Sorry it took so long to continue this story. I haven't seen the last few episodes, and I guess the story has been kind of "Kripked" now, but we'll just call it AU and everyone's happy.
Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing, yada, yada.
Dark Side of the Glass
"How certain are you that what you brought back is 100% pure Sam?"
Dean saw the thing that looked like his brother rise from the bed and move towards him. He glanced around the room in panic, trying to find the best escape route.
"No! No, no, no, no! Stay away from me!" Suddenly the room flickered, shifted, and he was looking at a vast space, empty except for what looked like chains criss-crossing the void. He screamed when he recognized the space: he had been dragged here months (years) ago.
"NO! Please, no!"
He felt a stab of intense pain at his right shoulder quickly followed by another just under his ribs, and with a jolt he was spread-eagle, suspended over the void by shackles at his wrists and ankles. The horror of the moment he had felt so many months (years) ago slammed into him and he cried out in terror as he relived it.
"Oh, God, somebody…help me! SAM!" He closed his eyes and screamed again in pain and anguish. Suddenly he felt a pair of strong hands grip his shoulders.
"Dean!" In a flash, the pain stopped. He felt the floor beneath his feet and the wall at his back. He almost slumped in relief before he remembered what had triggered the vision of Hell. He opened his eyes, fearful of what he would see, and saw his brother staring at him, deep concern in his hazel eyes.
"What the hell…? Sam? What's going on? What…?"
"Dean, what did you see?"
Dean looked up at his brother, at his expression, and paused. This was the old Sam, not the distant, dead-eyed, empty shell of a brother he had been with for the past few months. Sam's mournful eyes were searching Dean's face for some hint of what had caused Dean such distress.
That was one Hell of a flashback, pun intended.
"Nothing. It's nothing, Sam. I…nothing."
"Dean…I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry."
"Not your fault, Sam."
"Yeah, it is. I died."
"Sam, we've been through this--."
"No, Dean, we haven't. I need to explain--."
"There's nothing to explain, Sam." Suddenly, Dean remembered what had started the current argument. "Except why you took my stuff--."
"I didn't take--."
"And what's going on with this place. How you got in through a chained door without breaking it down, and I would have heard that. And--."
"The door wasn't chained."
"Of course it was. I--." He turned to point at the door and saw the chain was gone. "What the Hell?"
Sam huffed out a dry humorless laugh. "Yeah, pretty much."
Dean turned to stare at his brother. Sam was looking back at him with a mournful expression on his face, his shoulders hunched in defeat, and looking so much like the kid Dean remembered that he momentarily forgot his anger.
"Hell, Dean. This is Hell."
Dean waited for the punch-line, the smart-ass remark he knew his brother should be making to try to defuse the drama, but Sam was silent.
"Not funny, Sammy."
"Not trying to be. I'm sorry, Dean."
"Stop saying that!" Sam bowed his head to stare at the floor, but not before Dean saw the tears start to fall.
"No…no, damn it! Castiel pulled me out." He started to pull up the left sleeve of his t-shirt. "How else would I have…" He turned the stare at his arm and froze in disbelief. The handprint was gone.
"What the fuck?" Wide-eyed, he turned back to Sam. "What--?"
"You weren't pulled out, Dean. At least, not all of you."
"All of me? Sam, what…what the Hell, man?"
"I guess I better fill you in."
"Yeah, that would be helpful." Dean stared around the room, waiting in fear for the walls to collapse and the version of Hell he knew to return, but they remained intact. He carefully sat down on the nearest bed and stared up at Sam, who looked like he was trying to figure out what to say. Finally, Sam spoke.
"It started with Cold Oak. A bunch of us 'special kids' were put there by the Yellow-Eyed Demon as some sort of elimination contest. It came down to me and this guy Jake. I wanted us to join forces, but Jake…he was convinced it would only work if one was left, like the demon wanted."
"I know all this, Sam, you already told me--."
"Just listen. Please." Sam waited, and when Dean didn't interrupt again, he continued. "We fought, and I managed to knock Jake out. I…I was going to kill him, but I couldn't. I knew I would just be playing into the demon's hands if I did, so I walked away. I paid for that act of mercy."
"Sam, I know—."
"At first all I felt was the pain. Then nothing. I…I felt you catch me, I heard you talking, telling me it would be OK, but then I was standing, watching. I saw you holding me…my body. And then the demon showed up…"
"Sammy, I'm so disappointed. One of my kids, just… giving in."
"I'm not one of yours. I never have been." Sam saw a man dressed in a dark suit suddenly appear behind the demon. "And now it's too late to change that." He turned to his brother, even though he knew in his heart that Dean could not hear him. "I'm sorry, Dean. I know you tried--."
"As touching as I'm sure this will be, I really do have other plans." The demon turned to the reaper and an expression of fear crossed its' face as it backed up a step. "Sorry, this one's not going with you." The demon grabbed the reaper by the throat and it screamed before vanishing in a flash of red light. "Bureaucrats. Can't stand 'em."
"Sorry, Sammy. You are still mine. And I still have plans for you."
Before Sam could react, he was surrounded by a maelstrom of dark clouds. He screamed in fear as they swept him up and carried him away. He swayed, suspended in the center, frantically fighting invisible bonds. Suddenly, through the darkness he heard his brother's voice.
"What am I supposed to DO?!?"
After what seemed like an eternity, Sam emerged from the storm to find himself standing in the middle of a gravel road, surrounded by scrub brush and dead trees. Suddenly he heard a familiar rumble and turned to see the Iimpala arrive.
His brother emerged from the car without a glance in Sam's direction and went to open the trunk. Sam ran over to see what his brother was gathering from the depths of the trunk and felt as if the earth had been pulled from beneath his feet when he saw the tin box in Dean's hand.
