Zachariah: "All I'm saying is...it's how you look at it. Most folks live and die without moving anything more than the dirt it takes to bury them. You get to change things, save people, maybe even the world. All the while you drive a classic car and fornicate with women. This isn't a curse. It's a gift. So for God's sakes Dean quit whining about it. Look around. There are plenty of fates worse than yours. So you with me? You wanna go steam yourself another latte? Or are you ready to stand up....and be who you really are?"

Zachariah's words hit Dean like a slap in the face; something that seemed to be happening a lot lately, with the worst ones always seeming to have descended from heaven. And every time he got used to their last blow, they'd walk right up to him again and slap him with something new. It was like they just loved to keep him off balance. And even though, this time, Zachariah's words were meant to be encouraging, the underlying message was all too familiar.

Suck it up Dean.

It was just too eerily reminiscent of Dad. And everything the man had stood for. Everything his father had ever said to him. And how, after every hardship Dean had endured, every hunt gone awry and every lesson learned the hard way, his father had always reacted the same way.

It's done. Get over it.

He had no doubt that Zachariah had channelled his father on purpose, doing it to ensure that Dean paid attention. And just like Dad, Zachariah had tossed aside all of Dean's concerns and hurts, subtly reminding him that the only thing of any importance was to continue the fight. And as tired as he was of this fight, Dean realized that it was, in reality, probably the only thing of any substance he had. There was nothing else available to him; he had no other real life. His was predestined, having been determined when he was just four years old.

Yet Dean refused to believe that the same was to be said about his brother. Sammy's fate was not set in stone. It couldn't be. Or there was simply no point in continuing. With his help, Sam would be able to escape the reality of his life. Dean wouldn't just stand around and watch his younger brother slowly descend into Hell. He would stop it. Somehow. And someway.

It was then that Dean remembered the last time he had seen his brother. And the last words he had said to him.

"Know me? You don't know me, pal. You should go."

Swiping his fingertips slowly across his eyebrows Dean wondered what had possessed him to say that. And why in the hell had he been so brash as to tell Sam to leave? Thinking back to it, Dean realized that, even then, he hadn't wanted Sammy to leave. So why had he said it? And worse yet – why had Sam actually left? Why hadn't he argued with him? Continued trying to convince him of what he knew? Because that's what the real Sam Winchester would have done.

But he hadn't known he was Sam Winchester; he'd thought he was some dude named Sam Wesson. And, like that guy with the wimpy name, Sam had wimped out and left.

But it must have been orchestrated by Zachariah. He had to have had a hand in it somehow. Because Sam's rambling monologue had awoken Den ever so slightly and he was about ready to agree with him when those strange words spurted from his mouth. And then Sam looked at him, seemed about to say something but turned and walked out the door instead.

But where was Sam now? It had been almost five minutes since Zachariah had tapped Dean on the forehead and his memories had returned. Which was plenty of time for Sam to have made his way back upstairs and now be standing in his office, grinning like an idiot and rubbing Dean's face in the fact that his alter ego had had the whole thing pretty much figured out without any help from the angel.

But he wasn't here. He hadn't called and he hadn't shown up.

Immediately suspicious, Dean spun around and glared icily at Zachariah. "Where's Sammy? What have you done with him?"

"Nothing," stated Zachariah flatly. "However, just like you, he quit his job a few minutes ago and he left the building. Other than that, I don't know exactly where your brother is."

"That's not possible."

"He's really not my concern, Dean. You are."

"Sammy wouldn't just leave without coming to get me," Dean spat angrily, "Especially not after he remembered everthing."

Zachariah just smiled.

Getting the gist behind the weaselly smile, Dean challenged, "He doesn't know, does he? You didn't give him back his memories, did you?"

Again Zachariah didn't reply.

"What have you done to my brother?"

"I told you. I didn't do anything to him."

"And, lemme guess? That includes lettin' him in on his real life!"

Zachariah stared unblinkingly at Dean but said nothing, neither denying nor confirming his suspicions. After glaring back at him for a moment Dean bolted around him and out to the hallway. Tearing down the hall, he paused briefly at the elevator before deciding that, with twenty-two floors below him, the elevator would simply take too long to arrive. Turning, Dean ran for the stairwell and bounded down the stairs until he reached the ground floor. Pushing the heavy steel exit door open Dean rushed outside, only to be temporarily blinded by the bright sunlight and having to take a moment to get his bearings. As soon as he figured out exactly where he was in relation to the main road, Dean raced around the building and out past a myriad of cars in the parking lot before he came to an abrupt halt on the sidewalk out front.

