Author's Note: I'm not really sure what to say about this piece. I've wanted to write about Sam's mental state in season 5 for quite awhile now, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. After some thinking, I figured why not make it a Sam/Castiel bonding piece. So, here we go! Please note that this story deals heavily with the idea of suicide. If this bothers you in anyway, please do not read. You've been warned. This is set after "Dark Side of the Moon". Please enjoy this story!
"This one last bullet you mention
Is my one last shot at redemption
Because I know to live you must give your life away."
—Relient K, "Be My Escape"
There are days—more and more now they are weeks as the space in-between them continues to shrink—when all Sam Winchester wants to do is lie down and will his heart to stop beating. He knows that the apocalypse is his fault. He knows that he has doomed the world as well as burned all his bridges with his brother and Bobby, the closest two people he had left to a real functioning family. Neither one will speak about how Sam caused this mess, but the youngest Winchester isn't a fool. He can see the betrayal lingering in their eyes. He can see them school their expressions to hide the panic and anger that dances in their expressions. Somewhere, deep inside of them, they hate Sam—they hate what he has done and they hate how they have to clean up after his mess.
Sometimes, Sam wonders if taking a gun and placing it to his temple would do them all a favor in the long run. Sure, Lucifer had said he would bring Sam back if he ever attempted such a thing, but it was worth a try, right? Without a meat suit to wear, the apocalypse would be in an eternal holding pattern.
Without Sam, the world would continue on in blissful ignorance.
Normally, when these thoughts strike him, the youngest Winchester forces himself to focus on his brother and Bobby. If he took himself out and failed, he'd just be leaving them with yet another mess to clean up. His father had always taught him to finish what he started and that's what Sam intended to do. He started the apocalypse, so he would end it.
It was as simple as that.
Yet, here he was, sitting up on the rooftop of an abandoned building, watching the sunrise with a gun in his hand. After their disastrous trip to Heaven, Dean had stormed off taking the Impala God knows where and Sam had let him go with a dull realization that this was it—this was Dean's final straw. Any lingering hope of rekindling the bond between them died the moment his older brother slammed the motel room door behind him. It was a relief, in a morbid kind of way. Without hope, there was only clarity.
He knew what he had to do—what he had to try to do.
What's dead should stay dead.
That was the creed he had grown up with. Vengeful spirits, poltergeists, zombies, and vampires—anything other than human should die. The moment their heart stopped beating was the moment when their existence was supposed to end. Any life after that had to be put down. Sam should've died in the muddy road in Dean's arms. He never should've been brought back. Who was he kidding these past few years? Every breath he took was traitorous; every beat of his heart was blasphemy. He got it now, what Dean felt when their dad had brought him back. While he was glad that his brother was alive—Dean deserved to live—Sam knew that his time had run out the moment he turned his back on Jake. He never wanted to be brought back—not at the price of Dean's soul.
Still, there was no point in complaining about the past.
He was going to fix everything.
He was going to save everyone.
"This is for the best." He whispered, watching as the sun's rays began to color the sky. Hues of yellow, red and orange liberated the sky from its dark oppressor and Sam smiled softly.
There was only one thing he needed to do.
Pulling out his cellphone, he hit his first speed dial and placed the phone to his ear. Dean wouldn't answer—his anger was still too fresh, still burning close to the surface—something that Sam was counting on.
"This is Dean," His older brother's gruff and tired—so damn tired—voice filled the line. "Leave a message."
They weren't one for long farewells or final words. He had tried—no could fault him on that, no one could ever say that he hadn't—to be the best brother that he could be. He hoped that Dean knew that. He had made mistakes, but he had tried to overcome them. Not for his sake, but for Dean's. It was Dean who had glued him back together after Jessica, it was Dean who had saved his life so many times and had asked for nothing in return, and it was Dean who had bled to protect him.
He had already called Bobby. His voicemail to his surrogate father had been straightforward and simple—just a thank you, another apology, and coordinates. It was Bobby's style—direct and forward. That had been ten minutes ago and Sam was sure that Bobby was out, no doubt tirelessly chasing down some lead to clean up the mess he made.
Resolve hardening, Sam opened his mouth.
