AN: Okay so by the end of my last chapter I was so psyched that I truly believed that I would have this one up right away, but then I got struck by a severe case of writer's block, followed by my monitor going out on my laptop. Then I had to wait for my brother to give me back my old laptop – which really doesn't matter b/c not only does it not have wireless – yes, it's that old – it had kept deciding to go out on me. No it wasn't the blue screen of death but more like its cousin the blue screen of memory dumping. But fortune was on my side as I realized "Hey! I can connect the first laptop to an external monitor and still have internet and access my files!" This lasted for about as long as it took to get a virus on my monitor disable bundle of joy and left me without a computer for another couple months. Okay, so, long story short – too late, right? – I now have a new laptop and a better equipped muse and I hope you like the next installment.

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"Nah…" Dean crinkled his brow in thought. "That couldn't possibly work." Dean grabbed the phone and set it in his lap and stared down at it as if it held the answers to the universe. He picked up the receiver then placed it back in its cradle with a huff. "It's not like you got any working plans, Hilts." Dean cocked his head to the side, arched a single brow and said "What the hell…" With a shrug of a shoulder he removed the handset again and started dialing his brother's cell.

Dean listened to the rapid ticks of the connection being made, surprised that he was getting that much, and after the fourth series of ticks he heard the click of the call being received and sat up straighter. "Sam..?"

Chapter 8

We're sorry. The number you have reached has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again. Beep, beep, beep. We're sorry. The number you have reached has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again.

"You're friggin hilarious!" Dean shouted up in the air. "Figures I'd get possessed by the one demon who thinks he's a damn comedian!" Placing the handset back in the cradle none to gently, Dean dropped the phone onto the mattress beside him with a heavy sigh. He knew it would have been longer than the longest long shot but he figured that, with his apparent connection to Sam and his brother's inclination towards demon-rooted psychic weirdness, there could have been a small chance it would have worked.

Dean leaned his elbows on his knees and rubbed his face before resting his forehead on clasped hands. He tried to push past the disorientation that still clouded his thoughts and focus on the situation at hand. "Okay, think this through. Demon 101 states that if you are alive and possessed you are aware of what your possessed ass is doin'. So why can't I see what's goin' on?"

Dean raised his head and took a look around the room again. "I've gotta be missing something." Everything looked ordinary to him if you could call a room from the Shinning ordinary. Yet he could tell something was different from the first time he found himself here. His eyes roamed over everything, looking more closely over the details of the room. Looking at not just the whole but parts of the whole. He examined the table, its legs, the cabinets and the chairs. He looked at everything and the harder he looked the more he found himself staring at the wallpaper and brick.

It was like staring at an optical illusion where images were hidden within images. At a passing glance, you would never see the bigger picture but, once you knew to look, details would emerge. And details are what he saw when he looked at the wallpaper and took note of the varying shades of green and how they shifted from light to dark. He could see it in the brick in the varying shades of red and the unevenness of the surface. He forced himself to focus beyond the surface until these subtle changes began to solidify and shift before his eyes forming shapes, patterns until finally he saw it. The symbols. The way the colors blended and flowed to form sigils. The rough and uneven surfaces of the brick creating wards. And in between it all was the faint image of Sam staring up in wide-eyed desperation.

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Sam had known the minute he'd heard the door slam open and the wind had started picking up that it would be only a matter of a few moments before the demon would get out. Get out and kill him then kill anyone else who happened to be in its way. There was no time for second guessing he needed to get this done before the demon got loose.

Standing at the open trunk of the '67, Sam grabbed a gallon jug of holy water and doused the tarp he'd set before him, shifting the heavy material to make sure that it was completely saturated. Dropping the now empty container, Sam grabbed the edges of the fabric firmly and quickly turned towards the door.

With a suddenness that left the young hunter breathless, Sam felt as if the world had simply dropped from underneath him. The air whooshed around him as his feet left the ground and the hand now wrapped around his throat forced him down onto the pavement. Black spots were just beginning to play across his eyes when he found himself being lifted and slammed up against the trunk of the Impala. His eyes shut with the impact then shot open in desperation. He brought his hands up to grasp the wrist of his attacker, straining for the breath being denied him as his face turned red from the pressure.

It was the hiss of rising smoke and the grunt of pain that wasn't his own that broke through the darkness threatening to overwhelm Sam that made him realize that he had somehow managed to hold onto the tarp. Fighting the instinct to pull his attacker's hand from his throat, Sam gripped the tarp with both hands and pushed it against the demon.

The demon screamed in pain and rage as the holy water made contact with its host and it released its hold in a vain attempt to get away from the offending material. Sam gasped for breath but didn't stop to enjoy it. Instead, pressing his advantage, he brought them both to the ground and managed to somehow completely wrap the heavy fabric around his brother. The sound of Dean's deep throat screams grew with the rising mist and Sam brought his fist back and struck the covered demon where he knew his head to be. It hurt him to hit Dean's already weakened body and he knew that he more than likely made his head injury worse but the sooner he got him under control the sooner he could fix what was broken.

Coughing and gasping for more breath, Sam staggered to his feet. Shaking his head to clear the spots that continued to dance across his vision, he bent down and took a hold of his brother's canvas covered ankles. Wrapping his arm around the squirming appendages, he secured them to his side and proceeded to drag his brother towards the house.

