Author's Notes: So! This is my first foray into the Supernatural fiction world. It seems like a lot of the people in the fandom are really friendly and awesome, from the stories I've read and the reviews I've seen. I've always wanted to write in it ever since I first saw the show, but mostly I remained in my Harry Potter and Charmed fandoms, sticking to what I know best. Here, though, with the end of season 3, I feel like I've got a chance to really take things the way I envisioned them going. I'm no Kripke, but I'd like to think that I've got some interesting story lines, too. :) There will be all sorts of genres in here, just like the show. Moments of angst, anger, supernatural activity, adventures, etc. For those who aren't familiar with my writing style, I like to stick closely to the show's original style, but with a slight twist.

So, this story takes place just after No Rest for the Wicked. It will have intermittent spoilers for any episode before it, so if you haven't seen them, please read with caution. Normally I don't post my stories until I've finished them, but I wanted to get a feel for what people thought of it, since I like it, and thought others might, too. I have the entirety of it mapped out in my head and in an outline on paper, but it isn't all written out yet. As such, updates could be kind of sporadic, for which I apologize. I'm working on chapter five as we speak. But! I'm hoping that this story pleases people as much as it pleases me. So, please let me know what you think by leaving a review after you read. I'd really appreciate it!

Also, I don't own anything in the Supernatural universe. That's all property of the CW.

Now, on with the story!

It felt like hours had passed since Sam had begun cradling his brother's torn up, lifeless body in his arms. Though normally capable of handling much stress, they now seemed to ache and burn at supporting Dean's weight, as they had been for however long. But the pain was mostly dull. Nothing could really compare to the anguish that his heart was feeling at that moment.

He sniffled again, cheeks stained with dried tears crinkling up as he tried to keep the new ones from falling onto his brother's shredded shirt. He was failing—miserably at that—but it wasn't as if he could really stop them from falling. All he could do was think about the fact that his brother was no longer with him.

It had all happened so quickly—finding out that Ruby had been expelled from of her body, and that Lilith had taken it over in order to deceive them, thus leading to his brother's unnecessarily morbid death. Sam replayed for what felt like the millionth time the scene wherein she wandered over to the door and broke the barrier, allowing the hellhound inside so that it could rip his brother to shreds. And then there was the blast. That blast of bright, white light that had momentarily blinded him, making him simultaneously fear for his life and hope for the end of it.

Not that that even mattered much anymore, at this point. Life without Dean meant nothing to him. Now he had no mother, no father, though what hurt the most was that he had now lost his brother. His blood family was completely gone, and all he had left otherwise was Bobby. And really, Bobby was nothing to him right then. Nothing meant much of anything.


Sam's throat was hoarse from all the yelling, the screaming and the crying. His fingers brushed over his brother's cooling brow, down along the side of his face, following the curve of his jaw. He had done this once or twice, just after Lilith had fled Ruby's body and he had begun cradling Dean's body. For some reason, it was comforting to him. He didn't know, nor understand, why.

He swallowed hard. A thick, malignant lump had formed in his throat, and he felt sick in his stomach every time he took too deep of a breath. It was from the tightening of his diaphragm, and he normally would have noticed that. Here, all he could tell was that his body hurt. No, ached.

Feeling almost guilty, Sam finally laid his brother's body back down onto the wooden floor, his eyes fixated on Dean's lifeless, focus-less gaze. The little drops of blood that sprinkled the pale skin of his face had dried much like Sam's tears had, and they now looked like little black spots decorating his skin. Sam stared at them with abnormal intensity. Part of him wanted to pull them off; but just the same, another part of him wanted to not do anything…it simply wanted to fall onto the floor beside his brother, curl up with him, and hope that death would soon pull him under, too.

As he moved to do just that, Sam failed to catch the sound of the front door opening. Nor did he notice that someone was moving through the house, right toward him.

"Sam! What the hell do you think you're doin'?"

The harshly whispering voice belonged to none other than Bobby. It caused Sam to start, and, hastily wiping at his eyes with the heel of his hands, he moved to sit up. "Bobby?" His voice was gruff.

"You're damn right it's me. Now get up off that floor. We've got a lot of work to do."

At first, Sam didn't respond. He just looked at Bobby through tear-blurred vision, wondering why it was that he was speaking so callously. But when the older man moved closer to him, he sat up straighter and said, with anger building within him:

"Dean's dead."

