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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Weak. Bleeding. Drained beyond endurance. Sam Winchester does not stand a chance. His last thoughts are of his brother, of not being able to say goodbye, how much this will hurt Dean. I’m sorry …
“Sam. Sam … Take my hand!”
The voice offers salvation but it’s not the one he wants to hear. Sam struggles to open his eyes but the hot sulfurous swirls burn. Lucifer.
“Sam. Let me save you!”
Nick is before him … his face is scaly, mottled, more patches have come off -- the snake from the Garden is shedding its skin. Unblinking blue eyes, impervious to the acrid gusts, stare through to what’s left of Sam’s soul. Lightning silhouettes them as the Hell mouth recognizes its master and calls for His return. Sam stares into the Devil’s eyes. Knows he has seconds left to live. Sees that Lucifer is nervous. Suddenly Sam no longer wants to just die and deprive the Dark Lord of his body. Sam wants to drag the bastard back to Hell with him.
Sam seizes the hand of his enemy and with one strong pull lets go of Hell’s door and feels the relentless draw of the pit pulling both of them into the crackling abyss. Nick’s free hand twists out and he grasps the edge of the door which moves slightly toward them but ultimately holds. The insidious pull slows.
Lucifer is strong but his vessel is weakening. His powers are vast but they are contained in this puny shell. Sparks fly out of Nick’s eyes, ears, mouth as Sam struggles to pull the Devil to him. The force of Hell will give him the strength to end this. Sam can undo the horror he set loose on the innocents. Finally make up for all his mistakes. I can make it right, Dean. I can send him back.
Sam feels the heat of the gaping vortex burn against his back. Lucifer fights but cannot get away. It is a stalemate … Lucifer is keeping Sam from falling into the abyss. But Nick’s body is not strong enough to break free. And Sam’s not strong enough to pull them both down.
Then Sam hears a strangled cry.
Dean is suddenly there, eyes wild. It’s all or nothing now. Dean has to send them both. One push and Sam can pull the Devil back into his infernal prison. Sam can’t be saved any longer. But he can end this. He can make it right. He can be redeemed.
Dean freezes at the gate’s opening looking into the pit. The torture of a million blows burns on Dean’s face for one agonizing moment. Dean, I’m sorry. So sorry. Should have been me. I can make this right. Sam wills his brother to hear him, locks his eyes with Dean’s and shouts, “Now Dean. Shove the bastard back to Hell!”
Sam sees the moment comprehension floods his brother’s face. Watches the emotions in Dean’s tormented eyes. “End it,” Sam screams. “It’s too late for me, but I can take him with me. Do it Dean. Now!”
Lucifer’s eyes go ebony as he slowly turns his head back. There is no mockery in the Devil’s voice now, just unyielding, unbearable truth. “You cannot save only one of us. If I go, Sam goes with me. You will kill your brother. You will send him to Hell in your place. Dean, pull me out and Sam lives. I promise.”
“Shut up. Shut the fuck up!” Sam is screaming. “Don’t listen, Dean. Send him back. DO IT!”
Sam feels his body start to smolder as he slides further into Hell’s mouth. Nick’s grip on the door is loosening and the Devil is staring at his brother. Dean’s face hardens to steel.
His brother’s arm reaches out and the words twist out as if from the depths of Hell themselves. “Sammy … NO! Don’t you dare let go of him!” Dean pries Nick’s hand from the door and pulls him forward with all his might.
Hell fights against releasing Sam but Nick’s grip holds him fast and Sam’s hurled forward with a wrench that tears something loose in his shoulder. His face is down in the dirt and it feels like the Baykok stabbing him again as he tries to move. Lucifer is prone on the ground a short distance away, face up, gasping. NO! Dean you shouldn’t have … I had him. Dammit it was over. Maybe they can still throw the bastard through the portal ... Sam tries again to move.
Frigid air touches Sam as another figure appears among the weathered headstones. Black-garbed, it strides to Nick’s battered form and reverently bends to lift Lucifer to its massive chest. Incongruously feminine yellow-white curls shroud its face as it looks at the man it is holding. Then it locks its incandescent silver eyes with Sam’s, before it vanishes with the Devil.
Sam collapses back onto the ground with a whimper. His brother is there, turning him, cradling him, mirroring the movements of Lucifer’s savior. Dean rocks him, murmuring inaudibly. Sam lifts one arm, hangs on to his brother, swallows snot and dirt and tears. He looks at the face of the man who just put Sam’s sorry life above the fate of the entire world.
“We could have ended this,” Sam forces out, throat still raw from Hell’s breath.
