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Sam doesn't think it through—there's no time to think it through. Mom is gone and Cas's body is lying on the ground, shadow of broken wings burned into the dirt. Sam sees the flicker of light in the window and he's moving. Kelly's baby, the nephilim—all that power. Dangerous, destructive—but if it can destroy this, unmake everything that's gone wrong—

Not until Sam's in the room, until he's passed his hand over Kelly Kline's dead eyes to give her the illusion of peace, does it fully register what he's doing. The danger he's in. Dean's not backing him up, probably still outside, still in shock. There are footprints burned into the floor. Sam pulls his gun, follows the trail. His lips are shaping the spell—it's been months since he's spoken the Enochian out loud, but his heart is pounding now, even when he repeats it.

Yellow eyes in the shadows, and Sam catches his breath, raises the pistol. His hands are as steady as he needs them to be, as the baby—the child—the man smiles at him.

Sam aims the gun, square between those glowing eyes. Tells him, "I need your help."

Then he waits a breath, another breath, counting the seconds. Four, five, six—at ten he'll pull the trigger—and pull his aim, shoot past the new creature, to make his point.

At eight, the nephilim cocks his head, as if only just recognizing Sam as another living thing. Opens his mouth as if to speak—


Dean's shout is hoarse, strained and scared, but Sam doesn't dare break eye-contact with the nephilim to answer it. The man-child jerks up his head at the cry, and his eyes flash again, more blue now than gold—

—Then he's gone, fast as a winged angel, leaving no trace.

Dean comes pounding up the stairs seconds later, gun drawn, gasping, "Sam—are you—"

"I'm here," Sam says. Sighs as he shoves his gun back in his waistband. "You just missed Jack."


Sam waves at the painted wall. "Seems like that's what Kelly wanted to call him."

Dean twists to scan the room. His eyes are wide enough for the whites to show even in the dimness. "You—you saw him? The baby?"

"Yeah, except he's not a baby anymore. Teenager at least, maybe older," Sam explains. "And he's got enough power to teleport, anyway. We'll have to find some way to track him. Maybe some of the spells I was looking up will work better now that he's born, anyway." He should have brought more of his research with them; it's a long drive back to the bunker, and who knows what kind of time limit they're on now?

"Okay." Dean passes a hand over his face. He's panting for breath—from the sprint up the stairs, Sam surmises at first. Then he realizes how Dean is turned away from him, not letting Sam see his face, his wet eyes—of course. Of course. A hell of a lot just happened; Dean needs a chance to adjust.

Sam can still feel his own heart, thumping too hard and fast in his chest. He tightens his jaw, recites the spell again. Only in his head now, to not distract Dean from his own struggle for control.

Between the adrenaline and the necessity, it doesn't take Dean long to master himself. "Okay, we'll find that nephilim bastard," he says. "However old he is. But first—first we need to..."

He falters, but Sam is ready to pick up that slack. He repeats the spell one more time, then says aloud, "We should make a pyre. Cas was a hunter, or close enough." And poor long-dead Jimmy Novak's body deserves eternal rest. As does Kelly Kline's.

Conveniently, they're in the forest already, and there's a wood-burning stove downstairs, with an accompanying log pile. So it shouldn't take too long.

Sam takes a moment to consider, as they collect branches for tinder, whether this is the right call. If the nephilim could bring Cas back, but needs his body to do it—but given how powerful Jack's supposed to be, that's probably not a major factor. And Cas is an angel anyway; they could always find him a new vessel.

He doesn't raise the possibility yet. Has to do more research, to be sure. False hope can hurt even more.

Sam wraps Kelly Kline's corpse in a blanket from the bed, carries it down to the pyre. Dean has dragged over Cas's body, but needs Sam's help to lift it onto the stacked wood.

Before he lights it, Dean looks over. Says, "Sam..." Then stops.

He hasn't asked if Sam's all right in a while. He knows that he doesn't need to. Though for a moment Sam wishes he would anyway. Thinks that Dean might need to hear it.

But Dean is keeping it together for now. He lights the lighter, tosses it onto the pyre. The gasoline-drenched wood catches quickly.

One of them should probably say something. But Sam can't think of anything that would be sincere, when he's more than halfway convinced that they'll being seeing Cas again. As they have so many times before, and without even a nephilim in play. That's not denial; that's just considering the odds.

