Rating: Gen, PG-13.
Warnings: Canon character death. Language.
Author’s Notes: 5,399 words. Very incidental Dean/OFC. Spoilers to end of Season three. With thanks to my betas who I won’t name lest it give me away. Please do be warned about the canon character death. Title from a quote by Vincent Van Gogh. This is for the prompt “John is alive and helping with the demon war". I took a twist on this and I hope montisello is okay with that.
Summary: AU. Sam is desperate to save Dean; he finds himself in a world where Dad is alive and with them. Sam feels that something is wrong, but what?
Choices slipped through his fingers, opportunities to bring Dean back dropping away like sand. Sam scrabbled for purchase, hands sliding and grasping at whatever scenario he could – no matter how outrageous.
The Trickster grinned at the sight of the gun, scoffed at the sight of the knife. “You don’t listen to a word I say."
“Alter it." The words slammed out of Sam. He punctuated each one with a jab of the blade.
“Exactly what do you want changing?"
“I want Dean back. I want him alive." Sam pushed the vision of bloody, broken Dean to the back of his mind. He would succeed. He wouldn't leave until he did. He wouldn't allow the Trickster to deceive him and have this happen again. “I want it so the deal never happened."
“What if that leaves you dead?" A raised eyebrow, a sparking of interest. The Trickster moved toward Sam with a sure gait that managed to be both smug and condescending.
“Then so be it." Sam met the Trickster's gaze. He was dead inside anyway; at least that would put fate back to how it was meant to be.
“It’s a reset. No memory of this. No going back."
Sam hardly finished his nod okay before he started to fall. No, the world started to tilt in front of his eyes, whirling away from him, floor moving up at dizzying speed, the sky falling in toward him. His body felt like it was being ripped in a million different directions, his head foggy, his stomach lurching, his feet wobbling.
A sense of foreboding in his gut, it felt wrong, it was -
Sam swung the bag as he walked and let its weight seesaw his arm back and forth. His shadow was stretched out ahead of him, elongated legs matching his stride and long arms blurring with movement. It reminded him of the stick men he used to draw as a child.
The car was not entirely parked in the shade of the tree. Sam touched the hood as he passed and it burned the tips of his fingers. The sun’s rays felt heavy on his shoulders, and Sam picked up speed toward the apartment.
Two sets of eyes were on him before he had a toe through the door, Dean and Dad, examining him. He could see the ghost of their fear still haunting them, deep in their eyes. Every time they looked at him he knew they saw him dead, or nearly dead. They saw Dad not quite making it in time or missing his shot. They kept seeing Jake poised to stab Sam too clearly in their minds for that risk not to still feel real. The shadow of what could have been.
Dean recovered first and quickly returned his attention to his gun, sliding the last piece out and laying it down next to the rest of the assorted weapons. The gun cleaning – Dean might as well have been boarding up windows, stockpiling bottled water and canned goods. Preparing for the oncoming storm.
Sam supposed it gave him something to do.
Dad set down the newspaper he was reading and took the bag out of Sam’s hands. Sam noticed a couple of clipped out articles, possible jobs. Sam hoped they weren’t a wild goose chase like the last two.
Dad started preparing lasagne in the kitchen. It was odd that the quiet brought out more of a jumpy side in Dad than when the shit was well and truly going down. Where are they all? Sam wanted to ask, but he knew none of them had the answer.
“Gun cleaning again, Dean?"
“May as well be ready."
“May as well," Sam repeated. Ready. On Edge. Waiting. They might stay that way the rest of their lives, waiting for the demons to reappear. The question none of them dared ask was: what if they really have all gone?
What if Dad hadn’t given up the Colt to save Dean? What if Yellow Eyes had wanted more than just the Colt? What if Dad hadn’t come back and shot Jake just in time?
Sam only asked the questions in the dead of night, when the sky was devoid of light and his surroundings devoid of sound. He let the questions fill him up until he couldn’t breathe.
