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How To Fall

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Cold--

Sam gasps. His eyes fly open all at once and the darkness pours in.

It hurts. So he screams.

The sound echoes, dull and wasted against some vast space and wind too strong to do much else besides smother.

But none of that registers, none of it matters, not while his stomach is trying to escape up out his throat while his head turns inside out to get a better look at just what the fuck is happening. But by some miracle his insides don’t become outsides, so he simply falls forward under the relief of his guts still being mostly up to par with schematics.

He hits the snow all at once as the pain crawls up under his skull, burrowing deep and sharp. It’s changing, shifting into something that has decided it’s stuck with his body like this so it might as well make the best of it.

But something’s wrong, something icy and wet up past his knees, something that’s similar to the sharp cold slapping against his face in the dark - and he’s just realizing that it really is dark. Night dark - not eyes screwed shut dark, or some spell netherworld dark. Normal dark. And that’s what’s wet and wrong and all around him...

Snow.

It’s up to his thighs, thick and freezing. And that’s not all: there’s wind ripping through his hair, biting over his face and his ears. There’s still pain lacing up under his limbs like something’s trying to do embroidery with his skin, but another sense is replacing it, steadily as the dull solid thud of cold presses patiently into him. It’s the most obvious in that his fingers are going numb, dumbly clutching into the icy snow under them.

He focuses on that. The cold. It’s better than everything else even if it makes no goddamn sense at all.

He clings to it and manages to take one hard breath through his nose as he bites down on the pain. And then another. Then another. And okay… it’s a start, good enough to try and think, at least a bit. But it’s not that hard to let the thoughts spill is, starting with the screaming one: where the fuck am I?

Sam makes himself look, focus as the lingering lines of pain trace up the spread webs of his nerves.

He opens his eyes again.

Snow.

Lots of snow.

And dark.

Night. Cold. Snow. Lots of snow.

Shit.

He’s got to look exactly where he doesn’t want to. He know’s that, and the pain’s not so bad now. His eyes can actually make sense of things two feet in front of them as they adjust slowly to the dark. So he swallows. And he looks.

It’s blessedly underwhelming. The slice on his arm appears just as it should, one clean red line that looks more like ink in the darkness.

So there’s that…

He makes himself focus, evaluate, break down the pain in the practiced way he always did: what hurt where? What hurt how? Was it the pen knives in your lungs post-curse feeling, or the blinding white post-smiting brain stinging, or just the good old bone deep smashed against a wall four times too many aching? He can managed that at least, can’t he? Pain’s simple. Pain’s familiar. So he focuses.

The nasty under the skin transporter-gone-wrong feeling’s definitely of the magical variety… but nothing even close to recognizable and he’s damn glad it does’t seem to want to stick around long enough to get a name. Already he feels it easing out of him and into the snow-laden air. Which leaves the rest…

His arm does hurt. A bit. But just as it should, dull, simple post-cut ache. And there’s another hurt, sharp and silencing, but he’s already recognizing that as the cold from the snow working it’s way into his limbs.

So, still in one piece, it seems…

Okay. That’s him. Time for everything else. He squints against the whipping wind and heavy darkness. It’s not easy to see, but that’s getting better now, a bit, at least enough that shapes are coming out of the shadows. Tall ones.

Trees. It clicks and suddenly things seem to make a bit more sense.

The trees are sparse and large, pine, and all as deep in the drifts as he is. There are taller, fainter shadows in the distance. Mountains, maybe.

And jesus christ, where the hell is he?

He has to try and move. The pain is finally becoming distant enough to think about it, at least. He stands, and—

Shitshitshit…

It’s too damn soon, his body instantly screaming at him to cut it the fuck out. He pushes that aside because he’s long since perfected the art of that sort of thing, and not at all because fear and adrenaline are starting to eclipse agony with each passing second.

"DEAN!" He yells.

The wind rips against him all the harder, voice hardly anything at all, caught like a bit of paper and tossed up into the sky, useless and lost.

But he’s not thinking about that.

"BOBBY!”

The wind knocks his own voice playfully back in his face.

He tries to ignore the weight settling in his throat, swallowing hard before trying again.

“CAS! DEAN!”

Nothing.

Not even an echo.

