This was my offering for the Summer_of_Sam fic challenge on Live Journal and it goes out to Anja. Thanks so much to my awesome beta, Deej1957!

A/N: In my happy fanfic world Sam never died, so Dean never made that deal and events related to those things never occurred. There are no real spoilers, but I do use canon from all four seasons, excluding the above related events.


"Ohh." Dean closed his eyes and sighed. "Ahhh…"

Sam shifted in his chair and tried to look around the diner without actually looking around. When Dean moaned, a deep rumble vibrating out of his chest, Sam kicked him under the table and glanced around nervously. More than one set of eyes slid in their direction and skittered away when he looked back.

"My God…Sammy…"

"Don't ever say my name like that again. Especially not in public," Sam hissed and kicked his brother twice as hard. "It's just a freaking piece of pie!"

An older couple seated in the booth across from theirs got up and left, shooting nasty glances in their direction.

"Just a—" Dean groaned around his fork, "No such thing as just a piece of pie." He grinned wickedly, "Saaahhhuummmy." Apparently their too skinny waitress with the blonde hair streaked with green and pink who looked to be about eight wasn't Dean's type, so he felt the need to flirt with Sam just to get it out of his system before he exploded or something.

Slouching down farther in his chair, Sam hunched over the table and dropped his head into one palm. "And you actually ask me why people think we're gay." When Dean's fork started easing across the table he growled a warning, "Touch mine and you'll lose that arm."

Dean's other hand crept across the table and using one finger he pushed at Sam's plate, snickering.

"Deeehhnn." He wasn't quite fast enough to keep his brother from snatching a forkful of his pie. "You know it's bad enough you have to do it to yourself, but why do you need mine, too?" Closing his eyes, he shrank deeper in his seat. Did he actually say that? Out loud? They'd probably never come back to this diner which was a good thing because Sam never wanted to show his face here again.

Chuckling, Dean wolfed down part of Sam's pie. "You're a kinky bitch, you know that?"

"When we get back to the motel I'm gonna—"

Leaning to one side, Dean scratched lightly at his cheek, quirked and eyebrow and grinned. "Aawww…what?"

"I…you…not funny…" Why did he let Dean best him like this? It wasn't as if Sam didn't have twenty-six years practice and should be able to avoid such traps by now. But nooo, Dean got him every time.

The bastard.

Sam gulped down half the coffee in the mug in front of him and immediately regretted it since the coffee was hot. He managed to get his fork into Dean's pie, grinning as he swallowed. His smile faded when Dean's eyes tracked someone coming into the diner, expression going from teasing-my-little-brother to holy-shit in the span of half a second at the most.

When he started twisting his upper body around to see what had set off most of Dean's alarms, his leg was caught between Dean's feet. A gentle pull from him had Sam glancing at once at his brother. An almost unperceivable shake of Dean's head made him rest both hands, fingers laced together on the table top. He bit his lower lip and concentrated on keeping his breathing steady despite how his shoulders tensed.

He locked eyes with Dean. Holding up one finger, his brother glanced at the counter along the far end of the diner then back to Sam. He leaned forward just far enough to keep his words between just them, but still have a clear line of vision to the counter. "You armed?"

"You know I'm—" Sam shook his head no when Dean held up one finger briefly then slowly eased his right hand under the table. His left hand rested on the table next to his plate. A quick glance at the counter then back to Sam and he soundlessly pushed his fork across the table until it nudged Sam's hand.

Curling his fingers around the fork slowly, Sam pulled it toward him, taking it and his own in one hand and easing them down and under his thigh. He raised his eyebrows, questioning what was going on he couldn't see, but Dean was intently focused on some point behind him.

Commotion, two voices, a man's and a woman's came from the vicinity of where Sam knew the kitchen entrance to be. When something crashed to the ground Dean tensed even more, coiled and ready to do whatever needed to be done.

Sam was once again thrown into the annoying mix of what seemed forever his life. Help someone who needed it—don't lose my brother.

Without turning around Sam did a quick scan of the diner. He and Dean were two of barely a half dozen people he could see. There was the man who'd come in and the one waitress he'd seen. It was her voice he heard mixed with the angry man's. He presumed there was a cook and at least one person to bus the tables and wash the dishes, but he hadn't seen them.

A shout from the woman, a gunshot and Dean was out of his chair, moving toward the back of the diner.

"Dean!" Sam made a grab for his arm. With his other hand he shoved the forks into his back pocket.

"Clear them out." Dean nodded at the other diners, some of whom were already getting up. One person was on a cell phone, hopefully calling 911, two were heading for the door.

Digging in his pocket for his very official looking fake I.D., Sam sprinted at the other customers, herding them at the door. "I'm a…" What was he on this badge again? It didn't matter. No one was going to want a second look. "FBI agent," Where the hell was his badge? Fortunately no one seemed to care he wasn't flashing a badge. They headed out the door paying very little attention to the shooing motions his arms were doing.

Slamming the door shut and locking it so no one would wander into the middle of whatever mess he and Dean were smack in the middle of Sam spun on his heels and was able to get exactly three steps toward the kitchen when something whizzed by his head.

"Stop there!" a strange voice commanded, Sam paid little attention.

Covering his head with his hands, he dropped immediately to his knees when a second voice overrode the first, "Sam. Down, cover."

The man Sam took to be the cook—and man was an understatement—he doubted the guy was old enough to shave, yet he was waving a gun in Sam's face— stood just outside of his reach. He might not have been old enough to shave but he sure knew how to handle the weapon in his hands. Sam let his gaze skip from him to Dean for a few brief seconds.

His brother stood, hands locked behind his head, to one side of the man who'd entered the diner sporting a rifle. He was nearly as tall as Dean, though thinner and about the same age, with a bit of a pot belly, a five-o'clock shadow that was old two days ago and not in the least attractive, and reddish, stringy hair. His jeans were grease streaked and his dark green pullover shirt looked as if it hadn't seen a washing machine since it left the store hanger.

Another slight shake of Dean's head—stay put, they mean business, nothing stupid—that he responded to with a tight, curt nod—don't be a hero dickwad or I'll so kick your ass—the corner of Dean's mouth turned up for a split second—not a chance.

The waitress stood beside Dean, he was between her and the gunman.

