Disclaimer: Eric Kripke is the creator of the characters of the Supernatural TV series. The WB network owns the show. No profit is being made.

NOTE TO READERS: This is the seventh story in my fanfic series. If you haven't read the other stories you should, as they build on one another. The stories in order are: Uninvited, Whisper, Going Under, Until it Sleeps, If I Could Be Where You Are, and Down with the Sickness. Also, I wanted to send a BIG Thank You to everyone who takes the time to read and review each new installment. Thanks!

EPISODE TIE-IN NOTICE: This story will touch on pieces of the "Shadow" episode either casually or in depth with minor elaborations and changes possible. Things will shift from the episode, but will maintain some aspects of the events of "Shadow." Also, expect some dialogue from the episode to appear, but with modifications here and there.

Terms Used: Athame: a black-handled, double-edged knifelike tool used by witches to channel energy, as in casting the circle. It is marked with the owner's name in runes and with other symbols, including the pentagram. Widdershins: walking counter-clockwise around something.

Side Note: the song "Last Resort" by the group Papa Roach from their "Infected" CD inspired this story titled.

Last Resort

By Dawn Nyberg

Cut my life into pieces. I've reached my last resort…'cause I'm losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me I'm fine. Nothing's alright, nothing is fine. I'm running and crying. I never realized I was spread too thin til it was too late and I was empty within…hungry and feeding on chaos…It all started when I lost my mother, no love for myself…searching…finding nothing, but questions and devils… Lyrics from "Last Resort" by Papa Roach

Three Weeks Later

John dropped his two bags by the door. The taxi he had arranged would be here soon. He had spent the last three weeks staying with Kieran and Samaire. John had also used the past weeks to spend time with his sons at the cabin. Sam had come home from the hospital and was different. He seemed more guarded and resigned. And, it was the resignation that had John concerned more than anything. At times John felt Sam was going through the motions of appearing fine. But, John feared it was the darkness encroaching on his son. He hated to leave, but he had to track the demon, he had to protect Sam. Dean had stood by his brother and never wavered, and he was so very proud of his firstborn. Kieran had been talking to Sam, but the young man spent all his time blocking the older man, and Kieran knew that Sam was no longer receptive. After all, the only thing he had left to teach him was blocking, and he had learned that from another source. Kieran tried not to dwell on who that source was.

John walked into the kitchen and found Dean standing near the window watching Sam and Kieran down by the lake. "Son?" Dean turned.

"Yeah, Dad?"

"The taxi should be here soon. Where's your brother?"

"Down by the lake with Kieran."

"Well, let's walk down there. I want to say bye to Sam and thank Kieran."

"You sure you have to go? I mean Sam and I are staying through next week."

"Dean, it's time. I have to get back to things."

"Things? You mean the demon? Dad, how can I do my job if Sam can do his projection thing any time he wants?"

"Dean, your brother won't make that mistake again."

"He won't?"

"He knows what almost happened. Keep him busy. Start off with some easy jobs."

"Dad," Dean began. "I can't protect him like this." John put a hand on his son's shoulder.

"Dean, you've done nothing, but look out for your brother. Just be there for him, and keep doing what you've been doing." John gave a firm squeeze, and then pulled his son into a hug. "Now, let's go see your brother and Kieran. The taxi will be here any minute." Dean nodded.

John thanked Kieran and had said goodbye to Sam, but when he was ready to start back up toward the house to wait for taxi his youngest son stopped him, "Dad?"

"Yes?" Everyone stopped their progression toward the cabin. Sam smiled slightly.

"Can I talk to you alone before you leave?"

"Sure, kiddo," John replied, but he could feel a hint of trouble brewing. Dean and Kieran excused themselves and returned to the cabin. "What's on you mind son."

"Look Dad," Sam kept his tone even, but there was a hint of anger lacing his voice. "Kieran can't block me out of his mind or yours," his statement was blunt. "I haven't told him, yet, but I know what you had him do to me in the hospital. I couldn't read you in the hospital because my head was still foggy, but it's clear now."

"Sam," John began.

"No," Sam's voice forceful. "I understand why you did what you did, but you crossed the line having him drug me to get in my head."

