By: Karen B.
Summary: Season Six Supernatural. A Supernatural AU story I made up to explain Sam's soullessness.
Disclaimer: Not the owner!
Hell was a black dungeon full of true horror. The place made even the lowliest of worm's skin crawl. It was a place where demons - who had nothing further to offer - but torture - did so until the end of time.
It hadn't even come close to the end of time when Sam was somehow yanked from one hell, and slammed into another. How long he'd been living in either dark world? He couldn't remember.
Sam groaned, curling up on the ratty, stale cot that was shoved up against a cold wall. With shaky weak hands he covered himself with blankets that were little more than burlap sacks, gaze searching the small cellar-like room.
Sometimes when he first woke he wasn't sure which hell he was in. Both hells smelled of vomit and rotting flesh.
But he'd soon come to know this room, this hell. Knew every crack, every flaw, every bloodstain. The room was depressing. Grimly silent. The walls and floor the sickly gray color of a dead tree. This prison - like hell's prison - was windowless. Hell was black, this prison only slightly better, dimly lit by a single white bulb hanging from the ceiling.
And just like his previous hell, Sam had tried to dig his way out. Through the floor, the walls, the door, using only his bare hands until his fingers were raw and bloody stumps.
Sam had conquered and defeated the devil and taken back the soul that had been stolen from him. Why couldn't he escape a simple cellar room?
After a long while he no longer spent hours digging, but instead prayed. For Dean. For God. For Cass. No one came. Apparently, he'd made it to the bottom rung of the food chain, because not even Lucifer would answer his prayers.
He missed the sun, the sky, the wind in his hair. He even missed Led Zeppelin blaring in his ears while he tried to sleep in the passenger seat of the Impala. He missed Dean.
His brother wouldn't come looking for him. He promised no to.
No one would.
For Sam was the least of them all and he'd gone to hell ...and in hell Sam would stay. Be it below or above ground. Those faceless bastards who stole him away from that rainy cemetery, who darted him in the neck daily with a small sedative, saw to that. Sam thought of them - the bastards - as human, like The Benders human. Only they never fed off his flesh. What the hell did they want? Maybe they weren't human after all. They did provide human needs for him, however.
When he'd wake from being sedated, he'd find semi-clean clothes, his daily crappy meal, plenty of warm well water. Occasionally, even the bucket he used as a toilet would be emptied. It was amazing how the barest of essentials could keep a person breathing.
How long had he been here? With no contact what-so-ever. Time eluded Sam. He was in a sort of limbo now. Suspended between heaven and hell. Time itself was torture.
He was kept beaten down, but alive - hidden from the world.
Why? Sam had no answers and having no answers was its own special blend of anguish . Much more of this and he'd go stark raving mad.
Sam sucked in a cold gulp of wet air, his spirit broken and exhausted. He listened to the drumming drops of rain coming from outside, picturing the lightning charged sky with each roll of thunder. He'd give anything to be set free.
Everytime it rained, the cellar became even more damp and miserable.
"Ugh," he groaned, shoulders hunched, chin dropping to his chest as he shivered.
Still, as beaten and forsaken as he was, there was that small spark somewhere deep inside. That last bit of hope, an immovable die-handednes that wouldn't allow him to give up.
"You will no...not." Sam's breath whipped away and he struggled to breathe through open lips. "Will not." He fought to catch a lungful of air. "Not win," he gagged, not even having the strength to wipe the spittle from the corners of his mouth.
The rain had stopped, but Sam still shivered with cold. His teeth started chattering, and their constant clicking rattled what was left of his brain.
No, that wasn't his brain rattling, or his teeth clicking. Sam frowned gingerly scooting up on the cot, burlap sacks falling to the dirty ground. He quizzically titled his head toward the door. He knew every sound the room made - which was barely any - and never had he ever heard that door so much as squeak. He was always darted into unconsiousness before his captors came in like zoo keepers to clean and water his cage. Now someone was on the other side of that door, tinkering with the deadbolt.
Sam glanced around the room fearfully. He obviously had no weapon. He didn't even have the strength to stand these days. Sam inched back, cramming himself into a corner like the scared and wild animal he was becoming. Why hadn't the freaks darted him? Did he really want to see the hideous, monstrous face of his captors? Maybe they'd grown weary of feeding him, cleaning his mess. Maybe they were going to end him. Sam bullied his bravado. Good. He could go back to his other tour of duty -at least in that hell - he wasn't alone.
The door suddenly crashed wide open and a burst of fresh, cold air howled through.
Sam jerked, his head slamming back up against the wall so hard the cot shook and he saw a few twinkling stars. He stared absently at the face cloaked in the shadows. That was a face, right? He hadn't seen another person or even a demon in so long.
