Thank you to everyone who has left a review, they are always appreciated. I have been answering them, but with the alerts down who knows if they'll ever go out. This was a very difficult story to write and I put a lot of time into it. I tried my best to write it realistically in a psychologically sound, but interesting manner.

Considering all Dean has been through, Swan and I find it amazing he didn't break down before, but he needed a safe place to let it all out. John presented him with that safe haven. He needed to cry out all his anguish in order to move past it and become the strong, whole man he is meant to be.

Personally, I would love to see JA's emotional acting as Dean releases his anguish. As heartbreaking as it would be to watch, it would be riveting TV. This is the last chapter and I would love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading, B.J.

"I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for..." - Thornton Wilder

Chapter Four – Brothers United

"Ellen, where's Dean?" Sam looked up from his confab with Ash and noticed his brother had left his position at the end of the bar, his bottle of beer half full and abandoned. A quick glance around the deserted bar and he still hadn't located him. He'd waited five minutes thinking he might be in the restroom before confronting the owner of the roadhouse.

Ellen's voice was gruff, registering no detectable concern, "Dean's a big boy. He can take care of himself."

She turned away, too quick, too casual. Sam had interrogated enough witnesses to supernatural activity over the years to know when someone was skirting an issue. She was acting guilty, duplicitous.

"Ellen, what aren't you telling me? Where's my brother?"

Ellen sounded like a disapproving schoolmarm chastising a rowdy teenager, "Sam, let him be."

It was a tone Sam didn't appreciate, reminding him too much of his dad's authoritative tone with his sons. His own reply equally harsh, "No, Ellen. Dean's been alone too much lately. He's not all right, not by a long shot."

Sam was beginning to worry, not like he hadn't been worried about Dean before; but something was niggling in the back of his mind, a pit was growing in the depths of his gut. Something wasn't right, he could feel it.

"Sam." Ellen exhaled a deep breath, her tone firm and unyielding as she wiped down the bar with a damp rag, throwing Dean's bottle of warm beer in the trash. "Dean just had something to take care of.… he'll be out in a bit."

Sam turned toward the back rooms, no clue what was going on, just sensing Dean needed him.

"Sam, don't." Ellen sternly responded as she rounded the corner of the bar to block his path.

Sam's anger was seething just beneath the surface ready to erupt, his eyes resolute. "You don't know my brother. You don't know what he needs. Let me go." Sam pushed past her, determined more than ever to reach Dean.

She followed him through the swinging door and gasped when she saw the blinding light coming from underneath the door of the spare room. Sam rushed the door and frantically twisted the doorknob. When the door failed to open, he threw all his weight against it determined to knock it down. The door barely moved from his efforts.

"Ellen, what the hell is happening?"

Ellen stammered, eyes wide in disbelief. "I don't know."

Sam kept pressing against the door, pounding it with his fist, kicking at the base, yelling his brother's name in a desperate attempt to bust through. All to no avail, the door was impenetrable, a fortress keeping them out, keeping him from his brother…., keeping his brother from him. It might as well be a fucking block of stone!

"Ellen, please. Tell me. What's going on?"

"Sam, it was just a duffel of old clothes."

"What?" His voice incredulous, the pieces in no way fitting with the supernatural presence he felt emanating from the room.

"Dean was just going through a duffel bag John left here. I swear Sam; I don't know what this is."

Sheer terror contorted Sam's face. He'd faced the unknown all his life, but this fear was different. Dean was vulnerable; shattered by Dad's death, so terrifyingly susceptible to any evil that might come to claim him. A flash of memory assaulted him, the first time he'd ever witnessed his brother in a truly vulnerable state, the first time he'd seen a crack in his brother's tough facade.

"Dean, you need to get a handle on this. Demons, they look for vulnerability, a chink in the armor. You need to calm yourself down or you're leaving yourself wide open to demonic possession."

Dean nodded in agreement, steeling his courage and facing his fear head on, displaying all the Winchester fortitude and tenacity. Together they had vanquished the phantom traveler crashing planes and claiming lives, but that was then…, this was now. So much had changed in the year they'd been together again. The Demon's plans…. Dad's death…. Sam's destiny….

