Soncnica! I got your letter! The funny bit of it is, I had this wrote and complete a couple days before I got that letter and I have to think great minds do think alike! This is for your birthday, sweetie and there's parts of this that I know will mean something to you like they do to me. I'm just hoping you'll enjoy the read sweetie! Thanks so much for being a wonderful friend. I'm in the process of writing you another letter and will send you a little something else. Sorry it took me so long to let you know I got your wonderful present, I haven't had internet since the end of last month because my phone line was messed up and grrr...dial up REALLY SUCKS. Enjoy your story and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUN!

I'm Here.

Sam woke abruptly, a gasp on his lips and pain settling quickly behind his eyes. He opened them, expecting a flare of agony as light penetrated, only to be dumbfounded as it didn't reach his blue green orbs. He lifted his head and winced as it struck a surface just inches above the tip of his nose. Sam lifted his hands, seeing only darkness as his knuckles plowed into the cool, smooth surface above him before he even lifted his elbows from where they rested at his sides. He turned his hands and ran his fingertips over the surface, his breath catching in his throat as he realized what the slick smoothness above him actually was.

***

The shovel plunged into the loose, sandy dirt that slid down around the blade as fast as it could be scooped out. "Damnit!" Dean cried to the night sky, his chest heaving with exertion and fear, muscles rippling beneath the skin of his arms and the fabric of his gray tee, the olive green over shirt laying behind him in the grass long discarded, early morning dew collecting on the fabric and making it shimmer in the moonlight. The shovel cut deep into the soil again, and again another hole filled in nearly as fast as it was opened. "Aw, C'MON!" Dean growled, grit stinging his eyes as the wind kicked up dust around him. An inhuman howl rose and fell with the wind. Dean buried the shovel tip in the ground again and raised the shotgun with the other hand firing as soon as the spirit manifested, dispersing him before the tattered outlines of his clothing had even fully formed. "Would you just stay gone?!" Dean dropped the shotgun within arms reach and dug the shovel in again and again, the wind finally calming enough to allow the hole to stay mostly open.

***

"Oh god." Sam breathed, moving his elbows from his sides just enough to confirm his fear when they tapped the walls of his prison, the satin lining sliding over the canvas of his jacket with a slight whistling sound. Something dug deep into his side, grinding beneath his shoulder blade as he moved and he worked his body a couple inches to the right, tight against the wall, to find relief. He felt in his pocket for his flashlight, breath coming faster as he realized it wasn't there. He'd had it in his hand when he'd felt the spirit fling him into the hole and into the opened coffin. He turned his head, eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness enough to allow him to see what lay beside him. The dark hollows of long missing eyes stared back at him. His heart slammed off of his ribcage and he kicked his way tight to the wall of the coffin, breath coming in harsh pants which turned to coughs as he stirred up the layer of silt that had slid into the coffin with him. He felt his air being robbed from him as dust coated his throat and trickled into his lungs.

"Okay," Sam panted, "Gotta calm down." He forced himself to lower his head, turning his face so that his breath didn't raise more dust to choke him. He brought his hands up to his face, jumping slightly when his elbows bumped the lid of the coffin. The butts of his palms dug into his eyes and he felt something rub his cheekbone. He lowered his hands from his face, left hand closing over his right wrist and the small black band that rested tightly around the joint. Sam's eyes closed and his brother's face filled his mind, the time that Dean had given him that little band. Sam was leaving for college. Dean had insisted, even after the fight, on driving him to the bus stop. Dean had dug in his pocket, handed Sam three hundred dollars and a tiny newspaper wrapped bundle.

"What's this?"

"Just open it." Sam opened the bundle and a simple band of black leather slipped out. He looked at it, and slipped it over his hand, having to work the band over the wide part of his palm. It made it to his wrist and dangled just slightly loose, having stretched out.

"Why?" Sam asked.

"Just wear it for a while. It'll shrink to fit right."

"You didn't answer my question, Dean." Dean straightened in the seat and looked out the windshield, mouth tightening.

