No infringement is intended of copyright or other property interests in Supernatural and its characters held by Eric Kripke, Warner Brothers Television, and Wonderland Sound & Vision. The events in this story take place before All Hell Breaks Loose. This is my first fanfic and I've taken a little artistic license with a public figure, so please forgive me. I just ask that you read through to the end of the story before passing judgment. Thank you!

Requiem for a Brother

Sam stepped out of the local post office and into the blazing hot afternoon sun. The heat immediately hit him, like a tangible force adding to his frustration. They had been so close! All the demonic omens had led them to this little town, and then suddenly the trail went cold. As if their quarry had just disappeared. Taking shallow breaths and wiping the sweat and dust from his forehead, Sam headed towards the inn where he had last seen his brother Dean.

The bar here was just like countless other nameless bars in countless other nameless towns. Dimly lit, it smelled of stale beer and sweat. Even at this time of the day, there were the regulars, drinking because they had nothing else to do, nowhere else to be, lending to the dejected atmosphere. Of course, Sam wryly reflected to himself, he could just be projecting his own depression on to this place.

The bartender was tall, coming very close to Sam's height. He was portly, but well-muscled, not someone you would willingly take on in a brawl.

"Afternoon." Sam said.

The bartender grunted in reply.

"I'm looking for my brother. He's a little shorter than I am with short blond hair and green eyes. He was probably chatting with a woman."

Now the bartender straightened up, eyes locking with Sam's. "So that feller that took off with my two best showgirls is your brother? They looked like they was heading towards his room. You tell those girls they'd better damn well be back by show time, or there'll be hell to pay."

Sam thanked the bartender politely, and headed towards their room. He rolled his eyes at the thought of what might greet him there.

At the door to the boys' room, Sam stopped and carefully listened. He might have battled creatures from many people's worst nightmares, but there were certain things even he couldn't face. He thought that he heard talking and giggling beyond the door. Taking a deep breath, Sam knocked loudly.

"Dean? Dean! It's Sam. I'm coming in."

Sam opened the door slowly, trying to give Dean enough time to get decent. As he peered around the door, he saw the girls in their lingerie, or costumes, he wasn't sure, and Dean sitting on the bed, only his shirt off (thank goodness!) with an arm around one girl and using his other hand to drink some unknown liquor from one of the tankards they used downstairs. The girls looked at Sam and giggled. Dean's eyes had that bright look they got when he had been drinking.

"Hey Sam, this is Sarah," said Dean squeezing the girl in his arms. "Or are you Olive?" Both girls giggled. "And get this, they're sisters." Dean turned to Sam with a dazzling smile.

Sam was unmoved. He clenched his jaw and glared at Dean, feeling all the frustrations of the day. "What are you doing? I've been searching all day for our," Sam glanced at the girls, "acquaintance and you've been here?"

Dean glanced away, flushing.

Sam wasn't going to let him off so easily. He flung his arms out and demanded "Don't you care? About what's happened to us? To our mother?"

Now Dean looked at Sam angrily. "What do you think? Sam, there's no hint of our acquaintance here. We've spent months looking, and for what? Nothing! What's wrong with having a little fun?" he asked belligerently.

"What, you think that he's going to stop just because we want to 'have some fun'? God, Dean, it's like you just don't care anymore!"

Sam immediately knew that he had gone too far. Dean's eyes flashed angrily. Without saying a word, the young man got up from the bed, pulled on his shirt and boots and shoved his way past Sam and out of the room.

"Dean . . ." Sam knew better than to go after him in this mood. He rubbed his forehead as a familiar pounding began behind his temples.

Dean strode through the bar and into the street. Still a little unsteady from the ale, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, leaning against his "steed", gleaming black in the last rays of the setting sun. He gave her a couple of loving pats, but finally decided that a walk was needed to clear his head.

As he headed down the lonely road, twilight deepened into dusk. The landscape which had been so picturesque seemed to take on a sinister aspect as shadows lengthened and blended together. Although Dean usually boasted nerves of steel, even he began to feel an itch at the back of his neck, as if unfriendly eyes monitored his every move.

The sudden snap of a twig had Dean whirling around, unsteadiness gone as adrenaline surged through his body and hunting instincts honed from a lifetime of training came to the fore. He found himself pointing his gun at a man in a long black coat and wide-rimmed hat standing in the middle of the road where Dean had just passed. The man slowly lifted his head, and Dean looked into a pair of yellow eyes.