"I know, Sam." Bobby's tone softened just barely, and briefly his eyes appeared like he might break, but they hardened almost instantly afterward. "But we gotta get him out of here if we're gonna do anything about it. With all the commotion going on in the streets, the police are bound to get involved, and that's the last thing we need right now. So come on, let's go."

Everything felt surreal. For a moment, Sam squeezed his eyes shut. It was his hope that, in doing so, he would wake up from this horrific nightmare. When he opened them again, nothing had changed. Dean's body was still lying on the ground, as was Ruby's, and Bobby was hunched over him, looking him in the eyes. It reawakened the sickness he had felt before, and he almost wanted to throw up again.

"Come on, Sam," Bobby said, more seriously than before.

It took Sam a few seconds before he lifted himself up to his feet. Afterward, he looked from Bobby to the two bodies lying on the floor. Despite it all, he didn't want to leave Ruby's behind. He may have been angry as hell at her for not helping him with Dean, but she had extended the offer several times, and like an idiot, he had refused. He could only be angry with himself for what had happened. She deserved a burial, at least, if not something like it.

Damn his sentimentality.

His eyes lingered on Dean's body. That expression on his brother's face was burning itself into his mind, that hauntingly lifeless look that had not too long ago been filled with anguish and fear.

"I can't carry him," Sam suddenly announced to Bobby. "I just…can't."

A curious look lit up the older man's face, but he didn't question Sam's statement. Instead he just knelt down and hoisted Dean's body up and into his arms with a grunt of effort, moving past him. Once Bobby went by him, Sam knelt down just the same and picked up Ruby's body, straightening and tightening his grip on her once he stood up completely again. It was dead weight, what he was carrying, and his sore arms seemed to groan under it.

It wasn't until they were outside that Bobby realized what Sam had done. Confusion written all over his face, the hunter said, "Sam, are you nuts? Why're you bringin' her along with us? She's dead!"

"She deserves a burial," Sam said, voice somewhat distant.

It was clear that part of Bobby wished to protest against this, but for the sake of time, he didn't. Instead he walked with Sam toward the impala, where he slipped Dean's body into the back seat, followed by Sam placing Ruby's inside as well. It was an uncomfortable squeeze and the sight was something Sam would likely never forget. He used a large blanket that was bundled underneath the driver's side in order to cover them up. The last thing needed for some cop to pull them over, only to find dead bodies in the backseat.

"Gimme the keys," Bobby said. "We don't got a lot of time. I'll drive us somewhere safe."

Sam hesitated. He had taken the keys from Dean's pocket just shortly after the whole ordeal, stuffing them into his own so that they didn't get lost. He could feel them resting against his chest in the folds of his bloodstained jacket.

"Sam," Bobby urged.


The answer was short, to the point. Most of all, however, it was unexpected. Neither of them—even Sam himself—hadn't anticipated such an answer, but there it was. Bobby looked somewhere between surprised and angry; Sam didn't care, though. All he wanted was to get out of there. He didn't know where he was going to go, or what he was going to do. He just needed to go.

"Gimme. Those. Keys." Bobby insisted, trying to block Sam's way to the driver's seat.


For the first time, but what was certainly not going to be the last, Sam lashed out against Bobby, shoving the older man away. It sent the other stumbling back. That gave the younger hunter the chance to climb inside the driver's seat, shut the door and lock it behind him. When he put the key in the ignition Bobby slammed his hands against the window, shouting, but all Sam could hear was the thudding of his heart deep within his ears. Before he knew it his head was back against the seat and the car was thrown into reverse. Tires squealed, rubber was burned, and soon the impala was back on the road, its roaring engine drowning out Bobby's yells.

Sam drove for several silent-filled hours after he so abruptly left New Harmony. He sped across interstates and flew through towns like a bat out of hell, stopping for nothing and no one. There was no official destination in sight. He just needed to drive. It wasn't until sometime around eight that following morning that he finally stopped somewhere, too exhausted—both physically and mentally—to continue. He remembered the time vaguely, as it was the last thing he saw on the dashboard before he parked the car in an empty lot off the freeway, unbuckled his seatbelt and passed out in the front seat. This was also shortly after he had stopped to get gas.

Sleep didn't cradle him for long, however. Some hour or so later, Sam woke up, but without opening his eyes. For a moment, everything seemed calm. His wiped out brain lazily created the illusion and feeling that he was simply lying in a slightly uncomfortable bed in a motel room in some Podunk city, with Dean snoring in the bed beside him, and he was content with that. Perhaps too content.