"I had to know son."

"Know what? If I've become a puppet for the demon?"

"That evil bastard doesn't want you to be his puppet Sammy, he wants to groom you, and you know it."

"I know what I'm doing." John grabbed his son by an arm and jerked him.

"You haven't a fucking clue what you're doing!" He spat. "You don't understand…" Sam cut him off as he jerked his arm away from his father.

"I understand I'll do what I have to…" he paused his eyes raging. "to protect my family."

"We aren't the ones needing protecting Sammy." John's voice boomed. "Like I said you don't have a clue," his voice hissed.

"I understand more than you think," Sam's voice lowered. John now grabbed both of Sam's arms, and pulled him within inches of his face.

"Really? Well, if you think that you're a fool. You've don't know what you're dealing with." Sam snapped his arms from his father's grasp.

"Fuck you!" He screamed. His voice dropping low again, "I know exactly what and who I'm dealing with… it's you who doesn't have a clue." John's mind was on fire with worry, rage and a fleeting thought of striking his son flashed through his mind, and he saw Sam's eyes intensify. "Don't even think about it," Sam's warned. And, John knew that Sam had read him and knew it had crossed his mind to hit him.

"Sammy, please. I just want to keep you safe." Sam softened.

"I know," he offered. "But, you have to understand I can't allow you and Dean to lose your lives for the sake of mine. It's not going to happen." John reached up and cupped the side of his son's face in his hand.

"It won't come to that, Sam. I won't let it." Sam shook his head.

"You'll do what you have to Dad, but just accept, so will I."

"Then help me Sammy, tell me what I'm… no, what we're all up against."

"I can't, Dad. It would only speed things up." John understood.

"Sammy I'm sorry I betrayed your trust with the drugging."

"You meant well, but it will never happen again." John nodded. a few minutes later they had ended their conversation and rejoined everyone back in the cabin to await the ride to the airport. Sam and Dean saw their father off as the taxi drove away.

Later that Evening

Sam had asked Kieran to take a walk with him, and left Dean to visit with Samaire. "Kieran?"

"Yes?"

"It bothers you that I'm blocking you doesn't it?"

"Only because I'm worried for you," Kieran commented lightly.

"For me? Not about me?" Kieran smiled. Sam was wise beyond his years to recognize there was a difference between the two notions.

"Yes, for you, Sam. I worry about what is to come. You know don't you?" Kieran paused and looked at Sam. "What I did?" Sam nodded.

"My father and I had some words about it before he left. I don't blame you."

"I wouldn't blame you if you did. I'm angry at myself for doing that to you."

"You didn't hurt me Kieran, and anyway my Dad can be pretty persuasive."

"That he can be," Kieran replied. "So, you're able to read me even when I'm blocking, eh?"

"Yes. I didn't want to pry, but I just had a feeling something was up between the two of you, so I took a peek."

"I understand. I hope you and your father didn't part on uneasy terms."

"No, not really. I'm a little mad, but I get why he did what he did." Sam stopped walking and faced Kieran. "I can never thank you enough for everything you've done for me, and Samaire, too."

"No thanks needed. If you hadn't been here that one afternoon Samaire would have been killed, and for that I can never repay you. You always have a place here Sam… if you should ever need it, okay?"

"Thanks. And, you don't have to repay me a thing Kieran. I still owe you and Samaire."

"Consider all debts paid in full. And, your brother," Kieran began. "I spoke to him earlier and told him he was welcome whenever. This is a safe place for both of you. Remember that, all right?"

"I will."

Chicago, Three Months Later

Sam sat quietly in the car as he and Dean made their way back to the motel after facing off with the Daevas and Meg. Sam still felt guilt over lying to his brother that he didn't recognize the symbol they had seen earlier in the second murder victim's apartment. And, now they were both bloody and beaten. Sam hadn't had any visions or contact with Ahriman since his fateful astral projection. His mind went back to tipping over the black altar and watching the Daevas pass him by and attack Meg throwing her out the window. Perhaps, it was a punishment because she had overstepped a line when she had turned the Daevas on Sam drawing his blood, and not because he had destroyed the altar. He didn't want to think about it. He was angry that Meg had set a trap for his father, but was thankful the man had not shown at the warehouse despite Meg confirming he was in town. Sam and his brother hadn't spoken to their father since he left in the taxi from Kieran's.

