Summary: After being kidnapped and tortured for a year, Sam's lost all of who he used to be. He's even made to believe that with his captor is where he belongs.
Rated: T, for the most part. But there can/will be graphic description of what Sam went through; it can sway a little to be rated M for some parts. So keep that in mind.
Time Set: Sam's 17 in present day, but 16 when taken; Dean's 21.
The last time Dean and John saw Sam it was sunny outside. Too sunny, too bright, too…happy. It was bright and almost cheerful - painfully opposite to what was to come. The sun was calming; too calming, John likes to think when he looks back, and it made them relaxed. There must've been something in the air. And it's gotten to the point where John's ready to blame the sun for what happened that day. He's ready to blame anyone and anything for what he now sees as his mistake. He's the one who let Sam out of his sight. He's the one who let up on his number one rule: keep the boys safe. And he's the reason Sam's gone.
And what kills him, is that they don't even know if Sam's alive.
x - x - x
Dean wakes up every morning and for exactly ten seconds, he forgets that his little brother is missing. For ten whole seconds, there isn't a worry in his mind or an ache in his heart. For those few moments he doesn't have to think back to the last time he saw Sam's face, the last time he heard him talk, or the last time he saw him smile. But then he rubs the sleep out of his eyes, takes in a deep breath, and then bam it hits him. And it hits him harder and harder each day, it seems.
Those words are almost taunting, and he wants to scream every time he thinks of them.
As he sits up, he looks over at his father and he can see in the pain in his face, even as he sleeps. He can see the way he grips the pillow, how his eyebrows furrow, and how his mouth is now a permanent thin line, no matter his expression. Dean's not sure how long he can deal with seeing his father like this. Each day, he falls more and more into his dark hole that's smothering him. And they both know that he's never coming out - not unless Sam comes home.
And even after eight and a half months, they never stopped looking for him. Never. They never lessened up, never stopped asking questions, and never stopped digging. They couldn't. Their heart wouldn't let them, even if they wanted to. And it hit maybe a little deeper, if possible, with John. Guilt is a powerful thing, you know. There's not a second of any minute of any day that goes by where he doesn't feel a hundred percent responsible for Sam's abduction. Not a moment where he doesn't think that his son is somewhere out there: alone, afraid, maybe even hurt - and not think it's totally his fault.
Dean has to force himself out of bed every morning. And he's just now beginning to fall into a place where he doesn't even want to see another day, or a ray of sunshine again. But then he tells himself that today might be the day they get Sam back- the day he comes home safe, and it's motivation enough.
x - x - x
John's voice is slow and gravely. He sits at the table with a steaming cup of coffee in his hands and a determined look in his eyes. He catches glances with Dean as he sits down at the table across from him. Dean runs his hands through his short-chopped hair and lets out a sigh. He looks tired, John notices. Tired of living this way, tired of worrying, tired of being tired.
"Where're we going today?" Dean asks as he sits back in his chair.
Weekly, John and Dean travel the surrounding areas of where Sam was taken. They've spoken to hundreds of people it seems, and none of them have a clue. John, Dean, Bobby, and a few sympathetic hunters looked through the town, and all towns near - but they always came up empty handed. Every once in a while, on a good day, they'll come up with something that feels like it's bringing them closer to locating where Sam might be, but it never goes any further than that. Just wishful thinking and hypotheses.
An arms-length away was the map they've been using to keep track of the places they've been. Each place, though, was as dry as the desert on information. They thought they were on to something once. A woman with soft eyes and white hair swore up and down that she'd seen Sam with a man she described as 'big and angry'. None of what she said made them feel better about Sam's safety, but it was what they thought was a start.
That woman, even if they never see her again, has a place in John's memory. He was straight up truthful with her when explaining why they were looking for Sam. She'd taken him to a booth in the back of the bar, and John came completely clean.
"He's my son," John had said with a shaky voice. He held a picture of Sam in his hand, "and I need to get him back. He was taken from me and my other son, Dean, a few months back and we're trying to find him; and right not it feels like we're tail-spinning. We're running out of places to look, and the trail is getting more and more dry each day. And - I just don't know what we're gonna do if we don't find him."
She could tell that it wasn't like John to be this upfront with his emotions. But the fact that he told her this with a straight face and tears in his eyes, she knew that this was killing him. And if she could help more, she would've.
"I can't be for sure," she'd said in almost a whisper. She'd lean in real close, almost over the table as she spoke. John will always remember that, too. "But I think I saw him with a man. Tall. Short, thick hair. Muscles. He looked angry...and suspicious. I was at the gas station in the next town over," she'd said to John. He could tell she was trying hard to remember as much as she could. "They were in a white pick-up truck. And the boy - your boy, if my memory serves me, had a black eye and a split lip."
John sat back. She watched as his hands curled into fists and his breaths became harder to take in. She stopped then, mouth half-open and fingers spread.
"Please, if you remember anything else," John says softly. She nodded.
"There's not much, and for that, I'm sorry. The only reason why they stuck out in my memory is just the look on both of their faces. The man looked pensive, on edge, you know? And the boy, he just sat wide-eyed in the back seat. He looked anxious. I remember the way he jumped when the man spoke to him. And there was something in the back of my head that kept telling me that something wasn't right, but I didn't do anything about it. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She apologized three more times before John reached out and touched her hand.
