Author's Note: This was written for the OhSam comment fic meme over at Livejournal. The prompt was:
"Sam has been held captive and abused by someone who called him Sammy all the time. When it's over he can't stand being called that anymore because in his mind the name at once connects with the traumatic memories. But Dean will be damned if he'll let some asshole who tortured his brother take that name away from them!"
This is set post-6.22. The title comes from Daughtry's song of the same name, as excerpted below.
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
Call Your Name
You never said that it would be this hard
Love is meant to be forever, now or never seems to discard
There's gotta be a better way for me to say
what's on my heart without leaving scars
so can you hear me when I call your name?
And when you fall apart
am I the reason for your endless sorrow?
There's so much to be said and with a broken heart
your walls can only go down but so low
Can you hear me when I call your name?
They found Sam seven days after he'd been taken.
Dean and Bobby had immediately gone to Sheriff Mills after Sam had gone missing from the salvage yard. The cops quickly connected Sam's kidnapping to those of seven different men and women—brunettes in their late 20s—around South Dakota over the last six years. The traces of ketamine found in a discarded syringe cap at the site of his abduction matched the tox reports of the previous victims.
Refusing to let Sam be casualty number eight, Dean and Bobby employed their unique skill set, which eventually led them to an abandoned veterinary clinic in the boonies. Dean barely had time to wonder at the balls on the son of a bitch to stay so close to where he'd taken his most recent victim before he burst through the doors ahead of the cops, ready to plug the bastard that had taken his brother.
But he was dead already, a scalpel thrust in the side of his thick neck as he bled out on the floor, sightless eyes wide in surprise.
Sam was backed into a corner, eyes wide and locked on his captor, not tracking anything else. He'd sunk to the floor but hugged the wall as tightly as he could. He was stripped down to jeans and a t-shirt, both in tatters. Blood was smeared across his face and soaked into his remaining clothes. Beneath the sticky crimson, Sam was pale and sweaty. Cuts and bruises snaked out from Sam's clothes in mottled arrays, each patch an angry rainbow of varying hues. Some of the lacerations were fresh while others had begun to heal—and those were only the ones visible on a first glance. Sam was trembling violently and panting like he couldn't get enough of the stale, acrid air.
Cages lined the walls and Dean's stomach turned at the thought of his brother being held in one of them. He'd spent far too long in the worst cage of all time already. The table and various surgical tools that had once been used to operate on people's pets were streaked with blood—Sam's blood. The police poured into the room behind him, but Dean ignored them in favor of his brother. Sheriff Mills made sure they got space, for which Dean was grateful.
Sam looked completely out of it—a lot like those first few weeks after the wall had fallen and he'd been seeing Hell everywhere, unable to distinguish memories of the Cage from Bobby's house. Though, Dean considered with a glance around the room, it sure looked like Hell was still surrounding him after all.
Ignoring the cops, Dean knelt in front of his brother. The last week had been one long nightmare of searching and coming up empty, of worry and guilt and not knowing. But he'd found Sam. And that was all that mattered. Everything else was just details.
"Sammy?" he asked gently, doing his best not to spook his traumatized brother.
A full body shiver racked Sam. For a second, Dean thought Sam might tip over the edge into the abyss, but then his eyes focused on Dean's face. And then he dissolved into tears.
The morning Sam was taken, he'd gotten up at daybreak. Dean rolled over, instantly awake at any sign of movement from Sam's side of the room in case of nightmare or seizure. It had been a month and a half since Cas had crumbled the wall and Sam had drastically improved since returning to Bobby's, but Dean was still on red alert for any little sign of distress.
Dean slit his eyes open to see the grey dawn peeking through the window and a Sasquatch of a younger brother—an admittedly thinner one who wasn't eating much—throwing on a pair of jeans and a hoodie.
"Sammy, what is it?"
"Can't sleep," he said, pulling on a boot. "Go back to sleep."
Dean frowned around a yawn. "Hey—"
"Dean, it's fine. I just need some air," Sam cut him off, pulling on his other shoe.
