Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural or its characters. I am not making any money on this…I'm just having fun!

Born in Darkness

Chapter 8 – Epilogue

Sam sat on the edge of the bed, his shirt in his hands forgotten as he stared at the other cot in the room. He could tell from the bunched up sheets that once again his brother had a rough night. It had been over a week since he'd come to and found Dean hovering over him. For a short while it had actually felt like before.

But at night, it was now Dean who cried out with his latest nightmare. He'd tried to comfort his brother; to get him to talk about what was scaring him. But Dean refused saying it was nothing before he'd help Sam back into bed. Last night had been the worst since his brother had returned. And yet he still couldn't get his big brother to let him in.

Sam jumped as a hand fell on his shoulder. He gasped slightly at the still healing ribs complained at the sudden movement. "You need help there son?" Bobby's voice broke the silence that had greeted the young hunter when he'd woke.

"Ah, no thanks…" Sam blushed as he realized he'd been sitting there with his shirt in his hand for some time now. He gritted his teeth and pulled the shirt over his head. His shoulder and ribs both ached but he struggled through the pain and finished getting dressed.

"Good then you should feel up to joining us for breakfast this morning." Bobby stood back and looked at Sam, his face still filled with concern at what he saw.

"Where's Dean?" Sam asked as he pushed himself to his feet. The room swayed for a brief moment and he felt a hand on his elbow before it settled. As soon as it was clear he was steady on his feet, Bobby removed the hand and stepped in front of Sam to head downstairs.

"He went outside—said something about working on the Impala…"

Sam sighed. It was like after his father's death all over again. Dean was shutting him out. He slowly followed Bobby down the stairs and into the kitchen. The scent of freshly brewed coffee hit him and brought a smile to his lips. It was nice to have the coffee waiting for a change. He was so used to having to either make it or go fetch it.

"So how are you feeling Sam?" Bobby asked as he pulled out a pan and grabbed a bowl of what looked like pancake batter from the fridge.

"I'm okay" Sam started but stopped at the raised eyebrow directed at him from the old hunter. A dimpled grin showed briefly before he continued. "Really Bobby, I'm just a little stiff and sore. I'll be ready to hunt again in a few days…"

"You got a new hunt already?" Bobby said as he began to fry up the bacon.

Sam sighed. "It's the same hunt Bobby. I'm still looking for Lilith—I have to put an end to this…" Sam paused and looked outside where his brother was working. "I can't let her take him again—I just can't…"

Bobby turned and looked at Sam for a moment before he began to cook once more. "So you think going after a demon right now is a good idea? What does Dean think?"

The young hunter shifted for a moment and looked down into his coffee. Dean didn't want him anywhere near Lilith but he couldn't stop. He had to kill her not only to avenge what his brother had suffered, but to make sure she couldn't hurt him ever again. "He doesn't want me to…I mean, he said he wanted to look for a 'normal' hunt…" Sam's breath hitched for a moment as he once again felt his brother's distrust.

"Why not?" Bobby probed as he placed a large plate of pancakes on the table.

"Because he doesn't trust me Bobby okay! He thinks I'll go all Darth Vader if I use my powers and he doesn't believe me when I tell him I won't use them—not that I blame him. He just doesn't understand…" Sam stopped as he realized he'd said too much.

Bobby sighed. "Have you asked your brother why he wants to avoid demons?" The old hunter shook his head. "No of course not because you two idjits never talk about nothin' important. Both of you so busy trying to protect the other…" The old man's eyes glinted "…and yourselves that you just don't see what's important."

Sam stood his fists clenched. "Don't tell me what's important Bobby. I know what's important—I lost him for four months. Four months of having to figure out how to fight alone in a world that literally has gone to hell. And of course then there are my freaky powers. I finally think I've done something right—found a way to make this—this curse into something good. But all that matters is I have demon blood pumping through my veins Bobby. I can't use what was done to me to make a difference or risk God's wrath and losing Dean—so you tell me Bobby, what should I do?"

