Time ticked by while Sam tried not to think. He couldn't allow himself to think, because if he did, he knew he would have a panic attack. Bela's words burned in his ears. Had she made a counter-deal? Something where she had to kill Dean before the stroke of twelve to stop herself from going to Hell? Well, Dean had been alive after midnight, so whatever that bitch had planned hadn't worked, but he still couldn't stop the fear, the downright terror from nibbling at him.

He felt Steve's presence next to him, but he couldn't acknowledge the other man. He just couldn't focus on anything other than Dean. Every muscle in his body was tense. He couldn't relax, wouldn't be able to get even close to relaxing until he knew Dean was okay. But that wound ...

He swallowed hard, forced the panic back down into the pit of his stomach. There had been so much blood. He could easily have mistaken the entry wound for being somewhere it wasn't.

His gaze shifted briefly down to his hand. The blood had dried, leaving his hand almost immobile, while he could still feel Dean's hand in his. 'Don't you dare give up', he thought. 'Don't you dare. Not now when you have a chance at living. Don't you dare.'

The doors opened and his gaze snapped back to them, but the nurse walked right past him to the nurse's station, not seeming very concerned or in a hurry, and he realized he'd forgotten to breathe. He pulled in a lung full of air and returned his attention the doors. Time had no meaning and at the same time meant everything. He had no idea how long they had been here.

"Bobby's on the way, by the way," Steve said after a while.

Sam didn't look at him and could think of nothing to say to that.

And then the doors opened again. This time a doctor exited, a guy in his fifties, who looked a little tired. He walked past them to the nurse's station and Sam never took his eyes off him. The doctor stopped to talk to the nurse there, who nodded toward Sam and Steve.

Sam rose and balled his left hand into a fist while his heart jumped into his throat. 'No, no, no, no, no,' kept rippling through his mind.

The doctor looked back at him, sighed and came back. He stopped in front of Sam. "Are you Mr. Fraiser's brother?" he asked.

Sam nodded once, his movements jerky.

"I'm sorry. We did everything we could, but the damage to your brother's heart was just too extensive," he said. "He had lost too much blood by the time he arrived here and his heart ..." He paused, then shook his head sadly and grabbed Sam's upper arm in what was obviously supposed to be a comforting way. "I'm really sorry," he repeated.

"No," Sam muttered and shook his head jerkily. "No. I want to see him," he said.

"If you just give the nurses a moment, they'll tidy up a bit ..."

"No, I want to see him now," Sam insisted.

"Sam," Steve tried and slipped a hand onto his back.

Sam shifted away from both of them. "Don't touch me," he growled. "I want to see my brother. Right now!"

The doctor eyed him for a moment, then nodded. "Follow me," he said.

"Doc, I really don't think ..." Steve began, but Sam cut him off with an angry glare.

"Stay out of this," he snapped, then followed the doctor through the double doors and into the inner sanctum of the hospital.

"In there," the doctor said and nodded toward an open door. "Take your time," he added.

Sam didn't acknowledge him. He just stared at the open doorway while debating whether he should walk through it or not. If the doctor was right, it would be like acknowledging the one thing he didn't want to deal with. Not now, not ever. Then he took a step forward, clearing the doorframe and came to a stop again. And his world just came tumbling down.

On unsteady feet, he made his way into the room, to the gurney, and came to a stop again. Shakily, he reached a hand out, nearly touching, but then pulled it back again. "Dean," he whispered, his voice nearly nonexistent. "Oh god."

The wound in Dean's chest was covered with a dark green cloth, but the way it sagged in the middle told him they'd opened Dean up to get at the bullet and the damage it had done. And there was blood everywhere. So much blood.

A tremor rippled through Sam and he grabbed onto the edge of the gurney to steady himself. "Dean," he whispered again and ran his gaze over the length of his brother before settling it back on his face. He looked so peaceful.

