Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they belong to the CW. All mistakes are my own.

Prologue

The darkness of the forest around him was a shock. The light in purgatory never changed, never varied, so to be spit out into the cool blackness of night was unnerving, so Dean ran. Legs pumping, arm tingling, and breathe frosting in the chilly night air let Dean know he made it; he was out of the war zone. The same couldn't be said for Cas and Dean grimaced, stumbling a little as he continued on towards where those campers said civilization was. Dean needed to find Sam, needed to make sure his little brother was alright, needed to find a way to get Cas out of Purgatory. But first, Dean needed to get to Louisiana and get Benny out of his arm, it was beginning to burn.

The cabin was barely standing on its own, the windows dark as Sam pulled up in the Impala. The younger Winchester sighed as he climbed out of the sleek car and walked up to the rotting door, pushing it open. The air was musty and damp as Sam blinked, eyes adjusting to slowly to anticipate the body slamming him to the ground. Sam grunted, arms raised ready to defend himself as he came face to face with his older brother who was in the process of pouring holy water all over Sam. Sam tried to protest but only received a face full of detergent quickly followed by a silver blade cutting through his arm. Sam looked at Dean incredulously, after all this time he hoped they would know by now if one of them wasn't entirely themselves.

"My turn, let's go," Dean stated standing up, motioning for Sam to complete the standard procedures.

"I don't need to, I know it's you," Sam huffed, pressing his hand to the cut on his arm, moving to get up.

"Damn it Sammy," Dean snapped as he went through with pouring holy water on himself along with detergent and cutting his arm.

"No Dean, can I just say hello?" Sam implored, waiting for his brother to wipe his arm clean of blood.

"Whelp, let's do this," Dean grinned at Sam as they both reached for each other, sighing into the hug.

"Dude, you're freaking alive," Sam rubbed his hands through his dark hair. "I mean, what the hell happened?" the relief Sam felt from having his brother back never ceased to amaze him.

"I guess standing too close to exploding Dick sends your ass straight to Purgatory," Dean snarked, shaking his head slightly with a small grin.

"Purgatory, what, for the whole year?" Sam said in disbelief.

"Yeah, time flies when you're running for your life," Dean said, eyes cast somewhere over Sam's shoulder.

"Well, how'd you get out?" Sam couldn't believe it, what were the odds.

"I guess whoever built that box didn't want me in there any more than I did," Dean gave him a cheeky grin, clearly lying through his teeth.

"What does that mean?" Sam could feel a chill crawl up his spine, nothing good ever came from either of them escaping the afterlife.

"I'm here, okay" Dean reassured Sam with a firm nod of his head.

"What about Cas, was he there?" Sam asked, eyes worried, constantly looking his brother over.

"Yeah, Cas didn't make it," Dean rumbled, shifting on his feet in clear discomfort. "Something happened to him down there, things got pretty hairy towards the end and he let go."

"So Cas is dead, you saw him die," Sam demanded, trying to understand his brother.

"I saw enough," Dean spoke curtly, ending their conversation about the angel.

"Look Dean, I'm sorry," Sam started to apologize, trying to break through Dean's impenetrable walls.

"Me too. So you, I can't believe you're actually here. You know that half of your numbers are out of service, felt like I was leaving messages in the wind," Dean stated and Sam could hear the accusatory tone in his voice.

"Yeah, I umm ditched the phones," Sam winced as he avoided Dean's intent green eyes.

"Because," Dean demanded, popping open a beer from the fridge.

"Guess, something happened to me this year too. I don't hunt anymore," Sam stated with a shrug, eyes imploring his brother to understand.

"What? You quit?" Dean stared disbelievingly.

"Yeah, you were gone, Cas was gone, and Bobby was dead. Crowley shipped off Kevin and Meg to parts unknown," Sam said as if it was the simplest thing in the world.

"So you just turned tail on the family business," Dean bit out, glaring at Sam.

"Nothing says family quite like the whole family being dead," Sam huffed, he knew Dean was going to take this personally.

"I wasn't dead. In fact, I was knee deep in God's armpit killing monsters which I thought is what we actually do," Dean growled as he stood up and began to pace.

"Yes Dean, and as far as I know Dean, what we do is the thing that got every single member of my family killed. I had no one. For the first time in my life I was completely alone and I didn't have a roadmap. So, yeah, I fixed up the Impala and just drove," Sam beseeched his older brother, begging with his eyes for Dean to understand.

