Author's Note: This story is how I wish Season 6 had started. Spoilers for all of season 5, and season 6. I changed the timeline for things that happen in the last few minutes of 'Swan Song' at the end of season 5. (See more Author's Notes at the end.)

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.

Warning: Spanking of an adult, dubious consent.

UNCAGED

Dean sipped on his fourth glass of whisky, and tried to quell the utter despair swirling in his heart. He tried to focus on the flickering television set, but the happy family on the screen only made his stomach clench with guilt. He draped an arm around Lisa's shoulders and pulled her close to snuggle with him on the couch, but that made his eyes burn with unshed tears.

He downed the alcohol in three gulps, and tried to forget that his entire family was gone forever. His mother, his father, and his two brothers were all dead and gone forever. His mother had been gone for so many years, that the pain of losing her was a dull constant in his everyday life. Losing his father had been a particularly hard blow, but he'd found some peace about that after seeing the man get free from hell. Losing his little brother Adam hurt, but it was the pain of failure more than the pain of losing a loved one, because he'd only met the kid recently. Losing Sammy…

He looked at Ben sitting on the other side of him on the couch, and handed the boy his empty glass. "It's a five drink night."

With a worried expression, Ben looked to his mother. Lisa nodded, and Ben went to the kitchen to pour Dean another two fingers of the amber liquid. He handed the glass over and sat back down on the couch, a little further away from Dean than the last time.

Dean looked at the ten-year-old and images of ten-year-old Sammy flashed through his head. He'd failed to keep his little brother safe. It was his only goal in life for so many years, that he had no idea what the point of his existence was if it wasn't to protect Sam. But he'd promised, and he knew if Sam was here, he'd tell him to pull his shit together for Ben and Lisa. Ben deserved a better father figure than Dean, and Lisa surly deserved a better boyfriend. But no one else had applied for the job while he'd been away.

Dean set his drink down between his knees, and gently cupped his hand on the back of Ben's neck. "How about tomorrow you help me change the oil, and we take my baby out for a spin." Dean was always better in the mornings. It was the nights that were hard.

After a moment's hesitation, Ben said, "Only if I can pick the music."

A chuckle forced it's way out of Dean's throat. "Deal, but only if you pick from the tapes that are already in the car."

Ben grinned. "Deal."

Dean raised an eyebrow, and wondered if the kid had left some tapes in the Impala the last time they'd been out. He nodded, and let his hand drop. He picked up his drink and sipped it, while Ben scooted closer.

When Dean raised the glass to his lips for a second drink, someone knocked on the door. Dean tensed, and set the glass down on the coffee table. "You expecting someone?" He asked Lisa. She shook her head no. Berating himself for not staying more sober, he ordered, "You two stay here until I know who it is."

He stood, pulled the gun out of the back of his pants, and slowly made his way towards the door. He looked out the peephole, and a sick dread threaded its way up his spine. Moving quicker than he thought he could, he rushed back to Lisa and urgently whispered, "Take Ben, go out the back, get in the Mustang, and drive towards Bobby's. Don't come home until I call and tell you it's safe."

Lisa immediately stood and held her hand out for Ben. She'd laughed at Dean when he'd bought a used car, parked it in the back yard, and stocked it with provisions, but she didn't find anything funny about his current expression.

"Why? What's going on?" Ben asked, as he took his mom's hand.

Both adults ignored his question. Lisa put a hand on Dean's arm and said, "You're in no shape to fight. Come with us."

"I can't." He kissed her forehead, while gently squeezing Ben's shoulder. "Go. Now."

Lisa grabbed her purse, and towed Ben towards the back door.

"But why? What's out there?" Ben asked with fear, as he was pulled towards the door.

Lisa gripped his hand tighter and whispered, "Quiet until we get in the car."

Dean watched them from the back window. He heard another knock on the front door, just as Lisa turned the ignition. He took a deep breath, checked the safety on his gun, and strode purposefully towards the front door. He threw the door open, and pointed the loaded gun at the man standing on the other side. He raised the gun slightly to aim it at the taller man's forehead and said, "If you're still wearing my little brother's face five seconds from now, I'm going to shoot it off you."

