Hope Floats

Summary- Tag to the episode, Playthings. Sam feeling like a lost cause finds a little hope after talking to the little girl he saves from drowning.

Sam sat down next to the empty fireplace and tried to catch his breath. It had been a roller coaster of emotions and activity the last few hours. He was just glad that he had been able to save Susan and her daughter Tyler. Sam still felt a little sick that the grandmother had passed, though he supposed that severe of a stroke would definitely lower ones quality of life.

He had been sent inside after being questioned by the authorities. The pool water still soaked his clothes and standing outside his brother had noticed him shivering. Once the questioning was done Dean had insisted that Sam go inside; he would have ignored that order but Susan also insisted.

Sam decided it was better to give in than to fight the two of them. Once inside, Sam found a comfortable spot and sat down. His clothes still felt wet and heavy but at least he was warmer. His cast was another matter; it was heavy and waterlogged and made his arm cold and his skin itch. It was still too soon to ditch it so he supposed he would have to deal with being uncomfortable until they could hit a free clinic on the road.

At least over all he was warmer and half way comfortable inside, but he was also now left alone with his thoughts. Sam hated having time to think about what had happened to him over the last few months. He hated being confronted with the thoughts of turning into a monster that needed to be hunted.

What he needed was to constantly be moving, out hunting and saving people. Sam just hoped that by staying on the right path- that by saving others- he could stop himself from being damned.

Sam now felt he had a safety net- if he couldn't stop his destiny- well at least he had a promise from his brother that would stop the downward spiral into darkness. Dean had promised to kill him if he turned evil and Sam took some comfort in that even though he knew his brother hated the thought. Dean made a promise and Sam would make sure he followed through.

Sam was brought out of his melancholy musing by a soft voice.

"Sam?"

The little girl, Tyler, the one he had saved from drowning was standing in the doorway wrapped in a blanket and holding a change of clothing in front of her.

"Tyler, are you supposed to be changing?" Sam asked her as he gave her a reassuring smile. The poor kid had been through the wringer today and Sam was amazed at her strength and courage. She had shown a lot of maturity and understanding for someone so young.

"Yeah, Mom sent me in with dry clothes but..." Her voice trailed off and she looked at her shoes.

"What is it Tyler? Is Maggie back?" Sam tried to keep the worry from his voice.

Tyler looked up eyes wide. "Oh no, I think she is really gone this time, but I wanted to know if I could ask you something."

Sam nodded and patted a spot next to him on the worn couch he was sitting on. "Sure, come sit down and we can talk."

Sam figured the little girl needed some answers to the crazy turn her life had taken and while Dean definitely did better with kids, Sam was willing to try and put Tyler's mind at ease.

Tyler moved slowly and tentatively sat down next to Sam. She perched on the edge of the couch looking nervous.

Sam decided to take a page out of Dean's book of dealing with children and got off the couch and crouched next to Tyler so that they were at eye level. He knew that his size could be intimidating to kids and he wanted to reassure her.

"Tyler, you can ask me anything, okay? It's me and my brother's job to deal with ghosts and I promise I will try and answer all you questions as best I can."

Tyler studied him for a moment and then relaxed a bit. "Why did she do this? I mean Maggie."

Sam gave her a sad smile. "Well, sometimes when people die in a tragic way their spirits get stuck at the place where they died. They never get to move on, and over time their feelings of loss and confusion over their death mutate into anger. The ghost becomes something the person never was, a very angry being. I think Maggie was tired of being alone and was so happy that she found you to be her friend that she was willing to do anything she could to keep you together."

Tears pooled in Tyler's eyes. "But she tried to kill me."

Sam took the little girl in his arms and held her a moment before speaking. "I know this is really hard to understand – even for an adult- but Maggie loved you, unfortunately her love became tainted by all that time stuck here alone. She was desperate to have you stay, and death was the only option she thought she had left. It wasn't right but ..."

Tyler pulled away and sniffed. "She had good intentions. Maggie wanted a friend so bad, and that made her do what she did."

Sam smiled and nodded. "Yes, that's what happened and it's okay for you to be confused and angry at her. I just want you to know she can't hurt you, especially once you leave here. Her spirit was trapped here, that's why she didn't want you to leave."

Tyler wiped away a stray tear and seemed to be calming down. "So she can't hurt me once I'm gone?"

"I promise. You have been very brave Tyler, I'm very proud of you and if for any reason you ever need to talk to someone about this, you can call me." Sam dug in his back jean pocket and pulled out his wet wallet. Inside he found a card with is name and cell phone number and handed it to Tyler.

"Sorry it's wet, but it has my cell phone number on it. You can call me anytime you need to, okay?"

Tyler looked at the card and nodded. "I was so scared, and then you were there like Superman. You said I was brave but you're braver."

"Well I wouldn't say that I'm Superman, just doing my job. I more like a fire fighter that goes into a burning building because it's his job."

Tyler brow knitted in thought before she spoke again. "Yeah, I guess so... I just wish there was something I could do for you. You saved me and I'd like to do something nice for you."

Sam swallowed hard. Tyler was a smart, sweet girl and one that really touched his heart. He paused a moment in thought and decided that he could ask one favor from the little girl.

"Tyler, do you believe in God?" Sam asked quietly.

"Yes." Tyler replied quickly with a quizzical look on her face.

"Then could you do me a favor and include me in your prayers at night?"

Tyler nodded. "Sure I can. I will pray that God will keep you safe from the ghosts and other bad stuff you deal with."

"Thank you Tyler, that means a lot." Sam said voice heavy with emotion. "You know how I saved you from drowning, well maybe if you pray for me it will keep me from drowning in the darkness that I have to face with my job."

Two little arms wrapped around Sam's neck and in his ear he heard her little voice say, "I will pray for you every night Sam. I promise so that God can help you float away from the darkness."

Sam had trouble finding the words to say so he just said, "Thank you," as he pulled away from the little girl's embrace and pulled himself up off the floor. As he stood he caught a glimpse of a figure standing in the door way.

It was Susan and she gave Sam a watery smile before she spoke. "Tyler, sweetie, you need to get out of those wet clothes, let's go get you dressed."

Tyler gave Sam another quick hug and then headed towards her mom. Susan took her daughter in her arms and gave her a quick hug before turning her attention back to Sam.

"Sam, your brother asked me to have you meet him outside. The authorities want us to clear out."

"Thanks, I'll meet you two outside."

Sam moved to the front door, his heart still heavy with the fear of what was to come but he did take some comfort that he had his and Tyler's faith on his side. He just hoped that God was listening.

End

A/N: Thanks so much for reading!

This was written for Live Journal's Summer of Sam Love Community. Each writer got to choose and episode or episodes to create a tag or art for. I was lucky and was able to do a tag for one of my favorite episodes- Playthings. I would like the thank the moderators of the group for all the hardwork they put into this writing/art challenge. I also want to thank Sendintheklowns and Floralia for their beta work. The beautiful banner that is being used at Live Journal was done by the very talented Princess_schez. I would also like to thank mlebayre for her support.