“Jack? Will you do it, for them?” Mary asked.
“If it is what they would want, Mary, then yes,” Jack said, bowing his head. “I will let you kill me, yes.”
“No! Jack, no!” Mary shouted in alarm, Jack’s head whipped up and he searched her eyes, not understanding.
“No, that is not what they would want. I asked Mater Matuta to bring you here, so that you can sacrifice me, so that I can save them from this torment, from this debt. I can’t let them live separated like this, Jack, it’s slowly killing them. You’ve seen how bad it’s gotten. And I’m not even supposed to be here, we all know that. Please?”
“I will do it, Mary. I will do it for them, and for you,” Jack agreed, he slipped his angel sword out of his sleeve, just like Castiel had taught him.
“Is there something Jack has to do, besides just kill me?” Mary asked.
“Offer the death to me, and then they will be released,” Mater Matuta. “It is right and just that you as their mother offer this sacrifice to bring them into the world once again. More mothers should follow your example, Mary.”
“Go ahead, Jack. Just…make sure and tell them that I love them,” Mary said.
“I will, Mary. I love you too,” Jack said, he plunged the angel sword into her heart and caught her as she fell. “I offer the death of Mary Winchester to you.”
“I accept this sacrifice, they are free,” Mother Matuta said taking Mary’s still form from Jack into her arms. “She will rejoin her loved ones in her Heaven.” She disappeared with Mary and in their place stood both Sam and Dean, blinking in surprise.
They could hear her singing one final time, ‘A crown above and a crown below’.
It was high noon, why were they out here at mile marker twelve, together? And why was Jack standing there with a bloody angel sword and tears on his face.
“What’s wrong, Jack?” Sam asked, stepping forward to hold him.
Dean took the bloody sword out of his hand and wiped it on the grass. “Are you okay, buddy? Why are we both out here at noon?”
“It’s over, you’re free. I had to, I’m so sorry, I had to…she asked me, to do it to save you,” Jack said through tears, he grabbed at Sam and hid his face in his shirt.
“What did you do?” Sam asked, looking at Dean over Jack’s head. Dean’s face was turning thunderously angry as they both realized what this likely meant.
“Where’s Mom, Jack?” Dean asked in a cold monotone.
“She’s dead, Mater Matuta took her away. Mary tried to offer herself, but Mater Matuta said it couldn’t be a suicide, that it wouldn’t count. So Mary asked for me to come, and I did and—”
“Oh, Jack…oh no,” Sam said, holding him more closely.
“She asked me to do it, it was the only way it would work. She said we all knew she wasn’t supposed to be here, and she wanted to save you. She said to tell you, that she loves you. I’m so sorry,” Jack said, finally looking up at Sam.
Sam cupped the back of his head and tried not to cry or scream or any of the things he felt like doing. “I know you are, Jack, I know.”
Dean stomped off past the twelve mile marker, his shoulders shrugged almost up to his ears, both hands clenched into tight fists. Sam and Jack watched him disappear into the distance away from the bunker.
Sam let go of Jack and took a step in the opposite direction. “We should go home.”
“What about Dean?” Jack asked, as they started walking back to the bunker.
“He’ll come around eventually, don’t worry,” Sam said.
“He’s not going to kill me, right?” Jack asked.
“No…no he won’t do that, he’s just got to work around to accepting what she did—for us. He won’t blame you for it,” Sam said.
“Do you?” Jack asked.
Sam stopped walking. Jack stopped and turned around to face Sam.
“No, Jack, I don’t blame you. You did something that neither Dean or I could have possibly done. Was it the right thing? Who knows, maybe, probably, I don’t know. But it isn’t something I’m ever going to blame you for doing. We’re free now, because of what you did, and because of what our mom sacrificed,” Sam said. “Okay?”
“Okay, Sam,” Jack said with a nod.
They walked the rest of the way back to the bunker in silence.
Jack spent that afternoon in his room alone, until Cas arrived.
“They are not angry with you, Jack. I know it may seem as if they are, but they are just very very sad. You can feel that from them, right?” Cas asked.
“Yeah, I can. And I wish I could…I wish I could undo it. I wish I’d said no,” Jack said.
“If you had said no, then Sam and Dean would have permanently been in the dusk to dawn state, or even worse. Mater Matuta would have made sure she received payment in some form, maybe even taken them as sacrifice,” Cas said.
Jack looked at him with huge eyes, scared at the prospect of losing the two men he most considered to be his fathers.
“Pack a bag, we are going to go on a hunt, the last one that Mary found for us. We will give them some time alone to process their loss and honor Mary’s memory as well.”
“Will Dean ever get over me being the one who killed Mary?” Jack asked.
“Yes, I believe he will. But I do not know how long it will take. We need to give him some time to get started, we should go soon,” Cas said, leaving Jack’s room to go let Sam in on his plan.
It had been a few weeks now, they’d had a small memorial for Mary with some of the hunters that remained from the other world. Cas and Jack had been gone on a hunt for quite a while now. That had left Sam and he orbiting around each other in the now-empty bunker, two lonely planets set on their own individual trajectories. For a second there, Dean had thought they were finally on the same one, he’d thought they’d be sharing the ride together. But Sam hadn’t acted the way he had expected, maybe he’d been hiding all the emotion or maybe Dean had missed seeing it. Either way, it seemed like Mary’s sacrifice hadn’t had much of an effect on Sam. It made him wonder about all the things they’d said and done to appease the deities, if any of it had meant the same deep emotional things to Sam at all. They hadn’t talked about what they’d promised and vowed, they hadn’t talked about much of anything really.
