Disclaimer: The characters of Supernatural were created by Eric Kripke, and are owned by the WB network. No profit is being made.

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By Dawn Nyberg

"This freakin' sucks, man," Sam huffed under his breath.

"Quit whining," Dean glared at his younger brother. "It's not my fault you're a lousy shot."

"You're blaming me!" Sam looked at his brother with wide-eyes. "It's not my fault."

"Really?" Dean said looking at his brother for a moment before looking around for the bitch of a poltergeist they had been trying to get rid of most of the night. The abandoned warehouse echoed with their voices. "I think you're the one that was close enough for a shot and you didn't take it."

"It flung a piece of metal at me you freak! What did you want me to do, shoot first and duck later? It would have taken my head off." Dean rolled his eyes.

"Drama Queen," Dean muttered. "Look, give me the damn gun. Hell, did you even remember to load it with the right shells?"

"You're an ass, you know that. Yes, it's loaded with the shell's we filled with cross road dirt, comfrey, and sage. I'm not an idiot." Sam glared at his brother.

Dean simply snorted off a laugh. "Really, could have fooled me."

"Fine, go kill it yourself. This idiot is going to stay right here."

"Works for me," Dean hissed. "You're under foot anyway." Sam flipped his brother off.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Sam's voice echoed. Dean simply leveled a gaze on his brother.

"Stay outta the way."

"Yes, sir," Sam quipped, and as his brother walked out toward a door to locate the poltergeist, Sam muttered, "ass," under his breath.

"Heard that," Dean said and disappeared around the corner. Dean searched the back of the warehouse sweeping the area with his flashlight and gun. The hallways in this place were dark, but the larger rooms weren't bad as the moon illuminated them quite well. He and Sam had been at each other the last couple days, and his little brother didn't want to do this job. He had said it was pointless. It was after all, an abandoned warehouse that was outside the small town, and didn't pose much of a danger. But, there had been some injuries to those that had ventured into the place, mostly curious kids, so Dean insisted they investigate what was hanging over this warehouse. They had discovered it was a nasty poltergeist that had no intention in leaving. It had become more aggressive once the Winchester brothers had arrived. Dean knew that it was because it knew they were out to kill it, once and for all to rid it of its' existence. Little did Dean know that the poltergeist would see one or both Winchester's dead, and it had its' intentions set on the youngest, Sam.

The poltergeist watched the younger of the two men walk around the large room. It watched Sam stop and glance in its direction. The boy could feel it, and the poltergeist knew that, but it didn't show itself to the youngest Winchester, so all Sam saw was an empty dark corner. As Dean drew deeper into the warehouse the poltergeist waited. It glanced at a long length of rope tied to a girder above. It lowered the rope slowly down toward Sam. The younger Winchester didn't notice the rope high above forming a noose, and begin to descend toward him.

The wind picked up outside and howled through various broken windows and missing bits of roof. Sam could swear he heard a voice on the wind, ' Give blow for blow, scorn for scorn, doom for doom,' and then suddenly the rope dropped around his head, and slipped around his neck tightening quickly. He struggled, and tried to yell for Dean, but his air was being cut off too quickly. He yanked on the rope for slack, but felt himself being pulled up by an invisible force. He grabbed weakly at the noose. The poltergeist lifted Sam just enough off the ground that the toe's of his gym shoes couldn't touch. He wanted Sam to see that he was only a couple inches away from life before death claimed him.

Darkness began to fill Sam's vision and the poltergeist showed itself to him. The pressure released just slightly and he got some air. The poltergeist looked at him, and hissed, "self preservation is the highest law. Doom for doom. So, let it be." And the noose tightened again, and all air was gone. Sam could feel his senses slipping away, and his last conscious thought was of Dean, and then everything slipped away from him.

Suddenly Dean's EMF meter clicked to life with noise and light, and he knew the poltergeist was here. "Afraid to show yourself, huh? You that weak." And, suddenly it appeared to Dean in a blaze of light and a cacophonous noise that shattered the remaining windows in the room, and everything went dark again. There was a noise to Dean's right, he smiled and turned left firing his gun. There was a loud noise akin to a shriek and a growl. And, before the poltergeist's energy was released from the warehouse it screamed, "He's lost to you." And, the energy was gone. The EMF meter silenced, and Dean knew the warehouse was clean. His brow was furrowed at the cryptic final words of the poltergeist, 'he's lost to you,' and as he kicked that phrase around in his head suddenly with sickening clarity he knew whom the 'he' was, Sammy.

Dean ran through the warehouse trying to get back to where he had left Sam. He ran into the room yelling Sam's name, and what he saw would haunt him the rest of his days. He saw in the middle of the room Sam dangled from the end of a rope. The poltergeist had hung him. "Sammy!" Dean screamed his name as he ran to his brother. He grabbed Sam's lifeless body. He maneuvered his little brother up against himself trying to take pressure off his neck, as he reached for the knife tucked in his jacket. He looked up at the rope and reached up with one hand while holding Sam up as much as he could with the other. He sawed at the rope twice, three times and it gave dropping Sam limply into his brother's grasp.

