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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His hard working doctor would not approve Sam thinks with a grimace as he pulls the syringe out of his vein. Fills the tenth vial. Losing blood so shortly after the injury to his liver is probably not his brightest idea. But the blood is the key. And it’s either his or Dean’s. And it sure as heck won’t be Dean’s.
There are thirteen messages on his voice mail. Twelve are from his brother. One is from Bobby. The wrath in Dean’s voice rises as they progress. Bobby’s message is the most succinct. “Idjit. Call me.”
He knows he should call Dean. Chickens out and rings Bobby instead.
“Your brother’s going out of his mind.”
Sam sighs. “I know Bobby, I know. But we can’t let Lucifer drag him back to Hell.”
The older hunter is quiet a moment. “No. But Sam … the Cerberus is one mean critter … Going after it alone … you might as well just hang yourself right now.”
“I have a plan.”
“Was afraid of that.”
“It smells the taint of anything or anyone who’s been in Hell — and demon blood … Bobby, I can use my blood.”
“This is crazy, Sam …”
“No. Hear me out. I can lure it … set a trap with my blood.”
“At the Devil’s Gate.”
“Fine. Let’s say it does get fooled by the blood. You think this thing’s just gonna stroll right back into Hell without a never-you-mind?”
Sam chuckles but it comes out forced. “Something like that. I’ll call again Bobby. I have to call Dean now.”
“You still ain’t called your brother! Boy, if you was little enough to still whup I’d do it myself! Dean is goin’ insane about your runnin’ off again!“
“I know Bobby. But I … have to do this.” For Dean. Because he can’t let that Hell beast drag his brother back into the pit.
Sam signs off and stares at the phone in his hand. Another message came in while he was talking to Bobby. Dean’s livid. He hears the accusation in Dean’s tone, his clipped words, the fury covering outright panic. He knows Dean’ll never trust him again. And it stings. We can never be what we were. Fine. But Dean isn’t going back to Hell. Not on his watch.
He doesn’t bother with hello.
“Don’t be mad. I know what I’m doing.”
“Sam?! Where the fuck are you?”
“I’m going to take care of the Cerberus. Stay with Cas. Lay low. This isn’t the only thing hunting you.”
There is silence. Sam visualizes his brother seething between short breaths. “Tell. Me. Where. You. Are.”
There was a time Sam would not have been able to resist the sheer force in that order. That is Dean. Then he remembers the screams at night, the agony, the thrashing, the groans. Desperation. And Sam … SAM!
“I have to go. Be careful.” And he hangs up.
As expected the phone rings again immediately. He’ll have to ditch it. Dean will track it. Of course Bobby knows where he is heading. Hopefully that will buy him enough time.
* * *
“Are you sure?”
“That’s what he said, Dean.”
“It’s crazy. One flew over every cuckoo that ever nested. It’s fucking nuts.”
“I know it. But you know Sam.”
And he did. Stubborn. Fool-headed. If Sam thinks he’s right then nothing and nobody stands in his way. Certainly not Dean. Yeah, he gets that this is about trying to save him from Hell. Again. That Sam still blames himself for failing last time. He knows Sam watched the Hell Hounds tear him apart. If it had been the other way around Dean would have swallowed his gun for sure. But even knowing Sam’s intentions are good, it isn’t enough. Didn’t assuage the heart stopping fear of that thing near his brother.
Castiel guessed Sam’s intentions. The blood is the lure. Bleeding out when you’re still so weak? What are you doing Sammy? Once the creature picks up the demon-scented blood it will follow. Dean has figured out the rest. Because it can’t be just any demon blood. It has to be Winchester blood. So the Cerberus believes he’s tracking Dean. Sam is literally spilling his blood for Dean.
Bobby gives Dean the last piece of the puzzle. The destination.
Cas looks at him questioningly as Dean puts his phone back in his pocket.
“We’re going to Wyoming.”
* * *
Sam likes the desert. There’s something about the colors – corals and ashy greens, and horizons that glow pink as a blushing young girl. He passes huge Saguaros and squat Prickly Pears and tumble weeds rolling in the hot wind. But this trip he’s not seeing any of it. He’s too focused on the task at hand. Can’t allow distractions. Besides, nature belongs to the natural, not him.
He resists looking in the rear view mirror. He won’t see the creature too far away but he knows it’s there. His blood has been humming … vibrating under his skin in a way that it hasn’t since Ruby. Since Lucifer.