Then dawn broke, and Sam would see Dean shifting in his bed and hear Dad rustling in the kitchen and the questions would cease.
He was just being paranoid. No sense worrying about what never happened.
Dad’s cell interrupted the post-breakfast quiet; Sam glanced up from superfluous research into cattle mutilation in time to see Dad’s face change and his body tense. Dad took the rest of the call outside the door. It was brief and carried out entirely in quiet tones that Sam couldn’t make into words. Sam met Dean’s questioning glance with raised eyebrows of his own.
Dad came back in, and didn’t lift his eyes toward either of them as he padded his way to his room. Sam heard the rustle of clothes then the unmistakable zip of a bag.
“We all on the move?" Dean called out in a forced, overly-casual voice. He pushed aside the box of ammo he’d been inspecting, even though Sam had seen him check it the day before.
“No. That was a possible job. One man deal. I’ll go." Dad’s words were accompanied by the rustling of more clothes. “I’ll be back in a couple of days." Dad entered the room, and slung the bag onto the table.
“Yeah right." The whisper came out louder than Sam intended. It was unkind, he knew, because Dad had returned when Dean called, hadn’t he? He’d come back to save Sam.
He’d come back to kill Yellow Eyes, only Dean had beaten him to it.
This was what Sam had been waiting for: not for Yellow Eyes to reappear, or for another, worse demon in his place, but for Dad to leave. He left after Meg, he left after the crash; it stood to reason he’d leave again. This was the first step.
Dean’s eyes begged Sam not to continue this, to let it go, but Sam pretended not to understand what they were saying.
“Let us come with you," Sam said. He struggled to keep a lid on the temper that threatened to boil over.
“Why? We should stick together. This quiet – we all know it's wrong. Yellow Eyes is gone, but the rest of ‘em-“ Sam knocked his chair over as he stood up. The crash halted his speech and they all waited for the sound to die away. “The rest of them must be around. It’s not right. We all know it." Sam gazed at the ammo, kept close by Dean’s hand. He pointedly stared at the discarded clippings on the table.
“Fine." The syllable was defiant; it sounded like an opening salvo.
In that point of the journey when they were chasing Dad down a long, straight road, when Dean was silent and lost in the thrill of how his car handled, Sam noticed the sharp twist in his gut.
It was a pain he’d been ignoring, or perhaps trying to ignore. It pierced him now-- and with it a wave of nausea-- as fear gripped him, ice cold spreading from gut to his chest. Freezing his heart.
There was something to be scared of. Sam was missing a key fact, he wasn't seeing a hidden danger that was just out of reach.
Sam turned, and saw Dean's face, relaxed in a smile, eyes gleaming with pleasure at the drive.
What had he just been so anxious about? He forced his heart rate to slow, steady. Always had been a worry wart.
“Booby-trapped storage unit," Dean said with relish. “Wonder how long the Old Man’s had that."
“I wonder what it’s for," Sam said. The both kept their eyes trained on the door, waiting for Dad’s return.
A hand appeared, a hooked finger indicating for them to come in.
Sam wasn’t sure what he expected: a weapons cache he didn’t know about, maybe some stored books.
He picked his way past a motorcycle, met Dean’s puzzled gaze over several stuffed birds, caught Dad giving a long glance at a piano, and stopped in front of his own trophy. It all felt unsettling, because it was familiar to him, though Sam knew they’d never been here before. As if it had appeared in his dreams, but Sam didn’t have those any more.
As if Dad had mentioned it, but Sam was certain he never had.
“It’s my soccer trophy. You kept my soccer trophy?" Sam picked it up and fondled it. He remembered Dad telling him he had to leave it behind, that there wasn’t any room for keepsakes. Dad didn’t answer.
“My gun!" Sam turned in time to see Dean brandishing it in front of him. Dean’s eyes were lit with wonder and amusement. He kept hold of it as he made his way toward Dad. Dad was standing in front of a row of boxes. “My first sawed-off?"