Sam lets one hand run up into his hair, clutching tight as if that can hold the frankly overwhelming panic rising up in him at bay. He swallows and turns to look towards the trees again, because there’s not much else to do. That’s when he sees it.

A shape. It’s bulky and dark, in a pile in the snow a few meters off, and through the snow and the dark he can hardly see, but it’s obvious in an instant what it is.

A body. A human shaped body.

“HEY!”

The desperation of the call falls out before he can catch it, but he doesn’t let himself notice because he's surging through the snow before he has time to remember the pain still haunting up under his skin.

In any case moving seems to make it better. Or maybe getting closer to whatever’s lying in the snow makes it better. He can’t tell.

Whatever it is, whoever it is, it definitely is not moving. Sam’s hair's already half soaked, half frozen as he shoves it out of his face to try and see, but his eyes are getting better now, good enough to see a heavy streak of black over the snow that can only be blood, making his stomach sink tightly under him.

He’s moving faster now, struggling towards it against the weight of the snow stuck to his flannel, and he should yell out again but there’s some stupid tightness closing his throat and he can’t seem to get there, so he just keeps going, shoving the snow aside and reaching out with stretched fingers.

He only realizes how numb his hands have gone when they finally catch fabric and he hardly feels it at all. But that doesn’t stop him from gripping tight and pulling. Hard.

The weight resists, then rolls, unconscious and heavy.

Sam releases his grip very, very quickly.

He lets go, because it’s hard not to when falling backwards in a panicked scramble to get as far away as is humanly possible within two seconds, staring in wide eyed shock while terror gives your throat a good meaty squeeze, because he understands, now. The slumped figure bleeding out in the snow snaps all the jagged bits right into place.

He might not know where he is, but he knows why, and worst of all he knows how and who.

-----

“And if it doesn't work?" Dean paces back and forth over Bobby’s carpet as if he fully intends to wear right through it.

"Dean," Sam sighs, leaning heavily on the table, "We've been over this a thousand times. We have to try, it's all we can do."

And jesus christ, it really was closing in on a thousand, if the scattered remains of two weeks worth of fast food wrappers and all night research spread as far as the eye could see were anything to go by.

"Yeah, well, and I'm gonna have to ask a thousand times more till we get an answer within ten fucking miles of acceptable!” Dean yells, slamming his beer down on the cluttered desk and turning to Cas who stands silent towards the back of the room.

Cas looks tired. Sam notices, even if it seems like Dean doesn’t - not real exhaustion, but the kind of tired Dean never seems to see, the subtle weariness he always seems to take on after watching Dean bang his head against reality as if he thinks it will break under enough force.

"As I have told you, I cannot be certain." Cas’ eyebrows make that small concerned line in his forehead as he answers.

Sam groans. They’ve been over it for days, weeks - ever since they found the tome in the coven’s lair. Bobby and Cas had spent all hours with the damn thing, and now they were here, finally here, and there was only one last obstacle to get by, even if it was a particularly stubborn one...

Sam stands, “We're done talking about it. We've been talking about it since Maine. There’s nothing left to say. It's what we have, and we have to take that and run with it. We’ve got to run with something, anything.”

"Is that right?” Dean turns on him, “So we're just gonna go ahead and chuck all our well earned caution out the fucking window?"

"Dean," Sam insists, trying his best to stay calm, "We've waited too long already… How many people have died since we found this thing? How much closer is Zachariah getting, is Meg getting? And all the while we sit here weighing consequences like they even come close to measuring up.”

"He's right son," Bobby says quietly from behind the desk, staring down at his knitted hands, "I don't like it no more than you do, but we've been over it frontwards backwards and sideways, ain't gettin any clearer. And I’m not saying it’s any kind of crystal, but I think murky’s close as we get.”

Dean shuts his eyes, “I know, alright... I know."

Castiel steps closer, "We are running out of time, Dean. Lucifer is growing stronger each day. You saw what could happen if we do not succeed-“

"I know!" Dean snaps suddenly, "Jesus, I said I know,”

Castiel goes quiet, waiting, knowing there's more.

"Just… let's just go over it once more. Alright? Can we do that at least?” Dean asks, tone biting but expression pleading, edging into vulnerability.

Sam sighs, but he knows they're close now, closer than they have been for weeks. He sinks back into Bobby's moldy smelling sofa and runs a hand through his hair, "From what we can figure, it appears the spell was designed to eliminate an angel's abilities, to force a fall as it were."

"Yeah, angel trap door," Dean mutters, “Or?”

"Or…" Sam continues with a deep breath, “It eliminates the space between an angel and a vessel instantaneously."

"Like a freaking body snatcher's homing device,"

“Maybe…” Sam answers.

Dean snorts as if he knows exactly what to make of that and takes the pacing up a notch, “I still don’t get what makes this so muddled - I mean, is it just me, or are those two pretty fucking black and white results?"

"The language is… enigmatic.” Cas chimes in, "It seems to be a 'made flesh' curse - and I cannot be certain as to whether that indicates the ability to bring a vessel and an angel into the same space as a means for an angel to quickly locate their vessel, or whether it destroys any angelic abilities in the same manner as a fall.”

Bobby leans forward and looks into the pages spread out over the desk, "What it comes down to is we either end up with an angel who doesn't have enough juice to win a fiddle contest much less play apocalypse, or we get the devil ripping up my upholstery."

"And it's all set, ready to go?" Dean asks.

"Just about," Bobby sighs, "Not that it was any Sunday picnic - but Cas thinks we've got everything we need, except…"

"The blood of the vessel," Sam says.

Dean's face hardens, "I still say it should be me."

"No, Dean," Sam insists, "We've been over this - Michael's not the immediate problem."

"Sure is doing a convincing job acting like it,“

"Even so, we have to go for Lucifer. If we can drain his mojo this will all be over. Michael can do whatever he wants with him and he won't be able to put up enough of a fight to damage anything in the mean time. Sure, team Heaven's Wrath might be a bit pissed about losing their bets on a prize fight but still--"

"And what if it goes the other way?" Dean says roughly, "What if instead of this too-good-to-be-true-basement-hoodoo doesn't zap the devil into some useless bastard but instead has us dying the carpet all kinds of pretty new colors?”

Sam swallows, “If he comes here, we'll deal with it. I'd still have to say yes to him and you know I won't."

Dean groans and sits down rubbing his hands into his eyes.

"We’re really gonna have to do this, aren’t we?” He says finally, staring down at the floorboards under his boots as if they’ve personal betrayed him.

Castiel steps up behind him, "I will be prepared to take you all away from here the instant it seems as if it has gone wrong."

Dean swallows and shakes his head. He looks up into Sam's face.

"Are you sure about this, Sammy?"

Sam stares back, "No… but it's the best we've got."

"Tell you what," Dean says leaning back as the chair creaks, "When Chuck puts out New Testament 2.0 - don't let him use that as the subtitle."

"Alright, ladies," Bobby says standing, "Let's get this done before I realize how fucking stupid we all are for even trying."

"Sam," Castiel says sternly, "If we are truly to move forward, you must understand, I have no means of knowing with any certainly what might happen if we do this."

Dean lets out a groan but Sam tries to ignore it, that and the way Cas' eyes are drilling into him, and the way Bobby's are doing anything but.

He swallows once, steps forward and rolls up his sleeve.

----

Lucifer doesn't move.

There’s no denying it’s him. Even in the dark, and the snow, and the pretty atypical unconsciousness. There’s no denying it. It’s the same square jaw, solid weight, short messed blond hair as unkempt as his stubble, the olive tee and grey-green over shirt and those innocently lame dad jeans.

Sam’s heart’s still thudding loud enough to feel, but as he watches absolute nothing happen and realizes that he isn’t actually pinned down with all the force of angelic might, it starts to slow and steady into something normal. Well, ‘normal’ might be a bit relative…

He loosens his grip on his knife at his hip and finally he lets himself move closer.

Lucifer remains still, resting supine where Sam’s pulled him over. Well, 'resting' doesn't seem exactly accurate… the word would suggest some sort of calm respite, and the scene suggests anything but. It doesn’t look right what with the clothes and everything. More like something from a plane crash scene, something strewn, tossed aside with violence. And the blood pretty much does nothing but add to that. There's a cut across his forehead. Sam glances up to a tree just behind him. He might have hit it when… when what?

