A/N: Well, here we are at the end of another story for me and tomorrow will be the beginning of a new chapter for those Winchester boys we love so much. Thanks to everyone who has been reading this one. It's been great talking to you guys and meeting new people along the way. Would love to hear from all of you. I'm always up for chatting a bit if you ever want to PM me. :) Oh, and if you're going to the Chicago con in two weeks, maybe I'll see you there!


I don't want to live

To waste another day

Underneath the shadows of mistakes I've made

Dean was rummaging in the trunk of the Impala, making sure everything was in order before they left, as Sam pounded down the front steps of Bobby's house and tossed his bag into the backseat.

"Got everything?"

"Yeah, I think so. Bobby let us borrow a couple of his books."

"Nothing like some nice light reading for the road." Dean shook his head and slammed the trunk shut. "Hey, Sammy?"

"Yeah?"

"That night in the lock-up, when you said 'I didn't come back for this', what did you mean?"

Sam lowered his eyes. "Nothing. I was just…..I was out of my head, Dean."

"No, I don't think you were. I've been giving it a lot of thought, Sammy." Dean paused for a moment, as if he had difficulty saying what came next. "God pulled you out of the pit, didn't he?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, I think so."

He absently rubbed his left hip and glanced up at his brother to find Dean watching his every move.

Dean dug in his pocket and brought out the amulet. "Was this in your pocket while you were in the pit?"

"Yes, but…."

"Drop your pants, Sammy."

"What?" Sam gave him an incredulous look. "Have you lost your friggin' mind?"

Dean shrugged. "Maybe. Now drop 'em."

Sam shook his head, knowing what his brother wanted to see. "It's there, Dean. Burned into my hip."

"I wanna see."

Sam gave a huff and unbuttoned his jeans, pulling the left side down so Dean could see the scar left by the burning amulet. Dean bent down to examine the mark and Sam jerked his pants back up.

"I'll take you a picture so you can examine it more closely, okay?"

"What's the matter, Sammy?" Dean wagged his eyebrows suggestively. "Am I making you uncomfortable?"

"Friggin' jerk."

"Bitch."

Dean gave him an apprehensive look and Sam realized it had been a long time since those terms of endearment had so easily passed their lips.

Dean's face became serious again. "Why'd you do it, Sammy?"

"Do what?"

"You had a choice, didn't you?" Dean searched his brother's eyes. "God gave you a choice and you decided to come back. Why? Just so you could be alone? Why didn't you go with him, Sammy?"

Sam bit his lip, staring off into the scrap yard, blinking back the tears in his eyes. "I had to see you, Dean. I had to make sure you were okay. I thought you were. I'm so sorry."

"You should have gone with him." Dean's eyes were shining with tears of his own. "You deserved some peace. If anyone deserves it, Sammy, it's you."

Sam gave a hollow laugh. "Do you remember what our last trip to Heaven was like? I wasn't really in a hurry for a return visit."

"Zachariah manipulated that trip and you know it, Sammy."

"Yeah, well…." He let the thought drift away.

"What about Adam? Did he have a choice?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, he did, Dean. He didn't come back."

Dean studied the Impala keys he was holding in his hand, finally peeking up at his brother through lowered lids. "Sammy, I just want you to know how proud I am of you."

"Dean…."

"No, just let me finish. I really didn't think you'd do it….hold off Lucifer and jump into the pit. I mean, I wanted to think if anyone could do it, you could, but I really didn't think it was possible. When I made that promise to you I thought we were both gonna die that day." Dean gave him a tearful smile. "You proved me wrong."

"Thanks." Sam shuffled his feet in the dirt, then motioned to the amulet in Dean's hand. "Do you think you could put that back on now?"

"Sure, I can do that." He stared hard at his brother. "If that's what you want. I'm sorry I threw it away, Sam. I just….I wasn't…"

"It's okay, Dean. I deserved it. After all I put you through, after all the times I let you down and turned my back on you…..I just….." He swallowed hard, unable to continue. He'd let his brother down when he'd needed him the most.

"Look, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put the past behind us and move on, okay?" Dean pulled the amulet over his head, smiling as the familiar charm thunked against his chest. "Neither one of us was thinking very clearly back then."

Sam managed a meager smile and nodded in agreement. "I guess with all we've been through we're entitled to a moment of complete madness every once in awhile."

"Hmph." Dean headed toward the driver's side, tossing his brother a look over the roof of the car. "Sometimes I wonder why we don't just curl up in the corner and stay there."

This time Sam gave him a genuine smile. "Because we've got work to do."

THE END


A/N: When I started this story my only purpose was to get the boys back together, get the amulet back around Dean's neck and to end with the phrase "Because we've got work to do." As always, while I was writing other ideas began sneaking into my head so I'm very seriously playing with the possibility of a sequel but it would be completely AU and that would be new for me. I usually just do missing scene type stuff. Anyway, hope you guys aren't too mad that I left the Abaddon story hanging but that was kinda on purpose just to see what I might do with it. :) I also wanted to list the Shinedown songs used in this fic so here they are in order of appearance:

Prologue-Sound of Madness

Ch. 1-Call Me

Ch. 2-What a Shame

Ch. 7-If You Only Knew

Epilogue-Breaking Inside

All these songs are from the CD The Sound of Madness. Buy it! It's awesome!