A man with a rifle stood in the doorway, unmoving and stiff, like a deadly cobra poised and ready to strike. His leather jacket was tattered and torn, a thin steam of blood curling its way down his face from his hairline; dripping to a duffle bag that was slung over his shoulder. The man took one-step inside, his features lit by the dim bulb hanging from above.
The image didn't fit. This wasn't right. The face before him was all wrong. Sam hissed. He couldn't breathe. His chest filled with horrid fear, rising and falling too fast. He stared into the man's green eyes that burned bright with fierce anger.
"Nuh," Sam grunted, scrambling and now sitting dizzy and half-cockeyed on the cot, not quit sure what he was seeing.
The man winced, but didn't make any more moves to enter the room. "Hey, easy," he said, squatting nervously down to ground level. "It's me." He balanced on the toes of his muddy boots.
Sam squinted in disbelief, the room spinning slowly around him.
"Sam," the man said in a scratchy, but worried voice. "Just me."
Languidly, the man set his rifle down on the ground between the muddy boots, his eyes never leaving Sam's. "Come on, dude," he softly said as he gradually shrugged the duffle off his shoulder. "I know it's been awhile, man, but it hasn't been that long." The bag thumped to the floor.
Sam's gaze lingered on the lone man. There was something about him that made his heart flutter and his body tremble. Sam's gaze flicked from the man to his own trembling hands to the duffle and gun, then back to the man again.
The man waited a long time, slightly rocking back and forth, eyes anxiously traveling around the room with an expression of disgust on his face.
"Fuck," he growled, looking back at Sam. The man's angry face quickly changed. His eyes now full of sorrow, and something more. "I'm sorry," he choked out.
Sorry for what? Sam shook his head, searching just past the man and out the open door, wishing he had the strength to bolt and run.
"You been here the whole time?" The man asked.
Sam's gaze returned to the sorrowfully creased face, but said nothing.
"Come on, baby brother. Talk to me here."
The tone was calm. Fatherly even. Yet, Sam was frozen with terror. He said nothing, pressing his lips together, defiant.
"Why don't you want to talk? Usually can never shut you up." The man forced a watery laugh.
Another long moment passed. The man didn't twitch a muscle. Barely breathed or blinked. Just remained quiet, crouched by the door - studying Sam. Only his facial expressions kept changing, from unrelenting anger to horrible soul-deep sadness to utterly scared out of those muddy boots.
The longer the unsettling silence went on, the faster Sam's breathing got, until he was hissing in and out in loud, harsh puffs of air.
"It's okay," The man gentled. "Whenever you're ready, little brother."
Sam wanted several things all at once. He wanted out of the room. He wanted a hot shower. He wanted to see the light of day. To drink a cup of coffee. Swallow a bottle of painkillers. He wanted to hunt the bastards that did this to him. He wanted…
'Dean.' Sam mouthed with lips too weak to speak out loud.
He took a gulp of air and tried again. "Dean." The word came as a shuttering breath and Sam jolted, nearly falling off the cot to the floor.
A small nod of Dean's head was Sam's only answer.
"I'm going to come over to you now. Is that okay, pal?" Dean barely whispered.
A small-mirrored nod was Dean's only answer.
Sam didn't blink, watching. Dean slowly raised halfway. Bent over at the waist - using non-threatening moves and little-by-little - he came to crouch before Sam, but didn't touch.
"You…you shouldn't be here," Sam panted heavily. "Can't be here." He grimaced.
"Why not? Guy can only take so much apple pie, bro." Dean smiled weakly, clenching his fists by his side. "How bad are you hurt?" Gently caring eyes looked Sam over.
Sam shrunk in on himself. He knew his clothes were dirty, and too big for his body. He'd seen the reflection of sunken-into-his skull-eyes in the bucket of his piss. His large hands were thin and always shook. He looked more like an old, sick person tucked away in a nursing home, rather than the vibrant youth he once was.
"Dean?" Still unsure.
"It's me, Sammy." Dean angered. "What'd those bastards do to you?" he asked, gaze shooting unnervingly around the room again. Dean's sights landed on the wall just above Sam's head. Sam knew what he was looking at - dripping red letters - written using his own blood.
The only connection to his brother that he could afford himself in hell.
"Son of a bitch," Dean swore low in his throat, whirling back to Sam.
Sam flinched away.
Dean crouched down lower, ducking his head, peering up into Sam's eyes. "Sam," he coaxed softly. "You know who they are?"