"Sam!" Dean lowered his brother to the ground quickly. Sam was pale, his lips visibly dark blue even in the moonlight. Dean pressed fingers into the skin of Sam's neck, and there was no pulse beneath them. Dean could feel the coldness of his brother's skin. "No! Sam, please." Dean's voice begged. Dean quickly began CPR on his brother. He fought to clear his vision as tears filled his eyes. He wouldn't stop working on his brother. "Sam, come on, man. Don't quit on me." His voice cracked and a sob escaped his mouth, "please."

It seemed forever before Dean in his anguish stopped and felt for a pulse, and he felt the slightest movement under his fingers, a pulse. He moved his ear down to Sam's chest and he heard his heart beating. The pulse wasn't strong, but he had one. He quickly noticed that Sam hadn't begun to breathe yet, so he went back to breathing for his little brother. "Come on, Sammy. Just a little bit further, you can do it. Breathe!" Dean felt Sam's neck again in between breaths, and he didn't like how slow his heart rate was. "Hey, Sammy, you gotta pick up the beat."

Dean knew his heart rate was too slow to be doing any good; he started compressions again on his brother to help get blood to his brain. He kept breathing for him. "Dammit, don't you leave me. You hear me." He stopped and felt for Sam's pulse again, and it was stronger, he blew two more breaths into Sam, and then there was a little noise, like a gurgle. And, then suddenly Sam took in a struggling breath. Dean leaned over Sam crying. He put a hand under his little brother's head, and raised him up, "That's it, Sammy, breathe, okay?" Dean pulled Sam into his arms cradling him against his chest, and the crook of an arm. He looked down on Sam's face, and listened to the strangled breathing finally ease off into a wheeze, and then even out. Sam didn't stir in his brother's arms and it scared Dean. "Sammy, open your eyes. Come on, please."

The oldest Winchester child's mind raced, as he ran every possible horrible scenario through his head. He had brought Sam back, but would it be his Sam when he woke up? Would there be brain damage? How long had his baby brother gone without oxygen? And, what scared Dean even more was the idea that Sam may not wake up. Dean took comfort in the fact that Sam was breathing on his own, but the fear that gripped him would not release until he saw Sam open his eyes. "Come on, Sam," he commanded. Dean sat holding his brother, and considered trying to get him to a hospital, but they were in the boonies, and a hospital wasn't nearby. "Sammy, come one." Dean pulled Sam's face toward his chest and cradled it. He rocked Sam in his arms, and idly wondered who he was trying to comfort more, Sam or himself.

Sam felt disconnected in a floating sense. He thought he heard Dean's voice calling his name, but it sounded very far off. There was another voice calling his name, and it was much closer. The voice stirred him from the darkness he was in, he hadn't heard this voice in six months; it was Jess's. He opened his eyes and they fell upon a familiar ceiling, his and Jess's apartment at Stanford. But, this time there was no fire, no Jess above him. It was just quiet with sunlight casting across the room, and a gentle breeze blowing the curtains. A hand reached up and stroked his bangs away, and he snapped his head toward the hand. His eyes went wide when he saw the smiling face of Jessica.

"Jess?" He sat up quickly.

"Hey, Sam. It's okay," she began.

"What? But, you're…"

"Shh…" She scooted near him and touched his face. Sam leaned into her touch. He had tried to lock away these memories of her, and her gentle love for him.


"Sam, let this just be, okay? We don't have long."

"Why? What's wrong?" Sam snapped. He couldn't keep Jess safe before, but now he would.

"Just let me hold you Sam. I've missed you."

"Am I dead, Jess?"

"You were, but your brother brought you back. You're still unconscious."

"Dean saved me?"

"Yeah, and for an absentee brother he fought hard for you. I wasn't sure I liked him all those month's ago, but he wants to keep you safe, so that makes him okay in my book."

"Jess," Sam began and paused taking a shaking breath.

"Don't Sam," she said putting a finger across Sam's lips. "It wasn't your fault."

"I could have stopped it Jess," Sam's face was awash with guilt and grief. Tears ran freely down his cheeks.

"No you couldn't have." The sunlight began to dim, as if an approaching storm was coming in, and Jessica glanced at the window. "I have to hurry, before it comes."

"What comes?" Sam's eyes darted around for some new danger in the room.

"Sam things aren't going to be easy for you, and I don't want you give up on yourself."

"Not easy? Talk to me Jess."

Jessica took Sam's face in her hands, "I loved you from the moment we met Samuel Winchester, and I always will. And, remember what happened that night wasn't your fault." She looked sharply at the window, as the sky outside grew darker. "He's close."


"Sam, you have to remember this no matter what, okay. This meeting will probably slip away from you when you wake up, but remember this…"

"Remember what?"

"Darkness is its own thing, Sam. Remember that. It knows you and will use you to destroy your father and brother."

