December 18th at 5:00am

"Hi. I'm Agent Yates; I'm here to transfer a patient named Seeth Colbert. Could you point me in the direction of the room he is located in?" Sam couldn't help but feel relieved when the nurse looked up with bags under her eyes. Most people would be horrified to learn that the workers charged with their care were forced to work so long. No one would want to know that the doctor about to perform open heart surgery or measure their medicine had been working endlessly for the past ten or twelve hours. But in his case this was a good thing. Tired nurses meant less attention and less questions, or so he hoped.

"Room 247. Take the elevator up and the room is to your left."

Sam smiled at her and put the badge away, giving her that look of understanding. Hunting supernatural baddies was more of a night time gig and they didn't always get sleep every night while on a job, just like nurses and FBI agents. He stepped into the elevator and hit the second floor button. His heart started to speed up.

He hadn't seen Seeth since their capture but his brother had to be pretty bad off for the cops to have kept him here for five days after being rescued. And then there was Seeth's mental condition to consider. Sam knew that Nick had played Dean and him against Seeth. While the man was an ass he wasn't an idiot. Nick would lie; he would use the bond between him and his brothers against Seeth. Dean had told him about what had happened in the shed, the doctoring of the tape recorder. Sam had no doubt that the tape wasn't the only thing Nick had done to convince Seeth that his brothers didn't care about him. And Sam was well aware that taking five days to mount a rescue also didn't put them in a good light. Although Seeth wouldn't see it for a while, maybe never, the five days had given Seeth time to receive medical attention that he needed and for him to heal much better than he could in some dingy motel. Besides, it also afforded Sam and Dean the plan of transferring Seeth. Even the FBI wouldn't be as cruel to transfer a prisoner without a few days rest.

Fortunately all he needed to worry about was getting Seeth out of here. Everything could be explained later. They could build that network of trust again. It would take longer but they had all the time in the world.

Sam saw the guard as soon as he walked onto the second floor. Straightening his back and assuming an all knowing attitude he walked over to the young FBI agent who was slumped over in a chair with a cup of coffee in his hand. "I've got orders to transfer this prisoner."

The agent stood up and Sam was surprised to see the man would have been as tall as him, if he were to stand up straight. Not many people were, but a long shift had worn this new recruit down. The papers were taken from him and Sam thanked God when he saw the man's eyes squint, struggling to read the paper.

"I didn't hear anything about this."

"Orders just came in, we got a hint that Colbert's men may be trying to break him out of prison and might try to get his son as well. I'm taking him to a more secure facility. The doctors have assured us he's well enough to travel." Sam was glad Dean wasn't here. For some reason Dean would laugh every time he impersonated a cop or federal agent. Dean said that he had the perfect "cop voice," whatever the hell that meant.

The guard gave him one last look but stepped aside. "Do you need any help?"

"No, I should be able to handle this one by myself. You can head home, get some sleep." Sam said. He moved toward the door but waited until the guard was standing by the elevator before he actually started to open it. Bracing himself for what he might see, or what Seeth might say, Sam stepped through the door.

Considering what could have happened Sam was more than relieved to see the room had only one IV drip and a heart rate monitor. Seeth was on the bed, awake and looking out the window. The beep sounding off his heart rhythm was steady and normal. Sam didn't say anything at first, and Seeth didn't look at him. Seeth didn't even flinch when he had opened the door. "Seeth." All of sudden he wished it was Dean doing this and not him. Then again, Dean had never been Mr. Sensitivity and this situation was going to require tact.

Seeth had heard the door open and had heard it close. But there had been a lot of that and every time it had been either a doctor, a nurse, or an FBI agent. None of whom Seeth had been interested in. He usually slept facing the door, it let him see who was coming; that came from growing up in the environment that he did it paid to be aware of your surroundings. But now he just didn't care. What was going to happen was going to happen. He had given up on gaining any control of his destiny.

Then he heard Sam's voice, at least he thought it was Sam's voice.

