Two Months Later or Forty Hell Years Later
The sky uttered a deathly howl as the Earth beneath it trembled violently as it split apart and one of Hell's doors blow open as the new King of Hell crawled out of his grave.
Dirt and mud covered Dean's face and body but he didn't care; he was finally topside, feeling the sun on his face, and it was time for him to claim his mate and consort and even raise a little hell while he was at it. "I'm coming for you, baby boy and nothing will stand in my way from claiming what is rightfully mine," Dean vowed as his eyes flickered a soulless shade of black.
After being trapped in hell for forty years, it felt so different being topside. Most notably, Dean realised that he had forgotten the sound of sheer silence, there were no tortured screams filling his ears. The air was clean and fresh, there was no scent of blood burning his nostrils. For a moment Dean simply basked in the sunlight letting it heat his flesh to the point of pain only to have a gentle breeze cool his skin. Even though he knew he had things to do, he lingered, relishing the moment; after so long in the pit, he had forgotten how warm and nourishing the sun felt on his skin. Finally, Dean reluctantly roused himself because as nice as it was to lie there without a care in the world, there was actually another hunger burning deep within his soul and he needed to find what he was looking for.
Being a man blessed with common sense, Dean would be the first to admit that he didn't come out of hell the same man he was when he went in. No, he came back different, more powerful and pardon the pun, with a hell of a lot of demons ready to serve his every need. But none of that mattered now, he had to find Sam and keep him away from those dicks known as angels. Once they learned who the new King of Hell was there was no doubt they would go after his chosen Consort and there was absolutely no way that Dean was going to let that happen.
Looking at the unearthly throng that now surrounded him Dean growled out his orders. "Send word, I want everyone hunting for Sammy and that demon bitch Ruby! I want them found as soon as possible or heads will roll the longer my mate is kept from me!"
The demons who had dug him up nodded their heads eagerly; they did not want to be the first to earn their King's wrath or to end up on the top of their new leader’s list like Ruby was.
"I'm back, Sammy, and it's time to take what's mine," Dean vowed his eyes shining black for a moment as he lost control of himself; it was something he did whenever he thought about that nefarious bitch sinking her filthy claws into his mate. 'It won't be long now Sammy, soon you will be back where you belong even if I have to lay waste to everyone and everything that comes between us.'
Sam didn't know why he felt so on edge; it was as if his entire body was tingling, coming to life, awaiting something that would change his future.
Of course this wasn't the first time he felt like he was going to come out of his skin, ever since he’d taken Ruby up on her offer, Sam hadn't felt like himself. In fact just thinking about what he was doing with Ruby caused a wave of bitter bile to rise up in his throat, but he knew that if he continually reminded himself everything he was doing was for Dean, then he could and would endure whatever he had to for as long as he had to until it brought Dean back to him.
Despite his silent pep talk and his mental attempts to separate his mind from his body during yet another distasteful and distressing session with Ruby, Sam had locked himself away in the bathroom the moment the demon was gone. Standing beneath scalding hot water Sam scrubbed his skin raw to the point of bleeding as he tried to rid his body of her cloying scent and rid his memory of her lingering touch. Again and again he washed himself, staying in the shower until at last the water ran cold and skin turned blue but he didn’t care; he already felt dirty enough, he didn't need any reminders.
'Remember this is for Dean, you're doing all this to save Dean,’ Sam repeated his daily reminder that he was enduring such torment for his brother, a man he would do anything to help. The fact that he was deliberately allowing himself to become addicted to demon blood meant that he was strong enough to save Dean from hell or to at least kill Lilith for putting his brother there.
So lost in his desperate need to be clean and his mental encouragement Sam never heard the endless and strident ringing of his phone, as its caller tried urgently again and again to get in contact with him.
"Sam, come on boy! It's been almost four months since I last talked to you; let me know you’re still alive, son. Something big has gone down and there are signs of demons everywhere; you need to be careful. Just call me, let me know you’re still breathing… please." Bobby left his message and hung up his phone with an exasperated albeit heartfelt sigh.