The creature that currently looked like Sam Winchester, backed up a step, held his hands up in surrender and said, "It's me Dean. I'm not a shape shifter, a spirit, or a ghoul. You can do whatever tests you want to prove it." He lowered his hands, and stood completely still. "But I can't change my appearance, so I guess if you're gonna shot first and ask questions later, there's not much I can do to stop you."

The gun shook slightly in Dean's grip. "You can't be my brother," he whispered.

"But I am. Ask me anything."

"I'm not asking you a damn thing until we've done some tests." Dean backed away from the door and gestured for the thing that looked like Sam to come into the house.

Sam nodded, walked over the threshold, and shut the door behind him.

# # #

Half an hour later, Sam had passed every test Dean had thrown at him. Sam had tried several times to start a conversation, but every time, Dean had told him to shut up.

Dean wracked his brains, trying to think of anything he might have missed, but nothing new came to mind. He gestured to the kitchen table with the gun and said, "Take a seat. I'm making a call."

Sam sighed, and mumbled, "Break it to Bobby gently," as he walked to the table.

After a short and terse conversation, Dean walked over and handed the phone to Sam. "He wants to talk to you."

"Bobby?" Sam said with a soft smile.

When Dean saw Sam's expression, he felt a sliver of hope edge it's way out from under the crushing heartache he'd been living with since the day his brothers had disappeared into the pit. He couldn't take his eyes off Sam's face while he listened to Sam's side of the conversation.

"I don't know… I'm not sure, but at least four days… Nothing… Why don't I tell you both the whole story, and then you can ask questions? Okay, hold on." Sam pulled the phone away from his ear, put Bobby on speaker, and set it on the table.

Sam gestured for Dean to sit at the table with him, which he did with some trepidation.

"I woke up four days ago in Stull, Kansas," Sam said. "I was lying in the grass in the cemetery right next to The Pit. I was completely naked, I was alone, and I had no memory of how I'd gotten there, or how long I'd been gone. The last thing I remember before waking up four days ago is getting control of my body, and forcing Lucifer along with Adam and Michael into the pit. I stole some clothes and money from the first house I came across, and went to find out what day it was. I found it hard to believe that three months had passed."

Sam shook his head. "Then I started to make my way to Indiana, hoping to find Dean here, doing what he promised me he'd do." Sam gave Dean a dimpled smile. "It's good to see you making a go at a normal life."

Dean scowled. If the pitiful existence he'd been leading the past few months was a normal life, it was no wonder depression was rampant in America. Alcohol was only a coping mechanism for so long before it became a burden, and living with a woman who took pity on you, wasn't living the dream.

"Why didn't you call?" Dean asked.

Sam rolled his eyes, and looked at the chair to his left. "As if either one of you would have believed me. If I hadn't found you here, I would have headed to South Dakota, and if Bobby wasn't there, then I would have tried to call."

Bobby's voice from the phone said, "And you don't remember anything from the pit? Nothing at all?"

"Nothing."

"How are you sleeping?" Dean asked, remembering the horrible nightmares he'd had after being pulled out of hell by Castiel.

"Just fine," Sam said hesitantly while darting his eyes to the left again.

In that instant, Dean finally believed without a doubt that the man sitting at the table was his little brother, and his little brother had just lied. Dean glared. "Just fine my ass, Sammy."

Sam looked over at Dean with surprise for a moment, before slowly dropping his focus to his hands on the table. "Well, I sleep just fine for a couple of hours at a time, and I can't remember any details about the nightmares once I wake up, just a general feeling of… terror."

After an awkward silence, Bobby's voice said gently, "Probably best that you can't remember."

"So what's the verdict?" Sam asked. "You guys believe me now, or do you have some other tests to run on me?"

"Dean?" Bobby asked.

"It's him." Dean said. "I'm sure now."

Sam gave him a smile.

"Okay then," Bobby said, "I'm convinced."

"What's the next step?" Dean asked.

