PART FOUR

Dean knew Sam would forever battle his inner demons. He also knew that those were all in his brother's thick head. And that was the part that Dean really hated; Sam would always be alone in a way that broke Dean's heart.

Watching him now, bent over a thick book in the dusk, searching for answers that probably no-one would ever find, was so Sam, so what his brother had always been about, understanding, and it was what was currently eating him alive. It was written all over him, if you knew how to look. At least Sam had stopped jumping at every little thing. And stopped throwing himself in front of cars in grocery store parking lots. Dean had made damn sure of that.

Dean sighed and made his way through the piles of books on the floor. Placing the coffee mug right under Sam's nose, he sat down in the chair besides the desk Sam was hovering over.

"Ellen called," Dean spoke when Sam looked up, bleary eyed. "A hunter ended his ass in hospital. We gotta go check this thing out."

Sam leaned back in his chair, fixating Dean with interest.

"A bunch of teens have been playing around with summonings and are in deep shit. Ellen's there right now, trying to make sense of the mess. A lot of snotty nosed, over-confident brats seem affected by something and she wants help." Dean stretched his legs out; he was so ready to get back on the road and cause some harm to the sons of bitches.

"Summoned what?" Sam asked. "You thinking witchcraft gone wrong?"

"Bobby's checking it out and Ellen's been trying to talk to the nitwits but you know parents, always thinking their Susie is clean as a whistle. Could be anything. Guess we need to go there and find out. Ellen said the hunter got whacked from behind and doesn't remember how he even got there. He's messed up, dude. Cops had dogs looking for the teens and found him close by, totally out of commission. I think they are suspecting he's bringing all the crazy. Get your gear together, we're leaving as soon as Bobby wraps things up his end."

"Wait, where is this going on, exactly?"

Dean rose to his feet, barely containing himself at the prospect. "Rosebud. Dude, it's only a couple of hours away and I can't wait to gank some bitches."

"Indian territory?" Sam looked up at him. "Shouldn't we - ?"

"Cowboy up, dude!" Dean grinned and boxed Sam's shoulder. This was something that would finally force Sam out of the funk he'd been in lately.

"And by the way, you're snoozing in the back-seat on our way there. You look like crap warmed over."

Sam's reply consisted of a bitchface and in Dean's book, that was just fine and dandy.

-o-

It was 4 AM when Dean parked the Impala by Ellen's truck, hidden behind trees, out of sight from the road. The drive had taken them longer than expected, the road being slippery and Sam kind of hoped the trip would turn out a waste of time. Maybe it was just some kids doing their own version of The Blair Witch Project.

Sam got out of the backseat and stretched his legs, smiling a reply to Ellen's salute. All his senses were acutely aware of possible bluish shadows lurking in the dark. He'd stay back as much as possible during this hunt, he would not risk anything this time. His concentration was off; he was off and he knew it.

The night was chilly and Sam leaned up against the Impala while Ellen briefed them, telling them about a sacrificial altar in the middle of the woods. She was still waiting for more hunters to show up and give them a hand – the plan was to fence the teens in and stop the witchcraft, or whatever was going on. It was pretty much more of an investigative mission than an actual hunt. The moment they knew what was going on, they'd stop it with the necessary means.

Two more cars rolled up the narrow, winding dirt road and they were presented briefly to three more hunters. They were practically an army at this point and Sam relaxed.

They readied themselves silently; packing salt and rifles into their duffel-bags. One of the hunters was a witchcraft expert and he had his own arsenal. They were all set. The stillness of the night was eerie, no sounds were heard and the moon sailed over the sky, peaking out behind thick clouds on occasion. Ellen took the lead and they all followed in silence, Sam last in line, knowing that Dean would kill him if he knew that he was being kept under surveillance.

Still, anything bluish coming even near Dean would have Sam dip into the dark inside him, regardless the consequences. Dean would probably hate him forever but that was the price Sam was willing to pay at this point. He'd watched Jess burn on the ceiling, that was enough for him.

He almost toppled over Dean when the latter stopped dead in his tracks.

Sam pulled himself back to reality, following the line of Dean's stare. There was only darkness ahead but in the distance, a choir of voices formed a melody.

Nobody spoke; they all stood frozen, trying to capture the words.

