Disclaimer: They're not mine. More's the pity.

Spoilers: None for the true arc of the show.

A/N: Please Read.

The Supernatural Virtual Seasons is an AU storyline that was imagined by kittsbud in 2006 when Supernatural's first season ended with such a harrowing cliffhanger. Partnering with a rotating group of several talented writers, kittsbud created the Virtual Seasons team, bringing to life a plotline that has now completed three seasons.

Devil Game aired as Episode Six during Virtual Season 2. It is a "stand-alone" episode, meaning not pivotal to the central VS2 story arc, but there are some things you need to know in order for this story to make sense.

1. John is alive, though not always a central character. His relationship with the boys—especially when this story takes place—is very similar to how he was in the real Season 1.

2. In the VS, the YED was called "Haris" after a particular demon that is pivotal to later stories.

3. At the beginning of VS2, Dean was possessed by one of Haris' minions, but because of his amulet, the demon never truly took him over. It would, however, have killed him, so Sam made a deal. By his next birthday, Sam would give Haris his powers (and, presumably, his life) in exchange for Haris releasing Dean from the demon's hold.

Devil Game picks up after Dean has been 'freed,' though for the course of this story, he doesn't know how or why. Also, in the previous episode, Episode 5, Remote Control, Sam was shot in the leg, and I've made references to that healing wound throughout this story.

I haven't edited or changed this story from when it was posted on 's Virtual Seasons site back in May of 2007. This was my first contribution to the VS—and, for me, a very Sam-centric story (though Dean doesn't walk away unscathed)—and those of you who read my stories will see that my style has grown and changed since this story was told.

Not only that, but the style of the VS demanded shorter chapters for a story told in four parts, which was a different rhythm for me. But, I still had a great time writing it, and I hope you are entertained.

I will post a new chapter each day until the story is completed. I hope you enjoy!

Raleigh, NC, wooded area, night

She was beautiful. Her long legs were stretched out in the moonlight, her shorts bunched near her waist from the struggle, her slim ankles encircled by the leather straps. He decided he liked her legs. His eyes traveled slowly up the smooth, pale skin, over the slight bend at her knee, up the silky thigh to where the skin disappeared beneath the shorts.

He thought momentarily about cutting the shorts from her, but changed his mind. It had never been about that. It had never been pleasure he was after – it had been power. The pleasure he experienced was simply an afterthought, a happy accident.

Stepping closer to her, his eyes continued their trek up her torso, her flat belly exposed at the navel, her ribs extended slightly by the arch of her back. Her arms were raised over her head, extending in a V, the leather straps around her wrists contrasting sharply with her skin. He let his eyes shift from her fisted hands to her wide blue eyes. She lay silently staring at him, twin trails of tears sliding from the corners of her eyes to matte her long blonde hair at her temples.

He smiled. She whimpered. He was sure she wanted to scream, but the clear glue he'd applied held her lips fast and she'd realized quickly that her muffled pleas reached no one's ears but his. He saw her throat bob as she swallowed.

He was almost shaking with anticipation. She would be delicious; he'd known that for a while. She would be satisfying like none of the others had been. He'd planned this one, studied her, made sure she was right for the first of this cycle. Made sure she was worthy. Made sure she would please him.

He began to mutter the words that bound him to her for this moment. He watched her eyes widen more. His smile widened, turned feral. She understood him. He'd known she was smart, but Latin? He didn't realize she knew Latin. She blinked and shook her head. He nodded and leaned forward, the short, thin blade of the knife pressed against her right wrist.

She whimpered again. He whispered close to her ear, enjoying the way she tried to twist away from him.

"This sacrifice brings power."

She shot her eyes over to him and he pulled away as he saw hate replacing the look of fear that had thrilled him. That was his cue. He slid the knife along her wrist as if through butter and watched with delight as the fear returned to her eyes while her life spilled from her wrist, over his blade and down her arm. She twisted her hands helplessly, trying unsuccessfully to stem the flow of blood.

Her whimpering grew frantic through her sealed lips and the tears flowed freely. As he stepped around the flat stone altar where he'd stretched her out, arms above her head, legs to the opposite edges, he began to chant. "Vestri cruor mos purgo mihi, vestri cruor mos solvo mihi…"

Closing his eyes, he slid the knife across her left wrist and this time allowed her blood to flow over the fingers gripping the hilt of the knife. He shuddered as her muffled screams beat a soft tempo against his ears. He opened his eyes and watched for a moment, watched as the horror of reality flooded her eyes, as the denial skittered across her features, as she looked to him, pleading with her eyes for him to stop, to free her.

