Dean's face was frozen in a stony expression. Sam watched him closely, for the first time since the whole hell thing they were working as a team, a well functioning team, Dean treating him like an adult, and Sam earning the precious trust that he had always taken for granted back in the day where it was hadn't been an issue, when it wasn't spoke, just simply understood.
The plan he had hashed out was well thought out, and it was dangerous, but most of their plans were, so Sam hoped that he had presented the idea in a favorable enough light to get his brother's agreement, because, like he told Bobby, he wouldn't proceed without everyone saying okay. However, judging by the look on his brother's face right now, he was struggling just to process the idea, and knowing Dean, anything that took this long for his brain and heart to digest, usually resulted in a violent No, followed by stomping off.
Dean licked his lips, the first movement since the idea had been shared, and he looked up at Sam, "You really think this will work?"
Sam kept the shocked look off of his face. Those weren't the words he had expected to come out of his brother's mouth. He expected phrases like: "Hell no!" "Are you stupid?" "What's wrong with you?" "You are a moron." "There are other was out of this Sam." "We aren't sacrificing ourselves anymore." "No. You are not doing it." Those were the things he had expected to come out of his brother's mouth, and there were very few times in their history that Dean had said the opposite of what was expected. Sam wasn't sure how he felt about this, the same feeling he had had when Dean had agreed they should part ways ripped through his stomach and it scared him.
"There's risk." Bobby said with a sigh. He was not happy with this plan, but he saw the merit, and he too had sort of been hoping that Dean would blow the whistle on the cockamamie plan so Sam would just accept that they wouldn't do it and they could move on to figuring out a different plan to trap the devil.
"Of course there's risk." Dean said, face as stony as ever, no sarcasm weaved in his words. "The risk would be that Sam wouldn't be able to control Lucifer. Because as we all know Sam has had some self control issues." Dean's gaze shifted to Sam's.
"You think you can do this Sammy?"
Sam bit his bottom lip for a moment and then nodded. "Yeah, Dean I think I can do it. I mean, it is my mind, it is my heart, and I know how black my sins are, and I know my own weaknesses." Sam took a deep breath. "Yeah I can do it Dean. I have to."
"Okay. Then once you get Lucy in the box, Cas can bust you back out."
"I can't." Dean turned to Cass for the first time.
"I am cut off from heaven. I can not resurrect him. I am not strong enough to extract Lucifer from Sam's body, and then return Sam to us whole." Dean's face went pale.
"Wait. Hold on a second." Dean stood, unable to get his mind to wrap around the information being presented to him. He wiped a hand down his face and looked to his brother, eyes changed from sadness to anger and fear. "So, let me get this straight. You would come to just long enough to jump into hell?"
"Yeah. So Lucifer would be trapped."
"And so would you."
Sam couldn't meet his brother's gaze and suddenly found the snaps on his shirt fascinating. "Yeah. Looks like it."
Dean's heart sped up and he ran a hand through his hair and paced. "You all can't be serious. You can't be. No way. No Sam. I won't let you give yourself over to hell with Lucifer possessing your body. No. I can't damn you to that eternity. No. No. You aren't doing it. I know we are supposed to be equals and all, but no. Hell no. You aren't going Sam." Dean was beginning to hyperventilate. Sam was at his side instantly.
"Chuck. Go get him some water."
"Right." Chuck dashed out of the room.
"No. You don't know what it is like down there Sammy. I can't let you suffer like that. I can't let them do to you what they did to me. No. I can't….I can't….they'll…they'll." Chuck handed Sam the water and Sam guided the glass to his brother and forced him to drink. "They take away what's good in you and use it against you, they destroy, they make you bleed…I can't. I can't let you."
"Dean, it'll be okay. Lucifer won't let them hurt me. I'm his body."
"He won't need your body in Hell." Castiel said and couldn't watch their reactions, he had become too close to the Winchester brothers, and couldn't' bare to see the look of fear on their faces.
Sam licked his lips, reinforcing himself. "Doesn't matter Dean. You did time in hell, it's the least I can do."
"No one should have to do hell time. No. No. One. Not you Sammy. Please." A tear ran down Dean's face. Sam got down to his level.
"Dean, it is the only way. It is. I have to. Please let me." Dean swallowed hard, looked around at the other faces who were all eager for him to agree, and anger burned in his belly.
"You guys can let him go, he's not your only family. He's not the kid you raised. He's not the kid you had to wipe tears from his eyes because other kids were bullying him because he didn't have the right god damn shoes on, because we couldn't afford them. He's not the kid you had to answer to when Dad wasn't around, or when he needed someone to come to parent teacher conference. He's not the only person who kept you from being alone all of your life. He's not your only tie to normal. He's all I got. He's it." Tears started to flow freely. "He's my baby brother." And he began to cry in earnest. "He's my baby brother." Dean mumbled again in his sobs. Sam's eyes spilled over with tears, and he looked at the others, Chuck was the only one who looked Sam in the eye, he was the only one who had been forced to see and feel their lives and to some degree understood.
Dean took a deep startling breath, "So, it's easy for all of you to say, yeah go Sam, do it. It's okay. You'll save the world. You'll be a hero." Dean shook his head. "I can't." he said and jabbed a finger to his chest. "I can't. He's all I got." His watery green eyes turned Sam's. "Sammy don't do it please." He sobbed and covered his face, ashamed of his sobs, ashamed of the vulnerability, ashamed of the display.
"Dean…please." Sam said finally. "I started this mess….I have to fix it. I have to. I have faith in you, if anyone can find a way out for me, it'll be you I know it Dean. I believe in you."
Dean licked his lips and sighed. "But what if I can't Sammy? What then? I can't just leave you to rot."
"You'll figure out a way."
"Dean. Let me do this. For you, for me, for the world. Let me do this. Let me make something good come from this mess I've been in all of my life. Please." Sam knew he would get what he wanted, he always did. Dean never knew how to deprive him of something he wanted, especially if it was something Dean could provide. Dean looked to Bobby, to Chuck, to Castiel and asked, "You guys really are okay with this?"
"Okay. No. Understand. Yes." Bobby said gruffly.
"I don't know of another way." Castiel said.
"If we don't do this, I've seen what happens, I think this is best." Chuck said finally.
Dean looked at everyone, and then down at his hands, and then to his little brother. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure that I can get my part done, and I'm sure you can get yours done, and I'm sure that you will find a way to get me out." Dean closed his eyes tight, jaw clenching so hard the muscles in his face jumped with the strain.
"Fine." Dean said, Sam sat back not sure whether to be okay with his brother's acquiescence, or sad.
The day arrived, and Sam ate a breakfast that he loved, and he and Dean talked and reminisced about old times, told stories that they hadn't told in years, drank a beer together and enjoyed the sunrise over the old junk yard. Bobby, Castiel and Chuck stayed away from the brothers, allowed them their time.
It was the final hour, and Sam was sitting on the hood of the Impala, beer in one hand, and Dean was leaning against it, right food crossed over left, and they both were just starring out into the distance.
Sam put his hand in his pocket and fished for something and then nudged Dean on the shoulder. "Here." He said and took a drink of beer.
"What?" He asked as he held out his hand and found that it was his amulet that he had thrown away. "I threw this away." He said dismayed.
"I kept it. I thought one day you might want it back. And well, I can't wait for that time anymore, plus, I want you to have it, want it to be what it was before it was God EMF." He said and took another swig of beer. Dean didn't say anything, but he knew, Sam wanted it to be a reminder of their brotherhood, wanted it to be a reminder that he loved Dean with all of his heart, and felt like Dean was his father. He had forgotten all of that when he threw out the amulet, had even in a sense, thrown it out to show Sam how hurt and betrayed he had been. But now, now that it was in his hands it felt right. Dean put it over his head and put it right where it belonged. Sam nodded appreciatively.
"It's time." Sam said as he got off of the car. Dean nodded. He knew it was.
"Just remember what Cass taught you." Dean said.
"I'll remember what you taught me this time. I'll remember that most of all Dean. I promise. I swear." Dean nodded and the two came together and hugged fiercely.
Castiel came out of nowhere which was his custom and the brothers stepped away from each other and they began their journey.
Dean watched his brother be taken over by Lucifer and watched as his baby brother melted away and became the devil, the living embodiment of the devil.
"I told you that we would meet again Dean, and I told you that I would be able to persuade your brother to say yes."
"Yeah, whatever, quit monologuing. Let's just get this done." Dean said with fierce anger.
"But you aren't Michael."
"Afraid to go after a little human?"
"I just don't want your brother, who is in here and can still hear and see everything, have to watch me kill his brother."
"Oh, you want to be nice."
"He deserves a little something, you know, for allowing me his body."
"You owe him a whole hell of a lot more than that you son of a bitch." Dean produced the arch angel killing sword and he drove forward knowing that all he had to do was back Lucifer up three or four steps and they could activate the rings, Lucifer didn't step back just as predicted, but reached his metaphysical hand into Dean's body and made him fall to his knees, dropping the sword, made him cough up enough blood to pool in front of him. When the blood was visible, instead of gloating, Lucifer made gagging noise and the hand forcing Dean on his hands and knees disappeared and Dean looked up and watched as Sam's body stepped just far enough back that the rings were activated. He saw Sam wink and disappear and heard Lucifer's screams echoing off of the mountains.
Dean fell back on his hands and knees and added vomit to the pool of blood in front of him. Chuck came out of nowhere and put a hand on Dean's back. "Dean." Dean flailed trying to push Chuck as far away from him as possible, and ended up face first into the pool of blood and vomit, and then he added tears to that pool. Chuck rested on his haunches and watched the strongest man that ever live cry in a pool of his own fluids. A tear escaped Chuck's eye and he put a hand on Dean's back. The world was saved, and only one life severely destroyed. Those were good odds, but damn, it didn't make it any easier to watch the one destroyed.
It took Dean weeks to be functional again, and the day he got up, and out of his grief enough to begin his quest to get his brother back, he was a changed man, no longer soft, no longer happy, he was simply a tangled knot of grief.
He got up, shaved, showered, and got dressed. Today was the day that he would begin to get h is brother back, and instead of putting on his father's old warn leather jacket, he picked up Sam's green jacket and slipped it on over his shirts. It was large and didn't fit, but that didn't matter. He would find Sam. He would get his brother back. He turned out of the room and went down stairs, time to read books, time to call in old favors, time to be the man that Sam knew he was.