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. 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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OW! Sam’s hip slams against the hard edge of a wooden table that wasn’t there a moment ago. He sees Cas, a questioning look on his face. Sam reflexively rubs the ache while his eyes search Bobby’s chaotic living room. Dean? Oh God. His chest tightens. Castiel’s face becomes almost unbearably sad.
Before either can say anything, Bobby wheels in from the kitchen but stops at the sight of Sam.
“Jesus, Sam, where in the hell did you come from?”
“Bobby … Where’s … did you see Dean?”
Bobby looks at Sam oddly. “How did you get here?”
“Forget me. Bobby, where’s Dean?”
“He’s not here.”
Sam buckles against the table. Gabriel, no. Don’t do this. Please.
Sam shuts his eyes he can breathe again and murmurs thanks before turning around to see Dean enter Bobby’s front door holding a paper pharmacy bag and a wooden cane. Sam is at Dean’s side in two steps and his hand is squeezing Dean’s shoulder. Dean is holding the bag and the cane and it’s all he can do to keep standing. Sam steps back.
“What do you remember?”
Sam reads the answer in Dean’s eyes before his brother murmurs quietly, “Everything.”
Now Cas is touching Dean’s arm as well, stoic expression unable to hide the angel’s need to assure himself that Dean is really there. Sam moves away giving them a moment. It’s very new, this sharing, and will take getting used to … but Cas gives Dean something that Sam can’t. It hurts, but Dean needs this. And Sam will be damned if he is going to get in the way of something his brother has that is good.
You came back,” Cas says.
Dean juggles the bag and cane to one hand and puts the other on Cas’s shoulder. “Said I would.”
“Why do I feel like I came in at the end of a really long girly movie?”
They all turn to Bobby. Dean laughs.
Cas explains, “Lucifer tried to have Dean killed in the past. Kimaris sent him to Rivergrove, Oregon in 2006. Sam was infected with the Croatoan virus and was supposed to kill Dean. But they changed it.” Cas is looking at Dean with questioning eyes. “Did it happen like we … spoke about?”
Bobby eyes grow huge at this explanation. Sam’s gut twinges at the flatness of Sam was supposed to kill Dean. He doesn’t want to have to tell Bobby the rest of it … It’s too personal. Too close. Dean, with a quick look at his brother, takes over in the instinctive way he does.
“Not exactly. Details aren’t important, but I guess we … got carried away and messed up the past. Kinda made it hard for us to be alive … now. But your pal Gabriel showed up. Played twenty questions and then brought us back.”
Cas looks at Dean and then Sam. Sam knows the angel can guess what happened, can see it in the sadness emanating from the other man’s crystal blue eyes. Which suddenly are puzzled, “My brother Gabriel helped you?”
There is a touch of amazement in his voice.
“Well, we’re both here. So I guess he did,” Sam says. He can’t help but wonder what the price will be for this favor. And the answer wasn’t winning. Not losing. He understands, somewhat, how he was wrong. But still isn’t sure how Dean was right. Except as his eyes meet his brother’s he feels a familiar sense of trust. Fragile, but there, rewoven by the last several hours. The second gunshot. The image of their bodies together in blood on the floor. Wrapping Dean’s body in a shroud … again …
Not losing. Keeping what they have. Being brothers. This is what the last two years have taken from him. Surrounded by evil, lost in despair and hate. He’d forgotten what good is. Sam returns to Dean’s side and once more puts his hand on Dean’s shoulder. His brother. Cas has had him enough. It is his turn again.
Dean smiles. A real smile. Sam’s missed that for so long he’s almost forgotten how the world is better, safer, brighter, when it’s in place. How it fills his heart.
But Bobby is speaking again. No rest.
“You boys can’t stay here. Kimaris knows where you are. Might send the Hounds or worse after Dean.” Dean stays calm but Sam’s grip tightens on his shoulder.
“You’re right,” Dean tells Bobby. “Cas and I will leave as soon as we pack up.”
Dean hesitates a moment, looks at Sam and starts to take a step back. Sam can’t imagine what’s going on. There’s a funny twist to Dean’s lips.
The cane rasps on the wood floor as Dean adjusts slightly, shifting his weight. “Just wanted to know if you are coming with.”
