Chapter 278: Nightmares of a Certain Future
Samuel James Winchester recoiled hard, ducking backwards out of reach. Eyes wide and horrified, the teenager watched the woman in the black slip slide free of the shadows. As familiar as her features were to him, there was nothing he recognized about that face now.
Marina Petrovka stood before him, her normally hot chocolate eyes the color of black pitch. While there was always a lethal grace to his foster mother, she had never looked like this. The body slinked forward, leonine and predatory. There was a cruel smirk on the beloved face, the expression twisted and unfamiliar.
Every fiber of him rebelled against the knowledge building in his mind. The eyes . . . the strange behavior . . . he knew what all of that meant.
There was a demon riding his foster mother. And the caring, gentle, protective woman he had come to love so fiercely, had been reduced to a meat suit. Marina was trapped within her own body, either helpless . . . or dead.
The thought sent agony slicing through him like a butcher knife through butter. That pain warred with the hot flame of rage, battling against each other to leave him stunted and speechless. The woman smiled, his face shining in the obsidian of her eyes, reflecting back to him the depths of his heartbreak.
Her mouth twisted as she sneered, “Oh, little Sammy . . . I wonder what you know about your destiny. What has Daddy Dearest told you?” An evil grin slipped across her lips as she laughed. “My Master has plans for you, little Winchester. As for me . . . I have plans for this body. Young and pretty - strong and durable; yes, she’ll do very nicely, don’t you think? And you’ll have a familiar face with you, when you’re ruling in hell. Won’t that be wonderful?”
The well of fury roiled through him and he lunged forward. Horror overtook him as he remained motionless, unable to move or rescue her. “Pretty little Boy King . . . what will you become? Won’t it be fun to find out? Personally, I can’t wait.”
Screams of rage poured from him, an agonized howl that reflected his fear, pain and anger. Hands came up to grip his shoulders, invisible but strong. “Samonik,” whispered a disembodied voice, the sound familiar and warm, “sweetheart, it’s just a dream. Wake up kiddo.”
Sam almost knew the voice, could almost call its owner to his memory. He knew it wasn’t his brother’s or his father’s, but even still, the person’s identity eluded his terrified mind. The woman - because that was not Marina - seemed to hear the voice too, because she cut in with a vicious taunt. “Are you sure this is dream, little Winchester? You see things in your dreams, true things; how can you be sure this isn’t your new reality?”
Despair ripped through him, earning another scream. The invisible hands tightened, as the earlier voice hardened, barking out, “Samuel James . . . wake! Up!”
The teenager’s eyes slammed open and he jackknifed upwards, nearly headbutting his foster father in his panic. “Marina!?” he demanded, hands coming up to grip the man’s wrists, “Where is Marina? Is she okay!?”
Will’s eyes were clouded grey as he watched Sam fidget uncontrollably, eyes roaming the room as though searching for some threat he believed was there. The man’s hand shifted from his shoulder to the curve of his neck, his thumb smoothing gently over his jawline. As for his voice, it was purposefully low and soothing, as he promised, “Marina is fine.” Catching the boy’s eyes, he held them as he reminded the kid, “She went with Nick and Maria on assignment, remember? It’ll be a cakewalk for those three.”
Feeling his heart rate slow at the reminder, Samonik joked feebly, “I thought directors didn’t go into the field.”
“Most directors aren’t Nick Fury; he gets antsy when he’s been stuck in his office for too long.” There was a ring of bright blue growing outward from the Colonel’s pupil as he gave the teenager a sly wink. “I think he just likes being allowed to go raise a little hell with my Marishka, from time to time.”
Sam locked up at the name, hand flashing to grab his foster father’s arm as he demanded, “And you’re sure she’s okay?”
“Last report, they were on the transport and headed home. Everyone accounted for and no injuries.” Will’s face turned fond as he shifted to crook one knee up onto the bed. “Nightmare was about Marina, then, huh?”
Shocked at the question, the youngest Winchester found himself nodding as he begged, “You have to keep her safe, Will . . . please!”
“Samonik, I would love nothing more than to be able to promise that. Except this is Marina; she would do literally anything to protect the ones she loves, no holds barred.” Warm fingers ran through Sam’s hair as he chuckled fondly, “She wouldn’t be the woman we love so much, if we tried to cage her, Samonik.”
“But there are other ways to cage her, Will!” he protested with wide eyes. “Demons . . . my dad! He calls their vessels meat suits, and that’s not something I ever want to worry about. Not for Marina.”
Will’s eyebrows rose as little as he asked, “You dreamed about Marina . . . being possessed?”
His head nodded up and down in panicked agreement. “Sometimes, my dreams? They come true . . . and this is one dream, I don’t want that to be the case.”
“Come true?” Will echoed, eyes narrowing. “What do you mean? Come true how?”
“I don’t really know?” he replied with a sheepish shrug as he stared down at his hands. “Sometimes, I can’t remember the dreams themselves, but I know something bad is going to happen. Once it does, it’s kind of like pre deja vu? Sometimes, though, I remember everything that happened in my dream.”
The teenager shuddered as he insisted, “I hate those ones.”
“Because I’ll see them later on the news?” He could feel the all too familiar fear well up inside of him as he choked out, “My dad would flip out, if I tried to tell him I was a clairvoyant or something. And Dean? He’s in a good place right now! He shouldn’t have to go back to that life, just because his baby brother is fucking up his life again.” Looking up at the Colonel, the teenager implored fervently, “Will, he loves MIT.”
