Fanfic: The Road to Detroit is Paved With Hell
Beta: borgmama1of5 – World’s best editor and all-around muse! Thanks to zatnikatel for the encouragement.
Summary: Post-Abandon All Hope. Lucifer wants Sam to say yes. He wants Dean back in Hell. And he's tired of playing nice. Sam and Dean will never know what hit them.
Spoilers: Set in Season 5. Follows 5X10 Abandon all Hope
Genre: Gen, H/C, Angst, Hurt!Dean, Limp!Sam
Characters: Sam, Dean, Castiel, Bobby, Lucifer
Rating: T (mature themes, strong language)
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any of its characters. They belong to the CW and Eric Kripke -- who'd best treat them well
Author's Note: Story is 18 chapters plus epilogue (approx 55k words). Complete. Will post over several days. Show has been/will be in hiatus for 8 weeks. But we know the boys aren't just sitting in a motel room waiting to go back to work stopping the Apocalypse. My beta says I have filled in the missing weeks, which is not what I started out to do. But the original six chapters just kinda took off ...
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Dean is driving. For now Sam hasn’t brought back up the idea of splitting up and Dean is hoping the notion will just go away. His brother has lost weight, his ginormous frame is gaunt, his color paler than usual and Dean knows the wound still hurts. Of course Sam doesn’t say anything about any of this. In fact, since settling into shotgun seat it’s been business as usual. A whole lotta silence.
After fifty or so miles pass Dean says, “Let me know if you need me to stop.”
He turns to Sam who simply nods, face staring straight ahead.
“Dean.” The voice from the back seat makes Dean jump and the car jerk.
“Dammit Cas, you have got to stop doing that!” That jostling couldn’t have felt good. “Sam, you okay?”
His brother dismisses him, turning toward Cas. “What’s up?” Sam asks their unexpected hitchhiker.
“You cannot go to Bobby Singer’s home.”
Dean is startled. First off, how did Cas know where they’re heading? And second, “Why the hell not?”
He flinches at his own choice of words. Knows the answer is related to Lucifer’s threat and fights back the goddamn fear.
“I sensed the Cerberus in South Dakota.”
The fear wins and Dean starts to sweat.
Sam says, “The Cerberus … It’s … real?”
His brother is looking at him now and Dean is gripping the steering wheel so tight his circulation is cutting off. He pulls over on the wide shoulder. Given all the things that shouldn’t be real but are he doesn’t know why this particular monster is surprising Sam, but his brother’s mouth is practically hanging open.
“Yes. It guards the Gates of Hell. It’s been millennium since it has left its realm. Lucifer is quite serious about this,” Castiel says in his usual deep voice. “He wants Dean back.”
The thing is massive, feral, blacker than the pit itself. Three distinct heads move in synch growling, roaring, foam flying from its enraged lips. Its enormous teeth end in razors and drip saliva in long gooey strings … the sulfur scent of its breath reaches Dean’s face in a gust of hot putrid air.
“How do you like our mascot?” Alastair sneers. “I call him Skippy.”
“Dean, Dean you okay?” Sam says from across the seat.
He’s not okay. He’s hot and sweating and then he’s cold and that thing … that beast is … here.
Barely breathing he responds, “Just need a minute.”
Cas’s hand is on his shoulder, head leaning in. “Dean. I will not let it get you. You will not go back.”
Dean fights the urge to reach up and touch Cas’s hand. Too gay. But he wants to … jeez, he wants a fucking hug. He glances at Sam. His brother looks even paler now. Shit, he looks frightened. And his instinct is to comfort, to make it better, it’s his job to keep his little brother from being scared. Dean blinks and when he meets Sam’s eyes again there’s a change. The panic has left his brother’s face and it’s been replaced with a determination that both assures and scares the crap out of him. Sam’s in full-out do not get in his way mode. And the mofo steel of that gaze is nothing he wants to get in the way of again.
“Sam?” he asks hesitantly.
Dean doesn’t know what to say next. Isn’t sure he wants to know what Sam is thinking. Is too busy trying to keep from thinking himself. He shakes the cobwebs out of the way. They have work to do. He can’t be careless. “Cas … you say it’s in South Dakota … is … Bobby in danger?”
Cas meets his eyes. “No. I do not believe so. It’s looking for you.”
Well, that gives him something at least. He knows he’s pointing his baby as far away from Bobby’s house as he can.
* * *
A couple hundred miles later they pull into a nondescript motel for the night. Castiel has stayed with them and Dean asks for a triple room.
The duffel bags are dropped on their respective beds. Cas has nothing and looks around a bit befuddled. Sam stares at Cas, probably wondering why he’s still there. Dean takes over.
“You can sleep here … on that bed, if you want. I can give you something to sleep in.”
