Chapter One: Brother

Warning: Contains some serious topics- suicide, mental illness, torture- and I do not wish to offend anyone. If you are not comfortable with the subject matter, please do not read.

Frozen in the place I hide

Not afraid to paint my sky with

Some who say I've lost my mind

Brother try and hope to find

You were always so far away

I know that pain so don't you run away

Like you used to do

-'Brother' by Alice in Chains

The first time he said anything was two weeks after the funeral.

He's still grieving, I thought and what Sam had said didn't cross my mind again until he showed up on my doorstep three days after that, looking terrified and confused.

He stayed for two days exactly. On the third day when I woke up to go in for work Sam was gone. I just shrugged. The kid was always wayward and I wasn't surprised he'd left without as much as a note.

W

The next few months after that went by in a flash, my family caught up in a whirlwind we could do nothing to stop.

There was the phone call that changed everything.

I remember the flight out of Buffalo International to LAX, the drive in the cramped rental car to Palo Alto.

There was the hospital. And Sam. The doctors talking about sleeping pills and alcohol. Sam talking about someone or something killing his girlfriend. Sam looking pale and fatalistic. Doctors looking grim and serious.

Mom crying and Dad yelling. Sam not apologizing for anything.

Then the tense trip back home. All four of us.

I watched. I watched Mom and Dad but mostly I watched Sam.

Then the words, "I think there's something wrong," tumbling out before I could stop them.

Another hospital. More doctors. Tests: X-Rays, CAT Scans, MRIs.

The doctor looking unhappily from Mom to Sam and me. His brow pinched. Lips pursed as though to keep in the words he was about to speak.

Then the doc spoke the two words that would change our lives forever: Paranoid schizophrenia.

W

I cruised down Blythe Avenue at a leisurely pace, carefully watching the other cars driving beside me, listening to the commotion on the two-way radio.

Jimmy sat in the passenger's seat, blue eyes alert for any sign of trouble, a speeder or a drunk driver.

"How's your Dad doing?" Jimmy spoke up, giving me a quick glance from the corner of his eye.

I shrugged and maneuvered the cruiser into the turning lane.

Jimmy nodded, "So, not great then."

"I didn't say that," I protested.

"I know but you didn't have to say anything," my partner confirmed and I sighed. I had been working for the Utica PD since graduating college and Jimmy had been the one to take me under his wing, we had been together practically since I had stepped through the station's glass doors. Although Jimmy was only five years older than me I treated him as though he was a veteran cop and he didn't really seem to mind since half the time I felt as though I was his kid brother anyway. Jimmy was a great guy, one of the best cops I knew and a genuinely good person- he lived in the neighbouring city of Rome with his wife, Amelia and their daughter, Claire- the guy always played the 'good cop' role and he was well liked by everyone at the station. Even though Jimmy was a cop he was pretty 'apple pie' as far as apple pie goes- the man went to church every Sunday he had off for Pete's sake!

"That gets really annoying, you know," I muttered, not really irritated at all.

Jimmy just smiled and shook his head, "Something's bothering you."

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and took my eyes off the road for a moment to look at Jimmy- his blue eyes now large and round, a concerned expression on his face, his lips pursed in a frown- damn, he knew me too well.

"I'm just worried about Sam," I muttered. This wasn't new information- I was always worried about him.

"Did something happen?" Jimmy asked. Although he had never met my brother, I had told Jimmy about Sam- not something I would tell just any Tom, Dick or Harry I worked with. I trusted Jimmy, sometimes with my life, and I knew he was the kind of guy who'd keep his mouth shut about such personal things as my brother's mental illness.

"No, no," I said, "But my Dad hasn't seen Sam in over six months. I just don't understand it – Sam's his kid but he couldn't care less. And Sammy, man, he's not getting better either… every time I go it's the same thing."

Jimmy nodded as though he understood or at least sympathized.

I was actually planning on visiting Sam when I got off work that evening and as usual the thought was both disquieting and heartening at the same time.

I missed my brother even though he was still in the city- work prevented me from seeing him as often as I would have liked. I knew Mom had visited him every chance she got and Dad sometimes came along as well. But now, Dad was as dead-beat as it was possible to be. It was difficult for the both of us, seeing Sam in the hospital when he should be outside and living his life but my father was getting out of hand.

Just be patient, I always told myself, everything will be okay.

"He'll get better," Jimmy said assuredly.

"I know, but when?" I asked, rhetorically. For the last few years Sam had been in and out of the hospital- more often in than out, even- and that took a heavy toll on my parents, seeing him having to go back when it looked like he was starting to get better.

Jimmy shook his head and sighed. I turned the car and we entered the parking lot at the back of the station. When I stepped out Jimmy came to stand beside me and placed a hand on my shoulder in a brotherly fashion.

"God works in mysterious ways," he said quietly.

I bit my lip to keep from saying something sarcastic- I knew Jimmy was just trying to help.

I just wish He'd work a little bit faster, I thought and we headed inside.

"Hey, Dean!" Randy Ziegler called from his desk.

"How's all that paperwork coming along?" I joked. Randy and I had gone to school together and while I got a job with the public, Randy got a cushy desk-job. He didn't seem to mind all that much though, he looked more like a scholar or professor than a police officer anyway, always wore thick-rimmed glasses, his hair combed back and wore sweater vests over dress shirts. His badge dangled from around his neck as he bent closer toward his computer screen.

Randy chuckled and shook his head, "Beats running like a maniac after criminals who just don't know when they're caught."

I moved to the coffee machine at the back and poured some into a Styrofoam cup and moved over to my barely-used desk. I had a mountain of paperwork to fill out- I had been putting it off- and decided I could at least make a dint in the pile before heading home.

W

I was just about to fill out my tenth form when the doors to the station opened and I glanced up to see Walker striding in like he was the Captain.

I held back a groan and bent over my work, scribbling untidily on the forms.

Gordon Walker had only been promoted to Detective a couple of months ago and he acted as though it was the greatest honour to be bestowed upon an officer. The douchebag seemed to think that he was now so much better than beat cops like Jimmy and I- never mind that not too long ago he was one of us.

Walker and I had never gotten along and this promotion made it even worse- he liked to rub it in my face every chance he got because, through the station grapevine, everyone knew the Captain had been considering me for the position.

Detective Walker strolled up to my desk and grinned arrogantly down at me.

I didn't even look at the smug bastard. If I did I was afraid I'd punch him in the face.

"What the fuck do you want?" I asked under my breath.

"How's it feel to be at the bottom of the food chain, Winchester?" Walker asked, leaning against my desk.

"Wonderful," I muttered and grabbed another form from the huge stack and began filling it out.

"Awww, don't be like that, the Captain could only choose one of us and he picked the best," Walker smirked.

