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The Burden of Being Me and You

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Sam stopped nearly three feet from the door to the small suburban house...the same house in which two years ago his older brother was taken from him in a flash of blood and violence. He figured that Lilith would have the nerve to set this final showdown in the exact location that Dean was ripped from the earth and thrown into Hell...destined to burn for all eternity. It was too quiet here, not a soul outside on the gorgeous May evening and Sam wasn't naive enough to fall for it. This was a trap, obviously. Only one of them would walk out alive...if they were lucky.

Usually Sam wouldn't be caught dead walking into such a blatant and obvious trap with the world's oldest demon waiting inside, preparing to trick him into doing what she wanted him to do. But this time, Lilith had absolutely no idea of what awaited her once Sam had her cornered, she had no idea of what exactly Sam had going for him.

Getting rid of Lilith wasn't just about the plan...it was for revenge. For making his brother burn in Hell. For trying to secretly control what happened in their lives in order to get what she had been wanting for thousands of years.

His brother was suddenly at Sam's side, deep black eyes looking right into his own.

"You ready for this?" He asked, placing a hand on Sam's shoulder in an attempt at support, or maybe concern. Whichever it was, it was enough.

Lilith tried two years ago to control the Winchesters' destiny and failed. Sam was determined to make her fail again.

"As ready as I'll ever be, Dean."

And without another moment of hesitation Sam threw open the door and stepped inside.


One year earlier

Sam was pissed off and drunk as he slammed the door to his motel room, the hinges rattling and the couple next door shouting to keep it quiet. Fuck that. He was going to be as loud as he wanted and he was going to do whatever the hell he damn well pleased. What was the point in caring how other people perceived him anyway? He worked alone; never saw a person more than once these days. He even stopped talking to Bobby; Sam hadn't seen him in over four months.

And then to top it all off, that stupid bitch Ruby left him stranded right around that time. She'd shown up about two months after Dean's death and said how they would kill Lilith together. Apparently Ruby wanted revenge because Lilith sent her back to Hell, and it was obvious why Sam wanted the bitch dead. Ruby had even told him that maybe; just maybe it would free Dean from Hell. No promises, but it was possible.

It was all the encouragement that Sam needed. Anything to stop his brother's everlasting torture. Sam didn't like Ruby, but he had enjoyed her company, it was something to take his mind of DeanDeanDeanohgodDean'sinHellDean'sdeadbecauseofme that ran around and around in his head every single day until he couldn't help but bury himself in alcohol and the ever present anger sent him into fits of temper tantrums and violent bar fights.

So when Ruby and him starting tracking down Lilith, it was a pleasant distraction. He had something to work towards, something that might actually help him free Dean, instead of searching through book after book on ways to free souls from Hell that never led anywhere. After about six months, Ruby said they were closing in on Lilith but in order to kill her she was going to have to teach Sam something. She left that cold winter day with a wave, promised she'd be back tomorrow and Sam would be on his way to killing demons using only his mind.

She never came back. Sam didn't know exactly how to feel about that. Ruby had been acting off, even though she was a demon her personality had just...not been what Sam remembered of her. She had been a kick-ass give'em hell demon before the whole Lilith thing, for some reason helping them but she never seemed to like either Sam or Dean. She seemed to find the both of them annoying and stupid, often making lame jokes mostly directed at Dean but she had respected them.

Now she seemed timid and weak and her gentleness towards Sam creeped him out. It was like she was trying much too hard to be human, trying to get Sam to talk about Dean and get out of his depression. Her personality change was even more unnerving than the concept of being a sort-of-ally to a demon.

So in a way Sam was relieved but he was also unreasonably pissed at being ditched again. He had gone out into town that evening Ruby was "supposed" to come back to get drunk. Only he found Ruby flying out of a different motel across the street from the bar; she was talking on the phone in a rushed loud voice.

"He couldn't! It was...I had him! I was just about to...the plan...shot to hell! ...ruins everything...wasn't supposed to happen...I know!...how in the world did he manage to...yes...you'll find someone else then? What about Winchester? I know he's the only one...I would continue but I can't, not right now at least...I'll be the first person he goes after to kill! It's not safe until he's gone...yes...I'm sorry...bye."

Ruby had hung up and looked up across the small dirt road when their eyes locked. Her face held the same expression that Dean's once did when John found out he had snuck out overnight. She was busted.

In a flash Ruby jumped into her car and sped off. Sam wasn't exactly sure what happened that day but he did understand one thing. Ruby had been playing him these last few months; she had a plan all along. Something had happened that threw off that plan, something that was never supposed to happen.

Sam was afraid of what that something might be.

The memories of the devious demon were really firing up Sam's ever-present rage. He knew it wasn't good for him...but how could he stop it? How could he stop the self-blame, the guilt and the worry when his brother was burning in Hell this very second. It wasn't just as if Dean had simply died and moved on. He had been taken far before his time to save his little Sammy's life only to endure torment for all of eternity. So yeah Sam was pissed and drunk and he was going to drink some more. He grabbed the bottle of whiskey he had carelessly tossed on the bed the night before and popped it open, took a long swig.

He was too scared and weak to kill himself properly. Maybe if he slowly drank himself into alcoholism over the years, his liver would give up and his body would die on him...organs shutting down as he just collapsed and faded slowly...away from all the pain...

A noise outside stopped Sam's never-ending grim thoughts that just seemed to spiral, getting worse and worse everyday. It sounded as if someone had thrown something at the motel door. Sam huffed without humor. A year ago he would be jumping up with a gun at hand, alert and ready to stop any supernatural creature that might stand in his way. Then again, a year ago he had his brother by his side...

"Fuck, Dean..." Sam felt his heart pounding in his chest, threatening to explode and end his miserable existence. He slowly slid to the floor, all but abandoning the alcohol as his mind whirled and his heart ached for Dean. Sam knew he was falling into what Bobby called his "episodes" but Sam thought they were something more of depression black-outs. He would totally forget where he was at and lose himself in his dark thoughts. He'd fall asleep at one point and wake up sometimes a day later, the room would be trashed and he couldn't remember a thing. It wasn't healthy to zone out like that and even though Sam didn't give a shit about his health, the episodes still scared him and he didn't need one right now.

Sam ignored whatever the noise had been as he slowly crawled into the bed furthest from the door. He could never bring himself to get a single bed, and even with two queens he would never sleep in the one closest to the door. Dean's bed...Sam always left Dean's jacket lying out on his bed. Sometimes if Sam concentrated hard enough he could imagine Dean laying in bed instead of the jacket, watching TV and laughing, sometimes he even swore he heard his older brother's voice...

"Come'on let me in!"

It was at that voice...that all too familiar voice that broke Sam out of his trance. He glanced at the bedside clock only to realize that he had passed out for at least an hour. As he slowly awoke some more Sam could feel Dean's old leather jacket wrapped tightly in his arms. He never remembered the sleepwalking either, but he obviously did so, and every single time he'd grab Dean's jacket from the other bed. It no longer smelt like Dean, but when Sam held it, it was almost as if Dean was still here, protecting him...watching over him...

There was another loud thud on the door but this time whatever had been thrown at it was much larger. Sam cursed and curled into himself some more...wishing for Dean's voice to stop ringing in his head...

"Damnit Sammy! Open the door!"

There it was again. And even though Sam knew he was somewhat delusional, this voice was not from his head. It was a real voice coming from outside of the door and it sounded just like his brother. Sam barley thought of anything as he shrugged on the jacket he not only slept with, but also always wore along with Dean's amulet. He knew the voice wasn't Dean but his mind was telling him otherwise...his body was pulling him towards the sound of the voice that he longed for so dearly...

Sam threw open the door and stepped outside to find an empty parking lot. Disappointment washed through him and even though it was the stupidest thing he could probably ever do...Sam stepped outside of the salt line and over the threshold to get a better look.

Instantly Sam felt an arm around his neck and another one crushing his hands behind his back. He struggled simply out of instinct but in reality he was hoping that this might be the end.

"I'm not going to hurt you." The Dean voice said and Sam couldn't help but calm down at the sound of the voice. It was then that he realized that even the hands holding him captive felt like Dean. "But I have no other way to do this or you'll freak out and never let me in."

The voice still sounded like Dean...could it be...

"So get out of whatever the hell kind of freaky trance you're in and break the salt line for me...will ya Sammy?"

Sam nodded dumbly at the Dean voice and with one smooth motion cleared a path in the salt with the toe of his boot. He didn't even stop to think that this meant whatever this thing was, it couldn't pass salt.

Once in, the Dean voice thing let go of Sam and closed the door. It was enough time for Sam to clear his head a little bit and finally think about what in the world he'd just done. He'd let in a monster, a monster using Dean's voice. There was no other explanation.

"Well are you going to just stand there with your back to me or turn around? I have to say that you'll be pleased, I'm just as easy on the eyes as I ever was."

Spinning around slowly, Sam figured he'd be ready for the sight.

He wasn't.

Standing right in front of the door was his brother, looking just as healthy and young as he had right before the hell-hounds tore him apart. But it wasn't his brother, it only looked like him. The thing standing in front of him had glistening black eyes where Dean's green ones should have been. A demon was posing as his brother and Sam was freaking pissed off. Not because the demon was probably trying to trick him or lure him into a plan like Ruby had been, but because this thing had the nerve to take his poor brother's form...maybe even steal his body!

Before Sam knew it he was running towards the creature that continued to look unsurprised and it didn't fight back when Sam slammed it into the wall. He bashed its head in repeatedly, before flinging it to the floor and pounding the crap out of its face.

<

Sam smiled wickedly at the sight of the blood coming from the demon and was about to slam his foot down on it's already mauled head when it turned and looked at him.

Its eyes were green now. Green and full of pain. It also looked a bit pissed off and the look reminded Sam so much of Dean that he fell backwards in shock. He knew this wasn't his brother...but looking at all this damage to his brother's stolen face it was too much. Sam couldn't handle seeing it and it was even worse that he had caused Dean's face to look like that...

"Are you done now?" The demon coughed out a bit of blood and pulled itself to sit on the bed nearest the door...Dean's bed damnit...with a grimace on its face. "I am a bit disappointed though Sammy, I thought you would have had more fight left in you."

"Don't you dare call me that!" Sam hissed through clenched teeth. There was a demon sitting on the bed in his motel room, acting like it was ordinary and talking to Sam like it knew him. Sam should shoot the thing with the colt right now but since it looked like Dean...he couldn't bring himself to do that. What if it was wearing Dean's real body? Sam couldn't put a hole into his brother's skin...

The demon cocked its bloody head and smirked. "I thought you said it was okay for only me to use that nickname. Or have you already forgotten about your brother in the past year?"

"You're not him! Don't talk about my brother like that!"

"I'm free to talk about myself in any way I please."

"You're not him! You're a fuckin' demon that stole his body and wants to for some reason torment me with it!" Sam wanted to back up, grab a weapon, run out of the room, anything. But he found himself rooted to the spot, staring into the face that he never thought he'd see again.

"Right and wrong little brother." The demon slowly placed it's legs up on the bed and leaned back like it was something it'd been doing forever, not seeming the least bit frightened or disturbed.

"I am a demon, that's right. I would say good observation but obviously your skills have been suffering in my absence because you don't even recognize your own brother. I am Dean, soul and body."

Sam shook his head. It took hundreds of years to burn into a demon, Ruby had told him so. It had only been one single year. This thing was lying through its teeth, Dean never turned demonic.

"You. Are. Not. Him," Sam said slowly and with anger. The astonished feeling was wearing off...leaving just the mess of pain and furiousness.

"Yes. I. Am," the demon mocked him and got even more comfortable. "You believe whatever you want. You never really listened to me anyway. But I am your brother...or what's left of him anyway."

Sam's whole body was shaking with anger and exhaustion. "It takes hundreds of years to burn into a demon. Dean was only down there for a year."

The demon sighed and stretched and Sam felt disgusted as he watched it get comfortable. "Who told you that? The demon bitch that tried to trick you?" At the sound of Sam's silence the demon continued. "I thought so. And it's true for the most part. For most souls it does take hundreds of years...hundreds of Hell years that is."

Feeling himself start to tip to the side, Sam had to grab a hold of the dining chair to keep himself upright. "What do you mean?"

The demon was about to answer when it paused and cocked its head at Sam, seeming to watch his movements. "You're beat Sammy, sit the hell down."

Sam was too tired to argue and too confused to fight back at the use of Dean's nickname. He plopped into the dinning chair and straddled it, staring the black-eyed creature down.

"Time in Hell is different than time here. A month on earth is like 10 years in Hell. So in reality souls turn into demons usually in as little as a year or two here. But me? I'm so awesome that it only took me eighty years to turn. I've been out since January, that's why the demon bitch left you. She knew I'd go after her and kill her if she messed with you. So she ran."

Sam shook his head quickly. "Dean wouldn't let himself turn that quickly. Nice try."

The demon glared at him. "Do you think I would let myself rot away so quickly? Give in just like that for no reason? You're wrong." It hissed, eyes going black once more and making Sam jump in his chair. "I was fighting it like hell, even after I broke and started torturing souls I was fighting tooth and nail, trying not to enjoy the feeling of blood on my hands and tearing someone apart. I never tried harder in my life than I did when I tried not to become a demon. But then I found out what they wanted to use me for. And if I just let go and became what I was destined to become...they couldn't use me anymore. So I did just that. Instead of focusing on not turning I focused on becoming one. And as you know, I'm excellent at accomplishing anything I put my mind to."

"I don't believe you. You said you were in Hell 80 years? Then that's 8 months which means you've been out for four. Dean wouldn't wait four months to see me; he'd get here as soon as possible because that's just how he is."

The demon actually smirked at that. "Good call Sammy, I'm proud of you. You're right you know. I would come to see you right away, and I did. I checked in on you, you just didn't know it. Couldn't come see you yet though. First of all I had to work on restoring my body. Thing's been rotting for eight months, you know? While I was doing that I had to snag another body and try to chase down the demon bitch. That was a hassle. Then I had to meet with a friend of mine, formulate a plan on how to stop Lilith, get that lock-ward burned onto my body...and before I knew it...its four months later."

"You're probably just Ruby posing in Dean's body to get to me." Sam sighed although he seriously doubted that was true. Ruby had taken off like something was about to kill her right around the time this demon claimed he climbed out of hell. And her phone call..."how in the world did he manage to..." and "I'll be the first person he'll kill!" Had she been talking about...this thing? Had his brother really turned into a monster?

"What do you want Sam? Proof that I'm your brother?" The demon growled, looked annoyed and tired. "When you were thirteen you had your first kiss from some chick named Sandra Elkins. You got scared when she stuck her tongue in your mouth and then she told the whole school and you were publicly shunned. I had to make you cookies everyday for the next week just to cheer you up."

Sam swallowed, beginning to shake. Not just any demon could know that. There was no way; it was fifteen years ago, Dean had been the only one he told and his brother had made cookies for him everyday that week...

That confirmed it. Confirmed his worst fear. He had been too late in saving his brother. Dean really was gone, gone for good. He had rotted away in hell and had turned into a monster, turned into this thing in front of him.

Dean was gone.

"Get the hell out." Sam growled deep in his throat, the demon just staring back with those cold black eyes.

"What? No!"

Sam ran up to the demon and flung it into the wall, holding it there. "I said get the hell out of my motel room."

To Sam surprise, the demon continued to look bored and did not fight back in any way. "Awe, what's the matter? That story still embarrasses you Sammy? Always knew you were such a whiny little bitch."

Hearing those mocking words sent Sam's blood boiling, especially knowing that this thing had once been his kind-hearted and protective older brother. "Get out!"

The demon shoved out of Sam's grasp and started walking back to the bed. "You can't make me. And don't even start with the whole "I'll kill you" crap. You have the demon-killing knife dumbass; you could have killed me at any point. But you didn't and you won't. Because you will not kill your big brother."

It was true. While this thing wasn't Dean...it once had been. Sam couldn't kill the thing Dean had become, even if it was a demon. It just felt wrong. Even though he knew Dean was dead and gone...it would feel too official and real if he killed what was left.

"You're not Dean. Not anymore." Sam said quietly. He had enough of this and he was exhausted. Walking over to his bed, he grabbed the can of salt next to it and started towards the demon, shaking the can.

The demon looked up and finally looked a little shocked. Sam stepped closer and started spraying the salt over the demon. It screamed and stumbled backwards towards the door, clutching at its face.

"What the hell Sam! Stop it!"

Every fiber in Sam's being was telling him to stop when he heard Dean's voice call out in pain. But it was in pain because of salt. It was in pain because it wasn't Dean, but a demon.

Sam reached over to break the salt line with his boot and pushed the demon outside. He then quickly bent down and re-connected it just as the demon was trying to run back in.

They stood up at the same time, staring daggers at one another.

"Let me in Sammy." It spoke slowly, with some anger but mostly exhaustion.

Sam sprayed the can of salt at the demon again, watching it buckle in pain. "No." He spat and closed the door on its face.

Chapter Text

Sam was awoken at 3 in the morning by a loud knock on his door. He groaned, still sore but ready to fight the demon that was probably throwing its body against the door. He didn't doubt it.

Instead of being greeted with a roaring demon like he expected, Sam was met with a very angry motel manager who was gripping the demon's bicep tightly in his hand.

"This belong to you?" he growled, violently shaking the demon's arm.

"Uh, no," Sam mumbled, confused. He also didn't miss the look of anger that passed across the demon's face at that comment.

"Don't play stupid with me, kid. I saw him come in this room; customers were complaining about you two fighting and one even said he saw you throw this man out of the room while you continued to yell at each other. Now I don't know what either of you did, but kiss your boyfriend and make up because I can't have him continuing to sleep at the doorstep of your room. You know how many complaints I've gotten, how this will turn away customers if he's still out there in the morning?"

Sam didn't know what to say. He was trapped. Stealthily, he broke the salt line as the manager shoved the demon inside, closing the door with a grunt.

The demon cracked its back and started walking back to the bed closest to the door. "Now don't be getting any ideas from that motel owner." It winked a black eye. "I may be a demon but I'm still your brother."

Sam didn't say anything as he watched the demon hop into bed and pull the covers over it. When it closed its eyes for a brief moment, Sam could almost pretend it was Dean. His throat choked up and he quickly turned out the lights and climbed into his own bed, turning away from the demon. Maybe it was enough for now to just pretend this thing was Dean when he looked at it. The demon wanted something from Sam, but it didn't want to kill him so why not just go along with this, at least for the time being? Sam had nothing else to do but drown his misery in alcohol and violent hunts. Why not have some company, especially when this thing was in Dean's body, and maybe had been Dean at one point.

And maybe he was just hoping that the demon would kill him. End his miserable life, because Sam couldn't do it himself. Not while Dean was suffering...or had suffered enough to turn into a demon monster.

But still, Sam didn't feel like dying today. And while this thing might look like Dean, it wasn't him and Sam didn't trust it at all especially after what happened with Ruby. Sam grabbed his can of salt that was on the table and proceeded to create a barrier on salt around the demon's bed.

"Seriously, Sam?" The demon sighed and Sam continued to ignore it as he worked on the barrier. Why the demon wasn't jumping up and getting out of it now, Sam had no clue. "Well if you're going to trap me here you better get ready to prepare me some breakfast in bed." It grinned and Sam didn't hold back his shudder.

"I'm trapping you in bed so you won't get up in the middle of the night and kill me," Sam spat out as he used the last of the salt and checked for breaks.

"Oh yeah, I'm just going to wake up and randomly decide that I want to kill my baby brother in the middle of the night. That sounds so much fun."

"I'm sure it does to you." Sam decided to ignore the nickname of 'baby brother' for now. The demon would understand that sooner or later, Sam wasn't going to fall for the game it was playing.

"I was being sarcastic," it growled and looked over by the door. "Maybe you should have been paying more attention to really protecting yourself. You left the salt line broken by the door. The stuff out there is the threat, not me."

The salt can was empty and the rest was in the Impala. Sam was exhausted and the last thing he wanted to do was go outside. He just wanted to sleep.

"I'll take the risk." He grumbled as he got into bed and turned away from the demon.

"Suit yourself." The demon made noises like it was getting comfortable in bed. "Well at least this prison is a lot more comfy than the one I had in Hell."

Sam closed his eyes tight, tried to focus on the fact that he wasn't alone anymore and that the thing on the bed looked like his brother that he missed so dearly. It made a little bit of the ache in his heart go away, and Sam felt guilty for it immediately. He flopped on his stomach in order to get more comfortable and flinched when the demon suddenly spoke.

"Goodnight, Sammy."

It sounded so much like Dean that Sam cried himself to sleep.

*************************************

Sam woke up and he already knew he slept in past check-out time. He glanced over at the clock only to shoot straight up in bed. It was one in the afternoon. Checkout was at eleven. Shit! But if it was one...that meant that the motel owner hadn't been pounding on his door, waking Sam up telling him to pack up and leave or pay for another night. It didn't make sense.

And that's when Sam finally realized that the other bed was in disarray, it clearly had been slept in but it was empty. At first Sam thought a bum had decided to get a good night's sleep in his motel room for the night, but then he saw the salt line that he had broke last night and everything came flooding back at once.

The demon, the fight, the motel owner shoving him back in the room, the 'goodnight Sammy'.

Sam rapidly looked around the room for any signs of the demon. The salt line by its bed had been broken by a pillow the demon must have thrown on the ground to scatter the salt and free itself. The only other thing he saw was a bag of fast food on the table. Standing up and slowly walking over to it, Sam saw that a note was attached to the bag.

I didn't know what the hell you wanted because you wouldn't wake up. So I got your favorite, you better eat it bitch, I didn't steal this for nothing.

In a flash Sam was seeing red. Damnit that was Dean's handwriting! What gave this thing the nerve to tease him like it was doing? Sam grabbed to note and crumpled it up before tearing it into a dozen different pieces...

"You know, if you want to efficiently trap a demon on a bed, it's best to get rid of anything it can use to escape, like pillows and blankets. You should….Whoa, you don't like the sausage biscuit anymore? Geeze dude, you could've told me instead of throwing a hissy fit." Dean's voice said and Sam turned around to come face to face with the demon just as its eyes changed from green to black.

"Stop it." Sam swallowed, rage bubbling inside of his stomach. "Stop acting like you're him. Stop teasing me by acting like you're my brother!"

The demon rolled its black eyes, a very strange yet fascinating site. "I am your brother dickweed. Just without morals and a lack of care for anything but myself."

"Then why the hell are you giving me food instead of killing me?"

The demon suddenly looked pissed. "How many times do I have to tell you? Are you ignorant? Because you're my brother asshole."

Sam backed off, he had the answer he needed right there. Dean would never ever call him ignorant or an asshole. Sam turned away from the creature and started walking towards the bathroom.

"Come on! I got you this food out of the kindness of my dark damaged revived heart. Just eat the damned biscuit because you're so skinny that a woman could break you in half."

Sam turned around with a heartless laugh. "What's it to you? You're a demon; wouldn't you love to see me slowly starve to death?"

The demon's stare didn't waver. "I found us a hunt in Nebraska. Get your shit packed up."

Sam didn't know why he had simply followed the demon out to the Impala. But really, what other choice did he have? He figured that if he didn't cooperate with it, it would probably tie him up and throw him in the trunk. He wanted to avoid that at all costs.

"Oh I've missed you baby!" The demon purred as they reached the Impala and Sam had to look away to keep from throwing up. "You've taken good care of her Sammy. A lot better care than you have your body."

Sam growled in the back of his throat. He knew he had lost weight, he knew he looked like shit and he didn't need it shoved in his face by this abomination. Sam stalked over to the Impala without looking at the demon and threw his stuff in the back seat before walking over to the driver's side.

"Uh-uh. You think I'm going to let you drive my baby after all that time I've been burning in Hell without her? Not gonna happen." The demon shoved Sam aside and got in the driver's seat. "Besides, I've got the keys." He jingled them with an annoying smirk and Sam had no choice to get into the passenger seat, slamming the door as he did so.

"Watch the merchandise Sasquatch. Didn't think you'd have all that strength in you since you look like a walking skeleton." It started the car and they made their way out of the parking lot.

"It's my car now, Dean gave it to me. So I can do whatever I want with it."

The demon shot him an annoyed glare but said nothing else. Sam looked out the window as they passed by the motel and a thought occurred to him.

"How come the motel owner never kicked us out of the motel at checkout time?" At the least this demon could be something to talk to.

"You looked wiped so I decided to let you sleep. I didn't want to go through the hassle of finding your wallet and credit cards to check in for another day so motel-man conveniently had a problem to take care of the last few hours."

Sam's head snapped over to the demon. "What did you do?" He gasped.

The demon shrugged with that annoying smirk. "His car went up in flames from a wonderful explosion. Guy went nuts, brand new car...what a shame." The demon chuckled and Sam couldn't believe this thing was trying to pass as Dean.

"You disgusting piece of shit." Sam spat and looked away.

"You should have some respect for me Sammy." The demon's tone was ice cold. "I suffered eighty years of pain and endless torture for your ungrateful ass to come back to life. The least I should get is a thank you."

"Dean went to Hell for me." Sam said in-between the lump in his throat. "Not you, you're just the thing that he changed into. Dean's dead, gone forever."

Sam heard the demon sigh but he didn't turn to look at the black eyes. "That's not how it works, Sammy. And you'll see...sooner or later, you'll understand."

Sam ignored the comment. "Why are you taking me on a hunt? Demon's don't hunt."

"Most of them don't, no. But Dean Winchester does. And I'm doing this for you, to get you back in the game. To get you prepared for Lilith."

"Lilith? I still don't understand what you want me to do."

"You'll get it as soon as you let yourself believe. Right now you're in denial...about me...about my story...everything. But it will fall into place. This can't just be something I want you to do, but something you want to do. It won't work unless you want it. And that's what I'm here for. To help you understand, to make you want this. It's the only way this will work, how this will all end."

"Sounds like a trap, like you're trying to trick me. Ruby said some shit about Lilith just like you; it's the same damned thing."

"Nah, I'm actually being one-hundred percent honest with you. Besides, demon-bitch wanted you to kill Lilith. I can't have you doing that, for reasons I'll explain later. We're just gonna have to send her back to Hell and lock'er in tight."

"Then why are you doing this?"

"Haven't I already told you?" The demon was getting aggravated and Sam didn't know how much longer he could push its temper at the moment. "Because if we don't stop her, the apocalypse will start, and I want to live my second-life."

Sam didn't believe a word it said, but he went along with the story. "You never told me that. Wouldn't you want the apocalypse? Isn't it like a demon's paradise or something?"

The demon wearing Dean's body chuckled. "That's what most of the demons think. However I'm smarter and much more well-informed. After Lucifer kills off humans guess who's next on his list? That's right, us demons. We're nothing but rotted human souls to him, taking up his precious space. Plus it doesn't help that Lucifer wants to wear you as his meat suit."

"Wait, what?"

The demon shook its head. "Not now. I'm sick of explaining things to you that you do not even believe; I'll tell you more when you're actually on board with everything."

When they arrived at their new motel room Sam salted the room so the demon couldn't escape and wreck havoc over the town. And after yet another fight with the demon Sam fell straight onto the furthest bed and slept until the next day, ignoring the demon's goodnight wishes once again. Sam didn't worry about the demon when he fell asleep, if it wanted to kill him it would have done so already.

The next morning Sam woke up to the demon throwing papers in his face, it had given Sam the research of the case to look over. Sam glanced down at the articles the demon had printed out from the other day, something about mothers killing their children within a ten mile radius.

"Some freaky shit has been going down." The demon told Sam while it sat at the small table. "I'm thinking its involving Lilith trying to break the sixty-six seals."

Okay, what the hell was this thing ranting about now? "What are you talking about?" Sam asked.

"I'll explain this very quickly because you're not as smart as I remember you being. Lilith wants to free Lucifer. In order to free him sixty-six out of hundreds of seals have to be broken. Some involve unleashing certain demons or killing a certain amount of people in a specific way. But you know what? She can break as many as she wants, as long as the sixty-sixth one isn't broken."

"And what would that be?" Sam asked in an uninterested tone.

"Her. She's the trigger. She's breaking all these seals hoping that you'll find out and try to stop her by killing her. But killing her would be the final seal and you would have been tricked. Come on, doesn't it make sense now? What that demon posing as Ruby was trying to do to you?"

Sam didn't want to believe the demons words, but he had heard a very similar story from Ruby. But instead Ruby had said that Lilith needed to be stopped, needed to be killed in order to prevent the apocalypse….

"Ruby was lying to me? Is that what you're saying? Ruby was trying to get me to actually start the apocalypse by getting me angry and telling me to kill Lilith in order to get revenge on her."

"Yes, exactly. Except that wasn't Ruby."

"Now what!"

"Ruby and Lilith didn't have a great history, I thought that was obvious when Lilith took over Ruby's vessel and sent both me and her to Hell. Do you really think Ruby would have been able to get out of Hell that quickly and escape Lilith's wrath? Ruby was burning in a corner when I was making my escape. I helped her out a bit, so she might be out now but she wasn't that demon bitch you've been spending time with."

The demon shook its head as if it was patronizing Sam and sat down on the bed.

"I mean, come on Sammy. I thought you'd have enough brains in that stupid massive head of yours to notice the personality changes. Ruby was a kickass cool demon. This thing was whiny, annoying and a downright terrible actor. It was ordered by Lilith to pose as Ruby and get you to believe it was her and to earn your trust."

"And how do I know that you're not lying?"

"You don't. But I'd think you'd trust your brother by now. Plus, the real Ruby has a thing for me, not you."

It took a while for Sam to process what that meant. "You slept with Ruby?" He knew this demon wasn't his brother, but right now his mind kept screaming at him that Dean was telling him about sleeping with a demon. "Where, in Hell?"

"Yep. When I said I helped her out, I not only helped her escape her trap but other things as well." The demon wagged its eyebrows and it was such a Dean thing that Sam felt his eyes beginning to water.

"Awee, don't cry Sammy. You shouldn't feel left out. You know, the Ruby imposter was going to get you to sleep with her too. Make you believe she was your lover and cared about you and all this shit. Then get you to drink her blood and go all darkside." The demon explained like he was reading off the description for a really cool story. Sam on the other hand felt his body begin to shake as he realized just how much the demons had screwed over his family in their lifetime.

There really was no escaping it.

The next moment he was falling to the floor as his body gave out and then…he wasn't.

"Whoa, don't go getting' all dramatic on me now. You should feel lucky that I saved you from all that." The demon had caught him before he fell and for a moment Sam thought Dean before the demon unceremoniously tossed him on the bed furthest from the door.

"Why should I feel lucky? It's just continuing. Now I have you using me." Sam mentally cursed as his voice cracked under the pressure of his sadness.

The demon didn't answer for a moment and when it finally did speak, it did so as it was walking toward the bathroom, back to Sam.

"I'm only using you to save the damned planet. And yourself. I didn't fight my way out of Hell just so I could trick and manipulate the thing I died for. Think about it for a minute why don't you, and maybe it will make sense one day."

The demon was a good hunter, and liar. Sam couldn't deny that. It had found a pretty interesting hunt. There were people going missing in a number of neighboring towns in Minnesota. The towns were close enough that a hunter would pick up on it, but not close enough that the police bothered to find a connection in the case.

"I looked up all of towns and circled them." The demon was bent over a table and slapped a map down. Sam glanced at the towns the demon had circled and he found himself talking despite his will not to.

"The towns...they form one big circle." he said quietly, his logical brain finally being used for the first time since Dean had died. It felt good in a way to get back into hunting, to use his mind for research. He was always good at finding out patterns and discovering what he was hunting.

"Exactly." The demon spoke and Sam's mood went sour as he remembered what he was hunting with and why. He was hunting with a demon because the thing had practically forced him to come. "And look what's in the middle of the circle genius."

Sam flinched at the demon's mocking tone that used his big brother's voice. How in the world was he supposed to get used to this? If the demon was telling the truth about needing to send Lilith back to Hell that meant Sam was stuck with this demon. How could he get used to being with this thing that looked and sounded exactly like the brother he missed so dearly, yet acted nothing like him?

"Hey, earth to Sammy." The demon waved its hand in front of Sam's face and out of instinct Sam batted its hand away. "Look in the center. What's there?"

Sam sighed as he glanced down at the map and saw... "Nothing. There's nothing in the middle. I don't know if you're seeing something else with your freaky demon powers or whatever but I don't see anything."

The demon full-out grinned which wasn't what Sam had been expecting. "Exactly. There's no town. Which means there's probably a lonely little farm house in the middle of all that land. Guess who's doing the work?"

"The person that lives there. A witch that likes to be secluded from civilization so it can do its dirty work maybe."

"There you go, I knew your brain was still in there somewhere geek boy. Just gotta clear all the alcohol and misery from ya and you'll be as good as new." The tone in its voice wasn't mocking for once and Sam couldn't help himself as he felt his throat close up. It sounded so much like Dean, something Dean would say to cheer him up. But as soon as Sam looked up at the creature standing before him and saw those black eyes...he knew this was no Dean.

This was a demon. And Sam had to work with it. Just because it was wearing his brother's form couldn't mean that Sam could get soft. He needed to put up a wall, build it strong and tall and shove all his emotions and sadness behind it. Sure it looked like Dean, but it was a cold, twisted and damned soul that could trick him at any time. Sam couldn't be getting soft, he had to be strong and stubborn even though he was breaking down inside, losing a little of himself day after day.

He knew without his brother, he'd never be the hunter he was before. But he had to toughen up and get ready because even if the demon was lying...something big was going down, Sam could just feel it. He needed to be prepared...for anything that might come his way. And if he went down...at least he'd go down fighting.

Just like Dean had.

"So I say we go straight out there. Talk to whoever lives there and find out what's going down." The demon looked up at Sam, those unnerving black eyes staring into his own.

"Could you at least keep your eyes normal?" Sam bit his lip and turned away.

He heard the demon huff. "This is normal. I'm a demon, remember?"

Sam went to say something back but he held his tongue. It was probably best if he got into as little conversation with this demon as possible.

Unfortunately the demon seemed to enjoy his company. "Ohhh...I see what it is. You're creeped out by the black eyes on your brother. If you're gonna bitch and moan about it, I'll switch them. But come on, this is what I am now. You're never going to accept me as your brother if you can't accept what I am now. Keeping my eyes green is only adding to your illusion, you have to come to terms with..."

"You're not my brother!" Sam spun around and grabbed the demon by its shirt. "You're not him! You're a disgusting piece of shit that belongs in Hell. So do me the slightest favor and don't show me those hideous soul-less black eyes so it's one less thing for me to deal with."

For a split second Sam thought he saw an actual emotion pass through the demon face. It looked...shocked...if Sam didn't know any better he could have thought the demon was hurt by his words. And for that split second Sam almost regretted the words he spoke. Almost.

But then the scowl was back on the demon's face and it grabbed Sam and pushed him to the floor with inhuman force. "You have no right to call me that after what I suffered for you." It snarled at him. "Now quit your bitchy moaning and get cleaned up. We have to interview whoever lives in this house and I need you to look decent for once."

Chapter Text

"It's scary, isn't it?" The older lady who owned the farmhouse informed them. "All those poor people dying so suddenly. It makes me afraid for my little Nellie."

The demon remained stone-faced, the same blank expression it had on throughout the entire interview. Sam mentally sighed as he spoke up, trying to be kind because the woman sure wouldn't get any kindness from the creature sitting next to Sam.

"Who's Nellie?" Sam asked with a small smile.

The woman smiled. "My granddaughter. It's just me and her that live here." As if she was on cue, a small girl about six years old bounced down the stairs.

"Granma, who are they?" she asked with a slight lisp.

"These are detectives that are trying to help the towns around us," she told the little girl. "Why don't you bring in the plate of cookies I made earlier so these nice men can have a snack?"

The girl skipped into the kitchen and came back a moment later with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. They weren't freshly baked, but Sam felt his mouth watering. He was starving. He had turned down all the food that the demon had offered him and Sam managed to realize that he hadn't eaten anything since before the demon found him.

Sam went to reach out, but suddenly it was as if his hand was weighed down by lead. He tried his other arm only to find out that it wouldn't move either. He felt like his arms were tied to his sides. His breathing picked up as he began to panic, but a moment later the demon stealthily nudged him in the side and Sam looked over.

Its now-green eyes were shockingly easy to read. Don't do it. Something's wrong.

The demon was keeping Sam from moving, keeping him tied by using its mind. Sam felt himself relax a bit. He wasn't going to die today. The demon had stopped Sam from taking the offending dessert and most likely making himself a witch-meal.

"We're fine." The demon spoke up and Sam felt its hold release on his arms as he flexed his fingers. "Sammy here is allergic to chocolate anyway."

That's a pretty crappy lie. Sam doubted the woman, or witch, or whatever the hell she was would fall for it. However the woman just smiled although something in that grin was a bit unnerving.

"What a shame, chocolate is my second favorite snack."

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"Yeah, and human flesh is your number one snack, you psycho old bitch," the demon growled once they got in the Impala a few minutes later.

Sam looked back at the old farmhouse as the demon sped away. "What the hell happened in there? Was she trying to poison us?"

"Yeah, although it only would have worked on you. Demons are pretty tolerable to that stuff." It grinned and Sam tried hard not to roll his eyes. "Those cookies were so old; they've probably been sitting in her fridge for ages. I bet she's been feeding them to her unknowing visitors."

Sam shivered, thinking about how he could have been this woman's next meal. The demon had actually protected him from that.

"So we have a witch that likes to snack on skin and guts?"

The demon looked at Sam like he was a first grader and not a twenty-six year old hunter that could stab him at any moment. "Are you dense? Couldn't you tell she wasn't a witch? She's a ghoul, her and the girl."

Sam shook his head, not understanding how the demon just seemed to know. "How do you know? Do demons have some mind of monster vision or something?"

"No, I guess I'm just the smart one in the family now." Sam cringed at the mention of 'family' and the demon snarled in response. "What witch eats people? Couldn't you smell the death in the house? There was fresh meat too, that smell stood out. It's probably the real bodies of the people they're posing as right now. Ghouls take the forms of the last people they eat."

"How can you be so sure?" Sam asked, although he was more creeped out by the fact that the demon could 'smell death'. And could tell the difference between an old and fresh meat.

"I just am. But we should go back and check the place out while they're gone. If we find the bodies of the old fart and the little girl, we know for sure that we have a ghoul on our hands."

"Well I agree with you there," Sam said and he couldn't argue that fact. Well, he could if he really wanted to, but truth was...he was tired of arguing. These past two or three days all he had been doing was yelling and belittling the demon. And while he wasn't wrong in doing that, it was exhausting. If he had to work with this thing, he could at least try to tolerate it.

The demon looked at Sam like it didn't believe his sudden agreement. Sam didn't fail to notice how it wasn't changing its eyes to black but rather leaving them the green that Sam had begged him to. That was strange. The demon shouldn't have cared enough to bother to listen to Sam's request.

Sam suddenly felt the car stopping and he looked up to see that they were in the parking lot of a diner. "What are you doing?" he asked the demon, turning around to glare at it suspiously.

"What does it look like? I'm stopping here so we can get some grub. You're starved." It opened the door and moved to exit the car but Sam, again on instinct, reached out. He grabbed its jacket...Dean's jacket...and the demon spun around to stare at him with an irritated look on its face.

"Why would you do that?" Sam asked quietly. "Why would you bother to notice I'm hungry and feed me?"

The demon snorted and rolled its still-green eyes. "Maybe because I don't want you to die from hunger? Ever think about that smart one?"

Sam waved his hand out that the demon. "Uh, hello? Demon."

The demon didn't waste a second as it pointed back at itself. "Hello? Brother. Your brother."

Sam wanted to retort back, oh did he want to. But he remembered his promise to himself from a few minutes ago. No more arguing unless absolutely necessary. So he bit his lip and looked away.

"So..." The demon looked around awkwardly. It looked so much like Dean right down to his mannerisms and the way he conducted himself. "You going to finally eat something? I'll pay."

"With your stolen money I bet." Sam replied back, but it wasn't out of anger. It was merely a comment this time.

"But of course." The demon grinned and Sam tried with all his might to fight back the smile that wanted to form from seeing that Dean-grin.

Instead he just nodded. "Yeah, I'll eat. And you're right, I am starving."

**************************************

They walked into the diner, the demon leading the way and Sam couldn't fail to notice that it even had Dean's cocky swagger and confident stance. Well, it did make sense in a way; this thing had been Dean at some point. But still, Sam thought Hell should have burned away all of that in the demon. Sam was wrong earlier when he said it didn't act like Dean...because the demon actually was acting like his brother. Not the big things maybe, but the little things only Sam would notice.

The demon even grinned in a wicked flirtatious way at the waitress and ordered the juiciest half-pounder cheeseburger with all the sides...complete with pie for desert.

Sam was so shocked that when it was his turn to order he almost couldn't get words out.

"Let me guess." The demon chuckled. "A garden salad with light ranch. Or a grilled chicken sandwich on wheat bread with veggies?"

"Shut up." Sam retorted back but he couldn't help it... Despite himself he smiled back to the demon, the antics seeming all too familiar, bringing him back to happier times. He turned to the waitress. "Actually I'll get what he's having. But a quarter pounder. And no pie afterwards."

"Dude how can you not have dessert afterwards?"

"Maybe because I want to wait until after I eat to see if I have room for some." Sam shot back, not realizing until after the waitress left just how easily he fell back into their old routine...

No, not their old routine. His and Dean's routine. And this wasn't Dean.

But all throughout these two and a half days...he felt it getting harder and harder to hate this thing.

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"Are you absolutely positive that those people are ghouls?" Sam asked the demon as they were heading back out to the farmhouse that night. The demon had stocked the Impala with machetes that would easily take their heads off.

"I'm sure, a hundred percent. Call it a demon's intuition." It grinned and Sam sighed.

"That's exactly why I do not trust your instinct. You're a demon. You wouldn't care if they were humans or ghouls, as long as they could be the suspect you'd kill them before you found them guilty."

The demon rolled its eyes as it clenched its fists around the steering wheel. "Yes you're right, I could care less. But I'm not going to do that because you'd kick me out. That's why we're checking the place out while they're gone. I have to play by your rules if I want to stick around."

The thought of the demon leaving Sam all alone once again made him feel uncomfortable and that surprised him. He should want the demon gone, shouldn't he? "Why would you want to stick around anyway? I'm sure you think I'm some annoying, obnoxious, disgusting human you'd love to kill with your mind."

The demon chuckled. "Annoying and obnoxious? Hell yeah, you've always been. Disgusting...well your haircut's pretty disgusting." It paused for a moment, still looking straight ahead at the road. "But there must be something wrong with your head if you think I'd ever consider killing you. I thought you'd know by now I never could kill you, no matter what. You should be the one that wants to kill me."

Sam felt something inside him change from that statement and he knew that he wouldn't kill this demon, even if it was threatening his own life.

"Nah, that wouldn't help in stopping Lilith, now would it?"

"Now I think your head's on straight."

They drove in what Sam couldn't deny was a pretty comfortable silence until they reached the farmhouse. It was just past midnight and the car was gone from the dirt driveway. The demon had been right in figuring that they'd be out at night...probably looking for more meat.

"Don't ghouls only eat dead meat?" Sam whispered while they grabbed their machetes - just in case - from the trunk of the Impala.

"No, they don't have to. But most do because it's an easy way for them to live. Snack off dead bodies in graves or in the morgue and they won't get tracked down by the cops. I'm not sure what's up with these two. Maybe they want some more excitement, or there's a shortage of dead bodies?"

"A shortage of dead bodies?"

Sam could see the demon grin from the light of its flashlight. "Who knows? Maybe the ghoul population went way up and there's a shortage of food now so they have to compensate."

"You have horrible reasoning." Sam groaned. They walked up to the backdoor where the demon shined the flashlight on the door handle. It was obvious that he was doing so for Sam to pick the lock, Dean had done the same thing so many times...

"At least I reason unlike you. All you do is ask questions."

Sam turned away from his work on the lock to glare at the demon. "Quit being so loud, keep your voice down."

"What does it matter? They're not here." He groaned but surprisingly listened to Sam by lowering his voice dramatically.

"It only takes one person...or ghoul...to drive a car. One of them could still be here." Sam reminded the demon and with a click he had the door opened.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll see who's right." The demon muttered. They entered the house and softly closed the door behind them.

"Alright." The demon quickly surveyed the house. "I'll take this floor and you take the downstairs."

"Or how about I take this floor and you take downstairs?" The last thing Sam wanted to do right now was navigate through a dark creepy basement.

The demon shrugged. "Fine by me. Call me over if you find the bodies and I'll do the same."

Sam was about to respond, but by the time he opened his mouth the demon had already darted down into the basement, not being all too quiet about it either.

Sam slowly made his way through what seemed like a normal young girl's room. He half expected bodies to fall out of the closet but all he found were dresses and baby dolls. For a brief moment he was brought back in time to the case where he and Dean were investigating that old hotel. Dean had made the woman there believe that Sam was an avid doll collector. He remembered hating that and being so angry at his brother. He felt that ever-present pain in his chest grow horribly sharp. Sam let out a quiet sad chuckle at the memory and let a single tear fall. He'd do anything to have that teasing and embarrassing brother back, anything. With a sigh, Sam made his way into the next bedroom. He was busy investigating the grandma's closet when his phone buzzed.

Sam was startled for a minute, no one had his number, not even Bobby since Sam isolated himself by switching phones. It buzzed once more, meaning it was a phone call. Sam considered not answering since it was most likely a telemarker or wrong number but curiosity got the best of him.

"Hello?" He asked quietly.

"Hey," Sam was strangely relieved to hear Dean's voice, even though he knew it wasn't really his brother. "I found the bodies...or what's left of them anyway. Other than the old coot and girl, there's about a dozen others. Come meet me down here."

Sam wondered how the demon got his number, but he wasn't about to fret over it. "Alright, I'll be down in a minute. I'm just going to finish checking the grandma's room."

"Okay but hurry damnit. It freaking reeks down here man!"

While Sam was deciding whether or not to laugh at or ignore the Dean-ness of that line he felt something grab a hold of his ankle. He let out a bellowing scream as he went down hard, his phone flying from his grasp. Even so, he could hear the demon calling his name.

"Sam? Sammy damnit, I'm coming!" Dean's voice crackled from the phone and in a second Sam heard footsteps, but not before the...little girl...was looming ahead of him.

"Gotta love fresh hunter meat." She giggled wickedly before grabbing a knife from her dress pocket and slashing Sam's left arm vertically in one quick motion.

The pain was instant and intense and Sam couldn't help but scream out again, so loudly that he almost didn't hear his rescuer.

"Sammy!" The demon bellowed once more. Sam felt the little girl's teeth on his arm, sucking at his blood and then she was off of him and in the air lunging at the demon that stood in the doorway.

Through his pain, Sam felt himself feeling a bit worried about the demon. He knew the demon was more than capable of defending itself, and hell...a ghoul couldn't kill a demon anyway. Sam tried to tell himself that the worry must have stemmed from the fact that the demon was wearing Dean's body.

Sam's irrational worry wasn't needed though as the ghoul froze in mid-air inches away from the demon. It smirked at the little girl's imposter and then flung the creature into the opposite wall with a flick of its hand.

The demon then glanced down at Sam and there was no way the youngestWinchestercould mistake that look in its eyes. It was furious at Sam's condition and not only that but it held the same protective look that Dean used to wear 24/7.

The ghoul seemed to be in shock by discovering that the other hunter was a demon and struggled to stand up. It knew right then and there that it stood no chance.

"You should have thought twice before messing with my little brother you flesh-eating bitch." The demon snarled, its eyes flashed to black for the first time in a while and it held its hand out. "Now you're not going to have the satisfaction of a quick death that we were going to spare you."

In one quick moment the demon clenched its fist and the ghoul let out an ear-piercing shriek unlike anything Sam's ever heard before. He turned his head to a better angle as he watched the ghoul fall back to the floor clutching its stomach. Blood started seeping from its eyes and nose. Its small body bent backwards grotesquely as its spine snapped loudly. Sam closed his eyes and turned away from the scene...the torture scene that the demon was playing out and reminded himself that this was not a little girl.

The shrieks kept coming and Sam heard blood bubble out its throat. Oh god, this could be him. The demon could be doing this to him right now...or could have already. But it wasn't. Instead for some reason it was inflicting this pain onto the ghoul because of what it did to Sam.

Forcing himself to open his eyes, Sam was shocked by the pure darkness that was shown on the demon's face. It looked anything but human at that point. Sam wondered how this thing...this thing that had just been joking and laughing with him and had that protective look in his eyes moments ago could turn into this. For some foolish reason he didn't think his demon could be capable of being so...evil. He just prayed that the demon continued to show its dark side in times like this and not when Sam happened to annoy it or say the wrong thing.

His demon seemed to like him...and Sam just had to keep it that way.

The ghoul continued to shriek but that didn't stop Sam from noticing that the grandma had appeared behind the demon.

"Dean! Behind you! "

The demon reacted automatically at the call and didn't waste any time as it grabbed the machete and sliced this ghoul's head clean off in one swift motion.

It didn't turn around though to take care of the tortured ghoul that was now moaning against the wall. It just stood there, staring at the dead body of the one it just killed and taking deep breaths. When it finally turned around its eyes were green once again and it looked much more like the demon Sam had gotten used to these past few days.

Without looking back down at Sam, it walked over to the distorted ghoul and chopped its head off. It then walked out of the room only to come back with a first aid kit that must have been in the bathroom. Kneeling down next to the injured hunter, Sam was surprised by the gentleness that the demon used to not only lift him into a sitting position, but to grab his arm and inspect the large gash.

He proceeded to take the next five to ten minutes to carefully clean the wound in silence and wrap gauze around it. When he was done he stood up and held a hand out to Sam.

Not even hesitating this time, Sam took his hand and let the demon help him stand up. He swayed for a moment before looking down at the demon.

"Thank you. Really, thank you."

The demon didn't reply and instead he looked away. "You called me Dean," he said instead.

Sam blinked back at the demon in shock. He did no such thing! But as he slowly replayed the last half hour back in his mind he realized in a familiar gesture he had called out to the demon in a state of panic but had used his brother's name.

"I...it was just out of familiarity. There's been countless times I had to call out to Dean when he was in danger." Sam noticed how the demon seemed to get dejected and angry at the same time. "You're wearing his body and on a hunt with me, what did you expect?"

The demon shook his head and this time looked at Sam right in the eye.

"I'm wearing my body. I didn't run in there and save you to look good or suck up to you, you know. I did it because I couldn't let you get hurt because I can't stand to see it." He looked so frazzled that Sam was at loss for words. "What's it going to take for you to realize?"

The demon then turned away and walked down the stairs in silence. With a sigh, Sam went to follow. They had a lot of bodies to clean up before dawn and he wasn't looking forward to doing so with a grouchy demon. How could this thing expect Sam to believe he was Dean?

But Sam realized, with a little bit of horror that somewhere along the line tonight Sam had started referring to the demon as a 'he' instead of an 'it'.

He should worry about this, Sam knew he should. But with a household of bodies to bury, he couldn't find himself to fret too much.

Chapter Text

The next few days the demon was silent to Sam, never saying much more than he had to although he still kept up the freaking 'Goodnight Sammy' every single night. He seemed to get over his moping session though after a couple days and was back to his annoying chatty self. They worked a few more cases and the demon cooperated for the most part, Sam was pleasantly shocked.

But the demon kept referring to Sam as his brother. Sam had to watch himself, they almost screwed up a case because Sam had told a witness the demon was his business partner when the demon had told the same girl earlier that Sam was his brother. It led to another shouting match between the two but the demon had refused to budge, intent on still calling Sam his brother.

They were now busy tracking down a nest of vampires inIowa. Sam had caved earlier in the week and had texted Bobby, letting him know he was alright and was continuing to hunt. The older hunter had seemed to understand that Sam still wasn't ready to talk and didn't push it; instead he had sent Sam some leads. One of which had included this vampire case.

The rural house the vampires were staying in was currently full of at least six vampires, in normal circumstances Sam wouldn't dare barging in and risking his life but these weren't normal circumstances. Sam had a demon working with him, and hunting was practically a walk in the park now.

The demon had stated that they should simply walk right in while he could pin the vampires to the wall using his mind and Sam would chop their heads off. Simple enough.

Except when they flung open the door, it was Lenore who stood there.

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She seemed to go into defense but quickly recognized the faces of her would-be attackers. She held out her arm to stop the approach of her fellow vampires.

"Sam? Dean?" She asked and the rest of her clan visibly relaxed once they realized that Lenore knew them on what seemed to be a good note.

Sam instantly felt stupid and a bit embarrassed. The articles that Bobby had sent him were nothing but a bunch of strange sightings and cattle deaths, the same as the first time he had run into Lenore. Maybe he would have realized it earlier if it wasn't for his demon's eagerness to jump on any case available and kill things.

"Lenore! Sorry...we just...we were given a case and I didn't know..."

Lenore smiled, "Hey, it's alright. We thought we were doing well by moving around more frequently but I guess we have to keep the cattle count down a bit. At least this was a good heads up." One of the vampires behind her, a tall burly man, grunted and stepped forward with a menacing glare.

Lenore glanced back at him and then turned back to Sam and the demon, looking nervously. "You might want to head out though now. They aren't too fond of hunters, as you can probably understand."

"It's not that one," the vampire grunted and nodded his head towards the demon. "It's the shorter one. Something's off about that one."

"Your face is off." The demon replied and glared right back at burly-vamp.

"Don't provoke him." Sam whispered even though he wanted to laugh at that comment, it seemed all too familiar. He then faced Lenore and spoke louder. "We'll be heading out, sorry about the mix-up."

They turned around to leave but vampires must be just as quick and sneaky as demons because in one moment the demon was walking right next to Sam, rolling his eyes and in the next moment he was gone.

Sam turned around just in time to see three other male vamps help burly-vamp pin his demon down on the floor.

"What are you guys doing? They aren't harming us! Let him go!" Lenore spoke, her eyes wide.

Sam rushed forward to help the demon but was met with the remaining two female vampires pinning his hands behind his back, their force seemed unbreakable. Lenore stood in the middle of it all, unsure of which move to make.

"Lenore, hand me that gallon of holy water in the fridge," burly-vamp growled, struggling to keep a hold of the thrashing demon.

"Why should I do that Jason?" she asked but didn't seem worried like the rest of the vampires did.

"Just do it!" burly-vamp, Jason, bellowed. "Like I said something is off about this one. He's way too strong and can't you smell it? We all do, he stinks!"

When Lenore refused to move one of the female vampires let go of Sam and grabbed the gallon of holy water. Why they had that sitting in their fridge, Sam had no idea. He knew they were screwed when the demon's eyes went huge. The demon had informed him that he was trying to build a tolerance to holy water, but obviously such a large quantity was no match for his resistance.

And Sam could only watch, in what he had to admit was horror, as the holy water rained down on his demon. His skin began to bubble and blister as smoke poured from his body but he didn't scream. It was obvious how much pain he was in but he didn't even whimper.

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Jason grew furious then. "Fuckin' demons! Good for nothing hell-spawn!" He turned to Sam. "You think we're low and you're walking around working with a demon?"

"Let him go!" Sam couldn't hold his emotions in any longer, the demon's skin on his face was starting to bleed now, and Sam's eyes were locked to his painful black eyes. "He was leaving with me! Why can't you just let him be?"

Jason cocked his head, studying Sam's outburst. "You care for him don't you? What the hell is wrong with you?"

"It's his brother, Jason!" Lenore spoke up. "Dean is Sam's brother. They're family just like we are, certainly you can understand that?"

"It was his brother, Lenore. I know you've met them before and have a soft spot for them but this thing was human when you met him, right? Well now there's a demon inside of him. Might as well help this poor guy here get out of his illusion that his brother's still with him." With that Jason thrust the demon's jaw open and proceeded to pour the rest of the holy water down his throat. And this time the demon couldn't help but scream at the top of his lungs. Even the female vampire holding him flinched.

"He may be a demon but he's my demon!" Sam bellowed and used the distraction of the female vampire to push himself from her hold. He grabbed his machete from his boot and had her in a head lock within seconds.

Blood was bubbling from his demon's throat now and Sam couldn't exactly tell from the blackness but he was pretty sure his eyes had rolled back. "I don't want to hurt her but I will kill her if you don't let him go."

"It's him Jason.," Lenore said, her eyes pleading. "Trust me on this; I saw Dean before. I remember him and this is still him. The demon is Dean. Sam will keep him under control. Just let them go, he was never going to harm us."

Jason didn't look like he believed Lenore, but his eyes were set on the female vampire in Sam's grasp. He loved her. Sam had a knife to his girlfriend's neck and he wasn't going to risk her life.

"Fine." He grunted as he and the other vampires released the now whimpering demon. "Take your hell-spawn and stay far far away from us."

"I wouldn't dream of coming back.," Sam hissed.

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He walked up to Jason before finally releasing the girl who ran into his arms. Sam then quickly bent down to grab his demon, fearing that the vampires might make the jump on him while he was vulnerable. But once he had the bleeding demon in his arms and stood up, none of the vampires even glanced his way. Sam thought it might have to do with the look that Lenore was giving Jason. She looked downright pissed.

"I'm sorry." She whispered as he went to leave. "For the record I knew he was a demon right away but just by looking at you both, I could tell he was still Dean. I was hoping to get you both to leave before they realized and I apologize for not doing so."

Sam nodded, her strange words ringing in his head. How could she think that the demon was Dean inside? What did she see?

"He's been through Hell and back but you two still have that bond. Just take care of him."

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Listening to the demon gurgle in the back seat made Sam break nearly every traffic law. For one, the sound was absolutely disgusting, and the other reason...well Sam just couldn't forget the horrible sounds Dean had made as he was dying...these noises weren't too far off.

But when Sam finally had the demon back in the motel room and lying on the bed, his worries didn't cease. The noises were still coming and now in the harsh light of the room Sam could really see just how bad his demon's injuries were. He nearly looked like a burn victim, his skin all red, bubbling in places and blood dripping through the cracks of his mouth. Sam could either go lie in his bed and wait days for the demon to heal on his own and ignore the painful wounds. Or he could at least help a little bit by trying to treat the wounds the best he could and try and speed up the healing process.

He might as well make himself useful. And demon or not, this was Sam's hunting partner and he needed him to get well.

So Sam sat down on the bed next to the demon and started to clean the endless wounds to the best of his ability. However, every time Sam rubbed ointment or poured water on a wound to rinse away the holy water, his demon's face would buckle in pain. That was Dean's face and Sam was causing damage to that face. Just looking at his demon reminded Sam too much of his brother on his final day, of lifting up Dean's body and feeling for his pulse...hoping with every fiber of his being that there was some life left in his brother...

Sam couldn't relive that day and plus Lenore's words from earlier were circling around in his head. He put the supplies away, trying to ignore the demon's moans but failing when he felt something tug at his insides at the sound of them. Getting into his own bed, Sam lay down and turned away from the demon. Why were the noises he was making bringing tears to Sam's eyes? And how come Lenore was so positive that the demon was Dean? What was she seeing that Sam obviously wasn't? What had gotten her so mistaken?

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Why was Sam worrying about this so much in the first place?

Sam had been lost in his thoughts for a while before he heard shifting from the bed next to him. He waited a minute before he heard the undeniable sounds of the demon getting out of bed. What in the world? Why would he want to get out of bed when he was in such excruciating pain? What on earth would make him do that, what would make the pain worth it?

Before Sam could even turn around he felt a hand on his shoulder and the demon breathed what sounded like a sigh of relief. The hand lingered for nearly a minute and gently squeezed. Then through his scratchy, bleeding, hoarse throat he talked.

"G'night Sammy."

And that was the moment when Sam felt his heart stop, when he knew everything he had been denying was actually true.

His demon was his brother. This was Dean.

Sam spun around and looked right up at the demon - Dean. Even though his eyes were still bleeding a little he had changed them to their normal green. For Sam. He'd done that for Sam.

"Dean." Sam called out, just as he began to retreat back to his bed Sam reached out an arm. Dean turned around slowly at the contact and even through all the pain and the distortion of his face Sam could read him like an open book. He was suspicious and didn't believe Sam's confession. How could Sam not have realized this before?

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"I'm sorry Dean," Sam whispered. He didn't have to go any further into detail on what he was sorry about. This was his brother. He would understand what Sam meant and one look at Dean's face confirmed that.

Dean simply nodded once and grunted before collapsing back onto the bed. Now it was Sam's turn.

"Goodnight Dean."

Chapter Text

Sam woke up the next morning feeling good. It was strange...he almost forgot what feeling good was like. Not only did he feel relatively happy but he felt well rested and relaxed. He stretched and turned to face the other bed and that was when his emotions did a summersault. In one blink of the eye he remembered everything. The vampires, the torture, Lenore's words...and what the demon did last night that finally convinced Sam that he was Dean.

Because no random demon would ever get up through all that pain just to check on Sam. That hand on his shoulder last night...Dean had been doing that ever since Sam could remember. When Dean was worried he would get up when he thought Sam was sleeping or on the verge of sleep, place a hand on that exact spot on his shoulder and look him over, probably to convince himself that his little brother was okay. And whether Dean realized it or not he had done the same thing last night.

And suddenly it was like everything was falling into place. Other than some shoving, the demon had never physically harmed Sam. When Sam had been attacked by one of those ghouls, the demon had come running up with an urgency that no other run-of-the-mill demon would ever care to have. It had been Dean, worried about his little brother, enraged that he was being split open by the ghoul. Dean had saved his life and had taken the time to gently patch Sam up, just like countless other times. But Sam had been blind to it; he had refused to believe Dean even though his gut had been telling him otherwise. No wonder Dean didn't really talk to him for the few days afterwards, Sam would have been pissed off too in his situation. Add demon to that equation and you've got a really moody older brother.

But he had gotten over it; he had still been working with Sam even though Sam was treating him like crap. What other demon would stick around like that? Hell, Dean even slept on Sam's doorstep the first evening. Even Ruby, (or fake-Ruby according to Dean) would storm off during Sam's outbursts with no intention on telling him when or if she would be back.

Sam felt bile making its way up his throat. This had been his brother all along. Demon or no demon, there was nothing Dean could do to make him deserve that behavior from Sam. If Dean could still be a brother to Sam when he was now a demon, there's no reason Sam shouldn't either. Hell, he should be kissing Dean's ass right now. Dean turned into this...turned into a demon for Sam, to save Sam's life. Sam had to hear him out, listen to his whole story and find out their plan of action. Because there was no one Sam trusted more than his brother.

But first he had a brother to take care of and apologize to.

When Sam turned around though Dean was already awake, his green eyes staring straight at Sam. Sam knew that Dean was just waiting for Sam to take back what he said yesterday, to turn around and deny that he was his brother.

Getting up from his bed Sam grabbed the first-aid kit from the nightstand and then walked over to Dean's bed.

"Scoot." Sam ordered him but Dean just looked up at him warily and Sam sighed. Sam knew Dean was hurting but he was a demon, he could fight through the pain and move over to give Sam a few inches to sit down on the bed. "Scoot over Dean so I can try to help you."

Dean was still giving Sam that look but he did as he was told and gritted his teeth as he shifted in the bed. Sam didn't fail to notice how his teeth were stained red from the blood that had come up from his throat yesterday. The younger brother's heart clenched at the sight and god, did he want to cry right now at seeing his brother like this. Demon or not, his brother in no way deserved this pain.

Sam sat down and opened the kit, trying to figure out which wound he should work on first when Dean finally spoke.

"You gonna take that back again?" He croaked, knowing that Sam would understand what he was referring to.

Sam had to let Dean know that saying his name wasn't a mistake this time. He looked right into his brother's bloody face. Dean had changed his eyes to black, as if challenging Sam to deny once again that his brother couldn't possibly be this demon. With all the blood on his face and those black eyes, Dean made for a pretty horrific sight but Sam's gaze didn't waver. He took Dean's whole face in and locked eyes with him.

"No. I'm not going to take it back Dean."

Dean stared at Sam for a few more moments before simply nodding his head once and falling back against the mattress. Sam proceeded to work in silence on Dean's wounds, flinching each time along with his brother. Sam bandaged what he could, gently moved Dean onto his side so he could work on a few more wounds. The whole time Dean remained still, letting Sam do his work and not protesting in the slightest.

When Sam was satisfied he got up and cleaned up the supplies before grabbing his jacket and the Impala's keys. Dean immediately shifted in bed at the sound of the keys and glared at Sam.

"What the hell are you doing?" It was probably meant to sound threatening but it barley came out more than a whisper.

Sam tried not to smile but failed. "I'm going out to get us something to eat for a change. What do you want?"

Dean smirked. "Thatta boy. I don't care, surprise me."

Rolling his eyes, Sam stepped out of the motel.

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It wasn't until Dean was digging through the bag of food that Sam was finally brought out of his shock. It was when Dean finished the burger and grabbed the small container at the bottom that did him in. Dean opened the lid and grinned exactly like Sam remembered.

"Hell yes, you did remember the pie!"

But Dean wouldn't get to eat his pie in peace because that was the moment when Sam broke down, actual sobbing. Not just sniffles but full on collapsing to the ground and crying his heart out complete with big fat tears. Everything had caught up to him. This was his brother all along. The guy he had beat to a pulp the first day he met him, had thrown him out into the cold and forced him to sleep on the doorstep, had spat in his face whenever he had claimed to be his brother and had flat out screamed at him that he was a disgusting piece of shit that belonged back in Hell.

Sam had done all those things to his brother while Dean had simply taken the beatings and not fought back. How could Sam not have realized this was Dean during the first five minutes he was with him? It was so obvious...

"Sam...Sammy what the hell?" It was Dean's voice that brought Sam back to reality and had him looking up at his brother through red-rimmed eyes. Dean was staring at him from the bed with a look of amusement, annoyance and...also some worry. Through all this Dean still worried about him.

"I know I like apple pie better but cherry's good too. No reason to throw a bitch fit about it."

And that was such a Dean thing to say that Sam couldn't help but let out a laugh. Of course Dean, being the macho guy he was and now a demon on top of that, wouldn't run to his side and cry with him, but that comment showed Sam that he not only still worried but cared about him as well.

"I'm sorry Dean." Sam repeated himself from earlier and looked into his brother's eyes. His brother's eyes that he kept green for Sam.

Dean just nodded, shrugged. "Okay." He said and Sam knew he was forgiven. Sam had just treated Dean like shit and Dean didn't even hold it against him.

Before Sam even registered what he was doing he was up off of the ground and wrapping his arms around his brother. He buried his head in Dean's shoulder and held on tight before remembering that Dean was a demon and he was probably going to violently toss Sam off of him for doing such a thing.

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But Dean just remained as still as a statue, not moving as Sam held on tighter and relished in the feel of Dean being here. He let Sam hug him for a whole minute before giving Sam a one-armed pat on the back. It wasn't hugging but it was something, Dean was trying to make some effort to show that he cared and that meant the world to Sam.

Dean pulled away after his pat on the back and stared at Sam. "Got that out of your system now, you cry baby?"

And when Sam laughed, it was his first true laugh since Dean had died.

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"So...what do we do now?" Sam asked after they were finished eating. After his meltdown he couldn't believe how good he was feeling. He felt awake and alive, relaxed and happy. He felt like he had a purpose in life again and there was a reason to keep going.

And it was all because of Dean. It didn't matter if Dean was human or demon or a horse with four heads, Sam was going to take him any way he was. Sam trusted his brother no matter what and he was going to go with whatever plan Dean had. Dean said he wasn't going to hurt Sam, that he couldn't hurt Sam and he believed him. He had to. Because if he couldn't trust his own brother who could he trust?

Dean shrugged, "We continue to hunt."

"Hunt what?"

"Stuff," Dean rolled his eyes. "You know, like vampires, shapeshifters, demons and ghosts. Things that go bump in the night.""

Sam decided to ignore Dean's sarcastic remarks for now. "Why would we waste our time on hunting random cases? You said it yourself that something bad is going down and we have to stop it."

Dean raised his eyebrows comically high. "Oh, so now you're on board huh? But that comment alone tells me that you're not ready. I mean look at you, you look disgusting."

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Feeling embarrassed, Sam covered himself up with the blankets on the bed. "Shut up." He croaked out, not used to Dean's new blatant ways of saying things. "I was kind of busy falling apart after losing my brother."

Dean pointed at himself with his thumb. "Yeah, and now you've got him back. So you have to get busy getting healthy and back up to hunting par before we go after Lilith. Plus, I need your trust."

"I trust you!" Sam blurted out, knowing he sounded ridiculous.

"Just because you finally realized I am who I say I am doesn't mean you instantly trust me."

Sam was confused. "But you're my brother," he defended himself, sounding like a lost child.

"Yeah, and I'm also a demon. I'm going to do things that you don't like. I don't hunt like I used to when I was human. We're going to have to get used to being partners again and develop a hunting pattern. By doing these routine hunts we can learn how we work together again and develop the trust that we once had, alright?"

Sam nodded, trying to merge old Dean and new demon Dean together. They were the same person, yet they were entirely different. "You know that was pretty insightful. I mean, coming from demon and all."

Dean seemed to enjoy Sam's new attitude because he smirked. "See, demon or not I'm still awesome."

It was Sam's turn to roll his eyes now, but he never denied the comment. He decided to change topics by bringing up something that had been on his mind since their trip to Lenore's.

"You know what I'm wondering? How come those vampires just had a case of holy water sitting in their fridge. What would they need that for?"

Dean leaned back in his bed like he was enjoying telling these stories. "I told you something bad was going down. I'm not lying. Lilith's trying to break the sixty-six seals and she's sending a bunch of her demon cronies out to do the nasty work for her. They're everywhere and they've probably been causing a lot of trouble to Lenore and her clan. They've got to know something's up with the increase of demons lately and they needed to be ready."

Well that made sense. "So what are these sixty-six seals you keep mentioning?"

"Well there are actually hundreds of seals. But sixty-six need to be broken for Lucifer to run rampant over the world and kill us all." Sam cringed at the thought and Dean actually chuckled. "The seals are a bunch of random things, but all that really matters is the first seal and the sixty-sixth seal. The last seal that needs to be broken is killing Lilith, which we can't do. The first seal is broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. That was all set to be me. And yeah, I shed blood and they thought everything was going to be fine and dandy. But then I found out their plan and I stopped myself from being that first seal."

"But if you did shed blood, then weren't you the first seal after all?"

Dean grinned. "Nope, this is where the fine print comes in. There's tons of righteous men that get sent to Hell from deals like mine and torture others. The whole thing is that the man has to get sent back to Earth after he sheds blood. That is what actually breaks that first seal, it's the icing on the cake."

"You did come back to Earth though, so I'm not getting what you're saying."

Dean's eyes flashed black and Sam took that as a sign that Dean was getting impatient.

But Sam didn't flinch, this was his brother and he could get aggravated all he wanted but he was still going to help Sam by explaining this to him.

"I said, the MAN has to come back to earth. Guess what? A bunch of angels were planning on pulling me out to start the whole thing so that's when I just let it happen. I didn't fight it anymore and I became a demon. That disqualified me from the race, I guess you could say. Because I wasn't a man anymore Sammy, I was a demon. So I knew I could come back to you now without setting off this whole thing."

"Angels are real?" Sam sounded astonished. When Dean was human he would never even consider angels being real, now here he was talking about them like it was no big deal.

"I guess." Dean shrugged. "Never saw them but all the demons would gossip about them. Hey, they're for the apocalypse so they're no better than demons. Sound like a bunch of dicks actually."

Sam thought about this for a moment. "Why'd you try so hard to turn into a demon? You know that they'll find someone else to break and send up here."

Dean nodded. "Yes, but they wanted me, I was the best man for their job. Now they're going to have to settle with sloppy seconds. This buys us more time too. And anyway, how the hell do you think I would be if I came back human? There's no way I would be in any shape to fight this looming apocalypse off."

"You would have been broken." Sam supplied for his brother. "And that's what they would have wanted, right?"

"Exactly," Dean was grinning now but his eyes never changed back from black.

The more Sam stared at those eyes though, the more he wasn't fighting to look away. Sure they were creepy looking but they didn't hold the vengeance that other demons had in those eyes. They just...weren't scary anymore knowing they belonged to his brother. Sam didn't find it as difficult to look Dean in the eye. "I would have been a wreck and they would have used me for their plans. But now...now I can fight them off and warn you. Look, I stopped the whole dark path they were having you head towards."

"So this whole demon thing is kind of saving us both." Sam thought back to the not-Ruby and how she was slowly making him slide into a violent mess who would do anything she asked of him. "Thank you for that, by the way. For stopping the Ruby imposter. And for saving me that time with the ghoul too."

Dean once again shrugged off Sam's gratitude. "No one screws with you but me. I'm the only one that can teach you how to fight this war and we're gonna come out winning." He then changed his eyes back to green as an afterthought.

"No." Sam found himself saying suddenly. "Don't do that."

"Don't help you? Sammy what the f..."

"NO." Sam stated louder this time. "Don't change your eyes to green for me."

"Wasn't doing it for you," Dean hissed defensively.

Sam smiled, feeling that familiar surge of love for his brother. "Sure you weren't. Anyway, keep them black. It's who you are now and I accept that and I have to get used to them. I mean, you're obviously more comfortable too by keeping them natural."

Dean didn't waste any more time as his eyes flashed back to demon-black. "Damn straight. You know how aggravating it is to try and keep them human for so long? It feels like you've got a migraine."

Sam frowned. "Why didn't you tell me that?"

"Because you were being an annoying ass that's why. And you're still annoying."

"Well I'm honored that I'm not an ass anymore at least."

"Keep up this conversation and you will be."

Sam laughed out loud, feeling warm and safe inside even though the apocalypse was practically hovering around them.

Chapter Text

They spent the rest of the day relaxing and sleeping and the next morning came with a rude awakening. Sam felt himself falling and before he could catch himself he landed on the dirty motel floor in a heap.

Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Sam looked up to find Dean grinning down at him, black eyes shining.

"Dean, what the hell?" Sam grumbled, extremely agitated. Last night had been the first night in a long time that he had gotten a lot of rest. Being awoken in this way wasn't very pleasing.

"Since you don't hate me anymore I figured I could mess with you now and get away with it." At Sam's continuing glare Dean sighed. "Fine you prissy little bitch, if you're going to mope about it I'll even offer you a hand up." Dean extended his hand towards Sam which he eyed warily. Dean would probably help him halfway up before letting go and having Sam drop to the floor for his own childish amusement. But an aggravating demon Dean was much better than no Dean at all. Sam decided to accept what he was being offered and grabbed Dean's hand.

Surprisingly, Dean supported Sam until he was standing upright and even gave him a hard thump on the back, making Sam cough. Dean winced though as he went to move, hissing in pain and sat down on Sam's bed. He probably was still hurting from the holy water. "We're gonna go after some demons next. I know of a case that I've been meaning to get to that has one. It seems pretty low level so you should be able to handle it. I'll be there anyway, so you'll be fine."

"How do you know it's a demon?"

"Because I'm one. I know how demons act. Feel free to torment me if I'm wrong but I know I'm not."

"Okay." Sam nodded. "Alright, I trust you."

"Well you sure did a total 180." Dean was staring at Sam in a sort of thoughtful way. "What made you change your mind?"

"When you checked on me that night...it was...no one could imitate that. No one would even try to bother if they were in as much pain as you were in. That's when I kind of thought back to everything and I knew I was fooling myself by believing you weren't...well you."

Dean actually looked embarrassed. "I thought you were sleeping." For once he didn't have anything smart to say.

"What did you think I thought when I woke up and called for you?"

"I thought you were delirious or half-asleep. I didn't think you meant it when you said my name."

"Well I did. And I think I really knew all along deep down that it was you. I just didn't want to believe that you could be..."

"A cold-hearted worthless piece of Hell scum?"

Sam swallowed. "Yeah." He watched as Dean scowled at that comment, his face going dark and almost feral. But it didn't scare him anymore; it just showed him that Dean still cared what Sam thought about him, that he still wanted his little brother's companionship.

"But I don't feel like that anymore." Sam hurried to add on. "All I could see before was the demon. But you're still you...my brother, you're both. You're my brother the demon and it's just that simple. It shouldn't have taken me so long to figure it out."

Dean continued to stare at Sam in an unnerving way. "So I'm not scum? Or a disgusting piece of shit that you just happened to scream in my face more than once?"

Once again, the guilt was clawing its way back up Sam's chest. "God no...I can't believe I said that. You have no idea how sorry I am Dean." Sam pictured Dean in his head getting torn apart, screaming for his life as he died for Sam. He pictured Dean bleeding and being cut apart in Hell. Dean suffered through all that for Sam, and he repaid his brother by viciously insulting him. He wanted nothing more right now than to hug his brother, but Dean probably wouldn't put up with that again. So instead he tried to offer Dean an apologetic smile.

It seemed to work. "You know, I like the sound of what you said earlier. My brother, the demon. We should publish a book."

Dean had struggled a bit to get up and walk into the bathroom. By the time he was finished with his shower Sam had already packed their bags (well actually just his, since Dean's old duffle and clothes were still in the Impala's trunk. He needed to remember to give them back to Dean) and was waiting by the door. Dean stumbled out of the bathroom, bleary eyed and panting, clearly in pain and wearing Sam's clothes. One hand clutched his dirty clothes and the other was wrapped around the side of the wall, his whole body leaning against it.

Sam's worry for his brother doubled as he dropped the bags and hurried over to him. Dean was a demon; he shouldn't be in this much pain still, should he? Sam hesitated just a moment before he placed a hand on Dean's shoulder, happy when he didn't flinch away from the contact.

"Are you alright, Dean?" Sam asked, his heart fluttering when Dean didn't answer, just kept up the heavy breathing. "You're freaking me out here man. Please say something."

Dean let go of the clothes he was holding and grabbed onto Sam's shoulder in a tight grip. "Take me...to the car." He managed to choke out, black eyes opening a bit. "Need'ta...sit."

"Yeah, okay." Sam nodded and wrapped an arm around Dean's waist as Dean threw his arm around Sam's neck for support. It felt so familiar, they've helped carry each other like this dozens of times and Sam was glad he could still do something for his brother, that Dean was still letting him help.

He tried not to jostle Dean and helped him sit in the passenger's seat as carefully as he could. He then hurried back and grabbed his bag along with the clothes Dean had forgotten about. After having everything packed up Sam grabbed Dean's old duffle that had been buried under weapons and junk. It took a bit of digging but he managed to free the dusty duffle. Sam looked at it with a smile, he was glad he had kept it even though it hurt like hell to see it every time he opened the trunk. His brother was officially back, a demon nonetheless but he was back. They were a team again. Everything was going to be okay as long as they stuck together. Clutching the duffle to his chest, Sam made his way to the driver's side. Dean was sweating in the early summer heat so Sam reached over him to roll down his window.

"Thanks." Dean grumbled before he stuck his head out the window and seemed to try and get comfortable. Sam turned on the car's old air unit, never taking his eyes off his big brother. When Dean's breathing seemed to even out Sam decided that it was safe to start the conversation.

"Where the hell did that come from?" He tried to hide the horror from his voice but failed. "You seemed to be doing fine. You were healing."

Dean took a deep breath. "Demons heal quickly from normal wounds. Gunshots, broken bones, holy water splashed to the face." He turned to look at Sam, his face looked nearly perfect, no sign of the torturous wounds that he had suffered from the vampires. "But holy water is poison to me when it gets inside of my system...Sammy they made me swallow half a gallon. That was...it still is travelling through my body. It feels like I'm on fire, especially when I move around."

Sam felt his eyes water and he turned away from Dean's black ones. Dean had been in so much pain but still had gotten up in the morning to mess with Sam and fling him off his bed. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop them quicker. I should have."

"Hey, they were vampires; you're a wimpy and malnourished geek-boy. You didn't stand a chance." Sam glared over at Dean from that comment. He was trying to apologize and Dean just had to mock him. "What? It's true. You need to work out, eat right and be back at the top of your game. And I'm going to help you get there. You'll be stronger than you ever were before. Now drive, bitch."

"You're letting me drive?" Sam asked, astonished.

"Do I look like I'm in any condition to drive? I need my beauty sleep and once I feel alright, I'm taking over my wheel again. Drive bitch, while you have the chance." Dean's words came out a bit harsh but there was a ghost of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips, Sam couldn't help but smile back. He felt happy, he felt good. He felt his smile turn into a grin.

"God, I missed you so much, you condescending rude jerk."

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They had been driving for a few hours when Dean woke up and eyed the duffle bag sitting between them.

"Is that mine?" He asked. His voice unreadable.

Sam looked away. "Yeah. It's been in the back of the Impala since the day...since you..."

"Got torn up and ripped to shreds by hellhounds and got yanked to Hell." He considered his comment. "Or you could just say I croaked...Either one. It did happen Sammy; you can't avoid it like it never did."

Sam knew Dean was right, but he wished he wasn't. He wished he could just forget that ever happened. That Dean never died or went to Hell. He had spent so much time mourning the loss of his brother. Dean was back now, sitting right next to him...why couldn't he just forget about his death?

The sound of shuffling made Sam turn over to his brother. He had ripped off Sam's shirt and put on his old AC/DC one that had been in the duffle. He looked over at Sam and grinned wickedly, black eyes shining. He was happy. Sam didn't think it was ever possible for demons to be happy or civil. But Dean was and Sam figured it had something to do with the fact that most demons didn't have family to come back to while Dean had him. Sam knew his brother and his emotions better than anyone, Dean was truly happy.

"Thank goodness, your shirts were too tight; your pants were too long AND too tight. How is that even possible?"

"Um, how about smaller waist but longer legs? It isn't that hard to comprehend Dean. Even for you." He felt bad that Dean had been stuck wearing the same clothes he arrived in and then had been forced to wear Sam's when his got too dirty. But he couldn't keep dwelling on negative things like that. The important thing was that he knew he had Dean with him now and he was going to make sure to treat him right.

Dean scowled at Sam's comment and said something about being an anorexic Sasquatch. He continued digging through the bag and his motions grew more frantic as he started tossing clothes and empty beer bottles aside. The bottles made Sam smile, Dean was always such a pig. Maybe Sam should have cleaned out Dean's messy bag.

"What's wrong? What are you looking for?"

"Where is it?" Dean looked up, his black eyes angry and demanding.

"Where is what?"

"You really forgot about it didn't you? You threw it out! You kept this garbage and threw it out! How could you?"

