Summary: 2-shot. Sam must say goodbye to someone he cared for again while also dealing with the guilt and the possibility of giving in to Crowley's demands. *Upset/angsty!Sam & Worried/upset/protective!Dean* Spoilers for 08x22 Clip Show.

Warnings/Spoilers: Minor for language as always. It does contain spoilers for 08x22 Clip Show so if you haven't watched it…beware.

Tags: 08x22 Clip Show.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. This is written for entertainment and enjoyment.

Author Note: I don't normally do things in Sam's POV since it's not easy getting his voice right but this one came out needing that style so I hope you enjoy it. It also wasn't planned to have a second chapter but after I finished this one it seemed to call for Dean's POV as well.

Chapter One

New Palitz, New York: Sam's POV:

I know with everything that's happening that it's not the right time for this. That considering Crowley's threat and what we have facing us that I should be focused on ending it before someone else dies…I should've answered my brother when he asked if I was still with him. I know all that but…this…coming here just seemed…important too.

Given what we do it's odd for us to go to funerals. Not that we normally have to since the things we kill usually get salted and burned or we have to get out of town fast but this is…different in so many ways.

This wasn't a monster, a vampire, or anything else. This was someone Dean and I knew if just for a short time but…this was also the first girl after Jessica that I even thought about allowing myself to care for.

I didn't go to Jessica's funeral because I was too raw though I did stand at the back of the cemetery like I am now.

Jessica died because she didn't know the truth about me, about my family and what we did. She didn't know to be cautious or to run as far away from me as she could.

Sarah…Sarah died because she did know the truth. She knew what Dean and I did and instead of slamming the door in my face the other night she just asked what was wrong. She knew and still died because she trusted me to know what to do. Sarah died because she knew us and trusted us to save her…and I failed…again.

Crowley's pissed and somehow found out about people we've saved…I have a sneaking feeling I know how and I swear we are going to salt and burn every one of those damn books and have Charlie infect the web to wipe them out online.

We've seen him do some crap since meeting him but I have to admit he pulled one that Dean and I weren't expecting. He's hitting us where it really hurts because saving people…that's all we've tried to do and now he's using that against us.

Dean and I don't normally give a lot of thought to the people we save after we move on. Oh, sometimes a few linger because in some cases we worked close with them, like Sarah, but on the most part and I'm ashamed to admit it now once we move on our focus moves on to the next case, the next innocent person who needs help from whatever it is we need to kill.

We're so close to ending it, to closing the Gates of Hell that Crowley is panicking and is lashing out in the only way he knows how and he's right…we can't stop that.

He's the King of Hell and can be almost everywhere and…we can't be. We can't know where he'll strike or at how but he says he'll kill someone every twelve hours until we give him the Demon tablet that Kevin has and we stand down from these trials.

Dean believes we can beat him. My brother, no matter what happens, has eternal faith…in me and God, that's scares me because to fail now means I'll not only fail the world…again…but I'll also fail Dean.

I've done that so many times I've lost count and I swore not to this time but…I also don't know if I can stand living with myself if Crowley keeps killing people we know. They didn't ask to be dragged into this and it's not right but then if things were right Sarah would still be alive and I wouldn't be standing at the edge of a little cemetery in New York watching her funeral.

Crowley killed Tommy and Jenny without letting us know until the end. He sent us to Sarah, let us believe that we could save her and I swore to her that we'd keep her safe. She believed that…believed me even as she started to choke and the horror hit home that we'd protected against demons…not a goddamn spell.

She wasn't the first person I've watched die in front of me. Hell, I've seen people and monsters die since I was little and she wasn't even the first person I've cared about that I've seen die since I watched my brother get tore to pieces by invisible Hellhounds, I shot Madison and was there when Bobby died but…Sarah was the first person I've had to watch die while knowing we couldn't do a damn thing.

Looking to where her husband and little girl stood, this brought on another ache because I understand all too well the pain Sarah's daughter is going through and will go through. She's older than I was when a demon killed my Mom and she'll never know that's how her Mom died since for all intents and purposes the ME claimed Sarah had died of natural causes.

