A Shot in the Dark

A/N: Supernatural, Sam, and Dean belong to Eric Kripke, et al. I'm just borrowing them to tell this story. This is an add-on to the end of Bedtime Stories so spoiler alert for an episode up to then.

Empty. Sam looked down at the anonymous woman crumpled on the ground at his feet. The cold, stony road was empty except for Sam, her body, and what she represented: the destruction of his life. Dean's bargain. Sam stared at his hand which grasped the Colt. Once, he would have hesitated before shooting someone who might still be saved. But hesitation had cost him his own life and Dean's soul. Letting Jake live back in Cold Oak had been the biggest mistake in a whole series of mistakes. Sam desperately prayed the crossroads demon had been lying, and, now that she was dead, Dean's soul would be unclaimed by any demon. How to test to see if the deal still held sway was beyond him. If he admitted to Dean what he had done, Dean would chew his ass until Sam couldn't sit down. Or he'd punch him again.

Bending down, Sam picked up the woman's body. She was light, no life left inside, no animation left in her face. Trickles of blood ran down from the bullethole in her forehead blurring her features. He deeply regretted taking her life, but who knew how long she'd been possessed? There were no habitations around the crossroads, so the demon could not have just swooped in and inhabited anyone just walking by. And she sure wouldn't have been wearing that dress with it so cold you could see your breath. No. The woman had to have been possessed for a while and would probably have been haunted by the experience and been deeply traumatized if not physically damaged. Just like he still was and had been.

Yesterday, Sam had accused Dean of being like John Winchester when in fact he himself resembled their father more and more every day. John would never have hesitated in shooting the crossroads demon any more than Sam had just done. Dean hadn't hesitated in shooting the posssessed man beating Sam to a pulp back in Jefferson. Like his family before him, Sam was becoming ruthless in the pursuit of evil. It was no longer just revenge. It was redemption. Salvation. The Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, was dead; their quest was finished. But evil was not vanquished.

In Cold Oak, Sam had chosen not to kill Jake and lost his own life instead. Sam hadn't wanted to kill a human to survive. But Dean's survival, that was another story. Sam would kill for his brother. Yes, Dean sometimes still treated him like a kid, commanding him with "because I said so," because he was the oldest. But they were closer than most brothers and each saw the other as he always had. Well, there was no way Sam was going to be the only Winchester left alive. He would fight as long as he had breath in his body. It was his job to look after his brother.

It was ironic really. If Sam hadn't been brought back to life, then Dean might not have gone to Bobby's at all or learned in time of Jake's role in the Yellow-Eyed Demon's plans to open the Devil's Gate. And if he had made it to the cemetery, Dean would have killed Jake; he'd seen the soldier stab Sam in Cold Oak. Dead, Sam would have given Dean the impetus to kill a non-possessed human not knowing the special abilities he possessed. Sam realized Jake would never give up his newfound powers and would be a danger to many. So Sam had put him down. Sam had also killed Madison, a werewolf, and three other people whose only crime was the misfortune of being possessed. Sam had justified to himself each death as being necessary in their fight against evil. But it was becoming harder and harder to justify his actions each time. It was true that people freed from possession were harmed from being possessed; but it didn't mean that the victim couldn't recover some semblance of normality. With Dean's help, Sam had. But many were damaged beyond recovery. Killing them could be a mercy, but that didn't mean he had to accept it. To like it. A little piece of him had died along with each of those people. He needed Dean to keep the rest of the pieces together. He felt like he was breaking apart, had been ever since Meg had possessed him and the subsequent descent into darkness into which he was still falling.

Possession. Sam walked into the woods next to the road carrying the woman. Her body was cold now. No warmth left. Just like his heart. Sam's life was in a shambles. He was a curse to those around him. He wondered if Azazel had told any other demon about "baptizing" Sam with his blood when he was an infant. It didn't seem that Ruby had known. Had the demon's blood been the only cause of all his visions? He prayed it was so since he'd had none in the past few months, but with his luck, they'd come back when he could least afford it. Azazel had killed both Mom and Jess to "get her out of the way." Only Dean was left standing between Sam and the darkness beyond. And Dean was ready to leave him standing alone. Dean saw a light at the end of the tunnel; all Sam saw was black. Their paths could not diverge without both being lost.

Covering the woman's body with salt and gasoline, Sam lit a match. The smell made him retch and gag, but it had to be done. Her body could be reanimated by another demon; maybe to find out what "her" final conversation had been about. Sam didn't want the "he" that the crossroads demon had referred to, to learn about what she had divulged if she had truly divulged anything truthful. He wished she had named the demon. He had to find out who this demon was, if he existed, and if he held the contract on Dean's soul. Time was running out. Time needed to save his brother. And himself.