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Redeeming Tuesdays

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Sam was sat slumped over the bar, watching the whiskey tilt in his glass as his hands shook slightly. He was no longer crying, in fact he didn't think he'd ever be able to cry again. He felt numb and empty. The girl behind the bar had stopped looking at him as if she wanted to hug him, so that was good. He wasn't sure he could cope with anyone touching him right now.

"Excuse me?"

Sam looked up. There was a curvy brunette stood next to him, blue eyes slightly narrowed as she tilted her head slightly.

"I'm looking for Sam. Would that be you?"

He frowned. "Who wants to know?"

"My name's Darcy Lewis. Look, I need to know if I have the right Sam. Have you had any trouble with repetative Tuesdays, about three months ago?"

He stared at her. "How did you know that?" One hand left his whiskey glass and moved towards his back where the demon knife was hidden.

She huffed. "I had the same problem. Same Tuesday kept repeating over and over. I couldn't work out why, it was just a normal boring Tuesday. I'd had three months of the same damn Tuesday before I mentioned it to a different friend I'd never told and he tracked it down. He told me some other person must have touched some magic artifact that trapped them like Groundhog Day style, for personal growth or some shit. We never did work out why I was repeating too, why I remembered when everyone else forgot." She shrugged. "I lost count around about a hundred Tuesdays. Then suddenly one day, it was Wednesday, just out of nowhere. I was seriously relieved. It was nice to be able to get out it, you know. Most boring Tuesday ever, just looping over and over."

He swallowed. "So then what?"

Darcy raised an eyebrow. "Actually, that's why I tracked you down, man. See I had six months, where not a lot happened to be honest, you know beyond the usual insanity that comes from babysitting three crazy scientists. Then bam! Back to that wednesday after the loop again. Threw me out completely. So I ask my friend again, you know the one who told me what was happening. And he tells me that it probably wasn't this artifact magic thingy he'd thought it was, but some dude with magic getting his freak on."

"A Trickster, it was a Trickster," muttered Sam.

"Right. That sounds familiar," Darcy shrugged again. "So I asked if that made a difference to this connection thingy between me and the spelled dude. Turns out there's only one reason we'd be connected like that."

Sam frowned at her again, putting his mostly forgotten whiskey down on the bar. "You gonna tell me?"

She raised an eyebrow, "I'd say you wouldn't believe me, but you seem reasonable unsurprised at the Groundhog Day, trickster dude thing, as well as the idea of magic artifacts, so I'll just tell you straight. Apparently, it means we're soulmates."

Sam blinked several times. "Soulmates? Seriously?"

"I know right? My friend got all excited. Apparently it's really rare, like literally one in a million. It means that lots of magic stuff can like leak across the link if people don't deliberately block it off. So I got caught up in your personal Groundhog Day shit, remembering the days repeating even though it wasn't aimed at me. I guess I was curious about what kinda guy would be my soulmate. Plus I just really wanted to know what was going on with the six month jump backwards."

He pushed himself up. "Right, if we're gonna talk about this any more, I'm gonna a lot more to drink and we need to get out of here. People'll think we're mad if they overhear any of this."

Darcy shrugged. "I've got a hotel room next street over."

"I'll need a few things from my car," Sam stood up completely and Darcy whistled.

"Wow, dude, you are seriously tall. And I hang out with some tall guys like everyday."

She followed him to his car, which was parked outside. "You want a lift to this hotel?" he asked.

Darcy shook her head. "Dude, no offense, but you're pretty shaky there. And I don't really want to die by firey car wreck. Walking's good."

Sam looked down at his hands on the handles of his duffel bag. "Fair point."

They walked to Darcy's hotel, with her babbling away about the latest Doombot attack in New York and how the Avengers had to clean up after the Fantastic Four. Sam mostly let it wash over him. He'd stop keeping track of the Avengers some time just after Mystery Spot, focused as he had been on saving Dean from his deal. He stumbled as he thought the name, but Darcy caught his arm in time for him to right himself.

