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{Fic} Stay (Awake) With Me | 7/10

Masterpost

Seven: ___

Sam sat in the front seat of the Impala with his head leaning against the window and an open newspaper in his lap. He let the sound of Dean singing under his breath ease him towards a light doze. He'd skimmed the headlines without hitting on anything in particular of interest. He was thinking they might want to check for something on a larger scale or ask Bobby for a connection with other hunters. The local area newspapers weren't yielding another hunt, though supposedly there was a lot of activity in the supernatural world going on.

"You're wasting your time." Sam startled at the coolly delivered reprimand. He stared at Dean in surprise before it sunk in that it hadn't been his brother's voice. "Oh Sammy, Sam."

It took Sam a moment longer to reluctantly look away from his seemingly oblivious brother and turn to the back seat. Lucifer wiggled his finger in greeting. The Devil wore a satisfied smirk. "So. How's it going?"

"You can't—"

Dean cut off his protest, "Can't what?" Sam's gaze snapped back to his brother.

"I..." Sam blinked as he realized he could no longer see Lucifer in the backseat. "Guess I was just thinking aloud." He licked his lips nervously as hauntingly familiar laughter echoed in his mind.

"Yuh-huh. So 'you can't' what?" Dean asked, a slight frown curving down the corners of his lips.

Sam stared down at the newspaper for inspiration. "Can't get anything from this," he said.

Dean cast him a skeptical gaze. "Guess it's time to give Bobby a call and see if there's any other weirdoes poking their heads out."

"Yeah," Sam agreed with a brief smile. "Just what I was thinking."

*

Every night Sam put off sleeping for as long as possible. Gabriel let him and helped Sam relax. They talked around the problem, the angel addressing the more immediate concerns like calming Sam after the flashbacks-cum-nightmares. It was usually in the nonverbal that Sam picked up on his lover's concern.

Sam knew the combination of getting back into hunting and his night terrors were wearing him down towards a breaking point. If he didn't admit it soon, someone else would call him on it.


When Gabriel next snapped them to meet up with Dean, Sam asked the angel to stay. After a fortifying breath, Sam announced, "I shouldn't be on the road." Dean looked grim but unsurprised. Gabriel's hand rested gently on Sam's back. "I could... well, I mean, Gabriel could get me to Bobby's. I know there's hunts still, and I hate not backing you up—"

"Shut it," Dean interrupted with a roll of his eyes. He fixed Sam with a brotherly look of exasperation. "We'll give Bobby a call and tell him to expect us for dinner, got it?"

"Yeah," Sam agreed with a small smile. He should have expected Dean's insistence on staying together.

"You going to be okay?" Gabriel asked quietly when Sam glanced down.

With a nod, Sam said, "I'll be fine. It's a pretty straight shot back to Bobby's." He curved a hand behind Gabriel's neck as he leaned down to press a kiss to the angel's forehead. "I'll see you later. For now I think you need to play diplomat."

Gabriel groaned against Sam's shoulder. "Oh come on, I'd rather be stuck in that damn car for hours on end with Dean's ridiculously predictable music." Sam grinned at Gabriel's melodrama and Dean's offended "hey!"

"No getting out of it," Sam lightly scolded.

Gabriel made a sound of disgust as he leaned back. "Cas and Raphael owe me big for dealing with all this posturing. And you, mister, better make it worth my while." He winked and brushed his fingers over the spot where Sam's sleeve covered the archangel's sigil. "Call me when you arrive, got it?"

"Promise," Sam agreed.

*

Bobby welcomed them back with his usual gruffness. Crowley put up a minor fuss, and the obvious lack of true irritation drove home the fact that Sam was at the point where he couldn't hide how poorly he was doing.

Since they were at Bobby's, Gabriel spent nights there with Sam instead of whisking him away. He snapped up a TV in their room, and they watched hours of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and played card games until Sam couldn't keep his eyes open.

The nightmares mixed with flashbacks still came.

*

A few evenings after returning to Bobby's, Sam found himself at loose ends when he finished the translation Bobby had left out for him to work on. Gabriel was busy with some developing schism that had Raphael worried enough to call directly on the other archangel for support. It still took Sam a while to convince Gabriel that sorting out the situation in Heaven was more important than playing personal caretaker to a Winchester. He probably still hadn't been convinced by the conversation's end, but the urgency and the fact that Raphael had made the request pushed the issue, so Gabriel went.

