Hello and thank you for stopping by to check this out! This story brings my original character, Emily, out to play again. She's the daughter of Sam and his wife Sarah. You can check out some more humorous stories about her life in two of my other stories: The Visit and Family Pass. It's not necessary to read them to understand, but it will give you some background knowledge on their lives. This chapter is more toward the beginning of Sam and Emily's journey. I enjoy writing Emily, so I hope you all like her, too.
I have a few other ideas in the mix to write about Emily, but if you have any ideas of things you'd like to see, don't hesitate to let me know! I love collaborating with others on ideas!
A special thank you to Emma Winchester 424 for being my biggest cheerleader along this crazy path. I couldn't have finished this story without her (seriously, she helped write it)! I owe you so much! If you love daughter fics, she has an amazing one about Dean's daughter Natalie. You'll love it and should check it out!
I will forever be grateful if you feel inclined to leave a review and let me know what you think. Part 2 of this story will be coming later this week, so stay tuned :)
It had been only two weeks since it had happened. An event that not even Sam could speak of to his own brother. Because, to him, there were no words that could properly describe any aspect of what had happened. Sarah, his wife of three years, had passed away in a horrible car accident, and his life had literally been turned upside down. He'd never forget getting that phone call from the local hospital to let him know that both Sarah and his little two-year-old daughter Emily had been critically injured when a drunk driver smashed into their car. Everything that spiraled out of control after that call was permanently engraved in his mind. From Cas showing up to Dean making an instinctive decision…honestly the details didn't matter. What did was that he'd left that hospital with only his daughter, not his wife.
Dean had stayed around, wanting to help look after his niece Emily and keep a watchful eye on Sam in his vulnerable state. But after the first week, Sam couldn't take it any longer. He loved his brother, there was no doubting that, but being under his watchful eye, as if he'd crack at any moment, it was too overwhelming for him and he ended up kicking Dean out, stating over and over that he was "okay." Dean had tried to fight it, but eventually he realized there was no winning against a stubborn Sam. He unwillingly left, but that didn't stop him from calling or texting every chance he got to check in.
The next week had sped by but yet time stood still. It was like a dark veil had covered Sam's mind, confusing him about what was reality and what wasn't. He felt lost, like he couldn't quite find his way in this new world. There were dark days that not even Sam wanted to begin to dissect. He'd known dark times from many years ago, when his college sweetheart Jessica had died. But now was different—he and Sarah had been married, had a life together, a house, a daughter. And suddenly his previous grief couldn't even compare to the new onslaught of pain that overcame his world.
But today was a new day—a new day that forced him to shove down the darkness and focus on what he knew was really happening: all the neighbor-made soups and casseroles had run out and they needed more food and other necessities. If it had been just Sam, he'd forego the food to avoid a trip to the outside world. But it wasn't just him—he had a two year old to think about and his paternal instincts wouldn't let her go hungry. With no other reasonable options, Sam was forced to get dressed with Emily and take off for the grocery store that afternoon just before she was set to go down for her nap. This would be a quick trip—in and out in a flash with just the basics. He tried to keep the lingering thoughts at bay about how this used to be a family trip…one that had included his wife.
Emily, on the other hand, was delighted to get out of the house. After Uncle Dean had left, there hadn't been much entertainment for her as Sam was more withdrawn in the last week than normal. She revealed in the excitement of a trip to the store.
Emily was diligently holding her dad's hand as they entered the local supermarket. She liked coming here-Mommy let her pick out the ingredients to make cookies and all their food. It was a place that evoked happy memories for the little one and dread for the eldest Winchester.
With a free hand, Sam grabbed a cart and took a look around. He was pleased to see that the place wasn't overly crowded...but then again it was a Thursday afternoon, so who really shopped then anyway? He reached down to pick up his little girl and strap her in the front part of the cart, but Emily immediately pulled her hand away and took a defiant step back. She knew what he was about to do-tie her into that contraption that she couldn't figure out how to unbuckle. She pleaded, "Daddy, nooooo! Me walk."
Sam was surprised when Emily pulled back, but upon hearing her plea, Sam shook his head. He wasn't going to risk having to chase down a toddler today. "Sorry, Peanut," he said, using his special nickname for her to soften the blow. "I need you to sit in the seat, okay?" He reached for her again, thinking his simple reply would do the trick.
