Five years earlier

His mind was a mess. It was the only way he could describe it. Every sound, every sensation, ever movement he made seemed overwrought and expanded into eternity. In part he didn't care, though. He wanted, he needed, and to some extent he got, but it was all wrong, all messed up, all so backwards it left a bad taste in his mouth.

He felt hot and cold at the same time, euphoric yet deeply troubled, and he couldn't control anything. Everything was out of his hands, nothing was his to decide, and he both hated and loved it. It was the duality of the obvious high that got to him most and when it began to wear off again, he cried. He couldn't stop. He was terrified, felt dumber than dirt, alone and abandoned, well aware that the drug Kate kept administering was what made him feel that way and yet he couldn't shake it, couldn't get out of the funk because she wouldn't let him. Every time he started to crash, she injected a new dosage and every time she did that, the anticipation was almost as heady as the endless second-long rush that followed in its wake.

His memory became wonky after a while. He couldn't remember how long he'd been confined on this damned bed, nor how many injections she had given him. At first he cursed her when he came down from that high, then he was mum, and then he started begging for it. He hated himself, but it hurt. He felt stupid, dull, couldn't think, couldn't come up with a way to escape even if his life depended on it, so he figured if he let her give him another shot, his mind would clear and he could think again, but when the high hit him, he didn't care anymore. When the high hit him, he wanted her as much as he despised her when he came down again. And she abused it to the limit. She hurt him physically, but left no marks that wouldn't heal in time. She hit him, punched him, then gave him what he wanted, then took it away again.

After a while he screamed, but nobody heard him. He was alone in this and all he wanted was another high, all he could think of was the clearing of his mind, the crispness of his thoughts when the drug hit him, and he needed it. He knew that he didn't, knew that it was messing with his mind, that he had been running on high for too long without knowing how long too long was. But he couldn't stop himself. He begged for the relief the drug gave him while hating himself for wanting it.

Time bled together into what he could only describe as a one-woman orgy. He had no say in the matter, couldn't decide whether he wanted her to touch him or not. She did what she wanted to do, when he was high, when he couldn't control his body at all, and she got what she wanted and it hurt because he couldn't find any release, not until he came down again and then it wasn't a release, it was mortifying, it was embarrassing, it was shameful.

She gave him water, but he wasn't interested in food. All he was interested in was that high that took away the dullness of his mind and made him not care what she did to him. Some of it he remembered, some of it he figured he had repressed, most of it was a blur of movement and sweat and a smell of cleaning products he couldn't place.

She hosed him down with water, icy cold, sobering water, when he crashed and then she hit him, made him hurt, made him beg, until her sadistic need was sated and she gave him another injection.

And then he woke up at some point, free of the cuffs that had cut painfully into his wrists and ankles, his clothes lying on the floor beside him. And she had been standing at the foot end of the bed, all cold and indifferent.

"Get out," she said, her tone steely. "Get dressed and get the hell out of my house. If you're not gone by the time I come back, I'm calling the cops."

With that, she left the room, leaving the door open.

The cops? That was bad news, but he couldn't immediately figure out why. All he knew was that it instilled a suffocating fear in him and he struggled to get up, to get dressed, every joint aching, every muscle protesting.

The world was pain after that. He ached, both physically and mentally. He felt sick, lightheaded, every step he took more labored than when he had been drunk. He remembered that night, but not clearly. He had no idea where he was or how he got to where he was going. All he knew was that he eventually found himself sitting on a bench in a park somewhere while people passed him by.

Someone spoke to him, but he didn't have enough mental fortitude or enough intelligence left to focus on the speaker or try to say something.

His mind swam, he felt close to death, dull, stupid, dim-witted, unable to put two and two together and get anything useful out of it. And he sat like that until someone touched him. He tried to focus on that familiar face and just stared at her. He knew her, but right now couldn't remember her name. It was all blending together, all bleeding into each other.

She got him to his feet and got him moving, but he had no idea where she was taking him or why. He followed her, went with her, because he had no will of his own right now. He needed someone to guide him because he was just too stupid to figure out how to move on his own.

The scenery changed, but he was still too confused by it all to make sense of it, too dim-witted to come up with the right equation. Someone else was there, talking to him, but he couldn't understand. And he ached for that drug, ached for the high that would clear his mind and make him able to think again.

The second one went away again and left only the first one, the girl. He stared at her, watched her lips move, heard her words, but they made no sense.

