The heavy scent of plants and the noisy cacophony of tropical animals told Sam he wasn't having a normal dream. The fact his skin was dark and he was dressed as a Maya shaman told him it might not be a dream at all, but something else entirely.
Staring at the forest around him, he recognized the pond and the small clearing around it. He stared into the waters expecting to see an aspect of the moon, but it was empty.
"Ba'ax ka wa'alik, shaman."
Sam spun around.
Ix Chel in her thick black hair with its distinguishing white stripe stood before him, looking up at him with knowing eyes.
"Ba…Ba'ax ka wa'alik."
She gave him a small pleased smile. "I wanted to personally thank you for your help. I know there are other more worrisome things you would have rather been taking care of than helping an old woman."
Sam looked away, embarrassed that she knew this. "We owed you. We were happy to help."
Ix Chel moved in close. A hand cupped his cheek and moved his face until her warm, sad gaze met his. "I wish I could offer a solution to your problem, but I cannot. What has been done is outside my sphere of influence. And not all hells are the same." She gave him another small smile. "But do not despair. There is always hope." Her other hand moved over his heart. "I am sorry I cannot do more."
Pressure built behind her touch and power poured inside him. Every last vestige of fatigue and then some were expunged from his body. Worry and anxiety dropped away from him as if it had never been. He felt renewed and not just physically. It was as if she were giving him the strength to endure. He wasn't sure he deserved it.
Her hand moved away but her gaze remained locked with his. "I am concerned, however." Her expression darkened. "You have changed much since last we met. You must be careful. You must not lose your Heart. You must not lose the Words that are Sam. Never forget the innocents lest you lose yourself with them."
He shivered inside knowing only too well of what she was talking about. They had the Colt, but to use it meant taking a possibly innocent human life. And he'd already made that choice several times already. Worse, he was actively trying to change himself into things he was not. Soon there might come a time when he would have to fight the war alone and there would be little time for self doubt or making moral choices.
"I…I'll try." He hoped he could. But if it meant choosing between losing himself or losing Dean… His priorities would stay the same no matter what.
"I understand." She took a step back and gave him another soft smile, this one bereft of the tinge of sadness of the other. "Your brother is also here. He is looking for you." She waved toward the line of trees. "Go to him. Enjoy your time together here. And once you're done, the memories you borrowed will sleep again, so have no fear."
Sam wasn't sure whether to be happy or bothered that he seemed to be so transparent to this woman, this goddess. "Thank you."
The trees parted beside him forming a path for him to follow.
Sam bowed to her, then took to the path. As he walked along he could suddenly hear his brother laughing with glee somewhere in the distance. After a moment he realized Dean was also calling for him.
"Saaammmmy! Come out to play-ay!"
The happy sounds filled his heart more than he could ever say. He would make sure to create some joyful memories that would be theirs and theirs alone before they were done that night. All else could come after.
With a new spring in his step, Sam ran to rejoin his brother.
Thanks for sticking with me through this journey. Hope the ending didn't stink too badly! Comments and crits welcome. Take care!