And then came the anger. Suddenly, unbidden, it rose in him like a flood, but it wasn't aimed at Dean. It was an overshadowing, all-encompassing kind of anger that made him blame the world and all he had ever put his faith in for letting him down, for taking away the only person in his life he had ever truly depended on. And then it focused, narrowed down and turned into blistering hatred at the one person who had done this to him. Bela. That she was dead was completely irrelevant.

Sam grabbed Dean's upper arm harshly and held on while he fought the roiling sea of emotions tumbling through him. "You can't leave. Not now. Please, Dean," he rasped, forcing words past the lump in his throat.

The skin under his hand was going cold, too cold for it to be Dean, and he let go again and pulled back a step, then glanced down at his still blood-encrusted hand. "It's not fair," he whispered and everything inside him stilled.

He grabbed a chair and pulled it over to sit on and then he just sat there and stared at Dean. He acknowledged noone. Not the nurse who popped her head in a while later and asked if she could get him anything or the doctor who came back and tried to talk him into leaving and not Steve, who turned up a bit after that and made the same attempt.

He had no concept of time, saw only the grayness of Dean's skin, the lifelessness that his brother had become, and he refused to move, refused to speak, to do anything other than sit there and stare at Dean. He wasn't hoping for a miracle, because miracles didn't happen in his neck of the woods. He wasn't hoping the doctors had made a mistake, because it was so obvious they hadn't. He wasn't waiting for a change in circumstance, because he knew it wouldn't come. All he did was sit with his brother because he knew how much Dean hated being alone.

The background noise of the hospital turned into a low murmur and so did everybody's voices even when they were in the same room with him. He couldn't focus on anything other than Dean until the moment that a hand fell heavily on his shoulder.

With a jerk, reality clicked back into place and he glanced up at the owner of that hand. Bobby was standing next to him, his gaze on Dean, and for a long moment he said and did nothing; just stood there and eyed Dean.

"Bela is dead. Very dead," Bobby finally said. He didn't look at Sam, kept staring at Dean, and Sam could see the tears in his eyes. "She was shot in the head and covered in claw marks, so I think it's safe to assume that Dean's gone to a better place."

Sam returned his attention to Dean and said nothing. What was there to say, after all? It wasn't like words made any difference now.

"Sam, it's time to get out of here," Bobby said after a bit.

"No," he countered quietly, not looking up at Bobby.

For a few heartbeats Bobby said nothing to that. Then he squeezed Sam's shoulder lightly. "I'll go talk to the hospital staff. You just stay here," he said and left the room again.


The head nurse was the sort of woman Bobby hated dealing with. She had this holier-than-thou attitude about her at the same time as obviously thinking that she was the foremost authority on everything.

"We need that room," she persisted.

"I realize that," Bobby said calmly. "Just give the kid some time to say goodbye to his brother."

"He's had four hours," the head nurse countered.

"And he'll have a day if that's what he needs," Bobby shot back, getting close to the mark where he was about to lose his temper. "The body should be cremated," he added and forcibly calmed himself down again.

"There are papers to be signed, the right authorities have to be involved," she countered. "The police are here, asking questions. At the earliest, it can happen at the beginning of next week."

"No, it has to be tomorrow at the latest," Bobby said and looked her straight in the eye.

She arched an eyebrow in surprise. "Even if everything was in order, it couldn't happen by tomorrow. There is just no way ..."

"It will happen tomorrow," Bobby said with conviction. "If you can't get off your collective asses and do what I tell you to do, we'll just have to take the body with us and get someone else to do it."

"That's outrageous," the head nurse huffed.

Bobby sighed and shook his head. "Fine, but don't expect this to disappear. I will file a complaint about this," he warned, turned around and strode back toward the double doors. In general, he didn't want the outcome to be anything other than this, but he had to play by the book to not rouse suspicion. He was in his good right to remove Dean from the hospital if they refused to cooperate. It was harder if he just tried to sneak the body out of here.