I gripped my pen tightly; I still did not look up at Walker. It wasn't that I had wanted the Detective position, not really, but why did it have to be Gordon Walker?

Walker had always been full of himself, even as a beat cop and that really ticked off anyone he worked with so he never had a partner- people just couldn't stand his personality.

Walker and I had taken an immediately dislike to one another. I couldn't stand his holier-than-thou attitude. I'll admit that I can sometimes come off as cocky but I am not as bad as Walker- man thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread- and that is not an understatement.

"Okay, children, recess is over," I heard Jimmy's voice and Walker sidled away.

Jimmy ran a hand through his jet black hair and watched Walker as he moved to get himself some coffee.

"I could have handled it," I said, angry that Jimmy had intervened.

"I could tell," Jimmy commented, "You might wanna let go of your pen before it explodes."

I released my grip on the pen.

"Why don't you call it a day?" Jimmy suggested.

"Sure," I said and stood, "I'll see tomorrow."

W

I drove home and changed into a pair of jeans and a red and black plaid shirt. I made myself a quick sandwich and then drove the twenty minutes to the Doctor Alexander Coventry Memorial Psychiatric Hospital- a mouthful I know, locals usually call it Alexander's- named after Utica's first physician.

I walked down the way-too-familiar hallways and waved to the nurse on duty.

"Hi, Officer Winchester," Cheryl smiled and greeted me. I knew all the nurses by name since I had been coming here for years.

I paused and leaned against the thick, pinewood desk, "I'm not on duty so you don't have to call me 'officer'.

"Sorry," Cheryl said and blushed, "I forget."

I smiled reassuringly.

"Sam's in the rec room I think," Cheryl said and looked up when Mona came over.

"Hey, Dean," Mona brushed a hand unconsciously through her light brown hair and adjusted the top of her light yellow scrubs.

"I'll see you ladies later," I smiled and the pair of them blushed like schoolgirls.

I walked down the hallway and stepped through the sliding door and into the recreation room. It was a large area with an old brown couch, two armchairs, a television set showing some Bugs Bunny cartoon, low shelves holding battered board games and four tables.

There was some old woman watching the TV. She had stringy white hair and was cradling a doll in her arms as though it was a real infant.

A young woman sat at one of the tables, counting on Rosary beads. Both women wore plain blue pajama pants and white short-sleeved shirts.

I saw one of the orderlies, Floyd, standing by the door, glancing at the few occupants blandly.

Sam was sitting at the table in the corner, his chair pushed into the angle the two walls made where they met- he had told me once he didn't like sitting with his back in the open, he always had to have a wall or something sturdy to lean against in order to feel safe.

I made my way through the room and took a seat across from my brother. He didn't look up or acknowledge me right away. He was bent over one of his notebooks, felt-tip pen in hand, sketching.

"Hey, Sammy," I said quietly and Sam looked up and his eyes met mine.

"Hi," he said and his glaze flicked back to his work.

"How're you feeling?" I asked.

Sam shrugged one shoulder, "S'okay."

"Yeah?" I continued.

Sam didn't answer and I looked around at the room again. I saw that the young woman was staring straight at Sam, her lips moving as she muttered her prayers, her fingers drawing the beads through her hands with ease.

"Sam, that girl is staring at you," I said.

Sam didn't even look up, "That's Bernadette. She's new. She stares at everybody."

"Okay," I said, still a little unnerved at my brother being gawked at by a mental patient.

I leaned back in my chair. Visiting my brother was always difficult- I didn't really know what to say to him.

I fell back into my old routine- I told Sam what I had been doing since I had last visited- only a couple of weeks ago.

Sam listened, well, I think he was listening because his head was bent over whatever he was drawing but I think he was paying attention.

"How's Dad?" Sam asked, his green eyes meeting mine.

I sighed, "Dad's… well… Dad is Dad, you know?"

Sam nodded as though he understood. When the doctor had informed us of Sam's illness Dad flipped out- he accused the doctor of being incompetent, demanding the man do the tests again, argued that there was no way, no way his youngest boy could have a mental illness. Dad spoke those two words as though they offensive, spitting them out at the shocked doctor.

Dad never had come to grips with the fact that Sam was sick. He blamed the doctor for a while but then he started blaming Sam. Somehow he thought it was my brother's fault that he was ill. Sam's doctor had explained that his illness had not been caused by anything Sam had done, that there were many factors that could cause schizophrenia and it would not solve anything to blame the patient.

I remembered the conversation Mom, Dad and I had had the day Sam was committed to Alexander's.

Mom was just about beside herself in tears. She was convinced she was a horrible mother for leaving Sam at the hospital even though I told her over and over again that it was the best place for him, that he would get better there.

Dad claimed that if Sam had acted normal none of this would have happened.

I bit my lip so I wouldn't snap at Dad but I couldn't help but think of how much of a bastard he was right then.

In the end Dad rarely came to see Sam in the hospital, always making excuses so he wouldn't have to go. The most common one being that he had to work late at the garage. It was garbage, I knew, he just didn't want to see his son in a psych ward.

Dad had now practically disowned Sam. Our mother died six months ago from an aneurysm after her last visit to Alexander's. She had come home and said she wasn't feeling well, fell asleep on the couch and had never woken up. Dad and I were crushed but the hardest part about it had been telling Sam. He hadn't been able to attend the funeral and had become severely depressed for weeks afterward. I think Dad somehow thought Mom's death was Sam's fault, which was pure bullshit but it just gave our father another reason not to see his son.

I examined my brother as he sketched. He looked pretty thin and tired although I knew it was probably side-effects from whatever meds his doctor had him on. He unconsciously tugged the sleeves of his bathrobe down farther over his wrists and I saw that his nails had been bitten down to the quick.

I sighed inwardly: I had been hoping that Sam was getting better, that maybe his doctor would release him into our custody soon.

"What're you drawing?" I asked Sam.

My brother turned the notebook around so that it faced me and I saw a portrait of a young woman with long, straight hair, large eyes and a dimpled, smiling mouth- his favourite nurse, Jenny.

Sam had always had a talent for drawing, he loved sketching people and he was really good at it, almost professional. I always felt a little bit jealous of my brother since I could barely slap together stick figures.

"That's really good, Sammy," I complimented. I was impressed that he had managed to draw her face completely from memory.

My brother gave a small smile at my praise and I thought about what Dr. Calhoun had said about always being positive, of focusing on the achievements and not dwelling on the losses.

I stood and stretched. Sam looked up at me expectantly and I held back a frown. I knew he wanted to leave and I wanted to see him away from this place but he still had a long way to go before that could happen.

"I'm gonna talk to Dr. Calhoun for a minute," I said, "I'll come by next week, okay?"

Sam lowered his head, "Okay Dean."

I turned around as I felt my heart break as it always did when I had to walk away from Sam.

