Chapter 3

Seconds later, Sam heard Dean walk up behind them but didn't take his eyes from his Dad, not really having the strength to. He felt Jess turn sharply when she heard Dean walking up and she clung tighter to his hand, moving towards him until she was pressed up against his side.

Without pausing, Dean walked up to stand on the other side of Sam. Without taking his eyes away from his brother, who was now looking at the floor, Dean spoke to John. "Good going, Dad."

John didn't say anything, just started to walk behind Sam and his girl while Dean moved infront, noticing how Jess kept her eyes on him, turning around to continue doing so when John stood behind them.

Sam chanced a quick look at his brother, before deciding it was a mistake and looked back down. Dean stood tall infront of him, straight back and broad shoulders and head held high. He looked imposing and intimidating and anyone in their right mind would have yielded to him within minutes.

But Sam wasn't exactly in his right mind right now. Exhaustion, thirst, and fear clouded his mind, making him want to just drop forward into his brother's arms and sleep for the next week. But Jess's sharp breathing in his ear kept him focused and kept the tears at bay for the time being.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Sam?" Dean asked calmly, folding his arms against his chest.

"Dean..." Sam whispered but cut himself short when Dean held up a hand.

"Don't." Dean ordered sternly.

And suddenly Sam was 12 years old again, running away for the first time and terrified of what his family would do when they found him.

Dean stepped closer, invading his brother's personal space. "I'm gonna ask again. What do you think you were doing?" He asked, slower this time. Without giving him time to answer, Dean continued. "Let me tell you what I think you were doing, hmm. I think you were making me and Dad run around like headless fuckin' chickens in this shithole of a place for three fucking hours." He never raised his voice; he didn't need to.

Sam couldn't keep it in anymore. His tears flowed down continuously but no sound escaped his mouth.

Seeing this, Dean sighed, feeling his shoulders drop and his face soften. "Hey." He said gently. He raised his hand and swiped his thumb over Sam's cheek, wiping away the tears. "It's okay, Buddy."

Sam tried so hard not to lean into the touch, to not take the comfort Dean was offering. But it was so bloody hard. Just as he was about to give up and throw himself at his brother, he heard Jess give out a small whimper before throwing her arms around his waist and holding tightly. Right: Jess. Need to fight. Jess needs him to fight.

Dean shot the girl a glare and clenched his jaw in anger but softened when he looked back at Sam. "Everything's fine." He soothed, speaking as if Sam was five instead of nineteen. He grabbed Sam's right hand with his left, and rested his right hand on the side of Sam's neck, rubbing his thumb back and forth. "I need you to do me a favour, okay?" Without waiting for a response, he continued. "I'm gonna need you to step toward me and away from the girl. Okay? Can you do that for me? Come on, it's not that hard, Kiddo."

Sam continued shaking his head, as he has been doing since Dean asked him to step forward. Not that Dean took any notice of the action as he tugged on Sam's hand. Jess broke down into constant sobs and buried her head into his back. Even though Sam's face was drenched with tears, he swallowed back the loud sobs that wanted to escape. Jess needed him to be strong. He brought his hand up - the one Dean wasn't holding - and went to place it over Jess's but Dean intercepted. Quickly taking his hand off of Sam's neck, he grabbed the other hand and started pulling Sam forward.

Nodding his head, Dean continued to coax his brother. "Yes, Sammy. Come on, Bud, you can do it."

Sam wanted to scream, wanted to rip his hands out of his brothers, yell at him that he wasn't a damn kid who was learning how to walk. That he didn't need Dean to speak gently to him - even though it did comfort and relax him; something he would never bleedin' admit! - but he was just far too tired; physically, emotionally and mentally. It had been one hell of a night...Ah, who was he kidding; it had been one hell of a life. Always fighting against his family, struggling with himself, a ragging battle inside about love and loyalty and right and wrong.

When did it all end?

"Here we go. Almost there." Dean encouraged, trying to hide his annoyance with the bitch behind his brother. Trying, and failing, to hide his irritation, Dean's smile was tight as he leaned his head to the left to look at Jess. "Okay, Sweetheart, listen up. I'm gonna need you to let go for a quick sec, alright?"

Jess ignored him, which didn't help lessen Dean's irritation towards her; and after a couple of more seconds struggling to get Jess off Sam, Dean held Sam's hands in his tightly and lifted them up and out of the way, allowing John to rush forward and grab Jess's arms, dragging her backwards while Dean pulled Sam forward.

Their reaction was instant. Jess full out screamed, thrashing herself side to side while she tried to kick backwards, hoping to hit John in the shin. But John had been doing this for longer than Jess could comprehend and had no problem controlling a struggling woman, especially one as exhausted as Jess.

"NO!" Sam screamed also, trying to wrench himself backwards, but - as always - Dean held a tight grip on his brother and wasn't planning to let go.

Sharply jerking Sam forward, Dean let go of his hands only to wrap his arms around him a second later. Now chest-to-chest, Sam struggled, trying to get his arms up to push at Dean, but Dean's hold stayed strong.

"Let me go!" Sam demanded, ignoring the tears streaming down his face, ignoring the rain that was slowly starting to get heavier, and ignoring his own small aches and pains. Nothing mattered but getting Jess away from his father.