Steve stood waiting by the doors. "What's the plan?" he asked quietly.

"The only way we can get Sam to leave this hospital right now is by removing Dean. So that's what we'll do," Bobby said. "I have a friend who works in a mortuary not too far from here. He can arrange a cremation at short notice."

Steve eyed him closely. "Are you sure you don't just want to bury him?" he asked quietly.

Bobby shook his head. "No," he countered. "The last thing I want is for some demon to run around with Dean's face. It would kill Sam. These boys have been wading through the supernatural up to their frigging eyeballs all of their lives. There's too much risk of something like that happening."

With a nod, Steve relented. "What about Sam?"

Bobby's eyes darkened. "I don't know. I'm gonna take him back to my place, but ..." He shook his head. "This is so messed up."

"That's one way of putting it," Steve agreed sadly. "Do you need me for anything further?"

"No. You take off. Thanks for being there. And stay in touch," Bobby said.

Steve nodded, glanced at the doors, then sighed and left.

Bobby watched him go for a moment, then returned to the room where Sam was waiting while watching over his brother.


Three days later
Bobby's place
Fort Pierre, SD

Bobby wasn't entirely sure what he had hoped for when it came to Sam. Maybe that the kid would have a breakdown, cry his eyes out and get a little release from the obviously overshadowing grief? But Sam didn't cry. He didn't shed a tear when Dean was cremated, he didn't break down when Seymore the mortician handed him the urn and he had hardly said anything since.

Bobby had arranged for the Impala to be picked up and the motel room to be paid for and emptied of their belongings and he took care of the police, giving them the same story Steve had given them about a lover's spat gone wrong. In the face of these events, it was the most plausible explanation, but it didn't reflect well on Dean's memory and Bobby assumed that Sam would have had a fit if anyone had suggested that Dean had been romantically involved with Bela. But Sam didn't need to know and he didn't ask, so Bobby didn't tell him.

It had taken Sam exactly one day to get over his inability to move and since then, he had poured over books Bobby didn't even know he had. Where Sam found them was beyond Bobby and at first he left him to it. He figured he needed to do something other than focus on what had happened, but after the third day, Bobby began to wonder.

"Hey Sam?" He stepped into the livingroom, intending to distract Sam away from the books and maybe get some answers out of him.

Sam didn't even look up. He just kept pouring over that big old dusty volume he had found.

"Sam!" Bobby tried, lending his tone a slightly harder edge.

Sam glanced at him, briefly, before returning his attention to the texts he was absorbing.

Bobby considered how to handle him for a moment, then sighed, strode over to where he was sitting on the couch and pulled the book out of his grasp. "Would you just listen to me for a moment?"

Sam's expression tightened. He didn't look up, but rather stared at the space where the book had been.

"What are you doing?" Bobby asked, closed the book and eyed the cover for a moment. Then he glanced at the other books Sam had gathered, grabbed one and eyed the title, then the next, before he put the third one back on the table top and eyed Sam with growing concern. "What are you reading these for? They're black magic books."

Sam's jaw muscles tightened. "I want him back," he said quietly, his tone even and tense at the same time.

"I know you do and I don't blame you, Sam, but this ..." Bobby said and waved at the books, "... this isn't the way to go about it."

"She made a deal. She killed him and sent him to Hell instead of her," Sam growled, still not looking up.

"Sam, there is nothing indicating that. All the signs point at that Bela paid the price, that she went to Hell instead of Dean," Bobby tried.

"She told him right before she shot him in the heart. She said he was going to Hell," Sam insisted, his tone shaking with tenseness.

"Why don't you call this Lucy woman and ask her? If anyone should know, it would be her," Bobby suggested.

Sam finally looked up at him and Bobby had to keep a grip on himself to not take a step back. The swirling mixture of hate and bottomless grief in Sam's eyes shocked him and he was hard to shock. "She's a demon. Demons lie," he pressed out, reached out for the book he had been going through and opened it again.

