Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural

A/N: I apologize for the length of this chapter. This one's a bit long for an opener, but I hope you'll give it a shot. Future chapters will be a bit shorter. Also, there will not be any Wincest or slash in this story, just good old brotherly love. Hope you like it!

Chapter 1: Crossroads

Dean had been asleep when Sam crept cautiously from the room, careful not to wake his older brother. Why the precaution? Well, Sam couldn't exactly answer that. Truth be told, it was unlikely anything was going to wake Dean up tonight. Not tonight when his brother was passed out cold in a desperate man's drunken stupor. Tonight. The word hung bittersweet in the cold night air, Sam refusing to wrap his mind around it. To speak it out loud would be steel in his mouth, a swift kick to the gut, a lonely and unheard cry in the calmness of the airy night. Because tonight…tonight was Dean's last night. In less than 24 hours his deal would come due and Dean would be lost to the world, lost to Sam, forever. And as grateful as Sam was that his brother still had tonight, Sam desperately wanted him to have tomorrow night too. Tomorrow night, the night after that, the night a week from now, a year from now, hell even 50 years from now. That was all Sam wanted, and he knew Dean would have had it if not for that night in Cold Oak. One night. One night that ruined everything, and that was all it took. Just one. And it would take only one night for his brother to be ripped away from him and thrown into the pits of despair and pain. But not tonight. No, not tonight. Because tonight was the one night when Sam was going to fix everything.

So, there Sam sat on his hands and knees with a pounding migraine, a stomach tight with hunger, and a sense of sadness overtaking him body and soul. An ominous black box rested beside him as he slowly started digging a small, shallow hole in the gravel beneath him and wishing it was a much larger hole that he could just jump into and bury himself in. Surely that would solve all of his problems. Actually, he was pretty certain it would, but Dean would never go for that. His brother had been over this with him a million times. In no way would he accept Sam dying to save his soul. But wasn't that what Sam was doing anyway? But Dean would understand. He had to. Once he explained things, Dean would come around. Wouldn't he? Sure it was a reckless move, but it was 100% fixable. Sam continued to dig silently, all alone in the cold, quiet darkness. He couldn't help but wonder how the world could be so calm when everything was going to hell, when Dean was going to hell. Tonight, Sam was at a crossroads in more ways than one. He only hoped that he really could get Dean to understand what he had done only an hour before.

~SSSSSSSSSSSNNNNNNN~

Tracking them had been difficult. Getting Dean to agree to come to this town had been even more difficult. With only about a day left, Dean had other things in mind. At first Sam had thought it would be girls and final one night stands, alcohol and bars, loud music and cheesy final jokes. However, that wasn't it at all. Really, all Dean wanted was to spend his last few days with his brother. So, convincing Dean to come to small town Ohio for a "hunt" had not been a walk in the park. But hunt or no hunt, time with Sam was time with Sam and it would have to do. And the distraction from the inevitable…well, that couldn't hurt either. Of course, Sam knew that Dean was suspicious of him. He knew that Dean thought he was up to something and that it likely had to do with the deal. Dean always seemed to know those sorts of things. But then again, if the shoe was on the other foot, wouldn't Dean be doing everything possible to get Sam out of the deal? Yet, Sam always knew that Dean believed there was no way out and no time left for Sam to do any real damage, so after much persistence Sam convinced his brother to take the "hunt". Convincing Dean to get drunk out of his mind…now that was a bit easier…considering. Of course, Sam felt guilty about it, but what other option did he have? He couldn't allow Dean to find out about his plan. He couldn't let Dean stop him from leaving. He definitely couldn't risk Dean waking up in the night and realizing his brother had snuck out. Dean would go looking for him, and if he found him, which he most certainly would, that could be dangerous. Even Sam could admit that what he was about to do was the epitome of stupid. When would they ever stop sacrificing themselves for each other? Hopefully, after all of this was over and they were back to their "normal" lives, they could learn to stop. But not now. Not when Dean's deal was coming due. With that, Sam spared one final glance at his sleeping brother and left the hotel.

It wasn't a long drive out to the cabin, maybe only 15 minutes or so. But it felt like an eternity to a guilty Sam. As he pulled the Impala up to the end of the path and crawled out into the still, wooded area, he sighed with trepidation. This was it. Concealed weapons clinging to his body, Sam approached the wooden door and knocked with more confidence than he felt. At first, there was no answer, no sound from within the dark cabin, and Sam feared he'd have to break the door down. They'd never hear him out if he did something like that, though. He waited. Finally, the door was cautiously opened by a young man with wavy, light brown hair and deep blue eyes. His face was youthful, but sharp, knowing, and wise. He had seen many things in his day, and that was painfully obvious. He took Sam in warily, his gaze shifting from head to foot and back again. He didn't trust Sam. Not one bit. Everything about the well-muscled body, pained yet calculating hazel eyes, and carefully prepared stance screamed hunter. This mystery man inside the safety of his cabin…he was not a hunter, did not like hunters, and did not want them at his door.

