A/N: Been waiting to write this part in the story for a while now. I hope everyone enjoys it! :D Thanks again to my wonderful beta, mainegirlwrites.
Disclaimer: Never have and probably never will own SPN.
And I try so hard
But I can't wake up
I'm speeding up the meter and the sirens echo on
And it's all too wrong
But I can't let go
I'm falling even deeper, but it's better than before
(Deeper, James Durbin)
He doesn't know how long it is before he finally comes to—probably an hour or so. He struggles to stand up, but can't move anything; not his hands, feet, legs, arms . . . nothing at all. Furiously blinking sleep from his eyes, Sam realizes total darkness encompasses him, pressing in on and suffocating him from every side. He pulls at the restraints keeping him tied to a chair, trying to push down the rising panic when he finds he is unsuccessful and very much trapped in unfamiliar territory.
"Dean?" he calls, hoping to receive an answer, to wake up and find this is all a dream. "Bobby?"
From the blackness comes a laugh so dark, so . . . evil, Sam thinks for a heartbeat Lucifer is back and hungry for torture. Nearby, he can hear something dripping loudly to the floor that he can't see, and it takes an enormous amount of calm to keep him from flipping the hell out.
"Who are you?" he demands. The laughing continues, snaking through his mind, making it hard to think, hard to stay sane. "What do you want?" Sam shouts, attempting to kick out blindly in the dark.
"You already know, don't you, Sammy?" says a voice he would know anywhere.
"After everything I've done to keep you alive, and this is how you repay me?" Something hard as a rock slams into the side of Sam's face. "After all I've sacrificed for you petty Winchesters?"
Sam knows both voices are impossible. Neither of their owners would tie him to a chair and torture him for Lucifer. Or anyone. But this isn't his party anymore, and the devil can do with him as he likes . . . because, this time, he really can't fight back, even if he wanted to.
This isn't real, Sam thinks. Not real, not real . . .
"Oh, I assure you it is, little Sammy," Lucifer drawls into his ear. "No matter what you think, you can never escape me, Sam. You'll always be in Hell with me, no Dean or Bobby or Castiel to save you. You and I? We're a team." Sam flinches away from the hand that suddenly rests on his shoulder. "And, win or lose, you're stuck here. Forever."
"And there's nothing you can do about it," his brother's voice adds. Sam hears the smile in his voice, and shudders violently, becoming increasingly cold. As if the voices themselves control the temperature of the room.
"One by one, you will watch us die," the dead angel whispers darkly into his other ear. "Again and again until you learn your place."
Sam senses Lucifer's hand next to his face and turns to bite hard into it. The devil releases a hiss of pain, yanking his hand away. Footsteps echo around the room, confusing Sam to no end. How many people could Lucifer have brought back from the dead to haunt him?
"No," Sam growls, shutting his eyes despite being encased in utter darkness. "I won't."
Light pierces his closed lids, and curiosity gets the better of him—he opens his eyes.
Standing before him are the two men whose voices taunted him. Dean. Cas, complete with his trench coat. Both so real, down to the last detail, smiling the devil's smile down at Sam; eyes blacker and deeper than Hell itself.
The footsteps stop, Lucifer standing between Dean and Cas, wearing an identical smirk. "Let the games begin."
When Dean wakes up back in the hospital bed, all alone in his room—Bobby's room—he knows something's wrong.
Sammy. Gone. He had been in the parking lot, searching the van, for a sign Sam had been there—
And then . . . what? How had he gotten back here? Where the hell is Bobby?
"Bobby . . ." Dean scrambles out of the bed and to the door, pushing the handle down repeatedly to find it locked. Even throwing his shoulder into it, the door won't budge. He pounds hard once on the door with a fist. "Bobby!"
The hallway is dark, not a soul in sight. Of course, he thinks, wanting to hit himself in the face. It's the graveyard shift.