But the rebellious girl took another step back and threw her hands out in front of her to keep him at a distance. "Nooooooooo. Please. No. Me walk." Sam could tell by the look behind her eyes that she was on the verge of freaking out...so he had two choices: make this a battle worth fighting or let it slide to move on with their task. The ultimate parenting decision of choosing which wars to start.
"Okay, okay, Em. It's fine. You can walk if you want to, okay? But you need to hold Daddy's hand." He put one hand out towards her, knowing that if he moved to grab her hand, she'd panic.
She stuck out her bottom lip and stomped her foot, wanting her displeasure to be known. But in the end, she reached for his hand, realizing she couldn't fight him and she was ultimately getting what she wanted.
They headed into the store, going straight for the produce section to start their trip. Emily walked quietly for a bit as they stopped in front of the apple crates. She pointed to them and announced, "I help." It was her usual routine when she came here with her mother and sometimes they came with Sam, too, when he wasn't studying up on cases. Sarah never lacked patience a day in her life. She'd calmly let Emily pick out the right ingredients as well as any two year old could.
Sam smiled, seeing that she wanted to help, but he wanted to get in out of this place faster than ever. Today…today he didn't have the patience to be out in public and move at a snail's pace. It was only a matter of time before he'd see someone he knew and he'd get the pity stare. He hated the pity stare. It was fake and only made the recipient feel that much worse. "That's okay, Peanut. I got this." He quickly plucked a plastic bag from the roll and started putting apples in.
Emily's nose scrunched up at his rejection, but she realized her hand was no longer locked by his. She slid around the bin of apples and stood on her tip toes, searching through the red sea. Finally, she found THE perfect apple, her usual task. She held it up gleefully with a smile. "Look, Dada. Good apple."
Sam smiled at her cuteness. From sheer reflex, he turned to tell Sarah to look at their adorable daughter, but then suddenly he realized all over again that she was not there. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing the pain to retreat into its hidden corner, then turned back around towards Emily with a big fake smile. "Good job. Here. Put it in the bag and let's move on." He held the bag out to her. They had to get out of here before Sam couldn't hold it together any longer and the dam burst.
She quickly placed it in the bag with a smile and then sped off to the tomatoes that were not far away. She started rummaging through them for no reason other than fun as she waited for her dad to catch up so they could pick some.
"No! Emily!" He panicked as she ran. He quickly pushed the cart over towards her. The second he got over to the tomatoes, he scooped her up. "Emily, you can't run away from me like that. Remember what I said? You have to hold my hand?" He'd literally lost his wife in every sense of the word, so not having Emily within reach was enough to make his anxiety skyrocket and all his senses were heightened. She was all he had left.
She stared at him when he spoke, clearly understanding what he was saying, but not liking it. She started to squirm incessantly and stated, "Down."
Sam held onto her, hating the fact that she was already squirming. "Emily," he said, trying to recapture his daughter's attention. "Do you understand that you can't run away from me like that again?" He wanted to make sure she understood before putting her down.
She pushed against his chest to distance herself. "Yes, Dada. Down!" His little girl was trying to become more independent each day, which was turning into a never-ending battle.
Sam grimaced at her pushing hands, but he didn't want to fight any more than they already had. He slid her down to the floor, making sure to keep a gentle grip on her arm until it reached her hand. He held it firmly as he stretched for another bag to get tomatoes. Trying to keep the moment light, he asked Emily, "How many tomatoes do you think we should get?"
Still not liking the fact that she was constrained by his hand, she tried to let it go and quickly answered Sam with a grin, "A hundred!" Every little kid's favorite number.
Sam chuckled at her answer. "That may be a few too many." Making sure he still had a tight grip on her hand, he looked at the tomatoes and then realized he had a problem. With the bag in one hand and Emily in the other, he couldn't actually get any tomatoes. He sighed and squatted down next to his daughter. "Okay, Em- if I let your hand go so I can pick tomatoes, you need to stay right here and not run away. Okay?"
At realizing she'd be free, she shook her head fervently. "Yes, Dada!" Sam nodded, satisfied with her answer and gently let go of her hand, waiting a moment to be sure she didn't bolt. She was a toddler and thus capable of anything at this stage; he could never predict what she'd do, so running off was always on his radar. Emily just grinned innocently at him as he then turned his attention to picking some tomatoes. Meanwhile, she was clearly all about pushing her boundaries-she was two after all. It came with the job description. She took tiny steps to the left, putting an inch of distance between them. When Sam didn't notice, she did it again and again...this game was fun. A good way to pass the time.
