AUTHOR NOTE: The events that take place in this story are set directly after the season three finaleยข; "No Rest For The Wicked", and describe Sam's feelings about Dean going to Hell.



The 1967 Chevy Impala rocketed along the highway at a tremendous speed, heading forward to a destination which its driver had not yet decided on. The engine roared powerfully like an angry animal as it's sleek black form glided over the damp asphalt surface obediently through the night. It passed through a deserted landscape framed with trees climbing high, mis-shaped branches were reaching out across the horizon like long skeletal fingers stretching in the breeze. The moon gave off a silvery glow through a blanket of never-ending glittering stars which cluttered the clear sky beautifully above the world below.

Sam Winchester pushed his foot right down on the gas pedal as the speakers screamed out Alice Cooper's 'Poison'. The sound was tearing at his eardrums and rattling it's vibrations through the body of the car with a vengeance. Tears ran fast from his eyes like a gushing flood scraping at his tender red face, his vision clouded over by the downpour. But, he didn't hear the music, and he didn't care that he couldn't see. Nothing mattered and nothing was real any more, not now that Dean was gone.

Although he'd known that this moment had been coming, although Dean was given a year in his deal with the crossroads demon, nothing could have prepared Sam in that year for how he felt right now. He could feel his insides shaking like a violent internal earthquake, it's aftershocks shooting through his limbs, relentlessly pushing through the numbness.

A sickening emptiness leeched onto his soul, allowing him the subconscious ability to let all around him pass by without being noticed, and leaving him only to feel his essence being sucked dry by an invisible force, like the feeling of plunging down a dark tunnel, but as though part of you is being dragged back the other way all at the same time, pulling at you until you are lost in an oblivion of confusion that only exists in your own mind. Taking over all logical sense, bartering with reason, cutting whatever ties that keep you tethered to the earth.

Dean was what was tethering me to the earth. He was my anchor, Sam thought, the words echoing around his brain and being sent to forever bounce around in there painfully, in the emptiness.

His sobs grew louder and a fresh onslaught of tears cascaded down his cheeks. His shoulders heaved up and down as he cried as if trying the shift the weight that lay upon them, the burden that he felt crushing him.

The heart ache stabbed at him painfully causing him to lean forward into the steering wheel which his tears fell upon. His hair clung to his dirtied wet face uncomfortably, as the image of Dean's body, bloodied and lifeless, appeared vividly in his memory refusing to leave.

A bright light shone through the back window and passed through the shadows as a car approached from behind and began to overtake the Impala. Its driver floored it to match the speed which Sam was driving at, and honked the horn aggressively as to catch Sam's attention.

Sam only just acknowledged the car, the noise the horn was making only seemed to blend in with the loud music, his mind had been too scrambled to hear or see anything beyond the dark pit of life they lay ahead of him. He realised that the other driver was not going to stop his pursuit. He should stop. He needed to stop. He'd just pull over for a minute. He would tell him that he would be fine, that he just needed some time alone to sort out his head.

His hands tightly gripped around the steering wheel as he eased his foot off the gas and slowed down, pulling up at the side of the highway where he came to a halt. As he turned the key and stopped the engine, the music cut out plunging him into a quiet abyss. He took a sideways glance in the rear view mirror just as the other car came to a stop behind the Impala. The driver turned off his engine as well, the headlights extinguishing in a flash. The man got out of his car, the darkness obscuring his features as he rushed over to Sam who wound down the window ready.

"Goddamnit Sam! What the hell do'ya think you're playin' at?" His voice was angered, and the words bellowed out, shattering the silence. "You any idea how worried I was when you took off a lunatic? Huh?"

Sam looked him right in the eyes, his sight coming back into focus as he blinked. Bobby Singer was the only solid thing in his universe right now, the only thing left untouched by evil, at least for now, at least not enough to have gotten him killed like everyone else who had been in his life up to this point. His mom, Jess, Dad, and then Dean. Life's sandpaper had stripped away all that ever mattered to him, leaving a big bare spot that would never heal.

After a moment of looking at Bobby, he turned to face the front, looking out of the windshield again. He stared straight ahead into the darkness. "It's all my fault Bobby." his sobs grew loud again, the shaking sensation rocked him. "Mom, Jess, Dad and Dean...if it hadn't been for me...I...I..."

Bobby opened the door closing the gap between them, and leaned in closer. "None of what happened was your fault. You can't blame yourself." he said, his voice sounding calm, whilst he rested a hand on Sam's shoulder. "When your brother made that deal, he knew what he'd be gettin' himself into. He made an adult sized decision which came with adult sized consequences. But, he did it 'cus he loved you so damn much. Ain't nothin' in the world could have made him do any different. Not when it meant keepin' you safe, bringing you back from where you were headed if not for him making the deal. You know how god darned stubborn he could be."

Sam turned to meet his gaze once more through his still heavy tears. At this point he noticed, that even though Bobby's voice had sounded perfectly composed, there were also tears glistening upon his cheeks too. His eyes were withdrawn and set back in sorrow, and he showed a tiredness which was not just from physical wear in his older years.

