Pairing: None (gen)
Summary: Dean should've known that in a battle of wits over his soul, Lilith would lose to someone who'd actually wanted to be a lawyer.
Notes: Title from the album Led Zeppelin IV. Born from a long airline flight, and don't think on Sam's logic too hard.
The Battle of Evermore
"You can't have his soul," Sam gasped. Behind his brother's back Dean struggled against the claws and hot breath pinning him to the floor – they were ugly fuckers, the hellhounds, with white pelts that split open over raw flesh and eyes that were reddened sockets filled with blood. His heart was racing and he was half desperately hoping that Sam had pulled some solution out of his ass at the last minute, half cursing the guy for stretching out the last few moments before a horrible death.
But Lilith appeared willing to humor Sam, judging from the lack of ripping flesh. She smiled at him, and even when clothed in a body the expression came across as far more malicious than was humanly possible. "Why not?" she asked.
"It – it's not yours."
"No?" Lilith purred, blind-white eyes flickering over Sam's shoulder to where Dean was pinned, spreadeagled. Since he couldn't lift his arms, Dean made a rude gesture with his tongue instead. "And here I seem to remember a certain contract in which a certain someone traded his soul so that you, my dear Sam, would live, with the conditions that he live for one more year and, so long as he didn't try to welch on his deal, you would no longer be a sack of rotting meat."
Dean let out a hissing breath, but fell silent again when a growl tore at the air. His little brother twitched violently but didn't take his eyes off the demonic bitch, and Dean felt a bit of pride poke itself through the rush of adrenaline.
"That's all true enough, but the deal was made on invalid terms," Sam was saying, and for Chrissakes he sounded like he was fucking arguing with a professor. "When I died, my soul went – well, somewhere else. Dean agreed to exchange his soul to go to Hell so that mine would be brought back. However, since I was never in Hell but – y'know, beyond the veil or whatever, his soul should technically be passing on and not going to Hell at all."
Lilith's smile was still indulgent – condescendingly patient – as she paced slowly, making Sam turn and allowing Dean to see them both from his awkward position. Fucking bitch. He hoped Sam would shoot her in the face since Dean wouldn't be around to do it himself. "He paid for my service in bringing you back and agreed to my terms. Without me as the middleman – "
"You were essentially pawning stolen goods to him, which is against the rules in every realm, including Hell. And Faerie, for that matter. Everyone knows a story in which property that was taken without being kosher results in some rather gruesome punishments." The hell? "Technically this whole business of taking human souls in payment for something else is entirely against the laws of, well, everyone, particularly in regards to resurrection. But I'm just here for one client in particular."
"I'm a demon, your pitiful human laws – "
But Sam had obviously hit his stride, and dude. He was one stubborn motherfucker, which lessened the creepiness of being related to someone who would've made a pretty good lawyer or FBI agent or something fucked up like that. "Criminals are no less bound to the rules than good citizens, aren't they? And you were human once, the first woman even before Eve, and so you can't claim angelic amnesty. Which still wouldn't work because, even though God's laws are higher than the laws of man, He also said that what we hold to be true down here on earth will also be held true in Heaven. And even if He didn't originally create that law, there's been enough precedent set in its favor that any court in any plane of existence would probably push it through anyway. Repealing it would upset the balance of several thousand years of human interaction with supernatural forces, make people question old agreements and treaties and whatnot. I bet the fairies would be happy to reconsider their annual tithe to Hell. So."
Though by this point Lilith looked about as animate as a marble statue (he had to give her props, lesser demons tended to be pretty fucking undignified or whatever when things didn't go their way), Dean had the distinct impression that her demon-ness was flailing with helpless fury. He couldn't help wondering what Sam and his own weird psychic demon skills might be picking up, but Sam's profile wasn't telling him much. Sam's desperation had calmed enough to allow a thin smirk – a goddamned smirk – to curl his lips.
"And if your precious brother's soul isn't mine, whose is it?"
"Mine, of course. Since I'm the owner of the equivalent of the stolen property in this arrangement."
"Hey now, wait a sec – okayshuttingup," Dean finished quickly as a hellhound shoved its face into his own and snarled with breath worse than a burning corpse. He went entirely ignored, fixed as Lilith was on Sam.
"Well then, perhaps I should take back my service and let you die again," Lilith said, and she wasn't smiling anymore. Dean struggled anew because fuck that he did not go through this last year with a deadline hanging over his head for nothing, but it was like trying to fight against several tons of steel holding his limbs down.
"You won't," Sam said confidently. "You want our souls too badly. If I die I'm going to pass on, and with the deal voided, so will Dean when his time comes. But things are just getting interesting," he murmured, and when did his gawky little brother suddenly become so good at whatever-this-was? "and who knows, perhaps one of us might yet do something to earn an honest place in Hell. We die now and you'll never get us, but you let us live, and you still might."
Dean held his breath, too aware of the hellhound on top of him and Hell in front of him, but then Lilith suddenly screamed with frustrated fury. Her host's pretty blonde head fell back as dark smoke poured from her mouth, throwing Sam to the ground and shattering the windows of the room before dissipating. The weight on Dean's body suddenly disappeared, and for the first time in the last few minutes he was able to take a full breath.
Sam was breathing heavily beside him. Alive.
Both of them were. And because Dean's head was liable to explode with the stress of having a fucking hellhound ready to rip him apart and the weird tangle of emotions created by Sam getting him out of the deal and keeping them both alive, he said the first thing that came to mind.
"…Dude. I knew lawyers were as bad as demons."
A long pause. Then Sam snorted breathlessly.
"This lawyer just saved your ass, man."
Dean was grinning goofily and couldn't help it. "But I'm related to a lawyer by blood. I mean. There's just something wrong about that."
"I suppose I should tell you that I seriously considered law enforcement too."
"I think I'm gonna puke."
Sam laughed until he cried.