a/n: Okay, here it is, the final chapter. Wow, sorry for really alarming several of you with the last chapter. If anyone has read The Book of Enoch, it's pretty graphic and horrible in many parts. I thought it was kind of cool that a seraph would come along and save Sam. I guess the end of the chapter is what threw people. Don't worry, Sam's actions are explained in this chapter as well as some other things. This story has followed perfectly what I envisioned when I started this and I really think you'll like this ending. At least I hope so!
Sam walked aimlessly through the fog, feeling the best he had in a while. Everything was so peaceful, so calm, so right. No more worries of flashes and shifting for every fiber of his being told him he was finally in the right place. His deep breath this time was in relief, for all despair was lost.
His serenity was short lived though, for the fog dissipated and he found himself walking down a corridor, a hospital hallway. This looked strangely familiar. There was no one around and the only people he saw were in the rooms. Patients in comas. He still moved forward, knowing instinctively that whatever he was looking for was at the end of that hallway. Suddenly Castiel appeared before him.
"What's going on Cas?" Sam asked.
Castiel looked at him with serene eyes. "How did you figure out you had to martyr yourself to escape the afterglow?"
Sam slightly smiled. "I have Alyssa to thank for that. The red was the clue. Plus her story."
Castiel nodded. "It's very sad the plight of those angels. Enoch witnessed their fall and he was deeply affected by their suffering. I'm sorry Sam. I didn't know a seraph would get involved."
"It's okay. She saved me so it's all good. So, you going to tell me how I ended up in the afterglow in the first place?"
"That's why you're here. This is where it all began."
Sam looked all around, seeing the door at the end of the hall. He stepped forward slowly, nervous over what he was about to see. He cautiously moved in front of the window and his heart dropped at the sight of Dean. A frantic Dean, fidgeting in his chair. His eyes panned over to the person in the bed. There was his body lying on the bed, wires and tubes everywhere. "I don't get it. The first time I walked out the door I was captured by Lucifer. How can I be in a coma?"
"This is the new timeline, the one you created by taking your life instead."
"Taking my life? How did I live? I cut myself pretty deep. No way I could have survived that."
"You didn't Sam. Lucifer managed to find you in the morgue and bring you back. The only way I could protect you was to push your soul in the afterglow. The shell that remained is in that bed."
Sam was shocked. "Why would you do that to me Cas? You said no other humans had ever gone through there other than Enoch. Humans weren't meant to withstand that sort of phenomenon. I can see why. It's pretty awful."
"You're not like other humans Sam. You have the blood of the seraph and are very powerful. It was your only chance. I didn't do it just to save you, but to show you the consequences if Lucifer captures you."
Sam inched closer to the window, his heart breaking over Dean and all his worry. He knew Dean carried some heavy burdens but Dean never let them show when he was around. He was letting them show now. "So everything I saw. That wasn't a prophecy? All that won't happen now?"
"Not in the way you saw it, no. However, the final destiny is usually accurate. The difference is the road getting there."
Sam was stunned by Castiel's words, giving him a troubled gaze. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means in the realm of the universe anything is possible. Where you are now, in that coma, Lucifer can't inhabit an empty shell. He will try to find a way though." Castiel pointed toward the white fog where Sam had come from. "If you go back that way your soul becomes protected by Heaven and you live in peace. Lucifer can never reach you there."
"But Dean isn't protected." Sam went back to watching his brother, his worry spiking. "Lucifer will use Dean to get to me."
"Dean is still wanted by angels. He's at risk either way."
The idea still unsettled Sam. They were always there for each other. How could he bail on his brother now? "Cas, he needs me."
Castiel wasn't at all surprised by Sam's hesitation. "Your devotion to your brother is a noble, but what do you think you can do for him? You have a chance here to ascend into Heaven."
"Who's to say I won't be found in Heaven either? After all, I'm part of the order. What seraph or other holier than thou piece of crap is going to come after me there? With Dean, I know there's someone by my side I can count on. I know that together we have a fighting chance to change that final destiny."
