Um. Wow. This is it. I can't believe this story is finally over. And right before I leave for school, too. Lucky break :)


Epilogue

Rebuilt

Sam stared out the window, looking down at the gravel drive that led away from Bobby's house- his house for the past two years. It was still hard for the psychic to believe that it had been that long since the plague had ravaged a world already at the brink of destruction. Two years that should have felt like an eternity had gone by in the blink of an eye, bringing about the reformation of society, the gradual subtraction of tents from the salvage yard as things got back to the way they had once been.

They'd cleared out the bodies, taken the cars off the roads, cleaned the houses. They had moved on, spread out from the small, dilapidated house on the outskirts of Sioux Falls. They'd taken their world back.

Sam smiled as a bright red mini-van pulled up the drive and stopped in front of the house, the door sliding open in anticipation.

The front door to the house banged back and Ben appeared in the yard, backpack slung over one shoulder. He turned and waved back toward the house, where Sam was sure the boy's father was standing to see him off to school. The eleven-year-old turned his face to the window, smiled, and waved up at his uncle, who waved back.

Ben turned back toward the van and jumped in, sliding his pack off his shoulder and pulling the door shut. The van turned, pulling out of the drive, and Sam caught a brief glimpse of the woman behind the wheel, a woman that, by all means, shouldn't have been alive.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o

They had started cleaning up the mess, the demons dragging away the corpses of fallen psychics and abandoned hosts as Sam sat on the hillside and examined his brother's back.

"They're not that deep," he said, his fingers gently ghosting over the tender skin around the wounds. "Not as deep as they could be, anyway. You feeling all right?"

Dean nodded. "Yeah. And shouldn't I be asking you that question?"

"What do you mean?"

The older man pulled his shirt back down over his head, wincing as the tacky fabric touched the open gashes. He pushed himself to his feet, using Ben for support. "Well, I'm not the one who went nuclear and usurped the throne."

Sam groaned. "I didn't usurp anything."

"Killed the Queen Bitch." The younger man looked pointedly at his nephew. "What?" Dean asked. "You think he's never heard that word before? He's nine. He can have a colorful vocabulary if he wants to."

"You're a horrible father," Sam said, unable to hide a grin as he shook his head in mock disgust.

Dean smiled and wrapped a protective arm around his son, his eyes flitting over the clean-up that was taking place around them in the aftermath of the war. He had to marvel at how quickly most members of Lilith's army turned their loyalty to his brother. He still wasn't entirely sure if that was a good thing or not, but decided to leave the internal debate for another day.

Someone Dean didn't recognize came running up the hill toward them. He stopped about a foot in front of the trio, his body going rigid, hand flattening before flying to his head in a salute. "Sir?"

Sam sighed. "It's Sam. Call me Sam."

"Yes, sir. Uh, Sam."

"What is it?"

"She's alive."

Sammy narrowed his eyes, glancing toward Sarah's body. "She is?"

The demon shook his head. "Not her. I wouldn't be talking to you if she was still alive. It's the other one." He turned and pointed to the other hill, the small group crowded around something lying on the ground.

"Meg's host?" Dean asked. "She's alive?"

The demon nodded. "Yes, sir. Breathing, at least."

The brothers glanced at each other before starting down the hill and into the massive clean-up that was taking place in the valley. They passed through the demons, which nodded and stepped aside as they walked, and climbed the hill on the other side.

The group around the girl noticed them coming and stepped quickly away, giving her room to breathe. Sam knelt by the broken body. "Hey. You ok?"

The girl stared up at him with wide eyes. "I can't feel my legs."

A sudden pang of guilt rocked the psychic's system as he remembered lashing out at Meg, sending her tumbling down the stairs, where she landed with a broken neck. "All right. Let's take a look." He knew he shouldn't touch her, knew he shouldn't move her, but he couldn't help but feel responsible. He slid one hand carefully under her head, while the other supported her ruined neck.

He didn't know what to do, was at a loss. He couldn't leave her there to rot, to waste away to nothing, but he couldn't take her back to Bobby's. The risk was just too great.

He wished he could fix her, could undo the damage that he'd stupidly inflicted upon the innocent host.

