Dean had screamed when the guards dragged him away from Sam, angry sounds that should have echoed in the room. But all they left was angry silence, Sam alone and tied down once again, Dean's voice in his head. Dean had screamed.
Sam tells himself to remember that. Everything else fades but Dean doesn't, isn't allowed to, and Sam holds on to the last time he saw his brother. It still means something, even in the white of the room, even caught in a world that doesn't seem to change.
Days have passed, and the Wraith came every night, smiling down at Sam. She tells him horror stories of the rooms and hallways surrounding him, of Dean trapped, and she laughs at Sam's anger. Mocks him and spins stories of what he is, always has been. The monster of the family, the poison that destroyed their life.
He knows that she's feeding his rage, pushing at him until his anger is all that is left. Until he's nothing more than a feast for her. But he can't stop himself, grasping for a calm that might save him and never finding it.
Sam spends his days screaming now.
He doesn't sleep anymore, he only loses consciousness, his mind flashing in and out of awareness like a broken light bulb, flickers of reality and a frightening utopia alternating in a crazy dance.
He starts to miss his dreams.
They're fading away, like his memories, and he tries to hold on to them, tries to make them into something solid and real. The dreams of Jessica he used to have, of Ruby and hell, of Dean and their father. Nightmares and hopes that make up his inner core, and they're all one now and without them he'll be gone. So he digs his fingers into his dreams like anchors and digs his fingers into himself.
He even holds on to Lucifer.
For days Sam doesn't remember that Lucifer found him once in his dreams. Doesn't remember that Castiel came for Dean in his sleep. Sam doesn't remember, and when he finally does, he laughs to himself, quietly.
These days, trapped in rage and fear, his dreams aren't enough to call an angel to him.
He has to try anyway.
Sam closes his eyes, thinks of Castiel, of the one angel he can trust. But his thoughts stumble, whirl in circles. It takes Sam a moment to realize why.
He can't remember the sound of Castiel's voice.
Castiel is only a shape against the rage of his mind: the shimmer of blue eyes, the hint of a human body. He's shattered moments Sam can't control; a shadow, nothing more. And Sam is not strong enough to make him real again.
He shudders against the realization, afraid to think of Dean now. If Castiel is gone, Dean will follow, the good in Sam's life too much connected to stand alone.
The Wraith laughs at him again when she returns. She has stopped using his name, and Sam knows that this is just another way to cut away all the things that bind him to reality; knows it and can't stop it. He will stop being Sam, he will be a slap of meat and anger. He wonders, briefly, if a yes would still work then, if the Wraith might be saving the world between these walls and with his insanity.
He realizes, suddenly, that he remembers Lucifer.
Once again, Sam laughs. Bitter and sharp and loud in an empty room, and he doesn't stop. He thinks of letting go between the sounds escaping him, thinks of letting the Wraith have him. It would be an end, maybe the end he needs, and the world would be safe. Or Lucifer would find him and wrangle a yes from a mindless body, ride him to kingdom come, hell in his wake.
And Dean ... Dean is still trapped in the same hell Sam is, a victim of the Wraith, and Sam can't let go of him, can't leave him there. He needs to save Dean.
He needs to save himself.
He remembers, as the Wraith touches his face, her fingers in his hair, that the Devil once promised him everything.
Everything might be the rescue he needs.
He focuses on Lucifer after the Wraith leaves, taunting him with some last words as the door shuts behind her. He thinks of the Devil, his joke of a knight in shining armor, sees him in all the colours Castiel lacked. In his imagination, Lucifer becomes glorious. He becomes everything, and Sam wonders if they're connected, if being a vessel means more than just destruction and loss. It has to be, because otherwise it's Sam himself who sees Lucifer like this.
He's not sure he can deal with that.
Sam sinks into the first real dream after too many nights without them, and he hangs on to a name, hopes for his fear and need to guide him, to call Lucifer to him.
He opens his eyes to a familiar hotel room, the memories of the first time he met Lucifer in his dreams hitting him like relief. He can still remember it all, the shock of the revelation, the way Lucifer looked at him with something like pity, like grief.
These days, with the Wraith taking him apart, a single memory means something. It means a lot.
