A/U: Finally! I've been aching to get another chapter written and posted for this story! Sorry for such a long wait!

Previously: Sam and Dean were passing through Indiana when a young woman appeared in front of the Impala, blood splattered and shaken. They realize she's a hunter and one of few survivors of a flesh-eating demon attack, courtesy of the uber-demon Lillith. After questioning one of the demons, they find out Lillith created them and a massive mob of them are heading from town to town to either infect other humans or eat them. Wanting to get revenge for what Lillith had done to her remaining friends, the female hunter, Sunshine, agrees to travel with the Winchesters in their search for the demon and a way out of Dean's deal. With time running out for him, will the trio find and kill Lillith before it's too late?

Chapter 3

Dean glanced at the rear view, stealing another peek at the young woman in the backseat. She was still bloody and dirty from her fight with the demons that Lillith created to kill and infect people- back in Indiana. They had just passed the state line and were heading to Illinois, to get to Bobby's in South Dakota.

"So, what's your story?" he asked her, staring back at the road ahead.

"My story?" she asked, raising a brow.

Was he pretending to want to know stuff about her? If he was seriously interested, he'd definitely be the first and only hunter she had met who had asked.

"Yeah." he replied, simply. "Like, how'd you get into the business of hunting monsters? You know, your story."

"I know what you meant," she scoffed, "What trips me up is that you're asking for it. Do you honestly care?"

"Well, now that it seems like you have somethin' to hide, I do." he chuckled, clearly joking until he gave it some thought. "You're not hiding anything...bad or creepy, are you?"

With a roll of her gray eyes, she sighed in exasperation. Now he was gonna start with the trust issues- after asking her to join them?

"No." she responded, looking out the window.

When a little over a moment passed, he looked up at the mirror and gave her an expectant eyebrow raise.

"So?" he pressed, shaking his head slowly.

"My dad was a hunter." she said, just to appease him. "Need I say more?"

He nodded in understanding. He could definitely relate.

"Our dad died, too. Made a deal to, uh...save me. I did the same exact thing for Sammy here."

"That's why we're going after Lilith- she holds his contract." Sam added.

"Intense." she said, her interest actually peaked. "Must be a genetic thing, then."

"Yeah, more like a family curse." Dean sighed, heavily. "So...you want Lilith's head on a stick too, eh? What's your story on that?"

"Uh..." she drawled, a little tense having to explain. "She took something of mine...something I liked- a lot- and now I can't get...it...back. So, the next best thing is to kill her. Eye for an eye or whatever."

"She took something...?" Dean questioned, confused.

"Yeah." she replied, not going into detail.

Seeing as she really didn't want to get into that part of the 'story', Dean glanced over at Sam, who seemed to be lost in his thoughts. He didn't need to guess what his little brother was so focused on.

Since he found out about Dean's deal, he's done nothing but surf web sites, read book after book, searched for any kind of lead but still found jack squat about getting out of crossroad deals. His brother only had two months left and so far, it was looking very bleak. Impossible, actually.

Dean didn't go on with his usual discouraging of Sam's efforts since they had company but gave him a look instead. Seeing he was being watched out of the corner of his eye, Sam perked up and caught the disapproving look.

"What?" he asked, challengingly, daring his older brother to nag him in front of Sunny.

He knew his brother wouldn't say anything with the female hunter present and was actually glad for it. He was tired of Dean blowing it off and acting like he wasn't scared or making a big deal out of it. How could he not be freaking out? Why wouldn't he want to try to find a way to survive?

He was going to Hell in two damn months! He was going to die and have to endure an eternity of torture yet he continued to either use it as an excuse to do something he considered 'special' or act as if nothing was wrong at all. It irritated Sam to no end and it was nice to finally have Dean not mock him, try to talk him out of it or ignore him when he tries to talk to him about it.

"You think we can stop somewhere..." Sunny suddenly asked, tilting her head. "...So I can shower and stuff?"

"Yeah, of course." Dean nodded, "Sure. The next town isn't far, we'll stop at the first motel that comes up, okay?"

"Fine." she replied, sitting back in the seat.

