He could never have normal…not with his diminished eyesight.

-----

Dean had headed the Impala west with no specific destination in mind. They had just crossed the border into South Dakota an hour or so ago and were nearing Sioux Falls. The car was now heading straight into the sinking orange globe. Dean shifted around to find a position where he could protest his eyes from the brutal rays and still be able to see where they were going.

Dean glanced at his brother and verified that he was dozing in the afternoon sun. His eyes were extremely sensitive to light, despite the cloudy vision in his right eye, and had Sam been awake, the sun would have caused him major pain. As it was, Sam had tilted his head away from the brightness to protect his sightless right eye.

He started scanning the side of I-29 for a motel sign. His own chest was throbbing and his energy still wasn't up to par. He needed to rest if he was going to have the strength to care for his ailing brother. Sam was putting up a good front, but Dean knew his brother still needed time to come to terms with his condition before they could work on his recovery.

An exit sign showed a Motel 6 fast approaching and Dean expertly navigated the Impala off of the highway and into the parking lot of the motel. He hesitated to wake Sam, opting instead to continue letting him sleep, and locked his brother in the car until he could get them a room.

There were plenty of vacancies at the moment and the price was right. Dean selected a room at the back of the motel and dragged himself out to the car. Moving on autopilot he guided the Impala around back and pulled in front of their room.

Dean reached a hand out to shake his brother's shoulder and then thought better of it. He didn't want to startle him. Instead he quietly called out his brother's name, "Sam, time to wake up. I got us a room." He saw his brother shift in the passenger seat and then straighten up, putting a hand out on the dashboard to brace himself.

Dean waited a moment to allow Sam to adjust to wakefulness before nudging him to move. "I'm beat. Let's grab our stuff and get inside," he said as he emerged from the car. He reached into the back seat and grabbed both his bag and Sam's before making his way around to the passenger's seat.

In that time Sam had managed to swing his legs out of the car but his head was bent and he was still.

Dean dropped the bags and knelt down on the pavement next to his brother. He winced as his chest ached at the sudden shift in position. He put his hand on Sam's knee and waited to see if his brother would acknowledge him. He wasn't disappointed when Sam lifted his head.

"I'm a little dizzy. Just give me a moment and then I'll be in," he assured Dean.

Dean didn't want to leave Sam's side but he was trying hard not to hover. He decided he'd unlock their room and get their stuff inside before returning to help Sam. He didn't want to be accused of pulling a "mother hen" routine but he wanted to be nearby in case Sam lost his balance or tripped.

Dean opened the door, flipped on the light switch, and surveyed the room. The carpet and bedspreads were both a lovely shade of harvest yellow. Home for the next couple of days would be bile colored. He guessed it was better than avocado green, or snot as he preferred to call it. Wonderful.

He set down the bags and took a moment to rub his sternum. Sitting confined in the car for most of the day had not been kind to his recovering chest. He was looking forward to a hot shower to loosen his muscles, maybe a pizza and some sleep. But first he needed to help Sam out of the car.

Sam had extracted himself from the car and was now leaning against it. If Dean allowed Sam to continue at this pace, he just might make it into the room by midnight.

Remembering to avoid Sam's right side where he was apt to be easily startled, Dean moved to his left and wrapped a hand around his brother's elbow to steady him. Sam pushed weakly away from the car and moved toward the room with Dean's guidance.

As they approached the threshold of the door Sam lost his footing and stumbled. Dean lunged forward and caught him around the waist, saving him from a spectacular spill. Sam mumbled his thanks and didn't put up any resistance as Dean steered him into the room and settled him on the bed.

Dean found Sam's actions disturbing. All of his life Sam had struggled to be independent and self sufficient. Now he wordlessly, passively, accepted Dean's help. It was hard for Dean to see Sam this way.

But Dean knew until Sam was ready to accept his condition there wasn't much he could do. He could only be there to catch Sam if he fell.

----------

When Dean headed into the bathroom for the hot shower he had promised himself earlier he had left Sam sitting on one of the beds, staring blankly at the TV. When he exited the bathroom accompanied by a cloud of steam, his aches and pains had diminished and he was thinking of food. Food didn't seem to be on Sam's mind at all because he was sprawled across the bed and looked like he was out for the count.

Shedding the towel wrapped around his lean hips, Dean quickly crawled into some clothes and then grabbed a phonebook. He'd just order a pizza, and when Sam woke up he could have his share. And cold pizza for breakfast was always welcome.

