Chapter Two

New Paltz, New York: Dean's POV:

"'Sam…marry that girl.'"

I remember the day I said that to Sam. We'd come to this place looking into a cursed painting and that's where we met Sarah Blake, the daughter of the auction house's owner.

It was plain as day that she had a thing for my little brother from the first moment she laid eyes on him and Sam, despite how much he bitched and moaned, really did like her but I did get why he held back.

Sam wasn't over Jessica yet and if I know Sam, and I do, he was probably thinking that to admit he was attracted to Sarah would be betraying Jessica.

The urge and drive to protect is huge in Sam and it always has been so I know he was trying to protect her by not letting her in one what we were doing…not that it worked so well since damn that girl was stubborn and I'll give her credit for not running when she did learn what we did…or when the little girl ghost tried to kill her and Sam.

I always teased Sam that we could drop stuff and come back if he wanted to see her again cause I know he cared. Hell, Sam doesn't kiss someone he doesn't like. He didn't pick that up from me…well except for that time he was soulless but I try to ignore that.

It's been eight years since we've seen Sarah and I should've known when it turned out to be her at the last address Crowley sent us that things were not going to go well but we tried. We always try.

We're so close to finishing this trial crap and slamming Crowley's front door that he can taste it and that's when he decided to fight dirty, not that he ever fought fair but this time he pulled out all the stops and…I didn't see it in time to stop anyone, especially Sammy, from being hurt.

In all the possible bad, worse, and downright sucky scenarios that I've played with as to how this falls it never once hit me that Crowley would start using the people we've saved against us.

I've been doing this since I was old enough to hold a gun and Dad thought I could so I should've known to be expecting something low and dirty but between my worry over how Sammy's handling the aftereffects of the trials, to this stuff with Heaven and Cas, to everything else lately it slipped under my radar and three people, at least that we know of, are dead.

Tommy Collins, the kid we saved from the Wendigo right after Sammy and I started hunting together again. Jenny Kline, the sweet little baker who got mixed into a witch's curse and finally Sarah Blake…hmm, never learned her married name.

Three people out of so many that we've saved or helped over the years but it was Sarah that's hitting Sammy hard.

Not that we don't care about the others but we were in the damn room with Sarah. We'd assured her that we could keep her safe…Sam had promised her. We had made all the best demon traps, we had gallons of holy water, the exorcism spell and more. We were ready for whatever that demon sent after her…except in the end we weren't prepared for the simplest of things and that's what killed the girl.

I was keeping busy warding the place while Sam and Sarah talked. I felt a punch in the gut for him when she talked about her husband and one year old daughter.

Sam's the one of us who really wants normal and despite the time he spent in Texas with…Amelia I don't think he came close to caring for anyone like he had Sarah even if it was a short time. My brother forms emotions fast but I know he's happy for her and that just made him more determined to save her.

The clock hit midnight and I should've known when the bastard called that it wasn't right. We'd prepared for demons…not a damn curse from a witch and a hex bag we couldn't find.

We tore that place apart looking for it as Sarah slowly choked to death on the floor in front of us…in front of Sam while Crowley kept blabbing on the landline about how we couldn't stop it and then he tossed what I said to Sam in those woods eight years ago back in my face and that made me all the more furious.

Killing things, saving people, the family business had been our motto for years but to hear it coming from that damn demon pissed me off.

It pissed me off to watch my little brother forced to watch Sarah die in front of him and knew how he'd take that. Finding the hex bag in the phone after I'd smashed it also didn't help but I'm not stupid enough not to know that even if we had found it, Crowley would've had a back-up plan since he needed Sarah to die.

He needed to hurt my brother and he did even though a tear hasn't fell yet, I know Sam and I know he's on the edge of a very bad cliff.

Crowley's plan to kill someone we know every twelve hours until we hand over the tablet and stop the trials is weighing on Sam and I've tried to keep him on board. I know the risks but I also know that Crowley's a demon and they tend to lie…a lot.

We're running out of time and I argue about Sam's desire to drive to New York, to see Sarah buried even if he's on the edge of the cemetery.

I told him I was going to do research but who was I kidding. I wasn't leaving Sam alone for this and I sure as hell wasn't leaving his back unguarded with Crowley gunning for us.

So I sat in the Impala for a little bit before deciding to get a bit closer and figuring those damn suits we use should come in handy for something other than playing fake Fed.

Sarah was a popular girl with a lot of friends and family. I can see Sam in the shadows but only because I know my brother and knew where he should be but no one else even suspected he was there watching and probably brooding over his failure to save her.

