Stay With Me

Disclaimer: Don't own, just love way more than is good for my health.

A/N: I didn't really write this with a set time in mind, but probably some time during Season One. Damn, it's about time I wrote a Supernatual fic. Please review and let me know what you think. It'll really make my week (and I'm having a baaaad week.)

00000000000

Jess is there. Sam knows this before he knows anything else. He can smell her perfume, her shampoo, the scent of Jessica that used to be left on his pillows at Stanford. Sam thinks that this is much better than waking up to the smell of cheap motel rooms, stale cigarettes and mildew.

"Hi Sam."

Sam opens his eyes. Or rather, awareness is thrust upon him, so suddenly it takes him by surprise. She's right there next to him, exactly how he remembers her. He's disoriented but not enough to not understand that something is wrong. Jess can't be here because she's gone. Sam reaches out a hand to touch her face and it's real, smooth, soft skin that he touches. He can feel her, but how can he feel her? It has to be some sort of dream.

"How…?" he starts, trying to pull his head together. It just doesn't seem to be working. Somehow he can't quite get a grip of his thoughts.

It's Jessica's turn to reach out to touch him now and she does so slowly, sadly, as if she's worried she might scare him off, and that's when Sam hears Dean's voice.

"Dammit Sammy, c'mon!"

Sam turns automatically. Dean's calling him from somewhere in the darkness. Sam can't remember where he is but then a cloud moves from in front of the moon and a soft glow falls over everything. Sam realises that he's standing on sandy ground at the edge of a lake. The water is black and silent, ripples ghosting along the surface. There's Dean, crouched over something at the waters edge. Sam moves forward, opens his mouth to ask what the hell is going on but is suddenly floored when his gaze travels downwards to what Dean's couching over. Sam can't breath for a moment, he feels as though he's been slammed into by a truck and sirens are going off in his head. This can't be right.

This can't be right because Dean is crouching next to him, or his body, at least. Sam wants to look away but finds that he can't. The Sam on the ground is soaking wet, his sodden hair sticking to his face. His lips are blue. Suddenly, everything seems to unravel and Sam remembers – The diner that he and Dean sat in, discussing their latest case, the mysterious drownings, apparent suicides. The drive to the lake, where they had armed themselves and set out to look around. The siren they were ready to take on, and then that beautiful singing that he'd been unable to resist. It had taken over everything, all logical and illogical parts of his brain, drawing him into the water.

Sam feels a hand on his shoulder and spins to face Jess.

"I'm dead?" he stammers, disbelieving. Like… really? He'd died? Just like that, it was over?

"Not yet," Jess states, "Look."

Sam turns back and watches as Dean frantically performs CPR, forcing air into his lungs, thumping hard, rhythmicly, on his chest. Sam doesn't feel any of it and the Sam on the ground just lies there.

"You're dying." Jess sounds sad as she watches the scene unfold. Sam looks at her again. She's really here. She's really Jess. She came to get him. God, she's so beautiful. Suddenly Sam doesn't care about anything else. It's Jess. She's here and he loves her and misses her so much that it hurts every damn day and he doesn't ever want her to go away again.

"Can I stay?" he asks, "With you?"

Jess smiles warmly. That smile…

"Yes," she says, "If you want to. You don't have to."

"Why wouldn't I want to?" Sam asks, but he's reminded immediately by Dean's voice behind him.

"Some on, Sammy, please!" Dean sounds desperate, and Sam reconsiders, but he's tired. He knows that if he goes back it will hurt and Jess will be gone. He wants to stay with her. It's nice here. He can't feel anything. He's not cold and none of his old injuries are aching. As he looks down at his arms he realises that all his scars are gone. Sorry Dean…

"I want to stay," Sam says as Jess slips her hand into his.

Sam watches as Dean begins to tire. He can see the strain on his face and the compressions begin to slow, but Dean forces himself on, relentless. Sam wants to tell him that it's okay, he can stop now. Sam can see the frustration and despair building. He hears Dean choke back a sob.

"Please Sammy," Dean pleads, "Stay with me, please."

Sam hesitates. He's never heard Dean sound so vulnerable and he's certainly never heard Dean plead with him.

Jess pulls on his hand gently.

"It's time to go, Sam," she says.

0000000000

Dean can't do this for much longer. The muscles in his arms are burning and he's getting lightheaded from giving his little brother all of his air. It feels like forever since he dragged Sammy out of the water, and… nothing. Not a stirring, not a single attempt at breathing on his own and not a trace of a heartbeat beneath Dean's stiff fingers.