Sam finally bagged about four good tomatoes. He pushed away the thought as to whether or not it would be enough since he didn't have anyone to ask. He looked down and saw that Emily was slowly moving herself away from him. Sighing with frustration, he set the tomatoes down in the cart, then walked over and hoisted her up in his arms. "Emily, what did I tell you about not moving?" he scolded quietly, not wanting to draw attention to them.
She was shocked-the fun game came to an abrupt and awful end. She pushed at his chest again, trying to get put down. "Noooo. Me no run." More squirming as she pushed on him with even more power. "Noooo!" She hadn't run, so in her mind she was clearly obeying him and her game had been fair play.
Sam looked around quickly, embarrassed that she was being so loud. "Okay, okay," he said, quickly putting her back down. "Emily, use your inside voice. Come on." He held his hand out to her.
The outburst quickly faded away when she received exactly what she wanted. She grinned and trotted along beside her father as they moved into the aisles. Emily continued along without complaint, but her feet were starting to get antsy with the slow stop-go pace that was happening. All she wanted to do was sprint up and down the aisle to see how fast she could do it, but her dad's death grip on her wasn't allowing that as an option.
Sam looked quickly at the myriad of options of crackers. Which was the one that Emily always ate? He picked up a bag of Goldfish and held it out to the child. "What do you think, Em? You want some goldfish crackers for home?"
Her eyes lit up. "Fishies!" She smacked her lips together to make bobbing fish sound, something her mother had taught her.
Before she can declare her love for them out loud again, an elderly white-haired woman halfway up the aisle noticed the tall gentleman and called out, "Excuse me, young man? Could you help me?" She pointed to a larger box on the top shelf that she wasn't able to reach with her short stature.
"Uh- yeah. Of course," Sam said. Without really realizing it, he dropped Emily's hand and stepped over to the woman. He reached up easily and plucked the box she was pointing to off the shelf. "Here you go," he said awkwardly, handing it to her.
Meanwhile, Emily was thrilled at her sudden freedom. This was it. This was her moment to see how fast she could run down the aisle and back to the cart. She knew she could do it in a single second-that's how fast she was. She just knew it. She never planned to leave the actual aisle or her dad's sight, but she had to test her toddler theory. Without a second thought, she was off, racing down the aisle at full speed, sheer determination to get to the end and back before the "second" was up. Her dad would surely be impressed to see her superpower fastness.
Sam heard the pitter patter of little feet running away from him. He whipped around just in time to see Emily take off. "Emily!" he yelled, thrusting the box into the little old lady's hands before taking off after her. His long legs quickly overpowered her short ones, and he yanked her up under his arm until he could properly place her on his hip. "Didn't I tell you to stay put, young lady?" he said, his tone a little harsher than normal due to the terror of seeing her take off running. It was every parent's worst nightmare in a store, especially his in such a fragile state.
Emily had been so close to the end of the aisle, it was within reach, and she was sure a second hadn't even passed. As Sam scooped her up, her feet kept kicking as if she were trying to keep running. She immediately fought him. "Noooo! Dada, down! Stoooooop."
"No, Emily, you stop," he said, pulling her in tighter as she kicked. "You know better than to run. I guess you're going to have to ride in the cart now since you can't listen." He'd put her on lockdown and get the rest of this stupid shopping trip over. He was beyond ready to retreat to his house and hide from the world again.
Emily continued to squirm and try every move possible to get out of his grasp. She even tried to make her body liquid and slide out, but nothing was working. When she heard that she'd be left in the death contraption of a cart, her fussing increased. "Dada, nooooo. Please, noooooo. I do good!"
The elderly lady rested her box in the cart and eyed the protesting little girl as she slowly started to make her way down the aisle past the commotion.
Sam saw the old woman coming towards them, and he flushed red. He bounced Emily a couple times, trying to calm her down before he put her in the cart, wanting to avoid the scene that was quickly forming. "Emily, hush now. You need to stop fussing." He prayed that Emily would listen to him.
Once her body had been placed in the cart, the water works instantly poured. She gripped the handle and started pulling her feet back in to stand up. She had to get out! Through tears that weren't full blown yet, she begged, "Noooooo! Daddy. I walk!"
Sam looked around, humiliated once again by the volume of her voice. He reached down and immediately undid all her hard work by pulling her legs back down through the seat holes. He leaned down so he was eye level with the child. "Emily," he began in a firm voice, trying to be authoritative, "You're not walking. I told you to stay put, and you didn't listen. So you're riding in the cart. Now calm down."
