Dearest Forsaken
by crazybeagle

Written for Livejournal's Summer of Sam Love 2011, a tag-fic for "Free To Be You And Me" and "The End". So the request for the prompt was essentially for Sam-centric angst, and I hope I served that part up well enough, but it spins off into a much bigger, much more injurious story, exploring just what Sam might've been up to between finding out he's Lucifer's vessel and when Dean meets up with him again. And what might've happened had Lucifer met with Sam a second time. Title from Iron and Wine.
Prompt, by Monicawoe: Immediately following Lucifer's visit in 5x03, Sam is alone in his motel room trying to come to terms with the idea that he is destined to be Lucifer's vessel.
Summary: "I could leave you like this, all day long. But I won't. And you know why?" Lucifer leaned down close, whispered in his ear. "Because you would lie here all week if you thought it would spite me."

It had to be you, Sam. It always had to be you.

A second later and he was gone, and everything was normal again. Normal, run-of-the-mill, reeks-of-a-thousand-ashtrays motel room, normal neon-lit parking lot, normal chilly Midwestern night, normal fly on the normal fruit salad cup he'd tossed in the normal garbage can, normal freaking everything. No sign that Lucifer (Lucifer) had just been here just moments ago, that real evil had passed through this place, and through words alone had contaminated him and violated him in ways he couldn't describe. It was as though some part of him— hell, his soul probably— had shriveled up and died, and was now sitting heavy, lifeless, and impossibly cold inside his chest. And now normal couldn't console him. It was deceptive. Offensive, almost.

For starters, he wished that stupid fly would just drop dead.

It was buzzing lazily around, wings all-too-loudly beating the stuffy air. And the normal of it all was so stifling, he didn't even know how the damn thing didn't just drop dead.

It wasn't until he began feeling lightheaded that he realized he had been holding his breath. He exhaled then, shakily, and barely realized he'd put his head in his hands and was yanking on two fistfuls of his hair.

To say that this was all for nothing. That couldn't change, he couldn't ever change, and that everything he cared about, everything he worked for, everybody he loved, was going to meet a bloody end.

At his hands.

To say that, and to sound like he actually cared….

And to look like Jess, exploit her memory against him on top of was insult to injury, to say the least.

He scrubbed at his burning eyes angrily. Because if Lucifer was watching, still keeping tabs on his mind somehow, he wasn't about to give him the satisfaction.

So yeah. He had to hold it together. Hold it together, hell, get angry, and then maybe actually do something about this.

But after several numb minutes of staring down at the ratty carpet, listening to his own shaky breaths and the lazy, contented humming of that stupid fly that couldn't possibly be bothered by the fact that he'd just been informed that he'd been destined from before recorded history to be the author and finisher of the friggin' apocalypse—several minutes, and he hadn't done anything. For the life of him he couldn't think of anything to do. Logic and rationality seemed to elude him. His hands were shaking.


He could think of something he wanted to do, suddenly—the only thing he wanted to do, he realized.

Call Dean.

How it would help matters any, he had no idea, but some childish instinct within him—faint and dim after the events of the past year but somehow, miraculously still there—was telling him that if he just picked up the phone and could hear Dean's voice, somehow all of this would be better. Everything would make sense again. Sure, it was likely to freak Dean out, likely to be the one final straw to convince him that he really couldn't trust Sam, ever again, no matter what he said or did to try to atone. But Sam could deal with that, because if he himself couldn't think of some sort of action to take towards preventing all this, Dean was the one who could. And if they had a plan they could stick to, if they were working toward something and together again, than maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to breathe easier. Not that he'd berate himself any less for all that had happened—was now happening— or expect Dean to have an ounce of confidence in him, but at least he'd be able to get his head on straight. Because if the past month or so had taught him anything, his own attempts to get his head on straight by opting out of the whole damn mess that he'd started by running from it all—going through the motions of some pitiful, half-assed semblance of normality— had all been in vain. A few weeks later and the evil he'd unleashed had just hunted him down again. Redemption seemed pretty far out of the question. But if there was a single damn thing he could still do to fight back, he'd take it. And he'd need Dean's help, or he was doomed. Hell, everyone was doomed.

