A/N: Well, here we go, guys...the end of Amen. But not the end of the story...not by a long shot. I just want to thank everyone who is reading these fics and leaving such awesome feedback. It's you guys that keep me writing. Also, as always, I need to hand out HUGE thanks to Tara aka Lovinjackson and Deb for thier constant support while I wrote this. You guys help make it better than it otherwise would have been.

And now?? On with the show...

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxx

Singer's Auto yard, Seven Weeks Later…..

It felt longer. Like a quiet, wonderful lifetime they had all been allowed to live in seclusion from the rest of the world. Closed off and safe thanks to the sigils, wards and protections that both Bobby and John had placed around the property's boundary to keep out any demons. Any supernatural creature, really. You could never be too cautious. The inconvenience of having to break salt lines or Devil's Traps so that John could come and go, was nothing compared to the comfort the protections offered.

Since returning from the Hunter safe house in Nebraska, Bobby had thrown himself into working around his yard alone. John and the boys had left the mechanic to it, sensing he needed some space and time alone. The only time they had really seen him, was when he helped Dean to repair the minor damage to the Impala after it had collided with the pickup truck full of demons in Oklahoma. But even then, Bobby had kept quiet and worked fast, while Dean had given the man his space.

Ellen had taken Jo's death as hard as Bobby had expected her too. Losing a child was something no one should ever know and Ellen had lost everyone now. Missouri had opted to stay behind with her, helping Phill to cater to the small troop of hunters that was starting to slowly gather at the farm now.

Bobby had been a little worried about Missouri at first, staying around for a few days more than he had intended to, making sure his friend was safe. But the psychic was more than capable of handling the men that were licking their wounds and regrouping at the farm. If anything, she was in her element, having a purpose and filling a need side by side with Ellen. The two women establishing an uneasy bond that worked well for them.

The other hunters had taken to treating Bobby with outright suspicion however, for his loyalty to the Winchesters and his silence on their whereabouts. A week of having the conversation die any time Bobby walked into a room, was enough to convince the mechanic that he was better off going home.

Perched up on the roof of Bobby's large home, John watched everyday life unfolding underneath him. There was something about the height, about the clear line of sight he was able to achieve up there, that John enjoyed.

Looking down to his right, John watched Dean washing the Impala with Connor, the little boy giggling and squealing as he got soaking wet and covered in soapy bubbles. The past few weeks had allowed Connor to really settle and come out of himself, forgetting about the nightmares and bed wetting that John had expected after what the kid had been through. Connor was proving to be as resilient as any child, already moving on and putting it all behind him. Watching Dean play and simply interact with Connor was a joy for John. He even found himself being drawn into games of hide and seek….Connor insisting that everyone play the game with him. John had no doubts in his mind that it would have looked a sight to anyone that came across this group of hunters all crouching amongst the piles of auto wrecks while a little boy giggled and rushed around finding them one by one.

Glancing to his left, John could see Sam lying back on the hood of an old Chrysler, soaking up the sun while Elise had her head resting on his chest, curled into him. They had grown slowly closer and closer over the weeks, Elise leaning on Sam more and more for comfort as she grew homesick for her family in Australia. Bobby was working with Sam to try and contact someone down in Australia through ham radio, maybe get a message to her family and receive one in return.

The world was slowly coming back. Communication wasn't quite restored yet, but life was returning to the smaller communities. Sam, Dean and Bobby were able to take runs into the town of Kyle and other small centres for supplies and food. The Government was beginning to restore some semblance of order again after what they were still calling a terrorist attack on a global scale.

John had to laugh at that. It never ceased to amaze him how they would try to explain that sort of shit, rather than accept the truth. Politicians were worse than demons for the bullshit they could spew.

Skye appeared from the house, walking out into the yard with a smile on her face as she saw Dean playing with Connor. The pair of them were wet and covered in bubbles, making Skye wonder who was getting washed more? The Impala or Dean and Connor?

"That's a good look for you, Dean." Skye teased as she watched him dump a pile of suds on Conner's head and try to shape them into a Mohawk. "I keep thinking you should be on a calendar in some all girl auto shop."

"Hey, don't objectify me!" Dean protested as he peeled off his shirt and threw it at Skye, causing her to duck out of it's path with a shriek of laughter. He struck a pose for a moment, grinning like a Cheshire cat before a sponge slapped him in the chest and he had to shake the water out of his eyes. He laughed and narrowed his eyes at Skye, before he scooped up the bucket and raced after her. "I think I've been washing the wrong girl in my life…"

Connor giggled and ran after the pair as Skye ran for the house, screaming and laughing. She didn't make it to the porch before Dean caught her, upending the bucket over her head. He received a push to the chest for his trouble that sent him sprawling back into the dirt.

"You two had better go through the wash house if you go inside. You track any mud through my house and I'll have your asses in a sling…" Bobby informed the pair as he rounded the side of the house and walked up onto the porch.

Connor rushed after Bobby and grabbed his hand, wrapping his finger around one large, grease covered finger. Bobby continued towards the door with Connor in tow.

"Hey! What about him?" Dean demanded, getting to his feet and attempting to brush the dirt off his hands onto his jeans, before he gave it up as futile.

"He's a kid, he doesn't know any better." Bobby informed Dean with a straight face before he winked at Connor and led him inside, a quiet chuckle rippling through him.

Skye stood watching it all unfold with her hands on her hips, shaking her head and laughing. She reached down to pick up the bucket at her feet, swaying suddenly as she straightened and the world spun momentarily. Reaching out blindly, Skye was grateful to feel Dean's strong hands grasp her arm and steady her.

"Hey…easy, you okay?"

"Yeah…yeah, I'm fine, babe. Just stood up too fast, that's all." Skye gave an embarrassed smile.

"You sure?"

Skye could see the concern held in Dean's eyes and she just wanted to kiss him there and then. How the hell had she gotten this lucky? "I'm sure, Dean. I'm fine. Really. How about we go inside and I'll wash your back for you in the shower?"

A wicked, playful smirk appeared as Dean leaned in and let his arm slide down around her waist, pulling Skye closer until she was held snugly against him. "Now that's an offer I can't refuse…"

xxxxXXXXXxxxx

The savage, frightening sound of dogs snarling and Dean screaming, woke Skye up the next morning, her eyes snapping open as she rolled over to slide her arm over Dean and found the mattress beside her was empty. A shudder ran through her as Skye sat up. She swallowed thickly, realising how dry her mouth while she slide her feet into a pair of woolly moccasins that Dean had gotten her on his last trip to Kyle. He'd been bitching that Skye's feet had suddenly become iceblocks, which had elicited a smart remark from Skye that it meant she had a warm heart.

There was the scent of bacon frying and the sweet smell of waffles being cooked. It was enough to make Skye stumble out of bed and rush down the hallway to the bathroom, barely making it there before she threw up. Her whole body trembled after a few minutes of having nothing to throw up, her stomach lurching and convulsing without success. Skye turned on the faucet, rising her mouth out and spitting before she straightened up and groaned. "Just great…..oh that's just perfect…"

xxxxXXXXxxxxx

"Because you said so? What the hell kind of answer is that?"

Dean rolled his eyes and began to silently count in his head before he turned to fix Skye with a glare. What the hell was with her this morning? They had been doing this for the past few weeks and now she was getting pissy about it? "It's the only answer you're getting out of me this morning."

"Fine. Forget I asked. Forget I damn well said anything…." Skye stormed back into the house, slamming the door hard enough that Bobby poked his head up from beneath the hood he was working under across the yard. He gave Dean a questioning look, then went back to work, figuring he had no place getting in the middle of their domestic.

"Son of a bitch…" Dean muttered, climbing into the driver's seat and sparing one last look towards the house before he gunned the Impala's engine and drove out with a spray of gravel as he stabbed the gas pedal angrily.