"What are you doing here? What do you want?" the man spat out. Sam raised his hands in surrender, forehead crinkling and eyes softening.

"Look, I didn't come here to cause any trouble. I need your help," Sam assured him, but the man did not drop his defenses.

"Don't lie to me, hunter! That's right, I know what you are. I can see it in your eyes. We don't want your kind here!" the man warned. His glare was terrifying even for a skilled hunter like Sam, but this man could help him get Dean out of his deal so there would be no backing down.

"I understand that, but I am not lying. Please. Just let me explain. I really really do need your help. Actually, my brother's life kind of depends on it." The mystery man took in the sincerity in Sam's eyes. Yes, he hated hunters, but this, he was curious about. This one didn't have the same brutality the others he had come across had possessed. Plus, there was something almost pleading in the hunter's expression. He looked like a kicked puppy. This hunter wanted, needed, something. He decided he wanted to know what that was.

"All right. I'm listening," mystery man stated, posture still on the defensive. Sam released a heavy sigh of relief. You know what they say about getting your foot through the door.

"Well, you see, my big brother…he's kind of an idiot. Always sacrificing himself for me, getting hurt to save me. I died, and then he made this deal with a demon: my life for his soul. His time is almost up. I need to get him out of it. You're my last hope." Now Sam really was pleading. It was quite the story the young hunter had spun. But then again…maybe it wasn't all that difficult to believe. Mystery man's blue eyes widened with realization and recognition.

"Winchester. Sam Winchester. And your brother is Dean Winchester." It came out as barely a whisper and a surprised one at that. This time it was Sam's turn to stare.

"You've heard of me and Dean?" he asked in shock.

"Well, you're famous," the man informed. "People talk. Word gets around. And these days all that talk is about the Winchester boys."

"Is that so?" Sam asked him.

"Very much so," the man quirked an amused smile. "Well, it isn't every day I get a celebrity at my door. I really don't like hunters, but I have to admit, I am somewhat impressed. You two have quite the reputation, you know." He really did appear to be amused, yet his defensive posture remained intact. "Well, come in then, Sam Winchester." The man stepped aside, still watching Sam closely, and Sam did as he was instructed. Sam glanced around once he was inside. It was small, cluttered, yet clean. But the most noticeable aspect was the four other people in the room. They sat lazily about the place: a raven haired girl strewn out on an old blue couch reading a book, a shy looking young man browsing the net in the corner, and a couple of clean cut youths snuggled together in front of the television. They all looked so young, no older than Sam himself. In fact, they reminded Sam of some of his friends from Stanford. Yet, they were very different. They knew things about a world the kids at Stanford could never even dream of. They experienced things, saw things, were even a part of things. Sam knew they could help. The others looked up when Sam walked in, watching his every breath.

"So, you know who I am. Do you have a name?" Sam asked and the man smirked back at him.

"Name's Derek. Bookworm over there is Claire. Computer geek is Marcus. And the two lovebirds are Margot and Ryan. So, what can we do for you, Sam Winchester? I'll admit, we have some knowledge about the darker side of things, but demon deals aren't exactly our forte. Besides, I don't really see why we would want to help you out anyway. What would be in it for us? How do we know we can trust you?" Derek asked seriously. This was not something to be taken lightly. The tension in the air was tight, almost chokingly so. Everyone was on their guard. One wrong move from anyone and things could get ugly. Fortunately, Sam was a good hunter and an even better people person. He knew what he was doing. At least, he really hoped he did.

"I've got an idea. Trust me, you'll want to hear this. I'm sure you'll find it at least amusing."

~SSSSSSSSNNNNNNN~

Sam finally finished burying the box in the stiff earth of the crossroads. She would be here any minute, another demon bitch like the one that had talked his brother right out of his soul. Well, whoever now held the contract, apparently Lilith, wouldn't be getting a thing. The deal would be null and void, done and over, all but forgotten. Sam had found a loophole in the demons' plans, something they could and would have never banked on. Now, all he had to do was inform the crossroads demon and watch as their little deal disintegrated before his eyes. Everything would be worth it. Dean wouldn't die tomorrow. Sam, well, Sam would be brought back to life after this all blew over. Just 24 hours. He could deal with that. Deal…there's that word again. He had grown to hate that word. He could handle that, he decided instead. Now, where was the red-eyed bitch?

"Well! Well! Look at what we have here. Sam. How nice to see you. Here to beg for your brother's life? You know, that was my sister you killed," an amused voice called out to him from behind. He turned around to face her. Blond hair, small and delicate features, and tiny frame, but frightful red eyes. Sam just glared at the demon coldly.

"Good. If you could feel anything maybe you'd understand what you psychos are doing to my brother and me! But that's too much to ask." Sam practically growled at the demon in front of him. She smiled sweetly back, obviously wanting to play with him a little.

"Oh but we do understand, Sam," she replied sweetly while cocking her head to the side ever so slightly. "We understand perfectly, and we just love it. The messes you two manage to get yourselves into. It's better than cable."