Scanning the area for any sign of his brother, Dean finally spotted him at a bus stop about 100 yards to his right. But, as luck would have it a bus had just pulled up in front of him and as Dean ran toward him, the bus doors swung open and Sam began to board the bus. In order to be heard over the drone of the engine and noisy hydraulics of the bus doors, Dean yelled out loudly to his brother.

"SAMMY!"

Sam turned towards the sound of the despised nickname, immediately rolling his eyes when he recognized who it was that had called his name. With a small shake of his head, Sam turned back toward the bus and commenced getting on but Dean raced toward the bus and managed to grab the edge of the door just as it started to close. As he forced it back open, he placed one foot on the bottom stair to stop the bus from taking off as he looked up at Sam's back as he stood paying his fare. Dean attempted to get his attention once more.

"Sammy…"

But Sam didn't even look back as he replied, "I asked you not to call me that," before he headed down the aisle to find a seat.

"Look Sam," apologized Dean, "I'm sorry. It's just kinda a habit with me."

But Sam ignored him, walking down the aisle to find a seat without bothering to look back.

Dean leaned further into the bus to keep his brother within his sight, adding, "We really need to talk, Sam. Please. Just for a minute."

"You getting on or not?" interrupted the bus driver. "I got a schedule to stick to."

"Huh? What?' Dean asked, looking confusedly up at the bus driver, having momentarily forgotten that he was holding up the bus. "Oh yeah…right," he added quickly as he stepped up a couple of stairs, letting the door close behind him as he searched the interior of the bus for Sam, who had quietly slipped into a seat near the back.

Noticing that Dean had actually gotten onto the bus before the bus pulled away from the curb, Sam shook his head again as he pulled his iPod from his jacket pocket, inserting the earphones into his ears and turning to stare out the side window; hoping that, if he just ignored him, Dean would refrain from bothering him. Dean trudged up the stairs and upon finding Sam, he walked right past the bus driver without stopping as he hurried down the aisle, his attention completed fixated on his brother.

But as he was about half down the aisle the bus screeched to a halt, knocking Dean off his feet. He grabbed hold of the back of the seat that just happened to be directly in front of where Sam was sitting and managed to stop himself from flying all the way to the back of the bus. As he regained his balance, the bus driver yelled back over his shoulder:

"Hey Buddy! Yah gonna ride, ya gotta pay. Otherwise get the hell off! "

Standing up, Dean dug through his pockets looking for some loose change. But he was flat broke. And with Sam still doing his best to ignore his presence, he wasn't about to just get off the bus. So, reaching forward, he yanked the earphones out of Sam's ears, asking somewhat irritably, "You wouldn't have any cash ya could lend me, would ya?"

"Look, Dean…or Mr. Smith… or whoever you are. Just quit followin' me, okay?" Sam sighed, snatching the earphones from Dean's hand and inserting them back into his ears. Almost as an afterthought he added, "Just…Just tell 'em to take the cost of the damn phone outta my paycheque."

"Phone? What phone? What are you talkin' about?" queried Dean, slightly puzzled. "Ya know what…it doesn't matter. I don't know what you're talking about and I don't give a crap about some stupid phone either. As a matter of fact, I don't give a crap about Sandover's either. I quit too."

This time Sam removed the earphones himself, asking incredulously, "You quit your job?"

"Yeah. Just a few minutes ago. Ya wanna know why? Because it turns out you were right. There are other things we're supposed to be doing. Another type of life we're meant to live."

Sam wrinkled his brow. "What are you talking about? I never said those things."

"Yeah, ya did. Don't you remember?" argued Dean, "It was right after we killed that ghost"

"Ghost?" reiterated Sam in disbelief, looking around to make sure no one was listening to their conversation. He leaned forward and asked quietly "You don't really believe in ghosts, do ya?"

"Yes Sammy, I do. And so do you. We killed one the other day at Sandover's. Don't you remember? It was right after your buddy Ian ganked himself."

Before Sam could reply, the bus driver interrupted, "Hey you! In the back! This is your last chance! Either pay up, get the hell off or I'm callin' the cops."

Dean looked beseechingly at Sam, who simply shrugged, stuck the earphones back in his ears and looked back out the side window.

"Fine," ceded Dean loudly so the driver could hear him and being out of options, he reluctantly stated, "I'm gettin' off."

