The Last Mistake

CHAPTER SEVEN

Twelve Hours Later at a motel in Houma, Louisiana:

"Out, now. Get out before I put you out."

"Dude, be reasonable. You're barely on your feet."

"I went to the damn ER because you harped more than Bobby could on his best day. Now get out or I'll remind you that Sammy isn't the Winchester you need to be scared of."

Close to actually pounding his fist on something, Garth once again understood why Bobby was often so grumpy. He'd been dealing with Winchesters steady for almost a week and honestly was ready to go find the worst monster he could think of since that would probably be less stressful.

"You went to the ER because you had a gash in the back of your head that needed twenty-six stitches to close and you had a concussion that was close to putting you in a coma," he shot back, seeing that vein in Dean's jaw twitch but felt he needed to make one more stab at it. "You were throwing up and even those docs said they didn't know why you didn't have internal bleeding from the beating you took. Dean, Sam's still hurt and you released yourself AMA and…"

"I haven't thrown up in five hours and I've nearly stopped seeing three of everything…except you and that's because you won't stop moving like a hyperactive five year old," Dean yawned, careful as he rubbed a towel over his still damp hair.

Dean had to give Garth credit. He'd gotten them to Houma faster than Dean would have thought, though he also accepted that he'd passed out and that had left the little hunter on his own for most of the drive.

He'd woken up in time to see that they'd located a motel well off the road and Garth was trying to get Sam out of the backseat by himself.

It had been when Dean had gone to get out of the Impala that he began to realize he needed more help than a few aspirin, some home done stitches and some ice. He'd stood to help Garth only to fall when both legs gave out, his head blazed with agony and he began throwing up violently.

"You're lucky the motel owner's…wife…girlfriend…whatever was a nurse and could stitch Sam up without asking any questions," Garth muttered, ducking the towel. "Dean, let me…"

Easing himself down to sit on the edge of one of the double beds in the motel room, Dean refused the longing to just fall back and sleep. He knew what still needed to be done and just chose to wait it out.

"Garth, look, man, I appreciate you helping Sam…even though I could point out that I told you not to tell him where I went, but you did all you can," Dean told him, knowing the other hunter meant well in his own geeky way but just wanted to handle the rest of this alone. "You got a ride to go get your car so go and Sam and I'll be touch once we get back to Kansas."

"…Alright," Garth sighed, clearly unhappy but knew when not to push Dean so with a shrug he made his usual move. "Take care of your brother and yourself," he hugged Dean before the other man could think of a way to avoid the move but was careful since he didn't want to cause him more pain than he was in now. "I'll go watch Kevin talk to a rock."

Dean waited until Garth was gone and he heard the sound of the car of whoever he'd called trail off to slowly take a deep breath then let it out as if testing the pain he'd be in then let a good deal of the shields he'd kept up to portray that he was fine to Garth to drop.

Glancing over to the next bed, his gaze settled on Sam as if gauging how well his brother was resting before making himself move.

Going over to sit next to his brother, Dean was careful when he uncovered the bandage over Sam's shoulder to check the stitches himself.

While he'd been stuck in the ER with an over anxious Garth, Dean had managed to get more details out of him. Starting from the time Sam showed up at the houseboat to when they separated at the plantation.

Several items stood out in Dean's mind that would have to be dealt with at a later time. A visit to Texas to see Jefferson was chief among them since while Dean had suspected that was how Walt knew he was coming, it was quite another to actually know that the man had set Sam up.

Excuses and reasons weren't always big in Dean's big and especially not when it involved getting his brother hurt and while he knew Sam would shrug it off openly, betrayals always hurt and this one was too large to be ignored.

Right then, it was the more open wounds that worried Dean. The motel manager's wife had done a good job at stitching Sam's shoulder up since Dean couldn't see any signs of infection yet and neither side seemed red or puffy which he knew from experience was a good sign.

The gash on Sam's forehead had also required a couple little stitches but those also looked good and the bump seemed to be going down. Yeah, his little brother's forehead and jaw, from he guessed a fist, looked pretty colorful but those too would go away.

The other little bruises didn't worry him but Dean still felt his fingers curl into a fist as his gaze fell on the older scars he could see right then from Sam's other encounter with Walt and Roy.

