Length: 2460 words, one shot
Character/Pairing: Sam-centric, Dean, John, slight Sam/Jess
Warnings: spoilers for the pilot, possibly 1x05 Bloody Mary/1x09 Home
Summary: Songs of smoke and fire don’t do justice to Sam’s dreams, dreams of death and dying night after night.
Weird style, again. Dunno what to say about that.
What Dreams Have Come
Blood drips from the ceiling and fire rolls against the walls. Drip, drip onto the pillow, waves of heat and blinding light.
It’s just a dream.
(He doesn’t know that. He’s too young to understand.)
The baby’s wail at three am was what woke Mary, who tiredly walked to the crib and picked him up. “Shhh, Sammy, it was just a dream. Just a dream.”
He was too young to tell her what he saw, and too young to know what it meant.
A few days later, he wasn’t asleep when it happened in front of his eyes.
Sam was still too young to remember, both the incident and the nightmare. He was only six months old.
Nobody ever asked, of course. And he wouldn’t have any recollection of it.
Years passed. He was a little older, a little less forgetful. And a little less drowsy.
“Can’t sleep, Sammy?”
“No, I’m just not tired.”
(For him these days, not being tired and not wanting to be tired were just about the same thing.)
He whipped his head around just as Dean tackled him down to the ground and their father took the moment, shooting the werewolf as it passed right over them.
Be brave, be strong, you’re already twelve years old.
Sam just tried to catch his breath, shifting into a sitting position and staring off at where that dark shadow had first appeared.
“You okay, Sam?”
He steeled himself, nodded with one movement of his head.
Dean put his hand on his shoulder anyway and helped him get up.
The ride to the motel is slow, quiet, and Sam almost nods off until they pull into the parking lot and the bumpy curb jerks his head back up.
The night in the room is just as quiet, TV turned on mute with the infomercials playing while Dean doesn’t bother to change the channel. It’s a mellow “we hunted that sonuvabitch down” kind of celebration, and Sam doesn’t really mind at all.
He falls asleep right when the ads for the Foreman grills come on and Dean’s hand finally starts to stray towards the remote.
They’re out hunting werewolves again. It’s always werewolves, he thinks. Why can’t something else pop up for variety, something that doesn’t make them relocate halfway across the country right when his school play’s coming up?
But no, it’s werewolves, and Dean’s duffel is slung over his shoulders as he treks in front of him, paving the way, while their father leads with two silver-loaded pistols. Sometimes he wonders why he’s with them. They never really need him for this kind of thing anyway.
Suddenly, the line stops walking. His father puts a finger to his mouth. “Sam. Stay back here, shoot anything that jumps out at you.”
“But – “
“It’s an order. Just do it.”
And then he and Dean are gone, tromping away through the underbrush again. But it’s like Sam defies them, because he can still see them walking and they ready their pistols and his brother shifts to the side and –
It’s too quiet, he realizes, and then – they come. Shadows leap out; a shadow speeds for Dean like a bullet and he can only get off one shot before he’s down, pinned.
“No!” their father yells, firing at more shadows and shooting the gray beast with claws poised above his son’s head. “Dean! No!”
There’s a lot of blood – a lot of blood –
He shuddered, opened his eyes.
It wasn’t real.
Dean stared down at him, very alive and well and not bleeding. “You okay? You were moving around like you had a nightmare. Almost knocked me off the bed.”
“Shut up,” he grumbled, burying his head in the pillow. “I’m fine. Just a dream.”
Just a dream.
The scenes of creatures tearing open Dean’s chest played over and over like a scratched record for a week. Sam started to wonder if their work was finally getting to him.
He managed to find excuses for not sleeping. That was the easy part.
“Sam? It’s two am. Don’t you have some big test tomorrow, the one you were blabbering about for the past few days?”
He shrugged listlessly under the covers, not really thinking about how his brother knew he was awake.
A sigh came from the other bed. “Nightmares?”
“No,” he said reflexively, without thinking.
“You know,” and Sam could imagine Dean’s stern look while he was saying this, “if you sleep less, the nightmares get worse.”
