"Should go to Cold Oak and visit Sam."

Dean had known it was a mistake five seconds after he closed his mouth. He only took so long to realize it because he was half-way to drunk, but he definitely, should not have mentioned Sam. Sam-I-Am, like the book.

Man, he was drunk.

"This the demon kid Bobby mentioned, in Cold Oak?"

Dean felt a little betrayed, at that. He had trusted Bobby to keep his mouth shut. Apparently not.

"Yeah, what's it to you?" Dean muttered, staring at his glass. Like that would hide him from the accusatory glare in his father's eyes.

"Dean. Come straight with me. Is Sam the only demon?"

"Sam's not a demon," Dean complained, "just half. Not his fault."

John slammed a fist down on the table. "That's not the point, Dean. Are there others?"


His dad cursed. "Have they been the cause of anything?"

Dean had lied to his Dad before for Sam, but he couldn't with this. He apologized to Sam in his head, and murmured "yes."

"Tell me everything you know, Dean."

Dean caved, like the coward he was.

Dean woke up, and his Dad was gone. Swearing violently, he managed to fumble for his phone and call him.

"Dad, what are you doing?" he snapped.

"What needs to be done, Dean. Are you in?"

Fear coiled, visceral, in Dean's stomach. "What are you doing?" he hissed.

"Going after the demon and his kids. Getting a group together to do it. We could use you, son."

Dean hesitated, for one second. He could see it. Going in. Taking down the demon. Killing the kids. Killing Sam.

"Not gonna happen," he choked out.

"You're making a mistake, Dean. Whatever lies this kid Sam has been telling you, they're not true. He'll just betray you." John was using his most reasonable voice, the one that always got Dean to take his side in the past.

"Dad, you're wrong about him," Dean managed. "His father, he needs to be stopped, but Sam's innocent."

"You know you're lying, Dean. I can hear it in your voice."

"Well, I don't care," Dean said, letting finality seep into his voice. "I'm not letting you hurt him."

He snapped the phone shut before his Dad could say anything else, before considering and re-opening it. Sam had to know.

The phone rang a worryingly long time—okay, just three rings—and then a click sounded.

"Sam? Sam, this is an emergency, we have to—"

"Well, well, well. Sam's pet. You two are adorable. Would you like to say hi to him?"

Dean flinched at an anguished scream. "Ava," he snarled, "let him go."

"Mmm, I don't think so." Ava sounded amused. "You come to us, and then we negotiate. Tell us your location."

Dean secreted a couple paperclips, blades, and guns onto his person as he rattled off the coordinates.

"See you soon," Ava said.

Dean turned and found two guys considering him, similar-looking enough to be brothers.

"Can't see the attraction, myself," one smirked.

"Shut up, Ansem," the other growled. "Let's just do this."

Dean had no time to react before they had both reached forward, and the ground was yanked away from under his feet.

Melodramatic was not a word Dean liked to use in regards to himself, but the gasp he let out at finding himself in a ghost town with the two guys was definitely that.


Dean, annoyed, found himself unable to resist the command, and figured the kid had used the same mojo that Sam had on him earlier.

Half of the houses looked destroyed by a nuclear bomb or something equally destructive. Only one was completely intact and relatively modern looking, and the three of them moved toward it.

"You guys live here?" Dean asked mildly.

"Shut up," the one—Ansem—hissed, and Dean couldn't make another sound.

"You can speak," the other snapped. "Ansem, I can handle him. Go to the others."

Ansem sneered, but left.

"What's your name?" Dean tried.


Dean blinked. "Oh. Sam's mentioned you."

Andy immediately stiffened. "Yeah?"

Dean nodded. "Sounded like you were friends."

"Friends?" Andy raised his eyebrows. "Nobody is friends, here."

Dean waited until Andy reached out to open the door and made his move. Thankfully, neither of them had put a command on him to not fight.

"Sorry, kid." Dean kept a steady pressure around Andy's throat, on the carotid, until he passed out, and lowered him down gently. Glancing at the door, Dean took a deep breath. "Here goes nothing."

The house was intimidatingly silent and empty.

Until a scream ripped through the air.

Dean was an idiot. He recognized that fact, and moved on.

Kicking the door down was easy. So was pointing the gun.

