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The Drug He Needed to Save Himself

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At 28 years old, Sam Winchester had a good life. Or at least he thought so.

Every morning before tour, he got up at least two hours early so he could work out. He preferred a good cardio session above anything. As a paramedic, he ensured his diet was the perfect complement to said cardio workouts. Sam lived in a second floor two bedroom apartment on the outskirts of downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The master bedroom was his own, and the spare bedroom was where he had the best home gym equipment money could buy. He enjoyed investing in himself and his well-being. He stretched his legs, then hopped on the treadmill, grabbing the remote control from the cup holder and turning on some obscenely loud rock music to work out to. He was certain his neighbors above and below him didn’t appreciate Soundgarden blaring at 4am, but it wasn’t like he gave a shit. He never bothered to meet his neighbors so why should he care what they thought about him? He worked out for the scheduled 30 minutes to achieve his target heart rate of 160. He always took his own pulse himself be sure. “You could never trust machines too closely nowadays,” he always said. Then he’d jump off the treadmill and stretch out, guaranteeing he cooled down so he wouldn’t strain himself at work. That would be embarrassing.

He took his time in the shower this morning, basking in the near perfect water pressure and temperature. He’d already laid out his uniform for work the night before. A Sioux Falls Fire Rescue EMS company polo, a pair of navy multi-pocket cargo pants, perfect for the everyday paramedic, his black 5.11 steel toe work boots, a pair of black socks and black pair of Saxx briefs, and his Sioux Falls FREMS company job shirt that had his name, certification level, and rank embroidered over the left side of his chest:

Lt. S. Winchester
NREMT-LP
Lead Supervisor

He towel dried himself off and started getting dressed. He stuck his penlight in one sleeve pocket, a regular click ballpoint pen in the other, his lucky pair of red trauma sheers through the snap loop of his cargo pants, and his all-black Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope was folded up and shoved into the large cargo pocket opposite his sheers. He wondered why he even bothered carrying any of this crap anymore. Short of his stethoscope, which survived paramedic school and his entire career thus far, he didn’t use anything else. It was more for aesthetics nowadays.

Before locking up his apartment, he made himself a thermos of coffee. He never drank it for the caffeine intake, he just liked the taste of a good, rich dark roast in the morning. The drive to work was relatively uneventful. He parked in his designated spot right in front of the personnel entrance that was badge accessible only, the one reserved for “Lead Supervisor.” He always smiled when he parked his sleek black Charger there. It symbolized all that he’d achieved.

He didn’t bother acknowledging anyone who say good morning to him. Most of his fellow colleagues didn’t have the experience he did and were regular employees. All peons below him as far as he was concerned. He went straight to the ambulance that was in service the previous night. He tore through all the shelves and bags that housed their equipment. He knew what each truck was required to be supplied with in order to be in service by heart, therefore he didn’t need to consult the protocols book.

Disapproving of what he saw, he stomped into the crew quarters’ and looked at the dry-erase board to see who was on duty last night.

“Milton! Novak! Get your asses out here now!” Sam bellowed.

Anna Milton-Novak and Gabriel Novak were not only night crew partners on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, but they were in-laws, Anna being married to Gabe’s younger brother Castiel Novak. Anna was an EMT-Basic and Gabriel was her EMT-Paramedic partner. It was customary for one Basic and one Paramedic to staff the trucks at all times, but there were considerably more paramedics than there were Basics or even Advanced EMTs, so people usually picked their own partners. The department preferred to pair people who worked well together, regardless of their certification level.

“You think you could shout a bit louder, bucko?” Gabe stifled a yawn grumpily, emerging from the crew sleeping quarters. “I don’t think the neighboring jurisdiction heard you.”

“Can it, Novak,” Sam spat back. “Why isn’t the truck stocked?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Anna mused, not in the mood for another one of Sam’s ‘tantrums’ as was coined by most of the paid crew. Sam didn’t bother acknowledging the volunteers who helped fill in scheduling holes. They hired someone else to manage the ‘freeloaders’ as he called them. “We ran one call the whole night. Gabe used a 22 gauge and a saline lock. That was it.”

“I don’t like repeating myself,” Sam growled.

Anna just rolled her eyes, which Sam was about to call her out on, but Gabe intervened.

“Look, boss,” Gabe said, “we’ve been waiting for our relief to get here. We usually walk them through the previous shift’s adventures and ask if they need anything before we clock out. That’s how we roll. That’s how we’ve alwaysrolled. Why get hot and bothered about it now?”

“Because,” Sam grumbled, “short of back to back calls throughout a shift that prevents it, it’s against department policy to leave the truck lacking in supplies at all times.”

“Since when have you ever followed-”

“Annie let it go,” Gabe placed a hand on her shoulder, stopping her from getting herself into trouble.

“You know,” Sam stepped up dangerously close to Anna’s face, practically breathing in her scent, “I can have you fired for disrespecting your immediate supervisor.”

“Oh really?” Anna took a step further towards Sam, getting right in his face, arms crossed, defiance in her entire stance. “I’d like to see you try.”

Sam huffed in annoyance before taking a step back. “I want that truck fully stocked before Jo and Cas get here.”

Just as Sam was leaving the quarters, the relieving crew in question, Jo Harvelle and Cas Novak, opened the door to walk in, coffees in hand.

Jo opened the door wider to let Sam pass through. “Mornin’, Sam!”

Sam didn’t say anything and just kept walking. Jo watched him leave, then looked back at her partner, his brother and his wife.

“What’s got his panties in a wad?” Jo mused, taking a sip from her travel mug.

“What doesn’t get his panties in a wad?” Anna sighed angrily.

“Let me guess,” Castiel walked over and placed his arm around his wife, kissing her cheek, then reached over to fist bump his brother. “You used a butterfly needle and didn’t replace it in time?”

“More like a 22G and lock,” Gabriel replied, opening the door for everyone to enter the ambulance bay. “Took one of the local drunks from the bar last night to Sanford Med. That was it. Report’s already been done. Box was washed after that. We’ve just been napping and Netflixxing it up ever since.”

“What time was that call?” Jo asked, getting into the driver’s seat of Medic 14 and flipping on the lights. She did a walk around of the unit to make sure they were all functional. Then she quickly flipped off and on the sirens and airhorn to check their functionality, then went towards the back of the unit. But not before she turned on the generator to power the back of the ambulance.

“Tones dropped around 2330,” Anna supplied. Cas and Jo climbed into the back and started checking off the truck while Anna and Gabe hung out at the back’s opening. Jo rummaged through the jump bag and the O2 bag that held their portable oxygen tank, cracking its seal to see how much oxygen was left in the bottle. Cas went through all the cabinets and used the key issued to him upon his hiring to unlock and check the controlled meds box that contained the paramedic level drugs that were required by law to be locked and documented.

It took less than 10 minutes for the two of them to get the truck ready for tour. Jo pulled out her radio and spoke into the mic. “Medic 14 in service.”

“Medic 14 in service, 0605,” the male dispatch tone replied.

Cas jumped out of the back of the ambulance and went to hug Anna. “Go home and get some real sleep, my love.” He kissed her on the cheek again before she gave Jo a big hug. Gabe came over to Cas as he let go of Anna and slapped him on the back of the shoulder.

“Don’t kill anyone, little bro!” Gabe mused, “That’s my job!”

Cas was about to laugh, but Sam’s booming voice threw them off guard as he walked by without looking at the group.

“Actually you could try and not be lazy like the night crew tends to be.”

The four of them just rolled their eyes as Sam disappeared back into his office.

“You know,” Jo whispered to them, “Sam would probably be more respected as an asshole if he actually followed through with his threats.”

The four of them shared a chuckle before dispersing. Gabe drove Anna home and Cas and Jo went into the crew quarters and tidied up before settling in for a boring 12 hour shift.


“Well Kiki, Mimi,” you sighed towards you two cats being held in their travel carriers as you looked up at the towering building that was your new apartment. “Welcome home.”

Your cats just mewed lazily as you made your way up the stairs towards apartment 205 on the second of three floors. You set your furkids down and unlock the door, pushing it open to reveal a recently cleaned one bedroom, one bathroom apartment complete with kitchen, dining room and bonus sun room. It was small and quaint. Definitely smaller than the 6-bedroom, 20-acre home and ranch you’d inherited back in Texas upon your mother’s untimely death.

Your mother was killed in a car accident a month ago and you were still grieving over her loss. She was the only surviving member of your family therefore you’d inherited a small fortune as well as the deed and title to the family ranch. She assumed you’d continue working and living in Houston and with the house, you’d never be homeless. But you’d done the unthinkable. You’d sold the house and land and left your paramedic job with the Houston Fire Department and moved as far away as you could. It was a big step for you. Houston has been the only home you’d ever known. You were born there, raised there, and ended up becoming a public servant there. Everyone knew who Y/N L/N was by her work as a paramedic. Your HFD superiors had offered arrangements for you to take time off, then come back to work when you were ready, but you just couldn’t see yourself staying in Texas anymore. Everywhere you looked were reminders of the life and love you’d never feel again. It was too much. All of it was too much. So HFD gave you a letter of recommendation and told you “you are always welcome back home with your brothers and sisters in Houston.” You were also given a sizeable termination pay for all the vacation time you didn’t use. Which, considering your entire adult life revolved about the ambulance, was a lot. It almost doubled the inheritance you’d gotten from your mother. You could technically live off of it, take time away from the hustle and bustle of EMS. But that just wasn’t you.

You let Mimi and Kiki, two 4 year old tortoiseshell sisters, out of their carriers and allowed them to explore their new home. You sold most of your possessions before moving. Not that you needed the money, but because it was gonna be a lot easier to pack up a few odds and ends on the necessities list in the back of a station wagon. You didn’t want the burden of hiring a moving company. You took out the checklist the apartment leasing manager gave you to make sure there was nothing wrong with your new home. As Mimi and Kiki followed you around the place, you looked through every door, window, cabinet, and crevasse that the apartment had to offer. After an hour of thorough inspection, you found nothing wrong and signed the checklist. You’d paid the leasing office the initial deposit plus the first 6 months of rent and utility bills in advanced so you had plenty of time to look for a new job.

You were hoping that Sioux Falls’ job market was similar to Houston’s, which meant you wouldn’t be an unemployed paramedic for very long. But you just didn’t know. And you weren’t willing to take the chance that you might be wrong.

Chapter Text

 

It took you only a few days to get your apartment up to snuff. There was a local furniture store having a sale and they were able to deliver whatever you bought the same day. And the men who delivered your living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture took their time assembling and setting it all up for you. When you tried to give them a very generous tip, they refused, saying it was their pleasure to help a “new neighbor” out. You blushed furiously as they left. This level of kindness wasn’t something you were accustomed to. Back in Houston if you’d offered workers a tip of the size you’d offered those men, it would’ve been ripped out of your hand before you finished talking.

As far as Sioux Falls’ job market went, it wasn’t that the city was bursting at the seems with plenty of jobs, it was that the city was short on quality experienced paramedics. So a week after getting settled in at home, you were checking out different options, and you noticed a large ad on one of the job post websites you were browsing.

CITY OF SIOUX FALLS SEEKING EXPERIENCED PARAMEDICS.

***$5,000 SIGN ON BONUS!

***BRAND NEW EQUIPMENT!

***MONTHLY C.E. TRAINING!

·       MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE.

·       CLEAN DRIVING RECORD

·       MUST BE ABLE TO PASS A BACKGROUND CHECK

·       MUST BE WILLING TO SUBMIT TO DRUG TESTING

·       MINIMUM 5 YEARS EXPERIENCE AT THE EMT-PARAMEDIC LEVEL REQUIRED

·       MINIMUM 3 YEARS AS A 911 EMS PROVIDER PREFERRED

·       ITLS, ACLS, PALS CERTIFICATION REQUIRED

APPLY ONLINE TODAY!

You didn’t hesitate to click the link and applied online to the City of Sioux Falls’ Fire Rescue EMS division as a paramedic. You ended up getting a phone call later that afternoon.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Y/N L/N?”

“May I ask who’s calling?” Your mother always told you to be wary of strangers who called you.

“Hi, my name is Ellen Harvelle, human resources manager with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department. How are you doing?”

Wow, that was fast, you thought. “I’m well, and yourself?” It was a total lie, but this Ellen Harvelle didn’t need to know your whole life’s story.

“I’m good, thank you. I just received your application online and was wondering if you were available for an interview tomorrow morning. Say, 9 o’clock?”

You were practically jumping for joy. “Yes, absolutely! Thank you so much!”

“Alright, I’ve got you down for tomorrow at 0900. You’ll be interviewed by our lieutenant and lead paramedic supervisor. His name is Sam Winchester.”

You grabbed a pen and slip of paper to take down the station’s address and phone number for future reference, as well as the supervisor’s name. You thanked Ellen for the opportunity, then you both hung up. You ran over to the cat tree that Mimi and Kiki were currently snoozing on and grabbed them up, hugging them fiercely. Your fur-daughters were always laid back chill creatures and didn’t care if people picked them up or tossed them around. As long as they got fed every day and their litter box scooped, they were submissive. Something you couldn’t resist when you adopted them from the Houston SPCA.

“Great news, girls! Mommy’s gotta interview tomorrow morning!” You kissed the tops of their heads as they both struggled to head-boop you at the same time. You sat down on the couch and they crawled into your lap. You pet them for a while and sighed happily. Things might actually be looking up.


Sam hated new people at work.

But what he hated more was having to interview potential new people.

But when Chief Singer tells you what to do, you don’t ask questions. You give him a “yes, sir,” and move on with the task at hand.

Sam went into work early that morning to start looking into this new recruit, call references, etc. etc. It was boring desk work that he hated about his title. But it’s not like he enjoyed being on the box much anymore either. People used to tell him that he was “burned out” and he “needed to take a break before he breaks himself,” but he essentially just told those people to fuck off. He did enjoy his job. He just didn’t care for the people he treated anymore. What was the point? It’s not like being a paramedic earned you a ton of “thanks” anyway.

Sam did the appropriate amount of digging and while he didn’t want to admit it out loud, he was impressed.

“This Y/N chick has an impressive resume. Consistent employment, honors and awards, and all her references check out,” Sam said to himself. But he still knew that nobody was a better medic than him.

That morning, you wanted to take your time getting ready. Making damn sure not a single detail about your appearance was out of character. After all, a big part of first impressions were your how you looked. It’s incredibly bias but you knew it to be true, especially as a young female in a predominately male industry. You dressed in your best casual business attire: a lilac colored sleeveless blouse, tan colored slacks that flared slightly towards your ankles, allowing you to tuck in your blouse and add a gold belt with matching buckle, your lucky pair of black closed-toed heels, and a light brown blazer to top it all off. You tied your hair into a messy bun on the left side of your head, just behind your ear and you tucked a small lavender jeweled flower bobby pin so that it peaked out just above the bun. You applied light make up and added a touch of your signature perfume to your carotid and radial pulse points. One last look in the floor length mirror and you knew you had this interview in the bag.

By the time you got to the interview location, you knew you were suffering from an anxiety induced tachycardic episode. It’s just nerves, Y/N, you’re gonna do great, you told yourself, placing your heart rate somewhere between 100-110 beats per minute. You stepped out of your car and made your way inside.


Sam was sitting at his computer going over the new protocols edits when there was a knock his office door.

“Come in,” he called out.

A young woman with Y/H/C hair balled up messily behind her left ear walked in. Upon first inspection, she was pretty, Sam gave her that. But he knew looks wasn’t going to save any lives in this business.

“Good morning,” you said in a moderately cheerful voice. Sam held back a groan.

He plastered on his fakest smile and extended his hand. “Good morning. You must be Y/N L/N.”

“I am,” you replied, shaking his hand. “And you must be Sam Winchester.” Oh my god, he is handsome, you thought. You placed his height at around six-foot-five. He had long hair for this line of work. It made you think that maybe Sioux Falls FRD wasn’t all that strict on physical appearance so long as it didn’t interfere with a person’s ability to work. You supposed that was cool. You remember back in Houston, all the men had to adhere to a strict military-like dress code, down to the length of sideburns. A lot of your brothers used to complain about not being able to grow so much as a goatee, and you always used to laugh at them. They knew what they were signing up for.

“That would be me,” Sam chuckled, “please, have a seat.” He gestured to a chair in front of his desk. You sat down. Sam began by properly introducing himself, stating he was a paramedic and lead supervisor. He explained that he has been in the public service business for about 10 years, starting off as a firefighter/EMT “So, Y/N, tell me a little bit about yourself.”

“Well, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Got my fire and medic cert through the Houston Fire Department, but after a while I just stayed on the box.”

“Why’s that?” Sam asked.

“I learned that I had stronger paramedic characteristics than I did firefighting. I mean, I was good at both, but there was a level of compassion that I could exert in the back of an ambulance that I just couldn’t on the pumper, you know?”

Sam visibly nodded as if to look impressed, but deep down he was mentally slamming his head against his desk.

Maybe it was because he’d done this job for so long, or maybe it was just his personality had changed, but Sam just didn’t see the need to be compassionate towards his patients. It tended to slow him down and it didn’t matter to him what his patients thought anyway. It’s not like he’d ever see them again after clearing a call. Besides, if he couldn’t complete his calls according to departmental bottom lines, then there was no point in even being certified.

The interview went very smoothly for you. You answered back and forth questions about yourself and your core values, and the two of you ran through scenarios where Sam would give you an example of a call and you told him what you would do as lead paramedic on scene.

“So,” Sam said after he was satisfied with your answers, “do you have any questions for me? About the department? About the specifics of the job? About how handsome you think I am?”

That last one got a laugh out of you. You were enjoying this interview mostly because Sam was a real nice guy. Not to mention nice to look at.

“Well, there’s no denying you’re a handsome man,” you started, earning you dimple-popping smile from Sam. Did the skin between your thighs suddenly get warm? “But I’m more concerned about the job. Don’t BS me, Sam. Is there any chance of me getting hired here?”

You were all business at this point, giving Sam your most serious expression. Sam looked at you for a moment before speaking, a smile sliding across his face.

“Honestly, I’m gonna go ahead and put you in for hiring approval. You’re exactly what we need here at Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. You’re knowledgeable, you’ve got the experience to back it up, and your compassion is above and beyond the level we expect from our medics. I’ve always said that you can’t do this job if you can’t feel for your patient.”

To say you were elated was an understatement. While you were thankful you’d already paid the rent and utilities for the next 6 months, it still felt good knowing you weren’t gonna be living on ramen noodles and water for that long.

Sam continued. “So let me get the boss level paperwork started and you should receive a call from Ellen, our HR manager within the week.”

“Oh, thank you so much!” you got up out of your seat as Sam was standing up from his and the two of you shook hands.

Sam opened the door for you. “I look forward to working with you, Miss Y/N.”

You smiled brightly as you left the building.

It was at that moment you wish you had family to call and tell the good news. And the bitter-sweetness left a cold spot on your heart.


Sam wanted nothing more than to go home and take an hour long cold shower. He was also berating himself. He’s never been that nice to anyone before, especially someone he was about to recommend for hiring. He wanted to blame you for dressing like a slut in nice clothing, but the rational part of his brain was overpowering his usual selfish spiteful demeanor.

So he figured he’d just go to Ellen and see what she thought.

He walked into Ellen’s office.

“Hey Sam, come on in,” Ellen waved at him and Sam stepped inside, closing the door behind him. “How’d the interview go?” Ellen was everyone’s mother figure here. She married a career firefighter and her own daughter Jo worked as a medic as well. After Bill died from falling through a roof on a house fire 10 years ago, she started picking up more work at the department. This was her way of having more children to look after, considering she had to have a hysterectomy when Jo was 5 years old.

“Okay I guess,” Sam grunted, tossing your potential employee files onto Ellen’s desk.

“So she’s a definite hire then,” Ellen mused, a smirk forming on her face.

“I didn’t say that,” Sam retorted.

“Sam, I’ve known you and Dean since you two were in diapers. You don’t like anybody here. You tend to be especially spiteful to the ones you care about the most.”

“That’s the thing Ellen,” Sam sighed, sitting down in a chair across from her desk. “I wasn’t spiteful. I wasn’t mean. I acted like I was a genuinely nice guy. Even got her to laugh at a joke about me being handsome. That’s completely out of character for me.”

“Well you are handsome, anyone with eyes can see that,” Ellen smiled, “but still. You know departmental policy more than anyone here. If she’s cut out for the job, she gets hired. You wouldn’t deny anyone well qualified that opportunity. It’s just not in you.”

“Maybe,” Sam shrugged, still unsure of himself.

“Look, just go back to doing what you were doing before the interview and I’ll handle the rest. By next week, she’ll be on the truck and you can train her and see if she’s got what it takes.”

Sam looked up at Ellen. “Wait, I have to train her?”

Ellen looked at him from the brim of her glasses like he was stupid. “Kinda comes with the job title, Lead Supervisor.”

Sam kept his grumbles to himself. He knew saying anything to Ellen would eventually end up being heard by Chief. So he simply spread a tight-lipped smile across his face towards Ellen and walked out of her office.

He shut the door to his office and sat down at his desk, taking deep breaths to calm his angry nerves.

“These next few weeks are gonna suck,” Sam said to no one.


You got a phone call from Ellen later that evening saying you got the job, so you decided to cook a celebratory dinner for one. You decided to splurge on quality steak, organic sweet potatoes for mashing, and jasmine rice. Even Mimi and Kiki were spoiled with some of the less-than-good quality junk cat food they liked so much. Mimi was a little tubbier than her sister so you try to balance their diets out. You wished you could eat like a queen every night, but the time and prep-work, not to mention the cost, just wasn’t something you wanted to deal with constantly. The hiring process took spending an entire next day at the station signing employer-government paperwork, doing a piss test, and scheduling a physical. You were informed that while you were training, you needed to study the protocols book as there was gonna be a test on it and failing it would mean losing your job.

You weren’t really all that shocked by that. You knew most departments around the country had that policy in place. It just wasn’t practical to wait til after protocols were covered to hire someone, given how much demand there was for quality EMS professionals. And even if that were the case, it’s a lot easier to show you know what’s in the book by real world example. It brought back memories of one time when you were a brand new EMT-Basic and you’d just finished studying the protocols on the King Airway and not fifteen minutes later, tones dropped for a call where you ended up getting to test your knowledge. At the time you were working for a small rural county fire department so it wasn’t very often something like that came up. Most of their calls were paramedic level stuff and you’d ended up driving the unit most shifts. But it was nice. Of course, with the rural counties, a lot of them still have the ‘atta-boy’ system, and that call gave you a leg up in the EMS food chain while you were there, even if you were just a volunteer.

Houston was a lot more ritualistic and militant with their tests and procedures. Something nobody questioned since the City government and taxes paid your paychecks. Not to mention the city was severely understaffed as it was.

You were issued your uniforms and you went home with them, had them washed, dried, and ironed for your first day of work.


The following morning, Sam woke up later than anticipated. He wasn’t going to have time to work out and he barely had time to take a shower, but managed the shower in short order. He was wondering if he was starting to get sick. He never misses his alarm. And he always sets it.

That wasn’t the case last night.

Could it…nah…it couldn’t be that… he thought while rinsing the shampoo from his hair under the warm water spraying down his naked form. I’ve trained a lot of women in the past… Jo included. Though I’ve known Jo since she was a baby… He dismissed the thoughts of you from his mind and climbed out of the shower, wrapping a towel loosely around his hips.

He got in uniform, made a quick cup of coffee, then bolted out the door, hoping today you’d prove to at least be better than your new colleagues. But he wasn’t holding out hope.

Meanwhile, you got up early that morning. You made yourself a hearty breakfast, gave Mimi and Kiki an extra helping of food since you didn’t know when you were gonna be home, and even managed to take an extra long shower. You were impressed at the hot water and water pressure in your apartment. It was very therapeutic and relaxing. You should be nervous considering it was your first day at a new department far away from the only home you’d ever know, in a city and state you never dreamed you’d be living in, and you really should be nervous because you hadn’t been “the rookie” in almost 10 years, but you weren’t. You were completely and utterly excited to start the day. You expected not everyone would be warmed up to you immediately as your colleagues were back in Houston, given Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department was a lot smaller than HFD (to be fair, HFD is the largest fire department in the country) but that was a problem you could deal with. You always had one priority in mind when it came to doing your job.

“Just be yourself,” you told yourself in the mirror as you’d finished assembling your uniform and fixating all the gear you kept on your person. “That’s all anyone can and will ask of you.”

You took a few moments to admire your appearance in the mirror. Damn I look good, you thought with a smile. It may have been a bit conceited of you, but you always loved any uniform you were issued. You knew your professional appearance played a key role in how your patients and bystanders perceived you as a professional and you took it very seriously. HFD always helped that notion along, considering there was severe consequences to not looking professional at all times. But even if they hadn’t, looking at other companies and how their employees would have their shirts untucked, hair a mess, wrinkled pants and tennis shoes was enough to maintain your appearance. It wasn’t in your character to judge others by their looks, but in this line of work, if you didn’t look professional, a lot of the time you were judged as an unprofessional. It always made you scoff to yourself.

Mimi and Kiki came into your room and started nuzzling their bodies against your legs. You knew you were gonna have to break out the rolling lint brush in your car before going to work, but you didn’t care. Your daughters were proud that their momma was going back to work after such a short time since their grandmother passed away.

“Well, girls,” you bent down and pet them both, a cheerful tone playing in your voice, “wish Mommy luck on her first day!”

You tossed them some treats, locked the door behind you, and made your way towards your car, eager to get to work.


If there’s one thing that spreads faster than the flu at a fire department, it’s words. And by the time you’d gotten to work, everyone who worked at station 6 was expecting your arrival. There were two people waiting outside the bay, one of which was smoking a cigarette. A man with short dark hair and the bluest eyes you’d ever seen, and a young woman with long slightly-wavy blonde hair. She looked to be about your size, but you knew from experience that size doesn’t mean shit in the way of pulling your weight as a paramedic, both physically and mentally.

“Hi!” the woman said cheerfully, tossing the butt of her cigarette into the standing ashtray nearby and extending her hand towards you, “you must be Y/N. I’m Jo Harvelle, one of the paramedics on duty today.”

“Hi, nice to meet you,” you returned her handshake and cheerful tone. Upon closer inspection, she was very pretty.

“Castiel Novak, Jo’s partner,” the dark haired man said next, also extending his hand towards you. His voice was an odd mixture of low and high pitched tones, and it was rather soothing. “Welcome to Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.”

“Thank you so much,” you said to Castiel, also shaking his hand. He smiled at you and you could tell smiling wasn’t something he did often. You weren’t sure if it just wasn’t in his nature or if he was just very shy. Either way, you found his smile sweet.

“Y/L/N,” you heard a familiar voice call from behind Jo and Cas. As you looked to find Sam walking towards you and the partners, you didn’t miss the aggravated looks on their faces.

“Good morning, Lieutenant Winchester,” you said respectfully. He didn’t acknowledge your greeting. In fact, he didn’t make eye contact with you at all, and you could sense he was angry about something.

“Mornin, Sam,” Jo said flatly.

“Good morning, Lieutenant,” Cas also said with a dry expression. Neither partner made eye contact with him.

Sam didn’t acknowledge either of them. He turned back to you, though still averted his gaze. “Well, L/N? I don’t have all day. Move your ass so we can get you ready for tour.”

And with that, Sam walked away.

You stared dumbfounded for a moment, then looked at Jo and Cas, both of them expressing sorrow and empathy on their faces.

Whoever Sam Winchester was the day of your interview, it was a complete lie.  A façade he put on when interviewing so as not to scare recruits away. You hated fake people. And Sam seemed to be their poster boy. You made a mental note to watch yourself around him as you followed him through the ambulance bay, hoping this tour of the station wasn’t going to end badly.

Chapter Text

Two Weeks Later

 


 

 

Despite the less than appeasing introduction on your first day, it went smoothly. You rode as the third wheel with Jo and Cas and they quickly became close friends. You even exchanged numbers with them so you could talk and communicate while off duty. You eventually met Anna, Castiel’s wife, and his brother Gabriel, whom everyone called Gabe. The weekend after your first week of tour, Cas invited you over for a little get together at his house. A lot of the guys from station 6, as well as neighboring stations and some staff from Stanford Med, the local Level II Trauma center in town, were all there. What Cas didn’t tell you was the get together was actually for you.

“Wait, what?” you said to Cas, taking a sip of your beer.

“It was a bet,” he said with a sheepish grin, “see we don’t get new people at the station very often, and given who our lieutenant is, we have a high turnout rate for medics. So Gabe, Jo, Anna and myself placed a bet that whoever was hired next…if they stay for a whole week without getting shit on, we’d throw them a party.”

“Oh Cas!” you said, a bright red blush spreading across your face, “you didn’t have to do this! Your friendship is enough, I swear! I can pay you back for the expenses if you-”

“You’ll do no such thing, woman!” Gabe shouted a bit loudly as he approached you, and it was evident he started drinking before you got there. “This was to celebrate you! Ellen made some hella good decisions hiring you! WHOOOO!!!” He shouted out, and it made you laugh. Drunk Gabe was entertaining as hell. “No but seriously, we’re glad you’re here.”

“We are!” Anna came by, giving you a hug, one you gladly gave back. “Don’t let anything Winchester says or does get in the way of that!”

“Yeah,” Jo said, “I think maybe if Sam pays enough attention, he could learn a thing or two.”

“Oh I don’t know about that,” you said, your blush making it look like you were febrile. You wanted to assume there was a legit reason Sam was a lieutenant. You had to assume.

“Well we do,” Cas said, bending over to kiss you on the cheek. You laughed and leaned into Anna, who also gave you a kiss on the cheek. You laughed harder as Gabe proceeded to try and make out with you. Cas and Jo pulled him off of you, but you kept laughing.

This kind of behavior would not have been tolerated back home, but you reveled in the moment. It almost felt like you were among family.

Almost.


You were starting your third week at SFFRD and Jo had become your regular partner. You personally preferred to work with men, but Jo and you just bonded in a way where you couldn’t see yourself working with anyone else on a daily basis. The banter between you and how the two of you could complete a call and communicate without uttering a single word was something of beauty.

Sam had definitely taken notice of how well you were fitting in at the station. He figured his normal antics would’ve driven you away like the last 5 people SFFRD had hired of the course of the last year, but it seemed to only make you stronger. Did it make him jealous? Not really. But it did irritate him for some unknown reason.

“So, what’s the deal with Sam?” you asked Jo during a very rare lunch break, sitting in the ambulance in the parking lot of a local sandwich shop. Sioux Falls didn’t get nearly as many calls as HFD did, but station 6 was situated in the middle of downtown and it kept you guys busy enough to have to skip meals. You weren’t used to working days but you wanted a chance of pace so you offered to take a regular day shift with Jo. Castiel had expressed at the party that he wanted to start working with his brother and/or wife again at night, so Ellen changed up the schedule to make it happen. By now the people who knew you first were aware of why you’d moved, but they didn’t know anything more than that. You were relieved that nobody asked questioned that were too personal. They trusted you.

“You want the long version that spans about 20 years or the short version that spans about…” she counted on her fingers in a funny gesture, “long version it is. The more you know about this guy the better you can protect yourself.”

“Protect myself?” you scrunched up your eyebrows in confusion, “why would I need to do that? Is he dangerous?”

“No,” Jo responded with a mouthful of turkey club sandwich. “But still, he isn’t someone you wanna cross.”

“Why’s that?”

Jo sighed. “Sam and his older brother Dean have known me and my family since we were all kids. Sure, we were separated by distance, but still. The fire department…it’s the family business for the Winchesters and the Harvelles. My daddy was a firefighter and so was Sam’s. It’s how they met. We all started out in Lawrence, Kansas. Then after a while, my family moved to Nebraska. After I got out of high school and decided to be a paramedic, mom suggested I go up to South Dakota, where Chief Singer was. He’s another mutual family friend. It didn’t surprise me that Sam followed suit, but Dean becoming a police officer did.”

“Wow, so Dean’s an officer in Lawrence?”

“Not just that,” Jo went on, taking a sip of her soda, “he’s the county sheriff. Sam’s been through a lot though. They lost their mom when he was 6 months old.”

You grimaced. The invisible wounds from your mother’s death stung a bit.

“It was a house fire, ironic as that may seem. But John, their dad, couldn’t do anything except grab the kids and run as the house went up in flames. He tried to go back inside to get Mary, their mom, but the fire was just too intense.  From what I’ve heard, John and Mary had a fight that night after Sam and Dean went to bed, so they weren’t sleeping in the same room. There was only one smoke detector in the house, and the batteries were dead. The fire started in the kitchen, an electrical short in the stove, I think. Had John not been sleeping on the couch in the living room at the time, I don’t think any of them would’ve made it out.”

You reveled in your sorrow. You couldn’t imagine what it could’ve been like for Sam, growing up without his mother. You’d spent the better part of your life growing up without our dad, the victim of a drunk driving accident when you were a kid. It was one of the reasons you became a paramedic.

“I think that’s the reason why John became a firefighter,” Jo went on, her expression showing sadness, “he didn’t want to ever feel helpless again. And in a way, he could save others when he couldn’t save his wife.”

“That’s…so sad,” you said quietly.

“But I don’t think that’s what drove Sam to be the compassionless dickbag he is now…”

You looked up at Jo.

“Sam had a girlfriend in paramedic school, Jessica. She worked as an LPN at Stanford Med and decided she wanted to change jobs and become a paramedic. They were dating when they started school together. But the night before the NREMT exam, which they’d scheduled to take together, Jessica was in a car accident. She was on her way to pick Sam up, and never made it. And it was a block away from his apartment. He was still a volunteer at the time and was supposed to be off duty, but he had his radio on at the time. So when tones dropped, he was the first to respond. And the first to find the love of his life dead in the driver seat. Someone crossed the yellow line and smashed right into her. That guys car ended up in the river, drove right off the bridge. I think…I think that’s where Sam broke.”

You could feel tears welling up in your eyes, but you fought them back. You didn’t want to show weakness, not right now.

“He claims that when the rest of the department showed up on scene, nobody seemed to show any compassion or empathy…I can attest the opposite as I was there that morning, a volley myself. Every single one of our hearts broke for Sam. But he seemed to forget that when we’re on scene, we have to put on brave faces for everyone else involved. It does no one any good if we break down too. He was eventually ordered by PD to leave.

“Now… it seemed the Sam I knew as a kid died along with Jess. He used to be a happy go lucky guy. He was kind, he was thoughtful, he was…empathetic. And it made him a really good medic. But now…” Jo took a deep breath, trying to steady her emotions. “I don’t know. He earned his rank fair and square, but he hadn’t really done anything in my eyes that makes him worthy of being my lieutenant. Just…watch your back around him, Y/N.”

“Do you really think he’d fire me for something stupid?”

“Sam never follows through on the threats he makes to all of us, but because he’s one of our commanding officers, he can still make your life a living hell. I didn’t see that until he started treating me that way, and he used to see me as the little sister he always wanted.”

You pondered on all this information. You’d seen in your short time at the department how rude and hypercritical Sam was towards all of you, but he had yet to direct any of that animosity towards you specifically. It was sad, how burned out Sam appeared to be, and judging by demeanor alone, he appeared to be the kind who was too stubborn to take time off to deal with it.  But it wasn’t your place to judge another medic’s internal struggles.

“Y/N, you’re slowly but surely becoming one of my best friends,” Jo said with a smile. “I don’t want to see you hurt by him. Especially because you don’t know him. But please…watch yourself around Sam.”

You slowly nodded.

Then you heard it.

“Medic 6, Engine 6, medical call. 2836 Ollerton Drive between Promenade Road and Jones Street. Key  Map 437 Alpha. Medic 6, Engine 6, medical call. 2836 Ollerton Drive between Promenade Road and Jones Street. Key Map 437 Alpha. Time out 1242 hours.”

You were in the driver’s seat and repositioned yourself to buckle your seatbelt. Jo picked up the radio mic.

“Medic 6 en route,” she spoke into the mic head.

“Medic 6 en route, 1243 hours.”

You brought the rig to life and slowly inched out of the parking lot, flipping on the lights and sirens. Jo picked up the city’s key map and flipped it towards page 437A as instructed by dispatch.

“Turn right,” Jo instructed. The two of you had an unspoken agreement when running hot to a call. Whoever was driving would man the truck’s functions and the shotgunner would give directions and clear intersections. You turned right as the cars coming up stopped to let you through.

“Engine 6 en route,” you heard a male voice over the radio.

“Engine 6 en route, 1245 hours,” dispatch confirmed.

“Alright take a left at the 3rd light,” Jo said, digging her stethoscope out of her pocket and swinging it around her neck. “You want this call?”

“Sure,” you said, keeping your focus on the road and dodging traffic. You and Jo alternated calls depending on how many there were.

“Medic 6, Engine 6, you’re responding to a three year old male, 12 Delta 3, caller states patient has no medical history.”

“Medic 6 received,” Jo said into the mic.

“Engine 6 received.

You were thankful Sioux Falls used the same Priority Dispatching code system that Houston did. Though you couldn’t imagine what else they would use, considering the PDS was a universal nationwide system, and it was integrated into emergency medical dispatch certification training. The only reason you knew this was because a few firefighters from back home were part time dispatchers with neighboring jurisdictions.

Scenarios started running through your head, what could be causing a toddler to have continuous seizures with no prior medical history to cause them, but were interrupted by more tones calling out from the radios.

“Battalion 1 respond with Medic 6 and Engine 6 for a 12 Delta 3 to 2836 Ollerton Drive between Promenade Road and Jones Street. Battalion 1 respond with Medic 6 and Engine 6 to 2836 Ollerton Drive between Promenade Road and Jones Street. Key Map 437 Alpha, Key Map 437 Alpha, time out 1250 hours.”

“Oh crap,” Jo groaned.

“Show Battalion 1 en route,” you heard Sam’s voice over the radio.

“Battalion 1 en route, 1251 hours.”

“Why is he being sent there?” Jo asked, clearly irritated. “We’ve got two medics here and I think Cas in on the engine today. We’ve got plenty of help. Oh, turn right up ahead.”

“I think it’s protocol to send Bat 1 to any Charlie, Delta or Echo calls,” you said, following Jo’s directions.

“Yeah well, our protocols are jacked,” Jo mused, earning a chuckle from you. “Fourth house on the right.”

You followed her directions and sure enough, fourth house on the right had a chaotic scene before you. You reached for the radio. “Medic 6 on scene.”

“Medic 6 on scene, 1300 hours,” dispatch responded.

