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Romance Table Prompt 19 - art

Title: Sam's First Love
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Sam/ofc, Dean
Rating: R
Prompt: 19 - art
Disclaimer: I own nothing Supernatural.
Warning: Suicide
Summary: Sam falls for a spirit.


Sam's First Love

Dean was in the house watching some ridiculous television program and Sam couldn't take the constant jabbering anymore. His homework was done and he'd finished his last book, so he decided just to sit in the back of the house for awhile.

It wasn't a yard, it would have to be mowed or tamed in some way for it to be that. It was just what they stepped into when they went out the door in the kitchen. Since it was early fall and had been a nice day, Sam was still bothered by the noise coming through the open windows but at least it was quieter than before.

Dad was gone on some hunt, like usual. He'd told them he'd be two weeks and it was already three. It didn't really make Sam concerned, just irritated that he could never count on him. Sporadic 'Hey, I'm still alive' phone calls didn't count as actual conversations and they were usually just between Dad and Dean anyway.

Sam sighed as he watched the sun go down. He thought of all the different places he'd seen the sun set at and wondered if not being able to remember all the places you've lived was normal. Some kids at school had known each other their whole lives. That was something Sam couldn't imagine. Well, he'd always had Dean but that was different since they were brothers. He had acquaintances at school, some guys he shot the breeze with while waiting in line for lunch or for phy ed class to start. All he could tell them was mostly lies anyway, so he just listened for the most part. It was still good for a laugh or two on a bad day.

A shift in the breeze lifted some of Sam's bangs that were hanging in his face. When they moved, he saw something in the distance. When he peered closer, he realized that it was someone, a supernatural someone--a ghost or a Lady in White.

Even though he had done the research on most of their hunts lately, he'd never seen a Lady in White. She looked so sad and alluring at the same time. Her image drifted just past the edge of the property. Her footsteps didn't make a sound as she began to glide down the dirt path. Long, dark hair flowed in contrast to the white fitted dress she was wearing.

Silently, Sam watched her. She had a look on her face that reflected how he felt. Lost. That was the word for it.

When she realized he could see her, she paused and turned her head slightly to get a better view of him. Sam's mind raced with all the things he could say, what he wanted to say, and in the end he couldn't force a single syllable out of his mouth.

She turned back toward the horizon and continued on her way. Sam watched her until she faded into thin air. His heart was pounding wildly and it echoed in his ears. He wondered who she was, how she came to be and, most importantly, if he would ever get to see her again.

His dreams that night were filled with mist and never-ending dirt roads. They intertwined and were identical. He ran up and down them, searching and calling out for her. His legs grew tried as exhaustion set in. Pain drew his attention downward and he saw that he was running barefoot. That explained why his shins hurt. He ran until he couldn't move forward anymore and then crumpled to the cold, hard ground, never once seeing the woman he was chasing after.

When he woke, his legs ached. He sat up and rubbed them, but it didn't help. He got up at quietly as he could and took some aspirin. The sun was already rising when he finally got back to sleep.

"What's up with you this morning?" Dean asked when Sam plopped down in the kitchen chair, yawning as he grabbed the box of cereal.

"Huh?"

"You hit snooze at least twice when you're usually up before the alarm even goes off. You sick or something?"

"Didn't sleep very well."

Dean's expression told Sam that he was waiting for more of an explanation.

"Growing pains."

"Oh. Well, there's not much you can do for those."

"I know."

"Sorry, dude. That has to suck."

"At least it's temporary. I have a test today that I can't miss."

"Okay. I'll give you a ride in ten. Remember to take some drugs with you to school."

"You're the only one who would word it that way," Sam laughed, which was what Dean was aiming for anyway.

"I'm a one-of-kind."

***

Sam struggled to get through his day. By the time lunch rolled around, he was dead on his feet. Just chewing his food seemed like too much work. He pushed his tray away, folded his arms and laid his head on top of them.

The noises around him turned into buzzing in the background as he zoned out. Just a little break. He only needed to relax for a moment.

A clanging bell alerted him to go to class. Blurry eyed, he stumbled to his feet and dumped his tray. He sat down at his desk and was greeted with a pop quiz. Groaning, he tried to remember what he'd read the night before.