After placing the order, Dean moved back over by Sam's bed and watched his sleeping sibling. Sam's neck was kinked at an uncomfortable angle and his face was scrunched up as if in pain.

Dean pulled out the bottle that Dr. McHugh had pressed into his hand and started to read about the dosage. Sam hadn't taken anything for pain since they'd left the hospital more than twelve hours ago so he was long overdue for something.

Fetching a glass of water out of the bathroom, Dean shook two pills into his hand and without thinking reached over and shook Sam gently on the right shoulder.

The results were instantaneous and explosive.

Sam's eyes snapped open and he sat up, abruptly knocking the glass of water out of Dean's hands and drenching himself in the process.

The sudden change in position was too much for Sam's unstable equilibrium and his vision grayed out in his working eye. His eyes rolled up into his head and he flopped back onto the bed, passed out before Dean.

"Shit! Sam, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted you to take something for the pain. Sam? Sam?" Dean rambled as he set the glass and pills on the table and perched on the edge of Sam's bed, this time on the left side where his brother would be able to see him when his eyes opened.

Dean wasn't sure what to do. Why had Sam passed out like that? Maybe it was the dizziness that his brother kept experiencing. He was on the verge of fishing Dr. McHugh's number out of his jacket when Sam began to stir.

Sam's eyes blinked open and he put a hand up to his head. "Dean? What happened? And why am I wet?" he said with a hint of pout before a slight shiver shook his frame.

Dean didn't want to hurt his brother's feelings but something about the way Sam asked that made him want to laugh. It reminded him of the Sammy from yesteryear. The inquisitive child with floppy brown hair, large eyes and a sulk when he didn't understand what was happening. The chuckle died away before he gave birth to it; Sam was confused and wet and relying on Dean to make things better.

"Sorry, Sammy. I startled you and you knocked a glass of water out of my hands. I'm going to grab you something dry to put on," he explained as he thrust his hand into Sam's bag and pulled out some flannel pants and a t-shirt. When he turned back Sam was sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. Setting down the clothing he grabbed the glass and refilled it with cool tap water from the bathroom.

"Here, let's try this again. The doctor said you might need these for a little longer," he said as he gave Sam the pills followed by the water. Sam didn't ask what they were or what they were for. He just gulped them down and allowed Dean to take the glass back when he started listing to the right side.

Here were more signs that not everything was right with his sibling. Dean told himself to give it time. But patience was not his forte.

Dean wordlessly handed Sam the dry clothes and watched as his brother struggled into them. He then pulled the bedspread back and maneuvered his brother under the covers. Sam turned onto his right side and quickly drifted off to sleep. At least Dean thought he was asleep but when turning away he heard Sam mumble, "Thanks, Dean," in a thick, soft voice.

Dean shook his head before turning the light out next to Sam's bed. He took a moment to smooth the covers around Sam's shoulders before sinking onto his bed. He let his head sink into his hands.

Sam didn't deserve this. Dean knew he would have to be extra vigilant to make sure his brother survived this latest set back. After everything else he had endured, Dean was afraid this was the thing that would send him over the edge.

----------

Winchesters didn't complain about the things that cut the deepest. Small bruises or imagined slights were fodder for discussion; the serious hurts and wounds were glossed over. Sam picked now to hold with the Winchester tradition. He was doing fine, everything was okay and it was killing Dean because he knew it wasn't true but he wasn't sure how to help his brother.

Sam was slowly becoming accustomed to the lack of depth perception caused by having only one eye. He easily moved around the room but he had more problems when Dean coaxed him outside. Oftentimes he had to reach for the Impala's door twice because the first time he missed it.

Balance continued to be a problem as well. Sam turned his head slightly to the right to gain a greater range of vision but it screwed with his orientation and he sometimes had to put a hand out to steady himself. Of course if he misjudged the distance to the nearest wall he oftentimes ending up falling farther than intended and had a new collection of bruises from colliding with objects.

Sam never complained. He didn't say a word unless his brother drew it out of him. In fact Dean had turned to subterfuge in order to provoke Sam into conversation. All Dean had to do was rub his chest and grimace and Sam was all over his case, demanding that he slow down, take it easy, rest for a while. He should have felt guilty but it was the one time that he felt like the Sam of old was in his presence. He wouldn't have to resort to these silly games if Sam would just open up to him a little.

Wasn't that funny? Sam had begged Dean to open up to him about their father's death and he'd shut his brother out. Now the shoe was on the other foot and it was frustrating and maddening and Dean was going crazy with worry.