For a moment he wonders what Dean would do if he was aware of the degree of Sam’s depravity? Dean knows about the blood drinking. Knows that Sam and Ruby had been lovers. But Sam’d never spoken of what they did. The hours he’d spent lost inside the demon, swallowing her up until his heart was as black, empty and dead as hers.
At the beginning, when Dean was first gone and every minute hurt, he’d wanted to end it. Came really close but clung to a futile hope that maybe he could still save Dean somehow. And when he finally realized he couldn’t, he died. There was no Sam. There was only a body that consumed, fucked and hated. Often all three at once. Gulping down her blood while he pumped inside Ruby’s cold core, he’d wished he could kill her, gut her even as he fucked her … gank her like every other soulless scum that took everything from him. He’d come and collapse on top of her and sometimes a stray human remnant drew tears from his eyes and Ruby would whisper sweet words and pet his hair and hush the pain away until he was dead again.
So this is a risky plan. And Dean is rightfully pissed. Survival is a long shot. But no way … no way does Dean go back to Hell. Because it isn’t just Dean that would die.
The Nevada Devil’s Gate is a long-time rumor in the hunting world. Dean is smart but he’ll naturally assume Sam’s heading to Wyoming where they are sure there’s a gate and where everything went wrong the first time. Now there’s some 750 miles between them. He has to plant his blood and then wait. He’s pleased that the first part of his gamble is paying off. Maybe Dean wishes he had a brother who’d stay close and follow orders, but Sam can’t. For once his demon-tainted blood is doing some good. It’s close enough to Dean’s thank you DNA to fool the Cerberus and it’s touched by Hell. Yeah, it’s dirty and dank and tasty enough to attract this stupid beast and hopefully, send it back where it belongs.
* * *
“Dean. You need rest.”
“I’ll rest when we get there.”
“We can get there immediately if you—”
“No. Messes me up for days afterward. Sometimes longer. Need to be sharp. We’ll get there this way just fine.”
Castiel is quiet. Dean can sense that the other man isn’t done arguing. Waits for it. “When you are with Sam you share the driving.”
Dean wants to just disagree but he doesn’t just want to tell Cas to shut up. “Sometimes we split the driving. But I drive most of the time. Always have. I like driving. Calms me. Quit worrying.”
“I do not worry.”
Right. Then what the heck has Cas been bitching about for the past 80 miles?
Dean lets out an exasperating sigh. “What?”
“Do you not need to eat?”
Hmm. Now that he thinks about it when was the last food break? Some states ago it feels like. Maybe Cas has a point. The Cerberus can’t fly … it’s not faster than a car. Well, not his car at any rate. Thinks for a moment that he’s racing straight for the creature that’s inhabited his nightmare for freaking decades. Smart move Winchester.
Grudgingly he concedes. “Okay. I’ll pull over next town and we’ll find a room and grub and head out again at dawn.”
“Do you wish me to sleep with you?”
Dean almost steers the Impala off the road. What? Then he realizes Cas means share a room. He rolls his eyes at his own mistake. He remembers again that the angel doesn’t need to sleep. And dammit he doesn’t want Cas to vanish. Doesn’t want to be alone in some crappy room. It’s all Sam’s fault. Running off half-cocked after that demon bitch. No, that was Ruby … he means the creature. Oh shit, his brain is pudding. He is fucking tired.
They pull into a run-down flea trap and Dean realizes he never answered Castiel’s oddly phrased question. Nonetheless, the angel silently follows him into the room. Inside, Cas asks, “May I have the bed nearest the window?”
That’s the bed Dean used to take automatically. The one closest to the door. Closest to the window. First in the line of fire. To protect Sammy. Dean hopes Cas understands the thanks and the gratitude and the friendship he can’t say with words. Outside of his brother and his father and his mother long ago nobody cares for him like this and it feels good. Safe.
“Yeah, Cas,” he says, breaking eye contact before he really gets emotional. “You can have that bed.”
* * *
The doorway to Hell is hidden in an old overgrown cemetery in the hills of Nelson, Nevada, not far from the infamous Techatticup Mine. Known as one of the bloodiest gold rush towns of Eldorado Canyon, the area was legendary for its lawlessness, serial murders and the worst depravities that man could produce. Sam suspects those hapless miners had a little help in the terrorizing department from the occasional escapee from the Devil’s playground.
