Finish Lines

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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time


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Supernatural, Soul's Weight
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Soul's Weight - Chapter 5

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Masterpost ~ Chapter 4

Chapter 5




Dean enters the doorway that Death had passed through and sees what looks like a temple or ritual room, a high airy ceiling with clerestory windows letting in all the bright California sun, the heavily plastered walls a rich almost clay color, there’s something that looks like it could be an altar, a long deep purple velvet covered couch and two matching overstuffed chairs are along the opposite wall.  In the center of the room is a deep pool of still clear water, arcane symbols that aren’t familiar are drawn around the edges in gilt and there are four golden rings that look to be affixed to the bottom of the pool. 

The tall candles on the altar blaze up brighter as Death approaches it and speaks too quietly for Dean to hear.  Jesse silently nudges Dean towards the couch and joins Death at the altar.  They both speak in unison in a language that doesn’t sound at all familiar to Dean, not Latin or even Enochian, something older, more slippery and changeable, the syllables weaving in and out and taking form then dissipating.  Dean sits on the edge of the couch and waits, heart pounding in fear.

Finally Death and Jesse turn around to face him, they’re no longer looking encouraging or smiling, but instead have very serious faces.  Dean swallows nervously and tries to steady himself for whatever is happening next.  Jesse motions Dean to stand up, so he does slowly, touching his pocket where the amulet lies, warm and steady.

Death speaks in a low, sonorous, yet ringing tone that resonates and hangs in the still air of the otherwise silent room, “Dean Winchester, you have agreed to undergo an Anima Recensio, if you succeed your reward will be your brother Samuel Winchester, returned from Cavea Lucifer.  There may be a need for you to share a portion of your soul if your brother’s is damaged beyond our ability to repair it.  If you agree to these terms, then remove your clothing and enter the Aquam Terramque Poscere.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand all the Latin words that you used, can I get a translation before I agree?”

Death answers him seriously, “That is acceptable.  Anima Recensio is essentially Life Review, your major life choices will flash before your eyes, as it does when you expire.  But instead of just watching what actually happened, you will see and experience what would follow on from the choices that you most regret.  You will see what would have happened had you made the different choice that you hold as having been preferable in your subconscious.  The point is for you to take on and battle within yourself your burdens of fear and guilt. Your willingness to be crucified on the cross of your own doubleness and to hold this inwardly is the only way you can be reconciled with God.  It is the classic battle of the hero Dean.  You must take on and battle and reconcile within yourself in order to win the prize.”

Dean thinks he pretty much gets it, but there were other words used that he didn’t understand, “Okay, I think I understand, what about the other words?”

Cavea Lucifer is Lucifer’s Cage.  And let me be clear, Sam’s soul will likely be quite damaged as time passes differently there as you know, and he has had the attention of two archangels for quite a while now.  You may have to share a part of your soul with him, like donating a kidney, but the likely result will be a type of soul bonding.  We can’t predict exactly how that will turn out as we cannot know the exact state of Sam’s soul.”

“Alright I can accept that, and the last?”

“The Aquam Terramque Poscere is the pool you see before you, essentially it means Water Clock That Demands Submission.  The four rings that you see will restrain your hands and feet, and you will be held completely under the water during the Anima Recensio.  You will not drown, but it will not be at all pleasant if you take too long to complete the Life Review.  The water drains steadily as it is a Water Clock, a timer of sorts.  You do not want to still be battling in the Life Review when all the water has drained from the pool, it would be likely to kill you.”

“And I have to get naked to do all this?”

“Yes Dean, the water accepts only a human body within it, otherwise its dampening effects are compromised and you would not survive the Life Review.”

“Okay, I agree to everything.”  Dean drops his head, not wanting to look at Death and Jesse as he slowly removes his clothing.  He touches the amulet one last time as he folds his jeans and places them on the stack of clothes.  “Sammy hold on I’m coming for you, wish you could be with me right now, wish you could go with me.” He fervently wishes to himself trying to not completely freak out.  His mind and body give him instead the the now familiar gottagettoSamgottagettoSam internal chant starting up once again.  But it helps, he knows this. He can do this. A hero’s battle can’t be fought by someone who is too freaked out to even stand up without shaking in fear.

Dean walks to the edge of the pool and steps in, lying down and putting his ankles in the two rings at one end of the pool.  He looks up at Jesse who nods and Death who raises his eyebrows.  Dean takes a deep breath and lays down putting his hands through the other two rings.  All four rings contract until he’s held tightly.  He’s underwater, looking up at the beams of sunlight coming through the windows near the ceiling through the last bubbles of his air traveling through the water. 

Dean’s fears leave him with those last bubbles, he knows he’s risking his life here in attempting this, but his life isn’t worth much to him without Sam there to share it with. The cool water is soothing and he doesn’t feel the panicked impulse to breathe quite yet, holding in his mind his soul-deep need to be with his brother again.  He fills his mind with thoughts of Sam, baby Sam, chubby-cheeked toddler Sam, angsty emo pre-teen Sam, before and after college Sam, and the Sam who jumped in the cage.  They’re all there at once, his reason for doing this, his reason for still existing. His last thought is repeating his wish that Sam could be here with him somehow.

He can see Death and Jesse turn back to the altar and then he’s no longer there, he’s pulled by a sharp feeling in his heart that vibrates through his whole being and is holding someone’s hand.  He looks down and sees twelve year old Sammy, grinning up at him.  “Hi Dean.”

Dean’s so startled to see him, this is Sam as he looked as they’d lit those fireworks in that empty field, a Sam filled with joy, untainted by a life of blood and pain and loss.  He’s so small, god he’d forgotten how small Sam had been back then, with those big eyes shining with love and trust.  “Uh. Hi Sammy, what are you doing here? Thought I’d have to be on my own for this.”

“You get a psychopomp, a spirit guide, and I guess you wished for me, so here I am. C’mon get going Dean, it’s starting.”

 They’re standing in Sam’s college apartment, seeing Jessica burn on the ceiling which collapses on Sam, no one is there to rescue him, no one crashes through the door and pulls him out.  Sam comes to and crawls out just before the whole room is completely engulfed in flames.  Dean sees him stagger out the front door, passing out, taken away by ambulance to a burn unit.  He never calls Dean during months of recovery believing that Dean wouldn’t care because they haven’t talked in years.  Azazel gets to Sam in his dreams and turns him much earlier to using his powers, he wins at the battle of the special kids in Cold Oak, killing Jake Talley and accepting the role of Boy King and general of Azazel’s demon army.  The apocalypse starts and Lucifer destroys the Earth.

Dean watches all of this happen in a flash, Sammy’s hand in his a small comfort in the face of such destruction.  The only conclusion he can draw is that his long-held belief that his weakness in going to get Sam at Stanford when he couldn’t take being alone and searching for his father was the worst thing he could have ever done is totally and completely wrong.  He’s always believed (or maybe just hoped) that  there was a real chance that Sam wouldn’t have lost Jessica, that he’d have been okay, normal, a successful happy married lawyer, white picket fence, all that. 

But now he sees that he was wrong.  All this time he’s carried that burden of guilt, that it had all been his fault that Sam was back in the Hunt, that all that’s happened was his fault because he was too weak to let Sam go, to let him have his own life separate and apart from Dean.  He accepts it now, that it was the right thing to do, that his presence in Sam’s life all these past five years actually saved Sam so that Sam could save the whole world. 

Dean looks down at Sammy, “I really saved you by getting you from Stanford back then, it was the right thing to do.”

Sammy squeezes his hand and looks up at him with a proud smile on his face, “Good Dean, you’re doing good, ready for the next thing?”

“Yeah let’s do it.”

