characters: Sam, Dean, Kevin Tran, Charlie Bradbury, Gilda
written for the ohsam Summer comment-fic meme
for de_nugis's prompt:
Getting all charged up for the Trials and then not discharging that energy by closing the gates of hell may not have been such a great idea. Sam's not sick any more, but his powers are back -- visions, telekinesis, other freaky stuff -- and he has no control over it and he's starting fires and hurting people. And then it gets worse and he's causing little cracks in the reality around him, cracks between earth and heaven and hell and purgatory and the fae realm.
At this point it's not even that discharging the energy all at once will probably kill him, it's that they don't know how to do it without blowing the whole thing apart.
Two weeks after stopping, Sam's memories of the third trial were sketchy. His dreams of that night were still painfully clear though, playing back what he didn't want to remember. The blood, pain, light, pain, raw energy that burned in his veins like viscous lightning; a desperate need to release, to dissolve and soak into the Earth until there was nothing left of him; begging Dean to understand why he had to finish; the agonizing relief when Dean had told him to simply stop. The night sky burned, wings of fire dissolved into ash and the Host slammed into Earth, leaving behind craters filled with newly mortal divinity.
Sam jerked awake from those dreams every single time, veins heavy and bloated with light. Other than that though...he felt fine. Bizarrely fine, all things considered. He wasn't sick anymore, he wasn't coughing up blood anymore, and his appetite had come back to life in a big way which made Dean way, way happier than he'd ever admit.
All in all it wasn't so bad. Until the morning Sam woke up to find his room on fire.
"Dean!" Sam yelled, as soon as he was certain he wasn't still dreaming. He rolled off of his bed, crouching low to the floor to get as much air as he could, and found the stone floor ice cold.
Sam's breath came out white through his nose as he breathed slow, trying to preserve oxygen while he figured out how to get out of the room. The flames surrounded him, consuming his bed sheet and covering the door. He looked up towards the sprinkler mounted in the center of the ceiling and wondered why it hadn't kicked in. "Dean!" Sam yelled again.
"Sam!" came his brother's voice, from just down the hall. The door flew open and Dean looked in before jerking away from the flames. He cursed under his breath and ran, likely to get a fire extinguisher. Good thing they'd invested in a dozen. In their lives, fire was bound to happen sooner or later.
Sam's fingers grew numb from the cold stone beneath him, and the back of his brain twitched with long suppressed memories of Hell—the way Lucifer's touch burned colder than anything on Earth ever could and how Sam still had a hard time remembering that fire was hot it was hot it wasn't ice. He looked towards the his desk, less than two feet away from him and grimaced. The flames were traveling up the wooden legs and all of the books, all seven of the one-of-a-kind handwritten memoirs he'd brought in from the bunker's library, were on there and they were all burning. Precaution forgotten he moved towards the desk, desperate to salvage what he could of the books. He could feel the heat coming off of the desk in waves, stronger the closer he got.
Jeremiah Rakuzian's journal was charring along the edges and the lower left corner was starting to curl as the soft leather cover burned. "No," Sam said to himself. "No, stop." He looked around for something he could use to put out the flames on the desk and grabbed the edge of his pillow, already burning itself, but still mostly intact. Quickly he pulled the pillow off the bed and swung it through the air slamming it onto the desk's surface, concentrating on putting out the flames by the books first. The chill from the floor below grew stronger as his quick movement sent air rushing towards the flames. He went to lift the pillow back up for another swing and couldn't. His hands were frozen to the pillow and the pillow was frozen to the desk. Sam pulled frantically, trying to figure out how he'd gotten stuck .
"Sam?" Dean asked from the door. He was holding the hose of the fire extinguisher, hand on the trigger and his eyes were fixed on the desk.
Confused, Sam turned back from Dean to look down at his desk and found his hands covered in ice. The ice spread from his hands to the pillow coating his entire desk in a heavy layer of frost. That wasn't the part that made him choke on his own saliva, though—it was the fact that the flames themselves had frozen.
The flame-shaped ice-sculptures in Sam's room had all started melting about fifteen minutes after Dean found Sam. They'd started breaking off what they could, carrying the chunks of ice out to the nearest big sink in the utility room at the end of the hall.
After initially panicking and checking Sam for burns, Dean had been quiet. He'd asked only one question, as he helped Sam break the largest of the icicles off of his desk. "Do you know how it happened?"
Sam shook his head. "I was dreaming."