Lucifer leans against the wall, mild curiosity on his face. He's sharp and real for a moment, fading away in the next, and Sam knows that he's waking up already. He takes a stumbling step to Lucifer, the colours all around him draining out of the world.
Lucifer comes for him, two steps enough to cross the distance, and then Sam is collapsing into the Devil's arms, hard and strong and real.
"Glenwood Springs Psychiatric Hospital. Get me out of there," he says, sees Lucifer's surprise, and wakes up.
He isn't alone anymore.
The world pauses around them, Sam holding his breath as Lucifer takes in their surroundings, curiosity turning into amusement, a slight upturn to his lips.
"Restraints look good on you," the Devil tells him, and Sam chokes on his anger and fear, forces a scowl on his face.
"I'm sure death would look good on you," he replies, sounding too much like Dean for his own taste. For a few seconds, he expects Lucifer to just leave, but the Devil only cocks his head in a vaguely familiar way and smiles.
"Yes, I expect you would like that."
A step brings Lucifer closer, looming over Sam, and the insanity of calling him here hits Sam hard and sudden. He's the Devil's vessel and he led Lucifer right to himself, bound and defenceless, and he doesn't even know why, has no other reasons than Dean and the Wraith and forgetting himself.
Apparently, that is enough.
Lucifer's hand is on his face, a gentle touch that stops all of Sam's thoughts, makes his body shudder in fear and something that feels scarily like need.
"Don't," he says, but Lucifer isn't listening, his thumb stroking over Sam's face, his fingers combing through Sam's hair.
"What have they done to you," the Devil whispers, worry and concern wrapped around his words, and Sam wishes Lucifer would be more terrible than this, wouldn't hide his cruelty behind a soft caress and a voice so utterly human.
Lucifer frowns. "Is that what you want?"
It takes Sam a moment to realize that he hadn't said the words out loud. Lucifer read his thoughts. Another invasion of his mind, just like the Wraith, and Sam wants it to stop, just wants himself back.
Lucifer is still watching him.
"You want me to be horrible," the Devil says, sadness and amusement and nothing at all in his voice and eyes. "I think I can give that to you."
He moves, fast and smooth, and Sam thinks of snakes. The Devil is on him then, straddling him, his hands on Sam's chest. A solid weight, real and human and pushing down on Sam, and he can't see the angel in Lucifer, can't see the devil either. He sees a man with a dangerous smile, hunger in his body, and Sam, suddenly, understands what Lucifer meant by his words.
Everything inside of him goes horribly cold.
He tugs at the bonds that hold him, twists against Lucifer. Stops when Lucifer smirks at that, a roll of Nick's hips an answer to Sam's struggle.
"No," he says. Says it again when Lucifer's hand trails down over his chest, possessive and strong. Repeats it as Lucifer opens his jeans, deft fingers caressing him.
Says, finally: "Please."
Lucifer looks up, looks at Sam's face again. His hand stills.
"This is not what I wanted," Sam tells him.
"What do you want, Sam?" A hidden promise in the question, and Sam knows he shouldn't answer. He knows that all the good intentions he might put into his words will still get warped and tainted because it's him and it's Lucifer and they're both forsaken in too many ways.
But he can't stop himself.
"The apocalypse to end without the destruction of earth and humanity. Dean and Cas and Bobby being happy," he begins. And stops. Because that's all there is, really. Not world peace, because no one would know what to do with it. Not any of the thousands of things he lost or wanted. It's too late; the life he wanted is gone, and he won't get it back even with an angel's help.
"You humans and your big wishes..."
"And your wishes are so different?"
A chuckle follows his question, some sad sound Sam doesn't quite understand, doesn't want to hear. "What do you want?" he asks the Devil instead, and wonders how long it's been since anybody posed that question. Everybody thinks they know what the Devil wants, Sam spend the last weeks imagining it all. Lucifer wants to win, he wants Heaven on its knees, and he wants humanity gone.
Silence fills the room, a dead weight upon Sam's shoulders, Sam's body. It's dragging him down and he wonders if the Devil would follow him, wonders if he'll ever get an answer.
"I want my family back," Lucifer says, and something inside of Sam simply breaks. "I want ... I want things to be like they were before humanity."
It all sounds so very familiar.
"Maybe the apocalypse isn't the way to get that," Sam answers, slowly, carefully.
