It was a crisp autumn day, and the Winchester brothers had come home from a successful attempt of purging the Kentucky Dam Village Park of a pack of werewolves that had been making quite the dent in the local populace numbers.
It was a bit of a drive back to the bunker, and there wasn’t any food left in the car from the brief trip to a small shop they’d taken before their departure from Kentucky.
Dean’s stomach growled as he noticed some pumpkins growing in a nearby farmer’s field, just off to the left of the highway.
He found himself thinking of pumpkin pie.
It was about this time last year that he’d had some; actually, he was pretty certain that it had been last Halloween.
“So, I was thinking about taking off for a few days…” Sam began, taking a break from texting.
Over the past few weeks, after getting involved with an auburn-haired young lady with fire in her soul, Sam had been texting an absurd amount.
Dean gave him a slight nod, looking at him for only a moment, before turning his eyes back to the road ahead. “Gotcha.” He replied knowingly.
Sam raised his eyebrows. “Is it that obvious?” He asked, a touch embarrassed.
“Uh, yeah.” Dean told him, explaining what had tipped him off.
“Oh. Well, I’ll probably get going tomorrow morning after breakfast.” Sam went on, as his text alert went off for what seemed like the millionth time that day, and he read it.
Dean wanted to take the cell phone and chuck it out the car window, then back over it a few times.
That text alert had been driving him bonkers, and compromising Sam’s attention span. Even when the alert didn’t go off, he was checking his messages.
“Look, I know you like this girl, but you’re kind of obsessing, man. It’s not healthy.” Dean said, slowing as he spotted some deer up ahead on the road.
Sam looked offended. “Hey, at least I’m trying for an actual relationship, Dean.” He said with a hint of aggravation. “When you’re gone for weeks, sometimes months, on the hunt, you’ve got to stay in touch. That’s all I’m doing.”
Dean stopped the Impala, waiting for the deer to get off the road, turning to look at his brother.
“You met her what, three weeks ago? And, since then, you’ve been calling and texting her non-stop.” Dean pointed out, one eyebrow raised. “I don’t know what’s so special about this one, but you almost put us in mortal danger when you instinctively grabbed for your phone when the text alert went off in the park.”
Dean sighed. “This just isn’t like you, man. I mean, yeah, you get a little dopey when you’re into someone, but this? This is going overboard.” He said with a shake of his head.
Sam had been acting differently. He didn’t usually talk about any women in his life, not really, but with this one it was constantly ‘Rebecca this’ or ‘Rebecca that’.
She was seemingly etched onto Sam’s brain.
Dean hadn’t even met her yet, but he felt like he had heard so much about her, that he must have known Rebecca at least as well as her own mother did.
Sam pressed his lips together. “Becca’s different. I can’t explain it, but she just is; she’s… Unique.” He said with a shrug. “And, we really hit it off. I just don’t want to screw up my chances, Dean.”
Dean started down the highway again now that it was clear of wildlife.
“That was a stupid move in the park, I know that. It won’t happen again.” Sam added, remembering how one of the stronger werewolves had rushed them straight after his text alert sounded in the night.
Dean licked his bottom lip.
“You… Uh, you love her, don’t you?” He asked charily, switching out cassettes in the dash player.
Sam blinked. He’d been asking himself the same thing.
He cleared his throat. “Maybe, I don’t know.” He replied, trying for nonchalant and failing.
Dean remembered a time not so very long ago when he himself had been a victim of love at first sight.
“It’s just the way you’ve been acting, the constant messages, you not shutting up about Rebecca, the look on your face most of the time… It sure seems that way.” Dean continued, as music began to play.
They were both quiet for few moments, before Sam said something.
“I think I do love her.” Sam admitted, feeling helpless. “But, that’s insane. I just met her, how could I possibly love her?”
Sam was feeling frustrated; with himself, with the situation, with everything.
All he’d ever wanted was a normal life; graduate from law school, get a decent lawyering job, buy a house and settle down with a nice girl, have a couple of kids, raise them, work for a few more decades and retire before dying of old age.
