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

Rating: NC-17

Synopsis: With less than a month left before Dean's deal comes due, the brothers are thrown into a situation that goes over their heads. A demon dangles Dean's salvation in front of them and Sam has to go out of his way to fulfill the contract that will save his brother from Hell. And all Dean can do is stand by on the sidelines and watch while this new deal tears his brother apart.

Author's note: Don't ask me where this idea came from. I honestly couldn't say. Once in a blue moon, I get ideas like this for stories and they just have to be written, no matter how disgusting they may be. :)

New Castle

The old house shuddered in its foundation with the amount of energy rippling through it. Here and there, pieces of plaster fell from the ceiling, hitting the dusty old floor and adding to the general amount of debris already littering it. Of course, part of that shudder could have to do with the pieces of flying furniture as well, Sam mused and ducked to avoid a sideboard that hurtled toward him and hammered into the wall behind him, splintering into a thousand pieces on impact.

He skittered out of the way to avoid the brunt of it, straightened up again and squirted holy water at the approaching demon. It screeched, its face smoking, and it stumbled backward, losing control of a glass-fronted cabinet, that fell flat about two feet from where Sam was standing.

"Sam?" Dean yelled from the other end of the room.

"I'm fine," Sam called back.

Dean hit the wall with a grunt, bounced off it and landed on the floor on all fours. "Son of a bitch," he snapped, reared back up like a Jack-in-the-box and did his own bit of holy water squirting. "We need water guns for this," he yelled at Sam.

Sam smirked, then ducked when another piece of furniture came his way.

Once more, Dean hit the wall and this time he got stuck. "Now would be a good time," he yelled.

Sam nodded and started reciting the exorcism rites, which instantly caused chaos among the demons close enough to hear him. Two ran for it, three were already dead and the remaining five lost their hold on their hosts moments later, because Sam had memorized the rites and had perfected a speedy delivery of them.

Everything, including Dean, hit the floor the moment the demons were gone and Sam exhaled in a sigh. Damn, but he hated going up against demons. They were just too damned difficult to get rid of.

With a grunt, Dean got back to his feet, dusted himself off and then looked around the room. "I gotta give it to you, little bro," he said with a grin. "I don't think anyone has ever driven out demons faster than you."

Sam smiled and arched his back. "As long as you don't expect me to take it further than speed-reading them their rights, I'm all for it," he countered. "Let's get these five out of here. I don't think this house will remain standing for much longer."

"Good idea," Dean agreed.

Together they got the befuddled former hosts out of the house, supplied them with anti-possession charms for future notice and sent them on their way. Then both brothers turned back to face the house. "What do we do?" Sam asked. "Burn it?"

Dean glanced around the area and made a face. "Not a good idea. Too many houses close by," he countered and made a face when he cracked his back. "Damn, I'm getting too old for this," he added.

Sam rolled his eyes. "You're not even thirty yet," he said.

Dean gave him a glance. "And I never will be," he countered. "Let's hightail it out of here. I don't wanna be around when the cops show up."

The thought of Dean's impending demise and the fact that Sam hadn't been able to find a way to get his brother out of that damned deal hung like a heavy rain cloud over his head. With one month left to go, time was running out and Sam was getting more and more anxious with each passing day.

They headed for the Impala and barely made it out of there before the first sirens could be heard. "This is getting more and more fun every time," Dean said and checked the rearview mirror briefly.

"You've always had a weird idea of what's fun," Sam countered. "So, what's next?"

"Jackson, Michigan," Dean countered. "Bobby called this morning about that," he added.

"That's not far away. What the hell are they up to? I mean, there's been more activity over the last month than there's been since the gate opened," Sam said, grabbed his laptop from the backseat and flipped it open. He was keeping an approximate count of how many demons they had managed to send back to Hell, but even though they had made a fairly big dent in the demon population, the remaining demons didn't seem to slow down at all.

