Fire. It was everywhere. Flames growing higher and higher. No escape.
"You shouldn't have tried to run, Sam."
Hot. It was so hot. The heat from the flames getting more intense. No escape.
"You had to have known we would've found you."
Screams. They were so loud. Ringing through his ears until they echoed inside his head, over and over. No escape.
"Help! Please, help!"
Air. It was getting thinner, harder to take it in. Need to breathe. Can't breathe. Need air - there's not enough.
The smell. God, the smell...
"SAM, HELP ME!"
Flames getting higher, heat getting worse, screams getting louder, there's not enough air, and God, the smell...
Flames, heat, screams, air, smell...
"NO!" The word was halfway out his mouth before Sam realised he was speaking it. Sweat dripped down his face as he panted heavily. Looking frantically around the room, it took a second before he recognized where he was.
Red and silver wallpaper, cream-coloured wardrobe in the corner, chest drawer against the wall, window that allowed the streetlight outside to shine through; blankets over him, soft mattress under him, warmbody beside him...
He let out a loud sigh of relief. He was in his bedroom. He was in his bedroomand he was safe.
He turned his head to the side and stared at the girl sleeping peacefully next to him.
More importantly...Jess was safe.
It was just a dream.
Letting out another sigh, Sam turned away from his girlfriend and ran both hands down his face, wiping away the sweat on his forehead, the sleep from his eyes...and hopefully the nightmare out of his head.
He was used to them - the dreams. Ever since he was sixteen and had managed to hide himself away, he had dreamt every single night that they would find him. But this dream...
Same dream every night for the last two weeks and it was starting to freak him out.
It just seemed so...real.
Shaking his head, Sam threw the covers off of him and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning his forearms on his knees for a moment. He had to get his act together. It had been three years. For three years he had managed to stay hidden, managed to keep himself off of their radar, managed to build a life for himself. They weren't coming for him, didn't even know where he was.
He was safe. They were safe; him and Jess. They were safe.
Now all he had to do was convince himself to believe it. Because that dream...it seemed so real. And it scared him. Terrified him.
Shaking his head once again, Sam gently pushed himself off the bed, hoping Jess would stay asleep. Keeping a cautious eye on her, he tiptoed out the room and into the kitchen, keeping a sharp weary eye on the shadows in the corners. Quickly switching the light on, his eyes swept through the kitchen, effectively making sure he was alone before he padded barefoot across the floor to the sink. The cold tile floor made him want to hop from foot to foot but he refrained himself from doing so as he grabbed a glass and filled it with water. He gulped down half the glass before leaning his arms on the counter, staring at the wall but not really seeing it.
Instead he saw the orange glow of the flames, saw the flash of blonde hair in the middle of them. Heard the screams for help coming out of Jess's mouth, heard the gunshot bouncing off the walls, heard...that voice. That voice that had haunted his dreams for the past three years; the voice he misses, the voice that scares him, the voice that spreads warm comfort through his chest but also turns his stomach with dread.
God, he was so screwed up.
Drinking the rest of the water, he placed the glass in the sink, glanced around the kitchen again, switched off the light and padded back down the hall to his bedroom. Stopping in the doorway, Sam stared at Jess, noticing she had moved position in her sleep and was now facing the doorway. Looking at her face, Sam felt himself relax slightly and a smile lift his lips.
He was being stupid. It was just a dream. If they haven't found him in the last three years, their not gonna find him now. Paranoid - Bobby had called him that once - and Sam was finally beginning to think he was right. He was just being paranoid; allowing his fear to effect his life.
Sneaking back around the bed, he slowly slid under the covers, curling himself around Jess's back and breathing in her clean scent. The smell of coconut shampoo was a hell of a lot better then...then the smell in his dreams, and he gratefully took another deep breath.
Closing his eyes, he allowed another small smile to grace his face, allowed his body to finally relax fully, allowed his brain to shut down for the night.
They were safe. It was just a dream
Only it hadn't been just a dream, they weren't safe, and he should have listened to his gut instinct two days ago when it had told him to run. Because now it was too late.
Now he and Jess were running, but it was far too late, because they were gaining on them, he could hear it; hear their footsteps bounce off the broken twigs lying on the forest floor, the leaves crunching under their heavy boots, hear them shouting his name, hear them getting closer and closer and closer...
Heard Jess as she panted out her sobs, felt her hand tightly squeezing his own as she tried to keep up with his long legs. He felt his blood rush through his veins, his heart pounding against his chest, the ache in his legs. He felt the exhaustion sweep through his body, demanding that he stop and rest.
But he couldn't. They were right behind them. And getting closer.