Sam flinched at Dean's vicious tone and thought about what could have gotten his brother so riled up. It was a possession obviously, something that he wanted back. A weapon of some sort? Sam snuck a glance over and saw Dean clawing at the area just under his neck, looking lost.

Sam felt his heart break in half as he pulled over.

"You better have a god damned good explanation for..." Dean stopped and his mouth formed a little 'o' as he watched Sam reach under his shirt and pull out his amulet.

"I didn't want anything to happen to it...and I kind of missed you...a lot...so I kept it on at all times. But it's about time it's given back to its owner." He held the amulet over to Dean in his hand and watched how Dean quickly snatched it from him and looped it over his neck, looking proud.

"You're damn right you need to give it back to me. You're the one who gave it to me in the first place; you shouldn't take back your own gifts." He ran is hand over the amulet a few times and then looked over at Sam before quickly looking away.

Sam smiled; they were going to be alright.

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They had to stop a half hour later for gas and Sam was surprised to see Dean stumbling out of the Impala after him, forcing his eyes back to their human shade.

"What are you doing? I thought you were in so much pain, go sit down."

"You shouldn't tell a demon what to do. I could easily rip you to shreds." Dean grumbled.

"Yeah, and I'd like to see you try." Sam smirked and started walking again only to suddenly stumble on seemingly nothing. He almost fell to the ground, as he regained his footing Dean chuckled next to him.

"Just because I won't hurt you doesn't mean I won't mess with you. So go on, keep telling me what to do and you'll see what happens." Dean was still wearing that same smirk and with his eyes human, it was almost like two years ago, pranking each other and bickering. Deep down, they really hadn't changed much after all.

Sam managed a pout as they walked inside. "That's not fair. Anything I try to do to get back at you will look lame. You have the advantage with your stupid powers."

"So just give it up and admit that I win." Dean was still stumbling around a bit, but he didn't seem to be in so much pain.

"You're insane if you ever think I'll admit defeat to you." Sam said, looking behind him to find out Dean had already wandered away to the back of the store. Rolling his eyes, Sam grabbed a few snacks before coming up to the counter to pay for both the food and gas. Dean was next to him suddenly, looking very coy. Sam bit his lip, worrying about what his brother had done now.

As soon as they got back to the car Dean emptied his coat pockets. Inside were bags of peanut m&m's, candy bars, a bottle of beer and...a few of those protein shake things.

"Are you ever going to pay for anything again?" Sam sighed, one of these days they were bound to get caught. But he had to admit that Dean was good at stealing. How in the world did he manage to hide all those items in such a short amount of time?

"Hey, I went through eighty years of Hell, I think if anyone should be allowed to get away with theft, it's me." He then thrust that shake-thing at Sam. "Drink it. It's full of all that nutrition crap you love. And it's supposed to help you gain weight, you skeleton."

The fact that Dean had thought of him while he was stealing made Sam happier than it probably should have.

"Besides, we've always been stealing. What do you think the credit card scams are genius?"

That actually made a lot of sense. "But...at least we were paying for our stuff."

"Yeah, with stolen money! That makes it so much better."

Sam gave up, he couldn't win this argument. "Just don't get caught. I don't need you stirring up any drama. You were bad enough with causing havoc when you were human. I can't imagine how bad you'd be now that you're a demon." It felt weird saying that, admitting that Dean was in fact a demon. But it also felt good in a way, because he was finally accepting the truth.

"Aww, how cute. You should have more faith in me Sammy."

"You go from saying you could rip me to shreds to saying I should have faith in you? That's oh so convincing."

Dean suddenly got serious, it seemed out of place from his normal sarcastic attitude. "Hey, I could as in it's possible with my powers. But I could never bring myself to, even if I wanted to. Which I would never. So yeah, I can't."

Sam glanced over at his brother while driving but Dean's stare never wavered from the road in front of them. Dean might be a demon, but Hell sure couldn't wipe everything from him that made him 'Dean'.

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They got into the town with the demon case and the first thing Dean did was collapse on the bed closest to the door with his duffle in hand.

"Uhmm...aren't we supposed to be on a job?" Sam stared at his brother's form face-first on the bedspread. "Shouldn't we be researching or something?"

"I've already researched." Dean's voice was barely understandable. "Why do you think I brought us here? I know everything that's going on." He finally flipped over and rummaged through his newly required duffle bag. Reaching in, he pulled out some papers he must have placed there during their car ride and tossed the wrinkled things at Sam.

"Go crazy." He stated, meaning for Sam to read over the research. Dean then flipped over again and got comfortable.

 

Sam sighed, looking down at Dean's messy handwriting and pages off of the internet.

"When did you have the time to do this?"

"I didn't. I had this lined up for a while for possible cases to look into once we got back together. I thought I told you this already."

"How do you know the demon's still there?"

"Oh I have my ways." Dean flipped over yet again, grinning at Sam and winked a black eye. "Remember that friend I mentioned? He keeps me informed."

"A demon friend?"

"Yeah, what other friends do you expect me to have?"

"Well I'd hope you'd consider me as one."

It looked as though Dean was rolling his black eyes, though Sam couldn't be exactly sure. "Other than you, dimwit. Not even Hell likes me since they know I'm not going for this stupid plan of theirs. So the only demon that would even be my friend was the one that helped get me out to stop the apocalypse."

"There are other demons that don't want the apocalypse?"

"So far Crowley's the only one I've known. And Ruby."

"That's his name then, Crowley? He's the one that saved you? Am I ever going to meet this demon or what?"

Dean shrugged as if he could care less. "Eventually, yeah. We'll need his help. Now stop asking me these annoying questions and shut up. Read my research and let me sleep."

Sam groaned internally. Dean was much more impatient now. Sam wanted to understand everything that was going on and everything that Dean knew. But he was going to have to ask in bits and pieces. He'd have to figure everything out little by little as not to aggravate Dean. Sam figured he'd give Dean the benefit of the doubt. He'd been through eighty years of Hell, the least Sam could do was give him some space in-between questions.

And Dean as an obnoxious demon was much much better than no Dean at all.

Sam only let Dean sleep for a half an hour before he started nudging him awake.

"What?" Dean hissed, glaring angrily at his brother.

"This demon is trying to create..." He glanced down at Dean's handwriting again. "A half-human, half-demon baby? That can be used for the devil's army?"

"Yeah," Dean grumbled. "The demon has to be inside the human host for the entire pregnancy so the baby gets equal human and demon blood. But the host has to stay alive for the whole thing too for it to work. It's hard because not many humans live through a demonic possession for that long, especially with a half-demon baby inside of them."

"If this demon-baby can be used to help the devil, why haven't you stopped him already?"

"Don't you think I've tried Sam?" Dean growled. "Both me and Crowley have. But I've been busy trying to chase away fake-Ruby from you and to heal my body. Crowley's sent this demon back to Hell but he keeps coming back. We can't kill it yet. You have the only demon-killing knife we know of and while Crowley has the colt..."

"This Crowley has the Colt? I thought Bella gave it to Lilith?"

Dean sighed, "That bitch lied. She gave it to Crowley, which works wonders on our side. But it needs new bullets and Crowley's working on them but they're not done yet. All his attempts have failed but he's getting close to making bullets that work like the originals."

"So basically you had to wait to get back together with me because I had the knife?"

"Kind of. I could have stolen the knife from you easily. But the thing with demons is that we can sense when other demons are near. That's why most of the time this demon had escaped from Crowley. The only chance we really have to sneak up on this demon and kill it is if you go after it."

"So basically you're telling me that I have to go on my own and kill this demon while you sit back? Are you nuts Dean? Do you want to get me killed?" Sam's voice rose and Dean finally sat up on the bed.

"If I go along it will sense me coming and kill you for sure." The intensity of Dean's pitch matched Sam's.

"I'm not doing this. I'm not going in there alone. You even said yourself that I'm not strong enough. There's got to be another way."

Dean seemed to consider Sam's statement but his stare never wavered. "I know you're not. But we don't have another choice. The demon got its host pregnant. Its five months along. There's already one antichrist out there, we can't afford for there to be any more."

"There's an antichrist? What the hell?"

"Yeah, I know. It's crazy. He's an eight year old half-human half-demon that's stronger than either put together. These kids could destroy the world in just a thought if put into the wrong hands. That's why we have to stop this demon from creating another one."

"So you're telling me I'd have to actually kill the woman, the unborn baby and the demon all at once?" Sam asked, unbelieving. Yes, Dean was a demon and this stuff didn't matter to him, but he should at least have the common sense to know that Sam would never go through with this.

"What other choice do we have? The demon needs to die. He won't be leaving that host with a baby inside. We have to kill them all at once."

Sam shook his head. "I know this doesn't matter to you Dean. You don't care if innocent people die because you're a demon. But in case you forgot, I'm still human. And you know me. Eighty years in Hell and you still know me more than anyone else, I know you do. You can't possibly think I'd go through with this so why would you even consider it?" Sam's voice wavered a little bit. He understood where Dean was coming from, but there was no way he would go through with this plan. What were they going to do?

But Dean continued to sit on the bed, glaring at Sam and breathing somewhat heavily. Sam had most certainly aggravated him by not agreeing with his plan. Any other demon would be beating the life out of him right now for causing this hassle. Sam looked down at Dean's clenched fists and the way he was biting his lip. He wasn't just holding back physically. By staying silent he was actually considering what Sam had said. He was thinking about it.

But that didn't make Sam less confused. He wasn't used to this; the old Dean would never consider such a thing. He needed to get away from his brother for a bit. He needed some space and he needed to think. Sam had to think of a way to rationalize with Dean. But how could you make a demon understand?

"I'll be back later." Sam stepped out of the motel without looking back at his silent brother.

Chapter Text

Sam wanted to get drunk. He wanted to so badly. He couldn't go down that path again though. He needed his brother but what Dean was telling him was crazy and wrong. He understood that Dean didn't think like humans any longer. In truth, Dean didn't know any better.

Even though he knew he wouldn't leave his brother no matter what, Sam was hurting right now. He was so confused on how to handle Dean the way that he was now. Sam had thought everything was going to be perfectly fine between him and Dean again. He had pictured them joking around, being perfect partners on hunts, having each other's backs and just being brothers again without having any problems. How stupid could he have been? Sure, Dean was his brother but he was undeniably a demon. Demons were dangerous. They didn't have morals and they would do anything to get what they wanted. And what Dean wanted was to protect Sam and stop the apocalypse.

It was true that Dean wasn't like other demons in the fact that he didn't go out on rampages to hurt and kill people on purpose. But that didn't mean he wasn't going to cause harm to people in order to get through a hunt if he found it necessary. Dean was going to take the easiest and quickest way to not only complete their hunts but any task they might face as well. He wasn't going to consider any alternatives because he considered it a waste of time. Sam understood that, he really did but there was no way he could go through with this plan of Dean's.

He pondered his thoughts while he sat on a park bench in the now pouring rain.

Maybe Sam had gone about telling Dean his feelings in the wrong way. He had gotten in his brother's face yet again when he should have probably displayed his feelings to Dean more rationally. Sam felt his tone had been justified but that didn't mean he was right in talking to Dean and leaving him the way he had done. Dean had been through eighty years of pain in Hell and he didn't need any more pain from Sam.

Dean was a demon and he wasn't going to think like he used to, Sam had to talk him out of his ridiculous plans from now on and explain to him the reasons why they couldn't go through the hunt in Dean's way. Things were going to be different now but that didn't mean that it couldn't work. He and Dean would always fit together, no matter what happened to them, Sam was sure of it.

Sam wasn't going to kill the woman and her baby. They were going to find another way and Sam would talk to Dean about it. They could work this out. Not just the case but him and Dean.

Sam wanted nothing else but for them to work out.

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It was on Sam's drive back to the motel that he realized that there was a very strong possibility of Dean not being at the motel. Sam had salted the windows and doors but salt hadn't stopped his brother before. He wasn't worried about Dean wreaking havoc upon the town or hurting people. Even as a demon, Sam felt he knew his brother better than that. Dean wouldn't do such a thing. The reasoning behind Sam's frantic heartbeat was his fear that Dean had gotten so frustrated with Sam that he'd gotten up and left for good and that he'd left Sam alone once again.

No matter what was going to happen Sam knew he couldn't do it without his brother by his side. He just couldn't lose Dean again. He wouldn't.

So Sam's surprise was warranted when he flung open the motel room door and saw Dean sitting on the same spot on his bed.

Black eyes looked up at him and Dean's face remained expressionless as he stared Sam down.

"You came back," he stated.

"Of course I did, I only left to get some time to myself and to think about this."

"You came back." Dean repeated himself. "You never come back."

A sharp pain was tugging at Sam's heart upon hearing those words. Dean had thought Sam would leave as well. Dean thought Sam was going to leave him for good. He didn't know if Dean was referencing Sam 'never coming back' from the times when they were younger or from something that happened to him in Hell. Or both. Any way, it made Sam feel like shit.

Sam had been positive that there was no way a demon's feelings could get hurt, or that demons had feelings at all. Dean had proved him wrong in both aspects.

"I'm sorry I left like what you were telling me to do...you know I can't do that Dean."

Dean seemed to relax a little bit. "I know. I thought about it and I get it. There are other options. Well there's one other option actually but it's something that I don't think you'll agree to."

"Will it prevent the lady from dying?"

"With practice, yeah. It's something I needed to teach you anyway so you can stop Lilith but I wanted to wait a while before telling you about it."

Sam was eager for this news. "If it can save this lady and stop Lilith then tell me. I want to know."

Dean looked reluctant and Sam found his excitement dwindling. He wanted to stop Lilith, but what if this plan was worse than Dean's first one?

"I can't have you freaking out Sam. But I guess no matter how long I wait, it will never be the right time. Just try and hear me out." Dean paused for a moment and waited for Sam to nod. He took a long and deep breath. "I need you to drink my blood."

What the hell.

No really, WHAT THE HELL?

If Sam didn't think Dean was crazy before, he sure did now.

Dean must have been sensing Sam's panic or perhaps expecting it because he hurried on to continue explaining himself. "You have those powers given to you by yellow eyes. Yeah, I know about the demon blood in you, they talked about it all the time in Hell."

He stopped for a moment and looked Sam right in the eyes. "Well you can practice those abilities and make them so strong, strong enough to send demons AND Lilith back to Hell. But you'll need some help, something to power you up a bit. And that's some more demon blood."

"I..." Sam stuttered, he was really at a loss for words. "You...you told me that was what fake-Ruby was going to make me do! She was tricking me and now you are too!"

Dean groaned and stood up right in front of Sam who backed away quickly. "Don't be scared of me. Please don't." Dean held up his hands in an offering of peace. "I have never lied to you Sammy, not once. I know it sounds crazy and this is why I've been dreading telling you. Yes, fake-Ruby was going to have you drink her blood but she was going to make you dependant on her Sam. She was going to make you become so addicted to her blood that it would turn you into someone else."

Dean paused and gave Sam the opportunity to say something but Sam didn't think he could even if he tried.

"She needed you to drink so much of her blood that you became dangerously powerful. You would lose control over yourself and you'd have so much of it coursing through you that you'd be able to actually kill Lilith."

"We don't want to kill Lilith." Sam managed to squeak out and Dean smiled. Other than the black eyes he looked so much like the old Dean right now that Sam felt it getting harder to be scared.

"Exactly. See what I mean about her tricking you? I don't want any of that Sam. I don't want you going batshit crazy and getting high on demon blood. But you do need some. I'm going to keep it very controlled. You're going to get very small amounts at first and learn to control your powers. You're going to have to wait days in-between so you don't get hooked but so it stays in your system. I'll even water it down and give it to you in a mug so it's more normal for you. Are you following me so far?"

"I...I...I think."

"While I'm giving you my blood I'll help you focus on exorcising demons and controlling it so you'll never go too far. You won't need to keep drinking it; it really just helps give you this extra boost. But once you've learned how to control your powers you can learn how to use them on your own, without the blood. I know you don't want to do this and if there was another way, I'd go for it but there isn't."

"And if I don't want to do this?" Sam questioned.

"Then I won't force you. I will never force you to do anything Sam and I will never lie to you. Everything I'm telling you is honest and believe it or not I'm looking out for you. If I didn't care about you I'd be shoving my blood down your throat right now and I wouldn't have put up with you pushing me around when we first got back together."

Sam took a minute to take all this in. It was absolutely insane but he did trust his brother. Dean was being sincere and he could tell Dean didn't want this either but he knew it had to be done.

"I know you're being honest. I believe you. It doesn't make it any less crazy though." Sam looked into his brother's black eyes and Dean stared right back calmly. If Dean had wanted to trick Sam he would have been more desperate and pushy. Dean was leaving this choice down to Sam; he wasn't forcing him into anything.

"It is fucked up, I get it. But hey, think of it this way. It's not some random demon bitch's blood you'll be drinking. It's mine. And even though mine is demon blood we still share the same blood."

Dean did have a point there, they were brothers after all.

"So you're not going to be digesting something that's totally unfamiliar. It will work with your body more since this is still my body's blood which means it's yours too." Dean continued while looking thoughtful. "I don't think it will affect you the same way any other demons' would because it will fit into your system more and blend in with the blood that's already in you. It won't get out of control."

"That's why you needed your actual body back, right? It's why you didn't want to take just anyone."

Dean smirked. "Part of it was, yeah. But in truth I wanted my body back anyway. It's so much nicer riding around in something that's familiar, something that you know how to work. I'm a lot more at ease and calm in my own body than someone else's."

It was strange to think of Dean truly being a black cloud of demon smoke that was controlling his human body. Dean could be in any other random and unfamiliar body right now but still be his brother. It was so, so strange. Sam bet even if Dean left his body and was a floating black cloud, Sam would always be able to recognize him from other demon souls.

"You're telling me you'll only teach me to exorcise demons and not kill them?" Dean nodded. "But I thought we had to kill this next demon. How is exorcising it going to help?"

"This is what I have to teach you. You're going to exorcise it but keep it in your grasp instead of sending it down to Hell. That's where I come in and stab its soul with the knife. It doesn't matter if the demon is in a host or if it's in its true form. The knife will kill it."

Dean was beginning to really irritate Sam. So much information in such a little time was making his head hurt. But he wanted to...no he needed to know all of this. "Wait a minute. You said you were staying out of the actual hunt because the demon would sense you."

"Yeah I did say that, but I thought about what you told me earlier. You would need my help. I'm sure there's something out there, some spell or binding mark that we can use so other demons can't sense me. I'd say hit up Bobby. We have to put this hunt on hold so I can train you anyway."

Sam shook his head and sat down on his bed. He was suddenly extremely tired. "You're kidding right? Bobby will go ballistic if he sees you're a demon."

Dean shrugged. "I'd track down Ruby and ask her about a spell, but she's made it clear she wants nothing to do with this anymore. You contacted Bobby the other week; he's bound to track us down now sooner or later. And you never know, he might handle the situation even better than you."

"I think I'm handling everything pretty damn well if you ask me. Especially after all you told me."

Dean studied Sam and for a moment Sam could have sworn his expression looked soft. "Yeah, you kinda are, bitch."

Sam chuckled despite everything that had happened today. Maybe things were going to work out; he just had to put all his faith in his brother. It shouldn't be too hard considering that he had done so his entire life.

"So jerk, are you going to make me drink some blood or what? Let's get this crap over with."

"Uh-uh. We're doing this right. First we go to Bobby and get me protected. Then we're heading over to Crowley's where you can get used to the blood and where we can practice in peace. Then we're coming back and finishing this thing off before the demon gives birth."

They were quiet for a while before a thought came to Sam.

"How does it form the baby any way, I mean...who's the dad?"

"Silly Sammy, the demon is the dad. You mix together a male demon with a female human and...somehow it forms a half-human half-demon baby in her. No sex needed." Dean giggled like a school girl.

Ohhh boy, they were so screwed.

Chapter Text

The Winchester brothers remained parked at a distance from Bobby's junkyard. Dean wouldn't move the car forward, his eyes staring straight ahead at the familiar house.

"Dean, move the freaking car. Let's get this over with." Sam hissed, he wasn't looking forward to this but the longer they waited the more anxious they were going to get.

Dean's expression was unreadable and he didn't say a word to Sam as he started driving slowly forward.

"I know this isn't going to go well by any means, but I hope it doesn't go as terribly as I think it will." Sam whispered and glanced over at Dean. "I think you should change your eyes, don't keep them black in front of Bobby."

Dean whipped his head around to stare at Sam. "Why the hell not? Isn't the whole point of this trip to let me not get noticed by any other demon? Why pretend?"

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"We wouldn't be pretending. He's going to find out right away. But I think if you keep your eyes human it will make him less freaked out. I think it will make him think of you as Dean instead of just a demon."

"Why do you let me keep them black then?" Dean challenged as he stopped the car in Bobby's yard.

"Because I trust you and accept you as you are." Dean went to open his mouth and Sam stopped him. "Before you make fun of me I'm going to shut you up right now. Now come on, let's see how this goes."

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They walked up to the doorway in silence and Sam knocked on the door right away. If he hesitated, he was afraid he'd chicken out.

It didn't take long for Bobby to swing open the door and despite his surprise, he even seemed happy to be seeing Sam.

That was, until he saw Dean standing a few steps behind him.

"What the hell!" Bobby bellowed and swiftly reached into his pocket to withdraw the flask of holy water he kept on him at all times.

Dean remarkably stayed still and let Bobby toss the contents of the flask on both him and Sam. Dean hissed upon the water hitting his face and Sam saw some steam come off from the small wounds. He let his eyes flash black for a fraction of a second.

"Heya Bobby, nice to see you too." He gritted his teeth and in an instant Bobby had his hands on Sam's shirt, trying to pull him inside.

Sam was stronger than Bobby however and managed to free himself from the older hunter's hold.

"What the hell are you thinking Sam? Bringin' a demon to my doorstep that is wearing your brother's body? I know you miss him boy but this..."

"I know what you're thinking Bobby," Sam interrupted his friend. "But this is Dean."

"It's a demon!" Bobby shouted. The only reason Bobby wasn't attacking Dean was because of the salt lines and wards that protected Bobby and prevented Dean from getting in.

"I know that Bobby. But please trust me on this. Don't you think I've tried everything to prove it's not him? This is my brother Bobby. At first I didn't want to believe it either but it's true." Sam tried his puppy dog eyes out for good measure. "I know Dean more than anyone and you've got to trust me on this, please. We need your help."

Bobby looked at Sam for a few seconds before shaking his head. "Sam you're so desperate to have your brother back that you'll take anything. How can you even stand next to this thing without defending yourself?"

"Awwe Sammy, he thinks I'm going to hurt you," Dean cooed and Sam glared at him.

"Really Dean? Is this the appropriate time to be acting sarcastic?"

"I'm a demon AND I'm Dean Winchester, do you expect me to be anything but sarcastic?"

"I expect you to at least behave for five minutes. We're supposed to be convincing Bobby that you're you and instead you find this funny?"

"Oh yeah, I find this hilarious."

"Yeah, then why don't you tell me what you find oh-so-funny."

"Okay, the expression that you're wearing right now," Dean stated, causing his brother to roll his eyes. "Is that enough enlightenment for you, college boy?"

"And now you go right to insulting me. Does every single one of our conversations have to lead to you calling me a name or harassing me?" Sam wasn't going to let Dean win this time.

"I'm a big brother. It's in my job description."

"You don't have a job!"

"Really? Because trying to watch out for your sorry ass is difficult enough that I should be earning a wage."

"ENOUGH!" Both brothers jumped in shock and turned to stare at Bobby, their banter forgotten.

"That's Dean." Bobby shook his head in awe. "There's no way in Hell that ain't Dean."

Sam grinned, Dean wore a sly smile.

"Gonna let me in then, old man?" Dean asked.

Bobby eyed Dean wearily. "Do you think I'm that dense? You might be Dean Winchester but you're still a demon and I will never trust demons. They're the nastiest and trickiest creatures of them all."

Bobby turned around and walked away, shutting his door.

"Well that went wonderful. What an amazing plan you had there, Sammy," Dean growled, staring daggers into the closed door.

"Did I hear you come up with a better idea? I don't think so," Sam shot back; he was angry and hurt by Bobby's strange behavior. Why accept that Dean was Dean but not trust him? Sam didn't understand it. As soon as he realized the demon he had been traveling with was his brother, he instantly had regained the blind trust he always had with Dean. Dean would never let him down and Dean would always protect him. Apparently Bobby couldn't see that.

"Actually, didn't I suggest my own course of action? Don't tell me you forgot."

Sam gasped, remembering Dean's idea on the way here. "Going and breaking into Bobby's house and stealing his books was NEVER going to be an option! I can't believe you even considered it!"

"It would have given us what we needed. Now he's going to be on high alert thanks to your failed plan and we won't ever be able to break in."

The door opened suddenly to Bobby staring at the brothers. "Oh don't worry; my house is better equipped to handle burglars than you'll ever know. Why else do you think I'd keep all my books out in the open and not locked up?" When Sam and Dean remained speechless, he continued. "I will let you in Dean. But not as you are now. You're too powerful and are capable of too much. I need to weaken you."

Bobby held up a syringe that Sam could only guess contained holy water.

Sam was instantly reminded of Dean being tortured by the vampires, holy water being forced down his throat while he bled and screamed.

"Oh no!" Sam pushed Bobby's offering hand away. "I'm not going to inject my brother with poison! Bobby, you know I would never do that! I'm not going to cause him any more pain!"

"I have to do this Sam. I can tell you're comfortable with him but I'm sure you can understand why I'm not. I'm being crazy enough by even letting him in, you should be grateful for that."

"And you should understand why I can't fill my brother with poison! I'm sorry but I won't do it, we can't do this Bobby, we're leaving..." Sam pushed Bobby's hand away once more. Bobby tried extending his arm further in offering, over the salt line.

That was when Dean quickly reached over and snatched the syringe, holding it up to one of his veins.

"If you won't do it," he looked at Sam. "I'll do it myself."

"But Dean!" Sam complained. "You said it yourself how much holy water hurts you when it gets inside you."

"It's worse when digested. Because it makes its way through your insides and then just sits in your organs. Injecting it like this...yeah it hurts but it has more of an effect like a drug would. It weakens me more than anything, makes me less alert and unable to tap into my powers and focus." He pierced his skin. "Which is what Bobby wants, so let's just go through with it." Dean pushed down on the syringe and Sam watched how the water slowly got injected into his brother's bloodstream while he was helpless to watch.

Dean gritted his teeth and his eyes flashed black as his face contorted in pain. By the time he was nearing the last of the water, his hand was shaking so bad that he almost couldn't finish. He did though and the syringe fell to the ground when it was emptied.

"Fuck...," he swore in pain, his body trembling. "Sammy..." His body started to sway to the side and Sam quickly reached over and supported his weakened brother as he struggled to remain upright.

"Okay, he did what you wanted." Sam glared at Bobby, angry at the man for making his brother go through pain. "Now let us in."

Bobby broke the wards at the entrance of his house and that allowed Sam to help Dean inside and place him on Bobby's couch. Sitting down next to his brother, Sam thought about how it was strange being back here with Dean. So many memories took place in this house; they grew up here when their father was away on hunts. They stopped here and ate on this sofa whenever they needed a break. They slept in the upstairs bedroom, healing from the wounds from their last hunt gone wrong...

Dean was leaning against Sam, his breath coming out harsher than normal and those feelings and sounds brought Sam back to the present.

"You doing okay?" Sam asked quietly as he watched Bobby reconnect all his wards.

"Just fucking peachy," Dean wheezed.

"I'm being serious."

"So am I," after a short pause, Dean continued. "I'm alright. My whole body pretty much stings and I feel like shit. But it's nothing like with the vamps. I'm not in unbearable pain and I can even concentrate. So chill out."

Sam smiled, his chest tightening up a bit in a happy way. Oh Dean, you really didn't change, did you? It was Dean's job to worry about Sam, but if Sam fretted over him for even a second, Dean would demand him to stop.

Bobby sat down in a chair across from the brothers and stared them down. "So tell me...how long's he been back?" Bobby nodded his head towards Dean.

"You can ask me ya know. I'm sitting right here," Dean growled. Sam found it funny that Dean was trying to sound all tough when he couldn't even muster up the strength to stop leaning against Sam and sit upright.

Bobby glared over at Dean. "I can see that. But I'm talking to Sam right now. So you best shut your trap while we discuss things."

Dean flashed his eyes black at Bobby who in return rolled his own eyes.

"You better try harder than that if you want to scare me, boy."

Sam tried not to laugh as Dean slumped even more against him, admitting defeat. Even as a demon, he couldn't win against Bobby. There were two rules when it came to staying at the Singer house.

1. Bobby knows best

2. You better do what Bobby asks of you

Those were facts that would never change. Obviously Dean was figuring it out all over again.

"About two months. I didn't want to believe it at first..."

"At first? Try a month!"

Sam ignored his brother. "But like you noticed, you just can't deny for long that he's not Dean."

"I get that he's your brother Sam. But he's a demon and demons lie."

"I've never lied to him!"

Bobby ignored Dean as well. "How can you trust he's with you for the right reasons?"

Sam didn't even have to think to answer that question. He trusted his brother; it was just a fact of life.

"If I can't trust Dean, then who can I trust Bobby?"

Bobby looked back and forth between the brothers. He was looking at Sam as if he couldn't comprehend how the young hunter could be perfectly fine and at ease with a demon leaning against him. But he knew that Sam wasn't going to leave Dean's side as long as the older brother was around.

"Just be careful Sam. Watch out for yourself."

"I would but Dean already does that. He watches out for me better than I ever could for myself."

Bobby looked resigned but nodded. "Okay, you're a grown man and I'm not going to tell you how to live your life. I trust that you know what's best for you."

Sam smiled a little. "Thanks Bobby."

Bobby brushed off the mention on thanks. "So tell me why you're here. Don't tell me you're going after Lilith still."

"We gotta send her back'ta Hell to stop the apocalypse." Dean mumbled. From the tone of his voice Sam could tell he was losing his battle to stay awake with the holy water weakening him.

Bobby's eyes seemed to bug out of his head. "Wait a minute. How about you repeat that. And this time, explain everything."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sam took a good hour to explain the whole Lilith and apocalypse thing to Bobby without getting into the demon blood or the spell Dean would need.

Dean hadn't fallen asleep like Sam had predicted but of course had to butt in the conversation with sarcastic remarks. One of them being how Sam had been so lucky that Dean had come to his rescue just in time. It was annoying, but it was true.

After all the explaining Bobby had handed them both beers in which he forgot to serve Dean's free of holy water. Dean buckled in pain when he took a sip, the beer bottle falling from his grasp onto the floor and his eyes flashing black.

As Sam tried to calm his brother down, Bobby was rooted to the spot. He looked like he was conflicted between going over to Dean's side or backing away from the demon. Eventually he decided to go back into the kitchen and handed Dean a holy water-free beer in which Dean snatched angrily from his hand.

"Sorry, it's a habit." Bobby seemed to notice that Dean was gaining strength back. "Although I'm going to have to inject you any way."

"What is this? Injections on the hour?" Dean hissed. "This place is full of wards, what could I possibly do to you?"

"You know this place like the back of your hand, I'm not stupid boy. If you wanted to, you could find ways around these wards. If any demon could, it would be you and that's what makes you even more dangerous."

Dean glared at Bobby as Sam decided to interrupt them. "Stick with the injections if you have to insist on poisoning him. If he digests the water it hurts him a lot more."

Dean let Bobby fill him with poison and when Sam demanded that it was time for the both of them to lie down Bobby followed them up to the bedroom.

"If he's staying the night at my house, he's staying under my conditions."

"He's already poisoned Bobby! What do you think he could do when he's this weak?"

"I'm not getting up in the middle of the night every couple hours to inject him and I know you won't do it for me. So he's getting his hands cuffed and a devil's trap under that bed."

Dean growled even though it didn't have much of an effect since he was leaning against Sam and needed all of his brother's support to make it up the stairs. Bobby did exactly what he had said and more. He left no blankets or pillows on Dean's bed and placed a rug with a devil's trap under it as well as a salt ring around it. He then cuffed Dean in iron handcuffs and pushed him onto the bed.

Sam wasn't sure how Bobby could get any more drastic with his protective measures. Dean was hissing on the bed, his wrists already looking red from the toxic iron.

"Do you have to go through so much to put him in pain? Do you really need the handcuffs Bobby?"

"It's never bad to be too safe," Bobby shrugged and then looked over at Sam. "He'll heal anyway. Now come on."

"Come on where?"

"I'm not letting you sleep in here with him, go to the other guest room, it's cleared out for once."

Sam shook his head rapidly as he looked down at his brother. Dean looked pathetic tied up in pain with his eyes black. Sam swore he was even whimpering a little bit from both the holy water and the iron. Sam could hardly stand to see Dean like this, the last thing he would ever do was leave his brother while he was in this state. There was no way.

"You're crazy if you think I'm leaving him alone in here like this. I know you don't trust him but you've got to trust me Bobby. I'm not going to let him loose. If you don't let me stay in here then we're both leaving." Sam kept his voice strong even though it was threatening to break from the distressed noises his brother was making.

Bobby sighed but Sam knew he had won. "Fine, I'll take that risk because you're right. I do trust you. But just remember, you're lucky I'm letting him in my house at all, let alone letting him stay the night."

With that, Bobby closed the door and left.

"Don't remember him being that much of an ass." Dean mumbled from his bed. His body was shivering and Sam found it strange that the poison would make him cold.

"He'll loosen up. He better or we're not coming back here again."

"Just ask him to give us the damn spell and let's get out of here. Doesn't he want to know the reason for us coming here in the first place?" Dean's voice wasn't much above a whisper and it unnerved Sam.

"Trust me, he wants to know. But I think he's worn out from everything today. Oh, he'll demand to know why we came here first thing tomorrow, especially since I ditched him these past months and now I suddenly appeared at his doorstep with you."

Dean didn't answer and Sam sat on his own bed in the dark. After a few minutes he heard Dean's teeth begin to chatter and Sam felt his heart break for his demon brother trapped on that bed. If he let Dean out of his confinement, his trust with Bobby would be lost.

Sam eyed the blankets and pillow Bobby had left in the corner. Dean at least deserved to be warm and comfortable. He was handcuffed and above a devil's trap, how could blankets help him escape this time?

Sam grabbed the items and then walked over to his brother's bed. Without saying a word he lifted up Dean's head and placed the pillow under it. He then spread out the blanket over his brother's shivering form, making sure every part of his body was covered and kept warm.

Dean went still after that, or as still as he could with the shivering. Sam didn't hesitate as this time he was the one to finally place a hand on his brother's shoulder in the middle of the night.

After a minute Dean's breathing seemed to calm and his shivering subsided greatly. Sam squeezed Dean's shoulder gently before returning to his own bed.

Sam was expecting another goodnight from Dean. He didn't get it tonight though, instead he got something different.

"Thank you Sammy."

Sam blinked back tears. This was still his brother all the way, no matter the differences they were still Sam and Dean. His blind faith in his brother was now cemented. Sam would die for this man...this demon...a thousand times over.

"It's my job too, Dean."

Chapter Text

Sam woke up with a loud yawn and went to stretch only to find his arms wouldn't budge. His first thought was that his arms were just stiff, that was until he noticed the cold feel of handcuffs around his wrists. Now that he was alert he realized that his ankles were tied up too. Sam lifted his head a bit; yep they were tied by rope. Not only that but the whole room looked strange and blurry, it almost looked like the air had a red glow to it.

"Great you're finally awake, now we can have some fun." It was Dean's voice and at the same time it wasn't. The voice sounded so sinister; never would Sam have imagined his brother to talk to him in that way.

"Dean?" Sam looked up to suddenly see his brother standing over him with a wicked sneer and was that a...a knife in his right hand? Oh god, it was.

"Shouldn't have trusted me so easily little brother." Dean tsked as he ran the blade lightly down Sam's face, just barley piercing the skin. "Don't even think of calling for Bobby, he's taken care of." Dean licked the blood off of the blade, his face looking nearly feral.

"Dean, don't do this," Sam begged, he didn't understand what could have gotten into his brother's head overnight. Maybe it had been a memory of hell; all Sam had to do was get through to him. He refused to believe otherwise, he refused to believe his Dean was gone. "This isn't who you are."

"Really now?" Dean cackled, harsh and loud. "And tell me exactly who you think I am?"

"You're my brother, my hunting partner and my best friend. We're a team."

"Oh Sammy." The nickname sounded cruel and wrong. Dean's black eyes changed to Lilith-white and Sam gasped. "We haven't been a team since you let me get torn to shreds by the hellhounds. Remember that promise you made to me, the promise to save me from Hell? Remind me how that went."

"I tried everything I could!"

"You didn't try hard enough!" Dean bellowed and shoved the knife into Sam's bicep, causing his younger brother to scream out in pain.

"You really thought I still cared for you? I'll tell you who I really am; I'm a demon, a demon that was only using you. But now, I found out that I don't need you anymore so I can stop pretending and do what I've wanted to do this whole time."

"You don't want this," Sam whispered, a last attempt at regaining his brother.

"Of course I do. I've learned so much down in Hell Sam, I'm one of the very best. There's nothing I want more than to practice my skill on the thing I wasted so much of my life worrying and protecting. And for what? You're a freak, destined from birth." He slowly brought the knife down and began to carve patterns into Sam's skin. "All you are to me is a worthless...piece...of...scum."

The knife came plunging down.

"Sam."

"SAM?"

"SAMMY!"

Sam woke up for a second time with a start, shooting straight up in bed while the room spun around him. He breathed deeply for a few moments and allowed the feeling of being sliced apart to vanish. When he opened his eyes again the room was bright with early morning sunlight. He wasn't tied up; he could even hear birds chirping happily from outside...

He turned to the bed next to him and was met with Dean's blessedly black and tired eyes. He never imagined he'd be that relieved to see those black eyes, to feel so calmed by their presence. Dean looked horrible and exhausted and seemed genuinely amused.

"Dream about some homicidal psychotic clowns again?"

Sam couldn't help it. He burst out laughing. Oh, Dean. He laughed so hard that his chest began to hurt, his eyes started to water.

"Or maybe it's you that's psychotic." Dean's voice was light, humorous. "I know that this has been kinda overwhelming but I was hoping I wouldn't have to send you to a mental hospital. Oh well."

All of Sam's worries melted off of him just then. Dean could lie there captive and in pain and still made the effort to crack jokes to Sam. His brother was amazing.

Sam got out of bed and walked right into the devil's trap that contained his brother's bed and sat down. He lifted Dean up and grabbed onto him in a tight hug.

"Playing nice with me won't change my mind of sending you into a psych ward."

Sam laughed again, letting a few tears fall. He squeezed Dean tighter. "You're awesome."

"Hell yeah I am. Good choice of words there Sammy, you just saved yourself a trip to the crazy-bin."

"Shut up." Sam chuckled.

"You better make good use out of this chick-flick session while I can't do anything about it. Because if you so much as attempt this again I'll...," Dean stopped to think for a moment. "I'll burn your laptop in a fiery blaze with my mind."

"You wouldn't."

"Oh, but I would."

Sam let go and helped Dean sit up against the headboard. "You can set things on fire?"

"Yeah, remember what I did to motel-man's car? See...watch this." Dean stared over at Sam's boots intently and a few seconds later they were ablaze.

Sam's eyes bugged out of his head. It was mind-bending. "Cool."

"I just torched your boots and you think that's cool?"

"I hated those things anyway. You do owe me a new pair though."

"I think I can live with that." Dean was smiling, but it was nothing like the sneer from Sam's nightmare. It was a cocky, and maybe even a little...proud, smirk.

"How do you do that though? Just concentrate?" Sam asked as he leaned against the headboard next to his brother.

"Pretty much. They teach you this shit in hell." Sam shivered at that comment, brought back to his dream for a moment. Dean looked at him in what Sam couldn't deny was worry. "Your dream wasn't about clowns, was it?"

"Unless you count an evil white-eyed version of yourself tearing me apart as a clown, than no." Sam looked down, feeling embarrassed that he'd even brought it up.

Dean kicked him in the leg, hard. "Hey, bitch didn't I tell you that I'd never want to hurt you? Do you honestly think I could even bring myself to?"

"No, I know you wouldn't Dean. The nightmare just scared the crap out of me."

"Well next time you'll know it's a dream and can beat the shit out of fake-me." Sam chuckled and Dean grinned in response. "Anyway, I basically look at whatever I want and solely focus on that, everything else just kinda fades away. Then I think about what I want to do to it, like set it on fire and BOOM, it happens. It's similar to how you're going to pull out demons with your mind."

"It's that simple?"

"Kind of, I mean of course there's limits to what us demons can do, especially a lower-level like me. It's not like I can make the world explode with a thought. I can set things on fire, move things with my mind and slice things open, goes with people too."

"Do you ever find yourself wanting to?" Sam wasn't afraid; he just honestly wanted to know. It was about time he tried to understand what it was like to be Dean now and what he went through.

Dean shrugged the best he could with his hands tied up behind his back. "It's not like I'm going around wanting to do it. But if I had to, I would without a second thought."

Sam nodded. He could take that. He could be Dean's conscious for him.

Anything else that would have been said was cut short when Bobby opened up the door, looking at Sam and Dean sitting next to each other with an incredulous expression on his face. He glanced at the blanket and pillow that were now on Dean's bed with a sigh, but didn't mention it. He then must have noticed the smell because he then turned around to see Sam's charred boots.

Sam offered Bobby a small smile and a shrug, he wasn't going to let Booby in on what Dean had done, but he was letting him know that it wasn't anything serious.

Bobby looked suspicious and hesitated a few moments before he tossed Sam something small...the key to Dean's handcuffs.

"Go ahead and break the wards, then bring him downstairs."

But before Bobby could turn and leave he must have heard Sam's gasp of horror when he looked at his brother's wrists. They were openly bleeding and raw; the skin was torn to the bone in some places.

"You know where the first aid kit is," Bobby told him.

Sam nodded, eyes starting to water again from looking at the horrible state of his brother's hands. This injury would take longer to heal, just like the holy water had, because iron was also poison to Dean. He should have demanded Bobby take them off the minute he put them on his brother.

Sam knelt under the bed and grabbed the first aid kit. Dean was sitting with his hands stiffly in his lap, his face a picture of pain. The blood...the bone...it was what Sam had seen when the hellhounds...

"Shit," Bobby muttered and crossed the salt line into the room. He must have just realized how bad Dean's hands were. He spoke to Sam but had his eyes on Dean's bleeding wrists the whole time. "You're in no condition to do that Sam, move over."

Sam just realized how badly his hands were shaking; it matched with how out of control he felt about this whole situation. Bobby took the first aid kit from Sam, his eyes held something close to guilt as he continued to stare at Dean's injuries.

With some hesitation, he stepped into the devil's trap and sat down on the bed. Dean became stock-still; he was probably just as confused as Sam was.

"Give me your hands you idjit," Bobby grumbled and Dean reluctantly held out his hands with a wince and a suspicious look at Bobby.

The man that had been like a father to them both took care when cleaning up Dean's hands and bandaging them up nicely, nothing like the rough and careless way Sam had been expecting him to. He finished wrapping the gauze around Dean's thumb and forehand to hold the bandage in place, both of Dean's wrists protected from any further harm. Bobby cleared his throat, patted Dean's right hand gently before leaving.

Dean, on the other hand just looked perplexed. "What the hell was that about?" he asked as Sam broke all the barriers that kept his brother trapped.

"I...I think he's realizing that you're still you."

"By seeing my hands bleed?"

"No..." Sam forced himself to look away from the bandages. "I think he had time to think about it overnight and when he saw what he had done to you...it hurt him. I think he understands now and kind of regrets what he did."

"Hmmm...," Dean didn't seem to believe Sam as he got up and grabbed the first shower. After Sam had washed up as well (and was forced to wear an old pair of running shoes) they headed downstairs. Bobby was standing at the counter pouring some milk into glasses and there were two plates of pancakes on the small kitchen table.

Sam sat down right away as he was starved and it wasn't until he took his first bite that he noticed that Dean was standing awkwardly on the other side of the kitchen. It seemed that he was afraid he was going to do something wrong or...

"What are you standing there for boy?" Bobby huffed as he turned around and glared at Dean. "Sit down with your brother and eat."

Dean looked from the plate to Bobby. He had thought the food at the table was Bobby's, that he had been forgotten and left out of the meal since he was a demon. Shit, Dean thought Bobby wouldn't have cared to feed him.

"Mine's over here, stupid." Bobby pointed to another stack of pancakes on the counter.

Dean sauntered over carefully; the look he was giving Sam with his now-green eyes was pure confusion. As soon as he took his first hesitant bite of his pancakes though, he was in bliss.

"Holy shit, Bobby. I forgot your blueberry pancakes were fucking amazing. Now I remember why I like you so much."

The last statement was for certain something Dean had never meant to say. But it seemed to have some effect on the older hunter. He seemed to really study Dean for a moment, almost as if he was analyzing him.

"I'm going to give you a chance boy. But just so you know, if you ever lay a finger on your brother in a harmful manner….I won't hesitate to send you straight back to Hell."

Dean rolled his eyes at Bobby's warning. "Wow, thanks Bobby, I've missed you too. More importantly, I've missed your cooking."

Bobby raised an eyebrow. "Shut your cocky ass mouth or I'll never cook for you again."

Dean turned to his brother. "It's your lucky day Sammy, looks like I'm finally going to shut up for once."

Dean scarfed down his pancakes and instead of getting up to eat the rest, he demanded that Sam eat them so he could 'get some meat on his bony ass'.

Sam was able to finish half of the second helping and that seemed to please Dean enough to get him off Sam's back. Dean was just finishing Sam's leftovers when Bobby walked back into the kitchen.

"I have something to show you boys, follow me."

Dean stopped licking the syrup off the plate and waited for Sam to take the lead. "You're going to go ahead of me and warn me where all the wards are. I do not feel like getting trapped again."

Sam followed behind Bobby, tugging Dean out of the way whenever he saw a ward until they were in Bobby's basement.

"What the hell is that?" Dean glared at the contraption - a whole new room made out of steel that now took up a large portion of the basement.

"I'm with Dean on this one Bobby. Why did you make this?"

"It's a panic room. Mostly to protect from demons." Dean sneered at the comment but Bobby didn't find it hard to ignore him. "But I really put every single ward and protection mark I could think of on it. Once you go in there, you're protected from anything and everything."

"Way to go Bobby!" Dean cheered sarcastically. "A little late though, don't ya think? I could have used that to prevent the hellhounds from tearing me apart."

Bobby glared over at Dean; he didn't seem too comfortable with him. Sam didn't understand that. Bobby accepted him as Dean now so why couldn't he feel at ease?

Maybe Sam wasn't seeing things straight because of his blind faith in Dean. He and Dean just had that bond and Sam connected with his brother in a way that no one else could. He couldn't really blame Bobby for being paranoid and not seeing Dean as the same person he had been. Sam honestly believed that he was the only person that would ever be able to completely see past the demon and simply see Dean.

"What happened to you was my whole reason for getting this room, Dean."

"Won't do me much good now, I won't even be able to enter it." Dean's eyes flashed black and his expression went cold. "So you know if Lilith or Alastair came here, you and Sammy can be all nice and safe while they slice me apart and send me back to the pit."

Dean turned around and stormed back up the stairs leaving Sam and Bobby in confusion. Sam glanced over at his friend for a moment before following the path his brother took.

"Sam," Bobby called out to him. "Don't, leave him be."

Sam got it; Bobby was scared of Dean when he was angry. He didn't want Sam near him.

"He's not going to hurt me Bobby." Sam shook his head. "And I'm not going to sit around and watch him hurt."

Sam walked into the living room just in time to see Dean walk right into a devil's trap unknowingly.

"Fuck!" Dean swore and clutched his hair in anger, tugging at it. "Fuck this!"

Anger and rage were practically radiating off of Dean as Sam stepped right into the devil's trap.

Dean jumped back as much as he could and fisted his hands at his sides tightly. "Sam."

Sam grabbed his shoulders and squeezed hard, trying to pull Dean back into the here and now. "Dean, relax. Just take a deep breath and tell me what's wrong."

"I don't know what's wrong Sam!" Dean bellowed

"There has to be a reason."

"No," Dean shook his head wildly. "No, you don't get it Sam. I'm not human anymore, there doesn't have to be a reason. Demons just get angry Sam. I'm furious and I feel like I want to beat someone to death!"

"Like me?" Sam asked, knowing what the answer would be.

"No, not like you, you moron! You...you're the only thing keeping me sane."

That was exactly what Sam needed Dean to say. His brother needed to hear himself say those words.

"I get it Dean. And I'm right here. I'm not leaving you alone, no matter if you have freak outs or get angry or anything. I'm always going to be right here, it doesn't matter what Bobby thinks. I'm always going to have your back, understand?"

Sam waited for Dean's terse nod before he continued. "Now tell me, who is Alastair?"

Dean actually paled. Shit! This couldn't be good.

"No." Dean shook his head stubbornly.

"Please tell me Dean."

"You don't need to know the shit I went through."

"You're right, I don't. But I want to. Talk to me Dean."

"He was the sick bastard that tore me apart and taught me how to torture souls until they lost all humanity. There you go."

Sam's eyes widened in shock but he never let go of his brother's shoulders. "Dean..."

"You're not running away? Not disgusted?"

"You're a demon Dean. I know you've done things that I find horrible. If I was so disgusted by that I would have run away a long time ago. Didn't I just finish telling you that I have your back?"

"I did stuff you'd never imagined the old me would have done. Hell, human-me would have killed myself in a heartbeat."

"I don't care."

"Really now? Even though before I went to Hell, I told you to kill me if I ever turned into this?"

Sam shook his head. "I don't know that Dean anymore. But I know the Dean standing in front of me right now and he's still the best brother I could ever ask for."

Sam knelt down and broke the devil's trap; he almost forgot it had been there. He stood up again and looked at his brother's black eyes.

"I'm going to learn these powers. And when I do I'm going to fucking kill Aliastair."

"Uh-uh," Dean reminded him. "No mind-killing allowed."

Sam took a deep breath. "Fine, I won't kill him with my powers, but I am going to kill the son-of-a-bitch. I'll make sure of it."

"Whatever you say Sammy, now can we please tell Bobby about the spell we need so we can get the hell out of here?"

It turned out that Bobby did know of a spell but it would take a day for him to actually find the old book and get the supplies that were needed. Of course Dean was anything but thrilled about having to stay another night.

"Gonna destroy my wrists again?" Dean hissed at Bobby. Dean was sitting on the couch with his arms folded, refusing to help Sam and Bobby with research.

"I'm not even injecting you anymore, so why would I tie you up again?" Bobby gritted his teeth and looked over at Sam. "Sam, get him out of here. I've got this. Just find something to entertain him, I can't concentrate while he's in here whining."

"Well, I would just leave the room on my own, but you won't let me anywhere if Sam's not with me!"

Sam got up and grabbed Dean's arm. "Come on Dean, let's go."

Dean shoved Sam's grip off and got to his feet, staring daggers at Bobby.

Sam dropped his voice so only Dean could hear. "If you want the damn spell, then let's just get out of his way. Come on, let's get something to eat."

Dean seemed irritated, but Sam was happy that he followed without complaining any further. They grabbed a couple of beers and Sam made them both a sandwich before they retreated upstairs.

"You know..." Sam stated as they got situated on their respective beds. "Bobby wasn't trying to go out of his way to make you angry in the basement."

"Showing me a contraption he created to keep things like me away? How did he NOT think I wouldn't get angry?"

Dean did have a point. "I think he was just trying to make sure you didn't feel left out, but went along with it in the wrong way."

His brother gave a heartless laugh at the comment. "No Sammy, you're seeing this through your rose-tinted glasses again. He brought me down there because he wanted to prove a point to you. He wanted to get me angry and he wanted to get me out-of-control. I don't know, maybe he even wanted me to try going after one of you just so he could show you that I don't deserve to be treated like a person."

Sam didn't know what to say, Dean's argument actually made a lot of sense.

"It's obvious he doesn't like the way you're talking to me normally and the way you feel comfortable around me."

"But I know you'd never hurt me Dean. You're always going to be my brother."

"I know that." Dean seemed frustrated with the whole situation, they needed to get out of Bobby's soon for Dean's own sanity. "But he doesn't think that. He thinks the fact that I'm a demon should outweigh the fact that I'm your brother. He wants an excuse to end me."

"I don't think it's that serious Dean."

"Oh really? Well he at least wants a reason to kick me out and for me to stay away from you. Even you can't deny that."

Dean was right. Bobby hadn't spent these last two months with Dean like Sam had. And even if he had, he would still never trust Dean, not the way Sam did.

"We'll leave as soon as Bobby finishes the ritual tomorrow. I promise."

Chapter Text

Dean must not have gotten a lot of sleep last night while he was tied up and poisoned because after their meal, he passed out spread-eagled on his bed. Sam knew Bobby would have a fit if Sam left Dean alone without someone to watch over his every move but Sam didn't care. He wanted to go downstairs and help Bobby look for the ritual. Surely Bobby could understand that Sam didn't want to sit up bored in the room while Dean slept. What did Bobby expect Dean to do anyway? If he had wanted to hurt anyone or steal anything, he would have attempted to already.

Heh, steal. Sam wouldn't put it past his brother to steal something from Bobby's house.

He decided to take the risk and walked downstairs where Bobby sat in front of books, writing down a list of items.

Just as suspected, Bobby looked up with an angry glare "What are you doing down here? You gotta stay up there with him, I don't want him have free reign to wander around my house without supervision."

"You make it sound like he's a child." Sam rolled his eyes.

"He's a demon. He has less inhibition than a child."

"Don't worry; I put your devil's trap rug by the door just for you. He's going to be pissed at me though, so thanks a lot for that."

"Why doesn't he just come down here with you then?"

"He's sleeping; remember what you did to him last night? I doubt he got much sleep while he was poisoned. I'm not going to stay up there and babysit my older brother."

Bobby's mouth twitched into a frown for a second at the mention of the poison. "Why would demons need sleep anyway?"

Sam considered that question, he never actually asked Dean but he had some ideas as to why he needed sleep. "I know Dean still gets tired and he still eats as much as he ever did. My guess is that he doesn't actually need the food and rest, but if he doesn't get any, it affects his body negatively. It's still his human body and it needs the nutrients and sleep or else he won't be able to function as well."

"I noticed he still had his appetite," Bobby stated and cleared his throat. "Anyway, I have the ritual written down; I just have to go collect the ingredients. I..." He looked upstairs with uncertainty. "I don't trust him. But I trust you. If you are certain it's okay to leave him up there then you can. But this is still my house and while I'm gone, I don't want him to leave that room. If he wants something, you can get it for him and bring it in to him. Understand?"

Of course Sam wished Bobby would be more accepting of the situation, but he knew it was never going to happen. If this was the best he could get then he would take it. "Yeah, we'll be leaving afterward. Tomorrow morning."

Bobby nodded. "Sam...just...be safe. You know how badly I wanted that brother of yours back. I will never trust a demon but I understand that this is Dean. I'm willing to give him a chance and in a way I'm trusting him to travel with you and to keep you safe." He paused as he got on his boots. "You are both welcome here, if Dean can deal with my precautions of course."

Sam couldn't promise Bobby that they would come back. He wasn't sure if Dean ever wanted to deal with this again. But Bobby was giving them the option; he was allowing them both into his house if they needed shelter.

"Thank you, Bobby."

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Bobby was out for around three hours. Luckily, Dean slept for two of them.

Sam knew his brother was awake when he heard the loud cursing. He rushed upstairs to see Dean standing just outside the devil's trap.

"What. the. hell. Sammy?" Dean grinded his teeth in anger, his fists clenched.

"Bobby's requirements." Sam sighed with a shrug and stepped inside the room.

"You're not going to let me out?"

"He's out getting your ingredients for the spell and doesn't want you to leave this room while he's away." Sam held up a hand when Dean went to speak. "Let's try not to complain. And even though he can't get over the fact that you're a demon, he IS getting the spell for you."

"I want to get the fuck out of this house," Dean simply muttered. He looked disheveled; his black eyes seemed a little wild.

"What's wrong with you?" Sam asked softly, trying not to set Dean off.

"I'm trapped! That's what's wrong! I am sick and tired of being trapped, confined, whatever you want to call it."

"Is it...do you feel like this because of Hell? Were you trapped a lot down there?" The old Dean never would have answered. But Sam realized with some fascination that the new Dean always seemed to answer Sam's questions. As a demon he didn't seem to care about hiding things anymore.

"Not only was I trapped in Hell. But I was attached to a fricken rack, hanging from my skin. There was nowhere to go. Even after I got off, there was always a dead end."

Oh god. No wonder Dean freaked when he found himself in a devil's trap. Dean was treated like a diseased animal in Hell, and that was pretty much how Bobby was treating him. Not by means of torture, but by isolation.

Sam thought of putting a hand on Dean's shoulder but decided against it. That action might make Dean feel like he was getting held down or feel trapped.

"I'm here." Sam said simply instead. "I mean, you have to feel a little bit safer being with me right?"

"I'm a demon; I don't need company to feel safe." Dean spat out somewhat harshly. Sam noticed though how his posture became more relaxed and his hands unclenched.

"Not just any company, it's me. And I think I'm pretty awesome."

Dean turned back to face Sam and rolled his eyes. "You're forgetting who the awesome brother is."

Sam smiled; he had to admit that he liked how Dean was open with him now. There weren't any more secrets hidden from each other and it felt good, it made him trust his brother even more.

In a way though he felt bad by liking aspects of demon Dean. It made him feel like he was insulting the memory and wishes of human Dean. But it was actually really silly to think about it that way. Human Dean and demon Dean were the same person. There was no reason to worry about what his brother would have thought about this situation because Dean was right here with him. The only opinion that mattered was the one of the brother that stood here in front of him, he was changed sure, but he was undeniably still Dean.

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When Bobby came back and allowed Dean out of the room he explained the ritual to them. He would have to combine the ingredients and then say the chant. He had an iron poker made into a shape that looked similar to the ward-lock that Sam knew of. Bobby would dip that symbol into the concoction and then press it onto Dean's skin.

"This is gonna allow him to remain unseen by demons' powers even if he left his body. The ritual is what makes this spell combine to his demonic soul, not his body."

"Where did you manage to find that symbol so quickly?" Sam asked. It wasn't everyday that you came before a metal demonic symbol that could burn a protection spell into your skin.

"You should know by now that I have my ways." Bobby completed the mixing and then began chanting. Dean looked annoyed through the whole process and when Bobby dipped the metal into the mixture they all jumped in shock when it began glowing a fiery orange.

"You are not touching me with that thing." Dean started backing away from Bobby.

"If you want the protection, it's gotta go on your skin, you idjit."

"I know that." Dean hissed. "I'm not having you do it though. This lack of trust thing goes both ways. Give it to Sammy."

For a fraction of a second Bobby almost looked hurt by Dean's words. "It's gonna take two seconds, it doesn't matter who does it."

"I want my brother to do it."

Bobby shrugged and handed the hot poker over to Sam. He by no means wanted to do this to Dean but he knew it would only hurt him for a second. It wouldn't affect Dean for long.

Dean relaxed when Sam had a hold of the item. "Does it matter where I should do this?" Sam asked Bobby.

"Doesn't matter. The symbol will vanish into his skin; it will be locked into his soul forever and can't be un-done."

Sam nodded, "Alright, take off your shirt Dean."

"Sammy, Sammy, Sammy...I know I'm drop dead gorgeous but you gotta remember we're related."

Sam rolled his eyes and punched Dean in the back. "Shut up you freak." He sighed and waited until Dean obeyed. Apparently demons couldn't heal old scar marks, because Dean's back was still littered with them. Sam grabbed Dean by the shoulder gently. "I'm gonna put it right below your left shoulder, alright? On three. One...two..." Sam pressed the metal against Dean's skin for a second and then pulled it away. Dean flinched a bit and tensed up, but other than that he didn't seem to be affected.

"Alright," Bobby spoke up as he threw the hot poker into his fireplace, destroying it forever. "He's safe. And after a few days the mark will be gone." He wandered out of the room. "I need a drink."

Dean turned around as he was putting his shirt back on. Sam couldn't help but notice that Dean's demon protection tattoo was still there. Except there was one major difference, there was a long scar running through it, breaking the anti-possession seal.

Dean caught Sam staring and made sure Bobby was out of the room before answering. "Broke it after I restored my body."

It was very creepy to think that not very long ago Dean's body had been decomposing underground while right now he was walking around in it, looking healthier than ever. "And it was still there after all those months rotting underground?" Sam asked.

Dean smirked. "Hey, I did a good job at fixing it up, didn't I? It was in pretty rough shape but yeah, the tattoo and every other mark on my body were still there after the restoration."

"So you obviously have the ward that Meg used on me right? The one that locks you to your body?"

"Oh yeah I got tons of them." Dean lifted up his pant leg a bit to show two small tattoos on both of his ankles. He also showed Sam two on the inside on his upper arms. "No one is gonna send me back to Hell," he grinned.

Right at that moment Sam knew that Dean trusted him just as equally as Sam did. Dean had revealed to Sam the location of his tattoos, of the things that if broken, could make him vulnerable in going back to Hell. Dean trusted Sam not to use that information against him.

"You're right, no one's gonna send you back. I'm going to make sure of it."

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They spent their last night at Bobby's with Dean un-cuffed and not poisoned, although he was still trapped by a salt ring and devil's trap. After they had both showered, Dean was standing impatiently in the hallway, waiting for Sam to break a ward that stood in his way.

They walked down together and saw Bobby waiting for them both by his front door. He had a couple of bags of food waiting for them both to eat on their drive.

His goodbyes were brief and Sam saw a flurry of emotions running across the elder hunter's face.

"Please take care of yourself," Bobby told Sam as he grabbed him into a tight hug. "Call me and keep me updated on this crazy plan of yours."

Sam chuckled inwardly. Oh you have no idea how crazy it actually is Bobby. I'm going to be drinking my brother's blood! "Thanks for letting us stay here Bobby, I promise I will."

Bobby pulled away and glanced over at Dean who stood near the door, looking bored. He took a step towards the demon.

"I can't believe I'm letting this happen, but Sam's safety is in your hands. I don't care if you're a demon, you still better watch out for your brother as much as you ever did before."

Dean suddenly looked proud. "That's all I'm trying to do, oh and help save the world. Despite all my demonic powers, protecting Sammy is still what I'm best at. So you can kiss my feet after I've kept Sammy safe and prevented the apocalypse. If I fail then you're free to kill me. Deal?"

Bobby looked a bit surprised. "Fine, deal." He turned away and seemed to start walking into the kitchen when he paused. After a second or two he turned around and walked back up to Dean where he placed a hand on his shoulder.

For the first time since they got there, Bobby looked Dean in the eyes. "Take care of yourself too. Sam needs you."

Sam didn't drive for long on the expressway before Dean started telling him where to go.

"Get off here, Exit 15...go right...I said right Sam. Okay now turn left at the next light...alright pull in here."

They were parked in front of a store that read Men's Shoe Warehouse.

"Dean, what the Hell?" Sam questioned as his brother grabbed a backpack from his duffle that looked strangely familiar...

"Dude! That's Bobby's backpack! I know he didn't let you have that."

"Exactly, you're doubting my theft skills again Sammy." Dean smirked wickedly. "This oversized thing is perfect for my crimes."

"You can't be serious..." Sam started but Dean was already gone.

Sam was left pouting in the car, but not for long as Dean came sauntering back ten minutes later. He opened the backpack and tossed a pair of boots at Sam.

"Dean, what?"

"I owe you. Remember how I torched your old ones?"

Sam looked down at the boots and felt a strong surge of love for his brother. They were really nice boots and they even were the correct size. "At least you stole a good looking pair."

"Hey, didn't I tell you to stop doubting how amazing I am? I can go to Hell for eighty years but still remember your crappy sense of fashion."

Sam swallowed. "Never doubted you." His voice was raw with emotion. When he looked over at Dean he saw his brother pull out an expensive pair of sunglasses from the bag and slip them on.

"They had sunglasses in a shoe store?"

"Nah, these I swiped off a snobby rich business man." Suddenly a middle-aged man emerged from the store in an expensive suit, looking around angrily.

"Floor it Sammy!"

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Sam did as he brother told him, laughing loudly the entire time.

Once they entered Colorado Sam did as he had been told and woke Dean up from where he was dozing, spread out on the back seat. Dean would take over from there and drive the rest of the way to Crowley's house.

"Can't you just teleport like Ruby could?" Sam asked. If Dean could do that, maybe he could take Sam with him. It would save a lot of time instead of driving from place to place.

"Don't be getting too eager Sammy. It takes decades to learn how to do that and even longer to teleport to the right location properly." He grinned over at Sam, and if it weren't for the black eyes he would have looked child-like. "I'm still just a baby."

Sam rolled his eyes and placed his head against the windshield, trying to let the patter of rain lull him to sleep.

"Besides, do you ever think I'd just abandon my baby even if I could teleport? Not gonna happen."

Of course Dean would never dare leave his precious car. But even Sam had to admit it was like a home to them both. That and Bobby's house...but thinking about Bobby's place brought another question to Sam's mind.

"When you told Bobby to kill you if you weren't able to protect me...did you actually mean that? Would you let him?"

Dean's stare at the road turned cold and Sam wondered for a minute if his brother was finally not going to answer a question.

"Of course I meant it." Dean's voice was almost emotionless. "What point would I have to live if you died? I'd just be another nameless, faceless demon with no purpose."

The thought of Dean getting killed again, this time for good, scared the shit out of Sam. Dean would be gone forever, not in Hell but his soul would actually cease to exist. Sam couldn't go on living, even if it was in heaven, if his brother did no longer exist. Just like Dean had said, what would even be the point in living anymore?

Sam didn't hide his shudder. "I'm going to eventually die Dean. You can't...you can't do that. You'll just have to find a way to bring me back."

Dean didn't answer and Sam didn't blame him. What were they going to do? Sam would have never considered living forever but he would gladly do it if it kept them together and more importantly, kept Dean alive.

Actually when Sam thought about it, if it was possible it wouldn't be so bad to keep living on and on if he was with Dean. He was sure his brother with all his weirdness would be able to keep life interesting.

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They pulled up at Crowley's very huge and admittedly scary, mansion. Dean walked up to the gates as if he didn't have a care in the world. Sam reluctantly followed, his steps cautious.

Sam looked at the voice box attached to the gate. "Are you going to contact him?"

"I'm not going to use that thing, are you stupid? That goes straight to his brainless demon minions. They'd never let us in, remember that they can't tell I'm a demon anymore unless they see my eyes go black." Dean pulled out his phone then and pressed the number two. He had this freaking demon on speed dial.

Dean caught Sam's glare. "Awwe, don't be jealous Sammy. You're still number one on my speed dial."

Sam felt oddly comforted by that. He better damn well still be number one on Dean's speed dial because his older brother had never left Sam's list.

"Hey, me and Sam are here." Dean said into his phone, "No, I AM bringing the knife in. This isn't just because Sam wants to but because I don't trust those demon workers of yours. In case you haven't noticed, all of Hell is out to get me." There was a long pause. "Why don't you just open the damn gates already and we'll discuss everything once we're inside."

Dean hung up his phone and at the same moment, the gates swung open. The moment they passed the opening, the gates swung shut quickly with a snap.

Sam trailed behind his brother as he stared up at the creepy looking mansion. He couldn't believe he was going to be staying in this strange demon's house. Living with his brother was entirely different than Sam having to trust himself around some random demon.

Dean glanced over his shoulder with an irritated look. "What are you waiting for? Put those freakishly long legs to work and hurry the hell up."

Sam really hoped that he wasn't going to regret this.

Chapter Text

Before Sam had even met Crowley, he knew that this demon was far more powerful than his brother. Doors were opening and closing on their own, allowing them to pass through, candles were being lit as they walked through the hallways. These were things Dean had to concentrate to produce and didn't nearly come as effortlessly.

With only the dim glow of the candles, the hallways were eerie and Sam found himself walking only a step behind his brother. He felt like he had at six years old at the carnival, terrified of the creepy looking clowns and sticking close to Dean, knowing that his brother would keep him safe.

They passed by dozens of doors and it didn't take a genius to notice just how rich Crowley was. Expensive looking paintings and statues littered the halls; there was red satin carpet at their feet and chandeliers hung from the ceilings.

What demon would put such painstakingly good care into his house? Why would a demon want to be domesticated anyway?

"Remind me what Crowley does again," Sam whispered to his brother. He couldn't remember if Dean had ever told him.

"He's a crossroads demon, king of the crossroads, actually," Dean said like it was the most casual thing in the world.

"And he needs this house because...?"

Dean let out an irritated sigh. "Crowley is a businessman so to speak. He stays put and tries to keep things in order for the most part. He's not a fighter, that's why he needs us. It's why he brought me out of Hell in the first place." Dean stopped at a fancy looking giant door that didn't open on its own this time. "Okay, we're going in. Don't freak out and just relax. You're safe here."

Dean opened the door and the brothers entered what looked to be a huge lounge room. Complete with satin sofas and a grand piano. To make the room more modern, there were flat-screen TVs mounted on to the walls in several places.

Sam didn't get to take a better look however as they were soon surrounded by several people...or demons. Sam tensed up, grabbing the demon-killing knife and holding up his arm in warning. A woman in clothes that looked fit for a maid let out a high-pitched innocent squeal at Sam's actions and that got him to pause. No demon would make that noise and seem so frightened by a hunter...

Dean grabbed Sam's arm and hoisted it down with his inhuman force. "Chill out. These aren't demons. They're Crowley's human servants."

A skinny middle aged man that held hangers in his hand let out a sigh of relief. "Thank you Dean."

Dean spun around to glare at the man. "Shut up Henry," he hissed and let his eyes fall to black, but the humans didn't seem frightened in the slightest. They seemed to know his brother. It would make sense, Dean had told Sam that he had stayed here for the months he was working on a plan with Crowley while restoring his body.

"This is your brother?" the maid asked, her eyes held awe and Sam realized that she couldn't be older than twenty-three.

"Yes Mindy and if you knew what was good for you, you'd quit ogling at him." It was obvious that Dean was trying to come across as threatening, but Mindy didn't hesitate in talking to Sam some more.

"You're going to help save the world. You're the one that can stop Lilith. If there's anything, anything at all that I can get you, please let me know and I'll be happy to help."

All the other humans started nodding their heads, and Sam instantly thought of the silly baseball player bobble heads that Dean would find for him when Sam was going through his "I'm gonna play for the New York Yankees" faze.

"Enough!" Dean growled. "Leave Sam alone and get us some of that fancy appetizer shit."

Heh, Dean...always the gentleman. Sam rolled his eyes. "Thank you," he politely told Henry as he took both his and Dean's coats and duffels.

Dean sauntered over to the expensive couch and plopped down, placing his feet on the glass end table in front of him. Despite Sam's irritation from his brother's attitude he followed Dean and sat next to him. He didn't dare mimic his brother's posture.

"Please tell me why in the world humans would want to work for a demon."

Dean chuckled, leaning back on the couch. "They don't, moron. They belong to Crowley. They're souls that he collected but took a liking to. If he found them useful enough he would offer them another deal once their time was up. Either don't age and work for him forever, or go to Hell for eternity."

"Why didn't he offer that to you?"

"Crowley had no control over my deal. Lilith made sure of that, that no one could get ahold of my contract but her. Anyway, I needed to go to Hell for all this to happen anyway."

A man in a chef's outfit hurried out of a door and carried a bunch of gourmet appetizers on a silver tray. Sam took a couple with a smile while Dean scooped up the rest and dumped them into his lap. He shoved one into his mouth and chewed loudly, with his mouth open.

The chef scrunched his face unpleasantly. "Please tell me that he had better manners when he was human."

That got a laugh out of Sam, his nerves pushed to the wayside for a moment. "If you can believe it, he didn't. Sadly, he's always been a pig."

The chef looked like he was bracing for an angry retort from Dean. Instead he ended up seeming shocked when Dean punched Sam in the shoulder and flicked a piece of food at his brother's face.

"Where's Crowley anyway?" Dean asked, swallowing loudly.

" He had a deal to take care of, but will be back in a half hours time. He asked us to make sure you were both comfortable. Would you like anything to drink?"

"Yeah, give us a couple beers." Dean waved his hand for the chef to hurry off and grab his drinks.

Sam watched the man leave. "They're not afraid of you," he stated.

"Heh, compared to the other demons here, I'm a saint." Dean ate another strange looking food. "Not sure why they don't seem scared at all though."

"Probably because you're not trying to tear them apart."

"Why would I want to do that? They're just stupid fools, they're no threat."

"You know better than I do that most demons just don't care. They kill for the fun of it."

Dean grumbled something and held his hand out. A remote came flying from a table near the TV and straight into his hand. Dean flicked through the channels as they drank their beer and Sam started to feel comfortable here with his brother at his side...

Of course, things had to get a move on. The door to yet a different room flew open and another middle-aged, black haired man walked through in an expensive suit. He looked smug.

Dean confirmed Sam's thoughts on whom this man was when he stood up and spoke. "Crowley, finally decided to get your ass back here and keep us from waiting?"

"Dean, always such a lovely choice of words." His voice was unexpected. Calm and controlled with a British accent. He glanced over at Sam who was now standing as well. "Ah, Sam. Thank goodness you're here. Maybe your brother will finally shut up about you now. I was getting rather bored from listening to him fret over you."

Sam was happy to hear that Dean hadn't forgotten about him in the months he was here. But how was he supposed to answer this demon that he couldn't read at all?

"Uhm, hi?"

Dean rolled his eyes beside him and Crowley raised his eyebrows. "Don't share your brother's extensive vocabulary I see. That's wonderful news. Anyhow, I normally wouldn't allow a human free reign of my property, but since you're going to be a part of our plan and have Dean with you, feel free to roam." Crowley snapped his fingers and Mindy appeared at his side quickly.

"Mindy darling, why don't you show the Winchester's to their bedroom and make sure everything is in working order."

"Of course, sir," Mindy said, and Sam was surprised at how light her tone sounded. "This way boys!"

"I have business to take care of; I will call someone to fetch you both later so we can converse." And with that he left to go back into the room that Sam could only guess was his office of some sort, leaving the only option to follow Mindy.


Mindy led the brothers back to the main room where they came in and climbed the glamorous staircase. As they reached the top, Mindy turned to lead them to the right. That only left Sam curious to know what was to the left. He turned only to see a group of people…no not people, they all had black eyes and they were all staring Sam down.

Sam rushed to catch up and tugged on his brother's shoulder. "Dean!"

"What?" Dean grumbled and his eyes followed Sam's pointing finger to the group of glaring demons that didn't dare leave their hallway. Dean offered them a glare back, just as menacing before he grabbed Sam by the shoulder and placed his brother in front of him.

"They won't hurt you," he said, although his voice sounded dark and he continued to look back at the demons.

"Sure they won't. That's why you placed yourself between me and them. It's obvious they're not happy with me."

"Yeah, well they're not exactly on good terms with me either. They hate us both and they don't think we can stop Lilith. I think half of them don't even want Lilith to be stopped but they're too chicken to try and stop Crowley's plan."

"Is that where they live? Down that hallway?"

"Yeah, as long as you stay away from there you'll be fine." Dean suddenly smiled. "Hell, they're probably scared of you. Soon you'll be able to rip their souls from their body and send them to Hell."

Mindy stopped at one of the many doorways and unlocked it, sending the brothers into the nicest place by far that they have ever stayed in. The room was actually multiple rooms, bigger than any place they've lived in. Sam made a point to take off his boots as he walked through what had to be the living area with those same satin couches and another flat-screen TV. There was a window that took up the entire far wall and he could see down to Crowley's backyard…or should he say…paradise. There seemed to be everything possible in those never-ending acres. Fields and hills, ponds with jumping fish, another maid was walking down a trail that led into a wood…

He noticed the fully-equipped kitchen area but skipped it to check out the bedroom. Sam nearly sighed in contentment when he saw the king size bed. He hurried over to feel the memory foam mattress and pillows with an assortment of fleece and satin sheets. Turning to the nightstand, Sam came across what looked to be a TV remote, but the buttons didn't look right. He pressed an up arrow and instead of the TV going on, the left side of the bed began to shift. He realized with amazement that it was one of those mattresses that would shift to whichever position the person prefers. He was going to sleep well tonight.

And to top it all off they had their own bathroom connected to their room, a glass shower with various settings that Sam had never seen before. An automatic sink, a tub and a Jacuzzi. Sam could never see his reflection in the floor tiles.

Maybe he should be extra nice to Crowley and they could make this place their part-time home.

Sam walked back into the main room just in time to catch the end of Dean and Mindy's conversation.

"So you know where my room is still, right? In case you get bored at night…" Mindy whispered seductively.

"No can do sweetheart. I'm on a mission this time around. Gotta spend all my time training Sammy."

Sam's mouth fell open as he ran over to them. "You two slept together?"

Dean grinned. "You know me better than that to ask such a stupid question Sammy. Don't act so shocked."

Sam ignored his brother and turned to Mindy. "He's a demon! You knew he was a demon and you slept with him?"

Mindy shrugged. "I'm around them all the time. Trust me, I know which demons to stay away from and Dean's different. Besides, he's got more personality than any of the boring humans here." She then reached over to stroke Dean's arm.

"You can't go around sleeping with demons! What if Dean was different? They could kill you!"

"Says the guy that was going to sleep with fake-Ruby." Dean chuckled.

"I was never going to sleep with fake-Ruby!" Sam spat.

"You're saying that now. Wouldn't be saying that if I waited a month or so longer."

Sam glared back at his brother and Mindy took it as the smart opportunity to leave. "See you boys later." She laughed and then winked at Sam.

"Dude! Did you see that?" Dean gasped as he watched Mindy walk down the hallway. "She was totally inviting you over to her room now."

Sam paled. "That is so disgusting."

"I'd say take the offer."

Sam pushed at his brother. "You pig! I've had enough of your hand-me-downs to last a lifetime. The last thing I want is your women too."

Dean offered Sam a sly grin, but blissfully didn't continue the conversation any longer. Sam watched as Dean started going through his duffle that the servants had brought up earlier.

"So…Crowley doesn't seem so bad. Not like I expected anyway," Sam brought up in order to get back to a more normal conversation that didn't have to deal with Dean's sex life.

"Oh trust me, he has a temper. He'll get really angry if you get on his bad side. But luckily for us, he needs our help."

Sam glanced around the luxurious room they were staying in. "I expected him to live in a cave or something, not some Hollywood-type mansion. I never thought we'd ever stay in a place so nice."

"It would be a lot nicer if it wasn't crawling with his arrogant demon savages." Dean pulled out what Sam knew was his brother's favorite knife. "Hand me a glass half-full of water. Oh, and a spoon. There should be a sugar jar on the counter, put a couple spoonfuls in."

"Umm…okay?" Sam was confused as he followed his brother's orders and handed the glass to him. It suddenly became very obvious what was going on though once Dean grabbed the knife and cut his arm.

Oh my god. He was going to drink the demon blood, Dean's blood, right now. It was too soon. Sam thought he had been prepared but as his heart starting racing and his hands began to shake, he knew he wasn't ready.

"I can't do this Dean. Not yet." Sam shook his head wildly as he watched the drips of his brother's blood mix with the sugar water.

"It won't taste so bad. You already have demon blood in you; you'll be accustomed to the taste." Dean let his arm drip blood for a little while longer before he pulled away. Even though Sam's mind was numb, he still grabbed some paper towel from the kitchen and handed it to Dean on instinct.

"Thanks." Dean pressed down on his arm and wiped the blood away. Sam watched as his brother's wound began to already heal slowly before his eyes.

Dean stirred the contents for a while, if Sam thought hard enough he might be able to fool himself into thinking it was cranberry juice.

Dean patted the spot next to him on the couch. "Come on, sit down and relax."

Sam did as Dean instructed and sat next to his brother, his eyes never leaving the strange liquid.

He carefully took the glass from his brother's hands and finally looked up into Dean's black eyes.

"Promise me that this isn't going to hurt me."

Dean's face actually softened. "I'd never give you anything that would hurt you Sammy."

"And this is the only way to get rid of Lilith."

"Me and Crowley tried finding other ways. She's too powerful. But this way, you'll be the one in control, the stronger one, not her."

Sam nodded, he needed to hear that. He needed as much reassurance as he could get.

"This isn't going to change me right? I'm not going to turn into part-demon or something?

"You won't be much more of a freak than you already are." Dean chuckled and Sam elbowed him. "You already have the demon blood in you that hosts these powers. You just need more in your system when you want to access them. It helps wake your powers up, so to speak."

Even though Sam was scared as Hell, he didn't miss how considerate Dean was being with him. He wasn't rushing this, he was patiently answering Sam's questions and above all, he was staying at his side through the whole thing. He had even gone through a process to make the drink seem more appealing.

Sam took a deep breath and brought the glass to his lips, not yet taking the first sip. He felt Dean gently pat him on the back like he had done when Sam had learned to tie his shoes, ride a bike, graduated from high school, got accepted into Stanford. When he was….

When he was proud. Dean was proud of him.

It was with that knowledge that allowed Sam to gather the bravery to tip that glass back a little more and take his first, timid sip of his brother's watered-down blood.

Huh. It tasted sweet. No anything like when he bit his own tongue and tasted the metallic coppery tang. No…this was different. Sam tried another sip. The drink was strange, that was for sure. But Sam found it tasting almost refreshing. His head buzzed pleasantly with energy as he continued to drink and his whole body seemed more aware of his surroundings.

Sam tipped the glass back once more only to find it empty. He frowned; it hadn't seemed like that much. Surely he couldn't have drunk the entire glass that quickly.

"See? Not so bad, huh?" Dean's voice sounded happy and Sam turned to agree with his brother only to fall back in shock. He was so taken aback that he jumped from the couch, baking away slowly.

Dean was still there, the Dean he had always known but now there was something else. Sam could see a floating black substance…smoke…inside of Dean. It was almost like Dean's skin was semi-transparent and he could see inside to his…to his soul. That black cloud was Dean's soul.

Sam shook his head and focused back on his brother. Dean was frowning, but Sam looked past that. His soul which had been floating gracefully around his body now seemed to move faster. Little bits of light sparked up in what looked like mini-lightening from the dark cloud.

The cloud…the soul…seemed to be at unease. Dean was at unease. That black cloud was Dean.

"Sammy, what's wrong?" Dean rushed to Sam's side and that's when it all connected. The cloud's change in behavior and motion, Dean's tone and his urgency….Dean was concerned. The change in his soul's appearance had to do with Dean's emotions.