Another pull on his heart, pain hits him, radiating through his whole body again and then they’re standing on a dark road next to the Impala, watching Sam walk off angrily with his backpack.  They see Dean go after Sam and drag him back to the car where they keep having a loud argument about searching for Dad.  The Impala turns and they’re driving to Sacramento instead of solving the Scarecrow case.  Sam still meets Meg anyways when he’s researching a possible lead on Dad at a pawn shop.  She gets him drunk in the afternoon, seduces him and convinces him to leave Dean.  At her suggestion he embraces his powers and the same end result happens, Lucifer destroying the world. 

Dean shakes his head at first, he was so sure that if he’d just not left Sam by the side of the road then he wouldn’t have chanced upon Meg, she wouldn’t have been able to follow them, kill their friends, and capture Dad.  He’d always felt so guilty for taking off  and leaving Sam like that when they fought, for stubbornly insisting that they stay and solve the Scarecrow case because Dad had said so.  Because Dad had left them alone for a reason.  He remembers how scared he was that he’d never see Sam again that it would have been the worst thing in the world, and yeah, it really would have been, the world would have ended. 

So now he sees that it wouldn’t have changed anything to not have let Sam walk off and meet Meg at that point, he was going to meet her anyways.  Dean smiles to himself as he remembers that their closeness increased after they were reunited.  How proud he was of Sam for stealing a car and coming to his rescue.  That increased closeness between them kept them together through the hard times that came afterwards, and that had been when Sam had declared “That if they were going to see it through, they were going to see it through together.” 

 Sammy tugs on his hand, “You’re getting it Dean, good, let’s keep going.”

The pain in his heart this time feels like a familiar memory, he’s experienced just this thing before when that rawhead had almost killed him.  Then he’s seeing himself lying in a hospital bed arguing with Sam.  He sees himself convince Sam to not contact any faith healers, to just let him die, which he does, and he sees what happens to Sam.  Sam falls apart completely, and makes a deal with a crossroads demon, bringing Dean back to life but agreeing to do what Azazel wants.  With the same damned end result, Lucifer torching the planet. 

Dean had always felt so guilty that someone had to die by the hands of that leashed Reaper so that he could live.  He never thought his life was worth anything special, that it had made a difference that he had lived instead of that other random person.  Even though the preacher had told him that he had chosen to heal Dean because he could tell that he was “a young man with an important purpose. A job to do that he hadn’t done yet.”  Dean can just barely accept this idea that he’s special or worthwhile, self-esteem never having been one of his strong points.  But he does it now, no matter how hard it is, because he sees now how much of an impact on Sam and his choices he makes, how important it is that he’s with Sam, helping and guiding and just being there for him through it all. 

Sammy’s nodding at him excitedly, pulling him towards the next thing, “You’ve got it now Dean, a few more to go, c’mon!”

Now his heart feels an ache more than a sharp pain, an ache of loss and he knows this is going to be a bad one, a harder one.  There they are in that falling apart cabin facing off against their father, who is demanding the Colt, Sam’s chosen to side with Dean once again, and Dean is pointing that gun right at his father, who hasn’t shown his yellow eyes yet.  And Dean shoots.  The zapping flashes of light go off signaling the death of something particularly nasty, no smoke pours out though, the demon is dead.  Sam rushes to their fallen father’s side and looks up at Dean, with an unsaid “how could you?” written all over his grief-stricken face.   Dean sees himself slide into a dark depression, eventually committing suicide not much longer afterwards.   Meg is at Sam’s side, taking over his place with Sam, taking over control of what Azazel thought to possess.  Dean’s then hell-ward bound as a suicide, where he promptly breaks the First Seal, kicking off the Apocalypse right on schedule.  Sam’s gone darkside quickly, and it all snowballs into the usual endgame of Lucifer wrecking the world. 

