Chapter One: Sins of the Father
Warning: This story contains the physical and verbal abuse of a child. If you feel uncomfortable with that subject, please don't read this.
Sam hurried to exit the car, one hand balancing the boxes of take-out Chinese while the other fumbled for the handle.
"Hurry up!" John snapped as he waited impatiently at the motel room's door and Sam stumbled, his foot caught in the seatbelt that was dangling out of the car.
The boy turned around to try and slip the nylon belt over his sneaker but as he moved the boxes of take-out slipped from his grasp and fell onto the pavement with a wet splat.
Sam's breath hitched in his throat, knowing that he was going to be punished for dropping the food. Quickly kneeling down he tried scooping the noodles and chicken back into the boxes.
"What the hell are you doing?" John's voice cut through the quiet parking lot and Sam flinched.
Peering nervously over his shoulder, Sam began to apologize, "I-I'm s-sorry, Dad… I didn't me-mean to-"
John's expression turned from one of irritated annoyance to fury, "Are you stupid, huh? How Goddamn difficult is it for you to carry a couple of boxes four feet to the room?!"
Sam's eyes welled up with tears of fear and he stood up, wiping his sticky hands off on his jeans, "It w-was an ac-accident, honest!"
John ran a hand through his black hair and Sam could see his father was trying to decide what to do with him, "No use wasting good food."
Sam peered up his father, confused.
"Dad?" Sam asked uncertainly. The food was ruined; there was no way to salvage it.
John approached his son until the boy backed up a few paces, "Go ahead Sam, dig in."
Sam's eyes widened as his father gestured to the food lying on the pavement, "No! Please, I'm sorry!"
"I'm not wasting my money just because you're a clumsy idiot," John explained, deceptively calm, "Now, eat."
Sam shook his head and couldn't help the tears streaming down his face.
"It won't hurt you," John continued in that eerily calm tone, "I'm waiting."
Sam didn't want to eat the food. The parking lot was anything but clean; Sam could see bits of gravel and old road salt coating it, shiny patches of engine oil that had leaked from cars and dried circles of chewing gum squashed into it.
Sam knew that his father wouldn't wait long for him to follow the order; he'd probably get five minutes tops before John got bored and dragged him into the motel room. Sam shuddered, if that happened he knew his father was going to beat him. He would probably still beat his son after he'd eaten the food.
Crying, Sam dropped onto his hands and knees in front of the less-than-appetizing pile of food. Sam almost wished someone would walk by but he knew they were the only tenants at the motel and the sidewalks were empty at this time of night.
Reaching out a shaking hand, Sam scooped up some of the noodles. Closing his eyes, the boy shoveled the food into his mouth and chewed quickly; gravel crunched in his teeth and the taste of asphalt on his tongue.
"Pl-please Dad," Sam just barely swallowed the mouthful before his stomach protested and he retched dryly, "D-don't make m-me do this."
"Maybe you'll be more careful next time, won't you, boy?" John asked as he watched the child.
Sam nodded, "I w-will… I pr-promise I will. Ple-please don't make me e-eat anymore!"
John's only response was to take a cigarette out of the pack in his jacket pocket and light it.
Sam wiped his nose with the sleeve of his sweater and gulped, steeling himself to continue eating.
Tears rolled down the boy's cheeks as he ate as quickly as possible, finishing the noodles and moving sadly onto the sweet and sour chicken balls. Sam brushed as much gunk off the chicken before popping the morsels into his mouth.
More than once Sam was forced to stop in the middle of his 'meal' when his stomach clenched, fearing he was about to be sick. Luckily, everything stayed down although it roiled unhappily in the boy's gut.
Panting, Sam sat back on his haunches and looked pleadingly up at his father.
"You're disgusting," John said and Sam lowered his head in shame. John sniffed and opened the door to the motel room, dropping their luggage onto the floor.
Sam didn't dare say anything to his father, afraid that if he did he'd only incite the older man's anger. Not even bothering to change into clean clothes, Sam sat down on one of the motel beds and crawled toward the headboard, pulling the duvet over himself as he did so.
Sam listened to his father move around the room for a while before his stomach finally settled down and he closed his eyes, sleep blessedly taking him far away for a few hours.
Sam startled awake and leaned over the bed, retching miserably. He tried to be as quiet as possible- he really did- because he knew that if his father heard, he'd be in for it.
Sam stiffened when he felt a hand on his back.
Now you've done it, Sam thought, woke Dad up and now he's mad.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean's voice cut through the sound of Sam's heaving, "Easy there, buddy. It's okay."
Dean! It was Dean! Not Dad! Sam remembered! He was at Bobby's! With Dean!
Sam didn't relax though, his mind and body trained from months of abuse to tense up whenever touched.
Sam stopped retching and laid down on the edge of the bed, exhausted. Dean's hand remained on his back though, rubbing soothing circles.
"B-Bobby's gonna be mad a-at me," Sam whispered, "I m-made a mess o-of his fl-floor."
"Nah," Dean assured his brother, "We'll clean it up good as new."
Sam nodded with tears in his eyes. He knew that Bobby wouldn't hurt him, had never hurt him before but the old hunter had been a friend of John's and what if-
"Why don't you take a shower and I'll take care of this?" Dean's voice derailed Sam's train of thought.
Without a word, Sam slipped off the bed and grabbed a handful of clothes from his duffle bag without even checking to see what the items were. He silently padded out of the guest bedroom and down the hallway to the master bathroom. Sam closed the door quietly behind him and leaned against it as tears streamed from his eyes.
Bobby Singer looked up when he heard footsteps coming down the stairs and saw Dean, a troubled expression on the younger man's face.
The hunter stopped his breakfast preparations and eyed the eldest Winchester.
"Your brother alright?" he asked and Dean shook his head.
"Sammy had a nightmare… I think," Dean explained, "Puked all over the floor."
Bobby raised his eyebrows and was about to ask Dean if Sam had a fever before he was cut off by the younger man.
"Don't let Sam know I told you! He was really upset about it," Dean exclaimed, "Thought you'd be pissed."
"S'alright," Bobby answered, "I'll keep my lips sealed."
Dean gave him a small smile, "Thanks."
Bobby nodded and turned back to the pancake batter he was mixing.
Poor little mite, the older man thought. He had no idea exactly what John had done to Sam under the dybbuk's influence but knew the spirits could get really nasty if they had a mind to. Bobby had warned Dean not to push Sam into talking; sometimes the oldest Winchester could be a little too forceful and right now they needed to show Sam that they were on his side. Despite the fact that Sam now knew his father had been possessed the whole time, it would still be difficult for him to start trusting people again.
From the corner of his eye, Bobby spied Dean trudging up the stairs with the yellow wash pail and a cleaning cloth that he'd taken from underneath the sink in the basement. The old hunter sighed and poured a small amount of batter into a waiting frying pan. He knew that they had a long way to go before Sam was fully recovered. Dean had only shown up with his brother the day before and despite the younger man's tendency to be impatient and impulsive, Bobby knew he'd do anything for Sam, especially if it meant protecting him.
Dean wrinkled his nose as he mopped up the small puddle of sick. He hoped his brother wasn't getting ill- that was the last thing the kid needed right now- and made a mental note to check Sam's temperature once he was out of the bathroom.
Under normal circumstances Dean would have handed Sam the bucket and cloth and told the kid to knock himself out, he was fourteen years old after all, not a baby that needed someone else to clean up after him but despite that the older Winchester was on his hands and knees, wiping away the evidence.
Dean bit his lower lip as a wave of guilt washed over him. He should never have left Sam alone with their father. Although Dean knew he could never have known what would happen to John, he still felt responsible for his brother. He should have made more of an effort to check up on Sam. Dean recalled the single phone call he'd made to his family after he'd arrived at Stanford; he'd barely been able to get two words out before his father hung up on him. Dean thought his father hated him, had practically disowned him. Now he knew it was probably the dybbuk speaking instead of John but that had been enough. Dean had not called again; his father had Sam to hunt with and obviously didn't need him.
"How could I have been such an idiot?" Dean muttered to himself as he wrung the excess water from the cloth and dried the wet patch on the hardwood.
He looked up at the sound of footsteps and saw Sam slink into the bedroom. He grimaced slightly when he noticed how his brother's clothes hung on his thin frame, how stained they were.
Ducking his head, Dean chastised himself for thinking only about, well, himself. He had been so hurt by his father's rejection that he hadn't given one thought to how Sam felt. Dean had known that Sam hadn't wanted to stay with their father but all he cared about was getting to the bus depot on time. Dean had been selfish and his brother had been the one to pay the price.
Standing up, Dean grabbed the handle of the bucket and turned to his brother, "Bobby's making pancakes; why don't you go see if he needs help."
Sam nodded and walked silently down the hall. Dean's brow furrowed with worry and he ran a hand through his hair in agitation. He knew that it was going to take longer than a single day for Sam to get better but Dean didn't want to wait. All he wanted was his little brother back. All he wanted was the Sam he'd once known; the Sam who'd laugh at his jokes no matter how lame they were, who'd complain about his bad singing even as he joined in, who constantly asked Dean questions and expected an answer even if his older brother had no idea if it was correct or not. He wanted the Sam who would roll his eyes and huff in annoyance, he wanted the Sam who complained about burgers for dinner and who would eat pancakes for every meal if given the chance. He wanted the Sam who chattered non-stop on long road trips, who was so concerned about some algebra exam or social studies project, who would curl up beside him if he'd had a nightmare and then act like nothing had happened the next morning.
