Hello! This is just a little thing that came to me while I was stuck in the car for eighteen hours, so I decided to take it and run. This serves as a sort of alternate ending for the S1 episode Scarecrow, a kind of what Meg had decided not to let Sam go? Possible spoilers for the entire season.

Also, a huge thank you to my beta, the lovely TealMoose! Thanks for everything, m'dear!

Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or anything affiliated.

Meg was on a mission, and she didn't take it lightly. Despite how clueless Sam was of her true nature, he was a Winchester, and that made him dangerous. When her father had given her this assignment, she had jumped at it. This was her chance to prove herself to him, and she would do whatever she was necessary to make sure she succeeded. Her goal was simple: earn Sam's trust, and then sit back and wait as he led her to John's location. Once the eldest Winchester had been located, they would be dealt with; Dean would be taken care of later, assuming he survived long enough. Without the help of his younger brother, they weren't sure what would happen to him.

It hadn't surprised her when Sam had grown worried at the rising number of times Dean had failed to pick up his phone. From all she'd heard, the brothers worked best as a team, and when they were separated things didn't go nearly as smooth. Dean was probably dead already, or about to get himself killed. But she hadn't counted on Sam getting worried enough to actually think about going back. She knew that the two shared a deep bond, but they were also hunters; a few missed calls shouldn't have been anything new, especially when they were working a job. But apparently it was enough for Sam, because he had his backpack slung over his shoulder and he'd just told her goodbye. That wasn't part of the plan; he couldn't just leave. And Meg would make sure that he didn't.

"Sam?" she called out, easily masking her annoyance and slipping back into the role of the runaway girl. She smiled inwardly as he turned around, looking impatient, and looked at her expectantly. She looked away, looking suddenly shy and a little nervous. "I know that you really want to get back to your brother, but… I just… Can I tell you something before you go? In private?" She took a few steps forward, closing the gap between them. "Please, it would only take a few minutes." Sam looked reluctant, but when he saw the pleading look in her eyes he let out a small sigh and nodded. "Sure."

Meg gave him a weak smile and led him outside and around the corner of the building. She scanned the area for people, still looking unsure of herself. "Are you alright?" Sam asked, and she couldn't help but smile. His concern was genuine and only served to further reveal how naïve he was. "I just… I don't know, I needed to get this off my chest, and since you're leaving I just thought…" She broke off in a helpless laugh.

"Sure, okay," Sam said, but there was guilt in his words, and Meg had to stop from laughing for real. He actually felt bad that he was leaving her. If only she knew the plans she had for him… "It's just that… Remember how I was telling you how my parents tried to control my life? They had everything planned out for me, and even though I know it must seem like I hate them, I really don't. It's always been annoying, but if you look past that you can see that they're only doing it because they care about me, you know? And I let them down by doing this; running away, I mean. But before I left, my father asked me to do one thing for him while I was on my own."

Sam was watching her and listening to her words carefully, and judging by the sympathy and underlying pain in his eyes she was fairly certain she had hit a nerve. She knew that while Sam and Dean were closer than the average brothers, Sam and John's relationship had been rocky at best. She continued as if she hadn't noticed his change in attitude. "He asked me to do one thing while I was gone, and so far I've done a pretty awful job. I mean, I've tried as hard as I could, you know? I've already let him down so much, and I'm doing what I can not to do it anymore, but I've done nothing but fail and…" She shook her head and laughed again. "I don't know why I'm telling you this. It's not really something you share with strangers, is it?"

Sam smiled and shrugged. "It's okay. I understand where you're coming from. But whatever it is… You'll get it eventually. Don't worry so much, okay?" Meg nodded, looking at him gratefully. "Thanks Sam. That helps a lot, coming from you." Still grinning, he looked down at his watch. "I'd really better get going," he muttered, smile wavering. The two began to walk back towards the front of the building.

"So, what exactly did your dad ask you to do for him?" Sam asked curiously. Meg chuckled. "Oh, you know. There was this guy that he wanted me to keep an eye on. I was supposed to follow him to his pain-in-the-ass father, and his brother, too, if need be. But he didn't quite go along with the plan the way I'd hoped he would. It's a shame, too, because my father is real eager to get together with them. There are other ways, though."

Sam nodded absently, then froze. "What did you say?" he demanded, spinning around to look at Meg. Before he could say anything else, though, a fist collided with his jaw and he found himself flying backwards. He hit the ground with painful thud and gasped, trying to blink the black spots out of his eyes, because damn, that girl could throw a punch.