Bringing his mouth to Sam's ear, Dean tried to calm him, speaking softly. "Shh, Sammy, shh." He tried to rock them side to side but Sam's struggling would have caused them to lose balance and made them hit the deck. Which didn't seem like a bad idea right now. "Come on, Sam, that's enough." Dean continued. "There's no need for all this, Tiger." When Sam still didn't pay attention and continued to fight and shout, Dean's voice got a little more stern. "Sam. Stop with the dramatics. Cool it down." A couple of seconds later with no change and Dean's patience had hit the roof, causing him to raise his voice. "Samuel! Enough!" He ordered with a slight squeeze of his arms.

Sam's new found adrenaline left as suddenly as it came, leaving him to lean heavily against his brother, sobbing into his shoulder. "Dean, please..." He whispered, not sure if Dean could even hear him over Jess's continuous screams which broke Sam's heart. "Just let her go."

"Wish I could, Kiddo, I really do..."

"You can." Sam interrupted desperately, nodding his head to emphasis his point. "You can."

Dean shook his head and rubbed Sam's back with his hand. "No, Sammy, I can't. You know that." Before Sam could argue any further, Dean carried on. "Now listen to me. We're gonna go back to the cabin - no, listen to me." Dean gently ordered when Sam became more distressed. "We're gonna go back to the cabin, we're gonna get ourselves warmed up and dry and then we're gonna talk. Okay?" When Sam didn't answer, Dean prompted, "Sammy?"

Another second of hesitation before Sam nodded, knowing it wasn't a choice; Dean wasn't suggesting this, he was ordering it.

Dean nodded his approval. "Good boy." He praised. "Now we're gonna take this nice and easy; no trouble, no fuss and no worries. Okay?" He felt his brother give another small nod against his shoulder. "Okay." Dean patted Sam's back twice before slowly releasing his hold, keeping his arms held up for another moment incase Sam decided to fight. After a couple of seconds of Sam standing there with his head down, Dean breathed a sigh of relief and placed his hand on Sam's arm. "Come on, Kiddo."

Sam turned when his brother directed him to, his movements sluggish and automatic. It was only then that Sam realised he hadn't heard Jess in awhile. Some time in the middle of his and Dean's conversation, Jess had stopped screaming....Sam didn't find that the least bit reassuring. Quickly glancing up through the hair in his eyes, Sam saw the reason why. Standing stiffly against John's chest, Jess's lips were clamped shut, her eyes wide and tears leaking from them with no shame, darting from Sam to the gun pointed at her head.

"No." Sam quietly hissed and forgetting about everything else - forgetting about Dean - he darted forward, his only thought was getting that gun away from his girlfriend.

But Dean had been ready for Sam's reaction; had known that as soon as his brother saw the gun he would try something and had been prepared.

Sam didn't even get half a step forward before he was once again wrapped in Dean's arms, this time his back pressed against his brother's chest. Sam didn't struggle this time - what was the point? - just stood as tense as a board and never took his eyes away from his father's finger on the trigger.

"You know how this goes, Sam." Dean spoke. "We need to get you back to the cabin..."

"We'll go..." Sam tried to interrupt but Dean spoke over him.

"...Without any problems, and I don't trust your little girlfriend here not to run if she didn't have a reason not to." Dean rubbed Sam's chest, trying to keep him calm. "Think of this as insurance, Sammy. If you and your girl behave then nothing will happen. Okay? Sam?"

Sam nodded his head and hoped to God that Jess could read the apology in his eyes.

"That's my boy." Dean once again let go, keeping a guiding hand on his brother's arm, as he directed them back through the woods.

It only took them half the time to get back to the cabin than it did to run away from it; Sam had been right - they had been running in circles, and hadn't gotten all that far. Coming into the small clearing that was surrounded by the rest of the forest, each and every one of them soaking wet due to the rain now pouring down, Sam spotted the old abandoned wooden cabin that he and Jess had left behind no more than three hours ago.

He couldn't believe that it had only been three hours since they had first arrived here. While they were running, three hours seemed like forever. But now, three hours didn't seem like enough time.

Two Days Ago.

Making a show of letting out a heavy sigh, Dean stood from the coffee table, using his own knees to push himself up and quickly scanned the living room. Not seeing what he wanted to see, he turned around and spotted the bedroom.

"Keep an eye on them." He spoke to John, who nodded and took the gun Dean handed him, keeping it pointed at Jess while running his other hand through Sam's hair.

Dean strolled to the bedroom, giving it another quick glance around before finding what he wanted lying on the floor. Scooping them up, he went back into the living room and threw them at Jess. "Put them on." He ordered.

Jess flinched when the clothes hit her. Separating the items, Jess saw that Dean had picked up the clothes she had been wearing that day. Clutching them to her chest, she slowly stood up and took cautious steps around Dean, keeping her eyes on him. She froze when Dean blocked her path.

"Where do you think you're going?" He glared, murder in his eyes that had Jess feeling certain she wasn't gonna live to see tomorrow.

" cha-change." Jess stuttered, confused and scared.

Dean narrowed his eyes. "You don't need to leave the room to do that, Sweetheart."

Sam picked his head up from where it fell to his chest, the feel of his Dad's hand in his hair relaxing him against his will. "Dean, leave her alone." He whispered - pleaded.

"Hush, Sam." Dean didn't even look over at his brother. "Put them on." He ordered again, and when Jess just stood there staring at him, fear growing on her face, Dean rolled his eyes; annoyed with her stupidity. "Over the clothes, Moron!" He snapped.

Jess jumped back and rushed to do as he said, pulling the jeans over her shorts and the pink sweater over her head.

Dean nodded and turned away, mumbling under his breath, "Was that so freaking hard?" before moving back into the bedroom.

Jess shakily sat back on the couch, glancing between the bedroom and the gun John still held on her. She caught Sam's eye along the way and watched as he tried to give her a reassuring smile that didn't quite manage to reach his eyes. She smiled back anyway, appreciating the effort he tried to make for her sake.

A couple of minutes later Dean walked back into the living room, carrying an open duffle-bag that Jess recognized as the one Sam kept in the bottom of the wardrobe in one hand, and a pair of old looking sneakers that dangled from his fingers in the other. Dropping the sneakers next to Sam's feet, Dean spoke to his Dad instead of Sam. "Do us a favour, Dad, and put them on him."

Jess frowned at the stupid request and noticed Sam's jaw clenched up but he didn't try to stop John from kneeling infront of him. Jess's frown deepened as she realised she was getting a glimpse into what Sam's life must have been like with his family. No wonder her boyfriend had ran from them; besides from the obvious reason of them being total Psychos, it must have been suffocating - never being able to do stuff for yourself, living with a family who obviously wanted complete control.

Sam sat stiffly in the chair, glaring over his father's head as John placed his right shoe on. He didn't fight it, there wasn't any point. He had tried fighting it years ago and it got him no where. That didn't stop it from pissing him off. Nineteen years of age and his Dad was putting his shoes on. Ridiculous. Sam had learned how to tie his shoe laces at an early age - the funny thing was, it was Dean that taught him how to do them but had never allowed Sam to use the knowledge after he learned, always insisting that Sam didn't need to do it if he or their Dad were around.

Sam had argued with them back then - "Why did you teach me if you never planned to let me do it?!" - but Dean had just smiled, ruffled his hair and told him that he didn't need to worry about such silly things.

While John did that, Dean zipped up the duffle that was filled with as much of Sam's things as he could fit, and collected Sam's coat that was hanging on a coat rack in the corner.

"Alright, here's the plan." He announced, placing the coat on Sam's lap. "We're gonna get in the car and go for a drive. Then we're gonna sort out this little mess that Sammy's gotten himself into."

Sam paused with one arm in a sleeve as he stared up at Dean suspiciously. He sincerely hoped that 'we' meant him, Dean and Dad - but he wasn't stupid enough to believe that. He jumped slightly when he felt John put the rest of the coat around him and placed his other arm in, glancing at his Dad before looking back at Dean.

"Dean..." He spoke.

"Come on; let's go." Dean interrupted again, placing the duffle over his shoulder and pulling Jess up from the couch with a tight grip on her arm.

Sam's heart jumped before racing, and he stepped forward, stopping when he felt John's hand on his arm. "Dean, don't." He choked out, once again trying to push away the tears that wanted so badly to fall down. "She's got nothing to do with this. You don't need to drag her along." He tried to reason.

Dean stared at him for a few seconds before nodding his head and Sam actually dared to hope that Dean had listened to him for once. His hopes were dashed when Jess was thrown back on the couch and Dean stormed over to snatch the gun off John. Turning around, Dean raised the gun to Jess's forehead and Sam's entire stomach dropped to the floor when he saw Dean's finger about to press the trigger.

"NO!" He screamed and went to rush forward before, once a-fucking-gain, John stopped him, tightening his hand on Sam's arm and pulling back. Fear and anger made his voice sharp. "What the hell..."

"You're right, Sam." Dean said, not looking back at his brother, staring at the girl and enjoying the terror in her eyes. "We don't need her. And if I don't need her than I have no more use for her, do I?"

Sam knew the game. And he had no other choice but to play it. Dropping his eyes to the floor, he softened his voice. "Please. I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry. Just...please, Dean."

Glancing at Sam from the corner of his eye, Dean asked, "No more arguing?"

Sam shook his head, keeping his eyes on the floor; ashamed at how easily he once again broke under the power Dean held over him. But his girlfriend's life was way more important than his pride, and if he had to beg for her life until the end of time than he would gladly take the ache in his knees.

"Good." Dean approved. "Up." He ordered, and Jess hesitated before Dean's glare promoted her to scramble up off the couch. "Let's go."

Dean led the way to the door, stopped long enough to pull Jess tight against his side, the gun hidden in his jacket but still pointed at her, before walking casually down the building's hall and to the stairs, John and Sam following behind. Reaching the car, John got into the backseat, waiting for Dean to place Jess beside him and grabbing the gun from his oldest.

"In." Dean said to Sam, opening the passenger side door and placing his hand on Sam's head to make sure he didn't bang it.

