i used to know you so well
In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon
“—there’s a dead girl on your porch.”
“I didn’t order no dead girl. Well…shit.”
Her long torso and legs curve down the front steps, arm stretching towards the front door, filmy eyes open and staring. Thick, dark blood trails from the hole between her eyes, staining her temple and hair, pooling below her on the wooden porch slats. A strange squelching noise draws them closer and they bend over, hands on knees watching the hole in her forehead move. A discharged bullet surfaces, ejects and rolls down the side of her face, pinging softly on the wood.
She blinks and Dean shouts, “What the fuck,” grabbing Sam’s arm, rearing back in surprise. Taking a deep gasping breath, she arches her back off the porch, fingernails scraping over the boards. She squeezes her eyes shut and rolls to her side, coughing hard, expelling black blood from her lungs.
Finally, her hard hacking stops and she moans low and guttural, eyes wide and wild. Not taking any chances, they haul her inside; lash her to a chair under a Devil’s trap, their anxious eyes meeting and holding, memorized Rites of Exorcism simultaneously falling from their lips.
the ghost who walks she’s
on the prowl
for the man she loved
he cut her down
The male voices cut through her hazy mind and she reaches for them, one in particular sending a jolt through her ravaged body when he yells, “Christo!” She manages to cling momentarily to him, broken Latin jumbling her thoughts until frayed, she breaks once more.
Slowly, she blinks back into consciousness. At first she’s numb, pins and needles in her hands and feet, then confusion in her brain until it catches up suddenly, white hot explosion detonating along her nerve endings.
She pushes her head up and cries out, neck muscles pulled tight and screaming. Blinking away crusty tears and sand, she struggles to open swollen eyes, the light burning. She whimpers, trying to raise her hands to cover her eyes. Hard sobs escape, fear and fresh pain slicing throughout her body when her hands can’t and won’t move. Straining against her forced bondage, she slits her eyes against the light.
Someone clears their throat and says, “Well, now what do we do with her?”
“Please,” she whispers; voice raw and raspy from disuse. Her throat is burning, painfully tight and throbbing, like invisible hands clasping tight against the tender flesh, bruising and squeezing. “I don’t know who you are,” she gasps, “I don’t know anything, please let me go. Please—”
Something splashes against her face and instinctively her white, dry tongue flicks towards the wetness running down her cheek, seeking more.
“Well, damn it all to hell, she’s not a demon,” a gruff voice rumbles. “It’d be easier if she was.”
“Oh God, please—”
“Then who or what the hell is she?”
And blackness swallows her once again.
Weak light filters through grimy windows, warming the red velvet couch under her skin. Blinking slowly, she breathes for a moment, everything hurting from the pounding in her skull to the throb of her full bladder. Wiping her mouth, she pushes her head up from the couch to look around. She slowly shifts a hand under her and manages to sit up without passing back out.
“Hey,” a soft voice whispers nearby, “how you doing?”
“Wha—?” her voice catches and she flinches, fingers flying to her bruised throat. “I don’t—” she tries again before failing. The man behind the voice moves from the shadows, shaking his head, soft brown hair carelessly falling over his forehead.
“Hey, it’s okay if you don’t try to talk yet,” he says, handing her a glass of water.
Staring down at it, she hesitates before bringing it to her lips, something instinctual cautioning her against drinking it. “Safe?” she whispers.
He gives her a funny look. “The water’s safe. There’s an artesian well here.”
Nodding her head causes stars and lights burst behind her eyes and she concentrates on breathing in and out for the few moments it takes for the faintness to subside. When she opens them again, she raises the glass with a trembling hand and sips from it gingerly, gasping as the cool, flat liquid sends fresh waves of damage down her throat. Her fingers clench against her thigh, forcing herself to take another long sip of water, tension almost draining from her shoulders when this one doesn’t hurt as much.
“If I get you a pen and paper do you think you can write down your name? We can help you find your people, get you home,” he says, taking the glass back from her and putting it down on the table beside him.
Her brows furrow and something sharp and painful skitters across her forehead, an almost inaudible, “Ow,” escaping from her lips. She cautiously feels the swollen skin around her eyes and nose. A bandage covers most of her forehead, the hidden wound underneath sending a fresh, piercing flash of sting into her skull. Flecks of dried blood cling to her fingertips and crusted black dirt surrounds her short fingernails. “I don’t know,” she finally whispers, looking at her hands like they belong to someone else.
“You don’t remember your name?” he asks.
Her hands begin to tremble. Slowly, she nods her head, shadows dancing on the edge of her vision.
He leans towards her, hazel eyes intense and familiar, resting his elbows on his knees, impossibly large hands dangling between his thighs.
“What happened to me?”
“Well, we kind of hoped you could tell us that.” He points to the bandage on her forehead. “I did what I could for that, while you were unconscious. It was too wide and the edges are too ragged to stitch. It’s --” he pauses and makes an incredulous face she doesn’t understand, “healing pretty rapidly. I don’t know if it’ll scar though, I’m sorry.”
She nods, concentrating all her energy on scooting towards the edge of the chair. Ignoring the flash of surprise across his face, she whispers, “I really, really need to pee.” Struggling to stand, she stretches her arms towards him and he takes her hands.
Something smashes through her when their fingers touch and he cries out, a lightning hiss and snap of electricity, the hair on her arms and the back of her neck standing on end. They clench at one another, skin sliding over skin until their hands entwine, stumbling against one another. Her pulse is jumping, erratic, deafening in her ears. He pulls her roughly to him and her eyes widen, pressure building in her head. She stares up at him, mouth open and drowning, gasping for air. There’s a hole in her chest he’s trying to fill; a space he’s ripping out with just the touch of his bare hands.