“Yeah. I used to get crazy dreams about whatever we hunted, when I was younger. Went around like a zombie until dad forced me to sleep, and then they went away.”
Sam arched an eyebrow in suspicion (Dean? Is that you?) , but said nothing.
“So go to sleep. You definitely need it, if it’s beauty sleep and all.”
He almost threw his pillow at him, but thought better of it. “Look who’s talking.”
“Ouch, Sammy. That almost hurts.”
Bunching up his pillow again, he changed his mind.
“I’m home,” Sam called out to no one in particular.
He thought to himself as he opened the fridge. Did he forget that they were going on a hunt today? It didn’t seem likely. Yeah, they’d probably be back soon. They always came back, and sooner rather than later.
Flopping onto the living room couch, he switched on the TV, and somewhere between the latest alien movie and the talk shows, eventually fell asleep.
Sam sees the wolves jumping out before Dean realizes it, sees them heading straight for his jugular, and for the first time in his dreams, shouts out.
“Dean! To your side!”
His brother whips around unquestioningly and shoots on reflex.
Growls, whines, more gunshots.
It’s just a dream.
Sam startled awake. Commercials for junk products played on the flickering screen, and he could barely see in the dim light that it was past one. The hair on the back of his neck prickled, and he wasn’t sure if that was because of the dream or because something didn’t feel quite right.
Dean and his dad weren’t home.
He sunk down in his seat again, gripping the armrests, and watched the clock tick by counts of 15, 30, 45.
Two in the morning; he wasn’t sure if he was asleep, and then he heard something creak in the darkness. The front door, Sam guessed. He wasn’t sure whether to reach for the gun that his father had just entrusted to him or not. But before he worked his way through the thought, the door closed softly yet forcefully, and then Dean stumbled through the doorway with red residue on his clothing and places where he didn’t quite wipe it off all the way on his face.
His eyes snapped fully open, apparently realizing for the first time that his kid brother was there in the room, and he shifted as though this wasn’t according to plan at all. “Sam. Uh, hey.”
“Where were you? And dad?” he asked right off the bat, no holds barred.
He shrugged a dude, chill, why do you make so much out of nothing? shrug. “Just a hunt. Went after that werewolf pack dad talked about this morning.”
“The one I was supposed to go on?” he asked. His head is spinning.
“You kept saying you had a Big Important Test and all tomorrow, so.”
Sam could hear the capitals. “Oh.”
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. His dreams were always constant. Why had this one changed so much? How had he managed to not go on the hunt, and why was Dean –
“Sammy?” Their father strode into the room, dropping his duffel on the floor. “Why aren’t you in bed?”
“You two woke me up,” he said, eyes hardening. “Where were you? What happened? Why are you two - ”
“A hunt. You said you needed the sleep – does this mean I can take you with us next time you happen to have something for school the next day?”
Dean smirked at him.
“No, you’re – you guys are evading,” he retorted.
“Look, Sam,” Dean interjected. “We’re fine. We killed those bas – those things,” he quickly corrected before he got called for it, “and we’re fine.”
“You’re bleeding,” he pressed, looking at a particularly deep patch of red on his t-shirt.
“Dude, it’s just a scratch. It’s the bites you gotta worry about, you know that. Why are you getting so worked up about it?”
He opened his mouth, but then that means you’d have to explain entered his mind and instead he dumbly pressed his lips into a line, shaking his head.
“Maybe all that studying fried your brain or something. Come on, go to bed already. Unless you want to go with us chopping up werewolves next time.”
He suppressed a shudder (for which reason he was shaking, he didn’t know), and got up and left the room.
John stared at the spot where Sam had been standing, and thought for a long moment.
“So I guess it was a good idea to not tell Sam how close of a brush against death that was,” Dean said quietly.
“Still, it’s kinda funny, now that I think about it,” he laughed. “If I hadn’t thought I heard Sammy yelling for me, I wouldn’t have turned in time and then I’d be…well, yeah.”
They both shared a look of well, he wasn’t there and he’s not a psychic, so it was definitely your lucky day.