"Balls!” the older man cursed. “You idgit, you better not have done anything stupid, boy." In all his years Bobby had only see one other person as numb and broken as Sam and that had been Dean when Sam had been dead. He’d always known that the boys were connected by a bond far deeper than most people ever experienced and now it was destroying Sam to be without Dean.
It had been tough for Bobby to stand by helplessly and watch Dean suffer and miss his brother, and Sam had been only dead three days before Dean made his deal. But this time things were different; Dean had been gone for months and Sam was still no closer to saving him than the last time they’d spoken and it was only through various reports from other hunters who’d seen Sam that Bobby even knew the kid was okay.
'I just hope to hell you know what you’re doing Sam,’ Bobby shook his head sadly. ‘Destroying yourself to bring Dean back won't change anything if we lose you in the process. Don’t you realise that will just start the circle all over again?’ Bobby’s heart was heavy with regret and uncertainty; it felt like he was losing both of his boys because whatever Sam was up to, he clearly wasn't living.
Dean was growing impatient; it had been two weeks since he’d escaped from hell and there was still no sign of Sam. He was losing his patience, he wanted Sam where he belonged and he wanted him there now! Looking out over the demons that trembled in fear around him Dean demanded answers. "Have you found him or that bitch yet?" His question was met with nothing but shuffled feet and downcast eyes. “Well?!” the King of Hell thundered angrily.
Finally the uneasy silence was broken when one of the braver demons shook his head. "I'm sorry sire, we have not yet found them although the search goes on as we speak.” A murmur of agreement swept through the group. “We believed that Ruby knows we are looking for her and has gone into hiding as your brother is a Winchester he will not be easily tracked down," he pointed out, hoping that Dean would see the truth in his words and not punish him.
Even though he was incredibly angry that Sam was not yet with him, Dean still felt an immense sense of pride filling him as he thought about his brother's cleverness. At the same time though he wanted to curse loudly because it was those same skills as a hunter that were keeping his stubborn brother from claiming his rightful place at his side. "Damn it Sammy, why do you have to be so good?" Dean swore under his breath.
If the information he’d been given was true, and he knew it was because no one was foolish enough to challenge or lie to him, Sam had been drinking Ruby's demon blood and had become addicted to it. Soon he would be going into withdrawal, a process of agonising suffering which could cost him his sanity if not his life, and Dean wanted to be there before it caused Sam too much.
Returning his attention to the demons nervously shuffling their feet as they wait for him to speak, the King of Hell announced, "I don't care what it takes, I want Sam Winchester found by the end of this week or I'm going to start getting nasty." Dean’s eyes flickered soulless black and a wicked smirk appeared on his face.
Without exception the demons trembled before their new king; for so long the Winchesters had been the thing of nightmares, the boogie-men for their kind, they were what the monsters feared most. As a hunter Dean was already dangerous enough but now that he was their king he had become deadly and only a fool would dare cross him. Already renowned for their ‘every-demon-for-himself’ attitude, not one single demon dared to help Ruby, there was a bull’s-eye on her back and they all knew she was a dead demon walking. Nor would they offer any help to Lilith who was frantically trying to raise an army who would help her to stand against Dean.
Many of them had learned the hard way, through damage, dismemberment and death, that you can't keep a Winchester down and they believed that if Dean brought them their boy king then they would support him, no matter what. After all Sam was supposed to rule them and it was a widely held belief amongst the demons that with both the Winchester's leading them heaven didn't stand a chance in hell.
It was inevitable that the rumours would reach Ruby’s ears; coming at her from every direction and every source, they whispered that Dean was back, that he had returned from hell a completely different man than when he went in. She knew that time on the rack under Alistair's exquisitely diabolical hand would do that to a man, but the rumours also said that Dean was even more dangerous than ever before, beyond what he was as a hunter.
Ruby wasn’t stupid; she was well aware that Dean was looking for her and Sam; she’d known he would from the moment she’d taken on Sam. 'Damn it!’ No matter where she turned she could sense eyes just watching and waiting. ‘There is no way that I can get to Sam without alerting someone.' The situation was definitely not good for Ruby's plans; in order to keep Sam firmly under her control she needed to maintain a regular feeding schedule. Sooner rather than later her little addict was going to need his fix and if Dean and his minions got to Sam before she did, he could undo all her hard work.