Instead, he’d gotten roped into the family business, into this mess of a life that he both loved and hated.
Sam knew that he’d never quit this life. He couldn’t.
Nobody just stops being a hunter; once you are one, you’re always one.
Maybe that’s why he was feeling this way about this girl was because he was afraid of how things would play out.
There are reasons why most hunters either marry other hunters or stay single.
Relationships with regular people, particularly romantic relationships, seldom last.
There’s far too much to deal with; the danger, the stress, the time away from one another, often moving from place to place to place… It’s a hard life, and not too many people are cut out for it.
“I’ve been in the same boat, Sammy.” Dean intoned softly in his deep voice, swallowing hard.
Sam frowned. This was the first time he’d ever heard his brother speak of anything remotely like being in love. That was something that just didn’t happen.
“And?” Sam prompted gently, his curiosity piqued.
Dean cleared his throat. “And, she, uh… She left. The truth was a little too much for her, and she left.” He answered regretfully. “She just couldn’t hack it.”
Sam could tell that Dean had been pretty badly hurt by this girl, much more than he was letting on.
“How long did things last?” Sam asked.
“A couple of months, maybe. Some of the best time of my life… Not worth the aftermath, though.” Dean replied dryly, slowing the car and turning onto a dirt road that would lead them to another highway.
“Sorry.” Sam told him, genuine caring in his tone.
Dean shrugged. “That’s life.” He stated, brushing off the apology as well as his own feelings. “Look, I guess all I’m trying to tell you is to be careful. You’ve been through enough; I don’t want to see you get hurt again.”
Dean swerved to avoid hitting a large rock on the path.
Sam was touched, and appreciated that Dean was actually willing to talk with him like this.
Sam realised how difficult it was for his brother to make such an effort, and how uncomfortable it tended to make him to talk about such personal things.
“I know.” Sam told him.
It was another couple of hours before they reached Lebanon.
Dean had made a quick detour to the supermarket, picking up a few things.
Kevin had mentioned that they were running low on food when he’d called with a translation that they’d needed a couple of days ago.
Knowing that Kevin had probably been too preoccupied to have actually picked up some groceries, Dean took it upon himself to do it.
Sam got a shopping cart, and walked with Dean through the store.
It had been a long time since they’d gone shopping together.
It reminded Sam of when they were kids, and Dean would almost always take him along to the store to pick up as many groceries as they could afford and carry back home.
No matter what, Dean always made sure that Sam got a snack on those excursions, even if that meant that Dean didn’t get anything for himself.
As Dean began putting items into the cart, it was brought to Sam’s attention once more just how much his older brother had done for him over the years.
Not that Dean seemed to ever have realised how much he’d done.
Just as he’d opened his mouth to say something, Dean turned around and pointed at a bakery shelf.
“Pie.” He announced, noting the sale price.
At 3 for $10.00, it was a great deal.
“Want one?” Dean asked, looking over the selection, practically drooling.
Sam shrugged. “Yeah, sure. Peach, if they’ve got it.” He answered.
Dean found one, and placed it in the child seat of the cart, choosing five more pies.
Sam’s eyebrows shot up.
“What?” Dean asked a little defensively.
“Nothing.” Sam answered, looking at the pies.
“Hey, almost every time I go to buy me some pie, I miss out.” Dean said pointedly. “Either the place is out, there’s only blueberry, or something comes up and I don’t get to eat my pie.”
“Did I say anything?” Sam asked in mild amusement.
Dean pursed his lips. “Not verbally.” He replied, before heading for the fresh produce with Sam following behind.
The next morning, as Sam had suggested that he might, he’d left after breakfast.
It was very quiet around the bunker, and Dean really wasn’t too sure what he was going to do with the free time.
If he wasn’t busy hunting, then he and Sam were usually up to something.
Kevin, while he was a great kid and had some nifty skills, wasn’t exactly a blast to hang around with.
And, Castiel was probably busy with whatever angel stuff he tended to do.
Dean sighed, as he sat in front of the television, flicking through the channels mindlessly.
