So... yeah. I haven't written anything in a REALLY long time, but hey – I'm not dead! There are multiple reasons why I haven't written in forever, including a near-death experience that left me in the hospital for a couple of months, a few family crises, and then a half-a-year stretch without a working computer. Then there was junior year of college, which brought with it stresses and infinite piles of work. I'm sorry to anyone from who might be reading. I miss the site like crazy. But after all that happened (everything IS okay now), and that stretch without a computer for any extended period, I just haven't been able to bring myself to get back on. Maybe I still will. But I miss everyone!

As for the Hell Woods (which I don't think I've updated since February of 2008, WOW) that's officially on hold. I'm totally out of the loop on that one, and most of it makes no sense now considering how far Supernatural has advanced. I greatly apologize to anyone reading it, as it's my own pet peeve when an author of a story I like doesn't update. But sometimes life just gets in the way.

Sorry about that rant, a few things just needed said. Whew. Okay, as for this oneshot, it's hugely depressing. Not going to lie. It's also kind of a random throwback to season 2, which I'm starting to miss in the midst of all this intensity that season 5 is bringing. Not that I don't love it, but still. I was just in the mood, and needed to write it after so much time off. I really hope you all like it.

Any mistakes are mine; I don't have a beta. And no, I still don't own them! Fudge.


Dean sat, aimlessly fiddling with his gun. Click. Safety on. Click. Safety off. His vision blurred along the edges as he stared down as his hands, cradling the silver weapon with an almost ginger reverence. He had used the pistol many times in his life, carried it with him for years. It was always there, strapped to his belt, like a silent protector and guardian. It was only fitting that something so steady and constant in his life would be the very thing to end it.

Huh. What a weird thought. Your brain must start going a little insane waiting on the brink like this.

The anticipation was killing him. That was fitting too, he supposed. After this drawn-out anticipation, he was going to die. Ironic.

Death is weird. What the hell is it, anyway? Dean knew that life didn't end there, but was at a total and complete friggin' loss as to what the hell the afterlife was actually like. Although supposedly he experienced it once during that goddamned coma that killed dad. Whatever.

Why was he thinking such random crap? Oh yeah. 'Cause he had no other option. Thinking about what was really happening would drive him crazier than he already was. He had to be strong, make everything abstract and unreal.

For Sam. For Sammy. The kid felt guilty enough, though he had no clue in hell as to why. This was just going to be another adventure. They always knew they'd go out in a blaze. It was just happening sooner rather than later.

Dean finally lifted his gaze, looking across the room at his brother. Sam had seated himself back on the examination table, almost as if he felt his sickness relegated him to it.

oo00O00oo

It had been two hours since Dr. Lee had taken them outside, showing them the deserted town. Everyone was gone.

For a second, the looming threat of the virus in Sam had gone away, replaced with a burst of fresh air and thoughts devoted to explaining the mystery of the disappearing townspeople. But then reality set in. Scared gazes were directed towards Sam, his Sammy, afraid of his inevitable decline into virus-induced insanity.

They had to go back inside.

"We can't take your car, you know," Sarge had said hesitantly. "It just..." He shrugged, looking momentarily confused. Duane nodded, staring at his feet.

"It would feel wrong," he finally concluded. "We got access to an old pickup."

"You're at least taking the weapons," Dean insisted. "That arsenal could save your lives." For some reason, Dean felt a wave of relief knowing that his baby would stay stationed outside, not leaving him. Stupid. But it was still a comfort, somehow.

"You got it," said Sarge. "Listen, you sure you don t just want to-"

Dr. Lee and Duane looked at him expectantly, and Sam gave him a more than reproachful stare. They were pleading.

"No." Dean had answered firmly. "Definitely not. He's my brother." Sam moaned, though said nothing. It seemed he had finally understood the hopelessness of trying to convince Dean to save himself.

oo00O00oo

So they were back in the little room. Everyone was still inexplicably waiting outside, Duane strangely invested in seeing the outcome for himself before leaving and the hot doctor ready to perform tests if needed.

Dean didn't think about them. It was their prerogative if they wanted to walk in on two dead bodies.

oo00O00oo

"Dean..."

Sam's voice pierced Dean s muddled thoughts. Damn it. Dean thought Sam had given up. He should have known better.

"Getting bored? Yeah, me too. I was thinking we could play a game or something. You know, have some fun before we go out." Dean winked, giving his brother a small smile. He started pacing around the room, looking at his surroundings.