"Next step?" Sam said. "I figured I'd get a job in town, and find an apartment."

"Get that normal life you've always wanted," Dean said, knowing that had always been his little brother's dream.

"Well, yeah. I mean… why not?" Sam asked.

"What about Adam?" Dean said.

"You thinking he got out too?" Bobby asked.

"I think we owe it to him to find out," Dean said. "And if he didn't get out, we owe it to him to find out how Sammy got out. See if we can do the same for him."

Reluctantly, Sam nodded. "You're right."

Bobby said, "I'll start calling the hospitals & morgues by Stull. See if anyone matching his description has shown up in the past week."

"Thanks, Bobby," Dean said. "Hey listen, I sent Lisa and Ben in your direction. I'd owe you one if they could stay there a couple of days until we have a little more info."

"Course they can stay. You don't gotta ask."

"Thanks." Dean said, "Sammy and I will try to get a hold of Cas. See if he knows anything about this."

"Good. Sam?"

"Yeah Bobby?"

"Good to have you back, son."

Sam grinned. "I'll come see you soon."

"You do that. Bye boys."

Dean hung up and called Lisa. After he'd explained the situation, they had a short argument. Lisa wanted to come home instead of continuing to Bobby's house, but once Dean mentioned the possibility of demons, Lisa quickly agreed to stay away.

Once he hung up, an awkward silence filled the air. Dean noticed that Sam was looking at the chair to his left again, and said, "Something wrong with it?"

"What?" Sam asked.

"That chair. You keep staring at it."

"Oh." Sam cleared his throat and said, "Nope, I'm just tired. So... Cas?"

"Don't know how much good it will do to try praying." Dean said. "I haven't seen him since that night."

"Really? I would've thought…"

Dean sat down hard across from his brother and said, "What? That we'd be buddies? The job we were doing was done. There was no reason for contact."

Sam frowned and took a good look at Dean, and said with sympathy, "He hasn't answered your prayers?"

Dean looked away. "No."

Sam closed his eyes. "Castiel? I'm out of the pit, and we have questions. We're at Lisa's house in Cicero, Indiana."

Sam opened his eyes, and before Dean could say I told you so, Castiel appeared beside the kitchen table.

"I'll be damned," Dean muttered.

"Sam," Castiel said.

"Hey Cas," Sam said with a smile.

"How are you out?" the angel asked.

"We were hoping you could tell us," Sam said.

"It shouldn't be possible," Castiel said, looking off into the distance. He turned to Dean and said, "Did you make a deal?"

"Really?" Dean said. He stood up and started to pace. "After all the times I asked you to come see me. All the times I prayed for you. The times I was thinking about…" He took a deep breath, and looked Castiel in the eye. "Sam calls you once and you come running? And to top it off, all you have to say to me is did I make a deal? Screw you Cas!"

Castiel cocked his head to the side. "You're upset."

"Hell yes I'm upset! I thought we were…" He shook his head. "You know what? Never mind. No, I didn't make a deal."

Castiel put a hand on Dean's shoulder and said gently. "I'm sorry I couldn't answer you, Dean. Heaven is in chaos. A civil war has erupted between the two factions of angels. I've had to stay ever vigilant." He let his hand drop and looked at Sam. "But this could change things."

He went to sit next to Sam and said, "Tell me everything."

Sam gave Castiel the same basic story he'd given Bobby and Dean. Once he was done, Dean said, "We want to know who or what has the knowledge and power to get Sam out."

Sam added, "And we wondered if Adam might have gotten out too."

Castiel nodded thoughtfully, and stood. "I'll see what I can find out." Before either of the brothers could say anything, the angel had disappeared.

Sam stood up too, put a hand on Dean's shoulder. "You okay?"

Dean pulled his little brother into a desperate hug and muttered, "I am now." Sam hugged him back, and after a few seconds, they both let their arms drop.

"Research?" Sam asked after an awkward pause.

"Sounds good."

# # #

Two hours later, they weren't any closer to having answers, when Dean's cell phone rang.

"Hey Bobby." Dean answered.

