This is a 2-part fic written especially for Gidgetgal9 and Kokoda2007 for their birthdays - Happy Birthday guys! I could have got you bath stuff or chocs but I thought I'd give you the gift of Winchester angst instead. : D

Huge thanks to my awesome beta Olivia Sutton (I played after I got this part back so any and all remaining mistakes are mine, all mine) and a special big hugs thank you to Tammitam and Sendintheclowns for all their help and support - especially during what I now like to call my 'Liz turns psycho' bout of writers' block. I don't know what I'd have done without you, probably broken the keyboard with my face most likely.

Set directly after 'Sin City' in Season 3, no spoilers for upcoming Season 4. Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Walking Home A Crooked Mile – Part One

Dean drives the Impala along an empty stretch of pitch-black highway and doesn't notice his hands shaking as he grips the wheel. He doesn't notice the empty seat beside him or the bad feeling churning in his gut or the sharp acidic taste of bile at the back of his throat. Except for the fact that he absolutely does notice.

It's so desolate and lonesome out here in the South Dakota Badlands that Dean could almost believe the world had ended; some fire raining down from the heavens Judgment Day apocalypse which had gone and wiped away everyone but him. In a way, for Dean, it's not that far from the truth.

It's not like Sam hasn't been missing before, Dean really should be more used to it by now. He's danced to this tune a few times if the truth be told, but the steps never get any easier. This last week has been especially hard on Dean but he's still managed to embrace his favoured going without sleep and downing fifty million gallons of stale black coffee technique of searching for his brother. He's chain-smoking cigarettes even though he doesn't normally care for them and the burned dry taste on his tongue makes him want to gag.

He doesn't have any real leads to follow. Sam's just gone. There was no farewell letter; no "I can't do this anymore, Dean. I'm leaving." Just an empty space where Sam should be and Dean has been driving ever since.

The only reason Dean has any clue at all about what's happened to his brother is because when Dean woke up to find Sam missing from his bed, Sam's blankets were all rumpled, as though he'd been having one majorly bad nightmare and on Sam's pillow—in the center of the indent where Sam's head had been—was a perfect little pile of sulfur, like some fucked up demon notion of a motel room pillow mint.

Sam had seemed fine the night before, a little whinier than usual perhaps because Dean wouldn't let him watch some yawn-fest nature documentary, not when 'Goodfellas' was showing on CBS. "Jeez Sammy, quit being a little bitch." If Dean had known it would be the last thing he'd say to his brother he'd have thought of something nicer. He might even have endured the two mind-numbing hours of lions humping.

Who's he kidding? If Dean had known anything, he'd have shoved Sam in the Impala and driven out of town so fast it would have looked like the devil was on their tail.

And if the sulfur was anything to go by, the devil probably would have been.

XXX

Dean scrubs a hand down his face. His eyes feel gritty and he badly needs to take a shower. He's so tired he could sleep for a month but with Sam missing, he can't sleep for five minutes. The lack of sleep is starting to wear him down, drive him a little more crazy with each passing second. But searching for Sam is as necessary as breathing right now. The need to find his brother fuels Dean's restlessness, a constant tugging ache which won't dissipate.

Dean is just contemplating when to make his next crappy coffee pit-stop when the Impala suddenly stutters and the engine stalls, forcing the car to come to a rolling stop. Dean's fingers twist the ignition key with rapidly growing frustration but she's not having any of it, the engine is as dead as Elvis. Dean reaches over into the glove box to grab his cell phone when he notices that there's a figure huddled on the ground by the roadside.

A man—a naked man—skin covered with a thick layer of dried-on mud and filth, his hair a greasy messy mop of chestnut brown is crouched cowed in the red-dirt like it's the most normal thing in the world to be doing in the middle of nowhere at some godforsaken cusp of dawn hour. No way! Dean's stomach lurches, doing a flip as though he's on a rollercoaster and he's out of the car before he's even got the door fully open. He falls to his knees right in front of the figure.

Dean reaches out both of his hands to touch the man. He lets his fingers gently press into the soft flesh of the man's broad shoulders because he can clearly see now that it is Sam—Jesus Christ it really is Sam—and Sam lifts his head, peels his lips back to bare white teeth and growls.

Dean is stunned enough to let go of Sam pretty damn quick and topple backwards onto his behind with all the grace of a drunk at chucking out time. "Sammy?"

Sam's eyes go wide and pause from darting skittishly to study Dean intently before he jerks away, shuffling himself a few inches along the ground. "Sammy? Can you hear me?"

