The Only Spirit
by atrum infractus

His feet pounded the concrete relentlessly- he never stopped to look back, to see if the shadows of his life were following him as he journeyed into the dark abyss of the future. He had no reason to check- after all, there was nothing left of his life to follow him.

The glow of a street lamp bathed him in a yellow light, making him look more dead than living. In a way, he was- he had never truly exsisted apart from his brother. There had never been a Sam Winchester without his big brother standing beside him, shielding him from all danger that could possibly come his way.

God knows he tried.

There was a reason he was walking down Fairview Lane by himself at midnight, but Sam didn't feel like remembering any of it. The only memories he wanted was standing besides the crumpled heap of metal that had once been Dean's beloved Impala with a flask in his fist. The resolution that the only spirit he'd ever chase again was whiskey. They were the only memories he had made one day into his new life.

"You hurt?"

Hurt was an understatement. Every square inch of his body was screaming in agony, his lungs burning for air that, despite his gasping breaths, he just couldn't get enough of. This was hell. "I'm alright," he lied, not keen to set off Dean's brotherly sensors. "Let's just keep going."

They had to finish this tonight- there was no choice. After all- you didn't just leave a spirit that was hell-bent on slaughtering an entire town alone for a night just because you were tired or you got slammed into a cherub and choked half to death.

"Dude, this graveyard is seriously old school," Dean chuckled, swinging his shovel around. "Kinda cool- wish all the graveyards were this creepy."

Sam didn't. He felt like all those stupid statues were leering at him, telling him, "Hey, you're our next victim!" He regarded them with a dark stare before turning back to Dean. "Let's just get this over with- I'm exhausted."

Dean smirked. "Well, you big wuss, that doesn't get you out of digging. Ladies first."

Sam wasn't sure if he hated Dean or the graveyard more at the moment- somehow, he figured Dean was winning that battle.

Finally, he was approaching the Fairview Motel. Forget that this was the foulest town he had ever been in, and that the only view available was a twenty-four hour drug store- glossing over those facts and the usual crappy-motel thing, it was home sweet home.

An hour later, he had a room. It was not unlike the rooms that he had shared with Dean all of his life- except that the other queen was empty, and there was no luggage. Just seven hundred dollars wadded up in Sam's bag- along with Dad's old journal...

That damn journal.

Sam savagely extracted that book that had been the guide for their lives. All of their lives, they'd been following that damn book, going wherever it lead them, finding both glory and tragedy within its pages.

Well, there was no more lives to follow it. Sam didn't exsist anymore. Dad was dead. Dean was gone...

It felt good. Ripping every page out, burning a few to a crisp before soaking it in water from the sink, and flushing half of it down the toilet...destroying whatever remained to remind him of their so-called lives. Their stupid destiny- well, that was what he thought of destiny. It belonged floating somewhere in the sewers with all the other crap.

They were done digging the grave- Sam was soaked with sweat as he climbed out of the hole, feeling almost nauseous with the throbbing pain in his head. Yet again, he was in desperate need of sleep, and Dean- who had gotten a hell of a lot less sleep than him- was still looking perky and annoyingly cheery.

"Shall we?" said Dean, shadows dancing across his face from the lit match before him. "Give her some kerosene."

Sam grabbed the half-empty kerosene jug and poured it over the rotting body, gagging as the foul stench rose from the grave. "Aw, c'mon, Sammy, suck it up." Dean quickly sprinkled the body with salt, then stepped back as he prepared to throw the flaming match within the grave.

Before he could, though...invisible hands were grabbing him again- Sam felt himself being flung backwards into the darkness, managing a strangle yell before he was thrown into a gravestone and fell into the deep abyss of darkness...


Sam laid across the bed, his face buried in a pillow. The whiskey couldn't chase away all of it. It'd never chase away the memories...he shut his eyes tightly, as if to block everything that he had experienced in his twenty-two years out.

It wasn't working too well.

Waking up slowly...seeing the flames leaping from the grave...

Something hadn't felt right, even to his concussion-addled brain. He had dimly realized that Dean wasn't there- at least not where he'd been before. He'd yelled and cried for his brother, but he hadn't come to him...and Sam knew that Dean would have come if he'd heard his brother screaming for him like his life depended on it.

Fighting off the blackness...trying not to pass out...crawling to the edge of the grave...

He hadn't believed it, but the flames hadn't yet destroyed everything. Dean was resting on top of the body, flames licking his corpse...

Something hard, digging into his ribs...Dean's ring, shining brightly in the night...hysteria conquering his mind...

Sam groaned, rolling over and staring at the filthy cealing. Dean had gotten the job done- but this time, it cost him his life, and it cost Sam so much more. It was a life without Dean- a life he neither wanted nor cared to lead. Not without the big brother who had always been right there, coaxing him through all life's trials and hurts...

He held out his hand, studying it in the dim light. He hated the flesh, loathed the spirit bound to it for letting this happen...but he loved the thick silver band, glistening just as it had the night before.