Dean can’t help but cry at this point at the massive load of pain coming down on him remembering how everything came down to that moment, how he failed to kill the demon when he had the chance, his father could have gone to Heaven instead of Hell.  He cries for the loss of his father all over again, knowing now that his Dad was going to die no matter what they did in that cabin, and that Dean was going to end up in Hell at some point whether by making a demon deal or by committing suicide. He realizes that all that matters in the end is that the choices Dean’s made have ensured that he’s there for Sam when he needs him most.  That the crucial time for him to be there is when the choice Sam has to make about furthering the use of his demon granted powers is happening.  If he’s not there, Sam feels he has no point in living in a world without Dean and goes darkside.

 It’s now apparent to Dean, deep down that the connection that he has with Sam, what they mean to each other is the key.  He’s tried to deny it his whole life, but they’re wrapped up tighter than a tangled mess of extension cords.  They don’t work separately, everything they do, everything they’ve ever done deeply affects the other.  All he can do is accept that as truth, take it in and stop resisting it. 

Sammy rubs a comforting hand over Dean’s back as he finishes his crying jag, “See Dean, you’re really stuck with me, just like I always said. We gotta keep going, don’t stop now.”

He pulls himself up, wipes his eyes roughly with the back of his hand and takes Sammy’s hand again, feeling that sharp pull in his heart once more and sees the dark muddy street of Cold Oak, he’s running towards Sam as fast as he can, Jake sneaking up right behind Sam.  He gets to Sam just barely in time throwing him to the side taking Jake’s blade through the stomach, dying in Sam’s arms.  Sam throws off Bobby’s attempts at help just like Dean had, and makes that oh too familiar now deal with the crossroads demon, debuts as the Boy King and Lucifer’s steamrolls over the whole planet once again. 

Everything he’s got, everything left inside him had always been so sure that if he’d just been a little bit faster and gotten to Sam in time, that everything that came to pass afterwards would have been okay.  He couldn’t be more wrong.  He sees now that he had to live through the experience of losing Sam permanently like that to be pushed into making that demon deal.  He’d resisted doing it to bring Dad back, but just barely.  He’d learned that lesson of what’s dead should stay dead.  But not when it came to Sam, he was of course the exception because a world without Sam didn’t seem all that worth living in any longer.  The sacrifice that he made to bring Sam back was worth it in the end, because in the end, Sam saved the world. 

All this time he’d doubted that choice of bringing Sam back, Sam had said it many times that he shouldn’t have, that he wasn’t worth Dean going to Hell.  But now he gets it, that it was the only way, it was the right thing to do, they were both necessary to this whole sequence of events.  They both have to make it to the cemetery in Stull to stop Lucifer, together.  Dean surrenders to this knowledge with a shudder deep into his soul, knowing more clearly how free will and fate and destiny interact in this intricate dance.  This arcane knowledge is almost too much for his all-too human brain, but Dean drops Sammy’s hand, and curls his hands into fists making bloody crescents in his palm to remind himself.   

Sammy looks up at him, and holds his forearm instead, “Dean I know this is getting harder, but you’re going to make it, let’s keep at it.”

Thinking to himself what could be worse than realizing that yes indeed he was always fated to end up spending time in Hell, Dean feels his skin warming unpleasantly and all too familiarly as his heart almost explodes with pain.  Without even opening his eyes, he knows he’s there, back in Hell, he can hear it and smell it, the never ending screams, the burning stench of sulfur.  He forces himself to look, and there he sees himself on the rack, Alastair bent over him, offering him yet again the chance to step off and take up the knife.  He sees himself refuse, over and over again for ten long years until he’s reached the end of the forty years he spent there.  But instead of being wrenched out in a blaze of white light and the fluttering wings of the angels sent to retrieve him from his torment he’s still there stuck on the rack.  Heaven didn’t need to rescue him right away, since he’s endured the torture, and not broken the First Seal there is no need to get him out of Hell quite yet.  The angels can wait until they need to use him as Michael’s vessel.