He remembers Bobby saying the words, voice low and rasping easily over the Latin, Cas standing at the ready behind them, a hand on each his and Dean's shoulder. He remembers running the blade over his arm. He remembers hearing the first drop hit the alter and then the whole room seemed to collapse and expand all at once. He'd felt Cas' hand tugged from his shoulder and he'd felt his hand grasp again only to miss, he’d heard Dean yell, smelled fire and ash and then nothing, nothing but white and cold and the pain ripping his skull in half.

And now…. now…

Sam looks around again, as if anything has changed and of course it hasn’t. Snow, trees, dark.

Where the hell is he?

He doesn't want to look at him again. There’s something so wrong about it. But he forces himself.

Lucifer is still there, fallen in the snow. His face looks calm, what he can see in the darkness at least, it might seem as though he were sleeping, if his arms and legs weren't sprawled in disarray.

Sam swallows and, before he can change his mind, he reaches out and pushes two fingers against his neck. It's warm, so warm he feels his fingers come back to life with a tingling pain, but he ignores it and pushes deeper, feeling for a pulse. It's there, but he’s realizing all at once he doesn't know if that's good or bad. Do angels have pulses?

Sam’s body shivers hard without asking permission and he realizes for the first time in over a year Lucifer is the least of his problems. He stands up and squints against the dark.

The snow's actually thinning, and as he looks up he can see the cloud cover shifting past the moon, shedding just that much more light into the world.

He can see now that there's a vast flat expanse of snow off in front of him, a lake probably, frozen and hidden under the white. Squinting, his eyes trail along what he guesses to be the shore, over the gentle curves of hidden rocks, the tall dark lines of pines, and something else, something not quite right with the rest of it.

He drags himself through the snow to try and see more clearly, squinting hard and feeling his chest surge gratefully when the clouds give just a bit more and the moonlight reflects off something on whatever it is.

Glass- he realizes all at once. Windows.

He can see it now - it’s geometric, obvious against the natural curves of everything else. It’s a house - a structure. Something. And that’s good enough. It’s great. It’s a fucking miracle.

His legs are truly going numb now, ears starting to thud painfully and he hasn't been able to feel his hands for a while. It’s sinking in that he’s in trouble here, and not the familiar kind, something worse and definite and growing all the more real each second. He can feel his chest starting to shake and knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s well and truly fucked.

The house is a ways off, almost half way around the lake. He has to move. Now.

Sam turned towards the structure, then stops. He looks back over his shoulder.

Despite the flurry, he can still make out the dark figure lying prone behind him. There's that vaguely familiar blond hair, dark on one side from blood, partially obscured by snow. One hand seems to reach, unmoving, in his direction, fingers curled dumbly against the cold.

Sam doesn't let himself think about that, thinking isn't helping. It's past that now. He can feel the tremors starting all up and down his body, hear his muscles begging him to slow down, to just stop and sleep, and he knows what that means. Soon enough it will be too late.

Turning back towards the cabin, he takes one step, and stops.

"Shit." He swears, turning back again, "Shit, shit, shit.”

His fingers, stiff with frost, grip the fabric of Lucifer's overshirt, trying to gain purchase. He's heavy, but at least he's warm. Sam breathes harder and tries to lift him higher, gasping out against the cold.

With a steadying breath, he attempts to take a step and falls promptly through the deep of the snow.

Sam coughs out a mouthful of snow and manages to get up again. This time he pulls the unconscious body up sideways, looping one arm around Lucifer's chest, using the other to tug him firmly by the shoulders. He takes a step. He doesn’t fall, so he takes another.

After what feels like an hour he can only vaguely remember what it was like to feel most of your body. He doesn’t stop, but it’s not a conscious choice. It’s the simple fact that there’s absolutely no other option. There’s nothing but one step, and another, and another. It’s either that or the cold.

He doesn't look back. He hardly even looks up. Each time he does the building seems further than it did before, so he shuts his eyes. It's easier that way. He doesn't think about the weight of the snow or how he can't feel his face any longer. He grips his hands against the warmth of the body against his, that's all it is, warm. That's all it's going to be.

His arm tightens, pulling the weight of it closer. He keeps going, and finally, finally he’s there.