"Alright Sam, nearly there man."

He had a stray thought that Dean or Bobby would be laying into him if they could see him now, following a random girl to her hotel, drunk enough that he wasn't quite able to follow a straight line, without checking her first.

Then they were in the lift and Darcy pressed the right button. Sam leaned back against the mirrored wall and breathed deeply, trying to force himself to sober up a bit.

The doors to the lift opened and Darcy tugged on his hand, leaning him to her room.

When it had closed behind them, Sam dumped his duffel on the floor and immediately pulled out a silver knife.

"What the-?" Darcy saw the knife, took several steps back and then pulled a taser from her purse. "Sam, dude, put the knife down yeah?"

Sam shook his head. "I need to check."

"Check what?"

"That you're human." She blinked at him, so he sighed and said, "Everything that you can think off, all the supernatural stories of ghost and vampires, they're based on fact. I need to check you aren't trying to trick me."

She slowly lowered the taser. "What do you need me to do?"

He held up the knife. "Just a tiny cut. Silver proves you're not a shapeshifter."

Darcy carefully held out her arm. She had no reaction other than a slight wince as he nicked her palm. Sam held up a small flask next.

"Holy water, take a drink."

"Checking for demons?" she joked but took the drink. Nothing.

"Yes actually. Christo."

Her eyes widened. No black flash. "Seriously?" she breathed. "That's it, I'm gonna need to know how to protect myself from this shit."

Sam sat down in the chair next to the bed, as Darcy perched cross-legged next to the headboard, hugging the pillow.

"So what now?" she asked.

He sighed. "Look this isn't easy for me. I'm not in a good place right now."

"Guessed that with the drinking thing and the sad puppy dog eyes."

He took a deep breath. "The Tuesdays. I told you it was a Trickster. That's like an immortal demigod. They normally play tricks to teach people lessons, give them 'Just Deserts'. And they target the stuck-up and knock them down a peg, deadly pranks generally related to whatever they've done that's less than moral."

"Sounds interesting," she muttered.

"Anyway, this Trickster, he trapped me in the same Tuesday, as you know. But every day, every loop, I watched my brother die." His breath hitched, and he heard Darcy gasp, but he managed to get it out. "A new way of dying every day. It took me more than a hundred Tuesdays to work out who the Trickster was hiding as and make him break the loop." He gripped his hair and tugged slightly, forcing himself to keep speaking. "But that first Wednesday, Dean got shot, right in the parking lot. I knew the loop was broken, but I couldn't handle it. I spent six months hunting down the Trickster again, to make him bring my brother back. And I did it."

Darcy swallowed, then said softly, "Why? If this Trickster normally plays pranks on people who need it, why you and your brother?"

"Dean was dying already." Sam wasn't going to explain the deal right now. Not to a stranger, even if they were supposedly soulmates. "He only had three months left. The Trickster told me he preparing me, getting me used to the idea of him dying and then of how I would live without him. Bastard," he snarled.

Darcy slid forward to the edge of the bed, meeting his eyes seriously. "Sam, where's Dean now?"

"Dead," he sobbed out. Oh, he'd thought he couldn't cry anymore. "Two days ago."

"Oh Sam." Then she pulled him to his feet and wrapped her arms around his waist, hugging him close as he sobbed into her hair.

They stayed like that for several long minutes until Sam managed to wrestle himself back under control. Then they settled back onto the bed, Sam slumped with his head in Darcy's lap as she ran her hands through his hair soothingly.

Darcy smiled sadly down at him. "Have you heard of Thor? Asgardian, God of Lightning, carrys a hammer, part of the Avengers?" He nodded. "Well, he's the one who told me about us being soulmates. I'm an intern at Stark Tower, though I guess it's Avengers Tower now. Anyway, I work for Jane Foster, Thor's girlfriend, and I've met him quite a few times now. He calls me his Lightning Sister, 'cause I tasered him the first time we met." Sam let out a surprised huff. "I know. He thought it was awesome that some mortal could 'best him with his own element' as he says. He was human at the time, but it totally counts."

