This story was written for the Secret Sam-ta fanfic exchange over at CWESS (Coalition for the Written Enhancement of Sam's Story), TammiTam being the recipient. The prompt was Sam wonders why it always has to be him and wonders what his family's life would have been like had he never existed. This one-shot is what I came up with. Disclaimer: Not mine, no money...you know, the usual.
For those following my current story A Family Torn Asunder, I promise I am working on it and hope to have it ready to post soon. I have really been having a hard time with it lately and want to make sure I get it right. So, I hope this little story tides you over until I can post again.
It's a Wonderful Life?
Sam Winchester awoke slowly, the young man casting glassy, confused eyes up at the blue, cloudless sky above him. He sat up, grunting at the effort it took for that simple action. He had been laid out on a picnic table in an unfamiliar park and his heart picked up its beat as he had no recollection of coming to the park. He had no clue as to where he was and why he was there. The last memory he had was of sneaking out of the motel room he'd been sharing with his father and brother and walking away, his intent never to come back. He remembered writing the note telling his family not to look for him and that it was better for them if he just disappeared. He remembered looking over his shoulder at his unconscious brother and thinking that he may never see him again.
Sam and his family had been hunting the Yellow Eyed Demon, but as it turned out, it had really been hunting them. Dean had been hurt, not badly, he would recover from his wounds, but John had pretty much blamed Sam for the whole debacle. It wasn't that Sam had done anything wrong, except for the fact that the demon had been after him. It had been after him his whole life and even though John hadn't come right out and said it, Sam knew the meaning behind his father's words. You're the reason your mother died. You're the reason we've had to live this life. You're the reason Dean got hurt.
Sam couldn't blame his father. He knew himself that he was responsible for every bad thing that had happened to their family, beginning that cold night so many years before. He may have only been six months old, but even then he was destined for evil. The demon had come for him and his mother had gotten in the way. She'd paid the ultimate price for her love of her child. While walking down the road away from the motel, leaving his family in one room and Bobby and Joshua in the other, he thought not for the first time that his family would have been so much better off if he had never been born. His mother would be alive and Dean and his father would be living a normal life. A life that didn't include demons, ghosts and the vast array of other creatures of the night that most people only thought existed in their imaginations.
Sam remembered walking away from his family and friends, remembered the tears streaming down his cheeks as more distance was put between them then there had been a bright flash of light and he remembered no more. The next thing he knew he was waking up on the picnic table in the park he didn't recognize in a town he had no idea of the name. He swung his legs over the edge of the picnic table and stepped first onto the seat then onto the ground. He glanced around, wondering at the lack of people. It was warm, a slight breeze blowing through his too long hair, but there were no children playing on the playground equipment, no parents watching from the benches that stood a bit off in the distance. There were no young lovers strolling hand in hand along the path that wound near the small creek, no grounds workers mowing the grass or picking up trash. Sam looked around again and realized that there was nobody…anywhere. No cars on the street, no people coming and going from the shops across the street. It was like he was the only person on earth.
Sam began to walk toward the street, intent on finding out where he was when he heard a soft voice calling his name. He spun around and sucked in a startled breath, his hazel eyes widening at the sight before him. A young woman, not more than a year or two older than him stood on the other side of the picnic table. She was pale, nearly white, with long blonde hair and blue eyes so light they almost had no color at all. She wore a long, flowing white dress that billowed softly in the breeze. What startled Sam though, was the fact that she was glowing, a soft halo of light surrounding her form as she smiled at him from across the table.
"Wh..who are you?" Sam queried, his voice sounding foreign to his ears.
"I am your wish," the woman said in a soft, musical voice.
"What? What does that mean?" Sam asked with confusion as he took one tentative step forward.
"You made a wish and I am here to grant that wish," the woman said, her head cocking slightly to the side as she gazed unblinkingly at Sam.
