Genre: Angst mainly.
Disclaimer: Not mine and, no, I don't really know what I'm doing. All in fun though. No profit made nor harm intended.
Spoilers: MASSIVE spoilers for "All Hell Breaks Loose", in fact it might not make complete sense if you haven't seen those episodes (because of my habit of sometimes referring to things obliquely), and everything up to that is probably fair game too. I suppose I'm essentially speculating about Season 3, but it's not like I actually know anything about it. I'm just guessing stuff.
Rating: PG for language
Other notes: This ficlet essentially sprung up from a conversation that sholio and I were having about the season finale (our reactions seemed to differ from most other fans we know). The comments about the doors and concrete are directly attributable to her and her husband, so I wanna say thanks indeed for that and all the other idea-bouncing. Also many thanks to rinkle for beta-ing. All mistakes still in it are down to me though. Feedback is always much appreciated. Oh, and it's gen.
Summary: One year after All Hell Breaks Loose, Sam isn't willing to be the Last Man Standing either.
One Winchester, Colt in hand.
That's like a pistol in the hands of a rifle. That's kind of funny when you think about it.
The pistol that they've always just referred to as "the Colt" seems like just an antique gun now. There are no more of its specially made bullets and no demon-hunting gunsmith with the genius to make more. It doesn't have any special demon-killing capacity now and it doesn't have the accuracy or rapid firing of the automatic pistols they prefer to use, but they've kept it clean and oiled and ready for use because, for the past year, to Sam and Dean it's been a whole lot more than just an old gun. It's been a sense of victory that they can actually hold in their hands.
Because one Winchester, Colt in hand, took out the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Put out the nursery fires and made the bastard pay. Did it, first and foremost, to save all of those that the Demon wanted to claim for its own (although maybe one, in particular), but also for the sake a woman who never got to see her children grow and on behalf of the widower who grieved for her until the day he died - and then sold his soul so that his children might live.
Yeah, John Winchester taught his children well.
Now there's only one left standing, and that's not the way it's meant to be.
Sam Winchester has the Colt in his hand and he's not going to accept that. He's simply not going to.
He thinks back on his life and wonders how he managed to spend twenty-two years as a child, twenty-two years as a the kind of spoiled brat whose concept of sacrifice somehow got twisted into "if someone doesn't want me, then I won't have anything to do with them either". Then another year to hold his grief close to his heart, to latch onto revenge as his only outlet for rage, to rebuff his brother's attempts to understand, to actually tell Dean that his hurts were old and well worn and nothing compared to what Sam suffered. Dean called him a selfish bastard and Sam took umbrage at that. It took walking away to realise how much he still had to lose, but still it was knowing only how much he had to lose. He still didn't get it back then, not really. Then one more year for Sam to obsess about his own dark destiny, to worry about the Demon's plans for him, to demand another sacrifice of his brother, to be selfish for just one more year. Because the sacrifice he asked for was not the one he got.
It wasn't hard to work it out, not really. The signs were all there. Dean didn't actually lie that badly. His denial was automatic and perfectly in character, not a bad performance at all. But Sam simply knew, without a shred of doubt, because he knew what Dean would always have done, no matter what he said. And so, there it was. Anyone can say "I'd do anything for you." Words are cheap in this world, but Dean was the sort of person who actually went out and did it. So, it wasn't hard to work out at all.
But dragging a confession out of him meant that they could at least talk about it. And Sam meant every word when he vowed that he would find a way to save his brother. Dean's answering smile shone with real faith and made Sam himself truly believe in his own words. He was so proud of the faith that he saw Dean had in him, that Sam missed the underlying current of tolerant condescension for months. It took him that long to realise that, although Dean had complete and utter faith in Sam's intention to find a way out for him, he didn't really consider it to be an actual possibility and he wasn't making any effort on his own behalf. It was then that Dean admitted to his little brother that his pact had been made with a very hefty penalty for breach of contract.
They'd argued, of course. Sam considered it his life to risk. Dean refused to see it that way. Dean did agree that he wouldn't hinder Sam's attempts, but there was no way that he was going to risk his little brother's life by actively taking part. It made Sam want to scream in frustration. In fact, he did, at one point.
