Title - Catalyst

Summary - Sam Winchester doesn't know where to go, doesn't know what to do. All he knows is that he has to keep moving, keep hunting, or else he just won't make it.

"Catalyst"

It was nearly two o'clock in the morning when the pounding started. It was a sharp, harsh pounding coming from downstairs. Someone wanted in, needed help, or just possibly too drunk to realize they got the wrong house. Sarah Blake took a deep breath before getting out of bed and grabbed a fireplace poker. Pushing back the curtains to her bedroom window, she saw a familiar looking car - an old, sleek-black muscle car that she couldn't quite place.

The pounding continued, getting louder and more desperate as it went on. Making her way downstairs, the poker still clenched in one hand, Sarah made her way to the front door. She opened it slowly, catching a glance at the tall man on the other side. He was breathing heavily, his face red and puffy.

"I don't know what to do," he said in one breath. "I don't know what to do."

"Sam?"

Opening the door wider, she looked at the man that she hadn't seen in nearly two years, a man that she was positive she fell for. When he left, she was sure that she missed her chance, that she lost her soul mate. She watched him leave with his brother with a quest in mind, a destiny that she had no part in. Now, he was back but so vastly different than she remembered.

"Come in," she whispered as she stepped aside to allow him entrance.

"I can't. I need… I need to do something. I can't just stay. I need to move."

"Sam, calm down.

"I've been driving for three days straight. I - I didn't know where to go but I knew I had to go somewhere."

He was rambling, his thoughts obviously jumbled. Sarah was convinced that he didn't even know where exactly he was or what he was doing. He was delusional and hysterical. She reached out, grabbing his hand to pull him inside of the house. She steered him into the living room and sat him down onto the couch. His body heaved a sigh, his back arching into the cushions.

"I don't know what to do," he repeated as his eyes drooped. "Dean…"

As soon as the name escaped Sam's lips, he was out cold. His breaths shaky at first before slowly they started to even out. Running a hand down her face, Sarah carefully reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Scrolling down the short phone list, Sarah found Dean's name and hit send. Whatever was going on, Sam needed his brother, yearned for him. Confused, Sarah listened to the message stating that number was no longer in use.

Sarah made herself comfortable in the nearest chair. She watched Sam sleep fitfully on her couch, questions forming in her head. Looking down at his phone once more, she scrolled through the list of numbers recognizing only Dean's and hers. She decided to start from the top in hopes to find a relative of his. The first name on the list was a man named Bobby. She hit send and put the phone up to her ear. Relieved that the number wasn't disconnected, she waited patiently for the other end to pick up. She let it ring until the answering machine picked up, a man's gruff voice sounding in her ear.

"Singer Salvage Yard. I'm not in but leave your business after the tone."

Sarah hung up, believing that a man who owned a salvage yard couldn't be that close to Sam or Dean. She continued through the phone book and called a woman named Ellen who didn't pick up. A woman named Jessica whose number now belonged to a tough man named Butch. A man named Pastor Jim whose number was actually that of a church where she was informed that the pastor had died a couple years back. A woman named Madison whose number was now in use of a woman named Hannah. All the other numbers she tried were either disconnected or held new owners.

It was a little over twenty-seven hours later when Sam awoke, his stiff joints cracking loudly as moved. He looked around the room in puzzlement until his gaze rested on Sarah in the chair. She had barely moved in the past day, only getting up to use the restroom or grabbing a quick bite to eat. She had even slept in the chair, wanting to be there when Sam awoke.

"What am I doing here?" he asked, his voice thick with sleep.

"I was hoping you could tell me," she answered. "You came here."

"I don't… remember."

Sarah only nodded as she stood up, stretching before taking a seat on the couch next to Sam. He seemed vacant as he stared off into space thinking. So disconnected with what was happening around him, he stood up dumbly as he stumbled slightly. Turning to her, his eyes void of any emotion, he apologized for disturbing her and announced he was leaving.

"Leaving? Sam, you're exhausted and hungry."

"I'm fine."

"Sam, really, let me at least fix you something to eat."

"I'm not hungry. I just… I need to drive."

He made his way to the front door, staggering as he went. Sarah bolted up and went after him, fully intending to stop him from getting behind the wheel in his current condition. He was in the foyer when she called after him, a pathetic plea sounding in her voice.

"I have to go!" he shouted at her.

"I called Dean… but his number was disconnected. Just tell me how to reach him and just wait for him to come!"

That was the wrong thing to say it seemed. Sam's face contracted in pain, tears burning in his eyes. His mouth moved pathetically, no words escaping pass his lips. Pulling his lips into a thin line, he turned his head to the side. Sarah immediately understood. Dean was gone, and Sam was lost without him.

"Sam…" she trailed off as she didn't know what to say to the man.