With one more push of effort, the last giant icicle separated from the wooden desk. Dean reached down and handed a cold, somewhat soggy journal back to Sam.
"So that's what you two do when I'm out, huh?" Kevin asked shaking his head as he stared at Sam's room from the door. "Spell gone wrong? Chemistry experiment?"
"Not chemistry," Dean said. "It just— happened."
"Right, because it's not like something's off-kilter in the world, or anything," Kevin said, his voice just a little bitter. He surveyed the soaked books on Sam's desk. "You're gonna want to get those under a fan. Don't blot. Trust me, just don't."
Sam looked over at Kevin, grateful that he'd changed the topic. After failing to complete the third trial, Sam thought Kevin would never speak to him again. Everything the prophet had gone through had all been for nothing. Sam had failed, and everything they'd learned about the trials made it unlikely that they'd find another volunteer soon. I'm sorry, Sam thought again, unable to get the words out past the lump in his throat. I'm so sorry.
Kevin looked at him oddly, eyes widening slightly. "Did you just say something?"
The lump in Sam's throat ached more, and he shook his head as he handed Kevin one of the wet books.
"Breakfast," Dean said. "You put your books on the map-table, I'm gonna make us some breakfast." He turned his head from Sam to Kevin. "Eggs?"
For a second, Kevin hesitated, then he moved towards the door past Dean. "Yeah. And bacon."
Breakfast was delicious. Dean was getting really, really good at cooking. Sam had been aware of it for months, vaguely, but the trials had made him lose his appetite completely. Now that he'd recovered though, he could taste everything again—the little touches of spice Dean had started incorporating into nearly every meal. Even breakfast regularly had some sort of green now. Today there were fresh spinach leaves in Sam's omelette. Dean had made him an omelette. With goat cheese, even. "I thought you said goat cheese wasn't food?" Sam said as he ate another bite.
"It is when I cook with it," Dean said grinning.
"This bacon's amazing," Kevin said. "Told you it would be."
"You're right—it's worth it driving the extra 10 miles. I will never doubt your grocery-judgment again," Dean said.
"Damn right you won't."
Sam still had issues with meat some days. That wasn't a side-effect from the trials though, it was the smell of burning flesh. Some days, he loved the smell of bacon, but more often than not, it just made him remember his own skin bubbling in Hellfire. Before Cas had freed Sam's body from the cage, Lucifer's favorite past-time had been slicing Sam's skin into ribbons and burning it one strip at a time. And then afterwards, when it was just his soul, Lucifer would make Sam a new body, just so he could break it down again and again and again.
"You okay, Sam?" Dean asked, his voice tight with worry as he crossed back into the library from the kitchen. He was carrying two pitchers: orange juice and ice water.
He must have tuned out more thoroughly than he'd realized. Embarrassed, Sam met his brother's eyes. "Yeah, fine, sorry, I was just—"
"Your hand is on fire," Kevin said, pointing with his fork.
Sam barely had a chance to register that his hand was in fact on fire, before Dean had doused it in cold water. His skin hissed and smoked but it looked completely fine. Wet, but fine. "What the hell?" Sam said, quietly horrified.
Dean dropped back down in his seat, trembling with adrenaline.
"Any of those books have anything to say on the subject of spontaneous human combustion?" Kevin asked as he finished his last piece of bacon.
Dean hadn't taken his eyes off of Sam since the incident at breakfast. He sat at the large mahogany table, by a stack of books he'd barely touched, entirely focused on his brother's movements. "You said you feel fine."
"Then why are you catching fire?" Dean snarled.
"I don't know," Sam said exasperated. He was pacing the library, arms wrapped around himself. "There's this….kind of a constant itch under my skin, in my veins and sometimes they still light up, but other than that, I feel better than I've felt in months."
"You look better," Kevin said.
"Thank you," Sam said.
"I mean, you don't look like death anymore, anyway. Makes a big difference when you can sleep." Kevin turned a page in the big rust-colored book he'd pulled off the shelf on Unnatural and Metaphysical Maladies. "Took me a month of catching up on sleep to feel normal again, though." He paused and started to run his finger along the text in his book. "Mostly normal, anyway..." His voice trailed off.
"Find something?" Dean asked, moving his chair closer to Kevin's.
Kevin nodded, tapping on the page.
"Psychosomatic Retribution Manifestations..." Dean read. "Common with misappropriated energy accumulations, broken bargains and rituals with failure clauses." Dean's brow furrowed. "You think this is some kind of punishment?"
