Disclaimer: I don't own the characters you recognize, the rest are mine :D
Tired, just achingly tired, that was how Sam's entire body felt. His bones, his muscles, even his brain were absolutely exhausted. Hunting with Dean and chasing Lucifer was tiring work, especially with the angels not trusting him, not to mention Dean. Just yesterday, he had tried to help Dean fight a few demons. He had done the research and felt that he was up for the hunt but unfortunately, at the first opportunity, one of the demons threw him head first into a nearby wall.
Dean had yelled out 'Sam, you OK?' and made fast work of getting rid of the demons while Sam sat there dazed. Afterwards, back at the motel, Dean checked Sam for any other injuries and made sure that he didn't have more than a slight concussion. He took care of cleaning up the cut on Sam's forehead, gave him some Tylenol for the pain, made sure that he was comfortable, and kept checking on him throughout the night.
Nowadays, Sam felt useless and worthless for having started the whole mess to do with killing Lilith and setting Lucifer free to savage what was left of humanity. Everything Sam did just wasn't-- in his mind at least-- good enough.
Life sucks, Sam thought moodily to himself as he lounged around the latest dump of a motel that he and Dean were currently staying in. Dean was outside with Castiel, debriefing him or getting more information on Lucifer's actions, Sam didn't know, and he sure as hell didn't care. Castiel never looked at Sam as worth anything, not like the way he looked at Dean. Dean was the savior of humanity while Sam was nothing.
Regardless of how attentive Dean was with Sam after Sam believed that after getting hurt, these days Dean was like a stranger to him, brother in name only. He and Dean just went through the motions of two people who lived together in close quarters. There wasn't any of the trust that Sam had had before Ruby had completely fooled him and tricked him in setting Lucifer free. More than that, Dean didn't know Sam, or at least didn't know this Sam as someone who grew up with his little brother with a tight bond ought to. Heck, Sam himself didn't know who this new Sam was, and that got him wondering how Jessica's Sam would have dealt with this new alien one.
Most probably, Jessica's Sam would have wanted to put Sam behind bars, or better yet in a mental institution. That Sam would definitely have taken Dean's side and would have double-teamed this new monster Sam into submission in order to save humanity.
Sam sighed as he stretched out on his bed, still waiting for Dean to return to the room. Jess' Sam was ages ago - heck that was someone else: someone innocent with hopes and dreams for the future, someone who wasn't him. What would Jess have said to him if she were still alive? What if he had never gone on that fateful road trip with Dean to find their dad? What if Sam had gone back in time to save her? What if, what if, what if, what if?
Sam shut his eyes as the 'what ifs' started to spin and swirl, blending into each other in his mind…
The alarm went off, letting out a shrill beeping sound. Sam groaned and opened his eyes. He felt weird, kind of fuzzy in the brain. He shook his head and glanced at the wall, which wasn't the drab brown color of the motel wall, rather it was the color of a beautiful pale blue. Shocked, Sam sat up in bed and he realized that he wasn't lying on a single bed, but he was on the right side of a huge king sized bed with white lace-trimmed covers over him.
Where am I? Sam thought as he shook his head again, trying to get the fuzzy feeling out.
"Sam? You okay?" a familiar female voice asked.
Sam turned and saw, to his shock, Jessica lying next to him looking very much alive, but there was something that stood out about this Jessica: she looked older than she did the last time he saw her…burning on the top of the ceiling. As the thought crossed Sam's mind, he shook his head as another one occurred to him, no that wasn't right…there was no fire…Jess didn't burn to death…Sam bit his lip and closed his eyes; that memory of Jess burning felt so real.
"Jess…." Sam said in shock as Jessica cuddled up to him.
"Are you really sure that you're OK?" she asked kissing his shoulder. She looked up at his pale face, his eyes glued to her face.
"What? Yeah, yeah…I'm fine," Sam started to say as their bedroom door opened and a little girl, Caitlyn, poked her head in smiling, "Morning, Mommy and Daddy!"
"Morning, Kitty Cat!" Jessica said as her other two hellions bounced into the room after Caitlyn.