"You bitch!" Sam screamed at the demon, pure rage crossing his features.

"My, my. We are getting dark there aren't we, Sammy? I know you've lost the colt. You can't kill me. Even if you did, it wouldn't do you any good. Dean's time is up after tomorrow. Nothing you can do will stop that. You can't save him, Sam," the demon told him like they were simply having a casual conversation about the weather. She was trying to rile him up, but he wasn't going to let it work. He had to remember why he was here. To her surprise, Sam smiled back at her.

"That's where you're wrong," he informed her smugly. "The deal is off." She watched him curiously. What was he trying to do?

"The deal is on, Sam. Because you see, without that deal you die. I don't think Dean would like that too much, Sam. In fact, I think he'd follow you to the grave pretty quickly. Or just make another deal. Now, if you're offering up your soul…well, sorry there, Sammy. We don't do even trades. If you're asking me to break the contract by killing you…"

"That would be unnecessary," Sam interrupted her. "I've already taken care of that for you."

"What are you talking about?"

"Take a real good look," Sam mocked her cheekily. "Do I look like I'm alive to you?" And then for the first time she really looked at the young hunter before her and she gasped at what she saw. She couldn't believe she hadn't noticed it before. All of the signs were there: the stillness of his chest from lungs that were no longer taking in air, the pale and icy skin from a heart that no longer pumped blood through his veins, and the frightening flash of his eyes when the moonlight hit them just so. He was right. Dead. Undead. Whatever you wanted to call it there was one undeniable truth. Sam Winchester was definitely no longer among the living.

"But how…?" She gasped, causing his smirk to only grow bigger. "I knew there was something colder about you. Something darker."

"So, I've been thinking about this deal…"

"So you've done something stupid. Killing yourself does not void the deal," she shot back angrily.

"Actually, that's exactly what it does," Sam told her. "My life for Dean's soul. Until you have his soul, the transaction is not complete. If you come for him at midnight tomorrow and I am not living, you can't take my brother's soul. And I can guarantee you, I won't be 'living' tomorrow."

"Very clever, Sam," she applauded amusedly. "You have found a loophole we didn't foresee. But you were pre-law at Stanford, weren't you? You would have made one hell of a lawyer." Sam just watched her a second longer.

"Well, if that's all then, I believe our business is done," Sam said as he turned around and started walking back to the Impala.

"Not so fast there, Sam," the demon called out coyly. "You see, there is just one little problem with this whole thing."

~SSSSSSSSNNNNNN~

Sam was watching the vampires closely for any sudden movements, but none came. They merely watched him curiously. He had done it. Peaked their interest. Now to get them to go along with this.

"I want you to turn me," the younger Winchester told the nest leader, Derek. His voice was serious, without waver, and his expression dead set. Suddenly, he found himself surrounded by vampires on all sides, second sets of teeth out, eyes glaring holes into him, and only Derek continued to watch him calmly. The blue eyed man chuckled to himself.

"You want to be a vampire, Sam Winchester? And how does that save Dean?" Derek questioned him.

"Well, the deal is my life for his soul."

"And so you want to forfeit your life," Derek stated rather than asked.

"Then why not just kill yourself?" another vampire, Claire, snapped.

"Because I promised my brother. Plus, I want to make sure the demons don't try to weasel out of dropping the deal and I can't do that if I don't have some form of consciousness," Sam told them truthfully. Derek put a hand to his chin and eyed Sam closely.

"You were definitely right. This is amusing. We've had hunters come busting through our door swinging machetes around like they were baseball bats, but we've never had one knock at our door and ask us to turn him into something he hunts. This is very interesting," Derek admitted to the stunned group.

"Derek! Don't tell me you're considering this!" Claire shrieked at her leader.

"And why shouldn't I? It's not every day we get something like this."

"Listen, Derek," Marcus cut in, "it's suicide. You know how bad it gets when we kill a hunter. We get an angry mob of ten more hunters chasing after us. And we've already got to kill him for finding us or he'll track us. You know that. But just imagine the fallout if we turn him. He's high profile. Probably has a lot of hunter friends. And turning one is a lot more personal than just killing one." Sam had to roll his eyes. A lot of friends? Among hunters? What a joke. Besides Bobby, Sam wasn't the most popular as far as hunters were concerned. Gordon had made sure of that. Now Sam had to find the irony in his situation. He was willingly falling into the same fate Gordon had been forced into. Hopefully it would end better for him.

"Marcus is right, Derek. You need to think about the wellbeing of the nest," Margot said, pulling Sam from his musings.

"That's the beauty of it! I am thinking of the nest!" Derek shouted excitedly. "Turning a high profile hunter. We will be famous among vampires. Gods of our kind. Lords of the undead. Master of the fangs! We are the ones to turn the great Sam Winchester! We are the ones that did what none other could do. We will be respected. Worshipped. Our nest will grow. Every town we enter, we will be offered first blood."

"The only blood that will spill will be ours!" Claire shouted. "We can't trust him."