Sam rolled his eyes, but Darcy just kept petting his hair. "Anyway, my Tuesdays were much better than yours, sorry about that. I basically just hung around the tower everyday. Ended up having sex with all the Avengers except Thor, 'cause girl code. No cheating with my bestie's man. God. Whatever." Sam blinked. All of them? Seriously?

"But when I jumped back those six months and wanted to find you, Thor went to his mom in Asgard and brought me back this tracking magic pepple thing. It's a lot like in Charmed, when they swing the crystal over a map and it tells them where to go, you know? And Thor told me that I was looking for 'a mighty warrior who fights evil from the shadows'. I was like, dude, not helpful. Give me a name at least. So he told me you were called Sam, though of course 'cause he's all formal all the time, he said Samuel, but I guessed you like it shortened."

He nodded again. "Just don't call me Sammy," he said, voice cracking slightly. "Dean called me that."

"Got it." Darcy kept petting his hair for a minute, then said, "So what are you going to do now?"

Sam thought hard through the last of his drunkeness. "I'll take you to a friend of mine. Bobby has loads of information about this sort of thing, he's the one who told us what a Trickster was in the first place. He'll be able to tell if this soulmates thing is real, or just some random glitch of magic."

"Sounds like a plan. You mind if I let Jane know where we're going? She'll worry if I don't text her."

Sam shrugged, "Singer Salvage Yard, Sioux Falls, South Dakota." Then he pushed himself up and rummaged in his duffel until he found his phone. "I'll let him know we're coming."

It rang a few times, then Bobby's voice came through sounding rough, "This better be you Sam."

"Hey Bobby."

"Where you at, boy?"

Sam told him, then said, "Look, can I come crash at your for a bit? I need your help with something."

He heard the sigh. "You still trying to break Dean's deal?"

"Not this time." He explained about Darcy sharing the repeating Tuesdays and coming looking for him. "So have you heard anything about this before?"

"Think so. Soulmates is rare lore, but they are supposed to exist. Rare like I said, but possible. I'm pretty sure I can find a ritual to check it out when you get here. But you have checked her first?"

"All the usual tests, yeah. First thing she said after I told her demons were real was to ask how to protect herself."

"Smart girl," said Bobby. "Sam, if this is true, she's gonna need to get a tattoo, or an amulet at least. You've got enough to worry about without some demon or creature using her to hurt you. Magic does affect the both of you, so they could get to you through her."

"Got it. We'll set off in the morning, should be with you by late afternoon."

