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Sacrifice

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Sam had been fine before he started the trials to close the gates of hell. Even though Dean had insisted to be subjected to the tolls of the trials, Sam still did what he thought was right. He killed the hellhound, he felt he should do the trials. He thought it would make up for the things he's done in the past. The things that whenever Sam and Dean got into an argument, Dean never failed to bring up. Springing Lucifer from his cafe, drinking demon blood, all the times he's lied to Dean, not looking for him when he was in purgatory. It was those things that he felt that doing these trials would make up for. If he could close the gates of hell, the number of lives that would be saved would be enough to make up for all of the wrongs he's done. He was guilty in his mind.

So, Sam had continued with the trials against Dean's will. At first, he hid how much the trials were impacting him. It wasn't much at first. Coughing a bit, his appetite wasn't what it used to be, and a bit sluggish. It alarmed him, but as long as Dean didn't notice, the trials would be done in no time. That was until Dean revealed that he found Sams bloody rag in the trash after one of his coughing fits. It bugged Dean that Sam had to go through the repercussions of the trials. He felt like he should be the one doing it, considering he was the oldest and frankly, he didn't know what the trials would do to Sam. Even so, It pissed him off when Sam insisted that he was 'fine' every time Dean had asked even though it was obvious something was off.

"So were you just going to hide the fact that these trials are making you cough up blood?!" Dean said, looking into the trash can that was next to the chair that Sam had been sitting in. Sam had turned around, a nervous expression on his face. There was a bloody napkin in the trash bin from Sam's coughing fit.

"No Dean, It's not what you thi-

"No Sam. It's exactly what I think. I'm tired of you keeping shit like this from me. Especially when your life's on the line!"

It wasn't until the second trial that neither Sam or Dean had suspected that Sam's condition would continue to get worse as the trials progressed. But Sam could feel himself getting worse, and Dean could tell with Sams failed attempts at hiding how bad he really felt.

---

The green light of Sams alarm clock buzzed when the time struck 6:00 am. The annoying buzz that beamed from the black little box continued on until the clock turned to 6:15 am. Sam was barely awake when his hand reached over to strike the clock, then allowing silence to roam over his room. He then soon fell back asleep. It wasn't until about noon when Sam had mustered up the energy to get out of bed. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up to his feet. He gathered his balance and made his way into the kitchen where Dean had been seated.

"Did sleeping beauty finally decide to wake up?" Dean asked in a joking tone, not paying much attention to him walking in. The sound of Sam's bare feet hitting the cold tiles of the floor could be heard from a few rooms away. 

Sam didn't answer Dean. Instead, he made his way to the counter to pour himself a cup of coffee and made his way to the table where Dean sat, his feet staggering under the weight of himself.

"You look like shit." Dean said bluntly, closing his laptop and looking directly at Sam.

"I feel fine. I'm just tired." Sam said before he took a sip of his coffee. Dean eyed Sam, watching his every move to putting his cup to his mouth to placing it down. 

"Well then maybe some caffeine will wake you up." Dean suggested, looking at Sams coffee. "Maybe some breakfast too? Or in your case, lunch." Dean shrugged.

"Lunch? What time is?" Sam said, taken a bit back.

"You took a siesta around noon... yesterday." Dean spoke, looking at his watch. "And It's almost 12:30 now." Sam's eyes widened a bit. He shook his head and placed his coffee down. 

"Guess I really was tired." He muttered to himself.

"Ya think?" Dean stood up. "So how about that lunch? I can make burgers." Dean suggested. Sam's face scrunched up a bit.

"I think I'll pass." Sam said, pulling his own laptop that he had left on the table from a night or two ago over to him. He opened it up and started typing into it.

"Seriously? You're gonna pass on burgers?" Dean scoffed, being maybe just a bit too offended. Sam just shrugged and continued typing into his computer. 

 Dean had let out a sigh and stood up, going to make himself a burger. Just the thought of eating made Sam feel sick to his stomach.

 A few moments had passed and Sam finally broke the silence between the two of them.

"I found a case for us." Sam perked up a bit. He hated to admit it to himself but he hated the fact that he was all cooped up inside for the past few days. Ever since he finished the second trial, Dean hadn't let Sam leave the bunker. He thought he would at least feel a little better if he was able to go get out of the bunker and do what the Winchesters were known for. "It looks like a vamp nest to me." 

Dean raised a brow at Sam. "Are you serious? You want to go on a hunt when you're this sick?" 

"Dean, I'm fine. I can still get out there, I can still hunt." Sam suggested. Dean let out a small grunt as he flipped the burger on the stove.

"Fine. But if you get any worse, we're coming back here." Dean settled, even though every inch of him said no. He didn't want to think about the worst that could happen. Sam getting hurt because he was too sick to function. Or Sam getting bitten because he was too weak to fight back a vampire. 

"Good. I'll get my stuff together and we can leave when you're done with your food." Sam said, standing up. His legs shook a bit underneath the weight of his body, but he quickly regained his balance by leaning on the table before Dean could notice.

 ---

Dean drove on the road as the night fell. Sam snored in the front seat, he had fallen asleep about 50 miles ago. It wasn't too late, but it was late enough in their drive that Dean pulled into the next diner he saw on the road. 

He saw Sam with his head against the window that was ridden with condensation. Dean chuckled a bit, putting his worry aside as Sams mouth as wide open as he snored obnoxiously. He had to wake Sam up for their dinner. So, Dean blasted the radio as he pulled into the parking lot.

The radio blared;

It was the heat of the moment

Telling me what my heart meant

Sam's eyes widened as he woke up from a dead sleep. He slapped his hand on the mute button on the radio and glared at Dean.

"Don't ever fucking play that song around me." Sam said, shaking a bit. He couldn't tell if it was just the memories of that song or how cold he was from his rising fever. 

"Geez Sammy, it was just a joke." Dean chuckled. "Anyway, we're getting dinner." Dean said, trying not to laugh at Sam. He never knew why that song bothered him so much. Sam grunted. He didn't know why, but ever since he did the second trial, he felt nauseated at the thought of food. But of course, Sam went along with Dean as they got out of the car and were seated in the diner.

Dean scanned through the menu, his mouth watering at just reading the names of some of the dishes. Sam, on the other hand just sat there, zoning out and staring at the floral print on the wall.

Sam.

Sam didn't respond

Sam?

Sam was still zoned out. All he wanted to do was sleep.

"Sam!" Dean said, almost yelling at him in the middle of the restaurant.

"Huh?" Sam mumbled, looking over at Dean.

"I've been saying your name for almost five minutes. What are you ordering?" Dean asked, shaking his head at Sam. 

"I'm not hungry." Sam muttered, grabbing the glass that to him, magically appeared there. A waiter must have dropped off their drinks, considering Dean had a beer in his hand. Dean raised a brow at Sam. 

"When was the last time you ate?" Dean said, knowing the answer, but seeing if Sam would actually tell the truth.

"I don't..." Sam mumbled again, but Dean had cut off the younger Winchester in his words.

"Days." Dean said loud and clear. "Sam, it's been three days." Sam went silent. He didn't really have a choice with this one. "Now you're going to order something to eat, or I'm driving your ass back to Kansas." Dean ordered. He was starting to sound like his father with the way he commanded Sam to do this or that. Sam just let out a small sigh.

"I'll get... the mushroom soup, I guess." Sam murmured. He felt nauseous. Like his stomach was doing flips. He felt so cold that he was now shivering. A thick layer of sweat had drenched Sam's hair, making it stick to his forehead. He could barely focus on what was going on in front of him that he didn't even realize Dean ordering their food, or their waiter bringing it to the table.

Dean had watched Sam with a worried look on his face. Sam being this sick had brought Dean back to the times as a child when Sam would get fevers reaching around 103 degrees. He watched as Sam's pale and sunken face had dazed off like he was struggling to stay awake. How was he always tired when he slept for most of the week? Dean had thought to himself. Yeah, Sam was sick but Dean didn't yet realize just how sick Sam really was.

When their food arrived, Sam did his best to stomach his soup. It was barely anything, but it gave Dean a bit of hope that maybe this was something that they could fix. Maybe this was something that would go away.

