Sam stabbed the button for the elevator again and glared at it for a moment when it didn't light up. "Crap," he muttered and sighed, then glanced down the corridor toward the door at the far end. With nothing short of annoyance, he stalked over to it, pushed the door open and stepped into the stairwell. Since the elevators didn't work, he would have to walk down. It was not the biggest problem in the world, but it still annoyed him. Even now that he was aware of why his mood was so crappy, he couldn't rein it in and that in turn annoyed him even more.

But what annoyed him the most was his brother. Try as he might, he could not subdue these growing feelings of animosity toward Dean. Everything Dean said and did right now annoyed him and he had more than once pulled himself back from lashing out physically.

Since these feelings had subsided after he had left the compound the first time, Sam assumed that they would disappear this time as well and figured it was probably the best course of action for him to get the hell out while he could. Generally, he wanted everybody to get away from this place and found it overtly annoying that Dean had insisted on staying in this pit. On top of everything else, he couldn't really understand why he so far was the only one who was affected by the downright hostile mood of this place.

The stairwell echoed with his footsteps and his own breathing was loud in his ears. The steps themselves looked like marble and the walls were dressed with the same kind of hardwood that covered the floor in the lobby, which struck Sam as entirely too much for a damned brickworks. Either Haskell had been a very rich man in life and the brick factory had just been a side business or this place had raked in money like nobody's business. "Must be damned nice, being born into money," he muttered and grimaced.

Hidden resentments that he would never have acknowledged under normal circumstances, rose to the surface like foul water in a stagnant well. He struggled against the surging anger, which began to expand beyond Dean and his annoying ways to their father and all his shortcomings. This of course wasn't a new development, but it was one he could no more control than he could control his growing anger with Dean and it both worried him and made him even angrier.

The five floors down passed him by quickly and the closer he got to the ground-floor, the angrier he felt. He grabbed the doorknob of the door leading into the lobby and froze to the spot. A tidal wave of overwhelming hatred raged through him, making him tighten his hold on the knob while his sense and reason drowned in self-righteous anger.

A very small part of him struggled against the surge, well aware that this was completely wrong. He had no general reason for feeling so angry, couldn't pin it on anything other than the fact that Dean's attitude bugged the hell out of him.

He closed his eyes hard and finally managed to let go of the doorknob. The sense that something dark and sinister was waiting for him on the other side made him take a hesitant step back, but he experienced no fear, only anger. It ticked him off big time.

Prepared to rid himself of the offensive feeling, he pulled his gun.


The sound of Dean's voice sent waves of irritation through him that he couldn't justify, but the majority of him didn't want to anyway. He turned toward the stairs just as Dean came to a stop on the first landing.

"Why the hell are you still here?" he asked and took another step down.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Sam asked, for the moment struggling to keep his tone even.

"You've been down here for half an hour, dude," Dean said and took another step down. He looked cautious, a bit weary.

Sam frowned and glanced back at the door, then looked up at Dean again. "Don't be stupid," he said.

"Oh yeah, I'm being stupid alright," Dean said, his tone now dripping with sarcasm. "Sam, what the hell is up with you?"

"Nothing is up with me, okay? Just let me get on with it and stop interfering," Sam countered and turned back to face the door.

"I'm not interfering, Sam. When I didn't hear the car start, I thought something had happened," Dean said. His tone of voice kept shifting from one mood to the next and under normal circumstances, Sam would have cared. But right now he just wanted his brother to get the hell away from him.

"The hell you did. You're always butting in where you're not wanted," he growled and glared angrily at the door. Then he reached out and grabbed the doorknob again and once again the overpowering surge of hatred rippled through him with enough force to nearly bring him to his knees.

"Sam?" Dean sounded worried, his voice far away.

And then Sam felt Dean's hands on his shoulders, felt his brother pull him away from the door. And Sam's reaction to that was to pull out of Dean's grip, turn around and raise the gun. "Keep your hands off me," he snarled.

Dean reared a step back, stunned surprise in his eyes while his shifted his attention between the gun and Sam's face. "What the hell are you doing, Sammy?" he asked, visibly shaken by this development.

"Just stay the hell away from me," Sam snapped, incapable of keeping his anger in check. There was just so much of him right now that wanted to pull the trigger, but there was also that part of him that completely horrified by what he was doing right now.

"Put the gun down, Sam," Dean said, his tone suddenly very calm and quiet.

"Why the hell should I?" Sam countered and struggled against himself to keep from pulling the trigger. For a long, breathless moment, all they did was stand and stare at each other, but then Sam slowly gained the upper hand and finally lowered the gun. He paused for a second, the ambiguity of his raging emotions very clear to him, before he stuffed the gun into the waistband of his jeans and backed up until his back hit the wall. "Stay away from me, Dean. I'm dangerous," he finally said.