"Never again," he whispered, knowing that while neither hunter would be able to hurt anyone else again their deaths would only be a small comfort in consideration of the pain they had caused.

Reaching up to lightly card his fingers back through Sam's seriously too long hair, thinking back to when times were simpler for them both. When the worst thing his brother had to face was the death of his girlfriend.

"And I bitched about Wendigos and possessed paintings," he muttered, deciding that Sam was still sleeping alright and didn't seem to be in pain so he judged it safe enough to step back into the tiny bathroom to finish giving his own wounds a once over.

Dean had wondered how Garth had explained his injuries to the hospital staff since they hadn't asked him any questions and he'd been glad for that since some things he just hadn't felt like dealing with.

"Sonuvabitch," he hissed as his hand touched the stitches on the back of head a bit too hard and knew that spot was going to be tender for awhile.

Leaning on the sink, Dean took in his bruised and battered face. A lot of the swelling had gone down but some remained until he took the time to ice it. The cuts and wounds on his chest weren't too serious except for a couple deeper ones that had become infected in the time since Walt had inflicted them.

Moving his fingers down a little to probe, Dean bit back a curse as he touched the one burn. Deep and red, he reached for a wet cloth to lightly clean away the infection so he could dress it as there were certain wounds he wanted handled before Sam woke up.

Glad that the ER staff had dressed most of the wounds since he couldn't begin to reach the few on his back, Dean considered pulling on his black T-shirt then shrugged that off as a waste of energy. Sam would want to see them before he was satisfied that Dean was alright.

Looking down, his eyes noticed the photo he'd taken from his wallet and Dean's eyes closed, recalling the day one summer when he'd been nineteen and his Dad had taken him and Sam on a case in the bayous of Louisiana with him.

A simple case took a bad turn when it turned out there was more in the bayous than a possible swamp monster and Dean still knew the terror of nearly losing Sam to that mess. 'One of the few times Dad actually showed real concern,' he remembered.

John Winchester had raised his sons to fight a war and he didn't approve of showing any emotion. He rarely showed any positive ones to either of his sons, especially Sam, but he had that job.

Dean had seen his father in a lot of stages of anger. Hell, he'd been on the receiving end of a lot of John's anger but that night, on grounds past the plantation that he'd just seen burned, he saw his father fight literally bare handed to save his youngest son from being burned alive in the middle of some ritual meant to call up some dark mojo.

They'd met Ophelia and her mother, Mama Celeste, while on that case and while John had his objections to accepting help he'd been impressed…or intimidated by the feisty older woman and Dean had been more than impressed with her daughter.

Eighteen and shy, she hadn't been the type of girl that Dean normally went for and he accepted that it was mostly friendship since Dean wasn't stupid enough not to know what Celeste could've done if he'd have even thought of putting the moves on her girl.

He had bought the jade ring in a cheap curio shop in New Orleans on a whim and because Sam was annoying the hell out of him that trip so he went in to just let Sam look around while they waited on John and Caleb to get done scouting leads.

Ophelia had worn the ring after Dean gave it to her until a week later when all broke loose and she and Sam were grabbed by a cult of dark voodoo worshippers looking for more sacrifices.

The old plantation had been in the care of Ophelia's family since it had passed from the original owners to former slaves freed after the Civil War but who had stayed with the family until the last of the line passed away and then their descendants continued to take care of the land but never touched the manor.

Celeste's son had gone over to the dark side of their ancient religion and would use the lands behind the old mansion, near the bayou's edge, to hold large ceremonies and it was in one of those ceremonies that Sam, at fifteen, had witnessed things so bloody and violent, that after barely saving him from death, John had asked the older woman for a way, any way, so his boy wouldn't remember that night.

For Dean, the terror of watching those nearly drugged out cult members cut and bleed his fully conscious but immobile little brother before tying him in a cage of burning wood was still things he woke up to in the middle of the night.

A sudden thump from inside the bedroom instantly made him reach for the Colt laying on the bathroom sink next to his hand then just as quickly stopped to listen again, then let out a shaky breath before calling out. "Staying on the bed is a better option for you."

