She pulled herself up from the warm enveloping embrace of the bed covers.
Sammy was crying; the baby monitor was doing its job scrupulously in letting her know.
She loved her little son with every fiber of her being, but how she wished babies were hot- wired to sleep for eight hours solid every night!
She slipped out of bed and made her way in a drowsy haze to the baby's nursery, only to find that John was already there bending over him.
"Uhhh mmm," she murmured as she turned to go back to her room; John was on it, he could deal with Sammy this time; she'd go back to her warm nest.
She hoped Dean wouldn't wake up, for where Sammy was concerned, he seemed to think he was the baby's mother the way he fussed possessively over him. She smiled as she remembered her elder child's expression when he first saw the new-born. He had been so awed by his baby brother and he loved nothing better than chattering away to the infant with Sam looking up at him as seriously as if he was taking in every word. Kids, she mused affectionately!
Passing by the stair-head, she paused as she noticed the flickering light and subdued sounds of battle coming from the downstairs TV. John must have been watching some old war film.
She shrugged and was about to enter her bed-room when some indefinable instinct made her turn back and take a few steps down towards the living room, and it was with cold horror that she saw her husband sprawled fast asleep in his favorite armchair.
Instantly Mary's cloak of sleepiness dissolved and her hunting senses rose to red alert as she rushed back to Sam.
Someone; some stranger was in the nursery with her baby!
She was about to burst into the room when suddenly time seemed to slow to a stop, and a flash of memory zapped through her of a strange conversation she had sustained years before. She recalled the face of a young man, a man who had spoken words to her which back then had made utterly no sense and which she had all but forgotten; but in that split-second of awareness, all the pieces fell into place like a virtual jig-saw puzzle, and fear spiked through her for the well-being of her defenseless child.
She understood now who was standing over Sam, and though every cell in her body, every maternal instinct she possessed, made her want to burst into the room and snatch her baby away from the being who was hovering over him, she forced herself to halt and stay hidden in the shadows.
The young man's words came back to her as clearly as if he was standing right before her, so sincere; so tall and handsome in his worn leather jacket.
["Hey, uh, Mary, can I tell you something?
Even if this sounds really weird. Will you promise me that you will remember?
On November 2nd, 1983, don't get out of bed. No matter what you hear, or what you see. Promise me you won't get out of bed."]
She had answered 'okay' then, not understanding what he was saying; but just to placate him for he had seemed so upset, as if it was really important, but now it was all so terribly real. Today was the 2nd of November 1983.
In that precise moment Mary Campbell Winchester held back and didn't enter Sammy's nursery, and in so doing she changed the destiny that had been mapped out for her, her husband and most importantly of all her two sons.
Fourteen Years Later.
I'm off, dad," Dean called, charging through he door towards the Impala.
John had been witness to his son's near obsessive love for the black beauty since he was a small child and he knew that he couldn't have given his boy a more appreciated gift than the old car for his graduation from high school.
"I'll see you back at the shop this afternoon. I gotta finish working on Mr Jones' old banger."
John didn't bother answering. Dean was already out of earshot.
His son had the unquenchable energy of youth. The boy could never be still for more than five minutes. It was a wonder to him that Dean had managed to sit through school, yet his boy had surprised him even there. He had finished with maximum grades and had earned himself a free pass to college.
Dean had always helped out in John's garage too; he had a real talent for fixing cars and was already an expert mechanic.
John knew he'd been very lucky, so many of his clients' kids had fallen prey to drugs and bad company but Dean had never given him any serious trouble, even though the boy had grown up without the gentle hand of a mother.
His boy's only 'bad habit' was his collection of doting girlfriends who often turned up at the shop or the house looking for him!
He turned his gaze to the old photograph on the side board.
Mary would have been so proud of Dean. He felt the tears welling up in his eyes even after all this time as he studied the bright smiles on the faces of the four people in the frame. His beautiful wife Mary, himself, little Dean and baby Sammy. A small reminder of better days when there had been four Winchesters instead of two.
He sent up a silent prayer. 'Wherever you and Sammy are now. I hope you're both together and in peace.' John looked forward to the day they'd both be waiting to welcome him into the after-life when he too left his mortal body behind.
He drew his eyes away, picked up his car keys and then set them down again. No, this morning he'd walk. He wanted to dwell on the memory of his loved ones a bit longer before dedicating his day to fixing cars.
He closed the door behind him and made his way through the streets of Lawrence to his place of work.