Word Count or Media: 5400ish
Warnings: the usual Winchester childhood trauma and pedophile character (no act of pedophilia)
Summary: Sam’s recent stint on a psychiatric ward weighs heavy on both brothers and, really, they could both do with a good night’s sleep. Nothing is ever so simple.
Rain comes down in sheets, blanketing the car’s windscreen with a blurry film that insists on sticking no matter how furiously the wipers rock back and forth. Sam squints against the glass of the passenger window and can’t see much more than the angry grey streak that is the sky; thick and swollen and excited to piss all over the world.
Dean sputters expletives and the thundering rain on the roof of the car dances along to the cassette tape in the player. Sam drops his head back, droplets of rain trickle across his scalp, hair still wet from the short dash to the car.
He closes his eyes. Sleep beckons him, offers to wrap him up in her soft arms, tells him she’s missed him. Eleven – or was it twelve – days without sleep must be some sort of record and Sam wonders where his trophy is. All he got were shots in his ass and a plastic wristband. He kept it, the hospital band, not that he’d tell Dean. He wouldn’t understand, because Sam doesn’t quite understand it himself.
He wakes as the car jerks to a stop. The clock on the dash tells him it’s been two hours but the rain hasn’t calmed down and continues to thunder down with a vengeance. Sam peels sleep-crusted eyes open, rolls his head on his shoulders, neck aching, and tries to forget his dreams. Dean pats him on the shoulder and shakes him a little. Sam bats him away clumsily, still trying to wake up.
“Where are we?” he asks, although it’s more a yawn than a sentence.
“Dunno,” Dean says. “The first motel I could find.”
The storm swells when the doors open, and Sam can’t hear much beyond the rain hitting the ground. He’s soaked instantly, his shoes flooded as he steps out of the car into what was once a parking lot but is now on its way to becoming a pond. They dash towards the neon light above the lobby, the name of the motel hidden beyond Sam’s damp eyelashes. Inside, they drip all over the linoleum flooring. Sam pushes his sticky hair back from his forehead and follows Dean, shoes squelching.
After a few rings of the bell sitting on the desk, a woman pushes through the back door looking less than pleased to see them. She’s petite and mousy, a pregnant belly under her nightgown.
“Just the two of you?” she asks. “I only got one room left and it’s a king.”
“Just one bed?” Dean asks.
“I can give you a fold out cot if you want,” she offers with a shrug, hand out on the table ready for payment.
“It’s fine,” Sam cuts in, because he really couldn’t care less whether he and Dean sleep in a single bed together at this point. He’s wet and freezing and he’s been cheated out of eleven – or twelve – days of sleep.
Dean stands, cash in hand, still as a statue as he stares around the room. The motel manager quickly exchanges the money for the room key, a frown on her fair face. She bids them a good night and hurries to the back room again, the volume of a television rising and falling as the door swings closed.
“What was that?” Sam asks once she’s gone.
“Huh? I thought I recognised something…” Dean trails off. He shakes his head and pulls Bobby’s old flask from his pocket, taking a hefty swig. Sam grabs the keys out of his brother’s hand and heads back out into the rain.
Navigating their way through the deluge to their room is somewhat similar to doing it with their eyes closed. It’s dark out, half the motel lights are busted and Sam’s still only firing on half cylinders; hospital drugs and sleep deprivation still not quite out of his system. Sam makes it to the top of the creaking metal stairs, hands freezing on the wet railing, before he realises Dean still hasn’t made it up the first step.
“Dude, what’s with you?” Sam calls down. Dean blinks up at him, doesn’t answer, and hurries up the stairs after him.
Once they’re in their room, surrounded by wood panels, beaver-shaped lamps and a forest of fir trees on the wallpaper. Sam drops his bag and shucks his jacket onto the brown carpet and flops, still dressed onto the only bed in the room. He lets his eyes dipped closed, just to rest them for a moment.
“Dean?” Sam asks. “Are you okay?”
Sam can hear his brother peeling out of his wet clothes, the shower in the bathroom turns on.
“I’m good,” Dean answers. He pauses as Sam pries one eye open. “We’ve stayed at this motel before,” he finally adds.
Sam opens his other eye, then, and sits up. “We have? When?”
“We were kids,” Dean says, eyes drifting to the door. “It was a long time ago.”
“Yeah, and? We’ve probably stayed at half the motels in America?”
Dean doesn’t look him in the eye, his lips are pressed together. “Yeah, it’s nothing. Let’s just get out of here first thing tomorrow, ok?”