This time a smile did pick at Dad’s lips. “Yeah." He nodded his head toward the row of boxes and asked in his most business-like voice, “’You know what they are?"
“Curse boxes?" Sam said, dodging a vigorous wave of Dean’s gun. “Quit it." He batted it away with a smile. Dean put it down nearby, and turned his attention to business.
“Has one gotten out?" Dean asked.
“Something like that," Dad said.
Dad soon retrieved the rabbit's foot, cursing con artists who thought they could pull one over on him, a girl he'd heard Bobby mention before, apparently.
“A girl?" Dean asked, eyes lit up. Dad merely grimaced.
Sam put his worries aside, put a blanket over them and pretended they weren't there. He asked Dad about all the items in the storage room and gradually Dad gave him answers. Sam learned the piano was Mom’s, that she used to play it to Dean when he was a baby. He learned the motorcycle was Dad’s and that he used to pick up Mom for dates on it, although her parents nearly didn't let her leave the house. Sam learned the birds had been haunted, that Dean’s fifth grade science project was in there somewhere, along with some baby clothes of Sam’s.
He learned that Dad had not only cared, but had wanted to hold onto their memories, more than Sam had ever given him credit for.
Sam woke with a start, his heart pounding, knowing that whatever he’d been dreaming, it was important. He remembered the barking of dogs. The fast flicking of the pages of a calendar, heavy red crosses marking a countdown. A blonde woman, features indistinct, but not Mary or Jess.
Then rising panic and Sam running for…
Details of the dream slipped away with every passing heavy, panting breath. Sam dug his fingers into the mattress, braced his toes against the bar at the bottom of the bed.
He remembered nothing.
He glanced at the neon light of the clock and with blurry eyes thought it read 36:111. He blinked.
06:11 blinked back at him.
Life was happening outside his door. His family were talking, arguing about pancakes versus waffles, about whose turn it was to make the coffee.
Dean won or Dad gave in, Sam couldn’t tell.
Some crazed hunter was apparently after Sam and Dean and Dad went into lock down mode. Sam felt seven years old again, there to be protected and kept safe, but never consulted or included. Dean and Dad had a conversation right around him.
Worst of it was, he felt they were right. Gordon needed to be dealt with. Perhaps this was the fear haunting his nightmares. Perhaps this was the nagging voice whispering too quietly to be heard in his ear.
“You two, stay here. No opening the door." Dad spoke it as if they were little children.
“I want to come with, if-“
The argument died on Sam’s lips. He looked to Dean for aid, but Dean was keeping his eyes resolutely on Dad. Dean would always agree with Dad.
“If it’s me he’s after…"
“Then it’s you that needs to stay here," Dad said firmly, moving to the door and tapping the lock. “Lock it behind me."
Sam bit back a sarcastic reply. Dean strode over to the door and slid the lock shut.
“We’re right to stay here. Before you go getting all ‘Dad doesn’t include us’ sulky on me." Dean moved a chair to right by the door and sat down on it, back-to-front.
“We should fight," Sam said.
Dean’s pulled face said he didn’t agree, that he was following orders and falling into line. That when it came to the line of command, Dean was happy with how it stood.
Tension grew, fed by anxiety and exhaustion and fear, until it took up all the space in the room. They couldn’t survive all this and lose Dad to Gordon. Sam would rather die than that happen. Dad should have let them have his back.
Dad returned with a gruff, “it’s done," and an order for them to move on.
The tension in Dean dissipated; Sam watched his body relax, his face crease into a smile. One more What If avoided.
Sam remained on edge the entire car journey. He still felt as if he had a bullseye on him, only one he couldn’t see. He felt the gleaming red of a laser sight targeting his shoulder as surely as if it were there.
“Bobby suggested we question a couple of demons and I agree," Dad said into the silence of waiting for their food.