Even though Sam's logic made complete sense as to why she was being banished to the cart seat, she wasn't having it. When he pulled her legs back through the holes, the tears continued to flow and they didn't stop, they grew louder. She knew what was coming, he was going to strap her in with the complex buckle and her freedom would be over. She continued to cry as she struggled against his hands to try and get out of the seat. "Down!"
"Emily, stop it," he said, but there was almost a pleading tone to his voice this time. He wasn't made for this—for a toddler meltdown in public. He…he couldn't handle it—he'd never had to handle it…alone. As he buckled the belt, he murmured again, hoping to calm her, "We're almost done." Even though they had barely gotten started. "We can go home and play, but you need to calm down and be good, okay?"
Nope. The second the buckle snapped, locking in her constrained fate, she lost it. The tears exploded as did her cries. Her legs kicked back and forth in protest as she threw her head back and cried with mixes of "Noooo" and "Stop Dada" thrown in for good measure.
Sam quickly but gently grabbed either side of her arms and tried to keep her from flailing. "Emily Marie, you stop it right now," he said half-heartedly, hating that she was so upset. "Do you want a time out when we get home?"
She stopped flailing her limbs at the mention of a time out and she was just crying now with an added, "NOOO!" Time out was literally the worst thing ever for any toddler who could never sit still. "Time out, NOO!" There was some coughing in between her tears as she continued to wail.
Sam wanted to pick her up and cuddle her as a means of getting her to calm down, but if he did, he'd never get her back into the seat. He leaned down farther, smoothing her hair back and trying to wipe her tears. "Emily, you need to settle down. Come on, sweetheart, please," he begged. "You're okay. Just settle down." He slowly started to feel the walls of the store close in on him, suffocating his every move and lingering eyes watched the commotion from afar.
But her crying didn't stop as she tugged at the evil strap around her waist. The tears kept coming and then as a pure toddler reflex, she blurted out, "I want Mama!"
Sam's insides turned to solid lead. For a moment, he forgot how to breath. Emily was crying- for her mother. All the tears and feelings Sam had been holding inside- had been trying to convince himself to hide for the sake of his daughter- threatened to come pouring out in an instant. He found himself taking short, shallow breaths, as if a full intake of air would cause his already taxed heart to explode. Although the cry was just instinct to want the other parent when she was getting in trouble, Sam's mind couldn't register that.
And he literally couldn't take it a second longer. He quickly unbuckled his screaming daughter from the cart and hauled her up in his arms. For a brief moment, he wondered if he should somehow return the cart with the few items he'd managed to gather up to a stock person or something, but the fact that Emily was still sobbing her heart out made him internally say screw it. He abandoned the cart, pulling her close into his chest and began quickly walking towards the exit. "It's okay, Em. It's okay," he murmured low in the child's ear, praying that this would at least get her to drop the volume of her cries a notch. "It's okay, Peanut," he called her affectionately. "We're going home." Looks like it's going to be fast food tonight, Sam thought, trying not to get frustrated at the screams and shrieks.
Emily's cries began to slow with the sudden change in movements. Her father was holding her and moving swiftly through the store. What was going on? The shock let her tears start to slow to whimpers that were quieter than her previous cries.
As he heard her cries dissipate, Sam wondered for a brief, insane moment if he could actually get her calmed down enough to go back and try shopping. But one look at her face, and he instantly abandoned the notion. Once he got out of the doors of the grocery store, he almost sprinted to the car. As he opened up the back door of the SUV and placed Emily in her car seat, he said to her in a low voice, "It's okay, Em, it's okay. Almost done." He buckled her in, wondering if this was going to start another round of screaming.
And Sam was correct. Being constrained to yet another place let a new round of cries pour out of her mouth. She wasn't fighting it this time physically, but her protests could be heard all around. The proximity to her nap time was clearly playing a role in her reactions, but the hyperactive little girl just wanted to be free.
With the new wave of sobs, Sam quickly closed the SUV door and climbed in as quickly as he could, but he couldn't turn the key in the ignition – not just yet. Between Emily's heartbreaking statement and the emotional turmoil he was feeling, he almost didn't have the energy to start the car. After a minute of gripping the steering wheel tightly, he managed to start the car. He looked in the rearview mirror at his daughter. "Hey Emily," he said loudly over her cries. "Do you want to listen to the Disney Channel on the radio?" He prayed that might buy him a few extra minutes.