Sam’s heart skips a beat. It hasn’t occurred to him that they wouldn’t leave together. “If … if it’s okay with you,” he says, trying for steady but settling for not quite wobbly.
“All right then,” Dean says simply. But his eyes say so much more.
Cas breaks their wordless exchange. “I must leave now.”
Dean looks down at Cas, clearly surprised.
“Best that I follow Kimaris. He thinks he’s a good tracker. I am better.”
“Keep your cell phone on.”
“Of course, Dean,” The angel pauses, turns to Sam. “Take care of him.”
Sam meets Cas’s impenetrable gaze head on. “With my life.”
Castiel returns his eyes to Dean. Tilts his head and then nods. He vanishes leaving Dean staring at the spot where he’d been.
The unexpected blare of the door bell causes everyone to start. Bobby heads to answer it motioning for Sam and Dean to stay out of sight.
He returns a moment later with a large wrapped parcel. He places it on the low coffee table and uses his Swiss Army knife to carefully remove the wrapping.
It contains an oversized, ancient looking tome. Sam takes a step closer to check it out. “What’s that Bobby?”
“Something Tamara unearthed. Will help us.”
“With what?” Dean asks, moving over to peer behind Bobby’s other shoulder.
* * *
Dean’s leg is stronger but it hurts to drive more than a short distance. He curses again that the damn Hell Hound had to hurt his driving leg but it’s done and it could have been so much worse. He looks at Sam behind the wheel and tries to find a more comfortable position.
“Just let me know when you want me to pull over,” Sam says.
Sam is more here than Dean can remember in a long time. His words flow more freely. He’s looking at Dean, not past him. They’ve argued about music. Dean smiles. The world is falling apart and he’s … happy. Go figure.
“How ‘bout next nice scenic rest spot you see. I’ll stretch it and walk a bit.”
Some miles down the road, Sam pulls the Impala into a parking spot overlooking a vista of evergreens as far as the eye can see. There’s a picnic bench but it reminds Dean too much of another not so good time and he avoids it, walks instead to the protective railing of the lookout point and leans into it to soak in the view. Dean is always impressed at how beautiful this country is. If he shuts his eyes he sees the devastation, decay, waste, in that nightmare of a future. He rejects it. Sam is at his side. Ain’t gonna happen.
Sam hands him a beer and folds his arms on the railing also looking out.
“You know, half the times we’re at these places I never even see what’s out here,” Sam says.
“Yeah. Obsessing about the end of the world will do that to you.”
Sam nods, takes a long sip. Dean shifts to take his weight off his bad leg. He notices Sam staring at him.
“I know,” Sam says.
Dean’s brows move up. “Know what?”
“Bobby said they were going to am--amputate your leg. Cas is drained of almost all his angel powers. So, he used them up healing you?”
“’S better now. What difference does it make?”
Sam shakes his head and twists his lips as if he’s trying to rid himself of a disgusting taste. “The difference is that I wasn’t there. Cas was.”
Dean feels his brother’s self recrimination. Isn’t sure what to say. It’s true. Sam wasn’t there and that had been his choice. On the other hand, the Hell Hounds might have hurt them both and Cas barely had enough juice left to just help him. Dean takes a deep breath.
“Sam. It’s not your fault. Do I wish you hadn’t walked away? Yeah. But was I glad you weren’t there when those … things appeared? Absolutely. Right then you couldn’t have been far away enough.”
“I should have been there. With you.”
“You’re here now.”
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Sam looks at him, seems like he wants to say more, but doesn’t. They both silently drink more of their beers.
“Gabriel says, I lose you.” Sam says.
Dean meets his eyes again.
“Think he means because I say yes to Lucifer? Or because you say yes to Michael? Or both?”
Dean’s eyes darken. “I think Gabriel is a little Napoleon who is making up for lack of size by pissing on anything he doesn’t understand. Which is a whole lot.”
Sam’s mouth turns up in a tiny grin as Dean continues.
“The angels – the archangels especially, are brothers who forgot what that means. Now you and I … we know a little about that ourselves. Except now I think … we’ve got our heads on straight again.”
