Sam stopped nearly three feet from the door to the small suburban house...the same house in which two years ago his older brother was taken from him in a flash of blood and violence. He figured that Lilith would have the nerve to set this final showdown in the exact location that Dean was ripped from the earth and thrown into Hell...destined to burn for all eternity. It was too quiet here, not a soul outside on the gorgeous May evening and Sam wasn't naive enough to fall for it. This was a trap, obviously. Only one of them would walk out alive...if they were lucky.
Usually, Sam wouldn't be caught dead walking into such a blatant and obvious trap with the world's oldest demon waiting inside, preparing to trick him into doing what she wanted him to do. But this time, Lilith had absolutely no idea of what awaited her once Sam had her cornered, she had no idea of what exactly Sam had going for him.
Getting rid of Lilith wasn't just about the plan...it was for revenge. For making his brother burn in Hell. For trying to secretly control what happened in their lives in order to get what she had been wanting for thousands of years.
His brother was suddenly at Sam's side, deep black eyes looking right into his own.
"You ready for this?" he asked, placing a hand on Sam's shoulder in an attempt at support, or maybe concern. Whichever it was, it was enough.
Lilith tried two years ago to control the Winchesters' destiny and failed. Sam was determined to make her fail again.
"As ready as I'll ever be, Dean."
And without another moment of hesitation Sam threw open the door and stepped inside.
One year earlier
Sam was pissed off and drunk as he slammed the door to his motel room, the hinges rattling and the couple next door shouting to keep it quiet. Fuck that. He was going to be as loud as he wanted and he was going to do whatever the hell he damn well pleased. What was the point in caring how other people perceived him anyway? He worked alone; never saw a person more than once these days. He even stopped talking to Bobby; Sam hadn't seen him in over four months.
And then to top it all off, that stupid bitch Ruby left him stranded right around that time. She'd shown up about two months after Dean's death and said how they would kill Lilith together. Apparently Ruby wanted revenge because Lilith sent her back to Hell, and it was obvious why Sam wanted the bitch dead. Ruby had even told him that maybe; just maybe it would free Dean from Hell. No promises, but it was possible.
It was all the encouragement that Sam needed. Anything to stop his brother's everlasting torture. Sam didn't like Ruby, but he had enjoyed her company, it was something to take his mind ofDeanDeanDeanohgodDean'sinHellDean'sdeadbecauseofme that ran around and around in his head every single day until he couldn't help but bury himself in alcohol and the ever present anger sent him into fits of temper tantrums and violent bar fights.
So when Ruby and him starting tracking down Lilith, it was a pleasant distraction. He had something to work towards, something that might actually help him free Dean, instead of searching through book after book on ways to free souls from Hell that never led anywhere. After about six months, Ruby said they were closing in on Lilith but in order to kill her she was going to have to teach Sam something. She left that cold winter day with a wave, promised she'd be back tomorrow and Sam would be on his way to killing demons using only his mind.
She never came back. Sam didn't know exactly how to feel about that. Ruby had been acting off, even though she was a demon her personality had just...not been what Sam remembered of her. She had been a kick-ass give'em hell demon before the whole Lilith thing, for some reason helping them but she never seemed to like either Sam or Dean. She seemed to find the both of them annoying and stupid, often making lame jokes mostly directed at Dean but she had respected them.
Now she seemed timid and weak and her gentleness towards Sam creeped him out. It was like she was trying much too hard to be human, trying to get Sam to talk about Dean and get out of his depression. Her personality change was even more unnerving than the concept of being a sort-of-ally to a demon.
So in a way Sam was relieved but he was also unreasonably pissed at being ditched again. He had gone out into town that evening Ruby was "supposed" to come back to get drunk. Only he found Ruby flying out of a different motel across the street from the bar; she was talking on the phone in a rushed loud voice.
"He couldn't! It was...I had him! I was just about to...the plan...shot to hell! ...ruins everything...wasn't supposed to happen...I know!...how in the world did he manage to...yes...you'll find someone else then? What about Winchester? I know he's the only one...I would continue but I can't, not right now at least...I'll be the first person he goes after to kill! It's not safe until he's gone...yes...I'm sorry...bye."
Ruby had hung up and looked up across the small dirt road when their eyes locked. Her face held the same expression that Dean's once did when John found out he had snuck out overnight. She was busted.
