Author: Lint PM
Am I a demon? No, you're something else. Sam, Ruby, Bobby. Post "No Rest for the Wicked"Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Tragedy - Sam W. & Ruby - Words: 3,663 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 3 - Published: 05-22-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4272713
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Almost a year to the day he's falling into a cliché, trying to drink away the memories through half a dozen beers.
He sits at the end of the bar easily unnoticed until he raises his hand to replace the empty bottle in front of him. His goal at trying to drown out thoughts of Dean is almost working, until some random redhead saddles up on the stool next to him.
Watching out of the corner of his eye, he sees her flag down the bartender, points to the bottle in Sam's hand. A fresh beer is placed in front of her and he's just waiting for the follow up such an icebreaker would incite.
She turns to him, all smiles and shining white teeth, says cheers in a smooth whiskey voice. He nods politely, and she counteracts expectation by not trying to make small talk afterward.
Still, he can see her keeping tabs on him, watching yet never looking directly. She expects him to speak first, that he gets, knows he won't because he's simply not in the mood for such a thing.
He hasn't seen her before that much he's sure of, the files in his mind of so many faces passed by over the years come up blank, but there is still the distinct feeling they've met.
The game of silent back and forth, him looking at her and she at him, goes on far longer than he would have expected.
Then finally: "You tired of being wrong yet?"
He turns to her. "Excuse me?"
She turns back, still upturned lips and sparkling pearls, emerald eyes burning right into him like she knows.
"Sam," she says sweetly, making him think harder. "Didn't you miss me at all?"
She laughs softly when he doesn't reply, runs her fingers through fiery strands.
"Better as a blonde?"
His scrutinizing glare grows into shock, her name dropping from his lips like a stone.
He refuses to bury Dean's body. Or to burn it like they did with Dad.
Bobby asks him what else he expects to do and it only takes one look for him to realize.
"That ain't right," he says. "That ain't healthy."
Sam ignores his concerns, knows Bobby will keep Dean in his walk-in freezer as long as he wants him too. Once they lay him there, wrapped in a plastic sheet, he asks for a moment alone. One the older man is all to ready to give.
Alone, Sam puts his hand Dean's cold forehead, tries not to notice how blue his lips are, how pale the skin is now. A single chilled tear runs down his cheek as he mumbles apologies that mean nothing. He failed. He couldn't break the deal. He couldn't stop Lilith from taking him.
His eyes still burn with the sight of watching his brother being ripped apart, watching blank empty eyes as his soul took a dive off that final cliff into the pit.
Somehow he'll make this right again.
No matter what.
He's seen this many times before, demons jumping through numerous bodies, their essence still the same. It's different however, when he'd gotten so used to the one she wore, so many days he'd spent looking at it, to know it's really her inside.
"Strange isn't it?" she says looking down at herself, as if she'd read his mind. "I'd gotten so used to the other one."
"She said she sent you far away," is all he can find to say.
She leans toward him, those new eyes sparkling somehow in the dim light, the familiar look of confidence calming his doubts.
"Nine levels," she replies. "Some poets get it right," she continues off his look. "Took me this long to get back."
"Come on Sam," she grins. "We both know how clever I can be."
The first few days he spends on Bobby's couch, staring up at the ceiling, past it, the long promise of nothing beyond weighing on his chest and mind. Air seems like a luxury flowing through his lungs, one his brother no longer has, one he'd seen vanish in a last gasp from bloody lips.
He doesn't like to move much, only shifts when something gets stiff, or after being claimed by sleep, wakes in a different position.
Bobby placates him at first. Leaves him be when the demand is made, takes away any food he has brought when it's refused, readily counters any words of bitter self depreciation.
The third day Bobby hauls him up by his collar, yells with bearded fury right into his face about loss and acceptance, and how they all knew how it would end.
Sam feels his fists clench in anger, knows what he's trying to do but the rebuttal is ready to express itself in knuckles and cheekbone. Instead he just collapses back into himself like a dead star. He listens to the sound of Bobby's boots moving across the hardwood, away from him, to some distraction he can hide behind for a little while until he thinks of another way to get him talking, get him going.