After half an hour of constantly changing channels, hoping that something good would be on one of the countless channels, Dean gave up.
He decided to get himself a nice slice of pie to take his mind off of the nothingness.
But, upon opening the cupboard, he found no such thing.
He frowned, and raised his eyebrows, before checking the other cupboards.
Dean knew that he’d put the bakery items in the first cupboard that he’d checked, but on the off chance that Sam had moved them, he’d checked the others.
After searching the rest of the kitchen, he found not even a trace.
“Hey, Kev?” Dean asked, poking his head around the doorframe of the library where Kevin was currently working.
“Yeah?” Kevin asked, looking up from a number of open books that lay on the table in front of him.
“You, uh, haven’t seen any pie around, have you?” He asked hopefully, wondering where on earth they had gone.
Kevin shook his head ‘no’.
“Right, well, I’ll let you get back to whatever it is you were doing…” Dean told him, completely puzzled.
Dean went to his room, switched on the music player that sat on the bureau beside the bed, and lay down.
Just as he was about to close his eyes, trying to shake off the weirdness of the seemingly disappeared pie, he saw something.
It was a very familiar looking cardboard box hovering a few inches below the ceiling.
Dean tilted his head in confusion.
What was his pie doing there of all places? And, where were the others?
Not to mention the most obvious question; who or what had messed with his pies and what did they want?
Upon closer inspection, Dean found that the pie was being held up there without the aid of strings, or, well, anything that he could see.
Considering how well protected the bunker was, it seemed preposterous that it was something of the supernatural that had done this.
Dean poked the box, standing on top of a wooden step stool, and it swayed where it hovered.
It moved as though it were floating on top of water.
Dean figured that it was safe enough to grab the box, and he was able to take it down from its spot with just a bit of resistance, as though someone or something was pulling gently on it from above him.
He stepped down, seeing that the pie was intact, and he sat down on the bed.
Just as soon as he opened the cardboard box to pick at the pie, it vanished right before his eyes.
Dean blinked, frowning again.
What the hell was going on?
Dean strode into the library, box still in hand.
“You notice anything strange around here the last while? Anything… Off at all?” Dean asked Kevin, who looked confused.
“No. Why?” He asked curiously, giving Dean his full attention.
Dean cleared his throat.
“I bought some pies last night, and put ‘em in the cupboard across from the stove. Went into that same cupboard this morning, nada. Gone.” Dean explained, wondering what else might be in store.
Despite the protection surrounding and throughout the bunker, Dean had a distinct feeling that he knew exactly what he was dealing with.
“No trace of ‘em anywhere, except for one, which was floating up in a corner of my bedroom.” Dean went on, and Kevin suddenly looked unimpressed.
“Look, I know it’s getting close to Halloween and all, but come on.” Kevin told him, remembering the pranks that were pulled last year around October.
Those had been much more convincing than this one, though.
“I’m not kidding you, Kevin. Something’s going on here. Keep an eye out.” Dean warned him.
If it was what he thought it was, things could turn ugly.
Dean checked around the bunker.
Just as he’d thought, all of the precautions were fully intact.
But, as he was walking through a hallway, he felt a distinct coldness envelop him.
It was an icy sort of chill that seeped straight through his flesh and into the very core of his bones.
With this, Dean’s suspicion was confirmed.
The bunker had itself a ghost.
Dean went the rest of the day without even a hint of ghost activity.
It wasn’t as though there was too much he could do right then, really.
There were iron decorations and cat’s eye shells throughout the property, among other precautions against supernatural infestations and attacks, and so the fact that the ghost was there at all was a very strange thing indeed.
Perhaps it was a very powerful spirit.
At this point, it was difficult to tell much at all.
Dean went to bed, feeling pretty tired.
He hadn’t gotten much sleep in the last 72 hours, even though he’d been craving sleep.
It seemed that the more exhausted he was, the harder it was to get any real rest at night.
Still, Dean closed his eyes, trying to clear his mind and just ease into slumber.
An hour later, he was still just as awake as he’d been when he laid down on his memory foam mattress.
