A Simple Salt And Burn.

Summary. . . . . . "A simple salt and burn" Joshua had stated, but when had things ever been simple for the Winchester's? The brother's first hunt since Gordon's death and Sam's latest ability, takes an unexpected turn as they hunt something that they have never hunted before, and Sam's ability isn't as controllable as they had thought. Sequel to What Goes Around Comes Around.

Disclaimer. . . . . . Mistakes are mine; the Winchester's unfortunately are not.

A.N. . . . . . I have to give a massive shout out to Darksupernatural for pushing me to keep on with this fic, without her constant support this would still be on my desk gathering dust. Also to Perfectharmony and Fwennie for their encouraging words, and to sammygirl1963, sorry it's not the one you were routing for, that will be here soon. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy, Peanut x

The call had come in first thing this morning. Joshua had heard of a hunt but was unable to check it out himself. Something was killing travelers that stopped at an old plantation mansion in Carolina.

"It sounds like a routine salt and burn, Bobby. It could be just what Sam and Dean need to get back into the swing of things."

"It's too soon!" Bobby angrily replied.

"Bobby, it's been two months. It's time for them to get back into it."

Bobby sighed, Josh was right, it was time for the boys to take up the hunt again but still a little part of him didn't want them too, the little part that didn't want them to get hurt. "I'll talk to them later, offer it up, and leave it up to them to decide." He finally relented.

"That's all I'm asking. Let me know what they say, if they don't want it I'll pass it on." Josh paused before adding uncomfortably. "How are they doing?"

He had stayed at Bobby's for the first few days after Sam and Dean's rescue from Gordon, but the enormous weight of all the emotions floating around had been too much for the normally reserved hunter. The final push had been on the third morning when Sam had awakened the house, crying out caught in yet another nightmare. They had eventually managed to calm him down and get him to wake up, only for him to be taken straight back into a flashback. The look of sheer panic and anguish on the youngest Winchester's face as he remembered yet more of the things that he had done, and more of the things that had been done to him, had been too much for Joshua to handle.

Feelings that were unusual to him had come rushing to the surface, threatening to overwhelm him, and unknowing how to express them he had chosen instead to run away from the cause, to run away to escape the feelings, to try and kill things so that they would go away. No matter how far he had run though, no matter how many creatures he had killed, or women he had slept with to try and forget he just couldn't. Sam's tear streaked, wide eyed, haunted broken features had burned them selves deep into Joshua's mind and for the first time in a very long time the older man found himself caring deeply for someone.

"They seem to be doing fine on the surface, but every now and then something will trigger off a memory and it all comes flooding back."

"Is Sam still having the nightmares?"

"Yeah daily, but you know that boy he's just as stubborn as his father was. He tries to hide the fact that he is from us, which needless to say doesn't go down well with Dean."

"I can imagine. Do you really think that they're up to this then Bobby? I can try and get someone else." Joshua's doubts now surfacing.

"Nah! You're probably right; it is time for them to get back into it. They should be back soon; I'll ask them and let you know."

"Okay Bobby, thanks. Wish the boy's well for me. I'll talk to you later."

After Bobby had said his goodbyes and hung up, he mulled over the past two months. He hadn't lied to Joshua, things were getting better, but both Winchester's still had a very long way to go, Sam especially. The nightmares were only part of Bobby's worries. Sam's back had been slow to heal, his knee taking even longer. The interruptions to his sleep not allowing his body to heal as it should. The main cause of worry though was this new found ability and the fall out Sam received every time he used it. Unlike his visions and telekinesis, both times he had used it he had found that he could somewhat control it. But just like the visions, only worse, the aftermath was debilitating, Sam still feeling the effects nearly two days later.

It was the fact that he even had this ability though that was hurting Sam the most. When they had defeated yellow eyes, Sam had been under the impression that his connection to the dark side had also been triumphed, with the new power though it seemed that that was not the case. Sam had become convinced once again that he would turn, that he would hurt someone, that Dean would have to kill him. And no matter what Dean and Bobby said to try and convince him differently, nothing would work. Bobby had caught Sam depressing over this numerous times, but short of trying once again to reassure the youngest Winchester, there was nothing else that he could do to try and break these melancholy black moods.

Hearing the rumble of the Impala returning Bobby made up his mind. This hunt was just what the brother's needed; now all he had to do was convince them. Waiting for Sam and Dean to enter, Bobby took two beers from the fridge and set the coffee pot going. As the front door opened the boy's bickering reached his ears and he inwardly groaned, yep this hunt was definitely needed if only to give him a break.

"Bobby." Dean greeted when he eventually stepped through the kitchen door. "Is one of those for me?" He added gesturing towards the beers.

"Yep, just out of the fridge. What are you two arguing about now?"

