Wherever Sam was, was shrouded in mist and darkness with only dim lighting around him. He could hear voices talking to him but could not make out what was being said. His entire body ached, and it felt like acid was prickling under his skin from the ordeal he was going through. He could not lay still as he tossed and turned on the small cot. Sam could feel hands on him that were different than the ones he was familiar with. He tried to process what was happening, but his mind would not cooperate and work. He could not think straight. He could not pull himself out of this dark place.
A familiar voice whispered in Sam’s ear and he turned toward it for comfort. He felt his head being lifted and something put to his lips. When he felt a cold liquid in his mouth, Sam automatically swallowed letting it coat his raw throat. There was something with that first sip that seemed to satisfy some small longing and need in him. Sam grappled for the bottle wanting more and felt a hand pull his away but was glad that more of the drink was given to him. He worked on swallowing every bit of it, not wanting to waste a drop.
Sam’s body did not feel like his own as he felt his legs being moved around and something being done to them that he couldn’t control. He tried to pull away but suddenly found he could not move them but a few inches. Before he could make sense of it, his hands were caught, and he could not get loose. Within moments, he could not move his arms either and he started to panic until that voice was back saying, ‘I got ya Sammy,’ making him calm. Those four words broke through some of the fog and Sam knew he was safe. His mind shut down and the darkness send him into a black abyss.
Sam did not know how long he had been gone when someone called to him.
“Sam! Sam! Wake up!” an angry female voice broke through his darkness.
Sam stirred and tried to lift his hand to wipe his eyes but could not get it to his face. He pulled on the handcuffs holding his wrists and frowned when he raised his head to see them fastened to the cot. A chill swept over him and he breathed out seeing his breath in the air above him. He blinked hard trying to clear his blurry vision so he could see and saw someone standing in front of him.
“Ruby?” Sam asked with surprise and shock. “How are you here?”
“Because I’m dead Sam. It’s all because of you and your neediness,” she spat at him as she walked by the cot glaring at him.
“I don’t understand,” Sam asked confused with her words.
“Demons found out I was trying to help you. I was training you to kill Lilith and they were mad, really mad,” she laughed sarcastically. “The things they did to me…”
“Ruby, I’m sorry,” Sam pleaded with her. “I would have protected you. If I had known….”
“Protected me?” she sneered. “How? You’re too powerless, look at you now? So useless and pitiful. How could I have thought you would ever be strong enough to do what needed to be done? You should just kill yourself and rid the world of your useless, wretched soul.”
“No, no…” Sam cried out jerking on the cuffs as he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to get away from her harsh words. He opened his eyes and looked around the room but did not see Ruby anymore. “Ruby?” he whined knowing now why she never called him back; she was dead. His mind froze when he realized what that meant. There would be no more demon blood to make him stronger and enhance his powers. He sobbed softly as tears leaked from the corners of his eyes and down his neck since he could not wipe them away. “Dean…” he gasped out as loud as he could. His voice was hoarse, weak, and rough as he tried again, but still did not get a response. Sam’s breath hitched as he sobbed out loud again.
“How could you?” a young male voice asked from the corner of the room.
“Who’s there?” Sam said jerking his head to the side and raising it trying to see. He was shocked when he saw someone who looked like a younger version of himself sitting on the floor.
“The answer is yes, I am a hallucination. It’s me or I mean you.”
“I must be going crazy. What do you want?”
“To know the reason why Sam. You remember how hard we worked to make something of ourselves. We got a full scholarship to Stanford for Christ sake. We got out of the life, away from Dad and Dean, and we were going to become a lawyer. Now look at us. You’ve thrown it all away for what? Another hit of demon blood?” a young Sam asked as he stood up. He walked toward adult Sam and looked at him with pity and disgust. “What must your brother think and Bobby? You’re a junkie, an addict. You’ve thrown our life away for what? Was the high off the blood so exciting that you couldn’t stop or was it you didn’t want to stop? You were drunk with the power you felt. Did you ever think about what it was turning you into?”
“I tried,” Sam cried. “I tried to be normal and have a life…I never asked for any of this…They killed Jess, sent Dean to Hell…I wanted to stop them…” His cries got louder and more heart wrenching so that they echoed through the open doorway, up the stairs, and into the kitchen.