He reached for his phone.

He paused, finger hovering over the speed dial. But inexplicably, when he went to actually do what in theory was the only thing he could do, he couldn't make himself do it. Which made no damn sense. He'd need to do it anyway, because hearing the news now from Sam himself would be a lot better for Dean than hearing it later from some other, more convoluted source, but he couldn't. He didn't know if he could hold it together yet, compose himself enough to get the words out, especially when he could already practically hear the loaded silence and clipped answers on the other end that would indicate that the revelation was just so much more salt in the wounds of Sam's betrayal.

So yeah, he didn't call. For awhile, anyways.

The clock read 11PM, and he found himself with a switchblade in his palm, mechanically flipping it open and closed, hardly realizing he was doing it. It wasn't until he cut his finger that he actually noticed. Which was stupid, because really, the last time he'd cut himself on his own damn knife from not being careful enough was when he was…what, twelve years old? He watched a fat drop of blood slide down his finger and fall onto the carpet.

And then, with sudden, sharp and grim clarity, he realized that there was something he could do, something he should do. The next logical step, really.

I will kill myself before letting you in.

I'll just bring you back, Lucifer had said, a hint of amusement in his voice as though he'd like to see Sam try.

And even though he didn't exactly doubt Lucifer's ability to raise the dead, it would be stupid not to try, to call his bluff. Because despite his claims, that's what the devil was supposedly notorious for, right? Lies, or twisted half-truths. According to the Biblical model, anyway. And if Lucifer wasn't bluffing…well, if it'd somehow make things more difficult for him, impede and prolong his efforts to attain a vessel by first having to find and drag Sam's ass back from…well, wherever he'd end up after he died, then it'd be selfish of him not to at least test that avenue. Plus, if his statements of I don't suppose you'd tell me where you are and I will find you were anything to go by, Lucifer had access to his mind, but didn't know where to physically locate him. Which meant the sigils on his ribs must be working just fine. It'd be hard to raise him if he didn't even know where Sam was…

He let the tip of the blade linger on the skin of one wrist, pushing lightly, but faltered before he could press down hard enough to draw blood. He swallowed hard, the realization of where he was actually going to go if he succeeded in this— if Lucifer was wrong— hitting him hard. There wasn't a chance that he hadn't damned himself in freeing Lilith, the very act which had apparently made him fit to be the vessel of the devil. And if he did this, he'd just be putting his soul on the fast-track to eternal torment. And unlike Dean, somehow he didn't suspect there'd be an angel around to pull him out. That was enough to give him pause. The knife hilt trembled a bit in his grasp.

And suddenly, (pathetically), he didn't know if he could go through with this, either. He'd certainly earned himself damnation—you've made your bed, now lie in it—so what was he so scared of? That it'd hurt? But he didn't want to do this.

Not alone, anyways.

Which brought him right back to selfish. Because if somebody were here—Dean, Cas, Bobby—and even if they agreed with him on this, which he was pretty sure that Dean wouldn't, anyway, whether things were fucked up between them or not, it'd be a pretty low thing to do to off himself in front of them, and make them watch that on top of everything else he'd put them through.

But he didn't have the fortitude otherwise, he knew it.

Again, pathetic.

…Which lead him right back to: options. And there was nothing new there. It was Call-Dean-kill-yourself-go-to-Hell-call-Dean. Neither option sounded any more appealing no matter how many times he tried to convince himself of their necessity. He was being walled in here, backed into a corner. Devil or no, it was the same old destiny crap all over again—the same line Azazel and his many minions had all fed him, hell, the same line Ruby had fed him even if he hadn't realized it at the time, and he'd always deluded himself into thinking that theirs was the only way. He'd sat back and just taken it.

And damn if he didn't hate being walled in.