"Where is she?" the man with the rifle shouted at the waitress. Katie, Sam remembered seeing on her name tag.

"Kerry doesn't want to see you. Can't you get that through your thick, stupid, skull?" Katie snapped, apparently not getting the finer nuances of don't piss off the crazy guy with the gun.

Crossing the distance between them in a few strides, still out of Dean's range, the guy with the thick, stupid skull and a rifle backhanded Katie hard enough she flipped backwards and to the floor.

"Hey!" Dean barked, taking a step towards her. When the rifle swung at him again, he froze hands still up.

The door to the men's room popped open and a man ambled out, looked around, his eyes narrowed and he sucked in a fast breath. "What the hell is going on here? Dale, put that damn gun down. You should know better by now than to listen to this idiot." He waved one hand at the man holding Dean at gunpoint.

It took Sam a few seconds to process that the man coming from the bathroom wore a uniform…county sheriff.

Dale didn't waste a second. Twisting on the balls of his feet the kid didn't bat an eyelash when he opened fire, hitting the sheriff dead center in his chest then one shot to his forehead. Katie started screaming. The sheriff's body crumpled to the floor, blood gushing from too many places. Sam was sure he was dead before his knees had bent and his body had gone halfway down.

These guys were deadly serious.

Sam slid across the floor far enough to get his hands around Katie's arms and pulled her closer to him. "Stop, sshshhshush…stop." He landed one palm on her back while the fingers of his other hand curled around one of her wrists. "You're making it worse. Stop, quiet." He got close enough to talk next to her ear, keeping his voice low and as calm and soothing as possible while still being firm. He opened his mouth and shut it again when Dean made a funny noise. Looking up Sam saw the gun once again trained on him.

"Dobbin, stop it." A second woman waddled out of a door beside the kitchen entrance. She was maybe slightly older than the waitress, probably about Sam's age. Light brown short cut hair framed her round face. She resembled the waitress enough Sam decided they were likely sisters. The most notable part was she was a very pregnant woman.

Dean frowned, his face dropped and his eyes met Sam's. They were being held hostage by a guy named Dobbin? With an accomplice named Dale? With two women named Katie and Kerry? Sam managed a slight shrug. The really odd part was this wasn't the first person in Sam's life he'd met whose name was Dobbin, who was slightly crazy and held him hostage. This was just great.

Kerry moved far enough into the diner to grip the back of a chair with both hands. She moved around it slowly, breathing heavily. "I have to sit down."

"That kid is mine and I mean to have it even if I have to cut it out of you," Dobbin snarled.

Sam winced and Dean's eyes widened. It couldn't be possible, not even in his messed up life.

This was a bad joke, they'd been here, done this before.


Dean paced back and forth in front of the school. Sam always waited for him, always. Ever since the day Sam first started school, Dean took him to and from. He'd never fussed, never complained, in fact just the opposite, Sam always seemed to like that Dean did this. It was one of their unwritten-never-to-be-broken rules; they always went to and from school together, no matter where they were or what was going on.

No way Sam would just go back to the motel on his own with out letting Dean know. No way he'd do it, period.

Something was wrong, very wrong. Dean felt it deep down to his very core.

He hated that he and Sam were far enough apart in ages that they were in different schools, another year or two and it wouldn't be an issue. Glancing around Dean took in every detail. The gleaming white building, probably a year or two old with a flag flapping lazily in the late spring breeze was framed perfectly by the blue, sunny sky. A neat lawn with flowers was in the middle of a wide, circular drive. It was the perfect picture of a tranquil small-town school. A few birds rustled around in the trees behind the school in the playground, the only sounds coming from that direction.

Dean headed around to the back of the building anyway, just to be sure. No one was there, not even a sign anyone had been there. School had let out nearly an hour ago, and kids had gone home for the summer.

Back to the front of the building, he scanned the parking lot; two cars left. Someone was inside, hopefully someone with his kid brother. Pushing through the clear glass doors Dean walked down the wide halls, peering into each doorway he came to. He went first to Sam's classroom. It was dark, the door shut, but not locked. Opening it, Dean poked his head in and called out, "Hello?" before going inside.

Chairs were turned up on desks, the garbage can sat on top of the teacher's desk. There was no coatroom or other place someone might be hiding. Turning he stepped back into the hallway and nearly collided with a man not quite as tall as Dean who at sixteen was filled out, muscular and just over six foot.

"Can I help you?" The man's voice was pure acid. He puffed out, trying to exude authority.

Dean managed to not roll his eyes, though he didn't blame the guy. Here was a stranger wandering around a school he was obviously too old to attend. "I was supposed to pick up my brother, sir. He always waits out by the bike rack and he wasn't there today. I thought maybe he was still inside for some reason." He was quite proud at how contrite he managed to sound.

The man relaxed. "I'm the principal, Mr. Nash, there are no students left, or there shouldn't be. I was just leaving myself." He didn't look old enough to be a principal and Dean had been in enough schools to know.

"There are two cars in the parking lot." Dean was fast to point that out.

Nash frowned and walked passed Dean to a window. "No one should be here. I have no idea whose car that is, probably someone from the neighborhood parked here for some reason." He turned back to Dean and shrugged. "I've never seen it before."

"My brother always waits for me to pick him up." He wasn't leaving the building until he knew for sure Sam wasn't in it.

"What's his name?"

"Sam Winchester. Can I please look around for him?"

Nash nodded. "I know the name. He's only been in school a few weeks." He started down the hall, muttering, "transients," under his breath.

Dean used every ounce of self control he had to not punch the back of the little man's head. Walking a few steps behind Nash, Dean keeping a sharp eye on him, they checked the classrooms, cafeteria and gym, all to no avail.

"Is there a basement or storage area or anything like that?"

"Why, young man, would your brother be in there?"

"You know," Dean had reached the end of his very short patience rope, "I don't know. What I do know is my brother was supposed to have his skinny butt planted on that bicycle rack you have outside." His arm shot out, pointing in the general direction of the front of the building. "His butt wasn't there when I came to pick him up, something I've done every day since he started kindergarten, so there is no damn good reason for him to not be there today. What I do know is you are responsible for caring for my little brother while he's in school and you lost him."