Her cries settled for a moment so she could hear what he had to say, but then they started back up again in full force, only a level quieter than before. She did like Disney Channel songs and the princesses, but she was still crying about...something. So, she couldn't stop that just yet.
When Sam noticed that her cries dropped in volume a notch, he figured it was worth a shot. He quickly turned on the radio and flipped to the Disney Channel. "Hey," he said desperately. "Emily! This is that song from Beauty and the Beast, isn't it?" He began singing quietly, trying to remember all the words to the song. Sam wasn't entirely sure why, but he just had to try to distract her. The harder she cried, the more he felt like a failure as a father. He had to help her stop as they drove home.
Emily heard the music suddenly appear and the faint sounds of her dad singing along. She liked Belle's songs. Her crying continued to quiet, but there was still a lot of hiccups and her angry pouting face was plastered on as she whimpered, "Out." She wanted out of this stupid contraption still.
Sam heard the sobbed "out" and his shoulders slumped in defeat. He pressed on the gas pedal a little harder, just wanting to get her home. Two Disney songs later, they pulled into the driveway, and Sam practically rocketed out of the car in an effort to get to Emily. He started unfastening the buckles. "Em- we're home. See? It's okay, baby- we're home."
By the time Sam was getting her out of the car seat, she'd already calmed down enough to just soft whimpers. Her eyes were starting to droop from all the exhaustion of being a cranky toddler. When her dad picked her up, she rested her head on his shoulder and started to drift off into a much-needed nap.
Sam felt her lay her head on his shoulder, and his heart ached all over again. He carefully closed the SUV door, and pressed his cheek onto the top of her head. "It's okay, Em," he kept quietly repeating over and over, in an effort to keep her calm as well as himself. He quietly made his way up the stairs to her room to lay her down.
Emily was almost sound asleep by the time they got upstairs, her brown hair matted to her forehead from being so worked up.
Sam looked down at his sleeping baby and his heart twisted. He gently laid her down in her bed. As he drew a blanket over her, another wave of longing for Sarah swept him off his feet and emptied his lungs of air. Sarah had been so excited to find this blanket in the exact shade that matched the walls she'd lovingly painted. Sam bit his tongue as hard as he could without drawing blood, but it wasn't enough. A tear slipped down his cheek. He reached out to Emily, stroking the matted hair away from her sweaty forehead. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he whispered as the tears continued to flow.
It was his turn to cry.
He continued to stand there, lost in a trance as he took in this little girl. She was so small, so innocent, so helpless in all this. His heart was shattering to pieces and he knew if he stood here any longer, he'd lose it even more. With one last glance over his shoulder, he slowly left the room and tried to collect himself as he made his way down the steps. His feet subconsciously led him to the kitchen to grab a beer. He didn't always go for the alcohol when he was having a hard day, but it was something he brought over from his previous life in hunting. Bad habits were hard to break.
He threw himself down in the recliner chair and rocked himself back and forth with his foot as he slowly took a few sips. His mind was running at a thousand miles an hour and yet it was completely frozen, too. He had so many emotions soaring like crazy through his veins that he wasn't able to control anything—and that was what scared him most. He couldn't stop these moments from happening, these "first" moments. It wasn't like the first time Emily walked or said "Dada" to him. Those were happy moments, times that brought joy to his heart. Now he had new firsts. The first time he folded laundry without Sarah by his side making jokes with him. The first time he realized he had no one to speak with at night after Emily went to bed. And now the first public tantrum without his wife there for back-up. To make matters worse, the poor toddler cried out for her. She instinctively wanted the only thing he'd never be able to give her.
The love of a mother.
Sam's eyes brimmed with tears at the realization. The understanding that even though he had tried to save his daughter from having a childhood like his own, he had failed.
He'd failed again.
The innocent child would grow up without a mother just like he had. Where the only memories would be those that people repeated back to you through pictures and stories. Knowing what that pain would be like for her only increased his desperation. His years of hunting experience flooded his mind—every spell, demon deal, or wizardry flashed back. He could name a dozen ways of how to fix this, but each one ended in the same awful conclusion—blood and death, his death. Try as he might, he couldn't stop the thoughts and the plans he started to build…at first he fought, but his will was slowly fading away.
He was going down a dark road and he had only one choice.
To be continued...