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Dean fell to the floor in pain. Barely contained grunts of agony escaped clenched teeth as his whole body convulsed like it was on fire. The feel of thousands of needles dancing across his skin forced his joints to lock him into a fetal position on his side as he instinctively tried to pull away from the pain running throughout his epidermis.

On some level he knew that this wasn't really his pain, knew that Sam was doing something to the demon to cause this but he had no way of separating himself from it. So he endured the torture for what felt like an eternity until his body collapsed, the burning turning into a throbbing ache. Deep exhausted breaths were the only movements he allowed himself as he tried to recover. Face pressed into the carpet, Dean dragged his arms up and braced his hands beneath him in an attempted to sit up but he only succeeded in rolling onto his back instead.

"Jesus, Sammy," he gasped, closing his eyes. "What the hell?" The attempt at sitting up having failed, the hunter instead continued to focus on breathing through the ache that remained. With each breath, Dean forced his muscles and joints to relax and pushed the pain aside. It was by no means a permanent fix towards relief but it helped.

"Shit," he hissed. Dean slowly opened his eyes and focused on the ceiling above him. It was like looking through opaque glass, one ceiling superimposed over another. Then his perspective shifted and he was again staring into the face of his brother. Hearing the whisper of his voice but not knowing what he was saying. Then not caring as he saw his favorite she-bitch step up beside him.

"What the hell is she doing here?"

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"Pretty creative."

"Yeah." Sam spared the blonde demon a glance before returning his eyes to the bloodied and battered form of his brother kneeling before him. The tarp had been Dean's idea born of the unwillingness to continually draw the devil's trap over and over again. The older Winchester had made it sound as if it were because he was lazy but the practicality of it was not lost on Sam as they set out to hunt as many of those demonic sons of bitches down as they could.

Ruby had shown up during his failed attempt at exorcising the demon with a cocky strut and a pendant swinging from one hand. The only thing he'd accomplished was to cause his brother more pain and cause himself heartache at failing his brother yet again.

He knew Dean would never blame him for not taking Jake's life that first time, the end result being his own death and Dean's subsequent deal, but he did. His life seemed to be full of 'shoulda-woulda's lately and if he couldn't save his brother from this particular demon how the hell was he going to get him out of his deal?

"What are you doing here, Ruby?" he asked absently bringing a hand up to his throbbing neck. The clear red outline of the handprint now marring his throat had already started turning towards the first shades of a bruise by the time he'd gotten his brother into the house. That encounter had been close.

"I had a feeling something was going to happen and thought that you might need a hand," she replied, the cord of the pendant pulled taught between her hands.

"What?" Sam let loose a short humorless chuckle. "You felt a disturbance in the force and came running?" The skepticism was not lost on the woman as she turned to face him.

"No, Sam," her nose twitched in irritation. "Former witch, remember? I pay attention to the signs. I know you still don't believe me but your future existence is of great importance to me and what happens to your brother is directly linked to that. There's no love loss between Dean and myself, as you well know, but if I can help…"

"Thanks, Ruby. I…"

"Isn't this - just - sweet." The deep timbre of Dean's voice rolled across the room and both Sam and Ruby turned their attention back to where it should have been. The demon grinned, showing nothing but teeth as he stared up at his captors through hooded eyes. Eyes black as pitch and face cold as ice. The vapors of holy water were still rising with a hiss where his knees and the balls of his feet made contact with the saturated tarp. "You aren't sweet on the boy are you, Ruby?"

Sam clenched his jaw as he stared down at the trapped demon before him, neither hunter nor young demon rising to the bait. "You gotta help me get this son of a bitch outta Dean."

"That's what this is for," Ruby replied handing Sam the pendent. The pendant was old and well worn. Eight spindles bordered the object like rays of a sun while the inner surface was covered in what Sam recognized as Icelandic runes of protection and power. "Wrap that around your hand with the runes against your palm when you do the exorcism again."

"And it'll work?" Sam asked.

"Yes."

A deep rumbling laugh came from the devil's trap at the tail end of Ruby's response causing the girl to bare her teeth at him. "You know… Belial misses you, Ruby. He wasn't very happy when you broke ranks."

Sam watched as Ruby's brows twisted in anger and her eyes flashed black before returning to human blue, the thought that Ruby knew this demon giving Sam momentary pause. "You can tell him I said hello then, Bathin. Send him back to hell, Sam. His stink is even more than even I can bear."

"Why don't you tell him the rest of it,...Ruby. Tell him the odds of his brother coming out of this alive because I will not go easily," he grinned then turned to Sam. "By the time I'm done with this meat suit you call a brother, there…" he stuck his fingers into the tattoo framed wound in Dean's chest, "won't be a drop…" he dug in deep as the blood started to quickly flow, "of blood left in his body."

"You son of a bitch!" Sam stepped forward, his body shaking from anger and agitation. "Get out, Ruby."

"Sam, don't let –"

"Now!" Sparing Sam, then the demon, one last glance Ruby left the house.

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AN: Okay, y'all. I ain't gonna lie and say the next chapter's around the corner. It took a couple of snow days for me to get this one up. But don't worry! I will not stop until this bitch is done!