Title: I WIsh I was a Growed Up
Characters: Sam, Dean, John
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural except in my dreams where schmoop abounds.
Warnings: Those of you who think John Winchester was a good father doing the best he could under terrible circumstances may not like my portrayal. He's not deliberately cruel, but he is negligent and he treats his sons as though they are soldiers, not little boys. Just remember this story is AU and Sammy knows what his daddy does at a much younger age than canon Sammy.
Word Count: ~3,800
Summary: Sammy has just figured out that life isn't fair for his older brother, Dean. He wishes there was some way he could help. When his wish comes true their lives are changed forever. AU hurt/sick!Dean protective!Sam Wee!chester
This chapter tells the story of the black imp's attack from Sam's POV.
I Wish I was a Growed Up
Chapter 15 The Illusions
Sammy's never been afraid of the dark like other little boys his age, but then again, he's always had his big brother sleeping in the bed beside him to keep the bad things away.
So, when the world suddenly goes dark as pitch around him, Sammy doesn't panic immediately. Not even when the too-loud sirens begin blaring. He knows Dean is sitting right next to him and Dad is in the driver's seat in front of him. His faith in his big brother is boundless, after all, Dean's like Batman; he can do anything. Dean has always been there to patch up every one of Sammy's scraped knees and sooth every one of his fears.
There are family rules that dad has told him over and over. Dean makes learning the rules fun though, he makes up games that always start off 'let's play pretend'. These rules never change and Sammy remembers them now – stay quiet, don't let the monster find you, wait for Dean or Dad to come get you, the Winchester version of 'don't talk to strangers.' Hunching down in the foot well, Sammy makes himself into the smallest ball he can manage and thinks about how proud Dean's going to be of him. 'Let's play pretend and see how well you can hide from the monsters' is an easy game when you're as small as Sammy, there are always lots of tiny crevasses to hide in for someone his size and he's always been good at the game. Once, Dean looked for fifteen minutes, finally finding Sammy wedged into a cupboard in the kitchen, his only clue the rattling of a pan knocked askew by a misplaced foot. Dean had given him an extra cookie for hiding so well that time.
The Impala slaloms an erratic pattern down the dirt road and then shudders to a stop. Wind picks up outside the car, flinging pebbles and grit into the windows and metal sides of his hiding spot. The unexpected pinging noise so close to his ears startles him out of his crouch. At the first crash of thunder, Sammy loses his resolve to stay still and quiet. A storm, Sammy hates storms. With a yelp of terror, he reaches across the bench seat, seeking the sure and steady comfort of his brother in the face of the fast approaching storm. The swirling wind, wailing siren and intermittent thunder all seem to be playing a game of 'who can be the loudest' and they're making Sammy's head hurt. He doesn't like that game. He thinks Dean will probably still be proud that he lasted as long as he did on his own 'cause Dean knows he's a little bit scared of loud stuff.
A familiar hand, Dean's hand, wraps around his wrist and Sammy is just about to crawl across the seat to press tight into his brother's warmth when the car door beside him opens and a cold, scaly arm grabs him around the middle, heaving three times until his slight contact with Dean is broken. A monster's got him!
Sammy screams bloody murder, but the clammy grip on his small frame only tightens. He scratches frantically at the arms holding him, squirms in an attempt to sink his sharp baby teeth into whatever monster body part he can reach. Getting back to the safety of the car and his brother is his only goal. Nothing works though and he's being carried further and further away from Dean.
Raindrops begin to lash his skin, quickly filling his open mouth as he continues to yell for help. He's sopping wet within seconds. Closing his eyes helps to keep the water from sloshing into them and since it makes little difference in his ability to see anything, he keeps them closed. Something long and slimy flickers against his neck. Sammy imagines a snake's tongue, like the ones in the tall grass next to the creek Dean took him to once. The thought makes his eyes snap open while he slaps his hands onto his neck. Nothing's there.
As his hopes of getting himself free fade, his fear grows. Soon he's nearly mindless with terror and he just wants his brother to come help him.