Oh God! What's happening?

Seconds seemed like days, the blinding light and low throbbing hum bringing every imaginable horror to Sam's mind. Frantic he continued to slam all his weight and strength against the door, a door that previously would have shattered from his efforts, but now stood firm and strong.

"Dean, can you hear me? Dean, please. What's going on? Dean!" His shouts didn't seem to penetrate above the steady hum that was coming from the room, overpowered by whatever evil was trapped in that room with his brother.

Panic consumed him, terror this might be the moment, the moment he had always dreaded. He surrendered to the fear that he was cursed, that everyone he loved was doomed to die a violent death simply because they dared love him.

The Demon's voice in his head, taunting him, "You're mine, Sammy. You want to know why they died? Mom and Jess? Because they got in the way of my plans…. my plans for you and all the children like you." Only one person now stood between him and the Demon. Only one man had sworn to protect him and still lived. Dean…. Dean!

Before he could disappear into his despair, the lights faded and the hum dissipated. He was surrounded by silence, pierced only by the wild beating of his heart. The door remained locked, immoveable, a fortress separating him from his brother.

Oh God, Dean. Don't you let this evil take you. You hear me? You fight! You've fought your entire life, don't you give up now. You hear me?

Sam shuddered, not knowing what to do, lost without direction. A capable and deadly hunter in his own right, but in this moment praying for another Winchester by his side; knowing that united together they were unstoppable, deadly times a thousand. As his brother had so plainly spoken a lifetime ago, "We're stronger as a family, Dad. We just are."

Dean, you always did know how to get through to Dad; how to get him to listen. All the grief I gave you about always following Dad's orders and yet you stood up to him when I was ready to back down.

Sam went ballistic on the door, throwing the full force of his body against it, kicking it mercilessly. All his terror welling up and focused into a single-minded determination to reach his brother, to save him. A deep despair overtaking him as he contemplated losing his brother, another loss piled on top of Jessica and Dad and…. Mom. Those losses now paling next to the thought of losing his big brother.

Sam suddenly realized Dean had always been the most important person in his life: his rock, his lifeline, his better half. At last realizing how incomplete he felt without his brother's sure presence. All the years of running never erasing the fact his relationship with his brother was the one constant in his life, the one person he knew he could always depend on.

Even after the last few weeks, with Dean buried in his grief, pushing his brother away, retreating into his own secret world; Sam still knew he could count on his brother when it mattered. Dean would never be the sharing and caring, touchy-feely, open book he longed for in his older brother, but he would always be there. He would always have his back, unless evil took him first.

Evil had tried, on more then one occasion. Dean had cheated death so many times now, it seemed a given; but time runs out for every man and Sam trembled to think this might be Dean's time. He needed to save him, he needed to protect him; like Dean had always saved and protected him. He had to get into that room; he had to reach his brother. He summoned all his abilities, focusing on that one, single-minded goal. Dean. Dean needs me.

He stood back from the door and concentrated, focusing his thoughts on saving his brother. The door rumbled and quaked, shaking furiously back and forth, threatening to break loose from its bolts. It then stilled and Sam tentatively clasped his hand around the door knob. Half a turn and it swung open. Sam stepped into the room before the door again slammed closed, locking behind him.

Blinding lights filled the room with a rainbow of color. Every hue throbbing to the rhythm of the hum that was rising in a deafening crescendo. All awareness consumed by the sights and sounds in the room, brilliant and shocking to his heightened senses. His focus was drawn to the image of his brother sitting still on the floor, huddled in on himself and then his jaw dropped as he witnessed the man beside him, his arm wrapped protectively around his shoulders. Dad….

His feet were leaden and he couldn't cross the distance to reach them. He stood staring, mesmerized by the vision before him, his eyes blinking and trying to focus, unsure if he could trust them.

His brother and his dad rose and embraced in a long, emotional hug. As they broke their hold with tears in their eyes, Dad turned and glanced his way, locking eyes with his younger son. With only an instant to react, John simply nodded with a welcoming smile and disappeared into a warm, relaxing glow of lights. The lights swirling like a whirlwind before funneling into a wisp of light and dancing across the room to encircle the younger Winchester.