Dean could puff out too and considering he probably had far more physical activity on a daily basis than Mr. Nash, he was far more impressive and menacing. Glaring down at the man, Dean silently challenged him.

Nash's eyes raked up and down Dean for a few seconds making him suppress a shudder starting at the base of his spine and wanting to slither up to his neck. The hair along the back of his neck bristled as did the hairs covering his forearms.

"No need to be defensive. Of course your brother's safety is my responsibility during the school day. Nothing happened to any student on the grounds today, I'd know. However, if it will make you feel better, we can check the lower level."

Stand down, Winchester. "It would. Thank you."

Heading down a short flight of stairs at the far end of the main hall Nash led the way inside a maintenance storage room, stepping aside. "See for yourself."

Dean took a few steps into the room that was nothing but buckets and brooms, a few odds and ends tools, a furnace, boiler and hot water tank. No Sam. The scrape of metal door against concrete drew his attention behind him and that shudder broke loose despite his best efforts.

Something was wrong.

"Where's my—" Dean's words were cut off when a two-by-four whizzed through the air and connected with his head.

Dropping to the floor in dizzying haze, the last thing Dean saw was the heavy metal door swinging shut, with the click of a lock echoing around the room and following him into darkness.


"You can't do this," Katie shouted. Sam wanted to smack her, she really was annoying and he wasn't going to blame Dobbin or Dale much for shooting her if it came to that.

"Shut up," Dale snarled at her.

"He's already killed that man over there, maybe you should quiet down," Sam reasoned, keeping his voice to a whisper.

Dean actually rolled his eyes and shifted his weight to one leg. "My arms are starting to hurt."

Dobbin nodded and motioned with his rifle for Dean to lower his arms. "No funny stuff."

"Hey, I'm mister serious." Dean rubbed one shoulder then rolled them both up and down a few times. He met Dobbin's eyes steadily, flicking one finger at Sam and Katie. "Let them go. You've got her and you've got me. There were people who got out and I'm certain they called the cops. They won't come in here after you with a pregnant woman. Besides I'm sick of listening to her." Dean nodded at Katie who huffed, crossed her arms over her chest and glared.

Sam closed his eyes, counted to ten and reminded himself if he knocked her cold he'd simply have to carry her out.

"I'll stay, let them go," Dean repeated softly.

Exhaling, "Dean…" Sam knew it was useless, but damn it why did it always come down to his brother or some other person?

Dean was doggedly not looking at Sam and keeping his eyes on Dobbin.

Kerry spoke up, "Dobbin, why do you want this baby? What are you going to do with it? It'll be far better off in a nice home with two parents."

"Dude, babies are stinky, they cry a lot and they're a pain in the ass," Dean added. "Trust me, I raised one, you don't want the hassle. All they do is eat your food and get into your stuff."

"You—" Dobbin pointed at Kerry, "Are not giving my kid to some rich bitch and her pansy assed man-toy." His arm swung at Dean. "You, shut your damn mouth before I shut it with this. I know about babies."

Dean shrugged, rubbed the back of his neck. "Just trying to help."

"No." Katie broke away from Sam, pushing to her feet before he could snatch her back down. She sprinted across the diner and to Kerry, standing protectively in front of her.

"Listen bitch, I've had enough of you."

Sam had to admit, even threatened by a man who'd already shot someone in cold blood, the skinny blonde girl with the funny hair style stood her ground. He admired that.

"If you hurt Kerry you'll just hurt your baby." Katie was pleading now. She reached behind her and slipped her hand into Kerry's.

"She's right," Sam said softly. He cringed back when two guns took aim at his head.

"No!" Dean barked, at once drawing the attention away from Sam and onto himself.

"Everybody shut the hell up!" Dobbin shouted.

Katie sank to the ground, still holding Kerry's hand she sat on the floor beside the other woman. Sam recognized the looks they wore, their body language, he saw similar things come from Dean daily.

Sirens shrieked through the air, Sam distinctly made out two. Not great odds, but it was a small town, they were probably lucky there were three cops in it with three cars. A brief glance at the body of the sheriff and Sam reminded himself now there were two cops. The sounds of people being moved away, car doors slamming, booted feet pounding heavily on the ground filled Sam's ears for a few seconds. Then there was silence from outside and he knew what was happening without even looking. They were trying to figure out a plan, get Dobbin and Dale to come out and have no one hurt.

"Come on out, let's talk this over," a male voice said through a bullhorn, as if on cue.

Dobbin simply snorted a short laugh and made a turn around motion at Dean with his hands. "You two, and them, lets go."

Sam climbed slowly to his feet and made his way to his brother's side. They were shoved ahead, through the kitchen and into a back storeroom. A quick glance behind and he knew Katie and Kerry were just a few feet back, Dobbin herding them with his rifle.

"Take care of it," Dobbin said over his shoulder.

As the door swung shut, Sam flinched when he heard gunshots. A second later Dale appeared, grinning, "One cop down for good, not sure about the other, think he's just wounded."

"Dobbin Nash. Surrender now," the male voice shouted through the bullhorn.

By Sam's count there was one cop left. No doubt the man attached to the voice had already called for more help. That help might have to come from a town or two away, but it would eventually get here. If this was the Nash Sam was hoping it wasn't he knew the guy wouldn't go quietly, he wouldn't go at all. He and Dean were motioned to one wall. Sam sat quietly on a crate, Dean standing next to and slightly in front of him, ever the protector. He could tell by the expression Dean wore he recognized the name, too.

"You shoulda taken care of him," Dobbin snapped.

"What's the difference, they called for more help before they even stopped their cars," Dale returned.

"He's got a point," Dean added.

Nash wasn't an uncommon name, it didn't have to be that Nash. They simply weren't ever that lucky, however.

This had just gone from bad to worse.


Rolling over, Dean squinted into the murky dark and wondered why his head was banging from the inside out. He pushed off the musty smelling floor and looked around, confused for a few seconds as to why he'd be in a dark room filled with dust mops and scrub buckets.

Then it all came rushing back.

Waiting for Sam to come out of the building, watching kid after kid filter out and head for home, or get on a school bus, some taking bikes off the rack Dean was propped against.

Sam not coming out of the building.

