Summary: Tag to 7x23 – Hurt Sam, Big Brother Dean...and a few surprises – "While it is possible you will live..." the Alpha Vamp explained to Sam. "It is also highly likely you will bleed out by the time Dean is brought back to this side."

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Warnings: spoilers for 7x23, language

A/N: Summer break begins in a few weeks and completing my works in progress will be my primary goal. But for now, I could not resist adding this story to the stack...

If I could just see you, everything would be all right. If I'd see you, this darkness would turn to light. ~ Lifehouse

"Twice in one week..." the Alpha Vamp remarked, shaking his head at the wonder – at the desperate stupidity – of it as he circled the would-be trespasser.

"We found him trying to sneak in the back, and – "

The Alpha Vamp held up his hand to silence further explanation from one of his children; easily bored with hearing information he already knew, had already deduced.

Because it was obvious from where they stood that Sam Winchester had been caught trying to slip through the garden's back gate; had been planning to enter the house through the back door instead of the front this time.

But what was not so easily known...

"Where is your brother?" the Alpha Vamp asked; his tone suspicious; his gaze flickering around the small alcove as if he expected to see the older hunter hiding in ambush.

Because experience had taught him that where one Winchester was, the other was undoubtedly close by.

Sam swallowed thickly, shifting in the grasp of the two vampires who held him on either side; their grip unyielding as their long fingernails dug into his arms in their own silent warning about what would happen to him if he tried to escape.

The Alpha Vamp stared at his captive standing in the middle of the small room and sighed in that way adults do when dealing with ill-mannered children.

"Sam..." the ancient vampire called, his deep voice echoing against the stone walls that surrounded them. "It is rude to ignore a directly asked question." A pause. "So, I will ask it again." Another pause. "Where is your brother?"

Sam swallowed once more. "He's..."

But that was all he could choke out.

Because while it had been two days since Dean had disappeared, Sam still felt like throwing up anytime he made the admission aloud.

The Alpha Vamp arched an intrigued eyebrow at Sam's continued silence, studying the expression on the young hunter's face; an expression of loss and grief; of shock and fatigue; of defeat and desperation – an expression that could only mean one thing.

"He's gone," the Alpha Vamp concluded regarding Dean's whereabouts and saw the confirmation flash in Sam's eyes. "Huh," he further mused, snorting at the unexpectedness of such news. "Interesting."

Sam clenched his jaw at the pleased indifference in the Alpha Vamp's tone and posture as the ancient vampire finally stopped circling him and stood in front of him; arms crossed over his suited chest.

"I suppose the Leviathan showdown did not go as planned, then..." the Alpha Vamp further inferred.

Sam said nothing.

The Alpha Vamp nodded; knowing he was right even without Sam's response. "So, if Dean is gone..." he began, speaking in that slow elegant way of his. "...then why are you here? To what do I owe this..." He waved his hand in the air, calling forth the proper word to hide his contempt. "...pleasure?"

Sam shifted between his two captors, feeling both vampires simultaneously tighten their grip around his arms. "I need your help," he confessed; his tone as broken as he felt.

The Alpha Vamp laughed; a humorless, mocking sound. "Hunters are like stray cats," he explained to his children on either side of Sam. "You feed them once...and then you can't get rid of them."

Sam glared, feeling his anger begin to rise.

Because he didn't have time for this shit; Dean didn't have time for this shit.

If the Alpha Vamp wanted to make fun of him, fine. But he could do it after they got Dean back.

"Please," Sam added to his request, hearing the hard edge in his voice.

The Alpha Vamp shook his head. "I am not in the habit of helping hunters, Sam," he reminded the youngest Winchester. "I gave you my blood to aid in destroying Dick Roman because the Leviathans were a pain in my ass. They were forgetting their place and were becoming more trouble than they were worth. Plus, I dislike working with those I cannot trust."

"Same here," Sam agreed, holding the ancient vampire's gaze.

The Alpha Vamp chuckled. "Then I will ask you again...why are you here? Because surely you know you cannot trust me and that this – whatever this is – will not end well."

Sam sighed, feeling as shaky as his released breath sounded. "Because there's nobody else," he admitted, tears stinging his eyes at the truth of that statement.

Because Dean had been right – all of their friends were dead.

No Bobby or Rufus; no Ellen or Jo; no Ash or Frank or Pam; no Travis, no Caleb, no Pastor Jim.