"What about 'I Spy'? I spy with my little eye-"

"That's not what I-"

"-I spy with my little eye something-"

"Dean!"

"-I spy with my little eye something blue."

"DEAN!"

"So you're not even gonna try? Weak, bro. There's not much in here that isn't white, it's not that hard."

"Will you just cut the crap, Dean? What, are you trying to distract me or something? Distract me from the fact that I-" Sam's throat hitched slightly. "-that I'm - infected? With a virus that's going to turn me into a maniac that you're going to have to kill?"

Dean swallowed heavily, running his hands over his face and glaring back into Sam's watering eyes.

"-From the fact that you're going to kill yourself afterwards? That because of me, you're going to give up?"

Dean had never seen Sam look so desperate, so devastated. "I told you Sam. I'm tired." Dean sighed, collapsing into the chair closest to where Sam was sitting. He looked away, unable to face Sam's pleading eyes.

And what does that even mean, Dean? Huh?" Sam edged up on the table, staring intently at Dean, trying to will him to speak. "You keep saying that, and you were about to tell me why before Dr. Lee interrupted you. So why? What the hell is it if it isn't just dad dying, or the job...?"

Dean sighed, staring up at the ceiling and taking a gulp. He didn't want it to be like this, to have their last minutes on earth spent discussing such depressing things, revealing such dark secrets.

"Dad told you something, didn't he?"

Dean stayed silent.

"Come on, I know he did. That s why he had me leave the room. Am I right?"

Dean just shook his head, almost laughing with disbelief.

"Sammy..."

Sam gulped, nodding, and stared down at his hands. "What was it?" he asked quietly.

Goddamnitscrewthisscrewitall. Sam was not going to leave him alone. He was going to have to talk.

"He told me something about you," Dean finally choked out. The tears starting to trickle from his eyes surprised him.

"What?" Sam almost whispered. "Dean, what did he tell you?"

"He said that he-" Dean almost choked on the words, struggling to keep in his emotions. "-wanted me to watch out for you. Take care of you."

Sam face contorted into an expression of confusion. "He told you that a million times!"

"Well this time was different... he said that I had to... save you."

Sam's face was more confused than ever. He seemed completely distracted, momentarily forgetting that they were both staring down their deaths. "Save me from what?"

Dean shrugged, choking back more tears. This conversation was hitting a bit too close to their current situation, and he wasn't sure how much he could handle.

"He- he just said that I had to save you. That nothing else mattered. And that if I couldn't, I'd-" Dean paused, scared to keep talking.

"You'd what, Dean?"

"-I'd have to kill you." The words sounded foreign to Dean, like some voice other than his own had uttered them. "He said I might have to kill you, Sammy."

Dean finally let the tears flow down his face. Dean looked over at Sam, who looked as though he were forcibly restraining his anger. If they weren't facing their death, if Dean had been telling this information to Sam under any other circumstances, he knew he'd be getting it. Sam would explode on Dean, berating him for guarding such a secret, press for answers as to how, why John had possibly said such a thing.

But now, he was quiet. Tears fell from his eyes, and he averted Dean's gaze.

"Listen, I don't know why, Sam. I don't," Dean insisted, walking over to Sam. He sat beside him cautiously.

"What, was I supposed to go darkside or something? Become Yellow Eyes' bitch?" Sam said the words without looking at his brother.

"I don't think that matters now, Sam," Dean nearly whispered.

Sam just nodded slowly. "And now you think you failed. You couldn't save me from this. It's not whatever the hell dad was talking about, but to you it's the same difference, right?" His voice held a tone of incredulity.

Dean gulped down the lump painfully forming in his throat.

"Dean, that doesn't mean anything! You can still go on! Hunt! Disobeying dad doesn't mean you have to kill yourself, man, come on!" For the second time, Sam slammed his cast into the examination table. "Screw dad, man! He had no right to tell you that, or to tell you to keep it from me!"

"I wish to God he'd never opened his mouth, Sammy!" Dean finally raised his voice, meeting his brother's intent gaze. "But you don't get it! It isn't just failing dad, it's..."

"WHAT?" Sam was finally losing his patience. "WHAT, Dean? Please, please just tell me, man."

Dean fixed his gaze intently on Sam, staring into his little brother's brown soulful eyes and feeling his heart break. "How can I watch you die - shoot you - and then just go on living?"