"Yeah, I know," Dean agreed. "Maybe they're gonna throw me a party when I arrive," he added and grinned.

"Don't joke about that, Dean," Sam muttered.

"Hey, I'm facing reality here. Besides, they'll probably get bored with me in no time and kick me back out," Dean countered. "Then I'll be back to haunt your ass for the rest of eternity."

Dean, like always, was trying to make a joke out of everything, but Sam could hear the underlying fear in his brother's voice. "Dean ..." Sam didn't know what to say or how to say it and it upset him plenty that he couldn't find a way to break that deal. Anything he had been able to think of so far had been of no help and Bobby's suggestion that he wouldn't find a way to break the deal in any book seemed to be right on the money.

"Don't, Sam, okay? We're doing our bit here and I'm kinda hoping it'll have an impact when my time comes due. Just ... let's enjoy the time we have left, okay?" Dean tried and he sounded desperate right now.

Sam swallowed hard and nodded, keeping his eyes on the laptop. It would be damned hard to enjoy anything, knowing that Dean would be dead in a month unless some miracle happened. Sam had reached the point where he was generally willing to do anything to get his brother out of that deal, but so far, no opportunity had shown itself.


They made it back to the Eldorado Motel at the other end of town, packed up their stuff and were out of there in less than an hour. The sooner they got out of town, the better.

On the road towards Jackson in Michigan, they drove in silence for the first half hour. Then Dean turned the radio on and they caught the tail end of a report on bodies found in an old house, which had collapsed moments later and made recovery of the bodies damned near impossible.

"Well, at least it'll take them a while to figure out they were shot," Sam said.

"Yeah," Dean agreed. "Would have been better if we had been able to salt and burn the bodies, of course. Just in case," he added and glanced at Sam.

"Yeah, well ..." Sam shrugged. "Not much we can do about it now."

"True," Dean said and lapsed back into silence.

"Hey Dean?" Sam tried after a moment.

"What?" Dean asked without taking his eyes off the road.

"How many do you think we're up against in Jackson?" It was an irrelevant question, silly to a point, because they never could know. But Sam just needed to talk. The silence was getting to him on a whole new level these days.

"Could be anywhere between one and one hundred," Dean countered and gave him a snide grin.

"So not funny," Sam said and watched the landscape whisk by for a moment. "That's all we ever do these days," he added.

Dean glanced at him. "What?"

"Hunt demons. When's the last time we actually dealt with anything other than demons?" Sam clarified and glanced back at him.

"Good question," Dean said and frowned at the thought. "Nothing really since the Trickster. And, quite honestly, I could have done without that little weirdo experience."

"You? You didn't remember squat. I'm the one who had to watch you die over and over again," Sam shot back and grimaced at the memory. "I don't wanna do that again."

"But he taught you a lesson," Dean said with that grin on his lips that always made Sam want to roll his eyes.

"Like what?" Sam asked a little grumpily.

"Like you can't do without your awesome big brother," Dean countered and glanced at him again. "Come on, Sam. Lighten up. It isn't the end of the world."

"Not yet," Sam grumbled. "And no, you're right, I can't do without you."

Dean didn't respond at first, just kept on driving, and Sam wondered briefly if he'd heard him. After a bit, he shifted a little and sent a furtive glance in Sam's direction. "You'll find a way," he suddenly said.

It was an ambiguous comment, but Sam knew what he meant and he wished desperately that he could agree, that he could be upbeat and believe. "I'll keep trying," he promised. "I don't really care what it takes either."

"You should, though," Dean said. "I don't want you giving up something you can't do without, Sam."

"Like my soul?" Sam asked a little tersely, unable to keep that stab to himself.

Dean grimaced and tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

"Sorry. That was uncalled for," Sam added after a moment. In truth he didn't really think it was, but that was beside the point. He really didn't need to make Dean feel any worse right now and he knew Dean was struggling as it was.