The Devil laughs. "There's no way to get that, Sam. It's all lost and it's never coming back."
For moments, silence stretches between them, bitterness and pain in every second of it, and Sam wants to scream until it all shatters, wants to scream until things are alright again. But he can't and they won't be.
Sam breathes, closes his eyes. Tells himself he won't give up because Lucifer has, tells himself that they're still different enough for Sam to have a chance. He can still be one of the good guys.
"Lucifer," he finally says, pulling at the bonds that tie him down. "I have to save my brother."
A shudder runs through Lucifer, something entirely human, and Sam wants to grab it and hold on, force the Devil to free him and to ask nothing in return. Lucifer is touching him again then, his hands on Sam's chest, on his arms, stroking upward, and Sam forces himself to lie still beneath the Devil's touch.
"Please," he whispers when Lucifer's hands find his wrists, strong fingers covering the restraints. He looks up at him, looks at Lucifer, and hopes against everything he knows about the creature looking back at him. Lucifer raises an eyebrow, too human once again.
Then, he's an angel.
Lucifer doesn't unlock the restraints. He rips them away, and suddenly Sam is free. He could move, should move, but doesn't. Because the Devil hasn't, because Lucifer is still looking down at him.
Somewhere, seconds pass.
"Thank you," Sam whispers carefully, moves up and pushes against the Devil's shoulder, solid and alien and a rock under his hands. But Lucifer gives in, becomes fluid, moves away and Sam sits up. Rubs his wrists, swings his legs off the bed and feels human after days of being something less, something that lurks beneath his skin now, has always been there before. Rage and fear and hatred, and he thinks that maybe this is why he's a vessel, this is all Lucifer ever needed.
Sam stands up and pushes the thought away. He has no time for it. He will never have time for it. Across the room, Lucifer smiles.
Silence stretches and Sam gets lost in it, lost between the walls of his prison once again. He shakes his head against it, takes a stumbling step on a ground that doesn't seem quite solid. Looks at his feet, looks at the walls, looks at Lucifer.
"Dean," he finally says into the distance between them, and hopes that it's enough.
"Yes," the Devil answers and turns around, walks to the door and rips it out of its hinges. Sam is grateful for this choice, grateful that Lucifer didn't send him hurtling through the world with a single touch to his forehead.
When the Devil leaves the room, Sam follows.
There's an alarm sounding somewhere, there's the sound of people running, and Sam knows that the guards are coming for him. He looks over to Lucifer and is afraid.
"I could kill them for you," Lucifer offers. Sam shakes his head, numb with the possibilities Lucifer puts into his hands so easily. He doesn't want it, not now with the memory of the last days still pumping through him. Not ever, because he's afraid that one day he would use it.
The guards go down with the snap of Lucifer's fingers instead, marionettes with their strings cut, and Sam steps around their bodies without looking down. He walks the hallways with the Devil in his wake, and he realizes that he remembers where Dean's room is, remembers Castiel again. The past is returning, his head full with memories again, and he thinks it might be Lucifer's doing.
He doesn't ask.
He finds Dean's room and steps aside, watches as the Devil rips another door away, watches as Dean wakes up with a start.
"Hey," Sam says, already in the room and at his brother's side. "Hey."
Dean smiles. "Sammy."
"Yeah." He pushes and pulls until his brother is standing, drug-heavy and tired but alive. Lucifer is watching them, grief in his eyes, and Sam thinks of Michael, thinks that Lucifer used to be a brother an eternity ago.
Maybe he still is.
Lucifer steps forward, is suddenly there, too close once again, and Sam holds on to Dean. Stands still.
"We need to get out of here," Sam finally says, and the Devil nods. Then, Lucifer reaches out for both of them, his fingertips cold against Sam's skin, and the world is rearranging itself within seconds.
They're outside, the Impala a familiar shadow in the dark. They're outside and they're free.
Dean is heavy in his arms, almost too heavy now, and Sam stumbles as he drags him to the car. He leans Dean against it, finds the key where they hid it days and centuries ago. He pushes Dean into the backseat, pushes him into safety, and turns around slowly.
The Devil is still there.
"I believe you owe me one now," Lucifer says, and Sam shudders at thought. Still, he nods. Lucifer cocks his head, looks at Sam and finally smirks.
"I shall think of something."