Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments. I'm glad you are enjoying the new story so far. I'm excited to be back with the three brothers and am happy to hear that you are too. I hope you enjoy the next chapter.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThat same night-Palo Alto, near Stanford University
Sam Winchester hurried down the sidewalk, the warm night air washing over his exposed arms and gently rustling his chocolate hair. His lips hinted at a smile as his thoughts wandered to the last of his final exams in this his Freshman year. He knew without a doubt that he had aced the exam, just as he knew he had aced every other final exam that week. The week had been stressful, but Sam thrived on the adrenaline of the sleepless nights studying and then finally taking up his pencil to put down the answers that he knew backwards and forwards, could have written down in his sleep, if he’d had any sleep that is. Sam’s eyes moved down the street, his destination finally in sight. Inside the small coffee shop, his friends waited for his arrival, their own final exams finished for the year, each one eagerly awaiting the summer of parties and relaxation.
Sam reached the door to the coffee house and pushed it open, the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans pleasantly wafting over him. He took in a deep breath and immediately made his way to the counter where he placed his order, blushing as the pretty blonde smiled sweetly at him as she handed him his latte. He ducked his head, peering at the girl through chocolate fringe and smiled before turning to look for his friends. Hearty laughter reached his ears and he instantly knew it was his friends. He headed to the corner seating area where the laughter came from and his smile grew as his friends came into view.
“Sam! You genius son of a bitch! Get your ass over here!” a tall, sandy haired young man shouted as he stood from a plush sofa and motioned for the taller man to hurry up.
“Will, do you always have to shout?” Sam answered with a chuckle as he eased around the velour covered armchair and made his way to the sofa.
Will clapped Sam on the back, laughing as Sam took a seat. “Hell yeah! I want everyone to hear me, dude!”
“Yeah, we know, Will,” an auburn haired girl chimed in as she reached across the small coffee table from her seat in the armchair and patted Sam’s knee. “They can hear you in China.”
“Hey Andrea. How’d your test go?” Sam asked, his eyes moving to the green eyed girl, smiling affectionately as Andrea smiled back.
“Oh God, it was a freakin’ pain! I swear, Walker hates me! I’m sure the jerk gave me a different test than everyone else. Just because I don’t flirt with the asshole,” Andrea complained with a huff.
“Aw, Andi…I’m sure you did just fine,” another young man said, his long blonde hair falling into his blue eyes, the young man absently blowing the strands out of the way before taking a sip from his large coffee cup.
“How about you, Jason? How’d you do?” Sam asked as he turned his attention to the blonde.
“Oh, you know…whatever…” Jason answered, waving his hand nonchalantly.
“I’m sure you did fine,” Sam said with amusement.
“Hell, you know I don’t give a damn about my grades. I’m just going here ‘cause Dad did. It’s not like I’m ever going to need to get a job or anything,” Jason said.
“Yeah, we know. Trust fund baby and all,” the final member of the group chirped with a chuckle.
“Hey, I didn’t ask to come from a rich family, Greg,” Jason answered lightheartedly. “Not that I would want it any other way, mind you.”
The group laughed before Greg turned his attention to Sam. “So…Winchester, not that we need to ask, but how did you do on your finals?”
“Uh…I don’t know. Okay, I guess,” Sam said softly, somewhat embarrassed at the scrutiny that was now aimed at him.
“Yeah, right. You aced everyone of ‘em didn’t ya, you freakin’ genius,” Will said, quirking an eyebrow at his shaggy haired friend.
“Will, cut it out. Sam can’t help it if he’s freakishly smart. I think he was part of some secret experiment as a kid or something,” Andrea quipped, smiling at Sam’s somewhat perplexed expression.
“Okay, so…what are you all doing this summer?” Sam asked, his eyes moving over his friends.
“Huh…well, you know. Family trip to Italy,” Jason replied.
“Italy…sounds nice,” Sam said. “What about you, Greg?”
“Uh…I’ve got to work in my dad’s store this summer. He’s having surgery,” Greg answered.
“Is he okay?” Sam asked with concern.
“Yeah. It’s nothing serious. Knee replacement. He’s put it off until I get home.”
“Oh. Well, I hope everything goes okay,” Sam said.
“Thanks, dude. So, Andrea, what are you doing?” Greg asked.