I stepped out of the rec room and into the hallway with a quick "g'bye" to Floyd. I walked down the hall and knocked on the good doctor's office door.

The door opened and Dr. Mavis Calhoun stood there. She was a short, chubby, middle-aged woman with dark red hair that was almost black, and dark brown eyes. She smiled when she saw me.

"Hello Dean," she said and moved aside so I could come in.

I took a seat across from her so we were separated by her huge desk. There were bookshelves containing numerous medical texts, certificates on the walls, and a framed photograph of the doctor with a grey-haired man I took to be her husband.

"How's Sammy doing, Doc?" I asked.

"I have him on some new medication and it seems to be working well," the doctor said.

"Another one?" I couldn't help but ask incredulously. Sam had to have been on every anti-psychosis medication known to man since his arrival at the hospital.

Dr. Calhoun looked sympathetic, "I know, Dean, but we're really trying to find the one that will work in the long term."

I nodded; the doctor was doing her best. She'll find the right drug soon, I thought, just be patient. You know certain drugs affect people differently.

"Is Sam sleeping enough?" I had to ask, remembering how tired he had looked.

"Hm," Dr. Calhoun said and that was an obvious 'no'.

Sam would go without sleep for days because the voices he heard told him not to and even though he wasn't supposed to, he listened to them. Eventually Sam would sleep, from exhaustion or if the doc was forced to give him something.

"Is he eating alright?" I asked.

"Yes, but the drugs I have him on can cause weight loss," Dr. Calhoun said, "I'm sorry if that worried you."

I frowned. Sam had always been a skinny guy but now I worried that he'd end up losing too much weight.

I raised a hand and swiped it over my face. All I wanted was some good news for once.

"I know how difficult this is for you, for your whole family, but we are trying very hard to help Sam," Dr. Calhoun promised, "We want to see him healthy as much as you do, Dean."

"I know Doc," I said and stood, "Thanks."

I walked down the hall, glancing at the glass doors of the rec room and saw that Sam was no longer inside. I checked my watch and saw it was five-thirty, the time when the patients had dinner.

"See you later, Cheryl," I said to the nurse. Mona had left to take care of some other business she was left alone at the nurses' station.

"Bye, Dean," Cheryl called from the desk, remembering to call me 'Dean' instead of 'Officer Winchester'.

W

I arrived at my townhouse, kicked the neighbour's soccer ball back onto their own lawn and stepped inside. I grimaced: my neighbours were a couple of hippies with three young boys who ran wild all over the place.

I took off my coat and hung it in the hallway closet, slipped off my shoes and padded into the kitchen and grabbed a beer. I swiped my cell phone from my pocket of my jeans and dialed a number.

I sat down on my couch and gulped down some beer while I listened to the phone ring.

"Yeah?" A deep, male voice asked.

"Hi Dad," I said, "I went to see Sam today."

"Uh huh," Dad answered in a disinterested tone.

I ground my teeth, "Don't you think it's about time to go see Sammy yourself? You haven't even seen him since before Mom's funeral."

"I'm really busy right now, Dean-" He began but I interrupted him.

"Don't feed me that crap! Sam misses you, you know? I think he'd like to see you," I exclaimed. I was the only visitor Sam ever got in Alexander's and it made me sad how my appearances were the highlight of his week.

"I don't know, Dean," Dad hesitated.

"Oh c'mon Dad, don't act like that, we both know the truth," I snarled.

Dad was scared of Sam. That was it. Dad didn't like the fact that his son had a mental illness.

"I'll think about it," Dad said finally.

"Don't think about it, do it," I ordered and hung up the phone.

In need of some frivolity after that conversation so I dialed a different number:

"Hey, Mindy, you doing anything tomorrow night?" I asked and smiled at her answer.

W

The next couple of weeks went by slowly. Jimmy and I got the usual jobs- cruising the streets on the lookout for speeders or drunk drivers, keeping our ears open in case a colleague needed backup.

Jimmy asked after Sam. I told him the truth. Sam was the same as ever, no better or worse. Told him about the new meds and my hope that this time they'd keep working in the long-term.

"He doesn't want to be in there, Jimmy," I said and watched the cars whip by our position in the driveway of an abandoned factory.

"I can see it in his eyes every time I go over there," I continued when my partner nodded.

"I understand," Jimmy said, "I know it's a bit different but when we had to put my mother in a home because of her Alzheimer's she was always asking Amelia and I when she would she be leaving."

I grunted in confirmation that I'd understood.

I sighed and settled back in the seat. I grabbed my cup of coffee from its holder and gulped down some of the warm liquid.

Jimmy looked at me sympathetically. He knew this was hard on me and I guess maybe he wanted to help but I couldn't see anything he could do. I knew he volunteered at the local hospitals, talking to the patients and stuff like that- especially the elderly ones and those who didn't have any family but this was different, like he'd said. Sam didn't really respond to anyone unless he knew them well, I think it may have been a result of his illness since he never quite knew if the person he was talking to was real or just a hallucination.

I waved away Jimmy's worried expression and slurped some more coffee.

W

When I stepped inside the station, after my shift I was surprised when Donald McNally said the Captain wanted to see me.

I looked at Jimmy and he just shrugged.

"See you later then," he said and headed back out toward the parking lot where our civilian cars were.

I knocked quietly on the Captain's door, slightly nervous.

"Come in, Dean," the Captain ordered, his voice muffled by the door.

"You, ah, wanted to see me Captain?" I asked.

"Yes, please take a seat," Captain Baggot gestured to the chair on before his desk.

I sat and looked expectantly at the Captain- he was probably in his late sixties or early; he had a full head of steely grey hair, a well-lined, weathered face and hazel eyes. He cut an imposing figure, his posture perfect belying the fact that he probably served in the Korean War, his mouth a thin line.

Captain Baggot tented his fingers and placed his hands on his desk.

"Do you think I made a good decision promoting Walker over you?" He said, straight to the point.

"Uh," I blinked. I was not at all ready for that kind of question.

"Yes," I said slowly, wondering what answer the Captain wanted.

"Huh," he said, "Walker's an asshole and he's too big for a city like this. Know what I mean?"

"I think so," I hesitated.

"How would you feel if I had Walker transferred to, say, NYC or Buffalo and promoted you to Detective?" Captain Baggot asked.

"I, uh, I don't know Captain," I stammered like an idiot.

"It's not that difficult of a choice to make, Winchester," the Captain said.

I had never really wanted to be promoted; I liked my position and knew that if I made Detective I'd lose Jimmy as my partner.

"Can I have a few days to think this over?" I asked. I could feel my palms growing slick with sweat.

The Captain frowned and then spoke, "It's Friday so I'll give you until Monday to make your decision, that sound fair?"

I nodded, surprised that the Captain was being so accommodating.