“I know you from somewhere,” he says, breathing hard.
Instinctively her body curves into his, face tilting up towards his, not willing to let go; not understanding why she suddenly has the urge to scratch and maim, wanting dig into him and lay her claim.
Looking up into his face, she tilts her head to the side as if there’s a message there to decipher. Body humming, she says, “You have a scar, too,” her fingers reaching up to stroke the shiny, soft skin above his eyebrow. He flinches away from her touch like it burns; dropping her hands. The connection between them severs abruptly.
He stares down at her for a moment and then motions with his head behind him. “Bathroom’s down the hall, first door on the left.”
She stands on shaky legs when he steps away, hand flat against the cushioned edge of the arm chair for balance. Red blurs her vision until she realizes it’s the wallpaper peeling from the walls, large holes in the plaster exposing slats of white horizontal lath that look like desiccated rib bones. Books and papers are piled on every available surface and she sighs; fingers touching the worn leather cover on top of a stack, something in her head trying to connect the dots and failing.
“I think,” she says, stumbling, her hands and feet not receiving the message from her brain to move. Large hands grab her from behind to keep her from falling to her knees and she shivers at his touch. “I’ve been here before,” she says.
“Who are you?” He asks, hovering behind her, his hands still clutching her upper arms.
“I don’t know,” she whispers, moving away from him, breaking contact.
She’s three steps from the stairs when he calls, “Hey.”
Holding onto the wall jamb, she turns to face him. Avoiding her eyes, he walks over and hands her a bundle of clothes. “Just in case, you, uh, want to freshen up, there are clean towels by the sink.”
She stares down at the t-shirt and sweatpants. “Are these yours?”
He nods once, still looking down at the floor.
“Than—” she clears her throat and tries again. “I mean, thank you.”
Moving closer to the mirror, she peels the bandage back and stares at the quarter-sized scab in the middle of her forehead. She glances down at the blood-stained gauze and flicks her hand, dropping it in the trash beside the sink. Her fingers hover over the wound, skirting the ridge of raised pink scar tissue, her mind skittering away from the truth she sees. She dips a washcloth under the running hot water, scrubbing gently at the blood on her cheek and neck. Picking up and dropping the dried bloody dreads in her hair, she sighs and turns to the shower.
Locking the bathroom door, she shimmies out of her dirty and bloody clothes. She hunches under the hot water, the liquid heat sluicing down her skin and easing sore muscles. Scared and wounded, she loathes leaving; wishing she could hide in the billowing steam forever, dreading being asked questions she has no answers for.
Questions like why there’s a rapidly healing hole in the middle of her forehead? It’s probably not a coincidence her brain feels like it’s swollen three times its normal size and threatening to explode out of her skull. What about the mini detonation when she touched his hands? Wiping her hands down her face she mulls over the most important unanswered question of all: Who the hell is she and why can’t she remember anything before waking up half hour before?
It's all there, frustratingly just under the surface, right on the tip of her tongue.
After the shower, she sits on the closed toilet lid, slowly pulling on the borrowed sweatpants. “Holy crap,” she murmurs at the length of fabric left on the floor, the elastic waist hanging off her hips. Leaning over to fold the endless bottoms up over her feet, vertigo smashes into her hard and she grips the edge of the scarred porcelain sink, moaning as a spasm of pain radiates from her head.
A sharp knock raps at the door, “You okay?”
“Yeah,” she gasps, breathing slowly until the faintness passes. Avoiding her eyes in the mirror, she tapes a piece of gauze on her forehead, noting it’s not perfectly straight. With a huff and compulsion she fixes it, lining it up center.
She opens the door a few minutes later and he’s staring down at her, eyebrows furrowed into a frown. “You’re a giant,” she says, hobbling to over to him, putting her soiled clothes into his waiting hands.
He looks down at the rolled fabric above her bare feet and gives her a small side smile. “I’ve been called worse. Okay, um, I’ll wash these for you; I’ve gotten pretty good at getting blood out of cotton and denim.”
Tucking her wet hair behind her ears, she follows him into the main room.
The atmosphere is musty, smelling like warm paper and masculine temper. Dust motes dance in a beam of light peeking through the dirty window, lazily whirling towards the ground. Glancing up, she pauses for a moment, smiling slightly, recognizing the circles and symbols painted on to the ceiling thinking, I know what that is. She’s triumphant to have remembered something. “A Devil’s Trap,” she murmurs under her breath.
An older man in a wheel chair enters the room, quickly followed by a young guy with military short hair. Something like a memory flickers deep inside; a sharp tightening in her chest at the sight of him, something even bigger than Tall Guy's touch. She knows this man, willing to bet the farm she knows him and exhaling slowly, realizes how wrong everything was until the tension drains from her body at the sight of him. She tilts her head, studying him, taking in his short brown hair and his bowlegged knees. “I know you,” she breathes.
His eyebrows are drawn tight with distrust and anger, hands fisting at his sides. Tall Guy moves closer to him, large hand slipping behind his back. Does he have a gun tucked there?
“I’m not a demon,” she whispers, meeting each one of their eyes in turn.
“We know,” Tall Guy says; distraction and confusion evident on his face and finding something about him vaguely disturbing, she looks away.
The man setting her heart on fire says, “That’s the only reason you’re still alive, because you’re human. Now who the fuck are you?”
“What?” Clinging to the sound of his voice, she savors the way her body reacts, a memory of fullness between her legs, hot need and want momentarily flushing her skin.
