Maybe it was a bad idea to pick up hunting with his brother again? Maybe Dean had been right all along? Maybe they would all have been spared this if he was on the other hemisphere?
Sam felt the knife sear into his side and he stumbled backwards, forcing Castiel backward with the weight of his falling body. The injuries sustained finally taking their toll. He'd just had a bottle broken against his head and the remains stuck into his coat hard enough to rip the fabric apart and the glass to slit up his hide. And that just after having the butt of a shotgun slammed to his shoulder. The knife was just what finally did him in.
Hunted by hunters. Ironically enough it was fully understandable that they wanted him dead. The Poster boy for the Apocalypse was probably on top of every hunter's list.
It didn't much matter anymore; Lucifer's promise to bring him back if he died sort of changed everything. But he so didn't appreciate the pain of dying a violent death.
There was a sound of a gunshot, eerily quiet as it flung the hunter bent over him backwards with force. The hunter's blood streaming from his left shoulder and over the front of the dirty coat was momentarily very clear in his graying vision. Dean's angry cursing sounded far away, even though Sam felt hands grab him hard.
Then there was nothing.
Next thing Sam knew was pain. White-hot, merciless throbbing and aching that made his breath run rushed and uneven, still he couldn't get enough air. Didn't dare breath deep enough to fill his lungs since hi chest-cage threatened to explode with every breath he took.
His brother's voice still sounded far off, jumbled with a slight off-beat sound that seemed to emanate from somewhere inside of him.. Someone gripped his wrist, lifting it up and the coolness of the hand was soothing.
"Is he coming to? This is not looking good, Dean, we should have left him at the hospital. I think he needs more help than we can give him. And that angel bud of yours is no fucking help at all. Can't even manage to get antibiotics from the pharmacy without making a mess of it all." Bobby's gruff voice penetrated though the sound of a rapidly beating heart.
"Well, he tried. Doesn't quite have the hang of lying yet. He'll learn." Dean replied.
"I so don't want Sam to be who he makes his first mistakes with, that's all." Bobby growled. "Keep him out of my sight or I will run him over with the wheelchair. Repeatedly."
Sam tried to move, make some sign that he was all right but he lacked the strength to do anything but move his fingers. His eyes wouldn't open to more than slits and the light seeping in was too bright and made everything blurry and blotchy grayish.
"Sammy?" Dean voice was closer, more frantic. "You with us?"
"I think he need a boost of the good stuff, Dean." Bobby voice fluttered to his ears from somewhere near his feet and Sam tried to figure out how everything fit. Nothing made sense anymore since they had been a couple of hundred miles from Bobby's place just moments ago.
"His pulse is all over the place, Bobby. I'm so not digging the fact that we have to rely on Wikipedia to estimate the freaking dose of a potentially lethal drug!" Dean grumbled.
"Fine with me, if you're all right with watching him like this; just let him brew slowly. Or wait, you could have left him at the hospital where people are actually trained and equipped!"
"You've pointed that out already, like five times." Dean snapped back. "We okay with the 4 hours rule?"
"We're set, just push it in, can't watch this any longer."
Sam had no idea what or who they were talking about, no idea why they sounded so distressed and what the hell he was doing in the middle of it, unable to even open his eyes? He wanted to ask but the gray mist was turning thicker and darker, ready to consume him, it felt like it was slowly pulling the curtains shut on reality. Lessening the pain and silencing the odd cadence in his temples. It all just evened out into a sense of nothingness and Sam was happy to let go.
Dean's fingers froze around Sam's pulse when the woman he had first sliced up in hell invaded his retinas with a vengeance.
She'd had Sam's hazel eyes and he hadn't seen them before he had cut her up good. The screams had been quieted by then, by the blood bubbling inn her mouth. hell was for once silent and her eyes cut another piece of humanity out of him, to Alistair's gleeful pride over his advancement. His humanity had gotten him good that time; Sam had been with him in hell for a long time. His eyes on everyone he took from the rack. Dean had learned you can have nightmares in hell. And now the nightmare was right before him, the erratic pulse under his fingers.
He had nightmares in road daylight at times like these; when fear assaulted him and he had to reign in the scream that threatened to escape him. If he started to scream, he would never be able to stop. Because he knew more than he ever wanted to know by now. If Sam died, Lucifer would keep bringing him back, less of a human being every time, more like himself and not Sam, the brother he'd watched grow up. The brother he fucking loved despite all the crap still unresolved between them.
The thought of Sam in hell, Sam on the rack, awaiting to get ripped to pieces by bloodthirsty followers of Satan himself nearly short-circuited Dean's brain. His muscles ached; Sam's face became the woman's blood-streaked one from the pit. His first victim, but not his last.
He had to break out of the haze by calling Sam's name, begging him to open his eyes and actually look at him. Dean wanted Sam to tell him a lie, spit in his face so he had a reason to get royally pissed off at him. For making him remember that fucking guilt that was about to strangle him.
He didn't need to see Sam like this, didn't need to see the hazel clouding over. Not again, not ever. Sometimes he hated Sam for always reminding him.
Then Sam took a ragged, pained breath and Dean's fingers curled around the fabric of the torn pajama top that Dean had insisted they'd put on his brother at the hospital, because he didn't want Sam to be cold.
Bobby watched the older Winchester's drawn face. There was a resign he'd never seen before. Maybe a willingness to finally totally let go of his brother? Maybe it was just tiredness? Right now Bobby felt a hundred years old himself; unable to help out like he used to. He still wanted to launch himself out of the chair every time Sam moved or made a sound. It was imprinted in his spine, the spine that was failing him I every other way. He felt just as captive by fate as Sam and Dean did. But Sam still fought his, tooth and nails, much like Dean did with the new revelations of the angels' plan for him. Bobby hadn't been begun to accept his new situation. He was of no help to either boy right now.
"He's in a world of pain, Dean. I really don't think having your angel bud pull him out of the hospital was a wise move. Unless you really are itching to get rid of Sam permanently? I hate to ask, but is that it?"
"Shut up, Bobby, just shut up!" Dean turned two blazing eyes in his direction, hand still clasped on the washed out collar of Sam's pale blue hospital pajama. "If I'd left Sam at the hospital, he'd already be dead. I'm telling you! Slaughtered by hunters. Or angels. Don't you fucking ever think I'm ditching Sam. I learned my lesson, we both did. Now's not the time to be leaving anybody behind. Sam'll come through, he's the most pig-headed, stubborn ass I know. He'll come through this. And when he does, me and him will read the riot act to Cas for being such a stupid bitch to begin with."
"I wouldn't say it was your angel bud's fault." Bobby remarked. "He was trying to help."
"Don't get me started on how much his fucking help messed things up. Fighting three hunters at once requires concentration. To walk up and try out his mojo on them, one by one, was stupid in the first place. It's really stupid when you know you've lost the healing mojo and only hope you can knock them out. He took a stupid chance."
Bobby turned his eyes away. Looking out the dirty window, wondering. He still hadn't got the full story. Not from Dean and not from Castiel. The whole angel thing was highly confusing. All he knew was that Sam had been jumped in the middle of a demon smack-down. And by fellow hunters no less. Dean placing a plug in said hunter's shoulder while the other two were licking their wounds would not warm up the hunting community to the Winchesters and the fallen angel - heavenly hybrid, or whatever Castiel was at the moment. Bobby just knew that everything was a crappy mess and they were thoroughly fucked at this moment.
Lucifer turning up to claim Sam would make the party complete at this point.
Bobby let his eyes wander back to the older brother. Dean was truly in charge now, weather he wanted or not. But Bobby recognized the signs; Dean was falling apart and his foot-soldiers weren't exactly in mint condition.
"Get some rest, Dean. I'll sit with Sam. I don't want you all exhausted and messed up too. I have enough with this one spacin' out on us."
Dean leaned in over the makeshift bedding in the corner of the kitchen. Bobby's head still hurt at the thought of a goddamned angel capable of teleporting Sam, but not the fucking bed? It wasn't like you were able to tuck Sam into just anything. Kid was too tall for the couch he was in right now but moving him to a bed upstairs in this state was just out of the question. You didn't move anybody just out of surgery around like a rag doll. Not when he had a freaking pipe sticking out from the incision, was developing a fever and had the shakes big time. Bobby had personal experience to rely on. Castiel might call the shots when it came to the end of the world, but he sure wouldn't when it came to Sam's well-being. The kid needed to rest until he didn't wince anytime someone touched him the few moments he was actually conscious. If Bobby had been at the hospital, he'd stopped the craziness right from the get go. Crazy ass angel stuff.
"Go!" Bobby growled in Dean's direction.
The young man turned and nodded wearily. "I'll send in Cas to sit with you two."
Bobby rolled his eyes at the prospect.
Sam felt a hand on his chest. His eyes flipped open, staring into a shimmering light, neatly contained in the darkness. The light moved toward him, like a leave floating on the wind, leaving no trace, posing no threat.
The light dimmed and Lucifer smiled down at him; blue eyes shining angelically "I know you're hurting, Sam. When I'm in you, you'll never hurt again."
The cold dread that coursed though Sam had him gasp for air.
Lucifer floated close enough to engulf Sam in his light. "Tell me where you are, Sam. Let me heal you." The voice was a barely audible whisper, full of promise. Lucifer's fingers caressed a line along Sam's chin and his body responded to the touch by sending a wave of relief into the strained muscles and coiled tendons.
"You are beautiful, my Samuel. Strong even in pain, steadfast even in your sleep. I can feel your fear and it saddens me immensely. I will not hurt you, you were made for me. Made to let me fill you, make you the strongest, fairest and most beautiful angel to rule heaven and hell. We'll ease the torment and suffering of the world, end all injustice and restore a Paradise for the chosen."
Lucifer leaned in closer, exhaling soothing air to dry Sam's sweaty skin. With a tender smile on his lips, Lucifer bent down to place a kiss over Sam's heart.
And Sam fought. He screamed "No" without uttering a sound. Screamed until the sound echoed throughout his body. Clammed his eyes shut and tried to force his body to roll away. Begged for release, begged for consciousness and the pain that would follow. Begged for the harsh light to vanquish the nightmare, begged for the pain to punish his rebellious body.
"I am sorry you are not ready. Sam." Lucifer whispered into his hair. "But the day will come when you'll willingly let yourself up to be taken. And I will be right here when you are ready, I'll be right by your side."
The panic was blinding him. He lashed out, trying to rid himself of the vision. It was just a vision. A nightmare, nothing real. He was just going insane and he had to get out of here.
Pain seared through his body, different hands were now trying to press him down, steadying him against coarse linen. Those hands were burning cold and painful. Pressing against sore ribs and overheated flesh. He tried to get away from them, struggled to roll away, like he'd do in a fight, like Dean had taught him. Grasping at the hands holding him down, he battled the hold violently while frantic voices mingled to a cacophony.
"Hold him, dammit, he's ripping out his IV!" "We gotta tie him down!" "What's wrong with him? It's like he's seeing the devil or something." "Hands off my brother! You're breaking his arm!" "Just stop squabbling and push the meds in, you idjits!"
Tears rolled down his cheek while he repeated the one word he'd been silently screaming until his voice broke and he fought for air between every gasped 'no'.
"C'mon Sammy," Dean's voice begged somewhere in the blinding light. "Just relax, the meds are gonna kick in soon. I've got you, just breathe and try to relax. Please, Sam."
"No," Sam pleaded, lips crackled and sore, slurring the word into a mere whimper. Why were they doing this? Why were they robbing him of his control and sending him back into the darkness where absolute evil with blue eyes and a deceitfully soothing voice awaited him? They were trying to push him where he never wanted to go; into his own mind and the dark that resided in him.
"That's it Sam, stop fighting it, son." Bobby sounded relieved.
