Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Just when things can't get any worse, that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel shines a little brighter.

Author's note: My dear friend Dee isn't doing too good right now, so I'm writing this to hopefully cheer her up a little. This one's for you, Dee. Hope you feel better soon. *hugs*


At times it seemed like the whole damned world was breathing down their necks and Dean didn't much care for that feeling. It made him anxious, made him tense, forced him to look over his shoulder all the time. He didn't sleep well at all when things turned that bad; and lately, they had been nothing but bad.

The temporary suspension of Sam's side-effects had turned out to be just that. Whatever Cas had done hadn't worked in the long run. The angel was back to being his old dickish self, off fighting a war he obviously wasn't equipped to win and not giving a flying hoot about Sam's problems.

'Cas, fix this! You messed him up. You make it right!'

'I am sorry, Dean. There is nothing I can do.'

'You did it once.'

'It was a temporary solution at best. I do not have the ability to correct this problem. And there are more pressing concerns to be dealt with. I do not have time for this.'

'Damn you, Cas.'

Not that it was as bad as it had been. It was just different. Instead of seeing Lucifer everywhere and not sleeping, Sam had the equivalent of visions and they slammed him off his feet every frigging time. They came like clockwork and if insanity hadn't been prominent before, it was so now. Sam was hanging on by his fingernails and he was dangling over a gaping abyss that would swallow him whole if Dean didn't find a way to fix this.

"Fuck!" he snarled and hammered the heel of one hand against the steering wheel of this rust-bucket of a car he had 'borrowed' to get them out of town.

Sam was more or less curled up on the passenger side seat as much as his lanky frame allowed for, whimpering in agony at another mind-shredding non-vision. The 'visions', as Dean had started calling them, were obviously memories of his one hundred and fifty years in Hell and they did things to Sam that Dean had no words for.

Since no words of his would make a difference and Sam couldn't hear him anyway when he was in the grips of another vision, Dean turned the radio on.

"... other news, Dick Roman seems to be on a winning streak right now where results are concerned. The latest dig funded by the young billionaire has yielded results, even though representatives behind the undertaking are mum about what exactly Roman's dig has revealed."

Sam's hand snaked out to turn the radio off and Dean glanced at him, noting that he seemed to be lucid again. "You okay?"

Sam grimaced and hugged himself. He was still pale, sweaty, squinting at the road ahead of them. "Define okay," he countered hoarsely and closed his eyes. "If I have another one of those, feel free to shoot me."

"We'll find a fix," Dean countered, a mandatory reply at this point. He was going through the motions because if even an angel at full capacity couldn't fix this, then who could?

"Yeah, you keep telling me that," Sam said, his tone bordering on sarcasm. "Where are we going?"

Dean frowned while his mind change gear and started rolling through their very limited resources. It was at times like these that he missed Bobby more than ever. But, of course, there was always ... "Gail's," he finally said. Something banged for attention in the back of his head, but he shook it off as unimportant in this context.

The glance Sam gave him bordered on an unpronounced 'huh' before he arched an eyebrow and then nodded. "Yeah, good idea. At least there we'll be safe for a bit," he agreed with a slight sigh.

So they headed toward Haven, Minnesota, and Dean was already anticipating a good night's rest in the home of their old friend. Once more, that clamoring for attention in the back of his head started up, but he shut it down. He was tired, Sam was in agony most of the time; they needed some downtime and Gail had said that they should come by any time the needed a safe haven.


Haven, Minnesota

They arrived in the dark of night and, as usual, the town of Haven - tiny as it was - was dead to the world after nightfall. Dean smirked tiredly when the car rolled to a stop at the curb outside Gail's house. The light was on, but Dean would have been surprised to find her asleep at this time of day. Gail was as much of a night owl as he himself.

They had barely gotten out before the front door opened and Gail stepped out onto the porch. "Evening, boys," she said.

