Title: Keep the Faith

Disclaimer: I don't own anything as great as this show, or its ideas, or its wonderful characters played by talented actors.

Standing in the dark it was all too easy to remember the events of the last two days. Saying yes to Lucifer, being taken over by absolute evil and being trapped in his own body to watch the horrible things that he did. And Lucifer's thoughts were blacker than the deepest bowels of hell – the all consuming hunger for revenge and death and pain and retribution for the wrongs that were committed against him. On his worst day, he had never been as angry as the entity that had taken his body.

The slight glimpse of freedom he felt when Lucifer let him speak, and the derogatory way he spoke down to him – it chilled his stolen heart but burned his soul with fire and determination.

I will tear you apart from the inside out. He meant it, and would never stop trying, he just didn't know how to fight him. And Lucifer laughed at him, the sound reverberating around the inside of his head trying to beat him down and into submission.

But he was trapped in his own head, and Lucifer had let him witness everything he did. From ripping apart the demons that had stood in the next room to drinking every ounce of blood that they possessed, and Lucifer was smug in his infinite power.

Standing in the cemetery in Lawrence, facing Adam's body, and Michael's self-righteous power, he had witnessed it all and could do nothing. He was a voyeur in his own body, feeling Lucifer's feelings and hearing his thoughts and trapped in the prison of his own mind. He was trapped and he was alone and powerless between two titans destined to try and destroy the other.

And then the unthinkable of unthinkables happened. Def-Freaking-Leppard and the unmistakeable rumble of the Impala's engine. Dean was here, and his stolen heart broke because his brother was going to die in front of his eyes again, and he would live an eternity as Lucifer's vessel and carry the wounds of that sight with him forever.

But Dean wasn't alone, and Cas and Bobby showed up out of thin air with what little bit of angel juice that Cas had left. And he watched as Cas was destroyed, blown to pieces with snap of the fingers from Lucifer. And he felt the burn of the bullets as Bobby shot him, and the even greater pain of not being able to stop Lucifer from destroying him too.

And as his fists slammed into Dean over and over, the pulped and bloody face of his brother swam in front of him as he railed against the confines of his prison, screaming at Lucifer to stop. But the devil wanted his due. And he was going to rip it from Dean, bone by bone, and drop by precious drop until he was as decimated as the remains of Castiel.

"Sammy, it's okay," Dean had gasped out between blows. "I'm not gonna leave you." And Lucifer rained down heavy fists, enjoying the pain both physical and mental he was doling out on what he perceived as the biggest pain in his ass, after Michael.

Stop! He bellowed.

Watch me, he was taunted in return as fists fell again and again.

Dean... it was a plea, and an oath, and his whole world wrapped up in one word. His brother had come here, to face the devil and be beaten to death by his baby brother's bare hands, just so that he would know that he wasn't alone. So that he would know that not even the devil himself would keep him from being there for him in his darkest hours.

And as he was certain that Lucifer was about to land his final blow that would kill his brother, he caught a glint of light reflected off the chrome lid to the backseat ashtray, and the green army man that was trapped within. He had been the one to lodge the toy in there. John had been angry, prying at it with a screwdriver to no avail. Dean had taken the blame for that one, to spare him the punishment. He'd even carved his initials in the door of the car after he'd caught a young Sammy in his final gouge. That was so that he wouldn't bear the brunt of the punishment then either. All his life, Dean had been there no matter the danger to himself. Whether small or large, the danger would never keep him away. Even now, a split second from death, he was here, knowing full well that he would never walk out of that cemetery alive.

No, he said calmly, and Lucifer's fist halted.

What do you mean, no? The Devil seethed, clenching the fist tighter.

I won't let you kill him you sonofabitch. More images flooded through his mind, faster than thought and more powerful than the anger Lucifer was now directing at him.

You can't stop me. But the fist was held mid-air, poised and ready, but unable to reach its mark because Lucifer was being beaten back by an emotion that he had no knowledge of. He couldn't fight this emotion – he'd always disregarded this emotion as the weakest of human traits – and he was losing ground to the strength of Sam's love for his brother.

I won't let you kill him. More and more memories flooded through, and Lucifer lost the clench of his fist as Sam took it back, pushing the devil into the corner of his mind and wrapping strong arms around him to hold him.

You can't do this! Lucifer hissed in his ear.

Watch me. And he held on tighter, teeth clenched and howling in pain as the fire that was Satan burned in his arms trying to free himself, even if it meant destroying the vessel he'd fought to possess. His mind finally settled on the feeling of Dean's arms around him when he found him in that hotel with Ruby, when he was fresh out of hell and held him to him in a grip that would have crushed a normal man. He held that thought to his stolen heart, let it fill him, and let it bind Lucifer in a tenuous grasp.

He wrenched back the hold that Lucifer held on Dean, and his brother slumped to the ground as he gasped for breath.

You stupid sonofabitch, he panted at Lucifer's struggling form. You still can't see why God chose humans over you, can you?

You are weak! Lucifer hissed. You are flawed! You do not deserve to be the chosen ones!

And yet, I'm the one in control of the most powerful archangel in existence.

I will annihilate you, Lucifer promised him.

No. You won't.

"It's okay Dean. I got him." His brother's bloody face was an unreadable mask. And considering what they both knew was coming next, he didn't think he wanted to know what was passing through his brothers' mind. And he opened the pit and turned to say goodbye to his brother, and was faced with a vengeful Michael. He was about to let the pit take him when Michael reached for him.