The rest of the night was a blur to Sam. All he could remember was the nausea he felt after eating just less than half of his meal. He remembered walking to the Impala and tripping over his own feet. But the moment that they arrived at the motel, Sam was out like a light.

 

Chapter Text

"Rise and Shine, Sammy!" 

Sam was barely awake when he heard Dean yell this, giving him a small shake and indicating that it was time for him to wake up. Sam felt weighted down like there was a bolder in his chest. He didn't have the energy to sit up yet. He loud out a loud groan and shoved his face farther into his pillow.

"It's time to get up." Dean said as he waited for Sam to at least open his eyes or say something. Sam curled up underneath the comforter and let out another groan. 

"What time is it?" Sam mumbled, his head now covered by the blankets. Dean watched as his little brother was finally waking up.

"It's half past noon. I tried waking you up before but you wouldn't budge." Dean said, retreating to the bed next to the one that Sam was in. Sam had finally mustered up enough energy to sit up, rubbing his eyes and looking over at Dean.

"Any news on the vamp nest?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, actually." Dean spoke as he grabbed his phone off of the nightstand. "While you were in your little coma, I went out and asked some locals if they had any news about the missing people. I think I figured out where the nest is. If you're feeling good enough, we can leave in ten." Dean said. 

Sam thought for a moment. He didn't think he should be hunting. Dean was right, but he hated to admit it. It made him feel weak. But that was just the Winchester way, being too stubborn to admit you're wrong until it bites you in the ass. 

"Yeah, I feel fine. Let me get changed."

When Sam got up, he felt the blood rush to his head, his feet staggering for balance. Dean just watched him. He could notice that Sam looked worse. His face was as pale as the white sheets he had slept on and his face looked sunken. It irked Dean more than ever that Sam couldn't just be honest about how he felt. It was obvious that he wasn't doing good and it was obvious that he should be home resting. But Dean couldn't just bring him back to the bunker. They started a case, they have to finish it. Innocent peoples lives were at stake, but so was Sams.

Dean thought to himself.

Yeah, you feel fine. 

 


 

 

The two of them had reached the old abandoned cabin, not far from the motel they stayed at. 

"Are you sure you don't want to stay in the car?" Dean asked Sam, who still looked like absolute shit.

"I'm sure. I'm fine, Dean." Sam stated as he grabbed the gun from the back seat. "It's only a few vampires. Not that bad." Dean had a bad feeling about this. He knew that Sam probably felt like absolute crap.

The two of them got out of the car, grabbing their stuff for the hunt. Guns and knives stashed on their person. Sam's head was still spinning as he walked with Dean. It was dark out and he could barely see.

Sam and Dean entered the building. Dean took the lead and Sam had followed. As they traveled further through the cabin, they heard footsteps from a nearby room. Suddenly, one jumped on top of Dean, taking him down. 

"Shoot him, Sammy!" Dean yelled. Sam did as ordered, shooting the vamp with the Steel bullet. Dean pushed the body off of him. Dean mumbled to himself as he got back up.

The rest of the vampires had entered the Room, heading straight toward Sam and Dean. As every vamp approached Dean, he either stabbed them to their demise or shot them. Sam, on the other hand, was getting the shit beat out of him. He was taken to the ground, sliced and stabbed.

"Sam!" Dean yelled as he started killing every vampire that was on his little brother. Rage filled his eyes and anger fueled his fists as he shot and slashed everything in his sight that wasn't his brother. He saw a small pool of blood on the ground and hoped to God that it wasn't Sam's.

As Dean finished off the last vamp, Sam was on the ground. He looked like he was going to pass out.

"How bad are you hurt?" Dean asked, kneeling next to his brother. 

"Not... not too bad." Sam said, trying his best to sit up, and obvious pained look on his face. Sam had a knife slash on his neck, and a few slashes on his body. But they looked like clean enough cuts that Dean could stitch or bandage up, plus, they weren't deep enough to kill him.

Dean reached his hand out to help Sam up. 

"Was that all of them?" Sam asked.

"I sure hope so..." Dean said. "I'm gonna take you back to the car and then search the rest of the cabin to make sure there's no more." Sam just nodded in agreement, letting his body weight distribute onto Dean as they made their way back to the Impala.

"You gonna be okay?" Dean asked as he helped Sam into the passenger seat.

"I'll live." Sam mumbled. Dean just nodded and walked back to the cabin. He searched through the cabin. No vamps and no hostages. The hunt was over.

 


 

 

"I don't want to hear it, Dean." Sam mumbled as they began their drive back to Lebanon. 

"Hear what? I told you so?" Dean said, glancing over at Sam.

"Yeah... that."

"It's not like I was wrong, Sam. You almost let those vampires get the best of you back there. No more hunting for you until these trials are done." Dean ordered. He only did it out of concern. Sam just nodded in agreement. He knew now why Dean didn't want him hunting. He knew he was bad but he didn't think it was that bad. As much as he hated admitting it, Dean was right. "Get some rest, Sammy." Dean said. Again, Sam agreed and put his bloody cheek on the window, drifting off.

When the two of them got back to the bunker, Sam immediately headed off to his room, unlike Dean, who had enjoyed a few beers in the kitchen. Sam needed the rest anyway, so Dean didn't bug him, which left Dean to think about what to do with is little brother.

This wasn't something that the two of them could fix. It wasn't a cold, or a fever, or whatever a regular person could recover from in a few days. These were the repercussions of the trials to close the gates of hell. Sacrifices had to be made to do this. Sometimes, Dean forgot that it wasn't just something like the flu, even though it pretty much seemed like the flu but about a hundred times worse. He was so used to when Sam was younger and they would stay in motels while their father was out on a hunt and it was Deans duty to watch over Sam until he felt better. Sam had always gotten sick at the worst times and this just felt like a repeat of the past.

Dean sat in the kitchen as time passed, one empty beer bottle turned into five empty bottles. It was late enough already and he probably should have done what Sam did and just went straight to bed. But it felt rewarding to just have Sam in bed so he could have some time to himself to think about the next steps to take with this dilemma.

But the truth was that he didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to make Sam feel better or to make him stop coughing up a lung or bumping into furniture constantly. But the one thing he could do was try his best.

 

The next morning, Sam had woken up in the late afternoon. It felt like a habit at this point. He'd go to bed as early as he could and sleep through half the day, and then do it all over again. But this time, something was different. Sam had a burning feeling in his chest and he was so cold he felt like he was trapped inside of a glacier. He was so fatigued that just the thought of getting up made his nervous of the fact that he'd fall over. So, he stayed in bed for what felt like hours until Dean would come and check on him.

Sam lost track of the time at that point, drifting in and out of being awake. It wasn't until there was a loud knock on his bedroom door that Sam had actually been a bit more than half awake.

"Sammy. Wake up, you've been passed out all day." Sam heard Dean say through the door. Too tired to wake up, he just waited until Dean barged in like he usually did. The knocking continued on for a few minutes until Dean finally got fed up and walked in. He stopped in his steps with wide eyes when he was Sam.

"You're whiter than your sheets." Dean said, taking a look at Sam. "You look awful." 

Sam squinted his eyes at the light that entered his room from the door. 

"What.." Sam collected himself a bit. He looked up at Dean for a moment but his vision was spinning around the room. "What time is it?" He mustered out. 

"It's 5:00 in the afternoon. You've been asleep for a good sixteen hours. Which is why you need to get up." Dean spoke like a mom trying to get their kid up for school. Sam sat up a little bit.

"I don't think I should get up." Sam mumbled, rubbing his eyes.

Dean watched Sam. His face was sunken, pale, and he had bags underneath his eyes.

"Why not?" Dean asked.

"Because..." Sam said as he sat up a bit more, finally sitting up a bit straight. "Everything feels like it's spinning around me and I feel like if I move anymore I'm going to projectile vomit all over myself." Sam muttered, leaning against his headboard. Dean nodded.

"Alright. Stay here, I'm gonna make you something to eat. Just rest a bit, alright?" Sam just sighed. Just the thought of food made him nauseous. 

"I don't want food right now, Dean." Sam said as he laid back down, huddling underneath his covers. He was so cold even though he could feel the sweat that coated his body.

"Sam, the last time you ate something was two days ago, and you barely had any of it." Dean spoke sternly. "I'm not arguing with you. I'm making you actual food, not some gross ass mushroom soup or whatever." Sam just rolled his eyes, knowing that Dean wouldn't budge. He left the room and Sam just laid in his bed, staring at the wall. He waited a few minutes and Dean still hadn't returned. He must be cooking a damn buffet in there, Sam thought to himself as he tried getting up. 

He rose to his feet, doing his best to keep his balance. Sam placed one hand on his nightstand, feeling the blood rush to his head. With spots in his vision, Sam managed to make his way to his door and out of his room. While holding onto his wall, Sam did his best to walk over to the kitchen just to prove to Dean that he was doing fine. Not great, but alright. Sam could admit that he wasn't doing the greatest, especially after how he got his ass beat during their last hunt.

Sam had finally made his way over to the kitchen with what felt like an hour. 

"What are you doing out of bed?" Dean asked as he heard Sam's heavy footsteps from a room away. Sam was leaning on the wall of the doorway when he finally made it into the kitchen. 

"I thought you wanted me to get up." Sam mumbled, resting his head against the wall, his eyes were barely open.

"Well, I did. But you look like you're about to pass out. If you're already out here, why don't you just sit down." Dean let out a sigh. Why is he so damn stubborn?

Sam nodded and walked over to the closest chair, his feet staggering with every step he took.

Dean watched him and shook his head. He set a bowl of noodles in front of Sam.

"Noodles? Seriously?" Sam said, looking up at Dean. 

"Well, we're running low. I'll make a grub run tomorrow morning but for now, you'll be good." Dean said. "Now eat up, you gotta get your strength back." Sam just let out a sigh, looking at the bowl of disappointing noodles in front of him.

Dean had made himself his own food. A homemade hamburger. Sam had to stop himself from gagging. All he could smell was rotting meat, which made him even less likely to even eat his own food. 

As Dean chomped away, Sam just watched him, not touching his food at all.

"Are you just gonna watch me or are you gonna eat?" Dean said angrily after a few minutes, putting the last quarter of his burger down.

"Dean, I told you..."

"Just shut up, Sam. Do you even want to get better?" Dean asked, looking at Sam with a face of disgust and confusion. Of course, Sam wanted to get better. He felt like absolute shit. "Are you just gonna sit here and wait for this... whatever this sickness is to just kill you? Or are you going to fight it?" 

Sam let out a loud sigh and put his arms on the table. His body ached, and the injuries from their last hunt didn't help him either.

"I want to fight this Dean..." Sam said, his voice cracking a bit. He couldn't tell if it was from Dean's tormenting or the blood that collected in his throat that he so desperately needed to cough up. "I'm just too tired." Sam mumbled, looking down at the floor.

"Tired? Seriously. You're fucking tired. You're not 'tired', Sam. You're sick. You're dying. And you're too much of a stubborn bitch to even admit it!" Dean yelled, slamming his hands on the table. Sam just shook his head and went to stand up. 

"I'm not arguing with you." He muttered.

"No? You're not?" Dean said acting like he was surprised but he really wasn't. "Because you're gonna go mope in your room until it's gonna go away, but it's not. You're not gonna admit you're sick, even though we both know that it's bullshit to say that you aren't. You're just gonna walk away from your problems like you always do, Sam. You walked away from me for Ruby. You walked away from your psychic visions and acted like it was nothing. You walked away from your wack ass hallucinations when you were seeing Lucifer. You walked away when I was stuck in purgatory." Dean yelled at Sam as he was getting up, now at the doorway again, leaning on it. "You left me in purgatory, Sam. You didn't even look for me. So how about you do something for me? How about you stop hiding from this and you try to fight it." Dean looked at him, almost begging. "If you don't... it's gonna end badly for us, Sammy." Dean's voice softened at his last words. He just wanted Sam to listen to him.

Sam looked at Dean, his face falling. He was exhausted. Exhausted from fighting with Dean, exhausted from dealing with how bad he really felt. He knew that Dean was right. Dean didn't deserve to have to Deal with his denial.

"O-okay..." Sam said, looking up at Dean. "I'm sorry." Sam said, tears building in his eyes that he was trying so hard to fight back at. 

And there went his balance again. His vision went around in circles and he started seeing white and black spots in his vision. He could hear Dean talking but he couldn't make out what he was saying.

"Now can you please just sit down and try to eat your food?" Dean asked. He looked at Sam who was just leaning against the doorway, looking down at the ground. "Sammy?" Dean said, walking toward him. Suddenly, Sam collapsed, and Dean jumped toward him to make sure he didn't fall on the floor.

"Hey hey, Sammy, you awake?" Dean said, worry consuming the anger that he had only a few minutes ago. Sam's eyes were barely open. "Damn it!" Dean said. He picked up Sam, grunting loudly and put him on the closest chair to the table. Dean felt Sam's head, and holy shit it was hot. He rushed for the thermometer and put it in Sam's mouth. Sam tried mumbling but he was out of it now, looking up at Dean in a pained confusion. The thermometer beeped.

106.4

"God damn it, Sammy." Dean said. He had to bring down Sam's fever and he had to do it fast.

Dean ran out of the room again for what seemed like only two seconds. Sam was barely coherent. He didn't even realize he had been moved to the chair. His vision was blurry and everything sounded like he was underwater. Dean had come back with a washcloth and two ice packs. Dean put the wet, ice cold washcloth across Sam's forehead and the two ice packs around his neck. He begged that this would at least help, even a little bit.

"Come on Sammy..." Dean muttered to himself. Sam's eyes fluttered open a bit, looking directly up at Dean.

"Dean...? Dean what the he-" 

"Oh thank God." Dean cut him off with a sigh of relief. "Stay in the chair. You're running a fever, Sam." Dean commanded, the worry still not leaving his voice at this point. Sam obeyed. He didn't want to get up. His vision was still blurry and he knew that if he even tried getting up right now that he'd end up making out with the floor. 

Sam shivered as he looked at Dean standing there, not really knowing what to do.

"How about we get you back to bed, okay?" Dean said. Sam still looked up at him. "Maybe a cold bath first or something to bring down your fever? You feel as hot as burnt toast..." Dean said, trying to lighten up the shitty mood that they both felt.

"Yeah..." Sam mumbled out. "Bath, then bed." 

Dean nodded and took the ice packs and washcloth off of Sam. He put his shoulder below Sam's and put Sam's arm around his shoulders. 

"Lean on me. You gonna be okay enough to wash up?" Dean asked Sam. Sam put most of his weight onto Dean as the two of them made their way out of the kitchen and to the bathroom.

"I think so." Sam mumbled again. He stared at the floor with every step he took, leaning on Dean to keep himself up.

"Good. I'll stand around the door or something. Just call me if you need me." Dean said and looked over at his brother, who's clammy and sweaty face was on his shoulder. "Just don't pass out in the bath. For the love of God, I don't want to have to see you naked." Dean joked. 

"I don't intend too." Sam chuckled tiredly. 

The two of them made their way to the bathroom, and after making sure that Sam was okay to bathe himself, he left him alone.

Thankfully, the bathroom wasn't too far of a walk from his bedroom. When Sam was done in the bathroom, He was shivering as he walked to his bedroom. The cold bath was miserable but he knew he had too or else he would have gone splat again, which would probably give Dean a damn stroke.

Sam plopped onto his bed, leaving the door a crack open. He crawled underneath his blankets and let face hit his soft pillow. He almost immediately drifted off and let sleep take over him.

Chapter Text

Day's had passed since Sam's little stunt in the kitchen. Castiel had returned a few days after that. Dean was unbelievably pissed. Ever since Cass had beat the piss out of him for the angel tablet and ran off with it, Dean could barely look at him for a while, even though he didn't have the heart to tell him to leave. After about a week, things between Dean and Cass started to settle after Castiel's numerous apologies.

The two of them sat at the library table and Sam had yet to come out of his room, even though he had been asleep since midday the day before.

