AN: Huge thanks to everybody that has left comments and kudos, it means the world to me. I want to thank JDL71 for helping me write this chapter. She ended up writing the last part of this chapter that I then added to or changed so she deserves a lot of credit for this chapter. And like usual, she and Lotrspnfangirl went over the chapter and fixed all my mistakes and added their magical touches to it. They're awesome! I don't know what I would do without them. Hope you enjoy the chapter!Chapter 13
May 15th, 2008
Walking away from Jessica had been incredible hard, but Sam knew in his heart that it was the right decision. Getting over losing Jessica had been an extremely long and hard road, but with Dean's help he'd made it through his sorrow. He wasn't sure Dean would make it if he lost another family member, the last living family member, so soon after losing Dad. Dean had always been dependent on having his family members around.
Sam wanted to stay with Jessica in whatever place that had been, but he'd spent the last two years without her so, as much as it pained him to even think about it, Jessica would have to wait. His big brother needed him.
Never in a million years would Dean have imagined himself to be the last standing Winchester. It had always, always been Sam who Dean had pictured surviving the longest. Sammy didn't just run into danger, guns blazing, like Dean did. Sam would stop and figure out the best way to eliminate the danger without anyone getting hurt. If only he hadn't gone and asked Sam for help looking for their dad, then Sam probably would have lived a long, happy, safe life with Jessica and then died of old age after having children, maybe even a few grandchildren. He wouldn't be lying dead in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Sam had been Dean's responsibility since Sam was six months old. No, scratch that, he had been Dean's responsibility before he was even born.
John had told them countless stories of how Dean had started taking extra care of their mom even before they knew she was pregnant. How he would run around the house to get things for her and wouldn't let her lift anything that was slightly heavy, at least to him. John had put a stop to that after "the flour incident" where Dean had insisted on carrying the flour bag, that was almost the same size as him, inside the house. As anyone can imagine, falling down with a bag of flour can get quite messy. His parents thought it was hilarious and ended up taking dozens of photos of him covered in white. John and Dean had to clean it all up; Mary was going to help but Dean wouldn't let her, much to John's annoyance and Mary's amusement. To save himself from future cleanups, John ended up taking Dean's job as the "carrier of all things heavy".
Dean couldn't help but wonder if their dad hadn't made the deal with the demon, would Sam still be alive? Their dad would never have let anything like this happen to Sammy. He wouldn't have to trade his soul for Sammy's because John would've gotten there in time to stop all of this from happening. He never should have traded his soul for Dean's... Sam should be the one that was alive, not him.
'I'll fix this,' thought Dean as he put one of his fake ID-cards in the box he was holding. He hadn't wanted to put one of the few photographs of himself in the box; there weren't that many photos of him out there since the photos of his few first years all went up in flames and John hadn't been much for Kodak moments after the fire. Sam was going to want to keep the few good ones they had after Dean's time was up, and Dean was going to make sure to capture the next ten years even if it killed him.
'I'll probably get myself killed within a month with him dead. This way, I'll get ten years and Sam can go back to his apple pie life and be happy. I shouldn't even be alive. Sam— Sammy will understand, eventually.'
Never in his life had Dean turned around so fast. "Sammy?"
It was a strange feeling, being overjoyed to see someone but at the same time completely devastated. His brother was standing right there, and yet he wasn't. Not really. It only seemed to bring home the fact that his brother really was dead.
"You don't want to do this, Dean. We will find another way. Okay?" Sam pleaded as he walked cautiously toward his brother as if he were a scared animal that would bolt at any sign of danger. "Just put the box away."
Looking down at the box in his hands, Dean felt completely torn. He'd tried to think of every possible way to bring his brother back and this really was the best way, the only way. He had to fix this. He knew Sam wouldn't see it that way at first, but… someday he would.
"Sam, I have to do this. I can't do this alone, you know I can't. But you? Sammy, you don't even need to keep hunting! You can go back to school, meet a nice girl, settle down and have a chance at a real life. I can spend my last ten years helping people and if I need help, you'll just be a phone call away," said Dean. His grip on the box tightened as he brought it closer to himself, holding onto it as a lifeline. "It's a good plan. I don't mind knowing I'll only have ten years to live... At least having you alive is better than me just trying to survive in this life by myself."
"Dean, you have just as much to live for as I do!" replied Sam with a heavy sigh, sick and tired of trying to getting his brother to understand that. "I can't go back to school, it's too late for that now. Lets just take a moment and think this through, okay? Together, just you and me."
"Yeah, lets just go to the nearest dinner and I'll have a piece of pie by myself while we talk," Dean scoffed, voice dripping of sarcasm. "We don't have a moment, Sam. You could disappear at any time."
"I know that, believe me," answered Sam, while taking a look around. "Someone really doesn't want me talking to you right now."
Dean had not been expecting that and he found his hand reaching towards his belt where he kept his gun, eyes darting around them as well. "What? Who? And why?"
"I don't know," said Sam as he moved closer.
That answer didn't sit well with Dean at all. He really hated being in the dark and not knowing what he was up against. It didn't really surprise him when his brother moved in so close they were practically touching, he knew perfectly well what it felt like to not have anything to defend yourself with when you didn't feel a hundred percent safe. His whole life, every time Sam had felt uneasy, he would get as close as he could to his brother. Trusting Dean to keep him safe even when their dad was just as close.
"All I know is that someone was trying to distract me while you went and made a deal," Sam added with a shrug, their shoulders brushing now.
"Huh, is that why it took you so long to show up?" asked Dean. Maybe that was why his powers had been acting weird lately... He couldn't even remember the last time he'd seen the same ghost for more than a day, unlike when he was younger and could be stuck with the same ghost for months at a time. But that did raise some questions; who was getting in the way of ghosts getting to him, and more importantly, why?
"Yes, but let's focus on the task at hand," said Sam, drawing Dean's attention back to him. "Like you said, we don't have a lot of time. Besides, I know yellow eyes was planning something and whatever it is, it can't be good. We need to hurry if we want to stop him."
"What do you suggest we do?" asked Dean as let his hand with the box fall down his side. "I can't stop him alone, Sam. I can't."
"You don't have to. Maybe we can try capturing the Crossroads demon and make her bring me back?" suggested Sam hesitantly, clearly uncomfortable with how unconfident he was in his plan.
"You want to blackmail a demon? Really Sam?" asked Dean with a raised eyebrow. "That's your big plan, lawyer-boy?"
"No, just... talk her into it," said Sam thinking aloud before continuing with more confidence, "I mean there's got to be some kind of rule set they have to follow. We just need to find a loophole."
"You took Demon Deals 101 in college and forgot to tell me?" asked Dean as he walked back towards the trunk of the Impala and put the box down on the top of her trunk. "Because they aren't just gonna hand you the rule book and let you read it."
"We'll figure it out, we always do. If we just capture her in a devil's trap, then maybe we will get lucky and she will let something slip!" said Sam, following him.
"When are we ever that lucky, Sam?" Dean sighed as he gestured towards Sam. He glared at his brother, then asked slowly, "Wait you said someone was trying to keep you from stopping me from making this deal?"
"Yeah, apparently it was important enough that they sent Jessica to distract me," said Sam with a pained expression.
"Jessica? You're sure it was her and not, like, some delusion or something?" asked Dean.
"It was her. I know it was," Sam replied. "There's no doubt in my mind that it was really her."
"So, what? You went to Heaven or something before you gave me a visit?"
"I don't know, Dean. It felt really peaceful, like I always imagined Heaven would be. It was the happiest I have felt in a long time," Sam said softly, so lost in thought that he didn't notice the hurt look on his brother's face.
'He was happy. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this after all...' thought Dean as he listened to his brother talk.
Sam looked at Dean just in time to see the lingering expression on his face before he could mask it. "Dean, where are you going with this?" he asked, trying to get Dean to stop thinking about whatever it was that he had been thinking about.
