A/N: This is set just after Swan Song, say within a couple weeks. And, no, I didn't take time to re-watch that episode and every one after it, so if something is wrong don't hold it against me. Blue Peanut MandM gave me these lyrics via a challenge in the form of a text message and the images hit me like a bus after I read them. This was just supposed to be a short one shot. Thanks for my next fic, Gill! Love ya Sis!

It's like someone took a knife

Edgy and dull

And drove a six inch valley

Through the middle of my soul

At night I wake up

With my sheets soaking wet

And a freight train running

Through the middle of my head

-Springsteen "I'm on Fire"

A Knife In My Soul

"You know if we do this… I'm not coming back."

"Sam…"

"Dean, you gotta promise me something… you gotta promise me you won't go pickin' that lock."

"You know I can't…"

"I want you to go to Lisa. Pray she's stupid enough to take you in. You go to football games and have barbecues. You stop hunting, live that normal, apple pie life Dean. You gotta forget about me."

"SAM!" Dean sat up on the bed, the chink of an empty whiskey bottle against the throw rug covering the wood floor the only other sound in the room besides his harsh breathing and the pulse hammering in his ears.

"Dean?" Lisa asked, her tiny hand at his elbow. "I know better than to ask you if you're okay."

"'M alright." Dean scrubbed the back of his hand across his forehead, knuckles coming away glistening, eyes burning because of more than just sweat. He kicked the tangled sheet off his legs and stood, his whole body shaking. "Go back to sleep." He lurched from the room, bracing himself on the door frame before disappearing into the dark hallway. Dean staggered into the bathroom, leaning against the sink. He pulled his sodden tee shirt away from his chest, feeling the clammy sweat as it soaked the material clear down to his navel in a v.

He turned the cold water on full and cupped his hand beneath the stream, letting it chill his fingers until they stiffened before he brought it to his face. Dousing his stubble took his breath away but did little to clear the images from his mind. He saw Sam jump into that hole-diving into the pit- as if he was there again, leaning against the fender of the Impala, broken and bloody. His vision turned white and he gripped the vanity top until his knuckles cracked. Turning quickly, he barely made the short distance before he gagged and whiskey burned his throat for the second time.

Finally empty stomached and exhausted, Dean turned back to the sink, quickly rinsing his mouth. He finally looked at himself in the mirror. New lines ringed his eyes and mouth, his freckles stood out across the bridge of his nose and dark circles ringed his bloodshot eyes. Those same bloodshot eyes shifted to the laundry hamper and caught sight of the jeans and flannel that he had worn earlier in the day and, before he knew it, his sweats were on the floor in a heap and he was pulling the worn jeans up over his hips. He left the bathroom and flew down the stairs, automatically avoiding every noise making step he had learned over the week he'd been living this apple pie life.

Some life… stashing whiskey in every cupboard, drinkin' myself into oblivion.

"Forget me, Dean. You gotta forget about me."

"Over my dead body, Sammy." Dean whispered.

In the living room, Dean grabbed the pen and paper that rested by the telephone.

Lis,

I tried. I did. But right now I just gotta figure out where my head is.

I don't want to burden you with this. I'll check in, I swear.

I do care for you and Ben.

-Dean

He grabbed his coat and the duffel bag he kept packed from the entry closet and headed for the beige Ford in the driveway. Stopping, he glanced at the truck then back at the shed beside the house. The truck remained still and the Impala roared into the night.

Sunlight streamed through the windshield, making Dean's eyes burn. He finally pulled over into the parking lot of a motel. He got out, back cracking from sitting for so long. As near as he figured, he'd gone about a hundred and fifty miles and both he and his baby were running on fumes.

"Can I get a room?" Dean asked when he walked in, barely even glancing at the desk clerk.

"Single or double?" The old man asked.

"Doub- no. Single." Dean signed the log book with the name on his fraudulent credit card. Realizing he had to glance at the card before he handed it over, it hit home just how tired he was.

"Check out is at ten in the morning. You look like you could use some sleep."

"Yeah." Dean left the office without another word, walking down the short sidewalk to room seven. He didn't even collect his duffel bag from the back seat of the Impala. He opened the door, chucked his coat onto the chair by the door and collapsed on the bed, not even bothering to take off his boots.

