Sam still sees Jake sometimes, more than he wants to, but less than he thinks he really should…tag to 4x03
Partially inspired by Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis.
He’s here again.
Sam still sees him, Jake. He’d say it’s Jakes ghost but he doesn’t think that that’s what it is. At least, not the kind of ghost he’s used to shooting with rock salt anyway. He even tried it once, not because he thought it would work, but just to be sure. He’d had a feeling it wasn’t going to work anyway, but he’d be the first to admit his feelings aren’t always right.
Jake never talks to him, at least not that Sam can hear. He’s usually wearing the army fatigues that he was wearing when Sam killed him, but sometimes he’s wearing civilian clothes; jeans and polo shirts. Never weather appropriate, either, which Sam thinks is odd because since this Jake’s only in his head and he knows almost nothing about Jake’s personal tastes, then hallucination-Jake(Sam’s pretty sure he’s a hallucination) should comply with the conventions of whatever situation Sam’s in. Sam tries not to think about it very often.
He still remembered the first time he saw Jake back in South Dakota. It was after he’d killed him; the Devil’s Gate had opened, he and Dean had said their goodbyes to Bobby and Ellen and Sam had found out that his brother had a year to live (because of him, all because of him) and they’d retreated to their motel room, physically and emotionally exhausted.
Sam had woken up in the dark from a dreamless sleep to see Jake standing over his bed. He’s not sure if he screamed but he thinks he must have made some noise because he woke Dean up.
“Dude, what’s wrong?”
And once Sam realized that Dean couldn’t see Jake too, Sam told him nothing, it was nothing and since then Sam had decided that Jake (this Jake) pretty much is nothing by conventional standards, Hunter standards. He knows that physically, logically, Jake is nothing.
In Sam standards though, Jake is something.
At first he wildly thought it meant he was dying, that his brain was manifesting his guilt as a way to make peace with itself before it bottomed out. God knows he’d heard enough of those stories. Sure he’d just been raised from the dead, but what’s dead should stay dead and maybe death just wanted to reclaim what was hers.
The next time Sam sees Jake, he’s standing in a room listening to Envy tell him that humans are animals and how they’re corrupt and base and Sam, looking across the room at the atrocity he himself had committed, had to agree.
Sam had started to think of Jake as a bad omen, an albatross. So, of course when Sam saw him in the corner of Casey’s basement as Sam looked from Dean’s frightened face to Casey’s and Father Gil’s, Sam should have realized that he was about to make the wrong decision.
The next time Sam sees Jake, he’s just blown a magic bullet through an innocent girl’s head to kill the demon inside of her that’s ruined so many unwitting lives. He feels guilty but satisfied. He wonders what Dean felt like when he killed Yellow Eyes. Then he sees the familiar dark, accusing eyes staring at him from across the road as if to remind him that he can’t dare compare his own motives to Dean’s and he smiles bitterly.
Jake was mercifully absent during most of the Bela affair and Sam thought he was spared of him for the time being but there he was in the dead man’s house, looking on as Sam spoke of Cain and Abel as if to invoke that the words were ironic. Sam thought guiltily of his and Dean’s fight earlier and directed all his anger towards himself at Bela.
And Jake was there when he cut off Gordon’s head alright, but first he saw him in the car with him and Dean as they drove into town. He’d spiraled into apathetical depression, turning to drinking because, God, he just couldn’t take this anymore but Jake had followed him there too. And, of course, Sam had seen him in the hotel room as Sam oh-so-calmly suggested that they could only rid themselves of Gordon’s threat by killing him. He knows why Jake’s here this time; because Sam’s repeating his history, repeating Cold Oak and Sam knows but he doesn’t know what to do about it.
When Sam stormed into Tammi’s house Colt blazing for Dean, the fact that his adversaries where human having no longer mattered, good ol’Jake was there, standing behind her. Sam wished he’d taken the hint and then realized that it wasn’t Dean he was trying to become.
Sam thought his legs were going to splinter and break into pieces from the pain of being repeatedly slammed with sixteen ounces of aluminum bat. God it hurt, he just wanted to make it stop…Suddenly Jeremy was the one being attacked with a baseball bat, by his crazy father, and standing in his place over Sam was Jake.
Dean had been dead for six months and Sam’s become just who he never wanted to be; uncomfortably numb, obsessive, shooting without thinking more than thinking without shooting. The last six months are a blur but he knows he’s lost contact with Bobby, that he’s not sure if everything he’s killed couldn’t be saved and that there’s still a window in the back of his mind that tells him if he can just find the Trickster he can take it all back, fix it, have Dean back and have who he was back. Sam tries not to stagger on his way into a new motel to check in, his bullet wound hidden under his jacket. He sees Jake standing behind the clerk and checks in under the name Jabez Stone.
“Stone?” the clerk asks, confirming.
Sam takes another glance at Jake and corrects himself, realizing that even if by some miracle he gets taken back to that Wednesday, he’ll never be that man again.
“I’m sorry; I stuttered. It’s Scratch.”
Sam’s trying to choose between one girl’s life and a potential town full when he realizes he doesn’t have that choice; no one should and he’s grateful when Dean firmly responds in the negative. Nevertheless, he sees Jake follow Ruby out, as if to chide him for even thinking about it.
Sam’s investigating the cause of a bunch of urban legend-style organ thefts in the area and leafing through dad’s journal when he finally hits it, he thinks. This is it-this is the magic pill. And of course Jake’s sitting there next to him accusing as always. Sam ignores him and saves the information to his favorites. The next time Jake appears Sam’s rescuing a girl from the Frankenstein’s twisted lab. He doesn’t try to pretend; he knows why Jake’s there. But he still takes the book anyway. Sam’s finally shut of Jake for the time being but Sam’s still thinking of him as he heaves dirt into the grave, muffling the Doctor’s cries.
Jake’s glaring at Sam as he futilely tries to ward off Lilith’s advances and after Sam survives the blast he sees him out of the corner of his eye just as Sam reaches for the knife, wanting to make at least a portion of his rage manifest. Lilith flees in a cloud of black smog and Sam ignores Jake as he crumples to weep over his brother’s lifeless body.
Sam’s checking for a pulse on the eyeless corpse of what used to be a girl when Ruby comes out of the shadows. Sam’s never been completely sure if he hurts the humans with his powers somehow or if the demons have already gotten their hosts killed or killed them. Jake, of course, is standing right behind her.
Jake was there in the bathroom, standing off to the side and watching while Hendriksen came after Sam. He was there in the hallway when Meg started tell Sam what he’d been hearing in the back of his mind for the last for months. Jake glared on as accusing as ever. Sam responded by pulling the trigger.
And now, Jake was back again.
Sam looked over his bed and there he was, standing on the far side of the room; neutral body language and the same blameful stare.
Sam thought he finally realized it, finally understood. Jake was the turning point. Sam had been plain cut passive aggressive in Cold Oak; he’d allowed his rage, his vengeance to take over. In that moment he had no longer cared if annihilating the human enemy put him on the same level that they were. If he though about it he could still feel the anger that had coursed through him, the sick satisfaction.
That was why this had to be done.
Sam took one look at his sleeping brother and then back at Jake and headed for the door.
“Are you ready?”
An albatross is good luck until you kill it, at which point seeing it becomes bad luck.
Jabez Stone and Scratch are references to “The Devil and Daniel Webster”.