Author's Chapter Notes:
This was born from a discussion in the car with my six year old son about the clouds and the sun shining through it.
He, not I came up with the concept of Spirit Lights.
Hope you like the story. First published over at SPNville 28/10/08.
"Why did mom die? Where'd mom go?" Sam watched as Dean lowered his eyes and closed the book.
"Time for bed Sammy." He tucked his little brother in and gently ruffled his hair wishing again that Sam would stop asking him something that he couldn't really answer himself.
He went to walk away and then stopped, a memory that he'd almost forgot triggering. Something his dad had shown him when he'd asked him the self same questions.
"I've got something to show you tomorrow ok, so I need you to sleep kiddo 'cos we need to get up bright and early."
Sam muttered a sleepy 'k'.
It wasn't quite seven yet and the chill of the late spring morning still lingered in the air causing their breath to steam in front of them reminding Sam of the book about dragons that Dean had been reading to him last night.
The book was the one that their mom had gave Dean before she'd died. The only one he had left. The one that always sparked the two questions that he knew his brother hated and that Sam just couldn't seem to stop asking.
The questions which somehow were the reason he was now sitting here with his brother.
The two boys were sitting down at the lake not far from the apartment that their dad was renting. Dean was leaning against one of the post on the dock, his knees bent and his six year old little brother squished up as far as he could between them, his back leaning against Dean's chest. Dean had draped a blanket round them and had his arms folded over Sam's chest, hugging him to him, keeping him as warm as he could. Sam was getting restless, they'd been there almost two hours and his hands and feet were numb.
"Dean"…..there was a little whine in his voice, the smallest murmur of discontent…"how much longer do we have to wait? I'm getting cold Dean." He pushed back further relishing the warmth of his brother in staving off the cool morning air.
"Hey, any further back you'll be inside my skin Sammy." Dean tightened his hug and looked at the sky. The sun was up, a late spring sun with only a little warmth to it, the clouds starting to split as Dean had hope. "See the clouds are moving we'll see them soon, promise." Sam turned slightly to look at his brother's face but Dean didn't notice; he was lost in watching the sky.
Sam lent to the side resting his head on the top of Dean's thigh, yawned and then shivered, he pushed each of his hands into the fold behind each of Dean's knees to heat them. Dean slid his legs forward to let Sam get his hands in and then pulled his knees back hard squashing Sam's hands to keep them warm, laughing as his brother complained.
He had broken his vigil of the heavens above to look down to Sam but the changing light made him look up again and he saw what he was looking for, what they had been waiting for and he smiled nudging his brother.
"Sam look, there they are."
Sam lifted his head at his brother's voice and watched as the long fingers of sunlight broke through the clouds and touched the earth as if searching for something.
To Dean's six-year-old brother's mind, they were magical.
His big brother's voice drifted down to him. "You wanted to know where our mom is Sammy. She's up there with them."
Sam followed his brother's hand with his eyes as Dean pointed at the sight in front of them. Dean shrugged off the blanket and stood, pulling Sam to his feet as he did so.
The fingers of sunlight crossed the lake and slowly worked they're way over them, caressing the coldness out of the two frozen boys with their gentle warmth. Sam looked up and saw that his brother was smiling.
"See that was her way of saying hi Sammy; that she's still watching out for us."
"Is mommy an angel?"
He watched his brother face grow dark for a moment and then Dean smiled. "No Sam. There are no angels, these are spirit lights."
"So mom is a spirit light. They're pretty."
Dean pulled Sam back closer to him. "Yeah Sam, so was she."
Sam could hear the sadness in his brother's voice, Dean's sense of loss washing over him and making him sad too.
He never asked Dean the questions again.
The sweat ran down from his forehead in rivulets, blinding him as he tried to finish the task at hand. The rivulets merged, forming a river that ran down his face and then a small waterfall off his chin. He didn't try to wipe it he just let it go.
The grave was almost filled.
Sam could hardly see what he was doing but then he didn't really need to, it wasn't like it was the first grave that he had filled up, just the first that he'd done with his own flesh and blood inside. He placed the last few shovel loads onto the burial site and only then did he lift his shirt up and wipe his face dry.
He threw the shovel down and then walked over to the truck where Bobby stood silently watching. He exchanged a nod but couldn't speak, he had nothing to say and even if he had, he wasn't sure that he could have got the words out with breaking down completely.
He just took the small cross that he had made and walking over drove it hard into the ground at the head of the mound of earth, flinching as his brother's amulet that he now wore around his neck smacked softly against his skin, a gently reminder of whose grave this was.
He took one final look at the final resting place of his brother smiling at the irony in that thought. There would be no rest for Dean until Sam could find a way to right this wrong.
He couldn't be here any longer, couldn't bear to stand here, the grave a testament to his failure to save his brother.
He felt the tears coming then and he knew that he wouldn't be able to stop them this time.
He stood up and stumbled past Bobby and through the small groups of trees that surrounded Dean's grave, then fell to his knees beside the car, and threw up.
He was lost now, he knew that, he had done all the physical things that he could for his brother and this was the moment that he was expected to pick himself up and move on with his life but he wasn't sure that he could, wasn't sure that he knew how.
In that moment he knew for real why Dean had done what he had in Cold Oak a year ago. He wished he could do the same thing now, because he would…in a heartbeat.
Better to live with a death sentence than with death itself.
He lay there physically and emotionally drained, pressed against the one piece of his family he had left; again due to his brother's love and devotion to duty. He gently ran his hand over the Impala's door and dropped his head down letting his pain and his grief fill him.
It was the change in the light as the sunlight gently pierced its way through the clouds that caused him to lift his head and watch as the morning cloud cover broke. He watched as the little fingers of light made their way towards him and gently bathed him in their glow and warmth.
Dean's voice sounded in his head. "No Sam. There are no angels, these are spirit lights."
The light reached the clump of trees where Dean lay and seemed to slow.
"See that was her way of saying hi Sammy that she's still watching out for us."
Sam's tears trailed slowly down his face even as he smiled. "Keep watch over him mom until I can get him back…please."
Sam was almost sure that Dean's spirit lights stopped their forward motion for a moment, pausing to pay their respects to his brother, perhaps to claim their little piece of him and then the sun broke through the clouds dispersing them completely.
He smiled then, a little bit of his hope returning.
Perhaps there was someone bar him watching over his brother after all.
He prayed there was.
Chapter End Notes:
Thanks for reading. Hope you liked.