"Don't know. Maybe," Kevin said, glancing at Sam.
"Makes sense," Sam said ruefully as he came closer to the table. "I didn't cross the finish line. I failed, big time."
"You didn't fail, you dropped out!" Dean growled. "Because I begged you to. So what—it's not enough that you almost died trying, you don't get to live in peace either?"
"Looks like," Sam said quietly.
"Good news is, this kind of thing is usually finite," Kevin said, his eyes still on the text. "There's always at least one specific act that'll stop it." He sighed. "Bad news is we have to figure out what that is, and according to this, nine times out ten..."
"It kills me, right?" Sam said. "Whatever I have to do to stop it?"
Kevin didn't answer, but he didn't have to.
"You're not dying," Dean said. "We'll figure this out." He slid the book closer up himself and studied the text. "Misappropriated Energy Accumulation, huh? Think that means we have to get the glow out if your arms?" Dean asked Sam.
"How?" Sam asked. "This power's supposed to close the gates of Hell. If I close them, I die, if I even think about closing them this happens!" Sam rolled back his left sleeve revealing his brightly glowing forearm. "It's still in me. And I don't know how to get it out."
"So the fire, the ice—think that's what's doing it?" Dean asked.
"Probably." Sam huffed, hands on his waist. "But I have no control over it. None." The last word came out like a growl as Sam's frustration peaked. He balled his hands into fists and felt the lightning under his skin crackle.
Above their heads, something made a loud fizzling sound, and then all the lights in the library went out.
"Next time blow out something lower to the ground, please," Dean said as he made his way carefully back down the twenty foot ladder.
"I told you I'd put the new light bulbs in myself," Sam said, exasperated.
"And I told you I didn't want you anywhere near the ceiling. Last thing we need is for this whole room to catch fire." Dean hopped off the last step of the ladder.
"I'll try my best. Like I said, I can't control it." Sam moved to help Dean close the long ladder.
Kevin flipped the switch by the library entrance, illuminating the room. "Nice work." He looked at Sam and nodded towards the map table. "I found something. Maybe."
Sam followed Kevin back to the map table and looked at the book he'd flipped open and began to read the passage Kevin had bookmarked with a post-it. "Supplementing your psychic arsenal can be done in three ways: augmentation, expansion and consumption of additional energies…." He gave Kevin a look and continued reading. "Channeling additional energy is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted by those who have completed cycles A through N— Wait, what is this?" Sam flipped the book cover closed and read the title with increasing dismay. "How to Dominate your Enemies through the Power of the Mind," Kevin, where'd you find this?"
"In the back-room behind the fireplace." Kevin pointed towards the rear of the library. "I think that's where they kept the stuff they were embarrassed they had."
Dean smirked. "Back-room's where they keep the good stuff. Like vintage skin mags." He looked at the cover of the book Sam was holding. "That's a douchey title." He cocked his head to the side. "You gonna read it?"
"No!" Sam said, dropping the book back on the table.
"Okay, wait— you don't have you read the book. Douchey title aside it's actually not that bad," Kevin said waving his hands. "Just there's this one technique you should try. I really think it might help."
The technique Kevin wanted him to try ended up being a focused attempt to push energy out by giving it a target.
Sam hated the idea, and he didn't like Dean's choice of targets, but he couldn't think of a better one either. He'd insisted Kevin stay far away though since he had zero trust of his own control. On the ride over, he's paged through the rest of the book, rolling his eyes at half of it, though he could relate to some of the abilities more than he cared to admit. "Mind control is most effective when the intent behind it is pure," the book said. But there was nothing pure about mind control, which proved that it was a stupid book.
"Just take a deep breath and...let loose," Dean said, gesturing at the collection of cans he'd assembled. He'd picked a natural forest clearing in Lovewell State Park, and set up an old, slightly rotted but sturdy pine trunk inside a ring of mushrooms. The cans had been Dean's idea.
With one last dubious look at Dean, Sam turned back to the tree stump and its three cans and focused.
"They're full," Dean said.
Sam jerked, pushing the skittering in his veins back and glared at Dean.
"Yeah, thanks," Sam said. He sighed and added. "Could you please just...move back, or away. I really don't know what's gonna happen. Last thing we need is for you to get hit too."
Dean made a face, but conceded, taking three big steps back.