Sam calmed a bit at understanding that. He had been right a couple days ago when he had guessed that he could recognize Dean's soul as his brother's. Sam wasn't scared looking at that black cloud, he didn't feel uneasy in the slightest.

"I…I can see you Dean. Your soul...you know, the demon cloud."

Dean's mouth opened in wonder. "Huh, so Crowley's theory was right. That's going to come in handy now that you can just pick demons out of the pack. It'll probably help you learn how to get a grip on their souls since you'll be able to see them."

Sam watched in amazement as the cloud that was Dean calmed down again, seeming rather peaceful as it floated around slowly inside of his skin. Maybe this would help Sam read his brother's emotions easier; although he was pretty sure he never had much trouble in that department.

Sam suddenly felt really good. He almost felt powerful, in control and safe. He grabbed his brother's arm and hoisted them both up. There was no need to be sitting in this room doing nothing. There was a whole mansion to explore that Crowley gave them free reign of.

Wow, he really did have more energy.

"Come on, let's go for a walk. " Sam noticed that this time when he dragged Dean, it was much easier. He was stronger with this blood than he was without it.

"Someone's eager." Dean laughed as he followed Sam down the hall and back to the staircase.

Sam nearly stopped dead when he reached the middle that separated the demons' hall from the brothers' hall. Sam could see them too. They couldn't be more different from Dean if they tried.

These black clouds seemed to shoot out angry lightening non-stop. Their souls didn't seem to fit their bodies like Dean's did. Some were too big or small and they moved about restlessly, as if wanting to escape. As if…wanting to attack. They were angry, frustrated. Their souls seemed to want to lunge outward even though their bodies remained motionless.

"Pretty scary sight, huh?" Dean asked him. Of course Dean would be able to see the demons' real souls as well.

"They can't see you though right? Since Bobby locked that ward in you?" The thought of any demons being able to see Dean sent anger through Sam. They'd be able to see that Dean was different, that he wasn't so angry and they'd probably use that to their advantage. It would make his brother a willing target.

For the first time Sam thought that maybe he could protect Dean for once.

"Nope, can't see me anymore." Dean answered casually.

"Good." Sam's voice was gruff as he stared down the demons this time. Don't even think of going after my brother or I'll come back for you.

Chapter Text

Sam wandered around the mansion for some time with his brother, discovering hallways that seemed to have no end and countless rooms.

Dean of course had to show Sam the indoor pool and the built-in movie theater where some of Crowley's human servants were watching the latest action movie. The older brother then decided that he was hungry and Sam rolled his eyes as Dean unsuccessfully tried to sneak in the kitchen and steal some of the gourmet food.

The irritated chef turned around and slapped Dean's hand with his spatula. Not good, Dean was going to be pissed. The chef had gotten between him and food.

"Crowley will tell you when he's ready and call you for dinner," the chef said in a strict tone, although part of the tough-guy act was obviously fake when the man flinched as Dean took a step near him.

"You really going to tell a demon what to do? I don't care if you're Crowley's; I'll rip your hand off if you ever touch me again." Dean's tone was dark and ice cold. His soul was beginning to show signs of the light sparks Sam had seen ever-present in the other demons. Sam was realizing how Dean was much quicker to anger now over such pointless insignificant events. Different things set off his brother now that never would have before, it must be all that pent-up demon rage or something. Going to hell would do that to a person, Sam guessed. Dean hadn't shown any signs of these major mood swings directed at Sam though, and that was what was most important. Sam reached out and grabbed his brother's shoulder. Dean didn't pull away.

"Come on Dean, let's go," Sam whispered. He felt that new power within him. If Dean refused to leave the chef alone, Sam now had the strength to attempt to pull Dean out of the room.

The chef was looking at Sam now. "What's wrong with you? How can you be so calm around him? How can you even get so close to him without him snapping at you?"

"He's my brother.," Sam said simply and automatically. He didn't get what was so hard to understand about that.

The chef continued to stare at Sam's hand on Dean's shoulder, like he couldn't comprehend how the two of them could possibly ever work together, let alone get along.

"Yeah he's your family. Whatever, I get that. But you're friends with him too. How in the world can you be friends with a demon?"

Sam doubted he could explain to this man how him and Dean had always been pretty much co-dependent. How he adjusted so well to Dean becoming a demon without even really realizing it. Dean was always going to be his brother, and Sam was going to accept him and tolerate him any way he came.

"It's more than being brothers," Sam decided to tell the man. "We've always just connected and understood each other. We don't even have to think about how to act around each other." Demon or not, they would always be Sam and Dean.

The chef still looked baffled and glanced a weary eye at Dean who didn't look too happy.

"You done interrogating my brother?" he asked in a warning tone.

"I...I wasn't..." The chef stuttered and Sam figured they'd had enough. Time to leave this guy alone to his eternal life of cooking meals.

Sam grabbed Dean's sleeve to pull him away from the chef only for his brother to shrug him off and storm away. Sam sighed and followed Dean slowly into the main room where they had waited for Crowley earlier. Dean walked over to one of the nice couches and laid down gracelessly, boots and all. A maid gasped and looked around worriedly. She walked over with the intent to clean off the dirt from Dean's boots but one look from those black eyes sent her scurrying.

"I thought you'd be all over these girls, not scaring them away," Sam stated as he reached the couch. He watched as Dean's soul seemed to calm and stopped moving about so restlessly.

"Shut up bitch and let me sleep," Dean grumbled as an answer.

Sam watched his brother get comfortable when it dawned on him just how much Dean slept since he came back. There was no way demons needed that much sleep. Fake-Ruby always seemed to be up and at it and yet Dean was trying to sneak in naps whenever he could. Sam figured that he should ask Dean about it soon, it wouldn't hurt to try and get an answer. Plus, Dean even seemed more open to answering questions as a demon, probably because he didn't care how he would be perceived.

While Dean was out Sam decided to try something. Being able to see demons' souls was pretty cool, but it got kind of irritating always seeing Dean's. It was nice to know that he could, but he figured there must be a way to kind of switch it off in his mind so he wouldn't see the demonic soul all the time.

Sam tried for a couple minutes but he knew he was over-thinking it. He remembered Dean telling him the other day that he needed to really relax, just think about what he wanted and it would happen. Closing his eyes, Sam concentrated like Dean told him to, he felt the power inside him shift a bit. It frightened him and Sam opened his eyes, only to see that it had worked, Dean looked normal. Hopefully turning this power on and off would become less difficult over time.

The door that Crowley had emerged from before opened, and the demon stepped out, raising an eyebrow at Dean sprawled out on the couch.

"I suggest you wake your pig brother," he addressed Sam. "It's time for dinner and we need to discuss."


The days went by slowly for Sam, mostly because he was having a hard time progressing with his powers. He still hadn't been able to grab onto a demonic soul, and Crowley was becoming impatient, stating that he was wasting his time.

Of course that got Dean riled up, and the two began arguing daily over how to teach Sam his powers. Crowley demanded that Sam should try different tactics but Dean severely warned against it. Of course Sam was going to go with his brother's word.

For being in a demon's mansion, things really weren't too bad. Sure, Sam had to drink the demon blood drink every day, but he was getting used to it and the effects he felt from it. Dean demanded that Sam explain how he was feeling everyday in case he had to lower the dosage he was mixing with the water. His brother made it evident that too much at one time would lead to addiction and nothing but problems.

Dean refused to sleep on the couch, and Sam wasn't about to shove his giant body onto it so they had to share the bed. Dean of course had to make sick jokes about it, but the bed was so large that they had way more than enough room. Who knew that Sam was going to go from killing demons to sharing a bed with one and staying in another's mansion?

Other than sleeping, they didn't spend a lot of time in their room; instead they usually explored the mansion. Dean usually went swimming in the indoor pool in the evening. It was getting late today and Sam decided to take another shower just because he could.

After the longest shower of his life, Sam was surprised to hear Dean's voice from the room.

"Hey Sammy, I'm going to find out some information from the widow, then I'll head to the coffee shop down the street. I'll get your girly latte for you on my way back and I'll pick up some cold medicine for you. Stay in bed, I don't care if it's just a cold for now. You need your rest if you want to join this hunt. I'll see you in a couple hours."

That was Dean's voice but it wasn't him...it wasn't the Dean that was in the next room. It was a voice recording that Sam saved on his phone...one of the many he kept and still listened to now and then, even though Dean was back.

Sam was suddenly furious. What gave Dean the right to snoop through his phone? And why was he even playing the messages on speaker phone? He changed quickly and stormed out of the bathroom. Dean was sitting on his side of the bed, Sam's phone in his hand, and didn't even look up. The automated voice started talking, telling Dean to press 7 to save or 9 to delete. Dean pressed a button and the voice confirmed that the message had been deleted.

"Dean! What the hell are you doing with my phone?" Sam marched over and snatched the phone from Dean. His brother didn't put up a fight, but he looked up at Sam with black eyes that looked darker than usual.

"My god, relax. Bobby called your phone while I was sleeping. I couldn't get to it in time so I listened to his voice-mail. He was just checking up on you. Then your phone informed me that you had fifty-four saved messages. Of course I'm going to snoop then, wanting to know who they are from. Every single one, all fifty four of them are from me."

There was an uncomfortable pause and then Dean decided to continue.

"Those messages are nearly two years old Sam. They delete automatically after fourteen days, which means you keep saving them."

"Yeah, I am, what's it to you?"

"You're still saving them to this day. Why would you do that Sam?" Dean's expression was unreadable.

"Why would you delete them?" Sam shot back. "I started saving them when I knew you were going to Hell Dean. I wanted to keep every memory I could of you and now you're erasing them!"

"And I'm back now and you're still saving them? What the hell Sam?" Dean sounded angry and somewhat hurt. It was the most emotion Sam had seen on his brother since coming back as a demon.

His anger dying down a bit, Sam spoke up, softly. "I didn't want to forget who you used to be."

Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say and Dean stood up, furious. "I thought we were getting somewhere! I'm different god damnit but I'm still me! I'm never going to be how I was before so just move on! I've tried to deal with all your idiotic insecurities about me but if you still can't fully accept what I am now then you better tell me because this isn't going to work." Dean huffed out his last sentence before walking out of the room, slamming the door in his wake.

Sam sighed as he plopped down on the bed. He should go after Dean, but he'd probably end up getting punched in the face. What just happened was exactly what Sam was having a hard time with. Dean reacted to things so differently; his attitude was so careless sometimes that Sam desperately craved the brother he had before Hell took him away.

Dean had a point of course. There was no going back to the man he was before. And Sam really should focus on the fact that Dean was still here and had even come back to help save his little brother. Keeping the voice-mails and continuing to listen to them were keeping him stuck in the past.


Sam waited half an hour before he went out to look for Dean. Surprisingly, he wasn't in the pool but it wasn't a shocker when Sam found him in the mini-movie theater.

Dean was sitting with his feet kicked up on the seat in front of him and his hand in a bag of popcorn. He was watching the Titanic sink while laughing almost hysterically. When Sam called out his name however, Dean's smile dropped and he turned his head slowly, scowling at Sam.

Sam sat down next to him, and while Dean didn't look at him, he didn't move away either.

"I'm sorry. And I get your point. But just remember I'm still human, and I'm going to feel things that you don't understand anymore."

"Alright." Dean replied stiffly.

"Seriously Dean. I might have my moments, but in all honesty I'm just so glad that you're here."

Dean didn't say anything for a while, his eyes glued to the screen. "You've always been a whiny little girl, I shouldn't have been so surprised." He offered Sam some popcorn and the younger brother figured that was as good of an apology as any.


The next morning, Sam woke up to find a note on the nightstand next to his side of the bed.

Sammy,

Went down to meet with Crowley to try and figure out Lilith's whereabouts. There's a glass full of your demon blood kool-aid in the fridge. Drink it, bitch. When you wake up come down and meet us in that room where I got mud all over Crowley's couch, or stay here and do whatever it is you do, I don't care.

Dean

Sam was shocked that Dean took the time to write a note, and even so, to write such a detailed note. He had even asked Sam to join them if he wanted to. In his strange ways Dean was being considerate, something Sam thought he had lost completely in hell.

He'd go down and join Dean eventually. But first Sam grabbed his cell phone and opened his voice mail.

"Sammy, I've got no leads here. Let me know what you found out after you're done. Oh and on your way back, bring me some pie bitch. And not cherry like last time. Apple, Sam. It shouldn't be that hard to remember. If it starts storming call me and tell me where you are, I'll pick you up. Either way, I'm still getting that pie."

Sam chuckled. Even a few months ago when he realized the truth about Dean, he still couldn't get the pie flavor right. But listening to the message made him feel better. That Dean would never be back, but he was not entirely gone either. Sam saw glimpses of the old Dean in demon Dean. He still called Sam nicknames, and listening to that message made Sam realize that demon Dean wasn't that much more annoying than old Dean.

And even though he would never worry so openly about Sam, he still did. Sam knew this for a fact, he could see it in his brother's stance, the protective look he got on his face when Crowley got too close to his little brother for Dean's liking. Dean knew Sam had been upset last night and had gone out of his way to leave a note because of that, showing Sam without meaning to that he cared.

There was no use holding onto the past, especially when Dean was right here with him. It was time to get rid of these memories. He'd make new ones with his brother. Sam pressed a button on his phone, and deleted all his old voice-mails from Dean.

Heading down the hallway that led to Crowley and Dean, Sam started wondering what the chef would make for breakfast until he heard Crowley's angry voice shouting from the end of the hall.

"Do you have any idea how much time you're wasting by doing that? No wonder the fool can't even grasp onto a demonic soul! He's not getting enough!"

"I know what I'm doing Crowley. And he's doing fine."

"Fine? You call this fine?"

"I'm not going to have him go overboard. He's gotta keep the blood intake under control so he doesn't accidentally kill Lilith."

"But you insist on giving it to him as if it's some kind of juice mixture? Bleed and put it into a flask!" Crowley wasn't disguising the anger in his voice by any means.

"I'm not going to have him drink straight up blood if I can help it. He's human, this is strange enough for him, might as well make it as normal as possible."

"Why do you care so much about what he's feeling, god damnit?"

There was a pause. "He's my brother."

"Bloody hell! You're getting attached to him again, are you? Did Hell not knock sense into you? You're a demon. You do what you need to survive, that's it. You don't go making...buddies with anyone, let alone humans! Chances are the kid's going to die when he sends Lilith back to..."

Sam heard the sound of a loud thud, as if someone got shoved into the wall. It was so strong that the walls shook around Sam. "He's not going to die! I won't let him!"

"Dear god...you never stopped caring for the idiot, have you? That whole 'we can use my brother because he will do whatever I say' was just an act, wasn't it?"

"It fooled you didn't it?" Dean chuckled slightly. "I had to get on your side if I wanted to stop Lilith's plans for Sam."

"So that was your reasoning all along? Protect your brother, save your brother? The idea of saving the entire world and demon-kind alike was just as an afterthought?"

"Exactly."

"Well, I admire your strategy Dean. You fooled me. Fighting for the same outcome but for different reasons. You were using me as I was using you, very nice. You're going to make a hell of a demon."

"I already am."

"Yes, yes. Since you care about that brother of yours so much, why don't you bring him down here to discuss with us before he practices?"

"Good idea."

Five seconds later Dean was opening the big door to the room and standing in the walkway. His shocked eyes locked with Sam's and his mouth dropped open.

"Sammy?"

Sam stared at his brother with wide eyes. "What the hell was all that?"

"I told you Crowley has a temper. That was me defending your ass."

After hearing that whole conversation, Sam couldn't deny he felt heart-warmed at Dean's words. "Well, thanks for that."

If it was possible for demons to be embarrassed, Dean sure as hell was right now.

"Well come on, we're wasting time. Quit spying and get in here and help us for once."


They talked for a while with Crowley, pointing out that Lilith was still on the run and covering her tracks pretty well. Then they ate a huge breakfast and it was time for Sam's daily demon soul snatching practice.

Once again Crowley dragged out one of his misbehaving demon workers and tied him to a chair. Sam was supposed to be able to grab onto the demon's soul with his mind and pull it out.

"You better be able to do this. We're not even asking you to send him to hell yet. Just grab the damn soul and yank it out of the body." Crowley sighed impatiently at Sam's hesitation.

"Leave him alone Crowley," Dean growled. "He'll be able to do it when he's ready."

"Oh, and what about that possessed woman and her child you insist you have to save, hmm? How long do you have, at most two months? At this rate..."

"Screw the lady!" Dean threw his hands in the air. "If we can't save her then who cares? The important part is getting Lilith and Sam can take as much time as he wants."

The reminder of the possessed pregnant woman that he wanted to save fueled Sam. He stared down the demon and its trashing soul. He was still learning how to control his powers but he carefully reached out with them, always keeping the violent soul within his sight. All he had to do was go a little bit further and mentally grasp on...

And it happened again, the force of the demon's angry soul pushed his own powers away. Sam tried once more only for the same thing to happen, it felt like he was being shocked lightly with lightening when the demon struck out like that. How was he supposed to not only grab on but pull the demon out when he couldn't get past its defenses?

Sam heard Crowley sigh loudly and then before Sam could register what was happening, the trapped demon somehow escaped the bonds. He had Dean in a headlock within seconds, snatching the demon-killing knife his brother had been carrying and pressing it to Dean's throat.

"Dean!" Sam called out, watching his brother struggle but clearly this other demon was stronger, older. Sam quickly glanced over to Crowley who took a step forward.

"Don't you move or your precious demon-boy will be beheaded. And you can't afford that Crowley. Not with what the almighty Dean Winchester and his brother can do for you," the demon hissed, pressing the blade against Dean's neck and drawing blood. Sam cried out when he saw sparks fly out from his brother's wound, claiming that this weapon was lethal to him.

Crowley continued to just stand there, frozen in place. Worthless freaking demon. It was up to Sam. Sam and his powers.

But what the hell was he supposed to do when he couldn't even grab the demon's soul while he was trapped? Now that the demon was free, Sam stood even less of a chance.

"I want out Crowley. Free me from here and I'll let your boy go," the demon demanded, shaking Dean as he did so.

It occurred to Sam that the reason why the demons were staying here wasn't because of their own free will. But rather because Crowley had some spell or deal keeping them from leaving.

"You know I can't do that. You know the workings of this place. You'll come back with a hoard of my haters and kill me."

"Then I guess pretty boy here's going to cease to exist." The sneering ugly demon turned towards Sam. "Any last words, brother?"

Sam knew he had to think fast. He couldn't pull the demon's soul out yet...but maybe...maybe he could pull out Dean's. Crowley had already made it evident to Sam that the wards that locked demon's into their bodies wouldn't stop Sam's powers from pulling the soul out. Plus, Dean's soul was much more calm...even now when he was panicking.

But Sam needed Dean to cooperate with him and not push his powers away out of fear. He needed to let Dean know what he was going to do.

Luckily Dean stopped struggling enough to face Sam, thinking that his brother was going to share his last words.

Instead Sam gave Dean a knowing look. Dean cocked his head to the side. Sam nodded. It was as simple as that.

Sam took a deep breath and the demon was expecting him to speak. He reached out with his powers as quick as he could. Sam concentrated on Dean's soul and it was almost as if Dean was trying to reach onto him. The difference in snagging Dean's soul was astounding. Moving his powers right on in, Sam latched onto the calm smoky soul and simply just pulled his brother's soul out of his body. Dean didn't put up any fight as his body crumpled lifelessly to the floor and out of the demon's grip.

For a minute Sam was mesmerized by seeing the cloud of Dean's soul just floating there in front of him. Even the ugly demon froze in amazement. Then Sam felt the soul begin to fight him. Sam didn't have any trouble understanding what Dean was saying to him. Let me go Sammy.

Sam did, and instead of floating away to the far side of the room to be safe like Sam suspected, Dean hovered behind him. It was actually comforting. Sam thought back to before Dean went to Hell when his brother had stated "I'll always have your back, you know that Sammy." It was still true to this day.

The demon seemed to come out of his shock at this point. He stepped over Dean's lifeless body and started approaching Sam with the knife in hand now.

Sam felt Dean's soul crackle from behind him in anger. Feeling safe with his brother behind him, Sam decided to try something new. He held out his hand and with all his power he willed the demon to stop.

It must have worked. The demon stopped dead in its tracks and the knife clattered to the ground.

"What the hell did you do to me?"

Sam ignored the demon and ran over to get the knife. Bad idea. When Sam stopped focusing his powers, the demon wasn't captive anymore and he reached down to grab Sam in a headlock.

Dean rushed, or rather flew over and kind of went through the demon. Whatever that was, it did something to him because the demon fell to the ground and Sam wasted no time in stabbing the demon right in the heart with Ruby's knife.

"That's what you get for messing with my brother," Sam hissed as he pulled out the knife and watched the last few sparks of the demon's life fade away.

Dean's demon cloud wasted no time in floating back over to Sam and stopping in front of him, almost curiously.

"I'm okay, I'm fine," Sam said automatically, not needing words to know what his brother was asking.

Dean must had been satisfied because the lightning in his soul died down dramatically as he floated lazily above Sam.

"Dude, you're like my own personal rain cloud." Sam chuckled.

Part of Dean's soul went through Sam's head, as if Dean was punching him. It made Sam dizzy.

"Alright, enough of this. I'm going to try and see if I can put a demonic soul back into a body. Not that I'll ever need to do this, other than for you." Dean's cloud floated down in front of Sam at the words. This was up to Sam, since the lock on Dean's body prevented him from entering it on his own as well.

"Okay, you ready?" Sam asked and rolled his eyes as Dean attempted some kind of smoke-cloud back flip.

Latching onto Dean's soul was very easy once again, instead of the fighting, it was almost as if Dean was helping him. Sam hesitated when he got Dean's soul near his body. He wasn't sure exactly what to do but he knew a demon entered a body through the mouth so he tried just that. He focused on putting Dean's soul into the body through his slack mouth and slowly but surely, it was working. After a minute Sam lost his control of Dean's soul just as his brother opened his eyes.

That was when Crowley began to clap, slowly.

"Congrats boys, what a splendid job you did there. You even exceeded my expectations."

Dean jumped up, as if he was never disembodied a few seconds ago. "What the hell Crowley? What did you do, plan this?"

Crowley looked amused and Sam really wanted to punch him for it. "Not at first, no. But once you practically informed me how much you care for your brother, a thought occurred to me. He must obviously care for you too, to be traveling around with a demon. If there was any way to get him to finally do something, it would be if you were in danger."

"You loosened that demon's bonds didn't you?" Sam asked. He was beginning to feel just as outraged as Dean must feel. "What if my powers didn't work? Dean would have been killed!"

"Relax, you big fool! Do you honestly think I couldn't take him down? If you failed miserably I would have gotten Dean out of it."

Sam turned to his brother, only to find Dean calmly staring at Crowley.

"That was actually a good idea." Dean nodded.

"Dean! You're actually agreeing with what he just did?"

"Of course he is, it worked didn't it?" Crowley looked incredibly smug. "This is perfect. Ripping out demon souls will kind of be like riding a bike. Once you learn how to do it, you won't forget. Things shouldn't be nearly as difficult for you now." Crowley started walking out of the room. "Since you killed my demon, I'll send you out another one to play with."

As soon as the demon was gone, Sam was seething at Dean.

"I can't believe that you supported that!"

Dean shrugged. "You weren't in any danger. No big deal."

Sam resisted the strong urge to punch his brother in the face. Of course he would make this all about Sam.

"Yes it was a big deal! It doesn't matter if I wasn't in danger because he could have killed you. Do me a favor and think about yourself for once. Because if you die again, this time you're not coming back. You'll be gone Dean, for good. And I can't have that."

Dean glanced over at Sam, but before he could say a word, the whole room seemed to shake and a loud scream from a woman was heard.

"What the hell was that?" Sam turned to Dean, but even his brother looked a bit worried. "Is it demons?"

"That's no demon," Dean muttered but he grabbed Sam's sleeve and started dragging him somewhere. "Come on, hurry."

"What is it? Dean, what's going on?"

"Does it look like I have all the answers Sam?" Dean hissed in an irritated and panicked tone. He led Sam over to the wall near one of the flat screen TV's and started doing who knew what with his demon powers. A section of the wall opened and Sam realized this must be an emergency hiding place of some sort. Dean pushed Sam inside and then followed before closing the door.

Sam looked around the tiny hidden room. There was even a velvet couch and a bookshelf in here. Really?

"Crowley is paranoid. And he's not much of a fighter," Dean whispered. "So he made these because he's a big fat baby and would rather run than fight."

Dean went and sat down on the couch, kicking his feet up. "Might as well ride it out and hide from whatever broke in here."

"Whatever came in here had to be pretty powerful to get past all the wards and protection surrounding this place.," Sam muttered as he wandered around, he placed a hand on the walls surrounding him. "How safe is this room?"

"Pretty damn safe. It's sound-proof from the inside. And according to Crowley they're nearly indestructible."

Sam listened to the commotion happening above them. There was lots of scurrying and screams from what had to be the humans. "Are you sure they can't hear us? We can hear them pretty well."

"Positive." Dean yawned, and then got comfortable on the couch.

"Seriously Dean? What's with all the sleeping?"

Dean looked defensive. "I've always loved my sleep."

"Not this much man. It's like you're sneaking in sleep whenever you can."

"Yeah well you try going trough eighty years of Hell without being able to sleep."

Sam was quiet for a while. What could he say to that?

"You weren't even able to pass out from the pain?" he whispered.

"Hell no. Thing was, even though I wasn't in a body I still got tired. I was exhausted; felt like the lack of sleep was driving me crazier than the torture was."

Sam sat on the floor and didn't say anything for a long time. He was shocked when Dean suddenly spoke up.

"They'd trick me sometimes. I'd be in a motel with this...illusion of you. Sometimes I even believed that I finally got out. Dude, I would get so excited. I thought I was back, that you were back and I'd finally get some sleep. But every single time I closed my eyes...I'd open them to find you dead in some gruesome way. You always died before I even got to say goodnight."

Finally, Sam understood why his brother always insisted on saying goodnight. He wanted to make sure in case anything might happen. And now that he didn't have to worry about finding Sam dead, he was taking advantage of sleeping any chance he got.

Sam wanted to say something sentimental, tell Dean how much he meant to him. But he didn't feel like getting punched in the face today. He'd go for humor instead.

"Please, like anything would be able to make it past you to kill me. You'd always save me in time."

Dean grinned and Sam knew he said the right thing. "I know, right? Should have known it wasn't real, I'm too awesome to let anything get to you."


Sam let Dean sleep after that. He spent what felt like hours flipping through the novels Crowley had collected in the room. Things had quieted down around them. Maybe they were nearly safe. Hopefully Crowley would come down and let them know soon.

Sam was thinking of waking up Dean and asking if they should take a peek and check if the coast was clear. That was when the walls practically shattered around them.

Dean jumped up and the look in his black eyes was pure terror. "No! Not again! Whatever the hell you are, don't you dare touch my brother." Sam wondered if something similar to this scenario had happened to him in Hell.

Through the dust and debris Sam could see the silhouette of a male figure wearing a long coat.

"I am not here to harm Sam Winchester. He is being misled down a dark and dangerous path." The dust cleared a bit and a man in his early thirties with brown hair and blue eyes was staring them down...with no emotion whatsoever on his face. The man looked over at Dean. "I am here to stop the threat; it is my fault this creature is here today. It is about time that I clean up my messes.

Dean opened his mouth, but he wasn't able to get any further in conversing with this thing. Suddenly, Dean was being roughly thrown into the next room like a rag doll. Sam watched in horror as Dean's head hit a wall, leaving a large dent in the plaster.

Whatever this was, it was strong as hell.

The thing turned back to Sam, but all Sam could focus on was Dean's moans of pain.

"We can not have you going down the wrong path Sam Winchester. I am here to help you. My name is Castiel, and I am an angel of the Lord."

Chapter Text

The sound of loud, harsh laughter brought Sam out of his shock. It was Dean, laughing from the other room.

"Oh hell, no. I should have known it would be one of you. Filthy conniving angels. You say this is your fault huh?" Sam could see Dean struggling to stand up, a look of disgusted amusement on his face. "You were the one that was supposed to 'save' me from hell before I turned, right? So I could be your bitch in the apocalypse and use me as an angel vessel to fight against Sam?"

Sam quickly took a step back from this angel. This was the thing that was meant to pretend to save Dean only to kill him in battle.

"Get away from me. I won't do anything you tell me to so just leave."

"I understand that you are angry at me for not getting to your brother before he turned."

"No! You know what? I'd rather have him as he is now than having you get him out for your own selfish need and using him!"' Sam wasn't sure how his voice could sound so strong when he was a bundle of nerves inside.

"That is not true; I am here to avert the apocalypse. You are not upset that your brother is now a demon? Hellspawn?"

Sam flinched at the use of that word. "Don't call him that. And no, I'm not. He'll always be my brother no matter what. And you have no right to take him away from me."

"I have no other choice."

"Is this the way you deal with your shit?" Dean shook his head. "You mess up and instead of dealing with it; you just decide to erase the evidence? That sounds pretty fucking low for an angel."

The angel, Castiel, actually considered Dean for a moment. "You might have a point, demon. Perhaps I will not dispose of you. But you do not belong here. It is time for you to go back to your place in Hell."

Sam ran out of the destroyed hidden room to chase the angel but before he could reach him, Sam felt himself get knocked down. He tried moving, but it was useless. He was frozen in place, like Dean had done to him before. However, judging by the confused look on Dean's face, this wasn't his brother's doing.

Dean began to back up from the angel. "Okay man, in all seriousness, you're misguided or something. What you're doing is going to unlock the last seal. If Lilith dies, Lucifer rises."

The angel seemed genuinely confused. "That is not true. We must stop the breaking of the seals. Lilith is breaking them and we must destroy her before she finishes."

"Someone's feeding you the wrong information, buddy."

"You're tricking your brother for your demonic needs."

"I would never do that to him. I'm doing this to keep him safe, from freaks like you."

Castiel took a step towards Dean, who backed up stealthily.

"Seriously, we're fighting on the same side, you just don't know it." Dean's voice sounded nearly desperate. "Leave me alone and maybe we can work together on this somehow."

"I would never work with the disgrace of a Hellspawn."

Dean kept avoiding Castiel's advances toward him. "Alright, alright. If you're so uptight than how 'bout you let me go and we just leave each other alone? No interfering with each other, okay?"

"I have orders to get you away from Sam Winchester. I can not disobey those orders."

"Sure you can, you can just not listen. What do you think I'm doing? I'm going against practically all of Hell by doing this."

Dean looked into Sam's eyes for a moment and all the younger brother saw was defeat. Dean knew he couldn't win against this angel. Trying to reason was the only option, and it didn't seem to be working.

"I will not disobey my father." The angel proclaimed, and Dean was tossed into the wall once again.

Dean got up faster this time after being knocked down. He pushed out his powers toward the angel, and it seemed to knock Castiel off his footing for a moment.

Sam watched as his brother took the angel's stumble to his advantage and dove toward one of Crowley's couches, jumping back up with the demon killing knife. It must have gotten knocked out of Dean's boot when he was getting flung about.

Would it work on angels? Neither of them knew the answer to that, but it was better to attempt than to try nothing at all.

Sam saw Castiel shoot some king kind of angel light out at Dean, and knowing that he couldn't move, Sam did the only thing he could.

"Dean, duck down!"

Dean did, just in time as he rolled behind the couch. Castiel marched towards it, and then the couch was off the ground and flying through the air, sending the angel along with it as it crashed into the opposite wall.

Castiel easily pushed the couch off of him, but not before Dean ran over, stabbing the angel in the back with Ruby's knife.

There wasn't a noise in the room as Dean stared blankly at the protruding knife. Castiel turned around slowly and pulled the knife from his back as he did so. Instead of stabbing Dean with it like Sam feared he would, the angel dropped the knife and grabbed Dean by the head, twisting his neck sharply. There was a loud snap and then a thud as Dean hit the floor.

Sam screamed and fought against his bonds with all his might. He tried calling out his powers to grab Dean's soul but Sam was a mess. He was so worked up and exhausted that he couldn't even begin to muster his recently acquired powers.

Dean's face was angled so it was facing Sam and for the first time, he looked...sad. He moved his lips and while no words came out but Sam didn't need them.

Sorry Sammy

"No! No you're not going anywhere Dean!" Sam glared over at the angel. "Let him go, please let him go! I'll do anything you want me to!"

The angel ignored Sam and tilted Dean's face so it was facing up by using his powers. The angel stared into Dean's eyes with hatred.

"I should dispose of you. You are lucky that I am just sending you back to Hell."

Sam wasn't sure how angels could send a demon back to Hell. Luckily though, he didn't have to find out as the door to the room flew open and Crowley stood in the doorway. His suit was ripped and he carried the colt in one hand and an African American man was being dragged by his other hand.

"Let Dean go, or you'll face the same lovely fate as your angel friend here."Crowley dropped the angel on the ground. His eyes were lifeless and there was a bullet hole in his gotten the colt working again, and apparently, it killed angels as well.

Castiel must have realized this as he let his powers release both of the brothers. Sam immediately got up as quickly as he could and rushed towards his brother. He tried grabbing Dean by his shoulders, feeling sick to his stomach when Dean's head rolled lifelessly and his arms hung loosely at his sides. Sam had to prop Dean up against his chest just to keep him from sliding back down on the floor.

"What have you done to Uriel?" Castiel had forgotten about the brothers for now and was staring at his fallen comrade.

"What does it look like?"Crowley huffed. "I shot the fool in the head. Obviously, this gun can kill you as well."

Crowley looked over at Dean then, as if silently asking his brother a question. Dean must have mouthed an answer because Crowley looked annoyed.

"Looks like it's actually your lucky day angel. If you leave right now and don't threaten the Winchesters, I'll let you live."

Castiel glanced back over at Sam. "Working on the side of Hell can not be tolerated. I will come back to save you."

"We're not on any side you feathered abomination," Crowley hissed as he took a step toward the angel, gun still pointed. Sam wasn't sure where his insult was coming from, because despite Sam's image of angels, Castiel didn't have a single feather on him or even wings.

However when the angel suddenly vanished, Sam swore that he could hear the fluttering of large wings.

Sam stared at the place the angel vacated for a few seconds, trying to wrap his mind around everything that had just taken place. It was when he felt his brother's head fall heavily on his chest that Sam focused his attention back on Dean. He still wasn't moving, and by the looks of it, he wasn't breathing either. Sam began to panic, thinking that Dean had somehow died before he remembered that he could see Dean's demonic soul with his powers. Sam took a deep breath and concentrated, after a few seconds the dark cloud that was Dean's soul became visible, moving around sluggishly inside of his body.

"Don't get your panties in a twist."Crowley rolled his eyes as he ordered his human servants to dispose of the dead angel body. "His neck was broken; he can't breathe so he's unconscious until his body is capable of breathing again."

"And when will that be?" Sam asked as he watched Crowley walk around and inspect the damage done to his 's soul looked more powerful and it put Sam at unease. Something about the way it moved about made Crowley seem sneaky. No wonder he was in charge of creating deals. Sam felt that he should really watch himself in front of this demon, but what other choice did they have but to follow Crowley's advice?

Crowley shrugged, an indication that he really didn't give a crap. "About a day to fully heal, he's just a newborn demon after all. You might want to get him in bed and support his neck so it heals properly. I don't want you crying when he's walking around with a crooked neck and we have to break it again."

Crowley motioned for another human worker to carry Dean up, but Sam wasn't going to have any of that. He picked up Dean's limp and heavy body by himself and started walking out of the room. On his way back upstairs he saw a couple bodies lying on the floor and debris everywhere. Mindy was sitting on the steps, rubbing her arm with a grimace on her face.

Sam couldn't help himself but to stop and ask her if she was alright. Bonded here or not, she was human and it was Sam's job to protect them. Suddenly he felt very guilty; these angels must have caused a mini catastrophe by the looks of the house. And Sam had sat hiding in a secret room where he thought he was safe from all of the commotion. He was a hunter; he should have been out there saving people and bursting into the scene of action, guns blazing with determination instead of shying away like a coward.

Sam had changed since then. From the angry teenager growing up, to the independent college student determined to live the normal life, to the strong hunter who still wanted to make his brother proud. Now...now Sam had seen loss in the worst possible way, he had been alone and miserable and slowly fading away, almost manipulated by a demon he had believed was Ruby. He had watched his brother and best friend, everything he had left die in a blood bath and get sent to Hell...all because of him. And then he got Dean back. Sam had lived through loss and then gained back that prized possession even though it was returned to him a bit tainted and damaged. Sam wasn't going to lose Dean again by running into a battle without knowing what he was getting into or what enemy he might face. They were facing the big guys now, this would lead to the apocalypse if they didn't play their cards right and Sam had to keep both himself and Dean alive and safe.

Other than going in to kill Lilith with a plan firmly in place, there was no more running into the line of fire blind.

However, that wasn't going to erase his guilt when he spoke to a frightened looking Mindy.

"They just came out of nowhere...I was doing laundry and they landed right in front of me. A demon came running up, I don't know his real name but Crowley calls him by the codename George. He was all excited to see the...the angels he said they were. He was demanding repayment because he said he had allowed the angels access to get in here. I don't know how he did it, but the angels didn't seem to be gratuitous."

"They killed him?"

"They put a hand on his forehead and then George was dead. Just like that. I didn't think anything could kill a demon except Crowley's gun. Then they started heading toward Crowley's office. There were two of them and I knew Crowley would be no match for them. I know I'm just a servant but I've been here forever. I actually like this place, it's my home. I like Crowley, he's good to me, I'm one of the few he allows to go out once a week and adjust to the times. And anyway, if they killed him, what would happen to me? Would I go to Hell? I wasn't even thinking when I ran over to them, yelling at them to stop."

Mindy chuckled for a moment, rolling her eyes at herself. "Like I could do anything, you know? How idiotic of me to run up to this thing that just killed a demon with its hand and tug on its sleeve. The one that Crowley eventually killed...he turned around and...he put his hand up to me too. I guess I was in the way."

Dean was getting very heavy in Sam's arms, but he couldn't miss out on what Mindy was telling him. "You're not saying he tried to kill you Mindy?"

"Oh, he didn't try. He did kill me. Sucker didn't know that Crowley owns me. My soul isn't going anywhere if Crowley doesn't want it to. I'm under a contract to work here and the only way I'm leaving Earth is if I disobey Crowley and he sends me to Hell."

Sam couldn't believe what he was hearing. He thought angels were supposed to be good. He could understand the angels wanting to kill demons and even go after Dean, because they didn't know that Dean was working to help stop the apocalypse. But to kill a human? And when it wasn't necessary in any way? Maybe he was mistaken in demons being his biggest threat. These angels seemed like they could be more deadly and careless than anything Sam had ever encountered.

Apparently Mindy was thinking along the same lines. "It really makes you question everything that you're told to believe in. Even someone like me that lives with demons everyday. Is there even a right and wrong anymore?"

Sam sighed as he adjusted Dean in his arms. "I really wish I could answer that for you Mindy. I mean, I've met a few creatures that are supposed to be monsters that weren't bad. I've always believed in angels and I used to pray every single day for mine and Dean's health and safety. I learned from Dean that they want to help start the apocalypse in some way and now they are killing humans. They were one good thing to believe in and now..."

Sam trailed off. He wouldn't mind still discussing things with Mindy, but he didn't feel like dropping Dean with a broken neck. He needed to get Dean laying down now.

Mindy took notice and stood up. "Need help with him?"

"Sure, thank you."


Back in their room, Sam got Dean situated on his side of the bed while Mindy tried to keep his head supported by pillows. Looking down at his brother not breathing brought Sam back all those months when he was lying Dean's body in the coffin, hoping it wouldn't be his final resting place...

"He's not going to die, you know. Give him a few hours; he'll wake up by then."

"I know..." Sam sighed quietly. "It's just hard. I've watched him go through so much and I kind of expected that since he's a demon now, I wouldn't have to watch him suffer anymore. I was wrong."

"Oh, he was suffering all right, I mean before he was with you." Mindy laughed as she glanced over at Dean. "He was a grouchy thing, hissing at everyone and always seemed very antsy. Like all the other demons that are stuck here, he wanted to get out...but it wasn't about escaping for him. It always seemed like he was longing for something and he seemed worried. Then I heard him talking about you to Crowley. He wanted to meet up with you sooner, even before his body was healed all the way but Crowley wouldn't let him."

Sam was longing for the information. He knew that Dean cared; it was just hard to notice how much he cared sometimes. "He was really talking about me, huh?"

"Oh yeah, basically the only thing he would talk about. He kept quiet most of the time that I'm pretty shocked at how different he seems now."

"Different how?"

"Well for one, he smiles. I have never seen a demon truly smile and Dean was no exception before." Mindy shrugged.

"He never smiled before? Dean's constantly smiling and cracking some stupid joke."

"Nope, never once. I mean, I could tell that he was different from other demons but he was nothing like he is now. He's a whole different person when he's with you and he actually seems happy. I didn't know demons could be so...relaxed."

Sam smiled, something inside of him feeling lighter. He was glad that even after everything Dean had been through, he could still find some form of happiness by hunting with Sam. "Trust me, he still has his moments."

"But has he ever tried to hurt you?"

"He'll get easily annoyed or angry. But no, he's never been violent to me once."

"Well I'm glad I didn't sleep with a totally careless demon. At least he actually still has some feelings." Mindy grinned.

"Alright!" Sam blushed, forgetting Dean's history with the girl. "That's enough information, don't remind me of that!"

Mindy chuckled. "Do you want me to wait here until he wakes up?"

"I'll be fine. But thank you for everything."


Sam could sense Dean waking up before his brother opened his eyes. He turned around just as Dean muttered out a hoarse "Sammy".

Sam ran over to his brother upon hearing his name and hovered above Dean. "Hey, are you feeling alright?" he asked with a relieved smile.

Dean rolled his black eyes, a sigh that Sam was now accustomed to. "Well, I can breathe."

Sam huffed. "Of course you can. But do you hurt anywhere? Can you get up?"

"I just broke my neck moron, I can't get up."

"But..."

"I can breathe and move my neck a bit; my spinal cord hasn't healed enough to move my limbs." Dean's annoyed grimace turned into a cocky grin. "Remember, I'm just a baby demon. Cut me some slack."

"What a strong and powerful demon you are, laying helpless at the mercy of a hunter." Sam laughed. Maybe it should worry him more that Dean couldn't move right now, but Sam knew he was going to heal completely so there really wasn't a reason to fret over it.

"Oh, I'm not completely helpless; I've still got my powers." Dean demonstrated by flinging the remote at Sam's head through the air.

Crowley chose that moment to walk in. "Ah, so you're awake."

Dean narrowed his eyes at Crowley. "How the hell did those angels get in? I thought you had this mansion angel-proofed."

Crowley actually had the guts to look the tinniest bit embarrassed. "That, ah well...some wards were broken by one of my demon slaves trying to escape..."

"Wow, what a shocker there." Dean rolled his eyes.

"It's been taken care of. Actually, one of the angels got him. Now, Dean..." Crowley walked over and stood over Dean with a menacing look on his face. "Why don't you care to tell me exactly why you wished me to spare that angel's life?"

Sam took a step closer to Dean protectively, but his brother remained calm and collected.

"Didn't you see how confused the guy was? He was clueless and being led around like a dog. He thought he was saving the world from the apocalypse."

"And..." Crowley didn't look impressed.

"And he even decided against killing me because he was the angel that was supposed to free me. If we can get him to learn the truth...plus the fact that he probably feels guilty about not getting to me in time...it might be enough to get him to work with us," Dean explained, looking smug the entire time.

"We'd have an angel on our side that could warn us about any incoming threats," Sam gasped.

Crowley gave a mischievous grin. "That might not be such a bad idea after all. Those things could become quite handy in the right situations."

"See, I'm just full of good ideas." Dean smirked. He was obviously proud of himself for thinking of such an amazing idea.

"Yes, and if that angel comes back to kill us, I'll be sure to wipe that smirk off your face." And with that threat, Crowley disappeared out the door.

Sam watched as Dean's coy look changed to one of annoyance as he pouted in the bed.

"What's wrong with you?"

"If you haven't noticed, my neck is broken," Dean stated in his best mocking tone.

Sam let out an aggravated sigh. "Seriously Dean."

"Fine, my throat is parched. Happy now?"

"Dude, why didn't you just tell me? I'll get you some water," Sam told him, already walking towards their kitchen area.

"I am NOT having my little brother help me drink!" Dean seemed to grow more agitated as Sam continued to ignore him and fill a glass with water. "Do you hear me Sam? You try to give me that water like a freakin' baby and I'll spit it on your face, bitch!"

"I could be a real bitch and give you holy water," Sam suggested.

"You wouldn't."

"Yeah, I know I wouldn't." Sam smiled but sighed when he felt himself suddenly freeze to the spot, unable to move. He glared at his brother. "Dean..."

"Let's make a deal."

"You're not a crossroads demon, jerk."

"No, a good old fashioned deal. If you can escape the hold of my powers in less than two minutes then you can give me that water. If not then I get to wait until I can actually hold the cup for myself."

On top of practicing grabbing onto demon's souls, Sam was also learning how to deflect their powers and escape from them. Dean had been doing this to him, pinning him against his powers and having him try to escape by using his own. It had taken Sam upwards of ten minutes in the beginning and now he was down to around three. But he would accept this challenge; he knew Dean's powers and how to work around them.

"Okay, deal."

One minute and forty-eight seconds later Dean was scowling as Sam held the glass up to his lips.

"Admit it Dean, I'm the awesome brother."

"I told you I'd never lie to you Sammy, why start now?"

"Very funny." Sam ignored his brother's stares and tilted his head up with one hand and brought the glass up with another. Dean's scowl stayed put but he didn't spit the water out like he had threatened. "See, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

"You better shut your mouth. I feel like a freakin' infant."

"Well, hey...I'm just returning the favor. Weren't you the one that fed me all my bottles when I was a baby?"

"Of course it was me. Dad was out a lot of the time and trusted me to take care of you. I wasn't going to let you starve. So this ends our 'best brother' argument."

Sam smiled. "Yeah, I guess it does. You're more awesome than me." He brought the glass up to Dean's lips again. It was nice to take care of his brother for a change and to sit here and relax with no tension between them.

As Sam went to give Dean another drink of water, his brother vanished before his eyes. Sam glanced around wildly, finding himself in what looked to be an abandoned factory building of some sort. When he spun around, he came face to face with the angel Castiel.

"I am in great need to speak with you, Sam Winchester."

 

 

Chapter Text

Sam gawked at the angel who was standing in front of him, finding it hard to form words. He thought Crowley had proofed his mansion from angels. But the thing was…Sam hadn't even seen Castiel in Crowley's house. It was almost as if the angel had teleported him here, that was probably the case.

The angel continued to stare at Sam and he didn't look poised to attack. It was obvious that Castiel wanted Sam to say the next word so the younger Winchester got his nerves under control and could say the only thing that mattered.

"Where's Dean? What did you do with him?"

Once again, the angel looked confused. "I did not touch your brother. I have learned that if I was to harm him, you would never cooperate with me."

"Damn straight." Sam shocked himself with how much he sounded like his older brother just then. "And you better bring me back to him too."

"I cannot do that."

"Why the hell not? You take me away from my brother and pull my out of my life. You have no right to!"

"I am an angel of the Lord, it is my job to follow my father's word," the angel said proudly.

"So God told you to use me to start the apocalypse? Why would he tell you that?"

"I am helping to prevent the apocalypse. That is what my brothers have told me."

"Brothers?"

"My fellow angels."

Sam paused before he spoke, not sure if he had understood right. "Wait a minute; I thought you said God told you all this and now you're telling me angels did?"

"My brothers passed down the information to me." Castiel seemed confused at Sam's question.

"Then if you never heard this from God himself, how do you know this is what he wants?"

"My brothers wouldn't lie to me." He seemed so certain, yet there was a spark of doubt in his eyes, like he was just realizing something for the first time.

"What's stopping them from lying to you? Maybe they made up this plan for their own reasons and are tricking you."

"Your brother could be doing the same as well," Castiel stated matter-of-factly.

"My brother would never…" Sam stopped as he realized he would sound like a hypocrite just then. "Okay, I get your point. But you don't know my brother and me; you don't know how close we are. Dean spent his whole life protecting me. He raised me. There's no way he would use me."

"Your brother is a demon. Demons will lie and manipulate to get whatever they desire."

"But what if they didn't have to lie?" Sam demanded. "If there was no reason to? Dean knew he could tell me the truth because he trusted me. Why would he fight his way out of hell to start the apocalypse? He has no reason to want it, because even Hell hates him."

"You are asking me to take the word of a demon over the word of angels?"

"I'm asking you to just hear me out. Hear Dean out. He knows what he's talking about. He heard a lot while he was in Hell and he understands what's really going on."

"I am willing to consider your troubles only because I failed to save your brother as I was assigned. I will enquire about your doubts and return later." Before Sam could ask the angel where he was going, Castiel simply vanished before his eyes.

Okay, well no loss there. Time to get the hell out of this place.


It quickly became evident that the angel had fully secured the building. The doors wouldn't budge and anyway, when Sam went to touch them it sent a harsh shock through his body. He couldn't believe that this thing claimed it was an angel. What happened to angles being good and pure?

After hours of searching for a way out Sam wandered into what must have been a break room for the factory workers. There was an old ratty couch still sitting in the room and Sam plopped down on it, immediately thinking of his brother and his love of sleeping. Where was Dean right now? Was he just sleeping and waiting for this incident to solve itself? Was he sitting around hoping Sam would be returned? Was he demanding Crowley to look into his sudden disappearance? Could Dean even move right now from the injury Castiel inflicted?

If Dean reacted anything like what his human self would have, he would be going berserk right now. Sam could picture his brother throwing things, screaming and once he found out where Sam was - because Dean always rescued him - Dean would jump into the Impala and speed down the roads, not slowing down until he reached his little brother. Hopefully, that was happening right now. It had to be. Sam trusted his brother. Dean would be looking for him; Dean was on his way right now. It was with these thoughts that Sam restlessly drifted off to a sleep filled with nightmares.


Sam woke up feeling relieved that he wasn't getting any cravings for demon blood. So far Dean's predictions had been right. By keeping his quantities limited and measured, he wasn't feeling any addictive urge even though he missed his daily 'demon blood kool-aid'. Speaking of Dean, there was still no sight of him or the angel. As the day wore on though, Sam was getting less worried about Dean not showing up. Sam remembered how angry Dean had been when the ghoul had been attacking him those few months ago. Dean had rushed upstairs to rescue Sam even though his little brother had been treating him like shit. That protective side of Dean never vanished; maybe it was even stronger than ever. Dean still worried over him constantly, it was obvious. He would show up.

The only problem was how would Dean know he was here?

Sam was busy pacing the dirty floor when Castiel reappeared again. He looked more confused than usual.

"My brothers are being very secretive about their motives. I believe they know something that I do not."

"Great. So now you know that they're lying to you. Now you can send me back to Dean." Maybe this would actually work out.

"Not necessarily. I still will never trust a demon. If you truly believe that there is something else going on, I will consider working with you to find out the truth."

Sam shook his head, trying to suppress his anger. "You're not going to get me to do anything without Dean."

"I can not accept him."

"I'm never going to abandon him," Sam stubbornly stood his ground.

"He would most likely abandon you at the first available chance. He probably is not even looking for you."

"That's a lie!"

Castiel had the nerve to look the tiniest bit sad, or perhaps Sam was just imagining the emotion. "He's not the person he once was and I apologize for not rescuing him."

"Yeah? And why are you sorry? Are you sorry because it caused him more pain and allowed him to turn into a demon? Or are you sorry because you failed your orders?" At the lack of response Sam shook his head with a bitter laugh. "That's what I thought."

Suddenly there was a commotion coming from outside the building. There was loud banging, as if someone was trying to break in. Dean, please be Dean.

The door on the left side of the building collapsed and quickly rushing in with the colt in his hand was Dean, his black eyes blazing.

"You leave my brother alone you son of a bitch!" Dean hollered, aimed the colt at the angel and without any hesitation, pulled the trigger. Sam looked just in time to see Castiel's eyes go wide before he vanished, the bullet flying through empty air.

Dean looked flabbergasted and frustrated but he hastily turned his attention to Sam, a look of relief spreading over his stony features. He didn't waste any more time before running over to Sam and surprised him by grabbing his little brother's shoulders in both hands, his black eyes wild with fear. It was so familiar, so Dean. Sam couldn't believe he had ever doubted his brother, even if it was temporarily.

"What did he do to you? Did he hurt you?"

Dean's grip was starting to really hurt Sam's shoulders, so he placed a hand on Dean's bicep and attempted to pry him off. Dean got the hint and dropped his arms but never backed away.

"He didn't hurt me at all. He wanted to try and figure out why I believe killing Lilith would lead to the apocalypse. He's starting to doubt the angels' plans it seems like but he has a major issue with you. He already said he won't kill you because of me, so don't go shooting him."

"He took you away and trapped you! If I wanna kill him, I'll kill him!" Dean was getting furious, filled with rage. Sam could tell by the spastic state his soul was in. It was time to calm him down.

"Remember what you said? If we have an angel on our side it can really help us. So just hold back your anger, alright? He wasn't going to hurt me, so maybe he's not as bad as we think. If he reappears then just hold your fire."

Dean was breathing heavily. "I don't think I can do that," he said harshly.

"Do it for me. Come on Dean, if he causes the slightest problem then you can do whatever you want. Let's see if he can help us."

Dean looked irritated as hell, but he reluctantly agreed. "Fine, if things go wrong it's your funeral."

"You wouldn't let me die."

"Damn straight I wouldn't. Now let's get the hell outta here before he decides to come back."

It seemed like the angel heard Dean, because he appeared a few seconds later in front of the brothers. They both jumped and Dean quickly pulled out the colt but didn't shoot, obeying his brother's orders.

"You ever come after my brother again, I don't care what Sammy says, I'll shoot you on the spot."

"I will not question your brother without your permission any longer. I observed that you have a very unique relationship for a human and a demon." Castiel's glare then turned cold on Dean. "But you are still a demon and while your brother may trust you, I do not. If you happen to step out of line in any way I will be forced to send you back to where you came from."

"Well geeze, no hard feelings, huh? That was a great conversation. I'm glad we got off on the wonderful start," Dean seethed.

Sam ignored their arguing. "So does this mean you'll help us?"

"I will consider it."

"If you could find Lilith and keep us informed on where she's heading that would be great," Sam smiled.

"Or find a way to be able to lock the bitch up tight in Hell so she can never get back out," Dean added in.

"I am not sure what a female dog has to do with Lilith, demon. However, I will look into getting her locked away." And with that, the angel vanished once again.

Dean spoke up first. "Huh, well at least he's funny in an oblivious sort of way. If he didn't take you away I might even consider not hating him."

Sam punched Dean in the shoulder and gave him a glare. "I told you he just wanted to talk to me. It seems like he's just misguided and if we can change that we can really have an advantage against Lilith."

"Let's hope so. Now let's really get the hell outta here in case he decides to pop back up."


Sam wanted to relax when they were back in the Impala but it seemed like every time he found himself feeling secure, something bad would happen. He glanced over at Dean who was a lot less tense than he had been confronting the angel. It seemed that when he found out the angel hadn't been hurting Sam, that Dean cooled down immensely. Looking at his brother right now, Sam finally noticed something that was never there before, something new...

Dean had his classic rock blaring and was humming along, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. This would seem normal to anyone that knew Dean, but Sam knew him better than anyone. Yeah, Dean would go through the same actions before when he was human, but there was always something else going on. Dean would have a certain set to his jaw, his posture ridged, and his eyes...Sam could always tell when his brother was thinking too much by looking into his eyes. Before-Dean always had that distressed look in his eyes; the stressed-out lines of his forehead spoke volumes of Dean inner self-hatred. When it had looked like Dean was enjoying himself, he was really using it as a cover to disguise how he was really feeling deep down, how he was feeling worthless and not good enough for anyone. No matter how hard Sam tried to change that about his brother, he could never seem to fix him. He had figured that there was no true healing for his brother.

Except now...even though those eyes were black, Sam could still read Dean just as easy as he ever could. There was no guilt or loathing hidden behind those eyes. Dean was slouched in the seat, his humming coming effortlessly. He was lost in the music, not like before when he would use the music as a shield to get lost in other memories. Nothing that had been eating away at Dean bothered him anymore. Maybe it should get Sam nervous that Dean had gone through Hell and had tortured souls and could care less about it. But Sam couldn't find it in him to really care. What happened, happened. And truthfully...he was just glad that Dean was relaxed and by all means and purposes...really seemed happy.

Before-Dean had been living by letting the events and tragedies pull him through his life while he trailed behind, getting lost in the process. Now Dean was embracing life, living in the moment and not caring about his past, not caring about anything.

Well, except for his little brother. That fierce protectiveness when Dean had burst into that warehouse was something that hadn't changed in Dean at all.

"Thanks for coming, by the way." Sam had to shout over the music just so Dean could hear him.

Dean gave Sam a strange look before reluctantly turning down the music a bit. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Thanks for showing up to get me. How did you find me anyway?"

Dean's carefree look vanished as he cast Sam that same look he had when he found Sam's voicemails. Shit, that was the last thing Sam wanted. If there was one thing his brother fretted about, it was Sam's doubtful-ness.

"You didn't think I'd come and get you." It wasn't a question and Dean's voice was flat.

"Dean, first of all you couldn't move when I was taken away. And I just wasn't sure how you would react. I mean, I know you would have rushed out to save me before but I wasn't sure if you'd wait it out this time. Or if you wouldn't find me because it could involve the angels and they could kill you..."

Dean's fists tightened around the steering wheel and his arms actually began to shake. "I'm your brother Sam."

"I know Dean, I..."

"You honestly think that I would leave you? Not knowing where the hell you were or what could have happened to you? I was up walking before I even could properly, I was throwing stuff around, hell I threatened Crowley. He somehow put a tracking coin on that angel. He knew where you were, but he wouldn't teleport me to you because he was afraid of the angels. So I jumped in my damn car and broke every fuckin' law on the road to get to you. We're lucky if we don't have cops after our asses. And you thought I could sit there like everything was fine and dandy? And why, because I'm a demon? Huh?" Dean glared Sam's way, anger written all over his face.

"I'm sorry, I only thought so for a little bit and then I realized how stupid it was. I wasn't sure if being a demon..."

Dean interrupted him, and what he said shocked Sam.

"It doesn't change us, it doesn't change what we have."

What we have. Trust. Intuition. Protectiveness. Brotherhood. Friendship. Codependency.

Dean was right, none of that changed just because he was a demon.

"You're right. I'm sorry."

"I thought you knew that by now, Sam," Dean gritted out between clenched teeth.

"I do. It was just a moment of doubt. It'll never happen again. I feel like shit."

"Good, you should."

Sam sighed. He didn't like this. He hated the tenseness between them that came with a fight. This hadn't changed either, nothing about them had. How stupid could Sam have been to think Dean wouldn't come searching for him the minute he vanished? If Dean would have came back from Hell human like he was intended to...Sam couldn't even begin to fathom what a mess he would be inside. Dean would have been even more tormented, would have felt so guilty and would probably fall into depression or alcoholism. He would have been so withdrawn; maybe he wouldn't even be functioning. If Dean had come back human he might have even been less like the Dean of before than he was right now. Sam hadn't even thought about that, he could have gotten back a brother that he couldn't even relate to anymore, that had gone through so much that his human mind couldn't take it.

"I am really sorry, Dean," Sam repeated himself. "I think too much and I make bad decisions and even beat you up when you first came back to save me. I keep worrying about little things that I shouldn't. I'm a horrible brother and I don't deserve you."

Dean actually got angrier, something that Sam wasn't expecting. "Don't say that damnit. That's not true, Sammy. Just...shut up."

Dean could still say something like that, even as a demon. Gosh, Sam loved his brother. He waited about five minutes and when Dean's tension still didn't change he grabbed a piece of crumbled newspaper and threw it at his brother, hitting him in the nose.

"What?!" Dean shot out, still looking...hurt. Sam saw glimpses of it before, but the emotion never lasted more than a few seconds. Now, Dean was hurt again by Sam's words and it affected him so much that he wasn't hiding it this time.

"I know it won't make up for everything, but I promise to get you pie after every meal for the next week. I'll pay for it all."

Dean took his eyes back off the road to look at Sam. It seemed like he was having a hard time staying mad. Yeah, things didn't change after all, those puppy-dog eyes still worked on his demon brother.

"Pay for my entire meals and I'll call it a deal."

Sam smiled, feeling relived and the tension that had been hanging in the air vanished.

"Wipe that stupid smirk off your face, you're still an annoying bitch."

"Thanks, jerk. For everything."

Dean rolled his eyes and groaned loudly. "Shut up, Sammy."

Chapter Text

Dean's phone rang a half hour into their drive. He glanced and the screen with a sneer and then flipped it open angrily.

"What, Crowley?" Dean got angrier as Crowley spoke. "Yes you coward, the angel is gone. Hello?"

Dean flung the phone on the ground at Sam's feet. "Stupid moron hung up on me."

"I don't appreciate the names you associate me with, Dean."

Dean and Sam both spun around to stare at the backseat, which Crowley now occupied, sipping a glass of expensive whiskey.

"How the hell…." Dean started while Sam had to force his brother to keep his eyes on the road.

"That tracking coin I put on the angel? There's one in this sad, smelly excuse of a car." Crowley looked like just sitting in the Impala was infecting him.

The car slammed to a halt, and Crowley's whiskey went splashing out of his glass. Dean turned around with blazing black eyes. "You know nothing about this car so I suggest you shut the hell up before I decide to turn the Colt on you, which I stole from your mansion by the way."

Crowley didn't look threatened; instead he looked pleased. "Ah, I didn't even notice. Very good theft skills there. I like your passion Dean, there's hardly a demon that has any."

Dean's expression changed from angry to confused. He let out a frustrated huff and turned back around, starting up the car.

"I wouldn't worry about me if I were you," Crowley continued. "I'm most likely the only one that doesn't underestimate you denim-clad nightmares. I know better than to get on your bad side."

Sam couldn't help but blurt out a quiet chuckle. Crowley could be funny if he wanted to sometimes.

"Then maybe you're actually smarter than I made you out for," Dean grumbled.

"Ha, ha." Crowley rolled his eyes and Sam decided to finally speak up.

"What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Ah, so he speaks." Crowley smirked, attempting to wipe the spilled whiskey off his suit. "Good question too. I've decided that it's best that you don't come back to my mansion."

"Why the hell is that?" Dean practically shouted even though Crowley was a mere few inches from him.

"Because the angels will keep coming back if you two dumbasses are there and that's putting my life in danger. Besides you should get a head start on going after Alistair and ending him once and for all, he's becoming quite the hassle, I've heard."

"Of course Crowley, it's all about you."

"I'm a demon, of course it is. You should understand Dean because of the idiotic lengths you'll go to help the purpose of saving that damn brother of yours."

Something occurred to Sam then. Crowley wasn't in this simply to get rid of Lilith like Dean had assumed. There was something else Crowley was aiming for. He wouldn't be that desperate to work with them to kill Lilith simply to stop the apocalypse. If anyone could survive the apocalypse, it was Crowley. Another thing…why would Crowley care about Alistair's fate anyway. As far as Sam knew, the two had nothing to do with one another.

"You're not in this just to stop Lilith from starting the apocalypse, are you Crowley?" Sam asked and the demon looked affronted at Sam's sudden attention. "There's something in it for you, isn't there? Something big."

Crowley looked offended at first and Dean glanced over at Sam, finally understanding the same thing.

"Of course there is. And I assume now I'm going to have to tell you two pigs if we're going to continue working together. Am I right?" At the brothers' hard stares Crowley continued. "If we lock away Lilith, she doesn't control Hell anymore. Guess who becomes in control then…"

"Alistair." Dean stated, his voice rough and grim. Sam knew he didn't imagine the shiver that ran through his brother's body. He reached over to place a hand on Dean's elbow and his brother didn't even shake it off. Dean was really affected by this news, he wished he could use his powers to kill Alistair for torturing his brother.

"That's right. But if you two end him, I'm next up on the food chain. I don't know about you two morons but I think I would be a much better replacement than that scumbag. Would cause you both a lot less hassle too, having someone in charge on your side."

It all made sense now. Crowley, that sneaky cocky demon had planned this all out. Helping Dean out of Hell and working towards a common goal of killing Lilith. Crowley knew what Dean had been through with Alistair and wouldn't stand for him ruling Hell. And then when Crowley realized Sam was a permanent part of the picture, he understood Dean's devotion to him. The crossroads demon knew that Dean would stop at nothing to save Sam from Lilith's evil plans. He also knew that the person Sam would want dead the most, was his brother's tormentor. He used their passion to gain what he wanted, to be the ruler of Hell.

Everything about being a hunter told Sam not to allow this. To be working with demons (other than his brother of course) and to help one become a ruler of Hell of all places. He should shoot Crowley right now; Sam did have the Colt after all. But it was true that they would much rather have Crowley than this Alistair, who tore apart souls in Hell in ways Sam didn't want to imagine. At least Crowley, as conniving as he could be, never harmed Dean and wanted to keep them on his side. There was always the option of killing Crowley as well after Alistair was gone…but who knew what demon was next in line after Crowley.

It was best to just let Crowley get what he wanted, if he got out of hand down the line, then Sam and Dean could take matters into their own hands.

"Can't believe I didn't figure that shit out on my own." Dean fisted a hand in his hair from frustration.

"Such a potty mouth, aren't you Winchester," Crowley cooed.

"You don't have this Alistair tracked down yet do you?" Sam asked.

Crowley gave Sam a blank stare. "Does it look like it, Moose? If I knew his whereabouts don't you think I would have told you ages ago?"

Sam rubbed at his temples. Being with two demons in the car at the same time was getting aggravating. He couldn't handle both Dean's tense attitude at the moment and Crowley's 'no-shit' blatant statements.

"You okay?" Dean asked in a hoarse voice and Sam looked up to see Dean's black eyes on him, the anger on his face made way for concern.

Sam made a mental note to never internally complain about Dean's attitude again. It didn't matter what kind of attitude Dean wore, hidden beneath it and willing to come to the surface was always his concern for his little brother. That really said something about Dean, about the type of person he was. The fact that he was a demon made him even that much more unique.

Sam shook his head; put a smile on for his brother. "Yeah. Just got a headache, that's all."

Dean narrowed his eyes at Sam. "You look tired as hell. Get some sleep." Something in his eyes changed then, as if Dean was just realizing something important about Sam. He turned around to scowl at Crowley. "You harassed us enough; get the hell out of my car."

"Trust me; I'm itching to leave this germ-invested vehicle. Just one more inquiry and you'll be free of me for the time being."

"Then get on with it already!" Dean slapped his palms against the steering wheel in frustration. Sam wasn't sure why Dean was such in a hurry for Crowley to leave, he would be gone eventually, why make a fuss about it?

"I'm not that annoying so relax you buffoon," Crowley hissed

"Well I'm sorry but I can't stand to be in your presence after you refused to teleport me to Sam! In the time it took me to drive out here he could have been dead!"

"Do you really think I would put my life on the line for that human of yours? He's alive isn't he? So take your vile attitude somewhere else."

"That's not the point Crowley!"

"Then if you're so determined to save your brother quicker, maybe you should be practicing teleporting while your brother extracts demons! You're both slow learners; perhaps you could benefit helping one another!" Crowley seethed sarcastically.

Sam cleared his throat before Dean could respond and Crowley decided to end the current argument and turn to face Sam. "So tell me, Sam….what happened with the angel?"

"That's none of your business!" Dean shouted and Sam had to reach over to calm him again.

"It's fine Dean." Sam kept his tone light and then addressed Crowley. "He just wanted to talk. He's all confused as to if the angels are stopping or aiding the apocalypse. I tried to reason with him a bit and it sounds like he might help us, or at least look into what we're working towards."

"And what exactly is he looking into?" Crowley asked.

"Lilith's whereabouts."

Crowley waved a hand in disgust. "That doesn't matter at the moment. The seals that she's breaking don't matter unless she ends up dead. Next time that atrocious angel stalks you, tell him to find Alistair. It will do us all a favor if he's out of the way first."

"There, you have your information Crowley." Dean spared a quick angry glare towards the back of the car. "Now get the hell out of here."

Crowley rolled his eyes. "As you wish." He cooed mockingly before vanishing into thin air.

As soon as Crowley disappeared, Dean was pulling the car over towards the side of the road, near the forest.

"What the hell Dean? What's going…"

"Give me a water bottle from the backseat," Came Dean's clipped answer.

Sam sighed, but listened anyway, reaching over in the dark to unzip the duffle where they kept the drinks and some snacks. He searched around until he found a warm water bottle and turned to the front just in time to see Dean pull out the knife he kept in his boot and slice open his arm.

For a short second, Sam forgot about the whole demon-blood thing and he started to reach over to grab Dean's arm to stop his brother. Dean noticed this and smiled a little, he seemed to relax and his voice was much calmer when he spoke next.

"Can you pour a bit of that out Sammy?"

Sam rolled down the window and emptied a quarter of the water before he turned back to his brother.

"This good enough?" Sam asked as he handed the bottle over.

"Yeah, that's perfect." Dean took the offered bottle and held his bleeding arm over it, letting the blood dribble in. "You didn't take your daily drink yesterday, it's probably why you have that headache."

Sam watched as Dean added more drops of blood, thunder clapped outside and Sam wondered when the rain had started coming down so hard. It was pouring outside and the wind was howling, practically shaking the car. Sam laughed inside, with the demon blood scene going on inside the car and the dark setting outside, it would seem like they were in the perfect set-up for a cheesy horror movie.

"I thought you told me I wasn't going to get side effects because you're watching my dosage." Sam pointed out, he didn't want to do this if it was messing with him in other ways other than giving him these powers.

"You wouldn't be having any problems if you were able to have your daily drink yesterday." Dean told him as he capped the lid to the bottle and shook it. "All you have is a small headache, right?"

"Yeah."

"No nosebleeds like when you had those visions?"

"No." Sam dabbed under his nose anyway and his hand came away clean.

"Good, that's good. It's a sign that you're in control of your powers, not the other way around like fake-Ruby wanted. You don't seem to be irrationally angry; I heard that was a sign. The whole Lilith and fake-Ruby plan was to have you drink so much that you'd be completely out of your mindset and have the blood make you violent and careless. You wouldn't be thinking straight and you'd push everyone away until you killed Lilith like fake-Ruby would tell you to."

"I'd never have believed fake Ruby over you."

"That's what you think now, you wouldn't be thinking that with her trying to manipulate you with sex and gallons of demon blood in you."

"Gallons?"

"I heard some pretty nasty stuff down in Hell." Dean looked away before he said his next sentence. "According to Crowley, if I were to come back human and everything went just as they wanted, they were planning on having you drain an entire body of demon blood in order to kill Lilith."

Sam's mouth fell open. He couldn't ever fathom doing those horrible inhuman things. Well, he was drinking demon blood right now, but he was doing so under his brother's watch and at least he was drinking it in a humanly way. How would he ever come down so low as to follow a random demon's lead and drain an entire body…a body that would have also housed a human…of blood?

"Thank you for getting to me before they could try to turn me into that. I don't even want to imagine…I wouldn't even be me anymore…"

Dean shook his head. "Hell, I don't know if you'd even still be human after drinking that much at one time."

Sam shivered, his brother's words affecting him more than Dean probably realized. How could Sam ever be capable of doing those things, especially when Dean would have been brought back before he turned, brought back human?

"If you came back human like they wanted you to, You would have stopped me from becoming a monster," Sam said in a thick voice and pleaded at Dean with his eyes. "You're helping me right now, you stopped the plan. Why wouldn't you have been able to if you were still human? It doesn't make sense."

"It makes all the sense in the world Sam." Dean was calm for once; usually he was irritated when he had to explain things in detail to Sam, expecting him to realize things on his own. "Remember what I told you? I would have came back human but almost completely broken and probably not even willing to live. I would have been less of the brother you remember than I am right now."

Sam could picture that and the sight in his head horrified him. Dean, a crumpled excuse for the man he used to be, dejected and barely fighting, waiting for death to take him….

"That's what they wanted. They needed me back human so I could break that first seal. I would have been weak and whiny…"

"You can't say being upset over what happened to you in Hell would be called whiny, Dean. You were tortured…."

"Yeah, I was," Dean interrupted him with a roll of his eyes. "And now I'm out. It's over and done with and complaining or moping about what happened to me would be whiny and a pity party. Gosh, I don't miss that about being human, the constant pointless emotions that can tear some people apart. It's stupid and ridiculous."

"So what you're saying is that you would have been so broken that you wouldn't have stopped me?"

"I would have been so caught up in my own pity party that I wouldn't have realized your problems until it was too late. You probably would have gotten aggravated by my weakness and kept secrets from me and oh joy, doesn't that sound like it would have gone down well?"

Sam crossed his arms over his chest. He knew Dean was probably right but that didn't mean Sam had to come to terms with the information just yet.

"If they wanted me to go dark-side or mislead me or whatever, why was fake Ruby not pushing me more often? Why didn't she bring up drinking her blood already?"

"Because she had no reason to rush anymore. She knew that if I was back human, the seals would start breaking and she'd have to hurry. But when she found out I'd turned she probably figured there was more time. She had more time to get you to truly trust her and do things right. They had to find another 'righteous man' and start over. And fake Ruby just assumed that because I'm a demon, I wouldn't be coming after you to save you. She just thought I wouldn't care but once she realized I did, she fled."

"So it's all because of you that the angels and demons are all confused and scrambling to get things how they want it?"

"Exactly." Dean smiled. "Look how amazing I am. Little ol' me was able to alter the fate of the universe and of heaven and hell, all because I wanted to come back and save your whiny ass from turning into a demon-fucking monster."

Sam's eyes widened at Dean's description before he burst out laughing. "Dude, that's so disgusting."

"What? It's true. Why else do you think she picked a sassy brunette? Your type…"

"Shut up! I don't have a type!"

"Sure you don't. Wasn't Jess a fake-blonde?"

Bringing up Jess sent a long-forgotten ache in Sam's heart but Dean was right. "She died her hair sophomore year and liked blonde better. It was one of the things she wouldn't take my opinion on. Thanks for stalking me when I was in college, by the way."

Dean found some sugar packets that Sam kept in the car for his coffee and poured it into the demon-blood mixture. It was oddly sweet of him to do that, Sam figured. He could have just given him the mixture without making it more drinkable and told him to 'just drink it and suck it up'.

"No problem, I'm a master at stalking you. You really think I just left you alone the whole eight months I was back and you were moping around?" Dean handed Sam the bottle.

"You said you stopped by occasionally to check up on me," he answered as he took a drink, it tasted just as it normally did.

"Depends on what you consider occasionally. I wasn't about to let you die of misery. Remember that time you almost got hit by that car coming back from the bar? How the car mysteriously rolled ten feet backwards just as it was about to hit you? That fight you got in outside of the apartment and the guy just started vomiting for no reason, which gave you a chance to escape? How about the time you passed out at the park and those police officers found you? They were going to send you to jail or to a hospital or something. Remember how that man came out of nowhere and told the cops that you were his son? Picked your drunk ass up and somehow happened to know the hotel room you stayed at and dropped you off?"

Sam's jaw dropped and his eyes began to water. "That was you?" Sam remembered that kind but gruff man that saved him from the cops. Now that Sam thought back, the man had carried him in his room, the room that Sam had left unsalted from carelessness, and had somehow opened the locked door while still carrying Sam. He had opened it with demon powers. And the quiet words as Sam had drifted off into an alcohol-ridden sleep 'You gotta take better care of yourself, Sammy'. That man had been Dean. For once he had someone watching over him to help him, someone that had been trying to get him on back on the right path. Dean had saved him from the plan these angels and demons had been laying out for him, this so called destiny. One man had been able to change it all, his brother.

It just went to show that love and dedication went much further than self-greed. Dean had been stronger than heaven and hell combined.

"Might as well sleep here," Dean stated as Sam drank the rest of the mixture. "I'm not risking ruining my baby because the roads are so bad."

Sam flipped open his phone and checked the weather. Two more huge thunderstorms would roll in after this one. "Yeah, and you know, your car would get really dirty with all the muddy puddles. Can't have that."

"You got that right bitch." Dean grinned and Sam threw the now empty water bottle at his face before clambering over to the backseat to sleep.

Sam used the snack duffle as a pillow and tried to contort his long limbs into a comfortable position. When he finally felt satisfied, Sam tried to doze off before realizing just how cold he was. He didn't have a jacket on when he was taken from Crowley's mansion and the ever-dropping temperature outside was making him freezing.

Suddenly Dean reached over and picked up his leather jacket from where it lied on the floor next to the backseat. He threw it at Sam.

"Put that thing on. You're freezing. I can hear you shivering, you big wuss."

"You're letting me wear your jacket?" Sam sounded amazed but Dean only shrugged.

"I don't really like that thing. It's way too big on me anyway; don't know why I wore it in the first time. You keep it."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, you were practically inseparable from the thing the whole time I was gone. Kinda creepy that you slept with it on, but whatever makes you happy."

Sam was a bit confused as to why the amulet and Impala still held so much importance to Dean but his jacket didn't.

It was eerily similar, the way the amulet had originally been for their father and Sam had given it to Dean instead. Now Dean was giving Sam a gift given to him by their father and handing it to his brother to keep.

Dean probably didn't realize it, but this action meant a lot to him. While Dean was in Hell, the jacket had been a constant reminder of Dean, of Dean's concern and love for him. Sam had become attached to it like Dean had the amulet and now Sam could say that he would also be wearing a gift from his brother.

Dean might not hold a lot of attachment to the jacket, but Sam sure did.

"Stop staring at the thing like you're having a love affair with it and get to sleep We have work to do tomorrow and you have to be rested to develop those powers," Dean grumbled and finally laid down on the front seat.

Sam rolled his eyes as he slipped the jacket on, just before he fell asleep he heard his brother speak.

"Such a freak, Sammy."

Sam fell asleep laughing, and no longer cold.

Chapter Text

Sam woke up in the cold Impala and sighed. He really had to pee. Checking his watch, he groaned when he saw that it was 3:27 in the morning. Even with Dean's jacket, he was still cold and he hoped they would be able to leave soon.

He sat up and glanced over to the front seat to see that Dean was out cold, shivering slightly. Sam suddenly felt horrible as he remembered the blanket in the Impala's trunk. He'd grab it for Dean when he came back inside the car.

Sam stepped out into the unseasonable cold early-autumn night as he attempted to adjust his eyes to the scenery around him. It had stopped raining at least, but the ground was all mud. About ten feet in front of him the trees started to gather so Sam made his way over. He might as well hide in the forest. Even though it was very early in the morning, he didn't want someone driving by and witness him peeing on the side of the road.

Sam walked through the trees, listening to the owls hooting and other animals scurrying through the damp grass. It was so peaceful. He couldn't imagine what would happen if the whole apocalypse plan was put into action. What would happen to the forests? Would the whole Earth be overgrown with them? Or would everything simply burn down and look like a living Hell? Would animals thrive or would they be the first ones to die off?

Sam guessed no one really knew the answer to that except Lucifer. It was scary to know that the Devil was real. Sam always thought so but just knowing it for a fact made it that much more scary. He was down in Hell waiting, hoping that Sam was falling for all the wrong tricks so he could be set free only walk around in Sam's body and destroy the world.

Sam finished going to the bathroom and then started walking back to the Impala. There's no way Sam was going to let that happen. Dean was making sure he wasn't being led down the wrong path. Dean would keep him….

"Sammy?!"

…safe.

Dean's voice started echoing through the forest, calling his name frantically. Great, Sam thought he was being considerate in sneaking out of the Impala and letting Dean sleep. Apparently Dean didn't agree.

"I'm over here Dean!" Sam called out. He walked towards the Impala quicker until he saw his brother and called out his name. Dean spun around, his black eyes looking creepy for the first time in a while, matching the dark black sky around them.

Dean marched over angrily. Of course. Sam internally groaned, couldn't he do a single thing on his own without telling his brother?

Dean stormed over and grabbed Sam's shirt, shaking him. He was angry as hell but there was also relief on his face.

"Where the hell did you go?" Dean growled at Sam. He stopped the shaking but kept his hands fisted in Sam's jacket – the jacket Dean gave to him.

Sam pushed Dean's hand off of him. "Relax Dean! I had to pee. Do I have to let you know what I'm doing at every minute of the day?"

"Did you have to go wander into the forest? I had no idea where the hell you went or why!"

"Does it matter where I went Dean?" Sam interrupted his brother. "You want me to trust you and I do Dean, but why can't you even trust me?"

Dean glared at Sam; the look was so harsh that it made him flinch. "If you let me finish…," Dean started out slowly, every word laced with anger. "You'd learn that it's not about that at all. I came back from Hell and risked everything to save your ass. Why would I do that for someone I don't trust."

Sam became quiet. "You wouldn't. Then why are you so upset?"

"I swear I can't believe you got into college. You can be so fricken' dense sometimes Sammy." Dean shook his head. "Think about it. Think about what the angels and the demons want."

"The apocalypse."

"Exactly. And what could help jump-start the apocalypse?"

"Opening the seals?"

"And you can open the seals, Sammy? Actually who can open the most important one of them all?" Dean rolled his eyes.

Sam paused, finally understanding just how dangerous everything was for him. "Me."

"There you go, smart one. They're after you. Basically every single demon that knows what's going on is trying to twist you to kill Lilith. The fricken' angels want you to believe you're saving the world by having you kill her. I thought one of them got you! What was I supposed to think? Huh, Sam? I wake up with you vanished, no note or anything! Fake Ruby could have found you! Alistair could have grabbed you! Even worse, one of the angels could have snatched you up and then I would have no way how to get to you!"

Dean was panting, that was how worked up he was. Sam couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"Dean…were you this bent out of shape after Castiel took me from Crowley's?"

"What do you think dumbass? And then you go vanishing again and I didn't know what to think! You could have been killed! It's my job to protect you! I'm not going to fail again…I can't stand to see that happen again…"

Dean dropped his arms, he looked defeated, worn-out, exhausted. It took Sam a minute to register just what his brother was referring to.

"Dean…you didn't fail at anything. You couldn't stop Jake from stabbing me, there was no way…" Sam said gently. He suddenly felt extremely stupid for leaving the car, like he should have known better. Of course Dean would assume that Sam went missing.