"Now…you say…that."

Sam sounded worn out, voice tired and shaky but Dean knew how his little brother was after first waking up hurt, sick, or hungover so that didn't worry him too much at the moment.

"Common sense, Sammy," Dean replied with a small grin that dropped the second he heard the sound of his brother throwing up.

Out the bathroom door, across the room and dropping down next to where Sam was half on and half off the bed and trying to support himself with an injured shoulder and knee while throwing up into the trashcan that Dean had placed between the beds earlier…just in case,

"Hey. Sammy, easy there," quickly moving to support Sam, Dean took another look to be sure no stitches had been ripped open and after a couple more moments of nothing but dry heaves, nudged his brother back up so he was laying fully on the bed. "Sip this," he held out a bottle of orange Gatorade he had thought to have Garth pick up since he figured his brother would probably be sick upon first waking up.

Dean's gaze was sharp as he watched Sam take a couple drinks from the bottle before easing it away in favor of a cold cloth. "Get up too fast?" he asked knowingly, guessing it was a combination of that and probably the pain of trying to stand on his knee, which was the one thing that Sam had that worried him since it did seem swelled.

"Yeah," Sam winched as he went to move his arm before remembering he'd been shot then his eyes snapped back open to pin his brother. "Dean, are you okay?" he asked before his now clearing vision saw the answer in the form of his brother's injuries. "You…they…how bad?"

Waiting for Sam to settle on a question, Dean considered what he should say and what he should gloss over then just decided to wing it. "Concussion, some broken ribs, bruised up inside and out, few nasty burns and cuts but all and all…and considering how much the bastard hated me…I still think I came outta this better than you, Sammy," he kept his tone easy going in the hopes to calm Sam down and keep him from dwelling on this too much.

Trying to push up on an elbow, Sam gave up and finally let Dean help him to sit up against the pillows but as Dean was moving to grab another pillow, he was able to see more of the wounds and his gaze landed on the deep burn on Dean's side that hadn't been recovered yet. "What…what the hell did…he use?"

This time, Dean did grab for the shirt he'd tossed on his bed to pull it on before sitting back on the edge of Sam's bed. "Old branding tool, no big deal," he shrugged, sighing at the sound of Sam blowing out a breath between clenched teeth and knew what would be coming. "Alright, let's just get this out in the air so you can vent, I can make sure you're alright, we can both sleep this off and head home."

Seriously wishing he'd had more time to plan this speech in his head, Dean resisted the urge to pace or move as he normally would and stayed sitting. "You're pissed that I took off on my own to do this. I get that but I'd promised Walt after he blasted us to Heaven that when I got back I'd deal with him so I did.

"It had nothing to do with not trusting you or anything else. It had everything to do with Walt. He made his last mistake when he touched you and I didn't want you near either of the sons of bitches again," Dean looked at his hands where the rope burns were still pretty visible since he'd down a lot of damage to himself in that area while trying to get them loose enough to find the razor blade.

"Did it happen like I'd planned it? No way in hell but in the end it worked out. Walt told me what I needed to know and he ended up dead, which is what you need to know, Sam. The bastard is dead and will never be a threat to you, me, or anyone else," of that Dean was certain, looking over when he felt fingers grip his wrist.

"You never told me that you went after him before," Sam murmured, looking at his own wounds to see they'd been taken care of and knowing he still wasn't hurt as bad as his brother probably was, ignoring the nausea if he even tried to move his leg right then.

"You slept through it so there wasn't a reason to," Dean reasoned, going to fill a couple ice bags then carefully laying one over Sam's knee while holding the other to the back of his own head. "Should've stayed outta this one, Sammy."

That made Sam snort, wincing and not surprised at the pain pills that were plopped into his hand along with the Gatorade again. Dean still seemed to know what he needed and when. Those were things that Sam knew he'd taken for granted…until he thought he'd lose his brother again.

"They would've killed you, Dean," he told him seriously, no doubt at all in Sam's mind that would have been his brother's fate if he and Garth hadn't arrived. "Walt would've…Dean, what else did…I mean…what else did he…"

Recalling the recorder and some things Walt had said in addition to the photos he saw on Roy's phone, Dean had a good hunch what his younger brother was trying to ask and just turned his hand over to grip Sam's wrist in return. "Sam…" he began more seriously upon feeling the younger man tense.

