One last sacrifice

Dean centric fic about what prompts him to decide whether or not to say yes to becoming Michaels vessel. Set right after Dean is back from 2014.

Don't own 'em, just love 'em. Wished ta hell I worked for Kripke

wWw

Suddenly I was back from the future and the first person-uh angel- I see is Cas standing right there next to me.

"We had an appointment." he says to me with his deadpan face and mono tone voice and damn I wanted to give him a hug (me!?) right then and there but that would be too F'd up for me and him so I just grab his shoulder and squeeze...hard.

"Cas, don't ever change." I stand there grinning at him and the puzzled look on his face was perfect.

While we discuss our options of getting us back to my Baby the tension of the past few days starts to leave body parts I didn't even know I'd clenched (huh, Kliegels are real.) That's when I notice the sharp pain in my side.

I hiss with the sting and put my hand over the wound.

"Dean are you injured?" Cas asks me.

I pull my hand away and see blood. Rats!

"I got cut, there was this little girl and she got the drop on me with a piece of glass." I remember my 2014 version of myself and think what I dick I became, I'd given me a full body weapons search and couldn't even take the time to stitch up the wound I found on me carefully?

Cas says, "We need to find you a place to rest."

"And a car." I add.

"Yes, I suppose we'll have to steal one" the angel says resignedly.

The wound pings the pain up a notch and I press on it harder. "First I have to do something." And I call Sam. His guarded 'Hello' stings me almost as much as the wound in my side-the sound in his voice is my fault and I gotta make it right. We arrange to meet up. Good. I can tell him...I want him to know...hell, I'm making this up as I go along but I won't treat him like a ten year old any more I...I just wanna see his face, his preSatan still Sam face one more time. The rest will have to fall into place.

I close up the phone and tell Cas, "Car now!"

There is a big Mall up the street and we head there to go, uh, shopping for wheels. 'Dam this glass cut hurts like a sonavabitch!' Cas won't let me boost the first car because it has a community college decal in the back window-the chick who owns it would be stranded. Ok-I concede. The next car has a baby seat in the back. (I wouldn't have taken it anyway because of that) He keeps nixing the cars I pick out because of this reason or that, he's worse than Sam in choosing the cars we have to steal in emergencies and I fling my arms out exasperated, and pay the price with a stab of pain. "Ok, Mr. Karma, pick a car owned by a dick so we can get the hell outta here tonight!"

Cas gets this even blanker look on his face and his whole body swivels to the left. "That one." he points to a black SUV with tons of chrome parked illegally across a handicap spot and two other parking spaces.

"Well, alright." I say smiling.

I finagle the lock, disarm the alarm system and the car jumps to life in less than a minute but the simple act of pulling myself up into the outrageously high cab of the gas guzzler has ripped open more stitches and I know I have to sit this drive out and let the angel take the wheel. I slide over and tell him "Git in you're drivin."

Cas stands there a minute then bolts into the seat. "Buckle up", he says to me completely straight faced and I nearly bust the rest of my stitches laughing, but I do what he says coz other wise we'd be sitting here another twenty minutes arguing and the warm liquid I'm feeling leaking down my side tells me we don't have that kind of time.

While Cas drives I give him the list of medical supplies we'll need to patch me up and we find an all night pharmacy next to a liquor store. Perfect. "Aren't you going in?" Cas asks.

"Can't" I say. And Cas takes the credit card from me. "Keep it." I tell him, He looks at it and then at me puzzlement written all over his face but he pockets the card and goes to do the errands. One new fully stocked med kit and bottle of Jack later, we get a room at a local motel and I tell Cas to burn the car. (sighs)

Cas doesn't say a word just looks disapprovingly at me, shakes his head and goes off the do the deed. Tonight I get to bunk in under clean sheets and the watchful eye of an angel. It still creeps me out a little that he doesn't sleep, he just stands nearby and what?, Count stars?

I let myself into the room and once inside I head straight for the bathroom and pull up my shirt to see how bad it is. (sighs) It's bad. The slice from the glass was small and not deep, but the infection it bore was turning the wound an angry red and it was leaking blood and healing fluid like crazy. Re-stitching it was gonna hurt, hurt real bad. But I had to do something to minimize the...leaking. Sanitize it as best I can while I'm around people.