"I heard you've been looking for me", said the man in a deep husky voice. "That", he pointed to Dean's gun, "isn't going to hurt me, you know."

Dean fired, with no visible impact to the stranger. The man grinned, although his eyes held no humor.

"But you had to try anyway, didn't you. Come on, Dean" the man mocked, "I'm just here to have a little conversation. Although you're not as good at that kind of thing as your brother Sammy, are you?

Dean fired another shot.

"Now, now," admonished the demon, "is that anyway to have a conversation? And after I've worked" the demon ran his tongue over his teeth "so hard to get you here."

"You've worked hard?" asked Dean, disbelieving. "Sam and I are the ones tracking you, you bastard. We are going to make you pay for what you did to our family."

"You mean your mother? Well, that was unfortunate . . . collateral damage." replied the shadowy figure stepping closer to Dean. Dean took an involuntary step back. The demon smirked. "Not so tough without your brother protecting you?" Dean glared.

"But this isn't about Sam, this is about you. And what I need you to do for me. Oh" the yellow eyed man held up a hand to forestall the immediate protest that came to Dean's lips, "I don't expect you to do anything for me. But" the demon looked back at the town from which Dean had just walked, "I wonder just who you would do it for?"

A gust of wind threw dirt into Dean's eyes as the yellow-eyed demon's mocking laughter filled the air. By the time Dean could see, the demon was gone. Dean was securing his weapon even as he sprinted back to the inn.

Running through the bar, Dean didn't even take notice of the regulars still slumped over their same drinks. He leapt up the stairs and threw open the door of their room to see a grisly sight. The girls lay sprawled over the beds with their throats cut. Blood splattered the walls and the floor.

"Sam? Sam!" Dean looked for his brother, but there was no sign of him.

Heading down the stairs to find out if anyone had seen anything, Dean stopped dead at the bar door. When running through, he had assumed that the regulars didn't take note of him due to their level of inebriation. Now it was evident that they were in the same state as the showgirls upstairs. Even the bartender was thrown face-down over the bar. As Dean approached the bar he noticed a piece of paper pinned to the counter top with a bloody knife. It was a map, and the knife pointed to a cemetery several miles out of town.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

A full moon rose in the sky, bathing everything in a surreal silvery light. Dean slowly steered onto the grounds of the cemetery. The ride over had been at top speed, but years of hunting had taught him to approach this type of situation carefully, despite instincts that screamed at him to get there to help his brother now! Running a hand along his "baby" in a silent gesture of thanks, Dean checked his weapons and began working his way through the cemetery.

Dean slowed his breathing and moved silently through the trees, skirting the headstones. There was movement next to a mausoleum near the middle of the cemetery. Creeping in closer, Dean saw Sam gagged and tied to a tree. He was covered in blood and superficial cuts. A man and a woman with Bowie knives were laughing as they tormented him. As Dean watched, their eyes flashed black. Dean felt a rush of anger. How dare those creatures touch his brother! Breathing deeply, he forced himself to calm down and assess the situation as he had been taught. His breath caught as he watched Sam hang his head.

Sam felt the fire of a dozen little cuts. The gag in his mouth tasted like old dirt and blood; he didn't even want to know where the demons had found it. The last thing he remembered was trying to get the girls out of the room, and then he had woken up tied to this tree in the middle of some cemetery. His head was pounding like it was about to burst.

Suddenly Sam noticed a glint of moonlight on metal in the shadows of the trees. He immediately tensed, headache all but forgotten. Was that Dean? He needed to warn him, but how?

"Well, it looks like the guest of honor has arrived to the party." A figure detached from the shadows of the building and walked into the clearing. "Howdy Dean."

Grasping a wooden stake and a wineskin full of holy water, Dean warily entered the clearing.

"Now, now" said the demon, "there's no need for those. At least not if you want your brother alive." The male demon pressed his knife into Sam's throat and a thin line of blood tricked down to the already bloody collar of Sam's shirt.

Dean held his hands out. "All right, OK. Just don't hurt him anymore."

"Oh, that's entirely up to you."

"What do you want?"

"Nothing too hard. I just want you to help me open a door. That's all."

"If I do this for you, do you promise that Sam will not come to any more harm, and he'll be set free?"

"My word is my bond." The yellow-eyed demon gave another humorless smile. "Now, if you'll just drop the weapons."