Maybe that's what Dean is thinking, too, as he stares into the flames. Looking into the heart of the fire until his eyes water from the light and heat. Or else he's standing so close to have that excuse.

It's approaching noon before the pyre's burned down. Dean hasn't moved a muscle, still staring into the embers. The heat's dried his face; his eyes are matte, opaque.

"Dean," Sam says, quietly. "We have to go. Jack's out there; we need to find him."

Dean keeps staring. Then gives himself a shake, draws up his slumped shoulders. "Yeah," he says.

They water the embers, stamp them out. Dean moves stiffly, after so long standing in place, and still not saying anything.

Once in the car, behind the wheel, he pauses.  Looks out the windshield at the cabin, like he can see through it to the yard behind.

"I checked," Sam tells him. "Measured the EMP. The rift's definitely gone."

Gone, but they can get it back—the nephilim can re-open it. Can bring their mother back. Because she's still alive, on the other side. Lucifer will keep her that way. He's not merciful enough to kill her.

Sam doesn't think he should tell Dean this. Not yet. Dean could guess it on his own anyway, but the confirmation might break him, one way or another. And they can't afford that. Not when they don't know yet, what kind of danger the nephilim poses, what's actually been released on the world.

As the Impala bumps down the gravel drive, heading back to the highway, Sam looks out the windshield. Not counting how many times Dean glances in the rearview mirror, that shows nothing behind them but the mountains and the lake and the cabin. Nothing that matters.

Sam watches the road before them, reciting the spell in his head, tongue shaping each Enochian syllable behind his closed lips.



Sam found the spell a year and a half ago. One of the many esoteric bits of knowledge that turned up from his churning through the Men of Letters' library, looking for anything that could help with fighting the Darkness.

He marked the treatise, set it aside in his bedroom. But he didn't think about it seriously.

Not until Dean's trip to the past, when Lucifer revealed himself in Cas.

Sam went to Dean the next day, book in hand. "I have something."

Dean sat up from his slouch at the library table, clapping shut the dusty tome before him like he was glad for the excuse. "To deal with the Darkness? Or to boot Lucifer from Cas?"

"Neither," Sam said. "Though it might help with both," and he showed Dean the page in the treatise.

Dean just grimaced at the spell itself—Enochian wasn't his strong suit—but read the explanation beneath it. His brow furrowed deeper. "So what are we supposed to do with this? Keep people from panicking, when things get go to hell...?"

"Not people," Sam said. "Me."

Dean jerked up his head to frown at Sam. "You? Why'd you want something like this?"

It meant more than Sam could say, that Dean said 'want' instead of 'need.' That Dean looked nothing so much as confused, not disappointed, not contemptuous. "Because," Sam said, "it might end up being me on point when we're up against Amara. You need to be able to rely on me. But with Lucifer out—I don't know if you can."

"'Course I can," Dean said. "I always rely on you."

"And if we're up against Lucifer and I freeze up? If I have a panic attack?"

"You could handle it," Dean said. "You dealt with him in your head for almost a year."

"Yeah, in my head," Sam said. "Knowing the real thing was in the Cage—and I wasn't exactly on the ball then. Now he's out for real, and Dean, when I think about that—think about him, with Cas's face—" He could force his breathing to slow. Could bite his lip and stop the rattling of his teeth.

But he had a point to make. And the paleness of his face was sharp enough to pierce Dean's confidence. "Sam," Dean said. "Hey, Sammy, it's okay—"

"No, it's not," Sam said. "You know it, and I know it—we know what's out there. And I can't afford to lose it now—I need to keep it together."

Dean looked down at the treatise. "And you think this spell could help."

"If it works like it's supposed to. They came up with it during World War I, to treat shellshock—what we call PTSD now. Off and on the battlefield. Its core is basically a simple meditative chant. A mantra to calm you, focus you. Even out negative emotions."

"Except with magic," Dean said. "It's a spell."

"When said correctly, in Enochian—yeah. Apparently," Sam said.

Dean drummed his fingers on the treatise's leather-bound cover. "We could just forge you a prescription for some Xanax."

"Anti-anxiety medications have side-effects," Sam said. "Most of them are tranquilizers—I can't afford to be anything but a hundred percent alert, not with what we're up against. And they can be addictive. Messing with them without a psychiatrist who knows what they're doing..."

Dean hesitated. "Sounds like you did your homework."

