Disclaimer Applies for all the chapters:
I own nothing;
I don't own the songs, but I listed them by their names and artists.
I don't own Supernatural:
Warner Brothers, the CW and Kripke & companies do.
I make no money from this story; it's just free publicity for the show, and for the songs.
A/N: Before you read it, please keep in mind, that this story doesn't match the information we were given about Season 14, but it's not an alternate universe; it's just a different take on Seasons 14 and 15 (hopefully).
So, this story picks up near the end of Episode #23 "Let the Good Times Roll", in Season 13.
( Sam can barely keep upright; the surges of adrenaline and emotions coursing through his body are taking their toll on him, but somehow, he finds his inner strength. )
Sam: Dean !
( Jack can hear Sam straining his voice as he calls Dean's name louder. )
Sam: Dean ! !
( Sam is breathing excessively hard, as he tries to take in enough oxygen to yell his brother's name at the top of his lungs. )
Sam: Dean ! ! !
( Jack is starting to shake, the way Sam is calling and yelling, is really racking his nerves. Jack doesn't like it when people are upset; for a Nephilim, he's a very sensitive young man; or perhaps they all are. He can sense Sam's pain and his desperation to try to keep from feeling it. )
Jack: Sam! Sam, stop! Dean can't hear you.
( Even though Jack is losing blood and he's finding it difficult to walk, he still moves closer to Sam. )
Sam: Maybe he can; maybe Michael can, and if Michael can; then maybe Dean can too.
( Jack is just starting to understand what Sam is thinking. But what Jack doesn't know is how do you tell someone you love, that the one person he loved the most in this world, is gone; and that the one person who loved him all his life, has stopped forever; at least, he thinks so. He's not really sure what happened to Dean, only that when Michael left with that vessel, Dean was no longer within it. )
Jack: Sam, Dean isn't with Michael.
( Sam looks at Jack with fear and suspicion.)
Sam: What do you mean?
(Jack couldn't say the words, and he's not sure Sam would have believed him if he did. )
Jack: Michael is too far away to hear you, I can't even sense him.
( Jack hoped it was enough to placate Sam for now, but he knew that eventually, they both must face the truth. )
( S * P * N )
( Mary and Bobby had run back in from the garage after Castiel called her to tell them that the coast was clear, and how Dean had left with Michael to go fight Lucifer. She looks to Castiel, but he has no more information to offer her.
Bobby sees who he has always only known to be Michael, lying on the floor. Bleeding wounds, and a rising chest, show that he is very much alive. )
Bobby: Didn't you say Michael is with Dean?
Castiel: Yes, he is.
Bobby: Then who is this?
( Castiel gets up and goes over to the vessel formerly occupied by the Apocalypse World's Michael. He bends down and runs his hands above the body. He is surprised to find that all of the organs are working perfectly and his few cuts are only superficial, if not for the fact that the Soul is missing and the man is unconscious; Castiel would say there is nothing wrong with him. )
Castiel: He was lying to us; he tricked Dean into giving him his vessel.
Bobby: Hmm. Why am I not surprised?
( Castiel and Bobby carry him to one of the empty bedrooms, and lay him down on the bed. )
( S * P * N )
( Later, Jack and Sam return to the bunker, as they pass by the small group gathered in the main area, Bobby sees the weakness in Jack and the blood on his shirt; he notices that Sam isn't fairing much better. )
Bobby: "What happened back there?"
( Sam can't answer yet. He just shakes his head slightly from side to side, his eyes gazing downward; a sullen look on his face. Although Bobby could tell that Sam was breathing; his chest does not rise and fall, his whole body seems as if it were wrapped in an ace bandage protecting its ribs. At first, Bobby thought that Sam was injured and hurting; but the only pain he has is emotional; the loss of his brother Dean, too much for him to bear.
Bobby reaches out and catches Jack just as he starts to fall, Sam was closer and should have caught him, but he is unaware of his surroundings, having let his guard down as soon as he walked in through the broken door. This was home; at least that's what Dean called it; but the only true home Sam has ever known was his big-brother, Dean.
Mary wants to go to Sam; give him a hug, but even though he loves her and he likes her hugs, Sam is different from Dean. He doesn't crave a support system the way Dean does, although Dean would never admit it. Sam likes his independence, to stand on his own two feet and prove to the world that he's self-sufficient; that he's smarter and better than any Evil who would dare try to come at him, except when Dean is involved. His brother is his weakness, and yet, his brother is his strength.