"There's your bus Sammy." Sam's eyes drifted to the bus waiting for him.

"Yeah." He said softly, regret making his gut clench. He opened the car door and stood, slinging his pack over his shoulder. "Bye, Dean." Sam said, avoiding meeting his brother's with moisture in his own.

"Don't spend all your time buried to your ears in books Sammy."

Sam's mouth quirked. "Be careful."

"You too." Dean said as Sam closed the door on the car. He walked slowly to the bus, climbing the three steps. He turned to look back, fingers of his left hand toying with the band. "Don't forget me Sammy." Sam found his way back the bus, sliding into a seat by himself. He looked at the new bracelet around his wrist. A tear landed on the flesh just behind the bracelet.

"I couldn't forget you Dean. Ever."

Sam broke free of the memories, his fingers twined in the band on his wrist. His fingers pulled the material tight, his right hand beginning to sting as the circulation was cut off. His vision grayed as his breath turned into a rasp that he struggled to pull in. "Don'…forget…me De-." His eyes drifted closed.

***

"Hang on Sammy." Dean panted, stomping on the shovel to drive it deep. It stopped abruptly with a hollow sounding thunk. Dean threw the shovel aside and sunk to his knees, sweeping the grainy dirt aside by the armful. "Sammy!" Wind threw dirt in his face and from the corner of his eye he saw the spectral shape of the ghost appear, tattered white dress shirt and stained, dirt smudged slacks drifting into his line of sight. Dean's hand went for the shotgun and the spirit growled, nodding his chin in the direction of the headstone at the top of the hole. The slab of granite tipped, shaking, as the spirit aimed the headstone at Dean who stood shoulder deep in the hole. "Nope." Dean said, firing the gun. The spirit shrieked and disappeared, leaving the tipped headstone leaning precariously, dirt filtering from beneath it onto the coffin.

"Keep breathin' Sam. Just a little longer." Dean said, scooping falling dirt away from the closed lid. Dean knelt again, his knees biting in to the silt that was level with the lid. Dean rammed the shovel blade into the crack and pried at it, crying out as he put all of his strength into opening it. It finally gave and Dean shoved it open. "Guh!" Dean cried, a dusty hand shooting to his mouth as a grinning skull revealed itself, nestled next to his brother's disheveled hair. "Sammy?" He saw Sam's left fingers laying on his right wrist, both hands laying across his chest. His right hand was slightly gray looking, fingers twisted in the loop of his bracelet cutting off the circulation. Dean reached for him, dragging his limp body close, feeling a barely there puff of air against his neck. Dean lifted Sam up and eased him onto the bank, supporting him as his legs dangled into the hole. Dean hefted Sam's long legs onto the side of the hole and turned to grab the shotgun, looking up as the spirit manifested right in front of him.

The spirit flung out an arm, tossing Dean into the wall of the grave. Dean landed hard, dirt raining down on his head and shoulders as he slid to land on his ass beside the coffin, his feet landing on the satin pillow where the skull rested, where his brother had rested. Dean shoved himself upright just managing to get his feet clear of the coffin lid as it was slammed down again. Dean scrambled across the smooth lid, the rotting lid groaning beneath his weight. He grabbed the shotgun and rolled onto his back, firing as the spirit loomed over him. It disappeared in a shower of dirt as the salt bit into the steep grave wall just beneath his brother's feet.

"Sonofabitch!" Dean groaned as he rolled off the coffin lid. He lifted the heavy lid and scrabbled up the side of the grave, diving for the duffle bag and the salt and accelerant it contained. Dean grabbed the can containing the salt and doused the remains with the white crystals. Slamming the can down he reached for the lighter fluid only to have the wind kick up once more and send stinging dust into his eyes. Dean dug his lighter from his pocket, knowing matches wouldn't stay lit. He flicked the lighter, watching as the flame flickered, roaming over his fingers in a warm caress. The spirit howled with the wind, manifesting over Sam.