As the shimmering light enveloped him, Sam breathed in all the emotions his brother had purged and all the love Dad had brought. His senses registering the entire encounter between his brother and his dad, imprinting the magic of the moment into his memories. In an instant he saw it all and he felt his dad's regrets for all past mistakes, his hopes for his sons' futures, and his overwhelming love for them.

His brother's emotions enacted a heavier toll, the vast expanse of his pain and fear taking considerably longer to absorb. Sam literally shook at the depths of Dean's anguish, his gut clenching from the sudden assault of the intense pain; finally understanding his brother in ways never before possible. At last feeling what Dean felt, realizing the immense weight of all the secrets he had stuffed down deep within. Most of the specifics lost and unimportant, left only with the staggering emotions. All his hurts and terrors distilled down to an immense mountain of anguish shifting precariously, ready to bury them both.

The map of his pain starting with the devastating emotional toll the four-year old boy suffered when he witnessed his mom burning up on the ceiling of his baby brother's nursery. Oh, God! Dean actually saw! How could a child deal with that? The pain then expanding to include years of responsibility and terror, pain piled on top of pain until a lesser man would have buckled and fallen, but not Dean. Dean was strong. To survive half his anguish still intact made him strong, to survive it all made him a fucking iron man.

The room was still now, deathly quiet except for the excruciating sounds of heartbreaking sobbing. Dean was trembling from the emotional release wracking his body. He again sank to the floor, small and wrapped in on himself, still except for the shaking of his body, tears streaming from his eyes.

Sam gasped from the weight of it all, overwhelmed by what he had just experienced, tears freely flowing from his own eyes. His love and empathy for his brother at the forefront of his mind, closely followed by his own grief at losing Dad again, so fresh and real. Now only wanting to comfort his brother, to ease his suffering, to protect his big brother like Dean had always protected him.

He silently crossed the room until he was standing over Dean, trying not to startle him, just wanting to let him know he wasn't alone. Let him know he was protected and safe. Dean seemed lost in his grief, buried within his erupting emotions. Sam eased down next to his big brother, not touching him, trying hard not to disturb him, waiting for Dean to make the first move.

Dean looked so fragile, so ready to shatter. Like any touch could send him toppling over the edge of the cliff to scatter into a million jagged shards of glass and rock. A fractured puzzle too complex to ever again be assembled. Or maybe it was Sam who felt like he might break into a million jagged bits of glass…, the pain in his gut so sharp and cutting. He gasped from the strain of it all, so devastated at seeing his brother in such a state, in feeling his brother's overwhelming pain, now knowing it first hand.

Dean didn't speak but shifted ever so slightly and the brothers were shoulder to shoulder on the floor, barely touching, but Sam felt a shiver of electricity from that small connection. He sighed and found comfort in that. He would sit there beside his brother and bear witness as he released his pain, and he would be there to help him up off the ground when he was ready. However long it took; he would be there.

It took a long time and many tears before Dean looked up, a childlike wonder in his eyes; eyes tinged in red above tear soaked cheeks, his mouth making small panting sounds as if he were concentrating on just maintaining his breathing, but there was something else in those eyes: a light beaming alongside the strength.

The familiar Winchester determination was illuminated by a bright, shining glow, and a peaceful tranquility descended over him, and Sam knew he was going to be all right. He knew this was a good thing. He had longed for his brother to show him what he was feeling for so long that he had forgotten to be thankful for this blessing. Silently he thanked the powers that be, and he thanked his dad. Dean was going to be all right. They both were, and they would be all right together.

Dean again buried his head in his drawn up knees, releasing the last of his demons, fully realizing his loss and finally grieving his dad. Accepting the pain, processing it and releasing it. Allowing himself to feel it for the first time in his life, to accept that his only control was how he dealt with the pain. It was futile to ignore it; if he faced it then it held no power over him. He could accept Dad's death and finally move on, always remembering, but living again like his dad had asked.

Ellen had reached the door just as it slammed shut after Sam disappeared into the room. She'd only had a moment to consider the possible reasons and ramifications before the blinding lights again appeared and then just as quickly petered out, leaving an unsettling still. Time seemed to hesitate and then she heard a soft click and tried the door, twisting the knob and entering the room.