Dean had a clear sight of three sides, Sam hadn't come out a different door today, and even if he had he'd have walked around to their designated meeting spot. Dean'd come into the school searching for his brother and ended up with a two-by-four to the head and waking up on a cold, damp, musty smelling storeroom floor.

That Nash dude was so not the school principal.

Slowly straightening to his knees, Dean looked around the room. There had to be something he could get himself out with, it was a storeroom after all. Staggering to his feet and bracing against the wall until the room stopped swinging back and forth under him Dean squinted into the dimly lit room and took a good look around. Sunlight filtered through a small window near the ceiling reflecting off the dust particles swirling through the air. The slant of the light and the shadows cast told Dean he'd probably been out a few hours, the sun was going down.


As Kerry eased down in the only chair in the room, Katie took her hand and helped guide her down. Just as Kerry settled in the chair and seemed comfortable, she leaned back far enough Sam thought she was going to fall off the chair. As if that wasn't quite alarming enough she gasped, clutching at Katie's hand for a half minute or so then relaxed.

Dean straightened beside him, glanced down at his watch and then at Sam briefly before landing a stern gaze on both women. "Exactly how long has that been going on?"

"Since—" She sucked in a harsh breath and squeezed Katie's hand again, her face screwing up. She panted out, "I was here to get Katie to go with me."

Sam blinked and looked up at Dean, trying hard to process what his brain was telling him he was seeing. No way. No freaking way. "Do you mean...? She's not…?" He pointed at Kerry. "Is that…?"

"Yes!" Kerry, Katie and Dean all said at the same time.

"Shouldn't you—?"

"Yes," Kerry snarled between clenched teeth.

"Aw, lady, why the hell didn't you just run out the back door?" Dean took a step closer to Dobbin and Dale, pointing at Kerry. "Guys, she needs a hospital. Right NOW."

"She's not going anywhere till I get my kid," Dobbin shouted.

Crossing arms over his chest, Dean snorted. "Well, dude, you're about to get it."

"Yeah, moron, Kerry's having this baby and if you care at all about your kid, then you'll let her go to a hospital." Katie was on her feet, fists clenched at her sides.

Kerry shouted through clenched teeth and started sliding to the floor. Sam pushed away from the crate and crossed the room before either Dobbin or Dale could do anything, catching Kerry before she hit the floor. Easing her down to the floor, he shrugged off his jacket, balled it up and shoved it between her head and the floor. She smiled and mouthed thank you.

Twisting away from Kerry, Sam grabbed Katie's hand and yanked her back and to the floor beside him, hissing, "You're not helping." Then he turned to face the other men, "She can't have a baby in here, it's filthy." Dobbin did seem to care about the baby, if not the rest of them.

"Can we move her to the private party room? That would be better." Katie looked from Dale to Dobbin. This time her voice was soft, almost begging.

"This room is by the back door in the kitchen." Dobbin was shaking his head no.

"There's an exit in the party room that leads right outside. It's behind the bar; there's a door that goes to the boiler room and it has a separate door," Katie said.

Crossing the small storeroom, Dobbin yanked the door open and stepped out. "I'm going to check it out. If you're lying to me girl, so help me I'll slit your throat then shoot you."

"Is there really a door there?" Sam leaned across Kerry and whispered to Katie. She nodded. "Does it open?" To that Katie shrugged.

"Shut it," Dale barked at them.

He saw Dean tense, clench his fists closed and open them again, wiggling his fingers. Sam met his brother's eyes for a few seconds. He knew what was going through Dean's mind. Neither of them would try overpowering either gunman until both the women were somewhere they wouldn't be hurt. They could rush Dale, maybe take him down, but the odds of someone getting shot and the situation getting a hundred times worse were too great.

Dobbin was back a minute later. "She's telling the truth. We can wait it out until the baby comes and get out from there." Waving his rifle at Kerry in a get up motion he grunted out, "C'mon, get moving." When Dean took a step forward to help the rifle was immediately trained on his chest. "You stay put."

Sliding his arm under Kerry's shoulders, Sam helped her sit up. Another contraction hit and she curled into his chest, a dead weight that nearly caused him to lose his grip.

"I can't carry her by myself, I'll hurt her," Sam ground out between clenched teeth.

"Nice try, not buying it from a big guy like you." Dobbin jerked his chin at the door, clearly wanting Dean ahead of them all.

"Bad back." Sam groaned and thumped back onto his butt, hurting his pride more than anything. Of course he could carry Kerry, and Katie too if he needed to.

"You don't want to hurt your kid," Katie reminded him.

Dobbin gave her a glare that should have drilled her six feet under, but relented with a shrug. Waving at Dean, he tracked him as he walked across the room. "No funny stuff."

"Yeah, Mr. Serious here, remember?" Dean walked slowly to them and carefully stepped over Kerry's legs. He slid his arm around her back under Sam's. "If we get you out can you get help?" he whispered to Katie before raising his voice, "Okay, on three. One…two…three." They stood up, dragging Kerry to her feet between them.

"I'm not leaving her," Katie's whispered so softly Sam barely heard her.

"Then you'll die here with her." Sam hated being so callous, but it was the truth. Kerry panted and groaned, her legs giving out just as they got to the door.

"Get moving." The toe of Dale's boot hit the back of Sam's leg.

"Give her a few seconds." Sam grumbled.

"Do…it…" Kerry took Katie's hand and wheezed the words out.

Dean covered for her, nodding and then said to Sam, "C'mon, let's get her moved." He slid his free arm under her knees and Sam grabbed her under her shoulders and they carried her as Katie led the way to the party room.

Katie pulled chairs and benches around to make room on the floor then spread out table cloths and arranged cushions for a makeshift bed all while Dale and Dobbin looked on, mostly keeping their attention—and firearms—trained on Dean. It was something the brothers did so often it'd become an ingrained habit Sam sometimes never paid attention to. Dean projected a presence, one of aggression, leadership, danger. He kept the focus on himself and therefore off of Sam. He hated that his brother did that, but it did give Sam the advantage of becoming invisible and that made it easier for him to move around, do things that might otherwise be noticed.

Things like keeping two forks in his back pocket.

These yahoos were falling for it hook, line and sinker. All Sam had to do was wait for Dean to give him the right opening, get these two guys separated for a long enough period of time, and take them down.