As I'm pulling the shirt off over my head, (Gahhh, that hurts), I realize gotta burn it. I shoulda asked Cas to get me a clean T while he was at the pharmacy. Shit.

Then I look in the bathroom mirror at the oozing wound once more and take a swig off the bottle of Jack. I pick up the tweezers to pull out the broken sutures from the swollen flesh. Shit, this is gonna friggin hurt for a while.

The whole time I'm pulling stitches out I can't get the image of Bobby's bullet ridden empty wheelchair out of my head. Or the sick people, families turned into animals, killing each other. Or Sam... as Lucifer's vessel. Damn bastard Satan didn't change a thing about Sam's appearance, even his eyes were Sammy's, not yellow or solid black but just ....Sam's. If he'da looked different, changed somehow, it wouldn't have hurt so bad to hear all that poison commin outta his mouth. He had no right, no right to turn Sam...Sammy into that.

But he didn't turn Sam. Sam did it to himself. "Why" I say out loud to the mirror. I pour the Jack into the open wound to clean it and as the burn hits me I look up from what I'm doin at my own grimace of pain and suddenly I know. I know why Sam said 'yes' "Awe...Sammy" I whisper. And my stomach nearly turns itself inside out.

wWw

I put my bloody shirt, old stitches and the rest of the medical debris in the metal trash can and just as my lit match falls into it Cas appears in the room.

"Why are you setting a fire, is your room not warm enough for you?" he says rushing over to the flames rising from the trashcan.

Come to think of it I am feeling a little chilled and a little shaky right now, what with the pain and the booze and...everything so I don't elaborate. "Had to...clean up."

He squints his eyes at me. He's not buying it. And I absent mindedly wipe a cold sweat off my brow. His hand shoots out so fast I don't, can't dodge it because I'll stagger. "Whoa, nurse Betty, don't get all handsey....m'mber personal space." I slur back at him.

"Dean, you are hot."

"Ever'body says so..." I smile and try to take a step back out of his reach but this time I do stumble. And he catches me.

"You have a fever, you must lie down now!"

"No...NO!" I try to growl out the last 'no' and stay vertical at the same time but I can't do both and settle for standing up quickly from the bed as soon as my ass hits the edge.

"I gotta see Sam now." I tell him.

"You will see him tomorrow, now you must rest" Cas says evenly and firmly back.

I'm too tired for this, too tired and yeah, I admit it, too sick. I sink my butt back down on the bed and rub my hand over my clammy forehead. My head swims and I think 'a man should have a shirt on when he goes to say goodbye to his brother.' Then blackness overtakes me.

wWw

The next thing I know Cas is standing over me. It's daylight and my head feels like it's going to break open like a cracked egg. Whoops! Shouldn'ta thought of food. I get off the bed as fast as I can and barely make it to the bowl in time to loose every meal I've had in the past twenty four hours. God this sucks!

I pull myself up and turn to the sink to splash water on my face and Cas is RIGHT FREAKIN THERE. "What's the matter Dean." He asks like he knows already. I close my eyes and pinch the bridge of my nose with my forefinger and thumb to keep my head from exploding and try to make my voice sound full of resolve, "Just git me to the car and I'll tell you everything." But it comes out sounding more like a whimper of defeat. I squint my eyes open enough to see him nod. Then close them again and feel the touch of his finger on my brow and....we're there.

He hands me the keys and I open up the trunk. My duffel is in there and I pull out my favorite shirt. It's a black rock T with a screen print design of a skeleton with, ironically, angels wings and the words "Carry On" printed across it. If this is the only outfit I'm gonna wear for millennia I might as well bring some class to it.

I toss the keys back to Cas and he looks at them then at me... and for the first time ever I think I see a flicker of fear cross his face. "You want me to drive...your Baby?"

That makes me smile sadly and I shake my head coz he knows me well enough to know that this is a big deal. I'm gonna miss that.

"As a favor to me," (coz I don't think I'm physically up to driving her and talking about this too) I move to the passengers side door and say, "Yeah I do."

