people he reckoned could spare the cash. His targets wore the most expensive clothes, went to the most upmarket shops, and ate in five star cafes. He made an effort to not steal from people who had families, but it was damn hard to tell when their kids weren't with them. Stealing was the best way to get money now, as Sam couldn't hustle pool, didn't want to beg, and most definitely did not want to become some sort of rentboy. The memories of that night in the factory were still raw and vivid, and they still hurt like hell. Added to that was his frequent reliving of it in his nightmares. The colours of the world were now dull and a little fuzzy, but they were there, and that was the best Sam could expect for a long while.
He knew he would be dead without Dawn. Since their rendezvous on the factory stairs, the golden Labrador had not once left her masters side, except when he was pickpocketing. It was silly and sentimental and sounded like something out of a Lifetime movie, but Sam had named her Dawn because she had brought some light into his life again. Also, the name Aurora was a bit of a mouthful. He did his best to give her a good life by staying in parks so she'd have a place to exercise and socialise, and by buying her proper dog food. It was expensive and meant more work for Sam, but it was worth it. He reckoned that she had been someone's pet before; she was great with people and dogs of all shapes and sizes, and very obedient and protective of him.
There was one big disadvantage of having Dawn, though; he couldn't go anywhere. He couldn't take her on a bus, and he doubted that hitchhiking with her would be a very successful endeavour. Sam told himself that he couldn't meet up with anyone he knew because of Dawn; but really, he knew that was just an excuse. He could easily get hold of a phone and give Bobby or Pastor Jim a call, tell them his whereabouts, ask where Dean and Dad are.
But niggling at him was the old fear that his family had abandoned him to his fate; the fear that his family hated him, that they would be disgusted by him, repulsed by what had happened to him. What he had let happen.
He couldn't stand it if they hated him like he hated himself sometimes.
The puppies were a complete surprise. Dawn had been acting totally normal in the morning before Sam left to go pickpocketing, and he had come back two hours later to find that he had three extra mouths to feed. Sure, Sam had noticed Dawn growing slowly bigger, but she had always been pudgy. Looking back, she must have already been pregnant when she met him.
He was at a loss. Dawn was lying on her side, looking definitely worse for wear, three little bodies curled up against her stomach. She didn't seem to notice his presence; she didn't even give him a greeting in the form of a thump of her tail. Her eyes and mouth were closed, and the only sign of life was the stuttering rise and fall of her stomach. Kneeling down beside her, he put a hand on said stomach and found her breaths to be extremely shallow. Dawn was an old dog; he knew that by the grey hairs in her golden fur. Apparently, giving birth had sapped the last of her strength.
Swallowing convulsively, Sam sat down and laid his head lightly on her warm body, breathing in the familiar doggy smell of her fur. He didn't bother to stop the tears from flowing, and they soon turned into full out sobs. This – this was horrible. He couldn't stand this. As sad as it was, Dawn was his best friend, his only friend, pretty much his damn saviour. And now she was dying, and Sam suddenly couldn't stand the prospect of being alone again, of straying back into depression. He had truly thought that those days of loneliness were over.
A tiny mewing sound brought his attention back to the little pink rat-like things that were the puppies, and Sam realised abruptly that he wasn't alone. Dawn had left him something to remember her by. He gave a watery smile. Even in death, she was looking after him.
He couldn't take care of the puppies on his own, though. He needed help. He wanted help.
"Pastor Jim? Um, it's Sam. Sam Winchester."
"Oh my goodness, Sam?! It's really you?"
"Yeah. It's really me."
"Where are you? Your father and brother have been worried sick! They haven't stopped searching for you since you went missing."
"Really? How long has it been?"
"You don't know? Three months!"
"Oh."It seemed way longer than that. "They've… they've been searching for three months?"
"Of course they have, Sam. They love you."