Disclaimer:All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's notes: This story starts the evening after 'It's the great pumpkin, Sam Winchester' and ends a couple of days later. The images of the religious figures in this story are not meant to offend anyone.
Mother of mercy
By Eva aka Pinkfox
Sam dug trough his duffel, searching for the small leather bag in which he kept some of his most valuable possessions. Finally finding it, he checked once more if Dean wasn't about to walk back in and opened it.
Dean had wanted to go to a bar to play some pool and to flirt with some of the local chicks. But Sam had begged of, pleading a residual headache after banishing Samhain, and had sent Dean of to have some fun on his own. Because Sam had some things of his own to attend to.
He grabbed the open bag on his lap and pulled out a delicately painted icon of Mary with the baby Jesus and a couple of calligraphied cards. He followed a few the curly letters with his finger, remembering how Pastor Jim had made the cards for him with the prayers they had written together...
Jim Murphy looked up from his desk to the six year old Sam. "What is it, Samuel?"
Little Sam bit on his lip and looked down on his shoes. "Pastor Jim, why don't I have a mommy?"
The pastor's eyes widened for a moment before he pulled the six year old in his lap. "Why do ask, Sammy?"
"Everybody at school has a mommy. Everybody has a mommy to tell things to."
"But don't you tell things to Dean? Or to you your daddy?"
Sam nodded. "But I really want a mommy to tell things to..."
Jims eyes swept around the office, searching for a solution. Finally he noticed the small icon on the shelf his aunt had given him once after a vacation to Greece. He shifted Sam and lifted him, walking to the shelf and taking the icon. He sat down again and placed the icon on his desk. "Do you know who this is, Sam?"
Sam peeked at the icon. "That is Mary with baby Jesus."
"Mary is Jesus' mommy, isn't she? They said that when I went to school on Sunday, at the church."
"Hmm. Mary is Jesus' mommy. But do you know that some people say that she is everybody's mommy? At least a little bit?"
Sam gazed at him with wide open eyes. "Then she is also my mommy for a bit?"
"She can never be your real mommy, Sam. But you can tell her things you might want to tell you real mommy."
Sam again looked at the icon. "But how do I talk to her?"
"Do you remember how we to talked to God and Jesus once?"
"When we prayed?"
"You talk to Mary just like that..."
Little Sam once more looked at the icon, then gently reached out to trace Mary's face on it.
Just like he had done when he was little, Sam reached out and traced Mary's face on the icon. When had been a little bit older, he and Pastor Jim had written several prayers together and then the pastor had put them on cards, so he could keep them. It had always been something they had shared together.
And throughout the years, when things had been difficult and things had seemed at their lowest point, he had found most comfort in the simple prayers he had written to Mary as a child. And always when he reached his lowest point, he would take out the icon Pastor Jim had given him and the cards with the prayers on it and he had been able to tell his sorrows to Mary.
Just like he might have told them to his real mother.
Only when his brother had been torn away from him he had not been able to find any comfort...
Sam propped up the icon on the nightstand and knelt down, cradling the cards in his hand. He looked down and softly started to recite the prayer on the upper card.
Slowly his mind calmed down and he was able to focus...
Dean was glad he had looked trough the window before entering the room. The bar had turned out to be a bore, there wasn't a decent pool player around and the chicks hadn't responded to his advances. So he had elected to return to the motel room he and Sam shared early.
He only had not counted on finding Sam deep in prayer. Quickly he stepped back from the window, not wanting to disturb his brother during his private moment. He headed to a bench standing nearby and studied the half-visible moon.
He knew the events of the day before had shook Sam badly. First meeting Castiel and Uriel and finding out they were not exactly what he had expected, then being forced to use his powers again to drive out Samhain from the dead teacher and almost having a stroke as result. Uriel's words this afternoon had only been the icing on the cake.
He never had the time to fully decipher all the emotions that raced trough Sam's eyes when their eyes met. Because suddenly Sam's knees had buckled and he had collapsed next to the body on the floor.
Dean had instantly shoved all the emotions running through him behind a brick wall in his mind and he had slid to his knees next to his brother. From the distance he had not even noticed the nosebleed, but now he could see it clearly, just like the frown that etched Sam's face. The frown that had become hauntingly familiar in the aftermath of the visions.
Luckily Sam immediately mumbled something and slowly he opened his eyes. He blinked a few times and slowly turned his gaze to Dean. "Dean?"
"Headache." was the one-worded reply.
Dean looked around him. "Think you can stand? We need to get out of here."
Dean had helped Sam to his feet and he had guided Sam to car, Sam's arm around his shoulder and an arm around his waist. On the way out he had scooped up Ruby's knife.
The drive back to the motel had been silent. Only when they were nearly there, Sam had spoken. Gazing out the window he had said softly: "I am sorry, Dean... I had no choice..."
