Inspired by Houses of the Holy

Deliver Us from Evil

"You pray?"

"Yeah Dean, I have for a long time."

"Every day?"

"Yeah."

"Huh….what do you pray for?"

The wheels in Dean's mind were turning, trying to comprehend this incomprehensible information that had been so casually exposed. Where did this come from? We're not exactly the praying type. I mean, Pastor Jim even gave up on us, didn't he?

Sam looked at him with a wide-open innocent gaze, a tranquil calm behind his words.

"I pray for peace in the world, for strength to fight the evil that exists in this world….and I pray for you."

"What? You pray for me?" Dean's eyes grew wide and his smirk faded, replaced by a solemn scowl, tinged in anger. "I don't need you praying for me, Sam."

"Why Dean? Cause you don't believe? Cause it's a waste of breath?"

"Exactly. Don't waste your time praying for me, Sammy." I'm not worth it. Dean nervously shifted his entire body as if a heavy weight had just been laid on his shoulders yet again. His eyes scanned the features of his brother's face, trying to read the expressions there, trying to decipher this stranger standing before him. "Since when do you believe in the power of prayer? I mean, when….when did you start? Why didn't I ever know?"

Sam's eyes misted over as the memory overwhelmed him, a time so desperate and painful that any remembrance only stirred up the deep well of emotions again. The first time he ever faced the certainty of losing his big brother, the first of several now.

"It was when you saved my life by throwing yourself in front of me and that werewolf almost killed you. We thought we were going to lose you. You almost died, Dean….you were so close to death.., I could feel it all around you…, waiting to take you."

"Yeah, and it was science that saved me, Sam. Joshua came through with the cure. It was the medicine, Sam, not some divine intervention." The conviction in Dean's voice was strong, certainty fueling it.

"Oh really? Cause Joshua never saved anyone before, Dean. And you know what? He hasn't saved anyone since."

Shock overcame Dean's face, "What? How would you know that?"

"I asked him."

"When? Why would you do that?" Dean's certainty was now fading; doubt had invaded his thoughts and wrestled reason from his grasp.

"Dean, I knew then that God let you live, that God had a purpose for you. You were so close to death, I thought I'd lost you, but you came back. You lived because of God's grace."

"Sam, that's crap. It was the medicine. End of story."

"Why is it so hard for you to believe God wanted you to live, that God has a purpose for you? Isn't that what Reverend LeGrange said? That you had a job to do and it wasn't done yet?"

"Sam, just stop it. Roy was bamboozled by his wife into thinking he was curing people, but he wasn't. It was all a trick. It's always a trick. There is no such thing as divine intervention, it's all smoke and mirrors. An illusion."

"How can you still be a skeptic? How many times do you have to almost die to see the truth? You are fighting this war for God. You're God's soldier, Dean. I truly believe that."

"You do, huh? And yet you believe you're going to turn evil? What kind of sense does that make Sam? You're ten times more good and pure than I could ever hope to be. If I'm one of God's angels then I sure as hell am a fallen angel. Look at me Sam, I'm no saint. I'm not a messenger of God. And I'm sure as hell, no servant of God."

Dean was pacing in circles, his faced twisted in anguish at the thought of being indentured to God, cause there was no God, that much he knew. If there was a God, he wouldn't let all these terrible things happen. No one believed more in the power of God than Mom. Did God protect her? Keep her safe? No. End of story.

"Dean, you're a good man. Granted you're not exactly a saint, far from it, but you do good work. You save the innocents and you do God's work. You fight evil on a daily basis, what more could God ask?"

"Ah, let's see. He could ask for a little more respect, a little less cussing and a whole lot more church going. Nope, guess he's outta luck. If he has any sense, he'll pick someone else to do his bidding, someone not so unsavory. Someone a little more pure. Face it Sam, not exactly godly material here."

"But you are, Dean. You just can't see it."

"Sam, if you told me you were God's messenger, I might buy it. Might….but me? I know better and you should too. It's absurd…, it's wrong."

Dean wiped his hand down his face, exasperation driving his responses. I mean, come on Sammy, get real. His hand then raked through his short hair, still pondering how to make his brother see reason again, how to convince him to drop this lunacy.

"Sam, face it. You just want to believe and you're grasping at straws….you're desperate to make the pieces fit and guess what? They don't. Not by a long shot."

"Dean, they do. It's the only thing that makes sense in all this. There can't just be chaos and evil, there has to be something on the other side. Don't you see; there has to be a God and goodness too."

Dean chuckled, a nervous, sad laugh, a what-the-hell-can-you-possibly-say-to-a-religious-zealot snicker. "Sam, you want to believe, I get it. Maybe, you even need to believe, but don't drag me into your little fantasy. All right?"

"Dean, why does it scare you so? To think that God has chosen you?"

"Like the Demon chose you? Huh? Do you even get how twisted this is?"

"No, it's not like that. This is good, this is right."

"No, Sam. It's sick. I'm not going to play this game with you."

"Game? What game?"

Dean sat down on the steps of the church, his hands shaking, his eyes tearing up, his mind racing from the possible ramifications. No, it is not going to play out like that. No!

"Sam, if there is a warrior for good then it's you. You, man….not me."

"Dean, I'm with you. We'll do this together, you're not alone."

Dean sat there, a faraway look in his misted eyes, his face rigid, ready to crack wide open, the pain so immense behind his eyes, his tears the only part of his pain able to break through the tough mask he had locked into place.

"Sam, I don't believe in God and if there is a God, then I don't want to be his soldier if it means…."

"What? Dean? Talk to me. What is it?"

"I'm not going to let you go, Sammy. You hear me? Right, wrong….it doesn't matter. You matter….that's all…you. Don't ask me to take up arms against you. I can't do it. It doesn't matter what you say, or Dad says or God says….I'm going to save you, Sammy."

Sam suddenly realized the truth behind the words, the implication Dean would not face, the terrible horror that had been laid out before his brother if their paths were truly preordained. If his own destiny was to become what the Demon wanted and his brother was the warrior for the other side then they would ultimately be enemies in an epic war. An encounter Dean would not accept, could not accept.

Sam knelt before his brother, the breath knocked from his lungs, this vision of the future too painful to imagine, let alone confront. "Dean, hey. Maybe God will help you save me? Huh? Maybe we need God's strength to overcome the Demon. Dean, I haven't given up. I need to believe in God so I can believe in my own redemption."

Dean reached out his hand and grasped his brother's neck in a firm embrace and pulled him closer. His glistening eyes swam deep in the pools of his brother's eyes as he searched for hope. A heavy sigh passed his lips, "You're God's grace, Sammy. You. You're my salvation."

The End

All standard disclaimers apply.

bjxmas February 2007

The reference to Dean almost dying from the werewolf attack is from my previous story, Sacrifice. It is not necessary to have read that story to understand this story.

In Sacrifice Dean survives against unimaginable odds and it is assumed Joshua saved him with the shots he was administering. Was it the medicine or divine intervention? How many times will Dean cheat the reaper before his true purpose is fully realized?