John kept the gun on Jess, smiling reassuringly at his youngest son when Sam turned around in his seat to look back at them. "Just behave yourself, Sam, and all will be fine." He consoled.

Sam didn't reply, just kept staring at Jess dejectedly, hoping she would forgive him someday, but knowing he didn't deserve it.

Dean slid into the driver's seat, placing Sam's duffle in the space between them before starting up the car. The ride was mostly silent. Every now and again, Dean would speak, filling Sam in on the last three years - the places they've been to search for Sam. Sam never replied, just sat stiffly in his seat, either staring out the window or glancing into the rearview mirror to check on Jess and his Dad. Dean never told Sam where they were going, but the drive took a day and a half to get there; no one slept, no one let their guard down and it resulted in a tense atmosphere that made Sam's skin itch, the feeling of ants crawling inside making him fidget in his seat.

Sam tried to focus on the scenery infront of him instead of what was going on in the back. He didn't know where they were going, didn't know for certain what would happen when they got there, and he sure as hell had no idea what was gonna happen after.

He was scared - no, terrified!

He couldn't do anything. He was helpless; just like he was when he was a kid - just like he was three years ago. He felt so small and useless sitting in the passenger seat; he couldn't protect his girlfriend...he could barely protect himself. He couldn't fight his family...he had tried over and over; they always overpowered him, always manipulated him into feeling like a small kid who needed them, always made him want to curl up into a ball and bury himself in their arms...they always won.

Jess sat as still as a stone in the backseat, trying to take as many deep breaths as possible to calm herself down. She was overly aware of the leather seats sticking to her back, bum and thighs; overly aware of the deep breathing from the man next to her; overly aware of the waves of anxiety coming from her boyfriend...

...And she was definitely aware of the gun jabbing into her side.

This was not what she had planned for tonight when she woke up that morning. Friday nights were one of her favourites: Finish College early, buy the drinks, come home, make the food, get the movies, snuggle up with Sam and pretend the world outside didn't exist for a few hours.

Nowhere in that list above did it say: Get kidnapped by her boyfriend's pyscho family!

What if she didn't survive this? What if she never saw her parents again? What if she never had the chance to tell them that she loved them and was grateful for everything they had done for her? What if she never saw her friends again; never got to tell Hannah that she forgives her for stealing her favourite top, never got to buy Jason that drink she owes him from when he stayed up all night helping her complete her paper for class?

Never got to tell Sam that he was the best thing that had ever happened to her. That he had made her so happy in the last year and a half; and despite what was happening now, she wouldn't change the fact that she had met him, had moved in with him...had fallen in love with him.

What was gonna happen to her when they got to wherever it was they were going?

Feeling her heart race and her breathing pick up, Jess closed her eyes and took a few more deep breaths. It won't help if she panicked now; won't do any good if she screamed at the top of her lungs, banged on the glass window, kicked at the seat infront of her. She couldn't do anything but sit there - sit there and try not to picture what it would feel like to die. She wasn't doing a very good job of it; her mind had always been over active and right now her mind was showing her different ways that she could die tonight. Was it gonna hurt? At the end of it all, was she gonna wish for the death she was so scared was coming?

She just hoped that Sam knew that she didn't blame him for this.

It was half past eight the next night when they arrived. Sam looked through the windshield, trying to ignore how the trees loomed over the car as they drove through them, how silent it was when Dean turned the engine off once they were in the small clearing. The cabin looked old and abandoned; no lights were on and the wood was flaking off.

John got out of the car first, dragging Jess along with him. Sam, seeing this, jumped out of the passenger seat as fast as he could, banging his shoulder on the door as he did so.

"Sam!" Dean reprimanded, bouncing out the car and over to Sam's side within seconds. Quickly checking his shoulder, he gave his brother a stern look. "Dude, slow it down!" Grabbing Sam's arm, he reached into the open passenger door to grab Sam's duffle before gently pushing him forward and towards the cabin, glancing over his shoulder to glare at Jess as if it was her fault that Sam had banged his shoulder.

"Move it." John snapped, pushing Jess roughly from behind as if he also thought it was her fault.

Sam glanced behind him, clenching his jaw as he saw Jess stumble but kept his mouth shut. It wouldn't do anyone any good if he mouthed off now. Standing off to the side as Dean opened the cabin door, Sam wondered where they were; who did the cabin belong to? How did Dean know about it? And how did Dean get a key?

But none of that really mattered, Sam decided as he was gently pushed inside by his brother. What mattered was how on earth was he and Jess gonna get away from the cabin? Away from his family?

The cabin was nothing special; a small entrance hall with a wide open living room to the left and a closed door that Sam presumed was the kitchen at the end. To the right of them was a staircase up against the wall leading upstairs. The floor was a dark polished wood while the walls were decorated in a light brown wallpaper. It looked homey apart from the coat of dust covering every surface.

Dean nudged Sam into the living room, pushing him down to sit on the brown leather couch. "I'll be right back, Sammy." Dean said, walking back into the hall and stepsidding John as he pushed Jess through. Sam watched as Dean went up the stairs, taking them two at a time, before turning to watch his Dad roughly shove Jess into the leather chair beside the couch.