Sam took another deep breath that did nothing to calm him. His veins had been pulsing with light again for the last hour or so and he felt like his head was ready to burst with pressure if he didn't do...something.
"Here goes nothing," he muttered and raised his right hand out towards the cans, concentrating on knocking the one furthest on the right off of the trunk.
It didn't go exactly as planned.
"I don't even see the trunk," Dean said, brushing the last few pine needles from his hair. "What the hell were you trying to do?"
Sam looked at the crater in the earth and shook his head. "I was going for the can on the right."
"Oh..." Dean swallowed, failing to mask his nervousness with his tone. "Well, you missed."
"No, I'm pretty sure I got it," Sam said. He felt better, truth be told. The light in his arms had waned and he didn't feel filled to the brim anymore. It was a relief, and nobody had gotten hurt. Well, maybe a few forest critters, but he didn't see any squirrel parts and he wasn't about to go looking for them.
"You look happy," Dean observed.
"That felt good. I feel better. A lot better actually," Sam admitted.
"Good. I owe Kevin a beer. Or a pizza anyway. Wanna pick up some on the way back?"
"Sure," Sam said, and felt himself smile. He hadn't done it in so long it felt awkward.
"Say that again?" Dean said, gripping the phone in his hand more tightly.
Sam watched him pace and worried at his lip. Charlie had called them during dinner and Dean had been alarmed enough by whatever she told him that he'd left half of his burger unbeaten. Whatever it was, it was bad.
Nervously, Sam stood up from the table and moved closer to Dean. He took steadying breaths, making sure to keep track of the energy under his skin. He could feel his veins expanding and contracting again as the energy in his veins reminded him it was still there. It was almost as uncomfortable as it had been that morning before he blew a hole into the forest. Whatever power he'd picked up for the trials wasn't finite. It kept recharging—ready to serve its purpose. Even though he'd expressly told it that it no longer had one.
"We'll be there. Just hang tight," Dean said, ending the call.
"What happened?" Sam asked, afraid he didn't want to know the answer.
"Remember Gilda?" Dean asked, as he walked towards the exit, grabbing his jacket.
Sam thought for a second. "The fairy?"
"Apparently she's in Lovewell State Park," Dean said, unlocking the door to the bunker. "Along with about a third of the fairy realm."
The crater Sam had made had grown. Massively. They could see its edges from Route 14. Sam stumbled out of the car and stared at the sight in front of him with disbelief. Not only had the hole he'd made expanded to nearly a mile-wide radius, it was different—not-of-this-Earth different. There were things moving inside of it that weren't even remotely human. Lumbering, fourteen-foot-tall beasts made of bone and flesh all inside-out, little balls of light that moved with intelligence, and a unicorn.
"That can't be good," Dean said as he waved to Charlie and Gilda who were running towards them.
"Hi," Charlie said, out of breath. "So…bit of a sitch here." She gestured over at Gilda. "I'll let the expert fill you in."
"We were in the Hollow Forest, celebrating the turning of the seasons, and then—the sky darkened and cracked open. And this fell through." The fairy held up a blackened piece of flat metal. A flattened soda can.
Sam gulped and took the flattened can from Gilda's hand.
The fairy watched him strangely. "Was this your doing?"
Stuck somewhere between guilt and denial, Sam said nothing, and kept staring at the can. It looked like it had been in a compactor.
"It was…an accident," Dean said, scratching the back of his neck.
Charlie cocked her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "What'd you do?"
"He didn't do anything," Sam said. "It was my fault. I'm pretty sure."
"No way. Sam—you made a little hole in the ground this morning, yeah, but it wasn't anywhere near this huge."
"No mortal can do this," Gilda said. "You shifted our entire Forest into this world. The amount of power required for something like that would be—"
"He's a little amped up lately," Dean said. "See, he was doing these trials and…" Dean chewed on his lip for a second. "Turns out they would've killed him, so we stopped."
"Sam rolled back his left sleeve and showed Gilda his forearm. It was already starting to glow again. "And now I 'm stuck with this."
Gilda peeked curiously at Sam's arm and gingerly touched her fingertip to it. "Eochracha," she whispered.
"What?" Dean asked.
"This is…the key." Gilda continue. "With this energy inside of him he can open or close any passageway. What was it you were trying to do?"
"This morning? I just…" Sam gestured weakly with the can. "I was trying to knock this off of a tree trunk."
Gilda blinked at him.