It's a house - more of a cabin really, well, more of a shack if he's being entirely honest. If he’d been more than half conscious he might have thought for two seconds before shouldering the door open. But he isn’t, so he doesn’t and the thing isn’t even locked and falls open easily. Sam pushes his way in and shuts the winter out behind them.

He drops the body unceremoniously onto the floor, hands scrambling at his pockets. His fingers close around his lighter and he flicks it on. The little flame lights up the cabin, dull orange with long tall shadows. It’s simple, bare bones. He doesn’t take much time to look around after catching sight of the wood stove against the center of the far wall with the neat stack of firewood beside it.

Sam falls towards the thing all at once, knees hitting the wooden floor in a way that definitely would hurt it he could still feel anything. His hands are so numb he can hardly get them to work but after a few tries he gets the stove door open and he manages to get some logs into a decent pile inside. He knows there must be paper and kindling but there’s no time to look for it, his chest is still shuddering hard and now that the warmth of another body against his is gone his teeth are starting to chatter and he knows what that means.

He has to hurry.

His hands fly back to his pockets tugging out the little kerosene bottle that’s always there, dumping it onto the logs, and shoving his lighter in after.

The stove bursts into life with such ferocity that Sam has to fall back in order to ensure the sanctity of his eyebrows but the heat of it feels alive against his face and he finally lets himself breathe out in relief. He waits one minute, maybe two, and when he’s sure the logs are alive he shuts the door and falls onto his back on the floor.

He lies there, listening with his eyes pressed shut as the fire cracks and snaps in the stove.

He’s still numb, but through it there’s a small sensation against his hip, something familiar.

In a second he's bolt upright, snatching at his pocket and pulling out the phone as it buzzes under his fingers. He looks desperately towards the service indicator - one bar, flicking in and out as he moves and then the damp weight of it is against his face--

“Dean?!”

"Sam!" Dean's voice filters through the wavering connection.

"Yeah," Sam gasps, throat still raw from exertion, but there at least, "Yeah it's me."

"What the hell happened?!”

“I- I don't know," Sam shuts his eyes tight, "Something went wrong,"

"Yeah, no shit, something went wrong. Are you alright?"

"I think so… cold, but I think I'm okay. Where am I?"

"Bobby pulled up your phone's GPS once you popped out of here but it's been fuzzy, something’s interfering and making it hard to know exactly. It doesn't make sense, Sam."

Where am I?" Sam repeats carefully.

He hears Dean swallow through the phone, "Canada, north… You're not close Sam, we can’t even be exactly sure where.”

"I don't care," Sam grits, "Get me out of here."

Dean pauses and Sam knows that silence. He can almost see Dean’s expression twist with the weight of finding the right words.

"What? Dean, tell me."

"Cas says he can't get you. He says something's wrong."

Sam shuts his eyes tighter.

"But we're coming, okay, you hear me Sam?" Dean says, voice hardening, "We're coming to get you."

Sam's phone beeps and he realizes with a sudden tight wretch it’s the low battery.

"Dean,” Sam says, hating how terrified he sounds but fuck it, he is terrified, “Dean, the phone's going to die,"

"It's alright," Dean says in that voice Sam knows he uses when he’s trying to convince himself it is, “We’ve got a pretty good idea where you are - you just have to stay there and wait for us to get you. We’ll find you.”

"I can't," Sam insists, "There's nothing here, Dean, I have to get somewhere, I--"

"There's nowhere to go!" Dean's voice suddenly shouts, "I know it's bad Sam, but there's nowhere else.”

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Look, we can see where you are, at least the area, and it's… you’re out there Sammy, you're way out there. I don't know what happened but you can't move. There's nothing for miles, and if you get lost and your phone is dead, I don't know if Cas will be able--"

"Alright," Sam says, cutting him off before the sick feeling in his stomach gets any worse, "Alright, I'll wait. I found a place - I’ll wait.”

He hates the next question but it comes anyways.

"How long?"

Dean pauses.

Sam's phone beeps again.

"Dean! How long? The battery—“

"A month or two, alright!” Dean yells finally, "I don't know Sam - maybe more."

Sam swears. His stupid shoulders have started shaking again.

"But we're coming, don't you think for a second that we're not. You just have to hold on."