"Morning, Dad, Mom," said JD. Ever the eldest at ten years old, he was starting to lose a little of his boyish carefree attitude. "Matt! Stop pushing me!" Jessica smiled at JD's whine- his younger brother Matt would always be there pushing his older brother's buttons so she needn't worry about JD growing up too fast any time soon. Matt grinned at his brother and backed up to take a semi-flying leap on to his parents' bed, landing on his shell-shocked father.
"Morning, Dad!" Matt shouted fairly close to Sam's ear.
Sam, stunned glanced down at Matt, who had curled up in Sam's lap, his floppy dark brown hair reminiscent of how Sam's hair used to be when he was a little boy. Matt was the image of Sam when he was at that age, with longish hair and big brown eyes dominating his face. Sam hugged him close, chuckling, "Not so loud, Mattie."
Calling Matt by his nickname felt a little odd to Sam, but the name just rolled off his tongue naturally.
Sam glanced at Caitlyn, who had imitated Matt by snuggling up to Jessica. If Matt was Sam's mini-me than Caitlyn was Jessica's right down to the cute dimple in her cheek. Snuggled in between his parents was JD, who Sam thought looked a lot like Dean, although Dean's hair was a darker shade of blond.
Still marveling over the fact that Jessica was alive, married to him and that they had three children; Sam hugged Matt tight and looked around at his family snuggling together in the vast bed. This seems like a dream come true He thought to himself. Sam lay back down, cuddling Matt and JD close. This is what he always thought what Sunday mornings would be, lounging with his wife and kids in bed for a while.
Jessica kissed Caitlyn's head and grinned at her boys, "So, who wants pancakes?"
A chorus of "ME!" rang out behind her as she got up and grabbed her bathrobe as she headed for the door. As always, as soon as the pancake announcement was made, the boys and Caitlyn jumped out of the bed and ran ahead of her to determine who would help her make the batter and who would be the first to help flip the pancakes.
As the children ran out the door, Jessica watched Sam slowly get up from the bed.
"Hon, are you sure you're OK?" she asked glancing at Sam's pale face.
"I'm fine. Don't worry," Sam replied as he walked over to her.
"MOM!" came a yell from downstairs.
"You should go. Otherwise you know that disaster will strike," Sam chuckled, thinking of the last time they had taken their time getting downstairs- the sticky batter mix had ended up everywhere and was a nightmare to clean up. How Sam even had a memory of a last time occurrence, he didn't know.
As Jessica left the bedroom, Sam's chuckle died. This feels so real and so touchable, but he couldn't be sure what was real and what wasn't… Sam wondered about it as he heard the laughter coming from downstairs.
It occurred to Sam that maybe he somehow jumped into the body of an alternate version of himself who lived this life, who had gotten the privilege of marrying Jessica, and having the home that he, Sam, could only dream of. How or why this had happened was a mystery, but maybe he was being given a chance to see what being at peace and having a family was like.
What had he to lose? It might be tough to pretend to be the Sam who actually inhabits this body and has this life, but here was an actual opportunity to see how a peaceful family life really was like. With that thought Sam put on his bathrobe and headed downstairs to spend a lively brunch with the family.
After brunch, Jessica reminded Sam and the kids that they had plans to spend the day with Dean and his family at the local fair. The boys and Caitlyn ran off so they could get dressed and ready for the day ahead. Sam went upstairs, thinking about this reality's Dean and how he would be different or similar to his Dean. As he reached the master bedroom he headed to the closet, where to his pleasant surprise, he noticed that the clothes were exactly like his own clothes. It seemed that Sam in any reality had the same dress sense.
After getting dressed in a button down shirt and jeans Sam wandered downstairs. He stepped into the living room where the kids were watching the late morning cartoons. Sam was drawn to the photo frames of his family, there was a picture of him and Jessica on their wedding day, baby pictures of the boys and Caitlyn, and a picture of a family that showed Dean with a brunette and two kids: a boy and a girl.
Beth, Mary and Noah flashed through Sam's mind as he picked up the picture frame. The girl who looked to be around seven or eight years old was the female version of Dean right down to the mischievous twinkle in her eyes, while her little brother seemed to be a mixture of his parents, with Dean's features and Beth's dark hair. Dean seemed so happy in the photo, so at ease and relaxed with his arm around Beth while his other was around Noah's chest, pulling him in for a hug.
As Sam stared at the happy family in the photo, memories flashed in his mind.