"The hell I will," Dean growled, stepped up to the door and grabbed the doorknob. He jiggled it for a moment, then looked over at Sam. "It won't budge. Let's go back upstairs. We need to figure out how the hell we're gonna beat this damned spook. It's clear that it's doing something to you."

"Dean ... I can't control this," Sam pressed out, fighting to keep the anger subdued. It was getting more and more difficult.

"Get back upstairs, Sam. Now!" Dean countered and turned to face him.

For a moment, Sam's fingers were itching to grab the damned gun again, but he retained the need somehow, made a face and marched back up the stairs.


Dean had to admit to himself that he was worried; big time. Sam had pulled a gun on him and Dean knew he had been an inch away from pulling the trigger. That he hadn't had to be because of Sam's ability to withstand whatever the hell this ghost was doing to him.

He followed Sam up the stairs and kept a weary eye on his brother all the way. Over a year back, when the ghost of that crazy doctor had messed with Sam's head and actually made him shoot Dean, it had hurt more than physically that his little brother would actually go as far as pulling the damned trigger on him. Dean had tried to justify it by convincing himself that Sam had only pulled the trigger because he had known that the salt round wouldn't kill Dean, but there were flaws in that kind of reasoning.

The further away from the ground floor they got, the more Sam seemed to relax. Although he didn't look happy or embarrassed by the time they arrived on the fifth floor, he didn't look like he wanted to kill Dean either anymore and that was a step forward in Dean's opinion.

"How's the mood?" he asked.

Sam glanced at him, looking a bit annoyed.

"You still wanna shoot me?" Dean asked and eyed him darkly.

"No," Sam muttered.

"That's better than the alternative. We need to get you the hell away from this place. I do not like the way it influences you," Dean said.

"Yeah, well, I seem to recall that I mentioned the possibility of getting the hell away from here before you dragged us out here," Sam said and gave him a look that made Dean cringe inside. The kid was right. It was generally his fault if the shit hit the fan.

"Okay, fine, point taken," Dean countered. "That doesn't mean you get to give in to this," he added and gave Sam a warning glance before he opened the door to the corridor beyond.

The moment he did, though, one thing struck him immediately and that was the frosty air that hit him. He turned his attention to the fifth floor corridor and frowned lightly.

Angelina and Sean were nowhere in sight and that upped the concern another notch. "Angie?" he called and stepped into the corridor. "Sean?"

Sam followed him through the door, which clicked shut behind them. "The ghost must be up here," Sam said quietly.

"Seems like it," Dean agreed.

"Can we please leave this place?" Angelina's voice startled Dean, but he had enough of a grip on himself to not show it when she suddenly turned up in the doorway to one of the other offices with Sean clinging to her left leg.

"Sorry, but the spook won't let us out," Dean said and glanced around. "Not yet, at least. We need to get to the weapons."

"Yeah, well, we can't," Angelina said and turned her head a little to glance toward the offices they had chosen for themselves. She was sporting a hand-sized bruise on the side of her face.

"What happened?" Dean asked. When ghosts got physical it didn't bode well.

"I tried to get to the weapons when ... it turned up," Angelina said. "It slammed me into the damned wall. Twice."

"Okay, I'll go. You stay here with Sam," Dean said. He eyed the layout of the corridor. There were offices on both sides, the elevators halfway along, the stairwell behind them and a window at the other end.

He started moving, trying to keep an eye on everything at once and he was halfway along the corridor when it suddenly occurred to him that leaving Angelina with Sam might not be the best idea right now. His little brother didn't seem overtly in control of himself right now.

A quick glance back settled his concern somewhat. Angelina and Sean were behind Sam and he looked ready to kick ass if need be. The last thing Dean wanted to have to worry about right now was protecting those two from his brother as well. He would have plenty to do with the ghost.

He was almost at the door to the office where the weapons were when it rammed him in the chest like a wrecking ball and slammed him into the opposite wall. The attack came so suddenly, it knocked the air right out of him, but a full on attack was way better than sitting around waiting for it.

A little winded, he picked himself up and held up a hand when Sam started toward him. "Stay with them," he rasped, sneered and lunged for the door again. Once more, he was hammered back against the wall with enough force to break the plaster behind him.

Every time he tried, the attack got more vicious, but Dean wasn't one to give up. He kept trying. And he kept telling Sam to back off.

The ghost hit him in the chest for the umpteenth time, driving the air out of his lungs and his back into the wall again. And like all the others times, it still felt like he was being hit dead on by a wrecking ball. But it didn't bother him so much. He would survive this, like he had survived so many other things.