"Sam?" She patted his cheek lightly, trying to get in touch with him. She was beginning to make sense now, but he couldn't answer because he didn't know how. He couldn't remember. "What happened to you?" she asked, concern in her voice. Then she sighed. "Let's get you cleaned up a bit. You're a mess," she added and got him out of his jacket, then struggled to get him out of his shirt too. But then she stopped. "What the hell is that?" she asked and touched his neck.

He shied away from her hand, the first real response he'd been able to come up with. Not because he didn't want her to touch him, but because it hurt. It hurt like hell. "Ow," he rasped, his throat dry and achy.

"Sam?" She hunkered down in front of him, took his hands, her eyes wide and worried. "What happened to you?"

"Don't know," he tried, hoping she would leave it be. Slowly, his mind was reasserting itself, coming together, and the more aware he became, the more he ached for that damned drug.

"Don't bullshit me, Sam. Greg says you haven't been here all week. Where were you?" Jodie insisted, sounding a tad annoyed now.

"Kate's," he managed, then tightened his hands on hers. "I need it," he whispered.

"Need what?" Jodie asked, eying him suspiciously. "What were you doing at Kate's?" she added.

"Needle ... injection ... drug," he muttered and raised an unsteady hand to his face. His eyes hurt. They felt dry.

"What the hell did that bitch do to you?" Jodie nearly whispered. "Sam, look at me," she insisted and he did.

There was that stupid little hope underneath that she might give him what he asked for if he obeyed her. A part of his mind screamed in outrage at that thought, but it was so far away, he could barely hear it right now. "Please," he rasped. "I ... it hurts."

"What hurts?" Jodie asked while eying him closely. "Sam, you're addicted to some type of drug. Is that what you're telling me?"

He nodded. He hated that he was asking for it, but he couldn't function without it.

Jodie kept eying him, then she rose, pulled her cell phone out of one pocket and dialed a number. "Hey, it's me. I need your help. Both of you," she said. "Can you come over to Sam's dorm room right away? B Thanks." Then she hung up again. "I'm gonna get you some help, Sam. We'll fix this."

Something jumped to the forefront of his mind and he grabbed her arm. "No doctors," he whispered.

"No, don't worry. This doesn't go further than this room," she promised and sat down next to him. "We've got two days before term starts. I'm gonna make sure you sleep as much as you can in that time," she said. "The more you sleep, the less likely it is that you're going to crave this damned drug. Do you know what she gave you?"

He blinked heavily, tried to remember what Kate had said. "Crystal," he muttered and focused on her.

Jodie's eyes widened. "That bitch," she whispered.

Moments later, two towers entered the room. Jodie's twin brothers. Sam couldn't tell them apart, but it wasn't necessary anyway. They generally acted as one and loved to mess with others trying to tell them apart. One of them stepped up to him and looked down at him, his black-rimmed eyes studying him closely. "He's on Meth," he said and glanced at Jodie.

"Yeah, I know, he just told me," she agreed. "Someone put him on it. I need to make sure he stays under for the next two days. Can you handle that?" she asked the other one.

"Sure. Stace has all the necessary stuff. But he needs nutrition as well," the second brother said and eyed Sam critically. "Looks like whoever put him on it starved him too."

"Can you ask Malibu Stacy over at the hospital for a nutrition drop and some sort of sedative that won't add to his addiction?" Jodie asked.

"Sure. Consider it done," the second brother said. "Let's motor, bro," he added to his twin and they both left again.

Jodie returned her attention to Sam. "Let's get you cleaned up," she suggested.

On some level he marveled at the thought that receiving help from a girl in this department didn't bother him the least. It of course rested on the fact that she wasn't into guys, but it still made him wonder.

Jodie dragged him to the bathroom and managed to shoo two of the other residents out just by turning up. She got him out of his t-shirt and stopped short with a worried look in her eyes. "Jesus Christ, Sam," she muttered and tentatively touched his bruised chest. "You should report this," she added.

Sam turned his head and caught sight of himself in the mirrors over the sink. "Oh god," he whispered. Red streaks covered his chest and his back was a checkered mess of red vertical and horizontal stripes, some that had gone deep enough to draw blood. His face was mottled with bruises, his eyes bloodshot with deep dark shadows underneath. Then he glanced back at Jodie and shook his head. "No, I can't," he muttered. "I'm hooked on this crap. They'll kick me out."

