This is the ninth story in my series.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own or have the rights to anything of the Supernatural universe. I'm just playing in their sandbox.

This is my take on the episode 'The End'.

When he fell asleep, Sam's mind was flying through the events of the very strange, very awful day. So much to process and so much to figure out. It's daunting to say the least.

Hunters know now. There are hunters out there that are aware of what he's done. A fucking demon spilled the beans to Tim and Reggie. They were so pissed they felt the need to attack him at the bar and attempt to shove demon blood down his throat. Now he has to wonder how long it'll be before the news spreads wide through the hunter's grapevine. Soon enough, they'll all know he's responsible for letting out Lucifer. They'll all know that he downed blood for a near year and that he has hidden psychic powers to rival even the baddest of hell's minions. They're going to want to hunt him now. Sam Winchester is on the baddie hit list. He's the monster. Dean was right. He was absolutely right all along.

Dean. He hasn't talked to him in nearly a month. He missed his brother. He missed Lizzy too, even though she calls him once a week briefly to ensure that he's doing ok enough. He should call Dean with this new development. He should really give him the heads up that hunters know about him before Dean hears about it himself. He'll lose his shit if that doesn't come from his own brother.

An hour of letting his mind plug away at his new set of worries, worries he'd only hoped where behind him now, he finally drifted off into some form of lucid sleep. Damn, he's just so tired.

And right then he hears her voice coming from somewhere near but sounding somewhat far away at the same time, and it pulls him right back out of his restful status.

"Sam. Hey, Sam."

He wakes up again to her calling to him, the second time in a month, and he looks toward it. He sees her laying on her side, her back to him, and sighs in relief. After the day he's had, it's so good to see her. Maybe if she was still actually alive that's what life would be. Long days followed by coming home to someone he loved who made it better just with the sight of her. He leans forward and kisses her on the neck in greeting. She rolls over with the feeling and looks up at him as she lies back on the pillow.

"So this is your life now?" she wonders up to him, her blue eyes soft and mouth set in a slight smile. "Think you can just live forever with your head buried in the sand?"

"I love you, Lou," is all Sam can respond with as he gazes at her, missing her with an almost brand new kind of ache.

"I know you do," she confirms for him.

Sitting up in bed, Sam moves to the edge with his back to her, needing a minute to collect himself before he falls apart in front of her. Lou sits up also with concern on her face.

"God knows how much I miss you too," Sam finally continues. "But you're wrong. People can change. There is reason for hope and you used to have that."

"I don't believe in having hope anymore, Giant. How could I?" Lou says quietly, a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I had hope for Lizzy and I getting out of the life. I had hope that there was something good to be had between you and I. I had hope that I wouldn't die in my twenties for a cause I truly believed in. Hope is… well, it's hopeless, Sam."

"I don't think your right," Sam quickly returns, sticking to his guns as best he can while Lou opposes all he's clinging to. "Hope exists. It has to."

"I'm so sorry Sam, but it doesn't," Lou answers, her form morphing into that of Nick, Lucifer's current meatsuit.

"How can you say that?" Sam wonders while hurt by her words. "You used to have more hope than anyone I knew, even Lizzy. How can you be so sure?"

"Because you freed me," Lucifer answers in Nick voice.

Sam's blood turns to ice when he hears the foreign voice. It doesn't matter that he's never heard it before, he knows for certain who is behind it. Shrugging out of the hand on his shoulder Sam stands, takes a couple swift steps and turns around, coming face to face with the epitome of evil that he himself unleashed on the Earth.

"That's right, Sam. You know who I am."

Passed the fuck out. That's exactly what Dean would call it, if he wasn't passed the fuck out at the moment. The second he and Lizzy finished up with that last job a couple hours away, they found this place, complete with preaching Jehovah's Witness out front ironically, and crashed… hard. Dean, with half his body off the edge of the mattress, and Lizzy, her hand resting across Dean's cheek as she's face down on the pillow next to him, barely hear when his phone starts vibrating on the nightstand. Lizzy is the first to stir.

"Phone," she quietly says muffled through the pillow. Dean doesn't make a move to answer it so she gives him a few very light taps using the hand she has resting on the side of his cheek. "Dean, phone."