This time when darkness crept up on him, he slid into it in absolute fear.
Dean was panting for air, trying to hold Sam on the couch and prevent him from accidentally killing someone. Sam was so fucking strong, even doped up and totally out of it. Even worse, he was in full out panic; Dean's could feel Sam's heart beating like a twelve-cylinder engine about to explode. The fear was contagious and Dean felt his own heart race until the beat drummed hard in his temples. It was the fear of hell and the vision of Sam's eyes in the fire that had him lash out at everyone. He wanted to strangle Cas for almost breaking Sam's arm, wanted to kick him to a bloody pulp for not coming to get him sooner. Before Sam's eyes followed him everywhere in hell. Before Sam was the one tied down and split open.
Bobby's voice called him back to reality.
Called him back to watch his little brother fighting in blind panic. Ripping the IV lose, gripping Dean's arm with force enough to leave angry red mark. Hazel eyes open in slits, seeing nothing and understanding less. Until they rolled up to show only the whites and Sam's just twitched in Dean's hold.
And Dean wanted to pray. Pray for absolution, because he was sure Sam was going through this only to pay for Dean's monumental mistakes. Sam was forever paying the interest on the invoice Dean had left behind.
His heartbeat calmed down in rhythm with Sam's, slowing just enough to let Sam's harsh breaths take over and continue the hammering in his temples.
At least they muffled the screams in his head.
Bobby kept his eyes on Dean while counting Sam's heartbeats. It seemed like Dean was hanging in there merely by a thread. He was just a pale as Sam, dark rings under his eyes from lack of sleep and too much whiskey. There had been a sense of pure panic on Dean's face; like he wanted to let go and run fast in the opposite direction. But he didn't, he held on to his brother and worked through whatever was going on with him. He came through like the soldier he was even if the armor was badly cracked.
Bobby wonder how long whatever held Dean together would hold the pressure that seemed to be steadily rising?
Dean reminded him of Sam during the short time they'd spent together after Dean's death. Sam looking like the a dead man walking, taciturn and somehow fading into the books he devoured in the attempt to get his brother out of hell while Bobby drowned his pain. Sam would wake up screaming the few times he actually slept. Terror etched on his face, blankets wrapped around his body like a noose from the constant twisting in his restless sleep. And Bobby had opened a new bottle.
Then Sam had just left.
And Bobby had been left wondering how long it would take before he got word that Sam too, was forever gone.
And that was what he feared would be Dean's choice this time. Maybe they shouldn't have gotten back to hunting together so soon? There were still gaping wounds. Maybe Dean would be better off without having to watch Sam like this? If he could, he's send Dean and Castiel on their way.
The bitter truth was that he wouldn't be enough help for Sam this time either. Chances were he'd be no help for anyone anymore. Not Dean, not Sam, not even himself.
"You should have left him at the hospital, Dean," Bobby remarked. "I can't take take care of him and you have bigger issues."
"He was just like this after he lost Jess. He'd wake up screaming her name in the middle of the night. Scared the crap outta me. He'd stay up all night - just not go to sleep again. Then the son of a bitch tried to have me believe he was just fine. He sure can keep his trap shut when he wants to, this one." Dean kept watching Sam, his voice edged with trepidation.
Bobby found himself wondering how Dean had tackled his nightly visits to hell after coming back? Sam had told him about the nightmares and the whiskey. But Sam had been whacked himself at the time, chances were that he had missed a lot. Had there been screaming and sleeplessness too? Or was that kicking in now? Dean hadn't slept a blink as far as he knew. Slouching in the chair beside the couch didn't fool him. Probably hadn't fooled Sam either, which probably helped to wind him up further, until he in turn, crashed. Best thing for both of them would probably be heavy medication and straight-jackets in a padded room.
"You know what the
feathery asses told me about this vessel deal?"
Dean interrupted Bobby's planning for salvation of the mental health of the Winchester boys abruptly.
He made a questioning face in Dean's direction.
"About the direct line?" Dean continued, sounding pissed. "Did you know that Sam can't even escape it in death? That Lucifer will bring him back no matter what? Maybe keep him in the pit and work him over real good before Sam caves? Because he will. It may take years but eventually Sammy'll say yes. And knowing Sam's at the demons mercy in hell -." Dean's voice got gradually quieter, until it trailed off and Bobby saw the hand clasped around Sam's wrist tighten its grip.
"I'm not letting that happen, Bobby."
"That's exactly what Sam had to live through, Dean. Knowing where you were at." Bobby remarked. "Even if he didn't know the ropes personally, kid has a good imagination."
"Oh, thanks for rubbing that in." Dean sneered and let go off Sam's wrist to pull the blankets closer around him.
"What do we do now." Castiel asked from the end of the couch and Bobby jumped. He'd forgotten about the angel dude.
"Don't you have God to sniff out?" Dean growled and sank to sit in the chair he'd pulled up at Sam's side. "Go sniff!"
"Sniff?" Castiel asked. "I do not think God has an odor. At least I have not come upon such a simple resolution to my current predicament. Or maybe I have yet to receive that human gift?"
"Geez, Cas," Dean groaned, hiding his face in his hands. "Go fry some goddamned hamburgers or something. I need some personal space right now."
Bobby watched the angel traverse the floor, trench-coat flapping as he moved. Then he shot a quick glance over at Dean, not entirely sure the angel wouldn't have the kitchen blow up and make them all minced meat in the process.
Dean didn't look up. He just sat there, hunched over, face in his hands and leg lined up along Sam's flank.
Bobby settled to stare at Sam's chest that rose and dropped with every rushed breath the kid took. It was like sitting between a powder keg and an overheated stove, just waiting for the monumental Winchester blow-up. He hoped the angel would help him pick up the bones when it was all over.
It was so cold in the darkness. Sam's teeth clattered audibly in the empty void. He didn't know where he was at, he seemed to be floating freely in space. Naked and bare to the chill and pain enveloping his body. Like a beached whale, he was unable to move, frozen in the moment when the hand came back to cup his cheek. He instinctively leaned into it, just to soak up the warmth.
"That's right Samuel, all you have is me."
He'd know the voice everywhere. Still his body reacted to the warmth, searching it hungrily. Tears burned in his eyes when Lucifer curled up around him, the vessel's heart beating against Sam's back. Arms embracing him, pulling him closer, providing what he needed most right now.
"Tell me where you are and you'll never feel cold and lonely again." Lucifer's voice whispered against his ear.
Sam curled in on himself, desperate for the warmth and disgusted by his own need for it. The darkness seemed to fade and they were sailing over sun-drenched landscapes. Sam knew it was all in his imagination, but he drank it all up. All the incredible beauty. There were green pastures, lush woods and empty wide stretching beaches where the sea met the shore with white-topped waves playfully glimmering in the sunshine.
"This is what the world will look like when you give yourself up to me and we win the battle, Sam. Beauty and peace will reign. No wars, no famine, no injustice shall ever touch earth again. There will be peace and harmony."
Sam closed his eyes, realizing there had been no people in the visions.
"Oh Samuel, do not fear. Everyone you love will be there. Living or dead, you'll be able to restore them and keep them forever. Nothing will hurt them again, they will feel no pain, no sadness, no loss. It's my Paradise, Sam and it's at you reach."
"It's all a chimera," Sam whispered. "You said you'd never lie or trick me."
"It's all going to be as real as me holding you right now; vanquishing you pain. This is no lie, Sam, this is you in my arms and you are warm and protected. You'll be able to protect your loved ones just like this."
"No." Sam shook his head and freed himself from the hold. "I'd rather take the pain and the cold. That at least, is real. It's fixable."
"Really?" Lucifer smiled sadly at him and stroke his chin languidly. "I'll grant you your wish, but I will be waiting for you to come back."
The pain started somewhere in the pit of his stomach. Starting like a dull ache that only worsened when he tried to shift position to escape it. Then a stabbing sensation in his chest started. Every time he took a breath it felt like a dull knife sliding in between his ribs. He moved again, needing to get away before it got worse. Reluctantly he opened his eyes to gauge the situation.
There was total chaos; cries, wide eyed despair and hands reaching for him. Dean looking at him, asking him what he had done? He tried to explain, that he hadn't known, he hadn't meant it and that he was sorry. Distorted faces turned up to him, showing him hands they'd chewed the skin off in their hunger. He recoiled, backing away from the wailing crowd. Dean looked at him with disgust. Angels laughed at him, hurling him across the sky into the darkness where fires illuminated guts rotting and the same bony fingers reached out to rip at his flesh. They took piece by piece off him, pushing him back into the fires of hell. There was Bobby, holding the shotgun to his chest, face distorted in a grimace of death and then he pulled the trigger and Sam fell into the fire. Jess looked at him; long hair unkempt and dirty. Her skeleton hands reached for him, bony fingertips pressing into him when she looked at him, with the same question on her crackled lips: why? His father leaned over him, telling him his only regret was not leaving him in the crib to burn. His mother, in the blood-soaked nightgown poked him with a lever. Skin melting off her bones in the heat.
Dean was hovering above him, screaming for him while his flesh burned slowly to reveal the bones.
Sam gagged, transfixed by the vision of his brother, his hands grasping at anything to get to Dean and help him. Get him down, stop the fire from consuming his brother. Stop the screams, stop the pain.
The bile that rose in his throat was like burning hot acid.
"Sammy! I'm right here. Open your eyes dammit!"
Sam felt his face being inched up, the motion dissolved the dark to give way to a blurry image of Dean's frantic eyes searching his. There was none of the blood, no slow burning fire but there was the same desperation.
""Fuck Sam, please!"
The plea bought back the vision and Sam gagged. Bile burned its way down his nostrils like fire. Sam needed to distance himself from the haunting fear, get away from the images of Dean and pain and blood and rotting flesh. He recoiled from Dean's hold, falling to the hard floor while Dean cursed him.
"Sam, for fuck's sake, no! Stay still! You're gonna bust every stitch and bleed out on me."
"Gotta go," Sam got out between dry retching and fighting his brother's hold. "Please."
"Okay, Sammy. I got you. Me and Cas will help you. Just don't fuckin' fight us. Ya hear me, Sammy?"
Arms lifted him up to his feet, dragging him toward the bathroom. He tried to help out, tried to walk but his legs kept giving in on him. Sam felt Dean pressing his free hand to the sore part on his stomach. The hand felt cold even though the fabric of his sweaty t-shirt and pain shot through him.
Then he found himself on his knees in front of the toilet seat, Dean's arms around him, keeping him upright while bile ran through his nose and dripped down into the toilet. He wished he could purge himself of the evil inside of him, of the history of wrong choices, failures and betrayals. Instead he had to rely on Dean again, literally be the burden he'd never wanted to be.
"I'm s'sor," he got out and Dean gripped him closer, shook his head and asked him to please shut up in a voice broken beyond recognition.
Dean held Sam clinched as hard as he dared. The kid was frantic, out of his mind and it was more frightening than having him raging mad and swinging his Sasquatch fists. Somehow it felt like he was leading Sam to the slaughter-bench. Dean had never seen Sam like this before, totally out of control. He had no doubt that if Sam had been in full vigor, he'd had slung him to a wall because even in this weakened state, his panic made him fearfully strong and dangerous. Until he rolled off the couch and went totally limp. Like he was now; pleading for forgiveness in a voice shot to hell from all the screaming and Dean had to beg him to shut up. Over and over again.
Sam was taking him straight back to hell. This was what it was like to take someone off the rack. Back there he had learned to enjoy the fight. Now all he could see before him were Sammy's eyes in the flames.