If Castiel had never raised Dean from Hell, and Sam had to go on by himself, he would have found out that yes, he's a great Hunter; perhaps even the best of them; better than the Campbells, better than Gordon Walker, better than all of the others combined, with the only possible exception being Bobby, his Bobby; who helped to raise him as though he were his blood Uncle; but Sam also would have learned that he simply wouldn't want to keep on going; just like he doesn't want to now. He needs answers. )
Sam: That's what I'd like to know.
( Sam turns towards Castiel, an accusing look on his face. )
Castiel: I'm sorry, Sam.
Sam: You were supposed to protect him!
Castiel: I know! But, it was you, Sam.
He thought you were in danger!
Don't you think I tried! Sam, he just wouldn't listen!
Sam: You should have stopped him.
( Those are the last words Sam says before he leaves. He can't even look at Castiel right now; not without seeing his own guilt reflected back from the Angel's eyes; guilt, pain, heartache.
Sam walks into his room. The words Bobby spoke elicit familiarity.
"What happened back there?"
"What happened back there?"
Sam hears them in his mind over and over like a song; yes they are the lyrics to a song. When Dean thought Sam wasn't in earshot, he used to lie on his bed, with some big wireless headphones encircling his ears, singing to it as it played on his iPod, but oddly he never listened to it in the car; perhaps he found it too slow to be driving music. Sam fears he will never hear Dean sing again. But he longs for it, for his brother's voice. Dean's personality had always shone through whenever he sang. Sam doesn't care which song, if he could just hear that sound one more time - he'd feel whole, he'd feel safe. But all Sam feels now is lost, and terribly alone.
Sam looks around; although he has many personal items in here, it now seems empty; hollow; like his heart. He feels that tell-tale tension in his chest; that need to cry, but Sam is too strong, he has always been strong; something he learned from his big brother who is no longer here to witness his valiant efforts to be the man Dean helped raise him to be.
A red haze over-takes him; Sam trembles, adrenaline surges and his blood pressure rises. He wants to run, he wants to scream, but he has nowhere to go and Dean would not be there to hear him.
Mary is sad; recently, she thought she had lost Sam. Now she may have lost Dean. It's like some nightmare roller-coaster, and her family is caught in its clutches. )
Mary: Cas, I'm sorry that Sam is blaming you; but you did say it was Dean's choice, right?
I think deep down, Sam is just blaming himself.
Castiel: Mary, that's not what matters now. I've seen Sam without Dean before; or without the Dean who is his brother; and it was not pleasant. Once he decides what to do, nobody will be able to convince him otherwise, and nothing will stop him, but…
( Mary grows concerned; the look on the Angel's face has her worried. His brow is furrowed, and his eyes are dim. )
Mary: But what Cas, tell me.
( Castiel hurts, but the pain in Mary's eyes shows she feels even worse. He wonders how he can tell her more gently, "sugarcoat it", as Dean would say, but he is at a loss. )
Castiel: Sam, he will lose some self control, not in the same way Dean would. Dean would kill things; make himself feel better; but Sam… He's a force to be reckoned with. He's relentless; he will break every rule, he will go anywhere, do anything; sacrifice everything and everyone to get Dean back. But that's not the worst part… Sam would gladly destroy himself in the process, without forethought, and without hesitation. He simply won't care. Dean is his priority. His brother will be his only concern and nothing else matters, especially not his own life.
( Mary thinks about what Castiel is saying with wonder, fear and cautious optimism. )
Mary: Sam will figure something out. It will be okay, you'll see, Cas. He has us now, for help and for backup. We will get Dean back, and keep Sam too!
( Castiel gives her a small nod. He has heard her words, but he knows she is oblivious to her sons' never ending, never failing, devotion to each other. He wishes he had the powers of his brothers and sisters in Heaven at his disposal, but after The Attempted Apocalypse, The Civil Wars, The Fall, The Darkness, and all of their missions; Heaven is running on empty, and Castiel knows they can be of no help to him anymore. He wonders what can be done to fix it. Had Dean not been caught up in this unfortunate situation, saving Heaven would have been his next mission, but right now, he knows he must concentrate all of his efforts on Saving Sam. )