For Christina...thank you for your advice :) Hope you like it.


Max…she was always so strong and so sure and so confident about herself. God knows how many times she had saved my ass. Now, as soon as Cas had untied the rope that cut at my wrists, I ran to my sister. Her body shook and blood poured out of her mouth. I pulled her up into a sitting position, bringing her back against my chest so she wouldn't choke on her own blood. Tears were absently streaming down her face.

"It's not that bad, monkee, we're gonna fix you up. You'll be good as new." That was what I said when Sam took a rusty knife to the back. Max couldn't die…not after everything that we'd been through. I think she was the only stable thing I had in my life all these years, no offense to Sam. Tears of desperation dripped down my jaw. I can't lose her now. It was my job as a big brother to take care of her. Sam knelt beside us, gently pressing his fingers around the rod that stuck up from her torso, trying to calculate the damage.

"Pull the damn rod out." She coughed, sending thick blood seeping out the corner of her mouth. I rubbed the blood away before it dripped onto her neck. Her breathing became shallow. "Dean, please take it out. It hurts." Max sobbed, craning her head back to glance at me. And just like that she was the two year old sitting next to me in Sam's nursery. She was the nine year old who threatened to pick the bathroom lock and watched me cry. She was the grown up who spent her time 'chatting it up with guys at the bar.' She was the prude I taught how to flirt. She was the sister who sang me to sleep when Sam died. She is the only woman I love with all my heart and now she's dying in my arms.

"Cas, do something." I begged, spotting him standing over us, a blank look in his face. "Do anything."

"There is nothing I can do, Dean." The somber tone in his voice set me off edge.

"The hell there isn't! Fix her." Sam caught Max's hand just as she was about to pull out the titanium rod.

"Max, please, it's going to do more damage." He pleaded, gripping her fingers tightly. I bit my lip; my heart was unable to bear her quiet whimpering.

"Max, stay with us." I smacked her cheek lightly then cursed myself when she cringed in pain.

"Dean?" She croaked, my heart falling at the sound of her weakened voice.

"Yeah, monkee, I'm here. Talk to us."

"I love you and Sam." I looked up to see Sam's eyes shining in tears. He kissed her wrist just as her eyes glazed over, going blank. "Mom and Dad say hi."

"Max!" I shook her but her head fell against her shoulder. "Max! Hey, Max!"

"Dean, she's gone." Sam inhaled sharply, pulling out the rod and smacking his hand against the open wound to keep the loss of any more blood. I felt a hand on my shoulder and saw the demon I had sold my soul to for Max's life a few weeks ago.

"Looks like you're off the waiting list, Dean-o." She smirked before disappearing into the shadows. Cas leaned over and shut Max's eyes, getting a bit of blood on his fingertips.

"Dean, we should—"

"We're not burning her, Sam!" I snapped, laying her down on the floor and standing.

"We can't bury her like this, Dean." I sighed, knowing he was right. She had blood staining the Black Sabbath shirt I'd gotten for her and her upper leg and arms. My sister lay cold in the warm rays of the rising sun, just as beautiful in death as she was in life. How can you live with the guilt of watching your little sister die and regretting not telling her just how much you love her? Max was gone and it was a bit worse than losing Sam. She had nothing do with our sins…she was branded just because she was a Winchester and that was my fault. I pulled off my olive green, long-sleeved shirt and slid it over Max's small frame. At least she wouldn't be cold when she came back.

Sam and I found ourselves digging a fresh grave in the middle of a vast field of rye. Bobby and Castiel stood beside Max's body.

"Why this field?" Bobby asked, swallowing whiskey.

"She loved Holden Caulfield." Sam said, matter-of-factly. "You know, I always figured her for a catcher in the rye type…always trying to maintain childhood innocence." I scoffed bitterly, climbing out of my sister's grave. It was sure hard to find this damn place. I laid Max in the dirt, kissing her forehead one last time for good measure. She'll come back, I know she'd manage it…it was all just a matter of time, right? After the first wave of sorrow and self-pity had washed over, I found resentment and anger. Why? Why did she have to go? Max wasn't remotely liable for my stupidity. It should have been me lying in there.

"Son of a bitch," I muttered, taking a swig of Bobby's canteen. How much was Sam and I going to sacrifice to ensure the safety of others when they never gave a rat's ass? No one deserves this. I can still hear her whimpering, and it haunted hell right out of me.

And all the things that you never ever told me

Ever get the feeling that you're never

All alone and I remember now

At the top of my lungs in my arms she dies

She dies

And all the wounds that are ever gonna scar me

For all the ghosts that are never gonna catch me

She's never coming home, never coming home

My Chemical Romance—Ghost of You