Happy Valentine

Note: For the challenge, written for Jordy. My first try writing this fandom. I'm afraid I couldn't omit the angst – Sam's just too pretty when he's hurting. 😉 Hopefully you like it anyway…

The note was tucked inside the pocket of Sam's winter coat. He took it out when a case led him and Dean into the north of Washington State where an early snowfall surprised them right after they had busted a poltergeist with a penchant for giving old women heart attacks.

The piece of paper was rumpled from months at the bottom of his bag, but Sam instantly recognized the purple hue of Jess' favorite writing paper. The sharp stab in his heart surprised him – he had thought he had learned to live with the guilt and the grief by now, but seeing his name penned down in Jess' loopy handwriting made him almost double over in pain.

He covered his mouth with one hand to stop himself from screaming, the other fingering the paper over and over, causing even more creases. She had always left him notes, but her favorite paper was reserved for special occasions. This one had to be from the time he went snowboarding with some friends and had to leave her behind to study for an exam over Valentine's Day. He had returned with roses and a bracelet, and she must have thought he had found it. The note had been in his coat pocket for almost two years, and now a part of him really did not want to read what Jess had written.

It hurt too much, to picture her sitting at her desk, trying to think of what to say to him – to the Sam who had been so in love with her that he had convinced himself that a normal, happy life was possible. Anything she had written was meaningless, now that she was dead, killed by something that he had brought down on her, ripping to shreds the semblance of normalcy he had built for himself, for them.

Right then, just when the all too familiar guilt threatened to engulf Sam again, the door to the motel room opened to let in a draft of icy air and his scowling brother.

"Man, it's a fucking blizzard out there! How come I let you talk me into buying food by myself – at least that way I wouldn't have been the only one freezing my balls off!"

Although he had tucked the note into his pocket as soon as the door opened, Sam's posture must have alerted Dean that something was wrong, because he stopped ranting and sat down opposite Sam, fixing his brother with an inquiring stare.

"Did you have another vision or nightmare or something? You look as if you've seen a ghost – wait, did you?" The worry in Dean's eyes was real, although his voice remained flippant. Sam sighed and shook his head, feeling too raw to speak. Instead he handed Dean the note, avoiding his eyes and fixating on a spot on the none-too-clean carpet.

"What have we here… You got a love letter, Sammy? From one of the old biddies at the retirement home? Boy, you sure have a way with the ladies… Oh fuck!" The teasing died down as soon as he opened the letter. Sam still did not look up, but he could hear the rustling of paper and a sharp intake of breath from Dean.

"Read it to me. Please. I… I can't." Sam hardly recognized his own voice, it sounded like that of a dead man. He could feel Dean scrutinizing him, probably trying to decide whether there was any chance he could talk him out of this. Apparently Sam looked more determined than he felt, because after a while, Dean started reading. His voice was gentle and he refrained from any smartass remarks about its sappiness, simply reading the note from start to finish:

My dearest Sam,

I really should hate you for leaving me alone like this. After all, what good is a boyfriend if he's not around on Valentine's Day to worship the love of his life? But nevertheless I forgive you, Sam Winchester, with all my heart – which just goes to show what a terrific catch I am and how lucky you are to have me in your life! The thing is, though, and that is the reason why I'm not mad at you – so am I.

Having you in my life has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. I know you won't believe this, but it's true. No matter what will happen, how ugly our eventual breakup will be (and I'm not convinced that there'll ever be one, mind you, despite your reluctance to introduce me to your family, which would make anyone suspicious) – I will always be glad to have known you, to have loved you.

You're one hell of a special man, Sam Winchester, and I can't wait to see you again on Saturday and show you how much I love you (which will be lots of fun for both of us, I assure you). And I already know that you'll make sure that this will be the best late Valentine's Day of my life.

Love and kisses, forever yours,

Jess
Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

After Dean had fallen silent, Sam could not move, could hardly breathe. He knew this was a beautiful letter, one that should make him feel grateful and comforted. Instead he felt chilled to the bone and more alone than he had since the night of the fire.

He did not feel the bed dip, but suddenly Dean was there, next to him, holding him in an awkward but earnest embrace. Sam heard a loud sob and realized only a heartbeat later that he was making this animal noise that shook his whole body. Dean's arms were the only thing anchoring him to reality, and he clung to his brother desperately.

"Don't get used to this, Sammy," he heard Dean's voice dimly. "This is still not a hugging show!"

In between painful sobs a harsh laugh escaped Sam. It hurt his throat and constricted his chest almost more than the crying, but it was okay. Through eyes grainy with tears Sam groped for the letter lying discarded on the ground, folded it and stuffed it into his shirt pocket.

Dean did not loosen his hold.

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