Waking up, Dean moves just a bit as he comes to in a haze. His head feels heavy, almost as heavy as his heart, and overall he feels like he's been hit with a Mack truck.
It's then he realizes that the bed he's in is comfortable for once, the change almost shocking for a split second. He opens his eyes and instantly recognizes where he is. Lizzy's bedroom. Wait… his bedroom. Fuck. He has a bedroom now.
As he rolls over and sits up, his brain a jumbled mess and eyes still swollen from grieving throughout the night before, he comes to see how quiet the small apartment is. Right now quiet is a state of uneasy for Dean. That means he's alone.
Blinking the sleep away, or what little he was able to find before his anxiety woke him with images of his brother falling into that open and bottomless pit, he looks to the clock on the nightstand. Seven in the morning. Next to the digital clock is a piece of paper with a note in Lizzy's handwriting.
Out getting coffee and food and whatever else we need to live for a few days. Be back as soon as I can be. Call if you need me. I love you.
Dean nods and then contemplates what to do next. He could stay in bed and just lay there, risking letting his mind roll through everything that happened. He could get up and maybe clean up the place as dust is covering everything and nothing's been touched in so long. Then again, he could go look for something to drink. He's pretty sure she has a couple bottles of something lying around the joint and drinking sure would hit the spot right now, making his memories a lot easier to handle and his soul a lot more numb.
Option C it is.
Standing up slowly and stretching a bit, Dean makes his way down the hall to the bathroom. After relieving himself, he flushes the toilet and turns to leave, catching the sight of his shirtless self in the mirror on his way. It makes him pause.
Turning to look directly at his reflection, Dean sees it clear as day. His necklace. The one Sam gave him when they were kids. The one that he hasn't worn for a long time now. The one he threw away. It's hanging around his neck.
He grabs it with his hand, making sure it's really there, and grows confused. He tossed it out. He threw that damn thing in the trash after their heaven trip and after finding out that Sam was a complete ingrate. How the fuck…
Of course. Lizzy pulled it out of the trash knowing he'd regret throwing it away. She was right too. He did regret it. She even got it on him while he was sleeping knowing he'd want something to tie him back to the brother he now has to live without. But seeing the pendant now, so unexpectedly… it's freaking him the fuck out.
Dean reaches up hastily to take it off but once his fingers are wrapped around the cord he stops. He can't do it. Even if it taunts him with just the feel of the old, worn leather on the back of his neck he just can't do it.
Rushing away from the mirror, Dean heads for the kitchen. He needs a drink. Now.
Once whole again, Sam stares down in shock at himself. After months' worth of hell time he had thought he'd be somewhat used to this by now. Being broken down, tortured and maimed every day and then poof, back to normal more times than he's counted seemed like it would become routine. Nope. It's still shocking, still jarring each time he found himself back to the beginning.
"So, Mr. Hero," Sam hears the voice say to him. He knows that voice and it's the one that he's grown to despise more than anything. "You regret it yet? Saving the world and locking yourself in down here… with yours truly?"
He doesn't answer. Sam just balls up his fists at his side as he continues to look around him, never catching a glimpse of Nick's face. Lucifer was smart. He kept the image of Nick down there as that's the one Sam knew best of him. Sam's grown to hate that face and it's smug, assured, and ire-filled expressions.
"You know, I thought I was going to get bored," Nick's voice tells him. "I did. Being stuck here… again… uh, I hated my first stint. So long, so boring. But now… now I have you, sweetheart."
Lucifer appears then, standing directly in front of Sam. With the shock, Sam flinches before he sets his expression back into the determined one he tries to put on at all times. He wonders how long he'll be able to pull that off…
"You look surprised there, Sammy," Lucifer observes with a smile. "You were expecting someone else? Santa Claus?"
"It's Sam," Sam boldly corrects his tormentor, feeling just a bit bolder than usual today for some reason.
"I'm sorry… but what was that?" the devil asks, his hand to his ear dramatically. "Did you just correct me?"