“Just hanging with friends. I think I may take some summer classes, just to keep up on things,” Andrea replied.
“Sounds like a nice summer, Andi,” Jason said.
“Hmmm…well, it’s not Italy, but I’m looking forward to it,” Andrea quipped.
“Well, I’m gonna do nothing but fish all summer long,” Will said as he stretched out his legs, sighing heavily.
“What about you, Sam? What are you doing this summer?” Greg asked.
“Oh, uh…my family will be here the day after tomorrow. Road trip,” Sam answered.
“Cool…road trip with the family. You going to Disneyland?” Will queried with a chuckle.
“Uh…no. Just seeing the country.”
“That’s sounds cool, dude,” Will said.
“Yeah…I can’t wait to see them. I've seen them only once since before Christmas. Which reminds me, I’ve got to make sure to call them later. My weekly check-in.”
“You have to check in with your family?” Andrea queried.
“Yeah. They’re a bit protective of me, me being the youngest and all. It was my dad’s stipulation if I came to school. Check in every Thursday night.”
“Wow, how old are you…five?” Will said with a chuckle.
“Will…” Andrea warned.
“It’s okay, Andi. Some things happened within the past few years and they worry,” Sam said softly, the others eyeing him with concern.
“Hey…you okay, Sam? I didn’t mean anything by that you know,” Will said, his voice filled with remorse.
“Don’t worry about it, Will. I’m getting over it, slowly but surely. It helps though, to talk to my family,” Sam answered, smiling warmly at his friend.
“You can talk to us too, you know, Sam,” Greg said.
“Yeah, I know. You guys don’t need to listen to my problems though. I’m fine anyway.”
“Hey, we’re friends, dude,” Jason said.
Sam smiled then looked down at his cup. “Gotta get more coffee. Anyone else ready?”
At each friends head shake, Sam stood and strolled to the counter, frowning as his thoughts turned to darker times. He ordered, smiling softly when the pretty blonde girl went to make his drink. The bell over the door rang as a customer entered and Sam quickly glanced over his shoulder, noticing an average sized man enter the coffee house. He turned back when he heard the girl clear her throat.
“Thanks,” Sam said softly as he took his drink.
Sam turned, and promptly bumped into the man who had just entered the coffee house. As Sam began to apologize, the man grabbed his arm and Sam sucked in a breath as he looked into jet black eyes. Eyes that reminded him of a bird. He tried to pull his arm away, but the man was surprisingly strong. The man smiled as he pulled Sam closer to him. Then the man whispered, “A mind is a beautiful thing to waste, don’t you think Sam Winchester?”
Sam jerked his arm away and stared in shock as the man walked toward the door and exited the coffee house. He turned back toward his friends, his eyes moving warily to the window. The man was nowhere to be seen, and Sam suddenly had a shiver run up his spine. How did the man know his name? Who was he, and what did he mean?
“Hey! Sam…what was that all about?” Will called, bringing Sam’s attention back around to his friends.
Sam smiled slightly and shook his head as he approached his curious friends. “Uh…I’m not sure. It’s probably nothing,” Sam answered as he sat back down on the sofa.
“The jerk’s lucky he left, ‘cause I was just about to open up a can of whoop a** on him,” Will quipped.
“Yeah, keep talking tough boy,” Jason smirked.
The group settled into small talk, none of them seeming to notice Sam’s sudden uneasiness. Sam’s eyes flitted from one friend to the other, his breathing hitching as fear began to take hold of him.
“Sam? What’s wrong? Hey…Sam!” Greg called and Sam jerked his head toward the young man, his eyes going wide.
“No…you can’t be here…you can’t be here…” Sam cried as he jumped up from the sofa, his coffee cup crashing to the floor, hot coffee splashing over his sneakers.
Sam began to back away, his eyes wild as his friends rose and started toward him, their concern evident on their faces.
“Sam…what’s going on? You’re scaring us,” Andrea cried softly.
Sam’s eyes remained locked on Greg as he continued to back away, his hands reaching out to the sides as if he was searching for something to grab hold of. “You can’t be here. You’re dead…you’re dead.”
“Sam…who do you think he is?” Jason queried, his heart hammering in his chest.
“What?” Sam asked, his wild eyes moving to Jason.
“Who are you talking about?” the young man answered.
“M-Michael…Michael Wilcox,” Sam answered, his voice sounding close to a sob.