“Calm down,” the gruff, older guy says. “Yelling at her ain’t going to accomplish anything.”
She leans back on the arm of the chair gingerly, hands bracing behind her take some of the weight off her back and lower legs. “I don’t know,” she whispers, raising her fingers to her temple. “I don’t remember who I am,” her voice trembles and she clenches her teeth, trying to hide the fact her whole body is shaking. “What happened to me?”
“You don’t remember who you are?” He asks, hands flying. “Well that’s just fucking great!”
Flinching away from his anger, she says, “I don’t know what’s going on. Everything looks familiar, like I’ve been here before.”
“You’ve been here before, huh? Where are you? You said you know me, so please, enlighten us. Who am I? Who’s that?” He gestures to the taller one.
“I don’t know why I think I’ve been here before, I just said everything feels familiar,” she points at the guy who gave her clothes, ignoring the sympathetic look on his face. “Like how you said you thought you knew me. Like what happened when we touched,” she raises her voice, remembering with a shudder the fire racing through her head and down her neck.
The shorter guy turns towards the other, emotions written all over his face. Worry, fear, love.
“That true, Sam?”
“Dean, I don’t know,” he says, and I’m the one Dean’s supposed to look at like that rips though her like a sudden, brutal punch.
A harsh gasp escapes as it clicks; everything flooding back with a roar, the men in the room gone and she’s staring down the barrel of a gun. The hammer is cocked and with a flash, the shot is fired, slamming into her skull.
Clenching her midsection, her stomach heaves in shock, the room suddenly spins and she crashes to the floor.
They’re arguing about her.
She burrows deeper into the blankets, confusion twisting her stomach in knots. Arguing with him, the other Sam, Dean’s voice is an angry buzz in her ears. He called him Sam and looked right at him, not her. Hot fear slithers down her spine, painfully spiky and spreading, coursing through her veins and burning, burning, burning. Balling her fists, she covers her ears, throat tight, eyes stinging behind her closed lids, burrowing her face into the pillow.
This Dean doesn’t know her, doesn’t remember who she is, could see it on his face when he looked at her, green eyes cold. She’s a stranger, his instincts screaming to step away from the crazy or maybe she’s just another pretty face; someone he might pick up in a bar somewhere, a fuck ‘em and leave ‘em. He doesn’t remember all the times he held her close and wiped her tears away, crying for a mother she never knew. He doesn’t remember brushing her hair, making sure she was fed when Dad was gone; cleaning her skinned knees and stitching her back together all the times stupidity got the best of her, laying before him bleeding and sliced open.
He doesn’t remember the first time he kissed her, hot tongue licking into her mouth, thumb pressing a bruise under her chin, doesn’t remember the first time she fell back into a bed they shared, his naked weight warm and welcome between her spread thighs.
Desolation sweeps through her, icy-heat searing deep in her veins. There’s no place for her in this world if there’s already a Sam here.
She falls into a troubled slumber until groaning, she shifts with a shiver and the blanket falls away. That was the mother of all fucking nightmares, she thinks, pulse echoing in time to the pounding in her head. What the hell kind of shots did Dean talk me into doing last night? Her head feels like it’s been chewed up, spit out and liquefied in a blender. Freezing, she rolls over and reaches out, seeking Dean's inferno heat.
A throat clears and Sam’s eyes fly open. The room’s almost dark, the small hurricane lantern on the desk doing nothing to dispel the dancing shadows along the walls.
Oh, fuck me, she thinks, choking back a sob.
Someone sits in a darkened corner, only the outline of their upper body visible. “Who’s there?”
“Hey, girl,” says the gruff voice.
“Bobby,” she breathes in relief, “it’s really good to hear your voice.”
He grunts in acknowledgement. “How you doing?”
“You know who you are yet?”
Frowning, she bites her bottom lip. Couldn’t just be a dream. Oh, no. Can’t even be a fucking nightmare, she thinks, pinching herself hard just to be sure. She knows who she is; she just doesn’t know why there’s someone else in the house sharing her name, sharing her Dean.
Taking a deep breath and mentally preparing herself for the backlash, she says, “My name is Sam Winchester.”
“Bullshit,” Bobby says, leaning forward from the shadows. “Girl, I don’t take well to liars.”
“I’m not lying,” she grits her teeth, voice breaking.
Bobby stares at her for a moment before rolling his wheel chair closer, handing her the discarded glass of water from earlier. She drains it, ignoring the burn down her throat.
“Go easy with that,” Bobby says, moving back. “We already cleaned up one mess in this room from you tonight.”
Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she reaches over and balances the glass back on the table, shivering as a draft from the cracked window sneaks up the rear of her borrowed shirt.
“What’s that?” Bobby asks, pointing at her back.
Pulling the t-shirt down over the large knot of raised and angry tissue riding on her spine, she yanks the blanket up and over her shoulders. “A scar.”
“I can see that,” he says, resting his elbows on the arms of the wheelchair. “Where’d you get it?”
Elbows on her knees, she rubs her palms into her eyes. Flashes of memory blur, the knife on the ground, blinding white hot pain slicing through her back, sudden numbness below her legs. Dean’s calloused hands on her face, his voice the last she heard as the cloud-covered stars blurred into oblivion.
“Where do you think,” she snaps finally, dropping her hands into her lap. “You were there, remember?”
Bobby stares at her for a moment before canting his head. “I was there when this Samuel Winchester was stabbed in the back,” he says.
Taking a deep breath through her nose, she exhales, shaking her head and looking down at her hands. “My name is Samuel Winchester.”
“You wish. What’s your real name, girl?”