There was only Sheriff Mills – who was a friend but not a hunter; and Garth, who was a hunter but not the kind Sam needed right now; and Charlie, who was neither a friend nor a hunter and had explicitly asked to be left alone.

There had only been two calls Sam had made over the past two days: Missouri Mosley – because he had needed the psychic's confirmation that he was headed in the right direction with his gut feeling; and Dean's voicemail – because he had needed to hear his big brother's voice.

Sam swallowed at the memory of Dean's familiar words in his ear; so close he could touch and yet so far away that he may never see him again.

Sam sighed, steeling himself against that possibility; because no matter what he had to do, he was going to see Dean again; was going to get his brother back.

The Alpha Vamp watched the young hunter standing mere inches away from him; strangely touched by Sam's obvious devotion to his brother; by a desperate man seeking desperate measures in desperate times.

The ancient vampire sighed, suspecting he would regret this; that a Winchester would be the death of him yet. "What do you want?" he asked, ever the gracious host. "My help to accomplish what?"

Sam's eyes widened slightly; surprised but encouraged by the Alpha Vamp's interest in his quest. "I want to open Purgatory."

The Alpha Vamp gave a startled laugh – deep and booming – and then abruptly stopped when he realized Sam was not joking. "Have you lost your mind?"

"More than once," Sam admitted and quirked a self-deprecating smile. "But not now. I know it sounds crazy, but – "

"It's suicidal," the Alpha Vamp corrected sharply. "Have you not already learned that nothing good can come from opening Purgatory's gates?"

Sam shrugged, because it didn't matter. "Dean's there," he stated simply, knowing that would be explanation enough.

And it was.

"I see," the Alpha Vamp responded after a beat of silence. "And you know this how?"

"I just do," Sam replied, once again shifting between the two vampires who continued to hold him in place. "When Dick died, he kind of...exploded. But I think he also created some kind of vacuum that sucked Dean and Cas out of this world and to wherever Dick ended up. And since most things return to where they came from when they die – "

"Then you assume Dick went back to Purgatory and thus that is where your brother is as well," the Alpha Vamp finished and nodded his appreciation of that logic. "But if he is not?"

Sam shook his head, refusing to entertain that possibility; remembering Missouri's confirmation that she felt him there as well.

"He's there," Sam stated confidently and held the Alpha Vamp's gaze.

"Fine," the ancient vampire allowed. "Let's say Dean is there. That still does not explain why you need my help. Thanks to the arrogant display of power put on by your angel friend last year which started this whole mess, you should know how to open the door to Purgatory by yourself. I'm sure a smart hunter like yourself would have kept the list of required ingredients."

Sam nodded. "I do know," he confirmed. "But I don't want to go through the front door like Cas did."

The Alpha Vamp arched an eyebrow.

"I want to go through the back door," Sam further explained. "I want to slip in without detection, find my brother, and then get the hell out."

The Alpha Vamp chuckled. "You kids..." he remarked, shaking his head at the naiveté of the young hunter standing before him. "Sam, I admire your optimism; especially in light of everything you have endured. But surely even you know nothing is ever that simple."

Sam stubbornly clenched his jaw; refusing to listen to reason.

"And besides..." the Alpha Vamp continued. "If your brother has been in Purgatory for more than one minute – and I'm assuming he has – then your efforts are more 'search and recovery' than 'search and rescue'."

Sam shook his head. "You don't know Dean."

"Maybe," the Alpha Vamp agreed. "But I know Purgatory...and I know the types of things that live there."

Sam shook his head again. "Dean's a good hunter."

The Alpha Vamp smiled. "So are they."

Sam swallowed at the implication. "No," he replied, refusing to believe Dean could not survive long enough to be found; long enough to be brought back.

The Alpha Vamp shrugged – because it made no difference to him – and then sighed. "Well, either way – whether your brother is alive or dead – what makes you think I can help you in gaining undetected entry into Purgatory?"

"Because it's your hometown," Sam quickly replied, having given this point extensive thought over the past two days. "Who else would know how to get into the back of their mom's house than one of her own sons?"

The Alpha Vamp chuckled at the analogy. "Clever," he praised. "And correct."

Sam smiled, allowing himself to feel a spark of hopeful relief.

"But..." the ancient vampire countered, holding up his finger in Sam's face; the long, curved, yellowing nail serving as a warning all its own. "I don't think you'll like my requirements."