“If you want to play twenty questions, I’ll go first." Dean grinned at the waitress when she placed their pies on the table.
Dean’s smile wilted under Dad’s glare, a plant drooping for lack of sun. “The quiet isn’t right. Just ‘cause we took out one demon-“ Dad stabbed the pie fiercely with his fork. “Not just any demon, I know, but still. Plenty more. Why are they so quiet? It can’t be good."
“Man, just when we could be taking a vacation, we gotta look for trouble." Dean’s smile was fake. He ate a mouthful of pie, swallowed it too quickly. “Too much quiet freaks me out."
Dad nodded. “Something’s up. We can’t be caught by surprise."
Sam pushed his pie away from him, nauseated. The truth behind his constant fear was there, just out his reach, dancing away every time he tried to pin it down.
Perhaps he was just antsy, too.
The waitress slid their bill onto the table with a wink at Dean. She had circled the price – 36.11 - and scrawled “Lily" then her phone number right underneath it, in neat, round handwriting. The circle on the I of her name had a smile in it.
“Seems a lot for three pies," Sam said.
Dad merely threw down two twenty's and let Dean pocket the number.
Steam hissed off the demon; he screamed and writhed, tugging his arms so hard the wood of the chair splintered with the pressure. Dad tossed more water on, pouring it directly over the demon's head and watching the demon twist in agony. Sam stepped forward; his shoulder pressed close to Dean’s as they watched Dad work.
Torturing for information. It was a good call, Sam had to admit, even if it had taken them several weeks to find a demon to ask. They were hiding well, hunkering down in small towns with no names or large cities with too many people to keep track of.
“Tell me what’s happening."
“You Winchesters. Bitch when we kill people. Bitch when we take a vacation. No pleasing you is there?" The demon didn’t take his eyes off Dad when he spoke, but Dad didn’t blink. He placed his arms either side of the demon, inches away from the bound hands.
“We know something is going on. You’ll tell us exactly what." Dad’s nose was almost touching the demon's. He stood up suddenly, crossed his arms.
Sam started to recite the exorcism; when the demon thrashed, Dean threw more water on and they all listened to the demon's shrieks impassively. Dad leaned in again.
“I hear Hell’s nice this time of year."
“It’s not worth it. She wants him too bad. It’s not worth my while. Not worth my while to get in her way or to interfere."
“Who? Who wants…."
Sam felt his name fill the gap; it had to be him. It was a successor to Yellow Eyes, ready and waiting.
“If you'd opened Hell, he'd have followers, she'd have competition. As it is...send me to Hell, it’s better than what punishment she’ll give me."
The demon refused to give any more information; they’d learned little that they didn’t already know. Something was up. That, Sam would have placed money on already.
It merely confirmed that the bullseye Sam felt on him was a real one. It should have been a relief, but no. It was like the plot of an old movie; if only he could remember one detail, the entire story would come flooding back. In the meantime, Sam could barely remember the title.
It was a pity, because Sam was certain it was a movie all about him.
An uneasy evening followed. Dad spent hours on his cell to Bobby, discussing books he wanted to borrow, asking about rituals that might help them, that might lead them to more information.
Sam tried to research on the laptop but had no idea what to look for.
I think something is after me.
The world is against me.
Aliens are coming to take me away.
He entered in one search term after another until his fingers started to seize up.
Dean cleaned his gun, then Sam’s gun. Dad nodded his assent for Dean to do his. Dean started on his own again.
Dad slammed his phone shut. “Go out for a couple of hours, both of you."
“You’re dismissing us?" Sam tried not to shout, but his temper was set on boil. “If this demon is after anyone, it’s likely to be me, and-“
“We don’t know who she’s after. Or what she is. Or even if it’s true. Bobby’s got nothing." Dad’s voice went soft; Sam felt his body relax in reaction to it. “We’re all on edge and that doesn’t do a hunt any good. I’m going to sleep for two hours, then start again. You two do what you like with that time." Dad stood up, stretched. “Work if you want." His gazed fixed on Sam. “You’re no good to me if you’re too tired to think."