Sam closes her eyes and fervently wishes ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’. She looks at Bobby and chokes back a demented laugh. “My name is not ‘girl’, God damn it,” she says, staring him the eye, temper flaring, “my name is Samuel fucking Winchester.”
“The fuck you are. Who are you really? Who dumped you shot in the head dead on my porch? Why?”
“Look, I’m not playing any game and I’m not lying. I mean, I don’t know how I got here, I don’t know anything! I don’t who shot me,” she implores and then stops, eyes narrowing. “Shot me? Wait, there’s got to be some kind of mistake,” she shakes her head and ignores the memory of a muzzle flash, “But, but I couldn’t have been shot in the head.” Her hands touch her swollen nose and then slide up, pausing on the gauze, ripping it off.
Her fingers delicately touch the now closed indention in her forehead, the scab sloughing off with her touch. She murmurs in disgust, “gross,” before dropping the scab and the gauze on the table before her. “They must have missed. Maybe grazed me. Or something,” she adds lamely.
“They didn’t miss.”
She narrows her eyes and looks at him. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying you were dead when we found you on the front porch. Filmy eyes and blue-skin dead, with a bullet hole the size of Nebraska in the middle of your forehead.”
“But, but that’s impossible,” she sputters, hands spread out before her.
“How about you quit fucking around and tell me something I don’t know already.”
“Where’s Dean? Where’s my brother?”
“Girl, that man here ain’t your brother.”
“Semantics!” Her voice cracks and she quiets, glancing at the trembling empty glass beside her. Distress is causing power to bleed through her veins without her consent. If she’s not careful she’ll bring the whole house down, definitely not endearing Bobby to her cause.
She takes a few deep breaths, eyes on the glass, waiting until it settles before speaking again. “Dean is my brother,” she says. “He’s been watching over me since I was born and I’ve been riding around the country with him hunting things since Azazel killed my boyfriend Jess four years ago. Dean sold his soul for me, after Jake stabbed me in the back,” she leans over the arm rest, pulling up her shirt. “Look, knife scar, remember? He went to Hell and I couldn’t save him. I—we didn’t know Lilith held his contract until it was too late,” she drops her shirt, hands kneading at her thighs, “Dean’s my brother.”
Bobby grunts and rolls closer to her. “Hell, huh? He still in Hell?”
She shakes her head from side to side, moaning, closing her eyes against a spike of pain wedging between her eyes. “Christ. Stop me next time I try to make any sudden moves, will you?” She doesn’t miss the twitch of Bobby’s lips. “No, damn it. He was lifted out of Hell by the angel Castiel. The fucking angels told him God had plans for him and he thought he was going to stop the Apocalypse. And I thought I could kill Lilith by using my powers.”
At Bobby’s nod she continues, “Instead I broke the last fucking seal, all because of that dick Rudy, feeding me demon blood and lying bullshit after bullshit. I should have listened to Dean.”
“Rudy the demon, huh?”
Sam shrugs, “Yeah, Rudy. He told me he could help me kill Lilith and I trusted him. He lied and it ended badly. Like Lucifer rose and I started the apocalypse bad. Dean and I, we killed him with the knife, but it was too late. I’d already killed Lilith. Lucifer rose. The apocalypse started and it went straight into the shitter fast after that, the Devil wasting no time in raining hellfire and mushroom clouds on the most populated cities across the United States. There’s no telling how many millions were lost.” She meets his eyes. “Did he,” she swallows hard, “did Sam start the apocalypse here, too?”
Bobby nods his head, startled expression fading. “Yeah.” He looks out the window for a moment before turning back to her. “We’re had volcanos dormant for hundred of years erupting, never-ending storms sparking tornados and flooding. Massive earthquakes off the Richter scale happening all around the world, destruction everywhere. And there’s a demon virus out there, spreading quickly through the survivors from coast to coast,” he pushes his hat back and scratches at his scalp. “Lucifer released Death.”
She twitches her head and furrows her brow. “Death?”
“Et ecce equus pallidus: et qui sedebat super eum, nomen illi Mors, et infernus sequebatur eum, et data est illi potestas super quattuor partes terræ, interficere gladio, fame, et morte, et bestiis terræ.”
A chill slides down her spine, her mouth dropping open. “Revelation, 6:8.” She frowns and wraps her hands around her knees. “He released the ‘I will walk the earth and kill everything in my path’ Death? Damn.” Leaning forward, she runs her hands through her hair.
“We’ve been getting more and more reports of people dying violently, plagues spreading, towns completely wiped out or deserted as people hunker down in the larger cities.”
Sam sighs and clenches her hands around her knees, “I’m sorry.”
Bobby nods instead of answering, then gestures towards his legs. “Am I like this where you’re from?”
Sam stares at him for a beat and then slowly shakes her head, looking down at her hands. “No. You’re dead.”
Bobby sits back in his chair, face stricken and pale. He opens his mouth as if he’s going to speak, but closes it again. Finally, he asks, “How?”
She pinches the bridge of her nose, the sudden sharp pain in her sinuses having nothing to do with the healing hole in her forehead. “We—I don’t know. Before the lines went down, we kept calling you and there was no answer. We rushed here and you were—you were dead.” She opens her eyes and looks at him shrewdly, clearing the sudden lump in her throat. “I don’t know what happened, or why you’re in a wheelchair here, but we, Dean and I, we didn’t do so good after you were gone. So stop thinking about it, okay? You’re pretty much all the family we’ve—they’ve got left and we need you.”
Suddenly he holds out a hand towards her and she flinches away from him. “What are you doing?”
