Title: Life's Defining Moments
Pairing/Characters: Sam, Dean, Bobby, John, Jake, mention of Jessica, Azazel & Lilith
Warning: Swearing, character death (3.22)
Spoilers: 1.01 Pilot, 2.21 AHBL pt.1, 2.22 AHBL pt.2 & 3.22 NRFTW
Word Count: 2,797
Disclaimer: Don't own - just playing in somebody else's sandbox.
Summary: The defining moments in Sam's life always seem to centre around the sight of blood.
A/N: Written for round one at spn_teamfic
the prompt was Blood.
The first time Sam saw blood he was six months old.
It came from a man with yellow eyes who had done something to his wrist and let it fall, salty and bitter, into Sam’s mouth.
Sam has no memory of that.
The second time Sam saw blood it was the same night.
This time his mother had rushed into his nursery and had tried to attack the man with yellow eyes. Somehow she ended up against the wall and then the ceiling, a slash of bright red across her stomach that sluggishly dripped crimson rain.
Sam doesn’t remember that either but he knows it was the single most important event in his life. He lost the mother he never got a chance to know but set his father on a path of revenge in her name and dragged his sons with him, forsaking normal and safe forever more.
The next time Sam saw blood he was ten months old.
His dad had laid him down on one of the two beds in the motel room that had been home since that fateful night four months before, for his afternoon nap. But even at that tender age he had had a mind of his own and wasn’t going to go to sleep. Instead, he had screamed and wriggled and screamed some more until John had ordered Dean to lay with him.
It had worked to settle him down for long enough that his big brother had fallen asleep and their father to drop his guard.
Sam ended up wriggling off the bed and cut his head open, just above his left temple, on the metal bed frame.
He doesn’t actually remember that time either but until he was thirteen he used to pretend he did.
It started because, every so often, Dean would tease him about being a crybaby. Would smirk while telling him about how he had cried for over an hour that day. It used to infuriate and embarrass him until he overheard his father giving Dean hell for it because it was supposed to be his job to make sure that nothing happened to Sam and he had failed.
Sam used that information against Dean, letting him believe that he remembered that time and the tongue lashing his brother had received. He thought it was a pretty good plan until the day he understood that the look Dean’s face would morph into was guilt over failing to protect him.
He stopped pretending to remember and eventually Dean found better things to tease him about.
The first time Sam really remembered seeing blood he was three.
His dad had taken him and Dean to see a man he told them was Uncle Bobby and that they would be staying with him for a couple days while their father ran a couple errands.
At first both him and Dean had been upset being left with a man they didn’t know but uncle Bobby had row upon row of cars and he let them play in a couple of them so it wasn’t so bad.
That was until their dad reappeared a couple days later, almost too late for either boy to be up but uncle Bobby hadn’t really been paying attention to the time or really, even them. Then their dad was stumbling through the front door, his dark blue over shirt almost black with blood, the white t-shirt underneath dripping with it as it made an ever-widening circle from his left shoulder out.
Sam would never forget the first time he felt true fear.
The second time Sam remembers seeing blood he was still three.
He fell chasing Dean in the asphalt parking lot of a nameless motel. It was just a scrape and what little blood did well was barely enough to fill the scrapes on his knee. Still Dean picked him up, carried him into their room, gently cleaned it, bandaged it and kissed it better.
It taught him that seeing blood didn’t necessarily mean fear.
It wasn’t the third, forth, fifth or even the tenth time Sam remembered seeing blood when he was eight but it was something more than a scrape or paper cut and it stuck in his mind.
It was one of the rare times that when their dad came back to the motel they were staying at from his job, that Sam had still been awake enough to realise it.
There had been a thump against the door and Dean had gasped softly before Sam had felt him tense from where his shoulder rested against his brother’s thigh. Their dad had always told them never to open the door for anyone no matter what they heard but this was the first time that it seemed like someone was actually trying to get in.
He had wanted to roll onto his side and curl himself around his big brother but he was too scared to move. He had never understood why they couldn’t open the door if someone came knocking, had made it into a big game in the silence of his own head, the bogeyman on one side, him and Dean on the other. It had been fun to imagine all the ways they would outsmart the bogeyman. It wasn’t so much fun anymore.
