'When Angels Fall

Author's Note

This is my Secret Santa fic for Kaly from SFTCOL(AR)S – Merry Christmas! – I hope you enjoy this. This has kind of grown into a multi-chapter one – I hope you don't mind –and I will update as quickly as possible.

My sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Geminigirl and Catbeist for being wonderful Beta's and giving me terrific support- especially when I read everyone else's contributions and began to panic – thanks guys!

Also thank you to the faNily for keeping me cheerful and sane though a rather difficult patch – you guys are great and looking forward to next August! Merry Christmas!

Summary

One brother makes a bargain that may ultimately cost the Winchesters more than they are willing to pay. This will be slightly AU as will eventually include John, Caleb and Pastor Jim.

Disclaimer

Except in my dreams and until that Tulpa starts working - I own nothing Supernatural. They are Kripke's - oh and while I'm on- how dare you Kripke! You had better tell us that secret soon you evil, evil genius you!

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Prologue

"Oh god no, please, no." The hunter's voice was begging, pleading, beseeching the night surrounding him. "This isn't happening, this can't be. Please God, don't let this be real." Tears fell, his despair crystallising into drops of liquid sorrow, raining down upon his fallen brother.

He looked down at the torn and broken body in front of him and reached out a trembling hand to touch the blood-smeared face. He was kneeling on the cold earth next to his brother, the oozing mud discoloured by his brother's blood. The wounds were deep, fatal, the chest torn open by the savage blow that had smashed him into a tree and knocked him unconscious. In a way it had been a blessing; if he had been awake for those wounds, his death would have been agonisingly drawn-out, though equally as inevitable.

No, he can't be dead. There has got to be something I can do… He pulled his brother's body too him, wrapping him in the now futile safety of him arms and tucking his brother's head under his chin as he rocked slowly back and forth.

"Please take it back." His sobs became heartbreaking. "Don't let him die, I'll do anything, let me die instead, but please, please don't take him away from me."

He murmured, pleading in a litany of anguish, a prayer in desperation.

"Are you sure?" A woman's soft voice came from behind him.

The hunter lifted his cheek from the top of his sibling's head in to glance behind. He did not care that someone had managed to sneak up behind him unawares. He had already lost that which he valued most. "Sure?" He whispered in confusion, his voice flat, dead, broken.

"Would you willingly swap places with your brother?"

He didn't hesitate. "In a heartbeat."

The hunter looked up at the face before him, and although the features were in shadow, they were obviously female. The only feature that stood out were bright piercing blue eyes that gazed almost compassionately down at him,

"There is a price."

"There always is." The hunter acknowledged. "And frankly I don't care. Can you save him?"

"Yes."

"Will he return unharmed, as he was - his soul intact?" He was desperate, but not stupid.

"Your brother will be the same good man he was before he died."

"And how long will he live?"

She smiled, "How long is a piece of string? No-one can answer that – he will live his natural lifespan."

"But he will be alone, with no-one to watch over him." The hunter looked down at his brother, his eyes burning intensely with a mixture of hope, loss and desperation.

"I wouldn't say that. I'm sure we can arrange something as part of our agreement."

"Will I die straightaway?" The young hunter asked quietly. The woman was surprised at the complete lack of fear in his voice.

"Are you backing out already?" Disappointment coloured the woman's words.

"No. I just don't want my brother to know of the bargain. If he found out it would kill him."

"Oh I think I know how to keep a secret. You'll have exactly seven days from today – it's a nice biblical number don't you think? If God created the world in that amount of time, I am sure that should be long enough for your arrangements."

The hunter paused, mentally calculating. "Christmas Eve?"

"11:43 Christmas Eve to be precise." The figure confirmed.

"And the price?"

"A life for a life - your soul for his protection. And once the deal is struck there is no turning back."

"I know." And he did. He was entering this arrangement with his eyes wide open. It didn't matter anyway. With his brother dead, he had lost everything. He wasn't sacrificing anything he wasn't prepared to lose; at least this way it served a purpose. "One condition, if my brother finds out, this deal is non-reversible – he cannot make the same one"

"A fair condition. Besides, it can get messy and you end up going in circles - agreed."

"Can I ask your name so at least I know who I am selling my soul to?" There was power in names, he knew. He didn't expect her to go back on her word, but there was the comfort of having one small bargaining chip he could hold onto.

"Laurel - but your soul will not be mine. I'm merely the negotiator."

"So who am I making a deal with?"

"I cannot say. Client confidentiality. You will just have to take a leap of faith on this one. Would it change your decision knowing?"

"No."

The figure held out a hand. "So a deal?"

Unfaltering, Sam Winchester took her hand. "A deal."

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Dean drew in a shaky breath, the pain from earlier had eased and the darkness had faded from his vision. He opened his eyes to see Sam sitting over him, a look of tremendous relief crossing his expressive features.

"You're back." Sam sighed, his face lighting up with a grin so huge it could probably be seen from space.

"Did I go somewhere?"

"You really have to stop scaring me like that Dean." Sam murmured.

"Wuss!" Dean looked closely at his younger brother's face. He had obviously been crying. Jesus, just how close had it been? "You are such a girl sometimes."

"What can I say, the thought of carrying your heavy ass back to the car was getting to me- I did consider just salting and burning you here…"

"You just want the car."

"Was planning on throwing out the tape collection though."

"You have no taste Sam."

"I'm just waiting for you to grow your hair like Ash dude."

Sam had been looking over Dean's injuries. The bleeding had stopped and the wounds were no longer as deep as they had been. The lacerations were healing and although they would be painful, were no longer life threatening and he could no longer see sinew and tendon, bone and internal organs. He shuddered at the horror of the memory - he would be glad to never again look at so much destruction to his brother's body.

"Are you quite finished eyeing my up, Princess?" Dean asked, eyebrows raised. What the hell is up with Sam? I'm not injured that badly.

Sam helped Dean to his feet. Heading towards the Impala and ignoring his brother's protests that he could walk perfectly well on his own, he wrapped one arm tightly around his brother. Like hell was he going to see Dean fall ever again…

The figure watched them leave and with tears in her eyes turned to her companion.

"He made the deal."

"As expected."

"He loves his brother so much." She said softly.

"I'm counting on it."

"He's a good man. They're both good men."

"Yes."

"But his soul, are we really doing the right thing? He doesn't deserve that."

"It is the only way."

"It's risky; the timing will need to be perfect."

"It's necessary. They need to understand the price of sacrifice."

"They seem to understand it better than most."

"No, they understand the idea, the concept of sacrifice. They do not understand the cost."

"And if they fail to learn?"

"Then they will lose everything."

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A/N – Kaly – hoping you like this so far!

Please read and review- looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks!

Updates should be fairly prompt and apologies to anyone waiting on an update on Lest We Forget – I will be returning to that after Christmas I promise. Just didn't have time for both…sorry….