John stared at Jess for a moment, the hard cold look in his eyes making Jess sink back into the chair. Making sure Jess got the message to stay put, John turned to Sam.

"How's the shoulder, Kiddo?" He asked gently, crouching down infront of his youngest and sweeping his gaze over it.

"Fine." Sam said, the single word pushed out of his throat through gritted teeth as he glared at the floor. His Dad and brother had just basically kidnapped him and his girlfriend from their apartment at gun-point and now their acting all bleedin' worried about a bang on the shoulder that he hardly even felt?

"You sure?" John double checked, nodding when Sam gave a single nod in return. John stood up as Dean jogged back down the stairs and into the living room.

"Everything okay?" Dean asked his Dad and gave a quick glance at Sam. John nodded and moved to sit on the coffee table, keeping the gun dangling between his knees. "Alright." Dean let out on a sigh, standing next to the side of the couch. "It's been a hell of a few days and a long drive." He announced as he reached over to place a hand on the back of Sam's neck. "I'm sure we're all tired. There's a couple of bedrooms upstairs, so we're gonna go up and get some sleep, okay?"

"Sounds like a plan." John agreed, standing up again and taking off his jacket, switching the gun from hand to hand as he did so.

"Alright, come on, Sammy." Dean patted Sam's back to get him to stand up. Sam stood but didn't make another move, glancing nervously at Jess. Dean spoke to John, taking Sam's hand. "I'll be back down once I get Sam settled." He gently pulled Sam to him, putting a hand on Sam's shoulder when his brother stumbled. Dean smiled fondly, tugging Sam along with him as he moved backwards, picking up Sam's duffle-bag that was sitting in the hall as he passed it.

But Sam wasn't making it easy. Resisting the pull on his arm, Sam glanced between his girlfriend and his brother. "Dean, wait..."

Dean shook his head, cutting his brother off. "No, Sam, let's go." He dragged Sam towards the stairs but stopped when Sam used his foot on them to push himself back down. "Sam..." He warned.

"Dean, please." Sam begged, close to tears once again. "Jess." He called out, looking back at her and trying to escape his brother's hold on his hand.

Jess moved to stand up, wanting to throw her arms around Sam and reassure him. But she couldn't. How could you reassure someone in this type of situation? It was pointless anyway as John stepped forward and pushed her back down.

Dean, realising that Sam wouldn't come quietly while he was scared for his girlfriend's safety, took Sam's head between his hands. Making eye contact, Dean smiled. "Hey, don't worry, okay?" Seeing the disbelieving look Sam gave him, he continued. "Your girl will be fine, Sammy. I promise, alright. I'll get you upstairs, then I'll come back down and help Dad secure Jessica for the night, then we'll both be going to bed ourselves. Nothing will happen to her tonight, Sam, I promise."

It didn't escape Sam's notice that Dean had said 'tonight' - nothing will happen to her tonight - and it made him try to pull away from Dean even harder, wanting to get back to Jess; to feel her in his arms and know for sure that she was okay.

Being tired was causing Dean's patience to wear thin and he shut his eyes for a moment as he tried to calm himself down so he didn't snap at his little brother. It wasn't Sammy's fault. He had every reason to be scared for the Bitches safety, and every right to feel like he had to protect her.

"Sam." He spoke low but kept his tone stern. Sam's eyes flew up to meet his. "No arguing, remember?"

To reinforce his oldest son's point, John pointed the gun to Jess's head and kept it there until Sam disheartingly nodded and slowly trudged up the stairs after his brother.

Opening a door that led to one of the bedrooms, Dean led Sam in by the hand. He threw the duffle on the Queen sized bed and shut the door behind him. "Alright, Sammy." He said as he walked over to close the curtains, clearing his throat when the dust on them was disturbed. He turned back to Sam, who stood at the foot of the bed. "Let's get you into bed."

Sam stared at the floor, feeling emotionally tired but mentally active; his brain swirling round and round about what he could have done better and what he could still do now, while his body wanted to flop down on the comfy-looking bed. He watched as Dean straightened out the covers and fluffed up the pillows. His brother wanted him to sleep but there was no way Sam would be able to shut down his brain long enough for slumber to catch him.

Maybe he could relax better if he had Jess with him. Maybe he could use his own health to bribe his big brother to allow him to spend more time with his girlfriend. And maybe, just once, Dean would actually give in to him.

It was a long shot but Sam was willing to try anything.

"Dean." His voice was hoarse as he continued to stare at the floor, trying to make himself look as sad and pathetic as he could; which turned out not to be that hard.

Dean immediately looked up, and once he took a good look at Sam's face and body language, he abandoned the bed to walk towards him. Taking both of Sam's hands in his own, his thumb rubbing over the back of Sam's hand, he bent his head slightly to try and catch Sam's eyes. "What's wrong, Kiddo?" He asked gently.

He couldn't just blurt the question out - Dean would instantly refuse. He had to play this. Keeping his head down, he turned it to the right and blinked rapidly as if trying to stop himself from crying. "I..." He cut himself off and bit his lip.

Dean frowned and moved closer, releasing one of Sam's hands so he could bring his own up and run it soothingly through Sam's hair. "Sammy?" He encouraged gently, his tone expressing his worry.

