Sam didn't in general care that much for the old monster movies, but he watched them because Dean did. Like he had done so many things in his life because Dean did. While they watched the rest of the movie together, his mind ran a mile a minute, working on how to get Dean out of his deal, working on how to incorporate Grace into their family dynamic, while he tried to suppress the anger at his father for not telling them about her. It was hard work, but he somehow managed, because Dean didn't notice he was fuming inside.

"What's up with you?"

Sam closed his eyes briefly, then sent Dean a brief glance. Busted, he thought. "Nothing. Why?" he asked.

The look in Dean's eyes was full of suspicion. "I know you. You've got something on your mind. Is it about Grace?"

"No," Sam deflected, then grimaced. "Yes. In part. I don't know," he added and in truth he didn't really know what bothered him the most. The deal, Grace or that dad hadn't told them. Then again, dad hadn't told them about a lot of things and Grace wasn't a bother. It all came back to the deal.

The furrow on Dean's brow deepened, alerting him to the fact that Dean knew he was pissed off. "Make up your mind," Dean said. "Do you know something about her I don't?"

Sam sighed. "No, Dean, I don't know anything about her that you don't," he said and sent a brief glance toward the hallway. He didn't know where Grace had disappeared to. She was probably upstairs. "I don't think there's any doubt that she is who she claims to be," he added.

"You still obsessing about the 'pushing'?" Dean asked.

Sam frowned and focused on him again. "The 'pushing'?" he asked, then realized what Dean was talking about. It was an opportunity to make Dean stop digging and he grasped it with both hands. "Actually, yes," he said. "It's ... bugging me."

Dean eyed him closely for a moment, then turned his attention toward the hallway. "GRACE?"

She came down the stairs a second later. "What?" she asked.

"Do you have a map of this town?" Dean asked and flashed her a smile. His tone had changed radically. He was sweet-talking her and Sam wondered if she fell for it.

The look in her eyes told him no. "This town ain't big enough to have its own map," she countered. "What do you need to know?"

"Where you found me. Where is that in relation to here?" Dean asked.

Grace considered it for a moment. "It's North-West of here," she said.

"In a straight line?" Dean pressed.

"Straight line? Not a chance," Grace countered. "It's pretty much as round-about a path as you can take. And from what I could tell from the tracks in the snow leading away from where I found you, the path you had already traveled wasn't exactly straight either."

Dean glanced at Sam, then returned his attention to Grace. "In your experience, is it normal for someone in Sam's condition to take a crooked path like that?"

She eyed him, then folded her arms over her chest while a frown furrowed her brow. "Why?" she asked.

"Because," Dean said and Sam grimaced. Dean could get very single-minded when it came to getting answers and at times he would go to any lengths to get the answer he was after.

Grace's expression didn't change, but Sam had the distinct impression that she didn't like Dean's tone right now. "Because what?" she asked, her tone a little flat.

Obviously Dean hadn't expected her to get stubborn about it and Sam couldn't help a vague smirk at the thought. Being their father's sister – older sister no less – would pretty much guarantee that she had a stubborn streak and didn't put up with any crap. Dean threw up his hands in mock surrender. "I'm curious, okay?" he tried.

She pursed her lips and briefly dropped her gaze to the floor. "No," she finally said. "It's not normal. A more or less straight line would have been more obvious. But given the condition he was in ... I would have said that he should have turned up at the last house in the row, not here. Hell, he should have steered toward the very first house he came to and not made his way back to this street at all. But there's no standard rules for how people with concussions and hypothermia react."

"So, it's not exactly abnormal, then?" Dean asked.

"What's with the twenty questions?" Grace demanded.

"We were just talking about it and Sam here thinks he was guided here," Dean said. Sam felt like lashing out at him, but refrained from doing so. They had no idea where Grace stood on issues like the supernatural and blurting something like that out might make her think he was a bit weird and he really didn't want her to view him like that.

"Guided?" Grace asked and arched an eyebrow. "Like how?"

"He just said he felt like he was being pushed here," Dean explained and Sam could hear the repressed hilarity in his voice. He knew it was Dean's way of testing Grace's beliefs, but it was at Sam's expense and he didn't like that one bit.

Grace shifted her attention to Sam and he made a face in reply. What could he say, after all? "You think your father guided you to me?" she asked, directing that question to Sam. She was sharp, that one.

