So sorry i haven't managed to get back to all of you, but please know i've loved every one of your reviews and they all mean so much!

We're here at the end, thank you to everyone who came along for the ride. So until next time.....

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Sam paced across the room, his path led no where, helped form no thoughts. No thoughts except one. Dean had followed them last night. It was the only explanation there could be. He wasn't answering his cell, the car was gone, and so was his brother. For good? Sam shivered and shook the thought away. Dean had to have seen what he was doing last night and had bolted. If only he'd allow Sam to explain. It was a natural progression of his gift.

Gift. That was what Ruby called it, but she had a point, she made sense. She didn't make him feel like a failure or a freak. He knew Dean didn't mean to but Sam had seen the look in his older brothers eyes every time he'd seen Sam's powers in action. At first he had thought it was worry, but now he knew it ran deeper than that. Well, Dean had his path with the angels and their plans for him, Sam had his path with Ruby and the powers he could use for good, to end this fight once and for all. No boundaries, no rules. Just plain, good ol' fashion strength and power. With a side of demon blood.

Sam tried the cell again, as he hit the dial key he heard the low familiar rumble of the Impala's engine, his worry and (it couldn't be guilt, could it?) fear for Dean took a turn toward anger, how dare he leave like that. He should have at least confronted his little brother, at least said something. That wasn't his way anymore though was it? Silence and unspoken disapproval. That was the way now.

Sam took a deep breath and stormed outside, even if Dean wasn't gonna talk, he sure as hell had a few things to say. He stopped short as a woman he vaguely recognised pulled the car up in front of the motel room.

"Sam?"

"You're from the diner right?"

"I'm Sue, Dean's been hurt."

Sam dropped his worry, (guilt?), anger and ran for the passenger seat as Sue opened the door and leant in to wake Dean.

"I'm sorry, I wanted to take him to the hospital but…"

"…He wouldn't go."

"Yeah." Sue looked at her feet as she realised she should have forced the issue or at least driven him there when he'd passed out.

"Hey, its ok." Sam looked down at the woman and smiled. "Its ok, I'm used to this, I can look after him."

"He's got broken ribs, I think a concussion and a really nasty gash on his thigh."

Sam nodded and reached into the car, pulled his brother up and out, over his shoulder and into the motel room. He gently rested him against the soft mattress and waved Sue into the room.

"Could you get me a bowl of warm water and a cloth, we need to get him cleaned up so I know what we're dealing with."

Sue nodded, thankful to have something to do she didn't need to think too much about. She grabbed the things he asked for, went to work wiping down Dean's face, once Sam had his shirt and t shirt off, Sue cleaned off the muck and grime. As she ran the cloth along his chest and stomach she could see that part of the colouration didn't come from the mud he'd fallen in.

"Jesus."

"Yeah, broken ribs leave quite a trail of bruises."

"I wish I could have done more."

"What happened?"

As Sue told Sam the story of their night they worked together getting Dean tended to and comfortable. Sam carefully ran his hands along Dean's ribs, satisfied the bones hadn't shifted out of place, he moved onto the thigh, Sue cut away the jeans and helped Sam wash off more mud. Sam smiled sympathetically as Sue went outside to get some air while Sam stitched up the gash after cleaning the wound as best he could. He fetched their old first aid box and shook out a couple of antibiotics, crushing them to powder he mixed them in water and coaxed his older brother to drink the mixture down. Sue came back in and gently washed the sweat from Dean's face with a cool cloth, moving onto his arms and chest and then covering the sleeping hunter with two blankets Sam had found in the closet. Once they were done she fell into the chair by the table while Sam sat by his brother and felt his forehead.

"Think his temperature is coming down."

"How many times have you done this for him?"

