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smalltrolven

The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time


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smalltrolven

Fic: It'll Take Four Trips (Sam/Dean, R) Part 1 of 2

Title: It’ll Take Four Trips

Author: smalltrolven

Pairing: Sam/Dean, established relationship

Rating: R

Wordcount: 5,351

Warnings: None except for spoilers for episode 13.21 “Beat the Devil”, even in the summary.

Author’s Note: Not my characters, only my words.

Summary: Sam goes where you’d imagine he would when he dies in that tunnel. Here’s how much it costs him to come back.


Read it over on AO3 right here.

****

The very first thing Sam sees after he dies in that tunnel is Billie in her long sweeping black leather coat. It’s sometime long after his last glance of Castiel’s trench coat disappearing into the darkness, the feeling of the final bites the vampires had taken has long faded, the last of his blood has already finished soaking into the backpack and dirt floor.


“Here to take me to the Empty?” Sam asks from his embarrassing sprawl on the tunnel’s floor.

She smiles in this one-sided way that reminds him of Dean when he’s up to no good. “Nah, got a change of plans in the works, you’re meant for the usual procedure.”

“Then why are you here instead of a reaper?” Sam asks as he tries and fails to sit up, his dead body isn’t being very cooperative.

“We’re a little short-staffed at the moment thanks to your little red-haired friend,” Billie says.

“So we’re off to Hell then?” Sam asks, laying back in the dirt and trying to separate from his body so he can leave with her. He knows there’s no point in putting off the inevitable. He wonders if regular Hell will be worse or better than the Cage was.

Billie goes still and silent at Sam’s mention of Hell. She looks at him closely, her being somehow creating a bubble of silence and light around them. “Is that really what you think, Sam?”

“Demon blood, Lucifer’s vessel, letting him out of the Cage, all the killing and my bro—“ Sam says all in a rush, finding it hard to slow down once he gets started.

“Sam, that’s not how it works, thought you already knew that,” Billie interrupts, sounding nearly offended at the idea. She extends a hand down to him. “C’mon, just take my hand, I’ll show you.”

Sam stands up, shrugging off his ripped-to-shreds body as easily as his backpack. He finds himself momentarily glad that Dean hadn’t seen how he’d died this time and grasps Death’s outstretched hand.

“Let’s go,” Sam says, gripping tightly to her (holding onto Death) and closes his eyes in farewell to this alternative world that probably won’t miss him all that much.

The next thing he notices is the smell, no longer the fetid stench of the tunnel, or his life’s blood soaked into his shirts, or the non-smell that always seems to accompany Death. It’s the very distinctive and very sharp scent of sulfur. Why had she lied to him, sulfur means demons which means Hell? Then Sam hears an explosion, which is definitely not a normal sound one hears in Hell. He opens his eyes and focuses on where the sound came from, echoes still sounding through the star-lit sky. The sparkles of a small fireworks display surprise him, “Oh!”

“Yeah, oh! I’m going to leave you here for now, try to enjoy it, Sam,” Billie says, squeezing his hand once then blinking out of existence. All that’s left for him to look at is Dean, getting the second of the jumbo-sized boxes of fireworks he’d saved up to buy for weeks out of the Impala’s trunk. Dad’s old leather jacket absolutely swamping his young man’s body,

Heaven. He is back in their shared Heaven.

“Sammy?” A very young Dean asks, hesitating at the Impala’s trunk. “Don’t you want to light the rest of these things?”

“Yeah, still got your lighter?” Sam says, stepping forward, looking up at his big brother for the first time in more than twenty years.

“Of course,” Dean says, handing over the box of fireworks so he can slam the trunk lid closed.

“Let’s go then,” Sam says, starting off down the grassy hillside to where they’d already lit up the sky with the first box full.

“Want to light the whole thing at once this time?” Dean asks.

Sam sets the box down in the flattened damp grass and stands up to look at the gleam in his brother’s eye. “Always were a pyro, Dean.”

“Damn right, stand up, let’s light this candle,” Dean crows.

