A/N- I finally got the inspiration to write this properly! My first attempt was a fail, and I kind of got all disheartened. But I finished it. I hope you've enjoyed the story. I'm quite proud of this chapter; it came out better than I expected. So, that's all, folks. Read on and enjoy. And please review at the end… it's not that hard, it'll just take like 1 minute. But just think: your one minute of time gives me a day of happiness.

Three Times

Chapter 3

Salvation, 2006

Sam was a constant in Dean's life. Had been ever since he was born. Through out all the confusion surrounding his mother's death, and then the chaos when his father began hunting, in the midst of all that was Sam. That was until he went to Stanford. From then on, Sam was a missing part of the puzzle that made up Dean's family. And Dean was that lonely puzzle piece that has been separated from the rest of its package; unable to fit in anywhere. But then the fire at Palo Alto, and Jessica's death, and Sam was back on the road with Dean. Just like the old days. But at Salvation… Dean felt like he nearly lost his brother again. It was a feeling that scared him to death.

Monica, Sam, and Dean ran down the stairs, the smoke chasing them. Cradled in Dean's arms was Rose, who was wide-awake, but silent, her huge eyes trained on Dean. As they reached outside, the upstairs window blast open, glass shattering over the lawn. Standing on the driveway was Monica's husband Charlie, who raced towards them.

"You get away from my family!" he yelled, frightened but menacing. Before anything could happen, Monica grabbed him.

"Charlie, don't! They saved us. They saved us." She repeated, crying. She turned to Dean, who gently lowered Rose into her awaiting arms. The loss of weight made him recall another time he carried a baby out to safety. Maybe I got it right this time, he though. Maybe this baby will grow up safe and innocent, not knowing what's out there. Because sometimes, that was the only thing he wished for Sam.

Monica looked up at Dean, tears in her eyes.

"Thank you," she said, her arms wrapped tightly around her daughter as she moved into the warmth of her husbands arms. Dean felt Sam turn around and look at the burning house, and started to do the same thing when he heard a low exclamation from Sam.

"It's still in there." Sam growled, turning back to the house. Dean threw out his arm, restraining Sam.

"Sam. Sam, no!" he yelled, pulling Sam away. Sam struggled furiously in his grip.

"Dean, let me go. It's still in there!"

"It's burning to the ground, it's suicide!" Dean yelled, pushing Sam further from the house, his eyes seeking Sam's, trying to convince him not to run back.

"I don't care!" Sam retorted, still struggling.

"I do!" Dean shot back angrily, disturbed at Sam's newfound attitude.

Sam finally stopped struggling, and instead turned to look back at the house again. Dean followed his gaze back to the nursery window, where they both could see the figure, which then disappeared in the flames.

Sam continued staring at the window for a few minutes before whirling around and stalking back to the car. Dean, watching him, let out a sigh. He turned to go, but decided to first check on Monica. She was looking worriedly between him and Sam's retreating figure.

"Is everything alright?" She asked him. Dean gave her a reassuring smile.

"Nothing to worry about, just a small family matter," he said. She smiled back at him.

Dean turned to go, but was stopped again.

"Umm… Dean, right?" He turned back to face her.

"Yeah?"

"Just… thank you. If not for you and Sam, we… we'd all be dead. We owe you our lives." She said earnestly. Rose, still in her arms, let out a gurgle. Dean smiled at the pair, his heart lifted slightly.

"No problem." He said. With that, he headed back to the impala, where a grumpy Sam was seated.

Once in the car, an uneasy silence fell over the two. Dean could tell from the look on Sam's face that he was in no mood to talk, so he let it go, instead turning on the engine and driving away before the police could question them.

In the motel, things weren't any better. Dean, still upset about Sam's actions with the yellow-eyed demon, was now getting worried about his father's lack of communication. After ringing three times, he turned to Sam, who was seated on the bed, head down.

"You hear me? Dad's not answering, something's wrong." Dean said, trying to provoke a response.

Sam slowly lifted his head.

"If you had just let me go in there…I could have ended all this." Sam's voice was quiet but accusing. Dean's eyes widened at Sam's words.

"Sam, the only thing you were gonna end was your life." He said, trying to get Sam to see reason.

Sam's eyes met Dean's. They were filled with determination, but a determination that would have gotten Sam killed.

"You don't know that," Sam said, his voice quavering.

Dean looked at Sam in disbelief.

"So, what, you're just willing to sacrifice yourself, is that it?"

"Yeah. Yeah, you're damn right I am." Sam replied furiously, standing up.

"Yeah, well, that's not gonna happen. Not as long as I'm around." Dean turned around. I've been looking out for you my whole life, Sammy, he thought. You think I'm gonna let you die for a demon?

"What the hell are you talking about, Dean? We've been searching for this demon our whole lives. It's the only thing we've ever cared about."

No Sammy, Dean thought, it's the only thing dad's ever cared about. Not us.

"Sam, I wanna waste it. I do, okay? But it's not worth dying over!"

Sam's look of disbelief hit Dean like a tonne of bricks.

"What?" Sam asked in a surprised tone.

"I mean it. If hunting this demon means getting yourself killed… I hope we never find the damn thing!"

There was a flash in Sam's eyes, a flash of anger and disbelief.

"That thing killed Jess." His voice lowered dangerously. "That thing killed mum."

Dean swallowed before continuing. Sam wasn't going to like what he had to say next, but he had no choice. It had to be said.

"You said yourself once… that no matter what we do, they're gone. And they're never coming back."

Sam slammed Dean into the wall. Dean recalled another time this happened; only their positions were swapped. Funny how people change, he thought.

"Don't you say that, not you. Not after all this. Don't you say that." Sam's voice was breaking, tears pooling in his eyes. Dean, still against the wall, took a breathe before continuing. He knew that pretty soon he was going to break down.

"Sam, look… the three of us… that's all we have. And it's all I have." Sam started getting even tearier, and his grip on Dean's shirt loosened.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm barely holding it together, man. And without you or dad, I-" Dean's voice began to shake.

Sam's hand left Dean's shirt. He backed away, shaking his head.

"Dad. Of course. Ring him again."

Dean was left standing, breathing heavily, trying to force back the tears. The yellow-eyed demon had caused him so much pain. He had lost his mother to that thing, and if he was honest, he had lost his father to it too. His father, who was so caught up in hunting and revenge, that he had eventually lost his family. But Sam… to nearly lose Sam to it as well was more than Dean could take. The one last member of his family, the constant in his life once more, had nearly been taken.

Watching Sam now, he could tell that Sam was back again, this time to stay. But it had been too close. Way too close. Dean knew at that moment that the yellow-eyed demon was the main threat. He had to kill it before it destroyed his family more than it already had. His mother, he could never get back. His father was too far gone to be alright again. But Sam, Sam still had a chance. And Dean was going to make sure that he took that chance.