Dean didn't understand what was going on. He was only four years old and he didn't understand why Mommy was gone even though she had been right there only a few days before. He didn't understand why suddenly Daddy was sad all the time now. He didn't understand why they couldn't go home and play like they used to. He didn't understand what happened.
Little Dean sat silently on a chair in the funeral parlor. He was dressed in the dark suit his father had told him to wear with his hair neatly combed back. He hated the dress shoes he had to wear as well as the necktie. He didn't know why he had to wear these clothes that were so uncomfortable.
He looked over at his father, who sat silently next to him, his eyes downcast. His eyes had dark circles under them and were only accentuated by the dark suit his was wearing. Little Sam was sleeping soundly in his carrier at his father's feet, blissfully unaware of what was going on around him.
At the front of the room was a closed casket adorned with bouquets of flowers. Off to one side was a portrait of Dean's mother, smiling sweetly into the camera, sitting on a table with a candle lit next to it. Soft piano music drifted through the air, creating a somber mood.
Two older women stood before the casket, holding each other as they cried while looking at Dean's mother's picture. They finally made their way over to when the family was sitting, dabbing their eyes with tissues as they came over and hugged Dean's father.
"Oh, John!" One of women said as she cried. "I am so sorry for your loss! Mary was such a wonderful person and such a loving mother!"
The other woman nodded sympathetically as she wiped her eyes. "Yes, she was such a sweet woman. Please, John, if you need anything at all, please let us know what we can do to help."
John nodded, continuing to stare absently at the floor before him.
"Yes, thank you."
The first woman then looked at Dean and suddenly began crying again as she hugged him tightly.
"Oh, you poor poor little boy!" She cried as she crushed him into her bosom. "To lose your mother at such a young age!"
Dean really didn't like this strange woman hugging him and he wished everyone who saw him would stop crying. It made him feel like he did something bad. And he hadn't been bad. He had been very good. That night he had gone straight to bed like Mommy and Daddy asked him to. He had carried little Sammy outside like Daddy had asked him too. He had done everything Daddy had told him to since that night. He wasn't a bad little boy. He had been a good boy.
The other woman stroked his cheek and nodded solemnly through her tears.
"You're going to have to be a brave little boy now for your father, Dean," she said to him. "Now that your mommy is gone to Heaven you're daddy is going to need you to be brave."
Dean frowned as he looked at her. He had no idea what she was talking about.
"If Mommy's in Heaven then I'll just pray that the angels will bring her back," Dean replied simply, as if the answer was completely obvious.
His words, however, didn't have quite the effect he wanted. Both women began sobbing harder and could barely walk away. Dean saw his father's eyes fill with tears.
"Dean," John said softly. "The angels aren't going to bring Mommy home."
"But they have to," Dean said, frustrated. "Mommy has to make cupcakes for snack next week! She promised! The angels have to bring her back."
It was all so logical in his little four-year old mind. Mommy couldn't leave. She had things she was supposed to do with him. The angels had to know that and so should Daddy.
Tears began slipping down John's cheeks and his voice was choked when he spoke.
"Dean… the angels don't bring people back when they die. They bring them to Heaven… and… and they don't come back."
Dean felt frustrated. "No, Daddy! Mommy has to come back! She's gonna make cupcakes and go to my Thanksgiving play and tell me bedtime stories and make my lunch! The angels have to bring her back!"
He decided he didn't want to hear what his father had to say anymore. He also couldn't take seeing his father so sad. Dean slid off his chair and ran off into the crowd of people. John, too distraught, didn't go after him.
Dean weaved his way through the crowd of mourners before finding a curtain he could hide behind. He didn't want any more strange people hugging and crying on him. He didn't want to hear anyone tell him that Mommy wasn't coming home. They were all wrong.
"So young," He heard one nearby woman say to another woman standing next to her. "And with two little boys, one just a baby!"
"I know," the other woman said. "I just don't know how he's going to manage. I mean, really, what could John Winchester know about raising two boys on his own? There needs to be a woman in their lives!"
The first woman nodded. "And not to mention how he's even coping with all of this! Stacey Black is one of his neighbors and she came out of her house when she saw the fire. She overheard him talking to the police and do you know what he told them?" She lowered her voice. "He said that he found her on the ceiling and dripping blood! And then the ceiling burst into flames around her! Have you ever heard such a thing?"
The second woman gasped in shock while a man standing nearby rolled his eyes.
"Now, Alice, you know how Stacey likes to make up wild stories!" He said calmly.
Alice puffed up indigently.
"She did not make that up! And why would she? You know what I think? I think he made up that story because he actually murdered her! Murdered her and set the place on fire to cover it up!"
Dean felt fury building up inside of him. He hated this woman and she should not talk about his daddy that way! Granted, he didn't quite understand everything she was saying, but from her tone and the other people's reactions he could guess that it wasn't nice! He rushed out from behind the curtain and ran up to the woman, his green eyes flashing with anger. He delivered a swift kick shin which caused her to yelp with pain.
"Don't you talk about my daddy like that, you mean lady!" Dean yelled furiously at her.
Before she could respond Dean took off again, quickly losing her in the crowd. Hot tears rolled down his cheeks as he ran out the funeral home's door.
"Dean!" John called out as he searched outside for his son.
It didn't take him long as he heard the muffled sobs coming from a distant tree. He found Dean sitting behind it, his knees drawn up to his chest and his face buried in his arms as he cried. John sighed as he sat down next to the child.
"Dean," John said softly as he put his arm around him. "Why are you out here?"
"I don't like those people," was Dean's muffled response. "They… they keep saying… Mommy… Mommy's not coming back… and… and they said mean things about you!" He hiccupped.
"What did they say about me?" John asked patiently.
Dean sniffled. "That… that you… hurt Mommy… and you… you started the fire!"
John closed his eyes and sighed, his face etched with grief.
"Dean, people say ridiculous things during times like this. When people don't have the answers they want they go and make things up."
"But… but you didn't hurt Mommy!"
"I know, Dean. And you know. And, truthfully, that's all that matters."
Dean crawled into John's lap and buried his damp face into the crook of John's neck.
"I want Mommy to come home."
John tried to swallow the lump in his throat as tears filled his eyes.
"I know, buddy. I wish she could come home. I want her back home more than anything."
"If I pray really hard and am a really good boy, will the angels bring Mommy back then?" Dean asked earnestly.
The tears escaped down John's cheeks. He hugged Dean tighter.
"Dean… the angels aren't going to bring Mommy back… She's in Heaven now… When… when you go to Heaven you don't come back… She's going to be in Heaven forever… and it's not because you were bad… it's just how it is… because, I swear, Dean… if I could pray hard enough and be good enough… I'd do it… I'd do anything I could to bring Mommy back…"
His voice caught in a sob as he held Dean. He buried his face in Dean's soft hair as the tears fell. Dean wrapped his arms tightly around his father, the realization slowly sinking in.
Mommy wasn't coming back.