Greener Pastures – yet another SN fic – Sam centered this time.

By J.A. Carlton

aka sifichick

Disclaimer – Still there-

Love: Hey I'm not that fickle!

Please R&R hope I'm not being too presumptuous… Thanx sifi.

Sam's fingers fumbled with the crossbow bolt, the wire was cutting deep into his skin as he tried to pull it back. Without warning it snapped off his sweat slicked hands and he found his hand in his mouth without remembering putting it there.

"Sammy quit screwing around and get that bolt in there!" Deans harsh and urgent whisper stoked a deep burning fire of hatred for the life they lived. The only thing that stopped him from chucking the whole kit and kaboodle was his love for his big brother.

Must be nice to be perfect he thought angrily jamming his foot on the brace and ignoring the slicing heat as he finally set and noked the weapon. Small beads of sweat dripped down his temples as he passed it to Dean who fairly snatched it right out of his hands.

"… about damned time," he snarled.

"It's not even here Dean what's your problem?" Sam whispered.

"It flies Sammy, Shrikes fly, they mate for life and they impale their prey then drain the life out of 'em… just like the birds do… sort of."

"Which came first? The spirit or the bird?" Sam asked off handedly. He was sick of the spirit world, sick of being surrounded by death and pain and torment. All his life all he'd seen was hurt and all he'd ever wanted was to be able to stop seeing it. For that Dean called him a wuss sometimes but he didn't care. He knew there was only one way for this life their father had cast them into to end, painfully and violently and so help him, he could feel the clock ticking. IT was as if there were some kind of Poe-ian air sluicing 'whump' of some monstrous pendulum slicing through time to come and finish off his family. The thought sent shivers down his back and set his skin crawling. He couldn't bear to lose them, not to evil and he knew they were both too reckless and near sighted to give up the hunt so he was left with no other choice. In less than two years he would turn eighteen and he would leave this life behind forever. Maybe if he set the example, just maybe Dean might be able to break free one day himself. He had little hope of John relinquishing his quest for revenge but as much as he loved his father and would gladly save him if he could, his big brother was his primary concern. If he could just prove to him that they could have… at the very least, 'safe' if not 'normal'… that they deserved it…

"Who cares?" Dean sneered tirelessly searching the sky for their quarry, night was coming soon, "They kill people Sam… it's gonna stop tonight," Dean impressed upon him, "You loaded?"

"Yep, wrought iron rounds loaded," he nodded tired of the routine.

Normal teenagers aren't hunting shrikes right now, they're hanging at the arcade or getting a little action in the stacks at the library… God I love the library… Mmmm Missy Tompkins… he smiled bemused and bewitched with the memory of her soft curves filling his hands while he tasted her peach flavored lips.

"Good, stay sharp."

"Yeah yeah…" he groaned leaning against the stump to keep their backs covered.

And where's dad while we're doing his job? Drinking? shooting the breeze with pastor Jim or Caleb? Well one thing's for sure… he's not here is he?It's no wonder Dean thinks he's the boss of me with dad always gone… who went to meet with my guidance counselor about getting me into those accelerated classes? Not dad that's for sure…Did I ever thank Dean for that? I'm sure I did but I should probably make sure later.

"Look alive Sammy! Shrike at one O'clock… stay close," Dean instructed hoping Sam's research was correct and that the circle of salt and goldenseal would keep the creature out, Goldenseal! Well it is used for purification, he thought as the mystical life-draining creature neared their position.

He pulled the stock of the crossbow firmly into his shoulder and sighted it as its nails-on-a-chalkboard screech sent splinters into his brain, disrupting his balance in an almost electrifying jolt. His eyes squeezed shut reflexively against the sound and he felt his right knee buckle as the world tilted abruptly, tossing him sideways. He recovered his balance just as it reached his position.

"Dean!" he heard Sammy yell in a surprisingly deep voice and then he was flying. Well, being carried off and his shoulders felt as if he'd been stabbed through with icicles.

"Shoot it Sammy!" he hollered feeling his feet leave the ground.

Damnit! Nothing said anything about a debilitating shriek! Sam shook his head clear and noticed Dean's right foot was outside the protective circle, effectively nullifying it for himself.

"Dean!" he called just as it grabbed his brother by the shoulders and strained to soar into the sky holding tonight's prey tight.

"Shoot it Sammy!" Dean commanded as sweat beaded into his Sam's eyes.

God what if I hit Dean? Sam thought panicking as he leaped to his feet and gave chase through the trees following his brothers fading command to "Shoot the damned thing Sammy!"

I don't have a choice…Sam realized raising the pistol to his eye, I can't keep up, please don't let me hit my brother…he prayed to whatever benevolent powers he felt must surely be out there, and squeezed the trigger.

Dean dropped out of sight like a lead ball as his brain was lit on fire yet again by the creatures' call. It's calling its mate… gotta hurry. Please let him be okay… that had to be at least a three story fall… He knew he'd hit it and he plunged forward scratched and clawed by brittle wooden fingers as his heart hammered crushed by fear for his brother.

He slowed approaching Dean and the creatures' position, Careful Sammy. he thought with Dean's voice, It's wounded… he moved forward drawn by the pathetic keening of the shrike laying on the ground with Dean unmoving beneath it.

Oh God, "Dean!" he called and raced to the jumbled pile of physiology.

"Ungh!" he heard Dean grunt and saw the creature move though not of its own accord, "Sammy help me!"

Sam stood over the keening creature, its body and countenance given substance in part by the wrought iron slug in its chest, it's eyes seemed to pierce into his brain but he turned quickly remembering that this was how they impaired their prey long enough to draw the life from them. He raised his gun and fired three quick shots into its head.

"Sammy!" he heard Dean call panicked as the body of the creature evaporated into ethereal wisps leaving Dean heaving for breath, his leg twisted cruelly beneath him.

"Oh jeez Dean…" he gasped tucking the gun into the back of his pants and leaping to his side, already wiping at the sweat and blood that striped his brothers face, I can't keep living like this and he can't either! We both deserve more! Doesn't he care that he's gonna get killed by one of these things one day? I gotta show him it can be different, I just gotta! "Dean your leg…"

"Tell me about it," Dean grumbled grasping at Sam's shoulders to pull himself up, "Dude… when did you get taller than me?" he asked amazed that he hadn't noticed until Sam was supporting nearly half his weight. It's only a couple inches but still… he's going to shoot up like a weed! Dean smiled inwardly and let Sam bear his weight.

An eerie second later they both bristled and met eyes as a slow stabbing rolled into them from far away then seemed to materialize before them an instant later.

"The mate!" they breathed in unison as Sammy held his brother steady and Dean pulled the gun from the back of Sam's pants, sighted, and fired three quick rounds into the last shrike in the territory. They nodded satisfied as its remnants were whisked away on the evening wind before it could plummet to the ground.

"Nice shootin'," Sam nodded.

"Thanks… Sammy?"

"Yeah?"

"Let's get back to the motel," Dean winced clutching at his brother for stability.

Two more years Dean and I'll show you we can have more… that we deserve more, I promise I will.

The end…

R&R please… hope you like let me know if you think it's not plausible for a Sam based fic.

thanx

sifi