Title: The Last Line
Summary: Sam says yes in a rundown street in Detroit. Spoilers for 5.04.
A/N: There were good things and not so good things about this ep for me, and one of the nagging question I kept having was: Why did Sam say yes? So I decided to answer my own question. Quick beta was provided by geminigrl11. Also, I didn't go back and check the timeline or things so I can't remember for sure if the show said what year Sam gave in at the showdown in Detroit. So I just guessed. If I'm wrong, I can tweak it later but it's not super important to the overall fic.
Disclaimer: Nope. Not mine.
I've crossed the last line
From where I can't return
Where every step I took in faith
And led me from my home
-from Sweet Surrender by Sarah MacLachlan
Sam says yes in a rundown street in Detroit.
The buildings around him are smoking, with all the windows blasted out. Somewhere, there is a car horn going off, and Sam can smell the blood--human and demon--all around him.
There are bodies everywhere. Infected foot soldiers and possessed officers of Lucifer's army, and that doesn't even begin to count the fallen resistance. Sam's as sickened by it as he is drawn to it, and sometimes he wonders if the pangs in his stomach are from hunger or addiction.
He hasn't eaten in days.
He hasn't had blood in two years.
Two years since Sam started this.
Two years since Sam learned who he was. Not just a failure, not just an addict. Not just the rejected, screw up brother. But Lucifer's chosen one.
It always had to be you.
It's a mantra, whispered in the back of his head so often that he's not sure if it's Lucifer's voice or his own. Or if there's any difference anymore.
He's done what he can. He kills demons every chance he gets. He has memorized countless exorcisms and he can draw a devil's trap in three minutes flat. He can summon a demon with five Latin verses and he can dispatch it with another six. Demons fear him now, even as they mock him and invite him home.
The fact that sometimes Sam wants to is enough to keep him fighting.
He hears of others--of an organized resistance, of camps and survivors and Dean.
Dean's their leader, as he should be, and sometimes Sam thinks to call, to ask how he is, to ask if maybe they can come together yet.
Because Sam misses Dean. He misses his brother's jokes. He misses his brother's bad habits. He misses the way Dean sleeps with his mouth open and how he sings in the shower. He misses the way he cleans the guns and the way he used to say my brother like it meant something.
Sam misses his brother and he misses being a part of a family. He travels alone, now, meeting up with hunters from time to time--those who will trust him, anyway. He keeps in check with Bobby until Bobby stops answering his phone and Sam hears about a demonic uprising in South Dakota.
Sam's not Bobby's surrogate son anymore. Sam's not Dean's brother. Sam's just Lucifer's Chosen and he's going to say yes.
He doesn't want to. He doesn't want to believe. But Lucifer comes to him every night. Every time Sam closes his eyes, he's there. He tells Sam that he's special, that he's chosen. He tells Sam that Dean doesn't want him, that Dean thinks Sam's weak, that Dean thinks Sam's already fallen. He tells Sam that he failed his father. He tells Sam that he failed Bobby. He tells Sam that he failed to save Jessica, his father, his brother, the world.
He tells Sam he's already failed in every possible way, so this one last question doesn't mean anything.
Lucifer has never lied to him.
Sometimes, Sam can't remember why he still says no.
It's a default, a coping mechanism that he learned when he was eight years old. No, no, no, no. No, Sam doesn't want to hunt. No, Sam won't fall in line. No, Sam won't listen to reason. No, Sam won't be the good son. No, Sam won't become Lucifer's vessel.
But the yes is always there. Whispered so often that it echoes in his head until it is all he hears. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
When it gets too much, Sam shoots himself in the head. Once, he even threw himself off a cliff.
It doesn't make a difference.
You're going to say yes.
Detroit is a battle they've won. They've killed all the infected and Sam has exorcised the last demon. Sure, he's missing a few fingers and his nose is squashed into his face and his knee has been blown out and he's lightheaded with blood loss, but they've won this one.
Sam wants to be proud of that.
Sam doesn't remember how.
He cough, and chokes on something acrid in this throat. He spits blood and lets himself go limp on the pavement.
He can't remember.
He can remember how he got here. He knows it's all his fault. But he can't remember who he is. Why this matters. He can't remember being Sam, he can't remember being a part of a family. He can't remember why no is the most important thing.
Then he sees him. Walking through the streets. Leather jacket, thick boots, and all that swagger.
Sam's eyes fill with tears as his brother approaches. Licking his lips, Sam wants to call out, to beg for forgiveness, but his throat is strained and he realizes that he can hardly speak at all.
"Sammy," Dean says. "Still saying no. Still rebelling just for the sake of rebellion."
At that, Sam can't stop the tears. He shakes his head. "No," he croaks. "No."
Looking down, Dean's lips quirk into a sympathetic smile. "You're still fighting what you're meant to be. Deep down, you know it's true. You went to college to avoid hunting. You didn't shoot Dad to avoid breaking us apart. You didn't use your powers to avoid disappointing me. You didn't listen to me to avoid facing your failure. When are you going to learn, Sammy? That sometimes you just have to be the good son."
Sam broke with a sob. "No," he says again. "Please, Dean, no."
"Just say it, Sam," Dean says, and he kneels down. "You already failed. You've already given in. Just say yes and make this end. Accept your failure. Let my burden be over, once and for all."
It's too much. It's too much. It's been too much for years now, and Sam can't remember. His body hurts and his mind is fuzzy. He can end it--not for himself, but for Dean, for them both. Once he lets this happen, the story can end, and people can stop dying in the in between.
He's been a rebel with a misguided cause for too long. It's his turn to obey, to be the good son, and to just stop fighting for the sake of fighting. Some things are inevitable. Some things are meant to be.
"Will you let me in, Sam?" Dean's voice asks. "Will you let me in once and for all?"
And Sam closes his eyes, forgets about the burning streets and the bloody corpses. He forgets about the dying world and the raging demons. He forgets about who he is, what he's doing, who he wanted to be. He forgets everything except Dean and the burden he should have never carried and says it like a prayer he's finally remembered after all these years: