A/N: Okay, here's the fic I have been working on for a while now. It's been a little hard to write at times but I hope that makes it worth it. No supernatural baddie in this one people. Just crazy, evil people. I'm also still writing this one, the plot bunny on a leash has turned into a Were-rabbit and is dragging me behind it, so updates may or may not come every night like my past stories. Bear with me and I hope that a little waiting makes it more worthwhile. I should mention that to make everyone hate me, this one would be set between seasons two and three just after Dean makes the deal for Sam.

Have to thank a few people here. As always, my two best friends on the site, Blue Peanut and Sammygirl1963. THANKS SO MUCH FOR BACKING AND ENCOURAGING ME ON THIS. I hope the doc-x-ed sneak peaks don't lose anything when you read the rest of the fic around them. Also to Soncnica, thanks for the messages and the encouragement when it comes to not using a demon for the bad guy here. It's been great to talk to you over the past couple days and I hope to hear from you soon.

To everyone else, thanks in advance for reading and taking time to review. It'll get me writing faster if you let me know it's worth it. Enjoy...

Bridges Between Life and Death

Chapter 1

Dean pulled the Impala to a stop in the parking lot of a nice restaurant. Sam glanced through the windshield to take in the log sided diner with the red roof and green wood shutters. The sign read "Annie's Country Kitchen". Dean shut off the engine and looked in his brother's direction to see the smirk on his face.

"What?" Dean asked, stowing his ever present .45 in the glove compartment next to Sam's Berretta. He looked at the guns again, almost longingly, before closing the lid.

"Isn't this place a little high class for us Dean?"

"I don't know about you Sammy-boy but I could go for some of Annie's home cookin'." Dean got out of the car and walked up to the red door of the diner, Sam hurrying to catch up as his brother disappeared inside. They took a seat at a small table near the back, Sam staring at the gleaming long interior of the restaurant, beautiful scenes hand painted on saw blades and pieces of slate catching his eye as he took in the décor. The smell of chicken wafted from the kitchen at the back of the restaurant and a saloon type door banged open as a waitress wearing jeans and a deep blue and black flannel shirt came through. Her long blond hair was worn in a braid that flopped over her right shoulder.

"Hi Guys. I'm Jenny, I'll be your waitress. What can I get ya to drink?"

"What's good, Jenny?" Dean asked, smiling at the waitress.

"Our house iced tea is perfect. It's sweet and cold."

"Sounds good to us." Dean said.

"Great," She made a note on her order book, "you guys need some time to pick out what you want?"

"Sure. That'd be great."

"I'll bring your drinks."

Dean shifted his eyes to his brother. "That was…nice." Dean said with a smirk and an appraising glance at the jean clad behind that walked though the saloon doors and into the kitchen.

"Don't be an ass Dean."

"I'm not an ass. That was an ass. A nice ass."

"Ass." Sam said, grinning at his brother. "Are you gonna drool on the menu or actually read it?"

"Bitch." Dean said, casting his eyes to the green bordered menu before him.

"Jerk." Sam said, grinning again at his brother before lowering his eyes to his own menu. Jenny came back with a pitcher of tea and sat it and two glasses full of ice down in front of the brothers. They smiled their thanks and she pulled her notebook again.

"Have you guys decided what you want?"

"I'll have the roast chicken and a salad." Sam said.

"I'll have the house steak and mashed potatoes."

"How do you want the steak?"

"Medium rare. Gravy on the potatoes please."

"Sure thing. It'll be just a little bit."

The food arrived fifteen minutes later and the guys dug in with gusto. Sam and Dean talked good naturedly while they ate, soon polishing off every bit of food and the full pitcher of tea between them. Jenny came back out of the kitchen and collected the plates when they finished eating.

"Anything else guys? Dessert?"

Dean perked up at the mention of that. "What do you have?"

Jenny giggled at his enthusiasm. "Seven kinds of pie and homemade ice cream." She flipped his menu over after pulling it out of the holder at the side of the table.

"Peach pie and vanilla please." Dean said as he looked over the selection.

Sam took the menu and looked for a moment. "I'll have the Dutch apple and vanilla ice cream."

"Okay guys. I'll bring it out in just a minute." She walked off.

"What's better than a home cooked meal, pie and ice cream and a hot waitress at that?"

"You keeping your excitement contained?" Sam deadpanned with a grin on his face.