"I'll be waiting."

~~~

The drive to Bobby's the next morning was interesting. Sam was back to feeling oddly numb, but he knew that when it wore off, he'd likely become angry. The idea of hunting down Lilith was still hovering at the back of his mind, waiting for him to pay attention to it.

But it was hard to think about Lilith, or revenge, or even Dean, with Darcy in the passenger seat, telling him about life in Avengers Tower and the mad things she had to stop Jane or Tony Stark from doing. She babbled happily about finding Thor in New Mexico when he was human and how she'd tased him. Then she told him about the Dark Elves invasion at Greenwich and how she'd thought that she'd be stuck running after Jane for nothing for the rest of her life because of the gag orders SHIELD had her under.

"But you're my soulmate and you already know a load of stuff about magic and evil creatures and stuff so Agent Ipod Thief can suck it."

Then she explained how Tony Stark had called Jane to come to Avengers Tower to hang out and Science! together, and to 'stop Thor from pouting without his Lady Jane'. So suddenly Darcy was being paid more than she ever thought she'd make to basically babysit Jane, Tony and Dr Bruce Banner.

"But he's such a sweetheart I don't have to do much more than bring him tea."

Sam shook his head in amazement. "You live in Avengers Tower, are best friends with Thor and babysit the Hulk. That's amazing."

Darcy shrugged. "I'm used to it now. At first I was fangirling so hard. I mean, Black Widow and Pepper Potts are basically who I want to be when I grow up, you know? Like the kickass fighting thing plus the super cool controlled 'just-'cause-I'm-a-woman-doesn't-make-me-less-than-you' thing is just who I wish I could be." She flicked her hair and sighed, "But I'm both too lazy to even do like yoga or something, and really not the right body shape for running, so not happening."

Sam flushed slightly. "I wouldn't say that."

She raised an eyebrow. "The girls just get in the way, trust me. And yeah, I saw you looking, it's alright. As long as you don't comment or try to touch, we're good."

"Guys do that?"

"All the time," she rolled her eyes. "That's why I carry my taser-baby with me."

"I can teach you to shoot," he offered.

Her eyes widened. "Seriously? That would be awesome! 'Cause I asked Clint, but he kept getting distracted by arrows instead and I didn't learn anything over the 'why archery is awesome' lecture I got."

After that talk drifted to some of the hunts Sam had been on over the years. Darcy was an eager listener, quick to pick up on how to deal with ghosts and wendigos, shapeshifters and demons.

"So saying Christo is because demons can't bare to hear the name of the Lord?"

Sam shrugged. "Apparently."

Darcy frowned. "Doesn't that sort of imply that angels and Jesus are real too? I'm not saying that we should start looking for unicorn and dragons, but if you know demons are real and they hate the word Christo, it kind of says something."

"I always thought there might be something," replied Sam. "But I think I'm the minority among hunters."

"Huh. Well, I'm gonna hope, just in case. I might stick to swearing by Thor though, not risk taking the Lord's name in vain and all that jazz."

Sam laughed as he pulled into the Salvage Yard. "We're here."

"Awesome!" she tumbled out of the car in an oddly graceful way. "I want to meet the all-knowing Bobby."

Chapter Text

Bobby raised his head quickly at the familiar sound of a car pulling up. He grabbed his shotgun and moved to the door. Pushing it open, he held back at a chuckle at the way the woman almost fell out of the car.

He caught her comment to Sam as the tall man climbed out of the car. "I want to meet the all-knowing Bobby."

"Not all-knowing missy. Just got a decent sized library and a few years experience."

She looked up at him, grinning. "Nice to meet you Bobby. I'm Darcy Lewis."

Sam moved forward and Bobby passed him a shot glass, which he downed. Bobby held up the silver knife and Sam let him knick his arm with it. Then he tugged the taller man into a tight hug.

"You should have come straight here, idjit."

Sam shrugged around the hug. "Had to get sober enough to drive first."

Bobby let him go and found Darcy watching them. She smiled and held out an arm, easily following the same routine Sam had, before shaking Bobby's hand.

"So Bobby, Sam tells me you might know a way to check out this soulmate thingy. 'Cause I kind of want to know if this is really something or just Thor seeing some Asgardian magic that isn't a thing on plain old Midgard, 'cause he does that a lot. Man, the number of coffee cups we went through when I first met him."

Bobby blinked, then gestured them both to enter, watching them easily stepping over the salt lines. "I found a ritual that should do the trick yeah. Easy ingredients too, nothing obscure."

"For once," muttered Sam.

Darcy looked around at all the books as Bobby led the way to the table where he'd left the right book open on the page.

"You mentioned Thor?" asked Bobby as he settled into his usual chair. "You talking pagan god, or Asgardian?"

Darcy sprawled in a chair. "Asgardian." Then she sat up a little straighter. "Wait, the pagans are real too?"

"Sure are."

"Damn," she slumped again. "There goes my cursing by Thor."

Sam had sat down too. "Darcy lives at Avenger Tower, Bobby. She's an intern for Thor's girlfriend."

The older hunter leaned forward. "You know the Avengers personally?"

"Sure do. And biblically as well." He stared at her and she shrugged easily. "Hey, you try repeating that many boring Tuesdays and finding something to do. Or someone as it happens. Seriously though, none of them remember it any more, so it doesn't matter. Most of the time, I work for Jane. She and Tony get their Science! on all the time, and Bruce hangs out occasionally. He's less of an explosion hazard then the others, which is good 'cause most of time we don't want a Code Green." She tilted her head. "Though the Hulk's actually kind of a sweetie when he's not in a smashing kind of a mood."

She shifted slightly when she realised they were both staring at her. "You get used to the crazy after a while. At least, I did. I think you guys are used to crazy too, just a different kind."

Sam huffed. "True."

Bobby shook his head as if to clear it. "Right. I'll ask you a load of questions about the differences between pagans and Asgardians later. But right now, we've got a ritual to do."