Sam wonders if he'll succeed.
Realizes, either way, it doesn't matter anymore.
Her eyes focus in on him, taking note of a few subtle changes since she saw him last. His hair is shorter, though only slightly, and he's taken to wearing Dean's old jacket. His eyes are darker, more focused; she can see something resting behind them.
He already knows all these things about himself, knows that she's slowly coming to realize them as well.
"Look at you," she says reaching out a hand to move a stray strand of hair from his face, a touch he doesn't shy away from. "You're all grown up now."
He sees right through the comment, knows exactly what she's trying to relay. No more moral high ground on the job, no patience for it, he does what needs to be done regardless of collateral damage. He doesn't have to like it no, but he doesn't have to care either.
One simple look and this knowledge is hers.
"And you did it without me having to hold your hand."
He's suddenly so sick of her, and the demon(s) before her, dangling that predestined carrot in front of his face. Mostly, he's sick of himself being the eager little bunny always curious to chomp at the bit when it comes to that fate.
He grabs her wrist, squeezes and shoves it away hard, is rewarded with her mischievous smile.
The next week, he's still on Bobby's couch, surrounded by dusty old books and a continually empty coffee cup. Time spent looking for loop holes, false hope he sees on the older man's face whenever he wanders in, his untrained lawyer's eye trying to read between the lines.
He looks for deals with demons, binding contracts, possession stories he's never heard or read. Bobby's library is vast, his thirst for the knowledge unquenched with countless volumes, pouring over book after book.
One day he reaches for one just out of arm's length, his focus on the text before him unbroken, fingers tingling with the sensation of need. When he feels the book suddenly his hand he mumbles a thank you to Bobby, pulls it close to him and switches his attention to the new pages.
When he realizes it wasn't Bobby's doing, handing him the book, because he'd headed for the store about twenty minutes ago. There's a strange sensation behind his eyes, a definitive whir-click echoing in his mind.
The sound of a switch falling into its natural place.
Ruby tilts her head at him, takes a slow long pull of her beer, his eyes watch her throat as it works the liquid down. He looks away, takes his own big gulp.
"I hear Lilith is still around," she says once she swallows. "Guess you still need me to help check that off your list."
He licks his lips involuntarily, the taste of her kiss still resonant.
"I couldn't find her," he replies looking back. "And she stopped coming for me after…"
He nods, hasn't seen her since the day Dean went down.
"Word in hell is she still wants your bones for a chandelier," she says. "Don't tell me I'm that far out of the loop."
That much is probably true, he allows. He can't imagine her not wanting him dead, rival factions, or whatever it was that made her hate him.
"What are you smirking at?" Ruby asks.
He doesn't tell her that Lilith tried to kill him point blank, only to realize she couldn't.
Remember what Dad taught you. Remember what I taught you.
First day back on the job Bobby insists on coming along. It's pointless to argue so Sam doesn't bother, just opens the passenger door and waits for him to get in. The ride down to El Paso is mostly quiet, Bobby had never been one for small talk, and Sam can't find the motive to make idle chatter either.
A simple possession, if there was such a thing, is what Bobby's contacts told him. A friend of his he'd know for years, suddenly talking strange, doing strange things, hurting people just for kicks. Typical.
Bobby is almost done paining the devil's trap, as Sam circles the black-eyed man tied to the chair, must have been some lower level spook that snuck out of the gate to be so weak as to be restrained by simple leather straps.
It's been quiet the whole time, barely even put up a fight, when suddenly it snaps out of the bonds, mouth torqued in a high pitch scream.
He throws a hand out in defense, not even thinking, forces the demon back down with hardly an effort at all. Bobby drops the chalk when he sees this, his concerned glare staring daggers.
Sam can see the Latin perched on the tip of the older man's tongue, the word demon written on his face, for a second he doesn't move.
"Finish it," Sam says.
He's still standing there, watching Sam's outstretched arm.
"Bobby," Sam starts. "I don't… I'm not sure how much longer I can hold him."
