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Falling Inside the Black

Chapter Text

Sam was grateful for his watch at times, no pun intended. It granted him at least some semblance of time, if such a concept even mattered here.

The Empty. Black. Void. Black. Nothingness. Black. Black. Black…

He ran a shaky hand through his hair, the incessant tick tock tick tock tick tock of his watch clicking in his ear, making him twitch with unease. It was one of the sole sounds that Sam heard now, other than his own breathing, his heartbeat, and if he listened hard enough, he could even hear the blood coursing through his veins.

It was a wonder that he still had a heartbeat and a pulse, he often thought. Was he really still alive? Because he definitely didn't think he was alive. He still existed. Of that, he was fairly certain.

"How nice- to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive." Suddenly popped in Sam's mind. It was a quote from Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, a novel Sam had read back at Stanford. It followed the story of a man, Billy Pilgrim, who would travel through time without really meaning to. Ironically though, the novel seemed to have no concept of time.

Time. Again. It always passed, but never ran out, never would run out in this damn place, full of nothing but black, black, black, BLACK-

Sam shut his eyes, (engulfing himself in black) once more, but intentionally. He was controlling it this time. He and he alone dictated where his thoughts went.

Whenever Sam found his mind wandering, he forced himself to go through a memory, one that would keep him grounded. Grounded in what though, he wasn't really sure, because it sure as hell wasn't reality. Nonetheless, Sam took a deep breath, and let himself fall back into a memory. The memory actually. The one that had caused him to end up here.

"Mom," Dean had said, voice dripping with surety, but tinged with regret. "That place, there was only one way we were getting out of here, and it wasn't breathing. So I made a call."

"And we made a deal." Sam chimed in. "We'd get to die and come back one more time. But in exchange-"

"Come midnight," Billie said eagerly. "And a Winchester goes bye-bye. Like, permanently. And that is something I've been looking forward to for a long time." She grinned, and wasn't it just lovely that the only time she was ever happy was when she was fantasising about their demises?

Neither brother was sure whether confusion, anger, or betrayal was strongest in Mary's voice. "Why would you-"

"We were already dead." Dean interrupted. "Being locked in that cell with nothing… I've been to Hell. This was worse."

"At least this way, one of us gets to keep fighting." Sam said tiredly. If only Dean knew what he was planning.

"You don't have to do this." Castiel almost pleaded, desperation rather than certainty driving him to say it.

"Yeah," Billie was practically laughing. "They do. We made a pact, bound in blood. You break that, and there's consequences on a cosmic scale. So, who's it gonna be?"

There was no hesitation. Sam felt Dean's eyes on him, but Sam couldn't bring himself to look back, otherwise he knew that he would change his mind. So instead of sharing one last glance with his brother, instead of them falling into the inevitable argument of, "take me, not him," Sam just ran up to his mom, plucked the gun from her waistband, cocked it, and put it against his head. His eyes were still closed, equally unwilling and unable to bear the looks of horror that he knew would be on his family's faces.

"I love you." The seldom spoken words left Sam's mouth less than a second before the bullet left the chamber.

Dean, Cas, and Mary all screamed his name in tandem, but Sam never heard it. He was dead before he even hit the ground.

The last thing he had seen in life, and the first thing he had seen in The Empty was black.

Always black, forever black, everything was and is and will be black.

Despite the ever-enveloping black within this nothingness, Sam could still see himself. He wasn't sure how, because there was no discernable light source, but he didn't complain. He would have gone completely mad if he lost all sense of colour and light along with time.

Back to time again. Sam checked his watch. Two minutes had passed since the past time he'd checked. Or maybe it had been twelve hours and two minutes since he'd checked. Or twenty-four hours and two minutes. Or thirty-six. Or fourty-eight. Or-

Sam shook his head again. He knew he shouldn't try to think about how long he'd been thinking. Because it didn't really matter in the end, now did it?

"The end." Sam thought briefly. He wondered if that was another concept that would evade him. Maybe he would never get an end. Or perhaps, this was his end. Sentenced to an eternity of The Empty.

An eternity of black.

But it would be worth it. Sam constantly had to remind himself of that. He was dead, dying, fading, losing, but Dean was alive and- well, not well. Sam knew his drastic and admittedly selfish decision was- is- something that would haunt Dean for the rest of his life. But life. That's all that mattered now. Dean would still have a life. He wouldn't be rotting in this void, losing more and more of himself as time (ha) went on. Sam could bear this unbearable nothingness forever, so long as he never forgot why he had done this, why he had done almost everything.

For Dean.

Chapter Text

"Sam!" Dean cried, attempting to rush to his brother, but a gunshot echoed around them before Dean could even take a full step. He didn't stop running though, and he managed to catch Sam's body before it hit the ground.

No, not his body. He caught Sam. It was Sam, because if he was catching Sam's body, that meant that he was dead, and he couldn't, he just couldn't be dead.

He placed two fingers on Sam's neck, briefly thinking that he still felt a pulse, but he quickly realised that it was only his own fingers shaking in panic.

Okay, no big deal, he'd brought Sam back before. He could do this, he had to do this. He moved his hands to Sam's chest and started compressions, a lot harder and more frantically than he normally would have. Sam jerked lifelessly with each push, but unlike usual, he didn't start coughing or gasping, or sit upright as life suddenly rushed back to him.

"D-Dean," Mary said softly, her voice already beginning to crack. "He go-"

"No, he's not!" Dean shouted, but he didn't really believe himself either.

"Yeah, he is." A voice with just the slightest twinge of pleasure slipping through said. Billie. Dean could practically hear her smirking. "I've already sent him on his way. I'd been hoping I'd get to relish the moment a bit longer, but I can't complain."

"You bitch." Dean hissed, grabbing the gun from Sam's hand, and whipped around to aim at her. He fired until the chamber clicked, indicating that he'd run out of bullets.

Billie looked down at her chest with complete disinterest. With a snap of her fingers, the bullets vanished from her chest, and not a mark was left on her.

"Come on, Dean. You know that regular bullets can't kill me."

"Maybe not." Castiel growled from behind Billie. "But this can." He raised his angel blade, but before he could strike, she held up her hand, sending all three of them flying back.

"Even if you were to kill me, Castiel, it won't bring Sam back." She said flatly. "You struck the deal. There's no changing it now."

"I never agreed for it to be Sam!" Dean shouted back.

"And if it had been you, I'd be having this exact same conversation with him. Sam offed himself first, and I told you there'd be no weaseling out of this deal. It's over. No more second chances." She made a casual stroll to Sam's body, and took hold of him by the back of the jumpsuit.

"What are you doing?" Castiel asked with a frown and a slight tilt of his head.

Billie chuckled. "You really think I'm gonna let you keep the body? No, I know you'll hold onto it as desperately as you'll hold on to the hope that you'll be able to bring him back to it. But you can't, so trust me, I'm doing you all a favour."

"No!" Dean cried.

"Sorry, Dean." Billie raised her hand to snap herself and Sam's body away, but a sudden pitiful plea caught her attention.

"Wait!" It was Mary. She slowly brought herself up on unsteady legs. Her lips quivered, as did her voice as she attempted to appeal to some sort of sympathy within this heartless monster before her. "I promise, we won't try anything, but just- please leave his body. I missed so much, too much of my boys' lives, so I'm asking you, I am begging you to at least grant me the heartache of being there for him in death." A few tears trailed their way down her face. She swallowed, sharpening her tone. "After all he's done for the world, he deserves that much."

Billie raised an eyebrow, and her lip briefly twitched in thought. She glanced at the pathetic display of human emotion surrounding her, and then rolled her eyes.

"Fine." Billie said at last, letting go of Sam's collar, making him fall to the ground. "Keep it. But if I catch the slightest whiff of you trying anything, I won't even let you say goodbye. I'll take him back with a snap of my fingers."

"We get it." Castiel growled, hiding his pain with a mask of anger. "Now go."

Billie shot a warning look to Castiel, and then she vanished. And the masks vanished right along with her.

Dean was cradling Sam's body. Body, corpse, Sammy's corpse, he's dead, oh, God, he's really dead, his baby brother is dead!

His breath hitched, and he felt a tear start to trickle down his cheek, soon followed by another. Then another. And another, and pretty soon, he couldn't stop.

"D-damnit, Sammy…" He choked out.

"Dean…" Mary started softly, reaching out a comforting hand on to his shoulder. But the second it made contact, Dean shot up off the ground and ran to the side of the cement bridge and slammed his fist into it. Blood immediately started seeping from his soon to be bruised knuckles, but he didn't let up the assault, not even when several pops sounded from his hand.

"Dean, stop!" Castiel yelled, yanking Dean away from the bridge, and pulling his limbs back to keep him from causing himself any further harm.

"Get off!" Dean shouted, struggles weakening as the helplessness started to fully set in. When it finally did, he lost the strength to remain upright, starting with his head falling forward, and soon he sagged completely limp in Castiel's arms. The grip keeping him up then shifted to a gentle and equally pain-filled embrace, which was soon joined by another.

Nobody spoke for the longest time, because there was almost nothing that could be said. All the words in the world could never show the true strength of everyone's anguish. Until at last-

"H-he's really gone…" Dean croaked out, voice broken from the force of his sobbing.

"He did it to save you." Castiel said in a voice not much stronger than Dean's.

"I didn't ask him to do that! It isn't" wasn't "his job to keep me safe!"

"Just because no one ever told him that didn't mean that he didn't believe it. You know how willing he has always been to sacrifice himself for the world, but even more so for you." Castiel swallowed, trying to maintain his composure. "For any of us."

Mary sniffled, "I-I had barely said 'hello' before I had to say 'goodbye.'"

"We didn't even get to say 'goodbye.'" Dean pointed out bitterly.

"He knew he would have tried to stop him." Castiel said. "There was no possible way that this deal ended well for anyone. You two never should have agreed to it in the first place!" Castiel shook his head before his anger could get the best of him. "But now," A single tear fell. "Now we must deal with the consequences."

"How do we even start?" Asked Mary.

Dean started to stand, an energy of determination beginning to radiate from him. "We build a pyre. The best damn pyre we've ever made, and give him the best damn f-funeral we can." Dean wiped his eyes. "And we try to learn to say 'goodbye.'"

Sam still exercised. Sure, his body, if it could even be called that, wouldn't change. He figured this out when what he had decided had been days passed and he had yet to feel a single pang of hunger, or the slightest ounce of thirst. So there was no chance to wither away by human needs, so there was no real reason to exercise other than the sole purpose to pass the ti- right. That didn't matter here.

Also, it made him tired. After he'd spend a while running, doing push-ups, crunches, it would wear him out, and he would close his eyes, black consuming him once again.

"Back in black, I hit the sack. I've been too long, I'm glad to be back."

Sam couldn't help but smile as the song started playing through his head. But it wasn't AC/DC's version running through his mind. Instead, it was the image of Dean behind the wheel of the Impala, having the time of his life belting along with the cassette tape he still refused to let go of. It was clearly a bit of a strain on Dean's admittedly impressive voice, so he'd given up on certain notes, electing to yell them as loudly as he possibly could, purposefully leaning closer to Sam as he did. At the time, Sam had groaned and rolled his eyes, trying to shout at Dean to shut up, tell him that he was giving him a headache.

What Sam would give for a Dean induced headache now.

With the memory of Sam trapped in the car with Dean's off-key belting, Sam drifted off to sleep.

He woke up eventually. He knew he couldn't think in terms of time, so he simply acknowledged that he was awake, and moved on. He stretched, stood up, and started to walk around the confines of the darkness once again.

There weren't walls or ceilings. Sam wasn't even sure there was really a floor. He'd learned about the walls when he'd fallen down, hitting his knee rather hard, and gave a harsh shout. But there was no echo. Everything about this place melded with Sam's logic told him that his voice inevitably had to run into something and bounce back to him, but apparently logic held the same significance as time.

Whenever Sam found himself absent-mindedly singing to himself, he was grateful for the lack of an echo. He didn't share Dean's singing abilities, so he didn't mind that his uneven voice didn't get to assault his ears anymore than it already did.

He'd really grown to detest the sound of his own voice at this point. It was all he ever heard other than the occasional shuffle of his feet across the ground. But he couldn't- wouldn't- stop talking or singing to himself. He simply had to block out the sounds of his heart beating, blood rushing, pulse thrumming. It was absolutely maddening. He wished he could hear something new. Or Dean. He always wished for Dean.

He missed the steady thrum of electricity. Back on Earth, there was almost always some kind of distant hum of lights, or a buzz of a venting system. He hadn't realised how he had taken those sounds for granted. Whenever those sounds had faded, and all was as quietly as it possibly could have been, it meant something, usually a monster, was about to attack. Thusly, the even more intense silence that seeped through The Empty left Sam in a constant state of unease.

So he hummed. Or talked. Sometimes he'd even yell complete and utter nonsense if he thought that the silence was growing too loud. And yes, he knows that that doesn't make any sense, but he simply couldn't bear the silence.

The nothingness. The isolation. The black. Forever the black.

His voice eventually began to tire, so he stopped humming, and held his watch up to his ear. The steady tick tock tick tock tick tock was hardly any better than the overwhelming silence, but it was better nonetheless.

Sam allowed his mind to wander, and let the irritating clicking become a metronome, setting the beat for his imaginary rendition of Hey Jude. He imagined his mom singing it. Even with his eyes tightly shut, he still felt the tears slipping loose as he let himself mourn his family. Then he couldn't help but chuckle, because how could he mourn them when he's the one that's dead? He kept going back and forth between crying and laughing, until finally, he fell asleep once more.

Chapter Text


Sam's eyes shot open at the new sound, followed by a sharp sting in his head. He reached up a hand to check for a source of the pain, and as his watch neared his ear, he felt his heart skip a beat, because no sound was coming out of it.

In a panic, Sam lifted his watch to his face, and when he got a good look at it, he whimpered. The protective glass had cracked, and the hands now twitched lifelessly, unable to click past their current and final positions. He realised he must have rolled over on it in his sleep, and the weight of his head had broken it, and the shards had embedded themselves into his scalp.

He snapped the watch off his wrist, causing more shards to rain down around him, the soft chime of their impact making Sam's gut clench. He stared at the watch, practically trying to will it back to life, because he just can't lose the last thing he had that tied him to any semblance of reality. He started frantically tapping at the watch, oblivious to the beads of glass that wedged their way into his fingers.

He then started to shake the watch, and soon realised that he couldn't stop shaking. He looked at his hands, finally noticing how the ruby rivulets trickled down from where the glass jutted out, some pieces small, and others somewhat bigger.

He'd forgotten how much he had missed the colour red. He'd grown accustomed to seeing only the grey-blue of his jumpsuit, and pinkish tan of his skin, and occasionally the dark brown wisps of hair that sometimes fell over his eyes. And the black, Always the black. It was a dark blessing to see something new again.

Letting out a bitter chuckle, Sam turned and twisted his hands, watching in pure fascination as the red seemed to glow, almost calling to him.

Besides having missed the colour, Sam also realised how much he had missed feeling. He'd grown weary of listening, looking, and nothing more than being. He wanted more.

The brief sting of the shards stuck in his hands started to fade, and the thought of being left with nothing yet again outright terrified him. So, he plucked one of the larger pieces off the ground, and tilted it, trying to get the light to reflect off of it, but then remembered that there was none of that here. There was absolutely nothing here except the darkness, the loneliness, the black, black, black, black, BLACK-


Sam gasped in surprise at the sudden sensation he felt in his arm. He looked down at it to discover a long, red stripe running down it. It hurt. It throbbed. It stung. But it felt. The pain gave him another sense of existence, it was the closest to real he had felt since he got here.

Curiously, Sam probed at the wound, and momentarily winced as the pain heightened, but then he couldn't help but smile. Forget the memories, those were too painful to keep him grounded, but this pain, this physical pain made him feel human once more. This way was far easier, and it meant that he could feel something other than despair.

At last, this was his key to feeling alive again.

"Anything?" Lucifer asked, annoyance apparent in his voice. He'd grown more than tired of these constant "check ups," so to speak, that were leading absolutely nowhere.

The fact that the demon lowered its head was answer enough, but Lucifer would be damned (if only) if he let some nameless, insignificant, disgrace of creation not answer him. He grabbed the demon by the collar, yanking it close enough that it could likely feel his icy breath against its face. Lucifer's eyes glowed as he hissed, "Well?"

"Th-the warding is st-still too strong, sir. M-my lord." It quickly corrected.

With a huff, Lucifer let it go, and slouched back against the chair he was apparently doomed to rot in. "How much longer is this gonna take?"

"I- I don't-"

"Ballpark it." He snapped.

The demon wisely backed out of Lucifer's reach before answering. "It could still be several months before the warding wears off enough for you to escape."

Lucifer merely blinked and the demon flinched. Good. Insolent, little cockroach. "Not sure if you recall, so I'll be kind and remind you." His tone was anything but. It had an icy coolness that was far more terrifying than if he'd been yelling. "My son is going to be born soon. I don't have months." His eyes started glowing red. "So either you find a way to speed up this process, or else I tell Crowley that you've been helping me, and he can deal with you as he sees fit."

The demon paled. "B-but then who-"

Lucifer waved a hand and its voice abruptly broke off. "I'm the inventor of seduction and manipulation. Do you really think I couldn't find someone to take your place? Besides, it's not like you've been particularly helpful anyway. So. You're gonna find a way to power down this warding, otherwise I'll blow the whistle on this whole thing, and then I'll sit back and relax to the soothing sounds of Crowley disemboweling you." He smiled. "Understand?"

The demon only nodded frantically. Lucifer wasn't even blocking its voice anymore, it was just too scared to speak.

Approvingly, Lucifer nodded. "Good. Now start looking."

The demon nodded once more, and scurried off. It kept its eyes on Lucifer, as though it feared that if it looked away for just a second that Lucifer would snap his fingers and end him once and for all. It managed to open to door without turning away, and backed up through it, and quickly shut it behind itself. It exhaled a sigh of relief, and turned around. The sight of Crowley standing right in front of it caused the demon to jump and let out a humiliating squeak.

Crowley smiled, but there wasn't an ounce of joy in it.

"Y-you heard that I take it?" The demon asked, already knowing the answer.

"Oh, only all of it." Crowley said dryly.

The demon swallowed. "Any chance you're gonna make this quick?"

Now Crowley's smile had a touch of pleasantness in it. "Not even a little."

With resignation, the demon sighed. It gave a final nod, and then it went up in flames. As its agonised cries echoed throughout the throne room, Crowley entered Lucifer's prison.

Lucifer's lips were pursed with mild disappointment.

"So you caught me." He said with disinterest. "Doesn't matter. No matter what you do, I'm gonna escape eventually."

Crowley let out a small chuckle. "I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I realised something. A few somethings actually." He started moving closer to Lucifer. "The first thing, is that I am already King. I shouldn't care about making you suffer the same way I did, as much as I would love to. Secondly, you're right. I could send a brand new demon in here every day, and you would still find a way to turn them against me. So I've come to a conclusion." A blade dropped form his sleeve. "I don't need you anymore."

Had it been an ordinary blade, Lucifer wouldn't have bat an eye. But this wasn't an ordinary blade. It was an angel blade.

"Where'd you manage to find that?" Lucifer asked, masking his worry.

"You really think I wouldn't have some kind of safety net in place before bringing you in?" He scoffed. "Please."

Panic increasing, Lucifer asked, "What about your plan to break me? Show all my loyalists that you can't possibly be beat?"

"I've considered that, but I realised that you can't exactly be loyal to a dead man, can you?" He chuckled. "Besides, I think that your head serving as my foot rest will get the message across."

Lucifer's eye started glowing red. "My son-"

"Will be in the best of hands, far away from you." Crowley cut him off. "You've had your chances, and now it's time for you to give up. Not that you really have a choice in the matter, but." He smiled. "I'm truly going to enjoy this."

In a fit of rage, Lucifer reared forward, and ended up impaling himself on the blade. He grit his teeth and let out a furious and animalistic growl as the pain made itself known. Crowley's victorious smirk was the last thing he saw before he shut his eyes, and he felt himself explode in death.

Chapter Text

Lucifer hadn't been expecting to open his eyes. He was fully aware that he had died, and for once he actually wasn't too certain that there was anyone left who would be willing to revive him.

Then he realised that no one was around him either. No one greeted him with a, "Sire, I've brought you back to save us all." Not that he'd ever do anyone a favour anyway, but he was confused nonetheless. The fact that all he saw was himself didn't help the matter either. Black encompassed the space surrounding him, and for the briefest moment, Lucifer felt true fear, because he could think of only one place that he could possibly be.

The Cage. Again. Alone. Trapped. Forever.

"No…" He whispered. Then the terror set in tenfold. "No!" He turned his head around to slam his fist into the Cage wall, only there was nothing there. The ancient metal bars were absent, and there were no flashes of lightning or rolls of thunder, which meant that this wasn't the Cage after all. So then where the hell (or otherwise) was he?

His attention was pulled away by a soft sound, a voice in pain. But not just any voice. Sam's Winchester's. Lucifer could have, and apparently did, recognise it anywhere, especially when it was so clearly tinged with agony. Three-thousand, three-hundred and sixty years of nothing but that sound tends to leave an impression.

Unable to resist, and more than a tad curious, Lucifer started to follow the sound. It wasn't long before he saw a lone figure in the distance, huddled on the ground. Another gasp of pain left him, and Lucifer shuddered in pleasure at the sound. Sam seemed completely unaware of him, and seemed gravely more focused on- what the hell was he doing?

Upon drawing closer, he saw that Sam appeared to be absolutely catatonic. He was shaking madly, muttering nonsense to himself, and ever more interestingly, he appeared to be partaking in carving up his own arm, watching with fascination as the blood welled up.

That was when Lucifer knew for certain that this couldn't be Hell. The sight in front of his was far too wonderful for it to have been part of any kind of torment. Maybe this was Heaven.

The thought made Lucifer laugh. As if he'd ever go to Heaven. Not that he didn't feel that he deserved to rule it, but that was a separate matter.

Lucifer's laugh snapped Sam out of his trance, and he slowly looked up at Lucifer. His face was passive, which Lucifer had not been expecting.

Sam simply shook his head and muttered, "Not real."

Oh. Oh, that was just precious. Sam didn't think that Lucifer was real. Well then. Lucifer would just have to prove him wrong, wouldn't he?

He quickly shot out his hands, tightly grabbing Sam by the wrists. He felt Sam immediately tense, but it didn't appear to be from fear. Instead, he seemed to be trying to get loose so that he could get back to what he was doing earlier.

"Sammy." Lucifer cooed softly.

"N-no!" Sam cried, his movements growing more frantic.

"Saaaam." Lucifer tried again, patience wearing thinner by the second.

"N-not…" Sam panted, struggling to recall the words. "Real. Not real."

Lucifer's eyes then started glowing, and he squeezed Sam's wrists until he felt the bones about to break beneath his grip.

"Sam." It was a command that time. Lucifer would be sorely disappointed if his favourite pet suddenly stopped listening to him. Then he'd have to go through the trouble of breaking him all over again. Lucifer then chuckled at the thought, because okay, he would have absolutely no problem making Sam his obedient little bitch once more.

