Chapter 2

M T Cup Coffee Shop, mid-afternoon

The low rumble of the Impala drew the attention of several patrons of the coffee shop as Dean pulled to a harsh stop against the curb. He immediately saw Sam sitting on the ground, his back against the outside of the brick building, his head lowered, and his hands gripping his temples. Dean jumped from the car, swung around the front of the Impala and headed toward Sam, his eyes taking in the cute blonde crouched in front of his brother, one hand resting on his bent knee, the other holding a glass of water.

"Just take it easy, Sam," she was saying. "I think your brother is here."

"Sammy?" Dean crouched down on Sam's other side, his green eyes darting over his brother's hands, trying to see his face. He looked up at Grace, then quickly around, surprised that there weren't more people lurking. Grace seemed to read his mind.

"I told them to give him some air," she said.

"He did it again, Dean," Sam said, his voice weak and muffled, his breath coming in short bursts.

Dean shot his eyes back to his brother. "It's okay, Sam. Let's just get you out of here."

He clutched Sam under his shoulder and grabbed his arm at the wrist, noting how Sam's hand automatically tightened around his own wrist in response. He did not want Sam to go into the details of his vision in front of Grace.

Shifting his weight and tightening his grip, Dean managed to pull Sam to his feet, Sam's free hand still gripping his head. Dean staggered back once as Sam swayed forward, and put his shoulder into Sam's chest to keep him upright. Grace stayed close, the glass of water forgotten on the ground, her hands open and waiting. Dean shook his head wondering how she expected to catch his brother if he fell; Sam was twice her size.

"C'mon," Dean said in a low voice to Sam, hoping his brother was with it enough to keep quiet until they were alone.

Sam didn't say anything; he just let Dean shift his weight so that his arm was over Dean's shoulder. Dean felt him shaking against him as he led him to the Impala. Grace sprinted ahead and opened the passenger side door for them.

Dean shot her a grateful look, then eased Sam's lanky form down into the seat, keeping his hand on Sam's shoulder as his brother immediately curled forward, clutching his head. When Sam was in the car, Dean shut the door and turned to face Grace's worried expression. She was looking through the glass at Sam. As if feeling Dean's eyes, she looked up at him expectantly.

"Uh," Dean flipped the Impala's keys into the palm of his hand from his jacket pocket. "Thanks."

He turned and moved quickly around the front of the car, slid behind the wheel and engaged the engine. He looked over at Sam worriedly, his glance catching Grace's irritated gaze. As he looked out of his window over his shoulder checking for traffic, he heard her shout after him.

"Don't mention it!"

Sam didn't say a word on the drive to the motel, and Dean felt his jaw growing tighter with each rotation of the wheel. Sam's visions usually hit him hard, but had never left him with such a psychic hangover before. And he'd never seen Sam shake so badly as a result, either. He pulled to a stop in the parking spot directly in front of their room and Sam was out of the car before Dean had slid the gear into park. Dean jumped out and followed, tracking his brother with his eyes.

Sam slammed into the motel door, kicking the base of it in fury when he couldn't get it open.

"Easy there, Fezzik," Dean hurried up to him, surprised at Sam's frustrated attempts to pound the locked door down. "I got the key."

Dean shouldered Sam out of the way, opened the door and stumbled back when Sam pushed past him, heading directly to the table and the laptop. Dean stepped into the room slowly, his face pulled into a frown, and closed the door behind him. He shrugged out of his jacket, laying it across the back of the chair opposite from the one Sam had dropped into, then, seeing the fine sheen of sweat on Sam's face, went into the bathroom to fill a glass with cool water. Snagging three ibuprofen's, he returned to Sam.

"Here," he said, grasping Sam's shoulder and attempting to pull him back from the laptop screen to hand him the painkillers and water.

Sam shrugged out of his grip, muttering, "He tied her that way on purpose… I've seen it somewhere…"

"Hey!" Dean barked when Sam resisted him.

Worry and fear manifested itself differently in the Winchesters. Dean reacted in anger, much like John. Sam reacted in compassion, as Dean imagined their mother might have. Therefore, he regretted the bite of his tone the minute the word shot from his lips, but it elicited the desired reaction: Sam looked up.