His brother was soaking wet and burning with fever. Too weak to hold himself up while his body spasmed with every retch that produced nothing but stomach acid and the remnants of the antibiotic they had forced him to swallow half an hour ago. It had been the wrong call, giving him that strong a drug on an empty stomach. And Sam was paying, not he, not Bobby or even Cas. They had been the ones forcing it down Sam's throat and now Sam was picking up the bill.
Dean's arms ached from holding Sam up and he leaned his brow on Sam's trembling back.
"Give him some water, Cas," Dean said, unable to listen to the retches any longer. He had to reposition himself to keep Sam's head up; it was already sagging, like Sam was losing the fight. Maybe Sam needed to clear his stomach from the meds they had given him? Anything to stop those sounds. He wished Sam would black out again, it would be better, less painful for him. Or for himself, Dean wasn't sure any longer because the minute Sam had swallowed the water, he cramped and went lax; the recently ingested water flooding from his mouth over Dean's forearm..
By then, even Cas' unease was evident.
Bobby was on the phone the moment Sam started trashing and gagging. He cursed himself for the brilliant idea of forcing the strongest antibiotic he found in the house down the kid's throat. Sam did have an infection, they just didn't know what kind and how to treat it. The kid had been without proper medication for several hours after he'd been teleported to Bobby's house. It had been hard to break into the system and finding out his medication. Specially since he had been signed in as a John Doe and there were dozens of them. They weren't smack in the middle of the Apocrap for nothing. Damned angel not to take notes from Sam's chart and bringing some meds along.
Now he was forced to watch Dean freak out about his brother doing his very own version of a gory horror flick. Bobby waited while the hospital paged Dr. Nagaki, and every second felt like a year. He knew he was using the good doctor for all she was worth and feared he'd be told to bugger off. Killing one measly poltergeist did not warrant for endless forging of prescriptions and massive amounts of free medicine samples from the local hospital.
Listening to Sam's dry retching and Dean's broken voice was enough for him use anyone and anything to help the two of them.
"Singer? Three calls in a day? I guess your patient is still alive? How can I aid you to keep him that way?" Bobby exhaled and decided to lock his ears to the sardonic tone.
"He's puking his guts out and has a fever. What wrong with him?" No use beating around the bush.
"Now let me see: he has a deep stab wound, multiple other stabs from a dirty broken bottle and numerous bruised ribs? He's just come out of surgery and has a mild contusion on top of it all. He was yanked out of ICU and is now lying on your couch without proper medical care? And you're asking me what's wrong with him? What's wrong with you?"
"Bobby, he's burning up!" The panic was evident in Dean's voice.
"Okay, Bobby," his long time ally in medical frauds said on the other end of the line. "Get the boy into the shower and cool him down. Then get your sorry ass over here. I'll be waiting for you in the ambulance bay with everything you need. Just get moving."
"I'll run right over," Bobby scoffed. "A dude in a Trench will be there in five!"
He hung up and rolled over to the newly rebuilt bathroom. He hated that he was dependent on technical equipment to even take a piss. And it was all there, permanently screwed to the walls, like there was no hope for him to ever take a step again.
"Get Sam under the shower, Dean. Cool him down, now!" He turned to the angel. "And you, get your sorry ass to the ambulance bay at the local clinic. This little fierce looking woman will give you what you need. Don't worry about finding her, she'll find you. Skip the sermon she'll give you and zap yourself back here without causing too much commotion."
Castiel vanished with a flutter and Bobby diverted his eyes to Dean and Sam. The older Winchester already had Sam placed in the corner and Bobby pulled down the installed plastic shower-seat to steady Sam to his place.
"Start with lukewarm water, Dean. Don't wanna give him a heart attack to round things off."
Dean shot him a glare and flicked on the water. He was on his knees in front of Sam, resting his brother's head on his own shoulder and getting just as drenched. Bobby noted the red stain on the bandage on Sam's abdomen growing larger.
Bobby had never felt so ridiculous in his life when he latched on to the metal railing on the wall and pulled himself out off the wheelchair and down to the floor.
"What the hell?" Dean inquired with water dripping off his face.
Bobby grunted and positioned his useless legs in front of himself when he finally got to Sam's side to press on the wound. Dean looked down on Bobby's hand questioningly.
"He's bleeding." Bobby clarified and Dean paled a little before nodding and turning the mixer to icy blue.
The water was freezing and Sam still felt hot to the touch. He looked half-dead, weighed a ton and they both had to use all their strength to keep him from sliding down the wet tiles. Soaked they sat there, under the ruthlessly pelting water and held onto Sam.
Bobby would kill both Winchesters when this was all over because soon his teeth started to clatter along with Sam's and Dean's. And yet, he wouldn't trade places with anyone tight now. Because right here and right now, he was making a difference. For the first time in weeks he felt hope of being useful in other ways than minding the phones and doing research.
"I think he's cooling down, Dean." Bobby remarked through clattering teeth when Dean jumped at Castiel's soundless arrival, making Sam's head loll off his shoulder and onto Bobby's.
"Took him long enough!" Dean mumbled and Bobby wondered if he meant Sam or his angel bud? But Dean's eyes never left Sam. Something ghosted over Dean's face when Sam made a pitiful growling sound as Dean cupped the back of his brother's neck.
Bobby was sure some of the water trickling down Dean's face was salty like tears.
Castiel looked down at them, somewhat bewildered, with plastic bags in his hands and pockets full of drugs, like a first class street dealer.
"Cas, you gotta help me carry Sam to the Panic room. I hate saying it, but we need to be able to tie him down when he flips out. Don't want you to zap him, not when he's like this."
Bobby hated the fact that he wasn't the one Dean asked. Hated the constant reminders of his uselessness in everyday life.
The boys needed him and he wasn't ever going to be what he used to be to them again.
When the cold rain stopped, Lucifer appeared to towel his face dry and pull off his soaked t-shirt. Sam didn't have it in him to protest this time. He just let it happen. Let himself be lifted up and carried into the warmth again. There was very little fight left in him, barely a whisper in the back of his mind. When Lucifer laid him down to rest, it was on fluffy clouds with birds singing in the background. It was peace.
And a cruel trick.
"You impress me, Samuel." Lucifer's hand lie still over Sam's heart. "You are stronger than I thought. You never let me in unless in deepest sleep. So controlled."
Sam didn't bother to reply. Maybe ignoring the devil was the best way to go?
"It perplexes me, Sam. How can such a passionate man have such self-control? What happens when you break? Is it all a vortex of everything you hide deep inside? A whirlwind of need and want? A deluge? How much does it take to keep everything caged inside?" Lucifer tilted his head, looking at Sam as if he were truly interested.
Sam looked away.
"I know that you wanted a picket-fence life, Sam. A wife, kids, a dog. All the things you never had. And you deserve it, Sam. You deserve safety." Lucifer's body curled up against his again. Skin like soft velvet, arms strong around Sam's waist and lips fluttering against skin when the Devil spoke again.
"You are so incredibly beautiful, Samuel. Your body and soul are such a perfect match. Strong and lean on the outside and soft and loving deep inside. I can be anyone you want, Sam. I will be everybody for you. And you will never have to fear that your love will hurt anyone. You'll be safe, Sam. People around you are going to be safe and loved. Dean will have everything he wants out of life, Bobby will walk again and your father will smile at you in my Paradise. His love for you will be evident, unlike when he walked the earth. All the fear that kept him back will be abolished. He'll be free to love you."
Sam crammed his eyes shut at the memory of his father's words: 'if you had shot me when I asked you to none of this would have happened.' Those were words he'd never forget. Words that still stung like a razor blade. He had almost killed Dean by refusing an order. Over and over again. He had forced his father to make the deal. Because he had almost killed the son he truly loved. He had cast his own father to hell.
"It will all be taken back, Samuel. Paradise will be Tabula Rasa; a new world. A beautiful world. Where the people you love will live forever." Lucifer's lips puffed soothing air against the nape of Sam's neck with every word he spoke.
"But if you don't help me and the angels win? Hell will be filled with new souls. Souls that now reside in heaven. Jessica. Your mother, your father and your brother."
"No!" Sam gasped and freed himself from Lucifer's hold. "You're lying!"
"I promised I would never lie to you, Sam. Think about it. The angels let Dean rot in hell for decades. They have the power to free souls and they didn't free Dean before he broke. Jessica will be next. She'll burn forever."
The image of Jessica burning on the ceiling broke trough. The song of birds morphed into roaring flames and the air turned hot enough to burn his skin. And Jessica begged; eyes wide with fear, blood dripping and flesh melting. Arms reaching for him. And Sam screamed with her. Tried to reach her, begged for God and angels to spare her.
Lucifer shook his head. "Only I can do what you beg for. Please let me inside."
"No! Please. No!"
He was being kept down, unable to get to Jess. Over his head the gates of hell wafted hot air down on him.
"Holy smoke, Sammy! Quit throwing yourself out of bed. You already busted three stitches open and yanked out the IV. I don't want to have to keep you tied down. You're having fever dreams, Sammy. Nothing is real. You're safe."
Sam's vision cleared enough to take in Dean's face and the vent in the Panic room's ceiling. The light fluctuated hypnotically with the movement of the blades above him. The fall sun was bleak in the sky. He had difficulty separating his dreams from reality. Lucifer seemed more real than Dean. He was again tied to the bed, unable to move his arms and legs.
"Please don't tie me up, Dean. I know you don't trust me but please don't tie me down." He tried to free his arm again but it was held down by a belt, he could feel the metal buckle against his skin. Closing his eyes he tuned his face away, trying to stem the rising panic. This all was after all he'd done, well deserved and he had no right to ask to be let loose.
He swallowed down his protest, settling for what was coming.
It was killing Dean to have to tie Sam down again. He'd tied too many souls down already. But he had to, he had to hurt Sam to keep him safe from himself. This time, Sam just seemed utterly broken when he woke. It was such a contrast to the earlier trashing and Dean found himself worrying even more about the new turn of events. When had Sam ever turned over and played dead? Something was up and Dean's alarm hit the high notes.
He was so tired of all this, second guessing Sam, keeping his ass safe when the bitch did nothing to help out. Tired of Sam always finding the right words to turn the knife. Sam begging not to be tied up was like a slap to his face. Like he knew exactly how to ping Dean's sub-conscience. It took work to deafen those voices inside his head and Sam managed to up the volume to the max with one fucking, puppy-eyed plea.
All Dean wanted right now was a bottle of whiskey and some fucking silence and peace!
He was so tired of Sam's eyes. So tired that he felt like smashing Sam's head in, make him close his eyes and not remind Dean ever again.
He felt like puking his guts out. Just the thought of actually wanting to shut Sam up was enough of a reminder to make him want to smash his own head in, permanently. His fingers held a tight grip on Sam's sweaty t-shirt; Dean felt so tired, so worn out that he had to hold on not to fall down.
If only he'd stop seeing Sam's eyes everywhere!
Bobby had woken with a start, groaning at the crick in his neck. Patching Sam back up had drained him. And now the kid was trashing around again.
He rolled to the opposite side of the bed. Watching Dean lean over Sam and talking to him. Trying to get through while Sam fought the restraints and begged. Bobby hadn't been so keen on strapping Sam to the bed but Dean had been right. He'd probably have hurt himself even more if they hadn't. Sam always woke up in sheer terror. And he was still too messed up in his head and sick to tell them why. When he spoke it was a slurred mumble, in-comprehensive sounds that only resembled words.
"C'mon, Sam," Bobby pleaded, laying a hand on the heaving chest. Sam's eyes sprung open and he tried to recoil from the touch. Mumbling something about 'can't be here'.
"Sam? It's me Bobby. You know where you are?" He swatted Dean's hands away. "Sam, you need to look at me."
Slowly Sam settled and his eyes focused on Bobby. "That's it, son. Stay with me here. You sore? Need to turn?" He kept his eyes on Sam's face all the time, keeping the young man's attention on him.