"Seeth." Sam stepped inches closer, afraid to get close. He felt guilty, even though he had done nothing wrong. It was his fault that Seeth had been put in this situation, that these things had happened to him. Sam hadn't protected him properly, hadn't watched him closely enough. Sometimes being a big brother wasn't so good for your ego, not when you failed.

This time Seeth reacted. It was Sam, it sounded like him. Why was Sam Winchester here? They didn't care about him. They had abandoned him. But Seeth knew that voice, maybe they were here to taunt him. He closed his eyes, shutting out the father and two sons he had been watching on the playground located right outside his window. Shutting out that which he never had.

Sam didn't want to move closer, he wanted Seeth to acknowledge him on his own terms but they were on a time constraint and they couldn't take all day. So he hesitantly crossed the remaining distance to the bed and gently laid a hand on Seeth's tense shoulder. "Dean and Bobby are waiting outside in the car, we have to hurry."

Seeth shut his eyes tighter but when Sam's hand touched him he knew that it was his brother. This was no figment of his imagination. There was so much warmth and caring in that touch. But there was also doubt, guilt, why was Sam feeling guilty? Did he really have something to do with this? Had Nick been right? Seeth opened his eyes again and saw the dad chasing the smaller of the two boys. He wanted a family; he wanted to have someone to love him. Could he trust Sam and Dean again? Seeth wanted too, but he didn't want to get hurt again even more. After a few more seconds of thought Seeth decided the only way to find out was to see, he had nothing more to loose. He prepared himself quickly for the rejection that was likely to take place and then sat up in the bed, facing away from Sam.

It was a major victory when Seeth sat up and Sam quickly removed his hand. Although Seeth didn't look at him he knew that he was starting to come around. "Here, change into these. I'll wait outside, okay?" Sam handed him the clothes he had been holding. He figured bringing in a change of clothes would be okay seeing as the FBI didn't transport prisoners in hospital scrubs. But leaving him now to change was a risk all the same though. Seeth didn't have anywhere to go but Sam was putting the small momentum he had gained in jeopardy. But he also knew that there was no way in hell Seeth would change in front of him, he hadn't even done that before all this.

Three long minutes later Sam was about to go back in when the door opened and Seeth hesitantly walked out. He looked Seeth over, taking in the bruises on his face and Sam could only silently swear for all the injuries that he knew were covered by the clothes. Seeth didn't look at him though, just kept his head down. "I told them I was transferring you." Sam explained giving Seeth a warning before he gently grabbed Seeth's upper arm. It would have been hard for Sam to miss the flinch when he did so.

Seeth tried not to jerk when Sam went for his arm but a small reflexive movement made its way to the surface. He allowed himself to be led to the elevators and was grateful that Sam was keeping the pressure light on his arm. He understood that it was for appearances but unbeknownst to him Sam had grabbed Seeth in the exact place that Nick liked hold onto when he was hauling him around. But Seeth wouldn't say anything, Sam might get mad and this could all end, he could wake up from this dream. Although it was the plain white speckled tile common to any hospital Seeth forced himself to stare at the floor as if it was one of the Seven Wonders. He didn't want to ruin it by looking up and seeing the anger and disgust that might be in his brother's eyes.

Sam allowed himself to breathe again when they passed the nurse's station by the front doors. When they got outside he started walking faster and loosened up even more on his grip on Seeth's arm. He wanted to let go of his brother's arm but felt that if he did Seeth would just stop, or maybe run away. So with Seeth lagging only a pace behind Sam made a beeline for the back of the parking lot where Dean had parked the Impala.

With the pace that Sam was setting it was hard for Seeth to keep up, especially with two gun shot wounds in his leg. But the morphine was still coursing through his body and he didn't feel a thing. So he forced himself to not limp from the stiffness that remained. Weakness got you killed. Despite all his reservations and doubts about Sam and Dean's care for him he couldn't help but feel a little better instantly when he saw the Impala. When they were within ten feet he saw Bobby get out of the car and pull back the seat. Sam motioned for him to get in and Seeth slid all the way over, avoiding the other men's gazes.

