Running becomes really hard after a while. Even if you've been doing it for three years like I have there's a point in your life where you have to stop running away and look around at what you've lost. Freedom, a home, love, family…everything you used to have. Then you have to run again and you have to forget about the things you lost. You can only think about the things you have to gain. Solitude, loneliness, power—things you've always had but never acknowledged, because you used to have smiling faces around you and the feeling of love and warmth. But without those faces and that warmth, those things are all you have. It's painful when all you can do is run away and hide. You can't stand and fight. Not when you're the antichrist.
Not when, no matter who you meet, they always turn against you. Not when you've been lied to your whole life and backed into a corner. Not when, after believing you had a home and a family, it's suddenly ripped out from under you. Nobody can understand the feeling of losing a family. Not the way I lost my family. Not the way that it was taken from me.
Not when I have the same dream (over and over and over) of that one night; the night where two men told me I was a hero, then my mother—a mother I didn't even know I had—came and told me my life was a lie. She told me I had to be angry. That I had to use a power I didn't know I had. God wants me dead and the demons want me to fight for them. I don't even have a side. I never did. I still don't. Not even after all those years of running without looking back.
On that night, Sam Winchester, the man I was never able to shake out of my mind, looked at me with utter truth in his eyes and told me I had a choice. He told me I could do the right thing. He gave me a chance.
And I ran.
When I turned fourteen in August, I decided that I would try my best to change. I knew that it was a stupid thing to wish, but after three years of living off stolen cash and grungy motel rooms, I decided maybe settling down would be nice. I knew I could never have a normal life, or a normal family…but I knew the angels and demons could never find me. Without even knowing it, I was shielding myself from them.
So why not try living a normal life?
On my fourteenth birthday I treated myself to a nice big fancy dinner and, as I watched the laughing family next to me, I decided that I should at least try to settle down. I mean, Dean Winchester did. (Honestly, I had been watching the brothers a year after I fled. At first it was to make sure they didn't know where I was, but then it became a calming past time for me. I know it's a creepy thing to do, but seeing how happy they could be despite the horrifying things they have to go through, it made me feel better—hopeful.)
So, why not me; I deserved it, didn't I?
That was how, a month after the day I turned fourteen, I found myself standing awkwardly before a serious-looking man in a business suit. I didn't understand how I ended up here—well, I understood the process of how I ended up here. I don't know how things like buying a house or attending school works, but apparently the fact that I'm a minor and don't have any parents isn't normal, or legal for that matter. So not only did I have no idea how to even begin to live a normal life but when I tried to sign up for school and the principal found out that I lived by myself in a motel room, he called someone.
This someone had appeared at my door minutes before informing me his name was Gerald and he was with some federal group, and asked if he could come in. Of course I let him in, but I kept my guard up and eyed him wearily as he turned to me and got right to the point.
"Henry Ford?" he began with my fake name, "I've been informed that you're fourteen and yet you live by yourself in this…" he looked around with a blank face, but repulsion was obvious in his eyes, "…room."
"And?" I asked casually.
"Where are your parents?"
I crossed my arms. "They're here. Just, they work a lot."
"That wasn't what you told your principal."
"He's not my principal. I don't attend school there," I retorted. "And I didn't tell him because it's none of his business."
"Yes it is. You need a legal guardian," the man—Gerald—said.
"Well I have them."
"May I meet them?"
I was getting fed up with him so I told him to leave. At first he seemed angry at me and very hesitant to leave, but he ended up going anyway after giving me a card. Once the door shut behind him and I tore the card up, I found myself in a different place. I always did this; when I got upset or knew I was ready to move on, I transported myself somewhere else. Sometimes it's a place I thought of. Sometimes it's a place that I just end up in.
This time I ended up in Arizona.
I knew this instantly because of the mountains; I had never been here before but I got a postcard from my mom's brother once when he first moved here (he's not here anymore though). I guess that was what I thought of when I realized I couldn't stay in New York.
