A/N: Just rewatched the season 10 finale, when Dean was about to kill Sammy, and Sam laid those two pictures down and told Dean they were a reminder of what it was to love, and boy that whole scene was emotional! Anyways, it really got me thinking how important Deans photos are (and how sad!), so I had to write something.

This is a oneshot that takes place sometime in season 12.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural (...how can I change that?)

Six Moments

By: ThornsHaveRoses

Mary Winchester hadn't always wanted to be a mother - but after meeting John, all she dreamed about was a family with him. That dream was enough. And she'd never regretted it, especially not after the first time she held baby Dean in her arms. Not the hundreds of times after that when she sang him to sleep, or listened to his sweet laugh, or held his tiny hand. She certainly didn't regret it when Sammy came along, and she watched her four year old peering over the side of the crib, smiling at the gurgling newborn. Her beautiful boys.

But those boys she recalled so fondly, all those memories of a tiny family with John, she couldn't reconcile them with the two grown men who shared her newly given life now.

Oh, she still loved them. But it was different. Obligationary instead of adoring. She had missed too much. Decades. The two men who towered over her, who drank to much, and suffered more... she could barely see her baby boys in them.

She wanted to - and Mary knew Sam and Dean wanted that too. They were all trying to build new memories together. It was just hard. A struggle to find out which lines they could cross.

She also knew that her boys had such a strong bond between them - forged of pain, and loss, and more pain, and more loss. Things she didn't understand or know. And it kept her on the outside, no matter how much they wanted to change that.

Mary wasn't stupid - she saw the way they looked at her. Sam with a painful, desperate sort of longing for the mother he'd always been deprived of, and Dean with those sad eyes, remembering bedtime stories and hugs that had been ripped away in the worst way. A broken, unfinished childhood. She didn't know which one was worse.

They were both out now - with a grocery list she'd laughed to glance at. Sam and Deans writing, one messy and barely legible, one neat and precise, going back and forth almost absurdly . Things like waffles, beer, gauze, phone charger, socks, shampoo... Some items scratched off or with comical notations. The list had resided on the fridge for the last month, and it always reminded Mary that her boys were so grown up. That they'd been doing the grocerys and a hundred other 'mom' jobs for a long time

It was because of things like the list, that Mary was currently doing household chores too. Something as normal as laundry, which even though Sam and Dean clearly did it, never as often as they should. How many times had she heard Dean complain that the blood had dried into his shirts, or Sam that he was out of clean jeans.

So she was gathering up every piece she could find and depositing them into the basket resting on her hip. She almost laughed at herself. The thing is, she liked the mundane jobs sometimes. They gave her a break from disaster after disaster.

She almost filled the basket in Sam's room, likely because all his pants were huge, then entered Dean's. At part of her hesitated, a familiar feeling. Two parts of her warring - the piece that said, you'd never enter a strangers room without permission, and the instinct that said , it's okay. Theyre my boys.

Shouldering in, she smiled to see how tidy Deans room was compared to Sam's. She grabbed a few shirts of the back of the chair, then paused, something on the desk catching her eye.

It was a stack of photos.

Well, stack wasn't the right word. Setting down the basket, Mary picked them up. There were six pictures. The top one, the one that had got her attention, was of her and John. Their heads side by side, smiling, so, so in love.

That man that she loved looked so happy. So carefree. She remembered taking the photo, before Sam was even born. Her heart hurt a little looking at it. It was worn and it was faded, but it was beautiful.

Sighing, she lifted it to see the next photo. This one was Sam and Dean, both younger, leaning against an old car, a old, scruffy, gruff-looking man with his arms crossed between them. She quirked her head curiously. She didn't recognize the man, but obviously he was important to them if Dean held on to this picture. She turned it over, and across the back someone had simply written Bobby's. Oh, she did know that name. So this was the man who had helped raise her sons. They had mentioned him, called him family.

Sam had referred to him as the uncle they'd never had, but both boys talked about Bobby with a fondness that was never in their voices when they spoke of John, and it made her think they were closer than just that.

She stared at the dead man a moment longer, wishing she could met the man who had protected and cared for her sons when she had been unable. Wishing for a chance to say thank you.

In the next picture her boys looked about the same age as the last. They were lounging around a table, neither one was actively looking at the camera, but both were smiling at something happening off to the side. Mary's chest felt tight. They looked so... happy. Something very open in their faces she hadn't really seen since she'd been brought back. Somehow, she wasn't sure she'd ever see it.

The next picture had Dean on the left and Sam on the righy. Another candid shot, which had Mary wondering who had snapped it. Maybe the old man from the second photo? Oh, and her boys were laughing. It was an absolutely beautiful photograph and staring at it, Mary was startled to realise she was crying. Something she hadn't really done since being brought back.

Because these memories were beautiful. Proof that the hand theyd been dealt hadnt been all bad. That there were times of levity in amongst the hardships. But it hurt so much to know that her sons lives was documented here, so simply, in a handful of faded photos. To realise there weren't any recent ones in the collection. Two whole lives, summed up in these six frames.

The last two were old - over thirty years. The last two had her smiling out of them.

The first of those was small, and so faded it was practically colorless; her with her arm around a four year old Dean. The second was equally faded, with a crease so worn she thought it might fall in two in her hands. That one was Mary holding baby Sam in between her and Dean.

She felt a sob catch in her throat.

The funny thing was, those pictures, they had the power to break Mary's heart. She saw them as the end of Sam and Deans childhood, and her failure as a mother. They were the real record of her sons lives. They had a lot of bitter significance to her.

But Mary didnt know that those discolored, well-worn memories had so much more power then that.

She could never know the stories that went with each one, more then just a glimpse into the past, but how they had been carried lovingly in a child's hands, safeguarded from backpack to backpack, how they were a constant through each motel room and had traveled countless miles. How they had kept Dean sane when his brother jumped into the Cage, and how Sam had hoarded them feverently after Dean had died. How they'd passed back and forth between her sons, protected with an honor not many other possessions received.

Those photos had pulled Dean back from the brink. Had saved Sam's life. And she'd never know it, but they were the catalyst that had resulted in her resurrection.

No, she couldn't know how many nights Dean had held those. The last piece of her. And this staunch, unyielding reminder of family.

She couldn't know just how earth-shaking, life-changing, meaningful...

But they still meant something to her all the same. A connection.

Six photographs.

Six moments in time.

Please review! It means the world to me!