TO THE END

By: Karen B.

Warning: Season five spoiler

Summary: Season five spoiler. AU. 5-4 tag. The boys stop at a rest area -- enter a little cihck-flick moment.

Thank you so much, Caroline, for taking me under her wing, and for the beautiful beta job.

Disclaimer: I own zip. Just zippity-doo-da-ing around in Kripke's big, pretty backyard.

Rated: mostly sappy

Thank you much for your time in reading.

Sunshine,

Karen

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I stood in the middle of silence -- in the middle of nothingness -- falling through a bottomless pit.

Burning.

On fire.

Flames scorching throughout my whole body, eating away my flesh, eating away at my heart. I had my chances to step out of the fire. To end the suffering, but I couldn't. I'd promised. I wouldn't let Dean down.

Fire was the worst. I hated fire. Was afraid of fire. Didn't even like candles lit on my birthday cake. It was in the midst of fire that I had lost everything -- and ironically standing in the midst of fire -- where I could save everything.

"Say yes, Sam." Lucifer approached me, he too, burning with fire.

"No. No. No." I fought, but could tell I was weakening, flames carving out my insides -- melting -- everything slimy and runny, like uncooked eggs. My lungs clogged -- I could hardly breathe.

"Say yes, and there will be no more pain."

I pushed the wonderful thought of 'no more pain' out of my head. Pain was a small price to pay. Saving the world from what I had done was too big a thought -- I concentrated on one thing instead -- saving Dean. It made things easier.

"Say yes, Sam. Stop their agony." With the flick of one finger from Lucifer, Mom and Jess stood beside me -- screaming, hair on fire -- everything on fire.

Burnt -- charred -- shattered.

"Your eyes are black, Sam." Jess and Mom pointed accusing fingers. Why, Sam?"

"What? No!" I cried out.

"Say, yes, Sam. Save us," they chimed.

I wanted to say yes, but I wouldn't. Using my own teeth, I pinned my tongue inside my mouth -- bloody and raw. I just kept thinking; if I held out long enough the fire would burn itself out, but it only raged hotter.

"Say yes, Sam, and the world can be saved." Lucifer's voice was cool and smooth, like Italian leather.

"Liar," I growled.

"Say yes or I'm going to have to send your brother down to Hell."

"No! No!" I roared, watching in horror as Dean appeared before me, arms and legs strung out taunt across the rack.

The invisible Hounds of Hell were no longer invisible. I was losing Dean again-- and again. I couldn't stop it. He cried out to me for help, but I just stood within my flaming circle, unmoving. Vicious fangs and claws ripped him apart over and over. Dean -- a pig at the slaughter, a purred tomato, wrapped in cheesecloth -- juices dripping to the ground. I may as well have ripped my brother to pieces with my own bare hands.

"Sam, say it. For me, man, just say it." Dean was wild-eyed, desperate, stained in blood -- gushing like a waterfall.

"Yes, Sam…say it," Lucifer laughed.

"No!" I felt myself graying out.

"Sam, please." Dean's voice faded into the distance.

"No! No!" I slammed my eyes shut.

"You will say, yes. I will have you, Sam."

"Sam!"

I was shaking hard.

"No! No! No!"

"Sammy, wake up!

My eyes snapped open, feeling full of rage -- fighting mad. I would never say yes.

"Never!" I started throwing punches, not caring who or what I hit.

"Hey! Hey!" Hands grabbed a hold of me -- immobilizing my attack. "Dude! Chill!"

Before I could stop myself, my fist hit the side of a blurred face, snapping the guy's head back.

"Shit!" Realization struck hard. "Dean!"

Dean's eyes fluttered a moment, then he looked at me. "You done now?"

"I…I hit you," I panted out of breath.

"No shit, Shakespeare." Dean rubbed at his right cheek.

"Sherlock," I corrected. "Dean," I swallowed. "S..sorry. I'm sorry."

"Guess you owed me one, huh?" Dean quirked a brow.

I glanced around, clumsily. Car -- I was in the car. Blinking out the Impala's front windshield, I noticed the sun just starting to rise up over the trees. Morning. We must have stopped along some highway rest area. The usual type -- payphones, vending machines, drinking fountain -- nasty restrooms. The parking lot was nearly empty, only one recreational vehicle and an eighteen-wheeler parked several spaces down.

"What's the matter with you?" he asked.

It wasn't until Dean's hand fell away from my shoulder, that I realized why I had been shaking.

"Dream?" Dean's tone was sad.

"No shit, Shakespear." I tried to laugh, but the sound came out more of a choked sob.

"Sherlock," Dean replied, softly.