Sam narrowed his eyes, hating the hesitation that momentarily rose in his chest; pushing it down as he reminded himself this was for Dean; that everything he had done over the past two days was for Dean; to get Dean back.

The Alpha Vamp smiled at Sam's expression. "Shall I share? Or will you be on your way now?"

Sam shook his head. "I'm not leaving," he informed, his tone daring to be made to do otherwise.

"Very well," the Alpha Vamp granted, something akin to respect shining in his eyes. "It will come as no surprise that opening the back door of Purgatory requires the same as opening the front – a blood spell."

Sam nodded, having expected as much but still feeling dread flood his chest; because specific blood was becoming harder to get these days. "Whose?"

"Mine," the ancient vampire replied. "As a native of Purgatory, my blood is required in this to serve as a tie to the place in which you wish to gain entry."

Sam nodded his understanding, though he hated having to ask for the Alpha Vamp's blood...again. "Are you willing?" he asked politely.

The Alpha Vamp quirked a smile. "I am if you are."

Sam frowned, tilting his head in confusion as he shifted between the two vampires still holding him. "What?"

"My blood is part of the spell," the Alpha Vamp restated. "But the second – and perhaps most crucial – part of this particular spell is your blood...and lots of it."

Sam shook his head, still not following. "Why?"

The Alpha Vamp sighed, hating how plainly things had to be explained sometimes for humans to process. "This is not simply a spell to open Purgatory," he told the young hunter. "It's not just an entrance spell but more of a locating spell. Because regardless of how much faith you may have in your brother to survive the living conditions in which he currently finds himself, I can assure you that there will be little to no time to find Dean once you arrive in my homeland. The blood of a first-line relative will act as a beacon; will connect over time and space and will draw Dean to you."

Sam nodded eagerly, cautious excitement making his heart beat faster. "So, Dean will be waiting at the gate...or whatever? And then we can escape together?"

The Alpha Vamp shook his head. "Better than that," he guaranteed, like a car salesman closing a deal. "If the spell works properly, you will not have to set foot into Purgatory; but instead, your brother will be drawn out. 'Zapped' back here just as he was 'zapped' there. For regardless of all the clichéd adages seeking to assure otherwise, there is no tie stronger than blood."

Sam nodded again, unable to dispute that claim. Because even though he had loved and had felt attached to numerous people over the years that were not related to him, none had come close to the love and attachment he had felt – and would always feel – for his brother.

Dean was all that mattered to Sam – was all that would ever matter – and that was why he would do whatever it took to get his big brother back.

"I trust that you have something that belongs to your brother out in that absurdly loud vehicle you drove here and have stashed down the street?" the Alpha Vamp further inquired, his gaze flickering to the door as if he could see the Impala from the small room. "Something that belongs to Dean but also has an attachment to you would be best."

Sam swallowed against the unexpected emotion that question brought forth; instantly picturing an ugly gold charm resting in a tangle of black cord as it sat tucked in the corner of his duffel bag; safely hidden beneath his clothes for several years now.

"Sam..." the Alpha Vamp called, leaning slightly forward; bringing his face closer to the young hunter's.

Sam reflexively drew back, feeling the two vampires increase their already crushing grip on his arms as they continued to hold him.

"Be still and answer the question," one of them growled and shook him for emphasis.

Sam glanced at the vampire who had spoken and then back at the Alpha Vamp still staring at him expectantly. "Yes," he replied, clearing his throat as the word sounded garbled. "Yes. I have an amulet that Dean used to wear."

The Alpha Vamp nodded and smiled. "Ah, yes. The God-detecting amulet," he recalled – having heard that rumor through the supernatural grapevine – and then chuckled at the absurdity of such an idea; wondering if the angels had really believed that nonsense. "That will work nicely for our spell."

"What will you do with it?" Sam asked, surprised by how protective he felt about his brother's necklace; having not rescued it from the trash and then kept it these past few years just to have it lost again before he found the right time to give it back to Dean.

The Alpha Vamp arched an eyebrow at Sam's tone. "Relax," he soothed. "I will simply pour the mixture of our bloods over this amulet, recite the necessary words, and – "

"I can do that," Sam interrupted, determined to play a key role in bringing Dean back this time; determined to not let some supernatural being return his brother from Purgatory as a supernatural being had done from Hell; determined to be the reason Dean was saved and not just a grateful bystander.