Before Sam can ask any more questions, the bathroom door is shut and locked, and Sam is alone. He sheds his soaked clothes, achingly slow and missing half his fingernails. Dressed in sweats, he looks in the mirror above the dressing table. The man staring back has deep bruises under his eyes, a few days extra stubble and scrapes at his temple and cheekbone where he hit the road only a few nights earlier.
He pushes his hair back, hands shaking, and a few brown strands come away in his palm. He sighs and drops back onto the bed, ribs throbbing and head heavy as if filled with concrete. Sam lies back, legs dangling off the mattress, feet scraping the carpet. He closes his eyes and tries to remember, tries to sift through the countless motels they’ve called home for a night or two. He doesn’t remember this one.
It’s so quiet. Too quiet. After months – or centuries – with the Devil on his shoulder, it’s hard to adjust to having only his own voice in his head. Sam turns his head to the side and finds only the bedside lamp glowing soft orange. There’s no stolen, devilish face grinning back at him.
Miss me? Lucifer would say.
“No,” Sam answers, and the empty room replies with a soft flicker of lights. “No, not at all.”
Sam falls asleep in a way that’s similar to sinking to the bottom of ocean. Slowly, deeply, suffocating, and eventually, peacefully. He dreams of blood-stained iron and chains around his neck, of fingers tickling under his ribs to find the soft, warm parts of him underneath. It’s frightening and painful but it’s the best fucking sleep he’s had in a long time.
He expects to wake when the sun is high, last night’s rain soaked up and the roads ready for wheels on the asphalt. But when Sam opens his eyes, aching and itchy with grit, it’s pitch black and he can hear the rains continuous torrent outside. He rolls onto his side, peers at his brother on the other side of the bed. Dean is still dressed down to his boots, passed out on his back on top of the covers with that flask in his hand. Always in his hand.
Sam forces himself upright, disappointed that his full bladder woke him. He could sleep for a year. In fact, he’s owed that and more, considering his soulless months. He pads blindly to the bathroom, too sleepy to even turn the light on. He does his business and washes his hands.
The water is ice cold and he trembles against the sink in the dark. He peers up into the mirror, finds a face he barely recognises there.
Dean always was the handsome one, Lucifer whispers, voice like a distant dream. He’s gone, Sam reminds himself, Cas took it all away.
The glass is foggy, the chilled condensation comes away at his fingertip, his breath catches the air in a delicate whirl of steam. His isn’t the only face in the mirror.
There’s a man standing right behind him.
“You,” he hisses, and Sam spins around just in time to be shoved back again, his head cracking the glass of the mirror behind him. The ghost comes at him again and Sam throws his hands up over his face.
The ghost vanishes with the swipe of an iron knife. Dean flicks on the bathroom light and Sam squeezes his eyes shut against the brightness. He feels at the back of his head, his scalp burns.
“I suppose it’s not nothing, then?” Sam pants.
Dean sighs and steps aside, gesturing towards the bed. “Sit down and I’ll take a look at your head,” he says. “We need to talk.”
August in 1993 was bone dry. The sun hit the hood of the car hard enough that they could have fried an egg on it. Sam was curled up in the back seat, hair curled and stuck to his sweaty brow, a couple of library books that would never be returned are scattered under the seat.
Dean stuck his head out the window like a dog and felt the blast of hot air against his face for a short second before Dad yanked him back inside, one hand still on the wheel, both eyes on the road.
It was a silent trip to the nearest motel, the air heavy and stifling between them. Sam tucked his bandaged arm against his chest and rolled sleepily onto his back. Dean bit his knuckles and stared out the window, not daring to lean even an inch beyond the confines of the car.
The nearest motel was a two story 70s complex, painted a jolly shade of yellow with a bustling pool out back. The parking lot was packed, cruisers of every colour sweating under the sun, bright metal catching light in blinding pinpoints. They squeezed into the last spot; Dad wordlessly climbed out the car and headed towards the lobby.
Dean leaned over to nudge Sam awake in the backseat.
“Hmm?” Sam answered, peeling a heavy lid open.
“We’re stopping,” Dean told him. He nodded towards the motel where the sounds of kids screaming excitedly and water splashing drifted across the lot. “They’ve got a pool.”
Sam lifted his casted hand. “Can’t swim with this.”
“We’ll get some Saran wrap.”
Sam batted him away with his good arm and hauled himself upright with a sigh. He squinted through the windshield at the peeling blue building before them and made a face. The Sam-face. The downturn of one corner of his mouth and the furrow of his brows that said this sucks.