" You know, you might want think about letting her go with us once in a while, Dean. Bobby's can get a little claustrophobic after seven weeks." Sam suggested with a smirk. "What are you worried about?"

"Gee, I don't know, Sam…how about you tell me why you haven't taken Elise with us yet?" Dean snapped, his green eyes blazing brightly with anger. "It's not safe!"

Sam looked away, the smirk melting off his face as he took in the countryside blasting past them in a green and gold blur. "It's never going to be safe, Dean."

"I know. " Dean admitted quietly, his arms still locked on the wheel, his focus never wavering from the road. " I just feel like we're marked, Sammy. I'm scared something could happen to Skye cause she's seen with me."

"Yeah, I hear you, dude."

xxxxXXXXxxxxx

John entered the house, already picking up on the tension the moment he crossed the doorway. He'd been retouching the salt lines around the property, especially after the boys had left on their supply run.

Skye was in the kitchen, reading one of Bobby's vast collection of books while Connor was sat across from his mother at the table, eating Cheerios. The little boy gave John a milky smile as he shovelled another mouthful in.

John couldn't help but smile in return, taken back to a time when his own boys had given him those same smiles. He had spent hours upon hours with Sam and Bobby over the last few weeks, researching Dean's deal and any possible loophole that could be found to get him out of it.

But so far…nothing.

"Everything okay?" John asked, picking up the coffee pot and pouring himself a cup of the thick, strong brew that Bobby liked to make when he first crawled out of bed and left to simmer all day. But evening, you could pave a road with it.

"Just peachy." Skye bit off tersely, not lifting her gaze from her book.

John couldn't help but smirk in amusement. "I've seen that look before. Peachy must have a different meaning to women than it does to men."

Skye threw John an angry look that could melt sand into glass…but the half demon hunter never flinched. He merely quirked an eyebrow, his smirk remaining in place. "If you're pissed with Dean? Take it up with him…I'm not looking to get caught in the crossfire. Just stating facts. Mary used to say she was peachy…usually right before she would tear me a new one for something I had done. She was the only woman I'll ever walk on eggshells for…"

"Can't argue with that.." Skye conceded quietly, lowering her book at last.

"Coffee?" John held a mug out towards her, noting the way the blood seemed to drain from Skye's face, queasiness clearly overcoming her.

"No thanks. I might have some juice instead."

"Probably a wise choice. Bobby must have scraped out last night's pot and mixed it with this one." John muttered, his face scrunching up in distaste before he set the mug down on the bench beside him.

"Is it safe?" Elise asked as she entered the kitchen. "I figured you must be on the warpath by the way the Impala blew out of here. He sounded pretty pissed off, mate."

"Good."

"Mommy grrrrrrr with Daddy." Connor stated chirpily, making claws with his fingers and screwing his face up into a growl before he giggled to himself.

John and Elise shared a look, each of them silently asking the other if that had heard the little boy correctly. A quiet smile crept across John's lips. Dean was being called Daddy now? John had been waiting for this moment even since Dean had woken up from the coma again. No one had the connection Dean had with Connor. The memory of his son, bare chested and ready to take down any threat to the tiny child in his arms was something John would never forget and it was obvious that Dean could never do any wrong in Connor's eyes. He was a hero. The man who had saved him from the bad man, had woken his mother up from her supposed sleep. The one who kept the monsters away. It was the sort of hero worship that John had once seen in his own boys and seeing it now being shown for his son was something John had waited all too long for.

It gave John hope that his sons could finally have a life beyond hunting , something he had always wanted for them.

"So are you okay?' Elise was making herself a cup of tea, preferring to steer clear of what Bobby seemed to call coffee. She looked over at Skye who was attempting to look interested in her book again.

"I'm fine." Skye growled, before she realised just how much like Dean she sounded. That wasn't what she needed right now. He was driving her crazy with his protectiveness as much as she loved him for it. Skye understood why Dean was being that way…but Skye needed to get out of the house, out of the auto yard, before she went insane. There were things she wanted from Kyle that Skye wasn't about to ask Bobby or the boys to buy for her.

Pushing her chair back, Skye stood up and closed her book with a dull clap of old paper. She unbuckled Connor from his highchair, lifting him out and lowering him to the floor. Taking a fresh, clean cloth from beside the sink, Skye ran it under cold water, then washed Connor's face with it. " That's better, more little boy and less cereal monster."

"Rawr!" Connor growled playfully.

Skye mimicked him, making her hands into claws and growling. Connor squealed with laughter and ran to John, hiding behind his legs, peering out.

"Oh sure…call in reinforcements" Skye said dryly, smirking at her son. She straightened up and let out a huff of air. "I'm gonna take a walk around outside. You coming, Connor?"

"Yeah!" Connor rushed out from behind John and ran for the door. John watched him go, laughing quietly before he started to rifle through Bobby's cupboards for coffee filters. There was no way he was drinking another cup of Bobby's black tar special…it was time for a fresh brew.

"You up for some company?" Elise tipped out the dregs of her tea and rinsed the cup before she set it on the side of the sink.

"Sure.." Skye shrugged. "Prison mates should stick together."

John watched the pair leave, wondering just what they were planning? Unlike his sons, John had a bit more experience at reading women and there was no doubt in his mind that they had something in the works….

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxxx

Connor was racing ahead of Skye and Elise as they walked the Auto yard. The little boy was happily calling out the names of all the cars as he went, remembering what Bobby had taught him. There were "Fores" and "Hevys" and "GMHaychess", the names rolling off his tongue as he laughed and stopped every so often to pick up scattered pieces of metal and throw them.

"Don't go too far ahead, pal!" Skye called, keeping a sharp eye on him.

"So you want to talk about it?" Elise looked at Skye, squinting her eyes slightly against the sun.

"What's there to talk about?"

"Gee, I dunno, mate….maybe what's got you so pissed off?"

Skye stopped mid stride and looked at Elise. "So what, you're happy to be left behind here while the boys go to town? Treated like a freaking porcelain doll?"

"I never said that."

Skye studied Elise for a moment, before the fire died in her and she allowed a quiet smile at her friend. "It's driving me nuts, you know? I mean, god, I love Dean…but this need he has to wrap me up in cotton wool has to stop! I swear if I have to stay here one more day? I'm going to lose my mind!"

"Yeah, it's hardly the Whitsunday's…" Elise nodded, sympathising completely. Sam had been the same lately with her and Elise knew that he was still carrying guilt for what had happened with Jo. The nightmares were easing now. Not so frequent, although they were still vivid enough to wake Elise in a cold sweat sometimes. Sam didn't always wake up and Elise was grateful for that. She'd been a little more open about it with Skye. Both girls finding it easier to talk about their own nightmares to each other, than involve the boys.

"I've got a plan…if…if you're interested?" Skye offered as they began to walk again.

"Mate? If it means getting out of here for even five minutes? I'm in…"

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxxxx

Dean and Sam brought the last two boxes of food and medical supplies into the house as Connor suddenly squeezed through the door behind them and ran to the kitchen.

John was in the living room, reading through yet another set of dusty books that Bobby had managed to find hidden away in the storm cellar this time. It never ceased to amaze John where Bobby would keep books. The house was so full of them it was like an obstacle course sometimes. Yet for all the wealth of knowledge at their finger tips, they had still found nothing about breaking the damn Hell deal.

In the kitchen, Sam had to sidestep quickly to avoid falling over Connor, fumbling with the box in his arms for a moment before he regained his grip on it.

"What's the matter, Sasquatch? All that height throwing your balance off?" Dean grinned at his brother, setting his own box down on the table. He pulled a packet of Twinkies out of box, opening up one and handing it to Connor.

"Screw you, Dean. Next time I'll drop the box and see how good Connor is at playing dodge huh?"