Sam sighed. There was nothing he could do, no matter how much he wanted to help. It wasn't like he could will her body to repair itself. She wasn't possessed, simple commands wouldn't work. He couldn't-

He gasped as he felt something flow through him, something that rushed from the back of his mind to the tips of his fingers, flooding from his body into hers. Of course. He's forgotten to close the door. Hell, there wasn't even a door left anymore, just a gaping hole that a flood of power had rushed through, ending the war and his life.

The girl's body stiffened in his grasp, her still form glowing with the same light that had enveloped him after he'd surrendered to what he was, what he could do.

The light faded, the girl relaxed, and Sam pulled his hands away, suddenly aware of the sensation that he was being watched. He turned to find Dean staring at him.

"What the hell was that?" the older man asked.

Sam shrugged. "Beats me."

The girl sat up. "I can feel my legs again." All eyes turned to her as she smiled and got her feet. "You healed me."

The brothers looked at each other. "Cool," Dean said. Sammy had to agree. It was kind of cool. For the first time since he'd started dreaming of his girlfriend's death, he began to wonder what else he could do.

And then the girl coughed.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Two years seemed like a lifetime to Sam. It had been two years of fixing things, getting everything in order, accepting what he had become.

Dean called him the Mayor of Freakville. He couldn't help but agree.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

The girl's name was Amy. She had told him that between coughing fits. It turned out that Sam's apparent healing ability couldn't clear the mark on her soul, couldn't wipe the infection off the face of the earth.

Amy was going to die. Everybody knew it. The demon that had been keeping her alive had fled, leaving her to face disease and death.

He had led the armies, now both apparently willing to follow him, back to the salvage yard, carrying Amy most of the way as her body turned on her. The first thing he'd done upon his arrival had been getting her a bed, laying her out flat, and waiting.

Sam couldn't help but feel the guilt for her situation. And this time, he was sure that there was nothing he could do to ease her suffering. He had tried, but nothing had worked.

And then Dean had voiced his brilliant plan for the girl's salvation. Sam had been standing in the doorway to the room he'd set her in, watching over her as he had since she'd originally fallen ill, when he'd felt a presence beside him.

Dean had simply stood there for a while, as if building up the courage to say what needed to be said. Finally, he found his voice and took the plunge.

"You can fix this."

"How?" Sam asked, his eyes never leaving the dying girl's body as she slept.

Dean took a deep breath. "Immunity's carried in the blood, right?"

"So?"

"So, people with the right blood don't get sick."

"And?"

"And," Dean said. "You've probably got the biggest dose of the vaccine in you right now." He paused, searching his brother for signs of anger at the suggestion. "Maybe it's time you share the love."

Sam finally turned to him. "I'm not doing that."

"You're not gonna save her life? Seriously? After everything we've been through?" Dean shook his head. "Guess I could find someone else. Yellow-Eyes probably got to a couple of kids before we stopped him. I'll just slice some cute little two-year-old's arm open."

The younger man sighed. "I'm not gonna ruin her life like that. Don't you get it? This isn't good. It's tainted blood."

"It's saving blood." He stepped closer to the psychic, the boy king, the new leader of the demon world. "Don't you get it? All of those people out there, everyone that's possessed… you could give them their freedom back. You could save them from spending the rest of their lives as slaves. And if it travels in the blood, they can have kids without fear. I mean, we should probably try to repopulate the world, right?"

Sam sighed again, turning back to the girl in the bed. His brother had a point, had obviously been itching to try this since they'd lost Bobby, and he wasn't going to give up without a fight. "Give me your knife."

Dean smiled, whipping out a pocket knife and flipping it open before handing it to his brother. "Knew you'd cave."

"Shut up."

Sam walked into the room, trying to keep his steps as soft as possible. Amy stirred, rolling over in the bed to look up at him with bloodshot eyes. "Sam?"

"Yeah," he said. "How ya feeling?"

She attempted to grin, and failed. "Like I've maybe got a day left."

"Maybe more," he muttered. "I need you to open your mouth for me, ok?"

A look of confusion crossed her face, but she did as she was told, parting dry lips and leaning her head back on the pillow. Sam glanced back at his brother before rolling up his sleeve and drawing the knife across his arm, slicing the skin under the scar that their first encounter with Gordon Walker had left.

He turned his arm slighting, watching with disgust as the blood dripped slowly into the girl's open mouth. She stared up at him through a haze of sickness. "What was that for?"