There were very few times Dean got very excited over things but he almost shouted out in joy when he saw Sam and Seeth in the rearview mirror. He had to grip the steering wheel so hard that his knuckles were turning white in order not to jump out of the car and rush over to them. When Seeth got in Dean saw the bruises but it was his kid brother's body language that worried him the most. Seeth had shut down, his eyes were cast to the ground, his shoulders slumped but at the same time he was on alert, hyper aware of his surroundings and very cautious. If Dean knew anything it was his brothers. He glanced over at Sam and saw he was thinking the same thing. They had their work cut out for them but that was okay.

"Any problems?" It wouldn't even be worth addressing Seeth right now. So Dean focused on turning his car on and not crashing it trying to get it out of the ridiculously small parking spaces in the over crowded lot.

"No. Everything's good now." Sam said, hoping that Seeth would catch on to the hidden meaning.

December 19th at 7:00pm

Dean picked up the keys to the Impala and fumbled with them for a minute. He glanced over at Seeth who was sitting on the far bed, looking at the game on television. Dean had a feeling that although Seeth was looking, he wasn't watching the game. It had been almost two days since they had gotten him out of the hospital and Seeth hadn't said a word. Sam and Dean had agreed not to push him but Dean was having a hard time waiting. They had told him that Nick had used them to get to him, that the tape had been doctored, that Sam had been threatened when he said those things to Seeth but none of it had seemed to make a difference. "Come on Seeth, let's go get dinner."

Seeth heard his name and looked over at Dean who was standing next the door, nervously playing with the keys in one hand. Sam and Dean had been trying to tip toe around him since they had "rescued" him. At least that's what they called it. Seeth had been quiet, sitting back and letting them do their thing. He listened to their arguments, that it had all been Nick playing a trick and that they had had to wait to bust him out of the hospital. It all made sense logically, Seeth's brain was shouting at him to forgive them. But his heart wasn't ready to. He had been betrayed too many times in his life and he wasn't ready for it to happen again, not now or any time in the future.

Seeth had seen the Hollywood movies, finding a family was never this complicated on the big screen. Deep down Seeth had always hoped that it was only his screwed up family that behaved this way. Then he met the Winchesters. Maybe he was cursed.

"I'll let you pick the music." Dean said, using that like steak on a hook in front of a hungry dog. 'Driver picks the music and shotgun shuts his cakehole'. Dean had said it to Sam and he had said to Seeth. Although neither one ever complained, they all shared similar tastes. Once Dean had caught Seeth listening to country music but he had figured that it was fluke. Seeth had just been flipping channels to see what was on because when Dean came around the car Seeth quickly changed the station.

Dean forced himself to continue to look into his brother's eyes. They were so empty, hopeless, and devoid of life. It had been the same way when they had first met him and just before all this had happened Dean had begun to see a little bit of that Winchester spirit. Whatever had been there was gone now. Dean felt his temper flare up every time he looked at Seeth. He wanted to go dig up Nick, bring him back to life, and torture him. The man had been fortunate to die such a quick death. Dean had had it all planned out, nice and long, slow and painful.

"Come on, you don't have a choice, you're coming." Sam was in the shower so Dean could be a little more pushy. Besides, they were only going to get dinner.

Seeth looked away and glanced back at the game. It was fourth quarter with two minutes left. He shook his head; he had let his mind drift to his prior life again. Last time he had actually taken in what was on the television had been the kickoff. Against his will Seeth got up and followed Dean out the door. He couldn't really use the excuse that he had been watching the game. As they climbed into the car and Dean started to pull out of the motel parking lot Seeth looked at the radio.

Seeth knew that Dean offering him his choice of music was a big deal. Even though they had the same taste Dean was giving him control. He glanced over at Dean and saw the nervous, anxious, desperately searching for something to say look, in his face. They did care about him, his brothers. Seeth knew that what had happened hadn't been their fault. His mind knew it; Seeth just had to get the rest of him to accept it. And this was the starting point. So Seeth hesitantly leaned over and turned the radio on, then, testing the limits of the control given him he switched to a station he only listened to in secret. When his hand left the dial he prepared himself for the disappointment to come, maybe abandonment.

