Chapter One

St. Mary's Convent- Ilchester, Maryland

Sam shakes his head, disbelieving. He wants to deny the demon's words but he can't speak. Ruby is right. He has done this, it was all him. This is his fault. How could he have been so stupid? Why hadn't he listened to his brother?

"Why? W-why me?" Sam asks, stunned as he stares at Ruby's triumphant smile.

The demon's grin grows wider and Ruby put her fists on her hips.

"Because… because it had to be you, Sammy. It always had to be you. You saved us. You set him free. And he's gonna be grateful. He's gonna repay you in ways that you can't even imagine," Ruby exclaims, excitement clear in her tone and on her face.

Sam's attention leaves the demon briefly as he turns toward the back of the chapel as Dean pushes one of the doors open and strides inside with murder in his eyes. Sam, instead of feeling relief only feels trepidation.

Ruby stalks forward boldly.

"You're too late," She smugly informs Dean.

"I don't care," The hunter snarls and pulls out Ruby's own demon-killing knife.

Ruby gasps in surprise as Sam grabs her arms and forces them behind her back.

"This won't stop anything," Ruby laughs and Dean raises the knife to plunge it into the demon's chest.

"It'll make me feel a whole lot better," Dean sneers and drives the blade downwards.

Ruby's eyes go wide as if in shock and her mouth gapes open as thick black smoke squeezes out. The demon-killing knife clatters to the stone floor as Dean jumps back. The smoke billows up over the Winchesters' heads and shoots through the open chapel door.

The body of Ruby's vacated host nearly brings Sam to his knees, unprepared as he is for the extra weight. Sam carefully lowers the girl to the floor and although he knows he won't find one, he checks for a pulse.

Turning his attention to his brother, Sam cringes a little when he sees the expression on Dean's face.

"I'm sorry," Sam whispers, trying hard to keep his emotions under control.

"Look," Dean points to Lilith's blood. It has finished flowing and is now completely filling in the circular pattern carved into the floor. Suddenly, a bright light shoots up from the central point in the carving and the entire convent begins to shake as though with an earthquake.

Sam barely even notices when Dean runs across the small chapel towards him and shouts, "Sammy, let's go!"

Sam reaches out blindly- his gaze still locked on the harsh white light- and clutches his brother's sleeve, his face a mask of horror.

"Dean… He's coming."

Dean tugs Sam forward in panic. Sam seems frozen to the spot, his gaze locked onto the carving, the great door that was opening, "Come on!"

Sam tears himself away from the sight before him and follows his brother's pleading and pulling. They run as fast as they can toward the broken-open chapel doors.

"We're almost there!" Dean encourages moments before the doors slammed shut, trapping them.

Sam reaches out and rattles the handles. They're stuck. Both Winchesters turn toward the interior of the chapel as the light spilling forth becomes brighter.

A high-pitched noise causes both brothers to cringe. Sam shuts his eyes, trying to block out the searing light and lifts his hands to cover his ears.

Dean falls to his knees beside his brother, his eardrums feeling like they are about to explode and his eyes throbbing in their sockets.

The light engulfing the small chapel reaches the edge of the carving and the Winchesters know no more.


Dean opens his eyes first. He lowers his hands and sits up straighter in his seat. Staring wildly around, he realizes that they are in an airplane. He looks around at the other passengers who are either sleeping or reading or watching the in-flight show. Nobody seems to notice that he and his brother have just appeared in their seats. Dean half expects a stewardess to come over and ask if they want a complimentary baggie of peanuts.

Sam looks at his brother, just as dumbstruck as Dean.

"What the hell?" The oldest Winchester asks.

"I don't know," Sam replies in awe.

Both brothers look up as the intercom comes to life and the pilot begins speaking, "Folks, quick word from the flight deck. We're just passing over Ilchester, then Ellicott City, on our initial descent into Baltimore-"

Dean turns wide eyes to Sam, "Ilchester? Weren't we just there?"

Sam doesn't answer. He has no more idea of what happened than his brother does.

"So if you'd like to stretch your legs, now would be a good time to-" The pilot's voice cuts off suddenly as a beam of light shoots high into the night sky from the city below, right where St. Mary's stands.

"Holy crap!" The pilot exclaims, forgetting that the intercom is still on.

Sam and Dean grab each other as the plane tilts dangerously to one side and those unfortunate passengers who took the pilot's advice are thrown around the airplane.

Oxygen masks fall from the roof and Sam and Dean scramble to put theirs on, their momentary relief at being spirited away from the convent completely evaporates.

The high, keening noise that began in the chapel can be heard inside the plane. People are screaming and crying, shouting incoherently.

Dean stares out of the airplane window, his eyes terrified.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Bobby Singer was about to go out of his mind with worry. He paced restlessly from room to room, running his hand through his thinning hair every few minutes, his gaze traveling hopefully to the door every time he heard the rumble of a car engine pass by outside. Dean hadn't reappeared from the vanishing act he'd pulled nearly twenty-four hours ago- probably the work of those damn angels- and he hadn't heard a peep from Sam the kid had bashed him in the head with his own shotgun and hightailed it to God-knows-where.

The veteran hunter couldn't help but fear the worst- that his boys had somehow gotten themselves killed- and prayed that his suspicions would amount to naught.

Bobby finally stopped trying to wear a hole into the floor and sat down at his kitchen table. He slipped his baseball cap off and rubbed at the sizeable lump at his hairline.


Bobby jerked awake at the sound of his front door creaking open. Hunting instincts taking over, Bobby's hand reached for the pistol he kept taped to the underside of the kitchen table.

Must have fallen asleep, Bobby chastised himself; you're getting to be an old man, Singer.

"Bobby?" Dean's familiar called out and Bobby immediately relaxed.

"In here," the veteran hunter answered, "Yer brother with you?"

Dean didn't answer but stepped into the kitchen and made straight for the refrigerator. He opened the icebox and grabbed a beer, twisted off the cap and gulped down a good half of its contents.

"Dean!" Bobby snapped at the younger man, Dean's silence not boding well.

The younger man set the beer bottle down on the counter and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, "Yeah, I found Sam."

As if on cue, the youngest Winchester peered into the kitchen. He didn't step any further than the doorway though, his hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket and his gaze lowered to the floor.

"C'mere ya great idjit," Bobby grumbled and Sam slowly made his way forward.

"Bobby," Sam whispered, his voice full of shame, "I'm sorry I hurt you."

The old hunter shook his grizzled head, "Wasn't yer fault, boy. Ya weren't yerself."

Sam's posture stiffened and he gritted his teeth, "But I knew what I was doing! I didn't have to hit you but I did. I could have hurt you badly or killed you!"

Bobby frowned, "It wasn't you, Sam. It was the demon blood. I don't blame ya so you stop blamin' yerself! That's an order!"

Sam's eyes were moist as he met Bobby's gaze and gave a small, sad smile.

The old hunter looked from Sam to Dean and harrumphed, "You two chuckleheads gonna tell me what happened or do I have to guess?"

Dean spoke up first, his voice laced with sarcasm, "Why don't you ask Sam about it? I'm sure he has so much more to say than I do."

Bobby's gaze shot to the older brother as Dean grabbed his beer bottle and stalked from the room, nearly colliding with his younger sibling on the way out the door.

After a moment of silence, Bobby turned his attention to the remaining Winchester.

"You feelin' alright, son?" Bobby asked, suddenly remembering that Sam had been going through demon blood-induced withdrawal the last time they had spoken.

"I'm okay, Bobby," Sam muttered but the old hunter doubted the truth of his words.

"Can I get ya anything? A beer? Coffee?" Bobby stood and began scooping coffee grounds into the machine before Sam even answered.


Sam told his old friend what had happened since he had left Singer Salvage. He didn't tell Bobby everything, he left out some parts he was too ashamed to speak of. He didn't tell Bobby about the possessed nurse he'd killed, knowing full well there had been a live person inside. Sam stared down at his hands as he spoke, imagining them splattered with the innocent blood he had shed. He couldn't even recall the poor nurse's name.

