Hello everyone. I was going to wait to post this until I finished 'On the Turning Away' but it made a little more sense to post them together for some chapters. This is the second part to my 'mid-season' finale 'Afterglow'. I hope everyone enjoys, as always let me know what you think :). Postings for this story will be every friday. Also, for anyone who doesn't know, this is part of my Something Lost series.
D: this is all just for fun.
OUT OF SIGHT, BUT IN MY MIND
Sam sat on the cold stone bench, facing three marble headstones. He didn't know what to do, what to say. There, no more than four feet in front of him were the remains of the Harrison family— but he was at a loss. Ever since returning to Valley Sam had wanted to visit Evelyn's final resting place, and after seeing her spirit the desire grew even more. Sam needed to know her again, to understand her. There was something about Evelyn he needed to figure out, but Sam just couldn't put his finger on it. He didn't know if it was because she was one of the psychic children or if it was something different, he just knew he needed to understand her, to learn from her.
She had a message for him, Sam knew it, he just needed to figure out what that message was. Whatever Evelyn was doing to cross over, it was making her words jumbled and cryptic. It was like trying to listen to a skipping record, like piecing together the shards of an old stone tablet. The message was important, very important, but for the life of him Sam just couldn't figure it out. Sam studied the headstones again, the names carved intricately across the marble surface alien and familiar to him at that same time.
To the world Evelyn Harrison was just a name, just letters. The world would never really know her, never see what effect she could have had, what future she could have lived. And it was the same with Elizabeth and Tom. Mrs. Matthews had known Elizabeth when they were children and Sam could remember long afternoons spent in the Matthews' candy shop, listening to stories of Elizabeth. It was like looking back on another life, another time Sam wasn't privy to. Even as an adult, it was hard to imagine his parents as children, as teenagers. To Sam, they were the adults he'd always known.
But there were lives lived when he wasn't around, it was the natural way of the world. People moved throughout life quietly, leaving a mark sometimes seen by all, but more often only witnessed by a few. Sam often wondered what his mark would be, what his legacy would be. He looked around the cemetery, a few of the headstones weathered by time, the names no longer legible. Was that a legacy? A bit of smoothed stone loved ones stopped visiting long before. Once Kerri, Dean, and himself were gone, no one would remember Evelyn, no one would be left to tell stories— and that idea broke Sam's heart. He wanted people to know her, to remember her story, to understand her life, but he knew that was never going to happen. She, like Jessica was now marked by nothing more than a slab of stone.
Sam slid off the bench, kneeling in the wet grass. He still held a small bouquet of flowers in his hand. It seemed like an insignificant way to mark a life, but it was all Sam could do. He choked back a sob when he saw the other trinkets which lined the grave, the items weathered by time— he guessed they'd been placed there by Kerri shortly after her sister's death.
There were a few hair-ties Sam recognized from the days when Ev was still in pigtails. A small stuffed dragon Sam had once bought the little girl, and a sealed picture of the four of them, all standing proud by their bikes. Sam lifted the picture, wiping some dirt and rain water from the plastic housing. He couldn't believe it was his actual family in the picture. They all looked so alive, their futures laid about before them for the taking. But the photo was snapped when Sam was around eleven, leaving only a few more months until the world captured in that small photo had fallen apart completely.
Sam replaced the photo, laying the flowers he'd brought beside it. He let out a long breath, pushing his bangs back out of his eyes. A light rain had begun to fall as he kneeled before Evelyn Harrison's grave, but Sam wasn't phased by it. Sam thought Evelyn would be with him forever when they were kids, that he would escape the hunting world and then come back to take Evelyn with him. But that had turned out to be nothing more than a childish wish. He hadn't been able to save anyone.
He ran his hand along the cold marble headstone, tracing Evelyn's name, whispering as his hand ghosted over the letters. Evelyn. He still couldn't believe she was gone, that the Demon had claimed another person he cared about, stolen another innocent soul from the world. Sam wanted to save her, but he knew she was beyond his reach— or was she? There had to be something in the messages he was missing, some way of helping Evelyn, he just had to figure it out.
He jumped back when a shock like an electrical charge shot into his hand, racing up his arm as he traced over the letters of Evelyn's name. He rubbed his hand, standing as he eyed the gravestone. He couldn't figure out what in the weathered marble would cause such a reaction. He blinked a few times, suddenly feeling more tired than he knew he should. He tried to remain standing but felt his knees buckle. There were voices all around him, conversations growing on the wind, though he knew he was the only one in the cemetery.
"There has to be something else, I can give you anything else."
"But it isn't 'anything else' that I want. This is my only offer."
"Then I can't help you."
Sam blinked several times, staring at the headstone as his vision began to blur, a dark void creeping up around him, pulling him. The last thing he saw before he fell into unconsciousness was Evelyn's name carved on the smooth marble headstone.