"No, I think we can," Derek smirked. "I like you, Sam Winchester. You really would do anything for that brother of yours, wouldn't you? Anything at all. Even the most despicable, horrible, unforgivable…"

"Okay, that's enough," Sam interrupted. "Now, are we doing this or not?" Derek looked to the others and reluctantly they nodded their consent.

"Looks like tonight you die, Sam Winchester." Derek grinned evilly at Sam, and although Sam wanted to be happy, he felt his heart sink deep in his chest. He was overcome with a sense of foreboding, and he really prayed he was doing the right thing. He pulled a silver knife from his sleeve and the vampires jumped back quickly, but Sam didn't attack. Instead, he rolled up his sleeve, slicing a long cut across his arm and held it out waiting for Derek to combine their blood. The vampires watched him hungrily. Suddenly, they were licking their lips at the sight of fresh human blood spilling from an open wound and Sam noticed their eyes were glazed over. Derek shook his head and chuckled openly.

"Oh no, Sam Winchester. Not like that. That would make it much too easy. You see, it would be like we were doing you a favor, and we don't do favors. Like any other supernatural creature in its right mind, we want to make a little deal. We should get something out of this too, after all," the vampire informed him smugly, and Sam's eyes widened for the briefest of instants.

"You mean more than fame? More than being 'Lord of the Dance' or whatever?" Sam mocked angrily. He didn't have time for this.

"Just a bit more," Derek winked.

"What do you want?" Sam grumbled. This was bad. He was losing control of the situation and fast. Plus, these vampires looked like they were about to jump him.

"Before we turn you, we want to feed from you, Sam Winchester," Derek said nonchalantly. This time Sam's eyes widened and they stayed that way. He was starting to feel a little bit panicked which was only making his heart beat faster and the vampires look even hungrier.

"No way! Absolutely not! You'll kill me!" Sam shouted at the vampires who only looked more amused.

"But isn't that the whole point?" Derek asked him. "But don't worry, Sam Winchester. We won't. Not in the way you are thinking, anyway. But if you expect us to trust you, then shouldn't you have to trust us too? It is only fair. Besides, this way you get what you want, and we get what we want. Of course, we will feed from you either way. Let us, and we turn you. Fight us, and we drain the life from your veins and you never open your eyes again. Either way, it doesn't matter to either of us, does it? Either way we feed and your heart stops beating, breaking the deal. It's just a matter of satisfaction at this point. So, which way do you want it?"

"Fine," Sam said harshly, and the vampires pulled him to the couch and pushed him down to sitting. Derek approached from behind the couch, but Sam made no move to look at him. Instead, his eyes remained focused dead straight ahead and his heavy breathing quickened. He felt the vampire take his head in his hands and tip it slightly to the side. Sam thought he heard him telling him not to be so nervous, but he couldn't be sure. It was a little hard to focus when you were about to make a massive blood donation to a nest full of hungry vampires. He felt cold hands caress his neck, feeling for the exact right spot to get the best possible blood flow. It was agonizing. Slow. Sam almost just wanted them to get it over with, but he really should be careful what he wishes for. Suddenly he felt a full set of teeth clamp down sharply, deep into the soft tissue just below his neck and he screamed out in pain. These weren't two little fangs like in the movies, but Sam knew that. Knew what real vampires were. So when dozens of razor sharp teeth pierced into delicate flesh he should have been prepared, but he wasn't. It hurt like hell. He gasped for air as the slow painful sucking began to pull the life from his veins.

He did everything he could not to scream, bit hard into his own lip and scrunched his face tightly with the excruciating pain. But he wouldn't scream again for them. Wouldn't give them that satisfaction. After a while Derek released his Rottweiler grip on Sam's neck and the next vampire sunk his teeth in. Sam moaned loudly, but not with pleasure. All he felt was pain. While in movies and books a vampire drinking from a human was described as an intimate and almost erotic experience, this was anything but. These creatures weren't beautiful. They weren't interesting. They weren't exotic. They sure as hell weren't sexy. When Sam looked at them, eyes flashing slightly with the light and wicked fangs bared, all he saw were monsters. Ugly freaks and nothing more. He couldn't hate them all. He didn't hate Lenore. But the ones in his current company were vicious monsters, and Sam knew it well. Suddenly, as the last vampire was feeding, something changed. Something cold and wet had come into contact with his arm. He shifted his eyes downward to see Derek's bloody hand pressed firmly against his wounded arm. Sam wanted to pull away in disgust. Wanted to run away. But he didn't. It would have been too late anyway. Sam could already feel the changes. He felt the cold consuming him. He felt something dark within him, something that had been there all along, and it suddenly felt like it had been snuffed out. Was it the demon blood? It would make sense. So much of his blood had been drained, and Margot was still taking from him, and now the vampire virus was taking over what was left. It was something he had been worried about: the demon blood. After all, this could have been Croatoan all over again. But it wasn't. It was working, and Sam didn't know whether to be happy or sad. One darkness gone, only to be replaced by another.