"After you looked for me. Did you look for me, Sam?" Dean's voice was deadly, Sam could tell he already knew the answer. Sam looked away, unable to meet his brother's eyes.

"Good, that's good. We always told each other not to look for each other, that's smart, good for you. Of course we always ignored that cause of our deep abiding love for each other but not this time, right Sammy," Dean groused out, jaw clenched in betrayal.

"I'm still the same guy," Sam exclaimed.

"Well I'm not," Dean bit out, turning away from Sam and walking out the door heading for the Impala. Sam followed his brother, hoping he would be able to make Dean understand his side, how lost and alone he felt. Instead he found his brother rummaging through the trunk of the Impala, packing up his duffle, throwing in the basics along with Ruby's knife, dad's journal, and some books before closing the trunk.

"What are you doing? Take the Impala if you are going to continue hunting, she's yours," Sam was confused, his eyebrows furrowed as he watched his brother walk over to a stolen car.

"I'm not hanging around Sam, and I leaving her with you. She deserves the good life as much as you do. Take care of yourself," Dean gave the Impala a wistful smile as he rubbed her hood before turning to Sam and pulling him into a hug. Sam felt the finality of it, the crushing despair that was coursing through his brother's veins and Sam didn't know what to do. He couldn't believe this was Dean and yet his brother had passed all of the tests.

"Where are you going?" Sam choked out, his voice sounded small even to his own ears.

"Don't know, but you can always call if you need anything. Be good Sam," Dean spoke softly as Sam watched him climb into the old beat up car and drive down the dirt road.

Dean drove east, in a car that wasn't his Baby, a stolen car that didn't have any of his tapes or smelt like home. He left his home behind with Sam. Sam who deserved the white picket fence and the nice girlfriend with the dog he's always wanted. Sam deserved happiness. At least, that's what Dean kept telling himself as he crossed over into New York. The hunter couldn't help the feelings of betrayal that kept creeping up on him when he thought of his brother. Sam didn't even look for him; Dean wasn't dead, just not on this plane of existence. Not that it should matter, death has never stopped either one of them before. Dean heaved out a sigh, turning up the radio to try and drown out his thoughts.

It was late at night when Dean entered New York City, the lights flashing all around him as he drove through the city that never sleeps. Intending to drive through, green eyes flashed to the exit sign signaling the off ramp to JFK Airport and Dean quickly cut across lanes. Pulling into a parking lot, Dean let the car idle for a moment, staring at the air strip to his right.

"Man, I hate flying," Dean gave himself an exasperated huff as he turned the ignition off and quickly got out. He wiped down the steering wheel, radio, and door handle for his prints before going to gather his duffle from the trunk and wiping that down too. With one last look at the inconspicuous stolen vehicle, Dean made his way into the airport.

Dean approached an attractive young woman working the ticket counter and plastered on his best smile, "hey, yeah, um, I would like a ticket for the next flight out to London."

The woman's eyebrows rose a bit but punched in the destination on her computer before asking, "one way or round trip?"

Dean continued to smile even though he knew it came across as brittle, "one way."

The woman nodded before asking for his identification and payment. Dean almost groaned out loud when he saw the price, but it didn't matter, not like he was really paying for it anyway.

"Will you be checking any bags with us today?" Dean glanced up at the question, only to realize that yes he would have to check his bag if he wanted to get past security.

"Very well then, please put it on the conveyer belt and you are all set sir, have a nice flight," the woman gave him an encouraging smile as he watched his duffle bag disappear.

Dean nodded his thanks and quickly made his way through security with thankfully no mishaps. His flight was scheduled to leave in an hour, so Dean quickly made his way to the terminal, stopping off to buy some sleep aid pills and a snack. The wait was agony, when they finally started boarding Dean thought he was going to pass out from both the stress of flying and the stress of Sam. Dean also didn't want to face the fact he was doing something he never thought he would ever do; he was running away, he was running away from Sam.

When Dean woke it was to the sounds of people removing luggage from the overhead bins, the plane had landed. Dean looked out the plane window to see the dull grey morning of London as a British voice thanked the passengers and captain for the safe flight. Dean made his way out of the plane and to baggage claim, quickly grabbing his duffle bag. Making his way outside, Dean grinned at the sight of the black cabs, double decker red buses, and red phone booths. Shouldering his duffle, Dean turned right and sent a quick prayer to Cas, hoping for the best.