Sam nodded weakly.
"Let him loose, Dean." Bobby kept his voice low and non-threatening. "Open the restrains, Dean, now!" he said firmly while he opened the belt-buckle at his reach.
Dean didn't move and Bobby turned to the older brother who looked right back at him, bleary eyed and so desperately in need of sleep..
"No Bobby, can't risk it. You know how he gets."
"Now Dean," Bobby ordered and turned his attention back to Sam. The terror was back in Sam's eyes but this time, he was looking at Dean with fear. "Sam's gotta be thirsty. Am I right, son?"
Sam looked back at him, relaxing enough to let his head fall to the pillow when his restraints were gone. Bobby didn't exactly know what was going on with Sam but he intended to find out.
"Go get some shipped ice, Dean." Bobby smiled a silly, encouraging nursey smile at the younger Winchester. He'd had an awful lot of time to catch up on silly day-time soaps lately. Maybe that particular pain in the ass was finally paying off?
Sam moved to turn to his side, paling even further and letting out a low whine.
"Take it slow son, you're banged up worse than some cars in this lot."
"I can't leave -." Dean started to protest and Bobby stopped it with a glare before he turned back to Sam.
"It's alright, Sam. Take it slow or I will slap you. We were just afraid you'd fall and hit that thick head of yours. Won't tie you up again now that you're awake. It's not that we don't trust you, Sam. It has nothing to do with trust."
Dean turned on his heels and walked out of the room. Even his footsteps spoke of indignation as he stomped towards the staircase.
Sam seemed skittish and Bobby kept up a low nonsense monologue while he rolled to the bathroom, pausing only to curse out the threshold, and poured some fresh water into the mug he kept spare toothbrushes in. He snapped a towel from the holder while he was at it, just in case.
The mug barely contained two sips of water but that was all he felt confident enough to let Sam have at this point.
"Can you manage or do you want to wait for Dean?" he asked while extending the plastic dental hygiene item that had a smiling toothbrush printed on it.
It was times like these he missed his legs more than ever. If he'd have full functionality he'd be able to help Sam more efficiently and the kid clearly needed help.
Sam's fingers trembled when they gripped the mug. But he managed to take a sip before his strength failed him and his head fell back down onto the pillow. Bobby freed the smiling mockery of a drinking device from Sam's lax fingers.
That's when Bobby heard the commotion from the kitchen. Sounded like porcelain breaking into a million pieces after being violently hurled against the walls.
"Dean?" He hollered to the open door leading to the stairs. Sam's hand curled around the pillow and he curled up like an animal in fear.
"Don't worry Sammy," Bobby spoke, still spying the stairs, half expecting to see kitchen utensils coming down with force. "Dean's just working out his worry. I just hope he took Aunt Angie's plates from the rack because those are damned fugly."
When he looked back to Sam, the kid's eyes were warily watching the open door and his breathing sounded more shallow. Sam was in pain.
"Hold on kiddo, I think it's time for your happy drugs. " He turned the chair to the table holding the meds and the syringes in sterile wrappings. Filling one up with the prescribed dose, he swung back to insert the needle into the IV port. Sam looked at him with panicked eyes.
"No, no, no, please! Don't."
Bobby narrowed his eyes. "Sam, you need the painkiller. Not even gonna plunge the needle into your ass, not gonna hurt, I promise." He opted for the port on the regulator instead, not wanting to distress Sam more than necessary.
Sam still tried to get away, continuing his agitated protests. "No, no, need the pain to stay awake. Can't fall asleep, he always finds me."
"Who finds you?" Bobby inquired, silently wondering exactly how serious Sam's head-injury was. "Who the hell ar'ya talking about?"
"Need to hide from Lucifer, he can't – ever – find - need to – stop." Sam's voice tapered off and his words floated together as his eyes slowly slid shut.
At first Bobby didn't quite comprehend. Then pieces started to rapidly fall into place; the direct connection angels had to their vessels, the need for consent, Sam's weakened state, the ways of manipulation. He was left staring with a chill spreading in the pit of his stomach.
Behind his back, Dean took a shivering breath that sounded like a whimper before the cup with crushed ice fell from his hand and crashed to the concrete floor. The spoon landing with a clinking sound that seemed to echo in the silence between Sam's shallow breaths.
This time there was no respite, no time to regroup. Lucifer was there the moment darkness descended. Standing before Sam, looking at him like if he saw straight through him, to that dark core that resided in him and was a part of him however much he wanted to deny it. The kernel of his eternal battle.
They didn't speak for a long time. Lucifer just looked at him, face calm and investigative. Sam was busy building up mental walls against whatever the Devil would choose to serve this time.
"I am sorry I scared you," Lucifer spoke and Sam felt the walls crumble because there was honesty in Lucifer's words.
"I'm sorry you are losing you faith."
"Remember what your brother told you? That there are rotten apples in every case? He was right, Sam. Why do you think God abandoned the angels? Because God is too weak to fight them? Because God is cruel?" Lucifer cocked his head and took a step towards Sam, stepping up close enough to stand nose to nose with him. His soft smile was mesmerizing. It was a total contradiction to the evil Sam knew was standing in front of him. The smile expressed understanding and benevolence. Sam couldn't look away.
"And you know it, Samuel. You watched angels let Dean down, watched them ask your brother to torture and then turned their backs on him when he was in the demon's claws. You've watched angels fight each other, leaving their fallen brethren behind."
Sam closed his eyes to escape the intensity of Lucifer's presence.
"God abandoned them, Sam. Just like your brother has abandoned you, Sam. He doesn't trust you, he feels obligated to keep you around and watch out for you. You can free him from that plight. You can join me in looking for our Father. The Father you've believed in all your life. He does love you, I know he does. He won't turn his back on you like your earthly father and the angels did. God is grander than that, God is all about love for sinners. You and me, Samuel, are sinners. Don't we deserve forgiveness? Understanding? Love? Come with me to find our heavenly Father, let me reside inside you while we sink to our knees and ask for absolution. Maybe then, we can finally forgive ourselves? Maybe then we are worthy of love?"
Lucifer was holding Sam tight now, arm wrapped around his waist, a hand on the nape of his neck, warm and soothing. Sam was trembling, feeling weak and Lucifer had to press only every so lightly to make Sam's forehead rest on the vessel's shoulder. There was no evil in the embrace, no threat. Only warmness and acceptance. An acceptance that Sam hadn't felt in anyone for far too long. Not even in himself. It would be so easy to invite Lucifer and become what his brother already thought he was. Become evil incarnate and not have to fight it any longer. Dean already believed Sam was a lost soul. Why was he even fighting?
"I too disobeyed, I too got castigated. But you freed me, let me free you. Come with me to find God, Samuel, we can be forgiven. I can see your soul Sam, and it is beautiful. It's passionate and burning bright, battling a silent battle in a world that's more evil than good. You are tired Sam, tired of the fight inside of you. I can help you, make you stronger, aid you in the war. It will be ugly and cruel, I won't lie to you, but the victory will be worth it."
"No." Sam said and tears ran down his cheek over his own weakness, his walls having crumbled and left him wide open.
Lucifer didn't let go, he held him despite Sam's refusal. Accepted him in spite of all. Held him close and whispered soothing words into his ear. Accepting him for what he was; a weak, torn shred of a man. Lucifer let him cry on his shoulder, let him be Sam, not the failure of a little brother, not the heavenly decried man, the misfit and the freak. It would be so easy to say yes and leave everything including himself behind. The Apocalypse was already underway thanks to him, he'd betrayed his brother and mankind. He'd betrayed the world and a fallen angel was embracing him. Maybe he couldn't fight his destiny after all? Maybe he needed to say yes and let it all be over with? Maybe Satan already already was inside of him?
"You're the one Sam, the one to end this world full of misery and I will give you everything when we restore it to its intended glory." Lucifer kissed him. Meshed their lips together and Sam was paralyzed while his body reacted to the touch. Powerlessly he felt himself mold into Lucifer's hold; skin against skin, heat colliding and sparkling in the already electrified air. Pure raw lust invaded his senses and he had to gather all his strength to finally push free from the hold Lucifer had on him.
"No, no, no," he whimpered, desperately pulling air into his lungs to clear his head and break free from the imprisonment of his mind. He felt utterly devastated, weaker than ever before since even his body was betraying him.
He felt hopelessly caged; not even death would free him.
This time Sam woke to an eerie stillness. Tears ran down his face as he looked to the ceiling and the dawn breaking with foggy pink light behind the still vent. He still felt hot and sweaty from Lucifer's embrace; the safety he had felt in the arms of evil was terrifying him. There was no doubt he was losing his mind, if he hadn't already and all that was left of him was just the darkness inside him, finally engulfing him entirely.
He turned his head to the side, trying to remember the layout of the room. The light was still on the in the spartan bathroom, it trickled into the room from the crack under the door. His mouth was dry like sandpaper, his t-shirt was stuck to his skin and his mind felt just as foggy as the dawn outside.
It was dark enough that he barely made out Dean sleeping on a foldable bed to his right. The kind people kept for surprise guests and hoped they'd never have to use. Bobby's bed was by the door where the dim light from the ceiling barely reached. The man was totally covered in a blanket; an unidentifiable lump, it was just the light snores that gave his position in. Sam wished more than anything that he hadn't imposed on either of their comfort, but he had and was still doing it.
He pulled himself up to a sitting position by grabbing the sides of the bed, swaying just a little when he finally got his legs off and placed on the floor. His fingers trembled so much that he had difficulties loosening the tube from the IV needle inserted into a vein on his hand. He ended up pulling the entire plastic gadget out. Bobby would wring his neck. Messing everything up seemed to be his patented MO.
Holding on to the edge of the bed, he rose to his feet and waited until the room stopped spinning. Six steps, maybe seven, it'd be ridiculous if he didn't make it without landing on his face. How would Dean ever be able to trust him in a fight if he wasn't even able to drag his own sorry ass to the bathroom? If he again caved to his own weakness? .
He fixated on the light from under the door, held his breath and walked with legs feeling like overcooked spaghetti, head drumming the beat of every step and the light dancing crazily before his eyes. He'd never felt this physically weak when he'd amped up on demon blood. Never this helpless. The room grayed out for a moment and he crashed to his knees just inside the door. Biting his lip, he silenced the groan before he pulled himself up onto the toilet-seat, resting his head on the sink beside it.
The water tasted like heaven when he finally got the faucet open and drank from his cupped hand. A small sense of victory made him realize how much of a burden he really was. Here he sat, stupidly propped up against the sink not to face plant and he congratulated himself? Was Lucifer out of his mind to want him as a vessel? Maybe he should just offer himself? Because like this, Michael would just have to look at him and he'd be a pitiful pool on the floor.
"Is that a yes, Samuel?"
Lucifer's face appeared before him and he scrambled backwards and off the seat, flailing for support. He was wide awake, this couldn't be happening! The faint light from the bulb above the mirror was enough to sharpen the image. Making it so very real..
"Didn't you just invite me?" Lucifer asked perplexed, advancing on him.
"No," Sam gasped, shaking his head, trying to get as far away as possible. "No, no, no! No tricks, you promised."
The shower cubicle stopped his retreat and the ratty old plastic walls gave in to the force and he felt himself falling, flailing for some kind of support to regain balance.
Lucifer looked genuinely worried before the back of Sam's head connected with the tiled wall and everything vanished.
The crash had Dean go for the knife before he was even fully awake. A taste of cheap whiskey still lingered on his tongue and the price of temporary reprieve weighed heavily in his head. He was pissed even before he got out of bed. The bathroom door being open and Sam's bedding empty told him enough.
"Wha-?" Bobby asked groggily from his place at the door.