But eventually he had to open his eyes, and the whole delusion crumbled around him. The sky he stared at through the windshield was overcast, and the bed he had been resting on was once again just the front seat of the impala. Almost regretfully he cast a glance over the seat. Sure enough, there was the blanket, underneath which was the obvious.

This was all still very, very real.

And it still hurt worse than anything Sam had ever felt before.

He moved to sit up, his arms resting on the wheel as he cupped his face in his hands. The sigh that escaped him was heavy, just like his body. He needed to figure out what he was going to do…how he was going to fix this. Without a battle plan, precious time was wasted, and that meant more senseless torture for Dean's soul. Not to mention the further decomposition of his brother's body, which he couldn't allow.

Sam could feel his own producing more adrenaline, which caused his heartbeat to increase. It revived the sickness that had settled in the pit of his stomach.

Somehow, he needed to preserve Dean's body. He couldn't just let it bleed dry and then rot to death. Saving Dean's soul meant nothing if there wasn't anything to return it to. In his near delirious state of mind, the first thing that came to Sam was formaldehyde; the chemical would preserve his brother's flesh perfectly until it was needed again. But he soon rejected that idea, knowing that it would do far too much harm to the both of them. The only other thing that made any sense to him at that moment was putting the body on ice. But where in the world was he going to find a freezer? Let alone one that could hold Dean's remains?

This was all too much thinking for Sam at the moment. He groaned quietly, dejectedly, wishing that the fatigue he felt would lighten up, if just for a second, so that he could think clearly. His brother's future was dependent on it.

Perhaps out of frustration, or perhaps out of desperation, Sam turned his attention to the world outside of the impala. He had chosen the lot he was currently in while under the heavy influence of tiredness, and he realized then that he had absolutely no idea where he was. The last sign he remembered seeing was a state border sign, but the question was, into which state had he crossed the border?

He glanced over at the car nearby him. Given the way they were parked in the lot, he was able to see the license plate. It took him a moment, and a few slow, full blinks, but he soon identified it as Pennsylvanian. They had one of those license plates resting in the trunk of the impala. Had he really driven that far? For some reason, the ride had felt much, much shorter to him. Then again, everything over the past day or so was completely distorted in his head. He couldn't trust what he felt, let alone what he thought he felt.

Rather slowly, it dawned on him. If he was in Pennsylvania, then he wasn't that far away from New York. And in New York, his father had that weapons cache. It had been large. Large enough to possibly fit a freezer designed to keep a body on ice.

Had Sam any lick of sensibility left in him then, he would have known just how far fetched and absolutely horrible his idea was. But he was running on empty—past it, even—and for now, that idea didn't seem half bad. If anything, it seemed good.

Anything to keep his brother's body safe.


. . .

Sam carefully shut the lid on the freezer, watching his brother's close-eyed, expressionless face disappear beneath it, until he was gone completely.

He didn't know how he had done it. In fact, he wasn't really sure how he had done much of anything over the course of the last day or so. Everything blurred together in an unintelligible line of events that had eventually led to where he was standing right now. It hurt him to think that just twenty-four hours previous—hell, not even that long—Dean had been alive and kicking, telling him to remember what their dad had taught him, what he had taught him.

There was a tightening in his chest, and he instinctively reached up, gripping the muscle over his heart to alleviate it. The back of his eyes stung and his throat absolutely burned. Sam hadn't eaten or drunk anything since he couldn't remember when, but he had no appetite or thirst.

He just wanted to save Dean.

And to him, he was already halfway there. He had gotten the easy part finished by keeping Dean's body safe. Now came the hard part. Now, he had to figure out some way to get his brother's soul back.

When Sam got back into the impala after leaving his father's weapons cache, he sat in the driver's seat, staring out the windshield, but at nothing in particular. Little by little his focus continued to go. It wasn't until a few minutes later that he snapped out of the light daze he had slipped into. That was when he realized that right now, what he needed was to try and get some kind of sleep. It didn't matter how, and it didn't really matter where. He just needed it. Badly.

Against his better judgment, the young hunter started up the engine again and pulled away from the lock-up. The motel he had stayed in from when he and Dean had come here together wasn't too far away, and through some miracle, he managed to drive himself to it without so much as a ding to the car's bumper. Upon his arrival he locked up the car—having unfortunately forgotten that Ruby's body was still inside—and headed inside the main building in order to check-in.