"I don't want to hear your excuses for me.," Dean said coldly. "I wasted too much time, I should have gotten there sooner and then you never would have been alone for him to stab you." Dean turned around but didn't start walking without Sam. "Come on, let's get back to the car."

"Dean….come on man…." Sam walked beside his brother and attempted to put a hand on his shoulder only for Dean to shake it off.

Dean turned to Sam then, his face showing the most emotion Sam had ever seen on his brother in his entire life.

"I can go through Hell a thousand times over but it could never break me like losing you could. "

That's where the demons and angels got it wrong. Bringing Dean to Hell and breaking him, turning him into a demon…that didn't destroy him. Dean was still very much Dean despite everything he went through. It was losing his brother that would kill Dean. With Sam gone, there would be no Dean left.

Just as Dean had told him before, he would just be another faceless demon, killing recklessly in order to try and feel something, anything at all.

They got back into the Impala and Dean plopped down in the front seat, his arms crossed with a frown on his face. He looked miserable and cold.

That was when Sam remembered the blanket in the trunk. He was about to simply walk outside before he remembered how angry Dean would get if he went somewhere without telling him.

"I'm going to get a blanket from the trunk. Do you need me to tell you that too?"

"I don't care what you're doing, Sam. I just want to know where you're going so I can keep an eye on you or so I know where to find you."

"Okay, I get it." Sam really did. "Then the same goes for you too. Let me know or leave me a note."

"I already do." Dean grumbled. Sam thought back and remembered the note Dean had left when they were in Crowley's mansion. Sam had a tendency to wander without thinking about what precautions he could take. When he got mad he'd storm off, not even knowing where he was heading to himself. Sam guessed it was that independent streak within him. The part that hadn't wanted to live in his brother's shadow and wanted to go off and do this own thing, wanted people to treat him like the adult he was. Those seemed like such petty things now, especially when Sam had been acting pretty childish in the past, marching over to Stanford with hardly a dime in his pocket and then ignoring most of his brother's few calls those last two years at school.

Dean was just protective, now more than ever it seemed. He wasn't treating Sam like a child; Dean was trying to get him to act more like an adult.

"Be right back," Sam told his brother as he hurried outside. It took him longer than he wanted to find the stupid blanket and the whole time he was searching Sam saw something from the corner of his eye. It was Dean watching from the Impala, his black eyes watching Sam, as if on lookout.

Of course once Sam found the blanket and closed the trunk, Dean averted his eyes, acting as if he wasn't concerned at all.

"Here," Sam stated, handing the blanket over to his brother. "I got it for you, you look freezing."

Dean snatched the blanket, muttering a 'thanks' before lying back down.

Sam had been wrong when he assumed Dean didn't feel any guilt at all anymore. He might be a lot more carefree and not let things bother him but he still felt guilt for not getting to Sam in time. Sam guessed if anything were to happen to him on Dean's watch, his big brother still would never forgive himself. Dean didn't let anything bother him…. except worrying about Sam.

"I still don't blame you, by the way. I should have been more cautious."

Dean huffed. "I was a stupid human, I was thinking too much when I should have just sped over there and got you. Who cares if it was a damn trap or battlefield out there, I should have just made it out there as soon as possible."

That was what Dean did now, just ran out to Sam when he was in trouble, not thinking of the danger he could be getting into. Dean broke into that building to save Sam from Castiel, knowing full well that the angel had the upper advantage.

"But whatever, that's not going to happen again, I won't let it. And that's why you have to tell me where you're going to be at all times."

"Okay, I will. I swear," Sam told his brother and then decided to change the topic. "We don't have much time left to save the woman, do we?"

"A couple months. And if you insist on having her live instead of getting rid of the demon the easy way, then you need to practice. We're gonna hunt down some demons and you're going to pull all of their souls from their body. I need you to be strong enough where you can get the soul out when the demon isn't tied down."

"You really believe I'm going to be able to do this?"

"Hell yeah, I mean you are the second-best hunter out there."

Sam rolled his eyes. "So you still consider yourself a hunter then."

"Of course, just because I'm a demon, it doesn't change anything. I just kill my own kind now."

Sam failed to hold back his chuckle.


Their first demon was the first one Dean managed to sense. He had suddenly pulled to the side of the road, his eyes wide.

"There's one nearby," he told Sam, reaching over to pull open the dashboard compartment. A bunch of maps came tumbling out. "Where are we?"

Sam glanced around at the street signs. They had been heading back towards the woman that was pregnant with the antichrist half demon child just so they could be near.

"I think we're on 70. We passed Denver a while ago." Sam helped Dean search through the maps and found the Colorado one.

Dean studied the map for a few minutes. "Alright, the next city is called New Castle. Be on the lookout for it. The demon is probably there."

"Are you sure it's in the town?"

"We're in the middle of Colorado, where else would it be? Hiding in the mountains? That's no fun. Demons get bored easily, as you could probably already tell with me. And like I already told you, what is the source of pleasure for most demons?"

"Hurting people," Sam answered.

"Yeah, mostly killing people. Not sure why that makes them so happy. If I'm bored, I just screw around with people and get them irritated."

"Or irritate me." Sam rolled his eyes.

Dean grinned. "Of course, that's what I live for."

"Or you blow up people's fancy cars," Sam stated, remembering the motel owner from months ago.

Dean shrugged. "What can I say, people need to appreciate true craftsmanship," he said while stroking the steering wheel of the Impala.

Dean started up the car again and it didn't take long before they saw the signs for the small town.

"Oh yeah," Dean nodded. "The demon is definitely here."

"It can't sense you because of Bobby's spell, right?"

"If ift did sense me, it would have been long gone by now. Demons don't like to conflict with one another mostly. They just go off on their own and cause trouble, demons working together would only cause problems and they'd probable kill each other."

Sam laughed. "Yeah, like you and Crowley."

"Trust me, we want to strangle each other most of the time, but Crowley's a business man. He works to make deals. If he was a fighter, there'd be no chance we'd be able to work together."

Dean pulled off the expressway and into a Rodeway Inn. The south of the town was nestled against the banks of a river and surrounded by mountains.

"I wonder why a demon would choose such a small, random town," Sam thought out loud.

"Crowley thinks demons head towards what they're most familiar with when they were human, even though most of them don't remember. He thinks it's an effort to try and connect to something, to who they were and most demons can't and that's what makes them frustrated and violent."

"So that's why you headed towards me."

Dean rolled his eyes and opened his door. "Please, as if I could ever forget your whiny ass. But yeah, basically. And the fact that I had to save you."

As Dean exited the Impala, he changed his eyes back to their green human shade. It actually shocked Sam; he had become so accustomed to his brother's black eyes that anything else seemed strange. The green eyes actually looked out of place on his brother now since Sam had become so accepting of his demon form.


Dean paid for their room and mixed Sam a demon-blood drink before going out to grab some take-out from the local diner. When Dean returned, Sam realized just how hungry he was and went to grab at the Styrofoam containers only to have Dean slap his hand away.

"I know you love food Dean, but at least let me have some of it," Sam said as he reached over again. This time Dean pushed Sam and his chair backwards about a foot or two by using his powers.

Irritated, Sam looked up to see Dean grinning at him, his eyes black once again.

"You can have your food after you practice."

"You're trying to tempt me with food?" Really Dean?

Dean shrugged and sat down on his bed. "It would work for me."

"But we haven't even found or captured the demon yet."

"You think I'd throw you into a room to extract a demon without you having any more practice? You've extracted one demon Sam. Me. And I let you. This time you'll practice on me, but I'm going to be fighting you. It will still be harder extracting other demons, but at least this way you'll have practice on what to do."

Sam sighed. "Fine." He held out his hand, for some reason that seemed to help him control his powers. Sam concentrated until he could see Dean's soul, Dean's calm soul. His brother was right; pulling out his soul, even while Dean fought against him would be much easier than pulling out any other demon.

Sam latched onto Dean's soul, only for his brother to immediately begin fighting him. Sam felt his powers weaken, and the link that connected his powers to Dean's soul broke.

"Come on, Sammy," Dean sighed. "You can do better than that. Keep up the concentration and ignore how much the soul is trying to fight you."

"I'm trying Dean."

"Focus just on pulling the soul out, nothing else at all."

Sam rolled his eyes; Dean made it sound so easy.

"It's all about concentration Sammy. Like aiming to hit the bull's-eye."

Sam took a deep breath and repeated his actions, this time focusing more on the movement of Dean's soul before latching on again. He tugged with his powers, it was difficult but he was able to keep Dean's soul in his grip. Sam pushed his powers out further and that was when he heard a noise of discomfort come from his brother.

Sam looked over to see Dean's face twisted in pain. The first thing he thought of was the hell-hounds, how Dean's face looked like when they were tearing him apart. Tearing his soul out. That was what Sam was doing right now. It was the same thing.

Sam let go, shaking his head as he backed up, ashamed.

"What…what the hell are you stopping for?" Dean panted. "You almost had my soul out!"

"You're hurting," Sam told his brother, his voice trembling slightly. "I'm not going to cause you any more pain Dean. Especially after all you've been through."

Dean rolled his eyes, seeming frustrated. "I'm fine Sam! Of course it hurts to be pulling against your powers! I'm doing this to help train you, the only reason it hurts is because I'm focusing on fighting against you, like all the demons will be."

"I don't want to do this. Not against you Dean."

"It's not a big deal!" Dean threw his hands up in the air. "Once you get the hang of it you won't have to do it to me anymore."

"But I just can't ignore that it's you Dean! I don't want to hurt you so how am I supposed to be focused when it's you I'm causing pain?"

"Oh my god, you've got to be kidding me!" Dean shouted. "You have to work on me first! It's the easiest way to train you. If you can't work as hard knowing it's me then just pretend. Pretend I'm the demon-bitch that wanted to trick you. Ignore me and focus on fake-Ruby. Focus on pulling her soul out and getting back at her for what she tried to do to you. Or better yet, think of Lilith when you do this and how she tried to screw you over and start this whole apocalypse."

Sam was beginning to understand his brother's logic. "Or how about how she killed you. How she forced you to go through Hell."

Dean shrugged. "Sure, if that works for you then think of that."

"Are you sure you'll be okay?"

"As long as you don't stab me with that knife or send a Colt-bullet through my head, I'll be peachy."

"Shut up."

"I'll be forced to shut up if you rip my soul out of my body," Dean grinned.

Sam huffed, ignoring his brother's remarks as he tried one more time. This time he kept going even through Dean's moans of pain. Sam grasped onto Dean's struggling soul and thought of what Lilith did to Dean. Lilith killed his brother, all to trick them both into rising Lucifer.

He wasn't going to have that. He was going to rip her soul from her body and lock her in Hell. She would never see the light of day again for what she did to his brother.

So Sam concentrated, fighting against Dean's thrashing soul that whipped out at him. If he was going to send Lilith to Hell, he needed to at least be able to pull a demon out of its host. Starting with his brother.

Dean gave one last final effort to fight against Sam but the younger brother held on as he starting lifting Dean's demonic soul from his body. Sam was quicker this time as he pulled the black cloud…his brother…from his body. Dean's body collapsed lifelessly on the bed while his soul floated above it.

Sam held on to Dean's soul while he thrashed around. He had control, even through Dean's resistance. It was nice to know and Sam really felt powerful just then, knowing that he could control a demon, that he wouldn't harm the host when getting rid of the demon that possessed them.

But right now, Sam was holding onto his brother and it was about time that he released the poor guy…or cloud…smoke…soul…?

Or Dean. It didn't matter if he wore black eyes, green eyes, was in his human body or floating around as his demon-cloud soul. He would always be Dean, Sam's big brother.

Sam let go of Dean as he released his powers and watched with a smile as Dean zipped around the room. Sam briefly wondered if Dean felt more free in his soul-form or if he felt more comfortable inhabiting his human body.

Dean floated around Sam's head in circles and then draped around his shoulders like a scarf.

"Dude, get off." Sam laughed as he batted at Dean; he was surprised when he didn't feel anything strange as he swatted his hand through Dean's soul. His brother was still such a goof and Sam suddenly felt very fond of his brother and everything he was doing for him.

He wasn't going to let Dean down this time; he wasn't going to let anyone take him away again.

After whipping around in circles a few more times, Dean hovered over the food he had left at the table, causing Sam to laugh. Then he floated over to his fallen body, seeming eager to get back in.

Of course Dean would enjoy being in his body more, without it he wouldn't be able to eat.


The next morning Sam figured he'd purchase an entire apple pie that was sitting at the diner. He was waiting for the take-out breakfast burritos to be ready when he spotted the pie. Dean deserved the entire thing even though he was being a lazy bum.

Dean had groaned when Sam tried to get him up to go out for breakfast, narrowing black eyes at him and whining that fighting against Sam's powers left him exhausted. Sam didn't know if that was true or not, but he knew how much Dean loved his sleep.

The breakfast burritos were ready and smelled delicious. Maybe these and the pie were enough to get Dean out of bed. Sam drove back to the apartment only to forget all about the food.

The door was open and while the salt-line remained in tact, Sam could see that the inside of the room was a mess.

He jumped out of the Impala, not bothering to close the car door as he rushed near the room with his gun drawn.

"Dean!" Sam called as he studied the sheets thrown all over the place, the lamp was on the ground and busted, like there had been a struggle.

Suddenly, his brother approached from the bathroom, looking disoriented and confused. He was rubbing his head but then looked up at Sam…with green eyes.

Dean smiled, and it was different, his face was more relaxed…he seemed more….human.

"Sammy, oh my god, I'm so glad to see you. I'm so glad you're not hurt." Dean exited the room, stepping right over the untouched salt-line.

What the hell?! Sam tuned into his powers, searching for Dean's soul. There was nothing…no demonic cloud inside of Dean.

Sam backed up quickly as Dean went to hug him. Sam pointed his gun directly at Dean….or whoever…whatever this was.

"You're not my brother. What did you do with Dean?" Sam demanded, his tone cold and rough. What the hell was going on? Everything had been fine a half an hour ago!

Dean frowned, he looked genuinely sad. "Sammy, it's me. It's really me. They fixed me. The angels gave me back my humanity."

Chapter Text

"They fixed you?" Sam's voice came out raw as he spoke. "What do you mean they fixed you? What did the angels do to you?"

"They reverted my soul," Dean, or…not-Dean said. "They were able to fix all the damage Hell did to me."

"Angels can cure demons?" Sam didn't know how that could be possible. If your soul had been damaged and twisted until it broke into a demon, there should be no coming back from that. It just made sense, demons were broken human souls. There was no way to just revert what hell had done, was there?

"They were able to save my soul," Dean told Sam while looking him sadly in the eyes.

Was Sam making the same mistake again by not trusting Dean right away? He had been suspicious of Dean and his motives when he came back a demon and now Sam was doing it again.

But hell, he had a right to be freaked out. He had just stopped out to get breakfast and pie. Now he has a transformed brother, yet again.

Something about this story of Dean's though just wasn't making sense.

"If the angels can save demonic souls, why don't they save everyone? Wouldn't it be easier without demons roaming all over the place? Why don't they revert Lilith? Or Alistair?"

Dean shuffled his feet and looked at the ground. "I don't know Sam. Maybe they have reverted other demons. All I know is that they came in the motel and I tried running away, only I was trapped by the salt lines. They tied me up in the bathroom and touched by head. Something happened and when I woke up I was untied and I was human."

Sam stared Dean down, trying to find any sign that he was lying. "It was just as simple as that?"

"I guess so. Listen Sam; can't we talk about this later? I'm just so happy to see you, I don't want to fight."

That was when Dean came across the few feet separating them and reached over to hug his brother.

Sam meant to keep his guard up, but he couldn't help but melt into Dean's hold. The hug felt so nice, it had been so long since he last had his brother hug him. Sure, Sam had hugged Dean as a demon, but the older brother never returned the action.

It was nice to feel wanted. With demon Dean, Sam felt like he was only needed. Dean had needed Sam around, but had he honestly wanted him around?

Sam hugged Dean back, and felt Dean tighten his hold. Memories came rushing back of Dean as a human and their time spent together hunting, all the humanity that had been lacking in their time together when Dean was a demon.

But then again…Sam had grown to find trust and companionship in his demon brother. He had found that connection again and had formed a bond that was arguably stronger than the one they had when Dean had been human.

Suddenly, Sam's mood changed when he thought back at the past few months.

He found himself really missing his demonic brother.


For a half hour, Sam tried everything he possibly knew to prove that Dean was human. He used silver, iron, holy water….everything while Dean stood there patient and understanding.

Dean didn't react to anything. He was human.

Sam apologized as he placed the silver knife he had been using down. Dean waved it off and then dropped the bomb on Sam.

"Sammy, I'm so sorry to tell you this…and I'm disgusted that I could ever do this to you. I…as a demon…I've been lying to you about everything."

Sam dropped the gun he had been cleaning on the bed and looked at his brother. "Dean…what are you talking about? You were lying to me about what?"

"About Lilith. Sending her back to Hell won't solve anything. She's not really the last seal, we have to kill her before she breaks them all."

Dean went on to explain to Sam that demon Dean had been misleading him in order to start the apocalypse and that now that he was human again, he could see straight again.

Not knowing what to think, Sam excused himself and stated that he had to get the food from the car before it went bad. In reality, Sam just needed to get some air. Everything was happening too fast and Sam didn't know what to believe. He had been so sure that Dean had been telling him the truth before…

Sam needed some insight; he needed someone else's opinion. He couldn't call Bobby and freak him out, which meant…

Oh great.

Sam brought in the pie and Dean smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Thanks Sammy," he said as he placed the container on the table.

Alarms went off in Sam's head at the reaction. Dean casually placed the pie on the table, his smile never turning into a grin as he walked into the bathroom.

Dean always dug into his pie at first sight. Never ever did he decide to save it for later.

Something was very very wrong, Sam decided. He needed to get to the bottom of this before it was too late. He needed to get his plan in action.

Sparing a glance toward the bathroom door, Sam turned back towards his brother's bed. Dean's phone was still sitting on the nightstand where he'd placed it last night. Perfect.

Sam rushed over and grabbed it, flipping through Dean's contact before he saw the name he was looking for.

"I'm grabbing a soda Dean!" Sam called out, not knowing if Dean's rules to let him know where he was going still applied.

"Alright," Dean replied and Sam wasted no time in hurrying out of the motel room.

Making sure he was far enough from the room to be heard, Sam dialed the number he had highlighted. After a few laborious rings, the call was answered.

"Dean, better have some good news for me," Crowley cooed into the phone. "If you haven't found Alistair yet, I suggest you hang up now and leave me be."

"Crowley, shut up." Sam was surprised how brave he was in yelling at this demon, but he didn't have much time.

"Sam, eh? Well Moose, learning your brother's theft skills I see. How did you manage to sneak the phone past him?"

Crowley did have a point. Normally, Dean would have known if Sam was acting suspicious and trying to take something of his. Dean could read Sam better than anyone and he knew when his little brother was lying.

Or so Sam thought.

"Listen, something's wrong with Dean. I came back from getting food and….Dean's human Crowley. He's not a demon anymore!"

Crowley was silent for a long time for once and Sam assumed that was not a good sign.

"That's impossible," Crowley finally stated, sounding genuinely lost. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"He said the angels fixed him and restored his humanity! I…I don't know if this is really him or some crazy trick. Can angels do something like that?"

Crowley huffed on the other line. "From what I understand, no they can't. But nothing would surprise me about those abominations. You seem to know your brother pretty well, you'll know if it's him."

"He's acting weird but…but I've tried every trick in the book! Holy water, silver, iron, salt….everything! He's actually human but he's just….so off that I don't know what to believe. He's saying that you and him have been lying to me and have secretly been trying to start the apocalypse. Is that…"

Sam jumped and dropped Dean's phone as Crowley suddenly appeared in front of him, looking pissed as he elegantly snapped his phone shut.

"Something got him," Crowley stated. "If he's saying that this has all been lies then that's not him."

"Are you sure?"

"Even if he was human, he would know that we're doing the right thing. This is a trap, someone trying to lead you down the wrong path to free Lucifer. Oh joy."

"How do I know if you're telling the truth? You're a demon." Sam felt guilty for listening to this demon's word while he doubted his human brother's.

"If I was lying, would I risk coming here and having the possibility of you killing me?"

"I guess not," Sam said. Crowley did tend to hide away from all his problems. Him actually showing up meant that this was important and needed to be taken care of as soon as possible.

"He could still be my brother," Sam tried to reason. "I mean, he's human now so of course he would be against me drinking demon blood, right? Maybe he assumes that the plan is a lie because it seems too risky and dangerous."

Crowley shrugged. "It's possible, but I'm not betting on it. That could be your brother and something erased his memory, or changed it. Keep your damn eyes open. I'll stick around here until I'm satisfied nothing absurd is going to happen."


Sam hurried back into the motel as he slipped Dean's phone into his pocket. Dean was out of the bathroom and sitting on his bed. Shit, he would realize the phone was missing. Just great.

But Dean smiled as Sam came in. "Where's your drink?"

Sam tried not to panic as he remembered his excuse to go outside and call Crowley.

"Machine was all out. Probably hasn't been refilled in months." Sam tried to sound casual and he must have pulled it off because Dean nodded.

"I guess when should start tracking down that demon that's in town." Dean glanced out the window at the setting sun. "You're still going to need demon blood to kill Lilith so you're going to have to get it from other demons. We'll drain it then kill it."

Sam couldn't believe his ears. Dean was still encouraging his blood drinking even as a human?

"You told me that your blood was different! You said that it was safer for me because it wasn't from some random demon but from you! By drinking yours I wouldn't get addicted…"

"Well, demons lie Sam." Dean sounded weary instead of angry like Sam expected. "I was lying to you about everything, using your trust in me to manipulate you. We have to kill Lilith and you're the only one that can, you need to become more powerful, drink more blood…"

"You can't be serious." Sam shook his head, this wasn't right. It couldn't be. Dean's story before about needing to send Lilith to Hell instead of killing her had sounded so truthful. How could he have been lying the entire time? Sam was sure his brother had been honest to him.

But maybe because Dean knew him so well was the reason why he could lie so easily as a demon.

Even so, the thought that Dean was now encouraging Sam to drink more demon blood sent chills down his spine.

"You're telling me to drink more? I thought you'd be furious to know I've been drinking demon blood."

"I don't like it Sam, but it's the only way. Trust me, if there was any other way to end her, I'd take it in a heartbeat but there's none."

It was then when Sam remembered how Dean had explained to him that coming back from Hell as a human would have left him broken. The drunk, depressed and damaged Dean that Sam had been expecting was nowhere to be seen. He was not acting like a man that had been to hell, and back, turned into a demon and tortured countless souls.

In fact, Dean didn't seem to be worried about anything at all rather than telling Sam the "real" plan. It was almost if that was the only thing on his mind. Dean never asked about his missing phone, the pie sat untouched on the table and Dean seemed to be in a genuine hurry.

Hurry for what? Wouldn't he just want to spend some time relaxing after all that has happened to him? It was like he wasn't affected by anything, of his death, of hell, of his time as a demon…

What made Dean Dean seemed to be gone. Vanished.

"Can you just trust me Sammy? It's me now; it's really me now. No demon."

Sam's face pulled into a frown. What Dean said wasn't right.

"It was always you Dean."

"In a sense I guess, but I didn't care about you then, I was only looking out for horrible needs."

And that couldn't have been more wrong. Demon Dean cared, there was absolutely no doubt in Sam's mind and in Dean's own weird way he had been showing Sam that his little brother was still as important to him as ever.

Dean had been looking out for him. Even if he had been lying the whole time, Dean had never wished Sam to get hurt.

If this was his brother now, Sam wasn't sure he could relate to him anymore.

"But you do trust me, we'll do this right? Together?"

The desperation was creeping into Dean's voice and before Sam could call him out on it, the front door flung open.

Standing there was Castiel, he had a body that looked achingly familiar flung over his shoulder and had Crowley's left arm clutched tightly with his right hand. From the look on Crowley's face it was obvious that the demon could do nothing to free himself from the angel's hold.

In an instant Sam could feel something; he hadn't had his demon drink today so his powers weren't as strong. But the feeling was familiar…Castiel was carrying a demon, Sam could feel it, and Sam knew that demon…

Sam tapped into his powers with all the strength he had. It took him a moment to focus but he could finally access them. Crowley's soul was flipping out from nerves inside his body; Sam never saw a demon look so frazzled. But that wasn't what shocked Sam…

Castiel was carrying Dean. There was no doubting that calm soul floating in the body. Sam knew Dean's soul, could pick him out from a thousand demon clouds without breaking a sweat..

"Dean!" Sam rushed forward, ignoring the now-imposter behind him. He stepped on the salt line, breaking it as he grabbed the body from Castiel's hold, who did nothing to resist him. It was Dean, still in his own body, which meant every word this thing behind him had told him was all a lie.

Sam got his brother in a firm hold, noticing that Dean was knocked out and shivering horribly. Sam cradled his brother to his chest; this was bad, he could just tell.

"What did you do to him?" Sam choked out as Dean's head rolled limply back on his arm.

"Sam Winchester, I must apologize for being doubtful of you and your brother," Castiel stated simply as he walked inside, dragging Crowley along.

Sam walked back over to Castiel, being careful not to jostle Dean in his arms. "I said, what the hell did you do to him?"

While still looking undoubtedly spooked, Crowley nodded at Sam and winked from where he stood by Castiel, encouraging Sam's hostile behavior towards the angel.

Castiel turned and glared at Crowley, causing the demon's smirk to fall instantly.

"Your brother was kidnapped by my brothers. I found them torturing him and overheard their plan. They were trying to lead you towards starting the apocalypse."

"The angels were torturing him?" Sam asked as he lay Dean down on his bed. The older brother didn't move an inch other than the shivering. "What did they do to him? Why is he like this? He doesn't seem injured."

"They poisoned him with a cycle of holy water."

Wow, this angel sure wasn't one to share information. It looked like Sam would have to keep pressing for more.

"What do you mean 'by a cycle'?"

"They infused an angelic spell into his veins which causes the holy water to increase by the minute as it spreads through his body," Castiel stated and even Crowley shivered at the thought.

Holy crap, no wonder Dean was out cold. He must be in unbearable pain right now with the magic dosage of holy water constantly increasing instead of leaving his system.

Sam stood up from where he had been kneeling at Dean's side only to point at his brother.

"Fix him," he ordered the angel, his tone cold. "You fix him right now. He did nothing to deserve this."

The imposter-Dean backed up aimlessly from where he stood in the back of the room. The creature had nowhere to run and he obviously knew trying to lie his way out of this wasn't going to work.

Castiel nodded. "I was going to do so, but first I have to take care of a possible threat." The angel looked over at Crowley. "This demon was outside of your motel room, peering through the curtains. Should I dispose of him?"

Crowley's face went pale as he began struggling from Castiel's vice grip. "Let me go you angelic abomination."

Sam could have told Castiel to go ahead, but what good would that do? Crowley was the one that helped lay out their whole plan for stopping Lilith. Sam figured he and Dean might be okay on their own, but killing Crowley wasn't necessary and for now the demon was useful and wasn't causing any problems rather than being annoying.

"Crowley's fine," Sam told the angel. "He's helping us with our plan. He's the one that got Dean out of Hell."

Some kind of emotion passed across Castiel's face although it was hard to read. Sam figured out the reason for the brief glimpse however. The angel was supposed to save Dean from Hell, it was the job he failed at and even though it would have jump-started the apocalypse, Sam figured a part of Castiel must feel bad for leaving Dean down there and letting him become a demon. Instead, Crowley had rescued Dean and was using the older Winchester's help to actually stop the apocalypse.

Who would have thought that a demon's motives would be better than the angels?

Castiel then let go of Crowley who proceeded to rub his arm and seethe at the angel.

"You dirty little flying rat, you have no right to harass me." The demon then turned towards Sam. "Moose, how about you let me know how this all pans out, hmm?"

Crowley stood there, smiling smugly until he began to panic again.

"Bloody hell! Why can't I teleport?" He glared at the angel, who he realized must be the cause of his problems. "You better let me go now, if you know what's good for you."

Castiel ignored Crowley as he walked towards Dean. "Your threats are empty, demon. You can do nothing to kill me and you will be stuck here until I allow you to leave. If you are part of this, then you must stay here to discuss."

Sam watched and even Crowley seemed a little interested as Castiel placed his hand on Dean's chest. A light blue light emitted from Castiel's palm as Dean groaned, a heart wrenching and painful noise.

Dean seemed to get even worse as his body began to buckle after Castiel pulled his hand away. Dean curled in on himself, arms flailing before finally coming down to wrap around his stomach, clutching onto it for dear life.

"You made him worse!" Sam yelled as he grabbed onto his brother's convulsing figure. Dean started making a gurgling noise and Sam knew what was about to happen.

Suddenly, a garbage basket was being thrown towards them and Sam looked up to see Crowley grimacing in disgust.

"I don't want to see or smell that, make sure the fool gets it all in there."

Sam didn't have to be told twice as he got the garbage bag over just in time and leaned Dean's head over it.

Dean started throwing up; expelling not only whatever had been in his stomach, but also an amazing amount of water. The holy water had been building up in his brother's stomach.

Soon, the water began to become tinged with red, confirmed Sam's fear that it had been eating away at Dean's stomach, causing it to blister and bleed.

"I am unable to heal him by my own power, but I was able to allow his body to now expel the poison," Castiel stated, seemingly unfazed by Dean's retching.

Dean coughed some more, now vomiting up pure blood. If Dean weren't a demon, Sam would have been sure that his brother would be dead in the next few minutes from blood loss.

Crowley made a disgusted noise and Sam glanced over to see the demon looking like he was going to be sick himself.

"Why don't you go over and keep an eye on him," Sam motioned over to where the Dean-imposter was standing. "Make sure he doesn't try anything funny."

"Oh, it would be my pleasure," Crowley purred in creepy tone and Sam was reminded of just how dangerous and lethal this demon could be.

The imposter let out a squeal as Crowley approached it, backing up into the far wall of the motel in fear. Huh, it didn't seem like a threatening creature, in fact, it seemed frightened and lost.

Sam turned away from the scene and focused back on his brother. Dean was still throwing up and Sam looking to Castiel with pleading eyes.

"This won't lead to any permanent damage, will it?"

"I do not believe so but I cannot be certain." Castiel was watching Sam's hand as it ran up and down Dean's back in comfort and stroked the sweaty hair off his brother's forehead. "You care about him, do you?"

"Of course I do, he's my brother. I love him, demon or not, I don't get why that's so hard to understand," Sam huffed.

"He would ask about you when my brother's were torturing him," Castiel said. "He would shout your name, ask if you were safe and threaten my brothers if anything was to happen to you."

Typical Dean, not thinking of himself even when he was in mortal danger and putting all thoughts aside to worry about Sam.

"He really said that?" Sam asked even though he knew what the answer was.

Castiel decided to ignore Sam. "He was worried about you as well. Your brother is different from other demons."

Sam sighed. "Me and Dean are a team, we look out for each other and nothing is going to change that. I tried telling you this before, remember?"

Castiel ignored the question once again. Sam was seriously beginning to think that the angel didn't realize that Sam's comments were questions. "If my brothers could be so wicked, then perhaps a demon does not have to be purely evil."

Before Sam could say something back to that there was a high-pitched scream and both of them turned to see Crowley pinning the creature to the motel wall, a knife at its throat.

"You are going to so kindly inform me what the hell you are and why you chose to fester with my plan, alright?" Crowley shook the creature as it struggled.

"I didn't want to! They threatened me! They said that they'd kill me if I didn't do what they wanted!"

"And what did they want?" Sam asked.

"They wanted you to believe killing Lilith was the right thing. They wanted the apocalypse to start. I told them that I'd rather be dead than help with that. I wouldn't want to be living during the end of the world! Then they told me they'd allow me a spot in heaven. Heaven! I'm a monster, when I die I go to the battlegrounds of purgatory. I couldn't deny the offer."

Crowley shoved the creature against the wall again, the blade gently piercing the skin of its neck. "I said, what are you?" Crowley sneered, bringing the knife just centimeters away from the creature's eye.

"I'm a shifter alright! Please, please don't kill me!"

"That's impossible," Sam stated but had to turn away when Dean made a distraught groaning sound. "I tried silver on you. I tried everything I could think of and you didn't react to one of them."

"They protected me against any of my weaknesses so you wouldn't find out."

"So you just came here and pretended to be Dean?

Eyeing Crowley's movement of the blade, the shifter shook his head. "It wasn't that easy. They made me live through his life. I was in some sort of alternate world. It was as if I saw Dean, going through 28 years! I had to practically be him for 28 whole years! I learned to think, talk and act like him. I even began to care about you even though I didn't even really know you."

Sam gasped. "They wanted you to be like a copy of Dean."

"They wanted me to be a better version. To do the things that your brother won't do because he's a demon now. They said you liked the physical contact, pats on the back and hugging, you missed that and you wanted to be able to see that your brother cared for you. The angels believed that you would be so desperate for those actions that you'd follow whatever I asked of you."

"Do you really think someone could just come in and pretend to be Dean and I wouldn't notice?" Sam said angrily. "Even if you had 28 years of practice, Dean is my brother and I know him better than anyone!"

The shifter sighed and hung his head. "I see that now. I didn't even make it through one day. They're going to burn me alive. I didn't want any of this. Please, let me get a head start and try to run from them. I'm sorry."

Crowley was smiling wickedly at the shifter; he had no intention to let the creature go free. Sam was more understanding. The shifter had come out and revealed everything to them; it wasn't going to be a threat any longer.

"You know if my brother was lucid right now, he'd kill you in a heartbeat.," Sam stated.

"I know that, and I don't blame him."

Dean seemed to be getting a little better. He was just coughing weakly now; the blood emerging from his mouth was significantly less. Dean was back now, safe. Sam figured he'd let the shifter go. The angels would probably kill him anyway even though the guy didn't deserve it.

"Go. Hurry before my brother wakes up," Sam told the shifter and it nodded greatly. Crowley seemed bummed as he let the creature go, scowling reluctantly.

"Wait," Castiel finally spoke up, a thoughtful expression on his face. "The angels will find you all. They will be angry and be able to locate you and try to twist you into their plan."

Castiel walked over to Sam and placed his hand on his chest just as he had with Dean. There was a blinding pain; it felt like his ribs were getting torn out of his chest and Sam practically fell on top of Dean.

Gasping in pain, Sam watched as Castiel did the same to Dean, who buckled and groaned, eyes rolling to the back of his head. When he glanced over, Sam saw Castiel repeat the action on the shifter as he then began walking towards Crowley.

"You are not doing any of your disgusting angel mojo on me, you great winged nightmare." Crowley started backing up even though it was no use.

Castiel reached him and as soon as his hand touched Crowley's chest the demon doubled up in pain, crumpling into a heap on the floor.

"What….," Sam panted. "What the hell did you do to us?"

"I engraved protection onto your ribs. There is a spell carved into the bones," Castiel said as Crowley gave him a 'what the fuck' look. "You will no longer be able to be spotted by angels. They will not be able to come to you unless you pray for them."

Castiel then turned to the shifter. "Leave now," he ordered and the shifter didn't waste a second as it scurried out of the room. "Demons cannot pray to angels, the prayers will go unanswered so you must pray for me if you are in need of my assistance, Sam Winchester."

Sam nodded; he was actually surprised the angel did this for them. "Thank you, and thank you for saving my brother. But please, just call me Sam okay?"

Castiel nodded but he didn't vanish like Sam thought he would.

"Why are you still here?" Sam asked. He noticed that Dean had stopped expelling blood and was now reduced to whimpering quietly.

Castiel walked to the bathroom and Sam was shocked as he returned with a wet washcloth. He knelt down by his brother and even though Sam wanted to pull Dean away from the angel he resisted.

Castiel handed the washcloth to Sam who took it and began cleaning his brother's face. As Sam finished wiping the blood off of his Dean's face, Castiel spoke up.

"Your brother is an interesting demon. He is doing the right thing not for greed, but to protect you. There is something special about him and as I will continue protecting you, I will protect your brother as well."

"Awwe, well would you look at that, you boys have your own personal guardian angel," Crowley cooed dramatically but was ignored by all the other members in the room.

"Thank you, thank you for giving Dean a chance." Sam couldn't believe it; maybe things finally were going their way for once.

"I would be foolish not to stand on your side after finding out my brothers' true motivation," Castiel stated somewhat sadly before his expression turned blank once more. "It is about time we wake your brother, he has much to learn."

Castiel leaned towards Dean. "Dean, you must wake up," he stated, causing Crowley to chuckle.

Dean simply groaned, closing his eyes shut tighter.

"Can it wait?" Sam offered. "He's in pain and needs time to heal."

"No, I must leave soon before my brothers come and search for me. They will not be happy for my betrayal and will soon lock off my power from heaven. I must speak to your brother before I try and avoid them."

Sam sighed. He didn't like the idea but he knew exactly how to get his brother up, no matter what type of pain he was in. Sam left Dean's side only to grab the pie container that still sat untouched on the motel table.

Walking back over to Dean, Sam sat next to him and opened the lid. He broke a piece off of the pie and moved the forkful in front of Dean's face.

"Come on Dean, I know you smell that. I have pie waiting here for you bro and the sooner you wake up, the sooner you can enjoy it."

Sam almost laughed when Dean began to fight to open his eyes. Finally Sam saw a sliver of black and Dean started to struggle to speak.

"S'my?" Dean coughed, a loud hacking noise but luckily with no blood this time.

Sam made sure he was in Dean's line of vision as he smiled. "Right here Dean." Sam rubbed Dean's back again as he coughed. "Can you keep your eyes open for me?"

Dean obeyed although it was obviously a struggle. "You 'kay? Angels didn't get 'ya?"

"I'm fine Dean, gosh quit worrying about me and think of yourself for once." Sam started to argue but didn't say anything else as Dean's eyes finally zoned in on the pie.

"That apple?" He muttered, his expression becoming hopeful through the pain as Sam laughed.

"Yeah, here." Sam shoved the piece in Dean's mouth before his brother could protest. It was only after Dean swallowed did Sam remember about his bleeding stomach. "Shit, Dean. I'm sorry, I forgot about your stomach. You shouldn't be eating anything while it's damaged."

Dean reached out a shaking hand for the tin. "I can eat through pain, gimmie it."

But Sam placed the pie on the nightstand. "You can have the pie once you're feeling better, right now we have to talk. Remember Castiel? He saved you from the angels that were torturing you and he wants to talk to you."

Sam moved slightly out of the way so that he could still be next to his brother but Castiel would be in Dean's view as well.

"What the hell…," Dean started and then trialed off, his voice too weak. He tensed as if he wanted to protect Sam from the angel, but he was too weak to do much of anything.

"Hello Dean, I would like to apologize for wanting to murder you and then attempting to send you to Hell and also for succeeding of breaking your neck."

Dean scoffed, his face pale but annoyingly amused. "Way to be subtle with it. Hell, at least you can apologize, whatever dude. I guess I should say sorry for literally stabbing you in the back."

"I will accept your apology," Castiel stated, not realizing that Dean probably wasn't being genuine.

Dean gave the angel a strange look. "Why would you care to save my ass anyway? I thought you believed I should rot in Hell."

"When I witnessed my brothers torturing you, I heard their true plan. They were deceiving me to start the apocalypse. They believe Lucifer needs to be released to start a battle between him and Michael."

"Okay, well I can't be Michael's vessel anymore so why didn't they just kill me? Wouldn't that save a lot of trouble?"

"They seemed to finally understand what I am seeing, that you both have a codependent relationship. My brothers needed to keep you alive in case it did not work out with the shifter. Then they planned on threatening Sam by using you. They would make him go along with their plan and they would keep him alive. However if he refused they would execute you in front of your brother."

Sam shivered, feeling sick at the thought and Dean's face became furious.

"Son of a bitch, they're never going to leave us alone are they? I have no chance against an angel!"

"I have already insured that you will be left alone. I carved sigils on your ribs as well as Sam's and this demon you are working with. The angels will no longer be able to track you."

"So that's why it felt like I was getting carved apart like a pumpkin. Thanks a lot." Dean rolled his eyes.

"You are welcome," Castiel stated cluelessly. "The angels are growing more desperate and will stop at nothing to make sure Lilith is dead."

"Well this is all splendid." Crowley rolled his eyes from where he stood. "Can you let me go now?"

Castiel turned to face the demon. "I doubt you would want to leave after I tell you the information I have come across."

Dean lifted his head weakly, his interest piqued. "And what's that?"

Castiel's blue eyes met Dean's black ones. "I have discovered the whereabouts of Alistair."

Chapter Text

Sam watched as Dean paled even more than he already was at the mention of his former tormentor's name. Placing a hand on his brother's shoulder was all Sam could think of to offer comfort. Nothing he could possibly say would come anywhere close to making it better.

There was no making it better. What Alistair did would always be in Dean's mind, it shaped him into the demon he was today.

No, that was wrong. What Alistair did led Dean to break and torture souls. After that Dean took matters into his own hands and became the demon he was in order to protect Sam.

Dean wouldn't talk about Alistair other than the time at Bobby's but Sam had found out information from Crowley. Alistair praised himself on creating the perfect ruthless demon. The important souls went to him to insure they would turn into the most horrible creatures to rise from Hell and walk the Earth.

Dean had failed to become Alistair's perfect creation. Dean had outsmarted him, Dean was stronger. He had taken the torture handed to him and used the anger and pain to focus on coming back and saving Sam instead.

And Sam had no doubt that those facts made Alistair pissed.

"You've located him, great where is he?" Crowley didn't seem angry at the angel any longer as he happily clapped his hands once.

"I am tracking his location but am unable to approach him before he can sense me and take off. I have to plan my actions carefully before I am able to catch him off guard."

Crowley gave Castiel an irritated glare. "Well that's helpful," he huffed.

"We wouldn't be able to go after him anyway Crowley." Dean was staring at the fellow demon matter-of-factly. "Sam's not strong enough yet and I'm not going to send him to rip out Alistair's soul before I know he's capable of doing it."

Crowley seemed even more irritated. "Oh, how sweet. Your dumb-ass brother needs to get a move on and learn to develop those powers. Once the angel finds Alistair, you're going to get over there and destroy him! I got you out of Hell and you're going to do as I say!"

"Really Crowley? Because last time I checked both the Colt and the demon-killing knife are in my possession." Dean smirked a bit. "Now, tell me…which way are we going to do this again? Mine or yours?"

Before Crowley could get in an angry retort, Sam decided to speak up.

"You know, Crowley…if you send us in to face Alistair early and I die….what are you going to do then? How would you trap Lilith in Hell without my powers?"

Crowley knew he had been outsmarted. "Yes, I get it Moose. But the sooner he's finished the better so get practicing now."

"I'm not risking my brother getting hurt just so we can get rid of Alistair's ass a little bit sooner." Dean argued back and Sam decided to spare a glance at the angel.

Castiel was looking back towards Dean and Crowley in confusion.

"The demons are different from each other." Castiel spoke to Sam and Dean while Crowley continued to go at it. "I expected them to be all the same with a similar personality. They are both very viscous but they have different morals."

"Dean had always considered it his job to take care of me and we've always looked out for each other." Sam regarded how Dean was angrily yelling at the King of the Crossroads in his little brother's defense. "Hell didn't take that away from him….actually I think it made that protectiveness stronger because Dean's witnessed so many horrible things in Hell."

"You are aware that your brother tortured souls until they broke, he has done horrible things as well."

Sam sighed. "I know. But he couldn't stop that, it happens to everyone that gets sent to Hell…they all eventually break. I know that I should probably be disgusted by it but….Dean worked to turn into a demon for me…to protect me. That actually means a lot to me. I'm just glad I have my brother back."

Castiel didn't say anything back but Sam knew the angel had been listening to every word he said. It was hard to change views on demons once you had a mindset that they were all evil and deserved to be killed, Sam knew all about that. But when Castiel viewed Dean, he couldn't help but see that he was different, just as Sam had.

Crowley was yelling something about the demons being on to him and assembling forces against him while Dean turned away. He glanced at Sam and rolled his black eyes, a sight that used to make Sam shudder now made him laugh.

"Are you even listening to me you imbecile?" Crowley shouted and that was when the door opened.

All four of them turned to face the doorway to see a man standing there that they've never seen before.

"It….it's me…the shifter." He held his hand out and hanging from his fingers was Dean's amulet. "I…I know how important this is to Dean and I wanted to give it back."

Sam was surprised how gracious this shifter was. It just confirmed the theory he always had that not all supernatural creatures were evil killing machines.

Sam walked over and grabbed Dean's treasured amulet. "Thank you."

Dean narrowed his eyes at the shifter. "You're the thing that tried to trick my brother?"

The shifter jumped when he noticed that Dean was awake. "I…the angels made me! They offered me heaven or death and they were some of the scariest things I've ever seen…"

"I know," Dean growled. "Now get the hell out of here before I become strong enough and can't refrain from sending a silver bullet through your heart."

The shifter nodded but before he was able to turn and leave a silver knife came flying through the room, embedding itself right where the shifter's heart was.

The shifter sputtered for a few seconds, his eyes going wide before falling to the floor, dead.

Sam gaped at the body for a moment, feeling an overwhelming sense of dread. The first thing he did was turn to his brother, Dean had threatened the shifter after all.

But Dean was also staring at the body with a sense of shock. He locked eyes with Sam and shook his head. It wasn't me.

They both turned to face Crowley at the same time. The demon had a look of satisfaction on his face and he held out his hand, willing the knife to come back to him.

Crowley smirked at Sam. "What? Dean would have done the same thing if it wasn't for you. Luckily, I don't have a little brother that causes me to change my motives."

"But he apologized! He was going to leave us alone!"

Crowley wiped the bloody knife off on Sam's bed sheets. "He was working against us. What's to say that he wouldn't team up with the angels again if offered a chance? Anyone that gets on my bad side isn't going to live to see the day of light again."

"He worked against us Sam, should have known what he was getting into." Dean shrugged and turned away like there wasn't a body lying at the doorstep.

"I will leave now and dispose of the body as I do so," Castiel stated. "Please pray for me Sam regularly so I can update you on any news."

Castiel didn't wait for an answer as he vanished along with the shifter's body.

"Looks like that's my cue to go, unlike the angel, I want you to call me only if it's vitally important. Get practicing those powers Moose."

"Why do you have to call me that? It doesn't even make sense," Sam said in frustration, he just wanted this demon to leave. It didn't help that Dean was quietly chuckling at Sam's displeasure.

"You're as big and stupid as the animal, there does that help? Tata for now."

And with that, Sam was finally alone with his brother.

"Gimme my necklace," Dean muttered and Sam realized he was still holding Dean's amulet tightly in his fist. "Can't believe I didn't notice it was missing."

"You were kinda busy throwing up blood," Sam told him and walked over to Dean. He lifted up his brother's head and placed the amulet back in its rightful location.

"Speaking of blood, you need your kool-aid, go grab me a knife, will ya?"

Even though Sam had been feeling a slight pounding in his head for about an hour, he stubbornly stood his ground.

"You've lost way too much blood. I can have my drink tomorrow."

"I'm a demon! I can't lose too much blood! Anyway, Crowley's right in a way that we do have to start getting you exorcising demons with your mind regularly."

"Dean…"

"Sam…" Dean sent an irritated black glare Sam's way. "I only bleed into the mixture a little bit. Give me the knife so I can do this, that way I can finally have my pie afterwards."

Sam sighed as he gave in. If Dean said he'd be fine then Sam would just have to take his word on it.

As Sam was grabbing the supplies he spoke up. "Would you have really killed that shifter?"

"Of course I would have! Anyone that tries messing with you is going to get it from me."

"Even if it was a human?"

Dean gave Sam a stupid look. "Yes, I don't care who or what it is, if they hurt you they'll have to deal with the consequences."

"Which means you'd kill them?"

"Not necessarily, depends on exactly what they did. I'm not going to run around and kill people Sam; you know I'm not like that. But if a human were to try and kill you? Hell yeah, I'd kill them without a second thought. Now give me that." Dean pointed to the supplies Sam was holding.

The thought of Dean killing humans unnerved Sam, but he also knew his brother wouldn't do so without a reason. It seemed like the only people Dean would try and go after were people that were no good in the first place or threatened Sam's life.

He was working with a demon, what could he expect? Anyway Dean was already the most composed demon Sam had ever come across.

Dean sluggishly cut his arm; he was so shaky that a lot of his blood was dripping on the sheets rather than the glass. Sam cringed but knew better than to tell Dean to stop. Instead he walked over and held Dean's arm steady for him.

Sam made more of the drink than Dean did; it was the first time that he shook up the bottle, mixing the blood and sugar with the water. It reminded him for a second how crazy this would all seem to someone else. What the hell would Bobby say if he knew what Sam was doing? He'd probably kill Dean without a second thought if he knew that the older brother had suggested and supported this. Sam had to keep this a secret.

Sam started sipping the drink quickly before Dean cleared his throat.

"Pace yourself Sammy," he muttered. "You need to learn how to function on this amount and not need anymore. We don't need you getting hooked to the stuff."

Sam slowed down after that, glancing at his brother whose wound was still slowly dripping blood. Sam frowned; usually it had begun healing itself by now.

Dean must have noticed Sam's mood. "It's because of the holy water, don't freak out I'll heal eventually."

Sam huffed. "I know you'll heal eventually but that doesn't mean I'm not going to do anything to help you."

Sam wiped the blood from Dean's arm and even cleaned it out. He knew Dean's demonic soul would dispel the bacteria on its own, but cleaning the wound the old fashioned way made Sam feel useful. As Sam was bandaging it up he noticed that Dean still had light scars on both wrists.

"Are these from the handcuffs Bobby put on you?" Sam grabbed Dean's hand and ran his fingers over the slightly puckered scar before Dean yanked his hand away.

"Yeah, iron's toxic to me, remember? It will leave scars because the idiot kept them on so tightly."

Sam had no idea the marks would leave permanent damage on his brother's body. He didn't think that was possible with demons. "I'm sorry Dean."

Dean shrugged. "Whatever, not like it was your fault anyway." His black eyes then narrowed in on the pie sitting on the nightstand. "I know what will make up for it, how 'bout you hand me that pie, Sammy?"


When Sam woke up the next day Dean was already awake and dressed. He had the colt and the demon-killing knife lying out on the table.

Sam grumbled and rubbed at his eyes. "What are you doing?"

Dean grinned over at him. "Rise and shine, Sammy. Time to go after that demon."

Sam tried to ignore the first part of Dean's statement, the sentence that he had heard hundreds of times during the same day thanks to the Trickster.

"We're doing this today? Aren't you still healing?"

That shrug was becoming as trademark as Dean's bow-legged walk. "I'm not up to a hundred percent but I'm feeling well enough to back you up." At Sam's doubtful glance he groaned. "Don't give me that look, I'm gonna make sure you're safe. I won't let anything happen to you."

"I know that Dean. That's not what I'm worried about, I'm worried about the demon getting the upper hand on you."

Dean must have found that hilarious because he laughed so loudly that he ended up clutching his bruised stomach in pain. "You think that thing could hurt me? What could it possibly do to me? It has no means of killing me, we have the only things that can kill demons." Dean waved his hand over to the table where the colt and knife still sat.

"It could still steal either weapon from off of us," Sam pointed out.

"Sam, who do you think you're talking to? I'm the king of theft, remember?" Dean grinned and Sam remembered how much Dean stole nowadays. He was right. "You think that thing will be able to get one of those weapons away from me? I don't think so."

Sam shuffled out of bed as Dean handed him a demon blood kool-aid he must have mixed this morning. "Fine, I'll let you win this time," he told his older brother.

"Now you're learning Sammy."


After they stopped to eat breakfast and Dean ordered even more pie they headed out down the streets with Sam actually being allowed to drive. Dean said the demon seemed to be located just outside of town. The roads were only one lane in either direction and a car suddenly went out on the side of the road trying to pass Sam. It nearly scrapped the side of the Impala and as Dean cursed loudly the car cut Sam off, almost clipping the front of the Impala by inches.

Sam was staring at the car that was now in front of him in anger when he caught Dean quickly waving his hand to the right.

In time with Dean's hand, the car in front of them swerved off the road. Dean twisted his fist and the car spun around as it headed into the forest and its back end crashed into a tree.

Sam's mouth fell open and he quickly pulled to the other side of the road.

"Dean! What the hell!?" Sam reached over and pushed at his brother, who was smirking and giggling softly. "I can't believe you just tried to kill that person!"

"Chill out Sam, I wasn't trying to kill the little shithead. I had full control over what I was doing. Just look." Dean pointed his thumb out the window to where the driver got out the car, the guy was screaming as he inspected the ruined back-end of his car.

"Why do you think I made the car spin around? I made the back end crash, that way I get to scare the shit out of the idiot and ruin his car without actually hurting him."

Sam was aware that if Dean had really wanted to, he could have easily killed the man, hell he could have killed every driver they passed easily.

"Still Dean, Jesus…you had to do that just because the guy almost scratched the car? It wasn't that big of a deal!"

Dean turned his eyes to Sam. Eyes that had just been green from being out at the diner switched to black. "You are so goddamned dense, I swear. While I would have been pissed about the Impala, that's not why I crashed his stupid piece of shit car. Did you see how close he got to the driver's side? He could have killed you! And all because he wanted to go a little faster."

Sam glanced back at the guy who was now on his cell phone. "You did that because of me?"

"Didn't I just get done telling you that?"

"And you weren't going to kill him?"

"If he would have been purposely out to get you I would have, but not because of this."

Sam spared one last glance at the crashed car and the screaming driver. The guy looked like a stuck-up jerk that probably thought he was the greatest for having a new expensive car. Sam found himself smiling a little.

"Well, thank you then."

Dean smirked back. "Eh, it was the least I could do."


It turned out that the demon was posing as a member of a family. It was living in a small village outside of town and possessing the teenage boy as it harassed his family members and neighbors. The demon wasn't home now though and the brothers had decided to stalk out the house and wait. It would be easiest to extract the demon in a more private location when it was least expecting it.

Dean was flipping through newspapers as they sat outside the house, spying. They were able to watch from afar since when the demon finally showed up, it wouldn't be able to sense Dean with Bobby's spell. "Looks like this town has had more deaths and injuries in the past six months than it has had in the last twenty years."

"Seriously?" Sam pulled the binoculars away from his face and Dean snickered mischievously. "What now, Dean?"

Dean continued to laugh as he stared at Sam's face and the younger Winchester scowled as he pulled the Impala's front mirror towards his face. He was met with two black rings around each eye and Dean's laughter only got louder.

"Really, Dean? Could you be more immature? We're supposed to be getting ready to send this demon back to Hell and you're pranking me?" Sam rubbed at his eyes in irritation only to realize he was probably smudging the black inky substance even more.

Dean was failing to hold back the last of his snickering. "What? Why not sneak in some fun while we can?"

Sam shot Dean an irritated glare but he was kind of grateful for his older brother's lightheartedness. Dean's eyes were green again for the time being and Sam was brought back to that first year of hunting together again when Dean would go out of his way to tease Sam and make him uncomfortable. It was a good feeling.

But right now they were on a case, and Sam had to concentrate on the demon rather than getting Dean back for his prank.

"So what exactly are we going to do again when it shows up?" Sam asked his brother. He wanted to get to the demon before it decided to do any further harm to the family.

"We're gonna wait until it goes to sleep, or at least pretends to. That way the parents will open the door and we can explain to them that we're here to help them. It's kinda like what happened with Lilith, remember?"

"I would prefer to forget all about that."

"Well, it happened and it's done and over with but what this demon is doing….it's living in a family like Lilith did and tormenting everyone around it for fun. It's not as violent as Lilith was of course and from the news of the deaths and injuries, it's not as creative either. If we can get the parents on our side it will probably help us a lot, just like last time."

"But last time we failed."

"Yeah, against Lilith. This is just some run-of-the-mill demon. We won't fail this time. You're gonna yank it's fugly cloud self out of that body and send it back to Hell."

Sam raised one eyebrow. "You know, you just called its demon cloud ugly so technically you're calling yourself ugly since that's what you look like without your body."

Dean feigned a hurt expression. "Oh come on Sammy, you've seen my demon smoke. I'd have to say I'm pretty darn adorable."

Sam couldn't help but laugh when he remembered Dean's smoke cloud draping around his shoulders and over his head. "Well you do come across as a lot less threatening than any other demon cloud, I have to give you that."

Dean gave Sam a lopsided smirk and was about to reply when his phone suddenly began buzzing.

"Now's not the time Crowley," Dean grumbled as he pulled out his cell but his face suddenly went blank when he stared at the screen. "It's Bobby."

Sam didn't think that Dean would even have Bobby's number in his phone. "He's calling you?"

Dean now looked confused. "I know, right? And I thought he was wishing that he would have killed me in my sleep while he had the chance." Dean glanced down at the phone briefly once more. "Might as well answer it, probably wants to yell at me because he doesn't think I'm watching out for you."

Dean flipped the phone open and Sam didn't even have to ask his brother to turn on the speaker phone.

"Hello?" Dean asked gruffly, his eyes trained on the house in case the demon decided to show up.

At first there was no answer, just the sound of breathing on the other end. After a few moments, Bobby cleared his throat.

"Dean."

The older Winchester rolled his temporarily green eyes. "Bobby," he responded sarcastically.

"Don't get that tone with me boy."

"I can use any tone I want."

Sam was surprised when he heard Bobby quietly chuckle. "Of course you'd say that. How…how are you boy?"

Dean seemed to be shocked as well because he turned to Sam with a befuddled expression.

"Um, I'm good."

"Good, that's…that's good. I'm glad. You….you takin' good care of that brother of yours?"

Dean's face switched over from confusion to protectiveness so fast that Sam almost missed it.

"Of course I am. What the hell kind of question is that?"

Bobby laughed a little again, he sounded emotional. "Just trying to make conversation. And I gotta admit, it is pretty damn funny to see you get so defensive over the kid."

"Are you drunk?" Dean asked and Sam had begun to suspect the same thing.

Once more, Bobby chuckled, but this time it sounded a little sad. "No, completely sober here kid, I swear. Listen, I wanted to know…I was wondering…well Thanksgiving is comin' up in a couple months and…well it wouldn't be the same without you boys. I'd like for you two to join me, can't leave an old man alone on the holidays, right?"

"Why didn't you just ask Sam this?"

"I…I thought I'd give you a call for a change. Haven't talked to you since…since you left my place. I…I want you to know that you're welcome here, Dean. Whenever you need something, my door's open. I'm….I'm sorry for…you know…the handcuffs and…the holy water…"

"Left wonderful scars on my wrist by the way. But whatever…" Dean's tone was a little bitter as he clutched the cell tighter in his fist.

"That left scars on you…jesus boy…if I would have known…"

"You're sounding like Sammy now."

"Heh, well…I guess I kinda am…but what do you say? Will you and your brother join me?"

"Will there be pie?"

"Oh, I'm gonna make damned certain there's pie. Several, in fact."

"Fine, I'm in."

"Figured you'd say that. What are you boys up to now?"

Dean still looked confused as hell and he hesitated a moment before answering. "We're hunting a demon. Stalking the house it's hiding in right now, waiting for it to show up."

"Ah…I see…that spell should come in handy then. Well, I'll let you boys get to it then." There was a pause and Sam thought Bobby hung up before his voice came through again. "You take care of yourself, alright? I'd say look out for your brother but I don't think you need remindin'…"

"You've got that right."

"Okay, well…I'll see you then Dean."

"Uh…yeah…bye Bobby."

Dean snapped his phone shut. He looked a little uncomfortable, but not necessarily in a bad way.

"So…," Sam started. "Guess we have plans for Thanksgiving then?"

"Yeah…guess so…" Dean stared down at his phone before looking back up at Sam. "But really, what the hell was all that about?!"

Sam smiled. "He's trying Dean. I knew he would eventually come around and try to accept you. Just give him a shot."

"The only reason I'm going over there is to get some pie," Dean huffed.

Sam shook his head with a knowing laugh and from the corner of his eye he could see a figure approaching the house. Dean tensed up as well, sensing the demon's presence and they both turned to watch the demon inside the teenage boy walk up the porch.

Sam held the binoculars up to his eyes again, not caring about the black rings this time around.

"Can you see anything?" Dean asked.

Sam had a pretty good view of the living room window and at first he didn't see anyone. A few moments later, however, Sam could see a man walking backwards slowly, as if afraid of a threat in front of him.

"It looks like the demon might be threatening the father," Sam told his brother as he waited for the demon to come into view.

As Sam suspected, as the father backed up further, the demon approached, a menacing look on it's face and it's eyes black.

"Well, it's not playing along pretending it's the kid. It's showing black eyes."

"It probably wants the parents to kill the kid," Dean suggested. "The parents probably want to protect themselves but they don't want to hurt their kid."

"So it's going to push, threaten the parents and kill townspeople until the parents have no choice but to kill him? Kind of like what happened to Bobby?" Sam sounded horrified.

"Similar, yeah." Dean casually noted as he squinted at the house.

"Why don't we just go in and get the demon now before anything happens?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "If we bust in the demon will know something's up. It may not know I'm a demon because of the spell but come on, they all know who we are and what we do. It will know its fun is up and either kill the family or try and make a quick escape. We have to catch it off guard."

"But it could kill someone right now!"

"It could, but it won't. Not yet. You forgetting that I'm a demon too? Do you know how many other demons I've dealt with in Hell? I know how they act and this one is too entertained to kill the family off yet, I can feel it in the demon's presence."

"So we wait?"

"We wait," Dean confirmed.


The demon had finally headed upstairs and from what Sam could see it wasn't doing much of anything until it lay down in the teenager's bed. Sam went to get out of the car then, but Dean forced him to wait a half an hour to make sure the demon wasn't up to anything.

Finally, it was time and the brothers walked up to the front door. Sam knocked and after several long moments the door opened….it was the father.

"What…what do you want?" The father was obviously on edge, he looked frazzled and terrified. When he looked up at Sam the guy just looked bewildered.

"Sir, my name is Sam and…." Sam stopped as he watched Dean barge past him and walk right into the house, uninvited. "…and this is my brother, Dean."

"What gives you the right to just walk right into my house?" the father seethed at Dean, although he was keeping his voice quiet. He obviously knew that if he woke up the creature upstairs, things wouldn't end well.

"Sir, we know there are some strange things going on and me and my brother…."

"There's a demon in your kid," Dean answered nonchalantly as he walked over to a candy dish and started stuffing chocolates into his mouth."

"Who the hell do you think you are and what are you…." The father didn't get to finish as a little girl came running into the room. She ran right up to Dean and tugged at his jeans.

Dean looked down in surprise and cocked one eyebrow. "What, twerp?"

"You know!" she said happily. "You know something bad got Billy." She then started giggling at Sam. "Your face is goofy!"

Sam then remembered the black rings around his eyes and rubbed fruitlessly at them. Dean was chuckling under his breath. No wonder the father looked at Sam like he was some creep.

The mother then stepped out, walking up to her daughter. "No one else believes us! That's not our boy; this thing has black eyes…like coal!"

"Can you save Billy?" the little girl asked, her voice a whisper as well. "There's something mean inside him and I don't like it."

"Yes, now all of you need to shut your traps while me and Sam take care of this."

Sam gave Dean a dirty look before he turned back to the family. "We'll save your son, this is what we do, and it's our job to save people from things like this."

The father seemed to ease at Sam's gentle words but he kept shooting Dean distrustful glances. "Will he…will he make it? Billy?"

"Probably, unless the demon hasn't mortally wounded him already." Dean shrugged and the father opened his mouth in horror at Dean's comment and tone of voice that the older Winchester had used.

"You better save my boy."

Dean chose to smartly ignore the father as he motioned for Sam to follow him up the stairs.

Chapter Text

Sam motioned for Dean to hold on one second as he turned back to the family.

"Just in case something goes wrong, I want you to know that you can protect yourselves. Salt and iron is toxic to demons, find either of those and you have a weapon that will harm the thing possessing your son."

Dean made an impatient huffing noise from behind Sam. The younger Winchester spared one last glance at the family. "But if I were you, I'd hide somewhere. Or better yet, get out of the house."

Sam turned away and followed Dean slowly up the stairs. They stood outside the bedroom door and Dean shot his brother a look.

Are you ready?

Sam just realized the seriousness of what he was about to do. He had to rip this demon out of the body and send it to Hell. This demon would be fighting against him with all it had. Sure, Sam had practiced on Crowley's minions and on Dean, but that was much different.

Sam couldn't fail. He needed to prove he could extract an angry demon if he wanted to save the pregnant woman and her baby in time.

Dean had his back, Sam could do this.

They entered the room quietly, but obviously not quietly enough as the demon's head shot up and it began to rise from the bed.

"Well, well, well. What's this? Sam and….and Dean Winchester? Last I heard you were still rotting in Hell, Dean. How did someone like you….Hell's most wanted, get out of the pit so quickly?" The demon stood and stared them down, not willing to flee just yet.

Dean grinned a feral smile. "I'm just that awesome, you piece of shit."

"I've been told you had quite the mouth on you. So….do tell me how you managed to sneak past the gates of Hell while I rotted there for four hundred years!"

"Let's just say I wasn't only wanted in Hell."

"You were wanted back up here? There's no way Alistair would let you get out human."

Dean laughed, loud and dark. "Oh you moron, I'm not human…" Dean let his eyes flash to black and he smirked when the demon jumped in surprise. "Haven't been in decades…."

"No way…I'd be able to see your true form…," the demon attempted to hide the shock it was feeling, but it was obvious that the creature was extremely uncomfortable knowing that Dean was actually a demon. "So Hell did get to you, huh Winchester? I gotta say, even I thought you'd last longer than that….pathetic…"

Sam could tell the demon was about to flee. He could see its smoke cloud beginning to drift upwards in the boy's body in an attempt to escape. Sam focused and latched on to the violent smoke, it was fairly easy since the demon was already in a panic. Once the demon realized that something was keeping it from escaping, it began to push and fight against Sam's powers.

"Keep a hold on it Sammy, just focus on concentrating." Dean moved from where he had been standing in front of Sam to give his brother easier access to the demon.

"What the hell is this? You're both demons? That's impossible; I would be able to tell."

"Sammy's far from a demon, shithead." Dean ventured closer to the demon while staying out of Sam's way. "And with me getting out of Hell so early, I actually have people alive that I used to know. I was able to find some great protection charms, seems like they're working out well."

"Should have known," the demon spat. "That look in your eyes when you came in here…that wasn't human, far from it." The demon turned to Sam. "And you're all for this? You know that he's one of us; he's no different from any other demon. We all hate you Sam, we all want you dead and so does your brother…"

"You don't know anything!" Sam felt his hold temporarily loosen and he struggled to get the demon at bay. "If Dean wanted me dead, would he really be teaching me how to send his own kind back to Hell, knowing I could do it to him too? Don't you think he would have ended me already?"

The demon laughed, long and hard. "Oh Sam, Sam, Sam….he's playing you, you fool. It's what we all do and he's gonna trick you for his own selfish needs. Want to know how I know that?" The demon grinned evilly. "Because he didn't teach you these powers very well."

In a swift motion the demon broke down Sam's hold and charged right at an unsuspecting Dean. Sam hadn't realized that he'd let the demon's words affect him and get his guard down before it was too late. Dean went down with a thud and the demon raised its fist to punch Dean on the right side of his face. A snapping noise was heard and whatever bone had broken didn't stop Dean from kneeing the demon in the crotch and head-butting it before pushing the possessed boy off of him.

Dean was on his feet with the colt raised before the other demon could struggle to get to its knees.

"You won't use that. You freaks have never liked killing people."

"Did you just forget the pointless rant you told Sam about me? About me being a demon?" Dean didn't lower the colt an inch. "You couldn't be more wrong about me. I would never even attempt to hurt my brother physically or emotionally but I would not hesitate a second in putting a bullet through that boy to end you."

"Then what's stopping you?"

"This is Sammy's job, not mine."

Before Sam could attempt to grab the demon's cloud again, it took off running at incredible speed. Knocking Sam down with an inhumanly strong outstretched arm, it ran towards the bedroom door with Dean right on its heels.

Sam looked up just in time to see a bagful of salt thrown all over the doorway.

The demon screamed and stumbled backwards, clutching its face in pain. The onslaught of salt had poured over Dean as well who had been right behind the possessed boy. Dean was much less noisy as he hissed and buckled in pain, collapsing on the ground.

Sam didn't bother to check who had just managed to save them as he stood up. The demon was clutching at its eyes frantically and Sam reached out, grabbing its soul cloud easily and pulling with all the mental strength he had.

"You've got it Sammy," Dean coughed. "Keep going, you're doing great."

That unexpected compliment from Dean encouraged Sam as he felt a wave of happiness. He was actually going to accomplish this, he could just feel it in his veins….in his mind…

And he was going to do it because it made Dean proud. He wasn't going to let his brother become disappointed.

With a final pull Sam was able to dispel the demon from the host's body. It trashed about angrily in Sam's grasp and Sam could feel something else…there was this urge inside him to pull the demon even further, to send it back to Hell. The power was there within him, he just didn't know how to utilize it yet.

Dean suddenly scrambled to his feet, clutching onto the demon-killing knife. Sam smiled, of course Dean would have found a way to stealthily steal it from Sam's possession. With a final lunge, Dean brought the knife through the demon's smoke cloud, poisoning it.

It sputtered a few times before it seemed to explode in a flash of light. It was amazing the things that knife could do, fatal to a demon in either its cloud form or when riding a host.

Dean fell back to his knees, dropping the knife as the boys also collapsed gracelessly to the floor. Sam crouched by his brother as Billy began to moan and his hands went to clutch at his head in pain. Sam didn't have time to do anything else as Billy's father entered the room, the bag of rock salt still in his hands.

"Sir, thank you so…" Sam didn't get the chance to finish as the father sprayed the bag of salt on the both of them. Sam sputtered and shook his head to clear his hair of the grains while Dean buckled in pain again, his eyes still black from the confrontation with the demon.

The father was staring at the steam rising from Dean's body, his face held pure anger. "There's another one in your brother, take this one out too!"

"Sir, you don't understand….this is my brother. The demon inside is my brother."

"You're saying your brother is actually one of those things?"

"Yes," Sam sighed.

"One of those things that just took over my son and killed people?!"

"Dean isn't like that!" Sam knew it would be hard to explain to the poor man that Dean wasn't the average cruel demon.

"Look dude, I just saved your son's life. You should be kissing my ass right now," Dean growled, saving Sam from any further conversation.

"This is disgusting! I can't let you walk out of here…" The man suddenly paused, his body froze and his mouth could no longer form words.

Dean stood up, shaking the toxic salt off of him. He had one arm outstretched, keeping the man frozen in place.

"You know what I'm about to do?" Dean asked, the man's eyes going wide as he stared into Dean's deep black ones. "I'm going to walk out of this room and let you go. I could kill you in a heartbeat, but I'm not going to because I'm not like that. Now get over there and take care of your son."

Dean walked over to the door, the father still frozen for the time being and Sam walked up to the man.

"Dean went to Hell to save my life. He turned into a demon to keep me safe and gave me a second chance at life. There are bad things out there but just remember that there's people fighting for you and all of humanity as well….even if some of those things might not be human themselves."

Sam went to join Dean in the doorway as Billy began to stir. Dean released his mental hold on the father and the man turned to face Dean. He glared at the demon for a moment, and then glanced over at his son. Looking back and forth between the two, he finally decided to go over to Billy.

"What happened? My head hurts…," the boy mumbled, luckily not seeming to have any recollection of his time possessed.

The father took a quick glance back at the brothers until he turned his full attention back on his son. "It's alright, you're safe now…"

"A fuckin' thank you would've been nice," Dean seethed and then stormed down the hallway. They passed the mother and daughter who both jumped and squealed at the sight of Dean's black eyes.

"Oh, shut up. I'm not the demon that possessed your son. He's awake so get the hell up there already, we just saved his ass."

"You said bad words!" The little girl giggled as the mother scooped her into her arms and took off down the hallway.

Dean glared at them before stomping out the doorway towards the Impala. "It's so nice not to get appreciated at all after you just saved her son's life. No fuckin' respect these people have, I swear."

"Dean, half the people we've saved didn't even know we saved them. They're clueless to what's really out there," Sam reminded his brother and then smiled a bit. "And hey, I thought you didn't care about anything besides me, why do you want a thank you so much, big bad demon?" Sam teased.

"Yeah, well I never realized just how completely ungrateful humanity is until I wasn't part of it." Dean got into the Impala's passenger side. "You drive."

Sam slid into the driver's side. "Hey, I'm grateful for what you did for me, what you're still doing for me. I'm really grateful, Dean."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, you getter damned well be, everything in my life has always been 'all about Sammy'". Dean said the words in an exasperated tone, but the small smile on his face told a different story.

"I just keep getting into all sorts of trouble, don't I?" Sam smirked.

"You're a freaking magnet for trouble, Sammy."

"I pretty much am. But it's always been about you and me man, those people were just afraid because they realized you were a demon too. They don't know, Dean. The only experience they've had with a demon is the one that just took over their son. I know you don't see it because you're not human anymore but they were just scared, the father was protective…"

"Don't tell me that like I don't know anything about being protective."

Sam laughed. "Hah, you're right with that. And thanks, by the way, for having my back."

There was that new Dean-shrug again. "Whatever, you already know I have your back. But you did a Hell of a job back there, well after your lame first attempt…."

"Dean!"

"What? You let the demon's words get to you. You can't do that, you have to ignore it completely; it's trying to get you mad so you let your guard down. Just tune out everything it's saying." Dean paused briefly for a moment. "Which, by the way, every single thing it said was a lie."

Was Dean seriously worried that Sam had believed the demon's false words about his brother? "Dude, I know that. It just got me angry with it shouting stuff like it knows you just because it's a demon…"

"That's what it's trying to do. It was trying to get you to think it could relate to me more than you could. It's a load of shit. It doesn't know us."

Sam looked over at his brother who was smiling a little. Dean was absolutely right. All the demons and monsters in general always had doubted their relationship and bond, thinking that they could snap it so easily, that it was something either of them could easily toss away.

"Yeah, well screw them all." Sam smiled back and started the Impala, the engine of their one and only home roaring to life.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a night of relaxing Dean approached Sam with a plan the next day.

"I say you're pretty much ready to yank the demon out of that pregnant lady," Dean told Sam at the diner they were at in-between bites of cheeseburger.

"Don't talk with food in your mouth," Sam groaned as he put down his chicken sandwich. "I failed to pull the demon out on my first try though."

Dean ignored Sam's first comment and continued to chew as he talked, food falling from his mouth. "Yeah, only because you let the demon's words get to you. You won't let that effect you again, right?"

"No, I won't let it happen, I'll ignore the demon just like you said, tune it out."

"Good, then you're all set. I mean, did you see how quickly you pulled it out the second time? That was freaking awesome, it didn't even look like you were having a hard time!"

Sam smiled. "Maybe I'm actually more awesome than you."

Dean swallowed loudly. "Nah, I'm the one that actually killed the thing, remember? But hey, it was nice to have that extra backup waiting on the side, just in case."

"You mean the father? He wanted to kill you remember? He wasn't exactly on our side."

"Exactly, the father wasn't on our side but he was still able to help us. Imagine if we had someone with us that actually wanted to be on our side?"

Sam's eyebrows rose as he came to a conclusion. "You're not seriously thinking of Crowley joining us are you?"

Dean almost choked on his burger. "Hell no!" he coughed. "Do you think Crowley would actually accept that offer? He doesn't want to be in the line of duty by any means and he wouldn't let me tell him what to do like that anyway. I know the boundaries I can't cross with Crowley, and demanding him to help us like that would get my ass yanked back to Hell."

"Then who, Bobby?"

"Bobby doesn't trust me enough yet to be reliable backup. Plus, he's old."

"He's still a great hunter, Dean."

"Yeah, but nowhere as great and powerful as…hmmm…let's say…an angel?"

"You want Castiel to help us on this hunt?" Sam's eyes went wide and his mouth dropped open like a cartoon character. "I thought you hated him?"

"I did, and I still don't really like him. But the guy seemed pretty honest and now that he knows his buddies have been lying to him, he has nothing holding him back. I mean when it comes to fighting and killing, the guy probably has fewer morals than me, he'd probably be kick-ass in a hunt."

Sam was shocked and actually pleased by his brother's acceptance of the angel now. He thought he'd have to fight tooth and nail to get Dean to be friendly with Castiel.

"Well, okay then. That doesn't sound like a bad idea. But how are we going to tell him?"

"He said for you to pray to him. I dunno, just do that."

"How?"

"I don't know! You're the one that was always praying every night, you should know!"

In truth, Sam hadn't prayed since those first few weeks after Dean died, when he realized that no amount of praying would bring Dean back.

"Well what do I say? 'Hey, Castiel, I'm praying for you. Could you come here and meet me and Dean?'"

"That doesn't sound like a prayer! What the hell was that?" Dean scoffed.

"Hello Sam." Both brothers turned around to see the angel suddenly standing next to their table. A waitress to the left of them shrieked and spilled Dean's pie on the ground. "I heard your prayers for me."

Dean was staring at Castiel with wide eyes. "Well, I'll be damned. Your lame-ass prayer actually worked, Sam."

Castiel turned to look at Dean. "Hello Dean. I have to agree that your brother's prayer was rather…insufficient, however it got the point across successfully."

Dean looked shocked that the angel had greeted him. "Well, hi." There was awkward silence for a few moments before Dean continued. "What the hell are you doing just standing there? Sit your ass down."

The angel didn't seem fazed by Dean's harsh language and that probably pleased Sam's brother to no end. Dean had always hated it when anyone gave him issues about his choice of words. Castiel glanced at the spot next to Sam, where Dean's coat was lying and didn't seem to hesitate as he took the empty spot next to Dean.

"What did you wish to inquire me about?"

"We're going after the demon that's trying to create more antichrists," Dean told Castiel.

"Yes, I've been meaning to track that demon down. We must get over there and kill the woman and the unborn child," Castiel agreed.

"What?" Sam shouted.

"See, that's what I was saying too. But Sammy doesn't want that. I figured that Sam could get some practice with this demon and pull it out of its host. The baby and the woman would be saved this way too and the baby wouldn't be born half-demon if the mother wasn't possessed full term."

"That is a possible scenario although this demon seems to be rather difficult."

"That's where you come in, angel boy," Dean grinned at Castiel. "Me and Sammy would feel better with some help since Sam's only pulled one demon out besides me. If you come with us as backup it would make this whole mission go a lot smoother."

Castiel cocked his head to the side as he studied Dean. "You are not lying. Usually demons will twist the truth to serve their own purposes, but you have only be honest to me."

"Yeah, well I see no point in lying, only causes problems. Both me and Sammy have learned from past mistakes that lying doesn't help any, right Sammy?"

"Right," Sam agreed. "We'd really appreciate your help. And the more demons I practice on, the closer I can get to learning how to send them back to Hell."

"I would like to help.," Castiel stated. "Although I am weary of working with a demon, your brother has proved to me that he is different."

"Yeah, I'm pretty damn awesome."

"You say awesome way too much, Dean," Sam groaned while Dean shot his brother a quick black-eyed glare.

The stunned waitress from earlier came back with a new slice of pie for Dean. "I…would your friend like something as well? I'm sorry…I didn't see him come in." The woman avoided Castiel's gaze, it was obvious she was afraid of him after seemingly appeared from nowhere.

"Really, the guy walked in five minutes ago," Dean shrugged as he dug into his pie.

"I…I'm pretty sure he wasn't here then…"

"You must be blind, sweetheart." Dean grinned at the waitress's confused expression. "Don't worry, I won't complain to your manager about your rude behavior if you give this friend of mine a free slice of pie."

"I….okay…I will sir." She blushed as she walked away. How could Dean be rude as hell and still have girls falling all over him?

"I have never tasted pie," Castiel admitted as he looked at Dean.

Dean's mouth fell open. "And you call yourself an angel? Dude, you've never actually been to Heaven until you've tried a slice of homemade pie."

"I don't see how Heaven can be related to pie. I have never come across it in my travels of home."

Dean laughed so hard he spit out some of his pie, Sam laughed just as hard along with his brother.

"Dude, you might not be so bad after all. You're at least a source of amusement."

"You are not as horrible as I assumed as well."

Dean chuckled. "Well good. I might actually like you…Castiel. Although that name has to go. I'm gonna call you Cas, alright? What do you think Sam?"

"I think it fits," Sam smiled.

"Great, so from now on you're Cas, got it, buddy?"

Castiel looked lost. "I was under the assumption I would be known as Cas, not buddy."

The brothers cracked up again. Maybe, with Castiel on their side this could all work out.

Chapter Text

Dean's new favorite form of entertainment seemed to be picking on Castiel and the poor angel was too clueless to realize Dean was amused by his behavior.

"So, Cas, what do you think of that pie? Best thing in the world, right?" Dean eagerly asked after Castiel took his first hesitant bite of the blueberry pie Dean had ordered for him.

Castiel swallowed the mouthful and gazed at Dean quizzically. "I would have to deeply consider what the best thing in the word may be, but this slice of pie is not in my considerations."

"Way to ruin the fun man, but it is good, huh?"

"I do not usually stop and consume human foods so I cannot judge the quality."

Dean rolled his eyes. "So you don't have to eat obviously. I bet that means you don't have to sleep. What is this anyway?" Dean pushed at Castiel. "This your human form or are you possessing some poor dude?"

Sam never considered that Castiel might be possessing someone the same way demons have to. Angels should be stronger though, they would have other ways to blend in. No way would an angel possess a human and take control of their mind and body.

"I use a human host just as you. My true form is about the size of your Chrysler building, it would burn the eyes of any creature who witnessed it."

"Well that's a little…morbid," Dean stated awkwardly but Sam had a different reaction.

"So you're taking over people and using them just like demons do? What makes you believe you're any better than them? You called Dean an abomination but at least he's using his own body! You're preventing someone from living their life!"

Castiel looked generally confused, as usual, from Sam's outburst. To make things even worse, Dean kept glancing back and forth between his brother and the angel, doing nothing to hide his snickering.

"I am doing this man a favor."

"A favor?! Remember when Dean stabbed you? Once you leave that vessel the man is going to have a knife wound in his back!"

"Angels can heal the bodies entirely. Can't demons do that as well?"

Sam was about to comment that no, demon's can't. They leave the body with the wounds the host sustained while the demon was riding around in it.

Dean shrugged. "Yeah, we can do that."

