This is my first Supernatual fanfiction. Everything wonderful belongs to Kripke and the CW. I'd rate this teen for the typical swearing and violence of the TV show. Comments and reviews are really truly appreciated!

How You Remind Me

"Slippery slope, Brother, just wait and see."

"Look Dean, I'm not gonna let it go too far."

Chapter One

Sheets of icy rain were falling just outside the walls of the abandoned house.

They weren't fully intact, just the skeletal remains of lathe and studs making up the outer wall of what was once the dining room of a two story farmhouse. The branches of shrubs naked in the late November afternoon raked against the sides of the structure making a chilling sound. Drops of water which had found their way through the rotting levels of the house fell upon a beaten leather chair. Their sound punctuated by the heavy footfalls of a rather impatient Dean Winchester.

The three of them had been camped out in this hovel for several days. The Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam, and their unlikely ally, Ruby, had chosen not to return to Bobby's panic room after Anna's disappearance. The brothers had argued over their next move, with Sam stating they couldn't afford to waste time hiding and Dean wanting to wait until Bobby returned from the Dominican. In the end, Sam's logic won out since neither brother wanted to bring the wrath of Heaven or Hell down on the older hunter. As much as Bobby considered himself family, this was not his battle, not one he deserved to be dragged into. For now, they just wanted to regroup after the events surrounding Anna. To rethink strategy. And this location, a place Sam had discovered shortly after Dean's death, seemed ideal until the temperature dropped thirty degrees and pummeled them with sleet.

"It's colder than Hell in here." Ruby, dressed in only a black leather jacket and jeans, rubbed her bare hands vigorously together as she stared through the slats in the wall. Dean probably thought he'd been cursed to have to stay with her while Sam was off running errands, but that was the dumb luck of playing rock, scissors, paper with Sammy. The winner got the task of traveling to what ever posed as the nearest town in the warmth of the Impala. And of course Sam won, according to Dean, he always did. Ruby attempted to engage the older Winchester again. "Stupid expression, isn't it Dean? What I would have given for even an ice cube down in the pit."

"Not gonna work Ruby, I'm not talking about it." Dean didn't break stride as he walked from one end of the room into the other. "Shouldn't we be worried about more important things right now, like- where's Sam?" Dean paced into what was once a living room and looked out between the tangle of dried vines that now covered what was once a former window. He'd already looked out at least a dozen times, now he made it one more. "He's been gone an hour!"

"You'll wear a hole in the floor." Ruby deadpanned.

"He took my car! My baby." He gestured with his arms outstretched as Sam would; it was interesting to watch how siblings took on each other's mannerisms subconsciously.

Ruby leaned against the wall nearby; the small twitch in her lips could have been mistaken as a smile. It was closer to the fireplace, but no warmer, given a cold wind blew through the open walls. Dean was so easy to read. Despite everything he'd been through, and all the things he'd seen Sam accomplish since his return, the man was worrying over his younger brother. Parents worried when their teenagers took the car out for the first time. They envisioned dozens of gruesome ends for their "little ones" who they weren't able to protect any longer, often veering into the irrational. That was Dean, except his fears were grounded in the reality of the life they led and never unfounded.

"You're not worried about the car. You're thinking Sam went off after the rest of that group of demons we saw yesterday, aren't you?"

"Did he?" Dean spun around accusingly. "You've got the extra-sensory demon finder ability, my brother getting into something he can't handle?" Dean tightened his lips a moment and closed his eyes; when they opened the bright green was flaring with anger. Was Dean's fear for his brother's physical or spiritual safety? She'd heard no more discussion between the men over Sam's abilities, in fact the tainted hunter refused to speak even with her about it. A human fugitive from Hell should worry a lot more about his own spiritual health than his demon-blooded brother's. It's not like Sam ran around committing acts of evil. Dean, on the other hand, had spent forty years in the pit, it didn't take a demon or a genius to guess what he'd been up to in that time. Pot meet kettle, stone-glass house, it didn't matter the cliché, Dean just needed to shut up and leave his brother alone.

Ruby noticed Dean still staring at her and she flashed back a look of annoyance. What did he expect her to say? The irksome hunter wasn't exactly on her friends list even if he did offhandedly thank her for saving Sam from the despair his death had caused. He should be a lot more grateful, but that wasn't his way, and smacking him around for treating Sam with disrespect wasn't going to gain her any favor in Sam's eyes. So she settled on sarcasm as the best method for dealing with Dean. Heaps of snark with acid on top, the demon Middle Way, at least for her.

"He's okay", Ruby smirked. "He just went for food."

"Yeh, well, that kid hasn't exactly been the most honest since you started playing Dangerous Minds with him. He left over an hour ago, and his cell is out of service, so you'd better not be lying." His hand went to the sheath at his side and rested on the metal grip of what looked like an ornate hunting knife. Reminding her that it was the more vulnerable brother who carried her precious knife. Yes Dean, it kills you to know you are the weaker of the two of you, doesn't it?

"I know he's your BFF, that he tells you more than he tells me."

So jealous too, she opened her mouth, knowing nothing kind was about to come out and wanting very badly to say something that would make him feel crappier than he already did, but she closed her mouth instead and took a step back, not wanting to taunt him further. This was the first time she'd ever been alone with Dean for any length of time and with his gesture it was more than obvious he still held disdain for her, though much of it was just false bravado. He needed to save his anger for their real enemies. But survival instinct had a way of reminding you that picking on the guy with the knife that would plummet you back to damnation wasn't a bright idea.