There was no reply from his pain in the ass brother and Dean had to grit his teeth to hold back the worry that mingled with his anger. What the fuck was the bitch up to now? He walked over to the open bathroom door and the moment he saw Sam crashed into the cubicle, covered in plastic parts from the broken walls, fear took over the anger and he had to consciously push it back.
"What the hell, Sam?" He growled when he hunched beside the remnant of the cubicle and reached out to shake his brother awake. "'C'mon, wake up already. I've only had a couple of hours of sleep and I'm so good damned tired of y - this."
Sam groaned and tried yo shield his face with his arms. His eyes weren't even open yet and still he struggled to crawl away from Dean.
"Ge'way fro'me," he mumbled.
And Dean noticed the blood on Sam's hand, the missing IV-port and the cuts on his arms from the plastic he'd fallen through. He noted that Sam was not entirely there, not entirely awake and groggy and hurt as hell and still those words cut like a knife. For reasons Sam couldn't know about.
But it was enough for Dean to lose it. Enough for him to lash out at Sam, again.
"Why the fuck to you keep doing this, Sam?" He barked, grabbing the front of Sam's soaked T-shirt and shaking him hard.
"Dean," Bobby warned while screeches from the foldable bed's metal frame against the floor pushed another of Dean's buttons. He rose to loom above his brother's fallen frame and dug his fingers into Sam's shoulders to pull him up.
Sam opened his eyes and Dean froze mid-pull.
There was the same terrified look, that unique hazel that shifted color according to the light. The hazel that had seemed muted from pain, incomprehension, dejection and unspeakable fear in hell. The hazel that seemed to glow golden, like the eyes of a panther, when reflecting the fires of hell. Whatever color they had been, Dean had always known it was Sam's eyes, watching him.
Dean let go and stumbled backwards. He let Sam fall to the wall with a thud, let his little brother's head knock into the wall; watched Sam's eyes blink, then look at him with terror before they slowly slid shut. The whiskey revolted and rose up to burn in Dean's throat.
He turned and ran, almost toppling over Bobby that was struggling to pull himself into the wheelchair, and scrambled up the stairs. Arriving to the upstairs bathroom, he did exactly what Sam had done before; fell to his knees in front of the throne and puked.
When he was done, he noted Cas standing in the doorway, watching him with a face of total fascination over the train-wreck Dean felt like.
"It's not polite to stare, Cas!" Did it really have to be him to clue an angel in on the common niceties? That really was a job more suited for Sam. "Where have you been?"
Cas was his usual self, face blank and unreadable while he informed that he'd been on a mission, following a lead. He didn't need to say it had lead nowhere, he wouldn't be back here if it had.
"Yeah? Well, follow this lead and get down and help Sam and Bobby!" Dean pointed in the direction of the stairs and it took Cas a whole minute before he had traduced human speech into angel lingo and turned to leave.
Dean splashed cold water on his face, rinsed his mouth and washed his teeth before he dared look at himself in the mirror. Yes, just as he thought, he looked just peachy. No wonder he'd scared the crap outta Sammy. Dean wondered why his brother hadn't burst out in an exorcism at the mere sight of the bloodshot eyes? Probably too out of it. Dean didn't even want to know what Sam saw in him right now, kid was already dating Lucifer, no wonder he was short-circuiting at having more crap to cope with. Dean knew he wasn't exactly helping right now.
Everything was coming back to him, things he's managed to push so far back they barely existed came floating up to the surface. Wouldn't even stay down with liquor! The fuckers knew how to swim! Damned Zach to take him to a place where he'd had to face how easy it was to step over the line, and damned Sam to remind him that when the line was crossed, no-one was safe. He'd hoped he'd never have to tell Sam, he truly thought he'd be able to handle it without taking it out on Sam. But he felt himself slipping into uncontrollable anger when it came to Sam. And it wasn't Sam's fault. He'd have to come clean to make his brother understand. As messed-up and ugly as it was, he'd have to explain.
He just wasn't sure his brother would ever look at him the same again.
Bobby was pondering on getting the chainsaw and cutting off the useless wooden bulks he had to fight to get seated in the wheelchair. They were just in the way right now. His upper body strength was still not what he wished for. Pulling himself up and into the chair had sweat dripping into his eyes and just turning enough to place his ass straight had the legs, which he really refused to consider his right now, turn out to be a major obstacle. The darned thing was that he had no time to bleed out right now. He called for Dean, just to know what the fuck was up with the ghostly white faced son of a gun that rushed past him like the devil was on his track? But Dean was long gone when Bobby got his bearing back and his attention was on the all too quiet bathroom. If he'd ever needed an angel, it was right now, so where was the feathery abomination?
Halfway over the floor
he noted that Sam's bare feet were placed in a position that boded no
And he was right; Sam had managed to find the exact position that made it impossible for Bobby to get to him without causing more damage. What the hell the kid was doing in the ex-shower cabinet, obviously out cold again and with some added cuts on his arms was not the most important question right now. How to get him out, check that the idjit had not managed to break something vital and getting him back to bed was on top of Bobby's list at the moment.
Which, under current circumstances, was as easy as taking a sprint up the stairs to check on Dean. He'd have to tie both of them down at some point, just to get them to spill what the hell exactly, was going on.
He pinched the sole of Sam's right foot hard and got a twitch. "Sam?"
There was some movement, not much but enough for Bobby to repeat the ministration. "Hey kiddo, I so don't condone sleeping in the only bathroom on this floor. It's gonna make visits embarrassing."
Sam peeled first one eye open and then the other. Then he arranged his bruised mug into a trademark bitchface and mumbled: "Ouch".
Or at least that' what Bobby figured he meant.
"What the hell happened, you idjit?" Bobby inquired.
Sam looked at him, trying to focus and damned if his pupils still weren't a bit off in the lining up department. The slightly cross-eyed look made Bobby realize that dragging Sam to his feet and expect him to walk out was asking for more trouble.
"I dunno," Sam pouted like a five year old. "I piss'd 'im off."
"Huh? No, stay still before you take the house down. Who you talking about?" Bobby tried to stop Sam from getting to his feet, which would have been an easier task if he wasn't off his while trying to handle a 10 feet tall, wobbly Winchester.
"Deeeen," Sam whined, slid and rolled over to his side. Right onto the freshly patched up surgical incision. Bobby grabbed the soaked t-shirt and pulled hard enough to roll him off the cabinet's bottom part to the floor.
"You and your freakin' brother are gonna kill me," Bobby grunted. "Son, if I say stay still, you stay still you bone-headed, stubborn, son of a – Sam?"
The kid was curled up on his side, eyes clammed shut, breaths sounding harsh and raspy.
"Is he resting?" Castiel asked and Bobby had another minor heart attack. He had stopped counting them by now. The angel was standing right there, peering down at Sam.
"No, he's counting the stars," Bobby grumbled and Castiel merely raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"I do not think -."
"Yeah, yeah, just zap him back to bed, will ya?"
Castiel looked doubtful. "I do not think I can accomplish that right now. I just zapped, as you say, myself from Rio."
"You're useless, you know that?" Bobby glared.
"I think we need to get Sam to bed the traditional way," Castiel said and stepped to stand behind Sam's shoulders.
"Now that just sounds downright dirty," Bobby remarked as the angel pulled Sam up to stand as if he weighed nothing.
Sam looked terrified where he stood, arm pulled over the angel's shoulder.
"Would you accompany us?" Castiel asked. "Sam feels rather unsteady and I think it would be opportunistic to take him to bed without both of us as aids."
Bobby waited until Castiel had walked Sam through the doorway before he rolled up to the left side of the wobbling Winchester. "Grip the handle," he ordered with a nod to the wheelchair's back.
Getting Sam back was easier than Bobby had expected. Sam just seemed to grit his teeth and walk. He was a Winchester after all. And watching his closed off face, Bobby wondered if he'd ever get the full picture from either one of them about the cracks between the two? Because even if they had hooked back up, things had changed drastically.
After settling Sam down and pulling up the covers, Bobby sent Castiel to check on Dean and went for a new IV-port. He waved the plastic contraction with the impressive needle in front of Sam's face and leered.
"If you ever tell anyone about that particularly sinister conversation, son - ."
It was a moot threat because Sam had already closed his eyes. Bobby decided it was just as good.
Sam just wished himself away from everything. He was just too tired for all this crap. Bone tired and fed up. With not really belonging anywhere, with never being good enough. Dean was pissed at him and rightfully so, Bobby was just, well Bobby and Sam knew he was complicating the situation for him. He should be helping Bobby out, not trashing his house. The sound of a plastic wrapping being torn open before the tugging on the newly inserted IV-port in his hand barely registered. Every part of his body felt like it had declared a full-scale war on him. He'd protest, but he knew it was futile; Bobby would pump him full of painkillers again, leaving him wide open to Lucifer. Not that it seemed to matter anyhow; Lucifer was with him even when he was awake at this point. There seemed to be no escape. Maybe he should just say yes and fight from the inside? Weaken the Devil so Dean got a shot at killing him?
Dean would not hesitate this time; Sam had seen the rage in his brother's eyes.
When the drugs clawed at his mind, distorting his rationale, Sam didn't even fight. He stepped into the velvety darkness and let everything go. He was tired of fighting.
Dean didn't dare look at Bobby when he got back down with the coffee mugs in hand. Didn't want to see the reprimand on the older man's face. Didn't want to get into explanations of any kind.
He'd already grilled Cas about Sam and Cas was as informative as a clinical chart. He referred that Sam looked the same, just felt wobbly and feverish but not what Dean wanted to know. Did Sam still act like a kicked puppy? Did he still have that fear in his eyes? That terror that had hit Dean like the fires of hell?
That was something Dean had to check for himself.
He hesitated at the doorway, noting Bobby still being occupied with stitching a new scratch on Sam's forearm. Which really should be Dean's job. Resting the mugs on the table with the medical equipment, he finally glanced briefly in the general direction of his brother's face. Sam's stillness was downright comforting.
"Bitch out cold, huh?" he quipped, stepping back to a safe distance from actually having Sam in his field of vision. A table-lamp was strategically placed and cast a pool of light on the area of interest. "Got some nuked coffee from yesterday, want me to take over?"
Bobby eyed him briefly. "No."
Something in Bobby's tone felt like a slap.
"What? You don't trust me to make pretty stitches?"
This time Bobby looked him dead in the eyes. "Don't trust Johnny Walker."
Dean had no suitable come back and he looked up to the vent in the ceiling. The dawn had broken, but there was nothing but gray clouds hovering over them. The silence grew too long and too uncomfortable.
"I'm gonna fix the elevator for you today. I figured out a way for you to get your ass up and down in a black-out, y'know, with the apocalypse and all."
"An' when are you goin' to start fixin' yourself? Or letting your brother in on what's eatin' you?" Bobby pulled the sterile gloves off with a snap.
Dean took the only way out of the road-block he knew wouldn't sell him out totally; diversion. Snatching the cup off the table, he downed half of it in one sip. "He still cross-eyes when you got him here?"
"You sure you being on the road together is a good thing right now? Wasn't thrilled when I heard you'd split up but now I wonder if it wasn't the right thing to do after all? Sam can fix the elevator up as long as you leave him a note of what to do with it, and the freaking shower, when he gets back on his feet. Maybe you should take your bud and leave for a while? Let me put those angel repellents on the house and hope it keeps Lucifer out?"
Dean had been expecting this. "You don't get it, Bobby."
