A/N: So much emotional stuff went on in 'The End' that I practically went into analyze over drive. I just had to write something for it. So what this is, is an AU spin on the meeting between Dean and Lucifer, the phone call between Sam and Dean when Dean gets back to 09', and his thoughts before Sam shows up to meet him. I hope you enjoy it. Rated for angst, brief language, and some hurt on Sam's part.
P.S. How AMAZING was Jensen in that episode, by the way? Sometimes I feel like we're spoiled lol.
And I Am Not Afraid
It felt like the air from my lungs had been physically squeezed out. When Sam…no, Lucifer, turned around and flashed this surprised yet pleased look towards me, I felt like vomiting. It was Sam's face but everything that made him my brother was gone. I have seen Sam possessed before but somehow this is so much worse, it's like Sam isn't there at all, not even deep down.
'God, Sammy, what have you done to yourself?'
"Oh, hello, Dean," Lucifer says smoothly, followed by a half smirk, half smile that should never be on Sam's face, "Aren't you a surprise?"
I'm trying to keep it together, really, I am, but there's no way I'm going to be able to hide what I'm feeling from fricken Lucifer. So he probably knows how horrified, devastated, and yeah, scared I am. Great.
There's a storm raging close by and I can't help but wonder if it's an act of nature or an act of Satan. Something tells me Lucie is all about putting on a good show.
A particularly loud and bright lightning bolt cracks, causing me to flinch. When I straighten out again, Sam…Lucifer, is gone from sight.
"You've come a long way to see this, haven't you?"
Whoa. I stumble back, trying to put distance between me and the Devil, and trying to keep my game face up at the same time. It's hard though, when I'm staring the ultimate big bad in the face and he's wearing my brother's skin. I know the mask I have up right now isn't just cracked, it has gaping holes in it.
"Well go ahead. Kill me," I roughly demand. It's my only defense to try to regain control of myself.
God, he almost sounds like Sammy, like the real Sammy. The voice, the face, everything could almost pass off as my little brother and it hurts. It hurts like few things can. He peers around me to look at the ground where the future me is lying with a broken neck. I'm tempted to look too but one, I don't want to take my eyes off Lucifer (bad idea) and two, seeing myself dead is a little unsettling.
"Wouldn't that be a little…redundant?"
And just like that, I am harshly reminded that this isn't Sam, not even close.
"I'm sorry, it must be painful speaking to me in this…shape," Lucifer says, moving closer and closer. I resist the urge to move farther and farther.
'Painful' doesn't really begin to cover it. Try damn near impossible. Try I'm gritting my teeth, clenching my hands, digging in my heels, just so I don't lose it.
"But it had to be your brother."
That's what everyone keeps saying. It had to be him, it always did. Why? What did Sam do to deserve this? What did Sam do to want this?
"It had to be," Lucifer continues like he actually cares, and reaches his hand out to rest it on my shoulder.
I immediately step back because as much as I want to take a sliver of comfort from my brother, I won't allow him to touch me while Lucifer is driving. Lucifer isn't Sam.
"Let me talk to him," I demand as Lucifer's hand retreats.
After a mildly shocked look flitters across his face, Lucifer looks nothing less than amused, "Talk to Sam, you mean?"
"You damn well know what I am talking about. Let me talk to my brother," I say again.
I wonder where I am getting all this courage from because hunter or not, fearless or not, this is the Devil and he could strike me dead in a millisecond for even breathing. That's when I realize, I'm not afraid of dying. Not like this, not with Sammy gone and hope damn near lost.
"I know what you're feeling right now, Dean, but it's not possible," Lucifer says and starts to circle around me, "Sam is…he's not really what you'd want to see."
Fear strikes me so hard I almost gasp, and my insides literally freeze up.
"What do you mean?" I ask once I get my heart re-started, "What did you do to him?"
"You of all people should know what happens to a vessel once someone as powerful as me takes over," Lucifer says with a knowing tilt of his head, "it's why you keep saying 'no' to Michael."
I swallow because it feels like I might throw up again, "He's gone, isn't he?"
Lucifer sighs that damn, understanding, sympathetic sigh that makes my teeth grit, "No, not gone, just a little broken. Being my vessel is admittedly not the most pleasant experience."
That really doesn't make me feel much better, at all, but a broken Sam is better than an empty Sam. I wonder how much of a difference there really is.
"I don't care, let me talk to him," I say, "You can do it, I know you can."
