The Road So Far: Dean, Sam and John have investigated a haunting. The spirit has trapped Dean and stabbed him whilst Sam and John scramble for something to destroy and save him. A little help from Bobbie leads them to the basement where they struggle to burn the corpse. Upstairs Dean has struggled to his feet but it precariously faced with a painful fall down the stairs, and his friend are still trying to reach him, wondering why he's not hanging out the way normal kids do.

BLADE'S EDGE

There are moments in life when it feels like you should give up trying. After all, you can't win every battle, succeed in every endeavour. Sometimes, you lose.

No one knew this better than John Winchester, who'd felt the bitter sting of loss more than he'd like. The deepest of those scars, no doubt about it, was the place where Mary had been ripped from him.

Since that moment all those years ago, he'd lived in the constant awareness that life could make two fresh scars to match it. He had more to lose. He had two sons that might one day be ripped away by a darkness he didn't understand.

But if you knew him, you'd agree John Winchester wasn't one to wait out the dark night. He was more the kind to load a gun, strap a hunting knife to his shin and chase the darkness right out of his house with a few choice words that could put a sailor to shame.

So quite naturally, Sam wasn't surprised when his father paused halfway up the basement stairs to watch the last dying embers of the recently torched corpse smoulder in vain denial of their eminent demise. Pushing past his father, determined to reach Dean before the drama that was his life struck again, Sam's footsteps sounded hollowly in the silence. John's eyes tracked his son's hurried movements, aware of the urgency that seeped in the stale air, but unable to move further until his was sure this was over. He'd lost to much to chase away the darkness only to have it slink back unnoticed whilst his back was turned. Sam would find Dean; he'd only have to wait a moment to be sure.

OoOoOoO

Sam raced up the stairs, aware his father would be behind him in a heartbeat, and retraced his footsteps to the rickety old staircase that loomed ominously in the entrance hall. A creaking caught his attention before he'd even turned the corner from the kitchen and he pressed his aching body to move a little faster.

The sight before him falter for a second, Dean was hunched forward at the top of the stairs, one arm clutching at his stomach. The other trembling arm was stretched out to the railing, a white-knuckled hand steadying his form on the rotting wood.

"Dean?" Sam asked, trying not to startle his brother. He needn't have worried though, Dean didn't, or couldn't hear. Instead, with an almost manic smile plastered on his face he seemed to review his progress from the room down the hall, slightly glazed eyes swept back to the stairs but didn't register Sam moving up them.

"Dean, hold on," Sam said forcefully. "Don't do something stupid..."

As if on cue, or perhaps just to spite him, Dean straightened his body to its full height.

Sam's right foot caught on the next step as his eyes snapped to his brother's tattered T-shirt, a bloody mess was oozing its way between Dean's fingers, that clumsily clutched at the site of...time froze for a second as his brain registered Dean's groan of pain and his brother doubled forward both arms snaking around his waist protectively.

Sam's knees crashing painfully into the staircase brought him back to Earth, a painful protest announced itself somewhere near his right ankle but in a split second he had pushed himself up again, scrambling up the stairs as his brother, unaware of his precarious situation, stumbled over the edge and with a pained cry became airborne.

"Dean!" Sam launched himself over the last three stairs, his hands forcefully pushing Dean upwards and suddenly it was over. He stood there panting clutching his older brother to his chest, at the top of the stairs.

A guttural noise from Dean broke the silent relief Sam had been relishing, afraid that moving would send them both back into a desperate struggle with gravity. Carefully assessing his plan to move his brother back onto the landing he re-adjusted his arms.

"Dean? How you doing?" He asked with nonchalance, as he spun his around his brother and heaved him backwards up the stairs with as much delicacy as he could.

"Juuuuust peachy." Came the cheerful response.

"Pleased to hear it." Sam deadpanned, laying his brother down and ripping his own shirt off.

"Woah, woah, easy there...tiger." Dean whispered, a smirk playing on his lips, "You can't...take...advantage of a...man wh-." A loud groan interrupted his little brother pressed his bundled shirt onto his wounded chest with surprising force.

"Trust me man, you're not my type." Sam whispered.

"How is he?" Amusement evident in John's voice as he sat heavily beside them, he'd obviously raced up the stairs unnoticed by his sons, his eyes however, held a very real concern in his eyes and he set a medical kit and bundle of towels beside them. John Winchester had learnt that when you have a son like Dean, you bring all the necessary supplies with you.

"Dad!" Dean announced loudly. His dazed eyes turned to his father. "Where have you been?"

"Shock?" Sam supplied a tentative assessment. As he pressed the wound with one hand and expertly checked Dean's body for other injuries.