*flash* Dean and him patching things up during the spring of '07 when supernatural sightings and occurrences started to become more and more public and Sam couldn't keep lying to Jessica about his past, especially after a demon calling herself Meg had tried to lure Sam into a trap using her as bait *flash*
*flash* John meeting up with them, and as a family, fighting together in the war between Earth and Hell *flash*
*flash* Winning the war, but at a very heavy price with the war claiming a lot of lives including John's; others barely surviving the war intact, such as Bobby Singer, who came close to losing his mind when demons tortured him for information. *flash*
With each memory, Sam relived them anew like it had just happened to him. But among the sad memories, there were also happy ones.
*flash* John and Sam making amends over their terrible fallout when Sam left for Stanford *flash*
*flash* JD being born soon after the war was over *flash*
*flash* Dean tearing up but trying very hard not to show it when Sam told him that they were going to name JD after him and their father. *flash*
*flash* helping Dean at the garage as they spent time being brothers *flash*
*flash* seeing Dean holding Mary for the first time *flash*
This peaceful time didn't come without a price, Sam reflected. He supposed that being a Winchester in any reality meant that you couldn't go through life without death haunting you, but in this reality, at least at the end of the war, he had Dean and Jessica to help him through. In his own reality, Sam knew that he and Dean were together, but there was something missing, and he couldn't shake the feeling that it was something important.
At half past eleven, Sam heard the rumble of the Impala driving up to the house, so he headed towards the front door.
"Hiya, Uncle Sammy!" the whirlwind better known as Mary Winchester blew into the house a few minutes later.
"Hi Sweetie, and it is Uncle SAM," Sam greeted her, with a hug sighing a little.
Dean had definitely corrupted his kids by teaching them to call Sam 'Uncle Sammy,' much to his annoyance. Mary grinned up at him mischievously. "OK, Uncle Sammy!" and with that, she hugged his legs and ran off to find Caitlyn.
Like his older sister, Noah rushed in the house, almost tripping over himself in his excitement. "Hi Hi, Unca Sammy!" he yelled at full volume as Sam picked him up to give him a hug and a kiss. Sam, grimacing from the shout, greeted Noah with, "use your inside voice, buddy." He put Noah back down, letting him run off to find his sister and cousins.
"Hey Sam," Beth said climbing up the porch stairs at a more leisurely pace than her kids. She came up to him and reached up to give him a peck on the cheek.
"Hey Beth," Sam greeted her with a smile, "What's new at the office?"
Beth worked as an ADA where Sam had met her during one of his cases. He also was the one who had introduced Beth to Dean.
"Nothing much, the same usual boring cases." Beth replied as she kissed Sam as she walked past him into the house.
"And how about you, Mister Public Defender?" she said looking over her shoulder at Sam. "Same old, same old" Sam said absentmindly as he watched Dean walk towards the porch. Unlike the Dean in Sam's reality, this Dean walked with a relaxed stride as if he had all the time in the world.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean said as he walked up the stairs. Before Sam could even reply, Dean frowned, "Everything OK? You look pale."
Sam grinned, Dean and his protective mode appeared in every reality it seemed, regardless of what was going between them. "I'm fine, Dean. I just had a weird dream." Sam replied as he and his brother headed towards the kitchen. "Oh, clowns or midgets?" Dean asked with interest as he walked around the kitchen island to kiss Jessica hello. "Definitely clowns." Sam replied with a shudder, clowns were among his most hated things in the world.
After a few minutes of chatting, they packed the kids and everything else that was needed on a short day out into the cars and headed out for the fair.
As soon as they walked in through the fair gates, the kids shrieked in delight and started to run off in all directions. Jessica and Beth yelled out at them to stop and wait for them as they turned to Sam and Dean, "If you get them cotton candy- you're the ones who deal with the resulting sugar high," It was a well-known fact that Sam and Dean couldn't say no to the cotton candy requests from the kids, and afterwards it was the women who had to deal with kids on a sugar high. With that, they walked off to join their children while the men followed behind a little sheepishly.
First, they wandered through the game stalls area where JD shot a few hoops, winning a little teddy bear, which he gave to Caitlyn. Matt and Noah, with Dean and Sam's help, also managed to get a few hoops in between them. They gave Mary their little teddy.
