Welcome to my new series - so glad you stopped by :)
This series will be one shots of Sam, his daughter Emily, and the frequent visitor Uncle Dean as they navigate life in this AU. These one shots will build upon the few others that I have already published with the same characters, so feel free to check those out under my profile. Eventually those stories will merge under this one with some bonus scenes! You don't need to read the others to understand, but they do explain tons of details about the backstory.
Backstory in a nutshell: Sam sacrificed himself to save the world at the end of Season 5, and when he was brought back, his soul was in-tact. He stepped away from hunting to return to law school, only helping Dean occasionally, and then he married Sarah. He fully exited hunting when Emily was born. When Emily was 2, she and her mom were hit by a drunk driver. They were both badly hurt, and only Emily survived in the end. Sam has been raising her as a single father and works as a lawyer. Dean continued to hunt and discovered the bunker/Men of Letters shortly after, so that is where he lives and he still hunts full time.
Join me for a fun ride as we get to know Emily. Her age will vary in every one shot up until 16 years old. At 16, something major happens in their lives, which will form part of another series I'm working on and want to finish before I start posting (70 pages long so far!). I love requests for Emily, so please don't be shy about sharing ideas and requests for future chapters.
I'm SO excited to share these one shots with you as I've been working on them for many years. HUGE thank you to Emma Winchester 424 for being my beta and all around biggest cheerleader since Emily first came to life. Also big shout out to Nevertoomany for encouraging me to take the plunge and post.
Read, Review, Enjoy.
Four-year-old Emily loved preschool. It was the best three days of her week. She got to play all day, paint, draw, read books, nap time, the works. There was literally nothing better—except for Fridays. That was her favorite day, because her dad came to pick her up and they got to spend time together. It was the one day a week that Sam purposefully sat aside at work to make sure he could get out at the proper hour to pick Emily up at preschool. It was something his own father would have never dreamed of doing, what a luxury, and it was one thing that he would always give his daughter. He was determined to do better. He had to do better.
Clad in a dark blue business suit and matching tie, Sam headed into Emily's classroom to pick her up in a sea of other parents and caregivers there to retrieve their little ones. He was anxious to scoop her up and get to the park to play, looking forward to it all day. The kid brought him so much joy; it was instant stress relief for him after dealing with some emotionally heavy cases at work lately.
His 6'4" frame was hard to miss when he entered the classroom and it caught the head teacher's eye from the other side. Ms. Kelly, as she was affectionately known by her students, needed to have a word with Sam today before he left with Emily. But of course, Chelsie Thompson had come and wanted to chat about her daughter's progress in coloring within the lines. Kelly wanted to roll her eyes into the back of her head at annoying parents like this who wasted her time. But she had to play the part of caring teacher to these people, even when she had other business to take care of.
Sam instantly spotted Emily sitting in her chair, actively chatting away with the others. It never ceased to amaze him how shy she could pretend to be on some occasions and how much of a chatter box she was on others. He slipped by another set of parents and waved at the little girl, finally getting her attention. Her eyes went wide with excitement as a grin spread across her face at seeing him. That look was what made Sam's heart melt over and over every time he came to get her. He selfishly hoped there'd never be a day when she wasn't excited to see him. He'd do everything he could to prevent that from happening - he couldn't bear the thought of her treating him like he did his own father. But he quickly stowed away those thoughts.
Emily jumped out of her seat, quickly grabbing her backpack as she skipped over to him. "Hi Daddy!" she greeted with pure joy.
Without missing a beat, he scooped her up. "Hey, Emmy." She wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight squeeze before releasing.
"Can we go to park now?" She'd been counting down the minutes all day.
He shifted her so she was resting on his hip. "Of course we can. Let's head out."
Sam headed for the door, and Kelly tried to get out of the claws of this helicopter mother. She'd tried to excuse herself from the conversation, but Chelsie just stepped right back in front of her, blocking her path so they'd keep talking. By the time she'd finally managed to get free and rush into the hallway, there was no trace of Sam or his daughter. She felt her heart pang with guilt that she wasn't able to catch him in time, to warn him of what was no doubt to come this weekend. She hated to think that it would catch him off guard.