In 2009, the town is practically deserted. A ghost town littered with the spirits of the miners and the settlers and the Spaniards and the Native Americans before them whose blood now lays comingled in the area’s parched earth. This pleases Sam because it is imperative he draw the Cerberus as far away from humanity and Dean as possible.
Sam parks strategically, making sure his car is as accessible from all directions. It’s not much, but it gets up to 90 on the highway. There’s not a big chance it’ll be a getaway vehicle, but hey, just in case of a miracle …
There’s nobody around. The air is dry and dusty. No outward stench but he can still smell death here. It’s the lack of life, the desolate vibe. More than empty. Hollowness comes up out of the dirt and grabs you as you walk, chilling you deep, whispering to lie down and never rise again.
His blood is telling him he won’t have to wait much longer. It’s coming. Sam has to stand near the door, has to let the creature open it because Sam can’t open it by himself. He prays that the ancient texts he painstakingly translated are true.
Sam wonders what Dean is doing. He isn’t sure when Dean will figure out that Sam has tricked him about Wyoming. His brother has a way of playing dumb but he’s the smartest hunter Sam knows. Underestimating Dean is never a good idea. He learned that lesson last year. Has been apologizing for it ever since. But this is different. He’s not about to start Armageddon. No, done that already. He’s going to do the one thing he didn’t do two years ago. Dean is not going to Hell. And Lucifer’s pet is in for one heckuva surprise.
* * *
“Bobby. Where are you? Pick up, dammit. Something’s wrong. Okay. Call me.”
Dean shoves the phone back in his pocket and faces Castiel. “Sam’s not here.”
“I can see that.”
Dean eyes his friend. Calm. How great would it be to not feel anything? Lord knows he’s tried to shut off like that. Never works. Not long term. Sam can do it. Shit, Sam turned into a robot since the moment Dean reluctantly let his brother out of his arms in that motel room in Pontiac, after Dean had punched his way out of his grave. Dean closes his eyes a moment and can still feel the strength of his brother’s embrace, drawing him in, offering the first love, the first humanity in forty years. Sammy. He can start crying right now if he lets himself.
Cas puts his hand on Dean’s shoulder. “I think he chose another gate.”
The words shake Dean like a splash of ice water in his face. His blood starts to run just as cold. The ache he feels darkens until anger oozes out in spewing bursts. “That son of a bitch!”
Dean’s phone rings disrupting them both. “Yeah?” Dean answers still wanting to pound his lying brother’s face to a bloody pulp. Before the Cerberus can touch him.
“It’s Bobby. You called?”
“Yeah. Sam’s not here. Where are you? Why didn’t you pick up?”
“Sorry to not be your beck-and-call girl. Sam’s not the only endangered species on this planet. Homo sapiens are disappearing mighty fast, too.”
Dean tries to temper his impatience. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Death. The Grim Reaper. The Pale Rider. Released when the goddamn Colt didn’t kill the Prince of Thieves. Any of this ring a bell?”
Bobby’s voice carries and Cas looks at Dean with serious eyes. “You’ve got a lead on Death?” Dean asks.
“Mmm. Been tracking mass … well, dyings I’d guess you’d call them. Pattern’s pretty obvious after a while.”
“What do you mean?”
“Easier to show ya on a map but basically she’s working her way around in the shape of a pentagram. The Devil’s mark.”
Dean startles. “She?”
“Oh yeah. Captured on video buncha times. Looker. Tall, blonde, wears …”
“A white silk dress.”
Bobby is clearly surprised, his voice notches higher. “You seen ‘er?”
“In a manner of speaking.” He looks at Cas. Sees the angel’s concern mirrored back. “Good work Bobby. Keep tracking. Don’t go after her. Got enough on my hands worrying about … He’s not here Bobby. Went to another Devil’s Gate. Gotta be Nevada, right?”
“Damn. Didn’t think … Yeah. Nevada. Eldorado Canyon. Dean that’s a two-day ride and he’s had a couple day’s head start.”
Dean sighs. Talking to Bobby makes his hot anger turn back to cold fear. He runs his free hand through his hair. “I know. I gotta go. Bobby, thanks. Be … be careful, okay?”
“You too, son.”
Eyes too bright, heart beating fast, Dean turns back to Cas.
“We are going to Nevada?” Castiel asks.
“We aren’t driving.”