They eased Kerry to the ground, Dean on one side, Sam on the other. Reaching across her, Dean pulled one of the pillows under her knees.

"Hey, you Mr. Serious, take off the jacket," Dobbin demanded.

Dean turned and eyed him coolly up and down. Sam froze, his blood and nerves and muscles turning to slushy ice. His eyes skipped between Dean, the two men and Kerry. So much for divide and conquer. Turning as he stood, Dean let his hands drop to his sides, loose and ready.

"Take. It. Off." Dobbin met Dean's glare menace for menace.

Slowly Dean pulled his jacket off and let it drop to the ground, landing beside Kerry. Sam quietly reached over and pulled the garment to him. Dean stood calmly watching Dobbin, breathing slow and steady, the only sign of tension his fingers twitching ever so slightly. Sam shifting his weight so his feet were solid underneath him got barely a tilt of Dean's head in his direction.

He could rush them, take them by surprise now while their attention was on Dean. If he got one of them down without dying it was likely Dean would just kill him anyway. A low rumble from Dean and the slight turn of his head was Sam's clue to hold back. It went against everything searing through Sam's nerves, he wanted to move, to fight, to do something other than sit there with cold coursing through him.

Dean's jacket off meant Dean's gun tucked into his waistband was visible.

Holding his hands away from his sides, Dean took a few deep breaths. "I haven't even tried to get it. Had it all this time."

Dobbin's head jerked to the table beside them. Carefully Dean moved one hand very slowly behind him, took the gun with two fingers and pulled it away from his body. Leaning to the side he held it over a table, releasing the clip so it fell free then set the gun down and gave it a shove away from him. Straightening at once he shuffled sideways, putting him closer to Sam and Kerry.

Kerry arched, stiffened and groaned, panting steadily. Sam took her hand and immediately discovered that women in labor were strong. He bit down on his lower lip and did some quiet panting through the pain of his own.

"She needs help." Katie was close to wailing. Sam really wished she just shut the hell up.

"What we need are towels, hot water and something warm to put the baby in, or were you just planning on stuffing it in a backpack to carry along?" Dean arched one eyebrow as he spoke.

Sam couldn't help rolling his eyes. They'd both had enough first aid training to know boiling water wasn't necessary, though having something to clean both mother and baby off with was preferred. He was betting Dean was banking on the fact that neither Dale nor Dobbin knew anything about delivering a baby. Not that Sam or Dean were such great experts either, but at least they'd read a chapter about it in a first aid manual once.

Dobbin ignored them both making Sam's heart sink. Nodding at Dean, he spoke to Dale, "Search him."

Sam's insides plummeted and he felt his shoulders pull together while his spine deflated. He was glad another contraction hit Kerry, it covered how his hands had begun to shake.

Handing his rifle off to Dobbin, Dale stepped to Dean and patted him down. Watching him yank his wallet and small leather case containing his very official looking fake I.D. from Dean's back pocket, Sam let his eyelids slide slowly closed as he took a deep breath, opening his eyes as he exhaled.

Dean stood staring deadpan at Dale, nothing registered on his face when Dale opened the small leather cover. His eyebrows shot up and some of the color drained from his face. "He's an FBI agent," Dale spat, throwing the case across the room. "A damn FBI agent." Crossing to Dobbin, Dale grabbed his rifle back. "Bastard needs to die."

"NO!" Sam shouted, pushing up, standing as far as Kerry's arm reached.

Grabbing Dale's arm, Dobbin smiled twisted and nasty. "He's right, no." Eyes sliding to Sam, "Shoot the boy."

Waving the fingers of one hand at Sam causing him to sink back to his knees, Dean took a step forward, between Sam and the other two men. "I just want to get my little brother and these girls out of here. You got me, let them walk out. I can help you get your baby and make sure you get away. I can't do that dead, and I won't do it if my brother is hurt or dead."

He and Dobbin stood staring each other down for a few seconds before Dobbin nodded.

Another moan from Kerry that turned to a scream drew all their attentions to the floor. Dean turned and dropped to his knees beside her opposite Sam. "Help her sit up." Together they moved eased her up and Katie piled as many cushions behind Kerry's shoulders as possible. "Better?" Dean smiled when she jerked a few nods. Glancing back at Dobbin, "Look, she needs a hospital. Keep me, let them go."

"Dean," Sam said softly, reaching out he curled his fingers in Dean's shirt. He needed to remind Dean that right now, Kerry was probably the only thing keeping them all alive. "There's no time to get her there, even if we could." His gaze shifted to Dobbin. "What we need are supplies to deliver your baby and make it ready to travel."

Glancing back at him, Dean nodded then turned his attention back to Dobbin.

"We need ice chips, some clean towels, something to tie off the cord with, warm water…" Sam's voice trailed off, but his mind spun trying to remember everything he'd learned too many years ago about this whole process when Kerry's hand clamped on his again. "And something for her to hold." He tried not to squeak when he mentioned that last item.

"We can probably find everything in the kitchen." Katie was sitting beside Sam rubbing one hand up and down Kerry's arm. She looked up at Dale and Dobbin. "Or were you going to deliver this baby with a shotgun?"

Every time Sam thought she was okay and he was starting to warm to her, Katie's mouth spewed out something antagonizing.

"You two," Dobbin waved his rifle at Dean and Katie, "are going with me to get that stuff."

Sam couldn't help how his head jerked up slightly as he watched Dobbin cross the room.

"He does anything, makes one wrong move, put a bullet in him." The finger of Dobbin's free hand jabbed the air in Sam's direction.

"Don't get antsy, there's no reason to shoot anyone." Dean turned away from Sam long enough to talk, then faced him again. Reaching over Kerry, his fingers wound around Sam's wrist and squeezed. "I'll be right back." His thumb swiped across the underside of Sam's arm a few times. "I promise, I'll come back." Another squeeze and Dean let go. Nodding at Katie, he stood and took her arm, urging her to her feet. Moving slowly and deliberately, hands up and away from his body, Dean lead the way out of the room.

Sam stared after them. No matter what Dean had said he knew his brother was facing the very real prospect he wouldn't come back and they wouldn't make it out of this alive.

"You're the baby."

Kerry's voice made him jump. Dragging his gaze from the door and focusing down at her Sam wheezed out, "Huh?"