The room appeared just as she had left it with Dean before, no evidence of supernatural activity except for the hair standing up on the back of her neck, a hunter's sense of the otherworldly. All her fears and trepidation eased as she witnessed the brothers Winchester sitting calmly on the floor, shoulder to shoulder.

They were both crying rivers of tears, but it seemed more a release than the result of injury. Sam looked up and locked eyes with her, silently acknowledging they were fine and to just let them be. She nodded and retreated, again finding herself at her bar downing a stiff drink. Damn, owning a bar sure comes in handy at times like these.

Sam sat with his brother and waited. He'd waited his entire life to be this close to Dean's real emotions, to see his brother like this, raw and unguarded. After a year of prodding and prying, Dean had finally slipped from behind the façade and revealed his core being. Sam had never felt more pride and respect for his brother, knowing what he now knew and how Dean survived, survived the best a four-year old child could. He knew his brother would only be stronger now that he was whole…; more formidable than he had ever appeared.

So Sam patiently waited. He had all the time in the world for his brother to move past this. He spent his time feeling the pain and coming to terms with it, understanding his brother because of it.

Dean let his emotions flow, until he was finally able to work past the tears to experience the joy his heart felt from finally being free. This anguish that had weighed him down his entire life at last conquered, never before allowing him to truly feel happiness. He was at peace for the first time in a very long time and at last free of the pain.


Sam smiled and shifted a little closer. He had never in his entire existence been so glad to hear his childhood name. "Dean, I'm right here…. I'm right here." And then he waited, still fearful of intruding on his brother, still unsure if Dean was ready to speak of this miracle.

Dean gasped and a slight smile crossed his lips, he repeated the soothing word as his personal mantra, "Sammy." Dean's eyes were moist with tears, glazed over like he still hadn't come back to reality, as if it still hadn't sunk in. Dad came back. Dad was here, for just a moment, but here, right where Dean needed him. For once Dean got what he needed; for once his prayers were answered. His emotions were still unsettled but Dean smiled, at first hesitant and unsure, but soon with confidence and a sense of relief. He smiled a true, contented smile, "Oh man. Just give me a minute, 'kay?"

"Sure, Dean. I'm just gonna sit here. You don't have to say anything….I'll be right here. All right?"

Dean nodded. He'd always wanted his brother near him….with him. He wanted him close now to share this moment; he needed him here by his side.

A last wave of emotion silently rippled across his face and Dean looked up and noticed the concerned gaze of his brother. He felt his strength returning, pure and true, and stared back at his little brother and for the first time he saw a man. A competent, full grown man…, an equal. He knew he wasn't a boy a long time ago, he just never realized he was a man, not really….Dad was right, together….together they would beat this demon. He now knew it, could feel it down to his core; just as sure as tomorrow would come, and the Demon would come after that. But that was tomorrow or the day after, or the day after that…, for now he knew he was safe…. safe with his brother by his side.

The brothers silently sat, shoulder to shoulder, no words necessary, just being. Their breathing and the beating of their hearts the only sounds left. A calm surrounding them, immersing them into an unknown bliss, a peaceful serenity. Dad's presence still intensely felt, clung to with love and hope.

Sam kept glancing at his brother, captivated by him. Dean looked different…, serene, at peace. His eyes sparkled and his skin glowed with youth again as if years of pain and worry and torment had been lifted revealing a young man; the man Sam had always hoped to see again, a man who once again had hope….faith.

All the facets of his intricate personality shining, shimmering with a new vitality.

Sam felt relief and an intense happiness just from being in Dean's presence. So thankful for Dad's return and filled with hope gleaned from his words of confidence. With his brother's amazing strength he knew they would win against this Demon, knew together they could overcome any obstacle.

"You all right, Sammy?"

Sam looked up and smiled. Figures Dean's first concern would be for him. "I'm fine big brother, how about you?"

Dean grinned, that quirky little smirk where his dimples above his lips deepen and his eyes dance, "I'm good, Sammy. I'm good."