Sam made an inarticulate noise of protest which was choked off as the demon cruelly forced the knife further into his throat. Dean dropped his weapons and ignoring the silent plea in his brother's eyes, followed the demon into the mausoleum.

A heart-wrenching scream filled the air.

The creatures tormenting Sam turned to look and laugh. At their moment of inattention, Sam drew upon reserves he didn't realize he had and flexed the muscles in his arms and shoulders to their utmost. The rope that he had been slowly and steadily rubbing against the tree for the past hour snapped freeing Sam to punch the nearest demon in the face. As the demon reeled back, Sam wrestled the knife away from him, using the same motion to cut its throat. Black smoke poured out of the now dead human host. Upon realizing that she no longer had the advantage, the second demon also abandoned her host, who fell to the ground, unconscious or dead, Sam didn't care.

Sam swept up the stake of Palo Santo that Dean had dropped to the ground moments before. His tall frame crashed through the door, and between his momentum and the demon's surprise, was able to stake the demon to the ground. Confident that the demon wasn't going anywhere, he turned towards his little brother.

"Dean!" Dean was lying in a pool of blood that was spreading out from where he lay. Too much blood. Sam gathered his brother's pain racked body into his arms.

"Sam, I'm so . . . so sorry," apologized Dean in between gasps. His breathing was short and shallow. "This was all about me, it's all been my fault. Mom's death, Dad's death, everything. I'm sorry that your whole life has been about caring for me."

Sam shook his head. "No Dean, that's not true."

Hands shaking from the effort, Dean removed the silver ring from his finger. Sam choked back a sob. He couldn't remember a time when Dean's hand had been without that ring. Dean folded Sam's hand over the ring.

"Take this. Please. Pass it on to your children someday. Promise me that you'll keep going," Dean coughed, blood flecking his lips, "keep fighting."

"No." Sam breathed in denial.

Dean's eyes grew sharp, and his tone hardened. "Promise me. I need to know that my big brother is going to be out there, still saving people and still fighting the good fight. And that someday you'll have a family of your own. Please," pleaded Dean, "I need to know this wasn't all in vain. Promise me."

Sam looked into his brother's pleading eyes. Eyes that he had never been able to deny. "I promise." whispered Sam as his throat constricted and his chest tightened.

"Sam . . . I . . . " Dean choked, unable to get words out. He grabbed his brother's hand, silently asking for forgiveness and trying to impart the feelings that he had found so hard to verbalize before, and could now not physically say.

"I know my brother. I love you too." Sam softly said.

Dean's eyes softened, and his face relaxed into a smile. A smile that reminded Sam painfully of the infant he had carried out of their burning homestead years ago. The brother who, that day, he had sworn to protect, and now lay dying in his arms.

Dean exhaled and his body relaxed. His eyes shut, and his hand fell away from Sam's.

Pain. Unbearable. Unending. Loss. Sam closed his eyes and tried to remember how to breathe.

"Oh. How. Touching."

Anger. Rage. Fury. Sam's eyes snapped opened. He turned towards the trapped demon as he heard roaring in his ears and felt the blood pounding in his head.

The demon gave a sardonic smile. "There is no way to destroy me; you should know that by now. Kill this meat puppet, and I'll just come back in another one. Send me back to Hell, and I'll claw my way out and finish opening this Devil's Gate. Which I can do now, thanks to your brother's willing sacrifice." Smirk. "I just needed one of my 'special children' to do that job, and your 'brotherly bond' worked so well in getting him to participate."

Sam's fist slammed into the side of the demon's head silencing him. Sam leaned very close to the yellow-eyed demon's ear.

"By the time you get out of Hell," said Sam in a tight controlled voice, "I will have locked this mausoleum and cemetery far away from you and your ilk."

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Later, at his brother's side, Sam reflected that he had no satisfaction from exorcizing the demon. No pleasure either. Nothing lessened the burning pain of the jagged hole that had been ripped into his soul. The dam broke inside him, and he began to sob.

And as Samuel Colt held the broken body of his brother, tears coursing down his cheeks, he vowed that he would somehow find a way to permanently kill the demon, that he would pass the name of Dean and the knowledge of the YED to his descendents, and someday he or one of his descendents would kill that bastard for good.

John Winchester beamed down at the newborn infant held awkwardly in hands that suddenly seemed far too large. "You're right, Mary. He does look like a 'Dean'." John's tone turned teasing. "But don't you think he's a little young to be getting jewelry?"

Mary gave John a weary but contented smile. "The ring? That's been in my family for generations."