BlessingsRemix Author: mari4212 (pinch-hitter)Original Story: The Day the World Went Away Original Author: scribblesininkRating:
The day Sam came through Kansas, he changed everything.Warnings:
John Winchester had a lot of blessings in his life, a lot of things he was grateful for. A son he was proud of, a woman who loved him despite the times when he could be an idiot, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter who’d had him wrapped around her tiny pinkie finger since day one. But ever since the day Sam came through, he knew he had at least one more. How often do you have someone save everyone you love?
The first sight John had of Sam was a bewildered looking young man in a flannel shirt too hot for a Kansas spring day holding onto a can of Dean’s cheap beer for all it was worth. Dean was hovering over him with the same mix of excitement and concern he always wore around his baby girl.
The boy seemed to slowly loose his air of confusion as Dean introduced them and they talked there way through the basics of who they both were and what Sam was doing coming through Kansas. John didn’t miss Dean’s quickly blinked-away envious glance when Sam spoke of seeing the world. Dean had always been restless, always wanted to travel. But these days it seemed like every choice he made had him more thoroughly settled into living the rest of his life in Lawrence. John knew his son was already anticipating the years when Hope would be old enough to go on long vacations in the form of road trips across America. Hearing Sam talk about his own trek seemed to remind Dean of all that he himself wanted to do.
The conversation ended, as John had known it would, with Dean offering Sam a meal over at their house. Dean never lost an opportunity to show off his wife and daughter. He also never lost an opportunity to take care of anyone who looked like he needed it, and Sam, Stanford law student with all that going for him and all, still looked like he’d been kicked in the balls by life a few too many times. It was a sure-fire way to jumpstart Dean’s protective drive.
Sam seemed stunned as he walked into the Winchester home and was introduced to the fairer side of the family. He retreated into the same exaggerated politeness with Mary that he’d used on John back at the garage, and acted just as unsure of what to do with himself when Mary brushed it off and ordered him to be more casual as he had been when John had ignored the same behavior earlier. It was enough to make John wonder about how his relatives might have brought Sam up, if he didn’t understand how to act with a normal family around him.
Then Jessica walked into the room with Hope nestled in her arms, and Sam flat-out lost it. Not in a way that any of the others could see, so much, but something was freaking Sam out to hell. John wasn’t surprised when Sam excused himself quickly and fled in the direction of the nearest bathroom. He glanced over at Mary, and she nodded back at him before he could ask her if he should follow. There were times he swore she could read his mind.
John gave Sam another minute to get himself under control, then headed after him. He could hear the water running in the sink, could hear Sam breathing heavily through the wood of the door. He called in, being careful to keep his voice calm. If Sam was getting himself back together on his own, and it sounded like he might well be, he’d probably prefer it if he could assume that no one had realized how much he’d freaked. Sam’s response through the door confirmed it. He’d pulled himself together; best to just move on and let him deal on his own.
And here he was, feeling protective of the boy in a way that never applied outside of family. How the hell did Sam Winchester wind his way under his defenses this fast?
Neither one of them spoke that much during dinner. John spent most of his time watching over Sam, trying to reign his paternal instincts down to something reasonable. And Sam, Sam just sat there during dinner looking like he’d been starved for basic family contact his entire life, and he didn’t know how to deal with finally getting it.
Sam left early on the evening, while John was still helping Mary with the dishes and getting lectured by her on how Sam needed them to be family for him, since his own immediate family clearly wasn’t up to her standards. He couldn’t exactly argue with that, there was something about Sam that left his paternal instincts clamoring to take him in and shelter the boy. Mary was upset to hear that he’d gone, convinced that it meant he wasn’t planning on coming back. John wasn’t sure about that. He tended to trust his gut, and his gut said that Sam was going to be more involved with his family than the others might think.
The second time he saw Sam was only hours later, and it changed everything.
He and Mary woke to the sounds of shouting, Sam’s voice new but unmistakable nonetheless as he ordered Dean to get the rest of them out of the house. Footsteps pounded up the stairs, and headed straight towards Hope’s nursery.
There wasn’t time for panic, or for stopping to ask questions. He just bundled Mary out the door and pushed her and Jessica in the direction of the stairs. Best to get them out of the way, whatever was happening.
