The panic room again. Sometimes Sam doubted Bobby built it for his own use in the first place, because Sam was the only person who ever seemed to get locked away inside it.
This might've made Sam mad once upon a time, but now he just filed it away as another interesting fact, and that was why he didn't want to go back. Without his soul, Sam could lie in a place he used to hate, and instead of focusing on the same bullshit as the other times he'd been locked up and tied down (the pained betrayal when Dean hadn't trusted him to do the right thing about Lilith, and the fear of what he'd have to do to escape; the desperate longing for blood after they ran into Famine, and the self-loathing for wanting it again), he could think things through logically. Maybe he could get somewhere this time.
If his soul was going to be magically zapped from Hell into his body, Sam didn't think he'd have a chance at avoiding it. But if someone was going to personally to shove it back down his throat, to watch him suffer an immediate psychotic break and lose all of himself forever, then Sam might be able to fight. It wasn't a very good chance, tied down the way he was, but it was better than nothing. Sam had escaped from worse in the past, but he didn't think he could talk himself out of this one. People usually could smell the bullshit when Sam tried to guess his way through a conversation, and Dean and Bobby were better at sniffing him out than most. There was no point in faking up some emotional response to the situation for them, and they'd already rejected his logical arguments. He couldn't even use the old wounded lover card with Dean this time because he didn't want to remind Dean of the ways things had been. That would play right back into Dean's hand, and Dean's hand sucked.
At least there was no guarantee Dean would be able to hold up his end of the bargain in the first place. He'd done impressive things in the past in the name of protecting Sam, sure, but he had a worse track record when it came to killing people he thought were innocent. That squeamishness caused problems on a few jobs after he gave up suburbia and came back to the life, but it might work in Sam's favor for once. If Dean couldn't go through with it, maybe Sam could get out of this in one piece. Maybe Bobby could, too.
It said something fucked up about the angels' relationship with God that they thought patricide was the most soul-scorching thing out there. No wonder they were so trigger-happy with the apocalypse if they thought killing your father was worse than killing your children, or your brothers. Hell, when Balthazar started on the uninhabitable spiel, Sam expected to be told to kill Dean. It seemed nicely symmetrical, Dean killing himself to get Sam's soul back and then Sam killing Dean as well to keep from having to use it. But the angels had been killing their brothers like it was nothing for as long as Sam had known them, and although Sam could've done the same now, they apparently didn't think enough of the act to care if he did it or not.
His shoulders were starting to get stiff, and Sam tried to roll them as much as he could. He wasn't really sore yet, like he'd wound up when Dean and Bobby trapped him the first time, but he'd be uncomfortable if he had to wait here for the rest of Dean's allotted twenty four hours. He tugged at the cuffs again, although he really knew better than to do that. He'd only wind up rubbing his wrists raw if he kept pulling at them, and while he was fine with that in general, he didn't want to hurt himself for no reason. He'd never make any progress like that.
He remembered Dean, when Dean was fresh out of Hell: the constant stream of empty bottles bobbing around in Dean's wake, the times Sam found him sleeping in the bathtub with the lights on and a weapon in each hand, the shoelaces Dean cut through because they'd stiffened past the point of untying since he last took off his boots. Sam didn't want to go through that, plain and simple, and Dean had gotten off easy compared to Sam. Dean was worked over by a demon who wanted to remake him, who wanted to break him only so he could be built up again. Sam was stuck with the actual baddest motherfuckers down there, and they weren't trying to do anything with his soul but entertain themselves. Sam was perfectly happy for his soul to stay in Hell; the very last thing he wanted was for it to be shoved back inside him behind some flimsy wall. Walls could break, and Sam was as close to afraid as he'd been in a long time at the thought of what might come when the one in his head broke.
Sam lifted his head and one hand as high as he could get both of them, craning his neck to look at the metal around his wrist, and then cursed as he lay back down. Even if he broke all the bones he could in one of his hands — which would be a job in itself, since the cot had been reinforced and bolted to the floor since his last visit — the bracelets were too tight to slip off. He was down to guessing what was mostly likely, whether they'd resoul him from a distance or in person, whether or not they'd sedate him. He closed his eyes and tried to conserve his energy. At least he had time to rest, to find some way out of this, before Dean was due back.