"She was tied to the stone, man," he was saying, his eyes large, his face damp with perspiration, a line of pain bisecting his eyebrows and pulling his normally boyish face into a grimace. "Like this," he turned the laptop to face Dean.

"Yeah," Dean nodded, sitting on the bed, the water and aspirin still clutched in his hands. "I know, Sam. The Vitruvian Man."

Sam's eyebrows went up. "How the hell do you know that?"

"What do you think I've been doing all this time?"

"No, I mean, how do you know what the Vitruvian Man is?"

Dean narrowed his eyes and tilted his head to the side. "What? I can read you know." He handed the meds and glass to Sam.

Sam took them, swallowing the ibuprofen and gulping down the rest of the water. Dean watched him closely, noting that his eyes were starting to come back from the vision, come back to the now. He braced his hands on his knees and waited.

"He glued her lips together," Sam said, rubbing a trembling hand over his eyes, then down his face. "She couldn't call out, she couldn't move… she just had to watch him kill her." He pulled in a breath. "I had to watch him kill her," he said, dropping his head, looking at the floor. "Again."

Dean leaned forward, scratching the back of his head, then lifted his eyes to Sam. "We're gonna figure this out, Sam."

Sam suddenly shot to his feet, moving away from Dean and stalking to the small window that faced the parking lot. "You know, you keep saying that, but I've watched Jess die twice now and I wasn't able to stop it the first time. I don't know what makes you think there's anything we can do about this."

Dean froze when Sam said her name. He straightened his shoulders slowly, bracing his hands on his thighs, pulling in a breath through his nose. "Sammy…"

Sam reached up and rubbed at the back of his neck with his right hand. "He sacrificed her, Dean. I mean… how many times does she have to die because I can't—"

"Sam!" Dean stood, his voice low, commanding. "Stop it."

Sam dropped his hand and turned slowly to look at him. Dean clenched his jaw, refusing to react to the raw heartache he saw brimming in his brother's eyes. He dropped his chin and pressed his lips together, pulling his strength from deep inside of him and pushing it toward Sam through his eyes.

"We're gonna figure this out, you and me, okay? You hear me?"

Sam didn't reply.



"You need to think back through this vision," Dean said, his chest hitching at the look of pain that flashed across Sam's face at his words. "You need to think about what is different."

Sam shook his head. "No," he whispered. "No, man, I can't."

Dean sighed and half turned away from him, his eyes lighting on the opened laptop. "Vitruvian Man, a dagger, the location of the cuts, bleeding out the victims," he said, spreading an arm out toward Sam, the fingers of his opened hand flicking closed as he called out the facts. "We're talking occult here, Sam. We're talking human sacrifice. We're talking demon, man."

Sam shook his head again. "I don't care, Dean. I can't watch Jess die again."

"Dammit, Sam, it's not Jessica!" Dean whirled to face him. Sam flinched and backed up a step, his back against the wall of the motel. Dean pressed his advantage, watching as his words slammed into his brother. "You have to shake this off, okay? You have to let her go, man. I know you miss her, but this is killing you."

"Dean…" Sam folded his lips, his eyes darting away from Dean.

"You have to focus, Sam. Or someone else is going to die."

"It was the same, Dean." Sam shook his head. "You don't get it… it was the same, okay? The exact same damn woods, at night, Jess—the girl—tied to a stone, a man in a hood, the blade cutting her wrists…" Sam shoved his hands into his hair, sliding down the wall to sit in a heap next to the door of the room.

Dean stepped toward him, crouching in front of him, balanced on the balls of his feet. "Think, man. Something is different. Maybe you're seeing the same girl, but…" He shook his head, looking down, his voice dropping to a whisper. "Something's gotta be different."

A silence fell between them, heavy with memories, with pain. Then Dean heard Sam take a breath.

"Wait," he whispered, pulling his hands from his head. Dean looked at him. Sam's eyes darted in thought. "Wait…"

"What is it?"

"Her shirt…" Sam swallowed, then looked at Dean, his eyes clearing noticeably. "Her shirt, Dean. She was wearing a white tank top."

"Different girl," Dean nodded.