"About as many times as he has for me." Again the sad smile, Sue couldn't help but feel that she was spying through a door at two brothers who loved each other dearly, but who had long lost the ability to relate, to understand. Two people convinced they were on the right side yet neither willing to admit that their side was lonely. It was a sad sight to behold. She could see the love Sam had for his brother in every movement he made. His hand to Dean's forehead, his fingers checking each wound, his eyes appraising every inch in case he'd missed something vital. Yet through all this he'd missed the most vital thing of all, just how much Dean was hurting. If it had been her place Sue would have spoken up, but she wasn't far enough into their world for that. All she could hope was that somehow, Dean talking to her, and hopefully some of the advice she'd given, would be enough to form a bridge across a raging river before it became too wide to cross. She saw this all and knew she was powerless. A moan from the bed brought her from her reverie.

"Dean?" Sam leaned close into his brother's line of sight. "Hey man, you ok?"

"Nightingale?" Mumbled Dean.

"What?"

"Its ok," Said Sue as she sat across from Sam on the other side of the bed. "He means me."

"Oh" Sam visibly deflated.

"Hey Dean, my hero, how'd do you feel knowing that now, I'm your hero?"

"I guess I'm glad" laughed Dean. "You ok?"

"Yeah, more than ok now we're back."

"Sam?"

"Yeah?" Sam said with an edge to his voice.

"Sammy?" Sam melted at the name and leaned forward, concern bleeding from his features.

"I'm here Dean."

"You ok? Sorry I didn't call you. Broke the phone."

"I'll get ya a new one." Smiled Sam. "Just rest and let yourself heal. Think you gave Sue quite a scare."

"Nah," Dean looked over at the woman affectionately, "I really doubt anything would give her a scare, she's a tough one for sure."

"I am? Well that's cos I was dealing with a difficult patient."

"I'm sorry for that Nurse Nightingale."

Sue laughed and playfully slapped his cheek.

"My surname is O'Donnell."

"Thank you Nurse O'Donnell."

"You're very welcome Dean. Just so you both know, breakfast, lunch and dinner is all free when you come into the diner."

"That's very kind of you Sue" Said Sam, he frowned as she blushed slightly. "What's wrong?"

"I know this is really rude of me to ask, but could I use your shower? I'm covered in crap and I know by the time I get home I'll be too tired and.."

"Sue," Sam silenced her with a hand on her shoulder. "Its fine, bathrooms all yours. Thank you so much for what you've done for my brother."

Sue gazed down at the older hunter who smiled sheepishly back.

"My pleasure."

Sam brought a chair over from the table and settled down next to Dean, he leaned forward, his hands clasped in front of him, he struggled for a few moments before speaking.

"Listen man, I'm sorry I wasn't here when you had to go out and fight that spirit."

"S'ok Sammy."

"No, no it isn't. Its just, you know, I couldn't sleep, so went for a walk."

"Yeah, don't sweat it. It all worked out ok."

Dean held Sam's gaze for a few awkward seconds before half faking a yawn and allowing his eyes to close. Sam ran a hand through his hair, unsure of himself and his brother for the first time since he'd left for college. Even when they'd joined up again, before and after Jess's death, they'd fallen into an easy pattern, hand to glove, foot to boot. But now? Now they were misfiring, they were on separate paths and Sam didn't know how, or if, he could save them.

Sue watched in silence from the half open bathroom door, her heart broke for the two who so obviously had so much to say but no means with which to say it. She'd found herself in similar situations over the years, in different circumstances of course, but the pain was the same. The person you loved the most became a stranger you feared to be alone with. The silences become awkward, the moments full of unspoken secrets. The end drawing near. Yet she could see they still had hope, their ties as brothers the strength that she prayed would get them through. She watched as they looked at each other, a hint of recognition hidden beneath a cavern of uncertainty. Each brother staring into the eyes of a stranger, while a stranger saw the truth in both.

You say lets forget the past,
I want another chance, gonna make it last.
You¹re begging me for a brand new start, trying
to mend a bridge thats been blown apart

Bridge By Queensryche

fin

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