It was funny, but every time they came here, it was like a burden was lifted from Dean's shoulders. Sam was safe here and so was he. It was probably a ridiculous way to feel, considering how much power the leviathans had gathered, but he relished the feeling. "Hey Gail," he said and slammed the door. His gaze snapped over to the closed garage door and he felt that old longing crawl up his spine again. "She still safe?" he asked, nodding toward the garage door that hid his beloved car from prying eyes.

"As a bug in a rug," Gail countered with a smile and stepped down from the porch, her attentive eyes taking them both in before settling on Sam. "You look like hammered shit, Sammy," she added.

Sam managed a pale smirk at that one. "Feel like it too," he agreed. "Hey, Dean," he added.

Dean focused on him. "What?"

"I haven't had a single vision since you told me where we're going," he said and the relief that washed over him with those words made Dean smirk.

"Right. Gail's got that kind of influence, doesn't she?" he agreed, not really surprised, which in turn surprised him.

Sam nodded tiredly and turned his attention back to Gail. "Can you put us up for a few days?" he asked hopefully.

"Always, Sam," she agreed and opened the gate. "Come on in. You both look like you could use a little downtime."


A good night's sleep, in the best damned bed ever, made Dean wonder why the hell they didn't come here more often. Then again, Haven was a bit out of the way.

Sam was still out cold when Dean got up and he let him sleep and slipped downstairs to find Gail ready with coffee.

"Morning," she greeted him, poured him a cup and handed it over.

"Morning," he agreed and settled down on one of the chairs at the table. He inhaled the scent of the coffee deeply before taking a careful sip. "This has got to be the best damned brew on the face of the planet," he proclaimed. "Where do you get it from? Straight from Brazil?"

Gail smirked and settled down on the chair across from him. "Nah, it's just normal coffee," she claimed.

Dean set the cup down on the table, once again overwhelmed by the clamoring in the back of his head and for a few seconds he knew what this was about. He focused on Gail and the idea struck him a ludicrous. Instead of pursuing it, he shook his head lightly, hoping to dislodge such nonsense from his mind.

"Something wrong?" Gail asked.

"Nah, I'm just ..." He stopped, a frown furrowing his brow. "Uh ..." Okay, that thought was really persistent. He again focused on her and for a moment had no idea who she was. "Gail ... how long have we known each other?"

She eyed him closely. "How long do you think we've known each other?" she countered.

For a long moment he just stared at her. "We ... don't know you, do we?" he asked, suddenly becoming aware that this idea he'd had before wasn't just a figment of his imagination.

Gail shook her head lightly. "No, you don't," she said. "Not outside of what memories I've planted in your heads," she added and raised both hands, palms out. "Now, before you go and get all upset about this ... hear me out, okay?"

He had been about to go off the deep end, but her words forced him to calm down. "I'm willing to hear you out. If for nothing other than the fact that Sam hasn't had a decent night's sleep since he came back from Hell and he's still out up there ... without nightmares," he said. "So ... who the hell are you? And why are you planting ideas in our heads?"

"Roman's dig," she said. "He unearthed something that he wants to use in his own favor. And it's ... connected to me." She eyed him closely, obviously searching for his reaction to this. "I need help. I can't ... leave here. I'm stuck in this town ... which technically doesn't even exist on your plane of consciousness."

Dean frowned. "So ... this town is ... what? Another dimension?"

Gail half shrugged to that one. "Well ... kinda. It's hard to explain. It's on a different ... wavelength. Others won't find it unless I let them. That's also the reason for that Sam's visions, as you call them, are offline while he's here. The moment you passed over the town limit, you were cut off from the world you're living in. It gives him time to rest, to revitalize. And you too."

He blinked. "I do feel ... rested," he said and found that a strange thing to realize. Then he glanced at the windows facing the street. "But ... there are other people here. People live in this town," he added and shifted his attention back to Gail.

"Yes, they do," she agreed.

"Your ... disciple?" he asked with an uncertain smile. This whole thing was getting a little wacky; mostly because the idea struck him that this might be the illusive God.

"I don't have disciples, Dean," she said with a patient smile. "And I'm not a god either."

Okay, so that idea hadn't panned out. And, incidentally, it totally freaked him out that she could read his mind. "Okay ... uhm ... what or who are you then?"