"Different girl," Sam echoed. "Different night," his eyes shot over Dean's shoulder, and Dean turned his head to see the clock. It was not yet five p.m. "We still got a chance."

"Atta boy," Dean clapped a hand on Sam's bent knee, then pushed himself to his feet. The sudden change in elevation made his vision swim for a moment, but he steadied himself. He knew even his body had limits, but he was willing to push them for this case. He would push them for Sam. He reached down and hauled Sam to his feet.

"So," Sam said, stepping back over to the laptop. "You really think it's a demon?"

Dean sighed, turning to the duffel of weapons sitting on his bed. "One way to find out," he said. "Head to the crime scene… check for sulfur."

He pulled out his .45, ejected the clip, checked the chamber, then slid the clip back into the gun and flipped the safety on. He tucked it into the back waistband of his jeans, then reached into the bag for his flask of holy water and his EMF walkman. He grabbed his jacket and stuffed the remaining supplies into the pockets.

"We go into the woods now, there's bound to be cops all over the place," Sam said.

"Then we'll do it real quiet like," Dean looked up at him with a half grin. "Besides, you see any cops in your vision?"

Sam shook his head. Dean shrugged. They both jumped slightly at the sudden knock at the door. Dean shot a look to Sam who lifted a shoulder. Dean peeked through the peephole, but saw nothing. Pulling his gun from his waistband, he motioned with his head for Sam to stand behind the door, lifted his gun with his right hand and opened the door with his left enough to look out.

Grace stood off to the side of the door, her arms crossed over her chest.

"How the hell did you find us?" Dean exclaimed in surprise, the door opening slightly wider in his shock.

She lifted an eyebrow. "Criminal justice major raised by cops," she said. "Besides," she looked over her shoulder at the Impala. "You guys don't exactly blend with that baby."

Dean couldn't help it. He grinned at her. He heard Sam step up behind him and practically felt his brother's eyes roll at his reaction to her comment. Grace saw Sam and her expression immediately softened, her eyes lighting up.

"Sam!" she said with relief plain in her voice. "You okay? You really scared me."

Sam put a hand on Dean's shoulder and gently moved him to the side, letting Grace into the motel room. Dean hurriedly flicked the safety back onto the .45 and shoved it back into his waistband. He watched as Sam stepped back, his head lowered, his eyes on Grace.

"Hey, Gracie," Sam said softly. "I'm okay."

Dean blinked at Sam's tone. His voice held that hint of familiarity coupled with warmth Dean had only heard his brother use with him.

Grace stepped toward Sam, reaching for his face and Dean's eyebrows raised as Sam let her lay a gentle hand on his cheek. "You sure you're okay?"

Sam nodded into the palm of her hand. "I get migraines sometimes," he said, then seemed to remember that Dean was not only still in the room, but was staring directly at him with open surprise. Sam stepped away from Grace, deftly turning the laptop away from her eyes and closing the screen.

"That was one hell of a migraine," she said, sounding doubtful. She crossed her arms over her chest again, shifting her eyes to Dean. Dean immediately dropped his eyebrows and tipped his chin up at her, silent.

"Fine," she said, chewing on her bottom lip, her eyes scanning the room. Dean saw the minute she realized that the duffel on the bed contained weapons. Her shoulders stiffened and she tilted her head to the side.

Sam looked from Grace to Dean and back. Grace dropped her arms, lifted an eyebrow, and met Sam's eye. "I'm coming with you."

"How do you know where we're going?" Dean asked, but she didn't look at him.

"You're PIs, right?" she asked Sam.

"Uh," Sam glanced from her face to his brother. "I guess you could say that."

"You're going to the crime scene," she concluded. "And I'm coming with you."

"Grace, I, uh, don't think your brother would like that very much," Sam shook his head.

She narrowed her eyes at Sam, then turned toward the door. "What my brother doesn't know won't hurt him," she said. "And besides," she paused with her hand on the doorknob, her shoulders dropping a little. "He wasn't the one that had to tell Addison that Jaynie…"

Sam looked at Dean. "Addison is Jaynie's…"

"Sister, yeah, I got that," Dean said. But then a thought occurred to him. He tilted his head to the side. "Hey, Grace?"

She looked up at him, her hand still on the doorknob. "Yeah?"