"You're brother screams Sam," the demon says, the pronunciation of his name coming out like a snake's hiss.
"Shut your mouth," he shoots back through clenched teeth.
"He wants you to save him. He thinks you can. He thinks you will."
Sam clenches his hand into a fist, the demon screeching as a result, its form ripped from the body in the blink of an eye.
She's got that knowing look again.
Lips pursed like they're waiting to pounce with some sharp-edged knowledge she's still contemplating whether or not to share. His beer is empty but he doesn't ask for another, rather, he takes the rest of hers and finishes it off.
"Hey that was-"
He cuts her off with a bemused glare, the silent how do you like it? easily conveyed.
For that she lashes out her razor tongue, ready to cut him down with what she knows.
"How well did you know your mother?"
Not what he expected but, much to her disappointment, he doesn't flinch at the subject.
"You know I didn't."
She's back to slow cruel smiles, new face, same old Ruby. She's still that backhanded sweet talker. Building him up with small compliments and promises of action taken, only to knock him down when he doesn't act in accordance with her plans. When he doesn't play the way she wants him to.
Her face sours at his non-reaction, his clear disinterest in playing her game.
She moves in close for good measure, lips hovering just above his ear.
He follows his brother's advice. He keeps fighting, searching for Lilith anywhere he goes. He takes care of the Impala. He remembers why they do what they do.
After El Paso Sam goes straight to the next job, only stopping to eat or sleep, never once thinking about what is happening to him again. What he is becoming even after yellow-eyes has been dead for a year, after Dean was already gone.
He can move things with a thought. Send demons back to hell with a blink. See what is coming before he ever makes a move.
Ruby said it wasn't like a switch, that he needed time, and now that he has all the time in the world, now that his brother isn't there keeping his hand firmly on the control panel, the internal shifts seem to flip like switches, new abilities presenting themselves almost regularly.
He wonders how many there will be, he wonders how far it will go.
Bobby keeps leaving messages, his concern carried across so many voicemails, but he won't return them.
"You still have no idea who you are, do you?" She says, that whiskey smoothness dripping back into her voice.
He bites his tongue.
"Maybe next time I see that little bitch I should thank her for sending me so low. So many new faces that far down, so many things to learn."
"I don't believe you."
"Of course you don't," she scoffs. "You never have."
Stare down: Her smirk to his scowl.
"Mary Magdalene was a sinner before she was a saint," she starts. "Before she recanted at his feet, she was exorcised by the son himself."
He feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
"Seven demons were cast out from her body."
His fingers clench against the bottle in his hand.
"Not even he knew…"
She trails off, puts her hands atop his, leans against his mouth and whispers.
"There were eight."
There's a rumor that a band of demons have taken over a small mountain town somewhere in West Virginia. He shows up with engine roaring, guns teaming to blaze, ready to take perverse pleasure in sending them all back to hell.
What's there when he gets out of the car is a little beyond expectation. Fifty some odd demons playing house in a town remote enough for the outside world not to notice. Some are walking along the storefronts when they take notice of him, scurry inside and close the doors. He can feel the rest of them as he walks down the main drag, peering cautiously through various windows.
He knows they can feel him too.
They stay out of sight, eyes all focused, his boots leave a trail all the way to the intersection in the middle of town.
Once there he stops, feels like he's standing in the middle of some old western, the book in his hand more for show than the six-shooter it represents.
No matter what's been happening he knows he can't exorcise this many, but is not afraid of what they might do to him.
They slowly come from their hiding places, no mass attack, no war cries. They walk toward him, he sees no malice, feels no hate. Fifty stone faces looking at him, a hundred black eyes reflecting nothing.
It's not a threat or a question. He can't tell where it came from.
One by one they kneel before him.
"You're lying," he says, though it comes out with no force, more wishful thinking than accusation.
She doesn't bother replying, he's said as much to her so many times by now. She's still so close, pressed up firmly against him so that their noses nearly touch, the crowd in the bar easily forgotten in the moment.
"If that were true," he continues. "Then Dean-"
"First born sons are more like their fathers," she interrupts. "Second born well, they're more like Mom don't you think?"