"I…I didn't make any wish. What are you talking about?" Sam was more than confused now. When had he made a wish and why, if he did was this woman here proclaiming to be able to make it come true?
"You wonder what the world would be like, what your family's life would be like if you had never been born. I am here to show you."
"But…I never wished that. Yeah, I've wondered, but I've never come out and wished to find out," Sam said with a hint of exasperation.
"You've wished it in your heart. You think you have brought only pain to your family. You think that they would be happy if you had never come into their lives. Correct?"
Sam looked down at the ground and swallowed back the tears that threatened to fall. He looked up again and nodded. "Yes," he whispered, and the tears fell.
The woman came around the picnic table and smiled as she reached out for Sam's hand. The young man obliged, not sure of the reason, but knowing he had nothing to fear. "Come with me, Sam."
"Where am I? Where are we going?" Sam questioned as the woman gently tugged him along.
"Come, Sam…I will show you," the woman answered.
One moment, they were crossing the deserted street and the next they were standing in front of a house. A house that Sam recognized. His eyes went wide and he pulled back from the woman, astonished at the strength of the delicate hand that held his. "No…what are we doing here? I don't want to be here," he cried as he continued to try to break free from her hold.
"You wanted to see, Sam. I am going to show you." And with that, they were in the house.
They stood outside of a room and Sam could hear the mournful cries of a woman coming from beyond the door. He then heard a man's voice, low and comforting, but also with a hint of sorrow. They stepped into the room and Sam nearly went down to the floor as he stared at the scene before him. This was a nursery. A crib stood in the center of the room, just under the window. A rocking chair was at one end and in that rocking chair, weeping uncontrollably, was his mother. A fluffy blue blanket was clutched tightly to her chest as she rocked back and forth, her blue eyes red from crying. John was kneeled next to the chair, his own eyes red and puffy. His arm was wrapped around Mary as he tried to comfort her, but there was no comfort. Not for either of them.
"Why? Why did God take him from us?" Mary cried forlornly, her eyes moving to the empty crib before turning to her husband, imploring him with those eyes for an answer to her question.
"I don't know, Mary. The doctors don't know. It just…it wasn't meant to be," John said, but it was obvious he was at a loss too.
"If it wasn't meant to be, why did God give him to me in the first place, just to take him away before he was even born? Is God really that cruel?" Mary sobbed.
Sam couldn't breathe as he watched the horrible scene. He stepped forward, his large hand outstretched, tears streaming down his flushed cheeks. "Mom…please don't cry…please…"
"They can't hear you, Sam. We are merely here to observe," the woman beside him said, and Sam could swear he heard tears in her voice.
"But…" Sam started only to be cut off by a small voice behind him.
"Daddy? Why is Mommy crying?"
Sam spun around and a sob escaped his lips as he stared down at his brother, barely four years old, green eyes wide with fear and confusion. "Dean, come here, sport," John's gruff voice called and Sam watched as Dean walked across the room and practically fell into his father's arms.
Dean looked over at his mother and reached out a small hand, his fingers gently brushing the tears from her cheek. "Mommy…don't cry. I make it better for you," Dean whispered, his little boy face gazing innocently at his grieving mother.
"Dean," Mary whispered as she looked over at her little boy. "Oh, Dean…I'm so sorry. Mommy is so sorry."
Dean cocked his head, obviously not sure as to what his mother had to be sorry for. "Why you sorry, Mommy? You didn't do nothin' wrong," he said softly in his little boy voice.
"I…I promised you something and now…now, that something isn't going to come true," Mary answered, her left hand letting go of the blue blanket and reaching over to cup Dean's cheek.
"What promise? Why are you and Daddy so sad?"
"It's Sammy, Dean…" John started, his voice once more filled with sorrow.
"Sammy? Is he here? Where is he?" Dean asked, the little boy suddenly excited and even more confused. Why were his mommy and daddy so sad if his little brother was finally here?