"Hey, Sam," a classmate slapped his shoulder. "What did you think about that sneaky move?"

"I thought it stunk. How about you?"

"Eh. Not like I was shooting at a 4.0 grade point average." he joked.

"That's one way to look at it."

"What are you doing after school?"

"Me?" Sam wondered if he should make something up. "Nothing. Why?"

"Some of the guys and I were going to the burger joint. Casey has a new car and wants to show it off."

"What was the occasion?"

"The sun came up. I don't know. Anyway, we're meeting at the benches."

Sam nodded. "Okay. I'll be there."

"Great," Daniel disappeared down the crowded hall.

The test that he'd known about was easy. He finished it with fifteen minutes left of class. The clock on the wall clicked slowly as the hands barely moved.

Sam's mind wandered, back to the night before, his dream and the beautiful apparition he'd seen. Surly, his dad wouldn't have moved them into a town knowing there was something left to hunt. Maybe no one had gotten hurt. Maybe no one would.

***

"Where were you?" Dean looked up from his auto magazine. "I was just going to make some supper."

"I grabbed a burger with the guys."

"The guys? Do I know them?"

He shook his head. "I really only knew one kid from class but the rest of them seemed cool. One just got a new car and was proud to show it off."

"What kind?"

"Brand new sedan. You wouldn't have liked it. Not enough heavy metal to it."

"Those cars they make these days, just can't trust them."

"Yeah, yeah." Sam fished a bag out of his pocket. He threw it to Dean. "I didn't forget you."

Dean opened up the bag and breathed in the aroma. "Sammy, did I ever tell you what a wonderful brother you are?"

"Sure. I'll remember that the next time you chew me out for doing something wrong."

Dean took a big bite and continued talking. "Dad called today. There's another hunt in the area so he's going to be awhile longer."

"That's nothing new."

"Sam?"

"I didn't mean anything. Just tired."

"Speaking of that, how're the legs?"

"Better. I'm going to do my homework outside so I can enjoy what is left of the nice weather."

Dean's reply was absorbed by the food he was inhaling.

Sam settled in with his backpack next to him. He dug out the materials that he needed and got started. He was really into his current subject when the hairs on the back of his neck prickled. He looked up and saw what he'd hoped to see, yet didn't dare wish for.

The lady was standing in the distance watching him.

"Hello?"

The figure moved a ways toward him.
"I'm Sam Winchester. I live here with my brother and dad. When he's here, my dad, I mean." He tripped over his own tongue. "What happened to you?"

Her eyes widened and then watered. A tear slid down her cheek and she gave him a small smile.

"Why did you die? I wish you could tell me how to help you."

With one last look over her shoulder, she turned and walked away. Sam found himself more determined to find out what had happened to her.

***

That night, Sam dreamed of the lady in white. She was standing by the water in a fine, cultured pearl mist. The gravel crunched under the soles of Sam's shoes as he walked closer.

"Hello!" He called, hoping to get her attention.

She took a step or two toward him and said softly, "Sam."

Stunned, Sam just looked at her.

"In my dreams, I can communicate. During time spent in your world, I can't."

"What's your name?"

"Anna Marie."

"You're so young."

"Nineteen. My life was cut short but I lived a lot in those years."

"Tell me more." Sam felt like he was asking for a story instead of facts.

"I was born and raised here. I was an only child but I had several friends in the neighborhood. This is like any small town. A neighbor or friend's mother as was as likely to patch you up as your own mother.

My father worked at the factory and my mother stayed at home. She was an amazing baker and was known to make wedding cakes at times. They were beautiful. She made mine. I was sixteen when I got married.

I'd known Toby since I was in kindergarten. His family lived on a farm just out of town. He had to take the bus to school while us town kids were all close enough to walk. There was a group of kids that had to take the bus, but there were way more of us.

Toby used to leave May Day baskets on my front step, ring the bell and run. I always knew they were from him and quickly took chase. When we were too old for the childish tradition, Toby continued and didn't put his heart into escaping. He wanted to be caught and kissed. We were sweethearts from that point on.

He stayed at our home during bad weather instead of possibly getting stuck on a stranded bus. He always phoned home to let them know that he was safe.