The inside of the Impala remained pretty quiet until Dean spotted a motel and pulled into the parking area. Before grabbing their things from the trunk, Sam and Sunny waited for Dean to get back with the room key then proceeded to their room.

The older hunter unlocked the door and allowed Sunny to enter first, where she dumped her bag on the floor and unzipped it. The guys watched as she rifled through her bag and pulled out a change of clothes and a towel.

She exhaled, heavily, as she picked the ball of clothes up and carried them into the bathroom then came back out to get her toiletries, quietly, and disappeared into the bathroom again.

Dean waited until he heard the door lock before turning to Sam and giving him an aggravated look.

"What now?" Sam demanded, exasperated.

"You and you're obsession with getting me out my deal." his brother pointed out, "That's what."

"Dean-" Sam tried but Dean cut him off.

"I thought we talked about you laying off, Sam?" he asked.

"I remember you talking, Dean." Sam recalled, shrugging. "And I promised I would give it rest...not give up."

"Sam." Dean groaned, tiredly, rubbing his hand over his face.

"I couldn't promise to stop trying to find you a way out." the taller hunter argued. "If there's some way I can keep you from dying and going to Hell, then I'm gonna keep looking until I find it. And...that's it."

"Y'know what..." Dean said, holding his hand up at his younger brother, "I'm too damn tired to have this argument with you...again. I'm taking a nap then we're out of here and headed to Bobby's."

"Okay, Dean." Sam said, nodding casually.

His mind was made up and there was nothing Dean could say or do to change it. He meant what he said about finding a way to break the deal and keep Dean out of Hell, he wouldn't stop trying until he took his own last breath. He loved his big brother and had always been taken care of by him, all the way from his childhood and even now- Dean always looked out for Sam and had his back. Now, it was Sam's turn to protect and save Dean. If anyone would understand, it should've been Dean but like the brother he'd always been, he was still trying to protect his little brother from dying, again. He realized if they tried anything to break the contract, he would drop dead and Dean would still go to Hell but he just couldn't find it in his heart to stop trying.

He watched as Dean flopped, belly first, on the bed and attempted to doze off, the water running in the bathroom acting as soothing white noise as he almost immediately passed out. Sam couldn't help but smirk at his brother and their equal stubbornness. He decided it was the perfect time to boot up his laptop and continue searching the web for demon deals and how to break them.

An hour later, Sunny emerged from the bathroom, clean and all made up. Sam looked up upon hearing the door open and couldn't help but stare. She wore a black, form-hugging thermal shirt that buttoned up- with a enough buttons undone to show some serious cleavage- and a pair of low-rider jeans. The sleeves were long, ending right where her fingers began and the hem of her shirt ended mid-butt. She liked her thermals that way. She wore medium heel, knee high boots over her pants and tied a black bandana around the crown of her head.

Her unique, gray eyes were lined with thick black makeup, her long lashes were long and feminine. Her shoulder-length, rusty red hair was free of chunks, snarls and blood- very slightly curling up at the sides like feathers. She was hot! He was taken aback by her appearance and didn't notice she was staring back at him.

"What're you lookin' at, Winchester?" she asked, leaning forward to stuff her clothes and towel back into her bag, showing even more of her cleavage.

He immediately snapped his eyes up from her breasts and cleared his throat, awkwardly.

"No, nothing, I just- uh..." he stammered, looking down. "Didn't expect you to be so..."

"What?" she pressed, smirking. "Hot?"

He chuckled, nervously, but didn't deny he was going to say it.

"Yeah, a shower will do that after being marinated in blood for hours." she teased, standing upright with a bottle of lotion in her hand.

He wasn't planning on getting caught staring at her again but he found himself watching her as she applied the lotion in various places; her arms, neck, be...low her neck and finally, her stomach and lower back. He couldn't help but notice her rock star abs and curvy hips, as well as the Devil's Trap tattoo on the small of her back, decorated with a tribal band type of design on either side of it. Like vines, covered in black thorns, twisting around the trap's design and forming small hearts in random places.

"Like the tat?" she asked him, shaking him from his thoughts.