“Offering you some antibiotics and pain killers. Don’t you trust me?”
Sam snorts, covering her mouth with her hand. Closing her eyes, she exhales heavily through her nose. “Fuck, no,” she finally says behind her fingers, dropping them into her lap. “I think someone with a severely fucked up sense of humor is enjoying watching me get ass-raped by the world.”
But she takes the pills and continues to answer his questions until her eyes grow heavy.
No need for words now
We sit in silence
You look me in the eye directly
You met me
I think its Wednesday
The mess we're in
“Where are you?” Bobby barks over the crackle of the walkie-talkie.
Dean glances at Sam, bringing the talkie up to his mouth. “We’re in the yard checking the perimeter. You find out any more info from that girl?”
“Yeah, come on up on the front porch. We got us a problem.”
They’re walking back to the house when Dean stops and grabs Sam’s arm. “Hey, what that girl said in there, about that freaky shit that went down when you touched her. That true?”
Sam glances at the house and down at Dean. “Yeah,” he says, remembering the flash of heat and percussion her touch sent through his body. “Look, can I tell you something, Dean? Something that’s really crazy and I don’t even know if I feel comfortable saying it out loud?”
“Dude,” Dean says, holding his arms out the side, “you know I’m the King of Crazy,” he waggles his fingers in a ‘come here’ gesture. “Lay it on me.”
Sam smiles tightly, taking a deep breath. “I’ve seen her before, I mean, I know her from somewhere, I’m almost positive I’ve talked to her before, I just can’t remember where. But I can feel her deep in here,” he points to his chest. “I can feel her distress and unhappiness, can tell how fucked up she’s feeling right now. But when she touched me, Dean, I—” he stops for a moment, hands on his hips and looking away, face pensive.
Dean sighs. “Just tell me what the hell happened when you touched her, Sam.”
He drops his arms to his sides, blowing his breath out, making a decision. “I didn’t know if I wanted to kill her or,” Sam pauses, closing his mouth.
“Dammit, Sam, just spit it out.”
“Fuck her, Dean. I didn’t know if I wanted to kill her or fuck her, okay?”
Dean stares at Sam and wipes a hand across his mouth, shaking his head.
“What?” Sam asks.
Dean raises his eyebrows and shakes his head again. “Nothing, you pervert. Let’s go, Bobby’s waiting.”
Sam cringes, blows out a sigh and stares at Dean’s retreating back.
“Says her name is,” Bobby pauses and looks up at Sam. “Samuel Winchester.”
Both brothers exclaim, “What?”
“You don’t believe her do you?” Dean asks, cracking his neck from side to side.
Bobby sighs and looks out over his junkyard, wheeling himself forward and back a few times. “At this point, I don’t know what to believe, but she knows a lot. More than I knew, more than you assholes felt needed to be shared with me.” Bobby rubs the back of his neck. “She’s got a scar at the bottom of her spine that looks helluva lot like yours, Sam. Not to mention an anti-possession symbol tattooed on her chest just like you pair of yahoos.
“She knows shit, but the shit she knows is just a little bit off. The big shit’s the same. She’s one of old Yellow Eyes special kids and had a rodeo in the Thunderdome with the other special kids. She died, you died,” he points at Sam, “said it wasn’t the first time she died, neither. Claims she died for a few minutes after her Dean saved her from a Rawhead hunt gone wrong,” Bobby looks straight at Dean, stressing the word ‘her’ before his name.
“That never happened to me,” Sam says, eyebrows twitching, pushing his hands in his front pockets. “It wasn’t a nest. I took the Rawhead out on my own when I was twenty.”
Dean’s looks up at his brother in surprise. “You did?”
“Yeah,” Sam says, shrugging his shoulders.
Dean sputters. “And you’re just telling this story now?”
“It was a long time ago and we weren’t even talking at the time.”
“Moving on,” Bobby says, “So she died at Cold Oak and her Dean made a deal and brought her back to life, went to Hell because of it and their version of Castiel lifted him from the pit, same as you. Played around with a demon and drank his blood and got stronger so she could kill Lilith…blah, blah, blah and Lucifer rose. What happened here happened to her too, but the shit’s worse there, like whole cities burned off the map worse. And last thing she remembers is someone taking a shot at her.”
“She doesn’t remember who?” Dean asks.
Bobby shrugs his shoulders. “No, but I think maybe she’s lying, maybe she knows damn well who shot her.”
Sam leans against the porch rail. “Bobby, if she’s lying about that, couldn’t she be lying about everything else?”
Bobby takes a deep breath. “Honestly? Hell, I think she’s telling the truth about who she is. Whatever world she’s from, she’s Samuel Winchester.”
“Come again? What do you mean whatever world she’s from? The fuck kinda trickery do you think this is?” Dean asks, crossing his arms over his chest.
“How the hell should I know? But I’ll tell you the protection wards I’ve placed on the house recognize her and haven’t so much as tinkled since she’s been here,” Bobby looks up at Sam and then Dean. “What I do know is you two are always wrapped up in some fucked-up crazy ass shit, damn it. So, there’s just one thing I keep coming back to. You boys ever hear of parallel universes before?”
“Of course,” Sam says, glancing at Dean when he starts to do-do-do-do the Twilight Zone theme under his breath.
Bobby catches the look that passes between them. “What?”
Sam stares at Dean until Dean rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders. “Okay, so a few years ago, we were looking into a possible case near the Great Hopewell Road. You heard of it, right?” Sam asks.
“Of course,” Bobby says, “it’s built on the strongest ley line in America.”
“Yeah, so we check into this motel and Dean feels the presence of a girl on his bed.”