"I like you Winchester, I always have," the Captain complimented, "You're good with people, know how to talk to them and that's exactly what makes a great Detective. Your were made for better things than just being a beat cop."

"Thank you, sir," I said modestly.

"Now get outta my office," he said but I saw a hint of a smile on his lips.

I sidled down the hall and did nothing to suppress a grin: I didn't want to leave Jimmy, didn't want to see him end up with some rookie but I could just imagine the look on Walker's face when the Captain told him he'd be shipped out to inner-city New York or Buffalo, crawling with tourists.

Just that look would be worth it; I thought and exited the building, ready to head home.

I should see Sammy; I decided and stopped at my townhouse to change into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt before making a bee-line for Alexander's.

W

I stepped inside and headed straight toward the nurses' station.

"Hi," I said to Isabelle who was on duty.

"Hello, Officer," she said in a husky voice. I chuckled- I wasn't her type. It was sort of a running joke we had, seeing who could flirt better- and asked after my brother.

"I tink he's in his room," She said, her Caribbean accent quite noticeable.

"Thanks," I said and after grabbing the key-card I headed down the hallway where Sam's room was.

I got to the door and swiped the card, unlocking it and slipped inside. Sam's room was pretty Spartan- it had a bed, a small closet and a desk with a chair.

My brother was sitting at the desk, piles of black notebooks tottered around him as he bent over his latest drawing.

"Hey, Sammy," I said and Sam turned around, looking slightly, though pleasantly surprised.

"Dean!" he stood up and actually came over and hugged me, an unusual gesture for him.

"What's the matter?" I asked immediately and held Sam at arm's length to get a better look at him. He was wearing the usual blue pajama pants and a white t-shirt. His bathrobe was draped over the end of his bed.

"I'm… I'm, uh, hearing them again," Sam said and looked around the room suspiciously.

I frowned, "Did you tell Dr. Calhoun?"

Sam began to nod his head and then he paused and shook it instead.

"Why not?" I asked, trying not to sound angry.

Sam lowered his gaze to his slipper-clad feet, "She'll just give me more medicine. I don't want anymore, Dean."

I sat down on the edge of the bed and gripped both of my brother's hands in my own, "You have to tell her Sammy. If you're hearing the voices that means this medicine isn't working and maybe a different one will."

"It won't Dean! It won't work because she's tried and tried and tried," Sam exclaimed.

"You don't know that Sam," I began but then stopped and wondered if any medications were going to work.

"Oh Sammy," I muttered and pulled him into a hug. I could feel him shiver beneath me.

"You cold?" I asked and scooped up the bathrobe.

Sam muttered that he was and slipped his arms through the robe's sleeves.

"Better?" I asked and Sam nodded.

His dark brown hair fell into his face, obscuring his eyes for a moment before he pushed his bangs out of the way.

"You know you can't listen to them, right?" I asked, seriously.

"I know, Dean," Sam confirmed.

I wondered if he was seeing things as well but I didn't get the chance to ask because the door opened and a young woman wearing light green scrubs walked in.

This nurse was a tiny little thing with light blonde hair cut pixie style and dark brown eyes. She smiled, "Hi, I'm covering for Jenny, poor thing called in sick with the flu about four hours ago."

"Hi," I stood and introduced myself.

The nurse was holding a paper cup of water in one hand and a paper cup with four pills in the other.

Sam easily towered over the small nurse and I'd be worried if I didn't know my brother was a really gentle guy, wouldn't hurt a fly and all that.

Sam took the cup with the pills and washed them down with the water provided.

The nurse smiled encouragingly.

"It was nice to meet you Dean," she said and walked out of the room, the door closing softly behind her.

Sam sat down heavily in his chair and held his head in his hand, his fingers tangled in his hair.

"You okay?" I asked worriedly.

"Mmmhmm," Sam muttered.

Sam frowned, "Why won't Dad speak to me?"

"Just because he isn't talking to you doesn't mean he doesn't care," I answered lamely.

"He thinks I'm not going to get better," Sam said.

"He doesn't think that, Sam," I protested, "We both know you're gonna get better and come home soon."

Sam shrugged, not really buying my story.

I've really got to talk to Dad when I get home, I thought. I was sick and tired of him pretending Sam was a complete stranger.

Sam fidgeted in his seat and I decided it was probably time to go. I said goodbye to Sam, promising to see him again within the next couple of weeks and left Alexander's.

W

I parked, paused to move a bike out of the walkway before opening the front door to my house and stepping inside and turning on the lights.

I slipped off my shoes and realized that my usually quiet home was less quiet. I froze and held my breath, waiting.

I padded down the short entranceway and peered into the living room. Sitting on my couch was a man.

I jumped into action, without my gun handy I prepared to tackle the burglar.

"Hold on there, son!" the burglar said in a gruff voice and raised his hands in a defensive position.

"You robbed the wrong house, buddy," I snarled.

"I ain't robbin' yer house," the man said and stood.

"Hey, get on your knees and put your hands over your head!" I demanded.

"All's I wanna do is talk to ya," the criminal tried again.

"Shut up," I said, "Get on your knees. Now!"

The man sighed but instead of complying, spoke: "Yer brother's in danger."

I blinked, "What?"

How did this guy know that I had a brother? He must have been rifling through the shoe box I kept in the closet, full of pictures of Sam and I when we were kids.

"I don't want to restrain you but I will if you don't co-operate," I said and sidestepped closer to the end table that had a pair of handcuffs in the built-in drawer.

"I know ya don't wanna do that," the stranger said and he took a step closer to me.

"Don't move!" I cautioned.

"S'alright boy, I ain't gonna hurt you," the man said and I held back the urge to laugh.

"Look, would ya just calm down a minute while I'm talkin'?" he asked and I nodded but didn't change position. I realized that the man's hands were empty, he didn't have a weapon.

"There," the man nodded and we both took a moment to breathe.

"How do you know I have a brother?" I asked. I was still itching to put handcuffs on the guy but if he knew something about Sam than I could wait.

"I know all about you, Officer Winchester," the man said and then continued, "Yer full name's Dean Ross Winchester. You were born on January twenty-fourth, nineteen seventy-nine to Mary and John Winchester of Lawrence, Kansas. Yer family moved to Utica when you were four, only a couple a' months after yer brother was born. You graduated from high school and college wi' honours and have worked for the Utica PD ever since."

"How do you know all that?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Cops aren't the only ones who can do research," the man chuckled in a good-natured way.

"You… said my brother was in some kind of trouble?" I asked. I wasn't sure I trusted this man but if he thought Sam was in danger then I would listen… and arrest him later.

"Yup," he paused and scratched the back of his head, "Look, yer not a very religious man are ya?"

"No," I answered, wondering what that had to do with anything.