Once more Sam goes quiet. He realizes he shouldn't have said anything. Sometimes he just couldn't help it as his anger rages within him.
"Pudding pop, I'm gonna call you whatever the hell I want to call you," Lucifer reminds him while stepping a foot closer, his face just an inch from Sam's. "Because you're mine. I own you. You said yes and let me in and now I own you. So if I want to call you…" Lucifer clears his throat cockily before changing his voice. "Sammy…"
Sam swallows hard when he hears it. Lucifer is the king of deception and evil tricks and yet again he uses a new parlor trick. He's yet to pull this gem on Sam.
"Then damn it, Sammy. I will."
The voice coming out of Nick's face isn't his own. It's Dean's voice. Sam had started to forget what his brother sounded like but when he hears it, he certainly knows it. Fuck. He closes his eyes and revels in the sound for just a moment. It's been so long. That was the voice that raised him, helped him, held him together and put the pieces back one by one when he'd shatter. That was his savior, his idol, his family. That was his brother. That was the voice that used to make everything better when it'd all gone to utter shit.
"No response to that one, Sammy?" Lucifer asks, keeping up the torturous tone.
Biting his tongue to keep from playing into Lucifer's bullshit, he keeps quiet.
"Aw, come on," Dean's voice continues to try. "Talk to me, little brother. Don't you miss me?"
Squeezing his lids tighter, Sam hates that he allows himself to silently answer the devil when his head barely nods yes in confirmation.
"You miss me too, Sam-I-Am?"
His heart stops for a split second and he pops his eyes open. There she is standing just a foot from him. It's her.
"Well, did ya?" she tries again, a bright toothy smile on her face. He can't answer. His voice fails him completely. It was one thing to hear his loved ones… but seeing them? Shocking, jarring, heartbreaking.
"Whatever," she laughs a little and steps forward into him, hugging him around the middle like she always did.
Sam huffs with scared and tentative relief. She feels the same. He hair even smells the same as her head is resting on his jacket. He hates himself for doing it but he brings his arms around her against his better judgment. God, she just felt so good, so real, so calming just like she did in life. He couldn't stop the choked sob as it leaves his throat. His eyes close to enjoy this quick glimpse of the good life as he knows it'll leave soon. This is the first time he's felt anything even remotely akin to good in a year.
"I miss you, Sam," Lizzy tells him in her cheery voice.
Sam's eyes water over at this, knowing how much he misses her too. Tears trail down his cheeks as he keeps his lids closed, so scared to open them. This is all too good. This is a trick and he knows it… but he can't back away.
"I'm bored," whines Lucifer in Nick's voice and when Sam lets his lids fly open he sees that he's actually hugging his satanic warden.
"Damn it!" Sam heavily laments while he pushes away from the devil. He breathes hard with the horrible and sudden change.
"Ok, enough of that. You need to remember where you are," Lucifer says as he reaches out and touches Sam on the shoulder. Instantly, the spot where he touched him starts to sizzle through. His jacket and shirt burn away and the traveling fire reaches his skin underneath.
"Shit!" Sam groans when he feels it, the slow smolder going deeper and spreading wider. He can smell his flesh cooking on him.
"This is better," Lucifer smiles as he observes his bunk buddy start to panic and shout in pain.
"Ah!" Sam bellows, his arm now engulfed in painful flames. He drops to the floor and it keeps traveling across his chest and face.
"Aw, come on Sammy," Lucifer patronizes in Dean's voice. "Man up. Don't be such a little bitch about it."
Sam screams out one more time as his whole body flares up. He's felt all kinds of pain while down in the pit, all kinds, but burning was one of the worst. Lucifer must have been exceptionally pissed off today.
As everything starts going dark, Dean's voice still taunting and laughing in the background of the furious pain he feels, Sam gets excited. He's about to get his few seconds of reprieve. Every day he gets tortured until there's absolutely nothing left to him and once it's over everything resets… but before the next day arrives he gets about three seconds of wonderful, beautiful nothing. He looks forward to that every damn day in hell.
Getting out of the Mustang she hasn't driven in far too long, Lizzy pushes the driver's side door closed and heads towards the plot. She's been here enough times with Lou in the past to know how to find Jane and Brian's headstone with ease. Once she gets there she stands and peers down at the grassy area to the right of Lou's parents' grave. She takes a seat, sitting Indian-style where she knows she's six feet above what's left of her best friend and her sister.
"Sorry it's been a while," she says, settling into a comfortable place. "Haven't been around here in so long. Been hunting my ass off. I'm fucking exhausted."
She takes a deep breath of fresh air and looks around the silent cemetery. Everything is still on the bright spring day. She's alone. Perfect.
"Louie. There's just so damn much I have to tell you. So fucking much I want you to know. I doubt you can hear me because I know Cass said you aren't around, but I have to try, right? Hell, maybe I only do this because it makes me feel better. Kinda selfish, I know, but I have to talk to you… I always have."
She picks at the green, manicured grass in front of her.
"So first, and most importantly, I found out something fucking insane. You're my sister. Like, real sister. By blood. Crazy, right? Ha. Apparently my mom and your dad got really fucked up one night and screwed. Then, nine months later… surprise. Lizzy the bastard child was born!" She huffs a quick little laugh over it. "You know, as much as I thought of my mom as a whore for a long time over this, I've accepted it. It was the angels' fault anyways… they made it happen. They HAD to have me exist for whatever unspoken reason they had so they roofied our parents. Fucking cupids suck, you know?" She sighs loudly. "So weird, isn't it? Our whole lives we were closer than close and we felt like sisters… and all along we really were. I wish I could tell you now, make sure you know. I want you to know so badly. Damn it, I miss you Lou-Lou." She looks down at the blade of grass in her fingers and catches sight of her diamond ring.
"Oh, um… also… I kinda got married. Kinda. My husband is dead according to the government so it isn't, like, official or anything. Can't legally marry dead people, right? But I took the Winchester name so that's pretty cool. And, hey… I drive him nuts and he makes me want to drink more so I guess it's a true marriage, right?" She rambles too much, she knows it. "Look. I know that when you died you hated him but, just like you always said I would, I went right back to Dean when I saw him again. I'm sorry Louie. I know you woulda killed me for this one but seriously, I know that if you had the chance to get to know Dean, really get to know him and who he actually is beneath the bullshit exterior, fuck… you'd really like him. He's a great guy. I wouldn't be with him if that wasn't true. He's a grease monkey just like you. And he's funny and smart, smarter than he lets on. He's really sweet and he cares so damn much about others and about helping people…. I know you have every reason to hate him but you shouldn't. I love him." She smiles small to herself at the thought of him. "I love Dean more than anything else in my life, more than myself and you know how selfish I used to be. The only other person I've ever loved this much is you. That alone should let you know that I made the right decision. He's wonderful. Dean is everything I could ever have hoped to find in another person. The way he treats me, the way he cares about me… shit, he's my soul mate. And sadly I know that as fact because of my weird ass, fucked up life. You'd be proud of the person he's become and how good he is to me. You'd love him too, I know it.
"And then there's Sam," she pauses with the heaviness of all she has to get out about him. She looks up at the sunny blue sky and sighs. "He's been stuck on you this whole time, ever since you died. Louie, I know it now. You loved him. You didn't say it aloud but I always knew. It was the way you talked about him when we hadn't seen them in a while. You'd light the fuck up when you said his name pop up on your phone when it rang or you'd get a random text from him. You would smile and get all happy just like I would when I heard from Dean." Trying not to cry, she bites her lip and pauses. "He did the same with you, even once you were gone. When I'd tell him a little more about who you were or rehash some of the dumb ass shit we used to get into together he'd just smile so wide I'd think his dimples were going to crack." She grins. "He would have the cutest look on his face whenever he thought about you. Either that or he'd have devastation written across it... just depends on the memory I guess." Lizzy sighs heavily with what she must say now.
