Disclaimer: I own Jack. I think you know the rest already. Damn disclaimers.

Dean wandered back into the room he and Sam shared hours later, as the sun was just beginning to rise. Sam laid perfectly still when he heard Dean slip back inside. Wherever he'd been, he hadn't been drinking, which was a relief to Sam.

"Go back to sleep Sam." Dean sighed falling into his bed.

"G'night Dean." Sam clenched his teeth to keep from saying something in anger. Where had Dean gone? Didn't he know how worried Sam had been? Why the hell would he agree to do something that would kill whatever thin thread of sanity Dean was obviously clinging to?

Instead he closed his eyes so tight they hurt and thought, determinedly about strategy. Tomorrow was the deadline, he had to think up something before that happened. It wasn't impossible. Sam had put together plans, patterns, all manner of tracking the big evil in much less time. Now it was just a little more important, more lives to save, including a gung-ho, borderline suicidal huntress and an innocent kid. And most importantly Dean.

Sam had a head start though, because he knew exactly what was going through Jack's mind. Not ling ago he'd been ready and willing to die for the mission. If there was a shred of doubt about her plan, he'd find it and use it.

No one at Harvelle's Road House slept that night.

Except Ash. He passed out over his computer on the bar top.


Bobby arrived at five in the morning, affording Dean two hours of sleep before being roused by Sam to start planning what was going to go down when night fell and the trade happened. He knocked hard on Jack's door on their way to the bar, where as few lights as possible were on. To Dean and Sam's surprise Bobby was not the only hunter that had answered the call for back up. Far from it. Joshua and a man Dean didn't recognize stood at the bar, talking heatedly. Father Mason, who they boys had known almost as long as they'd known Pastor Jim, was paging through one of Bobby's demonology texts.

"Cavalry is here." Ellen said with a lopsided smile.

"I see that." Sam said. The door behind him opened and Jack stumbled in.

Dean might not have spent the entire night drinking, but Jack sure had. She smelled like Tequila and vodka, her eyes were glazed over and she was holding t he door jamb for support.

"There are people here." She lifted the half empty bottle of Grey Goose and downed a mouthful before Sam pulled it away from her.

"Hey!" She protested flimsily.

"You're drunk." Sam admonished.

"You're dumb." Jack retorted, slurring her words. She was smart enough even in her drunken state, not to let go of the doorjamb.

"Coffee." Dean said to Ellen, who nodded, with a look of annoyance pointed at Jack.

"You don't seem like the type to get shit faced in front of a bunch of strangers." Dean said putting an arm under Jack's shoulder, which she grudgingly accepted.

"M'Not." Jack said, forcing her feet to move. She let herself be lowered into a nearby chair.

"You guys, could you give us a sec?" Sam asked.

"I could use a good game of pool." The stranger nudged Bobby. He looked to be around Bobby's age, grey hair threading through black.

"Joey. You came I didn't know ya cared so much." Jack drawled, tipping her head to the side.

"Sober up Jack." The man called Joey said following Bobby to the Pool table. The other men made themselves scarce in plain sight as only a hunter can.

"What are you doing Jack?" Sam demanded in a low voice, sitting in the chair next to her.

Jack shrugged and folded her arms on the table, laying her head down. "I'd rather be drunk when I die, it'll take the edge off."

"Nobody but that demon dies, you got me." Sam said with enough force that even Dean looked up at him in surprise.

"Here," Ellen put a cup of coffee in front of Jack. She looked like she was about to open her mouth and say something to an unresponsive Jack but Dean quickly pulled her aside, leaving Sam to force feed her the coffee.

"She's having a hard time, we'll take care if it." Dean told Ellen in a stern, low voice.

"Like you promised to take care of things tomorrow?" Ellen asked jerking her arm free from Dean's grasp, folding her arms over her chest.

"I'll take care of it." Dean said again, sounding hollow.

Sam crossed the room quickly, looking worriedly at his brother, "She passed out." He told them.

"Good, that might make this easier." Dean said nodding once. Sam bit his lip, nodding in reluctant agreement. Dean looked to the pool table, where Bobby and Joey were playing quietly, looking more like they were playing a game for someone's life than a game of pool. The other hunters watched with little actual interest.

"Lets introduce ourselves, Sammy." Dean smirked and led the way to the 'cavalry'.

"Dean, Sam this is Joseph Black. Joe these are John Winchester's boys." Ellen introduced them to the stranger.

"Your reputations precede you." Joseph drawled putting aside his cue to shake each of their hands.

"Thanks." Dean said uncertainly. The idea that stories about his family had been circulating, apparently for a long time, irked him still.

"Pleased to meet you." Sam said politely.

"What's your interest in this?" Dean asked the man.

"Dean!" Sam hissed sharply.

"Its okay." Joseph said raising a scarred hand.

"I've known Jack for a long time, her uncle used to work odd jobs for me before he was killed." Joseph said bowing his head slightly out of respect for the dead. "The girl's a pistol, but she's good people. Doesn't deserve this lot."

"Can't think of many who would." Bobby said shaking his head, wearily.

"Father Mason, with all due respect, what are you doing here?" Sam asked the older man.

"Rumblings started awhile back, something big is coming and I intend to be part of it." Father Mason said, twisting an end of his grey and brown specked beard.

"Not gonna ask why I'm here? I feel left out." Bobby said with a smartass smirk and a raised eyebrow.

"Nope, we know you're just a crazy bastard up for a fight." Dean said with feigned levity.

"Alright lets get down to business, shall we?" Ellen said. "Jo, honey, get us a bottle of whiskey and put on another pot of coffee. I have a feeling its going to be a long night." Ellen said. Her daughter, her only child, Ellen thought with a tightness in her chest, smiled and nodded, eager to be part of this fight in any way she could.

Ellen wanted badly for her to be somewhere safe, but safe havens were becoming few in far between in these dark times and the only way she was going to be able to keep form driving herself crazy with worry over Jo was to have her near when this trade went down.

"Thanks for coming tonight, we really appreciate it," Dean started, all but calling the makeshift meeting into attention. He had the air of authority to do it too, Ellen thought, watching him leaning forward against the table, with his fists clenched. Just like his father.

TBC……

AN: Next chapter will be the last and then(finally) I can start work on other things. Till then, please review, it makes work a little less annoying.