KEEPING WATCH

By Karen B.

Summary: Early season one. A little lighthouse haunting. Humor, action-adventure, hurt/angst Sam, watchful, port in the storm, brutally handsome Dean.

Disclaimer: Not the owner, just a dreamer with her head in the clouds way too often.

Thank you so much Caroline for giving of your time, and keeping watch over my mess! All other untidy, jumbled or muddled, mixed-up words and images are of my own stupid doing.

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

and on its outer point, some miles away,

the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

From The Lighthouse

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A tower of stone, sturdy and strong.

Against the blast of wind and rain song.

A fortresses guiding ships from rock-splitting strife.

Through the hardships of this life.

Like a heartbeat needed - stretches the beam of light.

A warm breath - cutting through the darkest night.

Ages pass. Sturdy and strong, become old and broken.

The beacon of light directing a path now unspoken.

A common road traveled by all.

But often times hazy, a twisted dark hall.

No map can save thee, no light can bring thee home.

Poor misguided souls, hurled into bubbling sea foam.

Unable to let go of the shadowy imprint of their past.

Searching through the veil, eyes only at half-mast.

Lost and wandering through the darkest of darkest nights.

Unable to see the light - of wrongs and of rights.

Unable to find the safety of that which is home.

Trapped, moaning, seeking - angry and alone.

An empty glass bottle never to be filled, unable to break.

Incapable of peace, an unbeating heart tethered to a stake.

Forever seeking. Never finding. Blinded by deceit

Wandering through death - forever incomplete.

-Karen B.

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Jules was a beautiful vixen. Her taffy colored hair fell like a gushing cascade down her slender feminine back. Her silver-gray eyes were like that of a dove; large, and the foremost part of her porcelain face, showing as bright as the beacon of her home. Her outward appearance was enough to make any man lust for her in ways not to be thought of, least ye' go to hell.

As a child, Jules was giddy and joyful. Her mother, Emily, had died shortly after childbirth. All she had was her father, the lights very first keeper. A salty old man, Captain Theodore was, round and stout. Scrubby white beard, bushy white brow, and stringy white hair to match. He was a highly responsible man - always. Liked to stay in one place, and didn't mind being alone. He was very meticulous always trimming the wicks, replenishing the oil, polishing the lamp room's storm panes. His diligence - tireless. Seven days a week. Day and night. Always on alert for storm or fog. Repeatedly climbing one hundred and seventy-six steps up and down to light the lantern. To bring the lost safely home. Never would he leave his home. Abandon those who's very lives depended on him, caring for the lighthouse as if it was the very blood of his offspring. Such was the life of a lighthouse keeper.

It was a lonely existence for Jules. No friends or lads nearby. She often felt the presence of her mother, and swore she had seen her a time or two. A foggy apparition, twisting like ribbon and floating about the lamp room where she had been found dead from an unknown cause.

The love of her father was all Jules had known. But, alas, one stormy night on her eighteenth year, her father was taken from her by the bad mood of the sea. He had left her alone that night, entrusting her to light the lamp's wick, taking his small rowboat to the northerner side of the lake to tend to his traps, and that was the last she had ever seen of him.

Jules inherited her father's trade. Becoming a keeper of the light, an unusual task for a woman, but she took the job seriously, as he did, never failing to light the wick, to guide the lost home.

Jules eventually took a husband, Sal, a tall dashing man with a mane of hair as long as a prancing stallions and hazel eyes that emulated the sea.

He'd courted Jules for months and they were wed the following spring.

On their eighteenth anniversary, Sal had returned to fishing; his old livelihood. Alas, tragedy struck Jules' life again, as he too, met his fate on a dreary storm-filled night. Jules came once again face-to-face and heart-to heart with yet another tragedy. Love had left her alone, and she vowed never again to love another living soul.

Without child, she eventually went mad from loneliness. Wearing her silk-white wedding dress, she set her self on fire, jumping from the lamp room catwalk to her death upon the rocks below.

The lighthouse continued to be a place of horrible tragedy and harsh loss as if lending itself over to some awful curse. Decade after decade keepers and their families came to tend the light. And on every eighteenth year since the death of Captain Theodore, someone else, some way, some how died.

Raven's Point, as the lighthouse had been named, seemed to take on a life of its own, dithering from its objective to light the way, to keep death at bay, Instead, attracting death, begging to the lonely, lost and grief stricken to come enter into its walls - and never leave.

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Sam walked slowly between the headstones. It was a beautiful day. The light breeze blowing through the surrounding trees was warm and the leaves shimmered in the bright morning sun. He passed under the shadow of an ancient oak tree. The big tree seemed to dwarf him and for a moment he paused in awe, peering up through the thick branches at a white bird singing merrily, perched on the edge of her nest - her home.

Home. For the past several years, Jess had been his home, but now his home was gone and he could never go back. He just wanted to go back. The mother bird sang a merry tune as she warmed her eggs, keeping them safe from harm.