For a long moment Jodie just eyed him, then she sighed. "Okay, here's the plan," she said. "First and foremost, we get you cleaned up. You need a shower desperately," she said and started to unbutton his jeans. "Secondly you need to sleep this crap off. That's what Todd and Terry are going to take care of," she added and unzipped his fly.

Sam suddenly grabbed her hand, stopping her from actually pulling his pants down. "I should do this on my own," he tried, not sure he could.

"Stop being such a prude, Sam," she said. "There's nothing you have that I haven't seen before." Without further ado, she pushed both his jeans and his shorts down, not even flinching or giving any indication of discomfort. "Get in the shower," she ordered and pushed him lightly towards it.

He obeyed and moments later stood under the hot spray while trying to subdue the craving for the drug that would kill him if he didn't get off it. Hell, if he didn't get off it again, Dean would kill him. Jodie stayed through the whole thing, helping him when he needed help, while she kept others out of the bathroom until he was done. Then she wrapped him in two big towels and shooed him back to his room where she got him into a fresh pair of shorts and then into bed. And that was the last he remembered until she woke him up again two days later in the evening.

***

Present day

"You're damned right I would have killed you if you hadn't gotten off that drug, dude," Dean agreed quietly. "Jesus, Sam. Why didn't you call me?"

Sam swallowed, but kept his arm draped over his face. "To tell you what?" he asked, his tone subdued. "That I was raped by a girl?"

Dean had to admit that it wasn't the kind of thing he would have bought at face value back then, but still. "That wasn't everything, Sammy, and you know it. That bitch generally tortured you, starved you for a week. I would have ..."

"Killed her?" Sam asked and finally pulled his arm away from his face and squinted up at Dean. "And what do you think dad would have thought of that?"

"Dad?" Dean countered and arched both eyebrows. "He would have frigging shot her."

"And then he would have hauled my ass away from Stanford, Dean," Sam agreed tiredly and scrubbed both hands over his face. "She messed me up big time. I didn't go out alone at night even once after that. No matter where I went, there was always someone around. First Jodie and her brothers, then Jess. But I couldn't leave. She would have won if I had left."

Dean grimaced. "I hate to tell you this, kiddo, but she did win. It's obvious what she was after. She wanted you to fear her and you still do. Not that I blame you," he said while quietly contemplating when it would be safe to let the anger out. Because it was building, nearing the level where he couldn't contain it any more. "Needless to say, Sam, she's gonna pay."

When Sam didn't answer that, Dean turned his attention to him and realized he'd passed out. He eyed him for a moment, studying his now relaxed features. Then he glanced at his watch. It was ten to eight a.m. and Dean felt oddly awake despite the fact that he'd been on the move all night long. Pursing his lips, he contemplated his course of action for a moment, then rose, gathered the bottles Sam had discarded on the floor and dumped them into the plastic bag in the trash can. Then he eyed the trash can for a moment. It was basically a metal bucket. "It'll do," he muttered, hauled the bag out of it and placed it next to Sam's bed.

Then he found the Tylenol, filled a glass with water and placed both on the night stand next to Sam.

"Sammy?" He settled down on the edge of the bed again. Sam muttered something under his breath and shifted. "Sam, I'm gonna go out for a bit. I'll be back later, okay? Don't go anywhere."

"'mkay," Sam muttered.

Dean grabbed his jacket, eyed Sam for a moment, then got up and left the motel room. After closing the door behind him, he pulled his cell phone from one pocket and dialed a number. It rang twice.

"Kate Mayor."

"Dean Winchester," he countered and sneered hatefully while his voice remained even. "I need to take a look around the premises to figure out what exactly we're up against here. Is it okay if I come over now?"

"Is Sam coming along?"

His grip on the phone tightened and he glared ahead of himself. "No, he's doing research. But we can't get on with it until I've seen what's what," he countered, managing to sound jovial even though he most of all wanted to threaten her with hellfire and brimstone.

Kate sighed with annoyance. "Sure. Come on over," she finally said.

"Okay, see you in a bit," Dean said and hung up. "You frigging bitch!" he pressed out through clenched teeth. "You are so getting what's coming to you." He reached behind him to check his gun was still where it was supposed to be, then got in the Impala and drove off. It was time to settle the score and if he had anything to say about it, Kate wouldn't get out of this one alive.

***

Knowing what had transpired in this house five years ago B and probably since too if Dean had read Kate right B made his flesh crawl, but on the outside he was quite capable of keeping up the charade for now.

