A response to another prompt (which is, again, also the summary of this fic) from the sharp_teeth LJ comm. Warning: child death.

Sam I Am

It started when Dean was eleven months old, when he began talking. In fact, it was his first word. Most of their friends' kids' first words were "Mommy," sometimes "Daddy," sometimes even "doggy." Dean's wasn't.


John and Mary had looked at him curiously, trying to figure out if, perhaps, Dean had meant something else, that his baby talk was a little skewed. Soon, granted, Dean started talking more, "Sammy" no longer the only word in his vocabulary.

As Dean grew older, however, the word remained in his everyday speech, and many times was accompanied by him staring off into space, offering his toys to no one; odder yet, Dean would engage in entire, albeit one-sided, conversations.

Concerned, John and Mary talked to a child psychologist. The man, accredited with schooling from Harvard and Princeton, gave them the diagnosis that Dean simply had a normal, run-of-the-mill imaginary friend. And that Dean was merely advanced in that he created the friend at a very young age. Earlier than most children, said the psychologist, but not unheard of. Dean's just fine, I assure you. John and Mary were still uneasy, but who were they to question an Ivy League education?

When Mary died on that fateful day in 1983, Dean went silent. For near a year, he was silent. John, depressed and revengeful from suffering both Mary's death and the stillborn death of their second son on May second of that year, couldn't pay much attention to Dean's goings-on. To be honest, he welcomed the silence, in a way.

When Dean did start speaking again, his imaginary conversations with that same person, that same mystical Sammy continued, and John scolded him time and time again that he was too old to have an imaginary friend. "I've had enough, Dean!" he yelled more than once. "Grow up!"

Dean did, for the most part. At least, when John was in the room, he simply listened to what Sammy had to say, the glorious tales, the hilarious stories. He didn't reply unless John was gone. "Sorry, Sammy," he'd say. "My daddy isn't very nice sometimes."

"It's okay, Dean," said Sammy. "I am your brother, you know. I know how Dad is."

It continued until Dean's tenth birthday. He and John were hunting for some monster up in northern Minnesota, waiting on a bridge for the son of a bitch to show up.

"C'mon, Dean!" Sammy calls from the edge of the bridge, balancing atop the rickety railing. "Let's go for a swim!"

No, Dean mouths, for John is behind him, I can't. It's cold.

"Aw, please?" asks Sammy. "It'll be fun!"

Sammy has the puppy dog eyes down pat, his floppy hair blowing gently in the frigid breeze. Dean's never been able to deny those eyes, not when it'd meant letting Sammy borrow his train set, or convincing John to buy an extra chocolate milk for Sammy, or, in this case, going swimming. It's cold, even through Dean's heavy jacket, but it's Sammy. Sammy's never really led him wrong.

All right, mouths Dean.

He hops off the hood of the Impala, jogging over to where Sammy is, takes off his jacket and drops it on the wood slats below him. John doesn't notice, not at first, for he'd been staring the opposite direction, but upon hearing the clang of Dean's boots against rusted metal, his head snaps toward him.

"DEAN!" John shouts, panicked.

"It's okay, Daddy!" Dean shouts back. "Sammy's right here."

John begins running, not caring that Dean's already a good hundred yards away. "Dean, there is no Sammy!" he yells. "He's not real! Get down from there!"

Sammy looks at Dean, shrugging. "Dad's never let us have fun," he comments.

Dean frowns at the jab, but then, Sammy's never been as obedient as he has. "I s'pose," he replies. He glances down at the dark, churning waters, wondering just how cold they are.

"Ready?" Sammy asks eagerly, the grin on his face lighting up his eyes, showing off his dimples.

Dean sees John sprinting towards him, but Sammy looks so happy. "Just gonna go for a few minutes, Dad," says Dean.

Sammy grasps his hand, and they both jump.

John reaches the railing a second later, looks over, horror-struck, sees his son on the shores, freezing river water splashing on him, washing away the blood stemming from his body. "No," John whispers to himself. He looks down at the water, preparing to jump himself; it's the fastest way, and John's a good swimmer.

Before he can, however, he feels a force shove him back-first against the railing. It looks something like a ghost, flickering before him. It's a young boy, perhaps six or seven, he thinks, but the face…the face is pure evil.

"What are you?" John manages to ask, desperately wanting to get to Dean.

The child cocks his head to the side and smiles.

"My name is Sammy."