Sam’s eyes fell on his keys. He must have rested too hard on them, for the search term read, “Enemies Azazel 11111111111111111111".
More amazing was that it had come up with thirty something results.
He nodded his agreement, grinned as he heard Dean on his cell, “Can I speak to Lily? Hey. Wanna grab a drink with me, Lil?"
Sam reached for his pad as soon as he woke, scribbled down anything he could remember.
Hounds, barking – Hell? I’m crying. Dean isn’t there. A suburban house. A child’s room. A clock that says midnight.
He went back and underlined, Hell.
Dad was sat over his books already, dark circles under his eyes indicating he didn't get much sleep.
“What time is it?"
Sam glanced around. He'd been asleep four hours. Dean clearly wasn't back yet. “No Dean?"
Dad's lips quirked. “I guess he's having a good time."
Sam nodded. They'd been given two hours; it wasn't like Dean to be late. Maybe he figured Dad wouldn't mind. He was probably on his way.
Sam settled into researching enemies of Azazel, throwing in searching about hellhounds and the significance of midnight. He came up with a million different results. He rubbed his eyes blearily, realized that without Dean to fetch it, he hadn't drunk the necessary coffee to keep him going, and looked up.
Dad was watching him. He glanced away quickly, but Sam caught a flash of worry before he did.
“You think she's after me," Sam said quietly.
Dad put down the book he was reading. “We don't know that. Could be a demon I've pissed off, could be Dean has; could be killing Yellow Eyes has brought all of us to some demon's attention."
“It's likely it's me though. They know one of Azazel's Special Kids--," Sam spat the “special" out with as much of a sneer as he could manage “--is still around, and they most likely want me."
Dad gave a nod. “It's a theory, yes."
“The quiet. She heard Yellow Eyes was dead and gave orders for the other demons to lie low. She's been plotting. Whatever it is-"
“-it's big. Yes." Dad picked up his book again. “We look into it like any other case, Sam. It's the only way."
“I wish Dean were back," Sam muttered, getting up and going to get coffee.
He felt Dad's gaze on his back. “Easier then." Dad's voice was quiet.
“We just-," Sam said. He twisted around, leaned against the kitchen counter.
“I wish we wouldn't." Dad forgot his book again. “I wish-" He frowned and checked his watch. “It's nine. Dean should be back."
“You wanna call him while he's out getting laid?" Sam teased.
The teasing faded as a flood of worry raced through him from his toes. He ran into the other room, picked up his pad.
The words that should have been underlined were, Dean isn't there.
“Call him. Now." Sam choked out.
The diner gave them Lily's address, but she wasn't at home. There was no sign anyone had been there all night, only a carefully made bed and the remains of yesterday's breakfast still set out on the table.
The Impala was parked outside, mocking them for their obliviousness.
The car told them that wherever he was, he'd been forced to go.
Sam met Dad back at the motel, met his desperate, tense look with his own. “No Dean."
“I found nothing. They're out of the area. I called Bobby, he's calling around, seeing if anyone's seen Dean." Dad banged the top of his truck. “Dammit! We knew she was after one of us. We shouldn't have been – I shouldn't have let us take our guard down-"
“It's not your fault Dad. We didn't know she was that close. We couldn't live on edge all the time. We didn't know anything was any different to how it has been."
Dad didn't seem to hear Sam's words. “Maybe Missouri can sense him."
They sat in Dad's truck, too impatient to move inside. Sam studied Dad's face closely as he hit dial.
“Missouri? It's John Winchester, it's... yes, Dean. Can you see him? Okay..." Dad's face darkened as Missouri spoke. “Lilith you say? Any clues as to where? Not too far. Okay. Yes. Thanks. Sam?" A note of surprise in Dad's voice. “Sure."
He held out his cell. “She wants to talk to you."