Frustrated, he turned on the bedside lamp, rubbing his eyes as he sat up.
On the edge of his bed was a worn, stuffed toy rabbit.
He picked it up, looking at it strangely.
He’d never seen the thing before in his life.
Dean looked around the room, finding nothing else out of the ordinary.
He turned the toy over in his hands, looking for any markings, anything that might give him a clue as to where it might have come from.
There was nothing.
“Hello?” Dean tried, wondering why he’d been brought such an item.
“It’s okay, you can come out.” Dean said, looking around for any hint of the ghost.
He had no idea how long ago the little toy rabbit had been left there, but it was worth a try.
Still, nothing happened.
Dean turned off the light, his skilled eyes watching in the dimly lit room.
He saw a flash of soft light streak over to the left side of the bed, where it came to a halt.
Dean watched it for a moment.
It wasn’t very big; the size of a child.
“Hey there. “ Dean tried, knowing that if the ghost tried anything, that he had a jar of salt in the drawer in the bedside bureau that he could get to in mere seconds.
“I’m scared.” A very young voice said in a gentle whine. “Daddy, I’m scared.”
Dean swallowed, feeling unsettled.
There was something about these words that hit him a little hard.
Before he could say anything in return, the ghost child sped away from him.
Dean blinked, trying to shake the uneasiness off.
Giving up on the notion of sleep, Dean got out of bed and went to the den.
He sat in his favourite cream-coloured chair, thinking hard.
Dean sat there for hours, before drifting off into shallow slumber until daylight.
He awoke to the sound of his cell phone ringing.
“Hello.” He answered, seeing from the display that it was Sam.
“Yeah, you called me last night, but I was a little too busy to answer… What’s up?” He asked, sounding tired.
“What? No, I didn’t call you.” Dean corrected him, rubbing his eyes and yawning.
“Uh, yeah, you did. Like, three or four times in five minutes.” Sam replied. “Is everything okay, Dean?”
Dean paused before answering.
He knew that he hadn’t made any of those calls, but didn’t think it was worth mentioning again.
He could probably deal with this ghost on his own.
It seemed pretty harmless so far, and besides, Sam needed the time away.
“Yeah, no, everything’s fine.” Dean lied, when his cell phone shut off suddenly.
The lamp beside the couch went out, and the ceiling fan stopped.
The room wasn’t cold, but he knew that the ghost was close by.
Very close by.
Dean looked around, trying to spot the subtle glow which would indicate its location.
He didn’t see anything, but he felt something reach out and grab his hand.
“I’m scared.” The same voice from last night cried, sounding terrified.
The voice sounded as though it belonged to a child of perhaps six years old.
“What are you scared of?” Dean asked gently.
“Mommy is angry with me.” The voice answered in a stage whisper.
Dean felt the grip tighten slightly.
“Daddy, mommy hates me.” It said quietly, beginning to cry.
Dean wasn’t too sure what to do.
He didn’t want to get too sucked in, because who knew what this ghost was capable of.
But, on the other hand, if it was being completely honest with him, then this could very well be the key to why it hadn’t been able to move on yet.
“I’m sure she doesn’t hate you.” Dean said in a soothing tone, trying to mollify the ghost child.
“Yes, she does! I knew you wouldn't listen to me!” It shouted, letting go of Dean’s hand.
The next thing he knew, the contents of the room began to fly around, crashing into the walls, shattering on the floor, embedding themselves into the various surfaces.
Nothing came close to hitting him, though the entire room was full of now destroyed items.
Kevin had walked in on the scene, realising that Dean had been telling the truth and not just playing a lame joke.
“So, what are we going to do?” Kevin asked, not overly familiar with ghosts.
“I don’t know yet. I’d like to be able to put it to rest, but I’m not sure how.” Dean answered, thinking about the situation.
“Maybe we should get Sam back here.” Kevin suggested, and Dean shook his head.
“No, I’ve got this.” Dean replied stubbornly.
“Yeah, I can see that from what happened in the den.” Kevin shot back. “What happens if it decides to do something worse?”