"Were Addison and Jaynie twins?"

Grace looked surprised by the question. "Yeah, why?"

Dean looked at Sam, watched as the blood drained from his face. Sam blinked rapidly and Dean held his breath, hoping his exhausted brother wouldn't choose now to keel over. Sam swallowed, shifted his eyes down and then back up to Dean.

"She might see something we don't, man," Sam said. "Couldn't hurt to bring her."

Hell, yeah, it could, Dean thought, biting his tongue on his retort. Bringing anyone else in on a hunt had always been a liability to Dean… but it wasn't like they hadn't done it before. And it wasn't like they hadn't needed the help before. He sighed, looking at his brother. Sam was obviously hurting, and something about this girl calmed him down. Dean figured he could risk it… once.

"You do what I say when I say it," Dean said to Grace. "Got it?"

Grace looked over at Sam as she opened the door. "Are all older brothers such a pain in the ass?"

Sam grinned at her, following her to the car. Dean watched them go, watched Sam open the back door for her, then slide into the passenger seat. He grabbed his jacket, shaking his head, then closed and locked the motel room door behind him. Something felt wrong, felt off. The job, the demon, Sam's visions…

Something's not right...


Crime Scene, early evening

The woods were empty. Not a boy in blue in sight. Dean had to admit that he was slightly surprised. With the number of killings this town had seen over the last several months, he would have staked out the place a long time ago. 'Course I'm not a cop, he mused, working his way through the trees. Police weren't hunters. They didn't think the same, didn't have the same instincts. And truth be told, Dean was grateful for their absence. It made his job easier.

"Grace, stay back," Dean said in a low voice, approaching the yellow tape that wrapped around the small clearing with apprehension.

It wasn't so much the task that was making him edgy as it was the company. Sam had talked amicably with Grace on the drive to the crime scene, had seemed relaxed, happy even, as they walked slowly through the wooded area, and as Dean ducked under the yellow tape, he saw that Sam had allowed Grace to slide her hand into his, lacing their fingers. Sam stayed next to her while Dean walked into the clearing.

Tightening his jaw, Dean moved toward the blood-covered, flat stone altar. It wasn't that he begrudged Sam the female attention. Hell, he knew how good it felt to escape into the arms of a woman when the life they led grew too dark for him to see his way through. He had encouraged Sam to that same end several times over the last year, particularly with Sarah Blake.

As he walked around the altar, he glanced up at Sam and Grace, standing just outside of the yellow police tape. Sam was doing exactly what Dean had always encouraged him to do. And Dean realized he'd been wrong. This wasn't Sam. And Dean wasn't blind; he knew why Sam was allowing himself to fall so quickly for this girl.

"See anything?" Sam called.

"Bloodstains," Dean called back, his eyes darting over the ground at the base of the altar. "Spikes in the ground… guessing for the leather straps."

"Leather straps?" Grace asked, her voice thin. Dean looked up and was slightly surprised after her bravado in the motel room to see her face so pale, her eyes scared.

"Yeah, uh," Sam ducked his head down to address her. "He uses leather straps to, um… tie them down."

Grace shook her head and looked away. "God, I didn't… I didn't know."

Dean watched her, his fingers tucked into his jacket pocket, tapping on the EMF reader. Don't think this is standard PI equipment…

"Hey, Grace," Dean said. "You live close by, right?"

She nodded.

"Close enough to walk?"

She looked at him, then nodded to the west. "Two blocks that way, left on Maine, big red house on the corner. Can't miss it."

"Sam," Dean said, causing his brother to look up. "Why don't you walk Grace home?"

Sam pulled his eyebrows together. "What?"

Dean nodded, motioning to her. "Walk her home, I'll check out a few more things, then meet you there later."

"Dean, I…"

"Sam," Dean leveled his eyes on Sam's. "She doesn't need to be here." You don't need to be here.

"Dean, it's getting late," Sam said, his eyes shooting over to the darkening horizon.

"We've got time," Dean said. "It's not night yet."

"What if you need help?" Sam protested, but Dean could see him wavering.

"I won't need help," Dean shook his head once.


"I'll meet you there, Sam." Dean dropped both hands into his jacket pockets, watching his brother.