"You said you knew her."
"Are you telling me she's in hell?"
Ruby puts her fingers on his lips, a slow teasing move he accepts.
"Even when she recanted," she goes on. "Mary, being what she was, could never be allowed into heaven. When the body dies, she always goes back."
He stares stunned.
"She's crawled out a thousand times over, bore so many children, and even with those kind of numbers you're still the pick of the litter Sam. The anti-Christ superstar."
He can't find words.
She moves her hand to the side of his face, brushes her thumb across his cheek.
"If it's any consolation, I don't think she loved anyone as much as she loved John Winchester."
He stays in West Virginia for nearly three days.
He can hear his brother's voice in his head the whole time, telling him to get out, get out now. But he is not afraid. He knows they won't hurt him. He knows that they can't.
They don't tell him what they want from him. They don't tell him his part in hell's civil war.
He thinks it's because they honestly don't know, but they call him a savior regardless. He is to lead them to battle, to glory over Lilith and the other ones making a power play for domination in the pit. Their faith in him is unfounded, and he tells them such, but they believe anyway.
He asks why. Why him, why now, why didn't this movement die with yellow-eyes? He asks about his brother, if any knows him, if anyone has seen him down there. He wants to know if he suffers. He wants to know if he kills Lilith, if he rips her apart with his bare hands, will Dean still be trapped?
Getting a straight answer from a demon, not the easiest thing in the world.
Her lips do what he wished the alcohol could, his curious disgust and self loathing keeping the thoughts of his brother away. Her skin is warm, pulse still alive in the veins, this body brand new.
"I should kill you for that stunt you pulled."
Fierce whisper-threats into his ear, tongue darting out for emphasis. He almost dares her to try.
"Were you just going to leave me there Sam?" she asks. "After all I did for you?"
Her hands slide underneath his shirt.
"I wasn't going to," he replies, a half-truth, hadn't actually made up his mind before Lilith showed up wearing her face.
"Promises, promises," she shoots back, fingers curling to claws, nails raking across his back.
There's a fire burning inside, one that sparked the minute they left the bar, one he denied the day they met. Kindred spirits, he thinks and almost laughs. The war is still coming, still here, he's just been hiding from it since Dean's been gone. He knows that now. Ruby climbed her way back through of nine levels of hell to remind him.
He buries his head into her neck.
"We can find her," she says in-between gasps. "And when you kill her…"
She grabs the back of his head, forces him to look her in the eye.
"Make it slow."
"If I do-" he starts.
"It's too late to save him."
"I can't leave him there."
"You won't have to," she offers, slowly winding her hands down to his neck. "Upon her death all contracts will be null and void. It's a one way ticket out of the pit."
"Then how is that too late?"
"What's he going to come back to Sam?" She asks. "His body is worm food by now."
His thoughts go immediately to the walk-in freezer back in South Dakota.
"I just meant you won't get him back. He'll be off to a better place, or whatever."
"I can get him back."
He smiles slowly, stretching out a hand, letting his power talk hold of the demon inside her, showing her what he was capable of.
"You said once that I had the power inside of me, and that I'd be stupid not to use it."
Her eyes grow wide.
"And you were right. Dean, he was too afraid to let it happen, but he's been gone a long time." He caresses her face with the back of his hand. "I can do anything I want. I could pull you from this body. I could send you back."
"You won't," she says back defiantly. "Not when I can help you."
That much is true, he lets her go, his brow furrowing at her smile.
"My boy," she says softly. "I'm so proud."
"I'm getting my brother back."
She reaches for him, pulls herself closer.
"Of course you are."
"Am I a demon?" He asks. "I need to know."
"No," is the reply he gets. "You're something else."
"Special. From the day you were born. Your mother…"
He didn't want to hear the rest, didn't want a bunch of demons dragging her name through the mud.
The colors burn so bright in the review mirror, the Impala gently rumbling as he pours on the gas.
A little town, remote enough for the outside world not to notice, going up like the flames of hell itself.
He catches sight of himself, reflection telling him what he already knows.
Anything to make it right.