So I know this has been done a thousand times, but this idea wouldn't leave me alone and I like it, so I decided to post this. :)
Hope you all enjoy!
WARNING: spoilers for season three, four, and five
I'll be posting another chapter for Cursed today, but I have to get some homework done first. Darn college. :)
"Sam is missing."
Dean froze at that.
"Sam is missing. He calls me every so often to check in and see how you're doin', but he hasn't called in three days and something's wrong."
Crap. Dang it, Sam. What have you gotten yourself into now?
But Dean could only lay so much of the blame on his brother.
I agreed to this. I was tired of Sam, tired of demons, tired of the apocalypse.
Dean knew if Sam was badly hurt or...or worse, he would never be able to forgive himself.
Wait. Sam calls to check on me?
Dean wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel about that, but guilt was the first emotion that built in his chest.
I never checked on him.
Maybe...maybe I was too hard on him.
"Dean! Put your butt in gear, dang it! I have the information about where Sam is staying, you need to go look for him."
"O-okay. Where is he?"
I can't believe I didn't know where he was.
Adrenaline, guilt, and the long dormant protectiveness rushed through his veins.
Dean felt more alive than he had felt since he got back.
Sam kept his eyes closed, trying to protect them from the dust.
I'm suffocating and worried about getting dust in my eyes.
I'm such an idiot.
Course, that's no big surprise.
Started the freaking apocalypse.
No wonder Dean hates me.
I hate me.
And so, once more, Sam began to gasp for air.
Where are you, Sam?
Dean pulled up in front of the motel that Bobby said Sam had been staying at and went into the front office.
"How can I help you?" A small older woman, standing behind the counter, asked.
Dean pulled out his wallet, searching for some sort of picture. The one he found just sent another wave of guilt through him.
Sam, from years ago, smiling.
When was the last time I saw him smile?
What the heck have I done?
"I'm looking for this guy. This is several years old, he's a lot bigger than this now." Dean said, gruffly.
He showed her the picture, watching as her face lit up, then dropped, filled with sorrow.
"Yeah. That's Keith. Poor boy. Never seen someone with so much guilt and pain on his shoulders. The boy was so sad." she shook her head.
"Do you know where he is?" Dean asked.
The woman frowned. "No, I'm afraid not. He'd been staying here for weeks, but a couple of nights ago he took off. Looked really frightened, pale, kinda sick. I was worried, but he was in a hurry, so I let him go."
That doesn't sound good.
"Do you have any idea who else might know where he could be?"
The woman thought for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, he worked at a bar near here. His co-worker might know something. She was the only person I ever saw him talking to besides me."
Thanking the woman, Dean turned to leave, but paused as she called him.
"You wouldn't mind giving me a call or dropping by if you find him, would you? I just want to know he's okay. Poor boy."
Sam gasped for air.
Not enough air.
I'm so sorry, Dean.
I deserve this.
I'm so sorry.
"Hey. What can I get for you?"
The young woman at the counter was cute, but Dean's mind was so far from anything of the sort that he didn't even notice.
"You seen this guy?"
He flashed the picture of Sam once more.
Her eyes narrowed, the friendly look gone, suddenly suspicious.
"Why do you want to know?"
Surprised at the change, Dean didn't even have time or energy to come up with a lie.
"He's my little brother."
She relaxed at that, worry bleeding into her expression.
"I've seen him. That's Keith. He worked here for a while."
"Quit a couple of days ago, though. Not that I can blame him."
Crap. That definitely doesn't sound good.
"Why? What happened?"
The young woman shuddered.
"It was horrible. A couple of men came in here and attacked Keith. Tried to shove something down his throat. They said it was blood, but I think I misheard, cause...blood, really? Keith spit it out, fought them, but he was pretty beat up by the time he got rid of them. Wouldn't press charges either. Couple days later, he skips out. He was frantic too, which was weird, cause he was pretty calm during the fight. Said he couldn't stay and that he was sorry."
Oh gosh, Sammy. What happened to you? What's going on?
Sounds like hunters. Tried to force feed him blood.
Dean's own blood started to boil at the thought.
I have to find Sam.
"Thanks for the information."
Dean turned to leave, but the girl called him back.
"If, um, if you find him, could you give me a call? Just...I just want to know he's okay."
Seems you still got it, Sammy. Endearing yourself to young woman and old ladies everywhere.
Too bad I seem to have forgotten that for a while.
I'm gonna fix this, Sammy, if it's the last thing I do.