"And we're back with Alan Jackson, with Toby Keith to follow."

When he heard that Dean almost ran off the side of the road. There was no way his baby was going to play country music. No way. He went to go change it before he heard a meek voice.

"You said I could pick." Seeth tried to sound sarcastic, tried to give Dean a grin to be proud of but he was too afraid at what might happen. He had never gone out on a shakier limb before. It had always been in his best interest to play it safe.

Dean's hand stopped mid-air and slowly came back down. He had an incredulous look on his face. He was torn. But the decision only took a second, in the end it wasn't even really a choice. He smiled at Seeth and let out a little laugh then turned back to the road. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Seeth relax and even smile a bit himself.

December 22nd at 9:00pm

North Carolina

Dean set his toothbrush down on the sink, and wiped his face on the rough towel that had been washed three hundred times too many. But the stiff cotton, mildew, and even the room that was only half painted didn't bother him. For once things were starting to look up for the Winchesters. They had been able to get out of Georgia undetected, they had a hunt, and completely unpredicted by either Sam or himself Seeth was recovering fast. He had already started on the sarcasm. Dean couldn't have been happier.

So when Dean stepped out of the bathroom and saw that Seeth and Sam had already occupied the two beds he wasn't too upset. But he looked closer at Seeth's still form and realized that not only were the kid's covers down around his waist but he didn't have a shirt on. Seeth had always slept in shorts and a T-shirt. Dean and Sam always thought he was covering up a few scratches and bruises but thought that it wasn't as much of a concern as other strange habits that Seeth had. Now Dean could see why and the relaxed feeling he had just been having was gone.

There were criss-crossed half open wounds from the whipping he had received at the slave farm. They weren't as bad as Sam's but that knowledge didn't help any. Partly because Dean could see dozens of other scars up and down Seeth's back. They were healed over and had to be a couple of years old. There was one by itself off to the side that looked suspiciously like a knife wound. In addition to the myriad old scars there were two circular marks on his right shoulder, bullet wounds. The whole ugly thing was decorated with bruises that spanned from purple to black to blue. Hatred flared up again at Nick and those who had done this to his brother.

Dean looked over at Sam and sighed. He had seen his back; Dean and Sam had never been shy about hiding wounds from each other. They couldn't, if they tried infection could set in or it could jeopardize a hunt. Early on they had learned that first aid was best done right away. Once Dean had neglected to tell his dad about a deep scratch across his midsection, it had gotten infected and Dean had fainted while hunting a black dog. As punishment he had to undergo treatment without any painkillers.

Sam's back had shocked him enough and he couldn't believe that his little brother had been forced to endure the horror of being whipped. Now he had experienced first hand twice what the evil of the world could do. He took one last look at Seeth's back before covering him up quietly. Seeth moved only slightly when the covers touched him.

Stepping out of the motel room Dean pulled out his cell phone. He scrolled down his list of contacts until he found the one he was looking for. His thumb hit the send button and he waited for the phone to be picked up. When a tired voice grunted out a hello Dean responded. "I need a phone number."

December 22nd at 7:26pm

California

The sound of the cap popping off the beer bottle was satisfying and felt right to Don. He had just spent his first full day back at work without having to deal with the slave case since this whole thing had been over. And now he was spending his time at his brother's house, enjoying swallowing down a cold one. Today being at work and now at his childhood home just seemed to bring back some sort of normalcy. Hendrickson had left for good two days before, extremely upset when he heard Seeth Colbert was gone.

And his team seemed to be back to normal. Megan had kept her distance for a few days and David had been a little on the mute side. Colby had been so cordial and professional that Don had thought about sending him for a psych eval. Don figured he was worried that David or Megan might squeal on him. It was obvious Megan and David had been grappling with what had happened but today they both seemed to realize that they had done the right thing. Don had shared Dean's confession of hunting supernatural baddies with both Hendrickson's investigation and his own team. He had seen the tape from the Milwaukee police station and figured the information wouldn't hurt the Winchesters.