"The baby he raised, that was you." She wasn't asking.

"Y-yeah, I guess I am." Sam pulled his shoulder up, wiping his face against it, brushing away the tears clinging to his lashes.

"He'll be back for you." Kerry said it with such conviction, Sam had no choice but to nod and agree.


Twenty minutes of scouting the storeroom and Dean found a set of screwdrivers. One was long and heavy enough to pry the door open. Stuffing it in his back pocket, he slipped into the hallway.

Moving cautiously, checking inside every door he came to, Dean proceeded through the hall to the stairs and the upper level of the school. He went straight to the front of the building. Cupping his hands around his face to block out sun glare, he peered outside. One of the two cars was still in the parking lot. He had nothing but gut instinct to go on of course, but his gut told him Sam was still inside this school somewhere.

It was his only lead, and the most obvious place to search.

Keeping close to the wall, Dean was nearly soundless as he moved from door to door, checking every nook and cranny. The first floor was empty; there was a short flight of stairs leading to a second floor that he already knew was an open space comprised mostly of the library. Going up the stairs was also going to expose him to anyone waiting up there, they'd see him before he saw them. He didn't particularly want to be seen. He also didn't particularly want to lose his little brother.

Dean would take the chance he'd be seen if it meant getting Sam back.

Pressing his back against the rail, Dean sidestepped up the stairs, eyes trained above him grateful that this part of the building was completely covered with wall-to-wall carpeting. That would make his job easier.

Dropping to a crouch the minute he cleared the stairs and hit the main part of the floor, he moved slowly along, stopping at each row of bookshelves and making sure his path was clear before moving to the next set. There was an office along the far wall. Dean was sure he heard hushed voices and saw movement under the door so he headed in that direction.

It seemed to take eons for him to cross the twenty or so yards of library and reach the office. Scrunching to the floor Dean pressed his back firmly against the outer wall, listening intently. He heard Nash's voice and another he didn't recognize. Intermingled with those he heard a soft whimper and sniffle. Gut clenching and twisting viciously, he was sure the whimpering and sniffling were familiar. Even if it wasn't Sam, and Dean was sure it was, there was someone in serious trouble on the other side of that door.

Leaning to the side far enough to grasp the handle and ease the door open, Dean silently scooted through.

Nash was in there, back to him as was a kid about Dean's age with stringy red hair. There was a sawed off shotgun lying across a desk within reach of the man. The boy had a pistol stuffed behind his back and a hunting knife strapped to his belt.

Dean had come to the school unarmed to pick up his kid brother, an act he now desperately regretted.

In the very far corner of the room, knees bent, backpack hugged to his chest was Sam. Dean saw him tremble even from the twelve feet separating them. His face was stained with tear tracks mingled with dried blood from a cut over one eye. His left arm had a long gash that looked painful and nasty, but Dean could tell wasn't deep.

Sam's eyes immediately were drawn to his movements, making him straighten and inhale sharply. Dean shook his head and pressed two fingers to his lips, trying to silence and still his young brother. Gaze darting between Dean and the other two Sam shifted and slouched farther back against the wall. When the older man looked at him, Sam dropped his gaze to stare between his feet at the floor.

"You said this brat wouldn't be missed, that momma could have him to make up for Charlie dyin'." The boy was pointing at Sam. "She hates me, sayin' it was ma' fault, this'll make her love me again."

" 'Course it will, boy. And your momma don't hate you, she's just grievin' is all, Dobbin. Now we're gonna set this right. You an' me." Nash cocked his head to one side, put one hand in the air and turned so suddenly it took Dean a few seconds to realize Nash had seen Sam move and picked up on the fact Dean was lurking behind him.

Dean stood and fully faced Nash. "You can't have my brother." He looked from Nash to the boy. "You can't have Sam."

"You just couldn't go away, could you?"

"What do you even want him for? Seriously, he has no respect for a guy's Playboy copies." Dean took a step forward, ignoring the fact two guns were pointed at him.

Nash glared at him. "I don't want to hurt no one, just turn around and walk out, boy."


Sam shifted his backpack to the floor and stretched on his hands and knees until he could reach the shotgun on the table.

"He's hurt and he's scared, let me go with him then." Dean stepped a few paces to the side, making Nash and the kid, Dobbin, follow his movements.

"Momma might like two," Dobbin said.

Nash shook his head. "Not that one, he's not gonna tame down like the little kid will."

Sam's small fingers brushed the shotgun, curled around and he eased it off the table and more firmly into his grasp.

"I'll do whatever you want as long as you're good to Sammy and he's safe. Won't get a bad word or lick of trouble out of me."

The shotgun was pulled against Sam's shoulder while at the same time he eased himself up and stood with his feet shoulder distance apart. His eyes skittered to meet Dean's for a brief second, he pulled his lower lip between his teeth then he fired.

Buckshot scattered out of the shotgun, hitting Nash in the legs. Howling in pain he dropped to the floor. Dobbin shouted something and ran to his side, grabbing at his shoulders to sit him up. Dean crossed the small room in a few strides. Sam stood, wide-eyed, pale and shaking, staring down at Nash, shotgun hanging off his fingers forgotten.

Grabbing Sam's arm with one hand, the shotgun with the other, Dean gave a shake. "C'mon squirt, time to leave."

Sam reached back and snatched his backpack off the ground. He ran after Dean without protest or trying to free himself from Dean's grip. The fled down the stairs and sprinted down the hall to the front door. Hitting the door together, it shook on its hinges, but didn't open. The both of them bounced off.

"Dean," Sam's voice was shaky and breathy, "it's locked from the outside. We can't get out."

Twisting on the balls of his feet, not letting go of his brother, Dean looked up and down the hallway. "There's always a way out, Sammy, and they had to have had one."

"I don't think they're that smart," Sam grumbled and stepped closer to Dean when they heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs.

"We need to find another way out." Yanking Sam behind him, Dean ran down the hall to the gym. Charging through to the doors opening to the outside they were again stopped. This time the doors were chained and padlocked from the inside. "Damn!" Dean slammed both hands into the doors making them rattle, but they held. Pulling the screwdriver from where he'd stashed it in his back pocket. He rammed the end through the padlock and leaned down with all his weight.

It stretched, but held.