The Alpha Vamp stared at Sam, his expression unreadable. "While I would value your assistance and acknowledge its importance to you, I doubt you will be able to participate."

Sam swallowed, dread once again returning to knot his stomach. "Why not?"

"Because you'll probably be dead," one of the vampires remarked bluntly and then shared a snicker with his fellow vampire standing on the other side of Sam.

"Silence," the Alpha Vamp commanded sharply; his intense gaze warning against further unsolicited commentary.

Both vampires nodded and averted their eyes; bowing their heads in repentant submission.

There was a beat of silence.

The Alpha Vamp sighed, redirecting his attention to Sam. "My apologies," he offered graciously. "I do not tolerate rudeness from my children, and I assure you they will be punished."

"You're going to kill me?" Sam demanded, more angry than scared.

Because how was he supposed to see Dean again if he was dead upon his brother's arrival? What was the point of pursuing this spell if it only resulted in his death which would then jumpstart a whole new cycle of Winchester sacrifice?

The Alpha Vamp shrugged; the gesture more unknowing than indifferent. "There is a possibility you will perish in your efforts to save your brother."

Sam snorted...because this was un-fucking-believable. "So, you are going to kill me."

"No," the Alpha Vamp responded. "I do not presently have plans to kill you."

Sam frowned, confused. "Then what? You're going to turn me?"

The Alpha Vamp laughed at the notion. "Please," he drawled. "The last thing I want is a Winchester in my family."

Sam looked doubtful.

The Alpha Vamp sighed. "I give you my word that you will remain human," he promised and then paused. "So, do we have a deal?"

Sam blinked at the use of that term; uncomfortable with the reminder of crossroads demons; freshly angered at Crowley for double-crossing them even while he was helping them...which might be the Alpha Vamp's plan as well.

"What's the catch?" Sam asked, narrowing his eyes at the ancient vampire.

The Alpha Vamp arched an eyebrow. "Catch?" he repeated.

"There's always a catch," Sam replied, hearing his brother's cynical tone in his own voice.

The Alpha Vamp chuckled. "I am uncertain if I would label it a 'catch'," he responded. "I would be inclined to think of it more as the cost incurred for getting what you want."

Sam shook his head; could remember enough of law school – and had experienced enough of life – to recognize elegant bullshit when he heard it. "The catch..." he stated simply and waited for an answer.

The Alpha Vamp chuckled again. "I like you, Sam," he confided.

"Thanks," Sam replied dryly.

The Alpha Vamp chuckled once more and then sighed. "The 'catch', as you like to call it, is out of my control. While the spell requires very little of my blood – even less than I gave you for the Leviathan banishment – it requires a great deal of yours, since your blood is the beacon to which Dean will be drawn."

"Meaning?" Sam asked, his stomach beginning to knot.

"Meaning you will not bleed once into the cup and be done as most spells require. But instead, there will need to be a constant flow of your blood to power this 'supernatural search light' into the depths of Purgatory."

The Alpha Vamp paused.

Sam stared at him, wide-eyed.

"Meaning..." the Alpha Vamp continued. "It is highly likely you will bleed out by the time Dean is brought back to this side."

"Meaning the price of Dean's life is my death," Sam rephrased, feeling strangely detached; feeling familiarly ready.

The Alpha Vamp shrugged. "Possibly," he granted. "But this spell has never been attempted. It has always existed; but until now, no human has ever thought to ask about it. So, while it is likely you will is also possible you will live; that you will manage to hold on long enough and that Dean will return in time – and in good enough condition – to save you."

The Alpha Vamp paused again.

"Isn't that what you Winchesters like to do?" the ancient vampire asked the young hunter. "Save each other?"

Sam quirked a sad smile. "Yeah," he agreed. "That's what we like to do."

The Alpha Vamp nodded.

There was a beat of silence.

"So..." the Alpha Vamp began, staring at Sam. "What do you say to these two escorting you to your vehicle to retrieve that amulet, and then you and me getting started on igniting our little search light?"

Sam nodded, swallowing against the mixture of fear and hope that clogged his throat. "I say let's do this."

The Alpha Vamp returned the nod. "So be it," he granted and crisply snapped his fingers at the two vampires still holding Sam; watching as they led the youngest Winchester out of the room.