After three years of hiding from the grasping hands of good and evil, I had changed a lot. I became more cautious in both personality and appearance; I always kept my hair cut short and my clothes simple. I didn't flaunt any money I managed to get a hold on in hopes of avoiding suspicion or recognition, yet when it came to simple things like applying for school I always screwed up.
I found myself walking down unrecognizable busy streets, where people pushed past me and ignored me, which I was used to. Every city I've been to, people have ignored me. They usually overlook me or simply have no interest in me, which actually works to my advantage.
But, when I decided to try to build a life again, that wasn't such a great thing.
I continued to wander the streets until I realized I was downtown. There was a band playing in a building that pulsed through the walls, the sound drifting onto the streets. All around me were people and buildings, stores and places to eat…it looked like such a normal place to be. Yet, like everywhere I went, I felt like I didn't fit in. I knew that, with my decision to begin a new life (since it seemed safe enough to do), I had to blend in. Buy a home. Go to school. Maybe even get a job. Make friends. Even if I could never have a family, I knew getting back everything else would be easier.
"Hey, kid!" a voice suddenly called from my right. I spun toward the voice, my defenses shooting up in an instant. "Yeah, you," the voice said. It took me a moment before I put the voice to a face; the face of the boy approaching me.
He seemed a little older than me; he was a lot taller, that's for sure. He had ruffled unkempt blonde hair and grey eyes. He wore a dirty jacket and ripped jeans, and it was obvious he had been on the street for a long time. He reeked of it.
I took a step back and he stopped in front of me, a weird grin on his face.
"I'm Ant. I've grown up on the streets here—I can tell you're a newcomer. Runaway, I assume?" he said.
"Kinda stupid to c'mere without any bags or money," he said as he eyed my empty hands. "If you want, you can come back with me to the warehouse."
"Warehouse. A bunch of us hang out there—it's our home. Beats those stupid shelters."
I looked at him wearily, wondering if it was such a good idea to follow a stranger to a big old building. But, even if he was planning something bad, I was the son of a demon, right? I could handle a couple rowdy teen runaways.
So I ended up following this Ant guy to the warehouse, which ended up actually being a huge abandoned building. It looked old and dangerous, but once Ant led me inside it looked a lot homelier than I expected. Although the furniture was gross and old, and very limited, there was a lot of open space filled with posters and boxes and bags full of what I assumed were food and (probably) stolen goods.
"Here it is," Ant said grandly, opening his arms and presenting the grungy grey room to me. "Hey, guys, come out. Don't hide like criminals—this guys cool. This guy…" he gave me a curious look and it took me a moment to realize he wanted my name.
"Oh, I'm Samuel," I said without thinking. For some reason Sam Winchester's face was the fist thing that popped into my mind. He was really good at disguising himself. Maybe if I used his name it'd rub off on me.
Heh, yeah, right.
"Samuel," Ant repeated with a nod. "This is Samuel. He's one of us now."
"I am?" I muttered. It seemed nobody heard me. The next thing I knew, people were appearing from behind boxes and under tables, their expression very cautious. There had to be at least thirteen of them, not including me and Ant. They kept a distance but watched us. Some even smiled and said hello, but still didn't approach us.
Then a girl came up, confidence rolling off of her in strong waves, and she stopped right between us. She was tall like a model, her hair huge with thick red curls. She had swim goggles hanging off her neck and wore a swim suit bottom with a large shirt and no shoes. She sure was weird.
"Ant, you picked up a stray?" she asked as she crossed her arms. Ant ignored her and slung his arm around my shoulder.
"This is Georgia. She's a real stick in the mud," he muttered. Apparently Georgia heard him because she growled and whacked his arm.
"Shut up! I'm not! I just don't think another kid would do us any good."
"I'm not really planning on sta—" I began only to for Ant's grip to tighten around me as he pushed his side against mine, as if tightening a side-hug. I stopped talking to shoot him a 'what' kind of expression.
"It'd be stupid to leave," he told me. "Really stupid."
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. "I can handle myself."
"But we have a lot of kids on our side. We can steal all we want without getting caught. And this building is off the radar; the police never even come near here. We're safe."
"I'm not a runaway," I decided to say.