Suddenly, his perspective of the situation began to change. The pain started to feel good. To feel right. His agony really did turn to a feeling of intense intimacy and the vampire still latched onto his barely human neck suddenly felt so good. In fact, everything was becoming so intense. The sounds. The smells. Touch. Even his vision. It was all making him so dizzy. It was just too overwhelming and he didn't know how to take it all in at once. His head was pounding. Slowly, he felt his pulse slowing, his heartbeat more and more infrequent. And then, it was gone and Margot let go of his neck, his blood no longer human, and Derek released his arm. Derek, who had been sitting on the couch next to Sam during the transformation, patted the new vampire twice on the shoulder.

"Well, call the coroner, I do believe you are deceased, Sam Winchester!" And that's when it really hit Sam. He wasn't breathing. He wasn't even alive anymore. He wasn't even human. He was a vampire! He was one of these things…these things he had just called ugly freaks. These monsters. Oh god! What would Dean say when he saw him like this? His skin was pasty white, his chest unmoving, and an indescribable urge calling to him. Was it the beginnings of the bloodlust? Would he want to feed so soon? Just thinking about blood made his second set of teeth, oh god…his fangs, distend. He felt them awkwardly in his mouth, so foreign…so deadly. He wanted them to just disappear, but they weren't going back in. Why weren't they going away! Suddenly, he was panicking again and he began to heave deep unneeded breaths into his uncaring lungs. Dean would never forgive this…but he had done this for Dean! He was saving Dean! There was no other option, was there? He felt so lightheaded and dizzy from the blood loss. He was almost certain he would pass out right there and be at the mercy of these vampires…these other vampires. Somehow, he managed to hold onto consciousness.

~SSSSSSSNNNNNNNN~

Sam spun back around at the crossroads demon's words. He glared daggers into the petite blonde. As far as he was concerned, he had damned well been through enough in one night and he didn't need some psycho red eyed demon challenging him. One hour ago he had been fully alive and human. Now he was cold, undead, and in a really bad mood.

"What problem? The deal is done. It wouldn't be very professional of you to try to weasel out of it now, would it?" Sam asked, allowing his annoyance to show in his voice.

"You mean like you're doing?" She smirked evilly at the new vampire before her. Sam blinked at her.

"That's not the same."

"Isn't it?" she asked. "I wasn't born yesterday, Sam. I know a few things about the world, and one of them is how that twisted little mind of yours works."

"What are getting at?" Sam questioned coldly.

"Oh, Sammy, you wouldn't be doing this without an out, now, would you? You would never become something you hunt without a way to fix it. You're just jerking my chain. Trying to pull me into your little trap, and that's exactly what it is. You, Sam, are trying to screw us over." She knew. She had to know. That had to be what she was getting at. But did it matter? Technically, he would still be dead when Dean's deal came due. Wasn't that all that mattered?

~SSSSSSSNNNNNNNN~

"Whoa! Just calm down there, kid," the vampire Ryan was saying to him, but there was nothing that was going to calm Sam down. Not as long as he could smell his own inhumanity. That was too much. Suddenly, Ryan was talking hurriedly to the other vampires and Sam tried his best to listen to what he was saying. "He doesn't look so good, guys. I think we need to get some blood in him. How's the girl doing?"

That's when Sam noticed the other presence in the room. He hadn't even been aware of her before and he realized he should have been. After all, wasn't rule number one of being a hunter to be constantly aware of his surroundings? However, Sam had been a little distracted to say the least. Now, there was no shutting her out. Her small whimpers and shaky breath seemed to echo loudly throughout the entirety of the cabin, although they would have gone nearly unnoticed to the human ear. He could feel her, sense her every move. And although he could not see her (she was somewhere behind him tucked away in a far corner) he knew she was heavily chained. He could taste the metal. He knew she had numerous cuts and bites on her neck and arms. He could smell the sickening sweetness, the deliciousness of spilling blood in the air. He knew they had been draining her. He knew she had been there for about two days. He knew it all, and he knew it because it was all right there. It was in the scent, the taste, the very feel of the air surrounding him. It was all so inviting. He wanted to go to her, but not to release her. No. Never to release her. He wanted to properly drain her, his teeth bearing down into her delicate throat and squeezing out every last drop of that tantalizing blood.

Suddenly, Sam was disgusted with himself. What was he thinking? He wanted to drink some innocent girl's blood? He wanted to drink blood at all? What kind of person wanted to do that? Well, a vampire, but Sam had never intended to actually become one. Not like that. Not for real. But suddenly, it felt real and the weight of his decision was all but closing in on him. He had to fight it. If he didn't, he really would be a vampire and nothing could save him.

