Author's note: Guys, I apologize to those of you who tried to read a chapter 5 that wasn't there. I had some problems while uploading chapter 4 so I accidentally uploaded chapter 4 twice – which explains the fake chapter 5. So sorry for the inconvenience, I hope you'll forgive me. –Elisa.

Chapter 5.

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Dean's heart hammered wildly inside his chest as he watched his little brother lose conscious. His instincts had told him that Sam had been hurt but Dean hadn't realized how badly. The mud covering Sam from head to toe made it difficult for the older brother to see any immediate damage so he peeled off his jacket, put it on the muddy ground and carefully lowered Sam's head down onto it while muttering soft assurances he knew wouldn't be heard. Dean then moved around Sam to do a quick assess of his brother's injuries.

"Sorry." Dean said because, even though his brother was already shivering from being soaked by the rain, Dean was having a hard time seeing anything with all the mud covering Sam so he unzipped Sam's jacket to take a look inside it.

And then he wished he hadn't.

"Shit, Sam." Dean gasped, eyes widening in horror when he saw the crimson covering Sam's left side. "Shit, shit, shit."

Dean frantically lifted up his brother's shirt, winced a little when the shirt stuck to the bloody mess, and quickly searched for the source of the whole ordeal – his hands coated in Sam's blood by the time he'd found what he'd been looking for. There. A bullet wound; Sam had been shot.

"Oh Cramer, you're dead!" Dean growled.

On the bright side though, the bullet had grazed Sam's side more than penetrating it and Dean was relieved that it had gone straight through. However, it didn't mean that Sam wasn't still seriously injured. The youngest Winchester brother had probably lost a lot of blood, so Dean took off his over shirt and pressed it down on the bleeding wound – causing his little brother to let out a soft moan.

"I know Sammy, I know." Dean said and placed a couple of bloody fingers on Sam's neck to check his pulse, his heart swelling with love for the kid as he leaned into Dean's touch. How could a simple action like that always bring out those kinds of emotions in him?

Sam's pulse was luckily steady – although a little slow – and Dean made sure his over shirt was properly in place on the bullet wound, before he moved Sam's shirt back down and zipped his brother's jacket again, hoping the action would stop Sam from bleeding out on him before Dean could tend the wound.

Dean zipped the jacket all the way up to Sam's chin but zipped it a little down again since his eyes had caught sight of something on Sam's neck.

".. The hell?" Dean muttered with a frown and probed the purple marks covering Sam's neck.

It looked like someone had tried to strangle the younger brother which made Dean's anger reach new heights. Who had done this to Sam? Harvey Cramer? The ghost? Dean let out a deep sigh and stored the anger in his mental 'People to hurt for hurting Sammy' file. He could deal with that later – right now he had a brother to take care of.

"Alright Sasquatch, let's get you inside." Dean said, placed his arms underneath Sam's armpits and pulled Sam into a sitting position, before he braced himself for the weight he was about to put to his shoulders.

Anyone else than Dean Winchester would probably have left Sam to go find help because, despite the younger brother's love for what Dean considered healthy crap food, Sam was quite heavy and big as a truck and therefore not easy to manhandle. But Dean couldn't leave Sam hurt and alone by the side of the raging river; vulnerable to anyone or anything that might pass by, so Dean saw no other option than to carry his brother.

As Dean was crouched down in front of Sam, and had Sam's upper body half in place over his shoulders, an old song popped into his head.

'But I'm strong, strong enough to carry him. He ain't heavy, he's my brother. So, on we go.'

Dean shook his head and chuckled a little. Sam would never let him live that one out if he knew how chick-flicky his big brother could become in situations like these. Fortunately, Dean would never let him know.

"Geez, you weigh like a frigging ton, Sammy." The oldest Winchester brother complained, his face turning red in effort, when Sam was settled on Dean's shoulders in a fireman's carry.

He hadn't taken more than a few steps though before the ghost flickered into view in the rain in front of the two brothers, and before Dean could do as much blink she made impact with his chest – making Dean drop his brother while he himself was sent flying. Dean landed on his back on the muddy ground with an "Oomph!" - Dangerously close to the roaring river. Dean draped an arm over his midsection and groaned a little, had most likely cracked a rib or two. He turned his head and saw the shape of the ghost – blurred by the curtain of raindrops – on top of Sam and with her hands closed around the younger brother's throat.

"No." Dean said and ignored his protesting ribs as he pulled himself up from the mud and hurried in direction of Sam and the ghost. Where the hell was the damn shotgun?

"Hey!" Dean shouted. "Get off him, you bitch!"