"Damned straight, I don't," Bobby replied. "Maybe you've been hanging out with angels too much but I'm fairly sure Sam's as bad on reading minds as I am. But what I do know is that Sam's your brother and he's been drowning for a long while. Even before you went to the pit he was falling apart. And you can't fault him for wanting to sell his soul to save you. You can fault him for being a stupid ass and a pigheaded moron, but not for wanting to kill Lilith. Because last I remember we were all ready to gank her. It was just that Sam had the means. Your new buds could have told him that it was kind of a monumentally stupid move. They didn't tell either of you, they were just hauling you both down the line to this point, for very shady reasons. You figured that out yet?"
"You're so off the mark, Bobby!" Dean shook his head and turned his head to look at Sam. Yeah, his brother had been a moron, for wanting to sacrifice his soul and life in the unholy revenge he was dead set on. But he was just a Winchester, it kind of ran in their blood. Being stupid bitches for family ties, tradition or whatever, was stamped on their asses. He'd just thought Sam would be different; he'd been unfair in his expectations. Sam had just lingered longer in the hopelessness that Dean knew like he knew his baby's engine. Sam had had months to face what Dean had caved in to after three days in Cold Oak.
watched Sam's face; gaunt in the grayish light, hair damp from sweat,
lips crackled from fever and
exhaustion. Beaten, his brother looked so beaten.
Dean reached to tuck the escaped corner of the blanket in under the feet that looked too bare for comfort and glanced back at Bobby. "You just got it all wrong, Bobby."
Bobby leaned back in his chair and wiggled his finger in the direction of the rapidly cooling coffee. When Dean passed the cup over, Bobby held his gaze.
"Then set me straight."
"Got nothing to do with angels, it's between me and Sammy."
"Oh, hand me a tissue, I think I need to have a good cry," Bobby jeered.
"Shut up!" Dean turned to rush back up the stairs. "I'll go get Cas to sit with Sam while I fix the elevator and you do your toiletry things or whatever, upstairs And maybe, some breakfast? Right? Since Cas ain't exactly a wiz in that department. I think he lacks your feminine touch to stuff."
Dean grinned to himself. It felt good to be back on Bobby's good side. Bobby did not beat around the bush, even if it was the wrong bush. Yeah, he needed to have a freaking talk with Sammy. Tissue alert and all. And Sam was, well – Sam. Bitch had an uncanny capacity to get under his skin. So fucking good at getting a lot of stuff without even being told. Actually, he was better at getting untold stuff than than actually listening to perfectly good reasons. Sometimes Dean understood how crazy that must have driven Dad. Just their fucking luck to end up with a psychic emo with puppy eyes of doom in the family.
This time, Sam didn't jump at the hand on his shoulder. He'd known Lucifer was coming thanks to the spectacular light that preceded his arrival at the shore on which Sam found himself. Sitting on the warm sand, watching the peaceful lapping of the waves at the shore, he didn't even steel himself for the seduction of evil.
He was so tired.
This time Lucifer didn't show his face; he just laid his hand on Sam's shoulder and sat there in silence. Sam watched the waves come to shore, reminding him of the circle of life. Somewhere out there, a wave was formed by the undercurrent, rose to break the surface and sailed over the vast expanse until it hit the sand and died in order to join the riptide again. It was its destiny. It had no say if it was going to sail a stormy or a calm sea, no say in its own magnitude. It just followed the laws of physics until it died and was reborn in the tow that drew it back out into the depths. It was easy and natural, no questions asked, no moral dilemmas involved. No rights or wrongs, just an eternal flow.
"I ask forgiveness for scaring you earlier, Samuel. I wanted to help you, keep you from hurting yourself." Lucifer's voice suddenly broke trough Sam's ruminations. He didn't bother to answer.
"You are beautiful like this, watching the ocean. Did anybody ever tell you how stunning you are? How stunning God made you for me?"
Sam moved away from the hand on his shoulder.
"Yes, Sam, you were made for me. There's a reason you're strong and beautiful. You have to know that, deep inside." Lucifer cupped Sam's chin and turned him gently to meet with the mellow blue of his vessel's eyes. The face of evil. that held no characteristics that Sam wold recognize right away. No yellow or black eyes, no horns, no snake tongue. Just an earnest human face.
"Uhm, missed the entire genetic part of the equation, did you? The procreation part of religion has changed while you were in the pit. We actually do it on our own now." Sam almost rolled his eyes.
"And you have so much fun doing it too," Lucifer laughed, delighted and moved closer. "I like it when you get sarcastic. It's very becoming and still seems so utterly -." Lucifer paused, watching Sam intently. "ingenuous." The pad of his thumb gently followed the line over Sam's cheekbone and down his jawline. "You really think your genes were what made you the perfect vessel? The genes only facilitated the process, I sent my son to make you what you are today. I helped create you. I helped form your tall figure, your lean, muscled body, all that explosive strength you keep tied up most of the time. You genes may have given you the perfect bone structure and the, may I say so, very endearing mop of hair and tender heart, but I gave you what it takes."
"You will never have me," Sam seethed.
"No?" Lucifer inched in, gripping Sam's face in both of his hands.
When the Devil's eyes captivated his, Sam felt himself go limp and powerless. He was utterly stunned by the turn of events when he found himself on his back, arms and legs splayed. It felt like being tied up all over, without any visible strings, just Lucifer's power over his mind and it was enough of a shock to leave Sam reeling.
"Right now I do have you, Samuel. And I want to touch you. Feel what you feel because it intrigues me, the blissfulness I've heard spoken about, what angels really do envy; human physicality."
Lucifer's hand ran languidly down Sam's flank. "What did Jessica use to do to you Sunday mornings? Remember how she'd wake you up with kisses?" Lucifer bent over Sam to kiss a trail along his collarbone, stopping to lap at the hollow between them. "Remember how she'd tie you to the bed frame and you just let her. You had enough power to break the ties with just a flick of your wrists and you still let her have her way with you. Do whatever she wanted to, because you trusted her. You enjoyed the powerlessness as she played your every string. You'd gruff protests just to make her happy. You enjoyed total submission to her because you loved and trusted her. And she did things to you you'd never let anyone else do, you begged her and you rejoiced in the power she had over you. And that Sam, is something you usually rebel against. "
Lucifer teeth nipped at Sam's nipples, causing him to let out a deep growl. Lips trailed a path over his abdomen, hand sliding downward, blunt nails scraping over heated skin that formed goosebumps in the wake of the caress.
Sam clammed his eyes shut. No, not Jessica, leave Jessica out of this, please! He wanted to scream the words, but they only echoed in his mind while his body betrayed him by reacting to the hands expertly manipulating his body. Tears sprang to his eyes, he was just so shocked, at his body's reactions, Lucifer's new, very hands on seduction and the fact that he wasn't able to fight it. That his own mind had folded at the assault. His own mind was doing this to him; mixing memories with a living nightmare. A lust and fear that involved every fiber in his invisibly tied up body.
Lucifer's touch was just right; steady hand moving on his erection, almost playful, toothy nips at his collar bone, licks up his neck to his earlobe. The sting when teeth pulled at the lobe of his ear, warm breath and the tip of a tongue soothing the pain. Lucifer played him just right, touched every strategic point, knew every dirty fantasy. Hand cupping his balls, heat coursing though him at the sensation. The tip of a tongue defining the length of his swollen member, circling the head with precision to then lap at it, hungrily and wetly. The moment he felt lips stretch out around his erection, taking him in to the hilt, he fell apart from the familiar tingling and it was all over before Sam's mind had caught up. Lucifer's hand was splayed on Sam's abdomen when the world exploded in white light and left him gasping.
"No, no, no, no!" Sam back arched and he opened his eyes to the fan's dizzying movements and Castiel's slightly raised eyebrows.
"Oh, God no, please!" Sam turned to his side, curling up around himself in a fetal position. He trembled uncontrollably, from the aftermath and the disbelief that his body would react so readily to physical stimuli. His body had been possessed against his will and it had reacted with pleasure while his mind was screaming no.
"You all right, Sam?" Castiel asked.
Sam fought the sickness creeping up on him, invading him as the full realization hit. The smell of sweat, sex and panic filled his nostrils and he had to swallow convulsively to keep the self-loathe from manifesting itself physically.
"Cas? He awake?" Dean asked from somewhere further away.
Sam shuddered when he heard the two of them engaged in a mumbled discussion; the mortification was now complete. His hand gripped the edge of the bed so hard his fingers ached when he started to register the pain returning to his limbs. His heart still worked overtime, making the blood rush through his veins and now it was flooding him with the pain he'd escaped earlier. Sweat ran down his front, burned in his eyes and had him gasp for air while fighting the nausea.
Dean's hand gripped Sam's shoulder, trying to turn him to his back. Sam just curled up tighter on himself.
"Lucifer?" Dean asked with trepidation.
Tears of humiliation brimmed in the corners Sam's closed eyes and all he wanted was to disappear when Dean cursed low in his throat and kicked the table by the beside hard enough to send it crashing to the floor.
Sam knew his failure was evident.
It was the crazy gleam in Sam's eyes that had Bobby hit the speed-dial. In contrast to Dean's explosive rage, Sam seemed to slowly slide into complete insanity and that was a thing Bobby couldn't deal with.
"Doc's coming over and she's gonna have our hides when she sees Sam but I don't think we have any other options right now. Kid's so stressed out his body doesn't have a chance to heal." Bobby reported when he'd watched Dean run amok on the remnants of the bedside table for a good ten minutes. Normally he'd have ran down the stairs at the sound of the but this time, the elevator ride had actually helped him gather himself enough to not be pulled into Dean's blind rage.
Dean was unable to look at his brother, he was wild-eyed and out of control, breaking what was left of the table to tiny bits with his bare hands. The angel had retreated to stand by the wall, watching Dean from the shadows while Bobby made the call.
By then Sam was a trembling heap on the bed, sweat running in rivulets off him, body was tensed to a string after he'd refused the painkillers by demonstratively ripping the needle out of his vein, twice. Didn't help with Dean holding him down while Bobby inserted a new one. Didn't help with Dean begging Sam to cool it, didn't help when Dean called his brother every name in some unholy shortlist of invectives that only Dean knew. Didn't help when Dean's voice almost broke on the second round of pleas and Sam turned his head to look at Dean and mumbled, "No, Dean, please!"
It was like Dean had been stabbed right in the heart. He let go of Sam's arms, stepped back and looked about to faint. His expression was one of absolute shell-shock and Bobby had stopped breathing for a while, pausing with the insertion of a new needle into Sam's rebelling vein. Sam had whined quietly when he plucked the half-inserted IV-port out and curled back up into a tight ball.
Dean had just turned away, white-faced and looking sick, to go off on the splintered wood on the floor. He hadn't stopped torturing whomever or whatever the wood was personifying until he was out of breath and shaking just as bad as Sam.
Bobby had expected the blow-down for a while. It was never a good sign when both Winchesters were off the rails.
Bobby just let Dean work his anger out while he pressed a pad to Sam's poked vein. He knew the anger wasn't directed at Sam, but he wasn't sure Sam was cognizant enough to realize that this was vintage Dean on a rampage over happenings out of his control. And Sam was out of Dean's control now, had been for a while and Bobby had no idea how to make Dean see that, before he parked himself in a straight-jacket. He'd have to consult Aina about Dean too. Not that he knew exactly how to spell out Dean's case without coming off like a psychotic case himself. How do you explain to a scientist that the young man had been to the pit and wasn't fairing very well? If she even mentioned therapy, Bobby was sure Dean would take delight in chasing them both straight to the mentioned location.
Bobby smiled sardonically at himself; Dean would have his ass in the pit in no time since running was out of the question. "Dean, I gotta get upstairs to let the Doc in. You comin'?"
"What? You don't trust me? You've been all over the place with trying to keep me away from Sam lately. Is there something you're itchin' to tell me?" Dean looked darkly at him, still slightly out of breath. "I've taken care of Sam since he was a little twat. I can handle him."
