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Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Sam/Jess
Rating: PG
Length: 1170 words
Spoilers/Warning: Spoilers for the Pilot, set during early season 1. Warnings for angst.
Author's Notes: Written for the Spook Me Multi-fandom Halloween Challenge. Thanks to aerye for the beta.
Disclaimer: Sam, Dean, and the concept of Supernatural belong to Kripke and the CW.
Summary: She’s always there. A silent figure in white at the periphery of his vision.
ETA: Check out gretazreta's gorgeous remix, Yet Come to Me in Dreams (An even quieter remix).

~~~


She’s always there. A silent figure in white at the periphery of his vision. Even when he can’t see her, Sam feels her presence, a constant pressure in the back of his mind, like the unrelenting hum of a fluorescent light.

~~~


He tries talking to her sometimes, when he gets a few minutes away from Dean. She never responds. Maybe she can’t hear him. Maybe there’s nothing left for her to say. She just watches, steadily, a concerned line on her forehead.

~~~


She keeps her distance. Sam glimpses her through the trees, at the far end of the bar, just outside the motel window when they settle in for the night. The only time she gets close to Sam is when he closes his eyes at night. Then he watches her burn.

~~~


He’s not sure what keeps her here. Is it a need for vengeance? Love for him? Is it because of her violent, supernatural death? Her womb had been ripped open before she was pinned to the ceiling and burned alive by demonic power. Sam researches necromantic rituals to bind spirits, but her death doesn’t match any of them. Maybe it’s him. Maybe she’s still here because Sam can’t let her go.

~~~


No one else can see her. It takes Sam a while to realize that, but it’s true. So either she’s a different type of spirit than anything he’s ever hunted, researched, heard of – or he’s losing his mind. Slice it with Occam’s razor. He’s probably losing his mind.

~~~


Dean finally falls asleep to the drone of a George Foreman infomercial. Sam slips quietly out the door, eases it closed, and sits on the ground with his back pressed to the cold stucco wall of the motel. She’s barely visible under a streetlight at the end of the parking lot.

“I miss you,” Sam whispers.

She flickers closer, to the rear bumper of the Impala, and runs her hand along the steel of the trunk. Her hair hangs loose but the blustery wind can’t touch it. She looks like she’s been crying. Sam settles back to watch her.

~~~


The water is dark and cold, but not as cold as the tentacles wrapped around Sam’s chest. He struggles, pries at them with numb fingers, and tries to reach his knife while holding his breath. It feels like he’s been fighting forever. Fighting monsters. Fighting to get free from hunting. Fighting to find Dad and the demon. Fighting his own need for sleep, where the nightmares wait. Sam’s tired. He’s so tired.

Sam catches sight of her, only a few feet away, almost close enough to touch. He can let go, and they’ll be together. She must have just been waiting to bring him home. Sam relaxes, and the tentacles drag him further from the surface.

Her mouth opens in a silent, furious yell, and then she’s gone. The last of Sam’s air is bubbling away, vision fading, when gunshots echo through the water and Dean pulls him up, away from the slack tentacles.

~~~


“When were you gonna tell me?” Dean says as soon as the waitress leaves with their order. Coffee, a burger, cheese fries and cherry pie for Dean, coffee for Sam. “Never, right? You weren’t even going to mention the fact that your dead girlfriend’s spirit is hanging around.”

Sam shrugs. He changed into dry clothes, but his hair is still damp. He still has the scent of lake water and the creature’s black blood in his nose.

“I never would have known if she hadn’t shown up to tell me where you were,” Dean concludes.

Sam looks up, feeling a strange, gnawing jealousy. “She … she talked to you?”

Dean meets his eyes, and then looks down, toying with his fork. “Nah. She just appeared in front of me looking scared, flickered in and out of sight, and led me to that cove like freaking Lassie.”

Sam picks up the salt and shakes a tiny pile onto the table. He pushes it into a thin, unbroken circle with his fingertips.

“How long’s she been haunting you?” Dean demands.

Sam thinks back. It’s hard, slow, like trudging through thick mud. “Ummm … since that first night? I saw her, up in the window of our apartment, after they put the fire out.”

“Okay,” Dean says decisively. “We can be in Santa Rosa in ten hours, hit her grave tonight. Do a quick salt and burn.”

“No,” Sam contradicts dully, staring out the diner window. He can feel her out there.

