12 April 2012 @ 02:52 pm
fic: Worth Saving Me [5/7]  


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Then: Eight Years Ago

Sam blinks awake slowly, wishing with everything in him that when he opens his eyes and his vision clears everything that happened before will turn out to be a dream. That he'll wake up and roll over to see Dean on his bed, despite his brother's insistence that he's too old to share a bed with his geeky little brother anymore.

Instead his eyes open to the same bare wall in the same bare room they'd dragged him kicking and screaming into after he woke from the blow they'd given him. The back of his head is still tender and he winces when he runs his fingers through his hair. There's a tray of food on the ground by the door across the room and he shudders when he thinks about one of the men coming in after he'd lost his battle with exhaustion.

The food is ignored with a defiant glare that no one is around to witness. Sam gets up slowly, careful not to jar his head if he can help it. There's a second door to his right and with one more glare and derisive sniff at the tray on the ground, he walks up to it and turns the knob slowly, easing the heavy wooden door open.

It's dark, even with the light coming from behind him, and he fumbles for a light switch when nothing immediately jumps out at him.

He pushes the door the rest of the way open when the lights over the sink flash dimly on. It's a bathroom. Across from him is a grungy looking shower with a clear, plastic curtain. A toilet sits just in front of it on one side and the small, off-white sink is beside that. There's no mirror, but the place where it should go dips into the wall. He realizes, with a jolt that sends a dull throb through the bump on the back of his head, that there had to have been a window there before. With a weary glance at the other door, Sam bites his lip and steps in front of the sink.

The painted-over wood is cold beneath his hand when he presses against it, and it doesn't give at all. He puts his other hand against it and pushes again, leaning with his whole body, but nothing happens. Rocking back and forth, Sam tries to get it to budge even an inch, careful not to make too much noise.

His frustrated sigh gets caught in the back of his throat, unwilling to admit defeat yet and Sam digs the tips of his fingers into the corner where the wall and the wood covering his only way out meet. The paint chips just a little beneath his blunt fingernails, but he still can't manage to do any more. He repeats that attempt at each corner and all four sides, rocks back and presses the flat of his hands against the whole thing again.

"Come on," he whispers, refusing to admit to the desperation in his voice. He was raised to survive by John Winchester. Dean had taught him how to get himself out of almost anything. He has to find a way out of this.

He hates it here. All he wants is to go back home, stretch out in the backseat of the Impala and listen to his Dad's old rock n' roll cassettes while Dean sings off key, occasionally turning to check on Sam as though something could have gotten him while they're driving. But his Dad hates him, Dean hates him. Something deep in his chest aches knowing that and Sam thinks it must be his heart shattering because Dean is the most important person in the world to him and if his big brother hates him, what is he supposed to do now?

Before he's even aware of what he's doing, Sam starts pounding against the unmoving piece of wood in front of him with his fists. It stings, but he doesn't feel it. He can't hear his frustrated, pained breaths, doesn't feel the tears that welled up thinking about his family – his brother – spilling over his cheeks. His vision is tunneled at the wooden square that could be his escape if it would just. Open. Up.

Suddenly he's shoved away, bruising his back against the wall behind him and losing his breath. He looks up with wide eyes that he squints into a glare at the sight of the blonde one staring at him with a nasty smile.

"Nice try, you little brat. But your weak human hands aren't going to get you out of here." The man sneers, leaning down towards him, and Sam doesn't have the chance to cringe away before overly strong hands take hold of his shoulders and drag him out of the bathroom, tossing him into the flimsy mattress he'd woken up on. "Look at you," he sniffs, glancing at the untouched tray of food. Sam flinches, ignores the twinge in his back when he tries to disappear into the wall, when the man kicks the tray and knocks all of the food and water onto the ground. They glare at each other for a moment, though Sam's feels a little weaker than he had been a minute ago with the way his body is shaking against his will, before the man scoffs, "Worthless," and walks back out the way he'd come.

Sam feels the tear that falls, this time, at the sound of the lock tumbling, trapping him inside once again. He looks numbly down at his knuckles, bruised and bloodied. They don't look broken and bend just fine when he curls them into fists. Little fists. Little, weak, worthless hands that can't even get him to freedom.

Staring at the mess of food all over the floor, Sam slides onto his side. He curls up, dragging the thin blanket around himself and closes his eyes, wishing futilely one more time to wake up somewhere else.

"Seemed a bit easy, gettin' the mighty John Winchester to give him up."

The voice filters in clearly, the same one he heard not a minute ago, and Sam flinches before he can stop it. But the door doesn't open. He squints his eyes just barely open and stares at it, unable to block out their voices.

The second man laughs and the sound sends a chill down his spine. He pulls the thin blanket tighter across his shoulders and around his chest.

"Johnny caught himself a demon with a big mouth. Learned all about his youngest's destiny. Seems the hunter wasn't too keen on keeping a demon tainted kid around when he's already got that other spit-fire of a son."

His cheeks are hot and his bottom lip hurts with the force of his biting it. He knows, just knows they want him to hear this. He has barely heard them at all since waking up in this place and now they're speaking loud enough to hear clearly from where he's yet to move on the bed. But their cold chuckling fades off quickly and soon enough Sam is left alone with his own thoughts once more.

Demon tainted? He knows those two words are going to haunt him the rest of his life – however much longer that is.


The food might actually taste decent, better than some of the diners he's been exposed to, if he could manage to taste anything right now. But he only eats because if there's anything he knows, it'll only make things worse if he doesn't keep as fit as he can. And he's ashamed to admit, even just to himself, that he's afraid of what the one's reaction will be if he doesn't eat what's there after he'd kicked that first meal to the floor the first day. For the past two days, though, he hasn't felt any side effects from their food and he doubts they've been drugging him when they obviously know how incapable he is of escaping on his own.

Sam puts the tray back down by the door, careful not to drop it and bring attention to himself when he hears muffled voices coming from the other side. They aren't even bothering to keep their voices down from what he can tell and he barely has to press his ears against the cool wood to hear what they're saying.

"I'm getting sick of this dump, Belial." He recognizes the first voice as the taller of the two. The one who found him trying to get out before, the one who's been bringing the trays of food as far as he's seen.

"I'm getting sick of hearing you say that, shifter," another voice replies dryly, a hint of mocking in his voice. Sam hasn't heard that one speak much in the days he's been here, but he knows he'll never forget the voice of the man his father sold him to.

There's some shuffling and what sounds like a chair scraping across old wooden floors. "What's so special about this one?" he asks, but it sounds like he knows the answer already. Complaining just to complain. Sam presses closer into the door, holding his hands flat against the wood to keep his balance.

"I'm not letting that bastard, Azazel, win," the other hisses angrily. Sam's eyebrows turn down, frowns at the strange, unfamiliar name. "Taking his favorite little soldier and keeping him as mine? Mmm, I can't wait to see the look on old yellow eyes' face when he finds out the favorite to lead his little army is someone else's pet."

"So what do we do with the brat now?"

Sam's fingers curl into fists at the answer.

"I guess it's just about time we start his… training." The words are punctuated with a cold, self-amused laugh, but Sam doesn't stick against the door to hear it.

He can't stay here. He can’t. There has to be some way for him to get away from the things outside that door.

The room is too small, all of a sudden. Sam has barely noticed anything about it since that first day, too busy believing that there was no way he could save himself because Dean's always saved him before, but now his brother hates him and he would be stuck with them forever. But he's nobody's pet and he refuses to ever find out just what "training" him might entail.

Lips thinned to a determined line, Sam marches into the bathroom and glares at the square of wood, the only thing keeping him from getting out. With a quick glance to his right he listens for any approaching steps outside the door but the food they'd given him before their discussion had only been his second for the day – lunch – and if they decided to wait until closer to when they'd been giving him dinner each evening so far, he has a little time to work with.