But then suddenly, he sees Sam stride into view, not the Sam he knows and loves but Sam as the Boy King he was destined to become.  He’s taken over Hell, looking after it now that he’s destroyed Lucifer and is busy dismantling the planet all by himself. Lilith at his side.  Dean’s caught in a spiral of horror at actually seeing his brother turned into this demonic creature, but he finds that it’s now become routine to see the end result of all these things he’s beaten himself up for over all these years.  All these loads of bullshit regret weren’t worth the weight on his soul.  Alastair’s taunts about how his father hadn’t broken in Hell come back to him, and he remembers the deep shame he’d felt. 

But now that he’s seeing it another way, there isn’t anything else, but to be proud that he had held out exactly as long as he needed to against the worst torture they could dish out.   His experience in Hell wasn’t a good thing of course, but it was necessary and if he hadn’t gone there and been raised from Perdition by Cas, they maybe wouldn’t have had Cas on their side.  Letting go of those bags of regret and guilt he’s been carrying about what happened in Hell and how he acted when he was back in the land of the living isn’t as hard as it would have been at the beginning of all this.  He lets loose with a loud sigh of relief; an almost physical reaction to the release of this heavy weight he’s been carrying all these years.  Dean’s heart feels different, that hole that Famine had described feels as if it’s been filled in almost completely.

 Sammy’s tugging on Dean’s hand again, “Feel a little better now Dean?  C’mon what’s next?”

Then Dean hears her voice, her hated lisping oily voice, convincing Sam to stop him from killing her. Over and over he almost does but is barely stopped by Sam.  If only he’d done it, he’s fantasized about it so many times, if he’d only killed her the first chance he’d realized she was bad news, but he remembers just in time, Sam had needed her while he was gone in Hell.  It’s awful to admit that, but she kept him alive long enough for him to at least get back.  But that’s not what his most fervent wish about Ruby is, it was always that he wished he’d been smart enough to figure out her scheme before it was too late.  Finding out after the fact, after the deed had been done, when he could have prevented it all so easily, was one of the biggest things that led to him pushing Sam away after Lucifer rose. 

So that’s what he gets to see, himself arriving in that deserted, desecrated stone chapel in Ilchester with plenty of time to stop Sam from killing Lilith.  He sees the disbelief and then relief in Sam’s eyes at hearing about Ruby’s plan straight from Dean; they grab Ruby and force her to tell Lilith the truth.  Lilith leaves in a blast of black smoke and Ruby ends up stabbed with her own knife, flashing out on the stone cold floor.  Lucifer doesn’t rise after all, at least not that day.  Instead Lilith figures out another way to free Lucifer without her having to die, demons can always find a loophole.  She captures Dean and holds him prisoner until Sam agrees to use his powers, he goes darkside, she feeds him some of her excess mojo and together they’re able to free Lucifer anyways.  The world ends bloody and Dean is not one bit surprised.   

All this time since that day that Lucifer rose, Dean’s regretted not getting to Sam in time, he always thought that if he’d just made it there a few minutes earlier there would have been a chance.  But the heavy wheels of fate and destiny go grinding on without ceasing no matter which human bodies throw themselves in the mechanism.  The more times he sees it happen the more he’s starting to realize that what he and Sam did manage to do was pretty fucking spectacular, the world didn’t end, Lucifer didn’t level the planet, he’s back in the Cage for good.  And as far as the vast majority of people know, not a damn thing of consequence has changed.  “Huh, maybe I did do a few things right, what do you think Sammy?”

 Sammy hugs him around his middle, looking up at him with that adorable hero-worship smile he’s missed more than he’d realized, “Yeah Dean, you really did.  Two more now, you’re almost out of water, you gotta hurry.”