Dean nodded his thanks to Bobby as he sat a cup of coffee laced with whiskey in front of him. He wrapped his cold hands around the hot cup and raised it to his lips to sip it. He let the slightly bitter taste wash over his taste buds feeling it warm his insides. Dean cringed when he heard Sam’s cries from the open basement door and bowed his head as they slowly died away.
“Am I doing the right thing Bobby?” Dean asked in a dull voice. He rubbed his temple hoping to ease the annoying ache still in his head. He had become more accustomed to the constant discomfort from the multiple sigils and wardings everywhere at Bobby’s house, but the annoying buzzing feeling was nerve wracking. It was a constant reminder that he was different now.
“You’re doing what you think’s best Dean.”
“Am I killing him? Am I killing my brother?”
“Sam is strong, he’ll fight this and get through this. If anyone can do it, that boy can.”
Dean blinked the tears from his eyes and kept his eyes downcast so Bobby would not see. Every noise from the basement cut deep into his heart and soul, making him cringe.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on with Sam? What happened to him after he left here?” Bobby asked.
“Sammy was in a dark place after I died. He told me he couldn’t stay here, there were too many memories for him to handle. I think he was drunk the first few weeks from what he said. He tried to make deals with any crossroads demon that would show up. He wanted to trade places with me…” Dean whispered as his voice cracked with emotion. He sipped another swallow of coffee before he could go on. “I would never have accepted that Bobby and if I had to do it again…Well, I would save my brother. Whatever it took.” Dean stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing. “When I found Sam, he was with a woman, well, a demon named Ruby. Sammy said she showed up one day and offered to help him. She promised him she would lead him to Lilith so he could get his revenge and kill her. Sam has powers and he learned to pull the demon souls out of the people they possessed. What was good about it, according to Sam, the human host usually survived the ordeal, if their body wasn’t already destroyed by the demon. That bitch was feeding Sam her blood and got him addicted to it. I think she was manipulating him for some reason. Sammy is detoxing from demon blood, that’s why he’s so sick. Damn Bobby, I don’t know how to help him.”
“Her blood! What the hell?” Bobby shuttered, finally taking a couple of deep breaths, and calming to reassure his other boy. “Dean, you’re doing all you can for him. There’s nothing in the lore I’ve ever read that talks about this. We’re moving in new territory here. All you can do is let him know you’re there for him and not to give up,” Bobby told him. “Balls! If Sam had only come back here or called me…”
“He’s a Winchester, you know how stubborn we are. I guess he thought he could do this on his own.”
“What about this demon named Ruby? Do we need to worry about her coming around looking for Sam?”
“Nope,” Dean stated with certainty. “That reminds me, I’ll be right back.” Dean got up and went to his bag that was still sitting by the stairs to the second floor and found the knife he had been given. He went back into the kitchen and handed the knife to Bobby. “Crowley gave this to me with the other things when he got me out of Hell.”
Bobby took the sheath and pulled the knife from it and turned it over in his hand, studying it carefully. He looked at the sigils and ancient words etched into the blade and wonder what it was made from.
“It killed a demon,” Dean offered.
“You don’t say? Well, then this is something good to have around. You take good care of it.” He put it back in the sheath and handed it back to Dean.
“Believe me I will. It’s one more weapon we have against the supernatural. I’m hoping if it can kill demons, maybe it can kill other monsters too.” Dean winced and shuttered for a moment, breathing through the sudden ripple of pain that coursed through him.
“Guess if you’re going to be staying here, we should figure out a way to make it less painful for you,” Bobby offered seeing the pinched look on Dean’s face for a moment.
“I’ll be okay, panic room’s the worst. If I don’t stay down there too long, and avoid the devil’s traps, I can make do.”
“Have you had anything to eat? You still eat, don’t you?”
“No, and yeah I do.”
“I’ve got some leftovers I can heat up for ya or I can run into town and pick something up.”
“Do you have any soups or something light for Sammy when he’s able to eat?”