It's still not much, though, and he closes the bathroom door silently shut beside him before he starts peeling at the already chipped faded blue paint. Beating the wall had done nothing but get him caught last time and he doesn't have the muscle yet, not like Dean who at fourteen is already stronger than any of the older jocks at the high schools Sam has seen, to break it without weakening it somehow first. He scratches and scratches, carving a gap into splintering wood, biting his lip closed to keep from hissing when it digs right back into his fingertips.

The bathroom feels like it's getting warmer. A droplet of sweat runs down Sam's temple, but he can't make himself stop to wipe it away. He can almost hear a clock ticktickticking in his head as he works, counting down before one of them comes in to finally drag him out again. He studiously ignores the way the light wood, paint all but gone where he's been digging, has grown red and wet and sticky and how the tips of his fingers sting, nails cracking and splitting as much as the wall beneath them.

Heart pounding in his chest, thumpthumpthumping in his ears, Sam glances over his shoulder again but he can't hear anything beyond the blood rushing through him and the scratch of nails and skin against wood.

Finally. Finally, he thinks with a cut off breath, he feels the wood starting to give under his hands. Sam steps back for a second, wipes sweat from his forehead and doesn't think about anything but getting out. Can't look at his hands and see just how red and broken they are, can't think about how his forehead is wetter, stickier than before he'd swiped at it.

All he allows himself to focus on is pressing his palms flat against the splintered wood with an ear always tuned on the door and the room just outside of it. Everything blurs and slows and Sam holds his breath and pushes with everything in him.

The wood gives with a quiet snick before cracking across the middle. Fresh, chilly, air blows across the tips of his fingers and Sam can breathe again. He leans all of his weight forward until the broken pieces fall to the ground outside and there's enough space for him to squeeze through.

In a quick move, he's balancing on the sink and poking his head out of the hole he'd created – he'd done it. There's nothing out there that he can see but the glare of the sun starting to set in the sky and a field that's empty of anything but bushes and trees but Sam doesn't care. A brief glance at the ground right outside shows nothing in his way and he carefully eases his head back inside before sliding one foot out, – thankful that he'd been left his shoes when they confined him to the room – then the other, and let the rest of his body follow.

Patting shaking hands over his torso and legs, there aren't any injuries besides his hands themselves. Sam doesn't waste another second before he's taking off into the dry brush, careful to not make a sound, all the while hoping he'll reach a road or a path that'll lead him anywhere but here.

He'll figure out what the hell he's going to do next when he reaches civilization.


Sam hadn't given a second thought to what he would do once he got away from them. With each step he takes away from the building and into the thick brush surrounding it, his mind is a chorus of Get away, don't get caught, Dad hates me, Dean, Get away, demon tainted, Dean, DeanDean. He keeps running, risking following a road he stumbled onto and praying he can find a town before Belial catches on to him being gone.

His legs are screaming with fatigue by the time he reaches one. The city is larger than many he remembers living in through his life. Just big enough to walk around anonymously; no one seems overly concerned with the lone ten year old boy walking around. But if his family taught him anything, it's how to stay invisible.

It's cool out, but not freezing. The sun is almost set when he first sees them. A group of three kids, one taller than the other two. He wouldn't think anything of it except for how they're walking so much like him. Staying off of everyone's radar, even though the sidewalks are mostly clear of people now that the sun is down and the cold is sweeping in. The taller one looks around, head turning to each side occasionally. He puts a hand on the littlest one's shoulder, but Sam isn't close enough to hear whatever they might be saying to each other. They all seem to have each other's backs, though. The three of them keeping an eye out for anyone and when the tall one finally notices Sam watching them, he steers them to the left and out of Sam's sight.

Sam doesn't try to follow.

His presence can only bring them trouble. Especially if - when, a voice that sounds heartbreakingly like John whispers at the back of his mind – Belial catches up to him.


The next day, Sam sees more of them, all separated into smaller batches. Drawing less attention to themselves. It's a good strategy. Sticking together in one large group would make it too easy to get caught. Sam still has no intention to try and get involved with them.

His plan to stay away from them, however, is shattered when one of the younger ones – a girl with blonde hair and wide blue eyes – gets caught pick-pocketing by her mark. Her companions are too far off when the man she tried to take from makes to grab her and Sam acts on instinct, unable to let anything happen to her when all she's trying to do is survive on her own. Something he's still unsure he'll be able to do himself.

