Chapter Five

Dean burst through the door moments too late. Bobby tackled Sam off of Mia's bloody body, wrapping iron chains around him. He held on for dear life as the demon raged and Dean threw holy water on it. He read off the exorcism as fast and thoroughly as possible. The demon writhed and cursed, shouting every obscenity in the book. He bragged about what he had done as Dean continue to read the exorcism.

Had it not been the body of his brother, he would have been tempted to cut the things head off for revenge. But he knew that if he harmed the vessel and the demon was sent back to hell his brother would not survive. The creature that set before him was no longer his brother, but once the demon was gone Sam would be restored.

He read the ritual as quickly as possible, trying hard not to look at the bloodied corpse of the girl he had made love to only hours before. He powered through the pain of it, using it to add conviction to his words until at last his brother's mouth was open wide and the black smoky form of the demon was sent back to hell.

Sam's body slumped to the floor, unconscious and no longer struggling against the chains that bound him. Bobby let him go, falling back, heaving to catch his breath. Dean panted, dropping to his knees beside Mia. He touched her cheek, but she didn't move. Her green eyes stared at the wall and her final scream replayed in his head; she was calling for him to save her and he'd failed.

"Son of a bitch," he cried in anguish, putting his fist through the wall before letting himself fall back to the floor, his head in his hands.

"Dean," Bobby began, but no words would come. They were lost on his tongue, so he closed his mouth.

Dean reached out and closed Mia's eyes, his hand lingering on her hair. He lifted her from the floor, feeling some of her bones shift unnaturally in his grasp. Bobby watched Dean disappear up the stairs, Mia's broken body in his arms.

Mia's body was laid on her bed, her hands folded over her stomach. "I'm sorry," Dean said, trying to swallow the lump in his throat that threatened to suffocate him. "If I thought for a second that the demon was in Sam, I'd never have left you alone with him." He tilted back his head, keeping back tears. His hand found hers and it felt as though he'd been stabbed in the chest. She was still warm. He was so close to saving her. If only he'd realized sooner. If only he'd driven faster. If only…

Sam woke with a headache beyond anything he'd ever felt before and the taste of sulfur on his tongue. His hands hurt like hell and when he brought them up to look at them he was confused to see they were bruised and cut up. A groan escaped him as he sat up, blood rushing to his head and suddenly his headache had a heartbeat. The feeling faded and he saw his brother sitting on the floor by the fire, his arms resting on his knees, an almost empty bottle in his hands and a several more on the floor around him. He was like an island in a glittering sea of glass.

"Dean?" Sam said, but his brother made no move to look at him.

"Hey Sammy," Dean said quietly, still staring at the fire.

"What's going on?" he asked, a pit growing in his stomach.

Dean hung his head, rubbing his brow a little too hard with his fingers as he searched for the right words. "Something happened, Sam. And I don't… I don't know how to tell you."

Bobby came around the corner at the sound of their voices, hands shoved deep in his pockets. His eyes shifted from Sam to Dean and back again and he knew he had to step in. "This is gonna be a hard pill to swallow but, that demon was in you the whole time, Sam," he said as kindly as he could. Sam looked confused, his eyes searching Bobby's face, then Dean's back before it clicked.

"Where's Mia?" he asked quietly, his mouth gone dry in anticipation of the answer.

"She's gone," Dean said.

"What do you mean, she's gone?"

"Gone Sam," Dean snapped, rounding on his brother. "Gone gone."

Silence fell between them and Sam looked back at his hands. "Did I?" he stopped himself, swallowing bile that rose in his throat. "Did I kill her?"

The look on his face nearly broke Dean all over again but not nearly as much as feeling Mia's hand grow cold in his own. He'd left her alone in her room after that. Bobby wanted her bones salted and burned as soon as possible but Dean couldn't bring himself to do it. Not yet.

"Where is she?" Sam asked.

"Sam," Bobby began but Sam cut him off.

"Where is she?" he asked, louder that time.

Had he not been distraught Bobby would have put him in his place, but he'd let it slide this time. "She's upstairs," he said.

Dean turned back to the fire. He couldn't look at Mia again. They'd salt and burn her in the morning but for now, he couldn't handle it. He needed to drown his trouble for the night and in the morning he'd build a funeral pyre and let her go for good. His head hung to his chest, hand wiping away a tear that he couldn't hold back.