Only a handful of seconds, that seemed like a horrifying eternity to him, a key turned in the lock and Dean was breathing out “Dad” and practically melting in relief as the door swung open on squeaky hinges.
But then Dean was jumping off the bed and his feet pounding loudly as he sprinted across the room. Their dad groaned and Sam risked getting in trouble for being awake by rolling over onto his side and slitting his eyes open to see what was wrong.
It was like being thrown back five years only this time the right thigh of his jeans were in shreds and Sam could see the blood welling out of the gashes to color the blue to black.
It didn’t take Dean long to get their dad to the other bed, help him out of his jeans and have the first aid kit and a bowl of clean water resting on the nightstand.
He watched, fear running through him but morbidly fascinated, as his big brother first cleaned and then stitched up their father’s wounds efficiently, like it wasn’t the first time.
After their dad had stumbled into the bathroom, muttering about having a shower and Dean had turned on him.
“I know you’re awake squirt.”
Sam blinked his eyes open and curled tighter into himself. There had been so much blood, on their dad, on his jeans, the white towel that Dean had wormed underneath his leg was red with it. How could someone be okay when they had bled that much?
“Is dad gonna be okay?”
The fear was so thick in his voice that it cracked with it.
Dean’s face slid from annoyed to reassuring. “Of course Sammy.”
He wanted to feel better but all that blood. “But Dean he just kept bleeding.”
His brother walked over and settled gently onto the bed beside him. “Dog bites sometimes do that Sammy. But it’s okay because Dad’s like Superman, he’s big and strong and tough.”
He couldn’t picture his dad in blue tights. Maybe he was more like a Ninja Turtle. They were just turtles but they were fast and strong and they never got hurt too bad and they had the bonus of not having a weakness that could be used against them.
“Nah, I think dad’s like a Ninja Turtle.”
Dean raised a confused eyebrow but he smiled all the same. “Sure Sammy just like a Ninja Turtle only without the shell.”
Dad might bleed but he was like a superhero and nothing kept a superhero down for long.
The next time that stood out in Sam’s mind when he saw blood he was twelve.
He knew all about what their dad’s job was now, thanks to finding and reading their father’s journal than the incident with the thing in his closet and the 45 when he was nine. The idea that all the monsters that kids in his classes spoke about mostly in whispers, their false bravado painfully obvious to him, were actually real and in the world and killing people was still kind of scary. But the training their dad put them through wasn’t so bad and dad knew how to kill all of the monsters so it was okay.
Or it had been until Dean turned sixteen and their dad proclaimed him old enough to help him out on hunts.
It was how Sam found himself holed up in a ramshackle motel room, shotgun by the door and 45 tucked under his pillow, by himself during Spring break while dad and Dean hunted for a black dog.
At least dad hadn’t packed them up and moved them again. At least Sam would be going back to the same school after break was over.
What caught his attention first and dragged him away from the book of demon lore that Bobby had leant him the last time they had been to South Dakota was the sound of squealing tires.
It was probably nothing but he had been unusually nervous all night, it was the only thing to explain how he had jumped off the bed and crossed the room in three long strides to peer out the window by the door.
The Impala was already parked, crookedly, in the parking stall and the one beside it, in front of the door and dad had one of the back doors open, his head and upper torso disappearing into the car.
A second later he emerged with Dean in his arms.
Sam couldn’t breathe, his body shook with the sudden on slot of adrenaline but somehow he managed to get the door open and stand out of the way as dad carried his semi-conscious brother into the room.
Their dad grunted as he pushed past to lay Dean on the closest bed.
He could feel his body shaking and could taste hysteria at the back of his throat. “Dad?”
“First aid kit!” He barked over his shoulder at him before starting on pushing his brother’s jean jacket and shirts up and out of the way.
There were four slashes spanning Dean’s stomach and the blood wasn’t just welling in them, it was flowing out and down along his sides.
He couldn’t move, sure that if he tried his knees wouldn’t hold him and he’d end up, face first, on the floor. He couldn’t breathe through his nose because if he did he could smell Dean’s blood, coppery and heavy in the air and he shouldn’t be able to smell it. The smell of blood wasn’t Dean. Dean was gun oil and sweat and old leather from sitting in the Impala on hot days and spice from his after-shave. Not blood, never blood.