Sam nodded. "If this spell works as advertised—it's a spot solution. Recite as needed. No regular dosage, no delayed onset, no after-effects."

"So have you tried it yet?"

"No," Sam said. "Because if it doesn't work—if it doesn't work right on me—I need you to watch out for me, Dean."

It had been a long time since he had asked that of his brother—since he had asked it like that. Dean still twitched, not quite a shudder. But he nodded, tried on a smile. "Make sure you're not so unafraid that you walk into traffic without looking both ways, huh?"

"Something like that," Sam said, though it wasn't anything like that. But Dean knew it as much as he did.

"You want to try it now?" Dean offered, after a moment.

"Yeah," Sam said, after only a slightly longer pause. "Sure." He took the treatise back from Dean. Took a deep breath and carefully read the spell aloud, taking care with the intonation of each Enochian character.

Dean was holding his breath. When Sam finished speaking and there failed to be any burst of light or musical arpeggio to mark the spell, he exhaled. " that it?"

"I think so?" Sam said.

Dean peered into his face. "You feel any different?"

"...No?" There had been a moment, when he'd recited the final syllables, that his shoulders had relaxed slightly, a twinge in his back unknotting. Or else he had just found a better position in the chair.

He might have screwed up the pronunciation. Had the third-to-last syllable been rising or falling? Sam read it through again, to as little effect.

"Maybe it's working, you're just not that worked up about anything right now?" Dean suggested.

"Maybe...—Ow!" Sam yelped as Dean slugged him in the arm, harder than a friendly gesture. "What was that for?"

"Looks like you're still feeling pain," Dean observed.

Sam rubbed his arm, glaring at his brother. "It's not supposed to stop pain! Which you'd know, if you weren't apparently functionally illiterate."

"And you can still get pissed off," Dean added cheerfully. "So either it's not working—"

"Or it's doing what it's supposed to be doing," Sam said, "which isn't to turn me into some kind of robot."

"Yeah," Dean said, nodding. "Exactly. So, so far, so good."

Which counted as permission, Sam supposed. Acceptance, anyway.



Dean didn't mention it again. Or talk further about why Sam might need the spell. Though he dragged them out to the wrestling show, a few days later—which went about as well as it ever did for them, but nothing Sam couldn't handle.

The spell didn't help when the werewolves shot him. Between the pain and the urgency—waking up alone in the cabin, already daylight, and the memory of the bite on the victim's arm burned into his mind, the bite Dean hadn't seen—Sam couldn't collect himself enough to remember the recitation.

But afterwards—after Dean finally confessed what he'd done, the outline if not the specifics that he refused to say anything more about. Except that he was fine, no harm done from whatever the hell he had overdosed on.

Late that night, lying in the dark motel room, listening to Dean's too-deep snoring in the bed next to him, Sam slowly and painfully picked up his phone, brought up the scan of the treatise and read off the spell.

He read it twice, and by the second time through his breathing had evened out enough that he could feel the drowsiness of the pain meds. Could let them drag him down into slumber, without jerking awake when he was right on the cusp, listening for Dean's rasping breaths.

Or maybe he was just that tired.



They got a lead on Cas—on Lucifer. A chance, that didn't work out; his and Dean's argument came to nothing. But back home in the bunker, after they'd discussed what went wrong and what Cas wanted and how they were going to get him back, Sam settled back in the library chair. Picked with one finger at the label of his beer, as he said, "I tried using the spell."

"Yeah, but it's not your fault it didn't work out," Dean said, setting up the empty bottles for another round of bowling. "Amara's a hell of a monkey-wrench."

"Not the summoning spell," Sam said. "The one I showed you before. When we had Lucifer trapped, and you were trying to get through to Cas, I said it."

"Ah," Dean said, pausing between placing bottles. "How'd it go?"

"Well, I didn't completely lose my shit when he wasn't trapped anymore."

"But you didn't when he was right here, either," Dean pointed out, nodding toward the wall where Sam had painted the banishing sigil. There was no trace of it left; the sealed concrete washed clean. The Men of Letters had designed the place not to get permanent bloodstains. "Even when he was groping your soul."

"Came close," Sam said.

Dean set down the last two bottles, nudged one half an inch into position. Then he asked, "So did the spell help, this time?"


"Well, didn't hurt, anyway," Dean said.

"No," Sam agreed, and picked up the ball to roll it across the table.



