Inn of the Conchos
San Angelo, TX
Two days later

"Inn of the Conchos?" Sam asked and eyed the decor of the room. "Conchos? Is that as in the Concho tribe or the Conchos river?"

Dean dropped his duffle on the bed closest to the door, took a brief glance around and shrugged. "Who cares?" he asked. "It's no different than any of the other dives we've stayed in over the years."

"Dives? This is hardly a dive, Dean. We can't afford this. They're likely to check the credit card," Sam said and didn't move from the spot just inside the door.

"Relax, dude. It's a brand-spanking-new one. First time it's in use. They won't know a thing," Dean countered. "Shut the frigging door, man," he added when he realized Sam hadn't.

Sam rolled his eyes, shut the door and lugged his duffle and the weapons bag over to his bed.

"What's with you? The spook got you nervous?" Dean asked and eyed Sam closely.

"No," Sam said and that was clearly a lie.

"Look, I told you to stay at Bobby's. It's a simple salt and burn, Sam. I can handle this on my own," Dean tried.

"Nothing is ever simple with us, Dean. You know that. There's no way I'm letting you do this alone. End of story," Sam countered and sank down on the edge of his bed while his gaze roamed over the room. "Well, at least it's clean," he muttered.

"Yeah, and they've got HBO on the tube too," Dean said with a grin. "I'm gonna watch me some movie tonight."

"The hell you are. We're going to salt and burn Haskell's bones tonight and then get the hell out of here," Sam said almost grumpily.

"Killjoy. You manage to suck the fun out of everything, Sam. Cheer up before you send me into a fit of depression." Dean dug the map out of his duffle, unfolded it on top of his bed and eyed it. "So ... where's that cemetery again?"

"Not too far away," Sam said. "Beldevere Memorial Cemetery. It's on Arden Road. It's about four miles from here."

"Cool," Dean countered, glanced out the window than at his watch. "Well, we've got a few hours to kill here, so ..."

Sam glanced out the window too and made a face.

"You hungry?" Dean asked and eyed him closely. "I could eat," he added.

Sam rolled his eyes. "You could always eat. I've never seen you not eat. I swear, sometimes I think you're dreaming about eating too."

"Oh, I am. What I could really go for right now is a big fat juicy steak. That would really hit the spot right around now. I think I saw a steakhouse when we drove into town. Are you game?" Dean countered.

Sam didn't look too happy about the idea. He considered it for a moment, then shrugged lightly. "Sure, why not," he said and got up.

"Great," Dean said.


Once at the steakhouse, Dean realized that Sam was anything other than hungry. Not only didn't he order anything much, he didn't touch what he had ordered and settled for sipping his beer.

"Not that it's any of my business, Sam, but why'd you order anything if you're not gonna eat it?" Dean asked.

"To keep you company?" Sam asked back and smiled vaguely.

"Honestly, Sam. If this damned spook has you so upset, you should have stayed with Bobby," Dean repeated.

"Yeah, well that point is kind of moot right now, isn't it?" Sam countered. "Besides, as I keep telling you, I'm not letting you go up against that spook on your own. So quit trying to get rid of me. I'm not leaving."

Dean arched an eyebrow, on the verge of venting how he really felt about the whole sordid deal, but in the end he kept his trap shut. They weren't up against a demon this time around, just a ghost with a very literal split personality. And if a salt and burn was all it took, then it would be over quickly enough and Sam's mood was not going to cause any problems.

He eyed Sam's fries for a moment. "Well, if you're not gonna eat'em ..." he started and reached out for the plate.

Sam grabbed his wrist, stopping his fingers a hair's breadth from the edge of the plate. "Hands off," he warned, then released Dean's wrist and pulled the plate out of his reach.

Dean merely smirked and returned his attention to his own plate. "You know, once we're through here, I think we should take some time off. I still wanna see the Grand Canyon, you know."

"So you keep saying," Sam said. He had started doodling on a napkin.

Dean glanced at him, then pretended to watch one of the waitresses, who by no means was hard on the eyes, before he looked back over at Sam. It was getting harder by the day to keep up the masquerade of being care-free and indifferent. Ever since Sam had started having those damned visions, he had started to change. And Dean was generally breaking his head over why and how the hell his brother could get rid of that crap again.

"Hey Sam?"

Sam looked up and met his eyes. "What?"

Dean just looked at him for a moment, then made a face and returned his attention to his food. "Nothing," he said.

"What, Dean?" Sam pushed.

"It's nothing," he repeated. "D'you see that waitress over there? She's hot," he added.

Sam just eyed him for a moment, then sighed and returned his attention to the doodling.


11 p.m.
Beldevere Memorial Cemetery
San Angelo, TX

Armed with the usual tools of their trade, Sam and Dean made their way across the dark cemetery, searching for the burial plot of one Mr. Peter Haskell. Dean expected something big, like a mausoleum. Sam expected a simple headstone. Both started to feel the frustration set in when they hadn't found anything after one hour.

"Are you sure this is the place?" Dean asked for the umpteenth time.

Sam was actually happy that his brother couldn't see the expression on his face right then and even happier that Dean was the one carrying the shovels. He felt very much like wacking Dean over the head with one right now. Then he stopped. "Hang on," he said, taken aback enough by the idea that had just popped into his head for the anger to lose momentum.

Dean stopped and turned back to face him, although they couldn't see much in the almost oppressive darkness of the now decidedly chilly cemetery. "What?"

"It's colder. Much colder than before. And ... I think I can sense the damned ghost," Sam said.

Dean raised the flashlight and shone it in his face, making Sam raise a hand to block the light. "Are you going darkside on me again?" he asked, his tone slightly cautious.

"No. The spook's powers aren't as strong here as at the factory, Dean. But it's still influencing me," Sam countered and blinked a couple of times to clear the bright spots in his vision when Dean lowered the flashlight again.

"So ... the angrier you get, the closer we are to the grave?" he asked.

"Yeah, I think so," Sam agreed. That thought wasn't the best and he was beginning to question the sanity of him coming along. How would it help end this if he ended up clobbering his brother with a shovel. Reluctantly, he took a step back. "I think I'd better wait in the car."

"If you're aware of it, can't you control it?" Dean asked. There was something in his tone that made Sam hesitate.

"I don't know, Dean. You wanna risk that I attack you?" he asked back.

"You didn't attack me at the factory, man. And you even got me out of there, Sam. Come on. Just keep it together. If you can ... 'sense' the damned spook, you can find the grave," Dean tried.

Sam considered it for a moment, assessing what his response to the whole deal should be, then glanced around and eventually sighed. Dean obviously didn't want to do this alone, no matter what he had said previously. "Okay, fine. But if it gets any worse, I'm getting out, Dean," he said. "And try not to talk too much."

Dean frowned lightly at that. "Why not?" he asked.

"Because it pisses me off, quite frankly. The less you aggravate me right now, the better," Sam said and shrugged, feeling embarrassed. At the same time he was well aware that this would probably piss Dean off.

For a moment, his brother remained silent. "Where to?" he finally asked. His tone was tight and Sam knew he was going to hear for this until hell froze over.

Sam focused on the task at hand, trying to estimate if there was any difference in how he felt, depending on which way he turned. There was something almost distinctly electric in the air, some kind of charge that seemed to get stronger every time he turned due West. "This way," he said and started walking.


Normally, Dean wasn't creeped out by his brother. Granted, Sam had some weird ideas at times, but in essence Sam was the embodiment of normal. Dean had never met anyone who wanted 'normal' more than his brother did. Hell, most people were happy to have a little weirdness in their lives ... except for those weirdos that preferred life in the suburbs in their houses with white picket fences around them and false smiles plastered on their faces. In his opinion, those people lived in a fantasy world where everything was all happiness and prancing ponies. In his world, that was called escapism.

Right now, however, Sam was creeping him out big time. Right now, he really didn't want to walk ahead of Sam, because he had seen what Sam was like when he was influenced by the dark forces of the world and he didn't like it one bit. Yet his pride as much as his need to be the 'Big brother' with a capital B did not allow him to show this. Fortunately, he didn't have to right now. Sam was taking the lead, showing the way toward Haskell's grave, and Dean hoped his little brother could keep it together until this salt and burn was over and done with.

Heeding Sam's advice, Dean kept his mouth shut. He had a lot of things he wanted to say and Sam was not going hear the end of this any time soon once they were out of here, but for now he chose not to aggravate the situation. They had a job to do and that came first.

Sam slowed down after a moment and came to a complete standstill outside a low gate, which led into a walled-off area of the cemetery. There was no name anywhere, no indication of who was buried inside the mausoleum that resided behind the gates.

Dean stopped next to him and stared at the building. It wasn't big, but for a grave it was pompous. "This it?" he asked and glanced at Sam.

The clouds up above had parted and the light of the moon, half full, disclosed the struggle Sam was currently putting up to remain in control. He nodded once, but said nothing.