Treading the few steps to the rear exit doors, Dean waited for them to open before glancing back hopefully back at Sam. But Sam was still staring out the opposite side window, seemingly lost in his music and forgetting all about him so, with a heavy heart, Dean stepped hesitantly off the bus. As the door closed behind him and the bus pulled away, Dean was left standing on the sidewalk all alone. Unsure what to do next, Dean stood on the sidewalk watching the bus roll right on past the next few stops before he half-heartedly headed back to where he vaguely remembered parking his car earlier that morning.

His car.

For the first time that day he wondered exactly what had happened to his car. Because the car he most recently remembered driving was so not his car. It was some new-fangled-environmentally-friendly-piece-of-useless-crap that made his head ache just thinking about it. It was as alien to him as the useless life he had been forced to live for the past few days, or weeks, or however long it had actually been. Just the thought of driving that silly excuse of a vehicle actually made him happy to have his own not-so-glorious life back. But to make it complete, he had to get his baby back.

That, and find a way to convince Sam that he wasn't some sort of psycho.

Dean's train of thought was broken by the sound of his name being called from far off behind him. Well, his first name with the blasphemous last name of Smith attached to the back of it. But even with the distance he recognizing Sam voice and he turned around eagerly to see Sam jogging towards him.

"Sammy!..I mean Sam," corrected Dean, shaking his head slightly, "What made you change your mind?"

"Did you really quit your job, Man?"

"Damn right I did. Couldn't stand it for another minute. It really wasn't me."

"Then you must have another job to go to," stated Sam matter-of-factly

"No. Why would I do that?"

"Well," commented Sam, "You just seem like the type, that's all."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothin,. It's just that you look like Mr. Class-A Executive, that's all. Someone who has his whole life figured out. Money in the bank. A 401k account. Big retirement plan. Things like that. You simply wouldn't quit your job without havin' a better, high-paying job lined up."

Dean stared at Sam in disbelief, totally dumbstruck at how far off base he was. Looking down at himself and seeing the high-priced tie and shirt, he finally remarked, "It's the clothes, isn't it? I do look like a corporate douche bag, don't I?"

"I never said that…"

"Actually, you did. You said exactly that. Right before you said we should both quit our jobs and do something more meaningful."

"More meaningful?" reiterated Sam. "Lemme guess" he added sarcastically, "Like hunting ghosts?"

"Yeah, that's what you implied. 'Course you were pretty pumped at the time."

And that's why you came chasing after me?" inquired Sam. "Because you had some kind of pipe dream that you inserted me into and decided to give up your cushy office job to go hunt ghosts fulltime? And for some insane reason you think I should be helping you?"

Dean stared silently at Sam for a moment, realizing that the current conversation wasn't bringing them any closer together. And, if he wasn't careful, Sam just might walk away again.

So after bit of careful consideration, Dean asked, "What exactly do you know about your life, Sam?"

"Whaddya mean?"

"Why'd you move here? Why'd you take the job at Sandover?"

"I broke up with my fiancée, Madison…"

Smirking at how rehearsed his answer sounded, Dean prodded, "Talked to her lately?"

"No. Why would I? I told ya, we broke up."

"Here," stated Dean, tossing Sam his phone. "Call her. See who answers."

Sam hesitantly took the phone and dialled the number. When someone eventually answered, he was momentarily taken aback before removing the phone from his ear and whispering to Dean, "It's an animal hospital."

"What else do you remember?"

Sam flipped the phone closed, abruptly ending the call without ever having said a word. As he handed the phone back to Dean he enquired, "Whadda we do now?"

"Get as far away from this place as we can," answered Dean, afraid that Zachariah may be watching them. Jerking his head to motion Sam to follow him, Dean began walking through the parking lot to the place where he remembered parking the car.

"We goin' back to your place?"

"Uhhh…that's probably not such a good idea," admitted Dean, not even sure where 'his place' was. Or if it even existed anywhere other than in his mind. "I was thinkin' maybe we could go to your place."

"Uh, Dude. My place is a motel. Probably not your style."

"Would it be…some sleazy joint on the outskirts of town?"

"Uhhh, yeah. That's exactly what it is. How'd you know?"

"Just a lucky guess that's all," commented Dean with a smile.

They walked around a small cluster of trees at the edge of the sidewalk, bringing the parking lot into view. Dean waveringly looked over to where he had parked the car that morning and was ecstatic, as well as more than a little surprised, to see his Impala parked neatly in his spot.