He smiled, leaning close so that his lips were hovering close to hers, whispering to her. "Vestri cruor meus vox."

He pressed the knife point to the beat of her pulse in the softness of her neck. Lifting his eyes to hers, watching as the moonlight reflected in the luminous pools of tears, he pressed the tip in. She barely made a sound, but the defeat in her eyes was all he needed to know that he had won. As the light left her eyes, he leaned close to her neck, pressed his lips against her warm skin, and drank deeply.


Impala, outside Bethlehem, PA, evening

Dean never liked the quiet.

There was too much noise in his head when it was quiet. Especially now. It hadn't been that long since the demon's voice was his constant companion. Now, the absence of that sound allowed his thoughts to once again clamor for attention. Rolling his neck, he reached for the volume control, letting the music fill the space between his tired body and that of his sleeping brother, who at the moment had his arms wrapped tightly around himself in an almost unconscious gesture of protection, allowing the grating, rhythmic beat of The Showdown's Death Finds Us Breathing to quiet the echo of doubt that still dogged his heels from Haris' taunts.

Sam stirred restlessly in his sleep. Dean pulled his eyes briefly from the road to look closely at his brother. Sam had been through a lot lately. Hell, they both had. He looked back to the darkening road. Friggin' mind control… Give him classic cars and cassette tapes any day. Technology had a way of screwing with normal.

Sam jerked, his arms loosening, his hands starting to reach out. Dean looked over at him worriedly.

"Gah!" Sam curled forward suddenly, his hands pressing hard against his face, his palms at his temples.

"Sam?" Dean jerked his eyes from the road.

"No!" Sam gasped, rocking his head back against the seat, his eyes closed tight.

He pressed the heel of his hand into the curve between his nose and forehead. Dean slowed the Impala, his arm automatically shooting out to stop Sam from cracking his head on the dash as the car decelerated. Sam didn't seem to notice as the motion of the car ceased. He was pressing his body, his face, his hands, against the door as if trying to force it from its hinges. His desperation to get out of the car was palpable, and Dean couldn't get out and around to his brother's side fast enough. Dean opened the door and caught Sam as he tumbled forward into the sudden space.

"Sam!" Dean crouched low on the gravel-strewn shoulder of the thankfully deserted road, his hands gripping Sam's arms near the shoulders, his face pulled into a fierce frown of concern. "Easy… just give it a second… hang on, I got you…"

He didn't know what else to do but keep Sam from falling face-first to the ground and wait for the vision to end. It had gripped his brother so suddenly, so viciously that Dean felt his heart tighten in his chest watching helplessly as Sam's face echoed the pain slamming through his head. Beads of sweat formed on Sam's forehead as Dean held him upright. Dean felt Sam begin to tremble beneath his hands and then start to slump forward. He tried to keep Sam up, but teetered and ended up on his rear, Sam in front of him on his knees outside of the opened doorway.

Sam was gasping, his hand trembling as it passed across his closed eyes. He blinked up at Dean, working to focus. Dean tightened his jaw, gripping Sam's arms.

"You okay, man?"

"God, Dean," Sam whispered, his voice shaking with residual pain and something close to terror. "She's dead… he killed her…"

"Who, Sam?"

"She's dead, Dean… she's dead," Sam swallowed hard and his face turned slightly green. Dean gave serious thought to rolling out of the way, but Sam slid from his knees to sit in the gravel, leaning against the closed back door.

"Hey," Dean said softly, acutely aware of the fragile look in Sam's eyes. "It's okay, Sammy, we'll figure it out. What did you see?"

Sam just shook his head. He was staring past Dean, seeing nothing. He licked his lips and muttered again, "She's dead, Dean… he killed her."

Okay, now you're starting to scare me a little. "Hey! Sam, snap out of it, man!"

Sam blinked at his harsh tone, lifting his eyes to meet Dean's. Dean was relieved to see a glimmer of reality begin to seep back into his brother's expression. He rocked forward so that he was once again crouched in front of Sam, balanced carefully on the balls of his feet, his left hand gripping his right, fingers unconsciously worrying the silver ring on his right hand.

"What did you see?" Dean repeated.

"A girl," Sam swallowed. "She was… she was, uh, tied to a… a rock or something."