Sam started gasping, even letting out a small whimper from the intensity of the pain. For the first time he looked at Lucifer, really looked at him, and that was when Lucifer got to watch gleefully as realisation quickly followed by terror flash through Sam's eyes.

After a slow swallow, Sam croaked out, "R-real?"

Tilting his head with an eager smile starting to creep across his face, Lucifer nodded. "There it is. You miss me, Sammy? Cuz I sure missed you."

"No." It wasn't disbelief this time in Sam's voice. Instead, it was a delicious combination of panic, desperation, and denial.

"Yes, yes I did. But luckily, it looks like we've got the whole place to ourselves. So," He suddenly yanked Sam up, just high enough for Lucifer to easily lean down and whisper right in Sam's ear, "What do you say you and I do a little catching up?"

Something was clearly broken inside of Sam Winchester, because the boy didn't even try to be stoic. He immediately started thrashing with abandon, further opening his self-inflicted wounds. Lucifer couldn't wait to find out what had lead to him doing that.

Oh, this was going to be so. Much. Fun.

"So, tell me, Sammy, where exactly are we?" The question was asked casually, as if Lucifer didn't currently have his hand up to the forearm inside Sam's abdomen, groping his soul in an unforgiving grip.

Sam couldn't even dream of answering. The only sounds to leave his mouth were pants, or choked off whimpers. His hands quivered uselessly at his sides, legs twitching just as sporadically.

Lucifer, however, didn't really care that speaking was beyond Sam's capability. He only cared about the fact that Sam appeared to be defying him, so he tightened his grip, crushing Sam's soul in his hands until the boy couldn't even breathe.

"Let me try that again. Do you know where we are?" When Sam didn't answer immediately, Lucifer dug his thumb in, causing Sam to let out a pained whine. Lucifer almost couldn't fathom how much pain Sam must be in. He laxed his grip only slightly when Sam nodded. "Okay, good. That's a start. Now," He tilted his head down at Sam in warning. "Are you gonna tell me?"

Sam's slightly parted mouth shook as he sobbed in a breath. Apparently not all his defiance had been knocked out of him, because he steeled himself, and then shook his head.

Fine by Lucifer. It was no fun destroying a toy that was already broken. He simply gave a ghost of a smile, and then squeezed Sam's soul until he felt something snap.

Sam finally let out his first real scream, followed by a plea of, "St-stop!"

"Where are we, Sammy?" Lucifer asked again, not at all loosening his grip.

Sam managed to gain enough control over his hands to grasp Lucifer's, but his struggles only caused Lucifer to further jostle his insides, and he cried out at the indescribably invasive agony.

"Tell me now, or I rip your soul in half. I know you remember how that feels, and I definitely remember how much you hate that. Is it really worth it, buddy?"

Sam gathered his senses in order to process the question. He thought for a moment, and realised no, it isn't worth it. Almost nothing is worth that much pain.

Unable to do much else, Sam shook his head. He didn't think he could handle much more of this, because he also knew that Lucifer had a limitless imagination.

"You gonna be a good boy now?" Lucifer asked borderline sweetly.

Sam nodded frantically, too weary to care about how degrading the question was.

Lucifer smiled and released his grip, but he did not yet withdrawal his hand from Sam's chest, allowing the unspoken threat of, "I'll do it again if I have to" to loom over him.

Sam took a moment to gather his breath, gaining enough strength to finally answer, "E-Empty."

"Empty? As in The Empty?" Lucifer attempted to clarify. Sam nodded again. "Huh." Lucifer was confused, albeit mildly intrigued. "How long have you been here?"

Eyes going wide in panic, Sam started to shake and whimper again. He couldn't remember. No, it was more than that, he just didn't know, he couldn't know because his watch was broken, but it didn't really matter anyway, because time didn't exist here, he didn't even exist here, why was Lucifer here, this wasn't fair, this didn't make any sense, he just wanted it to stop, he wanted all of it to stop, he just wanted to die, die, die, die-

A sudden twist of his soul brought him back, and he found himself screaming again.

"Sam…" Lucifer warned once more.

God, it had been so long since Sam had spoken that it was genuinely difficult for him to recall all the words. Especially when the pain was simultaneously taking away his breath, and filling his mind with thoughts of, "stop, hurts, please, hurts, can't, no, don't, hurts-"

"D-d-don't… kn-know." He stuttered out. He exhaled a painfully shaky breath the hand finally released his soul again.

Lucifer sighed, feigning understanding, but he relished in Sam's suffering far too much for it to ever be believable.

"Alright, I suppose that's fair. How about this one: how did you end up here?"

"D-deal. Billie. E-either me, o-or-…" Sam stopped. He couldn't tell Lucifer the rest, because he couldn't remember it. He had convinced himself that he didn't want to remember, because it hurt. Like right now. Everything hurt.

"You or who?" The hand shifted, not squeezing just yet, but Sam still jerked in discomfort.

"I-…" Sam started. He tried to remember. He didn't really want to forget. There was something within that memory, someone that had made everything completely worth it, but he had lost it. It felt like a part of himself, a part of his very soul, had been lost with it.

And Lucifer felt it too.

"Oh. Oh." Lucifer said, astonishment mixed with sadistic excitement bubbling up inside him. "You really don't remember him, do you?"

This wasn't the first time Sam had cried in the Empty, but was certainly the time that had hurt the most. He didn't feel shame for crying in front of Lucifer, the emptiness inside him was far too powerful for any other emotion to overcome it. It didn't even register when Lucifer took his hand from Sam's chest. He just curled up on himself and let the tears spill loose as another part of himself slipped away.

"I guess I should take that as a compliment." Lucifer said passively. "You remembering me, but not him." He chuckled.

"H-him?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, him."

"N-need… know." Sam was too far gone to give a damn about dignity.

"What, so you can regain that stubborn streak of yours again? Not gonna happen. I'm gonna keep you in the dark, just because I can." Lucifer laughed again. "I'm pretty sure that even with everything I did to you in the Cage, this is gonna be my best torture yet." He smiled, cracked his knuckles, and then poised a hand just above Sam's chest, ready to plunge it in again.

"Now, where were we?"

Chapter Text

"Ahh!" Kelly cried out as another contraction struck throughout her body.

"It's alright, Kelly, you're doing great." Mary tried to soothe her. She whipped her head around to face Castiel. "Can you do anything for the pain?"

"This is Lucifer's child. I'm afraid there is little I can do to help with this."

"Y-you've done more than enough, Castiel." Kelly panted. "Y-you believed in this child when nobody else did. I kn-know he will be able to c-create a better future f-for everyone. Thank you." She looked to Mary, and then the notably quieter Dean. "Thanks to all of you." She gave a brief smile before her head tipped back on a scream as the pain of another contraction consumed her.

Rather abruptly, Dean left the room, and Castiel quickly followed after him, hoping to get his friend to talk to him about his unanswered question.

"I- never did ask you, Dean." He started. "You had seemed almost adamant about killing this child, but you changed your mind. Why?"

A soft but pained smile made its way onto Dean's face. "I just- I thought about what Sammy would have done." It was always 'Sammy' now, never just 'Sam.' "I knew that he would've wanted to give this kid a chance. He always wanted to give everyone a chance."

"Except himself." Came the painful thought.

"Besides," Dean added. "You trust him, and I trust you."

"You're almost all I've got left now."

"Well, thank you." Castiel said sincerely. Silence simmered between them for only a few seconds before another one of Kelly's screams practically shook the house. Wait, no, the house was actually shaking.

"Cas, what the hell's happening?" Dean asked.

Castiel put a hand to his own forehead as something nearby shifted. Something big.

"I'm not sure." He answered. "But I think it's this way. Quickly." They both ran outside the house, and soon found the source of- power was the only way to describe it. It looked like a frozen lightning bolt, or a glowing rip hovering above the ground.

"What is-"

"I have no idea." Castiel cut Dean off, already knowing the question, but having no answer.

Dean started to reach a hand out to touch it, but Castiel grabbed his arm and pulled it away.

"I don't think we should touch it, Dean. When has an unidentified glowing object ever lead to anything good?"

"You're not worried about what the hell that thing is?"

Kelly's scream answered before Castiel could.

"Of course I'm worried, but right now we have other things to worry about." He looked back at the house just in time to see the lights flicker. "We should go." He didn't wait for an affirmation he just started running back.

Another scream, scratch that, a shriek pierced the air, and it soon morphed into an angelic whine that Castiel and Dean felt all too familiar with. All the lights in the house suddenly burst, encasing it in complete darkness, and then they both knew.

The Nephilim had been born.

"Please, please stop, please!" Sam was fairly certain that there had been a time that he had refused to ever beg the Devil. But that was back when he had hope, which Lucifer was keeping locked away from him by refusing to say his name. Not to mention to fact that Lucifer was currently prying his nails out of his already broken fingers, an agony he found almost unbearable.

"Sammy, this is only finger number six, don't tell me you're trying to tap out already." Lucifer whined as he gently massaged Sam's left pointer finger, the pain of the grinding bones making Sam cry out. Lucifer closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. "I'll never get tired of that sound." Without even looking, because he knew Sam's body that well, Lucifer tore the nail from its bed, sighing in satisfaction at Sam's scream.

"Tell you what, buddy," Lucifer said, slowly twisting Sam's next finger until his boy was writhing and gasping in pain. "If you can manage to not scream at the next finger, I'll leave the other three alone. Hell, I'll even heal both of your hands for you. We got a deal?"

Sam forced himself to process the words. Lucifer always kept his promises, and he had hurt Sam far worse in the past and he had managed to remain silent. He could do this. He had to.

But the second Lucifer started tugging on his nail, he screamed.

Lucifer ripped the other nails out without a word, seeming almost disappointed that Sam had lost their little game, no doubt having something far nastier in mind for him had he been able to hold out. He instead huffed as he cast Sam to the ground, not bothering to bask in the wonderful cries of pain Sam emitted as he tired to cradle his ruined hands to his chest.

"You know, eternity isn't gonna be any fun if you don't give me some kind of challenge."

"You won't have that long." That wasn't Sam's voice. That- that was Lucifer's voice. Lucifer turned around and saw a mirror image of himself staring back at him. He rolled his eyes at Sam's frantic litany of "no's."

"Well, hey, good-looking." Lucifer said to his double.

"Can it, angel." It hissed. "You should not be awake." It cast a glance to Sam. "And you should not be here."

"Okay, sorry to interrupt your- whatever this is," Lucifer butted in. "But what exactly are you?"

It sneered. "Something a lot older than you. I'm the guardian of this place, over all the souls of every dead angel and demon."

"Whoa, every angel?" Lucifer asked, taken aback.

"Yes, every angel, all locked in an eternity of sleep." It stepped closer. "I was also sleeping. And you should be too."

"Well," Lucifer shrugged. "I'm not." He giggled. "What are you gonna do?"

Lucifer was taken very much by surprise when the copy suddenly threw its hand on his head. Before he could even begin to protest, agony unlike anything he'd ever felt, other than The Fall, raced through his skull. His true voice escaped as he screamed, causing Sam to cover his ears to try to block out the piercing sound. After what felt like forever, it withdrew its hand, and Lucifer collapsed to the ground.

"What the hell, man?" Lucifer groaned, lifting a hand to his still throbbing temples.

"Oh, I was just reading your mind."


"Because I want to know why you're here, and more importantly, how to shut you up so I can get back to sleep!"

"You ever tried counting sheep? I know it's a bit of a cliché, but don't knock it til you-" He was cut off as the entity grabbed him by the throat and started to lift until he could no longer speak.

"That's enough out of you," It smiled knowingly. "Lucifer. Time to read your pet." It snapped its fingers, and suddenly Sam was on his knees beside it. It placed its hand on Sam's forehead, and soon Sam was screaming once again. He collapsed the second the being released him. It inhaled deeply and dropped Lucifer to the ground.

"Okay. Okay, okay, okay." It said, drumming its fingers against its chin in thought. "So you," He pointed at Sam. "Are awake because you're just a human, so the rules don't quite apply to you. And you," Now it pointed at Lucifer. "Are here because of the whole 'true vessel' connection or whatever. And that won't do. No, that won't do at all."

"Here's a bright idea then." Lucifer said as he got back to his feet, brushing himself off. "Send me back to Earth, and I won't bother you anymore. And I'm sure Sammy won't bother you at all."

It chuckled. "Or, I get both of you to fall back asleep again." Without warning, it put its hands back on both their heads, and for the first time, the Empty echoed with screams.

"Are you sure you're alright, Jack?" Castiel asked.

The Nephilim paused, actually processing the question, and that was definitely not something anyone was used to. "I feel- empty somehow." In answer, his stomach growled, causing Mary to chuckle.

"That's just hunger. C'mon, I'll make you something to eat." Mary then escorted Jack to the kitchen, but Dean and Castiel stayed back.

"What about you, Dean? How are you feeling?" Castiel was surprised that he didn't get the usual snap of, 'I'm fine.'

"Honestly? I- I don't know, Cas. Believe me, I'm glad I got you and mom here, but…" He trailed off, but he didn't need to finish. Castiel knew just what he was thinking.

"I know, I wish he was here too." At least Dean was talking about it for once. "I have a feeling he and Jack would have gotten along well."

"Yeah." Dean said with a chuckle. "Yeah, I bet they would have." Dean sighed. "Cas, what are we gonna do?"

"About what?"

"About the kid! I sure as hell don't know the first thing about raising Lucifer's son, and I'm pretty sure you don't either. We've got no idea what he's capable of! Remember that glowing light he caused in the backyard of the safehouse? We've still got no clue what that was, or if he's gonna make another one!"

"Which is why I'll be here to carefully guide him how to use his powers. But I can only teach him how to be an angel. You can teach him how to be a human. I cannot do this without you."

Dean went silent for a moment. Then another, then another, then finally, "I- I can't." He turned and left, blocking out Castiel calling after him.

Jack must have sensed something was off, and approached Castiel. "Did I do something to upset him?"

Castiel sighed. "No, it is not you. He has recently lost someone he cared about deeply. Who we all cared about."


"His brother, Sam. He-…" Where could he even start? "He was a hero. He'd saved the world countless times, and expected nothing in return, but he usually got even less. He was constantly told that he would never be more than an abomination, that he was damned practically the second he was born."

Jack's eyebrows knitted. "Like me."

Castiel paused, and then nodded. "Yes, much like you. But he was able to prove everyone wrong, including me. He spent every moment of his life trying to help other people.

"What happened to him?"

Castiel's eyes fell as he found himself reliving that painful moment, as trapped and useless as ever. "He sacrificed himself to save Dean. He had made a deal, an incredibly stupid deal that forced either him or Dean to give their life in exchange for the other. And now he is somewhere that even I cannot reach him."

Jack too dropped his eyes, a feeling of sympathetic sadness washing over him. "Do you think he is at peace?"

A smile ghosted over Castiel's lips. "Yes. I truly think he is."

Sam continued to scream as the pressure in his head built and built, unable to hear Lucifer screaming beside him. The hand released them once more, and Sam collapsed, holding his aching head, whimpering at the aftershocks of the agony. He didn't have the energy to flinch at the hand that started all too intimately carding through his hair.

"C'mon, boys," The entity practically cooed at them. "Just give in to it. Close your eyes, and all the pain will go away."

But Sam didn't want the pain to go away. He needed the pain in order to feel something other than emotional anguish. He curled in on himself, shaking, already missing the pain.

"N-no." Lucifer hissed. "You seriously think you can torture me to the point of giving in? I dad-damned invented suffering, so there isn't a thing you can do that's gonna make me give up. If you want sleep, then you're gonna have to send me back to Earth."

The being was clearly furious, but defeat was prominent in its eyes. "If I send you, you're taking your pet with you."

Lucifer flared his nostrils in annoyance. "Why bother? He's been here longer than I have and he never bothered you."

"But he. Doesn't. Belong here! I am in charge of this place, and I don't want some whimpering, pathetic, cockroach of creation infesting my home!"

Lucifer took a deep breath, thinking. Did he want Sam to follow him back to Earth? Hell no. The kid was as whiny as he was a pain in the ass, but he wasn't exactly himself, so he couldn't really do any damage. And then a plan suddenly formed in Lucifer's head, one that would get him his son, and he knew that he would be unstoppable.

"Know what, big guy?" Lucifer grinned. "It's a deal." He held out his hand, and as the being took it into its own, Lucifer felt himself moving back towards Earth.

Towards his son.

The absence of agony was starting to make Sam panic. So much so that he didn't even notice the change in environment. He didn't feel the gravel beneath his feet, or scent the air tinged with smells, and not the lack thereof. Sam didn't know it, but he was home.

Lucifer, however, immediately noticed the shift. He was in fact repulsed by the stench of humanity surrounding him, but that wasn't the only thing he could sense in the air. The was a power, akin to his own. His son had been born.

But before he could get too ahead of himself, he still had one more thing to take care of. He cast his gaze down to the quivering human, and Lucifer let his eyes glow their fiery red.

"Alright, Sammy," He lifted Sam off the ground with a painful grip on his hair. "Let's chat."

Chapter Text

"This is killing you, isn't it?" Lucifer asked the still shaking Sam. "Not being able to hurt yourself. You're losing your only hold on that little shred that's left of your sanity." Sam's whimper was all the answer Lucifer needed. "Thought so. Then I've got a proposition for you."

An annoying familiar gleam flashed in Sam's eyes. Hope.


"I can promise you nothing but pain, so much that you won't even have a single second to think about that special someone you can't remember." Lucifer grinned internally as that ounce of hope faded just as quickly as it came. "You'll never have to feel that kind of hurt again, and all you've gotta do is say one, little word. 'Yes.'"

Sam paused, hesitation and doubt clouding his face. He felt like there was definitely a reason that he shouldn't listen to Lucifer, that he should be fighting him! But he was just, so, tired…

"N-no more hurting?" He asked nervously.

"Nope. Just pain. You have my word." Lucifer couldn't stop the grin now. He couldn't have imagined a moment this wonderful in his wildest dreams. Not only would he be at full power in his chosen vessel, but it also meant one less Winchester to worry about as he hunted for his son. And all he had to do was promise Sam unceasing agony in order to coax a 'yes' out of him. And he was more than capable, as well as eager, to follow through on that promise.

Without a trace of fight or strength left in him, Sam nodded.

"I need to hear it, Sammy."


Lucifer possessed him within a second, and wasted no time in chaining Sam up and locking him away within the darkest recesses of Lucifer's imagination. Thus, Sam's hell commenced, and Lucifer's heaven began.

Jack winced and brought a hand to his forehead as he felt- something? No, someone.

"What is it, Jack?" Mary asked.

"My head."

"I can feel it too." Castiel said, worry seeping through his usually monotonous voice. "This- this can't be possible…"

"What?" Mary asked, growing more concerned by the second.

"The power we're feeling," Castiel began. "I've felt it before. But- it can't be him…"

"Who?!" Mary was growing even more frantic.

Jack was the one who answered. "Lucifer. It- it's him, isn't it?"

Castiel nodded.

"But," Mary started, "We sent him back to Hell. He couldn't have possibly escaped."

"I used to believe the same thing about the Cage, but he managed to escape from there too."

"How could he have gotten out?"

"I'm not sure." Answered Castiel. "But I do know who we could ask."

"Crowley." Everyone turned their heads, surprised to see that the voice belonged to Dean, who was now standing in the doorway.

"Dean," Castiel said. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough to hear that Lucifer's back." For a fleeting moment, Dean was grateful for Sam's absence, because he didn't want his brother anywhere near that son of a bitch ever again. "You sure it's him, Cas?"

"I am. But I don't know how it's possible."

"We can call up Crowley, see if he has any ideas."

"Are you sure that's a wise choice?" Castiel asked. "We don't know where he stands with Jack. If he wants him for himself, he shouldn't be anywhere near him."

"So we don't let Crowley know we've got him. Sound good? I think we're good."

"Dean," Castiel put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "Are you sure you're ready to do this? You haven't really gone out much since-"

"Don't." Dean cut him off. "I need this. I can't just stay cooped up in here forever."

"Who's Crowley?" Jack asked.

"King of Hell." Answered Dean.

Jack frowned, looking concerned. "And- he is your friend?"

"He's useful. But he's loyal to himself before anyone else."

"Dean's right, Jack," Castiel added. "So it is probably best for you to stay as far away from him as possible." He turned to Dean. "I'll talk to Crowley with you."

"No." Dean said sharply. "I need to get out of this bunker, and you need to keep an eye on the kid. I don't want mom around him if he goes nuclear." Dean didn't miss the flinch that Jack have, but he didn't really care either. "Let's go." He turned around without another word, and headed up the stairs, and out the door.

When Mary joined behind him, he knew he was in for a lecture.

"Dean, you've got to give Jack a chance. All he wants to do is help."

"Yeah, and what has he actually done so far to help? He doesn't even remember telling Cas that crap about how he'd create a better world. He's useless."

Mary sighed. "I think you're just expecting too much out of him. I think we both know that there's really only one thing that you want from him, isn't there?"

Dean shut his eyes, knowing, but not wanting to hear what she was going to say.

"You think he could bring Sam back, or at least you want to believe that he can. But, I- I don't think he can. I wish he could, but-"

"Enough." Dean interrupted. "I know you think you're helping, but you're not. Just let me do this." He didn't wait for a response, but just took out his phone, and made the call. It rang only twice before there was an answer.

"Squirrel." Came the voice on the other end. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I'm assuming that you felt it too." Dean wasn't in the mood for Crowley's usual antics. "You know why I'm calling."

There was a pause. Crowley appeared to be at a loss for words, and that never happens. "It can't be him."

"Cas thinks otherwise. Do you think there's any chance that the spell Rowen used didn't work right?" Dean was met with silence, and he felt a pit growing in his stomach. "Crowley?"

"The spell-…" He said hesitantly. "Did exactly what I wanted it to."

Dean tightened his grip on the phone, thinking he may inadvertently crush it. "And what. Did you want it to do?"

"I- wanted to show everyone how powerful I was. By turning Lucifer into my pet. So I altered the spell so that he would be locked in his old vessel and-"

"You did what?! We had a chance to finally take him out-!"

"Which I did as soon as I realised that I couldn't control him. I promise you, he was dead, and I don't know what could have brought him back."

Dean twitched. "I do." He hung up before Crowley could asked any more questions. He looked back towards the bunker with fury radiating off of him in waves.

"Dean, stop! You don't know what happened, and you can't jump to any conclusions." Mary tried to reason. When Dean ignored her and tried to rush past she jumped in front of him, blocking him off. "If Jack had wanted to do anything to hurt us, he's had plenty of chances." She sighed. "I know you're angry about Sam, but-"

"I don't want to talk-"

"Well I don't want to talk about it either!" Mary snapped. "It shouldn't have ever happened, you should have trusted that me and Castel wouldn't have ever given up on you, and would have found a way to get you out." Tears started to flow down Mary's face. "I-I should have been there for him. For both of you." She wiped her eyes. "If you want someone to be mad at, it should be me, not Jack."

Dean shut his eyes, trying and failing to hold the tears back. "It's not your fault. Or Jack's… It's mine. I should have been the one who-"

"Stop it." Mary cut him off again. "It shouldn't have been either of you. You both deserved so much better. I- I'm sorry I couldn't have made things better." Mary then threw her arms around her boy, and she felt him shaking in tandem with her. She didn't hear a sound out of him, but she didn't need one to know that Dean was crying.