"Right, your handling right now is impressive, son." Sometimes Bobby wanted to shake Dean hard enough to rattle him out of the funk he was in right now. The question was no longer about handling anyone, it was about understanding what was happening to Sam. Understanding enough to find a fucking solution. Since the one perfectly sane solution, leaving Sam in the ICU until the kid was able to see straight had been aborted. They needed to put things in perspective. Not rely on quick-fixes without really considering the consequences. And he was so going to get to the angel-dude about that. Sometimes, when it came to Sam, Dean had a slight tendency to over-react. Like with making stupid ass deals and such.
Dean rose from his hunched position and demonstratively walked over to his brother on the cot.
"Sam's my bro, Bobby. So at times I wanna ditch him at the road but he's still my fucking pain in the ass and that's it. However much he refuses to get that, it's still the truth. And sometimes I fuckin' wanna kick myself for worrying over the bitch like he's still five but I can't help it. I know it pisses him off, I get why it pisses him off. But when he's like this, all banged up and out of his head, I'm always gonna freakin' worry about him. And no one can tell me to stop. Coz' he'd be right where I am now if it was me. So he has slightly better bedside manners than I do, but he'd be just a fucked up about it. And you know it, Bobby."
Dean leaned on his hands, half bent over the bed, head hung low and Bobby knew the words were not really meant for him, but for the stubborn, pigheaded other Winchester in the room.
And Bobby just knew it all too well. Dean was right; both of them were fucked up for different reasons and Bobby still trusted them like no one else. Which probably meant he needed his head checked out as well.
"Dammit Dean, that was beautiful. Sounds like Sam's rubbing off on you in the chick-flick department."
"Oh, shut up! Cas can help you set the table with the flowery porcelain for the Doc. I bet you two can fold napkins into swans while you're at it."
Dean was busy trying to peel the sweaty t-shirt off his bundled up brother, who kept mumbling into the mattress and doing his best at hindering the process. Dean hushed him and told him it was going to be just fine if Sam just quit being a stupid ass. Bobby bit back on the jibe about Dean clearly having more of a knack for girly things than he thought. He let it go since Dean's tone of voice spoke louder than the words.
It was a Kodak-moment and Bobby smiled. The only thing Dean took as tender care of as the Impala was his brother. It was downright adorable.
Bobby rolled to the elevator with the angel dude right behind. He hoped Castiel would keep his mouth shut when Aina dropped in. If he presented himself like an angel of the Lord in his current outfit and dishevelled look, Bobby was sure his very profitable relationship with the doc would be over. He could come up with stories that made sense about everything else, but an angel in a dirty trenchcoat? That one would never fly.
Sam concentrated on listening to his own heartbeat, tried to vanish in the beat not to hear or feel how Dean's anger floated in the claustrophobic room. He welcomed the pulsing pain, it kept Lucifer's voice in the back of his mind.
There was a constant, eerily
calm, flow of words.
"You need to set Dean free, Samuel. You know that, and the bond between you will never be broken before you accept me. For Dean's sake Sam, accept me. Dean has my angel brothers on his side, they will treat him right. Don't fear for him, he will not accept to be Michael's sword, you will never have to fight him. You will fight for him. When this all is over, when I have conquered the world, you can give Dean anything he ever deserved and wanted. But you need to accept your destiny for that to come to fruition. For Dean, Sam, accept me and pay your debts."
He was unable to silence the endless litany and it was wearing him down. It was a tiredness that he feared because right there, just past the closing of eyes, was Lucifer and Sam was so very close to giving in.
When Dean pulled the t-shirt off him, he didn't even have the force to tell his brother that he was perfectly capable of undressing himself. It all came out in a slurred mumble and Dean chided him with just as much conviction in his tone of voice. Dean was tired too.
But Dean kept talking; a low steady stream of words floated over Sam while he felt his hand being tugged from its hiding and Dean telling him he was glad Sam hadn't opted for a career in medicine. Apparently he was a failure at any- and everything.
Sam tried to roll away, to avoid cornering Dean into the old parental role all over. Freeing him from all obligations. But Dean held steady and his voice softened. And Lucifer faded away as Sam listened.
"Look dude, I know you're too out of it to understand anything right now but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Just coz you need to know and I can't tell you when you use those puppy eyes on me. See, when I was in hell, the worst wasn't the torture when they ripped the skin off my bones. That was bad mojos and all with the pain and stuff, but they didn't break me. Not like that. Nope, the dirtbags broke me when they got into my head. Like Lucifer, the fuckin' SOB that's gonna be so sorry he ever went there when I get my hands on him. Sammy, they made me see you in there. I didn't know if you had survived and I kept asking them to tell me at least that. That you weren't in the pit too, that the skank hadn't gotten to you like she did to me. Fuckers just laughed at me and then I started seeing you there. I saw them tear into you, watched them eat your intestines and rip you apart. I got of the rack because they promised to stop torturing you, Sammy."
Sam felt Dean's hand tremble and Sam had to fight for air. Dean screaming and begging, not for himself but for his failure of a brother?
"I thought I had saved you, I wished I had saved you but then the SOBs figured I wasn't enjoying the torture enough. I wasn't good at it they said, my heart wasn't in it. Alistair was one crazy bitch! He really went out of his way to make me act like one of them, like having my hands in the guts of some poor bastard was the highlight of my day. Couldn't convince me, I did my job and that was it, wasn't throwing no party about it."
Dean paused and Sam steeled himself from reaching out to his brother. Just to tell him it was okay, whatever he did in hell had no bearing on who he was. That nothing he'd done in hell mattered, not to Sam, not to anybody who knew who Dean really was.
"I started seeing you in everyone I tortured, Sammy. You'd look up at me, mug a bloodied mess but fuck me slow if I didn't recognize your eyes. Yeah, in the middle of me at my hottest, ripping some fucking bastard's stomach up, you'd look at me all puppy eyed. I remember this chick I was about to push into burning oil and right before she fell, she turned around and she was you. It didn't happen all the time, they knew just how to drive me insane. I started poking their eyes out, not to see you. I ripped them apart and felt so fucking happy when the poor sod turned out not to be you, Sam. I broke because I couldn't stay strong enough to see through their mind games."
Dean's voice was a broken mess by now and Sam didn't know what to do. He wanted to scream, he wanted to salt and burn hell, wanted to do anything to erase all that from Dean's memory. He'd take anything as long as Dean wouldn't have to remember, wouldn't have to live it over and over again. The defeat of stepping up to Alistair's side because of him, the brother that was a nightmare to have every way you looked at it.
"That's why I was so pissed at you when you used your powers, man. I was pissed because you had willingly turned to them, that you played with fire without goddamned getting it! You were ready to become one of them and you weren't listening. I'm still your fucking big brother, you sissy and I was there before you, walking that fucking line. I stepped over it and became a monster. I just couldn't watch you doing the same. I know how easy it's to slide down that path, Sammy. You always have reasons. I told myself I did at the time, and you had all these valid points as to why you needed to do what you did. And all I saw was me breaking your every bone in hell, for reasons I told myself were valid. Me stripping your hide off and you looking at me, like you did when you were five. All innocent pup. Sammy, you had the same blood even then, don't you see it, you moron? You had that same stuff inside of you back then and there was never any evil in you Sammy. Don't let them win, please, Sam. Lucifer's gonna screw with you, big time, I know that. And I get that I can't help you, that it's all in your head and it's your fight. I even know it's too much to ask but just don't cave to the SOB. Be stronger than me, just this time. I'm not gonna ask anything else of you, I promise. I'm just asking you to say no, for me. Kick the bastard in the jewels, Sammy, I know you can do it."
Dean's voice was barely audible now, words mixed with running snot and tears and Sam's rage was burning bright. It ran in his veins, the familiar feeling of need for revenge. The need to do something, anything!
"Sometimes it all comes back and I can't stand myself. It smacks me in the face and I don't know what to do about it. All I can do is stop you from becoming what I became down there; a fucking monster."
Sam's intestines were knit up so hard that he had trouble breathing and all he managed right now was to curl his fingers around Dean's wrist and hold on tight.
Dean hiccuped on a sneeze. "What the -. You awake?"
Sam nodded into the pillow.
"You sneaky bitch." Dean leaned in towards his face and Sam could practically hear the relieved grin. And it hurt, it hurt that Dean had kept all this inside, like he was ashamed of doing what any human would have done and long before Dean ever did.
"Tell anybody about me spilling this all in your lap and I'll trash your laptop, cut all your fucking hoodies to pieces and Nair you all over."
"Go' it, 'erk!" Sam clammed his eyes tightly shut to stop the tears.
"And stop fuckin' crying!" Dean smacked the back of his head lightly, muttering something about Sam being such a girl. He left his hand resting on the nape of Sam's neck when he continued: "I think the Doc's arrived. I hear her ripping Bobby a new one. Sounds worse than a pistol this one. So gonna tell her to get the blunt needle for stubborn ass pigs if there's injections or stuff needed. Just as a precaution for you not blabbering, bitch!"
Sam smiled through his tears.
Bobby had to take a deep breath when he opened the front door. Standing eye to eye with Aina Nagaki had scared even the Poltergeist enough to stay put, probably shivering in a corner, when she was in the house. It only made a ruckus around her husband. Which had complicated things regarding credibility.
It wasn't until the Poltergeist had made the mistake to take on the priceless porcelain that Aina had collected for years that her goblet had run over. The moment she'd laid her eyes on the shredded treasures, she had looked something akin to what she looked like now. Ready to maim.
Bobby had to swirl away from the door when she stormed in. For a woman with a fairly short stature, she moved like a hurricane on top of a typhoon.
"Where is he?" She let the suitcase fall to the floor with a thud and glared once again for good measure. "Ouch, that thing weighs a ton. Thank you very much for being so very descriptive of the problem at hand that you had me haul the clinic along."
Even Castiel looked for a escape route by now.
"In the cellar, I have kind of a Panic -."
Aina bent down to get eye to eye with him. "You keep a boy that's been stabbed and trashed around in a cellar?"
Bobby backed the wheelchair instinctively. "We had him on the couch in the kitchen but he's like 10 feet tall and when he started trashing -."
"You just locked him up in the cellar? A humid, dusty hole in the ground with scarce ventilation? Boy's got a fever and that's where you stash him? In the most unsanitary environment imaginable?"
Castiel moved nervously from the stove, apparently looking for a safe retreat..
"Stop it right there mister," Aina barked. "Boil some water."
For being an angel and all, Castiel looked really spooked, Bobby noted.
"I think I need to confer with Dean about -," he started. It only took one look from the woman to make him nod and follow Bobby's pointed finger to the cupboard with the saucepans. He found one that looked like it would fit half a cow and Bobby nodded approvingly at him.
"Now, Bobby Singer, take me to the boy and then stay out of my way or I'll have you neutered."
Bobby didn't doubt for a moment she'd do just that and with pleasure and he was happy to point her down the stairs while he rolled to the elevator. This time, his condition was a blessing in disguise.
Halfway down he heard it: "A dungeon, Bobby? You keep your inured in a dungeon?"
Then there was the scraping sound of a chair being pulled away from the sick-bed, Dean mumbling his name and telling the good doc he was Sam's brother.
"When did you last eat? You look about ready to keel over," Aina continued and Bobby wished for a black-out when the ridiculous, homemade box of meat-lift thudded to a rest besides the landing of the stairs.
"Uh, wha? I'm fine, it's -."
The woman even got Dean stuttering? She was in fine form. Bobby steeled himself for all the daggers that were going to get glared in his direction.
"Aina, listen, he was having hallucinations and we had to tie him down, for his own sake." Bobby rolled the chair rapidly toward the Panic Room.