Sam stood on shaky legs and made the long walk up the darkened stairway to Mia's room. The door knob turned in his hand and he held his breath as the door swung open. Her skin should have been pale in the moonlight but instead her skin blossomed with bruises and contusions. The blood had been cleaned from her face and arms but her shirt was soaked in it. He choked back a sob and neared her, sitting on her bedside as images of what had happened trickled back into his mind.

It didn't feel right to stroke her hair so gingerly when it was his own bare hands that had crushed her bones. His hands that had killed her. Still he did it, his fingers trembling at the cool of her skin and he understood why Dean was downstairs drowning himself in liquor. When they were kids, Dean asked about Mia all the time and when she was gone he was quiet; staring out the window for hours without a word. All of the strange things he'd been thinking for days finally made sense and it made him sick.

"I said such awful things to you. And about Dean… he…he wouldn't have just left you like that. I'm so sorry," he swallowed hard, but a tear escaped him anyway. "This is all my fault. If I'd have told Dean as soon as I knew my anti possession charm was missing, you'd still be here. This…" his hand covered his eyes.

She was gone. Gone gone, like Dean said, and soon Dean would be too. How much more loss could he take? His eyes burned with tears that he felt he had no right to shed and grief outweighed logic. He knew what he had to do.

Bobby got a call shortly after Sam went to see Mia's body and he left the boys in a hurry. Dean said nothing as Bobby walked out but soon after he laid down on the floor and passed out, his last bottle spilling on the floor. It didn't matter anymore. The house would be empty now and would likely be taken and sold to someone new. Someone who would never know what had really happened to the woman who had lived there. A woman he might have loved if he'd had the chance.

Sam joined his brother in the living room and he stood over him for a minute, just watching him sleep. Dean would drink himself to death before he'd break down about it the way he needed to and since he was so close to death anyway Sam knew he wouldn't take it easy.

He fished the keys from his brother's pocket, jumped in the Impala and flew down the dark and lonely highway toward the crossroad where demon had been summoned the first time. This was stupid and he knew it, but if Dean had no time then he didn't need his. If Dean was going down, Sam wasn't going to let him go alone but Mia… she wasn't a part of it. The game he and his brother played of I'll save you and you'll save me. She was an innocent bystander that happened to get drawn into whatever curse the Winchesters had on them.

The night was mild, a gentle breeze blowing in from the west but not a cloud in the sky. Out on the edge of town where there were no street lights the moon shone bright. All around him fields of corn rustled in the breeze. Heart pounding he summoned a demon.

She appeared behind him, as many liked to do, and he turned to face her. She was gorgeous. They all were. Her neck dripped with diamonds, contrasting her dark skin. Full lips curved into a smile and red eyes narrowed at the sight of him. She pushed out a hip and rested a hand on it, her red lacquered finger nails tapping.

"Well then, look what the cat dragged in," she said, eyeing him from a distance. "Sam Winchester. Let me guess, you want Dean let out of his deal. Well sorry, but I wouldn't do that even if I could so if you don't mind, I have souls to collect," she said, starting to walk away.

"Wait," he said. "that's not why I'm here."

She turned, eyeing him skeptically.

"I'm here to make a deal. I want you to bring back Mia."

"Mia? Hmm," she said, mulling it over. "I'll bring her back but only for ten years. She originally had more than that but I'd say ten years in fair."

Ten years. Standard. Sam nodded. "Fine, ten years."

"And what do I get out of this?"

"My soul."

"A year of your life for ten more of hers? Getting' that straight?"

"No," he replied. She raised an eyebrow and he continued. "Dean doesn't have much longer. I'm going to try to get him out of his deal but if I can't… I don't want my brother to die alone."

She smiled broadly and took a step closer. "Ten years of her life, and you die in a few months with Dean?" He nodded and she laughed. "Well hell, I can't pass that up now can I? If it's what you want, come on over here and seal the deal."

Sam hesitated only a second before closing the distance between him and kissing her lips. He could feel her smile and then she was gone. The night was quiet again; peaceful. It was as if he'd not just sold his soul to a crossroads demon. Crickets chirped and the wind blew in the scent of rain.