"Dammit, Sam. That's enough," Bobby said and took the book away from him again. "This is no way to honor your brother's memory."

"I'm not gonna let him burn in Hell," Sam snarled, now visibly agitated.

"He's not in Hell, Sam," Bobby tried.

"You don't know that," Sam yelled and got up.

Pent-up anger and grief were making him unreasonable and Bobby wished he knew what to say to him to make him give in and accept his feelings. It was like seeing Dean all over again after Jake had killed Sam. The anger, the hopelessness. Bobby had always thought that Sam would cope better with losing his brother than Dean would, but apparently that was not the case.

"What are you looking for?" Bobby finally asked and held the book out to Sam.

Sam eyed him for a moment, then dropped back down on the couch with the book and opened it again. "A way to bring him back," he said curtly.

"Sam ... the last thing you want to do is use black magic for that. It always backfires," Bobby said.

"Yeah? Well, I don't see a hell of a lot of white magic that can bring people back from the dead," Sam countered angrily.

"You should talk to someone," Bobby said quietly.

"I'm not talking to any shrinks," Sam growled.

"That's not what I meant. I know someone you can talk to about that. Someone who might be able to help," he corrected himself.

Sam frowned, then looked up at him. "Who?" he asked.

"Her name is – ironically – Morgana. At least that's what she calls herself. She lives in New Orleans and has been in the business for many, many years. If she can't help, she might know someone who can," Bobby said.

Sam considered it for a moment, then closed the book and put it aside. "Do you have an address?" he asked.

"First and foremost, Sam, you're not going yet," he said. "There's something you have to deal with first."

"What? That my brother is dead? That he got shot by that bitch Bela? That I'm all alone now?" Sam countered and his tone was frighteningly dispassionate. "What do you expect from me, Bobby? A breakdown? I'm not five anymore," he added and rose again.

"I know you're not five any more, Sam, but there's nothing wrong with grieving over the loss of your brother," Bobby countered, hoping to somehow provoke a reaction other than the anger and resentment he felt in Sam.

"Grieving won't bring him back," Sam said resolutely. "I'll grieve when I know there's no way to bring him back," he added quietly.

"Sam, I hate to break this to you, but Dean is dead. No matter how you turn and twist it. If there was a way to bring him back ... a right way ..." Bobby trailed off. He could tell by the look in Sam's eyes that he wasn't getting through to him right now. Dean had brought Sam back from the dead and hence Sam believed he could find a way to bring Dean back. "Whatever you do, Sam, do not call on a crossroad demon."

"I don't intend to," Sam said. "This Morgana. Where does she live?"

Bobby sighed and gave in for now. At least it would get him out of the house and away from those books if he went to New Orleans. "Hang on. I'll get you her address," he said.


New Orleans
Two days later

The address Bobby had given him was easy enough to find, but the only woman on the premises was one who looked to be in her forties and definitely couldn't be who he was looking for.

Sam remained in the car and watched the house for a while, but saw nobody else coming or going. Eventually he decided to get out and ask. If for nothing else, the woman might be able to tell him where to find Morgana.

He approached the fence slowly, his gaze shifting from the woman kneeling in a flowerbed, where she was either planting flowers or ripping them out, to the mansion behind her, but what he would formerly have found interesting meant nothing to him now. All he wanted right now was to find this Morgana and find out if she could help him.

He stopped at the fence and looked down at the woman, who so far hadn't noticed his presence. It took a moment before she realized she wasn't alone anymore and she looked up at him then, shielding her eyes from the sunlight. "Can I help you?" she asked.

Sam stared at her for a moment. "Are you Morgana?" he asked.

She got to her feet then and pulled off the gardening gloves she was wearing. "That would be me, yes," she agreed.