She was nobody’s fool. Even before she’d taken on the task of addicting Sam, she’d known that Dean hated her with a passion that at time bordered on psychotic and she knew that Dean was just chomping at the bit, waiting for her to make the slightest mistake that would allow him to take her out. Despite Dean’s new influence over the demons, Ruby still had a pitiful few that were loyal to her and from what she heard, being destroyed wasn't a pleasurable experience. She had to be more careful now than ever before; nearly every demon in the land was looking for her, if only to curry favour with the new king.
Wisely but sadly the demon decided that nothing was more important than her survival, not even her own pleasure. "Sorry Sam, but you're just not worth me sticking my neck out for," she said regretfully. Ruby would certainly miss the sex with Sam, there really was just something about the stamina and enthusiasm of a young man, even if it was Dean's name he called out when he came. If were any way she could have used that particular fact against Dean she would have but everyone in the supernatural world knew that Dean and Sam were either are lovers or well on their way to becoming so.
Unfortunately she knew perfectly well that that juicy little nugget of information wouldn’t do her any good at all; letting Dean know that Sam was imagining his face, his body, when having sex with someone else would only feed the demon king’s ego and libido. There were other downfalls she could think of as well; one, it would make it seem like she couldn't satisfy a man and two, Dean would no doubt rip her apart for sleeping with Sam in the first place and then bring her back just to do it all over again.
No, as much as she had enjoyed her little dalliance with him, Sam Winchester simply wasn't worth the dangers he now brought with him. Besides, in the long run, she would much rather be on Lilith's bad side than Dean's; she might make Ruby suffer, but chances were good that Lilith wouldn’t kill her. "Don't worry father, this is just a minor setback, I will get Sam in the end," Ruby promised as she vanished.
Sam knew that he’d inexplicably fallen into the depths of hell. Every inch of his body hurt and he was in so much pain that he couldn't hide the whimpers of misery or the cries of pain that escaped his lips. As he curled up on the motel bed, tangled in sweat-soaked sheets, Sam knew he wouldn't be disturbed no matter how much noise he made. After driving for as long as he could while his gut ate itself inside out, he had pulled into the first seedy, rundown, disreputable roadside motel he’d spotted. It was one whose main clientele were the ‘pay-by-the-hour’ type but there were still had a few rooms available for the weary traveller and as he parked Sam noticed that the parking lot was nearly empty; he figured he was one of maybe ten guests but he still made sure to get the room at the very end, as far away from everyone else as he could get.
Sam had been grateful that the symptoms of withdrawal hadn't started until he’d neared a city; he hadn't wanted to damage the Impala by having an accident during one of his more violent shaking spells. He noticed that his hands were trembling as he steered the car into the parking lot and a quick glance at himself in the rear view mirror told him that anywhere else he would have gotten odd, disgusted or sympathetic looks, but dives like this didn't bat an eye to someone clearly going through withdrawal.
Unable to meet the desk clerk’s eye yet still knowing his pock-marked face wore a knowing smirk, Sam made sure that he paid for the room for a full week. He’d been trying to get a hold of Ruby since the muscle cramps started but to no avail and he knew that if she didn't show up in the next day or so, then he was going to need the rest of the week at least to battle the withdrawal symptoms. Without Ruby there was no way he could get the fix he so desperately needed unless he went out looking for a stray demon that would let him drink their blood. Sam retained enough of his mental faculties to have serious doubts that any of them would let him get close enough to ask and in his weakened state he knew he’d be no match should they attack him. No, he realised with a violent shudder that he was going to have to ride this out on his own if he couldn't find Ruby.Across the street and hidden in the shadow of a derelict building, a set of jet black eyes watched gleefully as the youngest Winchester nearly fell out of his car before staggering drunkenly to his room, and when it took his prey nearly three minutes to get his key into the lock and the door open, the watcher had to choke back a sharp bark of laughter. Oh but his king was going to be very pleased with this news and if he was truly lucky, the bearer of such good tiding would certainly be handsomely rewarded..