The Impala turned into the back alley behind the motel near the back entrance and they climbed out. Sam grabbed the gear bag full of weapons he had grabbed earlier to take to the warehouse hunting Meg. "Why didn't you leave that stuff in the car," Dean commented as they walked down the hallway approaching their door.

"I said it before, I'll say it again… better safe than sorry." Dean unlocked the door without comment. They entered and Sam was closing the door when his brother's shout startled him.

"Hey!" And, then from the shadow of the window their father turned around to face them. He smiled. "Dad?"

"Hey Boys."

Dean and John embraced for a long moment and separated. John confirmed he had arrived at the warehouse just in time to see the girl take a 'swan dive' from the window. He looked at his youngest son and offered a warm smile, "Hi Sam."

"Hey Dad."

"Dad, it was a trap. I didn't know. I'm sorry," Dean said with worried eyes.

John assured Dean it was okay. "I thought it might have been. It's tried to stop me before."

"The demon has?" Sam questioned with a stricken face.

"It knows I'm close. It knows I'm going to kill it. Not just exorcise it or send it back to hell. But, actually kill it."

"How?" Dean chimed in. John smiled slyly at his eldest son.

"I'm working on that."

"Let us come with you. We'll help." John felt warmth and love for his youngest son. After everything he knew his son could face, and had faced for that matter, he was willing to help confront the demon on his father's terms.

"No Sam. Not yet. Try to understand," he offered with a soft expression.

"Dad, you know I understand."

"I don't want you hurt. I don't want you caught in the crossfire."

"Dad, you don't have to worry about us." Sam replied.

"Of course, I do," John smiled and glanced from Sam to Dean and back to his second born. "I'm your father," his eyes warm and glistening with unshed tears. "Listen, Sammy, the last time we were together I did something I'm not proud of, but I had to do it." Dean cast a confused look from his Dad to his brother. Sam had never said anything had happened between him and their father at Kieran's cabin.

"It's okay, Dad. We all ready covered it." John moved in and hugged his son. The past three months had given Sam some perspective on his father's motivations. He was pissed about being drugged, but he understood why, and it wasn't a betrayal any longer to him. Sam saw the look on his big brother's face as he and his father broke from their hug. "It's nothing. Just something between Dad and I. It's settled." Dean nodded.

Suddenly John was ripped backward and Sam felt himself hit in the chest. He was knocked off his feet. He heard his brother scream, "No!" And, then he was thrown across the room. Sam pulled himself up to his elbows and saw his father and brother being attacked, and he could see the shadows moving, and he knew it was the Daevas. "Meg," he hissed under his breath. He knew the girl had survived the fall someway, demonic intervention, he guessed.

He moved to grab his gear bag. He knew a flare was inside and he'd use it to buy them time for an escape, but suddenly another Daevas was present and it threw the bag against the far wall. He could see the shadow move across the wall. Sam remembered there were always three, three created by Ahriman. But, Meg had only conjured two, and they were the ones attacking his family, the ones killing them. He could hear his father scream, and saw his brother being attacked repeatedly. And, in his head he heard a familiar voice, it was Ahriman, the demon. Embrace your destiny, my chosen one. You have the power to save your family. Do it! Claim your place beside me, claim your power."

The screams from his father as he saw his Dad's blood erupt from wounds that were clawed and slit open were too much he had to save them, save them both. "No!" he screamed. And, there was a pause in the torture. He locked eyes with his father across the room and John knew. "Sammy, don't…" Dean threw panicked eyes toward his little brother. There was something in his father's voice that scared him.

"Dad," Sam choked. " I have to. I won't watch the two of you die." John and Dean were both lifted by invisible forces except for their shadows casting against the wall. "No don't!" Sam yelled.