"Hopefully," he said, pulling his arm back toward his body, "a cure."

o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Amy had been in college when Meg had found her and forced her to drop out. She'd been studying to become a teacher. She was using the three years of classes she'd been able to take to educate the children in the town, playing teacher for the rag-tag group of all ages.

Obviously, she had lived. And, obviously, Dean had found a way to spread the love, breaking into a near-by hospital and stealing syringes, offering up life to anyone who wanted it.

Sam had pointed out that the demons wouldn't be lining up to abandon their hosts, but that hadn't been a problem. All he'd had to do was announce the plan, and order the demons that weren't welcome to leave the bodies. They had hung around, of course, sticking close to their leader, assuming corporeal forms if they were powerful enough.

Ruby had gotten back about a week after he had, cooing her congratulations and again referring to him as the Anti-Christ. He had been about to argue with her when she suddenly hit her knees before him, bowing her head. She'd been running small errands for him and Dean ever since.

Meg was still MIA. Ruby believed she'd been scared enough to go to Lawrence and through the open Gate. Dean hadn't taken that news well, and sent a group out to close the doors to Hell, once and for all. They all agreed that they never should have been opened in the first place.

The psychic started and turned as footsteps pounded down the hallway outside of his room. He'd been lost in thought, lost in the past. He smiled as Dean walked in. "Hey."

"Hey." The older man walked up beside him, staring out the window at the town that lay beyond the salvage yard, smirking as a black cloud of smoke rose above the houses and darted overhead. "Hard to believe, huh?"

Sam shook his head. "Still can't get over it." Something tickled at the back of his mind, an urgent need, a request. He sighed. "What's wrong now?"

"Remember that storm that blew through yesterday?"

"How could I forget?" Lightning had split the sky, the wind had blown over almost half the trees near the house, and the grocery store had caught fire.

"Well, the lightning might have knocked something down, 'cause half the town doesn't have power."

The younger man rolled his eyes. "Man. What else could go wrong?"

"Hey, I told Mark not to complain about the lights going out. I mean, there are worse things that could happen, right? But does he listen? No. He wants someone on it as soon as freakin' possible." Dean shook his head. "Told him he was lucky we even have power in the first place."

Sam grinned. "I'll get on it later today."

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Dean sighed, staring up at the darkened light fixture. "We need to find some way to get the power back on," he said for the hundredth time since they'd returned from war.

"Get the power back on," Sam mocked, "save the hosts. You know, you could do some of this."

"Hey, I lugged your heavy ass upstairs when you passed out from blood loss."

"Which was your fault in the first place," Sam reminded him. "Besides, I don't know what you want me to do about it. Not like I'm an electrician."

Dean sighed again and laid his head on the kitchen table. They'd been back for a couple of weeks, long enough for Amy to fully recover, and there was still a lot to do. Mostly, Sam just wanted to focus on getting the tents out of his front yard. Dean wanted to make sure the houses in the near-by town could sustain life before sending the general public away.

More than anything, though, Sam just wanted a little time alone, a chance to sneak away and play around. The door was off the hinges, power flooding every part of his brain, coursing with his healing blood through his veins.

Dean had been right. He wasn't evil. He could feel that now. The demon, his father, and even his brother had spent years putting ideas into his head, and now that he had discovered their initial beliefs about him to have been false, he wanted to see what he could do.

He gazed up at the lamp that hung over the table, his mind wandering. He wasn't an electrician, but maybe he didn't have to be. He grinned as an idea hit him. "Where's the fuse box?"

"Basement. Why?"

"Come with me," Sam said, jumping from his seat.

"Ok. Why?"

"Want someone to be there in case I electrocute myself."

"Oh," Dean rolled his eyes, "well, then, I'm already liking this idea."

The brothers stumbled down the stairs and into the darkened basement, their hands brushing the walls as they searched the blackness for the fuse box.

"Mind filling me in, here, Sammy?"

Sam shrugged, not that his brother could see it. "Got an idea."

"You know flipping a few switches down here won't work if the main power's off in the town, right?"

The younger man didn't bother to respond. He'd found what he was looking for. He stretched out a hand, placing his palm against the front of the box, not even bothering to pull back the cover. He ducked is head and closed his eyes, concentrating on what he needed to do.