The middle-aged, somewhat balding man with light brown hair standing behind the counter had a smile on his face that was wiped away instantly at the sight of Sam's exhaustion. "Oh, man," he said. "You look like you could use some coffee. We've got some, you know, if you like." He gestured to his left, over toward a table that had a coffee pot, some throwaway cups and a pink box of assorted donuts sitting on top of it.

"I'd like to rent a room," was all Sam said in reply. He tiredly removed his wallet from his pocket and tugged out one of his many credit cards. He didn't notice that the man was staring at the dark stains on his coat. By now they looked more like set-in food stains, which, when combined with the tired look on his face and the altogether lack of energy, probably made him look like a bum.

"One bed?"

"Two," Sam said automatically. He hadn't caught his mistake. And thankfully, he had at least had the sense to check the name out on the bottom of his credit card before he handed it over, so he was able to properly write his signature on the credit receipt.

"You sure you don't want any coffee?" the man asked again. The sound of the television that hung in the corner filled the time in between what he said and the words that came out of Sam's mouth.

"What's my room number."

"Room 14." The man extended the key to Sam, who took it numbly.


"Not a problem. Really, though…coffee's free. Help yourself."

Sam didn't respond. Instead, he re-pocketed his wallet and gripped the key in his hand with the remaining strength he had. As he headed out, he vaguely heard the ringing of the chime and the man saying, "Enjoy your stay."

Room 14 wasn't terribly far away, but it felt like it. Sam dragged himself toward it, going past room after room, door after door, window after window. They all looked the same. He would have missed his if he hadn't caught sight of the metal '4' outside of it sitting crooked, which focused his attention on the other number beside it. He struggled with unlocking the door for a few moments, mostly due to the fact that the key needed to be inserted in just the right way. When he heard the click he pushed his weight against the door in order to open it.

Much like the room he and Dean had stayed in, which had sported a rather eclectic style, the one in which he found himself now also had a strange assortment of furniture and colors. The curtains on either side of the large, rectangular window were a deep shade of bluish purple, with faded white lines running vertically along them. The carpet matched them, unlike the comforter of the two beds, both of which were a slightly lighter shade of blue.

It was in noticing the color of the comforters that Sam realized the error he had made in asking for two beds. It was just habit to ask for two—an ingrained action. This reawakened the hurt inside of him, and, coupled with his exhaustion, the younger hunter could do nothing else but move toward one of the beds, collapsing on top of it. With each breath his body felt heavier and heavier, his mind more and more tired. He was plagued with disjointed, scary thoughts and images, all of which continued to swirl around in his head until he finally couldn't take it any more. Sam lay there and fought back the urge to cry so hard that it actually started to hurt. When he finally gave in, it was that which helped him eventually fall to sleep.

Unbeknownst to Sam, that had been around two in the afternoon. His sleep had been luckily been free of nightmares or terrors, but that didn't mean that it had been particularly restorative. He was awakened just after eight that evening by an intensely gripping pain in the pit of his stomach. It caused him to stir on the bed, stretching out his sore, wound up muscles.

He needed to pee.

Unlike when he had passed out in the car, Sam didn't suffer from any delusions upon waking up this time. No, the truth was known to him, and he numbly accepted it. At this point, there was nothing else he could do. It was too early. He needed to find Lilith—needed to find Ruby, if she even still existed. Above it all, though, he needed to try and come up with some kind of plan. Still.

Sam sat himself up with a grunt of effort. He no longer felt as exhausted as he had, but he still had a long way to go before he was up to his usual sense of self. All of this mental trauma was having a serious effect on the way his body functioned.

He moved to stand, pausing a moment in order to find which direction the bathroom was. Afterward, he went inside and relieved himself. He went to wash his hands. That moment right then was the first time he had seen himself since this entire ordeal had taken place. Sam stared at himself in the mirror. He stared at the dark, puffy circles under his eyes, which were red from all the crying; he stared at the crease lines in his forehead; he even stared at his lips, which were slightly red from him chewing on them all throughout the car ride from Indiana to New York. They looked—and felt—tender.

He reached down and gathered some cool water in his hands, which he then splashed over his face. Droplets clung to his thin eyebrows and eyelashes, and for a brief moment, he felt mildly better. More awake. At some point, he knew he needed to take a shower. He was filthy, and both he and his clothes had a noticeable stench. For now, he was simply too tired to do it.

Sam dabbed his face with the dry towel hanging on the rack above the toilet, letting it fall to the counter afterward. His head was downcast when he stepped into the room, and he let out a long yawn.