Sam's throat tightened. Missouri knew it was Sam's fault, same as Sam did. He'd felt this coming for weeks, hadn't mentioned any of his feelings or dreams, hoped they were just paranoia.
“Samuel Winchester." She didn't sound mad, just worried. “What have you done?"
“What do you mean? I haven't... I didn't..."
“Something's different. Something's changed. I don't know what. I know you did it.
I-" An abrupt silence, and Sam could picture her screwing up her face, concentrating.
“I didn't change anything, I-"
“A Trickster. Or a Djinn. It's their work. No, Trickster. You have to put it back. You'll think it's worse there, but there's answers there you haven't seen. Sam? Do you hear me?"
Sam told her he did, hung up and held the cell back out.
“What was that about?"
Sam repeated when Missouri said, then laid out all of his dreams to Dad, all of his worries. Relief coursed through him with every word he shared.
“I'll find Dean while you find the Trickster," Dad said. He swung out of the truck. “We'll get our stuff. You take the Impala."
“No." Sam followed Dad inside the apartment. “We should stick together. Nothing matters but getting Dean."
Dad didn't meet Sam's gaze. “That's an order."
They worked silently on separate projects, Dad searching recent news reports for anything that might be demonic, Sam researching Tricksters. He felt shut out, shut away. This wasn't a war they were fighting together, it was one that was dividing them. Dad was doing everything himself, as usual.
“I got something," Dad said. “I'm going to check it out. You stay here."
Sam didn't bother arguing; he merely waited ten minutes and followed Dad out.
Sam lost Dad on the freeway for a while, Dad gunning his truck and darting it with surprising agility between various cars. He probably knew Sam was following. By the time he caught up with him, his truck was parked at the end of a row of houses.
Sam loped along, looking for clues. Sulfur lined the window of one house. Bingo. He paused at the doorway. It was likely a trap.
Well, she could have him. He'd had enough of his family taking his blows. He pushed open the door and slid inside.
Lily from the diner stood there, hands on her hips. Dad and Dean were both pressed against different walls, blood dripping from Dean to the floor. His eyes filled with relief and worry together when Sam met them.
Dad moved his head minutely when Sam turned his gaze to them.
“You want me. Let them go."
“Sam. That's not how it works." Lilith ran hands down her body. “This one's all grown up and pretty." The words jumped out at Sam, bold black type on a clean white page. Familiar. “I want to see how it works."
Sam pulled the Colt. She couldn’t know it didn't work any more.
Lilith laughed at the sight of it and waved her hand.
Dad and Dean screamed in agony. Fresh blood dripped from Dad's body, from a new wound along his chest.
“Fire it if you want, Sam." She approached him slowly. Sam pulled his real gun and fired it. The bullets dropped to the floor before they even reached her. She held her hand out and her eyes gleamed a terrible white.
Sam cowered under the gleam of light that followed, waited for the blow to come. Nothing happened. He rose, saw panic flash in her eyes, and then thick demon-smoke shoot out of her mouth.
He had no idea what had just happened. He hadn't done anything. He hadn’t even tried to stop her.
Sam raced over to Dean's slumped body and searched desperately for a pulse, skimming his fingers along Dean’s neck. “Dean? Dean?" Tears fell onto the blood of Dean's wounds. There was no pulse to find. Sam turned, and met Dad's fading eyes. “Dad?"
“Trickster." Dad rasped. “Put things right. Missouri must be right."
Sam scrambled over to Dad and knelt over him, pressing his hands to Dad’s wounds, mingling Dean’s blood with Dad’s. “You're giving me orders even now?"
Dad caught Sam’s hand. His hand was shaking. “It’s not like that. Sam. You can save us. Go change it."
“Why would I change it in the first place? I must have been desperate. It must have been-"
Dad shook his head. “Whatever the situation there – change it back." Dad’s voice started to fade. His head drooped back. Sam’s tear fell on his forehead. Dad gave a smile. “That world will hold an answer. I'm sure of it."
