Okay, being the sap that I am, but knowing I'm not the only one, I'm going to give the tissue alert first and foremost. This chapter carries a double tissue alert. I'm still sniffling from proofreading and I've read the darned thing a million times! LOL Anyway, we are at the end of our journey. This be the final chapter. I hope you all enjoy.
Three Weeks Later
"Are you sure you want to do this Sam?" Dean queried, his eyes staring intently at his younger brother.
"Yeah… I need to Dean. I just…I hope they don't hate me. Do you think they will?" Sam replied, his voice soft and unsure.
"Naw Sammy. No one could hate you kiddo," Dean replied as he gave Sam's hair an affectionate ruffle.
"Trenton Wilcox did…and so did his father," Sam whispered, his eyes peeking out from under his long bangs.
Daniel sat forward and rested his arms on the seat back then he reached out and gently patted Sam's shoulder. Sam turned his head to meet his brother's gaze.
"Trenton and Michael Wilcox weren't human Sam. At least not in my book. They were monsters. Monsters seek to destroy everything that is good. There's nobody better than you squirt," Daniel said, smiling softly as a blush colored Sam's cheeks.
"Danny's right Sam. You can't measure anything by those two. The only way anyone could hate you is if they were jealous and even then, I just don't think it's possible," Dean remarked, making sure he had Sam's attention.
"Thanks guys…I think you may be a little biased though," Sam replied, an embarrassed grin spreading over his face.
"Maybe…but we're still right. Now…are you gonna do this kiddo?" Daniel queried.
"Yeah…I'm scared though. I-I'm not sure what to say to them. I don't know…maybe it'll hurt them to see me," Sam said softly, his eyes moving to the house they were parked in front of.
"Sam…I think it'll help them. Really…I think they'll be happy to see you. They called a few times to check on you. They were really worried about you," Dean said, nodding lightly when Sam turned unsure eyes his way.
"They were?" Sam asked sheepishly.
"Yes Sam…they wanted to visit you in the hospital but it was just too hard for them so soon after…well…you know," Daniel replied as he gently squeezed Sam's shoulder.
Sam lowered his eyes to his lap as he fiddled nervously with the hem of his ratty teeshirt. He felt his eyes well and he blinked several times to try and chase the tears away. The sudden touch of gentle fingers beneath his chin made him look up and turn toward his brothers. Dean tenderly held his chin and smiled when their eyes met.
"Sammy…you okay? We can do this tomorrow if you want," he asked with concern.
Sam reached up and wiped his fingers over his eyes as he shook his head. "No…I need to do it now or I don't think I ever will. Besides, we're leaving tomorrow," he said softly.
"Do you want us to come with you?" Daniel asked from the backseat.
"No…thanks Danny but I need to do this alone," Sam replied.
"Okay kiddo. We'll be right here waiting. Take your time," Daniel said.
Sam nodded then looked out his side window at the house again. Heaving a nervous sigh, he pushed the passenger door open and carefully exited the Impala. He turned and retrieved his crutches from the front seat and positioned himself before starting up the walk to the house. Dean and Daniel stared after him, their eyes filled with concern at the way he still moved as if he was in pain. They continued to watch as he hobbled up to the door.
Once Sam reached the door, he softly knocked and waited for it to be answered. He could feel his brother's gazes and smiled softly, knowing he had their support to lean on. He flinched slightly when the door opened and Elaine Chambers stood looking out at him with wide, surprised eyes. Eyes that reminded Sam so much of Alisa that he nearly burst into tears. He swallowed nervously as the woman's eyes continued to stare.
"Sam? Are you okay?" Elaine asked with concern once the initial shock of seeing the boy wore off.
"Mrs. Chambers…I…I'm…" Sam started, his voice cracking.
"Sam…it's Elaine, remember?" the woman said, a warm smile curling her lips.
"Oh…I'm sorry. I-I hope I'm not intruding or anything," Sam said softly.
"Not at all Sam. Why don't you come in," Elaine said graciously, smiling towards the Impala and it's two occupants who followed Sam's every movement with their eyes.