"Dean thought it would be a good way for me to get rid of some of the energy, so I—"
"Wait—" Charlie interrupted, waving her finger at Dean. "You said he made a little hole in the ground. That's all, right?"
Dean nodded, and so did Sam.
"Then why is it this big?" Charlie asked, turning back to the fairy.
"The two worlds are merging," Gilda said simply. "You opened the door, and now we're here." She looked over her shoulder at the pit, which looked even larger than before. "If this continues, our whole world will soon exist on your plane."
"Then what happens to ours?" Dean asked.
"I don't know," Gilda said. "But you should be aware that many of my kind are not fond of humans."
"Oh good," Dean said.
"I'm—" Sam shook his head. "How do I undo it?"
"There's a way to reverse it," Charlie said. "Right?"
Gilda shrugged and turned back towards the pit. There was an elk the size of a redwood in the center of the pit. It had branches for antlers, diamonds for eyes, and it was staring right at Sam.
After spending an hour frantically looking through texts at the library Sam was ready to tear his hair out in frustration. "There's nothing."
"What do you want me to do about it?" Dean snarled, just as fed up.
"I can't keep doing this. I can't stay here," Sam said, as the crawling under his skin reached a new level of discomfort.
"Why not? This is the safest place there is," Kevin said, pulling another book from a high shelf. "You said so yourself. If the world's breaking, this is where we want to be."
"Yeah, but not when I'm the one breaking it," Sam said. "You stay here." He looked from Kevin to Dean. "Both of you."
"No way!" Dean snapped. "Sam, we're gonna fix this."
"Sorry," Sam said, "That wasn't a request." He met Dean's horrified expression and focused, letting the tiniest trickle of energy flow out as he repeated with intent, "Stay here."
Sam had no idea if what he planned would work, but he had to try. He took the Impala for the first stretch, and left her parked at the Gas & Sip, along with his phone. Dean would trace the GPS and find it. By that time Sam would be way too far away to keep his compulsion spell going, but he'd also be far enough away to keep Dean safe. Hopefully.
He switched cars three times and made his way quickly to Colorado, stopping by Bryce Canyon. He hadn't found anything in the books at the bunker about sealing inter-dimensional doorways, but he'd found quite a bit on opening them. If what he had planned was going to work, this would be the best spot to do it.
The next three hours went by far too slowly as he fought exhaustion and the fire in his veins. The light had gotten so strong that he could see his arms glowing through the fabric of his sweat-drenched shirt. He walked on until he reached what he was looking for: an enormous natural arch—forty feet high, sixty feet wide and perfect for what he had in mind.
He pulled out the small book from his pocket and turned to page 84. The spell was straightforward and required nothing more than the right words, the right location and "power enough to perform the working," which he undoubtedly had. He raised his hand, and concentrated. The power flowed easily from his fingertips and headed right for the arch as he began to speak. "Keh-ree-ess-teh-oh-ess koh-ah-ess-geh," Sam intoned. The space between the arch grew brighter and brighter as more of the power inside of Sam left his veins and filled the air. "Ah kah-nee-lah oh-doh oh-en-doh."
The energy stayed contained inside the arch and flickered brightly as Sam poured more and more power into it. He smiled as he began to repeat the spell.
By the next morning, Sam felt much better. It hadn't taken long for him to realize he'd succeeded. The crowd alone was evidence of that. All the fast-moving residents of the Faerie realm had already passed through, and the few that still stood in line looked patient enough. There were other beings in line too. Sam had counted at least five dozen angels, but there were more all the way up the canyon ramp. They looked human enough, but thanks to the residual energy in his veins he could see what they'd once been.
Dean's voice drew Sam's attention, as he pushed his way forward, moving down the canyon slope as quickly as he could given the mass of people.
"Sam!" Dean yelled again. He continued to push his way to the front of the line, garnering an angry glare from a Leprechaun.
Sam touched his finger to the barrier behind him and stepped aside to let the Leprechaun through. The gate snapped shut again with a soft pop, and Sam turned back to face his brother.
"What the hell, Sam?" Dean asked with a growl.
"Not Hell," Sam said with a smirk. "That was Faerie."
Dean took a shaky breath and stepped closer to Sam. "You left me there, and I didn't know—" Dean covered his mouth with his hand. He looked pissed. "I thought you were gonna do something stupid. I thought I'd lost you again."
Sam shook his head. "This was the only thing I could do." He waved to a cluster of lights floating in midair just a few feet away and they came forward just as he touched his finger to the shimmering portal behind him again. The energy parted, showing a lush green forest and the small balls of light zipped through.
