WARNING! This story contains a character death. Read with caution — and maybe bring a tissue.
Thanks go to Snarkymuch2 for beta'ing this story and for encouraging (forcing) me to write it.
Time To Say Goodbye
Sam threw open the door of the cabin and shuffled in, his arms laden with groceries. "Don't get up," he said sarcastically. "I'm fine."
Dean looked up from the journal he was reading and quirked a brow. "I don't smell pie. Didn't you get the pie?"
Sam dropped the bags down on the counter and pulled out the apple tart he had bought for his brother.
"What the hell is this?" Dean asked.
"Pie?" Sam phrased it as a question.
"If it's a pie, where's the top?"
Sam chewed his lip. "Would you accept the excuse that I ate it on the way home?"
"Hell no I wouldn't. I asked for pie dammit, not this"—he read the label—"farm baked apple tart."
Sam shrugged. "Sorry, man. I got what I could. They didn't have any regular pies in the store."
"What kind of crap-hole town is this," Dean muttered. "Don't even have pie."
Sam unloaded the rest of the groceries and stowed them away in the cupboards. "Find anything interesting while I was out?" he asked. Dean had been going through some of Bobby's thing while Sam made a run into town for supplies.
"Actually… umm… yeah."
Sam looked up and saw Dean rubbing at the back of his neck uncomfortably, a sure sign he had done something that Sam wasn't going to be happy about. The last time it had happened, Dean had given a flirty waitress Sam's number. She had called him for seven days straight before giving up.
"What did you do?" Sam asked.
"What makes you think I did something?" Dean asked, trying for an innocent expression.
"Knowing you," Sam said simply. "Out with it. Can I expect a call from a random waitress, or did you freeze the laptop on Busty Asian Beauties again?"
"It's this," Dean said, gesturing to a carved wooden box on the table.
Sam examined it and realization sapped his good mood away. "Tell me you didn't open that!"
"I didn't know, okay. I thought it was another of his keepsake boxes, like the one I found his flask in."
"It's a curse box, Dean!" Sam said in exasperation. "What the hell were you thinking?"
Dean looked suitably abashed.
"What was in it?" Sam asked when no answer to his previous question seemed forthcoming.
"This." Dean held up a small carved wooden totem.
Sam examined it carefully. It had faces etched into the wood and was a deep red color. It was unlike anything he had seen before. "Do I want to know what it does?" he asked.
"That's the thing, I don't know yet," Dean said. "I've been looking through Bobby's books, but there is no mention of it in here."
"Did you try his journal?"
Dean cursed his stupidity. "Umm… no."
Sam rolled his eyes. He rooted through the papers covering the table and pulled out Bobby's battered leather journal. He tossed it to his brother with a wry smile. "You research our latest problem and I'll make lunch."
Thirty minutes later, when lunch had been made and eaten, Dean jumped out of his chair and whooped.
Sam looked up at him with a raised eyebrow. "You find Bobby's secret stash of porn?"
"Nah, I found that ages ago," Dean quipped. "I found out what my toy is. Bobby called it the God Totem."
"Your new toy?" Sam questioned.
"Never mind that. Weren't you listening, this is called a God Totem. It makes me omnipotent!"
Sam's attention immediately snapped to his brother. "It makes you what?"
"Omnipotent. It means…"
"I know what it means." Sam rolled his eyes. "What I don't know is how makes you omnipotent."
"I told you, Sammy. It's called the God Totem. According to Bobby, whoever has it becomes a god."
Sam had seen many things in his life. Things beyond imagining, but this was a new one on him. "It makes you a god," he said slowly. "Like Cas?"
"No." Dean frowned. "Not like Cas. He was an angel jumped up on purgatory souls. This is completely different."
It sounded too close for comfort for Sam. "How does it work?" he asked.
Dean flipped a page in the journal and read aloud. "The possessor of the totem is able to summon and command anything he wishes into creation." He laughed. "Like, I say I want pie, and poof, I get pie."
Sam chuckled. "You think. I don't see any pie around here."
"Maybe I'm doing it wrong," Dean said. He fixed his eyes on the totem and said in a voice remarkably like Castiel's, "Give me pie."