When Bobby rolled in, Aina was standing by Sam's side, pinching him on the neck. Eyes square on Dean while pointing an insisting finger at the wooden chair that had been placed by the wall. "Sit!"
Dean threw Bobby a wide-eyed look and did as told.
Sam was curled up into as tight a ball as his freakishly long legs allowed.
"Sam?" Bobby leveled his eyes to Sam's line of sight. Boy looked just as surprised as everybody else in the room. "I'm betting someone forgot to introduce themselves. The one poking you is Aina, and I swear, she doesn't act it but she's a hell of a doc. Stitched me up more times than I can remember. She's gonna talk your left ear off but she'll do the job."
"M'fine," Sam mumbled, fever roses on his cheeks and voice raspy and barely audible. "Why'she pinchin' me?"
Aina snorted theatrically. "He's fine? What I wanna know first is why this young man here looks like he's been dragged through mud? He's filthy and covered with cuts and bruises." Aina drew her finger down Sam's back and looked poignantly at the mark it left.
"Well, he -," Bobby looked over to Dean, hoping for assistance. Dean shuffled the chair closer to the wall and refused to collaborate. "We had an incident earlier; he kinda, fell through a wall."
Aina stared. "You threw him though a wall?"
"Nooo, I fell," Sam winched.
"Which means you were up on your feet. Dehydrated and a stab wound in your belly? You a masochist or something? And what's this modern art imitation on your hand?" The doc had her eyes pinned on Sam while she strapped the BP cuff to his arm, making him look like he just got caught with his fingers in the cookie jar.
"He had some sort of averse reaction to the painkillers. Pulled the IV out." Bobby moved to place himself closer to Sam, like a shield of sorts. "Kid's a little out of his head right now."
Aina snorted, with disdain this time. "You are all out of your minds. Keeping him like this. Sam here should be in a hospital, hooked up on oxygen and saline. Or at least I should have his chart so I wouldn't have to guess what's going on with him. How high's the fever and when did you last bother to check? Get scribbling down a list of what meds you've given him and when, down to the last cc's of fluids you've gotten into him. C'mon, let's roll him over so I can check the incision!"
Bobby opened his mouth to protest, wanting to point out they were void of paper and pens when Dean flew up from the chair and was at Sam's side in two long strides.
"It's the morphine that gives him hallucinations. I added 10 units in 800 cc's of saline about five hours ago. I think he got half of it before he threw a fit and pulled everything out. Haven't given him anything since. His fever's been holding relatively steady around 101 for two days now, it only peaks in the morning before he gets the antibiotics."
Sam had already worked his hand to the flaps of Dean's flannel shirt and was holding on for his life.
Bobby glanced up at Dean, totally impressed.
Aina nodded, looking approvingly at the young man. "Finally someone with some sense. Good job, Dean."
Dean met the doc's eyes and the message was clear. 'Don't mess with my bro'.
The smile on the physician's face was genuinely affectionate when she spoke. "Don't worry Dean, Sam's in rough shape right now but he will be fine. Morphine is known to mess with some individual's heads so I'll just give him something else. We'll sort this out."
Bobby was amazed at how soft and understanding her voice was.
"You go get the water," she ordered Bobby without even looking at him. "And some clean linen, this reminds me more of a pigpen than a sickbay."
"Go get the water," Bobby mumbled as he turned and rolled to the elevator. He was already getting car-sick of the travels up and down in the contraption. "Right, let me just park this thing I use for pure pleasure and hop up the stairs for Madam."
"No legs doesn't mean no brains, Singer! Don't forget wash towels and some soap!"
Bobby was so going to take this all out on Sam and get the flowery scented bar he'd ditched because it reeked. At least Dean would get to have a field day with Sam smelling like lilies.
Bobby missed the banter between the Winchesters more than he was willing to admit. Apocalypse and all; something was very wrong in the world when the Winchesters weren't on each others case. He couldn't wait for Sam to be back on his feet, bitch-facing while Dean called him on his geekiness.
One thing was clear to Sam when the doctor kept insisting on pinching his sore parts; it was his day of total humiliation. He couldn't even get a word in between the chiding he was getting. Not that he didn't deserve it but he thought he'd reached his quota of embarrassment with Lucifer being all over him? Now he'd spent at least ten minutes begging for no painkillers and still he found himself with a needle stuck in his arm and the world going wonky on him.
To top it all off the doc and Dean were discussing him like he weren't even there. Sam guessed this was the little brother part he'd have to learn to deal with. And he was happy with Dean taking charge, happy to have him there, despite the jibes he'd made about the shunt and Sam being much more fun if he was inflatable for real. Or at least that was how Sam interpreted it. The discussion had become oddly fractional, his grip on reality was slipping more and more.
But the one thing he heard was the doctor telling Dean she'd have to put him totally under to change the shunt since there was too much stagnated blood to properly irrigate the incision and she wanted Sam bagged to have more control over the proceeding.
And even while he felt he had no control over his body, he tried to get up to lean on his elbow and stop the insanity. "Please, no," he got out between gritted teeth.
Dean's hands were on his shoulders,
pulling him back down.
"Do it," Dean ordered.
Sam peered up at him, trying to plead. He'd take the pain over Lucifer any day. Dean's eyes met his, dead on and Sam knew it'd be a lost cause. He held his brother's gaze, fearing he wouldn't be as strong as Dean wanted him to be. And for a moment, there was a flicker of doubt in Dean's eyes, just a fleeting shift of color before Sam's world went black and void.
This time, Sam waited for Lucifer. He sat on the same sandy bank, eyes resting on the glittering surface of the sea. But it felt different, and Lucifer lingered. Sam sat there, absolutely still, for what seemed like hours. He'd sometimes get lost, like pulled into another reality with mumbling voices and flashing lights in darkness. Then he'd be right back here, yet there was no change in the light, no indication of time having passed. At the end, when his patience grew thin, he rose to his feet and turned around to find himself eye to eye with the devil he'd waited for.
Lucifer smiled at him, cocked his head and said: "You came."
"Not really," Sam replied. "It's still you in my head. Which makes all this a mockery. And I've learned a thing or two in between these hallucinations. One is that you can't really touch me. All you are able to do is take my memories and twist them into something different. Which, by the way, constitutes a trick in my book. So yes, you did lie."
Lucifer didn't move, he just kept smiling. "But you're here for a reason."
Sam nodded. "I'm here to tell you I feel sorry for you. All this resentment toward your brothers and God, it's not making you powerful, it's making you desperate. And I will always say no to you. Because my brother wants me to. And as long as I know Dean is fine with me saying no regardless of what you will do to him, I'll do just that; say no. Because unlike you, I believe and trust my brother."
Lucifer took a step up to him, laying a callused hand on Sam's cheek. "You're a fool. Your brother will turn his back on you the moment he has someone mighty to lean on. He's already in a liaison with Castiel, who really is a nobody. Just wait till Michael presents himself, with all his power. You'll just be dirt under Dean's soles and the whipping boy of the world. You can't stay dead, your only option is going to be saying yes. You will have nothing left to lose, nowhere left to go and no-one at your side. You will be the hunted outcast, a pariah and you will let me in. You can't escape destiny."
"You don't understand anything about being human, do you?" Sam smiled. "You have no concept of integrity. Maybe that's why God asked you to love humans? Because he gave us free will and it's a bitch because sometimes you can go totally wrong and mess up things. But some manage to do the exact right things and perform godlike acts. Not by creating an entire world, but by reaching out a hand and helping people. Not for the glory or thank you speeches, just 'cause you can."
Lucifer's smile twisted a little and Sam lowered his
voice when he continued:
"By forgiving a brother that wasn't what a brother should be. A brother that fucked up, big time. That's human, that's incredible strength and basic goodness. You can't even begin to comprehend what good people can do and that scares you, doesn't it?"
For a moment there was pure hatred in Lucifer's eyes, a scorn still burning hot with the fires of hell. The hell where Lucifer belonged and would never free himself off. Not like Dean had done. Dean had risen above it, redeemed himself by reaching out a hand to his brother that had fucked up the world. Dean hadn't given up on the world; ragged and hurt, he still fought the good fight. He still remained human, despite everything he'd been through.
And Sam smiled and turned away. He left Lucifer behind, speechless. The relief was palpable, Lucifer didn't follow, the devil had been beaten at his own game this time. Breathing suddenly seemed easier and Sam felt empowered like he'd never felt before, not even with the demon blood. He felt free.
Dean was calling for him from far away and he turned to the sound, peering into a white light.
Dean's face slowly appeared in the blinding light. The contours got clearer, and Sam frowned at the flashlight Dean was holding right above his face. "Dude! That hurts."
"Not as much as I'm gonna hurt you if you don't wake up, Sasquatch." Dean's face split up in a grin. "How you feeling, sleeping beauty?"
Sam reached up to bat the light away from his face. "Ready to take you on, jerk."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Still outta your head. How was your date with Satan?"
"I think we broke up. I think he's kinda pissed at me right now. How long was I out?"
"You pissed the devil off? Well isn't that just like you. You'll drive anyone up the wall. So he's gonna leave you alone now?" Dean leaned on his hands over Sam, looking skeptically at him.
"He can hang around me anytime he wants to, still not gonna say yes." Sam's eyelids were getting heavy and he fought to keep his eyes open. "What time is it?"
"It's 6 AM and you've been sleeping for hours since we got all the pus out of you. We pumped you up with all kind of good stuff and it looks like the fever finally broke. Doc told me you'd be snoring for a day or two but you'll be back to your emo-self eventually. Thanks to your awesome big brother." Dean pulled the covers higher and tucked Sam in. "Call me if you need anything."
Sam's eyes were already closed when he heard Dean moving away. "Dean?"
"Thanks, for everything."
"You'll be washing and waxing the Impala for a month. And another for every time you go chick-flicky on me. No get some shuteye, Francis."
Sam smiled; as far as he was concerned, Lucifer and his Apocalypse stood no chance against Dean Winchester. If nothing else worked, Dean would just insult the SOB to death.
Bobby groaned when he heard the bickering from the kitchen. It had taken the boys exactly two days after Sam got on his feet to start driving him insane. The discussions they'd had about how to fix the shower reminded him of cheap day-time dramas. Sam wanted to restore it to its former glory, Dean argued that a curtain was much more convenient since they never knew when Sam would decide to take another dive and trash it.
They ended up enlarging it and making it handicap-friendly with one, form-pressed with flowery ornaments, plastic wall and all the fixings for Bobby to use it without aid. Bobby was impressed how they managed to cram everything into such a small space but he never let it on. It wasn't in his nature to go out of his way to praise grown men. He did however cook them a fancy dinner and even made a salad for Sam. Dean never quit teasing his brother for the girly flowers on the plastic wall. Sam retaliated by putting a double dose of fabric-softer in the washing machine to make Dean's whites smell like roses.
The cursing that followed would have made a demon blush.
The moment Bobby deemed both of them fit for duty, he found a nice and easy hunt for the idjits.
Both boys almost tripped over their own toes at the prospect and they were packed and ready in fifteen. They asked if he was going to be alright on his own and Dean offered to call on Cas to keep him company.
Bobby frowned at the thought of the angel messing up his perfectly organized kitchen and showed them to the door.
He watched them throw their duffel bags in the trunk of the Impala, Sam walking with his nose stuck to the papers with the details of the hunt that Bobby had provided. Dean leaned over the Chevy's roof and said something to his brother, grinning widely, before he got into the car. Sam made a slightly lighter version of the patented bitchface and followed suit.
Bobby let the curtain fall back into place and rolled away to do more research. The Winchester boys still needed him, legs or no legs, and that was all he could ask for.
Except some peace and quiet once in a while, even with the Apocrap and all. Sam and Dean were learning to deal, and that was what was important. If they managed to handle all the crap piled on them, so would he.