His dad and uncles had sections of land that they planted and harvested. His mom had grown up in a farm family and therefore was not concerned when Toby was kept safe at our house. Sometimes, my dad would go out to help the men on the weekends, especially with harvest and the livestock. He would come home with eggs, a chicken or side of beef for his help.

I loved him the first time he'd picked me some flowers for me, not knowing that it was the flowerbed of a very possessive old lady. He ended up mowing her lawn for weeks to make up for taking that bouquet. His friends made fun of him, but he grinned while he did it. He figured it was worth it, and it was.

Our first real kiss was by the oak in the park that still bears our initials in a heart. Our parents had carved their heart in that tree many years before. Everyone was happy with our relationship, even though he was two years older than me. They thought we made a cute couple until, as a result of tempting fate one too many times, I became pregnant.

There was no question what we were going to do. We promptly arranged our wedding and I was walking down the aisle before I had a baby bump. If my parents were disappointed in me, they never said it. They celebrated our marriage as much as his family and our friends. For us, it was sooner than we'd planned but it was what we'd dreamed of.

Toby graduated and went to work. He started night school instead of going to college full time. He never complained about it, but I knew that college had been something he'd really wanted. He sacrificed it for us, and smiled while doing so.

I went to school pregnant until my water broke during Home Economics. I finished high school through correspondence classes. I studied between tending for my beautiful Talia, keeping house and being Toby's wife. Neither of us were surprised, we were actually elated when I found out I was with child again.

He quit night school, figured he could go back at anytime. He worked his regular job in town and went out to help his family for extra income in the form of food or cash. We needed both.

Talia was teething, keeping me and Toby up at night. He began to get frustrated, overwhelmed with his new responsibilities. He never got mean or short with us. He just spent more time out at the farm, leaving me to care for Talia alone.

My parents spoiled her rotten. They were concerned about us having another baby so soon, but supportive just the same. They decided that they'd spoil Talia for the day to allow me some time to rest and go to visit my husband on the farm.

I was excited to see my husband and his family. The air was warm and the silence was so soothing. I followed my mother-in-law's directions to where Toby was. When I got there, he was by an old truck, working on the engine. I raised my hand and was about to call out, "Hello." Then, a thin woman I recognized from school, she was a few years older than me, literally wrapped herself around Toby. He smiled and was thoroughly enjoying her attention.

On shaking legs, I stepped closer to them and cleared my throat. She spotted me first and tried to slip away but I'd already seen her. Toby stepped in front of her, protecting her from me! He'd known me all my life. He was the father of my child. Why would he ever think that I'd strike someone?

'Anna Marie,' he called after me. 'Wait! I can explain!'

The rest of his cries never reached my ears.

I drove to my parents' home and retrieved Talia. They were surprised that her visit had been cut so short and I couldn't give them an explanation for my quick return.

My little girl squirmed when I put her in her car seat. I gave her a kiss and told her how much I loved her. I went to drive with tears streaming down my face. Although I knew those roads like the back of my hand, I went too fast around a curve in my despair.

Our car rolled and struck a tree. Talia died in the crash. She came with me in the ambulance, even though she'd already passed. I didn't want to let her go. She was still my baby.

At the hospital, I went into premature labor. Gabriel, my little angel, never had a chance to take his first breath. I saw both my children die in the same day.

Toby kept his distance. He mourned with his family while mine helped me make arrangements. Toby tried calling me. He even stopped by, but I refused to see him.

He stood at the edge of the graveside service, never once approaching me. My family and friends formed a protective circle around me to keep him away and so I could cry in peace.

That very night, unable to live with my broken heart anymore, I left my parents a note. I walked to the place where Toby and I had first made love. It was beside Miller's Pond. In my mind it made sense to end it all where it had started.

I tied a rope around my waist and the other end held the largest rock I could find. I wasn't scared as I walked into the water. The cool water was a comfort. When I reached the ledge, where the bottom dropped and I wouldn't be able to touch bottom, the rock would keep me in place until, well, I died.

The last thought through my mind was that I had been smart to get a larger plot for Talia and Gabriel. There would be room to bury me beside them."

"You drowned?"

She sadly nodded her head. "I've been wandering this road since it happened. I know that I was found and buried, but that isn't where I am. I'm on these roads, reliving that night."

"Why haven't you walked into the light?"

