Sam wakes up alone, unsure whether it’s another day or week. He stumbles into the shower room and cleans himself up. Soon, he’s in the kitchen hunting for something to eat, vaguely noticing how hungry he is. He might have forgotten to eat a few of the days that Dean and Castiel were gone. It hadn’t seemed very important.
Castiel is in the kitchen attempting to make some tea. He already has a tray with a sandwich on a small plate, PB&J of course. A small glass of orange juice. “Does the tea go in first? Or the water?” Castiel asks, sounding frustrated.
“Yeah, tea in first. You boiled the water, right?” Sam asks, stepping towards the counter.
“Several times, it is well-boiled,” Castiel says. Sam notices how ruffled up his hair seems to be. More than usual, and he’s not wearing a coat, trench or otherwise.
“How’s Meg?” Sam asks, since he knows she’s likely the one messing up their angel.
“She is recovering, and very grateful,” Castiel answers, blushing a deep pink.
“Aha, that’s why we haven’t seen you. I didn’t know that angels could even blush, Cas. I’m just glad you guys are okay.”
“Dean saved us both, he resisted using the Blade on Crowley, it was quite something to see, Sam,” Castiel says, appearing to be grateful that Sam’s changed the subject.
“He around somewhere?” Sam asks, gulping down some warmed up coffee that tastes fresh. Dean must have made it for him.
“I believe he is in your television room. I heard the noise of dragons and warfare,” Castiel says, concentrating on pouring honey into the steaming mug of tea.
Sam finds Dean on the couch in their TV room, watching Game of Thrones, of course. “Heard you were in here.”
“Sssh, this is the good part. Sit down and shut up,” DemonDean says, eyes not leaving the screen where Jamie is forcing himself on Cersei in the church, Dean pats the couch next to him. Sam sits down and leans into him slightly.
“We’ve got to start the blood injections this morning, you know that right?” Sam asks after the scene changes onscreen.
“I know. I was just killin’ time ‘til you got your bony ass up outta bed,” DemonDean drawls.
“Bony? How would you know if it’s bony? You feeling me up while I was sleeping?” Sam kids.
DemonDean blushes a bright pink that reminds Sam of Cas just a few minutes ago.
“I’m making angels and demons blush this morning. C’mon, we’re starting,” Sam says, hitting Dean’s knee as he stands up and walks out. DemonDean turns off the TV and stands slowly, jaw setting in a hard line of resolve. He walks down to the dungeon, only stopping when he can hear Castiel and Sam’s voices.
“Do you believe he will he go through with it?” Castiel asks.
“He has to. It’s the only way. That’s why I put myself on the line,” Sam answers.
“He will be angry with you, when he is no longer a demon,” Castiel observes.
“He’s angry with me now. He’s always been angry with me about something. I don’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t for whatever reason, it’s just how we are a lot of the time,” Sam says.
“Your relationship is one that I have not seen the like of before,” Castiel says. “There is much that I do not understand, and much that I envy.”
“I don’t understand it most of the time to be honest. But it’s the only thing that matters to me anymore. You really envy us, Cas?”
“I most envy that you are soul mates,” Castiel says, looking at Sam in that unblinking manner that is still so disturbing even after all these years. “I have no soul of my own. And Meg’s is, well it is burdened.”
DemonDean hears all this while he stands in the filing room behind the false shelves, and his eyes go green and stay green for a long time. His memories of Sam and all they’ve done flood through him, the lives they’ve lived, almost all of it side by side, together through everything. Even this. He squares his shoulders, determined to overcome whatever he needs to; Sam’s worth it. Even as a demon he knows that.
Sam looks up when he hears his brother enter the room and sees the familiar green eyes sparkling. He smiles at Dean, that he’s there willingly seems like a very good sign at the moment. Dean smiles back, without the smirk, looking almost normal for a moment, then he catches sight of the needle marks on Sam’s forearms, and the vials of blood arrayed on the table. His eyes tighten and start to go black, but he makes himself stop. Sam’s doing this for him.
“Got started without me huh?” DemonDean asks.
Instead of answering, Sam gestures at the chair in the center of the devil’s trap. His hands rub at Dean’s shoulders briefly as he sits down. Then silently, Sam begins to tie him to the chair. The demon proof handcuffs the last addition. Sam crouches down in front of Dean, hands on Dean’s thighs. He brings his face close to Dean’s and breathes him in for a moment, his eyes closed in concentration. His eyes flutter open and meet Dean’s for a few beats.
“This is going to work, Dean, I know it is,” Sam says, all the emotion he’s holding in visible and present in the small space between them.