He turned and headed for the nursery. Whatever was going on, Sam had headed straight for that room, and he might trust Sam more than he should, on so little time spent with him, but he wasn’t going to leave protecting Hope to someone he’d just met.
But what he saw when he turned into the open doorway left him staggered in shock. Sam was pinned up at the top of the wall, a good three feet of clearance between his shoes and the floor, and his pained glare was directed at the other intruder in the room, a shadowy figure that didn’t look human. Sam’s shout for him to shoot hit at a part of his old training that he’d thought long gone, and the gun was in his hand and firing before rational thought kicked in. He didn’t even realize that Sam had called him Dad until after the shadow-man had disappeared.
Sam hit the ground fast, and the loud crack told John that he hadn’t hit well. But despite that, he was on his feet in an instant and at Hope’s crib, where his granddaughter was shrieking as if her life depended on it. Hope was up in arms and passed on to him while he was still trying to figure out when the normal laws of the universe had stopped applying, and when the room burst into flame around all three of them, he decided to ask questions later.
They raced down the stairs as the flames licked at the walls around them, Hope a heavy weight against John’s chest and Sam’s limping stride echoing in his ears as they ran out of the house together. Barely three steps out of the door, the windows of the nursery exploded out with fire and John staggered under the impact of the rushing air. The others were all outside, Mary and Jess holding each other tightly, and Dean shoving off the confining hands of two of their neighbors to run towards him. John held out the arm not wrapped around Hope, and his family moved in to hug him.
Eventually, the family stumbled en masse over towards Dean’s Impala, and in the distance he heard sirens wailing. Sam was standing slightly away from all of them, and a black woman he didn’t think he’d ever met before was taking charge of the whole situation with more command presence than several generals he had known. John nodded once in Sam’s direction, trying to convey thanks and “you saved my family” and “I’ll ask questions later” all in one look.
The time for questions didn’t come until much later that night, into the early hours of the next morning at the hotel where the family had migrated to after answering the fire department’s questions. After blatantly lying to the fire department on several key points, to be honest. John had several he’d wanted to ask; about what the hell that thing had been in Hope’s room, about how the hell it had done what it did, about how Sam had know what it was doing in time to stop it. But despite all those other questions running through his head, the one to pop out after he’d made sure that Hope was safe was the one he’d ignored until this point.
Sam had called him Dad. Multiple times that night, actually. And it had brought up memories he’d long ago pushed to the back of his mind. Memories of a tiny infant dead four weeks before a due date. Memories of the driver who’d hit his wife ranting incoherently about demons and fire. Memories that now were hitting too close to home, with what sure as hell looked and felt like a demon targeting his granddaughter and a boy named Sam too close to who he’d lost to ignore the similarities.
Sam didn’t answer his questions explicitly, but his non-answers were answer enough for one night. They would deal with the rest some other time.
The last time John saw Sam, he was standing in a field outside of town. The woman from the night before, Missouri was doing something that she said would help find Sam’s way back to his reality. And damn, was that wrecking havoc with all that John thought he knew about the world, even more than last night had.
Sam was standing slightly back, closer to John than to her, his shoulders tensed up and knotted under his shirt, like he didn’t know whether to hope Missouri found the doorway back or not. And when she turned around and announced that it was still there, but in the process of closing up, the face he showed when he turned back to look at John was torn. Sam walked back over to where John was leaning against the car, and for an instant John wished he could just tell him to stay here, where he could keep an eye on him. But then the indecision fell away from Sam’s face, and John knew Sam would leave despite anything he could say.
So he listened to Sam’s last-minute information about a guy with a demon-killing gun, and didn’t bother arguing. It was useful knowledge, and he wouldn’t hesitate to put it into action if the demon ever showed up again.
He did have to raise a brow at the mention of a Dean waiting for Sam in the other reality. Sam’s voice was too unguarded there; he didn’t need the confirmation Sam offered to know that he really was the son John hadn’t had here. So he gave Sam the only thing he needed to take back with him across the portal. He told him that he was proud of him.
And then Sam left, and John knew he’d never see him again. You don’t get that kind of miracle twice.