"Damnit, stay down!" Dean tossed the Zippo into the grave, starting as it caught flame and the fire roared to the top of the deep hole. The spirit disintegrated in a ball of flame, ash and dirt that rained down on Sam.

Dean pulled in a breath, his ribs, back, and shoulders protesting the abuse of the night as boneless fingers dropped the salt canister and lighter fluid back into the open duffle. He slid to his knees beside Sam, pulling him up into his lap. Dean gave a strangled chuckle and shook Sam. "C'mon Sammy. Any time now." A tremor worked through Sam and he coughed harshly. Dean rolled him onto his side as Sam continued to cough, bringing up dust laced mucus. Dean brought his hand down on Sam's back between his shoulder blades as Sam coughed, helping him to clear his lungs. Sam finally pulled in a deep, shuddering breath and Dean picked him up again, laying his head on his knee. Sam turned onto his side, his hands coming up to his chest, fingers twisting in the band again.

"Di'n't forget." Sam murmured, eyes opening and closing drowsily. "Nev'r forg't."

Dean pulled Sam's hand away from the band, his own closing over Sam's wrist, fingertips on his racing pulse, thumb working over the band and Sam's skin. "I know. Sammy, I never…" Dean swallowed. "I gotcha." Dean shifted slightly, sitting Sam up. "C'mon, let's get the hell outta here." Dean stood, pulling Sam up with him. The youngest Winchester slouched against his brother. Dean leaned over just enough to snag the duffle bag with the tips of his fingers and keep his brother upright at the same time. Dean walked Sam to the car and opened the passenger side, lowering Sam to the seat. Dean dropped the duffle into the back on the floor and pushed Sam's legs inside the foot well. He closed the door and circled the car, sliding into the seat. Sam's head lolled against the seat back, exhaustion taking over as he coughed weakly. Dean fired the rumbling engine and pulled out, the glow of dying flames in his rearview mirror.

***

The Vacancy sign flickered, illuminating the quiet motel room in shades ranging from vibrant red to muted pinks as the V-A-C flashed on and off and the sheer curtains did nothing to block the neon glow.

Soft breaths were the only sound in the silent room, nearly drowned out at times by the traffic noises from the nearby freeway. Sam's head rolled on his pillow, fingers twisting in the sheet bunched up at his waist. His leg straightened out beneath it, pulling the fabric down further. His finger slid free to lay against his stomach where his tee shirt had rode up at his waist. His breathing picked up at notch and it was enough to make the room's other occupant stir on the bed, sitting up silently.

He crossed the small distance between the beds just in time to hear a sharp intake followed by a soft cry. Dean leaned over and gripped his brother's arms reassuringly. Sam jumped awake, half sitting up to be restrained by the arms gripping his. "Hey, hey."

Sam gasped for breath, his chest heaving, eyes wildly darting around.

"It's okay. You're alright. Just calm down."

"Dean?"

"'M right here. You alright?"

Sam flopped back against the pillow, his head flattening the cushion. "Yeah." He swallowed and nodded before answering again. "Yeah."

"It's normal y'know. T' be a little freaked."

"A little?"

"Or a lot." Dean smiled as he sat on the bed next to Sam. Sam looked at him, pale face catching the neon light from the sign, light then dark as the sign went out. "You wanna talk?"

Sam turned onto his side, facing Dean. His hand drifted up to his other wrist, turning the black band that rested there, and carefully making it look like he was just adjusting it. "'m kinda tired Dean."

"Alright." Dean retreated back to his bed. He laid down, facing the ceiling listening for what he knew would be coming.

"I'm really freaked man. I just… I need some time."

"An' I'll be here when you wanna talk. Just talk."

"I know."

"Sammy."

"Yeah?" Sam's tired voice answered.

"I never forgot either. Never."

"Th- thanks." Sam turned onto his other side, left hand clasping the band around his wrist. He pulled in a breath of cool, fresh air and allowed his eyes to drift closed.

There you go! Hope you liked it.