Sam came awake to find dusky sunlight filtering through the gap in the curtains. It was warm, and he had thrown his covers off during sleep, which above all else had been peaceful. He wasn't sure how long he'd been out for, but he could recall several vague dreams, and none of them comprised of the elements that had once haunted him.
Hoisting himself onto his elbows, Sam noticed a bandage wrapped tightly around his torso, finishing just above where his sweat pants were tied. He was covered his bruises, and testing his muscles he found his back still hurt. Drawing his legs over the side of the bed, he breathed deeply and his throat felt dry and sticky.
Sam scanned the hotel room. It seemed Dean wasn't there. He made his way sluggishly to the tiny bathroom, letting the sink support his weight as he splashed cool water over his face, tiny droplets gliding down his neck to his bare chest. He fixed his eyes on his reflection.
The word seemed so poignant that morning; when he'd been blessed with horror-less dreams, and Jess seemed so close to him, as close as the humid air that wrapped around his skin, as close as the memories of that night clouding his mind...
Dean drew the dark Chevrolet up to the curb and turned off the engine. He looked across at Sam, gave him a reassuring smile and patted him on the shoulder. Sam just nodded back, and got out of the car with his brother.
"I'll wait here okay?" Dean told him, leaning against the car and crossing his arms over his body, "I thought, you know, you'd...you'd wanna do this alone." Dean was never good at showing his feelings, but Sam smiled to show that he, at least, knew exactly what his brother was trying to say. Then he walked off over the gravelly path that wound between neatly planted flowers to the graveyard.
Dean watched him as he moved further away, concerned for him as always. That morning he had told him that Jessica had finally forgiven him for what he had done, that he had gained peace in redemption at last. Bullshit, Dean thought. None of this was Sam's fault, it never had been. But he had to concede, that if Sam's nightmares had stopped, if he had stopped blaming himself for everything that got to them on the way, this could be nothing but a good thing.
Sam traced the grey slab with his finger, blurry through his tear-impaired vision. He'd been there a while, and his knees had left dints in the soft ground.
Seeing that the sun had moved in the sky he decided it was time to go back to the car, and stood up tentatively, muscles still aching. He wiped his eyes and began to move back to the path.
"Sam! Hey, Sam!" He turned around to see Zach, a college friend. "Hey man, I haven't seen you in ages..."
"Yeah, I can't talk for long, sorry."
"In a hurry huh?" He put his hands in his pockets, "Were you visiting Jess' grave?" Sam nodded. "Sometimes I feel like she's still here, you know what I mean? Like she never left at all..."
"Yeah I know what you mean," Sam smiled, "Just like in life, looking out for us all."