Before Dean can even begin thinking about what the last two things could even be, his heart speeds up almost to the breaking point, thumping out of his chest in a rush of adrenaline.  He’s watching himself say YES the very first time Zachariah asked, right there in his father’s storage unit, as soon as he hears the words “You’re the vessel.  Michael’s vessel.”  He’s saying YES without a word to the stunned Sam next to him.  No explanation, no apology for leaving him with so much unresolved between them, just an overwhelming self-righteous need to set things right because He was the One who was supposed to stop the apocalypse.  The white light comes, Dean can barely hear Sam’s shouts of protest over the roar of Michael’s approach, “Bye Sam” is all Dean says and then he’s taken over by Michael. 

All the angels leave, and Sam is left alone.  He sees Sam collapse in a heap, unforgiven and abandoned by his brother and with no alternative but to say his own yes to Lucifer when he comes calling soon thereafter.  The archangels meet on the chosen field and battle for weeks, millions of people die just as Zachariah had predicted, eventually Michael triumphs, and the world as humans know it ends, bringing about the paradise on Earth that Zachariah had talked about.  It sure doesn’t look like any paradise Dean’s ever heard of, maybe it’s paradise for angels, but not for humans, just basically a better-lit, better-smelling version of Hell.

The only lesson Dean is left with is the same one he learned when Zachariah sent him into the Croatoan future, he needed to be there to stop Sam saying yes until they were ready with the horseman’s rings. Otherwise, the apocalypse was happening, either the straight-up angel version or Lucifer’s own.  Neither a good alternative for humanity and with God out of the picture, if Dean’s making the call, he’s choosing that the world stays as is. 

Dean can see now that the whole year that he and Sam spent fighting against either of them saying yes was all worth it.  Every painful day of it.  Because they were able to repair the bond that they shared.  They repaired it so well that they were able to save the whole damn world, just because they said so.  He’s never wanted Sam back beside him more than he does right now, wants so much to be able to turn to him and say “See, it was all worth it, what we did together, you and me.”  But Sam’s not there, at least not yet, but Sammy is. 

“Dean you’ve done it, you’re at the last one, quick you gotta finish, the water’s almost gone.” Sammy tells him, encouraging Dean to follow through to the end.

Dean hears it before he sees anything, the roaring, sucking sound of the cemetery ground opened up down into Lucifer’s Cage.  His stomach sinks like a stone, he can’t do this, can’t see this again, he just can’t.  But he feels the warmth of Sammy’s hand in his, and takes all the strength from it he can and opens his eyes.  LuciferSam and MichaelDean are at the edge holding onto each other, preparing to jump in together and then they’re gone and in the Cage, being tormented by the angels, then going through that mind meld thing. 

And instead of Dean winking out and being rescued by Cas, it’s Sam.  Sam who gets to be pulled topside to figure out how to rescue Dean.  But Sam doesn’t manage it, not even close, he falls apart, broken by the loss of his brother, again.  He refuses all help from Bobby, unable to ever connect with Cas. His desperation reaches such a level that he reopens the Cage, lets Lucifer out, bargains with him to say Yes to being his vessel if he’ll repair Dean’s damage from being in the Cage.  Michael gets Adam to say Yes and the LuciferSam versus MichaelAdam battle goes down in Stull again, MichaelAdam loses this time and Lucifer reigns, turning life for all of humankind into a literal Hell on Earth. A repaired Dean is left watching his angel possessed brother rule this new Hell.

So that’s it then, the most recent, but biggest guilt that Dean’s been carrying  is the stupidest of all, he’s been practically killing himself over it being him that got rescued from the Cage by Cas instead of Sam. And now he has to drop that and admit to himself that yes, he is that strong of a person, that yes he was able to stand being alone for all these months searching for a way to get Sam out. That yes Cas made the right choice and that it wasn’t even Dean’s choice in the first place so he had nothing to feel guilty about in the first place.  That yes Sam is a lot stronger than he is in a lot of ways, he was strong enough to overcome Lucifer himself.  But Dean has to admit to himself that he is stronger in a crucially important way.  He was the only one out of the both of them, able to survive long enough without the other to get this rescue from the Cage done.  The only thing he did after Cas pulled him out of the Cage was to choose to keep living and try to rescue Sam.  Which is exactly what Sam would have wanted him to do anyways. 