~~~

The ritual itself was simple. Sam traced out the pattern and symbols on the floor, while Bobby sorted the herbs they needed to burn and Darcy arranged the candles carefully, head bobbing to the beat coming from her iPod as she worked. When it was ready, Bobby and Sam coached Darcy through the pronuncation of the Latin chant they needed to say until she could get it right every time.

Sam and Darcy changed into vests, leaving their arms and shoulder bare. Then they began. Darcy and Sam stepped into the circle, standing carefully opposite each other, while Bobby watched from outside the symbols, ready to intervene if it went wrong.

Darcy and Sam started to chant, reaching out and gripping each other's shoulders, Darcy using her left hand to grip Sam's right shoulder and Sam the reverse so they each still had a hand free. The candle flames grew longer, licking upwards brighter and brighter. The symbols on the floor began to glow, lighting up under their feet.

The chant ended and they waited. Then both of their hands began to glow, golden lights wrapping them together, binding them from shoulder to fingertips. Sam smiled as warmth spread across his chest. It was true. Soulmates.

Then Darcy gasped. Her other hand was beginning to glow too. She lifted it to look at the gold light waiting at her fingertips, then her eyes widened again as Sam's free hand did the same.

They looked at Bobby, who quickly looked down at the book again. "There's a third person," he called over the rush and roar of the candle flames. "Lift your arms as if there's someone else there. We should see their image appear."

They obeyed, Sam's hand shaking slightly. Then a shimmer appeared in the air where they were reaching towards, before becoming semi-solid. Darcy quickly placed her hand on the man's shoulder and the binding light spread to connect them. Sam was a little slower to react, tears beginning to run down his face as the light bound the three of them together. It glowed brighter, then seemed to sink into their skin, leaving faint silver lines behind.

The man smiled sadly at the two of them, mouthed something to Sam, then faded from view as the symbols stopped glowing and the candles flickered out.

Sam let go of Darcy and dropped to his knees.

"What is it Sam?" she knelt beside him, hand resting his arm.

"Dean," he choked out. "That was Dean." Tears still flowing freely down his face, he looked up at Bobby.

The older hunter sat down heavily in a chair. "Sam, I'm real sorry. I didn't know."

Darcy looked between them, then her face hardened into determination. "Right, well that just settles it."

They looked at her. "We'll just have to find a way to get him back. No way am I going the rest of my life without meeting my other soulmate."

Bobby shook his head. "It ain't that easy Darcy. Dean's death, it's complicated."