"Wh-what?" he chuckled, "Oh, yeah it's...awesome, actually. I like how the vines twist around to make the little hearts...I'm, uh, assuming it has something to do with your last name?"

"Good eye, Winchester." she mused, smiling cheekily at him. "You saw all that from way over there? You checking me out 'er somethin'?"

"Oh, no- I just happened to notice..." he insisted, blushing.

He saw the playful look on her face and realized she was toying with him.

"Thanks." he scoffed, smiling as he nodded at her little joke. "I just love looking- and feeling- like an idiot, so thank you."

"Your welcome." she chirped, walking over to him after dropping the lotion in her unzipped bag. "And yes, the thorns and the hearts in my tattoo represent my family name. We Thornharts are very few so I take our legacy very seriously and with much pride."

"Same here." he sighed, looking down. "In fact, me and Dean are the only Winchester's left."

"Well, at least you have each other." she sighed back, "I'm the only Thornhart left, never had any brothers or sisters. I have a couple of cousins but they're from my mom's side. They are Meadows'."

"Wait...Meadows?" he questioned, furrowing his brows in concentration.

Where has he heard that name before?

"Yeah, that's my mom's maiden name...before she married my dad." Sunny explained, "My aunt never married but had three daughters and decided to keep the Meadows' name going."

"I've heard that name before." he told her, trying to think of where and when but just couldn't put his finger on it.

"It's a pretty common name." she chuckled, "I doubt it has any link to anyone in my family."

"You're probably right." he said, deciding to drop it for now.

He did plan on trying to figure out why the name Meadows was so familiar to him. Sooner or later, it would come to him but he had other things to worry about at that moment. Sunny looked over his shoulder at his laptop and the site he was on. She noticed some old pagan symbols and asked about it.

"Whatcha looking up?"

"Oh, uh, just a website." he replied, sighing, as he shut the laptop. "Another useless website."

She could see he was stressing and his eyes were sad and glossy. The deal Dean mentioned before came to mind and she realized he was looking for a way to get his brother out of it.

"You must be really freaking out, huh?" she asked, giving him a sympathetic smile.

She looked over at Dean's sleeping form and heard Sam sigh, heavily.

"Yeah." he replied, softly, looking at his older brother and wondering how the doomed hunter could even think about sleep.

Even if Sam wanted to sleep, he always found himself using that time trying to dig up some kind of information about crossroad deals and Lilith and possible loopholes, anything. When he did sleep, it wasn't for long and it was almost always interrupted by nightmares of losing his brother and watching him die, helplessly. Uselessly.

"I hate not knowing how to help him." he said, shaking his head. "But what I hate even more is that he refuses to help himself."

"So, what, he just gave up?" she asked, frowning at the napping hunter. "He's not even trying to help you help him?"

"Nope." he answered, flatly. "He's afraid if the Lilith finds out I'm trying to break the deal, I'll go back to being dead. That's all he cares about. He'll either throw it in my face to get what he wants- to make me feel bad- or he'll order me to stop. Most of the time, whenever I try to talk to him about how he feels about all this...he blows me off and ignores me."

"He must be absolutely terrified." Sunny said, looking down. "I know I would be."

"Yeah." Sam agreed, "He puts on this macho man front but...you can just see the fear in his eyes, hear it in his voice, when he speaks..." he trailed off, as Dean began to stir.

"What scares him the most, though, is..." he continued, once he was sure Dean was still sleeping. "That he won't be able to be here- to protect me- if anything bad goes down."

"He's always been protective you?" she asked, arching a brow.

"Since I was a baby, basically." he replied, smirking. "He was a little kid himself when our dad would leave us to go hunting. Every memory I have of my childhood consists of Dean taking care of me, protecting me, having my back, giving me the last bowl of cereal..."

"Must've been hard for both of you." she realized, raising both pierced eyebrows.

"Mostly on him." he shook his head. "He sacrificed his whole childhood just so I could have mine."

Sunny returned her gaze to Dean, a new level respect for him growing inside her. She couldn't imagine having to take care of a kid, being a kid herself. That was so much responsibility for an adult, yet as a child he was able to pretty much raise his little brother by himself. That was something to be admired, truth be told.