Unlike all his protestations before, this time Sam knew it was true, maybe true for the first time. He paused, before cautiously proceeding, needing to connect on a deeper level. He could sense his brother was wide open, no longer buried within himself, his inner strength and beauty shining through.

"Dean…. I saw Dad."

Total relief and awe reflected in Dean's eyes, silently rejoicing that Sam had shared in this miracle.


"Yeah Dean, really."

"Man…. It's just so weird, him appearing like that…. Guess we finally know more about this amulet Bobby gave me."

"Is that how it happened?"

"I guess…, don't really know. Dad's pocket watch touched it and whammy…. just like Jeannie and the bottle, there he was." Dean grinned, remembering the feeling and the joy, the relief…. reveling in the memory. "At least, that's what Dad figured."

"So, you all right with everything?" Sam felt he was, but he needed to hear Dean say it. He wanted assurance this was all for the best and Dean had found some peace from Dad's visit.

"Yeah Sammy, I'm good…. relax little brother, I'm good….really." Dean's eyes were still glowing, positively radiant, his whole face so serene.

Sam did relax and slowly released the breath he'd been holding, a smile overwhelming his face until he noticed his brother's bloody hand. He reached over and gently touched it. "Dean, what happened?"

Dean held his injured hand up before his face, turning it to view all angles. A pensive, curious look in his eyes. "It's all right. Just got frustrated, I guess."

"You really did a number on it. Is it broken?"

"Nah. Sure hurts like a bitch." Dean was still examining it, touching the raw skin, seeing how fragile it truly was, grimacing when he found a particularly sensitive spot. "Funny, but at the time, I couldn't even feel it."

"Guess you were feeling too much other pain?"

"Huh? I dunno, maybe. Remember Sammy, I never took all those college psyche courses. And don't go getting any ideas; I'm not ready to jump on the shrink's couch," He joked as his cocky attitude and smirk offered up an image of the old Dean, "not in this lifetime."

"But you feel better, don't you? Letting the pain out?"

Dean looked surprised, truly amazed at how he felt, never imagining he could feel this good after such a gut-wrenching display of raw emotions. "Yeah, Sammy. It feels great, like…. I don't know…, like a fresh start. Like it's finally in the past, all that shit and stuff, that it's not right there weighing me down or something."

"I'm glad, Dean. You look good, so relaxed…. at peace."

"Yeah…, it's good Sammy. Like maybe we can do this….like maybe we're gonna win. Hell, I know we're going to beat this Demon. You believe that? Don't you, Sam?"

"Yeah Dean, I believe it. Just like Dad said, together we can do anything." Sam shifted, nervous to bring it up, but not wanting any secrets between them, hoping to maintain this new openness, "Dean…. I heard everything Dad said…, I saw it all."

"You did, huh? What? That psychic mojo of yours working overtime?"

"Maybe, I don't know."

Dean studied his brother, Sam's expression so intense and hesitant, almost scared.

"So, you really saw and heard everything?"


Dean's misted eyes glimmered, registering the words; rolling the thought around in his mind before softly uttering, "Oh," as the meaning sunk in.

"Dean, I heard what Dad told you about why he did it."

Dean immediately shifted into protective mode, his voice tender and soothing, "Sammy, he knew you loved him."

"Yeah, I know. It's not about that, it's…. it's just…."

"Sam…" The concern in Dean's voice growing stronger, concern for his kid brother.

"Dean, just listen, will you?"

Dean's eyes took on a softer focus, a bitter pain waiting to be revealed, his entire being again looking to protect his baby brother. "Sammy, don't. You don't have to."

Sam's eyes were glistening with new tears, "Dean, it's true."

Dean tensed, sensing he was about to jump headlong into painful territory again.

"What? You're the psychic, not me." His voice lowering and becoming gentler now, "What's true?"

"Dad was right about me needing you more than him. I've known all along he didn't just make that deal for you…. He made it for me too."

"Sammy, it's all right. It's over."

"No, it's not. I need you to know the truth, Dean. You've always been the single most important person in my life." Sam's eyes filled with pain and love, his voice brittle and trembling as he spoke, "I've always needed you."