The park had been extra fun like always! Emily had swung higher than ever with the help of her dad; pretty soon she'd blast off into space on the swings. But she wasn't ready to be an astronaut yet. They'd played on the monkey bars, which seemed much easier for her dad to do because he just had to bend his knees to do it as he walked along the mulch. She had to swing her body to make it from one bar to the next—it was hard work. Finally, she went down the tunnel slide about twenty times, her dad happily there to tickle her at the bottom every time. Life didn't get much better than that.
After their wonderful afternoon at the park, Sam made dinner and helped Emily to a bath as part of their nighttime routine. Since it was a Friday, he let her stay up a bit longer, so she was spending her last moments of freedom playing in her room quietly while Sam sat in the recliner downstairs, scrolling through the news on his phone while sipping on a beer.
Emily sat on the floor, opened up her backpack, and sorted through the various papers and art projects from this week until she found one in particular from today. It was a white piece of paper with one brown square drawn in the top right corner. She hadn't had time to finish it at school today, but Miss Kelly said she had a really cool idea! Emily just had to do a few other things and then her latest Picasso would be done. This would be fun! It'd be just like her and her dad's adventure at Christmas.
Emily pulled out her crayons as she prepared to get busy. She had to draw a map so her dad would know how to get to the destination. That was what she had to do at Christmas so they could get to Santa at the North Pole. To the four year old, that was what happened. But through the eyes of an adult, Sam just wanted to give her something else to do, so he had her draw a map out and he pretended to follow it to get downtown to see Santa outside the city center. It had actually been quite fun for both of them.
In the top corner, Emily colored in the brown square and drew a triangle on top—their home. Perfect. In the bottom left corner, she drew a stick figure with a pink triangle dress and yellow hair. Done. She was pretty darn good at this map drawing. She gripped the black crayon firmly, ready to draw the path from point A to point B. However, she realized she didn't know the way to get there, because she forgot what the place was called.
After thinking really hard, she finally gave up and rushed down the steps for help, but she stopped two steps from the bottom. She pressed her lips firmly together as she concentrated extra hard, and then she propelled herself off the steps and onto the ground with a loud thump, skipping over the last steps. Yeah, she was that good. She didn't even fall!
In another flash, she was in the living room in front of her dad, who looked up from his phone. "That wasn't you jumping off the stairs, was it?" he asked casually with a raised eyebrow.
Emily squirmed slightly, which already gave Sam the answer he was looking for. However, she lied anyway, "Nope. Musta been someone else."
Sam nodded slowly but kept his eyes right on her. "I see. Well, good thing it wasn't you, because then you'd have to go to bed early this weekend."
And she could feel the glare along with his soft reminder of why she wasn't supposed to do that—oh yeah. He said she could fall down and get hurt. But she'd done it all by herself and landed perfectly! She sighed. Sometimes she just couldn't win with her father. "Okay, Daddy. I keep not jumping."
Sam gave her a nod in approval, seeing that at least the threatening reminder clicked in her mind. "Did you need something, Em?"
Oh yeah! She remembered why she'd come down here in the first place. "I need to know what's it called where Mommy is."
The sentence rolled off her tongue with such ease that Sam hadn't had any indication of what was coming. It was said so naturally, as if it hadn't packed the awful punch that it really had. Sam could feel himself floundering inside, but those blue eyes were staring back at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. "I, uh, it's," he fumbled over his words. Emily had rarely asked about her mother over the last two years. There had been the occasional question or request for a story when she'd see her photo, but it had usually been Sam who tried to bring up the topic, to keep her memory alive with Emily. But this question took him back a step.
When he didn't answer right away, she figured he needed a better explanation. "Timmy said he's gonna visit his mommy this weekend, so I wanna do the same. Where's the place Mommy lives now?"
Sam tried to swallow all the feelings that were bursting forth. With a deep, calming breath to steady himself, he replied, "She's in Heaven."
Emily jumped up in excitement. "That's right! Heaven! Imma go draw a map!"
