One month left on Dean's deal when Sam puts himself out there, just waiting for their paths to cross

A month before Dean's deal comes to a close, Sam puts himself out there waiting for their paths to cross.

He's not waiting to threaten her. Grapevine says he and his idiot brother let that stupid British bitch steal the colt right from under them. He's got no means, outside of a simple exorcism anyway, to end her existence in this body tonight.

"It's been awhile since I've had a gentleman caller," she says stepping into the light. "You'll have to update me on the protocol."

For a second there's surprise in his eyes.

That she actually showed up, that they're meeting because he wanted to, not because she felt like it. His hand drifts upward to his jacket, the ghost of the colt still prescient.

She's all smiles to his scowl, the dance begins again.

"You lied to me," he says.

"It's about the bigger picture Sam," she replies. "And no matter how much you want to deny it, you've got a starring role."

He scoffs quietly.

"In case you hadn't noticed, the war is here, I need you sharp."

His hands are lighting quick, grabbing her arms, the lost puppy dog look gone in a flash.

"What did you just say?"

The hint of a smile graces her lips, his effort at being forceful never failing to amuse.

"What?" She replies, knocking his hands away. "I want you on your game."

"He said that once," he utters darkly. "When he-"

She doesn't have time for this.

"It's an expression," she sighs impatiently. "Not a declaration of intent."

He steps back, freeing up space between them again.

"You're a liar."

"So I lied," she bites out. "Just like you and Dean do every time you put on your little suits and flash your fake badges. To get something you need to get the job done. Now I'm so very sorry Sammy boy, but it's over and done, get over it."

His hands slowly close into fists, she smiles wide enough to show teeth, as if he would ever.

"Do you want to hurt me Sam?" She coos.

"We're done here," he says slow and measured. "When I walk away I don't want to see you again."

He turns and moves out of the light.

"It doesn't work that way," she calls after his retreating back.

/\/\/\

One month after Dean's deal comes to a close, she finds him passed out on the floor of his motel room, dried blood caked to the side of his face, eyes fluttering underneath closed lids.

She reaches out a hand before thinking better of it, brushes some stray hairs away from his face. Dumbass has been running himself ragged for the past few weeks now, even she has had trouble keeping up, thinking that if he tips the karmic scale quick enough it might somehow bring his brother back.

He'd taken out a nest of Vampires entirely on his own, she'd arrived just in time to see him behead the last one, and now he can't even put himself on the bed before the exhaustion hits.

Hand still on his face, she stares down at it as if it's not her own, and he shifts slightly when she pulls away.

Idiot, she thinks.

Making her work so much overtime to try and keep him out of Lilith's line of sight, barely able to keep on top of her own objectives, and for what? Some hunter who would rather see the black cloud of her being, fade into oblivion, than actually help her destroy what he sets out to anyway.

She convinced Dean she was different, that not all of the person she used to be got burned away by hellfire. How she thought Sam would be the easier of the two to steer into that line of thinking.

There's too many pieces of him missing now, literally, figuratively, whatever. She wanted him colder, harder, more willing to do what's necessary. Now that he is all these things the catch is he wants nothing to do with her.

Shame really, he'd be an even greater asset this way.

Crouching down in front of him, she traces the edge of the fresh bruise ripening just under his left eye, something his unconscious body shies away from. She runs her fingers gently through the untamed mane of his hair, something he shifts toward.

She smirks at the obvious symbolism, the constant push and pull she has with him.

He moans something she can't decipher, and she decides it's time to go.

Making her way to the door she takes one last look back, then leaves him with his nightmares.

/\/\/\

Three months after Dean's deal comes to a close, she stands outside some old Victorian house just out of earshot of Sam's latest exorcism, the revenge play in his mind still gearing toward those of the demonic persuasion, she being the lone exception to the rule.

He doesn't seek out any one in particular, which in itself is a little unsettling, the stony methodical way he disposes of them would be a bit more acceptable to her had she been the one to point him in their direction.

She's standing at the end of the walkway when he makes his way out the door, arms crossed, impatiently tapping her foot.

He stops three feet in front of her. No hello, just an almost curious, yet blank, expression on his face.

"I'll admit the lone wolf thing works for you," she starts. "But we have bigger things to worry about right now than some rogue demon going for a joy ride."

"Is that right?" He says brushing past her and back to his car.

"Hey!" she shouts to his back. "This is important."

"To you maybe," he replies, not even bothering to turn around.

"Sam."

"What do you want from me Ruby?" He asks, finally turning to face her.

"What I've wanted from the beginning. To help you, help me; send all these black ghost bastards back to hell."

He smirks at her.

"Not including yourself right?"

She doesn't answer that.

"Look," she continues. "In case you haven't noticed there's still a little girl out there with a thirst for another Winchester's blood, and she's had your scent for months now."

"Hasn't caught me yet has she?" He shoots back.

"You really think that has anything to do with you?"

This time it's him who doesn't answer.

"If you're in such a big damn hurry to join your brother, maybe I'll just step aside; maybe I'll just let that little face of hers be the last thing you see before the big family reunion."

The anger that flashes in his eyes doesn't cause her to flinch at all.