"Dean, what are you doing?"

"Sam?"

"Go to Lisa. Dean, live normal." Sam emerged from the fog that surrounded them. To Dean, he looked leaner, his face a little more pale, another line in his forehead, shadows under his blue green eyes.

"God." Dean breathed. "Sammy. Are you out?"

"No. You're dreaming, Dean."

Dean sat up with a cry, hair matted to his head with sweat and lines on his cheek from the pillowcase. Through the thundering of his pulse in his ears he realized his phone was ringing. As much as he knew it was Lisa and he should answer, he couldn't get his breathing under control and he was constantly swallowing hard to keep from puking. It wasn't working as Sam's image came to his mind again. Dean barreled into the bathroom, retching again. He finally sat back, his shoulder blades against the tub. His sweat soaked shirt chilled quickly against the cool metal.

He pulled his knees up to his chest, parking both elbows on his knee caps and shielding his eyes with both shaking hands. He hiccuped, acid burning his throat again. He managed to not dive for the toilet again.

"I tried, Sammy. I did." Dean said to the empty room, his voice breaking miserably. "I did." Dean's shoulders shook as he finally let his loss take him under. He cried for his dad, his mom, Jo and Ellen, everything he missed in life. Part of him cried for his lost relationship with Cassie, then Lisa and Ben. Of every lost person in his life, of every image that flooded his mind, of the parts of his armor that chinked away with them, all of him died with Sam.

Dean started awake, eyes gritty, back and neck screaming in protest of his position wedged between the reasonably clean toilet and the cold metal bathtub. He remembered checking into the motel after his flight from Lisa's. His burning eyes reminded him he'd lost his mind. He stood, pins and needles in his feet from lack of circulation. Stumbling to the sink he washed his face and rinsed his eyes, finally looking in the mirror, not at himself but at the window he saw in the reflection of the room behind him. The moon was on it's descent, low in the sky, and a red glow beginning to lighten the horizon in the east.

He left the bathroom, squinting when the early morning light flooded the room as the sun broke over the trees. He went out to the car, grabbing his bag from the back seat and walked back into his room. He shaved, the buzz of his razor waking him up, took a shower and put on fresh clothes. Towel drying his hair into fresh spikes he tossed his towel to the floor, gathered up his discarded clothes and packed them into his duffel.

Dean stopped short, fingers slowly pulling the pistol that was tucked beside his clothes when he heard a thump at the motel door. He took the gun off safety with a soft click and made his way silently to the window beside the door, gun held so that if someone broke in he could quickly take them down. He peeked out the gap in the curtain without moving it, seeing no one. He looked down and dropped his gun to his side when he saw a rolled up newspaper laying on the mat outside the door. Dean opened the door and picked up the paper. Opening it up, he tossed it down on the table and was about to turn away when a headline caught his eye.

Two Missing in Two Weeks. Search Suspended.

Dean read the article, then re-read it, the clues coming together in his head and he soon realized that this was a possible hunt. The two hikers, both doing solo treks through the mountainous region outside of town had disappeared. He read that the area was densely wooded but hundreds of years ago had been clear cut and mined. He read on that the search had been called off temporarily because of the terrain and the difficulty of maneuvering in the area. They were calling in an advanced search team to go in on foot and crisscross the area, but that the team was traveling back from a search for earthquake victims in another country.

Dean knew there was something in the woods, or the mines, that had claimed those two backpackers. He would be damned before he would let it claim anyone on those search teams.

Dean grabbed his duffel and the motel room key and headed for the office. He looked at the old man who he vaguely recalled having checked him in last night. "Checkin' out." Dean said as he placed the keys on the counter.

The old man grabbed the ledger and scanned through the short list of names. "Sleep well, Mr.… Morrison?"

"Uh…sure."

"Well, take care." The old man said, giving Dean a look like he knew something.

Dean turned to walk out of the office seeing a shelf of pamphlets beneath the window. He grabbed a map of the region. He held the pamphlet up to the clerk, nodded and left. Dean tossed his bag in the back seat of the car. He got into the Impala and fired the engine, eyes steadfastly looking away from the passenger seat. He fired the engine, his heart skipped two painful beats, one for missing his baby and the other for missing Sam.