Castiel's conflicted gaze showed how much he understood the dilemma. He moved next to Sam and they stood side by side for a few seconds, watching Dean go stir crazy. "Before I met you and Dean, I didn't believe that destiny could be changed. You both have given me hope for the opposite. You have time. This a big decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly."
Sam nodded, going through the options in his mind carefully. "Was it Dean?" Sam asked.
"I'm sorry," Castiel replied, "what was that?"
"The person you made the promise to. Was it Dean?"
"No Sam. It was your father."
Sam looked at Castiel with alarm. "My dad? You saw him? Where is he? When did you see him?"
"Out there Sam," Castiel said, pointing toward the fog. "It was just before I fell. I can't go through there now. Only you can."
Sam didn't think he could take any more surprises, but he was still thrown by this one. "So, if I go in there, I'll be with my Dad again? Jess? Mom?"
"Yes." Castiel noticed Sam's deeper breathing, the thing he did when he was upset. "I made that same vow for Dean as well. If you choose to stay behind, you have my word that Dean has my utmost protection."
Sam welled up over the idea of living in the great beyond with those that he loved, but it didn't seem right. Not now. He remembered his fear of dying alone. He couldn't leave Dean in that same situation, he couldn't do that after all that Dean's done for him. His attention was caught by his brother, who started shouting. "Sam, wake up! Come on Sam, this is making me crazy. Please, I need you here with me man."
Sam cast his gaze downward, unable to control the onslaught of emotions driving through him. Dean would do anything in the world for him. How could he act any different? "Trust my instincts," Sam said.
"Yes," Castiel said.
Sam pressed his lips together and took one more long look at his brother. "I think the choice is obvious."
"Are you sure?" Castiel said, stepping closer.
"We're stronger together Cas. We go down together."
Castiel nodded, cracking a tiny smile over the decision. "Okay Sam, I'll send you back."
Sam let out a sorrowful sigh. "Thank you."
"I've protected the hospital. No angel can get in, including me. Neither of you can leave until I find a way for you and Dean to go undetected."
Castiel reach out his fingers and was about to touch Sam's forehead when he stopped him. "Wait, what do I tell Dean?"
"Everything. Enoch did the same. The story was meant to be shared."
Sam swallowed hard. "I'm not sure I believe any of it myself."
Castiel nodded in understanding. He pressed Sam's forehead with his fingers and everything went white.
Dean just wanted to beat the living tar out of something. He thought about going out for coffee, but he already had ten cups of that bad vending machine crap. He couldn't go far since he had to protect Sam like Castiel instructed. "What's taking you so long Cas?" He didn't want to think about how much longer he had to keep this up. He didn't want to think about what might happen if Sam didn't pull through. "Sam!" He shouted in frustration.
Dean's inner freak out was interrupted abruptly by a long gasp. He had to do a double take, for he couldn't believe what he heard. His heart leapt when Sam suddenly popped awake, struggling with the tube from respirator down his throat.
"Hold on Sammy!" he shouted, coming over to Sam's side. "Calm down, take it easy. I'll get you some help." He opened the room door. "Someone get in here now! He's awake."
Sam's thoughts were a million miles away, the quiet making such pensive thought easy. He wasn't sure why he was so disoriented after coming back from what he did, but he was. It affected him deeply. He wasn't going to be able to shake this for a while, if at all.
"What you thinking about?" Dean asked when he entered the room with some coffee and donuts in his hand.
"Any word from Cas yet?" Sam asked, running his fingers over his perfectly intact wrists. There wasn't a scratch on them, even the old ones.
"Nothing yet," Dean replied, sitting next to the bed and pulling a table in front of him. "Donut?" he asked.
Sam shook his head.
"Come on man, you were in a coma for a week. You've got to be hungry."
Sam didn't answer, letting his mind drift again to other things.
Dean put down the donut, having enough of Sam's withdrawn behavior. He accepted that Sam wasn't quite himself, but he couldn't let this slide anymore. "You going to talk to me now?" Dean asked.