"Somehow I don't think Hell is behind sending you to Heaven, so who would want me to make that deal and keep you away from all of that?" asked Dean, a part of him secretly glad his brother had stopped talking about how happy he'd been. Maybe that made him a terrible person, but while Sam had been having the time of this life, no irony there, Dean had been having the absolute worst day of his, and he'd had plenty of shitty days. Watching his brother bleed out and not being able to do anything about it had been excruciating - this one definitely topped them all.
It had hurt when his parents died, but it was nothing like what losing Sam felt like. Dean wasn't even sure he would have been able to move at all if it hadn't been for Bobby being there.
Dean wanted his brother to be happy, he really did, but couldn't that wait a couple of years? It wasn't like Jessica was going anywhere. Sam could live his life, and then when the time, came he could be reunited with Jessica.
"I don't know, but I have a feeling they don't have our best interests in mind and I can't help thinking that it had more to do with you selling your soul then me being alive. We can't let them get what they want without knowing what it is," Sam reasoned and Dean could tell that he was deeply troubled by it.
By closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Dean tried to get all his thoughts in order. Dean knew that Sam must've been really worried to turn his back on Jessica to come to him, and if Dean were to be honest, that scared him. If Sam was worried enough that he would leave the love of his life just because he thought there was something after Dean? That couldn't mean anything good.
"Okay, so what do we do? Just let you stay dead? Let you go live your afterlife with Jess? What am I supposed to do then, Sam? Go after the demon myself? Go live some apple pie life? You know I can't live like that!"
"No. We will-" Sam closed his eyes as he took a deep breath. "We could kill the demon, right after you make the deal. That way they can't come to collect."
"And if that doesn't work?"
"Then we will have ten years to figure something else out! We can try to find out whatever, or whoever, is behind this, what they want, and put a stop to it. It's the best bet we've got. I won't let you die, Dean."
It had taken some time, but they finally had a plan. It wasn't a good one, but it was a plan nonetheless. Dean was extremely grateful to have his brother watching his back as he put the box in the ground. That being said... maybe Sam didn't need to be as close as he was. Maybe Dean was just imagining it, but he could feel Sam's breath on the back of his neck the entire time. Maybe it was just the wind playing tricks on him, but he pushed the thought away as he dug a hole and placed the box inside, summoning the demon to him so he could barter his life away.
Turning around Dean came face to face with the unexpected. A man. Dean had to admit, he hadn't considered anyone other than a chick showing up, and definitely not some demon dick in a suit. The demon in question was shorter than Dean, by a good three inches or so, but carried himself as if he were larger-than-life. He reminded Dean of a mob boss, from classic movies he'd watched with Sam in old motel rooms growing up. Someone that didn't look all that dangerous, but when the time came to prove himself, any adversary would be powerless against him and destroyed with a simple snap of his fingers.
The fact that the demon knew about Sam being there just made it a hundred times worse.
The demon raked his smarmy eyes over Dean's body, sending something uneasy swirling through his stomach. Dean found himself stumbling back, nearly tripping over the upturned earth where his box was buried in his haste to put some distance between them.
His uneasiness only made the demon smile and Dean swallowed hard, straightening his shoulders and standing as tall as he could.
"Boys? Sorry to disappoint you, but it's just me here," said Dean with as much confidence as he could muster, fighting the urge to look over at Sam to see what he thought about this situation.
"Nice try, Dean Winchester. I might not be able to see your brother, but I'm willing to bet that he's floating around here somewhere. Am I wrong?" asked the demon, and it was pissing Dean off how much this guy seemed to know. He and Sam were slowly losing control of the situation.
Well, there went their ace up their sleeve, but Dean wasn't going to admit that anytime soon. He cocked his head, giving the demon a sarcastic once over and asking, "Am I supposed to know you from somewhere? Because you seem to know me and my brother."
"We haven't had the pleasure of meeting face to face yet, but when I heard that one of the famous Winchesters wanted to make a deal, I just had to come see for myself."
Dean really hated when the people he was up against knew more about him then he knew about them. "Yeah, about that... You're sure as hell not who I expected to show up, so who the hell are you?"