Dean didn’t look overly pleased at this comment.
“Look, it’s not as though this is all that simple.” Dean retorted. “We’ve only got a few options, and the only two real viable ones right now are finding the bones and salting them, or we find whatever object it’s using to stay here and destroy that.”
“So, how do we do that?” Kevin asked, leaning back in his chair.
“That’s exactly it. We know squat about who this is, what it wants, or anything about it, other than it’s probably a kid that thinks its mother is angry with it.” Dean explained. “Unless we can find out where its body lies, or locate that specific thing, we’re screwed.”
Kevin shrugged. “Why don’t we just use salt?” He asked.
“Do you have any idea how much salt we’d need to use to cover this place?” Dean asked, thinking that it wouldn’t be much help outside.
Since this ghost felt some kind of link to him, he had a feeling that it would follow him around wherever he wasn’t protected by salt.
“I don’t like this.” Kevin said, shaking his head.
“You think I do?” Dean asked snappishly, before apologising.
“I’m sorry; I need to get some sleep.” He told Kevin, looking embarrassed.
Kevin nodded, pressing his lips together.
He figured that the ghost must have kept him up last night.
“I’m going to go lie down for a bit, and think some more about this. I’ll figure things out, Kevin.” Dean assured him.
When Dean awoke, he found Sam in the den with Kevin.
“What are you doing back so early?” Dean asked, clearing his throat.
Sam stood up from the couch.
“Well, just as you were telling me how fine things were around here, your phone cut out. I couldn’t get a hold of you, or Kevin. Not even the landline worked. I knew something was up, so I cut things short with Becca.” He said. “Kevin’s filled me in on things. Guess it’s a good thing I came back early.”
Dean pursed his lips.
“Really? Because, I’ve got this, Sammy.” Dean said, feeling a touch offended. “Nothing I can’t handle.”
Sam raised his eyebrows.
“You sure about that? ‘Cause Kevin told me that you looked a bit shaken up after what happened in the den.” He replied, wondering why Dean’s reply had been so defensive.
Dean ran a hand through his short, brown hair.
“What’s going on?” Sam asked, knowing that there was something important being left unsaid.
“It’s nothing.” He lied, and Kevin got to his feet, thinking that he ought to give the brothers some space, and left the room.
“Seriously, Dean. What’s up?” Sam asked, wondering what it was about this ghost that was bothering him. “We’ve dealt with ghosts before with no problems at all.”
Dean leaned against the wall, beside a small oak table.
“It’s a kid. A scared kid.” Dean said, his brows knitting together, a strange tone to his voice.
He looked at Sam, that unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach returning.
“It thinks that I’m its father.” Dean added.
Sam blinked. “That’s weird.” He said, wondering why that was the case.
“Tell me about it.” Dean stated with a scoff, shoving a hand in his front pocket and trying to play off how deeply this ghost was affecting him.
Sam opened his mouth to say something, but then thought better of it.
“What?” Dean asked, taking a couple of steps toward his brother.
“It’s just… Well, it wouldn’t really be that far-fetched if you did have a kid out there, somewhere. Maybe more than one, considering how you’ve been around.” Sam began carefully, not wanting to piss Dean off.
“This ghost-kid thinks you’re their dad, right? I’m just saying, what if its telling the truth? What if that’s what’s keeping it here, instead of moving on?” Sam finished, looking to the floor.
Dean squinted at his brother.
“That’s the biggest pile of crap I’ve heard in a long time.” He snapped, suddenly feeling anger rising up, though he didn’t know why. “That’s the best you’ve got? Come on, Sammy, you can do better than that.”
Sam cleared his throat and held up his hands. “Look, I was just saying, that’s all.” He said, trying to quell Dean.
“Yeah, well, let’s get serious about this, shall we?” He asked Sam in annoyance, his tone less angry.
“All right, so we’ve got nothing on this ghost yet. It seems to like you; maybe you can get something out of it.” Sam suggested.
Dean looked uncomfortable.