He can feel himself shaking, the wind and his wet clothes combining to send shivers down his spine, although he's not so sure it's the cold that has him trembling. A constant droning hums through his head. No no no no no…

Dean forces himself to press down on Sam's chest harder, trying to find strength where there is none. He forces air into Sam's mouth, feels his chest rise, fall, and then still. Nothing.

"Please Sammy!" He can't help feeling horribly alone, as if he's the only person for miles even though he knows the town is only a 15 minute drive away, and he wants that feeling to go away because Sam's here. Sam has to be here. Dean's desperate, pleading. He doesn't know what else to do. Nothing is working. "Stay with me, please."

0000000000

The first thing Sam is aware of is fire, which he finds odd because he's so cold. His lungs are burning, the fire tearing up his throat. Then he's choking and retching, the hot water spilling from his mouth and nose. God it hurts.

His whole body feels waterlogged and heavy. His head feels close to exploding. If he didn't know any better he'd guess that he'd been hit by a truck and had someone pour gasoline down his throat and light it on fire.

Strong hands are turning him on his side, letting the water drain out of him more fluidly. Sam feels like he night just cough and retch forever. There's no end to the pain he feels and everything is dark.

"It's okay, Sammy, I got you. I got you."

The voice sounds so far away, muffled too as if the speaker was underwater.

"Jess…" Sam manages. Where did she go? What's going on? It's too hard to keep track of his thoughts. It's all mush. He wants to go to sleep.

"Sam, you with me? Open your eyes."

Sam finally places the voice. Dean. Of course it's Dean. And Jess is gone. Sam groans and drags his eyes open. A blurred version of his brother hovers above him. Sam tries to focus but it's too difficult. His eyelids are so heavy.

"Stay with me, Sammy."

Sam hears Dean's order but he's too tired. He allows himself to fall back into the comforting darkness.

0000000000

Dean is minutes away from accepting the unacceptable. He just can't do it anymore. He wants to keep going but his body wont obey. His arms feel wooden, the ache traveling up over his shoulders and into his back. He feels numb and empty. He can't think, doesn't want to think, so he just concentrates on forcing himself to continue, pushing on because Sammy just can't be gone. Sammy just can't be gone.

Finally, exhausted, against his will, Dean's movements slow and then stop completely. It's been too long, he knows. The minutes have felt like hours and too many of them have passed.

The humming is still buzzing round his head. No words now, just a constant numbing hum.

It's over, Dean thinks, and by that he means everything. He reaches out a hand to brush Sams hair out of his face.

Suddenly water errupts from Sam's mouth as he begins to choke, his chest struggling to rise as he battles to take air into his waterlogged lungs.

Dean's actions are quick and instinctual. He rolls Sam onto his side, one hand gripping his shoulder and holding him in place as Sam's whole body convulses, expelling more water than Dean thought possible. Relief floods through him and he can't help a small smile, because, despite this awful situation, his brother is alive.

"It's okay, Sammy. I got you. I got you," Dean murmurs, rubbing Sam's back.

Sam's head turns slightly towards his voice and his lips move to voice a barely audible, "Jess…"

"Sam, you with me?" Sam seems to have finished emptying the lake from his lungs so Dean lets him roll onto his back again, "Open your eyes."

Sam groans and Dean watches his eyelids flicker open momentarily. His hazel eyes are dull and unfocused, bloodshot from the suffocation, then they begin to droop.

"Stay with me, Sammy," Dean says, shaking Sam's shoulder gently, but Sam's eyes roll up in his head and he slips into unconsciousness.

"Son of a bitch," Dean swears quietly, quickly checking that Sam's still breathing. He feels for a pulse and finds it weak and unsteady but there.

Dean exhales slowly, breathing out a long stream of air into the frosty night. He needs a moment to compose himself before he drags Sam back to their motel room and gets him warm and dry. Dean realises his hands are shaking violently as he gazes down at his brothers form, still but for the gentle rise and fall of his chest.

Damn, that was too close. Much too close.

00000000000

Sam's still coughing up water almost a week later. Dean had half carried, half dragged his younger brother to the Impala and broke a dozen speed limits on his drive back to the motel. After Dean had cranked up the small heater in their room and gotten Sam into some dry clothes and under the blankets some of the colour had returned to his complexion and his breathing seemed easier. Dean sat at the side of his bed all night, watching over him.