"You don't have to! Just give me the gun-"

Dean laughed bitterly. "Yeah Sam, that's a lot better. Let my brother commit suicide while I just go on my merry way. No thank you." He shook his head, biting back the dry sob he felt like releasing.

Sam was quiet.

"You would do the same thing, Sam," Dean finally said. "Don't even try to tell me you wouldn't. So can you please - for me - stop trying to get me to change my mind?"

Sam nodded, turning to look at Dean. "Okay," he finally said. "All right, Dean."

Another silence fell between them. Dean stared back at his gun.

"You might want to move back across the room," said Sam with hesitation. He gazed at Dean imploringly, almost embarrassed, afraid of what his brother's reaction would be. Dean considered. He had moved right next to Sam on the examination table, and didn't like the idea of putting distance between them in their final moments.

"Sam..."

"Listen, it won't do any good if I infect you and we escape. We could end up hurting somebody."

"You wouldn't instantly change me, Sam. It takes a while. Look at you, you're still fine." Dean forced a smile, patting Sam s shoulder.

"But the risk-"

"I don't care," finished Dean simply. "I'm staying right here."

Sam shook his head in disbelief, but didn't protest.

oo00O00oo

Dean stared at the clock on the wall. Another hour had passed. It would be happening soon.

Sam had a half-smile on his face, still amused over Dean's last story of a past conquest.

"She really bought that you were a Canadian TV star?"

Dean laughed. "I know, man. I'm just that good."

Sam threw his head back, shaking it slowly. "We've had interesting lives, dude."

"You're telling me, Sammy," said Dean with a small smile. The clock on the wall seemed to tick louder in his ears, taking away the precious minutes he had left. They were both quiet again, seeming to realize at once that their time had become more limited.

"Thank you, Dean," Sam said, so softly that Dean almost didn't hear him.

Dean stared at him, at a loss. "For what?"

"For staying by me. Not just now but always. You've always been there, Dean. You were there for me when no one else was. Not dad, not anyone."

Dean felt the tears well in his eyes.

"And I know that wasn't right," said Sam. "It was too much on you. But I'm glad anyway. I looked up to you all my life," said Sam, voice cracking. "Hell, I still do. I don't know how you... how you... how you kept doing it. Kept watching out for me like that. But I love you for it, man. I just want you to know."

Dean felt his chest constrict, trying to push out a sob. He hadn't heard those three words from Sam in more than ten years, not since they were kids. But they felt good to hear now, even though he felt he didn't deserve it. He had failed Sam, plain and simple. But maybe he could swallow that guilt, just this once, for Sam. For Sammy, who had just laid his heart on the table.

"I love you too, Sammy," Dean said tears falling freely. "More than I've ever loved anyone." He faced his brother. "That's why it couldn't be any other way than this. We're in this together, little bro." He cracked a weak smile.

Sam quickly and unexpectedly pulled Dean into a tight hug, grasping the back of Dean's shirt and burying his face in his shoulder. Dean clung back. They needed each other right now, needed to feel that the other was still alive, and breathing, and whole... they would never get the chance again.

They released each other quickly. Dean turned his head, covering his sobs with his hand. He was then suddenly aware that something was painfully wrong. Sam had gone quiet. Weirdly, strangely quiet.

Dean felt his heart fall out of his chest.

He tightened his grip on his pistol, leapt up from the table, and spun quickly around. Sam had jumped to his feet and was staring back at him. His arms were raised in an attack stance, teeth grated into a snarl. His eyes were different. Manic. No. Nonononono. He wasn't ready for this.

Sam advanced slowly, and Dean backed up until he was against the wall. His heart was beating out of his chest. He couldn't catch his breath.

"Sammy..."

Dean felt his bed shake, a warm form slowly creeping up closer. Cold feet touched his legs.

He opened his eyes. He was staring into the frightened brown eyes of his four year old brother, small frame shaking with sobs and tiny voice repeating Dean's name like a mantra.

"Dean, Dean, Dean!" His little brother's cries pierced Dean's heart like an arrow.

"What is it, Sammy?" whispered Dean, affectionately tousling Sam's unruly hair and drawing him in close.

"D-d-daddy's not here! And I had a nightmare! A really bad one, and-and-" Sam erupted into fresh sobs.

"Shhh, Sammy, shh. It's okay. I'm here." Dean held his brother as his breathing steadied and his cries quieted, then let the blackness of sleep take him over.

