A/N: For the theme All Hallows Eve. This is my last one! I want to thank everyone who reviewed! You guys are the best!! I would give you tons of cookies and Supernatural plushies if I could! I hope you enjoy this last one!
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.
He wouldn't let Dean come with him. There was no reason to make his brother face his horrors and suffer with him. Besides, the spirits he sought to find were not ones that would ever hurt him.
Sam paused suddenly on the sidewalk, the wind tugging at his dark brown hair, and he sighed. All Hallows Eve. It was the one night of the year that the spirits of the dead were said to be able to return to the earth. Several cultures around the world believed such a thing was possible including the Japanese and Mexicans. The honored the spirits of their departed family members with their favorite foods and tending to their grave sites.
Starting off once more, Sam's thoughts swam to Dean's reaction to his desire to go seeking the spirits he wanted to speak to. Obviously, his brother had been against it. It was better to let the dead lie, best to keep the living and the dead apart.
'Why give yourself more to angst over?'Dean had demanded. 'They're dead and gone. It doesn't matter any more, Sam. Just let them be.'
But he couldn't. He wasn't sure whether it was for his sake or their own that he went now down to the little graveyard on the edge of town. Was it to put them at peace, or himself? Sam couldn't really say. All he knew was that something was tugging him here, his sixth sense perhaps.
The hair on the back of his neck prickled and he held his breath. Though he couldn't see anything, he could feel them all around him. The souls of the departed, all those who had ever died seemed to press in on him, seeking contact with his living flesh.
Exhaling shakily, he pushed onward through the mist, speaking their names under his breath, asking the unseen people for them.
"Have you seen them? Do you know them? Are they here?"
'Keep going,'they urged and he shivered. 'They are here. They are waiting. Go forward.'
Shivering from both the temperature and the closeness of the ghosts he pressed on through the silent graves and tombstones, past solemn stone guardians and sorrowful marble angels. For such a small graveyard, there seemed to be no end to this place.
Suddenly his eyes found a figure through the gloom, one he had known as well as his brother. "Dad?" he whispered.
John Winchester's spirit moved slowly nearer, hazy and flickering. "Hello Sammy."
"Dad, I wanted to-" His voice failed him and he could not go on. "I'm sorry. . ."
There was a light touch on his arm and he found himself staring up into those familiar dark eyes. "Don't apologize. It was wrong of me to put something like that on you."
Sam opened his mouth, perhaps to argue, but before he could speak his father interrupted softly.
"Time's running out, son. Dawn's coming. You have to keep moving."
Confused, he could only nod and move numbly forward, John moving along at his side. The mist swirled around his ankles and the wind seemed to whisper with thousands of voices that flooded his ears. But the appearance of another familiar figure drove them into silence and Sam nearly staggered again and perhaps would have fallen if it hadn't been for John's light hand around his arm.
As it had once before, his throat seemed to close up, his eyes stinging as he stared at the woman in the white nightgown who approached with a bright smile. "Hi, Mom."
"Hello dear heart."Her eyes seemed to glow with such warmth it took his breath away, and he saw his parents exchange glances. "You will be sure to tell Dean I said hello, and that I love him?"
"Of course," Sam returned, fighting back the tears he knew were just waiting to break free. "But Mom, I want to know-"
She held up her hand slightly, shaking her head. "No, there is no time. There are others you must see, and to explain would take too long. But don't fear; it will all work out all right."
Mary was at his other side now, her hand also circling his arm as she and John both helped him moved forward. Dazedly he allowed them to do so, and vaguely he realized the sky was lightening as the sunrise came nearer and nearer.
"Sam, is it really you?"
His head jerked up at the sound of that lovely voice, her head poking out from behind a tree as if she had been playing hide and seek. With a delighted laugh, she came forward, sapphire eyes glittering mischievously.
Her laughter warmed his heard. "Of course, silly! I came to see you! I've missed you so much!"
This time he had no control over the single tear that slipped down his cheek. "Me too. Jess, I'm so, so sorry." Sam had to look away from her radiant face, his self control crumpling.
Her arms were around him suddenly as she had held him a thousand times before, her head resting lightly against his chest. "Oh Sam," Jess murmured with a soft sigh. "Still the same as always; you always think everything is your fault."
"But it is," he argued bitterly. "If I had stayed with you. . ."
"It would have happened anyway."She gazed up at him seriously, pulling away though her hand lingered on his arm beside Mary's. "You could not have saved me. I never blamed you, you know." Jess glanced towards the rapidly lightening sky and tugged. "Hurry, Sam. She still wants to see you."
"She?" Sam repeated dully through his pain. "There isn't anyone else. . ."
But if they were paying attention they didn't answer, continuing to urge him along the misty path to where a young woman with soft caramel colored hair waited with her back to him. As with the others, she was unfocused and hazy, as if he was staring at her through a dirty window. At his approach she turned and his heart stopped at the sight of that face. He could never forget this woman. She stared at him wide eyed and fearful, making no move to come toward him.
Sam was faintly aware of his parents and Jess letting him go and he stumbled forward, pausing before the short, slender woman. "Ava."
She blinked up at him, her lower lip trembling. "Hello, Sam." Her arms came up to wrap tightly around herself and she lowered her gaze. "You don't have to speak to me, if you don't want."
"No, no," he assured her quietly. "I want to. I want to understand, Ava."
Her face twisted slightly. "Why?" she inquired bitterly. "Why else would I, except to survive? I didn't want to kill anyone, Sam. I didn't want to turn into a monster." Angrily, Ava swiped at her eyes. "That's why I was relieved when that Jake guy killed me. I was hoping someone would. I thought maybe it would be you. I wouldn't have minded that."
"That's twisted," he told her flatly.
She gave him a slight smile. "Maybe. But I am sort of twisted now." Still staring down she took a slow step toward him, raising a small hand to touch his cheek. "But that doesn't mean you have to be too. I won't let them make you into a monster the way they did to me."
Sam felt his mouth drop open slightly. "But. . . why?"
Ava raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that what you were doing for me? You searched for me for five months, trying to save me. And even though you were too late, I was truly touched. It was a sweet thing to do, Sam."
"I'm sorry," he told her hoarsely. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you."
"It's okay,"she assured him, and this time her bright azure eyes lifted to meet his green. "You did everything in your power, and that's all I can ask. You came for me. That's all that matters."
Sam shook his head slightly, raising his hand to touch hers that still rested on his cheek. "It doesn't seem enough to me."
Ava shrugged slightly. "That is something you must come to terms with. I have forgiven you. All of us have," she added, including Mary, John, and Jess in the statement. "That's all we can do. Now what remains is for you to forgive yourself."
Rays of pink light were starting to streak against the dark sky, and they all knew the time had come. Before he could move, Ava was suddenly embracing him, and he held her back. More arms encircled him and he knew that he was surrounded and protected by the four of them, these four spirits who had come to him this night.
"We love you, Sam,"Jess whispered.
"We'll be with you,"his mother murmured in his ear.
"Stay strong, son. Evil won't last forever,"John's rumbly voice reassured him.
"Don't be afraid,"Ava told him quietly, holding him even tighter as the light grew brighter. "We'll protect you. Always."
Then he was alone, his arms reaching for empty air as the sun peeked over the horizon. All Hallows Eve had come to an end.