"It's my fault," he whispered, his voice breaking. "I told him I'd fix it. I told him I'd save him. I… he… it's all my fault."

"Sam, Dean wouldn't want you blaming yourself," she said gently.

She reached out a hand to brush his arm, but he flinched back at the touch as though she burned him. He stepped back until his back was flat against the front door. He breathed in shakily, his body twitching in emotional pain.

"I died," he said finally. "Dean saved me. Gave up his life for mine, and I couldn't even…"

"Sam…"

"I couldn't… I buried him. I just couldn't torch him. I tried to make a double deal, you know, but the bitch wouldn't do it. She wouldn't do it."

He was now mostly talking to himself, but Sarah tried her best to follow along. Her heart went out to Sam, not wanting him to be alone. She steered him to the living room, settling him down on the couch like before. Running upstairs, she grabbed a suitcase and piled in some clothes and other necessaries. She didn't know how long she would be gone, but she knew he needed someone with him. Sarah feared he'd do something stupid; he'd let the grief consume him fully. There was no way that she could sit back and watch him kill himself. He may not have come to her on purpose, but he came to her nonetheless.

She was on the road with him then, not knowing where he was driving or what was going through his head. The back of the Impala was littered in cheap alcohol bottles. Her attention turned back to Sam, who fumbled for something in his jacket pocket. He pulled out a pain killer bottle and popped a couple in his mouth before reaching next to him for some alcohol.

"Sam!" she shouted, reaching to grab the bottle.

"Stop it," he hissed. "It takes the pain away for a little bit."

He downed the pills with the alcohol, finishing up the last of the bottle before throwing it in the back with all the rest. Sarah pleaded with him to pull over, to let her drive before they crashed. At the word crash, Sam's red eyes filled with tears. He turned towards his, the car swerving in the road.

"I crashed this car once. A semi hit it. Dean was pissed. He had to rebuild it from scratch."

Sam pulled over, cutting off the engine. He buried his face into his hands and let out a sob. Soon enough, his whole body started to shake. Sarah reached over, rubbing circles on his back because she didn't know what else to do for him. He was a wreck, and she was starting to think he'd never fully recover from this.

There was something within Sarah that told her she had to stay with Sam, help him through what he was going through. So she drove with him, stopping every so often at a town to exorcise a demon or salt a ghost. She was clumsy at first, but it gave Sam something to concentrate on. It gave him a purpose in life: protect Sarah so she didn't get herself killed.

Within the next couple of years, Sarah got the hang of it. She still needed saving most of the time when they were on a job, but she was improving. Sam rarely talked about Dean, except for when he was drunk. He'd ramble off about his brother, pretending that he was still there with him. The guilt he felt was overwhelming, so Sarah never pressured him to talk about Dean.

It was one night, nearly three years after Sam had stumbled onto Sarah's door that she saw him. They'd been in a cheap motel room a couple towns away from Reno with a simple salt and burn case - a kind of hunt that Sarah could manage without much help. It was the ghost hunting Sarah was good at, familiar with. It was the other hunting that caused her to need saving. Sam was next to her in bed, sleeping peacefully on his stomach. She had woken up, felt someone watching her.

She turned to look around the room when she saw Dean standing next to the bed with a smirk on his face and his arms crossed over his chest. He looked at her before his eyes sadly did a quick glance over of his brother, checking to make sure he was all right and still alive.

"Glad to see you're taking care of my pain in the ass little brother," he said quietly, fondness lacing his words. "I thought I'd be seeing him way too soon."

Sarah sat there stiffly, staring up at the man hovering over her. He was trying to keep his face void of any emotion but failing miserable every time he looked at his little brother.

"Hell's a bitch," he said bitterly. "You have no idea what I had to do just to…"

"Should I wake Sam?" she asked.

"No. He'd… no. Don't tell him I was even here because… I can't come back. Just… take good care of him… and my nephew."

Sarah's brows furrowed as her hand found her way to her stomach. She had just taken a pregnancy test yesterday and saw the positive. Her eyes left Dean for a fraction of a second to look at her flat stomach before she saw the man burst into flames out of the corner of her eye. She gasped, waking Sam up in the process.

"Sarah?" he called sleepily. "You all right? What's the matter?"

"Nothing… I just… felt nauseous."

She turned to him, hating to lie to the man next to her. He had been through so much and she didn't have it in her to put him through anymore. He had been doing so well the past year, being happier for longer stretches of time. It seemed when he was moving, hunting, the pain lessened for him. When he was stationary for too long, when he gave himself any free time to think is when he'd break out a bottle and drown himself in his grief.