"Sure you're not," Georgia rolled her eyes. "If he wants to leave let him leave, Ant. We can't afford another kid anyway."
"Since when were you our boss?" Ant asked. "Last time I checked, I was the one who lived here first. I was the one who built this place up and taught everyone how to live."
Georgia opened then closed her mouth, her eyes angry.
"He's staying," Ant announced as he flipped Georgia off and dragged me away from her. The other kids stepped away as we passed, and he led me to a small door that, when he opened it, showed us a small room. It had a sleeping bag on the floor with a small pillow, and a thin hospital blanket draped over it all.
"This is the room we usually use for the sick," Ant said. "But since you're new, you can stay here for the night. Don't worry, we wash our sheets and stuff," he said as he motioned to the room and laughed. I blinked, still trying to register everything that's happening. I hadn't planned on living like a homeless teenager. I had planned on getting a house, or an apartment, and applying to school and making friends and…being normal.
And this was not normal.
But in the end I found myself sitting in the open warehouse, surrounded by smelly kids who laughed and fought and ate raw hot dogs. Apparently one of the kids, Thief (because he was the 'best thief in this place') had returned to the warehouse with stolen groceries. They decided hot dogs were a good choice for dinner.
I found myself wedged between Ant and Georgia, who kept glaring at me as I awkwardly munched on my hot dog while Ant walked off to get some drinks.
When Ant returned to his spot with beer, I began to feel restless. I planned on sneaking out tomorrow morning while everyone slept, but if I drank alcohol (I had a low tolerance) I was sure I wouldn't succeed.
"Here," Ant tossed one to Georgia then offered me one.
"No, I don't drink," I said.
"Awww, don't be like that, Sammy! One drink won't hurt," he pushed the bottle in my face insistently.
"I really don't—"
"Yeah, Sam, one drink won't kill yeh," Georgia sneered at me as she took a big swig of her beer. "Don't be a pussy."
I grimaced. "No, I'd prefer not to."
Ant shrugged. "Fine, I give up. Here, Jack!" he cried as he tossed the beer to a kid sitting across from their group. He turned back to face me. "So, Sam, where'd you come from? I can tell you're not from around here. You're way too pale." Ant snickered a bit at this.
"New York," I said honestly.
"Whoa," he said as his eyes went wide. "You came here from New York? Did you walk?"
"Not really," I said slowly. "Sort of. I don't know. I don't remember. It took so long to get here."
"Why here, of all places?" Ant asked as he leaned against the wall, sipping his beer. "Arizona sucks, man. We're only here 'cause we don't know where else to go."
"I don't know," I said, rubbing my fingers on my jeans. "I have relatives here. I meant to find them. I want to start a new life."
"What was your old one like?" Ant asked.
"Why do you ask so many questions?" I asked wearily, turning to give him a careful look. He laughed and slapped my back playfully, though I coughed a little at the force of it.
"I just wanna know! No need to look so suspicious! Here, I'll tell you about me so you'll feel better, 'kay?" He took a big sip of his alcohol, put it down, and then turned to face me completely. I leaned back a bit at the stench of alcohol that wafted from his breath as he spoke. "My dad was a mean drunk. All he did was drink, pass out, wake up, beat me around, then sleep again. My mom was no better. All she did was cry and avoid the house. No one gave a shit about me. So, when my dad shoved me down the stairs and I was sent to the hospital, I gave up and just ran off."
He sighed, as if it happened yesterday. "But that was a year and a half ago. I've been here ever since. Funny thing is, nobody ever tried to find me. Pathetic, I know, but that's how life is. So…now that I told you everything, care to play the sharing game?" he grinned and nudged me. I stifled a groan. It wasn't worth it; I was going to be gone tomorrow anyway. But I had to tell him something or he'd pester me all night.
"Uh," I began as he stared at me intently, "well, my story is nothing special. I was raised in a home with abusive family, and I decided enough was enough. So, here I am," I shrugged, somewhat guilty at lying about my family like that. They didn't deserve to be talked about like that, even if it was just a lie. "So, I'm looking to live with my uncle," I finished. Well, that wasn't a total lie. He did live here at one point.