Dean looks at him, shuts his eyes. He doesn’t speak but his jaw twitches and Sam wonders what Dean is seeing. “I couldn’t Sammy. I couldn’t …”
For a moment the feelings that Sam’s kept locked up tighter than a vault in Fort Knox break free and all he can see is Dean’s face with so much love that it’s hard to breathe. The weight of every pain he’s ever caused his brother washes over him and he wants to just curl up like a child against his brother’s chest and beg eternal forgiveness.
Castiel appears behind Dean. His voice urgent, “We have to close the gate.”
Dean turns his eyes to the open Hell Gate portal and Sam shudders at the torment he sees in every muscle of Dean’s body. Sam struggles to rise. He will do this. Won’t make Dean get any closer … but the tug-of-war with Lucifer has made his shirt sodden with blood and moving is like a knife thrust and Sam can only curl up and hold his stomach.
Cas pulls Dean to his feet and Sam watches, worthless, as his brother and the angel move to the thick door and push at it side by side. With each heave that takes him closer to the threshold Dean recoils. Sam realizes too late that just as he felt the siren call of Hell in his demon blood Dean is fighting its pull on him. And it seems impossible for Dean to survive getting any closer. Sam tries again to get up. Dean needs him. Then Castiel moves to touch shoulders with Dean and Sam hears the angel say “Now” and his brother and Castiel shove in unison slamming the door into place leaving an almost unearthly silence in its wake.
Dean is back at Sam’s side. Unbuttons Sam’s blood-soaked shirts, strips off his own and holds it tight against Sam’s belly. Sam places his hand over Dean’s and together they work to staunch the bleeding. “You’re an idiot, you know that?” he tells Dean. ”I’m not worth it.” Sam shudders thinking how close Dean had been once more to the jaws of Hell. The endless torture he endured all for the sake of a brother he thought was a monster. Tainted. Dark. Sam belongs in Hell. Yet Dean had to endure it.
Dean looks at him a moment and Sam waits for something … agreement, disappointment, regret. “I couldn’t,” Dean repeats. “Sammy … I couldn’t send you to …” There might have been more his brother intended to say but Dean’s voice fades and nothing else comes out. Sam knows that the tears leaking from his own eyes are not just from the pain of the reopened wound. His brother’s loyalty goodness just screwed the whole world. And God help him Sam can’t help but feel relief.
Cas interrupts gently. “Kimaris knows we are here. It is how Lucifer found Sam. The demon is taking care of his master but he will be back.”
Dean looks at them both, confused. Sam remembers the ice cold eyes, captures his brother’s attention. “Blonde guy in black … like out of the pages of a vampire romance novel. Guess that’s the great tracker.”
Cas shoots Dean a puzzled look. “I’ll explain it later,” Dean tells the angel, already thinking ahead, assessing the danger – Sam is hurt. “Kimaris was here?”
“He took Nick … Lucifer,” Sam says.
Dean looks resigned at this, collects himself, is back in charge. “Sam, can you move?” He and Cas each take an arm and between them they half carry Sam back to the car he left … minutes ago? … hours?… a lifetime?
“Really Sam? An Escort. Best you could do?”
* * *
Sam’s patched up and riding in the passenger seat. Cas is gone. Told them there’s something he needed to check on and vanished with that invisible flutter. The pain settles into a rhythmic throb which he supposes is better than the tear-inducing perpetual stab. Sam knows he’d be better off spread out in the back given how he feels like he’s gone fifteen rounds with a possessed semi, but he’s too wired to rest despite the blood loss. His head is spinning from how close he’d come to dying and to winning.
Dean means well. He was trying to save Sam. But this was a huge fucking mistake. Dean should have pushed Lucifer into that pit and never looked back. Sam’s only human and it’s hard not to feel good about still breathing but he knows this reprieve is temporary. Every breath Sam draws means the chance of Lucifer getting his body is that much closer. The threat that Dean will return to Hell that much greater. And this cannot happen.
In a pain-filled fog, Sam remembers the night Lucifer first appeared to him disguised as Jess. God that hurt. The memory of Jess’s caresses mixes now in his mind with the lurid looks that Lucifer gave him in that museum room and his stomach churns, polluting the one clean thing he’s ever had in life with that abomination.
Lucifer telling him with that tender voice that Sam is his vessel. Desperation searing Sam’s very soul. He calls his brother’s phone, instinctively reaching for his lifeline, so scared he fears he won’t be able to form words. Dean’s voice is cranky, tired. Panic as Sam describes the situation. Final, concrete confirmation of every dread he’s ever had – he’s destined to become the Destroyer of all humanity.
Dean is uncharacteristically calm. Resigned. Even cold. Dean had expected this perhaps, Sam thinks now. Monster. Freak. Wasn’t quite that much of a shock. Sam begs his brother that night. I want back in. I want a chance at redemption. Please. But Dean has always spoken the truth no matter how much it hurts. We're not stronger when we're together, Sam. I think we're weaker. Because whatever we have between us — love, family, whatever it is — they are always gonna use it against us.
