Sam’s walking through the bunker’s hallway when he hears it. “Oh Sam, Sam, Sam. Poor little Sammy. Still so easy to get inside your noggin,” the disembodied voice’s words cause him to freeze. His head swivels trying to find it.
“No. No, you’re not real. We-Cas said you wouldn’t have been able to survive that. You-Lex came back. This isn't real,” he rambles as he tries to prove this is a dream, finding his feet, and frantically searching through the halls.
Lucifer appears in front of him, stopping him in his tracks. He tsks and shakes his head, “hate to break it to you, but your little girlfriend ran out on you in college and never came back. Died when her boyfriend got a little too mad at her,” he points a finger gun and aims at his stomach, his mouth forming a silent ‘boom’, making Sam’s blood run cold, his body freezing along with it.
“No. She lives here. She saved mom. This isn’t real. You’re not real,” he’s tries to be assertive, but it comes out sounding more like he’s convincing himself. His eyes closed trying to find any recent memories, but they all seem made up now.
The archangel moves in closer to Sam’s face while he’s too busy trying to figure out what’s going on to notice, his words making the hunter jump, “she’s dead Sam. So is mommy dearest. And your little pet I used to call a brother too. Soon after that one Dean saved everyone the trouble and took himself off the game board.” He’s right against Sam’s ear. He leans in and whispers, “just you and me now Sammy,” he pulls back raising his arms and spinning in the open hallway.
“Stop! You’re lying. About all of it.” His eyes are large and an open display of his fear.
He stops, a crooked smirk slides across his lips while the silence hangs and blankets the space around them. Startling the hunter when he finally speaks, “am I? Take a look around, Sam.” He leaves with a snap of his fingers.
Sam starts running through the bunker looking for his family, calling their names, but stops in the kitchen. It’s a wreck. Dishes piled in the sink, beer bottles scattered around, even food containers still remain where they must have been emptied. Dean would’ve never left it like this. He runs to his brother’s room and is met with a sloppy ‘DO NOT ENTER’ sign in his own handwriting. He hesitates, but ultimately listens to the warning. He goes to his own room instead. Opening his door he’s stunned by what he sees; it’s a disaster. One constant from the rest of the bunker is also gone. Instead of empty beer bottles, although there are still a few, most of the littered glass held the much stronger stuff. He goes to rub his cheek but stops as his hand runs over coarse hair. He runs to the bathroom. Standing in front of the mirror all he can do is stare. He looks as unkempt as the bunker; his eyes are red and bloodshot, dark rings under them, his hair is longer and flat, clothes that look like he’s worn them day and night for about a week hang on his frame. But the oddest thing is his beard. Sure, he’s let some stubble grow from time to time, but this, this is an actual beard, and not a well trimmed one. It’s clear to see one thing about all of this; it’s all true and he’s given up.
“No!” he screams waking in a panic, his heart racing, and reaches for the other side of the bed but finds it empty. Oh god. She’s not here. It’s true. He runs his hand through his hair.
“Dean!” He yells as he starts looking around the room for any sign of Alexa. His frantic movements don’t let him actually see anything though. “Cas!”
Dean comes barreling into the room, gun poised, “what is it?” he asks panicked. Sam can only stare with wide eyes. “Sam?”
“You’re alive,” he chokes out.
“Uh, yeah. Last time I checked anyway,” he’s still unsure what he should do so he keeps his aim steady.
“And Cas?” his head tries to pinpoint when this is. Dean’s alive so it could either all be false, or just parts of it.
“You ok Sammy?” He looks around and starts to lower the weapon after not seeing a threat.
“Am I engaged?” His voice is almost desperate. He can’t be right about Lex.
Dean creases his brow in concern and his worry deepens, as does his voice, something is really wrong if he doesn’t remember that . “Sammy?” he can't hide the disbelief in his voice, and that just seems to spook his little brother even more.
“Dean answer me! Do you know a girl named Alexa?” His eyes are wide and wild.
Dean lets the gun fall to his side. “Sam, look at me, you feeling ok? What happened?”
Tears are rapidly filling his eyes, “they’re gone aren’t they? Lex, Mom, Cas,” his eyes widen again when he realizes, “don’t leave me too Dean. I know it hurts with Cas gone but, I need you. Please,” his breathing becomes erratic as he sits on the edge of the bed.
Dean is by his side in an instant, holding him still. “Breathe Sam, breathe. In and out. Look at me. You’re scaring me. What the hell is going on?” He can feel his phone vibrate in his pocket and has a pretty good idea it’s Cas, but ignores it.