And predictably, the gun was wrenched from his grasp by invisible fingers and Dean was slammed into the wall.

"Well, well, well. Ansem, go check on your brother, huh?"

Dean did his best to glare.

"Samuel, look, your little friend's here." The demon strode forward until he was nose to nose with Dean. "I have to say, I don't see why Samuel found the need to make friends with a hunter, of all people."

"I have to say, I don't see why your eyes are yellow. Does it make you feel special?" Dean remarked snidely.

"Cute." Sam's father grinned and moved away, allowing Dean to focus past him.

The room was lined with people about Sam's age, Sam among them, standing tall and silent. Dean held back Sam's name and remained silent, narrowing his eyes at the demon.

"Ava here tells me you said there was an emergency on the phone. Care to illuminate the rest of us?"


"Mm hmm. Vicky?"

A mousy looking girl stepped forward from the ring and cocked her head at Dean.

"A group of hunters, headed straight for us," she said clearly.

"Fascinating. I suppose Sam revealed our location?"

Despite Dean's attempts to focus on Sam and nothing else, the girl was still able to read his mind. "Yes."

"What's your name, hunter?" the demon addressed him.

Dean thought about resistance, but realized there was no point. "Dean Winchester."

The demon's eyes seemed to spark. "Is that right? Well, that is interesting."

"What do you mean?" Dean asked, mostly as a distraction to keep him talking.

Sam's eyes were following the demon. He had yet to acknowledge Dean, aside from their initial eye contact.

"Dean Winchester. Samuel. Your . . ." the demon reached Dean and touched his face. "Brother."

Dean blinked. "What?"

"What?" Sam echoed.

"Oh yes. Samuel Winchester. Reunited with your darling brother. It's like a fairy tale."

Dean pulled against the unseen force pressing him into the wall. "You're lying," he declared.

"Am I?" The demon grinned. "Samuel Winchester. Buried with your dear mother, Mary Winchester, but they never found any remains. It was the night I took Samuel as my own."

The other kids were looking a little startled.

"You're not my father?" Sam asked. Dean noticed that he was trembling, just very very slightly.

"Oh, my blood runs through your veins, but your parents are his," the demon said idly.

"And us?"

The husky voice came from a tall, dark kid.

The demon started, as if just remembering that the room was full of people.

"You know you are all my children," he said grandly. "Who your parents are, is not the issue."

Dean took the opportunity to look at Sam. Their eyes met, and Dean waited for some recognition, some sign, but was startled by the coldness in Sam's gaze. For the first time, doubt began to creep in. Maybe he had judged Sam wrong. Maybe the demon's hold was too powerful, and Sam had caved.

"Enough of this." The demon gestured rather violently. "There is work to be done. Ava, Jake, Scott, Max, you capture the hunters as soon as they arrive. The rest of you, prepare the dungeons. Samuel, stay with me."

The others vanished as if they had never stood there.

"As for you, hunter." The demon drew close to Dean and smiled. "A nice slow death, so you can see daddy dearest before you die." A knife slashed down across Dean's forearm, leaving a cut that slowly bled. Dean noted absently that the demon was precise enough to just hit a vein, not an artery. Very slow death indeed.

The demon snapped its fingers. "Bring him, Sam."

Dean couldn't stop himself from whispering, "Sam?" as—his brother?—Sam stepped to the wall and grabbed Dean's shoulder.

"Silence," was all Sam said, and Dean was flung unceremoniously over Sam's shoulder.

Too soon, Dean found himself chained to a wall. And slowly losing blood, as time passed.

Shouting was overhead. Dean dazedly realized that the sounds were of fighting. And his arm hurt. Leaking blood . . . he was leaking blood. That was bad.


Dean focused blearily. "Hey, Dad."

John swore and yanked against the hold the tall black guy had on his arms.

"Don't, or I'll snap it like a toothpick," the demon kid hissed.

Dean took in the line of hunters with a sinking feeling in his stomach. All of the best—John, Bobby, Caleb, Jim . . .

"Isn't this wonderful." The demon was back, yellow eyes flaring bright. "I think we're going to have fun. Let's start simple, yes? Samuel, kill Dean."