In a flash Ruby jumped into her car and sped off. Sam wasn't exactly sure what happened that day but he did understand one thing. Ruby had been playing him these last few months; she had a plan all along. Something had happened that threw off that plan, something that was never supposed to happen.
Sam was afraid of what that something might be.
The memories of the devious demon were really firing up Sam's ever-present rage. He knew it wasn't good for him...but how could he stop it? How could he stop the self-blame, the guilt and the worry when his brother was burning in Hell this very second. It wasn't just as if Dean had simply died and moved on. He had been taken far before his time to save his little Sammy's life only to endure torment for all of eternity. So yeah Sam was pissed and drunk and he was going to drink some more. He grabbed the bottle of whiskey he had carelessly tossed on the bed the night before and popped it open, took a long swig.
He was too scared and weak to kill himself properly. Maybe if he slowly drank himself into alcoholism over the years, his liver would give up and his body would die on him...organs shutting down as he just collapsed and faded slowly...away from all the pain...
A noise outside stopped Sam's never-ending grim thoughts that just seemed to spiral, getting worse and worse every day. It sounded as if someone had thrown something at the motel door. Sam huffed without humor. A year ago he would be jumping up with a gun at hand, alert and ready to stop any supernatural creature that might stand in his way. Then again, a year ago he had his brother by his side...
"Fuck, Dean..." Sam felt his heart pounding in his chest, threatening to explode and end his miserable existence. He slowly slid to the floor, all but abandoning the alcohol as his mind whirled and his heart ached for Dean. Sam knew he was falling into what Bobby called his "episodes" but Sam thought they were something more of depression black-outs. He would totally forget where he was at and lose himself in his dark thoughts. He'd fall asleep at one point and wake up sometimes a day later, the room would be trashed and he couldn't remember a thing. It wasn't healthy to zone out like that and even though Sam didn't give a shit about his health, the episodes still scared him and he didn't need one right now.
Sam ignored whatever the noise had been as he slowly crawled into the bed furthest from the door. He could never bring himself to get a single bed, and even with two queens he would never sleep in the one closest to the door. Dean's bed...Sam always left Dean's jacket lying out on his bed. Sometimes if Sam concentrated hard enough he could imagine Dean laying in bed instead of the jacket, watching TV and laughing, sometimes he even swore he heard his older brother's voice...
"Come'on let me in!"
It was at that voice...that all too familiar voice that broke Sam out of his trance. He glanced at the bedside clock only to realize that he had passed out for at least an hour. As he slowly awoke some more Sam could feel Dean's old leather jacket wrapped tightly in his arms. He never remembered the sleepwalking either, but he obviously did so, and every single time he'd grab Dean's jacket from the other bed. It no longer smelt like Dean, but when Sam held it, it was almost as if Dean was still here, protecting him...watching over him...
There was another loud thud on the door but this time whatever had been thrown at it was much larger. Sam cursed and curled into himself some more...wishing for Dean's voice to stop ringing in his head...
"Damnit Sammy! Open the door!"
There it was again. And even though Sam knew he was somewhat delusional, this voice was not from his head. It was a real voice coming from outside of the door and it sounded just like his brother. Sam barley thought of anything as he shrugged on the jacket he not only slept with, but also always wore along with Dean's amulet. He knew the voice wasn't Dean but his mind was telling him otherwise...his body was pulling him towards the sound of the voice that he longed for so dearly...
Sam threw open the door and stepped outside to find an empty parking lot. Disappointment washed through him and even though it was the stupidest thing he could probably ever do...Sam stepped outside of the salt line and over the threshold to get a better look.
Instantly Sam felt an arm around his neck and another one crushing his hands behind his back. He struggled simply out of instinct but in reality he was hoping that this might be the end.
"I'm not going to hurt you," the Dean voice said and Sam couldn't help but calm down at the sound of the voice. It was then that he realized that even the hands holding him captive felt like Dean. "But I have no other way to do this or you'll freak out and never let me in."
The voice still sounded like Dean...could it be...
"So get out of whatever the hell kind of freaky trance you're in and break the salt line for me...will ya Sammy?"
Sam nodded dumbly at the Dean voice and with one smooth motion cleared a path in the salt with the toe of his boot. He didn't even stop to think that this meant whatever this thing was, it couldn't pass salt.