He had no doubt that Jess must have felt that same exhaustion, and it was confirmed when she stumbled because of her own feet getting mixed together. Falling to her knees, she let out a small yelp of surprise and pain as she felt the skin under her jeans scrape open. Her light-coloured jeans were already ripped and dirty from the nights events, her pink sweater ruined with more dirt and sweat. Her hair, which was normally curly and perfect, not a strand out of place, was now a total mess.
Instantly, Sam bent down and grabbed her arms, pulling her back up; not even giving her time to feel the sting on her knees before he was dragging her through the trees again. "Come on, we can't stop." He whispered urgently. His voice held panic, determination and something else that Jess couldn't identify.
Stumbling after him, Jess let out another sob. "Sam, please." She whispered in a rush of breath. "We can't keep going."
Turning his head in her direction, never stopping his tired jogging, Sam hissed sharply, trying to make her understand the urgency of the situation, "We have to." Turning his head back around, he looked in all directions, trying to figure out which way to go. "We gotta keep movin'." He said desperately, more to himself than to Jess.
In truth, Sam knew, deep down, that it was hopeless. They couldn't run all night. They were already far too tired; they would drop to the ground way before the people chasing them would. He also knew they were running in circles; something he was sure Jess hadn't picked up on. Stopping for no more than a quick second, Sam picked a random direction and carried on running, dragging Jess along. They were deep in the middle of the forest, which meant that it would be quite some time before they stumbled upon a road or something, and that was only if they were going the right way.
Feeling a familiar sting build in his eyes, Sam blinked against the upcoming tears, and shook his head. Nineteen years of age, and they still managed to make him feel like a little kid about to get a lecture of a life time.
But that was what they wanted, wasn't it? To make him feel small, to make him fall in line, obey their wishes, listen to their orders.
It was something he'd never been able to do. Not that anyone could blame him; if people knew...
He had tried to run - multiple times, infact - but they always found him again. He had just thought - hoped - that maybe this time he was free. It took them three years, but here he was; running through the woods at some God awful hour at night, dragging his crying girlfriend, listening to the echoes of their voices shouting his name, and trying desperately not to panic himself.
He had thought he had gotten away from this: The panic, the fear...the helplessness that he felt when he was around them.
He had thought he had gotten away for good.
He should have known better.
If John and Dean Winchester were anything it was persistent. They got what they wanted and let nothing stand in their way.
And what they wanted the most? What they've always wanted, especially for the past three years, was their youngest family member.
And Sam knew he was screwed.
Two Days Ago.
Walking across the College campus, Sam held his books in one arm as he held his phone in the other, texting Jess and letting her know he was on his way home. The sun beamed down, making the grass look greener, the flowers in full bloom and the birds chirp away. Sam looked around the campus, watching as people either rushed around for their next class or sat on the benches and chatted away. He smiled, appreciating the simple moment, grateful that he was here and witnessing it, that he got to be a part of it.
Slipping his phone into his back pocket, he lifted his hand and gave a slight wave to one of his classmates, as he walked leisurely down the path. Ten minutes away from the apartment that he and Jess shared, he felt a weird sensation in his stomach. Like caterpillars wriggling around, looking for a way out. He knew the feeling; his instincts were telling him that something was wrong. Two minutes after that - the caterpillars had transformed into butterflies - he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
Someone was watching him.
He knew that feeling quite well too. Growing up with the family he did - one or both had always watched him - he had become familiar with the feeling of eyes boring into his back. Slowing his walk down, he casually but cautiously turned his head and checked behind him.
Nothing. Just a few people walking away from College; none of them staring at him.
But just because he couldn't see them didn't mean they weren't there...
Shaking his head, He turned back around. Paranoid. He had to remember he was just being paranoid. They weren't here; didn't know he was here.
'They've found you before, they'll find you again.' Frowning at his own thoughts, he picked up the pace, desperate to get home; wanting to lock the doors, close the curtains, and stay indoors for as long as possible. Cuddle up with Jessica on the couch and watch ad movies until he forgot about his past.
But his instincts were telling him to run. Stay away from the apartment, don't lead them back to Jess, get on a bus and get as far away as possible.
Cautious or paranoid, it didn't matter, he still walked quicker than normal back to his apartment, keeping his eyes open and his senses alert. Jogging up the stairs to his building, he took another look around him as he opened the door with his key. As soon as the main doors closed behind him, he let out a sigh of relief. He knew that if they had found him than the doors wouldn't stop them from getting in but he still somehow felt safer. Walking up the four flights of stairs to the 3rd floor, he felt some of the tension melt away. Paranoid, definitely.
Opening the door to his apartment, he placed the books down on the small table by the door.
"Jess?" He called out, walking down the short hall into the living room.
