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Chapter Twenty-Two: Epilogue

The air was frigged, making your breath little puffs of steam. There were no birds chirping, no leaves on the trees, nothing happy about the scene at all. Which fit the scene at hand much more than could be imagined. An incredibly small funeral was taking place at the cemetery in an equally small town in Kentucky. It was nearing the end of January, a time when most people would be getting sick of their new year's resolutions and slacking off.

But not for Dean Winchester. Nor his father and brother and brother's girl. John had known Charlie barely over an hour. Becca had known her for about a month. Sam and Dean had known her...for a while. Six months, Sam guessed, though he never really kept track.

Unlike most hunters, Charlie was going to be buried in a cemetery. Hunters normally were burned to ashes so their bodies couldn't be used or destroyed after they were buried. Hellen--Charlie's mother--had insisted she be buried with a tombstone. Alex was more than broken up about his twin's death and he spoke even less than normally.

Surprisingly, John stayed with his boys afterwards. Some part of him told him to stay, that maybe he could help Dean. John knew what it was like to lose a woman you loved. So didn't Sam. The three Winchesters were now more alike then they cared to think about.

Hellen was sitting in her wheelchair, and the others stood as a priest spoke. He was a family friend of Hellen, and knew about the evil the family fought.

Becca felt like she was the fifth wheel, not knowing Charlie that long. It felt wrong to be standing beside her family when she had barely known the woman. But Sam was there too, so she could do it. She slid her hand into his and it was like a silence comfort.

John felt even more like he didn't belong. He didn't know the girl who had died. He had heard of her father, but John hadn't known him. He was just trying to act like the father he should be, staying when his sons needed him.

Sam couldn't help going over everything he could remember doing with Charlie. There was tons of things that had happened in such a short amount of time. It was too short. She was too young. She shouldn't have died, she didn't deserve it. She was a great person, and for once, Sam couldn't say that Dean didn't know what he'd been going through after Jessica had died.

Alex was so broken up that he could barely stand. People had always told him that it was tragic when you lost a sibling, but Alex had never thought more on it. He had figured that he and Charlie would be hunting together for as long as they could and if one of them died, the other would be there and hence, die, as well. But he had never expected this. It felt like a whole half of him was gone, missing.

Hellen had always been a strong woman. She had to be, raising two kids to be hunters when her husband was dead. It was no easy task being a mother, and it was even more complicated when you were a hunter and had to teach your kids everything. She had never known that she would be burying her own daughter. There was nothing right with that. Charlie should have been the one burying her, not the other way around. It broke her heart more than she thought possible when she learned what had happened to her daughter.

Dean was a wreck. He could barely think, barely comprehend what had happened. It still couldn't seem to sink in. He didn't know what was so wrong with him that he couldn't face the facts. He had spent his whole life knowing things other people didn't; believe in things that other people didn't and now...he didn't know what to think or how to even start. She said that she loved him. Deep inside himself, he knew that he loved her too, which only made this even harder. Even when he thought he'd found someone who would be safe with his line of work, she still ended up being the one to get hurt--fatally. Now all Dean was left with were memories and the bittersweet reminder that Charlie wasn't around anymore. It was somehow his fault and he knew it. Back when it happened, Dean's first thoughts were on making a deal to bring her back. He was border lining on slightly crazy, just wanting her back, but John had told him that a deal would just be gambling, as demons never told the truth and him being a Winchester, it wouldn't be the same as if he were a normal person getting a deal. So Dean was stuck here, looking down at a coffin that would rot in the ground.

Not being able to take it any longer, Dean turned on his heel and walked off as the coffin was lowered into the ground. He couldn't just stand there. He...he didn't know what to do. He shakily walked towards the Impala, not even being able to look at the Camaro that Alex and his mother had come in. Crossing his arms, he leaned up against the grill, eyes venturing to study the ground at his feet.

"Dean," a soft voice spoke. He looked up. Alex and Hellen were in front of him. He couldn't imagine what the two of them were going through. "Alex told me about you and Charlie," she continued.

Did he? Alex had left before the big things really started happening. Not that he blamed the guy, his mother needed him. Dean couldn't say that.

"I just want you to know...I'm sure Charlie cared for you very much and it's not your fault." Hellen opened the purse in her lap and pulled out a chain, on which hung Charlie's watersteel cross. "Here, she would have wanted you to have it."

Dean's breath caught in his throat as Hellen put the necklace in his hand. He remembered that day when they'd gone and bought her a new chain for it, after the vampire attack. They had come in, looking like two country-bumpkins, getting stares and odd service from the sales person. "Thank you," he managed to get out, curling his fingers around the cross. "I'm sorry I couldn't save her."

With that, he stood and walked to the back of the Impala, slipping the necklace in his pocket. Opening the trunk, he propped it open with a shotgun and sorted through the weapons, checking guns and ammo supplies. Footsteps on the gravel told him that Sam was coming.

"Dean...what are you doing?" Sam asked, voice a bit softer than usual.

"Getting ready," Dean replied, keeping up with the work at hand.

Sam frowned slightly. "Ready for what?"

Dean paused working and straightened up, double-barrel shotgun in his hands. "That demon, he's going to pay for what he's done, Sam." Tossing the gun in the back, he shut the trunk. "We've got work to do."

It's over! I can't believe it. 2 years in the making. And a week before season 3 finale! Which was my goal. Getting it done before then. I'm not positive if I'll do a sequal, but keep your eyes open and if I get enough reviews, I might.

New A/N: Edited this last chapter (I put down the wrong month for this to take place), and keep your eyes out for the sequel! It's going to be called We Lose Because We Win. I'll have it up very shortly :)