Okay, so this is it. Last chapter on this one. Hope you all have enjoyed the ride LOL

Thanks so much to all of you who have taken the time to review! And also everyone who has taken the time to read this latest joy ride through my imagination. Hope to see you all in my other fics too. I've already started in on another sequel to this so pop on in and take a look when you've got the time. Thanks again: )


Chapter Twenty-Three

One week later to the day Sam and Dean are sitting on the porch of Cal's parent's place. The haunted farmhouse outside of Ottawa successfully taken care of and they're killing time until the next hunt comes along. There's a calm here, a peace that neither has really had the chance to feel before. Dean lets out a happy sigh as he looks out toward the snow covered fields.

"So this is normal huh?"

"Haha…Yeah Dean. About as normal as we'll ever get." Dean's thinking that he was right, Fran is good for him. He's happier. There's less and less quiet brooding and a whole lot more laughter.

"Yeah, well… it's nice…"

"But…?" He couldn't fool Sam. It's been bothering him awhile and Dean knows he can't hide the 'but' anymore. Doesn't mean he'll give it up easy though.

"But nothin'"

"Dean?" Yeah, kinda figured Sam wouldn't buy it. Worth a try though.

"Okay, alright. It's just… I…"

Another sigh, this time a frustrated one. Silence falls between them as Dean tries to find the words he needs to express what's weighing so heavily on his mind. When he does find them the words are hesitant because he's worried that by putting the fear into words it might make whatever it is real.

"You, uh, ever get the feeling that this might just be the calm before the storm? You know, like this is just some twisted reprieve and maybe the really bad shit's only just about to hit the fan?"

"Yeah…I kinda do"

Dean grunts and Sam's not real sure if he's amused because he's finally being agreed with for once or upset because he doesn't want to be right. Probably a bit of both he muses.

"I don't want to lose this Sam…" and he knows exactly what Dean means.

"You won't. We won't" He wouldn't let it happen.

"We don't know that, not for sure." Dean's not that confident, might even be scared though he's not about to admit it out loud or anything.

"When have we ever known anything for sure? Look man, we're good at what we do. Cal knows what she's doing and Fran's learning fast. It's not just you and me anymore… It's the four of us. Four sets of eyes, of hands…"

Sam lets his voice trail off knowing he doesn't need to say what comes next. That Dean'll just get it, because he always does. That's the way it works between them.

There's four of us working together now, watching each other's backs so it'll be okay. We'll lean on each other and protect each other and it'll be easier to stay alive now. To fight.

And Dean does get it, just like he always does…and he knows Sam's right. Or would like to believe he is anyway. But really Dean's thinking: Yeah. There's four of us now but I don't think that I can protect us all against what's out there waiting for us. Because that's another thing Dean's always just done, and Sam…well Sam never really got how big a job that really was.

"There's a storm brewing Sam. Something big is coming at us I can feel it right down to my bones. We need to be ready when it hits us" and yeah, so maybe the fear he's feeling shows but for once he doesn't care.

"We will be Dean. We will be." And Sam believes it because he has faith.

Only Dean…well he's not so sure and that's something he can't hide from Sam. Can't even begin to try. It's in the way he moves, looks around restlessly, doesn't say anything…not even one of his usual smartass wisecracks

Then there's Cal's strong voice echoing across the yard from the kitchen behind them and as quickly as the moment was upon them it was gone.

"Hey Dean, wanna come in here and give me a hand? Somebody managed to char the steak again…and yes, as a matter of fact that would be me. You know, Martha Stewart that I am. Save the applause please while I take a bow. I need somebody to cook the rest of 'em without turning them into charcoal. You game?"

So a roll of the eyes from Dean, another happy laugh out of Sam and the Winchesters trudged back into the house headed for the kitchen and the promise of thick juicy steaks, pretty women and the warmth of home long overdue if even just for a little while.