"Maybe his phone's just out of range, Dean." Kerri voiced her opinion for about the hundredth time, making Dean grip the steering wheel harder.
"Cody's a bigger city than Valley, if we have bars, he's got bars."
"Maybe he just wants privacy while he's saying good-bye."
Dean had thought about that after the first call— but the fourth, no Sam should have answered that one. Something was wrong, Dean could feel it deep inside of him, something had happened to his brother. The blonde couldn't describe it, but he'd been hunting long enough to trust his instincts, and he'd been Sam's brother long enough to know everything the kid would think and do. If Sam wasn't answering his phone, it was because he couldn't.
The closest cemetery to Valley was in Cody, Wyoming, about thirty miles from the small mountain town. But to Dean, it may as well have been thirty thousand. It was a twenty minute drive, hell, he could even get there quicker, but nothing short of teleporting would be fast enough for Dean. He needed to get to Sam, even if it was only to have the oversized kid make fun of him for over reacting.
Dean blinked a few times, grabbing the Gatorade from the seat by Kerri— he really shouldn't be driving. Kerri had tried to talk him out of it, she'd even managed to grab the keys from him when he wasn't looking. But for all her speed she was no match for even an out of commission Dean, and he easily overpowered her. So she chose to nag him the entire drive instead. "Told you I should have drove."
"Would you just be quiet and give directions."
"How am I supposed to give directions and be quiet at the same time?"
Dean just shot her a look, letting her know now was not the time.
"Look, Dean, I'm sure he's fine. Maybe the phone's in the car."
"Just trust me on this, Ker. Something's not right." Suddenly, a thought occurred to Dean. "Have you been there, you know, where Evelyn is?"
"You mean her grave? You sound like Sam. Yeah, I've been there once."
"But, her body isn't there."
"Her body isn't anywhere." Kerri paused, pulling in a shaky breath before turning back to the window.
Dean could see she was trying hard to keep it together. Kerri rarely spoke of Evelyn, but when she did, it was always somber. Evelyn had been a light in their lives, a fun, crazy, loving ball of energy. Having her gone was like having the sun forget to rise. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault."
"I know, but still, I shouldn't have brought it up."
"We're going to her grave, Dean, it's hard not to bring it up."
Dean flinched at the word, the finality of those five letter beating down on him. Grave. It was one syllable, one word, but it held so much within it. There was no future at a gravesite, only a slowly fading past— and Dean still couldn't picture Evelyn that way. She was so full of life, so full of promise, and now she was nothing but a memory. He looked again at Kerri, another thought entering his mind. "You've been there before, though?"
"You just asked me that two seconds ago."
"But, your house."
"What about my house?"
"You've sealed off almost every place you could, it's not really the home of someone learning to cope."
"I never said I was learning to cope. I tried when they first died, but it wasn't really my thing."
"That's an understatement. So you haven't been here since?"
"No. Brian said it would be 'healthy' to come by and talk to her. To bring her some things she liked. So I sat like a good little kid and talked to the stone slab that's now apparently my sister."
Kerri huffed a light laugh— she was more like Dean than she would ever admit. "Not really."
"Yeah, I never really got the whole visit the grave thing." Dean answered absently, his mind drifting back to his mother's gravesite, to how adamant Sam was about visiting it after their father had passed. But like Kerri said, all it was was a slab of stone, no body beneath. It had no soul, no voice, no comfort, but then again, ghosts were easy, it was people Dean didn't understand.
"Some people find comfort in it. Sam seems to be one of them."
"That's cause Sam's girly."
"Oh yeah, that must be it." Kerri smiled, turning back to the window.
It wasn't their normal level of conversation, but it was better than the awkward silence Dean had been trapped in lately. Every time he asked Kerri about her past he learned more things he didn't want to hear. Evelyn was not only gone but had begun to turn and follow the Yellow Eyed Demon. Had Kerri not dropped an innocent looking silver bracelet Sam would be dead. And Tom Harrison had experimenting on his own daughter. It was just one piece of bad news after another, and Dean was afraid every conversation would lead down another dark road.
Dean wished everything would stop spiraling away from him, that the world would stand still for just a moment, just so he could catch his breath. But, every time he thought he had everything under control something else came along to shatter his reprieve. All he could do was hold on, cling to what he had like a lifeline. If he didn't fight he was going to lose, and that wasn't an option.
"Dean, are you alright?"
"Ask my after we find Sam."
Kerri just turned back to the window, obviously wanting to talk to him but not having the words. Dean knew she didn't want to go to her sister's grave, or anywhere near Cody, but he also knew Kerri would never deny his request. He asked for help getting to Sam, and Kerri had agreed, no matter what pain it caused her.
"I'm sorry, Dean." Kerri spoke after a few minutes, her voice miles away.