But he wants to kick down the door more. He steps back to give it a try, and he hits the mark, but ends up experiencing a sharp pain that travels up the back of his leg. He swears loudly, putting all his weight on the other leg. I'm getting too old for this shit.
Pushing down the welling panic, Dean whips out his phone and calls Bobby's cell. No answer. Calls Sam—same thing. Dean calls the only other person who might be able to help him in his freaked out state.
To his surprise, another phone in the room starts ringing seconds after he presses talk. Dean looks around, hope flaring in his chest, scanning the deserted area. Finally, he pinpoints where the ringing is coming from and hobbles over to a pile of trash bags someone obviously just carelessly dumped there.
Great hospital staff they have here, he thinks sarcastically.
Dumpster diving has never been one of Dean's favorite pastimes; Sam always had his nerdy laptop, and he had the Impala to work on. Dean doesn't put sifting through trash as the first thing on his Things–To–Do–When–You're–Bored list. The only time he would ever even consider doing it would be, well . . . now.
The ringing stops just as he finds the phone, sitting innocently inside an empty McDonald's hamburger container. He searches as fast as he can through the phone, looking for anything that ties "Cas" to him. In the contacts, Dean, Sam, and Bobby are all listed separately. The phone holds no videos, just records of the last time the phone had received a call—about thirty seconds ago—and the most recent calls made. Dean is shocked to see his name is at the top of that list, shortly followed by Sam, then Bobby.
He skips ahead to the photos, where he finds a few of himself, Bobby, and Sam. Then he comes to the last one and just about drops the phone.
It's a serious–looking guy in a trench coat and suit.
Sam's gaze shifts from Dean to Cas to Lucifer, dreading the coming moments. He fails to remain calm, his breathing hard and fast, his face draining of all color. Sam digs his fingernails into the arms of the chair, raking them back and forth, telling himself it has to be a dream, that it's not real.
But he has a bad feeling it is.
"Dean, don't do this—" Sam starts.
"Oh, he won't listen to you," Lucifer cuts in. "Neither will Castiel here. But don' t you worry, Sammy, they can't harm you. Just sit back and enjoy the show!" The devil snaps his fingers and vanishes like smoke.
Dean and Castiel immediately turn on each other.
"What the hell were you thinking, Cas?" Dean shouts. "Knocking down Sam's wall, swallowing those souls? Being God? I never wanted to believe you'd turn on us, man, but I guess I was wrong. You're a child, and you'll never be anything else."
"All I've done is for you, Dean," Castiel counters. "I have saved you and your brother from yourselves countless times, more than I care to recall. Never have I asked for your thanks. Never have I asked for your assistance—and the one time I ask for help, you turn away. Perhaps if you had stood behind me, your brother's wall would never have been broken—"
Dean snaps and lunges for Castiel, striking him clean across the face—almost too easily in Sam's mind. The angel falls to the ground, Dean pinning him down and continuing to pound his face until it is covered with blood, unrecognizable. Sam yells until he turns blue for Dean to stop, but his brother doesn't listen. Sam winces when Dean's final blow knocks Cas unconscious. Pulling a long hunting knife from his belt, Sam watches in horror as Dean attacks without hesitation.
Castiel's head comes to rest at Sam's feet.
A knock on the door makes him jump.
"Dean?" Bobby calls from the other side of the glass, peering in.
Dean has never been so relieved to hear the voice of his father figure. He rushes to the door. "It's locked," he says, pointing to the handle, "from the outside."
Bobby fiddles with the door handle for a few moments, but stands back up with a defeated look.
Then Dean holds up an index finger to show Bobby he has an idea and takes off his flannel shirt, wrapping it around his right hand. He gestures for the older hunter to stand back and rams his hand through the glass on the door without waiting for Bobby's approval.
"What the hell does that do?"
Dean tosses Bobby the shirt through the opening, knocking a few pieces of glass still in place to the floor with his booted foot. "This," he says, squeezing himself through the slim opening, which proves a lot less difficult than unlocking the door. He smiles as glass crunches underfoot. "Like magic."