"No!" Sam gritted out between clenched teeth, or fangs more appropriately. He wouldn't, couldn't, drink blood. Truth be told, this was all a part of a bigger plan Sam had put into motion. You see, Sam had found a cure for vampirism. However, there was just one catch. Only a vampire who had never tasted human blood could be changed back. Even one drop and Sam could never become human again, destined to an eternity of bloodlust, being tracked by hunters, and don't forget the loneliness of watching everyone he knew grow old and die. Not that it would ever come to that because Sam would readily offer himself up to the hunters, to Dean, for his own execution. Surely Dean would do the job. After all, he had promised Sam that he would kill him if he ever turned, and this was a whole new degree of "turning." Still, Sam had no intentions of staying a vampire. He wouldn't drink. A cure could be concocted from the blood of the vampire who had turned him. He just needed to remember that it wasn't human blood he needed right now. It was Derek's. And he was damned well going to get it.

The vampires watched curiously as Sam stiffened, unnecessary breathing finally coming to a halt. He was sickeningly pale, even for a vampire. They had taken a lot of blood. They were glad, though. They weren't prepared to trust a hunter, even one who had become a vampire, and in his weakened state Sam posed much less of a threat. Or so they thought. Slowly, Sam pushed himself back up to standing, watching the other vampires intently. As he focused on the task at hand, his fangs finally retracted back into his gums.

"This is what you wanted, Sam Winchester," Derek reminded him coldly. "You asked for this. You wanted to be a vampire and vampires feed. If you don't, you will go mad and feed off of the first human you can find. Then every hunter will be onto you. It's safest to stay here with us. Feed on what we have already captured. Don't draw attention to yourself lest you put all of us in danger. You will stay and feed, Sam Winchester. You are now a member of our nest." Derek's sing-song tone and constant referral to Sam's full name was really starting to grate on the new vampire.

"I never agreed to join your nest," Sam deadpanned.

"It doesn't matter. It is decided for you. We can't allow you to leave and go back to your brother. He would be angry, vengeful. He would kill you and then come looking for us. He has his life now, and that is enough. You have us now. We are your family," Derek informed the young vampire.

"Dean is my family!" Sam spat as he pulled a machete from its hiding place beneath his tan jacket. Now the vampires backed off quickly.

"Hmm, knew we should have checked for that. No matter. You will regret this. Get him!" Derek shouted and the other vampires leaped forward reaching out for Sam. Despite his weakened state, Sam was too stubborn and determined to let the vampires get the drop on him. He swung the machete with as much force as he could muster, swiftly taking the head off of Marcus's body before the vampires had descended on him. The remaining three were furious, vicious. Within seconds they had forced Sam hard onto the floorboards and his tired hand lost its grip on the weapon. Claire ordered Ryan and Margot to hold Sam down while she snatched the machete from where it had fallen to the ground. A nervous looking Ryan and Margot had him held by the shoulders on either side and Claire was attempting to straddle him as she waved the machete's long blade through the air for effect. Just as she was about to bring the blade down in true hunter fashion, Sam swiftly lifted his tired legs between the vampire's and as close to his own chest as possible. He kicked out, sending Claire into the wall before he struggled free from the other two. He felt ready to faint, the activity being too much for his weakened body, but for Dean's sake he refused to fail. Instead he pushed himself past his limits, flying at Claire and ripping the machete from her hands before flipping her to the ground and swinging the blade down hard, cleanly severing head from stump. He never would have been able to dispatch the two in his weakened condition if not for the dread of Dean's deal driving him, but for his brother he could do anything. He was breathing hard as he looked up, unnecessary as it was. But old habits die hard. Margot stared wide eyed at the hunter, pale blue eyes flickering with fear and auburn hair falling untouched across her face. She didn't dare make any sudden movements, fearfully weighing out her options. Her mate, Ryan, made the next move for her by flinging her out of the way and bounding toward Sam. Sam barely sidestepped the protective vampire, but the distraction had allowed Margot time to dig a knife deep into Sam's shoulder blade, not that it could hurt a vampire too badly. Machete still in hand, Sam swung out towards Margot, but she managed to back off just enough to narrowly miss the would-be death blow.

Up until now Derek had been watching the scene unfold, confidently expecting his vampires to make easy work of the new vampire. Sam never should have been able to best them, not when he was nearly delirious from the blood haze and physically exhausted by the change, but somehow the vampire was still giving his all. Apparently something could be said for blind stubbornness and determination. Now, Derek was beyond angry. He grabbed the new vampire by the hair and flung his head down hard into the coffee table alongside the couch. Sam felt his vision go dark for a second and he vaguely heard Derek ordering the others to leave Sam to him, but it sounded so distant and detached. Sam forced himself to regain focus and take in the scene once again. The door had been flung open and there was no sign of Ryan and Margot. The two lovebirds had fled. Sam knew for certain they were gone as he could no longer sense their presence. However, Sam could still scent Derek in the room. He could scent his pure anger. That was fine. Sam really only needed Derek's blood anyway. He and Dean could hunt the other vampires down after this whole thing was settled once and for all. Sam watched the enraged vampire carefully.