Not a word was uttered between you and Jo. You grabbed two pairs of size small gloves for the two of you, she grabbed the jump bag, you grabbed the monitor, and show followed you towards the front yard. A woman was crying hysterically with a limp toddler in her arms. The boy was cyanotic all over but appeared to be breathing, albeit shallowly. You looked around and noticed a plethora of concerned neighbors and relatives scattered throughout the yard. Your initial size up of the scene told you they weren’t an immediate danger, but had a feeling they could potentially get in the way of your assessment of the child, so you radioed for PD to be dispatched so they could handle the crowd. You were surprised PD wasn’t already here.

You approached the woman, your demeanor calm and collected, your tone light but serious. “Hey, I’m Y/N, I’m a paramedic with the fire department, tell me exactly what happened today.”

The woman was so hysterical you almost couldn’t understand what she was saying. But she told you that her son was seated into his high chair eating lunch and then just went limp, starting seizing. You asked her how long the seizure lasted, but she didn’t know. She guessed around 4 or 5 minutes. She said she should’ve called 911 immediately but was too distraught, until her son had another seizure not 2 minutes after the first one. She had a neighbor call 911 for her. The whole time mom was talking, you’d slipped on your gloves and felt the child’s brachial artery for a pulse.

Thready, rapid, at least 130, you mentally noted.

Just then, Sam’s Battalion SUV showed up on scene just as the engine pulled up. You heard him putting them back in service over the radio, but didn’t look up to see him pulling the stretcher out of your box and rolling up the slightly elevated hill of the front yard. Jo went over to help him get the cot prepared to receive the boy, but he apparently waived her off. Jo bent down to ask the mom which hospital you guys wanted to take her son to, and she told you Stanford Med.

“What do we got?” Sam said from behind you, pulling on his gloves, not even bothering to acknowledge the mother.

“Three year old male, seizures, no prior history,” you said in a neutral response, placing a child sized oxygen mask onto the little boy’s face.

Sam proceeded to take the child from his mother’s arms, and placed him gently on the stretcher, buckling him in. “Alright, let’s go.” He started wheeling the stretcher back towards the unit, leaving you, Jo and the child’s mother standing there in shock. Sam turned around and appeared irritated that nobody was following him. “I said let’s go!” He shouted.

“Sam, wait!” you said, gesturing for Jo and the mother to follow you. “You don’t even know where we’re going!”

“I heard mom say Stanford Med. So that’s where we’re going. Jo, you’re with me. Y/N, I assume being from Houston you know how to drive a box this big, so don’t kill us en route.”

The mother’s expression turned from angry to shock as Sam loaded her son into the unit, then climbed in the back. Jo wasn’t having any of this.

“Sam,” Jo pressed, standing at the back of the ambulance, “Y/N needs a certain amount of calls before she can be cleared for her protocols test. Don’t you think this call is perfect for her to be lead?”

You came up from behind Jo. “I agree. Not the first pediatric seizure I’ve run either.”

Sam huffed in annoyance, not in the mood to argue. “Fine. Jo, get up front. Y/N, get back here.”

“What about the mother?” you asked.

“What about her?” Sam replied venomously, not caring that the patient’s mother was still standing where she could hear him.

“She has to come with us.”

“Then you should’ve already buckled her in! We don’t have time for this, let’s go!” Sam spat back. The mother at this point was fuming with Sam’s clear disregard for her rights. You and Jo were just as mad. But Jo got her situated in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, assuring her that her son was in the best hands possible. You were about to climb into the back of the ambulance but Sam stopped you, tossing a set of car keys at you, which you barely caught in time.

“What’s this?” you asked.

Sam didn’t look up from you as he was applying EKG leads to the boy’s now exposed chest, his shirt already cut off. “Someone’s gotta follow in my truck to the hospital. I got this one. You can take whatever call comes next.”

“Seriously?” you said, and Sam looked up from gathering IV starting supplies, glaring.

“Are you disregarding a direct order, rookie?” Sam said in a low dangerous voice.

You gritted your teeth, seeing the fire in his eyes. “No sir.”

“That’s what I thought,” Sam said with a smug victorious smirk. “We’re running Priority 3. Don’t get lost.”

And with that, you climbed out of the box and headed towards his truck. The Battalion 1 SUV was a nice, newer model Chevy Suburban, with all the bells and whistles you expected from a high end department. Even HFD was lacking in a quality fleet. You didn’t blame your old department. The city kept slashing its budget little by little, so cuts had to be made somewhere.

Jo saw you get into Sam’s POV through the side mirror. “Sam, why is Y/N getting into your truck?”

“Because I ordered her too.”

“Dude we could’ve come back for it.”

“Not your place to question me, Harvelle. Light me up, let’s go!”

Jo huffed in annoyance, grabbing the radio mic. “Show Medic 6 en route to Stanford Med, times one, emergency traffic with Battalion 1 plus one passenger on board.”

“Received Medic 6, emergency traffic to Stanford Med, times one plus Battalion 1 and one passenger, 1323 hours.”

From behind, you saw that Jo was an excellent emergency driver. She followed all the rules and regulations set forth from the department’s EVOC protocols while keeping in mind that you were not only following but weren’t all that versed in Sioux Falls’s city layout.

The drive towards the hospital from the patient’s home was about 15 minutes with light and sirens, and fortunately traffic was light. But you weren’t really paying attention to getting lost. You were pissed as all hell. Sam had a lot of nerve to treat you like absolute shit, not just in front of your partner, but in front of bystanders. And he treated the patient’s mother like shit too. Hell, he almost left her behind! That was a big no-no in most intercity departments as it was usually illegal to transport a pediatric patient without a guardian on board. It could be considered kidnapping, putting everyone who transports’ jobs, certifications, and freedom, at risk. What Jo told you earlier had some merit, but you never expected Sam to act this brazen towards you. And it wasn’t like you two had history so it wasn’t bias.

No, he was just a fucking asshole. For no real reason.

You weren’t gonna let this stand. You were known for standing your ground and defending yourself back home. The last person who decided to treat you like shit back home was a guy who easily had about 100 pounds on Sam in pure muscle. It had started out as a prank but he took it a step too far.

“What the fuck, Ferguson?”

“What? It was just a joke, Y/L/N, lighten up!”

“No, no fuck that, here’s how this is gonna go. You’re gonna stop treating the pumper like your own personal play toy, you’re gonna apologize to everyone whom you startled by blaring the sirens in the bay without warning, and you’re gonna swear to never do this again, or I swear to GOD, I will make you regret not only meeting me, but ever getting a job within the entire City of Houston. Do I make myself clear?!”

You smirked to yourself remembering how you managed to dwindle a six-foot-four, 300 pound man to a small child in front of the entire station. But it did the job. He not only apologized to you, but his apology came in the form of a bouquet of pretty seasonal flowers. He told you he admitted to screwing up, but he was impressed that you stood up for yourself and was proud to call you his colleague. After that day, everyone knew not to mess with you.

When the ambulance in front of you parked under the canopy of Sanford Medical Center’s ambulance only bay, you parked Sam’s SUV in a neighboring parking space reserved for emergency personnel vehicles only. You heard Jo say over the radio that Medic 6 had arrived at the hospital. Locking up Sam’s truck, you walked towards the back of the unit just as Jo was pulling the stretcher out of the ambulance, Sam following from the head of said stretcher. He attached the cardiac monitor to the hook on the back and hung the IV bag of normal saline to the stretcher’s IV pole, but as you were about to follow them inside, Sam stopped you.

“What?” you asked, in no mood to deal with anymore of Sam’s defamatory behavior towards you.

“Rookie cleans the unit. I trust you know where everything goes?” Sam walked away before you protest.


It took about 30 minutes for Sam and Jo to reappear outside, the ambulance fully cleaned and ready for another call. You were standing outside the unit towards the back, arms crossed against your chest, your heart pounding with fury.

Sam was the first to see you in your defiant stance, and he just rolled his eyes and he opened the back of the unit.

“Look don’t get all pissy because I said some-”

“No you listen to me, Sam,” you interrupted, your anger and fury burning brightly behind your eyes. “Let me tell you something. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care that you outrank me. I don’t care how long you’ve been doing this job. Don’t you ever disrespect me like that ever again.”

“Excuse me?” Sam’s eyes were now burning with an equal amount of rage. “Do you know who you’re talking t-”

“Are you deaf or just stupid?” you spat back, Jo and Sam’s eyebrows raising at the same time. “I just said I don’t give two flying shits who you are. I have done absolutely nothing to warrant the defamatory behavior you showed me, and especially on a fucking call, in front of fucking bystanders. I will treat everyone in this department with the respect professionals like us deserve, whether they actually deserve it or not. But know this. I will not be talked down to. I will not be treated like an inferior. You will show me the same respect. There is no two ways about it. Do I make myself clear? Lieutenant?

Sam just stared daggers at you. A long, intense stare down ensued between you two, the electricity palatable in the air. Jo didn’t dare to breathe out of place. Then he slowly reached for the small mic attached to the radio on his hip, removing the clip from the pocket on his chest. He slowly brought the mic towards his mouth.

“Show Medic 6 and Battalion 1 back in service,” Sam spoke as neutral toned into the radio as his emotions would allow, his own heart pounding hard.

“That’s clear, Medic 6, Battalion 1 in service, 1358 hours.”

And with that, Sam grabbed the keys from you and walked away, still not saying anything.

Jo approached you. “Damn girl! I was wrong about you.”

You sighed, willing your hammering heart to calm its pace. “What do you mean?”

“The last person who stood up to Sam left work early that day, and was never seen at the station again. Sam fired him on the spot. But he didn’t even say anything to you!” Jo pulled out a menthol cigarette from its pack and lit one up. Stanford Med was the only hospital in the area that was lax on its ‘no smoking on campus’ rules and Sioux Falls had a lot of smokers within their ranks. She offered you one, which you were surprised you accepted. You hadn’t smoked in a few years, but feeling the icy stale menthol-laced nicotine oozing its way through your upper airway tract hit a spot you didn’t know had an itch. Jo went on after exhaling a drag as you handed her back her lighter. “Maybe it’s Sam that needs to watch his back, not the other way around.”

“If this is the way it’s gonna be between us,” you said, taking a drag from your cig, blowing the smoke away from Jo’s face, “he has no idea who he’s messing with. I may be smaller than most medics, but I’m no fucking pushover.” You started telling Jo about the time Ferguson fired up the pumper’s sirens as you walked in front of it.


The drive back to the station was a very tense and silent one for Sam. He’d put his truck out of service for supply restock, but the truth was he needed to calm himself down and really think about his interaction with you.

“You will show me the same respect. There is no two ways about it. Do I make myself clear? Lieutenant?”

His heart continued to pound with furious anger as he pondered more and more on the conversation between you two.

The last person to step up on him like that lost his job and any credibility he had to find another one. Yet he let you go. Didn’t say anything.

She should be packing her shit to go back to Houston, not heading back towards the station, Sam thought. Am I getting soft? What the fuck is wrong with me?! First the interview, and now this.

Sam couldn’t explain his behavior, but he did know one thing. For damn sure, you were gonna be an interesting case for him to keep an eye on.

Chapter Text

One Month Later

 


 

Your career was blossoming at Sioux Falls Fire Rescue EMS. By now, everyone had made you feel welcome, save for a certain long-haired Lieutenant. Medics and Basics alike were almost fighting to run at least one shift with you, despite you already having Jo as your permanent partner. If someone had told you that two months after your mother’s death you’d be living happily, like her death never happened, you would’ve punched them in the face on principle. But it was true. This last month had been the best of your life. More than just your friendly, laid-back demeanor, your compassion and empathy for your new community is what you were quickly becoming known for. You’d joke around and make adult patients laugh, your play peek-a-boo or several rounds of “Ever Think…” with the younger patients, and you’d do your damnedest to preserve the dignity and respect for the ones you couldn’t save.

Everything would be kosher if Sam wasn’t such a nuisance.

Ever since that day at Sanford Med, he’d been putting in a bit more effort to challenge you and your patience no matter where you were on duty. He didn’t care if there were witnesses; he honestly believed himself immune to trouble given his rank. You, on the other hand, tried to be the better person. You ignored most of what he told you; but when he was on call, though he knew better now than to shove you aside, he was still undermining your skills and abilities as a fellow paramedic. He was still treating you as someone beneath him. And if it wasn’t for the rest of the department showing their support, you were sure you would’ve left by now.

You thought about going to Chief Singer about it, filing an official harassment report, maybe getting Jo or Cas or even Gabe in as witnesses (as Jo originally made the suggestion and all three of them verbally told you they’d support whatever you did), but you didn’t believe it would actually change anything. They tried to convince you it might, but “might” just wasn’t good enough in your mind. You didn’t want to waste the leader of their department’s time with something if results weren’t guaranteed.

In any case, you were still happy to be part of something bigger than yourself. For the first time in a long time, you felt loved. Appreciated. Cared for. Even if not everyone in the department shared the sentiment.

Evidently, word spread of your good deeds within the higher ranks of Sioux Falls, and when you went into work that morning, Jo, Anna, Pamela Barnes, a basic EMT on call the previous night, and Benny Lafitte, a firefighter, were all buzzing with excitement over the news that some of the Board of Director members and Chief Singer himself were coming to visit Station 6.

You went around to give each of them hugs, and Benny, with his adorable Louisiana drawl, brought the subject up with you.

“Seems like you’re becoming quite the commodity, darlin’.”

“What’s that mean, Benny?”

“I imagine you haven’t heard yet,” Pamela mused, sipping her coffee. “Board members and Singer himself are coming in today. They apparently wanna ‘inspect’ the place, but word around the bay is they’re coming to see you.”

“Me?” you blushed, and Benny let you hide your face partially into his shirt.

“Don’t be bashful now, hun,” Benny went on, “you’re our star medic! Everybody be wantin’ a piece of ya’.”

“Oh Benny,” Jo laughed, “look at her, you’re making her blush more!”

“Can’t help it if I’m that handsome, sweetheart,” he winked at Jo, who rolled her eyes with a smile on her face.

“I don’t know what to say!” you exclaimed. “I’m not doing anything special. I’m just doing my job!”

“Well, you’re doing it well enough to gain their attention,” Anna came over and placed an arm around your shoulders. You removed yourself from Benny’s grasp and went into Anna’s instead. She hugged you. “You’ll be fine, babe. Just be yourself! It hasn’t stopped you before.”

The five of you were enjoying each other’s company when Sam walked through the doors and into the crew quarters. The atmosphere in the room went from cheerful to dreary. Sam just had that effect on people.

Nobody bothered saying anything to him, and he didn’t bother saying anything in return, he just looked around the room, his eyes settling on you last. You gave him your best ‘don’t fuck with me’ glare. Still not saying anything, he left. All eyes were on you now.

“You know, men go for women like you,” Benny mused. You punched him playfully in the arm.

Jo was really becoming a bad influence on you because you’d picked back up your old smoking habit. You excused yourself from the crew quarters and went out in front of the bay to light up. Your braced yourself for the South Dakota February chill by bundling yourself more into your Sioux Falls all weather jacket and your company issued beanie, slipping your cold weather gloves on. You huddled yourself as close to the entrance of the ambulance bay as you could, keeping your lit smoke outside so you were still in compliance of the department’s no smoking ordinance. You saw Sam in the distance, talking to Chief Singer and a few other associates he had in his company. You figured those must be the Board members. As you took another drag of your cig, one of them noticed you and made his way towards you.

“You must be Y/N L/N!” The man said clearly. He extended his hand for you to shake, and you tried to snuff out your smoke to shake it, but he insisted you keep it. “No, don’t toss a perfectly good lit smoke out! Former smoker myself, I remember how hard those nic cravings used to it. It’s no trouble. I’m Barney Shawl, Vice Chairman of the Sioux Falls Professional Firefighters Association.”

You reached out with your opposite hand to shake his. “Pleasure, sir.”

“Oh none of that, young lady! You’ll make me show my true age! Barney is just fine,” he said with a humble laugh. You smiled and blushed in return.

Chief Singer approached you, the other board members and Sam following behind him.

“Good to see you, Y/N,” Chief said, extending his hand for you to shake. You shook his hand, as well as introduced yourself to all the remaining board members, Sam standing off to the side. You were prompted to tell about yourself a bit. You went on about how you were a fire-medic with HFD your entire tenure, but left out the part that your mother’s death led you to Sioux Falls. You chocked it up to “needing a change of scenery.” The board members were engrossed in your story.

“Well,” Barney said after you were done talking. “Given what we’ve heard so far, it seems Lieutenant Winchester has done a fine job training you here!”

You almost laughed, then you realized they were serious. “Come again?” you inquired.

“Sam Winchester is known to the board for being a fine upstanding example of a leader among our ranks. Some of this department’s best paramedic professionals have come from his insightful experience. We’re proud he’s helping along one of the country’s biggest fire department’s professional in our own Sioux Falls.”

Your brain short circuited. You couldn’t believe what you were hearing. The board was giving Sam all the credit for your hard work.

So you said the only thing that came to mind.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

Every one of their heads snapped towards you in shock. Sam looked at you with utter contempt in his eyes. You ignored him and went on.

“Lieutenant Winchester has been the exact opposite of the ‘insightful leader’ you boast about. He’s inconsiderate, he’s disrespectful, and it doesn’t matter who’s around and who’s watching, he’s managed to make sure every time I’m within close proximity of him that I know I’m inferior to him. Lieutenant Winchester,” you turned to face Sam, a cool defiant expression on your face. “Would you like to explain to the prestigious members of the Board about the incident last month, or should I?”

One of the board members, a woman, spoke up. “What incident?”

Before Sam could say anything, you continued, an abundance of cheerfulness in your voice. “I’m glad you asked. On the afternoon of January 16, my partner, Joanna Harvelle, and I were dispatched to a pediatric seizure call. Engine 6 and our beloved Battalion 1 were also dispatched to our location. Given our protocols, I knew Lieutenant Winchester would be accompanying me on that call. I thought, ‘Okay, great! Now’s my chance to be able to work alongside him, so maybe he won’t be such an ass to me in front of my partner and the patient’s own mother’. But that never happened. The Lieutenant initially ordered me to drive the ambulance but then decided I’d be better suited driving his POV, several times telling me not to ‘kill us’ and ‘don’t get lost’. I spoke up afterwards, defending myself and telling him how unprofessional he was - not just to me, but in the presence of our colleagues and bystanders. Not to mention, if Jo and I hadn’t spoken up, he would’ve left the patient’s mother behind, which I believe is a direct violation of company policy. If Sam is an example of ‘fine department leadership’, then I suggest you either find someone who actually represents that or reevaluate your standards.”

Your words struck a chord with everyone there. They were shocked, dismayed, but then they became angry. You figured you were about to get a severe verbal backlash over calling out your immediate supervisor, but it never came.

The Chairman of the Board spoke up. “Lieutenant Winchester, is there any validity to what Miss L/N is saying?”

Sam was seething with rage, but he’d kept his head down until now. He slowly looked up towards all the board members. Then Chief Singer spoke.

“Sam,” he spoke in a quieter, more gentle voice. “Please tell me you didn’t subject this poor woman to your temper.”

Sam was fortunate none of the members heard his Uncle Bobby say that. But he knew he was in deep shit now.

“It’s true,” Sam said in the smallest voice he could, not daring to make eye contact with anyone, especially you.

“This is appalling!” Barney said, visibly angry now. “Sam Winchester, I am very disappointed in you. You come from a long line of public servant professionals. This is not the way someone of your rank is supposed to act. I demand you give Miss L/N an apology right now.”

Sam’s head snapped up, thinking the aging board member wasn’t serious. But the looks on all of their faces said otherwise. Then he looked at you. And he saw neither nor contempt, nor anger in your face.

It was pity.

Sam had no choice but to walk forward. He extended your hand towards you. “Miss L/N. I’d like to express how truly sorry I am for my actions the day of that call. It was out of line and not within my character. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?”

You were right to show an expression of pity towards Sam. He may have sounded sincere, his words might have been rather choosy, but you knew deep down he wasn’t the least bit sorry for what he did that day. But now wasn’t the time for that. You took his hand and shook it, plastering on a smile as fake as his words.

“Apology accepted. I trust we’ll be able to move forward from this and work better together?”

Sam smiled at you. And you couldn’t tell if it was sincere or just as fake.

“Of course.”


With every fiber of your being, you felt nothing but pity and sorrow for the disgruntled Lieutenant.

A monster isn’t born overnight. A monster is made. And many things had happened in Sam Winchester’s life to create the person he was today. It didn’t excuse his actions, but still…

“What have I gotten myself into, girls?” you said to Mimi and Kiki that night in bed. You knew it was foolish to buy your cats their own beds because the moment your new bed was delivered and made, they climbed in and took a nap. So you left their cat beds in the living room as decoration. You pet them both as you talked aloud. “His handsomeness is completely muddled by his inability to not be an asshole.”

What were you saying? You made it sound like you wanted to date the guy. Like a stupid high school crush. You laughed at the thought.

Even if Sam wasn’t an asshole, you were pretty sure he was taken. Went home to a girlfriend… or boyfriend… you weren’t one to judge. It’s like your mom always said.

“Good looking men are one of three things. Taken, married, or gay. There is no in between, Y/N/N.”

You always laughed at those words, but the truth of the matter was, your father was one of those men. And he was married to your mom.

Mom.

You grabbed the sole picture frame that was on your nightstand. It held one of the last photos of your mother before she died. She was in her nursing scrubs and she was posing “like a super model,” she told you. But what it really consisted of was her sticking her ass out to one side, her hand on her hip, her sticking her tongue out and flashing a peace sign in front of one eye. She was always mortified that you kept that picture, even more so when you framed it, but it truly showed your mother’s vibrant character. The kind only those close to her got to see up close and in person. You missed her so much. She would know what to do or say in this situation.

“Oh mom,” you said to her likeness in the photo. “There’s always something that gets in the way of my perfect forever…”

You kissed the glass and set it back on your nightstand, turned out your nightstand lamp, and settled in for a night of sleeping in. You were looking forward to two days off.


She pities me.

Sam was lying in bed later that night, long after his and your shift had ended. No calls ended up being run that day. But neither of you bothered to talk any further than the spectacle in front of Singer and the Board members. Which didn’t help his mood as the day wore on.

She pities me. She feels sorry for me.

His anger didn’t subside when he finally fell asleep, thankful he also had the next two days off. He knew it would only hurt him in the end, but his contempt for you grew to an unprecedented level. If he was rational about it, he’d realize that these childish antics he’d been playing at were uncalled for and he’d suggest a truce between you and him. But Sam never was rational these days.

No. He was going to make you regret you ever set foot in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Chapter Text

Three Months Later


 

Spring was taking its dear sweet time showing its pretty, flower-blooming face to South Dakota, and you were getting impatient. You supposed there was no room for you to complain. You imagined most folk here were used to long winters and short summers, whereas you were accustomed to the opposite. By now, in Houston, the temperatures would be back up into the mid-to-upper 70s during the day; and at night, a cool, brisk 40 to 50 degrees. The transition from winter to spring was always your favorite time of year. “First sign of rebirth,” your mother used to always say. And it was fitting - in Texas, anyway.

But here you were, stuck outside still in warm thermal layering under your uniforms, huddling in your coat as you shivered through a smoke break outside the bay. Some of the firefighters made fun of you for it. It was all in good fun; you knew they were just teasing you, but Benny always came to your rescue, pun intended.

“Leave the poor girl alone, fellas,” he said one day as you and the guys were laughing at a weather-related jest one of his brothers made. “She ain’t used to these here cold winters. Give ‘er time. She’ll warm up to it soon enough.”

That caused you and the boys to erupt in even more laughter.

“Oh Benny, you’re my hero!” you mocked, nudging him in the side as he pulled out a home rolled cigarette from a hard-box pack. “You roll your own?”

“Yes ma’am,” he drawled, bringing the rather neat looking fag to his lips, lighting it with his worn out Zippo. “Doc didn’t like me smoking and, surprisingly, suggested if I was gonna keep smoking, I roll my own. Saves a lotta money, and since it’s fresh tobacco in it, easier on the lungs.”

“I suppose. If I die from lung cancer, I’m sending the funeral bill to Jo,” you mused, causing Benny to laugh.

“I hear ya ‘bout these ‘ere winters though,” he said as he exhaled smoke. “Being from eastern Louisiana, I feel your pain. Part of me never really got used to all this white blanket business.”

You chuckled. “You’re not helping my case, Benny. You’re only making me shiver more!”

“Well in that case,” he came from behind and wrapped his huge arms around you, “I guess I’ll just have t’ warm you up.”

You laughed hard as he proceeded to envelop you in a giant bear hug, nuzzling his head against your hair. It prompted him to laugh too.

Neither of you saw that Sam was watching from his office. Normally, he would’ve come out and scolded any department member for fraternization on the job. But he just sat there, staring, seething with rage. Almost as if he was jealous.

He continued watching as Benny started tickling you. You pushed him away, causing more laughter.

Then, your cell phone rang. You reached into your pants pocket to retrieve it.

You were stunned to see who the call was from. A name you hadn’t seen in quite a while.

“Santiago!” You said as you answered the call, Benny waving at you as he walked away, giving you some privacy. “How’s it hanging, brother?”

Sam continued watching you from the window of his office. His computer was broken (again) so he was doing paperwork the old-fashioned way, which didn’t help his already sour mood. But when he saw how quickly your demeanor changed from happy to devastated, there was a small part of him that was concerned. That was quickly overridden by his annoyance with your existence.

You slowly hung up the phone, and just stood there for a minute. Sam didn’t know if you were going to cry, scream, or collapse. Or a combination of the three.


“Hey, Y/N/N…”

“What’s wrong, hermano? You sound upset. Is everything alright?”

“Well, I’m sure with you being so far from home, you haven’t seen the news.”

“What news?”

“We, uh… we lost a brother last night, Y/N.”

You were almost afraid to ask. “Who was it? Can it be disclosed?”

“Yeah it can… it… it was Hobbie.”

Your heart all but stopped, colder than the weather outside. Demetrius Hobbs, nicknamed ‘Hobbie’ by most of C Shift, was a rookie about a year before your mother died. He was exclusively a firefighter, but he’d become great friends with you over time, since you both were on C shift’s 24-hour rotation at the same station. He was supposed to be promoted to the probie rank any day now. You were now wondering if he ever got it, or if it would be awarded posthumously.

“…How…” you began, voice quivering, afraid to hear it.

“There was a house fire last night, fully engulfed. It started in the garage, we think, but it’s too early in the investigation to say for certain. We started on the offensive, but the structure became unstable - roof was caving in. Command ordered for evac. IC did a headcount, and that’s when we noticed he was missing. The fire became too intense. We couldn’t go back inside until it was under control. But by then… it was too late… Y/N/N, I’m so sorry you gotta find out like this… I… I wish…”

“No no no, it’s okay, Santi,” you soothed, but you wished more than anything to be in his arms right now. You and Arturo Santiago, whom only he allowed you to call ‘Art’, had a thing for a while off-duty, but you both broke it off when things started to get unprofessional, bleeding into your work life. But that didn’t mean the two of you stopped caring about one another. “I get it…”

“Listen, amor, there’s something else you should know…” you heard Art take a breath before continuing, “Hobbie’s mom came by the station earlier today. She was asked if the department wanted to do anything special besides full firefighter honors, and she mentioned she wanted you to give the eulogy.”

As if things couldn’t get any more depressing for you.

“She what?”

“Yeah,” Art went on. “I guess she knew about you and Hobbie’s friendship; apparently, he talked about you to her a lot when off tour. She wanted to speak with you directly, but we told her you weren’t here anymore.”

“Please tell me you exercised discretion and kept to yourself why I’m not there anymore,” you stressed. Your new colleagues didn’t even know about your mother. The last thing you wanted was for strangers to know about it. You felt it was a private matter best kept close to your heart.

“Of course not, sweetie, I’d never betray your trust like that. But we do kinda need an answer soon. She’s expecting you or someone on your behalf to speak at his services next week.”

“Next week?!” you exclaimed. “Santiago, that’s not possible. I haven’t been here at Sioux Falls long enough to take time off. There’s… there’s just no way I can swing a trip back home. You know if I could, I would already be buying plane tickets and packing.”

“I know, Mamita, I know.”

“Can… can you do it, on my behalf? Call it my last favor.”

“I’d do anything for you, mi amor,” Santiago said, and you could hear the smile in his voice. It was no secret. You had a thing for Hispanic men. You were fluent in Spanish, enough to keep up with them and their families, and there was just something so sexy about Houston’s entire Hispanic culture. It was a beautiful thing and deep down, you missed it. You missed Art too. And you knew he would’ve already put Sam in the hospital for everything he’s done to you thus far. What Santiago lacked in height compared to Sam, he more than made up for in strength.

“Gracias, Santiago. I’m on duty right now so I gotta split. Te amo.”

“Te amo, amor de mi corazón,” Art replied, making your nethers shiver slightly. He knew what speaking Spanish did to you, especially when he expressed love. Dumbass, you thought, smiling slightly.


Sometime during your phone conversation, Sam migrated to the crew quarters to use their computers: another thing he hated. He enjoyed the solitude of his office, and being in the crew quarters meant mingling with the lesser ranks beneath him. Jo, Benny, Anna, and Pamela were all hanging out when you walked in. Pamela and Anna could’ve left at any time, considering they were off duty now, but since they had the next night off, they decided to catch up with colleagues. The distress on your face was noted by all; Sam included, who turned around in his chair when he heard you come inside.

“You okay, darlin’?” Benny asked. “You look like you’ve just seen a spirit.”

You supposed you did. Your face was void of all color, making your eyes appear sunken in.

“I… I’m alright,” you managed in a small voice. “I’m… gonna go lay down for a bit…” and without another word, you disappeared down the hall and into the sleeping quarters, hoping nobody would hear the crying you were inevitably going to be doing.

“Wonder what’s eating her,” Anna was the first to say. Pamela just shrugged, Benny kept up his sad expression, but Jo gasped as she was scrolling through something on her tablet.

“I may have an idea,” she said quietly. And everyone gathered around to see what Jo was talking about.

The atmosphere in the crew quarters suddenly grew mournful as they read the article displayed on Jo’s tablet.

ROOKIE HFD FIREFIGHTER KILLED IN OVERNIGHT BLAZE

IT WAS A SAD AND SOMBER MORNING FOR THE CREW OF STATION 96 AS THEY PREPARED TO SAY GOODBYE TO ONE OF THEIR OWN.

OFFICIALS SAY THAT AT AROUND 12:30 THIS MORNING, A MASSIVE INFERNO TORE THROUGH A SOUTHWEST HOUSTON HOME. FIREFIGHTERS INITIALLY WENT INSIDE TO FIGHT THE FIRE, BUT THE FLAMES BECAME TOO INTENSE, THREATENING THE INTEGRITY OF THE STRUCTURE.

“WE ORDERED AN EVACUATION OF ALL PERSONNEL AND DECIDED IT WAS BEST TO FIGHT THE FIRE FROM THE OUTSIDE,” HFD SPOKESPERSON ROY GONZALEZ SAID TO MEDIA DURING A MEDIA BRIEFING.

ONCE OUTSIDE, IT WAS NOTICED THAT ONE OF THEIR MEMBERS WAS STILL INSIDE. BUT THE FLAMES WERE TOO INTENSE TO ATTEMPT AN IMMEDIATE RESCUE.
THAT FIREFIGHTER HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS 27 YEAR OLD DEMETRIUS HOBBS, KNOWN AS “HOBBIE” TO HIS FELLOW FIREFIGHTERS.

THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION. HFD ARSON AND THE BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS ARE BOTH LOOKING INTO WHAT HAPPENED.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS ARE PENDING BUT THE CITY’S SECOND OLDEST PUBLIC SERVICE DEPARTMENT ARE SAYING HOBBS WILL BE GIVEN THE POSTHUMOUS HONORS HE DESERVES.

“HE WAS A GOOD GUY AND HE WAS DESTINED FOR GREAT THINGS,” SAID FELLOW FIREFIGHTER ARTURO SANTIAGO, WHO SERVED WITH HOBBS AT STATION 96.

HOBBS GREW UP IN SOUTHEAST HOUSTON, IS A GRADUATE OF LAMAR HIGH SCHOOL, AND GRADUATED FROM THE VAL JAHNKE TRAINING FACILITY IN THE SUMMER OF LAST YEAR. HE STARTED HIS FIRST ASSIGNMENT AT STATION 96 LAST FALL. HE IS SURVIVED BY HIS PARENTS AND YOUNGER BROTHER, WHO ALSO ASPIRES TO FOLLOW IN HOBBS’ FOOTSTEPS NEXT YEAR.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION TO THE SURVIVORS OF FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS, PLEASE VISIT THE 100 CLUB HOUSTON’S WEBSITE.

Every single person in the room stayed silent. None of them knew what to say. Sioux Falls hadn’t had an LODD in several decades, so it wasn’t really known what to should be said.

“Should someone go in the sleeper and talk to her?” Pamela said, breaking the silence.

“Nah,” Benny sighed. “She’ll talk when she’s ready. I can’t rightly imagine now’s a good time anyhow.”

Benny was right. You spent the rest of tour just going through the motions. You were distant and barely managed to get through today’s calls. Fortunately none of them were terribly traumatic. But towards the end of duty, you, Sam, Jo and Benny were all sitting in the crew quarters and you couldn’t hold it in any longer.

You burst into tears.

Jo and Benny wasted no time coming to your aid. They both put their arms around you as you cried.

“If you wanna talk about it,” Jo said softly, “we’re all ears.”

“I lost one of my brothers in the department back home. Line of duty death. House fire collapsed on him. Fire was too intense to go get him immediately. When I think of the pain he must’ve suffered… my god… I- I just…” you hiccupped as fresh tears came from your eyes. You buried your face into Benny’s job shirt.

“Hey, darlin, it’s alright, we gotcha,” Benny cooed, rubbing soft circles along your upper back. Jo held back that they already knew of the fire. Their main concern was your well-being.

Sam decided he’d had enough of this. He scoffed as he stood up.

“Oh c’mon, you’re seriously gonna cry about that?” Sam spat. Jo and Benny both looked up at him in shock. Sam went on, “We all know what we signed up for. This job isn’t for the weak of heart. Death happens. Crying about it won’t change that.”

Jo and Benny couldn’t find the words to respond to that. Unfortunately for Sam, you did.

“I don’t expect someone like you to understand this,” you shot back angrily.

“Someone like me?”

“Yeah, you know, a heartless, soulless douchebag. Only people like you would ever say those horrible things, especially to a grieving coworker. Maybe when you lose someone close to you, you’ll understand. But from what I’ve been able to gather, if you did lose someone, you probably wouldn’t give two flying shits about it. Because, like you said, ‘death happens’?”

Sam was stunned into silence. But before he could say anything to retort, Jo stood up and got right in Sam’s face.

“Just get the hell outta here Sam, you’re not helping.”

Sam looked between an angry Jo and your tear-soaked face and left the room. Jo returned to your side.

“I lost my mom… about a month before coming here… she was in a drunk driving accident.” Jo and Benny both looked at you, their condolences written all over their faces. “I grew up in Houston. It was the only home I’d ever known. So, it made sense for me to be a public servant within my community. My life revolved around EMS and being my mom’s best friend as well as her daughter. We were very close, especially after my dad died. But when I lost her, I… I don’t know, I just couldn’t stay there anymore. Everywhere I looked, everything I heard, saw, touched, it all reminded me of her, and everything I’d lost. She was the only family I had left, besides my brothers and sisters within HFD. But they just weren’t enough for me to continue living there. So, I sold the family home, took the termination pay HFD promised, and booked. I had to start fresh if I was ever going to move on.”

“Honey,” Jo began, “you don’t have to justify yourself to us. We get it.”

“I know I don’t,” you interjected, “but y’all deserve to know the truth. Y’all have become my family. Nobody and nothing will ever replace my mom, but you guys managed to fill the void her loss created, just by being yourselves around me. Your friendship and comradery is something I’m eternally grateful for.”

“We love you too, darlin’,” Benny said, lightly pecking your temple with his lips. “As for Sammy boy, ignore anything he says.”

“Honestly,” you took a deep breath, knowing you’d probably regret the words about to come out of your mouth. “I hate Sam. I hate him with so much passion it hurts. And I wish he was dead. How does someone that horrible get to live, while someone as loving and kind like my mom gets to die? I’ve done nothing to deserve the hatred he’s shown to me, and yet he personally goes out of his way to make my life miserable. And even if I did deserve it, he’s taken it way too far. Nobody hates that deeply unless they truly hate themselves.”

Your sobs came back, and all Benny and Jo could do was hold you until your breathing evened out and you calmed down.

None of you knew that Sam was standing right outside the room, leaning up against the wall, absorbing every word you said.

He knew what he was doing was wrong, but his pride wouldn’t allow himself to apologize or made amends.

He was angry. He was pissed. And yet, he was also hurt.

Your words deeply hurt him. But maybe… maybe you were right.

Maybe Sam hated everyone around him because he hated himself more than anyone and anything.

He couldn’t remember the last time someone’s words resonated within him on such a profound level.

Chapter Text

Christmastime, 2011


 

You were quickly approaching one year of being with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department. But more than that, the one year anniversary of your mother’s death was coming even faster.

Sam had backed off somewhat after you told him off back in April. He only interacted with you when calls required it, and even then, it wasn’t pleasant. You were starting to think maybe what you said made an impact on him, but that was just wishful thinking. You knew by now that Sam wasn’t capable of empathy.

Deep down, you wanted to truly enjoy your time on tour with SFFRD. You had awesome colleagues, you even partied with them. And they had your back, no matter what came your way. Not to mention, you were paid considerably better than you were back home, and the health benefits that came with being a full-time employee meant you were never without proper care. But Sam’s ever-looming presence made that damn near impossible. It was the only thing you dreaded about going into work every shift. What was he going to do today? What was he going to say? How was he going to explode over this tiny detail? You had done your best to make sure you picked up after yourself, covered your ass, reports turned in on time, truck cleaned and well stocked, crew quarters organized and sparkling, but Sam always managed to find something wrong. You were just not good enough in his eyes. And your hatred for him only continued to grow.

You stood by your words though. You truly believed the world would be better off if Sam just up and died out of nowhere. You were sure he had family who would miss him, but that wasn’t your problem. Your world, and that of your colleagues, would probably be a lot happier knowing he couldn’t make anyone miserable again. It was a harsh thing to even think about, but it was true. And you were never one to willfully turn from the truth, lest you betray yourself.

Two weeks before Christmas, the holiday tour schedule was released. You noticed you weren’t working nearly as much as you expected, despite putting in a request to work more hours so that other coworkers could be home for the holidays with their families. It’s not like you had anyone to go home to.

But then, an idea struck you.

“Come in,” Ellen called out from her office at the sound of your knock. You entered and a bright smile spread across her face. “Y/N! How’re you doing, sweetie? What can I do for you?”

