Into Hell's Fires

Summary

Both brothers must face their ultimate nightmare - for where one is taken, the other will surely follow – into the very fires of hell if need be.

Disclaimer

Still not mine…they are probably quite relieved about it - lol!

Author's Notes

Thanks once again to Geminigirl and Catbeist for being such fantastic betas and tremendous support. Thanks also to Sifi for her much valued encouragement and judgement. And a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone that took the time to review…even the anonymous one who is obviously unaware that a Limp Sam is not a weak Sam. I will always try (hopefully with success) to write him as a character as strong and complex as Dean. Both brothers will face trials and both will need to be strong and courageous. I love Sam and Dean – at the end of the day, they are each, IMHO, the centre of each other's world, who am I to argue:)

Warnings

The faint of heart should possibly not read this chapter…lol! Reminder – this is NOT a deathfic! There is some swearing too…Consider yourself warned…hehe...

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Previously

Eyes widening in shock, Dean held out trembling fingers. Hands normally strong and steady, hands that had held his brother safe for 24 years, now shook uncontrollably…

No…

His fingers traced the words that had stolen his breath from his body, lines that caused his heart to stutter and slam into his chest in terror. Words that in their reading destroyed his very world.

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Here Forever Lies

Samuel Winchester,

1983 - 2007,

Beloved Son and Brother,

Taken too soon,

Lost but not forgotten.

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Sammy…

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NOW

Chapter 2

Dean looked at the words in morbid fascination, his gaze faltering and falling to the muddy mound in front of him.

No, I won't accept this, not until I see him for myself, and even then…

The elder brother steadfastly refused to finish the thought; it would feel too much of a betrayal. Slowly at first, then with increasing speed, he began to claw at the mud, grasping the slimy and saturated earth and thrusting it as far away from him as possible. But the mud kept moving. Fighting his attempts, it kept sliding and refilling what meagre hole he had managed to dig – for every handful he moved, at least half a handful replenished it. It stung his already bloody hands, and he ignored the image that assaulted him…

"Sam, don't let go…"

Dammit, no…

His movements became more frantic and he scrabbled and scraped the mud away from the gravesite, his redoubled efforts finally making headway despite using only his hands and arms. He was caked in mud now, in his face and hair, up his arms, the rain staining it into his very skin. His eyes were now hard and focussed – now was not the time to lose his concentration.

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"Dean – look out!"

He had felt a sharp push in his side and he had stumbled, cracking his head against a corner of a tombstone. Dazed, he watched in horror as a dark mist seemed to rise up and tangle around his brother's legs, dragging him down…blood trickled down from his temple blurring his vision, it seemed as though the ground was opening up around Sam.

He bodily flung himself towards his brother.

"Sam, don't let go!"

One hand held on to his brother as he was being dragged by unseen hands beneath the ground. With the other, Dean frantically grasped at headstones, rocks, undergrowth, even the grass, tearing up clumps as he tried to gain purchase, anything to stop Sam from being torn from him.

Sam's eyes were wide and fearful as the lower half of his body started to submerge in soil now somehow fluid. Like quicksand, it swallowed the younger brother's feet, then legs, mud oozing over his hips and then quickly working its way up his abdomen and chest until his arms, shoulders and head were all that were above the ground.

Conversely, ground that held qualities more akin to water whilst dragging him down now seemed crushing and unyielding, forcing the air from his lungs. The surrounding earth seemed to be inexplicably hot and fear now turned to terror as he was drawn relentlessly further.

Dean had abandoned all attempts to grasp at something solid to stop Sam's inexorable progress and now was using all his strength to keep a hold of his sibling, keep him above ground, to stop him going under.

Dean's bloody hands slick and sticky, grasped his brothers forearms, pulling, straining to keep him from submerging. Sam's fingers were white in their desperate hold, digging grooves into his brother's arms.

It wasn't going to work. They both knew it. It had happened so quickly. Within seconds, Sam was virtually buried and they were fast running out of time and options. Sam's shoulders went under and only his face and hands remained above the soil.

Dean's hands and forearms were below the earth too, still refusing to lose their grip on his brother.