"Sorry about what?"
"I should have told you earlier. I shouldn't have let it go."
"Yeah well, we can't change what happened." Dean answered back quickly. Yes, she should have told him, she should have told him the freaking second Sam told her about Evelyn. He was sick and tired of all the damn secrets.
Kerri just took in a breath as she stared out the window, blinking a few times. Dean knew she was breaking, knew she was sliding away, but at that moment he couldn't stop it. He had to find Sam first, had to make sure his brother was ok. Once he knew nothing was trying to destroy the only family he had left, then he could turn to the monumental task of repairing his and Kerri's relationship.
They rode on for another few minutes, the large gate of the cemetery coming into view, the rain beginning to fall harder as they turned onto the dirt drive. Why did it always seem to be gloomy and rainy in cemeteries?
"She's in the back." Kerri spoke up, her eyes empty as she stared out the window. "There's a bluff over looking a river, she's over there."
"Ok." Dean answered quietly, following the winding road. Dean didn't want to think about Evelyn's final resting place, didn't want to picture some beautiful view of a river, some peaceful place. Evelyn was dead, there was nothing beautiful or peaceful about it. Some place dark and over grown, like the evil trail in a bad disney film, that would have been a more appropriate image of what Evelyn's death had done to those around her.
Dean reached the end of the road, pulling to a stop behind the firebird. His heart began to beat a little faster when he saw Kerri's car, knowing Sam was still somewhere in the cemetery. He killed the engine, pulling his jacket tighter as he climbed from the car, gripping the frame when a wave of dizziness swept over him.
"You ok, Winchester?"
'Winchester,' Dean thought, great, she was pissed at him. "Just give me a sec." Dean answered, his eyes closed.
"Here." Dean felt a water bottle pressed into his hand. "Told you Gatorade was a bad idea."
"You're all about the I told you so's today." Dean smirked weakly, taking the water. He drank half the bottle in one gulp, the cool liquid waking him up a bit. Kerri was right, but he wasn't ever gonna tell her that.
"You ok?" she asked after another few minutes, Dean pushing off the car as the dizziness passed.
"Good as I'll ever be." she answered, pulling her jacket tighter against the damp air. It was the middle of the summer, but the hazy air made it feel more like fall.
The pair started down the long trail, small family plots dotting either side of it. Dean resolutely ignored the graves, keeping his gaze forward. He was here for the living, not the dead. They walked for a few minutes, the path turning gently in the hills, the land scrape dropping off to their right, the bluff they were standing on giving them a startling view of the large river beneath.
"It's right up there." Kerri pointed to a cluster of trees off the right of the path, three headstones grouped together in front of a marble bench.
Dean picked up his pace, his heartbeat growing with each step he took. He could see the headstones, could see the low fence, the bench, but he couldn't see Sammy. And an instant later, the reason for his younger brother's absence became frighteningly clear. Sam was laying on the ground, his body hidden behind the low fence.
"Oh my god." Kerri breathed, picking up her pace when Dean began to run.
"Sammy!" No, no, no, Dean kept chanting. Sam was alright, he had to be alright. "Sam!" Dean shouted again, hopping the fence and sliding to his brother's side.
Sam's skin was covered in a fine mist, his body cool to the touch, face pale. "Come on, Sammy." Dean breathed, shaking hands checking for his brother's pulse. After a few heart stopping seconds Dean found it. "Thank god." He let out a breath, checking Sam for injuries.
"What happened?" Kerri asked, still standing on the other side of the fence. Her eyes turned away from the three headstones. "Is he ok?"
"He's unconscious, but he's breathing. I can't see any injuries, he's just out."
"That's what he was like when he passed out while we were looking for you. Is that normal when he has a vision?"
"No. Come on, Sam, open your eyes." But Sam stubbornly refused to obey his quiet request.
"We should take him to Brian."
"I'd rather not." Dean answered, still trying to revive Sam. He didn't know much about the doctor, but he did know he didn't like the guy.
"Dean, the last time Sam passed out Brian said he needed an IV."
Kerri's answer was cut off when Sam bucked in Dean's arm, the older man's years of training the only thing keeping his brother from hitting the ground. "Holy— Sam? Sammy?"
"You have to stop it." Sam panted, his eyes still closed tight, body still seizing. "You have to stop it."
"Stop what, Sam?" Dean shouted, holding Sam as he bucked again, his eyes flying open. Dean's heart nearly stopped. Instead of seeing Sam's normal brown eyes he was met by a pale blue gaze.
"You have to stop it."
"Stop what, Sammy?" Dean gripped his brother desperately, "stop what?"
"There's no way, no way to fight." Sam gasped, his breath coming in short, shallow pants, the young man crying out as his body seized again. "You have to stop the darkness in us."
And with that Sam went limp in his terrified brother's arms.