"No, Dean. Sammy isn't here. He isn't going to be here," John said as a lone tear made its way over his lid and down his cheek.
Dean stared wide eyed up at his father and bit at his lip. "Why? You said I was gonna have a little brother. Where is he?" the little boy cried, his own green eyes filling with tears.
"Well, do you remember how we told you that Sammy was growing in Mommy's tummy?"
"Yeah…you said he needed to stay in there for a long time, until we was ready for him," Dean answered softly.
"Well, sometimes things happen and mommy's can't keep the baby in their tummies long enough," John said with a hitch in his voice.
Dean glanced over at Mary then turned back up to his father. "What kind of things? Is that why Sammy can't come to live with us now?"
"We don't really know what happened, but yeah…Sammy can't come live with us now. He's in heaven with Grandma and Grandpa."
"But, Daddy…they don't has no playgrounds in heaven. And no baseball, and no ice-cream cones neither. What's Sammy gonna do up there with no big brother to play with?" Dean asked innocently.
Mary let out another sorrowful sob and Dean climbed up into her lap, his small hand reaching up to play with her silky hair. "Dean, they have everything Sammy needs up in heaven," she said as she smiled sadly down at her little boy.
"Uh-uh…they's don't have me, Mommy and that's what Sammy needs the most…his big brother to play with and to keep him safe. Can I go stay with Sammy? He's gonna get so lonely up there with only old people to keeps him company," Dean asked shyly.
Another sob left Mary's throat and she had to turn away, her eyes squeezed tightly shut. John cupped Dean's cheek and smiled warmly down at his little boy. "You have to stay here with us, Dean. Sammy has God to watch over him. Mommy and Daddy need you here to watch over us," he said.
Dean gazed up with large, green eyes and nodded. "Okay, Daddy, but…but I want Sammy to come live with us. Why can't God send him down here?"
"I don't know, squirt. I don't know," John answered as more tears trailed down his cheeks.
Sam squeezed his eyes shut and covered his ears, the young man unable to take what he was hearing or seeing any longer. He felt the woman's hand take his again and pull it away from his ear and he opened his eyes only to find that he was no longer in his nursery. He realized he was back in the park that he had woken up in, the woman standing before him.
"Why did you show me that?" Sam asked forlornly, his hazel eyes peering at the woman through long strands of chocolate fringe.
"You wanted to know what would happen to your family if you'd never been born. You have your answer," the woman replied.
"Of course they would be upset if they knew I was coming, but what if I had never existed at all?"
"Your existence is not questionable, Sam. You have always been meant for this world. I can't show you a scenario where you never would have existed, only what would have happened if for some reason, that existence had been cut short or extinguished altogether."
Sam nodded as he gazed around the park. "It doesn't prove that they wouldn't be better off without me, only that they would grieve for my loss," he said softly.
The woman smiled as she took Sam's hand again. A brief attack of vertigo assailed Sam and when the dizziness finally ebbed away, he saw that it was night and they were standing in front of a bar. He glanced over at the woman with confusion before turning back to the bar when the door to the building opened. Sam sucked in a breath when he saw his father, his hair grown out and messy, beard unkempt step from the bar. John was obviously drunk as he staggered down the sidewalk, the man nearly falling several times before reaching the Impala. John fiddled with his keys as he tried to unlock the door of the car and finally after several attempts, he was able to get the door unlocked.
Sam watched as John started the engine of the car, the young man wanting to run to his father and scream at him for even thinking of getting behind the wheel when he was so intoxicated. He couldn't do that of course, so he was forced to stand and watch as John put the car into gear and pull out from the curb. Sam's eyes widened as the Impala swerved almost immediately into the oncoming lane of traffic, right into the path of a large pickup that was speeding down the street. The vehicles hit head on, the sound of the crash deafening as it met Sam's ears. Sam was running and screaming as the car and truck both came to sudden stops in the middle of the street.
