DISCLAIMER: I do not own any rights to Supernatural or the characters of the show and have not or will ever make any monetary gain from using them in stories. I just like to play with them and then send them home….sometimes a little worse for wear though!

AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: I'm back, so sorry for my absence from Fanfiction but for a while there I had become totally disillusioned with posting fanfiction and not getting any reviews or feedback for so long, I needed a break from it all. But now I am back and ready to start a new year and a new writing session of my favourite obsession….

AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Normally I don't write tags to episodes but there is a first time for everything … so here goes, this carries on from the end of episode 9.13 after the big discussion between Dean and Sam

CHARACTERS: Sam and Dean Winchester, Castiel and original characters straight from my overly fertile imagination.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one…

Pushing his hair from his sleep filled eyes Sam stared around at his darkened room with a heavy heart, his gaze falling on the old fashioned alarm clock with glowing numbers, a room-warming gift from Dean, heaving a sigh he realised that he had only been asleep for a couple of hours. Sweat soaked his pillow making it even more uncomfortable than his hard mattress, and after staring at those glowing numbers for a few more minutes Sam decided to get up and go for a dawn run, he had to clear his head someway and sleep was eluding him anyway.

Slipping into his tracksuit pants and singlet, Sam picked up his socks and joggers and padded out to the main living area, hoping that he could avoid another confrontation with Dean and that he could just slip outside unnoticed.

He could hear the strains of voices coming from Dean's room and gathered that his brother was watching yet another, late, late, late, late movie or perhaps one from his growing DVD collection so the way to the door was free and clear.

Inhaling deeply, Sam pulled his socks and shoes on and did a few stretches before moving off with a slow jog. The early morning mists swirled around his legs as the first rays of the new day's sun started to break through the grey of pre-dawn.

With his I-pod ear buds firmly fixed in both ears and the strains of Bruce Springsteen singing audible around him, Sam deliberately cleared his mind of all depressive thoughts about last night and picked up his speed matching it with the beat of Born to Run as it started to play.

Breathing heavily but feeling a lot better about things Sam let himself back into the bunker and stood listening for any life sounds from his brother; the place was eerily silent and lifeless making Sam unconsciously shudder. A note tossed on the kitchen table caught his eye as he made his way to the fridge for an orange juice, with a frown and sigh wondering what he had done wrong now Sam sipped his drink and stared down at the tersely written two words, back later. So Dean was still pissed at him, sighing heavily Sam poured another drink and headed back to the showers, perhaps the drive would do Dean some good and that he would be more reasonable when he got back.

After stripping off his sweat-laden jogging clothes on the way to the bathroom, Sam turned the water on as hard as he could, finished his juice and stepped in under the steamy spray. The water sluiced down his muscle hardened body, over all of his scars old and new; taking his sweat along with it. The words they had both thrown at each other over the last few weeks came back to haunt him, squeezing his eyes shut Sam tried desperately to block out their voices but the flood gates were now open and each horrible statement came back in stereo. From Dean leaving him behind with Cas, declaring that he wanted to work on his own, to his own words he wanted to work with Dean but their brotherly relationship was still torn to pieces to last night.

'Oh God last night,' Sam moaned, all he wanted was to be honest with Dean; to have a frank and earnest discussion with him about what he was thinking and feeling but instead all he had managed to do was to alienate his brother even further. Hot tears spilled over and mingled with the slower water as the sobs from deep within roared past his lips and his long, lithe body shook with the force.

Dean glanced around at the bar with a small sneer; it was just another dive in another dive town. Actually if he was honest with himself he didn't even know the name of the town. He had just gotten into baby and started driving. The need to get out of the claustrophobic atmosphere of the bunker overwhelmed him and he needed his baby and the open road. He had no idea how long he had driven or how hard he had pushed his baby but he felt the urge more intently than anything else.