“What?” Sam asked encouragingly.
“It’s just… There’s something about this whole thing that gets to me, man. I can’t explain it.” Dean told him, rubbing his palms together.
“It, uh, it left a stuffed toy rabbit on my bed last night. Maybe it would be worth salting and burning it, see what happens.” Dean said.
He hadn’t done that already, because for whatever reason, he’d wanted to try and talk to the ghost again.
While it disconcerted Dean quite a bit, there was something about the ghost that was almost like a magnetic pull.
Something that made Dean want to know and understand it.
He realised how dangerous it could be to delay the putting to rest of a spirit, and that he really ought to have tried destroying the toy as soon as he’d gotten it.
“Why didn’t you already do that?” Sam asked curiously.
Dean shook his head.
“I don’t know.” He answered honestly, shrugging his shoulders.
Sam frowned, just as his text alert sounded, which he ignored, though it took some effort.
“And, you think you can handle this alone?” Sam asked with a shake of his head. “It’s affecting you, Dean. Whatever link is between the two of you, it’s messing with your judgement.”
Dean tilted his head.
“I’m fine.” Dean said stubbornly.
“No, you’re not.” Sam argued, crossing his arms. “Otherwise, you’d be on top of things, you’d have already tried salting and burning that rabbit, you would be-“
Sam stopped talking as the room’s temperature dropped intensely, their breath coming out in hazy clouds.
They both kept their senses alert to detect the spirit; though they needn’t have gone to the effort.
The child appeared in the direct centre of the room.
She looked to be a perfectly healthy little girl, around the age of seven, with sandy brown, curly hair and vivid green eyes.
In fact, she looked strikingly like a young female version of Dean himself.
Sam looked from one to the other.
“You still think that it’s so far a leap?” He asked Dean, who stared at the girl in surprise.
Dean remained wordless for a few moments, as the ghost watched them.
She still seemed a little nervous, though not as frightened as her voice had projected before.
“Who are you?” Sam asked her, and she walked a few steps towards him.
She looked confused, tilting her head to the side.
“That’s not funny.” She replied sulkily, pouting as the room grew colder still.
Dean began to shiver.
The ghost child noticed this, and permitted the room to warm a little.
“It wasn’t supposed to be.” He told her gently. “Now, who are you?”
She stomped her foot.
“Stop it!” She shouted, looking very upset.
Dean walked over to her, and she turned and latched onto his leg.
She mumbled something into his blue jeans, as an idea popped into his head.
Maybe, just maybe, there was a small chance that Sam was right.
Maybe, somehow, this ghost girl was his daughter.
He had always known what he would name his daughter, if he ever had one, the name floating through his mind.
He also remembered telling Dora this, and took a chance.
“Mary.” He tried, looking down at the child, who looked up at him as he said her name.
“Yes, daddy?” She asked sweetly, still hugging his leg.
Dean swallowed, a lump in his throat forming.
Sam looked on silently, just waiting.
Dean had no idea what to say now.
His heart was in his mouth, and his mind was fuzzy.
“You’re what, five?” He asked, his jaw working.
Mary frowned at him, wondering if he was trying to make a joke. “Six and a half.” She corrected him proudly.
Dean closed his eyes as he realised what must have happened.
Close enough to five years ago, when Dean had suddenly fell in mutual love at first site.
Dora, the spunky undersized woman of his dreams, the only woman he’d been with for almost a year and a half after meeting her, must have fallen pregnant with his child.
And, somehow, Mary had found him after she had died.
He was almost certainly the reason that she hadn’t moved on.
The revelation must have shown on his face, because Sam was looking at him very curiously.
“Mary… How did you find me?” Dean inquired, his voice weak.
“Mommy showed me pictures of you, and I looked for a looooong time before I found you.” She said, a stray curl falling into her face. “She was really mad when she found out I was going away.”
“Is that why she’s so angry?” Dean asked.
“What happened after you left to find me?” Dean asked her, and she began telling him excitedly of the adventure.
It wasn’t all that far into the tale that Sam and Dean learned of how she died, though Mary seemed to be oblivious to the fact that she was not longer alive.