She wasn't here for him, even if she felt like his babysitter at times, he was a constant block to the work she and Sam needed to do. Dean's unexpected return on the wings of the angels changed everything, and now she was muddling her way through her game plan. The restless pacing had resumed; the knife forgotten for the moment. If Dean went for the knife she'd have to put him down, carefully. Although he'd tried on two separate occasions to kill her; she wasn't about to kill him. Helping Sam through his despair at Dean's death, helping him to put down the bottle and regain meaning in his life had been an incredible challenge. Her killing Dean would result in her own death, Sam would spiral into maniacal suicide hunts and burn out before even finding Lillith. No, Dean served some use. Time and Dean's return made Sam no longer willing to go half crazed into a fight. Dean had returned more broken than Sam could ever see, and Ruby knew that forty years in the pit was plenty of time to strip away your humanity.

Sam had briefly shared with her his concerns over Dean's health. There were nightmares, and on a few occasions Sam was convinced Dean was seeing things that weren't there. He'd asked her if it was possible that Dean could see demons now through their human victims, and Ruby didn't know. Ruby expected he'd have nightmares or hallucinations, and seeing how the brother's were like one, it wasn't shocking to see Dean toss back whiskey at breakfastime. But this was all well beyond any knowledge or experience she had. A complete return from the dead? Now that was just of Biblical proportion and a million miles away from her pay grade.

Dean was too focused on his usual role as big brother to notice Sam was the one watching over him now. Ruby hoped this was the key to getting Sam to become what he was capable of. In the hopes of being able to best Lillith, Sam had taken a month to learn to pull a garden variety black eyed demon. With months of practice behind him he'd used his powers to protect Dean when he pulled Samhain. Sam could say all he wanted about putting his powers to rest, but if push came to shove he wasn't going to stand by and let Dean get injured. That was how he explained himself to Ruby, how he justified using what came natural, but what he fought off and denied. All these promises to protect his brother were lies because Alastair handed Sam his ass. They had barely escaped from a situation that could have been ended quickly if Sam had been willing to do the very thing necessary to harness his powers.

Dean stopped his dizzying pacing to settle down cross legged before the fire. The cold was getting to him too, despite his thick leather jacket. The abandoned house had served their purposes in the warmer months, but soon they'd have to move on. Ruby hoped the hex bags she had made them would keep the demons off their trail until it was time to face them. And Dean was right, Sam was more reticent than ever, but not just to his brother. He refused any discussion of his abilities with her. Her patience was wearing thin.

The filthy red couch still held it's position before the fire place, the memory of what had happened there bittersweet, better to avoid it altogether. She pulled up a chair near the fire. Sam would want her civil with Dean; she'd try. "He's not exactly a kid Dean."

"What would you know?" A flash of realization crossing his face. "No, no I take that back." His hand came forward, palm towards her. "I so don't want to hear why he's not a kid anymore."

"Funny." She grew suddenly very serious. "I had a brother."

This had the desired effect. Dean lifted his head to her. "Demon or human?"

"Human, his name was Fredrich. I remember him very clearly."

Dean had nothing better to do besides pacing, worrying, waiting, and freezing his ass off; so he decided to take the bait. "Was he younger?"

"A few years older, but Rosy was younger." Ruby went silent. Two seconds later the familiar growl of the Impala's engine was heard pulling up outside causing them to both look up and the conversation to cease. Dean moved across the room in seconds, grasped his sawed off shotgun, then cautiously stepped towards the door. A hunter never knew what to expect, and always was ready. Ruby admired that in both brothers. She didn't bother with the human precautions; there was no reason to worry, she already knew whose presence had entered the yard. Dean was acting on the instinct of nearly thirty years of hunting. The grip on the weapon slackened, the tension between his shoulders visibly released. The figure getting out of the car was definitely Sam. Ruby noticed, as she peeked through the broken walls, that he carried a bag from a take out place in his left hand and a much larger bag from a mall store in his other.

Dean opened the door for his brother and gave the Impala a quick once over. The road weary car needed a wash, but otherwise was in good health. Doting on a car was abnormal, as far as she was concerned, but Dean had so little in this life, it was impossible to begrudge these little sentiments. Sure enough his voice took on a softer, jovial tone as it always did when dealing with his little brother. The game face returned. "Whatcha bring back Sammy, I'm starving."

He gave a friendly swipe at the bag before Sam could even enter the hallway.

"Hey. Patience." Sam lifted the food bag above his head and out of Dean's reach. "I got you both something." Dean followed Sam into the "dining room" while Ruby hung back by the fire. It had been that way since Dean's return, Ruby letting the boys get to know each another again. If they were going to be at the top of their game they would need each other as allies. Her very existence was always compromising their relationship. She had hoped Dean would take it easier on her once he knew she's come to Sam's aid, and she supposed for him he was actually being more friendly. It was only natural for a hunter to suspect a demon. She sensed it was his experience in Hell that opened his mind a bit more allowing her to be a part of their lives. The million dollar question was how to get two stubborn men to walk a mile in each others shoes.

Sam began to unpack the take out bag, on the room's only table, lifting out foil wrapped burgers and placing them carefully onto white napkins to avoid its surface. He reached back into the bag, a smile on his face. "Dean, never say I didn't get you pie."

"Hey, first time for everything." The pie was nothing more than convenient store boxed and ready made. Probably closer to cardboard than the real thing, but it was pie, and Dean was pleased at a lot more than the menu. Dean grabbed a beer from the cooler on the floor then settled onto the beat up dining room chair, burger in one hand, beer in the other, and his brother in the seat next to him.

"Ruby?" Sam's dimpled grin lit up his face when he saw the demon come into the room. "Hurry up! Your fries are getting cold."