"Lying down or sitting up?"

"Lying down."

"Like, what, an altar or something?"

Sam shuddered, "God, Dean, so much blood."

"Sam, hey!" Dean snapped his fingers close to Sam's face as his brother's eyes started to drift from him. "Look at me. Hey! Look at me." Sam met his eyes again. "We're gonna figure this out, okay?"

Sam's visions had been bad before. In Salvation, Iowa, they had damn near knocked him out. But it rattled Dean slightly to see Sam so shaken by what he'd seen. He had to get Sam to focus, to explain the vision, to tell Dean what to do.

"Where was she?"

"In… in a woods."

Well, that's specific. "What else, Sam?"

Sam took a breath, rubbing a shaking hand over his face. Dean watched him work to gather himself, to pull his scattered thoughts together, to get a grip. He waited, letting Sam settle himself.

"I, uh… I saw a man, in a robe – a hooded robe – with a knife. Short, thin blade."

Dean narrowed his eyes, tilting his head forward to try to catch Sam's eyes. "Robe, huh? We dealin' with a dark Jedi or something, Sammy?"

Sam blinked, lifting his head to look at Dean. His eyes were clearer, Dean noticed with relief. "It's gotta be some kind of… creature. What he did… no… no person could have done…" Sam swallowed.

"Sam," Dean ducked his chin, looking at his brother out of the top of his eyes. "We both know you get these visions for a reason."

Sam pulled his eyebrows together, focusing on Dean's face.

"You think we can… save this girl?" Sam asked.

"Well, we can sure as hell try," Dean ticked his head to the left. "Now, think. What else you got on location besides woods and rock?"

Sam's face pulled together in a wince, and he gripped the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes tight. "Ah, she was, uh, she was wearing a T-shirt… a… a red one."

Dean nodded. Yeah, and…



Sam's head shot up. "Wolfpack… I know that… I've seen that… NC State! NC State Wolfpack. North Carolina, man. She's in Raleigh."

Sam pushed himself to his feet and climbed into the Impala on shaky legs. Dean stood slowly, regarding Sam with narrowed eyes. What if we're too late? Hell, what if she's not even there? What if she was wearing someone else's shirt?

"You comin' or what?" Sam snapped at him.

Dean pressed his lips together and sprinted around the front of the car, sliding silently behind the wheel. He glanced surreptitiously at Sam as he drove down the dark road. Sam was leaning forward slightly as if trying to propel the car through the night with the force of his will. Dean felt a subtle shift in how the Impala responded to him and looked down. They were on empty. He searched the side of the road for an exit sign, breathing a sigh of relief when one appeared not more than two miles down the road.

He veered off the road, heading down the exit.

"Dean, what the hell?" Sam looked over at him.

"You wanna walk to North Carolina? No? Didn't think so." Dean didn't bother to look over at Sam. He pulled into the station, stopping next to a pump.

"Well, hurry up," Sam grumbled.

Dean opened the door, metal creaking with a comforting familiarity that somehow calmed his instant desire to snap back at Sam. He was tired, Sam was tired. They needed a break. Hell, they needed sleep. He glanced once at his brother as he stepped out of the car, seeing from the look on Sam's face that there would be no rest for them tonight.

"Make yourself useful," Dean said, ducking his head back into the car. "Go grab a map and figure out how far it is to wherever your Dead Zone is sending us this time."

Sam glanced at him, a retort clearly balanced on the edge of his tongue, then apparently thought better of it and did as Dean asked. While Sam was in the convenience store, Dean filled up the Impala, leaning heavily against the sleek black skin of the only real home he'd ever known. His eyes were cast down at the stained blacktop, but he was seeing Sam's face revert back to a twelve-year-old kid's when he'd gasped she's dead, Dean… he killed her.

"Five hundred miles." Sam's voice broke into his thoughts, making him jump slightly.

"Come again?"

"Give or take. Five hundred. Miles," Sam was staring hard at him, his jaw set, the neatly folded map of North Carolina clutched in his right hand, two cups of coffee balanced on top of each other in his left. Without waiting for Dean's response, Sam moved around to the other side of the car, favoring his tender left leg, and climbed into the passenger seat.

Suppressing a groan, Dean nodded once and topped off the car, holstering the fuel hose and grabbing his receipt. He crumbled it out of habit and tossed it into the trash can before climbing into the car. He paused before turning the key in the ignition, looking over at Sam.

"Five hundred miles?"