A chill ran down Sam's spine when he caught a phrase: "Una nos precā́mus deus malum et bellum."

"They're summoning gods of war and evil, the idjits? How did they get there? I thought there was just one way in?" Bobby voice was terse.

"They must have some short-cut," one of the hunters piped in. "We better get there and fast before the kids really get themselves in too deep."

The moon lit up the path and they all started running, spreading out over the frozen terrain and ducking the low-hung branches.

Sam stayed behind Dean, contrary to direct orders of dispersing as wide as possible to get the jump on the kids. There was this fear spreading throughout him and he had to concentrate on actually breathing while running toward the sound that grew louder and clearer with every step. The words now sharp knives, cutting right through him and the coldness of the night was like an infusion of pure fear in open wounds.

Then he spotted the orange glow in the night; fires reaching for the sky.

-o-

Dean slowed down when he spotted the light from five small fires around a flat rock. Gripping Sam's sleeve, he pulled him behind a tree trunk. Both their breaths ran harsh and Dean had no idea where the rest of the hunters had ended up.

The scene before him was absurd. The dancing figures were shadowy blips in the dark, the melody stronger, carried by girly voices. The words of death and destruction clashed with the soft melody. It was totally sickening to listen to. The teens were clad in normal clothes but their movements were too light, like they were dancing in the air. Or maybe it was just an optical illusion?

He tugged on Sam's sleeve, prompting him forward. They needed to salt a circle and the smaller they managed to get it, the better. The fricken salt was heavy to carry and they didn't have enough to salt the entire wood.

The clearing was small and when he got to the last row of sheltering trees around it, he let go of Sam's sleeve and went for the salt. He witnessed movement to his left and knew the others had arrived and were ready for combat.

As Dean ripped the salt bag open, and cast a glance at this brother, he momentarily froze and was unable to do anything but watch as the scene unraveled before his eyes.

One of the dancing fairies, or whatever, had stopped and looked at Sam standing there, smack in the moonlight. The entire choir shushed at the sight and a few bowed their heads in something that reminded Dean of admiration. The eyes of the young girl were trained on Sam and they were pitch black. She started to move toward Sam, slowly and with a sick smile on her lips.

That's when Dean snapped out of his daze and moved to shove Sam out of the way. He never got that far since one of the hunters was flung up against a tall fir and reality dawned on Dean. They were in over their heads.

Bobby started reciting an exorcism and the clearing exploded with light and movement.

The wall of bright light was moving rapidly toward Dean, robbing him of breath and he found himself pinned to the ground.

'Sam!' flashed though his mind before everything paused to then proceed in slo-mo like a goddamned movie. Dean's fingers dug into the ground beneath him.

-o-

When the young girl's black eyes turned to his, Sam's mind went into overdrive. He knew there were too many demons to fight with traditional means, knew some of them probably were potent enough to kill every one of them. The powers inside him screamed to be let loose but he held back. Because there were hunters. Hunters had a mindset of black and white and if he exposed himself as not entirely human, he'd be hunted, like any other freak. That shadow would cast onto Dean, and maybe even Bobby and Ellen. There was no telling what would come of it. When a demon slung one of the hunters against a tree, all he did was lessen the impact enough to avoid the hunter getting injured. Then Bobby went down.

It was when Dean was flung to the ground and the burning light was let loose that he finally let his powers unleash. It felt like a tidal wave running through him, strong and unstoppable, like all his synapses fired off at once.

He stopped the light before it reached his brother, then he pressed it steadily back while holding the demons energies locked inside their vessels. They answered with directing their rage at him, battling him with all their might and Sam felt the taste of blood in his mouth while his heart thundered inside his chest. The demons screamed and he closed his eyes and concentrated on keeping their forces from injuring the hunters and if only possible, save the possessed girls. There were just so many battling wills, so many forces pulling at him, trying to break his concentration enough to break loose and get back at them. He'd thought that four Poltergeists were strong, but they had been nothing compared to the force he now was up against. But what scared him most of all was the sensation in his spine; the promise of so much more power, battling to be set free. He felt it increase inside him, tingling his nerve-endings, hardening his muscles to full-on combat mode. And somehow he just knew that if he let his control slip, he'd never be the same.

His voice was shaky and raw when he started reciting the exorcism.

