Originally published in the fanzine Hunting Trips #3, from Neon RainBow Press, in 2008. This story was written after the season finale when Dean had to pay the price of his deal with the demon, and was a guess on what might happen when the show restarted in the fall. My prediction was wrong, so consider this an AU. Based on characters and situations from the TV show Supernatural: I don't own the show, I don't own the characters, and I am making no money from this. The song Sam sings was written by Robert Louis Stevenson, but he's been dead long enough that it's in public domain.

Home from the Hill

by Susan M. M.

Sam Winchester stood beside the fresh grave. There was no marker yet. The salesman at the monument company had explained that they couldn't install a tombstone until the grave had had time to settle.

Sam had paid in advance to have the gray granite marker placed on Dean's grave on the first anniversary of his brother's death. After considering and rejecting several Bible verses, Sam had finally decided on just Dean's name, birth and death dates, and the word "hunter." The salesman had offered to have a picture of a deer carved on the stone. Sam had just given the salesman a wry smile and shook his head. Dean hadn't been that kind of hunter.

Sam opened his mouth and began to sing in a low, mournful voice:

Under the wide and starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie

Glad did I live and gladly die

And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:

Here he lies where he longed to be.

Here is the sailor, home from the sea,

And the hunter, home from the hill.

Behind him, he heard a familiar voice. "Still off-key, huh, Sam?"

Sam turned around slowly, unsurprised to see the demon wearing his brother's shape. "This is hallowed ground, y'know."

"Sammy, Sammy, you've been watching too many Highlander reruns." The demon's eyes glowed as it laughed.

"Only my family is allowed to call me Sammy." His voice was cold.

"Dude, I'm your brother." The demon spread out both arms.

"My brother's dead," Sam retorted.

"A minor technicality," the demon replied.

"My brother was a demon-hunter, not a demon. He spent his entire life exterminating vermin like you."

"Vermin? Sam, I'm hurt." The demon placed a hand melodramatically above where its heart would have been. "I became this for your sake. I did it for my little brother, Sammy. But now… I miss you. The Lone Ranger needs Tonto. Need you by my side, dude."

"A demon and a hunter working together? Yeah, right. How are you gonna touch a crucifix or lay a salt circle?" A cool breeze ruffled Sam's brown hair; he didn't seem to notice the chill in the air. "Why would you even want to help me hunt monsters and evil spirits?"

"Not quite what I had in mind, bro. Y'see, my boss is impressed by you. He wants you working with us." The demon wearing Dean's shape grinned maliciously; the gleefully cruel expression was no longer Dean's. "He wants you working with us, or dead."

"The real Dean did a better Darth Vader impression," Sam scoffed. He stuck his hands in his pockets, shivering slightly. "Chilly. Must be a nice change from the flames below, huh?"

"Don't believe everything Hollywood tells you about our place."

Our place. The words struck a note of dread in Sam's heart to hear Dean – or what used to be Dean – talk like that about Hell.

"Whaddya mean about Darth Vader?" Dean continued.

"Y'know, me Luke, you Vader, the Devil Emperor Palpatine. 'He will join us or die, my master,'" Sam quoted. "The real Dean would have caught a Star Wars reference immediately."

"I am the real Dean."

"If I could believe that," Sam lied, "I'd be tempted to join you."

"Sammy, have I ever lied to you?"

"Dad always said the easiest way to tell if a demon was lying was to see if its lips were moving," Sam reminded him. "The Devil is the Father of Lies."

"What will it take to prove to you I'm really your brother?" Once again, he looked and sounded like Dean Winchester.

"What was your favorite TV show when you were a kid?"

"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. C'mon, ask me something hard."

"Who was Elisa Maza?"

"The cop who helped the gargoyles in the Disney cartoon. And I did not have a crush on her."

"Did, too," Sam retorted automatically, forgetting for a second it wasn't really Dean. "How'd we kill that thing in Millington, Kentucky?"

"A rowan stake, soaked overnight in holy water, then sharpened with a silver knife." The demon took a step closer to Sam. "And it was in Tennessee, in Shelby Forest, not Millington. Millington was where we went for ice cream afterwards."

Sam nodded. "The Baskin Robbins on Navy Road. Maybe—"

"Sammy, it's me. What else do you need to convince you?"

Sam took a step closer, as if involuntarily drawn to the demon. "You remember that Buddhist priest who helped us take down that ghost in Chinatown?"

"The one whose son tried to arrest us? Sure." The demon was next to Sam now, close enough to touch him. Close enough to grab him. A malicious grin escaped his lips.

"He gave me some prayer beads." Sam pulled a silver rosary out of his right pocket and a cord of wooden beads from his left pocket. He thrust the rosary into the demon's open mouth. He wrapped the Buddhist prayer beads around the demon's neck. "Blessed by a Shambala master."

Sam pulled the makeshift garrote.

The demon struggled. The rosary kept it from calling out. Sam hoped the rosary would keep it pinned in place. He pulled harder, tears trickling down his cheeks as he killed the demon in Dean's shape.

Its eyes glowed. It grunted. Sam pulled harder. He'd killed Gordon Walker with a razor wire garrote – decapitated him, in fact. He could do this… as long as he remembered it wasn't really Dean. The demon's eyes faded. It collapsed in on itself, then disintegrated, dwindling down to ashes. Then it disappeared entirely. All that remained was the slimy, tarnished rosary, covered with ectoplasmic goo, and the slightly charred prayer beads.

Sam wept as his brother died for the second time. Again, Dean had died because of him.

Sam dropped the envelope into the mailbox. It held another check for the monument company, with instructions for a second stone to be installed on the same day as Dean's. Name, dates, and the biblical citation Mt. 6:12. It should be Mt. 6:12a, 1 but the monument company charged by the letter.

After mailing the envelope, Sam proceeded to the nearest gas station. He filled the Impala's tank. Then he took the two emergency gas cans and filled them, too. He drove a few blocks before pulling over. He dumped one gas can over the back seat, the other over the front. The driver's seat was uncomfortably damp and stinky when he buckled himself back in, but he'd only need to put up with it for a few minutes.

Dean – the real Dean – wouldn't want anyone else to have the Impala. And there were things in the trunk that outsiders didn't need to see. The extra gas should insure a hot enough fire to destroy everything.

Sam waited until he was out of town. He turned onto a back road that no other cars were likely to be on. He didn't want anyone else to get hurt.

"Forgive me," Sam whispered. "Please, forgive me."

He didn't want to live in a world without Dean. And he couldn't live with himself after having killed Dean.

He hit the accelerator, and he aimed for an oak tree on the side of the road.

1 The Gospel according to St. Matthew Ch. 6, verse 12a: "Forgive us our trespasses."