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I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you're out there
Without care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much

-“Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley


The ticking of the garish motel room cuckoo clock felt more like gongs to Sam in the otherwise silent room. It was beginning to get on his nerves.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

That damn yellow bird on the front of the clock was mocking him.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It was totally giving him the evil eye. 

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

Sam groaned and flopped back onto the lumpy motel bed. He squeezed his eyes shut so he wouldn’t have to see the bird or the matching canary yellow comforter. Or matching canary yellow walls. Or matching canary yellow carpet. Everything in this goddamn room was canary yellow and it was beginning to make his stomach churn.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

He knew that wasn’t the real reason his stomach was doing flip-flops. But it was easier to pretend the hideous room was the bigger problem, so that’s what he did.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

He couldn’t see the bird, but he could hear it.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Where the fuck was Dean?

He should have been back five minutes ago, if the incessant ticking was anything to go by.

“That’s because he took off in the opposite direction and left your sorry, crazy ass here. Duh.”  Lucifer grinned at Sam from his spot in the (yellow) chair across the room. Sam ignored him. He wasn’t about to be fooled into running off with him again. He just had to wait it out. Wait for Dean.

Several minutes went by and still no Dean. With every passing second Sam grew more nervous. It had nothing to do with the strange obnoxious bird noises Lucifer was making. Nothing at all. But when he heard a car pull up outside their motel room door his eyes shot open on instinct. He knew it wasn’t the Impala, didn’t have her distinctive purr, but that didn’t stop him from glancing out the window.

“Come on, Sam,” Lucifer said, now wearing a yellow bird costume complete with beak, “You can’t honestly think that after what you did, what you almost did, that Dean’s coming back? Why should he saddle himself with Beautiful Mind here?”

Sam swallowed past a sudden lump in his throat, pointedly not looking in Lucifer’s direction. He laid back on the bed and closed his eyes. Maybe he’d take a little nap while he waited. Dean was just running a little late is all. So what if he was just supposed to be grabbing some food? So what if he was half an hour late now? It didn’t mean anything.

It didn’t mean anything.

“Dean’s not coming back, you know it, I know it, so why don’ you just do yourself a favor and put that there gun to use and put a bullet in your head?” Lucifer whispered, breath hot against Sam’s ear. It wasn’t real, he knew that, but fuck, it didn’t stop it from feeling real. “Because really, let’s be honest here, what do you have to live for outside of your big brother? A big, fat, whopping, nothing!”

Sam buried his face deeper into the pillow, trying to drown out the sound of the whispers, the feel of Lucifer leaning over him (just like back in the cage, Sammy)-

“Shut up,” Sam hissed. “Shut. Up.”

It was exactly the fuel Lucifer, now wearing a chicken costume, needed to amp up his game. He flapped his arms like a chicken and shouted “Bok Bok! BOOOOOK!” at the top of his lung repeatedly. Everything yellow in the room started to spin. Sam covered his ears. Lucifer’s shouts grew louder.

Sam couldn’t breathe. “Stop it. Stop it. Stop it,” he demanded (pleaded).

“You know the only way out of this, Sam. Bullet in that pretty little brain of yours. But you’re too,” he flapped his ‘wings’ “chicken to do it. A real man would have the guts to end it all. A real brother wouldn’t be such a burden.”

“Dean wouldn’t want that,” Sam whispered, to himself or Lucifer, he didn’t know. He just needed to hear the words out loud. Because Dean wouldn’t want him to do that, right?

“You’d be doing it for Dean,” Lucifer smirked. “Relieving him of the burden that is you. Of all your crazy baggage. You’d be doing him a favor. But you’re too chicken, aren’t you? Just a coward. Too scared to do what needs to be done.”

He shook his head rapidly. “No, I can’t. I can’t. Dean wouldn’t want me to check out. Not when we still have to kill Roman. He wouldn’t.” His protests sounded weak even to his ears.

“Please. Dean’s better off without you, and you know it. A good brother would realize that and put that gun to his head. C’mon Sam. Are you, chicken? BOK. BOK. BOOOOK.”

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Sam yelled, practically screamed, but it only served to make Lucifer cluck like a chicken louder.

“Do it! Do it! BOOOK! Do it! Do it! BOOOK! BOOOOOK! BOOOOOOK!!!”

Something inside Sam broke.

Was Lucifer, in some twisted, sick way, right? Would Dean want to be relieved of him? Wouldn’t he be better off without having to watch Sam’s back constantly now that his eggs were so thoroughly scrambled?

Heck, he probably would be useless when it came to hunting down Roman. Dean probably already knew that. Sam was just a little late in the game. Dean was always one step ahead of him. It was probably why he left. Dean was over an hour late, Sam could come to no other conclusion other than that Dean had left for good. Sam couldn’t blame him one bit. This was just the latest in a string of fuck-ups and apparently the straw that broke the camels back for Dean. His big brother had hit his limit, and that was okay. Lucifer was wrong on one account though. He wasn’t doing this for Dean, he was doing this for himself.

It was true that he couldn’t bring himself to live without Dean. And now with Lucifer taking up residency in his head… he didn’t want to even try. Why bother?