Cas looks at him in that way that makes Dean feel like there’s still a reason to care. He believes his friend when he says he can’t read his mind. But wonders if Castiel can read his soul. The angel has never expressed the need for sleep. Since disconnecting from Heaven, Cas is less angelic and a bit more … human … but Dean also knows Cas doesn’t need to stay and sleep. The only reason for him to stay is because Dean wants him to.
“Thank you,” Cas answers simply.
Sam says nothing but his face tightens a second before his usual blankness is back in place.
“All right then,” Dean says. He eyes the bathroom door. His body is so tense from the 500 miles they covered today he thinks he might petrify on the spot. He knows that leaving Sam and Cas out here alone is beyond awkward but he can’t worry about that now. Needs to feel the hot water to wash way … the stink of sulfur that is always there. He smells it on himself no matter how often he bathes.
Once, shortly after he came back he asked Sam if he smelled funny. Sam had looked at him and made a rude joke. He knew it meant then it was all in his mind. There was no smell. The first time that he’d been with a woman after he’d returned … Jamie … he secretly feared she’d be disgusted … And when she’d touched his chest he’d shut his eyes ashamed of his scars … but there are no scars. Not visible in any case.
“Sorry dude, I’m calling dibs on the first shower,” he says before disappearing from Sam’s bitchy stare.
The pounding hot water feels good sloughing off his back and shoulders, kneading muscles locked up from driving all day. He touches himself and thinks maybe … but an image of Sam in the hospital bed, protecting himself interrupts and there’s no way … Grabbing the bar of soap he washes quickly, movements getting harsher until he’s hurting his skin with his nails as he rubs the bar back and forth across his abdomen where the hounds gutted him, where Alastair would run his knife every single day, reopening the cuts and removing bits of his gut and smashing the dripping pieces down his throat.
He swallows the first sob and brings his soapy hand to his mouth biting his fist, almost drawing blood to keep from crying out. His legs tremble and give out and he slides down the shower wall until he’s hugging his own knees and the water hits his face and blends with the tears.
Daddy … Daddy where is Mommy? Why did the monster want to hurt her and Sammy? I’m sorry, I’m sorry Daddy … I didn’t mean to … I looked away only a minute and he fell and will he be okay … and you promised, you promised you’d be here but it’s okay because we have to help it’s our job and I’ll try harder next time … please don’t leave me … don’t … Dad … Dad … Help me … Please help me … Sam …make it stop. It hurts. It hurts so much.
There’s a hard rap at the door. “Dean … ya might wanna leave a little hot water for the rest of us.”
Reality crashes back in on him and he forces everything back … way down, where nothing can reach him, nothing can touch him. Please don’t hurt me any more.
He stands. Places his hand on the wall a second until he knows he’ll stay up. Shuts the water off and grabs a towel. Breathes in again and doesn’t say anything until he’s sure his voice will hold. “Sorry. Be right out.”
* * *
Sam’s been pacing. It’s just like Dean to first invite a freaking angel to share their room with them and then disappear for fucking ever in the bathroom. Whenever Dean takes this long Sam figures all kinds of things are going on in there and he hopes his brother cleans up after himself for a change.
Dean emerges finally and his face is wan, his eyes shadowed but Dean’s attention goes immediately to Castiel. Cas is sitting on his designated bed. He’s got his trench coat and shoes still on and his posture is straight and stiff and somehow the sight is enough to draw a small smile from Dean’s parched lips. Sam forgets his annoyance. With a moment of almost pain he remembers how Dean used to smile. A beautiful, rich beam that lit up his entire face and turned his eyes emerald green. This is a wan imitation, a mere hint of a lift at the sides of his lips, not reaching his eyes.
Sam thinks back and realizes he hasn’t seen Dean’s real smile since before Hell. Another part of Dean that’s lost. He disappears into the bathroom before anyone notices. The water’s tepid at best, as expected, turning Sam’s melancholy back to bitchiness as he shivers and races to finish and dress again before he freezes.
He hears the T.V. as he reenters the room’s main area and is not surprised to see Dean flipping through stations. Cas is still on the bed, but now his coat and shoes are off. Sam grins … Dean must have told an angel of the Lord to take off his shoes before lying on the bed. He sighs. They lead such strange lives.
“Okay,” Dean says suddenly. “You wanna explain to me how a ten-foot, three-headed, serpent-tailed monster traipsing around South Dakota isn’t getting any news coverage?”
Sam turns toward Castiel wondering if the angel got his facts wrong.
“Only those touched by Hell are able to see it.”
“Me,” mumbles Dean.
“And demons, of course,” Cas adds.
Sam looks from Cas to his brother, eyes narrowing. “I would see it, wouldn’t I?”
Dean looks sick when he realizes what Sam means but Cas simply nods yes.