I'd insisted to Dean that we clean up as many of the traps and markings that we'd made as possible since Sarah's death could at least look normal, so her family wouldn't feel the pain of not knowing or of knowing too much.

Dean's right when he said that she would've died even if we hadn't been there but it doesn't take away the pain that yet another woman I knew, that I cared for and…that if my life would've been different, I might have considered going back to, had died in front of me and I was helpless to do anything to stop it.

Most girls when confronted with a ghost girl wielding a razorblade would have freaked out or ran screaming from me but Sarah hadn't. She hadn't thought me weird or a freak and on nights when things are too quiet still I would still think back eight years to the one kiss we shared.

Sarah had given me hope that my life hadn't ended with Jessica. She'd given me hope that I could still have a life and despite not going back, or calling her again it was thoughts of the ones with Sarah that gave me the strength to fight on.

I was surprised at the little bit of pain I felt after learning she was married but I didn't expect her to wait for me. Hell, I was almost as surprised when she opened the door and still knew my name. I'm glad she found someone to love and I can see by how broken her husband seems that he really loved her and that's all I'd want for her.

That's all that we've wanted for any of the people we save. We take the risks, we take the punches and the innocent people get to live their lives happy and safe.

I wasn't aware of the tears on my face until I felt something wet drop on my hand and I try to push back the sudden burning emotion that's been building since I realized she was gone.

No chick flick moments. I grew up with that rule and while I normally didn't follow it, much to Dean's dismay, I've been fighting letting my emotions out since I realized how these trials were going for me.

Saying goodbye has never been easy for me. I hate them and try to avoid them but goodbyes like this are especially hard. In eight years I've said that final goodbye to now three women and I'm getting more afraid that I'll end up having to say it to my brother before the end…unless we give Crowley what he wants.

Do I think Sarah would blame me for this? My brain says yeah since who the hell wouldn't blame me for getting them killed but something in my heart says that Sarah wouldn't blame me. She knew that Dean and I tried our best to find that damn hex bag and even after we did and Dean destroyed it we tried to bring her back but…it was too late.

I don't know how long Dean let me try CPR, try anything those courses back in Stanford taught me but Sarah was gone and it took everything I had not to lose it then.

The same grief and rage built up as it had with both Jess and Madison but I pushed it down. I couldn't drop the emotional wall now or everything would come out and I don't think Dean's ready to deal with that yet.

He argued that if we wanted to find a way to stick it to Crowley that we didn't have time for this impromptu trip to Sarah's hometown where she'd be buried but he still drove.

Dean dropped me off a couple hours ago so I could watch from the edge while he muttered something about doing some more research which wasn't a surprise to me.

My brother handles emotional goodbyes worse than I do and while I know Sarah's death hurt him it was more because Crowley had played us and it hurt me so what hurts me always seems to hurt Dean.

I wait until all the mourners have left before I slowly make my way to the newly filled in grave and kneel down to place the white rose I'd purchased earlier among all the other flowers.

A cool breath blows through but I hardly notice the shiver or the continued tears now as I focus on my memories and my failures.

"I'm sorry this happened," I know that's a weak line and if she could hear it she'd probably roll her eyes at it but it's all I can think of. "Dean and I tried to stop it, Sarah. We thought we'd covered all the bases but we didn't think of something as simple as a damn witch's spell and the hex bag was in the phone…the one place we couldn't look while Crowley was talking in case he gave up a clue.

"I warned you all those years ago that my life was too dangerous for you and that's why I never stayed in touch even though I did…come around a couple years ago just to take a look…to be sure you were safe but I don't think you would've like the man I was then…I don't like who I was then."

Even while soulless I still felt a basic need to protect even if I didn't care about anything really I still felt the urge to look in on Sarah just like I would on Dean now and then but I never got close. I never wanted her involved in my life…I never wanted her to die like everyone else I care for seems to do and she still did.

An innocent girl with a husband and little girl with her Mom's dark hair died because she knew us, because she trusted me to save her and because I didn't see the obvious before it was too late.

"I'm sorry, Sarah," I'm blind to the burning tears or the way my fingers are clenching the damp dirt as if it were Crowley's damn throat.