Kate opened the door and let him in, a cup of coffee in her hand, and she showed him through the fairly large hall past the door to the guest bathroom that Sam had mentioned, and into the living room. He glanced around at the expensive decor, at the ivory-white sofas and the dark-wood coffee table and dropped the duffle with the weapons on the floor. "Nice place," he said.

She gave him a look that told him she didn't give a hoot about his opinion. "Thanks," she countered a little stiffly. "So ... how are you going to get rid of this ... ghost?"

"First things first," Dean countered and eyed her for a moment, trying to estimate where to shoot her to do the greatest damage. "First I need to find out what exactly you're up against here. Could be an array of things. I need to check the house out from attic to basement. Don't let me keep you from whatever you need to do."

She sighed. It was obvious to him that she wasn't happy about giving him free access to her house, but obviously she figured it couldn't be helped. "Well, I don't care what you do. As long as I get rid of that damned spook," she countered, then waved a dismissive hand at him. "Feel free to look around."

He opened the duffle, withdrew the shotgun and turned back toward the hallway.

"Excuse me, but what do you intend to do with that?" she asked, her tone a little stunned. "Shoot the ghost?"

Dean glanced down at the weapon in his hand. "Well ... yeah," he replied and gave her a look that indicated the stupidity of her question.

Obviously, she either didn't understand that look or didn't care. "Well, if you can just shoot ghosts, then I really don't need you," she said and gave him the once over that was meant to make him feel worthless and cheap.

Dean raised the shotgun up, holding it by the barrel. "Oh, you can't get rid of a ghost by shooting it. But you can keep it at bay. Why don't you just let me do my job here and I'll get it off your back as fast as I can," he suggested.

Kate sneered, then nodded curtly, turned around and disappeared into the back of the house.

Grinding his teeth together to keep some choice phrases at bay, Dean made his way upstairs to actually find the ghost. His intention was to find out who that poor soul was and why in the name of Creation anyone would haunt Kate.

It didn't take long before he stepped through a cold spot at the top level, which was a smallish landing with two doors leading into the attic. The ghost brushed past him and he swirled around, aiming the shotgun at the spot where he thought it might be even though he had no intention of shooting it if it came in handy. "Are you one of her conquests?" he asked quietly.

For a moment nothing happened. Then the ghost of a guy about Sam's age oozed into existence; a young man who looked like he had spent too much time under water. Hollow eyes full of despair regarded him for a moment and Dean couldn't help thinking about the irony of this. Two years ago, he would have blasted the ghost without even considering the possibility of asking it questions. Now, however, he had learned that you could actually communicate with the deceased and that not all of them were evil spirits. And that was thanks to Sam and his bleeding heart.

"Did she kill you?" he asked quietly.

The kid shook his head, opened his mouth in a silent scream and raised both hands, showing bruises on his wrists.

"She drove you to it, though, huh?" Dean asked and briefly sent a glance down the stairs to make sure Kate wasn't loitering around, listening to this.

The ghost nodded.

Dean made a face. "Look, I wanna help you find peace. But I need to help my brother get over this crap too. So here's the deal ... I make sure she can't fight back, you do the rest. Will that give you peace?"

Making deals with ghosts? What came next? Having tea parties with them? Dean almost smirked, would have if this situation hadn't been so damned hair-raising.

An almost vicious grin slipped over the ghost's pale lips and Dean countered it with one of his own. "I guess a lot of guys will be avenged if she gets what's coming to her, huh?" he asked and again the ghost nodded.

Dean aimed the shotgun at one of the doors and fired both barrels. "You do your share, I'll do mine," he said.

"What the hell was that?" came a call from downstairs.

Dean smirked coldly. "Nothing. I just pulverized your ghost," he called back and hurried back down the stairs as the ghost up there faded away.

Kate stared at him when he reached the ground floor, her expression statue-like. "You didn't damage anything up there, did you?" she asked and sent a quick look upwards.

"One of the attic doors might have gotten a few scratches, but it's nothing you can't fix with a bit of paint," Dean countered and eyed her in much the same manner as she did him. "So ... what'd you do to my brother?" he asked, keeping his tone even and careless.

Kate arched a sculpted eyebrow. "What do you mean?" she asked.

Dean rolled his eyes and glanced around the downstairs for a moment. "Well ... he's the type who gets himself in trouble all the time on account of him being such a whining wimp," he said and grimaced inside. 'Sorry, Sammy', he thought. He wasn't too happy about dissing his brother like this, but it served a purpose right now and with a bit of luck Sam would never know anyway.