"There is no light. I've looked for one. I feel guilty for how I treated Toby. He's unable to work, has moved into his family home and drinks his days away, trying to forget his short stint as a husband and father."

"Where do you go when you disappear?"

"I just walk into the water again. There's no pain or fear. It's like I just fall asleep. And, when I wake up, it starts all over again. You're the first person who's been able to talk to me. I can't tell you how good that feels."

"Couldn't the other people that lived here have seen you?"

"The house was abandoned for years. It would be occupied for short periods of time by druggies or folks on the lam. Finally, a new landlord bought it and fixed it up to code. Another family lived here before you. No one in their family had the special sensitivity to be able to see me. You're the first."

"How can I help you move on?"

"I don't know. I get a strange comfort from visiting places from my past. I can still see my friends that I used to know."

"One day they won't be here anymore, Anna Marie. The day will come when you'll be left behind, all alone."

"I killed my children out of anger at my husband. I don't think I deserve better than this purgatory I've been thrown into."

She was starting to fade.

"Will you still come visit me?" Sam just had to ask.

"As long as you'll have me."

Smiling, she faded away.

Sam had developed his first crush on a lovely lady that he could never touch and only talk to in dreams.

***

He was lovesick. Homework couldn't even distract him from the pain he felt when he realized that he could never have Anna Marie, not really. He spent more and more time outside, even as the weather grew cold. He would go to bed as soon as he came inside and was sleeping past his alarm clock for just the few extra moments he could have with Anna Marie.

One day at school, he had some time between classes. He looked in the trophy case that had pictures of all different clubs going way back. He saw the pictures of the orchestra and saw a pregnant girl playing the cello. The smile on her face was radiant and tore through Sam's heart as he compared it to the sad woman he'd been seeing at night. She'd been so happy and hopeful. Sam wished he could enter the picture and rescue her. Take her away to where her husband wouldn't cheat, and her children wouldn't die. Maybe he could even persuade her to fall in love with him.

Time travel. Was it even possible? Could there be a way to bring her back and give her the life she deserved?

***

"You're awfully quiet."

"Huh?"

"Usually you chat my ear off about your day and your boring classes. Lately you haven't been saying much."

"Guess I figured out your disinterest in my run of the mill activities."

"And all the time sitting in the backyard?"

Sam shrugged. "Just need some quiet time."

"Really? If that's the issue, you could just say something and I'd leave you our room for awhile. You don't have a warm enough jacket to keep staying outside for so long. I know you're not doing your homework out there because it's dark and you're still out there. Can't have you getting sick. Stay inside, okay?"

"I can come in earlier, but I need that time outside, alone."

"Okay. If you get sick don't be expecting me to feel sorry for you or take care of you. You're on your own buddy boy."

"Yeah, on my own. I get it."

"You can just tell me what's going on."

Sam gave Dean a look that expressed how sorry he was with his eyes. "I know I can, Dean. I just can't yet."

"Fair enough."

***

Despite Sam's best efforts, he was unable to find a way to cross the time barrier that didn't include dark magic. No matter how much he wanted to hold Anna Marie, to save her, he knew that if he used black magic, it would all eventually go bad anyhow. Instead, he had to live for seeing her outside and being able to listen to her in his dreams.

He found out that daisies were her favorite flower. Her favorite possessions were the rocking chair where she'd spent her late nights with Talia and the locket that her mother gave her with a picture of her grandparents. She was very smart, yet hesitated to allow anyone to see that.

Sam's hands ached to feel her curves. It was so easy to forget that she'd been someone else's wife. He was never the kind to cheat or encourage someone else to. He started to feel guilty about loving her from afar.

One day he took responsibility for his screwed up emotions and decided to try to get more information on Toby. Maybe finding out more about him would lead him to details about Anna Marie.

The internet made it easy to find out about Anna Marie's tragedies. Sam couldn't bring himself to read the sad tale so he scanned the page until he found her husband's full name. All it took was a phonebook to point Sam in the right direction. Toby had moved out of his parents' home and was living in a shack in town.