"Dad! No! Dad!!" Sam screamed as he came up to the driver's window of the Impala. He pressed his face up to the miraculously unbroken glass of the window and could immediately see that his father was dead. The man's eyes were open and already clouding over and blood was everywhere. Sam staggered back from the car, his hand going to his mouth as he tried to hold back a sob. "Nononononono," he cried softly as people suddenly poured out of the bar and neighboring café and surrounded the horrific accident, their shouts and murmurs ringing in Sam's ears as he continued to back away.
A soft touch to his arm made Sam flinch and he jerked his head to the side to find the woman staring sadly at the scene before them. A lone tear trickled down her cheek and it was the first time that Sam had seen her without the smile. She turned and gazed up into Sam's eyes then took his hand. Another attack of vertigo and Sam was standing in a cemetery, watching from a few feet away as a casket was lowered into the ground. He heard sorrowful weeping and turned to see his mother, her arm wrapped around Dean, the boy appearing to be about nine. Dean was crying uncontrollably as he leaned into his mother's side, his green eyes glued to the casket until it disappeared from sight. Mary looked gaunt, her blue eyes vacant as she stared straight ahead.
Sam turned from the scene and dropped to his knees, his large hands coming up to cover his face as he himself began to weep. "No…please…no," he cried as he rocked back and forth. A soft touch to his shoulder calmed his crying and he peered up into the woman's pale eyes. The smile was back, accompanied by the vertigo and in an instant, Sam was no longer at the cemetery.
Sam looked around at his shoddy surroundings, wrinkling his nose at the strong smell of marijuana smoke that filled the air. He heard laughing coming from the next room and moved toward the laughter. He stepped through the doorway and flinched as he looked upon his brother sitting on a couch, a burning joint held between his fingers. Dean looked to be about nineteen or twenty, old enough to know better than to be doing drugs. Dean took a long hit from the joint before passing it to the man that sat to his right on the couch. The joint was then passed to a third man who took a drag then dropped the joint into an ashtray that sat on a rickety table in front of the couch.
"Hey…dude, you got anything stronger than this?" Dean's slow, slurred voice queried as he reclined back against the couch cushions.
"Hell yeah…got some of the good stuff," the first man said as he stood from the couch and shuffled to a cabinet on the opposite wall.
Sam stared at Dean, his mouth hanging open in shock. One thing that Sam remembered quite clearly of his brother while a teen was his total disdain for drugs. He may drink, but refused to take drugs no matter what names he was called because of it. This wasn't the Dean that Sam knew. He watched as the man returned to the couch with a small vile. The man sat down and pulled a small mirror from under the table and placed it before him. He opened the vile and tapped out a white substance that Sam instantly recognized as cocaine. Sam shook his head as he watched the man cut the cocaine and form it into three neat lines on the mirror. Dean scooted over and took a short straw up from the table. He leaned over and held the straw to his nose then breathed in deeply as he moved the other end of the straw over the first line on the mirror. Once the line was gone, Dean took a deep breath and gazed over at his companions, his eyes wide and glassy.
"Oh man, now that's what I'm talking about," he said as he fell back against the back of the couch.
"Dean…no," Sam whispered as he moved closer to the couch, the feel of a small hand on his arm stopping his progression.
Sam turned his gaze to the woman beside him, his stricken eyes filling with tears as she gazed up at him. "Take me away from here…please," he said brokenly.
The woman nodded and suddenly they were no longer in the hated apartment, but in the park once again. Sam moved to the picnic table and collapsed down onto the bench seat. He dropped his head into his shaky hands, his elbows resting on his knees. After a few moments, Sam looked up at the woman, thankful that the smile was not on her face.
"This…this can't be because of me…because I wasn't born. This…"
"After her miscarriage, your mother never fully recovered. She sunk into a deep depression. She took care of Dean the best that she could, but she was never the same. Your father couldn't take the change in her and he started to spend more time at the garage then at the bar afterward. He had nightmares every night about a baby crying, but he could never reach the baby…could never save it. Dean changed after your father's death. He became angry and withdrawn, started taking drugs when he was eleven and getting in trouble with the police," the woman explained with sadness in her voice.