When Bobby's voice added volume and conviction to the exorcism and Dean's fell in on cue, tears of relief sprang into Sam's eyes and he got renewed strength.

The ball of light rose to the sky, muting into a bleak ember as the black billowing smoke followed, rattling the trees and releasing a wind strong enough to bring Sam to his knees. He fought for breath, swallowed down blood and when Dean's jean clad leg appeared at his side, he gripped the fabric and looked up at his brother.

Dean was looking down at him, face blurred from Sam's tears. The sensation of invincibility had morphed into a headache, the strength he'd felt just seconds ago had been substituted with shame. Because he'd succumbed to the powers once again. It was getting easier and easier to use them as the last resort, as a crutch carrying him right down the dark path. Dean believing he wasn't on the road to becoming evil wasn't enough to convince Sam. He felt the powers' lure, felt what they did to him, how they took his fears and blinded him.

"What the hell?" Someone asked in the distance and someone else let out a low appreciative whistle.

"Demons? I haven't seen that many of them one by one during my thirty years of hunting and now there's a freaking army of them right under my nose?"

Sam recognized the voice of the hunter he'd figured was the oldest of the lot. That was something admirable on its own. Surviving this job. He wondered if he'd be the next scalp on the hunter's belt.

"Everyone okay?" Ellen asked, her flashlight illuminating Dean's face.

Sam swallowed thickly, his eyes locked with Dean's.

Dean crouched beside him and wiped his chin. The hand came away read with blood. "Dude, gross! Yeah, Ellen, Sam and me are good. A little nosebleed s'all. How about the possessed chicks?"

"I see some of them coming to, think we saved a few." Bobby spoke. "'Course, breathing doesn't mean their heads won't be totally messed up, but it's som'thin'."

Sam let his head fall and pulled in much needed air. Dean grabbed at Sam's coat and held on. "We're just fine, Sammy," he repeated quietly in a reassuring voice.

Sam relaxed and let Dean steady him while he slowly pulled himself up to his feet.

-o-

There was a general commotion when the girls started waking up as dawn finally broke. Ellen snatched one of the girls' cell phones and called the authorities before she hurried back over to Sam and Dean. Taking a long look at both of them, she rested her hand on Sam's arm, forcing him to meet her eyes.

"You did good."

Dean huffed. "Just a little late in the game there, bro. The bitches almost had me while you were standing there making googoo eyes with one of them. Next time, skip the flirting and get on with it!"

Sam shuddered and Dean took a steadier grip on his brother's coat. Sam was shivering slightly and still breathing heavily. It wasn't until Dean took a closer look, in the light of Ellen's flashlight, that he noticed Sam was soaked with sweat.

Ellen and his eyes met.

"I gotta get Sam back to the car, I think the princess is going into shock or something. You good keeping an eye on this?"

Ellen nodded, her concerned eyes flicking back to Sam. "Yeah, get going, I'll tell Bobby to get the bags and come after you. Crank the heat up all the way, Dean!"

"I'm still here and I'm fine!" Sam was looking anywhere but at the two standing right by him. "I'm sorry, didn't mean to wait that long. Didn't want to -."

"Oh, here we go," Dean cut him off. "The emo bitching is back. C'mon Sasquatch, you can brood in the car. My baby is used to it by now."

He pulled Sam along, hoping that the physical movement would stop Sam from keeling over and becoming a popsicle. The prospect of hauling him, frozen stiff, back to the car wasn't tempting at all.

The wind had picked up and they walked swiftly, ducking for branches and Sam occasionally stumbling on his own feet. Dean just couldn't help asking all the same: "Sam? Why did you hesitate?"

Sam just looked apologetically at him. "I-I'm s-s'rry."

"Yeah, yeah, I know you are but I still wanna know why? I mean we were almost toast back there and all of us would have been if you hadn't pulled out your mojo. It was a clear OK Corral situation back there and all of a sudden you have to stop and think before you shoot?"

Dean knew his thank you speech sucked but this was the way he had always done it. He ranted on his brother to let him know what he really meant. Sam did understand it, of that Dean was sure. A little ribbing as the preferable MO when it came to possible chick-flicky moments of thank you's and stuff. And Sam had hesitated back there. Not that Dean could actually blame him - it was digging into the unknown and Dean knew it freaked Sam out. But considering how Sam had gone off for much less earlier, it was just very bad timing for deep philosophical thoughts.