"He let you hear that to…I didn't…when he called me he let me…damn it," Sam's words were rushing together as he tried to get out what he wanted but didn't want to say anything that would upset his brother.

"Sam, I know what Walt said to me and I can guess what he said to you since he was big on bragging, especially when he's got the upper hand, but the one thing I know for a damn fact…is that you will always be a better hunter, a better person than either of them and…what you heard? Forget it," Dean knew he was getting a modified bitch face even before he looked.

"I took the risks when I went, I got nailed but I've been hurt before. I'll heal and so will you," taking another look at gash on Sam's forehead gave Dean a chance to see his brother's eyes were clearing more. "Will I be cranky as hell the moment you suggest looking at these? Yep, but then I figure you'll be the same way so again I say, you needed to stay out of this one."

Sam understood Dean's reasoning behind doing this on his own and maybe he even accepted it a little but that didn't mean he had to like it or that he would ever just let his face being hurt if could stop it. "I told Roy when he asked why I didn't give up trying to help you this time that…" he paused a moment before lifting big hazel eyes up. "You're my brother and I'd still die for you, Dean."

Not expecting that line, Dean slowly looked over and the moment he met those big eyes he blew out a breath. "You're gonna chick flick this on me, aren't you?" he asked, knowing he should've seen this coming since when Sam was hurt he still had the habit of going emotional. "Sam…"

"I told you back in Kansas that you were more than a grunt, that you were my big brother and I meant that but I didn't mean that you were Super…Batman and needed to be this invincible warrior against the forces of evil by yourself, Dean," Sam told him, feeling able to sit up more then bit his lip when a hand gently pushed him back. "Batman isn't invincible. He's got someone backing him up."

"Robin dies too much and you, little brother of mine, are not dying," Dean shot back firmly, refusing the mere thought then understanding.

His refusal to think of Sam dying is probably a lot like what Sam felt so many times when Dean's actions placed his life in jeopardy.

"I get it, Geek boy," he sighed, then gave a last squeeze to Sam's wrist before going to stand up. "Though I will never fully just ignore the danger and stop being manic obsessive about keeping you safe. That's big brother prerogative or something."

Sam chuckled lightly, guessing he'd take that as it came when something else came to mind and waited until Dean had taken three steps away to speak again. "Who was she, Dean?"

"Sonuvabitch," he'd prayed that with everything going on that Sam's fuzzy memories wouldn't remember Ophelia or what else seeing her might've brought back. That single soft question ripped that hope away and he was left with either answering with the hope that Sam didn't ask anymore or bluffing his way around it.

"I'd seen her before hadn't I?" Sam asked, pretty positive on that even without the additional memories. "You have one basic reaction to anything supernatural. You shoot first and ask questions later. This time you didn't. This time you called her by name and she knew you. So…who was she and why do I think I should know something that I…Dean?"

The urge to snap a reply was a little too strong but Dean knew it wasn't Sam's fault. He'd been fifteen back then and hurt this time but any answer Dean gave was likely to bring back more than he wanted but again a look back into those big soulful eyes made him give in and made him beret himself for teaching Sam that trick.

"Her name was Ophelia and yeah, you'd seen her before," he sighed, sitting back on Sam's bed since he figured it would be the easiest. "You were fifteen, I was nineteen and we were with Dad on a case down here. You got…hurt and…Dad asked Mama Celeste to help you not to remember what you'd seen or…what was done."

Dean dropped his head to stare at the floor, his own thoughts going back to that time and to another time, the last time he'd seen her alive. "Lia was her daughter and this cult grabbed you both. You took the brunt of it because you were a teenager and an outsider but she helped me and Caleb get…to you and help you. You shouldn't remember, Sam."

It was the tone that told Sam that his brother was holding things back but the low, shaking tone also meant that whatever it was that Dean was holding back still hurt him so Sam thought pushing now wasn't a good idea.

This time he was able to sit up fully and only hesitated when it came to stretching or moving his knee too much. "Dad asked her to do that?" he had a hard time visualizing his anti-magic or anti-anything supernatural father asking for help from a Voodoo Priestess or anything.