"Someone matching Adam's description checked into a mental hospital two days ago in Topeka, Kansas," Bobby said.

"That's not far from Stull."

"Yep. And get this, he checked in under the name Milligan Winchester."

Sam saw Dean's eyes open wide, and whispered, "What?"

Dean pulled the phone away from his ear for a second, and said, "Bobby might have found Adam." Focusing back on his call, Dean said, "What's the name of the place?"

"Grace Connections Mental Health."

"Got it. We're on our way. I'll call when we've got him."

Dean hung up, looked at his brother and smiled. "Ready for a road trip?"

Sam shrugged. "Sure."

# # #

Ten minutes into the car ride, Sam was asleep. Dean smiled fondly at him, thinking about how much he'd missed the sound of his gargantuan little brother's soft snores. Feeling like everything was right with the world for the first time in a long time, Dean hummed to AC/DC and drove.

An hour and a half later, Sam started to shift in his sleep, and little moans and gasps came from his mouth. Dean frowned, remembering the horrific nightmares that had him waking up in a cold sweat. He put a hand on Sam's shoulder and gave it a firm shake. "Hey, wake up."

Sam woke with a start, and took a few deep breaths to get his bearings.

"Nightmare," Dean said. "Go back to sleep.

Sam quirked an eyebrow, and then jerked his head around to look into the back seat.

Dean immediately checked the rear view mirror, but saw nothing. "What?"

Sam shook his head and muttered, "Residual dream."

Dean darted a glance at his brother, trying to figure out what that was supposed to mean, but Sam was already shifting in his seat, and leaning his head against the passenger door to get more sleep.

# # #

Four pit stops, two driver swaps, one phone call from Lisa, and ten hours later, Dean and Sam pulled up in front of the Grace Connections Mental Health facility.

"FBI?" Sam asked.

"US Marshals," Dean replied, and got his home made badge out of the glove box of the Impala.

The two brothers climbed out into the early morning sun, and walked into the facility. At the front desk, Dean gave the tired looking middle aged nurse a brilliant smile and said, "Hi, I was hoping you could help me."

"I'll help if I can," she said.

He pulled out his badge to show her. "I'm Deputy Young with the US Marshals Service, and I'm looking for a wanted fugitive. Someone matching his description voluntarily checked himself into your facility three days ago under the name Milligan Winchester."

She shook her head and said, "I'm sorry, you're too late."

"Too late?" Sam asked.

"He checked himself out a few hours ago."

"Damn it!" Dean said, and turned to Sam.

Sam said, "Anything you can tells us about him will help us to catch him. He's wanted for murder, and he will kill again. It's only a matter of time."

"Hold on," the nurse said. "I'll call the doctor that treated him."

Within minutes, Sam and Dean were sitting side by side in comfortable chairs in the doctor's small office, while the doctor pulled out Adam's file. He sat at his desk, and said, "He checked himself in at ten fifty-three PM on Wednesday, claiming to be hearing voices in his head, and sever hallucinations."

Dean couldn't help feeling guilty. He knew that being the host body for an angel drove most humans insane, and it was his adamant refusal to be Michael's vessel that forced the angel's to resurrect Adam. So instead of being in heaven with his mother, Adam had suffered in the pit for three months, and now he had lost his marbles.

"What kind of hallucinations?" Dean asked.

"It was quite an interesting case," the doctor said. "I've never seen anything like it before. It was almost like Multiple Personality Disorder, except that the second personality was the hallucination. Milliga… Sorry, Adam claimed that he could see and hear the Archangel Michael at all times. He sat here in my office yesterday and had an entire conversation with the hallucination while I watched."

Dean frowned while thinking about Sam's behavior since coming back. The way he'd been looking at that chair at Lisa's house, and the way he'd looked in the back seat of the Impala last night. He darted a glare at his brother, and could tell from the panicked and guilt ridden expression on Sam's face, that something similar had been happening to him. Then when Sam's eyes darted up and to the right, focusing on thin air, Dean clenched his jaw in anger. Dean turned back to the doctor and said, "What was the conversation about?"