Dean took his word for it, even though he hadn't spoken, pushed the gate open and stepped into the confines of the low wall. Immediately, the temperatures dropped. "Hole in one," Dean muttered, ignored the dropping temperatures as best he could and strode toward the mausoleum. He barely got halfway before he was hit in the chest by what felt like an invisible wrecking ball and thrown back almost as far as he had come.

Sam still stood at the gate when Dean skittered to a stop at his feet. He had the shotgun raised and aimed at something. "Stay down," he said, the words pressed out through clenched teeth.

A little winded by the impact, Dean remained where he was and watched the dark outline of the evil ghost from the factory compacting into a recognizable shape. Looked like Sean Banks had been right. The evil ghost was the same as Haskell's ghost and it was the very first time that they had run into a ghost with a split personality disorder.

Sam fired both barrels of the shotgun, then reloaded and waited a second. "Let's do this," he suggested, reached down and grabbed a hold of Dean's shoulder to haul him to his feet.

"Easy," Dean huffed and shrugged out of Sam's grip. He didn't like the look on Sam's face, but there wasn't much to be done about it right now. Sam had defended him as he had expected him to. They had to use the interim time until the ghost pulled itself together again.

Together, they made their way over to the mausoleum where Dean picked up the shovels and the bag he had dropped on the way, and then jimmied the lock open on the heavy oak door before they could get inside.

Unlike other mausoleums, which had the dearly departed implanted in the walls or buried beneath the floor, this one had the coffin in plain view. Or rather, inside a stone sarcophagus that stood in the middle of the smallish room.

"Close the door," Dean said, put the shovels and the bag down and inspected the heavy-looking lid of the sarcophagus with the flashlight. He heard the doors close, but didn't pay attention to Sam right now. "Looks easy enough. It's not locked in any way," he said, set the flashlight down on the floor and started pushing the heavy lid off the stone box. It took him a second to realize that Sam was making no move to help him.

Before he could come up with an appropriately scalding comment, his ingrained ability to sense danger flared up like a napalm-fueled fire and he ducked just in time to avoid the shovel being swung at his head. With a resounding crash, the shovel hit the wall behind him and chipped out a fair sized gash of the marble-cover.

Dean rose immediately and blocked of the second swing, grabbed the shovel by the handle and yanked it viciously out of Sam's hands. He knew that his brother couldn't help this, that Sam wasn't in control, but like the few times this had happened before, it hurt to find that Sam had it in him to lash out like this. "Get a grip, Sam," he demanded angrily.

Sam glared at him and reached for the gun stuffed into the waistline of his jeans. Before he could get that far, though, Dean used the selfsame shovel and clobbered him hard enough to knock him out.

A little out of breath, Dean took a second to regain his composure, then hunkered down next to Sam to make sure he hadn't broken anything. "Sorry about that, Sammy," he muttered, dropped the shovel and got up to finish the job.

What baffled him was that the spook didn't just attack him itself like it had in the factory. Why did it have to do it through Sam? Was it hoping to catch him off guard that way? "Stupid spook," he muttered, annoyed. It always pissed him off when he had to hurt his brother to get a job done. It had happened a few times before and it angered him more every time. If the danger of being decapitated by Sam's wild swings with the shovel hadn't been a present threat, he wouldn't have knocked him out. But right now it was better that Sam was unconscious than possessed.

A little sore from his previous encounter with that invisible wrecking ball and a lot annoyed at the spook's influence over his brother, he continued to push the lid off the stone sarcophagus until it tilted off on the other side and broke into several pieces when it hit the floor. Inside was the coffin, as expected, and it was an expensive looking one on top of that. The temperatures dropped a little more inside the mausoleum and Dean grimaced at being able to see his own breath. "Time to pass over, Haskell," he muttered, grabbed the bag and pulled the crowbar from it. He hooked it under the edge of the lid and started breaking the lid open. He didn't even get halfway before the spook attacked him again, hammering him sideways into the rear wall.

He hit the floor with an thud. Staying low, he made his way back to the bag and retrieved the sawed-off, then sat down on the floor with his back to the sarcophagus and waited for the spirit to manifest again so he could hit it with some rocksalt.

Something told him that the evil version of Haskell's ghost didn't have enough power to hit him continuously. It had to gather strength again to attack, which gave him a bit of leeway.

Just then, Sam groaned. Dean briefly closed his eyes and kept an angry curse at bay. He really didn't want to have to slug the kid again, but he figured he would be forced to if Sam was still under the influence of that damned spook.

"Sam?" he called. "Are you okay?"