Dean's eyes lit up as he watched the pie and the waitress come back through the doors. Sam shook his head and laughed at the carnivorous look on his big brother's face, wondering if it was for the pie or the waitress. They enjoyed the pie as much as the meal, not noticing when three rough looking guys came through the door of the diner and took the booth near by. They looked at each other silently and glared at another waitress as she walked to the table. She quickly walked away. Dean and Sam stood, Sam putting a generous tip on the table. They walked the length of the diner to the cash register. Dean looked hard at the three men who sat in the booth. Something set his alarm bells to ringing loudly in his head.

He looked at his brother, sharing the knowledge that something was off with these guys without saying a word. He turned to Jenny who had come up to the register and began ringing them up. She had a pinched look about her face and was pale. "Jenny, what?"

She just glanced between the boys to look at the men, quickly dropping her gaze when one of them looked up. "Total's thirteen seventy-four." Jenny said softly with mock cheer. Dean handed her a twenty dollar bill. She handed him change for the twenty and whispered "I think something bad is going to happen. Please go, guys."

"Too late for that." A menacing voice growled from behind Dean as the three men stood and advanced on them. One of them pulled a Glock from his jacket pocket and another pulled a wicked looking bowie knife. "Give us all the money. NOW!" The one who spoke barked out. Jenny jumped. One of the men circled the counter and hurriedly smashed the lock on a metal drawer, pulling out and stuffing large amounts of money into a bag he'd taken from his jacket pocket. His gloved hands left no prints.

"Whoa, whoa. Why don't we talk about this for a minute?" Dean said calmly as he turned slowly to face the large man. The guy stood as tall as Sam and was twice as broad, heavily muscled arms straining the denim of the jacket he wore.

"Shut up." Denim said as he brought the butt of his gun up and moved to pistol whip Dean. Dean blocked and propelled a fist into the guy's gut. The man picked Dean up by the shoulders and threw him into the tables behind. Sam moved then, catching the big man with an uppercut as he heard Dean grunt from the impact with the red Formica table. Sam's hand stung. The other armed man took the knife to Sam and swung it. It caught him high in the chest, a slashing wound that sliced his shirt and drew a cry from him.

"Sam!" Dean cried out, lurching to his feet, blood caking the side of his head and running down his neck. He barreled into the man with the knife as he advanced on Sam again. Jenny bolted around the counter and dove for the phone at the back of the diner to call the police. A shot rang out and she dropped, crying out as a bullet entered her chest. "You sonofabitch!" Dean growled as he punched Knife in the jaw and was rewarded with a crunch and a howl before he was flung off. He landed hard on his back several feet away, the man, Knife, jumping to his feet and cleaning out the till before running out the door of the restaurant, the man with the bag already outside. Sam stood and stopped Denim as he tried to move past. Sam was shoved aside hard, his shoulders breaking out the glass in the display case that held all kinds of vintage sixties items. Dean lunged again, coming up against the man with the gun. The man whirled and fired. Dean felt a bullet burn through his torso, pain stopping his fight instantly. The bullet hit high in Dean's left chest. He felt blood pumping furiously as he fell to his knees still gripping the denim jacket. The man shook him off and Dean slumped sideways. Denim snarled and turned the gun on Sam's unconscious body. "No… Please…" Dean said. The gun went off, drowning out Dean's broken pleas. Sam's body jumped with the impact, blood splattering the walls of the display case and the items inside. Blood blossomed on Sam, coming from his nose, the ear Dean could see and the corner of his mouth. Dean watched through a narrowing tunnel of vision as blood ran down the side of Sam's head to stain his already bloody red and gray flannel. Dean's tunnel closed off and he succumbed to the darkness that beckoned. One more shot rang out as the chef that worked for the restaurant came through the saloon doors with a rifle in hand. The denim jacketed man watched as the chef fell to the floor, a neat hole in his forehead. The rifle clattered to the bloody carpet beside him having never been fired. The large man looked once more at the carnage with a sneer on his face before joining his friends in the truck that sped off into the evening.

A white light appeared in the dim diner, making the darkness of impending death retreat. The woman knelt beside the fallen hunter, holding her hands out over his still form. He was on his side on the carpet, a large pool of blood surrounding him. The light that infused the room shrouded the hunter and grew to blinding. The woman moved, standing and pulling the hunter to his feet, his form translucent as it was encompassed by the white. The woman grasped an insubstantial hand and pulled the man away from the carnage behind him, unwilling to allow him to see. As it faded and the interior darkened to the softness of the ambient lighting the woman and hunter faded with the glow. Sirens rang out in the approaching darkness.