Lucifer's lips quirk, "I like you, Dean. I get what the other angels see in you. I get why Sam fought so hard for you."
"What are you talking about?" I ask even though I'm not so sure I want to know.
He smiles again, something that's starting to make my skin crawl, "I'll let you speak to Sam, the real Sam, but just remember that I did warn you."
I don't get much of a warning, just another extra loud lightning bolt, before Sam's gasping like he hasn't taken a breath in days. It makes me jolt but I am unsure of what to do yet, except watch and wait.
Sam's face scrunches like he's in an unbearable pain and he falls to his knees, taking in another shuddering gasp. I can't just stand there any more as the big brother inside me panics, and I move over to him.
"Sammy?" I ask as I crouch down to his level.
He fingers are buried in the grass underneath him, tearing it up as he holds on. He rocks back and forth, reminding me of a classic crazy person and it makes me wince.
I reach out and put my hand on his shoulder, "Sam?"
Sam practically jumps out of his skin, making me jump too. The next thing I know, Sam's screaming, a sound I haven't heard since I locked him in the panic room to let him detox. It was something I never wanted to hear again.
"Hey, whoa, easy Sam, easy," I say and firmly plant my hands on his shoulders, "Sammy, come on."
The scream breaks off with a whimper, and his face tightens again, "Dean."
"Yeah, little brother, I'm here," I say, moving my hands up to his neck.
"Hurts," Sam wheezes and I can tell that he's barely keeping it together.
"Where? Where does it hurt, Sam?" I ask even though I know I can probably do nothing to stop it. Lucifer is going to die for doing this to my brother.
"Everywhere," Sam gasps, tears leaking out of his eyes, "God, it burns. Dean, don't…"
Sam breaks off as a strangled cry releases from his chest, a cry I know was meant to be a scream.
"Don't…don't let Michael," Sam stutters before he has to stop to breathe through the pain again.
He didn't need to finish, I know what he's trying to say. Don't let Michael in, don't let him do this to you. I can't believe that after everything we've gone through and after I abandoned the kid, that he's still concerned with keeping me safe. It makes me feel ten different kinds of guilt and increases my determination that much more. Determination to make sure this. never. happens.
"I promise, Sammy," I say, not even caring how rough my voice sounds, "You hearin' me? I promise."
Sam nods frantically as his hands come up to grip my jacket tightly, his forehead falling to rest on my chest.
"Jesus, Sammy, why'd you let him in, huh?" I ask as one hand moves to support Sam's shaking body and the other tangles in my brother's hair.
"Couldn't…nothing left, Dean, there was nothing left," Sam gasps as his hands clench in the fabric of my jacket tighter, if that was even possible. Sam's next scream is muffled by my chest and I can feel the spot get wet with Sam's tears. Somehow, with the fabric of my own shirt silencing him, everything seems so much worse.
"B..Bobby went and joined up with you, and he d..died at some point, found out from another demon," Sam says, every word pronounced with pain, "and you…"
Sam breaks off with a sob and I know it's a sob of emotional pain, not physical. I gather him closer and tighten my grip because I know what I did, the evidence was lying dead a few feet away.
"I'm sorry, Sam," I say into his hair, "I'm so sorry."
Sam inhales a shuddering breath and pushes away from me lightly. I'm slightly panicked by what I see. Sam's eyes are wild with agony and fear, his mouth opening and closing like a land bound fish.
"Dean…" Sam starts and I can see him physically swallow down another cry of pain, "Get him out, Dean, get him out of me. Please? Please, Dean…"
And Jesus, that cut as deep as Alastair with a razor did. I always used to pride myself on taking care of Sam, keeping the kid safe. Now he was asking me of the one thing I knew for sure I couldn't do, and it hurt, like an infected wound. So I promise him the one thing I know I can promise.
"I won't let this happen, Sammy, ok? I swear, I won't let it happen," I state, my hands gripping his arms tightly.
Sam looks confused and rightfully so, I don't think he knows that I'm not the Dean from his time, before it gets washed away with more agony. His eyes squeeze shut tight and his mouth opens in a silent scream, and I grab him impossibly tighter, just trying to remind him that I'm here. Suddenly, he goes still and quiet and some how I know that Lucifer has taken back over. I let go like I've been burned because I don't want my physical being anywhere near Lucifer while he's driving, and I stand.
"You son of a bitch," I spit as Lucifer stands too, straightening out his now dirty white suit.