"No!" Sam yelled as he grip on the steering wheel intensified, "Its my fault! I've been a curse since the day that Azazel got into my nursery when he killed mom! If I'd never been born..."

"Stop it! I never wanna hear you talkin' like that, ever!"

"But it's true!" Sam was almost snarling at himself now.

"This isn't you talkin', you hearin' me? Its the grief!" Bobby tried to match Sam's volume to insure that he was being heard, but Sam suddenly shifted on the seat. As he struggled to get up, he pushed Bobby out of his way as he got out of the car. He paced a few feet away to a line of trees where he leaned forward onto one of the trunks, burying his face in his hands.

He wanted to run away from this cruel world. He wanted to see Dean again so desperately that he couldn't handle it. He felt as if his heart was going to explode at any moment, like a pressure cooker that had been left unattended. I'd do anything. Please God. Just for five more minutes with him, I'd do anything. Anything. His secret pleas to the big guy upstairs wasn't going to do him any good now, he knew that, but he had to try all possibilities. He'd seen things in his life, things which the normal folk only saw and knew of in horror movies. He'd witnessed the impossible before, so how could God himself be ruled out. Maybe he could hear him right now, and that the pain he felt inside was so severe, that it was sending the vibes all the way up into the heavens, giving off an S.O.S. signal.

But no. There couldn't really be a God. Demons, vampires, spirits, yes. But no God. Not to him. If there really was a being so powerful, then he was obviously choosing to ignore the Winchesters altogether, otherwise maybe he'd have intervened all those years ago, and stopped the chain of events that had led him to this point in the first place.

He moved one of his hands free from his face, and balled it into a tight fist. He punched at the tree angrily and repeatedly. Even when the skin on his knuckles split, and the blood began to trickle out, running down his arm and underneath his sleeve, he didn't stop. He grunted as his breath grew short with exhaustion.

Bobby ran over to him, and caught Sam's punch in his own hands, stopping him from doing any further damage to himself.

"You need to get a hold of yourself!" Bobby's eyes pierced through Sam darkly, "What would Dean say if he could see you like this? He'd tell you to get your ass into gear is what he'd say! He'd tell you to get on with your life!"

"What life Bobby?" Sam looked up at him, "A life of sorting out everyone else's crap? A life of getting rid of their demons? Well what about my damn demons? What about my crap? I'm sick of giving away all of my efforts and never getting rewarded for it!"

Bobby took a step back, a stunned expression crossed over his face. "That ain't the way to look at this kid. And sure, you've had the arse end of all bad luck here, but with all that bad, you have still saved so many lives. Isn't that reward enough? Hasn't that made all the effort worth it?" as he spoke, another streak of tears ran down his face and disappeared into his beard.

"But I couldn't save the people who meant the most." Sam's words were quieter this time and quivered with emotion, almost inaudible between tears. "I lost them. I lost them all." He felt the pangs of emptiness open up like a big gaping wound for a more intense attack. He reached a hand into his jacket and pulled out his gun. In one swift moment, he whisked it out, and held it to his own forehead.

"No!" Bobby screamed, "We can get through this! Damn it Sam! Put the gun down, now!"

Sam cocked the gun ready to fire, his hand shaking as he held his finger just above the trigger. "I can't do this any more. I can't... I don't know how I'm supposed to...I'm going to miss him too much! It hurts Bobby, I'm sorry, but I gotta end this crap right here, right now! It has to end with me..."

Sam's words were tortuous to Bobby's ears. "Sam listen to me," he said softly, "I'm not gonna stand here and let you waste yourself. You pull that trigger, then Dean will have gone to hell for nothin'. Maybe sometimes, this life were leadin' doesn't make any sense, but the one thing that I am absolutely sure of, is that we got to see this show through until the end. We gotta show the bastards that we're willing to go down fightin', that we're not gonna give up on all the innocent people that need our help." he started to ease his way closer to Sam. "Sure it ain't much of a lifestyle, but whatever happens, we can be proud, you can be proud, because it made a difference. Don't let it end this way."

The gun started shaking even more unsteadily in Sam's hand. His legs felt weak beneath him like they were becoming unattached from the rest of his body. Suddenly, he felt himself drop to the ground, the gun fell from his grip and landed safely a few inches away from him. He curled himself up into a foetal position, his arms wrapping tightly around his legs.

Bobby dropped to his knees besides him, cradling his own arms around Sam's back, and hugged him close. "I'm gonna help you through this Sam." his voice was tender, like that of a father comforting his son, but then, Bobby felt like a father figure now.

Sam couldn't manage a verbal response, he just continued to weep loudly.


Maybe it was only minutes that had passed, or maybe even hours. Sam didn't know. His tears had started to dry, leaving his eyes feeling gritty. He could still feel Bobby's tight grip around him, he felt warm and protecting against the cold night.

Bobby felt him shift slightly. "C'mon, lets get outta here." he said as he slowly pulled away, loosening the hug. As he stood up, he found Sam's hand and gently started to pull him up from the ground.