The man breathed a sigh, "This just got a lot more difficult."

"What?" I asked.

"I'm just gonna skip the 'easing you into it' business and tell ya right out," the man explained, "I think there's demons after yer brother."

I blinked, took a breath and then let out a loud laugh.

"That's a good one," I said with mirth, "You had me going there for a while. Did Jimmy put you up to this?"

The man, instead of looking embarrassed that I'd found out my partner's practical joke, appeared annoyed.

"This ain't no joke, boy," the man snapped, "Yer brother's in danger and unless you wanna be the one cleaning up the body afterwards I suggest you get yer ass down to that hospital."

I stopped laughing, "Did you just threaten my brother?"

I bristled and the man answered calmly, "It ain't me you've gotta worry about. Demons are nasty sons of bitches and once they set their sights on a victim they're not gonna give up wi'out a fight."

"Demons?" I asked incredulously.

"Look, I'm not sayin' you've gotta believe me, all I wanna do is git your brother somewhere safe," the man answered.

Who'd want to hurt Sammy? I thought, the kid was practically the BFG.

I took a deep breath and scrubbed a hand over my face.

"Okay, let's say for the sake of argument that I do believe you," I began, why do these… demon people want Sam?"

The man blinked, "Well, first off, they ain't people. Demons are far more powerful than any man an' as far as I know there's no sure way to kill 'em. Secondly, I don't know why they've taken a likin' to Sam… I only know they're around here 'cause I saw major electrical storms and other such demon omens on the news. After some research I figured they were centering in on that mental hospital o' yours and yer brother."

"How do you know there are…demons after Sam," I asked. How did this guy know they were specifically after Sammy? There were other patients in Alexander's as well as the staff, how did he know the demons weren't after any of them

"A little bird told me," he answered sarcastically. What did that mean? Did he have some sort of informant?

"Wait a sec: are you with the FBI?" I wanted to know. If he was a Fed that would explain why he knew a lot about me and Sam.

"Sometimes," he grinned but then turned serious again.

"I dunno about you but I've had enough of this small talk," the man said, "I'd suggest we get to the hospital before the demons do."

I looked at the man, trying to tell if he was lying or not. I didn't think he was.

"Okay, just let me grab some things first," I said, not even sure why I was listening to this guy. Something told me he was telling the truth or at least part of it anyway. He didn't have any weapons I could see and if he was gonna try something he would have done it already.

I moved around my house, while the man stayed in the living room. He didn't follow as I made my way upstairs, grabbing my badge, gun, ammo, a duffel bag…

"I'd make sure t'bring yer toothbrush an' a few changes of clothes if I were you," the man called up the stairs.

I paused, standing in the hallway, "Why? I'm gonna bring Sam here." My home was the safest place I knew, I'd make sure nothing happened to my brother here.

"If the demons know where Sam is they'll know where ya live," the man commented.

"Where can we go?" I asked.

"My place," the man said.

I didn't answer but went back into my room and grabbed some clothes, stuffing them in the duffel bag. I moved to the study I used as a guest bedroom the few times Sam had been well enough to stay with me and took some of his clothes from the drawers.

I stomped down the stairs and the man looked at me expectantly.

"I forgot to ask," I muttered as we stepped outside into the darkening evening, "Who are you?"

The man chuckled, "Robert Singer but ya'll can call me Bobby."

I was about to turn in the direction of my car when Bobby snorted, "We're taking mine."

"My car works fine!" I exclaimed.

"I'm not doubting that it don't, I'm sure if there's been demons watching you they'll certainly know what car you drive," Bobby explained, "It's always about being inconspicuous."

We walked down the street a ways and Bobby stopped at a royal blue 1953 Oldsmobile.

"That's inconspicuous?" I asked, rhetorically.

Bobby shrugged and chuckled, "It gets me from A to B."

"I am not driving to Alexander's in that," I protested.

"Shut up an' get in the car," Bobby ordered, opened the driver's side door and slid inside the black-leather upholstered interior.

I did as I was told, sitting down on the passenger's side, duffel bag on my lap.

"It's gonna take about a twenty minutes to get to the hospital-" I began but Bobby started the car which issued a low rumbling cough and pulled out of the driveway.

"That's because you drive like a cop," Bobby grinned and sped down the street, doing fifty over the speed limit.

As we drove in silence I took the time to get a better look at Bobby- he was wearing a pair of old blue jeans, scuffed brown work boots, a plaid shirt and stained brown vest, he had a grimy baseball cap on his head. He had a reddish beard and hair, grey eyes, his face deeply lined from a hard life and I could tell that he had once been someone quick to smile.

We didn't speak at all as we drove. I didn't even give directions since Bobby seemed to know exactly where he was going.

Bobby swerved into the Visitor's Parking- stopping the Oldsmobile on an angle to take up two spaces in the empty lot. I checked my wrist-watch: it was just after seven thirty. There would only be a few nurses on duty now, the rest gone home for the night and the patients all in their rooms.

Bobby got out of the car first and looked around, "We ain't gonna use the front door, Dean. Is there an employee entrance anywhere?"

"Uh," I paused, I had never seen one before but there could be one, "Maybe around back."

The older man nodded and we headed toward the back of the building. Bobby tapped my shoulder and pointed to a small utility door. I gave him the thumbs up and followed him toward the door. It was unlocked and we ducked inside. It led to a narrow, dark hallway.

Bobby paused to pull something from the pocket of his vest- a silver flask.

"I'm not really in the mood for a pick-me-up right now but be my guest," I whispered and Bobby shot me an annoyed look.

"It's holy water," he explained and pressed the flask into my hands, "Splash it on anyone who comes after you."

"What?" I asked but Bobby was already moving down the hall, holding another flask that I doubt had alcohol in it.

I followed Bobby down the hall, surprised at how silent his footsteps were- nearly imperceptible in fact- guy must have had some serious police or military training to be able to be that quiet.

We made our way up one of the hallways and I could hear the faint clicking of computer keyboards- we were nearing the nurses' station.

I motioned to Bobby to let me go first and I began walking casually. Isabelle looked up, shocked to see me.

"Dean, what are you doing here?" she asked, "Its way past visiting hours, don't you know?"

I showed her my badge I'd fished out of the duffel bag that I had brought with me.

Isabelle opened her mouth and I put a finger to my lips and she nodded, remaining silent but watched as Bobby and I made our way down the hall toward Sam's room.

We reached the door and I swiped the key-card, the green light flashing to grant us access.

The room was dark when I opened the door, the only illumination coming from the fluorescent lights in the hall.

Bobby kept the door ajar but stood outside, on guard and on edge. I crept close to the bed- I could make out my brother's sleeping form beneath the covers.

I reached out and gripped his shoulder, shaking gently.

"Hey, Sammy," I whispered loudly and I saw one eye open.