Dean looked at the map and figured out where might be the most likely hiding place for a potential monster, then figured out the best way to get there. Pulling the car into gear, he exited the lot and headed out of town.

"Here we go." Dean said as he cranked the steering wheel some forty-five minutes later, pulling the car into a trail-head that looked like it hadn't seen use in years, the trees closing in on the clearing. Dean got out and opened the trunk loading his pistol with silver bullets, placing several kinds of spare ammunition, water, a small medical kit, a hand full of light-sticks, salt and accelerant, the map, and a shotgun in a backpack. He put it on the ground several feet from the Impala and went to the trees, cutting brush and gathering leaves and debris. He carefully covered his baby to make it look like it wasn't even there.

Shouldering the pack and double checking the pistol that he had tucked in his jeans, Dean began the trek up the little used trail. About a half hour in he pulled the map from the pack and checked the trails, finding a landmark on the horizon that he could pinpoint on the map. He estimated he was two hours steady hike from where he was to the site where the backpackers disappeared. "I hate camping." Dean muttered as he brushed past a sapling and went deeper into the woods.

The sun was high in the sky when Dean stopped, pulling the water bottle from his pack and taking a drink, wishing it was whiskey. He stopped, hand going to his gun when he heard something run through the trees ahead of him at a very fast pace. It didn't care about snapping twigs and waving branches. He turned abruptly when the same sounds came from his right. Dean saw a flash of movement but it was gone before he could tell what it was or aim his gun. "Sonuvabitch." Dean muttered beneath his breath.

He walked along the trail, ears alert for even a mouse scampering through the detritus, clearing his surroundings with the pistol as he swept it one eighty in front of him. Every few steps he would turn and check his back, fervently wishing he wasn't alone. He walked for several hundred yards without hearing anything at all and it didn't sit well with him. The birds, even the insects, were completely silent and he couldn't shake the feeling he was being watched. The predatory stare was practically burning a hole in the back of his neck.

Finally, little by little, the creatures around him came to life. The cicadas in the trees started chirping, a squirrel jumped from branch to branch, bushy gray tail twitching as he chattered at Dean's intrusion beneath his canopied territory. Birds began singing and Dean saw something step out of a tangled thicket. Blinking, Dean lowered the gun he had automatically trained on the tiny spot between the doe's eyes. He grabbed his trail map again and checked landmarks, realizing he was only a mile from the biggest of the mine systems in the area. Dean tucked his map away, and although still aware of his surroundings, stepped up his pace, making it to the mine grounds before the sun was high above the canopy.

Signs with faded paint and hazmat graphics warned him of the potentially dangerous substances left over in the hundred fifty year old mine. No Trespassing greeted him from the top of the doorway and Danger of Collapse signs made him want to rethink not calling Lisa, Bobby… someone. "Sammy, wish you had my back here, man."

"I do, Dean."

Dean turned a full circle, gun coming up again at the whispered voice. Seeing nothing, hearing nothing but the birds again, Dean shook his head. "Ah, screw it." Dean said, reaching into his jacket pocket and coming out with his hip flask. The whiskey burned on its way down. "I'm losin' my freakin' mind." He croaked. He tucked the flask back in his pocket and raised his gun at the tunnel entrance, barrel crossed over his flashlight. "Here goes nothin'." Dean took his last breath of clean forest air and disappeared into the musty darkness of the century old mine. He could see where the flashlight illuminated and no further. His senses came fully alive, listening for anything monster like deep into the darkness of the echoing cavern.

He walked beneath the wooden beams that held up the roof of the old mine, portions of rusted railway track visible in parts of the tunnel, buried under sediment in others. Dean took it slow, his walk completely silent, marking his trail with the glow sticks as he pulled them from his pack. Only his heart hammering in his ears, loud enough that it could have echoed, and his breathing gave away his presence at all.