Sam walked by the dilapidated wreck after school. There was a pile of newspapers on the front doorstep. Seeing as he also had an attached garage, Sam figured it wasn't uncommon to forget to grab the paper if you're usually exiting and entering through the garage door. His mail box was empty, so at least he checked it regularly or he had it forwarded to another address. The curtains were drawn tight. He decided not to talk to Toby until he had a good cover story, but still kept an eye on the home each day. It wasn't too far from school so it wasn't that much out of the way.

***

Leaves had long since fallen to the ground. Sam studied the kitchen clock instead of his books, waiting for it to be late enough to possibly see her on her nightly walk.

"Classes giving you trouble?" Dean asked as he walked to the fridge for a beer.

Sam scoffed, "Of course not."

"Good." Dean cracked the can open and took a drink. "Because Dad called today."

Sam looked up at him but didn't respond with any words.

"Hunts are taking him further and further away. So, this weekend we need to pack up and Dad will find a place closer to the area he's been in. Make sure you get your transcripts for the next school. I'll sign whatever I need to."

"I can't go."

"Huh? What do you mean you can't go?"

"I just, I have something I'm in the middle of here and it won't be done before we leave. Can't you delay Dad for another month or so?"

"Why? If it's some damn long essay, just quit writing it if it's due next week. It won't go into your grade anyway."

"It-" Sam laid his pencil down and folded his hands. With his head bent, he said, "It doesn't have anything to do with school."

"What, then?"

He was so choked up, Sam couldn't force out any words.

Dean took a seat at the table and his asked in a concerned tone, "Does this have something to do with disappearing outside each night and getting a full night's sleep?"

"Yes."

"And what exactly is it that has you acting that way?"

"A girl."

"Oh, Sammy! You had me worried. So, it's a girl. You'll leave and find someone else, she won't remember you this time next year. What's the problem?"

"She's dead, Dean."

"Wait. She died? When?"

"It was before we got here."

"Okay. I'm confused. Explain."

"Her name is Anna Marie. She's nineteen and she walks past the back of our property on her way to the pond every night."

"But she's dead?"

Sam nodded. "She's a Woman in White. She hasn't hurt anyone and I doubt that she ever would. She caught her husband with another woman when she was pregnant. She drove home upset, wrecked the car. Her little girl died in the crash. Her son was born prematurely and also died."

"That's awful. What did her husband do?"

"He tried to talk to her but her family and friends kept him away. That night, she left her folks a note, walked to the pond and drowned herself there. She's buried next to her children."

"How do you know all this?"

"When I'm asleep, I dream of her and she can talk to me."

"So you have some kind of psychic connection to her?"

"No. It's only when I'm asleep."

Worried, Dean just looked at his little brother.

"You should see her, Dean. She's beautiful. Her gown flows and flutters around her short sleeves. She has long, dark hair that I bet is as silky as it looks."

"You're attracted to her."

Blushing, Sam admitted, "Yeah. She seems so sad and she can't find the light. She's decided that since her husband drank his life away after he lost her and the kids, this state of being nowhere, somewhere in-between the worlds, is her punishment and that she deserves whatever she gets."

"You know what to do with a Woman in White."

"She's different."

"The others were all different, too, at times. They were happy, fell in love, got married and had children that they adored. It isn't that their heart turns bad. The isolation is hard on the soul and turns them into someone they were never meant to be."

"Maybe she'll stay the way she is."

"And when she sees her husband move on with another woman? Having another family? What will she do then?"

"I can't, Dean."

"You know it has to be done. It would be cruel to leave her here like this. We'd probably have to return to hunt her at a later date."

"In my head I know you're right."

"Well, you have until we leave. Friday night, when you're dreaming of her, I'll do it for you. You won't have to be there and you don't have to know what is going on."

"She'll be scared."

"She'll see her kids again."

"She's not some case to me, Dean."

"I know. She's a lost soul that needs a nudge toward the other side. It will be okay. I'll make it okay. You might want to tell her of our plans ahead of time, though, if you get to talk to her."

Sam nodded.

Heart to heart over, Dean returned to the living room and left Sam alone with his thoughts.

***

"We're moving."

"What?"

"Anna Marie, my family is moving. We'll be gone by the weekend."

"But. You're the only one who can see me."

"I know."

"I'll be all alone again."

"I'm sorry." Sam fought to swallow the lump in his throat. "I can help you find the light so you can pass through."