Dean didn't want this Sam. This Sam who flinched away from him if Dean tried to comfort him, who refrained from speaking unless it was necessary, who was far too thin, whose eyes welled up with tears so easily. This Sam whose body was riddled with scars that had been given to him at the hands of their own father was someone Dean didn't know and didn't want to know.
"Dean! You gonna lollygag around here all day?" Bobby's voice startled Dean out of his thoughts and he was surprised to see the old man standing in the bedroom doorway.
"How long were you calling?" Dean asked and wiped a hand over his mouth.
"I just came up," Bobby told him, "Didn't wanna holler at you from the stairs in case Sam… you know…"
Dean nodded. The night before, he had been watching TV on Bobby's old set and a particularly loud fight scene had sent Sam scurrying from the couch into a corner of the room in fright.
The eldest Winchester followed the grizzled hunter to the main floor. Setting the bucket beside the basement door, Dean entered the kitchen and saw his brother move away from the stove so that Bobby could continue to tend the pancakes.
"You were doing a fine job there, son," Bobby told the boy and Dean smiled at the older man's compliment.
Sam only stared at his sock-and-feet and didn't say a word.
Dean took a seat at the table and poured orange juice into his glass, "C'mon and sit down Sammy."
He watched as his brother shuffled to the table and slid onto one of the chairs. Sam flinched when he reached over to pour him some juice and Dean gritted his teeth in frustration.
Sam's eyes filled with tears. Dean was mad at him now! He gulped and reminded himself that Dean wasn't going to hurt him. Still, he remained as unmoving as stone when Bobby slid three large pancakes onto his plate.
He waited until his brother and uncle had their food before he started eating and then, out of habit he cut his pancakes into large chunks and began shoveling them into his mouth, not even bothering to put syrup on them.
"Hey! Sammy! What're you doing?" Dean exclaimed as Sam practically choked down his breakfast.
Sam stuttered to a stop, swallowing a huge mouthful of food painfully, "I'm s-sorry, De-Dean."
Although Sam knew it wasn't going to happen, his mind was telling him to eat as much as he could before the two men took the food away. Sam learned that if he made John wait while he ate, his father would take his plate away whether he was finished or not.
"What're you sorry for? Just try and eat a little slower, okay?" Dean told him and Sam nodded.
"Want some syrup?" Dean asked and Sam nodded again. He allowed his brother to pour a generous helping over his pancakes before he started eating, slower this time.
After a few minutes Dean sat back in his chair and stretched, "That was great, Bobby."
Sam had been eating painfully slow in an attempt to please his brother but now he wrapped his free arm around the plate protectively when Dean asked him if he was finished.
"N-no," Sam shook his head and stuffed a large piece into his mouth.
"Okay," Dean said and made no move to take away Sam's plate. Sam tried to relax as Dean continued talking.
"What do ya say we go out and get you some new clothes?" Dean asked and Sam shook his head.
"I've gotta go into town anyway," Bobby spoke up, "Why don't I grab some things?"
"Bobby," Dean said but the old hunter interrupted, "Your brother ain't in any condition to go strolling through the local Wal-Mart, Dean. I'm not sure about you but the last thing I want is for some busybody calling the police or CPS."
Sam lowered his head and stopped eating.
"Aw jeez! I didn't even think about that," Dean lamented and Sam heard Bobby grunt sarcastically.
"Losing your touch, are you?" the old hunter said.
"That's not funny, Bobby!" Dean exclaimed and Sam slipped off his chair onto the floor beneath the table.
"Sammy?" Sam heard his brother's voice as he closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around his knees.
"Damn it," he heard Bobby swear under his breath.
"Sam, it's okay," Dean cajoled, "You can come out."
Sam didn't move. His stomach didn't feel good.
"Just leave him, Dean," Bobby's voice said over Sam's head. He heard the sound of plates and silverware moving and realized that the older man was taking his food away.
Tears squeezed out from beneath Sam's closed eyelids. Maybe Dean and Bobby were tricking him, pretending to be nice when they really were just like Dad. Maybe Dean really did hate him and Bobby was mad that he had shot John.
Sam laid his head on his knees and sniffed pitifully, waiting for either his brother or uncle to drag him out from underneath the table and punish him.
1. Fanfic title comes from a Screaming Trees song of the same name. Chapter title comes from a Black Sabbath song.
2. Please leave a review! The Looking Glass Cracked got 216 reviews and I'd like to see this fanfic get just as many!