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Hazel eyes fluttered open, taking in the haziness of the white room before finally

focusing. As white ceiling tiles came into focus Sam felt a harshness at the back of his throat. He gagged; feeling like his throat was blocked. His hands scrabbled to his chest and he gagged again fighting against the pressure and the choking feeling. He felt someone grab at his hands and he continued to choke, panicked by the rough touch. A voice broke through his panic and he recognized it.

"Sam! Sam, son, you gotta calm down kid. You're on a vent. It's there to help. Sam, calm down. Don't fight it." Sam's eyes screwed shut and he willed himself to calm down. He heard the too familiar whoosh-click of the ventilator and knew that was the start of the air delivery that he desperately needed. He drew on the breath when he felt the expansion of his lungs. His hands went limp, resting in the calloused, warm ones that circled his and rested on his chest. He took several more breaths and finally opened his eyes, trying to bring the person with him into focus. Bobby's face swam into his line of sight and he blinked at the haggard look on his friend's bearded features.

"That's it kid. Just breathe okay? I'm gonna call the doctor, see if we can't finally get you off that thing." Sam nodded minutely and watched as Bobby let go of one of his hands and pressed the call button fastened to the head of the bed. A nurse came through the door and looked at the two hunters, a huge smile brightening her pretty face.

"Oh, it's so good to see you awake, Sam! I'm Jean, your nurse. I'm gonna get your doctor. He'll be thrilled to see those eyes of yours open." She took his vitals quickly and smiled at both Sam and Bobby before leaving the room. A few minutes later a doctor came through the door, a tall man with a fit build and kind brown eyes.

"Sam, it's nice to meet you finally. I'm David Benton, your doctor. I just want to examine you and see if we can't take that tube out, alright?"

Sam nodded a minuscule amount again and flinched as the doctor slid a cold stethoscope under his gown against his chest. It moved to several different locations, finally warming up before the doctor pulled it away. "I'm going to ask you a few questions, just move your head to answer, not too much though. I don't want the irritation in your throat to get worse. Do you have any pain?"

Sam shook his head a little in the negative. Bobby smiled slightly; still keeping a hold on the one hand that gripped his, which he'd moved back to Sam's side.

"Do you remember what happened to you?" Sam's eyes began to move rapidly as the ventilator clicked again. He looked at Bobby, fear making his eyes grow wide as he squeezed his old friend's hand. He cast his eyes back to the doctor and shook his head again. No.

"Well, it's really to be expected. It should return now that you're able to think back on things. It's normal to be a little confused with this type of injury." The doctor said as he lifted the head of Sam's bed to a more upright position. "Let's take this tube out and get you more comfortable." Sam nodded, relieved to be getting the obstruction taken care of. The doctor reached out and pressed the button on the bed. Seconds later Jean, the pretty nurse, came through the door.

"Jean, would you get Sam here a cup of ice chips?"

"Yes, doctor." She said as she smiled reassuringly at Sam before walking back out of the room.

"Now, when I grip the tube I want you to take a deep breath and hold it. I'm going to count to three and on three I want you to blow as hard as you can. Can you do that for me?"

Sam nodded. The doctor gripped the end of the tube after disconnecting it from the ventilator. Sam drew a deep breath of the room air through the tube, making a whistling sound and held it. "Okay, one…two…three." The doctor pulled as Sam blew and the tube slid out with a wet, sucking sound leaving Sam coughing violently. Tears leaked from his tightly clenched eyes and Bobby stepped close, rubbing his back as he sat up and hunched in on himself. The coughing subsided, leaving Sam exhausted as he fell back to the bed against Bobby's hand.

"Easy Sam. Just take it easy kid." Bobby soothed as Sam closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing. Jean returned with some ice chips and handed the cup to Bobby who nudged Sam to open his eyes before spoon feeding him a couple slivers of the ice. He let it dissolve slowly and wet his mouth before he swallowed and felt it soothe his throat.

"Bobby…" Sam croaked out, his throat so raw it felt like it was bleeding.

"Don't you try to talk right now." Bobby admonished sternly, holding two more little discs of ice in the spoon up to Sam's lips. Sam nodded and took the offering, allowing the ice to dissolve. He felt his eyes growing heavy and tried to fight it, to stay awake. His friend saw the fight happening and put the cup of ice down on the bedside tray. "You need rest Sam. Don' fight it. I'll be here." Bobby smoothed back Sam's hair, grimacing as his hand contacted the raised scar from the surgery that Sam had had on his head. He waited for Sam's cry of pain and his heart wrenched when it didn't come.