Stepping out from under the tree, Sam squinted his eyes against the bright morning sun tentatively taking the last few steps forward. He stared down at the brand new headstone, and freshly lumped dirt. The pink granite headstone was surrounded by flowers and several teddy bears. Mounted on the stone was a recent picture. The smiling eyes in the picture did nothing to ease the cloud of deplorable blackness he could feel whirling around inside of him. Instead, it made his belly churn as if he'd consumed a can of liquefied worms. The sun bouncing off the shiny pink granite caused his eyes to water. His breathing turned rapid, his lips twitched and his heart fluttered.

"Oh, Jess," he swallowed hard, barely able to whisper as he knelt stiffly down on both knees before the grave - hurting beyond hurt. "Gawd," A tiny moan escaped his lips. "I tried," Sam sobbed. "I tired to leave it behind. My past. But all the…" he paused not knowing what to call the horrible things he'd never told her about. "All the bad stuff followed me. I couldn't escape. Should have known it would find me," Sam hung his head, "Find you." He swiped at his eyes. "It's my fault." Acid burned the back of his throat and he swallowed to keep from puking. Sam peered back at the picture. "I don't know…" His breaths came in ragged bursts. Dreams of Jess dying, had twisted and toppled through his mind.

But they were only dreams; up until only a month ago. How could he have ignored them? He'd been a fool.

A wisp of wind brought his bangs down over his eyes. "There's nothing I can do, now. Finding the thing that killed you is all I have left. And you're gone, and I'm scared. Scared and not understanding how I could have known and not been able to stop it. Any of it."

Another gust of wind swirled around Sam and he lifted his head, swearing he could smell her perfume. "Jess," trembling lips whispered her name. "They'll never be anyone else," Sam vowed, reaching out and brushing quivering fingers over her picture.

The wind picked up further, stealing his breath. How could he have left her? Knowing what he'd been dreaming about all those weeks before and up to the day. What was he thinking? His trembling hand clenched into a tight fist, lifting only to smash back down with might to the stone.

"Gah." Sam grit his teeth, two huge tears trickling down to patter into the dry dirt.

He continued to look at the image of Jessica staring back at him. She had been so beautiful, dainty, full of zest and spunk. Genuine, smart, funny - the list went on - she'd been too good to be real, but real she was…real enough to be pinned to the ceiling. Real enough to be gutted, to bleed. Her beautiful soft blonde hair, her cute as a button nose, the special silky white gown she only wore when they were going to spend the night together, pleasuring one another - all real - all set to flame, all gone.

The brutal truth brought more tears streaking down his face, phantom arrows hitting his heart, one after the other after the other. The imaginary arrows hurt and his heart bled, but still he lived on. Why? Why did he live on?

Suddenly, everything turned icy and silent. The white bird had stopped her merry singing. A dark, black, monstrous thing - that was so familiar it almost seemed to be a part of himself - took over. The bright sun disappeared behind an ominous cloud, and there came a popping noise and a flash of red, then Jessica's picture burst into flame.

"Nuh." Horrified, Sam faltered but was unable to get up. "No, Jess!" His long, rubber legs folded, frozen beneath him. He tried to reach out, to grasp the photo, but the hot as hell fire singed his fingertips and he helplessly withdrew. Once again he was forced to witness her turn to ash. Blood bubbled up from the headstone and Sam tried not to heave, looking on as the reddish-brown pulsating liquid formed two words.

Why, Sam?

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Again Sam tried to back away from the headstone, but a cold-as- death hand pushed up through the dry clumpy dirt, caught and held him, yanking him down to the ground. Sam struggled but the rotting fingers gripping just over his heart held fast.

"Not you. It's not you," Sam whimpered unable to escape the clutches.

The popping noise was back, a flash of red and the arm caught fire, then the hand, then Sam's heart. The pain was like a sea of flames closing off his lungs. Sam choked, squeezing his eyes shut tight. "Ahhhh!" he cried out, fighting hard to arch away.

"Dude!"

The hand was crushing his heart, the way that her death had crushed his heart. Sam's knees dug deeper into the ground. "No," he snarled. "Jess." Using the last of his waning energy, Sam managed to free his right hand as hot brazen anger coursed through his body, his bulging biceps straining as he thrashed and banged a fist to the dirt. "Let go. Let me go!"

"Sam."

Someone was calling him, a male voice, familiar but not. He was bewildered, not thinking straight. Huge gusts of wind came across the cemetery, dragging along with it gnarled sticks, and crinkled leaves that tangled in his hair, while bits of pebbly dirt stung his cheeks. The burning sensation in his chest grew, stealing his breath and his heartbeat, causing him to reflexively gag. The words 'why, Sam' now chanted loud and clear in his head. Another hand gripped his shoulder from behind, massaging lightly.

"Get away." Sam jerked violently, managing to kick a foot outward.

Toppling.

Falling.

Crashing.

"Sammy! Damn it, bro!"

Caught in the panic of his struggle, Sam called out for the one person he trusted. "Dean!"

"Whoa now, sh, sh." Words echoed in his ear, safe and protective. "Sam. Hey."

But Sam only panicked further, arching away, feeling around for anything he could use as a weapon.

"Friggin' wake the hell up!" A sharp pain came to Sam's jaw and his head snapped back.

