Thou askest me whence I came
I came o'er the sleeping sea
It roused at my torrent of smoke and flame
And howled aloud in its agony
-The Magician, Edgar Allan Poe
He takes his time shaking out his limbs, examining his hands and arms. The rain is soaking into his hair and patters on the back of his neck, but it seems insignificant so he ignores it.
He had been caged, and now…he isn’t. And other than that…nothing.
Who is he?
He grasps for memories, but there are only fragments of things, little bits with huge blank spots in between, and it doesn’t seem to fit together. He fishes in his pockets and finds a receipt for gas and a card with nine digits written on it. A phone number, he remembers, after a moment. Perhaps calling it will offer some answers.
He rolls his shoulders and lets them settle, sliding his shoulder blades down his back, flexes his fingers. This body feels new, fresh, and vaguely uncomfortable. It’s a strange sensation.
There is so much he has to remember, to fill this big empty space inside his head.
The number turns out to be for Singer Salvage in South Dakota, as he learns when he dials it at a pay phone. He hangs up once a man answered, uncertain how he would explain his situation. The name ‘Singer’…he fishes it out of his brain and holds it up to the light. Robert – no, Bobby - Singer. He knows that name.
South Dakota it is.
He catches a ride from a man in a pickup truck and manages to arrange his face into a smile. It feels strange, and he guesses it must look strange too, but he has time to practice.
It’s a long drive to South Dakota so he closes his eyes and lets himself drift inside his head. It’s fragmented and strange in there, and the only really clear thing is that he remembers falling. So far and so fast.
When the driver reaches over and grabs his shoulder to shake him out of what he thinks is sleep, he grabs the man’s wrist and nearly breaks it, reaching for something, groping for power that isn’t there.
They used to all look at me like that, he thinks, with wormwood bitterness, and then blinks, unable to connect that to anything concrete.
“Sam?” Says Robert Singer, and just like that, he has a name. Sam. It isn’t right, not quite, but it’ll work.
“It’s me,” he says, and tries the smile again. This time it must be better, because Bobby doesn’t quite hug him, but he looks like he wants to.
Just as well. He – Sam – doesn’t really think he wants a hug. The idea itself just seems…odd. He goes through the tests with weary resignation, though he knows already that none of it will affect him.
“You’re back,” says Bobby, with that strange expression of somewhat satisfying awe. “Idjit. You Winchesters…”
And a last name. Winchester. Sam Winchester. Not a bad name, though he knows there is another one he likes better. Somewhere. It must be in one of those blank spots.
“Sam? What about your brother?”
For a moment, he – Sam, he’ll get used to that name eventually - almost wants to snarl, he’s so angry. Brother, he hears, and thinks of falling and betrayal and that self-satisfied good son -
“Dean doesn’t know yet? You haven’t seen him?”
Dean? No, that isn’t right. Is it? It sounds familiar. But his first reaction is that his brother has another name. Brothers. Brother?
If only he could get the memories straight.
Then he realizes that Bobby is reaching for the phone. He grabs Bobby’s wrist.
“No,” he says, sharply, “No. Don’t call.” He doesn’t quite know why – it’s almost instinctual – but he’s not ready. Too many blank spaces. And if this – Dean – if that’s the right name for this being he remembers, beautiful (almost as beautiful as I was) and terrible and loved and hated, then he wants to be very ready for that meeting. “Not now,” he adds, finally, because Bobby is staring at him.
“Are you all right, Sam?” The old man asks, and again he has the strange feeling of no, that’s not my name, call me by my right name, and a surge of anger, but a moment later he is only confused by it.
“I'm fine,” he said, and smiles, because that seems to be the expected response.
Except in dreams of falling, and burning and screaming defiance.
He stands in the bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror, and runs his hands absently down a body that feels at once cozy and unfamiliar. Like he could fit here, but not…quite.
Meant for something more. Meant to be something more.
He reads a lot, trying to fill in the empty spaces in his knowledge, and it’s there that he first comes across it – Lucifer written in ink, black on the white page. He traces his finger across it and smiles. It’s a good name. A mighty name. He runs his fingers over the letters again and shapes it with his lips.
He likes this name. The Devil, that’s harsh and crude and he doesn’t like that, but Lucifer is not the same. Lucifer is a fallen angel. The name tugs at something in him, the way Sam does not.
He tears the page out and tucks it in his pocket.
It doesn’t. Just screams. A lot.
He shuts it away. Eventually, he forgets that it was there at all.
There’s so much he has to do, and so many holes he still has to fill.