Sunny didn't have siblings but she knew the feeling of having to feel responsible for a child's life and vowing to protect it. It was nothing compared to what Dean had done but she could see how he would want his brother to have a normal childhood and not have the little guy be sucked into a world where monsters existed and .45's were tucked under your pillow at night.

Dean groaned, lazily, as he stretched then yawned, loudly. He sat up and immediately noticed Sunny and Sam sitting together on the small loveseat. He also noticed how gorgeous the female hunter was.

"You clean up nice, sweetheart." he complimented her, rubbing his eye and giving her a half-ass cocky smile.

She opened her mouth to give him a snarky comment but a knock at the door interrupted her. Sam stood up and made his way to across the room, peeking through the peephole before unlocking and opening the door.

Upon seeing their 'guest' Dean groaned again, this time in exasperation, and rolled his eyes. Sunny furrowed her brows at him then at the blonde female who gave the hunter on the bed a dirty sneer. Sam closed and locked the door before taking in a deep breath and looking at Sunny.

"Who's this now?" the girl asked, seeming a bit annoyed at Sunny's presence.

"Ruby, this is Sunny." Sam introduced her, "We ran into her last night in Indiana- where flesh-eating demons took over the city of Greendale."

He said the last part in a manner that implied Ruby probably knew about the situation.

"You wouldn't know anything about that, would ya, Ruby?" Dean questioned, standing up and crossing his arms over his chest.

"Whoa, wait..." Sunny interjected, standing up. "Why would she know about it?"

She saw Dean give his younger brother an amused smirk, cocking an expectant brow at him as he silently awaited Sam to tell Sunny who or what Ruby was.

"Uh, Sunny..." Sam began, nervously. "This is Ruby, she's helping us find Lilith."

"And...?" Dean pressed, leaning forward a bit and giving Sam a look. "C'mon, Sammy, tell Sunshine about your new friend Ruby."

"I'm getting to it, Dean." Sam growled, gritting his teeth then sighed as he looked to Sunny. "Ruby is...a demon."

Sunny immediately backed away and pulled a knife from the back of her jean's waistband, having to lift her shirt first and cursing herself for the delay- she expected to retrieve it a lot faster than that. No more long shirts, she thought.

"It's okay, she's...a good demon!" Sam insisted, holding his arms out to the armed huntress signaling her to calm down.

"Are you fucking insane?" Sunny cried, her voice cracking as she cursed. "There's no such thing as a good demon, man."

She gave Sam a funny look as she kept her blade up, defensively. Ruby just smirked and stared her down.

"Hm, that sounds familiar..." Dean chimed in, "Where did I hear that before..Oh, yeah- I said that just a couple months ago and hey, I've been saying it ever since!"

"Great, you managed to find a female version of your dumbass brother." Ruby chuckled, shooting a taunting look at Dean.

"Okay, everybody just shut up!" Sam yelled, looking to everyone in the room. "Sunny, I promise she's not going to hurt you, she's been helping us out with hunting and she's helping us find Lilith. That's the truth. Right, Dean?"

Dean couldn't deny that Ruby had helped them and even saved their asses on more than one occasion. He hated that Sam was working with a demon and didn't trust her on any level but so far she hadn't given him a reason to exorcise or kill her.

"Yeah, it's true." he finally admitted, looking at Sunny. "I still don't like it nor do I trust it but yeah, she actually proved herself to be kinda useful."

Sunny remained, uneasy, but lowered her weapon. She didn't like this one bit; a demon offering to help a couple of hunters find and kill Lilith? It had the word MOTIVE all over it but what was her motive? Why would a demon betray her own kind and risk being killed by a civilization of unholy monsters?

"But...it doesn't make any sense." she declared, scoffing incredulously. "Why would you want Lilith dead?"

"I have my reasons, mind your own." Ruby snarled, causing the huntress to raise her weapon again.

"Watch your tongue, sleaze." she warned, "Coz' I'll cut it out before sending your ass back to Hell with all the demons you fucked over."

"Ooh, big threats coming from such a little girl." the demon mocked.

"Okay, enough!" Sam reffed, glaring at Ruby specifically. "I told you all to calm down. No one is killing anyone."

Ruby stood down and turned toward Sam, making Sunny look suspiciously at them before glancing at Dean. She caught him checking out her ass and automatically pointed the blade at him.

"Hey." she said, wagging the blade between her thumb and pointer finger in front of him. "Business before pleasure, Winchester."

He smiled his charming, sexy smile at her and raised his eyebrows in interest.

"Well, sweetheart, sometimes they're both the same." he retorted, sticking his tongue in between his teeth, playfully.

She had to admit, she was actually began to consider hooking up with him. It had been an awfully long time since she had been with a guy and she could definitely use some...relieving of some wicked tension. Depending on how long it took to find and kill Lilith- and how good he is in bed- she may even hook up with him a couple of times before parting ways with him and Sam.

"So, any word on where Lilith is?" Sam asked the blonde demon.

"No." she replied, sighing as she crossed her arms in front of her chest. "There's talk that she's staying underground for a while, which is why she created the zombie demons and sent them to terrorize people."

"Well, do you know where they are?" he pressed, becoming exasperated.

"Hey, don't get snippy with me, Winchester!" she snapped, "I'm doing the best I can with such limited resources. In case you forgot, I'm no longer on the Christmas List in the demon community."

"Right." Sam sighed, looking away. "Sorry. Do you happen to know where the demon's are and where they're headed next?"

"That's more like it." she smirked, "They're eating their way through Kentucky as we speak. There were a few hunters looking to bag themselves a couple of 'special' demons to hang in their trophy room but so far...none of them have succeeded...or survived."

"We did." Sunny pointed out, glaring at the snobby demon.

"Well, aren't you one lucky bitch?" Ruby retorted, smiling mockingly.

"I won't need any luck kicking your sulfur laced ass." Sunny threatened her, stepping forward to confront Ruby but was stopped by Sam.

"Oh, I'd love to see you try, honey." the demon sneered, lifting her chin challengingly.

Sunny narrowed her eyes, her lip curling up in distaste as Sam, gently, pushed her back by her shoulder.

"Let's take a walk, shall we?" Dean blurted, wrapping an arm around Sunny's shoulders and ushering her towards the door.

The huntress kept her eyes locked on the demon, the angry glare pasted on her features until the older Winchester finally led her out the motel door. When they were finally gone, Ruby scoffed and shook her head.

"Wow, Sam, she's...annoying."

###*###

"Ugh, I can't believe you guys are tag teaming with a friggin' monster." Sunny grumbled, walking alongside Dean as they crossed a busy street and headed for a nearby diner.

"Hey, I'm not tag teaming anything!" Dean shot back, defensively. "It's Sam who wants to keep her around, even after she lied about knowing a way out of my deal."

"But why?" she demanded, "Why wouldn't you make him just...stop hanging out with her?"

"You don't think I've tried?" he countered, arching a brow at her. "Hell, I've begged him to kick her to the curb but of course, he was always the one with a conscience. All she had to do with bat her big blue eyes and claim innocence and he got all sentimental- leaning more toward mental."

"Then why don't you just kill her yourself?" she asked, "Set the bitch up and act clueless when she doesn't come around anymore. That shouldn't be a problem for you."

He gasped, mockingly, at the insult and scoffed, incredulously.

"Now that was uncalled for!" he pointed out, "Or is this how you flirt with all the guys?"

"Yeah, Dean, telling someone to kill their brother's demon friend is my way of telling them 'I like you'." she chuckled, sarcastically. "Dumbass."

"I meant the part where you insulted me." he retorted, "Dumber-ass."

He held the diner door open for her and she smiled as she passed him, keeping her arms crossed in front of her chest as she made her way to the counter. She sat on a stool and skimmed the menu above the register, Dean slid on the stool next to her.

"So, what'd you and my baby brother talk about while I was nappin'?" he asked, curiously. "You two seemed pretty cozy together on the couch."

"Hmm." she agreed, nodding, still looking at the menu. "We totally made out three feet away from you. It was great.."

He inhaled, sharply, and chuckled inwardly. Girl thought she was funny, eh? Or was she being serious? He couldn't tell.