The sound of complaint comes from deep in his throat as he blindly reaches out towards the ringing cell. Once he has it in his grip, he swats away Lizzy's hand in order to put the phone to his ear.

"Damn it, Cas, we need to sleep!" It feels like he just finished his call with the angel once he'd bargain a few hours of sleep out of him. That wasn't enough time, not nearly. They've been going for days almost on end. They've been so busy and tired that he and Lizzy haven't even thought about sex for four days, a new record for them.

"Dean… it's me."

Dean's eyes actually open with surprise when he hears that voice on the other end and he looks at the clock on the night stand.

"Sam?" Dean asks, though he knows it's his brother already. Lizzy moves immediately with the sound of Sam's name and she peers at Dean as he talks. "It's quarter past four."

"This is important."

"Shit. Yeah… uh, alright," Dean says as he sits up and tries to wake himself up enough to have a serious conversation with his brother.

"What's wrong?" Lizzy asks, sitting up in bed next to him. Both are fully clothed and never even made it under the covers before crashing. "Is he ok?"

"Don't know, L. Give me a minute."

"Put it on speaker," Lizzy tells him as she scoots up behind him and brings her legs and arms around his torso, her head resting on the back of his shoulder with the exhaustion of the past few weeks.

"Working on it," Dean returns.

"Dean, it's fine. Lizzy needs to hear this." Sam, driving down the road in a stolen car as he does whatever he can to get the hell out of the town that brought him nothing but bad experiences and over exposure, knows Lizzy will be highly involved in what he's just found out. Plus, he learned a while ago that keeping secrets from her was never good for anyone in the long run.

"If that's what you want, man." Dean pulls the phone away from his ear and drops it onto his knee after pressing the speaker button. "You're live."

"I, um, shit," Sam stutters through. He went over it in his head how he would tell Dean about Lucifer, but now that he's actually talking to him it's even harder than he'd thought it'd be.

"Sam-I-Am, relax," Lizzy says soothingly to him, her eyes closed as she listens. "Just say it."

"I know who Lucifer's vessel is. It's me." Sam sighs out a breath. After a time of silence, Lizzy finally breaks it.

"What?" she wonders with quiet alarm, picking her head up from Dean's shoulder. "Lucifer's after your meat?" Dean can feel her body tense behind him with her new found worry. It's then that he realizes he himself isn't panicked, not at all. In fact, he's taking it incredibly well.

"Yeah," Sam answers, hating the new layer of stress he's adding to her life. He always felt guilty for giving her more reason to worry.

"So, you're his vessel, huh?" Dean responds with a light tone as he untangles himself from Lizzy to get up and grab a couple beers from the mini refrigerator. "Lucifer's wearing you to the prom?"

"That's what he said."

"How did you talk to him?" Lizzy wonders as Dean sits into the upholstered chair with the two bottles in one hand and the phone in his other. "Did he find you?" She walks over to Dean, grabs one of the bottles from him, and drops into his lap. He brings his arm around her and pulls her in, letting her lean her weight into him. She's beyond tired at this point, especially after fighting off the vampire they came across last night that went after him. She fucked him up real good once it set its sights on Dean but she hasn't rested at all since it happened.

"Kinda," Sam answers. "He got into my dreams and told me." He avoids telling her what form the devil took. Lizzy wouldn't like that too much and why bother upsetting her any more than he has to?

"Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in, huh, Sammy?" Lizzy twists open both bottles and Dean takes a sip of his.

"So, that's it?" Sam asks with surprise at Dean's levity. "That's your response?"

"What did you expect?" Lizzy sighs as she pulls down some beer. She understands Dean's lack of shock. She isn't all that shocked either once she really thinks about it.

"I don't know. A… a little panic? Maybe?" Sam says back while driving aimlessly. He realizes now he doesn't know where Dean and Lizzy are right now and he's just been driving to get away from that last town. He had no destination.

"I guess I'm a little numb to the earth-shattering revelations at this point," Dean quips, drinking down more beer as he rests his head against the top of Lizzy's.

"What are we gonna do about it?"

"What do you want to do about it?"

"I want back in, for starters," Sam admits. This changes everything. It cements just how screwed he is. He's in it to win it now, and sadly Lucifer was exactly right about that. He can't run from his life. This is his life.

"Sam…" Dean starts before getting cut off.

