Sometimes Dean wondered why he even bothered getting a motel room, especially on nights like this. Dean couldn't sleep, too wired with information he didn't know what to do with, and Sam, well, Sam just couldn't sleep. Hadn't for over a year now and that never stopped being vaguely creepy to Dean.

For the moment, the lights were off, street lights coming through the window keeping the room from being pitch black. Dean was lying on his back, while what was left of his brother was sitting up across from him in the opposite bed, legs crossed Indian-style with his hands in his lap and his eyes staring at nothing. It seemed like he was focusing very intently on something that wasn't there. It didn't really matter though, Dean was too lost in his own thoughts.

Sam, Sammy, his little brother's soul was still in the cage, and Dean didn't even know if the man in the room was really his brother at all. He wasn't sure he wanted him to be.

But what was he supposed to do with that? Everyone seemed to think he should just leave it, that Sam wouldn't be able to handle the memories of his torture, his Hell, if he was suddenly thrust back topside. He could go insane, be a vegetable. He could die. Again.

So what does he do? Everything that makes Sam, Sam is still burning. Dean realizes that for all the joy he felt at the beginning of the year, he never really got Sam back, and suddenly he's grieving all over again.

But can he really do that? Keep pretending this mockery of his little brother is Sam? Dean has once again been given the task of deciding his brother's fate. Whether Sam lives or dies, save him or kill him. But what if saving him kills him?

"I can hear him."

The voice is quiet, but not soft. Said as a simple statement of fact, of realization of something that was always there. Dean turns to look at Sam, sees that he hasn't moved, eyes still glazed and far away.

"…What?" It is all he can say, because he is honestly confused.

"Sam. I can hear him." The younger man tilts his head, as if trying to listen more closely. "I can hear him screaming."

It seemed ironic, that this man could hear his soul, but all Dean could hear was the blood rushing through his ears with each heartbeat. He thinks he might be sick, he might cry, he might curl up and die because Oh God, that is not Sam next to him.

Sam is in Hell.

Dean watches as the younger man's eyes flutter closed and he leans back onto the bed. He's not sleeping, of course he's not sleeping, but he looks like he could be. Like he could be unconscious and dreaming instead of listening to a dead man's cries.

They're going to get him back. Dean knows now, his little brother is still suffering, paying for crimes he didn't commit and Dean will be damned if he doesn't get him out. If it's the last thing he does Dean will save Sam.

Swallowing, Dean closes his own eyes. His mind is clear, he has his answer. He knows what to do.

He is almost asleep when he hears the faint voice speak again, and the tears start to fall.

"He's screaming your name."

The End.

You're totally allowed to disagree, but I definitely view Sam and Soulless!Sam as two distinct people. I believe that the soul is what makes a person who they are, so without it they are someone else. That's why I don't think Sam is to blame for anything he did while he was soulless.

Also, I was sort of peeved that not retrieving Sam's soul was ever an option. I get that it could kill him or turn him into a vegetable or whatever, but because of that he deserves to just continue serving an eternity of torture? I feel like at the very least if they got his soul out, and his body died, then wouldn't he be allowed to go to Heaven? Couldn't his soul finally be at peace?

Meh, this is just me ranting. Like I said, totally allowed to disagree. :) As for the actual story, I just thought it'd be fun to play with the idea of Sam's soul and his body still harboring some sort of connection, to the extent that something like this might occur. Feel free to review, comment, question, flame, etc.

Thanks for reading! ~BFMS