"Why would you do that?"

"Because I don't want to leave you. Your children are waiting for you in the light."

"But, I killed them. They hate me."

"No. It was all an accident. It was out of your control. You did the best you could. They know you loved them. They could feel it."

"How do you know?"

"I know you love me."

She blushed. "I couldn't tell you . . ."

"I understand. You're in my heart, too. The way I felt it is how your babies will know they belong with you."

***

Sam lost interest in school. He did most of his assignments. His heart wasn't in it. He remembered to get his transcript but that was about it.

Anna Marie spoke to him nightly. She understood why he and Dean were going to set her free, but they didn't discuss it any more. Instead, she told him stories and they shared happy memories with each other.

Friday evening came around and Dean didn't say a word when Sam grabbed a beer after school. Most of their belongings were already packed.

"I'm going to bed," were the only words Sam said when he threw the empty can away.

Dean moved around their home quietly until it was dark enough for him to do his job at the local cemetery. He'd scoped out the area and found where he needed to be while Sam was gone during the day. When he'd heard Sam's snores through the bedroom door for quite some time and daylight had faded, he grabbed his keys and left.

***

"I guess you'll be leaving soon."

"I wish I could stay," Sam whispered. "I don't know of a way that I can."

"I don't want you to be trapped like I am. I care about you too much for that."

"You deserve to be happy."

"So do you, Sam. Don't ever forget that. You're a special person and can achieve anything you dream of."

"I'm not so sure about that."

"Well, I am. Promise me that you'll continue to be the smart, sensitive, sweet man that I've known."

"I promise."

***

Dean removed the sod carefully. He wanted to leave the grave neat because he had a feeling Sam might want to see it before they left. There were two tiny headstones and then a regular sized one for Anna Marie.

He dug at a slow pace. He didn't want to disturb the children's graves that were so close by. He wondered how Sam was doing and decided that his worry over that would have to wait until later. He had more pressing matters at the moment.

There was a clang when the shovel hit the top of the casket. He eased the lid open.

***

"Sam! Something's wrong! What is happening?"

"It's my brother, Anna Marie. It's okay. He's helping me. It is scary but it will be over soon."

"Maybe I'm not ready. I could wait."

"You'll never be ready," Sam sadly told her. "No one is. Just remember I love you. Let it surround you and keep you calm until this is over."

"I'm lucky to have met you."

"You taught me so much."

***

Dean salted the body and doused it with gasoline. He paused for a moment before he threw the match. "Wherever you are, Anna Marie, you're going home now. I hope you find all you're searching for on the other side of the light." With that said, he lit the flame and sat down to watch it burn out.

***

"I see the light!"

"That's where you need to go."

"My babies?"

"Should be there waiting for you. You need to hurry, Anna Marie."

She walked away and was getting enveloped in the white light when she called back to Sam, "I can see them. They're here."

"I knew they would be," Sam replied. The light had gone out before the words were out, so he didn't know if she even heard him.

***

Sam clung to a few daisies as Dean drove. He was sure Sam would strangle whatever life was left in them out before they reached Anna Marie's grave.

He noticed how Dean had tried to make the area look exactly as it had before. He appreciated the extra care Dean took doing a job that Sam just couldn't bring himself to do. He laid his pitiful bouquet on her headstone.

"She was scared, Dean."

"I'm sure she was."

"I told her that you'd make sure she'd be okay. That you'd always taken care of me and were just going to help her along her way. It helped calm her down."

"I'm sure having you there was her main comfort. How did she go?"

"She walked into the light. Said that she could see them there. I assumed she meant her kids. Then, she was gone."

"How are you doing?"

"Empty. Tired."

"I have something for you." Dean dug in his pockets. "I thought you might want it. If you don't you can toss it, because it was going to just burn anyway."

What Dean gave Sam was a picture of Anna Marie and Talia. Anna Marie had a large stomach instead of the flat one he was used to seeing her with. She'd been pregnant with Gabriel.

"I'm assuming that it's her?"

Until then, Sam hadn't realized that Dean hadn't seen her for himself. He'd never been present for the evening strolls.

"Yeah. Thank you." Sam tried to put the picture away casually but they both knew it was a treasured reminder of a bittersweet memory that Sam wouldn't soon forget.