Disclaimer: Still don't own Supernatural. If I did, Sam would be in for a world of hurt :p
A/N 1: This story was written for the Summer of Sam Love Challenge on Live Journal. The story had to be about Hero!Sam and be set in the summer. I had this plot bunny in my head for quite awhile so it seemed the perfect time to get writing. Sadly the response to the challenge wasn't so great this year as not many authors participated so there aren't that many stories to read. This makes me sad for the fandom and sad for Sam because he is an amazing character and deserves the utmost respect. I hope you find Sam to be a hero in this story even though he ends up limp. Who can resist Limp!Sam but Hero!Sam? I know I can't.
A/N 2: This story takes place after Lucifer Rising and during Sympathy For The Devil, so there are spoilers for episodes up until that point. However it only includes tiny spoilers from episode 5x01 as I only included elements from the first few minutes of the actual episode. I had a difficult time writing the boys and hope they are in character. They were going through such a difficult time in their relationship so I hope I did them justice. The title of the fic comes from the song What The Water Gave Me by Florence and The Machines.
What The Water Gave Me
And oh, poor Atlas So lay me down
The world's a beast of a burden
You've been holding on a long time
And all this longing
And the ships are left to rust
That's what the water gave us
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones
Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
So lay me down
"It's so freaking hot in here," Dean stated, grumpily.
Sam looked up from the laptop he was researching on and debated whether he should say anything.
"Wow thanks for the weather update Captain Obvious," Sam answered with a smirk, deciding that it seemed okay to make a joke this time.
"Shut up," Dean said, pouting.
Sam breathed a sigh of relief at Dean's reaction. It was typical, annoyed big brother not betrayed, angry big brother who rejected his apologies. Sam couldn't blame him though. The words "I'm sorry" just didn't seem to cut it. Ever since he had inadvertently let Lucifer out of the cage, the tension between them was palpable. The air in the hotel room was thick and soupy and he knew it wasn't due to just the Midwestern heatwave, another ominous sign that Lucifer was out there somewhere. He often felt like he was navigating through a minefield when talking to his brother, nervously awaiting the phrase that would trigger him somehow and cause another blowup between them, another rift in their already damaged relationship.
He figured since Dean was in as normal of a mood as he could be in that it was okay to bring up what they had discussed before, a distraction from the usual routine of being cooped up in a hotel room hiding out and also looking out for Lucifer.
"Dean, you know we could get away for awhile," Sam began, tentatively. "And well you wouldn't listen to me about—"
"Slogging through swamp water probably infested with people's urine and God knows what else?" Dean interrupted, eliciting the same response he had before when Sam brought up the idea.
"You mean going for a swim," Sam said, with his trademark eyeroll. "Look, this motel has zero luxuries as usual. No pool, no air conditioning."
"It has protection though. That's a luxury that we need."
Sam relived the memory of when he brought up the fact that it was Ruby that had taught him about the hex bags to offer protection against the demons and angels.
"Well we can't stay in hiding forever."
We wouldn't have to if you hadn't let Lucifer out of the cage, seemed to hang unsaid in the air as Dean stood there staring at him. Sam looked down, ashamed.
"But you want to swim in a public pool!" Dean said incredulously, breaking the tension a bit.
"What is so bad about it? We've been through worse, hunting through slimy sewers for shapeshifters and investigating murky ponds."
"It's just unsanitary okay?" Dean replied, staring daggers at him.
"Okay, okay. You're entitled to your opinion but I'm going for a dip. I'll be cool and refreshed while you sit here drowning in your own sweat." He imagined Dean could use the time away from him, yet he really hoped Dean would change his mind and go with him.
He also figured Dean wouldn't like the idea of him going off on his own, unsure if he could be trusted or not.
"You'll be cool and contaminated more like," Dean quipped, his decision final. "Meanwhile, I'll be here with my trusty fan." Dean turned it so it was angled more toward him.
Sam's shoulders sagged slightly in defeat. He knew the situation was bad when Dean wasn't watching his every move. He couldn't decide if constant surveillance was better than indifference.
He headed into the bathroom, returning with a towel.
"Sure I can't change your mind?"
"Nothing can change my mind," Dean declared as there was a telltale sound of electricity being powered down.
"Seriously don't say it."
"Looks like your trusty fan won't be much help now," Sam said, unable to resist. Dean didn't have a choice now.
"I can't believe this! Of all times for the electricity to go," Dean said as they trooped through the men's locker room headed toward the pool.
"Well with all those people running fans and air conditioners, it's no wonder," Sam stated reasonably.
"More like another sign of the apocalypse," Dean countered. "This floor is so slippery! When I get athlete's foot, I'm going to stick my foot up your—"
"This way, Dean," Sam said, cutting him off as two boys ran past them, most likely to the children's pool located outside the larger one. "Watch the language Dean. There are families here."
"Okay, I'm going. I'm going," Dean relented.
