Disclaimer: I own nothing I'm writing about.

Alternate Born-Again Identity:

Because it's ridiculous that nobody recognizes Sam or Dean after Slash Fiction.

This story is already finished so expect frequent updates. May you find it more entertaining than a wet carrot.


THURSDAY NIGHT

Sheriff Briar finishes the dregs of his beer and stands as he slaps the cash on the counter.

"That it for the night, Phil?" the bartender asks, with that annoying sympathetic smile of his.

"Ya thanks, Hank. See you tomorrow."

Heading for the door, Briar forces a grin on his face as he nods his way past a couple of his deputies. Pep's bar-being a short walk from the Sheriff's Department-always fills with law enforcement, but Briar has long since tired of trying to hang out with his guys in here. There is something awkward about being around your boss outside of work, apparently.

Or maybe his depression scares them all away after what happened to his best friend, Charles Osborne: a sheriff from the department in Ankeny. Briar can't even find it in himself to focus on the supposedly unrelated murders that have been happening across town lately. They have each case solved and then another murder happens.

When did the world stop making sense? Briar asks himself. As he pushes his way out the door for the lonely walk home, and he can't help reflecting for the millionth time on his friend's disappearance.

Charles had caught those two murdering psychopaths. He CAUGHT them. Briar's best friend since high school slapped cuffs on the two most dangerous killers in America, and he was so proud of him. But then he remembers: 4 deputies dead, Charles missing, and the murderers apparently killed in the fray but for SOME reason the bodies were rushed to the crematorium and never recovered by the Feds.

Briar snorts in disbelief, These guys have faked their death at least twice before and the FBI just signs off on the case because a sheriff-who goes missing immediately afterwards-says they are dead? With no proof? And why would Charles have destroyed the bodies?

There isn't a doubt in Briar's mind that his friend was blackmailed and murdered. The two most dangerous men in the country are 'dead' again, and for some reason, he is the only person who can see that for the bullshit it is.

Briar tried to get the FBI to see sense and reopen the case, but nobody was listening. He even did some investigating of his own but couldn't get far: any evidence from the scene was taken by the Feds.

Now 4 months have passed and those psychopaths are still out there. The alcohol in Briar's system makes it harder to hide his anger and he kicks at a dumpster sticking out of an alley; and it does a lot more harm to his foot than to the dumpster.

"For God's sake, fuck off!"

Briar startles at the voice, then sighs. Great, another ornery drunk.

Off-duty or not, he is a sheriff and he needs to see if this guy is alright. He steps around the dumpster to take a look, but keeps his distance. He's had a few too many bad experiences with drunks in this town.

The man is sitting against the dumpster curled in on himself, and covering his shaggy-brown-haired head with his hands. He doesn't look homeless though: his plaid and jeans look relatively clean.

"You okay, buddy?" Briar asks gently.

The stranger lifts his head in response to reveal dark bags under his eyes, and a torment within the sunken hazel so blatant that Briar immediately concludes he is as far from okay as it gets. Pity swirls in his chest and he steps a bit closer, Not an angry drunk.

Briar tries to reassure, "Hey, it's alright. I'm-" and then he freezes. The pity dies and morphs into rage as recognition sets in.

This broken man before him, THIS is one of the monsters who killed his friend and many others. Briar will never forget the faces of the two brothers who slaughtered a diner full of people in St. Louis, and had the last survivor film the whole thing before they butchered him too.

Briar takes an unconscious step backward in shock, and tries to school his expression into one of calm understanding. He forces out the words, "I'll be right back... Let me call some help," and practically stumbles out of the alley grasping for his phone while keeping a watchful eye on the crumpled younger brother.

His dispatcher picks up, and he frantically whispers, "Get everyone you have to the corner of Dodge and State Street now!"-he has to pause for a shaky breath before continuing-"I was right... the Winchesters are alive."


24 HOURS EARLIER

"Hey. Found us a job," Dean announces as Sam comes back from a food run. His tone is rough and clipped, but it's as close to happy as it gets since they found evidence of Frank's brutal murder a day ago.

Sam groans. "God, Dean. I was only gone five minutes."

Dropping the chinese take-out on the table of the shitty-motel-room-of-the-night, Sam sits and tries to pretend he's interested in eating. Lucifer-who is currently reading the Bible on the nearest bed and giggling obnoxiously-has taken to making food look and taste rotten and mouldy and full of bugs. Maybe chinese wasn't the best idea, Sam grimaces as his noodles turn into wriggling worms.