Sam didn't answer and Dean relented, spotting the Impala's well-polished chrome about 50 feet away. No use trying to get the bitch to talk right now. His teeth were clattering enough to make whatever he said incomprehensible anyway.

Dean heard Bobby catching up with them, which only went to show how wobbly Sam was at the moment. Arriving at the car, Dean just looked at Bobby and the older man read him right. He stuffed the bags in the trunk and pulled out the blanket and a less than clean but at least dry, hoodie for Sam. Then he walked over to the passenger side and ordered Sam to get the coat and wet shirts off before they'd have to use an ice scrape to peel him off the passenger seat once they got back to Bobby's place. Dean started the car and cracked the heat up to max while Bobby pulled out a flask of cheap whiskey, the standard cure for almost anything, and handed it to Sam.

Sam looked miffed about the fussing but he obeyed and took a long swig before he wriggled out of his wet shirts.

Dean smiled at Bobby in the rear-view mirror; he hadn't missed the reassuring hand on Sam's shoulder.

It was still there when Bobby prompted Sam to down the damned whiskey and Dean backed out to turn the Impala around and hit the icy road.

-o-

By the time they pulled up on Bobby's yard, Sam was soaked with sweat. The hoodie stuck to his skin and Dean was suspiciously red-faced and antsy. Even Bobby was complaining and had finally succumbed to opening the side-window despite Dean's protests.

Dean had gone a little over-board with heating up his baby. Sam's pleas for less had been totally disregarded. And he was definitely woozy from all the booze Bobby had urged him to ingest. To avoid a cold, was the apparent unanimous reason for the insanity. Sam suspected there was more to it than that. Like having him loosen his tongue and spill about why he had waited until they were almost toast before he finally reacted adequately to the situation. He should have reacted earlier, there was no sense in risking their lives like he had. There was just no trusting him right at this moment. He was totally losing control.

It wasn't just the freaking shadow that followed and mocked him, there was so much more to ponder on. He'd had to make a decision to possibly kill at least a dozen young girls with his devilish powers. Those young girls had been possessed and he knew far too well what that entailed. Your body being used at the hands of evil screwed with your head, big time. The things he had done while under Meg's control would haunt him forever. He'd murdered another hunter. The prospect of killing a horde of young girls was everything but appealing at the time. Exposing himself as the freak he was, risking Dean's reputation was another thing that figured into the decision. But the absolute killer was that he thought he recognized Meg in the teen looking at him. How far gone was he if he recognized demons? The fact that he really didn't know nearly enough about what was inside of him had him freaking out, big time. The memories of Ava, a woman who was ready to tie the knot and live a perfectly normal life, to then turn into a serial-killer thanks to the same blood he had running in his veins had his stomach ready to revolt. There was no telling when his use of the powers would forever change him. He didn't want this kind of power, didn't need the responsibility any kind of power brought along. He wanted to be normal; not a threat to anyone around him. Just thinking about it, the blood inside him, the peril he was to people, made him feel queasy.

"Oh Sammy, don't puke on my baby! How much did you give him, Bobby? You know he's a lightweight when it comes to the hard stuff!"

Dean's hands were tugging at him, trying to get him out of the car. Sam groaned and turned, fighting to control his booze-anesthetized legs. The sun broke through the clouds and even that bleak gleam was enough for him to close his eyes and lay his head on the roof of the Impala.

Dean laughed behind him. "Bobby, I think he needs about a gallon of your strongest brew. No diluted fancy milky-latte crap. Gotta sober the bitch up before he hits the sack. You have no idea what a pain he is hungover."

Sam decided he'd rather stay right here instead of walking away to avoid being the brunt of all jokes he just knew were coming.

"He barely drank a third of the bottle!" Bobby declared. "How comes he's this out if it?"

Dean chuckled. "Since all he's eaten today is a tomato-salad? I swear, the dude's a girl when it comes to eating."

Sam vividly remembered the tomato-salad since it was on its way back up.

"I better get us some greasy baked potatoes and beef. I think there's some leftovers in the fridge to nuke."

That was it, just the mention of the potatoes swimming in butter had Sam tear his head off the roof and empty his stomach by the side of the Impala.