Sam pressed his lips together, then looked back at him. "He slit her wrists while she watched. She knew she was going to die, man. I saw it in her eyes. She knew and she couldn't do a damn thing."

The hollow ache in Sam's voice reverberated through Dean's head. He turned the key. The car roared to life and without another word, Dean shifted to drive and pulled back onto the highway. He hadn't gone more than two miles before he took one of the coffees from Sam and downed it in several mouth-scalding gulps.

Sam said nothing, simply held on to the second cup, staring straight ahead. As the miles wore on, Dean finished the second cup, flipped through a half a dozen radio stations until he found one for a while that played his music, and pulled over once more to fill up the Impala with fuel and himself with more coffee. Through it all, Sam remained silent, staring ahead, his jaw muscle dancing with tension whenever Dean looked his way.

As his fifth cup of coffee hummed through his system, Dean realized that his hands had started shaking. Even he had a caffeine limit. He rolled the window down, letting the cool air of the early dawn sweep in and wash over him. He blinked his eyes wide, then started singing along with Zeppelin's Black Dog. His glance over at Sam revealed that even his unintentional attempts to rouse his brother from his focused stupor weren't working.

"We're gonna figure this out, Sammy," he said softly.

"We're already too late." Sam's voice was low, gravelly from lack of use. "It's almost morning."

Dean closed his burning eyes for a moment, then forced them open, concentrating on the road. "How do you know it happened tonight? Maybe it was…"

"I just know, okay? I know," Sam slouched slightly against the door. "We're too late."

Dean sighed, rubbing his eyes with the tips of his fingers. He needed to wake up, shake this off, if he was going to help his brother get through this. "Sam," he started, glancing over to the passenger seat and then back to the road. "We can't save them all."

"Why the hell do I get these damn visions then, huh?" Sam snapped. His sudden vehemence made Dean jump slightly. "I mean, you said it yourself. I get them so we can save these people. I was able to save you, why not her?"

"That's different, Sam…"

"Yeah? Why?" Sam rotated to face him, his back against the passenger door. "You wanna tell me how it is we're left deciding which life is more important? Who lives and who dies?"

Dean pulled his eyebrows together, looking over at Sam angrily. "We didn't decide that, Sam. That freak in the robe decided that. Evil decides that."

Behind Sam, the sky began to brighten as the sun journeyed toward the horizon. Dean blinked back at the road, waiting for Sam's reply, feeling Sam wind himself up for an all out battle of words. It had been brewing in his brother for awhile, but fear and worry and uncertainty of their collective future had dampened Sam's drive to argue.

"We let evil win when we don't do anything," Sam muttered, his eyes on the dash.

Dean's anger ticked hot in him once and he let it flash out at his brother. "What the hell do you call this, man? Driving five hundred freakin' miles to stop this bastard when we haven't slept or eaten… hell, you're still limping!"

"Not what I meant," Sam said, turning his body to face front.

"Well, you'd damn well better…" Dean stopped, catching sight of the exit for Raleigh. He turned off at the sign indicating the direction to campus, and they drove the rest of the way in silence.

Glancing at the clock, he realized it was way too early for any students to be out on the quad. He drove slowly through the campus, resting a bent elbow on the open window. Sam reached over and turned down the radio, rolling his own window down, looking around.

"Getting any hinky vibes, there, College Boy?"

Sam shook his head silently.

Dean sighed, resisting the urge to rub the back of his neck. "Any idea which direction I should head?"

"I don't know, Dean," Sam snapped. "All I got was… a woods at night."

Pressing his lips together, Dean nodded. "Roger. Drive around until I see a woods…" He blinked. "Kinda like that one…"

As he turned the corner he saw a copse of trees in the distance and a collection of Raleigh's finest pulled to the side of the road, red and blue lights flashing. He saw Sam sit forward, tension radiating from him in waves. Dean pulled over behind a small Mexican restaurant claiming to make burritos as big as your head, and shut off the car. Sam was out before he'd shifted into park. Dean let himself sink in his seat a moment, his body ticking in time with the cooling Impala engine.


"I'm comin'!" His reply was shot back in a matching urgent whisper. He got out of the car, then followed Sam as they walked cautiously down the length of the road toward the police.

Not too terribly worried that the police in Raleigh would have memorized the face of a supposedly dead serial killer from St. Louis, Dean wandered slowly away from Sam, working his way through the small crowd of the early morning curious. Out of the corner of his eyes, he caught Sam doing the same.

