Story Notes:

This is a dark little nugget that sort of popped into my head and wouldn't wriggle free on its own. One shot, first person POV. I would like to just state for the record that I adore Sam, and I do not mean to slight his character in any way. But I felt that there were some dark thoughts that needed exploring, as well as some desperate feelings that needed letting out. In short, I think the poor guy is probably seriously struggling with his role in the upcoming war. And the following verbal diarrhea is my attempt at illustrating that struggle.

Disclaimer: I do own Dean and Sam, and am laughing all the way to the bank. I sleep at night naked on a pile of money, and I drink champagne and eat caviar for breakfast. *a-hem* Sorry, I just always thought disclaimers were kind of weird, since it's fairly obvious that we none of us work for Eric Kripke, nor are we making money off of this harmless diversion. I WISH! 'Twould be a dream come true, in fact. Would that I were a part of such a team of writing geniuses. But alas, I'm an intern (soon-to-be unemployed intern) and continue to write my own Supernatural drivvel pro bono.

Every day this job gets a little bit harder. This life gets a little bit harder. With each useless hunt I feel like I'm being pulled just a little bit further away from myself, from who I used to be. With each day wasted fighting ghosts and ghouls while the seals are being broken, I can feel pieces of myself breaking off and flaking away like dried bits of chapped skin. And I'm raw and sore and I just want it all to stop before it's too late.

And I'll admit it – I'm pissed. That's right. I'm pissed. Because my whole damned life I've been a good person, I think. I've fought the good fight. I've worked hard. I've been honest (hunting scams notwithstanding). I've been kind and understanding. I've had faith. Everyone always told me that I was a sweet kid. I think I remember being a sweet kid. Never the smart-mouth that Dean was. I was always respectful and polite and well-behaved. Never the trouble-maker like Dean was.

And so yeah, I left to go to Stanford. I know it maybe wasn't my brightest hour, or my crowning achievement in the grand scheme of things, but even now I refuse to feel guilty for wanting to have a life. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a life, even if – even when – you know what's really out there in the dark. Heck, especially when you know what's out there in the dark. That would be like faulting everyone who's not a nurse for not wanting to be a nurse. "Can't stand the sight of blood? Don't want to stand vigil over someone's death bed and change bedpans because it's a heart-breaking job? That makes you a bad person." It doesn't work that way. No rational person would ever say that it works that way.

So no. I'm not evil or selfish for wanting out of the hunting gig. I wasn't selfish then, and I'm not selfish now. Only now, I can't get out.

That's the cosmic kick-in-the-teeth. Because I'm tainted with demon blood, I'm tied up in this whole apocalypse gig, and I feel like maybe the only way that I can save myself from being doomed to Hell, or being doomed to this life of hunting until it changes me irrevocably or kills me, is to save the world.

Does it make me arrogant that I kind of believe I can do it?

And this, of course, brings me back to being pissed. Because I'm trying, damnit! I'm trying so hard, like I've always tried so hard, to be a good person, to do the right thing, to save innocent lives. My methods might be different than Dean's, but the results are spectacular. I have the power to send legions of demons, the ones who are nipping at our heels and who are working under Lilith's command, back to Hell without harming the innocent victims they possess. And maybe that power has a dark source, it being demon-given and all, but in this case the ends do justify the means! I'm not harming anyone with what I'm doing. I'm not sacrificing innocent virgins to work my black magic. I'm not praying to the devil to give me powers to do dark evil things. But I guess that's because I've already got those demon or devil-given powers. No need for prayers. No need for sacrifice.

I am the dark thing, apparently.

There was a time when I would have cried about it. Not now, though. I've got to be tough or I'll never be able to do this. And though I hate to admit it, Ruby's right. I've gotten flabby. I let the ball drop, went to seed a little bit, and now already I feel like I'm not as strong with my powers as I used to be. So I need to get in shape. Because Lilith has to be stopped, and I'm the one who has to stop her. Me and my demon blood. We're going to save the world.

I'd pray to God for guidance or strength, like I used to, but I don't think God really likes me anymore. Or at least, that's what Uriel seems to be spelling out for me loud and clear with his constant threats to obliterate me if I don't give up my demonic ways. Stupid dick. If this is what God and angels are about, maybe I don't trust it anyway.

