Word count: 1,187
Summary: Missing scene from 7.10, with spoilers. Sam's got one last chance left, even if it's something he swore he'd never do.
A/N: Fills the "making deals with demons" square on my hc_bingo card and doomed to be Kripked as soon as the season resumes. The title is from Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler."
The hard chair of the hospital waiting room has long since turned his ass numb, but Sam barely notices. All he can concentrate on is Dean's constant pacing down the length of the hallway and back, and the still, smirking presence of Lucifer leaning up against the nearest wall. It's a chore to remind himself that Bobby is the reason why they're here, watching the squiggle of the green line on the monitor, hoping (since there's no use in praying) that something will miraculously change for the better.
Then Dean nearly punches a guy out for suggesting that Bobby's not going to make it, and he refuses to listen to Sam even hinting at it, and Sam knows that things can't go on like this. It's only a matter of time before Dick and the rest of the Leviathans catch up to them, and the three of them are like sitting ducks here.
Something's gotta give, and Sam's the only one who might be able to make it break their way.
He meets Lucifer's calmly mocking stare for the first time in hours. When he's sure he has the bastard's attention, he tilts his head sideways, gesturing with his eyes towards an unoccupied room to his right and then back.
Lucifer's eyebrows shoot up, but he unfolds his arms and pushes off the wall. Sam rises to his feet, stretching stiff legs and shoulders, and follows him inside.
He's barely shut the door behind him when Lucifer is rounding on him, far too close for comfort. "So you finally missed our alone time, eh, Sammy?" he smirks.
"Don't call me that," Sam automatically returns. Then he grimaces, the memory flickering through him of how that would only encourage Lucifer to torment him further.
All Lucifer does is look more supercilious than ever. "I know it must be hard for you, Sam," he says in a tone of exaggerated concern. "Your father, or the closest thing to it these days, at death's door, and your brother this close to losing it. I understand that you want to get away—"
Sam cuts him off. "I want to make a deal."
There's no sound beyond the murmur of voices and machinery in the hallway outside. Lucifer looks completely blank, and if Sam's gut wasn't churning like a tilt-a-whirl, he'd be pumping his fist in triumph that he actually made the bastard go speechless.
Then the corner of Lucifer's mouth turns up, and then he's laughing, a full-bellied laugh that makes Sam think of iron chains grating against each other. "Oh, this is too good," he laughs, wiping his eyes. "You mean I get to complete the whole set?"
Sam clenches his jaw, determined not to show any weakness. "Bobby stays alive," he says, pointing towards the room outside theirs where Bobby's life support is beeping away. "He and Dean and I walk out of here unharmed. And when all's said and done, whenever I finally die, you get my soul."
Lucifer cocks his head to the side. "What makes you think I won't already get it?" he asks playfully.
Sam glares at him, murderous anger and deep-seated fear twining together inside of him. "I mean you get it in the cage."
"Now that's interesting." Lucifer rocks back on his heels, hand rubbing over his jaw in a move Sam's sure is designed to look like Dean. "Really, Sam? All that for an old guy in a trucker hat who hasn't trusted you since your soulless self tried to give him an extra-close haircut?"
"Don't tell me you don't want it." Sam draws his head back and pretends to look offended.
"Can't do that," Lucifer admits. "But I'm wondering what the catch is."
Sam snorts and folds his arms over his chest, like it can keep down the nerves fluttering in his stomach. "You, wondering what the conditions are on a deal. That's rich."
"C'mon, Sam, how often does the CEO actually make a sale, hmm? Much less one as desirable and hard-fought as this?"
"Can you do it or not?" Sam retorts.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Lucifer narrows his eyes. "You know I can do anything I want, Sam. You have more than ample proof of that written all over your soul."
"Can you do it?" Sam insists. He thinks of Dean and how he would absolutely kill Sam if he knew he was doing this. But he stands his ground and stares down the devil, ignoring the way his palm is itching. He doesn't need the pain to ground him right now.
There's a long silence. Then Lucifer smirks. "Pleasure doing business with you." He snaps his fingers, and he's gone.
Sam lets out a breath and leans forward, hands braced on his thighs, praying to a God he no longer believes in that he's done the right thing.
A while later, sitting at Bobby's bedside, he's made his peace with it. It's going to hurt like hell, and he doesn't know if Dean is going to be able to handle it, but it's for the best for everyone in the long run. He gets a chance to say goodbye to Bobby, to say thanks even though it's totally inadequate for everything the man has done for them, and if he can get away with never telling Dean what he's done, it's all for the better.
Then Bobby's eyes open, and the ground lurches under Sam's feet. He'd been so sure—he'd known what he was doing with Lucifer, hadn't even sealed the deal in the traditional manner—but now Bobby was reviving against all odds. What if he'd been wrong? What if Lucifer had called his bluff, and he was going back to that place—
But it's a matter of minutes before the old hunter's eyes are closing again after he delivers one final message, and then Sam's standing next to Dean and watching the doctor's fruitless attempts at resuscitation. He can practically hear the crack of Dean's heart breaking, and his own is fracturing inside of him, and he feels guilty as hell for the measure of relief that's sitting beside the anguish and despair.
Because Sam's mind is strong and whole for the first time since the wall went down.
He doesn't have to look around the hospital corridor to know that he and Dean are alone. If Lucifer was real, if he really was haunting Sam's side, he would have jumped at that deal. Sam knows it as surely as he knows his own name, as surely as he knows that Dean will always protect him.
Sam keeps his hands at his sides, thumb away from his palm for the first time in months, knowing for certain that Lucifer is not real. He's called the devil's bluff, or at least his hallucination's bluff, and he's won. He's not going to see that presence out of the corner of his eye—or right in his face—anymore. Somehow, even as the doctor puts aside the paddles and calls the time of death, Sam thinks Bobby would approve.
After calling him an idjit, of course.