I lose track of it all until I feel the familiar grip of strong fingers on my neck and Dean's voice finally breaks through the fog in my mind.

"Sammy, stop," it's my hearing because I swear Dean's voice has that crack it gets when he'd fighting not to show his deepest emotions but I don't miss the way he's kneeling next to me as I fight back against his attempts to make me stop throttling dirt and wishing it was Crowley.

"She shouldn't have died, Dean," I try to tell him, trying to make him see that. "All those people we've saved, they shouldn't be in danger now because of us."

Dean's tense and I know he thinks I want to give in, to quit and in so many ways I do. I want to think that if we give Crowley the tablet that he'll stop but…after dealing with demons for so long I know in my gut that he won't.

Crowley's smooth and makes it all seem legit but in the end he's a demon and demons lie. He won't stop killing people because he knows that's how to hurt us and I'll be damned if I'll allow another demon to hurt Dean or me or anyone else.

Sarah's death won't be in vain. It might've been something we couldn't stop and it might've just been because Crowley knew it would get to me and that's what this is about, breaking me again.

I'm the one doing the trials, it's my life and probably my soul again on the line…I haven't brought that up to Dean yet, but it's also more than that.

It's saving people, innocent people who may still have to deal with some supernatural crap but no more demons and it's also about my brother. Doing this, beating Crowley, slamming Hell, maybe cleansing myself will go a little in the ways of fixing all the times I've screwed up and hurt Dean, betrayed him…got him stuck in Hell.

I listen to what Dean's saying, soothing me with reasons of how it's not my fault about Sarah, how we'll make this all work but he needs me with him but he doesn't get it, not really.

It is my fault about Sarah, oh not this since I know deep down that Crowley was right. There was nothing we could do to save her no matter how hard we tried. It's my fault for not seeing how far he'd go to stop us.

If I'd been thinking, if I wasn't still coughing up blood and feeling like I'd drop over at any second then I might have considered how a pissed off King of Hell would react to us possibly locking him in Hell with no way out.

To save anyone else I want to stop but I know I can't. These trials have pushed me to the point of no return and if I don't finish them I won't survive much longer.

Finally bringing my breathing back under control it takes me several moments to fully realize with a little shock that I'm leaning against Dean's chest like he would when we were kids and he was trying to smooth over things after a fight with Dad or an injury or a nightmare or…after Jess and Madison when I was so lost.

"Sam, c'mon, little brother. Come back now," Dean's close to freaking out which tells me I've lost track of too much time when I finally look up to see unshed tears in his eyes and I'm not sure if they're from his concern for me or what but I squeeze his wrist to let him know I'm back with him. "Sammy, we need to go now. This ain't your fault and we'll make Crowley pay."

It is but I know what he means and I just file Sarah's death away as another person I've failed but this time I see a way to make it up even if it won't bring her back I can do something so that Scottish demon doesn't do this ever again.

"I'm with you Dean," I finally speak, ignoring that it takes me a couple tries to get the words out of my burning throat.

"That's good to know since I didn't relish the thought of dragging you back to the Impala," Dean's cocky but it's an act and we both know it.

He's tired and as scarred from this as I am but he's just better at hiding it all than I am. He also isn't getting what I mean so after a last look down at the grave with a whispered goodbye I look my brother straight in the eye before repeating it. "I'm with you, Dean."

It took a couple seconds before it clicks with my brother and I see the relief in his face as he squeezes my shoulder which is Dean's way of doing mushy without actually breaking his rule too much.

"We'll end this and we'll make Crowley pay," I'm firm on this if for no other reason than I won't let Crowley take away anyone else Dean and I have known or cared for because Sarah's death won't be in vain.

Crowley thinks he's hurt us and he had but he's also made the mistake that so many other demons have with us. He's pissed us off and that never ends well for demons.

Dean doesn't let go and waits as I take another moment to consider Sarah and think of her smile, her laugh and what she did for me without even realizing it. The pain and grief, the guilt, will stay with me awhile but the thought of turning this on Crowley, of finding a way to make him pay for Sarah and the others…that's what I need now. That and one more thing…

"Goodbye, Sarah."