Insert all standard disclaimer here.
Because, I couldn't just leave them like that...
"Help! Somebody help me! Sam! SAM!"
Dean's screams filled the dimly-lit expanse, reverberating back to his own ears and producing only a sorrowful echo in response. But even as he had called out for help, he knew it was in vain. He knew exactly where he had ended up and what the prognosis was.
It wasn't good. Because he had died. And gone to Hell. For the rest of eternity.
There would be no escape.
But as the echoes of his terrified cries diminished and the sound of his pounding heartbeat pervaded his ears, Dean realized something. Despite everything that had happened he was still himself. He still felt the same. He still had his own thoughts and, after checking it out, his own body. He was still Dean Winchester. And that had to count for something. Even in this godforsaken place.
Dean quickly took stock of his surroundings, hoping against hope that he might be able to do something to help himself. Because the alternative of not doing anything was too depressing. He was all alone in what appeared to be an endless void. Tightly caught against some kind of gigantic web. A web so thick and so strong that he knew he wouldn't be able to free himself.
He'd gone from being puppy chow to spider fodder in only a matter of minutes. But he couldn't say it was really any worse. At least it wasn't rats. They made his skin crawl. But spiders? Those you usually just squished those under your foot. Of course the one that was responsible for this web was probably much too big for that. And nastier to boot.
After all, he was in Hell.
Not that this was anything like what he'd ever imagined it would be. No burning fires or tortured souls anywhere. No cries of despair or groans of agony. It was just an endless array of spider webs as far as the eye could see. It did make for an interesting predicament. Even if he could break free there was simply nowhere for him to go. There were no doors, windows, passageways; nothing. Just never-ending intertwined threads of black sticky web.
Dean was alone. Trapped. Cut off from everything. And everyone.
It certainly was Hell.
And he'd only been here for a few minutes.
Eternity was going to be a nightmare.
Sam stared into Dean's lifeless eyes. He was dead; there was no doubt about it. The endless stream of blood, the pallor of his skin, his rolled-back, vacant eyes and the dead-weight of his body all confirmed it.
Sam hadn't been able to save him. Not like he'd promised to. Not like he swore he would. Not like he spent so many hours and days envisioning he could. Instead he'd led Dean straight to his death.
And it was entirely his fault.
Because, despite Dean's vehement opposition, Sam had summoned Ruby. And Lillith had used her to get to them. They hadn't even noticed. Not until it was too late. And by then she had been sealed in the room with both of them. She just had to let the hellhounds in to kill Dean. All their planning and preparation to safeguard Dean in his final moments had been in vain.
And Sam hadn't been able to stop her. All he had succeeded in doing was to send her back to Hell where she could torture his brother. She had vacated Ruby's body and fled before he could kill her with Ruby's knife.
Sam wanted to believe that Lillith left because she had been afraid to face him. But he didn't really believe that. But it was too late to do anything about it now. Dean was dead. The deal had been completed. Lillith had won. Dean would be pleased. He'd be pleased because Sam was still alive. That had been his only goal ever since he had made that stupid deal.
But Sam didn't feel alive. He felt as if he had died to.
Died and gone to Hell.
Staring down at his lifeless brother, the inevitable heartbreak set in and Sam's tears flowed freely. There was no point in hiding them now. Sam didn't have to pretend to be strong for anyone. There was no one left to pretend for and the unrestrained tears streamed down his tormented face, falling unashamedly onto Dean's motionless body.
With a deep pang of regret, Sam realized that this must have been exactly how Dean had felt when he had died. And like his brother, Sam didn't know what he was going to do. Or how he was going to survive. But he knew he couldn't make another deal to bring Dean back. Dean had been insistent on that.
Sam cradled his older brother in his arms, giving in to the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair. His entire family was gone. He was all alone. And he had nothing left to live for.
And as he wallowed in his own despair, the door to the room swung open and Bobby stood in the doorway, momentarily taking in the heart-wrenching scene in front of him. But he didn't stay there long. Swallowing his own pent-up emotions, he bounded over to where Sam sat on the floor rocking and holding the deceased body of his brother.
"Help me get him to the dining room table, will ya?" requested Bobby urgently as he tried to pull Dean from Sam's grasp.
"There's no use," responded Sam gloomily, without looking up. "It's all over."
"It not over," declared Bobby firmly. "We can still save him."
"How? He's dead, Bobby."
"I can see that, ya idjit. But it's not too late. Not yet. But we gotta move fast."
"Dean said no more deals, Bobby. And I promised I wouldn't. There's nothing left to do."