"Good to see you're not as shaken up about your brother dying as I thought you'd be."

The sound of a voice was the last thing at all Sam had expected to hear, let alone one that said something like that. He let out a curse as he stumbled in his steps. He managed to catch himself by reaching out and grabbing hold of the small entertainment center that held a small, barely functioning television.

When he looked over at the individual who spoke, he didn't recognize her. Immediate alarms went off in his head. Demon! they said. Demon!

The thin-figured girl with shoulder-length, curly black hair and olive colored skin folded her arms over her chest. Her dark brown eyes focused on Sam intently.

"Who are you?" Sam almost barked. His voice was still somewhat croaky, and he swallowed, clearing his throat afterward. It burned a little.

"Who else would I be?" the girl replied sarcastically. When Sam didn't respond, she stepped forward, and he immediately took a step back. His first thought was, where was Ruby's knife? "Oh my God," she continued, unfolding her arms and putting them at her sides. "You can't really be that dense, can you? It's me."

Sam watched in near horror as the girl's already dark colored eyes became completely black. But in a flash the darkness was gone, and the white around her irises returned. "Ruby?" he ventured carefully, almost hopefully.

"Ding ding," Ruby replied.

"But—but how…?"

"I'm a demon, Sam, not an idiot human like you. Lilith may have expelled me from my body, but that doesn't mean she killed me. She doesn't have the guts to do it."

Sam eyed the unfamiliar body of the one in front of him, his mind trying to make the leap to believing that it really was Ruby. "If you're really her, then what do I have of yours?" It wasn't the best question, but it was the only thing his mind could come up with at that moment.

Ruby rolled her eyes. With a scoff, she asked: "You mean what of mine did you steal? My knife."

That was enough to prove the point to Sam. He relaxed some, not having realized how tense he had become over the course of those few short moments. He took a seat at the small table situated near the entertainment unit. Ruby continued to stand.

"I thought Lilith…" he began.

"We've been over that, Sam. She did. But, I found my way back. I'm actually pretty damn clever like that." Ruby moved closer, but took a side step toward the wall. "It's so damn dark in here. I'm turning on a light." When she flipped the switch the bulb above them flickered to life. The amount of light that emanated from it wasn't much, but it was enough for her, it seemed. "I went back to New Harmony to see if you were there, but you weren't. And neither was Dean's body, or mine. That old guy Bobby wasn't even there, either. At first I thought Lilith had killed you, but with no bodies…" She shrugged. "I wondered where you had gotten off to, so I just…came after you."


"The same way I always have. And that answer is none of your business." Ruby's words were short, at least until she spoke next. And when she did, it was with something almost akin to curiosity. "Did Lilith take my body?"

"No," Sam said. "I…I was gonna bury it, but—"

Ruby looked appalled and cut him off before he could continue. "Why?"

"I thought you deserved it," Sam replied bitterly.

"I wasn't dead. Did she say that I was?"

"No. Just that she sent you far, far away. How was I supposed to know what that meant?"

The dark haired girl sighed in near exasperation. Once again she folded her arms over her chest. "So do you still have my body, or not?"

"Yes," Sam said, swallowing. "It's in the car."

"Then I want it back."

Gesturing toward the door, Sam said, "By all means."

Without another word, Ruby quickly turned around and made her way out the door. A little bit after it was shut, Sam heard a horrific howling cry, which he suspected was her leaving the body of the girl she had possessed. Somewhere deep down he knew he probably should have gone out to make sure the girl was all right, but he did no such thing. Instead, he waited right in place for Ruby to come back. Not too long thereafter, she did just that—waltzing right back into the motel room as if nothing had happened. Sam's eyes caught sight of the space outside the door when she stepped inside again; he thought it strange that he didn't see the other body.

"What're you doing here?" Sam finally asked her bluntly, tiredly.

"Getting my body back, first and foremost," Ruby replied. She ran her hands over her wrinkled up shirt and brushed them over her pants. Then, straightening, she said, "And in all honesty, I wanted to see how you were doing."

Sam smiled sourly. "That's almost sweet."

Ruby rolled her eyes and pulled a face. "Ha, ha, Sam. Funny. You know what I meant. Not many people can say they've faced Lilith and have survived it. She must have been angry when she found out you weren't dead, because I know she would have attacked you and tried to kill you."

"I wish she had killed me," he muttered.