"That was stupid, even for you," the angry vampire scolded the younger. Sam lunged at him, but Derek was stronger, much stronger than Sam in his current state. "Years of training have given you skills, Sam Winchester. As weak as your body is you were able to outmaneuver two of my vampires and nearly take out the other two. No matter. You will see things my way once everything sinks in. You can't fight what you are forever." Derek had Sam pinned up against the wall, fangs bared, and oceanic eyes boring through Sam's very soul. Suddenly, Derek ripped the machete from Sam's pinned hand and tossed it across the room. He pulled Sam into the corner near the bleeding girl and threw him to the ground next to her. "See what you are now, Sam Winchester? Give in! Give in and let go of your old life or suffer and die the second and final death!" Sam was still panting hard, refusing to accept the lifeless feeling of his own body. He felt his fangs fighting for release, but he refused to let them out. He wouldn't feed from the girl. He would go back to Dean as a vampire, but it would be with cure in hand. Dean would be angry, disgusted, but he would help Sam. He'd tie him up until after midnight the next night, until after the deadline for the deal had officially passed, and then he would feed Sam the cure and this whole mess would be over. It was the whole purpose of choosing this particular night. Twenty-four hours. Any later and there wouldn't be enough time, and any earlier and Sam wouldn't be able to fight the bloodlust long enough. After all he'd been through to make this plan work he wouldn't let it end this way.

Sam reached under his pant leg and pulled out a syringe filled with a thick red liquid. Plunging it into Derek's leg, he pressed down hard, releasing the sticky substance into the surprised vampire's bloodstream.

"Dead man's blood," Sam said to the vampire who was now writhing uncontrollably on the cold wooden floor. Sam made his way over to the machete and then back to Derek's side. He lifted the machete high into the air, but was suddenly interrupted by Derek's weak laughter.

"Oh, you can kill me, Sam Winchester," the vampire told him mockingly, "but it won't change anything. It won't make you a hunter again. You're one of us now. A vampire. You'll see. Just a vampire." Derek was laughing hysterically as Sam brought down the blade, blood splattering across the now quiet room.

"Just for today," Sam said sadly before he unchained the girl who began sobbing uncontrollably. Sam backed away from her quickly, not trusting himself. He bottled some of Derek's blood and rushed from the cabin, calling an ambulance for the girl as he drove out to the crossroads to inform the demons.

~SSSSSSSNNNNNNNN~

"What?" was all Sam could think to say.

"I know you know, Sam. About the cure. Don't try to play me for a fool," the red eyed demon warned firmly. Sam shifted uncomfortably. It doesn't matter, he kept repeating to himself. It doesn't matter if she knows. It doesn't change anything.

"It doesn't matter," Sam finally voiced out loud. "Whatever happens after midnight tomorrow has nothing to do with the deal."

"In an ideal world, Sam, but you must have realized by now that nothing is ever that easy," The demon was smirking at him now, and she seemed deathly confident in herself. "You see, Sam, Lilith holds the contract now." So Bela was telling the truth, Sam mused as the demon continued her tirade. "And Lilith doesn't like being scammed. She will never just let Dean go on a technicality. She had plans for you and Dean, Sam. Plans that you messed up. Now she will never let either of you rest. For the rest of your lives she will hunt you, torment you, haunt your dreams, and she will never stop until she has you both in hell. And trust me, Sam, she will succeed if she has to drag you two there with her own hands. You never should have pissed off a demon of her caliber, Sam."

"Then we'll just have to kill her," Sam told the demon, "but the deal is done and she isn't getting Dean's soul."

"My, aren't we cocky?" the demon teased. "You can't kill her, Sam. She is more powerful than Azazel. More powerful than anything you have ever faced, and she has so many followers. There was only one way to kill her. Only one thing powerful enough to get the job done, and that one thing was locked away in your blood. But thanks to your idiocy…it's gone, and there is no getting it back. You're just an ordinary little bloodsucker now, and after you take that cure you'll just be a pathetic, ordinary little human. You won't stand a chance against Lilith. You just aren't special enough anymore."

"So the demon blood really is gone?" Sam asked, not sure if he should be relieved the demon blood was a nonissue now or terrified that Lilith was going to be gunning for him and Dean hardcore after the following night.

"Don't sound so happy about it, Sam. It was your only weapon against Lilith," the demon said, observing the vampire closely. "It will be a living hell for you and your brother now. I would believe that if I were you. Not that it matters much anymore." Sam did believe it. Sure, demons lied. But every once in a while the truth could cut so much deeper, and now was one of those times. Sam could sense it.

"And if I give up and take the cure now before the deal comes due, Dean goes to hell tomorrow night for sure. We'll have to take our chances," Sam said in false confidence.

"True. He'd go to hell and then Lilith would destroy you for ruining the big plan," Sam raised a brow at that, but the demon just waved him off. "Don't worry your pretty little head about that one anymore. So, here's the deal. I want to offer you door number three."

"No more deals!" Sam shouted back at her, but she just smiled, completely unfazed by the outburst.

"Not a deal per say," the demon informed amusedly. "But you've put us in a tight spot here, Sam. Our original goals are unsalvageable, but we would be willing to cut our losses. After all, there are other generations of special children. Your part is done now, but we can work with what we have."