"I did warn you, Dean, I tried to spare you…"
"Bullshit! You knew he'd be in pain! Is he…is it like that all the time?" I ask, sick with the idea that Sam feels like he's burning constantly while Lucifer rides around in his skin.
"As I said, it is an uncomfortable and unfortunate situation," Lucifer says, all calm and collected even with Sam's remaining tears on his skin.
"I swear to God, if it's the last thing I do, I am going to kill you," I pledge, my words fueled with white hot rage and determination, "And I won't stop."
"I know you won't."
I'm a little taken back by how Lucifer comes towards me, all self assured and way too damn confident for someone who just had a death threat made against them, "And I know you won't say 'yes' to Michael either, and I know you won't kill Sam."
I can see it now, the evil that Lucifer has been trying to hide, the desire he has to smite every damn thing on this planet, even if it's not the planet itself. And that look is stamped into my brother, my brother who is suffering because he had nothing left, because I abandoned him. I can't hold back the tears gathering in my eyes, my façade is broken as Lucifer does his little victory dance.
"Whatever you do, you will always end up…here. Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up here."
At this point, all I can think is how I can't wait to take this son of a bitch out, to prove him wrong, and to smack that victorious look right off his pompous face. I didn't know until now what I had to do, but now that I do, nothing's going to stop me from sending Lucifer right back down to the hell fire cage he belongs in.
"I win, so, I win," Lucifer continues like there's no other way.
"You're wrong," I reply, not even caring how shaky my voice sounds.
Lucifer looks at me with that damn smile on his face like he feels bad for me, before he says, "See you in five years, Dean," and disappears with another flash of showy lighting.
I don't get to do much more before Zachariah is putting his accursed fingers on my forehead and hurdling me back to 2009.
I have never, ever been so freakin' happy to see Cas in my life. Even weirder, I've never been so happy to see Cas being Cas in my life, awkward social skills and all.
"Pretty nice timing, Cas," I say, knowing my gratitude and relief will show through to the rouge angel.
"We had an appointment," he replies knowingly with a small smile.
I get hit with another weird feeling of, 'Jesus, I missed you,' as I put my hand on his shoulder, making sure that he pays attention, "Don't ever change."
I have no idea if he knows what I just went through but he smiles slightly anyways like he understands, "How did Zachariah find you?"
I'm already taking out my phone, thinking that I've already got one important person out of the way, I need to get to the important person.
"Long story," I say with a shake of my head, "Let's just stay away from Jehovah's Witnesses from now on, ok?"
For a brief second I wonder if Cas would find that offensive, kind of like using God as a curse, but it's blacked out by my thoughts of Sam, call Sam, now.
"What are you doing?" Castiel asks even though I have a small suspicion that he already knows.
"Something I should've done in the first place."
The phone rings and for an alarming moment, I think Sam isn't going to pick up (not that it'd matter, cause I'd just keep calling til he did.)
"Hello?" Sam's voice is dragging from sleep but it doesn't matter because it's Sam, and I've never been so happy to hear his voice.
"Dean?" Sam asks and I can tell that he's almost immediately wide awake, "You ok? Something wrong?"
"Uh, yeah…no…I don't know," I reply and then curse because that definitely wasn't as smooth as I wanted it to be, and it's guaranteed to spike Sam's worry up a notch or two.
"What do you mean you don't know, what's wrong? Did something happen?" Sam demands like I knew he would, the worry in his voice evident.
I can't help the humorless chuckled that escapes, "Yeah, something happened alright. Listen, we need to get together, talk some things over."
"You ok?" Sam asks hesitantly like he's not sure if he should ask again.
"Yeah, Sammy, I'm ok," I reply, trying to steady myself and convey to him that yeah, physically I'm doing pretty awesome, mentally? Still a little shaky right now.
Sam sighs, "Good, that's good. Um, listen, what did you want to talk about? Because you made it pretty clear not an hour ago that we were better off on different sides of the planet."
I wince, hearing the obvious hurt in my kid brother's voice and then I panic, because I can feel his resistance. I can't blame him, not really, because I've given him no reason to come back even though that's what he wanted an hour ago. Sam has his defenses up and I know that I have very limited time to bring them down before it's too late.
"I know, I was…it doesn't matter, ok? Just, please, Sammy? I know I haven't been the most welcoming person lately but, I really need you to do this, please?"
I hold my breath and I can hear Sam breathing through the phone, one of the most phenomenal sounds ever, if you ask me, before he answers, "Alright, where do you want to meet?"
Honestly, I don't think I've been this relieved since I walked into that room in Cold Oak and saw Sammy alive again.
