There’s a moment between the kitchen fading out (he’s talking to his mom about helping her clean the dishes, knows that Dean is in the living room, stuffing his face with pie, that Cas is joking around with Jack, that they are all together, they are alive, they are happy) and waking up cold and in pain and terrified staring up at a naked cave ceiling with a sharp rock digging between his shoulder blades. There’s a moment between happiness and terror, in which Sam feels nothing but an overwhelming sense of wrong, the feeling drenched in familiarity. That moment between is empty and bright, the golden glow of dream slipping into gray reality, passing through a blinding light on the way.
That moment is enough to make Sam shoot up, grasping at his neck (it’s no longer torn, there’s not even a scratch, and his scrambling fingernails only rake over flaking, dried blood) as his heart jackrabbit hammers in his chest. Sam remembers waking up in a cabin with an aching crushed throat and fire in his gut and terror for his brother forcing his shaking limbs up. But this time is different for far more than the fact that he’s suspiciously not in any pain. There’s something wrong (blinding light wrapping around him, dragging him back, like another cabin in another forest) and Sam scrambles away and up, eyes racing through the room, as his hands continue roaming over his body, checking, even though Sam’s pretty sure he knows what they will find. There’s dried blood all over his jacket, matting his hair, some even splattered on his face, starting to itch. There’s iron specks on his tongue and the smell itself is pungent, but he’s no longer bleeding, not even a slow, sluggish trickle, not even a droplet. He remembers slapping his hand against his neck and feeling warm blood squirting through his fingers only for the flow to stop mysteriously another time and his heart starts beating impossibly faster as he whirls around. He’s so cold and now he knows why.
Seeing Lucifer again, his face illuminated from below by the flashlight the angel is holding, is both expected (inevitable, Sam thinks, this was inevitable. There was never a way this story was going to end without Lucifer looming over him again) and terrifying. Sam wants to turn and run, but he knows it wouldn’t help (this he knows intimately, he’s learned his lesson, running from the devil only entices him to give chase). So he stays, frozen, watching as Lucifer breaks into a smile and then draws his face into a grimace as if he and Sam were sitting at a campfire, telling scary stories.
“Boo!” Lucifer says and despite himself, despite knowing how pathetic it is, Sam jumps, adrenaline spiking even higher and still he knows he can’t run. Even if he knew a way out, even if he thought he could outrun him, his legs won’t let him move. He’s rooted to the spot. He watches Lucifer laugh and throw his head back, his face fading behind the flashlights beam for a second, before he sits slightly more upright and turns the flashlight off. “Hey, Sammy”, he says once he’s done laughing at Sam’s terror.
Sam’s first instinct is to hiss back (because no one but Dean gets to call him Sammy, that’s not for anyone else to use), but the shock has turned to ice that’s keeping him frozen to the ground, unable to look away. The word that tumbles out of his mouth is more muscle memory than a conscious choice. “No.” It’s as much a plea as a refusal, the wish not to believe and yet the terrible, horrible knowledge that this… this is real. Realer than anything else.
Lucifer’s lips twitch, not into an angry frown, not yet, but into an arrogant and self assured smirk. Somehow that’s scarier. Somehow that’s more like the cage. “Yeah, I mean, you could do the whole pinch yourself, rub your eyes thing, or you could put on your big boy pants and just, you know, cut right to the realization that yep, it’s me.”
Sam wants to refuse, desperately wants to pinch himself, take his thumb and dig it into the tender meat on his palm, into the place where the scar used to be before Gadreel, wants nothing more than to wake up. But he can’t, because he knows inside himself that this is not a dream or a hallucination in the same way he knows that this was inevitable. Hadn’t he felt the dark cloud of premonition hanging over this plan? Hadn’t he, like Dean, like Cas, been so desperate that the danger had been acceptable, even though deep down he had know there was a prize to pay and he would be the one to pay it? By now the short confidence he had felt when they had Lucifer tied up and on his knees feels incomprehensible, more the actions of a madman than himself.
“You brought me back”, he finally stammers out, his mind flashing back to a motel room from a lifetime ago, to yet another time where he had woken covered in his own blood, a time where the devil had also been waiting for him to rise again. For a moment he considers escaping like he did back then, thinks about the gun strapped to his leg and wonders if he’d managed to draw it fast enough to end it. But the thought of waking up again, still unsure of Lucifer’s intentions and probably with a complimentary headache for pissing him off, is even less appealing. It also feels useless, just another futile action, because if Lucifer wants him back, he’ll just bring him back.
Lucifer smirks and gets up, runs his fingers over a pillar as if to check for dust, as if he’s not completely and totally focused on Sam. It doesn’t work and Sam knows he knows that. The pretending still sets his teeth on edge. The not-knowing was always the worst part. “I did. You’re welcome.”
“Why?” He thought Lucifer didn’t need him anymore. Not as a vessel, not now that Nick has been made capable of holding him permanently. And a Lucifer that wants something that Sam isn’t sure he can give (not that there’s anything he wants to give, but sometimes, there’s a lesser evil, something that he will only hate himself for and not something that will have disastrous side effects on everyone else), is a dangerous Lucifer, vastly more so than normally. He barely hears Lucifer’s reply (it’s not about what he wants, that much he can tell at least, just some useless fucking taunt), because suddenly he’s thinking about where Lucifer must have come from to follow him here.
“The rift.” Lucifer had to have come through the rift, passed from their world to this apocalyptic place. And if he came through the rift- “Rowena.” Guilt crashes over him like a wave and he wonders how Lucifer killed her this time (he still remembers Lucifer’s taunting voice ringing out through his phone speaker and the description that made it all too easy to imagine how exactly she had died, blunt force trauma and broken skull, not enough time to choke on her own blood, but maybe just enough time to taste it. For a second he feels himself relax in gratitude, that Lucifer probably hadn’t had the time to make this death more brutal than the last. Maybe, just maybe, he had simply snapped his fingers and turned her body into a bloody mist now dusting the Bunker’s walls.)
Lucifer rolls his eyes, displeasure written all over his face and a small part in Sam screams at him to grovel and beg forgiveness (not that it would help, but it would be something to do at least), but he forces that part down. He’s in a different place, he can’t fall into old patterns now. “Oh, she’s okay. I mean, I was going to kill her, but she blasted me here before I had a chance to, so... It’s great, self-defense. But I was coming here anyway.”
Sam files that away, feeling hope welling up inside him despite everything. With Rowena alive… there might be a chance. She might find a way to keep the rift open and maybe, just maybe, there is a possibility they’ll get out. He ignores the need to beg forgiveness for those thoughts as well. Instead he makes his way through some expected questions, asking how Lucifer brought him back when just a few hours ago he was bleeding grace into a bowl on his knees. As Lucifer answers, talking about cannibalizing his siblings, Sam lets his eyes travel away from Lucifer over to the walls of the cave. He hadn’t been conscious anymore when the vampires had dragged him here (if they had even dragged him here. If it hadn’t been Lucifer that had lifted his limb rag-doll body and carried him here). He tries not to think of that possibility, lets the more urgent task at hand push that question away. He feels a cool current of air blowing against his neck, strong enough that there might be a way out behind him. He scowls at Lucifer’s flippant response to his question of what he wants and tightens his grip around his bag. Before he can think better of it, he turns around and faces the darkness. Lucifer is clearly grinning when he asks him if he’s going and pushes the flashlight into Sam’s sight of vision, a mocking offering. Grabbing his own flashlight and pointing it down the cave Sam already suspects that something is waiting for him down there. The hungry vampires hissing and snarling at him make his neck burn and Sam grows dizzy for a second.
Lucifer’s self assured chatter and the not-at-all veiled threat ring in Sam’s ears and he whirls around again, the terror he’s feeling finally turning into anger. If Lucifer wants to continue spouting cryptic bullshit, he can do that by himself. He’s not in the cage anymore and Lucifer is no longer his God.
“What do you want?”, he demands, sacrilegious rage in the words. The answer that follows is both terrifying and predictable and his anger drains away as Lucifer reveals his wants. Of course this is about Jack. Jack and his powers, Jack that Sam managed to protect from Lucifer so far, Jack who is now in horrible danger. Being referred to as a gift, an object, something to be handed over and exchanged in return for something else at least doesn’t throw him much. He’s used to that. He still flinches when Lucifer reaches out and pushes his finger against Sam’s chest, the movement playful, but much too reminiscent of times when the hand didn’t stop and instead reached inside him, ice cold fingers worming their way through his chest and into his soul.
His ears are still ringing when Lucifer brags about being the one to lift him from the darkness and into the light and for the first time since he woke up in the cave, a feeling beside terror and rage creeps up his throat. Shame, slimy and bitter, clogs his throat up and makes it hard to breathe. He wants nothing more than to deny it, wants to rage and scream and assert himself, assert his own personhood, his goddamn autonomy, but he can feel the claim Lucifer has on his soul, knows intimately that Lucifer has always held that claim, marked as an infant with demon blood, reinforced when Lucifer poured himself inside of him and wore him like a custom-tailored suit, affirmed again and again in the cage (and oh god, he can’t think about that now, can’t let his thoughts drift there, not if he wants to be able to find a way out of here). It’s not then, the early years when Sam fought and struggled and screamed, this is different and Sam has other people to think about. He has Jack to think about. He has to stay alert, stay in the here and now, if he wants to have even the slightest chance. He has to cooperate. And so he swallows the shame, tries not to let it burrow too deep. It’s tactical he tells himself not to respond to it. It’s smart not to let the enemy know where your weak points are. He ignores that it doesn’t matter what he does, that Lucifer knows him too well for that, ignores that way Lucifer is grinning at him.
He asks what Lucifer is planning if he says no - needs to know how important he still is to Lucifer now, now that it’s confirmed it’s not him he wants, needs to know how much he can get away with, needs to know if there’s a chance to strike a bargain - and bristles at Lucifer calling him Sammy again, before feeling himself deflate when Lucifer lays down his options, makes him make a choice which isn’t a choice at all. Sam wishes selfishly and desperately he could chose death, chose to walk into the waiting vampires and let them tear him to pieces, one last bloodbath before he can rest, but he knows that choice, like so many others before, has been taken from him. He closes his eyes, allows his mind to take the second to think about it, to wonder about the possibilities of a permanent death in this world (would Billie collect his soul here as well to toss him into the empty or would he have to wait for a reaper to find him and guide him to a strange heaven? Or would no reaper ever appear, unable to locate him since he is not of this world, forcing him to wander aimlessly?). But it is not an option he can choose and even if he died, he might still just wake up in the cave again and then who’s to say that Lucifer will heal him as completely as he did this time, leaving his body unblemished to handle the still harrowing walk to the campsite, leaving his body unbroken to allow him at least the allusion of hope that he could fight, could run if the possibility presented itself. Sam knows how hard it is to think with a brain sluggish from massive blood loss or blunt force trauma and he needs his wits around him. There’s also nothing stopping Lucifer from tearing into Sam himself, wrestle him to the ground and remind him of his place as a begging, squirming worm if he refuses. His chest burns again where Lucifer touched him earlier and Sam can feel bile rise in his throat, knows he has to make a decision soon before the adrenaline that’s keeping him upright fades away completely. So, coming to a decision is easy. Admitting to it, not so much.
When he opens his eyes again, Lucifer is still standing in front of him, waiting, but clearly growing more and more impatient. He breaks into a brilliant smile when Sam finally nods. “I knew you’d come to your senses. Well, then what are we waiting for? Let’s go. I have a son to talk to.” When Lucifer steps forward, he’s nearly skipping past Sam and towards the vampires and despite his terror Sam can feel bile rise in his throat at Lucifer’s mention of Jack.
Sam forces himself to follow. He expects the barrier to dissolve and the vampires to surge forward only to explode in a spray of blood with the snap of fingers as a show of strength, but instead the barrier moves, parts the vampires like the red sea to form a path leading outside. Lucifer, talkative and jovial, smiles as he gestures for Sam to step inside. “Don’t worry, Sammy-boy. I’m not going to let the evil, mean vampires get to you now. See?” He lifts his hand and raps his knuckles against the barrier. “Those mangy cave-rats might want nothing more than to get another taste of your delicious blood, but we can’t all get what we want.” The threat behind is barely veiled, the impatience clear, and so Sam forces himself to step forward, tries to ignore the fangs glistening in the dark and the snarling echoing in his ears.
He walks briskly, tries to square his shoulders, tries not to think of Lucifer behind him and the things he could do without Sam having even a moment to prepare himself, tries to keep his breathing even. The vampires fade into the dark, their hungry eyes boring into Sam’s back as he walks away and he feels like Orpheus leading Eurydike out of the Underworld, past starving ghosts. But unlike Orpheus he knows that Lucifer will follow him no matter what he does, would never let him slip through his fingers now that he’s got him. Not as long as he’s useful.
At least Rowena is alive. At least Dean got out. Maybe he’s already got to the camp, maybe he’s already found Mary and Jack. Against all logic, Sam hopes and prays that Dean grabbed them and returned to the portal and left this world, let the portal close behind them. He hopes that Gabriel felt it when his brother entered this world and hurried them out of here. He knows that that most likely didn’t happen.
When he steps into the faded out gray light of the apocalypse world forest, Lucifer’s voice rings through his head, his earlier statement “I was the one who lifted you from the darkness and into the light” made painfully evident now. Sam staggers suddenly, the numbness that allowed him to put one foot in front of the other inside the cave dissolving, replaced by a sudden rush of panic. He manages to catch himself against a tree and whirls around, vision blurring as he watches Lucifer walk towards him.
Lucifer only rolls his eyes. “We don’t have time for your hysterics. I left Rowena a bit of my grace, enough to keep the portal open for a while longer, but it’s not an endless supply and I for one don’t plan to be stuck on this dead and rotting planet for a second longer than I have to. So chop chop, start walking.” He gestures impatiently and Sam swallows down the bile, forces himself to stand upright again and ignores the blood rushing through his ears, the way the world seems to spin around him for a second, the adrenaline fading only long enough to let a sliver of exhaustion peak through. It’s a bad thing that Lucifer is too impatient to tease him, he thinks as he follows him through the trees. Or maybe that is just another thing that’s changed. After all Sam is no longer Lucifer’s prom date, no, now he’s just the bouquet of flowers handed over and tossed away not long after (except that’s wrong. Jack wouldn’t just leave him! He wouldn’t. Sam has to hold onto that.) The knowledge that he is a bargaining chip is nothing new, but until now it’s been about him in a way. There’s always been something that was expected of him, some action that he had to take, but now… now there’s nothing. There is nothing to do, but walk and follow and that leaves him time to think and he already doesn’t like where his thoughts are drifting.
There’s dizzying flashes of bitterness, anger about Lucifer’s ownership branded into him anew in the wash of grace necessary to revive him, anger about being used as a bargaining chip, anger about Lucifer claiming Sam as his again, his to trade and his to use and his to kill and his to breathe life into and /his/. There’s the paranoid hysteric that wonders what Lucifer might have done with his body while he was out, how and where he had touched him (and a calmer, more collected part that scoffing at that, a part that knows Lucifer too well and doesn’t think that he would take much pleasure in that. It’s not personal enough, not close enough. Unlike Toni, Lucifer always, always wanted him to be aware who he was succumbing to. He forces the thought, that Lucifer has no need for that, because once he’s got Jack, he’ll have all the time in the world to do with Sam as he pleases anyway, out of his mind). There’s grief, grief over Jack, Jack who he hasn’t seen in far too long, Jack who is trapped in this strange and terrifying world, Jack who he will only see again now that he’s forced to deliver the very poison he’s been trying so hard to protect him from.
They walk, Lucifer taking the lead and Sam following like a good pet, an invisible leash dragging him behind. After a while, the gray scale light falling through the canopy, speckling the floor, starts to dance and blur in his vision, exhaustion catching up with him. Sometimes Lucifer barks something at him, commands to keep up, to hurry or he wouldn’t like what Lucifer was willing to do to get them back to their world. He tries, tries desperately to keep going, tries not to show weakness, but after his weary feet catch on a root and Sam’s world starts to tilt before cold fingers digging in his upper arm suddenly keep him steady, he knows it’s no longer a question of if he wants to keep going, but a question of if he can. The blood loss had been evident from the second he woke up in the cave, clear from the moment he moved because his shirt had stuck to his back and it was all too clear that it wasn’t sweat that caused that. He knows that Lucifer wouldn’t have bothered to replenish all of it. That would be too generous after all. Too much of a waste for someone as apparently expendable as Sam.
“I need to drink something”, he says, eyes fixed on the leafy ground in front of him, the dots of light no longer dancing, only gently swaying with the wind moving the branches overhead, and not the archangel, cold and much too close, beside him. He wonders what Lucifer will demand in return. “I can’t keep going like this.”
Lucifer shifts beside him, hums annoyed and the grip around his arm tightens. Sam expects the bone to shatter, expects his shoulder to be wrenched out of the socket, expects the other hand in his hair, on his face, pressing against his other shoulder, directing him towards where Lucifer wants him. But instead Lucifer’s fingers loosen again and he steps back. “You got some in your bag? And hurry, we’ve got a deadline to meet.”
Sam’s heart is still racing and he sways as Lucifer lets him go, some part of him screaming at the sudden loss of contact, terrified about the fact that Lucifer is not hurting him, but he manages to keep upright. “Yes.” He reaches back and lets the bag slide off his shoulders. He asks himself if he’ll have the time to yank his extra angel blade out and drive it through Lucifer’s heart, but he knows it’s hopeless. Even if he could kill him that way, he wouldn’t like his chances. Like this it’s not even a possibility, only the need to be able to say that he tried to fight, that he didn’t just roll over for him, urging him on. But that’s a shame Sam knows will need time to fester before it hurts and so he can ignore it for now. Instead he settles for grabbing the bottle, gulping as much water down as he dares without making himself sick and then he packs up again. The knowledge that Lucifer will meet Jack and it will be Sam’s fault, is just another inevitability that he’ll have to get used to. It doesn’t make accepting it any easier and Sam can feel tears prick at his eyes. He forces them down too.
They keep walking, Lucifer eerily quiet and focused ahead of him, until he suddenly slows, falls in step beside Sam. “Tell me about Jack”, he demands and the absurdity of that makes Sam nearly want to laugh hysterically. It’s not just the absurdity of the moment, although that plays a part, but mostly it’s the way Lucifer says it. It’s soft, nearly as if Lucifer has the right to behave like a father, as if he had any part in Jack’s existence besides raping Kelly, as if that act made him family and thus entitled. It’s sickening and so Lucifer that Sam can’t bite down a pissed “Well, he’s nothing like you, if that’s what you want to know.”
He expects Lucifer to be angry, lash out, but instead he throws his head back and laughs. “’Cause he’s sweet and kind and I’m the Big Bad Wolf of your nightmares? I guess it might seem like that to you, with our interesting shared history, but I thought you believed in redemption. Is it really that hard for you to understand that being a father changed me?”
I will never lie to you, rings through his head even after all this time and Sam shakes his head quickly to get rid of the memory. Sam’s sure Lucifer has some ulterior motive, much more than just the wish to spend some quality time with his son, but it is also true that he changed since Sam last spent time with him. His goals have changed, his wishes too. All of that is all too clear to Sam and it leaves him feeling dangerously unbalanced, as if he’s walking on a tightrope over a vast expanse and any wrong move means certain death (except it’s not just his death he’s worried about, but Jack’s and Dean’s and Mary’s and Cas’s and all the other people that Sam knows are on the tightrope after him. So he can’t allow himself to slip. He just can’t). He swallows hard and starts speaking, fills the expectant silence. He ignores the way this feels like the cage, feels so much like the times when Lucifer grew weary of torture and solely wanted companionship. “I don’t know”, he admits. “The circumstances are different, I guess, but… you are acting different.” He bites down on his tongue after to not let the 'You haven’t hurt me yet' slip out, to afraid that he’ll also say the 'I kinda want you to, because then at least I’d know what you want from me'. “I guess that means you have changed?” he finishes weakly as Lucifer continues quietly walking beside him for the minute it takes for him to spit that out, clearly waiting for the answer he wants to hear.
Lucifer grins when he looks at him and it’s so energetic and weird that Sam can’t help but frown, still uneasy with this unfamiliar territory. “Exactly. Fatherhood suits me, if I dare say so myself. But you’ve taken care of him while I couldn’t and that means you know him better than I do. So spill, it’s not often a father gets to meet his son for the first time.”
Sam starts with the beginning and can’t bite down a grin as he mentions how Jack had asked for his father and meant Cas. It’s feels petty, but also pretty damn good. Lucifer scowls, but doesn’t interrupt him, so Sam continues. He mentions that Jack learned to control his powers soon, talks about how they trained it at first and ignores Lucifer rolling his eyes as he mentions the pencil trick. He leaves out how Dean treated Jack after he was born, or how Kelly spoke about him. That’s not for Lucifer to know, not for him to manipulate Jack with. He also tries to leave out all the small details, all the things that make Jack Jack like his love for Star Wars and animated movies and the teddy bear Cas got for him. Sam doesn’t know how long it takes, lets the act of talking distract him. It’s the only way he can keep putting a foot in front of the other and walk beside Lucifer, chatting, as if they were friends. He ignores the way his brain points out that to an outside observer they might look nearly domestic, like two fathers talking about their adopted son, if they ignored all the blood, because Lucifer is looking at him with interest in his eyes, nodding and smiling, walking close enough that he could easily touch if he chose to.
“He’s strong, isn’t he?” Lucifer says with pride in his voice and smiles again as he looks off into the distance. It’s soft in a way Lucifer rarely ever smiled and something inside of Sam freezes up at that, the cognitive dissonance of remembering Lucifer pulling out his spleen to then force feed it to him bite by bite and this soft fatherly persona simply too much to compute in his tired, exhausted mind. His steps falter again and Lucifer pulls ahead, then turns to look him in the eye as he keeps walking backwards. “But don’t get it twisted, Sammy. I’m not Kronos and he’s not Zeus, he’s not going to overthrow me just yet. That’s why there’s still a chance for us. I know you and his mother poisoned him against me, and I don’t expect you to be part of my fan club now, but I think he’s old enough to make his own decisions. I’ll talk to him and you’ll leave us alone. And whichever decision he makes, you’ll accept it.” The pointed lack of I’ll accept it is not lost on Sam, but he can only mutely nod until Lucifer turns around clearly satisfied. “Would you look at that, we’re nearly there. Smile, Sam, it’s time for your big comeback.” Lucifer points at one of the trees up ahead, angel banishing sigils burned out and destroyed. There’s still a prickle of energy lingering that makes the hairs on Sam’s neck stand up, but it’s fading and obviously was never meant to keep out an archangel.
Lucifer leads him to the edge of the colony’s boundary and then waits for Sam to step up beside him. He places a finger on his lips, a conspiratorial pact sealed, and winks. Then he lets Sam go. Sam staggers forward, the exhaustion that dulled everything for the last few hours melting away fast and leaving only terror in its wake. The shame that’s been pulsing inside Sam’s chest ever since the cave burns hot and painful, funnily enough directly behind where Lucifer poked his finger (Remember I was the one who lifted you from the darkness) and Sam wonders if that’s just his fear or if he’s found the space Lucifer left his hand print, another scar marring his upper body, perhaps even superimposed over his only much too recently remade anti possession tattoo. Thinking about that is easier than thinking about what awaits him in the camp. Easier than thinking about Jack, Jack who he never told about his father’s crimes, shame keeping his mouth shut at first, followed by the fear that Jack would hate himself even more than he already did for his heritage, Jack who is completely unprepared for a Lucifer who wants something from him.
Then he steps inside a shabby shed, blood rushing in his ears loud enough that he can’t understand the conversation coming from somewhere behind it, but he’s pretty sure he can still make out Dean’s voice through it all. The shame wraps tighter and still Sam forces himself forward, dragging the devil behind by the leash he placed around his neck. He steps out of the shed and his eyes fall on blond hair glistening in the otherwise washed out gray of the environment. They are all there, standing in a circle, talking and looking like they are ready to go somewhere. Sam forces his weary legs to propel him further and then Jack spots him first, his face lighting up and breaking into a grin. Cas, behind him, furrows his brows, weary of seeing Sam walking again. He can hear Jack’s happy exclamation of his name, but can’t react to it, knows that means Lucifer is still hiding in the shadows, allowing him to face this this moment of joy alone and somehow that’s worse than if Lucifer walked in right behind him, hand on his back or slung around his shoulders, a much more visible declaration of who is responsible for his miraculous return. Sam can’t meet Dean’s eyes, not yet, knows his brother must go through the list (ghoul, shapeshifter, djinn, something else), all too used to the fact that the Winchesters don’t get free miracles, so he looks at Mary, whose eyes fill with tears at seeing him again for as long as he can. He sees the way their eyes shift to somewhere behind him and the way their faces fall, Dean’s critical gaze dissolving in confusion, Cas’ worry shifting to anger, Mary’s face turning to fear. He knows the second Lucifer steps out of the shed, because Jack’s eyes are fixed on his father now and Sam wonders if Lucifer is giving him the same soft smile Sam spotted on his face earlier or if he’s keeping that hidden, only to be revealed in private without any other prying eyes, anything to prove Jack how special he was to his father. Another wave of nauseating shame rolls through him and Sam forces his eyes shut, drops his gaze. Lucifer brushes past him, only a short gentle pat on his arm serving as a reminder that he’s not completely ignored in favor of Jack. Sam barely reacts to it, too tired to even flinch away.
“Hello, son.” Lucifer sounds truly happy, excited in a way not even Sam has ever seen him before. Keeping his eyes shut allows his anxiety to ramp up with every step he knows Lucifer is taking towards Jack and Sam forces himself to look again, takes in the fact that Lucifer has stopped moving, keeping some distance between himself and Jack.
He doesn’t dare look at Jack, too afraid of seeing anything beside anger or shock and so he focuses his gaze on Dean’s face, and tries and fails to shove the despair away again. With the adrenaline trickling away fast, leaving him feeling only as if he wants to throw up, it’s harder than ever to keep his face a calm mask. He staggers forward, needs to get some distance between himself and Lucifer (not that it matters, because Lucifer is right there and Sam knew this would happen, he should have never allowed it, every time it ends up the same way, and it’s crushing him), falls into Mary’s arms. Somehow it feels like a repeat of seeing her for the first time, both when she was a ghost years ago, and as she walked into the basement of the men of letters basement and he grips her tightly. It doesn’t fix it, but for a second he can breathe again. At least she’s safe. At least she hasn’t died. He steps away again, before he loses the fragile hold he has on his composure and breaks down, not only in front of his family and Lucifer, but also other people that have stepped out of their huts to stare at the strange arrival that’s happening.
Dean sounds scared when he asks what happened and Sam wishes he didn’t have to say it, didn’t have to admit it, but the words claw their way up his throat, burning like acid and Sam knows they are the shameful truth. “He brought me back.” He meets Lucifer’s eyes as he tilts his head toward him, sees the smug grin spread over his face.
Lucifer says something, then Dean rushes up to him him, grabbing Gabriel’s arm to drag him along, voice raised. Sam is too tired to turn around and watch what’s happening, too tired to say something when Jack disappears suddenly, trying to get away from the fight that’s threatening to break out. Then suddenly Dean is beside him, a snarl on his face and his hand shaking in barely repressed rage as he leads Sam away from the group, while Gabriel snaps the angel binding handcuffs over Lucifer’s outstretched and waiting wrists. After turning away, Sam loses track of Lucifer’s relative position to himself and he knows that should terrify him, but somehow he finds he’s too exhausted to care. He let the devil out of his cage years ago and started the apocalypse. Now he lead the devil to his family, to Jack. He knows the responsibility for the carnage that’s sure to follow is his to bear. But for now he just needs somewhere to sit down, needs just a minute to collect himself to keep going later, needs somewhere to wash the blood from his face and grab new clothes. Just a short moment of rest, before he has to focus on getting Jack back, before they have to start their race against the clock to get back to their world, before he’ll have to turn around and face Lucifer again. But for now he lets his brother guide him, and for just a moment he lets himself indulge in the idea that he could just keep going, walk away and never look back. Then Dean is pushing him through a door and his brother’s terrified gaze meets his and Sam knows he can’t retreat like that. He straightens his shoulders and tilts his head, shows Dean his healed neck. He’ll take a breather, let Dean make sure he’s no longer injured. After that it’s time to figure out a plan to fix this mess.