He couldn't help a brief smile. Bobby had a weird way of talking about people he knew sometimes. Sam had been under the impression that this Morgana had to be at least eighty or ninety years old. "Bobby Singer sent me," he said.

She smiled. "Did he now," she countered, then nodded toward the low gate further along the fence. "You'd better come in then."

The house was no less grande inside, but Morgana didn't seem too impressed with it herself.

She waved at a big, comfy couch. "Have a seat," she suggested and Sam settled down on it. "Can I get you anything?"

"No, I'm fine," he said and barely prevented himself from sneering at the thought. He was anything but fine, but she was a stranger and he didn't share with strangers.

She nodded and settled down on one of the big arm chairs across from him. "So, what is it that Bobby thinks I can do for you?" she asked.

"Raise the dead," Sam countered and kept staring at her.

Morgana raised a sculpted eyebrow, her blue eyes glittering. "Well, I always knew Bobby had a high opinion of me, but ..." She sighed lightly. "I'm sorry, sweety. I can do a lot. I can give you spells that will cure almost any illness. But I cannot raise the dead."

Sam struggled to retain his disappointment. "Do you know anyone who can?" he asked. "Bobby suggested you might know someone."

She eyed him closely. "There's a guy in Whitefish who might be able to help you out. His name is Josh Parker," she said.

Sam frowned lightly. "Whitefish, North Dakota?" he asked and wondered if this guy was in cahoots with Lucy St. Clair.

"No, Whitefish, Michigan," she countered.

"Do you have an address?" he asked.

"Hang on. I'll write it down for you," she said, rose and disappeared into the back of the house, only to return a moment later with a slip of paper. She had written directions on it in a very neat hand.

"Thanks," he said, folded it and put it in his pocket before getting up.

"Good luck," she said. "Although ... raising the dead is tricky business. Make sure you trust whoever tells you how to do it."

He paused, then turned halfway to face her again. "It may involve getting someone out of Hell," he said, somehow hoping it might change things. He wanted a fast fix for this. The longer it took, the longer Dean would be in Hell and he couldn't stand the thought.

"Same thing," she said and the look in her eyes became a little sad. "God's speed," she added.

He just stared at her for a second, completely unmoved by her words, then turned and left the house to head back to the car. With little regard for the fact that he would have to drive for another two days to get to Michigan, he got behind the wheel, revved the engine and drove off again.


Two days later

Josh Parker turned out to be more like what Sam had imagined Morgana to be. He was at least ninety, half deaf and even more blind, and he kept cackling like a crazy crone. Sam had no patience for him, but kept it under wraps to get the answers he needed.

"Mr. Parker," he tried again.

The old geezer turned around, grinning broadly. "Morgana, eh. Pretty for her age, wouldn't you say?" Parker cackled and, leaning heavily on his cane, he limped into the back of his old, dusty house and waved at an armchair that hadn't seen a vacuum cleaner in ages. "Sit, sit," he said. "Now, what can I do for you, young man? And remember to speak up. Battery's run out," he added and cackled again while tapping the hearing aide in his right ear.

Sam eased down on the edge of the armchair. "Morgana suggested you know how to raise the dead," he said loudly.

"How to make a bed?" Parker asked and frowned. "She sends you across the country for that?"

"No, how to raise the dead," Sam repeated a little louder still.

Parker kept on frowning. "Rally the Mets?" he asked.

Sam barely prevented himself from groaning out loud, then remembered that Parker wouldn't hear him anyway. He glanced around the dusty room, found a pad and a pen and wrote in big bold letters on the page: Can you raise the dead?

Parker squinted at the pad for a moment, then looked up to face Sam. "No," he said clearly, all the bluster gone out of him. "Raising the dead is tricky business, son. Not something you want to undertake without the right help."

"Who?" Sam asked loudly. "Do you know anyone?"

