Title: For the Love of God (Complete, posted in two parts)
Pairing: Sam/Dean, implied God/Lucifer
Summary: there are many parallels in life above, below and in between.
Warnings: Alternative, ancient religious themes and references. May be offensive to some.
AN: My girls rei_c and girlguidejones did an awesome beta job and deserve immense credit for this story having consistent tense and intelligence.
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link’d,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed…
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
~ Hamlet, Act I, Scene V
Murmuring voices buzzing like gnats. The multitude were just a bunch of gossiping old biddies and now they had enough fodder for the next millennium. And there was nothing to be done. No pardon to be had, no loopholes in this one. The Host had acted rightly. It was not His fault. It was NOT. Bow down to my new creation, he had ordered. A simple command. Damn him!
Damn his Shahar to Hell.
Before, he was the Beloved of his Shalim. Since the creation of the angels, God had not been so loved as by his Morning Star. Yesterday, they defined forever, their love unbounded by the vastness of the universe.
Today, there are walls. Now, there are rules. He is exiled to a prison of his own making, constrained by the finite where before he helped rule the immeasurable. He has a body, skin tight and constricting, holding together pieces that long to fly apart and join the stars he helped create. He no longer sits at the right hand of God. They’ve tossed him aside. Wasn’t this what you wanted? Dominion over your own province? Well, have at it.
Except, no. That wasn’t what he wanted at all. And those who followed him are small consolation for the one he left behind.
He really kind of hates Ruby. A lot. It’s not news to Sam that she lives to aggravate him like a possessed little sister, but lately she’s outdone herself. Every time Dean goes to a bar or out to pick up dinner, there she is, taunting and teasing. Sam is positive her goal is to goad him into going all evil ninja on her ass. Then she can laugh and laugh and tell Dean just how easy it was to turn him to the dark side.
Tonight Sam’s probably come as close as he ever has to pulling the Colt out and giving her the same treatment the crossroad demon got. He’s grinding his teeth in frustration, clenching his fists and counting backwards from ten…in Latin. Dean’s due back any minute from a liquor store run and, God, Sam could really use a beer or twenty right now.
Don’t scrunch your face up like that, Sam. It’s really unbecoming.
Octo, septum, sex…
When Sam takes a step toward her, murderous intent flashing in his eyes, Ruby concedes and even backs up toward the door. Okay, Okay! I’ll tell you. You are such a downer. Was just having a little fun. Despite the whine in her voice, Ruby can’t help but smile impishly, all wide-eyed and innocent. Then she rolls her eyes and reaches inside her jacket, pulling out a folded piece of paper.
Before it clears the layers of denim and corduroy, Sam snatches it from her hand and unfolds the parchment. He still hasn’t taken his eyes off her face. Ruby just shrugs and nods toward the note. I thought this is what you wanted and I’m just trying to help. There’s a definite pout in her voice, but when Sam glances down to scan the contents, she’s gone when he looks up. For the first time since he’s met Ruby, the smell of sulfur lingers in her wake.
He’s still standing in the middle of the room holding the paper scrawled with the black lines of a sigil when Dean tries to open the door, the chain still in place.
Are you out of your mother-fucking mind?
And why won’t you tell me what you found out? I hate it when you keep secrets. Especially when it has to do with me! Dean is pacing and waving his hand holding the beer around until it sloshes over his fingers. .
Because you’re a stubborn son of a bitch who wants to go to hell, the sooner the better, apparently, and I’m not taking a chance on you stopping me from doing something about it. The sigiled paper is tucked safely in the front pocket of Sam’s jeans and there’s no way he’s letting Dean see it. His brother may not have paid a whole lot of attention in school, but when it came to the gospel according to John Winchester, Dean was an apt pupil of the supernatural. He’d recognize it in an instant and know exactly what Sam is going to do. And that’s something Sam just can’t have.
Dean stops in mid-pace and his shoulders slump. Sam steels himself against the look in those green eyes. The room is finally quiet, both men realizing there is nothing new to say. Dean sets his beer on the nightstand and pulls his shirt over his head, letting it fall on the floor at his feet. He toes off his left boot and balances shakily on one leg while tugging at the right. By the time it hits the floor with a thud, Sam’s unbuckling his belt and shoving jeans and underwear down to pool at his feet.
When their combined weight drops to the old bed, it protests by cracking in two. Neither notices, just maneuver to one wildly canting side of the mattress while Sam holds Dean’s face between his wide palms. While Dean is clearly impatient for this round of fighting to be done so the making up can start, Sam stares him down, examining and committing to memory the thin lines forming crows’ feet in the corner of Dean’s eyes and the one thousand and forty-nine freckles dusting his nose and cheeks. Sam wants to brush his hand across Dean’s face and erase the dark circles under his eyes and the tight, drawn look of his mouth, even as he lowers his head to pull Dean’s full lips between his teeth.
Funny. I’ve been asking you that for six months.
Dean huffs and flips them over, hovering over Sam with his teeth bared in his best cocky smart-ass grin. Neither one of us ever did listen worth a damn.
Sam’s fingers knead into the muscles along Dean’s side, moving inward to press along the knobs of his spine. Dean hums, his eyes narrow shards of emerald and that’s when it happens. The ping on Sam’s Deanometer goes off loud and clear.