"Well, whaddya know Sammy. My baby's back."

"Any chance you're ever gonna stop calling me Sammy?"

"Wouldn't count on it."

As Dean walked around to the driver's side, Sam stayed at the back of the car, asked incredulously, "This is your car?"

"Yeah," Dean replied, lightly tapping the roof of the Impala. "Whaddya think?"

Sam looked the vehicle up and down. "It's old."

"It's not old. It's a classic."

"That's pretty much the same thing, Dude."

xxOxx

Dean quickly purveyed the untidy motel room and, based on the amount of space occupied by the queen-size bed, it was more than apparent he and Sam hadn't been rooming together while they'd been in town. Dean had hoped that the condo he'd thought was his home had just been another one of Zachariah's illusions. The Prius had been. Something he'd figured out as soon as he turned the Impala on and some extremely irritating all-news-all-the-time-radio-station had blasted out over the airwaves.

Dean shivered at the thought of the kind of person Zachariah had led him to believe he was and wondered what would have happened if he'd accepted his phantom job offer. But he just as quickly realized that that would never have happened because, even though he hadn't known it at the time, he was, after-all, still Dean Winchester. Not anything like the corporate schmuck he'd been portraying and his true self would have won out eventually. Of course, it had all been part of Zachariah's mind game, played out in precision to remind him who - and what - he really was.

Of course, it had also presented the perfect opportunity to get rid of Sam's memories for good.

Dean shuddered slightly, remembering the threat that Castiel had uttered so many months ago:

If you don't stop him; we will.

Leaving Sam to straighten out the room, Dean returned to his car, hoping that he would find his bag of clothes tucked away in the trunk; more than anything else, he needed to get out of the clothes he was wearing and into something more 'him'. Although he had no idea where his bag was, he doubted that it had accompanied him into wherever it was that he had been staying; it just didn't mesh with the over-priced monkey suits his fake-self had been so fond of wearing. And coming into contact with the bag and its familiar contents would have just raised his suspicions, making the trunk of the Impala the only logical place for the bag to be, just sitting there waiting for him to come and retrieve it.

Which was exactly where he found it when he opened the truck. Sitting conspicuously on the false bottom that concealed all their weapons. And that was something else he'd have to show Sam soon too. Their arsenal of guns and other weapons. It might help to jog his memory.

Or scare the shit outta him.

After pulling his bag from the trunk, Dean slammed the lid shut.

And came face-to-face with Castiel.

"What are you doing, Dean."

"Hi Cas. Nice to see you too."

"All pleasantries aside Dean, I asked you what you're doing?"

"Getting my clothes. I'm tired of looking like a stuffed shirt."

"I meant with Sam."

"I know what you meant. I'm just not goin' there..."

"It's important that he not know, Dean."

"Yeah? Says who?"

"We're just trying to stop him, Dean. He's already gone too far down a dangerous path."

"I told you I'd take care of that."

"There's things about him that you're not aware, Dean. It's gotten worse than even you can imagine."

"Yeah? Well, I can imagine some pretty bad things. And not knowing who you are iranks right near the top of the list."

"Why is it so important to you that Sam know who he really is?" asked Castiel, cocking his head slightly to the side as if to help him see inside Dean's head. "He'll just revert back to using his powers. And we both know that's not a good thing."

"Good or not, it's a part of who he is. And he needs to decide what he's going to do about it on his own ."

"Isn't that a little hypocritical, Dean? Haven't you been trying to persuade him to stop using them since before you went to Hell?"

"It's not hypocritical to try to persuade him to stop because the ultimate decision still rests with him," stated Dean firmly.

"But doesn't this just solve the entire problem?"

"It doesn't solve anything," spat Dean angrily. "You've just robbed Sam of his right to make a conscious choice. Not knowing who he really is isn't fixing anything. It's just hiding the truth. And Sam's smart. He'll eventually figure it out on his own."

"We have ways to stop that from happening."

"Really? Because you haven't done such a bang-up job so far. Last time there were already huge cracks in his veneer. He dreamt about us and all the things we'd done."

"But we can fix that," coaxed Castiel. "You just have to let us know when it happens and we'll fix it."

"Yeah? Well, I wouldn't count on that," retorted Dean as he walked around Castiel. "Besides, the fact of the matter is that, if you want me to fight this fight for you, I need Sam back. I need him with me. I can't fight with some imposter named Sam Wesson?"

