A/N: I did not have a depressing day, I swear. Despite the apparent doom and gloom of this story, it was conceived and written with the idea of hope in mind. Please remember that as you read.

Warnings: Implied character death, but also implied character resurrection. Spoilers for all of season two.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

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The Day Is Spent by Starliteyes17

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She entered the warehouse as quietly as possible, not wanting to disturb the darkness that lurked there. She felt it grazing her skin, seducing her whims, welcoming her presence. But there was a time and place for that, and it was in the past.

She was a new creature now.

"You came," a soft voice uttered, cutting the silence she had been so dutifully keeping.

She slowly turned to face the men. One was awake, but the other lay in his brother's arms, deeply asleep. She felt his dreams slide against her thoughts, but willed them to return to him.

The other man, the dreamless one, gently stroked the dark bruise over his brother's temple, before resting the tips of his fingers against the sleeping man's neck. "One, two, three, four," he mumbled softly, measuring beats.

She shivered, feeling the power infest the air steadily, as though it too was counting on something. But her voice did not tremble as she spoke. "Of course I came. You saved me from a gruesome death not long ago. Repaying my debts has always been important to me."

The man nodded, but his focus did not leave his brother. She watched as his body contorted slightly, something like memory and shadow flickering across his face. It was only a moment, and even with her perfect vision, she wasn't sure she hadn't imagined it.

"So, you can be loyal, then?" he asked with a twitch of a smirk, looking up and into her eyes.

She piercingly held his gaze, but felt the necessity behind the question hidden behind his bravado. "Yes. I can also be compassionate, merciful, kind, loving. Did you not learn anything from our first meeting, Sam Winchester?"

Sam's jaw clenched. She could nearly taste the tension emanating from him now. He wore it like a shroud, a feast on display for anyone daring to take a bite. Yet she could also feel the eagerness beneath it. Despair was a burden he had carried a long ways, but was the end much farther?

She licked her lips before continuing. "I still have a choice, Sam. There is still light there."

Sam barked a laugh, anything but amused. "Light," he murmured softly, then turned to her. "You think about light often?"

"It is always in my thoughts," she replied, her pale fingers curving into her palms, leaving nail marks in their wake. "It is what keeps me from swaying from my chosen path."

She knew without looking that Sam was considering her words, his eyes penetrating her for any sign of betrayal. But if she bled anything, it was honesty, and after a few moments she felt Sam acquiesce.

"Why do you think so many of the turned became so hopeless?" he asked, his voice underlined with defeat, concern and doubt prominent in his queries.

"I think," she began appraisingly, then considered and sighed, letting her tone go soft before beginning again. "I think it's because they had nothing to stay truly alive for. Most were so young, and they had yet to find real purpose in the lives. Then, when that chance was lost so suddenly, and so violently... it can be hard to ever find what you were intended for, besides destruction and rage."

Sam's hand moved from his sleeping brother's neck to his chest, over his heart. "And how did you find your purpose again?"

"I didn't," she answered simply. "I just realized I'd never really lost it to begin with." Then, tipping her head at Dean, she added, "I don't think he'll lose his, either."

A broken sound tore from Sam's throat, and he bit his lip stoically before finally just letting his emotions flood out. His eyes shimmering, he turned his concentration back to his brother, stroking the angles of his face, the sculpture of his cheek, tenderly. "I know you don't want this, Dean," he whispered, "but I'm not letting you go to Hell, and Heaven can't have you for at least another fifty years, so it's either this or bust."

Her gaze faltered, and she eyed the moonlight coming through one of the grimy windows instead. It was the first time she'd felt truly uncomfortable in a while. She constantly flirted with darkness while masking herself in light, but the gray between the two had always overcome the purity of either absolute. And something this pure; in all her years and wanderings she had never learned of any bond so unbroken.

Sam seemed not to notice her surprise, however, his entire being centered on his brother. "Besides," she heard him murmur as his fingers traced an outline of Dean's pendant on his chest, "you promised that as long as you were around, you'd make sure nothing happened to me. How are you going to do that if you're in Hell, huh?"

Sam stopped his outlining, instead grabbing the amulet and clenching it in his hand. She could see his knuckles turn white. He looked torn, as though he was still trying to convince himself, and not his brother, that this was the right decision.

Finally Sam let go of the pendant, and carefully lifted his brother out his arms, slowly lowed him to rest on the ground. She noticed that he let Dean's hands lay sprawled, and not in a more formal form of repose. She realized he looked more alive spread-eagled, and wondered if Sam felt the same way.

Sam looked Dean over for a second, before turning back to her. "He always says that I'm not destined for Hell, even with the taint of demon's blood," Sam said, his voice lowered, his tone final. "If I can still have that darkness inside of me and choose light, and you still can, I have to believe that with or without a soul we both have a chance, Lenore."

Sam put his hand on her shoulder, forcing Lenore to look into his eyes. "And I'll believe the same for him. I'll believe it so much, Hell will never come close to touching him."

Lenore smiled sadly. "You're damning him to save him, then?"

Sam stared hard at Dean's peaceful features before returning his study to Lenore. "No. I'm just saving him."

It went unspoken, but Lenore heard the implications. After all, the soul of the undead can't be taken. Because the soul of the undead ceases to exist, and a demon can't steal what doesn't exist.

But it went farther then that. Because even without a soul, Lenore still chose light. And now Dean would too, because in Dean's experience choosing the path of light and choosing Sam were one and the same. And even soulless, Dean would always choose Sam.

After so many years, Lenore hadn't been sure that the temptation wouldn't overpower her, but right now, gazing down at Dean, she felt more in control of herself then she had in decades. This wasn't about cravings or food – this was about rebirth and immortality.

Lenore sensed the tension in the room break as the energy that had been building finally converged and stabilized. The decision had been made, and the point of return had never even arrived. It had never been a choice to begin with, really. The room was blanketed in silence, and Lenore felt the time come.

Her fangs dropped, Dean's neck beckoned, and without looking back at Sam, she descended.