Author's Notes: All righty everyone. This is the last chapter of the story. It's kind of surreal for me to be posting it! And at the same time, it's kind of amusing, too, since I've had it done for so long...but I didn't want to post it all at once. I wanted to keep a little suspense going on, after all. ;) I wanted to thank everyone for their positive, insightful reviews and thoughts about the story. I originally wrote this just to pass the time during the summer and to give myself some creative license over how season four in my head would have gone. Who'd have thought I'd have hit some of the same themes? That made me laugh. For what it's worth, I really, really enjoy this story. This is the longest story I've ever written, so there's a lot of blood, sweat and tears, to put it figuratively, in it! It's like my little kid. 3

I hope you all enjoy this chapter as much as the rest. Please let me know what you think of the end! This chapter is a little shorter than the rest, but I figured it would be better to have it succinct than drag on and on.

Cheers, everyone! If crossovers and slash are your kind of thing, I've got another SPN Fic going on, one intermixed with Charmed. You can find it on my profile page. :) Hope to see some other familiar faces over there too!


Lilith was gone.

Lilith was gone.

It had taken a while for that fact to sink in to both Dean and Sam's heads. The monster they had been fighting nearly a year now was completely out of the picture. Dead. Never coming back.

Okay, maybe never never coming back, but if she did, it wouldn't be for an awfully long time. And if she did, and they were still around, there would be no need to fear. They had taken her down once. They knew they could do it again.

The drive out of Oregon was filled with celebratory hoots and hollers, somewhat uncharacteristic of Sam but perfectly normal for Dean. They drove down the highway in good spirits while playing loud music. Their moods couldn't have been better.

Their first destination was Bobby's. Both wanted to tell him in person that Lilith was gone instead of over the phone. The drive had taken a while, about two days, with a few pit stops. When they showed up on his front doorstep, Bobby seemed almost mortified.

"Boys?" he asked. "What're you doin' here?"

"We did it!" Dean shouted then. He hooted once more and then began laughing.

The three of them joined in brief, congratulatory hugs before Bobby invited them into the house for a drink.

Never before had a beer tasted so good in Sam's mind.

Even after Dean recounted the story for Bobby, the older hunter didn't seem to believe it. Sam knew why, too. He knew that it was his dreams that were making it hard for Bobby to understand—that his powers were hard to understand. And he got that. It soured things a little.

But Bobby didn't dissent them, or show any kind of negativity toward them. Perhaps it was because they had ultimately been what had saved the day, along with Sam and Dean's ingenuity. Without his powers, everything would have been impossible. Not only that, but Dean wouldn't have been sitting there beside them at that very moment if it hadn't been for them.

Although Bobby invited them to stay a night or two to catch up, Sam and Dean were on a mission. They were heading back east, and there was every reason in the world to get back into the impala so they could continue their journey.

They said their goodbyes to Bobby and headed back on the road sometime later that afternoon. They drove for quite some time before they had to stop again—this time, however, it was because of the car. It had been under a lot of stress with all the driving it had endured over the past few weeks—months, really—and it wasn't surprising that it needed some TLC—TLC that Sam had unfortunately forgotten to give it.

So, Dean and Sam stopped over in Wyoming in order to give the impala the attention that it deserved.

It was around five o'clock in the afternoon when they arrived in the town of Lusk. It wasn't anything special—the welcome sign had said the town's population was about 1500—and as such, Dean and Sam weren't expecting miracles. But, there were a few nice places on their way though, including a motel they decided to shack up in for the night.

When they pulled into the parking lot, Dean parked the car and got out, telling Sam to go and check out a room for them while he got busy working on the car. They had stopped just a few hours previous to get something to eat, so both were all right on that front. But after a while, Sam figured he would go and get Dean some food. He always got hungry when working on the car.

Sam was surprised at how cheap the rooms were. He had expected the going price to be a mistake on the board outside, but it was true—they could rent a room here for nearly a quarter of what they paid for one in New York. This wasn't a huge shock, but still, it was nice. Less law-breaking credit debt, he thought. This was good for his karma.

After yelling down to Dean what their room number was, Sam headed inside. The room was about as spacious as one could expect from a motel. The two twin beds against the wall opposite him were separated by a nightstand—classic motel motif. To the left was the bathroom, which looked dinky. And to his direct left was the wall that separated the inside from the outside, against which rested the stand with the television on it. While the place was certainly nothing special, it still felt nice. That might have been because he was still riding the wave of their deed, however.