Sam looked up through his bangs, allowing Dean to see his watery eyes and wobbly bottom lip. He opened his mouth to speak, paused for a second as if he was reconsidering, then shook his head like he had made a decision. "Nevermind." He whispered, turning his head to the side again. "It doesn't matter." He felt a tear fall down, one he didn't really have to fake. His emotions were up the wall, getting ready to push him over the edge at any time, that internal struggle he's felt all his life making him dizzy and exhausted; making him want to shout out about the unfairness of it all one minute and then curl into a ball and sob the next. He turned away from Dean and went to sit on the bed but his brother stopped him.

"Don't do that." Dean gently reprimanded, shaking his head. "It does matter, Sam." He got Sam down on the bed and crouched infront of him, placing his hands on each of Sam's knees. "Come on, Tiger, we've talked about this before, remember? I can't fix anything if I don't know what it is I need to fix. As cool as it would be, I'm not a mind reader, Kiddo, so you're gonna have to tell me."

This time when Sam bit his lip it was to stop himself from asking for what he wanted. Dean wasn't ready yet; if he asked now Dean would refuse. Just a bit longer. "What's the point?" He kept his head down and his voice low. "You won't fix it anyway." He mumbled, speaking just loud enough for Dean to hear it but acting as if he didn't want him to.

Dean frowned again, growing more concerned. "Well, we'll never know unless you tell me, will we?" He smiled softly, trying to put his little brother at ease.

Time to up the act. Sam brought up his right hand and slowly rubbed his eye, knowing that that made Dean go all soft; Dean had told him plenty of times how that had reminded him of when Sam was a small boy. It normally annoyed Sam to no end how Dean constantly thought of him as a little kid, but now, seeing Dean smile fondly at him, he was taking advantage of it. He brought his hand back down and placed it on his lap, playing with his fingers on his other hand, purposely waiting a moment before speaking again. "I'm scared, De." He whispered, throwing in his brother's childhood nickname.

Frowning with worry, Dean shifted forward slightly, tightening his hold on Sam's knees. "What you scared of, Buddy?" He asked softly, which made Sam's heart clench. If only the people who Dean had hurt could see him now; could see the soft and gentle side of him that Sam had always known.

When Sam turned his head away and squeezed his eyes shut, Dean moved his right hand and placed it on the back of Sam's neck, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Hey, c'mon, Little Brother. Talk to me. Tell me how to fix it." He encouraged.

It was now or never. "Jess." Sam whispered, looking down at the floor. He felt Dean tense a little and hurried on. "Please, Dean." He begged, looking up at his brother. "Just...just let me stay with her tonight, please. It'll help me sleep."

For the next minute, the brothers stared at each other in silence. Sam wanted to drop his eyes down, shift on the bed, pace the room, kick out at Dean, scream at his Dad, run down the stairs, jump out the window, wrap Jess in his arms, tell her that they were gonna be okay, that he'd get them out of this...

...Throw himself in Dean's arms, cry on his shoulder, say he was sorry even though he had no idea what he was apologizing for; shout for his Dad and have him tuck him into bed while Dean made hot chocolate, have his Dad tell him that it was all gonna be okay, that he didn't have to worry about a thing because he and Dean would take care of everything.

But he was nineteen years of age; practically an adult now. He couldn't cry into Dean's shoulder like a five year old, he couldn't run to his Dad for comfort and reassurance when things got a little stressful for him, he couldn't run away from his problems - running hadn't worked before - and he definitely couldn't hide and pretend the world didn't exist.

Because it did. The world outside existed and it turned around whether he wanted it to or not; people carried on with their lives despite the pain and struggles Sam went through. Hiding away wouldn't stop Dean and John from doing what they've always done; it wouldn't stop them from causing other people pain, it wouldn't stop them from destroying the lives of those people, and it sure as hell wouldn't stop them from hurting Jess.

Jess was counting on him - depending on him - to fight for them both. And Sam would do anything to give her a fighting chance.

"Please." He whispered again, breaking the silence.

Dean let out a heavy sigh and stood up, staring at Sam for another moment before nodding. "Alright, Sammy." Before Sam could jump for joy, Dean continued, his voice stern. "But just for tonight." He pointed a finger at his brother. "I mean it, Sam. As soon as me and Dad wake up, your girl is out of this room."

Sam nodded quickly, willing to agree to anything just as long as he got to see Jess.

Dean stared at Sam for another moment, contemplating whether he should leave Sam alone or not. Finally, he asked, "You gonna be okay here for a sec?"

Sam nodded, doing his best to not roll his eyes and scoff at the thought that at nineteen he wasn't capable of staying in a room by himself; a locked room, if he knew Dean.

Dean gave him a single nod back. "Alright. I'll be back in a minute."

Sam watched his brother walk to the door. Just as Dean opened it and was about to walk out, Sam whispered sincerely, "Thank you."

Dean looked back and his face softened as he looked at his little brother. He gave another nod in acknowledgement before walking out.

As soon as the door closed behind Dean Sam was moving off the bed and towards the window. Pushing the curtains open, his hands moved over the window frame quickly, trying to find a crack or some kind of weakness in the wood that he could use. He dropped his hands and sighed in frustration when he didn't find anything. He went over to the window latch, knowing it would be locked but trying it anyway. It didn't budge.