"Dean, let go." Sam gasped.

"No, Sam."

"It will pull you under too."

"Don't."

"Dean."

"Don't even think about it, Sammy. I am not letting you go."

"I won't allow you to die too."

"Sam." Dean warned.

"I'm sorry." And Sam let go, pulling his arms from Dean's grasp and then he was gone.

"Sam!" Dean buried his hands recklessly into the sodden earth, plunging his arms full length until his shoulders too were buried, searching fruitlessly for his brother.

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Dean was gasping in exertion, the rain pouring in rivulets down his chiselled features, his face emotionless, driven. Except the eyes– if eyes are the windows to the soul, here was a soul hanging by a thread, desperately clinging to a hopeless cause.

He had made a huge dent in the burial mound, but it wasn't quick enough. Where were his and Sam's shovels? - Shit it wasn't like they had come out here unprepared…His lips curved in a caricature of a smile as he recalled their misplaced confidence earlier that day.

There. A flash of lightening lit the graveyard as if in answer to his unspoken thoughts. The light glimmered off something metallic about ten feet away. He hurried over. It was his shovel – he must have dropped it when Sam tackled him and was…

Suffocated…

Smothered…

Asphyxiated…

No, when his brother was taken… there was no finality in Dean's thoughts; he refused to acknowledge a word that held no hope - if his brother was taken, he could get him back – plain and simple…

Like anything is ever that simple… experience mocked him.

Shut the fuck up, I can save him… I have to save him…

He refused to listen to the voice in his head that said it had been too long, that too much time had elapsed since his brother had drowned in the earth.

He fled back to the graveside and began to dig with furious fervour…Don't let go, Sammy, I'm coming…

Sam awoke confused and inexplicably tired. He tried to move but found his body leaden and unresponsive. It was dark and he could feel something damp and clammy pressed against his mouth, his nose, his eyes... oh god…

Claustrophobia hit and hit hard, his breathing shortened and coming in pants as he began to hyperventilate.

Sammy…

The voice was mocking, taunting, but at this moment he didn't care – it meant there was something there to concentrate on, something to take away the horror, the chill that pervaded deep into his bones, causing his skin to erupt in goose bumps and his stomach to feel like it would throttle his heart in its attempt to escape – he was buried alive…

Calm down, Sammy, you don't want to use up the last of your air do you?

Thanks for reminding me, he thought sourly. But the voice was right…

You'll find I'm right about any number of things…

Who are you? He deliberately brought his breathing back under control…

A friend…

Of course you are… then help me!

I am helping you…the voice sounded hurt.

Help me escape…

Ah… I hate to break this to you, but you can't escape…you are condemned…

For what?

Why, for what you are, of course.

What do you mean?

Do I really need to explain? You are a condemned soul and you have found your eternity…

What, buried alive?

No, this is just your place of passing….

Like fuck is it...Dean! Please, Dean, find me…

An evil laugh seemed to wrap around his soul… you really don't know do you…

You really do not know who has made this possible…

Help me, bro…

You really don't know who sent you here, who will be the final instrument in your crossing…oh Sammy, this is delicious…

Please, Dean, save me, you promised you would save me….

Open your eyes, Sammy…

In Lawrence, a woman woke with a gasp, dark brown eyes fearful and urgent.

"Sam," she whispered into the stifling night…

She scrambled out of bed and hurried to the phone in the hall. Frantically, she keyed in Sam Winchester's number and held her breath as she waited for him to answer. Tears filled her eyes when it clicked to voicemail. She tried Dean's number, and when his too went unanswered, tears started to fall. "Please, no…"

The woman went opened the drawer below the phone and pulled out a tatty phone book…yes!

She dialled another number…

"Bobby? Bobby, its Missouri. No time to explain, it's the Winchesters. Sam is buried, no, he's still alive, but Dean doesn't know. You have to stop him, Bobby."

Bobby Singer stayed silent, his stomach clenched at the thought that the brothers must be in serious trouble, given the terror in the psychic's voice. He had a soft spot for those boys. John might have been an irritating bastard, but his sons…well come hell or high water; Bobby would not walk away from them."Stop who, Mizzi?"

