Sam paced the living room of Sarah Smith's childhood home, arms crossed, deep in thought.
In his mind, he was wondering how on earth he was going to forgive the man who had tarnished his childhood memories.
'Sam?' Dean's soft voice penetrated his thoughts. He stopped and gave him a weak smile, not wanting to show how messed up he felt inside.
'I know how messed up your feeling, but its ok. I'm here with you, we can do this' he said encouragingly, looking in what he hoped was a cheerful way at his brother.
Sam nodded, knowing he was right, and sighed, sitting on a low sofa in the middle of the room.
'How can I forgive him Dean? I don't even know why he did it- how can I forgive that?' he asked.
Dean groaned as he sat down next to him. 'I did some digging about the Smith's. Apparently they were going trough a rough patch, Edgar was beating his wife, and she was gonna get a divorce, but it never happened' he said, looking at his brother, slightly wary of his reaction.
'Why are you telling me this? Am I supposed to feel sorry for the bastard? Dean, he beat me till I couldn't stand up! He wouldn't give me food till I did chores, chores that even you didn't have to do!' Sam said, looking incredulously at his brother.
'I know Sammy...I know...I'm sorry' Dean murmured. How did he not know what was happening? How could he have been so blind?
'No Dean! Don't you apologise, you did nothing wrong-nothing!' Sam said forcefully, sitting up and looking his brother straight in the eye. 'You where what, eleven, twelve when this happened? How the hell could you have known? Don't blame yourself Dean. It's not you who needs forgiving-it's Edgar' he said.
A tear snaked its way down Dean's cheek. 'Hey...what 'ya crying for?' Sam smiled, feeling emotion lodge in his own throat.
'Since-since when did you get so grown up?' Dean whispered, 'you're not a kid anymore, are you?' he added, smiling slightly sadly at his brother.
'Dean...' Sam started, but Dean cut across him.
'Although...you'll always be a kid to me, you great lump!' Dean choked, smiling tearfully at his brother.
'Yeah...I know...' Sam smiled.
Dean talking like this always scared him a little; normally he was always bottling up his feelings, not showing an inch of emotion. It was kind of good, but strange, to see him let off steam.
'Well, now you've turned me into a gibbering wreck!' Dean chuckled thickly, wiping his face. He smiled at Sam.
'Its' only two words Sammy, that's all you need to say' he said.
'Yeah, but I don't know if I can-but I know that the littler me won't be able to rest until I do, so I have to try.' He smiled bravely.
Dean patted his leg, 'I'm always by your side dude, I'll help you through it' he promised.
'Thanks' Sam whispered. He looked up at the ceiling sighing.
'Did Bobby say how to go about forgiving the person that did this?'
'Yeah he did, he said we have to either go to the person's grave, or stand over their urn, and talk directly to the deceased.' Dean spat the word out with barely concealed venom.
'What state is Edgar in?' Sam asked, shuddering slightly at the mention of his name.
'I found that out too-he buried out in the local cemetery, we could go now, if you want?' Dean looked warily at Sam, wondering whether he's have the strength. He would do anything in the world to be the one to do it, instead of Sam, but he knew it wouldn't work unless it was the living part of the spirit.
Sam took a deep breath. 'Ok. Let's do it'
A fell wind whipped around the brothers as they made their way through the dark cemetery, slight spots of rain still falling on their heads, making them colder.
'Well, at least it's not raining so hard now!' Dean joked, tucking the shovel under his arm a bit more. Bobby said that it wouldn't be necessary to salt and burn the body, but Dean didn't care-Sam may be forgiving him, but he was going to make damn sure he had some punishment after.
'This is it Dean' Sam stopped, pointing at a simple granite headstone, tucked away by some trees.
Sam bent down to read the description etched on the stone.
Here lies Edgar Smith
Loving husband, doting father, pillar of the community.
We will never forget the love you've shown, lest we meet again.
Dean whistled lowly, thinking that the epitaph revealed the understatement of the century.
'Let's get this over with' he muttered. Sam looked at him, sighing as he did.
'What?' asked Dean, frowning slightly.
'I-I think, this might work better if it was only me standing here' he said, knowing he wasn't going to like his brother's reaction.
Dean, however, seemed to understand. 'Oh of course, yeah, ok- you probably want some space, yeah, I'll go wait in the car' he said.
'You gonna be alright?' he asked as he dropped the shovel on the floor, he was coming back to it later.
'Yeah, I'll see you in a bit' said Sam. Dean nodded, patted him on the arm and walked away, looking back every now and again to see if he was ok.
Once Sam was sure Dean was out of earshot, he looked down at the grave.
'Well, what can I say?' he started, really struggling to think of something to say. He knew the two words he was supposed to say, but he felt Edgar-and himself- needed to hear an explanation.
'you...ruined my childhood, it's fair to say-you beat me, hurt me, gave me nightmares, hell, I didn't even know about it till I came to the house! And you know the real kicker? I don't even know why!