"Touchy, touchy….here," Dean grinned and handed his brother a Twinkie. "Food of the gods, man."

"Yeah right, "Sam snorted in amusement as he unwrapped the treat. " If the gods are into eating crap that reads like a chemistry experiment. Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients, Dean?"

"Ignorance is bliss, Sammy." Dean assured his brother with a wink as he pulled out a chair and sat down. Connor scrambled up into his lap a moment later, still happily chewing on the Twinkie in his hand, white creamy filling smear across his chin.

"Your mom still mad at me?" Dean asked, reaching out with his thumb to remove the filling from Connor's chin before he popped his thumb in his mouth. Sam watched the scene and rolled his eyes with a smile. His brother was still such a big kid himself, and now he was a role model….there was no hope for Connor, although Sam had to admit he had turned out okay himself under Dean's guidance.

"Yup." Connor nodded happily, before biting down on another mouthful.

"Great…just great." Dean sighed, finishing off his own Twinkie. "Do you think I should talk to her?" He looked over at Sam who was packing away the box of food he had brought inside. There was cereal and more coffee, some bread and a few condiments that Bobby had asked them to get for cooking among other things.

"Judging by the way she stormed off this morning? I'm thinking you shouldn't even be sitting here talking to me, dude, you should be finding Skye."

"I hate it when you get all Mr Spock on me…" Dean grumbled as he gently lifted Connor off his lap and stood up.

The distinct rumbling purr of the Impala suddenly cut through the house, both brothers pausing to look at each other in surprise. Dean's hands instantly went to his back pocket, pulling out his keys and holding them up to Sam. "Dude, what the hell?"

Both Sam and Dean raced for the front door in time to see the Impala pulling away from the house. Skye gave a curt wave out of the driver's window as she drove out the gates and left the Auto Yard behind her.

"Sam, that's my car. She hotwired my car, dude…she hotwired my freaking car!" Panic was fighting with outright disbelief in Dean's voice as he tried to think of what the hell he was supposed to be doing. Skye had taken his car, his CAR! Why would she do that? What the hell was wrong with her? It had to be possession, yeah, that was it. That had to be it.

Sam grabbed his brother by the sleeve of his jacket and headed for the El Dorado that Bobby had been working on. "I told you to talk to her, Dean."

Dean jerked his arm free from Sam's grip but continued to follow his brother. "Hey, I'm not the only one who's girlfriend's gone AWOL, dude. You do realise Elise was in my car too? It's a freaking mutiny. Maybe some sort of spell?"

"Yeah, Dean…a spell that made them steal your car." Sam rolled his eyes and was glad to see Bobby already on his way back from the El Dorado. "Bobby, we need to borrow your car."

Digging the keys to his 1971 Chevelle out of pocket, Bobby began to hand them over, then paused, looking at the boys suspiciously. "Wait a minute, what do you need my car for?"

"Skye and Elise just took off with my car." Dean explained huffily. "We need to go bring them back."

Bobby could help the grin that appeared. "Those girls took off with the Impala? You two chuckleheads really are in over your heads here. I saw this coming a mile off."

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" Dean demanded.

"You know exactly what that means, Dean, you don't need me to hold your damn hand and explain it. Car's round the back of the house and make sure you fill up the tank again before your bring it back."

"You're starting to sound like Dad." Dean teased.

"Then you'd better speak to Bobby with the respect you show me."

Dean froze at the sound of his father's voice behind him, before his shoulders sagged in defeat. "There's no way I can win this, is there?"

Sam was trying not to laugh until he caught his father glaring at him and instantly sobered. Both boys stood there like a couple of scolded children while Bobby couldn't hold back the grin on his face as he stood behind them. John looked stern and uncompromising, but Bobby could see the sparkle of mischief in his friend's eyes. The son of a bitch was playing with them…

"You heard Bobby, make sure that car's fuelled up before you bring it back. If you're not back by sun down, I'll be expecting you to radio in with your co-ordinates so I can find you. Is that clear?"

"Why don't you come with us now, Dad? Bobby could watch Connor." Dean suggested, knowing it wasn't like his father to stay out of something like this.

"I can't risk being seen, you know that. Word gets out that a man with wings is living at Bobby's? We'll have people here with pitch forks and torches, thinking their saving the community from another damn demon. Now get moving and stay in touch."

"Yes sir." Dean answered immediately, before he headed towards the Chevelle with Sam in tow. Climbing into the rusty brown vehicle, Dean slid the key into the ignition and turned it. The car tried to start, the engine winding over again and again with no success. Dean shot Sam a look as both boys climbed out again, walked to the front of the car and popped the hood. It only took a moment to lift the distributor cap and see the problem. "God dammit!"

Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean and gave a small shrug. "And? Dean, what's the problem?"

With a growl of frustration, Dean dropped the distributor cap and threw his hands in the air. "The freaking rotor button's missing!"

"Missing? You mean Skye took it?"

" No, Sam, I think it grew legs and walked…"

Sam threw Dean a sour look followed by his middle finger. "I could drop you on your ass without even touching you, jerk."

"You want to get all Obi Wan on me, bitch? Bring it on!"

"When you two idjits are finished arguing like a couple on a prom date? You might want to check the glove box for the spare rotor button. I always keep one there." Bobby was standing near the back door now, watching the pair with his arms folded in front of him. There were times Bobby wondered how the hell those two ever made it out their teens without killing each other?

Sam hunted through the glove box before he straightened up again and looked across the roof of the Chevelle at Bobby. "It's not there, Bobby."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure." Sammy nodded. "No rotor button to be seen anywhere…"

"Dammit, Dean, you really did piss that girl of yours off. " Bobby let out a sigh and trudged down off the back step towards the boys. "Come on…I think I've got another Chevelle down the back of the lot…should have a rotor button in it."

xxxxXXXXXxxxxx

Kyle, South Dakota...

Skye shut off Def Leppard's God's Of War as the Impala pulled into the small town of Kyle. It was a blink and you'll miss it kind of a town, with a population of nine hundred. Small, quiet, the perfect place for a hunter to live near without raising too much suspicion as long as he kept to himself. The locals knew Bobby Singer and his Auto Yard, sending business his way when it was needed. They were also accustomed to seeing the Impala now and barely gave it a glance as it rolled through town.

Parking outside the small drugstore that serviced the area, Skye knew she was going to be paying a fortune for what she needed. That had been the biggest problem since life had tried to return to normal for the most part, dealing with the price hikes that had happened, due to the difficulty of getting goods.

"I thought you said we were going for coffee? Stretch our legs? Different surroundings…any of this sounding even remotely familiar?" Elise asked, eyeing the building in front of them. "The diner's down there….if it's even open?"

"How about you go and check? I just need to get a few things. You know, razors….other…things." Skye flushed with embarrassment and was relieved to see Elise laugh and open her door.

"Relax, mate…I read you loud and clear. There's some things you don't want the guys getting for you. Although personally? I would love to see Dean's face sometime if you sent him through a checkout for tampons."

Skye started to giggle then, already picturing the horrified look he would have. "Are you serious? Dean buying something like that? We should make both of them do it…"

Elise snorted with laughter, grinning across the roof of the Impala at Skye as the other woman climbed out. "You're on. Although we have to survive Dean when he finds us, seeings how you hotwired his car."

"He'll get over it….one day…" Skye finished a little awkwardly. Dean was going to be majorly pissed with her for taking the Impala. But then, Skye wasn't exactly willing to play nice at the moment either. She was well and truly over being held captive….

Leaving Elise to walk down a few stores to the diner, Skye went into the drugstore and wandered the aisles for a moment, looking for what she needed. Finally she grabbed a pregnancy testing kit from the shelf, after a few minutes of debate about why there needed to be so many different ones. How many ways was there to tell someone they were pregnant? They all pretty involved the same process.