"Dean, the poor boy thinks Sam is dead. He won't be able to tell any different – it's a trap of some sorts. He's going to salt and burn him, Bobby. He's going to burn Sam alive."

Shit! Bobby closed his eyes at the thought of Sam going through that, and Dean? How would Dean live with something like that? "Tell me where I need to go, Mizzi." She gave him hurried but accurate directions. "Keep calling Dean. I'll get there as soon as I can, it's not far."

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Dean had dug down about six feet, careful not to plunge the spade too deep in case he hit his brother's body…shut up, in case he hit Sam. He rested his head briefly on the handle of the shovel, catching his breath.

The raging storm had subsided and the sun was beginning to rise, lighting the sky in vivid colours, painting the gravestones around him in blood red and orange hues, making the scene that much more surreal. He was digging up his brother. He gasped as a sharp pain bit into his chest. Keep it together, Dean. He resolutely continued.

Dean abruptly stopped digging, something seeming to tell him that he was close to finding his brother and he didn't dare take the risk of hurting Sam with the spade.

He crouched on his hands and knees in the hole, and continued to dig almost feverishly with his hands, the pain no longer even noticeable.

He felt a difference in pressure beneath his fingers and suddenly he could feel the soft texture of cloth, the brown of the material blending into the soil surrounding it – Sam's hoodie.

He refused to think about what that might mean, that there was no movement beneath him, and he continued to scrape the remaining soil from his brother. When he had finished, the sight almost broke him then and there.

Sam lay caked in mud – it was hard to tell where the grave ended and his brother began. The rising sun peeked over the edge of the grave, providing light but no warmth, Sam's face just as pale, despite its golden tinge.

No, the light that warmed Dean's soul had flickered and died in this godforsaken graveyard.

He touched a quaking hand to Sam's throat, but there was no pulse. Not that he was really expecting any, given that Sam's skin was grey and cold. His lips and fingers were already turning a dusky blue hue and bruises like shadows beneath his eyes stood out starkly against the unnatural paleness.

Sam's body was already stiffening with rigor mortis and his eyes remained open, staring blindly in silent accusation at the one who had failed him.

His brother's soul had always been most apparent in his eyes; there had always been gentle and intelligent warmth there, and for some reason it was almost as if Dean could still see his brother; that the light had not completely faded.

Obviously a trick of the sun rising behind him.

Dean's face was an expressionless mask, his emotions deeply buried despite the magnitude of his loss. His fingers lightly traced his brother's face as if committing it to memory. That was all he now had left of the baby brother he had raised- memories.

His own soul seemed to curl in on itself as a chill pervaded his spirit and settled in a shroud of mourning.

"I'm sorry, Sammy," he whispered, "I'm sorry I couldn't keep my promise to you." He gazed in utter desolation on the person he had loved most in the world, the one person who made him feel complete, with whom he could be himself and who loved him unconditionally in return.

Dean was lost, without path or purpose.

"At least I can make sure you can rest in peace, little brother." Dean's jaw trembled and clenched as with indomitable will he fought to contain his emotions.

He climbed back out of the hole, reaching for the bag that they had packed in preparation for their original hunt.

He did not notice the minute flicker deep within Sam's eyes as he turned his back, nor see the hazel gaze track his movements, a single tear escaping and tracing down the side of Sam's face.

"Dean!" Sam screamed silently. It was a bittersweet sensation; he could finally see his brother standing over him, thank god he's safe, but he could not move or make a sound. Despite the mask Sam could still see his brother's pain and needed to do something, anything to ease it.

"Dean!" He tried to pour his entire being into the gaze he fixed upon his brother and for a moment it seemed to be working. However, a shudder worked its way through Dean's strong frame instead and he rubbed at his eyes.

"At least I can make sure you can rest in peace, little brother."

"What? No…"Oh god, Dean was not going to do what Sam thought he was going to? "No, Dean, I'm still here, don't, please!" Sam begged, his voice echoing back cruelly in the confines of his mind.

In Lawrence, Missouri could feel Sam's fear spiking and knew it was almost time. She dialled Dean's number again. Unbeknownst to both the psychic and the elder brother, his phone lay shattered at the base of the gravestone that had been determined to do the same to his skull.