"What happened here?" he asked an elderly lady who held a small white poodle under one arm, her morning coffee in the other hand. She still had curlers in her hair.

"Heard the call on the scanner," she shrugged. Dean looked down at her with a surprised grin. "Some jogger came across a body of a girl."

"Oh, that's, um, awful," Dean said, trying for the right level of horror and curiosity to match her tone.

"'Tis," she nodded. "Bet them cops are busy kickin' themselves in the ass, though."

Dean lifted an eyebrow. "Why you say that?"

"They thought it was over, is why," she took a sip of her coffee. "Don't know why. Never caught the bastard."

Dean opened his mouth to question her further when a general rustle went through the small crowd. He looked over the shoulder of the man in front of him and saw three cops carrying out a black body bag heavy with its gruesome burden. Dean shot his eyes over to Sam and worked back through the crowd to get to his brother. Sam wasn't looking at the bag, yet. He was watching a young cop who had his arm around an attractive blonde girl.

Dean shifted his eyes between Sam and the girl as he approached. She was pretty, shoulder-length dark blonde hair, large blue eyes, and the tear streaks on her face did nothing to detract from the smooth coloring of her skin. Sam walked toward them slowly, Dean close behind.

"You ready?" the young cop was asking her. The girl nodded.

The cop nodded to one of the others carrying the body bag. They lay the body bag on the ground and unzipped the top, laying the flap to the side. The girl let out a strangled sound that drew Dean's eyes.

"That's her," she said, her voice thick with tears, but low and solid. "That's Jaynie."

Dean saw Sam turn from the girl to look at the black bag. He was close enough that he actually felt the breath leave Sam as his brother stared at the body in horror. Dean searched Sam's profile worriedly for a second, then looked down. Her neck was stained red with blood, her hair was matted on the sides with it, but her face was unmarked – almost as if it had been cleaned.

But it wasn't the gore that had caught Sam's attention, Dean realized. It was her face.

She looked like Jessica.


Motel, Raleigh, NC, later that morning

"It was a coincidence, Sam."

"I know that."

"This is a hunt, man, like any other."

"No it isn't."

Dean sighed. Sam was right – it wasn't like any other hunt. This one hit home, and as Dean sat at the small hotel table, the laptop open in front of him, he watched Sam's face, watched the memories slide across his features, chased by a pain Dean couldn't understand.

Sam lay across the bed, one arm above his head, the other across his stomach. He was absentmindedly twisting the long strands of his hair around his index finger. The motion tugged at Dean's gut, reminding him acutely of Sam at five, at twelve, at fifteen. Whenever he was troubled or stuck on a problem of any kind, he'd twist his hair.

"I'm sorry, Sam," Dean said softly.

This drew Sam's eyes from their scrutiny of the ceiling above his bed. He looked at Dean in honest surprise. "For what?"

Dean shrugged, looking away, uncomfortable with exposing a piece of his heart even to Sam. "I've been… caught up in my own crap for awhile…"

"Dean, you couldn't help it. You were… possessed," Sam tightened his stomach muscles and sat up, looking at Dean. "Kind of warrants a get out of jail free card for dealing with your own crap."

Huh… yeah, like the song says… every single one of us has a devil inside… Dean shook his head once. "Doesn't matter. I'm sorry I didn't… pay closer attention."


"But," Dean interrupted, holding up a hand, palm out, stopping Sam. "I'm paying attention now, okay? We'll get this thing."

Sam swallowed and looked down at his hands, his forearms resting on his knees. "I trust you."

Dean blinked at him. "What?"

Sam lifted his head. "I said I trust you."

Dean pressed his lips together, looking away. Sam would have no idea what those words meant to him. Taking a breath, he clapped a hand on his knee and stood up, rotating the laptop out to face Sam as he did so.

"Well, before this gets too Lifetime TV, I'm gonna take a shower," he said, moving past Sam toward the bathroom at the back of the motel room. "Check out that link. Apparently the dog lady was right… this isn't the first of these murders around campus."

He glanced over his shoulder as he stepped into the bathroom, watching as Sam gravitated toward the computer. He was showered and shaved inside of ten minutes, never really one for lingering. The water had shocked his system alert, and helped settle his hands from the infusion of caffeine. He stepped out of the bathroom to see Sam scrolling through the information on the laptop.

"You're up, Sparky," he said.