Sam turned to look at Dean in awe. "But...remember Meg? Once she left, the girl started dying from the fall…"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, that's because Meg didn't want to heal her. Us demons, we have a choice to heal the body completely so it'll be unharmed when we leave the host. It's just that most of them don't want to, they want to hurt their hosts and leave them for dead afterwards."

Castiel turned to look at Dean. "Have you left a host for dead, Dean?"

Sam already knew the answer to that. Dean wouldn't do that. While it seemed that Dean didn't particularly care for humanity anymore, he didn't want to kill people for fun.

Dean glared at Castiel and then looked back at Sam, bewildered. "What the hell?" He shared his confusion with Sam and then stared angrily at the angel. "Who do you think you are, asking me questions like that?"

"I do not understand your anger," Castiel commented.

Dean huffed. "No. I haven't possessed many people other than myself anyway. Just people I took over for some time when I was waiting for my body to heal and watching out for Sam." Dean turned to look at Sam now. "Remember that old guy I told you I possessed to help you out when you were drunk? He had terminal cancer. The guy seemed pretty cool, so I healed him all up. Dude's back with his wife with a miracle recovery."

Sam smiled, it didn't surprise him that Dean would do something like that. He could have just left the guy to eventually die but he gave him a second chance at life.

Just like he did when he literally brought Sam back from the dead.

Castiel, however, was looking at Dean in a completely different light than he had before.

"That was very kind of you, Dean. I did not think a demon would have enough compassion left to do such a thing," the angel said as he looked at Dean with interest.

Dean looked uncomfortable and glanced down at the table with a scowl. "I just thought I could do it, and there's no real cure, so why not? And I do not have compassion!"

"I can see you have much compassion when you talk to your brother."

Dean stuttered, flustered and started scrambling around in his pockets for change.

"Wow, you're finally going to pay for something?" Sam smiled at his brother's obvious attempt at distracting himself from Castiel's statement.

"Shut-it, bitch. I thought you were still mad at our feathered friend here for possessing people?" Dean stabbed his thumb over to point at Castiel.

"I actually do not consist of any feathers."

Sam joined Dean in on his sigh.

"I do not possess people. They invite me in. This man prayed for this."

"To be a sock puppet for an angel?" Dean asked with a chuckle.

"He prayed he could be of assistance to God, and that was my invitation in. Without it, I could not take over this vessel."

"Wait a minute….," Dean paused. "Lucifer is an angel. So even if he got released and was going to possess Sam…he couldn't until Sam told him to? What the hell! Sam would never say yes! So this whole plan is…."

Castiel actually looked remorseful. "They would find a way to force Sam to submit. The devil would stop at nothing to get what he believes to be his."

Just then the waitress walked by, her eyes were nearly bugging out of her head at Castiel's statement. She seemed even more frightened by the angel than she was when he had appeared out of nowhere.

Dean snickered at her expression. "Nice going buddy, I think it's time to leave now."

It wasn't until they were all in the car that Sam realized Dean never did pay the bill, after all.


Castiel awkwardly followed the brothers around as they went through their motel room and packed things up. After they tossed their bags in the trunk, Castiel spoke up.

"I could just zap us all to the location of the demon."

Dean groaned. "If you think I'm leaving my baby here to fend for herself, you're insane."

Castiel glanced around quizzically. "I do not see a baby. I was unaware that you were a father, Dean."

Dean clutched at his hair, looking like he now wanted to strangle the angel. "My god, do all angels take things as literal as you? Wait…don't answer that. I've had enough." Dean turned to his brother. "You explain this shit to him; I'm waiting in the car."

Dean stormed off into the driver's seat, slamming the door in his wake.

Sam decided to face the angel. "Castiel, listen…"

"I thought my name would now be referred to as 'Cas', or am I mistaken?"

Sam huffed. "Okay, Cas. Listen Cas, when Dean referred to his 'baby' he was talking about the Impala. This car, right here, is his most treasured possession ever. It's a name he makes up for the car because he loves it so much. Do you understand?"

"I do not understand why an inanimate object needs a name but I am following what you are saying. That must be why Dean calls you by the name of 'Sammy' because of his love for you and that he treasures your companionship.."

"Uhh..yeah…pretty much I guess. But also because I'm his little brother." Sam felt awkward that the angel could just right out and talk about him and Dean like that while both Sam and Dean had never been great at explaining their feelings. "Okay, good. So never, ever say anything negative about Dean's car in front of him or he'll get really angry. He'd probably get even more angry now that he's a demon. Since you're going to be traveling with a demon, there's some things you have to look out for. So just….if Dean seems to be getting angry, upset or overwhelmed…just stop talking to him or he'll freak out like he did just now."

"I believe I can do that."

"Good, good. Also, his eyes change black when he's around me so you'll have to get used to that and try not to feel uncomfortable. He has a bit of a temper, but just don't upset him when he's acting up, he's pretty impatient and lacks a lot of feelings towards the human population. But he's not evil, he's not going to go out and kill people for fun," Sam explained. "And sometimes it will seem like Dean's really mad when he's talking to me, but that's just his attitude now. It's kind of like tough love….he doesn't sugar-coat his words most of the time, but he cares. He really cares for me and wants to protect me from things he can't even protect me from. "

Sam realized he blabbed on and on but he really wanted Castiel to know all the little things about Dean. Even though Castiel seemed to not hate Dean anymore, he was still an angel and would probably be put off by some of Dean's behavior. Sam didn't want this angel hurting Dean and the best he could do was let Castiel know what it would be like traveling with Dean beforehand.

"That is a lot of information, Sam. I will remember everything you have told me."

Sam heard the door to the Impala creek open as Dean stuck his head out, his eyes now black again. "Are you two done gabbing yet? Come on, let's get a move on and hurry the hell up."


Dean had driven for the first few hours, blaring his classic rock music while horribly singing along now and then, making both Castiel and Sam generally uncomfortable.

"I do not know how one could listen to these noises and consider it music." Castiel actually sounded irritated.

Sam had grinned. "Thank you!"

Dean had loudly told them both to 'fuck off' and when Sam took his turn driving, Castiel asked Sam to change the station to one playing classical music. Dean had grumbled and swore, digging out the mp3 player that he had recently found in this duffle bag, the one Sam had given him a few years back.

Dean had passed out soon after, lightly snoring and every time Sam glanced in the rearview mirror, Castiel was staring straight ahead, it was quite creepy.

He might as well have a conversation with the angel to make it less awkward. Sam figured maybe he could find some answers to some questions he'd been wondering about.

"Hey, Casti….Cas?"

"Yes, Sam?"

"I…you know about the shifter and how it pretended that Dean turned human again. Well that's not possible of course…"

"Of course it is not, a soul that has been damned and tainted until it became demonic is irreversible."

"Yeah….I get that. But….I was wondering….is there any way you could possibly get Dean….even though he's a demon…into…." Sam felt himself choking up, he knew he was going to be disappointed, but he had to ask. "Could….could you get him into heaven?"

Castiel was silent and Sam was pretty sure what that meant.

"I mean…I know he's a demon and he's done stuff in Hell that was horrible…but just look at your angel friend! He was killing humans when they were only simply in his way! Dean…he's tortured souls…but they were already damned…he hasn't killed anyone. He's not evil…he's still a hell of a good man. He doesn't deserve to be tied to Hell….if anyone deserves some peace and safety it's him…."

"Sam," Castiel stated.

"Yeah?"

"I would be able to bring Dean into heaven, but it would not be a pleasant experience for him."

"What do you mean?"

"Dean's soul would ascend to heaven. Do you know what Dean's true form looks like?" The angel questioned.

"The black smoke cloud, so what? I just want Dean to be able to go to heaven with me when I die…I wouldn't care if he had to be in cloud form. I'd miss talking to him sure, but I'd just be happy he was there with me."

"The demonic cloud is the form demons transform into when brought to earth," Castiel informed the hunter. "When in Hell or Heaven their souls take on their true form. Yours would not be much different than your body looks now, but Dean would be horribly disfigured. He would be in constant pain and agony. Also, even if I got Dean to heaven, my brothers would find him and dispose of him permanently."

Sam knew it was too good to be true. What was he thinking? Of course the other angels wouldn't allow Dean to be in heaven.

But Castiel's words about Dean's true form still rang around in Sam's head. "Dean…what does he really look like?"

"I suggest you stop the car."

Sam almost didn't stop the car in time as Castiel reached his hand out and seemed to pull Dean's soul right out of his body. Sam heard his brother scream and curse as Castiel quickly explained what was going on. In the few seconds that Sam was forced to look away so he could park the car without crashing, there was a new form next to Dean's now slumped body.

"I have pulled Dean's soul from his body. These are not actually physically injuries, but the damage done to his soul," Castiel informed Sam.

Sam stared at the figure next to him….at his brother. Sam saw the missing chunks of flesh, the giant patches of hair that were singed off and left parts of skull visible, he saw the bubbling red burns that looked brand new on Dean's face. He noticed the broken nose, the ears that were nearly completely burned away, the missing left hand and the broken fingers on the right. Sam saw ribs that were sticking out of the flesh, a hole in Dean's right shoulder and stomach and the gnarled legs.

Sam saw all that, but what he really noticed was the horrified look in those black eyes…Dean's eyes. Even with all the disfigurements, Sam could still easily recognize his brother. It confirmed what Sam already knew, Hell hadn't damaged him enough to turn him into someone…or something else.

Dean actually seemed terrified as he looked at Sam. The look was gone as soon as it came though, when Dean looked back up, the stony expression was back on his tortured face.

"Well, go ahead, run." His voice was strangled and hoarse and sounded as if he had been screaming for decades, which Dean probably had. But it was still Dean's voice. Sam wondered how Dean's voice could even be affected, since his brother wasn't even in a body right now. Sam figured there were a lot of things about Hell he'd never understand.

"What?" Sam stared at what his brother had become, what he was now, noticing the chipped and bloody teeth. Sam waited to feel disgusted and ashamed but instead found a whole different set of emotions surging through him. He felt horrible for Dean and what he had gone through, Sam was angry at himself for dying and causing Dean to sell his soul. He was furious at Lilith for killing Dean and causing him this pain. And also…Sam felt himself feeling proud. He was proud that his brother could go through eighty years of hell and still come out himself, still come out as Dean, even as a demon.

"You see what I am now…what I really am. I know this disgusts you…so go…leave now. I…I won't blame you."

Sam shrugged. "I knew it wouldn't be pretty. I know you're damaged Dean, damaged beyond repair, but…you're still you, man. I know you can see that."

"Most demons come out of hell with no resemblance to their former self. They are much more grotesquely figured than Dean, nearly lacking any human appearance," Castiel randomly decided to join in the conversation.

"You call this a 'human appearance'?" Dean scoffed, turning around to glare at the angel.

"You have seen many demons in Hell Dean, you must admit that they looked much worse off than you. More animal than human. They resembled more or a monster than a disfigured human. Alistair…"

"Don't you bring up that name unless we're talking about hunting the asshole. I know what he looked like. I know it all too well and I would like to push it to the back of my mind."

Once again, Sam saw past the scars and burns and rotting flesh that wasn't actual flesh. But just because it wasn't actual flesh and bone didn't mean that it wasn't real, the damage to Dean's soul was very much real. All Sam saw was Dean's pain. He noticed the far-away look in Dean's black eyes and he reached out, placing a hand on his brother's mottled and bloody shoulder.

Sam had wondered if he could touch Dean's soul and, apparently, he could. What Sam felt wasn't flesh and broken bones though, Sam felt sorrow and pain and disappointment. It was like all of Dean's emotions right then were being transported into Sam.

Dean jumped, Sam was afraid he caused him pain but instead Dean was staring at Sam's hand like he couldn't believe his brother would dare touch him in this form.

Dean was silent for a long time but Sam never removed his hand from his brother's soul, which felt like it was burning. It was almost as if Dean still had hellfire inside of him.

"They…that hole right there…. That's where they hung me for the first thirty years. There were these giant hooks that they just threw me on, slid right through me like I was made of paper. See the one on my stomach? That's one of them too. I was literally chained to a rack, just hanging there. Didn't matter that I didn't have a body. It all felt real," Dean closed his eyes. "Still feels like it does sometimes…"

Sam moved his hand to the back of Dean's neck, the one place on him that looked unmarred. Sam's mind was a whirlwind as he stared at his brother's true form. Everything Dean had been through…Sam couldn't even imagine….to save his life….and Dean was still trying to save his little brother, after all this…

Sam turned to face the angel, his hand still on Dean's neck. His brother looked like he was in emotional agony. "Put him back. He's in pain; you put him back in his body right now."

Castiel didn't hesitate and in a matter of seconds Dean's soul was ripped away from Sam's hand and placed back into his human body.

Dean looked at Sam with black eyes and a perfect face once again.

"I'm not leaving, Dean. I don't care if I had to look at your true form every day, I'm not going anywhere."

Dean nodded once and turned to face out the window. Sam started up the car, understanding. Dean didn't want to talk. He was ashamed; Sam knew these gestures all too well.

But he also saw understanding on Dean's face. His brother believed Sam and part of Dean was relieved because of that.

Sam gave Dean a quick pat on the shoulder and started up the Impala. Dean needed some time to himself, and Sam completely understood.


By the time they made it to their new motel destination, Dean seemed to be back to his regular, obnoxious self.

"Alright, so since we have angel-boy here, I say we just get some sleep tonight and go after the demon tomorrow."

"Do you think I'll be able to handle it? Do you think I'll need more blood than normal?" Sam asked his brother.

"What the hell Sam? How many times have I told you that you need to stay on the same amount and learn to grow into your powers? I don't need you getting addicted," Dean replied harshly and Sam backed off with a sigh.

"Okay, geeze Dean, it was just a question. I'm….I'm just afraid I'll screw up and not get a second chance like last time. I want to make sure…"

"You're gonna do just fine." Dean's tone was a lot calmer this time. "You're gonna kick that demon's ass, you just gotta trust yourself."

"Will kicking the demon in the ass destroy it?" Castiel asked curiously.

Dean ignored him. "Plus, you've got me watching out for you. And this freak. He may be clueless but he's not going to let anything happen to you either, right Cas?"

"Yes, I will take all measures to protect you both."

Dean raised an eyebrow. "You're gonna protect me too?"

"Of course, I thought I made it clear that I have learned to trust you, Dean."

"Thought you might be lying. Good, though." They entered the motel room and Dean opened up his duffle and threw a can of salt at the angel. "Go border up the door and windows, will ya?"

"Can you not do so?"

"No, I can do it just fine. It's not like I'm touching the salt, dude. If you want to be part of this group, you can help us out and take part."

"Okay," Castiel stated. "I would like to help." He turned and dutifully started salting the ground by the door.

Dean tossed a pre-mixed demon blood mixture at Sam and then kicked off his boots as he hopped into the bed closest to the door.

"I've been meaning to ask, Cas," Dean started as he watched Castiel move onto the windows. "When you oh so kindly pulled me from my body….Sam was able to touch my soul. I didn't think it was possible for someone to touch a soul. And when Sam did…it was like…the distress I was feeling…it seemed to…almost go away. I felt better, if that makes any sense."

Sam paused in the middle of drinking the demon blood mixture. He was shocked to hear this and also glad to know that he hadn't been hurting his brother when touching his soul. He was eager to hear Castiel's answer.

"Of course, it makes perfect sense."

"Yeah, how so?" Dean questioned.

"Sam touched your soul. Your brother is your soulmate as you are your brother's. Soulmates complete and heal each other."

What the hell?!

Apparently Dean was just as baffled as Sam.

"What kind of sick shit are you talking about? That me and Sam were made for each other like a couple made in heaven or some crap?"

"You do not understand. Soulmates do not have to be two people who are in love. Soulmates are simply two souls that love each other so deeply that they would be entirely lost without them. When separated, the soulmates feel incomplete, lost and start to fall apart. Soulmates understand each other and care for the other on such a deep level where others do not. Soulmates could be two lovers, a parent and child, best friends, or in your case…siblings."

Dean and Sam stared at Castiel blankly and the angel was actually smart enough to know that was his sign to continue on.

"I always had thought that if one soul became demonic, it would break the soulmate status, but I was wrong. I believe having your soulmate to come back to Earth and reuniting with him is what kept you so controlled Dean. I believe it is why you have reminisces of humanity still inside you."

Sam turned to glance at Dean to see his brother staring right back. Sam knew without words that Dean was thinking the same thing as he was. It kind of all made sense now, their bond had always been so strong, unbreakable and so much more codependent than regular siblings.

"Every soul goes to its unique heaven. Except soulmates are an exception, they share a heaven after they pass where they will stay together for eternity."

Sam watched as Dean's body froze, coming to the same realization as Sam.

"But, I can't get to heaven." Dean's voice was unnaturally quiet.

Castiel nodded. "When Sam passes, he will not have his soulmate to join his heaven. Sam's heaven will never be complete, it would be a mess. He will feel lost and depressed and will always be longing for more, to have you there with him, Dean."

Dean started to actually shake and Sam began to feel sick.

"I can't have Sam like that. Don't you understand? I thought I would be able to let him get peace and then kill myself when he moves on. But I can't leave him like that, that's no damned heaven!"

"Dean…," Sam started to say.

"Don't you try and tell me otherwise Sam! I know you won't be okay up there alone like that!"

"I…I wasn't going to say that Dean. I…I don't want to go to heaven. Not without you…it…it would be like…" Sam shuddered.

"It would be like Hell to you," Castiel answered and Sam nodded. It was the best way he could describe how he would feel without his brother, without ever seeing Dean again.

"You know what, Sam asked a long time ago about finding a way to stop aging. I didn't like the idea but I'm all on board now. You've gotta know something man. Is there something angels can do?" Dean asked Castiel, practically begging.

"I have heard of a few things although I have never experimented with them before. I will look into them for you." The angel seemed sincere. "I would not wish for anyone to go through heaven without their soulmate, I have heard it is truly one of the worst experiences imaginable."

"Thank you." Sam told the angel with gratitude. "Thank you so much."


Dean had gotten into bed after their conversation with Castiel and was still lying there three hours later. His eyes were closed, but Sam knew his brother well enough to know that Dean was far from sleeping.

Dean was thinking about the same thing Sam was. He was trying to figure out if there was some way that they could keep Sam alive, that they could stay together.

Sam had spent the hours searching on his laptop for any information and even looking over their father's journal. However, just like when Dean got sent to Hell, there were no leads. Well, other than the dangerous ones.

There were spells and rituals that required dark magic or some sort of sacrifice. Hell, one of the spells was that the person who wished to be immortal must kill the one they loved most. Wouldn't that be counterproductive?

But this time around, they had something they didn't before. They had an angel that would pop in whenever they wished. Actually, Castiel might even be considered a friend to them now.

They would figure something out, Sam was sure of it.

Closing his laptop, Sam walked over to his brother's bed. He sat down on the edge near Dean's feet and stared at the same wall Dean was facing.

"We're going to figure something out. You know that right?"

"We couldn't find a way to keep me out of Hell," Dean said matter-of-factly.

Sam knew Dean wasn't saying that to hurt Sam. He was saying it to prove that they haven't always been able to get what they wanted. But still, being reminded of what he had failed to do filled Sam with guilt and his stomach twisted. He wasn't going to let Dean down this time.

"Hey, we have Cas on our side now. Maybe even Crowley knows something. We'll figure this out, Dean. There's no way I'm going up to heaven without you. After we finish this thing with Lilith, we can spend all our time looking for a way to keep me around, all right?"

Dean gave a small nod. He didn't want to talk about this anymore today and Sam wasn't going to push his limits. Sam patted Dean's leg and stood up. He grabbed his change of clothes from his duffle when he realized that Castiel was still standing in the room, staring out the window, motionless.

Even though Castiel seemed to be out of it and not facing Sam's way, there was no way he was changing in the same room as the angel. Sam carried his clothes to the bathroom and after he changed he found Dean standing on the other side of the door. His brother had a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt in hand. His black eyes and the awkward expression on his face made for a hilarious combination.

"So, I see you're also uncomfortable changing in front of him," Sam chuckled.

Dean's face contorted into a grimace. "There's no way in hell I'm stripping down to my boxers with him standing there like a moron. What the hell is that about, he's been like that for hours!?"

"Maybe it's how angels sleep. Like, they zone-out and just…recharge," Sam suggested.

"I don't care what it is. It's creepy as hell." Dean pushed past Sam into the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

Sam walked over to his bed, still laughing and got comfortable under the covers. Dean exited the bathroom a few minutes later and threw his dirty clothes into a heap on the floor. He walked over to turn off the light but stopped when he noticed that Castiel was standing next to it.

"Dude, just turn it off," Sam sighed.

"No way! What if he snaps out of whatever kind of freaky trance he's in and decides he does want to kill me?"

"He's not going to attack you, Dean."

"You don't know that, he's being creepy-ass!"

Sam smirked at his brother's childish, yet vulgar, retort. "You're scared!"

"I am not! I'm just weirded out by his random decision to meditate in front of our window!"

"Fine, then I'll do it. I'm not sleeping with the lights on."

That would get Dean to suck it up and turn off the lights. He would never want to admit that Sam was braver than him at anything.

"No! I'll just…" Dean stared up at the light on the ceiling and after a moment it began to flicker. It did so for a few more seconds before the lights went out completely.

"Huh….," Sam murmured. He knew that demons could affect electricity and make the lights flicker when they entered a room; it was just that Dean had never done so; his brother had rarely used his powers. It was a little frightening to watch Dean turn off the lights with only his mind, but also fascinating and kind of cool.

"Pretty neat, huh? I still need some practice because I've never done this on purpose before. Although I'd say I'm pretty decent, I didn't even burst a bulb!" Dean sounded proud of himself.

"It is cool," Sam admitted and that got Dean grinning. Sam was happy he had spoken up if it made Dean smile. Dean needed that acceptance from Sam; he needed to know that Sam wasn't creeped out by any of his demon powers.

"You should use your powers to close the curtains too. What if someone walks past and sees a creepy man staring blankly at them?"

Dean snickered. "Good idea."

Sam could barely see with the lack of light but he caught Dean's arm moving and the curtains closed shut at the same time.

Dean then finally got into bed and scooted as far away as he could get from Castiel. He turned away from the window and the angel and lay facing Sam.

"This is so freaking weird with him just standing with his back to us as we sleep."

"You're never going to get over this, are you?"

"Probably not."

Sam laughed quietly and got comfortable. There was silence for about a minute or so.

"Goodnight, Sammy."

Ahh, there it was, Sam smiled. "Goodnight, Dean."

Just as Sam was starting to drift off, a voice interrupted the quiet night.

"Goodnight, Sam and Dean," Castiel stated in a monotonous voice.

Sam yelped and Dean screamed something that sounded like 'holy fuck, what the hell was that shit?'

Castiel was still standing at the window; his back turned and body as still as a statue.

"What the fuck, man? Now you decide to speak up? What the hell was that about?" Dean growled at the prone angel.

Castiel didn't answer. He didn't even move.

"This guy has some serious issues. Come on Sam, that was creepy as hell," Dean repeated for about the third time tonight. "I thought he was sleeping or whatever you called it?"

Sam had to agree. "That was pretty creepy."

"So he's been awake this whole time, just listening to us talk and standing there like a stalker? Remind me why I considered bringing him along?"

"Because he's really good backup?"

"Well, I'm telling you one thing. We're only calling him when we really need him from now on. And he's getting a separate room, or he can go stalk and stare in the bathroom when we're sleeping, none of this freaky shit."

"You try explaining to him why he was creepy and why he can't stay in our room. He kind of seems to lack common sense," Sam reminded his brother.

Dean muttered and cursed about the angel some more before laying back down and getting comfortable.

Dean sighed. "Why do I have a feeling that we're going to be stuck with this guy forever?"

"Funny, I was just thinking that too."

But maybe that wasn't so bad. Maybe, Castiel entering their lives would actually be a good thing, for once.

 

Chapter Text

Sam was dreaming, he knew he was, but that was okay. He and Dean were exploring the Grand Canyon. Dean kept running ahead of Sam and using his demon powers to move rocks and obstacles out of the way.

"We're gonna explore sections of this place that no lame explorer ever got near," Dean said and pushed at a boulder with inhuman strength, causing it to tumble down, freeing their path.

"I am going to take you here one day," Sam told his dream-brother. "After Lilith, we're going to visit and do just this."

Dream-Dean turned around and glared at Sam with black eyes. "What are you talking about? We're here right now."

Sam was just going to ignore his dream brother until Dean suddenly walked over to him and started pushing him.

"Dude, what the hell are you doing?" Sam asked, trying to laugh it off and pushed Dean right back.

"Sammy," Dean said, pushing him some more.

"Quit it, Dean. You're not funny."

Dean didn't stop. "Sammy, come on man. I don't want to be alone in here, I'm creeped out."

Dean pushed Sam harder, and the younger Winchester felt himself falling backwards, he was about to fall off the cliff….

Sam woke up mid-scream. The sensation of falling was still there and Sam realized he was falling off his bed. For some reason, falling out of bed was always terrifying, that feeling of having no control just as you're coming back into consciousness….

But Sam never fell; he opened his eyes to see Dean's black ones gazing down at him, a smirk on his face.

"Don't worry Mister I-Think-I-Can-Fly, I caught you before you could crack your head open." Dean helped maneuver Sam back onto the bed.

"What?" Sam asked, rubbing at his eyes.

"You decided to take a swan dive off the bed, but big brother was here to save you."

Slowly, the memories of Sam's dream came back. "You…you pushed me!"

"Uh-uh. I was just trying to shove you awake. You kept pushing me away and then leapt for the floor."

Sam pouted, scooting back under the covers. "I did not," he muttered sheepishly.

"Did too, you were out man. Must have been dreaming pretty deep." Dean paused for a moment. "Good dream, I hope?"

Sam smiled. "Yeah, it was a nice dream."

Dean wagged his eyebrows suggestively. "Ohh really, how nice exactly?"

"Not in that way, you perverted freak! " Sam groaned.

"You sure about that?"

Sam wanted to gag. "Trust me Dean, I'm positive. Why the hell did you shove me awake anyway?"

Dean crouched on the ground near the side of the bed that Sam was lying on and peered over the edge. It reminded Sam of when they were children and would do the same thing, pretending to hide from the imaginary 'bad guys'.

"Angel-boy is freaking me the hell out."

Sam turned around. There was no way Castiel would still be….

He was still standing there. In the same exact position.

"How long have you been up?"

"About an hour. Took a shower, got dressed and attempted to clean some guns, but I just CAN'T when he's just standing there like that. It gets me nervous."

"And he hasn't moved at all?"

"Not an inch."

Sam huffed. "Well, I can see why you didn't want to be up alone now."

"I told you." Dean pushed at Sam's shoulders.

Sam reluctantly got out of bed. "I guess I might as well get ready in case he decides to finally snap out of it."

"We might as well practice while we have the time. After you get cleaned up you can practice yanking my soul out a few times to get you prepared for this demon."

Sam nodded, maybe with Dean's smoke cloud floating around, Castiel would be tempted to wake up and join the land of the living.

Sam had successfully pulled Dean's demonic soul out three times. Now Dean was trying to get Sam to gain control over Dean's soul once it was expelled from his body.

Sam had done pretty well the first time. Dean had zipped around the room quickly while in cloud form, making it tough for Sam to latch on with his powers and force Dean to stop.

Dean was moving fast, but Sam was tracking his movements pretty easily. There was something about the abilities the demon blood gave him….it was like Sam was tuned into demons now, being able to locate them with ease and have his mind zone in on a demon's movement.

Dean was busy zipping in and out of the air vent when Castiel finally decided to turn around.

He glanced over at Dean's smoke-soul.

"What is Dean doing?" he asked casually, as if he hadn't just been gazing out the window absently for the past fifteen hours.

Sam jumped at the sudden sound of the angel's voice and nervous electricity sparked up in Dean's soul. He slowly floated back down closer to ground level before sliding behind Sam. Ha, Castiel had managed to really scare him.

"We were practicing for today, for when I have to pull the demon," Sam told the angel. "What…what were you doing all this time, Cas? You just kind of….zoned out."

Castiel looked confused, as if he couldn't understand why Sam would ask such a question. "I was listening in on my brothers' conversations."

"Wait….so this whole time you were….like tuned into angel radio?"

"That is a decent comparison. I shut down my senses to fully gather the extent of? my brothers' talking. They are trying to shield their words from me, which made it difficult."

"Oh….so you can just try and spy whenever you want?"

"It is difficult to go unnoticed, but I managed to do so, yes." Castiel cocked his head to the side. "Why is Dean hiding behind you?"

Sam laughed. "He was creeped out when you were talking to the other angels. He didn't know what happened to you and he was scared that you would wake up and try to kill him or something."

Dean's soul gave Sam a quick electric shock, the equivalent of getting punched in the shoulder by an irritated older brother.

Castiel frowned. "I was not trying to frighten him. I do not wish to harm Dean in any way. Next time I will inform the both of you when I need to listen to my brothers."

Dean slowly rose up from the ground, deciding that Castiel was fine and wasn't going to attack him.

Sam smiled. "That would be great, thanks." As he spoke, Dean's cloud wrapped around Sam's shoulders and neck lazily. Sam sighed.

"Dude, get off of me."

Dean didn't move. He was getting back at Sam after the younger brother had embarrassed him in front of Castiel.

Meanwhile, the angel just continued to stare at the brothers and it didn't take long for Sam to get weirded out.

"Uh….something bothering you, Cas?" Sam swatted at Dean in an attempt to get him to leave what seemed to be his favorite location as a demon-cloud, wrapped around Sam's shoulders like a giant scarf.

But Dean only lightly electrocuted Sam again so he quit trying to badger his brother.

"My brothers have realized that I am assisting you both, after I rescued Dean from Zacharia. Zacharia is filling my brothers with lies, and they are falling into his tricks."

"What is this Zacharia telling the other angels?" Sam asked.

"He is ordering for Dean to be killed," Castiel stated and Sam felt Dean's soul tense and spark with anger and fear. "They will no longer use him as bait to get to you Sam, they find Dean as disposable now and wish to eliminate him completely. Zacharia has stated that he is done playing nice. They need you to unleash Lucifer and Dean is only in the way."

Sam swallowed. "If…if the angels have realized that we're trying to send Lilith back to Hell instead of killing her…do you think the demons realize it too?"

"I believe they have known for a while that Dean is helping you prevent the apocalypse. They would still wish to start the apocalypse in any way they could, but they realize they may be at a disadvantage. We must listen for any talk of new demonic plans. While they are striving for the end of times, they will settle for a plan B if they fail."

Sam didn't like the sound of that. "What's this Plan B?"

"I do not know, but if Lilith descends to Hell, the demons will be infuriated. They will have lost and I believe they would want to cause as much chaos as possible."

Dean finally untangled himself from Sam's shoulders and floated over to his body that was lying on his bed. Sam figured it was about time that Dean wanted to get a word in.

Sam easily latched on his powers to Dean's soul and placed him back in his body. The older brother jumped right up the second his soul was reunited with his body and turned to face the angel.

"You're going to stalk as many demons as you can after this today and try to find out if any of them know about this Plan B."

Sam was shocked at how forward Dean was with Castiel. "Dean! You can't just boss him around like that. He's an angel!"

But Castiel nodded. "Dean is right."

Dean smirked. "Of course I am."

"It would be much too dangerous for you two to try and interrogate the demons and I would be much more efficient at the job. I cannot guarantee that I will find out any news, but I will try."

"Thanks, Cas," Sam told the angel gratefully and when Dean didn't speak up, Sam shot him a narrowing look.

"Uh, yeah…thanks," Dean muttered awkwardly.

"You are both welcome."

Dean then said something that Sam never thought he would hear come from his brother's mouth.

"And…dude….honestly, sorry for trying to kill you before with that knife. You're not so bad after all."

Castiel nodded once. "I accept your apology although it was me that tried to kill you first. I do regret that because you are quite different than other demons and you are trying to do what is right. I can see your love for your brother and I respect that. I would like to redeem myself from my past mistakes that have caused you harm, Dean. How may I do so?"

Now Dean looked really uncomfortable. "Uhhh…look man…just…I don't know. Work with us, stay on our side and protect Sammy. That's it."

If Sam didn't know any better, he would have thought Castiel was almost smiling. "I will gladly do so. I have enjoyed traveling with the two of you this past day." And then before either brother could think of a response, Castiel was back to business. "We should leave and confront the demon as soon as possible before it has time to become aware of our intent."


All three of them were aware of the same problem when they drove closer to the house. Castiel and Dean noticed it first and Sam became aware a few minutes later when his new powers were able to sense the danger.

There was more than one demon in the house.

Sam tuned out Dean's presence as he usually did and tried to concentrate on how many demons there might be.

All he could tell was that there was a lot.

"Shit, there's gotta be at least five of them…" Dean grumbled as he stared at the house in concentration.

"Including the demon that is possessing the pregnant woman, there are seven," Castiel answered their question.

"Why are there so many? Every time Crowley tried to attack this demon, it was usually by itself," Dean asked the angel.

"I believe it is because the woman is due to give birth very soon and the demon does not want anything to go wrong. It wants protection and the other demons can be a distraction if anyone would come in and therefore, give it time to escape."

"So we have to be really quiet and kill these demons quickly so the pregnant one doesn't hear and decide to vanish," Sam gathered.

"Yeah, and we're gonna have to do it quickly," Dean told his brother. "That means stabbing them with the knife. The hosts are gonna have to die too if we want to save the woman and stop the baby from turning into an antichrist. I don't want to hear you whine about it Sam, we don't have time to use your powers on all of them."

Sam sighed, he didn't like it, but it was the only way. They had to sacrifice the hosts before, after all.

"I can effectively destroy demons by my touch alone as well," Castiel informed them.

"Good, that'll make this a bit easier. Just don't go and accidentally use those powers on me."

"I would never do that, Dean. You are very different than those demons; I would never mistake you for one of them."

Sam smiled at this as Dean let out an embarrassed grumble.

"Okay, alright. Let's figure out what our plan will be. Come on, let's get a move on."


Castiel was certain there were more demons guarding the front of the house so he took the front door while Sam and Dean went through the back.

Dean picked the lock as quickly as he possibly could and slowly began to push the door open. Sam thanked whatever god there might be that the door didn't squeak as it opened.

They both began to crouch-walk into the kitchen, Sam behind his brother, towards the table where a demon was sitting, passed out.

Before entering the house, Castiel and the brothers had checked the perimeter, getting rid of the few demons that had been circling the house on guard with bored expressions on their faces. They had peered through the windows once the outside was clear and had noticed several demons standing on guard in the living room. After checking the back window, Dean had noticed the sleeping demon and noted that the creature was to be their first priority and a perfect chance to sneak in the back unnoticed.

Sam had asked why the demon would be sleeping on the job. Dean figured that these demons were probably bored sitting around here all day and night on watch. There hadn't been any commotion other in months, which was the last time Crowley tried to kill the pregnant demon.

These guard demons were probably bored out of their minds. And their meat-suits needed rest to function. Plus, if any demons were to be nearby, usually they'd be able to sense it and would wake right up. They weren't expecting a demon to have a protection charm on him that hid him from other demons' senses.

Dean was now inches away from the demon, knife in hand. Sam crawled close by, ready to be there in case anything happened.

The older Winchester spared a look in the direction of the living room and stood up slowly. Dean aimed the knife at the demon's back - near the location where its stolen heart would be.

Dean brought the knife down quicker than Sam could blink. Dean's demonic strength had sunken the blade all the way in with intense power, piercing the heart. The demon's eyes didn't even have a chance to open all the way before it died quickly and silently, its head still resting on the table as if still in sleep.

Dean grinned and Sam let out a breath that he didn't know he had been holding. They had one more demon to get before Castiel would pop in.

The angel had the idea of appearing in the living room and simply killing the demons. Dean had told him it wouldn't work, however. There were three demons in the living room. Two were close together and Castiel could take them out at the same time. But the third one would have the chance of spying the angel before Castiel could destroy it. All it would take was one scream from the third demon and their whole plan would be ruined. The pregnant demon would be alerted and would escape before the trio could reach it.

So it was up to the brothers to kill the third demon which was currently pacing around the living room while the other two stood guard on either side of the front door.

They needed to get the demon out of the living room and into the kitchen. If it made its way out of the living room, Castiel would have a chance to appear in the room and destroy the other two demons without the third noticing.

But then, it also risked Sam and Dean being discovered.

Sam was brought out of his musings when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He startled a bit but relaxed when he saw it was only his brother. Dean was looking at him and motioning with the knife, bringing his arm out in a swinging motion towards the living room.

It took Sam a minute to understand what his brother was trying to tell him before he finally got it. Dean was suggesting that he could fling the knife at the demon and hope it landed in its heart.

Sam shook his head. It wasn't that he didn't trust his brother's aiming skills, not at all. He knew Dean was a near-perfect aim, even now more than ever after becoming a demon and having sharper focus. Sam was worried about the noise. If Dean threw the knife and killed the demon, it would fall, possibly before Castiel could appear to kill the other two. The noise of the thud would be it for them.

Dean gave his brother a disgruntled expression and Sam rolled his eyes.

Noise, he mouthed to Dean but the older Winchester's irritated look didn't change. He was looking at Sam with a no-shit, don't you think I know that glare.

Dean huffed silently and held his hand up. Before Sam knew it, he was being lifted several inches off the ground. It amazed Sam that he didn't even panic at this practice of demon power being used on him. When Dean did stuff like this, it wasn't scary in the slightest, it actually felt light-hearted. Sam knew how much demon powers could hurt and harm a person, and Dean's powers were always gentle on Sam.

But it didn't explain why the hell Dean was deciding to make his little brother float in the air when they had demons to kill and a pregnant woman to save.

This is serious, Sam mouthed, this time irritated.

However, Dean seemed even more aggravated than Sam, causing his powers to unintentionally tighten on his brother. It didn't hurt, but it started to make him feel uncomfortable.

Dean noticed this instantly and shot Sam an apologetic look before placing him back on the ground carefully. He took a deep, silent breath and seemed to be trying to calm himself. Sam gave his brother a lot of credit for this; he couldn't imagine trying to control that demonic rage that would always be inside Dean. But somehow, amazingly, Dean did it every day.

Dean opened his black eyes and seemed to have thought of a way to explain what he was trying to say.

Watch what I do, Dean mouthed and Sam nodded.

Dean held out his hand again and this time Sam was pushed backwards. He willed himself not to panic at the sensation of falling, knowing that his brother wouldn't let him do so. Before Sam hit the ground, he suddenly stopped and floated off the floor a few inches, held suspended in mid-air.

Sam locked eyes with his brother and Dean used his other hand to point at Sam and then to the living room, where the demon was still heard pacing restlessly.

Ohhh. Sam understood now. Dean wanted to throw the knife at the demon while its back was turned and embed it in the heart. Before the demon could fall to the floor, Dean would use his powers to keep it frozen. Castiel could then come in and kill the other demons.

Sam nodded anxiously, it was the perfect plan. Dean placed his brother back down, but because of the angle Sam was at and his freakishly long legs, his left foot just barely managed to graze one of the dining chairs. The movement caused one of the chair legs to grind across the floor slightly.

The noise was barely audible, but it was enough to pause the pacing in the next room. If the demon came in here, it would notice that its companion was dead! Sam froze in panic but his brother pushed him down under the table.

Sam expected his brother to join him but Dean remained standing. He was going to put his plan into action now. Sam peered around the edge of the table and caught a glimpse of the demon walking in.

The thing didn't even have a chance to register the scene in the room before the knife flew across the room and was plunged into its heart. True to his word, Dean held his hand out and used his powers to hold the demon upright.

About fifteen seconds later, Castiel walked in through the same entryway, as calm as could be. He had already taken out the other two.

All three of them turned to face the basement steps where Castiel had informed them the pregnant demon was hiding. Sam looked at his brother as Dean slowly dropped the dead demon to the floor. How would the two of them be able to sneak down the creaky steps without the demon hearing? When they had tried to go up the steps quietly to save the possessed boy before, the demon had heard their arrival.

Once again, Sam felt himself become lifted off the ground but glancing over, he noticed that Dean was also floating in the air as well with an irritated expression on his face. Castiel was using his powers to help them down. Maybe this angel wasn't as clueless as Dean had been assuming.

When Sam and Dean were safely at the bottom of the steps, Castiel appeared beside them by means of self-teleportation.

They were finally in the basement, if one could call it that. It looked more of a safe-shelter with metal walls all around them and a hallway leading down to a reinforced-looking door, the demon's hideaway.

Dean was buzzing with excitement as he led the way down. Sam had begun to realize that killing creatures gave Dean a sort of high and also a release from the pressures he must be feeling as a demon. Along with having his brother at his side, killing monsters also kept him grounded and gave him a sense of familiarity of his old life as a human.

The older Winchester's mood quickly deflated, however, when they got closer to the door. Written all over it, and on all the walls surrounding the door, were strange looking symbols.

Castiel looked crestfallen and Dean began walking away from the door, motioning for Sam and the angel to follow. Once he was certain that they were far enough away, Dean began speaking in a hushed whisper.

"Great, now we can't have him come in and help us."

"Why not?" Sam asked.

"Those symbols are used to ward away angels. I can not enter with the two of you," Castiel stated.

"Crowley had these symbols all over his mansion before that one demon found a way to let the angels in," Dean reminded Sam.

"Why didn't they just draw the symbols all over the house then?"

Dean shrugged. "I don't know, maybe they didn't want the whole house protected."

Castiel nodded. "These demons may have gotten assistance from one of my brothers who wished for more antichrists to be born."

"So the angels and demons are on the same side?" Sam whispered.

"For now. They both want Lucifer free for there to be a grand battle between him and Michael. However, if Lucifer were to be released, they would be back fighting against each other and rooting for their respective angel to win."

"Well we better hurry up before the demon hears us,." Dean pointed at Castiel. "You stand out here and keep watch."

Dean then turned to face his brother. "You ready?"

Sam nodded. He was stronger now, and this one demon shouldn't be too much for the both of them to take on.

The door was locked of course so they were going to have to act fast. Dean was going to have to use his powers to break it down and Sam was going to have to rush in and pin the demon in place using his own powers.

Dean nodded at Sam and then turned to the door. He held his arm out and in a quick flash; the door fell to the floor with a loud bang.

Sam rushed in just as the demon spun around, its stomach large and round.

"I figured you two would come around," the demon smirked and didn't at all seem surprised when it realized it was stuck to the spot from the use of Sam's powers. "I knew he'd be teaching you these powers. Big brother's corrupting you, huh Sam?"

This time, Sam ignored the demon's words and began to concentrate on grasping onto the demon's viscous smoke-soul. He was doing well until the demon began to laugh loudly and started chanting something Sam couldn't recognize.

Suddenly there were three other people in the room, all with black eyes. Sam watched as his brother lunged toward one, stabbing it in the back with the demon-killing knife.

Sam was pushed down and his powers disconnected as he fell to the floor. The demon on top of him punched him in the face and Sam figured all hope was lost. The pregnant demon now had the perfect chance to escape.

The demon on top of Sam let out a howl as the life flashed out of its eyes. Dean pulled the knife from its skull. As Sam struggled to get up, Dean turned to face the pregnant demon and its last companion who were surprisingly still in the room.

"Why the hell are you still here?" Dean seethed.

"Oh haven't you heard, Dean?" the demon smiled as it rubbed at its stomach in a faux-motherly way. "You're Hell's most wanted. Alistair wants his star pupil back and Lilith is simply tired of your games. Besides…," it smirked knowingly. "You're not going to kill me. That brother of yours won't allow it."

"I wouldn't be so sure…" Dean charged at the pregnant demon only to get knocked down by its minion, the demon knife sliding across the floor after Dean fell.

Sam took this opportunity to focus and latched on to the pregnant demon once more. He felt the demon's soul squirm in his hold.

"What is it that you're doing to me? Do you honestly think you can…" The demon stopped as it began to choke. Sam smiled in satisfaction as the smoke cloud began to slowly drift out of the demon's mouth.

There was a sudden scream from Dean and it took all of Sam's willpower not to look away from the task at hand. Surely Dean was alright….

There was another yelp of pain from his brother and then the dying screech of the other demon. Sam watched from the corner of his eye as Dean stood up slowly. Something seemed to be wrong but Sam tried his hardest to keep focused. With one final pull from his mind, he freed the woman from the demon's soul. Her body hit the floor the same moment as Dean thrust the knife through the demon's cloud.

Dean's face was twisted in pain as he dropped the knife and fell to his knees. Sam rushed over and saw that the hand Dean had used to hold onto the knife was now pressed against his bleeding left bicep.

"Hey," Sam held onto his brother's shoulders in order to keep him upright. "What happened?"

Dean gritted his teeth and began to sway to the side but Sam kept him steady.

"Talk to me Dean, come on…," Sam reached over and pulled Dean's hand off of the wound only to gasp in shock. The wound seemed to be flickering; little sparks of light that only were created when a demon was stabbed with Ruby's knife…

"Shit, Dean!" Sam was panicking, not knowing if this wound would become fatal to Dean. "This will heal right; you're going to be okay?"

"Bring him to me." Sam turned around to see Castiel standing in the doorway, looking the closest to concerned that Sam's ever seen him. "He was not stabbed in a fatal area. He will not die, but I am unaware of the consequences of this wound."

Sam felt numb as he dragged his brother out to the angel who immediately began inspecting the wound. Dean looked up at Castiel with a perplexed expression on his face; he didn't seem to be aware of his surroundings.

Sam didn't want to leave Dean, but now that he was aware that his brother wasn't in any mortal danger, Sam figured he should check on the woman.

He walked back into the room and crouched down next to her, seeing that she was beginning to awake.

"What…what's going on?" she mumbled, still seeming out of it for the most part.

"It's okay, miss," Sam tried to comfort her. "There…there was a demon inside you, but it's out now. My brother and I got rid of it and it's not going to come back."

The woman blinked a few times, looking around. "I…I remember…it..it was so evil! It was making my think horrible thoughts!"

"It's okay, it wasn't you, it was the demon…." Sam was going to continue to attempt and soothe her when he heard a groan from the hallway. He glanced out the door to check on his brother who still didn't look any better. Castiel was with him though, so he would be okay.

Sam had only looked away for a few seconds, but it was a few seconds too many. When he turned around, the woman had Ruby's knife in her hands, clutched to her chest. Her face was a picture of horror and resignation.

"I can't!" She screamed wildly. "I can't take this!"

Sam, at once, became aware of what she was going to do. She was going to kill herself.

"It wasn't you, miss! Everything that happened, it was the demon!"

"It was me! I…don't even know who I am anymore! And I….," she sobbed openly. "I enjoyed it at times!"

"I know it's confusing but the demon was messing with your emotions. I know…I was possessed too..."

The woman gave Sam a look so poignant and cold that he stopped mid-sentence.

"Did it ever create a monster within you?"

"No, but your baby is not a monster… he's fine now that the demon's out!"

She shook her head once. "This devil is not my child." Sam watched in horror as she brought the knife down. He rushed forward but there was no chance. She stabbed the knife right through her heart and landed in a lifeless heap on the ground.

All this work….all this work for nothing. The mother was dead…the baby…

"Sam," Castiel called urgently. "Bring me the body and I can remove the baby before it loses too much oxygen."

The baby could still be saved. He could still save one life.

Sam quickly dragged out the woman's body watching as Castiel glanced at it with no emotional connection.

"You may wish to turn around, go attend to your brother."

Sam nodded and did as the angel told him. He sat by Dean's side, watching his brother's glaze-filled black eyes glance around the room quizzically. His arm kept trying to reach up and touch the wound so Sam grabbed his brother's hand firmly in both of his.

"You were in this much pain and you still came and help me finish the demon…I don't know how you do it, man…"

The room was suddenly filled with a baby's wail. Sam let out a sigh of relief and Castiel informed him that he would drop the baby off at a hospital and return in a few moments.

Sam looked over and gratefully noticed that the angel at least had the decency to take the body with him as well. That poor woman….

Dean grunted in pain and Sam turned his attention back to his brother. He tried to push his negative thoughts away and get the image of the woman's dead body out of his mind. It could have been worse, he reminded himself. It could have been Dean…the demon could have stabbed Dean in the heart….

Castiel reappeared with the light sound of fluttering wings.

"The infant is being taken care of," Castiel informed Sam. "I will zap you and Dean back to the motel so you can care for his wound."

Sam shook his head. "What about the Impala? Dean would throw a fit if he knew we just left it here, even for a little while."

"I will drive it back to the motel," Castiel stated and the shaking of Sam's head grew more frantic.

"No way, that would be even worse! If you damaged it in any way Dean would be livid!"

Castiel ignored Sam. "I watched you and your brother drive on the way here. I believe I understand the mechanics of a car."

"You believe you do? So you don't even know how to drive? There's no way in hell…." Sam was forced to stop as Castiel placed either hand on both brothers' foreheads. In the blink of an eye they were back in the motel room.


Sam didn't want to be in the room when Dean found out the angel had driven his car. He pushed that thought away for the time being and hoisted his still unresponsive brother onto his bed.

Surprisingly, the wound didn't look any better and it was still dripping blood. It obviously wasn't healing like a normal wound would for a demon. Sam wasn't sure if cleaning the wound would help it at all, but there was no way he was just going to ignore his brother's injury.

Sam proceeded to take the next ten minutes to clean and wrap Dean's wound. He was just finishing up when Dean finally began to come-to.

"Shit…Sammy, that hurts like hell…," he groaned.

Sam smiled. "Good to see you've finally decided to join the real world. I thought you pulled a Castiel for a minute there."

"That's not funny," Dean stated but Sam saw him trying to hold back a smile.

"It kind of is. Anyway, care to tell me what happened here?" Sam gestured toward his brother's left arm.

"What does it look like? I got stabbed. When that demon attacked me I dropped the knife and he got to it before I could." Dean shrugged and then winced. "He went in for the kill but I dodged it….kind of…he ended up stabbing me in the arm. When he pulled out the knife I lunged at him, knocking him off guard and taking the knife back."

"It's still bleeding."

"No shit, genius."

"I….do you think it's going to heal?"

"How do I know? Every time a demon got hit with this knife before, it's been a fatal hit. That knife is toxic to me. I can't even move my arm."

"You can't move it? Dean, what the hell…."

Dean smirked. "Dude, you sound more worried than I am. Maybe it will heal, maybe it won't work correctly anymore or maybe my arm will just stay useless. Whatever, I'll manage. The one thing I refuse to do is get a new meat-suit. This is my damn body and I'm keeping it unless it gets blown to shreds."

Sam sighed and began ripping the pillow case and tying parts of it together. "You know…if you had to get a different body….I'd be okay with it. It would be weird….but it would still be you."

"I'm not getting another body, I hate the way I feel possessing someone. And I just don't feel as comfortable in a different one. It's like a cage that's too small for you. This is the only body that I actually fit in…I belong in this damn body, case closed." Dean squinted his eyes at his brother. "What the hell are you doing, anyway?"

"I'm making you a makeshift sling since you can't move your arm." Sam finished tying the material and lifted up Dean's arm gently.

"Doesn't matter, I don't need it. I'm a demon; I don't need a damn sling."

"Would you rather have your bum arm flopping all over the place then?" At Dean's silent scowl Sam smiled. "Didn't think so. You're wearing it, case closed."

"Think of your own lines and stop stealing mine, you little bitch." Dean watched as Sam placed the damaged arm in the sling. He stared at it for a moment, his expression softening. "I don't mean to be an ass to you, it's just…this is nothing compared to Hell. And I got so used to just dealing with the pain. No one cared there…so I'm just not used to having someone that wants to help get rid of my pain. So….thanks."

Dean looked so horribly awkward and embarrassed that Sam would have laughed out loud if the situation was different. Dean very rarely let his feelings out like this and even less so after he became a demon.

"No problem, man. That's what I'm here for, I'm gonna look out for you. I've got your back like you've got mine."

"Alright, well good. So what happened to the pregnant chick? She was pretty hot if you ask me…"

"Dead," Sam sighed, bringing back the memory that he longed to forget. "She killed herself with the demon knife because she couldn't handle the effects of having a demon inside her."

"Huh. Well that sucks, I know you wanted to save her but I could have warned you about that. You probably wouldn't have listened though. Most of these people that get possessed just can't take it, wind up locked up in some institution or whatever. What about the baby?"

"Castiel…uhhh…I guess…took it out. The baby's fine and at a hospital."

"Okay, that's good," Dean said and actually did seem somewhat happy over that news unlike his lack of care over the woman's death. "Where is that creepy angel anyway?"

Sam became quiet and Dean glared at him.

"What the hell are you hiding from me, Sammy?" Dean asked in a low tone.

With a sigh Sam spoke. "Castiel wanted to zap me and you back here so I could take care of your arm. I….I warned him against it, Dean. I really did. But….Castiel's driving the Impala back here."

Sam closed his eyes and waited for the angry shouting that was bound to come.

 

Chapter Text

Sam knocked on the door to Bobby Singer's house not knowing what kind of reaction he and his brother would receive this time around.

Upon leaving Bobby's house those few months ago, the older hunter seemed to come around a little bit. He had said goodbye to Dean and actually looked him in the eyes.

Then there was the matter of Bobby calling Dean and inviting the brothers over to his place for Thanksgiving. That had to show that he at least was feeling a little bit better about Dean being a demon.

But they were a few weeks early. Dean still couldn't move his arm and he even woke up in the middle of the night yesterday screaming in pain. Sam had panicked and tried to give him some Aspirin, hoping that it would work even though Dean was a demon.

It hadn't, Dean's demonic blood fought against the drug, much like it did with alcohol, leaving no affect on his body. It was as if his blood canceled the medicine out, making it ineffective.

That was the moment when Sam had hauled a grumbling Dean into the Impala and booked it to Bobby's place. If anyone knew what to do, it was him. And honestly, Sam figured this was the safest place for them both to be while Dean was down for the count.

"Bobby's not going to know anything," Dean grunted. "If that idiotic angel couldn't do a damn thing, neither can he."

Castiel couldn't heal demons and was unsure of what to do. He didn't stick around long enough to help the brothers research and Sam couldn't blame him. As soon as the angel had walked into their motel room he was pinned against the wall by a snarling Dean asking 'What the hell did you do to my baby?'

Castiel could have easily escaped Dean's hold but had instead tried to give a logical long answer about why he had driven the Impala. Dean didn't have the patience to listen to Castiel's ramblings and had pushed him away to storm outside. There he was greeted with a nice long scratch on the Impala's passenger side.

Castiel was long gone before Dean even began his loud cursing.

The scratch was fixed now. Even with a throbbing arm, that didn't stop Dean from gathering supplies to fix the paint. However, Sam could tell that Dean was still bitter about what Castiel did. Sam tried to tell Dean that having a clueless angel driving a car for the first time could have turned out much worse. However, that got Sam a flying boot to his face, so he kept quiet from then on.

Even though Dean had screamed and threatened Castiel, a few days later a very nice cushioned sling was sitting on their table when they woke up in the morning.

And now they were here, standing in front of Bobby's door for help.

Sam heard the sound of footsteps and braced himself for whatever reaction Bobby may have.

"Bobby was able to keep your soul hidden from demons' senses wasn't he? Maybe he can help you again, it's our best bet," Sam told his brother as Bobby opened his front door.

There was confusion on the older man's face that changed to fright as he saw Dean's black eyes. Even though he knew it was Dean, Bobby wasn't used to the eyes like Sam was.

Reaching into his pocket, Bobby threw some holy water out of a flask….on Sam. He didn't even try to hit Dean.

When Sam just blinked, Bobby spoke. "Is that Dean? You sure?" he asked, wanting to be positive and trusting Sam's judgment.

"A hundred percent," Sam smiled and Bobby broke the salt line to let them in.

Well, that was a lot more pleasant than last time.

Bobby gave Sam a quick hug and then turned to Dean, eyeing the sling with a questioning glance.

"What the hell happened to you?"

"My arm doesn't work," Dean stated, still looking grumpy.

"I can see that, you idjit. Care telling me why?"

"A demon stabbed me in the arm with Ruby's knife. Now it hurts like hell but I can't move it. Happy now?"

Bobby's expression changed from annoyance to a look of concern. "Sit down; let me take a look at that."

"That's why we decided to hop by early," Sam informed their friend. "Dean's been in a lot of pain and even if you can't fix it, I thought we'd be safer here."

"How long ago did this happen?" Bobby asked as Dean plopped down on the couch.

"A week ago," Dean shrugged.

"How many times do I have to tell you boys?" Bobby sighed, seemingly forgetting for the moment that Dean was a demon and not the boy he remembered. "If something happens to ya, you get your asses over here right away."

"You really want a demon staying at your house?" Dean challenged him, bringing Bobby back to the here and now.

Bobby snapped back to the present, taking in Dean's black eyes and swallowed. "I…I'm sorry for what I did last time. I know…I know you're different and I probably should be wantin' to kill you, but I don't. I told you I'm giving you a chance Dean, and you haven't given me a reason to doubt you. When either of you are in trouble, I want you to come here first, you're both welcome in my house."

Bobby sighed and looked down as he said his next words. "I've been thinking a lot these past few months. I just wanted you back for the longest time boy, and now you are. You're not exactly how I wanted you to be….but it's still you. It will take a while for me to really trust you. But… I wanted my boy back and although this isn't what I wanted, I'm going to take what I can get and be damned happy I could get any version of you at all." Bobby cleared his throat. "Now let me see that damned arm."

Sam sat down next to Dean and helped his brother remove his bum arm. Dean actually didn't flinch when Bobby touched him, although he was watching the hunter's movements carefully as Bobby removed the bandages.

Bobby grimaced and his face grew pale as Dean's open wound was revealed. It wasn't bleeding anymore, but the skin on his bicep wasn't healing at all, leaving a pretty gruesome sight.

"It's been like this for a week?" Bobby asked in horror.

"Yeah, pain comes and goes but it gets pretty damn bad," Dean answered.

Bobby knew just as well as Sam that if Dean was actually complaining about his pain, it just be something horrendous.

"So you can feel it but not move it," Bobby eyed the wound closely for a while before wrapping up Dean's arm and placing it back in the sling. "Which one of you has the knife?"

"I do," Sam replied, pulling Ruby's knife out of his boot and handing it over to Bobby.

"As far as we know, this knife is one-of-a-kind. I'm going to research these symbols engraved on it and see if I can find anything. I doubt I'll be able to fix it, but I'm sure I can find something that stops or lessens the pain."

Dean suddenly spoke up, shocking both Sam and Bobby.

"Thanks," he muttered, staring at the ground.

Bobby cocked his head to the side, studying Dean. Once he seemed certain that Dean was being sincere, he nodded. "Not a problem, boy. You two go ahead and make yourselves comfortable."

But before Bobby could stand up, Dean spoke again. "Do you want me to change them?"

Bobby gave Dean a confused glance, but the older Winchester was still staring at the floor, so Bobby turned to Sam for clarification. When Sam could only shrug, Bobby was left flustered.

"Change what?"

Dean huffed, finally looking up, black eyes locking with Bobby's. The older man looked uncomfortable but didn't look away.

"My eyes, alright? Do you want me to change my damn eyes?"

Sam understood right away, Bobby had shown Dean respect and was giving him free reign of his home. In return, Dean was offering to do something that might make Bobby feel more comfortable.

It showed that Dean cared more about Bobby's acceptance than he let on.

Bobby seemed to understand this as well and he looked touched by Dean's words.

"Nah, that's alright. Sam told me that changing them human gives you a headache. And besides, how am I going to get used to them if I never see them?" Bobby then stood up but before he walked over to his desk he placed his hand on Dean's good shoulder and squeezed, offering the demon a small smile.

Sam had helped Bobby research while Dean stretched out on the couch and ended up falling asleep while watching football. The atmosphere in the house was much more relaxed than last time and now when Bobby looked over at Dean, it was to make sure he was okay rather than to see if he was doing anything wrong.

They had found some leads but both of them were exhausted and it would make more sense to follow up on the information tomorrow when they were feeling more energized.

"How about I make you boys something to eat?" He glanced over at the sleeping Dean. "You think he's hungry?"

"When is he not hungry?" Sam laughed. "Besides, if it's your cooking, he'll clean his plate even if he was stuffed."

Bobby shook his head with a smile and Sam closed his laptop as he went over to the couch. He nudged Dean awake by shaking his good shoulder.

"Hey, lazy ass…" Sam smirked when Dean opened tired black eyes. "Move over so I can sit too."

"Get your own damn couch," Dean grumbled, closing his eyes again without budging from his spot.

"You might want to wake up; Bobby's making us some dinner…"

Dean's head snapped up. "Bobby's cooking?"

Sam laughed. "Yeah, and being the wonderful brother that I am, I decided to wake you up so you wouldn't miss any."

Dean held out his good arm and Sam grabbed his hand and helped hoist him into a sitting position. Sitting down next to his brother, Sam grabbed the remote, turning up the volume of the game.

"Hurry, the hell up in there Bobby, I'm starving," Dean called out as he stretched out his legs, resting them on Bobby's coffee table. That wasn't going to go down well.

"You better shut your trap, smart-ass or I'm not making any pie for dessert."

Dean didn't bother Bobby for the rest of the night.


Sam woke up feeling extremely well rested. When he glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand between his and Dean's beds, he understood why.

It was noon.

Sam looked further to his brother's bed and it looked like Dean had been up for quite some time. His bed was a mess, his sweats that he had slept in were tossed on the floor and his boots were gone.

Sam actually appreciated that Dean had let him sleep.

Getting up and stretching, Sam inspected the salt line that Bobby kept at their door. Dean had been angry when Bobby stated he would still put one there.

"It's not about keeping you locked in, boy. It's about keeping things from getting in and attacking you two," Bobby had explained.

"So you'll let me out whenever I want?"

"Of course. Just call for me and I'll break the salt line for you."

It looked like that's what happened. Dean had woken up and Bobby let him out, reconnecting the salt line to keep Sam protected.

Sam grabbed a change of clothes from his duffle and stepped over the salt line to get to the bathroom. After showering and changing, he checked the living room and kitchen only to find them empty. He was about to panic but he could sense a demon nearby, and he knew that demon was his brother.

Sam looked out the kitchen window where he saw Bobby chatting it up with one of his customers. Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw the hood of a car close and a green-eyed Dean sauntered away from it. He wiped grease from his good hand off on his jeans and was wearing a very nice looking new brown leather jacket that Sam had never seen before. The left sleeve was empty as Dean had his sling hidden under the jacket.

Dean walked over to stand next to Bobby and the older hunter smiled. Bobby reached up to clamp Dean on the shoulder, looking proud. After saying a few more words to the customer, Bobby shook his hand and then the customer did the same to Dean. During the whole exchange Dean had a cocky smirk on his face, he knew he did a good job on the car and was making it obvious.

Fixing cars was always something Bobby and Dean did together. Bobby always lit up when Dean would come outside to give him an extra set of hands and ears to help discover whatever the problem may be.

Sam wasn't sure how Bobby had felt when Dean first started helping him this morning, but from the looks of it, they were getting along pretty damn well now.

Bobby reached into the cooler he had placed outside and opened a beer for Dean, handing it to him. The older Winchester looked relaxed, which was something Sam couldn't say during their first trip here.

It looked like Bobby had gotten over his major prejudices against Dean. Thank god.

After grabbing Dean's old leather jacket and slipping it on, Sam ventured outside.

Dean smirked when he saw Sam. "And I thought I loved my sleep. What is it…three o clock?"

Sam shoved at Dean. "It's twelve thirty. I'm not the one taking naps throughout the day. I deserved that long sleep."

"Whatever you say." Dean rolled his eyes which were black once again.

Bobby came out of the shed and smiled at Sam. "Good morning boy…or should I say afternoon…"

Dean cackled and Sam huffed.

"Alright, we get it; I slept for a long time. What were you guys doing? And where'd that jacket come from?"

"Dean was helping me out with some problems on these cars I was having trouble with. As for the jacket…well, I noticed that Dean must have given you his. So while Dean was determined to figure out the car problem himself, I went out and bought him a new one." Bobby shrugged. "Winters coming, it's only gonna get colder."

It touched Sam that Bobby was willing to give Dean a gift like that. Maybe it was the fact that Dean had wanted to work on cars with him, or that Bobby felt guilty about the handcuffs, or perhaps the man was just learning how to treat Dean once more like the son he had always been to Bobby.

"Fits me a hell of a lot better than the old one ever did," Dean said smugly, obviously he was pleased by how he looked in the jacket.

"Yeah," Sam admitted. "It looks good…if you can ignore the fact that you have one sleeve empty just hanging there at your side."

Dean glared at Sam. "I may have one arm but I could still fix that car faster than this old man." He pointed his thumb at Bobby.

"Yeah, by using those freaky damn powers of yours," Bobby grumbled and walked past the brothers. "I'll make ya somethin' to eat Sam."

Sam thanked Bobby and then turned to Dean. "Dude, I wouldn't be using your powers in front of him."

Dean huffed. "Yeah, I realized that after he blew up and started bitching how dangerous they were and how I'm around fuel and could blow something up."

"I'm surprised he let you work on the cars with him so soon."

"Hell, he asked me to. Came into the room and said he had an early customer. Asked if I wanted to help. I figured why the hell not. We worked on a few cars, not too much conversation but he didn't poison me or anything. He even gave me this." Dean held out his right forearm, motioning for Sam to roll up his sleeve.

Sam did and came into view with a strange marking on Dean's inner forearm. It was burned into his skin and didn't seem to be fading, much like Meg when she burned the seal mark onto Sam's skin.

"What the hell is that? Is it to help heal your other arm?"

"Nope, actually it allows me into that panic room thing Bobby built. He carved the same symbol in the room and apparently that lets me walk in and out of the area unharmed by any of the protection charms."

"Wow," Sam gasped. "I can't believe he did that."

"And apparently he's known he was going to do this for a while because he had that poker custom made into the symbol, had it ready for when I came. Guess he doesn't hate me anymore."

Sam nodded. "I guess not. Although you do have to earn back some points after freaking him out with your powers."

"Nah, he didn't seem too freaked, just cautious. I think he knows I only have one working arm and I'm gonna use my powers to compensate for the shit I can't do. I'm not gonna be asking you to help me with every single thing."

"Hey, fine by me," Sam held his hands up and laughed. "Just don't do anything too freaky with them that might make him uncomfortable."

"I don't think it's my powers we have to worry about, it's yours. We can't let him know about them or the demon blood. Keep those bottles under your bed. Did you have one this morning?"

"Yeah, I did. Bobby's never been one to snoop in our bags, so I don't think we'll have to worry."

"Okay, good." Dean nodded but jumped when he heard Bobby yell his name. "What, Bobby?"

"How about you get your ass in here and help me make some food for your brother?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "I'm the injured one here; Sammy's completely capable of making his own food."

Sam nudged his brother. "What happened to being a great big brother? Are you really going to let your poor little brother go hungry?"

"Quit using that damn puppy dog look, it doesn't work on demons."

"Sure it doesn't. But it does work on my brother."

Dean let out a long sigh. "Fine, but I'm going to make you a huge meal. You've got more meat on your bones but you're still not in top shape. You better eat every bite that I put on your plate, you hear me?"

Sam understood this as being Dean's way of saying he was worried about Sam not eating enough. "Fine," he smiled. But only if it's good."

"Oh, it will be damn delicious, I promise you that."

"You better get your ass in here boy," Bobby's voice carried from inside. "Or I'll have to…"

"I'm coming, I'm coming." With one last roll of his eyes, Dean hurried off into Bobby's kitchen.


Dean and Bobby's cooking couldn't have been described as anything other than excellent. Dean had nothing to bitch about because Sam had finished his entire plate and then some.

The younger Winchester hadn't been used to eating so much food, let alone good food, that he was stuffed full.

He and Dean were lounging on Bobby's couch watching some D-list horror movie while Bobby looked into more information on healing a demon.

Dean was laughing so hard at the horrible death scene that he began choking on his stupid black licorice that he insisted on having. Sam gave him a hard pat to the back, mostly just to tease his brother and that was when the TV's picture began to fade in and out and the lights in the room started to flicker.

At first, Sam assumed it was a reaction that Dean's powers caused from him choking.

"Dean, are you doing this?"

The alerted look on Dean's face was answer enough. His brother jumped up and stood in front of Sam, protecting him from whatever this force might be.

The air suddenly got cold and Sam noticed that he could see his breath.

"Demons can't make the temperature drop Sammy; you know what makes that happen…"

Bobby stood up as well; grabbing a gun on his desk that Sam knew was full of rock salt.

"Ghosts…" Sam stated and as soon as he spoke he felt a presence next to him.

Sam turned to see the faces of two women he never thought he'd see again. Two women that he loved.

"Jess…Madison…." Sam stuttered and Dean turned, his black eyes going wide at the sight.

"Hello, Sam…" Jess spoke, her voice odd and cold. "Surprised you remembered me at all, after you left me that weekend…the weekend you let me get killed."

Madison reached over to put a hand on Jess's shoulder. "Don't worry, Jess. I know exactly how you're feeling. This sad excuse for a man actually shot me in the head, isn't that right Sam?" Her face looked dull and gray, nothing like Sam remembered.

"Every girl you love dies." Jess shook her head sadly, her face getting closer to Sam's. "You just bring devastation and death everywhere you go."

There was the noise of a few guns being shot and Sam watched as rock salt flew over Jess and Madison, making them disappear….for now.

Sam looked up to see Dean and Bobby standing side by side. Each of them were holding a rocksalt shotgun, pointed at where the ghosts were just moments ago.

"Dean…Bobby….you…" Sam was torn between devastation and relief.

"That's not really them, damn it," Dean told him grimly. "I think I know what's going on here and it's not good."

"We have to head to the panic room, now," Bobby ordered while surveying the room, keeping watch.

Dean didn't waste any more time as he handed Sam the gun and used his now-free good arm to grab Sam's shirt and pull him up. "Come on, hurry up."

But Sam was frozen to the spot; his mouth fell open in shock as a figure formed out of thin air behind his brother. Dean seemed to realize that the three of them weren't alone anymore by the look on his brother's stunned face.

Dean spun around, coming face-to-face with another ghost.

"Hello, Dean," the ghost of John Winchester smiled coldly as he looked at his eldest son in disgust. "So this…this is what I sold my soul for?"

Chapter Text

Sam stared in shock at his father, the face he never thought he would get to see again. The last time he had seen John; his father had been a spirit as well. He had shot the yellow-eyed demon and sent a smile toward his sons.

Now, the look on John's face was completely the opposite. He was staring at Dean like he couldn't have been more disappointed or disgusted. Sam had seen that look on his father's face before, many times after a failed hunt, but it was never this harsh or cold.

For once, Dean actually seemed rooted to the spot instead of swinging into action with guns blazing. Since Sam was behind Dean, he couldn't see his brother's face and Sam wondered what kind of expression Dean was wearing at this moment.

Bobby stood behind John, looking shocked, curious and a bit pissed off at the same time.

They were all so stunned that none of them knew how to react.

Ghost John cocked his head to the side with a heartless smirk. "What, have nothing to say, demon? Even scum like you can't lie your way out of this one. I sold my soul, and went to Hell for a worthless demon!"

"Dad…," Dean said, his voice quiet and guarded, something Sam wasn't used to hearing since Dean came back from Hell.

"You can't call me that anymore. You're not my son, you're a disgusting abomination. Look how easily you broke…look how damaged you are…If I was still alive, you know that you wouldn't be standing here, right? I'd kill you the moment I laid my eyes on you…"

"That's enough, you damn asshole!" Bobby suddenly screamed as he came out of his shock and fired his gun, the rock salt not only making John dissipate but also flying onto Dean, causing him hiss and buckle in pain.

Sam kept Dean steady and Bobby rushed over, placing his hands on Dean's shoulders.

"I'm sorry boy; I just couldn't listen to his filthy mouth for one more second."

"Its fine, it's fine." Dean brushed Bobby off and stood up straighter, clutching his arm with a wince. "Didn't do any favors for my damn arm though."

"I'm sorry Dean, I…"

"It had to be done, stop fricken' apologizing Bobby and let's get to the panic room already!"

Bobby nodded and led the way as they hurried towards the basement stairs. In their haste to get down and because of the pain Dean was in, the older Winchester wasn't paying attention to Bobby's wards.

Dean suddenly stopped, almost falling on his butt as he cursed. "Son of a bitch!"

Sam looked down and then up, spying the devil's trap that was sprayed onto the ceiling. Even Sam wasn't tall enough to reach it.

"I'll grab a chair," Sam told them but he didn't take more than three steps towards the kitchen before a figure appeared in the doorway.

It was a woman and Sam recognized her right away from the photos Bobby had throughout his house.

"Bobby, is that…"

"Karen…," Bobby gasped upon seeing the ghost of his late wife within the house in which she was killed.

"Bobby." Karen shook her head, her face set in anger. "I thought you cared about me. Don't you remember how I died?"

"Of course I remember Karen, the demon…"

"That's right," Karen spat. "A demon was in me and you killed me. But still, I wouldn't be so bitter if you weren't making friends with one right now! What is wrong with you? These things attacked me Bobby, brought upon my death, why aren't you killing this one? Why are you letting it live in your house?"

"Karen." Bobby sounded heartbroken. "This is Dean. He's like a son to me, sweetheart."

"I was your wife and yet you killed me, sweetheart!" Karen came rushing forward but before Sam could find out what she was about to do, a gunshot was heard and she vanished as though she was never there to begin with.

Dean lowered his arm that was holding the shotgun. "Not her Bobby, these things are forced to say hateful things."

Bobby shook his head and turned away from the spot Karen had been occupying moments before. He glanced back up at the devil's trap.

"I…I'll go get that chair," Sam reminded Bobby.

"Screw this," Bobby said and simply aimed his rock salt shotgun at the ceiling and fired. The salt embedded itself in the ceiling, breaking the devil's trap.

Well, that was a lot quicker.

Dean didn't waste any time as he stumbled forward, towards the basement. He tucked his gun in his sling and grabbed Sam by the arm to pull him along

They made it down the stairs without any incident but as Bobby was unlocking the panic room, Sam felt a presence behind him.

John was back, starring daggers at Dean.

"How does it feel demon, knowing that your father sold his soul for you and suffered in Hell only for you to turn into a demon."

Dean tensed, turning around at John's words and staring back at him just as coldly.

"Me going to hell has nothing to do with you. I did it for Sammy, and I'd do it again a hundred times over."

John seemed to change course after that, knowing that bringing Sam into the mix would affect Dean more than John ever would. "Do you think Sam honestly wants to be with a piece of trash from Hell? Sammy doesn't love you demon, he'll just abandon you after everything's said and done, just like he always does."

"I'm not going to turn my back on Dean, you pathetic excuse of a father!" Sam yelled, knowing it was pointless but at the same time, he didn't care.

Apparently, John didn't like what Sam said as their ghostly father suddenly charged at the youngest Winchester. In the blink of an eye, he was standing in front of Sam, John's hand reached out and went into his stomach as Sam buckled in pain. If it wasn't for John's ghostly power keeping him upright, Sam would have been a crumpled heap on the ground.

The pain was so intense, it felt like John was burning his insides and Sam couldn't help but cry out in pain.

One second Sam felt like his stomach was getting sliced apart, and the next thing he knew, he was on the ground, Dean holding him upright in a sitting position, using only his demon powers to do so.

"And don't you dare hurt my brother again, you son of a bitch!" Dean screamed at the now-empty area where John had just been standing moments ago.

Sam felt a little light-headed, but the pain was quickly diminishing. "What…what happened?" he gasped.

Dean moved so he was in front of Sam, he put his gun down and reached out to place his good hand on his little brother's shoulder. "You alright?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, it hurt like Hell but I don't think it has any lasting affects, the pain's almost gone."

"Good." Dean nodded. "Yeah, as long as you stop them before they burst your organs, you'll be fine. I shot him, but he'll be back and he'll be pissed at me," Dean grabbed his gun, stood up, and then used his powers once more to bring Sam back up to a standing position.

Thank goodness Dean had his powers; they came in especially useful when he was practically missing an arm.

The brothers both turned as the sound of metal scrapping against metal was heard and then Bobby had a hand fisted in the back on both brothers' shirts, pulling them towards the panic room.

Sam got the hint and climbed in. Dean followed, his set in a firm line after what John's ghost had done to Sam. As Dean walked past all the barriers in the room, he cringed a bit as if it was causing him discomfort, but luckily he was still able to step inside.

Bobby walked in last, he turned around only to see that John's ghost had already returned.

"You're lucky you're already dead. Otherwise, I would kill you for treating my boys like that." Bobby then shot his gun at John and then shut the door with a loud thud.

Sam turned around to look at his brother who was holding his slinged arm with his other hand, frowning.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm allowed in here because of the marking, but I'm not supposed to be. All these protections…it's like they're tugging on me, it's not comfortable."

"Is it hurtin' your arm, boy?" Bobby asked. he still looked shaken up from the experience of seeing his dead wife.

"Yeah, whatever. No big deal," Dean grumbled and went over to sit on the bed on the far side of the room across the door. He put his feet up and stared straight ahead of him, away from Bobby and Sam.

Dean continued to simply look at the wall and Bobby kept glancing between the brothers. Sam decided to be the one to man up and speak first.

"What are they? What's going on?"

Dean sighed. "It's not good."

"When you boys started talking about the Apocalypse the first time you came around…," Bobby spoke up. "I did some researching….this is a sign, isn't it? One of the seals breaking…"

Dean snapped his fingers. "Right on the money."

Sam shook his head. "But…didn't you say that the first seal needs to be broken before any other one? That the first seal is when a man sheds blood in Hell and is brought back to Earth human? You never broke the first seal Dean…"

"Exactly. I didn't. If other seals are starting to break, that means the angels and demons found someone else. Someone else shed blood and was brought back human. It wasn't their ideal plan, but they needed some sort of backup if I didn't pan out."

Bobby looked over at Dean. "If they could use anyone to break this first seal, why did they try so hard to get you sent to Hell?"

"Because they wanted Sammy to be desperate without me and go darkside. I would be so broken I wouldn't realize what was going on with him until it was too late and he killed Lilith." Dean carefully chose his words, making sure to never mention anything about demon blood. "I would be so broken that I would say Yes to Michael and without me Sam would say Yes to Lucifer, then…BAM, Apocalypse."

"So they basically wanted to break the bond between you two," Bobby concluded.

"Yeah," Dean huffed. "And they're dumbasses thinking they could do that."

All three men were silent for a while, lost in their own thoughts. They realized just what trouble they were in but didn't want to bring it up.

Finally, Sam sighed. "So these ghosts are one of the seals?"

Dean nodded glumly. "It's called the rising of the witnesses. It's a spell that forces the souls of the dead to rise and become pissed off at people they knew. I remember hearing that Lilith especially liked this seal, so I know she's the one that broke it. She wanted to kill off as many hunters as she could while breaking each seal." Dean looked at Bobby. "Once we gank these ghosts, you might want to give all your hunter friends a call. Give Jo and Ellen a ring to see if any ghosts got to them."

Bobby nodded, looking frightened. "I have a phone down here; I'll give them a call. If…if Lilith is sending these ghosts after hunters, why…why did you…"

"Why did I see my father that wants to kill me?" At Bobby's blank stare, Dean continued. "Well, geeze, Bobby. Let's think…first of all, don't you think Lilith hates my guts? Not only did I escape Hell after only 80 years, but I'm helping my brother and I'm plotting to send her back to Hell. Also, just because I'm a damned demon doesn't mean I'm not a hunter. I'm Dean fucking Winchester Bobby, I'm going around killing demons, my 'own kind', don't you think that still makes me a hunter?"

Bobby looked flustered as he began to backpedal. "I didn't mean it like that Dean…I just…I didn't know if the spell would send spirits after demons as well…"

"Well, it obviously does."

Sam walked over to Dean, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Enough, Dean. He didn't mean anything by it, you know that."

Dean shrugged Sam off and continued glowering at the wall straight ahead of him.

Well, this should be a fun time trapped in the panic room.


Dean was in a really pissy mood. Really, like, pissier than he usually was on a daily basis. Maybe it had to do with the fact that, oh, the panic room's wards were tugging on his soul and if it wasn't for the stupid mark Bobby put on his arm, he would be trapped out there with a psycho father that wanted to kill him.

Not that a stupid ghost could kill a demon. Ghosts had a hard enough time interacting with real objects anyway, there's no way John could get the Colt.

Yet…he had back at Cold Oak, when he shot Yellow Eyes. Who's to say he wouldn't do the same to his demon son?

Dean shook his head. Why was he even worrying about something like that? John was an ass, he always had been, Hell made sure to show him that and sear it into his mind.

But for some reason, being back on Earth, back with his little brother…Dean was beginning to feel emotions he thought had long been burned away in Hell. He was feeling guilty and angry about the things John said to him, no demon should be feeling that way.

Or at least that's what they always said in Hell. But most demons didn't have family to come back to, people that accepted you with open arms, well after a few punches to the face and iron handcuffs around your wrists…that is.

Dean was well aware that ever since he had turned into a demon, he had been different than all the rest. However, it still freaked him out to be feeling when he knew it wasn't natural for a demon.

Dean felt eyes on him and glanced over his shoulder to see Bobby looking at him from where he sat at the desk. The guy looked guilty but quickly glanced away when he noticed Dean was looking back.

Stupid Bobby, saying idiotic things to him about not being a hunter.

Dean shifted a bit uncomfortably when he realized that he wasn't as pissed at Bobby as he was moments ago. What was up with that?

Dean was used to his emotions being different with Sam. When Dean interacted with his brother, he felt….normal. As normal as he ever felt. He felt the most like his old self when he was with his brother, it was oddly comforting. But Dean had always known, through all his time in Hell as both a human soul and then a demon, that nothing would change on his part when it came to his relationship with his brother. Dean cared for Sam as much as he ever did, he'd admit that easily. It was Sam's behavior that he had been worried about.

Sam had been a bit of an ass when Dean had come back and that grated on Dean's nerves to no end. It was what he was most worried about, that Sam wouldn't accept him. Dean had felt so at home with Sam that he couldn't understand why Sam hadn't been feeling that way either. It didn't make sense to him and he had no patience at times.

Luckily, Sam had come around and since then, Dean had felt the calmest he'd ever been in eighty years…perhaps longer. He knew that if Sam learned to accept him and wanted to be his brother again, that things would be fine.

But Dean never expected to find himself caring the tiniest bit about anyone else in their past life. He had forgotten what it felt to care about anyone else.

But now, it seemed that he was beginning to remember, a little bit.