Their dads' training certainly wasn't going to waste in this peaceful time, as it had allowed both Sam and Dean to shoot all ten of the clown figurines down in order to win Jessica and Beth huge teddy bears.
They decided to separate for a while when Beth, Jessica and the girls spotted some jewelry stands, Noah stayed with them while JD and Matt went with Dean and Sam to the bumper cars. Sam was in a car with Matt while JD shared one with Dean. Several times, Dean deliberately bumped into Sam's car when the car was stuck in a corner and Sam was trying to get it out. This resulted in delighted laughter from the boys as the cars bumped together as well as Sam's frustrated yell of "DEAN, STOP!", drawing out Dean's own amused chuckle as he repeatedly bumped into the car. When Sam and Matt finally got out of the corner, they enjoyed chasing Dean and JD and getting in a few bumps of their own.
They met back up with all the girls and Noah and sat down to a greasy lunch of hot dogs and pizzas with cokes to wash them down. They each had an ice cream cone for dessert with Dean and Sam promising the kids that they would get them some cotton candy later.
Mary and Caitlyn spotted the Ferris wheel and begged Dean to go up with them as he turned slightly green at the idea of being that high up, so Sam ended up taking them and they had a great time looking over the fair and the area surrounding it.
As they walked through the fair, they came across a small area reserved for paintball. The kids started begging to be allowed to play until the adults gave in and bought a family ticket. Seeing as Noah was too young to play on his own, he was paired up with one of the adults. As soon as they all were suited up, the kids started throwing paintballs at their parents. Sam and Dean started chasing them around the little field and tried to mark them with the paint. Jessica, who was holding Noah, ran after them with Noah gleefully throwing paintballs at everyone including Jessica, who ended up being dredged in blue paint.
Afterwards, with an exhausted Noah asleep in Dean's arms, Sam and Dean got everyone some cotton candy which they ate while walking back through the fair. They stopped at the petting zoo area where the kids had fun looking at all the animals.
It was late in the afternoon, when they left the fair and returned to Sam and Jessica's house. Dean and Beth decided that they would stay for a light dinner before heading back to their own place.
After dinner, the kids begged their parents to be allowed to play in the backyard for a little while before Dean and his family headed back to their house. Since they weren't in a hurry to leave either, Dean and Beth nor Sam and Jessica saw any problem with it. With a delighted yell, the kids raced out to the backyard while the adults cleaned up before they also headed outside.
As Sam leaned on the railing of the porch looking out at the children playing, he realized that despite all the hardships in the past, this reality's Sam had come out on the other side along with Dean. And with his family around him- he had found happiness and contentment within himself.
Sam realized that was what was missing in his own reality- the hope that he could survive the war that it didn't necessarily need to end sad or bloody. That there existed another possibility which nor he or Dean ever thought of before- that in the end, there could be peace and they could just live life and have families of their own.
With that thought, Sam turned and grinned at the sight of Dean and Beth cuddled together on the swing. Jessica walked up behind him and leaned her head on his shoulder, gazing out at the kids laughing whilst they played hide and seek as the afternoon sunlight started to become golden. Sam turned slightly and with a smile kissed her. As they kissed, Sam started to feel like he was drifting away from the peaceful lazy late summer afternoon.
"Sam! Sammy? SAM! Wake up!" Dean's voice penetrated through the lovely hazy drift that Sam was in. Sam opened his eyes and was sad to see the ugly brown color of the motel walls instead of the lovely pale blue color that Jess had painstakingly chosen. Dean was standing next to the bed, looking puzzled and a little scared.
"Dude, you were totally out for the count. I've been trying to wake you up for half an hour. I was about to call Bobby or even Cas for help since you wouldn't wake up. Are you sure that you feel okay? " Dean asked as he bent down to check Sam out for any injuries.
"I'm fine," Sam said with a tiny smile. "I just had a dream, it felt so real…" he trailed off. "Clowns or midgets?" Dean asked absentmindedly while still examining Sam carefully.
"No, just one that gave me something back that I thought I lost…" Sam said as he gently removed Dean's hands and sat up.
"Oh and what is that?" Dean asked skeptically.
"Hope," Sam replied as he walked to the bathroom. "Just hope."