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Near The Cross

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Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother

John 19:25

Sam never sleeps long. Mary understands, now, that he needs the Faithful as much as they need him. She’s given up trying to convince him to rest a little longer, leave a little later. 

She has no right to ask him to do otherwise. 

Dean still tries. Asking Sam to consider his own well being never works, so Dean usually tries lying, telling Sam that it isn’t 5:30 in the morning, it is 2:30. He can sleep a little longer. (Sam never believes him). It’s snowing, no one is waiting for him. (They are always waiting). 

Sam never gets angry (he’s too tired to be angry), but he always knows the truth, and he always goes anyway. 

The only time Sam ever leaves a little later (7:30 instead of 6) or even takes a day off is when Dean sinks into the armchair next to Sam’s bed, bows his head, and says, “Sammy, please.”

Dean has earned the right to be selfish. She hasn’t. 

Most of the time, though, she drops Sam, Dean, and Cas off at the tiny Church that is quickly becoming a shrine to The Stigmatic (God how she hates that name) before 6 in the morning and picks them up around 8 at night. 

No matter when she comes or when she leaves, there is always a line of Faithful, waiting for blessings, for comfort, for healing. 

They crowd the street as Mary drives her sons there and back, desperate to catch a glimpse of The Stigmatic and his Sacred Companions. She smashed a two thousand dollar bottle of scotch when she heard that phrase for the first time. Dean punched a hole in the wall.


“Thirsty?” Rowena asks as Mary enters the house. She’s seated on the counter with a glass of something dark and undoubtedly expensive.  

“It’s not even 6:30.”

Rowena just takes another sip of alcohol. Mary goes to the fridge for a beer. 

“I fucking hate them all.” She joins Rowena on the counter and opens her beer.

“Humans are selfish, evil, petty creatures,” Rowena says, “There’s a reason I killed them without thought for 300 years.”

“I don’t blame you.”

Rowena feigns a scoff. “Is a hunter, and a Campbell no less, siding with a witch?”

 “My Father was a Campbell, and he worked with your son and nearly killed both of mine to try and get me back so . . . I’m just continuing the tradition.”

Rowena snakes an arm around her waist, pulls her close, “You don’t have to stay, you know.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Come with me to find a cure. You’re still helping.”

“From a distance,” Mary grimaces at the memory of her own words. She shakes her head, “No, I’ve lost that right.”

“And Sam has the right to have everyone who loves him dance in his orbit, watching him suffer, unable to alleviate it?”

Mary ignores the question. They both know the answer.

“You’re just lonely,” she says instead, setting her beer on the counter and pressing her cold hand to the warm skin at the small of Rowena’s back.

The witch shivers, and Mary has long stopped pretending that the movement doesn’t excite the small, selfish part of her that has survived Sam’s overwhelming sanctity.

“We’re all lonely,” Rowena says, “Lucifer lays his victims bare, pulls back their skins and scrapes along their most sensitive nerves. He does not give us the luxury of self-delusion.”

Mary answers by pulling Rowena off the counter and into a hungry kiss.


They don’t waste time in the kitchen. They have always maintained an unspoken agreement that they don’t deserve to make their brief, selfish bids for escape in a room where Sam Winchester eternally dies.

But Sam has never been in Mary's room, only glanced at it as Dean carried him through the house after Rowena had bought and furnished it for them. Mary kicks off her shoes and strips. She’s in a sports bra and Hanes, but Rowena’s eyes widen in desire anyway. She tears her own clothes off, expensive silk shirt and designer jeans abandoned on the ground with Mary’s thrift store fare. She’s wearing delicate, black lace lingerie that is as scant as it is expensive. Mary knows it was purchased for her.

She groans in anticipation and throws Rowena to the bed, kissing her until they’re both hot, sweaty, and out of breath. Mary’s already wet, knows Rowena is too, but they have this sad house full of sad rooms and sad people to themselves for such a long time. Mary runs kisses down Rowena’s long neck, leaves large, red marks that the boys won’t notice, but that Rowena will cover up with scarves or makeup or spell work anyway.

They’ve gotten to know each other very well, and for a twenty minutes, Mary’s only thoughts are of Rowena’s apple red lips, her long fingers, her perfect breasts, her pulsing clit, her grunts and groans of pleasure. She forgets about their sad house with people trapped by love in endless cycles of torture like moths in amber. She forgets about the Faithful gorging themselves on her son’s pain to ease their petty troubles. She forgets about Castiel, who stays after each night to clean and prepare the room where Sam blesses the faithful, without Sam or Dean ever realizing. She forgets about Dean, with his dull eyes and bitter words for everyone except his brother, for whom he never ceases to smile. She forgets about Sam, hunted and haunted by the devil his entire life, unable to escape even after Lucifer finally died.

Most of all, she forgets about herself and all the choices she made that brought them here.


All to soon, their respite ends, and her misery returns, this time layered with guilt for escaping this hell when Sam and Dean, who suffer more and, unlike her, are not responsible for any of it, never, ever can.

But she’s selfish. She’s selfish and scared and hopeless, so she stays curled in Rowena’s arms, eyes closed as Rowena runs her fingers through her hair. She rests her head on the witch’s breast and listens to the soft pounding of her heart, hating herself, missing John, and wishing Amara had never brought her back. Wishing even more that there was something, anything she could do to save her sons.

She can’t say any of that, so instead she says, “I wish you were dead.”

“Me too,” Rowena doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t even pause as she runs her fingers through Mary’s hair, “But neither of us deserve to get what we want, do we?”

“I suppose not.”

They fall back into silence, curled in the refuge of each other’s bodies until evening shadows crawl into the bedroom.

Mary gets up without another word, gathers her clothes from the floor, and heads to the shower. She needs to change Sam's sheets. Wash the blood from the bathroom. Set out a new pair of sweats for Sam. Get Sam's evening protein shake ready and order takeout for herself and Dean. Disinfect the rest of the house, because God certainly won't help them if any of Sam's continually bleeding wounds get infected.

Sam and Dean will be home soon.