"I see," Ant nodded as if he understood me completely. "That blows, man. Well, now you got us, right?" he beamed, falling on top of me as he hugged me emotionally. "Man, I knew it when I saw you. I knew you were meant to be one of us."
"Um, okay?" Weird guy.
"Who cares about your uncle, you should stay with us," Ant suggested with a wide smile. "Despite what Georgia says, we have room."
"It's fine," I said awkwardly. "He's expecting me. Well, I'm tired," I said as I pretended to yawn and stretch. "I'm gonna hit the hay. G'night."
Hit the hay? When have I ever said 'hit the hay'? I must've been really anxious to get away from Ant, because I never say stuff like that. But it worked; Ant released me and went back to drinking as I slid into the small room, cautiously attempting to get comfortable in the 'sick bed' Ant had set up for me.
I lay in the 'sick bed' in silence for a long time, staring at the ceiling and counting the minutes in my head. Eventually, the noise outside quieted down and when I peeked outside, the kids were all curled up on the floor and furniture, asleep; even Ant, who was passed out drunk in the middle of the floor snoring loudly.
It was easy to disappear. I didn't plan on seeing them again.
Days after arriving in Arizona—I later found out I was in Tempe—I managed to get an apartment room (one of those "FREE FOR THE FIRST MONTH!" apartment buildings) and applied for high school. The closest one was a while away, but I could manage. Although the first couple of nights in my apartment were difficult, I got used to it pretty quickly. It took me a while to properly apply for high school too, since I had no parents. I had to deceive the school but I managed to get past them.
It was on a Tuesday afternoon that I had my very first visitor. Of course, when the door knocked I instantly jumped in surprise, automatically assuming it was a demon or an angel or even one of those men-in-black federal agents again. But when I opened the door, it was only an older man and a little girl holding a plate of pumpkin bread.
The man looked kind; he had these gentle fatherly blue eyes. His brown hair was messy (he obviously just took a shower) and he wore jeans and a casual shirt. The girl, who was obviously his daughter, seemed like she might have been nine or so. She had his same hair and brown eyes, clad in a sunflower dress. She was smiling from ear and to ear when she saw me and stepped forward. She held out the plate eagerly.
"Hi! My names Natalie and this is my daddy, Jonathon, but everyone calls him Jon. We meant to come earlier but daddy worked so much that he always got home too late to help me make the bread, but my teacher at school gave me the recipe so I could make you some food and I thought 'who doesn't like pumpkin bread?' so I stayed after school and my teacher helped me! I got home and daddy was here early, so he said he'd come and bring the bread with me and I hope you like it, what's your name?" she said in one long breath without even batting an eyelash. She grinned cutely.
I opened then closed my mouth. Wow. She had some lungs on her.
"Um…" I said.
"I apologize," the dad, Jonathon, said with a laugh, ruffling his daughter's hair. "Natalie wanted to welcome you since you first moved in. We're your neighbors, by the way."
"I'm Samuel," I decided to say, sticking my hand out awkwardly. Yeah, I stuck with the name in case I ran into Ant again or something. I wouldn't want to ruin my 'perfect new life'. "Samuel Jesse." What? I didn't want to live life without a little bit of my old one…my fake last name is my real first name. No big deal.
"Nice to meet you," Jonathon shook my hand with a smile then released it.
"Ahem!" Natalie said, nudging my leg with the pan of bread. It actually smelled really good. "Aren't you gonna take it? I worked all day on it."
"Oh, right, thank you!" I smiled enthusiastically at her, taking the bread. When I saw the wide-eyed expectant look on her face I put my face right in front of the food and inhaled deeply. "Mmm, smells good."
She flushed with pride and grinned again. "It does smell pretty good, right?"
She giggled and Jonathon was smiling, so I felt like this whole 'new life' thing wasn't such a bad idea.
"Do you…" I hesitated. "Want to come in and eat it with me?"
Natalie's eyes went wide. "Oh! Yes, yes, yes! Daddy, yes, can we?" she practically shrieked, gripping his pants leg in excitement.