The ghost turned her cold dead eyes on Dean and let out a snarl before letting Sam go to attack Dean instead. With the shotgun missing and his jacket (that contained a little flask with salt in a pocket) interred somewhere in the mud, Dean had no way of protecting himself when the ghost knocked him to the ground – his already aching ribs protesting with the impact.

"Why won't you help me?" The ghost hissed as her hands locked around Dean's throat.

Dean kicked his legs while trying to pry the strong hands away from his throat but it was a losing battle. She was just too strong. Dean gasped like a fish caught on dry land and just as he was seconds away from losing conscious, there was a blast from a gun and the ghost disappeared in a rain of rock salt. Dean gulped in large amounts of oxygen and started coughing a little while rubbing his sore neck. He moved into a sitting position, turned his head to see who had fired the gun and was quite surprised to see Sam starring back at him – shotgun in hand.

"Sam?" Dean said and coughed a little more before crawling to his brother's side.

"You okay?" Sam asked when Dean got close enough.

"Asks the guy who's been shot and almost choked to death by a ghost." Dean snorted and carded a hand through Sam's wet and muddy hair in an affectionate way. "But I'm fine. What about you?"

"Been better." Sam admitted which doubtlessly meant that Sam was feeling like crap.

"Uh-huh." Dean nodded. "You think you can stand?"

"Yeah, think so." Sam said and let Dean help him up from the ground.

Sam's legs buckled a couple of times but he eventually remained steady on his feet. Dean then pulled Sam's arm over his shoulders and snaked his own arm around Sam's waist before the Winchester brothers began the task of getting back to the hotel.

The road back was wet and slippery, the rain and wind working against them, but Dean never let Sam fall and Sam repaid the favor by staying conscious throughout it all – even though Dean had to take most of his weight in the process.

"You just stay with me Sammy, alright?" Dean kept saying and despite the fact that Sam had nodded his answer, Dean still wanted to hear his brother to vocal the obvious. "Sam?"

"I'm with you, Dean." Sam said in a tired voice, but Dean hadn't missed the way Sam's words slurred a bit and he was grateful when the entrance of the hotel finally appeared in the distance.

The brothers squinted when a sudden light hit their faces and someone yelled "They're over here!" before a small group of people came running towards them. Dean recognized the man leading the group as the sheriff.

"Jesus, lads! Are you alright?" The sheriff gasped when his eyes fell upon the brothers. "We've been searching for a while for the two of you! Did you fall off a ledge or something?"

"Something like that." Dean muttered and let the sheriff help him get a barely conscious Sam the last of the way inside the Blue River Mountain hotel.

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It took one very long and hot shower, some drops of whiskey, eight stitches, some antiseptic cream, a roll of gauze, antibiotics, pain killers, a couple of ice-bags and three blankets before Sam was situated - warm, drugged and asleep - in one of the hotel beds, snoring softly. The hardest part of it all had actually been to get the mud out of Sam's hair but Dean had rinsed his little brother's hair again and again – claiming that it had been the best solution because he hadn't wanted to hear Sam complain about it later.

"So you're not doing it out of the goodness of your heart?" Sam had asked while fighting to keep his drooping eyelids open.

"Of course not. Now you're just being delirious." Dean had shot back which had made the younger brother let out a soft snort.

Dean tugged the blankets closer around Sam's sleeping form and cleaned up the bloody rags from the floor of the hotel room before he was finally able to pick out some clean clothes from his duffel and disappeared into the bathroom to take a warm shower as well. When he had finished up in the bathroom, Dean flipped onto his bed and flicked the TV on – making sure to keep the sound on low as he watched over Sammy.

Two hours, thirty-three minutes and eight, nine, ten seconds later, Sam finally began to stir, so Dean picked up the remote, turned off the TV and turned his head to look at Sam as the younger man's eyes blinked open.

"Hey." Sam said in a bit of a rusty voice.

"Hey." Dean said. "How are you feeling?"

"Like something died inside my mouth." Sam said with a wrinkle of his nose and tried to moisten his dry lips a bit.

"Here." Dean said, propped Sam up against the headboard and handed him a bottle of water.

"Thanks." Sam sighed and took a long sip of the water before screwing the lid back on. "What happened to Harvey Cramer?"

"He's in custody by the sheriff." Dean said, wincing a little as his ribs hurt when he sat back down on his bed. "He'll be taken to the police station as soon as the bridge opens up again. And so will Catherine Cramer."

"Catherine Cramer?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, it turns out the little red-dressed lady is Harvey's sister." Dean explained. "And a murderer too. She and Harvey murdered three of the four victims; the old couple and the man who was drowned in the bathtub."

"Hang on, they murdered the people?" Sam asked in surprise. "What about the ghost then? And the first victim?"