"Be careful, man." Dean jumped at the whispered words, swearing he heard them, swearing they were all in his head, the hopes of a desperate man. The fine hairs stood up on the back of his neck as he ventured deeper into the mine tunnel. A few hundred yards in and he came to a split in the shafts. He moved to the middle of the two entrances, feeling a sluggish breeze coming from the corridor on the right, the one that went deeper into the mine. A horrible smell assaulted his nose, making him gag reflexively.

"Oh, that is so not good." Dean said, covering his nose with his gun hand while he panned the light as deep as it would go into the tunnel where the smell came from. Which wasn't far, maybe ten feet. Dean shook his head once, marked his path, and disappeared into the darkness. He panned the light around him, gun ready. Seeing the tunnel widen into a room with a rotted up mine cart, a broken section of track and some deteriorated rope and pulley system pinned into the rock above him, Dean realized he was in the main hub of the mine. The smell grew rapidly stronger and Dean shone the flashlight around him. Seeing tattered scraps of blue fabric and a broken bungee cord, a bad feeling settled deep in Dean's stomach. The flashlight cast an odd shadow on the wall, like it had lit on something dangling from the ceiling.

"Sh-" Dean broke off abruptly, turning the light away from what he saw. Catching sight of another tangle on the floor, Dean found what was left of the second victim, not even enough to tell male from female, nearly everything gone except for a mangled foot and scraps of bone. Perversely his attention was drawn back to the other victim.

Tangled in the half rotten rope was the body of one of the backpackers. One arm was missing from just below the elbow, the shirt rended into strips by what looked claws from the scratches that marred the discolored torso. Bite marks were visible in the young man's neck, on his left cheek. Portions of his scalp were torn away to reveal bloody bone. The hiker's cargo pants were in tatters, his thighs not faring much better. Whatever was living in this mine was feasting on the man. Dean forced himself to walk around, shining the flashlight on the body as he circled the man. What he saw when he got to the hiker's back made him feel sick. Every one of the guy's vertebrae was exposed and cracked open in a pulpy mess. His spinal cord was gone.

"Ugh, what the hell?" Dean whispered, dropping the flashlight's angle again, the image of the broken bones and mangled flesh burned into his brain so that he saw it clearly even in the darkness.

Dean whirled when he heard something rustling in the darkness. His light caught a shadow and the flash of something grayish and shiny in the corner of the chamber. It moved too fast for Dean to focus on. He tried to follow it with the flashlight but lost it. "Damn it." Dean lowered the gun slightly, dropping his pack to the floor, and trying to find the creature. He heard the rustling again, this time behind him. He spun and fired the gun, sending a bullet pinging off into the darkness. A harsh shrieking growl hurt Dean's ears as it rang out in the recesses of the cavern.

"Dean, look out!" The whispered voice in his ear had him spinning. Just in time too, because the beast barreled out of the darkness and took a swipe with talons that would have ripped Dean in half. It caught his jacket and ripped into the flesh of his shoulder.

"Gah!" Dean cried, pulling away from the creature. Red eyes glinted in the erratic light of the swinging flashlight, and jagged, yellowed teeth gleamed with saliva. Dean's shoulder burned and he felt blood dripping down his back, but he didn't take time to examine it because the rustling came closer again, the beast snarling as it bore down on Dean. It took him down hard, his shoulder screaming as he landed on it.

Dean came face to face with the jagged teeth and fetid breath. He turned his head as slimy drool dripped onto his cheek. He planted both hands, one still holding the pistol, around the creature's corded, leathery neck and tried to keep the thing from biting him. It was snarling and writhing, trying to get it's jagged teeth into Dean's throat.

"Get…off…me!" Dean cried, finally shoving the creature away so that he could turn the pistol and fire. The gun went off and the creature grunted, letting go of Dean and scrambling away, growling. Dean crab crawled backwards, back smacking off an outcropping in the cavern wall. He pulled the gun up and fired again as the creature lunged. The bullet slammed into the creature's low forehead and exited the back, blowing straggly gray hair and bits of brain and scalp outward. Dean scrambled for the flashlight as the creature's body dropped to the floor. He shone the light on the creature, watching as the body changed, the talons retracted and the long, distorted arms and legs shortened, becoming more human like. The color warmed from gray to the shade of lifeless flesh and the face smoothed to that of an aged man, the ridge of the eyebrows, beneath all the gore, lost some of its prominence, the teeth receded to those of a person, showing years of wear and the normal staining of a long life.