He flung the knife down and launched himself to his feet, suddenly invigorated, and seeing red.

Allowing himself to be walled in was playing straight into Lucifer's hands. He had to take the reins back—even if he'd lost the right to them—because if he was answering to anybody else but himself now, everything would be lost. And no angel, no demon, nobody was about to interfere with that. Not this time.

But any way he looked at it, he was still cornered. And the only one who could help him out of that corner, extend a hand to get him back on his feet and ready to kick Lucifer—and destiny— where it counted, was Dean. Isolated, he was powerless. Lucifer knew that.

Maybe redemption wasn't so far out of reach as he'd thought. Maybe he'd just been going about it wrong.

He reached for his phone again.


You and me, we're the fire and oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good….

We're not stronger when we're together, Sam. I think we're weaker.

Dean had hung up on him.

Sam could only stare at the phone in his hand, not sure whether he wanted to throw the phone at the wall or call him back as many times as it took for Dean to change his mind. Not that he would, because he knew that he wasn't the only one in the family with a hell of a stubborn streak. But he had to. Because while Dean and Cas might be out there now working to thwart Michael, that was only half the battle. And though Sam wasn't about to give in on his end, dread still blossomed in the pit of his stomach at the thought of going it alone, and the sneaking suspicion that if he and Dean couldn't fight this together, everything was gonna go to hell and fast.

He settled for jamming the phone into his pocket in the hope that Dean would call him back. Not likely, but still. It was all he had to go on at this point.

Well, not all. His gaze drifted back to the discarded switchblade now sitting innocuously on the bed.

And here he was, backed into a corner again.

It should've pissed him off. He'd been good and pissed not five minutes ago.

But at the words Bye, Sam, followed by the click of the receiver, all the fight had gone out of him.

Without much conscious awareness, he somehow ended up in the car—some beat-up, bland old rental that smelled a little like stale cigarettes and for some reason old butterscotch candy. When he'd gotten it, he'd been kinda glad Dean couldn't see it, because based on the smell alone he'd probably dub it an "old-lady-mobile" or something to that effect. It seemed like an almost comically trivial concern now. At any rate, he found himself in said car about fifteen minutes later, the few twinkling streetlamps on the sparse outskirts of Garber, Oklahoma flying by through the chilly October air.

A sort of numbness had settled over him again—a heavy, suffocating numbness, but welcome nonetheless because it meant he didn't have to think, a body on autopilot. With both hands on the steering wheel and his eyes wide and glazed, he took in the faded highway lines that stretched beyond the glow of headlights into the infinite, desolate stretch of Oklahoma pastureland that surrounded him.

He'd barely even realized where he was going until he'd actually arrived almost an hour later, pulled over by the side of some gravelly back road right next to what he was fairly certain was the only damn source of running water, aside for some scattered cow ponds, in the entire state of Oklahoma.

Okay, not technically true, not if you were up in the mountain ranges where he and Dean had had a few hunts in the past, but most of the state was field after flat, mind-numbing field, interspersed with rickety fences and grain silos. The dusty monotony of it all had a way of making otherwise normal variations in the land—hills and creeks and such—seem random and utterly surprising when they did crop up.

And here was this creek, with some five-syllable Native American name that he wasn't sure he could pronounce, bordered on both sides by a smattering of trees. As if to prove its defiance to the surrounding land, the creek had cut itself a deep, rocky ravine that seemed startlingly dramatic after miles of, well, nothingness. The creek wound along some distance from the road, but in this spot—the spot he'd noted on his first drive into Garber with that truck driver who'd first picked him up outside River Pass, Colorado—the creek came right up to meet the road. A lookout point of rosy-colored rock jutted out by the side of the gravel road, bordered by a rusty old steel railing like those he'd seen in photos of Grand Canyon tourist observation points.