Eight months later, Sarah gripped Sam's hand tightly in a hospital under a fake name, in another nameless town. She sat up, reaching with her free hand to grasp something. Sam slid on the bed behind her, grabbing her other hand with his free one. Twelve hours later, a small baby boy was in Sam's arms. Sarah laid exhausted in the bed next to him.

"Hey, little guy," Sam whispered as the first true smile crossed his face. "You nearly killed your mom coming out."

"Lemme see him," Sarah asked weakly as she reached out her arms.

Sam turned to her, bending down to lay the baby securely in her arms. He placed a hand on the baby's black mop of hair, the smile never leaving his face. Sarah smiled, bouncing the baby gently in her arms.

"What're we going to name him?" he asked, never taking his eyes off the baby.

"What about… Dean?"

Sam looked up at her, an expression that Sarah never saw crossing his face. It was a mixture of disbelief, sadness, and guilt all rolled up into one. Slowly, very slowly, he nodded his head.

"He looks like Dean," Sam whispered. "A dark-haired Dean, but Dean nonetheless."

"Dean Samuel Winchester," Sarah finished. "It has a nice ring to it."

"Yeah…"

"Sam?"

"I just wish he was here. He'd… he'd kick my ass if he found out a named my kid after him. Tell me I should name him after Dad or someone instead." Sam swallowed hard before continuing. "He always said he hated kids… that he didn't want them. He was good with them though, you know? They seemed to like him, and I know he liked them back. He would have been a great dad. He took such great care of me growing up… he was practically a brother and father and best friend all rolled up into one. God, Sarah, I miss him so much."

There were times when Sam would look at his son and see his brother - the little boy was the very embodiment of the uncle he never got the chance to know. The boy with his Dean's expressions and Dean's voice. Everything about him was purely Dean except for the black curls that covered his head. There were times when Sam forgot he was talking to his son, thinking he was talking to his brother. It was those moments that hurt him the most, that made him feel like he was trying to fill the hole that his brother had left.

"Dean!"

The ten year old turned his head, pursing his lips in annoyance the way that his uncle always did. He swaggered towards his dad so reminiscent to his uncle's walk that it made Sam's heart clench. He even dressed like Dean, favoring ripped jeans and a t-shirt. Hell, the kid had even asked for a leather jacket when he was only eight.

"Yeah, Dad?" he asked.

"You know how I told you once you were named after my brother?" Sam inquired, unable to meet the boy's green eyes.

"Yeah…" he trailed off.

"He always wore this necklace," Sam commented as he pulled out the familiar necklace that he'd carried with him since the day Dean died out of his jacket pocket. "It's an Egyptian protection amulet. My dad gave it to him when he was four or five. I thought you might like it."

The boy took the amulet in his hand, peering at it closely before looping the string around his neck. He fiddled with the amulet, looking at it upside down in admiration. Looking up at Sam, a smirk crossed his face - the infamous Winchester smirk that both his dad and brother possessed… the smirk that now his son possessed. Sam couldn't help but smile his mother's smile, dimples and all. He pulled out a picture from his jacket and handed it to the kid.

"That's Dean and me. It was the last picture we took before he…"

The boy looked at the worn picture to see his father looking young and happy. The man next to him had the smirk plastered across his face as he had an arm around his little brother. The necklace that now was on little Dean was on older Dean in the picture, shining brightly up at him. The eldest Winchester had a silver ring on, a ring that Sam now wore and refused to ever take off. The kid looked up at his father, asking to keep the picture. Slightly taken aback, Sam said he'd give him a different picture because he wanted to keep the last image of his brother ever taken.

That night, Sam laid in bed next to Sarah. Dean was fast asleep in the next room over in the small apartment they were renting for the time being. Sam's mind wandered to his late brother, an occurrence that happened nearly every night. He could still remember their last conversation as though it were yesterday clearly in his mind.

"Sammy, if I could go back and do it all over again… I wouldn't do anything differently."

"I told you I'd get you out of this."

"I'm glad you didn't. That bitch said if I tried to weasel my way out of this… you'd drop dead. I'd rather I drop dead than you."

"I promise to get you out of hell at least…"

"Don't. Don't go opening hell's doors and letting out a whole bunch of demons, okay? I'll kick your ass if you do that."

"What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do, Dean?"

"Just let me go. Live your life. Go back to college, get a job, get a family. Forget about me. I swear I will haunt your ass if you grieve too long or do something stupid. You better not get rid of that car either, you hear me? That stays in the family. It's like the Winchester family heirloom. Pass it on to one of your little geeky brats you're bound to have, you hear me?"

"Dean…"

"I love you, Sammy. I know I've been an ass to you and I've let you down more times than I care to count… but I've always loved you."

"I love you too, Dean."

"You'll be fine without me. You'll see. Just give it time."

Author's Notes - Just a small something I had running in my head since the finale. Please leave a review and tell me what you think.