“A girl,” Bobby grunts. “Why am I not surprised?”
“Fuck’s that supposed to mean?” Dean asks, raising his voice. “Look, we pushed up against something in Newark, Ohio and it pushed back, hard. It was like the lines between reality there thinned or something. There was another me and he was trying to save the life of his sister, Samantha.”
“Was it that girl?” Bobby asks, shooting a thumb over his shoulder towards the house.
Dean shakes his head. “Nah, I don’t think so. The other girl in Newark had long blonde hair, and was,” he twists his lips and shrugs his shoulders, “really hot. Not that that girl in there won’t be hot, maybe, when her face heals--”
“Dean,” Sam says, pinching the bridge of his nose, “shut up.”
“Hot,” Bobby repeats, rolling his eyes.
Dean uses his index finger to rub at the corner of his eye. “Yeah, so?”
Shaking his head, Bobby turns the wheelchair around and looks at Sam. “Did you feel her too?”
Sam fidgets from foot to foot, uncomfortable. “Yeah, at the end, I guess I could feel her rage. She’d just turned into a vampire and was hungry and angry and wanted to kill the other Dean. Then the other Dean staked and dusted the master vampire and she returned to normal.”
“Christ almighty,” Bobby says. “It’s the fucking plot of the Lost Boys.”
Dean chuckles. “I didn’t know you were a fan of the Coreys, Bobby.”
“I’m not,” Bobby growls, giving Dean the eye. “So then what happened?”
Dean and Sam exchange a look before Dean says, “Nothing. We high tailed it out of there.”
“Why what?” Dean asks.
“Why’d you leave?”
Dean fidgets, rubbing a hand along the back of his neck, and Sam sighs, knowing neither of them want to mention the obvious love connection between the other Dean and Samantha. “Uh, well. We were pretty freaked out.”
“Understatement,” Sam mutters. “Back then, we had no idea stuff like this could happen. It was before my run in with the Trickster at the Mystery Spot and your,” he points at Dean. “Dance with the djinn.”
“And before Castiel sent me back in time and Zachariah cast me into the future.”
“Christ. How many alternate realities have you boys lived through?”
Head spinning, Sam pushes off the porch rail and looks out over the yard, running a hand through his hair. “Too damn many.”
Dean tilts his head, eyebrow quirking up; a grin breaking out over his face. “Okay, so if she’s from a parallel universe, then maybe she really is you. Dude, I always knew you shoulda been born a girl,” he laughs, elbowing Sam in the ribs.
“Fuck you, Dean,” Sam growls, not in the mood.
“Enough,” Bobby says.
“You think I should talk to her?” Dean asks.
“No, not you. Sam here should.”
“Yeah. She’s you, right?”
Sam stuffs his hands in his pockets and shrugs his shoulders. “Look, I gotta be honest with you, Bobby; I’m pretty creeped out by all this right now. I mean, she’s claiming to be me. I need a little time to wrap my head around this.”
“Well, you got time,” Bobby says, staring down at the blood stain, “you can clean this shit off my porch.”
“What’s she doing now?” Dean asks.
“I hooked her up with some pain pills and antibiotics. Set her up to sleep in the spare bedroom.”
Dean’s face goes blank for a moment. “You always make us sleep on the floor out in the front room. How come you never offered us the spare bedroom?”
Bobby shakes his head, turns the chair around and throws, “Jesus Christ, because there’s only one bed, you idjit,” over his shoulder before going back inside.
Well I didn't mean to be looking for you
But it's cold in the alley and my life's a mess
There's a room on fire in the back of my brain
I've been searching through faces
But they're all the same
A few days later, she’s sitting on the steps out back, staring at scattered gold and crimson leaves carpeting the ground. The rising sun is fighting through shreds of clouds at the horizon, peaking through the small forest of trees at the edge of Bobby’s property. There’s a bitter chill to the air; streaky frost covering the windshields and faded rust of the junked cars piled haphazardly in the lot.
She rests her healed forehead in the palm of her hand, stomach tight with a faint thread of hysteria and constant fear. She’s sick of sleeping and waking, praying every moment before opening her eyes she’ll wake up in a motel room, in the back of the Impala, back in her world, with her Dean.
She’s tired of quizzical glances and cleared throats whenever she encountered Dean or Sam the last few days. Tired of constantly wondering and not knowing why or how she was dumped in this world that’s so similar, but so different from her own.
All she wants to do is curl into a little ball and rock back and forth, on constant edge from being so close to someone she loves so much and having him look at her like a complete stranger.
Exhaling a white plume of smoky condensation, she stares up the sky, angry gray clouds hanging low.
She thinks of her Dean. Is he missing her? Is he looking for her? Or does he think she’s dead because someone shot her in the head?
The screen door creaks open behind her and the skin on the back of her neck crawls, gooseflesh breaking out along her arms. She shivers, pulling the borrowed hoodie closer around her chest, fingers flexing for a gun that’s not there. Boots walk across the wooden slats and stop alongside of her.
“Hey,” Sam says, kneeling down and handing her a steaming cup of coffee. “It’s instant, with powdered creamer so I can’t guarantee the taste. But I took a chance and made it light and sweet.”
She takes it from him gratefully, curving her hands around the warm mug, bringing it to her lips and blowing across the steam gently rising from the surface. “Just the way I like it,” she says, noticing the way his lips curve into a knowing smile.
“Yeah, me too.”
Silence stretches between them and Sam settles down beside her on the top step.
“I miss Starbucks,” she says finally, breaking the awkward quiet, “I could really go for a Venti Caramel Macchiato.”