The solid 'thunk' of the car's doors slamming shut are oddly comforting to me. We sat in silence as we drive the back roads until we hit the highway then I turned to Cas and asked, "I get it that you can't heal Bobby or anyone right now, but you can still heal yourself right?"

"What do you mean?" he responds without turning to face me.

"Like if I get the swine flu or somethin' you couldn't" catch it from me couldja?"

"I could, I am exposed to all bacteria and viruses all the time but no, I do not succumb to disease, I can, I am constantly regenerating." And he finally turns to face me. "What really happened Dean, while you were in the year 2014?"

I look away from him and stare at the road ahead and tell him.

" I walked in on a demonic plague, man, that Lucifer had unleashed on mankind. Sammy and I ran into it a couple of years ago, it wiped out a whole town,and then just disappeared. Maybe they were testing it then. Sammy's got some kind of freaky immunity from it but I don't." I told him that I figured I caught it when the girl who was sick with it slashed me. "I think I've got hours maybe days before I become a rabid dog someone's gonna hafta put down and right now I'm a walking typhoid Dean."

"That's why you burned your shirt and had me burn the car and have been avoiding contact with...people?"

"Yeah."

It doesn't take long to find the rendezvous spot off the high way and I wait until I see a yellow crap caddy slowly roll toward us with a familiar form taking up all the drivers space at the wheel. Sam gets out of the car slowly. His eyes dart between me as I exit from the Impala's passenger side door and Cas who is still sitting behind her wheel. He knows something major is up since I'm not alone and I'm not driving.

It takes every bit of strength I have left to walk smoothly and steady over to him. And he backs away a step as I pull the demon killing knife out to offer to him.

I say, "If you're serious about getting back in to the game I figure you'll need this, coz you're probably rusty."

He looks down at the knife, back up at me and then over to Cas still in the car. But he slowly takes the knife from me and says, "Yeah, yeah I am, Thanks Dean."

I'm gonna remember that 'Thanks', gonna remember that look on his face, pure tentative Sam...the Sammy I always see inside him. I promise myself I'm gonna remember every moment of this so I can play it back and I loosen my neck a little and clear my throat. Damn this isn't gonna be easy.

"Sammy...uh Sam I was wrong what I said. We were always stronger, better together. Maybe we are each other Achilles heels too but we keep each other... human." (get through this Winchester, don't...flail...now.)

He looks at me worried and starts to reach out to me but I flinch back instinctively and he takes it totally the wrong way...like I still don't trust him.

"Dean, I...I'm sorry man...I screwed up and I understand that you don't...that we aren't..."

"NO, Sam it's not like that at all, I just don't know if I'm safe to...have you touchin me."

Well, that shoots his eyebrows up.

"Dean?" and he moves in but I step back and wave him off. It's the last thing I want to do but I hafta tell him first.

"Last night, Zachariah sent me on the fun fest trip of five years from now and I think I may have caught something."

I can see the bottom fall outta his heart, "Dean WHAT?"

"Remember couple years back, that town that got sick with that mystery disease the demons concocted-Croatoan?"

His eyes widen and he nods once.

"Well, Zachariah dropped me into a full blown plague of it and..." I lift up my shirt to show him the bandage, "I got infected Sammy."

He's so fast, he grabs me by the shoulders "DEAN, how...when?"

" Technically last night but future time-three days ago."

Sam grips me harder and looks at Cas pleadingly as the angel gets out of the car. "He can't Sam-no mojo left."

Sam's clench on my shoulders matches the clench of his jaw and is so hard that it starts to hurt. "I'm not killing you Dean, we'll find a way...tie you down..git you to Bobby...there's..."

I tilt my head up to him and then my voice takes that moment to crack, "there's only one way..."

"NO! NO!" Sam's yelling.

I bring my arms up quick and break his grip on me and say soft and low, "no..not that." By this time Cas has come up beside him.

"I'm gonna say 'Yes'. I'm gonna consent to be Michaels vessel. Sam stops yelling and just stares at me. Cas's face has gone all creepy calm.

Then Sammy's face begins to crumble and tears just start leaking out all over, his big broad shoulders pump up and down silently as he bites his bottom lip. Kid is breaking my heart, he always was the messiest crier. But I shouldn't talk coz my face is as wet as his and we're both locked in the fiercest hug I ever knew. Neither of us can breathe because the sobs are coming too fast and it's like we're holding on as tight as we can so we can press all the things we never could say before, and shoulda said, right into each other coz we don't know if this is goodbye forever but it feels like it.