Dean almost laughed; it would’ve been as if Sammy was looking out for him, instead of how it was supposed to be the other way around.
And he never brought it up again.
Sam never dreamed about anyone unless they were about to die. That was what he thought. He dreamed about a girl in third grade who’d been hit by a car the day after, and her death shocked everyone – even him, but for a completely different reason. He dreamed about deaths that he dreamed – hoped, wished, imagined – he could change.
When Dean came home very alive, Sam decided his dreams were nothing more than just that – dreams. Coincidental, freaky, eerily realistic dreams. But just that.
Nothing came up in his sleep again for years and years.
(But sooner or later, those years had to come to an end.)
It wasn’t real.
He realized the fact, and shuddered.
“Sam, are you okay?” His girlfriend stood at the side of the armchair where he sat, handing him the mug of hot coffee he’d asked for several minutes ago before he drifted off.
His voice sounded (to him) as if he’d just run miles and miles, then finally slammed into a wall. “Yeah, Jess, it’s okay. I’m fine. Just, you know, the finals and the interviews and everything.”
She nodded, yet stayed nonplussed. “You sure everything’s okay?”
“Yeah, yeah. Definitely.” He gave her a patented, dimpled smile.
She almost believed him. “Bad dream?”
“Nah, nothing like that,” he said casually.
“Want to talk about it?” Jess asked, crouching down so that they were at eye level.
“There’s nothing to really talk about,” he said in same tone as yeah, my family, they’re nothing much to talk about and uh, yeah, we lived in quite a few places before, did a lot of moving and I’m not saying this but I really don’t want to talk about it so we should just drop it right now, if that’s okay?
“All right,” she said, entirely unconvinced. “Get some sleep, okay? You look like hell.” She laughed, kissing him on the forehead as she left.
Sam smiled, then sighed and leaned back. What was he supposed to say? Oh, actually, I was having a bad dream, and it kind of involved you pinned to the ceiling, bleeding from the stomach, and then suddenly you burst into a huge ball of flames. And, I might be going crazy. But you just guessed that a second ago.
Pre-interview stress in strange manifestations, she’d probably say jokingly. Though, me dying? Is there something you’re not telling me, Sam?
He had just dreamed of someone dying again.
Sam couldn’t bolt down the coffee fast enough, not even feeling his tongue burn.
Well, the last time he’d dreamed that someone died, that person hadn’t actually…well, died.
So it would be fine.
The fact that this dream had been recurring meant absolutely nothing at all, really. Nor did the fact that he was somewhat confused and maybe just a little worried.
She’d be fine. Girl hit by a car, that was one thing. Dean getting killed on a hunt, that too. But Jess dying while pinned to the ceiling and combusting into flames? That was something else entirely. Something so very implausible.
Something so very like the things he’d seen and learned that they existed in this world.
(Not that he was going to think that.)
At 12:37 am, Dean suddenly strode back into his life after years of being out of it, under the guise of a tackle and a bout of wrestling.
At 12:39 am, Jess came downstairs and Sam found out his father had been out hunting for a few days, and was now missing.
At 12:41 am, Sam told Jess that he was going on a trip with his brother to find his father – yes, the family that I never talk about, the father and brother that you don’t know and maybe never would’ve known except now here they are – and said he’d be back in time for the interview on Monday.
At 12:55 am, when he was sitting shotgun in the Impala, Metallica blaring loudly on the speakers with a warning to shut his cakehole, Sam remembered his dreams from the previous nights, and worried.
Jess would be okay. He wouldn’t be there to bring the danger to her.
(But sooner or later, all things come to an end.)
In the car, he dreams a dream of smoke and fire, and imagines her screams.
This is my first Supernatural fic (or real fic for a TV show for that matter), so urk. I hope I did the characters justice. And I hope the weird divided scene things weren't confusing.
Written for the writing circle’s prompt 02: insomnia.
Many thanks to Dex the super beta (biases), who had to deal with my “gahhhhh”s and all that. And comments are like snappy metaphors that I can't think up at the moment for writers. :D