He met her eyes. "I don't know. I just ..." He didn't know what to say. The moment had turned somber all of a sudden, because Grace sure didn't think this was funny. She took it seriously and Sam relaxed a little. "I guess it depends on what you believe in," he added.

She nodded. "I lost my faith a long time ago," she said. "But I'm certainly not denying that there's more out there than meets the eye."

Obviously, this revelation surprised Dean. "Really?" he asked. "What do you believe in? And what made you lose your faith?"

She glanced toward the photos on the mantelpiece. "I don't necessarily have any specific beliefs," she said. "And I lost my faith the day my husband and son died." Her tone had gone decidedly flat now and Sam realized that she was masking pain that way.

"Your ... son?" Dean sounded stunned and Sam felt a bit of that too. Of course, the photo representing her husband did have a kid in it too. A baby, actually, but that could have been someone else's.

Grace sighed lightly, then settled down on the armchair across from them while Dean switched the TV off.

"You had a son?" he asked and glanced up at the photos in their frames.

"Yes," she agreed and grimaced.

"What happened to them?" Sam asked quietly. If she had been a stranger, he wouldn't have asked. But she was family.

She leaned back, a very characteristic expression on her face. It reminded Sam of Dean when he got stubborn about not wanting to share whatever was on his mind. "As I mentioned before, they died," she said. "Not something I really like to think about."

"Understandable," Sam said. He wouldn't press her and he was damned well going to drive an elbow into his brother's broken ribs if Dean pushed the issue. Sometimes, the guy could be very insensitive.

Grace shrugged. "But I guess you have a right to know," she said after a moment. "I was working the night it happened, out being a paramedic, saving lives." She snorted, the look in her eyes distant. "But I couldn't save the lives of my husband and son." She sighed. "The house burned. The police called it an electrical short in one of the walls."

Sam stared at her and so did Dean. "A house fire?" Sam asked and glanced at Dean, who had seemingly lost the power of speech.

Grace blinked, glanced from Sam to Dean and back again. "Yes," she agreed. "Why does that surprise you so much?"

Suddenly feeling a little lightheaded, Sam scratched the back of his head. "Well ... it's not that common, is it?" he tried, unsure of what to say.

"I don't know. A lot of people die in house fires every year," Grace countered.

"Yeah, but ..." Sam trailed off. He really had nothing else he could bring up right now and it actually worried him a bit. There was the possibility that Grace had lived through the same deal their dad had, which in and of itself threw him big time. He had no idea how to respond to it and a previous assessment that their family was cursed hit him again. From what Ruby had told him, he would have assumed that it was his mother's side, but now he wasn't so sure.

"Dean, are you okay?" Grace asked, fixating on his brother.

"How old was your son?" He had finally found his voice again and that was his first question? Sam flinched inwardly. In part at the nature of the question and in part at the tone of Dean's voice. It didn't really sound like Dean had a very good grip on himself right now.

Grace stared at him. "Six months," she replied.

Dean swallowed, not once taking his eyes off Grace. "Exactly?" he asked.

"Yes," she agreed. "Why?"

"Where did the fire start?" he asked, ignoring her question.

For a moment she remained silent, just sat there and stared back at him, then she folded her arms over her chest again while her frown deepened. "In the nursery," she countered. "Why are you asking all these questions? Are you ..." She trailed off, shifted her attention to Sam, then back to Dean. "What the hell is going on here?"

"Kinda the same thing that happened to us," Dean finally said and cleared his throat. Sam glanced at him. It was so rare that someone managed to get him to lower his defenses and they were pretty much down right now. Sam had no doubts whatsoever that the shutters would be slammed shut again very soon, though. Dean didn't like being vulnerable and any display of emotion was just that. "When Sam was six months old. Our mom died in that fire." Dean's tone sounded almost wooden, painfully strained.

Grace glanced back at Sam for a second. "What are you telling me?" she asked.

"Do you believe in the supernatural?" Sam asked. He couldn't help it. They were on shaky ground right now. If she didn't believe, if she refused to believe, this could make or break this relationship.

"The supernatural? What does that have to do with anything?" She was taken aback, confused by their line of questioning.

"We're talking about coincidences here," Dean said, his tone a little stronger now. "Coincidences that are too far out there to be coincidences."