Sam, the freak he was, hated summer holidays. The kid could never wait to get back to school each September, was always in mourning for each school they’d leave in the rear-view mirror. He yearned for school so deeply that he’d given himself summer reading lists.
“How long are we gonna stay here?” Sam asked. Moaned, more like.
“Dunno,” Dean answered. “Until Dad says we have to go.”
Dad returned then, clad in leather under the beating sun, motel keys in hand, a sheen of sweat on his brow. Dad said to get their bags out the trunk, so they did. Dad said to take the keys, so they did. Dean noticed Dad’s duffel still stuffed in the back of the car.
“Are you leaving?” he asked, although he knew the answer already.
“Just for a few days,” Dad told them. “Something came up nearby with Caleb. You know the rules?”
Did Dean know the rules? He lived the rules, breathed them, could recite them backwards. “Salt the doors and windows, don’t talk to anyone we don’t know, lock the doors, call Pastor Jim if something happens.”
“And watch out for Sammy.”
“Ouch,” Sam hisses. Dean prods at the thin slice across the back of Sam’s skull and doesn’t apologise. He soaks a towel in alcohol and dabs it on the wound.
“Shouldn’t need stitches,” Dean diagnoses. “Although you could do with a haircut. Maybe they have scissors in the bathroom…”
Sam scrubs his hand over his tired eyes and glances through the open bathroom door where the mirror is cracked into a spider’s web.
“So,” he says. “We’ve stayed here before when I was, what, ten?”
“How come I don’t remember coming here? It’s obviously memorable to you?”
“I don’t know, Sammy.”
“So, what happened after Dad left?”
“You know, same old: magic fingers, cable TV and vending machine snacks for dinner.”
Sam eyed their dinner spread out on the bedsheet critically. Shiny, colourful packets of chips and candy. Hesitantly, he took a bag of Lay’s and held them unopened on his lap.
“Can’t we order pizza or something?” he asked.
“Tomorrow we can go find a grocery store or something,” Dean said. “We’ve still got fifteen bucks left, and Dad’ll be back before next weekend.”
“He’s never back when he says,” Sam pointed out. “What if we’re here for a month and we only have fifteen dollars? We’ll get kicked out the motel and we’ll have to eat out of the trash!”
Dean rolled his eyes. “You’re always so dramatic. Hey, if Dad can’t come back for whatever reason, I’ll take care of us, okay? Now shut up and eat your dinner.”
Sam did as he was told and, with a little help from Dean, opened his bag of chips and popped one into his mouth. They stayed up late that night watching horror movies on TV, the screen gave off a strange green tinge and half the channels were missing but they giggled at the incompetent main characters being chased around Camp Crystal Lake by Jason Voorhees.
Sam fell asleep with chocolate melted at the corner of his mouth, face mushed against Dean’s side. As uncomfortable as Dean was, he didn’t have the heart to push his little brother off. He just stared at his casted arm and thought:
If I’d been faster, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt. If he’d been thrown a few inches to the right, he’d have gone out the window. He could have died. If I’d been a little slower, he would have died.
“Dean, I barely even remember that,” Sam whispers. “You really beat yourself up that much because I broke my arm?”
“Sam, it was my responsibility to make sure you were ok,” Dean says.
Sam shakes his head and stands up. “Jesus, man, no it wasn’t. That was Dad’s job.”
Dean doesn’t answer, just stares down at his calloused fingers. You sure fucked him up, the Devil would say. Kid never got to be a kid because he had to take care of you.
“Neither of us got to be kids,” Sam answers. He glances to his right but the Devil isn’t there. Hasn’t been there for a few days, not since Cas placed his palm against Sam’s head and yanked Hell out of there just as easily as he’d shoved it in only a few months before. Maybe Sam feels a little more alone with the silence in his head, but he doesn’t dare admit it. The very thought makes him feel nauseous. He sits down beside his brother, curls his fingers inwards so he doesn’t have to look at his torn nails.
“Dean, this story sounds a lot like any other motel we stayed at when we were kids,” he says.
“It was, at first,” Dean admits. “And there were some crappy ones; uncomfortable beds and broken AC and… Shtrigas.”
“And this one?”
“I was older by then. I should have known better.”
Dean insisted he and Sam go down to the pool the next day. Sam himself wasn’t enthusiastic but he allowed Dean to wrap his casted arm in a plastic bag and drag him outside to where a couple of oversized families were taking up the majority of the deck chairs.