"Yeah? Well, I've always needed you." Dean's smile tender and heartfelt. He leaned into his brother's shoulder, his hand reaching out and squeezing his brother's knee in an affectionate touch. "You're my whole reason for living. Taking care of you…, trying to keep you safe."

"And you always have, even when I couldn't see it. You've always been there for me."

"That's what big brothers are for."

"Dad knew that, he knew how much I needed you…."

Dean quickly broke in, "It's not your fault, Sammy."

"Dean, it's not yours either. Dad made his own choice….he had his reasons and I guess….we both just need to accept that. Can you do that, Dean? Can you accept Dad's sacrifice for both of us?"

"Already have, Sammy. Dad loved us. He always tried his best for us. I know that. You need to believe it too. It's done. It's what he wanted. We just need to keep going."

Sam smiled, so grateful for his big brother, so grateful for Dad's sacrifice. "Yeah, I know…. Dean, the truth is…. I did need you more than Dad. If I'd had to make a choice…."

Dean cut him off, "But you didn't make a choice, did you? It was Dad's choice." Dean wrapped his arm around his brother, holding him in a firm embrace, a mirror image of the hold John had held him in. "Why didn't you tell me about this?"

"I felt so much guilt, so much relief that he saved you even if it cost him his life." All Sam's emotions were there on his face, drawing Dean into his pain. "I just didn't know what to think. God help me, I was just so grateful you were alive."

"Shhhh Sammy, it's all right." Dean clasped his brother at his neck and drew him closer, looking deep into the depths of his pain, not turning away, plunging into the pain and trying to ease it. His voice deep and sure, "You should have told me."

"I knew you were already in so much pain, so much grief over Dad. I didn't want to hurt you any more. I knew you'd just try to take on my pain, like you always do."

Dean smiled, sweet and soothing. "Big brother's prerogative. Remember?"

A familiar pained look passed over Sam's face before it was replaced by a look of determination. "Dean, no more….please. Dad was right about me too."

"About what?"

"I'm not a child, not the kid brother. Not anymore."

Dean smirked, "You'll always be the kid brother…. my kid brother."

"And you'll always be the big brother, nothing will ever change that. But Dean, I'm not a kid, I'm full grown. You don't need to take on my pain. You're not responsible for me. You don't need to always protect me."

"Yeah? Well, that's not gonna stop any time soon."

"Dean, I'm not that little kid you still need to protect."

"Sammy, I know. You're a man, I get it. Hell, you've been towering over me since you were fifteen. Believe me, I know."

"So how about you treat me like an equal? Let me take care of you sometimes? Can you do that, Dean?"

"Sammy, I'll try. I will…, but you gotta understand, I'm always gonna see my kid brother. I'm always gonna want to protect that little boy. That's never gonna change. It's been my job for too long now."

"And I feel the same about you. I'm always gonna have your back. You can always count on me. Let me take care of you too. Share the load."

Dean smirked, "I don't know, Sammy. I can be a handful."

"I've noticed, but I think I can manage."

"All right then, we take care of each other." Dean relaxed. A relieved, contented smile enveloping his face before he added, "Sammy, Dad loved us."

"I know. I felt that too."

"And he knew we loved him."

"Yeah Dean, I know."


Dean gave his brother a soft shake from his hand at the base of his neck and then reached across his shoulders and deepened the hug, pulling his brother closer to him in a firm grip. Sam responded by wrapping his arm around is brother's shoulder in a tight embrace.

Sam sighed, happy and contented and peaceful, but mostly grateful. "Dean, I'm glad you're in this with me. I'm glad you're my big brother."

Dean grinned and pulled him ever closer, his arm still wrapped protectively and lovingly around his brother's shoulders, "No place else I'd be. Sammy…. I…." Dean laughed quietly, not quite believing he was allowing himself to be this open and honest, but grateful he no longer felt the need to hide his feelings, "Sammy, I'm glad you're my little brother."

The brothers sat quietly, just existing, just being…. Content to just sit beside each other and relax before their duty would again send them down that long, hard road. Time passed and they stayed locked in their embrace, savoring this moment together.