Sam's whole body goes tense; he shoots to his feet and takes off running. Dean's brain barely has time to register what's happened but it doesn't matter because his legs have already started moving.

Sam's long legs are eating up the asphalt highway; his bare feet making a slap slap noise as his hurtling stride settles into a steady rhythm. But his gait is unsteady and he's weaving a sloppy zigzag path along the road which gives Dean the opportunity to make up the gap and grab Sam. Strong arms wrapping in a tight embrace around his brother's thin waist, pulling him down so that Sam falls onto the ground, Dean sprawled across him.

Sam freezes like that. Laid flat out on his back, his chest heaving for air and his glassy eyes locked on Dean, it's quiet except for their matching heavy breathing. But the all too brief peaceful respite is lost when Sam goes wild. Fighting and clawing to get free. They kick up billowing dust clouds as they scrabble in the gravel right there by the road side. Sam ripping at Dean's clothes with his fingernails and teeth, snarling and snapping his jaw like a rabid dog.

Dean is cursing a blue streak as he desperately tries to pin down Sam's flailing arms—all the while, oddly thinking back to a time when he tried to ride a Bucking Bronco at the Kentucky State Fair when he was nine— but Sam is so friggin' gigantic these days that it's more or less impossible for Dean to gain the upper hand in the tussle. In the end, Dean does the only thing he can think of; he pulls back his fist and punches his baby brother square in the face.

Sam's thrashing immediately ceases and his body goes limp beneath Dean's. Dean stays still for a moment—sucking in deep breaths of air which smells of sage brush and biscuity sweet earth—looking at Sam and realizing that now he's found his brother again he doesn't have a clue what he's going to do.

XXX

Once Sam is loaded onto the backseat of the Impala, Dean slides himself into the driver's seat and gives the ignition key an optimistic try. The engine instantly roars to life, resurrected. Someone is fucking with me. Dean glances around, giving his surroundings a hasty inspection but when he doesn't see anything apart from the deserted highway twisting through the barren rocky landscape he revs the engine and sets off in search of the nearest motel, hoping to God he can find one before Sam wakes up.

Rather worryingly, getting an unconscious naked man into a motel room without being spotted turns out to be much easier than Dean had expected. Unfortunately, wrestling the same unconscious naked man into some warm dry clothes isn't. Sam's all floppy arms and uncooperative legs. Dean settles for a simple t-shirt, sweat pants and a pair of mismatched socks because most of Sam's clothes are dirty given that laundry duty hasn't been a priority for awhile now.

Dean runs his hands over Sam's pliant limbs and head, fingers trailing through the matted hair efficiently removing bits of leaves and bark. Sam doesn't appear to have any real injuries. There's a smattering of fading bruises which litter the right side of his torso and a shallow cut on one arm which is crusted with dried blood but apart from that Sam simply looks like he's been on the losing side of a mud wrestling match. Dean fetches a bowl of warm water and a washcloth and starts busying himself with trying to wipe the accumulation of grime away from Sam's ashen face.

The damp cloth only touches Sam's cheek for the barest second when Sam's eyes burst open and he's instantly darts off of the bed, cramming himself into the tiny space in-between the bed and wall. "Sammy. It's me, Dean. You're okay. You're safe." The comforting words come easy because Dean means them; he won't let anyone take Sam away from him again. Dean holds out a hand but doesn't try to touch his brother.

Sam flinches anyway and leans in further against the wall.

"God, Sam. How did you escape? What—what the hell happened to you?" Dean drops the cloth back into the bowl with frustration. "Christo." Dean surprises himself as the word trips from his tongue but it gives him the faint glimmer of hope which he so desperately needs when Sam's eyes don't change.

"Here, look, I won't touch you but you need to get cleaned up." He pushes the bowl across the bed towards Sam who eyes it warily. Dean sighs with relief when Sam reaches out to pick up the bowl but instead of washing himself; Sam tips the bowl towards his lips and starts gulping down the water greedily.

"Oookay, not what I had in mind. Guess you were real thirsty, huh?"

Sam's answer is a satisfied smacking of his lips and the empty bowl is discarded, dropped unceremoniously onto the floor.

Dean has an idea; he reaches into his jacket pocket and then leans across the bed, holding out a Baby Ruth like a white flag. Some part of Sam's brain must know that it's something edible because he looks faintly interested but too suspicious of Dean to actually reach out and take it.

"Fine, so you're not hungry but man, I could eat a horse." Dean tears off the wrapper with his teeth and takes a bite, chewing and making loud Mmmm noises as he swallows. He lets himself grin slightly when he sees Sam's hand edging across the bedspread. Dean puts the candy bar down and Sam's fingers instantly close around it. He brings it up to his nose and sniffs. "Dude, I don't have cooties."

Sam doesn't acknowledge his brother, there's not even the barest hint of recognition in his unsettled hazel eyes, only the most raw of emotions; anger, fear, hunger. Sam keeps the candy bar snagged between his long fingers and eats, devouring the whole thing in three huge bites, his eyes not once leaving Dean. His body is still coiled tight, ready to bolt at a moments notice.

Dean doesn't know how to fix Sam, this time bandages and Tylenol aren't going to do shit. What he needs is help and there's only one person still breathing who Dean would trust anywhere near his brother.

XXX

Bobby Singer loves the Winchester brothers. If you asked him yourself he'd flat out deny it, would probably snort out a laugh in your face and call you a "damned idjit" for ever having suggested such a thing. But he does and that is a fact which is as honest as Dean having a preference for extra onions on his burger.

So when Bobby gets a call from Dean Winchester worried as hell about Sam, Bobby doesn't hesitate to tell him that he'll have a bottle of whisky open and waiting for when they arrive.

It used to be that Sam and Dean had their dad watching out for them. That doesn't mean that Bobby didn't worry about them even then because John, well, John wouldn't want to see his sons hurt but he wouldn't let a little thing like either of them leaking blood get between him and the Yellow Eyed Demon either.

But since John died, buying himself a one-way ticket to hell in the process, Bobby's been worrying more frequently. He's not so soft in the head that he hasn't realized the Winchester brothers are hunters and that's a profession which means you shouldn't think too seriously about making any plans for the future. Yet, Bobby has lived to see his own hair turn grey and all he really wants is for the brothers to be around long enough to experience old age for themselves. It's sentimental and sappy and not an emotion Bobby is all that familiar with but he's beared witness to their tough childhoods and the devastating loss after loss after loss. It's Bobby's belief that if anyone deserves a little happiness, it's those boys right there.

XXX

Bobby is more than a little surprised when the Impala pulls to a halt and only Dean exits the car. Bobby leans almost fully into the vehicle, eyes travelling over the empty passenger seat and empty backseat when Dean goes straight to the trunk and pops the lid.

"Jesus Christ, Dean!"

"It's the only way I could get him here Bobby, he's been fighting me like crazy." Bobby doesn't doubt that for a second, Dean's face is scratched up like he'd seriously pissed off an angry bobcat.

Dean reaches into the trunk and tugs gently on the handcuffs around Sam's wrists. He helps Sam climb out and Bobby can see how Sam, with his sweat drenched dark hair plastered to his forehead, is struggling weakly every single second that Dean's hands are touching him.

There are dents and scuff marks on the inside of the trunk lid, no doubt caused by Sam's feet kicking in an attempt to get free. Dean notices the damage, the scratches on his baby's paint work but he closes the trunk without saying a word.

Bobby's eyes settle on Dean, on his pale skin and dark shadowed eyes. "Let's get him inside. You look like you could use a stiff drink."

XXX

Bobby holds out the glass filled with amber liquid and Dean accepts it gratefully. He knocks back the shot and the whisky burns as it slides down his throat, setting his belly on fire. It's a pleasant warmth, comforting, a similar feeling to seeing Bobby again. Maybe it's more about being around someone who actually gives a damn. And Dean knows that these days, those types of people are few and far between.

At any rate, it's impossible to enjoy the drink with Sam sitting only a few feet away, whimpering as he strains against the ropes tying him to a wooden chair by the fire. "He's not possessed, Bobby. He's just—he's just not Sam."

Bobby walks over and crouches down in front of the youngest Winchester, wincing when he notices the angry red welts forming on Sam's wrists from where he's been pulling against the restraints. "You say you found him like this?"

"Yeah, it was weird. I spent a whole week searching without finding a thing and then he was just there, sitting by the side of the road." Dean laughs humourlessly, "at first I thought I was hallucinating." He moves over to stand by Bobby's side, stares down at his brother and lowers his voice to a near whisper. "It's as though they suddenly decided to give him back. The demon that took Sam did something to him, Bobby but I don't know how to undo it."

"Has Sam said anything? Anything at all?"

"Not a word. I think he can understand me...but he won't speak to me."

"The only way we're gonna figure this mess out is if we summon the demon responsible." Bobby concludes as he pushes back his cap and runs a hand across the grooved worry lines creasing his brow.

"How the hell do we do that? I don't know which black-eyed son of a bitch took Sam in the first place." Dean paces angrily, fighting back the urge to lash out and kick over one of the many pillars of books which are stacked in untidy piles around the room.

Yellow Eyes is dead, this shouldn't be happening. Dean made the deal because he wanted his brother alive but in that nightmarish moment out there on the crossroads he didn't consider how dangerous life could be for his brother. Now Sam is sitting right at the top of a demon most wanted hit list and Dean's going to hell, leaving his brother in a matter of months. This isn't what Dean sold his soul for.

"Well, maybe I know someone who might be able to help. Won't be easy getting any answers from him though."

"What? Why?"

"He died two years ago this winter."

XXX

Dean waits for what feels like forever. His one shot of whisky becomes four and the fire in his belly is a furnace by the time Bobby walks back into the room. Dean frowns when he notices that Bobby is sporting a fine shiner on his left eye.

Bobby shakes his head slowly when he sees Dean's concerned expression. "Jacob Carroll." He mutters, as though that should explain everything but Dean's frown only increases because he doesn't recognize the name. "One of the best demon hunters I've ever know." Bobby chuckles then, a low rumble deep in his throat. "He sure hasn't changed any since passing over. Still a real mean old son of a bitch. He wasn't too happy about my getting in touch." Bobby cautiously probes his bruised eye with his finger. "Resting in peace my ass, bastard hit me with the friggin' Ouija board."

Dean sighs, swallows a fifth shot. A dark hopelessness is starting to spread throughout his body, weighing him down, he tilts his head back to drain the last droplets from the glass and hopes the whisky will numb the aching.

"He did know who took Sam though." Bobby adds, his remaining good eye twinkling. "But we'd best get our shit together. If we're going to find out how to summon this demon, there's some heavy duty research with our names on it."

Dean glances over at Sam, asleep now but still tied to the chair which Dean despises—he wants to untie Sam, pick up the chair and smash it into kindling.

It's going to be one long night.

XXX

Dean wakes up some five hours after his head first hit the pillow.

His skull is throbbing with an angry—scratch that—furious headache and he's stretched out fully clothed on a lumpy cot in Bobby's spare bedroom come library.

All of the rooms in Bobby's house seem to double as makeshift studies or libraries. Dean had always found it worthwhile paying Bobby a visit just to see Sam's eye glaze-over with wonder at all the avenues of research possibilities. Books—hundreds over them—more than a book-loving geek like Sam could get through in two lifetimes and some of them incredibly rare too. Dean would use them for research sure, but it also turned out that a pile of Bobby's books made for an awesome foot-rest while watching TV, although Sam would glare daggers at him until Dean became shame-faced enough to take his feet down.

There are soft fingers of sunlight poking through the gap in the thin curtains at the window, lighting up the room with a dull orange glow. Dean turns his head to study the alarm clock, which is sitting on the nightstand by the side of the bed. Thin metal hands pointing to show that it's only just turned six am.

Something sharp is digging into the small of Dean's back, a rusted bedspring no doubt. He sits up, the mattress squeaking as the bed dips and instantly regrets the sudden movement when the room blurs before gradually sharpening back into focus.

Dean is almost tempted to put a hand to his head and check his brain isn't seeping out of his ears. With a pain-filled groan he resolves to try and remember next time that straight whisky combined with utter exhaustion do not a happy Winchester make.

His concern for escaping brain matter dulls into obscurity when his ears suddenly pick up on the sound of yelling coming from downstairs, floating up through the cracks in the floorboards. Sam. It's all it takes for Dean to tear out of the bedroom and down the stairs with enough recklessness to seriously risk breaking a leg if he were to trip on one of Bobby's many threadbare rugs.

Bobby has Sam backed into a corner of his cluttered lounge. From his place in the doorway all Dean can see of his brother is Sam's panic-stricken face.

Bobby has his arms held out wide at his sides, the palms of his hands facing towards Sam. "Steady there, son." Bobby mutters quietly, like he's trying to calm a spooked horse. Sam is shaking; badly enough that the ends of the two lengths of rope still bound tightly around his wrists are hanging loose and swinging like twin pendulums.

Seeing Sam afraid ignites the spark of something deep-rooted in Dean's psyche. "Bobby, what the heck?" His tone is sharp with an emotion not that far removed from aggression.

"I was trying to take him for a bathroom break." Bobby hisses through clenched teeth and Dean shifts his position enough to see that Bobby's intentions were well founded. There's a small puddle of piss on the seat of the chair that Sam had been tied to.

"Uh...Oh shit, shit." Dean groans and he rubs at his stubbled chin with dismay. "Why the hell did you let me fall asleep? I should have been looking after him."

"Because you damn near collapsed on me, boy, that's why," Bobby fumes, he clearly isn't in a bleeding heart frame of mind right now.

Dean doesn't exactly push Bobby out of the way, but he does put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and slide himself in front of the older man so that he's the one confronting Sam.

Dean crouches down and struggles to keep his game face from slipping when Sam backs away and practically shrinks in on himself.

Dean tries not to look in Sam's eyes. It's like looking into the eyes of a stranger and the obvious distrust and fear are hard to swallow. Sam has never looked at him like that before. Dean has always been Sam's protector, confidant and best friend. To be seen as the enemy by his own flesh and blood, hurts more than Dean would like to admit.

"Sammy, it's me. You remember me, don't you?" Dean asks calmly, not betraying the fact that the possibility of Sam not remembering him is pretty much the worse thing he can imagine.

Sam is not looking at him though; Sam's eyes are transfixed by the amulet around Dean's neck.

It takes a long moment for Dean to realize what Sam is looking at but when he does, he reaches for the cord and slips the amulet off over his head, holding it out towards his brother. "You recognize this? You gave me this, Sammy? Remember?"

Sam sticks out his hand, fingers lightly brushing against the amulet reverently. Dean inches forward and—keeping his movements slow and deliberate—he places the amulet around Sam's neck. Sam instantly puts a hand to it, pressing it against his chest. His shaking has subsided some.

It's not much. But it's a start and right now, Dean will take anything he can get.

XXX

Seated together at the kitchen table Sam drinks from a glass of milk which Dean patiently holds to his brother's mouth. There's a plateful of scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and biscuits in front of Sam but he won't take a single bite for himself. He'll not eat a morsel unless Dean lifts the fork and forces the food past Sam's lips.

Dean wants to steal a slice of bacon from Sam's plate like old times, when he'd always be sure to eat it with his mouth wide open, mashed up contents on full display, just to make Sam roll his eyes and groan out a disgusted, "you're such a pig, Dean." But Dean holds back because he knows he couldn't cope if all Sam gave him in response was a blank empty stare.

When Sam has drained the glass, Dean lifts it away and gets up to go over and stick it in the sink. He grimaces as he catches sight of the vicious rope burns marring Sam's wrists. "I'm not going to tie you to the chair again, Sammy." Dean says.

Sam's eyes are roaming around the room and Dean puts a hand to Sam's chin, gently redirecting his brother's wandering attention back towards him. "Listen to me. I don't want to tie you up so I want you to promise me you'll not run off anywhere." He leans forward so that his forehead is almost touching Sam's thick dark hair.

Sam blinks at him with wide open eyes and then nods, almost imperceptibly.

Dean releases a sharp breath and smiles widely, encouragingly. "Good. That's good, Sammy." Dean pulls his chair closer. "Can you tell me what happened to you?"

Sam shakes his head then, a few strands of hair fall forward to cover his eyes.

Without thinking, Dean goes to brush the hair away and stops himself when Sam balks and jerks his head out of Dean's reach.

Dean frowns and opens his mouth to speak but closes it again when the kitchen door opens with a bang causing Sam to startle. Bobby shuffles awkwardly into the room, struggling with the small mountain of books he's carrying. Dean pats the back of Sam's hand as he gets up to relieve Bobby of some of his load. "It's Bobby, see? It's just Bobby."

Bobby grabs himself a chair and sits down heavily. "You boys doing okay?" He asks, eyes flicking back and forth between the brothers. Dean looks fatigued even after catching up on some sleep and Sam is clearly still edgy, like he's waiting for something to happen. The rock in Bobby's gut makes him pretty darn certain that if Sam is waiting for something then it's bound to be something bad.

"Yeah, we're—we're okay." Dean pats Sam's hand again, a reassurance for them both.

Bobby flips open the book sitting on the top of the pile and stabs a finger at one of the pages. "When I made contact with Jacob last night he was a little pissy about the Hell Gate being opened so he wasn't exactly forthcoming with information. Seems the demons that escaped have been fighting amongst themselves ever since Yellow Eyes died. One in particular, a dark horse outsider, has been causing more trouble than most. He goes by many names but his followers call him Asag." Bobby pauses then, hesitant about sharing more information in front of Sam when the kid looks fragile enough to break like fine bone china. "Jacob seemed to think Asag might have taken a personal dislike to Sam, seeing as how Yellow Eyes had special plans for him."

It's hard to tell if Sam's even listening. He doesn't show any reaction to Bobby's words. Instead he seems more interested in playing with a thread which is hanging down from the t-shirt he's wearing. He winds the thread around his finger; the end of the finger steadily growing an alarming shade of purple until Dean can't take it anymore and grabs Sam's hand, tugging the thread loose.

"So it was Asag who took Sam?" Dean asks, his stern gaze finally shifting from his brother back to Bobby.

"Seems that way."

"But what for and why would the demon just give him back, Bobby?" Why not kill him?

"I don't know. Maybe we should try asking Asag himself."

"You know how to summon him?"

Bobby stabs at the open book again, pointing to an intricate illustration of the 'devil's trap' Dean is already plenty familiar with and underneath that, a long incantation written in Malachim. "I do now but we're going to need some help."

XXX

They take the Impala; it isn't a long drive Bobby says and they can talk more on the way.

Sam is still quiet and withdrawn. Since it looks as though he has finally accepted that neither Dean nor Bobby intend him any harm, he settled himself on the front bench seat without needing to be forcibly persuaded into getting in the vehicle.

He's staring blankly out of the window, one hand clasping the amulet around his neck. The fingers of his other hand are drawing shapes in the condensation on the window-pane.

Dean has been stealing furtive glances at his brother, noting the random patterns Sam has been drawing. Maybe Sam's bored; Dean wishes he knew what was going on inside Sam's head right now. But more than anything he wishes he had Sam back. Talkative, spirited, huge pain-in-the-ass, Sam. His Sam. Not this silent, broken imitation.

As Bobby drives he explains that he has a friend who lives two miles south of Deerfield. A psychic, Bobby adds, saying 'psychic' in the same uneasy way god-fearing folk would blaspheme. According to Bobby the guy is not some spoon bender or crystal-ball gazing nut job but the genuine article, similar to Missouri Mosley.

Dean isn't entirely comfortable with the idea of getting help from a psychic. Missouri he trusts but she earned that trust. She helped him and Sam, helped their dad as well but Dean decides that if this psychic-marvel is good enough for Bobby, then he'll be good enough for him too.

When they pull up outside the small yellow house, Bobby's friend isn't quite what Dean was expecting. Patrick Harper is a forty-something rocker type, who wears leather likes it's the only material available for making clothes. Harper looks like a Black Sabbath roadie, his messy grey hair tied in a tight ponytail and his face half-hidden by a scraggly beard.

Harper's house is packed with odds and ends, countless bizarre trinkets and ornately bound books; it's like a huge emporium of weird. When he leads them inside there's a surf board propped up in the lounge. Dean wants to ask where exactly he surfs seeing as they're a few hundred miles from the nearest stretch of ocean.

Harper pumps Bobby's hand like he's working a casino slot machine and then extends his giant paw in Dean's direction, giving him an over-familiar pat on the shoulder. They exchange apprising looks and Dean feels unnerved by the close scrutiny when Harper squeezes his shoulder and gives him a sad smile. Dean shuffles his feet, not liking the feeling that Harper knows his entire life story already.

"This the kid you called me about, Bobby?" Harper asks, motioning at Sam who has been trailing Dean with all the semblance of a faithful dog sticking to his master's heels.

Dean pulls a cynical 'I thought this guy was meant to be psychic' face.

"Yes." Bobby nods, pointedly ignoring Dean.

Harper reaches out his hand to touch Sam and Dean's back stiffens instantly. He's already moving to put himself in-between the two when Bobby grips his elbow and growls, "this is why we're here, let the man do his job."

Sam doesn't flinch or try to get away, perhaps calmed by Harper's spiritual aura or just too busy staring at the garish pattern on the man's scruffy Hawaiian shirt.

Harper's hand connects with Sam's chest. Dean and Bobby watch intrigued as the fingers on Harper's hand start to twitch. The twitch starts to move up his hand, reaching his wrist and then his whole arm is trembling.

"Harp?" Bobby steps forward, concern etched on his face.

Harper sucks in a shuddering gasp, his eyes roll back and he plummets to the floor like a sack of spuds.

-0-

Part 2 will be posted soon, it's done it just needs a little tweaking.

Reviews will be cuddled, given their own water bowl and taken for regular walks. Yep, I've finally cracked.