Dean focused the flashlight on the face of the man. And recognition dawned. "Holy… It's him." It was the old man from the motel. Dean thought the old guy must have been at least seventy.

Dean's shocked mind finally registered the pain in his shoulder and the blood soaking into his clothes. He tucked his hand into the neck of his jacket and hissed when his fingertips touched the edge of a painful gash.

Pain radiated down through his torso. He pulled bloody fingers out of his jacket and wiped them on his pants. Looking at the corpse of the old man and the destroyed remains of his victims, Dean knew he had work to do. He pulled his knife and cut the victim out of the tangled rope, laying the man over the dry remains of the mine cart. He salted the corpses, and sprayed lighter fluid from the canister over the corpse, going through the tattered backpack and looking at what was left. He found an ID, and a picture of the man with a young woman. Dean put the wallet in his jacket pocket and put the backpack on the makeshift pyre. He then did the same thing with the old man, salting and preparing to burn the carcass.

Dean pulled his lighter out and carefully flicked it to life, figuring there was no dangerous gasses since there was air moving through the tunnels. It guttered slightly in the breeze. Dean quickly touched it to the fluid soaked corpses of the victims, backtracking to the old man, which was closer to his exit. The smell of burning flesh quickly overtook any fresh air in the tunnel. Dean grabbed his backpack off the floor and quickly exited the tunnel, the soft green glow of the light sticks leading him back along the way he'd came.

He moved fast along the tunnels, his chest tightening as smoke billowed behind him. His shoulder throbbed.

Dean finally saw daylight and made his way outside, coughing on the fresh air. He saw the moon rising. Dean turned and saw smoke rising out of air vents in the mine. It dissipated quickly and wasn't noticeable. He pulled the wallet from his pocket and looked at the picture and the ID again. Knowing what he was going to do, he started the long trek back to the Impala. He had to take care of his shoulder.

Two hours later he walked back to the clearing, tired and aching. His shoulder burned, the material of his shirt long glued to the dried blood. He threw the camouflage off the Impala, trying not to move his arm too much and break the wound open again. He wearily got into the car and fired the engine. Pulling out of the trail-head and back onto the road. He headed back into town, carefully avoiding the motel where the man-monster was the desk clerk. His concentration began to waver as fatigue caught up with him.

"Easy, man."

The whispered voice startled Dean awake and he straightened up the car in her lane. "Damn. I think I'm out of it, Sammy."

"Just one mile at a time, Dean."

"Yeah, I know." Dean sat up straighter on the seat, cleared his throat and glanced at the passenger seat in the silent car. It reminded him that the voice he heard, the voice he missed so much, wasn't real. Dean finally passed through town and pulled into the motel lot at the other end. He climbed out of the car with a groan and checked in with the clerk, a tiny young woman. Dean smiled wryly, the thought going through his head that she could be a six foot tall werewolf knowing his luck.

He left the car where it was parked, grabbed his bag and the med kit and made his way into his room. He closed the door and turned. Dizziness swamped him and he stumbled, going to one knee. The med kit hit the floor and popped open. Dean felt heat boil through his veins and he realized something was wrong. By then, his world was going black.

"Dean, what are you doing?" Sam said as he walked out of the same jungle like hot mist that had Dean gasping for breath.

"Sammy?"

"You're giving up." Sam said, his tone accusing. He looked thin, dark circles beneath his eyes. He looked…beaten. His grayed out eyes flashed with a bit of their old teal fire. "After you promised me, you're gonna lay down and die?"

"Sam…"

"No, Dean. I went to hell, I'm being skinned alive right now, you know. And you are just gonna stop fighting? I'm not gonna lose you. I think you're the only thing keeping me from screaming right now, Dean… the only reason I don't let Lucifer and Michael turn me to ash. You are gonna wake up, patch yourself up and get your sorry ass back to Lisa. You love her and you love that kid and you live 'til you're old and gray. You die in your sleep next to her. You DON'T let some freak take you down so that you die by yourself in some pay by the hour roadside motel!"