“I trust you, Sammy. Go for it,” DemonDean says, taking heart once again at the unbelievable faith his brother possesses.
Sam leans in and brushes their lips together briefly, then stands and busies himself at the table, drawing out one more vial of blood from his already abused arm.
“Okay, that should be enough. Every hour for eight more hours, you’re getting three of these,” Sam says, pointing at the ruby red vials shining in the case.
DemonDean licks his lips and nods. He decides not to acknowledge how nervous he is, not even bothering to crack a joke.
Sam approaches with a syringe and two more vials, he taps the needle after spraying a bit to clear any air bubbles, then presses it to Dean’s forearm, plunging the handle down until all the red blood has cleared the tube.
“First one down, so far so good.”
Demon Dean stays silent and still as Sam injects the next two vials. Sam looks at his watch and writes down the time in the margin of the official Men of Letters log book they’ve been using. He also takes the time to quickly set an alarm on his smartphone.
“It will get harder to rein in your demon-self very soon, Dean,” Castiel says from the shadowy corner where he’s leaned up against one of the supply cabinets.
The brothers look up in surprise, they’d both forgotten Castiel was still there in the room with them.
“Yeah, I know,” DemonDean says.
“Thanks for the reminder, Cas,” Sam says, glad that there is someone else backing him up.
Sam paces for a while until Dean growls at him to either leave or sit down. He makes a quick exit, leaving Cas to watch after Dean. They don’t talk, DemonDean mostly just tries not to think, and feels Sam’s blood running through his veins, fighting with the demon blood throughout his body. He loses a little time imagining the battle being waged. Eventually Sam returns with a couple of beers and a paperback book tucked under his arm.
“That for me?” DemonDean asks hopefully.
“Yeah, they both are,” Sam answers. He sets it all down on the table and picks up the syringe and two more vials.
“You got a straw?” DemonDean asks with a laugh.
“Nope, gotta use the needle sorry,” Sam answers, injecting the first one quickly before Dean really notices.
Dean flinches at the pinch of the needle and the burning flood of Sam’s blood into his vein. Sam is quick and does the other two before Dean can work up to a good freak-out.
“I meant a straw for the beer,” Dean points out.
“No straw, but this should work,” Sam says, tipping the bottle up to Dean’s lips. “I’ve had to do this for you before, remember?”
“Oh yeah, the hand thing, when I burned them both on that hunt with the arsonist ghost,” DemonDean says, leaning back in the chair, savoring the taste of the beer, bitter on his tongue, but made sweeter by the fact that Sam brought it to him and helped him drink it down. “I remember, you bitching about having to wipe my ass.”
“Dude, that sucked, a whole week of that. You are an awful patient,” Sam says with a laugh.
“Yeah, but think of all that time we got to lay around in bed together,” Dean teases. “All that stuff I tried on you without using my hands.” Dean can feel Sam’s blood coursing through him even more strongly now, it’s making the demon part of him fight even harder, like it knows it’s going to lose.
Sam flicks his eyes to the corner where Castiel had been standing, but he’s gone.
“He went to check on Meg, otherwise I wouldn’t have said that,” DemonDean says.
“Even when you weren’t a demon, you still liked to push it with him,” Sam counters.
“True. It’s not every day you get to embarrass an angel of the Lord,” DemonDean laughs.
“I made him blush today, about Meg. Apparently she’s rather, uh, thankful for the rescue,” Sam says, turning a little pink himself.
“Our nerdy little guy is finally growing up, Sammy, how ‘bout that?” DemonDean jokes.
“Had to happen sometime I guess,” Sam answers.
“Never thought when we first met him that he’d end up shacked up with a demon, but then you know how that goes. Come to think of it, you kinda still are,” DemonDean says.
“We’re not exactly ‘shacked-up’, not at the moment,” Sam says, ignoring the gibe about Ruby.
“Too bad, Sammy. You should’ve taken me up on trying out the demon strength in the sack; it surprised quite a few people,” DemonDean brags.
“I really don’t want to hear it, Dean; you’ve been a bad boy, big deal, not impressed,” Sam says with a shrug.
“Aw, I know you’re curious what I got up to with Crowley all that time. Saw a whole new side of that asshole, he’s made good use of that trade of his soul for those three inches, knows how to use it if you know what I mean,” DemonDean says, wiggling his eyebrows to get more of a reaction from Sam, suddenly feeling a burst of the freedom he’d been enjoying as a demon. No restrictions, no limits on what he could say or do, just chasing pleasure, not ever caring who got hurt.