Now, now he sat nursing his first whiskey, for some reason it tasted sour and left an even worse taste behind. His head ached from lack of sleep and the residual anger from last night as Sam's words came back unbidden and unwanted. The slow burning rage deep in the pit of his stomach flared again twisting and turning in his gullet. Those particular words were branded across his already fragile psyche "No I wouldn't, if the circumstances were the same…I wouldn't…"

He knew that he was asking for an answer like that with the way he had phrased his question but just for once he wished Sam would see things from his point of view before opening his giant mouth. But, then, then his thoughts randomly went backwards in the discussion to where Sam let something slip Dean hadn't thought of until now, the double meaning of Sam's words sent shivers of horror and fear down his spine and without realising what he was doing he was moving, out of the bar and towards the impala, those fateful words screaming at him and awakening the dormant big brother mojo in him. "Please tell me what is the upside of me being alive?"

'Dammit Sammy!' He hissed as he pushed his foot down on the accelerator and peeled out of the carpark leaving a cloud of dust in his wake; if anyone deserved to be alive it was Sam.

"If you want your brother back

Come to the following coordinates."

Sam looked at the text message again, as though it should have changed itself by now, his stomach roiled painfully, someone had taken Dean, his brother's life was in danger and once again he could hear his own words echoing through him and finally spearing his heart. "No I wouldn't, if the circumstances were the same…I wouldn't…"

"Why didn't he say what he meant that he wouldn't deal anymore, nothing good comes from making deals?"

'Dammit Dean!' Sam ground out as he sprinted towards the garage, barely pausing for a second before mounting one of the classic motorbikes housed there and let it rumble to "life" before speeding out of the bunker; the bunker the only real home he can remember and the reason for it, his only blood relative. The one who he's racing towards now: Dean.

Dean spat out another globule of semi-congealed blood and stared one-eyed up at his captors. 'So that's a no on another drink?' He asked grimacing at the remaining metallic taste in his mouth and throat.

'Time for the next stage,' a bodiless voice sounded from the shadows, the timber of the voice sending shivers down Dean's abused, bruised and broken body.

'What no foreplay?' Dean asked as he watched with a hollow feeling in his stomach, as the leggy blonde he had noticed at the bar expertly drew a thick black fluid into a syringe and flicking it with a long talon-shaped nail to check for air.

'This will hurt lover-boy!' She said with an almost purring like quality to her voice as she straddled Dean's lap and ran a fingernail down the side of his face.

'Sorry not on the first date,' Dean shot back pulling his face away from her touch.

With a cold and malicious smile on her life-hardened face she plunged the syringe into the fragile flesh of the side of his neck and injected the viscous fluid into his system.

Dean's muscles bulged immediately, painfully snapping into grotesque distortions, a primal roar was ripped from deep within as the poison coursed through his bloodstream and blasted into his major organs.

The convulsions started and finished faster than expected leaving Dean, unconscious, barely breathing and whiter-than-white held up only by the ropes binding him to the chair.

'Send the text.' The bodiless voice spoke again, this time it had an edge of satisfaction to it, the first phase of the plan had gone off without a hitch. Now it was Sam Winchester's turn.

Sam came careening around the last bend in the road and skidded to a sliding stop on the bike, letting it fall on its side he dropped the handlebars and sprinted towards the dusty and dormant impala. 'Dean!' he screamed his brother's name, a chill freezing his heart and breathing when he finally heard a pain-ridden whisper of his voice. Sliding to a stop on his knees Sam came to a complete halt next to the lifeless form of his older brother.

With shaking fingers Sam felt for a pulse and only then he let himself breath again. Gently but expertly he ran his hands over Dean's inert body, searching for any obvious injuries, broken bones, bullet and knife wounds, anything that would explain his current condition. He had taken a battering but Sam knew from their long history of hunting and tangling with supernatural entities that Dean had had worse beatings and come through them, there was something else, something different this time.

'What happened Dean?' Sam said so softly his voice was barely audible over the wind. 'What did they do to you?'

Just then Sam's phone beeped and another text message appeared.