He'd come here more than once. It was serene out here, and lonely, though he sort of liked that now that he was working regular shifts at a bar. Cars rarely passed this way. It was a good place to…he didn't exactly know, actually. Sit and contemplate everything he'd tried to run away from? Admittedly that was hard not to do, and it made him feel like he was wallowing every time he did it. But out here he felt better, somehow. Nothing had changed, but being miles and miles away from any living being was somehow comforting. It offered a sort of detachment, even if it was merely a physical one, that helped him clear his mind. A handful of times in the past few weeks he'd sat on the edge of this ravine—though admittedly when the sun was up, never at night—and dangled his feet over the edge, staring down a good three or four stories at the tumble of huge, jagged red rocks and stunted little bushes in the mouth of the ravine, at the joyfully gurgling ribbon of muddy water at its base. And thought of nothing in particular. Except for the last two times, when he'd brought a book to read, an old battered paperback copy of—of all things—The Fellowship of the Ring, which some local community college professor had left behind at the bar one night and never reclaimed. The irony didn't escape him.

So, pit stop on Mount Doom?

He'd almost smiled at the memory.

Almost. Because that was the day Sam had decided to leave. And the day Dean let him leave.

But at any rate, it was so easy to lose yourself when you were reading, even if he'd read this one a good few times, having been a bona fide Tolkien nerd back when he was about fourteen. Needless to say, the last few weeks had led him to embrace any distraction, however mundane, with open arms.

The book was still sitting, dog-eared, on the dash. Wasn't gonna do him much good now. Too dark to try, anyway.

He left the key in the ignition and the headlights on, and got out of the car. The slamming of the car door and the crunching of his footsteps over the gravelly ground sounded almost intrusive next to the soft bubbling of the flowing water below and the song of the crickets, but he hardly noticed. He shivered as he neared the railing, the air having dropped a couple degrees near the creek and the breeze having picked up some.

By the illumination of the headlights, he was able to clearly see the edge of the outcropping, and stepped over the rail to his usual resting spot on the other side. There was a good few feet of clearance between the back of the railing and the ravine edge, and he could sit securely and comfortably with his legs dangling in the open air. Tonight he didn't bother sitting, though. He just stood, looking down.

He couldn't even see the bottom. It was like looking down the gullet of some giant yawning monster.

And once more, staring into that blackness, he found himself contemplating his options.

Option, more like.

He hadn't wanted to off himself, sure, but now that he'd talked to Dean, he found that many of those inhibitions were dissolving into a dull apathy. Might as well do it, really.

And why not now? he thought, unable to tear his eyes from the ravine. At this point, what the hell.

He took a step closer.

What stopped him from jumping then and there, in the end, was not the return of any of his former fears. It was logic.

There was no telling if the fall would actually kill him. It would probably kill him. There was an important distinction in that.

If he jumped and it didn't kill him, he could be lying at the bottom of the ravine, unable to move, with a load of shattered bones and a shit ton of unnecessary pain until he either died or was found. And if he was found, which wasn't likely but still a possibility, the current fake medical insurance card that was currently sitting in his wallet—that was currently in his car thirty feet away—had Dean on record as next-of-kin. Sure, their names weren't real, but they'd be able to get ahold of Dean if he did survive and was airlifted to some big city hospital.

And Dean would be beyond pissed.

That is, if he even came at all. Maybe, if he really was dying afterwards. But Sam wouldn't blame him if he didn't bother, especially since he'd already told Dean on the phone that Lucifer had said he'd bring him back if he died.

And that aside, Dean had made it pretty damn clear he never wanted to see him again. Pick a hemisphere and all. But if Dean proved him wrong, and decided he did want to haul ass all the way to Oklahoma to witness Sam's latest fuck-up—because, really, how pitiful is it to fail at killing yourself, especially with as many years' experience with killing things as he had under his belt—well, he wasn't about to pull a shitty stunt like that on his brother. Even if it'd just be the latest shitty stunt in a now spectacular track record of shitty stunts he'd pulled on Dean lately.

And that was that. He couldn't do it.

Even if, looking down the mouth of the ravine, taking the single step off the edge just seemed so easy…

And God, wasn't that just melodramatic of him. And as messed up as it was, his lips twitched despite himself at the thought. What are you, a thirteen year old girl who writes bad poetry in her journal and just got dumped by her boyfriend? The voice in his head sounded suspiciously like Dean's. Yeah, that sounds like you.

But there were other ways of getting the job done—faster, cleaner, a hell of a lot less painful. He'd just need to think it through a bit.

And when he took a step back (figuratively, because there wasn't much room on the ledge), shut his eyes, and stopped staring down that goddamn ravine like he was hypnotized, he realized that he really didn't want to deal with this tonight. He could do it later, maybe tomorrow, once he'd though worked out the logistics of it all a little more carefully. And had the time, he was pretty sure. Lucifer had certainly seemed content to wait.

And maybe, just maybe, if he waited, Dean might call back…

Fat chance, that, but he still hoped against hope.

He huffed a sigh and lowered himself carefully down until he was sitting on the ledge. Really, the fact that he knew Dean wouldn't call him back, the fact that Dean had said outright that he wanted nothing to do with him ever again, was a testament to just how badly Sam had hurt him. Yeah, he'd screwed things up with Dean, and he'd be the first to admit it, but when Sam had called, that had been the last thing he'd expected to hear. Yeah, a rejection, maybe, an insistence that he still couldn't be trusted, but not I never want to see you again. Hell, even after he'd gone after Lilith, left Dean beaten and nearly strangled to death, Dean had still come after him, had still saved him. But now…

If Sam had finally reached his quota of second chances with Dean, when he once would've sworn that was impossible, that meant he'd broken something inside Dean that couldn't be fixed.

Dean had gone to Hell for him. Dean had gone to Hell for him, spent decades being broken down in every way imaginable for him, and when he'd gotten back and needed Sam most, Sam had ignored him. Fucking ignored him. Resented him, even. Called him weak. Who the hell could even do that?

Apparently, he could.

And end the world while he was at it.

And all for some stupid delusions of grandeur. Because that's all it'd been, if he was honest with himself, was power. Not that he'd thought so at the time, oh no—he'd unleashed hell on earth with the best of intentions, hadn't he?

The Lucifer thing must've just finally cinched the whole thing for Dean. Of course Dean wouldn't believe that Sam could resist the temptation to fall back into the same patterns, especially now that the singular most evil being in the universe was going to be using the same damn carrot on a stick—power—to try and lure him.

So he should just forget about waiting on that phone call, really. Not a snowball's chance in Hell Dean was gonna call back. Sam was alone in this, with nobody to blame but himself. He'd practically dug his own grave.

And now he was sitting here moaning about it, wasn't he, a one-man pity party, when it was Dean he should be worrying about, Dean he'd hurt the most, not himself. That just figured.

He absently rubbed at his temples. His head was starting to throb. The crickets chirped on and on.

Minutes passed. He'd leaned his head back against the pole and shut his eyes, willing the damn headache to go away and nearly nodding off in the process.

But when he heard a voice directly behind him, he started so badly he nearly pitched forward into the ravine.

"Thinking of jumping, are we?"

A sudden grip on his shoulders pulled him backwards before he could overbalance and fall.

"Oh, don't speed things up on my account," the voice drawled. "By all means, take your time. Count your regrets. Say your goodbyes to this cruel world."

Sam froze. He didn't turn to look. The hands were still firm on his shoulders, and any sudden movements might get him pushed into the ravine. He paused, trying to get his bearings, one hand slowly snaking out to grab the rail while the other inched toward his pocket and the switchblade.

And—shit—he recognized that voice.

"Reggie," he said quietly, gears in his mind working, trying to figure out how he was going to be able to even stand back up, let alone turn around and defend himself with only a few feet to stand on and a rickety rail between them. The odds weren't good. "Thought you and Tim left town."

"Well Tim did leave town…" the voice continued with a hint of amusement, " a manner of speaking."