Sam avoids Dean’s eyes. Monster. Freak. Vampire. He’s heard it all. Nothing new here. Besides seeing this particular monster is a good thing. Now he knows his plan has a chance of working.
The evening passes quietly. Cas unconsciously amuses. And he follows Dean with his eyes at all times. If Dean swung that way there’s no doubt these two would get together eventually. He assumes Cas knows about Dean and Anna … wonders how that went over. Angel rivalry? Sibling rivalry? Ugh. Not that Dean boasted about the tryst or anything. Sam just knows his brother well enough to, well, know.
“Do you think I should start brushing my teeth?” Cas asks suddenly.
Sam catches Dean’s eye at this and they both smile.
“Wouldn’t hurt,” Dean volunteers. “Dental hygiene’s important. Especially if you want to score with the chicks.”
Sam is really fighting back a laugh now.
Dean rummages through his duffel. They always keep extras of the basics. “Here,” he says pulling out a toothbrush still in its packaging. “The toothpaste’s already out by the sink.” Cas disappears like a man on a mission.
They hear the tap turn on. Silence. Then a sort of groan, a flustered noise of things dropping and squirting? and Cas lets out a loud Oh for heaven’s sake.
Sam looks at Dean and they both laugh. It’s been so long that it feels odd to his ears. Dean rises and pats Sam’s shoulder before going to help their hapless friend. Sam wants to capture that touch and hold on to it forever. For a second, a blink of an eye … that was his brother in the room with him. His conviction steels that he’s doing the right thing even as he knows Dean will not agree.
They turn off the lights shortly after midnight. Sam falls asleep quickly, exhausted from the hours of research he’s done under the guise of web-surfing and the pain killers he snuck despite assuring Dean he no longer needs them .
He is startled awake by a loud yell, is up, knife out in a deadly stance before he’s fully conscious. Eyes scanning the dark room he sees nothing amiss. It’s just the three of them. Then Dean thrashes and yells again. Sam puts the weapon down and sees Cas’s alert eyes across the room. There’s a moment’s hesitation as to who will approach Dean first. Dammit, Dean is his brother. Sam moves toward him possessively.
He touches Dean gently, he’s knows how to handle this although it’s been a while. There are degrees to the terrors Dean faces in his sleep. If he’s aroused too quickly from a light nightmare, well, Sam’s gotten slugged more than once. Other times it’s difficult to wake Dean up at all. And some … “Sam … Sam … SAM!” Some pretty much destroy Sam on the spot.
“I’m here. You’re okay. Dean, c’mon, wake up.” Dean twists in the sheet, pushes Sam away.
Castiel approaches slowly. He looks at Sam for permission before placing his hand on Dean’s forehead. Dean stills, rolls over, and Sam sees that it’s done. Dean’s eyes open groggily. Cas moves quickly away and returns to his bed.
“Sammy,” Dean says blinking, voice hoarse. Sam is still holding his brother’s hand but it’s dark and neither let go.
“You were dreaming again,” he explains.
Don’t be. God it’s all his fault. If only he’d killed Jake in Cold Oak when he had the chance so Dean didn’t make the damned deal.
But Sam says nothing. Releases Dean’s hand and after another moment asks, “You okay?”
Dean looks away embarrassed and mumbles another apology. This is the one thing Sam cannot bear to hear again so he returns to his own bed and the rest of the night passes in awake silence.
* * *
Dean is going out of his mind. This cannot be happening. It’s his worst case scenario … well, the non-death kind … but it’s up there.
“How can you have let him leave?” he yells again at Castiel.
“I am not your brother’s keeper,” Cas says in classic straight man mode.
Dean is too upset to notice. “But you knew … you knew he had this shit for brains scheme of going to fight the freaking Cerberus on his own.”
“I suspected, yes, from the research he was conducting and the questions he asked.”
Dean had seen Sam on his laptop the past couple of days. And he had been pumping Castiel with questions about the beast but never, not in his wildest dreams, could Dean have imagined that his head case of a brother would go track this thing solo.
Fury races though his body. It’s fucking Lilith all over again. He wonders if Sam’s been using again. Perhaps he’s juiced up and that’s why he thinks he can take on the Guardian of Hell’s Gate like fucking Rambo.
The part of his mind that knows that his brother hasn’t left Dean’s side long enough to do more than piss, knows Sam doesn’t have access to any willing demons to offer him blood in any case, is fighting to be heard through the angry din in his head. And part of Dean feels sick that he’s been watching his brother that closely.
He sighs. Tries forcing himself to calm down. “Dammit,” he shouts again at no one.
“What do you wish to do?” Cas asks.
He stares at the angel. “Find him.”
“But Sam is tracking the Cerberus. If you find him you will find the beast.”
“Dean. The beast does not want Sam. It wants …”