And that’s the whole point right? Sam’s getting rescued here, maybe even right now, that’s what’s about to happen hopefully.  Since he’s survived so far, at least he thinks he hasn’t died yet.  That must mean he did well enough. They’ll have to give him this, the only thing he wants, the only thing that matters, they have to give Sam back to him like they promised.  He feels so strong inside now, like all his parts have fit back together after being remade.  That’s got to mean something feeling this way, like maybe he survived this thing after all.  “It oughta be over by now, right?” he manages to whisper.

Sammy squeezes his hand and nods, smiling up at him through happy tears.

“Yes Dean, you’ve done well. Admirably really. One final thing and then you can get out and put your clothes back on.  Sum up and tell me what you’ve learned here.” Dean can hear Death but not see him, and Sammy’s gone, he’s missing the weight of his hand already.

And he’s back.

Dean slowly sits up in the very shallow water, removing his wrists and ankles from the gold hoops, pushing his hair up out of his eyes while he takes a deep breath.  Knowing that it all comes down to this, like a final exam, everything rests on being able to express what he’s just gone through.  But he pulls down deep from inside himself, in that strong, healed, remade soul that he’s been examining and goes for it. 

“Ok, a whole lot got thrown at me, but I’ll try and put it into words.  I learned that bearing all these burdens of fear and guilt my whole life is what is of value. That because I was able to do that and not completely break down makes me someone worthwhile to help.  So yeah, I accept that now, that I am worthwhile.  I think I learned that I haven’t valued my own soul’s worth, and I’m grateful that I’ve learned that now, because sacrificing myself over and over again hasn’t been the point of my life.  Living the best possible life in impossible circumstances is.  Making choices second by second, day by day, and living with the consequences of those choices instead of dwelling on regretting everything is what I need to do from now on.  That’s the reason I’m still here, alive.  The life I’ve lived with Sam is the fruit of all those choices and there’s nothing of more value to me than that.  I know with everything I am that the weight of my soul can be measured by that.” 

Dean finishes and looks up at Death and Jesse with raw naked hope on his face, needing more than anything for his words to be accepted, for his truth to be honored, for his Sam to be returned.

Jesse looks up at Death with a shining, proud smile, “Sounds like he’s got it, what do you think?”

“Yes, I do believe so.  Well done Dean.” Death pronounces.

Jesse points at the table next to the long couch, “There’s a towel there Dean, get dressed and rest on the couch, we’re going to do what we promised now.”

“You’re bringing him back to me?” Dean blurts out in relieved, uncontrolled excitement.

Jesse smiles and nods, “Yes we are, right now.  And remember what we said about probably needing to repair Sam’s soul.  Once we get him back here, it might get tricky, so be prepared and just try and follow our lead.  No one has ever done this before so I can’t tell you what exactly will be happening.”

Dean unsteadily pulls himself up to standing, the water pouring off his naked body back into the pool, he feels like he’s been run over by a truck, put through a hay-baler and left to dry in the desert.  “Is there something I could drink? I don’t know why I’m so thirsty since I was just in the water.” Then he looks at the towel he’s reaching for, where there is now a beautiful crystal carafe of ice water and tumbler glass where there wasn’t before.  “Thanks Jesse.”

Jesse doesn’t answer as he and Death are talking quietly over across the room in front of the altar.  No doubt preparing whatever it is they need to before working on bringing Sam back.  Dean slowly dries himself off with the towel, feeling like a ninety year-old man with arthritis, everything just aches like all his limbs had been pulled in all directions for hours.  Tugging his clothes back on seems like the most momentous accomplishment, and then all he can do is crash on the couch, drink the water, and watch to see what Jesse and Death do next. 

Chapter 6




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