"Guh." Sam's eyes shot wide open. Someone was bent over him.

"It's over. It's all over." Leveled green eyes peered at him in concern.

Sam sat rigid and staring. His breaths coming in rough gasps, his skin dusty-gray and body trembling so hard he nearly toppled sideways.

"It's me." Dean nabbed Sam's shirt, double knotting his fingers to hold Sam up. "It's me, Sammy."

Nightmare. It was just another nightmare. Why did they all seem so real? Perhaps because he was on the floor acting this one out - before a live audience - his brother. "I-I," Sam frowned, flushed with embarrassment. Not knowing what to say, he took in a few deep breaths, trying to stop shaking.

"You okay?"

"I feel," Sam made a face and swallowed back the vomit that wanted to spew out.

"I know," Dean winced in understanding sympathy, "Easy."

"Owe." Sam rubbed at his chin.

"That's going to hurt," Dean said apologetically.

"Already does," Sam complained, "Wha' happen?"

"You either got in a fight with your laptop, man," Dean gestured with a chin tip toward the far wall, "Or you were having a dozy of a nightmare," he said. "Either way, my fist accidentally found your face."

Sam frantically glanced around. Last thing he remembered Dean was asleep and he was sitting at the table researching a haunted lighthouse. Now he was soggy with sweat, body swaying, befogged.

He was in their motel room, kneeling on the floor near a small table. To the left of him was an overturned chair. To the right, an upside down pizza box nestled next to that, a beer bottle still spilling its contents to the carpet. Across the room there was a large dent in the wall, and his wrecked laptop lay open on the floor, its screen a scrambled rainbow of colors.

"Wanna talk?"

Sam didn't answer, his forehead wrinkling as he bit into his lower lip.

"Uh-huh," Dean grouched. One of these days Sam was going to have to come clean about his candy-cane and lollipop dreams. But for now the kid looked exhausted. Sleepless nights had beaten a path under his eyes, and now the deprivation was screwing with his mind. "Let's get you into bed." He started to pull Sam up.

"No. Dean, no. I can't…" Sam's chest heaved. "I won't. Please. I'm fine. Let me go," he demanded firmly.

Dean unfurled his fingers, releasing his hold. "Fine, letting go." He raised his hands, not happy about the urgent request but backing off anyway

"Thanks." Sam got to his feet and made his way unsteadily across the room, carefully picking up his laptop and examining it.

"So which was it," Dean demanded, "Candyland or computer gremlin?"

"Motherboard's loose." Sam started punching at keys, purposely ignoring Dean. "Crap, it's broken."

"Not the only thing broken around here," Dean mumbled sorrowfully, righting the overturned chair - Sam had unknowingly kicked over during his night terror - and sat down in it.

Sam stumbled over his feet and his emotions as he made his way around the room. The nightmare still lingered, the air stifling, strangling him by the throat. He slipped the damaged laptop into its carry bag, next grabbing his duffle. Yanking open a dresser drawer, he started stuffing it with clothes.

"Sam? What are you doing?"

"We gotta go," he panted.

"Bro," Dean sighed, "It's the middle of the night." Dean glanced at the wall clock. "Three A.M. to be exact."

"I can't stay here, Dean." Sam went to the next drawer throwing in more belongings.

"Sammy," Dean's voice was gentle. "You need to…"

"Hunt," Sam interrupted, turning pleading eyes to Dean. Desperate to control the mess inside of him. "I just need to stay busy. There's a lighthouse not far from here."

"A lighthouse, huh?"

Sam nodded, zipping his bag and closing the drawer. "It's haunted."

Dean dropped his gaze to the floor. The bad dreams were working his brother over but good, like Tyson and Holyfield. Upper cuts, left hooks, jab, jab, jab. It was round fifteen, and the horrible dreams had started playing dirty. Biting, kicking, clawing at Sam. All Dean could do was sit ringside ringing the bell round after round, because Sam wouldn't talk to him, because Sam wouldn't let him throw in the white towel. He had to keep the kid's mind on something other than Jessica.

Slapping both hands to his knees, Dean stood. "Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen," Dean said using some sort of crazy pirate-speak. Sam didn't laugh or chuckle as Dean had hoped. "Let's go check out this lighthouse," he said switching back to regular Dean.

"No argument?" Sam asked, bewilderment in his tone.

"Aaaarrrggghhh," Dean cackled in his crazy voice again as he stuffed his belongings into his duffel.

"Aaaarrrggghhh?" Sam smirked.

"Move, ye' saucy wench" Dean snatched the keys off the dresser.

"Jerk," Sam said from behind, wondering why his brother gave in so easy. "Can I drive?" he tested the waters.

"Don't push it," Dean said, in Dean speak. "Ye' cowardly cabin boy, least ye' be shark bait," he added, once again using his new found voice.

"Who are you supposed to be, anyway, Spongebob, Popeye or Sybil?"

"Dude, you suck, I'm a pirate." Dean opened the door and stepped out into the early morning light.

Sam switched off the motel room light and shut the door hoping to leave the nightmares behind him.

TBC…

Note:: story is complete.

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