Laughing dryly, Dean looked over with a small smile that seemed sad. "The one time I wish you could remember Dad being so scared over you is also the one time I'm glad you can't because, little brother, you still don't need those memories," he told him, then needed to know. "What do you remember?"

"Fire. I could feel fire and smell it and…burning flesh and…blood," Sam shuddered then felt the firm hand that gripped his good shoulder. "Back there, I saw people moving and could hear others screaming. I heard you and thought I saw Dad fighting with some giant but…"

'So much for not remembering,' Dean thought bitterly, clearing his thought to bring Sam's attention back to him. "Long story short, you got hurt, Lia's Mom took most of it away then Dad dropped up in a motel in Tennessee where I got to play nursemaid to my pain in the ass little brother while a Wendigo tried to eat Caleb."

That short and pithy description made Sam smile, and he relaxed after a few more moments when he looked over at Dean again. "Did she die there?"

"Damn, I forgot how many questions you can ask when sick," Dean grumbled, but moved his hand up to grip the back of Sam's neck like he would when offering support then answered. "No, Lia…she died…right before I came to Stanford to get you."

That made Sam's eyes dart back over to see the way his brother's jaw was twitching, a sure sign that Dean was fighting with something. Then the timeline hit and he got it. "You said you were working a case in New Orleans right before Dad vanished," he recalled, feeling the grip on his neck tighten which meant to back off but this was one time Sam knew he couldn't.

"I heard her tell you to let go of the guilt, that you couldn't have stopped it. Is that what happened? Did Ophelia die on that…damn it, Dean," the frustration was there as his brother pulled away to walk across the room. "Talk to me. Did something happen because you left when Dad…"

"She was already gone before I found out that Dad had dropped outta sight," Dean finally broke in, knowing what the spirit had said and could only wish it was that simple to forget or forgive.

Looking over, Dean's finger shot out in warning the moment he noticed Sam trying to stand. "You park your ass cause I don't think I can haul you back up if you faceplant," he ordered before scrubbing both hands over his face. "Dad and I hadn't been hunting together in awhile. I got a call one day from Lia, Ophelia, that she was being tracked in New Orleans and it had been going on since she moved there.

"I go down and it wasn't twenty-four hours after I'd hit town that I got shot," Dean heard Sam's oath and offered a smirk. "Yeah, that was my response to it. Lia had made waves in the local New Orleans Voodoo culture. Because of her heritage, she was a natural with doing whatever it was she did and one of the lesser known priests or whatever decided she was a threat."

Since research was and always had been his specialty, Sam had an idea as to what his brother was saying and what he must have been facing. "Spell on spell?" he asked quietly, using the stand between the beds to push him up then hoped the wall would give him enough balance so he could test the strength of his knee before Dean's attention was pulled off this tale. "This guy wanted her gone so…"

"The French Quarter was afraid of this guy and afraid to talk to me. Before I could get enough information to take him out or find out how to even do that…I found her in her apartment," Dean's fingers clenched on the dresser as he thought back to that night.

"You couldn't have protected her, Dean. That kind of stuff would have been beyond what we'd been taught," Sam knew this and thought so did his brother when something in the way Dean's shoulders were bunched warned him that it wasn't that simple. "Dean?"

"They didn't kill her, Sammy," he murmured, lifting his head so he could meet Sam's eyes in the mirror and was drawn into his memories that he missed what Sam was up to. "I did."

Concentrating on not falling if he took a step, Sam nearly did fall when he went to move too fast at that unexpected announcement. "Come again?" he stared at his brother, not sure he'd heard him. "You…Dean, what're you saying?"

"I'd been out all day trying to find someone to talk to me about this bokor or whatever he was when finally a little old guy who could've been a hundred if he was a day found me. He began talking about hoodoo spells, souls and stuff that we'd only heard Pastor Jim and Bobby talk about in whispers when we weren't supposed to be listening," Dean's tone had dropped to the one he used when fighting back emotion, the gruff one that had always warned Sam that his brother was close to breaking his own 'no chick-flick moments' rule.

