AN: Thank you for reading this one. It's done now! Thank you!
Sam hadn't slept in weeks. He had called every single contact he could think of, and on his end Bobby was calling in favors right and left. Between the two of them they couldn't even find a trace of a black 67 Impala anywhere in the continental United States. Sam had tried all of Dean's usual haunts, he tried looking for hunts that would have peeked Dean's interest, he had tried tracing him by his cell phone, only to find that Dean had disabled the GPS and there was no way to track his movements. He even called every single motel he could get a hold of and asked for all of the alias that Dean usually used. He found nothing. Absolutely nothing. Dean had pulled a Houdini act and he didn't want to be found.
After the first week of looking for Dean, Sam hadn't been able to hold down much food, if he ate he threw it back up. Worry was a constant state, and he even found a gray hair sticking up amongst his thick chestnut hair. It was so uncharacteristic for Dean to do this. Had Hell changed his brother so much that he was willing to leave him, leave him in this panicked state, and not even call Bobby?
It had almost been a month and this day was no different from the previous thirty. Sam was on his sixth cup of coffee, running on less than two hours of sleep, and frantically searching his laptop for any information that might be useful in searching for his brother. He ran a shaking hand through his hair and sighed.
"I could help you with that." He jumped and had the knife out faster than you could say 'demon' and it was at Ruby's neck before she could blink. "You don't want to do that Sam."
"I can help you find your brother." He let out a loud bark of laughter.
"Yeah, I've heard that line before."
"No. If I recall the line was 'I can help you SAVE your brother' save and find are two completely different verbs, so no, it wasn't the same line."
"Or what? You going to kill me with that knife? Why don't you just pull me out of this body? Wouldn't that just be easier?"
"Sometimes easy isn't the right way."
"It was while Dean was dead." The knife bit into her throat and for a second, she was worried that he might actually kill her.
"Well it isn't anymore."
"You can find Dean you know?" she asked as blood trickled down her throat.
"I am going to find Dean."
"You can find him and get sleep." He paused briefly and that hesitation allowed the demon to keep talking. "You can find his soul. You can destroy all that is from hell, and he is from hell now, so you can find his soul without too much effort, all you have to do is think about it."
"I will not use my powers against my brother."
"I didn't say AGAINST him. Geeze Sammy…" the knife bit into her neck a little deeper. She giggled out her nerves. "You could just find him and draw him to you."
"I'm not using my psychic crap anymore. I will not do that again."
"It would make finding your brother so much easier."
"Easy is not how my brother taught me to do things. He taught me that sometimes the hard way is the best way."
"But sometimes…." Sam's phone went off. He thought about ignoring it, but the thought that it might be someone with some kind of information on his brother won out and he let go of the possessed girl and answered his phone.
"Sammy, you weren't doing something you would regret were you?" Dean's voice came smooth and easy across the phone line. Sam's legs went weak and he grabbed the chair he had been sitting at.
"Yeah. We need to talk. I'll be at Bobby's in a day. Meet me there."
"Are you okay?"
"Go to Bobby's. Or aren't you listening to me anymore? Is that part of the using demon powers thing?" Sam swallowed, trying to keep the tears at bay, the rebuke hurt.
"I'll be at Bobby's." his voice quiet.
"Good." The phone clicked off.
Sam glared at Ruby. "I'd get the hell out of here before Dean gets here if I were you."
"I'm not afraid of your brother."
"You should be." Sam growled. "Now go away." Sam yelled.
Sam was waiting on the front porch with Bobby when the Impala pulled up the drive. Sam would have been on top of his brother if Bobby's hand hadn't stopped him and held him back. "Let your brother do this on his terms." He whispered. Sam, with barely contained energy waited for Dean to emerge from the car and slowly amble up the stairs. A quick survey of his brother yielded that there was no damage to his face or hands, and that he was significantly more tan then when he left Sam alone in the motel room a month ago.
"You okay?" Sam blurted before saying hello.
"I'm fine. You okay?"
"Good." Dean licked his lips. "I need to know where I stand with you."
"What?" Sam asked startled that this was how they were going to begin this conversation.
"I need to know if I'm important in your life any longer. You moved on, and I didn't allow for that and I just jumped right back into the role I had before I spent time down under. So, I first need to know if I am wanted or needed in your life anymore."
"Yes." Sam choked out. "Yes. I prayed for you to come back every single day you were gone Dean."
"Then I suppose I need to ask where you want me."
"What are you talking about?"
"Cass says that I'm supposed to keep you from going down this path. I can't do that the way I used to. I don't know you anymore. I thought I did, but I don't. Truth of the matter is, that neither of us are the same man we were before I went to hell or before the deal. So, I can't be your older brother anymore. I have to figure out what to be to you now. You have other forces in your life that are more powerful than I am." He pinched his nose and sniffed. "I'm not used to that."
"I want you to be my big brother."
"No you don't. You don't want what I have to offer. Or you wouldn't have spent so much time lying to me."
"I lied because I was afraid."
"Afraid of what?"
"Of what you would say."
"Then why did you do it?"
"Because I had to."
"No you didn't. There are other ways of taking care of demons."
"But those ways kill the victim." Sam licked his lips and wiped a tear from his eye. "And I wanted to save them. Because…if I saved them…"
"You would be changing your destiny?"
"No. Because I could save someone else from having to suffer with the loss of someone they love. Because it was like I was saving you." Sam said finally and looked down and tears streamed down his long angular face.
"Sam. There wasn't anything you could have done. We tried everything."
"But I wasn't willing to risk myself for you. You risked your life, your soul, everything for me. And I wasn't brave enough to do the same for you."
"I wouldn't let you."
"That doesn't matter. It didn't matter. I've ignored your commands before; I should have done it then. I should have risked myself to save you. And by using the powers, by opening that part of me, I was risking my soul, I was risking everything to save them." Sam shrugged. "I was just trying to do something good with this curse. I just wanted to save someone." Dean touched his brother's arm. Sam looked up at him.
"I'm here now. You don't have to risk your soul anymore. Let me do that."
"That's my job." Sam just starred at him and Dean smiled and for a second everything was all good.
The three men went inside the house and the demon in the brush laughed. They had the Winchesters exactly where they wanted them.