"I know you're mad," His voice was shaky, and the youngest Winchester coughed, trying to get his act together. This was for the best; this would save Dean's life down the road. "And I get it, I really do." He glanced down at the gun in his hand, feeling the cool metal in the palm of his hand. This gun had been a present from John. It was old, but it worked and somehow, it had managed to stay with him throughout his life. It was fitting to use it. "I just want to say that I'm sorry, Dean. For everything." He sucked a breath and tried to calm his pounding heart. "Maybe . . . maybe this was how it was supposed to end, you know?" He shrugged without realizing it. "Listen, Dean, I know you hate me and I get it, but I just need you to know that I never meant to hurt you." That was the most important part that he needed to convey. Everything he had done, it had been for Dean. Yes, looking back on it now, it was wrong and foolish, but he had been so desperate to save his older brother. Was it that desperation that Dean felt in Cold Oak? "I'll keep this quick." He needed to get this over with. "I love you. Call me a girl if you need to, but it's the truth." He could picture his brother's face at that and smirked a bit. "I'm sorry that I did this to you and Bobby." He steeled himself against the tears that burned in his eyes. "But I'm going to end it now, Dean. I should've done this a long time ago, but now, I'm finally going to fix it." He smiled, though a lone tear snaked down his cheek. "It's the least I can do, right?" His vision blurred and the sky was nothing more than a kindergartener's painting—all colors swirling around into one spectacular mess. "Anyways, take care of yourself, okay?" He almost hung up, but realized that there was one more thing. "Don't stop being a jerk."
He disconnected the call.
He dropped the phone next to him.
The gun felt smooth against his temple and he shut his eyes, his fingers tightening against the trigger.
His eyes flew open and the gun slumped down to his side. He spun around and saw Castiel standing before him, the angel appearing concerned, odd considering how stoic he usually was.
"Castiel." He breathed, unsure of what to do now. Factoring in a rogue angel had not been in his plans and now that he was faced with the Messenger of Heaven, he was unsure of how to proceed.
"You plan to kill yourself." It was a statement, not a question. He didn't question how the angel knew, but simply nodded. Castiel regarded him for a few moments, before frowning slightly and stepping towards him. Involuntarily, Sam took a step backwards. The angel froze and appeared perplexed by this development. "Sam, why—?"
"You know this is the right thing to do," Sam whispered, though he knew his voice could be heard. "Without me, there's no vessel."
"Lucifer will bring you back." Castiel countered matter-of-factly.
"We don't know that for sure." Sam retorted as he shook his head. He met the angel's gaze and willed him to see his desperation, to understand that this was the only choice they had in this screwed up game of chess. If he removed himself from the field of play, it would be a stalemate.
Game over; apocalypse averted.
"Sam," Castiel's voice hardened and it reminded him of Dean's voice as he left the motel. Dean had been so furious. His brother hated him. "Give me the gun." He held his hand out and the youngest Winchester was surprised that he hadn't just taken it or used some his powers on him. Then again, with each day that passed, Castiel's connection to Heaven grew weaker and weaker.
Yet another consequence of his actions.
Yet another reason to go through with this.
"This is for the best," He replied, voice softening. "Please, just go."
"I will not leave you when you are like this—" Sam scoffed.
"Dean will understand," He informed the angel. "You don't have to—"
"I'm not asking you to give me the gun for Dean's sake!" The angel snapped suddenly and it took Sam aback. Over the time that he had spent with Castiel, it was rare to see him so full of emotion. It was rare that he could be worked up into a rage, but here he was; seemingly ready to do anything to get Sam to listen. "I'm asking you to give me the gun because we are friends."
"Friends?" Sam echoed, surprised. Yeah, he had considered himself to be friends with the Messenger of Heaven, but he had pretty much figured that Castiel never felt the same way. He had always assumed that it was because of Dean that the angel treated him as he did.
"We are friends," Castiel repeated, expression softening. "Are we not?" It was said so simply with the innocence of a child that Sam couldn't help but laugh. The whole situation was ridiculous. Here was an angel trying to talk him out of killing himself, despite the fact that his dying would prevent the end of the world.
"Yeah, we are." Sam told him.
"Then, give me the gun." He held out his hand, patiently waiting.
"You think this will help," The angel told him with an all-knowing look. "But Sam, all you will be doing if you succeed is hurting those you leave behind."
"Bobby and Dean—"
"Would never forgive themselves," Castiel interjected quickly. "You must believe me, Sam." He stepped closer and this time, the youngest Winchester remained where he was. "Your death would serve no purpose—"
"I would stop the apocalypse." Sam informed him. The angel grimaced and sighed wearily. Sam forced himself to smile at his friend. He had to make him understand that this was the only way. This way, the good guys would win and the world would continue on. If Sam's life was forfeit, then so be it.
"You do not know that for certain." Castiel mumbled, eyes locked on Sam's. There was an intensity in his gaze. Whatever was motivating Castiel was strong—perhaps just as strong as the force pushing Sam down this path.
"I have to try," The youngest Winchester told him. "Anna had the right idea, Cas, and you know it." He shifted the gun to his other hand, the cool metal reassuring him slightly. This was the right choice. This was just finishing what he had started.
"Dean will just follow you if you do this." It was a low blow and judging from the flash of victory in the angel's eyes that had clearly been his intention. Picturing Dean still and lifeless cut at the very core of Sam's being.
"No," Sam denied. "No, he wouldn't."