"Right."I nodded, still a bit dazed.

"Hey, pal, you okay?" he asked. I looked into the rearview mirror, taking in a deep breath, noting my eyes were normal. Guess that meant I was, okay. "Are you losing it?" Dean asked.

I turned, staring out the passenger window, but knew Dean was watching me. My brother was calm -- guy could be standing on hot coals and still stay calm. I kept my silence as I started to shake again -- this time without Dean's help. Maybe I was losing it. Who wouldn't? Being Lucifer's meat suit wasn't exactly an honor -- it was horror -- pure horror. All the while I was away from Dean, I just wanted to come home, but now that I was home- - beside him -- maybe that wasn't the right move.

"I thought so," Dean muttered -- my silence -- his answer.

I glanced sideways catching Dean narrowing his eyes -- studying me.

I shook my head. "I won't…"

"No, you won't," Dean assured, obviously knowing what was in my head.

I shuddered, wanting to believe Dean, and myself -- but I didn't. I didn't have to be asleep to be inside a nightmare. I was easily swayed, easily led -- so scared I would say, yes. "Dean…what if I…"

"Sh-sh, don't say anything more." Dean fisted my jacket.

"I might..." I choked on the hard lump that formed in my throat. "...There are so many strings he could pull to make me."

"Shut up, Sam!" Dean tugged until I had no choice but to collapse against him.

I went completely limp, chin resting on my brother's shoulder -- heavy in his arms. I could feel the tides change. My fear melt away some. Time stood still, the rhythmic breathing in my ear -- soothing. It was like when I was a kid, and big brother was there for me after a nightmare, after a fight with dad, whenever I was sick, hurt, broken. Gawd, right now I couldn't be anymore broken.

The trees swayed outside, sending shadows gliding around the interior of the car, and I swore I could still hear the pain-filled cries of my dream. Only, was it really a dream? Dean had gone to Hell once for me -- I had no doubt he'd go again.

I swallowed the short stack and bacon strips that wanted to come back up on me.

"You'll keep saying, no." Dean hunched his shoulders, a small sob breathed into my ear. "Was your favorite word as a boy," he chuckled lightly. "Eat your broccoli Sam -- no. Let the nice barber cut your hair, Sam -- no. Put that book down, Sam -- no. Clean your gun? No. Wash the car? No. Bleach the whites? No." Dean rubbed the back of my neck. "You never said, yes to anything, Cinderfella."

"I said yes to, Ruby."

"Foul ball." Dean's voice was full of tension. "Look, our troubles are not going to melt like lemon drops, Sammy. I know that. But I said you won't -- and you won't!" Dean's words were full of power -- power I'd depended on my whole life.

I closed my eyes feeling really tired, tired of living life on the edge. I let my mind go blank, empty and quiet. Grateful Dean allowed the FTD moment to continue just a little longer. His hold on me was strong, reassuring, genuine. Question was, could Dean keep that hold.

Dean stopped rubbing, and I detected the fine tremors running through his fingers. We were both feaked about all this. The wheels in my head started spinning again. I imagined all sorts of way's Lucifer could use Dean to strike against me. Cold, bitter, horrible ways -- my brother's agony -- would be my undoing. Just the thought of saying 'yes', sent white-hot-hard pain slicing through my chest. I shifted my hand, knotting my fingers into the back of Dean's jacket.

"Dean, maybe we should think this through. Maybe you were right about us going it alone and…"

"Nothing to think about, Sam." Dean stubbornly clutched me closer. "We are brothers, and... we are caught out on a ledge, but I won't let you fall, and you won't let me -- we jump -- together. Got it, Sundance?" Dean's stony tone told me that the conversation had ended.

"Okay, Butch," I sighed deeply. This was what had been missing in my life -- what I needed -- what Ruby or the demon blood could never give. After another few moments, Dean pushed me upward staring into my eyes, his lips twitching into a reassuring smile.

"Coffee?" he asked, playing dumb, like we'd never had the little chick-flick moment -- his usual song and dance.

"Sure."

"Be right back." Dean opened the car door letting in a cool breeze.

"I'll be right here," I said, getting out of the car, also, to stretch.

Dean walked off toward the vending machines, but then hesitated, turning back toward me. My brother and I looked at each other as the sun came up over the horizon. In the green of his eyes, I could read his mind.

It was me and Dean -- always had been. We wouldn't have survived this far without each other. In all that we had been through and fought over, never, not once, did we regret being brothers. In that quiet, rest area parking lot, we threw away the fear, mistrust, and pain -- accepting our fate. Wherever fate took us -- didn't matter. We were brothers -- to the end.

That's all she wrote.