“Well,” you said nervously, easing yourself into a chair across from her desk. “I noticed that the holiday schedule was posted, but my hours were cut. I’m not upset, I was just wondering why.”

“Oh, well I went through the scheduling and filled it out based on the amount of PTO everyone had. I noticed you hadn’t used any of yours, and you’ve racked up quite a bit. Thought maybe you could use it for a break. Maybe go home and see your family for Christmas.”

You flinched at the last sentence. Everyone at the department knew about why you were here by now. But it didn’t make the grief any easier to deal with. You cleared your throat. “Yeah, I was thinking about it. How much PTO can I take right now?”

“Well let’s see,” Ellen said, putting her glasses on and pulling up some files on her computer. “You’re slated to work the rest of your shifts this week, but I can put you in for PTO starting next week. You’ve got almost a month of time off saved up. Best take it now before it’s gone. I wish we still did the PTO rollover program, but that’s neither here nor there.”

“I’d like that. I could leave next week, and come back in early January,” you suggested. That would give you two weeks to drive down to Houston, visit people, and enough time to drive back to South Dakota and enjoy a few days with the cats before going back on duty.

“I can make that happen,” Ellen smiled, typing some stuff on the computer. “Alright, sweetie, I’ve got your PTO down. I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas!”

“Thanks! Same to you!” you said with a smile of your own, coming around her desk to give her a hug before walking out.

You went to go talk to Jo about feeding Mimi and Kiki while you were gone. She happily agreed, and you offered to let her stay in your apartment while you were gone. You told her you’d pay her for her time, but she wouldn’t hear of it. So the two of you compromised: you’d make sure the fridge and pantry were fully stocked if she just kept the place and litter box cleaned during your time away. When Jo agreed to that, you enveloped her in a big hug. You got through the rest of the week’s shifts without any trouble, then went home to start making plans to go back to Houston. Your last true home.


You and Jo went grocery shopping together over the weekend, and had a girls’ night in slumber party. She brought over her favorite movies, and you made sure there were plenty of snacks and wine to go around. She talked to you about how her father’s injury and subsequent death played a major role in her becoming a paramedic. How Ellen, her mother, praised the fire department for keeping tabs on the two of them, even after Bill got hurt and eventually died. The love for their family that was shown was how Ellen got her job, first as a desk worker, then as a secretary, then eventually taking over the entire HR department with her “badass organization skills”.

You told Jo how your father was a physical therapist in the Texas Medical Center and your mother was a tech nurse working in the OR, and that’s how they’d met. You went on about how they’d tried for a long time to have a baby but ended up resorting to IVF to make it happen. They conceived your older brother, James, shortly after treatment.

“You have a brother?” Jo asked, her curiosity showing in her eyes.

“Yeah,” you replied slowly, smiling. You didn’t bother telling Jo that James was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom almost 7 years ago. By now, Jo knew you were very reserved when it came to talking about your family, so she didn’t inquire any further - something you were thankful for. James’ death still hurt to think about, but you had a feeling wherever the afterlife way, he was taking good care of Mom.

You described how your parents used to call you their “miracle baby,” since you were conceived without any medical intervention. It was something your parents were told would never happen. You shared memories of your dad coming home late from work and despite being tired and worn out, he would still read you your favorite books before you had to go to bed. You shared how his death was hard on all of you, yet you were still too young to really understand what death and dying meant.

“So, I don’t mean to pry,” Jo said, taking another sip of her wine, and you had a feeling where this conversation was headed, “and if you don’t wanna talk about it, you don’t have to… but, I was wondering… you said your mom was killed by a drunk driver.”

Before she could finish her question, you already had an answer.

“The asshole who killed her died two days after the accident.”

“… Oh.”

You chuckled. “It was definitely for the best. Not just because he chose to get behind the wheel and drive home from a bar, but because everyone at Station 96 knew ‘Momma L/N’ very well, and the guy would’ve had half a fire district on a witch hunt looking for him. It’s amusing to think about now…”

The two of you shared more stories and before you knew it, it was 3am and you had a long drive ahead of you. Jo made some pallets in the living room for the two of you to sleep on. It was a slumber party after all. You were just thankful you already had your car packed up and showered that afternoon. That way all you’d have to do was leave.


At the end of that very fun weekend, you gave Jo the key to your apartment and she promised to take lots of videos and pictures of Mimi and Kiki and send them to your daily. You told her the combination for the gun safe in your room in the event someone broke in and you welcomed her to sleep in there if she didn’t want the couch. You were gonna show her how to use your pistol, but she swore up and down she grew up hunting local Nebraskan wildlife and that it wasn’t any trouble. That made you not only smile, but feel better about her being alone in your apartment at night. Though you lived on the second floor and the risk of a break in was highly unlikely, you preferred she be safe rather than dead.

You knew it was gonna take you a good 18 solid hours of driving to get from your apartment to your friend Carrie’s place, so you made plans to stop for the night in Wichita, Kansas, which was about the halfway mark from point A to point B. But as soon as could see the beautiful downtown Houston skyline while traveling south on I-45, your heart clenched in your chest and your eyes filled with tears. No matter what else happened in life, the sight of your beloved hometown’s skyline always made you wanna cry. It symbolized everything you recognized as home.

Carrie Bryner was an EMT/firefighter with the Houston Fire Department and she was your fucking spirit animal. The two of you did tours together at Station 96 before she was transferred to Station 68. She was a fighter at heart and never took anyone’s shit; yet you distinctly remembered the day she and you were on the box, and she accidentally ran over and killed a turtle trying to cross one of the feeder roads off the 610 Loop. She blocked traffic with the ambulance to collect its crushed remains and took the truck out of service to give it a proper burial. She even went as far as to drape a clean white sheet over its corpse on the stretcher, crying the entire time. When the District Chief tried to get her reprimanded for it, she told him where to shove his incident report and walked out. Everyone assumed she would be fired for it, but nothing ever came of it. When you called Carrie to ask if you could room with her for a while during your visit, she said she’d put out a hit for you if you didn’t come and stay.

You pulled in front of Carrie’s house at around 8pm that night, thankful your long journey was finally over. Your ass was sore from sitting for so long and you were in need of a hot meal, a drink, and a smoke. You were adamant about not smoking in your car. You knew you needed to quit, but given all the crap you’ve been dealing with over the last year, nobody blamed you for starting up again.

“Y/N/N!” Carrie called from the front porch, throwing her arms around you as soon as you made it up the steps. “Goddamnit girl, it’s so good to see you again!”

“Likewise, babe!” You kissed her cheek, and she demanded you go inside and grab a helping of beef stew and a beer while she dragged your luggage inside and towards the guest room.

That night was filled with lots of story swapping and memory reminiscing. You exchanged call stories since you’d been gone, reminisced about the old days, and mourned for those who had been lost, Hobbie being one of them. His death was still fresh on everyone’s mind, despite it being over 8 months since the fire.

When it got to be about 1am, you bid Carrie goodnight and made your way to her guest room, which apparently was recently renovated because the paint and wall décor looked new. She didn’t skimp in the way of furniture, for the bed was one of the most comfortable you’d ever slept on.


Your first day was spent visiting all the guys at your beloved Station 96. You spent at least 30 minutes getting hugs and kisses from all the guys and being introduced to some new faces. You spent another hour just shooting the shit with them all, laughing and joking like you’d never left. On your way out, you noticed a large yet interesting memorial on the wall. Upon closer inspection, you saw whose face was at the center, and you felt tears brimming at the corners of your eyes.

In Loving Memory
of
MARISSA KAY Y/L/N
1957 ~ 2010
Forever Station 96’s ‘Momma Y/L/N’

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

You heard a familiar voice from behind, but before you could turn around, Art’s arms were around your waist, looking up at the blown up photo of your mother’s professional portrait.

“Yeah,” you sniffed, “yeah it is.”

Art nuzzled his face into the crook of your neck. He smelled like warm Fuji apples and nutmeg, and you breathed it in. “I’ve missed you, mi amor.

“I missed you,” you whispered back as he kissed the side of your neck. You marveled in his touch, but you knew where it would lead. So you broke contact. Art didn’t say anything. That was one thing you always loved about him, missed about him. He never questioned, he never argued, he never second-guessed. He let you be you.

“So how long you gonna be in town?” Art asked, still holding your hand, which you allowed. By now, you were certain everyone at 96 knew about the two of you.

“A few weeks,” you replied. “Long enough to see everyone.”

“You, uh… you gonna go see your mom?”

“… yeah,” you said quietly after a beat of hesitation. “And my brother and dad. It’s… it’s been a while…”

The two of you reveled in the comfortable silence.

“So… uh… how’s Melinda?”

You saw Art flinch. He always did when you mentioned his wife.

But his momentary jitters quickly subsided. He smiled broadly. “She’s good! Well, about as good as an angry pregnant Mexican woman can be, heh…”

You sighed in relief, releasing a breath you didn’t know you were holding. “That’s good! Due now any day, huh?”

“Last week, actually.”

“You’re kidding!”

“I wish I was. Be nice if Papita Jr would stop using his Mama as an Astroworld ride and make his arrival.”

The two of you shared a laugh, then Art sighed.

“You could’ve been her, you know…”

“Art…”

“I’m just saying… we… we could’ve made it work…”

You dragged him outside as people were walking in the hallway. “You don’t know how wrong you are, dude. You needed to work things out with her and your family, not cling to some side piece. Which is all I was. A mistress. I’m not ashamed of it, and I’m not sorry for what we did… but still… it’s in the past, hermano. Let’s leave it there. Besides, kinda hard to live in the past when you’ve got a good life, a loving wife, and baby number four overcooking in the oven.”

Art looked like he was going to argue, but he knew you were right. You always were in his eyes. Neither of you were sure who really broke it off, but it ended up being for the best. He just chuckled at your quip.

“Anyway, I gotta get going. I planned on heading to HQ to visit some of the higher ups. I don’t think I ever properly thanked them for what they did for me after Mom’s funeral.”

Entiendo,” Art replied. “You’re a good person. And I’ll murder anyone who thinks otherwise.”

You laughed. “I’m sure of it.”

“Take care, mi amor.

You left Art standing where he was and went up to HQ downtown, but the people you wanted to talk to weren’t there. So, you decided to make the trip out to Fulshear, Texas and visit the place you’d been purposefully avoiding since you crossed into Harris County.


Sam honestly believed he’d be happier with you being away for the holidays.

But it only made his behavior more outlandish.

The Board was paying extra special attention to him now, since you’d told them about that call. Chief Singer was, too; but more than anything, he was disappointed in Sam.

“I honestly thought you were better than this, boy,” Singer said to Sam in his office after shift was over. “What has gotten into you? You think your daddy would be proud of you for this? Harassment? Bullying? I know for a damn fact your mother and father didn’t raise neither you nor Dean to act this way. Sam…you and your brother are the sons I always wanted. Don’t make me do something about it that could jeopardize your career. I may have given you this job, but your rank was earned by you and you alone. Don’t make me regret it, son. I have enough of those that have nothing to do with you Winchesters.”

He wasn’t exactly living up to Uncle Bobby’s word. Since you’d been gone, he’d yelled more, disciplined more, and he’d altogether stopped going on calls. He knew that last bit was enough to have him demoted, but still. He’s been all kinds of off since you arrived. But he kept secretly denying everything going on with him was related to you.

Until he overheard Bobby in his office.

Sam was right outside the door of his office, silent as can be, only the sound of Bobby’s voice and his pounding heart in his ears.

“Yeah… uh huh… I dunno what you tell you Barney… I know, I’m concerned too… No, Sam’s never acted like this before… at least to my knowledge… Y/N’s the first person to ever bring it up… Of course if I’d known about it I would’ve filed a report, you think I’m some kinda idjit? … Yes, I know the elections are coming up… wait, seriously… I think Y/N would make a great Lead Supervisor, but what about Sam? … uh huh… uh huh… I understand but Sam earned his place here… you want me to hand her his job? … Well, yeah, I think she could earn it, given time, but you know as well as I do that’s now how it works here… I am being honest with you! I- …uh huh… yeah, when you put it that way… alriiight, if you think so… I see about recommendations… look, Barns, I got paperwork to do and I ain’t all that good with computers… alright… talk to you later… mhm, bye…”

Sam heard Bobby hang up the phone, and he bolted back to his office.

Sam was really nervous now. He could feel it with every rapid beat of his heart. He felt sweat starting to bead around his hairline, he felt like he was going to throw up, his hands were starting to shake, the whole nine.

I can’t lose my job… not like this… not to her… I gotta… Fuck! I gotta start digging…

And with that last thought, and on shaky legs, he dragged himself to his computer and started looking up every detail he could about you.


Despite it being 4 days before Christmas, it was almost eighty degrees outside. You had on a spaghetti-strapped tank top with an oversized graphic t-shirt over it, a pair of capris and your favorite flip flops that have survived many trips to Galveston and South Padre Island. You purchased a cheap lawn chair from Walmart and planted it in front of three headstone, bearing three names and pictures to go along with them.

JAMES EDWARD Y/L/N
SSG
US ARMY
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
AFGHANISTAN
AUG 22 1980
MAY 2 2005
BRONZE STAR W/V
PURPLE HEART
LOVING SON & BROTHER
“82nd BABY!”

MARISSA KAY Y/L/N, RN MSN
LOVING WIFE MOTHER NURSE
JULY 18, 1957
DECEMBER 21, 2010
“HASTA LUEGA, MAMA Y/L/N”

AUSTIN JEREMIAH Y/L/N
LOVING FATHER, RESPECTED DOCTOR
MARCH 29, 1955
NOVEMBER 8, 1986
“MISSED BEYOND MEASURE”

You’d bought some fake flowers and plants to go in the granite side vases. You knew that the groundskeeper cleared out the real flowers placed once a month, but it was their policy to leave the fake ones alone. You didn’t know when, or if, you’d ever get to come out here again.

“Hey guys… it’s me… ” you slowly began. “I know it’s been a while since I’ve seen y’all but…” you looked up at the smiling faces forever etched in the granite material. The brother who was a hero, the mother whose compassion taught you your own, and the father who you wished with all your heart you got to know better. A man who went well before his time. Austin Y/L/N never got to see his son and daughter become the heroes they would become. But you think it was for the best, considering you had a feeling he would’ve been heartbroken and forever lost if he was by your mom’s side the day the plane delivered your brother’s flag-draped wooden coffin from the sand dunes of war-torn Afghanistan. You remembered your brother’s funeral more vividly than you’d like. Most of his comrades who weren’t deployed showed up, as well as a lot of your brothers from HFD. You never thought your first time wearing your funeral procession issued uniform would be to your own blood’s services, yet there you were.

“Guys, I don’t know what to do,” you said with a shaky voice, tears starting fall from your eyes. “I don’t know what he wants with me. I don’t know why he hates me. Why does Sam hate me? What did I ever do to him to cause this? Why is it that every time I find some sense of peace and happiness in my life, it’s taken away?” you started crying more audibly now. “I don’t care if he likes me, I didn’t get into this business to make friends… I just wish he’d stop the harassment. That’s all I want…”

You removed yourself from your lawn chair and laid against your mother’s grave, your face right next to her picture. You wrapped your arms around her headstone and cried until you had no more tears to shed.

“Momma… I wish you were here…”


Sam knew from your resume that you were a highly respected paramedic in Houston. What he didn’t know was that you had endured a great deal of loss and suffering before coming to Sioux Falls.

He searched for your last name and was reading through some of the headlines from news articles in Houston related to the search. He got a lot more than he bargained for.

‘HOMETOWN HERO’ ARMY SERGEANT LAID TO REST, HFD AND 100 CLUB PLEDGE SUPPORT

HOUSTON BORN ARIBORNE SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION IN AFGHANISTAN

KIA SOLIDER IS SON OF CANCER FIGHTING DOCTOR OF 1986

TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER NURSE DIES IN EARLY MORNING DWI CRASH

LOCAL COMMUNITY GRIEVES OVER DWI DEATH OF BEN TAUB NURSE

HFD TO FUND FUNERAL FOR NURSE KILLED IN DWI CRASH, SUSPECT IN CRITICAL CONDITION

HFD PARAMEDIC THANKFUL FOR SUPPORT AFTER MOTHER’S DEATH

SUSPECT ACCUSED OF MORNING DWI CRASH THAT KILLED NURSE DIES, CASE DROPPED

COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER FOR FAMILY OF DOCTOR FIGHTING CANCER

HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT SET UP FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT CHILDREN OF DOCTOR FIGHTING CANCER

CANCER FIGHTING DOCTOR DIES AT 31

CANCER FIGHTING DOCTOR LAID TO REST IN FULSHEAR

Sam skimmed through the articles about your family, but focused on the ones centered around you. He went back and selected the article about you after your mother died.

It was a somber day at the Houston Fire Department’s Station 96 near the Texas Medical Center today. But not everyone was in tears.

“I don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have my brothers and sisters with me today. I’m grateful to call them family.”

These are the words that Houston Fire Department Paramedic Y/N Y/L/N told KTRK just two days after burying her mother, beloved operating room nurse Marissa Y/L/N, 53, who was killed in an early morning DWI crash. Mrs. Y/L/N was on her way to work at Ben Taub Hospital, when a truck driven by a man whose blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, slammed into the back of her Toyota Camry after she came to a complete stop to accommodate State Highway 288 morning traffic, trapping her inside. Y/L/N was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Her daughter, who’s been with the Houston Fire Department since 2002, was just hours away from the end of her shift when she got that terrifying call.

“My colleagues drove me to Memorial Hermann themselves because they knew I was upset. They brought me food and made sure all the arrangements were handled right,” Y/N said, citing the many sleepless nights she endured in the days after the accident and leading up to the funeral.

Marissa was given honorary HFD proceedings because of her daughter’s affiliation.

“We all called her Momma Y/L/N for a reason,” said District 4 Chief Robeson Cliff of Mrs. Y/L/N. “She was very well loved by our department and was very much a part of the Houston Fire Department family.”

The suspect responsible for the crash remains in critical condition. 46 year old Eugene Thompson will remain in Harris County Sherriff custody while hospitalized.

But right now, the HFD brotherhood is focusing their efforts on Y/N’s future. Miss Y/L/N is the last surviving member of her family. But that’s not holding her back.

“Even though my mother is gone, I’ve got all the family right here surrounding me with love and support. I couldn’t begin to imagine going through this loss without them.”

In lieu of flowers, Y/N Y/L/N is asking the public to donate to the 100 Club Houston in her mother’s name. Mrs. Y/L/N was a well known donor of the Survivors Fund, which provides financial hardship support to the surviving family members of line of duty fallen firefighters and police officers, and sponsored many fundraising events over the years.

Sam breathed a sigh he didn’t know he was holding in.

She lost her mother, her father, and her brother in the war. How is it… after all the crap and tragedies in her life… she’s still able to smile and be compassionate towards everyone around her? How the hell is she not locked up in a psych ward driving herself insane with grief and torment?

Sam thought back to his own losses. He didn’t know his mother before she died, and Jessica’s death still stung him a bit. But he still had his own older brother.

This doesn’t change anything, he thought bitterly.

He went back to finding more dirt on you, determined now more than ever to remove you from his department for good.

Chapter Text

January 2012


 

You’d spent a few extra days with Art and his wife and kids as Melinda went into an early labor the day before Christmas. She gave birth to a beautiful little boy. You felt it was your duty to stay with their other three children while Art was with his wife at the hospital. The kids and you got along so well. It was almost strange for you, considering if Art had actually left his wife for you, these kids would probably hate you.

You were fortunate that you and Art made the agreement to stop seeing each other long before his family found out. It wasn’t your intention to take advantage of Art’s failing marriage at the time, but he did approach you, and you were young and dumb and none the wiser.

Seeing the look on Art’s face the day he brought his son home from the hospital with his wife was hopefully a look you’d get to see on your future husband’s face, should you ever have kids.

Of course, that’s assuming you actually did get married. With the way things were back in Sioux Falls, you had a feeling Sam would drive you into an early grave.

You took your time driving back up north. You weren’t due for tour for a while and you wanted to spend some quality time with your “daughters.” You found Jo asleep with them on the couch when you came in late that night. You couldn’t help but snap a picture of her drooling, mouth hanging wide open, with two fluffy furballs bundled up around her.

Jo gave you back your key and you settled in for a night of movies, wine, and your two kitties snuggling up with you in bed.


Going back on duty at Sioux Falls was almost surreal. It was like you never went back to Houston - almost like you never even lived there to begin with.

“Welcome back, Y/N,” Castiel said as you walked into the crew quarters.

“There she is!” Gabe shouted, jumping up to embrace you.

“Hey girl,” Anna and Pamela said together, both getting up to hug you too.

“Hey guys,” you said, once again warmed by their love. “What’d I miss?”

“Not much, really,” Pamela mused, getting up from her seat, fishing out her pack of smokes out of her pant pocket. “Break smoke with me?”

“Always,” you grinned, following her outside. You normally stood just outside the bay doors but this time, Pamela went inside one of the offices. “Uhh, where are you going?”

“Oh, that’s right, you haven’t heard. Don’t worry, I’ll catch you up on all Sioux Falls’ gossip,” Pamela giggled, closing the door and lighting her cigarette. “Word around the jurisdiction is Chief and Ellen both started smoking again over the holidays. So, they removed all the city ordinance signs so they could smoke in their offices.”

“No way!” you laughed, relishing in the fact that you could indulge in your habit without freezing your tits off.

“Yeah, it’s a nice perk for us smokers, eh?” Pamela smiled as she took another drag from her cig. You did the same.

“I wonder how much Sam’s willing to risk his job by turning in the Chief and Ellen for breaking city ordinance.”

“Oh, I’m sure in regard to his job, that’s the last thing on his mind.” When you gave her a puzzled look, she went on, “So, elections are coming up and word is Chief wants to give youSam’s Lead Supervisor position.”

You choked on your drag. “You’re lying.”

“Honest to God’s truth, girl,” Pamela held up the hand that didn’t have a cigarette in it. “You’ve made quite a name for yourself, doll.”

“But… why me? Sam’s a freaking lieutenant. Don’t you have to have some kind of rank, or… tenure within the FD to get it?”

“Apparently not,” Pamela replied, taking one long last drag of her smoke before snuffing the butt in a nearby ashtray. “But you didn’t hear that from me. Someone else in the department likes to snoop around for gossip. I do it purely for scientific research.”

“Uh huh,” you mused, finishing your fag and snuffing it out. “I gotta get to the truck before Sam comes out here and finds a reason to fire me.”

“Don’t be too surprised if he’s suddenly nice to you,” Pamela winked as she left the smoke room.

In all your years as a paramedic, you’d never held a supervisor position. You’d been offered it a few times, but always turned it down. Being in a position of power always led to corruption. Besides, if Sioux Falls was anything like Houston, you’d be spending less time on the truck and more time in an office, doing God knows what. You felt being in charge was a waste of your skills.

But sure enough, later in the afternoon, you were called into Chief Singer’s office. And also sure enough, he lit up right there in his office. He pushed his ashtray towards you, inviting you to light a smoke with him. As much as it made you uncomfortable smoking inside what was legally considered a government building, you reveled in the fact that your relationship with your boss’s boss was at this stage. You wasted no time pulling out a fresh menthol smoke and lighting up.

“Good to see you again, Y/N. Hope your trip to Houston was enjoyable.”

“Yeah it was,” you said, blowing smoke away from his face, dabbing the ashes from your smoke into the ashtray. “Got to visit quite a few familiar faces. My best friend’s wife even had a Christmas Eve baby.”

“Ah, well that’s always nice!” Chief smiled. You wondered if he smiled often because his demeanor suggested he didn’t. “Well, let’s get right down to business. I’m sure you’re aware that department elections are coming up.”

You played slightly dumb. “I know that the positions of power and authority are something you gotta campaign for, if this place is anything like the City of Houston.”

“You’re right,” Chief took another drag of his smoke before leaning over his computer to snuff it out in the ashtray, leaving it in place so you could continue using it. “I decided this year to give you my official recommendation for Lead Supervisor. Which comes with the rank of Lieutenant.”

Again, you pretended to be shocked. “I’m honored, Chief. But… what about Sam?”

Chief Singer sighed what appeared to look like a regretful sigh. “Not sure how much you know about our Lieutenant, but I’ve known Sam and his older brother Dean since they were shitting themselves in diapers. I’m an old family friend. But I didn’t give him his rank and power by way of familiar favoritism. I gave him a job here and he earned his rank. But as of late, his… behavior… isn’t sitting too well with me. And the Board isn’t too thrilled with him either. I had a chat with Barney, the Vice Chair you met a while back, and he demanded I fire Sam. While his actions were reprehensible, it wasn’t like he killed anyone, I couldn’t just fire him for no reason. You understand, right?”

“Of course,” you replied, “I’m used to holding my own, and while Sam has been nothing short of a jackass to me, it doesn’t warrant him losing his job. I wouldn’t wish that on him.”

“But you would wish death on him?”

You froze. “How did you…”

“Lucky guess,” Singer said, not a bit of malice in his voice. “Let’s just say you’re not the first person to have said something like that.”

“Anger tends to bring out the rawest emotions, but for the record, that’s not me making an excuse or cover for what was said. When I say something, I usually put my full meaning and intent behind it. If I’m being 100% honest with you Chief, the way he’s treated me, I’m surprised someone hasn’t put out a hit on Sam’s life.”

“You’re right, nobody has been that stupid,” Chief chuckled. “People around here may hate him, but they also know what kind of family backs that kid up. But enough about that. Will you accept my nomination for Lead Supervisor?”

You thought about it for a hot minute. On the one hand, it would bring about it a buttload of responsibility and added stress to your life. But on the other hand, your life hasn’t really been all that stressful since moving here, and the pay raise would be nice. People already looked up to you as a regular Joe Shmoe medic; you could probably do a bit of good in a leadership position. It was looking like the benefits outweighed the risks.

“I’m happy to accept.”


Sam was notified later that evening that he had the competition he was expecting when it came to his job. You had accepted the nomination for Lead Supervisor and with that, the rank of Lieutenant.

He was going to have to step up his game in order to keep it. So that night, when he got home from work, he made a quick dinner and took a light shower, then he jumped onto his laptop and started digging.

He felt like he was searching for hours and was about to give up. It’s almost like you were the poster child for the goody two shoes paramedic. Hell, you’d never even had so much as a speeding ticket to your record. Though he recently discovered you smoked now, your drinking appeared to be contained to a glass or two of wine every few nights. It made him sick. Nobody ever got anywhere in life being good. You gotta live a little!

But then, Sam had an idea. One that he knew if he was found out, he’d been in serious trouble; but if it paid off, you’d be out of the job and he’d get to keep his.

He started reading through what he’d found, and then started typing up his campaign speech. He printed it out and also printed out what he found as reference material.

Satisfied, he closed his laptop and settled in bed for an early turn in. Tomorrow morning, he was going to send you back to Houston, where you should’ve never left in the first place.


The morning of the campaign brought with it almost everyone from the department, as well as all 8 Board of Directors members. There were two podiums in front of an assembly room. You were to be standing on the right and Sam was to be standing on the left, both of you facing the crowd.

Since you were the newcomer, you were to start off the campaign. You told the crowd a bit about yourself and why you believed you should be considered the new Lead Supervisor. You shared your HFD experiences and mentioned that, despite the tragedies in your life, you’d used that horrific experience to show the level of compassion and empathy towards everyone you met. After your speech was done, everyone clapped for you, some of your fellow crew members cheered the loudest, Pamela and Jo both shouting “GO Y/N!!!”

“Thank you for your speech, Miss Y/L/N,” Barney stated, writing some stuff down on a notepad in front of him. “Now, Lieutenant Winchester, I believe it is your turn to speak. You have the floor.”

Sam looked into the crowd, took a breath and spoke.

“There are many things that can be said about my opponent. But one thing I can say about her is that she’s a liar and criminal.”

The crowd gasped almost silently. You had a puzzled look on your face. You weren’t entirely sure what he was talking about. But you held your tongue and listened. It was only fair, as Sam had given you the same courtesy.

“With what she did to a patient back in 2003, she’s not fit to be a paramedic, let alone take over a position that I’ve held in good standing for the last 4 years. And I’m sure if she saw thisphoto, she’d be able to tell you herself.”

Sam held up a blown up picture to the room, and while everyone gasped in horror, you took one look at it and felt like the floor was going to open up and swallow you whole.

The picture showed an HFD ambulance crumbled up and wrapped around a utility pole.

Your heart racing, you were engulfed by flashbacks from that day.

“Y/N Y/L/N was charged and convicted of negligent homicide after she fell asleep at the wheel on the ambulance she was driving while patient loaded, and crashed said ambulance, killing the patient on board. Now tell me. Would you want someone like that being in charge? I certainly wouldn’t.”

You couldn’t believe Sam would stoop this low. You could feel the tears brimming the corners of your eyes. The shouting of everyone in the assembly room was drowned out by your own thoughts. You couldn’t hear anything.

Until you could.

“ORDER! ORDER!” the Chairman spoke angrily. Then he turned his attention to you. “Miss Y/L/N, there is understandably a sensitive topic that’s been presented to us here, and this incident was not documented during your hiring process. Now I think it is in your best interest to give an explanation to what Lieutenant Winchester is accusing you of. Is there any credit or validity to what he’s saying?”

You look a very slow, deep breath.

“It’s true,” you said almost too quiet for anyone to hear. But before the crowd could get rowdy again, they were silenced by Barney shouting. You continued. “On September 28, 2003 at approximately 0330 hours, my partner and I were transporting a patient to the Texas Medical Center. I had picked up at double 24 that week and I had 3 hours left of that shift. I didn’t sleep at all during those 45 hours on duty. We ran nonstop. So, naturally, I was exhausted. Was it a good idea for me to drive? No. But my partner was worse off than I was, so I offered. We were both paramedics, therefore either one of us could’ve been in the back with the patient. I… I honestly don’t remember what happened, but before I knew it, I was crushed in the driver’s seat between the steering wheel and the utility pole I apparently struck. I had to be extricated as did my partner, but it wasn’t until after I was released from the ER and subsequently arrested did I learn that our patient had died as a result of my actions.”

There were quiet murmurs around the room. When it appeared to the Board that you had more to say, you went on.

“The only reason none of this was every brought up during my hiring process… was because those court documents and everything surrounding the case was sealed by the Harris County DA herself. The only way Lieutenant Winchester could’ve gotten his hands on those documents was to hack into the DA’s database which, last time I checked, was a federal offense.”

Some gasps were let out, but a lot more glares were directed at Sam, who was now whiter than a ghost. He knew he was digging into some heavy shit, but he wasn’t aware the documents he’d acquired were legally sealed away.

“In any case,” you continued, “I was facing a minimum of 10 years in prison, as well as being stripped of all my licenses and certifications. What I did was a felony, which meant I would never be a public servant again. It didn’t matter how sorry I thought I was, or how much I pleaded for my life - an innocent person died because of me. I was willing to pay the price in the form of whatever sentence was handed to me. And I told the court that right before deliberations were to take place.”

There was a moment of silence as the crowd pondered on your words.

“For some reason, my words affected the victim’s family to the point where they pleaded the jury spare me of a harsh punishment. They could see the hurt and sorrow in my eyes. They could hear the sorrow and shame I felt for myself in my plea. And the jury listened. I might not be here today working as a paramedic if I wasn’t truly sorry for what I did. I was convicted of a lesser charge, given a year of probation and 500 hours of community service. Two years after the incident, the family petitioned to have me pardoned of my crime. They invited me over to their home to tell me, in person, that they forgave me. Me! They were willing to move on and let go of the past, even though I killed their family member. Do any of y’all know what that feels like?! Despite the Lieutenant’s attempt to convince you that I am some kind of murderous monster with no business in the saving people industry, I have more than made up for my crime through my actions, not just my words. I’ve made up for it in the eyes of my brothers and sisters on the job, my community, and in the eyes of my beloved Houston. Which brings me back to you, Sam.”

All eyes were on Sam now, who looked like he’d rather be literally anywhere else than in front of you. He turned to face you, his expression unreadable.

“What does all of this say about you? What do your actions today say about you as a professional in a position of power? Is this job that important to you? That you’d break the law just to have power over your peers? I have done absolutely nothing to you that would warrant the hatred, disrespect, and blatant bias you seem to hold over me. And I can bet you dollars to donuts that every single person I ride with standing in the room would back me up. They’re not here for you. They’re here for me. Again, I ask you. Was all this trouble worth it?”

Sam averted his eyes to the side of your podium, his expression still unreadable. Not that you cared. You were finally in a position to tell him exactly how you feel.

“Like I told you before. I don’t care what you think about me. You can tell me all the hateful things you want and I can still bet you it’s nothing I haven’t told myself before. But you will treat me with respect because I expect you’d want the same from me, yes? But I was wrong. It appears you need to learn how to leave your personal feelings for me at home before you can truly be a leader for this department.” You turned towards the board members. “Does that answer satisfy the Board?”

Nobody spoke for a good solid minute. And Sam stood at his podium in absolute mortification. He’d be lucky to keep his certifications. But he knew his job here was finished.

“By unanimous vote, we of the Board of Directors for the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department officially elect Y/N Y/L/N as Lieutenant and Lead Supervisor.”

You and Sam both stepped down from your positions at the podium, but Sam wasted no time bolting out the door. Nobody called out for him, nobody tried to stop him.

He ran outside into the cold January air, snow starting to fall lightly onto his hair.

For the first time ever, he wanted to go admit he was wrong and apologize.

But not just to you. To everyone.

Chapter Text

 

A lavish party was thrown for you by the Novaks, and they spared no expense. Every single person who witnessed what happened at the election campaigns was in attendance. All the food was catered by a local upscale Italian restaurant. All the wine was top shelf, and you knew it had to have cost them a fortune. But, of course, when you offered to reimburse them, they told you they’d kill you first.

“But please, Cas!” you practically whined, the tipsy feeling starting edge its way into your voice.

“Absolutely not!” Cas slurred back. You were secretly glad Anna hid his car keys. “This party was a long time coming! With you as our Lieutenant, none of us will ever be afraid to go into work! Things are gonna be great! So enjoy yourself now while you can! Anna and I are more than happy to shave away our life savings to celebrate you and your victory!”

“Oh my God, you should not have told me that!” you laughed. But you made a mental note to mail them a $1000 check later on without a name or return address on it.

But while you were blessed and thankful for the promotion, and even more thankful you had amazing friends and colleagues to celebrate it with, there was still one thing weighing down your mind.

“What does that say about you as a professional?”

You cringed at the words you said to Sam. He deserved everything that was thrown at him, especially since he had the audacity to bring that part of your past back up and use it against you.

So why did you feel bad about it?


Sam was sitting with Chief Singer and the rest of the Board in a private meeting after hours on the weekend. He was in civilian attire. Everyone in the room had permanent scowls on their faces, but Bobby Singer just had a look of absolute disappointment.

“You want to what?” Sam said to the board, in a state of shock.

“We’re offering you a deal,” Barney said, making no attempt to hide his disgust for Sam. “We will agree not to have you arrested for illegally hacking into sealed court documents and extricated to Harris County to face a judge there, if you agree to resign from Sioux Falls and be stripped of your credentials. Technically, since this crime isn’t going to be reported, you won’t be stripped of your certifications, so you can find work elsewhere. Sam… you have served honorably thus far, but given the actions in recent weeks, we cannot allow you to continue your employment here.”

Sam really had no leg to stand on in the way of defending himself. He knew what he did was wrong on all levels.

“So… do we have a deal?” Barney asked.

Sam just nodded his head, not making eye contact with any of them.

He spent the next hour going through all the official motions of being stripped of rank, being terminated, signing all the documents required, and then he handed in his Sioux Falls uniforms and headed out the door towards his car, which was parked in the back of the lot for the first time in four years.

But before he could get into his car and drive away, he was stopped by the last person he expected to see.

“Uncle Bobby?” Sam inquired as the older man was walking up to him.

“There’s one last thing I think you need to do,” Bobby said quietly.

“What’s that?”

“You owe that girl one hell of an apology. You’ve put her through hell, made her relive one of the worst moments in her life, and for what? To keep your job? Was it worth it, ya dumbass?”

Sam didn’t say anything. He had no right to.

“I mean it, boy. You’ve already brought enough shame on me for all this bullshit. You’re lucky your daddy’s not here otherwise-”

Don’t bring my father into this,” Sam said dangerously.

Bobby realized he crossed a fine line with that one, so he held up his hands, indicating he wouldn’t mention John Winchester. “Fine. But you still owe Y/N an apology. Don’t do it for you or even her. Do it for me. You owe me at least that much.”

And with that, Chief walked back inside.

Sam huffed an annoyed breath. But he knew his uncle was right.


The next morning you were officially sworn in as Lieutenant of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department. You were in your dress blues and your rank was pinned onto your dress jacket. Everyone who was in attendance cheered and clapped for you as you shook Chief Singer’s hand. None of them could see Sam standing as far away as he could while still having a view of you being given his former rank.

For a split second, he allowed him to believe you were very pretty in your Class A’s. But just as quickly as he thought of it, said thought left his mind.

After the ceremony, you were walking away to have a private moment to yourself. You went to your car and pulled out your cigarettes. You’d taken Benny’s line of thinking and started rolling your own. And you had to agree: the menthol of a freshly rolled smoke was a lot smoother and tastier than buying premade smokes.

As you lit up, you looked towards the sky.

“Mom, Dad, Jimmy… did you see that?”

Sam was about to approach you but took a step back behind the building and just watched, listening.

“I… I did it… I… I hope I’m making y’all proud. You especially, Jimmy… looks like I outrank you now, big brother,” you laughed at that statement, before a somber expression returned to your face. “I wish y’all coulda’ been here… in person… to see me… Daddy… I hope you know… I’m doing good things here… just like you did back in the day… Just please… continue to guide and watch over me… until we’re all together again…”

You heard footsteps approaching, and you turned around, expecting to fight.

Until you saw it was Sam. You dropped your guard and replaced the frightened look on your face to one of disgust.

“That was supposed to be a private moment between me and my family,” you said dryly.

“My apologies,” Sam said just as dryly.

“Oh, now you’re sorry?”

“Look Y/N,” Sam began, eager to get this over with, “I screwed up. Royally. And I know you don’t care one way or another what I say or do-”

“Understatement.”

“-But… I’m sorry, okay. I really am sorry.”

You finally looked him in the eyes, your heart setting itself alight at the sight of the spectrum of browns, blues, and greens the irises held. If Sam didn’t have such an ugly heart, you would’ve thought his eyes were beautiful. But all you saw was emptiness. You saw no remorse for his actions.

You exploded.