Bobby had made Sam stop and repeat himself when the young man described how killing Lilith had been the final Seal and had released Lucifer into the world.

"You gotta be pulling my leg," Bobby rubbed a hand over his ruddy beard and closed his eyes for a moment, his face going pale.

"I wish to God I was," Sam answered. He had not touched the mug of coffee the old hunter had poured for him.

"An' Ruby got away, just to add the cherry on top," Bobby grumbled mutinously.

Sam lowered his gaze at the mention of the demon's name. His stomach flip-flopped at the very thought that he had once trusted her.

Once Sam completed the tale, finishing with the description of how he and Dean had managed to slip past customs at the airport their plane had been forced to make an emergency landing at, Bobby leaned back in his chair and heaved a weary sigh.

"Balls," the old hunter muttered and his gaze traveled to the ceiling.

"I'm sorry," Sam whispered and curled his hands into fists.

"Well, I guess we're gonna have to deal with this as soon as possible. We can sleep on this tonight and start researchin' bright and early to-" Bobby began to voice his thoughts out loud to the young man but he stopped when Sam gagged and twisted into a standing position, his chair clattering to the linoleum floor.

Sam's gut rebelled against him and the young man lurched the short distance to the kitchen sink, head hanging down miserably as he retched. He felt Bobby's hand on his back and wished that it was Dean's instead.

"Easy does it," Bobby murmured as Sam heaved, "Yer okay. Just get it all out."

When Sam's stomach had calmed down he lifted his head, blinking away tears that had welled up in his eyes and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

Bobby placed a rough, calloused hand on Sam's brow and shook his head, "You've got no fever… must 'a just been nerves."

Sam gulped down the bitter taste in his mouth.

"Are yer bags inside?" Bobby asked and Sam nodded.

"Dean brought them in."

"Right. Y'all go on upstairs and get some sleep," Bobby instructed, "You've had a stressful couple of days."

"Thanks, Bobby," Sam said gratefully and slowly walked out of the kitchen. He entered the den but didn't see his brother.

"Did Dean leave?" Sam asked fearfully. He didn't know what he'd do if his brother had abandoned him but really, Sam didn't think he'd blame Dean if he did.

"Nah, he's outside most like," Bobby answered gruffly, "Sitting on the hood of that car of his and drowning his sorrows in beer."

Sam went to the front window and pulled aside the dusty curtain. He couldn't see very far into the salvage yard but he felt sure Dean was out there somewhere, perhaps watching the stars orbit silently and slowly and coldly.

"You get on upstairs before I have to drag you to bed myself," Bobby threatened but smiled. He was just so glad to have both boys back in one peace, regardless of what had transpired during the past few days.

Sam grabbed his duffle bag from where Dean had deposited it in the front hall and wearily climbed the stairs. His body was aching, begging for sleep but he was sure that he wouldn't get any that night. His mind was full of what ifs and what nows and memories of the past couple of days that Sam would rather forget. He felt full of guilt, stuffed with it and it seemed that if he fucked up one more thing he would explode.

Sam dropped his duffle outside the bathroom door and grabbed his toiletry kit so he could at least brush his teeth before lying awake for the remainder of the night. He didn't look at his reflection in the mirror as he ran his toothbrush over his teeth and tongue, afraid that if he did, he'd see someone he didn't recognize instead of himself.

Sam spat toothpaste into the basin and wiped his mouth with the palm of his (bloodstained) hand, squeezed his eyes closed and told himself he was imagining things because he was exhausted.

Lines from Shakespeare's Macbeth entered Sam's mind unbidden and he found himself reciting them under his breath, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red."

Sadly, Sam opened his eyes, put his toothbrush away and grabbed his duffle bag. As he passed the landing, he could hear the muffled voices of his brother and Bobby downstairs but Sam was too tired to listen in to conversation. Sam's legs carried him into the guest bedroom and he dropped his duffle, lying down on his bed without changing his clothes. Out of habit he turned toward the empty bed on the other side of the room to wait and see if Dean would come upstairs.

Author's Note:

1. Written with AlxM

2. Please review! We'd love to hear what you think!