"Michael was trying to convince Adam to find his brother and take him to Stull, Kansas. Adam is of the belief that Lucifer is in a cage, and Stull is where the door to the cage is. Michael wants Adam to open the cage, and start the apocalypse."

"How can he open the cage?" Dean asked.

The doctor gave him a quizzical stare. "How is that pertinent?"

"If he thinks he needs to kill someone to open it, it's pertinent."

Nodding, the doctor said, "Ah. According to Adam, the cage will open if both he and his brother willingly spill their blood on the gate at the same time."

"Was he on his way to Stull when he left this morning?" Dean asked.

"Oh no. Adam wanted nothing to do with Michael. That's why he checked himself in. He wanted the hallucination to go away. He's very upset with the idea that he could start the apocalypse. My guess is he'll get as far away from Stull as possible, no matter what the hallucination tells him to do."

Dean nodded. After a moment, he said, "Anything else you can tell us that might help us find him?"

"Well, I seriously doubt he'll voluntarily check into another mental hospital, because we tried medication to stop the hallucinations with some very negative effects."

"What happened?" Dean asked.

"Thursday morning I evaluated him, and that afternoon I gave him some medication that should have helped the hallucination to go away, at least temporarily, but instead the Michael personality took over. I've never had a case where the hallucination behaved like a second personality when the patient was medicated. The Michael personality demanded to be released, but he'd signed a consent form that said he couldn't check himself out for twenty-four hours after taking the medication. By the time the twenty-four hours was up, Adam was back in control. My guess is that he stayed Friday night, just to make sure the Michael personality didn't take over again."

"How did he pay?" Dean asked.

"Cash, which again, is very odd."

Dean nodded and said, "We're gonna need a copy of his file."

"Of course." The doctor stood up, walked to the door, and said, "I'll have my assistant make copies. They'll be ready for you at the front desk in just a couple of minutes."

Dean stood, and shook the doctor's hand as he said, "Thank you for all your help." He handed the doctor a business card. "Please call us if Adam contacts you, or if you think of anything else that might help us find him."

The doctor gestured for the two men to go in front of him. Sam quietly followed Dean to the lobby. While they were waiting for copies, Sam said quietly, "I can explain."

A muscle twitched in Dean's jaw, and he said roughly, "Get the file. I'll be outside."

Dean paced on the sidewalk in front of the Impala, trying to calm himself down. After everything that had happened between them, Dean had honestly believed that Sam wouldn't lie to him. At least not about anything having to do with Lucifer. But here they were again. He clenched his hands into fists thinking about how close they were to Stull, and to Adam.

Sam found it even more difficult than usual to ignore Lucifer while he was waiting for Adam's file. The taunts and demands were especially strong today, and he knew it was because they were close to Stull. As soon as the assistant placed the file in his hand, Sam went to find Dean. He hadn't felt this guilty about lying to him since his days of drinking demon's blood.

Dean's back was to him when Sam came out of the hospital. His older brother's hands were resting on the roof of the Impala, and his head was hanging down. Ashamed that he'd caused his brother to take that defeated stance, Sam quietly walked up to him and said, "Dean?"

Dean turned, and slammed his fist into Sam's jaw. Sam's whole body jerked to the side, and he would have fallen if he hadn't put a hand out to steady himself on the hood of the Impala. Sam stayed hunched over for a second, breathing through the pain, before standing and facing Dean.

"I guess I deserved that," Sam said quietly.

"Get in the car," Dean growled, while moving around the car to the driver's side.

Sam opened the passenger door, and froze before getting in. He turned all the way around, scanning the immediate area with his eyebrows drawn in confusion.

"Sammy!" Dean yelled from inside the car.

Sam sat down, and shut the door. He put Adam's file on the seat between them, and focused on Dean. "Wanna hear what I have to say, or are you too pissed?" Sam asked.

Dean pulled out into traffic and said, "Let's see if I can guess. You've been seeing and hearing Lucifer. He's been with you since the moment you got out of the pit. That sound about right."