If Sam hadn't been watching, he wouldn't have believed it. Where there was just a pile of paper on the table there was suddenly a baked pie. Steam was rising from the surface and the cabin was suddenly filled with a sweet scent of apple and cinnamon.
"Hell yeah!" Dean crowed.
Sam blinked twice, not believing his eyes. "That can't have happened."
"Sure it can. I'm a god," Dean said. He leaned over the table and inhaled the scent of his summoned treat.
"Dean, you are not a god," Sam said. "You're an idiot that opened a curse box. Now let's put it back and you can eat your pie."
"Put it back?" Dean snorted. "The hell I will. Do you know what this means? No more Leviathans, no more fuglys, no more anything. I want it gone, and it's gone."
Sam looked at him incredulously. "You really think that will work?"
"Dude, what part of God are you not getting? I have absolute power. I can make the Leviathans disappear in the blink of an eye. Send them back to Purgatory without breaking a sweat."
Sam couldn't help but admit it was a tempting thought. To be rid of the Leviathans would be a huge weight off their minds. And the lives it would save…
"I don't know, Dean. There's a big difference between summoning a pie and taking out a Leviathan."
Dean waved away his concerns. "I'm telling you it's no trouble. I can feel it."
Sam didn't like the fanatical gleam in Dean's eyes. He didn't look like himself. He was reminded uncomfortably of Castiel in those deranged moments he had professed himself to be a god.
"If, and it's a very big if, this thing does work like that, why didn't Bobby use it himself?" he asked. "What does it say in the journal?"
Dean frowned and read the page in the journal. "Just something about being careful what you wish for as the wishes turn bad."
"Which we can vouch for," Sam said. "Think how bad things got in Washington when that fountain was granting wishes. They all turned bad."
"This is different," Dean said confidently. "This won't turn bad. I don't know why Bobby didn't use it himself, but I'm not going to waste this opportunity. In case you forgotten, we are batting zero against the leviathans and we're rapidly losing people."
Sam looked at the floor for a moment and let his mind wander. He didn't like the 'cursed' part of this, and he remembered well how the last thing that granted wishes had worked out. He had been killed by a lightning bolt—it wasn't something you forgot easily. But, on the other hand, Bobby was known for being cautious. If there was a chance this thing could be used to destroy the Leviathans, it was worth a try. They had nothing else in the way of weapons against them.
"We need to test it," he began cautiously. "Make sure it actually works before we go after Dick Roman."
"Absolutely," Dean said easily, turning the totem in his hand. "Us gods are used to being tested."
"Quit with the god stuff. It's kinda creeping me out."
Dean spent the rest of the day practicing with the totem, summoning food, drink, and most impressively, the Impala. One moment they had been standing on the porch, staring out at the empty dirt track, the next, it was there, gleaming in the late afternoon sun.
After reacquainting himself with his baby, Dean had settled down to help Sam research a case for them to test out his new godlike status out on.
"I think I've got something," Sam said, looking up from the news pages he was surveying. "There are murders in Seattle that could be something."
"What are you thinking?" Dean asked.
"They've all been found in the warehouse district, drained of blood."
"Oooh, vampires." Dean rubbed his hands together.
"Maybe not," Sam said. "No mention of bite marks."
He pulled up the Seattle PD's page and proceeded to hack into their archive system. After some work he had the autopsy report open for one of the victims. "Not a vampire," he said. "They are found exsanguinated and with needle marks. They think it's some kind of satanic cult draining the blood for spells."
Dean scoffed. "Cops… always missing the obvious."
"Never mind that," Sam said, rubbing his aching temples. "I think we've got ourselves a djinn."
Dean grinned. "Awesome. Djinns are even better than vampires. They pose much more of a challenge. It will be a good test of my new… status."
Sam was grateful that Dean refrained from calling himself a god again. It was hard for him to take from his brother. And his fears for Dean's new obsession hadn't lessened over time. They had worsened. The fact he was able to pull the Impala from Frank's storage space to Montana was an impressive feat, but a worrying one nonetheless.