"I'm thinking leviathans," Dean responds without looking up from the laptop.

"Listening."

"So there have been three murders over the past two weeks in this town Algona. Rich guys with lots of property getting blown away, all forensic evidence points to the wives and the cases get closed." Dean takes a second to pound back some whiskey from Bobby's flask.

Sam forcefully swallows a mouthful of worms and nearly gags: he can feel them wiggle all the way down. Feeling truly miserable, he tries to focus on his brother. "Okay, how does this seem leviathan related?"

"Three reasons: the wives have alibis at TODs, they all put out the 911 saying someone murdered their husbands while they were out, and some stuff was stolen."

"That sounds like a shapeshifter."

"Yeah, but all of the properties are already bought and payed for by Sucrocorp: AKA Dick... and chompers shapeshift too."

Sam processes this in his sleep-deprived stupor, I'm too tired for this. "But... Sucrocorp is buying everything. It could still be a shapeshifter, and leviathans are just swooping in on the properties."

"Either way, it's a case and we're going," Dean replies in his not-bending-on-this voice.

"Fine," Sam exhales wearily. "Where exactly is it?"

Dean hesitates for just a second. "Algona, Iowa. Near Ankeny."

"What!?" Sam startles. The wriggling of worms in his gut is replaced with worry. "Where we faked our deaths... again? People there won't have forgotten us yet!"

"It's two towns North, and we will avoid the cops OK? People are dying and a monster needs killing. Suck it up, Samantha. It's only a few hours away and we're leaving tomorrow. First thing." Dean has his face set.

"I know you feel guilty about Frank, but-"

Dean almost explodes, "This isn't about feeling guilty! This is about beheading some of the assholes that killed him, and Bobby, and Cas..." and his voice drops away.

Any fight Sam has in him dies. So this is revenge, he mentally sighs. Nodding at Dean in defeat, he looks down at his bowl of worms so he doesn't have to see his brother's surprise or concern from him caving so quickly. This is a bad idea, but he just doesn't have any more energy to argue.

Sam picks at his food quietly, and after a moment Dean grabs his own box of take-out and digs in with gusto: no doubt trying to distract himself. Even verging on suicidal, Dean is always hungry, Sam thinks sadly as he chokes on a particularly mobile noodle.

Dean raises his eyebrows at him, and looks like he wants to say something.

"It's nothing," Sam lies quickly, "Just went down the wrong tube..."

Lucifer cackles from the bed: obviously enjoying this whole situation. "Careful Sam, wouldn't want Big Brother to know your egg is more scrambled than he thinks it is."

Sam irritably presses his palm under the table to shut him up. The comforting pain is still there, but it only makes Lucifer's smile broaden.

Sam mentally braces himself for another night of pretending to sleep while the Devil drops firecrackers on him, and sings Stairway to Heaven several dozen times, and gently reminds him of everything that happened in the Cage.


THURSDAY MORNING

Dean wakes up the next morning with the familiar hangover. Or perhaps it's withdrawal, he wonders as he reaches for the ever-present and ever-needed flask of whiskey. Sam doesn't approve, but what the shit: Dean stopped caring about his health long ago.

He rolls off his bed, quickly noticing Sam's not in his, and that everything is already packed. Startled, he looks at the time: 6:16 am. Wow. Maybe Sam wants to kill leviathans after all... Or Lucifer won't leave him alone and he still can't sleep. Dean shakes that off and heads to the bathroom for his morning routine. Nope. Not thinking about it. Sam would have told me, he's bullshitting himself, and he knows it.

Sam started brushing off Lucifer questions after Frank died, and there's no way it's because he's getting better. But for the sake of Dean's sanity, he can't think about it right now. Sam is still walking and talking and lying and this big brother is actually grateful: there isn't really anything they can to do to fix him anyway.

Dean leaves the bathroom just as a pale Sam stumbles through the door carting coffee-to-go. The fragile Sam-is-okay bubble almost pops, but Dean manages to paste on a give 'em hell grin. "Lets go make heads roll," he announces as his morning greeting.

Sam smiles slightly in response.

They both might be falling apart at the seams, but they will be damned... again... if they can't pretend otherwise.

Several hours later they're in Algona, knocking on the impressive door of Edgar and Trish Mason: the owners of the massive property across from the site of the most recent murder.