He grabs her and runs as quick as his still-tired legs can carry the both of them. The man isn't angry enough to follow them more than a few feet but Sam keeps running until he's closer to where he'd seen the trio disappear to the night before. He almost excepts to find a real live Fagin running the group when he gets there.

Instead, he finds a group of kids smiling, some smirking, at him. Grateful for helping one of their own. A couple of them are older, teenagers. And some are younger than him, as far as he can tell.

One of the boys walks straight up to him, slowing his approach when Sam can't help a worried half step back. The boy looks close to Dean's age, maybe – Sam bites his lip against the pang in his chest at the thought of his brother – with shaggy brown hair that looks better kept up close than Sam thought it would have. His voice is still unchanged, a little higher than it might be in another couple of years, when he speaks.

"I'm Ryan. What's your name, kid?"



Two nights later and Sam's still with them, helping out where he can. He's not skilled enough for pick-pocketing, not yet, and he isn't sure it's a skill he'll pick up by the time he's away from this town. But he helps them on the easier jobs and it makes him feel less guilty about allowing them to watch his back when he knows who might be after it.

"Come on, Sam," Ryan says with a jerk of his head. Sam looks up at him and nods, pushing away from the slightly padded ground of their hideout.

One of the younger boys, PJ, is called next and then Ryan is leading them out of the relative warmth and safety of their out-of-the-way building and into the dark streets of town once again. He leads them to an alley on a street that's as empty as they ever seem to get once the sun goes down. The alley is only dimly lit by the street lamps at the mouth of it. It's empty inside, except for a couple of dumpsters, but that's exactly how they need it.

It isn't the easiest thing in the world, trying to find anything edible this way. Sam realizes after the last three nights that he never quite appreciated everything his father did for him and his brother. Guilt settles low in his gut at the thought, that maybe there was reason behind his Dad hating him so much.

"Sammy's turn," Ryan whispers.

"It's Sam," Sam says with a scowl he's sure can be heard, if not seen in the darkness. That name is for family and even though his brother probably hates him now that he's sure John told him everything about how tainted he is, Sam doesn't think that will ever change.

PJ keeps his back to them and his eyes on the lip of the alley, ready to warn them of anyone passing by. Ryan links the fingers of both hands together and bends at the waist, nodding to Sam when he's ready. Sam nods back and sets one foot in the boy's hold, steady and balanced as he can be when Ryan boosts him up. He kicks one leg over the edge of the dumpster, followed by the other and soon enough he's digging through for anything they can get.

It's a dirty job, but Sam figures at this point he doesn't deserve much else.


He stays with them for a week. Any longer and he's just asking to get caught, and Sam can't stand the idea of any of these other kids getting hurt over him. They all seem to understand his need to move on; he isn't the first one who's left. He's got a pack of things he's collected in the week he's been with them; some clothes that fit him fairly well, a thin blanket that's better than the nothing he had before, and some cans the group told him he should take.

Ryan takes him aside, after Sam's thanked everyone for helping him when they didn't have to. The boy squeezes Sam's shoulder with one hand, holding a couple bills out to him with the other. Sam starts to shake his head, eyes wide.

"I can't take that."

"You can and you will," Ryan says, tone broking no argument. "It's not much, but hopefully it'll help get you where you need to go. Or get you started once you get there. It ain't easy getting around as young as you, so watch your back."

"I know."

"Good luck, kid."

He nods, hesitantly taking the bills out of Ryan's hand and smiling gratefully. Ryan gives his shoulder one last squeeze.

Sam hikes his pack up on his shoulder and turns away from the kids who helped him when they didn't need to. It's easy to, once again, stay out of the radar of the people milling around the sidewalk.

Sam isn't quite sure where he's going to go from here. Wherever it is, he thinks he might just stay on the lookout for some more street kids. Blending in is his best way to keep from getting caught and that's just what he needs.

But for now he's going to figure out if he's got the skill to stow away on a bus out of town.

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