"See, that's what I can't figure out." Dean said, got up from his bed and started pacing back and forth in the room. "Catherine confessed to have killed three of the victims with her brother, but she refused to have had anything to do with the man who got strangled. And I don't know where the ghost fits into this puzzle and why all the victims had symbols engraved in their skin – like you have. All I know is that Harvey and Catherine Cramer murdered their own family members because of some inheritance issues."

"What?" Sam asked.

"They were all related to each other and to the old hotel owner. He was Harvey and Catherine's uncle." Dean said and Sam picked up on that piece of information.

"The ghost is the daughter of the old hotel owner." Sam said and this time Dean was the one to look surprised. "The old hotel owner, George Baxter, had a daughter named Juliette who went missing when she was sixteen years old. He never got over the loss of her and ended up drinking himself to death."

"Catherine told me there was no will or anything indicating that there was something left of Mr. Baxter's fortune until recently; Harvey found a letter when he was checking out the hotel." Dean said. "Turns out Mr. Baxter had left his entire fortune to his daughter Juliette, in case she would somehow miraculously show up after his death. He wrote that he'd hid the money in the place she loved the most."

"The little stone house in the far end of the garden?" Sam guessed and Dean nodded.

"Mr. Baxter had hid the money in a secret room in the wall inside the house." Dean said. "Harvey and Catherine used to spend their holidays when they were kids at this hotel, and their cousin Juliette had shown them her favorite spot – the house – with the secret room. When Harvey Cramer found the letter, he'd instantly known where the money had been hidden but the hotel was about to be demolished, so he decided to buy the thing so that he'd got plenty of time to find the money."

"But then the rest of the family found out?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, apparently Catherine, her uncle Bernie and aunt Margaret plus their cousin Walther had found out about it as well, which is why they showed up at the hotel. They all wanted a piece of the cake, things got heated and Harvey and Catherine ended up deciding to kill off the competition." Dean said and looked out of the window.

The rain had finally stopped and the storm had drifted away. Dean couldn't wait for the bridge to open up again so that they could leave this place. They just had a ghost to deal with first.

"That could have been the reason why Juliette started hunting this place – her beloved little gardening house being blown upon by her own relatives." Dean added.

"Yeah, maybe." Sam said. "There's just something odd about it. I know she tried to kill us both but.. She also asked for our help."

"Yeah, I noticed." Dean said with a frown. "Perhaps she was the one who killed the first victim. I mean, he got strangled right? Fits with what she tried to do to us."

"I think you're right." Sam nodded and felt bad for the guy who hadn't been able to free himself from the ghost's cold fingers. "And she used the symbol because there's something she wants to tell us, but what? How she went missing? How she died?"

"Sam." Dean said and opened up the window to be able to get a better look at what had caught his sight a moment before. "I think I know what the symbol means."

"What do you mean?" Sam asked with confusion.

"Why don't you come see it for yourself?" Dean asked and helped Sam off the bed before leading him to the open window.

Sam was happy to see that it was no longer storming outside. The sky had turned clear and he was even able to see a little bit of the sunset in the horizon. He then looked down to see the backside of the hotel, the garden and the little house and then he froze.

"Now I'll be damned." Sam mumbled and shared a look with his brother who smirked in return.

The rosebushes, Sam had noticed in the garden, had a special form when you viewed it from above; it looked like two circles with a horizontal line cut across them – the symbol.

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"I still don't think this is a good idea." Sam said while Dean unpacked a set of ropes in the garden.

"Hey, I told you to stay in bed but did you listen?" Dean asked. "No. So stop complaining."

"I'm not talking about me; I'm talking about you and this stupid plan of you lowering yourself into an old well, Dean!" Sam said.

The brothers had walked to the rosebushes in the garden to figure out why this place was important to Juliette Baxter, and they'd found an old well in the middle of the 'symbol'. Dean and Sam had both been convinced that Juliette could have fallen into the well and had been killed that way, and if that was the case then there had to be a body on the bottom of it. Sam had also done some research about the first victim in the hotel who had turned out to be a contractor. The younger Winchester brother had remembered that Harvey Cramer had mentioned that they were planning to tear the whole garden apart to place a swimming pool there instead, which was probably why the ghost had decided to end the contractor's life so her body wouldn't be hidden away forever.

Despite Sam's protests, Dean had volunteered to climb into the well to check it out while Sam stayed in bed. Sam had only agreed to the plan after stubbornly deciding to join Dean by the well, but he still didn't like that his brother was gonna climb into that well.

"It's our only option, Sam." Dean said while throwing the other end of the rope into the well. "The ghost is desperate and we need to set her free before she kills more people."