"Okay... No cops, so we'll just have to be extra thorough with these people," Dean rattles off, already immersing himself in the hunt.

"Gotcha," Sam replies, looking like he might topple over and itching at his palms: they put on large silver rings and poured borax'd holy water over their hands when they got out of the car. It was Dean's genius idea to test for shifters, demons, chompers, (and a lot of other fuglies) at the same time.

The door opens. "How can I help you?" a short woman in her late 50's asks.

They flash their badges. "Trish Mason? I'm Agent Jones, this is my partner Agent Young and we'd like to talk to you about the murders over the past couple weeks," Sam recites in his very best FBI voice, which doesn't sound all that impressive when he slurs a bit.

Dean extends a slightly damp hand and Trish shakes it hesitantly, appearing totally weirded out when the 'agents' stare at the drawn-out handshake for a moment.

They relax when she doesn't start sizzling.


EARLY THURSDAY NIGHT

Dropping his stuff on the desk after an exhausting day of travel and interviewing character witnesses, Sam is ready to kill something and hopefully hit his head hard enough to pass out.

"So, we're sure then? The Mason's are next?" Sam is trying very hard to keep his voice down despite the fact that Lucifer is singing Eye of the Tiger at the top of his lungs a few feet away. He somehow hears Dean's response across the motel room.

"Yeah, fits the profile: they own the next largest piece of property in the area. Could be tonight since the Mrs. is going out."

"Alright," Sam struggles upright. "Lets go."

"Yeah, no I don't think so Sam, you're staying here and getting some rest. Look at yourself. You wouldn't be any help like that." He says it jokingly but Sam knows he means it, and it hurts.

"But-"

"No buts. I'll be back in a few hours with some chow, and maybe a chomper head. Stay put. Sleep," and with that, Dean's gone.

Sam bitch-faces: his hallucinations always gets ten times more annoying when Dean's not around.

"I thought he'd NEVER leave," Lucifer crows, abnormally excited. "What should we do now Sam? Maybe talk about how Dean thinks you're useless? How he knows something is different with you but he doesn't ask because he doesn't give a shit? He doesn't even want you on hunts anymore. I don't know why you chose him and Hell over me but you have to be regretting jumping in the Cage by now."

Sam tries to ignore it, he really does; but he can feel himself start to panic. He's suddenly having trouble remembering any good memories with Dean: they're all getting hazy. Is Lucifer screwing with my memories now? He's never done that before...

Sam snatches his laptop and searches up some effects of sleep deprivation, 'Slurred speech, hallucinations, paranoia, muscle tremors, extreme irritability... and memory loss.' SHIT, and that is just for a normal person. What about somebody plagued with almost two centuries of torture and a version of their torturer dogging their every move?

His heart accelerates. Memory loss. Lucifer is picking through his memories and getting rid of things, and he can do nothing about it.

Then Sam's heart makes the jump to his throat. He could make me forget I'm out of Hell...

Lucifer notices Sam's expression of dawning horror and gives his widest smile yet. "Now there's the fear I've been missing! What is it Sammy? Read something you don't like? I'm surprised you're just realizing it now: the longer you go without sleep the more control I have over you... You are completely screwed."

No... FUCK! Sam tries to stand up and fails miserably: knocking things off the desk and falling back in his chair. He glances down and numbly watches a pen roll away from him. That's it! He grabs it and shakily writes on his left forearm: 'Not in Hell. Memory loss.'

Lucifer steps closer, and Sam flinches away. "Come on!-Satan pouts-"Lemme read it!"

Eyes wide, Sam hugs his arm to his chest and backs against the motel wall.

"I don't think that's going to work, Sam," Lucifer purrs inches from his face, then grabs his wrist, twisting out.

Sam yelps, shocked. He shouldn't be able to touch me... Since when can he touch me?!

Lucifer laughs as he reads the words. "Aw, that's cute. You think that'll help? Fine, I'll let you keep it, but I don't think you'll have it long... I very easily could have put that there to screw with you."

Sam blinks, confused, Put what where? He follows Lucifer's line of sight to his wrist... "You son of a bitch!" he shrieks, utterly hysterical. How could he have forgotten already?

He desperately tries to punch the evil bastard in the face but it goes straight through him and Sam almost throws his shoulder out.

Lucifer just glows like a child on Christmas morning. "Woah, take it easy! The fun's just begun."