Title: When The Miracles Happen (1/1)
Author: Dea Brynhild Ensomhet Spikess
Timeline: SPN s2 around "Playthings", spoilers for s1 ep "Faith".
Warnings: Character death implied. Read the summary and figure it out.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Supernatural cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc. All hail Kripke. Any original ideas or concepts are mine. Please don't sue or steal.
Summary: What if Sam had been a few seconds too late smashing Sue Ann's necklace? Layla POV.
Author's Notes: Not much to say here. I'm trying to finish up a lot of the little one-shot plotbunnies that I've had for a while, clean up my hard-drive. This ended up shorter than I was planning, but I like where it ended so I'm happy. You guys will probably hate me for it, though.
Huge thanks: to Candygramme for the beta! I've edited it a bit since, so any mistakes that are still in here are all mine.
Roy doesn't hold any services after Sue Ann's stroke, and no one can blame him. Layla's mother joins several other women from the congregation who take turns staying with Roy and helping him, making food, and taking care of the house. Layla hangs around the tent every evening for a week, letting those who show up know that services are cancelled. It's hard not to feel guilty every time she turns away someone who's deathly ill, someone who's driven for hours to get here and now has to go home with nothing, not even the hope that had fueled their way to Roy's.
Dean was right. Layla's thoughts go around and around, but they keep stopping on what Dean told her when he tried to stop her from going on stage.
"Layla, listen to me; you canít go up there. If you do, something bad is gonna happen. I canít explain, I just need you to believe me."
Dean was telling the truth, because Layla can't shake the feeling that something's wrong. She wants to talk to Dean about it, ask him if he knows why Sue Anne had a stroke seconds after she was healed, and demand that he explain why he tried to stop her from being healed in the first place. To be honest, that's the reason why she volunteers to stay with the tent, but Dean never shows back up to say goodbye. He never told her his last name, and even if he had, she has no idea how to track down one man in the entire country. After a week, she gives up waiting for Dean to return and begins her new life as a healthy woman with decades ahead of her instead of months.
A year from the day she was healed, at four-sixteen p.m. on the dot, Layla's got a job as a secretary at a small law office. She files papers without paying any more attention to the documents than she has to, her mind already making lists of chores to do at home and groceries to pick up on the way from the office. She's out of milk; Mom's coming over tomorrow, and Mom always likes milk in her coffee...
The second hand ticks at the top of the clock, and Layla falls to the floor in a dead faint, a lifetime of memories streaming into her brain.
"Sweet dreams, sweetheart." A kiss on the forehead, "Remember, angels are watching over--"
"--side as fast as you can and don't look back! Now, De--"
"--ook after your brother while I'm gone, oka--"
"--m going to college and you can't stop me!"
"Fine! Go! And don't come bac--"
"Yeah, well, I donít want to--"
"--sooner or later, everybodyís gonna leave--"
"--ric softener teddy bear. Oh, Iím gonna hunt th--"
"--hy me? Out of all the sick people, w--"
"--na put that fear of God in--"
She wakes up in the hospital at around fifteen 'til five the next evening, her mother sitting next to the bed and holding her hand. The worried expression that Layla hates is back on her mother's face, the same expression that had been there ever since the third-opinion doctors had confirmed what the first two had said about her brain tumor. The night Roy finally healed her had been the last time her mother had looked so concerned, and that alone would have made her remember that week of praying and miracles even if her head wasn't pounding with memories of an entire other life, the life of a man she'd met that week and never seen again.
"Is the tumor back?" is out of her mouth before she even realizes that she spoke. It makes sense, though. She knows Dean is dead, could feel the pain and coldness as the Reaper sucked his life away, and she wants to die, because she finally knows why she's still alive.
Her mother looks startled at the question. "No, of course not, dear." She reaches over and brushes some hair away from Layla's face, "How are you feeling?"
Like I'm not completely alone in my body anymore. Like I just found out a man that I couldn't get up the nerve to ask out died so that I could live. Like I'm looking at a stranger while my father and my brother are out there somewhere- "Like I've been asleep for a long time," she finally says, and it's as close to the truth as she's willing to admit.
"You collapsed at work yesterday," her mother explains. "The doctors still aren't sure why. They'd like to keep you overnight again for observation."
Her chest suddenly hurts, as if her heart wants to shrivel up at the very thought of staying in this hospital bed for another night. "That won't be necessary," she smiles her best "I'm fine, really" smile and lies through her pearly white teeth. "I skipped lunch yesterday to work on that big file, which is probably why I fainted. I feel much better now, really." Her mother tries to protest but Layla insists, and is released a few hours later.