“Why don’t I make a supply run and pick up a few things and I’ll bring dinner back for us?”
“Yeah, that’d probably be a good idea. Take this and stock up,” Dean said pulling out his wallet and holding out the demon credit card. “It’s on the demon who got me out of Hell, Crowley, get whatever you want. Maybe enough for a couple of weeks. I don’t know how long this is going to take and Sammy’s not going to be in any shape to travel once he’s detoxed.”
“Alright, anything specific you want?”
“Gatorade, soups, some fresh fruit and yogurts. Oh, and pick up a couple bags of beef jerky.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can. You should probably stay out of the panic room until I get back.”
“Okay.” Dean glanced at the basement door and every cell in his body was telling him to go to his brother even if he could not do anything to help him.
Bobby grabbed his coat and headed for the door to go into town and get the shopping done. He hoped Dean heeded his words and stayed out of the panic room.
Sam opened his eyes and looked around to see his younger self was gone. He looked back toward the doorway and saw Dean standing in the doorway.
“Dean, why the cuffs?” Sam asked him, shaking his arms.
“Had to Sammy, you were flaying around so bad we thought you’d hurt yourself.” Dean stepped into the room and around the cot staring at Sam. “Tell me Sam, why did you do this to yourself?”
“It was the only way.”
“Way to what? Kill Lilith? Get your revenge?”
“But I’m back now and you don’t have to continue and yet you kept trying to call Ruby, your demon bitch, to juice up. No, I think there’s another reason.”
“You’re wrong Dean.”
“Am I? Doesn’t it make you feel strong, invincible, able to take on the world. All your life you’ve felt different, not able to fit in, am I right?”
“Stop,” Sam begged.
“What’s wrong, am I hitting a little too close to home? You were a lonely child with a weird family and all you wanted was to be normal.”
“Now I see you for what you really are Sam. You’re weak and pathetic, sucking down that poison making yourself less human. I tried so hard to pretend you were my brother and that you weren’t one of the filthy things we hunted. You’re nothing to me.”
“No! No! Don’t say that!” Sam screamed. “Don’t say that to me!”
“Sammy, hey man it’s okay,” Dean said from the doorway. He stepped into the room and pushed back the pain it caused so he could kneel by Sam and take his hand. “I’m here Sammy. It’s going to be okay.”
“Dean…” Sam wept trying to see him through his blurry vision. “I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay bro. How ‘bout a little more soda? Maybe it’ll make you feel better,” Dean offered moving around to the cot to the table to get the soda. He reached an arm into the devil’s trap and snagged the chair, dragging it back to the door and Sam. He felt weak and lightheaded, but was not going to leave Sam. “Here you go, sip on this Sammy. You need to stay hydrated.” Dean helped Sam lift his head and held the bottle to his lips so he could drink.
Sam could not get the conversation with the fake Dean out of his head as he looked up at the real Dean. He could see the pinched look on his face and did not know what was causing it. Sam was not thinking straight, or he would have realized the panic room with all the sigils and warding were affecting Dean since he was part demon now. His mind was playing tricks on him and he wondered if this was real.
“Is it really you?” Sam asked when Dean took the bottle away for a moment. “Are you real?”
“Yeah Sammy, I’m real and I’ll be here with you to help you through this. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Can I have another swallow?”
“Sure Sammy, drink the rest.” Dean put the bottle back to his lips and let him finish the drink. “Try and rest, I’ll stay with you.” He cupped Sam’s cheek for a moment before rubbing a hand up and down his arm. His discomforts were pushed to the side as he ministered to his brother. He needed him and Dean was not going to let him down.
Sam looked up at Dean and could not help the tears that dripped down his face. That was not Dean he had seen before taunting him, it was not real. It was all in his mind. The real Dean said he would stay and was beside him. He could feel his warm touch where his hand lay on his arm. Sam closed his eyes and focused on his brother’s touch and let that comfort him and give him hope he could survive this ordeal.
A/N: Dean’s not leaving his brother, no matter how bad the pain is to him. He is going to get him through this ordeal. Now that Bobby knows everything, he’s going to try and help too. We are coming to the end of this story, but it will continue. Reviews make my day. NC