But this is where I admit to you how truly pathetic I really am. Because truthfully, I care a lot. A lot a lot. I've always had faith in the good side of things. I've always believed that God was out there balancing the scales, watching out for us, giving us strength when we needed it, setting us on the right course when we lost our way. And now that I'm on the outside looking in, I just want to find a way back inside. I just want to be worthy. And maybe if I save the world, if I stop Lilith from breaking those seals and setting Lucifer free, then maybe God will overlook the demon blood thing and will love me like He loves Dean. Maybe God will even save me from this.

I can hope, right?

Wow. My throat feels kinda tight right now, thinking about all this. Now I'm blinking away tears like some kind of chick, which Dean would so be ribbing me for right now if he weren't three sheets to the wind, passed out on the next bed. He looks sorta peaceful now, his face all slack and pale in booze-induced oblivion. You can't even see the hard edge that's settled behind his eyes since he got back from Hell. You can't see that firm line of his mouth. Just all slackness and ease. He looks kinda like an angel just now. A sloppy, whiskey-soaked angel.

Yup, now there are bitter tears sneaking their way out, so I'm just going to sniff them back, if you don't mind. Gotta keep on my game face. Ruby will be here soon, and I've got work to do. Can't let her or Dean see me crying. Can't let anyone see how fucking hard this all is.

And here's the part where I just throw my hands up and monologue with the 'why me?' speech. Why me? And – no offense – but why Dean? I love my brother: I love him more than anything. He's all I have in this world. But I don't get this. I don't get why God loves him enough to pull him out of Hell, when he's never believed a day in his life in God's existence. I don't get why Dean gets to be saved, when he goes out of his way to find reasons not to believe, yet I'm left on the sidelines to be nuked by God's specialist, Uriel, if I step out of line. Why?

I've had a lot of time to analyze all of this, to go over the facts, and I've discovered a frightening pattern that kind of chills me right to the bone. Want to know what it is?

God's always been looking out for Dean. Seems like God's even been willing to let bad things happen to other people so that Dean could be kept in the game. Just wait – hear me out and I'll explain.

Dean's heart attack? Dean was healed by Roy LeGrange. Now I know that Roy's crazy wife was behind the real healing, and that she used a reaper to transfer life from some poor schmuck to Dean. But my brother was still chosen out of a room full of people. He could have been overlooked and left to suffer his impending heart-attack the next day, or the next week, without Roy ever casting those sightless eyes on him and deciding, 'Yup, kiddo! You're the one.' But he chose Dean. Told him that God let him see inside his heart, and that he saw that Dean had an important purpose, a job to do, and that it wasn't finished yet. So either Roy was really a crack pot (and maybe he was), or God actually, deliberately, let that happen. Chose Dean to fight on another day…

Then there was the car accident, and Dean's coma. A reaper was after him that time too, only this time Dean's time was up. So what happens? Well heck, Dad steps in and sells his soul for him. Trades it for Dean's life, and then Dean is once again miraculously healed, brought back from the brink of death to fight on for another day. And Dad? Well he marches right out of Hell a year later when the door is open, and instead of being left as a ghost to wander that cemetery for eternity, Dad sort of… I don't know, ascends? Seems God didn't have too much of a problem letting Dad inside those pearly gates after all, when all was said and done. Guess it was forgiveable, to sell his soul to a demon, when it was Dean's life on the line.

Now here's the kicker: when it was my time to die, apparently I went fast. Didn't really leave much time for God to step in and save me to fight another day (not that I wanted Him to – I'd have been okay with moving on to whatever lies beyond), if that was ever part of His plan. Heck, I don't even know where I went those few days that I was dead. I don't have any memory of it. But Castiel was hesitant when he shook my hand, so I can't in my heart of hearts believe that it was anywhere close to heaven. Where I went… It scares me to think about where I went.

But we all know where Dean went. After selling his soul to bring me back, he got one year to make me squirm with guilt before he was dragged down to the pit. And this, my friends, is the crux of all my problems. Because Dean's deal did damage to both of us. It was his soul that was being torn at and beaten down in Hell, but mine was being tortured too, and maybe even at the hands of a much more cruel torturer than the infamous Alastair. My soul was being ripped apart by a truly sadistic mofo: a young demon-tainted man named Samuel Winchester.