Dean got that, really; especially after waking up from a nightmare still smelling sulfur. But it had been a long night and he was exhausted. "It's like six, dude. Five more minutes?"
"I don't need a babysitter, Dean," Sam snapped, showing some genuine irritation for the first time since the wall had fallen. That had Dean sitting upright, suddenly awake. "Sam—"
Sam pinched the bridge of his nose but shot Dean an apologetic look. "Sorry. I just…need a little space, OK? I'm just going into the yard."
Neither Dean nor Bobby had dared leave Sam alone since bringing him back to Sioux Falls. Even with Sam's improvements, he hadn't been out of one of their sights for longer than it took for him to shower or order a coffee while Dean waited in the car. And if Sam was looking for a little room for a patented Sam Winchester brood-a-thonTM, Dean supposed he should just be thankful his brother was doing something so innately Sam.
Dean gave his brother a three minute head start before throwing on some jeans and following him downstairs. In the kitchen he found a steaming mug of coffee set out on the counter. Dean blinked in confusion until he saw Sam sitting on the hood of the Impala looking out over the yard with a mug in his hands. A surge of affection for the kid ran through Dean before he took the mug and sat down at the table where he had a clear view of his brother in case something happened.
When Bobby came down an hour later, neither had moved.
Around ten, Bobby called Dean into the library. Sam was leaning back against the Impala's windshield, eyes shut and arms behind his head. He looked peaceful. The sight made Dean's lips tug a bit; he knew Sam secretly loved the car as much as he did.
Bobby was looking over some old texts from the Campbell library, hoping to find something to help deal with Cas—or at least to ward the house against him. But, as Dean pointed out, Cas knew where to find them and had yet to show. Dean was crossing his fingers that they weren't important enough on the cosmic scale to warrant the attention.
When Dean and Bobby headed back into the kitchen not twenty minutes later, Sam was no longer sitting on the car. He might have moved, Dean reasoned even as panic welled in his gut. He'd been there for awhile and even Sam could only brood for so long. But something nagged at him, told him that this was wrong, and he rushed outside with Bobby on his heels.
"Sam?" Dean called. "Sammy?"
Instead of Sam's voice, the sound of squealing tires rang through the air. Dean shared a startled glance with Bobby before taking off toward the driveway, even though he knew the car would be gone before he got there.
"Dean," Bobby said, his quiet voice carrying loudly on the air.
Dean turned back to see Bobby pointing at Sam's empty coffee mug on the ground next to the Impala. A set of unfamiliar footprints strode right up the car. Dean swallowed and knelt down. There were divots in the ground indicating a struggle. The same footprints headed back away from the car, drag marks following them.
Sam's condition—broken ribs, internal bleeding, deep lacerations across his entire body, head trauma, extensive bruising—had been worrisome for several days as Sam phased in and out of consciousness but rarely coherence. It was five days before Sam opened his eyes and recognized his brother.
Relief from hearing that one syllable washed over Dean like a tidal wave, momentarily taking his breath away by its sheer magnitude.
"Hey, Sam," Dean managed by way of greeting.
"Hospital?" Sam blinked tiredly, the drugs trying to pull him back under already.
"Yeah. You were pretty banged up, man. You had three surgeries, but the doc says you're gonna be fine." Dean was going to make sure of that.
It wasn't uncommon for a Winchester to end up in the hospital—occupational hazard and all—and Sam had been admitted his fair share of times over the years, but waiting on news from the doctors or seeing his normally vibrant and alive brother looking so small and broken in a hospital bed never got easier.
Sam frowned, that big brain of his trying to process the information through his morphine-induced haze. "Cops?"
Dean had been dealing with the police and dodging reporters since the ambulance had brought Sam in. Sheriff Mills had taken to guarding Sam's room, but Sam had been the Dakota Devil's last victim—yeah, the irony didn't escape Dean—and even with the sheriff keeping the Sioux Falls police department at bay, the media was still looking for a story, especially once news got out that Sam was conscious.