Castiel didn't answer. In fact the only sound Dean heard from behind him was the familiar whoosh of the angel's departure as he disappeared. Without looking back, Dean opened the motel room door.

"Who were you talkin' to?" asked Sam asked as Dean walked in through the door. "Sounded like things were gettin' a little heated out there."

"Nobody," dismissed Dean, "Just talkin' to myself." He sat on the edge of the bed and looked over at Sam. "I think we need to have a little heart-to-heart."

"About what?" queried Sam, turning in his chair to face him.

"There's a few things I think you need to know," confessed Dean. "Starting with my name. It's not really Smith. It's Winchester."

"Winchester?" repeated Sam sceptically "Like the gun? Com'on, get real, Dude."

"But you're okay believing that my name is Smith and yours is Wesson?" asked Dean in disbelief.

As if he had only just put it together for the first time, Sam remarked, "Yeah, okay. I admit that is a little weird."

"Go ahead,' said Dean, pointing at Sam's laptop on the table in front of him. "Google me. See what you get."

"Dean Smith? Or Dean Winchester?" questioned Sam as he opened the laptop and turned it on.

"Winchester. Dean Smith doesn't exist. Or, at least, I'm not him…Or he's not me…Or, whatever."

"So, what are you expecting I'll find?" joked Sam, "That you're a dangerous fugitive wanted by the FBI?"

After typing the name into the computer, he was slightly surprised at the results that flashed up on the screen. With a quick glance at Dean and without saying anything more, Sam clicked on one of sites and leaned into the computer screen to read the information that appeared. Dean resisted the urge to ask him what he had found, letting him read uninterrupted, all the while hoping that what he read would at least jar his brother's memory.

After what seemed like a rather long time, Sam looked up. "Holy Shit." was all he said.

Dean got up, glanced at the computer screen as he walked around the table and took a seat in the chair beside Sam. "So what did you find out?"

"Just that the cops are looking for you." He looked back at the computer. "It says here that you're wanted for robbing a bank. Is that true?"

"No Dude, it was a shapeshifter. Does that site say anything about you?"

"Me?" repeated Sam in surprise. "I'm not involved in any of this?"

Letting out an exasperated sign, Dean explained, "What does it say about my brother? Is there anything about him?"

"Was that your partner in the bank robbery? Because it says he was killed by a police sharp-shooter."

"That was Ronald" explained Dean, a brief tinge of guilt overtaking him at the memory. "What does it say about my brother, Sam?"

Reading the page again, Sam shook his head. "There's no mention of anybody named Sam. Anywhere. And I'm pretty sure it says that you're an only child," Sam mentioned as he scrolled back up the page. "Yeah, here it is…the only child of John and Mary Winchester, born January 24, 1978. Mother died under suspicious circumstances in November, 1982. Whereabouts of father currently unknown. No other known family…"

"Gimme that," ordered Dean, spinning the laptop around and reading exactly what Sam had just quoted him.

Dean tried a few more websites before he gave up and slammed the laptop shut. Leaning back in his chair, he wiped his hands across his eyes. Unbelievable. Zachariah had somehow managed to obliterate all traces of his brother; there was no mention of him anywhere. Not on the internet anyway.

Which meant that he was going to have to find another way to tackle it.

Dean grilled Sam on his knowledge of his life, listening quietly as Sam reiterated everything like it had been memorized; no pauses, no lapses in his speech, no hesitation. And without any emotion. Which was the most disturbing part because it was like he was disinterestedly reciting the events of someone else's life with his invented past not seeming at all peculiar to him. And every time Dean questioned his version of events, Sam had a ready response to back it up, his scepticism of a few days earlier completely gone.

Unable to crack Sam's story, Dean cut to the chase. "Look, Man. Your memory's completely screwed. The bits and pieces that you think you remember about your life aren't true. Your real name is Sam Winchester. And you're my brother."

"Okay," conceded Sam "Let's say, just for argument's sake, that any of this stuff is true, how do you explain the fact that nowhere, and I mean nowhere, does it say anything about you having any siblings?"

"Somebody messed with the internet, Sammy. Just like they messed with your head."

"Somebody…like who?"

"Somebody like an angel. But that's a long story and I think it can wait for another time."

Sam stared silently at Dean for a moment before reiterating, "Angels, ghosts. When are you gonna tell me about zombies and vampires?"