You have 48hrs to make a decision

What you decide will be your brother's fate.

Save him and you condemn others to their deaths.

Save the others and you condemn you own brother.

Your choice, choose wisely.

'What the hell is going on?' Sam yelled frustrated at the cryptic message and the unknown sender.

'S-Sammy?' Dean's voice was so faint at first Sam thought he was hearing what he wanted to hear but then he saw Dean move his hand and looked up a little to see him open one of his eyes, the other, his left one was swollen shut and already a rainbow of colours from blue to purple to mauve.

'Dean? God man what did they do to you?'

'N-No Sam, g-get outta here.' Dean pushed the words out and weakly shoved at his brother, barely touching him but it felt as though he was moving with such force he was breathless.

'What did they do to you Dean?' Sam asked again as he gently tried to ease his brother into a seated position when he saw the blistered lump on the side of Dean's neck. 'What the hell?'

'Huh?' Dean blinked and then started to giggle, 'you-you look, two-two of ya.' Drunkenly he waved his fingers at the two images of his younger brother in front of him, 'damn Sammy, c-can't deal with t-two of ya.'

'What did they give ya Dean?'

'Huh? Hey Sammy, where's D-Dad? C-Can't let him see m-me l-like this.' Dean frowned and then groaned as his eyes rolled upwards and he slumped against Sam unconscious.

'Shit!' Sam carefully lifted Dean and half carried, half dragged Dean to the impala and after a few minutes managed to get him into the backseat, resting his head on a rolled up old blanket.

Sprinting over to the motorbike Sam pushed it into the brush and covered it with branches and leaves before hurrying back to the impala. Sliding behind the wheel Sam sped back to the bunker planning to pick up the bike later.

Thankful that the bunker's garage has a direct doorway inside, Sam carried his brother's inert form upstairs and into the medical room, sliding him onto the exam table, he pulled the light closer and inspected the blistered lump. The blistering had now spread around the lump and some of the older ones had already burst and started to ooze puss down the damaged skin.

'Dammit Cas, I wish you were here now,' Sam uttered aloud as he set up a saline I.V. and pushed some fluids into his brother's arm, 'what do I do Dean?'

'Sam, Sam are you here?' Castiel's voice echoed through the bunker, startling the youngest Winchester for a moment.

'I'll be right back Dean,' Sam said before rushing out of the medical room and downstairs to the main library. 'Cas? Cas you here?'

'Sam what is it? What is wrong?' Castiel asked cocking his head to one side he regarded the young man with a serious expression, 'you do not look well, are you ill?'

'No, no not me, it's … What are you doing here Cas? I mean I'm glad you're here but why?'

'I ah, I got a strange message and felt the need to find you,' Castiel held out the hand-written note, 'where is Dean?'

'He's the one who needs help, who? How?' Sam stared down at the note but could barely read the words, 'where?'

'It was placed on my … vehicle, I was not far from here and I felt as though you needed me and would know what the note means.'

Who's needs are more important?

The needs of the one? A pitiful human, hunter and destroyer?

Or the needs of the many? The innocent and unknowing?

Who will you choose?

'We need to get to Dean, someone or something took Dean, they beat him up and did something to him,' Sam explained breathlessly as they headed towards the med room. 'I got these mysterious text messages on my phone and was on my way to these coordinates I got sent when I found the impala on the side of the road and Dean lying next to it.'

'Sammy?' Dean called out just as they reached the door making them hurry even more.

'Hey Dean, Cas is here he's gonna help us out…'

'Who is he?' Dean asked narrowing his eyes suspiciously, 'who the hell is this? And where the freaking hell are we?'

'Dean?' Sam blinked in confusion as he stared at his irate brother, 'you know Castiel dude, he's one of your closest friends.'

'Dude for one he's old and for two I have no idea who he is.'

'Dean, Castiel is our friend and an angel,' Sam explained slowly his concern jumping exponentially.