Before Sam could call out after her, she'd already taken off up the stairs like a lightning bolt, and he was left alone to try and decipher his own thoughts on what had just transpired. He pinched his nose as tears pricked his eyes. There wasn't a day that went by when he didn't think about Sarah, but this was one of the first times Emily brought her mom up without any prompting in the last six months or so, and it hit him hard. Her excited and carefree nature reminded him of her innocence. Death was such an abstract concept for a little girl, and it would be years before she fully grasped what it all meant.
But today…today was different for her at least. Today, Emily was going to see her mom.
The four-year-old worked hard on her map—it took a lot of focus to be able to get the lines just right in order to get them from the house to the blonde stick figure who was in Heaven. It was going to be a long journey, but she knew her dad would take her there. Her dad knew how to get them anywhere!
Just as she was putting the final touches on her map, there was a soft knock on the already open door. "Emmy?" Sam called out gently as he walked inside.
"Yeah, Daddy?" she replied without taking her eyes off the map. She picked up a yellow crayon and started to draw the sun at the top.
He was treading in uncharted waters. Nobody gave you a guidebook on how to deal with these scenarios, and he was suddenly terrified that he would say the wrong thing and hurt or damage his precious daughter. His mind was racing as he made his way over and sat on the floor by his daughter. Luckily, he didn't have to think of what to say next.
"Hey, look!" Emily exclaimed as she pointed to her map. "This is Daddy and Emmy's house." She pointed to the brown shapes. "And this is Mommy in Heaven." She pointed to their destination. When Sam didn't respond right away, Emily turned to him. Her blue eyes pierced him like a knife, a stark reminder of the wife he'd lost, and he felt the air leave his lungs. Emily's head tilted to the side. "Daddy?" She was asking if he was okay.
Sam quickly pulled it together. "I see your map, peanut. You worked really hard on it, huh?" He reached out and rubbed his thumb along her cheek affectionately in praise.
Emily grinned as she soaked up his touch. "Uh huh," she nodded fervently. "When can we use it?" She waited eagerly for a response.
Sam bit his bottom lip for a moment and looked away, glancing out the window into the night sky as he tried to form a response. How was he going to tell her that she'd never see her mom again, especially when she was already this excited? His heart couldn't relive the moment when he had to try and explain why Mommy wasn't coming back. But something about staring out the window brought him solace, and the answer hit him—he knew what to do. The exact same thing that Dean had done with him all those years ago. Turning back to her, he warmly smiled. "What do you say we go now?"
Her eyes went wide in surprise that they were going to go tonight. Within seconds, she was on her feet and rushed over to search for her shoes. Sam chuckled as he stood up. "You actually won't need those," he explained.
Emily held up one. "No shoes?"
"Nope, not for tonight." He scooped her up and placed her on his hip before picking up her map as well. "We actually don't have to even drive to get there. It's that close." Emily gasped in shock. "Should we get going?" he asked.
Emily squirmed in glee. "Yes!"
"Okay, let's do this," Sam said as he walked down the steps and out the front door barefoot. He pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and turned on the flashlight. "You'll have to help me see the map," he explained as he passed her the light. She gripped onto it tightly with two hands, knowing her job was super important.
"I can do it!"
"Of course you can." He placed a kiss on her forehead. "Let's see this map." He studied it closely, alternating his gaze between the paper and the barely lit front yard as if he were trying to get his bearings. "Here we go," he announced. He took off into their front lawn, zig zagging along the way, looping around the tree, up the driveway, and all around. He let Emily give him some instructions along the way, keeping her fully engaged in his plan until he finally ended up in their fenced-in backyard. He found a clear spot right in the middle of the grass and stopped there. "We found it!" he exclaimed.
Emily looked all around them, seeing nothing different than any other day. "Where?" she asked, confused.
"We can't see it yet, because we're not looking in the right place," he explained with never-ending patience. Placing Emily on the ground, he grabbed his phone and turned off the flashlight. "We won't need that anymore, peanut." He then laid down on the grass and motioned for Emily to join him.
She didn't have to be told twice and she was cuddled up next to him, lying on her back as well. She turned to him, but couldn't see much from the darkness. "What are we doing?"
Sam didn't say anything for a moment as he took it all in. Then, he simply pointed up toward the sky. "We're visiting Mommy in Heaven."