"Then claim your place beside me Samuel," the voice filled the room as a dark shadow moved from a dark corner of the room. John stared at the man that walked forward. He stood his height, dark haircut short like Dean's, and his eyes were solid black, demonic. But, they shifted and took on a human look. Dark pools like Sam's own eyes.

"You," John ground out. The demon shifted his gaze to the man.

"John Winchester, so we finally meet after all these years."

"Dad?" Dean's voice shook. His father met eyes with his oldest child and simply nodded confirming this was the demon they'd hunted all these years. "Get away from my brother. You won't hurt him," Dean yelled. The demon turned and smiled at Dean.

"I have no intentions of hurting Samuel," Ahriman assured. "Take them." And, John and Dean disappeared in a black mist still clutched by the Daevas.

"No!" Sam screamed. His eyes filled with rage as he turned to face Ahriman. "You won't hurt them!" The building began to shake and shudder. Sam's fury began to manifest itself. Yells and screams could be heard by fleeing occupants fearing some rare earthquake or sewer system explosion.

"Beautiful," the demon cooed impressed with Sam's buried abilities rising up. "They are safe," he tried to calm Sam. "They have been taken to the warehouse for safe keeping while you decide what to do." The shaking stopped, and Sam absently wiped away the thin stream of blood from his nose. "You bleed because part of you still resists embracing your power."

"If they've been harmed," Sam warned. "Your Daevas…" The demon interrupted Sam.

"They are yours as well. You are my chosen and they will follow you. You need only invoke the words to control them, and in doing so you will take the first steps into embracing your destiny."

"My destiny?" Sam's voice was bitter. "They do what Meg wants, so big deal."

"No, she conjures them because I allow her to do that. She does my bidding." Ahriman surveyed Sam's bloody face. "She made a mistake in having you harmed. As you know she was punished for her bad behavior."

"So, it was you that had the Daevas throw her out the window, not me destroying the altar? But, she's alive, right? I mean she did this tonight here with my father and Dean, yeah?"

"Yes, and she was out of line in having you struck yet again, and she will be reminded of her place. Or should I say the demon possessing her will be reprimanded." Sam didn't want to waste another second talking about Meg.

"I want to see my family," Sam demanded.

"Of course, but you understand that tonight it ends one way or the other." Sam leveled his eyes on the demon.

"Do not threaten my family."

"I simply mean that if you choose to stand by them all that will happen is their deaths in battle, and you will still be mine."

"I'm not yours. I'm not property to be owned." Sam hissed.

"No, my apologies. I'm merely trying to make you understand that this is meant to be and that every moment of your life since the night in your nursery has led you to this moment. Embrace your power, and you save your brother and father."

"They will hunt you… hunt us. They won't stop until your dead."

"My presence in this earthly plain can be killed, yes, but my essence will remain. I am forever, Samuel. Their fate is in your hands tonight." Sam dropped his head in defeat, but not submission.

"Take me to them."

And, in the next moment he stood in the warehouse and saw his brother and father still being held against their wills. Meg stood silent in the corner watching, and she visibly withdrew deeper into the shadow of the room when Ahriman cast an angry glance at her.

"Dad? Dean? You two okay?"

"We're fine Sam," John spoke evenly.

"Sammy, get away from that evil bastard," Dean struggled.

"Dean," Sam's voice was soft and plaintive. Dean stilled instantly. Sam turned sad eyes to his brother. "I don't expect you to ever forgive me Dean."

"Forgive you what Sammy? You haven't done anything."

"Sam, you don't have to do this," John's voice urgent.

"What's going on?" Dean barked.

"Listen to me Dean," Sam pleaded. "I know what you've given up for me over the years. I know you feel I'm something you have to keep safe. I appreciate all of it. But, it's my turn to pay you back."

"Sammy, no…" Dean's chest felt tight with fear. "You're talking nuts. You're my brother it's nothing more than that. You're my brother," he repeated emphatically.

"And, you're mine," Sam assured. "You always will be." He paused, "Dad…" Sam turned to his father.

"Sam, please," John knew he was losing ground.

"Dad, don't, okay? This was the way it was always going to go, and you know it."

"It doesn't have to," John struggled against the invisible force holding him.