Now, Dean's in the same position, watching Sam sleep, even though he's well clear of the danger zone. Aside from the reassurance this gives him that Sam will not suddenly stop breathing, he's also trying to figure out what's up. There's something going on in his little brothers head. He can see it in his eyes when Sam disappears inside himself, sees a guilt and uncertainty that's plauging him before Sam pulls it back and pretends to be normal for Dean's benefit. He can see it when he watches Sam sleep. It's not nightmares, like Dean would have expected, but Sammy's definitely dreaming about something and Dean's not so sure it's something good.

As if on cue, Sam suddenly jolts awake, his eyes flying open and hands clutching at the bedsheets. There isn't time for Dean to pretend to be doing anything other than what he actually is doing.

"You watching me sleep, Dean?" Sam asks after taking a moment to orientate himself. Running a hand over his face, he blinks away the remnaints of his dream. There isn't the usual hint of humour in his voice.

Caught out, Dean shrugs.

"Maybe."

Sam sighs, "I'm fine, Dean."

Dean raises his eyebrows, "No, you're not. You're weird."

Sam shoots him a look.

"I mean, you're acting weird. C'mon Sammy, just spill."

"It's Sam," Sam automatically corrects, "And I'm fine, okay? Stop worrying."

Dean frowns, deciding to drop it for now. He's still exhausted from the whole ordeal. He doesn't know if he'll ever feel right again after seeing Sammy on the ground like that, his skin slowly turning gray from the lack of oxygen.

"Yeah, well." He gets up from his seat on the bed and heads towards the TV remote. "You didn't see it. You were dead," he says gruffly, "So worrying's within my rights."

He's about to start flicking through channels to find something to distract him from the morbid images in his head when Sam's voice behind him makes his pause.

"I did, actually."

Dean turns. Sam's sitting up, looking down at the bedsheets as he absently traces patterns with his finer, his sleep-tasseled hair falling over his eyes.

"Did what?" Dean asks.

Sam hesistates, apparently unsure of whether to elaborate or not, and Dean wrestles with the idea of slapping answers out of him but is saved by Sam continuing.

"I did see it." Sam's still looking down at the sheets.

Dean stands there, turning Sammy's words around in his head, trying to get them to make sense.

"I was standing right next to you, watching you do CPR on my body." Sam pauses. "Jess was there."

Dean is stunned, looking over at this little brother, who's still talking down to the sheets.

"I knew I was dying, and I could see you trying to save me but… Jess said I could stay with her, and…"

So this is what's been haunting Sammy's sleep and waking moments. Dean shivers involunteerily, the idea of Sammy being that far gone disturbing him.

"I was going to stay," Sam murmers quietly, "I was going to leave you."

Dean's still not saying anything, a cold horror filling him as he imagined Sam being gone. He can't think of anything to say so he just listens.

"It was just… it was Jess and… nothing hurt anymore and it felt so much easier…"

Sam trails off and Dean knows that it's his turn to talk now. He walks over to his bed and sits down on the edge, facing Sam.

"Why didn't you then?" Dean wants to know. He clears his throat, "I mean, what made you want to come back?"

Sam finally looks away from the bed and turns to Dean.

"You asked me to," he says. "You asked me to stay with you, so… I did."

Dean is amazed. That's so like Sam, he thinks. He picks Dean over the girl he loves and then beats himself up because he almost chose Jess.

Chick flick moments be damned, Dean goes over and pulls Sam into a hug, holding tight as he thinks about just how close he really came to losing him, and he promises himself that he'll never let Sam be put in a position where he needs to make that choice again, no matter how sure he is that Sammy will always pick him.

"It's okay," he says as Sam returns the hug. "It's…" He offers a small joke, "Good to know you can actually follow orders when I need you to."

Dean hears Sam laugh softly and pulls back from the hug.

"Thanks," he says, looking Sam in the eye, "For picking me. That… must have been hard."

Okay, this chick flick moment is getting too much and Dean's pretty sure one of them's going to break down in tears if they keep this up, so he ruffles Sam's hair before he can reply.

"Now go back to sleep. We're leaving early tomorrow."

Dean gets up and goes for the remote again. By the time he's settled down on his bed Sam's already asleep. Dean picks a random channel without paying much attention. It doesn't really matter anyway, he knows that he'll be watching over Sammy all night anyway.