She stood up, tugging Sam with her and leaving one arm around his waist. "Then explain it to me."

~~~

Sam had collapsed back into a chair, but Darcy was sat leaning forward, elbows on her knees as she listened to Bobby. Sam was too shaken to tell her what had happened, so the older hunter was doing it.

"Just over a year ago, Sam got stabbed. Fatally. He died."

Darcy looked shocked, but nodded for him keep speaking.

"Dean couldn't cope. He could deal with the idea of life without his brother. So he made a deal with a crossroads demon. Basically, they'll give you whatever you ask for in exchange for your soul. So Dean makes his deal, Sam's resurrection for his soul. Normally with these deals, you get ten years before the deal comes up and you have to pay the demon. But Dean was desperate and the demon knew that. So Dean only got a year."

"That's how you knew how long he had left to live," Darcy said softly.

Bobby nodded. "Sam and I spent that year trying to find a way to break the deal but no luck. Only way to do it is to kill the demon who made the deal. Took us too long to work out that it was Lilith who had Dean's deal."

"Lilith?" asked Darcy, frowning. "I may not have paid as much attention in church as I shoulda, but I'm pretty sure that's the name of the First Demon."

"Right. She's too hard to kill. We tried a few times, but couldn't do it."

Darcy nods slowly. "So Dean's deal came up and he went to Hell. So how do we get him out?"

Sam lets out a harsh breath. "I tried to make another deal to swap out the one Dean made, but couldn't. Other demons aren't strong enough to get around Lilith's deals."

"Wasn't planning on making another deal, Sam," Darcy pointed out. "Just need to know how souls end up in Hell."

"Hellhounds," replied Bobby. "If you're killed by hellhounds, you automatically go to Hell, evil or not."

"So, that's a no go." Darcy ran a hand through her hair, then frowned. "Let me make a call."

She pulled out her phone, and hit a speed dial. "Thor! My man. Yeah, nice to hear your voice too. Look, quick question. With the whole nine realms thingy, is Helheim an actual place?" She paused and Sam and Bobby could hear a loud booming reply.

"Of course my Lightning Sister."

"So, theoretically, could you travel there?"

"The Bifrost could have taken you, but it is still broken. Do you seek a fallen soul, Darcy?"

Darcy nodded. "My other soulmate. He died three days ago now. Apparently he made a deal with a demon to save his brother's life and is now in Hell."

There was a pause, then Thor replied, "There is a road from Helheim to Hell, but it is forbidden. My brother could have travelled it, but I do not know how. But a Midgardian could not make the journey. It would leave them trapped in Hell with no way out."

"Damn," Darcy cursed. "Any other ideas to get him out?"

"It is not possible for Asgardian mages Darcy, I am sorry. Even my mother would not have been able to do it. Hell and its minions have evil power beyond what we know. It would need an Infinity Stone to accomplish such a great deed but none can wield them without perishing. I would implore you Darcy, do not attempt it. It would consume you."

Darcy dropped her head into her free hand and she could Sam's shoulders slumping again.

Then Thor said, "But Darcy, you will see him again. True soulmates share an afterlife, they cannot be parted after death. If this man trapped in Hell is truly your second soulmate and is innocent of any other reason to be there, then he will be raised to join you when all three of you have perished. Even if he has sold his soul, it was for a noble cause so I have no doubt you will see him in your paradise one day."

~~~

There was silence for a long time after Darcy said goodbye to Thor.

"So that's it then," said Sam in a dead sort of voice. "We'll see him when we die."

Darcy laid a hand on his arm. "But we know he won't be stuck there forever. And for now there's something we can do for him." Sam looked at her and she grinned viciously. "Revenge. Kill the bitch who took him from us."

Bobby sighed and rolled his eyes. "And here I was thinking at least I only had one idjit to worry about."

"Thank you Darcy," said Sam.

"Oh, but I'm not letting you off that easy," she replied. "We are gonna plan the shit out of this. Find out as much as we can about demons, learn everything about Lilith and why the others aren't as powerful. We are gonna make sure that taking her down isn't a suicide mission. 'Cause I just found you soulmate, and I'm not letting you go until I have no choice."

"Research," said Sam slowly. "I can do research." He looked at Bobby. "Can we stay here for a bit Bobby?"

The older hunter snorted. "You don't gotta ask boy. You're always welcome here. That extends to you Darcy. I figure if your soulmate to my boys, that makes you family."

She grinned at him. "Thanks Bobby. That means a lot." She stood up. "Now, where is the kitchen in this place? I'm gonna make some lunch while you two brainstorm where to start looking." She grinned at Sam's expression. "What? Making sure you two eat while you research is literally the same as my day job. Making sure the mad scientists remember normal human functions like food and sleep is all part of being Darcy Lewis, Scientist Wrangler."

So that was what they did. Bobby and Sam planned and researched while Darcy reminded them to eat and sleep. She studied John's journal to learn as much about hunting as she could and let Sam test her on what she'd learnt when he needed a break from the books. He and Bobby taught her to shoot and enough hand to hand to be able to protect herself long enough for one of them to help her. Physical skills like that took years to learn so she thought she was doing pretty well.