"Dad," Sam's voice was resolved. He looked at his father and held his gaze. John saw the host of unsaid things pass across his young son's face. And, he felt hot tears sting his eyes and crest over spilling down his cheeks. Dean watched in abject horror as he witnessed his father's tears.

"Sam!" a guttural scream erupted from deep within Dean as he fully realized what was about to happen and he fought against the hold on him. Sam watched unable to keep his bottom lip from quivering against the held sob brewing inside him.

John and Dean were jerked hard in the Daevas grips, and Sam could see his time was up. John felt an arm-twisted sharply further up his back causing him to hiss in pain. Dean bucked and kicked, and was lifted and slammed back down on his feet. "No!" Sam screamed.

Sam turned and looked at Ahriman who stood a short distance away, and in that moment he felt a switch begin to turn and he faced back toward his brother and father. And, he spoke, "Dad, I won't let you and Dean die." Sam locked eyes with Dean and then his father. "I trust you'll do what has to be done," Sam's cryptic last words to his father caused Dean to glance at his Dad to see if there was some kind of understanding. He saw his father's barely perceivable nod at his little brother. "Love you guys." Sam spoke evenly and smiled. And, then Dean watched his brother's inner spirit begin to slip from his brother's eyes. "No regrets." His voice growing quieter, "Goodbye." he whispered.

There was a shift in the room. The Daevas increased their grips on the two Winchester men, and Sam knew they were preparing to kill his family. And, he spoke, his voice firm, and with unshakable resolve. "I call you by name. I summon and command the three. I call you Aka Manah, Druj, Aeshma, et te invoco." And, the room began to tremble, and Sam felt a cold settle on his skin. "Release them," his tone deadly and void of emotion. The Daevas obeyed. John and Dean felt the invisible forces holding them release. They saw three distinct shadows withdraw to stand near Sam. "Return them," and before they could even speak they were gone.

The Motel Room

John and Dean stood stock still in the middle of the motel room they had been taken from earlier. But, something was missing, Sam. "Dad! We got to get to Sammy!"

"No," John grabbed his son by both arms forcing him to look at him. "He's gone, Dean."

"No! You don't know what the hell you're talking about!" Dean spat. "We gotta go." He struggled against his father, but John Winchester held firm, and pulled his struggling first-born son to his chest.

"No, son," John tried to soothe. "Sammy's gone. He's gone Dean."

"No!" Dean raged against his father. "He did that for us. We have to save him. It's Sammy, Dad."

"He's gone, Dean."

"No," came out softer now, and Dean began to lose his struggle. "Not Sammy, Dad. Not Sam." John held his son tightly. Dean lost his fight against the tears and he wept in his father's arms.

"Sammy loved you so much Dean." John wanted to say so many things.

"The demon Dad we have to kill it and get Sammy back."

"No, Dean," John spoke evenly. "I do. I won't lose two sons. I need to know you're safe. Sam's lost to us son." Dean heard his father's words, and suddenly he felt so hollow. Sam had given himself to the demon to spare their lives.

"Dad, Sam can be saved," Dean felt hope.

"No, Dean. Sammy is gone. Your brother is gone."

"He's not dead, Dad," Dean took in a shaking breath.

"Yes, he is Dean." John's voice shook. Dean's eyes looked sharply at his father.

"No, he's alive," he insisted.

"Listen to me Dean," John's voice angry. "You're brother is dead. He died for us." He shouted. He had to make Dean believe him. "Dean, your brother is gone." His voice was softer now. John couldn't deal with Dean believing Sam could come back to them. He had to convince his son that his brother was dead, truly dead. In essence he was, his soul gone and everything that made him Sammy would be dead once the evil took root. John didn't think Dean could accept that Sam was gone let alone figure out what Sam had meant when he said 'I trust you'll do what has to be done' as much as he loved his son he knows Dean would never forgive him for killing Sam even if in reality it wasn't really his brother. So, John would lie to protect the sanity and soul of his one surviving son.

"Dean, I wish I didn't have to say these words to you, but I do," John had released his son from his arms, so he could look him in the eye. Dean's eyes were anguished and blood shot. "The demon wanted Sam's power, and now he has it. Sam was always expendable to him. Sammy died so that we could live. And, I will kill that evil son of a bitch, but I can't if I know you're not safe." John had to make sure Dean did not disobey him. "You can't get hurt Dean or Sam died in vain. He wanted to keep you safe."

Dean's eyes dropped from his father's gaze. And, John saw a visible shudder cascade through his son. "Sammy's really dead isn't he?"

"Yes."

"But, his body Dad. The demon doesn't need him once he's dead. We have to find him. Bury him. We can't just leave…" John halted his son's words. He had anticipated his son's desire to put his brother to rest.

"The demon won't leave anything to bury Dean," John spoke softly. "Consumed in flame. Sam is all ready at peace son."

Dean crumbled against his father, and all stoicism left him and he didn't care if he looked weak. He was broken. His soul was shredding inside his flesh. Sam was gone. His little brother was gone. And, he felt a part of himself die, and ached knowing that the only thing to fill that empty space was his kid brother. He was left barren.

Meanwhile, The Warehouse

Sam felt cold to the core. He felt a sharp burning pain on the inside of his left wrist and looked down. He watched a mark raise itself like a brand into his skin. It was the Daevas symbol, it was Ahriman's symbol. He cast his eyes toward the shadows and with merely a thought the Daevas obeyed and withdrew to a corner. "You've all ready grown stronger Samuel. It's time." There was a rushing of wind that gathered in the room, and cloaked figures appeared from a dark mist. "These are your servants, my chosen one. They are my trusted triad." Sam simply nodded. And, with that acknowledgement suddenly Sam was somewhere else far away from Chicago and his family, and as his eyes adjusted to the dim room flickering in candlelight, he knew this place. It was the unholy place of his dreams and he knew what was coming, and that resistance was futile.

The tall pillar candles flickered across a myriad of faces framed by dark hoods. There was a low constant chanting that surrounded Sam. He saw the altar and the thick black ancient looking book that sat on it. Ahriman approached and opened the thick book. Sam could hear the old pages crinkle with their age. The demon reached for a tall cylinder filled with a white substance, finely milled to a powder. He turned to face his chosen one. "Samuel take this. It is salt from the Red Sea milled in the ancient ways," and Sam did. There was no turning back; this was for his family. "You must cast the circle and conjure its power. The words are in you." And, it was as if something inborn took over and he knew what had to be done.

He drew the circle and four salt lines toward the center and drew another small circle joining the four lines while speaking in a slow and powerful voice, as he stood in the middle of the wide circle, "I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest a boundary between the legions and the realms of the Mighty Ones. Preserve and contain the dark power. I honor and consecrate thee." A silence fell over the crowd of faces. Ahriman approached Sam with his own ceremonial athame, its black handle inscribed with his name in runes on one side and Sam's on the other also in ancient rune symbols its double edge engraved with an inverted pentagram. He handed it to Sam and the young man accepted it.

"You must call the four quarters." Sam nodded.

He turned and faced with an automatic ability the direction of East an air-invoking pentagram. And the air glowed with the sight of the pentagram, and dissipated. He proceeded to South, West and North drawing in the air the appropriate pentagram symbols signifying their counterparts. He called the four quarters: Air, Water, Fire and Earth. His voice broke the silence, "Spirit of Fire, Guardian of the watchtower of the South, Red Lion of the Burning Desert, come to the circle this night and grant me your strength. So mote it be." He drew the athame across his left palm drawing a shallow line of blood and he clenched his fist and watched the blood drop in the center of the circle within the small center salt circle that joined the four lines. He began to walk widdershins around the smaller circle six times and then he faced Ahriman.

The room shuddered and the darkness growled and a powerful wind rose up within the circle. Ahriman handed a chalice to Sam.

"Samuel, you must invoke the Four Crown Princes, and drink of me, my chosen one." Sam saw the golden emblem of the inverted pentagram adorning the chalice, and he felt his very soul shudder at the implications of what was about to happen. Sam concentrated trying to shield some piece of himself away for safekeeping. He would keep some small ember of himself alive inside this soon to be empty, soulless shell.