He felt it again, that power, strong, but timid with lack of use. He reigned it in, gathered it up, forced it out in a single blast that tingled from his head to his chest to his arm to his fingertips, spreading out as it hit the fuse box and sparked the electricity in the house back into bright life.

Sam jumped away as the box shocked him back, a small jolt to tell him that he was done. He looked at Dean, trying to keep the smile off his face as he gauged the older man's reaction.

"I take it back," Dean said, giving Sam permission to grin with his own expression of happiness. "Guess you can."

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Dean nodded, still staring out at the town. "We did the right thing, right? All of this, it's good?"

"Yeah. I think it is."

"Good." The older man turned to leave.

"Hey, Dean?"

He didn't turned back around, simply stopped in his tracks. "Yeah?"

"I'm not sure about that."

"What do you mean?"

"There's still something I need to see."

"What?" He started to spin back around as Sam reached out and wrapped a hand around his arm. Both boys stilled instantly, Dean's eyes going wide as Sam's closed in concentration.

The world around them seemed to stop, the breeze no longer rustling through the leaves in the trees, the far-off noises of cars, of humans, of civilization dying down to nothing as two bodies fell lifelessly to the floor.

Dean watched himself fall to the side before turning still-shocked eyes to his brother. "What the hell, dude? You gotta stop this. It can't be good for us."

Sam smiled. "Dean, look."

"Yeah, I saw. What gives you the right to rip my freakin' soul out of my freakin' body whenever the spirit moves you? Huh?"

"Look," Sam urged again, pointing this time.

Dean rolled his eyes and glanced down at himself. "Wha-? Oh." He looked back up at Sam, a nervous smile creeping across his face. "Well, I'll be damned."

The phrase elicited a laugh from the younger man. That seemed to be the farthest thing from what Dean was. He was no longer bleeding, the wounds that Hell had inflicted having healed over sometime in the two years that they'd spent running the new world together.

Dean looked whole, his body clean, clothing no longer shredded. His bones had mended, popping back into flesh that didn't even appear to be scarred. There was only one indication that any damage had ever been done to the older man's soul.

Still grinning, Dean reached up with an unmarred hand and wiped the last of the blood from his mouth. "Suppose you want me to thank you now?"

"A little gratitude would be nice," Sam said, still unable to believe his brother's condition. "What do you want to do? Bow before me? Kiss my feet? Perhaps wallow in my glory?"

Dean raised a hand and showed off a gesture that was definitely not a form of praise.

"Oh, thank you, my adoring public," the younger man said. "Just what I always wanted."

His brother smirked. "You gonna stand here soul-searching all day, or are you gonna fix this?"

Sam smiled. "Nothing left to fix. We did it."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Spare me the chick-flick."

The psychic ignored his brother and stepped away from his fallen body, wrapping warm arms around the older man, who stiffened in the embrace. It took him a moment to relax, to let his guard down, to let everything wash over the younger man with the return of the gesture.

The same sorrow from before was still present in the older man's touch, but it was masked now. It was fading, fading because of two years of close quarters, of life, of happiness, of family. There was a goodness there Sam hadn't been able to see before through the blood and sweat and tears. He was glad to finally find it.

He'd opened a door in his mind, had let out things that he'd once deemed unspeakably evil. He'd tried to lock them back up, but been unable to find the key. He'd finally realized that was a good thing.

Without the power brought by a demonic bloodline, he never would have been able to save his brother, to save the world. Hope would have been lost and Lilith would have risen to true power. Dean was right. A world ruled by something not-quite-yet-still-completely human was better. It was safer. It was warmer.

Sam had blown the door away, knocked it clean off its hinges, and nearly lost his life because of it. He'd nearly rendered his brother unfixable.

Time had a way of healing wounds, though, and Dean was living, breathing proof of that. Sam supposed he was, too.

Maybe he couldn't close the door. Maybe he could never have normal. Maybe that didn't matter anymore. He had done right, done good, and he wouldn't change a thing. He was willing to step up and embrace his destiny, to walk down that long road, the road less traveled by, and he would never-

"Uh, Sammy?"

"Yeah, Dean?"

"You can let go of me now."

"Oh."

Never look back.


The End.

Wow, what a ride. Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing and enjoying. Now for the question of the day: now that it's all over, what do you think?

Michelle Shavlik