"About what?" Sam said.
"About what? What happened to you? You go and leave me and next thing I know Cas is bringing me to a hospital because you're clinging to life. They say you just collapsed for some unknown reason. Yet the strange thing is I talked to this cop that swore on his mother's life he found you dead in a motel room with your wrists slashed. He called the coroner himself."
Sam kept a blank face, certain that Dean wasn't finished yet.
"So how did you end up here barely alive with no blood loss and not a scratch on you?"
"I don't remember," Sam said.
"Cas can't heal Sam. You wouldn't have happened to perhaps run into another angel?"
"I'm not sure. I don't remember."
"Surely you remember then your little blood bath at the Shady Acres? That seems like it would be hard to forget."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Dean-"
"So what, you're not going to tell me?"
"Sure I am. I just don't know how to explain this. I don't even understand it myself."
"You don't understand how you ended up dead in a pool of your own blood in a bathtub?"
Sam sheepishly relented. "Okay, I did that. I slit my wrists and watched myself die."
Dean got upset, not sure what to think. "Sammy, why in the world would you do that?"
Sam tried to say something, but got frustrated over a choice of words. "It was either that or be captured by Lucifer."
"Someone hold a gun to your head?"
"No, he was outside, waiting for me to come out."
"How did you know this?"
Sam slightly scoffed. "That's where we get to the part I don't understand. I got to see that timeline, what happened when I walked out that door. It was horrible Dean." He bit his lower lip, fighting back the a flood of memories that were too overwhelming.
Dean softened his agitation, now looking really worried. "Hey, come on, take it easy. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to push."
"It's not you Dean. I spent the last week or so drifting, seeing just one God awful thing after another. Every bit of it was my worst nightmare." He stopped to compose himself, but the tears were already welling in his eyes. "It's not over Dean. We're still in a lot of danger. But I couldn't leave you alone to fight it anymore than you would leave me. We have to be there for each other."
Dean's spooked reaction showed how bothered he was by this. "I'm not sure exactly what you've been through, but yeah, we're in it together."
"Good," Sam said, cracking a small smile through those tears.
"You know you can tell me about it. There's nothing I won't believe."
Sam took in a deep breath, regaining the feeling of control. "Did Cas tell you anything about what happened?"
"Just that he was helping you find your way back. That and he said something that I swore was related to prog rock."
"Yeah, that's it."
Sam laughed slightly over the whole connection. He looked over to the side and saw the pile of books. "Hey Dean, can you get me that one?"
Dean went over and picked up the book Sam was pointing to. "The Book of Enoch?"
"Yeah." Dean handed him the book.
"What do you need that for?"
"Why don't you settle in? I'm going to tell you why this guy wasn't nuts."
Sam and Dean shuffled into the motel room, never being happier to see such a fleabag in all their lives.
"I'll tell you, I never thought Cas was going to get us out of there," Dean said, putting down his bag and pulling out the whiskey bottle.
Sam went over to the bed and stretched out on it, enjoying the feeling of a different mattress. "It wasn't all bad. After what I went through, I didn't mind the slower pace."
"Yeah, well speak for yourself." Dean picked up a motel glass only to find it was dirty. He growled and decided to just drink from the bottle. He fell down onto the couch and picked up the remote. "Wanna watch some TV?"
"No, I'll pass." Sam looked over at this bag next to him and saw the edge of the laptop. He pulled it out, opened it and waited for it to reboot.
Dean smiled and put down the remote. "Hey, it's 'The Avatar.' Cool."
Sam laughed and shook his head. Once the laptop was running, he opened an empty file and started typing.
Dean watched his brother lost in his writing. He smiled and then went back to his entertainment.
Sam was on a roll. "The Dream Visions, Part II. Two mortal men and their struggle against Heaven and Hell for the rights of humanity…"
a/n: Once again, thank you to all that followed this story and especially those that left feedback. I really wish I had more time for fics. They're so much fun to write.