"D'n?" Sam asked, his voice thick with sleep.

"Hey, what'd ya say we get outta here?" I asked. Sam closed his eye and seemed ready to go back to sleep.

"Sam," I shook his shoulder again.

"Hmm?" was the response I got.

"C'mon, we're getting you out of here," I tightened my grip on Sam's shoulders and pulled him into a sitting position. He flopped back against the bed once I released him.

What's was going on? Sam was never a heavy sleeper and he certainly wouldn't be acting like this.

"Bobby!" I called to the older man.

"What?" he whispered from the doorway.

"I can't get him to wake up," I explained, pulling Sam up again.

There was a pause, "Could be the meds the doctor's giving him."

"Or?" I sensed that was not all he had to say.

"Or the demons are already here and they drugged him," I didn't like the sound of that at all.

"Okay Sam, we're getting you the heck out of this place whether you're conscious or not," I muttered at my brother and pawed around in the duffel bag before pulling out a pair of my brother's old jeans and a large, black hoodie.

I pulled the hooded sweater over my brother's head, slipped his arms through the sleeves and tugged it down to his waist with only a little difficulty. Next I tried shaking his shoulder again.

"Sam, c'mon man, look at this, I'm dressing you like you're a little kid," I muttered, hoping that he'd hear and be embarrassed enough to put his own jeans on.

No such luck.

"This is as awkward for me as it is for you, trust me," I assured him as I managed to get Sam's jeans on him- both hoodie and pants covering the hospital clothes I didn't bother with.

At least he won't be cold, I thought and saw Sam's eyes flicker open.

"What're you doin'?" he asked sleepily.

"Nice timing, Rip Van Winkle," I muttered just as I was pulling Sam's jeans up to his hips.

"What's taking you so long, boy?" I heard Bobby hiss.

"Gimme one more minute," I asked.

"Do you think you can stay with me long enough to get out of here?" I asked Sam who was now struggling to sit up.

Sam shook his head as if to clear it and blinked at me blearily. I scooped up the duffel, paused for a moment to swipe Sam's notebooks into it and held out an arm to my brother. He stood uneasily, his knees shaking and he looked about ready to collapse but he allowed me to support him with my arm.

We shuffled out of the room at a snail's pace but at least we were moving. I was happy that, for now at least, Sam was moving under his own power and Bobby and I didn't have to carry him out.

We headed down the hallway toward the utility door- I noticed that the nurses' station was now deserted- and Bobby seemed on high alert, hand poised to douse any, uh, demons with holy water.

The building was eerily quiet and I half expected a monster or something to pop out of one of the rooms.

Nobody stopped us and nothing attacked us, which I wasn't sure was a good thing. Bobby didn't relax for a second though, even when we reached the Oldsmobile and I got Sam to lie down in the back seat. His eyes were already drifting closed again as he looked up at me from the cool leather seat.

The old man and I got into the front and Bobby turned on the engine.

"So if I can't go home… can we go to our Dad's place?" I asked as Bobby sped out of the driveway.

The older man grimaced, "If you do that you'll only put 'im in danger. Like I said before, yer coming with me."

I sighed and settled into the seat, "Where do you live, anyway?"

"Sioux Falls," Bobby answered with a wry grin.

"Sioux Falls! But that's in South Dakota! States away!" I exclaimed.

"Ayuh, an' it's one of the safest places on Earth if yer running from anything supernatural," Bobby confirmed.

I groaned, the trip itself would take at least two or three days. What was I going to say to the Captain? To Dad? To Dr. Calhoun once she realized Sam was gone?

W

We drove throughout the night, nonstop but I didn't really care, the sooner we got to Sioux Falls the better. I was worried about Sam; he appeared to be sleeping peacefully even if it was a drug-induced slumber.

"You don't think whatever drug the demons gave Sam is permanent do you?" I asked just as we crossed the border into Pennsylvania.

"Nah, it's more likely they drugged 'im so he'd go with them quietly," Bobby said.

"That's really comforting, you know?" I said sarcastically.

"It ain't meant to be comforting, ya idjit!" Bobby practically growled at me.

I didn't know what to say so I didn't reply. I turned so I could see my brother: his eyes were closed and he actually looked small in the big sweater I'd dressed him in- that's just because he's kind of thin, I thought- and I just hoped he wake up soon.

W

Sam woke up just as we were entering the city limits of Pittsburg- about mid-morning. I heard a groan from the backseat and I turned to see Sam blinking owlishly and rubbing a hand over his face.

"Thought you were going to sleep forever," I said lightly.

"Wha-?" Sam began, "Where are we?"

"It's okay Sammy, you're safe," I assured him.

Sam looked puzzled and pulled himself into a sitting position. He looked a little green around the gills but he didn't seem any worse for wear.

"How're you feeling?" I asked, anxiously.

"My head's spinning," Sam groaned and closed his eyes though he didn't lie down.

"Sam?" I asked but my brother didn't answer and decided that maybe it'd be best to explain everything to him once we stopped.

I stared at Bobby. I was worried about my brother. He was, after all, mentally ill and I wasn't sure how we'd get him the medications he'd need. Hell, I didn't even know what medications he needed.

We drove the rest of the day and late into the night. We passed through Columbus, Ohio; headed out toward Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago and Rockford, Illinois; began slowing down once we had Sioux City in our sights: we were on the home-stretch.

All in all it took us a day and a half- record time, Bobby announced- to get to Sioux Falls. Sam slept most of the time; the drugs the doctor had been prescribing made him lethargic. Earlier my Dad had phoned and it wasn't a good conversation:

"Dean, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Dad asked angrily when I answered.

"What are you talking about?" I played innocent.

"Don't take that smart-ass tone with me Dean Winchester, you know what's going on," Dad said.

"Oh, so now you're interested in Sammy's wellbeing," I said sarcastically.

"Don't do this Dean," Dad almost pleaded.

"Do what? Sam needed to get away from Alexander's. They weren't helping him there," I explained.

"He needs to be institutionalized, Dean, he's sick," Dad said.

"Uh huh," I answered, mimicking the way he would shut down when I tried to talk about Sam with him.

"You're just afraid you'll be stuck looking after him," I accused.

"That's not true, I want what's best for Sam," Dad argued.

"Don't start pretending to care now Dad, it's a little too late for that," I scoffed.

"Look, I have to go but I will call you later," I said, "Goodbye."

I hung up the phone and sighed.

"That'll keep him pacified?" Bobby asked.

"It should for a while. I'll have to have a nice, long conversation with him when I get back," I muttered and stared out the window.

I wonder when Jimmy's going to call, I mused, or Captain Baggot for that matter.

W

I whistled, impressed, as Bobby drove the Oldsmobile through the open chain-link surrounding his home and place of work- Singer Salvage.