But Sam and Dean Winchester were still legally dead, and the last thing they needed was to get back on the FBI's radar because Sam had taken down a serial killer that had abducted him.
Dean shook his head. "Don't worry about it. Sheriff Mills is in charge and the doctors are keeping reporters away."
Sam nodded, eyes drooping against the heavy painkillers in his system. Dean patted his brother's wrist gently, careful not to dislodge any wires.
"Get some rest, Sammy." Sam stiffened. "I'll be right here," he added and, after a long moment, Sam slowly relaxed again and was under.
In the following days, Sam was staying conscious for hours at a time. When he wasn't in a drugged sleep, he and Dean had managed to have a few short conversations, but Sam would inevitably go rigid and zone out, or start shuddering violently until the nurses sedated him, or he would fall completely catatonic. There was no pattern that Dean could find in what triggered the episodes, only that one moment they'd be talking and the next Sam was back in whatever Hell his mind had concocted.
As Sam spent more and more of his waking hours locked up inside his head, Dean started to worry that there was something much deeper going on.
Just over a week later, Dean smuggled Sam out of the hospital while the sheriff turned a blind, if disapproving, eye. He eased his brother across the backseat of the Impala, making sure he was wrapped up securely in pilfered blankets so he could rest as comfortably as he could in the car before heading back to Bobby's.
"He saw me at the library," Sam said out of the blue. Dean had deposited him on the couch after returning from the hospital a week before and he was still there, though he was sitting up, propped by a pile of pillows and draped in a quilt Bobby's wife had sewn years before. His bruises were fading into pale greens and oranges and grays, a sickly dusk on his skin.
"What?" Dean asked in surprise.
He was sitting on the other end of the sofa with Sam's feet across his lap. Sam had only bitched the perfunctory little brother amount when Dean had settled himself that morning. Dean needed to feel Sam's presence after all the times he'd nearly lost his brother and Sam seemed to sense that. Dean snagged the remote and turned down the volume of the western they'd been watching while Dean gave a running commentary on its accuracy.
"Asher," Sam said softly. "The Dakota Devil," he clarified at Dean's blank look. "He said he saw me at the library. He started following me after that."
That gave Dean pause. Sam hadn't said much about his kidnapping, and though Dean was aching to know, to be able to help, he didn't want to push and cause Sam to retreat back into himself. He knew he had to trust Sam to talk in his own time, and his patience seemed to be paying off. But hearing about it made his blood boil. He wanted to resurrect the son of a bitch so he could kill him all over again.
And then he frowned as what Sam said registered. They'd started making trips to the library once Sam's post-wall condition had stabilized some. Books seemed to help him focus and kept him from going back into the Cage for hours at a time. As Sam read more, his episodes came less frequently, which led to library trips both to get out of the house and to make sure Sam had enough to read as Sam made quick work of Bobby's collection. The Dakota Devil could have spotted them on any number of trips.
"He acted like he knew me," Sam continued, looking down at the quilt and bunching it in his fists. "He talked about all the places we went and even the coffee I ordered that day. He talked about the salvage yard and the Impala. He even called me—" Sam cut himself off, looking nauseous.
"Sammy, I—" Dean started to say…
When Sam made a choking sound and went rigid. His heels dug into Dean's thighs and Dean froze.
Shit, what happened?
Dean pulled himself out from under Sam and knelt on the floor next to his brother's upper body. Sam was trembling, his muscles tense, and his eyes seeing something Dean couldn't. He was helpless, just like during Sam's visions those years ago, relegated to waiting for Sam to snap out of it. And it killed him.
"Sam, please," Dean murmured, knowing his brother had no idea he was there. He put a hand over the back of Sam's and rubbed his thumb back and forth.
But Sam recoiled, his lips moving silently. Dean leaned in closer. "Sammy, what? What is it?" This was the first time he'd shown any sign of recognition during a flashback.
"Don't call me that."
Dean flinched like Sam had taken a swing at him. It wasn't the usual resigned denial of a little brother who secretly liked his nickname. It was something far more broken and desperate, as though simply hearing the name was torture.