Sam doubted he would have slept even with Gabriel's presence. His lover's absence just meant that the others would be more aware of just how little he slept. He wandered around the house late at night. A hunter's schedule always meant odd hours, but typically if they had the chance to sleep, they'd take it; Sam was pretty sure Dean was taking advantage of the opportunity, and Bobby had gone behind closed doors with Crowley a while ago.

As he paced around the ground floor looking for distraction, Sam struggled to muffle the whispering at the edges of his mind. He'd seen Lucifer more than that one time in the Impala and the Devil's voice had become a frequent companion.

Sam slowed his steps in the kitchen when he realized there were dished piled up on the counter. Gratefully he grabbed onto the chore to occupy himself. He let the water run a while before plugging the sink and submersing the first set of dishes.

Scared of thunder, hearing voices, trapped in replays of my worst memories if I fall asleep, Sam ticked off the issues in his mind. Even taking yourself off the road, how long do you think you'll last? he chided himself.

"What're you doing in here?" Bobby's voice startled Sam from his dark thoughts.

Sam glanced over his shoulder before focusing against on the dishes. "I don't want to sleep," he said shortly. He focused on the near-scalding water and soap suds surrounding his hands as he diligently scrubbed at the dishes. "Can't sleep. It's like Lucifer can get into my head and I—What if—?" He cut himself off with a sharp shake of his head; he hadn't meant to say that aloud. He pulled his hands out of the soapy water before he broke or chipped any of the dishes; though Bobby's annoyance would have been a welcome relief from the strained atmosphere of everyone seeming to act extra careful around Sam.

"Sam..."

The younger hunter shook his head as he braced his hands on the sink's edge. "No, just listen. The Devil was already in my head. What if... even with the Cage between us, he can still get in? What if he figures out a way to take over? I... God, I hear him!" His head pounded, the rush of blood so loud in his ears that finally the echoes of amused laughter were blocked.

Sam turned around, gesturing emphatically. Soap bubbles flicked into the air from his fingertips. "What if I fall asleep and wake up to find out they're not dreams?"

"Sam!"

"What?" he shouted, his eyes closing as he brought his hands to his head. God, it ached so much.

"What makes you think you need to be asleep?"

Sam heard a sickening and familiar crack of bone and tearing muscle. Sam's eyes snapped open. His heart seemed to stutter momentarily, and when he opened his mouth to yell for help, only a near soundless gasp escaped. He watched in horror as Bobby fell to the ground in a heap, neck unnaturally askew and eyes sightless. Lucifer smiled serenely in the older hunter's place.

"You can't—! How did you—?" Sam's voice cut off in a strangled noise. He felt the countertop's edge press against his waist and knew he had nowhere to retreat. Instinctively his hands fumbled for a weapon not at his hip – he rarely armed himself when staying at Bobby's, there hadn't been a need. Knives, something— There has to be something... He plunged his hand back into the sink and felt around past ceramic dishes and silverware. Something sharp sliced his palm. Yes! Sam pulled the knife free and held it up defensively.

Lucifer's eyes crinkled up in silent laughter. His smile broadened into a smirk. "You can't truly imagine that will work."

Sam didn't back down despite the terror coursing through his veins. "I'm not alone. They'll be here in a minute—"

"And how will they know, Sammy?" Lucifer waved a dismissive hand at the human. "You can barely speak as it is."

Sam licked his lips and swallowed, he knew what Lucifer said was true. Sam could barely get his voice to carry across the room now that he was faced with the Devil. Can't let him surprise anyone else. Can't let anyone else die! Sam though desperately, his gaze dropping to the body at Lucifer's feet.

"But maybe you don't have to scream," Lucifer said thoughtfully. He turned to face the open doorway and Sam realized he could hear his brother's familiar footsteps.

No!

"Dean!" Sam tried to warn, but his voice still sounded so small.

"Yo, Cinderella, what d'you say we— Uh, Sammy?" Dean paused in the doorway, eyes widening when he caught sight of Sam. His gaze seemed to dart around the room but something was wrong; he didn't react to the body on the floor or the Devil standing nearby. "Sammy, how about you put the knife down?"

Sam looked at Lucifer, who was still smiling and had crossed his arms. The Devil looked amused by Dean's confusion.

"Dean, don't you...?" Sam trailed off uncertainly. He glanced at his brother's baffled expression but quickly returned to keeping an eye on Lucifer. Sam hissed, "He's right there!"

"Sam. Put the knife down," Dean said.