Oh no you don’t. Sam bucks Dean off and sits himself up against the headboard. Dean looks hurt and Sam chuffs out a bitter sound that might be a laugh. Why did I not realize you would use sex to keep me here long enough to figure out what I’ve learned?
Dean’s features shift and Sam thinks he really does look hurt now. He tilts his head, examining Dean and thinking. Screaming daevas couldn’t make Sam ever admit that he truly does get why Dean made the deal. And likewise, they couldn’t stop him from getting Dean out of it.
Sammy. His name comes out low and gruff and pure Dean. The sound of it goes straight to Sam’s dick and he struggles with the distraction. Dean’s hands are mightier than Sam’s mind, however, and the feel of his brother’s hand wrapping loosely around his cock, jerking slow and lazy, like they have all the time in the world and neither one of them is counting down the minutes until the world ends, is enough to quash his resistance.
Dean’s single-minded attention to Sam’s body is something he’s has never been able to fight. That’s why, when Dean is balls deep inside of him and rocking up at just the right angle, Sam lets him win this round. If nothing else, their constant fighting about how Sam won’t let Dean leave at the end of his year has been great for their sex life. Dean discovered early on that it was the only sure fire way of getting Sam to shut up about it, at least for a few minutes.
Afterward, Sam throws shaky legs over the edge of the bed and stumbles into the bathroom to brush his teeth. As much as he loves Dean, he’ll never really enjoy the taste of come. By the time he’s done, Sam’s already mentally packing his bag, trying to remember where they stashed the slim jim last time Sam had to steal a car.
He’s kinda surprised to see Dean sprawled across the unused bed. Sam glances from Dean to the sad, broken bed a few feet away. “Guess Thomas Shriner is gonna get an extra charge on his card when we leave.”
Dean snickers, but doesn’t open his eyes. Just raises a hand, waving it in the general direction of the nightstand between the beds. “Opened us a beer.”
The cool liquid goes down smoothly and Sam finds he’s chugged half the can in one gulp, so he holds it out for his brother. Instead, Dean just scoots over and pats the spot next to him, which should have been Sam’s first clue. But, he’s stupid enough, or desperate enough, to want every second he can get with Dean and lays down on his side, facing him. Because, honestly? If Ruby is right about this thing, Sam’s not even sure he can pull it off. And if he manages to, that he’ll be allowed to come back to his brother.
And that’s the last coherent thought Sam can remember when he wakes up about thirteen hours later to an empty bed, a helluva headache and no Dean.
“Fuck me,” he grouses and slowly sits up, clutching his head. A quick survey of the room tells him that Dean’s gone – and not just to the store for snacks – leaving Sam with the drugged hangover from hell and a scrawled note sitting next to the unfolded paper Ruby had given Sam the day before.
Not if I get there first, it said.
Sam’s legs are cramping from being bent in half while he squats on the ground, tracing the sigil out in powdered chalk. When he stands, the loud popping of his joints and creaking knees echo in the stillness of the pitch-black park. The rain that plagued him all the way from Iowa blessedly broken just hours ago but he’s still bundled in three layers, plus a coat he picked up at the Sally while driving along the back roads south of Detroit. Sam’d dumped the stolen Monte Carlo outside of town and hoofed it in the pouring rain the rest of the way into Hell.
By the time he’s paid for his dinner, a bowl of chili and grilled cheese sandwich at the Dam Site Inn, the sky has broken and a measly drizzle greets him in the muddy parking lot. He’s picked the Pinckney State Park to perform the ritual. It’s within walking distance and large enough that the remnants of his work tonight won’t be noticed off in a corner of the large area. When he’s done, he’ll have been in and out of town in less than 12 hours. Hopefully.
Sam surveys his handiwork. Perfectly proportioned lines and graceful curves practically glow in the dark earth. Five pillar candles are shoved down into the damp ground, circling the summoning symbol, their flames dancing in the still evening. There are no containers of holy water nearby, no crucifixes or magical charms. What Sam is about to do will either work and he’ll have his brother back, or he will fail spectacularly and no amount of blessed items will save him.
He strips out of his coat and outer layers efficiently, laying the clothing across a rock to keep them out of the damp. Goosebumps prickle his bare arms, the thin t-shirt doing little to hold in body heat. Holding a Maglite in his mouth, Sam rummages in the outside pocket of his pack until he finds what he’s looking for. When he pulls out the Sharpie, the backpack joins the rest on the rock, along with the t-shirt he pulls over his head one-handed.
It’s rough trying to draw and hold a small flashlight at the same time, and watch what you’re doing upside down, but Sam manages. He tosses the light aside and pulls the knife from his belt. The cool breeze caresses his bare chest, tracing over the sigil that perfectly matches the artwork on the paper Sam still carries folded down in his pocket. Sam holds his arm out and flexes, watching the muscles and tendons twitch in the moonlight. With a steady hand, he slices neatly to the side of the vein that runs the length of his forearm and watches the thin skin separate while blood wells and begins to trickle down and around his wrist. Facing south with his arm held stiffly out to allow the blood to drip in the smoldering incense, Sam begins to speak the ritual of summoning.
He wonders if his father felt the same heavy fist knotting low in his gut when he called the demon to save Dean.