Sam knew the words without being told, and that simple fact had scared him, but what was done is done. "I command the forces of darkness and the infernal power within. Behold! I am the chosen one and I claim my right among the ancients of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Undefiled in wisdom. Unmatched in power. I call upon the elements to serve me and the forces of darkness to manifest my will." And Sam drank from the chalice. Ahriman's blood burned like hot tar going down his throat searing away Sam's humanity. Ahriman took the now empty chalice from Sam, and handed him a dagger that looked nothing like the athame he had used earlier. It was silver from hilt to tip except for the thick black thread that snaked around the hilt in a serpentine manner.

"New blood," the demon said simply, and with that Sam cut his left forearm causing a thick stream of blood to fall into the chalice. Ahirman smiled. He took the dagger from Sam. And the demon raised the chalice containing Sam's blood to his own lips. "I drain your days! I drain your nights! I drain you! I claim you as my own; my chosen one. There is no end, 'til the last drop I've tasted. There is no end until the last drop beats through your heart into stillness. Only in death shall you be released Your soul is now mine; you are wasted. You are claimed." Ahriman paused and gently touched Sam's face with a fascinated reverence as Sam closed his eyes. "So, it is done." Ahriman spoke in a reverent, powerful tone.

Sam opened his eyes to reveal the very eyes of his nightmares. Black and soulless, and he spoke evenly with conviction to Ahriman, "It is done." And, the demon nodded as he smiled and leaning toward the altar Ahriman blew out a single black candle signifying the completion of the ceremony. Sam's eyes shifted back to human form, but the light that was once there had been extinguished.

"Samuel, my chosen," he spoke softly. "Give me your arm." The demon took Sam's injured arm still bleeding into his hands, and as he ran his hand over the wound it sealed. He then ran a finger over the cut in the young man's palm, and it to disappeared leaving unblemished skin. He touched his injured cheek, and the claw marks caused by the Daevas vanished. And, nothing remained of the injuries not even thin scars. His skin was smooth, flawless, like glass. Outside, the heavens poured rain and thunder rolled across the sky. This night the earth mourned the loss of a light; it mourned the loss of Samuel Winchester.

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

A thunderclap greeted Kieran as he woke breathless from a troubling vision. Samaire sat up and put a comforting hand on her husband's shaking shoulder. "Kieran?"

"Sam," he whispered quietly into the darkness of the room, and his wife understood as she leaned in holding her husband, and he wept.

Chicago, Illinois

"Dad?" Dean tried to force his voice into something remotely resembling his own, but his voice was quiet and it shook.

"Yes?"

"I know…" he began tentatively. "I know this isn't easy for you either, but… I hate to ask, it's just that I…"

"Want some time alone?" His father asked calmly with understanding. Dean nodded. "I'll be back in a couple hours, okay?"

"Thanks," Dean's voice sounded so fragile to John that his heart broke. Dean stood in the empty motel room and stared at the walls, and he felt his heart clench inside his chest. Everything looked the same only it wasn't, nothing would be the same again. He glanced over and saw Sam's things sitting by the table. He saw one of his brother's sweatshirts slung over a chair back, and absently he picked it up. It smelled of Sam's cologne, and he squeezed the fabric between his fingers. The silence of the room was deafening to him, so he turned on the clock radio that sat on the bureau, and as the music began he felt drawn to the melancholy sound of it, and waited for the words, and when they came, so did the tears.

It was only one hour ago

It was all so different then

Nothing yet has really sunk in

Looks like it always did

This flesh and bone

is just the way that we are tied in

But there's no one home

I grieve… for you

You leave… me

Dean braced himself against the wall until his legs buckled and he slid slowly down the wall drawing his knees to his chest still clinging to his little brother's shirt, and the music played on.

So hard to move on

Still loving what's gone

They say life carries on

Carries on and on and on

Dean rocked back and forth as the sobs wracked his body he tried desperately to stifle them, but they broke free like a caged animal. His life felt empty like this room. There was this impossible space, this void that Sam left behind, and Dean curled his arms around Sam's shirt and cried, and the music brushed over him.

