Author's Note: Sequel preview! Please look for "And On We Go" which I will be posting tonight. Thanks for being so patient!

"And I will hold on hope

And I won't let you choke

On the noose around your neck."

—Mumford&Sons, "The Cave"


His gaze is blank and focused on the dark corner of her house. She frowns slightly, wondering what exactly she should do. Ever since she had brought the youngest Winchester back from the jail, he had been silent. He wouldn't—perhaps couldn't—answer any of her questions, which left Jody more than a bit of detective work to do to figure out what exactly happened. She had the local hospital under strict orders to call her if either of the victims of the bar fight Sam got into woke up and while she was going to convince them not to press charges, she also wanted to know what had caused the usually calmer Winchester to snap.

"Sam?" She tries again, cautiously coming to sit on the couch beside him. His eyes flicker with something—recognition, fear?—but he refuses to meet her gaze.

"It wasn't hot, you know." He starts almost conversationally.

"What wasn't hot?" She leans in, wondering if he's finally snapping out of it.

"Hell." He replies calmly and a shiver runs down Jody's spine.

"Hell?" She echoes, the word foreign on her tongue. She knew a bit of what had occurred to Sam and Dean from Bobby, but last time she checked, neither boys had visited the underworld before.

"Sure, it's hot on the upper levels," He plows on, as if she had never spoken. "But in the Cage? With Lucifer? There's ice everywhere." As if on cue, he wraps his long arms around him, shaking as if he's in the middle of the Artic without any snow gear on. "He and Michael would work together sometimes. Lucifer would freeze me only for Michael to set me on fire." He laughs dryly and dread settles in the sheriff's stomach like a rock. "So much blood, so much pain . . ." He shakes his head sadly and the mother in her takes over. She pulls the clearly in pain man to her side and wraps her arms around him, squeezing him softly.

"Sam, I don't know what happened to you," Understatement of the year. "But you're with me now. It's okay. You're free."

"That's what Dean said too," His skin is ice and Jody rubs her hands on his arms in the hopes of generating some friction to warm him up. "But now he's dead."

"He's . . . what?" She chokes, the air rushing from her lungs. Her vision swims before her and it's like losing her son all over again. Why? Why did this always happen? Why did people just come into her life just for them to leave abruptly and fracture her heart in the process?

"Dead." Sam repeats slowly, treating her like a child.

"How do you know—?"

"I killed him."

Jody doesn't even have time to process that before Sam bursts into tears.

Author's Note: The sequel will be posted tonight. I hope you take a look at it! Thanks!