"He was telling me what to do or where to look when she called me and said there were people outside her place and they'd broken her wards. I heard her scream as something or someone broke down the door then the call disconnected," he could still remember the terror in that scream.

Turning to lean against the dresser, Dean's gaze was intense but clearly not in the present as he remembered stepping through that broken down door and around broken, ripped furniture, shattered glass until he stepped into what Ophelia liked to call her sunroom and found her.

"She…I don't know what the hell they did but she wasn't Ophelia anymore, Sam," he murmured, that day etched in his brain. "She had this dull, almost dead look when I first called to her and then…she just went for me. There was no recognition, no life, just murder in nearly white eyes as she tried to claw at me first then pulled a knife.

"I was able to get the blade off of her without too many cuts and restrained her until I could call a friend of hers and that friend called someone else who finally told me that this son of a bitch had worked some really bad crap and that essentially Lia was gone," Dean's smile was tight now. "When you lost your soul you still had the ability to think. She lost hers and lost the ability to do anything but either stare right through you or kill because that's what this guy did.

"I thought if I killed the asshole it would break the spell but he'd vanished. I spent two days looking but again no one would talk and when Lia got loose one day and nearly killed someone I knew what I needed to do. I knew what she'd want me to do so I…I…" voice breaking, Dean pushed away from the dresser only to feel a hand on his shoulder and his eyes snapped up to meet Sam's. "I killed her, Sammy."

Nodding, Sam had quickly seen how this story was heading and understood the spirit's words to his brother. Just as he also knew Dean, knew his reactions to things and understood his brother's pain.

While Sam had always been the more emotional one, he knew his brother still felt the emotions but had just grown up knowing how to hide them better than Sam did. Dean buried his deeper emotions like Sam was learning how to now.

So back then when he'd basically on his own, Dean's pain, grief, and guilt would have been sucked in internally only to be pushed to one side by John's disappearance and everything else that had been happening in one nightmare after another for them.

"You said it yourself, Dean. Ophelia wouldn't want to live like that," Sam told him, keeping his hand loose since he wasn't sure of Dean's mood right then. "You did everything you could to help her and in the end, you did help her. She doesn't blame you and doesn't want you to blame yourself," tightening his grip slightly, he waited a beat to add. "Isn't that what you told me about Madison?"

Once again his little brother could stop him in his tracks. Dean accepted that he had done all he could for Ophelia but it didn't make it any easier and he'd just filed that under all the other mistakes in his life until Sam's last comment hit home.

He had told Sam that after he'd been forced to kill Madison, the first girl since Jessica that Sam had allowed himself to care for only to learn she'd been the werewolf they'd been hunting.

"College boy still thinks he's so smart," Dean muttered, reaching up to grip and squeeze the wrist of the hand on his shoulder when he then shifted a narrowed look up. "Sammy? What the hell are you doing outta bed and how are you on that damn leg?"

Grinning, Sam offered a one shouldered shrug that didn't involve his injured shoulder. "Batman needs Robin. I guess you still need me," he replied, then couldn't hide the pain any longer and bit his lower lip to keep from groaning. "Maybe the whole walking thing wasn't a good idea though?"

"You think, genuis?" Dean snorted with an eye roll that was remarkably close to those that Sam still did now and then but he was quick to shift so he was supporting Sam's good side even as he felt his younger brother start to wobble. "Bed. Ice. Food. Sleep," he recited in order the things he knew they both needed.

"Add something stronger than what you gave me earlier to that and we'll talk," Sam muttered, gripping Dean's arm for support as he was helped back to the bed but was surprised when Dean didn't immediately release the grip as he helped Sam ease down onto the pillows.

"I'll always need you, Sammy," Dean told him in the same tone he only used with his brother when he was willing to allow chick flick moments and knew the kid was half asleep anyway. "No matter what it may look like or what I may sound like, I'll always need you and I will always be there for you."

Nodding, the pain and those earlier pain pills were taking effect as Sam's eyes drifted closed but struggled to open again to find his brother. "We good, Dean?"

"Yeah, little brother, we're good," Dean assured him, waiting until Sam seemed to settle into sleep before replacing the icepack over his knee and vowing that if it was still swelled when Sam woke up he'd drag him into that ER.