He saw Meg walking towards him lazily, a careless smirk on her face. "I'm surprised at you, Sammy. Of all people, I would have thought you'd have been more careful than this. Oh well." Sam felt a foot come into contact with his head- and damn, that hurt worse than the punch- and the world tilted dangerously. Dean… It was the first thing that came to his mind, and the last before the world dissolved to black.

"Son of a bitch," Dean muttered under his breath as he slammed against the door that trapped them within the cellar. Below him, Emily had slumped against the wall, looking subdued. He felt bad for the girl; she'd gone from the girl from believing that she lived in the nicest town in the whole world to being sacrificed to a pagan god by her own flesh and blood in just a few hours. Dean was surprised that she wasn't still screaming and crying- he'd met plenty of other people before her who would certainly be a lot less calm than she was at the moment- but then, he wouldn't blame her if she didn't have the energy to do that after everything she'd been through.

He rammed the door one last time before settling back, sighing in frustration. It was just wood, for crying out loud. Granted, pushing against something that was directly above you was always more difficult, but still.

What he wouldn't have given to have Sam there with him. Granted, even his gigantor body and too-smart-for-his-own-good brain probably wouldn't have been able to do much if he was trapped like Dean was now, but maybe if he'd been there that professor and the cop wouldn't have gotten the drop on him and he wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

But there was no one to blame for Sam's absence but himself, and he knew it. It was Dean who had decided not to back Sam up, Dean who left him there standing in the middle of the road, Dean who had walked right into the job like the obedient son he was. Not for the first time, Sam's rebelliousness was going to do the kid some good. Not so much for Dean though. And if he didn't get out of there soon, he wouldn't live to have his brother teach him how to not follow orders so well.

He pulled his hunting knife out of his boot, trying to wiggle the latch. The lock wasn't anything complicated, which Dean thanked God for. In fact, it was just a latch lock, with a bar that could be slid off and on, and a flimsy one at that. It was probably just to keep the door from flying open during storms or to keep animals from getting in and eating the apples, or whatever the hell it was the townspeople were storing in the cellar. Either way, it didn't matter to Dean. But if he could just find a way to slide the bar…

He took the knife and held it at an angle, so that the blade was resting on the bar as much as possible, put pressure on it, and pulled it to the side. He couldn't pull far because the door and the ceiling were fairly close, and the bar only moved a miniscule amount anyway, but that movement was enough for Dean. He flipped the knife around, this time using part of the handle to see if it would get a better grip- it did- and began to pull the knife rapidly. "Come on, come on," he breathed. The bar was moving, slowly but surely, but this needed to happen faster or he and Emily would still be just as dead.

After what seemed like hours, but what could have only been a few minutes, Dean saw a sliver of light that had previously been blocked by the lock. Redoubling his efforts, he continued to work until the latch was no longer visible. He quickly dropped the knife and shoved the door as hard as he could. There was a tiny bit of resistance at first, but as he continued to push the door began to open more, and more, until he was able to flip it completely. It hit the ground with a loud crash and he winced, but the noise caught Emily's attention and her head snapped up. She looked at Dean in wonder for a few seconds before scrambling up the stairs and out of the cellar.

As soon as they were out, Dean looked back into what had just been their prison and shook his head. "I can't believe that worked," he muttered. He looked around him, just to make sure none of the crazy townspeople were around. "What do we do now?" Dean looked at Emily, his mind racing. His lighter was still in his pocket, but the lighter fuel was back in the Impala. He cursed under his breath; there was no way he could burn the whole tree with his little Zippo. "Okay, okay… Emily, where is-"

The two of them jumped as a shot rang out and turned to see the sheriff, Emily's aunt and uncle, and the owner of the little diner standing about 300 yards away, carrying guns. "I'd stop right there if I were you," the sheriff said as the group began to move forward. Dean looked down at Emily and their eyes met for a brief moment before Dean yelled, "Run!" The two broke for the woods, ducking but never slowing as more gunshots sounded from behind them.

They crashed through the brush, gasping for breath and listening for footsteps behind them. Dean suddenly veered to the right, grabbing the girl's hand and dragging her with him. "Do you know if your aunt and uncle kept any extra gasoline in their car?" There was a pause as Emily thought about it before she answered back, "Yeah, I think they do." Dean nodded and put on another burst of speed. His plan was to get to the road, find the car, grab the gasoline and torch the damn tree before evening could fall. Glancing up at the sky, he realized that he was running out of time if he wanted to reach that deadline.

The footsteps behind them had long since disappeared, and Dean could only assume that the townspeople had assumed that since they had run into the forest, they were as good as good. Not today, he told himself. He pumped his legs even harder, again cursing the fact that Sam wasn't there, because that boy could run.