He sips from his mug before resting it on his denim covered knees. “Don’t let Dean hear you say that. He doesn’t need any more ammunition in the ‘my brother is really a girl’ argument. Just you being here is confirmation of something he’s always suspected.”
Sam chokes on her coffee, sudden, sharp laughter bubbling out of her. Brown liquid drips down her chin and she wipes her mouth with her covered forearm.
“I miss Starbucks, too,” he says, glancing at her forehead. “How’s your head?”
“Healing,” she says, pulling her bangs until they cover the puckered, fading scar in the middle of her forehead. “I guess I really can’t complain since I was, you know, dead.”
“At the rate it’s healing—”
“I know,” she says, dropping her hand, mind skittering away from the type of magic needed to accomplish it. “Another couple days and the scar should be completely gone.”
He looks at her intensely, eyebrows furrowed. “You look so familiar to me, like maybe we’ve met somewhere before.”
Sam cuts her eyes away from him, rubbing her sweatshirt covered stomach grumbling under her hand. “Yeah, I know what you mean, you too. Do you think it’s because we’re maybe, you know, the same person?”
“You’ve accepted quite readily that you’re me and vice versa. Why?”
Sam sips her coffee before answering, straightening her legs down the steps, pointing her Converse covered toes towards the ground until her calf muscles burn. “Because I know who I am,” she begins, “I was named after my grandfather and my mother refused to name me anything else when I was born a girl. I know you’re going all clinical right now and trying to look at this objectively because you can’t accept I’m Sam Winchester too. You’re thinking I’m lying or psycho, or maybe some new type of demon, something that’s crawled out of Lucifer’s pit in order to destroy you and Dean.” She pushes a hand through her hair and tucks it back behind her ears. “How am I doing so far?”
Sam sputters next to her for a moment, his hand twitching against his thigh. “Do you blame me?”
She touches the mole on her cheek with her index finger, connecting the dots, fingering the raised brown blemish on her chin with her thumb. “No. I mean, how can I? Because maybe I’d be doing the exact same thing if you showed up in my world.”
Would you, Sam? What if you were wasted and feeling guilty because Dean was in Hell and you had no idea how to get him out? What would you have done then, huh?
Sitting up straight, something in her memory fragmenting and spinning, a jukebox and Jim Beam; cold rain soaking her skin, alley bricks rough and crumbling against her back, a face in shadow kissing her hard, mouth opening above hers, hot tongue sweeping in.
“Why do you think you’re here?” He finally asks, startling her back to the present.
Dropping her head into her hands, she says, “I’ve got no idea. I mean, apparently I was dead, again.” She raises her arms and spreads them out in front of her, framing invisible words. “Now playing: The Death of Sam Winchester, the sequel’s sequel.”
He smiles ruefully. “We’re definitely a special breed. There aren’t too many people can say they’ve come back from the dead once, let alone multiple times. Not to mention Lucifer’s on his quest to possess me, not caring if I die or not, he said he’ll just keep bringing me back.”
“It’s a curse then; like we’re destined to keep coming back as hunter zombies or something. No wonder most other hunters hate us and call us those fucking Winchesters. Do you think one of these days we’ll finally be wrapped in salt-soaked sheets and burned on a pyre?” Sam shrugs her shoulders and takes a sip from her coffee, “or do you think we’ll keep hunting and running until we’re more myth than human?”
Sam leans back on his elbows, running a hand through his hair. “Fucking Winchesters is right,” he says and there’s a hard edge underlying his words she doesn’t think she understands... or maybe she does. Cold curiosity tilts her head to the side. Are they like Dean and me?
Cupping the back of her neck with her hand, she says, “But I can’t wrap my head around why I’m so special. What makes me different enough that I was brought here? I swear I had nothing to do with this. If you could only feel how scared I am, I feel like I’m going to vomit all the time. I’m freaking out over here just as much as you are, if not more.”
Sam nods his head and sips from his coffee again. “I believe you,” he says quietly, squinting his eyes against the rising sun, “because I can feel some of what you’re going through.”
Slowly, her stomach unclenches. They sit in silence for a few minutes, until finally she says, “No birds.”
He looks up at the lightening sky, nodding. “No birds, no insects. No cricket songs, no wildlife. Sometimes I wonder where they all went. It’s like they know something huge is going down and they’re in hiding, just waiting to see what side wins.”
“It’s bad here.”
Scratching his sideburns, he says with haunted eyes, “Yeah, it’s straight out of Revelation; hail, firestorms, bodies of water boiling or turning to blood. Mass demon possessions, like the gates of Hell have been thrown wide open. Power’s gone most places and fading fast in others. Telephones and cells are useless. Whole towns are disappearing to floods or fires. God only knows how many people are gone. We’re doing what we can, exorcising demons and trying to save the world, but we’re losing. Every day more demons are being spawned, more towns being wiped clean, more lives lost. Not to mention that the things people can do to one another even without demon interference defies description.”
Taking another deep sip of her coffee, she puts it down next to her, tucking her hands behind her knees. “Yeah, it’s pretty fucking awful in my world, too,” she smiles sadly. “Why couldn’t I have been sent to the world with the fuzzy bunnies and rainbow unicorns?”
He laughs, sitting back up. “Yeah, there’s a serious lack of fuzzy bunnies and unicorns here.”
“Seriously,” she says soberly. “I can pull a demon out of a human and he’ll turn around and slit the throat of an eighty year old woman because she’s got some cans of dog food hidden in her pantry.”
Sam glances over at her in surprise. “You’re still using your powers?”
