Rating: R (language, violence)
Length: under 30K total; this chapter, 967 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Four
Summary: What if Sam and Dean knew one crucial piece of information about the future before Dean's deal came due? Would it have changed everything, or would the end result have been the same? AU version of Season Four, written for spn_30snapshots .
Master table is here. Prompt for this chapter: summer.
3. Summer Rain
A drop of sweat fell onto the barrel of the neatly-disassembled shotgun, and Sam wiped it clean with the rag. After bringing up the hem of his thin white t-shirt to wipe his forehead, his hands moved automatically through the motions of cleaning and reassembling the weapon. The satisfying sound of the pieces sliding into place was a touch of home, a promise that he'd only be doing this for three and a half more months, and then Dean could have one of his favorite jobs back.
The windows were open in their battered metal frames—sills carefully salted—as was the outside door, though only the feeblest of breezes was making its way in. North Texas in June was not his idea of a good time, but thankfully it was only a one-man job. After today's research and scouting, Sam had no doubt that a quick salt-and-burn tonight would have him back on the road before morning. His bags were already packed and in the Impala, the shotgun only out to give him something to do while he waited for nightfall. The distant rumble of thunder offered the tantalizing hope of a break in the heat, but he wasn't counting on it.
"Well, isn't this cozy?"
Sam was on his feet with the shotgun pointed at the open door in a second. The blonde in the doorway looked as cool as ever, slender arms crossed over her chest and slitted eyes narrowed at him.
"Ruby," he said flatly. He lowered the gun. "What do you want?"
"Can't a girl check up on an old friend, see how he's doing after the loss of his big brother?" Her neatly-plucked eyebrows went up, her expression a poor imitation of innocence.
"I'm fine," he snapped back.
"Sure you are." She looked around the room. "Wow, you really haven't changed a thing, have you?"
"What do you want?" Sam demanded again.
"Fine, we'll get down to business." Ruby pointedly looked down at the white line across the door.
He frowned and reluctantly came forward a few steps to scratch a thin path through the salt with his foot. Ruby gave an exaggerated nod of thanks and strode in. "Before you ask, no, I can't get Dean back for you," she threw over her shoulder.
"Then what do you want?" Sam snarled. He might have the assurance that Dean's sojourn in Hell was only temporary, but every time he thought of what might be happening down there, he had to work hard to remind himself of his promise to stick it out until September without trying anything rash.
"I can get you something else," Ruby said coyly. "The demon who had Dean's contract."
"Lilith?" he asked.
Her eyes narrowed further. "How did you know that?"
Sam tilted his head to the side. "I thought she was too powerful for me to face."
Ruby reached out and tapped a finger on the center of his chest, her nail sharp through his thin shirt. "You have no idea what's inside of you, Sam. With a little practice, I can get you ready to take out Lilith, put her down for good. I'm sorry that Dean's gone, but you can still get revenge for him."
He looked down at her, trying to read something, anything, behind her cool green eyes. "I'm not interested," he finally said, taking a step back.
"Excuse me?" Ruby put her hands on her hips. "What, did you decide you really wanted Dean out of the way after all—"
Sam's fist connected with her jaw before she could finish the words. She fell back on the bed but was up again in a second, striking a solid blow to his solar plexus that had him doubling over. Her follow-up kick caught him in the ribs, sending him stumbling backwards against the wall.
When Sam looked up, he saw Ruby examining him more carefully than he could ever remember her doing. "You know something," she said sharply. "Something you didn't the last time I saw you."
Before she could figure out anything else, Sam lunged forward with a quick one-two that sent Ruby's head snapping back. He kept moving forward, plowing a shoulder into her gut and sending her sprawling onto the empty bed, the one nearest the door.
Quick as lightning, Sam rolled forward over his shoulder, closing his hand around the handle of the knife strapped to her thigh. He pulled it free as he came to his feet between the two beds and turned back to face the demon, whose eyes had gone black once she looked up.
Above the bed, a sheet was pinned to the ceiling, black marker demarcating a devil's trap. It had become as much a part of his nightly ritual as salting the entrances to the room, a way of putting something at his back while his brother was gone. He'd have to make another one now, but damn, this was worth it.
"You have no idea what you're doing, Sam," Ruby snarled, rising to her hands and knees.
"Maybe not, but I know I'm not doing it with you," he shot back. "You lied to me all along, Ruby, if you knew Lilith was the one who had Dean's contract. Which means there's no way you're telling me the whole truth now. And I've had enough."
"Sam, you can't—" she began, but he was already moving, gathering up the last of the gun kit before closing the windows and slamming the door behind him.
As Sam moved towards the Impala, the sun slid behind dark clouds, the oven-like heat already beginning to fade. And as he pulled out of the dusty parking lot, the first drops of rain began to fall, the thirsty ground soaking them up like a blessing.