He knew Sam had a lot on his plate but he had always wanted to talk through things before, ad nauseum. Either his brother had hidden coping skills or he was headed for an explosion. Dean stayed on guard for the latter.

The moment came five days after Sam's release from the hospital. Sam, sitting on the edge of the bed, reached down to grab his shoes and struck his head on the table. He tumbled forward to sprawl head first onto the yellow carpet.

Before Dean could intervene, Sam was sitting up, rubbing his head, and started to giggle. The giggle turned to chuckling. The chuckling turned to cachinnation. Sam buried his head in his hands and tried to suppress the manic laughter escaping his lips. He was soon out of breath and tears leaked from his eyes.

The shock of Sam's laughter had stopped Dean in his tracks. Watching his brother try to smother the sounds of distress pouring from his mouth struck a chord in the older Winchester and he soon found himself kneeling on the floor next to Sam. This only acted as a spur to Sam's emotions and soon he leaned into Dean's shoulder. Sam convulsively gasped and Dean feared he would soon pass out but slowly, with much hitching and pausing, he finally reined things in and lay exhausted in his brother's arms.

Neither brother spoke. Finally Sam withdrew from Dean's hold and shakily wiped the wetness from his face. He shook Dean's supportive hand away before pulling himself to his feet and then closed himself in the bathroom.

Dean didn't know if he should hide the guns and knives or if this show of emotion had actually been cathartic for his brother. He paced around the room and counseled himself to give his brother a moment to pull himself together. He was rewarded when the bathroom door open and Sam emerged. His eyes were red and his face was blotchy but he was sporting a sheepish smile.

"Um, now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted," Sam commented with a flash of his trademark humor.

Dean relaxed. Maybe Sam was bearing up under the weight of his disability after all.

"What do you think about hitting the road again? Maybe visit the Badlands?" Dean inquired. He would let Sam set the pace and make the decisions for a while.

Losing his eyesight on his right side had been out of his hands but maybe giving him the chance to decide the course of things now would mitigate some of that powerlessness.

"Sounds good. I'll help you pack up," Sam said as he started moving around the room, gathering items as he went.

Dean didn't want to spoil the moment and kept his thoughts to himself. He was happy to see his brother acting more like himself again.

----------

It had been three long months since the car accident and the brothers had continued to meander across country. Dean kept them solvent by hustling pool but he was growing bored. He craved the action of the hunt but until Sam adjusted to his new vision situation it wasn't safe.

Dean could have gone out on a job on his own, had considered it carefully, and then rejected it. Given a little time he thought Sam would be ready. He just had to convince Sam of that.

Dean had pushed and pulled, sometimes with subtlety but usually with vigor, to engage Sam in serious training. Hand-eye coordination was proving to be a huge stepping stone and Dean resolved to help Sam overcome it through hand to hand combat drills.

However, training with Sam wasn't without its pitfalls. The first time Sam had rushed Dean and misjudged his position, he'd tumbled heavily to the ground and knocked himself out. Training incidents happened all of the time, even with two good eyes, but Dean would have been lying if he hadn't admitted that seeing Sam sprawled awkwardly on his stomach across the hard ground like that hadn't scared the crap out of him.

He'd hunkered down over his brother, unsure of whether to move him or not, and had been on the verge of calling for help when Sam had rolled himself over with a groan and sat up. To his surprise, Sam had been willing to shake it off and continue training but Dean had insisted on helping him inside and then had proceeded to baby him.

"Dean, please, I'm fine. If you have to hover could you please do it from your side of the room? You're making me claustrophobic," Sam huffed after Dean snugged the covers up to his chin...for the third time in the last thirty minutes. He appreciated Dean's help, he certainly couldn't have made it this far without him, but he needed a little space.

Dean didn't know if he should miffed at Sam's attitude or pleased. After all, Sam was showing a little fire. It was easier to work with than quiet, compliant Sam. He'd take it as a positive sign. Anything positive at this point was welcome.

----------

The next day Sam insisted on training again. Dean was a little skeptical, as well as worried, but agreed to it. He didn't want to stop Sam's momentum.

Dean was already outside, setting up an obstacle course of sorts for Sam to practice with, when he got a good look at his approaching brother. Sam had fashioned a red bandana around his head to cover the right eye.

Blinking his eyes he looked again. Between his long hair, gleaming white teeth, and the bandana, his brother resembled a pirate.