"Damn straight it was," Dean grumbled. "What's in Jackson in regards to accommodations?"

Sam decided to let this one slide, there was no need to get into it, and eyed the search results. "A Motel 6, Super 8, Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Colonial Inn, Country Inn. Take your pick," he countered.

"Which one's the closest to where we hit town?" Dean asked. "I'm bushed. I need some downtime before we get cracking on this next case."

"Colonial Inn or the Travelodge, depending on what road you're gonna take," Sam countered. "The 94 or the 127?"

Dean glanced at him. "How the hell should I know? I've never been to Jackson before. What's more likely?"

"The 94, which would make the Colonial Inn the first place we pass," Sam countered.

"Good, Colonial Inn it is. Why don't you call ahead and book us a room?" he suggested.

"Actually, the Travelodge is closer to Jackson," Sam amended and glanced at Dean, expecting an explosion.

"Whatever. Just get us a room," Dean countered and settled himself more comfortably.

Sam shrugged, dug out his phone and called the Travelodge to book a double room. He was told by the annoyingly chipper receptionist that they were in luck, there were only two rooms left and did he want a king-sized or two queens. Sam glanced at Dean and refrained from commenting inappropriately. "Two is fine," he said and hung up. "Well, we're set for the room. Now we just have to find out where that ... church is."

"You know, there's one thing I don't get," Dean said while keeping his eyes on the road. "How the hell can they even walk on holy ground? I've been wondering that since day one. Does that mean ... holy ground doesn't work?"

Sam frowned lightly. "I don't know. Maybe they don't ... sanctify church ground any more or something. Or maybe it's because they possess people. It's not like they walk on the ground themselves."

"Yeah, but I've never met a damned demon that felt even vaguely uncomfortable in a church or on church ground. It just makes you wonder, you know?" Dean countered and sighed. "Like the opposition doesn't give a shit what happens down here or something," he added almost thoughtfully.

With no answer for that sort of comment, Sam refrained from committing to an opinion on that and just muttered something under his breath instead. And Dean didn't press the issue.

A few hours later, they rolled into Jackson, Michigan, and quickly found the Travelodge. Dean went to check them in while Sam dug through the trunk to get what they needed to bring inside. When Dean returned, he slammed the trunk lid shut and tossed Dean the keys.

"The receptionist is kinda cute," Dean said with a smirk.

Sam eyed him for a moment, then shook his head. "You're impossible, you know that?" No matter how much he had tried to become more like Dean, the thing with the ladies just kept eluding him. He needed a commitment, needed more than just the urge to burn off some energy.

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with getting a little one-on-one time in with a cute girl, Sam," Dean chastised him, that grin still on his lips. "Besides, when they're into you ... you gotta roll with the punches."

With a by now mandatory roll of the eyes, Sam threw his duffle over one shoulder, picked up the weapon's bag and then eyed his brother for a moment. There was so much he wanted to say to him and every time he tried, Dean either shot him down with a witty remark and a crooked grin or groaned with exasperation and complained loudly about him being too damned emotional all the time.

He decided right there and then that whether Dean wanted it or not, he was going to have his say. Once this gig was over. And it preferably had to take place somewhere, where Dean couldn't walk out on him. "May have to tie him down for that to happen," he muttered under his breath.

"Huh?" Dean asked, grabbed his duffle and nodded toward the motel. "What are you mumbling about?"

"Nothing," Sam countered almost grumpily. "Could we just get to our room? I need a shower," he added.

"Damn, you're grumpy," Dean countered. "What do I keep telling you, huh? Lighten up, man. With that attitude, you're gonna scare the ladies away." Something about what he had just said made him bark out a laugh. "What am I saying?" he asked himself and shook his head, then took the lead.

Sam made a face and followed him. Sometimes, Dean was super annoying. Especially when he was in that mood.


"We take a look around the place, get to know the layout, and then we go back tonight," Dean said and tapped the map. They had gone to the closest bar for a beer to talk through where and when they were going to do this and Sam nodded in reply.