"How's Sam doing?" Castiel asked Dean, whose face was buried in his laptop with a beer in his hand. "He's barely come out of his room ever since I came back." He pointed out.

"Not good," Dean said bluntly, not taking his eyes off of his computer. "This trials crap is really getting to him. A few days before you decided to fly your happy ass back here, He basically passed out in the kitchen." Castiel's face fell a little bit. He could tell that the subject of Sam right now wasn't the best for Dean from the way the tone of his voice had dropped.

"Is there any way I can help?" Cass asked, cocking his head a bit toward Dean. Finally, Dean looked up at him.

"No, Cass... You already said he's damaged beyond repair. You can't heal him. You can't save him. I can't do anything to help him either." Dean sighed and took a swig from his bottle. "So we just kind of have to sit here with our thumbs up our asses at this point because I've already tried everything I can."

Castiel rose his eyebrow at Dean.

"What would sticking our thumbs up our asses do for Sam?" Castiel said with confusion in his voice, obviously not understanding the saying. Dean just facepalmed.

"It's a saying, Cass... It means we can't do anything for him." Dean said, trying to hide back his chuckle at the fact that the angel in front of him didn't understand what he meant.

"Oh, okay. Got it." Castiel just shrugged.

"Anyways, I'm gonna go check up on Sam. He's been in his room all day." Dean said, rising from his chair. Castiel nodded, sitting back in his chair and staring at the wall.

Dean made his way over to Sam's room and entered with a knock. He looked down at Sam, who was still asleep.

Wish I could sleep for twenty hours. Dean thought to himself before putting the back of his hand on Sams clammy forehead. It felt hot but not as bad as it's been previously. That was a good sign. Hopefully.

Dean shook Sam's shoulder, in hopes that he'd wake up at least somewhat rested. Hell, if Dean slept for this long he'd be a lot less grumpy.

"Wake up, Sam," Dean said. Sam just let out a small groan and raised his head from his pillow.

"What do you want?" Sam mumbled, looking up at Dean and squinting at the light coming from the doorway.

"For you to get your ass up. You've been out for a while, think it's time to stretch your legs if you're feeling okay enough." Dean suggested.

With that, Sam sat up a bit and nodded. Today, he didn't feel too terrible. Of course, he felt bad. He felt like he was dying because he was. But he felt manageable. Sam put his legs over the side of his bed and rose to his feet, rubbing his eyes a bit, making sure his vision wouldn't go blurry, or he wouldn't fall to the floor like he had a few days ago.

Dean stood back a bit, his eyes hawking at Sam, ready to jump if he needed to. He knew that at this point, Sam had to be watched over like a child. Sam was stubborn, it was a family thing. So Sam would do what he wanted too and would probably end up making himself worse than he already was. But they both knew, whether Dean wanted to admit it or not, that if Dean was the one who was sick right now, he'd be way more stubborn than Sam was.

Sam situated himself, grabbing a dark gray hoodie from his bed that he probably left there a day or two ago and pulled it over his head. He was freezing. His fever made him feel so cold and shaky all the damn time.

The two of them made their way out of Sam's room and back into the kitchen where Castiel resided. Castiel was sitting there, staring blankly at the wall. It was weird but once you knew Cass, you got used to his weird angel things.

Sam took a second look at Cass for a moment.

"I forgot you were here." He chuckled a bit toward Cass as he sat in one of the empty chairs at the table. Dean wandered off to the refrigerator, probably making himself something to eat.

"That's probably because of your fever," Cass said in his classic monotone voice.

"Yeah, the kid is almost as hot as a damn furnace," Dean said from the other side of the room. Sam crossed his arms over his chest. He could feel himself shivering.

"Somewhere around 106 degrees," Castiel said, looking directly at Sam. His temperature hadn't changed. "I can tell. Besides the fact that I'm a celestial being, it's obvious. You never see a Winchester wearing a hoodie unless something is wrong, or they are sick." Cass continued. Sam shrugged a bit. I mean, he's not wrong...

"Yeah, speaking of hoodies," Dean said, turning around. "I'm making some grub. That was my hoodie, remember? Used to barely fit you and now it looks like a damn window curtain." Dean said. All jokes aside, he was concerned about Sam more than he could express. But it was in his nature to go overboard with his mother-henning. He did his best to put on autopilot but seeing his brother looking so sick and frail just pushed him over the edge of just riding it out.

Sam needed food anyway. He was starving. It had been about four days since the last time he ate something properly. The last few days were just soup and things that he could stomach. But it was obvious that Sam was loosing too much weight at this point when Deans old hoodie that barely fit the either of them had now been loose on his frame.

"What do you want, Sam?" Dean asked, crossing his arms as he stood near the refrigerator.

"Something solid, for starters..." Sam spoke tiredly. "Also, please don't make me a cheeseburger unless you want you to projectile vomit onto the floor," Sam said a bit sarcastically, even though he was serious.

"Maybe a salad?" Dean asked. Sam nodded.

"Yeah, I could try that." He said, hoping that maybe he could eat something of actual nutritional value instead of soup, or the shit that Dean would eat.

"Cass, you want anything?" Dean said. Castiel rolled his eyes.

"I'm an angel, Dean. Remember? I don't eat." Dean chuckled a bit at his mistake.

"Well then, I guess Sam must be an angel too." He joked. Sam chuckled a bit as well. He never minded Dean's badly timed jokes because he knew that they were just his way of dealing with things. He knew that this wasn't easy for Dean, nor was it any easier for him either.

Castiel and Sam continued sitting at the table while Dean swiftly put together some food for Sam and himself.

The outcome was a small, plain salad for Sam and bacon and eggs for Dean. The two of them ate their food in almost complete silence. It wasn't awkward though. Sam was more focused on keeping his food down and Dean was focused more on making sure Sam wouldn't end up getting sick. Out of nowhere, Dean's phone rang from inside of his pocket and he perked up a little bit. He looked at the caller ID and let out a sigh of relief.

"It's Kevin." He said, not really directed toward Cass or Sam.

"Finally." Sam mumbled, placing his fork down. His salad was a bit more than half eaten, so he knew Dean wouldn't give him much shit considering he had actually eaten even though he felt like he was going to puke any second.

Dean answered the phone, putting it on speaker.

"What's up kiddo?" Dean said into the phone and placed it on the table.

"A lot. Dean, I think I finally cracked the third trial." Kevin said on the other side of the phone. To Dean, It was good to at least hear Kevin's voice considering he had been locked up in the safe boat for weeks, probably on the verge of insanity.

"Awesome. Spill it." Dean said.

"Well, you have to cure a Demon." Kevin said with a bit of hesitation on the phone. Looks exchanged around the room. Sam glanced at Dean, Dean glanced at Cass and Cass glances at the two of them.

"Cure a demon? How the hell are we going to do that?" Sam said, looking at Dean with confusion. Dean shrugged.

"Alright Kev, I'll be over there in a bit for the spell to finish off these trials. Take care of yourself." Dean said.

"Thanks, Dean." Kevin said and the phone went silent. The looks didn't stop around the room. They were all confused on how they were exactly supposed to cure a demon.

"Alright, here's the game plan." Dean said, standing up from his chair. "I'm gonna go to the safe boat and get the details from Kevin. Cass," Dean turned his look to the angel at the table. "Make sure Sam stays okay. " Dean's tone became a bit more serious. "And Sam, don't do anything stupid, okay?"

Sam rolled his eyes at Dean's 'orders' He was doing the trials so he felt like he should go with Dean.

"Why can't I go with you?" Sam asked, his voice sounding hoarse. He felt a coughing fit on the way.

"You know why, Sam. We can't risk you getting any worse, especially when we know what the third trial is now. We need to keep you as well as you can." Dean said. Sam sighed and just nodded a bit, knowing that Dean wouldn't budge. Sam hated being locked up in the bunker like a toddler. He did know where Dean was coming from though. And with that thought, Dean was off.

 


 

 

Dean's drive to the safe boat wasn't too long. It only took about an hour and a half to get there. As he blared his rock music as loud as it could go, he sped down the road he was driving on. Dean didn't like driving alone. Even though he could blast his music as loud as he wanted too, It always felt comforting to have someone in the passenger seat. In Sam's Seat. He really couldn't see anyone else sitting in that seat beside Castiel, and even so, it's always been Sam's Seat when the three of them were in the car.