Adam, I am so sorry.

He grabbed Adam's shoulders and pulled him into the hole with him because he didn't think that Michael would be merciful towards Dean if he left him there with him. And for all that Dean had done for him throughout his life, he had to make a final act to protect his brother from the things that wanted him dead.

The swirling mass of black as the pit sucked them down and down, pressed on him and suffocated him, but he could not die here.

I will destroy you, Lucifer whispered from the back of his mind. I will rip you apart from the inside out.

He started to laugh at that – Lucifer and his childish tantrum, throwing his own words back at him. He had a sudden flash of that Disney movie 'Aladdin'. He'd gone with a girl from the school he'd been going to at the time. Dean had chaperoned and sat at the back of the theatre, letting him sit with the pretty red-head who was as shy as he was. He couldn't have been more than nine... but he could remember the part where the Genie puffed up his blue chest, filling the room and a booming voice coming out of him. So he said the words to Lucifer, laughing while he did it.

Infinite cosmic power! Ittie bitty living space...

Enraged, Lucifer lashed out; blinding power and fierce hatred burning through the ropes that bound him. He could see the ropes breaking. And there was nothing in this prison to rebuild them with. There was no devoted brother to protect, and there were no memories that could reach him here in this cage. Lucifer would bust free and they would fight for now until eternity crashed in around them because there was no death here in the Limbo that was their prison.

There was another blast of light, but not from Lucifer this time. He actually shrank back at the light, afraid for the first time in his existence most likely. The black disappeared and was replaced by a white light so bright it burned and seared his flesh. The agony of the pain and non-death-ness of it tore what was left of his soul into shreds. Holes broke through and he could see the light washing its way over and through him, eating at him and devouring him like a ravenous beast whose only compulsion was to destroy.

There was a tearing feeling that dropped him to his knees, like he was being ripped to pieces and burned alive and drowning all at the same time. And then the light disappeared and the blackness was complete once again and he sank into oblivion.

When he came to, he was still surrounded by darkness. Not the black of the pit, just night time on a quiet side street. The streetlight filtering down through the trees above him actually hurt his eyes and he shielded them from it.

Impossible as it was, he knew where he was at.

He could feel his brother near, and after walking out of the dense shrubbery, stood on the sidewalk and saw the small, dimly lit house. The Impala was in the driveway, and he could see through the windows the people seated around the table enjoying a family meal. Dean was in there, and beautiful Lisa who had captured his brother's heart, and the boy who may or may not be his brother's son.

It didn't matter. The Winchesters were the first to know that family didn't end with blood and the fathering of young Ben was of little importance. What mattered was that his brother had done what he'd asked of him. He had a shot at a normal life for the first time since he was four years old.

So standing in the dark outside Lisa's house, contemplating everything that had brought him to this point, he had a decision to make. He could knock on that door and tell Dean that he was free. He could take his brother in his arms and hug him as fiercely as Dean had hugged him when he broke out of hell. But knocking on that door would close the door on Dean living the life he deserved. Dean would not be able to turn his back on his brother and he couldn't have the family life on his right hand and the hunting life on his left. He would not leave his baby brother to fight alone with no one to watch his back. And Sam could not walk away from hunting now. He finally heard the call that he'd been fighting against his whole life.

Because there was something inside him now. Something big and powerful and right. He could feel the power crackling in his digits, could feel the well of strength beyond that of a human man, deep within him. Whatever he was now, and he wasn't sure himself, but he knew he was no longer purely human. Perhaps he was some sort of hybrid. A bridge between species like the Sasquatch that his brother had always likened him to.

Part human, part angel, part demon.

So which of these parts of his new self was he going to answer to? Who was in charge of the body standing on the sidewalk of a quiet suburban neighbourhood? The human who wanted to reach out and tell his brother that he was okay? That he had made it out of the pit and Lucifer was still locked up in there and screaming for vengeance? Or was it the angel that was indifferent to everything? The creature that didn't understand love or what it meant to be loved more than life by another person? Or was it the demon that thirsted for blood and violence? The dark thing that whispered what he could do with his newfound powers?

A hybrid. All and nothing at the same time. All calling to him and pleading their cases, begging him to join their side.

But maybe he was on his own side. Maybe he would continue to fight the battle that had been laid out before him since he was in diapers and toddling into the waiting arms of his big brother – his hero.

There were still creatures out there that wanted to hurt the innocent. Monsters and demons and spirits that preyed on the defenceless. But he was far from defenceless. In fact, he'd never felt further from defenceless in his entire life. And whatever new powers were fuelling him, he would turn them towards the call he felt in his blood and in his mind and in his heart. And all evil that dared to stand before him would fall and burn at his feet.

Because Dean shouldn't have to fight anymore, and the normal life he'd run towards his whole life was unattainable to him now and he accepted that. He would fight in his brother's place so that Dean wouldn't have to. He would protect the people that Dean had risked his life for over and over again.

He would not steal Dean away from the peace he had found.

With barely a thought, he took out the streetlight above him lest Dean look out the window and see him. And he let the angel part of him transport him away with a flutter of wings and purpose so powerful that evil shrank into their holes where ever they hid for fear of him finding them.

And find them he would.

(- - Keep the Faith, by Bon Jovi - -)

A/N: That episode was so powerful to me, I simply can't get my mind away from it. And I think we all know that in Season 6 Dean won't remain settled for long, no matter how much he deserves it. Hope you enjoyed this.