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Acceptable Losses

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He wakes up in a field. It is very odd, since he never expected to wake up at all. Throwing himself in the deepest level of the pit together with Lucifer was supposed to be the end. Last stop, final station. Apparently, it is not.

Sam remembers everything. Every painful, awful and disgusting second of the centuries he spent in the cage. It hurts. His soul feels like it is torn to pieces, and those tiny pieces burn like fire under his skin. There is a strange layer of numbness on the feelings, though. Like he is feeling them through a thick fog, making the hurt bearable. But there is also something else. There is a feeling of power inside him. A supernatural power, completely different from the demon blood powers he had before. It shakes him, but he does not feel evil. He does not feel like he is wrong, like he is awful or dark. There is no presence of Lucifer in his head, only the agony of having his soul tortured for centuries, although strangely muted. He wonders if this is how Cas felt when came to Earth. Like the emotions are just out of reach and only close enough to feel the surface of them.

He has no idea who saw fit to raise him from the Cage. Personally, Sam thinks he belonged there. Still, he will not look a gift horse in the mouth. If it were not for the strange power inside him, Sam would guess Cas is behind his resurrection. As it is, he has no idea. He will have to look into it, because he wants answers he is pretty sure no one else but the being who raised him might have. He contemplates several possibilities but none make sense. Sam does not deserve to be saved and he knows it.

He is naked. The grass is tipped with frost, but Sam is not cold. Physically, he does not feel much at all when he actually concentrates on it. He wishes he had some clothes though, mostly for modesty. The thought barely has time to form in his head, before he is dressed in something reminiscent of his regular clothing. A plaid shirt, jeans, jacket and boots. He wishes he was armed, and a silver knife also appears.

He is not as surprised as he should be. He takes the fact that he now can create things at face value for some reason. It is like he knows that there is not anything wrong with him, it is just different. He cannot even explain it. Instinctively, he closes his eyes and wills himself to a certain street in Cicero, Indiana. There is the rushing sound of angel wings and the feeling of wings sprouting from his shoulder blades. Unfolding his supernatural Grace from his Earthly body, Sam flies.

Sam watches his brother living a normal life for a while. Dean is safe and happy. He even avoids drinking too much. He is a good man, a loving man. Dean and Lisa have a great relationship; it reminds Sam of the one he once, in another life and time, shared with Jess. Dean has become a father to Ben, the kind of father Sam always wished for. Sam knows that his big brother is a wonderful parent. Dean takes Ben to games, they go to the arcade. They play with water guns in the backyard. Sam does not want to drag Dean into his own problems, away from what he has here. If Sam comes back, Dean will leave his normal life behind. There is also the tiny voice in the back of his head that suggests that Sam is an even bigger freak now than before and that Sam at least partially being an angel might be too big for Dean to handle. Sam wants his brother to be as happy as he can be, and if that involves removing himself from the picture entirely, he will do so. Dean deserves so much more than Sam can give him.

He looks longingly at his brother one last time, lovingly committing Dean’s face to memory, before taking flight again. He ends up in at a certain grave in the graveyard Greenville, Illinois. He has no idea why he ends up in the town where his mother is buried, but he sits by her grave side while trying to figure out where to go from here. He does feel comforted by the fact that both he and his mother were two Winchesters who made all the wrong choices, for all the right reasons. He is not alone in being a complete screw up, even if Sam’s mistakes are worse than those his mother made.

There is no one he wants to speak to really, or who would want to speak to him. There is no one with the knowledge to help him, and Sam doubts that he would get a warm welcome with the state he is in, no matter who in the hunting community he turns to. He pretty much burned all his bridges with the whole starting-the-Apocalypse-thing. Sam has never really been a social creature like his brother, so he does not have too many friends and all the friends he has made during the years are either mostly Dean’s friends, dead or from his Stanford days. Sam is so far removed from who he was in college that even the thought of contacting them is laughable. Heaven wants nothing to with him and Sam wants nothing to do with Hell.

He contemplates calling Cas, but decides against it for now. Cas has always been Dean’s angel and best friend. Sam knows Cas considers him to be an abomination and an affront to all heavenly things. He doesn’t presume to be forgiven for opening the Cage and releasing the devil. He might have come from Hell this time, but Sam knows that when his time is up he will be sent back there. There is just no other place for someone like him. He sighs as he stands, closes his eyes, and takes flight.

He checks in on Bobby. To Sam’s relief he seems to be alive and well. Sam decides not to interfere with his life either. He does not want to inflict himself on anyone.

He flits around the world. Sam sees wonders he has never seen before, but the world has lost its colors. Sam cannot bring himself to feel anything but self-loathing and sadness. He does not eat. The tastes have all changed. He can taste every molecule of everything he tries. It is disgusting. He does not need to sleep. He is haunted by the Cage, so he is grateful for the not sleeping part. Otherwise his nights would probably be riddled with nightmares. It is enough that his mind sees fit to replay Lucifer’s favorite torture methods when he is awake. He finds no information on his own. The amount of accurate lore on angels is scarce; Sam discovers that what he himself already knows is way more than what he can find in his searches. Nowhere can he find information on a human with angelic powers. He is not very surprised, no other human beside him and Adam has been to the Cage. No humana apart from them has ever had to withstand the horror of the deepest pit of Hell. Sam is happy for that at least.