"Pixies," Dean said, his mouth twisting into a half-frown. "I should punch you on principle. You took my car."
"I left her where you'd find her," Sam said smirking. "You would've never let me try this, and it was the only thing I could do."
"And…what is it you're doing exactly?"
"The trials—they made me into a key. The key. I can seal off Hell for good, but in order to do that I have to cease to exist, since I'm the only thing that can open it."
Dean's frown deepened.
"But…since I'm not going to do that, I had to find some other way to use this power. You saw what happens when I don't let it out." Sam swallowed and pointed towards the arch behind him. "So I made this door."
"A door to Faerie?" Dean asked, his eyebrow cocked.
"Faerie, and Purgatory, and Hell…" Sam glanced at the group of angels coming closer to him. "…and Heaven." He shrugged at Dean. "It's the only door."
"This is the only way in, and the only way out," Sam said steadily. "And I'm the only one who can open it."
Dean's mouth opened, wordless for a moment until he said, "So…you're the Gatekeeper?" His mouth quirked into a smile. "You're Sigourney Weaver."
"What?" Sam asked, confused.
"I am the Gatekeeper. Are you the Keymaster?" Dean quoted.
"I thought you said I was the—" Sam stared past Dean. "Is that Cas?"
Dean spun around and stared right along with Sam.
It was Castiel, standing with the other angels. They approached as a group, dozens of them, countless others still standing on the ramp down.
"Good to see you again,"Dean said, grinning.
"Likewise," Castiel said before turning to Sam. "We'd like to return to Heaven now."
Sam nodded but had to ask, "What about Metatron? He's still an angel."
"So are we," said Castiel. "We may have been robbed of our grace, but that doesn't mean we're powerless."
"Atta boy," Dean said.
Castiel gave Dean a look. "I'm hardly a boy, Dean."
"How many of you are there?" Sam asked.
"Three hundred and fourteen," Castiel said, looking up the slope behind him.
Dean let out a whistle. "You've got yourself an army."
Castiel nodded. "It will be difficult, but we'll set things right."
Sam looked down at his arm, drawing on the ever-present energy there and turned back towards the gate, shifting his focus. When he laid his palm against the wall of energy, he could feel it vibrate, shifting to a new focus. When it settled again, the assembled angels in front of him began to move forward.
"I'd tell you to go through one at a time, but, you can't really afford that." Sam took a deep breath and the portal began to open wider—wide enough for at least ten of them to pass through at once.
With a signal from Castiel, the angels began to run through. Within minutes they'd all gone to the other side, and the portal closed again. Sam sunk to the ground exhausted.
"You okay?" Dean asked, crouching down next to him.
"Yeah," Sam looked down at his arms, normal for now, but not for long. The energy always came back, still there in case he changed his mind. Or maybe it was there because he had changed his mind. He might never know.
"So, you get to leave here at some point?" Dean asked.
"Maybe?" Sam shrugged. "Hadn't really planned that far ahead." He showed Dean his arms. "But this is good."
"Progress," Dean agreed. He looked behind him up the slope. There was no one else waiting in line that he could see. "Lunch break?"
"That sounds like a plan," Sam said, pushing himself carefully to his feet. He'd have to come back soon, and he'd have to explain to Dean that this wasn't exactly the type of job he could just leave whenever he felt like, but he felt hopeful, and that hadn't happened in a long time.
Sam took a few steps towards the ramp, following Dean, but froze when he heard a knock coming from the portal. He turned back around, curious, and walked to the edge of the arch.
Dean followed him, watching the energy flicker from only a few feet behind Sam.
"Let me out?" asked Crowley's voice.
"Why would I do that?" Sam asked.
"Because of all we've been through together?" Crowley said, his face manifesting somewhat distorted in the shimmering portal. "I don't want to be here anymore."
"Tough," Dean snapped.
"I could make it worth your while," Crowley said, smiling enough for his teeth to show.
"No," Sam said. "Ask again and I'll send you to Purgatory."
"Right." Crowley's face fell. "Never mind then," he said as his image disappeared.
Dean watched the portal for a few more seconds, like he wanted to be sure Crowley was really gone.
Sam began to walk up the ramp again, with his brother beside him.
"Our lives are weird," Sam said after a few minutes of silence.
Dean chuckled. "Yeah, but they're ours."