Sam's blood ran cold at that. "You're not Reggie," he said slowly.

"Nope, sorry," the voice said. "Reggie couldn't make it. But he sends his regards." It paused. "Well actually he sends a 'Fuck you very much,' but, y'know, nuance."

Sam tightened his grip on the railing and chanced a glance upward. And there was Reggie's face, eyes pure black and gleaming in the glow of the headlights, leering down at him. Sam looked away again, facing the open air over the ravine, jaw clenched. "How'd you find me?" he asked. He wasn't so interested in how the demon had actually found him so much as he was in keeping him talking until he could form a plan.

"Wasn't easy," the demon said. He sounded pleased with himself. "It was like you'd dropped off the grid. Now how'd you manage that? Hex bag?"

Sam said nothing. Even after Cas had told them that the hex bags would be useless against Lucifer, it didn't mean he wasn't still paranoid about keeping them on his person, in the car, in his motel room, now that he was on his own. Just because the sigils kept Lucifer away didn't mean he was fine with demons knocking on his door.

The demon took his silence as an affirmation. He nodded almost approvingly. "Mm. Impressive. Who'd you have to kill to get your hands on one of those?" Again, Sam didn't answer. "Hex bag, and some Enochian jargon, then, if even my Father couldn't find you."

Something awful twisted in Sam's gut. "Who are you?"

"A messenger," said the demon proudly, as if the title were the highest of honors. "And devoted servant of the Bringer of Light. Pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Sam Winchester," the demon said amiably, but snorted when Sam didn't answer. "Though I gather by your silence the feeling's not mutual." Sam refused to look up. The grip on his shoulders tightened painfully. "Fine. Be that way. But I'd learn some respect if I were you, Sir High-And-Mighty. If not for me, then for the One who sent me."

"Lucifer sent you?" Sam asked. He didn't relax any, but if this was just a lackey and not a demon working independently, he was probably out of physical danger. Didn't mean it didn't piss him off, though. So much for Lucifer biding his time.

"Yes," said the demon, letting go of Sam's shoulders. Sam heard him back up a few steps, footsteps crunching on the pebbly ground. Sam waited to see if he was feinting, but the demon was apparently letting him stand up to face him. He took the chance and hauled himself up, spun around, and climbed over the bar. The demon waited until they were facing one another, about ten feet apart, to speak again. Once they were, and Sam got a good look at the demon, he realized with a jolt that there were huge dark splotches—blood—covering the front of his shirt and pants. It didn't seem to be Reggie's; he couldn't see a wound.

Which meant it had to be Tim's. Sam's stomach lurched.

The demon saw him looking and smirked slightly, but offered no comment.

Sam finally said, "So Lucifer sent you. Why?"

The demon sighed. "Because he feels that earlier this evening you two didn't part on the best of terms. He said you seemed…troubled."

Sam glared. "Something like that."

"He'd like to speak to you again," the demon said. "Smooth things over. Make sure there are no…hard feelings," he said carefully.

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Well if he can just pop into my mind whenever he wants, why does he need you to announce his arrival?" The question confused and unsettled him, but he didn't let it show.

"Because he doesn't want to pop into your mind, Sam," the demon said. "Apparently he thinks you find that…invasive."

"He'd be right."

"Oh, I know." The demon smiled, teeth flashing. "Which is why I found you for him, in order to arrange another meeting. This time, face-to-face."

Fear trickled like ice down the back of Sam's neck. It took him a second before he could clear his throat and say, with as much confidence as he could muster, "Not if I kill you first." It was a bluff, and a bad one at that. Without Ruby's knife, he was, for all intents and purposes, weaponless.

The demon knew it, too, and laughed, mirth mingled with cruelty twisting his features. "With what?" he asked. "That pigsticker in your pocket you kept reaching for? Good luck." He pointed at his own chest. "Plus, you wouldn't want to hurt your good friend Reggie here, now would you?"