Sam looked at him for another moment, then seemed to sag a little and nodded, letting Grace pull him back and away from the yellow police tape. He looked back over his shoulder at Dean once more before stepping into the shadows between the trees. Dean sighed and pulled out the EMF, fitting the headphones over his head, and poising his finger on the power button.

"Here goes nothin'," he whispered.


Grace's house, evening

"Who was she, Sam?" Grace asked as they rounded the corner and Sam saw the large red house.


Grace squeezed his hand once before she released it to climb the steps that led to the wide front porch. "The girl who put that look in your eyes."

Sam blinked, shoved his hands into his pockets and looked away. "She was, uh… she was going to be my fiancée."

It was the first time since the demon had revealed the truth to Dean back in that cabin in Missouri that Sam had said the words out loud. It cost him. His head swam a little and he felt his knees tremble with the effort of bearing his weight.

"I'm sorry, Sam," Grace murmured, stopping at the top of the stairs to look down at him. "Did she… leave you?"

Sam pressed his lips together. "Yeah," he nodded. "Yeah, she left."

Grace was silent for a moment. Then she reached out her hand to him. "C'mon," she smiled at him. "Come have a beer while we wait for your brother."

Part of Sam knew that he should decline – he should sit down on the steps to wait for Dean so that they could stake out the crime scene and wait for the demon or devil or whatever the hell it was to show. But a larger part, the part of Sam that had been screaming for attention since he'd gotten Dean back, since he'd made the deal that had freed his brother from the demon and had sealed his own fate, wanted nothing more than to go inside with Grace and lose himself inside of her normal life, if only for a moment.

He took her hand and allowed her to lead him into the house and to the kitchen. As they rounded the corner, Sam saw someone bent over, leaning on the door of the refrigerator, staring at the shelves full of food. At the sound of their entrance, the figure straightened and turned to face them.

"Oh, hey, Lucien," Grace greeted. "I didn't think we were going to see you this week."

Lucien smiled at Grace, then shifted pale blue eyes to Sam's face. He had a slight cleft in his upper lip, giving Sam the impression that he was snarling. Sam tipped his chin up by way of a greeting and Lucien's glance took him in, weighing him, judging him. Sam lifted a brow at the challenge he saw there.

"Yeah, well," Lucien said, his voice deep and a bit raspy. "I had a jury this morning and thought I'd take a couple of days off. I swear I could sleep for a week."

Grace stepped around him and ducked into the fridge to retrieve two beers, looking at Sam as she twisted the tops off and tossed them into the trash under the sink.

"Lucien, this is Sam," she said. "He's a friend of mine. Sam, this is my third roommate."

"How's it goin'?" Sam asked.

"Lucien's an architecture student, so we don't see much of him," Grace walked back over to Sam, handing him one of the beers, then turned back to her roommate. "You seen Addison tonight?"

Lucien shook his head. "Her mom's been here," he said. "Just left, actually."

Grace nodded. She looked over at Sam. "I'm going to check on her really quick," she said. "Wait here?"

"Sure," Sam nodded. He leaned against the counter, watching Lucien watch him.

"You dating Grace?" Lucien asked the minute she was out of earshot.

"Not exactly," Sam hedged.

"Sleeping with her?"

Awkward… "No, man, we're just friends."

Lucien huffed out an insincere laugh. "Nobody is just friends with a girl like Grace."

Sam lifted an eyebrow. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as Lucien's pale eyes raked over him once again. There was something almost… predatory in his gaze. He looked to Sam like he was preparing to pounce. Sam tightened his jaw.

"You guys getting along okay?" Grace's voice broke the tension.

"Sure thing," Lucien said. "I'll leave you two alone," he said, smiling again at Grace, then flicked his eyes once more to Sam. Sam held his gaze steady as Lucien left the kitchen. Soon they could hear Nirvana's All Apologies from a stereo somewhere nearby.

Grace was watching his face. "Don't let him get to you, Sam," she said. "He's a little creepy, but he's got a good heart."

"If you say so," Sam said in a low voice.

"C'mon," she took his hand and led him to the living room.