We break apart and he and I wipe the worst of the wet off our faces then I tell him why it has to be this way.

"Sam...in the future...you're the one that says 'yes'. In the future, we never meet up like this; I go my way and you go yours and somewhere in Chicago you hear about me commin down with this and there is no time for goodbyes and you make a deal that if the devil saves me and keeps me from ever getting any of his hellspawn plague you'll be Lucifer's sweet ride."

Sam looks at me stunned. "I know it sounds impossible but I met up with the 2014 version of me and I'm dead inside Sam, I see I'm as good as dead and buried and I'm walking hip deep in 'Croats'-that's what they call the victims and I don't care, about them or getting sick or anything anymore coz you're gone. You are Satan's vessel Sam and I met you like that, and the sonofabitch didn't change a thing on you, no yellow eyes, no full on demon black just you, decked out in a pure white pimp suit and poison to the core."

Sam hangs his head in shame, "I won't...I wouldn't" But when he looks back up into my eyes I can see them pleading me with 'what the hell choice did I have?'

"I know...I know," I say as I put may hand on his shoulder. "The things we'll do to save each other ...it scared me with my Deal and it scares me worse now. But it doesn't have to be that way."

And I look at both my brother and Cas as I say, "See Michael can cure me the instant he's inside," I look at Cas and he nods slightly. "Then he can give Bobby back the use of his legs," I neglect to tell them of the sad fate of our friend if this doesn't work. "You won't take up Satan's offer and I figure the plague stops here too if I don't spread it so we can change four things right off the bat that will alter Lucifer's plans and that will bring us closer to winning."

Cas speaks, "Altering the future could effect Lucifer's plans but there is no guarantee that those things will be pivotal for winning."

"Well, there's the Colt; future me does find it."

Sam shoots me a look that says he knows why his future brother was going to use it. And on whom.

And I glare back, "and that's the biggest reason of all for me to do this." I stare at Sam hard and say softly. "to stop that show down from ever happening once and for all."

Sam's shoulders drop and he puts both hands over his face and scrubs down hard and when he looks up I've never seen him look so strong and yet so young. And with his lips pressed hard together he nods once. Ok.

I turn to look at Cas and he's standing very, very still.

I say to him, "So how does this work- I just ask?"

Cas looks at me kinda sad and says, "No, Dean I'll ask for you."

"Wait, according to Raphael you're on the angels hit list, I can't ask you to..."

"Do God's bidding?" He says in that perfect child like monotone and I almost think I see him smile.

I look at him and say, "If I don't...if we don't...I'll never forget you Cas."

He looks at us both with those sad accountant eyes of his and says, "Yes... you will." And just like that he touches both our foreheads and as he disappears we crumple to the ground all memory of him forgotten.

I wake up with a loud high pitched buzzing in my ears and recognize it as 'angel speak' and shake Sam awake screaming at him to cover his eyes and as we roll into protective ball shapes, our faces pressed into the dirt and hands over our ears- a blinding white light erases all the world around us.

wWw

It feels odd in this new shape. Heavier, slower. Ponderous even. But the senses are keen. I slowly rise up and brush the dirt off myself and hold my hands up to my nose to drink in the scent of it. It is teaming with life and I note the tang of every mineral in the soil. Even the scent of the flesh of my hands is unique to the human possessing them. Such majesty, such infinite detail, each and every thing a work of art. And then I look down at the shirt I am wearing. Hmmmmmm. They are of a curious nature to be sure.

The prone form of the one I'd called my brother lies before me. I try out the voice, "Rise Samuel Winchester and feel no fear."

He peers up at me and I see sadness wash over his face, something inside me aches upon seeing that expression. A residual emotion of the vessel, I presume, Dean Winchester is a strong willed individual otherwise I would have not been able to 'feel' anything.

Samuel stands and brushes him self off desolately and then just looks at me with the saddest eyes I've seen in a long time.

"Why do you stare Samuel," I ask.

"Coz I miss my brother."

And that ache in my chest comes back again.

The End

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