She switched to trying Sam's.

Sam could hear his phone ringing somewhere above him. He saw his brother bend down and pick it up. Dean's face creased and he angrily flung the object back down.

"Too late, Missouri, I lost him. It's too damn late."

"Pick up the phone, pick up the phone, pick up the phone." The psychic had been reduced to chanting. "For God's sake, boy! Pick up the damned phone!"

Bobby's pickup was racing along the highway. Five minutes; he was just five minutes away. He tried Sam's phone – engaged; then Dean's – straight to voicemail; tried Sam's again – yes – it was ringing.

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Dean looked down at the cell display lighting up on the ground at his feet. "Bobby?" He whispered, he desperately did not want to do this alone. His fingers twitched and his gaze fell back onto his fallen brother.

It had really only ever been him and Sam. Their dad had been away more often than not for most of their lives. Even if there physically, John's mind had rarely been on his family in the here and now and his emotions were always kept tightly under wrap.

No, the two brothers had faced everything together – schools, hunts, childhood illnesses, nosy social workers, concerned teachers, bullies, adolescence, puberty, girls, loss and grief – the list was endless. And deep down, Dean had always known that death and whatever happened afterwards would be faced together, too.

Wasn't it just typical of Sam to decide to leave him again and go first? He had always been far too curious for his own good - "Curiosity killed the Were-Cat". Dean snorted softly at the reminder of one of the infamous 'fairy tales' he used to tell his brother. He battled another wave of almost knee-buckling grief at the reminder of what he had lost. His eyes burned and he fought them, too.

"Well, Sam, it's always been the two of us against the world, I suppose it should end that way too."

Dean turned from the still ringing phone and bent down and picked up the canister of salt.

He almost reverently began to pour it over his brother's corpse, taking time to make sure he covered every inch of his brother's lanky frame. Good thing Sam had stocked up earlier…he thought irrationally. An automatic response as he tried to find that which usually saved him from showing too much emotion about anything… a bad try to find a joke to break the tension that was unbreakable inside of him.

His shoulders began to shake at the pressure of trying to retain his self-control. If he cried now, he doubted he would ever stop. And he had something supernatural to hunt down and destroy. Once his brother was laid to rest, then he had one hunt to finish. Whoever, or whatever the bastard was who attacked them, he was going to pay for taking his brother away from him.

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Sam's eyes burned from the salt – he could feel it peppering the length of his body but still he could not move. He could taste the salt on his lips, like a reminder of tears, and his fear threatened to overwhelm him.

"Dean. Dean. Dean." His mind chanting his own prayer for rescue, focussing in terror on the one thing he completely believed in and in which he would never lose hope – his brother.

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Missouri's hands were shaking as she dialled Sam's number again. Still no answer. She dialled Bobby.

"Mizzi?"

"You nearly there, Bobby?"

"One minute."

"Hurry, it's starting."

Bobby's foot pressed harder to the floor, the engine now screaming under the stress. If will alone could have made the pickup go any faster, he would have heard a sonic boom by now.

"Hold on, boys. Just one more minute."

He could see the cemetery ahead, thank god! He screeched to a halt and hurtled from the cab with the speed of a man half his age.

Dean was now pouring lighter fluid with hands that shook with increasing severity. He couldn't shake the feeling, though, that this felt wrong, that there was something very wrong here, his mind was screaming for him to stop.

"No shit, something's wrong," he muttered. His brother was dead, everything was wrong, and would never be right again.

His whole body shook as though with palsy, the trembling so violent he was in danger of falling.

Sam's mind had retreated, his thoughts no longer registering anything but the horror and overpowering fear at what was happening, "no, no, no, no, no, no, no.", a murmured mantra, a repetition of denial.

The smell of gasoline filled his world; the cold drops of liquid began to drench his skin, the cold fluid already seeming to burn as his senses heightened in response to his panic.

He struggled in the shell of his own body, but still he could not move.

"DEAN!" he screamed frantically, the words the unknown presence had whispered earlier haunting him.

