This is the fourth story in my series.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own or have the rights to anything of the Supernatural universe. I'm just playing in their sandbox.

May 21st, 2008

"Sam, I really think you should stay," Lizzy pleads one last time while watching him pack up the Impala in front of her old Victorian house. He'd shown up just yesterday, late in the afternoon, to give her the absolutely crushing news. They're both shattered messes, having spent the night sitting quietly across from each other in her living room, downing whiskey like it was water and not really knowing what to say to the other. There weren't words to explain what they felt anyways. Lizzy knows full well that he's in no shape to be on his own, not yet and, honestly, neither was she.

"Can't," is all Sam answers back with. He really can't find the strength to stick around, as much as he knows he should. He needs to leave and be alone for a while to sort things out in his head and figure out what comes next for him. Plus, being around her reminds him so much of Dean that it honestly, physically hurts. Not just because of the relationship they had and the love they shared but because she literally reminds him of his brother. There was a reason they got along so well right off the bat. They were so similar it was eerie. The way she says certain things with a particular inflection, the music she plays, her smartass comments, even some of the little physical things she does, like raise her eyebrows just slightly when she has an idea or a certain emotion hits her. He can't handle a living, breathing, constant reminder around him like that.

"Damn it, Sam," Lizzy says with frustration, once again reminding him of Dean with the way she says it, and reaches out to grab his arm to stop him from preparing to leave. "I'm worried about you. Stay with me for a little while, get yourself together first. Let me help you…"

"Help me what?" Sam interrupts with irrational anger. "Help me get over it?"

"No! God, no!" Lizzy shouts, leaning away a little with surprise at his tone. "There's no getting over this. Ever. I can say that with all confidence." She looks up at him with pleading eyes. "We're in the same boat here."

"Then how can you possibly help me?" he questions while shrugging his shoulder violently to get her hand off of him. She backs away, hurt deeply by his actions.

"Cope," she answers with her emotions taking hold. "I can help you deal with the pain without killing yourself. And… maybe you can… help me do the same." Her eyes gloss over as she admits just how bad it is. "I don't know how to do this either. I so don't know how to live with this, Sam. It's too awful. At least we can try and help each other, right? Please?"

Sam looks at the Impala quickly before turning back to her. He knows he should stay. It makes sense and she makes a good point. He needs her help and he wants to help her in return, God knows he does, but he doesn't know how he could when he can't even help himself right now. If he leaves now, it's going to get dark really fast and he knows it. But he can't stay. He just can't.

"Here," he says to her while reaching into the back seat and offering up one of Dean's prized possessions. "Hold on to this."

Lizzy reaches out and grasps the leather jacket Sam gives to her. Dean loved that oversized jacket, barely ever took it off. It went with him everywhere and it's seen as much as he had. She runs her fingers over the worn, brown colored hide with fondness. "Thank you," she whispers, touched with the generous offering. "Really Sam, I mean it."

Sam simply nods to her and begins walking to the driver's side of the car, opening the creaking door to get in. Lizzy runs around and heaves herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. If he's going to leave, she has to at least say a proper goodbye. Without Dean by his side, Sam scares her. She's terrified of where he'll go and what he'll do by himself with all the time in the world to think and rethink about everything that's happened. She wonders with fear when she'll get the chance to see him again and what condition he'll be in if and when she does.

"At least say goodbye to me, Sam-I-Am," she asks of him, using her favorite nickname to appeal to his loving side that she knows is still buried deep in there. He wouldn't have driven for over a day to tell her in person that Dean was in hell if it wasn't.

Sam turns around and gives her a real hug, squeezing tighter than either had expected him to. He's completely torn with the decision to leave and Lizzy can tell. She hopes this is a good thing.

"I love you, you know that," she looks up at him. "We're family. You're my brother from a another mother, right?" Lizzy gives him a slight smile, working hard to guilt trip him into being safe and smart. Sam just nods once more in return. "Good. And for that reason I expect a phone call once a week to let me know you're still running around out there."

"You gonna kick my ass if I don't?" Sam asks stoically, remembering the deal she forced Dean into so long ago. He's shocked to this day that Dean avoided the beating of a lifetime somehow considering how he treated her for nearly a year.

"Better believe it," she says back. Lizzy reaches up and places her hand on his cheek while staring him down. "You be safe," she sternly demands. "I'm not losing anyone else. I won't and really, I can't."

"Ok," he responds, just trying to assuage her long enough to get on the road.

Lizzy pulls him down and gives him a sisterly kiss on the lips before releasing her grip on him and letting him go, as much as she really didn't want to.

"Bye, Lizzy," Sam quietly parts and gets into the car. He starts it up and, giving her one last look, he drives off for the nearest highway with a rock firmly planted in his gut.