Dean grabbed the back his coat and held him at a ninety degrees' angle while both men congratulated each other on mission accomplished over his head. Sam hated them both.

But his head was definitely clearer when Dean pulled him to stand straight and walked him to the door. Didn't excuse anything though. At least not Dean's all-knowing smirk.

Next time Bobby offered a drink, Sam was so going with his instincts to run in the opposite direction.

-o-

Dean stood leaded up to the counter, downing his fifth coffee while Bobby was nuking the leftovers. It was late already, and he was starved. He could hardly wait or the chance to fork it down. Still most of his attention was on the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. As out of it as Sam was these days, he half expected him to blast mirrors everywhere he went. Or fall on his face down the porcelain throne. At this rate, he was ready for just about anything. He'd force-fed Sam strong coffee, a beef-jerky sandwich and Tylenol while Bobby hit the shower and then briefly left his brother in the older man's care while he washed off. There probably wasn't much warm water left and Dean hoped that a cold shower would piss Sam off enough to shake him out of the brooding mood.

Bobby played it cool, but Dean spotted the glances to the bathroom door. Sammy was on Bobby's radar too.

"Get some forks, will ya?" Bobby huffed while balancing the two overfilled bowls. The kitchen table was covered with heaps of papers and a few empty cans. Bobby unceremoniously scooted the debris to the side.

"Dig in!"

Dean didn't have to be told twice; he placed himself on a chair with a strategic view of the door in question.

Bobby threw a couple of old newspapers to the counter and planted himself at the end of the table, obviously with the same thought in mind, when his cell went off.

The bathroom door squeaked open just as he answered it with: 'Where ya at?"

Sam walked over the floor, barefoot and clad in a holey t-shirt and faded sweatpants that were too short. Dean rolled his eyes at Sam's sense of fashion; no wonder the dude got no chicks. When his nutty little brother passed the threshold into the kitchen, he visibly jumped, looking briefly over his shoulder but then he caught himself and looked sheepishly at the audience by the table.

Dean watched him make a beeline to the faucet and gulp down a glass of water in one go.

"Ellen's stopping by, says the situation was under control when she left the site. You two need anything?"

Sam shook his head and Dean muttered, loud enough for Sam to hear. "A new wardrobe's high on the list for the girly geek of the family."

Sam didn't respond, instead he stared into the glass of water, suddenly all tensed up.

Geez, he was really starting to scare the crap out of Dean. When Sam was spooked by his own shadow in broad daylight, things were bad. What the fuck was he seeing in a glass of water? Was he really going insane? Was that it? One blow too many to his head?

Sam poured the water out and pivoted, like he wanted to put a couple of states between himself and that particular sink. Face barely arranged into a cool dude expression, which he didn't even manage on the best of days, he sauntered over to the table and pulled out a chair.

Bobby cleared his throat and Dean finally pulled his eyes off his nut-case of a brother and turned to him.

"So, what was the situation when Ellen left? What are they blaming this on, drugs and TV?" This was so one of the moments when blabbering was necessary, because Sam's jumpiness was just awkward.

Sam looked down at this empty plate, clinking the fork against it and Dean wanted to beat the crap out of him for freaking everybody out and still refusing to actually talk about what was going on. It was driving Dean insane because he had no idea what to do, how to help. Stopping Sam from seeing things that were not there was not on his big brotherly short-list of how to fix things.

"Ellen didn't stick around that long. She took off as soon as they'd checked the girls out and alerted the authorities. Sam, you not gonna eat?"

"Did they say anything?" Sam blurted out. "I mean those other hunters? Weren't they wondering what happened? How all those demons didn't kill us all? Seven of us against at least two dozen of them? That's a no-brainer, we should all be dead. They have to wonder what really happened. They have to have heard things, and if they saw me, we're all on their most wanted list. Every one of us. All because I'm this demon-blooded freak who can't fuckin' keep it together."

Sam sat there, staring down at his plate, speaking with a voice laden with fear and regret.

There was a long silence as Dean tried to compose himself, tried to find a witty come back to take the heat out of the moment.

"Son, you saved all our asses back there. We walked in without proper intel. We were like sitting ducks, ready to be plucked. You really think they're gonna blame anyone for not having their asses handed to them? It was dark, they were flung around, they didn't see anything and I can promise you they won't mouth off about this, coz' it'll make them look bad. All that's gonna be told is that the bastards were exorcised. Case closed."