"Look Sam," stated Bobby with a slight hint of compassion in his husky voice, "All this time you've been trying to save him, I've been working on bringin' him back from the dead. Just in case it came down to this. But I can't do it alone." After a brief pause with no response from Sam he added "You gonna help me or not?"
Sam nodded half-heartedly.
And that was all Bobby needed. He grabbed Dean under his arms, leaving Sam pick him up by his legs. Together they carried him to the dining room. Sam noticed that the room smelled heavily of burning incense. After they set Dean gently on the table, Sam quickly scanned the room; Bobby had been busy. Along with the burning incense the room was filled with a variety of different candles, all lit and strategically placed around the room. A multitude of unusual bottles and jars sat on the table and on a nearby buffet, assorted herbs and spices were interspersed around the table and piles of cloth and strips of linen were draped over the chairs. The last thing he noticed was an ancient-looking book open on the table close to Dean's head.
It looked to him like Bobby was planning on turning his brother into a mummy.
"What are we doing Bobby?" Sam asked in total bewilderment.
"We're gonna resurrect your brother."
"Resurrect him?" queried an even more confused Sam. "Like Jesus?"
"Somethin' like that. Only I don't take much stock in the Bible's sketchy version of events. Don't see much sense in sealing him up in a cave for three days and waitin' to see if he rises from the dead on his own."
"Then what are we gonna do?"
"Follow the ancient Egyptians. Near as I can figure they almost got it right."
"Yeah, only they made a few grave mistakes. First thing they did wrong was suck out the dead person's innards. And they took 70 days to complete the burial process. Person'd be more than dead after that."
"So we are gonna mummify Dean," stated Sam, still a little incredulous.
"It's not like that," corrected Bobby. "But we are taking the ritual from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. We're just gonna do it right."
"If you say so," concurred Sam skeptically, but at this point he was more than willing to give it a try. "Whaddya want me to do?"
"First we gotta strip 'im down and wash his entire body with this here natron," answered Bobby as he grabbed one of the jars. "Pour this into that bowl of holy water. And make sure it dissolves completely before you wipe it all over him. And pay particular attention to those scratches them hellhounds made. This stuff'll work as an antiseptic. It'll stop his wounds from getting infected after we bring him back."
Sam took the items from Bobby and opened the bottle. He poured the tiny, white crystals into the bowl and, with the sponge that had laid on the table beside it, stirred the liquid until all the crystals had disintegrated. Meanwhile, Bobby used his knife to cut the clothes carefully off Dean's body. While Sam wiped Dean's body down with the natron solution, Bobby took another sponge and began rubbing oil from another bottle all over Dean's freshly cleansed body.
When that was done he grabbed a small bowl of melted wax and instructed Sam to cover all of Dean's injuries with the warm, sticky substance. As Sam finished spreading the wax over the massive gash in his brother's chest, Bobby placed a medium-sized copper plate, decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic images, overtop of the wound. The plaque was to guard against demonic intrusion, to which the wounds inflicted by the hellhounds remained especially susceptible.
With that set of tasks completed, Bobby handed Sam a bottle of some sort of oil mixture and ordered him to slather it all over Dean's body; doing so would stall the decomposition process. Sam obediently did as he was instructed while Bobby consulted the textbook that lay open on the table beside Dean. He began to utter some sort of ancient chant that Sam assumed was ancient Egyptian. The unfamiliar words had enough of a similarity to Latin that Sam was able to deduce their meaning. Bobby was reciting a mantra to Osiris; beseeching the god of the underworld to deliver Dean back from the valley of death.
Not that Sam had ever thought about it before but he realized now that it made perfect sense. The ancient Egyptians hadn't believed that death was permanent. Death was merely a brief interruption of life, not the total cessation of it. Their burial and funeral practices reflected their beliefs that a person would be reborn if the proper piety was paid to the gods.
Sam finished oiling Dean's body and Bobby immediately handed him a paintbrush. Still recapitulating the sacred prayers, Bobby motioned towards a cylindrical dish that was suspended above a burning tealight. Sam instinctively knew what he was supposed to do; spread the heated resin on his brother's body. While he hurriedly did just that, Bobby continued the ritual, expertly reciting the required ancient spells and sprinkling purified water and perfumes over both the table and Dean's inert body.
