Author's Note: Once again, this story just came out of nowhere and wouldn't leave me alone. THIS IS NOT A DEATH FIC. Don't panic if it looks like that, but everyone lives, I promise. Set in season 8 so spoilers abound! This is my first time writing Crowley so forgive me if he seems out of character! This is just one way I'd like to see Sam and Dean stop fighting. Also, I cannot remember exactly if this show ever dealt with the gates of Hell, but if they did, just ignore that info and go with what I put here. Thanks! Please enjoy!

"A penny for my thoughts, oh, no, I'll sell 'em for a dollar

They're worth so much more after I'm a goner

And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin'

Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'."

The Band Perry, "If I Die Young"

"Well, isn't this a surprise." Blood red lips tilt upwards in a grotesque parody of a smile. Sam grimaces as he stepped into the dimly lit warehouse, the sounds of his footsteps echoing in the vast space of the room. The demon is sporting the body of a young woman that went missing from the local college a few weeks ago. The youngest Winchester brother recognizes her hazel eyes and chestnut, wavy hair. She's dressed in jeans, a tank top and a faded denim jacket.

"I'm all about those." Sam retorts calmly, eyes focused on his brother's limp form tied to the chair. There are some shallow cuts on his brother's arms, but the blood loss appears to be at a minimum.

"The Boy King came," She mockingly curtsies before him, a bloody knife in her hand. "I'm honored."

"Release him." Sam orders. He's not here to play games. He's getting Dean and together, they're going to walk out of here.

"No." She hisses and her eyes flash coal black. He's unfazed; however, as he's dealt with his share of demons. He has exorcisms memorized, ready to be spoken in flawless Latin at the drop of a hat. She doesn't frighten him and he plans on using that to his advantage. She lowers the knife to Dean's neck and desperately glances at Sam.

"Do it and you'll be back in Hell before you know it." Sam growls, summoning some of the righteous fury Dean had been channeling recently.

You left me to die for a girl! You left me to rot in Purgatory!

If only Dean knew the truth, if only Sam could make him understand!

"I'll kill him, I swear!" She snaps and Sam shakes his head, forcing the bad memories to disappear. He opens his mouth and begins to speak. The Latin has an immediate effect on her as she drops the knife, letting it clatter on the floor. Clutching her head, she lets out a guttural scream as black smoke fills the air. He's at his brother's side as soon as it's clear that the immediate threat has gone.

"Dean?" He gets the ropes untied in record time and his older brother's limp body tumbles out of the chair and falls into Sam's open arms. "Hey, Dean? Can you hear me?"

"Afraid he can't, Moose." Crowley steps out of the shadows, a smirk on his lips. "Dean's not going to wake up unless I say so."

"What did you do?" Sam growls, weighing his options. He could probably take Dean and run, but he isn't sure what other surprises Crowley has in store. This whole warehouse could be crawling with demons and the simple fact was that he wasn't prepared to deal with that—

"Just a spell," The King of Hell assures him. "Don't worry. I'll fix him up."

"For a price." Sam completes and Crowley chuckles dryly.

"This is why I love talking you to," He states enthusiastically. "You catch onto things much faster than your brother."

"What do you want?" The youngest Winchester brother hisses, keeping his gaze locked on Crowley though he wants nothing more than to check on his brother and make sure that his heart rate is normal and that he's breathing fine. He needs to get these injuries treated as well.

"It's simple," Crowley begins, stepping closer to the duo. "You for your brother."

"A trade?" Sam questions, doubt coloring his tone.


"And how will I know you'll let Dean go if I say yes?" Crowley's eyes light up with amusement.

"Because I'll call Castiel down here myself." He waves his hand a chair appears from nowhere. He sits, smirking still at Sam. "Now, do we have a deal?" Sam glances at Dean and frowns. His brother hasn't so much as stirred since he arrived and that meant something had to be seriously wrong. Dean needed help—help that Sam couldn't provide—and Crowley needed Sam for something. That meant Sam had a purpose and Crowley wouldn't screw up his plans by lying.



Dean vanished from his arms and Sam felt a sharp pain in his brain. Groaning, he clutched his head and felt himself sink to the floor.

I'm sorry, Dean.

Then, he blacked out.


Someone was calling him. A familiar voice and though he would've just ignored it, urgency laced its tone and made Dean struggle against the dark. Fighting the invisible weights that forced his eyelids shut, he finally opened his eyes and blinked a few times. Castiel hovered above him and sighed a bit as Dean sat up, clearly relieved.

"Cas?" The eldest Winchester questioned. "What are you doing here?" He ran a hand through his hair, wincing as his fingers brushed against a bump. He had been hit by something?

"You do not remember?" Castiel asked. "Dean, Crowley kidnapped you."

"What?" Dean echoed, confusion dripping from his tone. "Then, what the hell am I doing here? Did you get me?" At this, Castiel glanced away, his eyes pooling with what appeared to be worry mixed with regret. "Cas?"

"Sam," Castiel began, meeting Dean's gaze. "He traded himself for you."

A pause.

"What?" Dean breathed, unsure if he had heard Castiel properly. For the first time since he had come to, the eldest Winchester looked around the room, searching for his brother. Sam wouldn't have done something like, would he? Yet, there was no trace that Sam had been in this motel room since yesterday. His duffel sat on his bed, clothes neatly folded beside it.

"Your brother traded himself in exchange for you."

"Where is he?" He pushed himself off from the bed and stood shakily on his feet, swaying slightly.

"Crowley has him—"

"Where, Cas?" Dean growled, fury coursing through his veins.

"I do not know," The angel admitted quietly. "I cannot sense him nor hear his prayers."

"Dammit," Dean swore softly. "Why would he do something like that?"