“Considering the dejected look on his face when he thought he was going to have to transfer out?” Will reminded him with a small, lopsided smile. “That I already knew. Besides, last I heard from Sarge, Dean’s made a new friend too.”
“You mean Mac?” Samonik asked with a fond smile. “Dean said he’s a little older than me . . . ‘builds crazy shit out of even crazier shit’. Direct quote.”
“Yeah; it’s good to hear though. I thought Dean was going to content himself with you and Sammichka for the rest of his life,” Will agreed with a grin. “Kid could afford to socialize more. Boston isn’t exactly around the corner.”
After a moment, the Colonel sobered, and returned to the original conversation. “You know, Samonik, there are others you can talk to about anything Supernatural.”
“No offense, Will, but you and Marina aren’t exactly experienced in that world.”
“I was talking about my Dad and Aunt Gretel,” the Colonel snarked with a roll of his eyes. “Dad heads up S.W.O.R.D. here at S.H.I.E.L.D.. He has a whole network of hunters, who could track down the people in your dreams to prevent them from coming true. You just have to remember to talk to someone about them, when they happen.”
Sam frowned, suddenly remembering the department the former witch hunters ran together within S.H.I.E.L.D. The department began collecting hunters not long after the blood moon hunt when the Grimms first met the Winchesters. Currently, there were upwards of fifty previously freelance hunters working for the department, and most of them were very well connected among other hunters. Probably one of the most unusual departments, S.W.O.R.D. stood for the Supernatural and Witchcraft Observation and Response Department.
He spared a moment to wonder whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. could even manage simple name.
Then he blushed, ducking his head as he looked up at Will through his fringe. “I . . . ah . . . I actually . . . totally forgot about S.W.O.R.D.”
“Obviously,” he chuckled with a smirk and a wink. “It’s okay. We’ll talk to Dad tomorrow, okay? See what he recommends, about your dreams. This is kind of his job, and he’s always been pretty good at it.”
Samonik sagged in relief at the reminder, feeling the last of the adrenaline slip away to leave him exhausted. Giving the older man a feeble smile, he insisted, “Thank you, Will.”
The man’s smile was small but fond, chin nodding once in amusement. “You’re welcome, kiddo.” Eyes scanned the teenager as Sam yawned, slumping downwards and scrubbing his hands over his face. “You ready to go back to sleep now?”
“Yeah, I think so. I’m sorry I woke you.”
“Don’t worry about that, Samonik. I wasn’t asleep,” Will promised with a soft chuckle.
“Oh,” he breathed, suddenly reminded of Marina’s fussing at her partner about “self-medicating” as well as reminding him where to find the Ambien. Also, his brother’s pointed teasing during dinner about setting the record for staying up in a stretch suddenly made a lot more sense. “Yeah, I forgot you don’t sleep while Marina’s away.”
“I worry about her, too, Samonik.” There was a ruseful tilt to his smile as he guided the teenager flat and drew the covers up over his shoulders. “We’ll do everything we can to protect her, sweetheart, I promise.”
Bending, the Colonel pressed a kiss into the shaggy blond hair, completely unselfconscious about the action. “Love you, kid. Get some sleep; you have school in the morning.”
“Yes sir,” he murmured, a sleepy smile slipping free at the man’s muttered grumbling.
“It’s all right, Samonik. We’ll keep working on it.” Ruffling his hair fondly, he stood and promised, “I’m in my study, if you need anything, okay?”
“Cross my heart,” he agreed with a fond smile. “Sleep . . . I”ll see you in the morning.”
Yawning, he replied, “Kay . . . night.”
“Good night,” was the last thing he heard before Sam slipped into the Land of Nod once more.
For the rest of the night, he did not dream.
The next morning he woke at his usual time, eyes still half-glued shut as he dressed in his uniform and combed his hair. He might as well have been a zombie when he trudged into the kitchen and collapsed into a chair at the table with an unintelligible groan. “Morning,” he grunted.
A soft laugh brought his head up and he stared with growing relief building in his chest. Marina stood at the stove, wearing her favorite pair of black pajama pants under a too-large Army t-shirt. She was watching him with a fond smile, spatula in hand. “Good morning, love. How would you like your eggs?”
Fumbling out of his chair, he scrambled forward to throw his arms around her. Unable to help it, he buried his face against her shoulder, reveling in the soft reverent, “Oh!” the woman released in response.
Her fingers came up to pet through his hair as she murmured, “I’m okay, sweetheart. Your dream hasn’t come true yet.”
Sam closed his eyes at the promise, feeling guilt rise in his gorge as he murmured, “Christo!” directly into her skin.
She didn’t so much as flinch at the word, leaving Sam slumped against her in wordless relief. Ruffling his hair, she promised, “I’m okay . . . Vati and Gretel are coming over for breakfast. We’ll figure your dreams out, okay?”
“Sounds good,” he replied, finding himself unwilling to release her for a longer moment than either of them expected.
After a moment, she pressed her lips to his cheek and murmured, “Eggs over easy this morning?”
He grinned, eyes sparkling as he moved to take his seat at the table again. “Yeah. Hey Marina?”
“Yeah, Samonik?” she asked, fussing with his breakfast as she hummed happily under her breath.
“Thank you . . . for everything.”
She smiled at him, features warm and familiar as she vowed, “Anytime, love . . . anytime at all.”