After maneuvering through a maze of showers and changing rooms, Sam and Dean made their way through the exit and to the pool.
Sam scoped out the pool's length. It was long and narrow. One side started at three feet and the other measured ten feet deep.
"Let's go to the deep end," Sam said.
Dean nodded dumbly, his attention occupied elsewhere.
"I think I might like it here after all," Dean said, scoping out several women in bikinis.
"Dean," Sam said, impatiently, pulling him away.
"Yeah, yeah the deep end," Dean replied, waving off Sam's arm. "Think it will even submerge you Sasquatch?" Dean asked with a smirk.
Sam just rolled his eyes at the comment. He was actually happy that Dean was making jokes, even at his expense. They were knee deep in research regarding Lucifer and he was just glad they weren't discussing that, or broaching the topic of his betrayal.
"Get ready for my dive," Dean said, rubbing his hands together and stepping to the side of the pool. He then jumped in, splashing unceremoniously in the water with a belly flop.
"That was a dive? That was a colossal belly flop," Sam laughed.
"What? That was better than Michael Phelps!"
"Dean, Michael Phelps is an Olympic swimmer, not a diver."
"So there you go then. It is better than what Michael Phelps could do."
Just then there was a telltale whistle.
"Sir, there is no jumping head first into the pool."
"See I told you! It was totally a dive, not a bellyflop."
"Tell that to your red stomach, then," Sam joked, good naturedly.
They spent the better part of the next hour, having a diving contest in which they both were given "time outs" out of the pool for failure to obey the lifeguard whom Dean had nicknamed the lifeguard Nazi. Dean had wanted to give him a piece of his mind, but Sam reminded him that he was only a teenager. Besides that small inconvenience, their afternoon was drama free which was a nice change in Sam's opinion considering what they did for a living and that Lucifer was still on the loose.
Sam had won a handstand contest judged by a ten year old who Dean hired. Dean declared that Sam had only won because of his substantial height which made the handstand appear cooler even though Sam's legs were, as Dean put it, "completely bent." Dean used the same argument when Sam beat him several times in races across the pool that Sam's considerable length caused it to "seem" as if Sam had reached the end sooner when in essence he hadn't. Dean had won his fair share of underwater breathholding contests though which Sam knew better than to dispute, and declared that his various make-out sessions helped him to maximize his lung power.
"Hey you want to go get some lunch?" Dean asked after they had been swimming for quite awhile. "I saw a food truck outside at the gate."
"Yeah, sounds good."
They both made their way out to the locker room. Dean offered to go grab them some burgers while Sam looked for an available picnic table for them to sit and eat.
Sam walked over to where the smaller pool was and scanned the grassy area, but it appeared that with the hot weather, most people had the same idea to cool off by the pool so all the picnic tables were taken. He looked over at the pool where several children were splashing through the sprinkler.
"Help! Help!" Sam heard it faintly at first and he wasn't sure if it was for real or not until he scanned the crowd again and saw a small boy about five or six yelling out for help. There appeared to be someone under the water nearby.
Sam rushed over to see what was going on. He found it hard to believe that someone could drown in the shallow pool except for maybe a very small child. The water was only about two feet deep. There was a lifeguard on duty but he was flirtatiously talking to a teenage girl about his age and he wasn't paying attention.
Sam splashed through the water, trying to avoid bumping into all the other children who were oblivious to what was going on. Sam dunked under the water and could see that there was an older boy around ten years old under the water, struggling but not coming up to the surface. Sam tugged his arm but he seemed stuck in place.
"What's going on?" Sam asked the younger one as he came to the surface.
"My brother is stuck under the water. He's drowning," he said starting to cry. Sam recognized the boy as the same one who had run by him and Dean in the locker room earlier.
"What's your name?" Sam asked.
"It's Will," the boy answered. "My brother's name is Rex."
"Rex is going to be okay," Sam said. "Don't worry."
Sam dunked back under the water and tried to examine the situation. The boy appeared to be stuck to some kind of uncovered drain in the pool and his leg was stuck in the drain which prevented him from returning to the surface. Sam kept diving under the water trying to pull the boy free but his efforts were in vain. The powerful suction was difficult to release.
"Wait here!" Sam said to the boy as he rushed out of the water and over to the lifeguard.
"What's up?" The lifeguard asked as Sam approached.
"There's a kid drowning!" Sam exclaimed frantically. "He's stuck on the drain. I need your help."
The kid looked shell shocked but obediently ran over to the pool with Sam.
He blew his whistle three times signaling a rescue.
"Everyone get out of the pool!" Sam yelled.
They both went into the water, as people fled from the area, unsure as to what was going on.
Both he and the lifeguard dove under the water and began to pull at the boy who had stopped struggling.
Sam's blood ran cold and he knew the kid was running out of time if it wasn't already too late.
"Listen this isn't working! Do you know if there is a switch to turn this thing off?"