"Just getting the meds, son." John replied to Dean, as he propped his son's feet up on the backpack and cut the shreds of his shirt away.

"Meds?" Dean whispered, his lips cracked and dry.

Wide-eyed, Sam opened the first-aid kit and discarded his shirt now that he blood seemed to be under control. Quickly replacing it with a piece of gauze he looked at his father again. Dean's breath hitched under his ministrations. A gasping, deep breath sounded and Dean's weak fingers reached to swat Sam's hand away.

"Sammy?" His head lolled to the side, "What's happening?"

"Dean." Sam's own voice cracked a little at the sight of his brother's lost gaze boring into his. "We're hunting."

"Whaaddam I...lying down for?"

"I..." Without adequate response, Sam simply let his father push him aside and took up Dean's hand in his own.

John was already washing the wound down with something from a clear bottle, a needle and thread in one hand. "Sam, hold him together."

It wasn't a question.

Removing his hands from Dean's weak grasp he paused, "Pain?" He prompted, the his eyes landed on the vodka bottle his father was dousing his brother in. "Seriously?" He seethed.

The conversation was silenced with a look that clearly said: got a better plan? John nudged the bottled towards Sam.

"It'll take too long." Venom injected itself into his words even as Sam lifted his brother's head and shook the bottle tentatively, but Dean was already skulling like it was water. "Easy bro," He warned gently, "this won't help the blood loss." He added it quietly, but the words were like a sharpened stake aim right for the spot between John's eyes. Not that his father listening, he'd already threaded the needle and carefully pulling the edges of Dean's stomach back together.

"Hold. Him. Together." Came the response. This time it was an order.

With a long worn sigh that seemed so out of place in context, Sam leant his hands forward and, with a face rapidly paling pressed his fingers against his brother's slippery, sticky skin.

A twitch of Dean's arm was the only response his got.

OoOoOoOoO

Pain. Fiery pain. Coursing throughout his veins like glass. Broken, shattered, tiny little shards of glass exploded across his belly, forcing their way up his spine and down his legs, to his fingertips, whipping through his brain like it was wet paper.

His arms twitched but had none of the strength required to beat the living hell out of whatever evil spawn had decided to further his awful, personal trip to hell.

He needed to tell them, to make them stop. He wanted to beg and plead and scream for his mama.

But Dean Winchester was a warrior. A good one, he'd liked to think, and so there was no way he'd give in. No one would ever get the satisfaction of making his scream...at least, not by running him through with a sword. He was better than that.

I don't care how much it hurts. He thought quietly.

"I'm so sorry Dean!" There came a childish, terrified voice that barely masked some very real sense of dread and guilt he couldn't understand.

"Sam?" He wondered aloud. Why was Sam in his personal hell? "What are you doing here?" He asked breathlessly.

"I'm here to help you." The voice stuttered a little bit for a second as whispered words were exchanged somewhere that sounded so far away.

Be careful Dad! You're hurting him. A rummaging sound, another piercing pain somewhere, he couldn't feel where. It's called stiches Sam, not glue... A muffled sob, followed by a defeated sigh. He'll be fine. Look, I'm almost done ok? There was a shuffling, another stab to the stomach and Dean felt like he was going to die. Calm down son. This time the voice was more reassuring, its husky tones injected with real kindness. Dean let them wash over him, until he realised they were directed at Sam. Was Sammy hurt?

There, done! See look Sammy, good as new? John's gentle voice seemed to calm Sam's panic. The stabbing pain dulled to a throb. No, Dean took that back, it was still agony incarnate, and somehow it had made his body its host.

Someone was stroking his hand, it was distracting, and for a second the burning was a simmering, then something splashed over him. Fire. Ice. Needles. He didn't know what it was but it was everywhere and instead of killing him like he so so hoped it would, it made him more alive. More aware, his nerve endings stood to attention and soaked up every last painful drop of torture.

Someone was whimpering. Who? He couldn't hear - the rushing sound in his ears was too loud.

Someone was saying his name but his muscles were too rigid, too tense for him to focus on anything else.

Then, as quickly as it had started it was over.

Just like that noise became silence, pain slid into numbness and light to dark.

The energy ebbed from his body, and he was vaguely aware that his eyes had been open all this time without seeing, because he felt them drift shut.

- TBC -

Firstly...umm, hello? Heh. Sorry about that long wait. I've been promising an update for forever and I haven't forgotten that promise. This story will be finished.

I'd like to know what you think though. My writing style has (once again) changed. So please be honest!

Read and Review if you can!

THANKYOU so much for reading and sticking with me so far. It means a lot to me!

Keep Smilin' :)