Instead, Sam clenched his fist tighter around the knife's handle. He shifted his weight to a better fighting stance. However, Lucifer did nothing beyond standing there, staring back at Sam as the human glared at him.

"Damn it," Dean muttered.

Sharp, stabbing pain suddenly assaulted Sam's head and he wavered on his feet, sight going blurry.

"Sammy, c'mon, dude. Talk to me."

Through his blurry vision, Sam saw Lucifer's smile turn dangerous and the Devil unfolded his arms just as Dean started forward. "Don't!" Sam snapped, forcing himself forward to swing the knife at the Devil and shove Dean with his free hand.

"Leave him alone!" Sam yelled.

"Jesus Christ, Sam! What the fuck is wrong with you?" Dean tugged at Sam's shoulder. It felt like the room was spinning but he refused to turn away from Lucifer. "Someone get in here! Really could use some help!"

Sam knew he had to protect his brother, had to keep Lucifer from everyone else. Oh God, Bobby! He could see the crumpled form of the older hunter at the edge of his vision.

"You have no idea, do you?" Lucifer asked, tone mocking. Sam squinted as another spike of pain shot through his skull. It was so hard to think, his head hurt so much worse, Dean refused to just stay still, and—

"Watch where you're pointing that thing!"

Sam flinched away from the shout and took a moment to steady himself. He lifted the knife again, carefully keeping it pointed at Lucifer and away from his brother this time.

"I'll get to all of them." Lucifer leaned closer, his gaze clearly daring the human to lash out, but Sam stayed frozen, immobile. "We'll take them apart, piece by piece. You remember how that goes, don't you?"

"I won't let you," Sam hissed.

"Sam, look at me. Come on, man, let go of the knife." Dean's voice was tight with emotion and from the corner of his eye, Sam could see his brother cautiously reaching out.

"No," Sam responded, voice hoarse. He watched Lucifer's gaze sweep over the two hunters and then turn skyward.

With a growing smirk, Lucifer said, "You know, I think my brother needs a lesson in how to stay dead. This time, I think I'll draw it out."

"No!" Sam yelled, the new rush of fear overwhelming his other pains.

Suddenly he had a pair of hands gripping each arm and someone was wrestling the knife out of his hands. He struggled against the hold and turned his head just enough to stare at his brother. "Dean, why...?"

His brother's face was pale with a strained expression. "Sammy, you need to focus. What are you seeing?" Dean's gaze darted around for a few moments before refocusing on his brother's face. Sam could taste a bitter copper taste at the back of his throat and realized his nose was bleeding sluggishly.

"Why don't you...?" For the first time, Sam truly turned his attention away from the Devil and looked around the kitchen. Dean stood with his hands wrapped tightly around one of Sam's arms. Crowley stood a few feet away, kitchen knife in hand as he glanced around suspiciously with narrowed eyes. Just behind Lucifer, Bobby's body laid in a heap; but Bobby also stood opposite Dean, holding tight to Sam's other arm.

Pained and dizzy, Sam whispered with sudden uncertainty, "He's here. Lucifer's— You don't...?"

Dean moved one of his hands to the back of Sam's neck. He didn't speak until Sam made eye contact. "Sam, Lucifer isn't here. You're at Bobby's, standing in the kitchen and freaking me the fuck out."

Sam's gaze darted to the side as Lucifer moved into his field of vision. The Devil's lips parted in a satisfied smile as he sidled up beside Dean. "What do you think, Sam? Maybe they just aren't prepared to see what's in front of them."

Go away, stay out of my head! Sam glared.

"Oh, Sam, I could never leave you alone." Lucifer's expression took on a predatory look as he leaned closer, lips a hairsbreadth from Sam's cheek. "I'll take you and have you rip them apart. Piece by piece."

Painful pressure squeezed around Sam's head, making him feel like there would be no relief unless he burst. Somewhere far away he heard Bobby's shout of surprise and Crowley cursing. Sam's sense of direction was completely off, but he was pretty sure the hands on his arms were trying to hold him up.

"Damn it! Gabriel! Get your punk ass back here!"

Sam managed to keep his eyes from rolling for a moment, just long enough to squint up at his brother, who was somehow looking down at him. It took a while longer to realize he was practically lying on the floor, deadweight in his brother's arms. It was vaguely familiar, Sam thought as his eyes rolled back. He felt like he was sinking, and just before he started to drown, he hear the telltale sound of an angel's arrival.

***

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