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Fragments of a Life

Title: Fragments of a Life
Fandom: Supernatural
Summary: "There is a safety deposit box that does not have his name on it, even though it may as well given what's inside." Written for the spnflashfic souvenir challenge. (D)




John never kept much in the way of personal effects. It's two kinds of practicality: the mundane reason is that they take up space, and when you're on the road a lot, the stuff you need (guns, knives, crossbows, stakes and holy water and salt and protective amulets) take a hell of a lot of precedence over stuff you don't. The less mundane reason is that there are things out there in the dark that can use personal items against you -- it's why he'd long ago burned the locket of Mary's that had a clip of Dean's hair in it, a curl from the first haircut.

But.

There is a safety deposit box that does not have his name on it, even though it may as well given what's inside.

#

It contains, among other things:

Three hospital bracelets, two baby-small (WINCHESTER, DEAN and WINCHESTER_SAM) and one larger (WINCHESTER, MARY); he doesn't quite know why he kept them, but he can't bear to destroy them or throw them away.

A necklace, that he'd bought to give Mary for Christmas. Never did. She would have liked it.

A baseball, that a young Dean had helpfully decorated with glitter-glue and sequins and scented markers, and John had practically fallen over with laughter when Dean presented it to him with a three-year-old's pride.

A letter that Mary had written him a long long time ago, that he never told her he kept. It wasn't long, but it didn't need to be.

#

It does not contain:

A photograph of Mary, candid, laughing. She had always protested that it wasn't a good picture of her and there were a hundred better ones and why did he insist on keeping it.

A letter that he'd written Sam, halfway into the first year of college, and never mailed.

A knife that had mysteriously disappeared from Sam's possession between the fight they had and the time the boy actually left.

A cassette tape, one of Dean's collection that no longer played. Dean had tossed it out; John had rescued it, to keep. Just in case.

These things lived at the bottom of the duffel that John always had with him, protected by layers of clothes and weapons. He almost never took them out, but he knew they were there.

#

You can't take material things into hell.

Sometimes, in the desperate moments when he thinks he's losing himself, John thinks of the safety deposit box, of the bottom of the duffel, of the things he's burned because they were too dangerous or too painful, of the things he should have gotten rid of but didn't.

It helps. Just a little, but a little's enough when it's all you've got.

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