Emily slowly turned her gaze up to the star-filled sky, taking it all in as if it were the first time. But in the eyes of a four-year-old who had just gone on a magical journey, it was like she was seeing this sky for the first time. This was Heaven after all. It was a perfectly clear night, not a single cloud in the night sky. The hundreds of stars illuminated the sky in a breathtaking way.
"Wow," she gushed in awe. The pair star-gazed in silence for a few moments. "When does Mommy come?"
Sam wrapped his arm around her tighter, wanting to make sure she knew that he was there for her as he wasn't sure how she was going to react. "Mommy is already here."
She paused. "But I don't see her." There were clear traces of sadness in her voice as if her plan hadn't worked afterall.
Sam squeezed his eyes shut for a second to compose himself, willing the right words to come. "Heaven is a magical place, remember? When people die and don't get to be with us on Earth anymore, they get to live in Heaven forever."
That sounded familiar to her. "Yeah, like Mommy."
Sam gave her arm a squeeze in praise. "Just like Mom. And Heaven is a place that is super far away."
"More far away than Uncle De?" she asked, knowing that her uncle lived far away, which was why he couldn't come to visit that often.
"Even farther than Uncle Dean," Sam explained as Emily gasped—that was a super duper long distance. He continued, "It's so far away that we can't get all the way there. But at nighttime, we can get pretty close."
Emily scooted in closer to her dad. "Like with my map?"
"Exactly, Em. When it's dark, we can use your map to get as close to Heaven as we possibly can. And do you know how we realize when we've arrived?" She shook her head. "Because we can finally see the stars, and each star is an angel in Heaven just waiting to say hello to those they love on Earth." Even though Sam had had some rough experiences with a lot of dick angels, he still believed in the greater good and a higher power.
Emily took a moment to think through what he'd said, wanting to grasp every word. "Mommy is a star?" she pointed above them.
"You got it, Em. She's up there shining bright for us." Sam quickly and discreetly brushed away a tear that had escaped his eye, the emotion of the moment becoming too much. But he quickly recovered, wanting to stay strong.
Emily's eyes danced around, taking in the vast quantity of stars. "But I don't know where is Mommy." There were too many of them.
"Which one looks like her?" Sam asked, knowing full well that her imagination would lead her to the answer.
Emily squinted as she compared a few of her favorite bright stars. She weighed the options until the brightest star won—that one was her mom. She just knew it. "That one." She pointed to the brightest star above the both of them.
"You're right—that one looks like her. And I can tell she's happy to see you again."
The little girl grinned wildly at the thought of her mom being happy to see her. "Can she hear us 'cause we're real real far away?"
"I know she can hear us," he said with confidence from a previous life. "And she's always going to be shining bright, so you can talk to her whenever you want."
They sat there in comfortable silence as each became lost in their own emotional thoughts about Sarah. Sam's heart yearned to have one last conversation with her, to embrace her, to let her hold Emily again, to tell her that he loved her…
The tiny voice broke him away from his thoughts. "I know what I wanna tell her," she explained. Emily had thought long and hard about what she wanted to share with her mom tonight.
"And what's that, peanut?"
"About how much fun we had at the park."
Sam couldn't hold back. He leaned over on his side, wrapping his other arm around her in an embrace before he kissed her forehead and laid back down flat. "I think she'd love to hear about our time at the park."
The talkative four-year-old didn't have to be told twice—within seconds she was rambling off every single detail about their trip to the park that afternoon, from the shoes she had worn to how high she'd swung. No detail was left out.
Sam sat there listening to his daughter recount a happy moment they had shared together as he stared at the Heaven above them. He felt his throat start to tighten and his heart constrict, but it wasn't from grief. This time, it was from overflowing love and thankfulness at the beautiful child that Sarah had blessed him with. As he listened to her continue the story, he stared deeply at the stars, finding himself wondering for the first time since he was a kid which star was his own mom. It was just like Dean had taught him to do all those years ago. And while he and his daughter had both suffered the tragic fate of losing their mothers, now his own daughter could carry on the tradition of knowing exactly where to find their loved ones anytime she wanted to go stargazing.