Dean arrived at the safe boat and he walked up to the door, doing the secret knock that Kevin had made up. Ever since the kid was locked in here he had become insanely paranoid. Dean understood it though. Even though he didn't like being sprayed in the face with holy water with a kids water gun when the door creaked open.

"Not a Demon," Dean said, looking at Kevin through the crack. He wiped his wet face with the hem of his sleeve.

"Sorry. You messed up the knock, Dean." Kevin said, opening up the door all the way for Dean to walk in.

"Well, It's kind of hard to remember the pattern of a knock when my main focus is closing the gates of hell." Dean said a bit sarcastically. Kevin shrugged it off. Kevin made his way over to his table that was covered in notes and translations of the demon tablet. Most of it looked like scribbles to Dean, but hey, if Kevin understood it, it was fine. Kevin grabbed a piece of paper off the table that had Enochian writing on it.

"Here, tell Sam that once he finishes the third trial, he needs to say this and then the trials will be finalized." Kevin said, looking up at Dean, who towered over him.

"Thanks, Kevin." He said. "Speaking of Sam..." Dean's tone dropped a bit.

"How's he doing?" Kevin asked.

"Honestly?" Dean let out a sad chuckle. "Not good. He's bumping into furniture like an old lady, he barely eats, his fever is probably hotter than hell itself, and honestly, he looks like he's dying." Dean muttered.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that..." Kevin said softly. It was easy for him to tell how much Sam being sick had affected Dean.

"Don't worry about it. I was gonna ask you something." Dean said, shaking his head a bit and trying to get his mind off of the negative. "Does it say anything about how Sam is gonna be after the trials?" He asked with a bit of hope behind his voice. Kevin let out a small sigh and looked down at the floor.

"I haven't translated that far, Dean. That would probably take another month or two to figure out if it even says anything about it at all. But, if you think about it, He should probably be fine." Kevin said, trying to fulfill the hope that Deans voice had conveyed before.

Dean let out a sigh. 'Probably fine' wasn't enough for him. He needed to know that Sam was gonna be okay. As much as he wanted to believe it, It was hard too. But he managed to convince himself a little bit that Sam would be okay. Considering how much Sam had already gone through, He didn't think the trials would damage him more than they already have.

"Alright, Thanks, Kevin." Dean nodded. He looked over at the door. "I should probably get going, do you need anything?" He asked.

"No, I'm good. Garth dropped off some groceries a few days ago. Should probably last me a bit more than a week, but thanks, Dean." Kevin smiled a bit. Dean nodded.

"Take care of yourself kid." Dean said, walking toward the exit. He turned around for a moment and looked back at Kevin. "Also, for the love of God, get some sleep. You look like you haven't shut your eyes in a week." Dean said. Kevin nodded a bit and watched as Dean made his way out the door.

 


 

 


Cass and Sam sat at the library table in the bunker. It had only been about an hour since Dean had left and they both had their noses in books from the lore. Sam had a mud-colored blanket over his shoulder like a cape, shivering a bit underneath. His eyes scanned over each line of the book he was currently reading, looking for anything that could signal anything about 'curing' a demon.

Suddenly, Castiel raised his head and looked over at Sam.

"You aren't doing too well right now, are you?" Cass said softly. Sam looked up from the old pages of his book.

"I'm fine Cass," Sam mumbled out through his shakes.

"Your fever is getting higher, Sam. How you're not Dead right now, I have no idea." Cass said bluntly.

Well thanks, Cass, that makes me feel so much better, Sam thought to himself.

"I think you should go rest for a bit." Cass suggested. Sam shook his head.

"Honestly Cass," Sam said, raising his head a bit. His pale complexion shined from the lights above them. "The only thing that's going to make me feel better is getting these damn trials over with. I don't mind having to deal with feeling like a wreck for a bit if it means that no demons will walk this earth again." Sam spoke sternly.

"How do you know you're even going to live through it?" Cass asked.

"I don't." Sam answered.

"And you're okay with that? Meeting your own mortality to close the gates of hell?" Cass asked. He didn't mean it to offend Sam, he was curious.

"Yeah, Cass. I am. If I die doing this, at least I'm going to die doing something good." Sam said sadly. "I know that Dean would be a wreck, but think about how better the world would be. No more demon deals, no more evil things possessing people. If me dying means that I can save thousands of people, then so be it." Sam spoke, looking down at the floor. "I've broken the world to many times to not die like this. I have to do this even if it means I die." Sam spoke sternly with the last words. Castiel nodded.

"Sam..." He sighed a bit. "If you do meet your fate at the end of this, I want to say thank you." Cass spoke softly. Sam cocked his head a bit.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean... The world doesn't need to lose you or Dean. You and Dean may have made mistakes but the lengths you two go to, to fix those mistakes outweighs those mistakes. You guys even fixed my own mistake of letting the Leviathans out when I thought I could be the new God. The two of you have saved the world from ending countless times. And this earth is a beautiful place. And you'll make it even more of a beautiful place by getting rid of a good amount of the evil. I know that my father didn't want demons ruining his beautiful creation. And I know you'll finish these trials and the Angels will be grateful, Sam. If you meet your demise, the Angels, the good ones, will take care of you in heaven." Cass said. "I guess what I'm saying is thank you for not letting the world end, just yet." The angel smiled at Sam with a sense of hope. Sam smiled too. The thought of someone supporting his death wish made him feel like he was doing the right thing. He knew that Dean wouldn't agree. That's why Dean didn't want him doing the trials in the first place. Because if anyone was going to die, It had to be Dean according to himself. Dean couldn't stand the thought of being in a world without his baby brother.

"Thanks, Cass."


 

 

Dean had returned to the bunker after a few hours with grocery bags stacked on his arms.

"I made a grub run," Dean said, placing a six pack of beer on the library table where Sam and Cass were still sitting. "And unlike the two of you, I didn't forget the pie," Dean said, placing two apple pies that were wrapped in a tinfoil package with a plastic lid on top. Sam barely noticed Dean walk through the doors. After hours of staring down at books from the lore, he felt his eyes getting heavy. Dean noticed this and placed the bags down on the table.

"Sammy, you look like you could use a nap," Dean said, his big brother protectiveness was kicking in.

"Hm?" Sam mumbled and looked up at Dean, squinting his eyes at the light overhead of them.

"Go to bed, Sam," Dean said.

"I can do that." He mumbled and let his head thump down into the open pages of the book he was reading, letting his eyes shut.

"Not here you idiot." Dean said. Sam didn't answer. He was already out. "Great, now he's gonna be snoring here for another twelve hours." Dean muttered. Castiel looked up from his book that he had been skimming over. "Any news on curing a demon yet?" Dean asked.

"Nothing yet." Cass said. "But there has to be something in here. You have thousands of books and files from The Men Of Letters. I doubt that there is nothing here about it."

"I guess you have a point." Dean shrugged. He reached into his pocket and placed down the spell that Kevin had given him before on the table. "Kevin gave me the spell for Sam. That's if the kid isn't too busy snoozing with his head in a book to actually do this." Dean mumbled.

"I wouldn't doubt your brother, Dean." Cass said. Dean let out a loud sigh.

"I'm not doubting him, Cass. I'm just worried, that's all." He said. "I know the kid is stubborn. I just don't want him sacrificing his own life to end demons." Dean said, raising his voice a bit, but not in an angry way. Castiel stayed silent. He didn't feel okay revealing to Dean that Sam was okay with dying for this. That wasn't his place to say. He might be a socially awkward angel with almost no sense of human nature besides what he sees from Sam and Dean, but he knew that it wasn't his right to say that.

"Whatever happens Dean, I know Sam will pull through." He said, looking up at Dean as he stood next to the sleeping younger Winchester.

Dean let out another sigh and plopped into the chair next to Sam, giving his sick little brother a glance. It hurt him too much to stare at him for long. Just seeing how sick he really was made Dean burn up on the inside. He didn't know whether to be angry or sad or worried but it all seemed like all of his emotions were coming crashing down into his brain.