"Me facing whatever comes after this life versus you suffering in Hell for all eternity? There's no contest, man!"
In retrospect, that was probably the most stupid argument Sam had ever put forward in a fight with Dean. They'd agreed before that there was no way of knowing where people's spirits finally ended up when they were sent on their way, but there was no way that it could be worse than Hell. But logically and rationally weighing the pros and cons was pointless, when the simple fact that irreversibly tipped the scales was that if Dean had been prepared to pay that particular price, then he wouldn't have made the stupid deal in the first place.
So, Sam still fiercely declared that he'd find a way to save his brother and Dean still smiled and said, "yeah". Sam researched everything on the subject from every possible angle. And he kept hoarding goofer dust, to which Dean usually just raised his eyebrows and said nothing. But once he commented, "Y'know, I looked that stuff up online, and it's actually mainly used to poison people. Should I be worried, Sammy?" Sam hit back with a sceptical comment about Dean's ability to accurately look up stuff online and Dean pretended to take offence at the insult. And they never talked about it again.
But two days ago, in an old abandoned warehouse, they stood together in a circle of goofer dust. One year, to the day, since he had shuffled off his mortal coil and then had it put back on for him, Sam watched and listened, almost unable to breathe in his nervous intensity. Despite being every bit as watchful, Dean had a strange calm about him that Sam found ominous - with good reason, as it turned out.
When the howl and scratching of the Hellhound was heard at the outside door, Dean bolted. Towards it.
Sam was shocked into immobility for the half-second long enough for his brother to get the necessary headstart to make it out the door. Sam's long legs had never really given him enough of an edge to match Dean's sheer determination. He heard the cry of agony from his brother and the Hellhound's triumphant howl as he reached the door, but by the time Sam got it open again, there was nothing to see but the dust settling. There wasn't even a body to mourn over. It was as if Dean had been dragged body and soul into Hell. Two days ago.
Sam looks up at the crypt doors in front of him. The last time he stood here with a gun in his hand, he emptied the clip into someone. He stood there and methodically pumped one bullet after another into the guy who'd killed him and damned his brother. He knows that with that action he shocked the hell out of said brother.
He'd tried to talk to Dean about it, as they drove away from the cemetery, but Dean was back in full deflection mode. As soon as Sam mentioned the doorway, Dean had spouted off, "If Samuel Colt wanted to seal away the demons for all eternity, why'd he put fucking doors that can be unlocked on his gateway to hell? Why not just seal it with concrete or something? I would." He then went on to threaten to hi-jack a cement-mixer, like they'd done to seal in H.H. Holmes. Sam was forced to point out that he'd never be able to drive it over the terrain. Dean said that he didn't care, he was going to try anyway. He never did, of course.
Sam now thinks he knows why his illustrious namesake opted for a doorway that he could lock from the outside. Not only can it be locked to prevent all the hordes of Hell from getting out, but also a man with the only key could, if he wanted, if he was that recklessly insane, use the doorway to actually go into Hell. If there was some suicidal lunatic determined enough and desperate enough to actually march in there, find where they were holding another suicidal lunatic, grab him by the scruff of the neck and drag his stupid, sorry, self-sacrificing ass back out into the light - well, then the lunatic would have the option to do it.
The Colt - Sam and Dean's tangible victory - isn't just some old gun with sentimental value. Bullets or not, it has one other function that Sam has seen it used for once before and it's for that reason, and no other, that he holds it in his hands now.
He takes a deep breath and one last look around. He's put some very strong protections in place. If he's quick, they'll hold the demons back for the brief time he needs the doors to be open. He's always been one to take precautions and he's not sure if that's something that was imprinted on him from Dean always saying "be careful, Sammy" and "Sammy, look out" when they were kids or if it's due to Sam subconsciously compensating all these years for the fact that, contrary to his own advice, Dean always threw himself headlong into things, seemingly heedless of the dangers. Either way, he figures, it's down to Dean. Then he smiles, as he thinks that everything seems to be down to Dean, in the end.
Sam looks back at the doors and squares his shoulders. Everything's ready. He's ready.
One Winchester, Colt in hand.
And the Gates of Hell shall open.
(Sam Winchester, "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two")