"Th-the best thing we can do now," Mary managed to say. "Is take down that monster that's caused everyone so much pain." She released Dean to look him in the eyes, ambition prominent in her own. "And we'll do it for Sam."

Dean closed his eyes, and nodded. "For Sam."

Chapter Text

Sam fell forward in the chains suspending him above the ground, coughing against the blood bubbling up in his throat. Sweat dripped down the back of his neck, despite the unceasing cold that festered in the air around him.

He attempted to lift his head, but it was too demanding of a task, and he fell back against his chest. That is until an icy hand grabbed his chin, and forced him to look into those unfeeling blue eyes that stared unblinkingly into each and every one of his nightmares.

"You having fun yet, Sammy?" Lucifer asked sweetly.

Sam only choked in answer.

Lucifer's head titled. "Oh, am I boring you? I could always kick it up a notch if you're not enjoying yourself." He started to reach towards Sam's chest, the intent of groping his soul all too clear.

"N-no!" Sam shrunk in on himself as much as he could.

Smirking, Lucifer drew his hand back. "Would you like a break? No tricks here, I promise. I won't lay a finger on you."

Hesitant, but desperate, Sam nodded, but felt terror grip him when Lucifer's smile grew more eager. But before Sam could change his mind, Lucifer snapped.

Everything shifted. The blackness of the Cage vanished, and Sam's hands were no longer chained above his head. Instead, they were wrist deep in some man's chest. Sam could feel the sporadic beating of the man's heart against his still tightening fingers.

Sam quickly tried to pull away, but his muscles refused to listen to him, as though his body wasn't his own.

"That's because it isn't." He felt himself say. But how-

That's when it all came rushing back to him. The Empty. Pain. Lucifer. Pain. Striking the deal. Pain. Saying yes. Pain.

Sam's panic began to consume him, but his breaths wouldn't quicken, and he didn't start shaking because Lucifer who was possessing him using him making his body do terrible things wasn't panicking. He was laughing.

"S-stop it!" Sam pleaded within his mind. "I don't want to see this!"

"Aww, but I thought you wanted a break, buddy." Lucifer cooed as he used Sam's hands to squeeze the man's heart until it burst, drenching their shared hands with gore.

"Please, stop! Just- just torture me instead!"

That was all Lucifer needed to hear.

Sam was no longer looking at the gruesome scene, and found himself back in the Cage. He collapsed onto his knees, trembling. He swore he could still feel the slickness of blood on his hands, and he started gasping for air. He didn't register Lucifer's presence until he laid a hand on Sam's cheek, tilting his head up until he was looking at Lucifer once more.

"You see, Sam? The pain is protecting you. You don't have to see what's going on, because I know you don't want to. I'm keeping you safe. Do you understand that?"

Sam didn't actually understand, but he knew that he didn't want to see anything like again, so he nodded.

Content, Lucifer nodded, even began gently stroking Sam's face with his thumb. "Good. So don't ask for the pain to stop again, or else I'll have to show you what we're doing, and I know that's not what you want. So, are you gonna suffer like a good boy now?"

Sam swallowed, thinking that he should be fighting, but the thought flickered out within a second. So again, he nodded.

Lucifer smiled. "There's my Sammy."

The atmosphere around Sam shifted, and he felt himself hoisted up by the chains, the torture about to begin anew. But at least this way he could hide from the horror happening outside his head.

You know what they say; Ignorance is bliss.

"Is there a way that we can track Lucifer?" Mary asked.

"We don't have to track him." Said Dean. "There's only one thing that Lucifer's after right now, and he sitting right in front of us." His gaze drifted to Jack, who quickly became defensive.

"I've told you, Dean, I don't want anything to do with my fa- Lucifer." He dropped eye contact, fearing the judgement he'd face after his slip-up. "Castiel has told me what he has done, or has tried to do, and- I don't want to help him." A small smile slipped onto Jack's lips. "I want to help all of you."

"Good." Dean said, which surprised everyone. "Lucifer's gonna come for you, and we need to be ready for him. Or better yet, we get you trained up right, and bring the fight to him."

"And then what?" Mary pointed out. "We thought we got rid of him before, and even Crowley thought he had killed him, but none of that seemed to work. How are we supposed to take him down?"

Again, Dean's gaze shifted to Jack.

"Dean," Castiel started. "Do you really expect Jack to be able to take down Lucifer?"

"If anyone can do it, it's him."

"Maybe someday, but not yet." Castiel added. "Despite how far he has come, Jack still has a lot to learn in order to control his powers."

"Then you keep teaching him. In the meantime, Mom and I can look for a way to trap Lucifer. This son of a bitch is not coming back this time. We are taking him down once and for all, and nothing is gonna get in our way."

A knock at the bunker's door took everyone by surprise.

"You expecting someone?" Mary asked, but she was already reaching into her waistband for her gun. She and Dean had their weapons aimed just in time for the door to open. Before they could see who was standing behind it, a sudden barrage of bullets forced everyone to take cover.

Once the gunfire stopped, a faint clicking of heels echoed through the bunker, followed by an irritatingly familiar voice.

"Now," she said with a condescension usually reserved for Disney villains." We could do this the easy way; you give us the nephilim, and you all remain unharmed. Or," The smile could be heard within her grating accent. "We slaughter every last one of you, and take him anyway." She chuckled. "Neither of these options are particularly difficult for us, so the choice is yours."

"You can take that offer, and shove it, Toni!" Dean shouted, still clutching his gun. He had heard multiple other sets of footsteps, indicating that he and his family were outnumbered, ergo, outgunned.

He then heard Toni sigh, although she didn't sound genuinely disappointed. "I had a feeling you would say that."

"How did you find us?" Mary asked, hoping to buy them some time to come up with a plan.

"This is a Men of Letter's bunker." She explained. "Its location was never hidden from us."

"Then why wait to attack us?" It was Castiel who asked this time.

"We needed to be sure you had the nephilim. After finding out about Kelly Kline's demise, we could only assume there'd be two brothers stupid enough to try to contain Lucifer's child. Although, I've heard it's just one brother now, isn't it?"

With a growl, Dean lunged up and managed to fire two shots, hitting one of them in the shoulder before being yanked down by Mary, the stream of bullets narrowly missing him. He briefly fought against her hold, wanting nothing more than to shoot that smirk he knew Toni had off her face.

"Dean, don't." Mary warned. "She's just trying to get you out in the open."

"Be smart, Dean." Came another annoying and familiar voice. Ketch. "You need to think about what you're doing here. You're protecting the spawn of Lucifer over your own family. Well, what's left of it."

Mary wasn't quick enough to stop him this time. Dean fired off only one round before time seemed to slow as a single shot headed straight for Dean's head. But just before impact, they all heard a cry of, "Stop!" and the bullet froze, held in place by a yellow haze. Everyone turned their heads to see Jack holding out his hand, his energy shielding everyone around him.

"Jack, get back!" Castiel warned.

Jack ignored him and addressed Toni at the top of the stairs. "What do you want with me?"

Toni frowned, surprised to see a full-grown boy as opposed to a child, so Ketch spoke instead.

"We don't know yet. Clearly, you're powerful, which leaves us with two choices. One, you cooperate with us fully so your abilities can be used for the greater good."

Dean interjected. "Oh, and you guys are all about the grea-"

"What's the second choice?" Jack asked, cutting Dean off.

There was a momentary pause. "Or we determine that you are too dangerous to control, and you will be eliminated."

"Jack, you can't trust them." Castiel said. "The moment you are no longer useful to them, they will kill you."

Slowly, Jack turned his head to his friends, and spoke a single word that broke their hearts.


Chapter Text

"What do you mean, 'so?'" Castiel asked in disbelief.

"You told me that Lucifer, my father is the evilest being in existence, didn't you?" Jack asked.

"Yes, but-"

"So how do you know I won't end up like him?" Jack asked with a small quake in his voice. "What if I never learn to control my powers? What if-" He swallowed, true fear prominently displayed in his eyes. "What if I hurt you?"

"Y-" Mary tried to start. "You won't."

"You can't promise that." Jack shook his head, sounding more upset by the second. "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I caused any of you pain." Without waiting for another response, he turned to the British Men of Letters. "If I go with you willingly, will you promise to leave them all alone?"

"Jack, don't!" Dean shouted.

Ignoring his cry, Toni and Ketch shared a glance, and then nodded.

"We promise." Said Ketch.

Jack took a deep breath. "Okay. Then I'll go with you."

"Don't do this, Jack." Castiel pleaded, then he, Dean, and Mary all tried to stand, but Jack held out his hand, and kept them from being able to get up. They all strained against his power, but he was too strong.

"You," Castiel tried to reason. "Are not your father. You have only ever wanted to help us."

"I know." Jack said, almost giving a soft smile. "And this is how I can help you. If I go with them, and they do kill me, then Lucifer will never be able to make me like him. This- this is how I keep you all safe." He closed his eyes, and a single tear ran down his cheek. "I want to thank you all for everything." He turned to Dean. "And I'm sorry I couldn't bring Sam back."

"Jack!" They all cried one last time, but then Jack closed his fist, and they all flew back, hitting their heads and falling unconscious. He hoped he hadn't hurt them too badly. But this was for their own good. This was for the good of the world.

He turned towards the people that had threatened his friends. "Okay." He said. "I'm ready."

The woman, Toni, he'd heard Dean call her, held up something shiny. It almost looked like two bracelets, but a short chain connected them together.

"Enochian handcuffs." She explained. "You understand, of course. We can't have you endangering our staff if your powers start acting up."

Jack hesitated, then nodded. He approached slowly, and then a man and a woman roughly grabbed him, forcing his hands together behind his back. The handcuffs snapped in place, and he felt a wave of- unpleasantness wash over him, and he felt significantly weaker. He was pushed outside, and ushered towards their cars.

"Where are you taking me?"

"If our sources are correct," Ketch answered. "Lucifer isn't far from here, and we can't have him hunting you down." He suddenly turned Jack around, stuffing a cloth into his mouth, and shoved him not into the backseat, but into the trunk of the car. "So we're making sure that neither he, nor anyone will ever be able to find you again." A bag etched with all sorts of symbols was thrown over Jack's head, encasing him in darkness. He then heard the trunk slam above him.

Perhaps this hadn't been the best choice after all…

"I want every last one of you hunting down Lucifer's child!" Crowley ordered his demons. "If Lucifer gets his hands on his son before I do, we're all dead!"

"Ohhh, don't you worry about that, Crowley." Came a voice behind the doors just before they flew open. Lucifer stood beneath the archway, using Sam's body, and he was absolutely drenched in blood. "Make no mistake, you were dead either way. Sorry if that was unclear."

"It's him." One demon muttered in awe.

"L-Lucifer…" Another gasped.

"Our Lord and Saviou-"

Lucifer snapped his fingers, and every demon flew up in smoke, leaving only him and Crowley standing.

"That's enough out of the peanut gallery." Lucifer said as he rolled his shoulders.

Crowley tried to mask his fear. "How-"

"Ooh, wait, lemme guess!" Lucifer interrupted. "'How am I not dead?' Or, 'How did I get Sam to say yes?' Or, 'How did I find you?' All good questions, but I've got an even better one." In a flash, he was mere inches from Crowley. "How exactly do I plan on tearing you apart?"

Not left with any other options, Crowley raised a hand to snap himself away, but Lucifer immediately reached out and broke his wrist, smiling as he did.

"Uh-uh." Lucifer said as he maintained his vice-like grip on Crowley's shattered bones. "You're not getting away that easily." He released Crowley's hand to grip him by the throat, lifting him up a good two feet off the ground. Man, he loved how tall Sam was.

"It's funny, this really ought to be the perfect time for a monologue, but I- I'm just at a loss for words." He tightened his grip once more, crushing Crowley's windpipe, and let the demon plummet to the floor. Lucifer watched Crowley sputter and choke on the blood rising in his throat. Sure, demons don't really need to breathe, but this still clearly hurt. It would also shut him up while Lucifer had his fun. He'd always thought Crowley talked too much.

"I could go into great detail about how I've suffered, relive every single moment of pain that lead me here," He kicked Crowley beneath the jaw, sending him careening into the wall, and then collapsing on the ground again. "But I'm trying to be more optimistic these days. I mean, look at me!" Lucifer clenched his fist, and Crowley was forced to his knees, but unable to move any further, suspended in agony.

"I've got all the power of my true vessel," He snapped, and Crowley's lungs popped. "I'm getting back at the insect that tried to take my place on the throne." He snapped again, and Crowley's eyes started bubbling, and then boiling, and then leaking in thick, lumpy streams down his face, and he was still completely incapable of screaming.

"But best of all," He made his way behind Crowley, and with deceptive gentleness, he draped his fingers at the base of the soon to be ex-King's jaw. "I'm going to be with my son soon. And with him by my side, not a damn thing is going to stop me from incinerating this helpless world, and remaking it in my image. I won't just be King again." He leaned down to whisper in Crowley's ear. "I'm going to be God."

With that, Lucifer yanked upwards, tearing Crowley's head from his shoulders. A spray of blood decorated Lucifer's shirt and face, then he licked some of it off his lips.

"Now," He said to no one. "Who's next on my to-die list?"

Before he decided, Lucifer felt a shift. The presence he'd felt since he arrived, his son, had suddenly vanished.


No, his son was still alive, he just had to be. Someone must have taken him and found a way to shield him from angels.

DamnitLucifer had thought he'd have more time. But he'd decided he'd wanted to punish those who had wronged him, and destroy those who thought they'd have a chance at stopping him. He should have gone after his son first!

Lucifer clenched his fists at his side, wanting nothing more than to rip something apart right then.

Oh, wait a minute.

With a deep sigh, Lucifer closed his eyes, and retreated to the corner of his subconscious where Sam Winchester was being held captive. So far, Sam had mostly been reliving his memories of the Cage, but right now, Lucifer needed to feel blood sluicing between his fingers, let the crack of bones vibrate throughout his body, have screams and pleas and cries of pain echo all through his mind.

He snapped his fingers, and Sam appeared in front of him. The trembling human held his hands out in defense, anticipating pain from a scene that was no longer playing.

Normally, Lucifer might make a comment about it, or taunt Sam before the torment. But not this time.

He threw Sam's hands to the side, and delivered a kick to his chest that sent Sam onto his back, causing all the air to rush out of his lungs. Not giving him a chance to recover, Lucifer placed his foot on Sam's neck, just hard enough to send him gasping and writhing. Amidst the panic, confusion was apparent in Sam's expression.

Still too pissed to engage in conversation, Lucifer lifted his foot, then promptly stomped on Sam's face. Finally, he felt a twinge of joy at the crunch of Sam's nose, followed by his pained cry. Sam's hands flew up to his face on instinct, and he couldn't help but whimper at its sensitivity.

Taking advantage of Sam's lowered defenses, Lucifer slammed a fist into Sam's stomach. Sam shot up, blood spewing from his mouth. No doubt Lucifer had caused internal bleeding, but it wasn't enough. He wanted to see it on the outside, he needed to feel it.

He shot his hand out, grabbing Sam by his hair, and hauled him up. Before Sam could decide what part of himself to defend, Lucifer produced a blade with a serrated edge, and plunged it into Sam's shoulder. When Sam didn't immediately shout, Lucifer twisted the knife, and finally gained the scream he had been waiting for.

That at last calmed him down a bit, and he was ready to talk again.

"So, you're probably wondering, 'why the conjugal visit?'" Lucifer said as he rocked the blade up and down, still lodged in Sam's shoulder. "Honestly, I'm pretty upset right now, Sammy. And I'd been having a great day up until recently." He then yanked the blade out with another cruel twist, and allowed Sam to crumple to the ground. He then knelt next to Sam, and with synthetic sweetness he started carding his hand through Sam's hair. He smiled when Sam tried to twitch away, but he didn't truly have the strength.

"But then," His free hand shifted to Sam's wound, and he dug his thumb deep into the gash until Sam was choking on his scream. "I lost track of my son. The whole dad-damn reason I bothered to come back to this stupid planet." The fury was rising again. The hand in Sam's hair tightened.

"I wasted so much time on those that didn't matter." The hand began to shake.

"And now," He let go to punch Sam again. "He's gone." Another punch.

"He's gone."


"So I'm gonna take it out on you."

Punch. Crack.



"And again."

He widened the wound with his thumb and index finger.

"And again."

His hand closed around Sam's throat as Lucifer's eyes began to glow.

"Because you are nearly the last one on my list, so you'll just have to do until I finally get my hands on your brother-" Lucifer froze.

Sam's eyes widened, a sense of clarity gleaming in them for the first time since Lucifer had found him in the Empty.

"Br-brother?" Sam breathed out.

"No, no, no, no, Sam, don't you dare-"

But it was too late. Memories started flooding Sam's mind. Memories of being protected, laughing, hope, anger, joy, sadness, pranks, fighting, making up, giving up everything for one another, how Sam had given up his life for him.

For Dean.

Chapter Text

With a new sense of defiance and determination, hell, practically whole new definitions of the words, Sam stared Lucifer down.

"I remember Dean." He said simply.

Lucifer's upper lip twitched. "Yeah, I can see that."

Having gained his memories back, Sam too felt the humiliation and shame at every bit of weakness he had shown in Lucifer's presence. Not to mention how he'd said 'yes,' oh God, he'd let Lucifer possess him again! But Sam pushed away those thoughts. He'd taken down Lucifer within his own mind once before, he could do it again. He had to do it again.

"Well…" Lucifer broke the silence. "We gonna do the whole 'battle for control of your body' thing now?"

"Damn straight." Sam steeled himself.

Lucifer sighed. "Alright." In a flash, the Devil Sam knew all too well returned. "I'll start."

Before Sam could even flinch, manacled chains snapped around his wrists, and yanked him to his knees. He grit his teeth and tugged against the metal, but then more joined to lock down his feet, and a metal collar even swopped down and wrapped around Sam's throat, barely able to breathe.

Lucifer reached out and snaked a hand around Sam's jaw, tilting his head up, forcing him to wheeze in each trickle of air.

"Don't get hopeful now, Sammy. You may remember your brother now, but I'm still worlds stronger than you. This body is mine now. Won it fair and square."

"Not if I revoke my consent." Sam quipped. "Now get the hell out of m-" The collar promptly constricted, cutting Sam off. Lucifer then conjured up a strip of cloth. Knowing what he was planning on doing with it, Sam tried to keep his mouth shut, but the chains continued to grow tighter and tighter, until Sam was finally forced to try to gasp in a breath, and Lucifer immediately stuffed the gag in, and tied it around Sam's head. Sam jerked in his chains, emitting a muffled growl.

"You know," Lucifer mused. "I think it could be better this way. Now, when I rip apart your mom, Castiel, and your brother, I'll get to listen to you beg for their lives."

Sam lunged as far forward as he could in his chains, shouting what they both knew to be empty threats.

Lucifer smirked at the helpless human.

"Sit tight, Sammy. You're about to have a front row seat to everyone you love dying at your hands."

To Lucifer's amusement, Sam gave another useless shout, and then Lucifer gripped his chin.

"But before I can start the show, there's just one little thing you're gonna do for me." His hold tightened. "You're gonna tell me your brother's phone number."

"Dean." A voice called to him distantly. Dean didn't want to open his eyes. His head hurt too much.

"Dean." Said another voice. "Please wake up, we don't have time. We need to find Jack."


Dean's eyes shot open.


He immediately sat up, wincing at the sensitivity in his head. He reached a hand up towards it, and felt his fingers come in contact with a fairly large lump. It also felt vaguely sticky, which meant he'd hit it rather hard.

"You back with us?" Mary asked, now by her boy's side. She looked at him, because she knew better than to believe him if he said he was okay.

"Yeah, I'm okay." He answered. Mary squinted, but after she gave him another onceover she determined that he wasn't lying. "What about you two?"

"Fine." She and Castiel answered in tandem.

"How long were we out?"

"Several hours." Answered Castiel. "Jack knew what he was doing when he knocked us out."

Dean dropped his gaze. "How could he just give himself up like that?"

Castiel sighed. "It is what any of us would have done to keep one another safe. He- he really loved us."

"Whoa, take it easy." Dean stepped in. "Don't start talking about him like he's gone, we're gonna find him."

"How?" Mary asked solemnly.

"Cas, you've gotta have something." Dean practically pleaded.

Shaking his head, Castiel admitted, "Nothing easy. The best, and likely only option would be to find the location of the British Men of Letters base, and hope that that is where Jack is."

"And if it's not?"

Castiel grit his teeth, and anger flashed through his eyes. Dean didn't see that look often, but when he did, it still managed to scare him. "Then we find someone who can- who will tell us where he is."

Dean nodded. "Damn straight. Where should we start?"

"What about Mick?" Mary suggested. "He wasn't with them when they showed up at the bunker, and he never seemed fully on board with how far they took things with Sa- Sam." She flushed, wishing she hadn't brought it up, but she couldn't take it back now.

"Y-yeah." Dean gave a small nod. "That's a good idea. He gave us his phone number, didn't he?"

Mary nodded, pulled out her phone, dialed the Brit's number, and then put it on speakerphone. All three of them sat in silence, praying that he would answer. Each ring was another blow to their ever-diminishing hope. When a monotone voice finally spoke, an unsympathetic tone informing them that the person they had called could not be reached at the time, Mary ended the call. She missed the ability to slam a phone down on a receiver, now she could only flick her thumb down on a screen, no real way to show her anger.

"Damnit." She sighed.

"Did the voice tell you to leave a message?" Castiel asked.

"There's no point." Dean huffed. "If he won't answer our calls, no way he's listening to our messages."

"So what do we do?" Mary asked. "Just keep calling?"

"It's our best shot." Said Dean. "But in the meantime, we hit the books and hope one of 'em's got the location of any other bunkers here in the U.S."

"And if they don't?" Castiel asked.

Dean's jaw clicked. "We'll cross that bridge if we come to it. Now c'mon, we don't got any time to lose."

A sudden burst of light had Jack squinting and tensing as he startled in his bonds. He shifted as his eyes adjusted to the light, and he was able to make out the face looming above him. Ketch, if he remember correctly.

"Hello." He greeted. "Did you have a pleasant ride?"

Jack frowned. He'd been cramped in the trunk of a car for several hours. How on Earth would he have been comfortable? He shook his head. His brow deepened further when Ketch just chuckled at his response.

"Come along, lad." He gripped Jack by the back of his collar, and hauled him up and out of the trunk. Jack realised too late that his legs felt- off, and he found himself unable to stand. His legs felt weak, and tingly, and they were mildly numb, but they somehow still hurt too.

He glanced up at Ketch pleadingly. He couldn't help but be afraid of what was happening to him.

Ketch just rolled his eyes at him. "Wonderful. There's just enough human in you for your legs to fall asleep."

Jack just tilted his head, a lost expression painting his face. How could his legs be sleeping? They weren't alive… were they?

Ketch gave an irritated huff. "Bloody hell, it's an expression." He yanked Jack back off the ground again, bearing most of his weight as the nephilim stumbled. "And to think Lady Bevill was actually afraid of you."