With that, the older Winchester rubbed his sorrowful eyes and slumped in his chair.

"I hope so Cass... I really fucking hope so."

Chapter Text

Sam had woken up after a few hours with his head still in the book he had rested on. His head was throbbing and he let out a loud groan. To his surprise, he saw Dean's head rise a bit. He had sat at the table with his laptop in front of him and a bottle of beer in his hand.

"You awake?" Dean asked, looking at Sam past his laptop.

"Yeah, sadly," Sam mumbled, raising his head and rubbing his eyes. "Any news on curing a demon?" Sam said.

"Sam it's been like six hours. Nothing yet. Why don't you head to your room?" Dean asked. Sam nodded and rose to his feet, but underneath the weight of himself, he fell back onto the table with his hand out to hold himself up. The table moved a bit from the impact, but it was enough to keep him stable so he wouldn't fall flat on his face.

"Whoa Sam, take it easy," Dean said, rising to his feet and walking over to Sam swiftly.

"I'm okay Dean. Chill out." Sam said, putting his hand on his head. He felt his vision going again along with the fact he felt so cold and achy. He felt Dean's arm go around his torso, letting his weight distribute to Dean.

"Come on, let's get you to bed," Dean said with a bit of a struggle as he basically carried Sam to his room.

When Dean got Sam to bed, he let out a loud sigh as he watched his little brother being buried by the covers of his bed. He stared at him for a moment and closed his fists, walking friskily back to the library. He was pissed. He didn't want to think about the inevitable of Sam not being okay after he finished the trials. He knew that there were two outcomes of this. Either Sam would be okay, which wasn't likely, or he'd die trying. He didn't want to think about burning his brothers body after this was done. Because he would be alone, and Dean couldn't stand the thought of being alone.


The days went by with a blur, to Sam at least. For Dean, minuted felt like hours and days felt like weeks. Sam could feel himself getting worse with every day that had passed. Finally, after about a few weeks of all three of them, Dean, Cass, and Sam doing research, they finally found a tape in the Men Of Letters archives that showed them how to cure a demon. After all three of them had watched the tape in the bunker, they all sat around the table looking at each other.

"So you have to give a demon a bloody high five in the face and them boom, its cured?" Dean said, looking over at Sam.

"I mean, that's what the priest did." Sam said.

"Well, a Demon soul is just a human soul that's been corrupted and tortured by hell. So curing it would mean making it essentially human again." Castiel inputted. 

"That makes sense. So they were injecting the demon with human blood?" Dean asked Cass.

"Purified human blood." Castiel said in his classic monotone voice.

"Would I be able to do it? I mean... the demon blood." Sam said, his voice lowering, being a bit shameful. He always hated bringing up the fact that he was cursed with demon blood. 

"Well, to purify your blood, you'd have to do confession or have blessing from a priest."

"But would that be enough?" Sam said, looking over toward Cass.

"It should be." He replied.

"So confessions it is?" Sam said. Dean nodded.

"Alright so, we need a demon, and we need a church." Dean said. "That should be easy." Dean said sarcastically. "So here's the plan," Dean said, rising from his chair. "Me and Cass are gonna go out and try to find some black eyed whore. Sam, you stay here and try to find an abandoned church." Dean ordered. "Also, try to eat something when were gone. You're gonna need your strength, kid." Sam nodded and rose in his chair, as Castiel did as well. Thankfully, everything was coming together now. This was finally the few final moments they had all been waiting for. The third trial was on its way.

It was the beginning of the end.

 

 


 

 

What felt like hours had passed for Sam since Dean and Cass had left on their journey to find a demon. Dean didn't check in and neither did Cass like he had expected. It felt weird being alone for the first time in a while considering Dean had demanded that Sam had a chaperone while he was sick in case something went wrong. But this time, it was different. He was determined to close the gates of hell forever. He could finally be at peace with himself. Dean was just as determined, but he didn't want to sacrifice his brother for this. For him, He would let every demon walk the earth if it meant that Sam would be okay.

Sam stared at his laptop and finally pinpointed an old church about an hour or so away from the bunker. A sigh of relief came from his lips and he rested his head on his laptop.

You should probably text Dean the address. Sam thought to himself. So he did, pulling out his phone and scrolling through his recent contacts. Of course, Dean is at the top. With a quick type of his fingers, Sam sent Dean the address.

A few moments later and he got a text back.

Dean: awesome, be back in a few hours to pick you up. Make sure you're ready.

Sam sighed down at his phone and then put it down. Sam rose in his chair, his head spinning a bit, looking down at himself in his sweatpants and hoodie. He hadn't showered in what felt like days, his sweat from his fever was now sticking to his clothes. Sam scrunched his face up at how gross he felt at the moment. 

His bare feet slapped against the tiled floor as he made his way to the bathroom. If he was going to close the gates of hell, he might as well be clean while he did so. With every step feeling like a hassle, Sam eventually made his way to the bathroom and let out a loud sigh as he shut the door behind him. He stared in the mirror for a moment as he captured a glimpse of himself.

He was so pale and gaunt. His cheeks had hallowed out like a canyon and his eyes had dark circles underneath them like two heavy bags. As he stripped down to prepare for his shower, Sam noticed the changes in his body even more when he looked down at himself. His once large and muscular body was now smaller and much more frail. He looked lanky, tall and thin. 

I look like a soggy noodle. Sam thought to himself in more of a joking way. He shook his head and got into the shower. 

After Sam spent a good forty minutes in the shower, enjoying the hot water against his freezing skin, he got out, putting on a clean pair of jeans and a flannel shirt. He heard the bunker door open and cursed to himself as he walked out. His head was still spinning, feeling even worse from before. Sam thought Dean would be back later then now.

You're fine Sam. You'll be okay.

He saw Dean setting a bag down on the bunker table. 

"Cass is in the car and we've got Crowley on lock down. Are you ready?" Dean said, looking over Sam for a moment. He gulped a bit at the sight of Sam. He had been covered in multiple layers of clothing for the last few weeks and to see him look so frail with only a shirt covering his small frame had eaten at him. 

"Yeah, as ready as I can be." Sam shrugged. Dean nodded and turned around toward the stairs and Sam followed behind him. As shitty as he felt, he knew he had to suck it up. This was finally it for him. Jumbled with his thoughts, Sam didn't realize how much he was leaning on the railing of the bunker stairs. His vision danced around him and everything went fuzzy. Dean looked back at him. 

"You good?" He said. Sam looked up at him, his head spinning. 

"No, Not really. But I will be." Sam said, a bit out of breath as he kept leaning on the railing.

"Hopefully." Dean mumbled under his breath. Dean walked down a few steps next to Sam and put an arm around him. 

"Come on, you need to sit down." Dean said. Sam didn't say anything, his head hanging low. Dean rolled his eyes and took Sam down on the step, making sure he was sitting on the step with his head rested against the railing. 

The bunker door opened again. Castiel stood at the top of the stairs.

"What's wrong?" He said, making his way down to were Sam and Dean were. 

"Oh nothing, just Sam having a fucking stroke." Dean muttered angrily and sarcastically. Sam's head started riding down the side of the railing and Dean pushed it back up. He had no idea how Sam would be able to finish the trials in the condition that he was in now. He could barely stand without loosing consciousness. "Stay awake, Sammy." Dean said. Sam just groaned a bit, leaning his head up. Dean put the back of his hand on Sam's forehead. "He's burning up, Cass, can you go get a cold rag?" He asked. Cass nodded and ran passed the two of them and came back after a few seconds, handing Dean the rag. Dean proceeded to put the rag on Sam's forehead.

Dean sighed. "Help me get him up, He needs to rest." Dean said, standing up.

"Dean, what about the trials?" Cass said. 

"I don't give a flying fuck about the damn trials if Sam can't even stand straight!" Dean snapped. Cass nodded silently and grabbed Sam, along with Dean helping as well. The two of them walked Sam down the stairs, making sure that Sam wouldn't fall, and if he did, one of them would catch him. Sam went a bit limp, his body leaning on Dean mostly. Dean struggled a bit to hold him up but it was easier then it had been before considering how light Sam was now. The two of them got Sam to his room and laid him down on the bed. Dean and Cass looked down at him. 