The news that truly shocks

is the empty, empty page

While the final rattle rocks

it's the empty, empty cage

and I can't handle this

I grieve… for you

You leave… me

Let it out and move on

Missing what's gone…

Dean's mind filled with warm memories of his brother. The lopsided dimpled smile he had his whole life. His warm puppy dog eyes he had always been a sucker for. His brother's laugh echoed inside his head. The memory of his brother's voice filled his head of a time not so long ago in Nebraska reminding him that 'sometimes you have to have some faith Dean,' and the music played on.

Life carries on in the people I meet

In everyone that's out on the street

In all the dogs and cats…

In all the rot and rust

In the ashes and the dust Life carries on and on and on

Sammy always had enough faith for both of them, and now he was gone. Dean let the shirt fall to his lap, as his fists clenched in anger. His brother had always believed in him, had faith in him. Sam was his light, his candle that led him home. And, the music played on.

Life carries on and on

Just like the car that we ride in…

The way we are tied in

As life carries on and on and on

Life carries on and on and on

Dean felt a primal scream brewing from deep within, from a place that had always been kept at bay by his little brother, his Sammy. His brother had always been his lighthouse in the storm. Sam was Dean's safe harbor. He gripped the shirt in his lap, and pressed his face into it as the scream erupted from a dark agonized place deep inside. And, the music ended with a final message.

I grieve

And, Dean was grieving. His pain and loss were absolute. He wrapped his arms around himself and he cried tears of rage and grief.

John Winchester pulled his jacket tight as he walked the local sidewalks not far from the motel. His mind consumed with both sons. The grief would come for Sammy, but not yet, not until things were set right. Sam had said 'I trust you'll do what has to be done,' and he had given his youngest son a knowing nod, a promise really, albeit unspoken. He would not let Sam exist in the darkness that consumed him. He would not let Sam's sacrifice for his life and Dean's be in vain. He knew that when he looked on Sam again to release him as promised that he will have to detach himself from the evil thing that bares his baby sons face, his voice, his dark warm eyes. His son, a hunter has become the hunted.

John smiled inwardly as memories of Sammy and Dean as children filled his mind. And, memories that still had Mary present filled his mind now. He remembered the day the brought Sammy home from the hospital and introduced Dean to his new little brother. Sam was such a happy baby, and John remembered how blessed he felt when he stood watching his first born greet little Sammy, 'Hi Sam, I'm you're big brother Dean,' and Sammy had cooed, and wrapped his little fingers around Dean's own small four-year old hand. Dean had smiled, 'Sammy knows me Daddy,' and John had smiled. "Of course, he knows his big brother Dean.

John felt a hot tear escape and cascade down his cheek. He wiped it away bitterly. He had to focus first on getting Dean somewhere to mend emotionally, a place he knew he'd be safe, and then he would hunt Sam. He felt a chill work it's way through him at the thought, 'hunt Sam.' He knew who could help Dean, and he pulled out his cell phone and pressed a saved number. It rang only once before a voice answered on the other end.

"John? I've been expecting your call." John closed his eyes in relief.

"Kieran," John began. "I need to bring Dean to the cabin. It happened…" his voice broke off.

"I know, John. Bring Dean," Kieran felt John's pain. He knew the man was torn between two sons: one whose soul needed healed, and another who needed to be released. "Come as soon as you're able."

"Thank you." John closed his phone and checked his watch. He turned around to start his walk back to the motel, and to Dean. Terrible times lay ahead, he knew. But, he had to see to Dean first, his son had to be a priority right now. He hated lying to his son about Sam, but the alternative wasn't a possibility, no the truth would be kept from him. And, as thunder rolled high in the heavens he hurried down the sidewalk trying to beat the coming rainstorm. Yes, he thought to himself as the motel came into view, the time has come for bitter things.

TBC

Well? Good? Bad? Should I continue? I depend on reviews to let me know how I'm doing and if it's worth continuing. After all, if it's getting boring or just plain awful to read I'd like to know, and I won't post another installment. And, on the flip side, if the story series is on target, let me know that I'm on the right track.

Additional Note: The song Dean heard on the radio was by the artist Peter Gabriel and is titled, "I Grieve."