In that mountain town, watching Amara's killing fog roll over the crowded streets, Sam couldn't spare the time to remember the spell. He pushed through the old-fashioned way, panicked adrenaline and necessity.

But later, after Dean had found the amulet in Sam's pocket, after Chuck—God—had re-introduced himself—driving to the silo where Amara was holding Lucifer and Cas with him, Sam recited each syllable behind clenched teeth. The asshole angel sitting next to him and the newly minted prophet in the backseat both probably could've understood the Enochian. But if either of them overheard, they didn't say anything. And even when staring through the windshield at the Darkness herself was standing before them, Sam's hands stayed steady on the Impala's wheel.

Maybe it was Chuck's—God's—so-casual, "He can't hurt you," that Lucifer in the bunker felt like an intrusion but not a violation. Or maybe it was the spell that Sam muttered to himself, when he remembered the devil was a houseguest. Was in his room, in the body of one of his best friends.

Or maybe they just had even bigger things to worry about. Which didn't stop Dean from keeping an eye on Sam—sticking close, step in step with him in the kitchen, the library, the war-room, until Sam finally said, not quite snapping, "Dude, you want to just staple our sleeves together?" And then, because they had enough family feuds to worry about without inviting more trouble, added, "I'm fine, Dean. Really."

"Just making sure," Dean said.

"Well, can you make sure from more than a foot away?" but Sam smiled enough to make it a joke, and didn't have to force it. They had a plan. Had God on their side.

Waiting in the warehouse, for Rowena to double-cross them—or triple-cross them, or whichever way she decided to jump this time; it didn't matter, as long as she brought Amara to their trap—Dean asked, "That spell you've been using—do you think it'll help, with the Mark?"

Sam glanced at Chuck and Lucifer's backs, stiff and turned away from them and one another. Dean had pulled them back, was keeping his voice low, nominally out of earshot. Except that God was all-hearing, but Sam didn't remind his brother of that. Just said, "It might."

"'Might' isn't much to count on. The Mark...whatever you're thinking, it's stronger than that."

"I'm not counting on that spell," Sam said. "I don't even know if it does anything at all. It might only be psychosomatic: I believe it's working, so it's working. For all I know, I never got the actual chant right. Or maybe the Men of Letters were wrong about it being effective magic to begin with."

"So you're gonna just take on the Mark and hope for the best."

"No," Sam said, "I'm gonna take it and count on you to stop me. We don't have another choice, Dean. And you know better than anyone what the Mark is capable of—what I'm capable of."

Dean exhaled, hissing through his teeth. "Maybe you should teach me this spell."

"If you want me to," Sam said. "You don't need it, though—you'll do what it takes. You always do."



When the sun was going out, it didn't even occur to Sam to recite the spell. He wasn't afraid, not really. Some fears are too big to feel—like looking at a picture from too close, seeing only colors, shapeless smears.

In the cemetery, in the bar, he thought of it. But it felt wrong, to try to not feel this. He squinted up into the brightening sun, and it hurt, and it had to hurt; it was supposed to hurt.

Maybe in a little while. If there was a hunt, a mission, something he needed to do. He'd have to get groceries, eventually. Go to the kitchen and read the list tacked to the bulletin board, see whatever last things Dean had put on it, a few days ago, before all this went down. Beer, probably. Pie, usually. Maybe eggs. Maybe walnuts or capers or canned tomatoes—Sam would have to go through it, cross off what he didn't need, ingredients for meal plans he didn't know and wouldn't be eating anyway.

Then, he might need the spell. But for now, Cas was here with him and they wouldn't have to go to the kitchen and he could feel this, for now.

Or until Cas was banished and Sam was shot by a British invader.

In the back of the SUV, every jounce of the rough road shooting pain up his leg from the bleeding bullet hole, Sam struggled to gather himself. He didn't dare speak the spell aloud—if this woman Bevell knew angel-banishing sigils, she might understand Enochian. But in his head he concentrated on the words, shaped them with his tongue behind closed lips.

The spell didn't nullify his injuries; it was for emotional distress, not physical. But the pain was easier to manage when he could focus on it, muster control techniques without the paralysis of grief. He'd learned years ago, how much greater agony is when felt by the soul than merely the body.

Torture, of course, is meant for both. But what he told them wasn't just bravado; the woman of Letters' drugs and mindgames were small potatoes compared to Lucifer's efforts. In the scant couple days Bevell had to make her mark, she didn't even crack Sam's one-hundred worst. Maybe if he subtracted all Tuesdays.