Dean had also kept his gaze on the road. "I saw the knife lying at the other side of the room."
"The knife didn't work... I couldn't let the townspeople get hurt... I couldn't let him hurt you... Please don't be mad..."
Dean had not replied to that, turning the words in his mind. Only later, when he had helped his brother inside and after he had gotten Sam lying down, he sat down on the edge of the bed. Sam was still tense and he avoided meeting Dean's eyes.
"I am not mad, Sam... I understand..." Suddenly Sam's eyes met his, widening at the words Dean had spoken.
"I don't like it, but I understand it... Get some rest, Sammy." He gave Sam's shoulder a quick squeeze and stood up to close the curtains. When he turned back to the bed, Sam had already fallen asleep, finally relaxed and a relieved expression on his face.
When Dean finally headed back to the room, Sam was nestled on his bed, working on the laptop. Neither mentioned anything about the prayers.
Three days later Castiel looked up from the texts he was studying, trying to determine which seal was likely to be broken next.
A bright light filled the room and from it a woman with dark hair and dark eyes emerged. She wore a long, deep red gown with a sky blue cloak over it. Her hair was partly covered with a matching sky blue veil, kept in place with a circlet with twelve stars on it.
Castiel immediately stood up and bowed his head. "My Queen. May I ask why you are here?"
The woman nodded. "You may ask. I have an assignment for you."
"You need to deliver a message to Sam Winchester."
Castiel barely managed to keep the surprise from showing on his face. "That is most unusual."
"These are unusual times, Castiel. And unusual times ask for unusual measures to be taken."
"May I ask why you would take an interest in Sam Winchester?"
"I have tried to watch over him since he was a child. He pleaded for my help and he was not the only one. I asked my Son his latitude to interfere directly."
Castiel only nodded once. "What is the message?"
"Tell Sam he and his brother are not alone. That I try to watch out for him. And that there are people with me watching out for him. And for his brother." The lady handed Castiel a leather pouch. "Give him this. He will know what the contents mean. Finally tell him there is always hope."
Castiel regarded the pouch for a moment. "It will be done, my Queen."
The lady regarded him for a moment. "Be at ease, Castiel. This does not go against your earlier orders." She laughed softly for a few seconds. "This may even ease your mission. It will strengthen Sam to choose the right pad and to restore his faith."
"And if I may give you a last word of advice..."
"Urge your brothers to tread carefully with both the brothers. Especially Uriel."
"You and your brothers have not walked among humans for two thousand years, Castiel. And you have forgotten much." The light was starting to fade and the lady was disappearing with it. "The brothers are the strongest together. Take away one and the other will falter."
With those words the light faded completely and Castiel was left standing, the leather pouch in hand.
Castiel observed Sam before he made himself visible to the young man. And he found he could not understand the youngest Winchester. Tainted by demon blood, crushed with the pain Azazel had brought upon him by murdering him mother and Jessica and taking his father. And finally the loss of Dean to Hell...
Yet here he was, still going on and still trying to find his faith. If he, an angel, was having doubts... How could a young man with such burdens manage to do this? Even though angels had not walked among humans for two-thousand years, they had watched and observed. He had seen men with lesser burdens falter...
This was something he had not expected to see from Sam Winchester, despite the thoroughness of their preparations before returning to walk among humanity. Perhaps this was what had drawn the attention of the Blessed One. With a flick of his wrist he let him become visible to the occupant of the motel room.
Sam was on his feet almost immediately after he detected the intruder. When the identity of the intruder finally registered he only relaxed marginally. "You!"
"Sam Winchester... We need to talk."
"Why are you here?" Sam had taken a seat on the edge of the bed and regarded him warily. "Are you here to threaten me like your buddy?"
Castiel barely managed to keep the surprise from showing on his face, but he ignored the question. "I was asked to deliver a message."
"A message? You have taken up a new job as a heavenly mailman? Who would want to give me a message?" Sam asked sceptically.
"Someone you have been praying to..." Castiel gestured to the icon on the nightstand. "Decided to answer your prayers."
Sam's eyes widened almost comically and his gaze tracked to the icon. "The Virgin Mary? She gave you a message for me?"
Sam was silent for a long time, staring at the icon. Castiel waited patiently for the younger Winchester to say something. When Sam once more looked at Castiel, his eyes had lost some of the wary look. "What did she say?"
"She said to tell you that you and your brother are not alone. That she was trying to watch out for you and several other people with her."
Sam didn't say a thing, just stared at him. His eyes lost more of his wary look, though there was still caution in his eyes.
Castiel reached in the pocket of his trench coat and pulled out the leather pouch he had been given. "She asked me to give you this."
Sam took the pouch and shook the contents in his hand. It were several pieces of jewellery. A ring, a chain with a cross and two bracelets lay in his hand, duly gleaming in the sunlight.