What did I ever do to you? I was seven, for god's sake! I didn't deserve what you did to me! There was no reason for it, and now there's a spirit in the house, a part of me that never got over it!' Sam wiped the tears now falling freely down his face with a shaking hand. It felt good, to finally get this out in the open.
'When I found out the only way to get rid of the spirit in the house was to forgive you, I didn't want to believe it. I mean, how the hell could I forgive you, for what you did?' he asked, looking down at the grave, feeling sadness and anger building up inside him.
'but then I thought- you've got a beautiful daughter in Sarah, you helped in the community- so you can't be all bad, so why'd you hurt me?
Life is too short for grudges. Especially grudges against people who are dead. You might not be here now, but your legacy, your memories-the good and the bad- still linger, and no one can stop that! I can't hold grudges about people I hardly remember, it would tear me apart inside.' Sam felt tears freeze against his face, like cold water being flicked into it.
'I'm not saying I forgive you because I want you to rest in peace-I'm saying I forgive you so I can live in peace, and my spirit can go to the light, knowing that I'm safe now, that no one is going to hurt me like you did again.' Sam stopped for breath, looking round, hoping to spot Dean, but he was no where to be seen.
'I-I...I forgive you.' He said, the last of his tears slipping down his cheeks.
There was a strange noise, and a strange green light hovered over the sunken mound of Edgar Smith's grave, before it landed on the grass like a feather, eventually soaking into the earth, until nothing remained.
Sam let out a shaky breath, hoping that this was the end.
'Sammy! Are you ok?' Dean jumped slightly as Sam opened the door and sat inside the Impala, eyes still red and puffy from crying.
'Yeah, I'm fine' he whispered.
'How-how'd it go?' Dean asked tentatively.
'I think it worked...I hope...' Sam smiled weakly at him.
'That's my boy' Dean patted Sam's leg, before starting the engine of the Impala, turning the car round and heading back to the house.
'How do we tell, though?' mused Sam, looking at his brother from the passenger seat.
'I guess we just wait to see if your mini-me shows up. If not, it worked.' Dean worked out, giving his brother a hopeful sideways glance. He hoped to god that it had worked, that Sam wouldn't have to go through forgiving that bastard.
'Hey, what happened to my shovel?' he asked nonchalantly, eyes on the road ahead.
'I put it in the trunk-why?' said Sam, looking at his brother.
'well, I was gonna drop you off at the house to wait to see if the spirit showed up, then I thought I'd go for a little ride, I won't be long' Dean smiled across at his brother, who sighed and rolled his eyes.
'Come on Dean, you don't need to salt and burn him! Bobby said so' he said.
'Yeah, well, you've got your forgiving methods-I got mine. I can only feel happier when he's a pile of ash at the bottom of a pit.' He said forcefully.
'Ok, ok...just-drop me off at the house first' he sighed, knowing there was no reasoning with him with things like this.
As Dean rumbled away in the Impala again, Sam turned towards the dark house, taking a deep breath before he turned the key and let himself inside.
Looking around the empty, threadbare house, he know felt strangely calmer, but not happier.
He didn't feel a lurch of nausea as he eyes the space under the stairs, or the food cupboard; just a small sense of loss, sadness and peace.
He turned as he heard small footsteps coming down the stairs, for a moment terrified of what he might see.
The small figure of his seven year old self smiled up at him, before looking around with happiness apparent on his face.
'He's gone! Mr Smith's gone!' he gabbled, smiling broadly at him.
Sam smiled too, nodding. 'Yes, he's gone- you can go now Sam...You're ok to go!' he smiled, watching his littler self's face shine with appreciation. He walked forwards, and even though he had learned he couldn't touch anything, he bent his head down, until the tip of his little nose went through Sam's.
'Thank you' he whispered.
Sam dearly wanted to hold the little boy in front of him, to rock him until he felt better, to further help him to understand he was safe.
'Your welcome...your welcome' he choked, a fresh tear running down his face.
Little Sam nodded, before turning and walking back to the stairs. As he climbed them, he became fainter and fainter before he eventually dissipated from sight, leaving only the echo of a happy child-like chuckle in his wake.
Sam breathed out slowly, thankful that it was now over.
Now he would wait for Dean, and tell him about what had happened, explain to him that it was now truly over, that they could get on with their lives.
They would walk out this house with the certainty that they would never return, leaving the memories, the bad thoughts, everything.
They would make their own memories as they went, ones to replace the memories that had been tarnished here.
How? Sam didn't have a clue, but he knew the he and Dean would find a way.
Life is too short for grudges, and they knew how important life was, how wonderful it could be.
They only needed to look in the right places.
I hope you enjoyed this last chapter, and the story as a whole- I really enjoyed writing it!
Thank you for all the reviews submitted to this story, I would love it if you guys all reviewed just one last time, to tell me how you thought it went!
Thank you for reading!