Kate snorted lightly and folded her arms over her chest.

"I just kinda get the feeling you may have intimidated him a little more than others have," Dean added and met her gaze.

"What makes you think that?" she asked.

"Oh ... the fact that he cowers behind me every time you're around. And he muttered something about ... handcuffs," he said nonchalantly, somehow managing to keep the blistering anger out of his tone.

Kate stared at him, her expression unreadable, and Dean had the distinct impression that she was assessing him, judging whether or not he was a threat.

"Personally, I don't care, really. I mean, he's such a little pup sometimes, you just wanna kick his ass to make him shape up, you know?" he said, keeping his tone indifferent. Taking a chance, he kept glancing around as if the topic itself didn't really interest him that much and he was still looking for the ghost, then he sighed and met her gaze again. "I'd like to whip him into shape sometime. I'm just not sure it would work on him."

This caused the first real bit of emotion to appear on Kate's face when she smirked almost viciously. "Oh, it works," she said, then made a face and took a step back, shifting away from him in case he got angry, he figured.

Dean frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Sammy's not into that scene," he added, then rubbed the back of his neck. "At least I don't think he is," he added.

"Scene?" Kate asked, a note of caution in her voice. "What scene are you talking about?" She put the pressure on the 'you' which to Dean meant they were on the same wave length topic-wise.

"S&M," Dean said and smirked. "I just kinda got the feeling you might ..."

"How would you know?" Kate asked quietly, watching him suspiciously.

"Well, you know, I've never been opposed to a bit of bondage," he said and grinned. "Not really the submissive type, though. But Sammy is."

Kate's eyes widened a bit. "Are you telling me that ..." She trailed off and there was a definite change in her attitude. She seemed more alive now.

"Yeah ... but we keep it under wraps. So don't you go telling anyone about this. It's not the sort of thing he wants to come out, you know," Dean countered. He was going with the flow, making it up as he went, and apparently it was catering to Kate's sick mind.

"So, you're into S&M?" she asked.

Dean shrugged lightly. "Yeah, kinda. Why? Are you too?" he asked and eyed her innocently.

Kate seemed to consider it for a moment, then nodded once. "Yes, I am," she agreed.

Dean let some of what he was really feeling shine through and it had an impact. But not in the way he had thought. She looked like it thrilled her rather than scared her. "So ... handcuffs, huh?" he asked.

She bit her lip, obviously getting excited. "Yeah," she said. "I'm not the submissive type either, though," she added and the look in her eyes was suddenly very much a warning beacon more than anything. "But your brother definitely is," she added quietly.

Dean stared at her and actually had to fight back the nausea rising in him at what she was hinting at. It made him sick to his stomach and he could feel the bile rising in his throat. Yet still he managed to uphold the charade for now. "That he is," he agreed. "What have you got to offer?" he then asked her just as quietly.

"Let me show you," she said and lead the way into the basement. Dean had put the shotgun down beforehand because he was afraid he would shove it in her mouth and pull the trigger if he had to listen to her crap for much longer. As he had pointed out to Sam on several occasions, demons he got but people were just plain crazy. And this one took the cake by a long shot.

Kate opened the door to a basement room and led him inside, proudly showing off the torture chamber Sam had described, and Dean's struggle to hold on to his temper was upped a bit more. The metal bed stood there with the handcuffs ready. There was a hose rolled up on a hook on the wall and there were other additions Sam hadn't mentioned, which Dean figured he either hadn't seen back then or perhaps they were new additions. Like a big wooden X with cuffs for wrists and ankles and an assortment of whips and the likes hanging neatly from a board fastened on the wall.

"What do you think? Could this ... pique your interest?" she asked, a self-satisfied smirk on her lips.

"Nice selection," Dean pressed out and nodded toward the whips. To his immediate surprise, she still didn't catch on to what his state of mind really was and she started toward the whips, thereby turning her back on him.

Dean dropped all pretense, grabbed her from behind and forced both her arms onto her back, where he held them together with his right hand while wrapping his left arm around her throat and pulling her back against him. "The only thing that's piquing my interest right now is you," he snarled into her ear.

She tensed in his grasp, then tried to buck, to twist her way out of his grip, but he was prepared for anything and held on tightly. She was a bit shorter than him and obviously not in top physical condition, because he easily hoisted her off her feet and slammed her down on the bed on her stomach. She yelped and twisted, fighting him, but no matter how much she twisted and turned, he didn't release his grip on her. Instead he turned her around until she was flat on her back, then he straddled her and handcuffed her hands to the head of the bed.