"What? I'm not your type? I'm hurt, really. And I had just pictured all the fun we could have had together," mocked the demon as he ran his eyes up and down Dean's body. Dean had to fight the urge to cover himself up. "Name's Crowley, King of the Crossroads."
"Seriously? I get The King? Is that even a thing?" asked Dean, not buying that for a second.
"It is, and I take my job very seriously. Which is why I had to come see it for myself when I heard that the man that sees souls wanted to sell his."
"What does the fact that I can see dead people have to do with this?" asked Dean. He really was doing a horrible job hiding that little fact, somehow it seemed like everybody knew about him these days. But no point in denying it now… maybe they could use this to their advantage.
"You have no idea how extraordinary that ability is, do you? A human soul is one of the most powerful things in this world, and somehow you have the ability to see them in their most purest form. Not many can do that. So, I've got to wonder, what else can you do?" surmised Crowley. He stared at Dean as if he could see all of Dean's deepest, darkest secrets by looking hard enough, like Dean was some kind a toy and Crowley was just dying to tear him apart to see what made him tick.
"Dean, maybe this wasn't such a good idea," said Sam as he came to stand beside his brother. Up until that moment, Dean had totally forgotten that he was the only one that could see Sam. And even though it was kind of pointless, he had been trying to keep Sam hidden as long as he could.
Crowley watched as Dean turned to his left, listening to someone speaking to him. A cold smile spread across Crowley's lips as his assumption became reality; Sam's ghost was there next to Dean.
"Ahh, so I was right," said Crowley with a smug smile. "Dean, your brother can't help you, but I can."
"Dean, this is really, really bad," Sam hissed and Dean already knew that, but what else could he do? It couldn't hurt to listen to what the guy had to say… At least he hoped it wouldn't.
"Can you bring him back?"
Crowley gave Dean a sly smile, looked him over again and purred, "I'm the King of the Crossroads, darling. Of course I can bring him back." Crowley paused and smirked before adding, "I could even bring him back as a girl, if that's what you want."
Looking over at his brother, Dean noticed how Sam's whole body had stiffened. "Don't even think about it, Dean!"
Before Dean could open his mouth to reassure Samy, Crowley was speaking again. "I can do that and so much more for you, if you want." The demon's smile widened to the point where it was more teeth than actual lips. "All you have to do is sign a contract."
With a wave of his hand, Crowley produced a weathered looking scroll and offered it to Dean.
"You can't sign that!" said Sam in a hurry. "I'm willing to bet my life on it that there is something in there that will screw us over."
Dean hesitated, trying to think over what was being offered to him. Sam. Crowley could bring Sam back from the dead. Sam leaned in closer, reading over the contract in Dean's hands, trying to get as much information as he could.
"Dean this doesn't look right. There is nothing in there about you getting ten years."
Why did it not surprise him that a demon would try to trick him? Dean narrowed his eyes at Crowley, and shook the contract slightly at the demon. "How about we talk terms?"
Crowley looked at him in mock surprise. "Dean, it's like you don't trust me! I thought we had something special."
Dean scoffed at him. "Trust you? You're a demon. You lie just to have something to do to pass the time," Dean shot back.
"You would be surprised by how often we don't lie, Dean. Why lie when the truth hurts so, so much more."
"Is that supposed to make me trust you?" asked Dean.
"Like I said, I don't lie. You get what you want and I get what I want, all according to the agreement. So, tell me Dean, what do you want? What will make you sign your soul over to me?" Crowley asked as he stepped forward, crowding into Dean's space.
"You'll bring Sam back from the dead in exchange for my soul? Ten years is standard, isn't it? I get ten years to live out my life and then you get my soul?" Dean clarified, eyeing Crowley with doubt.
"Dean," Sam whispered to him, "are you sure about this? We can find another way."
"I can bring your brother back, as good as new." Crowley looked at Dean, saw him wavering in his decision. "Sign and Sam will be standing next to you in a matter of moments in the flesh instead of hovering as a spirit. But, you will only get one year, and you will owe me a favor. Which, of course, I will only have one year to collect, so you might get lucky and never see my face again."