A door opens in front of him, yellow light pouring out with a man-shaped silhouette in the center. It's the only thing visible in a sea of darkness and it looks strange appearing there in the middle of nowhere. Sammy stops screaming while he tries to figure out what the doorway can possibly mean and in the next instant he's being carried across the threshold and dropped to the ground.
Scrabbling away from the monster behind him, Sammy looks back. He expects to see a hideous creature, the one that carried him here, all covered in wicked scales with maybe a snake's head and large eyes that stick out on the sides of its head, but there's only his dad. Another man, wearing a beaten-up ball cap, stands at the door. It takes Sammy a couple of shocked seconds to recognize his dad's friend, Bobby, from the last time they'd been here to visit, only a couple of months ago. They're in Bobby's house, his front hallway just inside the door, and all the noise has stopped. The silence after the almost deafening siren and thunder makes his ears ring uncomfortably.
As soon as they're inside the house Bobby slams the front door shut. "Where's Dean?" The grizzled hunter demands.
His dad says nothing, instead kneeling on the floor next to Sammy where the little boy is still sprawled after being dropped, watching him like he's waiting for something to happen.
Sammy doesn't know what's going on or how he got inside Bobby's house with his dad or where the monster went or why he's dry now, as if none of the past twenty minutes had happened at all. His breath hitches in his chest and he fights to keep the tears from coming, fights to be brave like Dean would want him to be. As it is, several fat teardrops roll down his chubby checks and drip off his chin anyway.
"John, where's Dean? He's not still out there is he?" Bobby's gruff voice, filled with concern, cuts through Sammy's confusion.
His insides churn as though he's on a rollercoaster doing spectacular loop de loops. His dad backs away from him and yet gets closer and shrinks until they're at eye level with one another and Sam realizes the transformation has occurred again…he's a grown up. This time though, it feels a little like manipulation and he gazes at his dad appraisingly.
Whereas a moment ago he could only long for his big brother to save him, now his sole thought is for Dean's safety. Dean, who is now out there alone. Dean, who is currently at the black imp's mercy. A creature which, from what the gypsy told them, has no mercy. No mercy at all.
Sam climbs carefully to his feet, having to get the feel of long muscular limbs once again. Bobby's eyes are round as saucers and the man watches him warily. His ball cap is pulled so tight onto his head it looks as though even a tornado couldn't dislodge it. Sam's pretty sure the experienced hunter is trying to judge the fastest route through his house to the holy water stashed in various strategic locations.
Instead of making a dash toward his weapons though, the man says, "You're Sammy? Little…Sammy? Huh. Well, kid, your daddy told me something about this over the phone, but…I guess this is something you just have to see to believe." Bobby claps him on the back and just like that the older hunter has accepted Sam as a part of the team and turned to fix hardened eyes on John. "So…Dean?"
Sam guesses that if John has seen enough to make him a believer in all things supernatural, Bobby has probably seen three or four times as much, maybe more. He's grateful that they don't have to spend time explaining his transformation in more detail because there are way more important things to be worrying about at this moment, namely Dean. Bobby obviously has his priorities in the correct order. Sam has yet to truly wrap his mind around what's going on, but Dean's in danger. That much is crystal clear.
"Dean's still out in the car. We need to get him out of there." Sam's long strides get him back to the door quickly, but before he can grab the doorknob Bobby steps in front of him.
The frown on Bobby's face can be seen through all his whiskers. "Wait, you two came in here lookin' like the devil himself was on your heels. Am I right in thinkin' the enchanter is already here then?" He asks.
"He is." John confirms. "It was more than a little tricky getting Sammy into the house. Kid bit me like a feral cat." His dad ruefully holds out an arm to showcase several bite-sized welts. "Not to mention the illusions I had to make my way through. I bascally had to disregard all five of my senses and just walk towards where I thought the house was. That imp must have thrown every spell he could think of at me. I'm just glad the wards around your house are in such good shape."
There's something really bothering Sam and even though there's no time for this, he needs to know. "But Dad, why didn't you bring Dean in too? He was right there, holding onto my wrist."
"I couldn't get to him." His dad answers then turns to Bobby. "Do you have anything we can use against the illusions? Have you found a way to kill a black imp?"