See, Dean going to Hell kind of forced me to take a really long hard look at myself and all my deficiencies. And what's worse yet, it laid them all bare so that every Tom, Dick, and Harry demon that showed up on my doorstep could see them and throw them back in my face. That Crossroads bitch taunting me with my darkest thoughts: "but truth is you'll be a tiny bit relieved when he's gone… No more desperate, sloppy, needy Dean. You can finally be free." And it wasn't true, damnit! At least, not really. But the problem was, there was this tiny, desperate part of me that just wanted it to be over. I was so tired of worrying, beat dead and crushed with worrying, and I just wanted it all to be over. I think that maybe, for one hysterical fraction of a second, I imagined what it would be like for Dean's deal to be up, for him to be gone in Hell, and how relieved I would be for it to all finally be over. But it was only for a second – I swear to God, it was only for a second! And then I felt so guilty about it I threw up afterwards.

But having thought it, and having had it voiced out loud by that Crossroads demon, made the actual moment so much worse when it finally happened. Hearing his screams when the Hellhounds were tearing him apart was enough to drive me mad. I could hear those words in my head, "you'll be a tiny bit relieved when he's gone" over and over again like some kind of torturous spike stabbing me again and again. Each scream, each spurt of blood, and those words would scroll across my mind's eye like a damned blinking marquee. You'll be a tiny bit relieved when he's gone. And then just like that it was over. Dean stopped screaming. He went very still, and Lilith made her move, and nothing happened.

After she'd fled, there was nothing left to do but stare at those lifeless, glassy green eyes and feel the crushing weight of my own guilt. I'd made this happen. I'd fucking made it happen. I'd wanted it to happen, right? That fraction of a second that I allowed that thought to manifest was enough. It painted me with a million different sins, all of them screaming at me youkilledyourbrotheryoukilledyourbrotheryoukilledyourbrother. I should have been strong enough to stop Lilith. Hell, I was strong enough! Ruby was right – I could have saved Dean. Lilith couldn't even touch me, but I'd been so afraid of these demon powers that I'd shied away from them. And I'd refused to play the one card I had in my hand that could have saved my brother. I let him die. I sent him to Hell.

So what kind of person does that make me?

And let me tell you, I have an idea of what kind of torture Dean endured in Hell, because the wounds inflicted on your soul are so, so, so much worse than any torture that could ever be visited upon your body. That's just a fact.

When Dean was in Hell, they may have been carving up some kind of metaphysical manifestation of his physical body. There may have been blood and muscle and sinew and tissue. There may have been bone and ash. But it was his soul – his immortal soul – that they were cutting up. It was his soul that they were tearing to shreds. And while human beings under duress may be able to fight the pain, go to some safe, meditative place until the torture is over, breathe through it, crack, blank out, pass out, fall asleep, or die – none of that is possible in Hell when it's your soul on the rack. There's no passing out. There's no meditation to take yourself away from the pain. There's no breathing through it. There's no diluting it. It's there. It's ever-present. It's real. And it's inescapable.

I know this because my soul broke into many pieces the night my brother died. It just sort of broke open and bled all over me. And I couldn't get away from the pain. Booze didn't help. I drowned in it anyway, because it seemed as good an escape as any. But it didn't even lessen the pain in the slightest. It didn't even help to dull it. It just helped to dull me. Made me stupid and sloppy and reckless.

But the kicks kept coming. I tried so hard to find a way to undo it, to right the wrong, to bring Dean back. I tried trading up my soul for him, because I was tainted anyway with demon blood and he didn't know he'd given up his eternal self for something like me. He didn't know what he'd sacrificed himself for. I tried to trade, but they didn't want my soul. They wanted Dean's. Mine, I guess, was worthless. Not cherished by God: not coveted by demons. M soul had absolutely no value or worth to anyone. It was worthless. I guess, it is worthless.

But getting back to what I was saying before about souls and torture. I say all this because I need to make it absolutely clear that I understand why Dean caved after 30 years in Hell. I understand that he reached the end of his endurance, that the pain inevitably became too much, and that he needed for the pain to stop. I don't blame him. I don't judge him. I can't.

But I don't understand why God saved him. I'm grateful! I'm down-on-my-knees, kiss-the-earth-and-pray grateful! But I don't understand. The more I learn about what Dean did in Hell, and the more I learn about angels and what they're all about, the less I understand why Dean is so important to God. I don't want to be an asshole about it. I don't want to be the petulant child who whines, "How come Dean gets God's love and forgiveness but I don't, huh?" But the fact is, I haven't done anything to require forgiveness! I haven't done anything! I was innocent when I was a baby and that demon tainted me. Wasn't I? I was innocent! And I haven't hurt anyone with my psychic, demonic powers! I've saved people!