When Sam had finished smearing the resin on Dean's body, Bobby picked up a strip of the cotton linen and passed it over to Sam. Sam wrapped the linen around Dean's body, starting with his fingers and toes, followed by his arms and legs before wrapping his brother's injured torso. He paused only to allow Bobby to insert a stone or metal amulet into the stiffened layers of torn cloth at various points of the prolonged ceremony. Sam hesitated before he began to wrap Dean's head but Bobby urged him on. The older man kept up his incantations and ceremonial gestures, placing what looked to be old Egyptian coins over Dean's eyes and slipping a large gold coin into his mouth. With that done, he nodded to Sam to finish sheathing his brother's head.
Bobby passed a small decorative pillow with more hieroglyphics stitched on it to Sam, which he then gently placed under Dean's head. Bobby motioned for him to step back from the table while he completed the ancient ritual. He crossed Dean's arms over his chest and sprinkled the remainder of the purified water all around him. Then he placed a medium-sized ceramic bowl in the middle of Dean's chest into which he placed a handful of each of the herbs that he had previously laid around the room. As he gathered each different herb, Bobby snuffed out the candles that sat nearby until all the herbs had bee ncollected and none of the candles remained lit, causing the room to fall into darkness. Only then did he set fire to the bowl of herbs, instantly producing a soft eerie glow in the room and filling the air with a sweet-smelling aroma.
Taking a deep breath, Bobby stepped back and looked across the table at Sam.
"Now we wait."
Dean struggled against the web that held him securely; it was better than just sitting there waiting. He had no idea what, if anything, he was supposed to be waiting for. Maybe this was it. Maybe this was all there was. Maybe this was his destiny. His eternity.
But he doubted it.
It was far too easy. And every demon he had encountered during his last year on earth had told him to expect excruciating torture and pain. And although this was mind-numbing and unsettling, he could hardly call it torture. Or excrutiating. Not by any stretch of his imagination. Even the agony he had felt as the hellhounds ripped the life from his body had disappeared. In fact, he didn't hurt at all. Not anywhere. He felt better than he had in many, many months. Maybeeven years. But he knew it couldn't last. Not in Hell.
And then, suddenly, out of the nothingness, a shapeless figure began to emerge. The unrecognizable shape quickly morphed into the figure of a woman. A very pretty woman with fair skin, long, flaxen locks and enchanting blue eyes. But Dean was immediately suspicious. He stilled his movements and regarded the woman warily.
"Lillith," Dean remarked point-blank when the figure had fully materialized.
"You're smarter than I would have given you credit for."
Dean ignored her, answering instead, "This is all you got? This is my Hell?"
"Your Hell is just beginning," replied Lillith, stepping closer to him.
"Well, so far I'm not impressed. Or worried."
"You should be. Because your Hell is going to extend past the borders of this realm and go back into the land of the living."
"Whaddya mean by that?"
Lillith laughed evilly. "Do you even know who I am?" she sneered.
"Yeah," replied Dean. "You're Lillith. Adam's first wife. Banished from Eden and from the Bible. Queen of the netherworld." He paused before adding, "That good enough for ya?"
Lillith grinned. "No point in maintaining this façade then."
She strode closer to Dean, quickly discarding her human form as she advanced. Dean met her glare even as she reverted back to her natural demon form. She was hideous now with gnarled limbs, dark, wrinkled skin, and red-glowing eyes Small snakes had replaced her hair and they darted back and forth around her head. She move toward to Dean, leaning close into his face. Repulsed, he turned his head only to have it stick to the black web.
Lillith laughed again and and ran her misshapen fingers through his hair. "You can't escape me, Dean. This is just the first step in your own private hell."
Despite himself, Dean flinched
"You have no choice but to lay with me,' she purred wickedly as she caressed his body, "And together our spawn will repopulate the underworld."
"That's exactly where they'll belong," retorted Dean flatly, although the very thought sickened him.
"But as soon as they're grown," persisted Lillith as she straddled Dean's ensnared body, "I'll unleash them to the earth so they can kill all mankind. Including your brother."
Squeezing his eyes shut, Dean wished for a way out even though he knew it was hopeless.
But then there was a quick flash of light. Followed by…
Darkness. And then nothing.
It was pitch-black. And silent. Whatever had happened, he still was trapped. Tied up so tightly that he couldn't move. He was encased in something so cumbersome that he couldn't see through it and he couldn't budge an inch. He tried shaking his head and moving his arms, but it proved to be in vain. In total desperation he attempted to yell but the only sound that came out was a muffled scream.
And then something unknown seized hold of him. It dug viciously through whatever was covering his face, hastily tearing it from around his head until finally a faint ray of light broke through. Dean opened his eyes, fully expecting to see Lillith standing in front of him. But as his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw something totally different.
"Sammy? Is that you?"