They packed up their duffels and headed out to their stolen Ford. Dean gave the Impala a look of longing as he passed it. He would have liked to drive it to Washington, but it was still too soon to be seen out on the road with it. They could pass off their resemblance to two recently killed criminals as coincidence, but add the car into the mix and you were asking for trouble.
They took turns driving the nine hour journey and arrived around midnight. The bleary eyed clerk booked them into a room at a small motel on the outskirts of the city. Both exhausted from the drive, they bunked down and waited for morning before they discussed their plans.
When Sam woke in the morning, Dean had summoned breakfast for them both, and he was sitting on the bed tucking into a Styrofoam package of pancakes.
"You know, I've been thinking," he said through a mouthful. "We didn't need to drive here at all. I bet this thing could have zapped us straight here. God express."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "God express?"
"What? It's as good a name as any."
"No matter what you call it, I'm not trying it," Sam said pointedly. "There's no way of knowing where we'd end up."
"I'm not inept," Dean groused.
Sam picked up his coffee and took a sip before answering. "I don't like this, Dean.
"You want one of your frou-frou lattes?" Dean asked, picking up the totem. "Because I can get you one."
"I'm not talking about the coffee. I'm talking about this… thing. I don't like you using it. We could have easily gone to a diner for breakfast. You're using it too much."
Dean scowled. "The more I use it, the more I control it. I didn't even have to say the words aloud this time. I just thought about what I wanted, and it was there."
"That's what I'm talking about. You are becoming more connected to it all the time. It worries me."
Dean looked up at his brother. "You're serious about this?"
"I am," Sam said plaintively. "I agree, if it works, it's our only chance as far as the Leviathans go, but I don't like using it for anything, that included. I have a feeling it's going to end badly."
"You worry too much." Dean clapped his brother on the shoulder. "We'll deal with this djinn and then we'll go after Dick. Everything will be fine, you'll see."
Sam nodded and hoped with all his might that the sick sinking sensation in his gut was unfounded.
They agreed it was better to wait till dark before heading out to the area in SoDo where the bodies were found. The warehouse district was busy during the day, and they would draw attention to themselves searching for an abandoned warehouse.
When dusk fell, they headed out to the car and set off for the city. It was only an hour's drive, and they passed it happily enough, singing along to the radio and laughing at each other. Sam was more relaxed than he had been since the finding of the totem. Being back on a hunt felt good, natural.
They parked the car in an empty lot that would have been full of worker during the day. Walking through the dark streets they discussed possible locations for the djinn. The bodies that were found had been spread around a large area.
"We could always use a little god help," Dean suggested.
"You're going to summon the djinn here?" Sam raised an eyebrow.
"No, idiot. I'm saying we can use it to find the warehouse. I'm sure there's a way it can beam the information straight into my head."
Sam didn't like the idea of Dean using the totem any more than was necessary. "How about you save its mojo for the djinn," he said. "We don't want it running out of juice too soon."
"You think that can happen?" Dean looked genuinely worried.
Sam shrugged. "Anything's possible. I think it's better that we don't risk it."
Dean nodded. "Good point."
They walked the streets for an hour before they found the first sign of something promising. There was a derelict warehouse that had formerly housed a painter's yard. Letting themselves in through the side door, they pulled out their flashlights and panned them around the huge space. There were still remnants of machines and equipment lying around. It made for a sorry sight.
"Where'd you think it will be?" Dean asked.
"The one that took you was bunked down in the basement."
"Shall we split up to search?"
Sam stopped walking abruptly. "Dean, when does splitting up ever work out for us?"
Dean grinned. "Good point."
Sam spotted a door marked for basement access and gestured towards it. Dean nodded and together they walked to it and down the stairs that it opened onto.
Sam knew immediately that they had come to the right place. The air smelled awful, dank and coppery. He remembered the smell from the time he had saved Dean from a djinn back in Illinois. He went slowly down the stairs, gun held out in front of him.
It was Dean that spotted the djinn first. It was in the corner of the room, working over a young man.
Dean silently gestured for Sam to hang back while he stepped forward. Sam didn't like to let his brother ahead of him, but he knew they had to give the totem a chance before they resorted to the silver daggers and lambs blood they had brought with them.
Dean pulled the totem out of his pocket and gripped it tight in his hand. Focusing his mind on what he wanted, he closed his eyes and willed the power to work through him.