Losing the battle with his tears Sam speaks through them and ragged breaths, “Lex was my college girlfriend before Jess. I should’ve told you about her but it hurt too much. Even more after Jess. Then Mom being pulled in with Lucifer after he, oh god, Cas,” his breathes are almost non-existent.
“Sam, Sam, hey, calm down,” he starts to panic too. “They’re alive. Cas is fine. He and Lex are out. You are engaged,” he hurries to answer. “Now tell me what happened, man.”
Sam stares shocked still for a moment before a soft, ragged, “Lucifer,” escapes his lips. Taking an unsteady breath he continues, “he, he was in my dream, I guess. He told me everything was a lie. Lex never came back, she was dead, Mom too, and that, um, after Cas, you, you killed yourself. I started to panic that it was real when I woke up alone.”
Dean sits shell-shocked, how the hell did he know, “Sam,” he takes a steadying breath, “before Cas came back, I, um,” he can’t finish.
“Wait, you were going to?”
“I did Sam, the case, remember?” He turns his head unable to look at his little brother, “it was, I couldn’t, I felt like I was just taking up space.” They’re interrupted by Dean’s phone, this time ringing. “See what that asshat started? Now I have to explain myself.” He answers, “sorry Cas, I’ll explain in a little bit. Yeah, I’m ok. I promise. Sam is too. Ok, you do that. Love you, angel,” the nickname a tell-tale sign of the emotions swirling around inside him as he hangs up.
“Dean?” The voice coming from behind him is small and shaky.
“Yeah?” He turns back around to face Sam.
“I know how you felt, but I’m glad Billie sent you back. We got Cas back that night.”
A soft smile graces the older brother’s face, “yeah we did.”
“And Lex, she’s?”
Dean sighs, “Sammy just call your girl. I gotta call Cas back and explain anyway. You know we’ll need to, uh, figure this out, right?”
“Yeah,” he looks back down at his hands.
“Right,” Dean nods and leaves the room, phone to his ear.
Sam looks and sees his phone next to the bed. Picking it up he quickly finds an image of Alexa as his lock screen and lets out a held breath. The woman looking back at him is his age, not the college age girl, or even someone who had stopped aging several years previous. He quickly pulls up their conversation, not actually having to pull it up at all considering it welcomes him as soon as he unlocks the phone. The final text being ‘night Sam. Love and miss you. Dream about when I get back ;)’.
Before he gets a chance to call her she’s calling him. He answers shakily, “Hey Alexa.”
“What happened?” she asks instantly.
“What?” he tries to act like everything’s fine.
Alexa doesn’t buy it, or cut him any slack, “What happened? All of a sudden Cas stops and calls Dean asking if you two are alright. Then Dean just called him back and he walked away with that... look. And to add icing to this cake of awesome, you just answered by calling me Alexa. Something’s up, what is it?”
“You can read me like a book can’t you?” His voice is soft and small.
Her voice softens as well, “Can’t put it down Babe. Now tell me, please?”
Sam lets out a defeated sigh, “I think it was Lucifer.”
There’s a moment of shifting as he hears her get in the car. Before she can say anything, the angel is pulling out, fast. “We’re on our way home now. Get some coffee and then you and me are gonna talk, ok? After we do that we’ll see what happens.”
A weak and monotoned, “Okay,” is all he can manage.
She sighs, proving once again that yes, she does know every detail of him, before she softly and sternly assures him, “Sam, listen to me. I love you. I always have. I always will. I will fight for you until my last breath and after that. You got it?”
Closing his eyes he lets her words wash over him, “Why do you always have to prove you’re the strong one?” he tries to joke.
“I’m not, Sweetie. But I’ll be as strong as I need to be to help you. Now go to the kitchen and sit with Dean. We’ll be home soon, especially with Cas driving like Earnhardt.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Sammohane.” She can hear his smile across the line, “That’s not my name.”
“Still fits. Look it up, and like I said, we’ll be home soon.”
“Ok. I’ll, uh, go find Dean.”
“You do that, Babe.”
“You ready?” Cas asks as she hangs up.
“A little late to answer in the negative isn’t it?” He doesn’t bother to acknowledge her hypothetical quip. “Did-do you know?” she asks softly.
Cas looks to the side mirror before glancing quickly at her, then back to the road, “yes. Dean mentioned it.”
“Do you think it’s really him?” she finds herself asking as her eyes fall to her hands.
“I am unsure. I find it best to never underestimate Lucifer,” he offers as he passes a minivan. “But we should get home and handle one thing at a time.”