A/N: Just a one shot that I hope will bring you a full gamut of emotions…laugh, cry, giggle and leave with a warm fuzzy feeling. Reviews are love so keep them coming!
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, only wish I had thought of them first. (And the song lyrics belong to James Taylor.)
There are many sounds that he will remember forever. Some of them make him smile…some bring a twinge of pain to his heart. Each is a memory worth keeping, one he wouldn't trade for anything. When the nighttime lasts too long…when the darkness refuses to give in to the dawn…when he has nothing but time to lay in bed and think, he remembers these sounds…
Not just any scream. His mother's scream. He was only five. Much too young to hear the heart wrenching torment in that one shrill scream. It was the sound that broke him free from his last peaceful night's sleep. The sound that set every hair on his tiny body on end. The sound that he instinctively knew meant that his whole life had just changed. Most people would try to bury a memory like this one but not him. For him it is his last clear memory of his mother and, regardless of the circumstances, he will cling to it as strongly as he can.
When he was four they brought his brother home. He was such a tiny little person that he was slightly afraid of breaking him. For the first week he wouldn't come close enough to risk doing any damage to the little form. Finally, his mother had had enough. One day she sat him on the sofa with a pillow beneath one arm.
He held his breath as she placed the small bundle in his lap, reminding him gently to support the fragile head of his little brother. As he looked down into that angelic face he was surprised to see those intense hazel eyes looking back up at him. They were far to alert for such a small baby… then, he heard it… he watched as that little face scrunched up and the best sound he had ever heard came from that perfect little mouth… Sammy's face lit up as he giggled up at his big brother for the first time.
When he was twelve he was left in charge for the day. That wasn't terribly unusual at that point. He was smart, good with the gun his father left with him, and intensely protective of his baby brother. In an effort to keep Sam occupied he decided to try to teach him to ride a bike without training wheels. Dad kept meaning to do it, but naturally, he would get distracted before he had the chance. He knew how much it was killing Sammy to have to use the baby wheels.
After spending half an hour patiently removing the bolts that held the training wheels onto the bike their father had given Sam for his last birthday, he called his brother out to the parking lot of the motel they were staying at that week. The look of joy on Sam's face when he saw the bike waiting for him without those hated training wheels was worth the effort he had put into removing them.
After an hour of running beside his brother while he learned to get his balance it was time to let him try a solo ride. He started out beside his brother like he had been, encouraging him, but let go after a few moments. Sam let out a whoop of joy as he cruised around the parking lot all alone for the very first time.
It was then that the car pulled in, effectively cutting his brother off. He watched helplessly as his brother swerved in an attempt to miss the car. He could see the look of panic rush across Sam's face as all of his practice and training went right out of his head. He had started running before he had even realized it but it was too late. He would never forget the sickening crack the bone made when Sam fell from the bike and broke his right forearm.
He couldn't remember exactly what the hunt had been, there had been so many over the years. What he did remember was that it was much too quiet in the car. They had been fighting, probably over something stupid; it was usually over something stupid. His brother was brooding, again… He thought that if he had to go one more mile in that uncomfortable silence he might just go crazy. So, he did what he always did when he couldn't take the silence, he grabbed the first tape in the pile and slammed it into the cassette player.
He still wasn't sure to this day where that tape had come from. It certainly wasn't one of his. He thought at first, that Sammy had snuck it into his collection as a joke but he never would confess, and from the look on his face when the song started he was pretty sure Sam was as shocked as he was. The song was well known to both of them; Dad had had a bad habit of playing it when he'd had too much to drink.
Seeing the surprised look on Sam's face inspired him. Without missing a beat he began to sing along with the schmaltzy song putting as much gusto as he could into the sappy lyrics, all the while giving his brother sidelong looks and batting his eyes at him comically.