Dean suppresses his distaste of teleporting, which is really way to fucking close to flying, places his hand silently on the angel’s shoulder and vanishes.
* * *
Sam hears the Cerberus before he sees it. He braces. The ground trembles with each gargantuan step it makes toward him. Dean had told him it was enormous. Each head the size of a small house. Sam’s seen ancient etchings, paintings, depictions from cave walls. Still, he’s not prepared when the creature fills his vision. Every childhood monster merges into this towering mass of malevolence. This thing guards the Gates of Hell. Keeps the demons inside. It’s older than recorded history. Eternal, diligent, persistent. Now the creature wants the one thing it will never have – Dean. So Sam is going to send it home.
Its noses are twitching uncontrollably as the aroma of Hell-scented blood wafts through the arid air and reaches its nostrils. Two of the heads start to growl, then bark and Sam has to cover his ears at the sheer violence of the noise as it echoes across the empty terrain. The third head howls frantically then as it, too, picks up the scent. Sam swallows back his fear. Here puppy.
Darkness extends as the Cerberus’s shadow eclipses the massive marble arched doorway to the stone crypt. The gate in the arch is rusted, dissolving – a mild wind would knock it down. The door beyond it, however, while chipped from the ages, stands as imposing as the day it was erected. Like the mouth to Hell in Wyoming, this door, too, has a lock. Only from the keyhole’s classic shape it apparently takes a traditional skeleton key. One that undoubtedly has been lost in the annals of time.
A human might need a key. The freaking guard dog of Hell itself? It doesn’t need a key to go home. The creature is so close that Sam can see its matted black fur, smell sulfur and heat. It’s stench is so strong he fears he might black out which would be a really bad idea.
GGRRROAARR! Sam flinches but stays hidden where he has crept inside the arch. It doesn’t see him. Six eyes but they’re all pulling in different directions, confused by the blood he’s spread as a trail to the archway to Hell. Sam can sense by its eyes, its posture, even the serpent dancing around its heads when its attention locks onto the blood covered door. Sangre, the force of life. He’d used a lot of his fresh warm blood to paint the door crimson and despite the wooziness, the headache, the nausea, it is worth it. Has to be because there will be no second chance.
It happens quickly and the unlocking is more violent than Sam imagined. The moment the Cerberus comes in contact with the door it bursts open knocking the creature backward. Sam is knocked down by the force of the blast. Demons instantly swirl around the opening, warring, jostling, keening to be free. But the Guardian is there and it has one purpose, exists for one reason -- to keep Hell’s prisoners where they belong.
The beast gnaws and tears and slashes at the black billows of smoke, acid spittle flying, its venomous teeth shredding the demons into lightning flashes that shriek into nothingness. Chaos consumes the world and the battle lasts forever until the writhing swarm of Hell’s inmates begins to retreat.
Smeared with Sam’s blood the Cerberus pants in a circle like the wrongest puppy imaginable, unsure of what it’s captured. Hades pulls upon it in beguiling, enticing waves and it begins to surrender to the lure. Home. Sam hides behind the massive door now concealing him, knowing he still is in mortal danger of the Cerberus’ attention.
The demon-touched blood recognizes where it belongs … is yanking the creature forward, drawing it closer to Hell until one snout inhales the acrid burning air of its lair and with a last satisfied shudder it thrusts forward and crashes through the entry like a circus elephant tearing through a fiery ring. And it’s gone. Sam blinks thinking he has to be careful, can’t yet trust, remembers the Colt and Lucifer … but it stays gone.
Sam moves carefully into the open, knows he has to shut the door. Isn’t sure if the creature will realize it doesn’t have Dean, doesn’t know if it will leap back out. The energies of Hell are open to the Earth and the pressure is tremendous. Sam is big, strong … but the bloodletting has weakened him. He pushes the massive door with all he has but it barely moves. As Sam grunts with the effort the wound in his abdomen rips, blood leaks out and his shirt turns red … And his Hell-touched blood is hungry to go home.
Sam feels the air electrify as a tempest stronger than anything on Earth grabs at his gut and yanks him toward the open maw of the Underworld. He’s on the wrong side of the door now, holding on to its edge for dear life but Hell wants him, tastes him, won’t give him up. His hands start to slip and he doesn’t know how long he can hold on. His heart thunders in blinding terror he’s going to Hell and without thinking he cries out, “Dean … DEAN!”
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