Sam headed into the bathroom to wash his face of the grime and sweat from sitting in the impala for hours on end in the blazing summer sun. The room was nightmarishly hot, something he hadn't noticed right off the bat. That was definitely one thing that would bother him through the night. It had no air conditioner, either. What he wouldn't have given to trade that television for some A/C.

He came back into the room, only to find that he wasn't alone.

Ruby sat on the bed that he had intended on taking a nap upon.

"What—" he began.

She turned to look at him. Her expression was hard to read—somewhere between indignation and amusement. "So were you ever gonna summon me and tell me that you, uh, you know, defeated Lilith?"

"I'm still computing it, myself," Sam said.

Ruby stood, and then slowly clapped a few times. It scared him sometimes how quickly her demeanor could shift. "Well, congratulations, Sam. This is a big step. You've just knocked out the baddest bitch this side of the Mississippi."

Sam snorted. He hadn't expected her to say something like that. In fact, it seemed sort of odd. "Thanks. With any luck, she'll stay dead."

"We can cross our fingers," Ruby said dryly.

There's the Ruby I know, Sam thought.

"You do know Dean's downstairs, right?"

"Yeah, I know."

"He didn't see you?"

"No. You know, your brother's sharp as a tack sometimes, but when it comes to that car, it's like the rest of the world is dead to him. I walked right by and he didn't even say anything."

Sam shook his head. Ruby had a point, but for some reason, he didn't want to admit it. "I've got a feeling you're here for other reasons, too."

"Ouch, Sam. That hurts." An amused smirk appeared on her face. "But, you're right. I did come for another reason. I know that you've got my knife, and that you took it from Lilith."

"And you'd like it back."

"Yeah, that's the gist of it."

"It's in the car," Sam said. "So you'll have to go down and get it, yourself."

That seemed to offend her. "Can't you go get it?"

"Why don't you want to?" Sam asked in a suddenly petulant tone.

He hadn't expected Ruby's backlash. "In case you don't remember, Sam, your brother was the one who put me in that stupid Devil's Trap in the first place all those months ago, and he was the one who stole my knife. Not to mention on nearly every chance he's had, he treats me like total crap. So you'll have to forgive me if I don't want to talk to your excuse for an older brother."

That sobered Sam up a little. He pursed his lips. Then, "…Hang on."

He went down to the car where Dean was working and greeted his brother, who gave him a noncommittal grunt in response. Sam barely had to search for Ruby's knife. When he found it, he slipped it into the folds of his jacket. He also grabbed their clothing bag, which he had actually forgotten to bring up. It had all worked out perfectly.

Upon his return to the motel room, Ruby was standing with her back to the door. Sam shut it and she turned around, arms folded over her chest. He set down the clothing bag, retrieved the knife and then extended it—handle outward—for her to take. She nearly snatched it from his hands.

"Hey, watch it," he muttered.

"Thanks."

Although to Sam, she didn't sound sincere in the slightest.

He was getting annoyed. "Well, you've got what you came for. What you wanted. So you probably have places to go and people to see."

Ruby stood there silently for a moment, just eying Sam. It made him slightly uncomfortable. What was she doing that for?

"You're right," she said. She nodded curtly. "I've got a lot of stuff to do, and now that I've got my knife back, I can get back to it."

Now the silence fell over both of them. Sam didn't know what to say, and Ruby wasn't leaving. Part of him wanted to ask her where she was going, what she would be doing, but he stopped himself. Did he really want to know? Especially after what he had found out about her—as well as himself—over the last few months? It just didn't seem like a smart idea. Still, curiosity bubbled up.

"I guess this is good-bye for now?" he settled on saying.

"Something like that," Ruby said.

When she walked past him, Sam felt an odd tug at the muscles in his body. Almost like he shouldn't let her go. But there was no reason for him to feel that way. She wanted to leave, and he knew that he wanted her to, as well.

But not before he said something.

Reaching out, Sam gripped Ruby's arm. She stiffened immediately, turning her gaze on him.

"Thank you," he said to her. "Thank you for…all of it. Everything."

Ruby remained quiet for a minute, her lips pursed and her eyes hard. But they softened slightly after a while, and she nodded. She said quietly, "Anything to stop hell on Earth."

After seeing her reaction, Sam figured it was more than that. But he let it go. He let her go. Maybe before. Maybe something could have happened. Now it was too late, and Sam didn't want it. Maybe Ruby didn't, either. He didn't know.

He watched her take her leave, walking right out into the parking lot seemingly without a care in the world. He knew better, of course. But he would never say a word. Dean would never know. Sarah would never know. Just him and Ruby. A secret. Like this whole thing had been in the first place, until everyone got involved.

Someday, he was going to figure out how to repay her, he decided.