"One year? What happened to ten years like everyone else gets?" asked Dean. He knew he should be more worried about that 'favor' - agreeing to something without knowing what it encompassed was never a good idea, but he had bigger worries on his hands. One year was nowhere near the ten years he'd counted on. His time would be up before he knew it and they would have no time to get him out of the deal.
"Not everyone else has been killing my employees," spat Crowley, displeasure at the Winchester brothers clear. It almost, almost made Dean back out of the whole deal. "I can't just bring one of the most hated hunters back from the dead and let his brother have ten years on top of that. I know how much damage you boys can do in ten years. It's not good for business."
"Dean, think about this," Sam cautioned his brother. "We need more time."
"Five years," bargained Dean, narrowing his eyes at the demon.
The anger dissipated as soon as it came, and the Crowley they'd been dealing with moments before, the demon that could talk you into anything he wanted, was back. "One year. It's the best deal you're gonna get. Hell, it's the only deal you are going to get. I have all of my demons on strict orders not to go anywhere near you. One year, and then it's time to collect. It's a lot longer than your daddy ever got."
Dean had to handed to the demon, he sure knew how to kick a man when he was down. But he was right, John Winchester didn't even get a day. With this deal, Dean would would at least get one year on his already borrowed life.
This really wasn't going as planned. Sam could see what his brother was thinking and he gripped his brother's shoulder, without knowing if Dean would even feel it. "He's playing you, Dean. Don't take that deal."
A thunder in the distance broke Dean out of the trace he had fallen in. Looking up, Dean could see that the sky had gotten darker since he left Bobby's cabin, a storm threatening in the dark, swirling clouds. He couldn't help but wonder how much time had passed since he got there. Another clap of thunder was heard and Dean saw the lightning strike across the sky in the distance.
Looking back over to Crowley, Dean noticed that the demon was looking up at the sky too with a hint of worry on his face. It was there for just a moment before Crowley looked down again. 'Surely a demon wasn't afraid of lightning,' thought Dean.
"Darling, sometime today. You're not the only game in town and I have others in need of my services," Crowley huffed out at him. "This is your one shot." Crowley dropped his gaze, meeting Dean's eyes as the deep brown flooded blood red, showing Dean exactly what he was dealing with. "Take it or leave it."
"There's no other way," Dean whispered into the air, directing his comment to Sam though he didn't know if his brother was still there anymore. "We don't have time to find something else. It's now or never."
Dean turned his green eyes on Crowley, sizing him up. There was nothing about this that made Dean feel good, other than getting Sammy back. He was backed into a corner, his hands were tied, and the demon before him knew it, too. Dean could refuse, but then what? Sam would be gone, Dean would probably never get him back on his own. Giving up his soul for his brother's life, there were worse ways to go. In reality, this was his only option, and he knew in his heart that Sam knew it, too.
Slowly, Dean stepped forward and took the pen from Crowley's hand, glaring as the demon unrolled the contract and smoothed it out before handing it over. He shuddered as his fingers made contact with the demon's skin and side stepped him, moving to the Impala to lay the contract on her trunk and read it over.
Almost instantly, Sam was there reading over his shoulder, his eyebrows coming together in a frown like they usually did when Sam read something he didn't like, when he was wracking his brain for a plan to fix it. Dean swallowed hard and glanced over at Sam, still reading. This was worth it, he decided. He was luckier than their father had been, he would get an entire year to help Sam be happy and get ready to let him go. He looked back down at the pages before them.
It was all there in black on white. The Soul of one Sam Winchester to be returned to his healed body in exchange for The Soul of one Dean Winchester to be retrieved in One Years Time as Property of Hell. One Dean Winchester will be indebted One Favor of Crowley, King of the Crossroad's choosing to be paid in full upon request.
Dean felt a cold breeze run down his back as he read over the words; he knew what it was going to say, but seeing it on paper made it all too real.
His brother was so busy reading everything over and over again, trying to find even the tiniest loophole, that he didn't notice the fine print on the bottom of the paper.