"Um…sure…thank you Mrs…uh…Elaine," Sam replied before carefully stepping over the threshold.
Elaine stepped aside to allow room for Sam's crutches and softly closed the door behind him. She led Sam to the livingroom and watched as he took a seat on the couch. She smiled down at him, her heart beating furiously in her chest.
"Sam…honey…what brings you here?" she asked softly.
Sam peered up at her with large, sad eyes. "I…I just wanted…needed to talk to you and Mr. Chambers. Um…is he home?" he answered.
"I'm sorry…Phillip is out of town with Alex. A little father, son bonding trip. He'll be back in a few days…" Elaine replied.
"Oh…uh…we're leaving tomorrow. Um, I guess I can just talk with you. If…uh…if that's okay," Sam said.
"Of course Sam. Can I get you anything to eat or drink? Poor dear…you look like you're wasting away."
"No…I'm fine. I'm not really hungry."
Elaine nodded then sat on the couch next to Sam. She reached out and gently grasped Sam's hand, squeezing softly to bring his attention to her. Once he faced her, she smiled warmly.
"So…you said you're leaving? Where are you going?" Elaine asked.
"Uh…my dad found a new job. We're heading up north to Washington. Near Spokane I think," Sam replied, his nerves steadying at Elaine Chambers' comforting touch.
"Oh…Washington's nice. How long will you be there?"
"Um…hopefully through my senior year. Dad thinks there will be plenty of work to keep him busy for awhile."
"That's good Sam. We're going to miss you though."
"I'll…I'll miss you too. Um…"
Elaine gently squeezed Sam's hand as she witnessed his hesitation. "Sam…it's okay. You don't need to be nervous sweetie. Now, what did you need to talk to me about?"
"I…um…I want…I need to say I'm sorry. I just need…" Sam stammered, his voice hushed.
"What are you sorry for Sam?" Elaine asked.
Sam's eyes filled with tears and he couldn't stop them from spilling down his cheeks. He dropped his head and watched as the tears fell to his lap, darkening his jeans as they soaked into the material. A soft hand cupped his cheek and gently brought him around to gaze into the concerned eyes of his dead girlfriend's mother.
"Sam…honey, are you okay?" she asked softly.
"I'm so sorry I…I couldn't save Alisa. It's m-my fault she died. I…I just needed to tell you how sorry I am," Sam cried, the soft trail of tears turning to rivers as he began to cry in earnest.
Elaine's eyes filled as she wrapped her arms around the sobbing boy and pulled him to her. She held him tight as tremors coursed through him, resting her cheek on his soft hair.
"Shhhh…it's okay Sam. It's all going to be okay…" she cooed as Sam continued to cry.
After several minutes, Sam's sobs tapered off and he wiped weakly at his cheeks and nose. He leaned in against Elaine as she rubbed his back and stroked his hair, the woman's touch causing an ache in his heart as he imagined his own mother comforting him this way. Finally, Sam pulled away and gazed at the woman.
"I'm sorry…I didn't want to cry. It's just so hard sometimes," he whispered.
"Sam…you have nothing to be sorry for. I know you tried to protect Alisa. What happened isn't your fault sweetie. You almost died yourself," Elaine replied, once more grasping Sam's hand.
"You don't understand. The man…Trenton Wilcox. He was after me. He followed me to the park. If it weren't for me, Alisa would still be alive," Sam said, his eyes dropping once more.
"Sam…look at me," Elaine instructed, continuing when hazel eyes met her sapphire ones. "I know about that man. Your father spoke with Phillip and I after…after he was taken care of. For whatever reason he wanted you, you are not to blame. The only one to blame is Trenton Wilcox."
"But…I knew I was being watched. I should have said no when Alisa said she wanted to take a walk."
"Sam…did you know for sure you we're being followed? Did you know who it was and what they wanted?"