We've always been better as a team and I'm not going to forget that again.
Tears made tracks in the dirt on Sam's face, his gasping the only sound in the small space.
I'm so sorry.
Dean wasn't really sure where to look from here.
No one had seen Sam.
No had heard from Sam.
Sam had left no trail.
Just as despair was about to overwhelm the older brother, his phone rang.
"It's Bobby. I...I have some information...about Sam."
Dean frowned, his brows furrowing. It wasn't like Bobby to sound so hesitant.
He almost sounds...upset...
"What?" Dean managed to choke out.
"He sent me a package. It, um, it has a couple of things in it. A letter to you and another letter to me."
"What do the letters say?" Dean managed.
Bobby cleared his throat gruffly. "My letter is full of apologies. You know that brother of yours. Harbours guilt for everything. Some of it was his fault, most of it wasn't."
"And my letter?"
"Do you want me to open it?"
The sound of tearing, then Bobby cleared his throat again.
"Dean. I was going to call, but decided this would be easier. Package can be protected with spells, calls not so much. I don't even know what to say here, how to explain, but... I'm so sorry, Dean. I'm...gosh, I don't even know where to start. I have so much to atone for. Probably never will be able to. But...I, uh, I have to start somewhere, right? So this is what I'm doing. I, uh, I had a visit in my dreams from...from Lucifer."
Bobby paused, gasping, and Dean was glad he did because he was pretty sure he wouldn't have heard anything after that.
Oh. Oh Sammy. Crap. How the heck did he find you? Aren't we supposed to be protected from crap like that? What did he say that made you take off like this?
A deep breath, then Bobby continued, voice gruffer than before.
"I'm, I'm his vessel. Born and bred to be, apparently."
Sam wasn't even reading it, but Dean could feel his brother's heartbreak, his fear, in every word.
Oh my - Sammy.
"I have to do something. I...I tried just ending it, but nothing worked. He kept bringing me back, no matter what I tried."
He did WHAT?
"But...Winchesters never give up, right? So I have a plan. I know how to get around it. Won't be pretty, won't be fun, but it'll work. He won't be able to physically find me and it should buy you and Castiel time to fix this. I'm so sorry to be leaving you with the apocalyse to deal with, but I think we both know it's better if I just do us all a favor and get my worthless butt out of the way. I've messed enough of this up as it is. So, um, I just wanted you to know that I...that I'm really sorry and though it probably doesn't really mean anything to you anymore, I love you, big brother. Sam."
Bobby was silent, his breathing hard over the phone.
Tears streaked down Dean's face.
The sheer emotion in the letter, the self-loathing that was so clear, just took his breath away.
I'm so sorry, Sam. I should have been fixing this, not blaming you. This is such a mess.
"You have to find him, Dean. You hear me? You find him."
"I'm gonna, Bobby. I promise. I'm gonna fix this."
"Okay. Okay, Sam. You said you were gonna get around it. How? Think like you. Think like Sam. What would Sam do?"
Dean wasn't even sure where to start.
Think like Sam. How the heck do I do that?
Please. Please let me find him. I need him, I need to fix this. Please, please help me.
Dean wasn't even sure who he was asking for help anymore, but desperate times called for desperate measures, and he was never one to ignore a potential source of help when he really needed it.
If you can't die...
Dean shuddered at the thought, the mental image flashing across his mind of Sam trying to kill himself over and over again.
Heaven knows Sam's pretty creative when he needs to be.
Think. Think! What would Sam do?
Wait. He would neeed something continuous. Something that killed him over and over. Somewhere he wouldn't be found.
That's when it hit him.
Sam wasn't sure how many times he could suffocate without losing his mind.
Over and over and over, he had lost track.
Had it been days?
He wasn't sure how long he was unconscious for each time, but several times Lucifer had appeared in his dreams and asked him what the heck he was doing.
I hope I'm inconveniencing you, you #$% #$%.
Sam had just laughed and woken up.
Only to suffocate again.
The wall vault he had chosen was old and he hoped that meant it would be undisturbed for years to come. As guilty as it made him feel, he had moved the bones from one of the two stone coffins in the small room into the other one.
As much as he probably deserved it, he didn't want to lay on bones for the possible eternity he could spend here, waking and dying, waking and dying, in a possibly never-ending cycle.
No. Dean will figure all of this out. He'll end the apocalypse and then I'll really die, because Lucifer won't be here to bring me back.
Even as darkness closed over his vision once more, Sam couldn't help but feel hope at that thought.
