It took Sam nearly ten minutes before the dizziness and feeling of fainting passed and during that time Dean did not remove his hand from his shoulder, nor did he say anything to him. Sam felt his body trembling as he got himself under control. They sat quietly side by side until Sam slowly raised his head and straightened up, nodding he was okay.
"How 'bout we get out of this dump and find some place a little nicer with double beds?" Dean asked when he saw Sam was calming. "This place stinks. It's on me."
"Sure, I guess that's okay," Sam replied looking around at the clothes laying around the room. He carefully got up and gathered them to stuff in his duffle. His mind wandered thinking he did not have any clean clothes left and needed to find some place to do laundry. Sam got his bathroom bag and packed it on top and watched Dean pick up his computer bag to head out. Sam followed him to the Impala and pulled the keys from his pocket, holding them out ready to toss them to Dean. "Guess you'll want to drive."
"Hell yeah," Dean smiled as he snagged the keys in midair and unlocked the doors. He put Sam's bag in the back seat and went to the stolen car to get his pack. He was going to need more clothes soon, he thought.
"I…I kept your duffle in the trunk," Sam told him looking at his brother and then away.
"Thanks bro," Dean smiled to himself thinking that Sam had carried them around for five months and was glad he had. That meant he would have his own clothes to wear. Dean dropped into the driver's seat and sat there for a moment getting the feel of it again as he rubbed a hand around the steering wheel. He adjusted the seat forward a little so he could reach the pedals again. "Did you miss me, Baby?" he asked softly. "I missed you."
Sam got settled in the passenger seat and listened to Dean talking to the car. He had always had a love affair with her, but he understood why. The Impala had been their home growing up and when their Dad had given it to Dean it became his pride and joy. He had put her back together when she had been wrecked and didn't change anything about her from the green Army soldier he had rammed into the ashtray in the back, to the Legos Dean had shoved down the heat vents, to their initials that they carved onto the back shelf in back. When Dean cranked her up, he could have sworn the car purred her happiness as she settled into a steady rumble.
"We'll head for Sioux Falls and find a motel along the way. I think we should talk before getting there," Dean told Sam as he pulled from the parking lot. He headed for the interstate and figured on driving a few hours before finding a decent motel and place to get some takeout. He thought it would be better that they had this conversation alone. He turned on the radio and grimaced at the music that came from the speakers. "Oh Baby, I'm so sorry," he mumbled reaching to change the station to something more his liking.
"Okay," Sam mumbled as he looked out at the passing scenery already thinking he needed to send Ruby a text to let her know he had checked out of the motel and to let her know when they stopped. He had enough blood for a couple of days, if he rationed it, but then he would be out again. She would need to know where to find him so he could get more. He was lost in his thoughts and did not notice Dean glance at him a few times and frown slightly.
Sam had got quiet and Dean looked over at him noticing a glazed look to his eyes like he was someplace else. Dean looked back at the road when his brother's voice whispered in his mind. He did not get everything but did pick up on Ruby, text, and blood, before his voice was gone. Dean thought this was strange and wondered if what happened to him in Hell that changed him caused this to happen. Sam and he had a strong bond all their lives and knew what the other was thinking but this was different. It was more intense and connected. He filed it away to test out later, after they came to an understanding between them. Dean wanted to know why Sam was drinking demon blood and what his end game was supposed to be. He did not understand why Sam would allow himself to get messed up like this.
Dean had been driving for several hours and decided it was time to stop. He started watching the signs and saw a decent motel and restaurants about ten miles ahead to stop at. He occasionally looked sideways at Sam who had not spoken since they left the motel. He was looking out the side window so he could not tell if he was asleep or just out of it. He started changing lanes so he would be in the far right to exit ahead.
Sam was in a semi-trance as he let the steady motion of the car lull him almost to sleep. He suddenly felt the change in the motion of the car as it slowed and shook his head slightly to pull himself back to reality. He moved around and straightened up and looked out the windshield to see that Dean was getting ready to exit the interstate. Sam figured he had decided they were going to stop, and he stiffened slightly because he knew what that meant. Dean expected him to tell him about what had happened after he was dragged to Hell. Sam had his own questions that he wanted answered about Dean and knew this was a two way street.
The Impala rolled to a stop at the top of the exit ramp and Dean looked both ways, waiting for the light to change thinking he would run in and get them some food before going to the motel for a room. He turned left and drove down the road a short distance and pulled into a diner.
"I'm going to get us some food. You still like that rabbit crap?" Dean asked Sam as he pulled into a parking spot near the front of the diner.
Sam cleared his throat so he could speak. "Anything'll be fine," he replied, his voice sounding weak. The past months Sam had barely been eating and it was whatever was available, from gas station food to fast food.
"I'll be back in a few minutes and we'll head over to the motel and get a room." Dean got out of the car being sure to take the keys with him. "I expect you to be here when I get back," he continued before heading for the front doors of the diner.
Sam watched him go inside and pulled his cell out to send a text to Ruby. He let her know he had changed motels and for her to text him and he would meet her somewhere nearby. He did not tell her about Dean, just that he had some things to talk about. Now that Dean was back, his need for revenge was lessening. He still wanted to take Lilith out for what she did to Dean, but it was not top priority now. Sam quickly hid his cell when Dean came out with bags of food and a carton holding drinks. He stopped on Sam's side of the car and waited for him to open the door.
"Here you go," he said. Dean handed him the drinks and sat the bags at his feet before going around to the driver's side to get in. "I'll go in and get us a room," he told Sam as he pulled back out onto the road and drove a little further down the road. "Once we eat, we are going to talk Sammy." Dean could feel Sam tense when he said that, but he was not letting their talk wait any longer. He knew it needed to happen so they could move past the awkwardness and distrust stage.
It did not take Dean long to go into the motel office, register and get the room key. He came back out and moved the car behind the office to a parking space in front of their room. He got out and took the food bags and let Sam carry the drinks. Dean deposited the bags on a table and went back out to get their bags. Sam was opening the cartons of food and dividing them when Dean came back inside and dropped their bags on the queen size beds.
"Smells good," Dean commented when he sat down in one of the chairs at the table.
"I guess," Sam shrugged sitting a drink near Dean and opened his carton to see what he had. Dean had gotten him a grilled chicken breast, baked potato, a side salad, and a slice of pie. He found the dressing and had to admit Dean did good getting what he would usually eat. He did not look up as he mixed his salad and took a small bite. He was not that hungry when he drank the blood but felt he should eat so Dean would not question him about it. He looked over at Dean's food seeing he had a double bacon cheeseburger, steak fries and a large piece of pie. He heard Dean humming to himself as he chewed his first bite and it dawned on him this was probably the first real food he had since dying five months ago and swallowed wondering what Dean had to endure while he was in Hell.
"This is awesome," Dean said taking another big bite of his burger before sipping some iced tea marveling with the sweetness. He kept an eye on Sam, watching him move his food around and occasionally taking a bite, but he did not seem hungry. He did not know if he was trying to prolong the meal to delay their talk. He continued to eat, trying to enjoy the food, and let Sam be in his mood for now.
Sam knew he could not put it off any longer and closed the container of food he did not eat and put it in the mini fridge. Dean had already finished and threw his trash away and stepped into the bathroom to use it. Sam looked around when Dean came back out and waited to see what he did. Sam stood between the chairs and bed giving each a glance, not sure where to go.
"You want to use the bathroom before we start?" Dean asked him, noticing Sam seemed nervous.
"Yeah, sure," Sam nodded before stepping into the bathroom and closing the door. He leaned back against the door for a moment before moving to the sink and bracing against it. He looked into the mirror at his reflection and could see the doubt and uncertainty in his eyes. Sam stepped to the commode and used it, then back to the sink to wash his hands and splashed cold water on his face. He grabbed a towel to dry his face and hands knowing he had to go face his brother.
Dean had settled on one of the beds, using his pillows for support as he leaned against the headboard. He had turned off the overhead light and had on the lamp between their beds. Dean had shed his boots and clothes and put on some sweats to be comfortable. Sam saw this and went to his pack to find his own sweats to change into. He toed off his boots and undid his loose fitting jeans, letting them drop to his ankles and stepped from them. He slipped on his sweats and turned to look at Dean again. Dean had been watching Sam as he changed and saw how leaner his body seemed. When he saw Sam look at him, Dean nodded toward the other bed to let him know to have a seat.
Sam moved to his bed and pulled the pillows out to get comfortable, leaning back against the headboard.
"Alright, where do you want to start?" Dean asked once Sam was settled. "You want to ask some questions, or should I just talk? And then you can talk. But Sammy, I want you to be honest with me and I will be with you. Deal?"
Sam looked down at his clenched hands nodding yes and licked his lips as he tried to decide what to say or ask. He wanted to delay sharing his story for as long as possible. He finally let out the breath he did not know he was holding and asked.
"What happened to you Dean? I mean after you…After you died?" he asked softly, darting his eyes up to look at Dean before dropping them again.
"I woke up in Hell," Dean stated in a dull voice. "Words can't describe what I went through, so I'm not going to try. When you're in Hell, you don't need to eat or drink or sleep. Not sure why, maybe so you won't die those ways. You don't know one day to the next and there's no sunlight at all, no night or day. I never knew how much I'd miss sunlight and seeing the stars at night until…" Dean paused in talking and let his mind wander for a moment thinking of the times they had watched the stars resting on the Impala drinking beers.
"You were tortured, weren't you?" Sam asked, his voice barely audible.