"Dean, there have been three murders a month for the last five months," Sam looked up at him, his tired-looking eyes alight with the thought of a lead. "Except for last month."

Dean nodded. "Yeah, the old lady said the cops thought it was done."

Sam stood up and made his way to the bathroom, limping slightly on his left leg. He pulled his shirts over his head in a tangle, his voice muffled inside the fabric as he talked.

"Why a vision now, though, huh?"

Dean turned his head, then rotated his body as Sam finished pulling his shirts off and dropped them in a pile next to his duffel.

"I mean, if it's been going on for months, why didn't I see this before? You think it's because it's maybe a new killer? Or maybe because this time it was Jess…"

Sam stopped, stumbling slightly in the doorway of the bathroom. Dean bit the inside of his cheek, saying nothing.

"I mean, because she looked like Jessica," Sam finished quietly.

"Sam…" Dean started, but Sam ignored him and stepped into the bathroom, shutting the door.

Dean sighed and sat down on the chair, leaning forward and rubbing his hands roughly through his short, still-wet hair. He couldn't decide which was better: being alone forever and never knowing the pain Sam was feeling now, or knowing the pain Sam was feeling now just to have the memory of connecting to someone that deeply once in his life.

He sat still and waited for Sam to get out of the shower. He knew it was a mistake, felt his body begin to shut down by increments, felt his eyes grow heavy. He should be looking for more information, for something that might explain Sam's vision, explain why they had hauled ass five hundred miles just to be too late to do anything.

Sam stepped from the bathroom, clad in only the white motel towel. Dean straightened suddenly, blinking his eyes wide to wake himself up. Sam didn't even spare him a glance as he dug through his duffel for clean clothes. Dean stood and worked his shoulder muscles, rotating his neck. He needed more coffee like a hole in the head, but he couldn't think of anything else that might help him get his head on straight…

"We need to get more information," Sam was saying. "I think we should split up, check out the library and see what we can get from the cops."

Dean blinked. Action Sammy was slightly unexpected. After the look on Sam's face when he stepped into the bathroom, Dean thought there'd be more… angst. "Uh…"

Sam stood, dropping his towel and pulling on his boxers and jeans. He looked over at Dean when no further response came. Pulling his T-shirt over his head, he shook his wet hair from his eyes, then frowned.


Dean scratched the back of his head in thought. "Sam, uh, don't make this out to be more than it is, okay?"

Sam cocked his head to the side, his hand on his hip. "What are you talking about?"

Dean chewed his bottom lip, then shook his head. "I just mean… it's not her."

"Don't you think I know that?" Sam snapped.

"Maybe…" Dean paused, weighing his words. He looked at Sam, saw the lines of tension around his blue-gray eyes, the exhaustion that pulled at his body even now. "Maybe you should sit this one out, Sam. Maybe you should… y'know, stay here."

Sam narrowed his eyes, and shook his head with a look of disbelief on his face. He opened his mouth and Dean braced himself for the words that would match the suddenly angry look in Sam's eyes. Silently, Sam grabbed his jacket, moving past Dean with an angry stride.

"I'll take the police station, you take the library."


Sam opened the motel door. "Station's not far. I'll walk."


But Sam was through the door and heading down the street without looking back.

"Dammit," Dean muttered, heading to the car. "I got a bad feeling about this."


Raleigh Police Station, noon

"Nick, you know I'm right – you know it!"

Her voice hit Sam before he pushed through the doors of the police station. She was angry. And as he stepped into the bull pen area of the police station, he felt almost sorry for Nick. The blond police officer from the crime scene had his arms crossed over his chest, his jaw set, eyes narrowed, and was leaning slightly back from the shorter blonde woman in front of him. She was poking him in the chest to punctuate her sentences.

"I don't know that," Nick replied. His eyes were on the girl's face, serious, searching. Boyfriend? Sam wondered. "And you need to calm down. Right now."

Not boyfriend… brother.

"Don't tell me to calm down, dammit," she stepped away from him and turned around, halting just short of slamming into Sam.

She looked up, surprised, and met his eyes. Sam felt a little dizzy – like the air had been sucked out of the room – when he locked eyes with her. She blinked, pulled her head back, then subtly shook herself, turning back to Nick.

"There's gonna be two more, Nicky," she said.

Nick shook his head. "You don't know that," he said forcefully.