"Oh, get over it. You don't have time for a pity party if you're gonna try and survive what's bound to happen to you next." Ruby snatched one of the other chairs from around the table, turned it so that the back faced Sam, and took a seat in it, resting her arms on top of its head.

"And just what is that? Demons? 'Cause if so, I think I know what I'm doing."

"No, you don't," Ruby disagreed, tone serious. "You have no idea what's going to be coming after you now, Sam. If Lilith wasn't able to bring harm to you, she's gonna send every demon under her power your way to do it for her. And that's a hell of a lot of demons."

Sam sat quietly, eying Ruby, but not fully paying attention to what it was that she said. He scoffed. Then, he said disbelievingly: "Do you not get it? Dean's dead. Dead." Before he knew it, he was standing up again, moving past Ruby toward the window. "I don't care anymore. I don't care about demons. I don't care about myths. I could give a damn about Lilith. All that matters…" He sighed, pausing to let his sore throat rest a moment. He turned back to look at her, fighting with what strength he had to keep his eyes from tearing up, again. "All that matters right now is finding some way to bring him back."

At first, Ruby said nothing. Her eyes rested on Sam, almost as if she were searching for something. "You really are lost without your brother, aren't you?" she asked, sounding genuinely incredulous. The look on her face matched it.

"Yeah, I guess I am," Sam admitted quietly with a shrug. "So sue me."

Ruby let out a short laugh, but it wasn't out of amusement, and rather out of spite. "If you had just listened to me in the first place—"

"Shut up."

The blonde paused for a second. "Did you just—"

"Shut. Up."

Ruby shot up out of her chair, bringing herself right up close to Sam. Anger flared in her narrowed eyes, and her lips were curled in a slight snarl. "You listen to me, Sam. I tried to help you. I tried to help you several times, and all you did was turn me away. Then, at the last second, you have the audacity to summon me, asking for my help. So what do I do? Against my better judgment, I try, even when I know it's too late. And then what happens? This. If this is the thanks I get for trying to help you, then you can forget all about getting any more. I've been trampled on enough, and the last thing I need is for your damn woe-is-me attitude to get me killed."

By the end of what Ruby said, Sam was gazing down at her with near malice in his eyes. But it wasn't malice toward her. No, it was toward himself. Everything that Ruby had said was completely true, and that made him angry. All that time, she had tried to help him, and what did he do? He treated her like shit.

And part of him couldn't help but think that he was now paying for it.

"So don't you tell me to shut up," she finished. "I have every right to be angry."

"You're right," Sam offered meekly, voice somewhat rough.

Obviously, Ruby hadn't been expecting that answer. A flash of confusion came across her face before it returned to irritated indignation. "What?"

This time, Sam said it clearer, and a little louder. "You're right."

Ruby remained silent for a bit. Her expression became almost thoughtful, but eventually it settled back onto the neutral, leaning toward angry, look that she usually wore. "I'll tell you the same thing I told Dean. I want to prepare you for what's coming."

"Why?" Sam backed up, lifting his hands in the air, almost toward his head. "What is the God damn deal with this war? And why do I have to be so prepared for it?" He could feel tiredness creeping up on him again, but he staved it off, turning to look at Ruby. "How am I even going to do that?"

"Sam," Ruby began, "do you remember when I told you that you could easily take out Lilith if you just worked on training your powers?"

"Yes. But I don't see—"

"If you want to help protect mankind, then you're gonna have to learn how to use 'em. Because without your powers, you don't stand a chance."

Sam sighed, long and hard. He rubbed his eyebrows and the area around his eyes until it almost started to hurt. He was confused. Tired and confused. First, Yellow-Eyes had told him that he was special—that he was going to lead the demon army on Earth. Then he found out that some higher echelon demon named Lilith wanted him dead with his head on a platter. Then he discovered that she couldn't kill him, and that he had the power to defeat her. Now, it was up to him to protect mankind.

It was all too much for one person to handle.

"I just want to save my brother," Sam finally said, almost pathetically. He was so tired.

"Look." Ruby put her hands on her hips, eying the tall hunter with scrutiny. "There was no way for you to break the deal with Lilith. Dean's soul…it was bound for Hell, anyway. But…"

The way she trailed off like that was cruel. Sam felt like a dog that had a piece of meat dangling in front of its face. Despite himself, he knew he was metaphorically jumping on his hind legs for it when he asked, "But what?"

Ruby said, "There is a way to save his soul now that it's in Hell."