Dean snapped awake, the room spinning as he tried to get his eyes to focus. He pushed himself up on his good elbow, caught his breath and forced himself to his knees. He leaned over slightly and reached for the med kit as another wave of heat scorched him from the inside out. The room dulled around the edges again.

"No you don't!" He felt hands grip him gently and take the med kit from him.

"Sammy?" Dean slurred.

"No, babe." Lisa said, looking at Dean's unfocused eyes, feeling the heat burning through him.

"Lis?"

"Dean, talk to me. It's pretty obvious you're hurt." Dean allowed himself to be eased into the chair. Lisa moved to take Dean's coat off his shoulders, stopping abruptly when Dean grimaced.

"Ah, easy Lis. Fugly screwed my shoulder." Lisa gently helped Dean out of his jacket, eyes blurring with tears when she saw the dried blood and the wound on the man she cared so much for. She blinked the unexpected emotion away and focused, talking to Dean when he slumped slightly in the chair.

"Hey, stay with me."

"How'd you find me?"

"Shh, shh. I have to cut your shirt off."

Dean snickered, another wave of heat scalding him. "Tryin' to get me naked."

"I don't have to try that hard." Lisa said, a small smile pulling up at the corners of her mouth. She opened the med kit with one hand, the other quickly steadying Dean when he slumped. "Dean!"

"'M'ere." Dean slurred, steeling himself. Lisa reached into the med kit and pulled out scissors, making quick work of the shoulder of Dean's flannel and gray tee. She split the flannel up the back and took it off in two pieces, Dean concentrating on staying conscious and upright. Then she cut the tee up the sleeve and through the collar, pulling the front down.

"Stay here. I'm gonna get some water so I can soak the blood loose without pulling at your wound." She quickly grabbed the plastic ice bucket and went to the bathroom, filling it with lukewarm water from the sink. She dumped a hand towel into the water and returned to Dean. She rang out the towel just until it stopped dripping and folded it, gently laying it over the congealed blood matting the fabric fast to the wound. Dean hissed, but quickly brought himself under control. When the area became damp Lisa removed the cloth and gingerly pulled the tee shirt away from the wound. "It's nasty, looks a little infected but doesn't need stitches." Lisa cleaned the wound expertly with antiseptic soap. As she reached for a bandage Dean stopped her.

"Holy water."

"What?"

"Douse it with holy water, Lis. I don't know what the hell that thing was yet, but it ate some dude's spine. I'm not takin' any chances."

Lisa paled beneath her tan. "I really didn't need to know that." She murmured. She reached into the kit and pulled out a small flask with a cross engraved on it. "This it?"

"Yahtzee." Dean said, his demeanor less delirious, just more tired sounding. "Hand me that one." She gave Dean a look as she held out the other flask. Dean twisted off the cap and took a swig, grimacing as the Jack Daniels burned his throat. Lisa held a gauze sponge beneath the wound then poured the water over it. Dean hissed as the water bubbled, interacting with something in the wound. Lisa swabbed the wound when it stopped bubbling, then dried it gently with another piece of gauze. She applied butterfly bandages to the upper end, the deepest part of the slash. Putting antibacterial ointment over the whole wound she then covered it in dry, sterile gauze and taped it down. Rummaging through the kit again she came up with two antibiotic tablets and two pain pills.

"Here, I don't want you turning into anything that's gonna eat my spine." Dean took all four pills in one go with a swallow of whiskey. Lisa helped him stand and lower himself to the bed careful to lay so there was no weight on his shoulder. "Get some rest." She said as she smoothed her tiny, alcohol scented hand across his forehead. Dean involuntarily leaned into her touch and his eyes slipped closed.

"Hey, Dean." Sam stepped out of the shadows, the fog gone. His face was still covered in shadow.

"Sammy?" Dean said, looking his brother over.

"I'm glad she came for you. You need her. You almost died."

"Sometimes…."

"No Dean. Don't ever say you wanna die. I can't stand to hear you say that." Sam's voice broke on a exhausted note.

"Why Sammy?"

"Because… knowing you're up here, knowing you're alive, knowing you're living a life, a good life… it's the only thing that keeps me going. It's the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind. It's the only thing that keeps me from screaming at them, begging them to finish tearing me apart."