Kneeling down, he moved his left eye closer to the lock while he closed his right one. He could pick it. It wasn't hard; he's been picking locks since he was fourteen. He just needed something to use...

Turning his head, he checked the room over, looking for anything small enough to fit into the lock. He got off the floor and walked over to the bedside table, opening the first draw. Seeing nothing, he slammed it closed and hurriedly opened the second one. As he was about to open the third draw, he heard voices coming closer to the door.

He quickly jumped to the end of the bed, sitting down before realising that he had left the curtains open. Eyes wide, he used his long legs to quickly jump over to the window and close them again before running back to the bed, heart racing. He sat down with his chin to his chest, trying to calm himself down. Just as he took a deep breath, the door opened and Dean walked in; Jess and John following behind.

As soon as he spotted Jess, Sam stood and took a step forward, hesitantly glancing at Dean. His brother's face was blank as he stood to the side, watching Jess with his arms crossed.

Sam didn't get the chance to do anything else as Jess ran forward and threw herself at him. He automatically wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face in her hair and breathing in. The smell of faint coconut wafted to him and he relaxed, knowing that, for now at least, Jess was alive and unharmed. He closed his eyes in relief, tightening his arms and kissed the side of her head.

He flinched slightly when he sensed Dean standing beside him, opening his eyes in time to see Dean grab Jess by the arm and pull her away. "Alright, that's enough." Jess stumbled backwards as Dean pushed her behind him, immediately forgetting about her as he turned to Sam. "Come on, Sammy. Time for bed."

John stepped forward, pushing Jess further back into a corner and took Sam's hand while Dean walked over to the bed and turned the covers down. Sam glanced back at Jess, giving her a small smile as his Dad led him to the bed. John gently pushed him forward and Sam climbed in, lying down and patiently waiting for John to tuck him in, knowing that arguing about it would only cause them to make Jess leave.

John patted his chest and smiled down at him, sitting down on the edge of the bed. He ran a hand through his son's hair and bent to kiss his forehead. "Night, Sammy." He whispered. "Sweet dreams, Kiddo." Stroking his hair once last time, John stood and stepped back as Dean stepped forward.

Bending down at the waist, Dean copied his Dad and kissed Sam's forehead. "See you in the morning, Sammy. Love ya, Bud." Standing up, Dean pulled the covers tighter around his brother before stepping away with a small smile and walking out the room, John following behind. Neither of them gave Jess a glance, completely ignoring her as they shut the door behind them and locked it.

The second Sam heard the lock click, he was throwing the covers back and meeting Jess in the middle of the room, throwing his arms around her once again. "Are you okay?" He whispered breathlessly.

Jess nodded and tightened her hold on his hoodie, clenching the fabric in her fist.

"I'm so sorry." Sam's voice broke but he kept going, needing Jess to know. "God, I'm so sorry, Jess. You shouldn't be here, you don't deserve to be here, and I'm sorry. It's my fault but I'll fix it, okay, I promise I'll fix it somehow." He rushed out, ignoring the tears that fell. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry..."

Jess raised her hand and rested it on his cheek, moving closer to him so that her lips were inches away from his. "Sam. Listen to me." She whispered back, knowing that Sam could feel her lips move, feel her breathe.

He continued to whisper "I'm sorry." under his breath before trailing off until just his lips were moving to the words but no sound came out.

"Sam. I'm sorry to, okay." Jess continued. "I'm sorry that we're both here, because neither of us deserve to be, and I'm sorry that you had to grow up with these people the way you did, and I'm sorry I can't do anything but stand here in your arms and cry." Once Jess noticed that Sam's lips wasn't moving anymore, she closed her eyes and rested her forehead against his. "I'm sorry I can't be stronger for you." Standing on her tiptoes, she placed a kiss on the tip of his nose, opening her eyes as she leaned back, seeing Sam had opened his eyes to, and giving him a watery smile. "But you're right." She continued, keeping the whisper they both had started with. "We will fix this. Together. We will fix it together, Sam. You and me."

Taking a deep breath, Sam closed his eyes again and tried to compose himself. Here Jess was, telling him that she wasn't strong enough, and yet she was giving him the strength he needed. Filled with gratitude that he had her in his life, he surged forward and kissed her, tangling his hand in her hair and holding on as if she might disappear any moment.

And, he realised, that could possibly happen if they waited any longer. Stopping the deep kiss, he gave her one last peck before moving away. "I can pick the lock on the window but I need something to do it with." He explained. "Check around." He gestured around the room with his hand. "Look for anything small and pointy, but do it quietly. If Dean or Dad hear..." He trailed off, not needing, or wanting, to explain that part.

Jess nodded and moved to one side of the room while Sam took the over. It was two minutes later, with no luck on either side, that Jess remembered that she was wearing the jeans she had on the other day. Digging into her front pocket, she smiled as her hand grabbed her hair clips and pulled them out.

"Will these work?" She asked.

Sam looked up and saw what she was holding, instantly moving towards her to look at them properly. Taking one of the four Jess held, he held it up and examined it. "These will do." He smiled and bent down to give her another quick kiss.