Dean stared down at his little brother. The brother who he had to protect. 

Protect your brother, Dean.

Watch out for Sammy.

Make sure Sam is safe.

The words of their father rang through Dean's head and he stormed out of the room. Cass followed behind him. Dean stomped over to the library, running his hands through his hair and making a few steps around before he had burst. He looked over at the lamp sitting on the table and let his hand hit it, watching it knock down on the floor and shatter. Dean continued to destroy the things in the room, knocking whatever books and notepads or whatever was on the table. 

"Son of a bitch!" Dean yelled out of anger, kicking the leg of the table as Cass walked in, observing the now mess of the library. It was rare that Dean had one of his moments were he would just destroy anything in his sight, and now Cass was seeing it first hand.

"Dean, calm down." Cass said from the entrance of the room.

"Don't you dare tell me to calm down!" Dean snapped. Cass shook his head. 

"No, Dean... you need to stop." Cass tried to stern up his voice..

"No Cass!" Dean said, his voice cracking. "All of my life has been 'watch out for Sammy, protect your little brother, Dean.'" He paused, looking down at the ground, surrounded by the mess around him. "But now? How am I supposed to fix this? How am I supposed to help him?!" Tears welled in Dean's eyes, not looking at Cass standing a few feet in front of him. "What am I supposed to do?" His voice was desperate, low, and broken.

"Dean, listen to me." Cass spoke. "You can't save your brother from this. He is damaged beyond repair." His blunt words hit Dean like a bullet.

"And how is that supposed to help, Cass?" Dean cut him off. 

"My point is... you can't save everyone, Dean." Cass said with a small sigh. Dean shook his head.

"There is no way that I'm letting him do this. He's not doing these trials. If I can't save him then I'll stop the thing that's gonna kill him." 

"What other choice do we have? If Sam does these trials he should be better, and the gates of hell will be closed forever." 

"At what cost?" Dean asked, tears now rolling down his cheeks. "You don't know if Sam will survive this. I don't know that and either does Kevin! You know how bad he is right now. And I'm not letting my brother die, not again!" He had continued yelling until he realized that Cass would not dare say anything back to him. "Why do we have to sacrifice everything?" Dean asked himself, his words running empty in the room as Cass stayed silent. The two of them exchanged glares and then Dean just shook his head, walking past Castiel and toward his room, leaving Cass alone in the library.

 

A few hours passed until Sam had woken up. Dean hadn't said a word to Cass, staying in his room doing God knows whatever. Castiel popped in every once in a while just to make sure that Sam was still functioning, and thankfully he was. This time, when Cass checked in on him, Sam was just waking up.

"How are you feeling?" Cass asked. Sam winced at the light coming from the doorway, it not being the best thing to wake up too when his head felt like it was going to implode on itself.

"I'm fine, what happened?" Sam asked, not having the energy to sit up yet. Cass let out a small sigh.

"Well, we were about to leave so you could start the next trial and I walked into the bunker and you were laying on the stairs. Dean was freaking out so we carried you in here." Cass said, giving Sam a look from his head to his toes. 

"Sorry about that." Sam mumbled, rubbing his eyes a bit. 

"Don't worry about it. It's not like it was difficult to carry you or anything. You could't help it anyway." He had shrugged. It was now Sam's turn to sigh. He hated the fact that the trials were taking such a toll on him. But he had no other choice then to just deal with it.

"Then what are we doing just sitting here?" Sam said, finally mustering up the energy to pull himself up from his bed. "We need to leave, don't you guys already have a demon on lock down?" Sam asked.

"Sam..." Castiel looked down.

"What is it?" Sam said, being confused as to why neither Cass or Dean had decided to at least try and wake him up. He knew he had been out for a while.

"Dean doesn't want you doing the trials." Castiel said in a low tone.

"What?" Sam said in disbelief, his eyes widening at the thought. "Why not?"

"He's scared. He doesn't want to see you die."

"Die? Are you serious? We are talking about closing the gates of hell forever and he's more concerned about me then that?" Sam said exasperatedly. 

"Sam, he's your brother-"

"That doesn't mean that he can just stop me from doing this!" Sam said and stood up, keeping his balance by putting his hand on the wall.

"Sam-"

"Don't try to stop me, Cass."

"Will you please let me talk?!" Cass yelled, finally raising his voice. It always seemed like he was being cut off whenever the two of them talked. Sam stood back for a moment and nodded, giving him the queue to talk. "I want you to do these trials. I want you to close the gates of hell. But I don't want you to die. This sad, doomed, little world needs every Winchester that it can get and I will not let you die. So please, I am begging you to stay here until you are as healthy as you can be before you do this!" Cass begged Sam. Sam looked down at the floor and nodded in agreement.

"Fine." Sam muttered out. He sat back down on his bed. He understood why Cass didn't want him doing the trials, at least not now. But the truth was, Sam didn't care if he died doing this. This was something that needed to be done, something that someone had to do and if it had to be him, then so be it. It's not like anyone else would find a stone written by God himself and happen to know a prophet who can translate the stone. It had to be him.

It always had to be you, Sam. Lucifer's words stung in his head.

He remembered all the time times it 'had to be him.' When Azazel bled into his mouth, when he killed Lilith, when he broke the last seal, when he let the devil out of his cage,  when Lucifer told him that he was his vessel, when he said 'yes' to him.

But this time was different. It had to be him because he was saving the world, he was saving lives.  Instead of it being him who ruined the world, he was making it a better and safer place.

And that's why he was going to do the trials. 

Because It had to be him.

 

Chapter Text

"Sam, You can't do the last trial." Dean spoke hesitantly, expecting backlash from his brother. Sam just nodded.

"I know, Cass told me." Sam mumbled, staring down at the floor of the library. Dean was standing with his arms crossed over his chest and Sam sat there, hunched over with his head hanging low. 

"And? You're not gonna run off and do them behind my back, right?" 

"I understand. I won't do them." Sam muttered his lies quietly. Of course, Dean would expect him to do it without telling. All of the times he had ran away or done something stupid behind Dean's back, of course Dean couldn't trust him.

"Good. Now, we can focus on getting you better." Dean said with a small smile, the worry in him now turning to relief.

"Right. Getting better." Sam mumbled, knowing that he had to do what needed to be done.

 

The early morning awaited as Sam stood around his room for a moment, dressed and ready to go. His bag was packed with everything he needed. Salt, holy water, holy oil, hex bags and other utilities that he might need in order to face the king of hell. The one thing he didn't bring with him was a piece of paper that was set on his night stand. A note, folded hamburger style with the word 'Dean' written on the folded outer part that wasn't otherwise written on. Sam let out a heavy sigh, guilt weighing heavy on his shoulders. Remembering all the times he disappeared from Dean and how easy it was. Leaving motels rooms to drink demon blood, or run off with Ruby. Or the times that Sam couldn't look Dean in the face because the guilt sat too heavy in his stomach. When Sam said 'yes' to Lucifer and ran off, leaving Dean scared, not just for Sam's sake but for the sake of the world. Sam looked down at the floor, knowing he had to do this. For the sake of the world he had to. 

Dean would be pissed when he would find out he was gone. It was expected. 

Sam scanned over his room one last time, eyeing the note he left and turned his back. He tip toed through the rooms of the bunker, took the keys to the Impala, and walked up the stairs, making his way out the door without a sound. 

 

 


 

 

It wasn't too early when Dean had woken up. He decided to sleep in a bit, coming out of his room around 9:30. His bare feet slapped on the tile floors of the bunker as he made his way over to the kitchen. Cass was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at the wall in same old, angel fashion. 

"Sam isn't up yet?" Dean asked Cass as he walked over to the refrigerator. 

"Haven't seen him." Cass said, not looking at Dean.

"Oh yeah, I forgot. The kid sleeps for sixteen hours straight and then wants to take a nap five minutes after he wakes up." Dean rolled his eyes as he grabbed the milk carton from the refrigerator.

"It makes sense Dean. Without completing the third trial, Sam will be stuck in that state for the rest of his life, have you not realized this?" Cass asked, cocking his head toward him. 