She considered that question for a moment, her expression thoughtful. "Not what you think, but I am ... at present ... not at liberty to discuss this with you. You see ... there's a curse on me. And ..." She paused, bit her lower lip lightly, and then rose to get more coffee for both of them. "I can't tell you," she said with a sigh and settled back down.

Dean couldn't for the life of him remember if she had grabbed the coffee pot or not. His cup was full again and so was hers, but he couldn't recall if she had filled it up or not. "Uh ... why not?"

"Because of the curse," she said. "You're instrumental in this."

He stared at her for a moment. "Me?" he asked.

"Yes, you," she agreed. "And that is unfortunately all I can tell you."

He frowned. "Can you tell Sam?" he asked.

"No. I cannot talk about it. If I could tell anyone, I would be able to relay this to you somehow and I'm not allowed to. So ..." She shrugged, a somewhat unhappy expression on her face. "If you could guess it, it would be great. But I doubt you can. It's not immediately evident."

Dean sighed and slumped back on his chair. "I get the distinct feeling that whatever you are can help us get rid of the leviathans," he said and eyed her hopefully.

"And it can," she agreed with a nod. "Just not in my present state."

"Great," he muttered and gave the coffee a baleful look. "Can we stay here? For good?"

That made her smile. "No, Dean, you can't. Not for good. You still have work to do," she said.

Yeah, that would have sounded too good to be true anyway. He mulled it over for a bit and then looked up to meet her eyes again. "So ... you're in some way part of the order of things?"

She nodded quietly.

"And if I can guess what you are and how to ... undo this curse ... you can help us?" he asked on.

Again she nodded.

"Can you destroy the leviathans?" he asked hopefully.

"Yes," she agreed. "And there's really only one. Leviathan is able to spread itself very thin. All you need to do is destroy the head of the dragon and the rest will fall."

"Only one?" That sounded like a bit of a stretch, considering how far and wide those bastards had spread. "That's ... wow." He frowned at her. "The head ... that wouldn't happen to be Dick, would it?"

"No, but it is the part of Leviathan that is possessing Dick Roman," she countered.

"So ... if we destroy Dick ... or rather the Leviathan ... or the part of it that is possessing him ... we destroy all of them?" That sounded like a very enticing idea.

"Yes," she agreed with a smile.

That was good news. But the bad news was that he still had no idea who she was or how to lift that curse so she could do whatever needed to be done. And he didn't know how to kill Roman on his own. "Okay ... why haven't we met you before?" he asked, shifting gears to focus on something else.

"Because I wasn't able to reach out to you before," she said.

"So ... whatever Dick dug up, it's allowed you to reach out to us?" It was like a puzzle where none of the pieces really fit.

"Exactly," she agreed.

"Does that mean he's lifting the curse?" It seemed like a logical leap.

"Not lifting so much as ... freeing resources that have so far been buried," she countered cryptically.

"Resources?" Dean scrubbed a hand over his lips, his mind working overtime on this dilemma. "Okay ... uhm ... so, what's he dug up?"

She looked a little sad at that question. "I can't tell you."

"Right," he agreed and focused on the one thing that was not going according to the order of things. "Could you tell a ghost?" he asked and gave her a quirky little smile, "one that's gone off the beaten path, but hasn't yet turned into a vengeful spirit?"

She frowned lightly. "You mean Bobby's ghost?" she asked to which he nodded. "Hmm ... maybe. He has stepped off the beaten path by refusing to go with the reaper that came for him. And he has learned how to deal with things rather more quickly than is common for ghosts as a whole."

"Hold that thought," Dean said, rose and rushed back upstairs to get the flask. If anything would give Bobby an in, it had to be that damned flask of his.

Back downstairs, he placed the flask on the table. "I'll just ... check on Sam."


Bobby flickered into existence in this kitchen that seemed to be halfway in and halfway out of this world. It looked normal enough, but there was a vibe going through this place that made him a little uncomfortable. The woman Dean identified as Gail however ... Bobby wasn't too sure what he was seeing, but she wasn't a woman.