The Latin falls from his lips effortlessly. Leaves begin to rustle, breaking the eerie silence, but there is no thunder, lightening or impressive shows of demonic presence. Then again, this is no crossroad demon Sam is calling. He’s pretty sure Dean’s going to kick his ass when he finds out where Sam is – what he’s done. Sam figures he should be so lucky.
His body’s flooding with adrenaline as he waits…and waits. The blood from his arm is starting to congeal and the candles are an inch down when he feels the soft touch of a hand on his bare shoulder. He feels warm and protected, even as he wheels around to face the one who holds the paper on his brother’s soul.
Sam feels his throat close with anxiety and his mouth dry up. He settles for a nod at the being standing in the shadows, then licks his lips, tries again.
The demon is half-hidden, but Sam can see a slight tilt of the head. An acknowledgement and a question.
“Such a bright boy. I see you received my message.”
“You sent Ruby to me?”
The figure makes no sound, but Sam can almost hear his smile. “Burning bushes aren’t really my thing.”
“I gotta say, I don’t care much for your taste in messengers.” Sam’s starting to regain his composure, against all belief.
“Admittedly, Ruby has her little quirks, but she is one of my most trusted angels.”
Sam can’t help snorting through his nose.
“Even fallen, an angel is an angel. And not to be scorned for her loyalty and devotion to me.” His rapid-fire words are fierce as his voice rises and Sam instinctively steps back, eyes widening. Lucifer takes a deep breath. “Forgive me. It’s a sore subject.”
Sam just stands as still as he can, afraid to move, afraid to speak. He’s gotten this far and can’t afford to piss – It…Him…whatever – off. Sam nods slowly, knowing he’s not going to pull anything over this creature. Sucking on his bottom lip, Sam debates his next words. He’s rather surprised to realize he hadn’t really expected to get this far. Then to find out he was practically led here… well, now he’s got suspicion in spades on top of the desperation to save Dean.
“Do you always think so loudly?”
Sam’s head jerks up and he narrows his eyes at the Prince of Darkness. He’d bet his favorite knife it’s no accident Lucifer’s words could have come out of Dean’s mouth.
“So I’ve been told…” Sam trails off, still not sure what to call him.
Then, because Sam figures his mind’s being scanned like an MRI, the man says, “You know my name doesn’t really interpret to Prince of Darkness? And I do miss the light so.” The figure gathers his remnants, or whatever he calls them, tighter around himself and steps into the light of a moonbeam. “You can call me Lucius.”
Sam finds it just a little strange that his first thought is that there have been three popes who bore that name.
He’s got his first clear look at The Man, now that he’s stepped out of the shadows. Clear, light blue eyes regard him seriously, as if Lucius is returning Sam’s scrutiny. His hair is blond, cut almost as short as Dean’s, except for an unruly flip of curl behind one ear. He’s handsome. Not really Sam’s type, but he knows this if this were a real man walking the earth, he’d have no problem picking up women, or men.
Lucius tilts his head and smiles. “Do I have your approval?”
Sam’s taken aback by the question, then, recognizes the implied humor of it. He can’t help but comment. “I guess I thought you’d be…darker.”
Lucius outright laughs at this. A full throaty sound as he throws his head back, showing off a long, muscular neck and well-defined jaw line. “Well, as all of his creatures do, I try to please God whenever I visit up here.”
Sam lets that sink in.
“God has a type?”
Sam bristles a little when Lucius chuckles again and shakes his head, but doesn’t answer Sam’s question. Instead, from one second to the next, a transformation comes over the man standing in front of him and Sam feels the wind pick up, blowing leaves up from the ground in a whirlwind of warm air.
“Shall we get down to business now, Sam?”
Sam feels his chest loosen and realizes he’d been breathing shallow and slow. He pulls in a gulp of air through his open mouth and feels the earth shift beneath his feet. Panic grips him again and he reaches out to catch himself, hands grasping nothing but air.
Nausea rolls through his stomach in waves, but he can’t vomit. For an instant he’s swimming down into a black void, then the next he’s sitting on the ground, back against the boulder where he’d placed his clothes. His head hurts like a mother, so Sam clenches his teeth and massages his temples, not daring to open his eyes.
“It’s alright, Sam. It’s just a dream. Or at least that’s how you will remember it.” The voice is gentle, soothing and his headache eases to mildly bearable so he can at least slit his eyes open.
The night seems even darker and Sam looks up into a blank sky. But he can still see around him – the meadow where he’d performed the summoning – even the candles are still flitting dimly in a breeze Sam can’t feel. Lucius’ voice comes from somewhere above Sam’s head.
“I’ve really been looking forward to this, Sam, so make yourself comfortable.” Sam twists so he can peer up, squinting to see through the dark shadows of limbs and leaves. Lucius is sitting astride a large branch, leaning back into the trunk of an oak off to Sam’s left. Sam can see the gleam of his teeth piercing the darkness.
“Why did you send for me? I thought…” Sam shakes his head, sending a couple of leaves flying out from the mop of hair. “Ruby said, she said you held the contract.”
Sam had thought he was the one who summoned Lucius, but realizes he’s totally been set up. Was it negotiation time, already?
“It’s…complicated. But really quite simple.”