Once in, the Dean voice thing let go of Sam and closed the door. It was enough time for Sam to clear his head a little bit and finally think about what in the world he'd just done. He'd let in a monster, a monster using Dean's voice. There was no other explanation.
"Well are you going to just stand there with your back to me or turn around? I have to say that you'll be pleased, I'm just as easy on the eyes as I ever was."
Spinning around slowly, Sam figured he'd be ready for the sight.
Standing right in front of the door was his brother, looking just as healthy and young as he had right before the hell-hounds tore him apart. But it wasn't his brother, it only looked like him. The thing standing in front of him had glistening black eyes where Dean's green ones should have been. A demon was posing as his brother and Sam was freaking pissed off. Not because the demon was probably trying to trick him or lure him into a plan like Ruby had been, but because this thing had the nerve to take his poor brother's form...maybe even steal his body!
Before Sam knew it he was running towards the creature that continued to look unsurprised and it didn't fight back when Sam slammed it into the wall. He bashed its head in repeatedly, before flinging it to the floor and pounding the crap out of its face. Sam smiled wickedly at the sight of the blood coming from the demon and was about to slam his foot down on it's already mauled head when it turned and looked at him.
Its eyes were green now. Green and full of pain. It also looked a bit pissed off and the look reminded Sam so much of Dean that he fell backwards in shock. He knew this wasn't his brother...but looking at all this damage to his brother's stolen face it was too much. Sam couldn't handle seeing it and it was even worse that he had caused Dean's face to look like that...
"Are you done now?" The demon coughed out a bit of blood and pulled itself to sit on the bed nearest the door...Dean's bed damnit...with a grimace on its face. "I am a bit disappointed though Sammy, I thought you would have had more fight left in you."
"Don't you dare call me that!" Sam hissed through clenched teeth. There was a demon sitting on the bed in his motel room, acting like it was ordinary and talking to Sam like it knew him. Sam should shoot the thing with the colt right now but since it looked like Dean...he couldn't bring himself to do that. What if it was wearing Dean's real body? Sam couldn't put a hole into his brother's skin...
The demon cocked its bloody head and smirked. "I thought you said it was okay for only me to use that nickname. Or have you already forgotten about your brother in the past year?"
"You're not him! Don't talk about my brother like that!"
"I'm free to talk about myself in any way I please."
"You're not him! You're a fuckin' demon that stole his body and wants to for some reason torment me with it!" Sam wanted to back up, grab a weapon, run out of the room, anything. But he found himself rooted to the spot, staring into the face that he never thought he'd see again.
"Right and wrong little brother." The demon slowly placed it's legs up on the bed and leaned back like it was something it'd been doing forever, not seeming the least bit frightened or disturbed. "I am a demon, that's right. I would say good observation but obviously your skills have been suffering in my absence because you don't even recognize your own brother. I am Dean, soul and body."
Sam shook his head. It took hundreds of years to burn into a demon, Ruby had told him so. It had only been one single year. This thing was lying through its teeth, Dean never turned demonic.
"You. Are. Not. Him," Sam said slowly and with anger. The astonished feeling was wearing off...leaving just the mess of pain and furiousness.
"Yes. I. Am." The demon mocked him and got even more comfortable. "You believe whatever you want. You never really listened to me anyway. But I am your brother...or what's left of him anyway."
Sam's whole body was shaking with anger and exhaustion. "It takes hundreds of years to burn into a demon. Dean was only down there for a year."
The demon sighed and stretched and Sam felt disgusted as he watched it get comfortable. "Who told you that? The demon bitch that tried to trick you?" At the sound of Sam's silence the demon continued. "I thought so. And it's true for the most part. For most souls it does take hundreds of years...hundreds of Hell years that is."
Feeling himself start to tip to the side, Sam had to grab a hold of the dining chair to keep himself upright. "What do you mean?"
The demon was about to answer when it paused and cocked its head at Sam, seeming to watch his movements. "You're beat Sammy, sit the hell down."
Sam was too tired to argue and too confused to fight back at the use of Dean's nickname. He plopped into the dinning chair and straddled it, staring the black-eyed creature down.
"Time in Hell is different than time here. A month on earth is like 10 years in Hell. So in reality souls turn into demons usually in as little as a year or two here. But me? I'm so awesome that it only took me eighty years to turn. I've been out since January, that's why the demon bitch left you. She knew I'd go after her and kill her if she messed with you. So she ran."