The two broke the cover of the trees, and Dean looked around frantically. "There," he gasped, running for the three cars that were parked on the side of the road. "Which one is yours?" he yelled at Emily as he stumbled to a halt. The one that belonged to the sheriff was easy enough to rule out, but there were still two others that both looked perfectly normal.

"The blue one!" came a call from behind him, and without wasting another second Dean ran to it, cursing when he discovered it was locked. "It's in the trunk," Emily panted as she came up behind him. Dean nodded. There was no time to pick the lock to the car. He ran to the driver's side and grabbed a nearby fallen branch, swinging it and looking away as the glass shattered. The car alarm began to blare, but he ignored it as he reached in and pushed the button that would unlock the car before running back to the trunk. Inside was a little red container, filled with gasoline. He grabbed it and looked at Emily. "Is there an extra key in the car somewhere?" he demanded. When she nodded, he continued, "Okay, good. I need you to take this car and drive. Do not stop for anything until you've put a good hundred miles between you and this place. You're not safe in your town anymore, okay? You have to get out of here. Go!"

Dean was running back towards the forest before he had even finished speaking, trusting that the girl would listen to him and get herself out of there. Sure enough, seconds later he heard the engine revving and the car speeding off. There's one problem out of the way. Now to find the sacred tree and burn it before the scarecrow came to life. He couldn't be sure, but something told him that the tree would be close to the scarecrow, since it was the source of the thing's power. He took off in that direction, moving as fast as he could while carrying the container of fuel.

The sun was already beginning to set, and he knew he didn't have much time. When he finally crashed into the orchard, it was just barely visible; only a few minutes left. He looked around widely, looking for an old, ancient looking tree. Bingo. It was just off to the left of the scarecrow, just as he'd suspected, except…

There was no scarecrow. Only an empty wooden cross with ropes hanging limply.

"Damn it!" he mumbled as he sprinted forward. He came to a sudden halt in front of the tree and fumbled to get the cap off the gasoline container, looking around him widely. There was no sign of any other life, but he wasn't about to take any chances. He quickly set about to dousing the tree, shaking the canister frantically. As soon as it was empty he tossed it aside and pulled out his lighter, flicking it frantically. He glanced behind him again to check himself, and just barely threw himself out the way in time as the scarecrow swung his hook.

There was a stinging sensation in his arm and he knew without looking that he'd been cut, but it didn't feel too terrible, and there were other, more pressing matters at hand. He rolled out of the way as the hook descended on him again and rolled to his feet, snatching up the lighter. He scrambled to light it, never taking his eyes off the scarecrow as he backpedaled. As soon as the tiny flame appeared, he held it to the trunk of the old tree, jumping back as it caught fire.

The scarecrow charged at him, but as its source of power was consumed in flames it stopped, letting out a bloodcurdling shriek. Dean watched in morbid fascination as it was consumed by flames and began to disappear, much like spirits did when they were salted and burned. The scarecrow swung its hook in one last desperate attempt. Dean threw his arm up to protect himself and cried out as the blade connected with his arm, tearing a decent sized gash down his forearm. The scarecrow let out one last shriek before it was completely consumed by the flames, and then it was gone.

Dean took a few deep breaths, stealing a glance at the sacred tree. Although it wasn't completely destroyed yet, parts of it were already beginning to turn to ash, and he knew it didn't have much longer before it was gone for good. There was no way it could be saved. He let out of a breath of relief that quickly turned into a moan as he grabbed his arm, holding it against his chest. That was going to need to be taken care of, and soon.

For the first time, Dean realized that he didn't know where the Impala was. He could only assume it was still were he'd parked it at the community college, because so help him if anyone had so much as touched his baby, there would be hell to pay. That was guaranteed. And that college wasn't exactly close, and he'd be damned if he had to walk all the way there.

He turned to the way he'd come in. If he took one of the two remaining cars, it wouldn't leave the townspeople stranded, since as far as he knew there were only four of them. That was, assuming that he hadn't left already. As if to answer his question, he heard quiet footsteps coming towards him. He quickly hid behind the nearest tree and watched as Emily's aunt and uncle emerged into the orchard, their eyes widening in horror as they saw the burning tree. "What has he done?" Emily's aunt whispered.

Dean could hear more people coming and he quickly set off towards the road, wanting to make it to the cars before they did. He heard a mortified yell behind him, followed by a heartbroken, "Noooooooo!" Without the tree, the town was going to die, or at least be as bad off as the surrounding counties. He had the feeling that things were about to get very, very difficult for the town.

He couldn't quite bring himself to be sorry.

Dean picked up his pace a little as another flash of pain went up his arm. Now that he wasn't rushing to stop a pagan god from taking human sacrifices from a crazy apple pie loving town, the distance between him and the road didn't seem nearly as long. Within about ten minutes he'd made it to the rode and was hotwiring the diner owner's car. His plan was to get to the Impala, fix up his arm, and the find the nearest payphone so that he could call Sam and…

Or he could just call Sam now, he noted as he realized that his cell was resting on the passenger's seat. They must have put it there after they'd ambushed him at the college. As he pulled off onto the road he flipped it open, smirking when he saw that he had twenty three missed calls and seven voicemails, all from some. Nerd boy must've been worried. He hit speed dial and held it in the crook of his neck, wincing as he let his injured arm fall to his side as he kept the other one on the wheel. He frowned when he was sent straight to voicemail.

"Uh, hey Sam, saw that you'd called a few times," he said, letting some of his amusement seep into his tone. "Just thought I'd let you know I was okay. I was a bit, uh… tied up with the job, but everything's taken care of now. Call me back and let me know where you are so that we can meet up, okay? Bye Sammy." He started to reach up with his injured arm, thought better of it, and took his hand off the wheel to end the call.

He let a minute or two pass before trying again. "Hey Sam, pick up your phone and call me back. Now."

"Dude, pick up the freaking phone."

"Sam, you can't just call me that many times and then not pick up when I call you back. So stop being a jerk and answer the phone."

When Sam didn't answer after the eleventh call, Dean finally sighed and tossed his phone back onto the seat, grumbling to himself. Knowing his brother, he was probably just pouting and being immature about the fact that Dean hadn't answered any of his calls. In fact, when Dean finally fixed himself up and found Sam- and he would- he wouldn't be surprised if the first thing Sam did was give him his trademark bitch face. He was already grinning just thinking about it.

As soon as he reached the college parking lot and his car- it was still there, thank God- he quickly got out the med kit he had stored in the trunk. He poured some hydrogen peroxide on it, mumbling obscenities under his breath as the wound burned, and carefully bandaged it. He was fairly certain he could make it this time without stitches, which he was glad for since he really didn't want to have to go through that.

As he climbed back into the Impala, Dean checked his phone again to see if Sam had called him back; he hadn't. He sighed and scrolled through his contacts, finally landing on 'Dad' and hitting the call button. He knew it was incredibly unlikely that his father would pick up, especially since he'd called them just barely over 24 hours ago and had told them to stop trying to contact him. But maybe Sam had already found him and had just completely forgotten to call. That didn't sound like his baby brother at all, but Dean was going to check every option until Sam finally called him back. He doubted anything was wrong- Sam could take care of himself better than anyone- but he really didn't feel comfortable not knowing if his brother was okay or not.

As expected, Dean was met with his father's way too familiar voicemail. "This is John Winchester. I can't be reached. If it's an emergency, call my son Dean. 785-555-0179. He can help." Dean rolled his eyes at that. Can't do much when I'm the one that needs the help, huh? He took a deep breath as he heard the tone that signaled for him to leave a message. "Uh, hey Dad, it's Dean. I was just wondering if you'd heard from Sam, he, uh, was on his way to find you, but I haven't heard from him in a few hours. Just wanted to see if you'd seen him yet. Call me back when you get this."

Dean glanced down at the phone before tossing it to the side. He'd stopped worrying when John didn't pick up the phone a long time ago. His dad never answered; not when Jessica died, not when the shapeshifter bearing Dean's face had been killed in St. Louis, not even when they'd gone back to their home in Lawrence and thought they'd found the thing that killed Mary. If he couldn't help Dean find his brother, Dean would just do it himself. He pulled the Impala into gear and swung out of the parking lot, pressing his foot as far down on the pedal as he dared.

He didn't intend to slow down until he had Sam back, safe and sound.

John Winchester turned from paper to paper that lay scattered across the motel room's table, piecing little bits and pieces together. So close, so close, almost there, just a little bit more. It had become his mantra over the years, and in the last few months he'd come to live by it. So close, so close, almost there, just a little bit more.

It didn't matter that every time he thought he'd finally reached the end, another complication came up. If nothing else, it only fueled that goal, that need to find the thing that had killed his beloved Mary. He was going to find that son of a bitch and kill him, even if it was the last thing he did. He'd made a promise to Mary a long time ago, and he was determined to make sure he saw it through.

Even if it destroyed him in the end.

His phone rang, and John allowed himself a split second to see who was calling. His eyes flicked back to the papers in front of him when he saw his eldest son's name on the little device. As soon as he was done with this- and hopefully it wouldn't be too much longer- he would listen to Dean's message. He always did, and he always helped the boys out in any way he could, whether they knew it or not. Because no matter how much he wanted to find the thing that killed Mary, his sons were still the most important thing in his world, and he'd be damned if something happened to either of them when he could have done something about it.