Though when she dragged Dean, dazed and stumbling, down the stairs, Sam momentarily thought she'd gotten to him worse than he'd thought. That he'd underestimated the effectiveness of her drugs, that this hallucination felt so much more vivid and convincing. Or was it the spell, dulling his perception along with the grief—though the shock, the joy of hope, was dagger-sharp, painful enough for him to believe it.

It was really Dean—and really Mary, too, their mother, alive. Was it still a miracle when it was granted by God's opposite? But she was alive again, and with them again—for a few days, at least, before she left them, again.

Driving back from Iowa, they were halfway through AC/DC's Back in Black album before Dean finally said, "So, Mom texted me. Said she's doing okay. Had some trouble charging her phone, that's why she wasn't answering."

"Oh," Sam said. "Good."

"She said, uh, to tell you she's thinking of us."

"Good," Sam said again, trying to sound like he meant it.

He was looking out the windshield, but still could feel Dean glance at him across the seat. "That spell of yours, does it help with..."

"I'm not using the spell," Sam said. "Not right now, not with Mom."

"Huh," Dean said. "I thought, maybe, after those British assholes..."

"I'm fine, Dean," Sam said. "Cas healed me, right? They didn't do anything lasting."

"And Lucifer's been deep-sixed...yeah, okay. Great," Dean said, and didn't ask anything more about it.

Which was good, because Sam didn't know if he would've been able to answer honestly. That it wasn't just how he could handle the Men of Letters, or Lucifer being banished in his new vessel.

That he had to feel this—not just the joy that their mother was back, but all of it. That she would leave them—that she didn't even want to look at them now, couldn't bear what they'd become, or couldn't bear her role in it. Sam understood that, he did; he knew better than anyone the burden of guilt.

He understood, yet still. He needed to feel this. To learn to deal with it, so that it didn't come boiling out of him in the middle of a case. So that he didn't need a spell to face his own mother.

At Asa Fox's wake, it wasn't that hard. When he was actually with his mother, the sheer amazement of her presence overwhelmed the rest. And she was trying, too, he could see that. There was too much hypocrisy in his being angry with her for running away—so Sam told himself, and nearly was convinced.

But then Lucifer came back from the depths, intent on sowing chaos, wilder than he'd ever been. Leaving Los Angeles's suburbs, Dean took a break from bitching about the traffic long enough to say, "I was thinking, with Lucifer out, maybe you should start..."

"I was saying it at the concert," Sam said. Wondering how else Dean thought that Sam had been standing beside him, with Lucifer up on the stage before them, uncaged, and God nowhere to be found.

"Okay," Dean said. "Okay, great."



There was something wrong with Dean. Sam thought he got it. One's mother coming back from the dead would put anyone off their game. And family meant so much to Dean. It wasn't like he was completely checking out, not like he had sometimes before. He wasn't drinking much more than usual, wasn't reckless on hunts.

But he was off, somehow.  And it threw Sam off, or else he was just too screwed up and out of his depth, with their mom and Lucifer and the Men of Letters.

The spell helped, but it could only do so much. He managed to keep it together to use the banishment device. But in the relief of that triumph, he didn’t act fast enough to avoid their arrest. And yes, they needed to be enough of a distraction for Cas to escape with Kelly Kline. But as they were loaded into the prison van, when the doors closed and cut off the last sunlight they would see, Sam began to realize the extent of their fuck-up.

He didn't know how bad it would get, though. He didn't find that out until that night—presumably night; they didn't turn the lights off in the cell. But it had been a good few hours since the black site's warden had made his pitch. Sam would've told him something—would've told him everything, if it would've done any good. But in this prison they had no easy proof to offer, and insanity wouldn't be a defense; it would just get them buried that much deeper. So he stayed silent, knowing Dean would do the same. The prisoner's dilemma was an easier game when it was your brother in the other cell.

He was sitting there silent in his brightly lit cell, wondering if they were still talking to Dean or had they given up on him as well, when the Reaper appeared before him. "Nice digs," Billie said.

"What are you doing here?" Sam said, growing cold. For a Reaper to show herself—but Sam wasn't dying, and Dean—they couldn't have been here twelve hours; Dean couldn't have already—

"Just wondering," Billie said, "how you’re settling in."

"We don't want any favors from you," Sam said.