Dean put his hand on Sam's leg and his brother, still not really with him, whimpered.
The sound cut through Dean sharper than any blade. "Hey kiddo. It's just me."
"Not Dean," Sam moaned. "Never Dean." Over and over again, like a mantra.
And that's when Dean got it.
"How often did Lucifer use my face to hurt you, Sam?" he whispered sadly. How often had he used that nickname to make a mockery of their brotherhood? Dean squeezed his brother's leg. "I'm right here, bro. The real deal. So just come back. Please…"
Sam groaned as consciousness slowly returned. Everything was fuzzy and even opening his eyes sounded like a monumental task. His muscles ached but he didn't know why. And he didn't want to open his eyes to figure it out either. After everything he'd been through—that he remembered like it had just happened—muscle cramps didn't even register. But still, something wasn't right.
"There he is," an unfamiliar voice said from nearby. "Come on, Sammy. That's a good boy."
The words hit like a blow, and Sam's eyes flew open. He jerked but his legs hit something solid. Sam threw his arms out, only to meet cold metal. An unfamiliar face peered at him through steel bars.
"Heya, Sammy-boy. Welcome back."
Bars. A cage. Oh god.
Sam swallowed and peered past the face at his surroundings. There was a metal table in the center of the room and a tray of surgical implements gleamed under a single light bulb swinging on a string from the ceiling. Other tools hung on the opposite wall, some rusty and others clean. This wasn't a hospital, but definitely some kind of clinic. Sam traced the perimeter of the room, noting the kennels. A veterinary clinic then. He'd been drugged and vets carried drugs…Yes, he could do this; he could be rational. He could fight his way out. He was a hunter and this guy was just a human. He could—
A hand banged the bars with a razor in Sam's eye line and Sam flinched, drawing back as his heart started pounding and his breath came in sharp pants. He drew his knees up to his chest and shut his eyes as wave of sickness washed over him. Not this, not again. He wasn't back there, he wasn't.
"Now, now, Sammy," the voice said. "None of that now. You'll miss all the fun."
Sam moved his lips but couldn't seem to form the words. The man laughed.
"What was that? I'm afraid I missed it."
"It's Sam," he said, finding his voice.
"Oh Sammy," a new, achingly familiar voice said, "I think we both know better than that."
Sam looked up and Dean was watching him with the razor in his hand. With a cold smile, Dean snapped his fingers and Sam was lying on the metal table, arms and legs strapped down. Dean circled the table like a predator.
"Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. What are we going to do with you?" Dean said, stopping above Sam's head, peering down at him. The coldest winter had nothing on Dean's eyes.
"Sammy, what? What is it?" The voice was so familiar but it wasn't…
"Don't call me that," he said, practically pleading. Because only Dean was allowed to call him that.
Not!Dean put a hand on Sam's shoulder and Sam whimpered, turning his head away. He knew this now. They'd done this dance countless times over the years. Sam knew what was coming next.
"Hey kiddo. It's just me."
God, he wanted to believe so bad. "Not Dean," he told himself. "Never Dean. Not Dean," he whispered, shutting his eyes as Lucifer laughed in Dean's voice.
"I'm right here, bro. The real deal."
Sam shut his eyes. He couldn't keep doing this. But something sounded different. Dean sounded heavier. Tired. Worried. Lucifer never sounded like that, never got the details exactly right. What if…?
"So just come back. Please…"
Sam blinked and for a moment he had no idea where he was. And then he recognized the red wallpaper, the desk across the room, the quilt resting over his feet, the hand squeezing his leg…
Sam swallowed and looked down. "Dean?"
Six days after Dean went to Bobby with his idea, Bobby walked into the kitchen where Dean was nursing a beer while Sam watched some documentary in the living room. He dropped a baggie in front of Dean. Dean put his beer down and picked up the bag, raising an eyebrow at the older hunter.
"And here I thought you got your money from the salvage yard. Does the sheriff know about this?"