"I mean it," the younger brother tries again. "I am sick of being a puppet to these sons of bitches. I'm gonna hunt him down, Dean."

"Oh Sam, this sounds like revenge to me," Lizzy sadly comments when she hears that familiar tone in Sam's voice, the tone he had for over a year while hunting down Lilith.

"Yeah, 'cause being driven by vengeful anger worked out so well last time," Dean sarcastically adds.

"Not revenge," Sam answers with anger. "Redemption."

"So, what? You're just gonna walk back in and we're gonna be the dynamic duo again?" Dean asks.

"Trio," Lizzy quietly adds in with a joking nudge with her elbow.

"Look, Dean, I can do this. I can," Sam promises. "I'm gonna prove it to you."

Dean sighs heavily. He knows his brother too well and he knows he's got rage and blood on his mind only. It's the anger in Sam that's worried him for a while now. Ever since Dean got back from hell, Sam's been different. He's been filled with malice.

"Look, Sam, it doesn't matter, whatever we do. I mean, it turns out that you and me, we're the fire and the oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good."

Lizzy's heart shatters at the idea but she stays quiet. There are some things she needs to let them deal with and keep out. They're brothers and as much as she's a part of their family now, their bond is different and she knows she has no place interfering… every now and then.

"Dean, it does not have to be like this. We can fight it."

"Yeah, you're right. We can," Dean answers right back, knowing it's true. They would always fight, just like dad taught them. They won't ever give up. "But not together. We're not stronger when we're together, Sam. I think we're weaker. Because whatever we have between us, love, family, whatever it is, they are always gonna use it against us. And you know that. We're better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing, if we just go our own ways."

"Dean, don't do this," Sam pleads with panic when he hears his brother shutting him out.

"Bye, Sam," Dean says while hanging up.

"You didn't let me say goodbye," Lizzy sadly observes once the call is ended.

"He'll probably call you in the morning to try and get you to change my mind anyways." Dean chugs down the rest of his beer. Shit, he may have played it cool on the phone, but the realization is starting to hit. Sam's going to house Lucifer and he's going to give Michael a ride… they're supposed to be biblically pit against each other. Fuck.

"He will definitely call me," Lizzy assures as she cuddles into him a little more. "But I'll just tell him I agree with you."

"You do?" Dean asks down to her, shocked to hear her say that. She hates that Sam was gone every day so this was unexpected.

"Yeah," she answers through a yawn. "If you're a Coke and he's a pack of Mentos… best to keep you apart I'd say."

"Not what I expected from you," Dean observes.

"I'm full of surprises." Lizzy yawns once more and closes her eyes, her head resting under his chin.

"Come on," Dean pats her knee. "Go back to bed. Before Cas shows up."

"Uh-uh," she refuses quietly with all intentions of keeping awake with him, supporting him. "Staying up with you."

"I'm ok, L. Go to sleep." It's then that Dean realizes she's already done so in his lap. "Jesus." He picks her up and carries her to the bed, pulling back the covers and laying her down gently so she doesn't wake. He's pretty sure a bomb could go off in the room and it wouldn't wake her right now, but he does what he can just in case anyways. He carefully pulls up the gauze square on her neck to take a peek at her vampire bite she got during her fight. It's healing nicely and thank God no vamp blood got into it. When he saw that son of a bitch sink his teeth into her, he had an instant flash back of Lou and her final moments. It clearly reminded Lizzy of Lou's turning too because as soon as the vampire's body was burned and they were driving away, she stared silently out the windshield with a faraway look for nearly a half hour. She never said one word the whole time. It still kills him every time he sees that sorrow come out of her and there is not a damn thing he can do to take that pain away. He can't bring Lou back and he can't make it hurt any less for her.

Laying down next to her, he looks at her relaxed and peaceful face. He does that sometimes, knowing how creepy it probably was… and how chick flick-ish it would be if there was a sappy, lame song playing right now. Whatever. Life is a fucking joke and he can't find a single reason why he shouldn't allow himself to enjoy seeing her like this. The lines of pain in her forehead are gone, her mouth isn't turned down in a scowl or frown, and she can't think of anything that makes her sad or depressed. This was when she looked her most perfect.

He falls asleep with the sight of her, giving in to his equal exhaustion. He'll deal with Sam for real tomorrow.