Title: Lightning Bugs

A/N: It's a miracle! I wrote a story without angst! And Sam isn't limp! That being said, this is a short fic inspired by my own childhood memories of summer and lightning bugs. Thanks to geminigrl11 for the motivation to actually write it and the clear direction to make it a Sam/Jess piece. And, yes, this is my third update today, but only because I couldn't get anything up and I had a very productive last couple of days.

Disclaimer: The only stuff that's mine are any mistakes.

Summary: Sam and Jess and a summer night.

Lightning Bugs

There is something familiar about this place, although you've never been here. Something in the way it smells so fresh in the soft twilight, something about the way the warm air feels as you breathe it deeply into your lungs, something in the way the grass tickles your toes in your sandals.

And there's something right about it all, as though you were meant to be here, with him, holding his hand, feeling all the world was yours and safe and perfect.

There are stars peaking out in the clear sky and the park is quiet and deserted. Summer has arrived, heralded by the cicadas and crickets, and for a moment you feel like you're a child again.

He is quiet and following you, and when you look at him, his eyes are not on the landscape but on you. So you grab his hand and lead him forward. "Isn't this perfect?" you ask him and he can do nothing but smile. "This is how every night should be."

And he's still looking at you, his eyes mesmerized and his dimple permanently in place.

All of it just makes you smile more, touches something deep within you and makes you feel like you can float.

Right when you think nothing could make this better, the sky seems to dim a little more and the hum of the cicadas rises just so, and the lightning bugs begin to sparkle in the velvet haze of the park in front of you.

"Sam," you breathe. "Did you ever catch lightning bugs as a kid?"

"Sometimes," he says. "Why?"

You're running ahead of him now, trying to pull one into your cupped hands. You turn back to face him, sharing a memory. "I used to chase them all the time when I was a kid. I would run after them and try to catch them. I liked the way the wings fluttered in my hands. But I'd never capture just one," you explain, pulling one from the air and turning to find another. "I always captured pairs."

"Why?" He is curious and enthralled and it makes your heart skip a beat.

You open your fingers just enough to let another one in. "You capture them together," you say, and the bugs are crawling in your hand, glowing intermittently through the crevices. "And then, when you let them go, they'll live happily ever after."

"And how can you be sure of that?" he asks, his voice light and airy as the breeze. He's by your side now, watching your hands.

You push at him with your hip. "You just know."

"But what if you have two girls or two boys in there? What if they don't get along?"

You glare at him, but you can't keep a straight face. "You're missing the point," you say. Then you open your hands and let them go, still amazed that it brings goosebumps to your arms to watch them fly away together. You grin and turn to him. "Try it."

He makes a show of resisting, but you can see he wants to. He chases after them with a youthfulness that surprises you. You laugh as he stumbles after one and yell for him to come in the direction of the one you just saw whirring above your head.

"They're trying to get out," he complains as he tries to keep them in his hands.

"Just cup your hands," you say, guiding his fingers. "Like this. You don't want to hurt them."

His hands are large and almost awkward with the delicate task, but he lets you mold them until both bugs are captured gently in his hands.

His face is full of wonder as he watches the light emitting from his hands. This time you're watching him, watching the light reflect of his features, glimmer in his eyes. You swear the bugs in his hands are lighting in tandem, perfectly in unison, as though they are meant to be.

"Now what?" he prompts and you look down again, blushing.

"Now you just...let them go."

He hesitates and then opens his hands. The bugs flutter for a second just above his fingers then take off together, and you watch, standing side by side, as they rise up and away, disappearing from view.

You both stand there, trying to watch them still, but they're lost now, somewhere among the stars.

"You know," he says after a moment, maybe more. "When I was young, we moved around a lot. It was easy to lose track of where we were or what time of year it was. But I could always tell it was summer because of Dean."

"Your brother?"

"Yeah," he says, and you detect something different in his voice, something subtle but palpable. "He always got more rambunctious in the summer. Sometimes he would take me to whatever park was nearby and we'd wrestle or chase each other or whatever. And sometimes--" He breaks off with a small laugh. "Sometimes he'd catch lightning bugs too. He'd catch them and then showed me how to mash them on the pavement because they left these cool glowing streaks where you smeared them. We tried to draw things sometimes. Once he even managed to write my name."

Part of you wants to squeal at his memory, chide him for desecrating the image of happiness you created with the bugs, but he's not telling it to you to gross you out. He's not trying to impress you. He's just talking, and you realize he seems more real now than he ever has before.

"You've never told me anything about him before," you say, softly, your voice daring to penetrate the dimming light.

And Sam smiles, just slightly, and you wait for him to speak, to continue, to add something. But soon you realize that's all there is, that this memory is all he can offer you right now. For a moment you want to ask, to push, to prod, but you see that mix of sadness and contentment on his face and cannot bring yourself to pry.

So instead, you take his hand, rest your head on your shoulder, and together, watch the flickering of the lightning bugs in the evening sky.