Bobby looks back into the room Dean had just smashed his way out of. "Where's Sam?"
"I tried calling you, but I got voicemail. Sam's missing," Dean says in a rush.
"What?" Bobby looks incredulous. "How? I thought he was with you!"
"He was, but—" Dean stops, staring at Bobby. "Where've you been all this time, anyway?"
Bobby clears his throat and looks away. "I, uh . . . fell asleep."
Dean runs a hand over his face. "Awesome." He sighs. "Look, Sam's gone, and I really don't have time to explain. We've gotta go, now."
"Okay, well, I'd say we got about ten seconds before someone comes along and sees us," Bobby observes, looking up and down the empty hallway. Loud, clipping footsteps drift toward them from the left. "So let's get the hell out of here."
Dean turns right, heading towards the parking lot. "Not gonna argue on that front."
Sam can't even scream before the head disappears. When he looks back up, Dean and Castiel have resumed their places, alive and whole.
"You should have killed your brother when you had the chance, Dean," the angel growls, his hand now crushing Dean's throat against one wall. "He drank demon blood, making him less and less human with each consumption. And you let him. You watched, detached, as he became the very thing your father told you he would one day become. The thing you would have to kill. Yet you let him live."
Dean pries at the Castiel's hands, struggling for air. He mouths words Sam can't make out. Sam yells again, knowing it's useless, but tries to get the angel's attention. It's me you want, not him! his conscience screams. For all the good it does him, a brick wall might as well have separated the pair from Sam.
"And, for that," Cas continues, ignoring both Sam's cries and Dean's struggles, "there is no forgiveness."
Sam wants to retreat inside himself, away from the world and its horrors, but he can't. Dean, having turned nearly every color imaginable, suddenly slides down the wall to the cold ground, dead.
"NO!" Sam screams. "Dean!"
It's several moments of seeing his brother slumped over on the floor, acknowledging the lifeless body, before Sam realizes Dean really is gone. Tears stain his face, wetting his shirt. He doesn't notice Castiel is right in front of him until the angel who's supposed to be dead speaks.
"Dean deserved to die."
Sam meets the cool gaze of the angel, his hands gripping the arms of the chair so tight he thinks he might end up breaking them. Sam throws himself at Castiel while still tied to the chair, fury taking him over. "I'm gonna kill you," he mutters angrily.
The angel smiles. "He let you live while you deserved his fate."
"Shut UP!" Sam yells. His mind barely registers the loud dripping sound in the background. He wonders momentarily if it ever stopped.
"You're going to die, Sam Winchester," Castiel says. Stepping back, the angel morphs into someone else. "And there's nothing your precious brother can do to stop it," the figure says, this time in the voice of Dick Roman.
"No." Sam uses all his strength, grunting as he attempts to escape yet again. "No! They'll find me, they'll know where—"
Dick Roman leans against the wall casually. He chuckles. "You really think it's that simple, don't you? And they told me you were smart."
Sam looks over to the Leviathans that had starred as Dean and Lucifer in the horror fest they'd put on especially for him. They stop right in front of Sam. The dripping noise becomes louder, and he looks down. A growing pool of red liquid stains the ground next to the chair. Blood . . . his blood.
"That was actually quite . . . fun, don't you think?" Dick asks the other Leviathans. They smile darkly in response, one even laughing.
The Leviathans are so preoccupied with their success at freaking Sam out that they don't notice someone has arrived at the door to Sam's right. As if a grenade has exploded, the door flies off its hinges, arching high over his head to high–five the opposite wall. In the large gaping hole where the door had previously resided, a dark shape is visible. In the few seconds it takes the dust to clear, Sam's spirits soar. Though he doesn't remember Dean ever having superpowers.
In the doorway stands—in baggy clothes and definitely not his trench coat—Castiel. Or, at least, who Sam hopes is the real Castiel.
The angel regards Sam as if they were enjoying a picnic in the middle of a forest on a sunny afternoon: "What did I miss?"