Bobby smacked him upside the head before turning to lean against the sink. "It's the dreamroot, ya idjit." He paused, frowning. "You really think Sam would want you doing this, Dean?"
Dean shook his head, picturing his brother's bitchface if he knew. "Probably not. But it doesn't matter." He gave Bobby his best shit-eating grin. "Because I'm an awesome big brother."
Bobby rolled his eyes. "Yeah, whatever you say."
Dean felt his smile slip as he eyed the pouch. He knew what he had to do. It was for Sam, but that didn't make it any easier.
He looked up as Bobby pulled a mug down from the cupboard and sighed. No point in putting it off. Dean pushed himself to his feet and headed into the living room. Sam looked up and smiled weakly.
"Hey," he said. "Come to join the fun?"
"To learn about the fascinating world of," he glanced at the TV, "dung beetles? Really?"
Sam shrugged, careful not to pull at any healing wounds. "It's not like Bobby gets many channels."
"How much time do you think I have to watch TV?" Bobby grumbled from the doorway.
Sam gave a weak laugh and threw up placating hands. Dean glanced back at Bobby, who nodded. Sam frowned, glancing curiously between them.
Sam froze, body tensing and his breath catching in his throat and eyes going into a thousand yard stare.
"Sorry kiddo." Dean's chest twisted painfully as he pulled out a couple hairs from his brother's shaggy head. He took the mug of tea from Bobby and dropped the hairs into the mixture. He flopped down onto the floor, his back against the sofa and saluted the older hunter.
"Bottoms up," he said, downing the dreamroot tea.
The last thing he saw before he shut his eyes was a flickering report on the TV about the Dakota Devil.
Dean blinked when he found himself in the vet clinic where they'd rescued Sam. He didn't know what he'd been expecting, but this wasn't it. Sam was laid out on the table, bound and bloody. The Dakota Devil—Asher, Sam had called him—held a bloody scalpel in his hand and stood at Sam's side.
He brought the blade down and cut into Sam's already bloody chest. Sam cried out as his body thrashed against his bonds. The serial killer chuckled as he stepped back. Sam wheezed, his breath sounding wet.
"Oh Sammy, you scream so good. I just knew when I laid eyes on you that you would be perfect."
Sam flinched but said nothing. His head lolled to the side like he was having a hard time seeing straight.
"I just knew when I saw you with that brother of yours that you'd both seen too much." He smiled, running a hand down Sam's cheek. Sam weakly jerked his head away. "I can always spot the ones who got too old too fast. Dean, though, he wasn't my type. But you, Sammy? So perfect."
Dean felt sick, hearing that, hearing how close he'd gotten to them without them noticing. And he felt sick at how personal he was making this.
"He acted like he knew me. He talked about all the places we went and even the coffee I ordered that day. He talked about the salvage yard and the Impala. He even called me—"
"Go. To. Hell," Sam replied haltingly, his voice hoarse from screaming.
Asher just laughed, and that was it. Dean wasn't going to let this sick fuck keep tormenting his brother, even in death. He made to step in, to take down the guy himself, when someone else beat him to it.
"I can arrange that," a familiar voice said.
Dean froze at the sight. He was staring at his own back from across the room as his hand shoved into the serial killer's chest. Asher's eyes went wide and blood spurted from his mouth as he gurgled. The other Dean turned and looked down at Sam with an affectionate smile.
"You know I'll always come for you, kiddo."
"You're not Dean."
The other Dean and laughed, a twisted sound that Dean was sure had never come out of his own mouth, and ran a hand through Sam's blood-matted hair. "Very good. You're getting better."
He snapped his fingers and the clinic was gone, replaced by something a little more…Hell-like, from Dean's experience. Sam was strapped to the godforsaken rack and Dean's heart leapt into his throat.
"Lucifer," Dean breathed as he watched his doppelganger tower over his brother.
He watched as Lucifer raised a hand and murmured "Sammy" fondly. Sam recoiled from the angel wearing Dean's face and suddenly Dean was no longer frozen; he was furious. If Lucifer thought he could take something as innocent as a childhood nickname and twist it into something sick and torturous, the dick had another thing coming. The fallen angel had already taken just about everything else from them and tainted it. He couldn't have this too.