"Oh, we've fought them too. Only not rmuch ecently. Com'on Sammy, don't tell me you don't remember any of this?"

Wrinkling his brow, Sam simply shook his head, looking at Dean with a bemused smirk.

Dean sighed. Zachariah must have done a better job hiding Sam's memories from him this time. But then he had a brainwave.

Ruby.

Okay, so it wasn't as much of a brainwave as it was a downright disturbing idea. One he didn't even really want to consider. But after weighing his options, there didn't seem to be any other road available to him. Sam's needed to get his memory restored as quickly as possible – before Zachariah had a chance to wipe it clear again – and it wasn't going very well. With the angels creating the problem Dean didn't expect to them to help them out with it.

But a demon might. And a demon would certainly be able to reverse was the angel had done. Because what was a demon but an evil angel? They'd have the same type of powers, wouldn't they?

And, maybe, just maybe, relying on Ruby this one time would be worth it in the end.

Pushing aside his long list of misgivings on the matter, Dean ventured nonchalantly, "Whaddya remember about Ruby?"

"Ruby?" repeated Sam. "Never hearda her."

"Yer kiddin' me, right?" responded Dean, even though he had expected as much.

"No, I'm not. But I gather that you think I should know her. So, who is she?"

"Just yer state-of-the-art demon girlfriend, that's all."

"My what?" queried Sam in disbelief. "I don't have a demon girlfriend, Dean." After a brief pause during which he reminisced on his broken engagement, he added, "Not unless you're talkin' about Madison."

"No, not her. She was a werewolf. Ruby's a demon."

"Werewolves? And demons? This has just got a whole lot weirder than just hunting ghosts, Dude."

Dean smiled. If Sam only remembered. Werewolves and demons weren't that odd; not compared to wendigos, tricksters and pagan gods. Or the multitude of other unearthly beings they hunted in their lifetime. But there was no sense confusing him with any of that stuff now. If Dean's hunch actually paid off, Sam would remember it all soon enough; as long as Ruby did have the ability to restore his memory.

"I think you need to call her," Dean remarked casually, keeping his qualms to himself.

"I don't know her number."

"Try your cell. It should be stored in your phonebook."

Sam pulled out his cell phone and checked his saved phone numbers. "It's not here."

"Check under 'Skank'," suggested Dean. "That's where I'd file it."

"That's very funny, Dude. If you dislike her so much, why do you want me to call her?"

"To prove that what I'm tellin' you is true."

"What? That she's a demon? And you think a phone call is gonna prove that?"

"No," corrected Dean, "But she should be able to prove to you that you're Sam Winchester. And I'm your brother. In fact, I'm hopin' she'll be able to return all your memories to you."

"Well, unless you have her number stored on your cell phone, I don't see how we can contact her. Unless we try callin' 1-800-DEMON."

Dean cast Sam an unimpressed glance, immediately regretting not having stolen Ruby's number from Sam's phone and saving it to his own any one of the number of times he'd thought about it, thinking it might come in handy sometime if Sam ever disappeared with her and he needed to track the two of them down. But figuring it would also give them advance warning that he was coming, he'd always talked himself out of it, deciding that he knew Sam well enough to find him on his own. He'd just never figured on needed it to restore his brother's memory.

"So whaddwe do now?' asked Sam expectantly. "Can't you just conjure her up or something?"

"Actually Sammy. That's exactly what I'm gonna do."

Shoving the bed up against the far wall to clear the largest possible area in the room, Dean then pulled out the knife that was strapped to his leg. Kneeling down where the foot of the bed used to sit, he sliced a line through the carpet all the way to the wall and continued cutting another long line along the baseboard until he reached the front wall. Dean the grabbed the carpet and yanked it back to expose the bare wooden floor below. Removing a piece of chalk from his shirt pocket, Dean drew a crude devil's trap on the floor before standing up and looking somewhat appreciatively at the results of his hasty work before running out to the car to grab a candle which he set in the middle of the devil's trap. He then turned and looked at Sam, who had been sitting, just watching him dumbfounded throughout the entire procedure.

"Ya gotta be quiet while I do this," stated Dean, turning around to face Sam who had been sitting dumbfounded, watching the entire procedure . "This isn't exactly my forte. You're the one that usually does this."

Sam just raised his eyebrows and stared silently back at Dean who began chanting hesitantly in Latin, enunciating the foreign words slowly and carefully to avoid making any mistakes; he certainly didn't want to have recite the whole thing again. As he finished the ritual, Dean carefully lit the candle and sat slowly back on his haunches.