Sam stepped away from her and up to the old brick fireplace across from the couch. Framed photographs covered the mantelpiece. He took a drink of his beer and walked over to look. They were of Grace, Jaynie, and Addison, although Sam had no way of knowing who was who between the sisters. There were also several of Grace and Nick.

"This one is my favorite," Grace said, picking up one with Grace on Nick's back, her cheek pressed close to his, both laughing. "He practically raised me when our dad died. Our mom… she couldn't really deal with it, and that left Nicky."

Sam swallowed, thinking of Dean. "How old were you?"

"I was four, Nick was ten."

"He took good care of you," Sam said. It wasn't a question. Nick's devotion to his sister's wellbeing had been obvious to Sam in the police station that morning.

Grace smiled at the picture, then set it back on the mantel. "Yeah," she said. "He still does."

Sam rubbed his head, the ache behind his eyes still very much present. He needed to get back to Dean, needed to stop this monster from killing Addison. At least he knew where she was right now…

"…see the rest of the house?"

Belatedly, Sam realized that Grace was talking to him. "Sorry, what?"

"You okay, Sam?"

She was peering closely at him, her gaze seeming to penetrate the veneer he'd worked over the last year to build around him. He'd never be as good as Dean at building walls; Dean had over twenty years of experience. But since returning to this life after experiencing normal, Sam had become a quick study.

And Grace was getting through with just a look. He swallowed and nodded in answer to her question. He watched her eyes soften, and her chin trembled once. Without saying another word, she reached for his hand and wrapped her fingers around his, tugging gently on him and leading him through the living room and down a hall.

The door of her bedroom swung out into the hall rather than back into her room, he noted. There were two chairs and a long, thin table across the hall. Another bedroom was a little distance down the hall from them. Sam stepped back as she opened the door to her room, then allowed her to usher him in. It was large with several different sloping angles in the ceiling and two large windows flanking either side of the room. He heard her pull the door closed behind him and he turned to face her.

What the hell am I doing here… he rubbed the back of his neck, setting his beer down on her dresser next to a stereo. Dean could be there any minute, and he could just hear his brother's lecherous taunts about finding Sam in Grace's room.

"Grace, I should…"

"I've never seen a dead body before," Grace confessed, her voice soft. She was leaning against the closed door, her hands behind her. "Nick deals with death every day, y'know?" She looked up at Sam.

He nodded, waiting.

"My Dad was a cop, so Nick became a cop, so I'm gonna be a cop," she said, looking down. "But I'd never seen… I guess I didn't really get how – how quickly it can all go away."

"It's never easy," Sam whispered.

"I kept thinking… what if that were Nick, or my mom…" she stepped away from the door, walking up to Sam, but not touching him. "But not me. I didn't think what if that were me… do you think that's weird?"

Sam shook his head. His worst fear was of something happening to Dean. Of losing Dean. He thought he could handle anything else in his life except for that. Grace reached up and laid her hand flat against his chest, over his heart. He felt his pulse increase noticeably at her touch. She looked up at him.

"I don't do this," she whispered.

"Don't do what?" Sam asked softly, his eyes on her mouth.

"I don't do this," she repeated, then reached up and cupped the back of Sam's neck with her hand, pulling his mouth down on hers.

Sam reacted instinctively. He gathered her up against him, closing his eyes. She pressed forward, knocking him slightly off balance and he hit the dresser with his hip, reaching blindly back with one hand to balance himself. His fingers hit a button on her stereo and 311's Beautiful Disaster filled the empty places in the room.

Catching his balance, he wrapped his arms around her slim waist, picked her slightly up off of the floor and moved back toward the bed. He was lost in her. Her mouth covered his, capturing his breath, his tongue, his will. Grace felt different, tasted different, smelled different from Jessica, but in that moment, Sam didn't care. He caught them with his knee and one hand on her bed, lifting her and moving her up toward the pillows with his other arm. He rolled to his side, then his back, taking her with him, pulling her on top of him.

