If someone asks him, Sam will say there isn't really anyone in particular. No one he thinks of right away when he realizes the world is ending and that things aren't going so well for them. He continues to not to think about it, because he is busy watching Dean de-rail and Cas break down and since when is he supposed to be the one member of their. . .posse who has their shit together? But then later, after Dean has taken off to tell Lisa whatever it was he was going to tell her -- and what the hell was he going to tell her? -- Sam does think of someone. Someone he hasn't really thought of in years except in passing. He would never define it as a dream relationship or that she’s the one person he should be with. But there is someone he wants to check in on.
The desire is strong enough that once Dean is back and Van Nuyes is behind them. While they are looking for a way to get Cas back. To save Adam. Sam finds himself digging through the glove box of the Impala one day, dragging out one of his old cellphones from years before. They always keep the phones. Keep them charged. Not because they want to contact someone, but because these are the numbers that the people they've helped hav. And if someone ever needs them again, then they can get in touch with them.
Sam stares down at the phone in his hand and scrolls through names, frowning for a minute because the odds of her number still being the same were about a million to one. He stops on the Bs and hesitates over the Dial button as he thinks through all the scenarios. All of the shut-downs and the odds that she might not even remember him. But at the very least, he can make sure she is okay. He hits the line that said Blake, Sarah and then glances up to be sure Dean isn't suddenly coming through the door to interrupt what will likely be a very awkward conversation.
Sam leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees and is about to hang up when he hears a breathless “hello?” as if someone has rushed to answer the phone. Sam hesitates for a moment at the woman’s voice and then says somewhat slowly, “Sarah?”
The woman on the other end laughs a bit. “No, I’m sorry,” she says softly. “Sarah’s not here. Can I ask who’s calling?”
Sam’s resolve nearly crumbles then. He thinks he could lie right then, give this woman a fake name and never. . .burden Sarah with whatever it is that he wants to say. And what does he want to say? The end of the world isn’t exactly something you can announce over the telephone. Or he can say he’ll call back later. Obviously, the woman knows her or she would have said right off, right?
After a moment of tossing information around and wildly trying to remember what alias he used at the time, he blurts out, “Just tell her Sam Winchester called to see how she was.”
He can hear the sound of scrabbling, as if she’s looking for a piece of paper or a pen and then the woman is back again. “Okay. I’ll let her know,” she says in a tone that makes Sam think that the piece of whatever she was writing on will end up in the trash can long before she even sees Sarah again. He thanks her politely and hangs up.
Well, that’s that. Sam convinces himself it’s for the best, because maybe Sarah doesn’t have as many fond memories of him as he does of her. He did essentially inform her that ghosts exist and he was there when her friend died. Whatever the situation is, Sam goes back to hunting for Horseman clues and pushes Sarah Blake from his mind.
It’s maybe a week later and he’s digging through I.D.s and phones in the glove box when he notices the little icon telling him he has a voicemail on his old phone.
It might be important. Yes, they’re in the middle of something big, but people rarely call him or Dean unless there’s some kind of trouble.
Sam leans back in the passenger seat of the Impala and pushes the button to dial the voicemail. He’s sure if anyone walks up on him right now, his facial expression is hilarious.
There’s a long silence when the message starts and then suddenly it’s Sarah’s voice. It’s the same warm and firm tone she had years ago, and he finds he can picture her expressions clearly in his mind as she talked.
“Hi, Sam. It’s Sarah. Uh, Blake. My friend Cheryl told me you called. It took her two days to give me the message, and it took me another three to track down the paper that had your number on it. I moved a few years ago, and things got shuffled around --” He can hear her take a breath, and he knows she’s shaking her head to get herself back on to what she wanted to talk about. “Anyway, I was just returning your call. If you want to call me back, you can do that -- my new cell number is 322-555-5968.” She paused here for a moment and then he can hear her smile as she said, “It would be good to hear from you, Sam. And actually hear from you. Bye.”
The message clicks off then, and Sam glances at the time on his watch. The message was left maybe three hours ago. What time is it in New York now? Three pm? So she’d probably left it on her lunch break from. . .well, he’s assuming she’s still at the auction house, but that might not be the case anymore.