Sam was protecting Angelina and Sean right now, keeping them behind him, which was what he should be doing, but it still hit Dean where he lived that the look in Sam's eyes did not hold the usual concern. He watched the attacks on Dean with a tense expression.

"Shouldn't we help him?" Angelina quarried and pushed Sam a step forward in an attempt to get past him.

"He can handle himself. Stay back," Sam warned and pulled back again, pushing mother and son up against the wall to keep them away from the ghost that was so vehemently attacking Dean.

Wheezing with the effort of moving combined with the total lack of air in his lungs, Dean struggled back to his feet, using the wall for support. "Is that all you've got?" he rasped and braced himself for another impact.

The black outline of the ghost, more demon‑like than what was normal for a ghost, hovered halfway between the brothers, no real indication of which way it would turn.

Dean pushed away from the wall and straightened his back painfully. "COME ON!" he yelled, putting every ounce of strength he still possessed into diverting the spook's attention away from Sam and their two charges.

To attract the spook's attention, he had stepped out into the middle of the corridor and thought he was prepared for everything. But he wasn't. The spook turned and charged him, ramming him full force in the chest once more and this time, there was no wall behind to drive him into. The momentum of that invisible wrecking ball drove him backwards and a second before he hit, he suddenly knew that the spook had him right where it wanted him.

The glass of the window shattered when he was driven through it and a split second later gravity took a hold and he plummeted toward the ground five floors down, completely flabbergasted that the ghost had gotten the drop on him.


In a detached sort of way, Sam reflected on the fact that this event should have counted among the worst moments of his life, but he just didn't seem to care. His mind was filled with rage and a part of him ground his teeth in frustration over that he hadn't pulled the trigger when he'd had the chance.

"Oh my god," Angelina gasped behind him when the ghost drove Dean backward through the window at the far end, where he disappeared from view.

All Sam did was remain where he was while he stared at the broken window. It took time, precious time, but eventually some small semblance of control returned to him. Something deep down was trying to break through, trying to break the anger's hold on him. "Grab Sean and leave," he pressed out through clenched teeth and forced himself to take a step forward.

Angelina didn't have to be told twice. She grabbed her son and raced toward the door to the stairwell without looking back and some part of Sam was glad that she didn't, because he was sure she would have been horrified by the look in his eyes.

The outline of the ghost hovered in front of the window, dark and rippling, and slowly the broken frame began to mend itself. Sam sneered and took another step forward. "What do you want?" he snarled. "What the hell do you want from me?"

There was no reply though, and after a moment Sam decided to get the hell out while he still could. He could sense the waves of rage and hatred wafting off the dark outline, an anti-thesis to the normally bright outlines of ordinary ghosts. The still analytical part of his mind kept insisting that something was off, that this wasn't a normal ghost, but again he could not seem to find it in him to give a damn.

Sneering, he turned toward the door to the stairwell, sensing how the hatred of the spirit behind him influenced him and made him angrier. It was hard to bear and he figured he needed to get away from it to at least get some air.

If Angelina and Sean were still around, he would take them with him and, given the chance, he supposed he'd better pick up his brother on the way too. A rapidly dwindling part of him insisted on it.

Annoyed, he gathered their duffles, grabbed the weapon's bag and stepped back out into the corridor. The window at the end was completely mended now and there was no sign of the ghost. Not that he really gave a damn.

Grimacing, he strode toward the door to the stairwell, lugging everything along, while his mind rippled with anger and hatred. Everything he had ever buried deep down rose to the surface and if Dean hadn't just fallen out of that damned window, he would most likely have pushed him. Again a part of him insisted that he should care about that; that he should be horrified about such thoughts, but he didn't care.


Angelina hit the ground floor running, Sean positioned on her hip, and she had no clue where the hell she got the strength from to run like that with her kid on her hip. But one thing was for sure. Whatever the hell was going on with Sam Winchester, she wasn't going to stick around and find out if it was bad. The sound of his voice, the look in his eyes, the fact that he hadn't reacted at all to the fact that his brother had just been thrown out of a window five floors up ... it all painted a very scary picture to her.

She ripped the door to the lobby open and pounded through it, not looking back, not taking anything in other than the fact that they needed to get out. She hit the front doors with one shoulder, pushing it open, and finally stopped short. "Oh god," she whispered.

Dean was lying on the steps, blood seeping from his mouth and nose, and for a long, breathless moment she thought he was dead. But then he inhaled weakly. Angelina set Sean down and hunkered down next to the broken man. "Dean?" she whispered, then glanced up toward the window he had fallen out of.