Now Sam’s just getting irritated. Figures Dean and Lucifer would be so much alike. He supposes the devil doesn’t do chick flick moments, either.
Sam hears Lucifer chuff out a small sound of amusement. “I can see you’re anxious to know what I’m going to ask of you for your brother’s soul, so let’s not waste anymore time.”
It’s the first direct reference to the contract on Dean’s soul. Sam shifts and straightens, raising himself to climb atop the large rock, putting him just a few feet below Lucifer’s perch.
“Okay, let’s hear it.”
“First, I’d like to tell you a story.”
When Sam wakes up, the sun is climbing midway across the sky with glaring brightness that makes his head hurt worse. Fumbling in his pack, Sam pulls out a bottle of water and drains it in one long pull. He shifts around on the rock, surprised to find that he’s neither stiff nor sore.
Sam is opening the second bottle of water, working to put the previous night’s events in perspective when memory of the vision comes crashing in like a clumsy dump of emotions. That’s how he remembers it at first. They run the gamut of love and longing, both physical desire and all-encompassing devotion, to the pain of rejection and bitter betrayal. Sam just wants to lie on the sun-drenched earth and cry until he has no more tears. Cry for the loss of perfect love. And then shed embittered tears of resentment for the way in which it’s been so ruthlessly snatched away.
Sam turns at the sound of snapping twigs under Lucius’ feet. He sits cross-legged on the ground at Sam’s feet and sweeps a long-fingered hand through his hair, making it stick up in yellow-gold spikes.
“It’s alright, Sam. I got over the perfidy of my brethren a long time ago. But mourning the loss of…?” Lucius blinks slowly, “That will always be with me.”
Sam sniffs and scrubs at his face, drinks some out of the second bottle and offers it down to the man on the ground. Lucius’ eyes widen, startled, but he takes the bottle and empties it. Sam wants to say something, but he’s pretty sure there are no words in the human language to console God’s fallen angel.
Now, Lucius’ mouth twists in a sardonic quirk of understanding. “I did not call you here for sympathy, Sam. You needed to know these things before we begin our little chat.”
“I needed to know that you and God were lovers before you will consider releasing my brother’s soul?” Said out loud, the whole thing seems incongruous, and maybe laughable in a mad way. Sam can hear Dean’s smart-ass comment in his head. Hell hath no fury, Sammy. “I don’t know what to do with this.” Sam holds his hands up in the universal I got nothing gesture.
Matter of fact, Sam doesn’t know what to think of the fallen angel wearing a man’s body. Sam can feel the power radiating out from and washing over Lucifer. Sam has no doubt he is less of a threat to Lucius than an annoying fly. Yet, now he knows…things. Sympathy for the devil isn’t a concept Sam is familiar with.
“I can help with that.” Lucius replies. He settles his back against the boulder Sam’s sitting on and draws his left knee up, draping an arm over it. “You see, even though I had nothing to do with that impetuous creature’s plans for you, I was not unaware of them. It amused me at first to watch Azazel play games with you and the others.” At this, Lucius lowers his eyes in what Sam would swear is embarrassment. Then he shrugs. “So, I’ve been watching you, Sam Winchester. You and Dean – together – you make quite a pair.”
Sam squirms and shifts a bit on his rock and feels the heat flush through his cheeks all the way down to his neck. Lucius slants him a look, lips curled in bemusement.
“Surely you don’t think I’m going to mind a little action between brothers, do you?”
Sam makes a choking sound and clambers off the rock to pace around the tree, hands stuffed in his pockets. He has no idea what to say.
“Sit down, Sam. Here,” Lucius commands and pats the packed earth next to him. Sam takes a deep breath, then releases it slowly and takes his place beside Lucius.
Even though Sam now knows way more than he wants to about the mating habits of Lucius and his past with God, Lucius makes good on his word.
“I won’t embarrass you by going into too much detail,” Lucius begins and Sam feels the tightness across his back and shoulders loosen a bit. Thank God…er…whatever. “Suffice to say I was God’s most loyal lover. We were God’s greatest design: angels of light and knowledge and free-will. When God created us, He commanded us to pay worship to no one but Himself.” Lucius looks away from Sam, off into the distance. “As it should be,” he whispers, as if to himself.
Sam’s starting to get the big picture, but still doesn’t see what it had to do with Lucius’ fascination with him and Dean.
“I would not bow down to God’s next creation. It was a travesty to worship anyone or anything other than my Adored One.”
Lucius moves so quickly, Sam never sees him stand, only knows that the next moment Lucius is pacing, agitated and radiating distress that has Sam cringing.
“You see Sam. There is nothing in my universe more beloved, more important than Him. I could not bring myself to do His bidding, even though I would lay down my very existence for Him. And apparently, I would make any sacrifice.” Lucius stops his pacing, piercing blue gaze locked with Sam’s. “Even being cast into Hell by His minions.”
Sam always figured he was the brains between them, but even Dean could figure this out. Yet, even with it staring him in the face, Sam can’t help but question.
“You can’t be serious.” He stares up at Lucius who just looks back placidly, eyes twinkling with more knowledge than Sam will ever come close to having. Sam stands and bats at the seat of his jeans, sending dust and leaves drifting down to the ground.