"You really are out of this world, aren't you?" she asked with a smile.

"And you're something else," he countered. "What are you?"

She eyed him for a moment. "I'm ... Gaia," she said and smiled, "or rather a representation of Gaia. And Dean is right. I can talk to you." She sounded very pleased.

"Well, good. Then talk," he suggested. "So, you're Gaia? As in ... the Earth spirit? The mother goddess? The one the wiccans believe in?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes," she agreed. "Although I am loath to refer to myself as goddess."

"Well, from our standpoint, you are a goddess; or would be if you could perform miracles; which I kinda guess you can't right now."

"And you guess right," she agreed. "Eons ago it seems, my children ... usurped power. They did not think much of my methods and decided they wanted to run things their way; mainly by gaining power through sacrifice and worship. It was not something I condoned then and I most certainly still do not condone it, and the only way they could get me out of the way was to bind my power, which they did."

"Kids can be such brats sometimes," Bobby agreed sarcastically. "So ... why do you need Dean?"

"He is the key to all of this," she said. "It's another crushing burden to lay on his shoulders, but I did not choose him. He was chosen by chance for this ... honor." Here she managed to display her own brand of sarcasm and Bobby couldn't help but like her. "I wish I could relieve him of this burden, but without him, I will never be free. And if I do not regain my freedom, Leviathan will eat the world. Quite literally. It is not a logical being. It does not think of the future and how to co-exist. All it wants to do is eat until there is nothing left to eat."

"So ... what does he have to do to free you?" Bobby asked. The idea was appealing. He could tell she wasn't lying. There was something about her that was so trust inspiring, he almost felt alive again.

"Unfortunately it will put him in grave danger. He must allow Leviathan to capture him but he must not let the beast know what he knows. Leviathan, in the guise of Dick Roman, will force him to pledge his allegiance to me and to Roman's knowledge, Dean will not do this willingly. The curse is set up in such a way that if he forces Dean to speak those words to the sarcophagus he has just unearthed, my power will be at Roman's beg and call. I will never be free and will be forced to do his bidding."

"That's messed up," Bobby proclaimed uneasily.

"In so many ways," she agreed.

"So ... I'm still not too clear on ... why Dean?" Bobby pushed on.

She eyed him. "He is the first vessel to refuse its fate," she said.

Bobby stared at her for a moment. "Excuse me?"

"Dean was supposed to be Michael's vessel. He refused him. It is the first time in the rebooted history of mankind that this has ever happened. Only Michael's untainted vessel can free me. I have waited countless eons for this to come to pass. The opportunity may never come again. I had to fool them to come to me in the hope of reaching Dean and making him understand."

"Oh, he'll understand alright. I'll make sure of that," Bobby promised. "Question is just how much he's gonna trust you and then mean it when he's forced to pledge his allegiance to you."

"That is my fear as well. Many before have made it difficult for him to trust others, to trust supernatural beings. I don't blame him. But this is the only way. Time is of the essence. Roman is going to up his search for Dean now and he will stop at nothing to get to him. He will make life a living hell for Sam to convince Dean to play ball. He will kill Sam if he has to. He will destroy everything Dean ever held dear. And he's already on that path, isn't he? He killed you."

Bobby sneered. "And I aim at getting back at him for that," he growled. "So, you need Dean to know all this?"

"Yes," she agreed. "And I cannot tell him. I would not have been able to tell you had you still been alive. I wouldn't have been able to tell you if you had been a normal ghost either." She smiled at that. "You were a force to be reckoned with in life, Mr. Singer. And you are a force to be reckoned with now. I have the distinct feeling that you are far from done with life."

Bobby sighed deeply. "Well, that's one way of puttin' it. I wouldn't be opposed to a few more years. Still got stuff to do and ... leaving Dean to his own devices with this much pressure on him ... that just ain't happening."

"Well, then rest assured that I can reinstate you into the ranks of the living once I have regained my full potential," she said with that soft smile still on her lips. She reached a hand out to him.