He didn't look too sure. "I'm sorry honey, I have to go back to the office soon and your babysitter will be here any second now…"
"But daaaaaaddy," she whined with tears in her eyes. "I wanna eat my pumpkin bread with Samuel! Pleeeeease?"
He sighed and rubbed his temple. "Natalie…"
"It's fine. I'm sorry I asked. That was out of line—I just met you…" I apologized. I was unsure of how these things even worked; running by yourself for so long tends to do that to you.
"No, oh, that's not it," Jonathon said, waving his hand at me in apology. "It's just…"
"Can't Brittany just eat with us?" Natalie asked hopefully. "Yeah, it's a great idea! Samuel, how old are you?" she spun to face me.
"Brittany is fifteen! You must be going to the same school! Sooo, he can meet new people, right? He'd know someone at his school! Come on, it's win win right daddy?" she put on this big, cute wide-eyed look on as she smiled and begged her dad in this sickly sweet voice. I could see the poor man caving in.
"Oh, alright, if Brittany's fine with it…"
"YAAAAAAY!" she squealed, hugging her dad. Then, to my surprise, she flung herself and clung to my leg in joy. I nearly dropped the bread but managed to steady myself without dropping the wonderfully-tempting pumpkin bread.
"Okay," I laughed.
"Let him go Natalie!" Jonathon cried in horror. He grabbed her by the back of her dress and tugged her back to his side. She giggled hysterically and I had to stop myself from grinning. Her joy was contagious.
"Fine, fine," her dad chuckled. "Be expecting a knock on your door soon," he told me with a sheepish smile as he dragged a giddy Natalie back to their apartment next door. Once the door shut I pulled back, stunned at how different my life has begun to be. I knew it'd be different, but the warmth—the kindness I knew would come when I began this life—it came so suddenly. I got whiplash.
But it was a nice feeling. I liked it.
So, before my guests came (just thinking of that word and the idea of having 'guests' made me smile) I tidied up. The kitchen was a little messy with my soup and ramen supplies and I wiped the counters down. Thankfully I had only just moved in so there wasn't much to clean up. After I cleaned up what I could, I set the pumpkin bread on the counter and waited.
Ten minutes later there was a familiar knock on the door. I opened it and saw Natalie's familiar bright smile. Behind her was a pretty teenage girl, whose cheeks turned a light shade of pink when I smiled at her.
She had pretty red hair and bright green eyes and wore a soft cashmere sweater with a black skirt. All in all, she was the prettiest girl I've ever seen. Then I remembered Natalie, who was already hugging my leg and babbling again.
"I'm her babysitter Brittany," the girl said, smiling. "Her dad told me. It's fine, right? Sorry to intrude."
"No, come in," I said, stepping back to let Brittany in. Natalie still hugged my leg as I led Natalie into the kitchen. She laughed as her legs dragged on the floor, her upper body pressed to my leg tightly. Brittany followed behind giggling with Natalie.
As I gathered some paper silverware, Natalie inhaled the scent of the bread.
"Oooh, good job, Nats! It smells good. I can tell you worked hard."
Natalie's chest puffed out proudly. "I know. Samuel said the same thing."
I smiled slightly as I set the plates and forks up. I put the pumpkin bread in the middle of the kitchen table (granted, it was a small crappy cheap table, but a table big enough for the three of us) and sat down next to Brittany.
Natalie took a huge piece, and to be nice I took a big one too. So did Brittany. I bit into my first forkful and made over-exaggerated noises of pleasure as I chewed. Natalie watched me with her head tilted, a big smile on her face, like always. Brittany followed my lead and closed her eyes in ecstasy, shouting "THIS IS SO GOOD!" through every chew.
Natalie laughed. "I know it's good, but tone it down dudes."
"Dudes? When did you start saying 'dude'?" Brittany asked as she swallowed. Natalie shrugged.
"Kids at school are crazy these days."
"I don't even say dude," I said as I took another bite. "Oh my good Jesus goodness, this is such good bread. It's like, the best friggin' bread in the history of pumpkin bread. If I were to offer this to the gods of bread, they'd cry tears of joy because of how good this is."