"Who said anything about hurting Reggie?" Sam asked. If he had to bluff, he figured he might as well bluff for all he was worth. He raised a hand toward the demon.

That was enough to give the demon pause, at least. He paled, eyes wide, and backed up a few steps. But then, he seemed to recover, took several steps forward until his chest was almost touching Sam's extended palm, and grinned. He still looked a bit shaken, but triumphant nonetheless. "You can't do a damned thing to me, Sam. You didn't swallow a drop of that blood, now did you?"

"Who says I didn't?" Sam said, not withdrawing his arm.

"Reggie says." The demon tapped his—Reggie's—forehead. "And Reggie knows a lot of things, Sam. About this place, for instance." He gestured at the ravine. "And I've got to hand it to him, him and his friend both. They might be no match for a handful of demons, but they're exceptional trackers. Because even in the middle of this wasteland you call the prairie out here, based on a couple footprints and some tire tracks, they'd deduced that this place was your broody hideout of choice. They'd planned on jumping you here if they couldn't catch you at the bar. And, by the way, I have to say," he said, glancing at the ravine again. "I like this spot. Very…dramatic."

"And how'd you know to go after Tim and Reggie?" Sam asked, still keen on merely letting the demon run his mouth.

"You," the demon said, flashing a grin. "When my Father came to you tonight, even in your sleep, your mind was full of them. Full of guilt. You were so consumed by it. Because you think," the demon chuckled, "that it's you who's the reason that their friend is dead. That it was you who tore their lives apart. And I will tell you," he indicated his forehead again, "Reggie here? He certainly agrees with that statement. And he has a few choice four-letter words for you after what happened to Tim tonight. He wants me to rip your heart out." The demon shrugged. "Personally, though, I'd hardly blame you. It's not like you set those demons on Steve. Or me on Tim. But you…" he shook his head. "You, Sam Winchester, are something else. You'd think that two men holding you down and trying to force your drug of choice down your throat might dry up your sympathies a bit, but no, oh no." He looked positively gleeful. You? You feel remorse afterwards." He looked delighted. "Their names, their faces. Lucifer figured they'd be somewhere nearby. And that's why I'm here now."

Sam could feel his blood boiling. "Well you can tell Lucifer—"

"Tell him yourself," the demon said. "He'll be here soon." And then he took a few steps backwards, calmly held up his own hand, and said, "Goodbye, Sam."

And the next thing Sam knew, he was in the air. Tossed backwards like a ragdoll, he was suddenly hurtling over the rusted railings, over the lip of the ravine, and into the waiting darkness below.


And he was falling, plunging through blackness, his heart in his throat and wind screaming in his ears. In those few seconds, any doubt he'd had that falling from this height wouldn't kill him was erased from his mind, pushed out by sheer terror. Midair, he tried desperately to twist his body, find some sort of protective position that would offer at least some degree of protection against the inevitably catastrophic damage he'd suffer when his body hit the rocks. He couldn't manage it.

And then, with a sickening crunch that he felt rather than heard, his back slammed into something hard. Followed by his arms, his legs, the back of his head. Lights popped behind his eyes. His breath was driven from his lungs. It was too fast for pain to even register. He could, though, sense an odd, detached sort of splintering feeling, like his body was made of ice that was slowly cracking, fracturing into a thousand crumbling shards. He also sensed, somehow, that the surface he was sprawled upon was uneven. Slanted. And then he was rolling, tumbling down, until he heard a splash and landed on uneven ground, his arm and leg that were splayed out on one side of him suddenly doused with biting, aching cold. The creek, a distant part of his mind supplied.

And that was when the pain hit, the pain of a body shattered, coming from nowhere and everywhere at once like everything under his skin had been broken and crushed and melted down into liquid fire, consuming his very essence. He couldn't breathe.

More lights popped at the edges of his vision, tiny white fireworks, urgent and impossibly bright. He tried to blink, but found he couldn't.

And then, without warning, everything went dark.

To be continued...