A/N: What a great fucking episode this was! So many reasons I loved it but first and foremost is that Sam actually got to express his feelings! It's a miracle! Anyway.

Sam wonders if he should have known she wouldn't last the moment he had first seen her in that basement all those months ago. He remembers how, at first, he'd thought that it was just another of Toni's mind games but, as the days crawled on and she still didn't disappear (explode, she'd said, maybe into flame like she did before) he slowly realised that this, at least, was real. He had been so happy to finally be able to know the mom he'd heard so little about for who she really was.

And then.

She left again. She came back eventually, but Sam realises now that that should have been his first sign that maybe it was all too good to be true. But she was still alive, and only a phone call away, so he ignored any alarm bells and carried on as normal. It stung when she always seemed to choose Dean over him, but he understands why, he really does. She'd watched Dean grow up for four years, had learned some of his quirks and likes and dislikes.

("Do you still like pie?"

"I- I mean-")

Sam was an unknown. One of the blanks she never filled in. Sam doesn't blame her.

Jack innocently wonders if Kelly could be a ghost and Sam hates to have to tell him that he's sorry but it's impossible. It's not that becoming a ghost is better than going to Heaven, but the kid looks crushed and Sam sympathises with him. Not knowing his mother and all that. Still, he tries his hardest not to flinch when Dean brusquely affirms that "what gets burned, stays dead."

Mary burned, once.

He's had Dean's words going on a loop around his head since he said them, and he can't stop himself from wondering if Dean's right. Thoughts and emotions crowd for attention in his head and everything just boils over as soon as Dean finishes his almost mocking analysis despite his attempts to keep calm. Words just keep spilling out of his mouth and when he's done Dean looks almost as surprised as Sam feels. A familiar ache starts to spread in his chest and he needs to get out now so he stands up and almost races for the door, having to fight the urge not to slam it behind him.

Later, when it's all over and they're back home, Sam curls himself up as small as possible in the library and pretends to concentrate on a book. He's not sure why he does this because he's tired, and has barely slept in days so he could do with the rest, but he knows that sleep - uninterrupted sleep anyway - won't come tonight. So he sits.

Dean comes in at some point and apologises, which Sam appreciates, and asks him to keep the faith for the both of them. Sam's not sure he can keep the faith for himself anymore, so both of them might be a stretch, but he doesn't tell Dean this. He can't tell Dean this, because Dean has enough on his mind without Sam's problems added onto that pile. He wants to believe, for Dean, for himself, for Mom, but there's something in the back of his mind telling him he's being stupid.

What gets burned, stays dead.

A/N: Hope you guys liked that! I actually kind of like how this turned out. Please leave a review if you have a moment. Bye!