"Dean!" Sam called as he watched his brother fly through the air and crash into a wall in the adjoining room. Sam dived for the shotgun Dean dropped moments earlier. Just as his fingers wrapped around the cold handle of the gun, he heard a loud noise - metal scratching against cement. Sam had just enough time to brace for the impact as the steel work table slammed into him and pushed him into the room, pinning him against the same wall Dean crashed into seconds earlier.
With a loud bang, the steel doors of the room swung closed shut. And all was quiet again.
Barely able to take a deep breath because of the pain and pressure on his stomach, Sam groaned as he pushed the table far enough to slip out of the confinement. Leaning against the wall, Sam looked down at the spot just above his left hip. He pressed his hand against it and looked down. Blood covered his palm. Swearing under his breath, Sam gasped due to the pain as he pushed away from the wall and took a step toward the heap on the floor that was his brother's unmoving body. Kneeling down, Sam slowly rolled Dean on his back.
"Dean," he called, slightly shaking his brother's shoulder. "Dean, come on."
A few seconds passed and finally he heard a loud groan and a curse leave the other man's lips.
"You ok?" Sam asked when Dean's eyes finally focused on him.
Another groan and a few more curse words and Dean managed to push himself into a sitting position. Leaning against the wall, he rubbed the back of his head. "You know, this whole 'toss Dean into something' is getting old."
"You ok?" Sam asked again.
"Yeah," Dean finally responded as he took in their surroundings. He raised an eyebrow when his gaze fell on the table a few feet away, then moved onto the closed door. "It locked us in here?"
"I guess," Sam responded, rising to his feet. He walked over to the door and tried pushing it. It didn't so much as move an inch. With no locks or handles, the only hope of opening the doors was to push them, which Sam did to no avail. The doors stayed locked.
Sam looked around the room, hoping to find any other way out of there, but the only other opening in the room was a small window which neither one of them would fit through.
They were stuck there.
"What the hell?" Dean exclaimed as he seemed to have come to the same realization as Sam. "Why wouldn't it just try and kill us? It wants us to keep us as pets or something?"
Sam turned to look at the doors. He raised his right hand and placed it on the door, sliding it down a few inches. "Iron," he simply said as he lowed his arm. The poltergeist couldn't get in.
Dean pushed himself to his feet and walked over to the door. "It actually blocked its own way to get to us," he chuckled.
For his part, Sam failed to find anything funny about their current situation. The wound in his side was hurting even more now and he could feel his shirt and jeans clinging to his skin, sopping with his blood. Pulling his jacket down a bit to hide the blood from his brother, Sam walked over to the corner on the opposite side of the room and slid down to the floor. He slipped his right hand under his jacket and pressed it against the wound, trying to put pressure on it to stop the bleeding while using his left hand to pull his jacket down so that Dean wouldn't notice.
He watched from the corner as Dean tried everything to get the doors open - pushing them as hard as he could, slamming them open, first with his shoulder, then with his leg -with no result other than a groan when his shoulder collided with hard iron.
Seemingly giving up on the doors, Dean walked over to the wall with the window. He stared at the window, then slowly walked around the room, knocking on the walls as he went along.
Suddenly Dean stopped on the opposite side of the room and turned to look at Sam. "Are you just gonna sit there?"
Sam raised his eye brow as he held his brother's stare. "What would you like me to do? Walk around the room, kicking walls?"
"I'm trying to find a way out," Dean snapped back at him.
"Dean, we're stuck in a basement with a door that we can't open, a window we can't fit through, walls we can't kick through, one shotgun between us and a seriously pissed off spirit waiting to finish us off. There is no way out." Sam took a long breath in and then slowly let it out.
Dean stared at him for a long time. "So, that's it?" He finally said. "You're just gonna do nothing? Just gonna sit there and die?"
Sam pressed his hand harder against his wound as he held his brother's gaze. "Bobby's less than four hours away," he calmly stated. "Call him."
The two men stared at each other for a few seconds. Dean was the first to look away as he reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his cell phone. Flipping it open, he hit the speed dial.
"Hey, Bobby," he said after a moment.
Taking advantage of the fact that Dean was turned away from him and engaged in a conversation with Bobby, Sam slightly pulled the jacket away from his body and looked down. Even though the entire left side of his shirt was soaked with blood now, he thought the bleeding was slowing down. Pulling the jacket tighter around himself and putting as much pressure on the wound as he could to stop the bleeding, Sam raised his eyes to Dean's when he heard his brother bid good bye to the older hunter.
"He's not home," Dean informed it. "So it'll be at least six hours 'till he can get here."