The television is on in the living room, and Layla trusts that to keep her mother entertained for a little while as she sits on her bed and opens her laptop. God, it's been a year, a whole entire year, and even though she remembers it passing, she doesn't at the same time. Sammy, she thinks, He's out there all alone. Did he even find Dad yet?
It's strange, having two lifetimes of memories, but it's not nearly as weird as she'd thought it would be, back when she was a kid reading fantasy novels. The impulse to love and protect Sammy feels just as natural as the impulse to love and protect her mother, although part of her is a little worried that, at the moment, she cares more about Sammy's welfare than her mother's. She tries to think back, search through her memories and separate them from Dean's, but they're all scattered together and her mother's smile on her graduation day is interspersed with Dad's quiet congratulations and hand squeezing her shoulder when the GED came in the mail.
The respect and tenderness for her (Dean's) dad makes her pause. Memories of a father walking out when she was sixteen and never coming back war for a moment with memories of a father who kept leaving but always came back, and she wonders if she should feel worried about how hard it is to try to separate the memories. They both feel like her life, and she feels just as connected to John Winchester as she does to Peggy Rourke.
The Internet opens and she stares blankly at the Google search page. Sammy's out there somewhere, she thinks, feeling sick. He's out there, and I don't know how to find him. Her eyes sting and she feels horrified; she hasn't cried since Sammy pulled her kicking and screaming back to Lawrence, and this is nothing compared to being forced to go back to that place again.
Enough, she thinks, an echo of John in her head, Dad's hand on her shoulder, Be brave for Sammy. I need you to look after your brother while I'm gone, Mom's sad face, It's just you and me now, sweetie. I need you to be a big girl for me, and she wipes her eyes, determination flooding back. Sammy's good, but he's not Dad, and he can't hide from his own brother. She picks up the phone and pauses, warnings of phone traces and wire taps coming to the front of her memories. Anything could happen in a year, and if Sammy's phone has fallen into the wrong hands, she doesn't want them tracking her down. Layla Rourke's life isn't perfect, but she isn't quite ready to jeopardize it.
Layla sets down the phone and closes the laptop, grabbing her coat as she enters the living room, "I'm going to the store."
Her mother looks up from the couch, worry lines etched on her face, "Sweetie, are you sure that's a good idea? You just got back-"
"I feel fine, Mom," Layla insists with a smile. "Just craving some mint chocolate chip, and we're out of milk too. I won't be gone long."
"I can come with-"
"I'm fine, Mom."
Her mother doesn't look happy, but she isn't going to push, "Okay, sweetie. Take your cell phone just in case?"
"Of course, Mom," Layla checks her purse to make sure the phone is there - she's been so scatterbrained since getting back from the hospital that she wouldn't be surprised if she's misplaced it. "I'll be back soon."
The pay phone at the grocery store is good enough, and she dials Sammy's phone first. Hanging up at the error message, she tries her own (Dean's) number. "This number is no longer in service." Swearing, she dials Dad's number. It rings to voicemail, which could mean anything, and she hesitates before hanging up without leaving a message.
The next call is blessedly answered with a familiar, "Singer Salvage Yard."
"Bobby." Layla lets out the breath she's been holding, "Man, it's good to hear your voice."
"Who is this?" Bobby asks suspiciously.
Layla opens her mouth, and then pauses. Bobby has seen some weird shit in his day, but she isn't completely sure he'd believe what is happening to her. "Long story," she says, "But I'm trying to find Sam. You haven't heard from him or," she bites back the natural 'Dad', "John, have you?"
He sounds wary, "The Winchesters? What's your business with them?"
"Dean... saved me a while back, and now I've got to find Sam. Please, Bobby."
There's a long sigh, "What's your name?"
"Layla," she clutches the phone to her ear.
"If you mean harm to John or his boy, me and a dozen other hunters will have your head," he warns, his voice hard.
"Yes, sir," snaps out of her mouth, an automatic response.
"They were headed to Connecticut, last I heard. A haunted inn."
She pulls a pen from her pocket and scribbles down the name of the inn on her palm, "Thanks, Bobby, I owe you one." He grumbles a reply and she hangs up, wanting to ask for Sammy's new cell number but knowing Bobby would never give it out to someone he doesn't know and trust.
It's enough. Sammy found Dad, and they're both still alive. Layla falls to her knees by the pay phone, and closes her eyes to hold back the tears. Thank God. They're alive, though Nebraska is still a long way away from Connecticut, they're alive and together, and she will find them.