"Sure, but the research I've managed to do on this gig is sketchy to say the least, Dean. Maybe we should ... wait until tomorrow?" he countered. "Besides, you were the one complaining about being tired before."

Dean narrowed his eyes a little, then drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Okay, fine. We'll wait until tomorrow. Gives us more time to take a look around before we actually have to go up against them," he agreed. "How many bullets do we have left in the colt?"

"Six," Sam countered. "After this gig, we need to head back to Bobby's for a refill."

Dean nodded and took a hefty swig from his beer, then eyed the bottle for a moment. "Since we're not going to do this tonight, I'm gonna hang out," he said, got up and strode over to the bar to get himself another beer. He glanced back at Sam, who shook his head in response to the silent question. When Dean returned, he brought two bottles anyway and set one down in front of Sam. "You have got to learn to relax, Sam. And having a beer or two is not going to kill you," he said and dropped back down on his chair.

"First of, Dean, I don't drink beer like it's soda, okay? And secondly, I've still got half a beer left," Sam countered and pushed the bottle towards Dean. "I'm sure you'll manage to chug that one too before I'm done with my first one."

"Are you suggesting I have a problem?" Dean asked, then punched him playfully on the shoulder. "Stop being such a girl, Sammy," he added.

"I'm not suggesting anything. And stop punching me," Sam countered and rubbed his shoulder. He was sore already from their latest ordeal. "I don't need any more bruises, thanks."

Dean just smirked. "I'm gonna miss you," he said and sent a long look around the room.

For all his insistence that Sam should lighten up and forget about the impending deadline, Dean excelled in reminding him of it with little comments like that. Sam was beginning to think that he wasn't really aware of what he was saying.

Since Sam was watching him, Dean became aware that he had said something wrong and eyed Sam in return for a moment. "What?" he asked.

"Do you ever think about what you say before you say it?" Sam asked.

Dean sighed. "Are we gonna get into all this emo-crap again?" he asked. "Because if you insist on going into that all the time, Sammy, I'm gonna leave you here and find some chick who's not going to whine in my ear all night about how unfair life is."

"You're such a jerk sometimes," Sam muttered.

"Yeah, and you're such a bitch sometimes. What else is new?" Dean countered, downed half his beer and eyed Sam again. "Stop looking like a kicked puppy, for pity's sake. You're gonna scare away any potential females."

"Do what you want, Dean. I'm gonna head back to the motel," Sam said, pushed his chair back and got up.

Dean watched him for a second, then followed suit. "Spoil sport."

"I didn't ask you to come," Sam grumbled.

"No, but you've ruined my chances with this scene," Dean countered, swatted his behind and strode over to the door.

Sam very much felt like shoving him, but refrained from doing so. Whatever Dean was trying to do, it fell flat. Sam couldn't distract his attention away from the fact that they were on their last month and he struggled to maintain an amicable relationship with his brother instead of biting back and being – as Dean would call it – bitchy about his behavior.

They walked back toward the motel in silence, side by side, while Sam occasionally glanced at Dean, who seemed lost in thought.

When they turned into the parking lot, Dean came to a sudden stop. "Sam, stop staring at me," he warned.

"I'm not staring at you," Sam countered. "I'm sorry that I can't go along with your little plan of shoving it all under the carpet. I just ... can't do that, okay? We have less than a month left and ... I can't think of anything else."

"Well, you're gonna have to, Sam, because this is it, this is the real deal. I made this damned deal and I'm gonna have to carry through with it. There's no way out. I can't back down and even if I could, I wouldn't want to, because I'm not gonna watch you die again," Dean shot back, aggravated now. "What am I supposed to do, huh? What do you expect me to do? To condemn you? I can't do that, Sam. I don't want to do that." He threw his hands up in exasperation. "I'm trying to make it easier on you, Sammy. Don't you get that?"