"What! It wants my family dead?"

Jess's eyes looked at the growing darkness. She had to let Sam return before it came, or he would be lost. "No, Sam, not dead, destroyed from the inside out. It wants to break the bonds of blood through you."

"Through me, how?"

"No time to explain, Sam. You have to go before you're here always. Dean can't lose you now."

"Please, Jess," Sam begged. "I don't understand. I can't lose my family Jess."

"You won't Sam," her eyes sad. And, Sam knew in that moment what she meant. His family would lose him. Jess saw the understanding in his eyes.


"When the long journey's over," her answer was cryptic, but he thought he understood. "Close your eyes Sam."

"No," Sam's eyes looked at Jess pleading.

"Sleep, Sam. We'll see each other again," and she placed a feather kiss on his forehead. And, as a warm darkness pulled him away from Jessica, and he heard her say two things: "Love you always." And, the words, "darkness is its own thing." And, he was floating again into another awareness.

Dean had partially lifted and pulled Sam across the floor, so that he could lean against a wall as he held his little brother. Sleep was pulling at Dean, but he fought it. He was afraid if he fell asleep Sam would stop breathing and he wouldn't know it. "Sammy, wake up. You're startin' to worry me." His voice was tired and edged with tension. And, as the sun began to rise, exhaustion both emotional and physical won out and Dean slipped off to sleep without even realizing it, as he held Sam between his legs partially against his chest and supported in the crook of an arm.

Sam opened his eyes slowly and squinted at the strands of sunlight playing across the room. The first thing Sam saw was his brother's face after his vision focused. Dean was still asleep, and Sam studied his brother's silent features. He stayed as still as he could. He tried to survey his condition as he lay there in his brother's arms. He knew his neck and throat hurt. His chest hurt, too. Words played at the edges of a memory in his head as he watched his brother, 'darkness is its own thing,' and flashes filled his head, broken words and statements, 'when the long journey's over, lose you, family.' It didn't make sense, but some way or another it was Jessica's voice that came to his memory, and again the statement, 'darkness is its own thing,' and as the memories grew quiet in his head he chalked them up to his 'freaky head' as his brother liked to say.

Sam stirred in Dean's arms trying to move limbs that had fallen asleep. Dean sighed, and then suddenly his eyes snapped open and darted to Sam. He locked eyes with his little brother. "Sammy," his tone was one of relief with a hint of concern. Sam just looked at his big brother. "Sammy, you with me?" Dean could feel the tightness in his chest climbing.

"I think so," came out as a mere scratch of a voice, and Sam grimaced. And, Dean relaxed instantly at hearing his brother's voice.

"Easy, Sam. Your throat's gonna be sore for a while." Dean studied Sam's eyes. "What do you remember?"

"The rope," Sam whispered. "It hung me, right?"

"Yeah," Dean's face involuntarily flinched as the memory of Sam hanging lifeless in the middle of room filled his mind. Sam noticed the wince.

"You okay?"

"I'm good. Look I need to get you out of this cold place. I was just afraid to move you too far. I want to find a hotel and let you sleep. Can you walk?"

"I think so. Dean, I've been out for hours. You don't have to baby me." Dean helped raise Sam up from his chest and helped his little brother stand. Sam wobbled and Dean grabbed an arm and put it around his neck, and placed another around Sam's waist to help his brother out of this place. Sam took the offered help.

"Yeah, you were out for hours, but you were unconscious not asleep there's a big difference Sammy. I want you to rest up, okay?" Dean said as he helped his brother out of the warehouse toward the Impala. Sam heard the concern in his brother's voice.

"Was it that close?"

"Yeah," Dean's voice was thick, and Sam knew his brother wasn't really ready to revisit the events of last night.

"Thanks for saving my life," Sam offered letting the rest of the conversation drop for now until his brother wanted to say something.

"You'd have done the same for me, Sammy. Now, come on," Dean urged his little brother forward toward the car.

Two hours later Dean took an exit toward another town following the signs to the local hotel. He looked over at Sam who had fallen asleep shortly after they had left in the car from the warehouse. Sam mumbled something in his sleep, and Dean strained to hear it. The words filtered out, and Dean heard them, 'darkness is its own thing,' Dean cast a worried look at his brother, and reached out and touched his little brother. "Sammy?"

"Hmm…" came a sleepy reply.

"Nothing," Dean said quietly. "Go back to sleep. I'll wake you when we get to the hotel."


Dean couldn't help, but wonder what the strange mumblings meant, but something in the statement scared him, and suddenly he felt cold, and a fear of losing Sam filled him. He squeezed the steering wheel, and repeated in his head, 'Sammy's okay. He's alive. Just a weird dream that doesn't mean anything.' But, something tugged at him, and he didn't believe what he was trying to convince himself. The hotel came into view, and his mind shifted back to his sleeping brother and he smiled. Sam was safe, and he planned on keeping it that way. Dean Winchester knew he would face Hell and all its minions to keep his brother safe, no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice.

The End