Grace tangled with him willingly. Their clothes were shed quickly, their hands roaming, their lips exploring. He let her move her mouth and dropped his head back as he felt her teeth on his ear, teasing the tender flesh there. He knew what he should do. He knew this wasn't taking care of the hunt, the job. But he didn't care. He was tired. His soul was tired. And she felt so good against him. His mind went blank and he just let himself feel…

He felt her curves and the softness of her skin and the heat of her breath and the fullness of her lips. He heard the harsh beats of her breathing mingling with his and the sound of the bed under them as they moved and the rhythm of the music as it matched them. He tasted the salt from her skin and the sweetness of her mouth. He saw... nothing. He kept his eyes closed and let his hands move and let his body react and then he was drowning in an escape he'd not felt in a long time.

Afterwards, Grace lay against him, her head on his shoulder, her leg over his belly, her arm tucked against his chest. He knew she was sleeping – her body was completely relaxed, her breathing soft and even. He should be in blissful oblivion with her. He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept. But he couldn't let himself go that far.

Dean was out there somewhere, and so was a killer. Sam shifted slightly in the bed and opened his eyes for the first time since her kiss. Grace looked young, innocent, vulnerable lying in his arms. Risking a moment of true intimacy, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead.

The scream cut through the stillness of the air and Grace jerked violently in reaction. Sam was out of bed before she could finish her startled gasp. He pulled on his boxers, jeans, and boots, cursing himself for not bringing a weapon. Another scream shook the house and he saw Grace scrambling out of the bed, illuminated only by the moonlight shining through her large window. His eyes darted quickly around the room and caught on a Louisville Slugger propped in the corner of the room.

"Stay here," he barked at Grace as she pulled his shirt on to cover herself.

"Sam, what…"

"Grace," he opened the door, stepped out, then looked at her, his eyes hard. "Stay. Here."

He shut the door in her surprised face, then for good measure, slid one of the chairs from across the hall over and propped it up under the door handle, locking her in.

He ignored her shouted protests and pounding on the door and hurried down the hall to the other door he'd seen earlier. He could hear distinct sounds of a struggle in the room. He shouldered the bat, then pulled the door open. The sight that met his eyes was so surreal, he almost didn't move in time. He knew it was Addison in that room. He knew… but he saw Jessica.

Jessica's wide blue eyes, her mouth pulled down in sorrow.

Why Sam…

A hooded man held Addison against him, her long blonde hair wrapped around his hand, a small dagger – the blade Sam had seen in his visions – held to her throat. Addison was bucking and kicking, seemingly ignoring the danger she was putting herself in, simply desperate to get away. Sam shook himself.

"Let her go!" Sam bellowed, charging into the room with the bat braced on his shoulder.

The hooded man's head snapped up, but Sam couldn't see his face. He roughly shoved Addison aside and she bounced against the floor and landed in a boneless heap beneath the opened window, unconscious. Sam took one step forward and swung the bat at the man's head. Impossibly, the hooded man brought his arm up at the exact right moment and caught the bat at the apex of the swing just before it slammed against his head.

He jerked the bat toward him and Sam stumbled with it. The punch caught Sam on the jaw, stunning him and pissing him off at the same time. With a growl, Sam charged forward and caught the hooded man at the waist, lifting him off the ground and slamming him into the opposite wall. Pressing his advantage, Sam pulled his right arm back and pounded his fist twice into the man's face. The man's head cracked harshly against the wall and Sam followed his punches up with a shot to the throat. Sam expected the man to fall forward gasping.

He didn't expect the knee to his crotch.

The pain was blinding, white-hot and all consuming. Sam's knees disappeared and he found himself on the ground, staring up at the shadowed face of the hooded man as he straddled him, grabbing his hair and returning the favor with interest. The hooded man's fists were like mallets as they slammed repeatedly into Sam's face. Sam could taste blood in his mouth – slam - could hear blood rushing in his ears - slam. He had to get him off – slam - had to push him away - slam

Dean would shoot him, right? Isn't that what was supposed to happen?

The hooded man stood and Sam curled forward as he felt the impact of a foot in his side. His last thought as his consciousness grayed out was Where the hell is Dean?


Crime Scene, night

Dean was shivering. It was his first clue that he'd actually fallen asleep. He was freezing, and, he realized belatedly, slightly damp from sitting on the grass propped against a tree. He lifted his head, blinking in the moonlight that was suddenly illuminating the empty clearing like a beacon.