"Yes, I get that, but you're not making it easier. You're making it harder. You can't go on pretending that nothing's wrong, Dean. I keep busting my ass trying to find a way out of this for you and all you do is shoot me down every time I want to talk to you about it. I need to talk to you about this. I need to ..."

"Maybe I can help?"

They both turned toward the source of that voice and Sam half expected it to be Ruby, but the woman standing there – although she looked familiar – was a stranger. She smiled.

"Hello, boys," she said, her tone close to a purr.

"Who the hell are you?" Dean demanded. He sounded a little rattled right now, not that Sam blamed him.

Her smile widened and Sam shuddered. It wasn't so much the smile as the complete lack of emotion in her eyes that sent that shiver up his spine. "You can call me Dawn," she said, shifting her gaze from Dean to Sam and back again. "And I may have a solution to your problem, Dean," she added.

Dean just stared at her for a moment, then glanced at Sam briefly. "Who the hell asked for your opinion, Dawn? No offence," he said a little gruffly.

"None taken," she said and smirked. She blinked and her eyes turned black.

Both of them took a step back and Sam's gaze shifted to the Impala parked not so far away. The car might as well have been a lightyear away right now, though, because Demon Dawn was positioned between them and the car.

"Not armed for battle?" she cooed. "Stupid of you, boys."

"Sam, send this bitch back to Hell," Dean said.

Sam cleared his throat, gearing up to recite the exorcism rites, but then stopped dead in his tracks when an icy-cold, invisible blanket wrapped itself around him. His jaw clicked shut and he couldn't opened it or move for that matter.

"Sam? Now would be a good time," Dean said, then glanced at him. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing for the time being," Dawn said. "I have an offer to make you."

"An offer?" Dean turned his attention back to her. "First thing you do, bitch, is to release my brother and maybe we won't send your sorry ass back to Hell right away."

Dawn kept on smiling. "Is that a fact? And how are you going to accomplish that, Dean? You're not the one who has the rites memorized," she said, her tone teasing. "So, if you would do me the courtesy of hearing me out, maybe you'll realize that I have something interesting to say."

"You're a demon. The only interesting thing you have to say is when you scream your way back to Hell," Dean countered.

"You're getting repetitive. Can't come up with a new insult so fast?" she cooed. "I can get you out of your deal, Dean. For a price, of course, but it's a legitimate offer," she added and released Sam.

Obviously she was expecting them both to pay attention and not try anything right now. Sam shuddered and took a step back while he eyed her suspiciously.

"Demons lie," Dean countered. "I have yet to meet one that actually told me the truth about anything. Why the hell should I believe you? And why would you want to get me out of this deal?"

"Because, quite frankly, I'm getting a little sick and tired of fearing a one way ticket back to Hell. So, I figured if I got you out of your deal, you'd leave me alone," Dawn countered, but her tone was mocking and it made Sam jittery to the extreme.

He glanced at Dean, who was watching Dawn intently. "Send her back to Hell," he finally said.

"What if she's serious?" Sam asked.

Dean turned his head and eyed Sam for a moment in a way Sam was becoming accustomed to. "What if she's serious? She's a frigging demon, Sam," he countered, his tone tight. "Don't start this crap up again. It's plenty that you keep defending Ruby."

"Ruby?" Dawn snorted. "You have dealings with that little interloper? No wonder your luck's run out."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Dean snapped and returned his attention to her.

"Ruby is low-level. No real power. She's all hot air and bluster," Dawn countered. "That's what you get from a wannabe like her. She used to be human, you know."

"Yeah, I know. She told us," Dean countered and glanced at Sam. And suddenly Sam had the feeling that Dean knew something he didn't.

Dawn's gaze, which had returned to the former blue, shifted between them while a smirk spread on her lips. "She said she could save you, didn't she?" she asked and chuckled delightedly.

"She said she knew a way," Sam agreed.