Sam slouched in his seat, not liking how Dean's tone was making him feel. "Yeah."

"And he's been telling you to find Adam and get to Stull, so he can get out of the cage and start up where he left off."

Sam looked out his window. "Yeah."

"Unbelievable, Sammy. I can't believe that after everything we've been through that you're still lying to me."

Sam sighed and said quietly, "I'm sorry."

"Don't even."

The drove in silence, until Dean found a motel. He dug out his wallet, tossed a credit card onto the seat between them and said, "Go check us in. I'll get some food, and we can start calling around town to see if anyone's seen Adam."

Sam sat up straight, took the card, and said, "We aren't gonna talk about it?"

"Oh, we're gonna talk about it." Dean assured him. "We're gonna talk about it as soon as I don't feel like punching your lights out."

Sam got out of the car with a scowl, and got them a room, while Dean found the nearest drive through.

# # #

Sam perused Adam's file while he waited for Dean. He'd just finished reading it when Dean came in and tossed a McDonad's bag towards him. Dean read the file while he ate at the small motel table. Once he'd read the whole thing, he shoved it to the middle of the table. He took a good look at Sam, and noticed that his eyes were focused on one of the two beds in the room, and he was roughly digging his fingernails into the swelling skin where Dean had punched him.

Dean automatically leaned over and slapped Sam's hand away. "Don't do that."

Sam jerked his attention back to Dean. "What?"

Realizing with some chagrin that his brother wasn't ten, Dean looked away and muttered, "You're gonna make the swelling worse if you mess with it like that."

Sam shook his head with a smile. "You don't understand Dean. Lucifer has been with me since I got out of the pit. It's been… well it's been a living nightmare, but when you punched me back at the hospital, he went away."

"Went away?" Dean asked.

"Just vanished," Sam said. "I thought maybe you'd jarred something loose in my head to make him go away, but while you were getting food he came back. So I'm testing the theory that pain…" Sam looked over at the bed, and then reached up to pinch the swollen discolored skin. "…makes him go away."

Dean raised an eyebrow. "And did it work?"

Sam grinned. "Yes."

"Hmm." Dean hummed in his throat. "First things first." He pulled out his cell phone. "I'll call Bobby. You pray for Cas, since he actually shows up when you call. We're all gonna talk about this together."

Frowning Sam said, "Uh… Do we have to…"

"Yes," Dean cut him off, "we do have to tell them. You're just going to have to take your lumps with Bobby. Get to praying."

A minute later, Dean had Bobby on the phone. "Hey Bobby, we've got a pretty major update."

"Should I be sitting down for this?" he asked.

"Probably. I'm gonna put you on speaker, and hopefully Cas will show up in a couple of seconds."

Sam opened his eyes, done with the prayer, and before Dean could set his cell phone on the table, Castiel appeared in the room.

Castiel focused on Sam and said, "You're positive Adam is out of the pit as well?"

Dean said, "Yes. That's the good news. The bad news is that Adam checked out of the mental hospital at five this morning, and we don't know where he is. What we do know is that he's been seeing Michael since he got out of the pit, and Sam here has been seeing Lucifer. And I don't mean seeing glimpses of them, I mean full on hallucinations as if they were right here with us in the room talking to us."

"Sam," Bobby said in a hushed tone, "You been lying to us again, boy?"

Sam mumbled, "Yes Sir."

"Guess any doubts we had about it being Sammy can be put to rest," Dean said, letting his anger show.

Sam scowled, but didn't comment.

Bobby said, "I should'a whooped you the last time you lied, even if you were twenty-six."

Sam shifted uncomfortably in his chair, while his face turned pink. "Look, I'm sorry, okay. Really I am, but I didn't want you two locking me up in the panic room, or having me committed the second I told you."

"Way to have faith." Dean said.

Castiel said, "Is Lucifer here in the room now, Sam?

"Yeah." Sam dipped his head towards the window. "He's looking out at the parking lot. He says we're wasting time talking to you."

Castiel looked over at the area Sam had indicated, and said, "I see nothing."