The young hunter collapsed back down onto the chair, his ribs forcing him to slow his breathing as the world around him grayed. He waited for the condemnation from the older hunter. No one could understand how he felt or understand his need to make things right. Once again he felt alone. He pushed himself away from the table, his appetite no longer present and his body now weary once again. A strong hand stopped him from rising and he looked up into eyes that held understanding.

"First of all Sam, you chose to fight alone during those four months. I was here…" Bobby raised his hand as the young Winchester started to speak "…I was here for you then and I'm here for both of you boys now. We are family and together we can figure this out. But you have to get your head out of your back side and realize that maybe, just maybe your brother wants to do a normal hunt because he needs to…"

"What do you mean?" Sam sat back and looked at his old friend.

"I mean, did it ever occur to you that Dean doesn't need to face what he was surrounded with for the past four months. Fighting demons can't bring back good memories for the boy right now. He's struggling with what happened to him down there and he's trying to figure out where to go from here. Maybe he just wants to take a breather and get back to basics—something to make him feel good about himself again." Bobby placed a stack of pancakes on Sam's plate and added some bacon before he rose to get the coffee pot. He returned to the table and filled both their cups before he continued.

"I've tried to talk to him but he won't let me in. It's just like Dad's death all over again. He's changed Bobby and I just don't know how to help him…" Sam picked at his pancakes. He knew Dean was hurting, but his brother wasn't letting him in. They both had changed so much, what worked before didn't anymore. In some ways they both had become strangers.

"You need to keep trying to talk to him Sam, be there for him and let him come to you when he's ready. Just like he's always been there for you and still is. He's just as lost as you right now and trying just as hard to find his way. Now start eating before I do something you'll regret…" Bobby raised an eyebrow as Sam laughed softly.

"Okay Bobby—and, thanks"

"Thank me by finishing up those pancakes and then getting yourself better boy." Bobby said gruffly as he rose and headed to the back door. "Dean Winchester, get your butt in here. breakfast is gettin' cold!"

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Dean wiped his hands on the dirty rag and stepped back to admire his car. He'd woken up early after another nightmare and had been too antsy to remain in bed. He'd checked on Sam and then headed out to really check out his baby.

"Well looks like Sammy kept you up pretty good girl, but he missed a few things. Don't worry; I'll fix you up just like new." Dean smirked as he saw the Ipod jack sitting in the backseat. "I still can't believe he douched you up with that emo crap of his…"

As the morning wore on he could feel his mood lifting. Sam was on the mend, no more demons had made an appearance, including Ruby and all he had to do was work on his car. He took in a deep breath of fresh air as he gazed up at the sun. He never thought he'd see this again. But before the dark memories could rise he clamped them down and began to work on the engine once more.

He thought about what his brother had said to him beside the river. Had he been treating Sam different? Of course he had. Anyone could see the change in Sam. Gone was the younger sibling who hung on his every word. Now his brother seemed to want to run the show. He didn't back down or give in to Dean like he had in the past. In fact, for a moment he actually understood why his father used to get so angry with his younger brother.

Dean sighed as he worked on the carburetor. He had been hard on Sam but how was he supposed to react when his little brother was keeping so many secrets from him? It was bad enough he'd used his powers and even worse that he'd made friends with a demon but to out right lie to him about it? The hurt he'd felt resurfaced. "Why can't you just tell me the truth Sam? What else are you hiding?" Dean muttered as he moved on to check the rest of the engine.

It wasn't that he didn't trust Sam—he still would rather have his little brother guarding his back than anyone else. He was afraid for him. If Sam decided to use his powers again, the angels might stop him and he'd lose his brother again. He just didn't want to take that chance. So yes, he'd been hard on his brother. He had to make Sam see that what Ruby was feeding him was nothing more than lies packaged up with a pretty bow to make them appear like they were good.

"Well looks like you're about ready to go girl. Now we just gotta wait for Sam to heal up a bit more and we'll go find us a good old monster to hunt…" Dean sighed as he remembered his little brother's reaction when he'd asked him to find a monster hunt. It was true that part of him wanted his little brother far away from demons until he could figure things out. But a part of him just needed to get back to what he knew best. Hunting evil, killing evil and saving someone.

His head jerked up and a smile lit his face as he heard Bobby yell at him for breakfast. A slight rumble in his stomach reminded him he hadn't eaten dinner the night before. "Okay girl, I'll be back later to give you a nice bath and wax…" He closed the hood and quickly replaced the tools he'd been using in the trunk before he headed for the house. The smell of pancakes and bacon making his stomach protest more loudly as he moved quickly towards the kitchen.

He stopped and a smile lit his face as he saw his younger brother sitting at the table and eating. "Well look who decided to grace us with his presence—I swear Bobby I didn't believe all those newspapers but I guess they were true."

"What?" Sam asked as he sipped at his coffee, a small grin on his face as he looked at his brother.

"Elvis is living and breathing in South Dakota!" Dean smirked as he went to the sink to wash before sitting down to eat. His grin grew as he heard his brother huff followed by the traditional eye roll.

"Of course, your pink Caddy is a little worse for wear but I'm sure you can get another…" Dean winked at Bobby who chuckled beside him.

"What the hell are you talking about Dean?" Sam huffed as he gazed at the merriment on the two other men's faces.

"Nothin' Sammy" Dean remarked as he laughed.

"We found you in a pink Caddy after you took on the demon Sam." Bobby clarified.

"Yeah, I'll bet he tapped into his inner Elvis, although one note from my brother was probably enough to send that demon packing." Dean shuddered. "I normally wear earplugs when he gets going in the shower. His voice could break glass Bobby."

"Ha ha, real funny Dean." Sam muttered good naturedly as he finished his pancakes. "I think I'll go get a shower and then start looking for our next hunt…"

"Whoa there Sam. No need to rush things…" Dean looked up in concern. He could see his brother's wince as he stood from the table.

Sam gazed down at Dean and shrugged. "I've been worse and so have you. Besides, I think Bobby wants his house back. I'll try and leave you some hot water Dean…"

"You better Sasquatch!" Dean remarked as he watched his brother move slowly towards the stairs. His appetite suddenly left as he gazed for a moment after his injured sibling. It was true, they had hunted in worse shape but he wasn't ready yet to let his brother go after another demon. He'd hoped Sam would take at least a few more days so he could find another type of hunt.

"Talk to him Dean." Bobby said quietly as he sipped on his coffee.

Dean sighed. "I know Bobby, I will…"

"Good, now eat up boy!"

The young hunter smiled at his friend. "Okay Bobby—and, thanks!"

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Sam smiled as his brother came down the stairs after his shower. He looked better even though he could still see the dark circles under his brother's eyes. At least he looked more relaxed since he'd returned from the pit. While he'd been taking his own shower he'd thought about what Bobby had told him and made a decision. He'd stop focusing on his search for Lilith for the time being, even though he'd still keep his eyes open.

They could hunt monsters and other evil for a while. After all, it wasn't like the demon was broadcasting her location and things had quieted down some since Dean came back. The demonic signs had decreased to be almost non-existent. It was almost as if they were hiding again which made him nervous. Did his brother have something to do with the decreased activity?

He began to read through the various papers and smiled slightly when he found what he was looking for. It probably would be a bust, but then at least it would give them more time to be together; to get to know each other again. "Hey Dean—I think I found us our next hunt."

Dean paused before he walked over towards him. "Ah Sam…"

"Girl in Pennsylvania was attacked by what a witness described as Dracula…" Sam looked up and saw relief in his brother's face.

"So no demon activity?" Dean asked as he moved to read over Sam's shoulder.

"Nope, looks quiet. I don't know Dean, this could just be a bust. I mean Dracula?" Sam was beginning to re-think the whole hunt. After all there was a war to be fought and Dracula was definitely not on the A-list of things they needed to worry about.

"No—it could be something for us. Besides look what else is going on…" Dean pointed to an advertisement in the paper for the town's Oktoberfest.

"Beer and pretty women along with a good old fashioned monster hunt. I think we should head out tomorrow morning…" Dean replied. "It will give me time to finish working on my girl and you can get some more beauty sleep."

Sam sat back and rubbed his shoulder for a moment. It was still sore but after his shower he felt almost as good as new. He probably wasn't up for a knock down fight, but a wannabe vampire probably wouldn't hurt. Besides he didn't want to remove the look from his brother's face any time soon.

"Okay Dean, I'll pack my stuff and let Bobby know. It will give me time to do some more research before we leave." Sam started to stand before Dean put a hand on his shoulder.

"Sam, look, about what I said before. I know you want to hunt Lilith, just like Dad spent all his time looking for the Yellow-eyed son of a bitch. I don't know, it just seems like we kill the big bad and another one takes its place." Dean stopped and saw his brother tense.

"I'm not Dad, I just think we need to take her out along with as many other demons as we can find Dean. I'm responsible for them being here…"

"Whoa whoa whoa—what do you mean you're responsible?" Dean sat down and looked at his brother. He could see the same fire he'd seen in his father's eyes all his life. His little brother was on a mission that he believed in and nothing would get in his way. But maybe he could slow him down just a little.

"The demon targeted me—poisoned me with his blood and because of me, the gates were open. If I had killed Jake…" Sam looked away for a moment.

"If you had killed Jake, then the demon would have taken you Sam. Look, I know we have bigger fish to fry but we can't keep going like this. We need some down time in between and as strange as it may seem, hunting something 'normal' that we know how to kill will give us that break." Dean watched as Sam swallowed before turning to look at him. For a moment the coldness that had been in his brother's eyes since he'd come back lifted and he saw the younger brother who needed him to make things right.

"Okay Dean. We'll go to Pennsylvania but you can't ask me to stop fighting demons." Sam paused before he continued. "I know you have no reason to trust me Dean, but I meant it when I said I wouldn't use my powers. I just…I just…" Sam stopped and looked away for a moment before he continued. "I just want us to be brothers Dean. I can't lose you again—I just can't…"

Dean rose and placed his hand on his brother's shoulder. "I know Sam, I know…" For a brief moment hazel eyes met green as understanding passed between the two brothers. They both had lost too much, been through too much but they still had each other.

"So, princess you ready to move on or do you need a few more days of Bobby's cooking?" Dean asked as he stepped back. His game face was firmly back in place.

"No, I'll be ready to go tomorrow Dean." Sam stood and moved towards the kitchen to let Bobby know of their plans.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

It had taken them two days to get from South Dakota to the small town in Pennsylvania. Dean had insisted that Sam rest his shoulder and ribs. As the two boys climbed out of the car in their rented suits, which technically were no longer rented as they had no intention of returning them any time soon, Dean's face broke into a soft smile.

The polka music blared in the background as tourists mixed with the locals. Most wore traditional dress as the sounds and sights of Oktoberfest swelled around them. Sam and Dean stopped inside the gates taking it all in. They were looking for the sheriff so they could examine the body of the unfortunate young girl.

Sam turned to Dean and saw a look of pure pleasure cross his brother's face.

"Big Pretzel!" Dean said joyously as he moved quickly towards the vendor in the square.

Sam watched, a soft smile on his lips. He hadn't been sure this was the right thing to do with the end of the world thing hanging over their heads but the look on his brother's face as he handed him a large pretzel changed his mind. He'd made the right choice in coming with Dean on this hunt and with luck; the thing they were hunting would turn out to be simple to kill. But even if it wasn't—Sam would forget about demons for awhile and kill a hundred monsters just to see his brother smile.

The End

Raven524: Well this story was a bit longer than I had anticipated. It started out a one shot and ended up being a chapter story. *scratches head* Oh well, guess my muse wasn't satisfied with only one chapter. I hope you all enjoyed the story. Once again, thanks to all of you who have read and reviewed this fic. You've all made my day! Now on to the next…