Dawn laughed out loud. "She's a halfling. She doesn't have that kind of power. All she can do is make lights flicker and kill real demons with that knife of hers. And that's all she can do."

"What makes you different?" Dean asked.

Dawn's expression snapped into serious mode at once. "Oh, I'm the real deal," she assured him. "And I can get a hold of your contract by tomorrow."

"My ... contract?" Dean asked and halfway smirked. "And how are you gonna do that? Buy it off whoever holds it?"

"In a sense," Dawn agreed.

"And who holds it?" Dean asked.

Dawn merely smiled. "I assume you're not going to trust me until I give you some proof. So ... tomorrow I'll prove it to you. And then maybe we can have a more serious conversation."

"Yeah, maybe. Or maybe we'll just send you back to Hell then," Dean countered a little smugly.

Sam certainly didn't like the way she kept looking at both of them. There was something off-putting about her behavior even though she dangled Dean's salvation right in front of them. But Sam couldn't disregard the possibility that she might have the solution, that Dean might be able to get out of this damned deal in one piece. "So, what's your price?" he asked.

Dawn glanced at him, eyed him up and down, then smirked. "We can talk about that tomorrow, when I bring your contract," she said, her words turned toward Dean. Obviously, she didn't think Sam was worth talking to.

"You say that as if there was a physical contract," Dean said and he sounded vaguely intrigued.

"Oh, there is," she agreed with a grin. "See you tomorrow, boys," she added, turned and walked away.

"What do you think?" Dean asked after a moment when she had disappeared from view.

"It's worth hearing her out, Dean. Just ... in case," Sam countered.

Dean gave him a suffering glance. "I knew you were going to say that," he claimed. "I say we go get some shuteye, deal with the infestation tomorrow and see what she has to say when she turns up again. If she turns up again."

"Why wouldn't she?" Sam asked and started toward the motel. "She wouldn't have come in the first place if she wasn't serious about this."

"Bullshit, Sam. They mess with us. That's what they do. Whatever her intentions are, though, I think you're right. It's worth hearing her out. But you better keep the colt handy. Just in case," Dean said. "She was in New Castle. She was one of the demons that got away."

"Are you sure?" Sam asked. He couldn't remember having seen her there, but it had been pretty chaotic.

"Damned sure," Dean agreed, hauled the room key out of one pocket and unlocked the door. He tossed his jacket onto the bed closest to the door, then dropped down on the edge and kicked his shoes off. "Damn, I'm wasted," he said and arched his back.

Sam closed the door behind him, shrugged out of his jacket and hung it over the back of a chair, then settled down on his own bed. He wasn't really up to the big chat right now and knew for certain that Dean would never reach that point. "I don't really think it makes any difference if she was there or not, Dean. The fact is ... she may actually be able to get a hold of that contract. And if she does ... it's just a question of what price she has in mind."

Dean just sat there for a moment, then he dropped back on the bed and pressed both hands against his face. Eventually, he let his hands drop away and just lay there and stared up at the ceiling. "Sam, I'm too tired for this right now, okay? Let's talk about it over breakfast if you absolutely have to talk about it."

For a moment Sam considered pushing the issue, then sighed and shrugged it off. "Sure, let's talk about it tomorrow," he agreed.

Dean gave him a halfway curious look. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Wrong? What should be wrong?" Sam countered and gave him a brief look before getting up to head toward the bathroom.

Dean propped himself up on his elbows and watched him go. Sam closed the door behind him and leaned back against it with a restrained sigh. The thought that this Dawn might be able to get Dean out of the deal made him almost dizzy and he wanted to know what the price was as soon as possible. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the door for a moment.

"Get a move on, geek-boy," Dean yelled.

Sam made a face, pushed away from the door and got ready for bed. Tomorrow might be a revolutionary day and he realized instantly that he was pinning what remained of his fragile hope of getting Dean out of that deal on whatever Dawn might suggest.