“Who’s Michael Wilcox?” Will asked and Sam jerked his head to the young man.
“Nononononono…” Sam cried, his backward motion picking up speed.
“Sam…stop. What’s wrong?” Andrea asked urgently.
“Dead…you’re both supposed to be dead…”
“NOOOO!” Sam screamed as Will stepped closer.
Sam scrambled backwards, his eyes widening further and becoming completely void of recognition. Suddenly, his foot caught the leg of a chair and he tumbled backward, his head connecting with the edge of another coffee table, his body falling limp as it hit the floor.
“Sam!!!” Jason shouted as he lunged toward his friend.
“What the hell!? Oh my God, what just happened?” Will cried as he dropped down next to his friend.
Greg and Andrea moved to stand over their friends, their eyes wide with worry. Sam didn’t move as Will cupped his head, the young man wincing as he pulled his hand away and noticed it was coated with blood. Andrea, at the sight of the blood, turned to the wide eyed blonde behind the counter. “Call 911!” she screamed before turning back to her friends.
“Is…is he okay?” she asked shakily.
“I don’t know. He’s breathing, but…I just don’t know,” Jason answered, his fingers moving to the side of Sam’s neck. He sighed as he looked at his friends. “His pulse is strong.”
“Is that good?” Greg asked.
“I don’t know. It is on ER,” Jason said.
Sirens met the friends ears and they moved aside when EMT’s pushed into the coffee house, the EMT’s gazes falling intently to their patient. The two men went to work on Sam and after a few moments one looked up at the huddled group. “What happened here?” he asked.
“Uh…we were talking. He just lost it. He thought Will and Greg were someone else. I don’t know…he just…it’s like he didn’t know us anymore,” Andrea said, her voice trembling.
“How did he hurt his head?” the other EMT queried.
“He was backing away and he caught his foot on the chair. He fell backward,” Jason answered.
“Okay, were going to take him to the hospital now,” the first man said.
“Is he going to be okay? He’s going to be okay, right?” Greg queried fearfully.
“Well, his pupils indicate a concussion, but we don’t know how bad it is. As for his…episode, we just don’t know. That’s for the doctors to determine. What’s his name?”
“Sam. It’s Sam Winchester,” Will answered.
“Okay, we’re taking Sam to Stanford Hospital. If you want to, you can follow us, but there’s no room in the ambulance.”
“Uh…okay. We’ll get there somehow,” Jason said, his arm draping over Andrea’s shaking shoulders.
The EMT nodded then turned back to his patient. The EMT’s, along with Will and Greg, gently lifted Sam up onto the gurney once a neck brace was attached and Sam was strapped down before he was moved to the ambulance. The vehicle sped away, sirens blaring and the four friends watched as it disappeared down the street. They flagged down a cab and hurried after the ambulance, their worried thoughts moving to their friend.
Dean, Daniel and John sat in their motel room, working on the pizza that had been delivered fifteen minutes earlier. The TV was playing, but none of them paid it much attention. Their thoughts were miles away. In less than two days, they would be picking Sam up and the family would be together again, if only for the summer. The year had been hard, only seeing Sam on the occasion that a hunt brought them to California. They spoke once a week on the phone, Sam calling every Thursday night around eight. It was nearly that time now, and they waited with anticipation for John’s phone to ring. It was funny how they practically lived for that night and that phone call. They had no idea who the separation was harder on, them or Sam, but they had a suspicious feeling it was them. Sam seemed to have fallen into the routine of school fairly easily, but of course they couldn’t know for sure how he was doing as the youngest Winchester was a pro at portraying what he thought his family needed to see to ease their minds.
The Winchesters finished their dinner and sat back, waiting for Sam’s call. When eight o’clock came and went, they glanced nervously at each, not quite ready to panic. Sam had never missed a call and had always been on time. The only thing that kept the men from jumping to conclusions was the knowledge that Sam would have been coming off of his last exam and could very well be out celebrating with friends. Of course, he would definitely hear about his lapse in judgement when they did speak with him. Sam knew how much they worried about him, and he also knew that as hard as it had been for them to let him go, they had his promise to call each week and they expected him to keep that promise.
When ten o’clock rolled around and there still was no call from Sam, there was no denying the slowly building panic within each man. John pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial number for his youngest son. The phone rang and rang, then went to voice mail and John hung up with a frown. He looked at the expectant gazes of his other sons and shook his head.