John turned his attention back to the task at hand. So close, so close, almost there, just a little bit more. The signs were all there; he hadn't seen this many in years, twenty two to be exact. But here they were, popping up all over the country. Not enough to track down the demon, but enough to get him one step closer; close enough to save lives, instead of being too late like he had the last few times. There wouldn't be any more lives lost, not if he could help it. There had already been way too much tragedy.

He ran a hand through his hair, trying to make sense of what he was seeing.

So close, so close, almost there, just a little bit more.

There had to be something he was missing. John was onto something, he could feel it, but there was something that escaped him. Some kind of pattern, maybe, a rule the demon was following. "Where are you hiding," he muttered to himself. He stared at the papers for a few more minutes before sitting back and rubbing his eyes. He needed a break, and more than that, he needed a good beer.

He'd brought a few bottles and stored them in the motel's mini fridge, and he crossed the room and grabbed one, popping open the top and taking a sip. He sat down on the bed and picked up his phone, going to his voicemail. He just wanted to check and make sure the boys were okay and to make sure Dean hadn't left him some dire message; pagan gods were tough bitches, but John had seen some of the hunts his boys had gone on, so he'd been pretty sure they could handle it. If he was wrong, though…

Dean's voice filled the room. He didn't sound horribly worried or afraid like he had the last time he'd called when he and Sam were in Kansas, John noted with some relief. "I was just wondering if you'd heard from Sam, he, uh, was on his way to find you, but I haven't heard from him in a few hours. Just wanted to see if you'd seen him yet." John froze when he heard that. He had to have heard wrong; Dean had not just said that Sam had come looking for him, alone. There must have been some kind of mistake.

He hit the call back button without thinking and waited for his son to pick up the phone, tapping his hand impatiently on his knee. Come on, come on…

As soon as he heard his phone ringing Dean had snatched it up and had it to his ear. "Sam?" he demanded, trying to only let anger seep into his tone. "Dean," his father's voice came over the line, and Dean almost dropped the phone in shock. "Dad?" he gasped in surprise. He heard John sigh. There was a pause on the other end of the line, and then he came back on in his no nonsense voice. "I just got your call. Where's your brother, Dean?" The younger man sighed. "He and I, uh… got into a little disagreement. He wanted to go find you in California, I wanted to do the hunt you sent us the coordinates for… and he left. I talked to him on the phone a few hours ago, said he was at a bus station, but I got wrapped up in the case, and now he won't answer my calls."

He heard John curse on the other end of the line. "Damn it! There was a reason I wanted you boys to stop looking for me!" Dean froze at his father's words. There was fear and frustration in them, but at the same time… was that fear he'd heard? "Dad, I tried to stop him, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. I screwed up, I know, but I'm sure he's fine." More than ever he wished his dad was with him. He wanted to know how he was reacting to all this, and John would know exactly what to do. "Listen, Dean. I'm going to try calling your brother, and if he doesn't answer I'll track his phone. Start driving towards that bus station he said he was at, and if you hear anything I want you to call me before you do anything else. Got it?"

Dean felt his heart sink. He and Sam had been searching for their dad for months, and he'd never once picked up their calls and shown concern like this. And now he was picking up, and actually trying to find them? Well, find Sam, but still. The fact that he suddenly cared and that Sam still was responding to his calls was really starting to worry Dean.

"Yeah Dad, I got it. Let me know if you hear from-" But John had already hung up. Dean threw his phone back down onto the seat, huffing in frustration and newfound worry. He eased his foot down on the gas, taking only slight comfort in the roar of the engine as he tore down the highway. He was going to find Sam, and nothing was going to stop him until he did.

As soon as he'd ended the call with Dean, John was scrolling through his contacts frantically, stopping when he landed on Sam. He was trying to keep a handle on the situation like the hunter he was, but when it came to his boys his defenses were weak. He listened to the dial tone, growing more and more impatient with every passing second. "Damn it, Sam, answer your phone!" he muttered. There was a click as the phone was picked up on the other line, and before his son could get in a word John had started yelling. "Samuel Winchester, what the hell do you think you're doing?" He heard a chuckle on the other end of the line, a female's laugh, and froze. "Hello John."

That definitely wasn't Sam.

This is looking to be a twoshot, or possibly a threeshot. I just had to throw a little hurt!Dean in there. There will be more Sam action next chapter. :) Hope you enjoyed, and don't be afraid to drop a line telling me what I can improve on or what I did right!