Sam complied to this new development, and followed Bobby back towards the cars in silence. His body felt stiff from where he'd been laying so that his walk felt more like a stagger.

"Not far from mine now," said Bobby, "We'll take my car, I'll bring the truck, and toe the Impala back tomorrow."

Sam felt zombie-like as he climbed into the passenger seat of Bobby's car. He stared forward as soon as he settled on the seat.

Bobby noticed this, and part of him felt like he was risking giving Sam another bought of heartache because of what lay hidden underneath the blanket on the back seat. Dean's body.

He knew that they had to keep the body for a few days, in as best a condition that they could. This was on the off chance that they could find some way to put the situation right. If a miracle did happen, and they could bring Dean back somehow, he'd need a body to come back to.

It had taken Bobby at least an hour after Dean had passed to pry Sam off the body. He just wouldn't let go of his lifeless brother. He just wouldn't accept that he had gone. Finally, when he had convinced him to let go, that was when Sam had taken off in the Impala. Before going after him, he'd carried Dean to his car and rested him in the back before covering him up with the blanket. The toughiest moment of his life ever.

He sighed as he got into the drivers side and pulled the door shut. He turned his key, and they started off towards his house.

The next morning, Sam was sitting cross-legged in front of the fireplace behind Bobby's desk. He hadn't been able to sleep, too much weighed on his mind, and he was afraid to close his eyes just in case he saw or remembered too much about how he had seen Dean die. Seeing him in his thoughts like that were just too painful right now, it would just rub at the soreness. The only way he wanted to remember Dean, was of him wearing a smile, his eyes sparkling the way that they used to, and his witty humour. The big brother that he had always looked up to and admired, even at the times when he had found him a pain in the ass.

He stared into the bright orange, yellow flames, a blank expression on his face. Even though the heat that the fire was throwing out should have been warm, he was still shivering. It had started as they had got to Bobby's, and wouldn't let up. The redness around his eyes had faded into a dark and dull shade, they felt as if they were slightly swollen and bulging, but at least he could see properly again now.

A clock ticked from somewhere near by. Time passed along as it always had, un-effected by the way that people were feeling by the events that had happened to them as it kept going by. Sam felt as though time should have stopped because Dean wasn't here to share the seconds, minutes and hours with him. Time had no meaning. It just was, is, and will be, regardless of anything else.

He pulled the woollen blanket that he had draped over his shoulders around himself tighter. He knew that underneath, his clothes were still covered in Dean's blood. He hadn't yet felt motivated enough to take a shower and change. Part of him felt that it would make things seem too real, like the first step of being forced to move on, and that if he ignored it, maybe the last couple of days will have vanished as if they had never happened, and it would turn out to be that he'd had nothing more then just an intensely vivid nightmare.

He shifted one of his feet as it had started to go to sleep, the numb tingles of pins and needles throbbing through the limb in an instant. As he moved it, he brushed against the stack of newspapers that Bobby had set down on the floor besides him just a couple of hours earlier before leaving in his truck to get the Impala.

The one that had been left on the top of the pile, had been strategically folded open at the obituaries. Bobby was already trying to encourage Sam to look for leads and start hunting again, but he didn't feel ready. How could he even expect him to think straight this soon after what had happened yesterday? He knew that he wasn't going to be ready to hunt again for a very long time. Would he even be able to do it any more anyway, even if he wanted to? He was only half of the team now. With Dean gone, would he be able to do the job as successfully? Would he still be able to save all of the innocent people that the demons and spirits would be going after to torment?

Maybe this was Bobby's way of dealing with losing Dean, to keep as busy as possible, but Sam didn't feel that the same course of action was best in his case. Sure, he wanted to scream and shout. He wanted to be able to go after the demon that had held Dean's contract. But where would he even find Lillith? And how could he possibly defeat her? One tough customer that it wasn't wise to throw caution to the wind for and go after by himself. Not enough was known about her yet.

Their old yellow-eyed enemy, Azazel had been a challenge enough, and Sam figured that Lillith would be a lot more powerful then him, more powerful then they could even imagine. After what happened to Agent Henricksen and those others, they had been shown a small sample of what she could do. A force not to be reckoned with unless you could find a way to be damn sure that you might have a chance of winning before going in guns blazing. Not that guns would make any difference in that fight. They would be just as useless as trying to shoot her with a child's water pistol. He wondered if even the Colt would work against her.

Sam was scared. The pressure he felt knowing that there were those, including Bobby, and other like-mind hunters, who were counting on him just in case this led to the mightiest of all show-downs, was overwhelming. Sam and Dean's reputation had grown tremendously through the world of hunters, and they had become well known. Of course, a great deal of this had a lot to do with their dad who'd introduced them into this crazy supernatural world in the first place. He'd been so good at his job that nobody seemed to expect any different of his sons. And of course, because of Azazel, Sam had grown to know that so much of what had been happening was now centred around him for reasons which were still so confusing.

But without Dean, did he want to face the final battle?

Not alone. No.