"To save you." Castiel stated, seeming to take the oldest Winchester brother literally.

"That's now what I meant—" Castiel tilted his head to the side in confusion.

"I do not understand."

"Never mind," Dean muttered, trying to pull himself together. "We need to find him."

"You need to rest," Castiel insisted, pushing Dean back towards the bed. "You have just awoken. What good could you do for Sam when you can barely stand?" Like it or not, the angel had a point and Dean reluctantly sat back down on the bed. "Let me see if I can find anything back where I found you. Stay put." With a flutter of wings, he was gone.

"Sammy." Dean whispered, voice breaking. His little brother could be dead right now and it would be his fault. What had been the last thing he had said to his brother? An angry barb? Maybe he had let them sit in an uncomfortable silence? "Dammit." Why was it always like this? Why did it take something awful to bring things into perspective? He got it now, he really did. He understood why regrets haunted people for years because if Sam was truly lost—which Dean refused to believe—then the last thing Dean had said was something hateful. Something akin to blaming him for leaving him in Purgatory or maybe stating that Benny was a better brother than Sam could ever be.

Which wasn't true of course. Benny could never replace Sam. Yes, Benny understood what Purgatory was like and had helped him overcome it, but Sam? Sam had helped him survive Hell. Sam had saved his life countless times.

"You want the prize?" Little Sammy smiled as he held out his hand, the cereal prize in his hand.

"Jerk." Sam tossed a shirt at him and Dean chuckled. The remark had been worth it, just to see Sam get all riled up. His little brother shot him an exasperated look before finally smiling himself.

"You're my brother and I'd die for you." Sam told him seriously as he drove the Impala. The hunt was over and now it was two of them. In some ways, it had always been the two of them.

God, what had he done?

Putting his head in his hands, Dean broke down.

"Sir?" A young demon stood before the King of Hell and bowed her head respectfully. She was new to this life and as such, completely obedient which was a nice change considering half of the demons in Hell believed themselves to be above a ruler. Her red hair—almost the color of Hellfire—tumbled down her shoulder and Crowley could see blood splatter on her shirt.

"How is he?" He usually liked to partake in the torturing of souls—the Winchesters especially, considering the two of them had been thorns in his side for way too long—but he couldn't let himself get carried away. Sam had to live and if Crowley were in charge . . . well, the likelihood of Sam surviving would be slim to none.

"In pain, as you requested," She told him professionally. Then, with a slight pout, she added, "Sir, he doesn't scream." At this, Crowley chuckled.

"That boy was Lucifer's bunkmate," He explained. "I doubt there's anything you could do that would provoke a reaction from him. Try not to take it personally."

"Yes, sir."

"Just keep him alive." Her eyes widened.

"Alive—?" She echoed.

"Yes, alive," He repeated. "I need him alive."


"Stop questioning me," He growled, the room shaking as he released some of his power. Immediately, the other demon backed down. "Get back to work." With a nod, she was gone. Crowley smirked. Sam Winchester was supposed to have been the King of Hell. That had been his destiny and yet, he had tossed it all aside and for what? To live a normal existence with his brother? Who would be foolish enough to do that? Still, Sam may have thrown aside his destiny, but there were some things he couldn't run from, no matter how much he tried.

And his blood would open up gates of hell once more.

"You're not going to like this." Castiel stated when he returned. Dean had spent that time apart planning how they were going to save Sam because he would save Sam—he had to save Sam. He couldn't let his brother die, not now, not when he finally realized that he had been a complete and total idiot for blaming Sam for supposedly not looking for him. Truth was, Dean didn't have all the answers and he had been too damn stubborn to ask for them. And now . . . now, it might be too late.

No, he refused to think like that. Sam was alive and he would be okay!

"What?" Dean pressed.

"I believe Crowley intends to use Sam's blood to re-open the gates of Hell." Dean felt all the breath leave his body. He sat down shakily and finally met the angel's gaze.

"What do you mean?"

"Sam's blood was forever tainted with demon blood," Castiel explained. "It was this that gave him powers and led him to be put into the competition to become the next King of Hell."

"You mean when Yellow-Eyes got all those 'special kids' together?" Dean clarified and Castiel nodded.

"Yet, Sam remained human and did not take his place, leaving him in a unique position," Dean nodded his head and wait for Castiel to proceed. The angel glanced at him before sighing slightly and continuing. "Sam is human and has a soul, yet has the blood of a demon within him. Sacrificing him—having his blood spill upon the earth where the any of the gates of Hell stand—would open the doors and allow countless, stronger demons to pour through."

"Shit." Dean swore as he ran his hands through his hair. "Do you know where he is?"

"No," Castiel replied with a shake of his head. "Crowley has him hidden quite well, but if he plans to do the sacrifice then he will have to wait for the full moon in three days."

"So, we have three days to find Sam," Dean completed, finally pulling himself together now that he had something to do. "How many gates are there?"

"In this country?" Dean nodded. "Five."

"Five?" He echoed; Castiel shook his head in acknowledgement.

"Hell is an immense place, Dean," The Messenger of the Lord stated. "It has multiple entrances scattered across the globe."

"We'd better get started." The eldest Winchester replied.

"Dean?" He hovered where he stood nearby Sam's duffel. "We'll find Sam."

"I'll find a way to save you, Dean." Sam stood before him, determination blazing in his eyes and even though Dean knew that it would be pointless, that he would still be going to Hell, he believed his little brother.

Now, it was his turn to save Sam.

"Hell yeah we will."

Castiel grinned.

Author's Note: So, this will be a two-shot probably. We'll see how long it takes me to wrap up this story. Next chapter, Benny arrives! Please review if you have a second!