Following her voice into the kitchen, Sam smiled as he watched her make a sandwich. A simple task but one he loved watching her do. She turned her head and smiled back.
"Hey, how was classes?"
Walking over to her, his smile never left his face. "Same old, same old." He replied, placing his arms around her waist. He bent his head forward and kissed her cheek. "How about your day?"
She gave him a gentle smile and quickly pecked his lips. "Same old, same old." She repeated.
Sam spent another minute just holding her in his arms before he pulled away. "Everything ready?" He asked.
Jess nodded and pointed to the microwave. "Popcorns done. I'm making the sandwiches now." She then pointed to the fridge. "Beer's cooling, and..." She dragged the word out, turning around and gesturing towards the living room. "...movies are on the table." Smiling at him once again, she added, "Everything's set up."
Sam smiled, showing the dimples that Jess had fallen in love with, and collected the beers from the fridge before making his way into the living room. He loved Fridays. Only having half a day in College, he got to come home early and spend the rest of the weekend with Jessica. They both had silently decided from the beginning of their relationship that Friday's were movie days; a way to relax after a stressful week.
Placing the beers on the table next to the stack of movies, he sat on the edge of the couch and picked up the first film. He shook his head fondly at the title: Miss Congeniality. Same film Jess had picked out every weekend for the year and a half they've been dating. Placing the film down on the other side of the table, he picked up the next choice. Saw II. He raised his eyebrows in surprise; Jess wasn't one for gory films, before smiling; because he knows she picked it up for him. Placing it on top of Miss Congeniality, he picked up the next one. X-Men.
Nodding his head, Sam got up and put the DVD in the player before bouncing back into his seat. He grabbed his beer and relaxed back, putting his feet up on the coffee table.
Jess came out of the kitchen, carrying a plate filled with ham sandwiches and a bowl of butter popcorn.
"Movie in?" She asked, placing the plate on the table and the bowl in her lap as she cuddled up to Sam on the sofa.
Instead of answering, Sam placed his arm around her shoulders and pressed play.
A couple of hours later, the sky had darkened and Jess had fallen asleep on his shoulder. Miss Congeniality played on the screen as Sam dozed on and off, completely relaxed in the light glow of the television and the warm heat from Jess.
Just as his head slowly dropped and his chin touched his chest, a noise from outside had him jumping in place, looking around the room. Not seeing anything, he calmed himself down and gently moved Jess from his shoulder, lying her down on the other end of the couch. Sitting on the edge, he rubbed a hand down his face to wake himself up more before grabbing the empty bowl and plate and moving into the kitchen. Placing them both in the sink, he turned on the light and checked the clock hanging from the wall. Half one in the morning.
Leaving the kitchen light on, he padded groggily towards the bathroom. After doing what he needed to do, he quickly brushed his teeth and went back into the living room, intending on waking Jess so they could crawl into bed. Just as he reached his hand out to shake her awake, he heard another noise, this time closer to the apartment. Like, right-outside-the-door closer.
Now fully awake, Sam straightened himself out and stared into the hallway with wide eyes. The apartment building was usually quiet this time in the morning, for the obvious reason of people being asleep. He waited another minute, and when he didn't hear anything else, he went back to waking Jess.
Five minutes later and Jess was in the bedroom, getting ready for bed. The living room light now on, Sam took the disk out of the DVD player and placed it back into its case. Putting it back on the coffee table, he walked into the kitchen, did a quick glance to make sure the cooker was turned off for the night, turned the light off and turned back around. Just as he was about to turn the living room light off, there was a knock on the door. Frowning, Sam checked his watch. 1:38.
This wasn't normal. No one ever knocked this time of night.
"Sam, was that the door?" Jess called out.
"Eh..." Sam hesitated, something inside him was telling him that he wanted to ignore that knock and go to bed - or maybe grab Jess, hide in the closet and pretend no one was home.
"Yeah." He finally replied. "Yeah, it was." He kept his voice low without even knowing he was doing it. Whoever it was knocked again.
"Well see who it is, will you."
He heard Jess walk into the bathroom as she shouted that over her shoulder.
The third knock was louder.
Sam stared into the hall again for another second. Paranoid; he was just being paranoid. But still...in some cases being paranoid was good. Slowly walking down the hall, he stopped at the door and leaned forward slightly, trying to hear anything from the other side. Now he had another dilemma: Should he just open the door an inch and peek out, or should he call out and ask who it was?
Another knock sounded out, this time sounding more like a bang and Sam jumped back slightly.
"Sam!" Jess shouted, clearly irritated by the knocking at near 2 in the morning.
Sam shook his head, knowing he was being ridiculous. Besides, whoever it was had probably heard Jess shouting his name. Unlocking the door and taking the chain off, Sam slowly inched the door open.