“Arrrgghh, can we have one memory left unstained with action movie dialogue?” Sam asks to no one in particular.

“Yippie-ki-yay-motherfucker!” Dean yells, running back up the hill away from the now-lit fuses.

At first there’s no sound, except for Dean’s panting and holy crap, his giggling. That sweet untainted sound of joy washes over and through Sam and he feels clean for the first time in what feels like ages. Then the hisses and crackles begin slowly morphing into small explosions and high-pitched whistles as the rockets fly.

Sam feels his young body respond to the adrenaline and thrill of potential danger, tempered by the safety he feels with Dean’s arm around his shoulders. He could turn into Dean’s chest and bury himself in that leather coat, breathe him in deeply and live here happily in this moment forever. And isn’t that what Heaven is for? As a reward for living a good life, you get to replay your happiest moments. The first time around, it had just been confusing for a while, he’d get flashes of how horribly he’d died, how he’d left Dean there holding him in that muddy street, and then another pleasant memory would overlay all the pain. The second time, when he’d come with Dean, it had felt scary, manipulative even. And maybe it had been since Zachariah was involved. Now, this third time, it just feels…right, like this is how it’s supposed to be, this is what his forever is supposed to feel and look like.

Dean’s arm is still around him, and he’s turning to look up at one of the rockets bursting over their heads. And he’s so fucking beautiful Sam almost bursts into tears. It had all been so easy back then, to love him, to want him. And what makes him actually start crying is that it still is that easy, and he misses Dean, because he knows he’s not actually here in Heaven with him.

Not yet, oh please please please not yet. Sam hopes with everything left of his soul that it’s a long time until Dean shows up to light these fireworks for real with him. But he knows it won’t go like that. It never has. It never will.

Then he’s stretching up on his tiptoes, feeling that surge of the risky possibility, of taking the chance that he’s not alone in this, of that overwhelming teenage need for Dean. His lips are just brushing against Dean’s, with a soft purpose that makes him blush at his own fumbling tenderness. This risky hopeful first kiss of many is exploding across his lips and his memories, coloring everything that’s happened between them since that moment. How perfect and right this had been, still is.

Sam’s about to say the words, the ones that Dean had needed to hear back then, (he still needs them now), they’re about to trip off his tongue for the very first time, for all time when the light floods in, star-lit sky going

white

white

white.

He can feel every part of his body vaporizing into impossibly tiny and fractured pieces, reassembling atom by atom, filtering back into the dead and cooling body lying on the tunnel floor in a pool of all of his blood that had remained after the vampires had left him.

He doesn’t want to open his eyes or even take that first breath. He desperately tries to think of a plan, maybe he can go back to Heaven, maybe she’ll even come back for him again. He squeezes his hand around empty air where Billie’s hand had been and there’s nothing. Only the scuff of a boot behind him in the tunnel and a falsely cheery, “Hey, Sammy!”

And it’s not Dean who’s made a deal, or swallowed a handful of pills, or begged an angel. No of course not, because this is his life, and that’s not what happens. Of course it’s fucking Lucifer, grinning like he had all those years in the Cage, full of vengeance and hate and glee at getting to torture him yet again.

The brief conversation with the Devil leaves Sam numb with the futileness of protest or objection. He can try and off himself, but he knows Lucifer will just bring him back to life. He can try and run ahead, to warn the others of Lucifer’s approach. But he’ll catch up eventually. It’s the inevitability of this happening, that’s what he’d been trying to get across to Cas and Dean back in the bunker’s kitchen. He knows there’s a slight possibility of Rowena figuring something out, or Jack plus Cas plus Gabriel overcoming Lucifer. Either working out is unlikely, neither seem worth putting much effort at hoping about.

It comes down to the fact that he needs to be there when Lucifer gets to where Dean and Jack are, that’s the price he’s willing to pay. He had promised Dean a couple nights ago that they’d face everything together, including death, and he’s not giving up on keeping that promise. Even if it means working with the being who tortured him for an endless amount of time in the Cage.