"I have no idea where you are, Lou. I don't know if you already know or if this message will ever reach you but… Louie, I'm sorry." And the waterworks can't be held back any longer. "Sam's gone. He's gone."
She shifts in her seat, bringing her knees up in front of her and hugging them in, curling up in a ball as she lets it all out. "He fucked up so hard. Once you died he… he made some really dumb decisions. I like to think that if you had been here he wouldn't have done any of it. He would have talked to you and you'd have stopped him. I'm pretty sure he would have been different. It got ugly and dark and for a long time I was terrified of him. Can you believe that? Sweet, kind, quiet Sammy scared the ever living fuck outta me for a while there. He did… some fucked up things and started the end of the world. I know that doesn't exactly make sense but I can't go through it all. It hurts… too much…"
She wipes the tears from her cheeks with the long sleeves of Dean's huge on her Henley that she threw on hastily when she woke up. She surely didn't want to leave his side that morning, still feels a little guilt for doing it, but they needed food and she needed to try and lighten the burden on her soul. She decided to take a little of him with her to make the task easier.
"So," she sniffles. "He did what I always knew the good hearted person that he is would do. He fixed it all. Sam sacrificed himself for the rest of the world, for Dean and I, for Bobby. Sam-I-Am is gone, and it hurts like not much else ever could. He's locked in… hell. He's going to always be there, always, and he did it to save everyone. God, he's amazing. He's the best person I've ever known, Louie. By far. He's been my best friend, really stepped up and helped me after you died. I love him exactly like the brother I never had and it sucks that this is what had to happen to him. I already miss him so fucking much I don't know how to manage it… and I still have to be strong for Dean. God I worry… I don't know how he's going to get through this. I just hope he can. I could really use your help here."
Wiping her face one more time she glances to the Mustang.
"So that's been life. It's been dark, and shitty, and I've needed you every step of the way. I've had Dean, though. Without him… I'm not sure I'd be alive right now. He's kept me going and given me a reason to live. And because of what Sam did, we're getting out. I'm going to do what we always planned on eventually doing. I'm ditching the life. Dean too. We're gonna live normal. Holy shit Louie, we might even have kids one day. Wouldn't that be fucking nuts since I thought just three days ago that it was my last on this fucked up planet?"
She pulls out her keys from her jacket pocket, looking them over.
"I'll still take care of your ride," Lizzy promises as she looks at the key, the small horse imprinted on it. "Or better yet, now Dean will. You'd probably prefer that anyways as I have no clue the first thing about cars. She's way better off in his hands and he already respects the hell out of that car as it is. He'll be good to her, I swear it."
Pressing a hand to the ground, she closes her eyes.
"I'm gonna go be happy now. I think I owe that to you. You always wanted that for me. You tried so hard to help me find my path in life, find what will make me happiest. And I think I figured it out too. You know what it is? Family. It was family all along. All this time, I just wanted to live an easy, quiet, normal life and be with my family. It was in front of me the whole time. Guess I can have that now. I never even knew that through everything I was just searching for my soul mate … and then I actually found him." She huffs the tiniest of laughs. "I'll have to make sure that when the time comes Dean and I have a girl and a boy. Louise and Samuel… or maybe Louis and Samantha… whatever. We'll figure it out."
Lizzy stands up and shoves her hands in her pockets, staring at the unmarked ground as she sheds her last tears.
"We helped a hell of a lot of people together, didn't we?" she says, a small smile spreading across her face. "I hope you think it was worth it. I still struggle with it every day, hoping that you don't think you wasted your life. But people are alive because of what we did. What more could anyone ask for, right? Well, I mean, besides you back. I'd give anything… God, anything…."
She wipes her face one last time as she prepares to leave.
"Bye, Louie," she bids farewell. "I love you so much. I'll see you on the other side, huh?"
Lizzy turns and walks to the blue Mustang, her heart a bit lighter. Maybe Lou heard her, maybe she didn't, but either way she's said her peace. Her second chance is here and she's never going to look back, not for a second. Sam and Lou would never want her to do that anyways.