Now you're out there spinning in the deep ( Sam one-shot ) It was almost as if this 'dream' was picking up where the last had left off. The Trickster had allegedly left town, so this couldn't be his doing, not anymore. But he'd opened the floodgates to Hell, and now Sam could remember everything about what it was like. That newfound recollection was what caused the horrific nightmares that had come each night since the first. It was terrifying most of all, but it was also frustrating. He and Dean basically took turns babysitting each other at different intervals during the night. Between his brother's night terrors and his bad dreams, no one got any sleep at all. But it bothered Sam for more reasons than one. Not only because they didn't have any control over the situation, but because he had no idea what it meant or what he was supposed to do about it. Because clearly, something needed to be done. This cycle had to stop, or they'd both lose it - even more than they already had.
"Why don't you help him?" Sam's eyes cut over to the familiar figure that'd stepped up beside him: Ava. Couldn't say he was surprised to see her down here. So what did she want? The easiest way to find out was to just ask, so that he could get rid of her and focus his attention back on figuring out a way to free Dean. 'Cause that was the recurring theme every time. The methods of torture would change, but his brother was always the one suffering. Once Sam had come to terms with his extremely temporary stint in Hell, that part was automatically skipped over - at least in his dreams. During his waking hours, he occasionally flashed back. Which was really inconvenient, especially when he was around Dean or Bobby or anyone, for that matter. But he was handling it, sort it. At least he was doing the best he could.
"What do you want, Ava?" His face twisted into a scowl. It was obvious that he was angry: not only at her, but at himself for trusting her. Yet in a place like this, you'd think that stuff like that wouldn't matter. Well, it did to Sam. Every bit of it mattered, and if she thought that he'd forgotten, she was mistaken. He wouldn't be cutting her any slack. In all actuality, he was probably meaner now than ever. Hell had a way of making a person cranky.
Quietly spoken words were exchanged between the pair, Sam's gaze growing more intense with every syllable. What she was offering him was a solution: a way to get Dean out. The catch was that she hadn't exactly proven herself to be a reliable source in the past. Why would he take the risk? Easy: because they were in Hell. This was the worst case scenario, and all he could hear was his brother's screams. All he could see was the blood pouring from every freshly opened wound that lined his body. The majority of his clothes had been torn or singed off, and now he was surrounded by a swarm of demons infatuated with causing him the worst pain known to man, and then some. Unnaturally large metal chains were beaten repeatedly against his skin that was already bruised and bloodied from head to toe, and daggers were used to trace random patterns into his flesh. The whole time, the ones inflicting the pain were throwing their heads back laughing: mocking their victim.
They'd stripped Dean of his dignity: of his entire being, and they found it funny. That infuriated Sam. The first few times he'd come here, all he could do was sob hysterically and beg and plead for them to stop, but now there was something else. There was a fire burning deep inside him that was steadily rising. Tonight was the night that the direction of the wind would change, and when it did, Dean was the only one who wouldn't have to be afraid.
When he looked back over to where Ava had been, he realized she was gone. But it didn't make any difference, because she'd already planted the seed. He knew what he had to do. For once in his entire miserable life, what his brother needed from him was crystal clear. This wasn't a game. This wasn't a job that they could leave behind once it was finished. To escape the clutches of Hell, Sam would have to become who he was meant to be. Because the only way to 'beat' this kind of evil was to become more powerful. Come to find out, he'd gone about this all wrong. He'd been asking these loathsome creatures to stop. Well, he was done asking now: done playing mister nice guy. It was time he started making demands.
From there, everything happened so fast that it was mostly a blur. Where he found the strength to break through the barrier that constantly divided him from his brother, he wasn't sure. Maybe it was some freak adrenaline thing, but how didn't really matter. The important part was that he was able to get to Dean. As soon as he reached him, he commanded his tormentors to get back. If they challenged Sam, he beat them back. Then the strangest thing happened: the demons were the ones trapped on the outside, unable to get in. Who knows how temporary it all was though, so he worked fast at unfastening his brother's restraints and helping him to his feet. "I'm going to get you out of here, okay? Just hang on." For the most part, he was carrying Dean, but it was completely understandable that the eldest wouldn't have been able to find his footing so quickly - or maybe at all, after what he'd had to endure. Fortunately, Sam was big and strong and driven, and there was no way he was stopping until he got the other to safety.
The Devil's Gate: he'd located it. Now if they could just get to it, maybe he could open it. He was supposed to be some legacy, right? His abilities would have to be useful at some point. He was really hoping this would be that time. If this worked, he'd never complain about being different again. If it could only save them now ... Dean suddenly stumbled, and before Sam could position himself in such a way that would prevent them from taking a tumble, he'd lost his footing as well. His gaze had momentarily settled on their escape up ahead. One thing he could be proud of was that he was able to find his way around, despite all the smoke mirrors and disorienting sounds scattered about the place. Purposefully, probably. So that if anyone was uninjured enough to make a break for it, they wouldn't get very far.