Dean didn't exactly enjoy the feeling and tried to push it away at first, but that just made him more agitated. He was slowly beginning to come to terms that he….well he still liked Bobby, he didn't want the guy to get hurt, he was cool.

It probably helped that Bobby was learning to accept him too….and well…Dean kind of liked that…he liked feeling wanted. He didn't know of any other demon that was wanted or liked by anyone….so Dean was pretty lucky.

Ugh, he couldn't believe he just admitted that. For a demon, he thought way too much. But maybe that was a good thing, it kept him out of a lot of trouble, kept him sane and allowed him to make more rational decisions. That could be Sam's attitude rubbing off on him as well, his nerdy little brother.

Speaking of little brother, Sam was sitting on the floor, looking damn uncomfortable as he leaned against the nasty cold wall. Dean figured he should offer Sam the bed he was sitting on.

But the bed was really comfy. Dean missed being comfortable,. Hell sure didn't offer any great accommodations. He deserved to have the bed.

But Sam had that stupid sad puppy-dog face that he probably didn't even realize he was making.

Ugh, Dean scooted over on the bed, moving his legs. "Get over here freak-ass and stop moping." He was such an amazing big brother.

Sam offered Dean a bemused and disgruntled look, otherwise known as the bitch-face, before standing up and walking over. He sat down on the bed next to his brother and rested his elbows on his knees. Great, that was Sammy-sign for 'I'm about angst and express my emotions about what just happened'. Three….two…

"I did kill Madison….and I was gone when Yellow Eyes got Jess…."

Oh for the love of Hell…

Dean rolled his eyes and punched Sam in the shoulder, hard enough to send him nearly toppling over off the bed. Heh, he sometimes forgot about his super-demon strength. Sam was a tough kid though, he could handle it.

"Ow, geeze Dean! What the hell was that for?" Sam bitched.

"Madison ordered you to kill her werewolf-ass and she turned before she even met you, how is that your fault, Sammy? With Jess…Yellow Eyes would have gotten her no matter where you were, just like Mom. Dad was in the house when Mom caught fire, remember? You could have been in the next room and it would have happened."

"Yeah, but I should have looked out for her, I was having nightmares…"

"And keep her on lockdown or follow her around 24/7? Sure she loved you man, but I'm sure that would piss off any woman. You couldn't be with her every moment of every day. It was going to happen sooner or later."

Sam sighed, looking down at his hands that he held in his lap. "I'm just tired of letting people down…I'm tired of the people I love dying. It's like…I'm always there but can't stop it, you know? With Jess and Madison reminding me of it….it makes me think about how I let you down, I couldn't save you…"

Seriously? Sam was really going to start this crap? "You're seriously a pain in the ass, little brother. Can you ever get it through his thick skull that there was no way of stopping me from going to Hell, the angels and demons had this planned out before we were even born!"

Sam huffed, his eyes held determination and sorrow. "Yeah, Dean, maybe they did. But I should have found a way to stop it. I promised you that I would find a way out of your deal…"

"There was no way."

"I don't care! I promised you that and I let you down! You have no idea how much this weighs on me every damn day. You're the person I care about the most and you went to Hell and became a demon because of me. I tried my damnest but I couldn't do a single thing to stop it." Sam looked away from Dean and back down towards the ground, avoiding Bobby's sharp gaze as well. "You're always doing so much for me, saving me all the time. I just want to be able to return the favor. I want you to know that I would do anything for you."

Dean rolled his eyes. "I know that Sam, I know that you would. Even though I'm a damned demon, you still would."

Sam nodded his head solemnly. "I would Dean, without a second thought. You've always been a sort of hero to me, becoming a demon doesn't change that. It actually makes me appreciate you even more for sticking with me after everything you've been through."

Really? Sam couldn't figure out why Dean would want to stick with him? It was the other way around. Dean had always hoped to gain Sam acceptance, but he figured Sam would be more reluctant to join up with his demon brother. He hadn't expected Sam to treat him the same, to treat him as an equal. Having his brother's unconditional acceptance….well that just did wonders on Dean's state of mind.

It had saved him. Huh.

"You know Sam…you might not have been able to ever save me from becoming puppy chow or rescuing me from Hell…but you did save me man, so shut the Hell up."

Sam gave Dean a befuddled look. "What?"

Dean really didn't like explaining this. It made him uncomfortable and irritated. But still, at the same time it felt kind of good. "You…being here and accepting me and whatever. If I didn't have you to come back to, or if you shunned me or started hunting me…that would….it would destroy me, you dumb ass. I'm still me and not some mindless demon because you're still here with me. Having you by my side and just being my brother, as annoying as you may be, that saved me Sammy, alright? So stop moping about letting people down and realize that maybe sometimes you are capable of doing something awesome, geez."

Sam continued to stare at Dean. He seemed a little frazzled after Dean's (pretty freaking awesome) speech. Sam's mouth was open as if he wanted to retort, but couldn't think of anything substantial to deny what Dean had just stated.

Yep, that was an awesome speech, he nailed that.

"Huh," Bobby said from the other side of the panic room. Dean even startled a bit, forgetting that the older hunter had been right next to them and had heard the whole thing.

Dean felt himself feeling….what was that? Embarrassed? He couldn't exactly remember what the emotion felt like. Well, whatever it was, Dean didn't like it, he felt weird.

"What's your problem?" He glared over at Bobby.

Bobby shrugged. "You're a strange one, you know that? You blow up with your weird temper tantrum earlier, and then you sit and mope while staring at a wall for half an hour. Now you're comforting your brother. That was actually nice of you."

Dean narrowed his eyes. "You think I can't be nice? Didn't I just help you fix those cars, old man?"

Bobby chuckled and rolled his eyes, but Dean couldn't figure out what was so funny. "I'm just…I'm really beginning to understand this here. How you're still Dean and a demon at the same time. I had a hard time connecting the two, trying to see you as one or the other. But now…not so much."

"Is that supposed to be a good thing?"

"Of course it is, you idjit. I just see you, who you are now. I'm understanding that." Bobby nodded once before changing the subject quickly. "Now, I found a spell to get rid of these ghosts while you two were having your moaning fest. Take a look at this."

Dean got up, interested in this information and eager to get back in the action of hunting something.

As he stood up though Sam grabbed a hold of his good arm and Dean turned around.

"Thanks, Dean." Sam looked up at him, his eyes watering a bit and a small barely-there smile on his face.

"Shut the hell up, bitch. Make yourself useful and help us get rid of these ghosts," Dean groaned but offered Sam a small smile after he spoke.

Yeah Sammy, you're welcome.

Chapter Text

As Sam and Dean looked over the list of ingredients they would need for the spell, Bobby called Ellen.

"Her and Jo are fine," he told the brothers after he hung up the phone. "I warned them to take cover just in case."

"Do you want to call your other hunter friends?" Sam asked. After hearing Dean's words about the ghosts going after hunters, Sam was afraid that the spirits might have gotten to some of Bobby's acquaintances.

Bobby shook his head sadly. "I'd rather not think about that right now, not with everything that's going on here." He stood up and started grabbing any weapons they could use to ward off the spirits.

"These are some funky ingredients Bobby." Dean looked up from the list. "Me and Sammy don't know where you keep this stuff, if you even do."

"Yeah, I thought of that. I'm going to be able to get the spell together the quickest. Can you two hold down the fort for me? Keep those spirits at bay?"

With a roll of his eyes, Dean huffed. "You think we can't handle a few spirits? We'll be fine, just shoot em' whenever they show up."

"These aren't your typical ghosts, you know that boy," Bobby reminded Dean.

Dean shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, but they're still ghosts…"

"They're extremely dangerous. You saw what they did to your brother."

Dean stiffened upon hearing those words. Sam knew that Dean understood the severity of their situation, he was just trying to play brave and act like the ghosts could be handled easily. That was just how Dean was – even more so now that he was a demon. But when Bobby reminded Dean of what the ghost had done to Sam, he quickly dropped the confident stance.

"Yeah, I know. And I won't let them get to him again," he said curtly.

"I know you won't, you boys will protect each other." Bobby turned and held out a leather glove to Dean. "Now, you wear this."

"My hand isn't cold Bobby." Dean gave their friend a strange look.

"Not because of the cold! I figured you boys could use these iron bars I have down here to swing at the ghosts. It may be quicker than firing a gun if they're close by."

Dean's eyes widened, as he understood what Bobby was saying at the same time Sam was. Bobby was giving Dean the glove so he could hold the iron bar and it wouldn't burn his skin. Smart idea.

Sam took the glove from Bobby, because Dean couldn't put it on himself. He slipped it on his brother's hand and watched as Dean flexed his fingers.

"A little big, but it will do," he smirked.

"Shut it, you idjit." Bobby rolled his eyes as he held out the iron bar to Dean.

"Awesome." Dean grabbed the bar with his right hand and started swinging it around dramatically.

Sam sighed and Bobby rolled his eyes. "Quit foolin' around. I've got holsters for your shotguns so you can keep those on you too."

Sam's eyes widened as Bobby pulled out the holsters. "Geeze Bobby, you really do have everything in here, don't you?"

"Just about," Bobby shrugged. "Thought of everything that might come in handy in case of an attack."

Sam just hoped they would need to use this room as little as possible. It was amazing, of course, but it kind of gave him the creeps. With all this talk about the looming apocalypse, the room reminded Sam of one of those bunkers in Zombie movies where the survivors would keep safe.

He decided to stop thinking about that right now. They had a problem in the here and now that they needed to take care of. He strapped on his holster and placed the sawed-off inside of it before glancing over at Dean.

Great, Dean was still screwing around, probably trying to imitate a fight scene from one of those lame action movies he always loved. He looked absolutely ridiculous with that one leather glove and his limp arm lying in the sling while he continued to whip around the iron bar.

"Dean!" Sam called out; he had to force himself not to smile and the startled look on his brother's face as he snapped out of his imaginary fight. It was best to just keep on a straight face with Dean when he acted like a goof. Sam learned that if you laughed or smiled just the tiniest bit at anything Dean did or said, his big brother would get a big head and just think he's the funniest guy in the world.

Dean didn't stay started for long as his look changed to that of annoyance. "What?"

"Stop acting like an idiot and let me put this holster on you."

Dean groaned but allowed Sam to strap the holster on. After putting Dean's gun in place, Sam looked to Bobby.

"You ready?"

"Yep," Bobby nodded. "How 'bout you, Dean?"

"I'm more than ready." Dean was practically bouncing on his feet. "Let's go gank some ghostly ass."

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Dean was buzzing with energy. The thrill of the hunt excited him even more than it did when he was human. If Dean was restless before, he was extremely so now. He figured it was because of that demon rage inside of him that he was able to push back easily day after day with the help of having his brother by his side. The restlessness was also due to being tied up for so long in Hell, and then even after being off the rack, he knew he was always being watched, forced to torture soul after soul, he had no free will. It was only when Alastair became certain that Den was turning into his perfect creation and stopped watching him constantly that Dean was able to get away from his 'teacher'. Dean had tricked Alistair and had been busy trying to find a way out of Hell when he had ran into Crowley.

Speaking of Crowley, Dean figured that he better give that arrogant demon a call after the holiday and find out if he knew anything about Lilith or Alastair.

Lost in his thoughts, Dean bumped into his brother as Sam stopped on the steps up to the main floor.

Bobby grabbed Dean's shoulders from behind and kept him from falling. Heh, it was a good thing that Bobby liked him now. Dean didn't feel like trying to take on these ghosts with a bleeding head that was cracked opened from falling down the steps.

"What's the holdup Sammy?" Now that Dean thought of it, why was he letting Sam go up first? He hadn't even realized it, but now that he did, Dean didn't like it. Sam would be first in the line of danger if the ghosts decided to attack as soon as they got upstairs.

"I think I heard a noise."

This was a perfect opportunity for Dean to take the lead. "Yeah, they're probably waiting for us." Dean pushed past Sam on the stairs. "And if they are, it's me that's going to take the first hit, not you."

"Dean, I'm perfectly capable of defending myself from them," Sam pouted.

"Yeah, I know that. But these things can kill you, they can't kill me." With that finally settled, Dean marched up the stairs and threw open the door to the main floor.

And…there was nothing.

Well, that was pretty anti-climactic.

"How's it look, Dean?" Bobby called from the steps.

Dean took another look around, scaled the living room.

"They're in hiding…for now. Come on up, but watch yourselves."

Sam and Bobby finally emerged onto the main floor. Bobby went straight to his desk and began searching for supplies.

"Sam, make a salt circle around Bobby's desk," Dean ordered his brother. "I'll keep lookout."

Sam did as he was told, picking up a bag of salt that Bobby always kept near his desk.

But as soon as Sam bent down, Madison appeared behind him.

Bobby gasped, but Dean got over and swung the iron bar just as she began reaching out to squish Sam's organs with her ghostly claw.

Okay, it wasn't a claw, but Dean bet it sure hurt like one.

Madison vanished and before Sam could ask what had just happened, Dean urged him to continue working.

"They're going to keep popping up. I've got your back," Dean reassured his brother. "Just finish the circle."

Sam completed the circle without another ghost appearing, thankfully. As Bobby dug around in his drawers for ingredients, the lights flickered again and Bobby's wife was staring him down, outside of the salt circle.

Sam turned around, but the ghost easily flung him to the side and sent him sliding across the floor.

Dean wasn't sure if ghost powers would work against a demon, but he didn't want to find out….

As soon as Dean raised the iron bar, Karen spun around and Dean went flying backwards. He slammed into Sam who had just gotten up and they both hit the floor with a loud thud.

Suddenly, pain shot up Dean's arm and he couldn't help but grimace as he dropped the iron bar and clutched onto his bad arm. The force of landing on the arm was sending waves of pain from the stab wound all the way down to his fingertips.

Dean noticed his vision was getting blurry and the sounds around him became muffled, two things that rarely happened to a demon unless they came across an extreme injury. He closed his eyes on instinct against the pain.

"Dean, hey….get up man…." Dean felt hands on his shoulders…someone trying to lift him up into a sitting position. With a groan Dean held onto his bad arm tighter…he didn't want to sit up….he just wanted to take a moment to breathe through the pain.

"Dean! Are you okay man…shit Bobby….it's his arm…something happened to it…."

It was Sam. But if Sam was looking over him, then where was Karen?

Dean willed himself to calm his breathing as he tried to tune into the conversation around him….he needed to open his eyes..he needed to get back into the fight.

A gunshot went off and Dean heard Bobby sigh in relief. "She's gone….for now."

He cracked his eyes open, squinting as soon as he did, but he didn't dare close them again. He was leaning against the wall….turning his head to the side, he saw Sammy crouching next to him with a concerned look on his face…

Dean found himself gaining awareness a lot quicker. He took another look around and saw that he and Sam were sitting in a salt circle themselves, protected from the ghosts that may come by.

"It's, okay," Sam was saying. "Take your time, I put a salt circle around us, we can stay here until you feel a hundred percent." He had a hand on Dean's right shoulder and squeezed. That was when Dean noticed he was still clutching his bad arm with his right hand.

Dean slowly let go, the pain was still there, but it was more of a humming pain than a thunderous one.

Crap, landing on that arm had completely taken him out of commission for what looked to be at least a few minutes. He really needed to get that thing fixed as soon as possible.

Dean looked over to see that Bobby was fine; although it looked like Karen had tried to throw a few objects his way in an attempt to harm him. He had a bowl and was mixing some ingredients together with haste.

Dean nodded, his arm felt a lot better now. "I'm good Sammy, help me up."

Sam looked worried. "You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm feeling fine, ready to kick some ghostly ass, come on, help me up."

Sam helped his brother stand up and broke the salt line that protected them.

There was a loud noise from the upstairs and both Dean and Sam turned to look at each other.

"Should we go see?" Sam asked.

"I'll go," Dean offered. "You stay here and protect Bobby. Be safe, okay?"

Sam smiled, Dean wasn't sure why. "I will Dean, you too."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dean marched up the stairs, he both wanted John to come so he could blast him full of rock salt but was also dreading it at the same time.

He already knew all of John's words were true, he didn't need them repeated to him when they already went through his mind every goddamned day.

Dean stood in the hallway, iron bar wielded and ready, waiting for the ghost of his father….

Of course, when Dean was prepared, John decided not to show up. Just like always. Growing up, he was never there when Dean actually needed him, the damn asshole.

"Come on, Dad! Don't you have anything else to say to your demonic son? I'm sure you'd love to list all the ways I failed you! Come and face me like a man, you coward!"

Dean felt the air grow cold around him, but before he could react, he felt someone grab his shirt. The next thing Dean knew he was getting thrown across the hallway. Luckily, this time he landed on his ass and not his arm. Still, his head hit the back of the wall hard enough that it would have given a human a concussion.

Dean blinked and John was standing in front of him, a menacing look on his face. Below Dean, there was paint on the floor, a devil's trap. Of course John, ghost or not, would know to trap a demon he was hunting in a devil's trap. Just great.

"Looks like you dropped something, Dean," John reached down and grabbed….the Colt. Shit, Dean forgot he had the Colt on him. It must have fallen when he got thrown around.

Dean went to stand up but John reached out with his hand, into Dean's stomach and clenched his fist.

Holy hell, that hurt! This was what John had put Sam through? That son-of a bitch!

For a human, it had to be nearly unbearable. For a demon, it was painful, but not nearly enough to make Dean scream; it took a lot of pain to make him scream after what he had gone through every moment in Hell….

"Not gonna yell, demon? John extracted his hand from Dean's gut and then with his ghostly powers, threw the iron bar down the hallway. "Looks like I'm going to have to try something different."

Suddenly, the shotgun that Dean had been reaching for was in John's right hand….and the Colt was by his feet, ready to pick up whenever he pleased.

Oh great, he was screwed.

Dean was about to call for Sam, but he heard commotion and gunshots. Sam had his own ghosts to take care of. If Sam was getting hurt, and Dean wasn't there to protect him….

"That's right, demon. You're failing Sammy again, how does that feel? Knowing that you can't ever do anything right? You let him die…you let him die right in front of your face…"

Dean glared John right in the eyes. "I know I did, but I brought him back! I sold my soul for…"

The shotgun went off and all that Dean felt was PAIN. He couldn't help but let out a whimper at the rock salt that was now embedded in his chest…sizzling his skin…His bad arm fell out of the sling and lay limply to his side.

"Yes, just like I sold my soul for you, you pathetic piece of trash. And for what? I kept my humanity but you…you rotted away…you wasted my gift to you!"

"I know I did! But I did it for Sam!"

John cocked the shotgun, aimed and fired again.

Dean's body bounced against the wall, he bit his lip hard enough to draw blood but never screamed.

"You did it for Sam? You think becoming a demon is helping your brother? Giving him your blood? You're ruining him, corrupting him! The last thing he needs is disgusting hell-spawn following him around!"

"You're the one that wanted me to kill him because of the blood in him! I would never do that, I never gave up on him!"

Another shot and this time he did scream.

"There you go, screaming like the true coward you are. Did you know, that I never screamed once in Hell, demon? No matter what they did to me?"

Dean coughed and as he did, it felt like his lungs were getting pierced with a hundred knives.

"I…I get it, you're stronger than me! I'm a pathetic waste of space! Don't you think I know that already!"?

Another shot, and this time when Dean coughed, he felt blood bubbling out of his mouth. It was like Hell all over again…Alastair would transform into John a lot, claiming how much his father hated him. Dean kind of believed it.

But now he knew it for a fact, his father was confirming everything Alistair had told him. Maybe it was fitting for Dean to out this way, for John to kill him. Dean did waste his father's sacrifice after all…

"Good, you finally admit it, now I'm going to do everyone a favor." John lowered his left hand and raised his right. The Colt was suddenly in his right hand, now pointed directly at Dean's head.

"Get away from my brother, asshole!" Sam's voice suddenly filled the upstairs hallway and it was enough to distract John for a second. Dean took the opportunity to will his broken body to fall to the floor just as John sent off the would-be-fatal shot. The bullet lodged itself in Bobby's wall and Dean hit the ground, his whole body aching in agony.

From the corner of Dean's eye, he could see his little brother, face beet red and angry, come charging at John and swung his iron bar down with a scream. John dissipated and the Colt clattered to the ground.

Sam didn't waste any time as he picked up the colt and shoved it in his pocket. Then he ran over to his fallen brother and broke the devil's trap. He then grabbed Dean by the shoulder to hoist him up, all the while muttering shitshitshitshit.

"Oh god Dean," Sam's voice was strained and he looked like he was going to pass out. "Oh my god…look what he did to you! That bastard! I wish he was back alive so I could kill him myself!"

Sam didn't mean that, Sam would never do such a thing.

But looking at the rage on Sam's face right then, Dean started to doubt himself.

"He practically tore your shirt to shreds!" Sam seethed as he started peeling off the remnants of Dean's shirt that were stuck to his bloody skin. "And…oh my god…I can see your ribs…Dean…"

Sam started crying. Dean cocked his head to the side in worry. "Are you okay…Sammy…are you hurt?"

Sam's head shot up, tears still flowing down his face. "Am I hurt? Hell yeah I'm hurt…I'm hurt from seeing you like this! Do you have any idea how much this kills me Dean? You don't deserve any of this shit! Dad has always pushed you around, you went to HELL for me and now…you're still getting tortured. It's like it never ends, you can never catch a break and I'm so goddamned sick of it!"

Dean was about to say something back when John suddenly appeared behind Sam.

"Sammy…" Dean gasped.

Sam didn't waste any time as he jumped up and spun around, wielding the iron bar.

"You! You piece of shit! How could you do this to your own son? Your son that would have done anything for you?"

"That's not my son, the moment his eyes turned black, he died."

"He IS your son! IF anyone would know, it's me! He went through endless torture and became a demon to help me, yet he's still Dean. That's how strong he is! That's what he's willing to do for me! Dean's done so much more for me than you ever did…he was always there for me and he still is. And I know this really isn't you, but this is the truth and hopefully when you go back to wherever you came from and you're thinking straight, you'll take this information with you."

Sam then swung down the iron bar, only for Madison and Jess to appear beside him.

"Still protecting that demon, I see," Jess shook her head sadly, "when you refused to protect us."

Sam jumped and froze for a moment before walking in front of Dean to shield him. "Don't you touch him."

"We're not here for him, we're here for you. Because you let us down!" Madison said. "You should have tried harder to find a cure, but you gave up. You gave up on me but you refuse to give up on him."

"There was no cure Madison, no cure!"

"And there's no cure for demons," Jess chimed in. "But you still keep Dean around. You still love him even though he's one of the things that killed me!"

Jess and Madison flickered, and then they were right next to Sam, surrounding him on either side. Jess threw out an arm and then the iron bar was pulled from Sam's grasp and disappeared.

As they went in for the attack, a gunshot went off and Jess vanished. Sam caught a glimpse of Dean somehow managing to stand. He tried the gun again, but it was either out of salt or jammed.

Madison took this opportunity to her advantage as she lunged at Sam…

But then Dean flung himself in between them and Madison was on top of his brother, grabbing on to Dean's already tortured chest.

Dean screamed just like Sam had heard when he was rushing up the stairs earlier. With his blood boiling and eyes still watering, Sam ran to the end of the hall where he saw either his or Dean's iron bar. Sam sprinted back as fast as he could once he grabbed the bar and swung it at Madison.

Madison vanished once again. Sam hovered over his brother, who was shaking like a leaf, his body attempting to heal but only getting hurt over and over again…

"Why did you have to do that, huh?" Sam asked in a choked voice. His stupid brother was always looking out for him even when he could barely stand.

Dean just offered him a small smile, his teeth bloody, and that almost made Sam's tears start coming again.

"You can get rid of us over and over again, we'll just come back every time," John's voice called out and Sam turned around to see not only John, but the two women also staring them down.

Sam stood in front of Dean, if they wanted to get to his brother; they were going to have to kill him first.

But luck would finally be on the brothers' side. The ghosts suddenly burst into flames as they shrieked, before vanishing…this time for good.

Bobby had completed the spell.

Dean coughed from the ground and Sam hurried to his side. "About god damned time, Bobby!" Dean called out before collapsing into Sam's arms.

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Dean came to slowly; he heard the crackling of a fireplace nearby and the shuffling of some papers. There was a blanket around him and gauze around his chest. While his chest still felt tight and a bit uncomfortable, he felt a lot better.

When he opened his eyes, Dean was almost attacked by both Sam and Bobby, as they both stood up and came rushing over to him.

"Thank goodness, boy. You had me worried as hell." Bobby sighed in relief.

"Dean!" Sam sounded like a big weight was just taken off of him. "How are you feeling? Do you need anything?" He asked eagerly.

Dean rolled his eyes and tried to sit up, but Sam's hand was on his shoulder, pushing him to lie back down on the couch.

"You're not getting up until at least tomorrow. I won't allow it." Sam shook his head. He'd always been a stubborn little brat.

"I'm fine," Dean rasped, clearing his throat.

Sam apparently didn't like the sound of that. "Bobby, he needs a glass of water, can you grab him one?"

"Of course, be right back."

"Do you need anything else?" Sam asked and Dean noticed how his little brother was looking at him with those dreaded puppy-dog eyes again.

Well, if giving Dean something would make Sam happy, then Dean supposed….

"How about some pie?"

Sam's whole face lit up and he called out to their friend. "Bobby! Do we have any pie?"

Bobby came back into the living room with the glass of water. "Sure do. That morning after you boys showed up…when I went to get car parts, I also stopped at the grocery store. Bought some extra pies knowing Dean was going to be here, apart from the ones I have saved for Thanksgiving."

"You got apple?" Dean asked.

"Of course I got apple, you idjit. Now drink," he held out the glass of water to Dean.

What the hell was this? "A bendy straw Bobby? Really?"

"Hey, bendy straws are cool in their own right," Bobby chuckled as Sam helped Dean shift on the couch so his head was inclined enough to drink the water with a pillow placed at the base of his neck. "Remember how much you loved the things when you were little?"

Sam grabbed the cup from Bobby and held it up to Dean's lips. Dean sent Sam a glare; no way in hell was Sam helping Dean drink water again, not when he had the use of one arm. He reached over and took the glass from Sam, sipping the water gratefully.

"Yeah, I used to always blow the straw wrapper at Sam's face, Dad hated that."

Both Bobby and Sam tensed up at the mention of John.

"Yeah, well I always thought it was cute. You boys needed opportunities just to be kids, damnit."

Sam had gone silent and pale. Bobby noticed this and stood up.

"I'm gonna go put that pie in the oven before Dean throws a hissy fit." He smiled slightly and ruffled Dean's hair, much to the older brother's annoyance, before making his way into the kitchen.

One look at his little brother's face and Dean knew that Sammy was in 'we're going to talk about this' mode. Sam's jaw was set and he was determined, there was no stopping him.

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Dean sighed. "Just spit it out already, Sammy."

Sam took a deep breath and looked Dean right in the eyes. "I heard some of what Dad said, and I have a good idea about the rest." Sam paused but never broke eye contact. "It's not true Dean."

Dean laughed harshly. "Of course it's true, Sam. Every damn word that he told me was true."

Sam narrowed his eyes. "Oh yeah, what part?"

"The whole thing! I broke and he didn't. He was stronger than me. I wasted his sacrifice by turning into a demon."

Sam shook his head. "There's some truth to what all of the ghosts were saying. But they are only seeing it from their twisted perspective, Dean. They don't know the whole story. You didn't waste his sacrifice Dean, you brought me back. You sold your soul to save my life. Now tell me, was that a waste?"

Dean glared at Sam. Of course it wasn't a waste to bring Sam back! "No Sam, it wasn't. But I turned into a demon. Even if his ghost is fueled with anger, you can't deny that dad - the real dad would be disappointed and wanting to kill me."

Sam shrugged. "Maybe he would. But he never had his priorities straight. He was willing to kill me because of the demon blood, remember? He made the hunt more important than his won kids." When Dean didn't respond Sam continued. "It doesn't matter what he would think anyway, he's dead. But I'm here, Dean. I don't care that you're a demon, I know that you did it for me and I appreciate that so much."

Dean wanted to simply ignore Sam but he couldn't help but hold onto some of what Sam said. He had a point, what did it matter if John thought that way? The important thing was that Sam supported him and understood the choice he made to become a demon.

Sam had always been there for him where John hadn't. Dean always loved Sam more than he ever loved John.

So Sam's opinion should count more.

Dean nodded. "Alright, I get what you're saying. Now what about your crazy ex-girlfriends?"

Sam looked shocked at Dean's agreement but then frowned at the mention of Jess and Madison.

"They attacked and broke my gun. I had the iron bar though, so I was able to keep them at bay pretty easily. They didn't touch me again. Karen almost broke the salt line surrounding Bobby too by opening the windows, but I got rid of her right before she could do that."

"Okay, good. But what did they say to you?" Dean knew that the girls' words had a great possibilty of hurting Sam more than their physical attacks could.

"They were mad at me for keeping you around. Jess was mad because she was killed by a demon and Madison was angry that I gave up on her but not you," Sam shrugged.

"They are right, you know. You should have killed me the moment you realized I was a demon."

Sam huffed angriliy. "You're ridiculous. You know I could never do that. I'll say it again Dean, that only see it from their perspective. They don't understand that you haven't killed anyone like Madison did. They don't get that I would never kill you, no matter what happened. I only knew Madison for a few days, and while it hurt to kill her, it would hurt a thousand times more even thinking about you dying."

Dean nodded and took a good look at Sam. He looked miserable and tired as hell. He also looked a bit sad.

"It wasn't your fault about them dying either. Madison was already turned before you met her. And Jess…well, that was just unfortunate."

"I know, Dean." Sam looked away and then changed the subject. "You seemed to be healing well, so it shouldn't take that long until you feel a hundred percent. We…since we got rid of the ghosts, does that mean the seal is closed?"

Dean shook his head. "Nope, just that we stopped the ghosts from appearing. The seal's broken and Lilith will continue to break more. We don't have to worry about those though. What we'll need to focus on after we leave here is killing Alistair and you know…sending demons to hell…" with your powers was left unspoken.

"Looks like we'll be busy."

"Yeah, but right now I say we deserve some down time. We're staying until Thanksgiving and we're gonna stuff our faces, got it?"

That got Sam to laugh, mission accomplished. "Got it, jerk."

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By Thanksgiving, Dean was feeling like he was back in tip top shape, except for his broken arm, and he was going to use this time to his advantage.

He was teaching himself how to teleport.

He had only been able to teleport a few feet so far, and it left him dizzy and disoriented for a few minutes. This time, Dean was trying to go from upstairs in their bedroom, to downstairs in Bobby's kitchen.

"Good luck with that." Sam laughed, he was really enjoying himself by watching Dean's failed attempts as his older brother landed on his butt half the time.

"Aww, you don't believe in me Sammy?"

Sam shook his head. "Nope, you're gonna land in the kitchen sink, or something like that."

"You're just jealous of my awesome skills. I'm going to appear right in front of the fridge, flat on my feet."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Sure you will. I'm going to head down there now so I can laugh at your sorry ass." Sam chuckled as he headed out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

Well, Dean was going to show him a thing or two. Dean Winchester was going to teleport into that kitchen, and he was going to be awesome at it.

Dean closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the location he wanted to teleport to. It was hard to get the exact location correct because his mind started to sway each time he tired to focus.

Teleporting was complicated, or at least learning to teleport was. Demons like Crowley did it without a second thought. Dean on the other hand, since he was just learning, had to picture the exact spot he wanted to go to in his head. Then when he eventually worked his way up, he could teleport without knowing what the location looked like, as long as he knew where he wanted to go.

It wasn't as easy as it sounded. He needed his undivided attention focused on only the act of teleporting, and it kind of hurt his head, so it wasn't pleasant either.

Finally, Dean felt himself begin to leave the bedroom. Ha! He would show Sam…

Dean immediately knew something was wrong but he didn't have more than a second to think before he was landing flat on his back on the kitchen table. Thank goodness he didn't land on his arm again.

Dishes clattered and some fell off and shattered onto the floor. Bobby yelled in shock and turned around, gun drawn.

"Hey, Bobby." Dean grinned from his awkward spread-eagled position on the dining table.

Sam burst out laughing from where he must have been standing in the doorway. Even though Bobby was probably going to kill him, figuratively speaking, it was worth it to hear Sammy truly laugh.

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Bobby put his gun away and slowly folded his arms; his eyes were narrowed at Dean. "You mind tellin' me what you're doing lying on my table, boy?"

"Oh, you know, just relaxing," Dean said casually.

"Oh, really now? Well since you decided to relax on my kitchen table, you can continue to relax by helping me. I heard cleaning and cooking is a very calming experience."

Dean pulled himself into a sitting position. "I thought it was Sammy's turn to help you."

"It was, but since you so kindly decided to pop in, I assume you wanted to help. Now your brother can take his turn relaxing, hmm?"

Sam took this as an opportunity to leave, still chuckling and holding onto his sides as he did so.

Dean hopped down from the table and began picking up the broken plates. Might as well get this over with.

"Good to hear that kid laughing again," Bobby said and when Dean looked up, he saw that the older hunter was still staring at the doorway in which Sam had just left. "When you were…when you were gone, it was like he shut down completely. He was like a robot or something. Emotionless…just goin' through the motions. I could tell he just wanted to break down….and then one day he just left and I didn't see him again until he showed up with you."

Dean didn't like talking about Sam's sate of mind when he was in Hell. That was his fault that Sam had been so broken. "Sammy's strong, he would have gotten over my death and moved on eventually."

Bobby shook his head. "I'm not too sure of that, Dean. He turned into someone else after you died. And now…now he's back, just like he was before your death."

Well, not exactly, there was the whole demon blood-drinking thing. But Dean wasn't about to tell Bobby about that, at least not right now. He didn't feel like getting shot today, he wanted some damn pie.

Bobby eyed the sling holding Dean's bum arm stable. "So that's why you gotta take better care of yourself Dean. No more getting your arm or other limbs stabbed, which by the way, I think I found something. I'll tell you boys after dinner." Bobby paused and then looked seriously at Dean. "Protect yourself, not only for your sake, but for Sam's as well."

Dean nodded, but when he turned away he let in a deep breath.

Bobby didn't understand. Sam didn't deserve the life of hunting and having a demon follow him around. He deserved true happiness, a normal life with a wife and kids.

Which was why when this was over, Dean was leaving. Maybe if Sam was apart from him for so long, the soulmate thing would be broken and Sam could go to heaven in peace.

But the thing was, Dean didn't expect to live through the battle at all. What Sam didn't know, was that it would be a miracle if Dean made it out alive.

One way or the other, Sam was going to have to move on.

Chapter Text

Bobby was busy finishing preparing his gravy and mashed potatoes when he heard a knock on his door.

Dean went stiff beside him, frozen in the middle of placing Bobby's homemade apple pie in the oven.

"I'll check it out; you stay here and get to work." Bobby didn't wait for Dean's answer as he took off his apron and pulled out his gun, going from cook to hunter in a few seconds.

Peering out his front window, Bobby sighed as he saw the woman standing on the porch. It was his crazy neighbor Marcy Ward and she was holding another Peach Cobbler in her hands.

Now Bobby didn't want anyone to get him wrong, Marcy was an attractive woman but she was pretty annoying, and as Dean would say 'fricken creepy as Hell'.

But he couldn't just ignore the woman; she had been the one to invite him to her place for Thanksgiving last year when he had no one. He put his gun away and opened the door.

"Bobby! I just happened to make too much peach cobbler, and I know it's one of your favorites." She handed the desert to Bobby who took it with a strained smile. "And well, you poor thing, I know it's been tough on you losing your nephew and…"

"Actually Marcy…"

"…and I don't want you to spend another Thanksgiving alone so how about you join me and my family again? I'm going to make…" Marcy suddenly stopped, eyeing something from over Bobby's shoulder, her mouth falling open.

Bobby turned around to see Dean standing in the doorway, glaring at Marcy and crossing his good arm over his chest, his eyes were back to their human shade.

"Lady, you're annoying as Hell,. Bobby doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with you."

Damnit, why couldn't Dean have just stayed in the kitchen like he was told? The boy never listened. Now how was he supposed to explain how his nephew was magically back to life and standing in his living room?

"Uh, Marcy…this is Dean."

Marcy took a step forward into Bobby's house and Dean narrowed his eyes at her. She didn't seem to notice.

"Dean….why, that's…that's your nephew Bobby…I thought he was dead!" she said in awe.

"I practically was," Dean growled as Sam came down the steps, a confused look on his face.

He walked over to Dean. "What's going on, who's she?" he whispered.

"Some annoying lady who's bothering Bobby." Dean wasn't as polite as to whisper.

Oh great, now he had both boys down here. "And this is Sam, Marcy. Boys…this is my neighbor Marcy."

"Hi," Sam said, although he looked uncomfortable at Marcy's bewildered expression.

"How…Bobby, how did this happen?"

Bobby had told Marcy that Dean had been killed in war. It shouldn't be too hard to convince her that they had messed up, and that Dean was really alive.

"They made a mistake, they misidentified the bodies. Dean was captured and nearly killed, but he made it out."

Marcy's eyes filled with tears, she was ever the emotional one, she didn't even know Dean and she was starting to cry. "Oh sweetie, is that what happened to your arm?"

Dean narrowed his eyes at Marcy and practically snarled. "That's none of your damn business."

Bobby watched as Sam nudged Dean in the ribs.

"What?" Dean hissed at his brother.

"You're being an ass, that's what," Sam whispered and then smiled at Marcy. "Yes, that is what happened to his arm. I'm sorry; my brother's been through a lot…"

"Oh no." Marcy shook her head, not even looking the least bit offended. "It's all okay. I can't even begin to imagine what he went through. And he was right; it's none of my business." She turned to Dean with a smile. "I'm sorry, sweetie."

Dean tensed again, his eyes angry, and Bobby realized it must be the nickname of "sweetie" that was irritating the older Winchester. He tried to suppress a laugh as he went to address Marcy.

"Well, thank you for the cobbler, Marcy. As you can see, I have my boys now, so there's no need for an invitation, thank you, though."

"Well you three don't have to spend Thanksgiving all by yourselves! You're welcome to join my family, it's always a blast!"

One look at Dean's face and Bobby knew this wasn't going to go down well.

"Listen lady," Dean said and to Bobby's shock he flashed his eyes black for a second, causing Marcy to jump and gasp. "We're a family, we don't need yours. Get lost and stop flirting with Bobby."

Marcy looked back and forth between Sam and Bobby, who both wisely chose not to react to the flash of black eyes. They acted as if they hadn't noticed at all.

"I…well…I'll be going now…" Marcy stuttered as she turned to leave the house, almost tripping down the porch steps as she went.

Bobby walked over to close the door that Marcy forgot and instantly Sam was on Dean.

"What the hell was that for, Dean? She was just being nice!"

"She was being annoying, that's what! I bet she's been stalking Bobby, didn't you see that she had the hots for him?"

Sam turned towards Bobby, who shrugged. "Well, she has pretty good taste. But she's kind of…a lot…crazy."

"But Dean flashed his eyes at her!"

Bobby laughed. "I think it was pretty funny. She won't believe what she saw anyway."

Sam stood there, continuing to pout and Dean let his eyes change back to black.

"Well, now that you're down here too Sam, you can help me and your brother in the kitchen, come on now."

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Two hours later, they were sitting at Bobby's dinner table. Bobby gave up on stopping Dean from taking desert first, as the older brother cut himself a large slice of lemon pie and plopped it down on his plate.

"That's sick," Sam commented, making a face at the giant chunk of desert as he chewed a piece of turkey.

"I'm a demon, it's not like I'm going to hurt myself by eating dessert all the time."

Sam pouted again and Bobby shrugged. "He does have a point."

"Don't urge him Bobby," Sam rolled his eyes.

As Dean scarfed down his pie and Sam looked disgusted at the chewing noises his brother was making, Bobby found himself smiling.



He had missed this so damn much, he had missed both his boys. Because when Dean had died, Sam died inside as well. And it didn't take long for Sam to cut himself off from Bobby entirely. The young man had been drowning in his sorrow, unwilling to let anyone help him.

Because without Dean, there was no Sam. At least not the Sam that Bobby had known and loved.

But now he was back, and so was Dean. Dean was a demon now, but it was plain obvious that he was still the same man deep down. What made Dean who he was, was being Sam's brother. As long as he still had Sam, Dean would still be himself.

Bobby just wished it didn't take him so long to realize this. But Dean had seemed for forgive him and that was more than he could have ever hoped for. At the moment, they were together and they were happy. Although Bobby could tell that the two boys were keeping something from him, he wasn't going to worry about that too much. Whatever it was, they were probably just trying to protect him from whatever it may be. He trusted the brothers to make the right decisions, and just hoped that they wouldn't get into any trouble.

He'd bring up that subject later, but for now…for now he just wanted to enjoy this moment.

Speaking of this moment, they always had a Thanksgiving tradition that they went through every year the boys spent the holiday at his place. This year should be no different.

Bobby set down his fork. Sam noticed and looked at Bobby, ready to listen to whatever he had to say. Dean on the other hand, well, Dean just kept right on eating.

Sam glared at Dean and elbowed him in the shoulder.

"Ow! What the hell?"

"That did not just hurt you. I thought you were a big bad, strong demon."

Bobby sighed, here they went again, about to get into another bickering match.

"I am! You just surprised me!" Dean defended himself.

"Sure I did." Sam rolled his eyes.

"What did you hit me for anyway? What am I doing wrong now?" Dean took another bite of his pie and Sam huffed.

"Can you stop eating for a minute? It's not going to grow legs and run away." Sam smiled triumphantly when Dean slammed down his fork. "Bobby is trying to tell us something, so stop eating and listen."

Dean folded his arm around his broken one and stared at Bobby. "Okay, I'm listening. Hurry up so I can have more pie."

Bobby raised his eyebrows. "If you want to continue to talk to me like that, I'll throw away all the pie."

The look on Dean's face was priceless.

"Alright, I'll make this quick so you can get back to your damn food," Bobby sent a smirk Dean's way, who continued to pout. "I just wanted to tell you boys how happy I am that you both are here. You probably heard what Marcy said about me spending Thanksgiving with her family. She had to drag me there and I was miserable. I'm glad that I have contact with you again Sam, and that you're happy. And Dean…I'm just so thankful you're back, demon or not."

Dean sighed and ran his good hand over his face. "Not this, again! I was hoping you'd forget about this stupid thing, we're not kids anymore."

"I think it's nice, Dean. I like this tradition."

The brothers were referring to the tradition that Bobby started the first time John dumped them off on the week of Thanksgiving at his place to go on a hunt. Sam hardly knew what Thanksgiving was, and Dean could just remember his mom cooking a Turkey and didn't understand why his father refused to do it.

Bobby always had made the boys a feast and had explained to them what Thanksgiving was about. He wanted to make sure that they knew even though they could be going through a lot of bad stuff; they still had a lot to be thankful for.

He would tell the boys what he had to be thankful for the past year, and then would have both Sam and Dean say the same as well. This was a way of giving the boys some normal and teaching them morals, something that John was always clueless about. It became a tradition, and even when the boys grew older and found less to be thankful for, they still honored it.

Now, it looked like demon Dean didn't want to. Bobby wasn't surprised; demons weren't known to express their feelings. However, the older hunter wasn't going to have any of that, Dean was going to talk even if he had to force it out of him.

"Fine, you can take your time and think of something while Sam's talking then, Dean," Bobby said and motioned for Sam to say his share.

"Well." Sam let out a nervous laugh. "This year was hell for me before May….and the year before that after Dean…went to Hell. I'm glad that we can do this again, because I missed it too. I missed you Bobby and thank you for letting us stay here and for hearing us out. And…" Sam turned to Dean, who looked awkward, his black eyes darting all around, not wanting to look Sam in the eye. "I'm most thankful for having you back, Dean. I was lost without you and even though so much horrible stuff happened to you….I'm so glad you're back and you stuck with me when I was being a jerk. Thank you for believing in me and making your way back to me. I know you literally went through Hell and I know this isn't much to offer, but if you ever want to talk about anything, I'm here for you."

Sam had tears in his eyes when he finished, and Bobby was trying to fight back his.

Dean clearly looked uncomfortable. He looked like he was caught between wanting to brush off Sam's speech and comforting his brother.

"Why are you crying?" Dean settled with. "You just said you were happy, so quit it."

Sam laughed, it must have been what he needed to hear, Dean slyly offering up concern while shielding it with a joke.

"Alright, Dean." Bobby folded his hands and placed them on the table, staring Dean down. "Your turn."

Dean shook his head quickly. "Uh-uh, no way."

"Dean…," Bobby warned.

"You can't force me, I'm a demon."

Sam turned to Dean and as soon as Bobby noticed those puppy-dog eyes of him, he knew Dean was screwed. Even as a demon, Dean couldn't say no to that.

"I just spilled my guts to you, and you can't even say one nice thing about me?" Sam urged, clearly trying to make Dean feel guilty. "I didn't know you hated me that much."

"Oh shut up, you know that's not what this is about," Dean hissed back at his brother.

"Then what is it? You can't think of one single thing to be thankful about since you came back?" Sam was good, Bobby had to admit. Dean wouldn't be able to find a way out.

"No! This is just stupid! You know that I'm happy to be out and have you back, you moron. I don't want to talk about my damn feelings, I don't even think I know how to anymore!"

"Just try. You started to just now when you said you were happy to be back,
Sam smiled. "Just do it in your own obnoxious way."

Dean huffed, still looking angry, but he ended up giving in. "Fine. I'm damn happy I'm out of Hell, okay? I'm happy that Bobby decided he doesn't want to poison me anymore and actually allows me to do whatever I want around the house and talks to me this time." Dean glanced over at Sam before quickly looking away to stare back down at his half-eaten slice of pie. "I didn't think Sam would want to be around me, much less like me. But for some reason, he does both. I'm thankful to have him back, and work with him because even through all the shit I went through in Hell…I was most afraid of losing him, of having him hate me. So, yeah, I'm just glad we can still be brothers. Happy now?"

Sam was grinning with tears in his eyes, and again, Bobby had to fight to stop himself from crying. That came right from Dean's heart and although it wasn't any beautiful speech, it was all the truth, Dean meant every word.

"Quit looking at me like that, you freaks." Dean made a face at Sam and Bobby. "Can we finish eating now?" He picked up his fork.

"Alight, alright. I'll even give you extra slices of pie for contributing Dean." Bobby smiled.

"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Dean shoved a bite of pie in his mouth and held his hand out, a giant chunk of turkey that Bobby cut, floated over to Dean's plate.

Sam raised an eyebrow and Dean shrugged. "Hey, I have one working arm, cut me some slack."

"You're just lazy and refuse to stand up and reach for the turkey."

Bobby didn't hide his chuckle, as he took this opportunity to snap a picture of the boys goofing off with his phone. Now this was Thanksgiving.

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After dinner Bobby had the brothers help him clean the table and then he was going to tell them what he found about Dean's arm.

Dean figured this would either be good or bad news. He didn't expect his arm to be completely healed after being stabbed with a demon-killing knife, but he hoped he could gain control of it.

As they walked into Bobby's study, Sam glanced at Dean, who nodded.

Before Bobby was going to tell them anything, the brothers had decided that they should get the issue of Sam's blood drinking out in the open. It was obvious that Sam was feeling horribly guilty about keeping it from Bobby. And Dean figured that if Bobby was being trusting of them, he should probably know everything. It was best to hear it right from their mouths rather than for Bobby to come across it themselves. This way, Sam and Dean could explain things calmly and assure Bobby that all was okay.

Or at least, Dean hoped they could.

"Bobby, before you start….Dean and I wanted to tell you something," Sam said, biting his lip.

Bobby raised an eyebrow but sat down at his desk anyway. "Alright then, spill."

Dean sat down in the extra desk chair and straddled it, facing Bobby. "First, answer me this. What would you do to stop the Apocalypse?"

Bobby didn't hesitate before answering. "Anything. Anything but sacrifice you boys."

"Okay, well, you're not going to like this, but me and Sammy have been doing something. Something that has to be done in order to prevent the Apocalypse. There's no other way."

Bobby looked both worried and intrigued at the same time. "Go on."

Sam took a deep breath; he figured Bobby needed to hear this next bit from him. "I have demon blood in me. Yellow-eyes bled into my mouth when I was a baby when he killed mom. It's why I used to have those visions; they're due to the blood."

Bobby didn't look all that surprised, and didn't seem disgusted in the slightest. "I figured it was something like that. I just didn't want to bring up the possibility knowing you'd probably freak out. But this isn't all you wanted to tell me, is it?"

"No…I need to start using those powers again to send Lilith back to Hell. But since Yellow-Eyes died, my powers have been dormant."

Now Bobby started to look a little worried. "I noticed you said were…"

"That's right," Dean decided to chime in and Sam couldn't have been more grateful. "Sammy needed his powers activated again. Which means he has to be drinking demon blood on a daily basis to activate these stronger powers that can rip demons out and send them to Hell."

"Your brother is drinking demon blood?" Bobby's eyes widened.

"Not any random demon's blood. Mine," Dean explained. "Remember how we said fake-Ruby was going to trick Sam? She was going to get him dependant on her blood and have him become addicted. She was going to get him so powerful he could actually kill Lilith and start the Apocalypse."

Bobby didn't jump up and point a gun at Dean, he didn't gasp in horror. In fact, he didn't do much at all except look worried.

"How do you know Sam won't get addicted to your blood?"

Okay, Dean wasn't expecting Bobby to actually go along with this. From the look on his brother's face, Sam was shocked as well.

"Well, it's my blood for once from my body. Winchester blood, so it's familiar to Sam's body. He'll be able to adapt to my blood better than any random demon's."

"And Dean moderates how much I take," Sam added, wanting to make sure Bobby understood every last bit. "He doesn't give me a lot so I won't become addicted. He's teaching me the right ways to pull a demon out. You know Dean, Bobby; he wouldn't let me do anything if he wasn't sure it was safe for me."

Bobby nodded. "I know that, Sam. I've come to trust your brother. I see that he's still Dean. I can tell he wouldn't do anything to hurt you, he cares about you." Bobby looked back and forth between the brothers. "I knew you boys were hiding something. I was going to ask before you two left tomorrow anyway. I'm glad you told me." He paused, making a face. "But…doesn't it taste gross?"

Sam looked so confused by Bobby's reaction that Dean had to hold off from laughing. "Not really, I mean…it's been in me my whole life, and it actually tastes alright. Dean gives it to me mixed with a lot of water and sugar, so it's not weird."

Bobby looked relieved at this news that Sam wasn't drinking the blood straight-up. "Alright, that's good."

"We call it demon-blood kool-aid," Dean smirked only for Bobby to roll his eyes in response.

"Of course you would."

"So, you're…okay with this?" Sam asked.

Bobby actually smiled a bit. "I will be. But first…first I want to see for myself what you can do. So I can make sure you're not causing any danger to yourself."

"But we'd have to capture a….," Sam started before Dean interrupted.

"He can take out my soul," Dean stated, rising up from the chair only to sit back down on Bobby's couch. Sam knew he was doing this so his body wouldn't collapse to the floor. "It's a lot easier for him to take my soul out. He's familiar with mine and he's been practicing on me. I can fight him, but my soul is a lot calmer than most demons. Still, you'll get the point of what he does."

Sam stared at Dean nervously before looking to Bobby.

"Hurry up." The older man waved his hand at Sam. "What are you waiting for, get to it."

"Be prepared to see a demon smoke cloud invade your living room," Dean warned with a smirk.

"I've seen hundreds of demon clouds in my lifetime; you think I'd be scared of yours?" Bobby rolled his eyes and for some reason, right then, Sam knew they were all on good terms.

With this thought, Sam held his hand out, focused until he could see Dean's soul-cloud and then pulled it out with ease.

He really didn't even have to think about it anymore. At least not with Dean.

As Dean's cloud exited his mouth, his body slouched on the couch. Bobby looked more creeped out by Dean's limp and empty body rather than the fact that Dean was now zipping throughout Bobby's house in cloud-form.

Dean's cloud finally slowed down and came to rest on top of Bobby's desk.

The older hunter cocked an eyebrow. "First my kitchen table, now my desk? Quit lying on my furniture boy."

And then he swatted at Dean. Bobby quickly pulled his hand back and stared at it in surprise.

"He…he shocked me! That little ass!"

Sam laughed. "You get used to it."

And then, as if to prove just how annoying he could be in cloud-form, Dean drifted over to wrap around Sam's shoulders once again.

Bobby laughed the hardest either brother had ever heard him. "Now that…that I definitely need to get a picture of."

Dean didn't feel like going back in his body just yet. While he felt comfortable and at ease in his body, sometimes it felt good not to be restricted by it. Dean's body was his own, and therefore didn't feel like a cage as it did to other demons but he also liked the feeling of being able to just float around freely.

Bobby didn't seem to be frazzled that Dean was still hovering around Sam's neck like a cloudy black scarf. In fact, he seemed amused. After snapping a picture that Sam had whined about, Bobby had informed them that he researched and found something that would be able to heal Dean's arm, although it was probably only partial.

Not a problem, Dean would take it. Better than nothing, after all.

"The thing is…," Bobby was saying. "Is that a part of the spell contains a human sacrifice."

"We can't do that Bobby!" Sam shouted and Dean hated to admit it, but Sam was right. Even though Dean didn't necessarily care for anyone other than Sam and Bobby, no one deserved to die just so Dean could have some functionality of his arm.

"I know that, Sam. But the thing is, we don't have to worry about that. There's vials of this stuff already made and apparently there's a demon that has some. We'd have to make a plan to break in, but from my research, there's a demon that lives in a mansion named Crowley, he holds the title of…"

"Of king of the crossroads," Sam finished. "Dean, stop messing around. I have to put you back in your body so we can explain this to Bobby."

Sammy was right, yet again.

So Sam once again grabbed onto Dean's soul and Dean didn't even bother to fight it this time. It hurt like Hell when he fought Sam's powers and he'd rather not experience that when he didn't have to. He felt a tug and went along with it. A few seconds later he felt his soul get reacquainted to his body and that throbbing of his arm was back once more. Dean opened his eyes and sat up, cracking his back.

"We know Crowley; he's the one that got me out of Hell. Me and Sam trained at his place."

"Really, then he'd give you the vial?"

"Yeah, he needs our help. I haven't seen him since my arm broke. If I had told him about it, he probably would have given me a vial right away. He needs us both in the best fighting shape possible. We'll contact him after we leave tomorrow."

"Well." Bobby closed his book. "That makes things a hell of a lot easier. How about we grab seconds of dessert…or in Dean's case, fifths…"

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After working on a few cars later that evening, Bobby came in the house and had to laugh at the sight that greeted him.

Dean had passed out on the couch, a plate resting on his stomach with half a slice of pie remaining on it. Next to Dean, lying on the floor, was Sam, sleeping with blankets bundled all around him. It was plainly obvious to Bobby that Dean had taken those blankets off the couch and put them on Sam.

Dean had passed out, probably from eating too much. It looked like Sam had decided to stay with his brother rather than going upstairs to bed.

Bobby shook his head fondly as he retrieved a blanket from his upstairs closet. Walking over to Dean he grabbed the plate and placed it on the coffee table before placing the blanket over his boy, tucking him in just like he did when they were children.

He wasn't exactly thrilled of about the idea of Sam drinking Dean's demon blood, but he understood that it had to be done. Sam was in the safest hands with Dean, there was no way the older brother would let anything bad happen to him.

With a sigh, Bobby walked over to the stairs but turned around to glance back at the brothers. "Good night, boys."

He hoped these two would be careful and weren't getting into more than they could handle. Sometimes bad things could happen that neither of them could have any control over, no matter how careful they might be trying to be.

Chapter Text

Sam woke up to the sound of Dean and Bobby talking in the kitchen. He stretched and unwillingly left the warmth of the blankets surrounding him as he stood up. Padding over to the kitchen, Sam saw both Dean and Bobby sitting at the kitchen table, looking over some books.

"What are you guys doing?" Sam asked, he was a little concerned when he saw the serious looks on both of their faces.

"Your brother told me that you got wind that the demons may be planning something else if you two lock up Lucifer. I'm thinking they will probably try and unleash some kind of Hell on Earth, something that Lucifer might have been planning to do."

"And what do you think it might be?" Sam was starting to get worried, what good was locking up Lucifer if horrible stuff was going to happen anyway?

Dean looked up from the book he had been staring at. "Grab a plate of pancakes and sit your ass down first," he demanded.

Sam rolled his eyes but did as his brother told him. After sitting down, Bobby started talking again.

"If Lucifer rises, he's going to unleash a lot of things on Earth. He would unleash the four horsemen, Death, Pestilence, Famine and War. The world would be in chaos. There's lore in these books that he would create a zombie invasion. He would destroy entire cities; he would sit there and mess with humanity until he was bored, and then just kill anyone left. But he would make it as painful as possible, watching the world crumble before him, first."

Sam suddenly wasn't hungry anymore. He probably wouldn't even eat any of his breakfast if it weren't for Dean glaring at him like a hawk.

"Do you think the demons will try to do any of that if we stop Lucifer from rising?"

"That's the thing," Bobby said. "I don't think they're capable of doing any of that without Lucifer. So we're not sure what they're planning. We just know that it will be bad. Not as bad as an actual Apocalypse, but they want to spread world-wide terror."

"Great, so we could be doing this all for nothing," Sam sighed and slouched in his chair.

"Didn't you just hear Bobby?" Dean growled. "No matter what the Hell they're planning, it's still not as bad as an actual Apocalypse. I've got a feeling that no matter what, shit is going down and there may be a war or something. But anything is better than Lucifer being released and possessing you and killing everyone. Do you understand me?"

Sam nodded, although he wasn't happy. Of course nothing could be as easy as they wished. Of course the demons would come back with a vengeance.

"You weren't able to overhear anything in Hell?" Sam asked.

"I didn't know a thing about this until that angel told us. I don't think many demons know about this at all. This isn't like their plan that they have for you that everyone knew about. This seems to be more secret, probably only the big demons know about this. Like Lilith and Alastair."

Sam didn't like the sound of that. Whatever was going on, it was something big that the demons would stop at nothing to keep secret. "You think we have a chance?"

"I think we have the best chance of anyone. Might as well try." Dean closed the book he had been looking at. "Can I take this with me?"

"Go ahead." Bobby suddenly smiled. "At least you're asking this time. Not like how you stole my duffel bag the last time you were here."

Dean paled. "How did you know about that? I'm an expert thief."

Bobby chuckled. "Well, you are. But I noticed missing it about a week later, figured it was you. So think twice before taking anything from me again."

"Maybe I would have asked if you didn't hate me last time."

Bobby's smile turned to a slight frown. "You have a point. I guess we're even. But if you take anything else, there will be no pie for you, understand?"

"I'll never steal anything again, at least not from you," Dean vowed and then looked at Sam's plate. "Hurry up and finish that, then take a shower so we can leave. I want to get my arm working semi-properly, so get your ass in gear."

Sam shook his head in amusement, even though there might be danger coming for them, and they may not be able to keep the world safe…at least Sam would have Dean by his side.

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Sam came downstairs with his bags after he showered to see Bobby handing Dean a container.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Gave your brother all of the leftover pie." Bobby smiled as Dean greedily stuffed the container in his duffle bag. "You boys take care of each other, you hear me?"

"You know I'll take care of Sam, Bobby." Dean rolled his eyes.

"I know that, but you better let your brother take care of you too."

"I will Bobby." Sam smiled. "No matter how stubborn he is, I won't back down."

Dean let out an irritated sigh.

"Alright, I'll let you two go, stay safe and if you ever need anything, call or stop by." Bobby walked over to Sam and wrapped him up in a tight hug.

"You listen to everything your brother says about this blood drinking thing, alright? As long as you do that, he'll keep you safe."

Sam nodded and smiled. "I will Bobby, I promise."

Bobby patted Sam on the back and then turned to Dean. "You gonna let me hug you or are you gonna throw a fit?"

Dean made a disgruntled noise. "I might let you just this time, since you gave me all that pie."

Bobby chuckled. "Yeah, you'll do anything for a damn slice of pie." He walked over to Dean and hugged him just as he had Sam.

Sam was expecting for Dean to just stand there with his arms limp like he had when Sam hugged him all those months back. However, Dean actually reached his good arm up and hugged Bobby quickly.

What the hell? Dean could hug Bobby but not him? Sam knew he was probably acting childish, but he couldn't help but get angry over this fact. Sam had assumed that since Dean was a demon, he didn't want to hug at all. But he had just hugged Bobby. What did Sam have to do, bribe him with a slice of fricken' pie?

Bobby pulled back and Dean started making some joke about Bobby before Sam interrupted him.

"Come on Dean, let's go," he said curtly and walked out the door.

"What the hell?" Sam could hear the confusion in Dean's voice. Typical, Dean didn't even realize what he had done to upset him. "You gonna break this salt line for me or what?"

Sam just kept on walking and nearly pissed his pants when Dean suddenly appeared in front of him. The older brother almost fell over as he struggled to regain his footing and hold onto his duffle bag. Oh yeah, Sam nearly forgot about the teleportation.

Dean straightened himself up, looking proud and grinning at his younger brother. Sam said nothing and just tossed his bags in the backseat before getting in the driver's side.

"What crawled up your ass? You were just fine two minutes ago!" Dean grumbled.

Sam watched how his brother used his powers to open the car door and then tossed his bag in the backseat as well. "You gonna tell me what suddenly had gotten you into this pissy mood?"

"It's nothing Dean. Can you just be quiet for five minutes?" Sam sighed and didn't fail to notice the hurt that flashed across his brother's face. Dean either wasn't hiding his emotions as much as he had when he first came back, or he was starting to regain human feelings because Sam was noticing that he could once again read Dean like an open book.

Maybe Sam shouldn't be too hard on his brother. He didn't want Dean to become distant. He didn't want his brother to regress after how far he seemed to be coming since Sam had first been reunited with him. Dean was undeniably still a demon, but he was beginning to relate to humans a bit more, and seemed so much more at ease and much less tense and irritable. Dean didn't purposely hug Bobby back just to make Sam mad. Sam knew that Dean cared about him, he didn't need a hug to show him that.

Sam couldn't even last with the five minutes of awkward silence between them. "Listen, I'm sorry. I don't know what's up with me. I'm just worried about all this, with the demons' back up plan and all." It wasn't fully a lie.

Dean seemed to buy it. "I told you, no matter what happens, I'm gonna make sure you're safe. We're gonna do all that we can and if the demons have something else that we don't know about, well that's not our fault. We can't worry about everything. We can't stop everything."

"Yeah I know…" Sam was quiet for a moment. "So, are we just stopping at some motel and calling Crowley?"

Dean nodded. "Yeah, let's drive for an hour or two though so we're far away from Bobby's place."

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When they checked into the motel Dean called Crowley right away.

"Crowley, get your ass over here. I got stabbed with that demon knife and I was told you have some stuff to help me."

A few seconds later Crowley was standing in the room, looking disappointed and holding a vial of rather disgusting looking liquid.

"Dean, Dean, Dean. Walking around with a broken arm when all you had to do this whole time was call me."

"Like I was supposed to know you had a semi-cure. I didn't even know there was a damn cure at all," Dean growled.

Crowley shrugged. "All you had to do was ask. Not that hard, even for a bloke like you."

"Shut up," Sam found himself saying to the demon. He hated when people had the nerve to insult his big brother.

Crowley turned to Sam with a look of surprise. "My, my, my… getting sassy there, I see. You're lucky I need you Gigantor, or you'd be paying for that comment."

"Whatever, just give Dean the vial." Sam sighed and tried to hide his fear over the fact he just insulted a powerful demon.

Crowley looked smug as he smirked. "Maybe I will….maybe I won't."

"You just said you'd give it to me over the phone!" Dean practically yelled, black eyes blazing.

"I will….if…." Crowley's voice trailed off.

"There's always an if!" Dean hissed, trying hard to stop his temper, but failing.

"Don't get your panties in a twist. It's not a big deal. I'll give you this if you two come back to my place. I've got a lead on Alastair and need your help to track him. If you two don't screw up, we could have him cornered in less than a month."

Dean glared at Crowley. "Now, you tell us this after we paid for the damn room."

"No big deal." A knife slid from Crowley's suit sleeve and he grasped the handle. "I'll just kill the receptionist and take all his money. I'll give your whiny ass the fifty or so dollars you spent to stay in this hell-hole."

Sam gasped and Dean shook his head. "Enough, no one's killing anyone. Okay, we'll go to your damn mansion and help."

"Good." Crowley put his knife away much to Sam's relief. "Now, roll up your sleeve," he addressed Dean.

Sam took a step forward and got between Crowley and Dean. "No, I'll do it."

Crowley looked offended. "Relax Moose, I'm not going to stab him or anything."

"I don't care. I don't want you touching him, I'll do it."

Dean had to chuckle at Sam's protectiveness and trying to act all bad-ass in front of Crowley. Apparently, Crowley didn't feel like arguing and handed the vial over to Sam.

Dean went to take off his sling, but Sam stopped him.

"Sit down, I'll help you."

"Oh, this is all too sweet, I'm touched," Crowley cooed.

Sam huffed but chose to ignore the demon as Dean sat down on the bed. Sam gently removed Dean's arm from the sling and rolled up his sleeve.

 

After undoing the bandages around Dean's wound, Sam popped open the vial and he and Dean instantly gagged.

It smelled like vomit.

"It's demon-healing ointment," Crowley informed them. "Made for damned souls, what did you expect it to smell like, flowers?"

"What do I do with this, just spread it over the wound and leave it?" Sam asked.

"Yes, Moose. It will dissolve nearly immediately. Can't say the smell will too."

Sam took one last final look at the unhealed gouge in Dean's arm. Hopefully this would stop most of he pain.

He poured the disgusting mixture onto his hand and then began applying it to the wound. Dean flinched as soon as Sam touched it.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Sam mumbled as he worked.

"It's fine, just get it all on there." Dean wouldn't admit it, but he was happy Sammy was doing this. Even though it stung, Sam was careful and gentle and always tried not to cause him pain.

Sam finished applying the rest of the mixture and both brothers watched as the sludgy liquid dissolved into Dean's skin quickly. Soon, it was gone and what was left in the place of the wound was an ugly, raised scar.

Dean was so transfixed in watching his painful wound disappear that he almost didn't hear Sam's voice.

"Try and move your arm, Dean."

He did as he was told and flexed his fingers, huh, that seemed to work just fine. Sam was smiling like a madman watching the movement. Dean then attempted to lift his arm, and felt a bit of a tugging sensation.

"What is it?" Sam asked once he noticed Dean's frown.

Dean tried to lift his arm over his head, but was immediately filled with a sharp, stabbing pain and he clutched his arm to his chest as his eyes watered.

"What the hell?" Sam was asking. "I thought you healed him?"

Crowley sounded extremely annoying. "You two already knew that there was no permanent cure. Be grateful that he can even move the damn thing at all."

"He's right Sam," Dean said as the pain began to fade away. "It works, I can grab things, I can hold it out straight in front of me, shoot a gun…I just have limited movement and it looks like I'll still have some pain, probably can't put too much weight on this arm. It's better than nothing."

"And it will probably still flare up every now and then," Crowley added. "I'd keep that sling with you. Rest that arm whenever you can, I can't have you crying in pain when you have to face Alastair."

"Oh don't worry." Dean's look was dark. "I'm gonna kill that son-of-a-bitch."

"You better," Crowley stated and then clapped his hands. "Now that this party is over, how bout you boys be at my place by tomorrow the latest."

And with that, he was gone.

"Better get driving." Sam sighed and reached for the keys.

His hand stopped in mid air and suddenly the keys went floating across the room into Dean's waiting hand.

"Uh-uh," he smirked. "I just got my arm fixed, I'm driving."

"It's not all the way healed though! Crowley said to rest it."

"Crowley can kiss my ass. I'm not giving up driving. You're insane if you think I'd even consider it. Besides, my arm is perfectly capable of turning the steering wheel."

"Fine, but you better not crash."

"Me? Crash my baby? I think you actually are crazy Sammy."

Sam smiled, yeah; even he could admit that was a stupid comment to make.

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It was the day before Christmas Eve when they finally caught up with Alastair's whereabouts.

"He's hiding out in this warehouse." Crowley pointed to the computer monitor. He had been using Google Maps rather than traditional maps to track where Alastair may be heading. Alastair was apparently in Nebraska.

"What's he doing in a warehouse?" Sam questioned.

"Probably trying to stay out of our radar and failing." Crowley shrugged. "I don't give a damn what he's doing over there. I just want him dead. Grab whatever you think you'll be needing and I'll zap you over there. I expect him to be dead within the hour."

The brothers walked back to their bedroom and began packing in silence before Sam spoke up.

"It's not going to be as easy as going in there and stabbing him."

"Of course it's not. And as much as I want to…we can't kill him right away. We have to try and get information out of him on what this plan B is."

Sam wasn't expecting this and he doubted Crowley knew about it. "And how's that going to happen?"

"Torture. He did teach me and he was known as the best Hell had to offer. I bet if I turn his own techniques over on him, he might cave."

Sam didn't like the sound of that at all. "Dean, I don't think you should do that."

"Why not? I'm a demon, that's what we were made to do."

"Yeah, but you don't. You're not like him. I don't want this to affect you in a negative way, remind you of Hell or…"

"I'm always reminded of Hell Sam," Dean said flatly. "It's what turned me into this. It's where I spent most of my life."

"But it doesn't define you." Sam shook his head; Dean wasn't seeing it from his point-of-view. "You're my brother before you're a demon. I don't want this to change you, Dean."

"It won't. I know what I'm doing and I'm getting back at him, after all the shit he put me through." Sam didn't look convinced so Dean continued. "I'll be fine Sam, I promise. I have you."

Sam sighed, he didn't like the idea of this at all, but he didn't know how to convince his brother that this wasn't a great idea. "I know you have me Dean, but what if you go too far and I'm too late to pull you back? Remember what happened when you tortured that ghoul..."

"Yeah and I came back just fine from that," Dean stated sharply, trying to leave no room for more discussion.

"Yeah but it took you a little bit. It was like you were somewhere else Dean, unconnected from everything. You had to take your time to come back from that. After how you got with that ghoul, do you realize how hard it could be to come back from torturing Alastair? The one that did all that shit to you in hell?"

Dean was getting impatient as he clutched his fists and glared at Sam. "I told you I'll be fine. Like I already said, I'm a demon, torturing is what I'm supposed to do, it's what made what I am now. Do you have any idea how many souls I tortured in Hell? Thousands Sam."

Sam wasn't about to back down. If he could only get Dean to see the danger in this situation… "But this is different and you know it. You haven't tortured anyone since you came back. You've got to admit that you've changed since you've been back, you're adapting and you're more human. I know you see that. I don't want you to lose that Dean. I don't want to lose my brother."

That last sentence got Dean to stop. He was quiet for a few moments before he spoke. "You're not going to lose me. As long as you're there I can fight my way back if he pulls me too far. But I don't think it will get that bad. I'm going to do this as carefully as possible; I need you to trust me Sam." With Sam's reluctant nod, Dean grabbed the weapons and headed back to Crowley.

Sam wasn't sure that Dean was going to be fine, but if anything happened, he'd be there to pull his brother back. He could only trust his brother, but he had a feeling that Dean had no idea what he was getting in to.

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When they were done grabbing the weapons they believed they'd need, Crowley teleported them to the location of Alastair with one final order: "Contact that angel of yours".

The brothers had been trying to call Castiel with the cell phone they'd given him, but it had always gone straight to voicemail. Crowley and the brothers all knew that killing Alastair would go much easier if Castiel was around to help. However, they had a feeling that the angel had lost his phone.

Dean tried calling, this time the phone actually rang, but no one picked up. Leaving one final voice message with the location that they were at, Dean pocketed his phone and the brothers headed towards the outside of the warehouse.

As the brothers quietly made their way closer, a loud scream was heard and there was the sound of commotion and struggling.

"What the hell is going on, is he still in there?" Sam whispered, referring to Alastair.

Dean concentrated, seeming to tap into his powers. "Yeah, I can still tell he's in there. But something's not…"

"Hello Sam and Dean."

The brothers jumped and spun around to see Castiel standing behind them.

"Can you quit that man?" Dean growled. "What the hell are you doing here now? We've been trying to contact you for weeks!"

Castiel frowned. "I was unaware that my phone's battery had fully diminished. I could not discover how to replenish the power until recently."

Sam would have laughed if they weren't in a serious situation and Dean just looked confused, as if he didn't understand a word the angel had just said.

"Okay, sure. So you must have gotten my voicemail."

"Yes, I was just inside the building. I have captured Alastair in order for us to interrogate him."

Well, that was convenient.

"I will show you the way, follow me," Castiel ordered and the brothers really had no other choice but to do so.

After walking for a few minutes, Castiel led the brothers into a large room where a middle aged man was hanging with his arms and legs tied to a giant iron devil's trap symbol. Sam tapped into his powers to see the demon's cloud and it was unlike any other demon he had seen before. This smoke cloud was extremely violent, sparking with vicious energy and looked to be extremely powerful.

The demon looked up; its eyes white like Lilith's and started to cackle evilly.

 

Sam stared at the thing…at Alastair with pure hatred. "So you're the thing that tortured my brother."

Alastair laughed and Sam noticed Dean go tense and still beside him. "Don't you mean I'm the thing that turned your precious brother into a worthless demon? Then yes, that would be me." Alastair then turned his eyes to Dean. "Why, hello there Dean. Haven't you missed me? I have to say that I do miss my star pupil….although I'm quite disappointed in you. You haven't exactly lived up to my expectations since you graduated."

Sam took a step forward. "You shut up, you son of a bitch."

"Oh, and what are you going to do about it, hmm? You won't kill me; you want something from me, don't you? That's why I'm hanging here enjoying this lovely view."

Dean grabbed Sam's arm and roughly pulled him away from Alastair before he turned to Castiel. "Cas, I'm gonna need some torture equipment. Anything that you can think of that will put a demon through hell."

Castiel nodded. "Yes, I will return shortly."

With a flutter of wings, and a barking laugh from Alastair, Castiel vanished.

Alastair began whistling in the creepiest way Sam had ever heard and Dean walked right up to the demon.

"Dean…," Sam began, not wanting his brother near the creature.

"I'm fine Sam, don't worry," Dean stated tersely as he continued to walk until he was standing in front of Alastair.

"You might not be so disappointed once I'm finished with you," he addressed the demon, his voice short and cold.

"Dean, Dean...I'm not afraid of you," Alastair replied in a sing-songy voice that made Dean cringe. "Sure you had a lot of talent, but you're rusty now. You wasted all that skill...for what? For that piece of shit brother..."

Dean practically pounced on Alastair, his teeth bared as he choked the demon with one hand and held Ruby's knife up to his eye.

"Don't you dare talk about him, you scumbag. You leave him out of this!"

Alastair just smiled evilly.

"Nice try Dean-o but you're not fooling me. You don't care about that kid; you can't. I erased any feelings you had for him when I carved you into a demon, into a monster."

Now it was Dean's turn to smile as he slid the blade down Alastair's face, cutting into his skin and causing the wounds to spark.

"You're so damn confident in yourself aren't you? Well let me tell you something, asshole. You failed. You failed at turning me into your perfect creation. Want to know why? Because I love that damn kid right there. I know you can see it but you'll never admit to it….because that would mean admitting to the fact that you couldn't completely break me. I see right through you and you're terrified of me."

Sam always knew hat Dean had still loved him, it was plain obvious. But hearing Dean admit to it right then even though he was a demon, with no hesitation, only confidence, filled Sam with happiness. Just hearing Dean say those few words meant the world to Sam, and if they weren't in a serious situation, he might have just hugged his brother right then. The comment didn't have the same effect on the white eyed demon, however.

"The last thing I am is scared of you, you're a pathetic excuse if a demon," Alastair hissed but it was obvious to both brothers hat he was struggling to find a nasty retort.

"Maybe I am," Dean admitted. "But I'm different from any other demon and that fucking freaks you out. You know how to deal with the common demon, but you don't know how to deal with me. I'm a demon that can still love and that makes me all the more motivated."

Sam could tell that his brother was keeping his word and being careful of not going too far. But when the torture tools arrived, Sam feared that Dean might get too carried away. Alastair's comments were also only bound to get worse, and Sam didn't know how much Dean could take before he snapped.

Alastair chuckled. "That so called love that you speak of makes you vulnerable, Dean. It makes you weak, just like I always knew you were...breaking so easily in hell..."

Sam couldn't take it any longer as he interrupted the hated demon. "Really? Because I think...I know it makes him more powerful. And you can call him weak for breaking but he turned demon for me...and he never lost what makes him my brother. I don't see anything weak about that. What I see is you trying to make excuses for failing so bad."

Luckily, Sam was saved from Alastair's probably wicked remark when Castiel reappeared….with a table full of tools that looked like they would come from a horror film.

Dean glanced over at the table and then coldly smirked back at Alastair. "Well then, let's get started."

Chapter Text

Dean tried his damndest to tune out Alistair's mocking comments as he slipped on the leather gloves that Bobby gave to him.

"Ohhh, I see what you did there Dean. Pretty smart idea, even I have to admit." Alastair chuckled.

Dean dipped the demon-killing knife in holy water, socking the entire thing. "How about you shut your mouth before I make you."

"Why, that would be no fun, now would it?" Alastair smirked. "How about I tell your baby brother about all the shit you did down in Hell. All those poor little souls you…"

Dean lunged forward, stabbing Alastair in the forearm with the knife. "Now I'm gonna keep this up until you let us in on your plan that you and the other demons have been cooking up."

The demon let out a bellowing scream that quickly dissolved into dark laughter. "That knife can't kill me. It can't even permanently injure me." Alastair was staring at the scar on Dean's arm that was visible with the t-shirt Dean was wearing. "….unlike you, I can see. That arm giving you trouble Dean?"

"I told you to shut up."

"I bet it's stinging right now, can't lift it up all the way? You're weak Dean. Whatever it is that you're trying to do, you're going to fail…not only your mission, but that brother of yours too…"

Dean pulled the knife out, plunging it into Alastair's stolen heart this time. The demon let out an even louder scream of pain. Dean knew it wouldn't kill him, this knife didn't kill white-eyed demons, but still….it would hurt like hell.

He walked back over to the table after pulling out the knife and caught Sam walking up to him out of the corner of his eye.


"Dean, take it easy man…"

"He didn't take it very easy on the souls in Hell, now did you Dean?" Alastair coughed out a laugh. "He sliced and diced in ways you could never imagine, and he liked it too…"

Sam turned to face the demon. "I don't care what he did down there. Those were damned souls, people who were horrible enough to land themselves in Hell. He hasn't hurt anyone up here."

"Not yet. And not all those souls were rapists and murderers little Sammy, some were just like your dear old brother…."

Dean walked back over to Alastair, this time he jabbed a syringe right in the demon's eye and injected holy water slowly as the screams grew louder.

"No one gets to call him that but me, you asshole."

Alastair clenched his teeth through the pain. "Remember Heather, Dean? Dear little Heather who sold her soul for her child to live? Remember what she looked like when you were done with her?"

Dean injected more holy water. "I didn't even touch Heather. You so can take those lies and shove them up your ass."

"Really? Because she sure looked like she went through a paper shredder when your session was done."

Dean stared at Alastair directly in his other eye. "I walked away. I took one look at her and I saw myself, I saw Sammy. And I walked the hell away and some other demon took over."

Dean injected the last of the water and watched with joy at how Alastair struggled to breathe through the agony.

"So…so you're much weaker than I thought. What kind of demon are you Dean?"

"He's my brother," Sam said, walking much too close to Alastair for Dean's liking.

"Sam, don't."

"I'm not having you go through this alone Dean." Sam took a step closer.

Dean sighed and held out his hand, stopping Sam in his tracks. "I said, don't Sam. If you're not going to stay back then I'm going to have to make you."

"Oooh, what's this?" Alastair slurred. "Big brother is threatening his little Sammy. Looks like you're the danger to your brother. As long as he's with you, he's at risk…"

Dean grabbed an iron bar this time and swung it at Alastair's head. "I did NOT threaten him! I only would hold him back if he wouldn't stay back on his own!"

Sam saw exactly what was happening; Alastair was using his name to get Dean angry, to get Dean to lose control. "Dean…"

"Not now, Sam!"

"Anyway," Alastair spit out a wad of blood. "Sam's already a lost cause. Once you started having him drink that blood of yours….it contaminated him….he's damned…"

"He is not!" Dean swung the iron bar one more time.

"He is!" Alastair cracked his neck as if the blow had barely affected him. "He's gonna go to Hell now, no matter what you have him do, no matter how good you think he is…."

"Don't you talk about my brother!" Dean swung the bar harder this time, embedding the metal into the demon's skull and this time the demon yelled.

"Sam will not go to Hell," Castiel spoke up. Sam almost forgot the angel was in the room with them until he heard his voice. "Sam is doing the right thing, he and his brother have good intentions, and he is not damned."

"Maybe not!" Alastair yelled. "Maybe not yet, but he will be. He's traveling with this demon that's already damned and the longer he's exposed to Dean, the better the chance he has at becoming damned himself! Until his intentions are no longer good…"

Dean swung once, twice, three times, and Sam had to force himself not to look away at what his brother was doing. Dean's face was becoming darker with each word Alastair spoke, with each swing he took…

Sam pushed past Dean's powers with his own, and walked towards his brother.

"Dean, you have to stop it…"

Dean turned his head towards Sam, his gaze cold and nearly blank and then Sam felt himself being pushed backwards harshly. He toppled to the ground and landed flat on his butt.

Something flickered on Dean's face but Alastair drew him right back in.

"That was quicker than I thought! You already hurt him; you're already out of control. How does it feel Dean, it feels good, doesn't it?"

Dean pressed the iron bar against Alastair's throat and the skin started to sizzle on the demon's neck. "I did not try and hurt him! I pushed him away, away from you! Now how about you tell me what your plan B is before I go any further on you."

"Oh Dean, you've barely scratched me! Nothing you do will get me to speak!"

Sam stood up, his heart racing as he could barely recognize his brother. This wasn't the Dean he had been traveling with, the Dean that could balance being a demon and his brother so well. This…this was the Dean he had seen back with the ghoul…this was Dean, the torturer; this was the Dean of Hell.

He had to stop him; he had to pull him back before he lost himself in rage. He needed to get to Dean before he went too far, before he couldn't pull back.