She was? But why? She'd never even met him, he'd never done anything to hurt her. Or anyone. Maybe his father- Lucifer, he inwardly corrected himself- had hurt them. Jack just never wanted to hurt anyone. Especially not his friends.

He was dragged forward again, and he was grateful to realise that he once again had feeling in his legs. He was ushered into a large building, going through all sorts of doors, and he was finally pushed into a chair in the middle of a dimly lit room. A swarm of people followed Ketch in, all holding numerous weapons.

"Now, Jack," Ketch said softly, but Jack couldn't find any comfort in his voice. "I'm going to briefly undo those handcuffs, but if you try anything, well…" He glanced towards the armed Men of Letters. "Let's just say that these weapons may not be able to kill you, but you'll likely wish they had. Understand?"

Not really. Jack was cooperating, why were they being so forceful with him? Maybe Dean had been right about them, and he shouldn't have handed himself over to these people. No. This was the right choice. If he hadn't done this, then they would have hurt, or even killed his friends, so he nodded.

"Good answer." Ketch smiled, and unlocked the cuffs only to force the link through a bar in the back of the chair, effectively shackling Jack to it. Ketch yanked on Jack's wrists, testing the stability, and he was delighted to hear the creature give a frustrated grunt.


Jack frowned again. He was beginning to think that Ketch didn't really care about his comfort at all.

Ketch turned to the people standing behind him, and waved them away.

"Sir," One of them spoke up, "Are you sure-"

"Would I have ordered you to leave if I wasn't?" He sharply cut them off. "Now go. Me and-" He paused. "Jack," He sounded almost amused. "Have some chatting to do."

The rest of the Men of Letters left, so Jack was now completely alone with Ketch. He swallowed.

"Don't seem so worried, lad." Ketch said as he moved behind Jack, untying the gag. Jack licked his lips. "We're just going to have a nice, little talk."

A talk? Okay, that wasn't so bad.

Then Ketch suddenly grabbed Jack by the jaw, and forced him to look into Ketch's cold, unfeeling eyes.

"But if you don't answer every one of my questions willingly, I have ways of making you."

Jack couldn't take this treatment anymore. He wasn't a monster, he didn't deserve this, so he yanked his head out of Ketch's grip, and stared him down. "I've never hurt anyone. You don't need to be acting like this."

Ketch chuckled, entertained by Jack's outburst. "Now that's not entirely true, is it? You hurt the ones you claimed were your friends when you gave yourself up to us."

"Because you were going to kill them." Jack snapped back.

"They were protecting a monster."

"What exactly makes me a monster? I know that I am half of my father, but I am also half of what you are, human. I came here with you willingly because I'd hoped to better understand my powers, how to use them to help people. But I'm starting to see that you don't want to help me, you just want to use me, and hurt me. So to me, it seems like the only monster here is you."

Ketch was the one who snapped this time, with a vicious backhand to Jack's face, and he quickly yanked his head up to make Jack meet his gaze.

"You are nothing but just another insect to be squashed, you are only alive as long as you are useful." He shook Jack's head out of his grip, a new rage roaring in his eyes. "And since you apparently have no further desire to cooperate, I will have to turn toward less pleasant methods of dealing with you." He turned his back to Jack, and began rifling through a duffel bag.

Jack flinched backwards as Ketch brought out a knife, much like one of the many knives he'd seen in Dean's collection. Jack had been hurt a few times in his relatively short life, and he had always healed instantaneously. He almost chuckled at the memory of the failed attempt to get him a tattoo. But he didn't really feel like laughing at the moment.

Without another word, Ketch thrusted the blade forward into Jack's shoulder, and he screamed at the sudden agony. Ketch quickly ripped the blade out, and stared at the wound, watching in awe as it quickly closed up, no trace of the injury left behind.

"Fascinating." Ketch breathed out.

Jack was confused. "Wh-what was that for?"

"An angel's ability to heal has always been an intriguing but elusive topic of interest for the Men of Letters. We've wanted nothing more than to utilise that ability for ourselves. Hunting is a dangerous profession, you understand." He turned around again, but Jack was still able to make out Ketch assembling some kind of needle. "So, if we were to harness an angel's ability to heal, well," He turned around, and had far too eager of an expression as he approached the futilely struggling Jack. "Surely you can see how convenient that would be for us."

"What is that?" Jack couldn't take his eyes off the needle. It was much different than the one the man had used at the tattoo shop, and he felt instinctively more afraid of it.

"Oh, just something one of our resourceful pencil pushers came across in one of our many bunkers. It's specifically made for extracting grace out of angels. You wouldn't mind loaning some of yours, would you?"

Actually, Jack would mind. He had no idea if he could survive without his grace. Or if he could, what the consequences would be. Would he still be able to heal himself if he got hurt? What if they took too much? Could they take out so much power that he wouldn't be- himself anymore? With all those panicked questions flying through his head, one thought rose above them all; he missed Castiel. But he couldn't run into his father's arms right now, all he could do was hopelessly shake his head.

"D-don't. Please."

Ketch only smiled at him, and then jammed the needle in, and slowly pulled back on the plunger. He didn't really have to go slowly, but the boy had started annoying him, and needed to be taught a lesson.

So when the boy, the monster, started screaming in pain, Ketch's smile only grew wider.

Chapter Text

As yet another scream died down, Sam collapsed as much as his chains would allow, panted breaths coming out as muffled moans behind the gag, All too quickly, a hand found its way into his hair, and yanked his head up. He fought the tears that were threatening to fall, but he couldn't hold back his whimper.

"C'mon, Sammy," Lucifer crooned. "I'm really not asking much of you right now. You don't even have to tell me Dean's number, all you've got to do is stop fighting me so damn much," The hold on Sam's hair tightened. "And all this pain will stop." The painful grip shifted to a gentle caress, and suddenly Sam longed for the pain over this mockery of comfort. "Don't you want that? To end all of the hurt?"

"So you can torture everyone I love to death in front of me? I fail to see how that would be 'stopping the pain.'" Sam thought bitterly. Unfortunately, since he and Lucifer were currently sharing the same mind Lucifer heard the thought too. He apparently didn't find it too amusing, and he forced his blade under Sam's ribcage. Sam gagged emptily at the agony, his breath stolen from him.

"Just think." Lucifer said, leaving the knife embedded. "No one would blame you for thinking about a few set of numbers to save yourself all this pain." He paused, but as the silence went on for longer and longer, Lucifer sneered, and then shoved the blade in further. Sam found the energy to scream this time. "Sam, I have broken you over and over again, don't think I won't be able to-" He stopped, because he suddenly had a new thought.

Sam Winchester would keep fighting him forever if he knew he was protecting his family. He'd broken Sam in the Cage all those years ago because they boy had had nothing left. But now, he was trying to keep his screwed-up family safe, so he'd never give up. At least not soon enough for Lucifer's non-existent patience.

But this Sam, although still infuriatingly defiant, he was severely more desperate. He hadn't had a pleasant memory in Lucifer doesn't really care how long. Lucifer wouldn't be able to torture the information that he needed out of him, as much as he'd like to.

Sam would have to want to remember.

Still not removing the knife out of Sam's abdomen, Lucifer snapped his fingers, and another cloth slid over Sam's eyes. He didn't want the boy to have to worry about any distractions. The space the two of them occupied went entirely dark. Sam shifted uncomfortably, tensing in his chains, unsure and fearful of what Lucifer had in mind next.


The blade did not leave Sam's chest. Lucifer intensified his grip, flicking the pommel of the knife with his thumb, vibrating the blade against his bones, ensuring that Sam wouldn't forget it was there.

"Sam," Lucifer whispered right in his ear, too gently. Sam always got so easily and delightfully unnerved when he was this close. "You're in a lot of pain right now, right?"

Sam huffed into the gag as if to say, "No kidding."

"And you're all alone. No one to protect you, to save you. It doesn't have to be that way, it wasn't always that way. You've been here before, haven't you? In pain, all alone, waiting for someone to save you."

Memories began flashing across the once black space. Times in which Sam had been captured by monsters or humans alike, occasionally being tortured, and Lucifer watched those moments with glee.

"Who was willing to let the world be consumed by the Darkness just so you wouldn't have to be my little bitch again?"

The image of Dean and Castiel standing side by side as they futilely tried to fend off the Devil to protect Sam played in his mind.

"Who struck that deal with Death to rescue your soul from the Cage?"

Dean watching in an odd mix of hope and horror as Death shoved Sam's soul in.

"Or when you were trapped in that fire in your apartment?"

Dean breaking down the door and whisking Sam away from the flames.

"Who pulled you from your crib while you mother burned and bled above you? Who has sacrificed everything time and time again for you?"

The bombardment of images was unstoppable now. Dean relentlessly coming to Sam's rescue, embracing him, patching up his wounds, simply being there with and for him.

Beneath the blindfold, tears hard started forming in Sam's eyes. He longed for nothing more than to be comforted by his brother. He missed him so much, too much, so he cried at the loss. He couldn't help it.

"Let him save you, Sam. He doesn't want you to hurt anymore, he wants to protect you."

Sam was choking on his breath now, trying to tug free of the restraints as well as the forced replay of all the memories he'll never feel the like of again.

A painfully soft voice whispered in his ear. "Just let go. You need to call Dean. He wants to come save you, you just need to let him, Sammy."

Before he could stop it, the numbers rushed through Sam's mind. All of his suffering had built up too intensely, and his subconscious had done the only thing he could do, what it had always done. It reached out for his brother.

Lucifer's victorious laughter broke Sam free of his trance.

Oh, God… What had he done?

Sam willed away the thought, but he and Lucifer both knew it was too late now. Sam desperately tried to shout and shake his head, the collar limitng his mobility, but he couldn't care less about self-preservation. Not when he had just given his worst nightmare the only thing that stood in his way of destroying everything and everyone he'd ever loved.

"There." Lucifer cooed, almost tenderly lifting Sam's head up. "That wasn't so hard, was it?" He didn't see Sam's eyes,, but he didn't need to. Lucifer knew Sam was crying. The boy was even trying to speak now too. Maybe he was begging. How adorab;e.

Curious, Lucifer snapped his fingers, then the blindfold and gag vanished. Sam gasped in air, although sobbing in breaths was a more accurate way of putting it. The pathetic human quaked in fear and self-loathing at his moment of weakness. What a delicious picture.

"Go ahead, Sammy." Lucifer smiled. "Beg for your family's lives."

A whimper left Sam. Nothing he said would stop Lucifer, but maybe if he played this game, he might at least make it quick.

"Pl-please." Sam's shaking voice was barely audible. "Please, you can do whatever you want to me-"

"Already have, and I still can." Lucifer cut him off. "Try harder."

"I- I-…" Sam stuttered, but the more he tried to think of something to say, the further his head fell forwards, resigning to the truth. "I- I don't have anything to offer you."

There it was.

"Exactly." Lucifer said. "You've got nothing to bargain with, and we both know you're too weak to beat me right now. So sit tight, and enjoy the show."

"No!" Sam yelled, but Lucifer disappeared from Sam's head. Lucifer heard Sam continue to scream and shout within his mind. Soon his cries would be joined by what remained of his family, and oh how wonderful it would be.

But first, he had to make a phone call.

"Dammit!" Dean shouted in frustration, shoving away yet another useless book off the tale.

"Dean," Mary said softly. "I know you're angry-"

"Of course I'm angry, nothing here is getting us any closer to finding Jack!" He sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. "I need a drink."

"You've already had-" Castiel started only to be cut off by Dean.

"Thanks for keeping track for me, Cas, but I don't want to hear it. I'm getting a damn drink."

But before he could reach yet another glass of whiskey, his phone started ringing. Everyone's heads turned towards it in confusion. Dean picked up his cell, and briefly stared at the unknown number.

"Maybe it's Mick?" Mary suggested. "Didn't want to use a phone that the Brits could track."

Dean nodded, but he still answered warily. "Hello?"

There was a pause.

"D-… Dean?"

He dropped the phone. There was no way. It literally couldn't be.

They had all heard it. Sammy's voice on the other end. But it just wasn't possible.

"Dean, please." Sam- no, not Sam, it couldn't be because he was gone, dead, in a place unreachable even for a Winchester. But dammit if that plea didn't break Dean's heart. "I know what you're thinking, but you have to believe me, it's me. I don't know how it's possible either, but every time I close my eyes, I- I see him. L-Lucifer. He's trying to find me, Dean, I- I don't know, maybe he brought me back, but just- I need help. Please just come find me."

Silence encompassed the bunker, no one dared to even breathe too loudly. The moment floated above them as a fragile bubble of hope, and they all feared how the simplest sound could pop it.

"S-someone say something." Sam's voice pleaded.

Dean closed his eyes. "This isn't real." He breathed. "There's just- no way."

"H-He did mention Lucifer." Castiel offered. "What if he really did bring Sam back to try to make him agree to be his vessel again?"

"Does he really have that kind of power?" Mary asked.

"No," Castiel explained. "But Death does, and he has bound him before."

"So," Mary said, daring to hope. "It's possible?"

"Guys," Sam's voice cut in. "I swear, I'm me, and I'll do whatever tests you want in person, but if Lucifer is really out here I don't want to be here alone, but I don't want him coming anywhere near the bunker. I- I'm not sure where I am, but there's some signs for Route 83, and I'm outside a Biggerson's, so- could you just- meet me here? Wherever this is…"

Mary quickly looked up the location. "It's about an hour away."

No one had yet to address Sam, until Dean finally picked up the phone off the ground.

"Alright." He said with a calmness that opposed the conglomerate of high intensity emotions flooding the room. "We'll meet you. But I swear to God, I'm bringing every supernatural test we have, and if you're something other than my brother, I will make you regret the day you'd even heard the name Winchester. I'll make you wish you were in Hell."

The voice on the other end gave a soft, sad laugh. "I've missed you, Dean. I'll be waiting for you." Without another word, he hung up.

Silence swallowed up the space once more.

"Well," Mary said finally. "Are we going?"

"We have to." Dean said. "Either we're killing the son of a bitch that's pretending to be him, or…" He laughed with no real humour. "I- I don't even want to say it. I'm too afraid it's not gonna be real."

"No matter what," Castiel clapped a hand on Dean's shoulder. "We will be there with you. But I am willing to be hopeful. You need this, you deserve this win, Dean."

Dean nodded, quickly wiping his eyes. He had never been one for prayers, but in that moment, Dean allowed all his hope to pour out of him to anyone and anything that might be listening. More than anything, Dean needed this to be real.

"Okay." He said at last. "Let's move."

"St-stop!" Jack pleaded helplessly for what must have been the dozenth time. He was jerking in the handcuffs, seizing even as more grace was ripped out of him. He wasn't sure why he kept begging, he knew it wasn't doing him any good.

"Nearly done, lad." Ketch said without a trace of sympathy. Hell, it seemed like he was even enjoying it. He had filled countless vials of Jack's painfully extracted grace. Jack could feel it slowly trying to replenish itself, emphasis on slowly, but it still hurt like hell.

"Aaaand, there!" Ketch proclaimed as he yanked the needle from Jack's skin, tipping it into yet another vial. "Only one more to go after this one."

"Wh-why are you doing this?" Jack panted. "Y-you can't possibly need that much."

"Well," Ketch said after a pause. "Truth be told, I'm not just working for the Men of Letters. Someone else has taken a great interest in your power."

Jack frowned. "Who?"

Ketch smiled. "Well, it's a tad complicated. The shorthand version, it's one of the last remaining knights of hell. His name is Asmodeus."

Jack didn't care about his name. Ketch was working with a demon!

"I-I'll tell them what you're doing." Jack warned shakily. "They'll stop you."

Ketch only laughed. "You really think they'll believe the word of a monster over the word of one of their own?"

"I am not a monster!" Jack insisted yet again. "I- I just wanted to help my friends."

"If you cooperate, then I'll give you a chance to talk some sense into them. If not, well… Let me just say that it would be in everyone's best interest if you got through to them."

Jack shifted nervously in his seat. "What do you mean?"

"Well, when Asmodeus appeared after a hellhound nearly went wrong, he offered me a proposition. He'd either let his hounds finish me off, or I join him, and gives me the ability to control the hunters topside, while he deals with the matters of Hell, and we make sure to stay out of each other's way. It wasn't too hard of a choice, what with the mutt's paw about to shatter my windpipe."

"You could've said no! Dean, Mary, and Castiel would have all said no! Y-you don't have to do this!"

"But I do, and more importantly, I actually want to now as well." He checked his watch. "He's going to be here for a visit soon. He wants to know if you'll make a nice new pet for him."

Jack felt his stomach drop. He couldn't let this happen, he wouldn't let a demon use him to hurt anyone. Panic started rising, and fury rode along with it. None of this was fair, he hadn't done anything wrong, yet people keep trying to use him to hurt someone. This. Wasn't. Fair.

He looked up to see Ketch preparing the final needle. And he lost it.

"No." Jack said, shaking his head, and clenching his teeth, tightly gripping the chair. "No!"

Something then burst from inside Jack, an unrestrained bout of unchecked rage exploding from him. A light filled the entire room, and Jack heard screaming.

And that was when he blacked out.

The hour drive somehow felt both longer, and faster than that. It may have been due to everyone's unwillingness to speak. The bubble still hovered precariously above them, and there was no telling the kind of destruction that would be unleashed should it pop.

"Dean." Castiel spoke up. "Something's not right."

"Nothing about this feels right." Dean said as he parked the car outside of the abandoned looking restaurant.

"No, I mean I feel something." Castiel swallowed as realisation dawned on him. "Dean, it-it's Lucifer. He's close."

"How close?"

"I don't know exactly. But this can't be a coincidence. This has to be a trap, Dean."

Dean didn't hesitate. "I don't care. I've saved Sammy from that son of a bitch before, so if this really is Sam, nothing is gonna keep me from him."


"No!" Dean snapped. "We've been here before, I know I can do this." He took a breath to calm himself. "Here's the plan. I go in, find Sam, and if I'm not out in five minutes, that's when you and mom come in with everything we've got. If Lucifer's in there, he doesn't need to know all of us are here." His gaze went severe. "But no matter what, your priority is getting Sam out."

"No." Mary cut, her voice equally as intense. "Our priority is getting our family back together. We're not leaving anybody behind." Her expression hardened. "I am not losing anyone else today. So just-" She sighed. "Be careful, Dean. We'll be right here, ready for whatever might happen.

They all nodded in agreement, and Dean went to go forward. Towards Sam.

Dean noted the ajar door to the now empty Biggerson's, and his grip on his angel blade tightened. With his other hand, he clutched his flask of salt laced holy water. He really wasn't sure what to expect when he headed inside.

But a sudden scream followed by the sight of a bloody and writhing Sam on the ground was pretty far down the list.

Despite not being certain that the man in front of him was truly Sam, Dean couldn't fight his big brother instincts. He rushed to Sam's side, and flung the holy water in his face, and felt minor relief at the lack of a reaction. But then Sam's arms clutched at Dean's as he writhed in pain.

"D-Dean," He gasped. "You h-have to go. L-Lucifer's here, h-he made me call you. I-I'm sorry, but I just c-couldn't take it anymore."

"Where is he now, Sam?"

Sam shook his head. "I- I don't know. He said y-you were almost here, and-" Sam voice cut off with a sharp shout when Dean suddenly sliced him with the angel blade. The glow of grace that seeped out of the cut then gave him away. What Dean now knew to be Lucifer angrily shoved him away, and the rest of his wounds began to heal.

"That obvious, huh?" Lucifer asked.

"I don't care how long you've been inside his head. You are nothing like him, so don't think that you could ever pretend to be him, you son of a bitch."

"Careful, Dean, that's our mother you're talking about." He chuckled at Dean's clear and forced down fury.

"If you don't get out of him right now, I swear-"

"Let me stop you right there. You're not gonna do a damn thing, not while I'm still wearing your brother." He said rolling Sam's eyes. "Surprised you haven't asked me 'how' yet."

"I don't care." Dean snapped, rage roaring in his eyes, but they both knew there truly wasn't anything he could do short of banishing him, but he wasn't about to give up the only lead he had on getting his brother back. He had to have been alive at some point in order to give his consent.

"Really?" Lucifer asked, mildly shocked. "You don't care about how your brother absolutely broke in the Empty? How he passed the time by carving himself up, how he completely forgot who you are, and then I destroyed what was left of his sanity and got him to say 'yes?'"

"Oh, I want to know, but not from you. Sammy's gonna tell me when I get him free."

"Hm." Was all Lucifer said. "Enough small talk." Suddenly, he was right in Dean's face. "Where. Is. My. Son?"

Dean couldn't help but chuckle. "I know you're not gonna believe me, but I really don't know. But rest assured, even if I did, I wou-" He was cut off when Lucifer abruptly punched him in the face.

"'Wouldn't tell me,' yeah, I figured." Lucifer finished for him. "Well lucky for you, I believe you. Since you don't know," He smiled in a wat that looked so wrongly malicious on Sam's face. "There's absolutely no reason for me to keep you alive."

Lucifer watched Dean's eyes widen in brief panic, and that was when Lucifer took his own angel blade, and shoved it into Dean's heart.

Chapter Text

"No!" Sam screamed loud enough that his voice echoed within his own mind. The chains that had been keeping him captive suddenly vanished. He felt a gap in Lucifer's strength, and he charged forward, and took control.

The rush of autonomy did not phase him. He was too busy at last using his own eyes to stare at Dean's lifeless corpse. His own hands, now covered in his brother's blood, frantically felt for a pulse that deep down he knew he wouldn't find. He noted the beating of his own heart once more, but instead, all he felt was the way it turned to iron, cold, heavy, and unfeeling. The pain of losing his brother was not a new one, but oh, how it hurt. It stabbed, tore, and ate away at his weary soul.

Lucifer had killed Dean. No, he had killed Dean. If he hadn't given himself up to Billie, if he hadn't ever had said 'yes' to Lucifer, if he could've overpowered him, he-…

Before Sam could think about it too much, Sam grabbed the angel blade, and went to finish off his worst nightmare, ending his greatest disappointment as well. The blade was a mere inch from his chest when his other hand clamped onto his wrist with a strength he knew he didn't possess.

"Really, Sam?" Came Lucifer's voice from within his head. "You didn't think you actually overpowered me, did you? No, I just really love to watch you cry."

Without his consent, Sam's fingers loosened, and the blade fell. The grip on his wrist intensified until there was a pop, and Sam shouted at the pain, which Lucifer didn't seem to mind.

"Man, no matter how many times you watch him die, you still always turn into a pathetic, little bitch." Sam felt his head roll on his shoulders as Lucifer cracked his neck. Control slipped away from him once more, but Sam couldn't bring himself to care.

"Oh, stow the melodramatics, Sam." Lucifer snapped his fingers, and suddenly Dean lurched up with a gasp. "I'm not gonna actually kill him without a proper audience. It's just fun to listen to you break." He glanced down at the bewildered Dean. "Welcome back, buddy. How's Billie? Little slow it seems, glad I didn't miss you. I want Mary and her little lamb to see this happen again. You wouldn't mind calling them in, would you?" Not waiting for an answer, Lucifer snapped again, and Dean shot up with a scream of pain, blood spewing from his mouth as he clutched at his chest.

"Stop!" Sam tried to plea within his head.

"Any second now…" Lucifer bounced and rocked on Sam's heels. Castiel and Mary quickly came running in, and they gazed in confusion at the sight of Dean writhing in pain at 'Sam's' feet. Lucifer watched the gears turning in their heads until it finally clicked with them.

"Y-you…" Mary breathed.

Lucifer shrugged with a giddy smile. "Me." He clenched his fist, and then she and Castiel joined Dean on the ground, gasping in pain. "Okay! It's time for the show, Sammy! You're gonna be my co-host this evening. Welcome, Winchester family, to a brand new game called Who's on First?" He grinned. "Your job as co-host is gonna be picking the order that your family dies." His smile widened as he felt Sam's panic and horror skyrocket.

"Please don't make me do this." Sam heard himself beg. He was shocked to hear himself actually speak, but when Lucifer promptly resumed control, Sam realised that it was still just a part of the game. Lucifer wanted his family to hear him break.

"Either you pick, or I drag them all down the Cage. This way, all they have to do is die. This is a mercy, Sam. So. Who do you love the least?"

Sam came back to himself with a gasp that bordered on a sob. "Y-you can't make me answer that." It wasn't defiance that fueled that statement. It was nothing but a plea.

Lucifer flicked Sam's wrists, and the action was followed by three simultaneous crunches, and then three screams.

"I'll keep breaking bones until you do." Lucifer sing-songed.

"O-okay, okay!" Sam cried desperately.

"S-Sammy, don't!" Dean tried to yell, but another bout of agony shut him up.

"W-we-" Castiel panted. "We can take it." He then started vomiting blood, contradicting his previous statement.

"There's nothing, Sam." Lucifer told him. "No one left you come save them, no deus-ex-machina to pull out of your ass. You pick, and they die, nice and easy. Otherwise, they take a trip down to the Cage, and we see if we can set a new record for breaking under my knife. What was it, thirteen years for you? So go on, tell me who you love the least. And don't bother lying," He tapped their shared head. "I'll know."

"S-Sam…" Came Mary's voice. She looked up at him, a mixture of blood and tears trickling out of her eyes. "It-it's okay. I kn-know who you're g-gonna choose. And it's okay. I-I love you, Sam."

Sam shut his eyes, choking on his sobbed breaths. He tried to reach out to comfort her, but Lucifer forced his arm down, and that alone made him whimper. He was about to condemn his own mother to death, and he couldn't even hold her hand.

"I- I love you too, mom." He managed to say. "And I'm sorry. I'm s-so sorry."

She smiled at him as Lucifer raised his blade, as though she was trying to leave him with a final happy image of her before he slaughtered her with his own hands. Lucifer wielded the blade high, prepared to strike down, when suddenly, his and Castiel's hands went to their heads. Lucifer quickly snapped up, and he breathed out a single word.

"Jack." Lucifer looked at his prey, and he knew he had a choice to make. Finally swat the flies that had been bothering him for nearly a decade, or find his son that he had already lost once. No doubt other angels had felt that surge of power, and if anyone else got their hands on Jack before he did…

Without another thought, Lucifer made his choice, and vanished.

Consciousness slowly returned to Jack. His head throbbed so intensely that he couldn't see at first. He lifted his hand to hold it, hoping it would dissipate at least some of the tension.

Wait, since when could he move his hands?

His vision then returned to him, and now he saw Ketch lying in front of him, unmoving. The only movement he saw was the steady trickle of blood and smoke pouring out of Ketch's eyes.

Oh God, had- had he done this? He hadn't meant to, he- he was just scared.

Jack quickly got up and ran to the door.

"Help! I need some help in-" But then he saw the state of the guards that had been standing outside the door. They too had their eyes burnt out, and were collapsed on the ground, dead.

Jack's breaths started getting quicker, but he still felt like he couldn't breathe. He started running throughout the entire compound, praying that someone, anyone would be okay. But no such luck came.

"Hello?! Pl-please, is anyone there?" His voice quaked, his lungs aching as his throat started to collapse. Or at least, that was how it felt. His legs suddenly decided that they couldn't keep him up any longer, and he fell back against the wall, and slid to the ground. He gripped his hair as he too tried to grasp onto the reality of what he'd done.

"I- I killed them…" He gasped out. "I killed them all." He choked on his air as he began to cry, an unstoppable litany spewing from his mouth as breathing became irrelevant. Well, not that it actually was, but he literally just couldn't. The only thing he could do was panic.

"I killed them, I killed them, I killed them…" He was shaking his head as he cried out the horrific words. He started slamming his head against the wall, increasing the pain, but he didn't know what to do. He felt so scared, so helpless, so alone. He lowered his head onto his knees as despair overcame him, unable to stop sobbing now. He couldn't do this, he needed Castiel. If Castiel would still love him after this, although he wasn't sure he would. How could he love such a monster like him?

When a hand suddenly went to his shoulder, he truly believed it could have been Castiel. So it was much to his surprise and dismay when instead it was an intimidatingly tall man with long, brown hair. He smiled at Jack.

"Hello, son."

Jack's eyes went wide. "L-Lucifer…"

"It's good to finally meet you." Lucifer said sincerely.

"H-how," Jack panted. "How did you find me?"

"You're my son. We've got a connection. And that blast of power you sent out was practically a beacon."

Jack sobbed at the mention of it. "I- I didn't mean to. I didn't want to hurt anyone." He dropped his head again, until Lucifer gently lifted it up.

"Jack, I can feel your pain." Lucifer had a surprisingly soothing voice. "They hurt you first, they deserved it."

"No. No they didn't." Jack insisted. "Nobody deserves to die."

Lucifer couldn't help but laugh. "Someone's been feeding you lies. Humans are disgustingly flawed creatures. Here, let me show you what they're capable of." He tapped two fingers to Jack's forehead, and revealed to him the worst of humanity.




Mass genocide.

Some of Lucifer's person favourites, but Jack didn't need to know that. Should he be bombarding the boy with those horrific images when he's already so visibly shaken? Definitely not, but it was much easier to manipulate the vulnerable and broken.

"St-stop it!" Jack cried out, shoving away Lucifer's hand when he'd finally had enough. His shoulders heaved with heavy breaths.

"I'm sorry, son, but you had to see the truth. Humans are manipulative, lying, evil creatures."

Jack frowned, an anger gleaming in his eyes, and Lucifer did not appreciate how it appeared to be directed at him. "Didn't you turn them that way?"

Lucifer laughed to hide his sneer. "If I pointed out to you that you could steal a car, it would still be your fault if you took it. That's what happened with humanity. I showed them the choice to fall from God, and they took it, so that wasn't my fault. It just goes to show you how easily they can be corrupted, how they wanted to be corrupted."

Jack's head fell into his hands again. "I just want to go home."

Gently lifting Jack's head up, Lucifer said, "You are home. You're with me now, and I promise, I'm going to keep you safe."

With a new sense of awareness and defiance, Jack shoved Lucifer away. "No! I'm not going anywhere with you!" He knew what this monster truly was, and he trusted Castiel and Dean over him any day. "I'm going back to my family, and you just- you just leave me alone!" He thrusted out his hands with the intention of throwing Lucifer back, but it did nothing more than flow a light breeze through Lucifer's hair, and give Jack an immensely painful headache. He collapsed to the ground for just a moment before Lucifer hauled him up by the collar.

"Did you really just try to use your powers against me?" Lucifer asked, voice laced with fury. "You really think you have what it takes to knock me down?" His eyes went bright red as he roared, "Wrong! I made you, kid, and I could destroy you without even blinking." He closed his eyes and inhaled. When he opened them again, his eyes were back to the soft hazel. "But I won't, because you are my son, so I am willing to let this one slide. Together, Jack, we could remake the world in our image. We'd be unstoppable. Now," He smiled and Jack subsequently felt uncomfortable. "What do you say?"

Jack glanced up, clenching his fists. He felt himself channeling his father, as well as Dean, and snapped two small words at the Devil himself.

"Eat me."

And with a flick of his angel blade, Lucifer did.

Jack gasped in surprise as the knife slashed across his throat, and he felt the familiar ache of grace draining out of him, this time at a far greater speed. Oh, God, it hurt!

Right before he could feel the last of it slipping away, Lucifer closed up the wound. For what felt like the dozenth time, Jack fell to the floor. He managed to bring up his head to see Lucifer shaking with the intensity of having consumed Jack's grace. Wings, bright, beautiful, and terrifying wings, sprouted from Lucifer's back, and instead of the previous red, his eyes glowed a powerful gold. Jack's gold.

"Okay." Lucifer said, grabbing Jack by the collar once more as his wings retracted away. "You don't want to be my son, fine. Then you get to be my keg. Anytime I need a boost, you'll give it to me. Just remember, you chose this."

And with that, they were both gone.

Chapter Text

"M-Mom?" Dean dared to ask. He couldn't believe Lucifer had actually left her alive, but that's precisely what he'd seen. He was just too scared that it wasn't real.

"I-I'm fine, Dean." Came her shaky voice."

"Cas?" He asked next.

"Fine. You?"

The phrase, "I'm okay" didn't even try to come out of his mouth. Right now, even for a Winchester, it would've been too big a lie.

"He's alive…" Mary said.

"We've gotta go after him." Dean strained as he tried to stand, clutching near the phantom pains in his chest. He collapsed when he remembered that it wasn't just a phantom pain, but that Lucifer had actually broken his ribs.

"Dean, no." Mary said, easing Dean back down. "We're in no shape to take on Lucifer right now."

"Neither is Jack." Castiel ground out, managing to heal himself enough so that he could stand up and get to Mary and Dean to do the same. "You have no idea what he's truly capable of, Mary."

"Jack is smart, Cas." Mary said. "He knows better than to trust Lucifer."

"And what exactly do you suppose is going to happen when Jack refuses to side with him?"

"Guys," Dean cut in. "Are we really not gonna talk about who we just saw?"

Mary sighed. "Of course we're not gonna ignore it. I just- I don't know what to say. Or do."

"We get him out!" Dean shouted. "Sammy's getting tortured by his worst nightmare in his own head, and it's all-"

"Don't you dare say 'all my fault.'" Castiel snapped. "You couldn't possibly have known what was going to happen, none of us did."

"I don't care, I'm getting Sam back."

"Don't be stupid, Dean!" Castiel said as he grabbed Dean somewhat harshly, preventing him from charging out to the car. "Obviously we all want both Sam and Jack back, but if we charge in blind, then we're only going to lose them, and ourselves." His voice quavered. "They are my family too, and I want nothing more than for them to be safe by our sides again, but we need a plan first." He released his dear friend as his temper subsided.

"Other angels," Mary suggested. "Could they help us find Lucifer?"

"Maybe." Castiel answered. "But some of the more radical soldiers would rather kill both Lucifer and Jack, and wouldn't hesitate even if it cost Sam's life. But I know of at least a few who are either too loyal to Sam, or too afraid to directly approach Lucifer."

"At least that's a start." Mary said. "While you talk to the other angels, Dean and I can try to find ways to safely get Lucifer out of Sam. Once we find him, we find Jack."

Castiel sighed. "This will not be easy."

Dean gave a sad laugh. "For us, nothing ever is."

Sam couldn't believe what had just happened. His whole family had been right there and Lucifer was mere seconds away from slaughtering them right in front of him. And when he'd finally believed the horror show to be over, he'd watched Lucifer slit his own son's throat and consume most of his grace. He thought he'd seen the worst of Lucifer long ago, but this? This was barbaric, cruel, evil.

"Oh, like you're really able to judge someone else's family, Sam." Lucifer sneered at him.

"Let the kid go, Lucifer." Sam snarled as he jerked uselessly in his chains. "You've already got me as your vessel, you don't need him."

"Don't be naïve. You can't pretend that you didn't feel that rush when we ate his grace, all that power. Better than demon blood, huh? I know you thought that."

Sam felt his cheeks redden in humiliation at how easily Lucifer could access his thoughts and feelings. He was right too. Sam really had felt so much stronger after Lucifer had stolen Jack's grace, but that didn't mean he had liked it. Not in the slightest.

"You're a monster."

"Yeah, well, I'm wearing your meat, so I guess that means you are one too." He used Sam's stolen face to smile childishly. He then picked up the still unconscious Jack, and started chaining him to the walls of this dungeon.

"Where are we anyway?" Sam asked, knowing what was happening with his body usually made him feel at least a little bit better.

"The abandoned throne room of the late Crowley. You remember that, right? How his insides tasted?"

Sam's gut clenched at the memory. Of course he remembered slaughtering someone he had grown to- at least somewhat care about. And the way he had been killed was just brutal. He hadn't deserved it.

"So what now? Apocalypse take ten? You try to take over Heaven?"

"Correction. I do take over Heaven, then Hell, and the world will follow."

"So why are we in Hell now?"

"Better security. And loyalty. Heaven isn't quite ready to surrender to me, not until I prove my power."

"And how exactly do you plan on pulling that off?"

"Well, now that I've got my son back, I think killing the remaining Winchesters and their pet will certainly get their attention, won't it?"

"Lucifer, don't you da-"

Sam's thought was interrupted when the dungeon doors swung open. A small hoard of demons swarmed around an older man dressed in an all white suit.

"What was that you were saying about better security?" Sam couldn't help but snark.

"Howdy, Lucifer." The main demon said.

Lucifer squinted with Sam's eyes as he tried to discern who was in front of him. "No way." He said as realisation dawned on him. "Asmodeus? That really you, buddy? Gotta say, I love the suit. What brings you here?"

Asmodeus smiled, and it was vastly unsettling. "Glad you asked, my friend. I've come to claim the throne."

Lucifer cocked Sam's head. "This throne? The one I'm literally sitting on right now?"

Asmodeus chuckled. "That's the one."

Lucifer crossed his arms, sitting further back on the chair. "Interesting. And what makes you think you can take it from me?"

Suddenly, Asmodeus' eyes began to glow, and a power that once rivaled his own surged around him. "I'm not just some lowly Price of Hell anymore. I've been taking my vitamins."

Lucifer chuckled, and his eyes too began to blow. "So have I." He shot a hand out, a blast of power bursting out of him towards Asmodeus and his demons. Some of them dodged it, the others exploded in a rain of blood and entrails.

"Impressive." Asmodeus said, now suddenly behind Lucifer. "But I've had quite some time to learn how to reign in an archangel. Not to mention," He grinned a toothy grin. "I knew you were coming." He snapped his fingers, and suddenly a ring of fire leapt to life around Lucifer. Holy fire. "The Dark Prince himself, a nephilim, and a Winchester all at my disposal. Goody." He closed his eyes, and began to recite an Enochian incantation, which Sam could loosely translate as, 'Get back, Lucifer, your power is subdued, you are no longer in control, get back!'

That was when Sam felt the shift of power, and felt himself forcibly thrown forward in his mind. He suddenly collapsed, the rush of control shocking him with its intensity. Before he could even think about putting up a fight, he was thrown back into the cell beside Jack's, and the door etched with Enochian warding slammed shut.

Asmodeus then stepped in front of his now prison, and smiled. "Howdy there, Sam." He said.
"I'm sorry you're getting tangled up in this bid for Hell's crown business, but I think Lucifer's had the reins a bit long, don't you? Humans are just- a bit easier to subdue than archangels."

"What are you gonna do with the kid?" Sam asked, as always, not giving a damn about his own self-preservation.

"Same thing I'm gonna do with you." He chuckled. "Whatever I want."

Sam was the one who laughed now. "Is that supposed to scare me? You realise who you're talking to, right? Nothing you can possibly imagine, and worse, hasn't been done to me a thousand times before."

"Believe me, Samuel, I'm aware of the stories. I've no real interest in you, just Lucifer's power. You just happen to be in the way, and if that means I get a chance to make the once Boy King scream, well, then so be it."

The two spare demons suddenly rushed the now open cell door and at Sam, forcing his arms back against the wall. He struggled on instinct, but nothing happened. One of them grabbed his hair and yanked his head to the side, exposing his neck. When he saw the needle in Asmodeus' hand, he fought a bit harder as he anticipated what was about to happen. Yet he was helpless to stop the syringe from piercing h is skin, and then beginning to extract Lucifer's grace.

He'd experienced a fraction of this pain before when Castiel had been withdrawing the grace leftover from Gadreel. But this was worlds more agonising. Lucifer's grace had made its place in Sam's body, intertwining with his very soul, and it sank its claws into him as it fought desperately to stay where it was no longer welcome.

Sam may have been a master in the art of suppressing pain, but it was soon too strong to be ignored. At last, he let out a scream, unsure if he would be able to stop.

"Still no word form Mick." Mary said with a sigh as she tucked her phone away. "I'm starting to think he might be a dead end."

"Nothing from Crowley either." Added Dean. "If Lucifer's managed to slip back into Hell, then I don't think Crowley's in any position to help. If he's even still alive."

"There is one more person who may be able to help us, Dean." Castiel suggested.

Dean scowled. "She's never been the helping type, Cas."

"If the fate of the world is at stake, she will have no choice. We at the very least should try to contact her."

"Fine." Dean huffed. "But I'm using one of Sam's phones. She's not gonna answer if it's me." He went to his brother's room, briefly taking in the sight of how empty and untouched it still was. He dared to hope that it wouldn't stay that way forever.

"Well hello, dear Samuel." Came the almost cheery voice once the call went through.

"Try again, Rowena." Said Dean.

The eager tone was gone when she spoke again. "Dean. I can only assume you're hoping I'll reach down into my non-existent heart to help you with whatever mess you've managed to get yourself in this time. Is that it?"

Dean hesitated, and that was all the answer she needed.

"Thought so. Not interested. Farewell, dearie."

"Rowena, wait!" Dean practically shouted into the phone. "It's Lucifer, he's back. You're one of the few people that actually poses a threat to him, do you really think he's gonna just leave you alone? If we work together, we can keep you safe."

Rowena scoffed. "Quite the contrary. Not sure if you've ever noticed, but those closest to you don't exactly have a great record of coming out of adversity alive."

Dean clenched his fists at the cruel reminder. "He's got Sam. I don't know how, but Lucifer got Sam's consent. You helped us get Lucifer out of the President, I know you can help us with this too." Dean sighed, deciding away with dignity. "Please, Rowena."

She was quiet spare for a few sounds of frustration. "I- I haven't even got the bloody egg anymore. That Ketch man took it from me."

Add that to the list of reasons to kick Ketch's ask. "Look, we know a guy on the inside of the Brit's operations. Once we finally get a hold of him, we can get that egg back."

A sigh was heard through the phone. Then a pause. Then finally, "Get the egg, and then if by some miracle Lucifer hasn't already murdered all of us, then I'll help. But until then I am staying as far away from all of this as I possible can."

"Rowena-" Dean started, only to be cut off by her.

"I'll be ready. You just make sure you and your family are too."

Dean gave a nod. "Believe me, we will be." With that said, he hung up.

"Dean," Mary said solemnly. "How are we supposed to find that egg if Mick won't ever call us back?"

"First things first," Castiel said sternly. "You two still need more time to heal. We're still in no condition to start a fight against Lucifer."

"Cas, we don't have ti-"

"You're no good to Sam if you still hardly walk. You'll need your strength when we go up against him. For the last time." He added with determination.

Dean sighed once more. "Fine." He gave in. He had no problem running into battle injured, but he wouldn't make his mom or Cas do it.

He just wished they had a damn clue what they were gonna do next.

"Jack." A soft voice was calling to him. "Jack, c'mon, you've got to wake up."

That voice. It was familiar, but- different. His eyes gradually opened to see Lucifer staring at him from his cell. Jack immediately jerked awake, and tried to scramble away from him.

"Whoa, hey, take it easy. I'm- I'm not him, Jack."

Jack frowned. The man in front of him felt- like Lucifer, but only distantly. But those eyes were far too kind to belong to the monster he was ashamed to share some part of.

"If you're not Lucifer," Jack said hesitantly. "Then who are you?"

"Sam." He answered. "Sam Winchester."

Jack's eyes blew wide. "Dean's brother?"

Sam tilted his head, confused. "You know Dean?"

Jack nodded frantically. "And Castiel. They helped show me that I didn't have to be like my father. They- they are my family." He smiled at the thought of them. "They talked about you a lot. I- I almost feel like I already know you."

Sam couldn't help but smile a bit too. "How- how are they?"

The smile faded off Jack's face as he pondered. "Sad. They miss you so much, Sam." His head whipped up as he realised something. "They think you're dead! How aren't you dead?"

Sam hung his head. "Lucifer. He brought me back, and- I was really messed up when he had found me, so he was able to get inside my head."

"And- where is he now?"

Sam's lip twitch downward, and he fiddled with his hands. "He's still in my head. But it's like he's sleeping, he's not gonna hurt you anymore, Jack."

Jack shook his head. "It's not me I'm worried about."

Before Sam could thank him for the thoughtful comment, the door leading to their dungeon opened again, and Asmodeus stepped through.

"So, who feels like donating a little grace? I realised I've still got room for seconds."

"Take it from me." Sam said without hesitance. "Jack hasn't had enough time to recover, but Lucifer's still got grace to spare." He swallowed, clenching his jaw. "So leave the kid alone."

"Sam, no." Jack felt an odd mix of guilt as well as a new kind of pain knowing that Sam was going to be suffering in his place.

But Asmodeus didn't care about Jack's plea. "Sounds good to me." He snapped his fingers, and a pair of demons charged forward in Sam's now open cell. To his credit, despite the loss of energy after having Lucifer's grace already ripped from him once before, Sam still put up a decent fight. He'd knocked down one demon, and had nearly left the other one unconscious, but then Asmodeus simply waved a finger, and Sam flew back, pinned to the wall. Sam sneered at him.

"All that power, but you're still not gonna try to fight me yourself?" Sam goaded.

Asmodeus chuckled. "Maybe someday I'll show you just what I'm capable of, but for now," He was suddenly right in Sam's face, yanking his head to the side in a familiar motion. "I could use a pick-me-up."

Sam felt the needle prick his skin once more, and for Jack's sake, he tried to keep his voiced held in. But all too quickly, the pain embraced every particle of his soul as it tore out Lucifer's grace, and again, he felt himself screaming in agony.

For once, he wasn't too sure how to get everyone out of this mess alive.

Chapter Text

"How are you feeling, Cas?" Dean asked after they'd all been through healing sessions, as well as a good night's rest.

"Much better. And once I began to heal, I noticed that I could still sense some of Jack's grace. I don't know exactly what it is, but it's definitely a lead."

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Dean asked, practically springing up out of his seat. "Let's grab mom and go!"

"Dean, slow down." Castiel advised. "Last time we followed a lead, we all fell into a trap and nearly died. We need to make a plan, one that does not involve anyone heading in alone, or splitting up. Agreed?"

Dean nodded. "Agreed. Let's got tell mom."

The two wasted no time in relaying their plan, and Mary was more than eager to bring one of her boys back home.

"It's going to take a few hours to drive," Castiel explained. "But at least that way I will be able to sense any incoming danger beforehand."

"What do you think could be there?" Mary asked.

"Don't know for sure," Dean said as he cocked a gun, now loaded with angel killing bullets. "Which is why we gotta be ready for anything."

Mary nodded, packing up several holy oil molotovs. "Sounds like a plan to me."

With that, the three of them headed towards the Impala, a renewed sense of determination and hope swelling within all of them. They were ready for a win.

"That's enough!" Jack yelled, trying to thrash against his chains, though he was barely audible over Sam's choked off screams. "Use me if you have to, but you're killing him!" The sight of all the blood streaming from Sam's eyes, nose, and ears was an unsettling and worrisome sight for Jack.

At last Asmodeus seemed to have his fill, and waved off his demons who then allowed Sam to collapse to the floor. Even though he wasn't being restrained, he showed no signs of fighting back this time, and the demons let him be for the moment.

"Sam?" Jack said once they had left again. "Sam!" At last, Sam's eyes fluttered open, and he groaned in what had to be massive pain. "Are- are you okay?" He felt the overwhelming absurdity of the question as soon as he asked it, but much to his surprise, Sam nodded anyway.

"Y-yeah. Yeah, I'm okay."

Jack frowned. "You're lying."

Sam laughed breathily. "Well, it was kind of a dumb question."

Jack felt a smile creeping up on his face. "I- I guess it was." He laughed. He couldn't remember the last time he had laughed. As their laughter died down, Sam wearily brought a hand up in an attempt to wipe some of the blood off his face, and he winced when he realised that all he'd succeeded in doing was further smearing it all over himself.

"You sure you don't miss the pain, Sammy?"

Sam paled. That was Lucifer's voice. He closed his eyes, trying to fend off the voice with logic.

"You're not real." Sam told him. "Asmodeus put you to sleep."

"Oh, he did. But guess what? I woke up. And I'm not happy."

Horrible images of all the things Lucifer had done in Sam's body began flashing through Sam's mind. Sam absent-mindedly dug his nails into his forearms, not even noticing the blood welling up as he did.

"How's that feel, buddy? Knowing what we did together? Not enough to set you off, huh? Ooh, how about this? Let me show you how I would have decimated your family. The things we would have done to Dean. Oof, it's unholy."

Sam felt himself gag at the absolute atrocity he was being forced to watch. He was intensely shaking, praying to a long-gone God that it could stop, please just stop.

"Sam!" He heard Dean's imaginary and hoarse voice crying out to him.

"Stop!" Sam yelled, unable to take it anymore.

"Sam, look at me!" Wait, that wasn't Dean's voice. "Sam, whatever you're seeing it- it isn't real!"

Gasping, Sam's eyes suddenly shot open, and he came back to himself, feeling an uncomfortable sensation; sticky. He looked down to see his nails soaked in blood. He found the source of the blood on his arms, torn up by his own hands. Oh God, he hadn't even realised…

"S-Sam?" Came Jack's timid voice. "Are- are you back with me?"

Sam's mouth hung open slightly as he breathed shakily. "Y-yeah, I'm okay." Well, as okay as one could be with the literal Devil unfolding your worst nightmares in front of you.

"Damn." Lucifer huffed within Sam's head. "Almost had you for a second there."

Sam swallowed roughly. Lucifer may be trapped, but he was awake. And Sam wasn't sure how long he'd be able to deal with that damn voice inside his head. Not to mention he had no idea how long Asmodeus' spell would keep Lucifer subdued.

"What happened?" Jack asked, more than concerned for Sam's well-being.

Sam felt his jaw clench. "Lucifer's awake."

Jack flinched. "Is- can he-?"

Sam shook his head, know what Jack was trying to ask. "No, he can't take control yet, it's still me." He glanced back down at his practically mutilated arms, and that was when a thought occurred to him. Wincing as he did so, he reached over, swiping a bit of blood onto his finger, reached upwards toward the ceiling, and then he began to paint.

"This is it." Castiel announced as they passed a secure looking building. Cameras littered nearly every corner of the edifice, and several entrances were blocked by thick metal fencing. But the threat of retaliation or imprisonment meant nothing to the Winchesters when their family was in danger. It never had, and it never will.

"Can you sense Lucifer at all?" Dean asked with a hint of hope dwelling beneath the worry.

Concentrating, Castiel frowned. "No. In fact, I can't sense anything besides Jack's grace. There doesn't seem to be anyone around."

"That doesn't make any sense." Mary commented. "They wouldn't just leave Jack unguarded, would they?"

"Think it's another trap?" Dean asked.

Castiel shook his head. "There would have to be someone or something here in order for it to be a trap. But Jack was definitely here at some point, so this lead is our best and currently only shot at finding him again."

Nodding, Dean and Mary tightly gripped their gear, and all three of them headed inside. The sight that greeted them was a gruesome one. Bodies were scattered all throughout the compound, eyes nothing more than a gaping void, and mouths open in an eternal cry of agony.

"Think this was Lucifer?" Dean asked.

"It could have been, but it wouldn't explain why I can sense Jack and not him."

"You- you don't think he might've-" Mary started, only to be cut off by an overly-sure Castiel.

"No, Jack is alive. I know it."

'He has to be' was left unspoken, but it was still heard and felt by all of them.

"Here." Castiel stopped them in front of a door which was apparently once heavily guarded, but now the supposed guards lay dead in front of the room that so strongly called to Castiel. The three of them entered and found two particularly interesting things inside. The first was a familiar face among the deceased, Ketch. No love lost there. The second thing however was far more concerning. Several vials of grace sitting carelessly on a table not very far from a chair adorned with broken Enochian handcuffs.

Mary was horrified. "Is- is that-"

"Yes." Castiel answered through his teeth. The British Men of Letters, they'd been draining Jack's grace. "They'd been torturing him."

Dean all too intimately knew that look in his friend's eyes. He thought for a brief moment that those British bastards were lucky they were already dead. The quick end they'd met was infinitely more merciful than what they would have suffered had Castiel gotten his hands on them. The downside was that now Castiel had nothing to take out his frustrations on.

"Cas," Dean tried to console, but before he could even touch Castiel's shoulder, the angel had grabbed the chair and hurled it across the wall, and it promptly broke, cracking the wall as well.

"Whoa, Cas, c'mon, I know you're pissed, but-"

"'But' what, Dean?!" Castiel quickly turned to face him. "They were ripping out his grace, you couldn't possibly understand the pain that he was in. Not to mention that with them taking as much as they did, they've left Jack completely defenseless against Lucifer.

"He's not defenseless." Dean pointed out. "He had the guts to offer himself up to the Brits just cuz he thought it'd keep up safe. Grace or no grace, Jack is smart and strong. Even more than that, he's got us coming to bring him back, and we're getting him back because…" He paused to swallow because his next words were ones he needed to be sure that Castiel heard. "Because he's family."

That seemed to calm Castiel down quite a bit. The word "family" was not tossed around lightly by the Winchesters. Besides their father and the other brother, they'd never really known a family, but over the years they'd made one all on their own, and to hear that Jack had been accepted into it had warmed Castiel's heart, and filled him with hope once again.

"But," Dean added somberly. "I'm sorry that this was a dead end."

Castiel nodded for a moment, but then a thought occurred to him. "It's not a dead end, Dean. I know how we can find Jack."

Dean's eyes lit up. "What? How?"

"A spell Sam and I came across awhile back. We had tried to use the grace Gadreel had left behind in Sam in order to track him."

"I thought it didn't work." Dean said.

Castiel shook his head. "That was only because we hadn't gathered enough grace." His jaw clenched momentarily. "We have more than enough here to find Jack." It was a bittersweet moment, because they finally had a real lead on Jack, but at a terrible cost.

"What are we waiting for?" Mary said eagerly. "Let's get back to the bunker and do the spell!"

Just as she and Castiel turned to go, Dean grabbed their shoulders.

"Wait!" Dean said, excitement making an appearance on his expression for the first time in months. "Remember what Rowena said about the egg we used to kick Lucifer out of the President?"

"Yeah," Mary answered. "She said Ketch had-" Her eyes widened as she caught onto what Dean was implying. "Ketch had taken it. Do you think it's here?"

"If I learned anything about these douchebags since living in the bunker, it's that they love to keep things organised. They've got to have a weapons arsenal somewhere in here, cuz I doubt Ketch would have wanted it far."

"Then let's move." Mary said with a nod.

It didn't take long to come across the rather impressive stash of weapons, and they all began to search.

"Oh. My. God." Dean said with awe.

"Did you find it?" Mary asked hopefully.

When Dean turned around with a dopey grin holding a grenade launcher, Mary couldn't help but smile. He was starting to act like himself again.

"I'm keeping it." He declared.

"Guys." Castiel said, beckoning them over to a nearby shelf.

Dean and Mary quickly made their way over to him. Mary gave a small gasp as they gazed upon his finding.

"Is this it?"

Castiel nodded. "This is it. This is how we save Sam."

Chapter Text

"Jack, if my plan doesn't work, I need you to promise me something." Sam said, weary from blood and grace loss.

"What do you mean if it doesn't work? It's going to work, Sam." Jack said insistently.

Sam just shook his head. "Believe me, I hope it does, but if something happens, I need you to get out of here. Go back to Dean and Cas, and tell them where I am, and then you can come back for me."


"Promise me, Jack." Sam said sternly.

He hesitated for a few moments, but then gave a solemn nod. "I promise."

Sam gave a grateful nod in return.

A loud creak down the hallway caused both their heads to turn towards the sound, now alert and ready to put Sam's plan to action.

"Get ready." Sam said in a soft but determined whisper.

Asmodeus soon made his way through the door with his usual pair of demons in tow.

"Howdy, boys." He greeted.

Sam feigned over-exhaustion as he spoke. "Dude, are you ever full?" He gave a slight chuckle. "And seriously, how pathetic is it that you constantly have to feed off someone else in order to actually have any kind of power?"

Asmodeus' upper lip twitched in annoyance. "If I were you, I'd watch my tongue, Samuel."

Sam scoffed breathily. "If you were me, you'd have one of the strongest beings in the whole world possessing you, and you wouldn't have to torture a kid to even stand a chance against anything that gets in your way. Without us, I bet any of those guys could kick your ass."

Asmodeus was fuming now. He snapped his fingers, and his demons charged forward, and grabbed Sam from his spot in the centre of his cell, holding him steady by his shoulders. He struggled slightly, but stilled when Asmodeus moved in on him. His head was yanked to the side in a familiar motion, and even as he winced, he felt a surge of victory well up within him.

"You won't be so mouthy in a moment, boy." Asmodeus brought out a needle, and Sam knew this was his chance. He suddenly threw his arm back, catching one demon in the stomach before swinging his now completely free arm to punch the other demon in the face. He then grabbed Asmodeus' arm and yanked it downwards, and then kicked him right in the face. While he was down, Sam found the keys to Jack's cell and cuffs, and quickly made his way out of the trap.

"It worked!" Jack said with a giddy smile as Sam undid his cuffs.

Sam couldn't help but smile too. "Yeah, so far so good. But we've still got to get out of here."

"Samuel!" Came Asmodeus' angry voice. Guess he wasn't down for long. "You know this won't hold me forever."

Sam scowled. "Frankly, I've got bigger things to worry about than you right now." With that, he helped Jack up, and started to head out of that godforsaken place.

Upon exiting their cell they ran into two more demons, which Sam quickly incapacitated. Luckily, one of them had been wielding a stolen angel blade, which Sam quickly then used to arm himself. They came across three more demons along the way, but with the thought of seeing his family again, Sam cut through them all with ease. At last they saw a door up ahead, and outside was, well, outside. They'd done it. Finally, he'd get to see Dean, Cas, and Mom again, and he'd-

"Well, that was an impressive show, Sammy." Came that damn voice from inside Sam's head. Oh God, not now! Sam put a hand on his temple, stumbling in his tracks.

"C'mon, don't be selfish, you've had the wheel for some time now, buddy. Now it's my turn."

"No!" Sam screamed as a felt a wave of power surge within his mind. He collapsed to his knees, panting with the exertion of keeping Lucifer down.

"Sam!" Sam felt gentle hands on his shoulders, trying to help him up. Jack. Sam couldn't let Lucifer get a hold of Jack again, so Sam steeled himself and shoved Jack away. "S-Sam?" He sounded so scared.

"J-Jack, you have to go!"

"But, Sam, we're almost there-"

"Lucifer!" Sam cut him off. "He's trying to take back over, and I can't hold him for much longer. I can make it back to the cell and put on those Enochian shackles and that should keep him down, but you need to get out of here now!"

"I can't just leave you trapped here with Asmodeus!" Jack pleaded.

"Jack, I can't do it again. I- I can't let Lucifer take control of my body." It pained Sam to admit weakness, but he couldn't hold back the truth, not if he wanted to keep Jack safe. "Being trapped like that is a thousand times worse than anything Asmodeus could ever do to me."

"Aww, you're making me blush, Sam. Didn't know you felt so strongly about me." Lucifer cooed as he continued to fight for control.

Sam grit his teeth, but he managed a reassuring smile when he looked at Jack. "B-besides, I know you'll be back. You promised."

Clearly conflicted, Jack frantically looked towards the door, then back to his fallen friend. At last he came to a decision.

"A-alright." He forced himself to step away from Sam. "I-I'll go."

Sam nodded, still panting. "L-Lebanon Kansas. That's where you're going, okay? Get close enough and Cas should be able to find you, alright?"

Jack nodded. "S-Sam, I'm sor-" He was cut off when Sam let out a pained yell.

"G-go!" Sam shouted through his teeth, and then he got up to run back to that dreaded cell. He knew he'd be in for a brutal hell once Asmodeus' other demons set him free, but he had faith in Jack being able to find Dean.

Sam couldn't believe it, but even with Lucifer currently screaming inside his head, he at last had hope.

"We have everything for the spell?" Mary asked.

"All that's left is Jack's grace." Castiel explained. He gave a hopeful glance around the room, and then tipped the grace filled vial into the large bowl. A small plume of smoke erupted from the bowl, and the cloud then slowly morphed to match the shape of Kansas.

"He's close." Dean noted eagerly.

The smoke continued to swirl, almost as if zooming in on a location, and then a glowing blue dot appeared. That had to be Jack.

"Cas," Dean asked. "Any idea on what city that is?"

"Yes, it appears to be Blue Rapids, roughly two hours from here." Castiel shut his eyes, fist clenching. "How long has he been this close? And yet I still couldn't find him."

"Hey," Comforted Dean. "We know where he is now, all we've got to do is go get him. We're almost there, Cas."

"Are you sure we're ready to take on Lucifer as well?"

Dean nodded. "Let's get our family back together."

They secured all their weapons, most importantly the egg, inside the Impala, along with just about everything else in their arsenal, including the grenade launcher, though both Mary and Castiel had pointed out how it likely wasn't going to get used.

The drive was mostly silent until about half an hour passed, and Castiel made an interesting discovery.

"Jack is moving." He observed as he watched the glowing dot slowly changing location.

"Which way?" Dean asked.

Confused, Castiel frowned. "Towards us."

Dean swallowed to hide his worry. "That can't be good."

"Why would Lucifer be bringing Jack towards us?" Mary asked.

"I'm not sure." Castiel answered. "But I doubt he knows that we have the egg, we still have the element of surprise on our side. Nothing has changed, we're still going to save Jack and Sam. Today."

Dean nodded, pressing a little harder on the gas. "Damn straight."

Another half hour passed, and then Castiel spoke. "He's stopped moving."

"Where am I headed?" Asked Dean.

"According to the spell, he's less than five miles away."

Dean's hand tightened around the steering wheel. "Saw a sign for a rest stop at the exit, seems like a public enough place for Lucifer to want to cause a scene."

"I can't believe it's really happening." Mary breathed out. "Is everybody ready?"

"As ready as we can be." Dean answered as they pulled off the highway.

Tension continued to rise amidst the silence until the rest stop was in view. They prepared to run headfirst into a bloodbath, until they all saw the lone figure stepping out of the passenger side door of a semi-truck.

"J-Jack?" Castiel dared to believe. It was said in a whisper, so Jack, could it really be him, didn't hear him. Now in a full-on sprint, Castiel ran towards the boy. His boy. "Jack!" He called out again.

The boy's head whipped towards him at the sound, and now there was no denying it. It was really him.

Jack's eyes lit up at the sight of his chosen father, and soon begun to well up with tears of disbelief and gratitude. "Castiel?" He asked, but he was already running into his arms. The two embraced each other tightly, Jack even beginning to lightly sob in relief at finding his family once again. Dean and Mary soon joined the tearful reunion, utterly baffled but beyond thankful to have found him safely.

At last Jack was able to ask, "How did you all even find me?"

"Your grace," Answered Castiel. "We came across the Men of Letters' compound that Lucifer had destroyed, and we found some of your grace which we used for a spell to track you."

Jack's eyes suddenly cast downwards, looking ashamed.

"It's alright, Jack, we still have most of it, you will be able to get your grace back as soon as we get you home."

"N-no, it's not that." Jack said, still unable to look at any of them. "It-" He swallowed down a sob. "It wasn't Lucifer that killed the Men of Letters."

Castiel frowned. "What do you mean?"

"It- it was me. I did it." The utterance was barely even a whisper. "But I- I hadn't meant to hurt anyone, I just wanted them to stop hurting me, I promise, I didn't want to kill them!" The poor kid was frantic now.

"Jack," Said Castiel softly. "We know what they did to you, we don't blame you for what happened."

Jack's mouth twitched open in shock. He couldn't believe it, they didn't hate him, not even after admitting what he'd done. "Y-you don't?"

"No, we don't." Dean affirmed. "They clearly didn't have a problem hurting innocent people, and that's what a monster really is. Trust me, you probably did the world a favour by taking them down."

Jack was able to offer a small smile, grateful for the reassurance.

"Now that that's all cleared up, how did you get here, Jack?" Dean asked.

Jack innocently pointed towards the truck he'd arrived in. "This man saw me running on the side of the road, and when I told him I was going to Kansas he said he would take me."

Dean gave a slight huff. "Okay, we're gonna have a talk about stranger danger later, but I meant how did you even escape the Brits? We thought- we thought Lucifer went after you."

The innocence immediately left Jack's eyes, and was overtaken with malice. "He- he found me. He said he felt my power after I killed the Men of Letters, and then he tried to make me go with him. When I refused, he," He brought his hand to his throat subconsciously as the memory resurfaced. "He drank my grace."

Dean grit his teeth. "That son of a bitch…"

"Then he took me back to some dungeon, but then this- this demon cane in and managed to capture both of us." His eyes widened. "I met Sam!"

"Wait, you met Sam?" Mary asked with disbelief.

"Yes! Asmodeus performed a spell that let Sam take control, and he- he kept offering himself up in my place when Asmodeus tried to drink my grace."

"When he what?" Castiel asked. "Asmodeus is a Prince of Hell, why would he need to drink your grace?"

"I thought all the Princes were dead." Dean added.

"I suppose not." Castiel said.

"He said it makes him more powerful than any other demon." Jack explained. "But Sam eventually managed to trap Asmodeus long enough for us, well, me, to get away."

"Jack," Dean asked, fearing the worst possible answer to his burning question. "What happened to Sam?"

Jack gave a sad nod. "He's still alive, but when we had nearly escaped, Lucifer tried to take back control, and Sam said that the only way to keep him from taking over was if he let Asmodeus capture him and use the spell on him again."

Dean closed his eyes and felt his fist tighten. "Sammy, you idiot…"

"But," Jack added. "I know where he is."

"You do?" Came Mary's hopeful voice.

Jack nodded, his expression turned somber. "But we need to hurry."

Castiel, Dean, and Mary nodded in agreement, and they all hurried to the car.

It was time to end this, once and for all.

Sam gagged on the blood that threatened to trickle down his throat from having bitten his cheek in an attempt to choke down a scream of pain. Asmodeus had been expectedly displeased ever since Sam's little stunt had lead to Jack's escape, and he had been subjecting to brutal torture as retribution, but at least he had recast the spell. Asmodeus could torture Sam all he liked, but so long as Lucifer was subdued Sam could handle just about anything.

That didn't mean it still hadn't hurt like hell, well, close to it anyway, when Asmodeus had ordered for Sam to be strung up and mercilessly whipped within an inch of his life. It was unfortunately far from the worst pain he'd ever felt, but he's still been understandably miserable.

A rough hand on his chin forced his head up, and he met Asmodeus' cold gaze.

"I expect you to apologise for your transgression, Samuel."

Sam let out a heavy breath, but it wasn't quite strong enough to be a scoff. "Eat me." He ground out.

Asmodeus gave an amused chuckle. "Normally, I'd take you up on the offer, but you're gonna need that grace to heal up those nasty wounds. He then ran a finger around and then into one of the deepest lacerations in Sam's back. Sam mostly was able to choke down his pained cry, but a strangled grunt still managed to sip out.

"Luckily for you," Asmodeus continued. "I've got another source readily available."

Sam paled. Oh God, had he found Jack again?

The panic must have been apparent, because Asmodeus laughed. "Don't worry, it's not your little nephilim, it may be even better, in fact."

Sam frowned in curiosity, but couldn't quite gather the strength to ask. But Asmodeus clearly loved the sound of his own voice, because he kept talking regardless.

"Arch-angel grace. I believe you're already well-acquainted with your new roommate." With a wave of his hand, a trembling figure was dragged in by two demons. The short frame, the disheveled brown hair, it almost looked like-… But it couldn't be…


Chapter Text


The arch-angel didn't even respond to Sam calling his name. Not that he could have answered anyway, because oh, God. Sam swallowed. Because Gabriel's lips had been sewn shut.

Anger rose up within Sam enough so that he gained back his voice. "What the hell did you do to him?"

Asmodeus chuckled. "You know him, well, the old him, you know how much he loved to run his mouth." He reached out a hand to give an all too intimate caress through Gabriel's hair, and the angel full on cowered at the touch. "I just made sure that wasn't an option anymore."

"You son of a bitch." Sam hissed.

The comment merely caused Asmodeus to laugh. "I'll leave you two to talk. Though I'm afraid Gabriel's not much of a conversationalist anymore."

Gabriel was roughly thrown into Jack's old cell beside Sam's, collapsing on the floor with a whimper.

Sam moved as close to Gabriel as he could with the barrier between their cells, as well as the chains around his wrists. Apparently Asmodeus had learned his lesson about leaving his hands free. "Gabriel?"

The angel's eyes lifted for only a moment in Sam's direction, but within that split second that Sam met his gaze, he saw no recognition, no signs of hope.

"Gabriel, it's me." He said softly, hoping not to scare him. "It's Sam Winchester."

Gabriel continued shuddering in the corner of his cell, seeming to only shift further away.

Sam sighed. "God, how long has he had you here?" Sam obviously didn't expect Gabriel to answer, but as it was wan to do, Sam's mind jumped to the worst possible scenarios of all the dreadful things Asmodeus must have subjected him to.

In an odd way, Sam was now slightly grateful that he hadn't managed to escape with Jack, otherwise he likely never would have found Gabriel, and he would have been left to rot.

"I don't know if you're really listening," Sam said. "But Dean's coming for me, and when he finds me, he's gonna get us both out of here. Asmodeus won't be able to hurt you anymore, Gabriel. I promise."

For a flickering second, Sam thought he saw Gabriel look at him with a flash of hope in his eyes. Sam chose to take it as a sign that somewhere deep down that the arch-angel was still in there. He could tell that the healing process that Gabriel was going to have to endure was going to be a long one, but Sam had to believe that Gabriel could come back from this, that they both could.

But for now, all Sam could do was wait.