At first, his brother didn't move, although he was still breathing. Gasping for air, was more like it. Unfortunately, down here logistics kind of got forgotten about. Hell had a way of screwing with your head, and Sam had never been exceptionally strong in that regard. Even knowing that an individual couldn't die once he/she had already suffered that fate, he still went into a mild panic and jerked Dean up by the collar to give him a good shake. "Dean. DEAN! You have to hang in there. We're almost out. I need you to hang on, please. Please. I'm going to get us out." A low groan fell from the other Winchester's lips before he gave a weak nod to show that this was the best he could do as far as hanging in there went. He was still conscious.
"I'm afraid I can't let that happen." Another familiar figure: one he didn't have to catch a glimpse of to recognize. The voice was enough. It was Jake. That son of a bitch. If he thought for even one second that he could stop Sam from getting Dean out of here, he was in for a rude awakening. This was round two, and this time he would win. Count on it.
Sam reluctantly stood ( not wanting to leave Dean on the ground, but he didn't see that he had much of a choice ). His hands had already balled into fists down by his sides as his eyes narrowed and froze into a hostile glare. "Get out of the way." - "What are you going to do, Sam? Kill me?" - Oh, the irony. If only he could kill him again, he would. A thousand times more, in fact. In Sam's opinion, his biggest mistake had been letting this guy live longer than he should have. This only confirmed it.
The confrontation was brief. The bantering was over and done with, and now a physical fight had ensued. It'd been proposed that if Sam would stay ( where he 'belonged' ), Dean could go. Only catch was, Dean would have to get himself out ... with no help. That wasn't going to happen, and his opponent knew that. Jake knew he couldn't crawl out himself. Also, his brother was begging him not to agree to those terms, even though he hardly had a voice left to say anything with at all. So ultimately, Sam couldn't do it. Not because of any high amount of respect he had for himself, but because he couldn't do it to Dean - and he wouldn't come this far, only to have this same superfreak screw everything up. They were getting out that door: the door that was now opening due to sheer will and a devoted focus of power. How was that even possible? Especially when Sam was being thrown around the surrounding area by his nemesis, but apparently it was. Forget about the how's and why's.
He was able to send Jake flying long enough to turn back to where his brother ... had been. "No. No!" Sam shook his head vigorously as he began to frantically search for Dean, endlessly calling his name. He couldn't have gone anywhere on his own; he wouldn't have gone anywhere ... But his efforts were all in vain. No answer came, and the door was already beginning to close. It was then that Sam knew he couldn't go. He knew freedom was just a few feet away, but he couldn't move - not in that direction: not towards salvation, but back into the flames. Now he'd have to start over. He had to find Dean ... again.
"DEAN!" He shot up in his bed, hands instantly lifting to cover his face. The difference in Dean's night terrors and Sam's nightmares were that Sam knew almost instantaneously that none of it was real ( not anymore ). That didn't wash away the panic: not at first, but he was immediately ashamed for his outbursts. He wasn't aware of what all he'd said in his sleep, and he didn't want to talk about it. But it was impossible to deny that he was shaken to the core, because he was always profusely sweating and trembling uncontrollably. His eyes were constantly lined with tears for at least a good half hour after he woke up, and he'd just sit there, knees drawn to his chest, staring silently at nothing in particular, just trying to get the images out of his head - afraid to fall asleep again.
His breathing was raspy, and his heartbeat raced. Because of all these combined factors, sometimes it was hard to single in on anything at first. Tonight it took him a little longer than usual to recover ( with the exception of the very first time ). Who knows why? Maybe it was because they'd come so close to getting away that he'd thought it'd finally be over, or maybe it was because he knew none of this could've actually happened. So what the hell was it he was supposed to be seeing in these dreams? What was he supposed to do? Why? He wanted to know why he was trapped in this cycle if there was no point in it and no cause for it. Surely this wasn't happening just because his conscience was bothering him. One's inner-workings couldn't consume a person like this ... could it?
He could feel his brother's concerned, yet prying eyes locked on him, so Sam shifted and tossed his legs over the side of the bed: the opposite side, so that his back was turned to Dean. But that didn't seem to discourage him. In fact, it did the opposite. He was soon joined, alerted to the other's presence when the mattress bounced lightly, followed shortly by a reassuring hand placed gently on his shoulder. "Talk to me, Sammy."
The first time Sam parted his lips to speak, the words got lodged somewhere in the back of his throat, so he was forced to press them back together and try again a few seconds later. When he did manage to say something, his voice shook, though the quieter he kept it, the less severe the tremor was. "What do you remember?" So it wasn't exactly what Dean wanted to hear, but maybe what he was seeing and what his brother was seeing were linked somehow. Maybe the only way to solve this was by comparing and contrasting their own mini versions of Hell. He wasn't looking forward to it, but he had to know. Determination had settled somewhere in there amongst all the pain and confusion, and it was visible in his eyes when he locked his gaze with Dean's. "I need to know what you remember." The subject didn't require any deeper explanation. There was only one thing Sam could be referring to: only one thing that could terrify them both to the point that their minds and bodies nearly shut down on them: Hell.