Sam took an uneasy breath in, trying not to show any sign of pain on his face. "So, we wait," he said, leaning his head against the cold wall behind him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Dean finally settle down on the floor across the room from him.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed. Neither spoke as both of them were lost in thought. The only sound breaking the silence was Dean's occasional humming of some song under his breath. Sam turned it into a game, trying to guess what song it was. But for the most part they stayed quiet, in their own heads, in their own separate worlds.
It took Sam a moment to realize that Dean was addressing him.
"What?" he asked, looking over at his brother for the first time in what seemed like hours.
"Ruby," Dean repeated, rising to his feet. "She always hangs around you. Why don't you call her and get her to come down here. I'll even play nice." The last part was said with an almost hiss in his voice, but Sam chose to ignore it.
"She's not here," he said instead.
"Where is she?"
Sam looked away, considering just how much information he should provide to his brother. Part of him wanted to tell Dean, wanted to tell Dean everything. But he knew that wasn't an option. Not only did he not think Dean really wanted to know, but he would probably lose his brother forever if Dean knew everything that Sam had been up to.
"Oh, right, it's a big damn secret that poor, weak Dean can't handle."
Sam could hear bitterness in every word out of Dean's mouth. "It's not like that," he tried, but he knew he had to offer Dean something more.
"She's following a trail," Sam finally admitted.
"A trail," Dean repeated, incredulously. "What trail?"
Dean clenched his jaw as he stared down at Sam. "You really think Ruby is going to help you get Lilith in the end?"
"Yes, I do. She hates that bitch almost as much as I do."
"And you know this because Ruby said so?" Dean shook his head as he walked around the room, as if in disbelief. Finally he turned back to face Sam. "You do know she's using you, right? Please, tell me you get that at least. That she's got her own agenda. "
A sad smile spread across Sam's face. "I know," he said quietly, calmly. He wasn't stupid. He knew what he got himself into. But he made his choice.
"And you still trust her? She's a demon, Sam," Dean shouted.
"I know that. Believe me, I know." Sam looked away, unable to face his brother, afraid that Dean could read his face, could find out the truth. Even though it's been weeks since he'd tasted her blood, he could still feel it inside him. "But if she can help me get to Lilith, then it's all that matters."
"Even if it costs you your soul?"
It was a question he had asked himself many times before. And the answer was always the same. "Yes."
"No, Sam. Nothing is worth giving up your soul for."
It was as if the oxygen had been sucked out of the room in an instance and Sam struggled to breathe. He had often wondered whether Dean would have made the same decision now as he had two years earlier. He never really knew for sure. Now he had his answer.
Sam slowly raised his eyes to meet Dean's. He could tell that Dean realized what he had just inadvertently admitted as well. And the look on his face was that of guilt and remorse. But the words were out now and he couldn't take them back.
"But you did," Sam finally managed to say, not even trying to hide the accusation in his voice. He never allowed himself to get angry about it before, not really, never let himself scream and shout and let his feelings known. How could he when Dean had made such a sacrifice for him. "You gave up your soul and you went to hell. And I had to live with that. I had to live with you dead. I had to live with knowing where you were. And there was nothing I could do about it. I had to live with that, Dean. And it was…I…" He couldn't find words to describe everything he felt, everything he had gone through during those four months. There really were no words. The memories of watching Dean die, of having to burry him were too much. As was the pain in his side.
"What?" Dean asked.
Sam shook his head. "Doesn't matter."
"Obviously it does. Because you just threw all the rules out the window. You're doing things that…and listening to Ruby…."
Anger filled his veins once again. "I had to watch you die, Dean," he yelled. "I had to burry you. You have no idea what that's like."
"I watched you die," Dean said quietly. "I have some idea."
Sam closed his eyes and shook his head. "No, you don't." He opened his eyes and looked back up at his brother. "I was dead what…two…three days?"
"It was long enough," Dean said, his voice heavy, hard.
"You were dead for months. For months, Dean. I had to burry you. I had to live without you. I had to live alone…without you. You have no idea what that's like. When I died, you couldn't deal. You cheated and took the easy way out. I didn't have that choice."
"Easy way out?" Dean stared at him as if Sam had completely lost his mind. "Oh, yeah, hell was a blast," he said, sarcasm dripping off every word.
Sam immediately felt guilty for saying those things. Felt guilty for Dean going to hell in the first place. For not being able to save his brother from the torture and anguish that he had gone through. "And I had to live with that," he admitted, his voice almost a whisper. "The knowledge of where you were. And that you were there because of me."
That acknowledgement seemed to take the wind out of Dean's anger. Instead his facial expression changed to that of sadness. "It wasn't your fault," he said quietly. "I made that choice. It was on me."
"And I made my choice," Sam replied, staring straight ahead. The memories of those first weeks were still fresh in his mind. The pain, the sheer desperation and grief he felt. He still wasn't sure how he managed to live through it all. And now that he had Dean back, he swore he would do whatever it took to make sure he would never feel that again, never go through that again. Regardless of the cost.