Sam's smaller hands slid over his and gripped hard. Sam picked his feet off the floor and literally hung from Dean's hands. He blessed cheap locks and strong screwdrivers when Sam's extra weight helped pop the lock apart. Shoving against the door bars Dean slammed face first into the door with a grunt. "Goddamn. It's locked."

Grabbing the screwdriver, Sam wedged it between the two doors and cranked back, again hanging off it with his full weight. "Try now. Dean, hurry!"

Backing up a few steps, Dean kicked the center line between the two doors, foot landing solidly just below the screwdriver. The doors bent to a V but didn't open.

"Kick again." Sam's head whipped around, bangs flapping along behind. "They're getting closer." He turned back to Dean, a look of pure trust on his face.

It was one of the things Dean lived for, Sam's hero-worship. Backing up again, Dean slammed his foot in the point of the V. By some miracle the doors popped apart and swung open. They ran from the building as Dean heard the doors bang shut behind them. Heading around the corner to the front of the building and the parking lot he took Sam's backpack from him and they raced to the car there.


"Can't you wait?!" Sam got two fingers of his free hand between Kerry's fingers and those of his other hand, managing to get her grip loosened enough blood surged back to his fingertips creating a tingling sensation all through his hand. He was going to lose a digit or two, he was sure, before this woman had her baby.

"What do you want me to do, cross my legs?"

"Yes!" Sam's voice didn't squeak or crack when he lost his battle and she clamped back down on his hand again. No way it did that. "That would be helpful."

Whatever she was going to say was cut off by another contraction, which had Sam wincing as Kerry's hand tightened around his. He wasn't even trying to cover his pain up anymore.

"You're not…going…to get…away with this…" Kerry panted out through clenched teeth. "Dobbin has no right."

"He's got a right to his kid," Dale grumbled from across the room.

"Not like this," Sam said.

"She'll be better off with a family who can give her a good home. I can't do that." Kerry dropped back, sweat covered her forehead. Sam took the opportunity to free his hand from hers and retrieve a napkin from a nearby table for her to wipe down with.

He had to wonder, had there been a similar thought at some point about him, or Dean? Though Sam had many grumbles about his childhood he had to admit he couldn't imagine not growing up with Dean. He'd have been horribly lonely and he certainly could never say he wasn't loved.

Dale paced to the door and peered out before pulling it closed again. "What the hell is taking him so long?" he muttered turning back to Sam and Kerry. "Lady, can't you keep the noise down?"

He'd been wondering the same thing himself, why wasn't Dean back yet? There'd been no noise or gunshots, so Sam was choosing to believe Dean had either overpowered Dobbin, or was in the process of collecting supplies and setting up his trap to overpower Dobbin. Time for Sam to start doing his part with Dale.

Kerry snorted and sucked in another sharp breath. "You try doing this."

Shifting so he was no longer sitting cross-legged next to Kerry, but balanced more on his heels, Sam shrugged and smiled sardonically. "My brother probably has him tied up and waiting outside for the cops."

"Shut your goddamn mouth."

"What's the matter?" Sam taunted, "Afraid someone is going to beat Dobbin?" He barked a short laugh. "Hell, my brother's taken on more and way better with a broken arm and a head wound. Kicked ass, too."

"I said," Dale shoved away from the door and stomped across the room at Sam, rifle fisted at his side, "shut your goddamn mouth!"

In one motion Sam pushed to his feet, stepped over Kerry and had Dale's shirt bunched up in one hand in seconds. His free hand swooped back, snatched both forks from his pocket and arced around, slamming into Dale's shoulder.

Throwing his head back, Dale screamed. He tried kicking out, but Sam was ready. Using one foot he knocked Dale's legs out from under him, yanking the rifle from his grasp at the same time. Swinging it around he slammed the butt end into Dale's head, knocking him back against the floor, out cold.

"Oh my…help me…up…get outa…here…" Kerry wheezed and panted through another contraction.

Holding one hand out for her to stay put, Sam darted across the room. He fished Dean's I.D. out from under the table it'd landed near, grabbed Dean's gun and the magazine off the table and was back to Kerry's side in seconds. Taking Dean's jacket he wrapped everything in them and shoved it under her head. "You need to be in charge of these, please. The cops can't see this stuff."

Kerry nodded, wincing. "Your brother…is okay…can feel it…"

Sam grinned. "Yeah, I know. Dobbin would be back by now if he wasn't and I haven't heard any gunshots." Grabbing Dale under the arms, Sam hauled him to the far wall. He ripped one of the tablecloths into strips and bound the man's legs and arms. "I'll be right back."

Nearly ripping the door off its hinges, Sam was through and racing to the kitchen trying very hard not to think about the fact he'd just abandoned a woman about to have a baby.


They were running too fast for Dean to stop Sam from seeing what was in the car before they both slammed into its side. Sam sucked a shriek down his throat and grabbed Dean's jacket, skittering sideways. Dean stared on in horror for a long minute before winding one arm around his brother's shoulders, spinning him around and shoving him away from the car.

In the back seat were a woman and boy about Sam's age. Both were dead, and had clearly been that way for a few days. The blackened gunshot wounds to the boy's chest and the woman's head left little doubt as to how they'd died.

"We gotta go, Sammy." Pushing Sam ahead of him, Dean ran past Sam, grabbing his wrist in one hand with no intention of letting go. Sam kept up with him as they raced around to the back of the building and across the playground. There was a small gully with a stream. Dean had thoroughly explored the area the first few days they'd been there.

Hitting the edge of the embankment they slid down to the muddy edge of the stream. Up and running at once, they headed into the water and ran upstream until Dean saw a tangle of branches and brush off to one side.

"Go, go." He pushed between Sam's shoulder blades while he wiggled underneath the growth. Dean dove in after him, wrapped both arms around his brother and pressed him to the ground. Sam wedged himself to Dean's side at once, pressing a hand to his mouth to quiet his breathing.

Dean prayed silently the Nash kid wouldn't think to look…or shoot at…the brush. It was the best place to hide for a mile or more.

Something splashed downstream, away from them and toward the main road to town.

Swallowing a snort, Dean shook his head and ruffled Sam's hair whispering, "Went the most obvious way."

"So we go the other way."

"You betcha, Sammy. Quiet now."