“What if this was the answer?"
Dad's eyes closed slowly. “I love you, Sammy. I know you can do it. I-"
Sam gripped the wheel so firmly he thought his knuckles might break, bone jut out through his skin. If he really had brought this world about, he'd fucked it up royally.
He had one lead that might be a Trickster; his only hope to switch it back.
“Sam Winchester. Told you you should have listened to me."
“Make the change." He met the Trickster's mocking gaze. He was dead inside anyway; this was worth a shot.
“See, you asked me a favor once already. I knew this wouldn't work. You’re back where you started."
“What do you mean?"
“John is long dead in that world. Dean recently taken to Hell. You sure it's any better?"
The words sliced Sam open. The dreams of hellhounds, that had been real. They'd left Sam shaking with fear. This was the reality he was supposed to return to?
He remembered Dad's words, That world will hold an answer, I'm sure of it. He nodded.
“I'll leave you your memories this time. I'm a good guy like that."
Sam woke to find himself next to the Impala, outside the same house he remembered entering to face the Trickster. He got into the car and let the sobs rip through his body until every particle of him ached with loss.
He'd lost them twice.
The memory of Dad's voice made his tears die away. Dad was so certain there was an answer. Perhaps Sam wasn't seeing it. He took a deep, unsteady breath that caught halfway through and rang Missouri.
“Samuel Winchester. You're back from somewhere." He heard the frown in her voice. “I can't see where."
“I need to speak to my Dad." Sam said. “Can I do that? Can I-"
“Oh Sam." Her voice was more breath than sound. “We can try. Get here as soon as you can."
Missouri met him with a fierce hug that threatened to crack all his ribs. As she pulled back she reached up and hit his head. “That's for not calling me sooner!"
“You've had other worries. I know." She gestured him to come inside. “That brother of yours sacrificing himself, I don't know-" She sat down on the couch. “Makes me feel guilty for all the times I-"
Sam nodded. He sat down on the floor, the other side of a table that held a Ouiji board.
“I could have-"
“You could have bought one of these, yes. But with two psychics? We've a better chance of it working." She rested her hands on the board. “I can tell you're impatient."
For a while the pointer didn't move. Sam's trembling hands were the only thing that shook it, and Missouri cursed him for it. Then slowly, it moved toward the numbers 3-6-1-1-1.
“I've seen them before. They've been haunting me, they-" Sam sat up, sending the board shooting across the table.
Missouri finished his thought. “They're co-ordinates."
There was flat land, dotted only with brush as far as Sam could see. The heat of the day greeted him as soon as he stepped out of the car, his shirt beginning to prickle with sweat. There was nothing there.
Sam scanned all around. This had to be it; Dad had to be telling him where to come.
He caught sight of a change in the landscape ahead and jogged toward it, hitching his bag higher on his shoulder as he did. He came to the edge of a canyon and stared down into it.
The journey down didn't take long, save for Sam losing his footing through impatience and sliding a few feet once or twice. Soon he stood at the bottom. He picked his way methodically around the entire edge, stopping only once to drink water, as the midday sun threatened to beat him into the ground.
Sam noticed what looked like a door handle built into the canyon wall up ahead. He tugged aside shrubbery until he uncovered a wooden door, charred black with ash.
A gate to Hell. He checked the handle. This one didn't seem to need the Colt or any other key to open it. Dad must have known about this one too, when he was fighting his way out.
He sliced through the lock with Ruby's knife and the door swung open easily.
Sam sent a prayer of thanks to his father, twisted the handle, and slipped inside, toward Dean.
Sam now had one chance of getting Dean back and he held onto it firmly with both hands.
The coordinates are 36N, 111W – this is near Flagstaff, Arizona. This link -
shows you where Sam is at the end. There is a canyon (Coal Mine Canyon) nearby. I am quite certain that it does not have a gate to Hell within it.
Thank you for reading.