"Ruby," Dean stated.
Sam sniggered angrily.
"What?" Dean asked, not understanding what it was that Sam found so funny all of a sudden.
"This isn't about me losing my soul, is it? You're not mad that I'm using my powers. That I'm going after Lilith. You just hate the fact that I listen to somebody other than you."
"No, I just have a problem when you listen to a freaking demon!" Dean shouted once again.
Sam shook his head. "No, you just want everything to go back to the way it was before. As if nothing happened. Back to Sammy, the little brother looking up to his big brother. Back to me needing you to protect me and take care of me." When Dean didn't respond, Sam continued. "But it can't, Dean. You died. You died and that changed everything."
"You don't think I know that? You don't think I get that? I look at you and sometimes I don't even recognize you. You've changed, Sam. You changed so much, I just…"
"Of course, I changed! What did you ex…?" Sam's breath caught in his throat as the pain shot from his left side and spread through his entire abdomen. The room started to swim all around him.
He closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, taking careful, shallow breath, trying to push the pain away.
"What's wrong with you?" Dean's voice sounded different now, full of worry.
Sam took a careful breath in and slowly let it out, trying not to wince as another wave of pain spread across his body. "I'm just trying to make you understand…"
"No," Dean interrupted him as he took a step closer. "What is wrong with you?"
Sam held his breath as he met his brother's eyes. "Nothing," he lied, "I'm fine."
But Dean obviously didn't believe him. "You haven't moved from that spot the entire time we've been here."
"It's not like there are a lot of places to go here."
Dean stared at Sam, his gaze burrowing into Sam's face, studying him carefully. Then it shifted down to Sam's torso and Sam didn't dare to so much as take a breath, hoping Dean wouldn't notice his right arm hiding under the jacket.
Dean's gaze shifted to the steel table that was in the same spot where Sam left it earlier. Sam watched as realization set in on his brother's face. Following Dean's gaze, Sam quickly realized what Dean had seen - blood on the corner of the table. His blood.
Dammit, Sam thought as Dean quickly crossed the room and kneeled in front of him. "Let me see," he said, pushing Sam's jacket away, his voice filled only with concern now.
Denying anything now was pointless and Sam moved his right hand away from the wound, revealing the blood-soaked shirt. Even with the dusk setting in around them, Sam could see Dean's face draining of all color as he pushed the shirt away and stared at the wound.
"It's nothing," Sam tried to reassure his brother. "Just a scratch.
"This is not just a scratch," Dean insisted as he raised his eyes to meet Sam's. "Why didn't you say anything, you idiot?" He quickly took his jacket off and then pulled the button down shirt over his head. Rolling it into a ball, he pressed it hard against Sam's wound, making Sam groan.
"What's the point?" Sam said as he tried to breathe through the pain. "There's nothing you could have done about it."
Dean looked down at his watch then at Sam's bloodied shirt. "Dammit. Bobby won't be here for hours."
"It's ok," Sam tried to calm his brother down. There was no point in panicking. "The bleeding's not that bad. I can make it."
But Dean wasn't really listening to him. "We need to get you out of here."
"Dean, stop," Sam said, raising his voice to get his brother's attention. "There's nothing you can do. You can't open the doors."
Dean looked up at him, then turned to glance at the object in question, then back at Sam. He studied Sam's face for a moment, almost scared to ask something that was on his mind. "Can you?"
His heart suddenly beating hard against his chest, Sam held his brother's gaze. Out of all the questions he expected Dean to ask him, this one wasn't on the list. "What?"
"Can you open the doors?" Dean repeated, his gaze burrowing into Sam.
Sam opened his mouth to answer, but no sounds came out. Whether it was the fact that Dean's hand was now keeping him from bleeding out or the pain coursing through his body or something else entirely - he didn't know, but Sam couldn't lie. Not about this. Not at that moment. He closed his eyes, unable to face the disappointment and hurt written on his brother's face.
He heard Dean inhale sharply. "You'd rather bleed out than tell me the truth?"
The pain in his voice so evident, it screamed at Sam, cut through him worse then the pain radiating from his wound. Sam opened his eyes and once again met Dean's, nearly wincing at the accusation and hurt he saw in them.
"I just can't stand to see that look on your face," he admitted quietly.
"What look?" Dean asked angrily.
"That look. The 'My brother the freak' look. The…" Sam paused briefly. "The 'I can't believe I went to hell for you' look."
"I don't look at you that way." Dean's voice was hoarse, heavy.
"Oh, please, of course you do. Every single time. All the time.." Sam tried taking a breath in, but the pain was now getting worse and the floor was beginning to drift from under him. "I just couldn't…I didn't…" He tried to find the right words, but it was getting harder and harder to concentrate.