. . .

"God damn, feels like we were just here."

Sam ignored Dean's comment as they pulled into the parking lot of the Super 8 Hotel in New Paltz. It did feel like they had just been there. But that was the truth. About two weeks ago, this was exactly where they had been.

And now they were back.

Why Dean had decided to do this, Sam didn't know. It was another one of those things he just didn't want to question. He knew his brother wanted him to be happy—wanted him to have as normal of a life as he could, even despite their wonderful abnormal lifestyle. It had been an unspoken thing. This was the destination Dean had had in mind right from their leaving Oregon. And Sam had gone right along with it. He wanted it.

It was their mission to enjoy themselves.

And for once, it was a time that Sam wouldn't hesitate to participate in.

They were unfortunately met with a familiar face upon their arrival: the woman who had checked them in the last time they stayed at the Super 8. It took them both a moment of thinking before Dean, always quick on his feet, recalled with card he had used to check in, and under which name. The woman showed no signs of suspicion and ran the card as she had the last time, giving them their room key.

Oddly enough, it was the same room they had stayed in before. Maybe it was just a joke on her part. Or maybe she had thought it sentimental. Whatever the reason was, the two went up to their room and shut the door behind them.

For a while, neither said anything. Sam stepped outside into the hallway to call Sarah and let her know that he was in town with good news and that he wanted to see her. Meanwhile, inside, Dean was gathering information off of Sam's laptop of places to check out in the city. Sam caught him in the act when he came back into the room. He didn't mind, of course. He just laughed about it.

It was nearing sunset. Outside, Sam could see the bright rays of the sun beginning to dwindle in the cloudless sky. He had told Sarah he would be over soon, and that all he needed to do was figure things out before he headed over there.

When the time came for him to leave, Sam noticed the way that Dean was fidgeting with something in the bathroom. He couldn't see what it was.

Neither of them had really talked about what was going to happen now that Lilith was gone. There were still plenty of demons and malevolent spirits and creatures in the world to hunt, but at that moment, the hunting life seemed very distant to Sam. And in a strange way, it made Dean seem far away from him, too.

He approached his brother in the bathroom.

"You know," Dean began, "I never understood why they make these things so small. How the hell is anyone supposed to wash with these?" It was a soap he had been playing with.

"Good question," Sam said. "Definitely one to ask the soap makers if you…you know, ever tour the factory." He smirked faintly.

It was small talk. Stupid, redundant, but comfortable small talk. Part of Sam thought that Dean might be worried he would leave him now that he had Sarah. But that would never happen. Not after all they had been through.

"I'm not going anywhere," Sam offered quietly.

"'Course you are," Dean said. "You're gonna go over to Sarah's tonight. Or did you forget why we drove cross-country, you dumbass?"

Sam chuckled. "No, Dean. I mean…this. You know." He gestured between the two of them.

Dean pursed his lips and nodded briefly, curtly. He looked away. A key Dean gesture that meant Sam had hit it right on the money. "No, I know, Sam."

"I didn't pull you back from Hell for nothing," the younger one joked.

Dean snorted. It was obvious that he wanted to say something, but he was stopping himself. Instead of verbalizing how he felt, he paused, and then moved in on Sam and wrapped his arms around his him. Sam soon did the same. When they pulled apart, they both had a small grin on their faces.

But Dean quickly cleared his throat. In a slightly deeper voice than he usually used, he said, "Go get your chick."

Sam mimicked it, still grinning. "Yeah, man."

Dean snorted, amused. "Oh, Sam. No. Don't…don't do that again."

"Oh, whatever."

The older Winchester gave his brother's non-injured shoulder a playful shove. "Go on, get. I gave you an order, Sam."

"I'm going, I'm going. What about you, though?"

"Oh…" Dean smirked wickedly. "Don't worry about me. I'll find a way to keep myself busy."

There was a pause. Then, they said simultaneously, followed by laughter:

"Don't expect me home tonight."

. . .

Sam stood outside the door of Sarah's apartment.

Was this kind of nervousness normal? He couldn't remember.

He had been standing in front of her apartment for at least a minute and hadn't yet knocked. He wasn't quite sure what was stopping him. Maybe it was just the fact that he was actually here. He wasn't off on the other end of the country trying to kill a demon. He wasn't chasing after some malevolent spirit. He was here, trying to have a normal life again.

And that was a little awkward for him. But, it was kind of like riding a bike. He could get over the hump.

He knocked.

For a moment, it was quiet. And then from the other side of the door came Sarah's voice.

"Coming!"

