God Help Me
A/N: Well, I just had to jump onto the bandwagon and do a finale fic (so spoiler alert). It's an idea that's been stuck in my head since I watched it, and I sincerely hope that no one has had it before me. It's definitely AU, but hopefully this will help pass the time until Season Six.
Reviews are love!
Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
Two years, to the very day, after the battle for the world was fought, Dean's son is born.
He takes one look at the red and wrinkled face of the newborn in Lisa's arms, the soft scraps of brown hair and hazel eyes, and is instantly transported back to a different hospital room, a different child and a four year old version of himself staring wide-eyed and awe-struck at his brand new little brother.
He feels the same awe now. He never really thought much about having children and when Lisa had held up that little white stick with the tiny pink cross on it, the first thing that had jumped into his head had been, 'God help me, I'm screwed.'
Which was stupid, because God had never helped him – never given him one single damned thing that he'd asked for – so why would he bother thinking that? After the initial shock wore off, after he remembered that he was in this for the long haul, that he'd made a promise to Sam, he had at least had the decency to be ashamed of his reaction, and eventually came to look forward to the expected arrival. Looking forward was all Dean had left.
Two years to the day. Dean shrugs it off as a coincidence, tries hard not to remember too much because this is supposed to be a happy day now – a happy day in his new normal life - brushes away his tears and takes the new baby, his new baby and gives his son the only name he would consider.
"Hey there, Sammy."
Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
By the time Sammy is three, he looks so startlingly like Sam at that age that sometimes Dean has to take a moment to re-orientate himself. He'll be sitting on the couch, reading Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy for the 24th time that day, and he'll look up expecting to see the weak green wallpaper only motel rooms think is acceptable, or Lisa's voice will startle him because he's been waiting for John Winchester's gruff tones to tell him to put his brother to bed.
This Sammy isn't his brother, and the house he and Lisa share has cream wallpaper, but Sam when he was three loved Hairy Maclary just as much as Sammy, and Dean tries very hard every day to not picture the little boy he raised being torn apart in Hell.
Sammy at three can almost read, just like Sam, he'll eat as much Lucky Charms as Dean'll give him, and if Dean turns his back for just a second Sammy will be off and getting into trouble, all just like Sam.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
When Sammy is four, he asks Dean why they never drive the Impala.
Dean wonders how the kid knows it's called an Impala, assumes that Lisa told him, and says, "Because it's broken."
Which isn't true. It's Dean that's broken, and he can't – just can't – look at the Impala, touch the Impala, drive the Impala, because there wont be a Sam in the passenger seat. There wont ever be a Sam in the passenger seat.
"When did it break?" Sammy asks, his hazel eyes so serious, his mouth turned down in a slight frown. Always with the questions, his Sammy.
"A long time ago," Dean says, even though losing Sam feels like yesterday.
"I can't fix it," he says.
Sammy gives him the strangest look – a little like the bitchface Sam would give him when he was being lied to and knew it – and says, "You fixed it last time," and then runs off before Dean can ask him what he's talking about.
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
Sammy steals saltshakers. It takes Dean and Lisa a while to figure out where they're disappearing to, and by the time they do Sammy has a whole collection of them stashed around his room. Not just from their house but from their friends houses, from restaurants they've been to, from cafes.
Lisa sits the little boy down and gives him a speech about how stealing is wrong and hurtful and he shouldn't ever do it.
Sammy stares up at her with his big hazel eyes from under his curly mop of dark hair and says, "Sorry Mummy," and they think that's that, but the saltshakers keep going missing and turning up in his room and finally Dean asks him why. Why does he keep taking the salt?
Sammy looks at him like he's stupid and says, in such a matter-of-fact manner that Dean really does feel stupid, "To keep the bad things away."
Overactive imagination. Some sort of misunderstanding. Kids say the darnedest things. Dean feels a chill in his spine and tells Sammy that he'll keep the bad things away so Sammy doesn't need to take the salt anymore.
Sammy seems to accept this. The salt doesn't go missing again, and Dean carves more protective sigils into the window frame of Sammy's room.
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
It's when Bobby arrives unexpectedly that Dean really starts to let himself believe.
The knock on the door surprises Dean. He's on the couch reading Where The Wild Things Are (another of Sam's old favourites) to his wiggly almost-five year old, who jumps up at the first knock, eager to see who it is here to visit him. Dean follows the kid into the hallway and opens the door.
It's been almost seven years but Dean swears Bobby's wearing the same baseball cap as the last time they saw each other. The hunter has aged a bit but he still looks sharp, has that edge of wariness about him that Dean had to force himself to lose. There's a bit of a standstill as each of them takes the other in, cataloguing what is different and what is the same, and little Sammy breaks the silence, as he usually does.
"Hiya, Uncle Bobby!"
And he wraps his arms around Bobby's legs as if they see each other all the time, rather than this being the first time they've ever met, and how the heck does the kid know Bobby's name? It's not like Dean has photos or even talks about his past. It's just… impossible.
Bobby looks like… well, not like he's seen a ghost because that would involve the cocking of rock-salt-loaded rifles, but pretty damn shocked as he pries the wee limpet off of his lower limbs and crouches down in front of him.
"Well, hey…" he glances up at Dean, "…Sam?"
Sammy nods happily and then he's dragging Bobby into the house before Dean can even get a word in, to show him his drawings and his books and his room, chattering a mile a minute without noticing how Bobby stares at him as if he's got two heads.
When Lisa finally takes Sammy up to put to bed (not before he gives both Dean and Bobby goodnight hugs) Dean grabs a bottle of whiskey and him and Bobby sit on the porch outside.
"What did you do?" Bobby asks, with no disapproval, just quiet awe.
Dean stares out over his front lawn. "What d'you mean?" he asks, even though he knows. He just needs to hear Bobby say it.
Bobby gives him a calculating look, like he's trying to figure out whether Dean's bullshitting or not. "Well… that's Sam, isn't it?" he shakes his head, "Kid's the spitting image, and some of the things he was saying…"
"What'd he say?" Dean asks quickly, leaping on any validation he can get.
Bobby takes a shot of whiskey, smacks his lips and leans back. "Kid asked if I was still 'hunting the bad things'. Then he asked why you don't hunt anymore."
Dean swills his whiskey round in his mouth. "It can't be Sam. Sam's…" he still can't bring himself to say it, "How could it be Sam?"
Could it be Sam?
Bobby just shrugs, but Dean feels hope, real hope, for the first time in nearly seven years.
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
When Sammy is five and they're sitting on the porch together, drinking chocolate milk, Dean asks him what he remembers.
Sammy chews on his lip and cocks his head to the side and the gesture is so Sam. "I remember you. Lots and lots of you." He smiles.
"When?" Dean presses. He has to know. He's waited because he just couldn't bring himself to be wrong, but he can't anymore. He just has to know. "When do you remember me from?"
"When you wore a leather jacket and drove the Impala and we saved the world."
Sammy, restless ball of energy that he is, says this like it's the most normal thing in the world, then jumps up, spilling milk down Dean's leg, and dashes off inside.
Dean sits there, stunned and silent, and thinks that maybe… just maybe… God has helped him out this one time.
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
The next day Dean takes Sammy for a ride in the Impala.