At first I was going to have this end with Dean never telling Sam. But, the reviews changed my mind. I hope everyone enjoys the epilogue.

I am sorry to make this a long note. I recently received 2 reviews, and I directly replied to them on the review page. I am of the school of thought that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. I find constructive, well thought out criticism helpful. If you are unsure, than instead of a public statement, private message the author.

But, I wanted to say thank you for the warm reviews. They were incredibly kind and helpful. Thank you again and I would love to hear comments on the epilogue. Kudos to you for encouraging writers!

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ABSENCE

Every night I scan

the heavens with my eyes

seeking the star

that you are contemplating.

I question travelers

from the four corners of the earth

hoping to meet one

who has breathed your fragrance

When the wind blows

I make sure it blows in my face:

The breeze might bring me

news of you.

I wander over roads

without aim, without purpose.

Perhaps a song

will sound your name.

Secretly I study

every face I see

hoping against hope

to glimpse a trace of your beauty

Abu Bake al-Turtushi

(1029-1126)

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Epilogue

5 months later

Dean had pulled over to allow his brother some privacy. The older Winchester knew the phone call was from Sarah. Sam had gotten a silly grin on his face, and was trying to talk in soft tones so that Dean would not overhear the conversation, a difficult task in a car.

They were on a highway in Utah, and the older hunter took the next exit and immediately found a gas station. He stopped the car and gestured for his brother to step out. They didn't need gas, with three quarters of a tank remaining. He pulled over to the side of the station to wait for Sam.

It was a warm fall day. Dean took off his flannel shirt. His t-shirt provided enough comfort. He laid on the hood of the Impala soaking up some sun. The warmth set into his exposed arms first, and then covered his jeans and shirt like a blanket. He allowed himself to drift and relax. He was still alert enough to hear his brother return to the car. "Was that Sarah?" Dean asked enunciating her name in a sing-song. Not receiving a reply, he turned his head to study his brother. "I know it was. You have that goofy look on your face. On the other hand you always have that goofy look on your face." Dean smiled. He enjoyed teasing his brother, if not then seriousness would embody their lives.

"Bitch," Sam huffed. "You're just jealous."

"For phone sex- not so much." Dean pulled himself up to a sitting position and swung his legs over the edge of the Chevy.

"How much are those 900 numbers? Like $5 a minute?" The younger Winchester raised an eyebrow, throwing the insult out as a challenge for his brother.

Dean rolled his eyes, giving him time to think of retort. "Rigghhtt, whatever you need to believe to make yourself feel like a man." The older hunter looked off into the distance. This was one of those perfect moments—a warm day, a shiny car and sharing the fun with his brother.

Sam laughed, fed by the feeling of camaraderie. "When was the last time you heard from Cassie?"

Dean was stunned. His hand went lightly to his chest as if he had received the jolt of electricity all over again. The wound seeped, reminding him there was still a heaviness of sadness in the recesses of his soul. He probed further, and his heart was sealed up, letting another in would not happen again. There was solace, since coming by love on a hunt would be difficult.

Up until two months ago Dean listened to her voice mail on a daily basis, until the cell phone company shut it off. The photo was in his duffle bag in the zippered side pocket. He was defying death, listening to her voice mail message. Her husky voice helped him to endure the day. The photo was etched into his mind. He looked for reminders of her facial features in people, and found nothing. He bore it all in secret.

He swore he would never tell his brother the truth: Dean had been inducted into the Winchester rite of passage. He glanced down, seeing his reflection in the shiny black exterior. Five months ago he needed to be alone with his loss and suffer with it in order to atone. But now he lapsed, being momentarily exhausted by his ruse.

"Cassie's dead."

"Not funny, Dean," Sam looked horrified, and raised his voice. "If you guys are fighting or she's found someone else. . ." The younger Winchester took a step back from the car. "You're sick, Dean, sick." The words were clipped and staccato, showing his brother's anger.

Sam was disgusted with his brother. The younger Winchester had experienced the death of his Jessica. He assumed his brother's joke was beyond insensitive. It was cruel and showed a lack of integrity. Dean realized he had played the game too well. He had successfully hidden the truth. His motto was: Believe the worse and be surprised when anything else happens. So, he wasn't taken aback by Sam's revulsion.

The older hunter closed his eyes, wishing it was all true. He wished that he and Cassie were fighting. Another man would be a blessing. But Cassie had been cursed because of her connection to Dean Winchester. He thought about letting Sam think the worse about him. Then Cassie would be alive. However, something in his composure revealed him.

"God, Dean, I'm sorry. When did it happen?"

Sam faded before him as he was caught in the lure of memories. He simplified his answers, distinguishing them from the swirling soliloquy in his mind. "Back in Dumas."

Sam nodded. "How?"

The older Winchester kept silent. The Demon penetrated their entire existence, flagrant in its attacks on the Winchester family. By telling Sam the truth he would be empowering the evil. "Does it really matter?"

"No." Sam shook his head. "I never wished this on you. . ." He grabbed his brother's forearm, binding them together-in blood and ill fate.

The air smelled clean and dry. Reports had indicated there was already snowfall in the mountains. The brown, acrid dirt stayed listless. Dean knew his brother wasn't malevolent. He had never considered that Sam wanted the brothers to have a stronger kinship and be tied by lost love. The younger Winchester's guilt was escaping and the trickle would be a waterfall soon enough unless Dean stopped it.

"Sam get in the car." The dark haired hunter would apologize for the stupid remarks in Dumas, for his comments a minute ago and for not giving Dean more time with Cassie. Dean lifted a hand to halt his brother's internal litany before he could voice it.

"Sam get in the car." Dean hopped off the Impala, but Sam held his forearm grip firm. The older hunter returned the grasp with a watery smile.

"Sammy, maybe when I am good and drunk we'll talk about it, but right now you're going to say how it's your fault." The younger man opened his mouth to contradict his brother. Dean shook his head. "And I'm going to have to hit you." Dean tightened the grip, pulled his brother forward and off balance. He placed his other hand on Sam's shoulder, his head close to his brother's left ear. "I don't want to hurt you little brother." He said in a low voice.

Sam patted his brother's back and gave out a choked laugh. "Whatever you say, Dean."

The blond hunter loosened his grip, and walked over to the driver's side of the Impala. He rested his hands on the hood of the car. "Get in the car, Sam." His brother's burden was eased. Dean's guilt remained. Guilt was his domain, and he would endure it.

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The End

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Coming soon: Black Bras & Strappy Heels featuring Dean, Caleb (Ridley's Caleb) and John.

Also Coming soon: The completion of Dogtown