Sam clenches his fists against the phone and tries to breathe. He lets himself look over across the floor to the slackened body by the door.

"Dean... there's something else."

"What—“

The phone dies.

Sam doesn’t move.

His eyes are locked on the wooden floor. His numb fingers keep the phone tight against his face, cold, and a little damp.

He can feel the warmth of the fire against his cheek, aching the heat back into his body. His clothes feel damp and clammy against him, but he doesn’t care. His whole body hurts, screams, hates him more than he probably knows right now.

After a moment, maybe more than one, Sam lets his hand fall back to his side and drops the phone down to the floor. He stares at it for a long time and then lowers himself to the floorboards as well.

He hits the ground harder than he meant to, the smooth wood actually feeling almost warm under the cold of his cheek. He stares without really looking at anything as his eyelids push heavily down into a half shut haze.

The orange light and long black shadows battle gentle across the wooden planks. They catch along the body by the door.

He hasn’t moved from where Sam dropped him. His head is turned away from Sam’s, all he can see is the bend of his neck beyond the hill of his torso and the weight of his shoulders. He can’t see much at all but some exhausted part of his brain seems to insist the rise and fall of the chest is more steady. It’s more comforting than it should be.

Sam's eyes are closed before he can stop them. He knows he should open them again. A weak voice in his head tries to convinced them to slip back awake, to get some idea of where he is, what he could do, why the hell this happened. But they won’t listen and eventually the voice falls silent.

---

Sam wakes to a crash.

His eyes drag open to firelight on the wooden floor. For a minute a foggy memory of Bobby’s slinks through his exhaustion and then he tries to move. Tries.

"Ah—!”

Pain snakes up over him with tight persistence, snapping all the memories right back into their wretched places.

He shuts his eyes tight against the sensation and tries to steady his breathing.

Another crash sounds and he remembers the first.

This one sounds more like glass breaking, distant and clumsy.

Sam groans, grits his teeth, and with one last surge sits upright.

He can see more of the cabin now in the light from the wood-stove. The room really isn’t as small as he first thought. There’s a cot against one wall and a small kitchenette off to one side. There’s other things too, things he feels are going to end up being pretty important. Breathing steady and being capable of standing without getting dizzy win out against pretty much everything at the moment.

He knows what he needs to do next, but it still takes more than it should to turn and look towards the door.

There’s nothing there. No one there.

More glass falls off in the dark.

Sam lets himself have one deep breath and then turns towards the sound, hand sliding around his waist towards Ruby’s knife as he stands on shaky legs. The knife seems stupid under his fingers, and he feels useless and clumsy, like a kid again holding dad’s weapons, still too weak to use them properly.

There’s a doorway, just one, off the main room, and a light coming from down in the dark of the hall it leads into. Sam walks towards it, fingers tightening and loosening thoughtlessly, heart hammering inside his chest with each staggered pace.

The light’s spilling out from a door that hangs just a few inches open, florescent and pale against the floor.

Sam stands outside, listening as something moves beyond it, clumsily and sounding larger than it should.

He swallows, and before he can realize just how much of an idiot he is or picture all the colorful, radiant styles of death and pain that might be awaiting, he shoves the door open, and—

Bright—

Nothing else, just bright - impossible, stupid radiance that could almost be in the shape of something approaching familiar--

But just as fast it’s gone with a shudder, leaving nothing but a simple bathroom and the staggered breathing of a blond man with knuckles clenched and white on the sink under him.

The mirror’s broken and there’s blood on one pale hand against the metal of the sink. Sam stares, suddenly unable to remember what the hell he had even expect to find in the first place and then eyes snap up through the broken mirror and meet his: blue and terrified and something else, something sharp and unfamiliar that Sam feels tighten in his chest.

"Sam-"

His voice isn’t angry through his gritted teeth. Just… sad. So very sad.

"Sam," He repeats like it’s something to hold onto in all the rest of it, and then something in the stare ignites and the look turns desperate, "What have you done?"

Lucifer turns to face him and suddenly his face contorts in pain and he cries out sharp and hard.

It happens again - just a flash, like something out of the corner of your eye that you try to forget a minute later, but it’s there, definitely there, and Sam recognizes the shape this time.