“In the end, Mom ended up being just as self-sacrificing as Dad was,” Sam said, sounding surprised to be voicing that out loud. He drained the rest of his whisky and set the glass down carefully on the table between them.
Dean realized that he wasn’t much surprised, it was the truth. Mary had been all over the map since she’d been back. It had been hard for them to really count on her for anything. To be sure of her motivations. But in the end, it had worked out to trust her after all the evidence to the contrary. She came through for them, just like she did when she saved Sam from that poltergeist all those years ago.
“Pretty sure that runs in the family. It’s like our family version of kryptonite or something,” Dean said.
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore, I’m going to bed,” Sam said, getting up from the table and stretching his arms above his head.
Dean finished his whisky and followed Sam down the hall towards their rooms. He didn’t know what came next for them, but he knew what he wanted to happen. What he needed to happen, but he didn’t know how to get there. It felt like it was finally time to at least ask, since Sam wasn’t doing the asking.
“Sammy, come on,” Dean said, stopping at his own door. He waited for Sam to decide, it had to be what Sam wanted too, it just had to be.
“I’m just getting something, I’ll be right back,” Sam said, continuing down the hall to his own room without even a backwards glance.
Dean stood there like the love-sick fool he was and always would be, even though they’d vowed and freaking gotten married and stuck with each other all this time, he still always had that one niggling worry. Sam deserved more than this, deserved better than him, and someday, probably sooner rather than later, he’d figure that out and leave for good.
He shut his door and sat on the edge of his bed staring into space, remembering the apple grove, the vows they’d made by the yew trees. According to Sam, all of that was just to appease the deities, keep the bunker’s power plan on schedule. He’d given everything to this fight over the years, he guessed he’d just given his heart over to it too.
“Hey, sorry it took me so long to…” Sam said, shutting the door behind him. “Dean?”
“Yeah—what’s up?” Dean asked, not looking at Sam, he couldn’t, he didn’t want to see this, didn’t want to watch how his brother was going to leave him, but not leave.
“I was just glad you finally asked, I wanted to bring some of my stuff in here, make it official. Is that all right with you?”
“Why, you run out of drawer space all of a sudden?” Dean snarked, still not looking at Sam. He was struggling to get his walls to rebuild quickly enough, he was plainly going to need them right away.
“What are you—oh no, no way, Dean, you are not doing this to us again,” Sam said, sounding angry and cold.
Dean finally looked up at his brother standing against the closed door, a big cardboard box in his arms, his wooden memory box balanced on top of everything. Was he moving out or something? He noticed that Sam’s eyes were flashing with dangerous levels of anger.
“What are you talking about?” Dean asked, he didn’t understand what Sam was doing in here with a box of his stuff. Why couldn’t he just leave without making a big deal out of it?
Sam set his box down on the table and stalked towards the bed. He stood between Dean’s legs, and his hands landed on Dean’s shoulders, pressing him down into the bed. “You don’t get to take all this back, not after Mom did what she did for us,” Sam said in a harsh whisper, sounding like that was as loud as he dared let himself say those words.
“I’m not taking anything back, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dean said, chin lifting in challenge to the anger still lighting that familiar fire in Sam’s eyes.
“I’m not taking anything back either. We made promises to each other, vows in front of gods and goddesses, and I intend to honor them. What about you?” Sam challenged, his mouth a firm, decisive line.
“Sure, because it’s on pain of death in one case and a threat to your manhood in another. I’m pretty sure they’re not watching us 24/7 in here, you’re probably good if we just play at it when we go out to the directions to do the ceremonial stuff.”
“You asshole, what are you even saying? You think all that was just a ruse to fool the deities? You think I was making all of that up? Really?” Sam asked, still holding onto Dean’s shoulders. His fingers pressed in deep, barely holding back from shaking him.
“Sammy, it’s not like you could have possibly meant all that stuff. Even I know that,” Dean shrugged, bearing the weight of Sam’s hands.
“You know nothing,” Sam said in a husky growl, squeezing Dean’s shoulders even harder in his rough grip.
“You will never ever sound like Ygritte, just give it up now, dude,” Dean said, satisfied with his bringing in the Game of Thrones reference. Hopefully it would throw Sam off and end this conversation before it got any worse.
“You absolute idiot, I meant every goddamn word. And if you don’t know that, then I don’t think I can do this,” Sam said, finally taking his hands off Dean’s shoulders and stepping away. He gathered up his box from the table and had the door most of the way open by the time Dean could react.
“Wait…hold on, you did?” Dean asked, his emotional walls falling just like the ice wall they’d watch fall recently on Game of Thrones.
Sam stopped in the doorway, half in and half out. He didn’t say anything for an excruciatingly long moment.
“I meant it all too,” Dean said into the long silence between them.
Sam’s head hung towards his chest. “Yeah, I know you did, Dean. I’m not sure this can work since you didn’t believe I meant it all too.”
“You’re leaving then?” Dean asked, trying and failing to hold his panic out of his voice.
“No, I’m just going back to my room. I’ll see you in the morning I guess,” Sam said.
“I wish you’d stay,” Dean said and he knew that he’d never wished a wish harder than that one.
“I wish for a lot of things I don’t get,” Sam said.
****To Part 10