"Wha... what happened?" Sam countered, his voice a little sluggish. "Aw shit, my head," he added and groaned.

"You still wanna take my head off?" Dean asked, hoping against hope that Sam was back in full force.

"What'd you do to me?" Sam groaned and slowly sat up.

Dean glanced in his direction. "You were trying to take my head off with a shovel, little brother. I kinda had to knock you out."

Rubbing the side of his face where the shovel had connected, Sam squinted into the semi-darkness of the mausoleum.

"Are you with me?" Dean demanded.

"Yeah, just give me a second," Sam countered. "Man, my head is killing me."

"Better than you trying to kill me. Let's roast this spook. I'm getting tired of its games," Dean countered and got up, tentatively glancing around for any manifestation of the spook. It was evident at this point that the ghost had knowingly influenced Sam. This wasn't something that just happened when Sam was around evil spirits or he would still have been under its spell.

Sam hauled himself to his feet a little unsteadily. "I told you it wasn't a good idea for me to come this far," he said.

"Yeah, yeah, we can hash that out when we're clear. Right now, I want to get this damned lid of the coffin so we can burn this sucker. I'm really fed up with being kicked around," Dean countered, dropped the sawed-off and replaced it with the crowbar.

This time he managed to get the lid off the coffin and get assaulted by the less than enticing aroma of a thirteen year old still decomposing corpse before the spook manifested itself again.

"Dean, step back from the coffin," Sam suddenly said.

Dean glanced at him, ready with a snide remark, but the look in Sam's eyes made him stop short as much as the sawed-off in his hands, pointed directly at Dean. "Aw man, not again," Dean groaned a split second before Sam pulled the trigger.

The impact of the rocksalt threw him back against the rear wall yet again. And, man, did that hurt like hell. The thought that Sam had gone for the less lethal weapon ahead of the loaded gun he carried around with him had to account for something. His brother was fighting the influence, was trying to avoid killing Dean.

Despite the now almost overwhelming throb in his chest, Dean used the wall for support and propelled himself forward. He hit Sam in the stomach like a pro quarterback, driving his little brother backwards into the door with enough force to knock the air out of the kid. The fact that Sam probably had a light concussion added to the momentum and before Sam could do anything to defend himself, Dean slugged him hard, knocking him out once more.

He grabbed the front of Sam's jacket before he could fall and let him slide to the floor before he patted his cheek lightly. "Dammit, Sammy," he muttered, turned back for his bag and dug out the sack of salt and the bottle of lighter fluid.

He doused the corpse liberally with both, then pulled out a matchbook and at the same moment felt the spook manifest somewhere behind him. He didn't hesitate. He struck a match, ignited the entire matchbook and dropped it the very second the spook hit him again and drove him into the wall again.

This time, it didn't disappear immediately. He felt icy fingers slip around his throat, applying unearthly pressure that seemed to increase with every heartbeat, while the fire in the coffin caught and started flickering brighter intact with the intensifying pressure on his windpipe.

The split personality of the ghost became evident when it started switching back and forth between the black outline and the Haskell they had met at the factory. The ghost started screeching, then reared back and went up in smoke.

Coughing, Dean slid down the wall until his butt hit the floor and then he just sat there and watched the flickering flames licking toward the ceiling for a moment. "This has got to be the toughest salt and burn we've ever been through," he muttered, finally gathered enough strength to get up again and made his way over to Sam on unsteady feet.


2 hours later
Inn of the Conchos
San Angelo, TX

Sam was lying on his bed, a bag full of ice wrapped in a towel pressed against his aching head, his eyes closed. He couldn't remember much of what had happened B mainly because Dean had been forced to knock him out twice B but he could still remember the feel of the rage that had once again settled on him. He had felt unadulterated hatred for his brother, a feeling that left smokey fingers of unrest in him because it wasn't how he felt. The ghost had been so full of hatred, it had split down the middle after death and turned into two separate ghosts. But they had been connected enough for both to pass on when Dean had managed to burn the bones.

"So ... it's over now, right?" Sam finally asked, pulled the ice bag away from his brow and raised his head to squint at Dean, who was sitting on a chair at the small table by the window.

"Yup. I saw both of them go up in smoke," Dean agreed a little hoarsely. He had the marks of the ghost's hands on his neck and his chest was puckered with small holes from the rocksalt.

Sam pushed himself up in a sitting position and groaned. "Well, that's always something," he muttered and pressed the ice bag against his aching head again.

"Lie back down. You might have a concussion," Dean admonished and sighed. "This has got to be the worst salt and burn I've ever been through," he added.