"What are you doing?" she hissed. "I just told you I'm not the submissive one."

Dean smirked viciously. "But you will be," he promised her and locked the cuffs around her ankles before getting off her. "Now, what was it you did to Sam?" he asked and snapped his fingers. "Oh yeah. You injected him with something, didn't you? Crystal Meth, was it?" He sighed. "But since I don't have the luxury of that, we'll just have to make do without it," he added and shoved the door shut. It was a pretty heavy door, padded with sound-insulating material. "So, this room," he said and looked around, then shrugged out of his jacket and let it drop to the floor. "It's ... sound proof, right? Nobody can hear you scream down here, can they?"

At this point, Kate was proving to him abundantly that she wasn't a sociopath. Not in the clinical sense, anyway. She was scared, definitely terrified of going through what she had put her victims through.

He pulled his shirt off and dropped in on top of his jacket. "I am so gonna enjoy this. For every demeaning, embarrassing, insulting moment you put my brother through, you'll get it back twice as bad," he pressed out through clenched teeth, letting his hatred show with a vengeance.

And Kate was appropriately terrified. "Please, no. I'm not ... I thought he wanted it. I've never ..." she sobbed, already crying and pleading for her freedom.

Dean propped one knee onto the edge of the bed and wrapped one hand over her throat, pushing her down into the painfully hard grid underneath her. "You think my brother likes to be humiliated? You think he gets off on being drugged out of his mind and mistreated by a little slut like you?" he snarled and leaned in real close. "I'm gonna have you begging for mercy before I'm through with you, you little bitch," he pressed out through clenched teeth. "Nobody does that to my brother and gets away with it."

"Please. I have money. I'll give you anything you want. Please don't do this to me," she sobbed, her otherwise sculpted face a mess of runny mascara and tears.

Dean actually found the motivation to laugh at that. "You think you can buy me off?" he asked, actually a little stunned. "You think I'd sell my brother down the river for money?" He slammed a flat hand down on the grid right next to her right ear, making her whimper in fear. "Nothing means more to me than my family and you hurt my baby brother. He's my responsibility and you got to him where I couldn't protect him. And you think I'm gonna take your money and go?"

He huffed, having to control himself to not strangle her right there and then, and to prevent that from happening he released her throat and pulled back, got off the bed and away from her, his breathing heavy, his pulse hammering away in his veins. It took him a few moments to regain enough of his composure to see this plan through. The fact that she was sobbing helplessly, that she looked terrified and was a total mess made no difference to him at this point. If he could have scared her to death, he would have. But he was not going to be the one to pull the trigger on her.

"You've hurt others before Sam. And I'm sure you've hurt others after him too. Well, guess what? It's payback time and payback's a bitch," he said, grabbed his shirt and pulled it on again. "And if you think I would sully myself with something like you ..." The disgust was almost overwhelming right now and he wiped his hands on his jeans in a clear display of how put off he was. "No, I'll leave you for the ghost of another conquest. You do have a poltergeist, you know. And I didn't shoot the guy, because he's been through enough humiliation. All he needs is a little payback too and I've given it to him now."

That said he grabbed his jacket, then pulled the door open. The ghost of the kid she had obviously driven to suicide stood there, his hollow eyes on Kate, who started screaming in terror. Dean eyed the ghost as it slid past him, then glanced back at Kate, who was twisting in her restraints, begging and pleading for him to save her. "One more thing, Katie," he said and eyed her without any sympathy. "If you ever as much as think of doing this to someone else again, I'm gonna come back here and skin you alive." That said, he stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him. He had no idea what the ghost was going to do to her, but it was obvious that with enough anger, any ghost could become pretty corporeal. And this guy was pissed.

"Not nearly as pissed as I am," Dean growled and climbed the steps back to the ground floor. The second he had closed the door to that room, all sounds had been blocked out and the house was silent as the grave, an almost hushed silence, as if the building itself was holding its breath, waiting for the outcome of what was going on downstairs.

Dean grabbed the shotgun and stuffed it back into the duffle, then hoisted it over one shoulder and left the house again. Without so much as a hitch in his gait, he walked back to the Impala, threw the duffle in the trunk and got behind the wheel. And he didn't spare the house another glance when he pulled the car away from the curb and drove back toward the other end of town where the motel was located. All in all, he had been gone for a little over two hours and he was fairly certain Sam hadn't been awake in-between.

***