Uncertain of Sam's current emotional state, Dean might have showed a little restraint but laughter was great for stress relief and both brothers had been maxed out on stress lately. Upon seeing his brother's latest fashion endeavor, Dean couldn't prevent the mirth from exploding out of him. "Ahoy there matey!" he greeted, before laughter burst from his mouth.

Sam huffed in annoyance. "Cut the crap, Dean. Dr. McHugh suggested I try an eye patch. He thought it might help my good eye adapt to the mono vision." When Dean continued to laugh, Sam put his hands on his hips and glared.

Dean tried to control his laughter. "I hate to break it to you, but that's a bandana, not an eye patch. You're definitely working the early Captain Jack Sparrow look. I'm thinking you maybe need to grow a beard and add a little eye liner, though," he said, before bending over at the waist as his laughter got the best of him again.

Sam was not amused. "Knock it off, you're not funny." He was frowning at Dean, his cheeks pink with embarrassment. Or anger. Dean couldn't tell which but it only added to the picture his brother made.

Dean's laughter tapered to a stop and he tried to get serious. He tried but failed miserably. "If I don't stop are you going to make me walk the plank?" he asked his brother. Laughter once again shook his body.

Sam narrowed his eye in concentration which should have been a clue. "I think that can be arranged," he replied, walking up next to Dean who was trying to stifle his snickering.

Before Dean knew what had happened, he found himself on his back, lying on the hard ground, staring dazedly up at his brother.

Now it was Sam who was cracking up as he looked down at Dean. His white teeth gleaming against his lightly tanned skin, his hair mussed from the breeze, red bandana firmly affixed around his head covering his eye...he really did look like a pirate. Not that Dean was going to comment on it. He was still smarting from getting thrown on his back.

Dean hadn't seen that move coming.

As a peace offering, Dean bought Sam a black eye patch sold at a local drugstore which was easier to put on and remove.

Progress.

----------

Dr. McHugh had said most people adapted to acquired monocular vision loss within one year. Dean believed his brother, who had always been ahead of the curve when it came to achievements, had managed to accomplish this feat within six months.

Dean had trained with Sam daily for the last three months and Sam had worked hard to conquer his disability and it showed. He no longer experienced dizziness, having conquered his orientation problems. His depth perception and mobility were back on target. Even his hand-eye coordination rivaled that of most people who had two working eyes – he'd shown Dean up on more than one occasion playing video games and shooting pool.

It was time to put Sam through his paces. But first Dean needed to persuade Sam of that.

Dean had found the perfect first job. The Karsten Inn in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, was reputed to be haunted. Lately activity had been picking up. Agatha, the formerly friendly ghost, had started picking on the crew who were there to refurbish the historic hotel.

"I think you're ready," Dean stated as he crossed his arms across his chest. "It shouldn't be anything too complicated. You could do this job," Dean was on the verge of saying blindfolded but didn't want to remind Sam of his eye and instead settled for, "while sleepwalking. Quit worrying."

Dean was a man on a mission and soon had Sam ensconced in the car.

"At least let's wait a day or two. Give me a chance to research things a little more carefully," Sam asked his brother, doubt clearly showing on his face.

"No, Sam, now. You're ready. Maybe past ready. Let's do it," Dean declared. He knew Sam was hesitant, even understood it, but waiting wasn't going to make his first job since the accident any easier. It was time to take the bull by the horns.

Sam wasn't sure he was ready. What if he screwed up and Dean got hurt? But he also didn't want to let his brother down. Dean had shown amazing patience with him since the accident and he wanted to show his appreciation somehow. Nothing said thank you like agreeing to a hunt.

Dean took Sam's hesitancy as agreement and started up the Impala. "We'll slip in the back and cover the hotel floor by floor, working our way up. We'll hit the third floor. That's where the most sightings have occurred. I've already put together the herb packets we used in Kansas. It'll be a snap, you'll see," Dean said.

Sam was nervous. He felt like his future was riding on the success or failure of this job. Or perhaps he should say his future with Dean. If he couldn't hack it he'd be left out of Dean's favorite endeavor and although he knew Dean would never leave him behind, he wouldn't be able to share completely in his brother's life. And Dean was all he had left.

Sam's dream of returning to school had gone up in flames at the same time Jess had died. He'd just been a little slow to catch on to that fact. Spending time with Dean was all he had left to look forward to and he didn't delude himself into thinking they had all that much time. The Yellow Eyed Demon would eventually make his way back around to him and what chance did a one eyed cripple have against a yellow eyed demon?