Sam shook his head quickly. "Dean wouldn't let himself turn that quickly. Nice try."
The demon glared at him. "Do you think I would let myself rot away so quickly? Give in just like that for no reason? You're wrong." It hissed, eyes going black once more and making Sam jump in his chair. "I was fighting it like hell, even after I broke and started torturing souls I was fighting tooth and nail, trying not to enjoy the feeling of blood on my hands and tearing someone apart. I never tried harder in my life than I did when I tried not to become a demon. But then I found out what they wanted to use me for. And if I just let go and became what I was destined to become...they couldn't use me anymore. So I did just that. Instead of focusing on not turning I focused on becoming one. And as you know, I'm excellent at accomplishing anything I put my mind to."
"I don't believe you. You said you were in Hell 80 years? Then that's 8 months which means you've been out for four. Dean wouldn't wait four months to see me; he'd get here as soon as possible because that's just how he is."
The demon actually smirked at that. "Good call Sammy, I'm proud of you. You're right you know. I would come to see you right away, and I did. I checked in on you, you just didn't know it. Couldn't come see you yet though. First of all I had to work on restoring my body. Thing's been rotting for eight months, you know? While I was doing that I had to snag another body and try to chase down the demon bitch. That was a hassle. Then I had to meet with a friend of mine, formulate a plan on how to stop Lilith, get that lock-ward burned onto my body...and before I knew it...its four months later."
"You're probably just Ruby posing in Dean's body to get to me." Sam sighed although he seriously doubted that was true. Ruby had taken off like something was about to kill her right around the time this demon claimed he climbed out of hell. And her phone call..."how in the world did he manage to..." and "I'll be the first person he'll kill!" Had she been talking about...this thing? Had his brother really turned into a monster?
"What do you want Sam? Proof that I'm your brother?" The demon growled, looking annoyed and tired. "When you were thirteen you had your first kiss from some chick named Sandra Elkins. You got scared when she stuck her tongue in your mouth and then she told the whole school and you were publicly shunned. I had to make you cookies everyday for the next week just to cheer you up."
Sam swallowed, beginning to shake. Not just any demon could know that. There was no way; it was fifteen years ago, Dean had been the only one he told and his brother had made cookies for him every day that week...
That confirmed it. Confirmed his worst fear. He had been too late in saving his brother. Dean really was gone, gone for good. He had rotted away in hell and had turned into a monster, turned into this thing in front of him.
Dean was gone.
"Get the hell out." Sam growled deep in his throat, the demon just staring back with those cold black eyes.
Sam ran up to the demon and flung it into the wall, holding it there. "I said get the hell out of my motel room."
To Sam surprise, the demon continued to look bored and did not fight back in any way. "Awe, what's the matter? That story still embarrasses you Sammy? Always knew you were such a whiny little bitch."
Hearing those mocking words sent Sam's blood boiling, especially knowing that this thing had once been his kind-hearted and protective older brother. "Get out!"
The demon shoved out of Sam's grasp and started walking back to the bed. "You can't make me. And don't even start with the whole "I'll kill you" crap. You have the demon-killing knife dumbass; you could have killed me at any point. But you didn't and you won't. Because you will not kill your big brother."
It was true. While this thing wasn't Dean...it once had been. Sam couldn't kill the thing Dean had become, even if it was a demon. It just felt wrong. Even though he knew Dean was dead and gone...it would feel too official and real if he killed what was left.
"You're not Dean. Not anymore." Sam said quietly. He had enough of this and he was exhausted. Walking over to his bed, he grabbed the can of salt next to it and started towards the demon, shaking the can.
The demon looked up and finally looked a little shocked. Sam stepped closer and started spraying the salt over the demon. It screamed and stumbled backwards towards the door, clutching at its face.
"What the hell Sam! Stop it!"
Everything inside of Sam was telling him to stop when he heard Dean's voice call out in pain. But it was in pain because of salt. It was in pain because it wasn't Dean, but a demon.
Sam reached over to break the salt line with his boot and pushed the demon outside. He then quickly bent down and re-connected it just as the demon was trying to run back in.
They stood up at the same time, staring daggers at one another.
"Let me in Sammy." It spoke slowly, with some anger but mostly exhaustion.
Sam sprayed the can of salt at the demon again, watching it buckle in pain. "No." He spat and closed the door on its face.