There was glass all around him, but the window up there was intact. She stored that impression away for later analysis, then returned her attention to the elder Winchester-brother. There was only one thing to do and it rested on two things for her. One was that she had the means to help him and would do so no matter what, but the other part was that she needed his protection as well. "Sean, come here, sweety," she said and reached a hand out to her son. "Dean needs your help."

It took her a second to realize that Sean wasn't responding. She glanced over at him and took in all the signs she by now knew so well. The wide eyes, the slight shiver rippling through him, the way he clutched his hands together in front of him and seemed incapable of not staring at the chaos facing him. Sean was terrified and she knew what that meant.

"Baby, come here," she said and reached both arms out to him. She knew Dean was in pain and needed help fast, but there was no rushing Sean when he was scared. She had seen his ability go sour when he was pushed and that was not something she wanted to see now.

Sean slipped into her arms and she felt the tremor rippling through him, knew that he was not going to be able to do a good job of the healing if his heart wasn't in it. He was scared and wanted to leave. His sense of self-preservation was overshadowing everything else. "Shh, it's okay, baby. We'll be okay," Angelina whispered into his ear, enclosing him in a hopefully soothing embrace. But she knew he could sense her state of mind and that she was not really able to subdue the urgency she felt to get out in order to protect her son. "Listen, Sean, Dean needs your help badly right now. You do the best you can, okay? You just focus on making him a little better, okay?"

Sean stood rigidly in her arms for a moment, still shivering, but eventually he nodded, pulled out of her arms and hunkered down next to Dean. He placed a hand on Dean's chest, drawing a groan from him in the process.

Angelina's attention alternated between her son trying to heal Dean and the door into the building and she only realized how time was racing by when the door she kept glancing at suddenly opened and Sam stepped out. He dropped the duffles he had been dragging and stared at her for a moment. Then his attention shifted to Sean and Dean and there wasn't the slightest flicker of feeling in his eyes.

Angelina rose and pulled her gun, keeping it behind her back for the moment, intent on doing whatever she could to protect both Sean and Dean right now, but Sam made no immediately threatening moves.

"Mom," Sean suddenly whined.

Angelina glanced at him. "What, baby?"

"I can't. It won't work."

"Do what you can, baby. We'll fix the rest later. Just ... make sure he doesn't die," she said while keeping her eyes on Sam.

"If you're healing him to get to the keys, don't bother. I've got them," Sam said, his tone dead.

Angelina felt herself pale. "He's your brother," she whispered.

"He's a pain in the neck," Sam growled, made a face and left them standing there. He disappeared around the side of the building and a moment later, the engine of the car rumbled to life. He backed the big, black muscle car up to the steps and got out again. First he deposited the duffles in the trunk, then he turned back to face them. For a moment, he just stood there and stared at them, then he looked up at the building and the first shimmer of emotions began to push through. His expression wasn't entirely stabile any more.

"What are you going to do?" Angelina asked quietly.

Sean was still hunkered down next to Dean, his hand on Dean's chest, but the fear in the boy's eyes was enough to tell her that he wasn't focused on healing. He had done something though, because Dean's breathing didn't seem as labored as before.

"Sam," Dean rasped and tried to move, which turned out to be a big mistake. He could barely retain a yelp of pain.

Sam's attention snapped back to his brother and he just stood there for a moment, his eyes still cold. Then he drew in a deep breath and sneered. "Well, I guess I can't leave you lying around here, bleeding to death," he growled, reached down and grabbed Dean's arm. Without hesitation or consideration he hauled Dean up, which caused both suppressed sounds of agony as well as a litany of profanities from Dean that made Angelina's ears burn, while Sam hauled Dean into the car and deposited him none too kindly on the backseat. "Get in the car. We're leaving," Sam growled.

Angelina grabbed Sean and pushed him into the back of the car. There was no way either of them would sit beside Sam while he was behaving like this. She tried to arrange herself so she wouldn't hurt Dean more than necessary, but his injuries – probably a ton of broken bones and presumably also internal bleeding – did not allow for much jostling before he nearly passed out from the pain.

Sean sat down on the floor between the front and backseat, his back pressed up against Angelina's legs, and Angelina felt nothing but overwhelming love for her son when he, despite his fears, put a hand on Dean's chest, trying to stabilize him as well as heal him in whatever limited capacity the kid had right now. She ruffled his hair affectionately. "We're set," she said.

Sam sat still behind the wheel for a moment, then sighed in a hiss, tore the car around and raced them out of there. Angelina had to admit that she was a bit surprised the ghost let them leave in the first place, but wasn't really sure they would survive the drive anyway. Not the way Sam was driving. His aggression was very evident.