"So tell me again about Agatha…" Sam requested as the brother's left Two Rivers behind and headed for Kewaunee.

"Agatha, or Aggie as the locals called her, became pregnant at age 21 after a local farmer supposedly raped her. Agatha's parents raised her daughter as one of their own, but needed financial help, so Agatha joined the Karsten Hotel's housekeeping staff. She resided in room #310. What I can't figure out is why she's haunting the Karsten Inn. She died in 1954 at her family's farm, not at the hotel," Dean summarized Aggie's story for Sam.

"And tell me again why we aren't going to salt and burn?" Sam asked quietly. He knew Dean would have thoroughly checked everything out but he needed to make sure there weren't any surprises.

"Cremated," Dean replied back, glancing at his brother. He could hear the wheels turning in his brother's head but he didn't know if he was going to try to talk Dean out of the job or if he had decided to embrace it. He was relieved when Sam nodded his head. It looked like he and Dean were on the same page. It felt good to be on the job again.

Dean pulled the Impala around to the back of the stately building. Sam grabbed their bags as Dean jimmied the back service door open. It was after 11:00 p.m. and the building was dark; the construction crew was long gone and the hotel had closed to accommodate the renovations.

Withdrawing flashlights from the bag, Sam handed one to Dean and they made their way through each floor, making a hole and depositing an herb laden bag in each corner until they reached the third floor. Home to Aggie.

Dean signaled Sam to head to the southwest corner of the floor. They knew to be on the lookout for poltergeist activity. Sam remembered vividly the last time they had been in this position back in Kansas and he didn't relish the thought of having a lamp cord twisted around his neck again.

Dean also remembered their last similar job. When he'd found Sam lying limply on the floor that night he'd thought for sure Sam was a goner. And that was when Sam had two good eyes. Things were different now.

Taking a deep breath, he reminded himself to focus. He headed off in the opposite direction as Sam and made quick work of those two corners.

Dean was striding toward the other end of the floor when he heard a commotion. A brisk wind whipped through the hallway and threatened to tip him over the banister.

"Sam?!" Dean screamed as he ran toward his brother's last known location. The wind was making it hard for him to keep his feet and as he bounced off a wall he felt a light panel and quickly flipped the switches. He needed to see what was happening.

Sam was pinned up against the wall by a heavy ladder and Dean watched as a male in overalls moved toward him shaking his fist.

Dean scooped up the fallen packet of herbs and ran for the far corner. Suddenly the lights cut out and Dean stumbled over a fallen piece of debris. His head cracked against the corner of a work table and his vision grayed out.

In the moment before the lights went out, Sam watched as "Farmer Bob" reversed his trajectory and made for Dean. He heaved the ladder away from his aching side and scrambled toward the area where he had heard Dean land heavily. His foot nudged a bag and he wasted no time in pulling out a gun filled with rock salt.

Sam's bobbing flashlight picked up movement hovering over his prone brother's form and he pumped a round into the specter. With a screech it faded away from view.

Sam wanted to run to Dean and check on his condition but he knew he didn't have much time. Taking the butt of the gun he broke through the plaster in the last corner and was about to drop the herbs into the hole when he was violently lifted off his feet and slammed into the wall.

He shook of the dizziness and found the discarded herb packet at his feet. He couldn't see the hole through the pitch black darkness and he knew the ghostly farmer stood between him and his goal.

Lurching to his feet he stumbled away from the corner, trying to lead the ghost away. He felt something swipe at his back and almost went down but managed to stay on his feet.

Sam juked to his left and then spun to his right, his blindside, and whipped the herb packet toward the corner.

It was part basketball jump shot and part baseball curve ball and he held his breath in anticipation. This was like some of the exercises Dean had made him do and at the time he had thought them stupid but he now reconsidered.

Sam found himself airborne again but before he could hit the floor a flash of light fanned out across the room. He'd done it. Farmer Bob was gone.

As the light faded, so did Sam's consciousness and he allowed himself to sink into the darkness.

-----

Dean awoke to complete darkness with a throbbing head. He lifted his hand and felt a trickle of wetness on his chin. Damn, that hurt. He fished around and found a penlight in his pocket. There, on his left, he spotted the large flashlight. And past the flashlight he saw Sam lying still on the floor.

"Sammy!" he cried as he lurched to his feet and weaved toward his brother, pausing long enough to grab the flashlight. He dropped to his knees and moved the light across his brother's limp body.