“I am known for a very macabre sense of humor, Sam, but I assure you that right now, I’m serious.” Lucius starts walking slowly toward the woods to the west of their clearing, hands clasped behind his back. “Walk with me.”
Sam feels like his whole head is about to erupt into a massive explosion by the time Lucius is done. Even his face hurts. “So, you think I’m like God and Dean is you?”
Worst of all, Sam can’t hide from, what is to him, the most humorous of ironies ever. His life, already fucked up beyond a normal person’s imagination, has just taken a left turn into bizarro-land. He turns his head away, gazing out into the woods while he straightens his face with a scrub of his hand.
Lucius is quiet beside him, walking slowly, carefully, over the rocky path. The pictures he’s placed in Sam’s mind, of what it was like before he was cast out, are at once full of passion, burning need and fear of loss. And now that the seed has been planted, he has no problem envisioning him and Dean. Remembers their last night together, the urgent sex, hot and desperate. Just before Dean drugged him. Sam would have done the same thing if he’d thought of it first.
“What you and Dean are to each other, we had that one-thousandfold. You cannot fathom what we were to one another, Sam.”
Sam feels his face flush with the heat of remembered days on the ground of a side-road stop, lying beside the Impala. Nights when they could not not touch, thighs, bellies, chests, legs wrapped around hips. To have this and more. How can he let Dean go? How can he not do whatever is asked to save his brother? He wants to fix what Dean fucked up and it’s beyond Sam to say no to anything Lucius wants.
What Lucius wants is closure. To do it right.
“What do you want?” Sam chews on his bottom lip, hands stuffed deep in his pockets while they walk, shoulder to shoulder, through the woods of Michigan.
Lucius doesn’t answer, at least out loud. A wave of sorrow, so wretched and despondent as to make Sam step back from it, washes over him. And he knows the answer. Tears well in Sam’s eyes but Lucius shakes his head with a don’t pity me expression.
He’s about to say something to Sam when he comes to a sudden halt on the path and his clear blue eyes widen in surprise for just an instant. Sam wonders if he’s imagined it when the next second Lucius is again wearing a look of cool calm ambiguity.
Instead of answering Sam, Lucius leads them off the packed-earth trail and into the woods. They’ve no sooner cleared the first stand of trees than Sam is assaulted with the blinding pain he’s come to recognize all too well. What he’s not expecting is the firm, guiding grip of Lucius’ hands on his arms, easing him down to the ground onto his back. Sam feels the prick of pine needles in his back and the smell of moss and evergreens is strong in his nostrils.
“I’d be seriously pissed off about those headaches. Azazel really screwed you over with that one.”
Sam squints up into Lucius’ face, scowling in a way that always had Dean calling him a spoiled brat. “Why can’t you just fucking tell me with words like a normal person.” The incongruity of his own words isn’t lost on him.
Lucius snorts and sits back, letting Sam arrange himself comfortably. “I think you’re going to want to see this.”
The angle is weird as hell, but Sam finds himself watching Dean driving the Impala. Only he’s off to Dean’s left, like he’s running along side the car, looking in. And if his brother’s expression is anything to go by, Dean is far from happy. Well, no more than he’d expected, sending Dean off on a wild goose chase like that. He knew his brother would automatically assume that if he was running off to summon the Devil, it would be in the cowboy cemetery in Wyoming…the opposite direction from Sam’s actual destination.
But, it looks like Dean’s already caught on to Sam’s duplicity and is hell bent for leather to –Sam’s not sure where– and somehow he knows that Dean isn’t either. Sam watches Dean’s expression, alert, suspicious and curious and realizes the Impala is slowing down. Dean never picks up hitchhikers. They both know how real urban legends are.
But, here he is, pulling over to the shoulder in a cloud of dusty gravel, while some guy jogs up to the passenger side and sticks his head in the window.
“Hey, man, thanks! Been waiting for what seems like forever.”
Dean nods, motions for the man to get in, already pulling the Impala back into Drive. “Waiting for what?” Dean’s watching him out of the corner of his eye but Sam’s still amazed at how not suspicious Dean seems to be.
There! Sam figures that’s the end of the road for this hitcher, but Dean just shrugs and accepts the answer with an aplomb that is very unlike any son of John Winchester’s. The stranger sprawls his legs out, relaxed, leaning back against the door with one arm slung up over the bench seat, very much like Sam does. Sam’s pretty sure he doesn’t like this guy.
“Well, you’ve found me. You gonna tell me where Sam is?”
In Sam’s mind, he’s cocking his head looking at Dean like he’s lost his frigging mind.
“A lot of people underestimate you, Dean.” The hitcher is smiling, which does wonders for his face. Sam realizes he hasn’t really been paying much attention to the man until now, and knows why. He is very un-outstanding. Just a normal, sandy-haired, clean-cut man of average looks, height and weight. His eyes are the same hazel as Dean’s, however, and right now they’re bright, alert and look very old.
Dean laughs and Sam feels goose bumps riding down his arm at the sound. One he hasn’t heard nearly enough in the past months. “I’ve been telling Sammy that for years, Dude.”
Sam wonders if the hitchhiker has put some kind of enchantment on his brother.
“So, to answer your earlier question…yes, I am going to take you to Sam. Or at least guide you. It’ll be up to you what happens next.”