Sam just looks at him, stone-faced for a moment as if he’s struggling not to picture Crowley, or Crowley with Dean. He sighs and stands up.
“Look, I know you’ve got to say this shit to try and get to me. It’s not a surprise. But Dean, it’s not going to change anything for me,” Sam says.
“You mean I coulda been fucking Crowley the whole last month and you wouldn’t give a damn? Really? Kind of hard to believe, I know you Sammy, you are the definition of ‘the jealous type’. You even used to mess with my high school girlfriends.”
“I didn’t think you knew about that,” Sam says in quiet surprise. Dean waits for him to say something about his comment about Crowley, but apparently Sam is skipping that. For now.
“Course I did, thought it was cute. You didn’t want to share me. But then you left, Sam. And you lost your chance on keeping me all to yourself forever and ever or whatever the hell it is you thought you wanted.”
“What do you call the last ten years then?”
“A waste of time. Where have we gotten? More messed-up, and twisted around each other, year after year. Neither of us able to ever let go, move on. Hell, you tried with that Amelia chick, and you left her as soon as I came back. Now you’re standing here telling me you’ll take me back no matter what I’ve done as a demon. We’re hopeless.”
“I wouldn’t call it that,” Sam says in this dead-sounding voice, as if he couldn’t possibly be hurt any further.
“What would you call it then?” DemonDean sneers when he sees he’s finally gotten under Sam’s skin.
Sam leaves then, unable to speak, clearly holding back tears. Castiel soon replaces him, standing silent against the wall, eyes never leaving DemonDean.
“Where’d he go?”
“He is in your room. I believe he is attempting to remind himself why he’s sacrificing himself for you again,” Castiel says, sounding like he’s both disapproving and resigned.
“Well that won’t take him long. I’ve got him wrapped around my little finger. But you already know that. I can see you thought you could take my place. Why do you think I brought Meg back for you?”
“Dean, you are mistaken. I know that no one could take your place in Sam’s heart. Even though he should have given up on you many times, he has not, and he will not. I am still grateful that you brought Meg back to me, no matter your true reasons,” Castiel says.
DemonDean strains at the ropes holding him to the chair.
“If I could get out of this chair, I’d come after you, you half-wit, junkless, traitor.”
“Dean, stop,” Sam says, re-entering the room with a container of Holy Water that he splashes on DemonDean’s face. DemonDean hisses and screams in pain as it sizzles against his skin.
“No way, Sammy, not gonna stop. You’re stuck with me, man, this is what you’ve given up your whole life for. Being stuck with this, what I’ve turned into,” Dean taunts.
“Yeah, well you’re stuck with me. And that means I’m gonna keep doing this every hour until you shut the hell up,” Sam says, jabbing Dean with the syringe and pumping the blood in, quickly switching them out until all three are emptied.
DemonDean pulls and twists, but is stopped by the demon handcuffs.
“You’re gonna regret this. I’m gonna make you regret this, you’ll see.”
“I will never regret saving you from yourself Dean. Never. Do you hear me?”
Dean spits at him, snarling and snapping his teeth when Sam’s the closest. Once he sees Sam is staying clear he stops, but an ever present growl is coming from the deep back of his throat. A warning growl that says he wants to tear everything apart, piece by piece, with his teeth. Eventually Dean falls into a near catatonic state, and Sam takes advantage, laying his head down on the desk and napping. He wakes up, drowsy and unsure where he is when his phone alarm chimes. He picks up the syringe and two vials and approaches Dean.
“You gonna behave, or do I have to stick you in your neck?” Sam asks with real wariness.
Dean bows his head forward, chin tucked into his chest, baring the unprotected nape of his neck. Sam places a warm hand there where Dean’s hair is shaggy and uneven where it usually is straight as a ruler, not a hair out of place. DemonDean stops himself from pressing back into Sam’s touch. Just barely. He tilts his head to the side and relaxes his shoulders.
“Hurry up, do it,” Dean growls, but not quite as menacingly. Soon enough his brother’s warm hands are gone and just the blood remains. Still separate within him, being fought off, and fought hard in his body. He’s tired. So very tired from this fight. He doesn’t even care which side wins at this point.
“What was the book for?” DemonDean asks, weakly nodding his head at the book Sam had left on the table. He’s curious to see what reading material Sam’s brought in to pass the time.
“Brought the book you were last reading, thought you might want to finish it,” Sam says.
“How am I supposed to turn the pages?”
“I’ll read it to you. If you want me to,” Sam offers.
“You’re gonna read me Vonnegut? Out loud, like some messed-up bedtime story?” DemonDean asks.
“Just thought I’d offer, that’s all,” Sam says.