"And what makes you think that?" Dean turned around and faced him. 

"Have you seen him lately, Dean? He's getting worse." Cass spoke bluntly. Dean let out a sigh and stayed silent for a moment. 

"...I know..." He looked away. "But he could die if he does those trials, Cass. And I'm not letting that happen." Dean spoke sternly. He poured himself a bowl of cereal, not feeling like making himself a full breakfast like he usually would. He sat down at the table across from Cass.

"How do you expect him to get better then?" Cass asked. 

"I don't know yet. But we'll figure it out." Dean muttered as he chomped away at his food. Cass watched him, staring at Dean with bold eyes.

"You'll never know, Dean." Castiel broke the small silence.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Dean cocked his head to the side, eyeing Cass.

"It means that you won't figure out how to save Sam. You can't and you won't. Dean, you don't even know if the trials are going to kill him, or even cure him." Cass raised his voice, keeping his serious tone.

"That's the point, Cass. We don't know that! If we know he'll be okay, then fine, he can do the trial. But I am not letting my brother die for those black eyed whores!" Dean yelled. Castiel shook his head in disappointment. He wished that Dean would open up to the fact that the gates needed to be closed and Sam was so close to doing it.

Dean didn't look up, he just continued eating and placed his spoon down when he was done. "I'm gonna go wake up sleeping beauty." Dean said, getting up and leaving Cass in the kitchen alone, again.

Dean walked down the empty halls, letting his bare feet hit the cold tile floors of the bunker. He ran his fingers through his short, buzzed hair. The conflict wouldn't leave his head. He knew that if Sam didn't do the trials, there was no way he could recover. He needed to constantly remind himself that this wasn't the flu, or a cold that he was so used to taking care of. This was something that not even the angels could fix. Sam didn't care. It didn't stop Dean from not wanting him to do the trials due to the impending outcome. He couldn't bare to lose his little brother. Not again.

Dean just let out a sigh and knocked on Sam's door once he got to it. 

"Sammy, wake up." Dean said through the door. There was no response as he expected. What he wasn't expecting was there still to be silence after a few minutes of him mindlessly standing by the door, waiting for Sam to get out of bed. Dean rolled his eyes and opened the door. To his surprise, Sam wasn't laying in bed like he thought he was, expecting Sam to be face down into the pillow, hacking up his lungs in his sleep. Instead, Dean's eyes scanned around the room with panic. He looked over at the note on the table with his name on it. His stomach dropped and he picked up the note, reading the first few lines.

 

Dean,

Please don't look for me, or try and stop me. I'm doing what needs done. I'm sorry De-

 

Dean dropped the note and ran as quickly as he could to the kitchen.

"Cass!" Dean yelled. He was stopped in the doorway by Cass, who had heard him running from a few rooms away. 

"Whats wrong De-"

"Sam left! He's gone!" Dean yelled.

"Dean, calm down."

"Don't tell me to calm down! We need to leave now! He can not do that trial, Cass!"

"Why not?"

"Because Cass! If he does, he could die!"

"But what other options do we have, Dean!" Cass yelled louder and Dean shook his head, standing back and staring at Castiel in disbelief. "Dean, you and I both know that Sam is not going to get better. If he dies, then at least he dies knowing he wont have to live in pain for the rest of his life, and he is closing the gates of hell!" 

"Cass..." Dean said sadly. "That's my brother. And I can't let him do this. I need him." Dean's voice cracked. Cass looked at Dean, his head hanging a bit low. He felt bad for the guy. He knew that Dean couldn't stand to lose his brother again. He couldn't imagine a world without Sam.

"I'm sorry, Dean." Cass said and he disappeared.

Dean stood there, alone now. He was always alone at the worst times.

"Damn it!" He yelled and kicked the wall closest to the door way. He turned around and rushed to look for his keys to the Impala. 

"That son of a bitch took my car!" Dean yelled. Thankfully, because they lived in the Men of Letters bunker, they had an extra car on hand, even though Dean hated it with a passion. 

As fast as his feet could take him, Dean ran to the garage, grabbed a random set of keys and took off in an instant. 

 


 

 

"I should have known never to trust you Winchesters." The King of Hell spoke hoarsely as he let his chained up neck fall back into the chair he was constrained too. His head followed Sam toward the confession booth. 

"Crowley," Sam said tiredly as he let his legs carry him toward the booth. "Just shut up. You're not winning this one. Give up." 

"Who says you won, moose?" Crowley chuckled. "You're the one who's dying." Sam looked down at the floor. He stayed silent and shook his head, making his way into the confession booth. It was the first step to completing the last trial.

Sam shut the door in the small booth, crouching down a bit so he wouldn't bang his head on the top edge of the door. He sat down. 

Here goes nothing.

Think Sam... think... Sins? You have a lot of those.

When you walked away from your family to go to college. You walked away from Dean when he needed you. Dad told you to stay gone but you knew he was just bad. You never called, checked in, or made sure that they were okay. You just left. 

Or how about when you lied to Dean about your visions? You knew Jess was going to die but you stayed quiet. You stayed quiet because you wanted to believe that you were normal. But you knew you were never going to be normal. You were never going to get away because you can't run from what's inside you.

Before Dad died, you yelled at him, called him selfish. But the man sold his soul so his son could live. And you would do the same. 

You couldn't save Dean from going to hell. He broke the first seal because you couldn't save him. He died to save you. He died so you could go on with your life while he suffered in hell. And what did you do, Sam? You ran off with Ruby, got addicted to demon blood, and lied to your brother countless times so you could kill Lilith. All of that aside, you let Lucifer out of his cage and started the Apocalypse. 

You said yes to Lucifer against Dean's wishes. Yeah sure, you stopped the Apocalypse, but how many casualties were there? Innocent people died because of you. Because some stupid kid sprung Lucifer from his lock box.

How about when you were soulless. The amount of things to confess for during that time would be longer then one of Crowley's contracts.

Speaking of Lucifer, how about when you neglected to tell your brother about the fact that you were hallucinating the devil? And instead of ignoring him, you let him in. You ended up in the psych ward because of you, not because of hell.

Purgatory. You hit a dog, fell in love, and forgot all about Dean in purgatory. You thought that you could finally be normal without Dean in your life. Your life was Amelia and the dog, Riot. All of those nights you spent in cheap motel rooms, drinking until you couldn't tell the difference between your eyes and your fingers, you could have been looking for Dean. But no, you were so swarmed with self pity that you forgot about Dean until he called you.

And lastly, just a few hours ago. You left Dean. Again. You're going to die and your brother is going to find your corpse. How do you think Dean is going to feel? He's going to blame himself for you death meanwhile you're the one who caused him so much pain and suffering. 

You let him down, Sam. You always have and you always will.

 

 

Sam stepped out of the confession box, his knees buckling underneath the weight of himself. He felt weak, emotionally and physically. His body ached with every movement. Just breathing made his lungs feel like they were being carved into. After Sam caught his balance, he made his way past Crowley, who's eyes were hawking him. He grabbed the syringe needle off of the bench in the church and walked in front of Crowley.

"What are you gonna do with that, Moose?" Crowley cocked his head sideways, watching as Sam dug the needle into the vein of his arm. The blood pooled in the syringe. Sam looked at the blood filled needle. He needed this to work. 

He grabbed Crowley's head and shoved the needle into his neck, a loud yell coming from the king of hell. The fact that Sam's hands were so shaky and weak didn't help with the pain in Crowley's neck.

"This isn't going to work, Sam!" Crowley yelled. "You're going to fail! You're going to die! And I cannot wait until your brother barges into that door just to find your corpse." Crowley growled. Sam let out a weak chuckle.

"That's what you think." Sam said, holding the now empty syringe in his hand. "But the truth is, Crowley," Sam sat down on the bench in the corner of the room "You're loosing. And at the end of this, even if I do die? You're going to be human and there is nothing you can do to stop it." Sam smiled just a tiny bit. He was finally doing what needed to be done. He was winning. Even if he died, he would still cure Crowley, he would still close the gates of hell for good.

And this time, no one was going to stop him.