So this is where my master plan of stopping Lilith and saving the world comes into play. I can do this. I know I can. With these God-forsaken demon powers, with this tainted demon blood, I can take out Lilith's minions one by one. I can weaken her defences, deplete her resources, and eventually, inevitably, I can cut off the head of the snake and send that bitch to Hell for good. I can do it. I have to do it. And maybe then God will see that all I've ever been doing is His work, even if he didn't give the order to me directly, even if it's Dean he's assigned to be his little soldier instead of me. It doesn't matter. I'll fight for Him anyway. After all, in the end, we want the same things. We want to stop Lilith from breaking the seals. We want to prevent Lucifer's rise from Hell. We want to stop the world.

I'm willing to risk the anger (or maybe it's wrath when it comes from God) if it means that the world is saved in the end. Like with Dad: we're butting heads, but when it boils down to it we want the same things. Dean's still the soldier, and I guess I'm still the… something else.

When it's all over I'm not sure what will happen. When we win, if we win, I can't imagine where we'll go from here. I've still got dreams, and maybe I'll finally pursue them. It's what I've always wanted, and after all these years of sacrifice, I kinda think I'm entitled to a little bit of happiness. A wife and kids, maybe a steady, honest job somewhere (I don't even care where). A new name, a new life, a new start. I deserve it, right?

And maybe Dean will be okay. That feels a bit like a joke right now, because he was tortured in Hell for 30 years, and spent the remaining 10 years torturing other souls and liking it. How the hell does anyone come back from that and keep on keeping on without losing their minds? Without the job to keep him occupied, to keep him distracted from the mangled soul inside him that keeps his body animated, how will he be able to function at all?

It's times like this, and thoughts like this, that my mind goes to the dark place. I start thinking about small mercies, and bullets to the brainpan, and it would be so easy to just let him go. He's out cold right now, and he looks so peaceful and free from all the roiling pain inside him, and I think how easy it would be to just put the muzzle of my gun to his temple and pull the trigger. Put him down like an ailing pet. That kid loved Old Yeller and cried like a baby when the dog was rabid, right? Cried with a broken soul like mine when he pulled the trigger and put the dog down? Just like that, I could do it. Just like that.

It would be mercy.

Take a deep breath, Sam. Now I'm scaring myself. I wonder if thoughts like this, like 'I wish it was just over – it'll be a relief when it's all over' and 'I could just pull the trigger and he'd never wake up' are the kinds of thoughts that went through Ava's head when the switches in her brain went off. I wonder if these frightening yet natural feelings passed through Jake's mind before his eyes flashed yellow and he told Ellen to put her own gun to her head. Christ, I wonder if maybe there's a valid reason why Castiel took my hand and held it like it was burning his holy flesh, looking into me as if seeing the darkest part of me and willing it to be still and die.

Maybe Uriel is right and me using my abominable powers is an affront to God, because it's taking me further from myself than I was ever meant to go. Maybe using these powers is playing exactly into Azazel's plans for his End Game. Maybe I'm doing every wrong thing, paving my own path to Hell with my good intentions.

But here's the rub, see? I really don't have any other choice. The angels are losing. They're dying. The seals are being broken and we're every day coming closer and closer to Hell being unleashed on earth. And I. Have. The. Power. To. Stop. It.

It doesn't get any simpler than that.

I have demon blood in me, and I have the power to send demons to Hell. I can do it with my mind, and when I'm strong enough – when I'm at my peak – I'll wipe Lilith off the map. I won't be any demon's pawn. I won't play into their plans. I won't be used to their ends.

I'm not a pawn. I'm a fucking Trojan horse.

I hope that God can forgive me. My soul's in here somewhere, a bit tarnished and bruised and, okay, broken, but it's His if He wants it. Maybe I am a secret weapon, but I don't have to be Azazel's secret weapon. I could be useful to God and the angels, if they'd only trust me. I could be God's secret weapon if those Heavenly Hosts would get off their high horses and think outside the freakin' box. Hell, the name's Winchester, after all. We Winchester boys are weapons!

If I didn't know you, I would want to hunt you.

Gosh, there's that tightness in my throat again, that weight on my shoulders. Kind of hurts to breathe.

God already has a weapon. God has Dean.