The sun was shining bright in the sky and everything smelled like warmth and freshly cut grass as the cool air whipped around. It was just under a year after their mother had died and Dean and Sam were at a park. Dean watched as Sam waddled around in the grass, picking up huge chunks of it and throwing it away. He also watched as other children played on the slide and the swing set, their parents holding them and pushing them, no one paying any attention to the two boys on the edge of the playground. Sam stumbled a bit as he ran towards Dean, falling to the ground and letting out a scream. Dean hurried toward his brother holding on to him and rubbing a hand over his head.
"Shhh, Sammy, it was just a small fall. Shhhhhh," he said as his eyes darted over to the adults hoping no one would notice them. "Shhhhh." Sam stopped crying slowly, small hiccups shaking his body. He looked up at Dean with wet eyes and smiled a thankful smile.
"De--," the little boy started his eyebrows knitted together closely.
"Yeah, Sammy," Dean said holding on to the grubby fingers as Sam tried to touch his face.
"De--," the boy said again his lips held cautiously. "Demon," he said smiling and looking up expectedly. They had already gone through the smaller words more often said, "car" and "get" and "no" and "hunt." Sam had quickly come to realize that when he said a new word everyone got really excited and sometimes the big man would hold him really tight and it reminded him of something he couldn't remember anymore but it was good. He looked up at Dean waiting for a smile or a cheer.
"No, Sammy, Demons are bad." Dean said sadly. "I'm Dean," he said with a bit of a sigh, his eyes flitting back over to the other families in the park that day.
"Dean," Sammy then offered, easily, as if it hadn't been months since he'd starting forming gibberish into words. Months of Sam acknowledging any and every other thing around him but never his brother. "Dean," he repeated. "Good." He smiled as Dean's eyes brightened and he pulled Sam into a hug. The little boy clapped and laughed. "Good," he squealed as his small hands found purchase gripped in Dean's shirt and Dean held him tightly to his chest, guarded against the world.
Dean woke up to the sound of metal against concrete finally. He blinked a few extra times as the world came into view and the interior of the Impala reminded him where he was. He shook himself awake as he climbed out of the car and into the rundown church. They broken pews and faded stained glass had all started looking the same after months down this road, and really a lifetime of this battle.
"You know where they've taken Sam," Dean said as he walked to the altar, opening a leather satchel to reveal multiple syringes. "So we can do this the easy way," he said raising a bible above his head. "And I'll send your smokey ass on a one-way ticket back to hell--Or we can do this the hard way, and I get my answer from your mangled soul as it begs for forgiveness." He added picking up a syringe.
"Yeah, I'm going to have to go with the hard way," she said with a sickly sweet smile, crossing her legs suggestively and settling in to the seat. "You're cute kid, I'd like to see you sweat."
"I know you're working under Abbadon," Dean said. "But I've got a trick that made Crowley piss his pants, so you might wanna rethink the hard way," he said flatly.
"Oh I've heard. Is that what the holy water shower was earlier sweets? You won't break me as easily as Crowley. He's really nothing more than a common crossroads demon and usurper of the throne.” She said, beginning to break the bones in her hand and pull it through the restraints, but Dean was faster, his blade went straight to the tendon and bone trapping the arm against the chair.
“Try that again and the next one goes through your neck.” He growled.
“Well that seems counter intuitive to your little plan,” she said with a smirk.
“I just need you alive, I don’t need you in one piece,” he said turning toward the altar. He shoved the bible aside and kneeled, his hands coming together in front of his face. "Forgive me father, for I have sinned," he started, going over the sins of his life, well rehearsed at this point. "And I lost him," he adds his voice tight. "I lost him before I could make him believe that my words were true. I lost him and I don't know if I will ever be able to get him back." He finished, letting out a shaky breath and rubbing his hand over his face before squaring his shoulders and pulling out the syringes. He filled the eight with his blood before turning to the demon in front of him, walking over and shoving it into her throat. By hour six she was starting to loosen up, the evil losing its grip on the soul before him.
"Stop," she cried out. "Stop please. They'll kill him," she added frantically. "They're on orders to kill him if I don't return. We can't, he can still complete the trials, we can't. I just, I just want to live," she said a tear escaping.
"WHERE IS HE?" Dean shouted injecting the next needle. The intervening hour passed in silence, both staring at each other, Dean's words hanging in the air. He looked down at his watch and stood taking another syringe.
"He's," she started, nearly sobbing. "He's on the racks. Alastair's room. You know your way there right Dean?" She spat, battling internally to keep control over herself, the vessel, her own aching, itching humanity. "NOW LET ME OUT OF THIS THING!"
"That wasn't the deal sweet cheeks," He said injecting the blood. He walked back over to the altar, pulling out his cell phone and leaning over it. His hands gripped the edge of the altar, knuckles blanching.
"You, you need me. You need me to walk down there and --,"
"And help me save my brother? Who you're terrified will lock the gates of hell?" Dean said skeptically. "Shut up."
"I will, I can help," She begged. He looked back at the demon, carefully considering the situation for what felt like forever, before shaking his head.
"Yeah, you will," he said as the phone picks up. "Cas, you there man? I have the one. Bring the books -- I don't know, some church off of North 66. -- Two hours, I'm almost done here." He picked up the next syringe and squeezed it into her neck as she screamed out. The next hour passes by with heavy breathing, gritted teeth, and tears. At some point she whimpers something that Dean doesn't hear, doesn't want to hear. But eventually the evil snaps back.
"Do you know what's going to happen to him? Even if you can pull him off the racks, the urge to close the gates will swell in him until it takes over his puny worthless human mind. He will squirm and cry and want to live but the will to live won't be enough to stop him from doing it. It will rot his organs and ripple outward and he will give in and he will die. And his soul is too broken to go to heaven and too good to go to hell. He will be trapped for all eternity in a lifeless meat suit. And the world will burn along with him. There's a reason for demons Dean, there's a reason your god put us here and the angels too. The whole world will burn, because you will not save him."
"Yeah, I've heard that before," Dean said checking his watch and picking up the final syringe. After that there was silence, and the slightest whimpering. "And it wasn't my god."
“You never learn, do you?” The woman sounded amused. The demon still playing beneath the surface trying to retain control, remain alive. But her eyes told a different story, the pain of centuries playing out just behind them.
“Not yet,” Dean said as he took aim. A smirk played on his lips as he shoved his palm in the mouth of the Demon.
The vessel cried out in pain as it was cleansed, the demon’s twisted soul becoming whole again. Cleansed. Goddamnit, how that word had started to sound dirty even in his mind. It was tinged with rust and blood, loss and sacrifice.
"I hope you're right," she said, barely above a whisper.