Parker scratched his head for a moment. "There is a witch in Salt Lake City in Utah," he said. "Name's Maria. She dabbles in the dark arts, but is generally a good one of her kind. Might wanna check her out." He shuffled over to a big old desk and rooted through the piles on it until he came up with a handful of business cards. He pulled one out of the stack and squinted at it, holding it up to his nose. Then he handed it to Sam. "Here's where you find her. Good luck, son."

Sam took the business card and eyed it for a moment. "Thank you," he said loudly and rose again.

Parker seemed to have already forgotten that he was there and was rooting through his desk without looking up.

Sam left the house and got back in the car. It would take another two days to reach Salt Lake City. For a moment, he just sat there and stared at the steering wheel, then he glanced back in at the old, overgrown house. Dean would have liked Parker.

That thought hit him like a tanker truck and he briefly squeezed his eyes shut to contain the emotions that suddenly threatened to overwhelm him. "Dammit, Dean," he whispered and tightened his grip on the steering wheel for a moment. Then he started the engine and took off for another cross-country trip.


Whitefish, ND

In essence Lucy St. Clair lived the life of a normal, mortal woman. To an extent. She didn't socialize with others much, but quite a few people in Whitefish knew her and greeted her like they would any other neighbor. If she were to be pressured for an answer, she assumed that what she liked best about this quaint little town was the fact that she was, in essence, anonymous.

She wasn't entirely in control of her surroundings because any greater outburst of her powers would attract others of her kind and she generally preferred to be left alone. But that didn't mean she wasn't highly attuned to the other layers of life apart from what she could see, hear and touch.

Her house was a quite building if one disregarded the fact that there was a gateway to Hell in her basement. It was a smallish gateway, one that allowed her to enter the realm she had left if she so chose, but generally she chose not to. Hell wasn't her idea of fun despite the fact that it was her dominion.

On this quite day, where the sun was shining and the birds were chirping and summer was nearing its peak, Lucy stood in the doorway to her backyard, to the garden beyond, and felt a vague ripple of unrest in the air.

After a bit, she turned back to face the livingroom and ran her gaze over the interior in search of the source, which she had now pinpointed as being in her house rather than something approaching. There was nothing immediately to be seen when she looked with human eyes. "Show yourself," she said after a moment. It wasn't a request, it was an order and it helped manifest the spirit she had sensed. As soon as it became visible, Lucy arched an eyebrow. There wasn't much left in this world or beyond that could surprise her. She had seen it all, done it all and redone most of it, but this was definitely the first time ever that she had been haunted by a spirit. "What in the name of ... well, me, are you doing here?" she asked. "And like that? Aren't you supposed to be living the life?"

Dean Winchester eyed her for a moment, then glanced around the livingroom. "How the hell did I end up here?" he asked.

Lucy sighed. "Because of the deal, Dean. You're tied to me," she said. "How did you get yourself killed?"

"Got shot," he said and gave her a dark look. "In the heart. And guess by who."

"Whom," she corrected him. "Let me guess. Bela?"

"Bingo," he countered. "You said she wouldn't come after us. You said she would die within half an hour after I left here. And now look what happened. Thanks a lot."

"It's hardly my fault that you got yourself shot, Dean," Lucy countered.

"Oh yes, it is. But never mind that now. Bring me back," he said.

She made a face. "I can't. Reinstating a departed soul into an existing body is one thing, but recreating a destroyed body is something completely different. It takes blood, sweat and tears," she said. "Literally."

"Aw, come on," Dean growled. "There's got to be a way."

"There is. And it involves your brother and bloodletting," Lucy said.

"You're not doing anything to him," Dean warned.

"I can't do anything to him unless he agrees to it," she said. "Or rather, I won't do anything to him unless he agrees. I am a firm believer of free will."

"Right," Dean muttered. "How is Sam doing?"

"I don't know. I haven't kept track of him." Lucy trailed into the livingroom and settled down on her couch.

"I've been trying to ... find him, but I keep snapping back to this place every time I turn around," Dean said. "This sucks out loud, me being dead."

