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Been In Every Black Hole (1/1) (PG-13)

Title: Been In Every Black Hole
Author: zubeneschamali
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Genre: Gen
Length: 2,648 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Five
Summary: Immediate post-ep for 5.22, "Swan Song." Anything further would be spoilery.


Disclaimer: Still not mine, although I heard about this wishing well up in Washington State…

A/N: I'm sure I won't be the only one to come up with this particular scenario, but I just had to write it before I could get this ep out of my head. It’s for morganoconner , and the title is from "Moment of Surrender" by U2.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Sam stared for a long time at the scene before him, absorbing every detail. It looked like apple-pie normal, all right, from the family gathered around the table to the neat and tidy house, inside and out. He should be figuring out what was going on and how he had gotten here, but if his thoughts started wandering in that direction, they might head towards where he'd been before getting here, and that was likely to leave him screaming in terror.

So he wrenched his attention back to Dean, swallowing back a fifth of whiskey and picking at his dinner.

Okay, there had to be a reason why he was here. Maybe it was to see that Dean had kept his word and gone back to Lisa and Ben. It was funny how that warmed his heart at the same time it twisted his gut. Could Dean really have moved on so quickly?

Or was it quickly? Sam suddenly realized that he had no idea what day it was, or even what year. There were leaves on the trees, and it wasn’t terribly warm or cold, but that still gave him a range of several months. How long had he been gone, anyway?

He wanted to go forward, to knock on the door and say something dumb like, "Surprise!" But then what would happen? Would he be taking Dean away from the life that he'd always wanted, or worse yet, tainting him with the blood Sam could still feel on his hands? Was he better off verifying for himself that Dean was alive and somewhat well and then slipping off into the night, leaving Dean untouched by the darkness Sam felt was hanging off of him like a shroud?

Then a familiar, sardonic voice rang out behind him. "Looks like they're doing a great job at playing Happy Families, doesn't it?"

Sam whirled around, reaching for a gun that wasn't at his back while simultaneously trying to call on the power that had been burned out of his veins. Empty-handed in both ways, it took a second for his brain to catch up with what he was seeing and realize that it wasn't a threat.

Probably.

"You're supposed to be dead," Sam said, realizing belatedly how stupid that sounded coming from his mouth.

Gabriel's trademark smirk twisted his mouth as if he knew what Sam was thinking. Hell, maybe he did, for all Sam knew. "Hey, if Dad thought the world still needed you around, I'd be insulted if he didn't have anything for me to do. I mean, hello, Trickster?"

"So you didn't bring me here." Sam discarded the idea as soon as he'd said it. It didn't fit Gabriel's style.

One eyebrow went up. "I just got here myself."

Sam looked him over. "Where've you been?"

Something flashed across Gabriel's eyes. "Don't ask."

Fair enough, Sam thought, pushing back the darkness and horror that was pulsing at the back of his head when he thought about answering that same question. "So what are you doing here?"

"Keeping you from doing something stupid, apparently." When Sam stared at him, Gabriel flapped a hand towards the house. "You aren't seriously going to press your puppy-dog face up against the glass and run away before they can see you, are you?"

"How do you know what I'm going to do?" Sam snapped back.

"Because that emo expression doesn't jive with running down the hill with your arms open and throwing yourself at your long-lost brother," Gabriel replied, holding out his arms in demonstration. Sam thought he heard the faint whisper of wings against the asphalt, but it might have been the wind in the trees.

"He doesn't need me," Sam said sharply. And yeah, so he'd made Dean promise to come here instead of doing anything stupid like poke at Lucifer's cage, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt to see that he'd kept a promise that Sam himself had been incapable of keeping when the tables had been turned.

"Apparently coming back from the dead doesn't make either of you Winchesters less of a moron," Gabriel snarked.

Sam threw his arms out from his sides, his voice rising. "I'm not exactly in the mood for your little games right now, Gabriel, so why don't you tell me what you're thinking?"