It cost twice what it would have normally been, but Skye needed to know, so she shelled out the last of her savings and handed it over to the chemist. He was a squat, balding man with a pleasant enough face as he smiled knowingly at her. Skye gave back a feeble smile of her own as she took the kit, wrapped up in a paper bag now and left the store.

Elise was already half way through a cup of tea, savouring the rich taste that was better than anything Bobby had made recently. The guy was a brilliant mechanic…but his coffee skills were definitely lacking, which meant he was even worse at buying anything resembling a decent tea bag.

But then, Elise figured hunters didn't drink coffee for the flavour…it was to stay awake.

Skye entered the diner and sat down at the booth with Elise, noting that there were a couple of what she assumed were locals in the diner as well. No one looked twice at them and it helped Skye to relax a little. The world really was starting to recover at last and it eased the guilt she still carried for her part in opening the Hell's Gate.

Bobby, John… they'd tried to reassure her, using the ham radio to keep track on other hunters and how they were faring at finding the demons that had escaped. The odds were still against them for the most part, but there were no open, outward signs of the demons mounting any large scale attacks. Skye tried to tell herself they could stop anything before it happened…but she wasn't so sure. Not when the previous attack had been so successful.

"So…you get what you needed?"

"Huh? Oh...yeah. " Skye nodded as she sat down on the other side of the booth. It was slightly fifties style, the diner. Skye figured it was possible that the place had been open since then, although the waitress that came over was barely out of her teens.

"Hey, there…can I take your order?"

Skye had barely had a chance to notice the menu, but she already knew what she wanted. "Ah…yeah…can I get a coffee, black and a slice of pie? Apple, if you have any?"

"Black coffee and a slice of apple pie, you got it. Anything else?"

"Is there a bathroom I can use?"

"Just through there.." The waitress pointed with her pencil before she tucked it behind her ear again and went back behind the counter. Skye couldn't help but notice the skirt that was short enough to almost show the girl's underwear, the whole uniform looking more like a cheerleading outfit than anything else and for the briefest moment, she wondered if Dean came here for coffee? A flash of jealousy rushing through her before she shook herself, realising how stupid she was being.

"Hey, you okay, mate?" Elise asked, concern darkening her face slightly.

"Oh, I'm fine. Really. Must be the coffee I drank before I left. I'll be back right back…."

xxxxXXXXxxxx

Sitting in one of the three cubicles of the bathroom, Skye waited for the test to show her whether or not she was pregnant. It was supposed to show within a minute or two…so it wouldn't be long now. She chewed the corner of her thumb nervously, listening to the sound of a faucet dripping outside the cubicle. Her eyes kept flitting over to the test sitting on the paper dispenser.

The last time she had used one of these had been with Connor and ironically enough, it had been inside another public restroom. They'd been visiting her parents in Fort Dodge, when Skye had stopped, taking the chance while Jason was looking through Walmart, to buy a test and find out why she was so late. It had come as a total shock to her….and Jason had taken the news badly.

And now Skye was doing it again.

This time there was no Jason to react badly, her parents weren't in the picture either….but Skye's heart was still racing. She picked up the test and looked…..

Two lines. Pregnant.

"Oh shit….shit…shit…shit…" Skye couldn't think, her mind instantly panicking. This couldn't happen now. Not now. Not like this. Not with Dean's deal still in place. Skye didn't want another baby without a father…she couldn't do this. She just couldn't.

But it had happened now and no amount of denial was going to change that. There was no way Skye would even consider getting rid of the baby either. It was Dean's baby. She'd seen him with Connor. But would he be happy? Especially now he had the deal over his head?

Nausea hit Skye like a freight train and as everything suddenly spun dizzily, she turned, flipped up the toilet lid she had been sat on and threw up.

"Skye?" There was a knock on the cubicle door. "Hey….mate? What's going on?"

Skye straightened up on shaky legs, smoothing down her clothing and making sure she was presentable before she flushed the toilet, then left the cubicle. On her way past Elise, she handed her the test. "That's what."

Elise looked at the test, hers eyes widening. " Oh shit."

"Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too."

"So….what? Are you happy? About this, I mean? Are you going to tell Dean?"

Skye finished washing her face and looked at her friend in the mirror. It was the critical question, really. "I don't have much choice, do I? This is his baby too." She was shaking now and as Elise stepped forward and hugged her, Skye let the tears fall. "I want this to be a good thing, Elise…I really do. I want this to baby to be everything Dean's always wanted…."

"But you' re scared about the deal?"

"Yeah… " Skye pulled away, smudging away the tears with the heel of her palm. "What the hell am I going to do? What if he freaks out like Jason did with Connor?"

"Are you kidding me? Dean's nothing like Jason from what I've heard. This is going to be okay, Skye. Just tell him the truth and take things as they come, mate." Elise drew Skye into another hug. " So…you still want that apple pie?"

"Yeah…yeah, I think I do."

"Well, come on then…" Elise was grinning at Skye as they left the bathroom, walking back towards their booth….and finding Sam and Dean standing there, waiting for them.

"Oh shit." Skye murmered, seeing the anger clearly evident in Dean's body language, the concern in Sam's. "Here we go…"

xxxxxXXXXXXxxxxxx

The Impala was eating up the road with an anger that matched her driver's. Behind the black muscle car, Sam and Elise were following in Bobby's Chevelle, keeping pace but not too close in case Dean locked up the brakes suddenly. There was no saying what he would he was likely to do in his current state of mind.

Skye reached out to turn down the music, ACDC's Money Talks blaring out loud enough to make her teeth all but rattle. The moment the volume was lowered, Dean reached over and cranked it up again, throwing Skye a dark look.

In return, Skye waited a moment, before she turned it down again. "Are we going to talk about this?"

Dean's only response was to turn the music up to levels that were likely to make Skye's ears bleed. This was going to get them no where fast. Stabbing the eject button angrily, Skye grabbed the cassette and threw it into the back seat behind them.

"What the hell?!"

"Next time it'll be out the window, Dean. We need to talk and right now my fucking ears are ringing like I've been at a rock concert. You want to be pissed at me about the car? About taking off? Fine…be pissed. But you're going to hear me out."

Dean turned his attention back to the road. His knuckles were white as they clutched the wheel, his arms locked. Skye could see the muscles in his jaw working and took a deep breath to try and calm the butterflies in her stomach. She would have to clear the air between them first before she could mention the baby. "I'm sorry I took the car."

Silence filled the car, Dean not even looking in Skye's direction.

"Dean? I said I was sorry."

"I heard you."

"And?" Skye waited anxiously. "Are you going to say anything?"

"About what?"

"About what I did."

Dean finally looked over at Skye for a moment, his green eyes so full of anger, they seemed to gleam. "What do you want me to say? You stole my car, you took off without me knowing where the hell you were going…."

"You were treating me like a fucking prisoner, Dean!"

"Since when does making sure you're safe mean I'm treating you like a prisoner?"

Skye wanted to scream. "If I locked you up at Bobby's? Took your keys and made you stay there…how long would you last, Dean? You go stir crazy if you stay on the one tv channel too long…and you're expecting me not to be climbing the walls after seven weeks in the one place?"

Dean kept his gaze on the road, but what Skye was saying was sinking in. He hadn't meant to make her feel like a prisoner, but it scared the hell out of Dean to think someone could take Skye from him again. That maybe some hunter out there would spot him, recognise him….and recognise Skye too. Dean had heard Bobby and John talking. He knew that the other hunters were blaming Skye for what happened, were hunting his father….hunting them all for supp0sedly swapping sides in this war that Dean was just so sick of. More than ever, Dean was tired of being a hunter. Tired of the danger it brought to the people he loved. He just wanted to be normal for once and the fact that it would never happen? That this was all he would ever know for the last year of his life before his deal came due? Was weighing Dean down heavily.