The realization of who this is sharing the front seat with Dean just about knocks Sam out of the vision. From someplace on the other side of his brain he receives confirmation from Lucius, along with another sickening wave of the same regret and longing from earlier.
Dean’s expression hardens, but Sam is close enough that he can still see the fatigue and worry plainly etched on his brother’s face. “What’s going to happen next is that I’m going to beat Sam’s ass ‘til I can’t swing my arm.”
You and what army, big brother?
“No you won’t.”
Dean slows to only ten miles over the speed limit as they pass through a small town, probably sustained by the grain mill Sam can see across the hood of the car. “Oh, so help me God, I will.” Dean shakes his head, wearing a feral smile, like he can already feel the satisfying crunch of Sam’s nose beneath his fist.
“You won’t, Dean, and I won’t help you.”
Sam watches Dean watch his passenger. Then, very deliberately, Dean downshifts, turns off the main highway and pulls to a stop on the shoulder of a narrow, paved farm-to-market road. Dean doesn’t let go of his death grip on the steering wheel and Sam watches his brother’s narrow-eyed gaze straight ahead, through the windshield of the Impala. He can almost hear the gears in Dean’s head grinding and screeching until things click into place, like tiny cogs in a watch.
Dean tilts his head and turns to face the stranger, hands relaxing off the wheel while he stares into eyes that mirror his own in color, but aren’t clouded with confused speculation and barely checked anger. Instead, the hitcher smiles softly, almost sadly, like he’s going to have to tell Dean something he wishes he didn’t. The smell of sulphur crosses the boundaries of time and space and Sam wrinkles his nose in distaste. He knows the man in the passenger seat isn’t a demon. Yet…
“Look. I know you’re here to – were sent or some shit – I know you have something to do with where Sam’s gone. Just tell me now and we’re cool?” Dean’s hand inches along the side of his seat until his fingers just brush the grip of the Colt, nestled in its homemade holster, within easy reach. “And while you’re answering questions, what’s your story?”
“Shall I answer in order or do you have a preference?” The stranger’s openly grinning now, looking very much at ease. Sam wants to poke Dean through the car window, yell at him not to pull the Colt. He somehow knows that aiming a gun at God just can’t be good for your karma.
“Sam is in good hands. He’s doing as well as can be expected for someone whose brother just committed spiritual suicide for his benefit.” He gets out of the car and closes the door gently and waits for Dean to climb out and walk around. Leaning casually against the engine-warmed metal of the front fender, he watches Dean standing ready and alert, but with his arms dangling loosely by his side. Sam doesn’t have to see it to know the Colt is stuffed snugly in the back of Dean’s jeans.
“Tell me where Sam is.” It is not a request.
“I’ll do you one better, Dean.” God closes his eyes and Sam feels a calm deep inside that hasn’t existed since his days with Jess. He feels more than hears Lucius’ quickly drawn breath beside him just before he feels Lucius’ fingers grip his arm. He’s not sure, but Sam thinks he might have heard a whimpering sound of hope; he doesn’t know which one of them made it.
Sam has to concentrate to maintain the scene with Dean, but it finally clears and he wishes to all the saints, above and below, that he knew what God said to his brother. Dean is on his knees in the dirt, face lifted up so that the sun is highlighting the dusting of freckles across his nose and cheeks. It’s also catching the wetness that trails down in streaks of light to his neck, disappearing beneath the collar of his shirt.
“Why?” Dean’s voice sounds like he’s gargled with glass, but Sam can hear him clearly. “Why did you let them do it?”
Sam knows that Lucius is as curious to hear the answer as Dean.
“I don’t really let anyone do anything. He was wrong and I can’t show favoritism.” Then almost to himself, adds, “But, there might be something I can do now. To help you both.”
“Me and Sam? You’ve come down to help us?” Dean pretty much scoffs in God’s face.
“No, Dean. You and Lucifer. Sam doesn’t really need my help right now.”
Sam descends to that place that he’s always fighting to escape after a vision. He’s never quite sure if he’s awake or asleep and every sound, every touch, sends him spiraling further down while his fingers grasp out for a tangible, clear thought.
Sam’s heart is about to beat out of his chest, a loud drum-sound resounding through every millimeter of his head. The heat of the body next to him is radiating like the fires of Hell. He’s not sure if Lucius is purposely sending images so erotic and profound that Sam is immobilized with desire, or if Sam’s own peculiar gift is soaking it up like a sea sponge. Either way, the result is the same.
It’s been at least 36 hours since Sam last slept, visionary comas notwithstanding. His body and his mind are beyond normal tired and he wishes he knew hallucination from reality at this point. Lucius writhes on the ground beside him and Sam’s body reacts to the sounds, the soft warm wind, the outline of the other man’s cock, pants pulled tight across his crotch as he squirms and shifts.
At the same time, he feels Dean’s presence in his head. Or a Dean-like God. He’s not sure which. He’s assaulted with imagery of a love no one on earth could ever imagine, much less understand. It’s God and Lucius and him and Dean and there’re no real boundaries between the emotions flying at him from all directions.
He’s lost sight of the world he and Lucius were watching, but he has the memory. Sam finds that if he stops fighting the assault on his senses, the memories come more clearly. Against every instinct, Sam gives up. He gives in to the smothering silk of lust and tries not to suffocate as rustling, whisper-soft wings of desire enfold him.