"That's it." Jack announced, pointing towards a large abandoned building. "That's where Asmodeus is keeping Sam."

Dean wasn't sure he was ready for this. Not facing Asmodeus, Dean couldn't care less about yet another over-powered dick of a demon, he'd been dealing with those sons of bitches for over two decades. But seeing Sam again. Lucifer was still possessing him, but Jack had said that he was dormant the last time he'd seen him. Not to mention what Lucifer had said about the state he'd found Sam in in the Empty. His brother- if it was true- it seemed like he had lost himself. And Dean knew they were in for a long road to recovery, but at least soon, so damn soon, he would have his brother back.

"Dean?" Came Mary's soft voice. "Are you ready?"

Determined and more sure of himself now, Dean nodded. "I'm ready."

"Then let's do this." Castiel said as he drew out his angel blade, handing one to Jack as well. Mary clutched one as well, and Dean wielded the demon-killing blade, and he safely tucked the magic egg into his pocket.

Upon entering the building, they were greeted by three demons, which were quickly taken out. They encountered several more as they journeyed further in, but the four of them were an unstoppable force at the moment. Nothing was going to keep them from Sam.

"This way!" Jack yelled as he broke away from the group to run ahead towards Sam's cell.

"Jack, wait!" Castiel tried to call after him as he finished off the demon he'd been fighting with, but it was too late, Jack had already run into the apparent dungeon. The other three followed as quickly as they could, but when they heard Jack cry out, they momentarily froze, each sparing a panicked glance to one another.

"Jack!" Castiel yelled as he charged forward, closely pursued by Dean and Mary, but by the time they'd reached the room, they were greeted with the sight of who they assumed to be Asmodeus standing behind Jack with his angel blade against his throat. Normally, the weapon wouldn't be able to kill him, but with all the grace he'd lost, no one was willing to risk him being hurt that badly.

"Howdy." Asmodeus greeted with a toothy smile. Jack was struggling helplessly in the demons' grasp with an ashamed and apologetic look on his face.

"Dean…" Came a soft whisper from one of the cells behind Asmodeus, and Dean felt his heart skip a beat.

Dean gave the slightest of smiles, because even though everything was crap right now, there he was. "Heya, Sammy." He then saw the man in the cell next to Sam's. Oh God, was that-

"Gabriel?" Castiel asked from beside him.

"Let them go." Mary seethed.

Asmodeus chuckled. "Not sure you've noticed," He then tightened his grip on Jack's hair, forcing his head back further as he pricked the nephilim's throat with the blade, causing a drop of blood to well up. "But I'm the one with the leverage here. So here's my offer. I let you have your Devil-ridden brother, and I take the nephilim off your hands, and we don't have to bother one another ever again. And I'll be keeping Gabriel here too, of course."

"Pass." Dean hissed, fist clenched around his blade.

Tilting his head, Asmodeus then drew a small line of blood across Jack's neck. "Afraid the terms aren't up for negotiation. Drop your weapons, and no one else has to get hurt."

"Just take Sam and get out of here, I'll be fine." Jack offered nobly.

"We just got you back, Jack, we're not losing you again." Insisted Castiel.

Asmodeus sighed. "If you won't agree to my terms, I'm afraid we're just gonna have to do this the hard way." He released Jack's hair to wave his hand, causing everyone's throats to close. As they choked and gasped for air, Asmodeus continued. "I was hoping we could have parted ways amicably. See, I don't much care for getting my hands dirty." He grinned amidst their pained sounds. "But I had promised dear Samuel that I'd eventually show him what I was capable of, so I suppose this doesn't have to be so bad."

Sam had been struggling to free himself of his chains, but it wasn't until he saw his family all clinging for life that he realised how truly trapped he was. He then looked over at Gabriel's cell, realising that the angel wasn't manacled down, nor was his cell warded, meaning the only thing that was holding him back was fear. But Sam knew all too well that sometimes fear was stronger than any chains could ever be.

"Gabriel!" He called out desperately. "I know you're scared, Asmodeus has been hurting you for a long time now, but you have the power to take him down, I know you do."

Gabriel's head lifted, meeting Sam's gaze, but his expression still spoke of pure terror. Sam was going to have to try harder.

"Please, Gabriel." He outright pleaded. "You're our only hope right now, we need you. need you."

At last, a spark seemed to appear in Gabriel's eyes. Slowly but surely, he gave a single nod, and began to rise to his feet. He raised a shaky hand out towards Asmodeus' back. A glow began to emanate from Gabriel's hand, and then shot out into the demon. Asmodeus then fell forwards, accidentally releasing his hold on Jack, and the rest began gasping for their forsaken breath.

Asmodeus whipped his head around, eyes radiating with fury at the arch-angel. "Gabriel!" He roared. "How dare you use your powers against me!" He tilted his head at him. "Maybe you need to lose more than your voice to learn your lesson."

With the threat of such a severe punishment, Gabriel took a step back with a small whimper.

"Gabriel," Came Sam's voice from beside him. "You're stronger than he is, the only reason he has any power at all is because he took it from you!"

"Hush, Samuel." Asmodeus snapped, and raised a fist at Sam. Sam then felt every healing laceration on his back split open with the intensity of being whipped all over again. He collapsed forward in his chains with a pained shout.

Seeing Sam hurt triggered something in Gabriel, and before Asmodeus could stop him, Gabriel's cell door flew off its hinges, and Gabriel's eyes began to glow. His wings sprouted our on his casted shadow behind him, feathers missing in large clumps from some spots, but they were still so bright, beautiful, and powerful.

For the first time since his captivity, Gabriel noticed how Asmodeus looked scared. "Gabriel, don't you dare-"

But it was too late. Gabriel raised a hand at his tormentor, and blast of power and light surged right into him. The demon started to glow, his skeleton visible through the harsh light, and after a few moments of him screaming in well-deserved agony, he exploded in a flash, and fell into nothing more than a pile of ash on the ground. As the light faded, Gabriel, having not used his powers in such a long time, collapsed, completely spent.

"Mary, grab Gabriel." Ordered Castiel as he made his way over to Jack, quickly healing his wound. "Are you alright?"

Slightly sheepishly, Jack nodded. "I'm fine. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have run off on my own like that. I- I only wanted to save Sam."

Castiel nodded. "I understand why you did it, and yes, you shouldn't have run off, but I am glad you're okay."

Meanwhile Dean ran to the pile of ash that was once Asmodeus, picking up the keys to Sam's cell, and quickly unlocked it.

"Is-" Dean asked cautiously. "Is it really you, Sammy?"

Even at his best, Lucifer wouldn't have been able to fake the tears in Sam's eyes, which alone answered his question. "Y-yeah, Dean." Respite racing through every fibre of Sam's being, he smiled. "It's me."

The second his hands were free, the brothers threw their arms around each other, Sam too relieved to even feel the pain of his torn back. However, the relief didn't last long, as Sam was quickly overcome with guilt.

"Dean, I'm so sorry." He whispered, fearing the anger that Dean would no doubt be harbouring within, but Dean only tightened his arms around Sam.

"I'll kick your ass for giving yourself up to Billie later, but I really don't care about that right now, Sammy." Dean inhaled shakily, attempting to maintain his composure. "But first," He released the hug and reached into his pocket, pulling out the egg. "We're getting Lucifer out."

"Dean, wait!" Sam grabbed Dean's wrist. "I don't just want him out." His gaze hardened. "I want him dead."

Dean frowned, but his expression soon turned sympathetic. "Believe me, I want him dead too, but how are we supposed to kill him if he's still possessing you?" Dean waited to hear Sam's alternative, but after a few seconds it became all too clear; Sam didn't have one. "No. No way, that is not an option, Sam!"

"It's my fault he's back, I don't care if that means I have to pay for it."

"Sam," Came Castiel's voice. "We have just gotten you back, we are not letting you go again."

"Guys," Sam tried to reason. "We've got him trapped only as long as this spell lasts, we need to take advantage of that. We've let the world go to crap too many times because we were protecting each other. And I don't regret that, I really don't. But I think maybe this is the time we stop fighting it, and just- let me go."

For a moment, Dean thought maybe the spell had worn off, and Lucifer was the one pulling the strings, trying to buy himself more time. But that look in Sam's eyes was one that Lucifer wouldn't have been familiar with. Hopelessness. What a damning and oh so human feeling. Dean knew he couldn't truly comprehend what Sam was going through. Forced to share your broken mind with your worst nightmare. But Dean decided it was time to end the nightmares once and for all.

"Alright."" Dean said. "I won't expel Lucifer."

"What?" Mary asked in shock.

"Dean, you can't be serious." Said Castiel.

"Because," Dean continued. "We are gonna track down his old vessel, shove Lucifer back in there, and then we're ending the son of a bitch. But you're not going down with him this time, Sammy, you hear me?"

"Dean, the spell-" Sam tried to say, but Dean cut him off.

"We'll deal with the spell wearing off if we come to it, but for right now," Dean eased Sam's arm around his shoulder to help lead him out of the cell. "Let's get you home."

Chapter Text

Sam had concluded that they had about twenty-four hours before Asmodeus' spell wore off, and if that moment came before Mary and Castiel returned with Nick's body, the Enochian handcuffs they had on hand should keep him subdued, at least to the point of not being able to leave his trap in the bunker.

In the meantime, they'd given Jack back all the grace they had left, and assigned him to keeping watch over Gabriel. Castiel had used his powers to heal the worst of the unconscious arch-angel's wounds, and then left him and Jack to rest. Which then left Sam and Dean to do something infinitely more daunting and important. Talk to each other.

"So." Dean started. "Is it true?"

Sam swallowed, hoping Dean wasn't asking about what he thought he was. "Is what true?"

"What Lucifer said about how he found you in the Empty."

No such luck for Sam then. Sam sighed, wishing he had it in him to lie. "Yes."

Dean was clearly waiting for him to elaborate, but willingly opening up about your pain was not the Winchester way. "Well?" He prompted.

Sam huffed. "What do you want me to say here, Dean?"

"How about whatever the hell happened to you in there?"

"What would be the point?" Sam countered.

"The point would be me being able to help you, Sammy! Imagine how bad things could have gotten if you hadn't told me about when you were hallucinating Lucifer back during the Leviathans."

"That- that was different."

"You're right. This is worse. C'mon, if the roles were reversed you'd never let it go 'til I talked."

Sam sighed, starting to see Dean's reasoning. But he still couldn't quite bring himself to agree fully. "Dean, there's nothing you can do."

Dean paused to consider. "Know what? Maybe you're right. Maybe I can't really do anything, but that doesn't mean you've got to deal with all that crap alone. You deserve better than that."

At last Sam seemed to truly understand what Dean was saying, and he caved. "You remember what it was like in that prison? No contact with another human being, hardly any sounds besides the slot on the door sliding open to bring us our food?"

Dean nodded, internally shuddering at the memory.

"The Empty was worse. Worlds worse." Sam's eyes left Dean's, now staring at the floor as he recounted the memories of that horrible place. "It's exactly what Billie said it would be, nothing. There's no walls, no ceiling, no sounds, no colour…" He swallowed, forcing down a whimper. "I forgot what colours were, Dean. And the silence, all I ever heard was my own voice." He gave a humourless laugh. "I get why you get so sick of me throwing lore at you all the time now, my voice gets really annoying after a while."

Dean couldn't bring himself to smile at that, it was too much of a façade to mask the agony behind it for him to find it funny.

"All that I had to break the silence was my watch. It still worked down there for some reason, and it was the only thing that helped keep me grounded. When it eventually broke, I- I guess I did too."

Giving another sympathetic nod, Dean braced himself for the worst part of the story to unfold.

"When the glass went everywhere, I finally felt something for the first time since I'd been there, I didn't care that it had been pain. I let that become what kept me grounded. All I knew, all I became was pain."

"And that's how Lucifer found you?"

Sam paused, and then shook his head. "Y-yeah, but it was worse than that. Dean, I-" Sam swallowed back the break in his voice. "I forgot you."

Dean's eyes widened. "You what?"

A single tear made its way down Sam's cheek. "I forgot you. I told you, all I cared about was the pain. I couldn't remember anything about why I was there, why I'd done it, who I'd done it for. And that- that was how Lucifer found me. I had no reason to fight him anymore, and when he promised me I'd be in so much pain that I wouldn't be able to think about what I'd forgotten, it seemed like the best offer I'd ever heard. Then the being that runs the Empty let us both go."

Dean nodded, though he couldn't comprehend the world without Sammy, but he did understand how it would be a pain that he couldn't bear. "And so you said 'yes.'"

Sam nodded this time, but didn't trust his voice not to break, so he remained silent.

"Sammy, I'm so sorry." Dean tried to console. "But listen to me, you remembered me, hell, I'm sitting right in front of you now, and I'm not going anywhere. Not only that, but we've got Lucifer trapped, and we're so close to taking him down for good, and he won't be around to hurt you ever again. You've beaten him before, I know you can get through this. And I'll be with you every step of the way. It's time to end this."

At last, Sam cracked a smile. "Thank you, Dean." He nodded again, taking a deep breath and wiping away his tears. "I- we can do this."

Dean gave a reassuring smile. "You're damn right."

It was then that Dean's phone started to ring. Dean saw that it was his mom calling, and hoping that it was good news, he answered. "What've you got, mom?"

"The lead you gave us was right." She told him. "Crowley had been keeping Nick's body, and we found one of his demons. Castiel is- interrogating it now. We should have the body soon."

"Okay, I'll call Crowley and ask him for the spell that'll send Lucifer into it once we have him."


"Yeah, Sammy?"

Sam swallowed. "Cr-Crowley's dead."

"What?" Came Dean's surprised voice.

"Lucifer killed him for keeping him captive. I'm sorry, I-I didn't even think to tell you."

Dean gave a slow nod, and odd feeling rising up within him. Sure, it was mostly Crowley's fault that Lucifer hadn't been taken down when they'd expelled him from the President, but he'd grown to be quite the ally, dare he even say friend of theirs, so hearing of his demise hit him in a way he certainly wasn't expecting.

"Alright." He said, not sure how to react, but he knew he still had little time for mourning. "So we call Rowena and-"

"Dean, we don't have time." Sam suddenly said through his teeth.

Dean was instantly on high alert. "Sammy, what's wrong?"

"What's happening?" Came Mary's worried voice through the phone.

"Mom, I've gotta go." Dean said quickly and then hung up, only able to focus on taking care of his brother.

"Th-the spell." Sam ground out. "I can feel it wearing off. I- I can feel him."

"I thought we had twenty-four hours."

"With Asmodeus dead, I think it's making the spell lose power more quickly. W-we gotta get to the dungeon." He stumbled up from his seat and made his way to the dungeon as fast as he could, Dean quickly following behind with the Enochian handcuffs. By the time they made it and Dean had, albeit hesitantly, cuffed Sam to the chair in the centre of the room inside a ring of unlit holy fire, Sam was panting.

"I-I have an idea, Dean." Sam said, feeling more relieved now that Lucifer wouldn't be going anywhere, even if he took over. "Jack, he could probably force Lucifer into Nick's body, that way we wouldn't need the spell."

"Sammy, I don't think he's got enough grace to take on Lucifer."

Slowly, Sam nodded, but then his head shot up as he thought of another idea. "Then take Lucifer's."

Dean stepped back. "What?"

"Not all of it, otherwise he'll be stuck in my head, but he took a lot of Jack's grace, and besides that he's got some of the most powerful grace in the world, it should be more than enough to get Jack strong enough to take him down. Not to mention that it'd weaken Lucifer."

"You little bitch.Lucifer all but seethed from Sam's head.

"Sammy, are you sure?" Dean asked.

Sam nodded. "Go get Jack and the grace extracting syringe."

Dean gave brief and worried nod, and hurried out.

"Well, here we are again, Sammy." Lucifer practically cooed.

"It doesn't matter." Sam hissed. "Even if you take over, you're not going anywhere. Not with he warding on these handcuffs."

Lucifer gave an amused chuckle. "See, you're right about that. An angel couldn't break out of here, not using their powers anyway. But see, a Winchester knows how to slip out of a little pair of handcuffs, even if it's at their own expense."

Sam's eyes blew wide in horror as he processed Lucifer's implication, and tried to shout out a warning to his brother.

"De-!" But his voice was cut off when an intense wave of pained crashed over him, enough that his control momentarily slipped.

But that moment was all Lucifer needed. He seized the gap, and Sam couldn't keep him from taking over once again.

"No!" Sam yelled uselessly, now the one who was trapped.

Lucifer smiled with Sam's mouth, rolling his shoulders and cracking his neck. "Now, don't worry, this'll only hurt for a moment." With that, Lucifer twisted Sam's wrist, wedging his thumb beneath the metal clasp in an extremely uncomfortable position, but Sam knew that it was about to get worse. Lucifer reveled in the anticipation, and then finally and swiftly snapped the bone. While Sam shouted within his own mind, Lucifer simply inhaled deeply at the spark of pain.

"Mm," He hummed. "It's nice to feel again." He mended the broken thumb, and then made quick work of breaking the bone in the other hand to free that one as well. He frowned as Sam's shouting and fighting only increased as he freed himself. "Yknow, as much as I'd love to let you listen in on me fileting your family's guts, I'm not willing to risk you trying anything, so I'm going to drop you in one of your favourite memories."

Sam immediately thought of the Cage, which meant that Lucifer had heard the thought too. But before he could hurl Sam into one of his worse nightmares, he seemed to reconsider.

"Know what?" Lucifer thought aloud. "That's too easy. You didn't really become any fun until year two-hundred-thirty anyway, but you still fought me a little too much for my liking." He smiled eagerly. "But know where you never fought me at all?"

Sam stopped fighting, pure panic freezing him completely. "N-no, don't, Lucifer, don't." Sam demanded- no, he couldn't lie to himself- he begged.

Lucifer only chuckled at the plea. "Enjoy the Empty, Sammy. I know you've got a really good memory, it'll be just like you're really there."

"Dean!" Sam cried out desperately, praying to a God that he knew wouldn't intervene that he wouldn't lose his brother as well as himself once again.

But his prayer was left unanswered as Lucifer threw him somewhere worse than Hell.

As Lucifer heard footsteps down the hall, he thought to himself. What was it Dean had said? Ah, yes.

It was time to end this.

Chapter Text


Lucifer only chuckled at the plea. "Enjoy the Empty, Sammy. I know you've got a really good memory, it'll be just like you're really there."

"Dean!" Sam cried out desperately, praying to a God that he knew wouldn't intervene that he wouldn't lose his brother as well as himself once again.

But his prayer was left unanswered as Lucifer threw him somewhere worse than Hell.

As Lucifer heard footsteps down the hall, he thought to himself. What was it Dean had said? Ah, yes.

It was time to end this.


Dean and Jack rounded the corner towards the dungeon, syringe in tow.

"I still don't know if I can do this, Dean." Jack said anxiously.

"I know you're scared, Jack, but I'll be with you the whole time. And we need this to work, you're Sam's, you're all our only hope. We believe in you."

Jack nodded as Dean entered the dungeon, but he realised that something felt- off. Before Jack could warn him, he watched as Dean looked inside with horror, and then ran in. Jack soon saw what Dean had, that the chair was empty. Sam, and therefore Lucifer, were gone.

Or so they had thought at first, before Jack was grabbed from behind and thrown against the wall. As he moved to turn around, he felt a great heat suddenly erupt all around him. He looked at Dean and went to move towards him, but Dean held out a hand to stop him.

"Jack, stop, that's holy fire, you'll die if you leave the ring!" Dean yelled. The two of them then turned to the only other figure in the room. Lucifer.

"You're such a helicopter parent, Dean." Lucifer huffed. "The kid'll never learn anything if you don't let him learn things for himself." He chuckled.

"How the hell did you get out?" Dean practically growled.

"Easy." Lucifer answered, lifting a hand and dislocating Sam's thumb, wincing slightly, and then popping it back into place. "Any other questions, or can I get to the killing?" He eagerly rubbed Sam's hands together.

"What'd you do with Sam?"

Lucifer rolled Sam's eyes, a look Dean wasn't unfamiliar with. "Now you're just stalling. But I can't resist a chance to make you feel as pathetic as you really are. He's currently reliving all his greatest hits from the Empty. Specifically starting from when he can't remember you." He smiled giddily. "I know, smart, right?"

"You son of a bitch!" Dean snarled as he charged at Lucifer with the needle, but Lucifer easily knocked it aside, and lifted Dean up by the throat.

"Rude." Lucifer shook his head in disappointment. "Now, as much as I'd love to tear you apart while your mom and boyfriend watch, I don't want to waste any time. And seeing how I'm short on tools, I guess I'll just have to kill you the old-fashioned way. Don't worry, it's still gonna hurt plenty. Sammy ever tell you about when I almost soul-touched him to death?"

Dean's eyes widened in anger and fear, but he could still only weakly gasp as Lucifer continued to choke him.

"No? Well, as I always say, 'show, don't tell.'" He grinned, and then began pushing into Dean's abdomen, until he gripped his ice-cold hands around Dean's soul. Wanting to hear Dean dying in agony, Lucifer let go of the boy's throat, the hold on his soul still keeping him suspended in the air, so high that his toes didn't even touch the floor. It took only about two seconds before Dean was screaming in utter agony. According to Sam's memories, this was one of the only times Dean's ever had his soul touched. Lucifer was honoured that he got to be there for such a special moment.

"Let him go!" Jack cried out from his trap inside the ring of holy fire.

"They say crucifixion is the worst way to die," Lucifer explained, ignoring Jack's outburst. "But trust me, I've had Sammy tell me, this one's way worse." He smiled as Dean continued to scream, uselessly kicking and pushing on Lucifer's hands, but amidst the pain he knew. He wasn't getting out of this.

"Lucifer, please stop!" Jack begged, but it was clear that Lucifer didn't care about him in that moment. He brought his hands up to his head in a panic, minorly collapsing to the ground, unable to bear witness to Dean's suffering. It was then to his surprise that he saw something trapped among the flames with him.

The syringe. It must have slid in when Lucifer had knocked it out of Dean's hands.

Cautiously, so as not to draw attention to himself, Jack leaned down to pick it up. Dean had said that the fire would kill an angel if they tried to leave, so what if he wasn't an angel anymore? He briefly made eye contact with Dean, who despite the pain was able to figure out what Jack was planning.

Seeing no other option, Jack brought up the syringe to his neck. He had to hurry in order to save Dean, to save his family. Without another thought, he began extracting what little remained of his grace, giving a small gasp as the grace he so recently gotten back slipped way into the syringe. A single tear slid down his face as he felt himself weakening, but reminded himself that it wasn't permanent.

At last, he felt the last of his grace slip away. So, this was what it felt like to be human. Jack pitied humanity for a brief moment, he didn't like feeling this way, yet it was how they always did. But he didn't dwell on the thought, and he jumped through the flames unharmed. He hurriedly snuck up behing Lucifer and jammed the needle into his father's neck. The shock was enough to cause Lucifer to drop Dean, who then collapsed on the floor, gasping for breath. Furious, Lucifer whipped his head around to face Jack.


But Jack had already grabbed Sam's shoulders, shoving Lucifer towards the ring of fire, and then just like that, Lucifer was trapped again. Jack then gently pushed the needle back into his own neck, injecting his grace back into himself.