Dean vaguely heard the hunters violent protestations and threats, but found himself focusing on Sam as he stepped forward from the ranks. Eyes dark, hands bloody, expression dead . . . Dean had bet on the wrong horse. But when it came down to it, he would have done the same thing all over again. Sam was his brother.

"Go ahead, Samuel."

Sam's eyes flicked over to the demon, and then back to Dean.

"It's okay, Dean," he said, and Dean blinked, unsure if the blood loss was making him hear things. "I got him."

Sam whirled and lifted his hand up, spread as if to ward off the demon. The demon twitched and gasped. "Samuel, what are you—"

"No more," Sam said tightly. "You're not my father."

The demon roared, an inhuman noise that seemed to rip through the air and hit Sam. Sam stumbled, his hand dipping down for a moment.

"Children, kill him," the demon commanded.

Dean choked out a cry of warning as Ava leapt forward, but Sam had no time to react as a dagger was buried in his ribs.

"No!" the shout was from Andy, who pounced on Ava. The others shifted, hesitancy in all of their movements.

Sam had fallen to his knees, the knife embedded in his body, but his arm was still outstretched. The demon was twitching, black smoke coming out in wisps from his mouth.

"You cannot beat me. I am Azazel, the strongest of all demons."

"And your time is done." The voice came from another one of the kids, who approached the demon and touched him. Dean could see the sparks jumping from his fingertips, and Sam's exorcism seemed to regain new strength.

"No more," another whispered, and snapped his fingers. The chains fell off of all the hunters.

"No!" Ansem shot towards the kid and the two exchanged blows.

A high scream split the air and Dean snapped his gaze over to Andy and Ava. Andy was being ripped apart by a shadowy demon as Ava held her head and concentrated.

Then the one who had been holding John stepped up behind Ava and snapped her neck. "You lose," he hissed.

A roar caused the chaos to come to a halt. Dean watched in amazement as fire engulfed the demon's host as the last of the smoke trickled out. And Sam . . .

Sam collapsed.

"Sam!" Dean dizzily shoved himself forward, only to find himself held back by strong arms. "No, let me . . . Sam! Sammy!"

"Dean, he's a demon, you can't—"

"Dean." Sam coughed, a wet, painful-sounding noise. "Dean."

The hands loosened, and Dean was immediately at his side. "Sammy. Sammy, hold on, you're gonna be fine." He pressed down around the knife, worriedly taking in the blood flowing from Sam's nose and the corner of his mouth.

"Dean, I'm sorry."

"For what, Sammy?" Dean asked, trying to keep his attention from fading. Sam's rolling eyes found his.

"Sorry I didn't stop him . . . earlier. Your blood." Sam's eyes had slipped to Dean's wrist.

"Little scratch like this? Dude, it's nothing." Dean pressed down a little harder and Sam twisted with a moan. "You hang in there, okay? We're gonna get you to a hospital, get this all fixed up."

"I'm so sorry, Dean. For everything."

"Well," Dean swallowed. There was so much blood. "I dunno. I mean, we're family." He swallowed. "Right?"

"Brothers," Sam whispered. "I'm sorry."

Dean jerked. "What?"

"You're a hunter. A good man. I can't even . . . how can you be related to something like me?" Sam coughed, and a little more blood dribbled down the side of his face.

"Sam." Dean waited until his . . . his brother's eyes met his. "There's no one else I'd rather have as my brother."

Sam gave a shaky half-sob, half-laugh. "Not even in my wildest dreams," he murmured, almost to himself. His eyes rolled back into his head, and Dean choked.

"Sammy. No, Sam, no."


He flinched at the reminder that there were others, and looked up to find all of the demon children and hunters watching them.

One of them twitched forward. A girl. The one who had read his mind . . . Vicky?

"We'll take Sam, now."

"No." Dean pulled Sam closer even as he kept pressure. "You won't."

"We can take him to a hospital." Vicky nodded to one of the others—the one that had helped Sam with the demon's exorcism—and they both drew close. "He needs a hospital."

"Fine." Dean touched Sam's forehead briefly. He looked the girl in the eye. "Take care of him."

Only after Sam was gone did Dean allow himself to pass out from the blood loss.


Blinking slowly, Dean brought his father's face into focus. "Dad?"

John smiled, an expression tinged with the desperate relief that Dean recognized from other close calls. "Hey, son. Time to wake up, huh?"