Sam plonked himself down on one of the remaining plastic seats and opened a book on his lap. Dean rolled his eyes and hurled himself canon-ball style into the water. He broke the surface with a grin.
“Dean!” Sam yelled, hair dripping down into his face, the pages of his book clumping together.
“Oops,” Dean muttered, sinking slightly deeper into the water.
“You did that on purpose!”
“I didn’t, I swear!”
Sam’s face scrunched up and he shook the remaining droplets from his hair before stomping off back towards the motel.
“Aw, dude,” Dean called after him. “Don’t throw a hissy fit. I’m sorry, alright?”
“I’m getting a soda!” Sam yelled in return, throwing one finger up behind his back.
Dean floated on his back for a while, keeping his distance from the screaming kids splashing around the shallow end, and he let the sun catch his freckled face. He peered an eye open to scan the pool area but everyone around was either a) not his age or b) not very cute. He paddled back over to the pool’s edge but Sam’s seat was still empty, his soaked book spread open to dry in the sun.
Dean hauled himself up out of the water and glanced around. It was packed but there wasn’t any sign of an undergrown kid with a mop of hair and a pissed off look on his face. Dean, trying not to panic, walked back towards the motel building.
It shouldn’t take this long to get a can from a vending machine. Unless Sam decided to go back to the room to sulk, Dean reasoned, but reasoning did little to quell his worry.
He found Sam exactly where Sam said he’d be; by the vending machine. But Sam wasn’t alone. Some guy, thinning hair, polo shirt tucked into his pants, hand against the vending machine was barring Sam into a corner.
“Hey!” Dean called, and Sam and the man both looked up. “Can I help you?”
The man dropped his arm. “Oh, is this one yours?” he asked cheerily. “I spotted him by himself and was worried he was lost.”
Sam glanced at Dean, sending out signals in Winchester brother code to get him the fuck out of there.
“He’s not lost,” Dean said. “Come here, Sammy.”
Sam slipped past the man and ran so fast he was a blur over to Dean’s side. Dean put an arm around Sam’s shoulders and gave the man his best shark-like grin. One that threatened to bite if he got too close. He steered Sam back towards the pool and the two of them sat on their deck chair.
“I wanna go back to the room,” Sam whispered.
Dean peered over his shoulder, found no one watching by the vending machine.
“Not yet,” Dean replied. “I want to make sure he’s gone first.”
Around them, kids splashed and shrieked under the summer sun, adults grew redder and redder in the heat, looking less than relaxed. Sam peeled the pages of his book apart with a sigh. They sat there for another half an hour before Dean decided it was okay to go back to their room.
Sam brushed his teeth, perched on the edge of the bath and swamped by one of Dean’s old t-shirts: a concert shirt for a concert he’d never been to, that he’d found for two bucks in a thrift store.
Dean double checked the salt lines, then the locks, then peered through the blinds to find the evening quiet and empty after a day of so much noise. Sam, pleased as punch that he didn’t have to sleep on a cot since Dad was away somewhere, buried himself under the thin motel sheets and turned on the TV.
“You okay?” he asked Dean.
“I’m fine, why?”
“You seem kinda freaked. I told you that guy was human. Pretty sure he didn’t have fangs or anything.”
“That’s not what I’m worried about,” Dean said. “Some people are worse than monsters.”
“He didn’t do anything,” Sam said, for the hundredth time that day. “He just talked to me. He was a bit creepy, but that’s all.”
Dean checked the locks on the door one last time and climbed into bed. His gun was locked and loaded and waiting comfortably under his pillow and Dean felt a little better with its smooth metal against his fingers.
“That guy,” Sam says, “he was the ghost in the bathroom?”
“Looked like it,” Dean replies.
Sam glances over to the scene of the crime; a dim bathroom with fractals of glass still scattered across the floor. His brow furrows and when he looks up at Dean, his face is open, the saddest most pitying thing Dean has ever seen.
“Dean,” he asks tentatively, “did you kill him?”
Dean looks away, can’t look him in the eye. He clears his throat before he speaks again.
They were at the grocery store, eyeing up a shelf of peanut butter. Sam did some quick maths and declared which three brands would be within their budget. Dean grabbed a jar of smooth which was a couple cents pricier than crunchy but who the hell liked crunchy peanut butter?
Besides, if worse came to worst, he could always use his five-finger discount.