"You-" Dean coughed, his voice rough from screaming as much as he had. "You okay?"

Jack gave a weak nod. "I'm alright, Dean."

"For now." Dean and Jack looked towards Lucifer's voice, and Dean almost shivered at the look on his brother's face. Never had he seem him so angry, not even when he'd found out that Dean had sold his soul for him. His eyes glowed an animalistic red as he locked his gaze with Dean. "You have no idea how much worse you just made things for your brother."

Dean swallowed, but he wouldn't be baited. Sammy would be okay after this. He just had to be…

"I thought we would have seen more demons on the way here." Mary commented.

"If what Sam said about Crowley was true, then there is no real use for his throne room anymore, especially now that Asmodeus is dead too." Explained Castiel.

"You're sure we're gonna find Nick's body here?" She asked, daring to hope.

"Don't worry, Mary, I made sure the demon was very motivated to tell me the truth. Crowley had disposed of the body after killing Lucifer, but some of the demons had held onto it in the hopes of bringing Lucifer back. But once they learned that he had Sam, they saw no further need to preserve it, and left it abandoned. Luckily all of Crowley's warding supposedly kept it from withering away." His eyes scanned the room until they landed on a prone figure in the corner of the room. "There, that's him.

Mary nodded, heading cautiously towards the body. "He looks so- normal." It was difficult for Mary to imagine such a mundane face haunting her sons' nightmares so intensely.

"It's just an empty vessel now, but Lucifer was plenty powerful when he possessed it." Castiel said as he observed the sigils within Nick's body. "These should be strong enough to hold Lucifer, assuming Jack will be able to force him in."

"And- then what?" Mary asked. "What if Jack doesn't have the power to kill him? He's been through so much lately. I don't know if he'll be able to do it."

"We don't have any other options, Mary."

"There's really nothing else that could kill an arch-angel?"

"Well," Castiel started. "It's complicated. They can be killed by another arch-angel blade, but only if it's wielded by another arch-angel. And I don't believe Gabriel is coherent enough to do it, and all the other arch-angels are dead. And I doubt we would be able to get Lucifer to stab himself."

"What about the Colt?" She suggested. "It's said to be able to kill any supernatural creatures-"

"All but five, and Lucifer is one of them. We've tried before, it's a dead end."

"There has to be something else." Mary said with desperation.

Just as Castiel was about to protest, a thought suddenly came to him. "There may be one other option. Michael's lance, but it's been lost for centuries. The chances of finding it are extremely slim."

"But it's something, Castiel. And now that we have all the information that the British and American Men of Letters had, we're bound to find something useful."

"The question though is will he have enough time to look? That spell won't last more than a day, and I don't know how long Sam will last trapped in his head with Lucifer."

"We need a back-up, and we can't leave it all up to Jack. You know I love him, but after everything that's happened, it may be too much to ask from him."

Castiel sighed, knowing she was likely right. "Alright, I'll call Dean." He took out his phone, and dialed Dean up.

"Cas? Could really use some good news right now."

Castiel frowned, senses immediately telling him that something was wrong. "What happened, Dean?" He put the call on speakerphone so Mary could listen too. They both herd Dean sigh heavily before answering.

"The spell wore off. Lucifer's in control again, so please tell me you found Nick's body."

As Mary paled in fear, Castiel nodded. "We're on our way. Are either of you hurt?"

"We'll be fine." Which of course, was Winchester for 'yes.'


"Cas, please, we don't got a lot of time. Lucifer said he's making Sam relive the Empty, we gotta get him out of there."

"Oh my God…" Mary breathed out, now hurriedly putting Nick's arm over her shoulder so they could rush back to the bunker.

"We'll be there soon. Don't do anything reckless, Dean." Castiel warned.

"I hope I won't have to. Just- hurry." And with that, he hung up.

"You can do this, Jack." Dean said gently.

"Ten bucks says he can't." Lucifer's mocking voice countered.

Jack stood facing his father, a shaky hand extended towards him. All he had to do was hold him steady while Dean extracted back Jack's grace. It should have been a fairly simple task, but Jack knew that if he messed up that Lucifer would kill Dean, so the anxiety, as well as Lucifer's unwanted commentary, was getting to him.

"Dean, I don't think-" Jack started, only for Dean to snap at him.

"We don't have time for you to think! Sammy's getting tortured in there, we need you to do this!" His voice softened when he was taking his anger out on the wrong person. "Please, Jack. I know you can do this."

Jack glanced at Dean, his look determined, but still unsure. He took a deep breath, briefly closing his eyes. He opened them, feeling the rush of power coursing through him. Lucifer was then thrown against the wall, through his eyes flashed an off mix of gold and red as he growled in anger.

"Now, Dean!" Jack ordered.

Dean wasted no time in running over to Lucifer and plunging the needle into his neck, and then withdrawing his grace. Lucifer stained against Jack's hold, and screamed in fury as he felt his power being stolen from him. Before too much of Lucifer's grace was removed, Dean pulled the needle out and away from the ring of holy fire.

Jack then released Lucifer, though he was fuming at the absolute audacity that these insect dare to have, stealing his grace. He felt his eyes slipping shut from exhaustion, and though angels don't normally sleep, sharing a mind with Sam allowed him to enter the bliss of a dream. He dreamt of keeping a limbless Sam Winchester alive and in agony for hours.

"Are you ready?" Dean asked Jack as he approached him with the grace-filled needle.

Jack gave a quick nod. "If this is what it takes to save Sam, then yes."

Dean slowly moved in with the syringe, carefully injecting the grace, but he flinched as Jack winced. Once he was done, he pulled out the needle.

"How you feeling?" Dean asked.

The grace didn't take long to mingle and settle within Jack. It was almost like this power was made for him. Granted, half of it was probably what Lucifer had stolen from him.

For the first time in a while, Jack smiled.

"I- I feel good, Dean. It's like I'm me again."

Dena gave a small smile back. "I'm glad to hear that, Jack. But you should get some rest now. Mom and Cas will be back soon, and you'll need all the strength you have if this is gonna work.

Jack nodded again, and turned to leave, but then Dean called after him.


"Yeah, Dean?"

A gleam of sincerity gleamed in Dean's eyes. "Thank you."

Jack's smile widened, and then he headed off to his room. This still wasn't over, but Jack finally felt like they were on the path to fixing this.

To finishing this.

Chapter Text

Dean's head shot up at the sound of the bunker's door opening, and his heart soared at the sight of Mary and Cas carrying Nick's body down the stairs.

"Get him secured in the dungeon. Get another ring of holy fire and leave him in it." Dean ordered.

"What about the handcuffs-"

"Don't bother." Dean said solemnly, but his tone made it clear that they shouldn't ask. "I'll get Jack."

Castiel nodded and continued to drag Nick's body towards the dungeon. "Mary?"

It took her a moment to respond. "What?"

"Are you sure you want to come in? I know how much it hurt you to see Sam like- that."

Mary nodded. "My boys have been without me long enough. I don't plan on leaving them again anytime sooner."

They both headed inside, mildly surprised to see that Lucifer was no longer in the chair, but rather in a ring of holy fire by the wall. His head raised up at their arrival, and he gave them an unsettling smile.

"Hey, guys." He eyed Nick's body. "I see you brought my leftovers."

Mary and Castiel ignored him as Nick's body was placed on the floor, and they began to pour a line of holy oil around it.

"Hey, I wanna play a game." Lucifer piped up from his trap. "Try to guess what I'm doing to Sam right now. Spoiler alert, whatever you're thinking, it's worse."

"Shut up." Mary snapped, unable to imagine her son suffering at the hands of this monster.

"Here's a hint." Lucifer continued despite her outburst. "He's begging my to just kill him, I'll do anything, please, just stop!" His voice morphed to a painfully perfect imitation of Sam's voice at the end, and Mary felt her heart breaking.

It was then that Dean and Jack entered.

"Are we ready?" Dean asked the group.

"Yes." Mary replied, eager to free Sam.

Castiel lit the oil ablaze, the flames erupting to life out around the prone body within it.

"Is it just me, or is it a little toasty in here?" Lucifer remarked.

"Go ahead, Jack." Dean urged.

Jack nodded, and just like before, he held out his hand towards Lucifer. He was much calmer this time though. He felt Lucifer's grace within Sam's body, and then closed his eyes in concentration. He heard Sam, Lucifer, start gasping, and he knew he was pulling him out of Sam. He opened his eyes at the sound of a high-pitched ringing, and saw a trail of light fluttering out of Sam's mouth. Lucifer's grace. The last of it was drawn out, and Jack wasted no time in forcing it into the other man's body.

"You did it, Jack." Castiel praised, and Jack gave a weary smile. It had taken a lot more energy out of him than simply holding Lucifer still had.

"Sammy?" Dean hurried to his brother's side, because at last, it was really him. He made quick work of dousing the holy flames surrounding him, but Sam didn't rouse at his name being called. "Cas, why isn't he waking up?"

As always, Castiel answered with sympathy and honesty. "Sam was possessed by Lucifer for a long time, and I can tell you from personal experience that it takes a lot out of you. It takes a great toll on your soul, he's going to need a lot of rest and time to recover from everything that Lucifer did to him. And it may be in his best interest if he doesn't wake up in the same room as him." Castiel's eyes shifted to where Lucifer stood, who then gave an almost flirty wave at the group. "I'll keep an eye on him, you get Sam somewhere he'll feel safe." He then turned to Jack. "And you need rest too."

"But what about killing-" Jack tried to protest.

"You've done enough, Jack. Mary and I have been discussing an alternative that wouldn't put this much pressure on you. We fear that it may take more control than you have yet. But you can help us now by checking on Gabriel, I don't want him hurting anyone when he wakes up, and you're the best one to keep him from doing so."

Jack hesitated at first, but then nodded, and headed to the weary arch-angel's room. Dean, with Mary's help, lifted Sam from the floor and draped his brother's arm over his shoulder to carry him to his room.

With all of them heading in different directions, it became increasingly clear; they all had a lot of work to do.

Six hours had passed since Lucifer was pulled form Sam's body, and he had still barely even twitched. Part of Dean was grateful that Sam wasn't screaming and thrashing, seemingly trapped in an endless nightmare. But the other part of Dean knew that silence was just as much of a tell of suffering and brokenness as crying out in agony was. If anything, the silence scared him more.

Then, at long last, the silence was broken when Sam let out a small groan.

"Sammy?" Dean said eagerly, rushing up to his brother's side. "It's alright, I'm right here, you're safe now."

It broke Sam's heart when Sam gave a slight whimper. "N-n't… s'f."

"Yes, you are, I promise, I've got-"

"No!" Sam's eyes shot open, but they didn't meet Dean's gaze, only staring straight ahead with a haunted gleam overtaking his entire expression. "If Lu- h-he's still alive, I'm not safe."

Sam couldn't even say his name, and that just shattered Dean's heart. "Look, Mom and Cas have been going through all the Men of Letters' files, they're close to finding a lead on Michael's lance, something that could take him down once and for all."

Sam gave a humourless laugh. "And how many times have we said that before? And he just- keeps coming back." He shrunk in on himself, seemingly tempted to hide away from the very thought Lucifer.

"Sam," Dean said, but Sam still didn't look at him. "Sam!" He finally looked then. "We've got Gabriel and Jack on our side this time, you really think those are good odds against an almost completely powerless arch-angel? Besides them, you're forgetting one thing. Even though we ain't been able to keep him down yet, we've still always kicked his ass. You've taken down the Devil so many times before, Sammy. I know you, I know we can do it again. Cuz we're gonna do it together."

The hopelessness and fear slowly faded from Sam's eyes. At last, he nodded. "Promise me it won't with one of us risking everything. I- I can't do that again, Dean."

Dean gave a determined nod. "I promise. Now, what do you say you give us a hand with searching for info about the lance?"

Sam chuckled. "Yeah, I- I think I'd like that."

"Guys," Mary said. "I think I've got it. The Men of Letters' notes say something about a Prince of Hell who lives in isolation named Ramiel. Apparently a demon they'd interrogated tried to go up against him and he used some magic sword to kill all the other demons he'd brought with him. That- that's got to be it, right?"

"Does it say where he is?" Castiel asked.

Mary nodded. "It'll be a few hours drive."

"Some of us will have to stay behind and keep an eye on Lucifer." Said Dean.

"I'll stay." Sam said, and everyone turned to look at him in shock. "Guys, I know how this ends if I try to go with you. I try to say I'll be fine on a hunt, and either you convince me to stay anyway, or I go and end up getting myself or someone else hurt. I'm much more useful staying out of the way for now. Besides, I'm pretty sure Gabriel is least afraid of me."

"I'll stay with Sam." Jack offered.

"Jack," Said Castiel. "If we're going up against a Prince of Hell, we're going to need your help. We need you fighting alongside us."

Jack's eyes lit up. "You- you really want me to come with you?"

Dean nodded. "You've really proven yourself, kid."

Jack beamed at the praise. "Okay, I'll go with you."

"And I'll stay here with Sam." Castiel said. "In case anything happens with Lucifer I will keep Sam safe." Castiel regretted his words when he saw Sam flinch. "Sam, I didn't mean-"

"No, it's okay, Cas. I- thank you for wanting to protect me. I trust you."

"So it's settled." Dean announced. "Let's get this show on the road."

Sam nodded, and as everyone else gathered their gear for the hunt, Sam wondered if he'd ever be able to join them out there again. It wasn't that he didn't want to, but he feared becoming a liability to his family. He'd never forgive himself if someone got hurt because of him.

He shook off his melancholy thought and headed into Gabriel's room. The arch-angel never slept, instead sat upright in his bed, staring blankly at the wall.

"Hey, Gabriel." Sam greeted, but Gabriel didn't answer. He never did. "I need to check if your wounds are healing, okay?" He asked softly. The angel's eyes flickered to Sam's for just a second, which was usually the best reaction he could get. "Alright, hold still, this might sting." Sam reached out slowly with the warm cloth he'd brought with him, and gently started to dab it on Gabriel's mouth. Gabriel immediately shot backwards with a muffled and panicked cry.

"Hey, hey, hey," Sam tried to calm him down. "I'm sorry but I need to clean them out if they're gonna heal properly, okay? You've gotta trust me, Gabriel."

Gabriel cowered for another moment, but then reluctantly moved forward again.

"Thank you." Sam said earnestly. "You know, you could heal yourself." He said as he gently resumed cleaning out Gabriel's wounds. "You took down Asmodeus, I know you have the power. You don't have to be afraid anymore." Sam then sighed at the absurdity of his own words. "You don't have to be scared, but I know why you are. He took everything from you, made you feel like you were nothing. Even though he's gone, he's still always a voice at the back of your head, telling you you'll never escape. But you did, Gabriel. Even more than that, you killed him. But if you let him keep this hold over you then you're still letting him win. But he doesn't get to win. Not anymore. You beat him once before, and you can do it again. Prove he doesn't have anything over you anymore. You can do this, I believe in you, Gabriel." Sam stayed back, giving Gabriel enough space to feel comfortable. It was much to Sam's surprise when Gabriel's eyes began to glow. A bright light soon emanated throughout the room, and when it cleared, the thread was absent from Gabriel's lips, as well as the rest of his wounds.

Tentatively, Gabriel opened his mouth, and at last he spoke. "Th-thank you, Sam."

"Don't hold back, Jack." Dean instructed softly as they approached the house. "I know you had to be careful when you were pulling Lucifer out of Sam, but if we aren't quick with this, then he could really hurt us, okay? Once Ramiel is dead, we tear the place apart until we find that damn lance."

"You mean this lance?" Came a voice from behind them. The three of them turned around to see a man donning fishing gear and yellow eyes. "Many people try to come through here for this beauty, and I don't much care for being bothered, Dean Winchester. I'll give you one last chance to-"

Jack, being new to hunting, wasn't accustomed to letting bad guys finish their clichéd threats, and simply held out a hand, and with a new burst of power, Ramiel was sent ablaze, and left nothing but a pile of ashes behind.

Dean gaped in shock at the suddenness, as did Mary. Jack then bent down to retrieve the lance, and held it out to Dean with a sweet smile. "We did it." He said innocently.

Dean chuckled, grabbing the lance. "That was awesome, Jack. Let's get this thing back home. I'm gonna call Sam."

The three piled into the car, and Dean pulled up Sam's number.

"Dean, good news." Came Sam's voice. "Gabriel healed himself, and he's starting to act like his old self again."

Dean then caught the ladder part of a conversation Gabriel was presumable having with Castiel, and it sounded a lot like he was describing the difference between a hooker and a porn star. Dean was glad he wasn't there for that."

"We got good news too. We got the lance."

"You did?" Sam asked excitedly. It warmed Dean's heart to hear his brother sound hopeful again.

"Damn right we did. We just gotta drive back home, and then I'll take out Lucifer and-"

"Dean?" Sam cut him off.


"I- I've been thinking about it, and- I want to be the one to take down L-Lucifer. After everything he's done to me, I- I need to do this."

Dean hesitated, but didn't argue. "You sure about this, Sammy?"

"I'm sure, Dean. And even though I'll be the one holding the blade, I won't be doing it alone."

Nodding, Dan agreed. "Damn straight. I'll see you soon."

"Bye, Dean."

Dean hung up the phone, and then nodded once to himself. Sam did deserve this victory, they all did. They'd earned it. Within a few hours, Lucifer would finally be dead.

The sound of the bunker door opening caused Sam's heart to skip a beat. This was going to be it, at long last.

Sam wordlessly met Dean at the foot of the stairs, and Dean handed him the lance with a nod. The four of them then made their way into the dungeon. Gabriel was waiting outside for them, and he eyed the weapon.

"You ready for this, Sam?" He asked.

Sam's fist tightened on the lance. "Yeah. Let's do this."

Gabriel opened the door for him, and Sam and everyone else stepped inside.

"Well look at that." Lucifer commented upon seeing the weapon. "Bringing out the big guns for me, huh? You really know how to make a guy feel special."

Sam chuckled. "I heard this was designed specifically to give angels a slow death."

Lucifer's demeanor notably shifted, raising up his hands defensively. "Hang on now, Sammy, you really gonna use that on a guy that can't even defend himself?"

Sam scoffed. "Really? You're gonna lecture me about hurting someone who couldn't defend themselves? I don't think so."

"Not even gonna get your own hands dirty? Just gonna let a magic stick do all the work for you?" Lucifer goaded.

"What's the alternative?" Sam dared to ask.

"You and me, one last fight. No powers, no tricks, no-"

"No." Sam cut him off.

Lucifer looked offended. "Excuse me?"

"You don't get to bargain, Lucifer. You don't get another chance to ruin everything we've worked for. No, you're getting exactly what you deserve, which is to die alone, powerless, and scared."

And then Sam thrust the lance into Lucifer's chest. The Devil's eyes went wide in shock and pain. An unbearable amount of pain. Good.

"You get to die knowing you were my bitch." Sam hissed, and then yanked the blade free. Black quickly spread around Lucifer's wound, and Satan gurgled pathetically as he choked on the onyx sludge in his throat. Sam passively watched it unfold, and then turned to leave his ex-tormentor to die in miserable and torturous solitude, and everyone else followed.

On the other side of the wall, as soon as the door shut, Sam collapsed, gasping for air.

"Sammy?" Dean immediately went to his brother's side.

"I- I did it. It's over." He breathed out. "Lucifer's gone." He looked up at his brother and gave an airy chuckle. "He's dead."

Dean smiled. "Damn straight, little brother." And because they had earned it, Dean allowed them a brief chick-flick moment, and he embraced his brother, He then felt other arms join the hug, and he presumed it to be Mary, Jack, and Cas. All of them had been hurt by Lucifer in one way or another, so all felt the immense relief and pure victory at knowing that it was over. Oh, how sweet that sounded.

It was finally over.

Chapter Text

"Take it easy, Jack." Castiel said gently.

"I've got this, father." Jack said without even realising what he'd called Castiel, but Castiel had of course noticed, and it warmed his heart to see his boy learning who his true family was. Jack shut his eyes in concentration, and imagined himself being where Castiel was, and when he opened his eyes, Castiel was mere inches from his face.

"I now understand why this makes Dean so uncomfortable." Said Castiel.

"Sorry." Jack said, stepping back.

"Well done, Jack." Castiel praised. "Do you think you could go somewhere else in the bunker?"

Jack nodded, and closed his eyes again.

"Son of a bitch, Jack!" Dean yelled at the nephilim's sudden arrival in his room. "How did you-"

But Jack vanished before Dean could finish yelling at him, and Castiel was laughing when he returned. "You may want to refrain from popping in on Dean unexpectedly, in case you wish to avoid- certain things."

Jack tilted his head in confusion. "What kinds of things?"

"Um…" Castiel quickly became uncomfortable. "I'll explain it to you when you're older."

"But, Castiel-" Jack whined.

"Let's just focus on your training for now. Now, think of somewhere far away, and try to go there. It may be more difficult since you can't picture it vividly, but I believe in you."

Jack nodded and shut his eyes in concentration once more. "Far away." He thought. "Far, far away." It was much to his dismay when he opened his eyes that he was still in his room with Castiel, and he sighed in frustration.

"It's alright, Jack, I didn't expect you to get it right a-"

"Guys?" Came Sam's worried voice from the bunker's main room. "You better come see this!"

Frantic footfalls rushed towards Sam, and soon they were all staring at what looked like a frozen solid lightning bolt.

"Why does this feel so familiar?" Castiel muttered.

"Because we've seen this before." Dean answered. "The night Jack was born this same thing appeared in Kelly's backyard." He stepped towards it, but was stopped by Castiel grabbing his arm.

"And now I recall advising you from touching it last time as well."

"Where did it come from?" Sam asked.

"I-" Jack stuttered. "I think I did this. Castiel was training me, and he was trying to help me fly, but I think instead I- made this."

"Any idea on what it is?" Mary asked.

"Nothing good." Answered Gabriel, and everyone turned to look at him. "That there's a portal to another world."

"What, like, outer space?" Asked Dean.

"Try alternate universe." Gabriel replied. "Risky business, other worlds. No idea what could be on the other- Jack!" Everyone turned back around, but it was too late. Jack had already stepped through.

"Dammit, come on!" Dean ordered, and they all followed through behind him. They all stepped through and found themselves in an unfamiliar set of woods in a world that just felt- darker.

"Jack!" Sam called out.

"Nobody move!" Came a gruff voice from behind everyone. They all turned around to see a man with a scarf hiding his face, but more importantly, he held Jack in front of him with a gun to the kid's head. Of course they were only there for three seconds before running into trouble.

"Okay, take it easy." Dean said as calmly as he could. "We don't want to hurt you, just let the kid go."

"You all step through some magic glowing light, and expect me to trust you. How do I know you ain't angels?"

"Wait," Sam said, starting to think he recognised the voice. "B-Bobby?"

The man stilled, narrowing his eyes, but then he lowered the gun, and Jack darted forward to the safety of his family. The man then pulled down the scarf, and oh God, it was really him. "How the hell do you know my name?"

Oh. That hurt. "Bobby, it's us. Sam and Dean Winchester."

Bobby scowled. "Am I supposed to know who that is?"

"Jack…" Sam breathed out. "Where the hell did you bring us?"