"Really?" he asked, a pang of jealousy actually gripping his insides.

"No, I was kidding." she replied, laughing as she looked at him. "I'd much rather make out with you."

"Really?" he asked, his tone different than the first time he asked it, with more of an intrigued tone.

"No...still kidding." she joked, loving how easy it was to mess with him.

He pouted in disappointment and furrowed his brows at her, making her feel a little guilty.

"You're mean." he told her.

"Aw, would you feel better if I did make out with you?" she offered, nodding as she used her 'fake sympathy' voice.

"Mhm." he nodded, smiling.

She laughed at how quickly he went from 'sad' to happy in exactly 3.5 seconds.

"Well, that's not gonna happen." she informed him, matter-of-factly, "At least not right now, how 'bout I pay for the pie?"

She said the last part quickly and gave him a smirk. He bit his lower lip, his eyes scanning her from her shoes to her eyes.

Suddenly, his cellphone rang in his jacket pocket and without taking his eyes off her, he reached in and grabbed it. He swiftly glanced at the caller ID then answered, resting his elbow on the counter as he spoke.

"Bobby, what's up?" he answered. "Uh, yeah...? What? Okay, we'll be right there, Bobby, just hold on."

Dean hit end on his phone and looked at Sunny with fear in his eyes.

"We're gonna have to postpone that pie." he told her. "We gotta go. Now."

"Well- why, what's happening?" she asked, "Who's Bobby? Wait, Bobby Singer? Is that who you were talkin' to?"

He took her hand and rushed toward the exit before telling her what was going on.

"Yeah, you know him?" he questioned, as he pulled her across the street, dodging oncoming vehicles.

"Of course, what hunters doesn't?" she countered, struggling to keep up with him as he practically dragged her.

"I don't know but something's happening in Roux Falls and it's not good." he explained.

They made it to the motel and waited for Sam to let them back in. They noticed Ruby was gone but didn't ask about it.

"We gotta get to Bobby's, right now." Dean rushed his brother, grabbing their bags as Sunny hefted hers over her shoulder.

"What's happening at Bobby's?" Sam asked, worriedly, taking a bag from Dean and following him outside to the Impala.

"I don't know, all he said was shit's going down." Dean answered, tossing the bag into the backseat, where he allowed Sunny to slip in before shutting the car door.

Sam circled the car to the passenger side and got in, just as Dean turned the key in the ignition then peeled out of the parking lot.

It took them four hours to get to Bobby's house. As they got out of the car and headed for the front porch, the old mechanic opened the door and stepped out to hold the screen door open for them.

"What's going on, Bobby?" Sam was the first to ask as they all climbed the porch stairs.

"We'll talk inside." Bobby replied, then noticed the petite huntress tagging behind.

"Well, well, look what the Winchester's dragged in." he chuckled, outstretching his arms for her to hug him.

"Hey, Bobby." she greeted him, smiling.

She stepped back and sighed, noticing how much older he looked since the last time she saw him.

"It's been too long, girl." he said, seriously, "You forget how to use a phone?"

"I've been...busy, Bobby." she sighed, again.

"Yeah, yeah, you can tell me all about it once we're all inside." he pushed, closing the door behind him before locking it and joining the young hunters in the kitchen.

"So, why the big hurry to get here, Bobby?" Dean asked, impatiently. "You sounded like you were under attack or something. What's the deal?"

"I may have found a way to break your deal, idjit." Bobby replied, raising his eyebrows at the elder Winchester.

A/U: Dun dun dun! I know it's not eventful or action-filled- it's more of a filler before the real suspenseful stuff happens. At least it's long, right? Lol. Anyway, did Bobby really find Dean a way out of his deal? We'll see next chapter! (I'm so glad I had some extra time to get a chapter done for this fic. I really want this to work out because I love writing canon/AU fics and I love reading other author's canon fics during seasons 3 through 6. This fic may go up to season 6, depending on how well it does. It's supposed to end at Swan Song but since I already have a few season 6 canon/AU one-shots, I could continue through season 6, adding the one shots I already have done- maybe even alter them a bit to make them more interesting and believable. We'll see! Please review!