Shimmying through the brush, Dean pushed one of the branches to the side and cautiously looked around. A quick glance back at Sam and a squeeze of his wrist and the two of them slid from their cover and ghosted downstream for a few miles before doubling back.

It was well after midnight when they reached their motel room, soaked and shivering, but in one piece. Dean didn't even have to announce they were leaving; the second they were inside Sam went one way and he the other, gathering every one of their possessions and hastily packing. "We'll find a library and send Dad a message so he knows we had to move, but first we find somewhere to stay."

Sam simply nodded, standing in the middle of the room surrounded by their few duffels. "I told them you'd come, that you'd care if they took me." He stammered the words out without preamble.

Straightening and turning to his brother, Dean sighed and finally let himself relax. "Never gonna be any other way, Sammy." Shouldering the three of the four bags, he shrugged them into place. "Let's get outa here."

Nodding, Sam reached up, fingers brushing the straps of one of the duffels. "I can take another one."

The door to their room crashing open cut short Dean's response. The Nash kid, Dobbin, Dean remembered him being called by the older man, stood there, rifle in hand, shouting at them. "I mean to get momma someone to replace Charlie. Not my fault Charlie ran in front of me when I was shooting."

Sam made a funny noise and backed away. Dean didn't give much thought to what he did next. Letting the duffels slide off his shoulders and down his arms, he caught the straps of one in his fingers and swung it in a wide arc, connecting with the end of the rifle, flinging it out of the other boy's hands. "Not with my brother," he ground out and charged.

The other boy was slightly shorter, slightly heavier and very much not in the same shape Dean was. Add to that Dean had actually been taught how to fight, was good at it, and angered to the breaking point the Nash kid didn't stand a chance. Dean was on him before the kid's face registered the fact his gun was gone from his grip. Shouting wordlessly, Dean and Nash rolled around the floor for a few seconds before he got the upper hand, and pinned the other boy down, straddling him. Again and again he slammed his fist into Dobbin's face.

"Dean! Stop! You're going to kill him." Sam had both hands fisted in Dean's jacket and was tugging backwards. "Dean!"

Staggering up and pulling his leg over Nash's to step away, Dean stood, panting. He wiped one hand across his face and turned away abruptly, grabbing up the bags he'd dropped on the floor. A hand on Sam's shoulder, steering him out and Dean gave one final sneer at Dobbin's semi-conscious form. "You're just damn lucky. C'mon, Sammy."

The two brothers vanished into the night leaving Dobbin Nash to sort out with the motel owner why he was beaten and bloody, rifle next to him, in the abandoned motel room.


Sam was closing in on the kitchen when he caught sight through the front windows of Katie sprinting across the parking lot, arms waving and no doubt shouting at the people piling out of an ambulance and two police cars. The poor deputy had indeed called for back up before being gunned down. Sam could see both bodies being loaded into body bags; the man had only survived long enough to get them help.

Just as he was reaching for the kitchen door, Dean and Dobbin Nash crashed through, ripping the door off its hinges and landing beneath them. Sam had two fleeting thoughts, one Dobbin's fighting skills hadn't improved over the years and Dean's had. He wondered if Dean would ever grasp the finer points of opening a door as opposed to going through a door.

Standing with feet planted firmly on either side of Dobbin, Dean hauled him up and punched his face repeatedly.

Darting forward, Sam grabbed Dean's arm as he cranked back for another hit and pulled his brother back. "Dean, stop it, you'll kill him."

"That's the plan, Sammy and I should have done that the last time." Grabbing Dobbin's shirt collar in both hands Dean pulled him to his feet and shoved him backwards hard enough he hit the wall with a loud thud then slid down, out cold.

An hour later, after quietly retrieving Dean's jacket and the items wrapped up in it, stowing them in the Impala and producing identification less likely to raise many questions, Sam sat on the back running board of the ambulance trying very hard not to drop the squalling baby that'd been shoved into his arms at Kerry's insistence.

"Sam, you gotta support its head," Dean snapped at him, stepping forward and reaching for the noisy bundle.

"She's not an it Dean, she's a she."

Settling the baby in the crook of one arm Dean shot him an irritated glare. "Whatever, dude, still hafta support the head." He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet, bouncing his entire body gently. The baby stopped crying. Dean grinned. "Yeah, Sammy's got that affect on a lot of people."

Snorting, Sam twisted around and leaned his upper half into the ambulance and tapped Kerry's leg. "Whatever you decide, it'll be the right thing."

"Thank you," she whispered and smiled.

One of the paramedics climbed past Sam and into the ambulance, Dean handed the baby off to him and they both watched as Kerry and her child were tucked in safely. Sam took Katie's elbow and helped her in too, waving as the doors were closed.

The two of them stood watching the ambulance drive away. Katie had said it was over an hour to the closest hospital, so they'd been forced to keep Kerry in the diner to have her baby instead of risking delivery in a moving vehicle. Sam wiggled his still tingling fingers a bit and made a mental note never to hold the hand of a woman having a baby again…ever. He rubbed at his arm and then hand as he trailed behind Dean to their car.

"Let's get out of here while we can, huh? What's wrong with your hand?"

"Labor hurts," Sam grumbled and stepped aside for Dean to unlock the car door. Quirking an eyebrow at him, Dean shook his head and smiled, but blissfully kept his mouth shut. "We were three states away when we ran into that guy the first time, what do you suppose the odds are it happened again? And for sort of the same reason?" Sam settled into the passenger seat, slipped down far enough to lean his head back against the seat.

"Obviously not as much of a long shot as either one of us would think." Dean started the car and guided it out of the parking lot and onto the road. "People are nuts. At least the monsters are predictable."


"You hungry? 'Cause I'm hungry again now, it's been a long day."

"If you're going to find somewhere to get some pie, dude, it's going to be one of those outdoor places." Reaching down, he turned the radio on and spent a minute flipping through the stations to find something Dean liked listening to. "Thanks."

Dean glanced over at him, "For what?" He sounded genuinely surprised.

"You kept your promise, you came back, well actually you fell out of the kitchen, but same thing."

"Never gonna be any other way, Sammy."

Sam wasn't quite fast enough to duck away from the hand coming at him and ruffling his hair, but he never seemed fast enough and he wouldn't want it any other way.

The End