Disclaimer: SPN and its world belong to Eric Kripke. Sami and Ruben are genderbended versions of Sam and Ruby.
Author's Note: Written for Xphoenixrising for her birthday.

My fault. It's all my fault. The words echoed through Sami Winchester's brain on a continuous loop. If she had never been born, her mother would still be alive. If she had never met him, Jesse Moore would have graduated from Stanford University. If she had never been killed, her brother Dean wouldn't have sold his soul to a Crossroad demon to bring her back to life. Everywhere she went, Sami brought death, and she had to find a way to stop it.

With that thought in mind, Sami walked into the local public library on a bright Tuesday morning. She couldn't remember what city she and Dean had come to that week. All she knew was they had spent the night before ridding the local movie theater of a ghost who liked to strangle men. Even though she'd rather be in the hotel bed with the covers pulled over her head, Sami knew she couldn't. She had to find a way to help Dean.

After searching so long, she knew the call number of the books she needed by heart. She hadn't found a way to save Dean yet, but maybe, just maybe this place would hold the key.

Sami selected a few books from the shelves and carried them to a table in the back corner.

"Do you need any help?" She peeked around her stack to see a teenaged boy smiling at her.

She tried her best to smile back. "I've got it. Thanks."

The boy shrugged and turned back to the graphic novels he had been looking through.

Sami sighed as she set the stack down. She had underestimated how heavy all those books would be. Sinking into a chair, she pulled a book off the top and opened it to the index. She found what she needed and turned to the page, but she couldn't seem to focus.

One year. Dean had one year to live, and then the Crossroad demon's hellhounds would drag him into Hell. Sami couldn't let that happen. She just couldn't. The words on the page in front of her blurred, and all she could see were Dean's eyes when he told her about the deal.

She grew angry all over again at the memory. What right did he have to trade his soul for hers? He certainly had some screwed up sense of protection, that was for sure. Did he even think about what would happen to her after he was dragged into Hell? She would have no one. No one. Mom, Dad, and Jesse were all gone, and once Dean left, Sami would have to face the dark all by herself.

She raked a hand through her long, brown hair and tried to focus on the words. There had to be a way to reverse the deal.

"You're not going to find what you're looking for in there."

Sami rolled her eyes. "I told you I didn't need any…" Her voice trailed off when she saw who was standing in front of her.

Ruben wore the guise of a blond frat boy with dark blue eyes, but he was no frat boy. He smiled down at her.

Sami gritted her teeth. "It's none of your business. Go away, Ruben." She returned to the paragraph she was reading.

She tried to ignore the scrape of the chair across from her as it slid out and the squeak of Ruben's weight on the seat. The nonchalant demon had been stalking her for months, making promises to save her brother and saying how he wanted to help bring Hell to its knees. She turned him down every time, but it was getting harder and harder.

Ruben wrapped his cold fingers around hers, causing her to jump. Sami jerked her hand out from under his. "Don't do that," she warned in a low voice, "or I'll break your arm."

Ruben only sat back, a cocky smile on his face. "Ooh, I think you just turned this body on. Besides, it won't be my arm, babe. It'll be the poor bastard's whose meat I'm wearing."

Sami tried not to think about that. The mere idea that some poor guy was locked inside his own body with Ruben, and he couldn't tell anyone he was there, gave her the creeps.

"Baby…" Ruben began.

"Sami." She narrowed her eyes. "I have a name."

Ruben sighed. "Sami, I've already told you I can help you. You have to trust me."

"Trust and a demon? I don't think those things go together." Sami slammed the book closed, causing several people from other tables to look at her sharply. She brushed them off as she stood and deposited the book on the nearest cart. When she turned around, Ruben was right there.

He touched her cheek. "One of these days, you'll come to me."

She smacked his hand away. "I told you not to touch me."

Ruben smirked. He took a couple of steps back, his eyes locked on Sami's. For a split second, they flashed black. "You can always find me, Sami. Just call my name."

Sami turned away, her heart pounding in her chest. What if Ruben was telling the truth? What if he could save her brother? No. She couldn't forget the most important rule – demons lie. When she looked back, he was gone.

She had to find a way to make everything right, and it frightened her how much she considered Ruben's proposal. Something had to be done, or someone else close to her would lose his life. And it would be all her fault again.


© 2009 Crimson Idealist