“You’re sorry? NOW? After everything you did? You may be 6’5, but right now you’re standing 6 feet below me. And I’m not talking about superiority like you did. What you did… treating me like absolute shit, using faults that you had no business knowing as a weapon… making me relive one of the worst times of my life… something not even a dead man would do. You lowered yourself below the grade of humanity. You’re a soulless monster. You’re not sorry for what you did. You’re only sorry you got caught.”

Your words struck Sam right in the heart. Your words actually hurt him. He lowered his gaze. He was about to say something, but you cut him off.

“You can go to hell, Sam Winchester.” And with that, you walked away from him.

Sam stood there for a good minute, suddenly aware of the sound of his own heart. He wanted nothing more than to cut it out of his chest, still beating, and throw it in the dumpster.


Sam went home that afternoon and decided he’d had enough of Sioux Falls. He called his landlord and told him he was moving effective today and paid him enough money to keep the place running until he could find a tenant to replace him. He acquired a rental moving truck, a car trailer to hook up to the back, boxes and packing supplies and began packing his stuff up. By late evening, his entire apartment was empty and his Charger was docked on the auto transport trailer, which was hitched onto the rental truck packed with all his stuff. He slipped the key to his now-former apartment into the overnight drop box, put the rental truck in drive, and left Sioux Falls in the rearview mirror.

Seven hours later, the hour and a half of stops along the way to fuel up the gas-guzzler and take piss breaks, and he was driving into the parking lot of a storage facility. He paid cash up front and dropped off everything except his suitcase, and turned in the rental truck, driving his Charger off the trailer.

He couldn’t believe he still remembered the address. But sure enough, when he parked his car in front of the house that hadn’t changed at all and rang the doorbell…

The man who answered the door was very surprised to see him.

“Sammy?”

“Hey, Dean.”


Lawrence, Kansas hadn’t changed at all since Sam was last home - though quite a few neighbors still had their Christmas lights up. Some people just straight up never took them down. Sam didn’t care one way or the other.

What he did care about was his older brother Dean. Dean Winchester had made quite a name for himself being the Sherriff of Douglas County. He also finally grew a pair and asked Lisa Braeden, his high school crush, out on a date. Well, that was over a decade ago. Seeing as she was now Mrs. Lisa Winchester, and they had a son together, Ben. Sam always thought he was a good influence on 13 year old Ben Winchester. But considering he’d been gone for so long, and everything that had happened in Sioux Falls, he wasn’t so sure.

None of that seemed to matter to Dean and Lisa. They were ecstatic to see him, Lisa throwing her arms around Sam’s tall frame, getting a kiss on the cheek from him. Sam ruffled Ben’s hair and mentioned he was almost taller than his old man. Dean just punched him in the shoulder before giving him a big hug.

It was clear to Dean that Sam wouldn’t have chosen to come back to their hometown willingly, and there was a look of sadness on Sam’s face that only Dean could see. He had too many years of experience being his brother. Something was wrong; of that Dean was certain.

He told Lisa some of his concerns and she suggested her and Ben go out for pizza and ice cream as a way to give the brothers some uninterrupted time to talk. Dean gave her a couple of 20s and they headed out. Now for the hard part, Dean thought.

Dean brought a beer out to Sam, who was sitting on the porch swing, watching some kids play outside as daylight was waning; they wouldn’t have much time to play once the streetlights came on. Dean sat down next to him.

“What’s going on, man?” Dean asked. “Last time you came home was for Dad’s funeral. Not like you to just show up out of the blue.”

Sam knew there was no way to hide it. If there was one person he couldn’t lie to, it was Dean. His big brother knew him inside and out. He took a breath and divulged everything that had happened.

After an hour of discussion, Dean took a breath, contemplating his words carefully. Dean had to agree with Bobby. Sam had been a total asshole to you. And you were right to call him out on it. But there was something else underlying that Sam was oblivious to. Dean knew the signs all too well.

“I think I know what your problem is, Sammy,” Dean said, a sly smirk forming on his face.

Sam gave him a puzzled look, taking a sip of his beer.

Dean went on. “You don’t hate Y/N. You love her.”

Sam laughed. Then, he looked at Dean and knew he was being serious. “Shut up.”

“I mean it, dude!” Dean said, a laugh coming out of him. “Think about it. You may not think so, but your actions, especially when you said you couldn’t explain it because that’s now how you’d normally act…  you’re totally digging her. How do you think Lisa and I started out?”

“You were too chicken shit to ask her out, if I recall correctly,” Sam suggested.

“Yeah, but I started out by being a dick to her. And she, in return, played hard to get. But eventually, I got serious and asked her out. Maybe that’s what you need to do!”

“Even if you’re right, and that’s a big if, I’m done with Sioux Falls, man. I can’t show my face in that town again. And I have no one to blame but myself.”

Sam hung his head in shame. But Dean pressed on.

“Look, maybe going back right away ain’t the best move, but eventually, assuming I still know my little brother, you’re gonna wanna go back up there and make things right.”

“Maybe…” Sam replied absentmindedly.

“Look, why don’t you stay here for a while. We’ve got a spare room, and Ben hasn’t seen you since he was in pull-ups. I think the time away would be good for you.”

“Well, I already had that plan in mind. But I didn’t come all the way out here just to butt in on your lives. I can go find a place to live somewhere in town. Maybe get a job at the hospital.”

“Not gonna allow that, Sammy,” Dean sighed, “you need to be with family. You’re going through a rough time. Stay with us. I also happen to know that Douglas County Fire is looking for paramedics to hire. I can call the Chief in the morning and put in a recommendation for you if you want.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Sam muttered, not making eye contact with Dean.

“You’re right, I don’t,” Dean said, getting up from his seat. “But I can. And I’m going to. Seriously, bro. We’re gonna take good care of you. That’s what family does.”

Sam pondered over it, then looked up at Dean and smiled slightly. “Thanks, Dean.”


Sam went back to the storage unit and retrieved some of his belongings to start moving into Dean’s house. Dean promised he would help sort everything else out in a few days. He wanted Sam to take things slowly, so as not to overwhelm him. The spare bedroom was a decent size and the bed was big enough to sleep 3 guys of Sam’s height. Sam took a shower and decided to go to bed early.

Laying in bed that night, he pondered over Dean’s words about you.

“You don’t hate her, you love her!”

Sam thought about all the instances where he’d crossed paths with you. He realized just how much of a dick he’d been, and none of it was what you deserved. But the way you always stood up for yourself, calling him out on his bullshit, made you look like a badass in his eyes.

And the way you looked in your Class As the day you were pinned. How each curve of your body shown well. Sam realized how well shaped you were. You had the perfect sized breasts and a nice ass that indicated you weren’t too skinny or too large. You could fit perfectly in his arms. You were also a good foot shorter than him, so he knew he could hold you and cradle your head perfectly in the center of his chest, right next to his heart.

Sam shook his head and allowed his body to flare up with heat and arousal.

“Fuck,” he said out loud to no one. “I do love her… I… I love her…”

Chapter Text


 

Just as Dean promised, he’d made a call to the chief of the Douglas County Fire Department and put in a professional recommendation for Sam to be recruited as a paramedic. Although, knowing Rufus Turner, he didn’t really need to. Rufus was another friend of the family who was in the public service business. He, like Bobby Singer, had been around since Sam and Dean were babies and also served as one of their father’s pall bearers at his funeral. Rufus had stayed in touch with the boys over the years, and was proud as all hell when both boys became what they were now. Dean frequently worked with Rufus on calls that required both fire and police presence. Rufus had also harassed Dean to get his fire medic certs and come join them on the trucks, because a lot of officers under him did that. But Dean always turned him down, saying “that side of public service just isn’t for me.” Didn’t hurt to try, though.

Rufus called Sam up a week after he’d applied for the job. They did an over the phone interview, which lasted way longer than was customary because they needed to catch up. Rufus was briefed by Dean on what transpired in Sioux Falls and already talked with Bobby about it before calling Sam. Chief Singer, though thoroughly displeased with Sam’s behavior, gave Rufus his blessing to hire him if he desired.

Sam sat down with Rufus the following day and went over the hiring process. He said that even though Sam was like family, he wasn’t going to skip out on formalities. He was gonna have to work for his place at DCFD. Sam was fine with that. If anything, it might serve as his redemption for all his mistakes in Sioux Falls.

Dean helped Sam fully move into his house not long after he got the job with the county. Sam offered to help with things around the house to earn his keep, but Dean wouldn’t hear of it.

“You’re not some slave or some roommate. You’re family. You earned your place here by being born to our mom and dad. And I don’t wanna hear any arguments to the contrary, got it?”

Sam just chuckled and went along with his brother’s logic. It was… nice. He was afraid that he’d be rejected upon hearing what he’d done in South Dakota. But he was accepted, despite his faults.

Weeks passed after getting hired on, and he decided to make a visit to a place he never thought he’d be able to see again.

His parents’ graves.


Sam pulled into the narrow passageway that snaked through Stull Cemetery, Lawrence’s only historical cemetery. A lot of famous people who were originally from Lawrence were buried here. It was an older and mostly forgotten cemetery, as a lot of the graves were overrun with overgrown weeds and vines. The newer “residents” of the cemetery were better maintained because their family members came in and took care of them. Sam had to guess that Dean and Lisa did just that for their parents’ graves, since they matched the ones cared for.

He parked his Charger just walking distance from where his mother and father eternally rested.

Technically, his mother Mary’s grave was devoid of her body.  There wasn’t much of her left to bury, but he remembered his dad saying he needed the closure. So, they buried an urn that had some of the house’s charred remains in it, particularly where his mother’s body was last seen before the fire overtook her.

His father, John, was buried right next to his late wife. His headstone had all the usual markings for a Marine veteran, as well as pictures from his time with her and their sons before Sam and Dean grew up and went their own separate ways in the world. Sam approached the side by side headstones and crouched down, meeting them at eye level.

“Hey Mom,” he whispered to Mary’s headstone. Then he looked over at his father’s picture forever immortalized in its granite display. “Hey Dad.”

Part of him wanted to tear up and cry, but he didn’t know what for. His mother died when he was just six months old; he wouldn’t even know what she looked like if it wasn’t for pictures. And though he didn’t have the best relationship with his father, he had enough of it to mourn his untimely passing. He figured he was just sad because things could’ve been a lot better between him and John, and had that goddamn smoke alarm been working that night, he might’ve had his mother in his life.

“I don’t know what to do,” Sam said finally after several moments of silent reflection. “I… I hurt her… in so many ways worse than physically. And now…” he took another breath before continuing, “now I feel like she’s supposed to be in my life. How am I ever going to prove to her how sorry I am? I can’t even think about going back to Sioux Falls!” He leaned his butt towards the ground and plopped down to sit in the grass. Crossing his legs in front of him, he looked back up at his parents’ graves. “I wish you two were here… maybe then… you could give me advice on this… I’m… I’m not a monster… am I?”

He continued reflecting on his thoughts, simultaneously wondering what you were doing at this exact moment. For the first time ever, he was hoping you were happy…


If someone had told you when you were hired on with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department that you’d be in a leadership position with rank, you would’ve laughed at them, and inquired about their mental state. Yet here you were, in the rank of Lieutenant and Lead Supervisor. The difference between you and Sam was planets apart.

You were worried that the amount of power you had over your colleagues would get to your head. You tended to abuse powerful things, and it was why you always turned down supervisor positions back home. But you were actually really good at being the new Lieutenant, and your colleagues took to your leadership very well. It was almost like you weren’t promoted. They still had the same respect for you, even though you now outranked them. It was nice.

You finally felt like your life was falling into that perfect place you always envisioned.

After a hard week’s work, you decided to take some time off to enjoy the company of your kitties and maybe go out for a night on the town. It’d been so long since you’d done that. A decent night club, good music, and even better drinks; you figured you’d earned it.

You were certain Sioux Falls didn’t have the selection of bars around town like Houston did, but one placed called Crawford’s downtown seemed like it had the atmosphere you were looking for. It was a rustic, brick walled, upscale venue with a nice 4-star quality menu and a full bar. Plus, they allowed smoking at the bar and outside - something that solidified your decision to go.

You put on your nicest outfit, spent way more time than you normally would getting ready, makeup included, slipped on a cute pair of black heels, then took one last look in the full length mirror in your bedroom.

“Ugh, I look like I’m going out on a date,” you muttered to yourself, your frown facing you from the mirror. Truth be told, it wasn’t your intention to hook up or be picked up tonight, but you weren’t gonna turn down an offer, assuming whoever made the offer was good looking enough. You grabbed your clutch bag, gave Mimi and Kiki some extra treats for the night, then locked the door behind you and headed out for a well deserved night on the town.

You were right to dress the way you did tonight. Apparently, on a Saturday night, everyone got fancied up for a night at Crawford’s. You sat down at the bar and were promptly able to order a raspberry martini. After sipping it a few times, you were tempted to ask the bartender for the recipe. It was that good. Though you knew whatever ingredients you bought would go bad very quickly. You rarely drank at home and when you did, you tended to gravitate towards solid dry red wines. You stuck with something simple yet filling for tonight’s meal. Shrimp scampi alfredo pasta sounded like it would probably put you to sleep an hour after eating, but it was too good to pass up. Plus, the bartender recommended it with the drink in front of you.

About 20 minutes into your meal, someone occupied the seat next to you, lighting up a cigarette.

You looked up to see who had sat down, and you almost spit your food out.

Oh - he was handsome.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am,” the gentleman said, blowing a drag from his smoke away from your face. “I’m not disturbing you by smoking here, am I?”

You swallowed your food so you could answer right away. “Not at all! In fact,” you pulled your menthols pack out of your clutch. “I think I’ll join you.”

The man, who was wearing simple,  all-black evening attire, offered you a light. You graciously accepted.

“You roll your own?” he inquired.

“I do,” you answered, blowing smoke out from the corner of your mouth. “Colleague suggested it. He was right, too. Much smoother taste, and aftertaste isn’t as bitter.”

“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind,” the man said as he summoned the bartender over. “My good man, I’d like an old fashioned and the lovely lady here looks like she could use a refill.”

The bartender nodded his head and got to work. You blushed. You were the kind of woman who demanded men pay for your drinks if they were being nice, but you never turned down free anything. It’s not like this night was gonna end in wedding bells and positive pregnancy tests.

“I know, I know,” the man shrugged, almost like he read your mind, “you don’t appear to be the kind of woman who needs a man to buy you drinks, but your martini did look a little low. I don’t mind, really. It’s not like I’m taking you home with me.” He winked at you, causing you to laugh a bit.

“I appreciate your honesty,” you smiled. Getting a better look at the man, you observed that he really was handsome. He had light brown hair that he kept neat and short, a moderately chiseled face with a slight cleft in his chin, almost like Sam had, and his eyes were a spectrum of blues and greens. He had a nice smile too. All good qualities for someone who was successful. You decided to take a risk, sticking your cigarette-free hand out “I’m Y/N. Y/N Y/L/N.”

“Bradley. Bradley Tyson. Everyone calls me Brady. And it is a pleasure to meet you, Y/N.”

The rest of your night at the bar was spent with Brady. He ordered a juicy steak with all the fixings and the two of you shared your meals. The steak was cooked perfectly and was actually juicy, despite it being well done. You wondered what kind of black magic they were using in the kitchen. Brady mentioned he knew a fantastic recipe for shrimp scampi alfredo that used pasta made from cauliflower, and your mouth practically watered at the thought. By the end of the night, you’d had just enough to drink to create a warm, gooey center at your core, but you weren’t tipsy, so you could still drive. Brady somehow managed to make the old fashioned he originally ordered last the whole night, alternating between that and a tall glass of water. You appreciated his ability to pace himself.

He did keep his word though. He only paid for that one drink for you. Which was fine, you didn’t go out with the intention to find someone else to pay for your entertainment. As you were getting up to leave, Brady offered to walk you to your car.

“Look, I don’t normally do this, but I really enjoyed my night with you. I figured some time away from the office would do me some good, but I never intended to spend it with anyone,” Brady said, blushing slightly. He pulled out his wallet and then a business card. He handed it to you. “My personal cell is on the bottom. Ignore the office numbers, I’m boring when I answer that phone.”

You laughed. “Thanks, Brady. Oh - here,” you pulled out your phone and entered the number into the text message field. Then you shot his cell a quick “hello, it’s Y/N” text. Not more than a second later, you heard his phone go off with a notification. He pulled it out to look at it, then looked up at you and smiled. “Now you have my number,” you smiled.

“Well then,” Brady said, opening your car door for you. You slid right in. “I look forward to another interaction with you, Y/N. I mean it, I really did enjoy tonight.”

“I did too. I didn’t expect to meet anyone either, heh,” you chuckled, blushing yourself.

“Drive safe, hon,” was the last thing Brady said before he shut your car door. You buckled your seatbelt and started your car as you watched him walk over to what looked like a brand new Mercedes Benz. You let out a low whistle.

“Nice whip,” you said to yourself as you let him pull out of his parking space. He took a left down the main highway and disappeared from your sight. You took a right onto the same highway to head home.

When you got there, your head was swimming. You felt like a high school girl who just spent three hours on the phone talking with your crush. It felt silly, but you couldn’t allow yourself to really feel that way. As you made your way towards the bedroom, stripping off your shoes in the process, your phone went dingy-dingy and you looked down to see a text from Brady.

>>>You were lovely tonight and you could’ve completely ignored me. I wanna thank you for not doing that. It was nice to be treated like a normal person for once. I hope you have a good evening, Y/N. [22:38]

Like a normal person, you thought. Maybe Brady was a big wig at his job and everyone treated him differently. That was something you could sympathize with. You sent a reply text then turned off your phone so you could get ready for bed. You weren’t due for tour til the following night, so you could sleep in.

>>> I can understand not being treated like a normal person. I’m glad I didn’t ignore you either. You weren’t too bad yourself ;) have a good evening Brady. [22:41]

You removed yourself from your dress and jewelry and washed your face of your makeup. You made sure both cats were already in their designated spots on your bed, then you climbed in with your sci-fi fantasy novel and read until the book fell out of your hand, no memory of passing out.

Chapter Text


 

6 Months Later

“What do you mean you’re resigning?” Rufus demanded, mouth agape. “You’ve only been here 6 months, boy!”

Sam had worked his way into the hearts of his hometown’s community before he decided he was done putting off what had been on his mind since he first got here.

“I know Rufus,” Sam sighed, knowing from the beginning this conversation wasn’t going to be easy. “But I’ve had time to think about everything that happened back in Sioux Falls. And I’ve still got unfinished business there. I need to go back.”

Rufus sighed. He’d had this talk with Sam plenty of times before. He kept trying to tell the young medic that his life in Sioux Falls was over and that he needed to move on. But Sam kept avoiding the subject. Rufus figured it was only a matter of time before Sam decided to leave. He didn’t really understand the scope of what he’d done in Sioux Falls. Sam was the best paramedic Rufus had ever hired in his time as Chief. He really didn’t want to let him go. Rufus sighed one more time before speaking. “You really wanna go after her, don’t you?”

Sam looked up at Rufus. “That’s not my intention. I owe her a lot more than the half-assed apology I gave before I left. She needs to see the real me - see that I’m not an asshole with no heart. I want to prove it not just to her, but everyone there. In any case, I at least owe Bobby that much.”

“Well your dumbass uncle has seen plenty of both sides of you, so I wouldn’t worry about that. Though, do you really think you can get your job back after everything that went down? I gotta say, it doesn’t look good from here.”

Sam let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “I’ll talk to Bobby. Worse comes to worse, I’ll… find work somewhere else. I’ll make it work. I always do.”

“Just like your daddy, you are,” Rufus smiled slightly. “Alright, well, go clean out your locker. I’ll get the paperwork started.”

Sam did just that and within an hour, he was back at Dean’s place, packing all his stuff up. He’d called his old landlord and asked if he had any apartments available. To his luck, it turned out his landlord never rented his old one to another tenant, so he was happy to offer it back to him at a discounted rate. Sam was thankful and told the landlord he’d be back in town the next day. Dean, of course, didn’t want his little brother to leave, but he had a feeling that things would work out better for him in the end if he left Lawrence.

Dean and Ben helped Sam load up the rented moving truck with all his stuff from the house, and Sam drove his Charger onto the car trailer, with Dean fastening the ropes in place around the front tires.

The older Winchester brother and his wife and son all gave Sam big hugs, saying he was always welcome back any time, then Sam got into the driver seat of the moving truck, started the engine, and made his way back up north towards Sioux Falls, but not before making a phone call.


There was a small diner right around the corner from Bobby Singer’s house, and that’s where Bobby met up with Sam after he got settled back into his old apartment. He was able to replace some of the furniture he’d gotten rid of in short order. Some of his neighbors weren’t happy to see him, but that was something he could work on over time.

Sam walked into the old 60s style 24-hour diner that catered to the night owls of Sioux Falls and, in particular, the night crew at SFFRD. Bobby stood up after snuffing his cigarette out and gave Sam a hug.

“Hey Bobby,” Sam said softly, feeling almost unworthy to be standing in the Chief’s presence.

“Hey kiddo,” Bobby said, smiling at Sam, gesturing him to sit down. There was already a pot of coffee sitting next to the ashtray and an empty cup in front of Sam. He quietly poured himself a cup and added some cream and sugar to it. Bobby lit another cigarette. “You, uh… you wanted to see me? Didn’t think I’d see you back here so soon.”

“Yeah,” Sam drew out, taking a much-needed sip of his coffee. It tasted really good, and the overly warm liquid washed down his throat, soothing him internally. Though, he could already feel the caffeine elevating his heart rate. “I, uh… truth be told, I didn’t think you’d agree to see me…”

“Boy, no matter what goes down at the station, you’re always gonna be family. Don’t ever forget that.”

Sam smiled at the man who’d been his uncle for most of his life and, since his dad’s death, almost like a second father. Sam needed to hear that.

“In any case, that idjit Rufus called me shortly after you left Douglas County. Told me to expect you and… to go easy on you.”

Sam’s head snapped up to face Bobby. “I hope he didn’t say anything too bad.”

“Actually, he didn’t want to let you go. Said you were the best paramedic he’d ever hired in his tenure as Chief. I had a feeling you being away from here would do you some good.”

“Thank you,” was all Sam could say.

“And that’s the kind of person I expect you to be, son. I don’t know what got into your head these last couple of years…” Bobby let his sentence trail off. But before Sam could say anything, Bobby spoke. “I’m gonna assume you’re here to convince me to let you come back.”

The moment of truth, Sam thought.

“If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have a Board to make these decisions for us. I would’ve just taken you off the trucks and suspended you without pay. But that’s the way big wig fire departments run nowadays.”

“I’d really like a second chance, Bobby. But not as your nephew or son, but as a medic who royally fucked up. I did some very reprehensible things. Not just to my colleagues, but to you. I think the best way I can apologize is to do better. I know I can! I don’t mind starting over. At this point, it’s probably more than I deserve. But… I need to make things right here. It’s been nagging at me since I left.”

Bobby studied Sam with a calculated look as Sam ordered himself something to eat. On the one hand, the board was rather specific on Sam’s termination, but on the other hand they didn’t say he was banned from the department, nor was it in writing. Bobby could use that to his advantage, especially since Sam was willing to start from the bottom again. Given how well you were doing in his old position and rank, it was doubtful he would ever become Lieutenant again. Bobby also knew that Sam was right. He needed redemption.

And Bobby was fortunately in the position to give it to him.

Just as a big plate of eggs, pancakes, bacon, and hash browns were put in front of Sam, Bobby spoke up.

“I’ll see what I can do about bringing you back on.”

Sam nearly choked on his bacon. “Seriously?”

“But heed my words, son. You’re gonna have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. There ain’t gonna be a soul at the station who’s gonna be happy to see you again. And you may even see some backlash from it. You’re gonna have to earn people’s trust back the old-fashioned way. But as long as you stick to being the person and medic I know you’re capable of being, everything else we can work though.”

“But,” Sam started, finishing a bite of eggs and washing it down with coffee, “what about the board? Wasn’t I expelled or something?”

“I thought about that, and I remember during your termination hearing that you were just fired and stripped of your rank. You weren’t banned or barred, by word of mouth or in writing, so even if they tried to stake that claim, it’ll fall flat. I’ll deal with the board. You just wait for my call. I assume you’ve already got a place to stay?”

Sam nodded. “I got my old apartment back, same address and everything. My landlord even gave me a discount for coming back so soon.”

“Well that’s good,” Bobby grinned.

Glenda, the head waitress who everyone in town thought slept at the diner because she was always working, brought the check to the table. Just as Sam was about to reach for it, Bobby smacked his hand away. Sam looked at him confused.

“Consider it your house warming gift,” Bobby grinned as he tossed a twenty dollar bill on top of the slip of paper. He winked at Glenda, which apparently told her to keep the change. Bobby stood up. “Take your time finishing your meal. We’ll catch up later.” And with that, Bobby walked out of the diner.

Sam went back to finishing his meal as stated. Neither man saw that they were being watched by Castiel and Gabriel in the ambulance across the street in the drugstore parking lot.

“You seeing what I’m seeing, little brother?” Gabe asked, stunned.

Cas didn’t bother responding. He pulled out his cell phone and made a call. “Jo, it’s Cas… no, no, we’re fine, but I just wanted to give you a heads up. Sam Winchester is back in Sioux Falls. And I think he’s trying to get his job back… well considering he met Chief at the diner down the street from the station, I’m guessing it was a private meeting, something they wanna keep under wraps… yeah, I know, I’m not happy about it either… no, don’t tell Y/N… don’t tell anyone! I mean it Jo, we could get in trouble if Chief finds out we were spying… thank you… see you later…”

Gabe let out a quick whistle. “She didn’t sound happy.”

“Can you blame her?” Cas deadpanned. “Nobody’s gonna be happy about this. Especially the Lieutenant.”


Sam didn’t have to wait but a day to get word from Bobby that he was being allowed to be rehired with Sioux Falls FRD. He was elated. Bobby came by his apartment and hand delivered his uniforms a few days later, and also brought over paperwork he needed to sign to be hired.

Sam had asked why it was necessary to do this at his place and not at the station. Bobby told him, as much as it seemed a bit excessive, the Board didn’t want there to be any kind of retaliation against Sam. Sam did agree with the excessive bit, but the last thing he needed was to end up in the hospital because his colleagues were angry with him being back. He kept the fact that he wouldn’t blame them to himself.

Bobby left with everything he needed and told him his first tour would start after the weekend, first thing Monday morning at 0700. Sam’s heart dropped when Bobby told him he’d be riding with you as his trainer.

As nervous as he was, he showed up 15 minutes early for his Monday morning shift. His heart raced as he got out of his Charger and made his way inside, uniforms as pristine as he could make them the night before. During the days leading up to tour, he managed to re-introduce himself to his neighbors. Some of them shut the door in his face, others were not happy to see him but heard him out anyway. Sam was glad they did. He explained that he was not in a good frame of mind the last few years and sought help, and apologized for all the times his early morning workout music kept them and their children awake. He told them he didn’t expect forgiveness, but wanted to work towards having a healthy relationship with his neighbors, especially since he was back for good. Those who didn’t shut the door in his face accepted his apology. One of them even offered to let him stop by anytime he needed the company. Sam was thankful for that.

He knew there was gonna be trouble as soon as he walked through the doors of the crew quarters and saw pretty much the entire C and B shift crew. Castiel, Gabriel, Jo, Anna, Pamela, Benny, and you were all sitting around enjoying their morning coffee, smiling and carrying on conversations. When Sam walked in, all conversation stopped, all smiling ceased. Death glares ensued.

Jo was the first one to stand up. “You’ve gotta lotta nerve coming back here.”

Cas tried to stop her but she fought him off. “Jo-”

“No, Cas, I’ve got a lot to say to this asshole! And I think I’d be speaking on behalf of everyone in this room, am I wrong?”

When everyone started to nod their head in agreement, you just hung back, observant. But you did not miss the way Sam’s head hung in shame. That’s new… you wondered.

“You have no idea how many people, good people, left this department because of you. Most of them…their only crime was crossing paths with you. You made people cry. You angered people to the point where we,” she pointed around the room in a circular motion, “are the only reason you weren’t assassinated!”

That admission took Sam by surprise. I mean, sure, I was a dick, and I know people were angry, Sam thought, but… people wanted to actually kill me?

“If I were you,” Jo went on, her furious stare not leaving her usually soft pretty face, “I’d walk out that door and never fucking come back. You’re not worthy of being here with us. Not now. Not after everything you did.”

“That’s enough, Jo,” you spoke up softly. Sam almost thought it was too risky to look at you, but chanced it anyway. And, he couldn’t read your expression, which alarmed him. “I think you’ve made your case. But I think it’s only fair we hear what Mr. Winchester has to say.” Sam couldn’t hear any animosity or anguish in your voice. It… it almost sounded… peaceful. “Sam? You have the floor. Take as much time as you need.”

Sam hesitated for a moment, thinking you were kidding, but everyone quieted down and maintained their focus on him. You smiled a small smile, something that Sam read as it’s okay, you’re safe.

“You… you’re all right. You have every right to be angry with me. I don’t even blame you for wanting me dead. I know I’ve made more mistakes than anyone can account for. And I know I don’t deserve a second chance. But…” he took a deep breath, steadying emotions that had long been dormant, “but I’m gonna ask anyway. Please… give me a second chance. I want to prove to you I can be trustworthy. I want to show you all what I’m capable of. Truth is, I lost sight of why I became a paramedic in the first place. It was to serve my community. To serve my neighbors in their darkest hour. That’s what we’re all here for, right? And I’ve done wrong with how I went about it in my time as Lieutenant. And for that… I’m sorry. I truly am. But I’m gonna do more than just say it. If… you’re willing to give me the chance.”

Sam exhaled, feeling like he just spoke for 5 hours straight. Everyone was still peering at him through judgmental eyes.

“Okay.”

Everyone snapped their heads towards you. Some looked stunned, some admiring.

“…Okay?” Sam breathed.

“You’ve stated your case well, Sam. And I’m a firm believer in second chances. I was given a second chance when I needed it most. And it looks to me like this is that time for you. But make no mistake, Sam Winchester. I only give one second chance. After that, you’re gone for good. I trust you understand this?”

“Yes ma’am, I do,” Sam replied, a smile crossing his face. He came over towards you, but Gabriel and Castiel got in front of him, almost to shield you from him.

“Guys,” you said. “I think I made myself very clear. There’s no need to shield me from our Brother. If I’m willing to trust him, so can you.”

Everyone visibly relaxed. Cas spoke up.

“You’re right, Lieutenant. You know we trust your unrelenting judgement.”

“Yeah, but you know,” Gabe began, “we’ll always love and protect you, Y/N/N.”

“Hey Y/N,” Pamela called out as she was leaving the crew quarters, “did the orders for more Albuterol actually come through yet?”

“Just got the shipment in this morning,” you called back with a smile. “Talk with Martin about it if your truck needs any.”

“Will do, we’re down to a single vial and asthma calls have been running rampant lately!”

You just smiled back at her.

“Y/N, have you had any problems with the onboard Wi-Fi? I wasn’t able to submit my run report yesterday. And I know others have had issues with ambulance 3’s Wi-Fi.”

“Get with Gordon, he said he was supposed to be upgrading the routers. But if he’s done that and it’s still not working, go into my computer in my office and submit it from there. ”

“Thanks, boss!”

“Y/N! Medic 4’s transmission is sputtering again! Is Jake coming in today?”

“He should already be working on M4 right now. I’ve been telling him about that for the last week!”

Sam took in the scene and the conversations flowing around him and was impressed. In his absence, it appeared you had no trouble filling in the role of Lieutenant, and not only were you respected, but you weren’t arrogant, or rude, or harsh, or… anything like him.

You were perfect for the job.

In that moment, Sam had a feeling coming back to Sioux Falls was the best decision he’d ever made.

Chapter Text


 

3 months later

Allowing Sam to come back ended up being beneficial for everyone involved, but especially for you and Sam.

He rode the planned-out third wheel shifts and did a great job with his skills. He’d clearly improved his knowledge over the course of his absence, and you could also see him starting to show actual compassion towards his patients.

You kept close tabs on him even after his probationary period ended. Everyone he rode with gave you positive input. Some of the crew members had never seen Sam be anything but a raging douchebag. It was refreshing. And you knew it was doing good things to Sam’s confidence.

Chief Singer even pulled you aside and asked how things were.

“So far, nobody’s had anything negative to say,” you said as the two of you shared a smoke break. “Truth be told, I’m guessing some of the guys have never seen this side of Sam before. They didn’t think he had it in him…”

“Trust me when I say,” Chief replied, “the kid’s got it in him. He’s… been through a lot in his life. Known him and his older brother since they were in diapers.”

“Sam has an older brother?” You asked. You remember the conversation you’d had with Jo and promised to keep it to yourself. Like she said, it wasn’t her story to tell.

“Mhm,” Chief went on, blowing smoke from another drag, “Dean’s about four years older than Sam. Those boys got public service in their blood. Their daddy was a firefighter here back in the day, and while Dean saw himself enforcing the laws rather than pushing drugs and pumping chests, Sam was the opposite.”

You pretended to be impressed. Kinda hard not to at this point.

Chief Singer didn’t tell you any of the nitty-gritty of Sam’s past and you didn’t ask about it. So you went about your day. All in all, it excited you to finally see this side of Sam. You knew it was buried somewhere deep inside him.

After a few more weeks , you and Sam became permanent partners.

“I gotta say, Winchester,” you mused while running your usual Saturday night shift with him, “if someone told me you and I would be getting along enough to be regular partners, I would’ve knocked their teeth out!”

“Well, Lieutenant,” Sam replied, a sly grin peeking through, “I’m thankful you were wrong.”

“Same here,” you said, returning his grin with one of your own, but that only made him genuinely smile. You noticed how when he smiled, his cheeks indented to create the most adorable dimples you didn’t think belonged on a man. Especially one as tall, strong and… opiniated, as Sam.

It was a rainy night in Sioux Falls, so you expected there to be an increase in MVAs and weather-related injuries tonight; and since it was Saturday night, you anticipated the level of stupid to be cranked up a notch. But when tones dropped for a possible pediatric fracture, you had a feeling it would be anything but ordinary.

“Medic 6, Engine 6, medical call. 492 Robert Drive, between White Road and Field Avenue. Key Map 502 Foxtrot. Medic 6, Engine 6, medical call. 492 Robert Drive, between White Road and Field Avenue. Key Map 502 Foxtrot. Time out 0117 hours.”

“Medic 6 en route,” Sam said over the radio as you brought the ambulance to life, lights shining through the rainy torrents. There was literally no one out on the roads, so you reserved the sirens for when they were really necessary.

“Medic 6 en route, 0118 hours.”

“Engine 6 en route,” you two heard Gabriel over the radio. You’d forgotten he sometimes ran back up on the pumper some nights. It was good to have him on with you guys tonight.

Sam pulled up the call log on the computer as you stayed in the left lane, driving carefully. He studied what was in front of him. “Hey boss?”

“Whatcha got Sam?”

“Medic 6, engine 6, you’re responding to a seven year old female, 26 Delta 3, no further information at this time.” You heard the female dispatcher over the radio.

“Engine 6 Comm Center, do you have PD en route?” You heard Gabe ask.

“I was just about to do the same,” Sam said.

“Why?” you inquired.

“I remember this address from when I was the Lieutenant,” Sam said grimly. “Not the first time there’s been a peds fall call before. Last time, a few people were arrested on sight because they tried to attack us.”

“You thinking abuse?” you questioned, equally grim.

“Comm Center Engine 6, PD is en route to the call,” you heard the dispatcher reply.

“Received,” Gabe confirmed.

Sam picked the radio back up. “Medic 6 Comm Center.”

You looked at Sam with a puzzled look, almost wanting to demand what he was doing, but he just looked at you and winked.

“Comm Center, go ahead.”

“Has PD advised staging?”

“Stand by.”

While Sam waited for confirmation, you had to hand it to him. You hadn’t considered, given there was suspected abuse in the past, whether or not the scene might be safe. PD would obviously handle it, but still. It made you realize that, while you may have the title and rank, Sam still had the experience of a Lieutenant. That’s probably why you asked to be partners with him. He may have been a soulless dickbag back then, but he still was the Lieutenant for four years. Dick or not, experience speaks volumes.

“SFPD Car 2031 to Sioux Falls Fire Medic 6 and Engine 6,” you heard the voice of a woman on the radio, but it wasn’t your dispatcher. You looked at Sam, who just smiled. You took it that he knew the woman on the other end.

Sam raised the radio mic to his lips, still smiling. “Go ahead, Sheriff.”

“Engine 6, go ahead Sheriff.”

Sheriff?

The woman spoke back up. “Orders to stage at the corner of Butters Lane and Albany. Stage at Butters Lane and Albany.”

“Engine 6 received.”

“Medic 6 received.”

“2031 to Medic 6?”

“Medic 6?”

“It’s good to have you back, sir.”

For some reason you blushed slightly. You had no idea why considering that message wasn’t for you. But still, you allowed it. You looked over and saw Sam’s smile widen to the point where you thought his mouth was gonna pop off.

“It’s good to be back, Sheriff.”

Sam placed the radio back onto its holder, and pulled the laptop back out and started preparing a run report. But then he stopped.

“Y/N…”

“Yeah?”

“I-uh… I hope that- uhh- I didn’t overstep my boundaries back there.”

You gave him a confused look just as you pulled alongside Engine 6, with Gabriel waving at you from the shotgun seat. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” Sam was starting to get flustered, scratching the back of his head. It was kinda cute, you had to admit. “When I got on the radio and asked for PD staging. I’m… despite how long I’ve been back, I still sometimes forget I’m not in charge anymore. And… and I wanna make sure I don’t ever step over your authority.”

You were taken aback by his words. He… he’s showing respect… for me as his superior…

You smiled at him. “First off, you were in this position for four years, Sam. It’s gonna take more than a few months to remember you’re not the big wig anymore. Secondly, you didn’t overstep the line. And here’s why: if it comes to the safety and well-being of us, our fellow brothers and sisters, or anyone else on scene, I don’t care who’s in charge, you say something. I don’t care if I’m talking to Chief Singer or the President of the United States, you fucking interrupt me. This is one of the reasons why I wanted you to be my partner, Sam.”

Now it was Sam’s turn to be taken aback. “It is?”

You nodded before continuing. “I may have the rank and title, but you have the experience. I want there to be an understanding between us, Sam. Traditionally, I’m supposed to boss you around. But if I’m ever out of line or you think I’m gonna do something that might hurt us or someone else, feel free to boss me around. It’ll save us all. If you’re gonna put your life in my hands, it’s only fair I do the same.”

Sam laughed at the way you said “boss,” but he understood what you meant. And it caused him to blush involuntarily.

He leaned closer towards you and looked you straight in the eyes. He wasn’t trying to be intimidating, but he did want to make sure he had your full attention.