"What do I have to do?" He asks.

She smiles triumphant.

/\/\/\

Six months after Dean's deal comes to a close, she's doing her best to control the thunderous beast of the Impala with one hand, while simultaneously trying to keep pressure on Sam's wounded head with the other.

She slams the pedal to the floor, the engine roaring in response, trying to put as much distance between them and the latest member of Lilith's little army as she can. His blood is so warm trickling past the rag she has pressed against his forehead and onto her fingers, the smell almost sickly sweet.

He hasn't moved since tossed him into the passenger seat, and she knows she has to get him to a hospital right fucking now, or the whole swooping in and saving the day thing would be rendered pointless.

Ten minutes pass when she flies by a familiar blue square with a giant H on it, the fleeting though that someone else besides her must be looking out for Sam Winchester.

Nurses jump to attention when she bursts through the doors with him on her arm. The questions start coming rapid fire, her lies answering just as quick.

What happened?

"We got mugged."

What was he hit with?

"A tire iron."

How long has he been unconscious?

"I'm not sure."

What is your relationship to the victim?

"I'm his wife."

Hours later she's still sitting on the chair next to the bed the put him in, listening to the endless beep of the heart monitor, looking at the dark red stain slowly growing on the large bandage wrapped around his head.

She reaches for his hand, knowing by the bandage that the nurse is due to change it any minute, putting the mask of the worried spouse back on. She'd already answered all the cop's questions, made up some small gang of local hoodlums that they'll probably end up ghost chasing for a week.

The heart monitor beeps a couple extra, and suddenly Sam's looking at her through drug-addled eyes.

"Wh-" he tries to choke out, stops and swallows dryly. "What are you doing here?"

"Same thing as always," she replies. "Saving your ungrateful ass."

He almost smiles, something she hasn't seen him do since Dean went down, the coldness in his heart melting for a brief second.

She knows she has to get out of there now. The way he's looking at her, it's the same as the day he found out she was once human, something she finds she can't stomach.

His eyes close wearily.

She makes sure she's not there when they open again.

/\/\/\

Nine months after Dean's deal comes to a close, she's gently tapping on the door of his latest motel room, bone weary, cheeks nearly flushed with embarrassment that she has nowhere else to go.

He opens the door with gun in hand, surprise on his face that it's her and that she actually knocked, before stepping aside and wordlessly letting her into the room. She collapses onto one of the beds, hoping he'll get the hint and not start in with the questions right away.

For a few minutes he doesn't say anything, but she can feel him staring, still standing by the door. Her eyes are so heavy she lets them close, feeling as if she hasn't rested this body since she took it, but still hears him move away from the door and toward the bathroom.

Suddenly there's something cold being pressed against her cheek, and it stings like hell, forcing her to open her eyes again. She sees Sam perched above her, wiping at her face with a damp cloth. She watches as he pours more alcohol onto it, gently running it along another part of her, the little crawling ant of a burn spreading with it.

"What are you doing?" She asks.

"You're bleeding."

His clipped tone tells her he doesn't really care that she is, his actions however, tell her otherwise.

"I'm fine."

He doesn't stop, and when he gets to her nose, she shrinks away entirely. Damn thing is probably broken. He notices, he wonders.

"I thought demons didn't feel pain."

"I can feel a lot of things."

He nods. "Who did this to you?"

"Someone who had something I wanted."

He waits.

"Does it matter? They're dead, I'm not."

Still waits.

"You're not curious about what I got?"

"Not really."

She shifts slightly, pulls the colt from her jacket, laughs softly at his surprise.

"Where did-"

"Doesn't matter," she reiterates, thinking of his face as the black light went out in his eyes, the bright orange spark from her blade burning him away.

His hand is back on her cheek again, no more wiping away blood though, and when her eyes meet his he's got that look again.

This time she's just too damn tired to run away.

/\/\/\

Twelve months after Dean's deal comes to a close, she's watching him pour a fresh salt line across the threshold. The idea of being burrowed inside by a simple white line makes the animal inside rattle against its cage, but they've worked far too hard to get caught in the dark now.

One by one they've been slowly taking out Lilith's lieutenants, infuriating the little witch to the point where they're traveling so far off the beaten path it's a wonder to her that they just don't get lost in all the back roads.

It's not even a motel they're in, more like a rented shack from anti-government types that need a place to hold their meetings and hide their guns.

The colt rests next to her on the bed, her knife propped right next to it, waiting for their next kill.

Sam reapplies some paint to the seal below the windowsill, after he'd already done the one by the door. She shrinks back in the bed a bit more, the metaphoric walls slowly closing in on her.

When he's done he moves back next to her, skin on skin, lets out a low even breath.

"I warned you what we would have to do to win," she says. "And you've been so good with me Sam." Her fingers trace the edge of her blade, move along the thin blanket and up to his shoulder, she can feel his eyes on them the whole time. "But I need you to tell me you're ready for this," she says. "I need to know you can do whatever it takes to finish it."

He puts his hand over the colt, runs his fingers along the barrel, before moving up to her arm. His eyes glaze over with the familiar ice, the determination, she smiles up at him.

She knows he can.