"That's good right?" Sam said. "That means it's really all in my head. Nothing supernatural going on, just me being crazy from acting as Lucifer's vessel."

"It appears so," Castiel said.

"I'm not so sure about that," Dean said. "Both Michael and Lucifer want the same thing. They both want Sam and Adam to find each other, and go to Stull together. They need both of them to willingly bleed on the gate to the pit, so it will open up, and restart the apocalypse."

"That's awfully specific," Bobby said. "Could Lucifer and Michael have set them free? Put some kind of psychological time bomb into their brains and let them out, knowing that they'd both be compelled to go back and open the cage?"

"No," Cas said. "The pit is designed to be angel proof. No angels in, no angels out, and no angel tampering."

"Then what could get them out?" Dean asked.

"One of the horsemen, or possibly an upper level demon," Castiel said.

"Well most of them are pissed at us, so that doesn't narrow it down," Dean said. He shook his head and said, " Is it even true? Will their blood open the pit?"

"I don't know," Castiel said. "I've never heard of something like that, but anything is possible."

"Okay," Dean said. "Try to find out while we search for Adam."

"Do you think that's wise Dean?" the angel asked. "Maybe having Sam and Adam in the same vicinity is a bad idea right now."

Dean shook his head. "I don't care. He's our brother, he's got no other living family, and it's my fault this happened to him. We're finding him, and staying the hell away from Stull."

Castiel nodded, and disappeared. Once he was gone, Sam pushed on his bruise and said, "Should I hack into the police database, and add Adam as a missing person?"

Dean stood up, unbuckled his belt, and said, "Yeah. In a few minutes."

Sam eyed him warily, "Dean?"

"Hey Bobby?" Dean said.

"Yeah."

"How many licks do you think Sammy deserves for lying." Dean pulled the belt off his waist.

With wide eyes, Sam shook his head.

"What?" Bobby said. "I wasn't serious you Idget!"

"Yeah, you kinda were, and I definitely am." Dean doubled the belt over in his hand. "Sammy found out that physical pain makes Lucifer disappear. This way we kill two birds with one stone. I see a lot of ass beatings in Sam's immediate future."

"No!" Sam said. "No fucking way, Dean."

"How many Bobby?"

"Tell him he's crazy, Bobby!" Sam whirled around to the empty motel bed and hissed, "Shut up!"

"Does Lucifer agree?" Dean asked.

"No. He says I'm stronger than you, and that the last time we fought I beat you to a pulp, so I don't have to let this happen."

Dean shrugged. "You came to find me Sammy, and then you lied to my face. You deserve it, and you know it."

With a sigh, Bobby said, "Twenty. The last time I whooped him he was fifteen, and I gave him ten. He's twenty-seven now, so twenty."

"Bobby!" Sam said, hurt that he'd agreed.

"It ain't like this is new territory, kid, it's just been a while," Bobby said. "Maybe too long."

Dean said, "Are you gonna fight me on this, Sam?"

Sam's hand clenched and unclenched, and his eyes darted between Dean and the motel's bed. After a few seconds of thought, Sam lowered his eyes to the carpet and said, "No."

Dean picked up his cell, and said, "Once I'm done with Sammy, he'll do the hack job to the police data base, and I'll start asking questions around town at restaurants. If you could, start emailing missing person flyers of Adam to all the hotels in the area, that would really help."

"I'll get started," Bobby said, and hung up with a click.

Once Sam and Dean were alone, Dean looked at the table, and then over at the bed. Coming to a decision, he walked over to the table, moved one of the chairs out of the way, and said, "Get your ass over here."

Sam didn't move for several seconds, unable to take those steps. While growing up, his older brother had only spanked him a few times. Dean had always hauled him over his lap to do it, and he'd only used his hand, but the last time had been when Sam was twelve and quite a bit smaller.

"Don't make me come get you." Dean meant it to sound threatening, but what came out sounded tired to his own ears.

Sam took a deep breath, and walked over to stand in front of his brother. Dean gestured to the table with his head and said, "Elbows on the table."