"Well…uh…no, not really. But…"
"But nothing. When Alisa wanted something, it was hard to deny her. You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame. I miss my baby so much, but there's only one person I blame and that's Trenton Wilcox. You can't do this to yourself. Alisa wouldn't want you to blame yourself. She wouldn't blame you."
"I know…I know she doesn't. I…I just miss her so much…" Sam whispered, new tears filling his eyes.
"Of course you do, but you have to stop feeling so guilty Sam. I can see what it's doing to you. I don't know what that monster did to you, and I don't want to know, but it's over now. You have to move on Sam."
"I don't know if I can. I have nightmares that won't let me forget."
"You're never going to forget, but you can't let him destroy your health. You look so tired Sam. And so thin. Please…for me…for Alisa…your family…please forgive yourself so you can move on."
Sam stared at Elaine and slowly nodded. He smiled weakly and felt a bit of the weight lift from his shoulders. Elaine smiled back at him and reached up to cup his cheek.
"Alisa loved you so much Sam. You deserved that love and you deserve to be happy. You are a very special young man. I want you to leave here with the knowledge that you were loved by an angel and that she was loved by one back, because you are beautiful like an angel Sam. Please…let go of the guilt."
Sam pressed his cheek against Elaine's warm palm and closed his eyes. After a moment, he opened them again.
"Thank you Elaine. I know she was an angel and I loved her with all my heart. I…uh…I better go. My brothers are waiting," Sam said softly.
Elaine stood and helped Sam up from the couch. She grasped his arm and stopped him when he began to hobble from the room. Sam turned curious eyes on her as she moved toward a small table that stood against the wall.
"I nearly forgot Sam. I have something for you," Elaine said as she pulled a long, slender box from the drawer in the table.
"What's this?" Sam asked as he took the box from the woman's outstretched hand.
"It's from Alisa. A late birthday gift," Elaine replied.
Sam's hands began to tremble as he looked up wide eyed at the woman. "What? But…" he stammered.
"She ordered it, but it was put on back order. It arrived two weeks ago. Open it."
Sam fumbled with the lid and finally pulled it free. He stared at the contents, a lump forming in his throat. The box contained a beautiful gold and silver watch and Sam could barely contain the new tears that formed in his eyes. He pulled the watch gingerly from it's velvet bed and turned it over, the inscription he read making him lose the battle against the tears. His lips moved slightly as he re-read the beautiful words.
'To my Sam. My true love. Happy Birthday. I love you…Alisa'
Sam was shaking so hard that Elaine reached out and took the watch from his fingers. She pulled his hand toward her and wrapped the watch around his wrist, securing the clasp and patting his hand. She smiled as he gazed at the watch, then she gently brushed the tears from his cheeks. Sam raised his eyes and smiled, a true smile, dimples and all.
"Thank you for this. Thank you so much," he said, his voice cracking.
"You're welcome Sam. Thank you for making our baby so happy. You take care of yourself and make sure to visit if you can," Elaine replied.
"I will…I promise," Sam said then turned and began to make his way to the foyer and front door.
Elaine stepped around Sam and opened the door, holding it open so he could pass through. Sam stopped once he was on the porch and turned. He suddenly wrapped his arms around Elaine and relaxed against her when he felt her arms tighten around his back. He pulled away and smiled up at her.
"Thank you…for everything," he said softly.
"You're welcome Sam. Remember what I told you."
Sam nodded then turned and started for the Impala, smiling as he saw his brothers watching him. Daniel opened his door and stepped from the car, then he opened Sam's door and helped him into the front seat. He shut the door behind him and turned and waved at Elaine before slipping back into the rear seat. He pulled his door shut and soon the black car pulled away from the curb. Elaine watched the car as it disappeared then stepped back into her house, brushing tears from her cheeks as she closed the door.
Sam sat on the grass, his eyes moist as he gazed at the granite headstone before him. He could feel his family watching him and he was grateful for their presence. He was also grateful that they stood far enough away to give him the privacy he needed. He reached out and brushed his fingers over Alisa's name then he closed his eyes and sighed.