Sam has never been completely sure why Dean changed his mind. He was told about Zach’s future trip but the details are sketchy. Knows that when Dean called back Sam nearly literally resumed breathing. And now, he’s more scared than he can begin to face. But nothing proves the validity of Dean’s fateful words better than the events of today. Because Dean can’t let his brother go even to save the world. So Sam knows what he has to do.
It’s quiet in the dark night on the black road. Sam turns to Dean, ignoring the physical hurt. Remembers the thousands of miles in the Impala with his brother behind the wheel. Snarking and whining and singing and driving Sam crazy. A sweet kind of madness. Never quiet. All of this happened to someone else. He knows he isn’t the same person any longer. Studies his brother a moment longer. Doesn’t have a clue what Dean’s thinking.
Dean turns to him, alarmed, “You okay? It’s not bleeding again, is it?”
“No. I’m fine. I … Let’s pull over a moment, okay?”
He senses Dean’s anxious concern as he steers onto the shoulder. “Need a painkiller?” Dean asks.
Dammit, as if this wasn’t impossible enough. Stop looking at me like that, he wants to shout at his brother. Stop freaking caring so damn much. Sam shuts his eyes a moment and shoves it all back down.
“Dean. I’m fine. It’s not … that. I want us to talk.”
His brother turns in the seat to face him. “Okay,” he says.
The concern in Dean’s face has shifted to wariness.
“You were right.”
Dean is surprised, then smirks. “I’m right about lots of things, Sam. You need to be a bit more specific. But if this is about apologizing for running off half cocked. Don’t bother. And if you ever do it again I’m gonna kill you.” Dean’s quiet a second, grins reluctantly. “Although you did take out the fucking Cerberus, dude. That was kinda awesome.”
Sam is disarmed by this compliment. It brings such a wave of pleasure that for a moment he wavers from his intent. You’re my weakness Sammy. And I’m yours. No. It has to go this way. It is the world’s Dean’s only chance.
Bracing himself, Sam continues, voice flat, “I’m not apologizing, Dean.”
Dean’s face immediately chills.
“I mean you were right weeks ago, when you said we were better off apart. I … I’m leaving Dean. I’m not hunting with you any longer. We can’t be together because Lucifer plays us every time. That’s how he wins, Dean. And … He. Can’t. Win.”
Dean responds instantly. “You’re wrong. He wins by playing us against each other. He wins by your listening to him.”
This isn’t the argument he has been expecting and his temper flares. “I’m not doing this because Lucifer told me to!” This is what his brother thinks? That he is already Lucifer’s puppet?
“No. Dean. You said it yourself … whatever … whatever is left between us it’s not worth … We could have ended this Dean. Today. But you couldn’t …”
Dean explodes. “Shove you into Hell?! I know that’s what you wanted me to do. Send you and Lucifer both. And I couldn’t…” The anger vanishes with Dean’s next words, his voice is like sandpaper. “I’ve been there. I was there for 40 years.” Sam can barely stand to hear what Dean says next. “It’s worse than dying … it’s worse than … I told you what they did to me … and what I became … the things I did.”
Broken silence and then Dean’s anger is back as a shield. “Is that what you want? Finish what Azazel started and go full out demon?! Not Lucifer’s vessel but his loyal asswipe. Because that’s what would have happened if I’d let you go!”
Sam reacts in anger without thinking. “You think it’s not possible I can hold out? Dad did. Dad did for a hundred years! You told me what Alastair said. I’m not you, Dean. I might have …”
Sam’s gone too far. He knows this even before the last words are uttered but it is too late because his brother flinches like a dog battered by a cruel master. Only it’s worse because his little brother wielded the club.
Sam tries to unsay it. “Dean. I didn’t … I shouldn’t have …”
Dean swallows, breathes deeply, shakes his head and won’t look at Sam. “’S okay. You’re right. Dad … “ He runs his hands over his face and is clearly trying to compose himself. Abruptly he throws open the driver’s door and he’s out of the car and down the slight incline. He walks to the nearest tree and Sam can see, even in the dim light, that his brother is shaking. He can’t bear it. Sam looks away thinking that going to Hell can’t have hurt as much as this.
Sam doesn’t know how long he’s been sitting there, trying to keep his feelings locked away. Then Dean is back in the car, touches the key in the ignition, stops, and speaks without looking at him.
“Look, Sam, you do what you have to do … Okay? I … you’re a grown man. I can’t tell you what to do. Lucifer holds all the cards and I feel fucked no matter what I do. So hunt by yourself or find another partner or go hide in a hole. Because really, I don’t give a damn any more.”
Go to Chapter 9