"Little games?" Gabriel retorted, stepping closer, and yep, those were definitely the shadows of wings stretching out into the night, and, whoops, archangel, and maybe this wasn’t someone Sam wanted to piss off when he’d been above ground for a total of fifteen minutes so far.

Sam was about to make a more temperate reply when out of the corner of his eye, he saw the porch light flick on an instant before the front door swung open. Then a voice issued forth that shook him to his core, and all thoughts of Gabriel went out the window as home and safety and love washed over him and left him terrified.

"Look, guys, do you mind keeping it down or taking it somewhere else?" Dean sounded weary but protective, a man trying to enjoy dinner with his family while some yahoos on the street had an argument loud enough to be heard indoors.

Sam took a deep breath and had enough time to notice and be surprised by the warm, encouraging look in Gabriel's eyes before turning around. Although the streetlight above him was burned out, the light spilling forth from the house would be outlining his features perfectly, and he stood there, still, his heart pounding.

Even with the light behind Dean, even from across the front yard, Sam could see his brother's face go white. "S—Sam?" Dean stuttered out.

He nodded, unable to speak. He took a hesitant step forward, then another, and then he was crossing the neatly-trimmed lawn that Dean himself had probably mowed and approaching the front steps, every nerve tightly strung.

Dean stepped out of the house and quickly closed the door behind him. "Stay back," he warned, his voice low and sharp, his fists trembling at his sides. "Whatever you want from me, you leave them alone, you hear me?"

Sam came to a dead halt, unease churning in his gut. "Dean, it's me."

Dean swallowed hard, and Sam could read his expression like a book. He wanted to believe it was Sam, he really did, but he'd been fooled before by Lucifer, and he'd already had so much wrung out of him that this was almost more than he could take. "How do I know that?" Dean rasped.

Sam's mind went blank. They knew all of the tests for demon possession, but what about for an angel? He couldn't really ask Dean to light a ring of holy fire on Lisa's front lawn or carve himself up to get enough blood to draw a banishing sigil. He looked down and realized for the first time that he was wearing the same clothes he'd been when Lucifer had—when Sam had last been topside, and he figured that wasn't making it any easier for Dean.

A voice broke in from back on the sidewalk. "I know you're not going to like this, Dean-o, but you gotta trust me. He's no angel puppet, and believe me, I would know."

Dean’s eyes went wide as he looked over Sam’s shoulder. "Jesus!"

"Nope, not me," Gabriel called. "Try again?"

Dean looked back and forth between the two of them, and Sam could see the line of his shoulders relaxing fractionally. "Sam?" he asked, hope and disbelief clearly warring in his tone.

Sam nodded again. "Yeah, Dean," he said hoarsely. "It's me."

And then Dean's face crumpled in grief and sorrow like Sam had never seen, even after their father's death. "God, Sam," he muttered, and then he was coming forward, moving off the front steps, arms reaching out.

Every fiber in Sam's being was yearning for that embrace, but he stepped back, putting his hands out in front of him. "Don't," he said quietly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the front curtains twitch, but he kept his attention on Dean.

His brother had come to an abrupt halt, arms halfway raised. "Why not?" Dean demanded. Then his eyes widened. "Oh, God. You're not—you're a spirit, aren't you?"

"What?" Sam spread his arms and looked down at himself. "No! I mean—I don't think so?" They’d certainly encountered ghosts who didn’t know they were dead, but he was pretty sure he’d know the signs. Wouldn’t he?

“Ix-nay on the irit-spay,” Gabriel broke in. “Come on, guys, hug already!”

“Then what’s wrong?” Dean asked as he came forward. For every step he took, Sam took one back, and they continued in this bizarre fashion across the lawn until Gabriel’s hand against his back stopped him from going any farther.

“Dean, I can’t…” Sam trailed off and shook his head, hunching his shoulders and wishing he could fold in on himself and disappear. He tried to pull away from Gabriel, but the archangel was immovable. “Don’t touch me, alright? I’m not clean.” He might not be able to remember everything that he’d done when Lucifer was inside him, but the memory of blood-coated hands was vivid and sharp, and there were worse horrors nibbling at the edges of his mind that would drive him mad if he let them in. There was no way he was contaminating Dean by getting anywhere near him.