Sam knew that Dean was right but he still shot his older brother a glare.

"Now stop being a bitch and light the way for me, okay?" Dean said before climbing onto the top of the well and closing his hands around the rope.

"You're such a jerk." Sam retorted but stepped to the edge of the well and turned on his flashlight nonetheless before moving the beam into the well.

Dean started lowering himself into the well and a little while later, he reached the bottom.

"Gross." Dean murmured as his legs were buried in cold water.

"Do you see anything?" Sam called from the top, his voice echoing against the stone walls.

"Not yet. Hang on!" Dean called back and then used his hands to start searching the water around him.

His hands kept grasping sticks and leaves and other not so delicious things, and Dean was about to give up when his fingers finally found what he'd been searching for. Dean lifted his hands up from the water and dragged a skeleton to the surface in the process.

"Found her!" Dean shouted to Sam before he pulled the skeleton up on a little ledge of the well.

He then reached into his pocket, pulled out some salt and lighter liquid and spread it on the bones before finding his lighter.

Sam was waiting impatiently by the side of the well where he was leaning forward and lighting for Dean. He couldn't see what his brother was doing down there though but from the sound of it, Dean had found Juliette's body. Sam pitied the girl and the old hotel owner – another family story that had ended too soon.

Sam suddenly shivered when a cold wind reached him. Or maybe the temperature simply just dropped. Oh no. Sam spun around and was one again finding himself face to face with Juliette Baxter but before any of them could make a move, Juliette started bursting into flames. At first she looked surprised but then a smile spread on her face and she looked at Sam with relief.

"Thank you." She sighed and then disappeared.

"You're welcome." Sam mumbled and smiled a little. Another restless soul had finally found peace because of what he and his brother did.

"Sam?" Dean called from the well and Sam turned around to see smoke coming up from the well. "What did you do to the lights?"

"Sorry!" Sam shouted and quickly put the flashlight back in place so that his older brother could climb back out of the well.

"I give you one job.." Dean complained when he was out of the well and shot Sam an annoyed look. ".. one job and you decide to go play in the garden instead."

"I said I was sorry." Sam said with a little wry smile.

"You say a lot of things, Sammy." Dean sighed but he smiled as well and gave his brother's shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Let's get inside and hear if there's news about the bridge. I can't wait to ditch this place."

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A little past midnight, the bridge was officially opened for traffic again and – even though all the guests of the hotel were more than ready to leave the place – the Winchester brothers were the first people to check out. Dorothy Cramer wasn't the one behind the counter this time and Sam wondered what would happen to her and the hotel now that her husband was about to be a convicted murderer.

"Excuse me." Sam said to the young man behind the counter. "Can you give this to Dorothy?"

Sam handed the guy George Baxter's old journal.

"I don't know if she wants it back but I only borrowed it from her, so I'm not gonna keep it." Sam added.

"I'll give it to her, sir." The guy said.

"Thank you." Sam said and nodded to the guy before leaving with his brother.

"Ah, would you look at her." Dean said with a huge smile when they reached the Impala and let a hand slide across her blank roof. "Oh baby, how I've missed you."

Sam snorted at Dean and opened up the passenger door but he then turned his head to look back at the hotel. Would Dorothy keep running it or was it about to get demolished for good?`

"Sam, are you coming?" Dean asked from the car.

"Sure." Sam said and gave the hotel one last look before sliding into the car beside his brother.

"You know what?" Dean said as he turned the engine on – the car coming to live with a roar. "Next time your geeky brain finds a haunted hotel you think is interesting, we're calling someone to do the job. I've had enough of hotels for a while."

"Yeah, I second that." Sam agreed with a nod of his head.

His body was still aching from all the damage that had been done to it and he was actually looking forward to check into a normal motel again. Dean drove away from the hotel, turned on the radio and flipped a bit through the stations before settling on a soft rock station that he knew would lull Sam to sleep within minutes. And he was right; Sam's eyelids soon began to droop and after a little while, the youngest Winchester brother was asleep with his head resting against the passenger window.

Dean chuckled a little, reached a hand into the back and pulled out a blanket that he draped around his sleeping brother. He then brushed Sam's bangs out of the younger man's eyes and turned his focus back to the road in front of him before he began to hum; He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

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Note: The song mentioned in this chapter is "The Hollies – He ain't heavy, he's my brother". I just love that song because it always reminds me of the relationship between the Winchester brothers that I cherish so much. If anyone's interested, here's the link to a Supernatural video containing that song – a video I made about Dean and Sam: watch?v=tPI0Vqiq8ds

Thank you so much for reading my story. Reviews are love! ;)