Sam stared up at her and swallowed back the lump in his throat. He stood, but suddenly his legs lost all strength and he dropped back to the bench, his hand shooting to his chest as his heart began to flutter. He suddenly found it hard to breathe and he looked up at the woman with fear in his eyes. "Wh-what's happening to me," he gasped as he leaned over his knees.
"Even though you are in a different plane of existence right now, the plane from which I took you still exists. You were never born in this plane, therefore, if you choose to not go back to your family, you will cease to exist altogether and this will become reality. The longer you remain here, the less chance you will have of going back," the woman explained.
"What happens to my mother and brother if I don't go back?" Sam asked fearfully.
"Dean is arrested while robbing a liquor store. The owner of the store in shot and killed in the robbery, not by Dean, but he still goes to prison for being an accomplice to murder. Your mother is so overcome by basically losing the final member of her family that she takes a full bottle of sleeping pills and dies alone in her bed," the woman said softly.
"Oh God…" Sam whimpered, his hand going to his mouth.
"You can't bring your mother back, but your father and brother will be who they were when you left. Sam, you have to understand something. Beyond what you never being born did to your family, all of the people that you and your family have saved so far and all those that you will save in the future? They will all die. Bobby will die an angry and lonely man. Did you know that before you came into his life, Bobby was just existing…hunting, not caring if he lost his life?"
Sam shook his head, his hazel eyes staring at the woman in bewilderment. The woman smiled that smile and continued. "Meeting your family saved his life. Suddenly having someone other than himself to care about? He fell in love with you and Dean from the moment he first laid eyes on you. He'd never admit it, but you are like the sons he never had. If you never existed, you would have never come into his life."
"But Dad…he doesn't want me…he thinks I'm responsible for Mom…"
"No, he doesn't think that, Sam. He doesn't blame you for what happened."
"Then why did he say all of those things? Why has he treated me so differently than Dean?"
"Because…he's terrified, Sam. He's so afraid of losing you to the thing that took your mother. He doesn't know how to handle those feelings. Your father loves you so much, Sam. So very, very much."
"Do…do they know I'm missing? Has any time passed there at all?" Sam asked, his voice suddenly filled with urgency.
"Yes…in that plane, you've been missing for about six hours. They're searching for you. Your father and brother are frantic with worry."
Sam stood, the young man swaying on his feet as he gazed down at the woman. "I…I want to go home," he said then everything went black as the young man collapsed in a heap on the soft grass.
The first thing Sam was aware of when he came awake was that he was no longer in the park and the woman was no where to be seen. He glanced around at his surroundings noting that all he could really see were pine trees. He pushed up from the ground, the young man staggering a bit as dizziness washed over him. Once the dizziness passed, Sam turned in a circle trying to determine which direction he should take. He had no idea where he was or which way to go. Panic began to grow inside him as he realized he was in the middle of the woods at night with no weapons to protect him. Suddenly, a voice carried through the forest and Sam could swear it was calling his name. Not sure whether to call back or to hide, Sam took a step back, his eyes searching the trees. He had his answer when he heard the voice again and he knew without a doubt that it was Dean.
"Dean!" Sam shouted as he took off in the direction that the voice was coming from.
"Sammy!?" the voice came again, Sam picking up a hint of panic as he tore through the trees.
"Dean! I'm here!" Sam yelled back, the young man not feeling the branches of the trees he ran through as they scratched at his face.
Sam ran and ran for what seemed like forever following the voice that had always meant safety and acceptance and love. Sam broke through a stand of trees and came to an abrupt halt when there on the other side of the small clearing he had stumbled into was Dean running in his direction, his father right behind him. Sam staggered forward as dizziness washed over him again. He saw his family running toward him as his legs gave out and darkness suddenly claimed him. He was completely unaware when Dean dropped down next to his side and cupped his cheek in his shaky hand. He had no idea when John knelt at his other side, the distraught man staring down at him in complete fear.