Now Dean was the one having a nightmare. One that he couldn't wake from, no matter how hard he tried. And no one was there to make it better.

Sam had grabbed a scalpel from the doctor's cabinet, and was running towards him with it. Dean held up the gun, watching the weapon shake unsteadily.

Shoot, goddamnit!

Shoot!

SHOOT!

"Shoot it, son! Come on Dean, it isn't human anymore! Kill it!" His father s voice echoed in his head.

But I can't dad, it's Sammy... it's Sammy...

Sam's inhuman yell shot Dean back into reality. He could barely see for his tears. He had to do it. The distance was closing quickly between them.

He aimed, biting his lip so hard that he tasted blood. Then he fired.

Sammy...

oo00O00oo

The shot seemed to stop time. Everything was quiet, one large blank. Dean had his eyes shut tight, afraid to open them. I don't want to see, I don't want to see, I don't want to see, PLEASE don't make me look...

But he knew he had to open his eyes. So he did.

And there was Sammy. He was on his back, arms and legs splayed out, scalpel lying innocently on the ground next to his outstretched hand. Blood was seeping from a single hole in the center of his head, staining the pristine white floors of the examination room. His brown eyes were open, staring unseeingly into... and through...the ceiling.

Dean felt himself collapse. He couldn't stand anymore. He let himself cry, let the salty tears cloud his vision. He crawled slowly forward, following the trail of water droplets being splattered on the tile, until he reached his destination.

Sam.

Sammy.

Without thinking, Dean placed his hand over his brother's eyes, closing the lids. It was wrong for such soulful orbs to stare so blankly at nothing. He pulled Sam close to him, laying his brother's body across his legs and cradling his head. And he sobbed.

He had killed his brother.

For a while, Dean stayed that way, rocking steadily back and forth, patting his brother's hair as he used to when they were kids. Then he stopped. He was empty, completely empty. He could hear footsteps in the hallway outside the door. He had to do it now.

Calmly, Dean cocked his pistol, turning it to face him. He stared down the black hole, and pulled the trigger.

I'm coming, Sammy. Don't worry. I'll be there soon.

oo00O00oo

Dr. Lee heard the gunshots from the lobby, and they sent a chill through her heart. So that was it.

She shivered, surprised that her eyes had started to mist. She began walking toward the room the brothers had locked themselves in, sadness weighing down each step. She hadn't known them, not really. She didn't know why they pretended to be US Marshalls, why they seemed to know so much about this sort of thing, why they kept an arsenal in the trunk of their car. But she did know that they were good people who didn't deserve to die.

Sarge and Duane began to follow her wordlessly. The door loomed closer and closer until finally she stood right in front of it. She didn't need to go in. She could see the boys through the door's window.

Her breath hitched as she took in the scene. Sam was draped over his brother, who lay underneath him in a pool of blood.

She could look no more, and felt the bile rise in her throat. She spun on her heel, facing Duane and Sarge. "We need to go," she said firmly. "I can get help. Dean gave me this number to call after it, well... happened. He said not to let the cops get to them first."

She unraveled the crumpled paper Dean had given her before locking himself and his brother in the examination room. It had one word on it, Bobby, and a phone number scrawled in messy handwriting underneath. "I don't know why, but it feels right to call it," she said slowly. "You guys can drop me off in the next town, and I can find a phone. You can keep going after that. I'll be okay."

Sarge nodded, cocking his rifle, and Duane looked down shyly. He seemed strangely hesitant to speak, but he had been through a lot, after all.

The black Chevy Impala was still parked in the street, waiting expectantly for owners that would never drive it again.

Shaking a little bit, Dr. Lee slid into the backseat of the pickup loaded with Sam and Dean's weapons. Sarge and Duane were up front, saying nothing.

She would not remember how long the car ride was, only that it had seemed to take an eternity. When they finally pulled into a normal town, bustling with living people, Dr. Lee got out and patted the truck's window.

"Good luck guys," she said with a smile.

"Take care of yourself, doc," said Sarge. Duane just nodded at her, then turned his head to stare back out the window.

oo00O00oo

It was night. They had driven for hours, and Sarge was exhausted. Duane had been unusually quiet ever since they left town, but he finally broke the silence as they drove along some abandoned road in the middle of nowhere.

"You mind pulling over up ahead there?"

Sarge sighed. "All right." He maneuvered the truck to the side of the road.

"I gotta make a call," said Duane simply.

The older man was surprised. "No phone out here."