He tears the stupid glow stick off his neck and nods at Lucifer. “Yeah, okay, let’s go.”

“I can feel him you know. My son,” Lucifer says, “Jack’s not that far away.”

Sam doesn’t answer, just having the realization that he can feel someone too, not Jack but Dean. Instead of interacting with Lucifer on their long walk to Dayton, he concentrates on the little churn of warmth and connection deep inside of his chest. He’s always pictured that was where his soul resided, that was the spot Cas had probed around with his hand when he’d been soulless. The warmth is back behind his heart, between his lungs, in the presumably empty cavity of his body. Instead it’s filled with a pulsing light and power that makes angels envious and devils possessive. They covet what God had given humans, what they can never experience having.

If he didn’t have this soul, this particular one that is soul-mated to Dean’s, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered so much to any of these celestial beings. Maybe they wouldn’t have been on the chessboard of this long-ass apocalypse game. He hadn’t wanted to play the game in the first place. Neither had Dean for that matter. But they had jumped into it together, and they’d finish the damn thing together. The churn in his chest heats up a bit at that thought, and he wonders if Dean has completely given him up for dead yet.

He knows why he’d been left behind, he’d have done the same thing, tried to carry on and finish the mission, find Jack and Mom. But still, he wonders as he walks next to Lucifer, desperate to not think about him being near again, if Dean was fully accepting that he was really gone. Maybe it was possible Dean could feel it too, that their souls are still connected, always searching out the other to become united once more.

With every step he comes closer to seeing Dean again he tries to think ahead a few steps, how can they outsmart Lucifer? The original plan had been to leave him in this place, to jump through the rift and seal him away forever from their world. But then Mom had to jump in to save them, and they’d lost her. Again. And that loss had almost broken them permanently.

The distraction of raising Jack had been welcome, and he hopes that Jack will forgive him for inflicting Lucifer on him. There has to be some way to make sure Jack isn’t turned into a plaything for his own father. That result would be even worse than seeing him go to the dark side. With so much power, Jack can easily do that. Sam is convinced that Jack has more power than he’ll ever be able to use, or understand. It seems truly limitless, no wonder Lucifer has dropped the pursuit of his meat suit, his vessel with all their pesky consent rules and turned towards his powerful offspring.

Sam hopes that he and Dean have been good enough examples to Jack, of how to try to be good, to try to do the right thing, to think ahead, to plan and prepare, even if you have to improvise in the moment. It seems like the kid knew all that already. And it makes Sam proud to think of what Jack has accomplished here. He’s kept he and Mary alive over here in this terrible place. That is worth everything. And he will likely be their ticket back home.

Will Dean want to go home if the fight with the angels here isn’t finished? What if Mary doesn’t want to go? Once she’s in a fight, it seems like she’ll want to stay and finish it. And Dean won’t want to leave her behind. But what about this world’s Michael, will he be different from the one Sam remembers from the Cage? He isn’t looking forward to finding out. In a lot of ways he doesn’t want to recall too clearly, Michael had been many shades worse than Lucifer.

Back home, Cas had told them that Heaven is falling apart, that there are too few angels to keep it powered up. Sam wonders if the angels from here will follow Jack instead of Michael and come back with them to help right things in their world since this one seemed to be a goner. Maybe they were they too used to this guerrilla warfare with the remaining humans to make a choice like that.

All these thoughts seemed to meld together into one big lump of who-the-hell-knows In his mind, squishy and still intricately resetting itself after resurrection, there seems to be so many possible outcomes, not many of them good. He doesn’t care if he dies again, as long as it’s for a good cause, and hopefully so that Dean comes along too.

“Fourth times the charm,” Sam mutters to himself, trying to maintain his step cadence with Lucifer’s, no sense in getting the angel’s attention for something stupid like dawdling. There are plenty of other places for him to pick his way in to try and tear Sam apart from the inside out. Lucifer is respecting his boundaries though up to this point. He’s thankfully given up small talk (thank Chuck for small favors) and is resorting to giving an update on how far away they are, every fifteen minutes or so.

