A/N: Told you the action would start to pick up! I am really sorry for the late post, I was having a bit of writer's block (knew what I wanted to write but just couldn't get it to sound right) plus have been super busy. Anyway I hope you enjoy this next chappy! Thanks for all those who are following, PMing, reviewing and favoriting, you really make my day! As always I do not own Supernatural or any of its characters.

Chapter 7

Sam Winchester had rarely ever been truly terrified. After all, he had his big brother to protect him, comfort him from nightmares, keep him safe. He had only been truly terrified three times in his young life: when he had electrocuted himself and nearly died of heart failure; when he had been in a coma after the accident with the semi; and when Dean had confessed that he only had a year to live. Now, watching his brother slip beneath the dark waters of the Antigonish Harbour, Sam was petrified that his brother would be punching his ticket to Hell considerably ahead of schedule. Dean couldn't die, not like this. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to find the demon that held Dean's contract, kill the bitch, save his brother like he had saved him on so many occasions. He wasn't supposed to fucking drown from a goddamned water spirit!

"Dean!" Struggling to fight his ever rising terror, Sam dived in, desperately searching for his brother. It was next to impossible, and Sam immediately regretted searching the goddamned harbour after dark. He searched blindly, struggling to find any signs of Dean in the murky darkness. Nothing. Resurfacing only for air, Sam continued to search, his training out the window as he felt himself give in to panic. Calm down, he told himself, trying not to give in. Freaking out isn't going to help Dean. Calm the fuck down! He could feel his own lungs burning, and regrettably he resurfaced, gulping in air greedily before diving back under. He had to find Dean. He couldn't die. He couldn't let his big brother die.

It was pure luck when Sam felt his fingers brush against Dean's jacket. Relief immediately overwhelmed Sam and he quickly breathed into Dean's lips, praying that he wasn't too late. He could feel the tightness in his chest as he pulled to the surface.

The spirit refused to let go.

Shit! Struggling to remain conscious himself, Sam struggled to free his brother from the spirit's grasp. At first, his attempts were futile. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was only in fact a few seconds, Sam felt the spirit's grip relinquish, and he quickly surfaced, Dean limp and lifeless in his arms. Gasping for air, the hunter laid his brother in the boat and sped to the surface, praying that he wasn't too late. Dean had been under for a while, face ashen, freckles standing out against the pallor of his skin. Sam floored it, guiding the boat to shore erratically. You're not going to die, Dean. Not on my watch. Not if I can help it.

Finally, Sam killed the engine, pulling his brother to the shore and ripping open his shirt. "Come on, Dean, come on, come on, dammit!" Fighting back tears, Sam began chest compressions, pumping his fists against the man's still chest with such severity that it would be a surprise if the hunter didn't add a few cracked ribs to his injuries. No response. Dean remained deathly still, green eyes glassy and unseeing, lips turning that ghastly shade of blue. No. Nonononononono. The tears were threatening to spill as Sam breathed into his brother's lungs, praying that he would hear his brother cough. Ohgod Dean, please, please, please…

Dean remained unresponsive. Unwilling to give up, he tried again with the compressions, trying to convince himself that his brother would be ok. He had to be ok. He was Dean fucking Winchester. "Come on, man, breathe! Breathe, goddamn it!" And then, he heard it. A gurgling sound as Dean began to cough water from his lungs, then gasps as he struggled to breathe, reaching out blindly for his brother's hand. Relief flooded Sam as he sat his brother up, gently rubbing his back as his brother fought to catch his breath. Finally, after several minutes of choking and coughing, Dean was breathing on his own, shaking slightly from the chill.

"You okay, man?" Spoken calmly, as if Sam had not been freaking out not five minutes ago. Dean nodded, reaching for his brother to help him to his feet. "Yeah, I'm fine. Good thing that water is fucking cold, though."

Sam nodded, shuddering. Dean had been without oxygen for several minutes. If the water had been warm, the man would have no doubt suffered brain damage. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to push back the nagging thought that had been plaguing his brain. A few minutes more and he may have had to forget about considering Ruby's help after all. Quickly Sam snapped out of his trance as he helped his still weak and shivering brother back to his feet.

"Guess it's back to the motel, huh?"

"No kidding." Dean brushed his wet hair from his eyes and made his way back to the Impala, brushing aside Sam's steadying arm. Such a mother hen. "I'm fine," he answered a little too sharply, and Sam's "bitch face" came on at full power. "All I need is a hot shower and something to eat," he continued, softening a moment when he noticed that Sam was still rather shaken following the incident. Great. Looks like he's going to be babied all night. Sure enough, Sam retorted with the expected comment: "At least let me drive."

Dean rolled his eyes, tossed the keys to his brother. "Fine." But he had to admit that as he slid in the passenger seat, Dean relished the comfort of leaning against the leather interior, the heater on full blast. They drove in silence, the radio for once, off, for several minutes. Then, unable to take the quiet any longer, Dean spoke up.

"So, guess going after our spirit on the water was a no go."

"No kidding," Sam replied with a slight smirk. He was starting to calm down by now. The gentle hum of the engine, whisper of the few passing cars, and the hum of the heater was beginning to steady his nerves and clear his head. It wasn't uncommon for either brother to be in a life or death situation at some point in the game. Hell, it basically came with the hunter package, whether you liked it or not. But usually, their injuries had been non-life threatening: a dislocated shoulder, some stiches, nothing that neither Sam nor Dean couldn't handle. But this had been a close call, too close for comfort. To his right, Dean chuckled, leaned forward to turn off the heater, and once again Sam was forced back to the present. "You don't need to roast me out of the damn car, Sammy."

"Driver controls the heater," Sam began, playing on one of his brother's favorite sayings. Immediately knowing where his brother was going, Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, shotgun shuts his cakehole."

XXX

As expected, a hot shower and a cheeseburger and fries did wonders, and in no time Dean was back to his normal, somewhat bitchy self. After complaining when Sam continued to hover over him (no matter how hard Sam tried to be subtle, big brothers are big brothers, and caught on right away. "For god sake, Sammy, back off a little, huh? Get some sleep. Don't know about you but I'm freaking exhausted." Reluctantly, Sam agreed, but in no time, the taller Winchester was passed out on his bed, snoring rather loudly, as he usually did when he was over tired. Within minutes, Dean was asleep too, but once again his rest was haunted with nightmares. It was always the same, or at least some variation of the same: Dean fleeing from Hellhounds, the creatures ever snapping at his heels, never able to outrun him. When Dean woke up after only a few hours' sleep, he sat in his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had only made the deal a few months ago. Were the dreams only going to get worse the closer he came to his deal coming due? It only made sense. But if that was the case, he was in for worse to come.

Beside him, Sam was still asleep. He looked peaceful, younger, as he always had when he slept. For a moment, Dean felt a pang of guilt. He was putting his brother through hell, no doubt. Dean wasn't stupid: he knew damn well that Sam felt guilty that his brother had sold his soul for him, felt that Dean's deal was somehow his fault and not Jake's. Because that would be exactly how Dean felt if their roles were reversed. And though he was pissed that his brother was wasting time trying to get him out of the deal, Dean knew that he would be doing the exact same if the shoe was on the other foot. Damn. Dean closed his eyes, remembered the words Bobby had told him shortly after he had admitted what he had done:

"What is it with you Winchesters, huh? You, your dad. You're both just itching to throw yourselves down the pit." Bobby was right, of course. Sam was Dean's weakness, and vice versa. And of course, the bad guys milked that for all it was worth. Which was why Sam had to stop with the heroics. He couldn't let Sam sacrifice himself, try to wiggle his brother out. Because it would never stop. History repeats itself, that was certain, and Dean knew that nothing could change that until one or both of them were dead. They couldn't be martyrs anymore. He looked down at his sleeping brother and felt his eyes mist. "I'm sorry, Sammy," he whispered as the early dawn sunlight peered through the window, casting a warm glow on his younger brother's face. "I'm so sorry."

XXX

"So, guess it's back to square one."

Sam was once again scouring the internet, trying to find anything that could be useful in the hunt. The brothers had only tackled one water spirit previously, back when the two had first reunited two years ago. In that case, the had relied on a little boy named Lucas, rendered mute from the trauma of witnessing his father's drowning, but who had provided pictures to help piece together the massive jumble of information. With the help of the boy's drawings, Sam and Dean had successfully identified the culprit as the boy's grandfather, who had accidently drowned a classmate back when they were kids. To avenge his death, the spirit of the boy began drowning the bully's family members, one by one, before planning on killing Lucas' grandfather himself. Fortunately, the man had sacrificed himself to the spirit, saving Lucas in the process. If not for the boy's cryptic drawings, however, the spirit would likely remain until the lake was ultimately drained.

But there was no little boy to help this time. Frustrated, Sam searched web page after web page, trying to find something, anything, to vanquish the spirit. Finally, after several hours and a splitting headache, Sam found something interesting.

"Think I have something here."

"Yeah, what's that?" Dean looked up from his own research with interest.

"I think we may be looking at a Rusalki."

"A what now?"

"Rusalki. It's a water spirit, generally a female or child, who acts as a siren of sort. She calls for her victims, entrances them, and then goes in for the kill."

"Explains the calling out for Nathan or whatever his name was."

"Exactly, though it doesn't explain why she didn't call your name."

"Guess we were too close for ganking her for her comfort level, and she went into defensive mode," Dean suggested, and Sam nodded. "Makes sense. Anyway, the Rusalki lures its victims with its song, much like a siren does, entrances them and drowns them. They are next to impossible to kill…"

"Great."

Sam rolled his eyes. "But it's believed that if the spirit is out of the water long enough for her hair to dry she can be killed. Trouble is, there isn't really anything that can keep a Rusalki out of the water long enough for that to happen. Kinda like a fish. You're out of the water long enough, you die. These creatures rely on water for survival, and can survive on the surface for only so long.

"So we gotta lure the little mermaid out."

Sam arched his eyebrows, an incredulous look on his face. "Dude. Really? The Little Mermaid?"

"It was on."

"Whatever you say, man." Sam chuckled and continued to read. Anyway, these things are pretty tough, are actually said to possibly have vampiric qualities…"

"That's just awesome."

"Let me finish. It could have vampiric qualities and tend to vanish once their death is avenged. Sort of like the spirit that back in Lake Manitoc. Remember how it seemed to back off after the sheriff?"

Dean nodded, chewing thoughtfully on a pen cap. "Yeah. Once he bit it, the spirit hightails it." He looked at his brother, the well chewed pen hovering in his hand. "Now who would a pissed off water spirit go after next?"

XXX

Nova Scotia Correctional Institute

Truro, Nova Scotia

Dark shadows enveloped the cramped cell, the only source of light being the few dim lights that shone on the cell block after dusk. The prison was relatively quiet, other than a few coughs from neighbouring cells and the annoying hum of the CO as he made his nightly rounds. The prisoners hated that fat fuck, his pudgy, red face usually wearing a scowl (on a good day); he would rap his club in the palm of his equally wide, sweaty hand, staring into each cell with beady, blue eyes as he walked. Each snap of the club seemed in perfect rhythm as his heavy work books echoed across the floor. When CO Jenkins was around, even the toughest inmates knew to keep their mouths shut. Only Nathan Long refused to be intimidated by him. Years earlier, when he had first been charged with his ex-girlfriend's murder, Nathan had been terrified of the man, usually cowering in the corner of his cell in fear when his rounds passed his cramped excuse of a cell. He had been young and stupid then, reckless to the point of getting his pimply ass thrown in prison, but frightened enough to haul ass whenever someone remotely intimidating made his or her presence known. But after over ten years living in a cage, Big Nate as he was ironically referred to among the others on the block had grown to actually kind of respect Jenkins, which in turn earned Big Nate the CO's respect. In retrospect, the guard was all bark and not really much bite, if you had the balls to stand up to him. Nathan Long had finally grown a pair, and had developed an odd jailhouse friendship with the man.

Jenkins had last peered into the fifteen minutes or so ago, and was due for another checkup. He had noticed Nathan sitting on his bunk, flipping through the pages of a nudie magazine. The CO had shrugged his shoulders casually in a what the fuck do I care¸ manner and went off, continuing his rounds. Nathan smiled slyly and continued to flip through the pages a few more times before heading to use the bathroom.

He stood aimlessly around for a moment, finished his business, and headed to the sink to wash his hands. Suddenly, he felt his knees give beneath him as he crumpled to the floor. Somehow he heard a voice, eerily familiar, echo through the cell block.

"Nathan. Nathan. Come to me…"

"What the fuck?" Nathan blinked, grabbed the sink to steady himself, but found that he was unable to regain his footing, as if some force were pinning him to the floor. Again he heard that voice (no, it can't be Vanessa, she's fucking dead), echoing in his brain, calling for him with a voice that he could have sworn sounded seductive. "Come to me, Nathan."

Nathan felt himself being drug to the toilet, no longer in control of his body, the man kicking fiercely. He let out a scream as he felt his head being thrust into the bowl, holding him under. Nearby, he could hear his neighbours call out for Jenkins to get his fat ass up here, something's happening to Big Nate, the voices muffled from the water and the horrified cries from beneath his throat as he tried to pry himself from whatever was trying to kill him, lungs burning for much needed air. The last thing he remembered before slipping into unconsciousness was the sound of faint curses and keys jingling in a lock.

NOTE: the prison mentioned in this scene is made up. I figured it would probably be ok to mention a real facility but to be safe I decided otherwise. Hope you enjoyed! And reviews are awesome ;) wink wink.