Since then Don had done some basic investigation into the deaths that had happened around the Winchesters. Most of them were unexplained. One victim had even had her heart ripped out. The methods of killing were always different which drove Megan insane but Don found one pattern. Whenever the Winchesters were spotted in town a rise in the rate of unexplained deaths seemed to stop within a week, no matter where they went. Charlie had done more research into it than him. Don knew that Charlie was having a hard time dealing with what had happened. His innocent world had exploded and he had befriended a fugitive. Charlie was looking for reason in a world that didn't always make sense. However, Don had to admit that with the information that Sam and Dean had provided them the pattern seemed a little more clear.

The whole thing unnerved Don. He wasn't as bad as Charlie but he liked his world black and white. The possibility that there might be something more out there was more than a little scary to him. An evil he couldn't stop. An evil that needed someone like the Winchesters to combat. Don pushed the idea out of his head when he heard the phone ring. His father was out on a date with Mildred and Charlie was in the garage. That left him. "Don Eppes."

"Dean Winchester." Dean imitated in his best "FBI" voice. Sam was better at it then him though.

"Hendrickson wasn't impressed with Seeth's escape." Don didn't know what else to say at the moment so he settled for that. The call had certainly caught him off guard. There was no reason for Dean to be calling him, it was too risky. Although after Don had a moment to think it really wasn't that risky after all. This was Charlie's house phone, it wasn't set up for a trace; that would take at least a day. And even if he reported it he doubted Dean would be in the area for long. Besides, Dean was a lot of things but he wasn't stupid, he would be calling from a pay phone.

"I'll have to try harder next time." Dean didn't mind the being off topic from what he had called for. It was never easy to say what he was about to, this time was particularly hard.

"Is he alright?" If Don had asked Hendrickson or called the hospital to check on Seeth it would have been too suspicious. So he had forced himself to stay away. Besides, he wanted to distance himself from the Winchesters as much as he could. Although deep down he knew he had done the right thing Don kept looking for an excuse to tell Hendrickson what he knew. If he had seen or gotten close to Seeth he might have cracked.

"He'll live. How 'bout you and Charlie?" Dean's voice was conveying his nervousness now. He could hear the swagger and confidence crumbling away. Mentally he cursed himself. Most of the time he could have the best poker face but when he it got too intense, like when it came to his brothers, he was an open book. He could never hide emotions concerning Sam and Seeth very well.

"We'll live." Don heard the change in Dean's tone. "You didn't call me to exchange pleasantries Dean."

The abruptness startled Dean slightly and he stammered. "I…I wanted to call to say, um…"

Their profile may not be complete and it may be impossible to peg the Winchester boys as a type but Don knew that they were not the kind to say thank you very easy. But Don knew it was what Dean was trying to say. Don had been tempted to ask Colby for Dean's number so he could say thank you. It was a hard thing for him to do as well but Dean had more than likely saved Charlie's life. Don could never thank him enough. Letting him go hadn't just been a gut feeling, it had been a way of repaying Dean for giving him the only thing he had wanted for the past two weeks. "I know. Thank you too."

Dean lowered his head and sighed slightly. Now he had to actually say it. He couldn't let Don beat him at something this simple. "Thank you."

"I'll be looking for you." Don said. It was time to end this conversation. His morals and ethics were catching up to him now. If it continued for much longer he couldn't go to work without telling.

"I'll be waiting."

Okay everyone, this is the end. I want to thank everyone who took this ride with me. Thanks for your patience when the updates got a little slow. I also want to give a HUGE THANKS to those who reviewed and I few of you did it religously so thank you thank you thank you. Those who didn't review, I hope you enjoyed the story and thanks for reading.

I also must give a big thanks to ALEO who helped beta many of the chapters. You were a tremendous help.

A sequel is planned if you guys want it and I have the basic idea formed in my head but it will be a while. I want to write most of the story so you guys aren't left without an update for a while. Anyway, let me know if you would like one and I promise to post it once I get rolling.

Until later, bye.