He blinks away the wetness from his eyes and tells her, "You have nothing to be sorry about. You've been the best help we've had in months. Thank you."
And with that John stood up and left the bar, motioning for his eldest son to follow.
From the booth she watched them reverse and spin out of the parking lot, kicking up dirt into the air. She'd only known them for a total of half an hour, but John, Dean, and Sam will always be people she'd remember.
John and Dean followed up on what the old woman had told them. They searched every gas station in a fifty to seventy-five mile radius, but they came up with nothing. There was a cashier at a gas station named Gas to Last two towns over from where the old woman was. He said he remembered a man in a white pick-up truck that sort of fit the vague description the woman had, but he was almost positive he didn't see a kid in the back seat.
"I'm pretty sure he went south, though," he'd said, with a shrug. "Look, man, I'm sorry. But I'm not completely sure, I-" the man tried to explain but John waved his hand and just mumbled a thanks. He'd slung an arms around Dean's shoulders as they headed back to the car.
That was about three months ago, though. And nothing's gotten easier. If anything, they've gotten harder.
John takes another sip of his coffee and points to the green on the map, not far from where they are now. "I was thinking we'd go through here again, try and see something we didn't a few month's back. And not that we're familiar with that area, we can look more for the hidden things, be more alert of things that don't look right and all of that."
Dean just nods. He doesn't care where they look or for how long, he just wants his brother back. More than anything, he just wants him back.
x - x - x
The basement was spacious, but it felt so enclosed. With chains on his wrist and placed on a dusty mattress, Sam had given up months ago on trying to get out them. The first time he woke up with his hands handcuffed, he tugged and pulled at them until he used up all his energy. The skin in his writs tore and rubbed, and now he has what looks like permanent bruising around his wrists. Red cuts and metal-burns bruising the skin and leaving it unbearably sensitive. Any type of movement hurt.
Sam sat back against the wall, hissed at the pain that shot up his arms, and settled in the most comfortable position he could find considering the circumstances. He wasn't blindfolded like he half-expected to be and his eyes were free to roam the room. And within a week he became familiar with the ten locks on basement door and the three locks on all four on the basement widows. He could look all he wanted. But he had no where to go.
It took the better side of six months, but Sam fell into the routine his captor intended.
There were rules and consequences for anything Sam said or did. For the the three months he was there, Sam was beaten almost mercilessly. A belt was taken to him for almost anything. For speaking, for not speaking, for looking up at him, for not looking at all. And Sam knew there was no winning his game. He remembered his father telling him once that torture was a crazed-man's sport. It had no rules and no limitations.
He'd keep Sam's hands locked and have them hoisted above his head by chain. And he'd sling his belt over and over and over against Sam's back and side until he was hunched over and heaving for breath. But then after was what always confused Sam, not matter how many times it happened.
There was a softer, creepily tender side of his captor that always took Sam off guard. His captor would take him down and carry him back to the mattress. He'd clean up Sam's wounds, shush him softly when he cried out in pain, and then fed him. Only after a punishment would he get fed. Never during the day, and never scheduled.
And when he was satisfied with his nursing to Sam's scarred body, he'd wrap a blanket around Sam and hold him. He'd say to Sam slowly, "I didn't want to hurt you, but you made me. I don't want to see you hurt. I didn't want to hurt you. I'm sorry." And he'd say it over and over in a voice so sincere that it drilled into Sam's mind. His actions were so opposite and sporadic. He was unreasonably harsh and belittling toward Sam. He'd roar as he spammed the belt into him over and over; then a minute later he was holding Sam in his arms, apologizing. The ruthless behavior from earlier left Sam open and vulnerable to his caring, gentle side. And almost too easily Sam gave into it, and believing everything he said little by little.
In time, that got stuck in Sam's head. In time, he started to think that he did do something to provoke the man, he must've done something to deserve this. And that's what he made himself believe.
The man would pull Sam close and slide his fingers through Sam's hair. He'd stay with him until the pain got too much for Sam's body and he finally fell into a blank oasis or unconsciousness.
Then, he'd chain Sam up again, reclaim the blanket, and leave him shivering and in pain for the rest of the night.
x - x - x
John threw a shotgun over his shoulder with a grunt. He loaded the trunk of the Impala and tucked the map safely in the glove compartment.
Dean watched him out the window, trying hard not to think about Sam, but failing horribly.
He stood up and glanced at the refrigerator. He looked once, twice, before moving closer. He stood there almost wide-eyed and breathless. He shook his head.
"Oh," he says with his fingers tracing over the date.
John pokes his head in and says, "Dean? Dean, what's wrong." He walks up behind him and his eyes catch on to what Dean's were locked on. The more he stared at the calendar, the more John felt hot tears dare to fall over the brim of his eyelids; but he brushed them away.
He gripped Dean's shoulder, but didn't say anything, he just nodded at him. It was a reassuring nod.
"C'mon, Dean, we gotta go," John says softly. He gestures with his head toward the door.
They both walk to the car together. Before John closes the door he gets another glance at the calendar again and the ache in his heart was back.
It read 'May 2nd'.
Today, was Sam's birthday.
I'd love to hear what you think. Anything at all. This whole story idea kind of came to me in a rush, so I'd appreciate if you'd share some of your thoughts and if you think it should be continued.
Thank you in advance (: