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Don't You Cry Tonight

Chapter Text

“We have grown quite fond of each other, haven’t we?”

“Would you let the world die, your brother die, just so I could live?”

“That’s my boy.” He felt her enticing hand grip his chin, demanding that he let her look at him one last time this close. And that’s when her green eyes met his hazel, both pairs watery and full of cryptic understanding that only they knew. The light surrounding her beauty and bravery caressed her face angelically for a moment, and all he wanted to do was kiss her, embrace her – this was his last chance. But then the lighting changed.

A rich red hue overtook the cobwebbed crypt in its entirety. He was plunging the shiny, silver knife into her stomach. Over and over again the scene played out – her warm blood soaking her pale pink dress, her eyes full of sadness and melancholy, her gentle touch reassuring him…

Reassuring him of what? That what he was doing was the right decision? That his love for her was mutual? That he made her care for something, a feeling she had not known for almost four-hundred years? All the above?

Now it was too late. Any second now she would be stumbling away in pain to her heroic death.

WHOOSH.

He was in the bunker. The deep ruby hue was still engulfing his vision. He not longer felt like kind, sweet Sam – he felt like a Sam with no other option, a nauseous gut-wrenching feeling invading his abdomen as looked down at Dean, his brother, badly bruised and bloodied.

“Sammy… please,” he pleaded. Before Sam knew what he was doing, he flung Dean across the room in disgust. Not disgusted with Dean, but by himself. He felt a surging power building inside him, something dark and energetically mysterious – Chuck, or God, his stupid face kept flashing across his mind, the man behind all of this – the reason Rowena was dead.

He suddenly felt as strong as he did when he drank demon blood all those years ago, wrath coursing through his bones…

And then he woke up. Pure white artificial light pooled across the room the second he twisted his bedside lamp’s switch.

“That’s my boy,” her voice echoed.

Could it all have been a nightmare? Was Rowena really –

There it was. Her purse from the crypt along with the Book of the Damned, both neatly residing on his dresser.

Sam groaned in agony and looked at the time on his alarm clock – it was four in the morning. There was no way Dean would be awake yet.

When he made his bed before leaving, he noticed how saturated his pillow felt. He avoided glancing in the mirror, knowing he looked like a mess and wouldn’t like what looked back at him.

The clinking of a glass against wood reached Sam’s tired ears as he ventured down the dimly lit hallway. He peeked into the library area, where Dean was sitting with a sour expression and half a dozen empty bottles.

Sam had half a mind to go back to bed, because he really didn’t feel like dealing with Dean’s bullshit. He was already annoyed with him from earlier, when he tried taking the credit for what Rowena had done. Nobody sacrificed as much as she did – except… no. What a selfish thought.

“What are you doing up?” Dean said briskly, swishing around his crystal glass. Sam met his eyes knowingly and didn’t comment.

“What about you?” Sam asked. “Where’s Cas?”

“Gone.”

“Gone?”

“Gone,” Dean repeated. He coolly slugged his glass, draining it of its amber contents.

“What do you mean he’s gone? Where did he go?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care.”

“You don’t…? Dean, what’s gotten into you? Of course you care about Cas, he’s –“

“Dead to me.”

“Oh, come on.”

“He killed Mom, Sam!” Dean barked, standing up from the table with dangerous force. “And if you think that’s something I’m going to just forget about –“

“Forget?” Sam said quietly. “Dean, after everything we’ve been through, all that we’ve seen… There is no forgetting. Not any of it.” He swallowed hard as fresh tears filled his eyes. The trouble was, Sam wasn’t even sure he was talking about just his mom anymore. “Everyone that we love just keeps on dying. But that doesn’t mean we should forget about those who aren’t.”

Dean set the empty glass down forcefully and stared at his brother with a resolved anger etched into his face. Then he retreated from the room without a single glance backward.

How could Sam ever confide in Dean about his visions? At first, he wasn’t sure what they even were, but now… Now Rowena was dead. He was sure they would only get worse now that she was gone. And there was no telling what he would do next.

Chapter Text

Sam was sitting at a table in the bunker’s library that was unsurprisingly crowded with his laptop, notes, and books. He couldn’t find all that much regarding God and his sinister plan to demolish the world, but he knew he had to at least try. Was a zombie and ghost apocalypse really all he had left them?

“That’s my boy.” As her words penetrated his thoughts for perhaps the billionth time that day, he closed his laptop agitatedly and tiredly ran a hand over his stubbled face. The now familiar vision of himself snapping Dean’s neck telepathically in a room cloaked in incandescent red flashed unwantedly across his mind. His unhealable, probably cursed, gunshot wound twinged like a sharp jab of a knife.

He rubbed his eyes in disbelief, hoping beyond hope that God was somehow fucking with him. Could he though, if he were really gone? Unless. . .

“Maybe he isn’t gone,” Sam countered aloud.

“Maybe who isn’t gone?” Dean asked briskly, his sharp eyes surveying Sam like a Hawk hunting for fresh prey. Sam knew his brother cared, but he didn’t know where to begin with his complex thoughts. Besides, Dean had been snappy ever since his confrontation with Castiel.

“Nothing,” Sam lied with a sigh. “Where are you going?” Dean had the Impala’s keys in one hand and a ready-to-go army-green duffel bag in the other.

“Out. Meeting with an old hunter friend a few towns over for some beers.” Sam suggestible raised an eyebrow whilst turning his attention to the unexplained duffel. “Strip club,” Dean grinned sheepishly.

“Of course,” Sam said, shaking his head with half-amusement.

“And. . .” Dean hesitated a moment before continuing. “He may need my help for a day or so.”

Sam stared incredulously at his brother. “Alright, I’ll be ready to go in five –“

“Oh, no you won’t,” Dean commanded grimly. Sam opened his mouth to protest, but Dean beat him to it. “Come on, Sam, ever since the Rowena thing. . .”

“It isn’t a thing, Dean,” he said through gritted teeth. “I killed her.”

“Yeah, well. . .” his voice trailed off into nothingness, realizing that nothing he said would change his brother’s opinion on the matter. “Just sit this one out, okay?”

“Okay,” Sam said in defeat, sighing loudly and eyeing the messy work space before him. Dean turned his back reluctantly and made for the stairway.

“Hey, maybe you should try calling –“

“Don’t say his name,” Dean warned. His body language was rigid as he slammed the bunker door harder than he intended.

“Bit angsty that one,” a teasing voice pointed out. “Wee bit upset about his boyfriend.”

Sam fumbled out of his seat haphazardly at the sweet familiarity. Rowena’s bright red locks came fluttering out of the nearest archway, her pointed black heels clicking and clacking against the floor.

“Rowena?” Sam implored breathlessly, his heart beating painfully fast against his chest. “Is that. . . you?”

“How many other ravishing red-headed witches do you know, Samuel? Aye, it is me.”

Sam took gigantic steps toward her with open arms and pulled her close. He breathed in the aroma overwhelming his senses – the scent of one loved dearly. Then, the negative, rational thoughts pilfered his brain.

“Wait – how did Dean not see you standing in there?”

“Because I’m in your head, dear, much like that drated Lucifer.”

“You aren’t. . . real?” Sam said, clearly crestfallen.

“Did you forget? I’m in Hell, just where you put me.”

Sam swallowed hard, his mind racing. “Hell? You mean. . . You aren’t dead?”

“No – not exactly.” Rowena smirked playfully. “But you already thought that all on your own, didn’t you Samuel?” His thoughts were so overwhelming, Rowena was forced to grip his chin to redirect his attention, to make him look her directly in the eyes. He immediately felt choked up, being brought back to the crypt’s eerie surroundings.

“That’s my boy.”

And then she was gone – vanished. Sam raced to his seat and instantly cracked open a research book about Hell. Suddenly a pink velvet covered arm appeared beside him, Rowena’s small hand digging into his shoulder affectionately. He jumped in surprise, but relaxed noticing it was Her.

And he couldn’t help but smile.

Chapter Text

               As twilight neared in Lebanon, Kansas, Sam Winchester was quickly jumping out of corridors, peering earnestly into each darkened room in the bunker. His performance was, however, not due to him being unable to sleep, nor was it from any sort of perceived danger. The odd jerking movements and erratic searching were because of Her.

               Rowena’s soothing presence had halted haunting Sam the second Dean returned home last night from his mysterious outing with an unknown hunter friend that lasted several days. Now he was frantically searching for that ruby red mane, petrified that the last few days had all been a dream, or worse, purely a figment of his imagination – well, technically it was either way, but Sam had grown fond of the presence.

               Little did he know, his brother was approaching him from behind with a befuddled expression. He had been dragging his feet sleepily along the cool floor but slowed his roll and silenced his announcement when he noticed Sam’s peculiar behavior. Sam was leaning against a column and peering around It as if he were hiding from some fantastical creature and wanted to know its whereabouts. Or was he searching for something – or someone?

               “Sammy?” Dean questioned, his eyebrows furrowed together in wonder. Sam practically flew around, clearly not expecting Dean’s untimely interruption. “What are you doing?”

               “W-What do you mean?” He answered lamely.

               “Uh – Looking for something?”

               “N-No. I mean, of course not.” Sam made a sad attempt for a smile, which easily faltered under Dean’s scrutinizing stare.

               “Right. Well, I was borrowing your computer for. . . Well, that part doesn’t really matter,” Dean insisted hurriedly, offering a small, suggestive smirk. “Anyway, it keeps beeping.”

               “Beeping? Must be my email,” Sam said absentmindedly, his eyes energetically roving around the foyer.

                Beep-beep. Beep-beep.

               “Dude, will you just check this thing?” Dean said heatedly. “I need to use it and I can’t get in the mood with –“

                Sam snatched the laptop from his clutches agitate and sat down at one of the wooden tables located in the library. The little envelope indicated he had an email from a correspondent that he deemed important, hence why it kept beeping. He set this system up so he would be informed quickly to emergencies. But this no longer made any sense – who would be emailing him? Almost everyone he knew was dead.

                And that’s when he noticed the contact name.

                Rowena.

________________________________

 

                Sam was ogling the screen with his mouth wide open, dumbfounded by the name on the screen.

                “Hot brunette?” Dean said teasingly. “Or redhead? Because I’ve been noticing your changes in taste.”

                “R-Rowena,” he said breathlessly.

                Dean looked impressed. “I didn’t know you had it in you. But don’t you think it’s a little weird to look at those when she’s –“

                “Not pictures, Dean,” Sam snapped. “She sent me an email. Or, at least somebody did using her name.”

                Dean raced over to be beside him as he opened it, and he half-wished he hadn’t. He felt very protective of Rowena’s privacy, and who knows what this might say?

                It was a video file, much like what Gabriel had sent them after they thought Lucifer killed him. Sam downloaded the file and watched the numbers rise with a weak stomach. Couldn’t Dean leave him alone for just a few minutes?

                Download complete. Sam opened the file the second it was available. He felt his cheeks grow warm as Dean kept side-glancing at him expectantly.

                “Hello boys,” Rowena greeted, a sad smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Sam’s stomach clenched with a sickening disappointment. What had he expected? A message solely for him, a message revealing. . . No, it didn’t matter. Not now.

                “If you’re seeing this, then Samuel must have finally ended my life.” Sam’s eyes swam with tears and he felt as if he was going to vomit. Rowena looked so beautiful, so together, for someone facing the inevitable. “If you think I didn’t pick up a thing or two from that friend of yours, you’d be surprised.”

                “Charlie,” Dean grunted.

                “Now, you two listen closely. If I’m dead, that means I’m not coming back – that’s what the prophecy said. Which also means that there are some very powerful objects sitting inside my apartment unattended and unprotected. I trust you do not want such things falling into the wrong hands.”

                “You got that right sister,” Dean agreed. Sam desperately wished Dean would shut up.

                “There is one witch in particular who will be watching the place, I think. . .” Rowena hesitated and swallowed hard. “You’ll have to beware of that one. Her power is strong.” She just sat there in prolonged silence as Sam hit the pause button. This statement was enough for Dean, who rubbed his hands together in resignation.

                “Awesome - witches. More friggen witches!” Dean said sagely. “Great. We’ll leave first thing tomorrow.” He then left the room in a foul temper, not so much affected by their dead friend’s appearance.

                Just as Sam was about to start the video clip over, just to hear her voice again, when he hit the play button and Rowena continued. Her voice was so solemn, her eyes so heartbroken, that Sam felt all choked up and almost had to pause it. But he couldn’t let her down.

                “Samuel. . . You may never see this, but it must be said.

                “I know we’ve grown quite. . . fond of one another, yes? Don’t forget what you said to me, several years ago now: ‘We’ve changed other’s fates and maybe we can change yours.’ You tried, Samuel, I know you did. But it just wasn’t our – my fate,” she corrected herself, almost on the verge of tears. Her eyes also looked terrified at her implication. “Don’t be so sad, dear. You and your brother have a world to save.”

                And that was that. The screen went black, leaving Sam with a heavy heart and a jumbled head.

                When did she make this? And what did she mean by ‘our fate?’  Could it really be what he had hoped for? Even so, he wasn’t sure if that made him feel relieved or more miserable.

________________________________

                The following day, Sam and Dean found themselves traveling in the Impala headed towards Rowena’s sophisticated apartment. He remembered how one of the last times he had been there, he was petrified that Jack was going to hurt her, or worse, kill her, all because of what happened between him and Sam’s mother, Mary.

                He probably should have told Rowena then.

                Dean pulled into an empty parking spot effortlessly, the classic rock music coming from a Led Zeppelin cassette tape bellowing in their ears. Dean flicked the key, the car coming to a rumbling noise followed by silence.

                “Let’s go get us a witch,” Dean said, double-checking his belt for his handgun. His weapon was loaded with witch-killing bullets, as was Sam’s.

                Sam said nothing. He cautiously led the way through the front door and up several flights of stairs until they reached her apartment door – or what was her apartment door. A gaping hole stood where it once was.

                He sneakily withdrew his handgun, an action that Dean readily mirrored. They were just about to edge inside when –

                CRASH! Dean was thrown off his feet, his body slamming into the opposite wall.

                “Dean!” Sam cried, turning around for a split second before raising his gun to the empty air.

                “Ah, company. And I’m guessing you two are the Winchesters?”

                BOOM!

                Sam had fired his weapon into nothingness. Was she somehow invisible? No, but the moment Sam’s eyes met her wild gaze, her hands extended outward and he knew he was far too late. He tried raising his gun and backing out the door before he felt his body leave the floor violently. Everything went black.

________________________________

                Sam’s eyelids fluttered open right before he jerked in surprise. A slender blonde was rummaging through a mahogany drawer, her expression hungry and malevolent.

                “Where’s my brother?” Sam growled suddenly, the lack of his presence dawning on him.

                “He’s escorting my partner to the bunker as we very speak,” she hissed.

                “The bunker?” Sam said in surprise. “Why would you want –“

                “I thought Rowena said you were the smart one?”

                Sam stared at her for a whole minute, sending her promptly back to her task.

                “Wait a minute. . . The book?”

                “Of course I want the Book of the Damned!” she answered maliciously. “Why Rowena entrusted it to you two idiots, I’ll never know – although. . .”

                “Although what?” Sam snapped. All the witch did was grin sardonically. She started rifling through a cabinet, carelessly throwing objects around the room. Rage pilfered through Sam’s veins. He angrily twitched his body, trying to break free from her ropes. They didn’t budge in the slightest, which led Sam to believe that they were enchanted by her somehow.

                “Aw – you’re trying to break free?” she said in a honeyed tone, tossing an unidentified object across the room.

                “Leave. The stuff. Alone,” Sam demanded through gritted teeth.

                “Why should I? She’s dead, and this stuff is up for the taking, Sam.”

                “How do you know my name? And don’t give me all that ‘your famous’ crap.”

                “I wasn’t always Rowena MacLeod’s enemy,” she responded darkly. “Not until you came along did I realize how weak she really was.”

                “Rowena, weak?” Sam couldn’t help but laugh coldly. “If she were here, you’d already be dead.

                “Her powers are of no doubt. But her priorities. . . those were never right again once she became your ally.”

                A pregnant pause followed this exchange. Sam couldn’t find the answer to one question, however.

                “How is it that you just happen to know that Rowena is dead?”

                “All witches keep track of other witches. Not just for protection, but out of curiosity.” Sam narrowed his eyes, not believing this to be the full story.

                “I’m not just any witch, Sam. I have the gift of sight.”

                “So, you saw Rowena die?”

                “I saw her rip out her lifeline, her final chance, and lots of blood. I did not see how or why.” The witch rotated on the spot slowly to face Sam. “But I reckon you do know.”

                Sam lowered his eyes sadly in response.

                “Ah, so the Winchesters were involved. I thought so – she did too.”

                “What do you mean?” he said quickly.

                She smiled wickedly. “Let me show you.” She glided toward him with outstretched arms, moving so fast Sam barely had the chance to utter “No!” and try wriggling free.

________________________________

                “No!” Sam shouted, but it went unheeded. The moment the witch touched his forehead his vision became fuzzy. He felt his head droop and his eyes close; then he bolted awake. He was no longer tied, but he still couldn’t move out of the chair. . .

                That’s when he noticed Her – Rowena.

                “Rowena?” Sam said aloud, but she paid no attention to him. When knocks thumped against the front door, Rowena looked right in Sam’s direction and apparently could not see him, either.

                Rowena looked through the peephole, her stance immediately stiffening,

                “I know you’re in there. Open up, or I’ll force my way inside.”

                Rowena inhaled sharply and yanked the entrance open. The visitor was the other witch.

                “Mel,” Rowena greeted unhappily. “To what do I owe the honor?”

                “You’re going to die,” she said bluntly. “For someone or something.”

                Rowena’s countenance could not have been more hardened. “I’m aware.”

                “Your. . . What?”

                “Sam Winchester is destined to kill me at some point – it was only a matter of time.”

                “Then why the Hell are they your allies?”

                Rowena said nothing and turned to her wardrobe, where she took out the soft pink velvet dress she had been wearing the night Sam stabbed her. “I have something to try that may prevent – “

                “You know what I see almost always comes true.” Rowena again went silent. “I want the book, Rowena. You won’t be needing it soon.”

                “Soon, but perhaps not now. I am not in possession of it, at the moment. I left it with the boys. I’m only here to get a few supplies.”

                “What’s with you and those Winchesters? No, scratch that, what’s with you and Sam?”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rowena said promptly, but her cheeks were pinkening to a shade that rivaled her dress.

                “You care about them – but you love him. Don’t you?” Rowena opened her mouth and then closed it. “Falling in love! With a man who has tried killing you, nonetheless! What happened to you?”

                “Redemption,” Rowena said bravely.

                “More like weakness,” she snarled. “Love.

                And then everything went black.

                ________________________________

                Dean was firing at Mel, his shotgun shells bounding off the walls in all directions. The witch was too quick for him, maneuvering flawlessly out of the line of fire.

                One thing Sam noticed was that he could move again due to the distraction. Another was that Mel had confiscated his own gun and it was who knows where.

                “You’re the most seasoned witch amongst this lot,” Rowena had encouraged.

                He tried channeling all of it; energy, magic, and even Rowena and her power. What was that one spell she used all the time?

                “Abi!” Sam yelled. Nothing happened. Bullets were ricocheting and one nearly rebounded at Dean. Mel was shouting spells left and right, those also narrowly missing his brother. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Abi!” he yelled again, this time more confidently.

                Mel flew backward and smashed a nearby glass case into a million pieces. Dean met Sam’s eyes in confusion, but that didn’t last long – he skillfully aimed his weapon and pulled the trigger.

                Now that was taken care of.

                But Sam wasn’t thinking about that. He was too preoccupied remembering the memory Mel showed him; what Rowena had confirmed about her feelings for him.

                After they disposed of the corpse, Sam and Dean collected anything and everything that they deemed suspicious, dangerous, or peculiar.

                “Sammy,” Dean said suddenly, about to carry the final box down the steps. “Are you good?”

                “Yeah,” Sam replied softly. “I’m good.” And he thought he at least half-meant it. He glanced nostalgically around the apartment one final time, carrying a small bag of personal items he wanted to keep. He followed Dean down the steps and loaded the items into the Impala.

                When they sat inside, Dean started the ignition but kept it in park.

                “Are you sure you’re okay?” Dean stared at him uncertainly. “What was that bitch doing to you when I got there? Your eyes were wide open and you were smiling, but you seemed out of it.”

                “I don’t know,” Sam lied. He didn’t feel like exposing Rowena for who she really was to him, not when she tried so hard to hide it. She had been embarrassed enough about the Michael scenario.

                Dean put the Impala in drive and Sam could swear he saw a flash of red in the rear-view mirror. He looked in the back seat and all he saw was boxes.

                A longing Sam had not known since Jessica and Madison died plagued him the entire way home.

                And he knew Rowena would have felt the same way, a feeling she hadn’t felt in almost three-hundred years, since Crowley’s father left her.

                He loved her, and she loved him. And that was enough to keep him going.

                In her honor.

Chapter Text

“What’s up, Harry Potter?” Dean welcomed, grinning mischievously as he stepped into the Bunker’s dimly lit library. Ever since the incident at Rowena’s apartment, his brother had not failed to mercilessly tease him about the magic he performed. Of course, the jokes came after the incessant badgering of where these so-called powers came from.

Sam was unceasingly typing with intense concentration etched all over his face.

“I thought I found us a case, but it looks like Cas. . . somebody else is on it.” A peculiar popping sound grasped his attention, forcing him to look up at the other end of the hall. Dean was childishly making noises with his mouth, his boots elevated in a relaxed manner on the long wooden table. “Dean, do you mind?”

“No, I don’t mind,” he said absently, reclining backward with his seat. He had on his hotdog pajamas again, an article of clothing he hasn’t stopped lounging around in ever since his outing with an old hunter friend. His laziness associated with constant television screens the last few days were catching up with him, his eyes no longer sparkling and instead resorting to a puffy, irritated red. Sam had never really realized how old Dean was getting. The lines on his face seemed to have sprouted overnight a few weeks ago, the stress of the job, of their lives finally catching up.

“Sam,” Dean said suddenly, jerking into a normal sitting stance.

“What?” Sam asked, his forehead scrunching in concern.

“Rowena.”

“Where? Where is she?” Sam said, jumping upward.

“What do you mean where is she?”

“Wait, what are you talking about?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Dean!” Sam warned with a hint of a threat in his tone.

“I just remembered one of the spells we found in her apartment. The one you two hid from me that could have brought back Mom?”

“No,” Sam said with finality. “We aren’t bringing her back, Dean. You heard what Cas said. . . She’s happy. She’s with Dad!”

“Yeah, in Heaven, Sam. Who the hell knows what Chuck has planned for her now that we know he’s back? And how do we know Cas even told us the truth?”

“Cas isn’t the bad guy, Dean. He wouldn’t have lied –“

“And what if God decided to play more games? More lies? We don’t even know if she’s really even there!”

“But we do know somebody who isn’t there. In Heaven, I mean.”

Dean stared at Sam in bewilderment. “Who?”

“Rowena.”

_______________________________

“Rowena’s gone, Sam. You have to let her go.”

“Oh, you mean like how you’re letting Mom go?” Sam snapped. “You haven’t spoken to Cas in weeks.”

“That’s different – she’s our Mom!”

“And Rowena is my. . . Rowena is our friend,” Sam finished lamely.

Right,” Dean scoffed. “Look, I miss her too, I really do. But there’s nothing we can do for her. She sacrificed herself so she could –“

“Save us and the world. Something that we’ve done countless times, Dean. So why should we live while she just. . .” Tears threatened to be unleashed. He cast his glance upward, a gesture that was sure to halt the flow of water at least a little.

“I never said it was fair. Rowena being dead just makes this whole thing harder, on all of us.”

“But that’s the thing. . .” he started slowly, knowing exactly where this conversation would end up if he sprung it on him too fast. “I’m not sure that she is dead.”

Dean looked at Sam as if if he just chucked perfectly good bacon in the garbage. His eyes were popping out of the sockets incredulously, and it was no mistake that several moments passed before he spoke with a gravelly voice. “You can’t be serious.”

“Why not?” Sam said heatedly. “Listen, if Rowena was alive when she fell into that hole –“

Barely. Barely alive.”

Barely, but still, alive. Cas told us that Belphegor was trying to become King of Hell by sucking up all the ghosts with the Horn, right? So what if when Rowena attracted all those souls to her, what if it was the same outcome? What if she’s down in Hell right now?”

Dean did not look at all convinced of this revelation.

“Why wouldn’t Rowena have come back then?”

“Maybe she can’t.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know.”

Dean chuckled darkly, shaking his head in disbelief. “So, you want us to somehow break into hell. . . How?”

“Well, I think we would have to ask Cas for –“

“If you want Cas’ help, fine. But don’t drag me into it,” he demanded sharply.

“Dean, I need your help. You’re my brother, and the best friend I’ve got.”

Dean nodded his head curtly and abruptly stood up, vacating the room in grim silence. Sam knew what side he chose and thanked him gratefully in his head.

_______________________________

“You think Rowena is alive?” Castiel questioned.

“Yes,” Sam replied. “Can you help?”

“I don’t know,” he sighed. “Don’t you think she would have come back if she was?”

“Oh, well, I –“

Dean snatched the cell phone from Sam aggressively and barked, “Do you think you can help or not?”

“Dean. . .” Castiel greeted, a small but sad smile pulling at the corners of his lips. The smile suddenly disappeared when he remembered the words he and Dean exchanged not too long ago, when he accused him of killing Rowena. His tone lost all sense of softness and resorted to being emotionless and insincere. “I think I can help.”

Dean was taken aback at the sudden change but said nothing of it. He was not going to apologize to some angel who was the reason behind Rowena’s death, and more importantly, his Mom’s. . .

“But he isn’t just some angel,” a voice reminded Dean from the deep recesses of his mind. “He’s like a second brother to you.”

Dean abruptly hung up the phone and roughly placed it down beside Sam.

“It’s taken care of. He’ll be here tomorrow.”

_______________________________

Sam was checking the contents of his bag that he would be bringing to Hell in the Bunker’s entrance hall, waiting on Castiel to arrive. Dean was hiding somewhere in his room, most likely moodily packing his belongings to go on a mission he scarcely saw the importance of. If it wasn’t for his obvious guilt about leaving Sam for a hunter friend, Sam doubted Dean would have still agreed to come.

Now was the best opportunity he would get. Sam slipped from the room with his bag and descended a metal staircase. Down below were most of Rowena’s prized possessions – or, at least most of her magical ones. Sam kept a few things in his bedroom in private, but he couldn’t bring himself to smuggle anything magical. Not with Dean as suspicious as he was.

The spell for reviving the dead was tucked in a leather-bound notebook that Rowena had kept for years as a diary. It wasn’t a heartfelt exposé but a spell book catalog. Sam read passage by passage, not skipping a single piece of information. Seeing her handwriting, smelling her sweetly intoxicating rose scent within the parchment pages, was enough to keep him going.

This spell was something Rowena never got around to finishing. As Dean mentioned, it was something she had been working on to bring back their Mom when Jack finished her off, not leaving a single body part behind besides an empty shell.

This would allow anyone to come back, with no body needed.

Sam tucked the instructions into his pocket with his own written notes. He thought he had come up with the remaining parts of the missing invocation and hoped beyond hope that it would work. . . In case Rowena really was dead.

He didn’t pride himself in keeping stuff from his brother, but he knew this was something he would never understand. Sam knew he himself would probably not get it either, if the roles were reversed – risking everything to find Rowena, who may be alive, or who may be dead.

Deep down, Sam knew. . .

When Sam returned to the quarter’s upstairs, Dean was grouchily slugging a beer.

“Dean, don’t you think it’d be smart to be sober when in Hell?” Dean finished off the amber liquid before commenting.

“Not always.” He smirked cheekily and Sam couldn’t help but offer a weak smile.

The door inched open above where they stood, revealing their friend in his infamous cream trench coat.

“Sam. Dean,” Castiel nodded. He avoided Dean’s accusatory gaze and instead opted to look at Sam. “All the ways we once used seem to be in disarray.”

"How do you know?” Dean tested.

“I went to them all. Most of them have collapsed in on themselves. And unless you want to reenter purgatory. . ."

“I will,” Sam piped up. “And I know just who to ask.”

“Who?” Dean wondered.

“Lilith.”

“Oh, no!” his brother said sternly. “You are not asking some white-eyed demon whore to bring your ass to purgatory!”

“Whore of Babylon,” Castiel pointed out. Dean’s eyes seemed to turn to daggers in that instant. “I made it to Hell through purgatory before –“

“Yeah, and that just worked out so well last time,” Dean said sarcastically. “No, end of story.” He darted from the room in a wave of heated energy.

“I see Dean is not in the happiest of moods,” Castiel guessed.

“Yeah,” Sam agreed, sulkily glancing at where Dean had just stood. “Cas, you have to help me. I know Dean doesn’t want this, but I’m at my wit’s end here.”

Castiel did not even hesitate. “Let’s go.”

“Really? No argument? No, ‘what about Dean?’”

“I’ve had enough defending your brother,” Castiel disclosed tersely. “He doesn’t need me anymore. But that doesn’t mean you don’t.”

_______________________________

“Sam?” Dean hesitantly called, his voice’s echo dissolving into silence. “Cas?”

The Bunker was empty. Dean searched the foyer, the library, the kitchen, the basement, Sam’s bedroom, and even the bathroom.

“SAM! That son of a bitch.”

_______________________________

“Any leads?” Sam asked, turning the Impala’s steering wheel to the right gently. They were cruising down a dark highway with not a clue where they were headed.

“Omens are everywhere. . . she’s been traveling.”

“Where are the most recent ones?”

“Make for the east,” Castiel said suddenly. Sam sharply drove left across the grass barrier and headed in the opposite direction. Seconds later he turned right.

“It seems she was in New Jersey last night. The night before that she was in Alaska.”

“Alaska?”

“Much evil lurks there.”

“Right,” Sam said. “We should be there by tomorrow.”

_______________________________

Sam parked the car in a desolate lot, the chilly wind caressing his face and bringing about the aroma of the fresh sea. Castiel got out of the Impala first, his eyes analyzing the solitude.

“Are you sure this is where the radio station said?” They had made a stop in the middle of the night so Sam could drive again, because during the early night Sam thought it would be best if he got a little rest. At the gas station in western New Jersey, a local news station on the radio interviewed some guy who was positive he had relations with an alien. During the middle of the act, her eyes turned a milky white and her actions were. . . otherworldly.

Definitely Lilith.

“This is it,” Sam sighed. Where the hell were they supposed to start? “Let’s try there. It’s the nightclub the guy said he met her.” He checked his cell phone periodically throughout the night and realized Dean stopped trying hours ago.

“Dean will figure it out,” Castiel mentioned, his head indicating the phone. “We have to move fast.”

“That you do,” a chilling, feminine voice said from behind. Sam and Castiel jumped, Sam taking out his handgun in record time and Castiel gripping his blade. A young blonde was leaning on the Impala suggestively, her arms folded.

“Though, I do miss Dean. I had my chance with you, Sam. Don’t you think it’s only fair I have a piece of your brother?”

“How did you find us?” Sam requested through gritted teeth.

“What do you think?” Lilith smirked.

“She knew we were coming,” Castiel groaned.

“Because you led us here,” Sam said simply. “I thought so. Only, I walked into this trap willingly.”

The satisfaction was wiped off Lilith’s face in an instant.

“You Winchesters really don’t get it, do you? You can’t go against God – you can’t go against me! The only reason you killed me the last time was because you had demonic powers, Sam.”

“But that’s not what you want, is it?”

"Excuse me?” Lilith said in a bored tone.

“You said it yourself. You hated being woken up by God – you died because you wanted to be dead. You wanted to sacrifice yourself to bring about Lucifer’s return.”

Lilith took several steps forward and Sam put his finger on the weapon’s trigger, despite knowing it would be of no use.

“Do you mean to kill me, Sam? Do you really think that’s what He wants?”

“No,” Sam said. “Not yet. But I will find a way to kill you. Whether it’s God’s will or not. So,” he lowered the firearm, “You’re going to help me. Because if you help me, you’re as good as dead.”

_______________________________

“What is it that you want?” Lilith asked curiously.

Castiel did not look happy with Sam’s negotiating skills.

“I want to get into Purgatory.”

“Purgatory?” she laughed coldly. “What could you want there?”

“A secret entrance to Hell.”

Lilith’s mirth vanished. “You want to get into Hell? Interesting. . . God said nothing of this.”

“Yup. So, you’re going to take me to Purgatory, and then you’re going to come back here and tell him,” he pointed at Castiel, “Where God is and what he’s planning.”

Lilith threw her head back. “I want to be dead, but I’m not stupid. God can do punishments crueler than anyone would have thought.

“Sam,” Castiel warned, “Do you really think this is such a good idea?”

Sam ignored him and put all his focus on Lilith. “I’ll make sure you die and never come back. And that’s a promise you know I’ll keep.”

“You Winchesters never learn, do you?” Lilith grinned sadistically. “Okay, fine. I’ll take you to Purgatory. And I’ll tell your angel what I know about God’s plans. But I can’t tell you where he is. I don’t know.

“You said you talked to him –“

“He summons me when he wants. But he never stays in one place for long.”

“Right. Cas, you make sure she follows her end of the bargain. And keep Dean away from her – he won’t be able to do anything besides get himself killed.”

Castiel blew air from his nose and remained silent.

“Don’t you remember how I make my deals sealed, Sam?” A wicked smile formed across her face. “A little fun in the bedroom. . .” Lilith moved so close to Sam that her nose was inches from his own.

“You can consider our deal sealed with the guy you had fun with last night.” Lilith took a step back.

“That isn’t how this works.”

“Neither is this,” Sam cajoled. “What you’re about to do for me. Hunters and demons. . .” “

Like hunters and witches?” Lilith winked seductively and grabbed Sam’s arm before he could protest, before the world went black with a yell from Castiel.

_______________________________

Sam awoke with a splitting headache. He was positioned beneath a dying pine tree, the needles yellowing sulkily and the branches drooping so low it acted as a cloak of concealment. He recognized where he was right away.

Without warning, a rogue arm snatched at his head. In a tornado of movement, all he could see were pointed teeth and needle-like claws. A sinister snarl was the last thing he heard before he went unconscious.