"You son of a bitch," Dean growled, stepping forward. Sam and Lucifer looked up in surprise. "You don't get to call him that."
"Dean?" Sam asked, eyes widening in surprise. "What—?"
But Lucifer rounded the rack to block Sam from Dean's view. "Well, well," Satan said, and Dean tried not to think about the Devil wearing his face. "Look what we have here. It's good to see you, Dean."
"You leave my brother alone, you sick bastard," Dean growled.
"No can do, Dean-o," Lucifer said, his lip quirking at John's old nickname. Dean stifled a flinch of his own. No, he was not doing this, not in Sam's dream. "Sam's mine. He was meant for me from the very beginning. And you let him go, right into my grasp, big brother. And I'm not letting go."
"Sam, this is your head," Dean said, ignoring Lucifer's biting words. "You call the shots here." Lucifer's eyes narrowed. "He can only hurt him here if you let him."
Lucifer turned, so Sam was confronted by two Deans. His eyes widened. "Dean, what…"
"Don't listen to him, Sammy," Lucifer said, his tone softening. "He's trying to trick you."
Sam's eyes darted between the two Deans, finally settling on his brother. "My head?" he whispered, like he didn't dare hope it might be true.
Dean nodded. "You just gotta—"
Suddenly Dean's eyes were flying open and he was staring at a muted commercial for some sugary breakfast cereal. Behind him, Sam was gasping for air like he'd been drowning. Dean whirled around to look at his brother, who was grasping at the couch cushions to brace himself. His wild eyes finally settled on Dean, silently begging him to explain.
"Hey," Dean said, putting a hand on each of Sam's shoulders. "Hey, it's OK. It's OK."
"W-what the hell, Dean?" Sam demanded as he caught his breath. "Did you just dreamscape my head?"
But Sam shook his head, his gaze dropping and his hands clenching in his lap. "Dean, you can't just…" He trailed off, looking frustrated like he couldn't get the right words to form.
"Hey. Look at me." Sam slowly looked up and Dean waited until he knew he had his brother's full attention. He squeezed Sam's shoulders gently. "I'm only going to say this once. I just want to help. You're hurting and you won't talk to me and I can't do a damn thing about it. You gotta let me do something. And if that means jumping in your freaky head, then I'm gonna do it."
Sam swallowed thickly. "Thank you. Really, Dean. I mean it." As if those big doe eyes would let Dean think otherwise. "But I…" He paused, biting his bottom lip.
Sam scrubbed a hand over his face. "I just… I don't want you seeing me like that."
Whatever Dean thought Sam might say, that wasn't it. It took Dean a long moment to comprehend what his brother had said. Sam was ashamed of being tortured in Hell. That was fucked up, even for them.
"You have got to be kidding me."
Sam's eyes widened in surprise. "What?"
"That's the biggest load of shit I've ever heard, Sammy," Dean growled. The nickname was out of his mouth and Sam going rigid in his grasp before Dean knew it, but he squeezed his brother's shoulders tightly. "No, no. Not now. C'mon, Sam. Don't you let him take that from you, too. Don't you dare. Stay with me," he pleaded. "Shit, I'm sorry. Please."
Sam went limp in Dean's grip and he panted harshly. Momentarily surprised Sam had snapped out of it so quickly, Dean helped him ease back against the pillows. When he looked at down at his brother, Sam was giving him a wan smile.
"What?" Dean asked, startled.
But Sam shook his head as his eyes drooped shut from exhaustion. "Nothing."
"Oh c'mon. That wasn't nothing," Dean grumbled and slumped back down to the floor with his back to the sofa.
"Don't need you in m'head, Dean," Sam mumbled. He was already mostly asleep, but a big hand flopped over Dean's shoulder onto his chest just above his heart. "Yer already here."