Sam raised a hand. "Me too," he agreed. "So, what do we do now?"

"I say we stay here for a day or two, kick back and relax a little, and then take off into the great unknown. I'm sure Bobby will have something for us to look into. Otherwise we'll find something. There's enough evil out there to go around," Dean said and got up off the chair. "But sleep first. We can deal with the rest tomorrow."

"Gotcha," Sam agreed and dropped back down on the bed. He couldn't be bothered to get undressed and the sound of Dean dropping onto his own bed made him smirk weakly. It would appear that Dean was just as worn out from this as he was.


Over the next two days, they became acquainted with San Angelo in a whole new way. Dean stayed in touch with Bobby, who assured him that Angelina and Sean had arrived safely at the sanctuary and that Angelina had promised to stay in touch. That was good enough for Dean, who put that little adventure out of his head. He also let Bobby know that the haunting of Haskell's factory was over and done with and that they would be licking their wounds for a few days before moving on.

Sam was lying on his bed, watching some movie on the twenty-five inch tv-screen, a faraway look in his eyes. It didn't take much for Dean to realize that Sam's attention was on anything other than the movie.

"What are you watching?" he asked, trying to confirm his suspicion.

"Some movie," Sam countered without taking his eyes off the tube.

"What's it about?" Dean asked and glanced at the screen.

Sam shrugged. He had a hand-sized bruise on the side of his face, but it was fading already and since he hadn't complained about headaches and dizziness, Dean assumed he didn't had a concussion after all.

"What's on your mind?" Dean asked after a moment.

Sam glanced at him. "Nothing," he said, clearly a lie.

"Right, and the Grand Canyon isn't grand," Dean countered. "Something's bugging you. What is it?"

With a tired sigh, Sam switched the movie off and sat up. "This whole deal. It's all bugging me," he admitted. "I tried to fight off the influence of that spook, but I couldn't. I just felt myself slipping away. It ... it was scary like hell."

Dean eyed him quietly. Then he arched an eyebrow and glanced out the window briefly. "Yeah, I can understand that," he said and returned his attention to his now surprised-looking sibling. "But you gotta cut that out, Sam. The guilt, the anxiousness. You know what that does to you, to anyone. It leaves you wide open to possession," he added.

Sam made a face and scratched the back of his head. "Yeah, I know," he agreed, drew in a deep breath and let it out again slowly. "I'll be fine. I just need to wind down again."

With a grin, Dean got up and dropped the newspaper he had been scanning through on the table. "I say we go out for a night on the town, sleep in tomorrow and then take off. Let's do something fun for a change, huh?"

Sam eyed him for a moment, then shrugged. "That's your idea of fun, Dean. Not mine," he countered.

"Okay, fine. What do you want to do? You wanna go to the zoo?" Dean asked and smirked at the annoyed huff that drew from Sam.

"No, I don't. I'm not five anymore," he growled. "I don't know what I want to do," he added and frowned into space for a moment. "I am hungry, though."

"Then go out and get us something to eat. Burgers would be neat," Dean countered. "Maybe there's a movie on we both wanna see."

Sam got off his bed and grabbed his jacket, then eyed Dean for a moment. "I swear to God, Dean, if you come up with some skin flick, I'm walking out on you," he said, arched a meaningful eyebrow, and left the motel room to get them something to eat.

Smirking to himself, Dean grabbed the remote, dropped down on his own bed, flicked the set on and fell asleep moments later to the idle chatter of the Oprah show.


One week later
Somewhere in North Dakota

The rain was drizzling from a dreary sky, painting the concrete of the underpass a duller gray, but Dean had no sense for that. All he had sense for was the senselessness of his present situation.

Leaning against the Impala, he pulled his phone from one pocket and dialed a number he had dialed about a thousand times over the last week. Anxious didn't even begin to explain how he felt right now. "Ellen, it's me again. Any chance you've heard from him?"

"No, I'm sorry, Dean. There's been nothing," Ellen replied, sounding as sorry as she said she was.

"I swear it's like looking for my dad all over again. I'm losing my mind here," Dean confessed.

"Have you tried calling again? Maybe he's just had his phone switched off or something?" she tried.

"No, I've called him a thousand times, there's nothing but voicemail. I don't know where he went or why. Sam's just gone," he said, trying hard to keep his emotions at bay. Just then the phone beeped, announcing another call. "Hang on," he said and pulled the phone away from his ear. The display read Sam's Cell and he instantly switched over to the second call. "Sammy? Where the hell are you? Are you okay?"

The End