What was wrong with him? Sam's chin quivered, his chest tight and full of emotion. Dean meant him no harm. "I…I never saw any of them. I don't know who they are. What? Why? I…Dean?"
Dean hung his head a moment, then looked up and raised a hand toward Sam, pausing mid-air. "Okay?" he asked permission.
Sam propped himself up a bit, sweaty and weak he reached timidly toward Dean.
The moment their hands touched, a warmth spread through Sam's forever chilled body. He lunged at Dean, wrapping weak arms around his neck - possessive, afraid, relieved. His chilled skin warming.
"Oh, God." Dean clutched Sam closer. "God, Sammy."
Sam could feel Dean's heart hammering against his. Heard Dean's shallow breathing puffing in and out of his ear.
He held his own breath. Waited for the image to liquefy.
Not a dream. Not a dream. Not a dream. Chanting in his head.
The very thought that this could be another dream, depressed him and sent spasms of fear bristling the hairs on the back of his neck
"We're fine. Going to be fine." Dean cupped said neck, warm, caring hand kneading tenderly. "I'm here. You don't have to worry. Cass took care of the dicks that were guarding this place."
"Guarding me?" Sam sobbed into the crook of Dean's neck. "I don't understand." Sam drew back.
"I'll tell you later." Dean kept a stable hand curled around Sam's neck. "When I think you can handle it."
"I've been locked away here for…" Sam thought a moment. "I don't know how long…"
"One year," Dean growled.
"Guh," Sam's vision grayed in and out. "A year?"
"But..." Sam pushed himself further away. "Just tell me."
"Sam, I'm trying not to flip you out here." Dean loosened his hold, allowing freedom of movement without letting go.
"Not doing to good a job with that, Dean." Sam swallowed the foulness that wanted to erupt from his gut.
Dean stared at Sam, moving his hand from Sam's neck to his arm. "Close as Bobby and I can figure, you were cloned."
"Genetic engineering?" Sam asked, skeptically.
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Travolta and Cage facing off." Dean stiffened. "I don't know what the hell. But the beef cake I thought was you…wasn't you."
"Wait. That's impossible." Sam started to sweat, the room spinning around him faster.
"Apparently not so impossible, because here you sit, and he is still out there."
Sam shook his head.
"Look, Sam, I don't know the why's or how's of crazy central. I hardly understood all that mosquito, frog DNA crap in Jurassic Park. All I know is there are twin monsters and twin people marching all over this planet. Mark's neck was snapped. Guy was deader than dead, and a week later I see him drive by in his truck." Dean ran a hand over his face.
"Shit," Dean murmured, eyes going wide. "That's right. Real Sam... that'd be you, dude...doesn't know anything about The Walton's."
"Just…just never mind for now," Dean snapped. "We can't trust anyone."
"How'd you find me? How'd you know me…" Sam squirmed uncomfortable. "Wasn't me."
Dean pressed his lips together mentally calculating which 'me' Sam was referring to. "A brother knows his brother, dude," he said with assured confidence. "Besides, you're buff, Sam, but not that buff," Dean gave a light chuckle that faded fast.
Sam quirked his lip. "Huh?"
"You just weren't right." Dean tried to explain the unexplainable. "Ever since you came back from the Devil's cage." He waved a frustrated hand in the air. "I mean, Mutant-warrior-king you...he had me fooled a long ass time. Bobby even longer. Not even Cass could tell." Dean hung his head in shame. "Last night other-you left while I was still sleeping. Well, other-you thought I was sleeping. But I wasn't, and I followed you…'eh other-you…here. I lost Conan the Barbarian, while Cass took out the handful of guards surrounding this place. And here I am. Don't ask me how, but I knew you…the real you… was here. You and a boat load of other monsters and humans that have been cloned."
A chill ran up Sam's spine and he shivered. "This sounds like some sort of Hollywood movie."
"Yeah, well if it is… it's a low budget one."
They sat silent a moment.
"Can you walk?" Dean finally asked.
"Try," Sam garbled. "If I can't walk, I'll crawl." His quivering hand managed to close around Dean's jacket.
"That's my boy," Dean said prideful, hinging an arm around Sam's waist and bearing him up.
"Guh." Sam struggled to breathe through open lips, dizziness sweeping over him in powerful waves. He staggered, every muscle flimsy.
Sam coughed violently then went stone silent. His fingers went lax, and he lost his hold on Dean's jacket, eyes rolling back and nearly dropping to his knees.
"No. No. No!" Dean yelled. "Up, Sam. Stay up." Dean tugged Sam to his feet. "Here we go. Come on. Work with me here."
Sam mumbled incoherently.
