Disclaimer: I do not own "Supernatural" or its characters, or the episode "Faith".

As the Reaper laid his hands on either side of Dean's head, Dean's thoughts were of his brother. I'm sorry Sammy, he thought desperately, staring into Death's eyes. I don't want to leave you. Dean tried to move, tried to fight, but the ancient gnarled hands held fast, squeezing until Dean thought his head would explode from the pressure.

"Dean!" Sam's desperate cry, so near now, reached Dean's ears, the ears that had just begun to leak trickles of blood. Dean didn't know how Sam had found him, but he had always known he would come. He didn't want his Sammy seeing him like this though, witnessing his death. Sam had been through enough in his life.

"Take me instead," Sam said, striding closer, and Dean fought to scream. No Sam, he thought, tears springing to his eyes. He prayed that their connection would somehow enable Sam to read his thoughts, but knew with deep anguish that nothing would stop Sam from sacrificing himself for Dean.

The Reaper's eyes landed on Sam, though his hands remained on Dean. Blood began leaking from Dean's nose, and he felt his body begin to give out, but he continued to fight to stay alive, feeling Sam's presence even though he couldn't see him.

"Dean's worthier than I am," Sam pleaded, his voice choked with sobs as he watched the life leave his brother's body. "He's saved my life more times than I can remember. He's forgiven me for more things than I can count. He's always looked out for me, and protected me, and he's not the one who caused the deaths of our mother and my girlfriend-I am."

Oh Sammy, no. Tears fell freely from Dean's pain-filled eyes, and his breath was becoming ragged, each breath like a hole torn in his chest. Suddenly the pain stopped, and as Dean fell backwards onto the grass, his horrified eyes saw why.

Judging the Reaper's location from Dean's, Sam had thrust his hand onto the Reaper's arm. Sam's knees had instantly buckled as the Reaper had let go of Dean, and now Sam was kneeling on the ground, the Reaper's hands pressing on his temples. A steady stream of blood found its way from Sam's ears, nose, and mouth as his eyes rolled back into his head.

His body still in shock, refusing to acquiesce to his desperate attempts to get to his brother, Dean saw a shape sprinting from the parking lot, straight towards the murmuring figure of Sue Ann. With a wild cry, the stranger ripped the pendant from Sue Ann's hands and smashed it on the ground.

As the pendant shattered into fragments, the Reaper released his hold on Sam, whose body fell limply on the grass. Dean frantically crawled to his brother's side. "Sammy, Sammy, say something, come on," Dean begged. Placing a hand on his brother's chest, he let out an anguished cry. "Oh god, he's not breathing! Somebody help please!"

The stranger ran over to Sam and Dean, and bent down over Sam, beginning mouth to mouth resuscitation. Dean clutched his brother's hand to his heart, unconsciously holding his breath. "Mom, if you can hear me, please let Sammy come back to me, please," Dean pleaded, not releasing he was speaking aloud. "I need him. I can't lose him. I love him, Mom, and I don't know what I'd do without him. He…he's my faith."

Suddenly Sam coughed, breath beginning to enter his body again. Dean brought Sam's head to his chest, cradling him gently in his arms. "It's gonna be ok, Sammy. I'm right here." A waterfall of tears fell from Dean's relieved eyes, mixing with the blood trails on Sam's face.

"Thank you so much for saving my brother's life. You don't know how much this means to me," Dean said gratefully to the stranger.

"Yes, I do, Dean," John said, his face moving into the light.

"Dad?" Dean asked in shock, staring at his father. "How…what…" A shudder ran through Sam's body, and Dean held on tighter to his unconscious brother.

"Sammy called me, Dean," John said, kneeling by his sons. "Left me the most heartbreaking message I've ever heard in my life." John extended his cell phone, but Dean wouldn't relinquish his hold on Sam. Opening the phone and calling up the message, John placed the phone by Dean's ear.

Fresh tears streamed from Dean's eyes as he heard the anguish in his brother's voice, heard him trying to pretend everything would be alright, heard the tears choking in Sam's throat. "Oh Sammy," Dean murmured, tenderly brushing the hair back from Sam's face.

"I came right away," John said. "I saw you healed, but something didn't seem right, so I stuck around."

'Were you ever going to say anything to us?" Dean demanded, his voice furious. "Were you ever going to tell us you were here?"

"No," John said simply, standing up. "And now I have to go. Take care of each other." Dean stared at his father, but Sam stirring brought all his focus back to his brother. When Dean looked up again, their father was gone.

To Be Continued….