Dean’s eyes raked over him, and he shrugged casually as he sidled forward. “You look fine to me.”

Sam shook his head, the words bubbling out before he could stop them. “I’m not—Dean, the things I saw, the things he made me do—I wasn’t strong enough to keep him out, nowhere near, and he just took over, every corner of my mind and my body before I could do a thing about it, and he used them both to, God, I can’t even—“

Before Sam could stop him, Dean had taken the final step forward, one arm coming around Sam’s waist in a fierce grip while the other hand landed on the nape of his neck and pulled his head down to rest on Dean’s shoulder.

Sam tried to squirm away, but Gabriel was unmoving at his back, keeping him in place. “No,” Sam protested, pushing against Dean’s chest with both hands, knowing it was futile. “No. I’m not clean, you can’t—“

“You don’t think I know what that’s like?” Dean demanded, his voice rough but soothing in Sam’s ear, his hand heavy and warm on the back of Sam’s neck. “I know exactly what you feel like, Sam. Maybe I don’t know everything he did to you, but I never told you half of what they did to me, and you didn’t care. So don’t try to tell me that there’s something wrong with my little brother.” There was a pause, and then Dean went on, his voice choked. “You’re here, Sam. That’s all that matters.”

It was the rough tenor of Dean’s voice that broke him, the honest emotion that Sam so rarely saw in him, and suddenly Sam was sniffling into his big brother’s neck and wetting his t-shirt with near-silent tears, clinging like a child and letting himself be held. He didn’t know how he’d gotten here or where he’d been or what was going to happen next, but he was with Dean, and that meant things were going to be all right.

Dean held him for a while and let him cry, and if Sam felt a suspicious wetness on his own neck, he swore to never breathe a word of it. Finally, Dean patted his back. “You doing okay there, Samantha?” he asked gruffly.

“Better,” Sam acknowledged with a loud, wet sniff.

“Ew,” was Dean’s response, but his eyes were warm and alight when he pulled back and looked at Sam. He searched Sam’s eyes, and Sam let him, knowing there was no way he could lock down on the uncertainty and self-disgust and fear that he was feeling. “Aw, Sammy,” Dean finally, said, gently cuffing the back of his head before letting him go. “You know, you’d think the fuckers could heal our minds as well as our bodies.” Dean’s eyes flicked over Sam’s shoulder to Gabriel. “No offense.”

“No, I’m with you on this one,” Gabriel replied with steel in his tone. He patted Sam’s back and moved away.

Dean acknowledged him with a nod and then smoothed down the lapels of Sam’s jacket before letting his hands rest on Sam’s shoulders and clearing his throat. “I didn’t get to tell you how proud I was of you, Sammy,” he said. His mouth wobbled a little, and then he swallowed and went on, “That was probably number one on the list of regrets.”

“You, too,” Sam returned instantly. “Dean, if it wasn’t for you, I’d’ve…You saved the world, man.”

We saved the world,” Dean corrected. The corner of his mouth quirked up. “All I did was be a pain in the ass.”

My pain in the ass,” Sam teased.

Dean crinkled up his nose. “Dude, don’t go there.”

Sam couldn’t hold back a short bark of a laugh, and at the triumphant gleam in Dean’s eye, he knew he’d been manipulated into it. He shook his head. He still felt like a mess, inside and out, and half of him still wanted to run as far and as fast as he could, but he didn’t think either of the two people standing here would let him.

Maybe he should just give in to what appeared to be his destiny.

“You, uh, you want to come in?” Dean asked, taking a step back, looking suddenly unsure of himself. “Lisa knows—well, some of it, anyway, enough that she’d be real happy to see you. But you,” he said, pointing at Gabriel. “She would have my head if I introduced you to Ben.”

“Aw, come on,” Gabriel said, sounding mock-hurt. “I love kids!”

“You are a kid,” Dean muttered, but he was smiling.