“Dean?” He could barely choke his brother’s name out but he must have heard it because his head flopped towards him and he blinked sluggishly at him.
“God damn it Sam! The fucking first aid kit!”
He jerked at his father’s yell and ran to the bathroom.
It didn’t take long to find the kit. It was one of the few things that their father insisted be in the same place regardless where they were staying or for how long. It was always on top of the toilet tank ready for use.
Sam had grabbed it and all the towels in the bathroom that were clean before skidding back into the main room.
“Here.” He whispered and flushed at his father’s dark look.
He was going to be running extra laps in the morning, either for not responding the first time his father demanded the first aid kit or because of the hesitancy in his voice. Maybe both.
It had taken their father almost two hours to stem the flow of blood and stitch his brother back together. And during the whole time he never paused in his degrading of Dean for getting mauled by the black dog or for the fact that he was going to have to finish the hunt by himself the next night.
Sam learnt two things that night while he watched his brother’s blood run. One, it scared him worse to see Dean bleed than it ever did his dad. And two, their father didn’t see them like sons but soldiers to be used as fodder for the betterment of the world. It was the exact moment he started to hate their way of life and, in a small way, their dad.
The next time that Sam saw blood and it affected him more than it would if he was a normal college kid with a normal family back in Kansas was when he was twenty-two.
He had heard the story about how his mother had died, first from Dean and then later from his father when he was too drunk to realize it was Sam and not Dean he was slurring at. Knew all about how his dad had found her pinned to the ceiling in Sam’s nursery, a gash opening her stomach and the brief moment of hope that she might be okay if John could only get her down before flames burst out from between her and the ceiling.
He had been there, he had seen but he had only been six months old and couldn’t remember it.
Didn’t mean that when he open his eyes and saw Jessica pinned above him, her blood dripping down on him and the bed from the gash opening her stomach, that he couldn’t see it playing out in his mind’s eye. A faded sepia tone overlay of his mother’s face, his mother’s body over that of Jessica.
After Dean dragged him out of his burning apartment and everything was over and done, all he was left with was nothing more than a memory of the girl he loved fading and merging with the false memory of his mother.
Sam now understood his father’s obsession with finding the thing that had killed his wife as he used the rear-view mirror to wipe Jessica’s blood from his face. He was going to find it, tear it apart and watch its blood drain away.
The next time seeing blood meant something to Sam he was twenty-four.
It was days dry and if it wasn’t for the raised pink of the healing wound on his back and Dean telling him that he had been hurt but he’d live, he would have been hard pressed to say it was his. Well it was on the back of his shirt and on his jacket but all the same he didn’t really remember being hurt.
It wasn’t until Bobby’s and then later, Jake’s astonishment at seeing him alive that he pretty much had it figured out. Still it took Dean admitting to what he had done for it to be true.
Sam learnt to hate the sound of his own heart beating, pushing blood through his veins because it was the cause and the timer counting down Dean’s days.
In the next 363 days Sam saw more than his fair share of blood but that really wasn’t anything new being a hunter but it was shortly after he turned 25 that it almost broke him for good.
He always hated seeing Dean bleed and because of it, the life they led but this time there would be no amount of stitches and bitching that would make it better.
The hellhound hadn’t been gentle or particular about what part of his brother’s body it went for. Dean was a mass of gashes and bites and his blood was everywhere, the floor, his body, Sam.
And Sam could not fix this.
But later as he rode shotgun in Bobby’s truck, Dean’s body laid out in a pine coffin in the box, his brother’s bloody clothes in a plastic bag at the bottom of his duffle, a plan began to form.
He’d summon a crossroads demon and if it wouldn’t deal with him, he’d find a way to open the devil’s gate even without the colt. And if that didn’t work, he’d hunt Lilith down and barter her life for Dean’s.
Not that she’d survive the meeting but he’d let her think she would. But when it was all said and done he was going to take her head.
The bloodier and gorier the better and he’d do whatever it took to get it.
Sam learnt that nothing, not his father’s warning, not Dean’s fear, not Bobby’s disapproval would stop him from getting his revenge.