His mind clears and he finds them again. Dean and his hitchhiker. And Lucius is there with Sam, inside, watching and waiting.
Do they know we’re watching?
What do you think? At least one of them does.
It feels…raw. Exposed.
It always has.
I’ll do anything for him, Lucius.
Yeah. Me too.
Dean surprises Sam a little by accepting this lone, ordinary man as God, come down from heaven, for reasons none of them are quite clear on yet, and a scary little thrill runs down his spine that maybe he doesn’t know his brother quite as well as he’d thought.
“You and I both know that Sam will do whatever he must to save your soul, don’t you Dean?” They’ve both left the Impala parked and walked a couple hundred yards to a copse of trees on the edge of a corn field. “He’s not constrained by laws – or at least none he plans to obey.”
Dean is sitting with one knee drawn up to his chest, arm balanced across his knee. He’s wearing his stubborn ass look. As much as he might believe this man is God, it’s not going to stop him from guarding Sam’s life with the same caution that’s as much a part of him as the freckles on his nose.
“Sam can try, but we’ve been told on good authority that my papers aren’t open for negotiation.” Dean looks off to his right, away from his companion, scanning the horizon as if he can discern Sam’s location by pure will.
“Everything is negotiable.” God follows Dean’s gaze, himself lost in a retrospective moment. “Well, most things, anyway. Your soul certainly is.”
“You didn’t negotiate for Him.” Dean’s words snap out impulsively and he tenses, waiting for the proverbial bolt of lightening that doesn’t appear.
God sighs. “I won’t debate my decisions with you, Dean.” Rather than pissed off, God looks rather fondly at him. “Suffice to say, we’ve seen something in the two of you and your soul may not be as lost as you think.”
He continues as if Dean hasn’t spoken. “What would you do if you could never see Sam, never even speak to him again, as long as you both lived?”
The muscle in Dean’s jaw twitches and Sam can almost hear him grinding his teeth. It seems to be answer enough.
“I know how tired you are, my son.” Dean’s head jerks up at the words and only someone as close to him as Sam would notice the slight trembling of his hand where it rests over his thigh. Dean clenches his fist and pulls it to him.
“I guess I’ll have plenty of time to rest up in a few months.”
God laughs. It’s a full-throated guffaw of pure sardonic laughter which Dean doesn’t find amusing in the slightest. “Forgive me, but you have no idea what is in store for you should your time come to pay up on the deal you made. And I hope that you never will. I want to give you rest now, when you need it most. When you will appreciate what you have. It is within my power to ease your burden if you will have it so. And maybe it will help us both.”
Seems God is still big on parables.
Some of the old Dean starts seeping through and Sam watches his brother’s expression turn from confused and anxious to suspicious, maybe just a little curious. “Um, you do know about me and Sam, right? I mean, we’re not the kind of guys I’d picture God doing any favors for.”
God shakes his sandy-colored hair out of his all too human face and purses his mouth, mulling over his next words. “Dean, do you really think that what you and Sam do…what you are to each other… is the worst thing I’ve seen? Do you think it’s the worst I’ve done?”
Standing, the man paces around the clearing and Dean hops up, brushing the seat of his jeans, not comfortable sitting when God is towering over him – or seeming to.
“I’ve lived with decisions I’ve regretted for a hundred millennium. But some choices? I’m willing to wager you’d be quite surprised at what I don’t regret.”
Sam realizes that it’s a lot harder for God to admit what is between them than it is for Lucius. Not surprising, all things considered. But Sam doesn’t have to hear the words to know that the love Lucius expressed earlier is returned tenfold.
Dean doesn’t seem real keen on putting it into words, either. Sam wants nothing more than to reach out and touch Dean’s face – trace the full lips that Dean’s chewing as he takes it all in. “Would you do it differently? If you could?”
The figure leans against the largest tree, feet crossed at the ankles and Dean thinks he makes a stunning silhouette with the setting sun glowing in the background. “I cannot.” It’s a total non-answer and Dean accepts it as such and nods. “But, there are ways, things I would do to let him know that I still love him.”
Dean’s lids flutter shut and Sam is with him, sharing what God has sent them. Images and a sense of pure ecstasy, both sexual and not. It’s the only word Sam can think of to come close to the feeling furled tight inside his gut and spiraling out. He can smell Dean, like he’s right beside him and hears himself whimper in longing.
In the beginning there was the void and my angels to keep me company – to help me design the universe. And He was my beloved above all others.
Dean gasps in concert with Sam, shuddering with release and regret. Sam inhales deeply, catching his breath and shaking off the blur of the real world trying to intrude on this private moment in time. He sees Dean walk slowly toward the stranger, uncertain but compelled. Sam watches in awe as Dean stops, reaches up to cup his face between hands Sam has felt so many times wrapped in his hair or around the back of his neck. Dean leans in and kisses him softly, comforting, just a dry brushing of their lips, then steps back and bows his head.
Finally, like he can’t hold the question back any longer, like it’s about to explode out of him, Dean blurts it out.
“Can you save me? For Sam?”
