You think perhapslife consists of a whole lot of sometimes, hidden beneath the maybes that are abandoned for the always. You think that explains a lot. You think that explains you pretty well.

--

Sometimes you think it would have been easier if your mom hadn't stole into your room, tore across the floor, surprised the attack. Sometimes you think maybe, just maybe everyone could have been that much happier if you'd been the target like you've always believed you were intended to be.

Sometimes happens on a Thursday in 92, you're nine years old and your mom's been dead nine years today. Your father drinks himself into a quiet stupor, he tries to make sure you're in bed first, that you and Dean are behind closed doors at least before he unscrews the first bottle. You get up to go to the bathroom, you just want to go to the bathroom, but the floor is cold and the call of the tiny light from the kitchen is too much for you to ignore. Your father is hunched at the table sobbing into arms too large yet somehow too small to catch all those tears. He flinches at the tiny hand that rests gingerly on his head. Pulls you into his lap. 'Oh god Sammy…oh god…she was so wonderful…and I miss her so much…she loved you so much my boy.' You think maybe it should have been you. You let your fingers weave through your father's hair as he sobs and you think maybe…you think maybe she shouldn't have died for you back then…maybe it shouldn't have been her at all.

--

Sometimes happens when the Fall leaves lie crisp beneath your feet and you throw down the bow in the Oregon forest. 'I never asked for this, I never wanted this.' Your father is angry, Dean is silent, you toss the arrow after the bow and tilt your chin. 'Never forget why we do this Sam…' It's on the tip of your tongue but you don't say it, one glance at the throbbing vein in your father's temple and you don't push it. But you do when you're back at the motel, you say it then, 'I don't even remember her, I'm on the frontline and I don't even know who we're fighting for.' Your brother raises a hand and it shakes ever so slightly and you gasp and the walls seem to close in on you because Dean's never hit you before and you never thought he ever would really. 'She was your mother Sammy…she was your mother…and she died for…' Dean spins, retreats in on himself. How is it possible to say far too much and yet not enough in a single sentence. 'You can say it you know…' Dean's out of the room. Later he makes you macaroni and cheese saying with pasta the things his mouth can't say, he's sorry you know he's sorry. But you also know he meant it. And it hurts more than any spirit ever could. You eat the macaroni and laugh at his jokes, he doesn't need to know that.

--

Sometimes is in the pain in your father's eyes when he spots a flash of blonde hair, a smile you recognize from photographs, his gaze strays longingly at a couple, fleetingly at a woman who shares her nose, her mouth, even a similar perfume, you watch him. When he turns to you, you look down pretending you hadn't noticed, you're getting good at that, at watching them and pretending, at acting out roles you're not sure you should ever have been assigned. Because a couple can have more children. You can never find another soulmate.

--

Sometimes turns out to be less of the sometimes more of the most times as you get older. Sometimes creeps up on you every day, in the battered photograph in your brother's wallet, in the dulling metallic of your father's wedding band, in the curling corners of a journal that should never have been written. Sometimes it's always you. Sometimes you know it should have been. But you keep quiet and you join the hunt and you try to silence the protests and you BE the reminder of what could have been. You be that for them. It's the least you can do. You figure you owe them. You owe someone.

Sometimes you think it's unfair, that you've owed someone your life since you were six months old, that you're constantly fighting a war you can't remember signing up for, that you're always guilty of something you just don't quite know what. Sometimes the guilt almost drowns you, the suffocating pull, the remorse for a woman you wish you knew in life but who haunts your dreams and sometimes your waking moments too.

--

Sometimes you think you should tell your family, tell them you see her sometimes. Standing at the door of the motel, a hand on your father's shoulder, a palm in your brother's palm, standing looking at you. Always looking. She never does quite touch you. Always that far out of reach as elusive as she was in your life, hovering at the edges but just not able to find the center. She smiles sometimes, but most times she's just sad. And you guess this is your penance. Your hail mary's, your christo's. Sometimes she's there when your father's in the middle of an exorcism and you have to find a way to stall him by throwing out a protest or even hurling yourself in harms way just so you don't have to see what happens if she's around and he exorcises her by mistake. So he can't see her; doesn't mean she's not there. And even when she's not touching you, even when it hurts to watch her, you'd rather watch than lose her again.

--

Sometimes you know why she doesn't try and reach for you, it's because it's you or her, there can be no in between. It hurts and it bruises you in ways that aren't as visible but it's the truth. And sometimes you accept that. She died for you. She can't exist in a world where you do, you'd simply cancel each other out. A life for a life, wasn't that how it went.

Sometimes that kills you. The knowledge that you and your mother simply cannot exist in one world, kills you inside. Sometimes you hate that.