"Oh you know the usual life and death stuff. Sam was trying to convince me that CD's were better than tapes. Personally I think he's drank one too many of those girlie frothy latte thingies he so loves, they've damaged him."

Bobby chuckled to himself, knowing that Sam was fighting a losing battle with Dean on this one; he wondered why he kept on trying, why he hadn't given up yet. "Where is Sam? I need to talk to you both."

"He's just cleaning himself up. He got covered in his coffee when I had to swerve suddenly to avoid this big ass dog that ran into the road. I swear there was one there, but Sam won't believe me, don't know why? What's up Bobby? Why do you want to talk to us? Have you finally got fed up of having Sam as a houseguest? You got a hot chick coming round?"

"What? No! I love. . . . . What I mean to say is, I like having you guys around." Seeing Dean's shit eating grin plastered onto his face, Bobby stumbled even more over his words as he tried desperately to avoid one of Dean's so called chick flick moments, deciding in the end it would be better to keep quiet until Sam arrived thankful that he didn't have to wait too long.

"Hey Bobby." Sam greeted, at seeing the older hunters beetroot face he quickly, and with concern added. "You okay, you're looking a bit flushed. Are you coming down with something?"

Before Bobby could answer Dean jumped in. "Bobby was just saying how much he loved having us around."

Sam laughed something the other two hunters had missed these past two months. "Somehow Dean, I can't see him saying that about you!"

"Hey! I'm hurt! Well okay, would you believe he said he liked having us around?"

Sam just shook his head in answer to Dean's teasing of their host. Taking the coffee that Bobby offered, he sat down opposite his brother, noticing as he did so the older mans apprehension. "What's the matter Bobby? Has someone been hurt? Is Josh okay?" He eventually asked.

Bobby anxiously rubbed his hands over his course whiskers wondering silently to himself, as his doubts came back, if he should just keep quiet and get Josh to find someone else to do the job. His need to see the boys back to normal though won through and he found himself bluntly blurting out. "Joshua found a hunt he wants you guys to have a look at, just a straight forward salt and burn." He stole a quick glance at both boys, and then added. "We can find someone else if you don't feel ready yet."

"We're ready." Sam stated at the same time as Dean said. "Find someone else!"

Both brothers's looked at one another, Sam finally breaking the ice. "Dean! What the. . . . . "

"You're not ready Sam. You're not a hundred percent fit."

"Don't tell me how I feel Dean! I'm fine and I'm ready to get back into the hunt."

"Stop lying Sam. You know that you're not ready. Your back and your knee still hurt you, and. . . . ."

"And what, Dean? You scared that my freaky ass new ability will happen again? You know that I can control it, stop worrying about it. Stop worrying about me. And as for the back and knee we've both hunted with worse injuries. We can do this."

"Yeah well I don't want us to. And I'm sorry Sam but I can never stop worrying about you."

"I know, it was a poor choice of words. But Dean what's really bugging you about this hunt and don't blame me."

Dean paused before answering, contemplating whether or not to allow yet another chick flick moment to occur, in the end figuring why not, what was one more to add to the stack they had had this past few months. "I'm scared Sammy. I don't want anything bad to happen to you. I don't want you to get hurt again."

"I won't Dean. You'll be there to watch my back."

"Sam, don't you get it? I wasn't there last time; I wasn't there to protect you, what if I mess up again?"

"Dean, you did all you could do. You were captured too remember? Don't blame yourself for that, it was Gordon's doing and he's dead now so there's no danger there. Dean we have to get back out there and start fighting again. It's what we do."

"But what if you have a flashback? What then? You crumble when they occur Sam, what if you have one in the middle of the hunt?"

"Then we'll deal with it. Maybe though I'm only having them because we haven't moved on yet? Maybe they'll stop if we start hunting and moving forward? Dean you can't keep me wrapped up in cotton wool forever, we need to start working again."

Dean rubbed at his eyes with his hands, suddenly feeling old and tired beyond his years. He knew that Sam was right; that they should start working again, that he couldn't keep him hidden away forever, but something was nagging in his mind. "Josh said it was a simple salt and burn?" Bobby nodded. "Did he say what it was?"

"He thinks that it's just an angry spirit."

"But he's not sure right? It could be something worse?"

"All the signs are pointing to spirit, but you know as well as I do that you can't tell until you get out there. Dean if you don't feel up to it, we can get someone else, hell I'll even go do it, let Josh research his own hunt himself."

Dean looked at Sam before turning back Bobby's way." No, Josh will need your help. It's okay Sam's right, it is time. Pack up brother we leave tonight."

A.N. . . . . Hope that the start wasn't too slow for you, it will pick up pace I promise. Updates on this fic will be sporadic until after silly season has finished, sorry. Oh and I should just say as this is mostly AU, that although yellow eyes is dead, there's no crossroads deal been made. Thanks again for reading, catch you soon, Peanut x