To Bobby that hand looked wispy and unreal, but he found himself reaching for it anyway, not sure what would happen when he touched her. When he did, it sent an almost electric charge through him. It was not unpleasant and it amped him up like nothing else could have. "Holy hell, what was that?" he gasped when she released his hand again.

"Just a little something to ensure that you stick with us for the duration. The boys need you more than ever before and I would find this world a duller place for your absence," she said. "Now, please, relay my sorry little tale to Dean. In the end, it is his choice and his alone what happens next."

Bobby nodded and flexed his fingers. He felt more whole than he had in a good long while.


Dean just lay on the bed, hands laced behind his head, and stared up at the ceiling above him. His mind was idling along while Sam kept on sleeping. He had checked on him and Sam had muttered at him to leave him alone, he was tired, so Dean had decided to let him sleep for now.


Startled, he sat up and stared at Bobby's ghost. "How are you up here when the flask is downstairs?" he asked, a little stunned.

Bobby frowned and glanced back at the door. "Must be her," he muttered, then turned his attention back to Dean. "Shut up and listen to me," he added, then retold Dean what Gail - or rather Gaia - had told him.

Once he was through, Dean just stared at him. "And that makes sense to you?" he asked, not sure what to believe.

"It doesn't to you?" Bobby countered. "Look, Dean, I realize this ain't something you'd want to sign up for normally ... and truth be told we have no frigging clue what will happen if you set her free ... but the endgame seems to be that Leviathan kills everybody. And that ain't in our best interest."

Dean grimaced. "That's putting it mildly," he muttered and glanced over at Sam, who was still asleep and minding his own business. "Do you trust her?" he asked and met Bobby's eyes again.

Bobby considered it for a moment. "I got no reason not to," he countered.

As it turned out, Sam wasn't as asleep as Dean had thought. "Is it really a matter of trust?" he muttered and turned his head to squint at both of them. "I mean ... if she's serious and she can help ..."

"How long have you been faking it?" Dean asked.

"Kinda hard to sleep with you two yacking away like old women," Sam grumbled and pushed up on his elbows.

"Right," Dean agreed. "I don't know. I'm kinda okay with the whole allegiance thing. I mean ... what does that really mean in the end, right? But having to let Dick and his cohorts catch me ... that one is less appealing."

"I get you," Bobby agreed, "but that apparently is how it has to go down. Something about that sarcophagus," he added. "The biggest question is ... what in the hell is she really and what will happen if she gets her mojo back?"

"Not much of anything." Gail pushed the door open and stepped inside. "Apart from the immediate annihilation of Leviathan, of course."

"Which is a definite plus in my book," Dean said and eyed her. "What I don't like is the underhandedness here; the messing with our heads."

"I had no other options of bringing you here. If I hadn't planted the location of this town and my presence in your minds, you would never have found it. And, needless to say, we do not have the time to build a trusting relationship between us. So I took the liberty of paving the way, so to speak. All I could hope for in that regard was that you would end up understanding why I did it this way and forgive the intrusion."

For a long moment all three of them just watched her. Then Dean shrugged. "Well, at least she's eloquent," he said and gave Sam a smirk.

"Big word," Sam countered and sat up. "So ... what happens to us once this is all over?"

Gail shrugged. "Nothing. Something. It depends on you," she said.

Dean eyed his brother for a moment before focusing on Gail again. "Are you going to wipe out all evil then?"

Her expression left something to be desired. "That would be counterproductive," she said. "Balance in life is key. Without evil, there cannot be good. It's as simple as that."

"That sucks," Dean declared. "But I guess I get it too. So ... what you're saying is that we're not out of a job if you regain your all-powerful status as Master of the Universe?"

"I am hardly that, but yes, that is what I'm saying," she agreed.

He pursed his lips lightly, glanced first at Sam, then at Bobby, then back at Gail. "I need to think this through," he decided and got up. "Mind if I go for a walk?"

"Walk all you want," Gail said. "Just stay within the town limits. As long as you do, they cannot find you and they are looking for you as we speak. Going back out there is not going to be easy."

Dean sighed. "Nothing ever is," he agreed and left the room.