Dean groaned and slipped his elbows underneath himself. "Guh. What happened?"

"We all made it out. Demon kids are still in Cold Oak."

"You let them stay?"

His Dad twitched. "It's a work in progress. Several of them are being held by the others, and we've set up a perimeter."


"In this hospital, being guarded by Jim."

Dean took his first glance around. "Oh."

"We're not finished, about Sam."

Dean steeled himself. "Right."

"But not right now. You look like you were run over by a truck."

Dean smiled wryly. "Thanks."

His father clasped him briefly on the shoulder before leaving. Dean waited a total of one minute—he counted—before yanking his IV and slipping out.

"I'm looking for a Sam," he said to the desk nurse. Thankfully he was still fully clothed, so she didn't give him a second glance.

"Last name?"

"Not actually sure. Stab wound. Guy was mugged, I was there. Wanted to check on him."

She looked bored and over-worked, which was to Dean's advantage. "Second floor, room thirty." It was too easy, but Dean wasn't complaining.

"Hey, Sammy."

Sam flinched and stared. "Dean?"

Dean tried to smile. "The one and only."

Sam fidgeted. "So, they won't tell me what happened to the others."

"Yeah, I think it's a stalemate." Dean dropped into the chair by Sam's bed. "Kids are holed up at Cold Oak."

"Ah." Sam worried at the blanket with his fingertips. "Are you okay?"

"All patched up." Dean leaned forward. "You were stabbed, Sam. Are you okay?"

Sam nodded jerkily. "Doctor said I was lucky. Knife didn't hit anything too vital."

"So what's wrong?"


Dean smiled wryly. "I may not be Mr. Sensitive, but I can tell something's wrong. Is it your friend? Andy?"

Sam pulled up one shoulder. "I guess. And I . . . I don't know what to do."

"Do about what?"

"Azazel's dead." Sam's voice held a tinge of wonder and fear. "He controlled my entire life. Now . . ." Sam's fingers twitched, drawing Dean's attention to the stump of one before he focused.

"Well, what about me?"

Sam flicked his eyes up. "What do you mean?"

"Older brother, here. Doesn't that mean I get some say? Y'know, like getting to dye your hair and stuff."

Sam furrowed his brows. "Is that a tradition?"

"Dude, it's a joke." The air was so much lighter, now, and Dean allowed himself to ruffle Sam's hair affectionately. "You're alive. I'm alive. And you just happen to be my little brother come back from the dead in a non-zombie fashion. I say that deserves a celebration, no freaking out, okay?"

Sam's dimples peeked out as he smiled shyly. "I'm good with that. And the others?"

Dean shrugged. "Won't be easy, but we'll figure something out."

Sam nodded.

Dean considered his personal masculinity briefly before sighing and giving up. "Okay, so do I get a pass on chick flick moments if I hug you right now? Recent death and newly-found brother, y'know?"

Sam's eyes gained a little spark, though the spark looked very close to tears. "Well, then I get a free hug tomorrow."

"Don't be such a bitch," Dean groaned, and hitched himself onto the edge of the bed, carefully pulling Sam close.

"Jerk," Sam mumbled into his collarbone, a slight dampness growing on Dean's shoulder, and Dean, for once, didn't even care if anyone saw the grin on his face.

Dean had never pegged himself as an optimist, but he was kinda looking forward to the next day, and possibly the days following that. And that . . . well, that was a little bit awesome.

"Sammy," he said, just to say it.

"Dean Winchester," Sam replied.

"Last name?" Dean asked.

"My last name," Sam laughed wetly. "Sam Winchester."

"Such a girl," he groused.

"You're the one hugging me."

"True." Dean settled himself more comfortably on the narrow hospital bed. "Remind me to make fun of myself when I wake up."

"Deal," Sam murmured, and Dean was smiling as he fell asleep.

A/N: Am I a complete sap?

Yes, yes I am.

I swear, I was planning on it being tragic, Sam dying, etc etc, but I caved into the part of me that loves schmoop and snuggling and happy endings. *sigh* I'm such a wimp.

Well, it's done! Finally! Thank all of you so much for sticking with me-your reviews have really kept me going, and I appreciate the support so much. I hope this doesn't disappoint.

Until my next fic! :)