"Would you just cut to the chase? You really do talk too much." Sam glared at her. One thing he knew was that whatever she was about to say was going to be really bad.

"All right then," she said. "Your loophole holds. We'll drop the deal on your technicality since you are now useless to us, but we won't be made fools of. We won't be screwed over, Sam. We agree to forget this whole, unfortunate thing on one condition. There is no 'out.' There is no 'cure.' We don't like being scammed and embarrassed any more than anyone else, Sam. It's what the humans call fair, after all."

"What…what are you saying?" Sam stammered, but he knew exactly what she was saying.

"As long as you can still wake up alive and breathing whenever you want, you're not really dead, Sam. You have to suffer the full extent of what you're offering. Drink from my human host, then the deal and you and Dean are forgotten like yesterday's trash."

Suddenly, Sam was shaking. This wasn't the way this was supposed to go. She wasn't supposed to know about the cure. She wasn't supposed to know that he knew about the cure. She wasn't supposed to ask for his humanity in return for Dean's soul and both of their lives. Somehow, this well-planned idea didn't seem so well planned anymore. In fact, he was now in a bigger mess than the one in which he had started. If he did this, then there would be no going back ever. He'd be a vampire and end of story. It was the point of no return and Sam had to make a decision one way or the other. Either way, how could he ever face Dean again? If he did this, he would have to face his brother as a full vampire and plead with him to cut off his head. If he didn't do this, he would have to tell his brother that every demon out there plus Lilith was going to corner them in and rip them both to shreds slowly and painfully. But which was the lesser evil? The one where Dean definitely lived, Sam decided. Derek had been right about one thing: Sam would do anything for his brother. Dean had sacrificed his soul to save Sam. Now it was Sam's turn to sacrifice something to save Dean. Sam just wished it didn't have to be his humanity. It would kill Dean to see him like this, to know what he had done. Yet, Sam couldn't think about that now. He had come to the edge of the cliff, and now he needed to just jump off.

Sam couldn't speak. He couldn't voice it out loud. He felt like he was giving in, giving up, letting Dean down in the worst way, but he wouldn't turn back. He really wouldn't turn back. All Sam could do was nod sadly. The demon called Sam's silver knife to herself with her demonic powers and brought the blade down slowly against the crook of her neck. It was just enough to draw blood. She waited, beckoning Sam with her eyes and he approached slowly, all the time repeating his silent mantra through his mind: For Dean…For Dean…For Dean…. Strangely, he felt none of the bloodlust he had suffered from earlier. He felt only sickness, disgust, and shame. The smell of her blood was heavy with sulfur and not appetizing at all. Before he knew it he had reached her side. Reluctantly, he forced his fangs to drop and then dug them into the warm neck, the disgusting taste of the already drawn demon blood hitting his tongue.

"Your brother is free now, Sam," the red-eyed demon whispered as she shot out of her host's mouth, a dark black cloud of smoke, and flew away into the calm, airy night. Sam felt the girl in his grasp go slightly limp before being hit with sudden panic. Her heart was beating so fast.

"Where am I?" the girl whimpered, feeling the pains of sharp teeth buried in her throat, but it was too late for Sam to stop himself. The taste of the blood on his tongue had changed to something sweet and delicious and all he could hear was the pumping of her frightened heart. He could taste the adrenaline in the blood and it was so good that he was completely lost to the bloodlust. Sam began to suck the warm liquid into his mouth frantically, pushing the razor-like fangs in even deeper. The blond girl screamed out in a piercing shrill of agony, pain, and pure terror that could have shattered glass. But Sam couldn't care about that now. Even with his now delicate hearing, he was too lost in the ecstasy of human blood to really acknowledge it. She screamed and struggled for a long time, for as long as she could, and then stopped, falling limp in his strong arms. Sam continued to feed until he could taste the last rays of life in the blood, knowing the exact second she was dead and the blood would become poison, and he dropped her lifeless body to the ground.

Sam fell to his hands and knees and pushed himself backward away from the girl's body. Try as he might, he was too stunned to breathe and he almost panicked before he remembered that it no longer mattered. He would never really breathe again. Not without thinking about it, willing himself to do it. He was a monster, and now a monster that had killed an innocent girl and drank her blood. He forced himself to look at what he had done. It was like his worst nightmare come true. In his enthusiasm he had not only drained the girl, but had ripped her throat out with his fangs, gaining access to a geyser of blood. He couldn't see this. He couldn't accept what he had done. It was so cold, so cruel. He could hear her screams in his memory and they stung his soul. How could he ever forgive himself for this? He knew he couldn't, and he was grateful he would die soon. This needed to end now.

Sam dropped his face into his hands and hoped his lifeless body could still produce tears. When he felt the dampness in his palms he allowed himself to be lost to it, crying more than he had in a very long time. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Sam pushed himself onto his feet, wiped uselessly at his tearstained face, and walked slowly towards the Impala. Morning would be upon him soon and he knew the sunlight would wear him down despite having just fed. He hoped he had the courage to face Dean.