Grace was a thinker. Sam could tell by the way she eyed Dean, by the way he felt he could see the puzzle pieces in her head clicking into place. She wasn't like dad or Dean. She was more like him. And there was some part of him that really, really relished that idea. "So ... you think that what happened ... is supernatural in nature?" she asked and glanced from one to the other and back again, her expression more than anything showing the conflict in her. "I mean ... I grant you that this is one hell of a coincidence, but ..." She shook her head. She was on the fence about this, unsure of how to respond to any of it.

"Have you ever had anything ... weird happen to you?" Dean asked. He was on a roll now and Sam wondered how much of this he would reveal to Grace. In Sam's opinion, a little at a time was better than everything at once.

"Weird? You mean as in supernatural?" she asked and Dean nodded. "Apart from the fact that my husband and son died in a fire that spread far too fast to make sense? No, I can't say that I have," she said.

"You lost your faith when you lost your husband and kid, then?" Dean continued.

"Pretty much," she agreed, her tone now tense. "I don't really see the reason to worship a deity that kills babies in their cribs. I prefer to believe in the unpredictability of life rather than an omnipotent being watching over all of us."

Dean glanced at Sam, who tried to convey that he thought this was enough for now, but Dean either didn't register it or didn't care. "Well, we pretty much know that our mom wasn't killed by God," he said.

Grace stared at him. "Then what?"

"A demon," Dean said and Sam couldn't help the feeling of dismay flooding him. 'Don't go there. Not yet. She's not ready for this,' he thought, but he said nothing. It was out now.

"A ... demon?" Grace arched an eyebrow. She displayed that familiar look of refusal to believe. But then her eyes darkened when the frown reasserted itself. "Your mom was killed by a demon?" she reiterated and Dean nodded again. "And you think that the same demon killed my husband and son?"

"Our situations sound too similar for it to be anything else," Dean confirmed.

Whether she believed them or not, she was watching them intently right now, her expression revealing very little of what might be going on in her head. "And ... how is it that this demon killed my son, but not Sam?" she asked. There was a silent apology in her eyes when she directed her gaze at Sam and he managed a half-smile to let her know he didn't take offence.

"Because dad got us out of the house," Dean said quietly.

She eyed him for a long moment, then she dropped her gaze to her knees and just sat there. Sam grew steadily more nervous while Dean waited for her to absorb this information and deal with it. The worst outcome would be flat denial, a refusal to believe and the subsequent fear that always seemed to follow in the wake of such reality-altering ideas. If she denied them now, wrote them off as oddballs, it was unlikely that they would ever have a close relationship with her and Sam couldn't really handle that. He suddenly needed her to be in his life so desperately that he was gearing up to fend this off as a bad joke.

But then she looked up, met his eyes for a moment before covering her lips with one hand. "This is madness," she muttered into her palm, then let her hand drop. "Demons? Demons aren't real."

"Do you have any proof of that?" Dean asked. There was something dead in his voice right then, something that bothered Sam. "Because, you know, there's nothing I would like better than to be proven wrong on that one."

Grace nailed him to the couch with a look that belonged in their father's eyes. "Are you serious?" she asked. "Demons?"

"Dead serious, I'm afraid," Dean agreed.

She rubbed a hand over her brow and sighed, then suddenly rose. "I can't do this right now," she said and left the living room.

Dean watched her go until she was out of earshot, then he glanced back at Sam. "Shit," he stated.

"Pretty much," Sam agreed.

"She doesn't believe it," Dean said and settled himself more comfortably.

"Would you?" Sam asked and got up. He arched his back, shifted his left arm a bit and flinched at the tight pain this caused. "I'll go talk to her," he added, stepped over Dean's leg and followed Grace upstairs.

As expected, he found her in the TV-room, which in Sam's humble opinion pretty much was a miniature movie theater. She was standing by the window, staring out at the snow coming down heavy out there, arms folded over her chest, her stance filled with a familiar tenseness he recognized from his father. The more he got to know her, the more she reminded him of dad. A milder, friendlier version, but still dad. "Grace," he said and had to clear his throat.

She turned her head a little, didn't exactly look back at him, and stopped moving again. "Demons?" she asked.

"Yeah," he agreed. "We've seen them, fought them," he continued and grimaced, "felt them." Reminders he didn't need, but couldn't get rid of. "They're real."

"They belong in horror movies. Or during the Spanish inquisition or something. These are not the dark ages, Sam. Even religion isn't one hundred percent in control anymore." She turned back to face him. "How can this be real? Why ... would a demon ... kill my family?"