'What the? There's no such thing as angels you know that Sammy,' Dean growled reaching under the pillow for his gun, 'where is it? Sam what the hell is going on?'

'Where's what Dean?'

'Where's my gun?'

'In your jacket pocket I guess … Dean what do you remember?'

'What do you mean what do I remember?' Dean snapped his anger rising, 'dude I – I picked you up from school, dad's gonna be pissed when he comes home … dude this is not our motel room where are we?'

'Dean, this is the Men of Letters bunker this has been our home for a while now,' Sam explained.

'Bullshit, we-we we're staying at the Blue Moon Motel in Rockling Montana.'

Sam stopped moving and stared open-mouthed at his brother, his mind racing backwards trying to remember Rockling Montana. 'The cattle mutilations, dad thought it was a …'

'What do you mean dad thought? Dad's doing some research and he'll be back…Since when did you get so freaking tall?'

'Dean look at me, really look at me,' Sam said, 'I'm not seventeen anymore, I'm nearly thirty-one.'

'No, no that can't be…' Dean tried to push himself off the table but had to lie back down as dizziness and nausea assaulted his already abused body. 'What the hell is wrong with me?'

'Dunno dude but we're gonna find out…'

'If you're nearly thirty-one that means…'

'Yeah you're getting old.'

Castiel stood off to the side and silently watched the exchange between the brothers, his thoughts kept returning to the note left for him. Obviously someone had done something to Dean causing his confusion and apparent short-term memory loss, the question is, just how bad is it going to get and will this confused Dean allow him to help?

'Sam? Dean?' Castiel spoke as he moved closer to them, 'Dean I … I can help you if you would let me.'

'Who the hell are you?' Dean asked panic sounding in his voice as he realised that there was someone else in the room with them. 'Where did you come from?'

'Dean?' Sam asked frowning, 'dude I already told you, this is Castiel he's our friend.'

'Oh, oh yeah I – I guess I forgot … sorry.' Dean started rubbing his temples as a headache pounded against his skull. 'Argh hurts.'

'Cas can you do something?' Sam implored their angelic friend.

'I will try…' Cas said as he moved to stand next to the bed and placed a hand on Dean's forehead, he could feel the heat emanating from his friend. 'Dean I promise I will not hurt you.'

'S-Sammy?' Dean reached out for his brother's hand after he squeezed his eyes shut, 'my-my head, hurts…'

'I gotcha Dean.' Sam gripped his brother's hand tight and watched as Castiel concentrated and tried to connect with Dean on a much deeper level than just speaking with him.

Suddenly Castiel broke the connection with Dean and staggered backwards, his face pale and hands shaking. 'I-I am sorry Dean.'

'Cas-Castiel what is it?' Sam demanded hating to see the distress on the faces of both Castiel and Dean, 'what happened?'

'This is beyond me Sam, I am sorry.' Castiel finally admitted after a few seconds of hesitation.

'What do you mean by that?'

'Whatever or whoever took Dean … I was able to heal his wounds from the beating.'


'I'm not sure what they did but … it is attacking your brother's mind, his memory will gradually fade until …'

'Can you stop it?'

'I can slow it down but unless I can find out exactly what they gave him. I am sorry Sam.'

'Sammy?' Dean whispered, his eyes still squeezed shut, flailed his hands out in front of him.

'I'm right here Dean, right here.' Sam took his brother's hand and squeezed it tightly.

'Light-lights hurt m-my h-head.' Dean moaned.

Castiel turned the lights off leaving only the one outside on, he seemed as though he was listening to something and then excused himself and hurried out leaving the brothers alone once again.


'Right here Dean, it's just us and the lights are off,' Sam spoke softly in deference to Dean's headache.

'She said if you help me then thousands would suffer.'

'I will always choose you Dean, we'll work this out.'

'Dad'll know what to do, he'll be back soon and he'll know what to do.' Dean said as he slowly drifted off to sleep, mumbling softly about their dad. 'Gotta keep Sammy safe.'