"Son of a bitch," he muttered, stretching his stiff limbs to work feeling back into his extremities. He looked at his watch in the moonlight. "Son of a bitch."

Three hours. Sam had left three hours ago. Dean pushed himself to his feet, lurching a bit in his exhausted stupor, and stuffed the silent EMF walkman back into his pocket. It hadn't so much as hiccupped the whole time he'd been there.

He had sat down to rest – just for a minute – and to watch and see if anyone would wander by, cop or criminal. He should never have stopped moving. His last memory was of leaning his head back against the tree to watch the moon rise, large and orange as it reflected the light of the dying sun.

He sprinted back to the Impala, sliding behind the wheel and roaring the car to life. Turning a tight U-turn in the middle of the road, he headed in the direction Grace had pointed earlier, wondering idly if Sam had even missed him over the last three hours. He certainly had enough to keep him busy.

The house was dark when he arrived, but Dean could tell instantly that something was wrong. It just… felt wrong. He tucked his gun in his jeans and jogged up the porch steps. He pounded on the door once, waiting. Then he heard her. Grace's terrified voice.

Screaming Sam's name.

Dean took one step back and with a mighty heave, slammed his foot into the lock of the door, blasting it open.

"Sam!" He bellowed, moving through the house, following the sound of Grace's voice.

"Sam!" He called again, then realized Grace had heard him when she switched to yelling his name. He pulled his gun out and rounded the corner, facing the hallway.


Dean heard her voice coming from a room locked with a chair under the doorknob. He kicked it away and before he could open the door, Grace flung the door open, glanced up and down the hall, saw him, then took off in the opposite direction.

When Dean saw the second bedroom door, he realized where she was heading. He was down the hall and to the second door before Grace. He stepped through the doorway, gun raised, to see Sam on the floor, his face covered in blood, and a hooded man with a blonde girl in a white tank top clutched in his arms, climbing out of the window.

Dean rushed forward, gun pointed at the hooded man. He shot his eyes down to Sam as he passed, then focused on the disappearing figures of the man and the girl. He couldn't get a clean shot – the girl was limp in his arms and was draped across the man. Desperately, he reached for the man's sleeve, but the fabric slipped through his fingers.


"No!" Grace screamed. Dean caught her around the waist just as she was about to go out through the window. "Let me go, dammit!"

"Stop it," Dean snapped in her ear.

"He's gonna kill her!" Grace shrieked, pushing against his arms, causing him to tighten his grip. The heels of her bare feet beat harshly against his shins.

"Stop it!" Dean growled, dropping her roughly on the ground, shocking her into stillness. "Dammit, we didn't come all this way just to let that bastard win, okay? But, I sure as hell am not gonna have your blood on my hands."

"Dean…" Sam's voice was a weak whisper of breath.

Dean turned immediately from Grace's pale, shocked face and dropped down beside his brother.

"Sammy, hey." He carefully turned Sam's head to face him, wincing in empathy at the cuts on his brother's face.

"Sam?" Grace's voice shook and she crawled over to Sam's other side. Dean spared her a glance, noting suddenly that she was wearing Sam's shirt. She was shaking, but not crying, and for that Dean was glad. He was pretty much at his limit at the moment.

Sam groaned and shifted slightly.

"Take it easy, Sam," Dean said, using his thumbs to wipe some of the blood from Sam's face.


"Yeah, man, I'm here."

"Where were you?"

Dean's chest hitched painfully. "I'm sorry, Sam," he whispered, continuing to wipe the blood from around Sam's eyes.

"D'jou get the bastard?" Sam asked through swollen lips.

Dean shook his head. "No, Sam."

"Dammit," Sam said, working to open his eyes. His left eye was swollen and cut, reminding Dean acutely of his injuries when they were in the cabin in Missouri. "Saw 'im, Dean."

"You saw him?"

"Saw 'is eyes," Sam blinked hard, reaching up to grasp Dean's shoulder, his fingers sliding, then gripping Dean's coat. "Saw 'is eyes."

Dean leaned forward as Sam's grip tightened. "You saw his eyes? Were they… black?"

"No, man," Sam shook his head, his jaw muscle clenching. His pain-filled gaze met Dean's squarely. "They were insane."