"You stole my car. You hotwired it. What if something had happened?"

"To your car or to me?" Skye arched an eyebrow as her anger spiked again.

"What?" Dean shot Skye an incredulous look. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Skye? You think this car means more to me than you? After what I did?"

"Pull over."

"What?"

"Pull over, Dean or you'll be cleaning out the car!" Skye clamped a hand over her mouth, trying to breath through her nose and fight the nausea as Dean slammed on the brakes and pulled off the road. Skye barely got her door open, wrenching off her belt and toppling forward onto her hands as her stomach emptied itself violently. God, how could she have ever said what she did? Dean had sold his soul for her and she was accusing him of loving his car more? The very thought of how catty and horrible that had been, had Skye throwing up again.

There was the sound of the other door opening and closing…and then Dean was beside her, one hand rubbing her back, the other pulling her hair back out of the way. "Easy….it's okay, Skye…"

"No it's not…" Skye choked out, tears running down and dripping from her nose as she remained hunched over, her stomach still rolling and heaving even though there was nothing to bring up anymore. "I had no right to say that…..it…it was bitchy. Beyond bitchy. I can't believe I said that."

"Dean?"

Dean looked up to see Sam approaching, clearly worried. He locked eyes with his brother and Sam could immediately see that whatever was happening with Skye and Dean wasn't over yet.

"Dean, what's going on?" Sam was standing near the back of the car, sensitive not to intrude on the couple.

"It's nothing, Sam. I've got this."

"You sure?" Sam was all too aware of how his brother tended to handle emotional talks. The term duck and weave seemed to come to mind.

"I said I've got it. Take Elise home. We'll be right behind you."

"Dean, I'm not sure-…"

"I said I've got it, Sam!" Dean shot his brother a warning glare to back the hell off and it only eased as he saw Sam nod quietly and return to the Chevelle. The rusty brown car passed him shortly afterwards and disappeared up the road.

Skye was sitting up more now, resting her elbows on her knees and trying to let the nausea pass. She shivered slightly, a cold sweat breaking out over her and cooling her down sharply as the day started to fade into evening. " We should get back. Connor's probably starting to fret."

"Not til you tell me what the hell is going on, Skye."

"What do you mean?" Skye got up and wrapped her arms around herself, walking towards the back of the Impala.

"You know what I mean. You think I haven't noticed what's been going on the last few weeks? You've been sick, getting up through the night…." Dean followed Skye to the back of the Impala, watching her shiver as the air began to turn chilly. He slid his jacket off and put it around her shoulders. "Skye…talk to me. What is it? Nightmares? What?"

Skye gave a short, sad laugh. "Nightmares? No, Dean…the nightmares I can handle."

"Then what?"

"I'm pregnant." Skye waited half a second before she dared to look at Dean. He was completely frozen for a moment, his eyes widening, his mouth opening and closing, throat working…but no sound until he choked out, "C-come again?"

"What? Do I need to spell it out in semaphore?" Skye asked softly, lowering her gaze as she felt tears stinging her eyes again.

"Are you sure? No, wait….forget I asked that, of course you're sure." Dean's mind was spinning a million miles an hour. Pregnant. A baby. He was going to be a father. Have a son of his own, a brother for Connor. All this was rolling round and round in his head, faster and faster, until Dean doubled over, trying to breathe as a panic attack hit him.

Skye watched Dean gasping for air and her first instinct was to go to him. But fear of what was driving that panic attack, held her back. What if Dean didn't want the baby? The memory of Jason's reaction was so awful. How he had freaked, demanding Skye get rid of the baby because he wasn't ready for one. The thought was doing that was so alien to Skye and even now, the memory of being told to do it, still cut deeply.

The panic attack passed a few moments later and Dean was able to straighten up again, seeing Skye still leaning again the trunk of the Impala. "Skye?"

There was no response, Skye wouldn't even look at him. Shit. He hadn't handled this well. It wasn't just a big deal for him. It was something that concerned them both. If Skye was having his baby, then Dean needed to stop thinking about going to Hell and do more about it. It was hard enough to think about what he was already losing, but a baby? Dean wanted to see his baby grow up, wanted to watch his baby playing with Connor….wanted to have what his father had.

Dean walked up to Skye and gently lifted her chin so she was looking at him. Tears spilt down her cheeks and he thumbed them away carefully. "Hey, look at me."

"I wanted to tell you before…but…"

"When did you find out?"

"At the diner." Skye pulled the test out from her pocket and handed it to Dean, biting her bottom lip nervously. Dean wasn't yelling yet, that had to be a good sign…right? "I know the timing sucks…" She gave a small, nervous laugh that died off as quickly as it started.

Dean stared at the test, seeing the two pink lines. The second one was so strong, as if the baby wanted to leave no doubt at all in their minds that it was real. "You're pregnant…."

Skye heard the softness of his voice and her heart fluttered. She sucked in a sharp breath of air as Dean placed his hand on her stomach, then his eyes met hers and all thought of breathing stopping as she saw the look in his eyes. The slow, easy, excited smile that broke his lips.

"We're having a baby….We're having a baby!" It was sinking in at last and Dean let out a short, ecstatic whooping yell that made Skye jump before he captured her lips with his own. His arms slid around her and for one moment, nothing existed but the kiss and how warm it left them both feeling. Skye pulled away soon after and extracted herself completely from Dean, a confused frown marring his brow as he turned to watch her walk away a few feet from him.

"What now?"

"There's still your deal."

Dean swore silently to himself, but he kept any emotion from his voice as he spoke up again. "So? We just have to find a way out of it." It was so much easier said than done, but Dean had to believe there was a way. Now, more than ever. It wasn't just his own family he was leaving. Sam, Dad. He couldn't leave Skye, Connor…and now a baby. Dean had too much to lose now and he wasn't going to give it up without one hell of a fight.

"You make it sound so simple." Skye slowly turned to look at Dean, pulling his jacket around her more as the night air dipped a few more degrees.

"It is simple. I'm going to find a way out of the deal, Skye. Those sons of bitches aren't taking me away from you and Connor and the baby. I won't let that happen."

"Promise?" Skye's voice was shaking again and she cursed her hormones being so out of control lately. It was better to blame them than the constant fear she carried of losing Dean to a Hell deal.

Dean marched forward and drew her into his arms again, kissing her lips, her cheek, her forehead, before he met her gaze. "I promise. I need to be around to make sure this kid learns all the right music. It wouldn't be fair to raise them on Bryan Adams alone, you know. Could stunt his musical growth."

Skye laughed then, still choked with tears, but a huge weight was lifting from her chest. She slapped Dean's shoulder. "Hey, there's nothing wrong with my taste in music! You've already corrupted Connor…" It suddenly hit Skye what Dean had said. "Wait…you said his? You're assuming it's a boy?"

"Well yeah…." Dean looked at Skye as though it was obvious. " How else am I going to teach Connor how to be an awesome big brother?"

Skye laughed again, her smile beaming as Dean took her hand in his. "Come on, Dad's going to be looking for us soon if we don't get back. Besides….I have got to see the look on his face when we tell him."

xxxxXXXXxxxx

Sam kept glancing in the rear view mirror, looking for the lights of the Impala. He wasn't happy about leaving Dean and Skye alone out here and after a few minutes, his foot eased off the gas pedal. The Chevelle responded immediately slowing down and allowing Sam to reach out with his mind towards Dean. It was brief, Sam merely brushing the surface and finding a mixture of emotions…but that Dean seemed happy for the most part. Whatever had been happening seemed to be over and Sam was able to withdraw again, not wanting to intrude on Dean's privacy now that he knew his brother was alright.

Elise had been sat quietly, the only noise in the car coming from whatever radio station Sam had been able to find. It had helped to keep things a little less awkward, but not by much. Watching as Sam glanced in the rear view mirror again for what had to be at least the seventh time or so since they had left the Impala behind, Elise finally found her voice. " Do you think they're okay?"