“He didn’t answer. That’s not like him,” John said nervously.
“I’m sure he’s okay, Dad. He’s just out with his friends. It’s been a rough year and he’s earned it,” Daniel said, his voice lacking confidence in his assertion.
“I just don’t think Sam would forget to call or purposely blow us off. You know your brother, Daniel. That’s just not him,” John replied.
“Okay, so what do we do? Do we leave now and head there? Is Caleb or Josh close to California?” Dean queried, the young man not even attempting to hide the worry in his voice.
“Let’s give him a little more time. If we haven’t heard from him by midnight, we’ll head out,” John said, already moving to pack his bag, just in case.
The three men sat in nervous silence, willing John’s phone to ring. At exactly a quarter to midnight, the phone did ring and John flipped it open, an angry scowl on his face.
“Sam! Do you realize how worried we’ve been? I don’t care that it’s your last day, you still call when expected!” John spat, his face falling when the voice on the other end of the phone was not his sons.
“Mr. Winchester?” the deep male voice queried.
“Who the hell is this? Where is Sam?” John shot, his eyes moving to his sons as they waited anxiously.
“Uh…my name is Jason. I’m a friend of Sam’s. I…uh…something’s happened,” the voice said.
“What? What’s happened?” John queried, his stomach doing flip flops as he waited for the reply.
“Sam…he…he’s in the hospital…he…”
“What! Why is he in the hospital?”
Dean and Daniel were on their feet in a second and next to their father a second after that. John held out his hand as he listened to the young man on the other end of the phone.
“We were hanging out after the last tests and then he…he just lost it. He thought my friends were someone else. He was terrified and he tripped when he was backing away. He hit his head…”
“Is he okay? Have you talked to the doctor?
“Um…they won’t really tell us anything. They say we’re not family, so…”
“Okay. What hospital?” John queried shortly, his nerves frayed.
“Stanford Hospital. The address is 300 Pasteur Drive in Palo Alto. Please, hurry Mr. Winchester,” Jason pled, his voice trembling.
“We’ll be there in about six hours. Thanks for calling, Jason. By the way, how is it that you have Sam’s phone?”
“It must have fallen out of his pocket when he fell. I found it on the floor of the coffee house we were in.”
“Okay…one more question. Who did he think your friends were?” John asked with trepidation.
“He only said one name. He said that they should be dead. The name he said was Michael Wilcox.”
The line went dead as John hung up, his face going as white as a sheet, his sons looking on with fear at the look of absolute horror on his handsome face.
Dr. Franklin Watkins stared through the observation window at the sedated young man who lay in the bed, his body jerking and fighting against the restraints that held him to the bed. The fact that the young man could still fight even after the sedatives he had been given was a testament to just how messed up the situation was. Dr. Watkins had never seen anything like it. From the description given by the boy’s friends, this episode had come completely out of left field. They had all been enjoying a relaxing evening in a coffee house, relaying their summer plans to each other and then wham, the kid had gone completely out of his mind. The doctor would have to do some investigating at the university to see if the young man had been seeing anyone for any kind of mental illness, but according to his friends he was the most sane person they knew.
Thankfully, the bump to the head the kid had received only left him with a mild concussion, so really the only thing they had to concern themselves with was the sudden onset of psychosis. Stress from finals could explain some level of agitation, but this was way out there. The kid kept insisting that two supposed dead men were after him. He couldn’t tell them his name, where he was from or where he was at the moment. He had stopped saying anything coherent hours ago. Now, he just screamed and fought the restraints one moment, then mumbled incoherently the next. The doctor had been told that the boy’s friends would try to reach his family, but he hadn’t heard anything on when he could expect them to arrive. Dr. Watkins rushed into the room when the boy began to jerk spasmodically, his head jerking from side to side as he screamed. His eyes were wild, the pupils blown. His body was bathed in sweat, his messy brown hair plastered to his head. The doctor reached out and caressed the boys cheek as he began to relax a bit, shaking his head at the sad situation.
“What happened to you, Sam? “ he whispered as the young man finally succumbed to the sedatives that coursed through his exhausted body.
What the heck? Hmmmm...wonder what's going on. John and the boys are on their way, so the family will be reunited once again. I wonder if Sam will even know they're there. Please let me know what you think.