"You're in no shape to hunt. Bobby called some other hunters. We'll join in when you're ready."

"I'm ready now," Sam said, with a defiant look. He wasn't going to be responsible for the end of the world.

"No, Sam. You're not going anywhere. You're staying here," Dean stated, firmly.

That was when Sam realized his mistake. Dean was obviously his new master. It wasn't so bad. Dean treated him well and hadn't made him do anything really. He wouldn't try to escape, of course, so hopefully Dean would go on treating him well.

"What's wrong?" Dean asked. There had been a sudden change in Sam's demeanor.

"I'm sorry. I just didn't realize."

"Realize what?"

"That you're my new master," Sam said, hanging his head down. He really shouldn't be looking directly at him. Apparently talking was OK.

"What are you talking about? I'm not your master. You're not a slave anymore." He thought Sam had understood that. Apparently this was going to be a one step forward, one step back kind of thing.

"You told me I'm staying here. I'm your prisoner. I'm your slave."

"I just don't want you off hunting," Dean said digging out his keys and handing them to Sam. "You can go whenever and where you like. You're in charge of yourself. But, if you're going to leave, I'd appreciate it if you took me with you, so I'm not stuck up here."

Sam hesitantly took the keys. He wasn't sure if this was a test or not. Sometimes he was just so confused. He looked up at Dean. There was no self-satisfied sneer of how he had won something. Sam gave him a tentative smile and Dean smiled back. Maybe Dean was telling the truth. Maybe he wasn't a slave anymore.

SSS

The lake had an underground spring running away from it. A spring that happened to run right under Jason's house. Years ago a well had been dug in the basement. Jason had worked enlarging the opening and making a cage. And then he really put his engineering degree to use. He made a machine to lower and raise the cage. He was going to dip Sam underwater for 10 seconds and then let him up for 10. Dip him for 20 seconds let him up for 10. Dip him for 30 seconds, let him up for 10. He would continue increasing the increments until Sam stopped breathing. He remembered that the drowning s were the pathetic slave's least favorite punishment. He couldn't wait to watch the look of fear in his eyes. It had taken three weeks and he was afraid that they would leave before then, but they were still there. He would grab him tonight after they went to bed.

SSS

Sam and Dean had spent those three weeks fishing, hiking, just relaxing. Day by day, Sam began to trust in his future more. Dean was beginning to relax a bit, too. He wasn't constantly expecting demons to come looking for Sam. If they hadn't come yet, there was a good chance that the Sam part of their plan was over.

"Dean, we need to get back into the hunt," Sam said. "I let all those demons out. Everything that's been going on is my fault."

"We don't even know that anything is going on," Dean pointed out.

"I'm sure there is. We just don't know because we're in the mountains, cut off from civilization."

"OK," Dean said. "We go into town, get a paper, see if there's any talk and then decide what to do."

"You go. I'll pack and clean up here. Whether anything is happening or not, we should leave in the morning. Bobby's responsible for this place so we can't leave our usual mess."

"Well, then why don't we just wait to find out the news tomorrow?" Dean asked.

"Because we should make a plan. Besides, now that we're going to leave, I'm just anxious to know what's been happening."

"Well, you should come with me and then we'll both pack up and clean when I get back."

"Are you afraid to leave me alone?" Sam asked.

Dean didn't answer.

"I'll be fine. Just go."

"Fine."

SSS

Jason heard a car engine. He ran to the window. Only one of them was in the car and it wasn't the slave. He barely contained himself as he waited for the car to drive out of view and then he grabbed his gun and ran next door.

SSS

Dean had gone about a mile when he realized he had forgotten his wallet. He could probably snag a paper with no money, but he had a few other things they needed and it would be easier now then trying to do it in the morning when they left. He figured Sam was probably going to figure that he was checking up on him, but it couldn't be helped. He turned around and headed back.

He pulled up to the house and saw that the door was wide open. He wished Sam was more careful. He got out of the car and heard a crash from inside. He ran up to the porch and through the door. Sam was fighting with some guy. Dean recognized him as one of those guys that were with Sam in the cemetery. One of his "owners." Sam was holding his own, but Dean didn't care. He had promised himself that he ever saw one of those guys again, they were dead. Dean pulled out his gun. "Hey!" he yelled.

Dean figured he would turn and look up so that he would have a clear shot. That wasn't what happened, though.

SSS

Jason had figured that Sam would just submit to the gun. He always had in the past. But this time, he tackled Jason. The gun had gone flying out of his hands. Sam had gone for it and they had landed in a big heap on the floor. They were both reaching for the gun when Jason heard the car pulling up. When he heard the other one coming through the door, he knew he had to get his gun now, or it was all over. He punched Sam and grabbed the gun.

SSS

As Dean watched Sam roll away as his tormentor got hold of a gun, Dean squeezed the trigger. It hit Jason square in the back of the head and he let go of the gun.

"Sammy!" Dean yelled as he ran in between his brother and the man he just shot. He couldn't be absolutely sure he was dead.

"I'm OK," Sam muttered.

Dean sighed in relief and bent down to check the man's pulse. He didn't have one. Dean was glad. "Let's clean up our mess, burn his bones and get out of here tonight," Dean decided.

"I'm with you," Sam agreed.

SSS

They called Bobby when they got back into cell range and filled him in on what had happened. "How's the demon war?" Dean asked.

"They don't seem to have much of a plan. Hunters have been exorcising them right and left."

"Really?" Dean asked.

"Yep. There have been 50 exorcisms since the gate opened. That's probably half of what was let out in the first place. And I have some good news."

"Well?" Dean asked, when nothing else came from the phone.

"When one of the demons was exorcised his host was dead."

"That's not exactly what I would call good news," Sam said confused. Dean had put the phone on speaker, so they could both hear what Bobby had to say.

"He didn't have a tongue."

"So, it's finally really over," Sam said, afraid to believe it.

"It's finally over," Bobby confirmed. "Now, you idgits get back here and we'll see if we can't hunt down a few of these demons ourselves."

"Yes, sir," Sam and Dean agreed.

The End.