“Bread,” Sam read off his carefully written list, crossing off peanut butter as they wandered over to the next aisle. Dean tossed a couple tins of spaghetti-Ohs into their basket for good measure.
“We should get apples,” Sam insisted, and disappeared around the corner of the aisle. Dean trailed after him and nearly jumped out of his skin when he walked right into someone’s back.
A man with thinning hair turned around and smiled at him. “What a coincidence, twice in two days,” he said. Sam was on the other side of the guy, eyes wide. Dean skirted around him, placed himself firmly between the guy and Sammy.
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable,” Dean hissed. He grabbed Sam’s good arm and pulled him towards the check out. He shook Sam a little when Sam glanced back over his shoulder. “Don’t look at him.”
Sam did as he was told and stayed firmly glued to Dean’s side in the checkout line, out the sliding doors and all the long way back to the motel.
Dean was on edge for the next couple of days, checking the chamber of his gun often and wondering if it ever came to it, if he could take a human life. Sam, on the other hand, continued with his summer reading list, breezing through The Lord of the Flies in a couple of days by the pool. Three days passed and the two of them were left unbothered. Dean finally let himself relax.
Of course, it was only then that the guy turned up again, popping up and hanging around unwanted like a fly as Sam and Dean were sifting through coins for the laundromat.
“You boys staying here on your own?” he asked.
“Nope, our dad is here,” Dean answered quickly.
“Really? I haven’t seen anyone but the two of you.”
Dean ignored him, shoved a pile of unsorted clothes into a washing machine.
“Can I buy you boys something to eat?” the man asked. “I would feel better knowing you two had some food in you.”
Dean eyed the man, mouth curled downwards. “We’re fine.”
“Oh, no. No, I don’t mean with me. I could even just give you some cash to get something for yourselves.”
“I said, we’re good. We don’t need your money.”
“But, Dean – “ Sam piped up, but Dean stepped in front of him. The guy watched the two of them, expressionless. He raised his hands in surrender and offered them both a friendly smile.
“No bother, boys. I’ll get out of your hair.”
Dean stared him down all the way out the door and out of sight. As soon as he was sure they were alone again, he emptied soap into the machine and turned it on.
“We could have taken his money,” Sam said.
“We don’t need anything from that guy,” Dean replied. “Or anyone else, for that matter. But especially that guy.”
“I know he’s weird but maybe he’s just being nice,” Sam suggested. “Sometimes people are just trying to help.”
“How do you know?”
“Sam, shut up and check the machines for leftover change.”
Sam rolled his eyes and hopped off the washing machine he was perched on and circled the laundromat, peeking behind machines and inside coin dispensers for coins left behind by previous customers. He returned with a handful of cents adding up to a dollar and thirty-five cents that bought them a packet of microwave noodles for dinner that night.
A week passed and Dad still hadn’t returned. Dean was getting worried, he snuck out onto the balcony each night to dial their father’s number but each call came up with a dial tone. He told himself that Dad must have been out of signal, but another part of his mind suggested other, more gruesome possibilities.
“Have you heard from Dad?” Sam asked one night, flipping uninterestedly through a TV guide from a year ago, he’d found it under his bed and added it to his summer reading list.
“Yeah, he called yesterday,” Dean lied.
“How come I didn’t talk to him?”
“He couldn’t stay on the line too long. Bad signal. He said he’d be back soon, though.”
“I don’t know. Just soon.”
Sam’s lips pursed. He was a smart kid and as good of a liar as Dean was, Sam could always see right through it.
“What if he doesn’t come back?”
“He said he’ll be back, so he’ll be back.”
“But what if he doesn’t?”
“Sam, shut up or I’ll make you!” Dean burst, fists clenching. Sam turned white suddenly and his mouth closed, eyes cast downwards. He disappeared into the bathroom, the lock sliding home, and Dean was left alone with the TV for company.
Dean didn’t know when he fell asleep, but when he opened his eyes the room was dark and his t-shirt was sticky with sweat. He rolled over and peered at the digital alarm clock on the side table. It winked at him. Almost 1am. Dean pushed himself upright and rubbed grit from his eyes.
“Sammy?” he whispered.
Fumbling for the light, Dean shied away from the dim glow that followed. Sam’s bed was empty, the bathroom door left open. Dean peered inside and found it empty, although the shower was still damp.
He grabbed his gun and slipped it into the back of his jeans, hidden under his shirt. Heart pounding, he stepped out of the room and onto the balcony that stretched along the third floor of the building, lined with doors leading to other rooms.