"Yes, I do. And I sure as hell can prove it to you," she pushed past Sam and started for the door. Sam's instincts caused him to turn and reach out in an attempt to stop her, but Nick was one stride ahead of him. He'd crossed the space between where he'd been standing and his sister's retreating form in two heartbeats.

"No," he said, grabbing her arm. "You go home. You go home and take care of Addy. She's gonna need someone to keep her together after Jaynie…"

"I'm not gonna just go home and hand my friend tissues, Nick," she interrupted, pulling her arm roughly out of his grasp. "I know how to work a crime scene."

"Okay, Cagney," Nick shook his head. "You're a criminal justice student, not a cop. You stay away."

She cut her eyes from her brother and over to Sam. Free of her brother's grip, she started for the door.

"Hey," Nick barked, startling Sam with how much he sounded like Dean. She stopped at the door, looking back over her shoulder. "You stay away. I mean it. Don't make me lock you up, Grace."

Pushing the door open, Grace shot a finger over her shoulder at her brother, letting him know exactly what she thought about that idea.

Nick sighed when the door closed behind him, then turned to face Sam. "Help you?"

Sam was still staring at the door Grace had exited, unable to get those large, blue eyes out of his mind.

"Hey, kid," Nick snapped his fingers in Sam's face. "You okay?"

Sam blinked. "Uh, yeah. Sure," he looked at Nick. "Why?"

Nick shrugged and circled around back behind the desk. "You looked a little sick there for a second." He picked up a pen and tapped it twice on a clipboard. "What can I do for you?"

"I, uh," Sam's thoughts were scattered. He wished desperately for Dean in that moment. No matter the situation, Dean always had a line, a story, a grin, or a glare that got them what they needed. "I'm transferring here from, uh, Stanford…"

Nick looked up with a slight grin. "Stanford, huh? Things just not work out for you there?"

Sam lifted the corner of his mouth in an insincere grin. "Yeah, you could say that. My, uh, car was stolen yesterday, but, uh, I wasn't on campus and…"

"Just fill out this paperwork," Nick grabbed a sheet and thrust it and the pen he'd been holding in front of Sam.

"What was all that about?" Sam asked, jerking his head over his shoulder while he filled out bogus information.

Nick sighed, "Not exactly a story you want to hear, just getting on campus and all."

Sam wrote 1967 Chevy Impala on the line asking for his home address. "What did she mean about there being two more?"

Nick looked over Sam's shoulder to the doors Grace had exited through. "She was just upset. Her roommate was killed last night."

"Oh, that's terrible," Sam said, frustrated that he wasn't getting more out of the young cop. He finished filling out the form, and dropped the pen. He knew who he needed to talk to. "Thanks, I'll, uh, check back," he said, sprinting out of the station and ignoring Nick's call of hey, wait!

He expected to have to search for her.

He practically ran her down as he stepped through the doors.

"Took you long enough," she said, her arms crossed, head tilted to the side, her eyes flashing. "You following me?"

"What?" Sam pulled his head back. "No! Why would you say that?"

"I saw you this morning. In the woods," she said, narrowing her eyes. "You were with another guy."

Sam blinked, surprised, thinking about how distraught she'd been. She missed nothing. "My, uh, my brother."



"What are you doing here?" Her stance didn't change, her eyes were cool, calculating.

Sam decided to try a different tactic. Honesty. Or as close as he could come to it, anyway. "I was trying to find out more about the, uh, murder."

Her eyes softened slightly. "Her name was Jaynie. Jaynie Tyler."

"Your roommate, right?"

"Yeah. I've lived with Jaynie and her sister Addison for the last two years."

"You said there were going to be two more," Sam said. Grace's eyes dropped to the ground, then she lifted them slowly to look at him through her lashes. Sam felt the bottom drop out of his stomach.

"There are. He kills in threes. An idiot could see this pattern, uh…"

"Sam," he supplied. "Sam Beckett."

"Like the playwright?"

Sam grinned, his cheeks folding into dimples. He was impressed that she knew that. "Yeah, like the playwright."

"Grace Brookes. That was my older brother, Nick. My best friend and the bane of my existence."

Sam nodded, looking down. "Yeah, I got one of those."

"You hungry, Sam?"

Sam met her eyes. "I could eat."

"C'mon," she casually hooked her arm through his. "You're buying me lunch. We can talk about blind police officers."

Sam nodded, liking the feel of her hand on his arm, the touch of her shoulder against him. "Lead on."