Sam screamed as Lucifer carved into his chest with his favorite blade. There was nothing but white hot agony and the honey-coated words of Lucifer that somehow always managed to seep through the haze of pain when Sam couldn't even remember his own name. A hand touched his cheek in a mockery of a caress and Sam felt the skin blister under the touch.
"That's my boy, Sammy," Lucifer said.
He shuddered at the nickname; two simple syllables shot down his spine like an electric current and made his insides twist up in despair and sickness. That name had been synonymous with pain for nearly two-hundred years…
But at the moment he couldn't remember why it was so important in the first place.
"—am? Sam? Sammy?" a voice called faintly through the sulfuric miasma that surrounded them.
Michael couldn't get through the barrier made up of the very essence of Hell with his fading grace already protecting Adam, so Lucifer erected it when he wanted some privacy with his vessel.
Sam cringed at the new invading voice. It knew the name, which must mean pain. No more, he begged silently. Please, no.
But the smell of gun powder and leather tickled his nostrils, drowning out the blood and fire and ice and fear. There was something familiar about it…
"It's nothing, Sam," Lucifer whispered, his breath a bitter breeze against his ear. "You're here with me. Forever."
But the miasma started to retreat as Sam inhaled the scent again. He knew this. But how?
The pounding of his heart in his ears faded into white noise as familiar tones rang out through the air, starting quietly and building up. Metallica?
"C'mon, Sam," the voice said over the music. He knew that voice.
"No," Lucifer growled into his ear. He cupped Sam's chin in his hand and it felt like every pore on his face had been lit on fire.
But it didn't hurt like it should. The familiar smells and sounds started curling together in his mind, forming a barrier that the miasma, that Lucifer's words and torture, couldn't penetrate. It felt safe.
"Sammy, please," the voice whispered, drowning out everything else.
There was that name again, but Sam felt no pain or fear. He felt like he was home.
Lucifer's howl of rage echoed in his ears as he jerked awake.
He flailed for a minute, losing his equilibrium and nearly tumbling over before a pair of hands steadied him. "Hey, easy. Easy, Sam."
Sam looked up to see Dean leaning over the front seat of the Impala. He glanced around and realized he was lying in the backseat of the car. But how had he gotten there?
"You with me?"
Sam took a deep breath and nodded, and Dean eased back into the driver's seat with a weary nod. The radio was playing Metallica when Dean turned the volume down.
"What happened?" he asked, trying to remember and coming up empty.
"We were coming back from the drug store," Dean said.
Oh, right. Sam vaguely recalled demanding to go with Dean to refill his prescriptions because sitting on the couch was driving him insane—well, more insane. Dean had reluctantly agreed, so long as Sam stretched out in the backseat so he didn't jar anything. He nodded that he knew what Dean was talking about.
"We were almost back, but you zoned out on me. So I got us back to Bobby's and waited."
Sam nodded thoughtfully at that. And then he smiled.
Dean frowned, obviously not expecting that. "What?"
"You played Metallica. I could hear it."
Dean was momentarily startled at that before he snorted. "Well if anything was loud enough to breach that thick skull of yours, it was Metallica."
Sam huffed a weak laugh before turning serious. "Thanks."
Sam shrugged. There weren't really words for what Dean had done for him—and kept doing for him—by breaking through his Hell haze when nothing else could. When nothing else could or would pull Sam out of the Cage, mind and soul, Dean found a way.
Understanding crossed Dean's face. He nodded uncomfortably, shrugging his shoulders. Even though he was always looking after Sam, he wasn't comfortable being thanked for his efforts. He opened his door and got out, opening Sam's door.
"Let's get you in the house, Sasquatch. Got you some more good drugs and everything." Dean's version of you're welcome and any time and I love you, too.
As Dean helped ease Sam out of the car, Lucifer's yell echoed through his head again. Yet Sam couldn't help but laugh.
"What is it, Sammy?"
Sam didn't so much as flinch at the name, remembering the enveloping feeling of safe that came when Dean said it.
"Lucifer," Sam said and Dean tensed. "He really hates your car, Dean."
Dean paused and then burst out laughing as well.
- finis -