Finally Dean reluctantly broke the embrace and reached underneath the army cot to retrieve the gold pocket watch up off the floor where it had been neglected in all the commotion. He turned it over in his hand, studying it before lifting up the fob and letting the watch dangle on the chain. His eyes never leaving the shiny object as it danced at the end of the chain, spinning wildly as he watched, lost deep in thought.

Sam's eyes followed the movement of the watch, curious by his brother's reaction to it. Wondering what the appeal was, sensing this watch meant something. What had Dean said? Dad's watch touched his amulet?

Dean glanced out of the corner of his eye and noticed Sam's curious look. "Hey, Sammy."

Sam was comforted by the familiar easy tone of Dean's voice, a normal, pleasant air to his words, his warm smile filling Sam with joy. The watch seemed critical to Dean as he sat mesmerized by it, the wheels in his mind turning in unseen fashion. Sam was anxious to know why it held his fascination.

"What is it? It looks….familiar."

"You remember it?" Dean looked surprised…, pleasantly surprised.

"I don't know, maybe…. something about it."

Dean's grin lit up his face, the memory obviously a good one. "Dad's pocket watch, a family heirloom. I found it in his duffel bag. He used to use it to quiet you when you went all ballistic crying." Dean laughed, warm and low. God, it is so good to hear him laugh again! "Here, let me show you." He flicked his wrist and the antique pocket watch leaped up, landing in his open palm, and he sighed, a contented smile filling out the features of his face. He deftly slid the opening mechanism and the watch cover opened as a beautiful, haunting melody played.

"That music. I know it."

"Well, you should. It showed you the way to la-la-land many times young grasshopper."

"What happened to it? Why was it here at Ellen's?"

"Long story, not totally sure, but for right now all we need to know is we have it back. It's a family heirloom, supposed to be passed down from generation to generation. Dad called it a legacy." Dean's eyes misted up, the emotions again embracing him as he tenderly held the watch, "Dad's legacy."

Sam considered what Dean was saying, seeing the emotion in his brother and trying to understand. He spoke gently, carefully choosing his words, trying to insure his meaning came out like he intended. "Dean, the watch is cool and everything….but it's not Dad's legacy to us. I told you before, what Dad taught us, how we save peoples' lives….that's his legacy. Every innocent he ever saved…, every innocent we've saved in the past, and all the people we'll save in the future because of what he taught us, that's his legacy."

Dean smiled, a deep, contented smile, his pride and love for his dad beaming in that peaceful smile, "Yeah?"

"Yeah, Dean. You told me that, remember?"

It seemed like a lifetime ago; Sam was the one in anguish, grieving Jessica and searching for reasons why. For Dean, everything had seemed so crystal clear then, so uncomplicated. Their one true purpose to hunt down and destroy evil. Dad's journal guiding them on their journey, their mission simple…. So much had changed in the past year, doubts and fears striking new terrors in him, amplifying his concerns and leaving him uncertain….unsure for the first time in his life. Hesitant, lost.

But Dad had come back, bringing a renewed focus. A new hope welled in Dean, a stronger confidence, and a firm resolve. His duty again clear, his course set. They were going to defeat this Demon; he felt it to the depths of his core. Together Sammy and he could tackle anything. Dad said so. Dad had shown him the way.

After years of conflict and division the Winchester brothers were finally on the same page, finally united in this fight. Two halves of one whole. Each brother unique and multi-faceted, brilliant in his own right, a strong and capable hunter on his own. Now united together, standing side by side ready to wage battle, they were unstoppable. Evil was in for one hell of a fight.

Dean remembered his words to his brother back at Blackwater Ridge, "Dad left us his journal. This is Dad's single, most valuable possession. Everything he knows about hunting evil is in this book. And he's passed it on to us. He wants us to pick up where he left off…, saving people, hunting things, the family business."

Dean looked into his brother's concerned eyes and smiled. How had he forgotten? Somehow caught up in the pain, he'd lost sight of it. He'd let it just slip away….Sammy was right….

He'd longed for a connection to his past, to his dad, and to his family, and it was right there the whole time…. the family legacy…, Dad's legacy.


"It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us, and to leave a legacy that is worthy of our children and of future generations." - Christine Gregoire

The End

bjxmas April, 2007

All standard disclaimers apply.