He hesitates for a long moment, realizing he’s getting way too excited and nervous at the same time. She’s likely still at work now, he rationalizes. Other people have normal jobs and normal schedules, and he shouldn’t call her right now -- they might just end up playing phone tag, again.
Sam puts the phone in his pocket, digs out the papers he was looking for, and slams the glove box closed before shutting the passenger door and heading back into the motel room.
It’s coming up on maybe eleven o’clock when Dean passes out and Sam finds the moment to pull the phone from his pocket again and slip out into the parking lot to dial the number she left. It’s not that he minds Dean knowing he’s talking to her, he just feels that certain things should probably be private, and this is one of them. Besides, sleep is hard to get and far between these days, so any time one them can, they should.
It takes three rings before she picks up with a quiet “Hello” that, for a moment, makes Sam think maybe she’s not alone.
He hesitates again then says, “Hey, Sarah. It’s Sam. Sam Winchester.”
“Sam.” Her voice changes, now. Becomes brighter, louder in a way that makes him think that maybe she is genuinely glad to hear from him. “How are you?”
If she thinks it’s strange that he’s calling her out of the blue after so many years, she’s choosing not to voice it. At least not immediately. Sam smiles and hesitates because he can’t exactly tell her the truth. Well, he can, he supposes. It is the end of days, after all. Seeing as how none of them are likely to survive any of this, what’s it going to matter if one woman in New York knows the truth? Okay, maybe one in New York and one in Indiana, but still.
“I’m good,” he says, after a moment. If there was ever a lie, it was that. “Still. . .at it.”
“I always wondered if you ever made it back to school,” Sarah says, and he goes to sit on the edge of the sidewalk to keep from blocking people who are trying to get past him into their rooms.
“No,” he says slowly, “but. . .after a while, that became okay.” Another lie, but not as bad. There was some good coming from it, sometimes. Some days it is harder to see than others, but they have saved people. A lot of people and they are trying to do that again.
She never asks him why he suddenly called out of the blue, and maybe she thinks he’s feeling nostalgic. He is. And maybe that’s enough of an explanation for her because they fall into an easy conversation after that, catching up, the way people do. While he can’t tell her everything that has happened since he left her doorstep, it’s nice to talk to someone who’s not banging on about the end of the world. They talk about her work at a museum -- not her father’s auction house, but an actual museum, where she’s the curator. And Sam tells her about the time they found a wishing well that actually worked.
He remembers that she was always easy to talk to as they migrate through what is normal and real life, for both of them and he has the thought that maybe, just maybe, Sarah could have handled this. Him, and this, life and all the bad that comes with it.
They go on for quite a while, to the point that Sam hears her phone beep several times, and he realizes that maybe she’s running out of battery.
He waits until she stops telling a story about some teenagers who thought they would be the next Banksy and, when he’s made the appropriate response, says, “I think I’ve kept you too long.”
He can hear her smile again. “Not at all, Sam.” She hesitates now. “Unfortunately, I am due to meet a friend of mine for a late supper in about an hour, though.”
Sam wonders if by friend she means boyfriend, and even though he knows that it’s none of his business and he left that opportunity behind long ago, he feels a slight pang of jealousy.
“Well, then I won’t keep you,” he says, after a moment’s breath. He pauses again, wondering briefly what he can possibly say that will tell her he’s relieved she’s still okay. Still living her life and happy.
“It’s good to hear your voice, Sam,” Sarah says now, interrupting his thought process. “I’ve thought about you from time to time, and I’m sorry I never got in touch like I should have.”
And that there, is the root of what he wants to say, what he feels. Sam finds he’s smiling again. “It was good talking to you, Sarah.” He pauses. “Maybe next time it won’t be four years before we talk again.”
She sounds convicted and sure when she responds, “I’ll make sure it isn’t.”
Sam smiles wider now, because, for a moment, it’s a nice idea even if later it will sink in that it’s not possible. For now at least, she’s given him a breath of fresh air and some measure of hope.
“Good night, Sarah.”
He can hear her smile again in that way that makes him feel just a little light headed when she says, “Good night, Sam.”