Author's Note: I'm not really sure what brought this story on . . . I've just had this rattling around in my head for a few weeks. I'll update every once in awhile as all these one-shots take place in different times. I hope you all enjoy!
May 20th, 1986-Maine
I didn't used to believe in ghosts.
If someone had told me that everything that I used to be frightened of was "real", I would've accused him or her of being crazy. That's why when I had heard the rumors about the abandoned house down the lane from my clinic—rumors about a girl that had been murdered in her own bathtub—I didn't even give them a second thought. I didn't even flinch at the thought of running into the house either when I saw the woman, screaming for help, for me to save her.
Entering the house was my first mistake.
No one was there and it appeared that no one had been there for years. A fine layer of dust covered everything and I cautiously scanned the room for any signs of life.
"Hello?" I called. "Anyone here?"
The voice seemed to surround me and I frantically glanced from one side to another, checking to see where it had originated.
"Where are you?" I shouted. A flash of white caught my eyes and I spun around trying to find it. "Look, I can help you! Tell me where you are!"
The woman suddenly appeared before me. Her blonde hair was drenched in water and I could see stains of what looked like blood. Her pale skin was covered with bruises and her dress was ripped towards the bottom. Her face was cruel and her eyes were dark and unfeeling. I reached out for her and my hand passed right through her. My heart began to pound furiously and my mind tried to process what occurring. Was this the woman that had died here? But that couldn't be possible, could it?
The spirit—that was the only thing I could think this woman was—threw me up against a wall and I screamed for help, for someone to come and save me from whatever it was that was attacking me. Her hand quickly flew up to my neck. As she tightened her grip, I wondered if this was how I was going to die—being strangled by a ghost.
A shot rang through the air and the spirit vanished and I fell to the floor, coughing and trying to catch my breath. The man who held the gun glanced at me before spinning around and firing another shot. He was seeped in darkness and I couldn't quite make him out.
"Damn!" He cursed as she appeared behind him and flung him the air. He crashed out through a window and I gasped as I tried to rush to my unlikely savior.
You're not going anywhere!
Her voice echoed in my mind and I felt myself flying once more back into the wall. Groaning, I tried to re-orient myself only to feel her hand around my neck. I thrashed around, trying to free myself but to no avail. I was going to die here it seemed.
The spirit burst into flames before releasing me. Screaming, she seemed to vanish into thin air right before me. Catching my breath, I forced myself to sit up and move outside to check on that man. I nearly bumped into him as he rushed back into the house.
"She gone?" His voice was rough with just a hint of southern charm to it and as I looked him over, I could see that he was bleeding profusely on his left arm. Glass shards were embedded in the wound and I frowned.
"Yes," I answered and the man turned around, preparing to leave. "Wait!" He froze, but didn't face me. "You're hurt." I moved to him and I finally caught a good look at him under the streetlights. He was a man in his early 30's, dressed in a pair of dirty jeans, a flannel shirt, and a leather jacket that looked like it had seen better day. His eyes held confusion mixed with apprehension and I smiled at him to show him that I meant him no harm.
"Nothing I can't deal with." He replied gruffly, moving away once more.
"Please," I begged. "My name is Mariah Tate. I'm a doctor at the clinic in town." He regarded me with a "So what?" look. "That cut needs stiches. I'd be glad to do them for you." He shifted his weight, seemingly thinking it over. I held my breath and waited to see if he would let me help him. He had saved my life, stiches were the least I could do.
"My two sons—"
"They're more than welcome," I quickly added. "I live above the clinic and I have a guest room. You can stay there for the night."
"Why are you doing all this?" His tone indicated that he was suspicious and I sighed softly.
"You saved my life from a ghost and you're asking me why I'm trying to help you?" I challenged. "Please, at least let me stich you up." He sighed and then nodded his head slowly before walking away into the dark once more. I quickly rushed back to the clinic, eager to help the man that had saved my life.
Because, without him, I would've been killed that night.
No doubt about it.
He arrived no more than 15 minutes later with two boys trailing after him, a three year old and a seven year old. The three year old looked like he was about to pass out where he was from sheer exhaustion and the older boy was eyeing me warily. I grinned, trying to reassure him that I wasn't the enemy, but his gaze didn't soften.
"Dean," The man began with an authoritative tone and the eldest immediately looked away from me and met his father's gaze. "You go upstairs with Sammy and get to bed." Dean nodded and led his brother up the stairs.
"They're adorable." I cooed without even noticing I had said it out loud—only the slight smirk on the man's face told me what I had remarked. The man sat down on the table and I quickly pulled out my tools. He removed his jacket sluggishly and I winced just seeing all the glass that was in the wound. I offered him a few pain pills, but the man pushed them away. "You never did tell me your name." I began to pull the glass shards out, one-by-one into a shallow metal dish I had grabbed. He was calm and barely even flinched each time I touched the wound.
"John." Straightforward and gruff—those were the two qualities that John was the epitome of.
"Thank you for saving me then, John." That comment seemingly disarmed him a little as his shoulders sunk and his posture relaxed a bit. I wanted to ask him more—about what he was doing chasing ghosts, how he even knew how to get rid of them, why his sons were with him, where was his wife because I could see his wedding band—but I held my tongue because I knew that John was something akin to a stray cat. Get too close, too fast and the cat will run away, just like I knew John would. Removing the last of the glass, I quickly cleaned the wound and then stitched it up.
"Done?" He asked and I nodded. He rose from the table and I wondered if he was going to take his sons and leave. He paused and I wondered if he was weighing his options. I held my breath as he walked up the stairs. When he was out of sight, I grinned and began to clean up.
"Juice?" Sam had seemingly come out of nowhere and he startled me. He was an adorable toddler with eyes that I knew one day would make all the girls swoon.
"Hi there," I greeted as I quickly finished cleaning up and then bent down to be at his eye-level. "What are you doing up?"
"Juice." Sam repeated and it soon became clear that he wasn't asking for it anymore—he was demanding. I chuckled dryly and headed over to the mini-fridge that I kept downstairs. Opening it, I pulled out the one of the juice boxes that the clinic kept when young children came in. Sam smiled hugely and took the juice box from me and tried to get up in the chair. He was too short though and I smiled as I helped him up.
"Juice!" Sam exclaimed, happily drinking and I smiled.
"You like juice?" Sam nodded his head, suddenly energetic and I chuckled.
"Sammy?" Dean quickly bounded down the stairs, frantically glancing around the room for his brother.
"Dean!" Sam shouted. "Juice!" Dean eyed me and gave me an almost I-still-don't-trust-you look and then quickly walked over to Sam.
"It's bedtime, Sammy." Dean told him and grabbed his hand and took the juice box away.
"No, Dean!" Sammy cried, tears starting to fill his eyes. "Juice!"
"C'mon, Sammy—" Dean tried once more, picking up his brother into his arms.
"No!" Sam sobbed, tears spilling down his cheeks. "Juice!"
"Sammy, please—" Dean pleaded, but Sam wouldn't stop crying. I was about to open my mouth when John appeared on the top of the stairs.
"Dean?" John mumbled, his voice tinged with sleep. Seeing Sam so upset, he quickly made his way down the stairs and pulled his youngest into his arms. "Easy there, Sammy. Calm down. Shhh." Sam seemed to calm at his father's touch and quickly quieted down. Sam shut his eyes and was soon asleep in his father's arms.
"He's asleep." Dean whispered and John smiled, a rare sight judging by Dean's reaction.
"I'm sorry," I mumbled. "He asked for some juice and I didn't think—"
"Sam does love his juice," John muttered. "But, it's okay. We just all need to get some sleep." With that, John headed upstairs, but Dean froze, meeting my gaze.
"Yes, Dean?" I asked.
"Could I . . .?" Dean's voice trailed off into indecision and I grinned. I handed him a juice box and Dean happily drank it before he too headed off to bed.
The next morning, John and his sons were gone—the beds made and only a little card resting on the pillow of one.
If you ever need help—John Winchester. His phone number was scrawled on the side. I grinned a bit and placed the card on my dresser.
This was my first encounter of many with the Winchesters.
Author's Note: I really enjoy the cute Sam in this chapter! I've wanted to do toddler Sam and young Dean for a long time. Mariah is in her late 20's, by the way. Anyways, next chapter, John and the boys are sick with the flu. Can Mariah help them? Please review!