Biting her bottom lip, she nods her head. “You still got the knife?”
“My powers don’t kill the host, you know? Seems more fool proof than the knife and easier than spouting some Latin when a demon’s swinging a bloody machete at my head.”
“The demon blood, do you need it to do it?”
“Do you remember how you felt? I mean, after you opened the portal.”
“Of course,” he says. “I was—I mean, I caused the Apocalypse. I released Lucifer. I was scared, ashamed, wrecked. I still feel that way. Dean, he doesn’t like to—anyway, I wanted nothing more than to go back and do it all over.”
She nods. “As soon as the doors of the plane opened and we were in the airport I found a bathroom and puked up everything in my stomach.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“So ask yourself, you still want the demon blood?”
Sam shakes his head and purses his lips into a thin line. “I just didn’t know if the blood fueled the power, you know?”
Mirroring his movements from before, she pushes her bangs out of her eyes and says, “Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, my mind screaming, it’s just a little taste, you’re not hurting anyone, what’s the big fucking deal? But the idea of physically tasting it again makes me want to throw up. I still—,” she breaks off. “I don’t sleep very well.”
Sam’s coffee sloshes over the cup onto his jeans and he wipes at it, his face paling. He runs a hand through his hair until he regains his composure. “Christ, everything you’ve just said, everything you’ve been feeling, I know. Sometimes, we’ll use the knife, when the exorcism isn’t working and there’s blood on it and I’ll stare at it and touch it and want to bring it to my mouth for just a little taste. And if it weren’t for Dean, maybe I’d be hunting demons for sport, for the high of their blood.”
Dropping her hands, she picks up the mug and sips. “Me too. Dean—My Dean keeps me sane.”
They sit in silence for a few moments and this time it feels comfortable. She folds her body forward until she rests her chin on her knees. “I do like talking to you, Sam who’s me. Except you’re a guy and nine feet tall. Which is all kinds of fucked up.”
“What?” Sam asks, laughing, nudging her shoulder with his. “You’re a lot shorter than I would’ve imagined a girl version of me to be. If I ever imagined myself a girl, which I haven’t, no matter what Dean might tell you. What are you? Four foot?”
She smiles. “I’m five-ten, fuck you very much.”
Sam throws his head back, laughing and tension drains from her body. Maybe, it’ll be okay. Maybe she’ll be okay. Maybe they’ll help her get home. Home. Dean.
“So your Dean,” he pauses for a moment, glancing over at her and my Dean, runs through her with a little internal shiver. “What does Dean say about you using your power?”
My Dean, she thinks again, eyes flickering shut, a sudden memory of him flushing her skin. Her fingers glide up his naked torso, his eyes on hers hot, holding his weight on his elbows until he rolled over, bringing her with him. He grasped her tight against his bare chest, breath warm against her neck until little by little she began to breathe with him, his fingers pulling her hair to her side and his lips soft against her neck. Blushing; she looks down at the ground, her throat tight with need for him.
“He hates it. He’s afraid it means I have a tie to Lucifer in some way. Because I released him, I guess.” She sighs and hunches her shoulders. “He says he’s over it, that we’ve moved on, but I don’t know. Sometimes I think he’s still so pissed off at me. More than he lets on. With everything I do, I keep trying to apologize,” she trails off, bending her head and studying her hands.
“Yeah, I know,” Sam agrees and she doesn’t have to say anymore on that subject.
And what about that other thing you worry about? The thing that keeps you awake at night. Maybe you can tell him. I mean, he’s you, right?
Taking a deep breath, she says in a rush, “And then I think maybe he’s right, because I can sense Lucifer. I get these feelings sometimes. When he’s angry or sad or something happens that makes him happy. Not enough to pinpoint his location, just enough, you know, to freak me the fuck out.
“After I drained that poor woman, after Lilith—died, when Lucifer was rising, that’s when fucking Rudy said I didn’t need the blood; my powers were strong enough without it, that I had it in me the whole time. What was it he said? I didn’t need the feather to fly. Guess he was right.” Sam pauses and rubs her temples. “I’m glad we gutted that asshole with the knife.”
It feels good to finally say it out loud, what’s been haunting her for months. But then she glances up at Sam and his expression, the look of horror on his face, freezes her blood and breaks her heart.
Closing her eyes, she breathes deeply for a moment, something akin to betrayal throbbing deep in her chest. Of anyone, especially about this, she thought he would understand. Thought maybe he was feeling the same urges and flashes into Lucifer’s mind.
Standing, she mumbles, “Thanks for the coffee,” ignoring Sam’s attempts to get her to stay and shrugging off his hand when he tries to stop her. He calls her name, the screen door slamming shut behind her.
Determined to hide in the bedroom until the universe decides to right itself again, she’s shaking her head, muttering to herself when she turns the corner and slams into Dean.
“Sonovabitch,” Dean oafs, grabbing her forearms to keep her from tumbling backwards, her mouth opening in surprise. He looks down at her and every single freckle on his face is the same. Inhaling deeply, she’s rocked by how he even smells the same. She misses him so much; it’s a physical ache deep in her bones. Without thinking, she slides her arms around his waist and breathes, “Dean,” pressing her mouth to his. His lips opening over hers, weakening her knees. She ignores his morning breath, pushing against him until their hips meet, a small moan escaping her mouth, he’s growing hard against her.
“What the fuck, Dean?”
She breaks away from him; hand flying up to cover her mouth, looking behind her at Sam standing in the doorway, arms wide open. Without another word, she turns and rushes to her room, slamming the door behind her. Back pressed against the wood, she slides to the floor and drops her head to her knees.