Bobby chuckled, "It ain't much but it puts money in my wallet… an' I get to make my own hours."

The older man winked and I thought about how sporadic my own shifts could be at times.

"Can't say anything against that," I agreed and got out of the car once we had parked.

I opened the rear door and helped Sam out; he was still a little woozy and gripped my arm tightly as I assisted him.

A large white and brown pit bull came over to us, tail wagging and nose snuffling at our feet. Sam tensed in my grasp.

"It's okay, Sammy," I said encouragingly as I sidled around the dog, keeping my own body between the animal and my brother.

"Ah, don't mind Conan, he ain't much of a guard dog… more like a big softie," Bobby called out from his position on the porch.

I led Sam up the wooden steps and glanced quickly at the house- it was large and looked as if Bobby or perhaps a previous owner had put on additions over time that didn't quite match the building style- the main part was weathered grey clapboard but I also saw a stone and mortar addition and aluminum siding.

The interior of the house displayed a kind of organized chaos. There was a small kitchen to the right and a large study/living room that took up the rest of the main floor. There was a staircase that led to the second floor and a door just beside that which I assumed led to the basement or cellar.

Bobby gestured in a slightly awkward manner to the living room, "Make yerselves comfortable."

I sat Sam down on Bobby's ancient, brown, beige and black striped couch and took a seat in an equally old brown armchair.

I looked around the room- there was a monster of a desk sitting in one corner and bookshelves took up all available space along the walls. I looked at the spines of the books displayed. Many looked really, really old, leather-bound and gold-leafed as though they belonged in the personal library of the King of France or something.

The floor was scuffed hardwood covered with a raggedy area rug. I saw something poking out from under the rug and I knelt down to see what it was a symbol of some sort of circle carved into the floor. It kind of looked like a pentagram or something like that but more sophisticated.

I heard Bobby come into the room. He was holding a tray with three cups and a teapot on it.

"See you've found my Devil's Trap," Bobby said pleasantly. I replaced the rug and took my seat sheepishly.

"What's a Devil's Trap?" Sam spoke up and I saw him watching Bobby with shining eyes.

I hadn't filled Sam in on the whole demon thing- if it was even real- and I wasn't sure if he'd heard anything while Bobby and I had talked on the long ride out here. The old man hadn't said much, claiming he wanted to get to the safety of his salvage yard before he would discuss the subject in more detail.

"It's one o' the most powerful ways to capture demons," Bobby explained. He had already told me that although there was no known way of killing them; demons could be confined and exorcised, sent back to Hell.

I still wasn't a hundred percent sold on this demon thing- I'm a guy who's got to see it to believe it.

"Look," I began, "Thanks for… doing whatever it was you did back there at Alexander's but you don't really expect me to believe all this demon crap, do you?"

Bobby said nothing for a few moments. He poured some tea into a mug and handed it to me- I accepted since I was already rude enough to question the man's motives for breaking Sam out of the hospital.

"I've told ya before, I don't care if you think I'm cracked or not," Bobby said, "I'm just trying to protect yer brother. That's what I do: protect people."

"But demons? Really? And you still haven't told me why they're after Sam," I gulped down some tea, herbal stuff, chamomile like what Mom used to drink.

"You don't know because I don't know," Bobby offered Sam some tea and my brother accepted. No doubt it was better than whatever the hospital served.

I sighed, "But I've never even met a demon before… and I certainly wouldn't have told them about Sam."

Bobby burst out laughing like what I'd just said was the joke of the century.

"Maybe you did meet one, but you'd never know it unless they wanted ya to," he said and his mouth pulled down into a grim line.

"Oh," I muttered and stared down at the yellow-brown tea in my cup.

"How can you… tell if it's a demon?" I heard Sam ask.

I glanced up at Bobby. C'mon man, he already has enough problems as it is, there's no need to add more fuel to the fire.

Bobby decided to pour gasoline all over the place instead, "Sometime's you'll see their eyes change. A regular demon's got black eyes and Crossroads demons often have red… then again, you might not know they're a demon at all until they've killed ya."

"Great," I said sarcastically and took a healthy gulp of tea.

"But strange behavior can indicate a demon as well," he said, "They may act out o' the ordinary, subtly, but if you know the person they possess you may be able to catch on."

I just stared at Bobby in disbelief. This guy's crazier than Sam, I thought. We needed to leave. Soon.

I nodded as though I fully understood the guy and finished my tea off quickly. I was grateful for (possibly) rescuing Sam from a dangerous situation, whatever that may have been but I knew we could not stay with Bobby.

"Hey, can I use your shower?" I asked.

"Sure, it's just upstairs and to the right," Bobby said amiably.

I grabbed some of my clothes from the duffel bag and headed upstairs. Wondering why I was leaving Sam alone with a practical stranger, miles away from home or help.

Although I didn't want to believe Bobby, a tiny voice said that maybe, just maybe he wasn't outright lying either.

W

I came down the stairs about ten minutes later to find Sam sketching in one of his notebooks while Bobby was in the kitchen, making dinner.

The older man turned when he heard me approach and I leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed.

"Look, if you don't believe me, I can live with that… all I want is to keep you and yer brother safe," Bobby said and I only saw honesty in his weathered features.

I sighed and ran a hand through my damp hair, "It's just that… God, after everything we've been through… with Sam's illness… we just want everything to be normal."

"I know, boy," Bobby said sympathetically.

"How did you figure out demons exist?" I asked.

"Oh, my wife, Karen, she… she got possessed," Bobby muttered softly, the loss of his spouse obviously still fresh.

"I'm sorry," I said. It was the only thing I could think of, the words I had been trained to speak to the families of victims.

"Don't be," Bobby said, "It was a long time ago."

I couldn't help but feel sorry for the man. I didn't think he was a bad guy, not really; eccentric maybe, lonely, but not dangerous.

I didn't know what to do, we could not stay here much longer, I had work and Sam would need to get back to Alexander's.

"You know I'm a cop right? You know I'm not just some Joe Shmoe off the street," I said to Bobby as he cut up potatoes to fry.

The old man nodded, "I know but I also know ya wouldn't last two minutes against a demon without at least some knowledge of them."

I took a seat on one of kitchen chairs, pulling it out from the table so I could look out the doorway and into the living room to keep an eye on Sam.

"What do I need to know?" I asked the older man. If demons really did exist and they were gunning for my brother I would do everything in my power to protect Sam. But, I thought, I'm not going to go into this half-assed. I would trade my 'Protective Brother' mask for my 'Officer Winchester' mask- treat this like I would any other case of criminal activity, do things the way I had learned back in college.

Bobby paused, holding a partially peeled potato and looked at me.

"You really want to do this?" he asked, sounding both excited that I was willing to listen to him and uneasy as though I wanted to pretend I was interested just for shits and giggles.