Sam took her to get a tattoo to protect her from demon possession and Darcy showed him just how good she was with computers and sorting out fake ID cards. Bobby helped Darcy get Sam out of his head when he fell into melancholy moods and helped Sam in teaching Darcy more Latin and memorising exorcisms.

Darcy had visited Jane and Thor a few times but mostly stuck to phone calls, as the distance was too much for regular journeys. Tony had assured her that her job was safe when she was ready to come back and that she was still earning full pay no matter how long she stayed away.

"You found your soulmate Lewis! That's not an everyday, take a week and back to normal, sort of thing. Enjoy it. You've earned it putting up with all our shit," he said bluntly when she asked him why.

So Darcy trained and studied, while Sam and Bobby researched and hunted when they needed to. At one point Ruby showed up, obviously trying to flirt with Sam, so Darcy put her foot down and pulled out her taser. The demon tried a few times, but each time was rebuffed by Darcy and Bobby.

Then one day Bobby told Sam about a haunting that needed dealing with and Darcy announced she was coming along. She learnt enough, she'd trained for four months, she wanted to do something.

So Sam and Darcy left on their first hunt together.

~~~

Darcy was laughing as they made their way back to the motel room, both soaking wet.

"Why the fountain Darcy?" asked Sam, shaking his head to get rid of some of the water. "You couldn't have just pulled me to ground instead of knocking me over?"

"I panicked a little bit," she said, blushing slightly. "He had his hands round your throat."

"Well, good job otherwise. First hunt and only a few bruises to show for it." He pushed the door open and went straight for the towels.

Darcy caught one and started drying her hair, "Thanks dude."

They took it in turns to shower and change, then Darcy flopped onto her bed and turned on the TV. She was flicking through the channels mindlessly while Sam texted Bobby to say the ghost was gone and they were unharmed.

Then there came a knock on the door.

Sam frowned and reached for his gun. Darcy straightened up and pulled a silver knife from her boot. They looked at each other, then Sam opened the door.

"Dean?!" he almost threw his arms around his brother, then froze and leveled the gun. "Who the hell are you?"

Darcy darted to his side, knife ready, when she spotted Bobby behind the figure who looked like Dean. "Bobby?"

"I've checked him. It's Dean."

Darcy narrowed her eyes. "Forgive us if we check again?"

Dean nodded. "Go ahead." He held out an arm and she made the cut. No reaction. She tossed him the silver flask of holy water and he swallowed a good mouthful.

"Satisfied?"

Sam dropped the gun and lunged at his brother, wrapping him tightly in a hug. "Dean," he muttered, fighting back tears.

"I'm here little brother," came the soft reply.

Then they both stepped back and Darcy reached out and tugged both Bobby and Sam back into the room, Dean quick to follow.

"So, who are you?" asked Dean, eyeing Darcy.

She held out a hand, which he shook. "Darcy Lewis. Professional Scientist Wrangler, and rookie hunter. Sam and Bobby have been showing me the ropes."

"Yeah? How's that going for ya?"

She shrugged. "It's not how I imagined my life going, but it's only a slight variation on my usual brand of crazy, so I'm dealing pretty well." She flicked her still damp hair out her face and said, "Speaking of, you're looking pretty good for a dead guy."

Dean frowned, then turned to Sam, "So what did you do Sammy? Demon, reaper, what?"

"What?" Sam looked utterly confused. "Dean it wasn't me. I tried remember? No demon can override Lilith. Me, Darcy and Bobby are still trying to track her down."

"Boy's telling the truth Dean. He's been with me or Darcy since you died. No deals. We made a few calls, did a load of research. We couldn't find a way that didn't get someone else killed."

Dean sat down on the end of Sam's bed. "So now what? If it wasn't you, then who could have pulled me out?"

Darcy pulled out her phone. "Let me make a call."