Jessica stared at Sam, at the bloody knife in his hand. At Dean, half propped up on Bobby. At the circle scrawled on the center of the living room floor.

"Jess…" Sam whispered, taking a step towards her.

She looked at him a moment, fear and confusion flickering across her face.

Then she turned and ran.

"Jess!" Sam yelled. He started after her, but hesitated. Turned back towards his brother.

"I got him, Sam," Bobby said quietly, clutching Dean a little tighter. "Go."

He offered Bobby a look of thanks and then took off after Jessica, bursting out the front door to see her already half in the blue Explorer's front seat.

"Jess, wait!"

She slammed the door. Started the engine.

Sam stepped in front of the car. He tried to catch her gaze behind the barrier of the windshield.

"Jess….Please. Just give me a chance to explain-."

"Move, Sam." She said coldly.

"No." He shook his head. "Not until you talk to me."

They sat there, in a standoff for what seemed like forever, until finally Sam heard the driver's side door creak open.

Sam sighed in relief and started towards her. "Thank you," he breathed.

But Jess just pushed right past him and started down the street.

With his long legs, Sam caught up with her in a few strides. "Jesus, Jess! Stop!"

He stepped in front of her, went to grab her arm.

She shrugged him off.

"You want to explain, Sam?" She exploded. "Fine. Explain. Explain to me exactly what the hell I just walked in on! What the hell was happening to Dean? What the hell was that…that thing?!"

Sam swallowed. "You saw that?"

"Of course I saw that," Jess retorted. "Whatever "that" was…."

"That…" Sam said slowly. "Was a reaper."

Jess narrowed her eyes. "A reaper…. As in the Grim Reaper-reaper."

"Yes, I mean no…I mean, there really isn't any one "Grim Reaper," there's varying accounts of reaper lore in most every religion and faith but most seem to support the theory of many individual reapers working as a collective-"

Jess just ogled at him.

Sam cleared his throat. "Nevermind. Look, Jess, I know what you saw was…unbelievable. But there are things out there…things that you thought were just stories but they're real. They're out there, Jess and some of them are dangerous. Some of them hurt people." He took a step toward her. "But they can be stopped. That's what my family does. My Dad, Dean…," he paused. "For a long time, it's what I did. It's kind of…the family business."

Jessica turned away, looked up at the night sky. "So. Let me get this straight…" she began slowly. "You're telling me…that monsters are real and that your family goes around killing them for a living?"

"Um. Yeah, pretty much."

"Uh huh." She said, turning to look at him. " And let me guess…your uncle's Santa Claus and your aunt's the Easter bunny?"

Sam ran a hand over his face. "Look, Jess, I know how this sounds… I know you probably think I'm crazy but I'm telling you the truth." He gripped her arms lightly, looked down into her eyes. "I love you. I would never lie to you."

"Really…" She replied, pulling away. "Seems to me Sam, that's all you've ever done."


"Don't follow me," she said, turning back towards the car.

Sam watched with a sinking heart as she climbed into the Explorer and started the engine.

As the red glow of the rear lights faded from view, he wondered if it was his curse to always lose the ones he loved.

By the time Sam returned, Bobby had helped Dean back onto the couch.

At the sound of the door opening, Dean lifted his head. "Looks like the conversation didn't go too well," he said as Sam made his way back into the living room alone.

Sam ran a hand through his hair. "No," he aid quietly. "No, it didn't."

Suddenly, he froze as his brother's words registered. "Wait. You said 'looks'..." Sam kneeled next to his brother. Holding up one hand, he asked, "How many fingers am I holding up?"

Dean rolled his eyes and knocked his brother's hand away. "Three. Now how many am I holding up?" He raised his middle finger.

Sam shook his head in disbelief. "You can see," he said, unable to keep the emotion out of his voice.

"Yeah," Dean smiled. "I can see."

"What about…?"

Slowly, Dean swung his legs over the edge of the couch. Bracing himself on the arm of the sofa, he pushed himself to a standing position. "Looks like Bobby hasn't lost his touch," he said. He grinned over at the elder hunter," you know, for an old dude."

"Old dude my ass," Bobby snarked. "Still managed to save your sorry butt."

Sam just sat there, staring at Dean. At his brother, alive and whole and safe for the first time in what seemed like forever. Sam felt a lump form in his throat.

He rose to his feet.

And before either of them knew what was happening, he pulled Dean into a hug.

Dean stiffened, surprised by his brother's sudden display of affection. After a moment, he relaxed into Sam's firm grip. And though he would always deny it if Sam ever brought it up… he hugged him back.

They stood like that for a long time, locked in a rough embrace. Sam unable to let go, Dean, not having the heart to do so.

"Uh…Sam." Dean said after a minute.

Sam reluctantly released his hold, as if just letting go of his brother would cause him to disappear.

"I know, I know…" Sam said, wiping the back of his hand across his eyes. "List of things we never speak of…"

"Actually…," Dean began awkwardly. "I uh, just wanted to say thanks. You know. For everything," he finished meeting his brother's gaze.

Sam nodded. Squeezed his brother's shoulder.

"Well ain't that just the cutest damned thing I ever saw," Bobby piped in. "Wish I had a video camera."

"Shaddup," Dean replied, but he couldn't hide the smile.

Bobby grinned. "Well if you too lovebirds are finished with this little Hallmark moment, I for one, could use some sleep."

"Ditto," Dean said tiredly. "You know the whole intentionally-getting-poisoned-nearly-getting-drained-by-a-satanic-servant thing? Kinda sucks," he finished, dropping heavily back down on the couch.

"Bobby, there's an air mattress in the closet upstairs," Sam said. "I can get it set it up for you."

"Boy, I just circumvented Death itself, I think I can handle pumpin' some air into a plastic bed."

Sam held up his hands. "Fair 'nough man. Closet's the first door on the left. Pump's on the second shelf."

With a nod, Bobby headed up the stairs.

Sam plopped down next to Dean. "I can't believe it's finally over," he said in amazement.

"Yeah," Dean replied. "Crazy few weeks, huh?"

"You could say that." Sam scrubbed his hands over his face. With the adrenaline rush finally fading, his body felt like it had been hit by a semi.

Dean watched his brother. Saw the stiffness in his shoulders that had nothing to do with fatigue and stress. "Give her time, Sam." Dean said gently. "She'll come around."

"I don't know, Dean. That look on her face…the way she looked at me…." Sam shook his head. "She thinks I betrayed her, man. That our whole relationship was one big lie."

"You love her, Sam. That was never a lie."

"I should have told her, Dean," Sam said." I should have been honest with her from the start. "

"Give the girl a break, dude," Dean said. "I'm sure this wasn't exactly what she expected to find when she came home tonight."

Sam huffed. "No kidding."

Dean thumped a hand down on his brother's knee. The other he used to stifle a yawn.

"Past your bedtime?" Sam teased.

"Hey. Semi-poisoned guy here," Dean replied.

"Oh sure, that old excuse," Sam said, the corner of his mouth twitching. He reached over and grabbed a blanket, draping it over the two of them. "Hey Dean?"

"Mmmm?" Dean crossed his arms over his chest, shifting a little to try and find the most comfortable position.

Sam watched him quietly. "It's good to have you back," he said softly.

"Ditto, bro," Dean said, eyes already closed. "Ditto."

Ooh, home stretch. Probably just one more chapter to wrap things up... Been a great ride guys!