Contract to be paid in full; breach of this contract in any parts will require The Soul of Sam Winchester to be returned from whence it came, his body left decomposing where it stands, and The Soul of Dean Winchester freed until Hell comes for him.
Dean noticed though. In fact, he couldn't tear his eyes away from it. How Sam hadn't noticed it by now was beyond him... Their entire plan was to make a deal with the Crossroad demon and then get him out of it as soon as they could. For just a moment, Dean looked up and his eyes met Crowley's. That was all Dean needed to know that the King of the Crossroads had known all along about their little plan to get Dean out of the deal and that he knew Dean would still go through with the deal, despite of it. Maybe the reason Sam hadn't noticed that clause was simply because he couldn't see it, only Dean could. Crowley knew Sam would put up a fight, would demand Dean refuse, if he knew so Crowley made it so only Dean would see it.
"The part about the favor is really sketchy, Dean. I don't like this," said Sam, as he read through the contract again. Next to him, Dean heard Crowley impatiently shifting on his feet.
"I know but we don't have a choice," said Dean to his brother before he turned towards Crowley. "I'm just making sure what you promised is actually what you promised." Dean met his eyes before he raised the pen to the contract. In a few quick strokes, he signed his name and with that, his soul away. "There. It's done."
Turning back towards his brother, Dean reached out to pull Sam into a hug, only to be met with the same feeling he got when he touched someone that had passed away. "What the hell!" Spinning around, Dean got right up into Crowley's face. "You said you would bring him back!"
"Not so fast," Crowley said with a smirk. He held up his hand, stopping the tirade that was threatening to spill from Dean's lips. "The contract is indeed signed, but the deal hasn't been made. I always seal my deals with a kiss."
"A what?" Dean asked in disbelief. "No way am I kissing you."
"Are you really willing to throw your brother's life away over just one little kiss?" asked Crowley as he adjusted his hold on the contract, making it so that he could easily tear it up with one swift movement.
"Just one kiss?" asked Dean as he glanced over to his brother.
"Yes, one little kiss on the lips," Crowley purred at him, enjoying the sight of Dean standing there as the realization washed over him of what was required to seal the deal.
Dean's shoulders fell as he hung his head. Demons, there was always a catch with them. He should've known it wouldn't be as simple as signing his very life away.
Behind him, he heard Sam's sharp intake of breath. "Dean, come on… it's a sign, okay? You can back out, you don't have to do this!"
Dean squared his shoulders and met Crowley's blood-red eyes. "Yeah, Sam, I do." Ignoring Sam's protests, Dean stepped forward into the demon's space, repressing the shiver at the grin that spread across his face.
"Let's get this over with," he said as he steadied himself mentally for the final act of saving Sam. If only that damn demon didn't look so happy with himself. He steadied himself as Crowley pushed him backwards, Dean's back hitting the side of the Impala as the demon caged Dean's body in and closed the distance between them, sealing their mouths together in a kiss.
Dean felt hard lips pressing against his own lips along with a swipe of Crowley's tongue over them. Kissing was supposed to leave you breathless, but not in the same way this one left him. He fought the urge to pull away, not that he had anywhere to go, as his stomach roiled and the bile rose in his throat.
Dean didn't know what pissed him off more, the fact that the demon was taking full control of that kiss or the fact that he had to bring his baby into this. One thing was for sure, Dean was going to have to give his baby a wash later, right after he took a shower himself.
"Was it good for you, darling? Because it was great for me," Crowley whispered against Dean's lips before he stepped back.
Before Dean could so much as catch his breath, let alone answer, Crowley was gone and standing in his place was Sam. Alive. Dean felt his body sag against the Impala, the only thing holding him up before Sam's hands were on his shoulders, pulling him in for a bone crushing hug. And suddenly he could breathe again.
"Don't worry, Dean. I won't let you go to Hell."
Dean bit back a sob caught in the back of his throat, pressing his face into his brother's neck and holding on tight. Sam clung back just as tightly, and neither brother noticed it when all the lightbulbs in the street lights around them and in the distance shattered.
AN: Hope you enjoyed! Let me know what you guys think, comments are always appreciated.