"I believe it does," she agreed. "And you keep ... 'snapping' back to this place because you're tied to me. You can't go to Sam because of it."

Dean sighed. "That sucks," he stated. "So ... how do I get a hold of him? How do I tell him to come see you?"

"You don't. There's only two things you can do," Lucy said. "You can stay here and haunt me, which won't make a lick of difference. Or you can move on."

"I don't want to move on. I want to live. I already blew off one reaper. I'm supposed to be alive, Lucy. Come on! There must be something I can do. Or maybe you could call Sam?"

"No," she said. "He has to come to me."

"How the hell is he supposed to know that when nobody's told him?" Dean snapped, aggravated now. The lights started strobing, flicking on and off like a heartbeat.

"If your brother is as smart as you want to give him credit for, Dean, he will figure it out. He has to come to me, he has to ask for my help to bring you back. If he doesn't, there's nothing to be done. There are rules to be upheld here."

"Screw the rules," Dean snarled and paced over to the open door leading out into the backyard. "Every demon I've ever met has tried to bend the rules," he added while keeping his back to her. "Why not you?"

"That's just the way it is," Lucy said. "Besides, if Sam did come to me and asked for my help and I granted it, it would very likely kill him to try and bring you back."

Dean turned back to face her. "So ... for me to live, he'd have to die. Is that what you're saying?"

"There is a chance that he would survive, but it's not very big," she said. "It's the only way."

He considered it for a moment, then focused on her again. "Can I at least say goodbye to him?"

Lucy shook her head lightly. "No, I'm sorry. Not unless he comes to me," she said.

"I don't want to move on. I want to come back. But not if it risks killing Sam," he said and he sounded very tired all of a sudden.

"I can call the reaper back," she suggested. "You can move on. Be with your parents again."

Dean focused on her. "Dad's with mom?" he asked.

She nodded. "Yes, he did his time in Hell. There's only one way to go from there. And that's up," she said and nodded toward the ceiling.

Dean smiled vaguely, then glanced down at the bullet hole still adorning his chest. "What about Sam?"

"He'll go on," Lucy said. "I think. I don't know."

"Aw crap," Dean muttered and turned back to face the backyard. "This isn't fair."

"No, but life hardly ever is," Lucy said, rose again and stepped up behind him.

"What if Sam asks for your help after I'm gone?" he asked without looking back at her.

"I will inform him of the risks. If he still wants to go ahead with the plan, then you will be pulled back here," she said. "The ... spell I have in mind is very powerful. But it's not painless. For either of you."

"Well, as long as there's still a chance I can come back," Dean said.

"There is always a chance. It's not like you're gone for good. Not as long as you're tied to me," Lucy said. "Now will you go?"

"Are you sure..."

"Yes, I am, Dean," she interrupted him. "There is nothing else to be done right now. You can't contact Sam, you can't go to him. And I won't contact him. He has to come to me. His will to get you back has to be his own, not something I instilled in him by raising hopes."

He nodded lightly. "Okay, fine. Since you obviously don't want me hanging around here ..." He trailed off and turned back to face her. "Not that I'd want to. I mean ... you have a hellgate in your basement, for crying out loud."

"Oh, you noticed that, did you?" she asked and couldn't help a smile. "You were clever in life. You seem to have lost none of that in death." She eyed him for a moment. "I should warn you, though."

"About what?" he asked, already looking worried.

"Once you cross over ... you might not want to come back," she said quietly.

"Oh, I'll want to come back. I can't leave Sammy alone. He needs me," he countered and he sounded very convinced.

Lucy nodded. "Very well then," she said.

Dean lingered for a moment, then he glanced over toward the hallway, then back at Lucy. "Is that ..."

"Yes, go with her. She'll show you the way," she agreed.

He sighed. "See you around, Luce," he said and winked out of existence.

"Perhaps," she said quietly. "Perhaps."