Sam doesn't think his Dad is telling the truth, not the whole truth anyway. He thinks the real answer may be much more troubling because here's the thing, his dad's nothing if not practical and three full grown, capable hunters are better than two, especially when you're dealing with an unknown assailant. Unfortunately, he wouldn't put it past the man to bet on Sammy's wish kicking in as soon as Dean was left in danger. The thought leaves him nearly shaking with rage. His hands close into fists and he breathes noisily through his mouth a few times. It's a close call and he's not sure how, but he manages to restrain himself from punching dear ole dad's lights out. He can do that later. They have to rescue Dean first.
"Yeah, I've got something." Bobby leads them to the kitchen where a bottle of greenish-brown liquid sits on the counter. "Problem is…we have to drink it and wait until it's had time to start working. It'll prevent us from being affected by the illusions. I don't know how long it'll last though, that's why I haven't swallowed any yet myself, didn't want it to wear off before y'all got here."
Sam's frustration mounts and he slants an incredulous look at his father. "We don't have time to wait! The black imp's out there with Dean right now, doing I don't know what to him. If you were able to bring me in without that stuff, we can go get Dean without it."
"We have a better chance of getting him out of there successfully if we do what Bobby says." John matches Sam's volume and grabs the bottle off the counter, taking a long pull and then handing the bottle to his friend.
Bobby also drinks from the bottle, puts a restraining yet understanding hand on Sam's shoulder, and shoves the bottle into the younger man's chest. "We'll get'im. Your brother's going to be alright."
There's no telling what the concoction is made of and it tastes vile, but Sammy belts it down like it's a shot of hard liquor. "How can we tell when it starts working?"
"Look out the window. What do you see?" Bobby answers while shoving papers aside on a dinette table so he can open one of his dusty books.
Sam pulls back the kitchen curtains to get a view of the front of Bobby's property and huffs angrily. "Not a thing, it's still dark as night out there. I can't even see the car, no way to know if Dean's still in it or not." He can't help but think about the storm, the rain, the noise, the reptilian beast, all the illusions he had experienced. They'd felt completely real to him while he'd been out there in them and yet…none of that had actually happened. He wonders what Dean's going through, if he's scared, if he's hurt, if they'll get to him in time.
"Keep lookin'. When you can see the yard again, I reckon that's when we know it's workin'." The man finds the page he's looking for and points a permanently grease-stained finger at the entry there. "Here's what we're up against."
Both John and Sam crowd the small table. A picture on the page captioned simply 'Imp' shows a bizarre creature that looks like a cross between the funny Martian with the bulbous head on that old black and white sitcom they watch sometimes on grainy television sets and one of Santa's elves.
"They ain't but so big, no more than two feet tall, and they're definitely mortal." Bobby leaves the room and returns with a knife and a handgun, passing both weapons to Sam as he and John are already similarly armed. "I don't think there's any trick to killing it once you can see it. They use the illusions to hide themselves and to cause confusion. Most of them are just mischievous, but a black imp's a different story. They get down right vicious," the hunter concludes.
Crossing back to the window after securing the weapons on his person, Sammy figures he can listen to the other two hunters continue the discussion and keep an eye on developments in the yard at the same time. That way, he'll know as soon as possible when they can go get Dean and put an end to the black imp threat. If what Bobby says is true and the imp is only two feet tall, it won't be able to physically move Dean. The boy should still be relatively close by, maybe still hunkered down in the Impala, if they're lucky.
A prickling, not quite painful, sensation centered near his heart makes Sam gasp in a sharp breath. It feels as though something is curiously playing with the very fabric of his existence, pulling at the gossamer strands to see if he'll unravel.
The imp's attack has started in earnest. Somehow, through their bond maybe, Sam knows the creature has Dean and is trying to extract the wish that binds the two of them together. Apparently, at least in this case, it doesn't need the wish maker to extract the wish when it has the person the wish was made for.
They're out of time.
Sam presses a hand over his chest as though he can physically keep his heart from being shredded. "It has Dean," he chokes.