Dean looked gratefully at their mentor, maybe he'd get though the thick head of his brother. If not, Dean didn't know to do next. Didn't know how to convince his brother that he wasn't going to become evil incarnate, not by doing good. That just didn't exist, not on his map.

Dean jumped when the door opened and Ellen walked in, hanging her coat and carrying a six-pack and a plastic bag inside the kitchen. Complaining about the long day. He relaxed when she didn't take notice of the awkwardness. Or feigned not to, he'd never know with Ellen.

She just walked right in and took control over the situation by ruffling Sam's hair like he was five years old and telling him he desperately needed a hair-cut.

Sam smiled his 'aw shucks'-smile, like he always did when someone fussed over him. And that was good enough for Dean at this point. Sam probably just needed more time to mull things over, he wasn't OCD for nothing. Every damned stone had to be turned at least five times before he was ready to accept and move on. It drove Dean crazy, but he always knew he'd have Sam back eventually. There simply was no other option.

Right now, Dean just wanted to hit the sack.

-o-

Sam didn't even remember falling asleep when he woke up with a start. The light that seeped in through the cracks around the door had the foreboding bluish tone and he was up and reaching for Dean in the blink of an eye.

But his hand slid through Dean's ankle and Sam froze. He tried again to reach out to shake Dean's shoulder, alerting him of the peril at the door. This time he stumbled backwards when his hand slid through a big pile ofnothing at all. Dean was breathing all right, Sam was able to see the rise of Dean's chest even from under the covers. A nightmare? One of those lucid dreams he'd read about? But if he knew he was dreaming, he should wake up, right? Or at least be able to control the dream? And he so wanted that bluish light to disappear, right freaking now!

Instead it grew in intensity as the door was opened and a figure started to appear. His eyes almost popped out when he recognized who he was looking at. No, he didn't want this dream! He wanted candy canes and lollipops!

The figure, leaning on the doorpost, snorted dismissively and looked at something by Sam's side with slight disgust.

Sam turned to investigate and his breath hitched. He saw himself lying on the bed, totally out of it.

"Am I dead? Again?" he asked. "Or is this some bad cosmic joke of a dream?"

"You're just being stupid," the figure answered him with a voice he barely recognized as his own. It sounded so different coming from the leering jerk by the door that Sam didn't even want to recognize. This was just a sick dream, maybe he was still suffering from the effects of cheap whiskey?

When he turned, ready to choke the freaking mirror image of himself, the room suddenly shifted into a long empty road. It rained and still he didn't feel the rain on his skin. It rained and the shadow he cast on the packed dirt road was still very visible. He had no idea where he was at, there were no landmarks, nothing but dim forms in the distance and endless rain.

"No!" he said out loud, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "I wanna wake up, don't wanna be here."

"Still, you keep digging yourself in deeper."

He watched the shadow turn into himself. Just with a scornful expression that Sam was sure had never been on his own face.

"This is exactly where you are, lost. And you know it. You know who I am too, you've know it a long time. You just don't want to see it. Like everything else you've run from in your life. And you know there's no running now. There's nowhere left to run to, is there? You're stuck in this crap."

"Shut up!" Sam turned to walk away, he needed to be anywhere but here. He needed to find Dean and get out of this nightmare. The freak that followed was so not him, couldn't be.

"Sam Winchester, forever in denial."

Sam rolled his eyes and walked faster.

The figure walked right up to his side, flashing with some ridiculous lightning effects. "Sam Winchester, afraid of his own shadow."

Sam turned and walked right up to the abomination. It was not often he stood eye to eye with someone like this; even his father had been – was, shorter.

"Interesting, huh? When you get all pissed off you think of John. Of what he is. Well, he is your father, and you know how many genes you are bound to share. Maybe your eyes will darken with time too?"

Sam deflated and stepped back. "What do you want from me? I never asked for any of this. I don't want it, I thought that was clear?"

"And that's your problem. This is who you are, this part is you too. Powers and all. Suck it up and start dealing. You've dealt before, when Jessica burned on the ceiling. Dad dying on you while you were pissed at him. When you watched your brother being tortured, when you had to pull the trigger and end the life of someone you felt close to. You dealt with all that, but this, your own shadow, that you just don't want to accept?"