"I have only known your brother for two years," Castiel informed him. "Yet, I know there is nothing he would not do for you." Sam shook his head, wishing that the angel would just shut up. He didn't need to hear this; he didn't want to hear this! Dean hated him. Dean had thrown away the amulet. Dean may have cared for him once, but all that had changed!
"You're wrong!" He growled.
"Are you willing to place Dean's life on the line as well?" It was his weakness and the angel knew it. He couldn't find a way to get through to Sam himself so he had done the next best thing. He had brought Dean into the picture. Regardless of how Dean felt about him, Sam still loved him and looked up to him. Risking Dean . . . he would never forgive himself if anything he did put his brother's life in uncertainty. Doubt consumed him now. Would doing this put Dean at risk?
"Give me the gun, Sam." The angel commanded softly. His hand was outstretched and his expression was neutral. To any outsider, it might've appeared as if he was asking for money or a handful of candy. It was funny, if you thought about it, though Sam didn't have it in himself to laugh.
"I can't." He couldn't give up on this plan now. He couldn't take the chance that his staying alive would end up causing the end of the world. He had to go through with this. "Please, Castiel, you have to understand—"
"Understand what?" The angel questioned in a clipped tone. "Understand that you are throwing your life away? Understand that doing this will kill your brother? What is it exactly that you need me to understand, Sam?" The tone was icy and Sam bit his lower lip nervously.
"I'm saving the world." Because in the end, that's what it came down to. Without him, there'd be no apocalypse. Without him, Dean and Bobby could go on with their lives without the weight of the world on their shoulders.
"Please, Sam." Castiel pleaded and it shocked Sam. Grief colored his voice and his expression was full of sadness.
"I'm sorry," He said with a sad smile. "You should go." A few seconds passed and resolve instantly hardened the angel's expression.
"If you plan on going through with this," The Messenger of Heaven gestured to the gun. "Then, I shall bear witness." He stood still, arms at his side, eyes locked on Sam's. Uncomfortably, the Winchester shifted the gun to his other hand.
"I already told Bobby where to find me—"
"You are my friend, Sam," Castiel repeated. "If you truly wish to end your life and nothing I say can change it, then the least I can do is bear witness to your final moments." He grimaced. "Someone must tell Dean what your final moments were like." Sam almost dropped the gun in shock. He hadn't wanted Dean to find out about this part. He'd just wanted Bobby to get the body and then salt and burn it before Dean ever had a chance to look at it. The way he was going out . . . it would be ugly, he had known that. Dean wasn't supposed to know about that though.
"Cas, you can't—"
"I have to," The angel informed him. "Dean will want to know." Sam glanced down at the gun, the weight suddenly feeling heavier than it usually was. Was he making the right choice here? What if Castiel was right? Seeing the indecision on his face, the angel stepped closer and placed a hand on Sam's shoulder.
"Please don't do this." It was a whispered plea and it somehow wormed its way through Sam's defenses. This was wrong. He couldn't do this—ending his life would bring nothing but pain to Bobby and Dean. Lucifer would just bring him back anways. This whole plan was flawed in so many ways. A strong arm tugged at the gun and wordlessly Sam relented. Castiel took the gun and carefully unloaded it before placing it down on the ground and kicking it away. The angel faced the youngest Winchester brother and smiled, relief evident on his face.
"I'm sorry." Sam whispered and Castiel shook his head. Distantly, he heard his phone ringing and glancing down, he noticed the familiar name on the screen. He was about to speak once more when he looked up and saw that the angel was gone. Puzzled, Sam put his phone to his ear.
"Sammy? Thank God." He nearly broke down at the sound of his brother's voice, at the sheer relief evident in it. "Listen to me, I'm coming to get you. Stay there, okay?"
"I'm not going anywhere, Dean." Sam promised. It was the truth.
An angel had seen to that.
"Damn right," Dean hissed. "Not without me you are, Sam. Anywhere you go, I'm with you. Me and you against the world, remember?"
"I remember, Dean." He let his gaze drift back to the sun, now fully illuminating the sky and grinned.
Today was a new day and a new chance. Castiel had been right. Sam had so sucked into his own grief and guilt that he had never stopped to consider how his actions might affect Dean. He had just assumed Dean would've been glad. He knew better now.
And when this was all over—when they all made it through this alive—he would take Castiel aside and thank him for this day. The angel had saved him that was for sure.
We are friends, are we not?
Yeah, they were. Sam was lucky to have him.
With that, he sat down on the roof and let his brother reassure him that he was loved and yes, Dean did forgive him and how the hell could he think that Dean or Bobby would be better off without him?
Sam just listened and waited.
He wasn't alone in this—Castiel had reminded him of that and Dean had cemented it.
He was never alone.
Author's Note: A bit darker than my usual pieces, but I really liked how this turned out. I hope you did too! Please review if you have a second!