“Yeah, okay,” Sam said before he could talk himself out of it. After all, he’d been brought here for a reason. Might as well find out what it was.

Dean smiled and started towards the house.

“Wait,” Sam said suddenly, grabbing his arm. “Dean, what day is it? How long has it been?”

“It’s, uh, it’s September 18,” Dean said, his brow furrowing. “That means it’s been…”

“Four months,” they said at the same time, staring at each other.

“Same as you,” Sam added unnecessarily. If that meant he’d been down there for forty years—but part of him could appreciate the symmetry to it, and he knew if he mentioned that to Dean, he’d get an eyeroll and a ”Geek,” and he almost said it for just that reason.

“Huh,” Dean was saying, his expression guarded. “How ‘bout that?”

Before Sam could say anything, “Dean?” came Lisa’s uncertain voice from the front door.

“You okay to do this?” Dean asked, watching him closely.

Sam took a deep breath. “I think I will be,” he admitted. “You?”

“Yeah,” Dean said. He stepped to the side and slung his arm around Sam’s waist. “I got your back.”

“Thanks,” Sam said, a world of meaning in his tone, putting his arm over Dean’s shoulders in response.

Dean smiled warmly in reply, and they moved forward.

Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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morganoconner
May. 14th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
I adore you, you are my favorite person in the entire universe right now!!! You just fixed, like, EVERYTHING!!! My world! It is shiny and bright again!

*TACKLE-HUGS*

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Then my work here is done. :D
apieceofcake
May. 14th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Enjoyed, thank you!
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
whitereflection
May. 14th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
This makes me want to cry in a good way. I like this, so much. Thank you for doing it.
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. I had to try and fix it. :/
aythia
May. 14th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
You fixed them! Thank you!

If I read one more coda that didn't fix them I think I would start crying... again.

This, this made me happy :D
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
I'm a sucker for a happy ending, I must admit. Glad you liked it!
musesfool
May. 14th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
*sniffle*

Oh, Dean. Oh, Sam...
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, boys...
medea34
May. 14th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
love this.
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
jjinmo_356
May. 14th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
the boys are back together...yes
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
And I have no doubt they will be when September rolls around...but that's a long time to wait...
kasman
May. 14th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Feeling much gooey warmth right now, which takes away some of the unsettled feeling I got from the final. Mind you, I'm still grinning about "overgrown man". :D
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
So unsettled that I seriously could barely sleep last night and have spent most of today writing this and reading all of the awesome responses out there...

And yeah, that line was awesome.
(no subject) - kasman - May. 15th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zubeneschamali - May. 15th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kasman - May. 15th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
unplugged32
May. 14th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Heartbreaking and beautiful:)
zubeneschamali
May. 14th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
borgmama1of5
May. 14th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
erinrua
May. 15th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Lovely, lovely use of the characters, your voices utterly pitch perfect. I doubt we'll get this ... but for the rest of the summer, I can dang sure pretend this is how it goes.

Wonderfully done, I could hear every voice in my head. :)
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks! Glad you liked it. :)
earthquakedream
May. 15th, 2010 05:42 am (UTC)
THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Oh, that epic reunion, the hugs, EVERYTHING. All the other codas I've read have just led up to the part where they see each other, and they were brilliant, but I needed more.

The epic love story of Sam'n'Dean, the brothers together again, that's what I've needed. ♥ ♥ So thank you for providing that.
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I had to have all of that, too, sap that I am.
norwich36
May. 15th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
This is definitely my favorite coda.
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thank you!
cordelia_gray
May. 15th, 2010 07:38 am (UTC)
Hugs! Gabriel! Sammy! Deeean You fixed them all.

This is lovely, thank you.
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
darkamber
May. 15th, 2010 08:37 am (UTC)
Oh, this is really lovely!
And, you brought Gabriel back! Yay!
zubeneschamali
May. 15th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
As much as I love Sam, there's no way that he's more important to have back on the surface than the Trickster. I mean, seriously.

Glad you liked it!
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( 60 comments — Leave a comment )