"I've got you covered." Dean propped Sam's weight further against his side, heading them toward the door. "Hold it right there." He leaned Sam against the door jam and bent to retrieve his gun and duffle.
Sam's stomach quitted some and the room slowed to a spinning crawl.
Dean fiddled with his gun a second then shrugged his pack to his shoulder. "Okay." He turned his attention to Sam. "Ready to move, now, Skeletor?"
Sam's eyes slid shut. "I look that bad?"
"You look that good," Dean corrected, apologetically.
Finding it extremely difficult to stay alert, Sam fought to remain on his feet and conscious.
"How do you know this me isn't the other me? How do I know you are you?" Sam slumped against Dean as they left the room attached to one another's hip, and heading down a long corridor.
"Later, Sam, let's just get you out of here."
Sam sighed. Not knowing who was on first, and what was on second, but that was the least of his trouble. Deciding to take the chance, he stumbled along.
"Umph." Sam grunted, wincing in pain.
"Hey, hey, come on." Dean sucked in a huge breath. "Keep walking."
A shudder past through Sam and he closed his eyes.
"You going to make it?"
"I…um….I…" Sam slowly blinked his eyes open, every fiber in his stomach straining to make him vomit. "Good question." He flopped helplessly in Dean's hold, like a rag doll being tossed about on top of a massive, bucking bull.
"Easy." Dean quickly adjusted his stand, pressing a flattened palm to Sam's chest, bracing. "Just take it easy, Sam, and stay close. I know you hurt like hell, maybe I should call Cass and…"
"Keep going," Sam panted, through his burning nostrils. "Get us out of here, before I get sick." He wiped a dirty hand over his face, leaving a smudge.
The nausea curled Sam's toes; he could feel Dean's eyes hard on him. Needing to keep things light, least he fall apart he questioned again, "Dean, so seriously, how do you know this is me?" Another stomach spasm hit him hard and Sam's fingers knotted into Dean's leather. "I mean, what if I'm not me? How can you know…if I don't even know? What if you are not you?"
"We could have a chick-flick moment," Dean said, keeping his voice lighthearted. "I could tenderly brush a lock of hair behind your ear, kiss your forehead checking for fever and tell you how much I love you. How much I missed you. How you complete me. If this is the 'real' me," Dean winked, "I'll upchuck in your shoe."
"Ewie," Sam squirmed uncomfortably. "Let's not and say we did, okay?"
"Ewie, Sam? Yep, defiantly you. Look." Dean turned serious. "I trust you but-"
"No buts." Dean stopped dead and turned Sam almost roughly to face him. "I don't need some fancy yahoo DNA test to know that you are the real deal," he said firmer. "Other- you was off from the get, and I was stupid. So desperate to have you back, I let other-you slide under the radar." Their eyes locked, and Sam's whole body shook, his grip on Dean's arm weak. "I trust you, Sam. The real you."
"You didn't trust Beef Cake Dude?"
"No," Dean said with conviction.
Sam's hush puppy eyes watered up. "I trust you too, Dean."
"Good. 'Nough said."
Sam was thankful it was nightfall; even the half-moon seemed brighter than the light bulb in his cell. The fresh air was intoxicating, causing Sam's feet to crisscross as Dean whisked him out of the building. The change in air made him hiccup, and for the first time in a long time, Sam was aware of his own powerful stench. He slyly tried to ease slightly away from Dean out of embarrassment, but his knees buckled.
"It's okay, Sam." Dean reigned him back in, seeming to read his thoughts.
Sam smiled when he saw the Impala parked under the shadow of a Willow tree. Home. He wanted to fall to his knees and cry like a baby.
"Dean," Sam choked back a sob. "So, you going to tell me now… what all this Conan, mutant-warrior king, beef cake stuff is about?" he asked, trying to distract Dean from seeing how bad a shape he really was in - emotional and otherwise.
Dean opened the passenger door and lowered Sam in. "Maybe later." He picked up Sam's legs and tucked them under the dash. "When we get some meat on you and get your strength back," Dean said, reaching in to toss his duffel in the back. He shrugged out of his jacket and lay it over Sam.
Sam looked away, blurry vision warning him of the tears that wanted to come. Crying. It was the one thing in the cage and in that cellar room he'd never done, and it was the one thing he could fight no more.
Dean bent down and cradled Sam's chin in his palm, turning him toward him. "There's no place like home, Dorothy." He nodded understandingly. "Go ahead, bro." Dean gave permission.
Sam sighed tiredly and melted into the seat. Closing his eyes, his eyelashes quivered against his skin, salty tears rolling down both cheek.
"Welcome back, Sammy." Dean quietly shut the door.