They were close enough now that Sam let himself imagine how it will go. How he’ll see Dean first, and Dean won’t understand, won’t believe it’s him actually walking and talking. Sam still can’t believe it himself. The unfamiliar lightness he's feeling in his body as he walks is beginning to worry him. He has to ask, much as he doesn’t want to interact with Lucifer anymore than is necessary. He has to know, because the Devil’s grace has once again touched every single god-damned atom of his body, and that has to mean something’s been changed. What exactly did Lucifer do to him?

“Why do I feel so different?” Sam finally breaks down and asks Lucifer as they ford a small creek, stepping from rock to rock, careful not to slip and fall in the muddy water.

Lucifer doesn’t say anything, but Sam can feel his attention rake over his back slowly, appraising his appearance.

“I’m not asking this to get anything from you, I’m just curious. I actually think I feel better, so thanks or whatever.”

“So this is the famous Sam Winchester Grace™ that I’ve heard so much about. Wondered if I’d ever get to see it in action. And getting to feel it myself right now, it’s really something. You have a gift, Sammy.”

“A gift for grace?” Sam asks.

“Yeah, you’re good at the whole grace thing, saying it, really meaning, actually living it. Kiddo, your whole life has been one thing to forgive after another, and I don’t know how or why you do it, but you do. It’s extraordinary.”

“I don’t get it, why are you saying this?” Sam asks after a long moment where he wonders why this compliment from Lucifer is meaning so much to him. He should know better than to believe anything he says. “I thought you hated all of us humans.”

“You oughta know by now, Sammy. You’re an exception to my rules, you’re special to me, and it’s not just because you’re my vessel.”

“What else is there that matters to you?” Sam asks.

“You and your dear Dean are the model for the next generation of humans. If my Pops ever returns that is.”

“You cannot be serious about that!” Sam yells in surprise. That idea seems so improbable and wrong-head. He searches Lucifer’s too-familiar face for the tells that indicate he’s lying and sees nothing but admiration and surprisingly—the truth. “Well…okay I guess? Not sure why that would be a good thing though, to use us as models for anything. We’re pretty screwed-up.”

“Yeah, no kidding, you were really misaligned, inside. So I fixed you as I resurrected you. You’re welcome,” Lucifer says. “Don’t forget to mention that to Jack too, huh?”

“I’ll be sure to, and thanks for doing that,” Sam says.

Lucifer scoffs loudly and walks ahead with a quicker step.

Sam increases his pace to keep up. “No really, I mean it. Thanks, for doing all of it, bringing me back, fixing me. You didn’t have to, you could have walked on past my dead body, and gone and found Jack on your own.”

“Why, Sammy you do say the very nicest things when you’re trying to get something,” Lucifer says.

“Not trying to get anything from you, I'm just genuinely thankful for what you did. Believe me, I don’t want to be thankful, especially to you, but I am. Just so we’re clear, it doesn’t change how I feel about you though.”

“This is the edge of the camp, see the burnt warding?” Lucifer asks.

Sam looks up at the singed enochian sigils on the tree. “What could burn through this?”

“An archangel could, Gabriel must be getting back to full strength,” Lucifer says.

Before Sam has a chance to wonder why then Gabriel hadn’t been the one to resurrect him or if he had even given it a try he hears the low rumble of Dean’s voice through the quiet which is broken by an alarm bell’s ringing.

He sees Dean with his backpack slung on his shoulder and the look of someone going on a grim journey. Dean stops and looks at him with this blankness that instantly turns Sam’s stomach to porridge. He’s not going to believe me, or ever forgive me for this.

It’s not like he’s strutting into the camp saying, ‘Hi, I’m back, resurrected by the Devil himself’ instead he’s slinking in with Lucifer on his tail. He is, however, treasuring Jack’s reaction and how he says his name with this voice filled with wonder. But there’s Dean’s blankness, and Mary’s wariness and then Lucifer steps up behind him. It’s as if there’s ominous music playing. He bows his head, knowing that he’s failed them all.

On to Part Two