"No Dean! NO! Please, tell me you can hear me. Don't do it! I'm begging you, man!"
"I'd say 'save your breath', but you don't actually have any." Sam turned in horror to see the demon, its murky yellow eyes glowing in apparent delight.
"No, no, I'll do anything, just don't let him do this."
"Little late for that, Sammy. Besides, mercy is not my thing. It should have never been yours."
Sam turned back to Dean, screaming at him as he dug a hole in the center of the crossroads and put the box in it before covering it back up. Dean stood and looked around, and Sam hoped for a brief moment the crossroad demon wouldn't show.
"Oh come on already. Show your face, you bitch!"
"Easy sugar, you'll wake the neighbors."
"NO! Dean, please, listen to me!" Sam watched and listened in horror as his brother tried to sell his soul. He felt a brief moment of hope when the offer was refused, hope which was quickly dashed when Dean started to cut down the number of years. It returned again when the demon started to walk away.
"Make sure you bury Sam before he starts stinking up the joint."
The crossroads demon smiled at Sam. "It's a fire sale, and everything must go."
"What do I have to do?"
"First of all, quit groveling. Needy guys are such a turnoff." She sighed. "Look...Look, I shouldn't be doing this. I could get in a lot of trouble. But what can I say? I got a blind spot for you, Dean. You're like a... puppy. You're just too fun to play with. I'll do it."
"You'll bring him back?"
"I will. And because I'm such a saint, I'll give you one year. And one year only. But here's the thing. If you try and welch or weasel your way out, then the deal is off. Sam drops dead. He's back to rotten meat in no time. So...it's a better deal than your dad ever got. What do you say?"
Sam screamed a warning, but it was too late. When Dean's lips met the crossroad demon's, Sam felt a bolt of pain rip through him and everything went white.
When he woke up, he found himself in a room, much like the countless seedy hotel rooms he had lived in growing up.
"Home sweet home, eh, Sammy?"
"What? Where…where's Dean? The crossroads demon was supposed to send me back to him."
"Yes, she was, but I had some say in that particular deal before it was even made. Your needy, pathetic, self-loathing, self-destructive brother did exactly what I expected. Thing is, I still have a claim to you. The part of you that disappointed me needs to be punished. And here you are: your own private Hell. Well, for one year topside time, at least. Then again, you might not have that long to wait." The demon grinned and vanished.
"I never saw him again. I found out later that you killed him." Sam paused and met Dean's gaze. "Thank you for that."
Dean nodded, too shocked by his brother's tale to do much else. Sam continued his story.
"Eventually I started to look around. I found that mirror, and I saw…I saw you. And me, well, the part that went back. I could see what you were doing, what I was doing, during your last year. It was a just another form of torture the demon had ready for me. Seeing you counting down and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. But then…" He met Dean's gaze again and the amount of pain in his brother's eyes caused Dean to flinch.
"I heard the screams first. I had seen what happened, through the mirror and…I couldn't…" Sam drew in a deep breath. "I didn't think it could get any worse than seeing my brother ripped apart by Hellhounds. I was wrong."
"I heard you screaming and I ran out of the bathroom, and…you were here."
"Sam, that's impossible. I remember what Hell was like, and--."
"Here, but not here. Your, I don't know, physical soul seemed to be here, on that bed, but you weren't here. Your mind, your consciousness, it was somewhere else. Suffering. I could hear that. I could hear you screaming. You never stopped, until…"
"Until I got off the rack. Until I gave in, and started doing what they wanted me to. Torturing souls." Dean turned away, unable to bear his brother's disgust that he knew must be under the surface, that Sam was managing to hide.
"What are you talking about?" The genuine puzzlement in his brother's voice caused Dean to look up.
"What do you mean, 'what am I talking about'? If you could hear what was happening, you must have known--."
"Dean, you never stopped screaming, not until…the angel."
"Wait a minute. I thought you said that never happened."
"I said it never pulled you out. The part of you still here."
"Let…let me get this straight. Part of my…soul, or whatever, is back topside, and I'm…this part of it, is still in Hell."
"Best I can figure, yeah…"
"Huh. So…Hell is a crappy hotel room."
Sam barked out a surprised laugh. "Apparently. At least for us: all courtesy of the demon." His face sobered. "He tore us apart and put us together. But we weren't together. Not until now, at least."
"So how did that happen?"
Sam started to reply but was interrupted by a rumble of what sounded like thunder. Lightning arced through the room as the door burst open and the doorway was filled with a brilliant bright light. Forgetting everything else, the brothers dove to the floor and covered their eyes to block out the light that threatened to blind them. Slowly the light faded and their air was filled with a piercing whine, which morphed into a voice.
Dean cautiously raised his head and turned to the door, the scene before him causing him to freeze in terror. A figure was standing in the doorway, large white wings arcing out from what might have been its' shoulders. Its' face was vaguely familiar, but it's expression completely inhuman. What caused Dean's paralysis was not the being in front of him, but what it carried in its' arms: a human body, beaten, torn, and bloody, but clearly still conscious. Its' green eyes stared into Dean's and he was hit with a sudden feeling of déjà vu. It was as if he was back in the bathroom, staring into the mirror.
He was looking at himself.
Before he could react to this realization, the being spoke to him again.
"It's time to go."
Dean looked back at Sam, huddled against one of the beds, expression of abject terror on his face. Dean stood, squared his shoulders, and turned to face the intruder.
"Not without my brother."
A/N: Dialog in the "flashback" is taken in part from AHBL Part 2. No infringement intended.
One more chapter, and then an epilogue.