Disclaimer: Winchester universe not mine, but I like to dabble

Author's Note: This is my first fic

Chapter 1, Peace of Mind

Sam woke with a start, his breath coming in gasps. He blinked the vision from his eyes and made his eyes focus on the familiar reality of the dark room. Like always, the quiet of his home calmed him. He felt Grace's concern radiating from the opposite side of the bed and turned to offer what reassurance he could muster, taking refuge in his wife's unfaltering gaze. Grace was an empath, able to sense and project feelings and Sam felt her gentle support steady him as he reeled from the powerful vision.

"Oh, God," Sam whispered in dismay.

"What was it?" Grace asked, her voice calm. Her question helped to focus Sam and draw out the details of his vision.

"Cassie," Sam managed. "She's hurt, something… attacked them in the apartment." After a moment he amended "is going to attack them."

Sam threw himself from the bed. The clock read 4:52 AM, which meant that it would be almost six in New York, where Cassie lived with his six year old niece and the attack in the vision had occurred in the early morning, right after dawn. Sam grabbed his cell from the charger on his dresser and put through the call.

The phone rang four times before Cassie picked up. "Hello," she said in an irritated voice.

"Cassie, it's Sam," he said, letting out the breath he had been holding. "You and Ellie need to get out of the apartment, NOW."

"You had a vision?" Cassie's voice turned taut with fear. Though she and Dean still had not found a way to balance his hunting with her journalism career, their steamy relationship had exposed her to more than her fair share of supernatural monsters. When Cassie's mother had passed away, Cassie had moved to New York and now she edited a small news magazine. Things with Dean continued to defy definition, even after (or maybe especially after) the birth of their beloved daughter Rosemary Ellen Winchester, Ellie for short.

"Yes. I think whatever it is will come in the next couple of hours. You need to get out of there as soon as you can." Sam could tell from her unsteady breathing that she was starting to panic and coached her through as best he could. "If you have any iron or salt, take it with you, otherwise just get Ellie and go. Keep to the lighted areas as much as you can."

"Oh God, oh God," Cassie muttered as Sam heard her start to move. "Should I call the police?" she asked Sam.

"Only as a last resort, Cassie. They rarely help."

"Okay… okay." Cassie replied, her voice sounding a little more resolved.

As soon as he hung up the phone, Sam was dialing again. He simultaneously pulled up flight information on his laptop and dialed his brother. Last Sam had heard Dean and John had been working a string of suspicious suicides at a private school outside of Boston. Hopefully they had just about finished by now, Sam prayed as the phone rang.

"Hey," said Dean in a sleepy voice. "This better be good, Sammy, 'cause the sun is definitely, definitely not up." The bantering tone disappeared when Sam told him about the vision.

After confirming that Cassie was getting the hell out of the apartment with his daughter, Dean switched into hunting mode. "Any thoughts on what this son of a bitch is? What it wants?"

"I'm not completely sure, but because of the way the thing was moving and the… there was this smell like rotting flesh. I think it's a zombie,"

"Great, so somebody's animating it? Like a necromancer or something?"

"I don't know, Dean. I promise you that we will figure it out. I'm taking the next flight out. I'll call as soon as I know anything."

"Right. We'll be there as soon as we can," Dean replied.

"Alright. Give me a call when you're on the road and Dean... watch yourself."

"You too," Dean said shortly before cutting the line.

Grace reappeared with a steaming cup of coffee earning a grateful smile from her husband. She kissed his head to indicate her understanding and set about packing his overnight bag while Sam dialed Cassie back. Relieved to hear that she was on her way out the door, Sam gave her the information for the rendezvous and let her know that he would be out there by that afternoon.

Letting out a sigh, Sam downed the coffee and headed down to the basement where he could pack his weapons kit. That was going to be a bitch to get through security, but he wasn't going into a hunt unprepared. As he wracked his brain trying to think of which books from his considerable library might be helpful, he felt chilled by more than just the cold floor beneath his bare feet. He prayed that they wouldn't arrive too late. Since the night that the Winchesters, backed by more than a dozen kids with talents like Sam and Grace, had banished the Demon back to hell, Sam had gradually rebuilt around the devestation of losing Jessica. Grace, who had decided to go back to school and study psychology after the battle, helped Sam to accept his abilities and together they made a carved out a niche for their unique family. Finishing law school, partly because he was a stubborn bastard and partly in Jessica's memory, Sam now had a private practice in the small town in Colorado. However, despite what his father and brother might say in a pique of anger or frustration, Sam had never ignored a vision. Not since Jessica. At times the terrible responsiblity of his abilites threatened to crush him.

When there was nothing left for Sam to do but call the office and as Grace hopped in the shower, Sam went to check on the kids. It was a quarter till five and the boys were still sleeping soundly. John, who was five, lay sprawled across his Winnie the Pooh sheets and Riley, who had just made the transition to a full sized twin bed was curled up in a corner with his security blanket, thumb in mouth. Sam tenderly picked up the "Dean-bear" that had been flung from Johnny's bed during the night. The ragged-looking thing had rarely left the kid's side since his beloved uncle Dean had given it to him for his first birthday.

Gently smoothing the blankets and returning the bear to his son's side, Sam checked the cat's eyes shells and dream catchers which guarded the boys' room. The house had been built upon hallowed ground, on the site of an old church which had been blissfully free of supernatural haunting and violent death and all entrances were warded against evil. Still, the vision had put Sam on edge so he took the box of rock salt from the dresser and poured a steady line across the windowsill.

Looking out the window, Sam's sharp eyes picked out the familiar forms of the play structure and the sandbox in the backyard and beyond that forested area that bordered the sloping yard on the south. Grace in particular preferred the buffer zone provided by living in the country. The press of strangers and their emotions were unsettling. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, Sam willed his tense muscles to relax slightly.

Hearing Jordan, the baby, fussing in the nursery, Sam slipped from the boys' room to comfort his youngest son. Grace came in as he was fastening the dry diaper and they conferred in low voices over the logistics of the hunt.

An hour later he was out the door. Grace watched him dump his stuff in the car. It was still predawn and Sam's faced was masked in shadow. She could feel his teaming emotions barely contained beneath the surface of his thoughts. Fear, not for himself but for Cassie and Ellie and Dean. Rage against the evil that defiled the world that Sam loved. Guilt, always present, for Jessica and Mary and all the others. Determination and courage; he would not stand by, he would not give in. Grace ached with the familiar pain that was forever associated with the supernatural for Sam. Since the first moment that she had seen the tall, lanky boy and his bright, beautiful soul, she had loved him. They were meant to be together, of that much they were both certain. She still remembered the first time he had looked at her with those soul wrenching eyes. The shock of his emotions, which penetrated her defenses so easily had thrown her and they had simply stared at each other. It was the moment that Sam had a vision that was for the first time of hope, not darkness and despair. He saw their life together and shook with unabashed thankfulness. Grace had clung to Sam as her soulmate and her lover. Their seven years of marriage had been happy, despite the shadows that they both knew were out there and the terrible visions that shattered the nights.

When he turned back to her and tenderly kissed her good-bye, Grace fanned the flicker of love that always blazed strongly between them. It brought a smile to Sam's tense face. She looked into his eyes and promised with heart and soul that she would keep their children safe, would be careful and that home would always be there for him when the hunt was over.

Sam wrenched himself away, got in his car and drove into the night.