"Great, because I'm all out," the Reaper said. "The universe isn't ending anymore—"

"—Thanks to Dean—"

"—who should be dead," Billie said. "If not for that, then a dozen things before. Same as you. But here you are. Alive—technically; but buried, way deeper than most of the corpses you burn," and she cast a thoughtful glance at the cell door with its slit for a window.

"We'll find a way out," Sam told her. "But we're not making a deal with you."

Billie inclined her head. "Well, you're not," she said, and vanished.

Leaving Sam on his cot, alone in the cell, hands clenched into fists, reciting the spell through gritted teeth until the chill sweat dried on his forehead.



Billie came back the next night—day? Later, she came back, which meant Dean hadn't said yes to her offer.

Not yet.

The government officials were easy to ignore, with not even a blowtorch or a hose among them. The nightmares were—so far—only when Sam slept, not much more difficult than usual to deal with. He couldn't go for a jog when he jerked awake from one, but he exercised, sit-ups, push-ups, until his muscles burned clean and thoughtless.

But Billie kept coming. Never for very long—did it break rules, to show herself too often to the living? Except they weren't that, not exactly.

"Still here, I see," she would remark. Not mockingly, not openly; casual, as if she were only curious. "Haven't found a way out yet?"

He wouldn't answer her. That didn't stop her from asking, "How many times will you save the world down here, you think?

Sam no longer had to concentrate to remember the spell. Could recite it half-asleep—waking slow and sluggish, reaching out for a phone that wasn't there and barking his knuckles on concrete instead, he would mutter it to himself, before opening his eyes. Before he ate, before he wet a paper towel to scrub himself down at the sink. Day after unmarked day; hour after hour, until he no longer had to say the words aloud, not even unvoiced; he could cast it in his head without his tongue moving.

He slept a lot, or thought he did; with the lights always on, it was difficult to estimate how long he was out at a time. The meals came at regular intervals, he assumed, but there wasn't enough variation in what was served to distinguish between breakfast or lunch or dinner. The guards' shifts rotated, but by his count it was on a six-day basis, rather than a normal week, and that made it harder to keep track.

But Billie was a constant. "Do you suppose it's been born yet, this nephilim child?"

"Cas will've taken care of it, by now," Sam said. It was the first time he'd replied to her in a while—the first time he'd spoken in days or more; his voice came out hoarse, rusty.

"Has he, now." The Reaper folded her arms, leaning back on her heels. "That's not what I've heard."

Sam took a breath. Recited the Enochian in his head as he considered, and finally conceded, "What have you heard?"

"Chatter among the angels is that the mother is in the wind," Billie said. "Has been since you've been down here. Not sure who's going to do something about it. If anyone will."

"A nephilim is dangerous," Sam said. "One like this—Lucifer's—it puts the whole world at risk."

Billie raised an eyebrow. "Is that supposed to be my problem?"

"Amara was."

"The Darkness was the end of everything," Billie said. "This nephilim could bring death, maybe. But that's my business, you know."

Sam exhaled, filled his lungs again. "What do you want from us?"

"You know what I want," the Reaper said. "What you owe—is it any worse than what you've got here?"

"You've been going to Dean, too?"


"Have you told him about the nephilim?'

Billie shrugged. "Might've mentioned it."

How long would Dean endure this? Sam had the spell—and experience, too. He'd had years of sitting on the sidelines, consciously blinkering his mind, focusing only on what was in front of him. And there were times even in the Cage that Lucifer would be distracted by Michael.

But Dean was never any good at doing nothing, at standing back and letting what might happen, happen. It had been weeks, at the least, and there had been no sign, no message from outside. If Cas had any idea where they had been taken, if Mary even knew yet what had happened to them—what were they supposed to do? A government black site was pretty damn far outside a hunter's usual purview.

How long before Dean said yes to Billie's offer?

Sam ran the odds in his head. Game theory and applied psychology only got you so far, or the warden would have his answers already. But he knew his brother. This wasn't baseless paranoia; the spell provided a haven of rationality, even under the circumstances. Eventually Dean would give in—but he'd try to keep Sam out of it. Try to give Sam the best end of the deal, same as always.

Sam was almost tempted to try to pull that on Dean instead. Get there first, for once—but Dean might suspect, with his razor-sharp instincts; might try to undercut, and screw them both over worse in the doing.

The next time Billie showed up, Sam told her, "Tell Dean—if he makes the call, I'm in."