Raleigh Public Library, mid-afternoon

Dean rubbed his fingers over his tired eyes for the tenth time that hour, then looked back down at the notes he'd taken. Lunar cycle, three nights of the full moon, three deaths, exsanguinated, but no organs missing, not mutilated, no werewolf, slices in neck, not bite marks, no vampire, victims displayed, Vitruvian Man, demonic? human sacrifice? occult?

Damn, I hate microfiche…

Searching through the newspapers from the past five months had left him slightly nauseous from spinning through the words. He'd arrived about three hours ago, charmed the librarian into relinquishing files to him that he would have otherwise needed a student pass to obtain, and had spent the better part of that time alternating between searching for something – anything – that would help him understand why Sam would get visions about a girl they had no hope in hell to save. The librarian, a fifty-ish woman with bottle-red hair and a wide, friendly smile, had been back several times to check on him since feeling the impact of his slow grin.

"Thought you could use some fuel," said a quiet voice from behind him.

Dean leaned back in his chair, looking over his shoulder at the red-haired woman who'd set him up at the viewer over two hours ago. She held a sandwich and a cup of coffee in her hand. His eyes lit up and she smiled back at him in reaction.

"Oh, God, I could kiss you right now," he groaned, taking both from her greedily and shoving the sandwich into his mouth.

"Honey, I'm old enough to be your mama," she said, the smile growing wider as she watched him inhale the food. "But even mamas need a little sugar." She winked.

Dean grinned back as he chewed, watching as her eyes lit on the article he'd left up on the viewer, then dropped to his notes. She paled slightly then looked back at him. He swallowed loudly, watching her closely.

"You know," she said, her voice dropping to a whisper, "the police are afraid. I think they're afraid because they suspect."

"S'pect wha?" Dean asked around another mouthful of sandwich.

"That whatever is killing these girls ain't human." She nodded toward the viewer and its picture of the first victim, covered with a sheet, but still strapped to a stone. "No human could do that to another."

Dean blinked in surprise. The people in this town amazed him. A grandma with a police scanner, a librarian who believes in the supernatural… what was next – Elvis? "You think it's… what?"

She looked down at his notes, taking in the comments. "From what I see here, I think that you can tell me more than I can tell you, honey." She met his eyes, and shook her head. "But they're scared because they don't know how to catch it or cage it, and when it stopped last month… I think everyone just hoped that it had gone away."

"But it didn't," Dean said softly, sipping the hot, black coffee.

"Poor, Jaynie," the librarian sighed. "She had a sister, too, did you know that?"

Dean shook his head.

"This is going to destroy Addison. They were everything to each other."

Dean pulled his bottom lip into his mouth, nodded. "Yeah, I know what you mean."

The ringtone of his cell phone caught them both off-guard. The music caused the librarian's eyebrow to rise and Dean to grin sheepishly as he scrambled to pull it from his coat pocket. He looked at the caller ID, then flipped it open.


"Is this Dean Beckett?" came a shaky female voice.

Dean stood, his face pulled into a fierce frown. Beckett was their code name for when they were separated and one had discovered something rather unbelievable. Dean thought it fitting, considering his obsession with Quantum Leap and the idea of always having to solve other people's problems, but not being seen, not living a life other than the job.

"Yeah, who the hell is this?" He knew his voice had an angry edge to it based on the librarian's hasty step back, but he didn't care. Some random chick was calling him on Sam's phone, which could mean… "Where is my brother?"

"This is Grace Brookes," she said, tears heavy in her voice. "Your brother told me to call you. You need to get to the M T Cup, now."

"Where the hell is Sam?" Dean demanded, already beginning to move from the microfiche room, his notes stuffed in his jacket pocket.

"He's here, with me, but…"

Dean suddenly heard Sam through the phone, heard him cry out with pain, heard him gasp, not her, God… stop.

"Dean – hurry," Grace's voice turned frantic. "He's having some kind of… attack or something."

"I'm on my way," Dean said. "You stay with him, you hear me?"



"I hear you," she said, her voice stronger.

Dean clicked his phone shut and turned to face the librarian. "Tell me how to get to the M T Cup."

"Take a left out of our lot, two blocks, turn right. Can't miss it."

"Thanks," Dean stalked toward the door of the library, ignoring the surprised stares of the students, and missing the worried look the librarian divided between his retreating back and the article he'd left up on the viewer.

Dean had the Impala started before he'd pulled the driver's door shut. "Hang on, Sammy…"