"I miss you so much Alisa. My beautiful angel. My sweet girl," he whispered.
Sam looked down to his hand and opened it, the heart necklace he had given to Alisa held reverently in his palm. He reached down with his other hand and began to dig into the earth at the base of the headstone. Once he had a small hole, he carefully placed the necklace into a small, velvet lined box then set the box into the hole. He covered the box with the dirt he had dug up and patted it down. Tears flowed down his cheeks as he gazed at the headstone.
"I have to leave now Alisa. We're moving away, but I promise I will come back again. Someday I will come back. I love you Alisa," he whispered.
Sam dropped his head to his chest and allowed the tears to flow freely. Finally, after several minutes he looked up and turned toward his family. John moved toward him and reached down to help him from where he sat on the grass. Dean and Daniel moved beside him, Daniel reaching down to retrieve his crutches. Once Sam was situated, the four Winchesters turned toward the exit to the cemetery and began to slowly walk away from Alisa's grave.
"Are you okay Sammy?" Dean asked, glancing at his baby brother with deep concern.
Sam turned to him and smiled softly. "Yeah…I'm fine Dean. I'm…I'm okay."
Dean grasped the back of Sam's neck and squeezed gently. "That's good kiddo. That's good."
The four hunters left the cemetery and loaded into the Impala. The black car sped away, leaving Santa Cruz and all of it's memories behind.
One Year Later
Sam sat on his bed, his eyes moving from his newly acquired diploma and his valedictorian award to the paper he held in his slightly trembling hands. He set the paper on his knees and lovingly rubbed his fingers over the watch he wore on his wrist. The past year had been difficult as he had continued to be assaulted by horrific nightmares, but with the help and support of his family, the nightmares had slowly tapered off until he only suffered from them on occasion. John had kept his promise and Sam had been able to serve his complete Senior year in one highschool.
Sam's brothers had glued themselves to him and it took a great deal of effort on their part to allow him the freedom a seventeen year old needed. Although he had recently turned eighteen, the older men still had a difficult time letting Sam out of their sight. Sam really didn't mind as he didn't feel completely safe unless he was with his family. That's why, as he read the paper again, his heartbeat sped up and his hands began to sweat.
Sam had made his decision and knew it wouldn't be easy to tell his father and brothers. He knew they wouldn't take it well, but it was something he needed to do, no matter how afraid he was. Sam stood from his bed on shaky legs and walked toward the door, a very slight limp noticeable in his gait. He made his way to the kitchen where his family sat talking, preparing for an upcoming hunt. Sam entered the kitchen and gazed nervously at each member of his family, a knot forming in his stomach when John raised his eyes and smiled when he saw his youngest son.
"Um…Dad…Daniel, Dean. I…uh…I need to talk to you," Sam stammered, his nerves nearly getting the best of him.
"What is it Sam? Are you okay?" John asked with concern.
Dean and Daniel turned their attention onto their little brother and waited for his reply. Sam stepped up to the table and held the paper out to his father, his hand shaking as John reached for it.
"What is this?" John asked as his fingers closed around the paper.
"It's…it's an acceptance letter. It's from Stanford. I'm…I'm going to college Dad."
So???????? That's it. No more. I truly want to thank each and every person who stuck with me to read this story. I know at times it was extremely difficult. I thank you all for embracing Daniel. I feel he has been accepted with open arms by most of you and I so appreciate that. I have been asked numerous times if there will be more stories with Daniel. I haven't really thought about it and don't know what I would write. I do love Daniel and would love to write another story with him, but am at a loss right now. Suggestions? Anyway, thank you to all of the people who took the time to review. If you only reviewed once, or if you reviewed each chapter, it truly meant the world to me. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I enjoyed writing it and bringing it to you.
Next up, the story I am currently writing and posting on . The title is With One Kiss. I am close to finishing it, but I will start posting in a few days. I should be done soon with it so I will be able to post at least one chapter per day.
Once again, thank you so much for all of your support. And please, let me know what you thought of the final chapter. Love to you all.