When Sam saw her standing in the doorway, the first thing he did was smile. Sarah smiled back.

"Sam."

"Hey, Sarah."

He moved in then to wrap his arms around her in a hug. He kissed her softly.

For a moment, she said nothing. Then, "Come on in, hm?"

Sam, upon entering the living room, could tell that Sarah had tried to haphazardly clean up. She must have done it when she got his message. It made him laugh. Knowing that she was messy just like he was made him like her even more. She had tried to hide it, of course, but he knew. He didn't mind it in the slightest.

"My place is a mess," she confessed with a laugh.

"Mess is good, though. Means you're comfortable, right? I think that's what they say, anyway."

Sarah headed over to the kitchen and Sam followed. He rested his large form against one of the counter tops. Here she got them some sodas to share, and afterward they made their way to the balcony outside. It was a small little thing—not much bigger than maybe seven feet long by five feet wide. But it was enough to accommodate two nice, comfortable looking chairs and a small outdoor dining table.

Sam thought it looked awfully romantic, and that amused him.

"You know, this is like something out of a movie," he said when he sat down in the chair.

"I didn't plan for it that way, believe it or not," Sarah said. "This outdoor set was one of the first things I bought when I moved out of my parents' house. During the summer, on days like these, I like to eat outside and look over the balcony at what's going on down below. It's busy and bustling. I like it. Better than watching T.V."

Sam had to agree. There were very few meals that he didn't eat in a hotel or motel room, or in the impala. The last meal he had eaten at a table was at the bed and breakfast. And that…well. It had been a little weird. Especially with the way one of the dining employees kept looking at him. He shuddered at the thought.

He and Sarah sat outside for what felt like ever. After some more small talk to catch up, he told her about the entire situation with Lilith and how it had all gone. Then he told her about their coming back this way, mainly so that he could see her.

Sarah said, "Well, you sure know how to make a girl feel lucky."

As corny as it sounded, Sam wanted to reiterate that to her, but with different wording. He kept that thought to himself, however..

Sarah had decided that, since it had been so long since Sam had last enjoyed a home cooked meal, that the two of them were going to cook one together that night. Not being much of a chef, Sam ended up doing less than he was supposed to, but for the better of the meal. The two of them shared a nice, savory dinner on the balcony, with the setting sun and the gorgeously color-streaked sky.

They sat at the table for a while in silence, simply enjoying each other's company and the view down below. Sam's mind began to wander, mostly toward the future.

With hunting, he couldn't exactly live a normal life. But right now, in this moment, he could pretend like that wasn't hanging above his shoulders. Right now, he could enjoy the present and his time with Sarah. Who knew? Maybe later on from now, they could be together in every sense of the word. Maybe he wouldn't have to hunt anymore.

Thankfully, the future seemed a lot brighter. There was still a whole hell of a lot of evil in the world, but they had done a major dent in it by getting rid of Lilith. And that undoubtedly would send a message to the supernatural world: don't fuck with the Winchesters. Or more specifically, don't fuck with Sam. Pulling his brother from the jaws of Hell and then destroying one of the most evil forces the world had ever seen would be more than enough to give any demon pause when coming after him, or his brother.

Or, at least, he could hope for that.

Sarah's voice caught his attention and brought him back to the present. "So, Sam, we've got all the time in the world ahead of us. What do you wanna do?"

"Nothing," Sam replied simply, with a smile.

"Nothing?"

He leaned in across the table and kissed Sarah. "Yeah, nothing. I've done enough to last me a lifetime. Now I just wanna sit and do…nothing."

Sarah laughed. "If you say so."

Sam stared out over the horizon from the balcony. The sun had nearly set, and down below, numerous people bustled about in the streets with no clue of what could have befallen them.

Yup, he thought. Doing nothing sounds really good right about now.

It was a choice. One that he didn't hesitate to make.

It was funny. In all the past months, everything that had taken place was because of one simple choice Sam had made: the choice to bring his brother back. And now he was seeing the results. Dean was back, Lilith was dead, and he had Sarah sitting across him.

All because of that one choice.

Sam had nearly lost hope in himself after not having been able to save Dean. But that little sliver of it that remained, that faintest hint, that had been what had gotten him through the very end. That had been what led him to everything that he had now.

Things would never be perfect. But Sam had regained faith in himself, and in what he was doing. He had gotten his brother back. He had killed Lilith. He had Sarah. He had his powers. There were a lot of choices along the way. It was interesting to see how they all panned out in the end.

How they had all led him to where he was right then and there.

"Let's go inside," Sarah said, smiling faintly.

Sam turned his head back to look at her. "Yeah, let's go."