"I got it covered."

Sarge watched as Duane pulled out an ancient looking bowl, staring into its depths.

"What the hell is that?"

Sarge felt his heart beat faster as he saw a small blade clutched in Duane's hand, and in a split second knew no more.

The demon in Duane pressed the bowl to Sarge's slit throat, collecting the rapidly flowing blood. He needed to speak to father. Nothing had gone as planned. Why had Sam Winchester been susceptible? He was one of the special children, one of the chosen ones. He should have been immune.

Now he was gone. Father would be angry he had lost one of his soldiers. Maybe Sam Winchester was never meant to be evil. He had pushed away his abilities faster than any of the other children, and that damned brother of his continued to insist on his strength. Dean had stopped it, ensured that his brother didn't fall into the depths of his great father Azazel's spell. Sam had denied the influence of his demon blood, and for that reason had fallen like a weak human to the Croatoan virus.

Of course his father knew there was a chance of this happening. That's why they planted the virus in the first place. They didn't bother testing the others. The others didn't have someone like Dean.

They had just hoped Sam's powers had advanced enough to place him out of Dean's influence. But they were wrong.

And Sam would have been the strongest – he was Azazel's favorite.

Damn them to hell. He dipped Duane's hand into the bowl, not quite ready to face the wrath of his father.

oo00O00oo

Bobby would forever remember receiving the phone call that day.

He would remember the scared voice of the woman on the other end, telling him something about a virus that had spread through her Oregon town. Something about two men coming to save them. Something about how the younger one, Sam, had become infected. Something about how the older one, Dean, had insisted on locking himself in with his brother, determined to end both of their lives with two bullets. Something about how Dean had told her to call him, how he had no one else, how the cops couldn't get there first.

Something about how they were both dead.

Bobby had dropped his bottle of beer, barely hearing the shattering of glass against the floor, and jumped in the car. He drove straight to Oregon in twelve hours, pushing the boundaries of speed on the highway. He hadn't thought about anything at all, refusing to believe that what this woman had said could be true. It had to be a trap, a way of getting the three hunters together to lure them to death. Or something. She had to be a demon.

But she sounded so scared, nagged a voice in the back of Bobby s mind.

Demons lie, insisted a stronger voice.

Bobby would always remember running 'til his feet were numb through an abandoned town, frantically searching for the doctor's office alongside the street. He would always remember how the first thing he saw was the Impala, stationed like a guard in front of the entrance.

He would always remember how his heart rose in his throat at the sight.

He would always remember bursting through the doors, calling out the boys names until his throat was hoarse, and receiving no answer. He would always remember reaching the one at the end of the hall that the woman had told him to find.

And he would forever, forever remember staring through the door's window and seeing John's boys laying dead, Sam sprawled over his brother's fallen lap and Dean staring blankly to the side, drenched in his own... and in Sam's... blood. He would remember kicking down the door, blood pulsing in his ears, and running over to the fallen Winchesters he had grown to think of as his own sons.

He would remember crying, and grief, and devastation. He would always remember carrying them individually to the Impala, abandoning his own truck on the road, and driving the Chevy back to South Dakota.

And he would always remember burying them, side by side.

oo00O00oo

But now, Bobby had a demon to stop.

And John was going to be released from hell if it was the last thing he ever did. The boys had found their mother, and needed to find their father as well.

The Winchesters would finally rest in peace.

That was Bobby Singer's mission.

oo00O00oo

Ellen was by his side, and they were staring down a young man who had just placed the Colt in the Devil's Gate. They had followed the signs, the disappearances of the 23 year-old children, the demonic activity that plagued Wyoming.

They were going to end it.

Bobby shot, and shot, and shot. The man fell, and the demons were released.

Bobby caught sight of what he thought was John in the midst of the chaos.

No, he knew it was John. The spirit gave him a sad smile, and disappeared into a mist.

Freed at last. He would rejoin his wife and sons.

Bobby fought the tears as he and Ellen struggled to slam the doors shut. He grabbed the Colt from the gate.

He was going to kill Yellow Eyes.

END


So you all probably hate me. I cried writing this. But if you think about it, this type of ending is almost better than what ends up happening afterward. Dean never goes to hell, for example. And the apocalypse never starts. So... not so bad from that angle. Right? *Eyes shift dubiously* Well, whatever. PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW! I really need the encouragement from such a long time off! Even if you hated it, I want to hear from you! :-)