He just wanted the clucking to stop. Some fucking peace and quiet.

Sam took the gun out of the waistband of his jeans and raised it to his head.

“You would not BELIEVE how many stores I had to hit up to find just the right kind of salad-with lettuce that’s actually green. And the traffic… don’t say I never did anything for you. Praise me, Sammy.”

It was literally all Sam could do to freeze with his finger on the trigger and watch, the very definition of deer-in-the-headlights, as Dean tumbled into the motel room, arms loaded with bags. He saw clear as day the exact moment comprehension dawned on his older brother’s face, the bags falling to the floor in shock, the absolute horror in his eyes that he couldn’t quite hide despite the falsely calm expression on his face.

“Sammy, what’s- what’s going on here?” Dean took in a shaky breath and ran a trembling hand through his hair. Eyes never leaving Sam’s finger that still rested on the trigger.

Sam scrambled to come up with something, anything, any kind of explanation as to why Dean would come back to find Sam with a loaded gun aimed at his own head. The best he could do was mumble “U-um… I-I don’t…”

“Put the gun down, Sam,” Dean said through gritted teeth. His eyes narrowed when he saw Sam’s hesitation. “Put the gun down NOW.”

When Sam proved too slow lowering the gun for Dean’s taste he stalked over and snatched the gun out of Sam’s hand with such force the taller man stumbled back a step. Dean made a show of emptying the chamber with his eyes locked on Sam’s. There was anger there- so much anger, almost more than Sam had ever seen in his brother. He’d expected that, maybe not to this degree, but Dean always hated it when Sam made decisions for the both of them. But what he hadn’t anticipated was the unabashed fear lurking in Dean’s piercing gaze.

“Sam,” Dean hissed, “what the fuck were you thinking? Why would you- why would you want- do you want-” He couldn’t seem to pick one question to ask, mind going in too many directions, so he settled for one word. It was only one word, but it carried the weight of a thousand. “Why?”

How could Sam explain it all to Dean? The way he was so tired of, of everything, and yet more anxious than ever; the way Lucifer pushed at his buttons, clawed at his insides; the clucking. God, the clucking, and the ticking of the clock that seemed to get louder with every passing second Sam was alone.

“I just wanted some peace and quiet,” Sam whispered, unable to meet Dean’s eyes any longer.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Dean demanded.

“What do you want me to say, Dean?” Sam snapped. “That Lucifer was mean to me? That I’m going fucking batshit crazy and there’s nothing I can do about it?”

Dean was completely silent for a few moments, so silent that it started to scare Sam. When he finally spoke his voice was rough and yet somehow as soft as a whisper. It was something that only Dean could do and Sam felt some part deep inside him calm.

“What about the scar? Stone Number One, remember?”

Sam shook his head. “It didn’t work cause I talked to him.”

Dean raised an eyebrow but didn’t ask any more questions. He glanced away for a minute, looking thoughtful. As if the secrets of the universe were housed in the fading yellow carpet. Suddenly, he looked back up at Sam and took several steps forward with an almost fanatical gleam in his eye so that there was barely two feet of space between them.

“So you’re saying you need something more substantial when it gets that bad, right?”

“Um, I guess…”

“Are you seeing him right now?”

Sam looked around, blinking in surprise when he found a resounding nothing. When had that happened? Had he been so distracted by Dean that Lucifer simply disappeared without his notice? “N-No?” Sam said hesitantly, phrasing it as a question.

His brother smirked. “Okay, that settles it. I’ll just have to be your… new Stone Number One then.”


“Well, you said it yourself- you’re not seeing anything you shouldn’t right now. With me. So…whenever you feel a screw coming loose, you come to me. I’ll be your Stone Number One.”

Sam gaped like a fish.

“Quit giving me that look.”

“What look?”

“The one that says I’m the crazy one in this relationship.”

The younger Winchester snorted. But he saw the look on Dean’s face, full of hesitant hope, and he truly began to consider it. Looking into Dean’s green eyes he found something he hadn’t realized he’d been looking for for a long time.


Lucifer may be inside his grapefruit, but maybe that didn’t have to be the end of everything. He still had Dean, after all.

“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into,” Sam whispered.

Dean rolled his eyes. “I think I do. You’re mad as a hatter, but you’re still you, Sam.”

He bit his lip. Took a deep breath. “I can’t promise anything, but… I’ll try. I can promise that I’ll try.”

Dean scowled, obviously wanting more, but nodded. “Let’s just get out of here. We can eat on the road.”

“I thought you wanted to head to some cool bar you’d heard about in town or something?”

“Naw, I don’t want to spend another second in this room. Looks like piss.”

Sam rolled his eyes but dutifully began gathering their stuff. Honestly, he was thankful for Dean’s change of heart. Lucifer or no, this room was giving him a headache.

As he turned to head out the door Dean grabbed his wrist and pulled him forward into a tight hug. His arms wrapped around Sam were so tight, like they never wanted to let go. He caught himself melting into the hug thinking that he wouldn’t mind if they never did. For the first time in a long time he felt truly, utterly, safe.   

“Don’t ever do that again. Ever. Or else I really will be the one going crazy.”