Sam took his eyes from the mirror and looked at Elise, suddenly realising how uncomfortable she looked. He had hardly spoken a word since they had left Kyle, but that didn't mean he was angry at Elise. He was angry at how things had ended up, angry at himself for letting things get to the point where the girls had stolen the Impala to get out of Bobby's. Why hadn't he picked up on things before then or spoken to Dean about letting the girls go to town too?

"I'm sure they okay. I'll just be happier when I can see them behind us." Sam admitted, letting the Chevelle slow down even further.

Silence fell over the pair again before Elise broke it tentatively. "Are we okay?"

"What?" Sam was tempted to pull off to the side of the road, but they needed to get home before Dad started to worry about them. He divided his attention between the road and Elise, seeing how anxious she was. Sam had been furious when he walked into that diner and found Skye and Elise, but that had only been because he was so damn scared of something happening to them both. The last seven weeks at Bobby's, dealing with his recovery from Jo's attack, Elise's nightmares over what had happened and just spending time together; had made Sam sit down and really think about his feelings for Elise.

"Back at the diner, you looked like someone had pissed in your Weetbix…."

"Pissed in my what?" Sam asked, a surprised half laugh escaping from him as he threw a confused look at Elise. Every so often, she would come out with some comment, some joke…and it would remind Sam that Elise was more than just an accent he'd had to adjust to. She came from a whole different lifestyle and culture that sometimes was completely alien to him….and utterly refreshing. He loved that she could catch him completely off guard with just some throw away line.

"Weetbix…it's a…no, never mind." Elise shook her head and gave a soft smile. "So we're okay?"

"Yes, we're okay. More than okay. Elise, I didn't mean for things to end up like this. I should have realised how you felt being cooped up like that."

"Yeah you and Dean were being dickheads about it." Elise shot back teasingly.

"Dickheads?? We were just trying to look after you guys!"

"Little tip for you, mate…we can look after ourselves. I'm pretty sure that lot back at the diner thought we'd escaped custody the way you two were standing there."

Sam considered that for a moment. His face screwing up a little in a sign of discomfort about how that scene had played out. "Alright, I'll admit we could have handled that better…"

"You think?"

"I was just worried about you, Elise. If anything happened to you…." The sentence died off as Sam held back from voicing his fear.

Elise could see it written all over Sam. His past fear constantly replaying in his mind again and again, causing him to hold back emotionally, scared to commit himself to anyone in case he lost them too. " I'm not Jess, Sam."

"I know that."

"And you can't always protect me either. What are you going to do? Chain me to your side? Not that the idea of being attached to your hip isn't appealing…but…" Elise raised an eyebrow, a playful smile appearing long enough to receive one in return from Sam. She wanted to go back to that open field behind the motel, back to just her and Sam brushing up against each other. Back to making silly little daisy chains for him to wear. The last seven weeks had been hard on Elise, being so far from her family, especially since she was totally cut off from them. But Sam had made it bearable. He'd been the shining light at the end of that long tunnel, keeping her warm and safe at night when the nightmares came. Keeping her company during the day, simply because he liked to. If Elise had thought she was falling for Sam before this? There was no doubt at all in her mind now that she had. In a world that was climbing back from Hell itself, Sam was the one thing to Elise that made sense and kept her sane.

"I've had a bad track record with women. Jess, Madison…." Sam knew there were other names he could add to the list. Not all of them had ended in tragedy, but even the fact he wasn't able to stay with them, that he had been forced to leave behind Sarah and Laurie, made Sam start to think he was cursed. And then there was Meg. She was one major regret for Sam, simply because his meeting her, brought so much pain to Sam, Dean and even his father.

"I'm not them, Sam. I'm not going anywhere…okay? You think I don't worry just as much about you? Every time you and Dean drive out that gate, I wonder if it's the last time I'm going to see you. It's not like you guys live normal nine to five lives." Elise paused for a moment, her nose wrinkling slightly in thought. "Come to think of it? What's bloody normal these days anyway?"

Sam couldn't say anything, choosing to listen, rather than talk. He wondered what Jess would have made of his life if he had ever told her. Would she have reacted the same way Cassie had with Dean? Freaking out and thinking Sam was trying to break off the relationship? Or would she have accepted it? Maybe he could have been happy? And maybe…Jess would have slowly drifted away from him. Because how could he have continued hunting, leaving Jess at home, telling everyone he was away on business? Was he ever going to have what he wanted in life? Could he ever dare to think of having what Dean had? Skye and Connor, a ready made family that adored him no matter what.

Sam knew that Dean gave his all when it came to love. There was no hesitation, no mixed emotions. He loved hard and lived fast.

" I wish I knew…" Sam answered honestly in response to Elise's comment. He wasn't exactly the poster child for normal. None of his family were anymore…

Sam's attention was back on the road, when he felt Elise's hand brush his thigh. He reached down, gently picked her hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing it softly. There was a surge that went through him, as if everything was finally falling into place and making sense at last. Dean had the right idea. The world was a changed place and you had to hold onto what you wanted with all you had.

Without warning, Sam swung the car down a small side road, fields rushing past them until they came to set of gates. He shut off the engine and sat there for a moment, one hand still on the wheel, the other hand holding Elise's.

"Sam?"

"Do you trust me?"

"What? Of course I do."

"Then let's go for a walk. It's a nice night outside….why rush back to Bobby's?"

Elise looked at Sam, wondering for a brief moment if he was losing his mind. He sounded like a teenager and the wide, expectant grin on his face swept away any thoughts or concerns. Elise wanted to be alone with him….and she was being given that chance. "You're on, mate….lead the way."

Climbing out of the Chevelle, Sam walked around to Elise's side of the car and slid his jacket off, putting it around Elise's shoulders before he offered her his hand again.

xxxxxXXXXxxxxxx

The Impala rolled into Singer's Auto Yard at a quiet rumble, Dean letting his baby coast up to the front door so that he didn't disturb anyone inside. It was night now and all the lights were on inside, lighting up the yard around the house.

"How are we going to tell them?" Skye asked, looking a little apprehensively towards the house. Normally, news of a baby was a welcome thing, but Skye knew that Dean's deal made it all the more bittersweet. Would they be happy? How would John react? Or Sam for that matter? Skye wanted to believe she already knew, having seen the way they were with Connor, but the fear of rejection was so deeply instilled in her now, that Skye couldn't help but worry.

"Hey….it's gonna be okay. Trust me." Dean assured her. "This isn't your parents, Skye. It'll be fine…" He sometimes hoped to cross paths with Skye's parents, just so he had a chance to tell them how big a mistake they had made. It pissed him off to see the damage they had done. Damage he was sure they weren't aware of or cared about. No family was perfect, Dean knew that as well as anyone. But he knew his family.

Climbing out of the Impala, Dean led the way into the house, noting right away, the tension in the air. He drew Skye closer to him, making his way through to the living room where his father was pacing the floor, his wings tucked in tight behind him while Bobby was loading weapons over in the dining area.

"Dad? What's wrong?" Dean asked, all his senses going to an even higher state of alert.

"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" Connor rushed over to Skye, launching himself into her arms and hugging her tightly. Skye withdrew to an armchair in the corner of the room, clutching Connor to her as she sat down, watching everything anxiously.

"What the hell took you so long?" John stopped pacing and locked onto Dean, striding across the room until he was face to face with his son. "Your brother's not with you?"

"What? No…." Dean shook his head even as he looked around, as though Sam would magically appear now that he was here. "He's not here? Sam was in front of me."

"That's it. I'm going looking for him." John pushed past Dean, heading for the door.

"I'm coming with you." Dean turned to follow immediately.

