Just a very small ending...


CHAPTER FOUR

They stayed in the nameless town. They stayed for a week, while Sam recovered. Dean hung out in the room most of the time, but every now and then the older would start climbing the walls and would have to get out. Sam lived for those moments. As much as he loved his brother, he treasured the times he was left alone. As soon as the Impala would pull out of the motel car park, Sam would be out of his bed and burning away the hours at their laptop, researching. He didn't care what Dean said, nor how many times the older said it. He would find a way to break the demon's deal. Or, God help him, he'd die trying. Preferably not the latter, he thought, though if it came to it, he wouldn't hesitate. If it came to it, of course, there'd be nothing Dean, nor anyone, would be able to do to stop him.

Sam's physical wounds began to heal. His ankle wasn't broken, which was good news because it meant there was no real need to find a hospital. The drugs worked, most of the time, keeping the pain at bay, but when they didn't Sam managed to put on a brave enough face to avoid too much mothering from his brother. He was scratched and scraped, and each day found a new splinter in one of his arms or legs. The thing giving him the most grief was the swelling around a few of his ribs, which had turned the skin on his right side a brilliant collection of purples and blues, drawing his attention every time he had to undertake the painful task of having a shower and accidentally caught his reflection in the mirror. It looked positively dreadful.

Over all, Sam was technically okay. As far as Dean could see, his little brother was making progress. What Dean didn't know, however, was that as the days rolled by, Sam was growing more and more frustrated. Being forced to stay indoors and having nothing else to do but mull over thoughts regarding Dean's possibly unavoidable death was beginning to take its toll on the younger, and by the end of the week, the lack of answers Sam's secret research had turned up had quite sufficiently added to the constant thrum of anxiety dwelling within him. It built up and up, until five o'clock one particularly sunny afternoon while Dean was out, when Sam decided he'd had enough and jerked the front door of the motel room open, bursting forth from its confines.

The late afternoon glared at him, and Sam didn't hesitate to glare back. Hobbling slightly, he made his way towards a bench a few feet away and dropped heavily upon it, rubbing the space between his eyes and massaging his aching forehead. He was exhausted, yet decent sleep continued to elude him. Each night he'd woken at least a dozen times, wrapped in his sheets, sweating and worrying, churning over thoughts until they made even less sense than they had originally. The black hole within him was growing. It didn't seem to matter how hard he tried to ignore it, it kept on expanding. He felt like a piece of bruised fruit, rotting from the inside out. The little girl was right, he thought miserably. He couldn't understand how a spirit, who'd had such terrible things happen to her during her short life, could be so happy and content. And how could she have seen through him so thoroughly?

Across the road from the motel there was a forest. Its canopy was thick and green, and Sam watched as the sun descended below the tops of the tallest trees. Rays stretched like fingers towards him, picking up the cobwebs in the long grass surrounding the car park. He could smell somebody's dinner cooking, and the sweet, sharp scent of wood fires flavouring the air. He closed his eyes, savouring the serenity. It reminded him of the warmth he'd felt in the room he'd fallen into at the Witherson house. It made him sad, because it was so perfect. Couldn't time just stop for a moment? Couldn't the second hand on the clock that ticked incessantly in his ear be stilled, just for a heartbeat?

No. Sam realized it couldn't.

Sometimes the answers we're seeking are right in front of us. The little girl's voice still rang in the back of his mind. Sam's eyelids climbed open, and he stared blearily at the tufty grass bobbing in the slight breeze. Perhaps the key to happiness lay in the acceptance of any given situation; being aware of what could be done to change things, being comfortable with the fact that some things couldn't be changed. Sam thought about all the things in his life that hadn't turned out the way he'd hoped, and the guilt that he'd carried as a result of them. How he wished he could let that guilt go. No doubt it would help him to see more clearly. He knew there were things in his heart that were eating him alive, and that trying to save his brother was just one item on a long list of grievances he believed he'd caused others, and was determined to set right. What had the little girl said, that hope starts as a very small light?

Sam raised his eyes to the sun's rays stretching through the trees, letting his vision slip out of focus as he contemplated the child's words. There were so many reasons to worry, though, so many reasons to be afraid. He thought about his brother. He thought about the obstacles they were facing. He thought about how often things seemed so ridiculously hopeless, and how helpless he felt, because he was only one man. Finding a reason to keep fighting was sometimes like trying to clear path in a sandstorm.

You have hope inside you, even though you don't know it yet.

Perhaps, he thought absently, if he found his light and stared at it, it would expand just like the sun's rays, and he'd eventually see nothing else.

He almost laughed. It wasn't that simple.

There was a sudden breath like a kiss upon his cheek. It warmed his skin and seeped right into him.

He raised a hand and brushed at the spot, mildly startled.

In a strange moment of deja vu, he heard a very small voice whisper, "Yes, Sam, it is."

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Ta for reading :) Take care