"It had plans. But it's gone. We killed it," he said. "But it doesn't undo what it has done, of course."

She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly while trailing her gaze over the room. "All this means nothing," she muttered. "Things. Soulless belongings. I define myself by what I own. What am I without all this?"

"Our aunt," Sam countered. "You were someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's child, dad's sister."

She met his eyes. "What are you without things? How do you define yourself?"

He frowned. It was a difficult question for him to answer. Two years ago he would have had the answer, right now he didn't know. "Dean's brother," he said. "Dad's son. A hunter."

"But nobody's husband or father," she said and he shook his head. "Not yet, at least," she added. "What the hell happened to the world? A week ago ... I thought I knew what had happened to my family. A freak accident, explained and tugged away in the back of my head. A week ago, I was ... Grace Alden, widow and former paramedic. And then you boys come along and tell me I have family, that my brother is dead, that the world has fallen off its damned axis and is tumbling helplessly through space? I can't cope with that." She ran a frustrated hand over her face, brushed all ten fingers through her hair. "When did it go so wrong?"

"I don't know," he confessed. "I think it's always been like that. People are just not seeing it."

"Justice must have been human once," she muttered and smirked joylessly.

"What?" he asked.

"Justice is blind, isn't it?" she asked and he nodded, half getting it. "So are we. Blind. Ignorant." She eyed him. "Were you hunting demons here? Was that what did this to these boys? To you?"

Sam shook his head. "No, no demons here. Just people. Sometimes they're just as bad as demons though."

"So ... you hunt the supernatural? Is that what you're telling me?"

Sam nodded. "Pretty much. I've never had anything else. Dean was four when this crap started for him," he said.

She closed her eyes, shoved her hands into the pockets of her dark slacks. "Oh god," she muttered, then blinked and focused on him again. "What a horrible life you must have had."

"I don't know," Sam said and shrugged his right shoulder. "Dean made it easy on me. I didn't know what was going on until I was ... older. He kept it from me in the beginning, made up stories about where dad was when he went on a hunt."

"John did that? Went out there and hunted ... things?" she asked, her tone full of muted surprise.

Sam nodded. "Yeah, he did. And he was good at it. Really good."

"How do you get good at ... killing? I mean ... if you respect life ... how ..." She trailed off with a shake of the head. "I suppose his military training came in handy there."

"Yeah, it did," Sam agreed. "Listen, I know this is a lot to take in all at once and for what it's worth, I wouldn't have chosen to tell you this right now."

"Then when?" she asked. "When's a good time to spring something like that on someone who doesn't know?"

He smiled ruefully. There was no good time for that sort of thing.

"No, it's ... okay. I just ... it's a whole new thing for me, you know. I ... just need some time to digest this. It's a whole lot all at once." She smiled vaguely, an apology in her eyes.

"I get it," Sam said and took a hesitant step back. "I'll ... give you some space. I just wanted to make sure you didn't ... think we were total cooks."

Grace snorted a laugh. "Oh, I think you're cooks alright," she said. "I can't rearrange my entire belief system just like that. I need to incorporate this into my world view, which has just gotten a whole lot dimmer."

He nodded, backed up another step. "I'll leave you to it," he said and started to turn away.

"Sam." She took a step forward, toward him. "For what it's worth ... I'm easy to convince. But I need proof."

"Oh, just hang around us for a while and you'll get more proof than you ever wanted," he said with a sad smile. "This stuff follows us around wherever we go." That said, he beat a hasty retreat back downstairs and sank down on the armchair she had abandoned.

"Well?" Dean eyed him closely. "What did she say?"

"She needs proof," Sam countered.

Dean mulled that over for a moment, then sighed and let his head drop back against the couch. He closed his eyes, pain-lines furrowing his battered brow. He was hiding it well, the pain, but he had never been able to fool Sam. "My bet's on that she'll get it if we hang around here long enough," he said.

"Yeah," Sam agreed. "Why did you tell her?" It had actually come as a surprise to Sam that Dean had told her about the demon. He had opened up to her like no one before her and Sam couldn't help wondering if it was the pain that did this to him.

"She's our aunt, isn't she? She has a right to know," Dean muttered. He sounded half asleep already.

Sam decided to let it go for now. His brother was still able to surprise him and probably always would be.