"Yeah, it was torture like you could never imagine. The demons have had hundreds of years to practice after all," Dean huffs and noticed the puzzled look on Sam's face.
"Years?" Sam questioned.
"Yeah, 'cause months here on earth are like decades down there. I was shocked to see only five months had passed up here when it was like almost fifty years in Hell. I was afraid you wouldn't be alive or would be some gray haired, stooped old man. Guess it's a different time flow or something," he shrugged. "The bad thing was, they'd work you over and then when they were tired of slicing and dicing, they'd kill you. Then like magic you were alive again and put back together all shiny and new so the torture could begin again." Dean looked off into the room pausing for a moment before continuing. "It never let up, week after week, month after month, year after year…And during all that time, the screams and wails of other souls would drive you insane. After twenty years, I was offered a choice, I could get off the rack if I would start torturing the souls in Hell. Every single time I told them to stick it where the sun don't shine," he spat madly. "This went on for so many years I lost count. After a while, you know, it starts to wear you down, the endless rounds of torture and dying and coming back. It started eating at my soul, little by little and I couldn't stop it, the changing had begun…Right before I escaped…I was losing any hope of it ever ending…Sammy, I was ready to give up…I was going do it…Torture…" Dean had to stop as his voice cracked and his throat tightened to where he couldn't speak. He looked away and swatted at a tear that trickled down his cheek.
Sam sat still as he listened to Dean talk about what he had gone through. He knew he was only telling him the basic details and horrible images of what he might have gone through flashed through his mind. He could hear the pain, anguish, and agony in his voice and fought back the sobs that were building inside of him. Sam started withdrawing in on himself because he knew all of Dean's suffering was because of him. Dean made a deal with a crossroads demon when he was killed at Cold Oak and Sam could not break the deal to stop Dean from going to Hell. The guilt and depression were beginning to weigh him down and he did not know if he could hear anymore.
Tears were already filling his eyes and he blinked them away so he could see. He could not stop the hitched sobs that were building in his throat. Dean's voice was getting strained and cracking as he stopped talking. Sam looked over at him and saw how torn up he was and how much he was struggling to keep his promise of honesty for him. He got up and went to him and wrapped his arms around Dean's body, holding him tight. At first Dean resisted his touch, but then he returned the hug, clinging to Sam as they both silently cried.
Dean was the first to pull away and wiped his face before saying, "Why don't we turn in and continue this tomorrow. Enough of the chick flick crap. I haven't slept much, at least in this body, in nearly fifty years and I'm running on empty right now."
"Yeah, okay," Sam managed to get out as he stood and moved back to his bed. He pulled the covers down and slipped between them, adjusting his pillows so he could use them. He watched his brother stand to pull the covers on his bed back but pause as he ran a hand over the soft sheets for a moment before laying down. Sam could not help it; he buried his face into his pillow to hide the sobs of his crying. His brother had sacrificed so much for him but what was he going to think when he found out what he had been doing? He listened to Dean moving around trying to get comfortable until he finally stilled. Sam had a lot to think about before tomorrow came and did not know if he would be able to sleep.
"Nite Sammy," Dean whispered softly.
"Nite Dean," Sam replied trying to keep his voice steady as he said it. He waited silently, listening to Dean's breathing even out as he went to sleep. Being careful not to make any noise, Sam slipped from the bed and grabbed his jacket before stepping into the bathroom. Sam had one more call to make and dialed a number he had not used in a long time. He listened to it ring, waiting for it to be answered.
"Hello," a gruff male voice finally answered.
"Hey Bobby, it's Sam," Sam replied in a soft, warm voice trying to be quiet.
"Sam, son, it's good to hear your voice. How have you been doing?"
"I'm okay. I've got some good news…" he started and tried to word his next sentences carefully.
"What Sam? What's going on?"
"Dean's back Bobby. He found me at the motel I was staying at. We're going to be heading your way."
There was silence at the other end of the line because Bobby was not sure he had heard right. How could Dean be back from Hell?
"I know Bobby, I was shocked too, but it is him. There are some things you need to know, but I don't want to get into it over the phone. Bobby, it was only five months for us, right?" Sam questioned wanting to be sure but did not wait for Bobby to answer. "But Dean said he was in Hell for fifty years and it was all because of me."
"Sam, you can't go blaming yerself for what Dean did. You know he did it out of love and desperation to save you. You just watch yerself son. If he were gone that long…Well, I don't know…That would change anyone, even your brother."
"Yeah, gotta go, I don't want Dean to know I called. I'll call you later," Sam said quickly disconnecting the call and cracking the door to check that Dean was still asleep. He eased from the room and slipped back into bed, not knowing Dean had heard him get up and knew he made a call. Sam got comfortable and forced himself to rest knowing morning would be here soon.
A/N: The brothers are back together, and their stories are being told. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Reviews do make my day. NC