Natalie began to laugh. "Samuel!" she gasped in delight. Brittany smiled at me shyly, and I felt my cheeks heat up. A girl never gave me that look before. It all felt so normal.
"So," Brittany said, "I heard you're going to start at my school this week?"
"Yeah," I said.
"Well now you know someone," she said with a grin. "I can show you around if you want."
"Thanks for the offer," I replied. "I might take you up on it."
She giggled. "I hope you do."
Natalie scrunched her nose and stuck out her tongue. "Ewww. Stop flirting, guys, I am trying to eat."
I flushed. "We weren't—"
"—flirting," Brittany finished before I could. "Goodness Natalie!"
Natalie shrugged. "What? It was gross."
"We weren't flirting," Brittany said again, casting me long self-conscious glance. I shrugged at her and smiled sheepishly, which she returned. Natalie, who had a giant piece of pumpkin bread stuffed in her mouth, eyed us in repulsion. She swallowed and put the plastic fork down.
"I have some questions too," she announced. I looked at her expectantly. "Ahem. Where did you move from? Why are you living alone if you're only fourteen? Do you have a girlfriend? Why did you move here? Who named you Samuel?" She stopped talking and popped a piece of bread in her mouth and stared at me intently.
Oh. She was done asking questions. Alright, then… "I moved here from New York, I don't live alone my parents just work all the time, I don't have a girlfriend, I moved here because of my parent's work, and my mom named me after her grandfather who died when she was little." I took a deep breath. "Anything else?"
Natalie pursed her lips and thought about it. "No, not really. But I'll let you know if I think of anything."
"Yeah, do that," I said seriously. Brittany smiled at me and put her fork down as she swallowed her last of the pumpkin bread.
"So, when do you start school?" she asked as I finished mine too and threw out trash away. "I live downstairs, so maybe we can walk to the bus together."
Oh. So there's a bus. Good to know.
"I start Thursday," I said honestly. "I was going to wait until Monday next week, but I thought maybe the sooner the better, y'know? And, well, sure, walking together seems fine."
She smiled. "Alright, cool. We can meet downstairs around seven thirty then?"
Natalie groaned. "You're doing it again." I hadn't noticed that she threw her trash away and helped herself to my fridge which was, of course, empty. "And you need to go shopping, Sammy, your fridge is totally empty. No milk or cheese or anything. You're gonna starve, dude. That's not good."
I shrugged. I didn't really have an excuse.
"I can go grocery shopping with you after school Thursday," Brittany offered. "I mean, if you want to. I'm a pretty good cook…I can help you fill up your fridge."
To my surprise I felt my pulse quicken at the offer. "Uh, sure, yeah. Sounds good."
We smiled at each other for a while then Natalie's groan made us turn to face her.
"Stop it! You keep saying 'we're not flirting' then you go around having these moments together. Pff, hypocrite much?" she snorted, rolling her eyes as she shut my fridge. Man, for a kid, she acted pretty mature. Well, not completely mature, but for her age she knew a lot.
"We should probably go," Brittany suddenly said, standing and pushing the chair under the table. She smiled at me in this awkward, timid way that I found enchanting. "Thanks for your kindness. I'll see you Thursday?"
"Yeah. Bye," I waved at both girls as they left and shut the door behind them. I stood next to my chair in silence, hand still lifted, the smell of pumpkin bread wafting throughout my kitchen and for a moment I felt like, if I turned around, my parents would be standing there grinning at me talking about how 'she's a nice girl' and giggling over my humiliation.
But they weren't there when I turned around, and I was alone in my apartment.
I couldn't share my new teenage experiences with my parents. I'll never be able to.
Life, even if it's new and safe with friends and school and a permanent home, would always be like this; lonely and quiet. But even so, I was fine with that.
It was better than running away.
A.N: I found this little bugger hiding away in my documents. I got pretty far in this, and decided to post up what I have and work on finishing it. I remember writing this during season 5, still depressed over the lack of Jesse. They need to bring him back! D: JESSEEEE *claws at air dramatically*
Er anyway, second part coming soon...XD