As Sam returned to consciousness, to life, once more, he almost immediately noticed something was different.
There was some sort of vague buzzing in his ear and the more he woke, the more it cleared up.
"Sammy! Please, Sammy, wake up! Don't do this to me again, please!"
There was no way...
Am I hallucinating?
"That's it, Sammy." the voice was cajoling, pleading, heartbroken all at once. "Deep breath. That's it. That's my boy. Come on, Sammy. Now you just need to open your eyes. Come on, kiddo."
I must be hallucinating. When's the last time he called me "Sammy"?
But Sam had always been curious.
As he fought with his eyes, he realized he was being held in a tight, but gentle grip, drops of water falling down onto his hair and face.
Eyes fluttering open, he gazed hazily up at his older brother.
"Hey, Sammy." Dean's voice was softer than it had been in years.
Is he crying?
Frowning, Sam forced out a few words from his dry, aching throat. "y...'u 'k'?"
A painful sounding laugh burst from Dean.
"I've been better, little brother. We need to have a serious talk."
Sam looked away at that.
"Hey, hey." Dean gently grabbed his chin, forcing him to look up at him again. "None of that. No more apologizing. It's gonna be okay, Sammy. I'm gonna fix this. We're gonna fix this. Just rest. We'll talk later, okay? I'm gonna get you out of here. This place gives me the creeps."
Feeling better than he had for years, Sam let his eyes closed.
He wasn't sure what had happened, but Dean didn't seem mad and he felt protected again.
He let the darkness take him again, but this time wasn't afraid to wake up.
Dean was going to have nightmares for the rest of his life after this.
Finding Sam had been long and hard and painful. Dean had searched through several cemeteries and it had taken days, but he had finally found Sam.
The sight he had seen though...
Sam had found a wall vault, an old one that wouldn't be touched, and managed somehow to get himself inside one of the stone coffins inside.
How many times must he have suffocated?
Dean had already been sick once, not that he'd ever admit it, and he really didn't want to be sick again, so he forced himself to move past the thought.
Sam lying in that coffin, so pale and sick looking. Gosh. He wasn't breathing...
But Sam was in his arms now, both of them in the Impala, and Dean was as happy as he could be under the circumstances.
Sam was safe, resting peacefully, and Dean wasn't going to leave his side again.
Things would be okay.
Torn from his revere, Dean looked down to see Sam's eyes open and watching him, looking confused.
"Hey, Sammy. Let me get you some water."
Helping Sam sit up, Dean brought the water bottle to Sam's lips, supporting his head gently as he drank.
"Thanks." Sam managed softly. He looked embarrassed, confused, and almost upset. "How did you find me? Why did you find me?"
Dean sighed. He had been hoping to save this conversation for a little while, but Sam would need answers and they needed to clear a few things up.
"Bobby got worried when you didn't call and called me, told me you were missing. I searched for you and Bobby got your letters. Sam...I'm so sorry."
Sam definitely looked confused. "Dean, you aren't the one who started the end of the world. I lied, I drank demon blood, I...I hurt you. You don't owe me an apology."
Dean cast Sam a sad look. "Yeah, yeah I do, Sammy. That wasn't all your fault. Yeah, you made some bad choices, but dang it, kiddo, so did I. I broke the first seal, technically I started the apocalypse. I could have handled this stuff a lot better. Yeah, you shouldn't have drank the demon blood or listened to Ruby, but...well...we both do crazy stupid things when we're alone. I made a deal, you drank demon blood. In hindsight, neither seems really all that smart. And maybe you would have felt more comfortable coming to me if I had been more open about everything, if I had talked to you. Or crap I knew something was going on, I should have asked, before everything got too out of hand. We both made mistakes, but a good portion of those mistakes were while we were alone. Maybe if we stick together we can fix them. We've always made a good team, Sammy. I kinda miss that."
Sam stared at Dean, overwhelmed with the flood of words and emotions.
Sensing that Sam was overwhelmed, Dean pulled him into a fierce hug.
"No more, Sam. Please. Promise me. Not again. I can't...I can't do another search for your body, man. I can't handle seeing you die again. Promise me."
A sob finally broke lose from his baby brother and Sam went limp against Dean, clutching his shirt desperately.
And Sam cried, finally releasing the pent up emotions of years of horror and death.
Dean held him together, glad to be back in his place as big brother and partner.
We'll make this work. We're going to fix this. We can be a team again.
"It's going to be okay, Sam. Lucifer ain't got nothin' on the Winchesters. It'll be okay."