They moved over to the window and Sam kneeled down, taking the second clip that Jess handed to him. "Keep a look out." Sam whispered, nodding his head to the door before he got to work.

Jess nodded and hurriedly tiptoed to the door, pressing her ear against the wood and urging Sam to hurry, wanting to get away as soon as possible.

Sam's hands were sweating, causing him to fumble with the clips. His frustration grew, which didn't help him not to make mistakes, as he also urged himself to hurry it up. Every second that passed was a second that Dean or Dad could be on their way to the room to check on him.

A minute later, Sam heard the lock unclick and smiled wide. Turning his head to Jess, he waved her over. Seeing her move toward him, he put his finger to his lips, indicating that she keep quiet.

Slowly - cautiously - he lifted the window, praying it wouldn't squeak. Once the window was wide enough for them to climb through, he sighed in relief, and held his hand out for Jess to take.

"You go first." He whispered. "There's a ledge not that far down."

Jess hesitated, not liking the thought of leaving Sam behind, even if it was only for a few seconds. "Sam..."

Sam, seeing her hesitation and knowing the reason why, moved closer, kissing her forehead. "They won't harm me. If you're on the ledge when they come in, then you have a better chance of going for help, knowing that I'll be safe." He looked down sadly. "I don't have that reassurance, Jess. If I go first, and they come in...I won't be able to go for help because I won't be able to leave you with them."

Seeing the logic, Jess nodded and placed her hand on his cheek again, resting it there and staring at him for a moment longer before Sam nodded his head towards the window. Nodding back, Jess took Sam's hand and climbed over the ledge.

"Give me your other hand." Sam instructed. Once he had both hands in his own, he slowly started lowering her down.

Jess kept her eyes on her boyfriend as her feet scrambled on the wall. She glanced down to see how far she had to go and breathed out in relief when her feet touched the ledge.

"I'm down." She whispered up and saw Sam nod. She moved to the side as Sam climbed over and glanced around the area, chewing her bottom lip as her nerves went sky high.

What if they were caught? Sam's family would be pissed, that much she knew. What would they do to her if they caught them? What would they do to Sam? Sam said that they wouldn't harm him, so what did they do to him when Sam stepped out of line? How did they get Sam back under control? What if they had heard the window open, or her whispering, or the slight thud that her feet had made when she stepped on the ledge? What if they were waiting on the ground; just waiting there with their arms crossed, ready to grab them as soon as their feet touched the floor? What if...


She startled and looked back at Sam, who stood beside her.

"You ready?" Sam asked, searching her face worriedly.

Jess forced herself to calm down and forced a smile. "Ready." She whispered back. She sat on the ledge as Sam knelt down and took his hands into her own again. With Sam taking most of her weight, she dropped from the ledge and waited as Sam lowered her down again. She was still a little ways from the ground before she realised that Sam couldn't lower her any further.

"Let go." She whispered up at him.

Sam frowned and shook his head, not wanting to cause her any pain from the drop and quickly trying to think of a way to get her down, looking around himself in hopes that there was another ledge below.

Jess looked around to, and when she couldn't see one she looked back at the ground, estimating the height. She looked back at Sam. "I can make it. It's not that far, Sam, just let go."

Sam hesitated, not liking the idea before realising he didn't have much of a choice. A few scraps and bruises from a fall was better than the torture his Dad and Dean would put her through. He nodded and shifted his grip on her. "Ready?"

Jess nodded back.

"3 - 2 - 1." He let go and Jess dropped down, landing on her ass, letting out a huff of pain as she threw her hands out to stop herself from falling backwards and hitting her head.

Sam didn't hesitate this time around, didn't stop to think as he heard Jess grunt; just threw his legs over and jumped, praying he landed right and didn't twist his ankle. He landed on his feet before a second later he stumbled to his knees, letting out a little grunt of his own as he felt the sting.

Not stopping for a moment, he stood and grabbed Jess's arms, standing her up and giving her a quick once over. "You okay?" He asked, looking back at the house to make sure it stayed dark and silent before looking back at Jess.

As soon as he saw Jess nod, he grabbed her hand and ran, not look back. Just as he passed the edge of the forest, he heard the cabin door slam open and his Dad's voice.


Present Time!

Three hours later, and here they are. Back where they started. Drenched to the bone, Jess softly crying and Sam doing his best to keep his own sobs in, Dean and John's face full of thunder as they marched their charges back into the cabin.

Sam was once again pushed into the cabin first, with Dean right behind him. He heard the door slam shut and whirled his head around when he heard the sound of flesh hitting flesh and Jess crying out.

Dean grabbed his arm tightly and kept him in place.

Jess was lying on the floor, her hand against her cheek and her head bent down, cowering under John's anger.

John was just starting to put his hand back down, and Sam saw the redness on his knuckles from where he had backhanded her. He stepped forward but was shoved back by Dean. His brother moved a step toward him and glared.

"Don't even think about it." Dean warned angrily.

"I'd listen to your brother if I were you, Sam." John spoke, still staring at Jess. Once he felt Sam's eyes turn to him, John looked up at his youngest. "You're in enough trouble as it is, Son."

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