“I’d rather just talk,” Dean says.
“Not if it’s more of the same, really not interested,” Sam says.
“Don’t blame you. I just wanted to tell you some stuff about Crowley that you should probably know, just in case I…”
“Don’t start thinking or talking like that. Go ahead, tell me about Crowley,” Sam says.
“He’s still part human. Whatever your blood did to him really stuck. And I’m pretty sure he was an angel originally, but he might have forgotten. He’s more confused than he’s ever been, and that makes him that much more dangerous.”
“His minions aren’t all his like he thinks, a lot of them are still Lucifer or Abaddon types, some even still are in the Meg camp if you can believe that,” Dean says.
“So weak, confused, unprotected by those who appear loyal? Sounds like our kind of gig,” Sam says. “Cas said you had a chance to take him out when you were down there.”
“Yeah. I did. The Blade wanted him, it was hard to not just take his head off,” DemonDean answers.
“What stopped you?” Sam asks.
“I…had to finish. Your life was on the line,” DemonDean says.
“You make a pretty crappy demon, you know that?” Sam says, sounding very touched by what Dean’s just told him.
The hours crawl by, the last few interrupted only by Dean’s ranting apologies for everything and his increasing crying jags. Dean doesn’t care anymore who knows that he’s sorry for all of it. He can’t hold it all back and take in Sam’s blood too. He isn’t big enough to contain it, Sam is too strong within him now, forcing his way through, getting his way like usual. Setting things right because he’s the one with the still mostly functioning moral compass.
“You know I admire you, right, Sammy?” Dean slurs, head hanging low.
“No. I don’t know that,” Sam answers. “Pretty sure it’s the opposite, Dean.”
Dean manages to lift his head up enough to see his brother’s sad eyes. He’s so certain about this.
“You’re so wrong, you don’t get it? Why I do all this stupid shit?”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“’s why I even keep trying. Keep tryin’ to be someone you c’n be proud of. I always fuck it up somehow.” Dean feels all remaining strength flow out of him in a rush with that admission. He never thought he’d admit something like that to Sam, and he can’t take it back. But the blood, it’s insistent, demanding that he let all this out to make room for it. It feels like it’s expanding within his veins, growing impossibly larger, like Sam is actually inside of him.
“Can feel you in me, Sammy. You’re everywhere in me now.”
“I know, Dean. That’s the idea, it’s gonna work, you’ve just got to hang in there for one more round,” Sam says, the note of pleading back in his voice.
Dean can’t say anything, he can barely nod to acknowledge he’s not giving up. But he clings to Sam’s words, taking them inside along with the gift of his blood. His brother, bleeding for him once again. His innocence and strength wiping all the darkness away. Hell’s never stood a chance against Sam. Not his Sam, always the one full of light and life and goodness.
Sam grips his arms and whispers in his ear. “Dean, stop talking, you gotta save your strength, okay?”
Dean looks up at him through bleary eyes and tries to smile. Good, he’s glad Sam heard all that. Maybe once he’s dead and gone, Sam will be able to look back and remember him in a good way. It wasn’t all bad, they had some really good times. When he’s gone, Sam will be happier.
“You’re not going anywhere, Dean. I’ve got you.”
Dean doesn’t know anything else except Sam’s voice, his world narrowed down to a pinprick of consciousness left. He hears Sam talking excitedly with someone else, a low deep voice that hurts his ears. Must be Cas. That idiot, still hanging around them for some stupid reason, why he bothers, Dean never understood.
“Because you are my friend, Dean. And this is what friends do for each other. You and your brother taught me that,” Cas says, his strong hands, gentle on his head.
Dean wishes he could say something, thank him for being there for Sam at least, but he can’t find any words inside of him. They’re all gone, all washed away by the blood, by the pain of transformation. Who knew turning back into yourself would be more painful than becoming a demon? But he’s got to do it, he can’t give up, not after what Cas and Sam have done to get him here. He vaguely hears their voices, low and encouraging as the needle enters his vein once more. The sweet sweet blood of Sam pours through him, wiping all the pain away. It’s just the weight and reality of Sam, his Sam moving through him, smoothing down all the jagged edges of anything demonic still inside. Until there’s nothing but Sam and him, then it’s just plain him.
Dean opens his eyes and sees the top of Sam’s head, buried in his lap, he can feel Sam’s arms wrapped around his legs, can feel the wetness from Sam’s tears soaked through his jeans.
Sam looks up, face filled with joy, hope, surprise, fear.
“Is it really you?”
“Yeah. Think so,” Dean manages to say, before all he knows is darkness.