Castiel watched as Sam first picked a copper bracelet, the size and make showing it was meant for a man. "This belonged to Dad... Mom gave it to him the last birthday before she died... Dad had it with him when we... burned his body..." Suddenly his head snapped up and he stared at Castiel. "Dad is in Heaven?"
Unable to deny the implication of the bracelet and the message Mary had given him, Castiel nodded.
Sam put the bracelet back in the pouch and picked up the chain with the cross. "This belonged to Pastor Jim. He always wore it..." He looked at it for a long moment, then put it with John's bracelet. He picked up the other bracelet, this one silver with several charms in the form of religious and protective symbols. "I don't recognize this one."
Castiel looked at the bracelet closely for a moment. "Ask your brother. He will recognize it."
Sam only watched him quizzically before he put the bracelet with the other jewellery. When his gaze locked onto the ring, he drew in a harsh breath. He tenderly picked up the ring and stared at it.
When the silence became oppressing and when it was clear Sam was not going to say anything else, Castiel moved to the door, opting to leave the room as a normal human being would. He just put his hand on the handle, when Sam spoke. "Thank you, Castiel."
Castiel looked back. Sam looked at him, tears glistering in his eyes.
"Not only for this... Thank you for pulling my brother out of Hell. I never got the chance to say it the other day..."
Castiel nodded, recognizing what Sam was trying to do. "She told me to tell you one last thing... To never give up hope." With that Castiel opened the door and stepped out, leaving Sam to contemplate his words.
When Dean returned a few hours later from the errands he had been running, Sam was once more sitting on the bed, cradling the ring in his hand. He had put away the icon and his prayer cards, but the leather pouch was still lying besides him.
Sam looked at him, his eyes rimmed with red. Dean frowned, not understanding his brother's state and his uncharacteristic position. Usually when he came back, he would find Sam reading or working on his laptop. Not sitting on the bed and staring at something in his hand.
"What's going on?" Dean dragged a chair away from the table and sat down across his brother. When Sam didn't reply, he put more urgency in his voice. "Sam? What is going on here?"
"Castiel was here a few hours ago."
"What did he say?"
"He said he came to give me a message. And to give me this." Sam gestured to the pouch and the ring.
Dean frowned once more. "What kind of message? From who? Is some seal breaking again?"
"No." Sam shook his head. "Nothing like that... He said the message was from the Virgin Mary... An answer to my prayers..."
"The Virgin Mary? Like the not-having-sex-but-still-having-a-baby Mary?"
"What did she have to tell you?" Dean still was not following any of this. "Sam?"
"Since we met Uriel and Castiel, I have been praying to her... She sent that message as a reply... And she sent this..." Sam picked up the pouch and shook out some of the jewellery.
"But what was the message? And why would she send jewellery?"
Sam looked at him, some hope shining in his eyes that Dean hadn't seen there since his return from his trip to the past and his subsequent discovery of Sam's demon exorcising powers. "She said we were not alone. That she and other people were trying to watch out for us." Sam carefully placed the ring he was holding on the bed and picked up the copper bracelet and the chain with cross. "Dad and Pastor Jim are looking out for us."
Dean took the bracelet and chain, directly recognizing them. "And the ring?"
Sam picked up the ring and showed it to Dean. It was a simple silver ring, inlaid with rose quartz and amethyst. "It is the promise ring I gave to Jess when we moved in together... A symbol of the promise to try and build a life together..."
Dean put the bracelet and chain in his lap and carefully took the ring from Sam. "You were that serious so early? I know you were looking for an engagement ring before... before she was killed..." He stopped when he saw Sam looking at him, completely surprised...
"You knew about that?"
"I never told you?" Dean ran one hand through his hair. "Yellow-Eyes told me... Just before we had the car accident... And after that..."
"Other things were going on." Sam finished for him. He pulled the charm bracelet from the pouch. "I only didn't know this one. Castiel said you would recognize it."
Dean handed Jess' promise ring back to Sam and took the charm bracelet. He did recognize it immediately. "It belonged to Mom... It was hers when she was hunter... It was how I knew she was a hunter when I was in the past."
Both brothers were silent after that, only looking at the jewellery. Finally Sam gathered it up and carefully put it back in the pouch. Then he tucked the pouch away in one of her bags. "Dean, Castiel said one more thing."
"He said that Mary had said to never lose hope."
Mary smiled as she observed the two brothers. She would do what she could to keep an eye out for them. People called her the Mother of Mercy or the Lady of Compassion...
What else could she do then try to do just that...
Some more authors notes for those interested:
The reason Castiel calls the Virgin Mary 'my Queen' comes from the titles of epitahs that she is given sometimes, namely Queen of Heaven or Queen of Angels. Mother or Mercy and Lady of Compassion two more of such titles or epitahs given to her.