I avoid Sarah's father and husband but do extend condolences to a small frail little older woman who turns out to be her great-aunt and one who liked to talk.

I smile and nod until I can move away without drawing Sam's attention but get closer to him that I can see the tears on his face and feel my chest tighten since it always hurts me to see my baby brother hurt this bad.

Considering what the great-aunt shared, I doubt if I'll ever tell Sam how long Sarah waited until meeting her husband and settling down or that from what it looked like to her family it seemed as if she was waiting on someone.

Yeah, telling Sam that would not help the situation right now or ever so that goes in the file of things that I will never allow my brother to find out.

The people are slowly leaving and I wait. I know he'll go to the grave as soon as everyone's gone but I hold back, I give him space until I see those wide shoulders that have held so much crap on them start to shake and I see his fingers clenching in the newly filled in dirt.

Sam's been through a lot lately and he's battling fever, weakness, bloody coughing so when he finally breaks apart over Sarah's grave it's not a shock. Nor is it a shock when I get closer that he's sobbing a mixture of a broken apology to Sarah and growling Crowley's name as his fingers flex.

"Sammy, it's not your fault," I try to tell him but this is my big brained, big hearted brother and everything is Sam's fault if you listen to him.

He thinks I don't know but I know he blames himself for Mom and Dad, he blames himself for Jessica. Hell, he still blames himself for me going to Hell. That's just Sammy so I knew that he'd blame himself for this.

Sam doesn't cry like this or I haven't seen it this bad in a long time but I'm his brother and I know when he's close so I also know when it's time for me to ignore my own rule about chick flick moments and finally let him know he's not alone.

When I touch his neck I expect him to either ignore it or lash out since in this stage it's hard to tell how he'll react but I feel him tense then relax so I know he's heard me and knows I'm with him but he keeps apologizing to Sarah while threatening our less than favorite King of Hell.

I let him go on but kneel down so I'm next to him and when I wrap an arm around him to pull him closer and he just goes against my chest like he would as a kid I know his mind is too deep in grief so I keep waiting and just talking to him.

"We did our best, Sam. We tried our best to save her but even if we'd found that bag Crowley probably had something else up his cheap sleeve," I feel him shudder against me and it's getting to the point where I'm worried that all the stress may push him too far again when I slowly feel his hand move to grip my wrist and I know he's back…or at least back enough to hear me.

"I think he picked her to hurt you and if I could've done anything to keep you from hurting like this or to save her then I would've but we will make that demon pay," I'm not sure if he's on board with still going through with the trials but I know that it's too late for him to stop.

To stop the trials now would mean Sam's death and that's what I'm not willing to risk. I'll do what I can to shield the people Crowley may threaten but when it comes down to losing Sammy or finishing these trials then I'll find a way to finish them…even if it means making Sam mad.

To Sam, Sarah's death is just another woman he's known that has died because of him but to me, and God when did I get this callous, it was just another death among so many to hurt us.

I regret it, I regret that I hadn't thought sixteen steps ahead of Crowley but I can't let it stop this. I can't let him stop us because if I do then I know I'll losing my brother and I won't do that.

Sam's saying something about being with me and I automatically crack a joke until he repeats it and I slowly come to see that he means that he's still with me about doing the trials and stopping Crowley.

I hadn't honestly considered he wouldn't be but I knew he was hurting so I couldn't be sure but I hide that as I squeeze his shoulder and help him stand, supporting him when he leans more into me and I know he'll be sleeping for most of the next drive.

I hear his whisper a final goodbye to Sarah before catching my eye. I see the pain reflected in those huge hazel eyes but I also see the determination that reminds me so much of Dad that I know he'll do this and use the pain of Sarah's death in whatever we have to do against Crowley.

Sam's nearly out even before I get him to the Impala then I stand by my door to look back toward the grave we just left.

I'd learned early on that we lose people in this life and normally I go along with that but this time we'd lost someone who was brave enough to face it down, who didn't slam the door in our faces and just asked what was wrong.

Sarah was a special person who didn't deserve being used as a pawn in this game of Crowley's. She deserved to be with her husband and raise her little girl.

I can't take that back. I can't take Sammy's pain away but I can make damn certain to make Crowley bleed long before we slam the door on his ass and remind him of the same thing every other demon learned when screwing with us.

That no one messes with a damn Winchester and lives.

"Goodbye, Sarah," I say that before getting behind the wheel and driving away with a plan already forming as to how we can cheat Crowley, close the gates of Hell, save people and I still can protect my baby brother because that's one goodbye I will not say again.

The End

Author Note: This tag didn't go the way it was planned but I hope you all enjoyed it and I do have at least one more brewing so stay tuned.