“I won’t let anything happen to you. I’ll protect you. Okay, Y/N?”

Your heart skipped a beat.

“Thank you, Mr. Winchester.”

“Sam.” He said, slightly above a whisper.

You weren’t certain if he was trying to be intimate or what, but you didn’t mind. If you allowed yourself to think about it, Sam was nice to look at up close.

“2031 to Engine and Medic 6, scene clear for entry.”

The moment gone between the two of you, Sam grabbed the radio. “Medic 6 received.”

“Engine 6 received. After you, Medic 6,” Gabe mused into the radio. Technically you were still his superior even though he was on the engine tonight, but you gave him an unamused look from your seat. He just smiled and winked at you.

You grabbed the radio from Sam. “Gentlemen as always, Engine 6.”

“Watch your six, you guys” you heard the Sheriff advise, causing everyone to laugh inside their own units.

You and Sam arrived on scene first with Gabe and the E-6 crew not far behind you. Sam was first inside, you following close behind, Gabe and his guys did you the courtesy of grabbing all your gear and following with the cot. Upon entering the home, which was in a dilapidated state, you saw a teary-eyed, seven-year-old girl clutching her left arm, which had an obvious deformity distal to the elbow, proximal to the wrist, smack in the center. Looking around, you see no guardian in sight.

You walked up towards Sam, who was exchanging pleasant greetings with who you assumed was the Sheriff.

“Lieutenant!” the Sheriff extended her hand towards you. “Good to finally put a new face to the rank. Sheriff Jody Mills.”

“Good evening, Sheriff,” you responded happily, shaking her hand. “So what do we got?”

“Well you should know this isn’t the first time we’ve been called out to this address,” Jody whispered, “there’s been speculations but nothing concrete til tonight. We used to get domestics out the wazoo when the little girl’s parents would fight, took both of them to jail a time or two, but her father died about 6 weeks ago. Now, every time Mom gets drunk, she beats the poor little girl. She’s already been removed from the house, taken to county. Poor kid’s gonna be in foster care now, I’m sure. No other family…”

You shook your head in shame, but Sam just kept looking around the house. He made eye contact with his patient and slowly walked towards her, jump bag still slung over his shoulder, before anyone could stop him.

Sam slowly crouched down to get and meet the child’s eyes. You stood back and observed. The way you saw it, this was Sam’s big chance to prove to you, and everyone back at the station, that he was capable of compassion.

“Hi,” Sam said softly, “My name is Sam, I’m one of the paramedics who was called out here.”

The little girl nodded at him, but stayed silent. You noticed Sam digging around in the jump bag. He pulled out a sealed box of sterile gauze. Pulling on his gloves, he opened the box and pulled out a few 4x4 sheets. Then, to your astonishment, he used the gauze the dab the corners of the girl’s eyes and cheeks.

He’s wiping her tears.

“It’s okay to cry,” Sam went on, still using a soft, gentle voice, “you’ve been through some… very hard pain… don’t let my size fool you. I’d be crying too.”

The girl smiled a bit. Actually smiled! You were taken aback.

“Now I can’t take all your pain away,” Sam continued, “but what me and my partner Y/N can do is wrap up your arm in a splint. I won’t lie to you, it’s gonna hurt because we gotta shift the broken bones so it will heal properly.”

“Why?” the little girl squeaked. It was obvious she was scared of more pain. No one blamed her.

Sam reached out to her but held back, as if to ask permission first. The girl nodded. He felt the fingertips and the wrist of her uninjured arm, and then did the same, as gently as he could, on the broken one.

“I can feel your pulse,” he indicated towards the uninjured arm, “very strongly here. That’s the way it’s supposed to me. But here,” he indicated towards the broken arm, “I can barely feel it. Your pulses are supposed to be strong equally in both wrists. The broken arm is… how should I put this…  making the pulse weaker, meaning less blood, oxygen, and other good stuff your arm needs can’t travel effectively. With me so far?”

The girl nodded. Sam continued.

“If we can straighten the broken bones and place it in a splint, which is the funny shaped orange thing right here,” Sam pulled out the (ironically named) Sam Splints from the jump bag and demonstrated how it can bend and be shaped in any way needed to splint a broken limb, “we can make the blood flow better so you don’t lose feeling in your arm. Can you wiggle your fingers for me?”

The girl shook her head. “It feels cold.”

Sam looked at you, and you approached.

“Hi,” you introduced, “I’m Y/N, Sam’s partner.”

The girl looked between the two of you and smiled again. She had a pretty smile, you noticed.

“Naomi,” she said, “my name is Naomi.”

“That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl,” Sam smiled back, and you swore you saw Naomi blush a bit. Come to think of it, you wondered, I wonder if I’m blushing too…

“Thank you,” Naomi answered.

“I’m gonna tell you something Naomi,” Sam went on, “if you want us to do this, we can have your arm bandaged up before we take you to the hospital. But if you don’t, they’re gonna do the same thing anyway.”

“We can also give you pain medication too, but nothing as powerful as the stuff at the ER,” you finished. “it’s up to you.”

The girl pondered on it for a moment. “Will… will my mom be at the hospital?”

Sam saw how scared she looked when asking.

“No,” Sam said, trying his hardest to bottle up the anger he had towards the girl’s mother. “Your mother is in jail tonight. And probably will be for a long time.”

You wondered if what Sam had said would upset Naomi, until you saw her visibly relax.

“Good,” Naomi confirmed. “My mom is a bad person.”

You’d seen and heard a lot from children you’ve transported in the past. Some of the abuse cases you remembered the children trying to cover up what their parents or guardians did because they feared backlash or being alone. You were proud that Naomi wasn’t one of them. You wanted to hug her fiercely for showing her bravery.

“I wanna do it here,” Naomi said. “You two are so nice. And you’re both pretty.”

“Well thank you,” Sam replied, not knowing what else to say.

“Are you two… together?”

You and Sam both froze, neither making eye contact with Naomi nor each other. You were the first to speak, “Uhhh… are we….”

“Well, you said you were partners,” Naomi said innocently as Sam slipped a child sized blood pressure cuff around her good arm. “I’m sorry, I thought that meant…”

“No, no, you’re okay!” you said in a rush, before Sam could say anything. Sam smirked slightly as he placed the earpieces of his stethoscope in his ears, placing the diaphragm onto Naomi’s arm to take her blood pressure. “When we say ‘partners’, we mean work partners. We work together, but we’re not together together,” you felt your face heating up.

“Oh, okay,” Naomi replied, as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

You and Sam managed to get Naomi’s arm splinted without any incident, and Sam noted that her pulses were equal and strong; Naomi mentioned she could start to feel her arm and fingers warming up. You loaded her into the ambulance and made the trip down to Stanford Med, where you were certain there was gonna be CPS and caseworkers on standby ready to tackle this delicate situation.

When Sam got the signatures he needed for his run report, he went back in the room where Naomi was placed to say goodbye.

He sat down on the edge of her bed as you went out to the truck to clean up. “You’re a strong kid, Naomi. You’re gonna do great things in this world one day.” He patted her on the leg gently. “Take care.”

But before Sam could leave where he was sitting, Naomi grabbed him and brought him down towards her face, kissing his cheek, and whispered something in his ear.

“You two are cute together.”

Sam’s heart skipped a beat as he blushed. He nodded at Naomi and left the room.

When Sam walked out towards the smoking area where you were, he was surprised when you threw your arms around him.

“Sam, you were fucking amazing with this call!” you exclaimed. “I’m so proud of you!”

To say your words stunned him was an understatement. He was truly shell shocked. You released him and looked up. And he took in your features.

Your Y/E/C eyes shined in the moonlight, a breathtaking sight all on its own. But the way your Y/H/C hair flowed around the frame of your face and your perfect smile made him feel like he was going to have a full blown MI. You were beautiful. And it took all of his willpower not to just kiss you right then and there.

“It… It was nothing,” Sam replied sheepishly, but you waved him off.

“No it really wasn’t. Don’t you see? This is what I’ve been wanting to see! THIS is the kind of compassion I knew you had locked away in that blackened heart of yours!” you poked him square in the center of his chest. “You are capable of showing what our patients need to see in their darkest times. And I’m SO thankful I got to see it. I think you’re going to do so many good things here in Sioux Falls now that you’re back, Sam. I really do.”

You walked away before Sam could say anything.

It felt like forever ago that Sam would do anything to get rid of you.

Now… Sam wondered just how far he would go to keep you forever .


Over the next month, Sam continued to work with you one on one. You went back to staffing the supervisor truck and Sam requested he and Jo be partners. Jo was willing to give him another chance and she was glad she did. It was like they were kids again, playing around instead of working. Sam started to see Jo as the little sister he always wanted again. But one thing that Jo noticed was how Sam’s demeanor changed when you were within range.

He went from the hardcore heroic paramedic to the awkward suit-wearing kid, standing by himself at the prom, hoping his crush would ask him to dance.

He seemed happier around you. What Jo found the most amusing, however, was how oblivious you were to Sam’s obvious feelings for you.

“Well, this is a complete one-eighty,” Jo mused after they’d cleared a call. Sam was staring out the side mirror as you stood by your supervisor truck, lighting a cigarette.

“She really needs to quit smoking,” Sam said out loud, but mostly to himself, “the damage it could do to her heart and lungs…”

“Sam!”

“Huh?”

“Dude,” Jo laughed, “if you don’t go ask her out, I will on your behalf.”

Sam coughed. “What? Wha- I- huh?”

Jo laughed even harder. “Sam, how long have we known each other? I know that look. You’re crushing on her so much you’re suffocating yourself! You never know until you ask.”

Sam shook his head, a shy smile spreading across his face, he scratched the back of his head in the same nervous gesture he always did when he was called out. But Jo’s face hardened with seriousness for a moment.

“Just promise me something, Sam.”

“What’s that?”

Don’t break her heart. Or you’ll have an entire department after you again.”

Sam gulped slightly. He looked in the side mirror again, watching as you stomped out your cigarette and climbed into what used to be his Supervisor SUV (and he had to admit, you kept it cleaner than he did) and drove away.

Jo was right about one thing. He needed to tell you how he felt.


It was late one night after working a day shift. Jo had already gone home for the day. And you were cleaning out your truck of you stuff. Sam swallowed, certain his heart rate was well above 150, and walked over towards you.

You didn’t hear him coming up behind you, so when he said hi, you nearly jumped out of your skin.

“Sam!” you breathed, clutching your chest. “You scared me!”

“I’m sorry,” he smiled sheepishly back, “are you alright? I didn’t scare you into an AMI, did I?” he joked as he took your wrist into one hand while looking down at his watch, feeling your radial pulse.

You laughed, though it made you blush that he could feel just how fast your heart was beating. “No, no, I think you dodged a code call this time.” Both of you laughed at that. “What can I do for you?”

Moment of truth, Sam thought. “I- uh… I had a question for you.”

“Okay,” you started cautiously, sensing how nervous he was.

Sam took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves as well as his pounding heart. “I uh… I wanted to know if… well, you and me… we could… maybe…” he laughed nervously, “go out some time?”

You blinked at him, thinking he was kidding at first. But a quick look at his throat, seeing his pulse flutter rapidly, told you otherwise. Sam Winchester was asking you out. And he was scared as all hell you’d say no.

Unfortunately for him, that had to be your answer.

“Sam…” you began, “I’m… honored and flattered… I really am… but the thing is… I already have a boyfriend…”

Sam didn’t really hear you explaining who Brady was. He couldn’t really hear anything over the sound of his world crashing and burning around him.

 

Chapter Text


 

“I have a boyfriend, Sam,” you replied with regret, “his name is Brady and we’ve been going out for… well… I met him shortly after you left. I’m so sorry…”

The words played over and over in Sam’s mind that night as he was readying himself for bed. He had to admit it: his heart was broken. He wanted you now more than ever. Not just in a sexual way, although that was something he did desire. He wanted to be your everything. The man you could trust your life with. Your feelings, your emotions, your perks and quirks, he wanted to be the one you went to when you needed someone the most. When the world was falling apart around you. And when it wasn’t. When you just wanted someone to watch cheesy comedy movies with and make fun of the dialogue, or whatever it is you did for fun. He wanted to know that too! Damn it! Sam thought, lying in bed alone, desperately wishing you were there with him.

It dawned on him that asking you out probably jeopardized the working relationship he’d worked so hard to build with you. He cursed himself internally as he fell asleep, determined to set things right next tour.


Sam showed up at work early, and he was grateful Jo was early too. That meant they could relieve Benny and Gabe of night shift. Neither of them minded. Benny’s wife was expecting - due any day now - and he wanted to be there for her whenever he could. Gabe was also showing signs of having a new guy in his life and wanted to get home before his lover woke up. Before, Sam wouldn’t have given two fucks about their personal lives, but now… now he knows if he were in their shoes, he’d want to get off early to go see his loved ones. With smiles and handshakes, both men went home.

“Where’s Y/N?” Jo asked as she was checking off the truck with Sam.  “She’s normally here an hour before shift change.”

Sam felt a pang of worry bubble in his chest momentarily. “I don’t know… I hope she’s alright…”

Jo side-eyed him with a grin, but Sam didn’t see it. “I’m sure she’s fine. She works hard. Maybe she decided to sleep past her alarm for once. I keep telling her she needs to stop working so hard.”

“Nah, that doesn’t sound like her,” Sam mused. But as he replaced the old expired bottle of baby aspirin, you could be heard walking through the ambulance bay towards their unit. Sam looked up to smile at you, but he stopped cold when he saw the nasty bruise on your face.


You went home that night, surprised to find your door unlocked. All thoughts of turning Sam down disappeared.

“Huh, I could’ve sworn I locked the door when I left this morning,” you thought as you walked inside. But then you remembered that Brady had a key to your apartment. He was probably drunk again. You made him promise he wouldn’t drive when he went on another one of his drinking binges. Luckily, he didn’t live too far away from you, so walking to your apartment wouldn’t get him a drunk in public charge.

Brady was leaning against the kitchen counter when you walked in, and sure enough, he was plastered.

“Hey baby,” you said as you walked up to him, “I didn’t expect to see you tonight.”

When you tried to kiss him, he pushed you away. Hard. You landed on the floor, and looked up at him and knew what was coming next.

“You know Y/N,” he slurred, stumbling towards you, his eyes filled with rage. A rage you couldn’t begin to understand, let alone decipher its origins. “I’m sick and tired of you always working. You need to quit and move in with me. Let’s get married! I make more than enough for you to never work again!”

You rolled your eyes, but took care to make sure he didn’t see it as you pushed yourself up off the floor and stood up, brushing off the cat hair as you did. “I’ve already told you, Brady. I’m not quitting my job. I love what I do, and I’m good at it. Besides, I’m an officer. I have a contract. I can’t just up and quit. You know this.”

Brady’s anger quickly intensified with each word you spoke. You didn’t see the hit coming. He whipped his arm across your face and you went back down to the ground, this time hitting your head on the table as you did.

“Then maybe it’s time I get a little more… physical… with my requests.”

You almost didn’t show up for your next tour. You were thankful Brady didn’t rape you while you were out. But he did beat you within an inch of your life. After he left sometime during the night, you came to and realized you were alone. Mimi and Kiki came out of their hiding places and snuggled next to their momma. Kiki was licking your face. Which you normally wouldn’t oppose to if you didn’t have a huge bruise blossoming several different hues of purples and reds. You knew she was trying to cleanse your wounds and you were forever grateful for it. You gave yourself a thorough check up. You’d taught yourself how to give yourself a patient assessment a long time ago, even learned how to take your own manual blood pressure without too much effort. You determined all of your wounds were superficial and some heavier-than-normal make up would suffice in covering up the marks your uniforms wouldn’t hide.

“Fucking hell!” you exclaimed as you rifled through your make up box. You remembered the last date you went on with Brady and how you’d used the last of both your concealer and powder. You were kicking yourself for not replacing them immediately. But it couldn’t be helped now. If you didn’t leave for work soon, you were gonna be late. And the Lieutenant was never late for tour. It set a bad example in your mind. So you gave your kitties some more treats for being such brave girls and locked the door behind you, preparing yourself for whatever your colleagues were gonna say about your appearance.


Sam jumped out of the back of the box and jogged towards you. You expected this, but already had your well-thought-out lie prepared.

“It’s nothing, Sam,” you began, but he cut you off.

“Y/N, what the hell.”

“I tripped over Mimi last night and got a face full of granite counter top. I’m alright. Contrary to popular opinion and the grace and poise I display here at the station, I’m actually clumsy as fuck,” you tried to chuckle at your own words, but winced at the pain. Sam wasn’t buying any of it.

“Let me at least look you over,” Sam said just above a whisper, not wanting to draw any unwanted attention towards you. You were thankful, but that didn’t stop Jo from trotting over and giving you a concerned look. Before Jo could say anything though, Sam spoke up. You didn’t hear what he told her, but she just nodded and quickly disappeared into the crew quarters.

“I already gave myself a once over at home,” you tried to convince him as he walked you towards the back of Medic 6.

“But you know as well as I do that a second opinion never hurts,” Sam said as he climbed into the unit after you. He closed the back doors and made sure the generator was running so the lights wouldn’t go out. “Just… let me check you out.”

“Are you gonna hit on me again, Winchester?” you joked. Sam thought you were being serious until he saw the mischievous grin on your face.

Sam chuckled. “No. No, I wouldn’t do that to you now.”

You could tell his tone was serious.

“Y/N,” he began, gently helping you out of your job shirt so he could take your blood pressure. “I don’t want to undo the work I’ve done to get on your good side. You’re a great leader, and everyone here is benefitting from it. Myself included.” He continued talking as the cuff attached to the cardiac monitor inflated on your arm. He took the opposite wrist into his fingers and felt your pulse. “If I’d known you were seeing someone, I wouldn’t have asked. And I’m sorry I did. I… I want you to be happy. As long as Brady is treating you right, then I’m happy for you. Alright?”

You looked at him with an astonished smile. He apparently bought your lie and you wanted to keep it that way.

“Thank you, Sam,” you replied.

“Did you lose consciousness when you fell?” Sam asked, shining his pen light into your eyes. Satisfied with their reaction to light, he pulled his Littmann out of his pants pocket and put it on.

“No, I don’t think so,” you replied, untucking your company polo and removing it, leaving just the tank top underneath showing. But you instantly regretted it. Your entire body was sporting bruises and cuts, some that you knew were weeks old. Sam pulled the stethoscope out of his ears to examine them further.

“Y/N, when did these happen?” Sam asked, laying his scope in his lap to pull on some gloves.

“Like I said, I’m clumsy as hell at home. I trip and fall a lot. I also bruise easily. Which is why I try to be more careful while on duty,” you flinched as Sam touched one of the older bruises, a yellowish-green mark that was about an inch in diameter. He muttered his apologies before moving on. He put his stethoscope back on and, as gently as he could, laid the diaphragm against your upper back.

You took deep breaths as he listened to your lungs from behind. Then he changed hands and placed the diaphragm over the aortic valve of your heart, listening intently. He moved the stethoscope around a bit, listening to different points and places on your chest. You could tell he could hear how fast your heart was racing. You were so nervous he was gonna eventually figure it out and call you out on your lies. But it never came. He removed his scope from his ears and tucked it back into his pocket.

“Y/N,” Sam began, removing the pulse ox clip and BP cuff from your limbs and turning off the monitor. He looked you straight in the eyes, though it was hard not to cringe at the injuries to your pretty face. “Are you sure you’re gonna be alright? Aside from the elevated heart rate, you’re as healthy as can be.”

You took a breath before returning his gaze, wishing you could get lost in the spectrum of browns, blues, and greens his eyes held. Wishing you could open up to him. But that just wasn’t you. This wasn’t his problem. It wasn’t anyone’s but your own. And you decided to leave it at that.

“I’m sure. Thank you, Sam. You’re a good person.”


Going home that night wasn’t easy for Sam. The whole drive home, he couldn’t stop the thoughts.

“You’re a good person, Sam.”

A year ago, nobody under his leadership would’ve told him that without the look of nausea, and that was putting it nicely. He wanted to be cocky and say “damn right I am,” because it was true, he had earned it. But it was the way you’d said it that struck him.

Like you regretted ever doubting him. But why would you? He didn’t deserve any kindness after everything he’d put you and his colleagues through.

He thought back to his assessment of you. Those bruises. The marks. Your blood pressure was slightly elevated and he probably should’ve asked more questions about your medical history. But it was your heart that kept his mind in a concerned state.

Your pulse was around 114, which wouldn’t bother him if you’d been on a run. But you also had a slight arrhythmia. Your heart kept skipping beats. Which, for someone as healthy as you, shouldn’t be happening. You were definitely hiding something, but he didn’t have the heart to bring it up. You were shaken up enough.

What concerned him about the irregular heartbeat was the fact that your chest was covered in bruises, old and new. Almost like they were layered. That kind of irregularity only came from severe trauma.

But he didn’t know how to bring it up again without another incident. He silently prayed it went away on its own so he wouldn’t have to.


Three months went by, and you were slowly starting to decline.

You were more tired, less attentive.

Your bruises were starting to become more and more obvious.

You’d just come back from a call, and on your way inside the ambulance bay, you collapsed to the ground. Well, you would have, if Sam hadn’t seen you fall and caught you in time. He wasted no time scooping you up into his arms and laying you down on the mounted stretcher inside the ambulance. While he was starting to get you hooked up to the monitor, you stirred.

You were fighting off him, Jo and Cas, all three of them trying to convince you to go to the hospital. But you adamantly refused. You yelled at them for trying to force you to go against your will, so Sam performed a competency test according to protocols. After he was done, he determined you were of mind to refuse transport. So now, since this was an on shift incident, he had to file paperwork and do a report as well as get you to sign it.

Now that everyone’s attention was on you and your well-being, Sam’s concern for you only grew.

But they hit a head when you didn’t show up for work one morning a few weeks before Halloween.

“Hey Sam,” Jo said the morning of, coffee in hand, “I haven’t heard from Y/N in a few days. Have you talked to her?”

“No,” Sam replied, “I actually don’t talk to her outside of work.”

“Something’s not right,” Castiel mused from behind Jo, Gabriel, Anna, and Benny all sharing concerned looks. “Y/N is never late for work, and even if she was sick, she would’ve called ahead, found someone to take her place.”

Sam didn’t reply to any of their conversation. A sickening feeling grew in the pit of his stomach as he made a phone call.

“Sheriff Mills speaking,” Jody said after a few rings.

“Jody, it’s Sam. I’ve got a huge favor to ask.”

“What’s wrong Sam? Everything alright? You sound upset.”

“No,” Sam replied, trying to keep the panic from turning into vomit. “I need you to go to 1003 Rylington Avenue, apartment 1729 for a welfare check.”

“Isn’t that where Y/N lives?”

“Yeah, and she didn’t show up for work. Jody, it’s been bad. I think… I think she’s in trouble…”

“I’ll let dispatch know and I’ll go over there right away.”

“Thanks Jody. I owe you one.”

“Just bring over a side dish so you can have dinner with me, Claire, and Alex. They miss you.”

Sam smiled into the phone. He almost forgot Jody had two adopted teenage daughters. “Will do.” And with that, Jody hung up. Ten minutes went by before Jo came outside, pulling out a cigarette from her pack to light up.

“What’s going on Sam?” Jo said, though slightly muffled with the smoke dangling from her lips.

“I’ve having Jody do a welfare check on Y/N. I’m really hoping it’s nothing and she just comes to work and yells at me for-”

Sam’s words were cut off by tones dropping.

“Medic 6, Engine 6, respond with SO for assault, 1003 Rylington Avenue, Apartment 1729, between Jolly Road and Goobers Drive. Key Map 409 Zulu. Medic 6, Engine 6, respond with SO for assault, 1003 Rylington Avenue, Apartment 1729, between Jolly Road and Goobers Drive. Key Map 409 Zulu. Time out 1134 hours.”

Sam’s heart stopped for a moment. Jo stood there in shock before Cas, Anna and Benny came running out to the bay to meet them.

“That’s Y/N’s address, isn’t it?” Anna said, barely above a whisper.

Sam was scared for your life. But now was not the time to chicken out.

“Sam,” Castiel’s words snapped him out of his trance. “What do we do?”

Sam turned around and faced them.

“Alright, listen up,” Sam replied, taking control. “Jo, you and Anna jump in Medic 6. Cas, Benny, find Gabe, Garth, and Gordon - y’all will staff the engine. I’ll take Y/N’s truck. We have no idea what we’re walking into, but the Sheriff should be securing the scene. We need to be respectful and professional, we could be walking into a crime scene, but our number one priority is our comrade. We good?”

Everyone suddenly stood at attention and shouted simultaneously. “Yes, sir!”

Everyone dispersed to go to their assigned units. Sam grabbed Battalion 1’s keys hanging with the other unit keys and jogged towards where you’d parked your unit. He fired it up, lit it up, and led the ambulance and fire engine towards your apartment.

Sam’s heart was pounding so fast he could feel it in his chest. He knew it wasn’t adrenaline though.

It was fear.


When Sioux Falls FRD showed up on scene, it appeared that half the Sheriff’s office was dispatched there. Sam had to steel himself, mentally prepare for whatever was inside your home.

But when he walked in, it took everything he had not to throw up.

There was one body already covered with a white sheet. Another sheet was covering something else up, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of you.

Your Y/H/C hair was matted with blood and broken glass. Every inch of your exposed skin was either bruised or cut deep. You were in uniform, but your pants were loosely around your thighs, which meant whoever did this tried to sexually assault you. Sam’s anger flared up, but Jo’s cries from the door of the apartment caused him to tear himself away to look at her.

“MIMI! KIKI!” Jo sobbed, pulling back the smaller white sheets to reveal two cats. Or… what was two cats. But they were literally in pieces. Whoever attacked you slaughtered your pets. Sam knew you’d be devastated.

Castiel pulled back the other sheet. “Who is this?” He asked Sheriff Mills.

“From the ID in his wallet,” Jody began, grimacing at the sight of splattered brain matter around the man’s head, “his name is Bradley Tyson.”

“Wait…” Gabe began, “as in-”

“Y/N’s boyfriend,” Sam replied with quiet fury. “Damn it!”

“Sam, you couldn’t have known,” Jody began, but Sam cut her off.

“No! I did, I… I suspected he was beating her. The bruises, the cuts, the way she’s been acting lately… but it wasn’t any of my business… or so she kept insisting.”

“Sam,” Castiel came over towards him after replacing the white sheet over Brady’s body, “now’s not the time to point fingers or blame. Right now, we need to get Y/N out of here. She may need to be flown.”

Sam knew Cas was right. He once again steeled himself and prepared to take the lead on his patient.

As far as Sam was concerned, you were the most important person in the entire world.

Chapter Text


 

Nobody questioned Sam when he took time off work to stay at the hospital with you. Jo even kept her mouth shut, though Sam knew she wanted to blab.

You lay comatose in Sanford Med’s CCU, hooked up to everything, including a ventilator. The sight would be gruesome to anyone else who could’ve come by, but Sam had seen too much shit in his career to be phased by it.

And yet… he still was.

That call played over and over in his mind like it was stuck on repeat.


After Castiel reasoned with Sam, he took control of the scene and, subsequently, your care. He directed Cas to take C-spine control, which Cas wasted no time following. Jo and Benny were ordered to start cutting away your clothes as Sam grabbed the monitor and started attaching its wires to your body.

“Sam, she’s breathing about 8 times a minute,” Cas called out, keeping an unrelenting grip on your head.

“Which means she may or may not need to be intubated,” Sam replied, more to himself, but Cas acknowledged him. “Any obvious signs of head trauma?”

Cas took a closer look at your head. “Aside from the bleeding, there doesn’t seem to be anything obvious right now.”

“Alright,” Sam muttered, bringing the cardiac monitor to life. Your heartbeat started showing up on the EKG and Sam printed out a strip to read. It took no time at all to see that you weren’t in any cardiac distress, but given the bruises he’d seen a few weeks ago, he kept the possibility in the back of his mind.

“Holy shit,” Jo made the mistake of saying out loud. Sam was about to scold her, but the sight of your naked body covered in bruises stopped him cold.

“How long as this been going on?” Sam wondered aloud.

“Given the colors, I’d say months,” Cas replied, ashamed.

“How the hell did we miss this?” Jo asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” Sam answered with conviction. “This is what we’re here for. Let’s get her loaded up and taken care of.”

As they rolled you onto a long spine board, Sam exposed your back to check for injuries. Upon palpation, your spine was intact, but inspecting it almost made Sam want to vomit. You had a several smaller hematomas all along your back.

Sam now knew the truth. You’d been beaten for as long as you were with the man who now lay dead in your living room. Though he was certain you were going to be more devastated that he killed your cats.

He pulled out his Littmann to listen to your lungs. It was hard to hear, not only because of all the commotion in the small apartment, but because you were hardly breathing at all.

“Time’s up, let’s get her out of here!” Sam called out.

“Do we need to fly her?” Jo asked cautiously. Sam could tell Jo still feared him and that broke his heart.

“No, with the weather, Sanford MedAir is probably grounded. Besides,” Sam looked down at Jo with worry, “we’ve already wasted enough time on scene.”

Jo looked like she wanted to cry. So Sam did the only thing he thought was rational. He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“Hey,” Sam said with kind eyes, “we got her now. She’s in good hands, Jo.”

Jo smiled at Sam and she went back to the foot of the board.

Castiel was placing a cervical spine collar around your neck while Sam, Jo, and Benny were securing the spider straps around your immobile body.

Cas called out, “Are we ready?”

Everyone made eye contact with him and nodded.

“Count of three, we’re gonna lift and carry her down the stairs. The cot should already be positioned. On my mark. One… two… three!”

Sam was certain he could’ve lifted the board with you strapped to it by himself; you were so light, he wondered if you’d lost weight in your abusive struggles. Cas was still at your head, Sam and Benny were in the middle on either side of you, Sam carrying the cardiac monitor in the hand that wasn’t holding the board, and Jo was at the feet. Garth and Gordon were at the cot, waiting for your arrival. Gabe was by the ambulance preparing for your arrival.

All three men grimaced at the sight of you, broken and unconscious.

“My God,” Gordon whispered, reaching out to help Sam lift the board higher to place it on the stretcher. He felt her pulse. “Weak…”

“Yeah man,” Sam replied, but his eyes went wide for a second.

“Sam…” Garth nudge him.

“Get her to the truck. Grab a BVM, start bagging her! NOW!”

The team wasted no time. While Garth, Gordon, and Benny wheeled and loaded you into the back of the ambulance, Sam briefed Gabe on your status. Gabe grabbed a bag valve mask and placed it over your mouth and nose, squeezing the bag to breathe for you. Sam started gathering supplies to start an IV, as well as the intubation bag.

Sam quickly started a line in your forearm, looked over the monitor to check your vital signs, and moved onto your face. Gabe knew to move away and stepped aside, letting Sam sit in the captain’s chair. He leaned into your face to feel for breathing; when he felt nothing, he repositioned your head. He fumbled around through the intubation bag for the right sized laryngoscope blade and endotracheal tube. He ordered Gabe and Jo to assist him. They were both paramedics and frankly, he wouldn’t have anyone else helping to save your life.

Using his left hand, Sam inserted the laryngoscope through the right side of your mouth, sweeping towards the left as he opened your airway. Once he’d caught sight of your vocal cords (which looked red and raw, almost as if you’d been screaming for a very long time) he slipped the ET tube down your throat. Gabe inflated the little bulb at the end of the tube, securing it inside your airway. Jo pulled out her stethoscope to listen to your lungs as Sam detached the mask from the BVM and attached the BVM to the end of your breathing tube. He handed the bag to Gabe and Gabe squeezed the bag just enough to make your chest rise and fall, allowing Jo to hear your lungs clearly.

“All clear,” Jo said as she tucked her scope away. Sam secured the tube with a disposable holder, took the BVM from Gabe, and looked around as he continued to breathe for you. Gabe was double checking your IV set up and Jo was printing out another EKG strip for the report Sam knew he was going to have to type up. He looked down at your intubated form, and it took everything he had not to cry…


During his daydreaming spell, a nurse came into your room and charted your vital signs. She didn’t say anything to Sam. But he didn’t miss the look of sadness on her face, no doubt directed towards Sam.

“She probably thinks I’m Y/N’s boyfriend or husband,” Sam thought, smirking slightly. Even if it was possible… after everything Sam had done to you, he was certain the last thing you’d ever do was date him. Let alone marry him…

Jo, Benny, and Castiel came by along with Anna, but CCU rules said only one person could visit at a time. So Sam stepped out of your room and let each of them go in, one by one. Jo had brought a bouquet of fake flowers since CCU rules also mentioned no live plants. They were pretty, and he had a feeling you’d appreciate the gesture.

“How’s she doing?” Anna asked, gripping her husband’s hand tightly.

“She’s in a coma, but there’s no TBI to speak of. They ran CT, MRI, CBC, the works and so far, the only signs she was ever hurt are all external,” Sam exhaled slowly, trying to hold himself together. It didn’t go unnoticed.

“How are you doing, Sam?” Cas inquired.

Sam looked at him and he was sure his colleague could see the fatigue dusting his chiseled features.

“Where do I start?” Sam chuckled dryly, humorlessly. “I’m exhausted. I’m starving, yet too nauseous to eat. When I think about what she went through…”

“We get it,” Benny said, coming out of your room as Anna made her way inside. “She’s a feisty lil’ one. And she’s tough to boot. Ain’t easy seein’ her like that.”

“Understatement,” Cas said.

“But she’s gon’ be a'ight,” Benny reassured Sam, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. “She’s come a lon’ way not to let some dicktrap get ‘er down.”

Sam returned his colleagues’ genuine smile with a tired one. He was thankful for the effort to mend his working relationship with them. He was going to need their support.

Anna came back out from your room, fresh tears spilling from her bright blue eyes. Castiel went to his wife’s side and brought her into his embrace. Cas wiped her tears with the pads of his thumbs and kissed her tenderly on the forehead.

“We should go,” Cas told the group.

“Wait, Cas,” Jo began, “did you get a chance to go in and see Y/N?”

Castiel looked down at the ground with regret. “I can’t… not right now… this… this is all too much for me.”

Nobody questioned him, they just bade the couple goodbye as Castiel and Anna walked down the hall. Jo and Benny each gave Sam a hug and left him to return to your room alone.

As they walked away, they looked over their shoulder at Sam, seeing him rub his face with his hands.

“I’m not gonna lie, Benny,” Jo said in a soft voice, “I’m worried about Sam.”

“Yeah, he’s not doing so hot,” Benny replied, opening the door for Jo. They made their way towards the hospital’s ambulance bay back to Medic 6. Since Sam had taken time off, and with you out of commission, Jo was given temporary supervisor status and Benny offered to run more EMS shifts to make up for the loss. But today, Jo was on the truck with Benny. They walked a bit further and both lit their respective cigarettes.

“Funny,” Jo mused as she exhaled her drag, “It’s been so long since I’ve had genuine concern for Sam… it feels so foreign to me.”

“Well darlin’ you’re better than most… most everyone ‘round here has a whole lotta animosity towards Sam,” Benny drawled.

“Do you think he’ll be alright?” Jo looked up at Benny.

“Assuming our beloved Miss L/N wakes up,” Benny sighed, smoke seeping from his mouth. “I don’t doubt she will… but I do wonda’ what she’ll be thinkin’ when she wakes and finds her old aggressor starin’ her in the face…”

“It is interesting that he’s taken time off to stay with her,” Jo replied, taking another drag. “You think he’s falling for her?”

“Oh hun’,” Benny chuckled, “that ship sailed long ago… hell, probably long before any of us were the wiseh’.”

Jo and Benny shared more comfortable chit chat while smoking before tones dropped for an MVA.


Sam knew he needed to take care of himself, but he just couldn’t seem to function. Seeing you helpless, bruised, broken the way you were; it was the only thing he could think about. His own interests didn’t matter to him.

He slowly moved his hand over yours. He grazed your skin lightly with his fingertips. Your skin was cool to the touch, and it broke his heart. He slipped his hand into your limp, cold one. Your hand was so small in his massive ones. Sam was overcome with this instinctual need to grab a pair of wool gloves for you. He knew it was irrational, but those… feelings… he just couldn’t help it.

A thought entered his head and he pulled out his cell phone, stepping out of the room.

“Sheriff Winchester,” Dean spoke officially.

“Dean?”

“Hey Sammy, what’s up? You alright?”

“…No.”

“Tell me what happened, Sam.”

Sam took a breath, waiting a beat before speaking again. “It’s a lot.”

“Then start from the beginning. I’ve always got time for you.”

Sam smiled at his older brother’s words. And he began from the very beginning.


“Holy crap,” Dean said after Sam was done talking. He’d explained everything. From asking you out, from how it left him heartbroken, to the day you collapsed in his arms, to now. How he blamed himself for your current predicament. Dean stopped him. “Sammy, it’s not your fault. You hear me?”

Sam just shook his head with a grieving sigh. “Dean, I broke the law by not reporting my suspicions.”

“I don’t think anyone’s gonna fault you for that now,” Dean replied calmly. “With the way shit is nowadays, everyone is accusing everyone of abuse, and it’s hard to tell who’s legit and who’s full of crap. I can understand your hesitation, especially if she told you she was fine.”

Sam heard his brother, but didn’t really believe him. If he’d just spoken up in time, you might not be in the hospital.

“Sammy.”

“Yeah, Dean?”

“Don’t beat yourself up about it. I mean it. If what you’ve been telling me is correct, you were just starting to make amends with Y/N. If I know you, you feared speaking up could’ve jeopardized that.”

Sam instantly realized Dean was right. Not being in the right mind as you were, you still could’ve made it something it wasn’t, ruining all the work he had done to build up his friendship with you. Albeit very irrational, he really didn’t want to fuck that up.

“You’re right… but it still doesn’t make it right,” Sam replied after a moment of silence.

“I hear you, but we can’t change the past. Let’s just move forward, brother.”

“Dean, the reason I called was because I wanted you to look into this Bradley Tyson for me. He’s the asshole responsible for this… mess.”

“Sammy, you’re way the hell out of my jurisdiction. I just don’t have that kind of clearance. But how about we compromise. I know you gotta lot on your plate. So I’ll call Jody and see if she’s willing to find some dirt on this douchebag.”

“Really? You’d do that for me?”

“Sam. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Except that one thing…”

Sam laughed softly at his brother’s quip. He thanked Dean then hung up. He walked back into your room, wishing with all his heart that you’d wake up soon.


Dean got to work as soon as he hung up the phone. He didn’t even need to pull up Sioux Falls’ contact sheet. He had Jody’s personal cell phone on speed dial. Someone had to look out for his little brother while they were miles apart.

“This is Sheriff Mills,” Jody spoke on the other line, and Dean felt like he was a kid again. It was always so good to hear the old Sheriff’s voice.