John comes up behind him, braces Sam's suddenly swaying body with his own, supporting him. "I can see the scrap yard. The potion's working. We need to move out, now!" His dad's military background is evident in the command.
Steadying himself against the windowsill, Sam risks a quick glance outside. Sure enough, there's a hazy light filtering through heavy cloud cover, but no rain. The Impala sits at a strange angle about half way down the long dirt driveway. It's a miracle his dad was able to find his way to the house through the illusions and darkness, especially with the acrobatic twists and turns the car had performed there at the end. The man must have an incredible sense of direction and an internal compass like no other. Though he strains to see into the car, there's no sign of Dean, not even his dark blond hair sticking up from the back seat of the car.
Bobby reaches the front door first, swinging it open on rusty hinges. All three hunters, guns at the ready and ever watchful, race toward the Winchester family's vehicle. Dean's not in it.
Sam's hopes take a nose dive.
"Split up. He's got to be in the scrap yard somewhere. Holler if you find him." John orders briskly. Sam wonders if his dad is talking about Dean or the black imp. He's getting awful cynical where his old man's concerned.
They each take a different path through the piles of metal and rubber. If Dean is completely caught up in the imp's illusion, he most likely won't hear them calling his name, but that doesn't stop them from trying.
"Dean! Where are you , kiddo?"
"Dean, make some noise so we know where you are, son!"
"Come on out, Dean!"
Hub caps and tail pipes liter the ground along with every other car part imaginable. A Ford pick up truck blocks his path so Sam detours to the left.
Once he gets around the truck, he sees his brother.
The boy is laying spread eagle on his back. A pixie-like creature sits on his torso, it's fingers moving in intricate patterns above his chest.
An electric charge jolts Sam's entire body. The gossamer thread of earlier is now a wire being ripped through his rib cage. The imp must have found the connection forged by the wish and has started to extract it.
As he brings his gun arm up directly in front of himself and sights along the barrel, Sam realizes he's shaking too hard to get off an accurate shot. With Dean underneath the imp, he can't take the chance of a miss. "He's here." Sam shouts instead, firing a warning shot into the air.
It's enough to startle the imp. The gleeful expression on the tiny creature's face turns hostile and then surprised when it sees Sam looking straight into its eyes. It scampers off Dean and Sam takes a shot at it now that it's no longer hovering over his brother. A squeal tells him he clipped the imp, but it keeps on moving and disappears around an overturned pile of tires, heading further into the scrap yard.
The wire in his chest stops trying to rip its way out of his heart. Sam rubs a hand across his chest, feels the unraveled ends knit themselves back together. His bond with Dean is intact, the wish still belongs to them. So why isn't Dean moving?
Sam falls to his hands and knees, crawls to rest of the way to his brother's inert body, and pulls the child into his arms.
Dean's finger's twitch.
"That's it. You can do it. Open your eyes for me, Dean." Sammy gingerly wipes at the tear tracks left on Dean's dirty cheeks while he talks to him softly.
He counts Dean's shallow inhales and exhales. On inhale number five, Dean's glassy green eyes open. As soon as the boy's wandering gaze finds Sam his face crumples, like just seeing a grown up Sam makes him realize how terrible his ordeal had been. Or maybe a grown up Sam makes it all right for Dean to be a kid again, to be the one protected and guarded from harm.
"Sammy." Dean buries his head in Sam's neck and curls up into his embrace, shaking with the sobs wracking his frame to pieces.
Sam holds all the little Dean pieces together as best he can. He loves this little boy with all his heart and it kills him to know how Dean's life is breaking him apart.
The boy seems to know who he's with now, which must mean the imp has stopped bomb barding him with illusions, intent on its own escape. Something to be grateful for.
When John and Bobby come running from two different directions, Sam points to where he last saw the imp heading without taking his attention from his brother.
"Take him back to the house, Sam. It's safe in there. We'll take care of the imp." John instructs.
Sam nods. There's a hollow emptiness inside him. He doesn't really care about the imp anymore.
Back to ( I Wish I was a Growed Up Chapter 14 The Black Imp )
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