I nodded, "Tell me what to do."

For the next half hour Bobby told me everything he knew about demons: where they came from, how to identify them, how to stop them.

"Sam could draw those traps," I suggested.

Bobby nodded, "I can tell he really has talent."

"Yeah, his doctor said it would be therapeutic for him," I explained, "He always liked to draw, even as a kid and the staff at the hospital get him all the notebooks and pens he wants."

Thinking of it I stepped into the living room and took three of the topmost notebooks from the duffel bag. Sam was usually very protective of the books and didn't let any of the nurses touch them but he always let me flip through the pages if I wanted.

I went back into the kitchen and showed Bobby some of Sam's work. None of the sketches were dated or anything, the subjects had no names but I could see that most of them were Alexander's staff members or patients.

Bobby made an appreciative sound.

"Not all of them are like this, some are… darker," I told him, "Especially if Sam's meds aren't working."

Both the older man and I looked toward Sam meticulously sketching with a pencil as he sat ramrod straight on the couch.

I looked through the other two notebooks until I found what I was looking for. I grimaced at the picture. It was a common one, actually, its subject drawn over and over again.

Jessica Moore was rendered on the creamy white paper in black felt tipped pen. Flames surrounded the girl, her skin blackened and blistered, tears streamed down her face and her mouth was twisted in a silent scream.

Bobby glanced at the drawing and then looked at Sam. The older man raised an eyebrow.

"Sammy just managed to escape the fire," I said, "It was too late to save Jess, though."

I closed the notebook and set it on the table. Bobby's eyes were glazed in sympathy.

"Poor kid," he muttered and I nodded.

I sighed and stood. Speaking of, Sam should probably take a shower too. It would make him feel better.

I left Bobby in the kitchen to finish the dinner preparations and headed into the living room and sat down beside Sam. I looked over to see what he was drawing and I saw Bobby's face staring up at me from the notebook's pace, expertly sketched and shaded with pencil, he even had a baseball cap on.

I chuckled, "How about a nice, hot shower Sammy?"

Sam looked up, his expression of one who had just won a billion dollar jackpot, "Sure."

I grabbed some of Sam's clothes from the duffel bag and we headed upstairs. I sat in the hallway just outside the bathroom while my brother showered.

After about ten minutes Sam stepped out of the bathroom dressed in fresh jeans, socks and a long-sleeved navy blue shirt.

"Feel better?" I asked as I stood.

"Yeah," Sam said and smiled. I think he liked just being away from Alexander's.

"C'mon, Bobby's making dinner," I said and we walked downstairs.

"Dean," Sam asked quietly as we reached the main floor.

"Yeah, Sammy?" I looked at him. He had a sheepish expression on his face.

"Do you think that, maybe, when we go back to Utica, I could stay with you for a little while?" Sam asked, his gaze cast downward as he tugged his sleeves nervously.

I really wanted Sam to be alright. I wanted him to be healthy and not have to worry about getting sick again but I wasn't sure if that was going to happen right now. Sam might be feeling fine at the moment but I didn't have his meds on hand and I didn't know what would happen when the effects wore off. I was planning on getting back home before that happened and, although I felt terrible about it, Sam would be back in Alexander's.

"We'll see, okay?" I said, not making any promises so I wouldn't have to break them.

It had to be one of the most unusual dinners I had been to in a long time. Bobby had cooked up fried steak and potatoes. He found a two litre bottle of Coca-Cola and poured its contents into cups- I would have preferred beer but I wasn't keen on Sam having alcohol so I drank the pop without complaint.

None of us spoke. I didn't really know what to say and it seemed neither did the older man. Sam, who is not a chatterbox anyway, ate his dinner silently.

I watched my brother carefully out of the corner of my eye as he sliced up his food with a steak knife, not that I thought he would try anything, but still the fear was there.

Tomorrow morning we'll go back to Utica.

That night, when Bobby was asleep in his room and Sam and I were in the guest room- Sam got the bed and I just curled up on a chair in the corner- I phoned my partner.

"Jimmy," I hissed into the receiver. I didn't want Sammy waking up.

"Dean? Where are you? What are you doing?" he asked sleepily, "It's after midnight."

"I know. Sorry. Look, I need you to do me a favour, okay?" I asked.

"No," he grumbled and I heard Amelia mutter something, probably asking who was calling in the dead of night.

"Pretty please? With a cherry on top?" I begged.

"Will you let me sleep if I say yes?" he asked.

"Maybe," I grinned.

I heard Jimmy sigh and shift as he sat up.

"What is it?" he muttered.

"I need you to look someone up for me," I asked.

"Can't you do that?" Jimmy asked, "Some of us have to go into work at five a.m."

"I'm not near a computer right now," I grumbled, "Now shut up and listen, will ya?"

"Fine," Jimmy sighed.

"I need you to look up a Bobby Singer from Sioux Falls, South Dakota," I instructed.

"Singer?" Jimmy asked.

"Yeah," I confirmed, "owns Singer Salvage and had a wife named Karen, she's deceased now… I don't know her maiden name."

"Why do you want to know about this guy?" my partner asked.

"Just curious," I lied.

"Are you coming back soon? The Captain was livid when you didn't show up for work," Jimmy asked.

"I'm heading back tomorrow," I said.

"Okay," Jimmy said, "Just don't be surprised if the Captain's promotion offer's fallen through."

I shrugged, "Fine by me. I get to spend more time with you."

Jimmy chuckled, "Good night, Dean."

"See you later, Jim," I muttered and closed my cell phone.

Sam was sleeping peacefully. I was kind of surprised, actually, and thought that maybe he was getting better. Maybe he didn't need all those anti-psychosis meds at all.

I closed my eyes and allowed my breathing to become slower and slower. If Sam woke up I'd hear him- my Spidey-Sense ready to warn me of any movement from my brother.

W

I woke up first. Sam was still fast asleep. He looked content, his brow smooth and a noticeable smile on his lips.

My heart wrenched at the thought of taking him back to Alexander's but I knew I couldn't really trust that Sam had miraculous recovered from his illness just because he was no longer in the hospital.

I headed downstairs, following the scent of coffee into the kitchen to find Bobby already up and looking over one of his old books.

"Hi," I said and Bobby grabbed me a cup of coffee.

"Sleep well?" the older man asked.

I sipped the hot drink and nodded, "yeah."

"How's Sam?" he asked.

"Good, he's sleeping like a log, actually," I answered.

"That's good to hear," the man answered.

"Bobby, you know we have to leave today, right?" I ventured.

"I know Dean," he nodded, "Knew you wouldn't be stayin' long."

"Just let me get ya some things so's you'll be prepared if you do git into trouble," he offered.

"Thanks," I answered sincerely, "for everything."

Author's Note:

1. Please let me know what you think!