Mother-fucker, Sam thinks to himself, then hopes like Hell God can’t hear him. Why can’t he just ask for himself. Does Dean really not care? Sam feels Lucius’ hand on his leg, light and supportive. The current between them still runs weakly through Sam and he feels the reassurance Lucius is trying to convey.
Sam is watching God through Dean’s eyes now, clarity like he’s never experienced, and knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that God would save them all if he could.
He reaches with a finger under Dean’s chin and raises his face. “It is not my decision to make,” is all he says and all Sam remembers.
It’s been like having a nightmare and a wet dream, all rolled into one. And all Sam has is the certain knowledge that the only reason he’s still alive is because of Dean. And if he has a chance of defeating his so-called destiny, he’ll need Dean by his side. What he’s not sure of is if that will be allowed.
When he can talk again, Sam rolls his head to the side and whispers to Lucius. “Is it over?”
Lucius’ shirt has come untucked and his pants are riding low around his hips as he lies splayed in the dirt, overcome by the myriad of emotions spelled out clearly on his face. Even with his eyes closed, the tears track from the corners of his eyes into his ears.
“It will never be over.”
Sam realizes he’s not going to get a straight answer from Lucius. At least not for awhile. Scrambling up to lean back against the tree, he wipes a hand over his mouth and swallows around his dry tongue. He looks at his watch and sees that it’s been seven hours since Lucius first showed him what Dean was doing, and it’s no surprise when Sam hears the soft roar of the car in the distance. It’s growling louder, until it sounds like it’s coming up behind him. Apparently, the Impala can off-road.
Sam twists around and peers behind the tree. Dean’s alone. No passenger in Sam’s side of the car. He watches as Dean slams the door so hard the Impala rocks and strides toward the spot where Sam and Lucius have camped.
The play of muscles shifting the soft material of the tee-shirt over Dean’s chest makes Sam’s dick twitch. He’s still riding the bliss of the vision, still not sure exactly who caused it and not really caring.
Lucius is lying on his side, back to Sam, and makes no move to acknowledge Dean’s presence. Sam, standing to work the kinks out of his legs and pop his knees back into place, isn’t even sure Lucius is still breathing. Then all thoughts of Lucius fly out of his head when Dean reaches him.
Dean wraps his hands in Sam’s shirt, first pulling him the rest of the way up, then shoving him against the tree until Sam can feel the imprint of the bark on his back. Sam doesn’t have time to protest as Dean leans in, covering Sam’s gaping mouth with his own, tongue invading and making itself at home.
When Dean pulls back, Sam tucks his mouth in at one corner, wryly acknowledging Dean’s claim. He looks over again, sees the spot on the ground is bare where Lucius had been. Sam takes Dean’s hand, pulling him forward until his brother’s palm is pressed hard against his dick. “Don’t stop now.”
Frantic pawing and groping takes them both to the ground, Dean atop Sam, and clothes can’t come off fast enough. The rip of Dean’s tee-shirt is drowned out by the humming sound of Dean’s lips on Sam’s neck, shoulders and chest. He sounds like a starving man at the feast table and Sam can only hold on for the ride.
“Can’t leave you, Sammy.” Dean’s shaking his head ‘no’, back and forth and Sam can feel his brother’s two-day beard scraping the tender flesh of his stomach. “Not gonna be like them.”
They’ve been having sex for months, years, but never has it been stoked by the feverish desperation they both feel. Most of all, Sam can’t believe that someone has finally gotten through to Dean – made him understand just what the hell he’s doing to Sam. Then, even that evaporates when Sam feels Dean’s tongue nudging into his body and his large, capable hands jacking his cock and stroking across the soft skin of his balls.
As Dean rolls up on his knees and pulls Sam’s legs over his shoulders, he can’t tell if Dean is aware or not that they have an audience of two. Not right there beside them, but inside, where it’s far more intimate and real.
“What?” Sam blinks up at the questioning look on Dean’s face. So, he’s the only one to be blessed with this knowledge. Thanks, Lucius. In answer, Sam pulls Dean down, the better to lick his teeth and curl his tongue in Dean’s mouth until neither can breathe.
Dean is easily distracted from his question and melds to Sam until a roll of Sam’s hips reminds him what he was preparing to do. Sam smiles when Dean raises his head to look at him and is wearing the distinctly guilty look of a cock tease. Sam’s squirms again, feels Dean’s dick digging into his stomach. “You gonna fuck me or not?”
Sam’s stubbornly keeping thoughts of Lucifer and God, or, LuciferandGod, out of his mind. That gets a lot easier when he feels Dean breach the tight ring of muscle and slide on home. He never considered himself an exhibitionist, but if voyeurism is their thing and it gets Dean out of his contract, Sam’s willing to show them what true dedication is.
When he has a couple of brain cells functioning again, Sam catches a flutter of white at the base of the tree. He twists around and leans over, snatching up the sheaf of papers. Dean rips them away and flips the front page back and holds it down while the wind picks up and tries to pull them from his hand.
“What? What is it? What does it say?” Sam rests his chin on Dean’s bare shoulder, reaching around to lay his hand over Dean’s. The print is tiny and not really legible in the fading evening light, but the red inked words stamped across the front are like a beacon in the dark.
NULL AND VOID.
Then, in an elaborate scrawl at the bottom, a single letter.