Sam watched the concentration in his brother face and turned to look at the djinn, waiting for something to happen. When it did, he didn't believe what he was seeing.
The djinn clasped both hands to his chest in a bizarre parody of a heart attack then dropped to the floor. Its hands fell limply to its sides and its chest stilled.
"I think it worked," Dean said with a smile.
"How did it feel?" Sam asked curiously.
"Like a wave of power went through me into it, like static electricity, but more powerful. It was kinda cool."
Sam nodded and walked slowly over to the djinn. He was concerned it was playing possum and would leap up to attack again at any minute. When he reached it, he poked at it with his foot and turned it over. The djinn rolled easily onto its back. Its eyes stared sightlessly at the ceiling. It was dead.
"It worked," he confirmed.
Dean punched the air. "Do you know what this means, Sammy? No more hunting down weapons, we just find Dick Roman and bam! He's gone."
Sam smiled at his brother's enthusiasm, and then the gravity of the situation returned to him. He looked around the basement and saw the figures suspended from the ceiling. He dropped his duffel at the feet of the young man the djinn had been working over and felt for a pulse. He was pleased to feel it thudding strong against his fingers.
"Dean, over here," he called.
Dean came to his side and took over releasing the boy while Sam moved onto a middle-aged woman that was hanging beside the boy. He felt her throat but there was no thrum of life beneath his fingers. In the background, he could hear Dean trying to rouse the boy he was helping. He moved onto the last figure. It was a young woman; she was perhaps twenty five and she had long blonde hair. She would have been pretty if not for the grey pallor of her skin. Sam knew even before he touched her that she was dead, but he pressed his fingers to her throat anyway.
Sighing, he turned to tell Dean that they were too late for the rest of the victims, when Dean's harsh voice called out.
"Hey, kid! Put that down!"
Sam spun on his heel and saw the boy Dean had been helping standing on shaking legs with Sam's own Glock pointed at his Dean's chest. His heart contracted in his chest and his hands shook.
Dean caught his eye and Sam saw his own terror reflected in his brother's eyes.
"Take it easy," Dean said gently. "No one is going to hurt you."
"Who are you?" the boy asked in a shaky voice. "What are you doing to me?"
Sam stepped forward, and the boy spun to face him instead. The gun was now pointed directly at him. If possible, Dean looked even more scared now than he had when the gun was on him.
"We're not doing anything to you," Sam said softly. He raised his hands in front of him in a defensive gesture, as if that could stop the bullet the boy was poised to release. "We're going to help you."
"Help me?" The boy laughed. He was only a child, no more than seventeen years old. "What are you freaks doing here?" His eyes raked the room. "What did you do to those women? Did you kill them?"
"We didn't do anything to them," Sam said, still in that same soft tone. "We came here to rescue you, but we were too late to save them." The regret from his admission made his tone heavy. The boy's grip on the gun loosened and Sam knew he was getting through to him. "What's your name? I'm Sam, and this is Dean."
"Thomas… Tom," the boy said. "My name's Tom."
"Okay, Tom, I want you to put the gun down. No one here is going to hurt you. We're going to help you."
The boy nodded and lowered the gun slightly.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw Dean lurch forward and he shouted a warning, but it was too late. There were three distinct cracking sounds as the bullets were expelled and Sam found himself flung back into a wall. His fear was for his brother was paramount, and he shouted to him.
He saw his brother across the room and his eyes raked his form for a sign of blood. There was no blood, but Dean looked terrified.
Sam found his legs were unable to support him, and he slid down the wall to the floor. With a disconnected feeling, he looked down and saw the blood pooling on his shirt. He had been shot. With understanding came pain. He felt like he had been punched in the chest and gut.
"Oh!" he whispered.
One moment Dean was across the room, and the next he was kneeling beside Sam. He tore open Sam's shirt and winced at what he saw. He shrugged off his coat and shirt and tried to staunch the flow of blood pooling over his brother's torso.
"Sam, Sammy! Oh god, Sam!"
Sam tried to tell him it was okay, but he couldn't seem to form the words. He reached out a shaking hand and gripped his brother's sleeve.