The younger man leaned over, folded his arms together on the table, and rested his forehead on top of his arms. His body jerked in surprise when he felt Dean's hand rest on his lower back.

Dean patted the broad back a couple of times to calm him. Dean said softly, "Stay in place, or we're gonna move this show over to the bed, and you're gonna lose the pants, and go over my knee."

Sam's body tensed. "Just shut up and do it." He heard the familiar whooshing sound of a belt going through the air, and then the thwack of impact. A line of pain blossomed across the middle of his ass, and Lucifer's taunting laughter disappeared. It was almost a relief. Any relief he'd felt vanished when the fifth stroke of the belt hit skin that was already stinging.

Dean could tell that Sam was struggling to stay in place by the tenth stroke. Little grunts were coming out of his throat, and he was shifting his weight from foot to foot with each smack. He slowed the rhythm down, and started lecturing in between blows. "You don't lie to me, Sammy." thwack "We need to be able to trust each other." thwack "When you lie to me, it breaks that trust." thwack

Sam groaned louder as the lecture started. In Sam's experience, Dean was the only person who lectured while he spanked. His father and Bobby would lecture him plenty before or after a spanking, but not during. Dean on the other hand always talked through it, as if he needed to reassure himself along with Sam that he had a good reason for doing it. Hearing the disappointment lacing Dean's voice while he smacked him always made Sam cry, no matter how hard Dean was hitting, and this time he was hitting harder than he ever had before.

"Lying to me never ends well," Dean continued the lecture, punctuating each sentence with a powerful slap of the belt. "Didn't you learn your lesson with the demon blood?"

Sam couldn't hold back the tears. Yes he had learned his lesson back then. He'd just ignored his conscience this time, because Lucifer's voice had been louder. "I'm sorry!"

Dean nodded, knowing that Sam probably was sorry now, but that didn't change anything. "Good, are you gonna do it again?"

"No!" Sam's arm twitched in an aborted attempt to reach back and cover his ass.

Picking up the speed, Dean lay down the last four stripes on Sam's upper thighs, eliciting yelps from the younger man when each one landed.

Once it was over, Dean lay the belt on the table next to his little brother, who was crying harder than Dean had heard him cry in a long time. Dean rubbed a couple of circles on Sam's back and said softly, "Okay Sammy, all done."

Sam pushed himself up to standing, and pulled Dean into a fierce hug. Surprised, it took Dean a moment to hug him back.

"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam said through his tears.

Dean had almost forgotten how clingy and apologetic his younger brother could be after a spanking. "I know you are."

Recovering quicker than he ever had as a child, Sam was the first to let go. He wiped the tears off his face with the sleeve of his shirt, and said, "You still pissed?"

"I'm not exactly happy with you, but I'm not pissed either." Dean picked up the belt and threaded it through the loops of his jeans. "Lucifer gone?"

"Yeah." Sam used both hands to rub the seat of his jeans. "And I'm guessing he's going to be gone for a couple of days at least."

Dean nodded. "Good. How long will it take you to hack the police data base?"

"Half an hour, give or take."

"Get that done first, and then take a nap."

"A nap?" Sam asked.

"You need to get some uninterrupted sleep. You've been getting two hours here and three hours there. Right now you should be able to sleep and not have nightmares. So hack the computer, and then take a nap."

"But what about…"

"I'll go around town asking about Adam. You sleep. Don't worry Sammy, we're gonna find him, and everything is gonna be okay." Dean said with conviction, needing to believe it as much as Sam did.

After a few seconds, Sam said, "Okay, but wake me up if you get a lead."

"I will." Dean got his keys, and headed out, leaving Sam to his hacking. While Dean was walking to the Impala, he thought about finding Adam, and realized that he and Sam had been in a similar situation six years ago when they'd teamed up to find their father.

Dean got in the car, turned the music up, and went to look for the youngest Winchester.

The End

Author's Other Note: This story may seem unfinished, but that is because it's meant to be open ended. This is how I wish season 6 had started, meaning it's the beginning of a season's story arc. And while I do plan to write one more story in this AU, I have no intention of writing the whole arc.