"No! You stay here. That's an order. I'm not looking for the pair of you." John turned back and blocked Dean's path. "I mean it, Dean."

"I'm not sitting on my hands if Sam's missing!" Dean's mind was racing, trying to think of where Sam could be, if anything could have forced the Chevelle off the road. Wouldn't he have seen it? Dammit, why the hell did he send Sam ahead of him?

"I can move faster alone!"

Both Winchesters were face to face, neither giving an inch. John understood Dean's need to find Sam, but he didn't want to risk both his boys. Dean wasn't going to be swayed however and after another silent heartbeat between them, John spun on his heel and marched for the door. "Fine! Bobby, ride shotgun!"

Before Dean could say anything, Bobby was beside him, ready to move. "Come on, time's a'wasting, boy." He handed Dean a two way unit, knowing that John carried it's twin on his belt.

Looking back at Skye, Dean's face was grim and full of worry for his brother. " Skye, you lock the door and don't let anyone in. Okay? No matter what."

"I've got it, Dean. Go." Skye nodded, still holding Connor close. " Be careful." The door closed behind them as Skye got to her feet and went to lock it. Connor was behind her as she turned around, his big blue eyes looking up expectantly. " Ammy okay?"

"He'll be fine, sweetie." Skye scooped Connor up and headed for the kitchen. "Come on, let's see if Bobby has any of those cookies you like…" She glanced back towards the door as she heard the Impala start up again, quietly praying that they would be back soon, safe and sound.

xxxxXXXXxxxx

John had barely taken four steps from the porch before he broke into a run, his wings fanning out behind him before he launched into the air with a powerful downward stroke. Singer's Auto Yard quickly disappeared into the distance as John let his wings carry him high enough to get a good view of the land. Being half demon had other advantages too. His night vision wasn't as good as it had been as a full demon…but it was still far superior to human eyes.

Sweeping along the road that should have brought Sam and Elise home safely from Kyle, John was looking for any tell tale signs of the Chevelle having left the road. There were no skid marks, no broken fences. Nothing to offer a clue to where Sam was. He was trying not to let it grow into panic yet, pushing it down inside and allowing it simmer into anger instead. The girls taking off in the Impala had hardly surprised John. He should have seen it coming and when it happened, it had actually been amusing, watching both his sons panic.

But now it was anything but funny. Sam was missing. Elise too. There were countless numbers of demons roaming free now and along with them, other supernatural beings had begun to show themselves more. Bolstered by the damage done by the demons. More confident…. More willing to spill blood.

The night air swept easily under his wings as John banked on the breeze, swinging away from Kyle and back tracking towards Bobby's again. There'd been so many times that John had ignored calls from both his boys. Because it was supposed to have protected them while John closed in on the Demon.

Now all John wanted was a working cell network that would allow him to call his son, to get some idea of where Sam was right now. If he was alright. He had to be alright. John blamed himself for this. He should have gone out sooner, should have been looking for both boys before the sun had set completely.

A vehicle, parked off down a side road. John instantly changed tact, his powerful black wings glistening in the moonlight as he tucked them in behind him and dove down, picking up speed. At the last minute, John pulled up, his wings snapping out at either side to buffer against the air like a set of feathery brakes. He hovered, gently stirring the air around him above the empty Chevelle. There was no sign of blood, no sign of a struggle……and then he heard it. The soft sound of laughter carrying on the air.

John unclipped the two way from his belt and hit the button on the side as he brought it up to his mouth. "Bobby, you read me? What's your position? Over."

"Loud and clear, John. We're about 2 clicks west of the Yard. Where are you? Over."

"I've found your car. Whiteman road, about four clicks south of your position. No sign of Sam or Elise though, over." John frowned as static suddenly filled the air before Dean's voice cut in, Apparently he had taken the handset from Bobby and the older hunter wasn't happy about it.

"I swear to god, boy, I'll put my damn foot up your ass if you ever pull that shit with me again."

"Whatever, Bobby….. Dad, any idea what might have happened? Over."

John shook his head a brief, grim smile appearing. That boy wasn't going to settle until he had his brother back. "Negative. There's no sign of any violence though. I'm going to look around. I'll be in contact. Over and out."

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxx

Sam was lying on his back beneath a tree, his t-shirt balled up under his head, his belt unclipped and his jeans half hanging off his hips. Elise was topless, her bra thrown somewhere in the grass behind her. Her jeans were unbuttoned and loosely sitting on her hips as she laid beside Sam, her head on his chest. They were both warm and content, despite the slight chill to the air.

"You ever looked up at the stars and wondered what's out there? I mean, really out there?" Sam asked, his voice soft and thoughtful.

"You getting all philosophical on me now? I thought you blokes were meant to fall asleep afterwards…you know, like cavemen?" Elise teased, sitting up a little and tracing small, tender kisses around Sam's left nipple.

A rumbling purr went through Sam's chest at the attention he was receiving from Elise. Her lips were tracing up along his collar bone towards the hollow of his throat. His eyes all but rolled back in his head as Elise suckled and nipped at his neck, her hand sliding back and forth lightly over his stomach, marvelling at how firm and muscular Sam was. Hunting certainly had it's perks…

With his eyes closed, enjoying every sensation across his skin, Sam allowed his hands to play across the Elise's breasts until the sound of wings filled the air. His first thought was that an owl had landed in the tree above them, until he heard furious voice that stopped any ideas his body might have had of making love to Elise a second time. It was better than a bucket of ice water as Sam scrambled backwards, his bare back hitting the tree behind him as Elise screamed in surprise and grabbed Sam's t-shirt to cover herself.

"What the fuck?! Sam! What the fuck are you doing out here?!" John was livid. He'd been expecting the worst…and instead, he found Sam playing around with Elise, letting his downstairs brain think for him. John expected that sort of behaviour from Dean, not Sam. Great, the younger Winchester was apparently picking up all the wrong ideas from his brother.

"Dad! Oh…shit…I…" Sam was fumbling over his words as he struggled to button up his jeans. He felt like a teenager caught on prom night, fooling about in the backseat of his father's car. Elise had already buttoned her blouse up haphazardly enough to cover herself, a brilliant red flush filling her face as she fumbled behind her for her discarded bra.

Hurried foot falls could be heard approaching and a moment later, two torches illuminated the area as Bobby and Dean appeared. For one instant, Dean was ready to tear into whatever the threat was to his brother…..and then his brain registered what it was seeing and Dean doubled over laughing.

"You gotta be kidding me? I just gave myself damn near a heart attack running….for this?" Bobby demanded, his voice a mixture of disbelief and anger.

"What the hell were you thinking, Sam?" John demanded, glancing at Dean and wondering if the boy was going to pull something he was laughing that hard. Trust Dean to find all this hilarious…although John had a suspicion that relief was a large factor behind all that laughter.

Sam's eyes were still wide, like a deer in the headlights as he spoke. "I…I wasn't thinking…other than how it was a nice night for a walk."

"Wash day….nothing clean…right?" Dean gasped out between snorting waves of laughter that were beginning to hurt his sides.

Sam narrowed his eyes at his brother, not appreciating the Terminator reference. "Shut up, Dean, you jerk."

"M...ma-hake me…b...b-bitch." Dean managed breathlessly, still laughing until he caught the withering glare from his father and fought to sober up, still sniggering quietly to himself.

"Come on, Elise…I'll drive you home." Bobby offered quietly, giving the girl an escape route that she gratefully took. There would be time later to talk to Sam and even take up from where they had been interrupted. But right now, all Elise wanted, was to be out of there before she died of embarrassment. She quickly hopped up from beside Sam, threw him a brief apologetic smile and went with Bobby, thankful that the older hunter was polite enough not to say anything to her as they walked back to the Chevelle.

"Come on, Casanova, I'm not standing around here all night. Let's go home." Dean told Sam, still fighting off bouts of sniggering. He held out a hand towards Sam, offering to help him up, when their father's voice cut in again.