Wings…

But it’s only a flash and then they’re gone, leaving Lucifer in front of him, a cry ripping from between his teeth and then, all at once, the unconsciousness crashes back into him, eyes slipping shut as his whole body goes limp all at once.

"Hey--" Sam calls out instinctually as the body falls forward with all the weight of something dead to the world and the inevitable consequences of gravity.

Sam catches him without thinking. A reflex, that's all.

He’s heavy, but somehow not as heavy as he should be. Vaguely, through the total wreck this night has left of his brain, Sam remembers Cas being much heavier - which isn’t right at all because he wasn't as tall, or as large.

He’s warmer now too, warmer than he had been outside. But that only made sense didn’t it?

In any case he’s heavy. And unconscious. Again.

"Uh--" Sam tries, hands tightening and trying to get a better grip, at least enough to keep him from hitting the floor, "Hey?"

Nothing.

“Um, hello?”

No response. Shockingly enough.

“Fuck…” He mutters to himself because hey, at least he still has that.

He looks back at the mirror. Still broken.

He looks down at the man, angel, supreme dark lord, whatever. Still bloody.

And maybe he’s imagining things, because god knows he isn’t in his right mind right now, but the air in the bathroom feels strange, like it’s urging goosebumps up on his skin, and the air almost tastes funny… something like copper and sunlight. But that’s stupid, sunlight doesn’t even have a taste, does it?

Sam sighs. He could think about this - think about the fact that there’s a man collapsed in his arms who also goes by the more formal title of Price of Darkness, and also just happens to be an angel who’s bleeding when he really shouldn't be, unconscious when he really can’t be, in a bathroom that still smells like what Sam’s strongly starting to suspect is wings. But he's in a cabin, in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, and he can still feel the damp of snow in his hair and hear the wind howling outside, and for now, at least until he gets his brain back into functioning order, that’s that hand that’s winning.

So, he doesn't think, he braces his knees despite the ache and drags the heavy-yet-too-light body back into the main room where the glow of the fire fills the space.

Sam drops him in front of the fire and takes a minute to look.

Yup. Still him. Still definitely him.

"Shit." He says. Again.

Sam squints down and realizes for the first time that something isn’t quite right. Lucifer is wounded, but the strange burnt marks on his face, which he remembers from the last time they met, are gone. There's a good amount of blood on one side of his unconscious face, so Sam gingerly reaches down, slides a finger under the hair all brown and wetted with blood, and pushes it back to see the cut. It's stopped bleeding now, that much is clear. Head wound, messy, but nothing serious by Winchester standards.

He looks at his hand next - it's worse. There's a small bit of glass in the meaty part of his palm and that’s still bleeding. Sam studies it for a minute, and then reaches down curiously and pulls it out cleanly in one careful tug.

Lucifer doesn't move - doesn't even twitch.

Sam thinks for a minute that shouldn't be something that makes him worried - hell, it should be something that makes him fucking ecstatic. But no - he already decided “not yet” to the whole thinking thing.

He puts a hand down on Lucifer’s shirt, testing - but it's not wet, hardly even damp. The outer shirt’s soaked through with melted snow, though, so Sam sighs and puts a few more logs into the stove before rolling him over to one side, and virtually kicking him out of it. Once he's got the thing free from heavy dead limbs he rips off a strip of fabric, and wraps it around the bleeding hand tight enough to stop the flow.

Sam sits back and watches him for a minute. He looks useless there, so stupidly useless. And broken - like a toy someone threw aside when they were done with it.

Unbidden, he finds his fingers playing around the hilt of his knife and then, before the thought can complete itself, the thing is in his hand. It seems to move almost on it's own, lifting to finally rest point down directly above Lucifer's steadily rising and falling chest.

His brows tighten. He pushes, just enough for the tip to tear through the fabric of his shirt and hit skin.

Sam grits his teeth, tightening his grip and watching as the tiny bloom of red spreads under the orange shine of metal in the firelight.

He looks back to his still face. He remembers the way he’d looked up, blue eyes bright in the florescent light and the broken bathroom mirror. Bright, and full of fear, and grief, and something else… something unfamiliar.

Sam pulls the knife back to his side.

He’s lying down before he can think he shouldn’t be, and when he sleeps, he doesn’t dream.