"I can't deal with it, I don't know what to do with this crap. I have no control over it. Like everything else, it just happens! I don't wanna fry someone by mistake, I don't wanna kill innocent people. I don't wanna turn into something non-human, I'd rather die!" He was screaming at himself by now, bellowing the awful truth. Letting it all out, everything he hated and feared about himself.

"You're lying to yourself and you know it. Only thing you can control is yourself. And you know it won't be easy. You think it's like walking a razor-sharp edge between right and wrong. You know you will make mistakes and risk ending up on the wrong side. You think it would be letting down Dean, letting down everybody, don't you?"

"Just shut up, shut up already!" Sam hid his face in his palms, shaking his head while the words penetrated to his very core. He knew all this, knew it all too well but he didn't want to see it for what it was. The truth about who he was, the responsibility that came along with that knowledge. Yes, he would probably be able to use and control what was inside of him. He'd felt it the times he'd instinctively reached for the power. He'd known that he had the means to use them, just like Ava, Jake and all the others. And it was up to him to decide when and how, just him. There were no instructions, no check-list for how to safely adapt demon-given powers for the good of the world. No knowing where it all would lead.

"And that's the trick; handling the unknown. You do it all the time when it concerns others. High time you start doing it when it comes to your own stupid ass. Because you know and knowing means accepting responsibility."

"Fuck you!" Sam groaned, pressing the heel of his hands into his eyes. "Fuck you and your preachy tone! I know what I have inside, I know it can be lethal, that it's inherently bad. I know I can learn to control it. I know I have to. I already did. I learned my lesson back there in the woods. I hesitated, I risked lives. It won't happen again. I can't fuck up because someone may see something and start talking. If it happens it happens, people will know and I'll try to keep Dean out of it. Not his fault his brother is a freak. When I need to blow the bad guys to Kingdom come, I will, if that's what it takes. That doesn't mean I can't question everything, doesn't mean I can't be pissed off at having to do it. I am, I don't want these freakish things happening around me. But they are and I am handling them the best I can. But I so won't let those powers become all that I am, they won't take over me. That will never happen, I'll fight that every step of the way so just get lost already. I know what's in me, but that's not all I am, you moron!"

"Sam! Wake up!"

Hands were shaking him hard and lifting him up. Dean's concerned face was hovering over him.

There was light outside, and Sam looked around the room for the shadow. There was none to be seen and the heavy weight in his chest had lessened drastically.

He looked at Dean, a little shameful for having freaked his brother out, again. "Wha's up?"

Dean pushed him back. "Wha's up? You mumble shit no-one can understand and look like crap? Who the hell were you just talking to? What's wrong with you?"

Sam shrugged his shoulders, smiling meekly at Dean, "Myself."

Dean's eyes grew bigger. "So you have gone insane? For real?"

Sam pulled himself up to a sitting position and reached for his pants. "Nah, I'm good. I think I just Dr. Phil'd myself. Which, okay, is weird. I just had to work something out with myself and yeah, I'm slowly getting there. I'll be fine." He paused while pulling on the sock, watching how his toes came right though the worn fabric. He sighed. "Hey, it could be worse. I'm starved, want an omelet? I'll make it greasy just for you."

Dean was still watching him suspiciously when he pulled his shirt on. "What? I make better omelets than you do. I'm actually capable of boiling water without burning it. Unlike some I know."

"Hey, it happened once! I forgot the pan on the stove. Could happen to anyone!" Dean indignantly tapped his index on Sam's chest-bone.

"Sure. Pay per view porn does that to a dude." Sam leered.

"It wasn't porn! It was a study in anatomy, bitch!" Dean grinned and boxed Sam's arm. "And I'm not the one who forgot my fish sticks in the sun and spent my evening puking my guts out."

"Yeah, that was kinda stupid." Sam admitted and followed Dean out of the room.

"Kinda stupid? Man, it lessened my belief in the entire Ivy League. No one with their marbles intact would give a full ride to a moron who stuffs himself full of rancid fish."

"Jerk," Sam retaliated.

Dean circled his index at his temple before he took the stairs in two leaps. Sam just rolled his eyes in response. He'd always be able to trust Dean to mock him.

And that was exactly how things were supposed to be.

THE END