Title: Naming Names
Featured Characters: Dean
Summary: Begins at the end of season 5. Dean tries to move on

He lied now and then. Usually when necessary. Most times not when it wasn't. Sammy knew this, he'd seen him in action enough to know, yet he demanded Dean agree to two promises.

This made Dean wonder if this meant Sam wanted him to break them. It was Dean's way. Agree then cheat.

He considered the thought on the drive from Michigan to Indiana. He tore apart yes and no, and arrived at Lisa's door and an exhausted conclusion at the same time. He would split the difference. He would live with Lisa and spring Sammy. Somehow.

Except he couldn't. There was no asking for help from Bobby. There was no online resource deep enough. There were no stories, no hint of stories, no threads of stories of anyone escaping the cage of Lucifer. No urban legends, no fish stories, no nothing. Nothing.

And he wasn't good enough to make it up on his own.

So to function, he began to make a list. To ease the tight that choked his words, he named the names. Sammy saved Ben. Sammy saved Lisa. Sammy saved that family in the grocery parking lot, the cashier at the diner by the gas station. Sammy saved the dumb ass that ran the stop sign by the house.

He repeated some people. Lisa. Ben. He tried to stream them behind his eyes, so when someone mentioned being in hell, he didn't flinch. He didn't swing at the guy when he bitched how hard he had it. He didn't roar at the woman when she whined that her life demanded too much.

Sammy saved this one. Sammy saved that one. Sammy saved the one over there.

It was mental. Nothing physical. Doing nothing wore him out but never enough to sleep. Never enough to stop the need for the name crawl: Sammy saved Ben. Sammy saved Lisa. Sammy saved Cassie. Sammy saved Missouri. Sammy saved Rufus.

Late at night his eyes would pop open, and he would listen to Lisa breathe, while the other side of the ledger paraded: Mom was dead. Dad was dead. Pastor Jim was dead. Jo was dead. Ellen was dead. Ash was dead. Jess was dead. Madison was dead. Ron Resnick was dead.

Not exactly counting sheep.

He grit his teeth and he kept his word, and didn't ever allow himself to think of Sam with Satan and Michael. He couldn't categorize Adam. Was Adam dead?

The Winchester boys were freaks. Dying didn't always mean dead. Eternity wise. They traded lives like hunters swapped stories. Always with the intent this was it, but not knowing if dying would take until it didn't. Tough to let go when the dead brother could show up at breakfast. It meant hiding from hope that threatened to go bitter, mean, nasty. It meant living instead with the hollow where the brother should be, the survivor sentenced to a crappy existence, raw and kinda vacant.

At least up to now. Now he was dealing with gone.

Not in a car, or bus, or plane. There was no history in gone. He could have hope, as despairing as it would be, if Sammy were dead and not just gone.

Dean died but was brought back. Adam was dead, brought back, and now gone. Sammy was just gone, not dead. This gone meant out of reach, out of touch, out of hope. Dean couldn't see a reprieve, an un-gone, a back. He couldn't see it when Lisa pressed against him in the dark, or in the light as people who Sammy saved moved around him. Sammy stayed in the pit, in the cage, gone. More than dead.

But Sammy saved Lisa. Sammy saved Ben. Sammy saved Lucas. Sammy saved Michael and Asher.

In the dark, Dean swallowed the wish that Sammy hadn't saved him.