When I get off the phone with Sam, a big, dopey grin on my face, Cas is looking at me with another knowing smile.
"I was wondering how long it was going to take before you remembered that you are stronger with your brother," Castiel says, with a tilt of his head.
My smile falters as the face of the future me flashes through my head.
'Sam didn't make it.'
'You weren't with him?'
'No. Me and Sam haven't talked in, hell, five years.'
'We never tried to find him?'
'We had other people to worry about.'
I can't hold back the shudder that shoots over my skin, "Honestly? If Zachariah hadn't stepped in…I don't think I ever would've remembered. I hate to say it, but I owe the son of a bitch."
"I would've reminded you, Dean. It wouldn't have gotten that far," Castiel says, his old serious face and voice firmly back in place.
I look at him and wonder if he knows anything about the future like I do or if he just knows what I should've known all along, that without each other, me and Sam never make it.
"Yeah, but how often do I listen to you? Like really?" I ask with a half grin on my face.
"Almost never," Castiel replies dryly, an annoyed expression on his face.
"Exactly," I reply triumphantly, "Now can we get out of here? It's like five a.m. and there's a dick angel in my motel room."
Cas cracks another smile and for the first time in this apocalypse bullshit, I feel like I'm two steps ahead with whole lotta good juju on my side.
It's weird, being nervous to see Sam. It's never happened before, not even when I went to get him from Stanford five years ago. There was the possibility of Sam saying no to me back then, just like there is now, but at least then the end of the word wasn't depending on Sam's answer of yes.
I can't believe how unbelievably stupid, stubborn, and proud I have been. Actually, scratch that, I expect nothing else. It's the Winchester way and the Winchester downfall. Dad did it, Sam did it, I guess it was my turn. Only I was lucky enough to get a very rude awakening before it was too late. And I had been wrong. God, I had never been so wrong in my life. I wasn't lying when I told Cas I owe Zack one. For once, I'm glad he put me through another three ring hell circus. If he hadn't, I would end up being the exact thing I've been trying to avoid for so long: broken and alone.
Seeing myself like that was hard, almost as hard as seeing Lucifer walk around with Sam's face. It was like staring at the person I had become in hell only in human, earth bound form. That person, that version of myself, I was completely disgusted with. Every move he made went against everything I stand for, everything that I have always stood for. Things like family, friends, and humanity. It was like it had all been erased, like it had never been there. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm not really like that, that it was all just a 'what if' situation and it wasn't really real. Except it felt pretty damn real and look pretty real. But Sam is still Sam, Bobby is still alive, and Cas is still an angel with a giant stick up his ass. Everything is fine or at least, everything will be fine.
I had started to forget, until I saw what it'd actually be like if I really did forget, what it is that makes me me. With hell and then Sam's betrayal, I had gotten so used to being alone and hurt that I started to warp into someone else, someone I never wanted or thought I could be. It took another dick move on the angels' part to remind me of what makes me recognizable to myself when I look in the mirror, what makes life bearable. Sam.
My brother might have screwed up and hurt me down to a level that I didn't even think was possible, but he's still my brother, the only living person left who I'd die for. Without Sam, I'm not who I want to be, who I have to be. I get that now. Suddenly, Sam's choices over the past year make a little bit more sense because obviously, I go a little bat shit insane without my brother around too.
I hear a motor approaching and I do my best to calm myself down, to get myself to the level I need to be at to make Sam understand just how freaking sorry I am…and to make sure he comes back to the Impala with me, where he belongs.
When the car rolls up, I want to wince, because honestly? What in the hell is he driving? Haven't I taught him better than that? And then Sam gets out of the car, with that kicked puppy dog expression on his face and all thoughts about that atrocious car go out the window.
I can see his hesitation, his hurt, and it makes me swallow. I reach into my jacket and pull out Ruby's knife, and I stare at it for a second. I can see Sam take half a step back, guarded, because God, he actually thinks I'm going to hurt him.
Never going to happen, little brother, not even in the end.
I flip the knife over and hand it to him, handle first. After a second, even without words, I know Sam knows what I'm offering. Protection, partners, family, love.
I have a promise to keep and of all the promises I've ever made, this is the one I know I'm going to see through no matter what. Lucifer isn't getting Sam because unlike in the future, he's going to have to go through me first, and I don't move from in front of Sam easily.
Sam takes the knife and for the first time in over a year, I feel like everything is right where it should be, starting with me and Sam, watching each other's backs.