The lifeguard nodded. "I…I think so," He stuttered, his face pale and afraid.
"Well go find it!" Sam instructed him.
Sam thought frantically of any way he could free the boy as others came over to see if they could help. He thought back to high school and what he had learned about vacuums and he had an idea. He went back under the water positioning his own body over the remaining open part of the drain. He instantaneously felt himself being pulled into the drain as well but he knew then it was working. He put his arm under the boy's stuck foot and as his own arm was pulled in, the boy's foot was set free. He felt a bolt of pain through his side and arm but he knew now that he had done what he needed to do, what he had to do. He had sacrificed himself for the kid.
He saw now that the kid was free and through blurry water filled eyes, he could just glimpse the surface and see the boy being lifted into someone's arms. He felt at peace, even now as his own body began to panic. He knew he was running out of oxygen himself, as his own arm was stuck and his chest was affixed to the drain and he couldn't move. He knew he couldn't hold his breath much longer. He mused on the idea now, wishing Dean had taught him how to have his maximum lung capacity as his oxygen starved lungs burned for air. He didn't know if the lifeguard would get the drain turned off in time, but he prayed that the boy would make it. He felt himself losing consciousness and remembered back to when he was a kid and Father Jim telling him about the water washing sinners clean. He only hoped it was true as he gave in to the overwhelming pull of the deep.
Dean walked back to the pool area, cursing the foodstand guy for managing to get his order wrong twice. First he had been given a veggie burger which was completely blasphemous in his opinion. Then he had asked for a burger with everything on it, not nothing on it yet that's what he had gotten. He grumbled about incompetence and health food freaks as he immediately sensed a change in the atmosphere. He saw that the children's pool was now devoid of children but instead held a small gathering of adults. Off to the side, in a grassy area, he saw several lifeguards surrounding a young boy and performing CPR as a mother wept holding a younger boy in her arms. He wasn't sure what was going on but he wondered where Sam was, scanning the crowd.
"Then the big guy jumped into the water to save Rex," the tearful little boy told his mother as a triumphant lifeguard declared they had a pulse. Instantly he knew who the big guy was.
"How long has he been under?" Dean heard one man ask another.
"It's been at least a couple of minutes. Did they find that switch yet?"
"I don't know but he doesn't have much time left"
Dean could see the men pulling on something, or someone under the water and Dean knew all the more. Sam had saved the kid but at what cost?
He dropped the food to the ground as he ran straight for the water.
"Sam!" He yelled loudly. "Sammy!"
A lifeguard ran over, restraining him from running into the water.
"Sir, we have another victim in the water."
"That's not a victim. It's my brother!" Dean yelled, pushing him away.
Dean ran over the other men who were tugging at Sam with no luck.
"The kid your brother?" The man asked.
"Yes, he is and why can't you pull him out?"
"He's stuck to the drain. He somehow got the kid free, but got himself stuck."
Dean put his own head under the water in an attempt to get his own handle on the situation. He saw that Sam's arm wasn't visible and appeared to be stuck in the drain somehow. His chest was pressed up against the bottom of the pool and drain as his hair and free arm bobbed lifelessly in the water. He yanked at Sam's arm in an effort to try to free him but it was fruitless.
He rose to the surface gasping for air.
"They are looking for the shut off but I don't know what's going on," one man said to him as Dean choked on the water.
"No time!" Dean said heaving for air.
He dived back under the water, trying to see if he could get Sam's head to breach the surface of the water but it was no use. He thought back to their little breathholding contest from earlier in the day and wondered how long Sam could hold his breath. He knew that there was no way he could hold it as long as he'd been under the water. He went under the water again and could see Sam's eyes were closed, no bubbles passing from his lips, no struggle left in him. This time Dean went under and began squeezing Sam's nose and affixing his mouth to Sam's as a way to provide oxygen. He wasn't sure of the success rate of underwater CPR but he had to try something. The other men quickly caught on to what he was doing and offered to help but Dean was determined. They did what they could to lift Sam's head and hold it still under the water so Dean could give him lifesaving breaths. Dean felt like it was hours as he heard sirens in the distance as they tended to the other kid and had another paramedic unit on standby for Sam. Finally the lifeguard yelled out that the drain was off. Dean felt Sam released in his hands as he pulled his heavy limp body up to the surface of the water and flipped him over.
Sam was blue, or more appropriately gray. His lips a heinous purple color. He immediately began breathing into Sam's lungs again and continued even as he felt Sam being pulled from his grip.
"Let them do their job," One of the men comforted.
Dean reluctantly released his grip as he watched Sam being carried off to the edge of the pool. He saw the paramedics pumping on his chest and using an ambu bag to pump air into Sam's lungs but deep down he felt it was too late. Sam was dead. Normally he would have laughed at a situation like this, the idea of Sam drowning in a baby pool but not now, not with Sam cold, blue, and lifeless in front of him.