Sometimes you hate nothing more.

--

Sometimes you think if you could give up your life and it would bring her back you'd do it, sometimes when Dean or your father are cleaning up after a hunt and you're following orders and repacking the trunk your hand rests a little too long on the loaded colt and you wonder…sometimes you think it'd be better for everyone, but you soon realise that's not the answer, your death won't bring her back, but sometimes you doubt that, and sometimes you can't find the reason not to.

--

Always comes with Jess. You know now, if you ever needed it clarifying there it is for you in ash and fire on your ceiling. Always you think it's your fault. Always you know it's down to you. Always you. Always.

You never thought you'd wish for sometimes.

--

You're in Cincinnati and you're 24 years old when you and Dean encounter the demon, it has power you can't even imagine and a grip as strong as a vice. It wants what its always wanted, and you think sometimes you knew it would come to this. It was always sometimes with you. What it never knew was how strong you'd become in the years it left you alive, how strong you'd become to challenge it now, to keep up a battle that should have been long since over. Dean is crying somewhere and you know that always broke you like nothing else could. But this demon can turn back time, and you think you knew this all along.

And how ironic that is, that all those 'always', all those 'sometimes', and you think maybe…maybe it all came down to this 'maybe'.

You can bargain now. Maybe that was the point maybe that was the point of these past twentyfour years, maybe that was what had to bring you to this. You hold your own, and it knows you can bargain now.

'What do you want?'

You know its answer before it can even hiss out a reply. 'You.'

'Then you know what I want in return.'

For a moment there's an expression in its eyes and it nods ever so slightly 'I promise' and you smile cause you know better than to trust promises from demons, but damn it all to hell if in that moment you're willing to take it. You're willing to take the risk. And you let it go. And the claws are through your chest sucking all the power, all the force you'd ever had inside out of you before you can even blink. And you're down and the floor is cold and wet and Dean's beside you and he's crying and you never could handle seeing Dean cry.

And you feel the blood pooling around your body as Dean cradles your body in his lap and for a moment you think you made a mistake, you think maybe you got too cocky to think you could bargain with the demon, but then you realise you have a chance to say goodbye here. And then your father's there, both of them, kneeling at your side, hands in your hair.

'Hold on Sammy.'

'Oh god kiddo hold on.'

And you know a mistake hasn't been made here when you see her appear behind your father's shoulder and she crouches down ever so lightly and she places a hand to your face and cups it gently.

'My baby'.

And she touches you. For the first time in your miserable life she touches you and you think maybe, maybe your penance is over now, that it's finally over. And you smile even as Dean and your dads' tears soak your skin, 'you look after them mom. Not sometimes, always.'

And you ignore the terrified look in your father's eyes as you slip away from them, you ignore the shaking of Dean's hands as they hold your head, as they beg you to come back to them. And you feel yourself slipping. And then you're back.

Back to where it started.

And the demon made good on its promise.

--

Sometimes you think your mother tempted fate when she saved you, when she interrupted the debt that was owed to the world, when she battled with the law of nature and won something she hadn't even contemplated losing. Sometimes you hoped you'd get the chance to repay that somehow. Maybe you knew you would.

--

Sometimes is now. You watch as they enter the nursery, watch through a baby's eyes. 'Say goodnight to your brother.' And he's there, your protector, your strong, broken big brother, who could have been, should have been, so much more than that. And he kisses you softly, and you kick your feet and say goodbye in your own way then. Then she kisses you goodnight and it's a benediction, a single moment where the dice rolls just that little further, where the coin lands gently on the opposite side.'Goodnight love.' And your father smiles at you, none of the lines on his face, none of the guilt or bitterness in his eyes. And he wishes you sweet dreams.

And you close your eyes and wish for them too. And you wish for happiness for them with all your heart. And when the creature creeps into your room late that night and stands over you, it gently picks you up into its arms and you don't know what the future holds for you now, and sometimes that terrifies you and if you're honest they're always on your mind, but for now, they can be a family. Oh they'll mourn you, they'll be heartbreakingly sad for a while, but they can move on, they won't turn to hunting, they won't live lives as vessels any longer, they can still be a family. With two parents and a son, and one day maybe there'll be more children and they can be that normal family that you so desperately wanted all your life. Maybe they were the normal ones, maybe you were the freak, maybe sometimes you always knew that.

The demon picks you up and raises a finger to your lips 'shhhh' it says quietly. 'I always keep my promises.' It jumps from the window with you in its arms and you disappear into the night. Leaving your family behind. Sometimes you wish more than anything you could be with them again.

But sometimes never comes and maybe disappears and always is something you don't think about anymore.

But they are safe now.

And you are never going to regret that.