“Jody!” Dean said vibrantly. “Sheriff Winchester of Lawrence-”

“Yeah yeah, drop the formalities already, Dean,” Jody mused, chuckling. “What can I do for you, kiddo?”

“I’m thirty-three, mom,” Dean chided.

Jody just laughed, but she held no mockery in it. “What can I do for you, brother?”

“I got a call from Sam. He told me about what happened to Y/N.”

“Yeah…” Jody took a deep breath. “It was a hard scene to work.”

“He asked me to look into the asshole she was dating. I’m not even sure that’s something I can do, so I thought, maybe-”

“I’m already ahead of you on that,” Jody said, and Dean could hear her sitting in her creaky, swivel chair in her office, the tapping of a desktop keyboard filling the void for a moment. “Since he was the only one with a suicidal shotgun wound, we suspected he was the one who hurt the poor girl and slaughtered her pets.”

“She had pets?” Dean asked.

“Two cats. Beautiful animals. The poor things were literally in pieces. I have a feeling when Y/N comes to in the hospital… to say she’s gonna be devastated is an understatement.”

Dean could hear Jody messing around on her computer.

“Bradley Igor Tyson, aged 32, guy’s a real piece of work,” Jody finally said. “You sure you wanna hear this, Dean? It’s pretty brutal.”

Dean steeled himself. “Sam wants the truth, so give it to me straight.”

“Guy had a history of domestic violence back in Boston before coming to Sioux Falls. Allegations of sexual assault, battery, domestic violence. Nothing was ever officially filed. And all his accusers retracted their stories and seemingly disappeared from the area. There was speculation that Mr. Tyson paid off his accusers and kept them silent, but that was never proven. If he did, it was probably why he was able to come to Sioux Falls without anyone raising suspicions.”

“Son of a bitch,” Dean breathed.

“Coroner has confirmed that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. That’s all I can say at this time.”

“No I get it,” Dean said, rubbing his face. He honestly didn’t know how Sam was going to take this. “Thank you for your help.”

“Anything for family,” Jody smiled with her words, then hung up.

Dean knew Sam was going to beat himself up more when he learned the truth about Brady. But he was also a man of his word. And he dialed Sam’s number to give him the news.


It took all of Sam’s strength not to throw his phone across your room in anger after he ended his phone call with his brother. He was pissed beyond belief. He knew he shouldn’t be blaming himself. But he realized now that, if he hadn’t been such an asshole to you, he could’ve protected you from all this. He could’ve realized he loved you sooner. And you wouldn’t currently be laying in the hospital fighting for your life.

So he regained control of his emotions, taking deep steadying breaths to calm his pounding heart, and bent over to hold his head in his hands.

Then, your monitors started going crazy.

Sam shot up from his chair to look over them, but not before he saw your eyes wide open, choking on the ET tube. You were awake; and you were trying to breathe on your own. Sam threw the door open to yell for help.

Nurses flooded your room to start the extubation process. You coughed up the tube that was breathing for you and practically hacked up a lung trying to regain control of them. It was a relief for Sam to see you awake, but the distress of essentially waking from a coma was something he hadn’t yet seen in his career. Sioux Falls ran emergency 911 calls. The responders normally never saw the patients they transported to Stanford Med again, unless they were ‘frequent flyers’ who needed EMS transport regularly. Most of them were legit and had a whole host of medical problems that required emergency intervention, but some of them Sam swore they were just hypochondriacs with drinking problems. Despite all the clinical hours he put in to get his paramedic certification, there were no protocols for extubation in the field and he’d never seen one in person. The process was… almost fascinating. But that was a research topic for another day.

The nurses were finishing with their post-extubation exam and one was fixating a nasal canula into your nostrils, adjusting the oxygen flow; then they all walked out, one of them giving Sam a reassuring look. They gave you and Sam some time alone.

You opened your eyes again and Sam was the first person you really saw.

“S-Sam?” you croaked, your throat terribly sore from the tube.

“Hey Y/N,” Sam replied softly, scooting his chair closer towards your bedside. All in all, you looked like crap. But you were still breathtakingly beautiful. “How are you feeling?”

“Like someone tried to kill me,” you said with a soft grin. Sam realized you probably remembered everything Brady did to you. And it made him grimace; you took notice. “What’s wrong?”

“That bastard…” Sam grunted through clenched teeth. “I swear if he wasn’t already dead, I would-”

“He’s dead?”

Sam stopped himself before saying anything else. He surveyed your face to try and read your reaction to the apparent news. “Sometimes, victims of domestic abuse will try to cover and defend their abusers, even if they’re aware their lives are in danger. Show compassion and be respectful.” He remembered reading that in his paramedic textbook about how to respond to domestic abuse calls. You looked at Sam as if to ask for confirmation wordlessly.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “He-uh… he was pronounced at the scene…”

A few beats of your heart from the monitor passed before a smiled broached your face.

“Good.”


You and Sam spent some time chitchatting before the doctor who was attending to your care came in to give you a thorough exam. He gave the good news of possibly releasing you the following morning, provided another overnight observation order proved fruitful with no setbacks. You couldn’t have been happier. You were excited to get back to Mimi and Kiki. You were certain they were wondering where their momma was and hoped that Jo had them at her place while you were recovering. You verbalized all this, but Sam kept his mouth tightly shut. He didn’t think, in his professional opinion, that now was the right time to tell you the cats were dead. He just smiled and nodded.

You were so grateful that Sam was keeping you company, but when visiting hours were over and a nurse came in to tell you Sam had to go home, you begged and pleaded for him to stay.

“I have no family here, and Sam’s been my family. I just came out of a coma and I’ve missed him. Please? Can he stay?”

If your words shocked Sam, he didn’t visibly show it. But internally, his heart was pounding twice as fast as what was showing on the monitor attached to you. The nurse eventually conceded and offered to bring Sam a cot. Though she warned that the cot was probably a lot shorter than Sam was. That got a laugh out of both of you, and Sam basked in the warm sound of you laughing. He breathed in your smile too. It was good to see you happy because of him.

Sure enough, the cot was just big enough for Sam to sleep partially on it in the fetal position. You just laughed at him trying to get comfortable.

“I have a better idea,” you mused. Sam looked up to see you shifting in your hospital bed. His brows knitted in confusion when you moved over enough for him to lay down next to you, your hand patting his side.

“Seriously?” Sam asked. He hoped he was coming off as rude.

“You saved my life, Sam,” you responded, a genuinely grateful smile spreading across your battered face. “I cannot in good conscience allow you to sleep on the floor. Besides, over time, studies have shown that sleeping on too rigid a surface can mess up the alignment of your spinal column.”

Sam chuckled and grabbed the blanket he was given by the nurse and walked over towards the side of the bed you had cleared for him. The nurses removed a lot of the equipment you were attached to while comatose, so there weren’t as many wires and tubes to watch out for. He easily slipped onto the bed after removing his shoes and jacket.

You yawned quietly before getting comfortable yourself, and as it happened, Sam’s body was warm and inviting. You were hesitant at first, but eventually you snuggled up against his side, laying your arm across his stomach. He raised his arm up so you could rest your head on the left side of his chest, and he wrapped that arm around you, holding you firmly against his heart, while yours beat in sync with the monitor, whose volume was turned down enough to let you sleep.

It wasn’t too long ago that I wished for this, Sam thought as the room filled with the sounds of your light snoring. Now, I have her in my arms, resting close to my heart. I’m never letting her go. He looked down at your sleeping form, and it was an angelic halo had formed around your head. Y/N Y/L/N, I love you so much.

Chapter Text


 

You managed to recover quicker than the hospital staff anticipated and were given a clean bill of health, essentially ending your hospital stay. Only, you weren’t leaving a single woman, like the medical staff had predicted.

You and Sam were walking, hand in hand, back to his Charger while he carried your discharge bag and paperwork. You kept thinking about what Sam had told you after you woke up, which didn’t start out as a pleasant conversation.

“My babies!” you sobbed into Sam’s shoulder. He told you about Mimi and Kiki’s deaths and you were reduced to violent tears. Sam just held you and let you feel out your emotions for as long as you needed.

“I’m so sorry, Y/N,” he said softly. You clung onto him like your life depended on it, like it would bring your beloved fur-daughters back. You looked up at Sam. He just gave you a sympathetic expression, telling you he wished he could take your pain away.

You eventually calmed down, sniffed and wiped away your tears. “Thank you for being here with me, Sam.”

“I wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else,” Sam replied without thinking, suddenly wishing he could take the words back. He meant them, but it wasn’t his intention to hit on you after being given devastating news. The look on your face told him he’d said exactly what you needed to hear.

“Really?”

“Really.”

You leaned back into your hospital bed and let the comforting words absorb into your brain. Then you looked back at Sam and really took him in. It shouldn’t be possible for a man to look so attractive and perfect, yet here he was. And you thought back to when he’d originally asked you out. It made your heart flutter, which embarrassingly showed up on the monitor. Sam chuckled.

“I have that kind of effect on you?”

“More than you know.”

Sam reacted out of instinct. He reached over the bed railing and leaned into your face, kissing your lips tenderly. When he was about to pull back, you grabbed him by the collar and kissed back deeply. It brought your heart rate to an even hundred. The moment the kiss broke, the two of you shared an intense stare, his eyes boring into yours without the intimidation and fear he radiated when the two of you first met.

“Would it be wrong to ask you out again now?” Sam acknowledged shyly.

“I wouldn’t turn you down this time,” you mused.

Sam smiled so brightly you were certain his teeth held the sun itself.

“Hey, you alright over there?” Sam said behind the wheel of his car. You thought he was driving you home, but right now you weren’t sure.

“Yeah,” you sighed happily, your hand finding the one not holding onto the steering wheel.

“What are you thinking about?” He asked, stopping at a red light.

You paused for a moment. “Just… everything that’s happened…”

Sam didn’t say anything; somehow you just knew he was listening, letting you feel everything out.

You rambled on for about twenty more minutes before you noticed Sam was parking in an apartment parking lot that wasn’t yours. “Where are we?” you asked.

“My place.”

You turned to face him. He went on.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea to go back to your place. It’s, uh… it’s still considered an active crime scene.”

“Oh,” was all you managed to say before Sam came around to the passenger side of his car and opened your door. You followed Sam up the stairs to his apartment and he unlocked and opened the door for you, allowing you to step inside before him.

You had to admit, he had a nice place. Modernly furnished, clean, organized; you could imagine Mimi and Kiki being comfortable here, having plenty of hidey holes to get comfy in. A twinge of sadness crossed your face. As if Sam was reading your mind, he took you into his arms.

“It’s gonna be alright,” Sam cooed, rubbing your arm softly. “You can stay here as long as you need. But…”

“But what?”

“I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of you being here… you know… permanently.”

You chuckled at that. “Not 24 hours into our relationship and you’re already asking me to move in.”

It was Sam’s turn to laugh. You walked around the place, getting a feel for the environment and atmosphere. It definitely screamed ‘single lonely bachelor,’ but you had a feeling with time, that would change.

“Let me get used to it, then we’ll talk about the future.”

Sam just smiled.


There really was no need to talk about it. You never left his apartment and he slowly moved the exercise equipment out of the spare bedroom to make room for a queen sized bed. You offered to help pay for it, but Sam threatened to cut up your credit cards if you brought it up again, which just made you laugh. He’d made up his mind, and you knew you couldn’t change it. Not that you’d want to; Sam’s ability to stand firm on his word was something you admired about him.

Sam, in return, admired your high standard of professionalism. The two of you agreed that when on duty together, you would act as partners, not lovers. Any relationship disputes or arguments that happened at home would stay at home. You’d seen entire private companies go under because of family drama. While you were certain whatever relationship drama you and the younger Winchester were capable of cooking up couldn’t bring down an entire city fire department, it was still something worth avoiding.

But that mutual agreement didn’t mean Sam wasn’t going to show his romantic side around your shared colleagues. In the months after making it “official,” there were days you’d find yourself with his company in your bed. You were adamant about not sharing a bed or even a room with him after moving in and maintained that after you two had started dating. You had no religious or moral objection to sleeping with him. You valued your personal space and freedom. Besides, Sam thought, she just lost her cats and her home. She needs private time and space to grieve.

It didn’t bother Sam as much as he thought it would. He was used to bringing girls home to his apartment, screwing them silly, then sleeping it off in the same bed. You were different; Sam saw a future with you. In his mind, he had plenty of time to let you do whatever you needed to adjust to life with him. Considering how his relationship with you started out, he considered himself lucky.

You could’ve held a bitter grudge for eternity. He didn’t deserve your forgiveness or kindness, and yet you gave it to him willingly. And after all that, you still decided to give him a chance with your heart. Sam was never a religious or spiritual man, but with you around, he was certainly blessed beyond all belief.


If anyone had told you that Sam felt blessed to have you by his side, you would’ve laughed. You were the one who was blessed.

It was like the sky opened up and cleansed Sam of his dark, soulless heart. He’d completely changed; his demeanor now brought a certain light about him. You always thought he was a good-looking man but his wicked ways never let you see past that. He opened his mind to empathy and compassion once more. You were sure he’d had it when he started his career; you don’t get into emergency medical services lacking morals. Or, at least, you sure as hell don’t survive. You’d seen many guys with a similar outlook to Sam’s be tossed out on their asses. Not because they were mean to a patient, but because they almost got them killed.

“How a patient perceives you, the responder, is just as important as how you treat them. If your patient does not trust you enough to take care of them, they’re already dead.”

When you first read that in your textbook as a measly EMT student, you thought it was harsh and a bit extreme. But now, after over 10 years of service, you understood what it meant.

There were times when, while you and Sam were essentially enemies, if something had happened to you on the job and Sam was the only one to help, you feared he wouldn’t do his job without a level of unfair bias. You know you would put aside your hatred for him and care for him should he ever become your patient, but it scared you that he possibly wouldn’t return the favor. Now, you had no reason to fear.

Six months into your relationship, you slipped stepping out of the back of the unit and sprained your wrist catching yourself on the ground. Sam wasted no time taking care of you as if you were made of porcelain. No detail was left unmentioned and he wrapped your wrist up with some delicate maneuvers. He personally took you to the doctor the following day for x-rays and scans and made sure you didn’t do any heavy lifting while on duty the next few weeks. You were starting to think that whatever negative bias he once had was now positive, love-induced bias. But you weren’t complaining.

Your relationship with Sam had a positive impact on the station’s environmental morale. You had a feeling it was because Sam was just happier, but everyone loved it when you were happy too. Not because you were technically their boss, but because everyone genuinely cared about you. For the first time, everyone got along with everyone else. Sam was even hanging out with Cas, Gabe, and Benny more; three guys who hated Sam for a long time despite being his best friend in the beginning.

You’d felt this feeling before. Where life was falling into the exact alignment to obtain true happiness. But right now, you felt it was real. You couldn’t ask the universe for more. It was a good feeling indeed: a great job, a loving boyfriend who shared your passion for public service, great colleagues who looked up to you for guidance and treated you with respect. A warm, loving home and the paycheck to maintain a quality standard of living. It seemed shallow, but that was how you determined happiness.

Whenever Sam looked at you, he felt something different. He could be homeless, jobless, cold and hungry, but as long as you were by his side, none of that mattered. He would always be warm, rich, and fed with your love.


Sam woke up early after a fitful night of horrible dreams. Dreams of you being hurt and helpless; him being tied down and unable to rescue you. He was covered in a sheen of cold sweat with a heart rate well above 100. He couldn’t help himself; he stole a peek inside your room to find you sleeping soundly in your bed. He breathed a silent sigh of relief knowing you were safe.

He went into the kitchen to make himself some coffee. As he was pushing the brew button, he looked up at the calendar and did a double take on the day’s date.

October 18, 2013

Sam could’ve sworn someone threw a ton of bricks at his heart.

It’s been a whole year.

One year since you were attacked.

One year since Mimi and Kiki were brutally murdered just for being in the way.

One year since you almost died.

One year since that bastard Brady nearly killed you.

It all came flashing back to Sam. The sight of your body face down in your own blood; the cuts, bruises and evidence of sexual assault; the massacre that was your apartment. Since the attack and your moving into his place, the apartment complex had professionally cleaned and sealed your old apartment unit, removing any indication that it was livable. The numbers ‘1729’ were even taken down. Most of your closest neighbors either moved units or out of the complex altogether. The scars of domestic violence and abuse would forever linger there. Sam figured the complex was at least fortunate enough to still stay in business.

But nonetheless, that was the day when he realized he never wanted to lose you. He realized just how much his heart wanted you. You would never feel helpless or unloved again as long as he drew breath. As he poured himself a cup of coffee, a smile spread across his face, his dimples peeking through in their usual adorable fashion.

“What’s got your smiling this morning?” you said sleepily as you came into the kitchen.

“Just thinking about you,” Sam replied. You came up from behind to wrap your arms around his midsection, and he turned around to wrap an arm around your upper back, adorning the top of your head with a lingering kiss.

“Me? What makes me so special?” You started pouring yourself a cup of coffee.

“Oh, sweetie,” Sam chuckled, sipping from his mug, “if I start that conversation, we’ll be fired for being AWOL.”

You just laughed as if it were the funniest joke ever. But Sam didn’t think you truly knew how special you were to him. “Say,” he began, “since we have the day off, why don’t we go on a date? A proper one. And it can last all day. We’ll spent the day doing whatever it is you want to do, then when dinnertime comes around, I’ll take you to the nicest restaurant in town, and then maybe… we can go for a walk?”

Your eyes lit up like diamonds under a florescent light. “I’d love that!”

“Alright,” Sam sighed, giving you a peck on the forehead, “go do whatever you need to do to get ready. I’ve gotta run a quick errand.”

You pouted. “Where are you going?”

“I’ll tell you later,” Sam winked. He ran to his room to quickly change and hurried out the front door.

“That boy is a mystery,” you exhaled, walking towards the bathroom to shower.


Sam managed to live up to the hype. The two of you spent all morning and part of the afternoon watching movies, throwing popcorn and booing at the screen when crappy scenes played, laughing like idiots. Around lunchtime, the two of you packed up enough stuff to have a picnic in the park that was surrounded by a man-made lake. During the coming of fall, hues of reds, browns and ambers littered the air as the leaves fell from the trees, and it was the perfect temperature to sit outside and enjoy a nice meal. Some ducks tried to steal Sam’s sandwich, which only caused you to laugh. You offered the ducks some of yours, but they stubbornly refused. That just made you laugh even more. Sam tried to compromise with the ducks, offering some unused bread from their backpack but again they refused. So Sam did the only logical thing he could think of: he chased them away making dog barking noises at them. At this point, you were rolling around in the grass with roaring laughter. You laughed so much you couldn’t catch your breath. Sam had to pat you on the back and coach you through a deep breathing exercise to get your lungs right again. But that only ended in laughter from both of you.

Once evening rolled around, Sam informed you that he’d made reservations at a winery downtown and you were to dress up in an outfit that quote, “made you look richer than you were.” You laughed but trusted Sam’s word. You took your time showering, shaving, and primping yourself for whatever Sam had in store for tonight. You had an older gown that your mother had worn for a Ben Taub ball some years ago that you’d inherited after her death, and as you slipped it on, you were surprised it fit so well. The champagne hue accented your Y/E/C eyes and complemented your complexion nicely. You tied your hair in the same messy side bun you’d worn to your interview way back when, and wedged a similar colored hair accessory behind your ear and placed matching slip on flats. When you emerged from your bedroom, Sam was waiting for you in the living room. And the sight nearly flatlined your heart.

Sam was in his Sioux Falls Class A’s. He wasn’t as decorated as he was as a Lieutenant, but that didn’t matter to you. It should be illegal for a man to look this gorgeous, you thought as you willed your heart to slow down its feverish pace.

Sam was trying to tell his own heart the same thing. He couldn’t accurately describe how beautiful you were to him. Seeing you in your dress was a sight to behold and he intended to make the night the most memorable for both of you.

He held out his arm to escort you towards an awaiting taxi.

“If I keep looking at you in all this glory, I think I might have a stroke, Lieutenant,” Sam breathed.

“Damn it, I was hoping not to work tonight.”


Dinner was fabulous and way more over the top that you might have been comfortable with. Sam spared no expense in the way of a good meal. He’d paid extra to ensure the two of you were alone. He made sure you were eating the finest cuisine and drinking the best vintage of wine the restaurant had to offer. But little did you know, the surprises weren’t over just because dinner was.

The two of you took the cab to a park with lots of beautiful trees and open space and you walked with Sam’s hand in yours for what seemed like forever. As you were walking, you noticed Sam had taken the lead and he brought you to the middle of a downtown crossroads. He brought you to the middle of it and stopped.

“Sam? What are we doing here?” you said, looking around. It was dark, and all the usual street lights were off.

Sam just smiled and pulled a radio out of his pocket. You were certain he used some kind of magic trick to keep it hidden this whole time.

He brought the radio to his lips and pressed the PTT button. “Show yourselves in service, guys.”

Within seconds, you could hear a plethora of sirens from every until Sioux Falls had. SFFRD apparatuses were coming from each street leading to the crossroads point where you and Sam stood. You looked around in shock as all of your colleagues appeared. They circled and parked the units in a circle so that you and Sam couldn’t leave. Your head whirled around to see the frenzy of activity, but Sam just held his gaze at you, the dimpled smile never leaving his face.

Slowly, everyone you’d ever had the pleasure of working with stepped out of the units. But they were all dressed like Sam, except their Class As were decorated in celebration status. Cas, Gabe, Anna, Pamela, Gordon, Garth, Benny, Jo, even Ellen and Chief Singer were present, as well as a handful of guys you couldn’t remember the names of - they were all there.

They all smiled at you, but when you looked back at Sam, he was no longer standing.

He was on one knee, holding out a tiny jewelry box opened with a small diamond ring inside, presenting it to you.

“Y/N,” Sam began, a deep breath leaving his lungs, “a year ago today, we, as a department, almost lost you. A year ago, someone cruel and evil tried to take you away from us. I made a promise to myself that I would never let you go. I would never let anyone ever made you feel unsafe, unloved, or unwanted again. Seeing you fighting for your life… it made me realize how much I love you. How much I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you give me the opportunity to live up to that promise? Will you make me the happiest man in the world? Y/N…” another deep breath, “will you marry me?”

“No pressure!” Gabe called out, causing everyone to laugh and earning him a slap to the chest from Anna.

You couldn’t stop the tears, and it was stealing your words away. So you just nodded as heavily and pronounced as you could.

Certain members raced back into the units and sounded the sirens and horns as Sam got up to kiss you and place your new engagement ring on your finger. He took out a thin silver band and slipped it on his own ring finger. Everyone was hooping and hollering in celebration.

You were wrong. Now life was perfect.


Later that night, long after you’d gone to sleep, Sam called Dean.

“So… did your little scheme work, Sammy?”

“I’m adding a new Winchester to the family.”

“Alright! Congrats bro. Let me know the dates and I’ll pack the fam to make a road trip.”

For the first time in a long time, Sam felt like his life was exactly where it was supposed to be.

 

Chapter Text

You and Sam had wasted no time with initiating wedding plans. Both of you were in agreement that there was no point in waiting a year or longer to get married. With your line of work, anything could happen between engagement and marriage; the sooner the better.

But that didn’t make it any less nerve wracking for you.

Fortunately, the people you’d chosen to surround yourself with had contacts. And oh, did they have contacts.

It was mostly Ellen though. When she offered to help with planning, you didn’t hesitate to throw your arms around her and shower her with praise.

“It’s no big deal, Y/N. Not my first wedding I’ve helped plan,” said Ellen, sitting at you and Sam’s dining room table.

“Yeah but you don’t have to do this and you’re offering. I’m a mess as it is without being engaged and planning a wedding!” You exclaimed.

“You’re fine, babygirl,” Ellen leaned in and kissed the top of your head. “You’ve got good people looking out for you and Sam. It’s gonna be the wedding of the century if I can help it.”

You smiled at her, taking another sip of your coffee.

Between tour and planning the wedding, you and Sam rarely had a free moment to yourselves. The nights where you were Lead Supervisor, Sam was at home making decisions regarding the wedding. Bobby was with him and they had Dean on the phone on one particular night.

“So you’ve already got the tux ordered?” Bobby asked.

“Bobby, I was planning on getting married in my Class As,” Sam replied.

“Yeah, isn’t that why we have them?” Dean said over the phone, earning a chuckle out of the old Chief.

“Fair enough,” Bobby replied, “At least it’ll save you money.”

“Sammy, who’s walking Y/N down the aisle?”

Everyone was silent. That was a very good question.

“I, uh…I don’t know… Y/N’s father died when she was a kid. And I doubt she’s got anyone back home who could be up here in time to make that commitment. Shit, what are we gonna do?”

Another moment of silence passed before Bobby spoke up. “I’ll do it.”

“You think she’d be okay with that?”

“I don’t see why not,” Sam replied. “What’s the worst she can say? No?”

“True,” Bobby replied. Sam could see that Bobby would be honored to walk you down the aisle.

Ellen, Jo, Anna, and Pamela took you wedding dress shopping on the one weekend you had off. Chief and Ellen had rearranged the schedules so that the four of you could take care of some much needed wedding stuff.

You picked out several gowns to try on. You didn’t have a particular style in mind. It was a matter of what stood out as ‘you’ when you tried them on.

As you were changing, Anna and Pamela were talking to you through the changing room door.

“So Sam has said that his brother’s gonna be his best man, while Benny, Garth, Cas, Gordon, and Gabriel will be the groomsmen,” Anna said.

“Yeah, he mentioned that to me the other day,” you responded, shrugging into yet another dress, “we wanted an even number of people on either side, so I talked to Meg and Charlie about bring bridesmaids.”

“Oh yeah!” Pamela said. “Meg is an excellent nurse. And Charlie knows her shit in radiology. I’m surprised neither have been promoted yet.”

“Yeah, they deserve it,” Anna replied.

“Agreed,” you said. “Anyway, they said they were honored and will go dress shopping at a later time. I told them to pick out teal colored dresses. Doesn’t have to be the exact same ones either.”

“Teal’s a good color,” Pamela said. “Good choice, sister!”

“Too bad I can’t seem to find a decent dress. Ugh, none of these are good enough!”

“Let us see!” Anna chimed in.

“Alright, but don’t laugh.”

When you stepped out of the dressing room, Ellen was coming around to see what was taking so long. “Oh, sweetie, that looks beautiful!”

“Then you can wear it,” you grumbled, going back into the dressing room to strip out of your seventh strapless dress.

Ellen just smiled softly. “Maybe the modern, contemporary style isn’t for you. Maybe some fresh, experienced eyes are what you need. How about this, go help the girls find the bridesmaid dresses you had in mind, and I’ll go pick something out. It’s entirely up to you, though.”

“No, that sounds like a good idea,” you mused, stepping out of the dressing room in your civies, a pile of dresses draped across your arm. “I guess I really don’t know what I want in a wedding dress. Besides, I’m starting to get frustrated. Maybe taking a step back will help me calm down.”

“C’mon, bride-to-be,” Pamela grinned, “let’s go find something colorful.”

You handed the rejected dresses to Ellen and you, Pamela, and Anna left her standing in the hallway.

Thirty minutes later, you were standing in front of the revolving mirrors on a pedestal, absolutely in awe.

“Oh Y/N,” Pamela breathed.

“It’s beautiful!” Jo exclaimed.

“It’s so you!” Anna proclaimed.

“Ellen, what have you done to me? I look like a queen!” You had tears in your eyes at the sight of the dress Ellen ended up picking out. You had a feeling it would be ‘the one’ when you saw it. But now that you had it on, you were seriously hoping nobody would have to work a full arrest code on Sam when he saw you in it on your wedding day.

“You are a queen,” Ellen smiled. “Now, Sam can see it too.”

The dress had a vintage quality to it, and a style that looked too simple for an extravagant wedding. The off-the-shoulder lace three-quarter sleeves and overall ivory color accented your skin tone without being too revealing. There was just enough shape in the dress to showcase your feminine curves and enough trail behind it to flaunt without having anyone step on it, or have you trip over it yourself.

“I hate to be ‘that girl’,” Pamela said, “but is this the dress?”

Everyone laughed at that, with yours being the loudest. “Yes. This is the dress.”

You picked out some simple pearl jewelry and a tiara-and-veil combo that would just cover your hair and part of your face. Ellen paid for it all (despite everyone’s protests to pay for their own individual dresses) and everyone left with bagged dresses in their arms.

The night before the wedding, you spent the night at Jo’s apartment. The rest of the bridesmaids were hanging out in a hotel room not far from where the actual ceremony was to take place. The two of you stayed up way later than you should have, painting each other’s toenails and exchanging funny EMS stories while drinking good wine and listening to soft music in the background.

Sam stayed with Ellen and Bobby. Dean, Lisa and Ben were already there waiting for him when he arrived.

“Nervous?” Dean mused, slapping Sam on the back of the shoulder.

“I think if I wasn’t, everyone should be worried.”

That gotta chuckle out of Dean. Lisa and Ben came in to give Sam a hug.

“I’m so excited for you, Sam!” Lisa exclaimed. “Y/N’s gonna fit right into this chaotic band of Winchesters.”

“Honestly, I can’t wait for the cousins that will follow,” Ben said nonchalantly, causing Sam to choke on air.

“Alright, kid, that’s enough of that,” Bobby said as he came into the foyer. “Who’s hungry? Ellen’s got her famous Harvelle beef stew on the stove.”

“Aw yeah, love that stuff!” Ben exclaimed with a fist pump in the air. Lisa followed her son into the kitchen to help Ellen out, leaving Sam, Dean and Bobby alone.

“You’re gonna be fine, Sam,” Bobby said in a low voice. “You’ve come a long way with her. She’s in good hands. We know you won’t ever let anything get to her.”

Sam smiled slightly and nodded.

“You comin’?” Dean called out as he and Bobby went towards the kitchen.

“You go on ahead. I’m gonna step outside for a bit,” Sam replied as he opened the front door.

The April Sioux Falls breeze as the sun settled below the horizon brought the temperature down to the 50s, but for Sam, it was all he needed to cool his feverish skin and calm his rapidly pounding heart.

I’m getting married tomorrow, he thought to himself. Married! And to Y/N of all people. It’s hard to believe we’ve come to this point. Sam sat down on the rickety porch swing and pulled out his cell phone. He noticed a missed text message from you.

>>>If I show up hung over at our wedding tomorrow, apologize to Chief for me and blame his daughter!!!!!!! XDDD [17:43]

Sam couldn’t help but laugh. He wondered what kind of trouble the youngest member of the Harvelle-Singer clan would get you into, but if all he had to worry about was you swaying back and forth at the altar, he figured there was no real harm. He texted you back.

<<<LOL. I think we will survive. Miss you, sweetheart. [17:45]

>>>Miss you more ;P [17:45]

Sam truly wondered if you had any idea the power you held over his heart.

Sam, Dean, Bobby, Lisa and Ben were the first to arrive at the venue, which was really just an empty field that the fire department got permission from the land owners to use.

Anyone outside of the public service industry would be asking in bewilderment why the fire department needed permission instead of the couple getting married. But Sam knew it was because he wanted his brothers and sisters to be part of the biggest moment of his life.

The two of you shared the sentiment; everyone who was on the Sioux Falls payroll, as well as people from Sanford Med’s emergency department, was invited to the wedding. And SFFRD was providing the reception’s catering, so it made sense that they showed up.

Sam took in the sight of where the actual ceremony was to take place and was extremely pleased. Ladders 7 and 12 were parked facing each other with their tailgates at an angle, the ladders extended far above the ground; attached to their pipe nozzles were what looked like 75-foot teal colored silk drapes. But they were actually the backdrop for the altar. There was a light breeze outside today so part of the altar was anchoring the ends of the drapes down so they didn’t blow away.

Chairs were lined up facing the altar in rows of 5, columns of 20. Each chair had a teal colored sash tied on the backs, matching not only the altar adornment, but the overall color scheme of the wedding. Sam thought it was a good color.

Teal was a mix of green and blue. According to color psychology, blue represented calm, gentleness, and serenity, green symbolized growth, strength and spirit. Bringing those colors to make teal embodied open communication and clarity of thought. If that didn’t completely represent Sam and Y/N’s relationship, from her first day at Sioux Falls through now, nothing else in this world ever would.

It didn’t take long for all the guests to show up, on time to boot. Like anyone was gonna be late for the wedding of the century, even if none of them were healthcare professionals used to showing up on time for everything. Just like in the rehearsal, the procession started with soft music playing. The first couple to walk down the aisle were Gordon Walker and Charlie Bradbury. You insisted that instead of a flower girl or boy to shower the aisle with flower pedals, the bridesmaids and their respected escorts would scatter some little by little. Dean, being Sam’s best man, held onto their rings. Despite all the stress of planning this occasion, Sam was proud to see how you made the little details personal to your tastes. He also admired the bridesmaid dresses that they’d picked out. He’d heard you insisted they didn’t have to be the same ones, but the one that was chosen was apparently loved by all the women, so they all got them.

Followed by Gordon and Charlie were Garth and Jody, chuckling to himself how awkward it must’ve been for Garth; the lanky dude was taller but he was all limbs, unlike the lady on his arm who could easily throw him across a room. Next came Gabriel and Pamela, and Sam saw Gabe wink at his boyfriend, sitting in one of the middle rows. Benny escorted Meg down the aisle and last followed Cas with his own bride Anna. By the time all the bridesmaids and groomsmen were lined up side-by-side, the music changed to Broken by Seether ft. Amy Lee, signaling that his Uncle Bobby was about to walk Y/N down to aisle.

When Amy Lee joined in the chorus, they appeared and waited for everyone to stand up. As they walked down the aisle slowly, the main chorus started.

Cause I’m broken

When I’m lonesome

and I don’t feel like

I am strong enough

cause I’m broken

When I’m lonesome

And I don’t feel right

When you’re gone away

The sight of you walking down the aisle in your dress, on your way to marry Sam, took his breath away. He always thought you were beautiful, but when you stopped at the altar, still on Bobby’s arm, Dean jokingly grabbed Sam’s wrist as if to take his pulse.

“Is there a medic here? We might need to call 911!”

Everyone laughed as Sam ripped his wrist away from his brother’s grasps. Rufus Turner, being an ordained minister, was personally asked by Sam to come and officiate his marriage. Since everyone else in attendance here today was a public servant, it only made sense for his former employer and uncle to be here too.

“Dearly beloved,” Rufus started. “We’re gathered here on this beautiful day to witness the union of Samuel Henry Winchester and Y/N Y/M/N Y/L/N. This is a day of great celebration and reverence, on which we come together before God to recognize and commemorate the sacred love and dedication shared between these two people. It is wonderful to have our public servant Brothers and Sisters here to join us today. The bride and groom would like to thank their guests for being here, and would like you to know that each of you were invited here on this day because you have played an integral part in their intertwining lives.”

Everyone who was associated with Sioux Falls FRD shouted in unison, “BURN HOT, SHINE BRIGHT!” Which got a chuckle out of you.

“Who shall give this woman to this man this day?” Rufus went on.

“I do,” Bobby proclaimed.

Bobby kissed you on the cheek and whispered in your ear, “welcome to the family, sweetie.”

You muttered your thanks as Bobby gave Sam your hand.

Rufus continued. “In the time that Y/N Y/M/N and Samuel Henry have spent together, they’ve built the sturdy foundation for a lifelong relationship. After a great deal of thoughtful consideration, they have decided to bind themselves to one another for the rest of their lives. Therefore I must ask you, good folk, that if there is anyone in attendance who has cause to believe that this couple should not be joined in marriage, you may speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Utter silence; something you were grateful for. Not that you knew anyone here would object. Everyone knew what you and Sam went through to get here.

“The sacred vows that you make to one another today present you with the opportunity to express your love in your own words. I would at this time invite you to publicly declare these vows. Y/N, you may begin.”

Taking a deep breath, you spoke. “Sam… Gods, I can barely describe how much of a 180 our lives have taken. When I showed up in Sioux Falls, I was a broken grieving mess that wasn’t made easier by the way you treated me. But if anyone had told me two years after being hired at SFFRD that I’d be marrying the guy that hated me the most, I would’ve immediately told them to get a psych eval.”

Everyone laugh, including Sam.

“But they would’ve been right. I had a feeling, deep down, that there was something special about you. Everyone deals with grief in their own way. And you never really got a chance to have closure and move on. Whether or not I did that isn’t up to me to decide, but I know now, standing here today, that my parents and my brother are right beside me and I know that they’d be proud to call you family. You saved me and helped me move on and have closure from the tragedies in my life. More than you’ll ever know.”

By the end of the speech, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, especially with Sam. He looked like he was going to burst into tears any second now. But he didn’t.

“Samuel Henry, you may now make your promise.”

“Y/N, you may think you didn’t save me, and I’m here to tell you today that you’re 100% wrong. I was hurting in ways I didn’t know were possible and was masquerading as an arrogant, shallow asshole with no heart. And you saved me from that. Your very existence reminded me why I became a paramedic in the first place, and it’s a debt I can never repay. You not only saved me, but you saved this entire department. Your take-no-shit attitude, your empathy and compassion for everyone around you, and your overall strength and determination to do things right were one of the things that led us here today. I made a promise to you that night we ran that pediatric trauma call together that I would always protect you. Now, in addition to that promise, I make another one. I promise to protect not only your body and mind, but also your heart. I kinda have to now since you’ve stolen mine.”

The audience clapped, hooped and hollered at the end of their vows. Rufus asked Y/N and Sam to face each other.

“Y/N Y/M/N, under the eyes of God, do you take Samuel Henry to be your lawfully wedded husband? By making this commitment, you are joining in the sacred covenant of marriage. Do you promise to honor him in love, to be sensitive to his needs, to comfort him in difficulty, and to put your full and complete trust in him, so long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” Y/N replied, the tears coming in harder now. Sam just smiled.

“Samuel Henry, under the eyes of God, do you take Y/N Y/M/N to be your lawfully wedded wife? By making this commitment, you are joining in the covenant of marriage. Do you promise to honor her in love, to be sensitive to her needs, to comfort her in difficulty, and to put your full and complete trust in her, so long as you both shall live?”

“Damn right I do,” Sam replied, earning more laughter from the audience, some of them hollering more.

“Well that made my job a lot easier,” Rufus said, and the laughter grew louder.

Rufus then asked them to join hands as Dean came forward with their rings. They repeated after him while slipping their respective rings on their left ring fingers.

Rufus smiled at the crowd and said, “By the power vested in me, by the Universal Life Church and by the state of South Dakota, I pronounce you, Samuel Henry and Y/N Y/M/N as husband and wife, lawfully wedded before God. Sammy go ahead and kiss her before she cries herself to sleep.”