"Sam…wake up! Sammy…Sammy!" Dean cried as he less than gently patted Sam's cheek.
"Dean," John said as he glanced up to the terrified face of his eldest son. "Calm down."
"What? Dad…he's out cold! How can you be so…"
"Because…he's waking up," John replied as he turned his attention back to the young man on the ground.
Dean jerked his eyes back down to his brother, smiling when glassy, hazel eyes stared back up at him. "Hey, welcome back, little brother," Dean said as he reached down and grasped Sam's arm.
"Wha'…I…uh…" Sam stammered as he glanced with confusion between his father and brother.
"Wow…eloquent there, Sammy," Dean said with a nervous chuckle.
Sam stared for a moment then began to push up from the ground. John and Dean each took an arm and helped the young hunter to his feet, neither man letting go until they were sure Sam was not going to fall over.
"I'm okay…I just got dizzy…I'm fine," Sam said softly as he gazed into his family's faces.
"Sam…" John started, only to be cut off by his eldest son as the young man pushed in and took Sam's arm.
"Sammy…what the hell happened?" Dean asked, the relief in his voice very much apparent. "I wake up and you're not there. Dad tells me you snuck out and then he shows me your note. My God, Sammy! What the hell?"
"I…I…I'm sorry. I just…with everything that we've found out I…" Sam stammered helplessly.
"You what!? You think Mom died because of you? You think we'd have been better off if you'd never been born? You are so full of shit, Sam! Dammit! You scared the friggin' shit out of me!" Dean cried as he grabbed Sam's face and looked him straight in the eye.
"No! You listen and you listen good, you stupid son of a bitch! You did not kill Mom! Our lives would have sucked if you hadn't been born! You are a part of this family…an important part of this family!" Dean said, emphasizing every word so Sam would understand just how stupid he was.
"Sammy," John started as he moved around Dean to stand in front of Sam. "Dean's right…"
"I know. I've been an ass to you pretty much your whole life, but kiddo, I don't know what I'd do without you as my son. I can't imagine my life…our life without you. I'm sorry that you were pushed to believe that we'd have been better off if you'd never been born," John said, his dark eyes staring pleadingly at his youngest son.
Sam stood slack jawed as he gazed at his father. His eyes filled with tears and he suddenly lunged forward and wrapped his arms around John's torso, the young man burying his face in the crook of the man's neck as he began to weep. John glanced up at Dean's surprised face then wrapped his arms around his son and pulled him close. He cupped the back of Sam's head and whispered soothingly into his ear as he let the young man cry it out. Finally, Sam pulled away, his eyes red and puffy, and he gazed at first his father then his brother. A sudden crashing startled the men and they turned just in time to see Bobby and Joshua stumble into the clearing. The newcomers caught sight of Sam and hurried forward, relief written all over their faces. When they got near, Sam grabbed hold of Bobby and hugged him close, the same as he had done with John. Bobby hugged him back, his eyes peering at the other hunters in confusion.
"Bobby, I'm sorry…I'm sorry," Sam whispered before he pulled away.
"Hey…no worries you damn little idjit!" Bobby mumbled, a small smile gracing his lips.
Sam glanced around at his family and friends, his eyes staying on Dean and once more filling with tears as he remembered the last vision the mysterious woman had shown him of his brother. Dean narrowed his eyes and stepped forward. He grabbed Sam's arm and squeezed gently.
"Sammy? You okay?" Dean queried.
Sam smiled as he glanced around the circle of men one more time. He turned back to Dean and nodded. "I am now," he said, and for the first time in a long time, it actually felt like it wasn't a lie.
So, that's it. I hope you enjoyed the story and will tell me what you thought. Take care all!