"Dean…please…" Sam stated but Dean didn't even turn his head this time. "I need you to listen to me. I need you to back down, please Dean…"

Sam felt himself being stopped once again by Dean's powers and he sighed. Was he going to have to fight against Dean's powers? Sam didn't want to take it that far, but he might just have to.

Dean had the demon killing knife once again and this time twisted it into Alastair's stomach. Oh, how he wished this was like Hell. Where he could tear and shred until there wasn't anything left….where the soul wouldn't regenerate until he wanted it to. If only he could do that to Alastair….but his body kept healing itself quickly…if only…

Dean felt something tugging at him, trying to pull him away. It was a force of some sort, but whatever it was; he ignored it and pushed his powers against the force.

"You know, Dean…even if that little brother of yours doesn't go to Hell….you're still ruining his life. You're holding him back, keeping him with a demon…what kind of life is that…"

Dean's vision turned red and blurry as he pulled the knife out of Alastair's stomach and then sent the blade through his skull. "I had no intention of staying with him!" Dean brought the blade down again. "The second we're done stopping the Apocalypse, I'm leaving him. If I don't die…which I probably will, I am going to leave so he can have a chance to actually live. I would never bring him down by having him stay with me!"

Dean hit Alastair again and he felt that source of power tug at him harder. Enough of that! Dean pushed his powers out with all the strength he had, fighting against whatever was trying to grab him. It was tough, but Dean could feel himself winning. With one final push, Dean released himself from the hold that the power had on him.

With that taken care of, Dean focused on Alastair again, he was so caught up in his rage that he didn't hear the thud that had resulted after he had used his powers. Dean couldn't even remember why he was doing this; all he knew was that Alastair had to pay. Not even for what he did to Dean in Hell, but for the things the demon was saying about Sam…

Sam. Wait…where was Sam? Suddenly, Dean realized that the power source…the one that was trying to pull him away…those had been familiar, those were Sam's powers…how could Dean not have realized?

And he used his own powers against Sam…oh god…

Alastair's mocking voice began to fade enough to where Dean could hear another voice. Someone was calling out to him.

"Dean…please man, please stop…I'm losing you Dean. Come back, I need you, please listen to me…"

Finally, with all the strength Dean felt that he had, he was able to pull away from Alastair's gaze as he turned around.

What he saw made him drop the iron bar he had been holding without a second thought.

Sam was crumpled on the ground, looking at Dean with pleading eyes, there were a few tears rolling down his cheeks…but that's not what had Dean in shock. It was the blood…the blood dripping from Sam's nose. The blood that would only come if Sam used his powers too much… if he pushed too hard.

Sam had pushed himself too hard because Dean had been fighting against his powers. Sam didn't give up because he was trying to get Dean to stop torturing. Sam was hurting because of Dean.

"Hey, Dean…" Sam was smiling now. How could he be smiling after what Dean did to him? "You with me now? Come on, step away from him…please Dean…"

"Sammy…"

Sam grinned at the mention of his nickname. "Yeah, it's me Dean. Let's get out of here, okay? Cas can kill him for us, he's not giving up any information."

Alastair was shouting now, but Dean could hardly hear him. "I hurt you Sammy…"

Sam looked confused and then touched the blood right below his nose. He stared at it. "What? No, I did this. I pushed too hard, I know I'm not supposed to, but I was trying to get to you…"

"You're hurt because of me…"

"Dean, that's ridiculous. I chose to use my powers on you, knowing fullwell that you would push them away. Now please, get away from him."

Dean finally stepped down and walked towards his brother, who let out a sigh of relief. When he reached Sam, he placed both hands on his brother's shoulders.

Dean was expecting Sam to flinch after what just happened, but Sam did no such thing. In fact, Sam relaxed even more.

"Are you okay?" Dean asked; worry lacing each of his words.

"I'm fine Dean; it's just a nosebleed and a headache."

Great, a headache too? "This can't happen Sam, these are a lot more dangerous than they seem."

"And it won't happen again, I was worried about you Dean. I'd do anything to try and protect you, no matter how dangerous it is."

Dean lowered his head to stare at the floor and dropped his arms to his sides. "I'm sorry."

"You don't have to apologize Dean…"

"Yes I do. I'm sorry. You were right; I can't do this anymore…the torture. I don't want to get like that ever again. That's not who I want to be."

"That's okay," Sam told him. "You were able to pull yourself away from it…"

"No," Dean corrected his brother. "You were able to."

"But my powers didn't work."

"I'm not talking about your powers Sam," Dean admitted and then walked over to the table. Sam started to protest, thinking Dean was going to grab a torture instrument.

But Dean only grabbed a clean rag. He walked over to Sam and wiped the blood away from under his nose.

"Thanks," Sam said before his face fell into a frown. "What were you saying back there? You don't seriously want to leave me after this is all over, do you Dean?"

Crap, Dean had said that out loud? He hadn't even realized…but now that Sam had heard, he might as well get the truth out in the open.

"You don't need a demon following you around after this is over. You're going to have that normal life you've always wanted."

Sam's face was actually red, something Dean hadn't expected. "You can't actually be serious? You're just going to ditch me, what in the middle of the night? Do you have any damned clue how much I need you, you asshole?"

"Not now Sam…" Dean turned to were Alastair was still screaming profanities at the brothers from his confinement.

Sam's face was set in determination. "Fine. But once we leave here, we're talking about this. About this stupid mind-set you have and I won't shut up until you believe me."

Good luck with that. "Where's the angel?" Dean changed the subject.

"There were noises coming from outside. Other demons, probably trying to rescue Alastair. Cas went to take care of them."

"Well then, I guess we should take care of Alastair then, just end him now."

"I'll do it," Sam's tone suggested no room for argument and Dean wasn't going to fight him.

But when the brothers turned towards the trap, Alastair was gone.

"What the Hell…" Dean started only for Sam to pounce on him and send them both to the floor. When Dean looked up, Alastair was standing there with Ruby's knife in his hand, grinning with bloody teeth.

Alastair twisted his hand and Dean's bad arm shot up upwards, leaving the older brother writhing on the ground in pain. He turned towards Sam only to stare at him in shock.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Sam had his hand extended, he was stopping Alastair in place but he couldn't hold on for too long. Alastair was powerful. If Sam so much as attempted pulling his soul out, he knew from his brother's warnings that it would be pushing himself too far and he'd suffer a stroke or could even die from exertion.

"Sammy…don't…he's too strong," Dean groaned from the floor.

"It's okay Dean, I'm just holding him here, nothing else." Sam reached into his waistband to pull out the Colt. Unfortunately, Alastair saw what he was doing. The demon became frantic and Sam couldn't do a thing as Alastair pushed out his powers and sent Sam to the floor along with his brother. The demon's smoke cloud began bellowing out of the host's mouth. Sam pulled out the Colt again, but this time he was much too late, Alastair had already gone…leaving only a dead body in his wake.

Dean was huffing on the floor, holding his arm to his chest once more.

"You okay?" Sam asked.

"I'll be fine," Dean said through gritted teeth. "But the bastard got away, Crowley's gonna be pissed!"

"The important thing is that you're safe. He nearly killed you there with the knife Dean, and that stuff that he was saying to you…I thought I would lose you."

"Well you didn't…not yet…but Crowley's gonna kill me!"

Castiel came in then, his hair a mess and blood on his trench coat.

"What the hell happened to you?" Sam asked as Dean managed to get himself in a sitting position.

"There was a hoard of demons trying to free Alastair. I believe a few got past me and that is how he became free of his confinements."

"Just great," Dean mumbled. "Now he's still out there and we haven't figured out what his damn plan is!"

"There was nothing we could do," Castiel stated simply. "Alastair was not going to talk and there were too many demons for me to take on."

"Try telling that to Crowley!"

"Okay, I will tell him," Castiel said, not realizing Dean's sarcasm in the slightest. "I will get him to understand that we were ambushed. Do you have a phone number where I can contact him? I'm afraid his mansion is still angel-proofed."

Dean looked surprised. "Huh, well alright then. Save us a lot of trouble, thanks man."

"Yeah, thanks Cas," Sam told the angel. It was better for Castiel to tell Crowley because the demon was afraid of angels and would listen to what Castiel had to say easier.

"You are welcome. I will call him and arrange a location to meet and talk. I will also teleport your car to you."Dean gave Castiel Crowley's phone number but then seemed to remember something.

"Wait a minute! Why did you insist on driving it if you could teleport my baby the whole time?" Dean shouted.

Castiel seemed to fidget. "Teleporting such a large vehicle can prove difficult and cost a lot of power. I also was very intrigued by your obsession with the vehicle and wanted to try and understand why it seemed to be so phenomenal to you. I have to say I was left disappointed."

"What the hell did you just say?" Dean growled but Castiel was once again smart enough to vanish.

"Damnit," Dean muttered. "I didn't even get to yell at him for scratching the Impala. Remind me to do that next time, will ya Sammy?

Sam gave his brother a blank look. "Don't even think of trying to joke your way out of this. As soon as we get back to the motel, we are sitting down and talk. I don't care what it takes; you're going to listen to every word I say until I get you to believe me. Understand?

Dean sighed; this should be a real fun night.

Chapter Text

As soon as they arrived at a new motel room Sam dug out Dean's sling. "You're putting this on. Now."

Dean shook his head. "I'm fine, Sam."

Sam gave Dean a pointed stare. "Alastair just yanked your arm directly up, something that you can't do on your own. You're in pain and you're going to wear it. End of discussion."

Luckily, Dean was smart enough to give in and stop arguing, although he wasn't happy about it. Sam helped him take off his jacket and then Dean went into the bathroom to change out of his blood-stained clothes. When he came out, Sam helped him put on the sling and then Dean started walking over to his bed.

"What do you think you're doing?" Sam demanded.

Dean didn't look Sam's way. "I'm going to bed, what's it look like? I'm exhausted."

"Don't give me that crap, you're a demon."

"You know I still get tired!"

"Yeah, but you can hold off. You thought being a big tough demon made you able to torture Alastair without any problem, so being a demon means you can at least stay awake and listen to me."

Dean simply gave Sam a blank stare. The idiot had thought Sam would forget about this talk they were going to have!

"Do you honestly think I'd forget about what I said back at the warehouse?" Sam asked. "We're talking, Dean. Not later, right now."

"There's nothing to talk about Sam," Dean sighed and ran a hand over his face.

"There's everything to talk about. How about we start with you telling Alastair that you were going to leave me or die? You had his planned out from the start, didn't you?"

Dean sat down on the bed and stared at Sam before shaking his head and looking down at the floor. Sam had never seen Dean look this dejected since he came back from hell.

"Yeah okay? I don't expect to survive the battle and if by some miracle I do live... I'm gonna leave you and you're going to have that life you've always dreamed of."

Sam folded his arms over his chest and glared at his brother. "Do I get any damned say in this? Or are you going to make all my choices for me? It's my life Dean."

"Yeah and I'm allowing you to get what you want from life," Dean shot back.

"Well what you think I want is wrong," Sam responded, his tone strict.

"You've always wanted..."

Sam held out a hand. "Stop Dean. I used to want that. Would that be nice? Sure. But it's not realistic. What I want is my brother. My brother alive and by my side. That's what I want more than anything."

"You don't deserve to have a demon dragging you down..."

"Since when are you dragging me down Dean?" Sam interrupted Dean once again. "You helped me, you brought me back up from depression and what would eventually be death. Did you forget how I was when you found me? On the verge of becoming an alcoholic? You were there when you were possessing those people, looking out for me...don't tell me you forgot how bad off I was. And if you were to leave me…that would just happen again."

"That's just because you thought I was suffering in Hell," Dean supplied. "You could move on his time."

"Oh really? If you left I would be constantly trying to call you and be worrying about you. You could be getting hurt or going off the deep end without me. What kind of life is that? And if you died...just ceased to exist all together... What the hell Dean? Remember the soulmate thing; I would be damn lost without you!"

"I figured that if enough time had passed that soulmate thing could be broken and you'd be able to go to heaven and be fine, . I'm trying to do what's best for you!" Dean looked angry and devastated at the same time.

"And what's best for me is you staying here, right by my side! I need you, asshole! You're my brother and I love you, damnit! Don't you understand that?" Sam paused and walked right in front of Dean. "Imagine how broken you'd be if I left, it would do the same thing to me! The soulmate thing goes both ways Dean. And you need to stop fooling yourself because there's no way it can break, you know that. If you going to hell and becoming a demon didn't break our bond, in fact, it only made us stronger, do to think anything could break it?"

Dean looked up at Sam and he just looked so sad that Sam didn't know what to think. "I was just trying to do what I thought was right."

"I know that Dean. And I appreciate that but you were actually going to do what's worst for me. Trust me on this; I need you as much as you need me. I know what I want and now you know, even though you already should have. And this dying thing.. Dean what the hell is that about? You weren't going to try and fight?"

Dean sighed. "No I was going to. I was going to try my hardest but I just know that if Lilith thinks her plan might fail, she's going to try and take me down with her. She will either try and kill me before she gets sent to hell or have back up ready to do it. She hates me with a passion Sammy, you have no idea how badly she does, especially after I managed to escape hell and find you."

"Well, as you would say...Lilith can kiss my ass. I'm not going to let that happen. I may have let you down and wasn't able to stop you from going to hell...but this time, this time I'm not going to fail."

"You didn't let me down Sammy..."

"Yes I did," Sam admitted sadly. "I made a promise and couldn't keep it. But this promise I swear to you, I'm not going to break. You're not gonna die, you're not going back to hell. And if I promise you that, you have to promise me that you're not gonna leave on your own will."

"I want you to have that wife and kids…"

"God, Dean! When will you realize that you come first? You're a demon now and you need to hunt and you need me by your side to stay sane. So that's what I'm going to do because now I could never ever leave you on your own either in fear that you could lose who you are. Life changed and those plans I used to have...if they can't include you then they aren't worth having."

"I could visit. I'd call. You could see me every Christmas or whatever," Dean suggested.

Sam sat down next to his brother on the bed. "You really think that would be enough for either of us? Let me tell you just how lost I was last year without you and then maybe you'll get it through your head that I need you…."

"I want you to be happy," Dean interrupted before Sam could continue talking.

"I am happy Dean, honestly. I'm really happy hunting with you. After I lost you, I realized I took things for granted, especially my big brother. I realized that I don't need that white picket fence and if I had it, I'd never be as happy as hunting with you," Sam told Dean honestly. "And don't give me the damn crap about you being a demon dragging me down. I don't give a crap about you being a demon, you're my brother and that's all that matters. If you want me to be miserable and depressed then you can leave me. Now don't interrupt me this time. I'm going to tell you something and I never wanted to relive it, but his may just help you understand how much you mean to me."


Sam stumbled and tripped over his own two feet as the bartender threw him out of the building. They were closing for Christmas Eve and Sam refused to leave on his own accord.

"Go spend time with your family, kid!" the bartender yelled and Sam felt that pain come surging back despite the alcohol.

"I can't! They're all dead!" Sam slurred. "My brother's dead and it's my damn fault!"

He turned to see the bartender's response, but the man had already gone back into the building and closed the door, ready to clean up and then join his family for the holidays.

And Sam had no one. Dean was gone; the last Christmas they spent together was one Sam had been reluctant to celebrate at all.

And now Dean was spending Christmas in Hell, who knew what horrors were happening to his poor brother.

If Dean was still his brother, that is. Sam didn't know how long it took for someone to turn into a demon, but he prayed that hadn't happened to Dean, that his brother was strong enough to hold out. But Sam knew there was the possibility that his brother was gone and that thought filled him with dread and nausea.

He had tried everything he could to get Dean out and everything had failed. He wasn't going to give up, not ever but his options were dwindling quickly and Sam spent that time between researching either drinking or sleeping.

There was Ruby. Apparently she was trying to help him out but Sam had his doubts. But when she said killing Lilith might bring Dean back...Sam was intrigued. They had been trying to track her down but Ruby was on one of her breaks going wherever she went and Sam didn't want to spend a second of the holidays with the demon. He'd rather be miserable and alone than see her face.

There was one thing he could do. While he was going to be alone, he could at least pretend he wasn't.

Sam stumbled along the road until he found an opened gas station. He knew this town, whenever he wasn't tracking down Lilith with Ruby, he was here.

Sam bought a case of beer, getting a strange sad look from be cashier and then continued to walk. His destination wasn't very far away.

When Sam reached a field that made way to a small area of leafless trees, he could feel the tears prickling at the corners of his eyes but he kept walking on.

There, in a small clearing Sam sat down next to a makeshift cross he had put together himself and collapsed at his brother's grave, letting himself sob for the first time in weeks.

"Damnit Dean why couldn't you have just let me die? How could you be so selfish that you left me here knowing that my big brother is burning in Hell, suffering all because of me!"

Sam was met with only the sounds of an owl hooting a few trees away and the rustle of dead leaves on the grass. He knew Dean wasn't really here, that Dean couldn't hear him down in Hell. But just sitting here brought him some comfort. Talking to his brother's dead body made him feel a little less lonely. How sad was that?

"I miss you so damn much man," Sam whispered as he lay on the cold grass and brought his knees up to his chest. "I just keep thinking that one day I'm gonna wake up and this nightmare will be over, that you'll come walking through the motel door with. Smile on your face and some lame ass comment." Sam let out a sad chuckle.

"I know I gave you hell about your food and music and the car and your attitude. But you've got to know I was just messing with you right, that I was just doing my job as a whiny and annoying little brother?"

Sam paused and took in a deep breath. Any other time, the smells of nature would relax him but they only filled him with an intense sorrow.

"I honestly really loved that car, I mean it is our home. I only got on you with the food you ate because I was worried about your health. And the music...well while it's never going to be my cup of tea, it grew on me. It wasn't as annoying as I made it out to be."

Sam sat up and opened the case of beer. "You were the best big brother Dean. You never let me down and I'm still going to try like hell to save you. I'm a mess, I know and you would kill me if you saw me, but I'm always going to be a mess without you. I just...I hope you can forgive me for failing you. I just want you back, even if you hate me. You deserved so much more in life Dean; you never deserved all the shit life handed to you."

Sam cracked open a beer and took a long sip. "I know you're trying to get out of Hell because you're a fighter. And if by some miracle you manage to..." He stared down at the beer case. "If you manage to, I want you to know I didn't forget about you this Christmas. I'm going to leave this case here for you, big brother. I know it's not much but I figured you'd probably want a drink after everything you went through."

Sam finished his beer in silence and then lay back on the ground. He wasn't going to leave this spot; he wasn't going to leave his brother alone on the holidays, even if there was just a rotting body underneath the ground.

"Merry Christmas Dean," Sam whispered before he let sleep and his nightmares take him away.


Sam let out a deep breath after rehashing the entire memory to his brother. He couldn't help but let a few tears fall as he recalled those emotions and be desperation he had been feeling at the time.

"Do you see now Dean?" Sam stood up and began pacing the floor, needing something to do. "Do you understand how alone and depressed I was? Do you honestly think that it wouldn't happen again?"

Dean didn't say anything and Sam sighed. Had he just ranted and got all upset for nothing? Was Dean capable of even understanding Sam feelings and suffering? He had to be.

Dean stood up then and there was something different in his expression that wasn't there before Sam told the story.

"Sammy."

"What?" Sam sighed

Dean opened his mouth then closed it; he looked confused on what he was trying to say. Eventually he just huffed.

"Come here," he ordered.

Sam raised an eyebrow. "What? Why?"

"Do I have to explain everything to you? Just come here, stupid."

When Sam still didn't move Dean rolled his eyes and walked over to Sam. "You never listen," he muttered and before Sam knew what was going on, Dean took off the sling and wrapped both arms around his little brother, squeezing tight.

Sam was in so much shock that he didn't know what to do at first. Dean was actually hugging him and he had initiated it. Dean the freaking big bad demon was giving his little brother a hug, and an awesome hug at that.

"I thought you loved chick flick moments and now you don't even have the guts to hug me back. I'm hurt Sammy," Dean mocked.

Sam let out a short laugh as tears filled his eyes and he didn't waste any more time as he hugged Dean back with all his strength. And Sam didn't even hesitate as he started to cry on his brother's shoulder, the memories from last Christmas and the events of the day finally taking their toll.

"Hey, hey quit that," Dean was saying and it just made Sam cry harder, after all those months alone having no one to help him through his emotions, Sam was finally letting go.

Dean was now rubbing Sam's back in small circles. "It's okay Sammy, hey it's okay."

The fact that Dean could still comfort him, even as a demon spoke volumes to Sam, it showed how strong his brother was and how badly Alastair had failed at making the perfect demon.

"It's okay Sammy..." Dean repeated himself. "And I'm sorry man."

That finally got Sam to reluctantly pull back. Damn he had needed that hug and that comfort.

"Sorry for what?"

"For being an ass. For thinking that you'd be fine and dandy without me. I get it Sammy. This soulmate crap is a two way street. We feel the same when we lose each other."

Sam smiled, finally feeling happy for the first time today. "Good. You really mean that?"

"A hundred percent, I swear." Dean plopped back down on the bed.

"You're not going to give up? You're going to fight just as hard as me to stay alive?"

"Wouldn't dream of giving up."

"There you go." Sam's smile was that of relief. "And everything that Alastair said to you is crap and that you're awesome. He failed and he's too ashamed to admit it."

"Well…," Dean trailed on. "I am pretty damn awesome."

"You are. And it's no joke in the slightest. You're still my brother and he couldn't take that away."

"Couldn't even if he tortured me for a thousand more years."

Sam's smile turned into a grin. Dean was a happy being honest and it was so nice to see that his brother was finally recognizing his own self worth.

"And just one more thing Dean, I told you I'm happy. But I want to know about you, are you happy Dean?"

Dean sent an annoyed glare Sam's way. "What do you think? Of course I am! I'm with you instead of burning in Hell. Don't you think that would make a guy happy?

Sam held his hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay. Don't kill me for asking a question. I was just trying to be nice and show concern."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Well, you should know that it's obvious I'm happy. But really…when I left Hell, I didn't think it would be possible to be this happy again. I forgot what it felt like..it feels really damn good."

Sam sat down next to Dean. "Wait a minute. You've found this happiness that you never thought you'd have again, and you were willing to just throw it away by leaving me or getting killed?"

"Yeah, I know. Stupid right?" Dean seemed to realize what an idiot he had been. "But I was thinking of your best interest first…." Sam tried to interrupt but Dean glared at him. "But I know now that's not what you want…and in all truth I'm glad."

Sam nodded and both brothers realized that this conversation was over. Sam waited a few moments in comfortable silence before bringing up the big subject.

"So what do we do about Alastair?"

Dean gave a shrug that turned into a wince and immediately put the sling back on. "We could only try and get the plan out of him. He wasn't going to budge. I know he's not the only one that knows about the plan, so even if we had killed him, some other demon would take over the duties of setting the plan in motion." Dean paused. "But killing him would at least get a powerful demon out of our way. And Crowley is the one that wanted him dead so he could be next in line to be King of Hell."

"I didn't think it would be that easy to kill Alastair or even get the plan out of him," Sam admitted.

"No, we were fooling ourselves thinking we could," Dean agreed. "But Crowley probably isn't going to see it that way. He's going to be pissed, who knows if he'll want to continue working with us. I really don't want another powerful demon against us."

"Well, hopefully Cas will come back soon and have some good news regarding Crowley," Sam sighed.

Dean just nodded and then a strange expression came across his face. He jumped up and ran over to his duffle bag, shuffling through it.

Sam cocked an eyebrow. "What are you doing?"

"Shut up," Dean responded. So Sam simply sat back and waited to see what his brother was up to.

Dean stood up and threw a package wrapped in newspaper at Sam who caught it with a huff. "What's this?"

"It's a Christmas gift obviously, college boy."

"You got me a gift? I didn't think you'd want to celebrate Christmas, being a demon and all…"

Dean smirked. "Sammy, you know me better than that. I'd celebrate anything, no matter what the reason, you're the one that decided to be a Grinch last time."

Sam put the gift down and walked to his own bag. He had planned on giving this to Dean tomorrow but if Dean wanted to exchange gifts now, Sam wasn't about to complain.

"Here," he handed Dean his gift and watched as his brother greedily snatched it from his hands.

"You got me something, too? Awesome."

Sam laughed at how giddy Dean got over a small little gift. He was glad Dean could still take pleasure in the little things, that was what you had to when you lived the life of a hunter.

Sam watched as Dean ripped open his gift only to start cheering. "Dude you got my favorite! Apple pie and black licorice!"

Sam made a face at the five boxes of black licorice he had bought. "Yeah disgusting licorice. I will never understand how you have a nasty for that crap."

"Because it's awesome like me." Dean pointed at Sam's package. "Now open yours, freak."

Sam shook his head in amusement only to laugh when he saw the very large bottle of shampoo Dean had bought for him. The label claimed it "made your hair smell refreshingly floral" and it was the "top rated scent by women in America". Not to mention the bottle was a light pink with flowery designs on it. Sam opened the cap and took a whiff. It really did smell like flowers.

"Girly shampoo to go with your girly hair," Dean snickered.

"Well hey, it does smell good!" Sam admitted and then glanced down at the paper lunch bag that had also been in the package. Attached was a sticky note with Dean's handwriting on it.

"You need a haircut, bitch," it read. Sam snorted at his brother's comment and opened the bag to find a pair of scissors.

"Since you obviously lost the ones you had, I mean look at how long your nasty hair is," Dean mentioned.

"That's because I only like it the way you cut my hair. I did get it cut once while you were gone, in March...it just got too long and I felt bad about letting anyone else cut it, although the guy did do a good job."

Dean gave Sam a knowing smirk. "That's 'cause that guy was me, smart one."

Sam's mouth dropped. "No way..." He felt his eyes start to water but held back.

"I told you I was looking after you. I was there a lot of the time and you just didn't know it."

Sam smiled. "Thank you."

In return, Dean rolled his eyes. "Shut up."

"Well if you want my haircut so bad then you can do it." Sam pulled out the scissors, just noticing how long his hair actually was.

Dean gave a mock sigh. "Fine, fine. But I'm having some of that apple pie first."

Sam watched carefully as Dean cut himself a slice of pie and moments later put that first forkful into his mouth...

The older brother suddenly screamed and the plate and pie went crashing to the ground. Dean ran over to the small sink where he spit the pie out and rinsed his mouth with water.

"You...you little shit!" Dean pointed the fork at Sam. "Hot sauce? How the hell did you manage that?"

Sam shrugged innocently. "When we went out in town while we were at Crowley's, I bought your gifts probably like you bought mine. There was a bakery and I asked the baker to put hot sauce in with the apples for a bit more money."

Dean glared at Sam a while longer but eventually smirked. "Even I have to say that was a good one. But you wasted a perfectly good pie."

Sam shook his head. "I did learn from the best. Anyway I have a real pie saved for tomorrow."

Dean huffed and pointed to the mess on the ground. "Then you can clean this crap up. I'm gonna turn on a movie and I'll cut that disgusting hair of yours. Make some popcorn or something if you want because I know you won't touch my licorice."

Sam knelt down on the floor and began to clean up the mess on the ground. After a few seconds though, Dean called his name.

"What?" Sam asked and when he looked up he saw something flying directly at his face. He tried to duck, but it was as if the object was following his movements and Sam closed his eyes as the object collided with his face.

Dean burst out laughing and Sam yelled as he threw the…rest of the stupid hot sauce pie… off of his face.

"Dean!" Sam yelled but his brother wasn't in front of him. "How the hell did you do that if you're still on the bed?"

"Hello, demon remember? Magical powers that make stuff fly?" Dean chuckled, his voice wheezing from laughing so hard.

Sam was happy to hear his brother laughing, but he wasn't so happy about the mess on his face.

"Okay, well since you decided to use your powers to whip a pie at my face, you can use them to clean up the even bigger mess that you made while I go take a shower."

Dean mumbled something about Sam being a little bitch and just as he shuffled over, Sam grabbed a fistful of pie. He turned around, shoving it in his brothers face with a loud laugh.

Dean spit out the pie, wiping his face frantically. "Okay, that's it. You better watch who you're messing with, human."

Sam bent down to get some more mashed-up pie. "I'm not afraid of demons, you should know that Dean, you did teach me my powers."

And then, just like when they were growing up, the brothers had a food-fight in their motel room.


After they each took their showers, Sam stuck a bag of popcorn in the microwave for their movie night. They usually always carried around popcorn, chips and snacks for lazy days like this and to munch on sometimes while driving. When Sam came back with the snack, Dean had the scissors in his hand with a wicked grin on his face and there was some cheesy Christmas horror movie on the TV.

"Bring over a chair and sit your ass down," Dean ordered. Sam did as he was told and Dean knelt on the edge of the bed and took off his sling once again as he began trimming Sam's hair.

Sam would let himself relax when Dean was clipping his hair if it wasn't for Dean's annoying comments about the movie.

"Oh come on, that was so fake, you could tell that was a retractable plastic blade!" Dean commented on the stupidity of the movie for the fifth time.

"Dude, are you even looking where you're cutting?" Sam laughed.

"Of course I am, wouldn't want you whining if I accidentally nicked your skin."

Dean snipped away at Sam's hair for a few more minutes before announcing he was done and that he "did a freaking amazing job, be jealous."

And it did look really good. Dean always cut Sam's hair like the younger brother wanted, even though Dean himself probably wished to shave it all off.

After coming out of the bedroom, Sam saw that Dean hadn't moved from his position on Sam's bed. It fact, he was lying down at the end of the bed with his legs hanging off, arm back in the sling and munching on his candy while his eyes were glued to the bad movie.

Sam sighed but got into bed, resting his back against the headboard. "Dude when I lie down you're probably going to get kicked in the face with my big feet."

Dean grunted something and handed the popcorn bowl over to Sam and in return the younger brother gave Dean a pillow.

Sam took the bowl as he tuned in and out of the movie. He wasn't nearly as interested as Dean. He kept thinking of that last Christmas with his brother, although it had been nice and special, it had also been filled with sadness and dread that it would be Dean's last Christmas.

But that hadn't been true. Sam felt lucky that he was still able to spend another Christmas with Dean, one that could just be filled with simply happiness and relaxation. They were going to have more Christmases now. Dean wasn't going to die again. Both of them were going to be right and make it out alive.

Sam must have dozed off because when he woke up a different movie was on and Dean was snoring. Sam had slid down the headboard at some point and was lying normally. And Dean...well Dean had the pillow placed on top of Sam's feet and was now lying in a fetal position with his hand still stuck in the licorice box.

Luckily Sam's phone was on the nightstand and he grabbed it and snapped a picture of Dean. Even though it was 3 in the morning, Sam sent Bobby a "Merry Christmas" text and attached the picture of Dean.

Sam was about to doze off again when his phone buzzed, it was from Bobby.

That's priceless. I'm having that printed out and hanging it on my wall. Hope u boys r having a good Xmas. I'll call u 2 tmrw.

The next time they visited the junkyard, Dean was going to kill the both of them once he saw that picture.

Sam texted Bobby back and then rested his head back on the pillow. Even though Alastair escaped and things weren't exactly going as planned, Sam had a feeling that as long as their little family stuck together, they'd all be okay.

Chapter Text

Dean was rudely awakened from his beloved sleep as he heard noises coming from the other bed. At first it just sounded like Sam was having an ordinary dream, so Dean mumbled at his brother to shut up as he rolled over in bed.

Dean had just closed his eyes again as Sam began talking in his sleep.

"No...no... Where is he? Where's Dean?"

Sam's voice sounded panicked and his breath was picking up as he twitched like a fricken dog in sleep. Just great, he was having a nightmare.

Dean turned around and used his powers to fling a pillow at Sam's head but that only made Sam call out his name some more.

Sighing, Dean reluctantly shuffled out of bed and shook his brother's shoulder roughly.

"Wake your ass up Sam, you're dreaming," Dean yelled and Sam finally gasped as his eyes opened up and he shot forward in bed.

"Dean!" He called out, his voice trembling.

"I'm standing right next to you, freak." Dean went to laugh but stopped when he saw the scared look on his younger brother's face.

"You're still here," Sam stated as he stared at Dean and then sighed only to slide back down in bed. "Sorry I woke you up, just had a nightmare."

"Well now I'm wide awake and curious. So spill, what was it, angry killer clowns?"

Sam let out an irritated sigh and shook his head. "It was nothing, Dean."

"You were freaking out and screaming my name, come on it was something." Dean suddenly remembered the dream Sam had that first time at Bobby's. "Wait, you didn't dream about me having white eyes and killing you again, did you?"

Sam seemed to shiver at the memory and shook his head. "No, it wasn't that but it scared me just as much."

"What could scare you as much as that?"

Sam shrugged, trying to act as though his nightmare was no big deal. "You were gone, okay? I was living in some house with a family that must have been mine. But you weren't there. I tried calling your phone and asking anyone that I saw but they all said the same thing...that you were gone. I didn't know where you were or if you were even alive or..." Sam suddenly shook his head and looked away. "Never mind, it doesn't matter. It was just a stupid dream."

Dean was confused. He and Sam had already talked about this a month ago. Dean had decided that he wasn't going to leave his brother and told Sam exactly that. Sam was an adult; he could make his own damn choices. Even if Dean wanted him to have a family and thought that his little brother would be happier away from Dean and hunting... Sam told him that wasn't true. Sam had looked so stubborn and upset that he couldn't have been lying. So Dean had taken his word, if Sam wanted him to stick around after this was all over, Dean would be there. He sure as hell wasn't about to complain because he knew he'd most likely lose himself without Sam at his side.

But why was Sam still dreaming and worrying about it a month later?

"Dude, I told you I'm not going to leave you anymore, so quit it." Well that didn't come out quite as comforting as Dean wanted.

Sam turned and glared at his brother. "I can't control my damn dreams, Dean."

"Yes you can. You were dreaming about it which means you were worrying about it, so just stop."

Sam pursed his lips in a thin line. "Can you blame me? I'm scared that you were just saying all that to get me to shut up and not worry about you."

Dean sighed and rolled his eyes. "I told you that I'm never going to lie to you. I'm not going to start now, you moron. I said I'm not leaving and that's it. End of story, stop freaking out about it."

Sam gave Dean a long look before resting his head back on the pillow. "Okay, I trust you."

"Good, now shut up and go back to sleep."

Dean walked away from the beds before Sam could complain about anything else and stood in front of the window. The pitch-black cloudy sky reminded him of Hell, but the quickly falling snow eased his tension.

Dean wouldn't say this out loud to Sam but he was starting to worry. He really thought Sam was progressing around Christmas but he still hadn't been able to pull a demon's soul to hell. Dean understood that it was tougher and that Sam couldn't practice on him like he could when he just removed the soul from the body.

Dean could try and push Sam some more, but he was afraid, especially after Sam had gotten that nosebleed. Thankfully, that never happened again and Dean was more careful when teaching Sam how to control his powers and to not get carried away with the freedom they gave him.

Crowley was giving him hell though every time the stupid demon called. He was extremely pissed about Alastair and the fact that they didn't kill him right away. But even Crowley knew it wasn't their fault that he escaped and that the brothers had to try and get Alastair to reveal the demons 'plan b'. But now Crowley was getting angry that Sam wasn't progressing. Dean wasn't about to rush Sam though, his brother was the only one that knew what he could handle and apparently he wasn't able to send a demon to Hell just yet.

Dean heard some noises and turned to see Sam getting out of bed.

"Go back to sleep Sam," Dean ordered and he sighed when Sam decided to ignore him as he walked up to the window with a frown.

"I can't now. I'm wide awake." Sam was looking at the snow in disappointment. "Do you think it will stop, or that they'll clear the roads?"

Dean shrugged. "Who cares, if it doesn't we'll just crash here for a while longer."

Sam started to fidget and Dean sent him a perplexed glare. "What the hell is up with you?"

"Well...I found us a demon hunt a couple hours away. I wanted to leave tomorrow so we can get it in case it decides to leave soon."

A demon? Good, that meant more practice for Sam. "I'm sure it will be fine to leave in the morning. These crappy back roads will be tough but I'm sure the freeways will be fine."

"Just wanted to make sure you'd be willing to put your car through dangerous conditions," Sam smirked.

Dean waved his hand. "Psh, even if we started swerving off the road, I could use my powers to straighten the car or to stop it without using the brakes."

"Really, so you could just use your powers to drive the car? How come you haven't done that yet?"

"Don't be stupid, Sammy. Because I love driving too much. And plus it would get exhausting using my powers to steer and power up the car for so long."

Sam just nodded and didn't make a move to get back to bed. Something was up with this demon hunt Sam had planned, Dean could just tell by the tone of his voice. Whatever was on this kid's mind, whatever this hunt was really about, Dean was curious as hell to find out.


The roads were as bad as they expected as the brothers left the motel in the late morning. Sam refused to tell Dean any more information on the demon hunt and the older brother was beginning to get irritated.

As they pulled up to their new motel Dean figured he had enough.

"Where the hell is this demon? What is it doing? Possessing a family member? Running wild killing people? How come you're not letting me in on any of the research, damnit?"

Sam just smiled and exited the passenger side. Dean swore and shut off the car, getting out and following his brother inside.

"Are you going to answer me or what?"

Sam turned around and rolled his eyes. "There is no research, all we have to bring is the colt and demon killing knife. Trust me on this."

"It still doesn't explain why the hell you can't tell me anything!"

"Stop being so nosy Dean, you'll find out once we get there." With those words Sam walked into the motel lobby, leaving a very confused and irritated older brother pouting in the parking lot.

Dean trudged in, folding his arms as he stood in the doorway. "You're freaking me out here, Sam. Now tell me what the hell this is all about."

Sam shook his head as he tossed his duffle on his bed. "You don't have to worry about anything. We'll just take the Colt and Ruby's knife and we'll be fine. There's no reason to freak out so just relax. Let's grab something to eat and wait until it gets dark. I'll drive us to the demon then."

Dean didn't feel like sitting in the passenger seat after the times he was forced to with a broken arm. "I'll make you a deal. I'll shut up about this if you let me drive. You tell me where to go and I'll follow your lead once we get to this demon, no questions asked."

Sam smiled. "Alright, sounds good."

Dean grew more suspicious when Sam directed him to park in the empty lot of an old factory building. They seemed to be spending a lot of time in abandoned buildings nowadays and based on their last encounter in one, Dean would prefer to stay far far away from them.

Sam seemed to be getting antsier and antsier and as soon as Dean stopped the car, his little brother practically jumped out.

"Hold it, Sasquatch!" Dean yelled but sighed when Sam shot him an impatient look.

Grabbing the Colt, Dean huffed and went to follow his brother inside. It didn't take long before Dean could indeed sense a demon nearby. And this one felt strangely familiar...and not in a good way.

"Sam, shouldn't we be careful, try to sneak up on it?" Dean whispered. He wasn't used to being led around by his younger brother and he didn't like it very much.

Sam shook his head and never stopped walking. "We don't have to worry about that."

They kept walking until they reached a large, rusted door. Sam turned to Dean with a smile and then pushed the door open.

What Dean saw made him drop his mouth in awe.

The angel was there, standing next to a demon tied to a chair. But it wasn't just any demon, the thing was wearing a petite brunette and was thrashing as much as she could on the seat. A devil's trap painted on the floor imprisoned her.

It was fake-Ruby. Son-of-a-bitch, Sam and the angel had managed to capture fake-Ruby, the stupid bitch that Dean had tried to kill months before.

"Sammy…no way…dude how did you…"

Sam simply shrugged. "I had Cas help me track her down. He had her tied up in here for a few days. I thought maybe we could try and get a little information from her before we kill her." Sam turned to face Castiel. "You can allow her to talk now, and you can get going too, thanks for keeping a watch on her."

Castiel touched fake-Ruby on the forehead and then vanished with the sound of fluttering wings. Immediately, expletives came spewing from the demon's mouth. Apparently angels could take away someone's voice, even demons. Dean suddenly felt pretty grateful that this angel wasn't only on their side, but also trusting him enough to not use his powers on him.

Demon-bitch turned and glared at Dean. "You're pathetic! You just had to go and try and ruin everything! Lucifer created us and he would have given us demons paradise!"

Dean walked over to the stupid bitch with a smirk on his face. "Really? And you know that how? You never met Lucifer, he doesn't want us around. Sure, he created us, but only to be his brainless and viscous minions while he was locked down there. But if he ever rose…do you really think he would need us?"

"Of course he would! He would need us to help destroy humanity!"

"Do you really think that Lucifer, an all-powerful arch-angel would need the help of us? He could kill us with a thought. Hell, that angel that was standing right there can kill us with a thought. Even if Lucifer did use us to kill all the humans, we're just next on his list. We're damned, less than humans, and he's an angel. He doesn't want us."

Fake-Ruby laughed. "You're wrong! Why would he create us if just to kill us off? We're going to run the world after the humans are gone but you're trying to destroy it all! You could have had salvation just like the rest of us Dean!"

Dean sighed and leaned against the wall he was standing by. "Oh, well that's just too bad."

The demon snarled at Dean's attitude and then decided for a different approach. "So you're just gonna work for the humans? No one will ever be able to accept you for what you really are, Dean. Not even your precious little brother. He left you before when you were human and he'll leave you again now that you're a monster."

Dean saw Sam going to speak from the corner of his eye and he held up a hand, shutting Sam up with his powers. The younger brother pouted and Dean smirked in reply, letting Sam know that he had the situation under control. Sam could easily break out of Dean's powers, but he never did because he trusted his brother's judgment.

And this was a trust Dean was determined not to break. He had slipped up when torturing Alastair and had used his powers against Sam other than in a playful or protective way. For some reason though, Sam's trust hadn't wavered and Dean wasn't ever going to slip up like that again. He couldn't afford to get so blinded by rage and power, which could happen very easily to a demon. So Dean needed to be careful. No more torturing demons, he had to let her words brush past him.

They were lies, anyway. Dean wasn't as stupid to fall for them again after Alastair.

"I might have believed that before, Bitch. But I'm smarter now. Sam didn't leave to get away from me. He left to get away from the life and our controlling father; he left to try something new. The loss of contact was as much my fault as his, neither of us wanted to be the first to call, we were both stupid. So why don't you stop trying to insult me and instead let us know about that plan B you and your buddies have been cooking up."

"It doesn't matter what our plan is, because there's no way you'll be able to stop it. You're weak. You think I don't know what happened to you in Hell?"

Dean tensed up; he didn't know what this bitch was referring to…so much happened to him in Hell. Whatever it was, it was destined not to be good.

"You shut your mouth or I'll kill you right now…"

"No you won't! You're going to at least question me some more before you do." The demon turned towards Sam. "Your brother was even weak down in Hell. You chose the wrong side to be on, Sammy. You know what they tortured you brother with? Alastair sent in demons that looked just like you, that spewed hate and ate his insides. After that, Alastair placed your dear brother in memories from his own mind, all memories with you. All Dean had to do was kill this memory version of you. That's it…and then his pain would be gone and the torture would stop for good."

Sam turned his eyes to lock with Dean's black ones. Suddenly it all made sense, why Dean thought Sam would be better off without him. Those words were being told to Dean over and over in Hell, coming from demons that looked just like him.

And Sam knew exactly where this story was going and it gave him even more respect from his brother, if that was even possible.

"He couldn't Sam. He wouldn't even lift a finger at you, even though it wasn't you. He's a pathetic excuse of a demon! He was weak in Hell and he's still weak here! You'll fail, even if you stop the apocalypse, you still won't be able to stop the fall of humanity!"

Both brothers turned to look at the demon. She clamped her mouth shut, a look of fear on her face. She just leaked some information on the plan and it was too late to take it back. Whatever the demons had planned, it was going to attempt to kill humanity for good.

"So…this is still a plan to try and kill everyone then? Even without the Apocalypse?" Dean kneeled down so he was face to face with fake-Ruby. "Do tell me more."

"Just kill me, you asshole, because you're not going to get a drop more of information from me. I already know I'm going to die either way, just do it already!"

Dean just smirked back. "Oh you're right, we're going to kill you. But if you let us in on the plan, we'll make it quick. If you make it difficult…well then let's just say it won't be very fun for you. I do know a thing or two about torture…"

Dean could feel Sam fighting his powers after that statement and he wished Sam would just play along. However, Dean didn't have to worry once Sam broke free and rushed over to his side because fake-Ruby burst out in maniac laughter.

"Oh boy! That is just hilarious! You know, I might have believed you Dean but not after your little freak out last month." At the brothers' shocked faces she continued. "That's right, I know all about your angel trapping Alastair and you attempting to torture information out of him. It wouldn't have worked anyway, but you….oh boy…you gave up! You stopped! Just when you were really starting to lose yourself you pulled back. You're all talk, you're not going there again because for some reason you want to hang onto what little bit of humanity you have left for that abomination you call a brother."

Dean snarled, reaching out a hand but hesitated when he heard his brother's voice.

"Dean, she's not worth it…just forget about her…" Sam had his hand on Dean's arm, trying to push it down.

Dean bit his lip as he glared at the ugly demon-bitch. He wanted nothing more than to hear her scream and choke on her own blood, to watch her buckle in pain as he ripped out her stolen organs….

But with one look at his little brother, Dean knew he couldn't do that. He'd get too carried away no matter how much he would try to control himself. He couldn't risk hurting Sam, or losing any more of himself. Sam needed him.

Dean dropped his arm down and he heard Sam breathe a sigh of relief.

"I don't think we'll be able to get any more information out of her. Let's just end this now."

Dean nodded, as much as he wanted to find out more from fake-Ruby, she seemed hell-bent on protecting this secret. She had already failed at trying to get Sam on her side, so she wasn't going to fail this time by revealing the big secret.

And honestly, Dean didn't think there would be much they could do to stop it anyway. They had to focus on Lilith first and foremost.

Dean handed Sam the demon-knife. "You go ahead, think you deserve to take her out after what she tried to do to you."

Sam looked at the knife and a little smile crossed his face. "Oh yeah, I'm going to get rid of her. But I won't be needing that."

Dean was about to ask why Sam would want to waste a bullet out of the Colt when he noticed his brother lifting his hand up and it all began to click into place.

No way…Sam wasn't about to do what Dean thought he was? He wasn't strong enough yet….or was he?

Fake-Ruby began to cough as Sam narrowed his eyes and concentrated. Dean watched as her smoke-cloud slowly began to trickle out of her mouth, the life behind her stolen eyes fading as the body was left empty.

It only took Sam maybe thirty seconds; the demon's soul was left suspended in midair….

And then Sam pulled his hand down, his face held nothing but confidence and there was no sign of a nosebleed or any other trauma.

Sam seemed to be in full control of his powers.

The demon's soul began to drift toward the floor, it seemed to sink in but Dean knew the truth. It wasn't sinking, it was slowly, little by little, being sent to Hell. A few moments later, there wasn't a trace of the smoke-cloud anywhere. Sam let his hand fall to his side and took a deep breath, a relieved smile coming to his face.

"Sammy…," Dean started; he waited until Sam turned to face him. "You're awesome."

Sam grinned and blushed, ducking his head like the lame girl he was. "Yeah well…I did it for you. Happy birthday, Dean."

Dean cocked his head to the side. Birthday? Oh, was it January 24th? Dean had pretty much forgotten about the date after decades in Hell where there were no months, days or years.

"Dude, I don't age. I'm eternally 29. Well my body is. I'm actually close to a hundred years old if you factor in Hell time."

Sam sent bitch-face number 12 Dean's way. "Shut up. I don't care what you think. Today is your birthday. You might forget but I don't. I don't care that you don't age, it's not about getting older, it's a day just about you and I wanted to do this for you. So…I hope you like it."

Well, it might just be one of the best birthday presents Dean had ever gotten, but he wasn't about to tell Sam that. No need for him to get a big head.

"Well, it was a good start, although I hope you're not done with my gifts, I mean, I never even got…"

Sam rolled his eyes. "I got you some pie Dean. Don't worry."

Dean smirked. "Good, then I guess this was a pretty decent gift."

"Yeah, you're welcome, jerk." Sam rolled his eyes. "Anyway, I'm not done yet, let's go."

"You're not gonna tell me all about how you knew you were strong enough to send her to Hell?" Dean was curious to find out how Sam just knew.

The younger brother smiled. "I've been feeling stronger the last few demons we took on. I felt that urge to send them back to Hell and the one last week…I almost did it without realizing. I knew I would be able to send fake-Ruby back down there. Now come on, I'm taking you out to eat for a birthday dinner."


They checked the body that fake-Ruby had been wearing, although Sam told Dean that the body was empty. Apparently Sam had made the demon find an empty comatose host when she first came to him. They burned the body of the dead girl and then stopped at a diner.

Dean flirted with the waitress and Sam told her that it was Dean's birthday. He specifically went to a diner that sang the whole obnoxious "Happy Birthday" with the whole staff clapping and dancing. Dean of course, loved it and took the opportunity to sing along, much to Sam's embarrassment. Luckily, Sam had told the waitress to get Dean pie instead of the typical sundae so his brother had a huge helping of apple pie with ice cream on top to complete his meal.

Dean then took the opportunity to go in the back with the flirty waitress who eagerly took Dean's hand as they rushed to the back.

Sam rolled his eyes, paid for the bill, and waited out in the car while the sun began to set.

It was while he was waiting in the car when Sam allowed his thoughts to wander to what fake-Ruby had said to Dean. The demons had been torturing Dean using Sam's form and even though the younger brother suspected as much, it still hurt like hell to learn that.

At the same time, he knew how much that had to have hurt Dean and tore him up inside. It may have contributed to Dean finally becoming a demon. But also…even after something so painful happening to him, Dean was still Dean, he still trusted Sam just as much as ever and still loved his little brother.

And then Dean had been placed in memories apparently from their past. He was told to kill Sam's memory-self. That was all Dean had to do to stop the torture.

But he never did. From what Sam gathered, Dean had refused time and time again until the demons found some other way for him to break. They must have known that nothing would ever get Dean to harm Sam, even the memory version.

These were just more reasons to be amazed at Dean, this showed how strong he was and while it killed Sam to learn this, he was just so proud of his big brother.

Still, after Ruby shouting all this, it probably hurt Dean and brought up past memories. Sam really thought Dean should talk about it a bit.

When Dean finally came out, looking smug, Sam heaved a big sigh.

"What? You're the one that said to celebrate my birthday. And I say that a man needs some lovin' on his big day."

"Shut up," Sam rolled his eyes and didn't fail to notice that the waitress had come out of the front door of the restaurant, waving and winking to Dean.

"You gave her your number didn't you?"

Dean shrugged and changed his eyes back to black. "Yeah, if we happen to stay a little longer in this town, why not take up the opportunity? Not my fault all the ladies love me, Sammy. You're just jealous."

"Oh yeah, I'm so jealous," Sam rolled his eyes once more but decided to bring up the topic he was thinking of just moments before.

"Dean…what fake-Ruby said back there….was it true?" While Sam believed it, he was well aware that demons love to lie.

Dean suddenly got all defensive and glared at Sam. "Who cares? It doesn't matter," he said stiffly.

"It matters to me Dean, I care. Was it true?"

Dean left out an irritated sigh and didn't look at Sam when he spoke. "Yeah, it was true okay? No big deal, it was a long time ago."

Sam sighed, he wanted nothing more than to comfort Dean, but he knew that comfort would never be welcomed. "I think you should talk about it. Being tortured by something that looked like me…Dean, that had to…"

Dean turned his black eyes to Sam once again, he looked determined to stop this conversation right now. "I don't want to talk about it Sam. I'm fine, it wasn't you. Maybe sometime later if you won't give up. But it's my birthday, I want to celebrate it with my brother and bitching about my feelings is not how I describe celebrating."

Sam nodded, he could understand that. For someone that didn't seem to care about birthdays since he couldn't age, Dean sure was taking advantage of the date now. But his brother deserved it, so Sam wouldn't argue anymore. Sam was just glad that Dean did want to celebrate the day with him.

"Alright, I understand," Sam said as he started the car.

"Hey, can't I drive? Dude, it's my car and it's my birthday."

"Nope, not yet. There's one more place I have to take you."

That got Dean to finally shut up as he sat back in his seat, satisfied. "Oh alright then, get a move on."


So as the sun went down, Sam drove a little way out of town, until the houses made way for trees and farms, the snow coating the landscape, nearly untouched.

It would have been very peaceful, if Dean didn't ask where they were going every two minutes.

Finally reaching the destination that he was looking for, Sam took a slow right turn over an almost-completely-snow covered dirt path. Dean raised an eyebrow over a black eye but Sam ignored him. There was a small opening between a cluster of trees that Sam could just fit the Impala through that opened up into a large clearing. Sam parked the Impala, turned the key so he could leave the radio on and slipped in one of Dean's favorite cassettes. He spun the dial until it was on low, just barely audible and got out of the car.

He head a door slam shut as Dean followed him towards the trunk.

"What in the world are you doing, Sammy? Have you officially lost it? Did sending that demon to hell knock some screws outta ya? Really, what the…"

Sam pulled out the pie he had in the trunk and whipped it at Dean, who caught it with ease.

"Shut up, for once Dean," Sam ordered and he grabbed the cooler he had placed in the trunk earlier. Heading over to the front of the car, Sam opened the cooler and handed a beer over to Dean. Sam then sat on the hood of the car and stared up at the stars while Dean followed his younger brother's lead.

Dean was blessedly silent for a few moments before he spoke up. "Dude, we haven't done this in ages."

Sam smiled. "I know. I thought you might like it. Some relaxation and I'm glad the sky cleared up. It's kind of cold but…I don't know, I didn't think you'd mind. And I got you beer and pie to keep you occupied."

Dean nodded; his black eyes matched the color of the cloudless sky he was looking up at. "You know, that beer that you left at my grave? I found it there when I came back for my body. It was pretty gross but I liked being able to have some after getting back from Hell."

Sam smiled, typical Dean. He wasn't flat out saying thank you, but Sam knew that this was his demon-brother's way of saying he appreciated both Sam's Christmas gift and the gift Sam was giving him now.

"Glad you found it." Sam smiled. He glanced over at the pie Dean had opened and started to eat. It wouldn't hurt to have dessert once in a while. "Can I just have a little of that?"

Dean turned wide black eyes on him. "Dude, you give your brother, your demon brother, a gift and expect him to share it?"

"Please?"

Dean flicked his wrist at Sam, and the younger brother felt a force push him off the Impala and he landed butt-first in the snow.

"Dean!"

The only reply from the older Winchester was crazy laughter.

Sam stood up and brushed the snow off his ass. "We are so having a snowball fight when you're done with that."

"What? So you can brutally lose? Fine by me." Dean then shockingly held out the pie and fork to Sam.

"Really? Thanks, man."

Dean huffed. "Shut up, you can have four, maybe five bites."

Sam took his precious five bites of the pie before handing it back to Dean.

"So…" Dean started. "There's this demon. A white eyed demon. Samhain. He was one of the seals and was set free on Halloween. He's still around somewhere. I think with a little more practice, you'd be ready to send his sorry ass back to Hell, whattaya think?"

Sam was a little nervous about taking on a white eyed-demon. But he felt stronger. And if he could take on this Samhain, he'd be one step closer to taking on Lilith.

"I think I could manage that."

Dean nodded. "Good, we'll get Crowley on the look-out for him, he'll be happy to know that you've sent a demon back to Hell now. Maybe that will lighten him up a bit."

Sam took a deep breath and let it out, a fog of steam coming out of his mouth due to the cold weather. He knew that while they had the opportunity to relax right now, they wouldn't be getting many more chances. They were getting down to the wire now.

Soon, Lilith would be right around the corner.

Chapter Text

Two months later

"Dean I'm telling you right now that they'll notice!" Sam hissed at his brother.

Dean squinted as he looked into the restaurant through the large window. "No they won't, I'm getting better at this."

Sam crossed his arms; he didn't want to get into a fight while there were people all around.

"You're going to fall or end up in the wrong spot and everyone is going to freak out. Then we'll have to make a run for it."

Dean turned his temporary green eyes at Sam. "Don't have any faith in me Sammy, huh?"

"I do but just last week you fell in that fountain and almost gave that lady a heart attack!"

Dean rolled his eyes, yes he had missed the park bench he was aiming for but it had been right next to the fountain. It wasn't his fault that the lady had sat down on the bench right before Dean went to teleport. He had panicked and that was why he ended up in the fountain.

"You know that wasn't my fault Sam! I might not be able to teleport anything but small distances, but I've got this under control now. Just watch."

Dean stared at the empty table that the busboy had just cleaned. He focused in on the seat to the right and a few seconds later he felt that rush of air he always experienced while teleporting. It was kind of scary but exhilarating at the same time.

Dean looked around and smiled when he saw that he had teleported so he was sitting at the table, exactly what he had been going for.

Hah, take that Sammy. His little brother owed him one.

Dean heard a loud gasp and he turned to see one of the young waiters staring at him in shock and confusion. Oh boy, this would be fun.

Dean sent the kid an annoyed glare. "What are you staring at, kid? How about having some manners and asking me if I'd like something to drink? The service here sucks."

The boy, still staring at Dean in total unbelief, simply nodded. "Uh…y-yeah, sir. Wh-what would you like t-to drink?" he stuttered.

Dean leaned back in the booth and crossed his arms behind his head. "I want the most expensive beer you have. And it better be quick or I'll be having a talk with that manager of yours."

The kid's hands were shaking and as he nodded and turned, he ran right into Sam, who was coming over to sit at the table. He floundered and dropped his notepad. As he looked up to see who he ran into, his eyes widened at the sight of Sam's muscles and height.

"I'm…I'm so sorry sir!" The kid was clearly panicking now. He grabbed his notepad and quickly began to skirt away as Sam sat down.

"Hey, kid! Hey!" Dean called out even as Sam glared at him.

The waiter jumped and turned quickly but reluctantly. "Yeah, sir?"

"Are you going to ask if my little brother is thirsty at all? Or are you just gonna run into the guy?"

"Dean!" Sam hissed and turned kind eyes on the boy who was now hurrying back.

"I'm so sorry! Is there anything I can get you, sir?"

Sam sent a sweet smile the boy's way. "It's no problem. Just a water is fine with me."

The kid nodded hurriedly and then practically ran towards the kitchen.

Sam immediately turned his angry eyes on his brother. "Dean! Are you tormenting that poor kid? He looks scared out of his mind!"

Dean shrugged. "Hey, he was already freaked when he saw me magically sitting here out of nowhere. I figured I may as well have fun with him."

Sam knew he was lucky that Dean wasn't killing or hurting anyone, just messing around and being obnoxious. But it still got on his nerves sometimes. "At least you teleported where you wanted and didn't land on the table like at Bobby's."

"I told you I could do it, you so owe me for not believing in me."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I was wrong. But I won't owe you anything if you keep acting like a jerk to this…"

"Hello boys."

Sam jumped and even Dean looked a little taken aback by the sudden appearance of Crowley sitting next to Sam.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Dean asked. He noticed how Sam scooted closer to the wall to get further away from Crowley. "You always make us come to you most of the time or you call."

"Yes, well I figured I needed to tell this to you two imbeciles face-to-face to make sure you understand. I've located Samhain and found out about his plans since you two are too dense to figure it out yourselves."

"Really?" Dean asked, intrigued. "Then where is he?"

"If you let me finish, I would have gotten to that part, you bafoon," Crowley hissed. "Lilith had him laying low for a while. But now she sent him to a small town in Kentucky to kill all the citizens there. It was her idea to have him go from town to town destroying everyone to draw you two out."

"Do you think she's going to be there?" Sam asked.

"Of course not! She's drawing you there so Samhain can kill your pigheaded brother. She thinks that if he kills Dean, you'll want revenge and kill her, thus freeing Lucifer...blah blah blah..."

"Of course he wants to kill me, what else is new?" Dean rolled his eyes. "Okay, when do we have to be there?"

"Oh, tomorrow night...around midnight."

"Tomorrow?" Sam asked with wide eyes.

Dean shook his head angrily. "We can't do it by then! He's bound to have a bunch of demons with him and we'll need backup! We haven't been able to get into contact with the angel for weeks!"

"Then it's a good thing I knew you two would be incapable of doing anything by yourselves. I came prepared with backup for your incompetent selves."

Dean shook his head yet again, his eyes determined. "We're not working with one of your random demon cronies. Remember that one that tried to kill me in your mansion?"

"Relax, you fool! I've got someone you've already worked with. She's not too thrilled about helping out but it's a better alternative than me killing her."

Sam looked over at his brother who looked just as confused. "She?"

Crowley snapped his fingers and suddenly a very familiar blonde young woman appeared beside Dean.

Dean turned, just as startled as Sam. "Ruby?"

Ruby folded her arms over her chest and glared at Dean. "Obviously. Why don't you state the obvious some more, Dean?"

"I'd shut your mouth if I were you, bitch," Dean shot right back.

Crowley clapped his hands once and smirked at Sam's uncomfortable face. "Great, glad you're getting reacquainted. I'll be going now, and I better hear some good news in two days time." The demon shot Sam a menacing glare that caused him to shiver and then, the seat next to him was empty.

"Oh right, 'bitch'," Ruby was talking to Dean. "That's so unique. Can't think of a more clever insult? Why don't you use your brother with the college education, he should be able to come up with something to add to your limited vocabulary."

Sam saw the waiter appearing again out of the corner of his eye. "Guys, shut up!"

The waiter approached the table, looking confused as he placed Dean and Sam's drinks down. "There was man here…Where...where did he go?" The boy stuttered, looking around for Crowley. He looked even more spooked at the sudden appearance of Ruby next to Dean.

"He left. What took you so long?" Dean narrowed his eyes.

The boy took a cautious step backward and Sam glared at his brother. "I….well…I accidentally spilled the first drinks…."

Dean rolled his eyes and sighed over-dramatically. "Of course you did."

"I…I'm really sorry sir…I'll give them to you free of charge."

"Now that's more like it. Good, now I won't have to report you to your manager," Dean said and Sam had to bite back an angry retort. The kid gave Dean a doubtful look and Sam didn't blame him, Dean had been acting like an ass.

Dean held his hands up. "Hey, I just like messing with people. Now why don't you ask us what we want to eat and get her a drink? I'm starving, and you're taking forever."

The kid seemed more relaxed now that he knew Dean was just a jerk and not some crazy person and he quickly took their orders.

As soon as he left Dean turned back toward Ruby. "So you managed to get out, huh? That's a shocker. Or did Crowley pull your sorry ass out?"

"Oh, you mean like how he helped you get out? No, he didn't. I got out all by myself before he found me and dragged me here. I can actually do things on my own, unlike you."

"Really?" Dean leaned closer to her. "You got out all on your own, huh? I seem to remember you getting a little help…and I think that demon that helped you was me. Don't tell me you forgot the fun times we had downstairs…"

"Oh, believe me, I haven't. If there's one thing you're actually good at, it's sex."

Sam held his head in both hands and groaned loudly. "I don't want to hear about how you two…did it. Can we please change the subject?"

Ruby turned her attention away from Dean finally and smirked across the booth at Sam. "Almost forgot you were there Sam. You look better than I thought you would. Dean-o here was spazzing out down in Hell, worried sick about his little brother, and thinking up all kinds of scenarios of horrible things that could have happened to you."

"Shut up," Dean growled, clearly embarrassed.

"Just saying it as it is," Ruby shrugged and then turned to address Sam again. "Gotta say, I'm impressed with you two. Dean, for somehow keeping that same dedication for you and therefore keeping some bits of humanity intact. And you…" Ruby shook her head in awe at Sam. "You were so reluctant to become involved in anything with those powers of yours. And here you are, gladly accepting your demonic brother and from what Crowley's told me, you're even drinking his blood."

Sam shrugged once more. "I trust Dean to keep me safe. You should know that. We've got this blood thing under control."

Ruby nodded. "I can see that, you're not all strung up and bursting with power like I thought you'd be. The power's there all right, but you've got a handle on it, it's brewing under the surface but it's not taking control on you."

"That's because I'm an awesome brother and I know what I'm doing," Dean spoke up as the waiter came and placed down Ruby's beer and quickly walked away. "Now stop interrogating my brother."

"I'm not interrogating him Dean. Do you even know what that word means? Oh wait…"

"Enough!" Sam sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He was going to have his hands full with these two. "I know Crowley sent you here, but why can't you just leave? Dean said you wanted to stay as far away from this mess as possible."

"Why do you think? Crowley is keeping watch on me. If I don't help out, he's going to track me down and kill me. So we're going to find this demon and send it to Hell, and we're going to do the same as Lilith. We all want the same thing and we're going to have to work together. We can't make the same mistakes we did last time." Ruby pulled down her shirt sleeve to show a body-lock symbol, the same mark that Dean had branded all over his body, right on her upper arm. "Lilith isn't going to possess me this time. Not that it matters much for you two, you can both see my soul now so you'd be able to spot that it wasn't me right away."

Ruby paused and looked at Dean. "Which, speaking of souls…I can't see yours Dean. Nice trick there, if I didn't already know you were a demon, I wouldn't have a clue. I was a witch and I haven't even heard of this one. You're going to have to tell me that spell."

"Not in this lifetime, sweetheart." Dean smirked.

"Oh, how sweet, and here I was thinking that our sexual adventures didn't mean anything to you. So glad I was wrong."

Sam cringed and wished he had the power to make demons shut the hell up.


Both Dean and Ruby slept for most of the ride, much to Sam's delight. When Dean wasn't sleeping, he was driving and there was unusual awkward silence between the brothers. It wasn't based on being uncomfortable with each other, but from having a tag-along demon riding in the backseat.

When they arrived at the city Samhain was set to destroy, they chose a motel and booked two rooms. There was no way Ruby was going to stay with them.

"I wouldn't want to stay in a room with you two pigs anyway." Ruby rolled her eyes as they stepped out of the lobby.

"And I wouldn't stay in the same room as a bitch." Dean glared at her and Ruby stared right back.

Sam was confused as he watched the demons simply stare each other down; he didn't really get what was happening before it was too late.

Ruby cocked her head to the side, Dean smirked in response and then in a flash, she was on Dean, her tongue in his mouth and hands in his hair.

Sam backed away quickly, mouth open in both confusion and disgust. Dean slammed Ruby into the brick wall as he continued to make out with her. Her hands went to his butt and Sam turned and ran, almost running into the pop machine that was near the wall.

He glanced down at the key, feeling grateful that he had been the one who had grabbed it. There was no way that he would have been walking over to the two demons and asked Dean to please give him the key.

Sam walked quickly, eyes darting at every door he passed until he finally came across room 15. He unlocked the door quickly; hoping that Ruby's room wasn't located next to theirs. He really didn't want to hear his brother go at it with her.


The next morning Sam woke up to see Dean asleep on his bed, spread out on his stomach and lightly snoring.

Sam chuckled and left a note stating that he left to get some breakfast because he knew Dean would freak out if he woke to find Sam gone. When he returned, Dean opened sleepy black eyes and Sam smirked.

"Have fun last night?" he asked.

Dean let out a long, loud yawn. "Oh yeah rough demon sex is always fun. It also doesn't hurt that Ruby really knows what she's doing..."

Sam held his hands over his ears. "Gross! Enough Dean!"

Dean shrugged as he climbed out of bed. "You asked and you get an answer."

Rolling his eyes, Sam tossed his brother a sausage biscuit which he immediately ripped open.

There was a knock on the door and Sam immediately pulled out his gun. Dean froze and stared at the door, food spilling out of his mouth.

"Relax, I know you two have your weapons out. Now put them down and let me in."

Sam placed his gun on the table and opened the door to let Ruby in. He broke the salt line that wasn't there when he went to sleep. He had left the door unsalted so Dean could get in the room last night. His brother must have salted it himself before he went to sleep. Sam was glad that Dean's adventures with Ruby didn't cause his mind to go foggy and forget.

Ruby stepped into the room and smirked at Dean. "Hey lover boy."

Dean was in mid-chew, so he simply gave Ruby the middle finger.

"You should feel lucky. You know, if you weren't still in that pretty body of yours, I would probably not be banging you, no matter how good you are."

Dean swallowed loudly. "I wasn't so pretty down in the pit and you didn't seem to have a problem."

Ruby narrowed her eyes. "No one is pretty in hell Dean." The atmosphere in the room completely changed. "Besides, you looked better than me."

Sam knew what Dean's soul looked like, Ruby's was probably worse. Even though Sam figured most demons wouldn't care, it seemed that both Dean and Ruby had a hard time with their actual appearances. He actually felt kind of bad for Ruby.

Dean on the other hand, just smirked. "Damn straight I did. I'm the most human looking thing down there." Then as an afterthought he added, "But you didn't look nearly as bad as all those other bitches down there."

Ruby sighed. "I don't know which version of you I hate more. The human one or the demon one."

"They're both pretty obnoxious actually," Sam added in, causing Ruby to burst out laughing and Dean to scowl.

"Don't you dare take her side!" he growled.

"I'm just stating the truth Dean," Sam smiled.

Ruby suddenly walked over to the table and peered into the bag of food Sam had bought. Geeze, these demons with their damn food.

"The bagel's mine, yours is the other sausage biscuit."

Ruby took the food but eyed Sam warily. "You bought me food?"

"Yeah, consider it a thank you for helping us before."

"Well, then… next time you better remember to get me fries. I love those things like that freak over there loves pie." She pointed her thumb over her shoulder to Dean, who was already finished eating.

"Stop trying to rile me up." Dean walked over to sit across from Sam at the small table. "Let's take a look at what's going on in this town and try to figure out where this Samhain is hiding out at. I love how Crowley gave us no information."

"Oh yeah, that's right, I almost forgot," Ruby said, picking at her breakfast sandwich. "He told me Samhain would be hiding out in a church probably, he's going to be reciting some ritual to destroy everyone in the town or something."

"Thanks for withholding that important information." Dean rolled his eyes. "Then me and Sammy are going out to try and locate him. You go back in your room."

"What? Why can't I come too?"

"Because he can sense you, darling," Dean said in a sickly-sweet fake tone that caused Ruby to growl. "Later on tonight, he'll be with a bunch of demons like Crowley said, so it's not like he'll notice the addition of an extra demon around. But right now, he could be alone and I'm not taking a risk of him sensing you and having him kill us."

Dean then walked into the bathroom to get ready, effectively ending the conversation.


After the brothers finally convinced Ruby to go back in her room and salted her in there – which wasn't easy- they got into the Impala and Sam pulled out the list of church addresses he had looked up and wrote down. He pulled out the GPS and typed the addresses in.

"There's one four blocks from here actually…let's check out that one first." He clicked on navigate and the GPS told Dean to go right.

"Man, it's nice to get some peace and quiet." Dean pulled the Impala out of the parking lot. "She was driving me nuts."

Sam didn't argue with that. "You think we can trust her?"

"We kind of have to," Dean admitted. "Anyway, she hasn't really shown any indication of lying to us, Lilith hates her guts too, and we're fighting for the same thing. Trust me; I wouldn't be sleeping around with her if I thought she was a back-stabbing bitch."

Sam smirked at that. "I know you wouldn't. Anyway, if she wanted one of us dead, she could have done so already."

Dean hummed his agreement. "I don't think I have to ask this anymore, but you did take the blood kool-aid this morning right?"

"Yep, had it before breakfast."

"Good." Dean pulled the car to the side of the road. Sam saw that there was a small church across the street. "I'm not sensing a damn thing, you?"

Sam focused in on his powers and sensed nothing other than Dean. "Nope, we've got three more. Next one is about a five minute drive."

Dean followed the GPS's instructions to make a U-turn. "Hopefully Ruby will agree to help us with Lilith. We'll need a bunch of fucking back-up. Bobby's probably gonna be in, Crowley won't come within a thousand miles of the place, and who knows where the angel is."

"He said he was trying to distract the angels so they go after him and not us."

"Yeah, well I have a feeling that's not gonna last for long, I think we'll probably have a run in with those feathered asses sooner or later, it's been too quiet."

Sam didn't want to think about the possibility of the angels coming for them so he decided to change the subject. "So, what did Ruby really look like? You know, in Hell?"

Dean cocked an eyebrow at Sam. "Random. Uh, well…you couldn't really make out what she used to look like under all the scars and injuries. I mean, you kind of could, it was easier to make out what she looked like rather than the other demons. She probably used to be hot. Whatever hair wasn't burned off her head was blonde, I think she chose a similar looking girl to possess, although she looked shorter and had a thinner face than the vessel. A lot of demons do try and pick a vessel that looks like them, that is, if they can remember what they looked like."

"What do you think made her remember what it's like to be human? I mean, she didn't sell her soul for someone. She sold it to become a witch."

Dean shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe she was a really good person and it was tough to really break her. Or maybe she was just really stubborn. Maybe there's more that she remembers that she's not letting on…hey, this is it."

Sam immediately shook his head. "I don't sense anything." He saw Dean motion his agreement. "What if he skipped town?"

"Well, that might be good because he wouldn't kill any of these people, but bad because then we lost him and he'd just kill another town. But we still got two more, put in that next address."

Sam did as he was told and they drove off again. He couldn't keep his mind from wandering. "Dean?"

"What?"

"Do you ever…dream about Hell?"

Dean's grip tightened on the steering wheel. "What the hell is up with these random questions, Sammy?"

"I'm just thinking. And I wanted to ask you for a while, but was scared you'd scream at me."

The look Dean gave Sam looked a little sad. "I would never scream at you for asking me a question, you idiot."

"I know that now. I thought of the question back when we first got reunited and I was still getting used to you being a demon and crap."

Dean nodded and was silent for a moment. Sam almost thought Dean either forgot the question or wasn't going to answer.

"I don't dream, Sammy."

This shocked Sam. "You don't dream…what about Hell, or at all?"

"I don't dream at all…ever."

"Well…" Sam was at loss of what to say. "I mean, that's good that you can't dream of Hell. But…it sucks that you can't dream of anything good either."

Dean shrugged one shoulder. "I don't mind it. It makes it seem like I don't get enough sleep though, that's what I hate. Even though I don't really need sleep like you do…"

Dean trailed off and Sam figured that was the end of that conversation. That was, until his brother surprised him once again.

"I do think about it though. When I'm not keeping busy. The things that happened to me, the things I did. That's why I'm always being an annoying ass and I don't shut up or I mess with you, the more I keep busy, the less I think about it. Keeps me sane and focused."

Sam swallowed, not trusting his voice to not crack. "You don't ever have to shut up if you don't want to. Play as many pranks on me and aggravate me as much as you want. I won't ever complain again."

Dean rolled his black eyes. "Nah, that would really get on your nerves and you might actually use your powers on me and send me back to Hell to have some peace and quiet." At Sam's glare Dean chuckled. "I'm kidding Sam. But that's why I go out to bars and sleep around with women and irritate waiters and bang Ruby. I keep occupied without having to constantly get on your nerves."

"I get it, I do," Sam told his brother. "And I know I said this before, but I'm saying it again. If you ever want to talk about what happened down there, or just about anything…I'm here for you Dean. I'm always willing to listen."

Dean huffed. "I know that, no need to keep repeating yourself."

Sam huffed right back in response.

"And thanks," Dean added suddenly and quickly. Before Sam could respond he felt something…a demon…and a strong one at that. He looked in the distance and saw the big church they were approaching.

Dean locked eyes with Sam. "I think we've found our demon, Sammy."

Chapter Text

"Go out and make sure the coast in clear," Dean ordered Ruby, who was busy complaining in the backseat.

"Why do I have to be the one?"

"Because I don't feel like getting attacked by demons, and I'm sure as hell not sending Sammy out there. Go."

"What if he senses me?"

"He won't, there's too many damned demons in there now. He's not going to pick up on one more. Now hurry up!"

Ruby's black-eyed glare was nothing short of venomous as she exited the Impala and trudged around to the church.

They were back at the church grounds, only it was nearly midnight. Both brothers could sense at least a dozen demons around the area but they hoped most of them were inside and not lurking around the exterior of the building. Dean had sent Ruby out to go check, and had even given the demon her knife back temporarily so she could kill any demon that might be outside.

After the outside was clear, they would quietly make their way inside. Sam didn't know why Dean and Ruby worried about Samhain realizing they were there, he had to know they were coming and he probably didn't see the three of them as much of a threat.

Lilith probably ordered one of her minions to tip Crowley off to the location of Samhain. Lilith wanted them here. She figured Samhain would be strong enough to kill Dean, which was exactly what she wanted, to get his big brother out of the way so Sam would be filled with revenge and want to kill her.

She didn't realize how much they already knew. And she certainly didn't realize how powerful Sam had gotten, especially in these past few months.

Sam had been sending demons to Hell since Dean's surprise birthday gift of sending the Ruby imposter back. It had gotten so much easier and extracting the souls was now a walk in the park. He had learned to really get to know his powers and exercise his full control over them, never once letting the power take a hold of him.

It felt damn good to know that he could get rid of demons so easily and send them back to where they came from. Not only that but Sam could save the host most of the time, as long as the demon didn't damage the body too badly. But he knew he couldn't get a big head, while it felt amazing, Sam couldn't let the thoughts of what he could do and how powerful he actually was consume him.

Dean had warned him about that, and it was Dean's words that kept him level-headed. He understood now, if he had been doing this with the Ruby-imposter, not only would he probably be drinking too much blood and get addicted, but he would have also let the power go to his head. It was his brother that kept him grounded, it was because of Dean that Sam was so successful, yet never lost sight of who he was.

"What's going through that freaky head of yours?" Dean mumbled, without even glancing over at Sam.

"Nothing." Sam shrugged to himself. "I just think we can actually do this. Not only Samhain but Lilith. I feel confident."

"Don't get too ahead of yourself there, Sammy. She's bound to realize that you've gotten stronger sooner or later, she'll have something up her sleeve."

"Yeah, I know. But I think we can take her down."

"I think we can too, if I didn't I wouldn't be putting you through all this. But we have to be careful. And they do have a plan B, so even after we send the bitch back to the pit, we better look out for whatever they're going to do and try to stop it."

Sam sighed. Didn't they at least deserve a little break? Just some time to relax and celebrate that they got rid of Lilith? Of course it never worked out that way.

Sam heard a soft knock on the driver's side window and jumped in his seat. Dean remained calm and rolled down the window. Ruby was standing there, one hand on her hip and the other holding the demon-knife, blood staining the metal.

"I got two of them, didn't alert any inside. It's clear so let's get moving."

Dean hopped out of the car and Sam followed suit. The older brother pulled out the Colt, just in case, and they went to the Impala's trunk to grab a few flasks of holy water.

They then snuck across the street and up to the church. Sam was about to go open the front door when Dean grabbed him by the back of his jacket and pulled him away.

"Don't you think they'll be guarding the front door, genius?" Dean whispered harshly.

"They'll see us no matter what we do!"

"It's still best to be stealthy so we won't alert the rest of the demons and be outnumbered!"

Ruby sighed and rolled her eyes behind them. "What he's trying to say is that we should go in through the back door. When I was over here, I looked inside and there's only two in the back. Now come on."

Ruby led the way to the back and turned to Sam. "Look through the window and tell me where they are."

Sam squinted his eyes and tried to view what was behind the grimy old windows. He saw the door from the inside with a man to the right of the door. There was also another standing a little further ahead and it looked like there were three demons in the front of the old church, each standing right next to the front door. Dean was right.

Sam shared this information with his brother and Ruby and it didn't take long for them to think of a plan.

"Alright, I'll take care of these two by the back and stab them, shouldn't be too hard. Sam, you use those powers and send one of them back to hell. Dean should be able to shoot the other two by the front with the Colt before they can get to us. Easy as pie."

"I better get some pie after this," Dean mumbled, as if he hadn't had enough pie in the last few months that a normal person would have consumed in a few years.

Sam was waiting for Ruby to count down, but instead she walked right over to the door and opened them, forcing the brothers into action.

Sam saw Ruby lunge at the demon near the door out of the corner of his eye before he focused on his task. Sam took a step forward and held out his hand at the demon that began racing toward him.

The demon stopped dead in its tracks just as Sam heard a shot ring out and another demon dropped to the floor, its body sparked a few times as its soul died.

Focusing back on the task at hand, Sam concentrated on ripping the demon's soul out and sending it back to Hell. There was a flash of movement to his right and then another shot as the sound of a body falling to the floor was made audible.

Sam pulled the soul out easily, liking how smooth and quick the extraction was taking place now. Within then seconds, he had the demon sent back down to where it came from, and a probable lifeless body lay at his feet.

There was a loud yell and Sam turned just in time to see a desk come flying toward his face. He was so stunned that he didn't even think to move. Luckily for him, he had a big brother that always had his back as the desk suddenly froze in midair, nearly a foot from Sam's face, and whipped back across the room, hitting the remaining demon and knocking him down.

Dean stepped in front of Sam, his face angry as he lowered his hand. "What the hell Ruby? I thought you had those two taken care of? That desk almost smashed Sam!"

Ruby got up from where she must have fallen in battle and walked over to the demon that just began to pull the desk off of it. She knelt down and stabbed it in the chest.

"I'm sorry; I only had a damn knife and had to get up close and personal with two demons, unlike the both of you! Besides, I had him; it's not my fault that your genius brother decided not to duck when a desk came flying at him!"

"You say one more word about my brother and I'll put one of these bullets in your head!"

Ruby rolled her eyes as she kicked at the dead host's head. "Suuuure you would. That's why you chose to help free me in Hell, just to kill me. Plus I'm good in..."

For once, Dean actually stopped the conversation before Sam had a chance to. "Just shut up, after that comment you're not getting any action from me, bitch. Let's just get downstairs and end this thing so I won't have to look at your face anymore."

"Dean, take it easy..." Sam attempted at coaxing his brother.

"I will not take it easy! You could have been injured or died because she couldn't take down her demons fast enough!"

"Let's all just shut up and get downstairs!" Ruby bellowed, "If we don't all get on the same page again they're going to be able to easily take advantage of us."

Honestly, Sam wasn't even sure how they made it this far with those two.


As they descended down the old stairs that looked as if they would snap at any minute, Dean made sure he was in the lead. He wasn't about to let Ruby take the lead because he didn't rust her to be able to take down whatever enemy may pop up. And he would never let Sam go ahead. It was his job to protect his baby brother and he wasn't going to screw this up. He knew Sam was capable of taking down demons with ease, but still...any chance Dean could take to protect him; he was going to do it.

Dean thought that they may have to search a bit to find Samhain, that he may be hiding somewhere for the attack.

Well, he sure as hell was shocked when the demon was standing ten feet from the base of the stairs, just...staring them down.

Sam came to stand beside him, and Dean could sense his brother tensing up. Dean couldn't blame him too much, the demon was wearing a pretty creepy looking host, hair long and greasy, and oh, his eyes were pure white. Nothing creepy about that.