Sam laughed as he wiped tears away from his eyes. He moved the veil partially shielding your face and brought it into his hands. His lips were soft and warm, and he smelled like cloves and rich coffee. He muttered an ‘I love you’ as he took your hand and faced his public service Brothers and Sisters.

“Ladies and gentlemen, firefighters, paramedics, nurses and civilians alike, it is my distinct honor and pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Henry Winchester!”

The crowd erupted in cheers as you and Sam made your way back down the aisle. Bobby and Ellen were in the back awaiting their arrival. It wasn’t until you two got down there that you saw several photo frames on decorated tables. One side, Sam could see pictures of his mother and father, and on the other, were your family. Your father in the heyday of his career, the picture of your mother striking a pose, and your brother’s professional military photo that was taken shortly before his final deployment. You couldn’t hold it in. You burst into tears.

Sam placed his arm around you, his own tears finally being shed.

“Sorry they were late to the show,” Bobby said. “It was matter of finding them quality seating. Ellen picked out the doilies.”

You walked forward, holding Sam’s hand, and picked up the picture of your mother first.

“I took this photo,” you told Sam. “It was the last one I took of her before she died. This…this was the real Marissa Y/L/N.” Then you placed her back on the table and picked up the photo of your brother as Sam picked up the photo of your father, forever immortalized as a 31-year-old husband and father of two young children.

You took both photo frames and held them up. “Momma… Daddy… Jimmy,” you nodded towards your brother’s frame. “This is Sam. He's… he’s my husband now. Don’t worry. He’s gonna take good care of me. Or there will be two city fire departments coming after him.”

Sam chuckled and took the pictures from you as you moved over towards the Winchester family table. By now, the crowd had surrounded the two of you, several of them taking video with their phones.

“You have my word, Mr. and Mrs. Y/L/N. Your daughter will always be in good hands. She had to be. She has my heart now.”

You picked up the pictures of John and Mary Winchester, smiling. “Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Winchester. I guess I’m a Winchester now too.”

Sam came up from behind and snaked his arms around your waist, resting his chin on your shoulder. “Mom… Dad… this is Y/N… she’s my wife now. She’s beautiful, resilient, and so, so strong. You’d be proud to have her as a daughter in law.”

You reveled in how beautiful Sam’s mother was. And his father had a rugged handsome charm to his facial features. You could see a bit of Sam in his mother more than his father. It was endearing.

“I’ll take good care of Sam,” you whispered.

The reception was about as drunken and shenanigan-filled as any other firefighter/medic wedding you’d been to. Most everyone was plastered by the end of the night and the taxi drivers who were arranged prior to the event made some good money that night. You and Sam returned to his apartment to sleep off a night of good times and great memory-making. The following morning, the two of you woke early and packed for your honeymoon to Ireland. It was all planned out to the detail, step by step. Down to the night you two consummated your marriage.

Given how big Sam was, you were worried he was going to tear you apart from the inside out. But Sam was gentle and slow, attentive to your every sexual need. He took his time pleasuring you, letting you ride out your orgasm in splendor, caring more about your needs than his own. But you weren’t just satisfied with your pleasure; you ensured Sam got his too. It was always a turn on of yours to have your sexual partner come when you did. Like Sam was going to argue against that.

You knew that this week was going to come and go by too fast, and before you knew it, you and Sam would be returning to Sioux Falls and back to tour. So while laying in bed that night, you said it out loud.

“I finally have my perfect forever,” you breathed, laying on Sam’s chest, his heart softly working against your face.

“Your perfect forever?” Sam asked, rubbing large lazy circles all over your bare back.

“Yeah,” you replied. “Where everything in life is falling into place and things are exactly where they’re supposed to be. I spent so long trying to find this after Mom died. It’s the whole reason I came to Sioux Falls. I could’ve gone to Atlanta or New York, LA, Hell even Kansas City, because I was so accustomed to big city life. But something drew me to a town that nobody with my background would’ve thought to go. I used to wonder why the hell I came here… but now I know… I had to meet you. I had to go through what I went through in order to find happiness. And… looking back now,” you looked up at Sam. “I’m glad I did.”

Sam leaned in to kiss you, letting his lips linger on your longer than you anticipated.

“You won’t find me complaining.”

Chapter Text


 

Three Months Later

Like you predicted, you and Sam returned from the Emerald Isles and back to South Dakota for duty. Everyone was so happy for the two of you. And you went back to keeping your relationship professional while on tour. You made it a policy that home stuff was left at the front door when you two left for work, and Sam was more than happy to agree. Anything related to home, from bills to possible marital problems, never got brought up while at work. It seemed to be a good policy to have since you’d seen family drama spill into work places that involved family members running the joint, and you didn’t want Sioux Falls FRD to see that burden. The organization had done so much for you; it was the least you could do in return.

Since getting married, Ellen made sure you and Sam were always working around the same time. Whether you were Battalion 1 and he was on Medic 6 during the day, or the two of you ran the box at night, Ellen recognized that newlyweds should always be able to see one another. It was something both you and Sam were grateful for.

A month after marrying, the two of you moved out of Sam’s apartment and bought a house on the outskirts of town. It was a small three bedroom, two bathroom starter home, but it was perfect. Sam was even talking about possibly getting a dog once the backyard was properly fenced in. You were warming up to the idea slower than you’d like; the loss of Mimi and Kiki still burned hot in your mind but you knew you had to move on eventually. They would want you to.

But other than that, it was smooth sailing, both at work and at home. Your perfect forever sealed in for life, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Night shift was always your preference. You weren’t a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and working the graveyard shifts was your way of enjoying the city while the rest of its population slept, ensuring you got enough sleep when you were off duty. Sam, while he was typically the early riser of the relationship, had no problem working whatever shift you wanted. You’d been thinking about giving your Lieutenant rank to someone else come next election so you could go back to the box and spend more time not only doing patient care, but more time with your husband. While Sam didn’t want to see you give up doing something you were clearly good at and meant to do, he also wasn’t about to turn down more time with his bride.

Medic 6 was parked in the empty parking lot of a strip center, just walking distance from the only 24 hour Chinese take out restaurant in town. The sounds of silent chewing and wooden chopsticks smashing inside paper take out containers was all that could be heard as you two enjoyed some solitude in between calls. But you knew better than to think this would last long.

“Medic 6, a medical call. 48926 Maverly Road, Apartment 5B, between Knife Lane and Tea Light Lane. Key Map 877 Yankee. Medic 6, a medical call. 48926 Maverly Road, Apartment 5B, between Knife Lane and Tea Light Lane. Key Map 877 Yankee. Time out 0244 hours.”

Sam groaned slightly as he brought the rig to life, making his way towards the stoplight at the entrance to the parking lot. There were no other cars at the intersection, but Sam flipped on the lights and stopped like he was supposed to before entering the intersection.

As you brought the microphone to your lips, you were about to tell Comm Center that you were en route. But that opportunity would never come.

Neither of you were prepared for the semi truck that was going over 100 miles an hour as it broadsided the ambulance on the driver’s side, knocking it off its wheels and into a utility pole. And neither of you were conscious to call for help.

Benny, Gordon, Garth, Cas, Anna and Jo were at the station when the call came in.

“Medic 4, Medic 7, Medic 9, Engine 3, Engine 6, Ladder 12, motor vehicle collision with multiple entrapments. Intersection of West Alleyway Drive and Brutus Road. Key Map 506 Charlie. Medic 4, Medic 7, Medic 9, Engine 3, Engine 6, Ladder 12, motor vehicle collision with multiple entrapments. Intersection of West Alleyway Drive and Brutus Road. Key Map 506 Charlie. Time out is 0313 hours.”

Everyone was concerned it was gonna be a nasty call with the amount of units being dispatched, so they steeled themselves as they geared up to head out. But none of them could ever steel their emotions enough when they showed up on scene and saw Medic 6 in the crumpled state that it was, knowing that you and Sam were trapped inside.

There was engine, transmission and windshield wiper fluid flowing freely from the front end, all the windows were smashed out, the cot and medical bags were all in the ditch down the street, and the top of the box was completely caved in.

When they got closer, Jo and Anna let out a shrill cry. Castiel almost collapsed to his knees.

Sam was crushed in between the smashed in door, center console and steering wheel, his back out of alignment. His hand was touching your face, which was covered in blood. The two of you were still as stone. He went to the truck that hit them, curbing anger as he saw there was a giant hole in the driver side’s windshield. He walked around and didn’t see who the truck could’ve belonged to, until Benny called out to him from the nearby field. Cas looked at Benny and Benny was shaking his head, moving some brush out of the way to reveal a pair of legs, unmoving and bent in unnatural positions.

Cas snapped himself out of his malaise and pulled out his radio.

“Engine 6, Comm Center, we’re gonna need additional units, PD and Highway Patrol. We have one confirmed DOA and two confirmed entrapments.”

The firefighters worked diligently to stabilize the box as extrication began. When the top of the ambulance was peeled back, and lights were brought in to illuminate the working area, a gruesome scene greeted the responders’ eyes. Castiel took control of the scene and both you and Sam were extricated in record time. But given the extent on the injuries, and the fact that you were in cardiac arrest, Cas knew both of you were going to have to be flown to Sanford Med.

When the helicopter landed, The crews handed off their colleagues to the flight medics, and you and Sam were flown away to be treated.

The rest of their public servant family couldn’t bear to stay on scene any longer than was required. The sight of the box and the truck that could be killing the two of you was too much to bear.

Castiel walked over to Jody, who was visibly upset.

“Someone needs to call Dean,” Cas said softly.

“I was just about to do that,” Jody replied, sniffling. She wiped at her eyes hurriedly as she pulled out her cell phone.

Dean and Lisa were asleep when the call came in, waking them both up. Dean begrudgingly grabbed his cell and answered it right away when he saw the screen say “Jody Mills.” Even before Jody’s grief-stricken voice breached his ears, he knew it wasn’t good news. Nobody called a sheriff at almost four in the morning for good news.

Dean felt his heart dropped when he was told Sam was in a life-threatening accident on the job. He jumped out of bed and got dressed as he was talking to Jody. For obvious reasons, Jody couldn’t tell him everything, and Dean understood that. He told her that he was going to be flying out within a few hours. Jody told him one of her guys would pick him up from the airport and priority 3 him to Sanford Med if need be. While he wanted to be rational and insist it wasn’t necessary, his heart made him say thank you.

Dean grabbed a suitcase and started throwing stuff in it. He grabbed his own Class A uniform and slipped it in his own travel pack. Tears stunned his eyes when he realized why he was packing it up; there was a good chance he could lose his brother and sister in law.

Lisa insisted on her and Ben flying with him, but he needed to do this journey alone. He said he would call as soon as he landed and if any more bad happened, he’d purchase plane tickets for them himself. When he was packed, and the taxi cab pulled up, he kissed his wife and son goodbye and was take directly to Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Given he wanted to get to Sioux Falls as soon as possible, and because he’d recently earned a bonus at work, he paid the couple grand it took up front to be personally flown from Lawrence to Sioux Falls’ Regional airport, Joe Foss Field.

Less than three hours later, the small fixed wing Cessna 172 aircraft landed and a Sioux Falls Police Department squad car was waiting for him on the runway.

“Good to see you Sheriff,” Alistair Hale said, shaking hands with his good friend.

“Back atcha, brother,” Dean said, a sad smile crossing his face. “I wish it were under better circumstances.”

“I hear ya,” Alistair said, his lisp coming in full force. “Hard to believe three months ago we were celebrating their marriage. And now this…”

Dean nodded; there wasn’t much else he could say. Alistair opened the passenger door for him and Dean slipped inside. Alistair also grabbed his luggage and put in the backseat. He radioed letting dispatch know that he was “en-route to Sanford Med, plus one,” and off they went.

“So what can you tell me?” Dean asked, though he probably knew better.

“I’ve been ordered to keep my mouth shut by our ever-loving Sheriff, Dean. About the details. But what I can tell you is that Sam and Y/N are both still alive.”

Dean breathed a sigh he didn’t know he was holding. The rest of the ride was silent, except for the occasional radio traffic.

It was the longest car ride of Dean’s life.

Dean met with members of Sioux Falls FRD first, exchanging hugs and love with all the guys and girls. Jody came up from behind him, tears in her eyes, and Dean embraced her with all he had.

“Sam’s in surgery right now,” Jody whispered.

“For what? What the fuck happened, Jody?”

Jody was silent for a minute before answering, steeling her emotions.

“Sam’s spinal cord was crushed on impact, T-9 and T-10. Dean…they’re saying they can fix the vertebrae, but…”

Her voice trailed off, willing herself not to cry.

“But what, Jody? Give it to me straight, no bullshit. How bad is it?”

Tearful eyes met Dean’s.

“He’s most likely gonna be paralyzed from the waist down, Dean. His career is over.”

The weight of her words hit Dean like a freight train. But he pushed on.

“And Y/N?”

“No word yet. But you should know… she’s gone into traumatic arrest twice now since being extricated. She’s a fighter. But it’s not looking good for her either.”

Dean had to sit down now, suddenly feeling dizzy and nauseous. Cas brought him a glass of water, which he tried to refuse but nobody would allow him to. He took small, slow sips until it was gone, his breathing becoming even again.

“I should call Lisa. I told her I’d call when I landed but I-”

“Do what you need to, Dean,” Cas said. “It’s gonna be some time before Sam’s out of surgery and Y/N is not being allowed any visitors. We haven’t heard anything from anyone about an update as well.”

Dean sighed, pulled out his cell phone, and called his wife. When he knew he was alone, he cried to his bride on the phone. He cried like he did when his four year old self realized his mother was gone. Like when him and Lisa realized Ben was going to be a big brother but she never made it to her second trimester; all three times she miscarried he cried at the life that could’ve been but wasn’t.

Losing Sam and his brand new bride somehow hurt so much more than all that combined.

Four hours after he arrived in Sioux Falls, someone walked out decked out in surgical scrubs.

“Family of Sam Winchester?” the man said. Dean stood up and walked towards the man. “I take it you’re Dean, older brother?” Dean just nodded, unable to speak and eager to know how his baby brother was doing. “Sam’s spinal cord was severely compressed in the accident, T-9 and T-10 were crushed beyond recognition. We went in to correct the compression, replaced the vertebrae with a metal implant and bone graft, successfully relieving pressure on his spinal cord.”

“T-That’s good right?” Dean asked. “I mean, he’s gonna be okay right?”

The doctor sighed. “While we were able to successfully relieve pressure, his spinal cord nerves were pinched and complete cut off from blood flow. The nerves were severed in the crash. With time, there is a chance he will heal, but he will be a paraplegic. Paralyzed from the waist down. He will require years of physical and occupational therapies, and of course he’ll be wheelchair bound. I’m told he was driving an ambulance at the time of the crash.”

“Yeah, uh,” Dean began, “my brother and his wife are paramedics. They were in the rig together that night. Do you have an update on my sister in law?”

“I can find out for you. Sam is being taken to recovery now. But it’s gonna be some time before he’s in SICU and allowed any visitors. Thank you for being patient. Let me go see who’s in charge of Mrs. Winchester’s care.”

Dean nodded as the doctor left. He sank back in a chair and resumed his crying. It wasn’t long before Dean was approached by a female nurse.

“Are you the family of Y/N Winchester?”

Dean looked up. “I’m her brother in law. Is she alright?”

“She’s awake now and is asking for someone named Sam. I’m assuming that’s your brother?”

“Yeah,” Dean sighed. “How is she?”

“Considering it’s taken this long to keep her heart beating consistently, she’s doing fairly well physically. She had to be revived on the operating table three times while they removed her spleen. It was shredded in the accident. If you’ll come with me, you can go see her.”

Taking that as the first bit of good news all day, Dean followed the young woman down the hall, and towards the left. She stopped in front of a room where you was holed up in bed. The nurse wasn’t wrong; all things considered, while still looking very beat up, you were awake and alert and alive. Dean slowly walked into the room.

You looked up at Dean and his heart broke. It was clear you’d already been told the news about Sam. Dean leaned in and kissed you tenderly on the forehead.

“Hey pretty lady,” Dean said softly.

“This is what you call pretty?” you scoffed, a small smile playing on your lips.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Dean said, “and you just happen to be beautiful no matter how you physically look.”

You rolled your eyes, immediately regretting the action. You were told the extent of your injuries and revival episodes. A concussion, ruptured spleen and several broken ribs. The spleen was removed and you were informed that a lifetime of becoming sick easily was in your future. You were given a host of vaccines and had IV antibiotics going right now, just as a precaution. Your doctors were telling you you needed to stay in the hospital for a least a week before it could be determined how healthy you were to go home. But given how much infectious disease you were exposed to as a paramedic, you were pretty certain your career was over. You could continue working as a receptionist or maybe even a dispatcher, but if you wanted to do that, you wouldn’t have bothered with paramedic school. EMS was your life blood and you wouldn’t give it up so easily.

You told Dean all this and then proceeded to cry, not caring that you should be strong for Sam. Dean wasn’t going to hold it against you. He sat on the edge of your bed as you cried into his chest.

Only after your sobs quieted down to meager hiccups did you speak again. And you knew you were going to regret it.

“I knew I couldn’t have my perfect forever. I knew that wasn’t a life I was destined to have. If God wanted to make us suffer, he should’ve just killed me and Sam on impact. That way we could’ve been spared this agony. I wish we were dead.”

Dean felt his heart kick hard against his ribs. He knew the signs all too well. And he also knew, despite how they may be spoken or perceived, to never take them lightly.

He slipped out of the room after you’d fallen asleep and demanded to speak to your doctor.

Dean knew you were probably going to hate him for this, but you meant too much to him. He almost lost you; he couldn’t go through that again.

So he told your doctor that you were possibly suicidal. The doctor ordered a psychiatric evaluation immediately.

Chapter Text


 

The pain came in first. Then the sound of voices and machines. Before Sam knew it, he was opening his eyes to take in his surroundings. But, to his relief, the first thing he saw was his brother.

“D'n?” Sam croaked.

“Hey, Sammy,” Dean soothed.

Sam tried to look around the room, but he was immobilized. His neck, back, and shoulders were all being held together by a single brace, and he could hear the faint beeping of a monitor, no doubt displaying a direct line to his heartbeat. He felt things attached to his body; he guessed what was on his hand and arm were an IV line and a blood pressure cuff. The slight weightless pressure across his chest had to be the EKG electrodes, and was that a traction splint on his left leg?

Then it hit him. “Where’s Y/N?”

Dean’s face went from smiling at seeing his brother awake to sad and somber, almost like he was hoping Sam wouldn’t ask.

But he did, repeating his question with more force.

“Dean. Where’s my wife?”

Dean took a deep breath before answering. “She’s hospitalized too. Almost died a few times… but she’s alive.”

“I want to see her. Right now! Take her to me! Or bring her here!”

Dean looked away, sitting back down in his chair where Sam couldn’t see him. “I can’t.”

“Why the hell not?” Sam demanded, the force of his voice hurting his throat but he didn’t care. Why was he being denied to see the love of his life?

“Because she’s on a psychiatric hold. Suicide watch to be more specific.”

“…what?”

Dean was contemplating just how much to tell Sam, but he figured he’d already said too much, so he might as well tell him the whole truth. “She told me she wished you and her had died in the accident. To… to be spared future hardship. She doesn’t want to live anymore. I had to make the call, Sammy. I had to. You know just as well as I do that you would’ve done the same damn thing. She’s probably gonna hate me for it but I don’t care. I can live with her hating me, so long as she’s alive.”

Sam laid there, listening to the monitors, and concluded that his older brother was right. If you expressed a wish of death, he would’ve made the call too.

But he was also certain that you’d be just as angry doing it behind your back.

You were laying in your hospital bed and were miserable.

Why am I still alive? Why couldn’t Sam and I just have this one good thing? The one happy thing? Why were we put on this Earth to suffer? We’ve lost so much. We deserve to be happy. I’d rather die a premature death than live the rest of my life knowing neither of us can provide for ourselves again.

You were certain that when your doctor told you you had to be on a 72 hour psychiatric hold, they were going to chain you to the bed. You’d seen it in certain cases but didn’t know the extent of how it worked. Psych calls were never ones you looked forward to, but as the mental health community and industry were blossoming more and more, the need for psychiatric care and the 911 calls that came with them saw an increase. It couldn’t be helped.

And you’d spent some time with self-therapy after your mother’s death and no matter which therapist you saw, they all gave you the same creepy vibe. It wasn’t their intention; they were just there to help, which you needed. But that didn’t make you feel any better about needing them in the first place.

During your thoughts, there was an almost too-quiet knock at your hospital room door.

“Come in,” you called out.

The door was opened by a woman who radiated beauty. She had long black hair, perfectly parted down the middle of her head. She wore tight fitting clothing that showed off her rather attractive figure; a short sleeve dark brown blouse, bright red pencil skirt, black high heels, and a faded red blazer around her shoulders. She carried in her arms some file folders, no doubt one of them bearing your name on it. She had a pair of glasses perched on top of her hair, which you assumed was for reading purposes. All in all, she was very pretty, warm and inviting. If she was a shrink, she didn’t show it - by persona or attire. She smiled slightly at you.

“Mrs. Winchester?” the woman said in a soft voice. “I’m Dr. Ruby Cortese, I’m the on duty psychiatrist assigned to your case. Are you willing to talk with me today?”

You looked around and then back at her. “Well I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, so yeah I suppose.”

Ruby smiled as she dragged a chair to sit in front of your bed. She kept her distance, something that you would’ve been offended by if you cared enough.

“So, I’m not into the typical psychiatrist routine,” Ruby began, “as I believe it’s up to my patients to initiate the conversation. Doesn’t make me very popular with my colleagues, but it gets results, and that’s what matters. So, it’s up to you whether you’re ready to talk. Getting through to psych patients takes time and I’m not one to be pushy about it. But what I will do is sit here for as long as I’m welcome and you just talk when you’re feeling up to it. And it doesn’t have to be related to your current issues. It can be about anything. Your favorite song, what you had for breakfast, why the Polish language sounds like someone is gargling water.”

That got a laugh out of you. Ruby just smiled.

“So yeah, that’s kinda how I roll. Sound fair?”

That really was a new one to you. Every single psych person you’ve ever seen, whether for personal use or on the job, all had the same MO: they’re in control and nothing will change that. It’s probably why they were all so off-putting. Bur Ruby was different. She was… cool. It made you relax a bit more.

You didn’t realize a few minute had passed while you were thinking this and when you looked up, Ruby had pulled out a set of knitting needles and a big spool of yarn. You had no idea what she was making, but she certainly kept true to her word: she sat there and minded her own business until her patient was ready to talk.

“What are you making?” You asked.

“Honestly,” Ruby replied, a smug look on her face, “I have no idea.”

You laughed again, and Ruby laughed with you. Her laugh was like a little girl’s giggle, adorable and pleasing to the ears.

“But it’s what I do to pass the time while my patients get comfortable, you know? I just recently started learning how to. I got bored with Sudoku. Kinda happens when you buy every Sudoku book at Walmart and fill them up.”

“God I haven’t played Sudoku in a long time,” you mused, leaning back into the bed. “Used to be really good at it too. The hard puzzles? Done in less than 5 minutes.”

“I know right?” Ruby exclaimed. “It’s like, once you figure out the tricks, they’re all easy level puzzles!”

The two of you shared a chuckle before Ruby went back to her knitting.

“I was supposed to have my perfect forever. And now it’s gone for good.”

That got Ruby to set aside the knitting needles and give you her full attention.

“What do you define as your ‘perfect forever’?”

“Just… happy… no matter what that was or where it led me, I was supposed to be happy. When I was working at HFD I thought I was happy. When I was sleeping with my married coworker, I thought I was happy. When I lost my mom and left Houston to come here and got hired right away, I thought I was happy. Truth be told, my husband Sam… we hated each other. He was a real dick to me when we first met. Turned out, he just needed some happiness in his life too. It wasn’t until after I was given his rank and position that he realized how much he screwed up… and we fell in love shortly afterwards…” you left out the misadventure with Brady. It still brought up too much pain. “It wasn’t until we were married and running a truck together that I knew that’s what my perfect forever was supposed to look like. But apparently, we can’t have that either. What’s the point of being alive if I’m just gonna be unhappy all the time?”

You felt the tears starting to sting your eyes, the emotions bubbling up inside. Ruby moved her chair closer to your bed until she was seated right at your left side.

“Y/N,” Ruby began, the look of empathy gracing her pretty face, “being happy isn’t one definition. It’s a dynamic, fluid, ever-changing feeling that differs between person to person and its meaning to one person isn’t always concrete. Because life isn’t concrete. Think back to when you were a kid. Whatever made you happy back when you were six or seven probably would bore you today, right?”

You nodded, understanding where she was coming from.

“Exactly. Life loves to throw all kinds of curveballs at us when we least expect it. But living your life shouldn’t revolve around one centralized definition of happiness. You adapt, you learn, and you grow as you do. What happened to you and Sam was a horrible example of that curveball and I am so sorry that happened to you. You’re right, you deserve to be happy. But you can still make the most out of life as it is now.”

“How am I supposed to do that? If what the doctors are telling me is right, Sam’s career is over. He’s gonna be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I know he’s not going to be happy. So how can I be?”

“You’re gonna have to step up more, I won’t lie to you,” Ruby answered. “And I can’t honestly tell you it’s gonna be easy. And I sure as hell won’t say some cheesy line like 'find pleasure in life’s little moments!’ Because let’s face it: that shit blows.”

You laughed; you’d never encountered a psychiatrist who cussed. You were liking this chick more and more.

“I can’t tell you how your life is going to be, and I can’t tell you that things are going to make you happy in this journey. But I can tell that you’re a strong, resilient woman who has kicked ass in the male-dominated field that is public service. If you’re true to yourself, this won’t get you down.”

Ruby’s words resonated within you as she bid you farewell.

After two days you were released from the suicide watch and psych lockdown and you were allowed to see Sam. He was still in a body brace that broke your heart.

Sam asked why you would think about wanting to die when you two were just beginning life together, and you apologized for your irrational thinking.

“I didn’t mean to worry you,” you said through your tears.

“Hey,” Sam replied, taking hold of your face so he could look directly into your eyes. “It’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna get through this. We were a dominating force when we hated each other. We’re unstoppable now that we’re married. They’re setting me up with some in-patient physical therapy for the time being. I’m still not healed enough to sit up in a wheelchair on my own yet.”

“How are you feeling?” You asked.

Sam’s eyes dropped down to his feet. “I can’t feel anything below my chest. I can move my arms, but there’s a lot of struggle with gripping things. I- uh… I also have this.”

Sam gestured towards his stomach and you lifted up the gown to reveal a bag attached to the left side of his navel, a small but disgusting amount of brownish liquid already inside.

“I no longer have any control over my bladder or bowels. While I was in surgery, they put in a-”

“Colostomy,” you breathed. You remember having to clean up a burst colostomy bag on the truck back in Houston once. The smell never left your senses. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry.”

“This isn’t your fault. Fuck, it’s not either of our faults. That asshole who ran the light going over 100 miles an hour caused all this. And we can’t even punish him because he’s dead.”

“… he’s dead?”

“Well if he wasn’t dead, he’d be on life support. He drove a Mack truck into the side of Medic 6, which by the way is a total loss. He apparently was intoxicated and stole the Mack truck from someone inside a gas station paying for gas. The owner apparently was an idiot and left it running by the pump. He also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which is why he ended up in the ditch thirty feet away. Pronounced on scene.”

“How do you know all this?”

“So far, the visitors I’ve had were Dean, Cas, Benny, Anna, Jo and Gabe. They’ve filled me in on all that happened during and after we were extricated and flown here.”

“We were flown?” You sat back down, taking in the information.

“They had to. We were involved in an accident where someone died. Plus, your… your heart stopped beating…” Sam gathered himself so he didn’t break down. “They had to revive you several times… when Dean told me that, I-”

You immediately got up and comforted your husband.

“Like you said,” you began, “we’re gonna get through this. One way or another, willingly or kicking and screaming. We’re gonna survive. Because that’s what Winchesters do.”

Sam smiled at you, and you wish more than anything that there was enough room for you to crawl into his bed next to him, fall asleep, and pretend all of this was just another nightmare.

Three weeks after the accident, you were released from the hospital. When Dean was certain you and Sam were gonna be alright, he flew back to Lawrence but promised he’d be visiting regularly. You’d really opened up to Ruby and she was helping you work through your issues. Upon discharge, she saw you off and handed you one of her business cards.

“Mental health issues don’t exactly have a cure,” Ruby said, “so in case they decide to rear their ugly head, I make house calls anywhere in Sioux Falls. Keep in touch, hon.”

You gave Ruby a hug as you were wheeled to Sam’s room. His physical therapist was working on his legs, stretching them and massaging them so they didn’t atrophy.

“There’s my lovely bride!” Sam exclaimed. You were wheeled up and held out your hand, inviting him to give it a squeeze. You were surprise how much strength there was in his grip.

The look on your face caused Sam to say, “daily grip strength exercises. They’re starting to pay off!”

“That’s great, baby!” You said, a tear forming in the corner of your eye. “I, um… I’m being discharged.”

Sam’s face fell. “Well, it was to be expected. You weren’t as fucked up as me.” He tried to play it off as cool, but you could see you leaving him here broke his heart.

“Sam, I promise to come see you every day. You’re gonna start to hate me again with how much I’ll be badgering you about your progress.”

“I doubt I could ever do that,” Sam mused. “I love you too much to ever hate you again.”

And with that, you leaned in to kiss him, letting your lips linger before unwillingly breaking away. When you were wheeled outside, your entire crew was waiting for you, all in uniform, apparati idling in the ambulance bay.

Every single person there, save for Chief Singer, drew themselves to attention and saluted you as your wheelchair was locked into place. You saluted them back.

“Good to see you, Lieutenant,” Castiel said, a tearful smile matching everyone else’s.

“Good to be alive,” you replied.

“May we escort you home, Lieutenant?” Gabe said, walking up to the back of your wheelchair. But you waved him off, standing up slowly. Gabe, Benny, Cas and Jo all came forward to walk you to Medic 6R, the reserve unit kept in the back of Station 6’s parking lot for emergencies.

“Please and thank you, sir,” you said.

“With Medic 6’s permanent OOS status, there’s talk about turning 6R into the regular unit. It was totaled beyond recognition and it would cost more to replace it. But that’s okay,” Castiel said, causing you to look up at him, “we’d rather lose every unit we have than you or Sam.”

You couldn’t hold it back any longer. You started crying. And it wasn’t long before your brothers and sisters clambered around you to embrace you, being your strength even for just a moment.

Chief Singer was the last person to come forward and hug you.

“There’s one last thing I’d like to attend to before we send you home. If I understand correctly, your injuries and Sam’s have caused you both to retire?”

As if you couldn’t feel any worse.

“Yes, sir.”

“In light of that, after discussing it with the board, we’ve decided to go ahead and give you both an early retirement in your name.”

“But Chief,” you interjected, “Sam and I only have 12 years on the force. Last I checked, regulation says we have to work for 20 before being eligible to retire.”

“Hence why I went to the board about it. Combined, you two have over 24 years experience as paramedics. I used that as leverage to get you the retirement package you would be getting were you to actually reach that milestone. We…no, I in good conscience leave you two with nothing after all you’ve done for this department. Both of you. You’ve earned it. Y/N Winchester, on behalf of the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department and the Sioux Falls Firefighters Association, I am proud to acknowledge your duty and service to our community and our Brotherhood. Will you accept this parting gift as a token of your service and sacrifice, not just for you but on behalf of your husband, Sam Winchester?”

Every fiber of your being was telling you to tell Chief to shove it. To demand that you be reinstated as Lieutenant and prove that you can still be a functional paramedic. But the logical part of your brain knew that wouldn’t fly. You were without your body’s natural defenses against all the diseases and illnesses you were subjected to on a daily basis. Even with regular vaccinations and the occasional antibiotics, you knew your career was just as over as Sam’s.

So you relented. Sam was going to need you more than ever now.

“I will.”

Chapter Text


 

One Month Later

As expected, your day to day life changed drastically.

Sam needed round-the-clock care in the weeks following his release from the hospital, and would continue to need it in the years to come. Once the doctors were comfortable enough with his progress, he was ordered to continue physical and occupational therapies on an outpatient basis, and you were given a very long list of daily things Sam was going to need from you. The wheelchair he was given was somewhat comfortable but a pain in the ass to push around the house, not to mention get in and out of it.

If you thought you were sleep deprived as a paramedic, you didn’t know how lucky you were.

Sam required a special bed for paraplegic patients, therefore the of you didn’t sleep together anymore - something that broke your heart as much as his, but it was doable. You were thankful you were able to keep the insurance you had when you were full time with your retirement. The package took both your average monthly paychecks and added 10%, and that was enough to cover everything Sam would need, as there were some things that insurance didn’t cover. Sam needed help with everything since he was bed-bound. He ate in bed, watched TV and played on his laptop in bed, and his colostomy bag was changed in bed. Changing it was a nightmare, and you weren’t always careful; you’d managed to spill the contents of his bowels all over himself a few times, and that required you to put him in his chair, strip the bed and wash the sheets with hospital provided, industrial strength detergent.

Sam would watch you with sadness in his eyes. He absolutely hated how you had to do everything and he was incapable of helping. It pained him. This wasn’t how his life was supposed to be. He was supposed to be the one helping you. He was supposed to be the strong one, the sturdy back who carried both your burdens. But it couldn’t be helped; this was the hand life had dealt you two and he had no choice but to accept it. He was careful to make sure you knew how thankful he was.

After that incident, you made the smart choice to invest in a high quality HEPA filter mask. While Sam understood it was necessary for you to be able to clean him up without losing your lunch, he felt guilty.

Guilt, shame, anguish. Feelings both of you shared.

One afternoon while Sam was taking a nap, you accidentally knocked over a glass and it shattered across the floor. The dam broke.

You burst into tears. You looked around your house. The place was a mess; given Sam’s state, you had to prioritize your daily tasks. Sam hadn’t been able to leave his bedroom since coming home. He needed you for every small thing. And you rarely slept anymore. Not to mention the fact that this house just wasn’t compatible with the needs of a disabled person.

You knew you needed to contact someone about adding ramps around the property and making the house more accessible for Sam, but despite it being a medical necessity, you knew your insurance would deny the claim. And you just didn’t have it in you to fight them in court. Besides, you didn’t have the funds to fight anyone in court, let alone pay for all the additions out of pocket.

You needed to get out. You needed to do more than step outside for a smoke break when Sam didn’t need anything right that second. You needed to get in your car (another expense that needed to be handled if Sam was ever going to leave the four walls of his room) and drive somewhere. Anywhere.

But you couldn’t. The car didn’t have enough gas to even make it to a gas station.

So you cried. Cried over the hopelessness. Cried over the life you lost just doing your job. Cried over Sam’s anguish over his lost of quality of life. Cried as silently as you could without waking your beloved soulmate.

At some point, you cried yourself into a small nap on the couch. The only thing that woke you was a knock at your door.

Sitting up, allowing yourself to wake up quickly, you made your way to the door.

Leaning in to look through the peephole, you saw there was over a dozen people at your door, possibly more. But the one you noticed first was Chief Singer.

Blinking, you slowly unlocked the door and opened it. More tears erupted from your eyes as you saw yours and Sam’s entire department standing in front of you, with big smiles on their faces.

“Hey guys,” you said, wiping your tears away in short order. “Um, Sam’s napping I think…”

“No I’m awake,” Sam called from his room.

“Well,” you said, “come on in.”

Everyone was here. Your entire brotherhood. Cas, Anna, Jo, Benny, Garth, Gordon, Pamela, Chief, as well as Charlie, Meg and Sheriff Mills.

“Mind if we say hi to the old bruiser?” Benny drawled, earning a laugh out of you.

“Sure.”

The guys went into Sam’s room, followed by you and Chief Singer. Sam was elated to see everyone. It felt like a lifetime ago each person in your home, yourself included, wished nothing less than death on Sam for their hatred of him. Now, everyone was so thankful he was alive.

“What brings you guys here?” Sam asked after receiving hugs from everyone.

“We got a surprise for you,” Jo said, “but you’re gonna have to come outside to see it.”

Sam furrowed his brows, but before he could question it, Cas, Benny, Garth, Gordon and Anna all positioned themselves to drawsheet him to his chair.

Benny and Cas were towards Sam’s head, Garth and Gordon were at his feet. They gathered the fitted sheet of his bed underneath him like you and the guys had done so many times before in your careers. Sam crossed his arms across his chest as Anna stabilized his chair to receive him.

“We all ready?” Benny called out.

Everyone nodded.

“On my count. One…two…three!”

With ease and professional precision, Sam was lifted out of his bed via drawsheet and placed gently into his wheelchair. Benny and Cas maneuvered the sheet out from under him and remade his bed for you. You muttered your thanks as Castiel pushed Sam’s wheelchair outside. When he got to the front door, he noticed a crevice in the wooden frame that the chair tended to get caught on. More than once, Sam almost fell out of his chair with you pushing him in and out of the house. So the guys all lifted the chair over the door jamb and pushed it outside. You noticed that Cas smiled at Chief Singer, almost like it said “told you this was a good idea.”

When you were a ways away from the house and onto the property, you noticed all the units that the guys came in and a few other trucks from company you didn’t recognize. When you read them, you almost started crying again.

One of them read “Amramp,” and you were floored.

“Guys, what is all this?” you asked, Sam’s wheelchair being stopped and parked beside you. You took your hand into his, and a small tear escaped your eyes when he squeezed it back.

“Well,” Chief Singer began, “we know you two have been struggling for a while now. It’s not easy going from two fully functional paramedics to caregiver and disabled idjit.”

Everyone laughed, including Sam.

“So, while you two were hospitalized, we started a fundraiser. We knew the road ahead was going to be a hard one, and we sure as hell weren’t gonna make you trek it alone. The fundraiser just ended the other day. And we raised enough money to pay for making your house more accessible for Sam.”

“Not only that, we had enough to get you something else,” Jo said to Sam as she opened the back of Medic 6R, which was now the new Medic 6, and a brand new, state-of-the-art, motorized wheelchair was strapped down in place of the cot.

The boys unfastened the straps and brought it down to ground level. Jo maneuvered the lever to bring it in front of Sam. He wasn’t going to bother hiding his joy. He started crying. You wrapped your arms around him, and he leaned in to give your cheek a tear-soaked kiss.

“This baby has everything you’ll ever need to get around the house. And it comes with a full warranty. Literally anything goes wrong with it, the company will come out to fix it or replace it, free of charge.”

By now, both you and Sam were crying tears of joy. And the whole time, you were reveling in the fact that no matter what happens, the Brotherhood that is the fire department will always have your back. Like the mantra says, “everybody goes home.”