"Oh God, Sammy! Hold on, okay. I'm going to get you help!"
Sam shook his head slowly and a trickle of blood escaped his mouth and dripped down his chin.
"I can't…" he croaked. "Look at me."
Seemingly against his will, Dean looked down at the blood pooling across his brother's chest. Sam lifted shaking hands and pulled tugged on Dean's hands to move them. Dean fought against him. "No, Sammy, we need to stop the bleeding."
Sam shook his head tiredly. He knew there was no point. He had seen the blood and knew where the damage was. He also knew what was happening to him, as he had felt it before. A long time ago. In Cold Oak.
"Please, Dean," he whispered.
Dean raised his hands and Sam got a clear view of the three wounds. Two were centered on his abdomen, and he knew what that meant, a long slow death as he was slowly poisoned by his own body. At least that was what it would mean if he did have the third wound. Centered directly over his heart.
Dean looked down, and the little color he had left disappeared. "No! No! No! No! No! No! No!"
"Yes," Sam whispered. "You see it too."
"No, Sammy. I'm going to fix you." Sudden brilliance shone in Dean's eyes. "I have the totem. I can heal you." He raised his fist, brandishing the totem like a fetish against evil.
Sam smiled wryly. "It's already doing all it can."
Dean looked into his brother's eyes and Sam saw understanding dawn. It seemed to sap the last of Dean's reserves and he visibly crumpled. "It's not enough," he said in a moan.
"It's not enough," Sam agreed. "It can't do anymore."
"Then we wait till we get you to a hospital," Dean said. "I can keep you going until then and they can fix you."
"It won't work," Sam said, forcing strength into his tone. "It's already losing its power. You can feel it too, can't you?"
Dean shook his head and spoke through gritted teeth. "I'm not letting you do this! Dammit, Sam. You have to fight!"
What Dean didn't understand was that Sam was already fighting as hard as he could. He was fighting second by second to stay conscious and talking to his brother when his body so desperately wanted the release. He could feel the work of the totem, pinning him to the earth like a butterfly beneath a pin. Its strength was failing though. It could only respond to Dean's will for so long.
"You…" Sam paused as a wave of pain rocked through him. "You have to let me…"
"Don't talk!" Dean said abruptly. "Save your strength."
Sam smiled understandingly. "You have to"—he took a breath—"let me go."
"Sammy, no!" Dean moaned.
"You have to."
"I can't!" Dean said bitterly. "Not you. Not now."
Sam could feel the totem's magic failing, and he wanted Dean to do what needed to be done before it was too late. Sam knew it was important for Dean to let him go this time. He took a deep breath to enable him to speak. "You have to do this for me, Dean. I need you to let me go this time."
Tears spilled from Deans eyes and slid down his cheeks. "I can't!"
"Yes… you can," Sam said remorselessly. "It's what I need now."
"You want to die?" Dean sounded irate.
"No… I want to live… but I have no… choice. I'm dying… anyway. You… have to set me free." Every word cost him, and he knew he didn't have long before it was over. He hoped with all he had that his brother would be strong enough to do this for him. It mattered.
"Sammy, please don't make me do this," he pleaded.
"Please… Dean… I need… this."
Dean stared into his eyes for a moment, and he seemed to find something in Sam's eyes that lent him courage. "What do I have to do?"
Sam looked at the totem in his hands. "You just have… to let it go."
Dean crumpled against his brother, clinging to his back. It caused fiery pain to race through Sam, but he ignored it in favor of taking his brother's last embrace. There were a thousand things that should be said but the embrace said them all.
Dean straightened and looked into his brother's eyes. "Sammy. I…"
"I know," Sam whispered. "Me too."
A sob broke from Dean's chest and Sam smiled as he raised a hand to wipe away his brother's tears.
"It's okay, Dean. It's time now."
He gripped his brother's wrist and together they watched as Dean's fingers loosened on the totem. It slipped from his grip, and a second later, one of the pairs of eyes following it dimmed and darkened as life left them.
Soooo... How many of you are after my blood right now?
Please take a moment to let me know what you think. I really appreciate hearing from you, even if all you have to share are death threats because I made you cry. Just know, I cried when writing it too.