"Well I guess they oversold me then, huh? Being your one and only vessel," Dean said. "You're my true vessel," Michael replied. "But not my only one." "What is that supposed to mean?" Dean asked. "It's a bloodline," Michael answered. "Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood, your father's blood, your family's blood." From the episode "The Song Remains the Same"

This story takes place right after "The Real Ghostbusters"

"Dean – the lighter – I dropped the lighter!"

"Pick It Up," Dean wheezed. A dull roar had started in Dean's ears as the pressure on his chest increased. Hanging fifteen feet in the air, Dean's arms and legs no longer had the strength to flail. Spots danced in front of his eyes as he tried to call his brother's name,

The heat blast from the demise of the spirit barely registered as Dean dropped to the barn floor. Though the air was filled with a fetid acidic smoke and he was sure that an eight hundred pound gorilla was sitting on his chest, Dean gulped at the air as the blackness receded. "Sammy?" he croaked.

"I'm here." Sam answered as he scrambled across the floor, blood dripping from a gash in his head. It had been so long since the brothers had dealt with a run-of-the-mill haunting, they were almost out of practice. But damn, it had been fun - almost nostalgic.

Dean's eyes fluttered open and he started to speak; choked, cleared his throat and tried again. "You o.k.?"

"Yeah, you?"

"Just peachy," Dean replied as he rolled to his side and then his belly. If he could just get up on all fours, he knew he could make it the rest of the way up. "We need to move . . ."

"Yeah, I know. Can I . . ." Sam reached down to help his brother but wasn't sure where he could touch him without causing him more pain.

I'm good," Dean said in an adamant voice. It would have been more convincing if it had been more than a whisper.

They stumbled as one through the door as the smoke continued to thicken. "Damn!" Sam thought. "The hay's caught." The barn went up with an actual whoosh as the boys moved toward the Impala, parked in the next field.

Dean chuckled weakly. "Hey Sam, Old McDonald had a . . . uh oh . . ." Sam rolled his eyes at the bad joke as he propped Dean up against the car. Dean's color was better and he seemed to be breathing easier but Sam couldn't be sure in the pre-dawn light.

"Keys." Sam demanded.

"Locks." Dean replied, as if they were playing a word association game.

"Dean, you're in no condition to drive. Where are they?"

"Musta left them in her room . . ." Dean muttered

"Whose Room?"

"The farmer's daughter," Dean answered as he pulled them from his pocket, waggling his eyebrows. The swelling that had begun around Dean's left eye ruined the effect but Sam gave him a ghost of a smile.

"Jerk," Sam muttered.

"Bitch," Dean replied, grateful for the snatch of normalcy.

Dean slid into the driver's side of the Impala and started the engine as Sam loped around to the other side.

"Dean,"

Dean jerked, startled by the voice behind him even as he recognized it. "Jeeze, Cas! I'm gonna start hanging a bell around your neck."

"A bell? " Castiel asked with a faintly puzzled look on his face.

"Nevermind," Dean

"Hey Cas," Sam greeted the angel as he pulled his door closed. "What's up?"

"Sam," Castiel greeted the brother before turning back to Dean. "I have received a message that, if true, is cause for great concern."

"You received a message from who?" Dean asked suspiciously.

" I do not know."

Dean rolled his eyes. "What? You find it on Craig's List - Heaven? Cas, you know better . . .answering those ads can be dangerous."

Castiel decided to ignore the pop cluture reference and plunged ahead. "Dean, is there another Winchester?"

"What? You mean like cousins?" Sam asked, puzzled.

"No," Castiel replied, "I mean a direct descendant of John Winchester."

Dean grimaced. He didn't really like to talk about it - or think about it. "There was . . . Adam, but he was . . . he died."

"Killed by ghouls, before we even knew about him." Sam continued, regret clear on his face.

Dean slammed the gear shift down into drive with more force than was necessary. He had never really had a chance to come to terms with his father's secret family so he had done what he did best - he locked it away in a box in his mind along with his memories of hell, the death of his parents and his experience with the djinn.

Castiel frowned as he considered what the boys had told him. While he hadn't known about this lost brother of Sam and Dean's, the fact of his existence did not make sense in relation to the message he had received.

"I do not think the message was in reference to . . . Adam," Castiel said, the name uncomfortable on his tongue.

"What did this mysterious message actually say, Cas?" Dean said irritated, having lost the rosy glow from the successful ghost hunt.

Cas sighed. "It said that another Winchester had been found - one that would have power over both the Michael - sword and the Vessel of Lucifer. . . And that Lucifer's soldiers were closing in on this Winchester."

Sam and Dean unconsciously glanced at each other to see if this new bit of mystery had rung any bells with the other. Dean's jaw clenched and Sam rubbed his eyes, looking wearily at the angel and answering for them both. "I got nothing. Are you sure that this 'message' was legit? Not just some demon or maybe Zachariah trying to distract us. Bring us to the surface?"

Castiel considered Sam's question for a moment. "I suppose that is a possibility although I do not . . ."

Castiel was cut off by the ring of Dean's cell. Shifting to pull it out of his front pocket, Dean flipped it open with one hand while keeping the other on the wheel, answering, "Yeah?"

"Dean?" The voice on the other end had Dean slamming on the brakes and pulling to the side of the deserted highway. It was a voice he had had dreams about but never expected to hear again.

"Lisa?" Dean asked, his stomach in knots.

"Dean," Lisa said with obvious relief, like his name was a prayer answered. "Dean, I need your help. Ben's missing . . ."

TBC