Several months passed after SFFRD’s generous gifts, and those months saw things get progressively easier on both you and Sam. The ramp company installed the ramps leading into the front and back doors, taking less than a day to complete. And they were sturdy enough to handle anything, including the snowstorms that Sioux Falls normally saw each winter.

The therapy’s bus service that came directly to your house to pick Sam up was grateful for Sam’s upgraded chair. It made loading him in and out of the van easier on the driver and safer for Sam. You saw your husband making great strides with his therapy sessions. Within three months of the accident, he’d regained enough control over his bowels and bladder that he had a procedure to remove the colostomy in place. You called the insurance company to inquire about them paying for fixtures around the house to make it easier for Sam to go to the bathroom and shower on his own. Fortunately, the insurance company was happy to help. You paid your copay, and they did the rest. Before long, Sam was bathing, bathrooming and grooming himself all on his own. While you were immensely proud of how far he’d come, you were also starting to feel left out and unwanted.

What was the point of being retired when the reason you did it didn’t need you anymore? With Sam’s ever-growing independence, should you go back to work? I think the bigger question is, could I go back to work?

You’d recovered from your splenectomy, yet the dangers of getting sick would never go away. You were on medications to boost your immune system, but they had to weaken said system in order to build it back up, and that takes about a year or two of continued use. It was now a hundred times easier to catch tuberculosis, strep, hepatitis A and B, and all the other diseases that paramedics were more prone to in the field. Thinking logically, you couldn’t work in your chosen field ever again. And that hurt.

You started to feel like you did when you were in the hospital. And you did not want to go down that road again.

So you found Ruby’s business card in your wallet and made the call.

Ruby started coming over three times a week. Once for yourself, once for Sam, and once for couples’ therapy. Ruby’s sessions with Sam encouraged him to work harder at regaining mobility. He knew he wouldn’t be able to walk, or even work, ever again, but having a better quality of life was the ultimate goal.

Despite your progress with Ruby, you didn’t feel any better about your predicament. And one day at dinner, Sam offered to help with the dishes for the first time in months. And you broke.

“Might as well move out while I’m at it,” you said through eyes filled with tears.

“Whoa, whoa,” Sam began, “where’s this coming from?”

“Sam,” you said, taking a breath, “I’m happy you’re regaining strength every day. Believe me, you have no idea how elated I am! But wasn’t the whole point of me retiring to take care of you? Hell, I can’t even go back to work in the only field I have job experience in. It’s becoming more and more clear every day that soon, you won’t need me to help. What good am I if I can’t do the one thing I’m here for? Why can’t I be useful? Why can’t-”

“Baby, please, listen to me,” Sam said, wheeling himself closer to you. “You are anything but useless, and before you argue, hear me out.” You were about to open your mouth but shut it, allowing him to speak. “You are the love of my life. You are not a burden, you are not in the way, you are not useless. Even if all you do is grab a ladder to reach something in a cabinet for me, that’s still helping me with something I can’t do anymore. And that’s useful. I love you, Y/N. And I always will. We vowed to always together, in sickness and in health. And, well, since I can’t drive anymore, looks like you’re stuck with me for life. Sucks to be you.”

You laughed at that last sentence. Sam was right though. In your depression and misery, you seemed to have forgotten the vows you took less than nine month ago. You wrapped your arms around Sam, kissing his cheek.

“I love you too, gimpy.”

Sam laughed out loud at that. Then, an idea struck him.

“Climb into my lap?” He asked.

You did just that, fitting perfectly. He wheeled himself and you towards the living room, which was void of everything except a small recliner and end table in the corner. You’d moved the big television into Sam’s room after the accident.

Sam situated his chair in the center of the room and angled his neck so he was facing the Amazon Echo plugged in the kitchen.

“Alexa,” he called out, “play Broken by Seether featuring Amy Lee.”

“Playing Broken by Seether featuring Amy Lee,” the smart speaker replied.

When the music that you walked down the aisle to marry Sam started playing, you gasped slightly as he moved the wheelchair in zig-zag motions and circles.

Sam was dancing with you to your wedding song.

You slipped your arms around him tighter and buried your head into his chest as the wheelchair moved around the hardwood floor with ease, as close to the beat of the music as Sam could get it. But you weren’t too much attention to the song. The sound of Sam’s heart filled your senses, and you reveled in the fact that it came so close to stopping not six months ago.

Chapter Text


 

Two Years Later

The struggles and fights that came within the first year of the accident almost made you leave Sam. True, he had his high points, which were celebrated, but when he had his low points, you ended up staying with Jo and her boyfriend Maxwell Farley, a surgical nurse at Sanford Med. Those were low points for you. But in the end, Sam would always call, apologies, and beg you to come home. He’d take all the blame no matter what was said between the two of you, and you’d drive yourself back.

One night, you almost didn’t. You were at your wits’ end and wanted nothing more to file for divorce. But your heart wouldn’t allow it. You loved Sam for everything he was, and wasn’t. Leaving over a trifle of an argument, no matter how life altering it might’ve seemed at the time, wouldn’t solve anything.

The second year saw more milestones. He was finally able to throw out the grip-strengthening exercise balls that he was given in the hospital days after the accident, because he had fully recovered his ability to grab and hold things, including his own weight. His therapist suggested weight training to work on the rest of his upper body. You wasted no time joining Sam at the local gym, which had specialized equipment to help those wheelchair-bound patrons.

It became a ritual for you two: every afternoon, you’d load Sam up in the van (which was acquired after your mother’s beloved station wagon was finally too broken to fix) and you’d drive to the gym. You’d get him set up wherever he wanted to work out today and then you’d start on the treadmill for a light cardio session. Then the two of you would work on his lower body strength - as much as he had energy for. It was also a time for you two to work out the stresses and angst of being retired and disabled. It turned into a couple’s therapy session; which was great, considering Ruby had married a soldier who was stationed in Germany for the next three years. Saying goodbye to the woman who’d helped you out of your dark place after the accident was hard, but you wanted her to have so many good things in life that you’d probably never have yourself. You mailed a wedding gift to her new address, hoping it was enough to make up for the fact that you and Sam couldn’t attend the wedding in person.

When you got up one morning, Sam apparently was already out of bed and you could smell coffee and pancakes coming from the kitchen. He’d been gaining more and more strength as time went on; now he could get himself out of bed, plop himself into his wheelchair, and go about his business in the house. Sometimes he got up early enough to go outside and watch the sunrise. The two of you lived outside the city enough where you didn’t have any neighbors, so it was peaceful. But this morning, he was very chipper and decided to show it off by making you something to eat. He knew the way to your heart: coffee.

“Good morning, beautiful,” Sam said as you walked into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.

“Morning yourself, handsome,” you said smiling, wrapping your arms around him to kiss his cheek. When the guys at the station hooked you up with Sam’s wheelchair, they knew the kind of house and fixtures you had, so they made sure to get the tallest motorized wheelchair they could find. It allowed Sam to use the counters and even cook: a blessing you didn’t know you needed. “What’s all this? It’s July, baby. I thought my birthday wasn’t for a few more months.”

“It is,” Sam said, flipping a pancake to reveal perfectly cooked brown batter, “but I figured I’d get you fed so you can come with me to PT today.”

“Oh?” You replied, pouring yourself a cup of coffee. You surrendered yourself to the black, dark roasted taste, so hot and inviting. “I never go with you. You said it was something you wanted to do yourself without any help. So what’s with the change in routine?”

Sam turned his head around to smile at you. “You’ll see.”

You took Sam’s word for it as he plated a few pancakes for you, indicating the syrup was on the table. After breakfast, you took a shower and got dressed. Since you were going with him, he called the facility and told them he didn’t need the shuttle today. You smiled when he did, as the voices on the other end seemed ecstatic that you were coming with him. When you thought about it, you never met any of his therapists outside of Ruby, so you could say that you were excited too - excited to meet and thank the people helping to put your husband back together.

The drive was a lot farther than you originally realized, and suddenly you were thankful the facility continued to provide this service for free. Sam maneuvered himself out of the van and wheeled himself to the front door. When you were about to open it, he stopped you and rang a doorbell. A voice intercom on the wall was brought to life within a few seconds.

“Welcome to Sioux Falls Healing Hands, who graces our doorstep this day?”

“It’s Sam, Molly. And I brought my wife with me today.”

“Oh that’s wonderful! Come on it, door’s unlocked!”

With the sound of a satisfying click, you pulled the door open for Sam to go inside first. At the receptionist desk, a woman with medium length blonde hair and a pretty smile greeted you. But instead of shaking your hand, she hugged you while introducing herself.

“Welcome to Healing Hands, Mrs. Winchester! I’m Molly McNamara, I’m the receptionist here.”

“Nice to meet you,” you said as Molly released her hold on you. “Thank you guys for everything.”

“Oh hon, that’s what we’re here for!” Molly replied, smiling.

Sam cleared his throat to get your attention; he was at the door waiting for you to accompany him back towards the therapy rooms.

The “rooms” were actually just one big room - very similar to the gym you and Sam went to, except there were exercise equipment tailored towards the disabled. A man and woman approached Sam. Sam fistbumped the man and the woman leaned into to give him a hug. They were an older couple, but one that clearly took the therapies they provided very seriously.

“Madge, Ed, this is Y/N, my wife,” Sam introduced, waving a hand towards you as you came up from behind Sam’s chair. “Y/N this is Madge and Ed Carrigan. They’re the owners and therapists at Healing Hands.”

“Nice to meet you,” you replied.

Both of them embraced you and whispered thanks and praise for your strength and devotion to Sam. You tearfully thanked them, too, for getting your husband back to his functional state.

“Well then, Sam,” Madge said, “you ready to show your bride why she’s here?”

You gave Sam a puzzled look, but Sam just wheeled himself over towards a set of parallel bars, no doubt used for people to practice walking.

“Y/N, darling, go to the other side of the bars,” Ed called out as Madge and him got Sam’s gripping gloves on.

You wondered why Sam was going there; he couldn’t walk.

Oh, how wrong you were.

Sam moved his feet off the leg rests of his chair on his own, something that made your eyes grow wide. But the surprises were far from over. He reached up and grabbed the bars and leaned forward while Madge fastened a support belt around his middle, probably to keep a grip on him for therapy. Then he took a big breath in, and hoisted himself up from his chair.

Your instincts told you to run and catch him before he fell, but that was before you realized what he was doing.

Sam was standing…. on his own! But he wasn’t done yet.

You saw him pick one foot up, and place it in front of him, then he repeated it with the other one. Slowly but surely, he was using the parallel bars to support himself…

As he walked towards you at the opposite end.

Sam was walking again!

My husband is walking!

Sam made it to the end, and before you could do or say anything, he kissed you victoriously. Madge and Ed were cheering for him. You wrapped your arms around him, and it felt so good to be able to hug your husband with him standing taller than his chair.

“I did it, baby,” Sam whispered, emotion clouding his voice. “I'm… I’m walking again…”

“I’m so proud of you, Sam,” you cried softly, not letting go of him. “You beat the odds. The doctors told you you’d never walk again! Who’s fucking walking now?!”

Sam’s reaction was a half-laugh, half-cry.

You knew you had phone calls to make, but those could wait. It had been over two years since the accident took away Sam’s mobility and your career. But today… today was won. A victory to match all other triumphs in the last two years.

Madge brought Sam’s chair back to him, and you were glad she did because the physical strength required to keep himself standing left him exhausted.

“Well done, Sam! Well done!”

Sam breathed his thanks.

“You did good, son,” Ed came by, “we’re all very proud of you and the work you’ve put in to get this far. In another year, you could be walking on your own with permanent leg braces.”

“Really?” You exclaimed. “Could- could it really be that soon?”

“If Sam here keeps up the work he’s doing and doesn’t let up,” Madge answered, “he could be mobile in that time frame.”

That year of hard work turned into eight months.

In less than a year, Sam went from wheelchair-bound to walking with permanent leg braces that were surgically implanted. He was also given a full-body MRI to see how much nerve regeneration he had. The doctors were stunned by the results.

“It almost looks like he was never paralyzed,” Charlie said. You brought Sam’s scans to her personally for her opinion. Not that you doubted anything his doctors were saying; but Charlie had become a close family friend, and anything radiology related that you needed eyes and ears on, you went to her first. “I don’t know what Sam’s made of, but I hope to find a woman like that someday!”

You laughed as you took the scans back from her.

“We’re planning a huge party at station 6 to celebrate,” you told her. “You should come! Everyone who’s been involved in our lives is invited. And since you were in our wedding, your only excuse for not showing up is if you’re dead!”

Charlie laughed but answered with a sad smile. “I’m working on the 29th. I can’t! So send me lots of selfies and videos!”

You laughed and promised at least one selfie and video, something she was down for.

The 29th came - and it was an exciting morning. Neither you nor Sam told the guys at the station why you wanted to throw a party, so the anticipation of seeing their reactions was making you jittery.

When Sam was going to his therapy appointments, you started making up excuses as to why you couldn’t join him; but in reality, while you hated lying to your husband, you were out preparing for the party in more ways than even Sam would expect.

When the two of you arrived at the station, every unit that was there suddenly came to life, lights and sirens blazing like they were giving an evac order. It was endearing to say the least. You parked in yours, and Sam’s, old Lead Supervisor parking spot and you and Sam got out of the van. Walking through the bay and towards the back where the party was, you were greeted by everyone. Cas, Anna, Jo and Pamela threw their arms around you, and the engine guys went over to give Sam some love from his chair.

Chief Singer came to you and embraced you. “How ya doin’, kiddo?”

“Good, good,” you said, then lowered your voice when it seemed everyone else was busy. “I hope you didn’t blab to anyone about what’s about to happen.”

“Of course not,” Bobby hissed, “I’m not an idjit.”

You smiled, looking around at Sioux Falls’ newest firefighter recruits. You were about to put them to work.

Once everyone had been fed and they all had drinks in their hands, you spoke up. Everyone gathered around you in a large circle, Sam wheeling himself to be at your side. He had a blanket around his waist, draped over his legs, despite it getting warmer outside. But everyone knew better than to question it. Sometimes paraplegics have a harder time maintaining their internal body temperatures; Sam was no different.

“Thank you all for showing up here today. Good thing most of you were contractually obligated to attend,” you mused, causing everyone to laugh. “But there was a reason why I asked to throw a party here and not at our house. First off, have you seen this place? It’s fucking huge!” More laughter. “And because… we’ve reached a critical milestone in our recovery and, being as everyone here is family, we wanted to share it with you. Sam?”

Sam snaked around, ripped the blanket off and stepped up out of his wheelchair. He walked slowly and with a slightly off-center gait towards Jo, who by the time Sam reached her, was bawling her eyes out. In fact, there wasn’t a dry eye on station property. Even the newbies had tears in their eyes. The story of the Winchesters’ legacy was one that Sioux Falls Station 6 proudly displayed when you walked into the main lobby, much like the memorial of your mother back home at Station 96. So everyone knew who you and Sam were.

“So, Sam, what are you doing with the chair now that you clearly don’t need it?” Gordon asked, patting Sam on the back.

“That’s why they’re here,” Chief Singer said loudly. “Recruits! Gear up!”

Everyone knew what that meant. As the newbies started putting on their turnout gear, Cas grabbed a gas can from the storage closet where they all their chemicals and biohazard stuff and doused Sam’s chair until everything was soaked. Everyone took several steps back as Chief Singer lit a few matches and threw them at the chair, setting it ablaze.

Hoots and hollers resounded in the air as the chair went up in flames, Sam’s being the loudest one of them all. You cheered right alongside him. He had his arm around you as you watched the last little piece of the last two years go up in smoke. It symbolized a new beginning for you two. While Sam knew he’d never be a paramedic again, he was content with life. All he wanted to do was walk. He didn’t know if he’d be able to drive again, but that was a bridge to cross when he came to it.

As the chair continued to burn, the new recruits came forward with their gear and the hoses from Ladder 6 and began putting the chair out, now a pile of smoldering metal and upholstery.

As the chair continued to smolder long after being put out, you came forward as everyone gathered closer, clear that you had another announcement to make.

“So Sam,” Cas chided, “anything else besides your legs working?”

Everyone laughed.

“Actually there is,” you said, and everyone, including Sam, looked at you curiously.

You slipped something out of your back pocket and showed it to everyone. Jaws dropped all around, including Sam’s.

“Since you are our family, it only made sense to wait until today to announce that we’re expecting!”

The loudest cheers ever erupted from the crowd, and Sam leaned in to kiss you.

“I’m going to be a father,” was all he said as he leaned his head onto your shoulder to cry tears of joy.

Chapter Text


 

 

Apparently, when a woman makes an official announcement to family that she’s pregnant, that’s when all the early term unpleasantness commences. Because the day after the big party and announcing that you and Sam were expecting sometime in December, the morning sickness came - which was followed by afternoon and evening sickness. And, you ended up losing ten pounds during the first trimester alone due to the fact that you couldn’t keep anything down.

Your usual treatments for nausea did little to stave off the inevitable. Usually, you’d hit nausea and vomiting with either Phenergan or Zofran; when you were on the box, a quick muscular injection would last for days if you were really sick. You went up to the station with Sam when it became unbearable, and after a quick exam in the back of the unit, Jo told you-

“You need to be seen, babe.”

“What the hell for?” Sam demanded.

“Well aside from the nausea and weight loss, your blood pressure is very low. You’re losing more than just weight. You’re losing blood volume.”

“Which can affect the baby,” Sam muttered.

You wanted to cry. But, it was just another hardship you were going to have to endure to rediscover your perfect forever. “Sanford Med it is, then.”

Since Sam’s paramedic certifications still were valid, Jo offered to let him take the lead, knowing that she could always ask for Chief Singer’s forgiveness later. But Sam declined, choosing to be a comforting husband and expectant father rather than lead medic.

“Jo, those days are behind me. And I’m okay with that. I’ve got bigger and better things to look forward to.” Sam placed a tentative hand across your still-flat belly. You smiled.

It wasn’t long ago that you used to be jealous of anyone driving or riding shotgun in a box anywhere in town. Wishing and longing to be back in the saddle, working your life’s dream, saving lives. But if Sam was okay with moving on from the heyday of his career, you could too. Besides, he had a good point. There were more exciting things about to come into their lives.

Cas drove the box while Jo attended to you in the back, Sam sitting by your side the whole time. He let his old partner and extended family member take care of his wife, knowing you was in great hands.

That ER visit turned into being admitted when it was discovered you had hyperemesis gravidarum. That explained the severe nausea and vomiting as well as the weight loss, and it was discovered that you were also severely dehydrated, since you were also unable to keep water down.

The only upside to this hospital stay was that Sam got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. He almost cried at the fast-paced music shining light on the life growing inside you.

More hospital visits were required throughout your pregnancy, as the HG only got worse, causing other issues. Around four months into your pregnancy, you collapsed at home and Sam had to call 911. He personally found it embarrassing that he had to call others for something he used to be able to do on his own, but he had to remind himself that he wasn’t that guy anymore. Fortunately, Gabe and Benny were running that night, and they had a new EMT trainee with them. A bright eyed, dark haired girl named Alex Jones. She clearly knew her textbooks inside and out and was eager to help; literally how all medics start out when green. Sam had confidence she was going to go far in her career.

When you were brought to the hospital, they did an immediate ultrasound and not only discovered that the baby was okay, but that it was a boy.

“A boy?” You questioned in a delirious state.

“That’s right, sweetie,” Sam replied gently, placing a kiss on your forehead. “We’re going to have a son.”

For that visit, you kept the ultrasound printouts close to your bedside as you were treated for another round of dehydration. Only this time, you were released the next day.

Around seven months into your pregnancy, Sam went for a walk and came home to find you on the floor again. Only this time, you weren’t breathing.

Panic flooded his insides like they never have before. He called 911 again and was thankful no students were with the crew this time. Cas and Jo were on the truck. They wasted no time getting you loaded up and taken, emergency traffic, to Sanford Med. By the time they got there, you were intubated because you still weren’t breathing on your own.

And your baby boy was in danger too.

“Her blood pressure spiked so high that she must’ve lost consciousness while I was out,” Sam told Dean over the phone. You were in the labor and delivery wing of the hospital, a standard for any woman needing admission at over twenty weeks pregnant. A respiratory therapist and cardiologist were brought in to monitor your condition alongside the L&D staff, as you were still intubated and in a medically induced coma.

“You think the HG caused this? I’ve never heard of it personally, but then again, I chose to become a police officer,” Dean replied. It was late at night so Lisa and Ben were already in bed. Dean got the call shortly before retiring for the night himself, so he went outside with a fresh beer to talk to his little brother.

“They’re thinking the HG might’ve developed into something related to eclampsia, but it’s unheard of. I still don’t know what’s going on. They’ve run every test in the book. But so far nothing.”

“How’s little man doing?”

“He’s good as far as we’re aware. His heartbeat is still strong, and he’s kicking up a storm despite Y/N being out of it. Every time I place a hand on her belly, he kicks against it. Man, it’s the greatest feeling ever.”

“Dude, Ben was a goddamn gymnast in the womb. Lisa used to lift up her shirt and you could see her belly contorting and twisting in funny shapes with the amount of movement Ben made.”

Sam sighed a contented sigh, not really sure on what else to say to lighten the mood. Dean could sense this.

“Have you two picked out a name for the little bugger yet?”

“We have, but we wanna keep it a surprise until the birth. It was Y/N’s idea so I can’t take credit for it. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.”

“Fair enough, I won’t pry,” Dean chuckled.

Two weeks went by before you emerged from your coma, breathing tube removed and vital signs stable. You were ordered to go home and remain on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. And you were to push water as often as you physically could stand it. The HG symptoms had tapered off enough to allow you to regain some of the weight you’d lost, but the nausea you felt would continue until delivery day.

But despite the hardships, you did your best to follow the doctor’s orders. You sat in bed and drank water all day long. Sam upgraded the big television that was in his old room when he was wheelchair bound into the master bedroom that you now shared again. He had it professionally mounted to the wall for easy viewing. It was a smart TV as well, so Sam acquired subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and YouTube Red, all now at the touch of a few buttons. You tried to keep your viewing list to things that wouldn’t cause too much excitement, lest raise your blood pressure again. Sam had no problem checking it a few times a day; you had to admit it felt good for your husband to treat you like his patient on the box. It brought back good memories. Memories aside, you were really hoping to have a home-birth for this child. You had a feeling it would be yours and Sam’s only one.

A few weeks before the big day, Sam surprised you with a professional photographer to come in and take maternity photos. You tried not to be mad about not being asked if you wanted them (your hormones were causing you to get mad at the stupidest things lately) but because Sam was excited about this, you tried to be too.

In the end, the photos turned out great and you were grateful that Sam insisted on them being done.

The one of Sam sitting behind you outside with his hands on your belly, looking down, and your hands on top of his, looking up at him, the setting sun shining the most beautiful light on you both, was your favorite. You ordered to have that one blown up to at least an eight-by-ten and framed.

December 11, 2017, 0340 hours

You were thankful that Sam had made prior arrangements weeks ago with Chief Singer, because your water broke in the middle of the night with no prior warning.

Baby Boy Winchester was coming and he wasn’t slowing down.

Sam called Singer and Singer immediately put the necessary trucks out of service so that Cas, Anna, and Jo could be there to help Sam with the birth. Despite being able to walk on his own, Sam still was working on his ability to stay in a crouched position for long periods of time. He wasn’t quite there yet.

By the time the units and crew arrived, you were already starting to show signs of crowning, laying on a multitude of disposable blankets and towels. Your contractions were less than a minute apart. By the time your brother and sisters were all set up, you couldn’t wait any longer. And neither could the baby.

“And push!” Jo called out.

Cas and Anna were holding your legs and you bore down on your butt, Sam and Bobby were holding each of your hands, and Jo was ready to receive the newest member of the Winchester family.

Cas was counting to ten with each push you did, Sam was whispering all the encouraging words he could while you did all the work of bringing his son into the world. Bobby kept dabbing your forehead with a cool washcloth, and Anna ensured you didn’t need oxygen while pushing.

Fortunately, all the hardship and hospital stays were worth it, as you delivered a perfectly healthy baby boy just shortly after 0400 hours. Ten fingers, ten toes, an intact set of boy parts, and a cry that would’ve woken neighbors if you had them. While Jo tended to the newborn, Anna came over and delivered the placenta and cleaned you up. Sam was sitting behind you so you could lean into him and rest.

Nine months of Sam wondering if he was going to lose his wife came to a happy ending when the little boy, still mewing with unhappiness, was swaddled and placed in his arms.

“That handsome little brute got a name?” Bobby asked as the rest of the crew were cleaning up and recovering. The joy and elation of taking part in delivering a baby was felt among everyone.

“He does,” Sam answered, looking down at you with adoration in his eyes.

“Robert Steven Winchester,” you said proudly, relieved you could finally reveal his name. “We’re thinking of calling him ‘Lil Bobby’ for short. After you, Chief.”

If Bobby Singer was capable of crying, he would’ve been now.

“I’m honored, you two. Really I am. Let’s just hope he doesn’t develop a drinking problem in his later years.”

Everyone shared a chuckle.

You exposed your breast to start nursing, and it was like you were meant to be a mother. Lil Bobby latched on and ate well. Sam just continued to stare at his new son and couldn’t believe this was his life now.

You always talked about having your “perfect forever,” yet never getting it. Sam never paid too much attention to the meaning behind it until now.

He was walking again. He had his wife. And now he had a newborn son to raise.

Sam finally had his perfect forever.

Chapter Text


 

 

The first few weeks of Lil Bobby’s life were mostly smooth sailing. The occasional blown out diaper (when, to your amusement, you discovered poop was one of Sam’s weaknesses), the occasional night time feeding after you were past the every-two-hours phase, the less-than-frequent “we have no idea why he’s crying help please!” incident, but you assumed that every parent went through that.

Of all the hardships you’d gone through to bring Lil Bobby into the world, staying away from smoking throughout the entire pregnancy was the hardest. Though you were proud you managed to stop cold-turkey the moment you found out you were expecting, as soon as Lil Bobby was born, it didn’t take long for those cravings to come back in full force. When Lil Bobby was two months old, you started rolling cigarettes again and smoked only after you knew he was down for the night. You’d do a round of “pump and dump” so it wouldn’t pass into your breastmilk, but when Lil Bobby was six months old, he stopped nursing in favor of whatever his daddy was eating.

Sam was such a great father. He was starting to think that being in that car accident was a blessing in disguise. If he hadn’t been paralyzed and forced to retire, he wouldn’t have the time he did now to spend with his son - something that he doubted he’d get much of if he were still a working medic.

When Lil Bobby was nine months old, Castiel and Anna discovered that they were expecting. When the youngest Winchester was a year and a half, the Novaks welcomed a daughter they named Clara Rene Novak. The Winchesters and the Novaks started spending more time together. Lil Bobby and Clara were great playmates.

When Lil Bobby was two years old, Jo married her boyfriend Maxwell in the same place that you and Sam got married. The property was abandoned now with no owner, so no need to ask permission, though it did require a tractor rental to tame the wild grass that had grown as the years passed. But it was also a smaller ceremony; the only ones in attendance were those Jo worked with regularly besides her mother. You were happy to be her maid of honor.

And at the reception, Jo announced that the reason they got married when they did was because she too was expecting. Joyous celebrations and excitement filled the air. Seven and a half months later, Jo gave birth to triplet sons via Cesarean section. Maxwell ended up relying on Sam and Castiel’s advice more times than not, and he became a regular fixture at Sam’s house. He turned out to be a great babysitter, something that always made you chuckle.

Though there were many good times, they weren’t meant to last.

Two weeks before Lil Bobby’s fifth birthday, you were diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and given a minimum of six months to live, with or without pointless treatment. On February 9, 2023, at the age of forty-nine, surrounded by your husband and son, you took your last agonizing breath and died shortly afterwards.

Your funeral was Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department’s first since 1941. It took place on a dreary, cold Sunday morning. Your wishes to have a green funeral, where there was no embalming and you were wrapped in biodegradable silk and laid in a conservation-friendly vault, were honored. You were also given full fire department honors and awarded many awards posthumously, all of course presented to Sam, including the flag that draped your remains before it was lowered into the dark, unforgiving earth six feet below. Cas, Benny, Garth, Gordon, Maxwell, and Chief Singer all had a hand in lowering you into said earth, and each attendee was to toss some dirt into your grave with a shovel, as per your wishes. Sam and Lil Bobby were the last ones to leave the sight that day, save for Chief who was his ride as Sam still couldn’t drive.

Sam thought he’d endured hardship. From the loss of his mother, to his then-girlfriend Jessica, then his own father. But nothing, absolutely nothing, came to the torment and sadness of knowing you were never going to see Lil Bobby grow into the man he was meant to be. You were never going to help him celebrate another birthday. You would never see him take a girl (or guy) on his first date. Watch him graduate from high school, college, get married, become a parent himself.

But this loss was different. Not just in the way of his relationship with you, but the fact that it wasn’t just about him anymore. He was now officially a single parent. He had to do all he could to raise Lil Bobby the way you would’ve wanted to.

Despite all that happened, Sam was able to keep collecting your retirement funds until his death. It made sense considering the retirement package was a combination of his and your service to Sioux Falls. But he made the most of it. He contacted Ruby to ask about a referral to a mental health professional but found her overseas number was disconnected. A little bit of digging and he found out that she’d died.

Similar to him and you, she too was in a massive car accident with her husband, only she wasn’t so lucky. Her and her husband were both killed on impact. Her body was cremated but never returned to the United States. Her ashes were scattered across a river in Germany by her husband’s comrades.

Sam was certain the only reason for not taking his life right then and there was because Lil Bobby came in and asked for something to eat. He had tears in his eyes because he, too, missed you. Sam decided enough was enough. He made a call.

“Sheriff Winchester.”

“Dean, I need help or I’m gonna end up next to Y/N,” Sam cried.

Dean Winchester made the boldest move in his entire career by stepping down as Douglas County Sheriff and moving his family to up the frigid lands of Sioux Falls. Sam practically threw his arms around his brother, the tears pouring from his eyes. Dean just held his little brother for as long as it was needed. Ben came into the home around Sam and Dean and immediately went to the little boy who was his cousin.

The boys immediately bonded. Sam tried to find his brother a decent house for either rent or purchase, but Dean had other ideas in mind.

Within six months, Sam had a new neighbor.

Living next door to Dean made life a lot more bearable. Lil Bobby always had someone to play with, despite Ben being a lot older than him. The older boy was a great role model for the younger one. And Sam and Dean saw a little of themselves in the boys. Lisa was supposed to be Lil Bobby’s aunt, but served as a great mother figure for him. Sam couldn’t have asked for a better life situation. And he knew that, wherever you were, you were proud of him and the young boy he was raising.

The fire department regularly stopped by the house to visit, sometimes even host barbecues. Sam was thankful for his brothers and sisters still looking out for him years later.

2031

Sam never regained his ability to drive. That was the one part of his disability he was never able to get over. But that year was also the year Lil Bobby turned 14, and with his uncle and father’s help, successfully obtained a hardship driver’s license. Despite Lil Bobby’s reluctance, Dean borrowed a friend’s manual transmission truck and taught Lil Bobby how to drive a stick.

“Anyone can drive an automatic, kiddo, but not very many people even know what a stick shift is anymore,” Dean was telling him from the passenger seat. “It’s a very important skill to have. This way, there won’t be a single vehicle on the road today that you won’t know how to drive.”

“If you say so,” Lil Bobby replied, the puberty evident in his ever-deepening voice.

Lil Bobby bonded closely with his uncle after his cousin Ben went off to college. Sam loved seeing their relationship grow as the years went on.

Four years later, after graduating high school, Lil Bobby decided to follow in his family’s footsteps.

“I’m gonna join the fire department,” Lil Bobby, who now preferred ‘Rob’, said proudly. “Just like you and Momma.”

Sam, Dean, Lisa and Ben were ecstatic about the news. Sam couldn’t believe that his son was carrying on what became the 'family business’. And he had some great family members that would make sure Rob was the best he could be.

When Sam invited the now retired Chief Singer over for lunch the next day to tell him the news, Singer replied with, “if he needs a mentor, I wouldn’t mind coming out of retirement for it.”

“You sure, Bobby? Rob would understand if it’s too much. There’s plenty of other guys at Station 6 who could do the job.”

“Nonsense. I curated one generation of Winchester, might as well finish out the next one while I still can. Besides, you and I both know that Y/N would be kicking my ass if it weren’t me. That’s a promise.”

Sam cracked a small smiled. It had gotten to the point in his life where, despite you being dead, you were never really gone. You were just not here right now. Everywhere he looked, there were signs that you were right there beside him, watching and no doubt you were proud of what your son had become.

Rob Winchester ended up graduating from the Sioux Falls Fire Academy at the top of his class and, despite being teased as the favorite for being the “Lieutenants Winchester’s kid” or “the Chief’s grandson” he earned his place in the ranks of Sioux Falls’ elite.

Rob eventually got his paramedic certifications (naturally with his father’s help on the NREMT’s) and started running EMS calls during the day and fire calls at night. It wasn’t long before a red headed woman working in Sanford Med’s emergency department caught his eye.

And it wasn’t long after that (or so it seemed) that he was exchanging vows with Debbie Handon on his wedding day. Debbie Winchester was the perfect daughter-in-law in Sam’s humble opinion. She reminded him of when he’d first met you, minus the unadulterated hatred and self-loathing attitude of dickbaggery. It always made Sam chuckle when he thought about it: how his own love story started out with him hating the woman who would be his wife, the mother of his child. The woman who selflessly sacrificed everything to make his life better. The woman who left this world way before her time.

Two years after Rob and Debbie’s wedding, they brought twin daughters into the world. Growing up, Rob always saw picture of the two little tortoiseshell cats that his mother had before she met his father. Mimi and Kiki. So, in his mind, it only made sense to name his first born daughter Miranda and his other daughter Karina, and call them Mimi and Kiki for short. Sam cried tears of joy at this; not only were his granddaughters beautiful, the tribute to animals that you considered your own daughters was so fitting. Rob was definitely a Winchester.

2055

A 72-year-old Sam Winchester had lived a long, prosperous life. He’d suffered, and he’d had joy. He never thought he’d make it to 50, let alone 70. With his son living with his own family, his brother Dean and his wife and child long gone from this world, he and Rob were the last of his generation of Winchester.

While finishing up dinner, he went towards his bedroom to grab a book to read in the living room. But he never made it.

Sam, in his old age, tripped over his own shoelaces and took a tumble to the ground, not only undoing all the work he did to regain his ability to walk almost 40 years earlier, but adding to it what would prove to be a debilitating brain injury.

If he hadn’t been expecting a late-night visit from his son, who knows how long it would’ve been before his body was found.

Rob had just gotten off duty from a late EMS call and since he was in the area, he called ahead to visit his father. At his dad’s age, he always worried about him living alone, but never worried enough to speak up about it. Given everything his dad had gone through in his life, he was doing pretty damn good.

But when he showed up and rang the doorbell, and got no answer, his paramedic-trained mind immediately assumed the worst. Knocking several times, and ringing a few more times after that, and still not getting any answer, despite calling out to his dad, he made a drastic last-second decision and kicked in the door of his childhood home.

And the sight made his heart drop.

Sam was sprawled out on the floor in the hallway between the master bedroom and the spare bathroom. Rob went into medic mode and radioed for backup, hoping he wasn’t too late.

The doctors told Rob and his wife that, given Sam’s age, the most they could do was keep him comfortable, but he would never walk again, and the concussion would be permanent.

As far as Sam was concerned, it was okay.

“No, Dad, please,” Rob begged his father. “I… I can’t lose you.”

“You’ll never lose me,” Sam said in a soft voice, no doubt speaking through immense pain, “just like you never truly lost your mother.”

Tears pricked at the corners of Rob’s eyes. He knew his father was right; his mother, though dead in body, was always alive in spirit.

Sam was discharged from the hospital and was given information about hospice per his request.

Rob tried to talk him out of it, but he knew it was useless.

His father was going to die.

But it didn’t have to be a sad thing.

A few nights went by before Sam asked for a “family meeting.” It consisted of his son and family, and the offspring of members from the original SFFRD crew. Everyone tried to not be so sad, but it was hard.

“I know that my time is short,” Sam began slowly, wheezing and slurring his words, “which is why I called everyone here. You are my family: a family that almost didn’t come to pass. See, my life could’ve turned into something completely different. I was a cold, mean son of a bitch in the height of my career as a paramedic. Nobody could change my ways; I’d lost all compassion and empathy for doing my job, which is not the way to be a public servant.

"All was lost for me, until I met a young, beautiful woman named Y/N. When we first met, I hated her. I wanted nothing more than for her to leave and never come back. In fact, I broke the law trying to make that happen. But she taught me a valuable lesson. No matter how bad life gets, smile. Because there is always something to be thankful for.

“People used to ask me what I could take to make me less of an ass. I finally have the answer to that question.” Sam turned to Rob, and lifted up his hand. Rob took it in his and pressed it close to his chest. “Your mother was the drug I needed to save myself. And I will forever be grateful for her love for us. Her love…for me…”

Before Rob could respond, Sam took his last breath, and passed away, his only son still holding his hand.

Sam Winchester was buried next to his beloved bride who had passed 32 years before him. Rob was given sufficient time to mourn the loss of the last family member he still had, then went back to work. He had a family to provide for and didn’t want to miss out on anything life had to offer. That was something Sam and Y/N taught him before he even realized it.

Sam however, woke up in the Sioux Falls Crew Quarters after what felt like a long nap. He panicked for a moment, but somehow knew he was exactly where he needed to be. He looked in a mirror to check out his 28-year-old reflection, straighten his uniform and his longish chestnut hair, which he could’ve sworn was white and almost gone not five minutes ago. He shrugged it off and made his way to the ambulance bay.

When he swung the doors open, everyone he’d ever known was standing in there waiting for him. Cas and Anna were arm-in-arm, Jo, Benny, Garth, Gordon, Pamela, and Chief Singer were all standing around too, even Ellen was standing by her office door waving; everyone single one of them smiling at Sam.

But there was one person missing. In fact, the most important one.

“There you are!”

Everyone in the bay moved to create an aisle that led to a familiar ambulance, with its back doors wide open. A young, Y/H/C haired woman was facing away from him and she rummaged through one of the bags. When Sam got closer, a realization hit him.

I’m in heaven.

The woman turned around and smiled at Sam. She angled her head up to kiss him; a long, lingering kiss that felt like she hadn’t done that in decades.

“There you are, Sam! C'mon! We’ve gotta finish checking off the truck. Otherwise Chief will have our asses for being late to tour!”

Sam smiled, stood at attention, and saluted his wife for the first time ever.

“Yes, ma'am.”


THE END