Not too long into her trip, Mary had been hit by a car while crossing a busy highway, her half-dead body flying through the air and landing in a pond by the side of the road, where she ultimately perished.
Her story went on for a while; she had searched for quite some time indeed.
“And, that’s how I got here.” Mary finished, beaming at him, letting go of his leg at last and swinging her arms.
“Can I stay with you, daddy? Please, don’t make me go back.” She asked him pleadingly, the fear creeping back into her face.
“Why don’t you want to go back?” He asked her, and she looked at the floor. “Your mom would be thrilled to have you back home. I’ll bet she misses you a lot.”
“Mommy’s mean to me.” She answered, not looking up at him. “She hits me when she’s mad.”
Dean’s eyes flashed at this.
If Mary had been abused by her mother, then she could have been searching for him not only because she wanted to meet him, but because she was searching for the love and care that she had needed in life.
“Is she mad a lot?” Dean asked, his voice a little gruff.
Mary nodded, her little form looking a somewhat crumpled.
His nostrils flared.
If only he had known before it had been too late.
Dora should have told him about the baby; if she hadn’t wanted Mary, then Dean would have been more than willing to raise her on his own.
Instead, Mary had grown up being a deep regret of her mother’s, and had been treated as such.
She had been physically and mentally abused, and shown only rare instances of affection, which were only out of guilt.
Mary looked up at him in alarm.
“Are you mad at me, daddy?” She asked, whimpering.
Dean shook his head.
“No, no I’m not.” He replied calmly, his face softening at this.
Dean couldn’t believe the amount of emotion this was all stirring up within him; he was a mess.
Sam gestured for Dean to follow him out of the room.
“I’ll, uh, I’ll be right back.” Dean told Mary. “You stay here, okay?”
“You all right?” Sam asked, a worried look on his face.
“Do you think she’s lying?” Dean asked, though he felt in his heart that she was telling the truth.
“No.” Sam responded. “I know it’s a lot to deal with, Dean. But, since you’re probably her link, we should be able to put her to rest fairly easily.”
“We could let her stick around for a little while.” He suggested, knowing that it wasn’t the best idea, but needing to get to know his daughter the best he could.
Sam shook his head regretfully.
“Look, I know this is hard for you. But, we need to do what’s best for her. You know what’ll happen if we don’t put her to rest as well as I do.” He stated carefully, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Dean was used to getting the short end of the stick, but that didn’t make this any easier.
“Yeah, I know.” He replied bitterly, turning and heading back to the den.
Sam followed behind.
Dean knew that what Mary needed was to be loved; he knew exactly what it was that he needed to do.
He walked over to her, knelt down, and embraced her.
She hugged him back tightly, needily.
“It’s okay, I’m here for you.” He told her softly into her hair, as she cuddled into his neck and against his chest.
Dean picked her up, tears welling in his eyes as Sam bit his lip and looked away.
Seeing his brother like this was tough, and knowing that he’d had a niece and what had happened to her had been a bit difficult to learn.
Dean walked around the room, holding the little girl, as she began to fall asleep.
Just as she closed her eyes, slipping off into dreamland, she heard her father whisper into her ear how much he loved her.
With that, Mary passed over, and Dean was left holding nothing.
He let his arms stay as they were for a few moments, wanting to savour the feeling of holding his little girl, before letting them drop down to his sides.
Sam walked over to him, giving him a hug, which Dean accepted.
It was a while before Dean spoke at all, and it was some time before he felt even somewhat back to his normal self.
Though he hadn’t really known his daughter, that brief time had left a massive chasm in his heart that he felt profoundly, as though he had been there from day one.
But, as time went on, the pain lessened, though Dean kept the little time that he’d spent with her in his memory and his heart.
The little toy rabbit had remained, though how was a mystery, and Dean gave it a place of honour on the bedside bureau.
No matter where life took him, no matter how many times he moved, Dean kept that toy rabbit until the end of his days.
And, that is the story of the ghost of the bunker.