Was Sam breathing? He didn't think so. His chest wasn't moving.

They were both well aware of the risks each time they went out on a hunt but he remembered coaxing Sam into this job. His brother wasn't sure he was ready but Dean knew he could do it. And he had more than held his own, but at what price?

His own breathing came in great gasps, panic setting in, as he readied himself to start mouth to mouth resuscitation. Dean firmly pinched his brother's nostrils closed while leaning forward.

Sam's eye suddenly snapped open and he jerked upright. His forehead collided with Dean's chin and both brothers groaned before falling to the floor.

"Ug. Sorry. Are you okay?" Sam asked as he fought the dizziness swirling around him to roll to his knees.

"Just peachy," Dean's pained response answered him. "Did you get him?"

"You mean the ghost that wasn't Aggie? Yeah, he's gone," Sam said as he pulled himself to his feet. He swayed for a moment in place before reaching down and tugging Dean to his feet.

"What took you so long?" Dean retorted with his trademark cocky banter. He was just putting up a front. In reality he couldn't wait to take some pain reliever. And it felt as though he'd grown another chin.

Sam appreciated Dean's gesture and wanted to reply in kind but he was too sore and tired. He was proud that his training with Dean had paid off but he felt nauseous and wanted to get the hell out of the Karsten Inn.

Dean flashed the light over Sam and saw him reeling in place. "Come on, let's get back to our motel," he said as he took charge again. He somehow got both of them down the back stairwell and into the Impala. He didn't remember much of the ride back to Two Rivers and breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled into their parking lot.

Dean had to pull Sam out of the car but then it was anyone's guess as to who was holding whom up. They staggered gratefully into their room and sunk down on their beds.

"You look just like Dudley Do-Right," Sam started to laugh as he got his first good look at Dean. "Are you okay?" he asked as he sobered a little. Dean's chin was red and raw looking and he really did resemble the Canadian Mountie cartoon character with his new double chin.

"I'll be fine. Yuck it up, Pirate Boy. Just wait until you see yourself in the mirror," Dean said as he took in Sam's disheveled appearance. His patch was askew and a bruise was starting to darken the right side of his face resembling a beard. "How do you feel?"

Sam touched the right side of his face gingerly and winced. He hurt all over but it didn't diminish his feeling of accomplishment. It hadn't been pretty but he'd pulled his weight on this job. "I'm good."

Dean stared at his brother intently until Sam objected. "Dude, what are you staring at?"

Dean shook his head, declining to answer. There was so much he wanted to say. He was proud of the way Sam had handled himself. Not just with the hunt but throughout this whole ordeal. Then there was the accident they'd never talked about. Dean wanted to apologize for his part in it but he'd never had the chance. But he didn't want to spoil the moment. Just for a minute or two, he wanted to bask in the success of the moment. Sam's success.

His brother had come such a long way in the last six months. And Dean knew he would only get better.

"You did good, kiddo," Dean murmured as he reached forward and messed Sam's hair. It was the kind of thing he used to do to Sam when he was an appearance conscious teen and he still got a kick out of the way his brother crinkled up his nose and frowned when he did it.

At least this was a safer way to mess with his brother than his prank with the map in the car which had led to Sam's detached retina.

Sam couldn't help the grin that split his face. Words like that from Dean were high praise. He tucked it away in the corner of his brain where he could dwell on it later.

Sam knew that this hunt had been anything but perfect but it gave him something to build upon.

For the first time in a long time, he had hope. It was a good feeling.

It was quite a change because for so long he'd been mired in despair. One moment he'd been finding his way again, recovering from the deaths of first his girlfriend and then his father, adjusting to life on the road with his brother. With no warning or time to prepare, things changed drastically once again -- literally in the time it took to blink an eye they were faced with a new challenge. But thanks to Dean he was coping.

Together the Winchesters made a formidable team. And together Sam hoped they would stay for a long time.

Finis

A/N: This fic was supposed to be posted back in April but I became disenchanted with it. With the patient prodding of beta extraordinaire, Faye Dartmouth, I finally worked up the courage to play with it some more. Thank you, Faye.

There really is a Karsten Inn in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, and it really is supposedly haunted by Aggie. I made her acquaintance there about five years ago when I was the sole occupant of the third floor. Well, actually it turns out it was just the night clerk clunking around that floor in his boots but it certainly made an impression on me. I could have used the help of Sam and Dean that night.

Thank you for reading the story.