You really don't know who sent you here, who will be the final instrument in your crossing?

Dean stood over him, his mask falling in anguish as he looked down one last time on his brother. Sam's eyes seemed to beg him for release. He struck the match and held it over the grave, before hesitating.

He couldn't do it.

He heard footsteps running towards him and half-turning, he swore as the flame burned his fingers causing him to reflexively let go.

A familiar voice screamed out – "Dean, stop! Sam's alive."

"Bobby?" He mouthed, his voice frozen in place in horror at the other man's words. Fast reflexes and an instinctive protective streak a mile wide over-rode his shock and his hand snatched out at the still falling match.

As he did, night-dark wings battered his face, talons and beak flashing at his eyes, obscuring his vision; and tearing at his hand, coming between brother and flame.

All Sam could see was the flame falling towards him, all he could smell and taste was the gasoline dousing him; then all he could feel was his world burning as hell fire consumed him.

He turned agonised eyes on his brother, and, finally overcoming the paralysing effect of his body--or maybe he was released from his mental prison - he stretched out one arm, his blazing hand reaching one last time towards his brother.

"DEAN!" he screamed.

In Lawrence, the phone slipped from Missouri's now nerveless fingers and fell to the ground as Sam's pain hit her in ever-growing waves. "No..."She moaned, and collapsed.

"DEAN!" Sam's scream ripped through the early morning air, and Dean looked in devastation as his brother's eyes moved to meet his and one hand reached to him, before flames erupted between the two brothers.

"SAM!" Not thinking, he moved to dive into the inconceivable inferno that had filled the grave.

He was knocked hard to the ground as Bobby tackled him.

"Dean - STOP!" He looked up at the older hunter through a grief stricken haze.

"Sammy! Let me go, Bobby, you have to let me go. I have to get him out – SAMMY!" Dean struggled furiously against the experienced hunter, but he was expertly pinned and couldn't gain purchase.

"It's too late, Dean." Bobby whispered; his face etched in grief and misery, a picture of devastation and guilt.

"NO!" Dean turned disbelieving eyes back to the grave. The flames burned unnaturally high and with an intense heat he had only ever felt three times, once 23 years ago, once in Palo Alto and once in a nursery - only that time it was his brother who had had to be restrained.

The supernaturally-enhanced fire prevented them from getting even close to the graveside. Bobby pulled him to his feet but as they stepped closer a wave of flame flowed viciously towards them.

Dean didn't care; he had to get to Sam. He tried to pull from Bobby's grasp, but the old hunter had an iron grip and dragged him back.

"I'm sorry, Dean." Nothing could survive the firestorm that now raged in front of them.

The world around Dean seemed to shrink until the only image he could see was fire, until even that vanished, his soul sinking into shadow, devastated and bereft, joyless and lost, until finally the dark consumed him...

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Mwa ha haaaa….

I think for reasons of my own safety and that of my computer, lol, I best say now…this is not a death-fic- I just couldn't do it! Let's just say that all is not as it seems for both Sam and Dean…

Please let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading!

Dream

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For Catbeist….

"Holy Scorched Sasquatch Batman!"

"What?"

"Holy Crispy Colossus Batman!"

"What are you going on about?"

"Holy Grilled Giant?"

"Are you on drugs Robin?"

"Holy Smouldering Sam?"

"Ah now I get you - he is a handsome fellow, that Sam Winchester"

"No, Batman, I mean as in Brotherly Bonfire? Fraternal Flambé? Seared Sibling?"

"You have alliteration issues don't you, Robin?"

"Batman?"

"Yes Robin?"

"I think Dean is coming round"

"And?"

"Well, he might think the marshmallows are in poor taste…"

"Good point. Maybe we can blame Evil Fan Girl?"

"Holy Hell Fire Batman- isn't that her over there?"

"Is she laughing at us, Robin?"

"She is using her Evil Laugh…and is that a white cat she is stroking?"

"Has she no shame? Is there no end to her nefarious schemes?"

"Are you trying for the narrator's job, Batman?"

"We cannot wear tights forever Robin. Enough of career changes though - I have a plan. All is not as it seems…"

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