Sam looks at him like he has a million times before. Like his little brother listening to his words as if they mean everything. There have been times that Dean’s resented this responsibility. Not now. This minute it feels like the most precious gift he’s ever been given. And it’s about time he starts giving a little of that gift back.
“Sam. You can’t lose me.”
Sam meets Dean’s eyes and swallows hard and Dean feels his throat tighten in response. “Me, neither.” Sam chokes out.
“You neither?“ Dean smiles. “That the best you can do at this oh-so-touching moment?”
“I meant –“
Dean wants to tease more but Sam’s eyes are so vulnerable. “I know what you mean, little brother.”
Sam stands there unable to speak, eyes open and wet and bare.
“Dammit, c’mere,” Dean says, tugging Sam into a hug.
Of all the hundreds of times they’ve pulled over in the middle of nowhere to talk, or confess, or rage, they have never done this. Dean’s strict upbringing squawks what is this shit? But Sam is all arms and stronger than a vise and it’s been so long since Dean’s let himself just feel.
“Thank you,” Sam murmurs.
Dean shrugs it off. That little shit runaway archangel was good for one thing, it gave him back Sammy. It’s almost enough to turn Dean religious.
“We should get moving.” Dean starts the walk back to the Impala. He hardly notices his leg.
Sam suddenly asks, “Do you miss Cas?”
Dean looks at Sam surprised. “Only been a day since we seen him.”
Sam looks away. “Never mind.”
Dean stops, causing Sam to come up short and look toward Dean’s leg with sudden concern. But there’s nothing wrong with Dean’s leg. “Sam. I only have one brother.”
His brother grins at this, the light hitting his hazel eyes, reminding Dean how beautiful they are when they are happy.
* * *
Dean’s asleep in shotgun, head leaning against his window. There’s a slight sliver of drool sliding down from the corner of his brother’s full lips and Sam is surprised at the absolute joy he gets from noticing this. He hasn’t let himself really see Dean since...
Certainly since before Dean went to Hell. All he did that year was look at Dean.
But when Dean came back Sam couldn’t let himself see him. Couldn’t face the thought of losing him all over again and so he simply shut his eyes. More, he pushed him away. Made Dean leave him. Preemptive strike. There are many kinds of hell. He knows Dean will always suffer from the one he was forced into. But Sam, too, has experienced hell. Different times, different ways. Once, a trickster took Sam to hell. He thought he’d come back but he’d been wrong. When Dean said c’mere, he was finally released.
Dean’s hug is the safest Sam remembers feeling since he was little and thought that Dean was omnipotent. With Dean at his side it seems impossible that Lucifer can ever snake his way into his mind again.
Dean snores once and his head lolls toward him. Sam smiles, wishes he had a plastic spoon. It’s good doing this, driving, letting his brother rest. Different than the extra driving he’d done right after Ellen and Jo. He thinks about what Dean confessed about how maybe he’d have been able to love Jo one day. Thinks about Cas. Now that would have made some triangle.
For all Dean’s womanizing, Sam knows that should his brother allow himself to fall in love, he’d be a one-woman man. There was that woman and her son in Indiana. He can’t even remember her name now. Dean’s good with children. Sam smiles. That’s because his brother’s a child himself in so many ways. Dean would make such a good father. Thinking of Dean as a dad, of himself as the cool uncle who tells the embarrassing stories that make Dean squirm, fills him with the closest thing to hope he can muster.
But then reality shoots down the dream. What stories? The Wendigo in Colorado? The racist ghost truck that nearly pulverized his brother? The time Uncle Sam was possessed by a demon and killed a man in cold blood?
They will never have normal lives. He knows this. It’s just hard to love his brother as much as he loves Dean and not wish … The contract. Sam didn’t get more than a couple of looks into the text that Bobby obtained but something’s been bugging him about it since they left South Dakota. The Horseman Death lives between Hades and Earth. It moves the soul from the mortal body to wherever he’s destined to go, but it doesn’t control those destinies, that particular prerogative still belongs to Heaven. For those poor souls predestined for Hell, Death opens the door. Only Death can open Hell’s door.
Bobby declared that Dean isn’t going back to Hell. The old man really couldn’t be thinking of controlling Death, could he?