Sorry. I keep coming up with parts of wholes and posting them, because I don't know when I'll ever get around to finishing the wholes. This is a tiny conversation lifted from another short story I've got in the works. I'm actually really excited about the story (which is Sam-centric, although you might not be able to tell from this snippet), but I doubt it'll get written for quite some time. So I'm just posting this.

Always Be


Liz Bach

"Mommy? Do you remember Sam?" As if he actually thought there was a chance that she could ever forget.

She smiled, like it was practiced. Like she'd been preparing for these moments her entire life. And she almost had them down. Could almost get through them without crying or without a hitch in her voice.

"Of course," she said softly, caressing a hand over her oldest child's baby fine hair. "Of course I do, Dean."

"Me, too," he nodded solemnly, still staring at the empty crib. "Where is he now, mom?"

It was a question he asked on a regular basis. It was like a dance now, just something they did to help them feel better. His mother smiled again.

"He's in heaven, right?" she said, leading the child to the rocking chair and taking a seat. She pulled him up into her lap and kissed the top of his head. "He's growing up in heaven."

"He's just waiting," Dean recited, almost dreamily. Like this was some kind of fairy tale. Sam was becoming a fable or a myth. Eventually, he would be just a story Dean remembered from a long time ago. A sad story from a forgotten time in his life. "And he'll be there to meet us when it's the right time."

"He sure will." Maybe her eyes were closed. Maybe her heart ached. She stroked Dean's hair like he was the only thing that had ever mattered.

Dean twisted in her arms, craned his neck so he could look up into her blue eyes. "Will I know him when I see him again?"

The smile faltered. She needed just a little more practice. "You'll know him," she assured, with a conviction that might have frightened Dean just the slightest bit. "He'll be every bit as beautiful as he was when he was here with us." She knew she would recognize him anywhere.

"He was beautiful," Dean murmured and gently leaned his head against her chest. "Will he know me?"

"Like the back of his hand." She forced the smile again, and this time it was warm. It was incredibly, radiantly sincere. "And he'll always be with us, right?" she whispered.

Dean shifted in her lap and smiled back. He made a point with his index finger, and she took his warm, little hand in hers. She pressed it against her own heart first.

"In here," she said.

Then she pressed it against his, and he giggled.

"And in here."