Without saying a single word, Samhain threw his arm up and Dean knew what was coming. It was the same shit Lilith tried to do to Sam back in that house. The "white killing light" as Dean liked to call it. The white-eyed demons had this power, this force, which could kill a human in seconds and just cause them to drop dead. Why they didn't use it more often, Dean didn't have a clue.

But he knew, he knew it wasn't going to work. Sam was immune to that white killing light and luckily, it couldn't kill demons either. The light ebbed away and the three of them were left standing there with Samhain simply cocking his head to the side in confusion.

"Nice try, asshole," Dean chuckled. However his laugh was short-lived as he was suddenly tackled to the floor and fell face first. Dean spun his body around as quickly as possible to see a demon in a teenage girl snarling at him. She punched him in the face once and tried to reach for the Colt that was tucked in Dean's waistband.

Dean laughed at her lame attempt and kneed her in the stomach. He loved that demon powers didn't work against other demons. It all came down to hand-to-hand combat and Dean knew he excelled in that area more than any other demon. He was a trained hunter, after all.

The demon fell off Dean and landed on her ass. Just as she looked up, Dean snapped the Colt out and shot her between the eyes.

Dean turned to check on his brother to see that Sam had his hand extended and that Samhain was frozen in place. Sam seemed to be struggling though, as he face was scrunched up and his eyes seemed to being to water.

Maybe it was the fact that the damn demon was just glaring at the kid, a look of pure hatred and evil. That had to be freaking the poor kid the fuck out.

"Don't look at his face Sammy; don't let him get to you. Just concentrate on what you're..."

There was a loud crash to the right of him, and Dean reflexively turned to see what had happened. Ruby got thrown into the brick wall, the demon-killing knife flying from her grasp to land on the opposite side of the room.

Of course.

There were three demons on her though, two of which turned to focus on Dean now that Ruby was unarmed.

Dean sighed as he pulled out a flask of holy water from his jacket pocket. The demons came charging at him and Dean sprayed the bottle at the demon to his right side, watching her face blister and buckle in pain. Some of the water hit Dean's hand, and though his skin sizzled, he barely noticedany pain, the tolerance thing must be really working.'

While that demon was screaming and clutching at her face, Dean shot the other one in the chest simultaneously. He reloaded quickly, and kicked off the demon that was now clutching at his leg, trying to pull him down as her skin still smoked.

Dean stepped on top of her chest to keep her down, hearing ribs snap and then shot the bitch in the face.

Good, now only one more to take care of. Dean turned to face Ruby only to see her lying on the ground, attempting to get up. The demon that had been fighting her was gone.

Sammy. Shit!

Dean heard a body drop to the ground and saw Sam grinning over Samhain's body. He would have said some sort of congratulations, or at least make fun of his brother, I it weren't for the demon coming up behind Sam, a regular knife in his hand.

"Sam!" Dean yelled and he thought quickly. Using all the power he could muster, he held his right hand out towards Sam; it was getting harder to control his brother, since Sam was getting so much stronger. But at the same time, Sam knew Dean's powers and he allowed himself to be affected by them and not fight them off.

And that's just what Sam did; he allowed Dean's powers to push him away. Only, they pushed Sam a few feet rather than across the room like Dean was planning.

Still, it was good enough as the demon swung its knife through thin air, Sam just out of its reach. Dean then held out his other hand towards Ruby's knife, knowing this was the only guaranteed way to get his brother out of harm's way.

The knife picked up off the ground, and Dean directed it to fly toward the demon, ignoring the pain that started to shoot up his bad arm at the motion. It embedded itself in the host's heart before the demon could even bring the knife up again.

As the last demon fell to the ground, Dean clutched his arm to his chest without realizing it and Sam frowned in response.

"Dean, your arm…"

Dean rolled his eyes and noticed that Ruby had walked over to them. "You just sent Samhain, a white eyed demon, to Hell and you're concerned about my arm?"

Sam just frowned some more. "Of course I do, what kind of brother would I be if I didn't care?"

Dean stepped over a few of the hosts' bodies and walked over to Sam's side. "Don't worry about it, I'm fine. Dude, you just sent him to Hell, and you did it so quick too!" He slapped Sam on the back, probably much too hard from the look on Sam's face.

"It wouldn't have been so quick if you guys weren't taking care of the rest of the demons."

"Well, that's exactly what we're gonna do when we take down Lilith. It will be as simple as that." Well, Dean sure hoped so, but no reason for Sammy to hear his doubts. Dean faced Ruby. "Speaking of taking care of the demons, what the hell! Again Ruby? Getting your ass kicked?"

"Oh, are you talking about when the three of them cornered me and left me without a weapon? You didn't see me take down three more of them before that happened!"

Dean shook his head. "Looking more and more like the damsel in distress there Ruby, needing me to come to your rescue…"

Ruby shoved at Dean. "If it wasn't for me taking down three of them, you would have been overpowered, you asshole!"

Ruby was getting boring, so Dean turned his attention off of her. "Sammy, let's get going."

"What about all these bodies…these people…they were people of the town…"

"I'm not worried about that, with the condition of this basement, no one will find them down here until the smell gets too bad. Now come on."

Sam was looking at the dead bodies and frowning. "But Dean…"

"They're dead, there's nothing we can do. I'm going out to the car but if you want to sit here with a bunch of dead bodies, be my guest." Dean didn't understand what the Hell Sam wanted them to do. What was the point in them taking care of the bodies when the town would eventually find them? Must be a human thing that he didn't understand.

Sam sighed and followed both Dean and Ruby back to the Impala but he snatched the keys away from Dean as soon as his brother pulled them out.

"If this is because of my arm, you can forget it. I'm driving.

"No, you're not. You're putting on that sling and taking it easy. I did just send a white eyed demon to Hell; shouldn't driving the Impala be my reward?"

Dean narrowed his eyes at his brother, damn, he had a point. "Fine." He tossed the keys to Sam and went to get the stupid sling from the trunk. He couldn't deny that his arm was starting to really hurt him; it probably started when that demon bitch knocked him down. He just didn't notice the pain at first due to his demon-adrenaline.

"Well..." Ruby was rolling her eyes from where she stood by the Impala. "I'm going to leave. Can't say this was much fun, but I'm sure Crowley will demand me to come and help you two idiots again. There's my number if you need it." She handed a piece of paper to Sam. "Be careful on that poor little arm Shortbus." Ruby winked at Dean and then she was gone.

"Finally!" Dean called out in joy and then looked at Sam. "Help me get this damn sling on, would you?"

Dean couldn't help but chuckle at Sam's annoyed expression. That look right there, was what he lived for.

They had only been in the motel for about a half an hour when Dean's cell rang, causing him to jerk awake from where he had been dozing on the bed.

Sam chuckled and peered over at the phone. "It's Bobby."

Dean grumbled and reached for his phone. "What, Bobby?" he answered in irritation. This better be good to wake him up from his nap...

"What are you boys doing?" Bobby asked, avoiding any kind of "hello" and it immediately got Dean's attention. Something was wrong.

"We just got back from hunting down a demon. Samhain, a white eyed asshole. Sammy sent him back to Hell."

"I want you both to head over to my place, now," Bobby demanded, his tone seemed frightened.

Dean turned on the speaker and gave Sam a confused glance.

"Why do you need us to come over?"

"I hunted down a demon today and it started going on about a bunch of stuff, you know, like they always do. But then, it started telling me how the angels were coming after you two. How they were going to track you two down so they could kill you Dean."

"Why would a demon care about what the angels are doing?"

"I got the hint that they were working together. At least to kill you. So when you just told me that you got back from a demon hunt, I assumed that those demons may be working with the angels."

"But they can't track us Bobby," Sam supplied. "Cas, the angel we told you about, the good one, he carved these protection symbols on our ribs..."

"I'm not even going to ask what the hell you're talking about with ribs. I'm just telling you two what I heard and that this demon seemed pretty damn sure that the angels were going to be on your tail."

"It's probably lying Bobby."

"Maybe it is. But maybe it isn't. You two aren't doing anything, so get your asses over here. You're safer at my place and if need be, we can hide out in the panic room. I added angel protection symbols, so we'll be safe."

Before Dean could say anything, Sam butted in. "We'll leave right now Bobby. Thanks."

"Okay, you two be careful. And hurry."

Dean ended the call and Sam turned to him. "Don't you dare give me shit about this. We're going. This is your life on the line and I'm not risking anything. We're going to be as safe as possible. Let's go."

Dean opened then closed his mouth. What could he possibly say to that, when he himself was usually the one saying lines like that? Well, it looked like Sam sure was following after his big brother. Dean just wasn't too sure if he liked it or not, maybe he should stop being so bossy and Sam would follow suit.


When they got to Bobby's, the older hunter immediately went into panic mode. "Let's get into that panic room, now."

Dean shook his head stubbornly. "If something's coming to kill me, I'm not going to hide away. I'm going to fight it."

Sam nodded his agreement. "Me too."

"No you're not!" Dean pointed at his brother. "You're going in there where it's safe!"

"I'm not leaving you out here..." Sam was forced to stop as his cell phone rang. Everyone in the room shut up and stared at the device, almost afraid to move.

Not recognizing the number, Sam hesitantly accepted the call and slowly brought the phone up to his ear.

"Hello?"

"Sam," the serious voice spoke from the other end and Sam immediately recognized it as Castiel's tone.

"Cas?" Sam questioned. Dean sent his brother a strange look. "Why didn't my phone recognize your number?"

"I lost my phone you provided me with. However I have your number memorized now in case of emergency. I must say there is an emergency right now. You must tell me where you are so I can come to you."

Sam frowned but gave the angel Bobby's address anyway.

"What if he's leading us on Sam? You just gave us away!" Dean complained and Sam realized that he may have a point there.

"You already gave yourselves away." Castiel was suddenly standing next to Sam. Bobby nearly yelled, and as Dean would probably say, 'looked like he had just shit himself'.

"What the hell are you talking about? Are you leading the damn angels here?" the older brother yelled but Sam knew that even if Cas did, that yelling was pointless. They were doomed.

Castiel looked confused. "Why would I do that? I am your friend. But you are being tracked. The demons that you were fighting were working with the angels. They placed a tracking device on you."

Dean paled and Sam knew what he was thinking. Dean had gotten into fights with those demons and there was a very likely chance that they had easily put a tracking device on him without him realizing it.

Sam watched as his brother felt around by his jean pockets and pulled out a strange looking coin, this must be the same thing Crowley used to track them.

"Damnit!" Dean swore. "She wasn't going for the Colt, but putting this damn thing in my pocket! Sonuvabitch!"

"What do we do?" Sam asked the angel desperately.

"There is nothing you can do. I could take the coin away, but my brothers would just find other opportunities to track you. Besides, they are already on their way."

"Then why the hell are you even here? To watch us die?"

"I would never come to watch you die. I am here to help. There is nothing you can do but there is something I can do." The angel opened up his coat and button-down shirt to reveal a marking of some sort carved into his skin.

Dean looked like he wanted to gag. "That's just fucking nasty, why would you do that?"

"This symbol, when mixed with blood, sends all angels within a close distance back to heaven."

"Do you need to carve it on yourself though?" Bobby finally spoke up. "Why not just draw it on the wall?"

Castiel looked solemn. "Because it would send them to heaven but my brothers would just come right back. They need a distraction to stay away from you two while you get closer to vanquishing Lilith. Something that will keep them in heaven."

Sam suddenly understood what Castiel was going to do. "You're going to send yourself there with them? Why?"

"They are very angry with me and will busy their time with teaching me a lesson."

"But they could kill you!"

"That's a risk I am willing to take," Castiel said and before anyone knew what was happening the house began to shake.

"You don't have to do this man." Even Dean acknowledged the sacrifice that was going on.

Castiel looked straight at Dean just as angels began appearing in the room.

"I failed you once Dean Winchester by not rescuing you from Hell. This time I will not let you down." Castiel then turned away from Dean to face the five angels that were in the room. "Zachariah," he addressed a middle aged and balding man.

"Give us the demon Castiel and we'll leave you and everyone else untouched." The angel took a step forward and to the brothers' surprise, so did Bobby.

"You're not getting anywhere near my boy, you vile piece of shit."

Zachariah cocked one eyebrow and then laughed. "Oh this is funny, a miserable human thinking he can do anything to stop me. Your so called boy is dead, dead the moment his eyes turned black."

"That's a goddamned lie and you know it, why else would you want him dead so badly? Because he's different, because he's fighting for the good side, that's why."

"And you think we angels aren't?" Zachariah cackled. "I've had enough of this. If you're not going to hand him over, then we'll have to do it the hard way."

Zachariah took another step toward Dean but this time Sam stepped in front of his brother, shielding him. "You're not getting my brother," he said darkly.

"Oh yeah?" Zachariah went to raise his hand. "How are you going to stop me?"

"This is how," Castiel spoke up as he ripped open his coat. "Shield your eyes!" he ordered as he slammed his bleeding hand down on the markings carved into his chest.

The trio did as they were told and the sounds of screaming soon filled the air. There was a loud noise that sounded similar to a group of giant birds hurrying away with panicked wings.

When they opened their eyes, there wasn't a single trace of angels, including Castiel.

Chapter Text

"What do we do now?"

After several moments of silence, it was Sam who spoke up first.

Dean turned to face his little brother. A look of dejection and exhaustion was written all over Sam's face, his shoulders slumped and his eyes sad.

Dean couldn't handle seeing him that way. He had seen Sam look that same exact way when Dean was keeping watch on him after coming back from Hell. He could hardly stand it then and now...

Well Dean wasn't sure. He felt different than he had back then. Sure, back then seeing Sam so sad made Dean upset, but he had figured Sam would get over it in his own time. Now, Dean felt that seeing an upset baby brother was affecting him more…he had to say something; he had to make Sam not worry.

What was going on with him? Why was Dean himself starting to feel...to feel sad just by seeing Sam upset? Was this supposed to happen?

The feelings and emotions he was experiencing were just too confusing to think about. While they scared him, Dean figured there was nothing he could do about them except let them happen.

"I'll tell you what we do," Dean spoke up. "We continue to make sure you're ready and once Crowley hunts Lilith down, we go after the bitch. Now we don't have angels to worry about, so this actually helps us."

"But Cas…he was helping us. He was our friend and now he's just gone. We didn't even get to try and talk him out of it."

"Sam...," Bobby started. "I didn't know that...that angel but by the tone of his voice, he made the decision to sacrifice himself a long time ago. I don't think anything would have changed his mind."

At the sound of Bobby's voice, Dean remembered how their friend had stepped in front of him, had challenged these damn angels, all to protect him. The guy used to not be able to even look at Dean and now he was risking his life to save him.

To save a damned demon. What the hell was up with that? Dean now knew that Sam would be there for him no matter what, but Bobby? He never expected to gain back the older man's devotion, ever. Why was he worth saving in Bobby's eyes? How could Bobby even care about him when his wife was killed by a demon? And not only Bobby but the angel as well, the angel who had wanted to kill him. How was he worth saving and protecting, a broken demon, in an angel's eyes?

"Uhh...Bobby," Dean found himself speaking.

"Yeah boy?"

"Umm...thanks." Why the hell did he say that? He didn't need to thank anyone!

Bobby's face softened as he obviously understood what Dean was talking about. "Of course, son. Of course."

Okay, this was now getting weird and uncomfortable so Dean stalked off towards the fridge, avoiding the two devil's traps on his way, and pulled out three beers.

Walking back into the living room, Dean handed his brother and Bobby one of the beverages. They sat in silence for a while before Dean sensed that his Sam wanted to talk to him. Looking up, he saw him staring at him curiously, like he wanted to ask a question. Bobby must have noticed this too because he stood up and stretched.

"Well, I'm gonna go sit on the porch for a little bit, then go check out a car I need to work on. You boys know where to find me if you need anything." Bobby smiled at them both before stepping over the salt line and out the front door.

"Dean," Sam immediately said as soon as Bobby was gone.

"What, bitch?"

The younger brother crinkled his face in disgust of the familiar nickname. "Stop being such a jerk."

"That's what you wanted to tell me? Alright then." Dean rolled his eyes and took a sip of his beer, wishing that he could feel the alcohol; damn he missed getting that buzz.

"No! Gosh. I was going to say, it was nice of you to thank Bobby."

Oh great, Sam had taken notice of that. Of course he did. Now they were going to have to "talk about it and share their feelings". Exactly the things Dean hated.

"Yeah, so?"

"So it was nice of you." Sam smiled.

"What? You're saying you expect me to always be mean? I can do that."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Can you be serious for just two minutes? Please? I've just noticed that you've been doing things that you wouldn't have done back when we met up again. You seem more human."

As soon as that word left Sam's mouth, Dean's eyes clouded over in anger. So this was what this was all about? Sam had some delusions that he was becoming human-like or whatever? Dean thought Sam was over this phase of wishing his brother was his old self. Now Sam was getting his hopes up that Dean was changing back or whatever shit was going through his mind and it pissed the older brother off.

He was a demon; he wasn't going to change back. He had thought Sam had understood and accepted that. He wasn't human anymore and was never going to be.

"If you think you're going to wake up one day and get that human brother back that you so desperately want, think again Sam," Dean spat angrily and ignored the look of confusion and hurt that seeped onto Sam's face.

"Dean, what..."

Dean glared at his brother. "I thought you were past this shit. I'm a demon Sam, I'm always going to be and you want that to change and it's not going to happen. I know you hate how I am now and you miss who I used to be but that guy is dead. So if you keep having this false hope..."

"Wait a damn minute!"

Dean was shocked at his brother's strong words as Sam stood up and grabbed at his sleeve to stop him. Dean realized just then that he had been pacing back and forth, huh.

"Haven't you realized long ago that I'm more than fine with how you are?" Sam continued. "Dean, you're my damn brother. That's all that matters. Human was the wrong word to use, I see that now and I'm sorry."

Something about the tone of Sam's voice and the look on his face made Dean want to believe him. He found himself calming down as he spoke but kept his eyes narrowed. "What did you mean then?"

"I meant that you seem more relaxed, more open and you're not pushing people away as much. I'm just happy that you can do that. I mean, even if you couldn't, I wouldn't mind at all. But the fact that you are changing a bit, it just shows me how strong you are."

"But I'm not changing into a human."

"I know, I know. That wasn't what I was trying to get across. Dean, honestly I don't see a demon when I look at you, I don't think about demons or humans and the difference between the new and old you anymore. I just see my brother. It's been like that for months now."

Sam walked over to the couch now that he seemed sure Dean would stop his pacing and sat down before continuing. "But I'm proud you're letting Bobby in and that you feel now like you can talk to me about how you feel. I was so glad you opened up to me in the car the other day about Hell and how you try to forget about it. It just gives me a much better understanding and I'm happy that you feel like you can trust me with that information." Sam smiled at Dean. "You had to have realized some differences in your behavior and feelings over the past months."

Dean scrunched his face up, feeling uncomfortable. He rubbed his aching arm in distraction, which Sam still insisted he have in the sling. "Yeah maybe. So what? They're confusing and half the time I don't even know what they mean."

"I bet they are confusing for you. But they're not bad. Just don't try and push them away, I know they are probably scary for you..."

"I'm not scared of stupid emotions! What the hell!" Dean outright lied and he could tell Sam didn't buy it, but his brother didn't seem upset, instead he laughed.

"Oh that's right, a big bad demon like you isn't allowed to be scared of anything."

"That's right."

Sam just smirked and rolled his eyes and like that, they ended the conversation. Dean felt a bit lighter, although he wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because he realized that Sam wasn't longing for his human brother back, that he wanted him around just as he was.

Dean found himself feeling awkward standing up while Sam was back on the couch, so he sat down next to his brother and grabbed his beer bottle once more.

"Anyway..." Sam broke the silence. "Why would I want you to be human again? I mean, I get a big brother with awesome demon powers."

Dean almost laughed, nearly spilling beer out of his mouth. He swallowed and then grinned. "Yeah, and I saved your ass countless times with those powers."

"I know. And you also annoy the hell out of me with them too. But I guess I can live with it."

"Oh, you mean like this?" Dean lifted his hand and laughed at how Sam braced himself automatically for whatever was to come. Dean glanced around, looking for something that would startle his brother but not cause him any harm. He eyed in on a notebook sitting on Bobby's desk and quickly tilted his arm. The notebook flew through the air quickly and smacked Sam right in the face, causing him to yelp.

"Dean!"

"Still like having a brother with demon powers?"

Sam glared and Dean and grabbed the notebook, standing up to put it back on Bobby's desk.

"Sit down, remember...powers? I can just place it back on the desk without leaving this couch."

"Sounds like your version of paradise," Sam mumbled as he plopped back down. He watched as his brother made the notebook float back onto their friend's desk.

"Since you wouldn't shut up talking about me and my feelings," Dean rolled his black eyes as he said so and Sam huffed in response. "I never got to ask you about how you took down Samhain."

"What about it?"

"Well, how was it, stupid? I was busy kicking demon ass so I didn't really see how you did it. Was it easy for you? Did you have any trouble?"

Sam shrugged his shoulders. "He was tougher than all the rest, of course but...I don't know I just feel so much stronger. So once I really got a hold of his soul, it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. The creepiest thing was how he just stared at me. He didn't say a word."

"You're used to demons not shutting their mouth and screaming insults at you, am I right?" Dean smirked.

"Exactly, including you." Sam let out a short laugh. "What was up with that anyway?"

Now it was Dean's turn to shrug. "I've got no idea. Maybe he thinks it's more effective to be silent and creepy, it worked didn't it? Or maybe he's just so boring and has nothing to say."

That caused Sam to really chuckle and Dean was impressed by his ability to get his little brother to relax and laugh. He was an awesome big brother.

And that thought had Dean see something different in him for the first time since he became a demon. Maybe he was worth something more than a damned and damaged hell-spawn. If he could still be a great older brother, hell, if Bobby could still care about him and an angel wanted to save his life...maybe there was more to him that deserved to live.


"Go. Have fun," Dean ordered his brother as soon as they stepped into the bar.

"But Dean...it's been years since we went to a bar to just have fun. We've always been on a case and trying to research..."

"No, you were the one who decided not to have fun. It is possible work and play. I always did, you sat in a booth like a grouchy college boy and refused any girl that asked you to dance."

Sam shook his head. "But you can't even get drunk anymore."

"Yeah I know that, obviously. But today is your birthday not mine. We're not leaving until you're drunk out of you mind, making out with girls and dancing on tables, got it?"

They were standing near the bar and Dean ordered a few rather strange colored shots for Sam and a beer for himself.

"What the hell are those?" Sam narrowed his eyes at the shots.

"Purple Nurples," Dean replied with a wicked glint in his eyes.

"Purple what?"

"They're good trust me. Now drink, bitch."

Sam sighed, he wasn't one to get wasted out of his mind, but Dean had taken him here to have fun. Even though Dean would probably be bored to death, he had gone out of his way to think of something where Sam could relax and have a good time.

Crowley was closing in on Lilith who seemed to be waiting for them and not moving around, he had her within a hundred mile radius. Any day now they would have to go into battle.

So what the hell? Why not have fun and get trashed?

Sam grabbed the Purple Nurple and chugged it down, tipping his head back and letting he liquid burn his throat.

Dean chuckled as he ordered more alcohol for Sam; his little brother was finally loosening up and enjoying himself. He had told the bartender that it was his brother's birthday so most of the drinks were free or discounted. Didn't matter. He wasn't going to pay them anyway.

Dean left Sam to go have fun and walked over to a table where he could still keep a close eye on Sam in case anything went wrong.

Sitting back in his chair, Dean watched how a wide-eyed blonde girl approached his brother, offering to pay for a drink for him.

Haha, no girl could resist his puppy-eyed drunk brother on his birthday.

Dean was brought out of his musings when he heard a woman's voice from next to him.

"Not much of a drinker, Shortbus?"

Dean turned and glared at the source of the sarcastic voice that had appeared out of thin air in the chair next to him.

"Ruby," Dean sighed and rolled his eyes. "What are you doing here?"

"Crowley told me he's getting really close. He would have forced me to meet up with you two soon enough so I decided to just come on my own." She turned to look at Sam who now had the blonde in his lap. "Woah, never saw him as the type."

"He's not. It's his birthday and I took him out to get trashed."

"Awww how cute, what a great big brother you are." Ruby reached over and pinched Dean's cheeks.

Dean angrily slapped at her hands. "Don't touch me, bitch."

"You weren't saying that a few months ago." Ruby winked, scooting closer.

"Get away, I'm not in the mood." Dean narrowed his eyes at her. He would much rather make out with a drunk chick than Ruby right now. Why settle for her when he had the pick of the bar?

Ruby scowled and stomped out of her chair. A man nearly as tall as Sam winked at her from across the room and she smirked at Dean.

"He's much better looking than you anyway," she spat before turning and walking toward the man.

Dean chuckled. "You keep telling yourself that," he called after her. Turning back to the bar, Dean saw Sam take another shot before he clumsily hopped off his stool and then stumbled towards Dean, laughing with the blonde in hand.

Nice, Sam already looked trashed and had that big goofy grin on his face that meant he was about to make a huge fool out of himself. Dean couldn't wait.

"Dean!" Sam yelled, waving his free arm in a dramatic gesture over his head.

"You're directly in front of me and six foot four. There's no need to scream and wave Sammy, I think I can see and hear you." Dean tried to hold back his laugh and the girl giggled in response, not as drunk as Sam.

Sam just grinned, not seeming to understand that Dean just insulted him. Or if he did realize, he simply didn't care. The younger brother let go of the girl and walked over to Dean, grabbing his arm and pulling him up. Actually Sam was subconsciously using his powers to lift Dean as well. He must be pretty strong if he still had control over them, even when horribly drunk. Dean guessed Sam hardly had to think about them anymore when he used his powers, they just came to him.

Once Dean was standing, Sam wrapped his left arm around Dean's shoulders in a side hug, squeezing tightly and grinning like a lunatic.

"See this guy?" he asked the blonde.

"Obviously she can Sammy, she doesn't look blind to me."

Sam ignored him. "This guy right here is my big brother. He's just the best and I love him!"

Oh god, what a drunk moron.

The girl clasped her hands to her chest and cooed. "Aww how cute!"

"Cute my ass." Dean wanted to throw up.

"Dean always took care of me; he's the greatest big brother ever! He even changed my diapers when I was a baby!" Sam slurred and smiled brightly at Dean.

Okay that was enough; Dean pushed his brother off of him. "Telling her about shitty diapers isn't going to win her over Sam." Dean turned to the girl and forced a smile. "Excuse him. He's new to the bar scene. Don't let this turn you off."

"What do you mean? He loves his brother, a guy that is close to his family...I think that's hot!"

Dean raised an eyebrow. Apparently the girl was further gone that he first expected. Or Dean wasn't used to being sober and seeing everyone else drunk around him. "Alright, whatever floats your boat, I guess."

"Aww don't be a party pooper! Have some fun!" The girl nearly screeched, geeze, did drunk people always have a hard time controlling the tone of their voice?

Heh, that was the first time Dean was ever told that.

But now...oh just great...Sam was looking at him with that sad puppy dog frown. "Yeah Dean, come on! Do some shots with us!"

Yeah shots that would have no affect on him whatsoever. "Nah, I'm good Sammy."

"Come on! Pleeeeeeease?" Sam drew out the word and it was enough to get Dean to laugh. "Heather's cousin is there too! She'd like you! Come on!"

Dean realized that Sam had never cared to introduce the girl when he had come over, heh. So she was Heather and Heather had a cousin.

Alright then, Dean would do some pointless shots. Hopefully she was hot.


Dean was broken out of his make out session with...Kristen? Krystal? when loud cheering and clapping began. Unable to hold back his curiosity, not matter how hot this chick was, Dean broke the kiss and ignored the pout that formed on her lips.

Turning towards the source of the noise, Dean's jaw dropped and he couldn't help the laughter that fell from his mouth.

People were gathered around the bar, cheering while...while Sammy and the blonde chick danced. Holy shit, Sam was actually dancing. He swung the small girl in his arms and Dean seriously thought he would drop her flat on her face.

He didn't though. The girl watched onto him, legs wrapped around his chest and arms tangled in his hair as they began to make out.

Heh heh heh. There's my boy.

But Dean's joy at the situation was cut short. Suddenly, a stocky man, a little bit shorter than Dean with buzzed hair, ran up to the bar and grabbed at Sam's shirt sleeve.

The girl fell off of him and landed on her ass, drinks spilling from the counter. Sam was tugged off the bar, falling on the ground in a graceless, drunken heap.

Seeing red, Dean pushed his way through the crowd, using both his hands and powers to shove people out of the way, the hot chick long forgotten.

The man grabbed Sam and hoisted the younger Winchester to his feet.

Dean thought quickly. Sam was swaying on his feet, looking sick to his stomach but suddenly a lot more sober. Still, Sam was wasted and nowhere near on the top of his game. This guy would take him down, and fast.

Dean could do one of a few things.

1. He could sit back and hope Sam could somehow win.

Nope, never gonna happen. He would never risk Sam's safety.

2. He could snap the guy's neck.

That wouldn't work for a variety of reasons. He didn't want to turn into a crazy killer demon. Yeah, it would just be one kill but Sammy wouldn't like it. Plus this guy wasn't any real threat. Dean wasn't going to kill unless necessary.

3. He could fight the guy for Sam.

That would make his brother look like a wuss though.

4. He could assist with his awesome demon powers and no one would know.

Perfect.

The man threatening Sam growled as he grabbed the younger brother's shirt in his hand. "That was my girl!"

Sam laughed drunkenly. "Not anymore, she told me she hates you! She broke up with you and you can't take it!"

Now the bar was chanting "fight" over and over again. Just great. The man snarled and raised his fist, and Dean thought it was the right time to put his plan into action.

Without even lifting a hand, he was able to keep the man's arm suspended in midair. The man began to panic, trying like hell to move his arm at all.

Dean began to snicker and Sam's unfocused eyes found his. Slowly, realization dawned on his features and a smirk spread over his face.

Dean winked in response and gave him a look that he hoped read 'what the hell are you waiting for?'

Sam didn't waste any more time as he landed a few decent, yet clumsy, punches to the guy's stomach. Dean released his powers as the man tumbled over in pain, the younger brother landing an extra kick to his side.

A bartender rushed over and Sam paled, Dean stepped over to his side, ready to defend him.

"I'm sorry, I...," Sam began to stutter.

"No man, I saw the whole thing. This guy was kicked out a month ago; he's banned from this place from starting shit all the time. Way to go."

Everyone started cheering for Sam and the blonde girl gave him a huge kiss. The bartender hauled the ex-boyfriend out of the bar, chuckling as he did so.

Dean expected Sam to go back to the blonde who was looking at him like he was her knight in shining armor, but instead he stumbled over to Dean and gave him the tightest most uncomfortable hug EVER. Dean patted him on the back, trying to get the freak to let go because he reeked of sweat and spilled alcohol. Gosh.

"Dean, you were awesome, that was so cool." Sam suddenly broke out of the hug and turned to the girl. "See? Didn't I tell you he was the greatest?"

The girl gave Sam a confused glance and Dean immediately grabbed Sam's shoulder and dragged him away. "Sammy, you're piss-ass drunk. I think it's time to go."

"But...what...what'd I do?"

"I used my demon powers to stop that guy, the girl doesn't know that," Dean explained slowly like he was talking to a first grader. "You're telling her how awesome I was back there but she doesn't think I helped, but that you did it all on your own. She probably thinks you're a lunatic now."

It didn't look like Sam heard a word Dean said. "Heh! You said piss-ass. Piss! Ass! Hah!" Sam laughed, referring to Dean's earlier conversation. Sam spun around, looking dizzy as hell and his eyes settled on Ruby. "Hey, it's Ruby. Hi Ruby!" Sam yelled, wandering over to her.

The older brother sighed and rolled his eyes. "What the hell am I going to do with you Sammy?"

Dean walked back over to the table he was sitting at before, rubbing his eyes as he did so. He felt the start of a bad headache coming on and he knew just what it was from. He was keeping his eyes human for far too long. He needed to change them back, but he wasn't going to leave until Sam was ready.

Nearly as soon as he sat down, Dean's phone began to ring. Sighing, he took it out and checked the screen.

Shit, it was Crowley.


"Ruby! What are you doing here?" Sam wandered over to the demon who glared at him. She was in a corner with some man. He was really tall, like his own height tall. Which was huge.

"Go away Sam. Can't you see I'm busy here?"

"But I thought you liked Dean?"

"I'm a demon," she whispered. "I don't like anyone. Now fuck off."

"Ruby had sex with my brother." Sam had no idea why he said that, but he didn't really care.

The guy looked back and forth between the two. "Okay, what the hell?" He stared at Ruby. "You're really hot and all, but this is getting freaky. I'm out." He walked away and hurried towards another girl.

"Way to go asshole," Ruby growled.

"But you are hot; or that body is, you could get any of these guys."

"You are so trashed, it's not even funny. Okay, well it kind of is."

Sam wasn't sure what Ruby had said. "Why don't you just make out with Dean?"

"I'd make out with you if I didn't already know your brother would kill me for it."

Sam scrunched up his face. Gross. He didn't want to kiss demons. They probably tasted like sulfur.

"Sam." The younger Winchester turned around to see his brother coming towards him. Sam smiled at Dean.

"Hey Dean! I found Ruby, you guys should hook up again, her guy ran away..."

"That's nice," Dean said and even though Sam felt pretty out of it, he still noticed how Dean winced and rubbed at his temple. "We need to leave, now. You too, Ruby."

Dean grabbed his sleeve and Sam simply let Dean drag him out of the bar. He didn't trust himself to walk on his own anyway.

"Dean, what's wrong?" He could tell his brother was in pain. "Does your head hurt? Maybe you need a drink..."

"Sammy, just shut up." They walked out of the bar and Sam watched as Dean's eyes went back to their normal black and the older brother breathed a sigh of relief.

Oh yeah, Dean got headaches when his eyes stayed human for too long. Sam didn't like Dean's eyes human either, it looked too weird. He liked his demon eyes better because that's what Dean was and Sam was so used to him like this now. It just fit.

Suddenly Sam felt bad for Dean being uncomfortable when he took him out for his birthday. He reached out and grabbed Dean's sleeve, well that was after he missed it three times.

"Dean...I'm sorry you had to change your eyes for my birthday...I..."

They stopped at the Impala and Sam hadn't realized they had walked that far, he swayed on his feet from the sudden change in momentum.

"Who cares about that," Dean interrupted him. "We have bigger problems to worry about." Even drunk, Sam knew the look on Dean's face meant something huge had just happened.

"I just got off the phone with Crowley. He found Lilith."

 

Chapter Text

"Let me out of here right now, this isn't fucking fair!"

The words slowly brought Sam out of his dreamless sleep and the first thing he realized was the intense pounding of his head.

"Ugh, god..." he mumbled, finding it hard to even speak. All he wanted to do was to fall back asleep, but now the pain in his head was brought front and center. He felt a pulse beneath his eyes and at his temples, threatening to burst right out of his skull...

God, the last time he felt like this...it was when he got trashed thinking that Dean would have to kill him. Had he really drank that much last night?

Finding no other choice but to get up and find his brother, no matter how badly he didn't want to open his eyes, Sam groggily cracked them open, his eyes watering and head pounding even more as bright sunlight greeted him.

Suddenly, the extra pain from the light brought a feeling of nausea to his stomach. Sam tried to ignore it as he sat up, but that only made matters worse. Knowing he was going to be sick, Sam rolled out of bed, only barely realizing he was at Bobby's, and ran as fast as he could to the bathroom.

Dean was busy eating his pancakes Bobby cooked up when the sound of retching was heard from upstairs.

Bobby gagged but Dean snickered. He reluctantly put down his fork and stood up.

"I should go check on the freak, hand me a water bottle?"

Bobby opened the fridge and tossed the bottle to Dean. "And while you're on the way up there, can you tell that damn demon to shut up in the living room?" He handed Dean the syringe filled with holy water.

"Gladly," Dean responded. When they arrived back at Bobby's the night before, the older hunter wasn't happy to see Ruby with them. They explained the situation and Bobby had reluctantly let her in only because he didn't want her wandering around the outside of his house.

They took the same precautions that Bobby had to Dean so many months ago. Iron handcuffs, injecting her with holy water, devil's trap and salt ring around the couch she was confined to.

Ruby, as expected, wasn't too happy about it and bitched all night. Bobby finally had enough and had ordered Dean to knock her out so they could all get some shut-eye.

Dean headed over to the couch with the syringe and Ruby growled upon seeing the object; her eyes that she chose to mostly keep human flashed black.

"Don't you dare tell me to inject myself again!"

Dean tossed her the syringe. "I'd do it myself if I'd be able to get out of that salt circle."

"I won't do it."

"You think you're going to get out of it? I had to go through this shit my first visit and I'm like a son to him. You think he's going to let a random demon wander around his house?"

"What caused him to stop doing this to you? How did you gain his trust?"

"Because he's my boy."

Dean turned to see Bobby standing in the doorframe between the kitchen and living room. The older man rolled his eyes at Ruby. "And I was an idjit back then." He then waved a hand at Dean. "Go. Take care of your brother. I got this."

Dean shrugged his shoulders. He knew Bobby didn't want to deal with Ruby if possible, but he was sure the older hunter could handle it. He turned to walk up the stairs, where he heard the sound of his brother's continued retching grow louder.

Dean couldn't help but laugh at the sight of his brother's face bent over the toilet seat that greeted him once he walked into the bathroom.

Sam seemed unaware of his presence as he continued to dry hurl.

"Yo. Party animal."

Sam jerked up, wiping his mouth quickly and then brought his hands to rub at his temples. "Dean…what…what happened?"

"You don't remember last night? You danced naked on the bar, threw up in a girls mouth, bad mouthed a bunch of biker dudes..."

Sam's eyes grew wide as he shook his head frantically. "I did not! He suddenly clutched his stomach and groaned. "You're lying!"

Dean tried to keep a straight face but couldn't help but chuckle at his brother's bewildered expression. "Okay fine, I am. But you did dance on the bar and tell that hot chick you were making out with that I changed your diapers when you were a baby."

"What?! I did not!"

"That is not a lie little brother, not by a long shot." Dean cleared his throat and did his best drunk Sam impersonation. "This guy right here's my big brother, I just loooove him! He changed my diapers when I was a baby!"

Sam's face somehow paled even more. "Oh my god. I think I'm gonna be sick again."

"Relax, you're never gonna see her again and she probably doesn't remember it either."

Sam shook his head as he stood up and slowly made his way to the sink. "I vaguely remember you helping me beat up some guy."

Dean watched Sam splash water on his face and then get out his toothbrush. "Hey, I just held the guys arm back with my powers, you did all the work."

Sam gave Dean a fond smile. "Thanks for that."

Dean shrugged. "Whatever. Do you even remember what I told you when we left the bar?"

Sam paused brushing his teeth, straining to remember anything else from last night. "I think you seemed worried. I remember Ruby…I think?"

"Yeah she's trapped downstairs. Crowley found Lilith."

"Really? So it's time?" Dean could tell that his brother was trying to stay calm, but was freaked as hell inside.

"Yeah, but she's staying put for some reason. It's like she wanted him to find her. She wants us to come, for you to kill her."

"It's a trap," Sam pointed out in worry.

"Of course it is. It's a trap for her to kill me and to try and get you to kill her. Plus do you want to know where she is?" At Sam's questioning glance, Dean continued. "The same house as last time, where I was made puppy chow."

Sam looked like he was going to be sick once again as his eyes flashed with anger and fear. "Dean! God don't say that! It's not fucking funny!"

Dean hadn't heard Sam this angry in a while, so he decided to back off. "Fine. But she's doing it to stir up memories for you. To remind you of what she did to me last time so you'll want to kill her."

"It won't happen."

"I know. But you do understand what this means right?"

Sam finished brushing his teeth and spit into the sink. "What Dean?" He sounded irritated.

"It means that she will most likely try and recreate that day. I'm almost certain those hellhounds are gonna go after me."

Sam suddenly threw his toothbrush at the sink; it bounced off and fell onto the floor. "You've got to be kidding me! Stop thinking that's going to happen! If she tries I won't let her! I'll shoot them with the Colt; I won't let her hurt you!"

Dean raised his voice just as much as Sam. "No you're going to let her! Don't you get it? She's going to try and kill me, especially once she realizes you're gonna send her back to Hell. And Sam…they're invisible to you, chances are you'll miss and shoot me. And then I'll be dead for sure."

"Don't you say that! I wouldn't miss, Dean! How dare you think I would! I'll kill them all and then I'll focus on her!"

"Even if you don't miss, she'll just send more. There's no fucking way to stop her! So if you actually want to save my ass then you'll ignore my screams and send her to Hell as quick as you can if you want even a chance of me makin' it out alive!

Dean wasn't sure what he said, but apparently he went too far or something. Sam pounded his fists on the counter, angrily swiped anything that was on it onto the floor with tears in his eyes and then reached a hand out. With his powers, he flung Dean out of the bathroom and into the wall of the hallway.

It didn't physically hurt but what happened next created a knot in Dean's chest that he couldn't quite explain. He called out his brother's name and reached out to stop him. Sam shrugged him off, stepped right over him and didn't even glance Dean's way as he pounded down the stairs.

Dean watched his brother storm out the front door and he heard Bobby follow.

There was no sarcastic retort from Ruby, so Dean figured Bobby either knocked her out or filled her so full of holy water that she was out of it.

Good, less crap he had to deal with.

He stood up and glanced at the mess Sam made of the bathroom. A glass soap dish had shattered, the soap nowhere to be seen. There were also a few cologne bottles that had smashed, probably real expensive, nice going Sammy. Not to mention their toothbrushes were lying on the nasty floor now and the ceramic holder was cracked.

He should just leave all this crap and make Sam clean it up. But knowing Bobby, he would kill him if he left this mess, no matter whose fault it really was.

So Dean grabbed the wastebasket with his powers and moved it so it was right next to him. He then knelt down and started throwing glass into it, not minding if it cut his hands. It barely stung anyway, advantages of being a demon.

He was just finishing it up when he heard someone coming up the stairs. They were walking too slowly for it to be Sam. Dean sighed, as he really didn't feel like talking to Bobby right now.

He heard Bobby come to a stop behind him but Dean decided to not pay him any attention.

"So what happened here?" Bobby ended up being the one break the silence.

"Sam had a bitch fit and destroyed all your shit. Being such the kind and loving demon that I am, I cleaned it up for you."

"You know I'm not talking about the stuff."

"I don't want to talk about it; I don't even know what happened." Dean threw the last piece of glass in the wastebasket and sent it floating back to its original location.

Bobby was watching the floating wastebasket with fascination but didn't stray from the subject. "You spoke too harshly to him Dean."

Dean stood up and finally turned around, anger flashing in his black eyes. "Oh so now it's all my fault, huh? Always gonna blame the demon? Just for your information, that little brat down there threw me into the wall!"

Bobby didn't seem frazzled at all; in fact it looked like he knew exactly what he was doing. "He was frustrated. You know he didn't do that to hurt you Dean."

"Oh really now? How does he expect me to feel after he shoves me like that and then walks away?"

Dean realized what he said too late, and Bobby's eyes widened as he caught on. Bobby had been referring to physical pain, but Dean...just then he had admitted that Sam had hurt him...but emotionally instead.

"I didn't mean that! Just...just get away from me." Dean was frazzled. He remembered that knot in his chest and he finally realized what that meant. He had been hurt by Sam's actions, but god….he should be tougher than this. He was a demon; he shouldn't be letting his stupid feelings get hurt. How did he even have feelings to begin with?

"Dean..." Bobby started softly. "He didn't mean to hurt you that way either. But you hurt him too."

"He didn't hurt me that way, just forget what I said!"

Bobby sighed and leaned against the wall. "You're developing feelings that you thought were gone. I can see that Dean, and you can too and it freaks the hell outta ya. Don't let it. They're good things. It sets you apart from that demon down there and all the other demons. Feelings aren't a burden, but actually making you stronger."

"I don't know what you're talking about,"

"Yes you do. And you'll never admit to it unless you're so flustered like you just were. It's because of that bond you boys share; I just know it and so do you two. It's allowing you to be different from all of them. Stop being a whiny baby and use those emotions your advantage."

"Since when was I whining?"

Bobby gave him an incredulous look. "Seriously? This whole damn time! You can develop relationships and relate to your brother on a human level that no other demon has the ability to do. You love him, what other demon can love and has love offered back to them? All your enemies think it makes you weak, even you might think that. But Dean, you're actually the most dangerous demon out there. Why else would they be trying so hard to take you out and get you away from Sam?"

Well, hell. Bobby did have a point. But Dean wasn't going to admit to that.

"Of course they're trying to get rid of me. They're scared as hell of me."

"Exactly. And that's why Sam is so worried about this all. Lilith is gonna bring everything she has to send you back to Hell, you know that. Sam knows how badly they want to kill you and it's making him sick. And then you go and tell him that the hellhounds are going to tear you apart?"

Dean folded his arms across his chest. "They are. Had to get him prepared."

"That's not the point. Yes, let him know, of course. But you need to reassure him that you'll be okay. That he needs to focus on getting rid of her and you'll make it out. You'll have to tell him you'll fight like hell. That boy can't lose you again."

"He's not going to." Of course he wasn't going to leave Sammy! He may have thought about it before, but not anymore.

"I know he won't. Now tell him that." With that, Bobby turned around and walked back downstairs.


Dean had enough of that shit and had gone to bed early. He didn't want to go into the battle against Lilith tomorrow with Sam pissed at him, so hopefully the little ass would man up and apologize or just get over it.

Now if only he could get to sleep. Any other day he had no problem. But tonight Sam was thrashing in his sleep, his mumbles nearly drowned out by the thunderstorm outside.

Heh, he was probably having a nightmare. Dean should wake him up but he was still too pissed at his brother. Let him have the nightmare, served him right.

Sam woke up covered in sweat and to the sound of loud thunder outside and the howling of the wind. He quickly glanced at the bed next to him and breathed in a sigh of relief.

Dean was there, he was okay. The hellhounds didn't get to him.

Sam tried to get the memories of his nightmare out of his mind, of Dean getting torn up once again, Lilith laughing while he was unable to move. In his dream, Dean got torn up until he was hardly recognizable and then went still...Lilith's words still rang through his head, "big brother's back in Hell, where he belongs".

Sam shook his head. Dean didn't belong there and he wasn't going back. While he was still angry with his brother, concern and fear now overpowered that feeling.

He just wanted Dean to be okay. He didn't want to fight anymore.

Before Sam realized what he was doing, he found himself sitting on Dean's bed, shaking him awake.

Dean woke much too soon, and Sam understood that his brother, his brother that could fall asleep anywhere at any given time, couldn't get to sleep. So Dean was probably taking their fight just as bad as Sam was.

"What do you want?" Dean growled, familiar black eyes glaring at Sam.

"I'm sorry."

Dean looked smug but quickly tried to hide the expression with a scowl. "For what?"

"Shut up. You know full well what I'm talking about. I'm sorry for yelling and pushing you. Did I hurt you? I didn't mean to, Dean."

"No, it was a cool trick anyway." Dean turned around. "I'm getting to sleep. Thanks for waking me up."

Sam threw the covers off his brother and rolled his eyes. "I know you weren't sleeping and you're gonna have to wait a little while longer until you get some. I want to talk to you."

"Then you better hurry the hell up."

Sam ignored Dean. He was going to take as much damn time as he needed. "I'm sorry for yelling. But what you were saying to me Dean...it sounded like you don't give a rat's ass about yourself. You were talking about the hellhounds like I should have nodded and agreed. Dean... You don't know what it was like. What it was like to stand there helpless, while your brother gets torn to death in front of your eyes."

"I already told you that's not gonna happen again."

"Is it? Because with the way you were talking and how badly Lilith wants you dead...Dean, it could very well happen."

Dean sighed. "I have like seven lock marks on my body. Unless the hounds tear all of them, I'll be okay."

Sam felt a little relived, but just the thought of his brother being ripped to shreds by those things again made him feel seriously ill. He grabbed the side of the bed and put his head down, taking deep breaths and shaking slightly.

Finally, Dean sat up. Sam felt a hand on his shoulder, and it comforted him immediately. The fact that his demon brother could still do things like this to help him made him feel better and a little bit of the nausea ebbed away.

"Sammy, you okay?"

Despite wanting to lie, Sam ended up shaking his head. "No Dean I'm not. Even...even if you survive...I don't think I could get through watching the hellhounds do that to you again. Do you...do you have any idea how I felt? What I had to see? I never really talked about it, did I?"

"I think I can imagine...," Dean started.

"No, no you can't."

"I watched you get stabbed and felt you die in my arms, Sam! Hell, that's why I'm a demon! You think I forgot about that, how that felt?"

Sam shuddered at the memory and shook his head. "That had to be terrible. Terrible isn't a word to describe it. But this...hearing you scream for help...being pinned back. Dean...I...I..." Sam paused, waiting for Dean to interrupt him or say something sarcastic. When it didn't come Sam felt that he could continue.

"I saw them literally tear you to pieces. Your organs were popping out Dean. The blood was actually squirting out of you...I've never seen that much human blood. It just kept coming and coming. You were screaming for help and I couldn't do anything but scream back in return. I couldn't fucking move! I tried everything and all I could end up doing was yelling at Lilith. How pathetic is that? You know? Like that would solve anything!"

Sam put his head in his hands and he felt Dean move to sit directly next to him. "And then she fucking fled when I was about to kill her...because her powers didn't work on me. And I had no choice... turned to see your body. I hoped...I hoped that there was still some life in you. Even looking at that body, how your middle was opened up and spilling onto the floor...even though I knew no one could possibly survive those injuries and blood loss...I still hoped."

Dean still didn't interrupt and continued to leave his hand on Sam's shoulder. It gave the younger brother the courage to finish up. "I knew all hope was lost when I felt your body. You were...you were already going cold Dean. Your eyes stared up at me without seeing and...and all I could do was say "no" over and over again and fucking sob like a baby. I held your destroyed body to my chest and cried until Bobby somehow forced me out. I don't remember much after that except the nightmares. They replayed that scene over and over...sometimes I broke out of Lilith's hold, but I was always too late..."

Sam's voiced trailed off as a few tears fell from his tired eyes. He didn't dare risk a glance at his brother. Dean was probably going to laugh at him and then go back to bed.

But Sam, as usual, didn't give his brother enough credit. Or maybe Sam thought he wasn't worth his brother's concern. Either way, Dean spoke up.

"Is that what you just now dreamed about?" No sarcasm, no anger. Only concern.

Sam at first nodded but then shook his head. "It was similar. Except it wasn't that scene. It was...you were you now. You know, a demon. And I was going to send her back to Hell but she trapped me. My powers didn't work and they sent you back."

Dean squeezed Sam's shoulder so hard it almost hurt. Awkward demon comforting. It almost made Sam laugh. Almost.

"That's not going to fucking happen. I'm gonna fight Sammy. I'm gonna hold 'em back for as long as I can. And you...she can't touch you with her powers. You just have to use my screams to fuel you, alright? Send her back as quickly as possible and then hurry over to me. Okay?"

Sam nodded, finally looking Dean in his black eyes. His brother looked determined and serous as hell.

"We're gonna win this damn thing. And we're both gonna make it out alive."

Sam believed him.


"Goddamnit!" Dean pounded his fist on the steering wheel as he cursed.

Traffic was completely stopped and apparently Dean had no patience whatsoever. Sam couldn't really blame him, even though Lilith wasn't going anywhere, he just wanted to get this thing done. He was sure Dean felt the same.

"If there weren't a ton of witnesses, I'd shove all these cars off to the side of the road!"

"Dean!" Sam shouted, imagining tons of cars swerving to make way for the Impala, all due to Dean's powers.

Bobby chuckled. "I'm at the point where I'd almost let you do it."

A car came dangerously close to the Impala, the young teen texting and not realizing he was merging into their lane.

Dean laid on the horn, cursing some more and scaring the crap out of the kid.

In the middle of Dean's rant, Ruby began violently kicking the back of Dean's seat.

"Shut up already! Screaming about it isn't going to help anything!" she yelled, her eyes flashing black in the process.

Bobby had refused sitting in the back with Ruby, and he didn't want her sitting behind him either. So, much to the brothers' displeasure, she was seated behind Dean, in the back with Sam.

Dean turned around angrily. "You kick my seat one more time bitch, and I'll stab you with your own knife!"

"You wouldn't kill me!"

"Who said I'd kill you? I'd stab you in the arm or leg, give you a lame limb just like I had!"

"Guys! Shut up!" Sam yelled. He then went to address his brother. "Dean, relax. We'll get there and..."

*HOOOOOOOOOOOOONK*

The car behind them wailed on the horn, like doing so would make the traffic vanish.

"That's it!" Dean screamed. "Where's the next exit?"

"A half a mile down," Sam answered. "But we have to get over two lanes..."

Suddenly, the cars in the right two lanes began to magically shift over, the people screaming as their cars moved on their own.

Dean turned the Impala sharply to his right as the cars that stood in his way shifted off the road. Dean didn't even have a hand out, but his face was pure concentration.

Before Sam knew it, they were on the exit ramp. He turned around to see that other cars were trying to follow in the path that Dean had cleared.

Bobby was watching as well. "Wow. Next time I'm in a traffic jam, I'm callin' you boy. And you better teleport your ass to where I am."

"I can't teleport wherever I want! I can only go like two hundred feet in any direction."

Bobby crossed his arms over his chest. "Then you better start practicing boy."

Ruby sighed. "What he did was nothing! I could do so much better but I know you'd kill me if I even tried!"

"You got that right." Bobby turned around to glare at Ruby.

"Anyway," Sam decided to change the conversation. "What's our plan once we get there?"

Dean took a deep breath the calm himself. "She'll probably have her minions guarding again, hoping they'll take me out. Bobby and Ruby, you'll need to distract them."

"I don't want to work with her!" Bobby shook his head and looked at Dean like he was crazy.

"And you think I want to work with your ass? You crazy grumpy old man!"

Bobby turned to glare at Ruby. He wasn't happy that they had to stop injecting her with holy water. She needed to be at top strength, so only the handcuffs were being used. On top of that, he was paranoid about her sitting in the back with Sam, and kept checking on the younger brother. Dean had figured he would have a shit fit about working with her.

"Bobby, I get it, you don't want to work with her. None of us do, but we have to put up with her anyway."

"Shut your mouth Dean Winchester! You didn't seem to mind working with me in other ways!"

Bobby's eyes practically bugged out of his head. "Dean?!"

Dean actually had the guts to look embarrassed. "What? I'm a demon and I'm a guy! She's in a hot body! It's a way to release all that energy, would you rather have me killing people?"

Bobby shook his head but Dean swore he saw the hint of a smile on his face. "Fine, I'll put up with her. It's for the greater good anyway."

The car was silent for a few moments as Dean tried to figure out a new route to take that wasn't backed up in traffic.

"So we just barge in?" Sam asked his brother.

"Why the hell not? Crowley said the house is vacant now. She'll have something up her sleeve and no matter how much we plan; we won't be able to dodge it. So we go in, stay on high alert and try to outsmart her. The biggest thing though is that you can't let her words get to you."

Dean decided to leave out 'and remember to ignore my screams as I get torn apart by the hellhounds'. Sam already knew that, no need to repeat it.

But no matter how much Dean believed they would win, he knew there was a good possibility that he could get sent back to hell. Getting torn apart again scared him enough as it was, going back there... Well...

He didn't even want to think about that.


They didn't even bother stopping at a motel as they got to town late. They approached the house slowly when Dean suddenly stopped the car; they were about seven houses down.

"What is it?" Bobby asked he question that the rest of the occupants in the car already knew. They could all sense it, all the demons.

"They're not pretending to be gardeners and mailmen anymore, they're just hiding now," Dean answered.

Not a soul was near the house, but Sam could feel them, there was a good amount.

"You guys take the Colt and the knife, Sammy and I will be fine." Dean shut off the car. "What are we waiting for?"

Sam felt like he should say something to his brother but held back. This wasn't a goodbye, nothing was going to happen, and they would be okay.

They were going to make it out of this alive.

They took the few weapons they thought they'd need. If a demon jumped he brothers, they just had to slice its head off which would force it out of its host.

Or Sam could just send them to back to hell if they had time. Mainly, they just wanted to confront Lilith as soon a possible.

Easier said than done.

As the group of four approached the house, two demons jumped out of the bushes, snarling and seeming more animal than human. Bobby shot one easily and Ruby stabbed the other in the throat.

That was only the beginning though, loud yells were heard suddenly and demons began pouring out of the front door.

"Go!" Bobby ordered them. He shot another demon in the face and Dean grabbed Sam and started pulling him toward the backyard, forcing the younger brother to look away.

However, they didn't get far. Five demons ran out of the neighbor's backyard, circling them almost faster than they could blink.

"Just let him go now Sam, and we'll make his trip back to Hell as painless as possible," a demon smirked, here was blood coating his stolen lips.

"Then you'll have to kill me first." Sam held his hand out, sending the demon flying through the air and back into he neighbor's backyard.

Den was suddenly jumped on by one of the other minions. Sam grabbed a hold of the creature with his powers to freeze him. The older brother managed to get free and pulled out his knife, running towards one of the others.

While Dean tried to slash another demon's throat, Sam pulled the soul out of the demon he had in his clutches. He felt powerful from the demon blood he consumed on the ride here. The demon was back in Hell within seconds, the body grew slack and lifeless at his feet, dead.

Sam thought the demons may be afraid after seeing that, but they just kept on coming. Then he got it; this was a suicide mission for them. They didn't care what happened, they were set on freeing Lucifer.

Sam was able to send two more demons back before Dean was suddenly back at his side, covered with blood that was not his own.

"There's too many. We're getting the hell away from here. Grab onto my jacket and hold on." Sam was lost, but did as he was told. Dean latched onto Sam's shoulder and then...

And then he experienced one of he strangest feelings ever in his life. The world seemed to disappear in front of his eyes. Sam grew lightheaded and dizzy. He panicked as his feet left the ground and...

He was now standing right outside the back door, over the fence, next to Dean. The same house in which his brother was taken a little more than two years ago.

Teleportation. That was...awesome.

"Did you know you could teleport me?" Sam asked in awe, glancing over the fence to see that the demons were now vanished. They failed to get Dean and apparently their purpose was over.

Hopefully they didn't go back to attack Ruby and Bobby. It was so quiet now. For some reason they couldn't hear their friends fighting. It was as if there wasn't a single soul outside. Obviously, this was all part of the trap. Getting them worked up and weakened in battle with those demons so they wouldn't be on the top of their game when they went inside.

"Nah. But I just decided, why not try? Better than getting attacked, huh?"

Sam simply nodded and walked closer to the door until he was standing about three feet from it. Dean appeared back at his side and put a hand on his shoulder in a way to either support him or show concern.

It was enough for Sam.

"You ready for this?" Dean asked, his black eyes looking straight into Sam's, wanting to make sure.

Lilith tried two years ago to control the Winchesters' destiny and failed. Sam was determined to make her fail again.

Sam took a deep breath and nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be, Dean."

There was no more time to waste. It was time to get this over with. Sam grabbed the doorknob, opening the back door quickly but quietly.

Then he and his brother stepped inside…

Sam was prepared for an onslaught, but instead a completely silent and seemingly empty house greeted him.

Yeah, empty if you didn't count the presence of a super strong demon nearby.

He stepped inside cautiously, Dean at his side.

"She's going to pop out when we least expect it," Sam whispered.

Dean seemed to have a plan. "Then let's take out the element of surprise."

Dean walked right into the living room and opened his arms wide.

"Come and get me, bitch!" he shouted. "What are you waiting for? Show your ugly ass!"

"Dean!" Sam warned, but he was too late. The sound of a little girl giggling was heard from the upstairs.

Dean's plan had worked. Whether that was a good idea or not remained to be seen.

There was the sound of someone skipping and then a little girl, so similar to the one Lilith was in before appeared at the top the stairs, blood coating her face and dress, yet her pigtails remained in perfect condition, not a hair out of place.

Her eyes were pure white.

"Sam! Dean! Just who I wanted to see!" She then pouted and put her little hands on her hips. "I've been waiting here a long time for you, that doesn't make me too happy."

A growling noise was heard and then...two hideous red-eyed dogs walked up on either side of Lilith, their teeth bared.

At the sight of his brother going still and pale Sam knew at once that these giant, ugly, shadowy things were hellhounds.

Dean had been wrong; Sam could see them now.

Trying to think fast, Sam held his hand out to latch onto Lilith's soul but the demon only laughed. Sam's powers didn't even come close to her.

"You need to try harder, silly boy!"

With that Lilith snapped her fingers and the two massive hounds bounded down the stairs, their barks echoing through the house...they were headed right towards a frozen Dean.

Chapter Text

Sam thought as quickly as he could. Holding out his hand towards his brother, Sam pushed Dean with his powers, sending him away from the hellhounds just inches before they reached him.

Lilith snapped her fingers again, and the dogs promptly sat down,

still glaring and growling at Dean, who was getting back up to his feet.

"Nice one there Sammy. For that I'll hold my puppies off, just for a moment. But you must know, pushing him out of the way only delayed the attack. My puppies will eat him, tearing him up into teeny bit sizes pieces, my favorite."

Sam cringed when she used his nickname. "I won't let you do that."

Lilith giggled, her high pitched laugh echoing through the house. "There's nothing you can do about it Sammy, you're obviously not strong enough. Big brother is going back where he belongs and this time he won't be getting out."

"He's a lot stronger than you realize, bitch." Dean took a step forward and Lilith promptly held out her hand in response. Dean froze and began to choke, blood dripping from his mouth.

"Dean!" Sam called out. He raised his own hand, just getting past Lilith's defenses before she pushed his powers back.

"Owie! That actually stung!" Lilith sat down on the bottom step, crossing her small legs and petting the monstrous dog at her feet. The vicious things were snarling at Sam, bloody teeth bared and just waiting to dig into some flesh.

"Too bad I knew what you've been doing," Lilith continued. "Drinking that demon's blood so you could try to kill me."

She still thought they were trying to kill her, and she was playing along, acting like she didn't want to die. Sam risked a glance over at his brother, who was now back on his hands and knees, breathing heavily from whatever Lilith did to him. The stupid bitch was going to drag this out, play around with them until she unleashed the dogs on Dean.

"Now, I'm not going to say all the same crap as my colleagues did. I'm not going to tell you that your brother is tricking you and that he's not the same person he was before." She glared over at Dean. "Because for some damn reason, Hell didn't affect him like it did everyone else. He somehow still cares about you; all the demons knew that, they just wanted to get you to not believe it."

Lilith hopped off the step, getting closer to Sam. "I know you won't fall for that, big guy. Because it's not the truth, so guess what? I'm going to tell you the truth."

She walked right up to Sam and grabbed into his leg, hugging it. "He's turning you into a monster, you know? A big scary powerful monster that drinks blood. You're hardly human anymore and one day, you're going to slip up and you're going to hurt people. You have enough of this blood and you'll just turn into one of us..."

Sam knew she was saying this stuff to get him angry enough to kill her, but he couldn't help but react. He pushed out with all the strength and Lilith flew off his leg and into the wall.

"You have no idea what you're talking about, you have no clue what I'm about to do!"

"Hehe, of course I do, you want to kill me!" There was a hint of a triumphant smile on her face.

"No." Sam took a step closer, feeling his powers grow stronger. Soon, she would begin to fight him, and he had to be ready. "Killing you unleashes Lucifer, silly, Crowley has a special cage in Hell waiting just for you, and that's where I'm sending you."

Lilith's small eyes grew wide and white as she began to understand what her true fate was. "No!" She started to panic, but Sam held on right, just barely keeping her from escaping.

Lilith's face went from scared to angry. She turned towards the hounds, trying to find any way out. "Get him!"

Expecting the dogs to go towards Dean like all the signs had been pointing to, Sam was shocked when he saw them barging right towards him instead.

He couldn't let go of Lilith though. Not until they tore him away from her. Wasn't he supposed to be Lucifer's vessel? Why would Lilith want to kill him if he was needed in the Apocalypse? Maybe they wouldn't attack; maybe Lilith was going to stop them at the last second and try to trick him into releasing her.

Either way, all Sam could think of was that at least Dean was safe. At least they wouldn't tear him apart.

The growls got louder. Maybe Lilith would just kill him; the dogs were inches away now. Sam held onto Lilith as one leapt up into the air, about to jump on top of him…

In the blink of an eye, Dean suddenly appeared right at Sam's side, coming right between his brother and the charging dog. The hellhound didn't seem to care who its victim was as it pounced on Dean, sending him flying to the floor behind Sam with a loud thud.

The self-sacrificing idiot teleported himself in the way!

Sam heard the first tear of flesh and the loud scream from his brother and cringed, eyes watering.

The strength of his powers waned a little, but as soon as he felt Lilith begin to gain control, he pushed her back, slamming her body even harder against the wall. She was trying to teleport away, but as long as Sam kept a hold on her, she wasn't going anywhere.

"He's going to go to hell Sam! You let me go and I'll send them off of him! Otherwise you're going to lose that big brother of yours!"

Dean's screams began to quiet and were replaced by the gurgling of blood in his throat. No. No! Sam wasn't going to lose him!

"You're still going to lose!" Lilith was yelling again. "You'll prevent the Apocalypse and get rid of me but I have followers! They're going to destroy your precious world until it's time to try and unleash our King again! No matter what, you lose!"

Concentrating as hard as he could and using the anger inside him to fuel him, Sam reached his powers to grab onto Lilith's soul. It was slow going, but each noise that he heard from his brother gave him more strength. He needed to save Dean. He couldn't let Dean go to Hell. He couldn't let him down again.

The small body Lilith was riding in buckled, wisps of black smoke falling out of the little girl's mouth. Knowing Dean didn't have a lot more time, Sam pulled harder. The smoke came out much faster; the eyes of the little girl went back to blue as the white faded away.

Sam felt himself growing weak but he knew he had one final push left in him. With his remaining strength, he grabbed onto the smoke soul as tight as he could, sending his hand toward him quickly, and then down. The soul whipped out of the body and blasted right through the floor.

Sam felt the soul unattach from his powers and he fell to his hands and knees. He did it! He had sent Lilith back to hell! Now Crowley, who was waiting in Hell, would take care of the rest and lock her up in the cage he made. Sam hoped Dean was...

Dean!

Sam stood up, his head spinning, and glanced over at his big brother.

What he saw made him nearly throw up.

Dean's chest was a disgusting mess of skin and bone; once again some of his organs were visible. His left leg looked like it had been mauled on and then whipped to the side, the bone snapped and the leg at an awkward angle. There was blood everywhere; large cuts marred every part of Dean's body, even his face.

And he wasn't breathing.

No! Nonononono!

Sam rushed over to Dean's side, falling to the ground beside him, ignoring the fact that he was crouching in a pool of his brother's blood.

Sam lifted Dean's head just as he did a year ago and stared into those black eyes that weren't moving. No! No! He had been so fast! Dean couldn't be gone!

"Sam!"

The younger brother was vaguely aware of the front door opening and Bobby's voice calling his name. Once he felt the older hunter's hand on his shoulder, he snapped.

"Leave me alone! Can't you see that I failed my brother again? I did everything I could and I still couldn't save him!"

Bobby's expression was confused. "Sam he's..."

"He's back in Hell! You don't need to rub it in! He saved my damn life yet again and I couldn't fucking protect him! He's gone because I wasn't fast enough!"

"No, Sam...look..."

"You're going to help me get him back! I'm not leaving him down there because of my mistakes! I'm not letting him suffer aga..."

"He's not in Hell, you dumbass!" It was Ruby's voice this time and Sam looked over at the demon. "His eyes are still black! How could they be black if there's no demon inside?"

It dawned on the younger brother that she was right. But...

"But he's not breathing!"

"Demons don't need to breathe, not technically! He's probably in shock. They just destroyed his body and he probably passed out for the pain. But he's still in there."

Then Sam remembered when Dean's neck had been snapped by Castiel. The same thing had happened. While Dean's body was technically dead and started to heal itself, Dean had still been inside. Just not awake.

It was then when Sam calmed himself enough to remember that he could see Dean's soul. He took a deep breath and concentrated with the small amount of strength he had left.

A soul became visible inside Dean's body. Sam laughed with joy upon immediately recognizing it as Dean's soul. He was moving sluggishly around, but he was still there. He would be okay.

"He probably won't awake in that body for a while," Bobby said, cringing at the gruesome injuries. "You should let him out for a while like you did at my place, let you guys see each other."

Sam was surprised that Bobby had thought of that, but he couldn't agree more. He wanted nothing else than to see his brother in that moment, demon soul or not, it didn't matter.

It didn't take much strength for Sam to pull Dean's familiar and willing soul out of his body. As soon as Sam let go, Dean's soul rushed over, floating in front of Sam and sparking with worry.

Sam laughed, tears in his eyes. "I'm fine Dean, I'm tired but I'm perfectly fine."

Dean didn't waste any more time before sparking happily and wrapping himself around Sam's shoulders. This time, the younger brother didn't mind.

"We did it big brother." Sam laughed, heading over to the couch and plopping down. Bobby walked over to check in the body of the little girl and Ruby leaned against the wall across from them, smirking at Sam.

"What happened outside with those demons?" Sam asked her.

Ruby shrugged. "No big deal. We handled them. I'm surprised the old coot was as good as he was." Bobby glared over at Ruby at those words.

"They disappeared for a while," Bobby continued. "We weren't sure what was going on but figured it was part of a trap to get us off guard. It was. They ended up popping back and we were holding them off, just barely. Then they suddenly stopped, looking real scared and vanished again."

"That's when we figured you took care of Lilith," Ruby said.

"But Lilith said...she told me that even if I send her back to Hell, we still lose. That humanity is still going to die and she said something about followers. Do you think all this was just talk, or there's really something going on?"

Ruby shrugged yet again. "It's hard to believe they wouldn't have something planned. Maybe that's where all the demons attacking us vanished to. To take care of whatever Lilith had planned. The demons will be pretty pissed knowing Lucifer isn't going to rise, I can totally see them trying to take down humanity. Don't know how they'd do that though, it's a lot easier said than done, trying to get demons to cooperate with each other."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. But what...what if whatever they have planned doesn't necessarily need them to all cooperate and work together?" Sam questioned.

"Like what?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'm just worrying too much." Just then Dean sent a shock through Sam's neck, letting him know he agreed. "Quit it man!"

Ruby chuckled at what Dean had just done. "Doesn't make sense to worry. If they had something planned, it will happen anyway. There's nothing you could do about it."

Bobby walked over to them, carrying the little girl's limp body. "She's gone," he said quietly. "But I figured so. She wouldn't have been anywhere near okay after what she experienced anyway."

"Well, I'm leaving town, so I might as well take her and dump her off at a hospital," Ruby said in a casual tone.

Bobby narrowed his eyes, obviously he didn't want Ruby to take the girl, but he wasn't going to leave the brothers. Besides, she was already dead; there was nothing else they could do for her. "Fine. But you better do what you say. They'll be able to identify her and if Lilith didn't kill of the parents, they be contacted," Bobby said sadly but then added as an afterthought, "Oh, and then you stay away."

"You think I want to come back and see you?" Ruby grabbed the body from Bobby. "Anyway, I'll keep in touch with you two." She turned to the brothers and then winked directly at Dean's smoke-cloud, who sparked angrily in response.

God, they were still somehow bickering even though Dean couldn't talk.

Luckily, Ruby said no more as she vanished into thin air with the little girl.

Bobby let out a long sigh and then stared at Dean's torn up body on the floor. "You better get back in there Dean, it's gonna start rotting and we need to begin attempting to patch you up."

Dean's soul shocked Sam once again. Sam felt for his brother, he didn't want Dean going back into his body just to feel all the pain of those mortal wounds. It must be so freeing and painless in the smoke form, but he had to go back or else his body would never heal.

Sam stood up, trying to brush Dean off his shoulders unsuccessfully. "I'm sorry dude, but I have to do it. I promise I'll take care of you though, and I'll be right by your side when you wake up."

If Dean had been in his body right now, he'd be rolling his eyes, Sam was sure of it. But instead Dean floated off his brother's shoulders and headed over toward Bobby who raised an eyebrow.

"You better not try anything funky or your smoky-ass is gonna get it," Bobby warned.

Dean ignored him and floated right onto Bobby's shoulders as well.

"Oh no, Sam might be okay with that, but I'm not." Bobby failed to hide his smirk. "You're not the most fashionable scarf anyway, Dean."

With that comment, Dean sent a spark of electricity through Bobby's shoulders.

Bobby yelped and batted at Dean, who quickly and smartly hurried away.

"You're lucky that you're already beat to hell, or you'd be getting it! Now get back in that body of yours before I change my mind and send you to Hell myself!"

Sam laughed at the exchange, the mood lightened for just a moment as he put his brother's soul back where it belonged.


Dean opened his eyes slowly with a groan, pain filling his senses to the point where it was almost unbearable, almost.

"Hey, you're awake!" Sam's happy voice called out and immediately Dean's vision was blocked by a big, shaggy head.

"Stop hoverin' in front of me...stupid...," Dean mumbled. Realizing that his bad arm was in the sling and probably in horrible shape, Dean tried to reach up with his other arm and bat Sam away but ended up cringing and letting out a cry of pain instead.

Sam immediately grew worried, of course, and gently pushed Dean's arm back down. "Just relax, okay? It's been two days since the attack. You're still really injured and I think it's going to take a while to heal. We'll stay here until you're back up to a hundred percent."

Dean managed a smirk. "Yeah, it's not like we have anything on our list that we have to do." He paused, and couldn't hide the pride that was in his voice at his next statement. "You did it Sammy."

"We did it, Dean."

"No. You did it Sammy, I just stood there with you."

"Are you forgetting the part where you jumped between me and the hellhounds? You saved my life Dean, yet again. It was stupid but I want to thank you."

"Yeah, well, I'm just that awesome," Dean smirked.

Sam smiled in response. "I couldn't have done it without you. You have no idea how much your support meant to me, that you helped me through this and never left my side."

Sam's eyes were watering, stupid baby. It looked like Dean could only do one thing, great.

He reached out his good arm, ignoring the sharp stabs of pain. "Come here, you idiot."

Sam didn't waste any time as he leaned over and wrapped his big brother in his arms, gently at first.

"I'm not gonna break, I'm hurt but I'm a damn demon. I think I'm pretty strong, I can handle it."

Sam chuckled and didn't need to be told twice as he hugged Dean tighter, the older brother holding on with all the strength he possessed with his good arm. Why not?

When they finally let go, Sam wiped at his tears and stood up.

"Think you can stay awake for a bit? I had Bobby go out and buy some pie for you..."

"Are you seriously asking me that?"

"I guess you're right. It was a pretty stupid question." Sam chuckled.

"You got that right. Anyway...what about...what about the blood Kool-Aid shit?"

Sam sat down on the bed and shrugged. "I've been drinking the leftover bottles we packed for the past few days."

"You know you can stop now. I didn't want to make you drink it in the first place. I know it's weird."

"Well...I mean...I have pretty good control over them. Don't you think? I was able to send Lilith back to Hell. I mean, I don't know if I was strong enough to get her soul if she hadn't brought her defenses down and let me in. But once I was able to latch on, she couldn't escape them. So I..."

"You can keep using them Sammy."

"I just...you just said they're weird..."

"No." Dean rolled his eyes. Stupid little brothers. "I assumed you might think it's weird. I'm a demon, why the hell would I think that your powers are weird?"

"So you think it's okay if I continue? It could really help when we're hunting down demons and I could use them to help you if you got in trouble."

"Would I let you continue if I thought it was too dangerous?"

Sam sent a small smile Dean's way and then looked down at his hands. "No, I guess not." He then started busying himself with checking on Dean's bandages, specifically the ones on his bad arm.

"Then what's still eating at ya Sammy? I can see right through you. Come on, spit it out."

Sam looked like he was going to refuse to speak, but then thought better of it. "I...I just wanted to make sure...you're not gonna go disappearing on me are you? Like you had originally planned…"

"Why are you bringing this shit up again? To make me feel bad?"

"No, Dean..." Sam re-wrapped the bandage he was inspecting and looked his brother straight in his black eyes. "I just wanted to make sure, is all. It's finally over and...and I just wanted to make sure I'm still gonna have my brother by my side after all of this."

Dean rolled his eyes and would have punched Sam or pushed him off the bed with his powers if he had the strength. "You're gonna have to try harder to get rid of me. Now if you, on the other hand, don't want to follow your demonic brother around..."

"Don't even start," Sam interrupted and shook his head wildly. "You should know by now that there's nowhere else I want to be. So just shut up."

Well all right, Dean would take that. "Fine, bossy little brat. Now why don't you go give me that pie bitch, and hurry up!"

Sam's happy laugh made the stupid hug almost worth it.


A week and a half later, Dean was boredly flipping through the cannels of the old TV that they had found left in the basement and hooked up. The house that they were staying in was vacant, up for sale, and normally wouldn't have electricity but that had all changed because Dean was an awesome demon.

It didn't take much to concentrate with his powers and start up the electricity when there shouldn't have been any. Really, how cool was that?

Dean's bad arm was still giving him trouble and was still in the sling. He was struggling to keep the plate of pie in his lap and grab a forkful when something on the news caught his attention.

"Earlier this morning, a man down on Fifth Street claims he was bitten by his neighbor. The attacker apparently would not listen to reason, and seemed animal-like. When police confronted the man, he went to attack the officers and was brought down in self-defense. The police chief claims that the man seemed unaffected by any of the gunshots until a bullet to the head took him down. Two similar incidents have happened in neighboring towns, with the victims being bitten by their attackers who were described as seeming as if they wanted to eat their victims alive..."

"Hey, Sammy!" Dean called for his brother and turned back to the TV, waiting for any other news. Instead, the reporter went onto a new story, about the swine flue vaccine being available at the local hospital.

"Yeah?" Sam bounded down the stairs, his hair wet from the shower.

"They just had this story on the news. Dude bit someone. There were two similar incidents too. Think we should..."

Sam shook his head stubbornly. "No. No, we are not looking into it. You can hardly walk in a straight line."

"I'm fine!"

"No you're not, and you know it. We're not going on a hunt until you're better. We can call another hunter to take care of it."

"We can at least keep tabs on it. I'm bored out of my mind dude!"

Sam sighed. "Yeah, we can do that." He brought over his extra laptop that he always kept in the Impala and dropped it next to Dean. "Go crazy. And no porn searching. I don't want any viruses."

Actually, searching for porn was far from Dean's mind. He had a strange feeling about the cannibal people, and he was determined to get to the bottom of this.


It was less than a week later when Dean had enough. Everyday, the news reported more odd behavior by residents of the town and neighboring towns who were acting crazy and trying to bite people.

Then came the big news, a son that got bit in the arm by his father had gone crazy as well.

Whatever this was, it was spreading. There was more news of outbreaks in other towns throughout the country as well and people were beginning to worry. The news was broadcasting that it may be a mutation of the Swine Flu or effects from the disease. The vaccine was being duplicated at an alarming rate to make up for all the people who were desperate to not go crazy.

Something was up with that vaccine, Dean bet. This sounded damn serious and they needed to get serious about this too.

"Shit.." Dean grumbled as he came up with a bit of alarming information.

Bobby put down the gun he was cleaning on the couch across from Dean. "What's got your panties in a twist?"

"The Swine Flu vaccine….guess what city was one of the first to get it? The one we're in. And the ones that are reporting major outbreaks of these crazy cannibal people were also given the vaccine right around the same time."

"So you think this vaccine is…"

"I think it's a virus in its own. It's making people go batshit crazy and is hiding under the false name of a vaccine."

Sam suddenly stepped out of the kitchen, overhearing the conversation. "But the vaccine…isn't it becoming available across the country?"

"Even worse," Dean replied. "Try the entire planet."

The plate of food Sam had been carrying for Dean fell to the ground and shattered. "Oh my god, what if…what if this is what Lilith was talking about? The fall of humanity!"

"We don't know that yet, Sam…," Bobby began.

"But the only way we're gonna find out is if we get the hell outta here. This is one of the first places it started and I don't want to deal with crazy cannibals. Bobby's house is the best place where we can research."

"But Dean you're…"

"Don't even start with saying I'm too weak! I'm fine; it's just my leg that's acting up now. We have to get out of here and try to get to the bottom of this."

Sam looked over at their friend for possible support. "Bobby…"

The older hunter shook his head. "No, Dean's right. I have the books and equipment to research properly. Dean's perfectly fine to travel."

Dean went to stand up and Sam rushed over to help him. "Are you sure…?"

"Yes! You think sitting my ass in the Impala is too much for me to handle?"

"No..."

"Then let's get our shit packed up and leave, I want to get out of here as soon as we can."

They were able to pack up in fifteen minutes and then Sam helped his brother into the passenger seat and they were off.

However, they didn't get very far.

Just as they were about to pull onto another side street, a screaming woman jumped right in front of the car, snarling.

Sam yelled and slammed on the breaks, even Dean let out a yelp. Bobby was as pale as a ghost.

The woman didn't even attempt to move out of the way as she flew over the roof of the Impala, a sickening crack was heard and Sam rushed out of the car as fast as he could.

"Oh my god!" He knelt down to check her pulse when the woman suddenly reached up and grabbed his hand. She opened her mouth, her teeth bloody and a loan groan escaped from her throat. Oh my god...she was infected…she was going to bite him!

The noise of a gunshot echoed through the street and a bullet hole appeared in the woman's skull, blood splattering all over Sam's hair. The younger brother backed up quickly, scooting on his butt, his body shaking and looked up just in time to see Ruby walk over and kick the woman in the face.

"You owe me, Winchester," she sighed.

"What the hell was that?" Dean was limping out of the car, Bobby following and the older brother gingerly kneeled at Sam's side. "You okay, Sammy?"

"I'm fine, but…she tried to bite me!" He looked back up at Ruby. "What's going on?"

"That, my not-so-friends was a Croat."

"A what? What the fuck?" Dean asked, still keeping a hand on Sam's shoulder.

"Turns out, it was Lilith's back up plan, that Swine Flu virus, it's full of something called the Croatoan Virus, you boys familiar with that?"

Both brothers shared a knowing look with each other, remembering the time when Sam had been infected and an entire town had gone crazy.

"I'll take that as a yes. Well they've apparently been working on perfecting this virus, and it was to be sent out if Lucifer failed to be released."

Ruby shrugged, kicking the dead body at her feet once more.

"Looks like the world is going to hell anyway, boys."