“Sam!” Dean called, leaning over the railing for a better look below. The metal rang beneath his hands, a shrill clanging echoed up towards him. He spied a blur of movement one floor down, pulled his gun out and ran for the stairs.
Down on the second floor, Sam kicked out again, sneaker-clad feet collided with the railing once again. The top half of him was being hoisted away, clamped in between the arms of a man Dean recognised at once.
“Let him go!” Dean yelled, aiming his gun straight at the man’s head. His hands shook.
The man stopped, as did Sam, the two of them still clasped together and frozen, staring down the corridor at Dean. Dean inched closer.
“Let go of him or I’ll shoot you in the goddamn brains,” Dean warned.
The man did as he was told and Sam hit the ground with a thud. He didn’t budge, didn’t run for safety at Dean’s side, he just sat there and clung to the railing, eyes wide. Dean hurried closer, reached out one hand to his brother, but Sam didn’t look at him, didn’t look at anything.
Dean took his eyes of the creep for a second too long. Next thing he knew he could hear ringing in his ears, his head collided with the metal rail, pain vibrated through his skull as he fell to his knees. Fingers loose, his gun skittered across the metal floor.
He clasped one hand to his head and squinted upward. A man with a friendly smile and thinning hair gazed down at him, fists curled at his sides. He lunged forwards and Dean braced himself for another hit.
But it never came.
The man drifted away and for a second Dean wondered if he was passing out but, no, the guy was falling backwards. His arms pinwheeled, desperately grasping for anything to stop his descent, but there was nothing there to save him. He slipped out of Dean’s sight.
There was a beat of silence followed by heavy metal thuds, then the crack of something breaking on the concrete down below.
Dean hoisted himself to his feet and peered down the stairs where there was a red pool steadily blooming around the stranger’s head. He stared back up at Dean, eyes empty.
Sam wasn’t where Dean last saw him, he was standing beside him at the top of the steps, eyes distant glistening wet.
“I had to,” he whispered.
Dean’s guts twisted. He thought he might throw up but he wasn’t sure if it was because his head had just been rammed into a railing.
“He was gonna kill you,” Sam said. “If I didn’t – “
“Let’s go back to the room,” Dean interrupted him. He made his aching way down the corridor to where his gun lay, barrel still full. He picked it up and slipped it back into his waistband. Sam shuffled quietly behind him as they made their way back up to their room.
Dean double locked the door behind them, put his gun away, and pulled the med kit out from the bathroom cupboard. Sam sat on the edge of his bed, knees drawn tight, shivering and silent.
“It was an accident,” Dean said finally, after probing his bruising forehead in the mirror. “Some guy slipped and fell down the stairs. We weren’t even there.”
Sam didn’t answer, didn’t even look up at him. Dean pulled back the bedsheets, guided his brother into bed, pulled his shoes from his feet.
“It’ll be better in the morning,” Dean promised.
Years later, in the same motel, a few doors down, Sam and Dean sit side-by-side on a king-size bed.
“But” Sam says after a moment of silence, “that never happened.”
“It did, Sam.”
“I don’t remember any of this. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Dean sighs. “We never talked about it after. I figured you wanted to forget, and maybe you did. Maybe it was too much for your kid brain and you just deleted it or something. I don’t know.”
Sam doesn’t say anything. He thinks of that kid with his summer reading lists and his hand-me-down clothes and his tiny hands that pushed a man to his death. Sam shudders, thinks of Lucifer grinning in delight and saying, I always knew you had it in you!.
He’s killed plenty people since then. People who maybe didn’t deserve it quite like this guy did. A couple centuries in Hell should at least have bought him a clean slate, but Sam’s realised his slate was stained from the very beginning.
“So, this is why you didn’t want to stay here?” Sam asks.
“You’ve been through a lot, Sam. Once I realised where we were, I worried.”
“You worried I’d lose my mind again.”
It’s Dean’s turn to give silent answers. Sam can’t blame him. He was locked in a psychiatric ward only a few days earlier. Cas may have hauled him back up from rock bottom but he’s been wobbling on the edge ever since.
“It doesn’t matter,” Sam decides.
Dean blinks at him and Sam sees the doubt there, understands it painfully well. He hasn’t been reliable lately. He hasn’t even been here lately, not completely.
But he is now.
“We have bigger problems,” Sam says. On top of Leviathans and Angels and Demons, what’s one more vengeful spirit? He forces confidence into his voice, “I say we salt and burn this bastard, then we get back on the road and stop the apocalypse. Again.”