~When you're down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night~
By the end of the first verse Sam couldn't contain his laughter any longer. He could feel the tension in the car release as he returned his brother's grin. It wasn't the first time they had had an impromptu sing along in the Impala but this was most definitely the most unusual tune they had sang along to. When Sam dramatically broke into the second verse he knew that everything would be ok.
~You just call out my name
And you know whereever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You've got a friend~
There were some sounds he couldn't forget even if he tried. There was something very distinctive about the growl of a Hell Hound. Something that, when you heard it, made your blood run cold and your body break into a cold sweat. He had experienced that sound up close and personal. He listened to that sound as he was being torn apart by the beasts, unable to stop the inevitable conclusion to the deal he had made to save his brother. The memory of the pain would fade but the sound of the growls…that would stay with him forever. That growl…that sound…was the sound of death itself coming for you.
His Father's Voice
He had grown up worshipping the man so it was no surprise that his voice would stay with him forever. But what he heard, when he closed his eyes and listened carefully, wasn't the million times he had been scolded for doing something reckless. It wasn't the sound of his father's sobs in the night, when he thought they were asleep. It wasn't even the words he had whispered in his ear the night he had died. No, what he remembered when he heard his father's voice were five words he never thought to hear coming from the man he had devoted his life to following, "I'm proud of you son."
Sammy had been about ten years old the first time they had left him alone. It was the first time Dad had taken him along on a hunt and his excitement was overwhelming. He never noticed just how nervous his little brother had been at the thought of being left alone. He watched as his brother bravely waved goodbye to them as they drove away, never giving another thought to how this might affect him.
The hunt had gone fairly smoothly but had taken longer than expected. They were two days late in returning to the motel. His adrenaline was still pumping as he raced to the door of their room, eager to tell Sam all of the details of what had transpired. But, when he opened the door and saw his brother's face, his heart began racing for a completely different reason.
He was sitting alone in the corner of the room, on the floor, with the revolver on his lap. There were streaks from the tears he had shed staining his face. At that moment he remembered how he had felt each time Dad was late from a hunt, how terrified he had been that something had happened and they would be left alone. His heart broke that he had been responsible for putting his little brother through that same anguish.
As he rushed over to his brother he watched the emotions flicker across his face. First was the shock, he had truly believed they were dead and that he was alone in the world. Then came the anger at being left with no word to worry needlessly. Finally, as he grabbed Sammy up in a tight hug and did his best to reassure him that they were all safe, came the sigh that accompanied the complete and utter relief that his big brother had come home. He was still greeted with that same sigh each time they were separated and found each other after a hunt.
The Flutter of Wings
This was the newest sound in his arsenal. At first he thought it was one of the most irritating things he had ever heard. Not because it was unpleasant to hear but because it heralded either the arrival or departure of the angel who had come to dominate so much of their lives. It had been the two of them alone for so long that his presence was unwelcome and resented.
Each time he heard that flutter he knew that more bad news was on the way. Each time meant that some terrible new development had occurred in the war and they were needed to set the world right again. He was chosen, he was the vessel, he was responsible, there was no end to the weight that was placed on his shoulders each time he heard that sound.
But then, somewhere along the line, something had changed. He stopped seeing the angel as the messenger of death. He stopped blaming him for each wrong turn and new catastrophe that he faced. At some point, he had realized that the angel was on his side…had always been on his side, from the moment he had pulled him from Hell.
He watched as the angel distanced himself from everything that had meant anything to him before they had met. He couldn't tell you exactly when it had happened but at some point Castiel had stopped being "that angel" and started being his friend. And now, that he might never hear that flutter of wings again he realized that he missed it. Both for what it represented, that perfect friendship, and for the loss it meant to that friend who had come to mean so much to them.
It was true…he would never be fond of the darkness, there were just too damn many monsters waiting in the dark to ever look forward to it. And still, each night, the darkness fell. Each night the possibility that one of those monsters would come for him loomed. But, so long as he had these sounds to get him through the night, he thought he could hold on until the morning.