One of the good things about not sleeping was that it gave you time to think about things and Sam was taking full advantage of that tonight. Dean had long since passed out in his bed after a night out at the local bar, which just left Sam alone with his thoughts.

Despite what Dean thought, he hated (to the point he was currently capable of) the idea of working with Samuel and Crowley. He'd rather go without a soul or be tossed back into the Cage than work for the smarmy Crossroads Demon slash self-proclaimed King of Hell, but had agreed to it because he hadn't had time to think of a way around it.

He knew that Crowley probably had his bones guarded like Fort Knox, so that was out; plus Sam didn't want to risk his soul being destroyed or lost in the process. He dismissed the possibility of turning to Meg and some of the higher level demons still left; Crowley was a bastard but at least he was sane, Meg wasn't. Ruby's knife was also a possibility but he didn't know if it work on the boss of the Crossroads Demons and again, he didn't want to risk something happening to his soul.

As he sat and thought, he kept seeing Ruby just after he'd killed Lilith when he realized what he'd been tricked into doing.

You never needed the blood, Sam. You had the power all along.

Then his mind flashed to Alistair, writhing in pain as he'd not only tore the demon out of the vessel but killed it. Alistair had been a pretty high profile demon and he'd killed him with little difficulty.

The question was: Could he use the ability to destroy demons with his mind without killing himself? He hadn't used the ability since the incident with Famine and that had been almost two years ago. He wasn't going to resort to drinking demon blood to regain the ability though, Dean would never forgive him and their relationship was precarious enough as it was.

He thought about it all night and when Dean finally woke up, Sam had the plan all worked out.

"I don't like this plan," Dean said for the umpteenth time since Sam had told him his idea.

Sam sighed, his soulless status keeping him from being exasperated, "I haven't heard you or Bobby or Castiel coming up with anything better. It's either this or work for Crowley. Now what's it going to be?"

Dean sighed and grumbled but he gave in, there wasn't really any other option, "Okay, let's get this over with."

Sam nodded before straightening his shoulders and walking into the posh living room of the mansion Crowley had set up for himself.

Crowley had gotten to his feet, his trademark smirk firmly fixed on his face, a smirk that faded into anger when he saw that Sam and Dean were alone. "Where's the Alpha Were I told you to catch?"

Sam shrugged, "We've changed our minds. We're not gonna help you."

Crowley's expression was thunderous, "Did you think I was joking? I own your soul, Winchester. So, if you don't want to end up back in the Cage, I suggest you-"

Before he could finish his threat, he began to gasp and choke as black smoke began trickling out of his mouth.

"You know what the bright side of not sleeping for a year is, Crowley?" Sam said conversationally, his hand gripping nothing and everything at the same time, "It gives you a lot of time to think. Do know what I remembered while I was thinking? I remembered what Ruby told me after I let Lucifer out. She told me that I'd never needed the demon blood I sucked out of her like a vampire, this little trick has been mine all along. I have to admit though, I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it.

Crowley glared, tried to look menacing, which was hard to do when he was choking on the demon Sam was pulling out of him. "There's no way you can be doing this without demon blood."

Sam smiled menacingly, "You call yourself the King of Hell, but you're still nothing but a low-rent Crossroad Demon."

He toyed with Crowley for a few minutes, slowly drawing the demon out before Crowley finally cracked, "Fine. I'll give you your soul back, just let me go."

Sam shook his head, "My soul first, no strings, then I'll let you go."

Crowley glared but it was clear that he was beat, "Fine." He snapped his fingers and Sam felt like he was being torn apart from the inside out, force of it causing him to release his hold on Crowley

Crowley straightened, glaring angrily at both Winchesters, "You're both going to regret this, I'll make sure of it." With that, he was gone, leaving them alone.

Dean exhaled the breath he didn't remember holding and turned his attention to his brother. Sam was on all fours gasping for air. The big brother in him demanded that he make sure Sam was okay, but the hunter in him advised caution since they couldn't be sure Crowley had actually given Sam back his soul. Once Sam caught his

breath, Dean asked the question that he needed to ask, "Sam? Sammy?"

Sam looked up and Dean almost fell to his knees; the person looking back at him wasn't the soulless shell that had been plucked out of Hell, it was Sammy. his Sammy.

"Dean?" Sam's eyes were confused and frightened.

"It's okay, Sammy," Dean said, big brother mode kicking in instantly. He knelt down in front of his brother and gently cradled Sam's face in his hands, "Everything's going just fine, I promise."

Sam looked around, "What-What happened? Where's Lucifer?"

"Don't worry about it," Dean said, helping him to his feet. "Let's get out of here and I'll explain."

Sam nodded, letting Dean lead him out of the house and to the Impala.

As they drove away, Dean managed to keep the huge smile off his face but inside, he was rejoicing; he had his baby brother back. He didn't care that Sam seemed to have amnesia and he wasn't really worried about what would happen when Sam got his memories back, all he cared about was that his brother was back and whole.

He glanced over at Sam, about to ask him if he wanted to stop for something to eat but stopped when he saw that Sam was slumped against the window, sound asleep.

Dean smiled and turned down the radio, he supposed that over a year of no sleeping plus getting your soul back would make anyone tired. He turned his attention back to the road as he directed the car toward Bobby's house, right now, everything was right with the world as far as he was concerned and he'd do whatever it took to keep it that way.

The End