"I didn't know that." Dean murmured.

"Whatever you do, Dean, please, go home with Lisa. Live a good life. Try. For me. Be happy with Lisa and Ben. Give me something to hold on to, man."

"Sammy, why are you here?"

Sam smiled slightly, a deeper shadow crossing his face. His shoulders lifted in a barely perceptible shrug. "Coping mechanism, maybe?"

"For who? 'Cos let me tell you, I'm not coping real well."

"I know." Sam said quietly. "Not real sure I am either." An odd look crossed Sam's face. "Dean, I need you to promise me something."

"What?"

"Go home with her. She's waiting for you to wake up. She loves you, man! She came after you when you ran, she'd do it again. Please…go…live, Dean."

"You want me to go home, slap some glued on grin on my face, drink beer with the neighbors and forget about my brother?"

"I need to know you can do that. Laugh any way you can."

"I swear I'm not gonna stop until I spring you from that cage. If it means another deal, I'll kiss the devil himself!"

"Dean…" Sam sighed. "Go home. Raise that kid to be the man you are. Love her back."

Dean blinked back sudden tears. "Not me, Sammy. Not the man I am. You."

"Go." Sam stepped back into the shadows and Dean woke up.

He turned his head on the pillow and looked in the direction of the sound of soft breathing and the smell of delicate perfume. Lisa had her legs pulled up and was tucked into the upholstered wing chair that sat in the corner beside the queen size bed. She was sleeping peacefully.

"Lis." Dean said softly. She jumped awake. "Sorry," he said.

"Oh, hey. You're awake. How do you feel? Not gonna eat me or anything are you?" Lisa smiled and lowered her feet to the floor.

"I'll live. And I'll only eat you if you want me to."

Lisa chuckled and shook her head. "Yeah, you're normal."

"I wanna go home." Dean sat up on one elbow and watched her face for a reaction. "If you'll still have me."

Her eyes lit up and she blushed happily. "I guess you're not that much trouble."

"I do wanna do something when we get back home."

"What?"

"Have a barbecue and take Ben go-cart racing."

"You might need to heal up a little bit. Break that shoulder back in slow." Lisa said, sitting on the bed with him and curling up against his chest. He looked down at her and smiled, his eyes crinkling. He finally felt something small budge in his chest, like the brick weighing down his heart shifted just a bit.

Dean tucked his chin on top of her head, the smile fading from his face.

"Let's go. There's something I gotta do."

They gathered Dean's things and headed outside, Lisa to her SUV. She stopped with her hand on the door. "You aren't gonna run away from me again are you?" She asked, her eyes filled with worry.

Dean didn't answer, instead walking over to her. He cupped her chin and lifted her face, kissing her. "No. I'm done running."

Dean slid behind the wheel and started the Impala for what he knew would be the last time for a long time. Lisa followed him out of the parking lot and towards the edge of town. She stopped when Dean pulled into a post office. She watched him as he sat in the car fiddling with something for a few minutes and waited in her car while he went inside and walked up to a clerk.

"I need to mail this." he said, rolling the wallet gently out of the handkerchief he'd used to wipe his prints and wrap it in. The clerk nodded and reached for a small mailing box and a form for name and address.

"Just fill this out." Dean took the scrap of napkin he'd wrote the address on and transferred it to the form.

The clerk packed the wallet into the box and rang it up for postage. Dean paid the woman and left. He smiled and shot Lisa a wave. Dean got back into the Impala and hit the highway, Lisa following behind.

Dean glanced at the passenger seat, his heart missing one small beat.

I will staple a smile to my face if I have to. I'll live… but there's no way I'm gonna forget, Sammy. There's no way I'm not gonna miss you so bad I can't breathe. There's no way that this knife in my soul is gonna stop twisting every time I think about you. If there's any way to get you back, I won't stop until I find it.

A/N: This isn't the last you're gonna hear from me today if I'm on your list. I have a Three chapter Fic called Blood Torture coming up. I'm gonna post it all today because who knows when I'll have time to check in again. Might be another month. It's getting a little boring around here. Please let me a review? At least let me know you're reading.