Keeping a hand on Sam's arm a moment longer, he pushed Sam's hair out of his face with a smirk while making a mental note that it was time to start bugging his brother about his hair.

Finally after taking another look around the room, checking the door and windows were locked and warded in a way that he only did when he knew Sam was sleeping and that he'd probably crash as soon as he laid down, Dean stretched out on the bed and felt every ounce of his body ache in ways that it hadn't in years.

"Yeah, this'll be fun in the morning," he decided, not even having the strength to reach for a blanket as he took one final look at Sam and considered what might be coming down the road for them.

His little brother might have to do these trials but that sure didn't mean Dean would let him face them alone and he'd make certain that he'd keep Sam safe through them…no matter whose lungs he had to rip out.

"G'night, Sammy," he whispered, letting his eyes close and knowing that no matter who or what they faced that he'd always have Sam's back…just like he knew his brother would have his.

Elsewhere that night, in Texas:

The hunting community wasn't as tight as it once had been but Jefferson still had contact with some hunters who could keep him in the loop.

Ever since his last conversation with Sam some days earlier; his guilt over allowing Walt to blackmail him into setting the Winchester boys up had been eating at him.

He knew without a doubt if Bobby Singer or Jim Murphy were still alive and had found out about it that his life expectancy would have dropped.

The older man had actually been expecting a visit from a very pissed off Dean and still figured that once the boy got over whatever the hell had happened to him in Louisiana he probably would be dropping in.

Jefferson had watched Dean and Sam grow up. He knew without question the lengths those boys would go to for one another so he knew that the moment Dean learned everything about his involvement with Sam's injuries that all bets would be off.

Friendship aside, anyone who even thought of messing with Dean's brother usually paid for that mistake with their lives.

"I just wish he'd take as much care with himself," the older man sighed, staring at the glass of whiskey on his desk just as his doorbell started buzzing. "Who the hell is that this late at night?"

No matter if he didn't hunt as much as he once had, Jefferson wasn't a foolish man. He knew never to assume whatever was knocking at nearly one in the damn morning was friendly.

"Who is it?" he called, opening the small eye slot but not seeing anyone there.

Reaching for the small caliber pistol he kept in a drawer in the side table by the door, he was reaching for the lock when the buzzer sounded again. "Who is it?" he asked again, not liking this but then when he didn't see anyone again he assumed it might be kids playing a very bad joke.

"It's a little too late to be out ringing people's…oh sweet Mother of God," he breathed after opening the door and expecting to scare some local kids away only to fall back in shock, so shocked that he even forgot the weapon in his hand.

"Hello, Jeff," a voice that Jefferson hadn't heard in more than eight years greeted before it's owner stepped from the shadows. "It's been a long time."

Being a hunter for so long had left Jefferson prepared for a lot of shocks and he'd seen a lot of crap over the years but he hadn't been expecting this and wasn't certain what kind of trick this was but was now getting his thoughts nearly back together.

"This isn't possible," he snapped, recalling the weapon in his weapon and began to raise it only to have a very solid fist grab his hand while another gripped him by the throat to push him back against a wall. "You…you're dead," he gasped, knowing his house was warded against demons and had thought, thanks to Bobby Singer, it was against anything else as well.

"I was…I am," the man agreed, tightening his grip while staring into Jefferson's wide eyes with a gaze that was still as cold and hard as Jeff could recall it being. "I'm not certain what I am now or anything but I do know one thing, Jeff…I know you should never have touched my boys."

Before Jefferson could think of a reply or try to break the grip on his throat he felt the brief burst of pain as something sharp pieced his chest and understood with a final gasp that it wasn't Dean or Sam who had dealt with his treachery but another and he supposed it was fitting that it was him.

"Goodbye, Jeff," the man whispered then slipped back out into the shadows.

The End

Author Note: Yes, it is finally over. Am I evil? This is the part where you, the reader, can take into your own little imaginations who killed Jefferson.

I hope everyone who has read this one and has had the patience to bear with me through all 7 chapters has enjoyed it. I thank everyone for your reviews as those will always mean the world to me. Now it is on to other fics for the boys.