"Bye," Lizzy says to herself, saddened terribly by his far-too-soon departure. She closes her eyes while wrapping her arms around the heavy coat she'd just been given. Standing in the driveway alone, she inhales deeply with her face buried in the leather and lets the scent wash over her. It's him. He's still completely in there; leather, fried food, sweat, Gun Grease, shaving cream, and just pure him. She treasures this little gift Sam so caringly bestows upon her. Looking down the road, Impala long gone, she whispers as if Sam could still hear her.

"Please, just don't leave me for good, Sammy."

"So, Dean, is the three-hundred and sixty fifth time the charm with you?"

He quickly jerks his head around to seek out the source of the menacing voice, suddenly finding himself whole again. One piece, one solid piece that is ripe again for more tearing, slashing, burning. His head drops back on the solid rack he's strapped to in absolute frustration. A whole year, one long, torturous, horrid year and it was still just the beginning. Eternity lies ahead. This is impossible, he thinks miserably to himself. Looking to his side Dean finds exactly who he was looking for. An evil snarl he's come to know entirely too well stares back at him.

"Go fuck yourself, Alistair," Dean spits back, refusing the offer once again.

"Aww, I see you're still standing tall… or lying tall. Brave little soldier, you," Alistair quips, turning the gleaming razor in his hand and stalking his prey, coming closer, slow step by slow step. With a simple flick of the wrist through the air, Dean can feel the searing burn start from deep within his gut. "Well, wouldn't that drill sergeant of a Daddy be proud."

"Shut your fucking mouth," Dean coughs out, the blood trickling down his chin as his organs begin liquefying.

"Temper temper," the demon shames while wagging his finger. "Johnny-boy would be pleased. You're still defiant and strong, just like he was, even a year in. Such an obedient little puppy, still following Daddy's orders post-mortem."

"Just because he escaped on your watch, doesn't mean you should take it out on me," Dean winks boldly at the HBIC of hell. He's going to pay for that, he knows it. Even in the pit his mouth gets him in huge trouble.

"We'll see what a smart ass you are in a few more days… or months… or years. Happy first anniversary, sweetheart." At this Alistair laughs hardily as he drags his razor painstakingly down Dean's arm, the already damaged several times over soul screaming out with the utter agony.

"At last," Alistair begins singing, Dean's skin opening wider with each slice. "My love has come along."

"NO!" Dean cries out loud, the white hot, searing pain shooting up his arm.

"My lonely days… are over," the cruel voice continues, causing Dean to have chills at the same time as he breaks out in a sweat with the previously unimaginable anguish and he yells desperately, the sound falling on deaf ears.

"And life is like a song," Alistair whispers in his captive soul's ear, punctuating it with a grim chuckle. "It's only a matter of time, oh righteous one…"

Got to get booze. It's the one single thought running through Bobby's head. He needs to get drunk. His place went dry yesterday night and now he's desperate for another fix to drown out the constant ache.

He parks in front of the Mom n' Pop place downtown that he's been known to frequent. Bobby, much like every other hunter on Earth, uses alcohol and salt in the same quantity… fucking loads of it. Ok, he thinks, going to need to get a few bottles, enough to last through a solid week of depressive, abusive behavior. Better get more than a couple this time.

Pushing open the store's glass door, he hears the familiar jingle of the bells that alert the workers a customer has arrived. Bobby moves absent-mindedly through the aisles. He's been here so many times that he's on autopilot within its walls. Finding his shelf, he reaches down low as the stuff in plastic is usually kept at ground level. Reaching a hand out to his favorite shitty liquor, Bobby pauses. He reads the label of the bottle displayed next to it. It's Dean cheap bourbon of choice. Bobby's usually a scotch kind of guy, but today he makes an exception. He grabs four, no five bottles of his son's favorite and heads straight to the register.

"Hey there, Bobby," the cashier greets as Bobby plops the items on the counter.

"Dennis," he heavily responds, not making eye contact.

"The party with all the cool kids at your place this weekend?" Dennis questions with a grin.

"Somethin' like that," Bobby answers while taking out his wallet.

"Well, have fun then," the friendly man bids while looking over the purchase. "Hope you got some serious drinkers coming to help you out."

"How much?" Bobby impatiently asks. This small talk is killing him. It's wasting good drinking and forgetting time.

"Forty-eight fifteen," Dennis answers while bagging up the purchase, eyeing Bobby suspiciously.

"Here," Bobby drops an even fifty on the counter. "Thanks." He grabs the paper bag and strides swiftly out the door.

Once inside his car, he reaches into the shopping bag and pulls out a bottle. Cracking the cap off, he takes a couple big swigs while still in the parking lot. Wiping his lips on his sleeve, he replaces the cap and tosses it back into the passenger seat. He sighs loudly at his actions. He couldn't wait the five minute drive to start in on his road to drunk. Bobby sighs once while turning his keys in the ignition, ready to begin the process of more shit faced-grieving.