Dean must have realized that Sam's condition was worsening. "Let's just get you out of here. We'll talk about this later."
Sam let out a chuckle, which he instantly regretted as the pain shot through him. He groaned, not even trying to hide it from Dean anymore. He knew that once they were out of here, none of this would be mentioned again. They wouldn't have even said as much as they had already if they weren't stuck in this room for so long with nothing to distract them.
Sam nodded. "It's still out there," he then said. "The spirit. It's still there."
"I'll be ready for it this time," Dean responded. He stood up and walked over to where Sam dropped the shotgun earlier. Picking it up, Dean quickly crossed the room to stand next to the doors. He then looked over at Sam. "Ready?"
Sam shifted his gaze to the door and raised his right arm, covered in blood. He closed his eyes and focused. A few seconds later he heard a click and the doors swung opened. Slowly he opened his eyes, taking in the look on his brother's face. The look he tried to avoid at all costs. The shock and fear on Dean's face were too much to take.
Dean seemed to realize that his emotions were written all over his face and he turned away. Shotgun on the ready, he stepped out into the adjoining room. Sam heard two shots fired and then Dean ran back into the room.
"Let's go," he said as he helped Sam get to his feet.
As soon as he tried to get up, Sam quickly realized that he had lost a lot more blood than he thought. The room spun around him as he began to fall. Then suddenly he wasn't falling anymore, his brother's arm wrapped firmly around his waist, holding him up.
"I got you," Dean said.
"You ok?" Dean asked yet again as Sam handed the bottle of whiskey back to him.
Sam leaned back on the pillows propped behind his back. Dean just finished sewing up his wound minutes before. "I'm fine," he replied, his eyes fixed on the heap of clothes on the floor by the foot of the bed. Clothes soaked with blood. Sam wondered if he'd be able to wash out all the blood. The two of them had gotten pretty damn good at being able to wash out any traces of daily battles they waged. But there was just too much blood this time.
"Sam, I'm sorry."
He was still a little dizzy from the pain and blood loss, so it took Sam a few seconds to realize that he really heard Dean say those words. He looked up to find Dean sitting on the edge of the other bed, staring back at him.
"You're right," Dean admitted quietly, looking down at his hands. "I do want things to go back to the way they were before."
Sam exhaled slowly. He didn't really want to talk about it. Not now. He was tired and even half a bottle of whiskey and aspirin did not do much to numb the pain in his side. More importantly, there was a good reason why they stayed away from talking about anything important, anything serious lately - it always led to one or both of them saying something that only made things worse.
"I know," Sam simply said.
"But it can't," Dean repeated Sam's words from earlier.
Another sigh and a shake of his head were Sam's response. He wished he could say what he felt, that he wanted for things to go back to the way they were before as much as Dean. No secrets, no trips to hell, no deals with demons, just him and his brother fighting evil, watching each other's back - together. But unlike Dean, he just couldn't fool himself into thinking that it could ever go back to that. Not even with Lilith dead. Too much had happened. Too much had changed. Too much had changed inside of him.
"You can't trust me," Sam finally spoke up, stating a simple fact. The simple fact that cut through him every time his brother looked at him.
Dean looked up to meet Sam's eyes. "And you won't stop using your powers."
Sam shook his head. "Not until I kill Lilith."
Dean nodded. "So we're back to square one."
"Looks like it," Sam replied, trying to breathe around the lump that had formed in his throat.
He watched as Dean got up, walked over to the chair in the corner and picked up his duffel bag. Sam's breath caught in his throat ass Dean began stuffing his clothes into the bag. No wound could ever compare to the pain Sam felt as he watched his brother finally give up on him. Dean leaving him behind was the fear Sam carried with him for months now - ever since Dean first found out about him being able to exorcise demons. And now as he watched that fear become reality, Sam felt frozen - unable to move, unable to think, unable to breathe.
Dean paused, his back turned to Sam. Tossing the duffel bag down on the floor, he turned to face Sam.
"I would have still made the deal," Dean said, his voice cracking from the weight of emotion that filled every single word. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have still made the deal." Dean bit his lower lip, his chin trembling as he fought to gain control of his emotions. "You're my brother."
Sam's eyes burned, tears threatening to burst. But he didn't dare to close his eyes, didn't dare to so much as take a breathe for fear that if he did, in the blink of an eye, Dean would be gone.
"So, if you want Lilith," Dean continued, his voice a little stronger now. "Let's go get her. Together."
He wasn't stupid. Sam knew that this didn't erase everything that had happened in last few months. It didn't change the fact that he still had demon blood in him. Definitely did not change the fact that there were so many secrets that Sam was absolutely terrified to ever reveal to Dean. But at that moment, Sam could finally breathe.