"Now, we wait."

"Your pronunciation sucks, Dude" uttered Sam quietly.

"Dean turned around and stared at him. "You remember Latin?"

Sam blinked. "Yeah, I guess I do," he admitted, somewhat surprised at it himself. "At least, I understood enough of it to make out what you were trying to say."

Just then Ruby appeared. "You coulda just called."

"Sam lost yer number," announced Dean. "And he couldn't remember it."

"You're Ruby?" queried Sam. "Not quite what I expected."

Ruby looked down at herself; nothing had changed, she was the same brunette she'd been for most of the past year.

"He doesn't remember you," explained Dean, "Which is why I brought you here."

Ruby glanced distrustfully at Dean but he just gestured for her to go talk to Sam. "Ask him if he knows you."

Ruby walked closer to Sam and briefly let her eyes flash black. "Don't you remember me, Sam?"

Slightly taken aback by the change in her eyes, Sam sputtered, "Are…are you really a demon?"

"Know any humans who can do that with their eyes?" she responded. "What happened that you don't remember me?"

Clearing his throat to regain her attention, Dean cocked his head toward the door to indicate that he wanted her to follow him outside. Uttering a quiet "Sit tight, we'll be back in a minute" to Sam, Dean proceeded out the door followed closely by Ruby. Dean continued walking to the back of the Impala before leaning against the trunk and looking at Ruby. After a brief pause trying to think of another solution and coming up empty-handed, Dean sighed and quietly detailed the events of the past few weeks, ending with how Zachariah had neglected to give Sam his memory back.

"You surprise me, Dean," declared Ruby. "I thought you'd be happy that Sam doesn't remember me."

"Look," stated Dean angrily, "I admit, I don't like askin' you to get involved but I'm fresh outta options. Besides, the way I see it you're about the only one who can fix this. You're Lucifer's little angel and you should have the same powers as the regualr angels have. All I want you to do is restore Sam's memory. Help him remember who he is."

Ruby took a deep breath, glancing nervously between Dean and the closed motel room door, finally commenting "If I do this, the angels will really be gunning for me."

"They already are, Sweetheart."

Looking back that the closed door, Ruby took another deep breath. "Gimme five minutes alone with him."

"No," stated Dean adamantly, "I wanna be in there with you."

"Trust me, Dean. You won't like how I hafta do this. I think it'd be better if you just wait here."

This time Dean just stared at her without responding. Nor did he move from where he was still leaning on the trunk of the Impala as Ruby headed over to the motel room door. When she reached it, she turned around, looked quickly back at Dean before opening the door and walking inside. As he watched the door close behind her, shutting him out, Dean felt a sharp twinge of guilt and uncertainty rip through him, totally unconvinced that he was doing the right thing.

Inside Ruby walked over to Sam, spun both him and his chair around to face her and sat down on his lap. Sam silently stared up at her.

"Do you trust me, Sam?"

Sam gulped. "Just tell me one thing…is he" and he motioned outside with his head, "really my brother."

"Unfortunately, yes. You're both Winchesters."

"Are…Are you going to hurt me?" he asked suspiciously

"No Sam," replied Ruby, shaking her head. "This won't hurt at all."

Without wasting anymore time Ruby seized Sam head between her hands and as her eyes quickly turned black, Ruby leaned down to kiss him...

Outside, Dean's frozen gaze never left the door of the motel room. He was afraid of what was happening inside but he was even more afraid to intervene and stop it. He desperately needed his brother back, not be saddled with some substitute geek who looked and sounded like him but wasn't knowingly him. The risks of getting Ruby involved had to be worth the end result. Dean was willing to accept Sam with all his faults – even his new, unsavoury and disturbing ones – before he'd be willing to lose him at all. Because having just bits and pieces of his brother wasn't good enough.

Dean was selfish; he wanted all of him.

Just as he was beginning to wonder what was happening inside the motel room, the door flew open and both Sam and Ruby appeared in the doorway.

"Dean! I remember!"

And somewhere far off, having observed the entire episode, Zachariah smiled to himself. It couldn't have gone any better. Dean, of course, would think he had pulled a fast one on the angels, giving him a smug sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that could only increase his confidence and ability.

And Sam?

Well, Sam would simply trust Ruby more than he previously did.

It was perfect. Oh so perfect. Things were coming along quite nicely now.

The End