Instead Sam nodded and his eyes slipped closed on a heavy lidded blink. They stayed that way.

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Dean groaned; the pain in his chest cresting as he drew a deep breath. He rubbed at it and felt the soft material of his shirt. He wore a flannel of rich tones of brown and gray that his brother had bought for him to replace one of many that had been trashed over the course of the endless hunts they had been on in the past couple months. Awareness slowly filtered in to Dean's mind as he took the cool, crisp air deep into his lungs on another breath. He groaned again and then relaxed as the pain faded. Green eyes popped open to see a blue sky about him through tall pine trees. Wisps of white clouds drifted in the blue and Dean remembered a time when he had laid in a park on the manicured grass, a snoozing four year old Sam curled into his side as they soaked up the early June sun. "Sammy, wake up." Dean sat up, feeling lethargic, and glanced around. Dean took in the surroundings, a meadow, surrounded by tall stately pines, maples with golden edged light green leaves and singing birds. The sun was warm on his shoulders and a sense of peace invaded him. Dean stood and turned, expecting to see his brother lounging nearby. Dean faltered when he spun a circle and didn't see Sam. He took a couple steps and scanned again. "Sammy!" Dean listened for a response for a second before worry darkened his green eyes. He began to pace through the forest. Dean took several paces and cupped his hands to his mouth. "SAMMY!" He began to run, panic over not being able to find his brother taking over. "What the hell is going on here?"

He had been wandering for a while through the forest he thought when he came upon the bridge. It was long, made of steel and black. It spanned a gorge of sorts and as he walked upon it, his booted feet clanking on the steel he felt a pressure on his chest. It intensified as he neared the center and finally he had to stop, catching his breath in gasping pants as the force suddenly released him. He leaned against the rail of the bridge, a steel girder that ran the length of the bridge in twenty foot spans about waist high. As he looked over the rail into the depths of the gorge, which seemed to disappear into a swirling fog, he wondered how he'd wound up where he was. The last thing he remembered was… well…

"Damnit, why can't I remember?"

"Because you're not meant to yet." A voice sounded out close to him, bringing him out of his reverie. He turned to find a woman standing several feet away from him on the bridge, her white dress clinging to her olive skinned curves. He looked her over, taking in her high cheekbones, dark, straight hair and odd colored eyes. Dean frowned at her.

"And just why not? Who the hell are you?"

"I'm Maris. I'm here to help you Dean."

"Who says I need your help?"

"Do you know where you are?"

"Well…no."

"Then I'm here to tell you."

"Listen, Maris… I'm not sure I want the kind of help that just appears outta thin air. Kinda creepy."

"Fair enough. I'll see you when you decide you want to get back to your brother." She turned and walked towards the end of the bridge, leaving Dean staring after her as she suddenly was standing on the end of the bridge, a fog swirling around her ankles.

"Whoa! Wait." Dean stepped towards her, more towards the center of the bridge. He felt the pressure building on his chest again, suffocating him. It stopped him before he reached the center of the bridge. She looked over her shoulder before turning away again. "Please!" he shouted. Maris turned back to see him standing with his hand out like he was reaching for her. He stepped forward, his other hand rubbing his chest absently. "Please." He said quietly. His eyes fell for a split second and when he glanced up she was by his side again, her tiny hand over his on his chest, the pressure there was gone.

"What happened to me? How did I get…" he gestured to their surroundings, "here?"

"I don't know what happened to you Dean. I've only know that you have a purpose. I'm here to help you find out what that is."

"A purpose? Look lady, I don't know what kind of acid you're on but the only purpose I have is…"

"Your brother? You're more than just your brother Dean."

"No I'm not. Sammy is my life."

"And you sold your soul for him. It wasn't yours to sell Dean."

"Yeah? Then how did I get him back? That was the deal, my soul for his life and he came back to me."

"You both have a higher purpose Dean. You and Sam, you're meant to save a lot of people. You already have saved so many."

"I don't get you. Why am I even here, wherever the hell here is? Where's my brother? Why can't I remember anything?"

"Come with me. I have a lot to show you." Maris took Dean's hand in her tiny one and turned him around to the direction he'd come from. She moved forward and Dean fell in just behind her, watching her with an air of mistrust, his mind working over time.

A/N: Okay, first chapter down, two brothers down. Is that a start or what? Let me know if this is worth finishing. I'll answer every review and have the next chapter up sometime over the weekend. Love to everyone who hits that beautiful little button!