"Not yet."

"Dad?" Dean turned, slightly surprised to hear the tone of his voice. Sam was okay…and although he'd made a stupid mistake, it was over. But no, it seemed Dad wasn't done with Sam yet.

"What the hell were you thinking, Sam? You realise the risk you took? Your brother and I thought something had damn well happened to you and here you are, getting laid? I thought I raised you better than that, Sam! Smarter than that!" John stepped towards Sam, ready to haul the boy up off the ground so he was looking him in the eye.

Dean moved, instantly blocking the way. "Whoa…Dad, no. Come on, he made a mistake. No one's hurt. Sam just needed some time alone with Elise. It's not a big deal, Dad."

John bristled for a moment longer. He didn't appreciate Dean stepping in as he always did. Even now, as adults, ready to defend his brother no matter what. Sam had gotten to his feet now and John could see his son was still deeply embarrassed by the whole situation.

"I just acted on impulse. I'm sorry. It won't happen again….sir." Sam spat the last word out angrily. Why the hell was Dean justifying his need to be with Elise? Why the hell did Sam need to explain anything? He was capable of protecting himself and Elise. Why didn't Dad see that?

"Don't you take that attitude with me, Sam."

"Or what, Dad? I'm not a kid anymore!" Sam exploded, feeling Dean pushing him back away from his father. "I don't have to stay here and listen to this!"

"Knock it off, both of you!" Dean's voice split the night air and made both Sam and John pause for a moment. He was standing between them, a place he had often found himself in the past.

John was still watching Sam, his wings quivering slightly as his back muscles tensed up with anger. Then as quickly as it came, the anger was gone. John didn't want to fight with Sam. He'd merely reacted out of anger. Even now, seven weeks after Gordon and Jo had attacked them, John found himself scared of losing his boys. He would always be scared of that. It seemed sometimes as though the whole world saw his family as a target. But that fear needed to be controlled or he was in danger of driving a wedge between him and Sam again.

"I'll see you two back at Bobby's. No detours." John instructed, giving both boys a firm look before he stalked away and launched himself into the air.

Dean watched his father for a moment, then turned and clapped a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Come on, dude…let's go home and eat. I'm starving. Although you might want to put your shirt back on. I don't want you getting sweat and dirt all over my seats."

Sam shoved Dean away from him, starting to grin, relaxing now that Dad was gone. "You're just jealous, dude…"

"Whatever you need to believe to sleep at night, Sammy."

xxxxXXXXxxxxx

To say that an uncomfortable silence hung over the dining table, was the understatement of the century. John was sat at the head of the table, his wings gently spread to either side, making the scene almost comically angelic. Except no one was laughing.

Well, almost no one.

Elise refused to look at John, still highly embarrassed what happened and choosing to stare at her plate instead as she ate quietly, just picking at her food. Sam was beside her, his face creased into a scowl as he stabbed at his food sharply. He blamed himself for how Elise was feeling now and didn't know how to make it up to her. At the same time, he couldn't help but think back to when he was sixteen and Dad had caught him in the town library with Louise Nicholson. The Historic Battles section of the library had been one of his favourite haunts for weeks until Dad caught him with his hand up Louise's blouse. The lecture and consequent training session had been hard, but it had been Dean's flip-flopping between pride and brotherly teasing, that had almost driven Sam insane.

And here it was, happening again. Dad wasn't talking and Dean was trying not to snigger….and losing the battle miserably.

Skye was sat beside Dean, kicking him in the ankle to try and stop him from laughing. She had spoken to Elise when Bobby had first brought her home and knew what had happened. There was nothing funny about it from Elise's point of view but Dean apparently couldn't help himself and the stifling tension that was hanging over everyone was killing Skye.

Bobby was sat at the end of the table with Connor beside him in the high chair and the two were whispering back and forth, although what they would have to say to each other, Skye had no idea, but it was still sweet to see. As long as Bobby wasn't leading her son astray….

Something had to be done to break the tension. For Elise's sake. So Skye quietly put down her knife and fork, then cleared her throat politely. "I'm not entirely sure this is the best time, but Dean and I have something to tell you all."

Dean's quiet sniggering instantly stopped, becoming a startled choking cough before Dean was able to swallow his mouthful of food, looking at Skye with a stunned, are you freaking nuts? expression on his face.

"Dean?" John had put down his own utensils and was looking toward his son patiently awaiting whatever it was that needed to be said.

"I…uhhh…I mean, we…uhh.."

"What Dean's trying to say? Is that I'm pregnant…." Skye spoke up, rescuing him.

The entire table was frozen for a moment, stunned by the admission, before the room erupted. Sam was up and out of his chair, with Elise, rushing around to Skye and Dean. Sam clapping his brother on the back and grinning like an idiot while Elise hugged Skye…and then it was Sam's turn to hug Skye, picking her up off the ground in the process.

Dean looked over towards his father as he was hugged by Elise and then had Bobby there, patting him on the back.

John was still sat in his seat, but there was a quiet, proud smile on his face as he leaned his elbows on the table before him and knitted his fingers together. His son was going to be a father. After everything that had happened, all the horror they had faced, the pain, the loss….it seemed they were finally being given something back. He gave Dean a small nod, his smile growing slightly until it became wide and beaming, matching Dean's as John saw the way his son stood a little taller now. Words weren't needed. Dean knew how proud his father was of him and always had been.

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxxx

Everyone had finally gone to bed, the entire house falling silent except for the snoring that could be heard from both Bobby and John's rooms. Sleeping on his stomach didn't agree with John, apparently…but Bobby was just being Bobby when it came to snoring. Loud, long and scarily like a bear hibernating.

Dean checked on Connor again, pulling the blanket up over the little boy as he slept in a portable crib in the corner of the bedroom. He glanced over towards the bed, seeing Skye sound asleep, curled on her side towards his side of the bed. She looked so peaceful right now, just so relaxed and beautiful. It brought a smile to Dean's face as he quietly crossed the room and sat down in an old armchair by the window. He picked up the book resting on the table and opened it, his stomach knotting up a little as the pictures of demons and hellhounds seemed to leap out at him from the pages.

Everyone was looking for the means of breaking the deal. Dean had no doubts in his mind, that if it could be done? His father, brother and Bobby would find the means of doing it. There had to be other books, other rituals and rites they hadn't found yet.

Dean looked up from what he was reading, looking at Skye again and thinking of his baby growing inside her. A tiny little life he had helped create, a part of him that would carry on after he was gone.

It was strangely comforting to know if anything ever happened to him, that there was something of him left behind. Some indication beyond a gravestone and a muscle car to say he had been here.

But beyond that comfort, was the gnawing fear of what he was leaving behind. Dean was more determined than ever to fix this. To get out of this damn deal. There had to be a way…right? They just hadn't found it yet…

"Dean? You okay?" Skye sat up, half asleep, worry creasing her brow.

Closing the book and pushing away any thoughts of what lay ahead of him if he didn't find a way out, Dean got to his feet. " Yeah, babe….I'm fine."

He put the book down on the chair, kicked off his jeans and pulled his shirt over his head, letting it join his jeans in a pile on the floor before he slipped into bed beside Skye. She rolled over, allowing Dean to spoon up behind her, his hand resting lightly on her stomach. His thumb was lazily grazing back and forth over her skin as he closed his eyes and breathed in the soft scent of Skye's hair. She pushed back against him, melting into his embrace and sliding a leg back possessively over his, locking Dean too her.

He was warm, he felt safe and loved. It was a moment that he wanted to last forever.

Dean just need to find the answer…and he still had time.

xxxxxXXXXXXXxxxxx

A/N#2: Hope you enjoyed guys!! Keep an eye out for Rockabye, Coming Soon, as the Protectorverse continues...