“Sammy, we’ve got to. She doesn’t belong here. Plus, you’re a mess. You don’t eat, you don’t sleep, she’s - ”

“No!” Sam is on his feet, looming over his brother. He leans down and presses his hands against the cracked Formica of the table. “No. She’s already burned for me once. Twice is too much. Leave her the fuck alone, she’s not doing any harm!”

The diner is hot, close. People are staring, and Sam can’t breathe. He steps outside into the cool grey afternoon drizzle. She watches from the edge of the road as he sits on the wet hood of the Impala. The anger he felt in the diner drains away, leaving him exhausted, ribs bruised, the muscles in his arms and legs a steady, burning ache.

Dean’s right. She doesn’t belong here. She deserves better than an afterlife being dragged along two-lane highways, from diner to graveyard, motel to morgue. Following breadcrumb trails of innocent victims and grieving families. Demons and vengeful spirits and fucking lake monsters. Secrets and lies and death.

He has to hunt, but she doesn’t have to watch.

“Jess?” Sam calls softly. He buttons up his jacket against the sudden chill, keeping his eyes on the gravel of the parking lot.

“I’m sorry,” he says finally. “I didn’t warn you. I couldn’t protect you.” The words choke him, but he pushes them out. “And now, now I have to do this. Have to go after the demon that hurt you. It’s dangerous. And with you here, I can’t … can’t concentrate. Can’t get my head in the game, can’t watch my brother’s back the way I should.”

Sam’s breath puffs white in the damp, cold air. “So if you could … go. Into the light. Just wait for me there. I’ll be along. Probably sooner than later. Okay?”

The parking lot is silent except for the wet shush of cars driving by. The rain slowly drips down the back of Sam’s neck. It mats his hair and soaks through his jeans.

A bell jingles from the diner door. Familiar footsteps, and the car creaks as Dean settles onto the hood next to him. The air's gotten warmer, and Sam can’t feel her anymore. There are fragments of green glass mixed in with the grey gravel on the ground. Until Sam looks up, she might still be there, watching over him.

Sam bites his lip to stop himself from begging Jess to come back.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
harrigan
Oct. 28th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Wow.

I shouldn't read fic just before I have to leave for work, because there is no time to single out my favorite lines, or the reasons why a story rings so true and feels carved in my heart now, another thread in the tapestry of canon.

So just accept my thanks and appreciation for this gem, and know that I'll be bookmarking it.
keerawa
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
a story rings so true and feels carved in my heart now
*hugs you tight* On the positive side, reading comments like this right before work truly makes my day.
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, josieb.
spook_me
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
Lovely and poignant. My heart broke a little when Sam told Jess to wait for him in the light.
keerawa
Oct. 29th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you, spook_me! Sam's not in a good place, here.
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Oct. 29th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
It really could be. We see that one glimpse of her, through Sam's eyes. There's nothing to exclude the possibility. Thanks for reading and commenting, pigtailgirl!
embroiderama
Nov. 9th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
This is really beautiful and Sad.
keerawa
Nov. 9th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Thank you, embroiderama! I wanted to explore Sam's grief at losing Jess - seems like canon let it go a little too quickly, you know?
ithildyn
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
OMG! You made me cry. Another one I'm not sure how I missed.

Absolutely wonderful. You are by far one of the best writers I know.
keerawa
Jan. 2nd, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
*blushes*

I didn't even know you read Supernatural fic, Ith. I tried to capture that quietly grieving Sam we see in just a few episodes - I felt Jess, and Sam, deserved a little more time.
ithildyn
Jan. 2nd, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
I don't really. I only read it in certain circumstances, and you're a certain circumstance [g] Hey, I've recced a few of your SPN pieces on my LJ in the past :)
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
Thank you, lylithj2. The show never really had the time to show us Sam mourning Jess, so I wanted to let it unfold in this fic.
samantha890
Oct. 26th, 2010 08:34 am (UTC)
I found this from gretazreta's remix she did on it, and this is also beautiful.

"No. She’s already burned for me once. Twice is too much." - This was beautiful. Holds so much power and emotion. :)
keerawa
Oct. 26th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Samantha! Sam's grief is a powerful force, so much so that he's overwhelmed and almost ... alienated from himself by it. Gretzreta's remix was incredible, wasn't it?
samantha890
Oct. 27th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
You're welcome! And poor Sammy, it's like sorrow follows him around...

Yes, he remix was quite incredible, but your original was just as good! :)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )