Warnings: This story contains major spoilers for season three and season four of Supernatural. Minor spoilers for seasons one and two are also included.
Summary: In the city of lost souls, Spike is the one who ends up found.
Thank you A.J Hofacre for all of your help. I really appreciate it.
Bobby sat at his desk, eyes focused on the slumped figure seated on his couch. It had been nearly five months since he’d seen Sam, five long agonizing months in which Bobby had spent every day praying that that day wasn’t the day he’d find out he’d lost Sam as well. Dean and Sam might not have been his sons by birth, but damn it, they sure felt like his and he didn’t think he could survive losing them both. It was already hard enough to keep going with Dean gone.
“Sam-” Bobby said, only to be interrupted by a sharp knock to his door. They both looked at each other, surprise written on their faces. Suspicion quickly took over and Bobby rose to answer the door. The small blonde-haired woman on the other side was an even bigger shock.
“Can I help you, Miss…”
“Buffy Summers,” Buffy answered with a smile. “I’m looking for a Samuel Winchester.”
Face turning cold, Bobby leveled Buffy with a cold glare.“I’m sorry, but I don’t know anyone by that name.”
“Look,” Buffy said, stopping the door before he could close it. “I’m trying to find this guy.” The picture she held up was of a young man with hazel eyes and messy brown hair. Bobby cursed under his breath. There went his plans for trying to get through to Sam.
“I don’t know what you want-”
“It’s about his brother Dean.” Bobby was momentarily stunned, then anger quickly burned through him.
“Dean’s dead.” A cold voice came from behind him, and Bobby could have hit something. The boy was supposed to stay out of sight, but instead of listening to him, Sam was now standing in the doorway, a wicked looking hunting knife in his hand.
“No, he’s not,” Buffy said softly. “He’s been in Los Angeles for the past three weeks.”
“I watched his body burn,” Sam ground out. “My brother is dead.”
“Burn?” Stunned, Buffy stood silent for a few seconds. “Wait, hold on a minute. I can prove it.”
Watching her through narrowed eyes, Bobby waited to see what proof she’d give them. His eyebrows nearly disappeared under his hat when Buffy pulled out her wallet. When she pulled out a picture of a group of people, one of which looked to be Dean, his knees started to shake. The date was printed on the picture.
“Here,” Buffy said, shoving the picture into Sam’s hand. “This was taken a few days ago at my sister’s birthday party. If Dean is really dead, then how was he there?”
Looking from the picture to Sam’s, Bobby could see his eyes began to water. The guy in the photo looked exactly like Dean, right down to the sly smile on his face. Bobby noted that it was a copy of the one worn by the blonde guy next to him.
“Sam,” Bobby said. “We watched his body burn.”
“I know, Bobby,” Sam said. “But he’s in this picture.”
“He woke up in a bus station,” Buffy said interrupting the pair. “He doesn’t remember anything.”
“He only figured out his name because he had a key to a bus locker with him,” Buffy explained. “The bag inside had a tag saying Dean W. The clothes fit.”
Bobby watched as Sam turned and walked back inside, picture still gripped tightly in his hand. Sighing, he cursed the fates for doing this to Sam, right when he thought he might be reaching him.
“I think you better come inside,” Bobby said, opening the door wider. Stepping back, Bobby let Buffy enter. He noticed how her gaze flickered over the tattered old furniture, the scattered piles of books, and the numerous empty bottles littering any available surface.
“So you guys really like old books, huh?” Buffy asked. Bobby nearly laughed at her stunned expression when Sam placed a shot glass filled with a clear liquid was placed in front of her. “And what‘s this?”
“Just drink it.” Bobby stood, arms crossed over his chest, eyes hard. Sam stood by his side, an equally detached look in his eyes.
“And why should I?” Buffy asked.
“Then I guess you can leave.” Bobby made to go to the door, and Sam’s hand tightened around the knife he still held.
“Okay, okay,” Buffy muttered. “But if you guys get me drunk, I am so puking on your priceless books.”
As she took the shot glass, Bobby shot Sam a quick look. At his nod, Bobby turned his gaze back to their guest. Both breathed a sigh of relief when her eyes popped open in surprise once she realized what she was drinking. “Water? Why in the world would you guys wanted me to drink water?”
“Holy water.” Bobby grabbed the shot glass and returned it to the kitchen.
“You were checking to see if I was a demon,” Buffy said, annoyed.
Sam just shrugged his shoulders. “You can never be too careful.”
“Especially if some stranger comes bearing news about someone who is supposed to be dead,” Bobby said as he leaned against the entryway.
“Right,” Buffy said with a nod. “You two are worse than Giles.”
“Giles?” Sam asked, eyebrow raised.
“My Watcher,” Buffy said. “I’m a slayer.”
“And why would the Council send a slayer to talk to me?” Sam asked, voice hard. “They usually like to sit up on their high horse, with all their books and experts and leave the real work to the rest of us.”
“You are so right about that,” Buffy said with a disgusted snort. “The old Council was full of pompous windbags.”
“The old Council?” Bobby asked. He’d heard about what had happened to the old Council. Every hunter worth their salt knew that demons had been behind the bombing, and they also knew that the rules had suddenly changed. What those new rules where, Bobby didn’t know, but he still wanted to see if what Buffy told them matched the information he’d gathered.
“Yeah,” Buffy said. “A few years ago the old Council building in London was blown up by the First Evil. The news reports wrote it off as a terrorist attack.”
“I remember hearing about that,” Sam said, voice quiet. “I was at Stanford at the time.”
“Your father and brother knew demons were behind it, but could never figure out which one,” Bobby said, a shudder going through him as one of his theories had been confirmed. “They were rather busy that year.”
“We were all busy that year,” Buffy said. Her eyes held a haunted look as her mind brought forth memories of dead friends and allies, and Bobby winced in sympathy despite his misgivings.“Anyway, with all the potentials turned slayers, we decided to set up a new Watchers Council. No more stuffy windbags.The Watchers and Slayers are all equals now.”
“So, this new Council you’ve got,” Bobby said. “What’s that got to do with Sam?”
“Um, nothing really,” Buffy said. “I just came here to see if he was the same Sam Winchester we were looking for.”
“But why are you looking for me?”
“Because your brother wants to see you?” Buffy said, her tone making it obvious she thought they were being obtuse. “You have the picture I just gave you.”
“And Dean?” Sam asked. “Where does he fit into this?”
“He’s working with a friend,” Buffy said, indicating Spike's image in the picture. “The two of them are partners. They save people, help the helpless and all that. And honestly, I think they both like being a pain in my ass.”
Her tone of voice told Bobby all he needed to know, and he had trouble curving his desire to offer her a good strong drink. It sounded like Dean, if this was in fact Dean, had taken up with someone who was just as big a pain as he was.
“He doesn’t know who he is, but he’s still out saving people.” Sam laughed at the irony that was his life.
“What’s so funny?” Buffy asked as both Sam and Bobby shared a grin.
“Nothing important,” Sam said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “How did he come back?”
“We don’t know,” Buffy said. “We thought the FBI made a mistake listing you two as dead. Figured if he was alive then you might be too.”
“He didn’t die that day,” Sam replied. “ In fact, neither of us were at the station when it blew.”
“Well we already know they got that wrong-”
“He was killed by hellhounds,” Sam said interrupting Buffy. Now Bobby had to curb his desire to smack Sam. He knew the boy was only doing it to see what her reaction would be, but if this was a trick, the last thing they needed was for some demon to find out exactly how to get to them.
“He made a deal to save me, and the crossroads demon collected.”
“Oh.” Buffy was quiet, brows knitted together in thought. “So…”
“I was dead,” Sam said with a shrug. “Now I’m not.”
“Wow,” Buffy muttered. “And I thought Spike and I were the only ones who had such crappy luck.”
“What was that?” Bobby asked, eyeing Buffy suspiciously.
Sighing, Buffy ran her fingers through her hair. “Look, just come back to L.A with me. Dean really wants to see you.”
“Sam,” Bobby said gently. “The Watcher’s Council isn’t exactly the bastion of truth and justice they like to say they are.”
“Hello,” Buffy said, waving her arms. “I’m right here you know. Look, I get that you don’t trust the Council, hell I didn’t. You wouldn't believe the bullshit they put me through, but it’s changed. The slayers run it now.”
Bobby simply leveled Buffy with a skeptical look. “Thanks for stopping by, but you can leave now.”
“Look, this discussion is between Sam and I,” Bobby said as he lead Buffy towards the door. “And is no business of yours.”
Sighing, Bobby turned to face Sam. He was sitting on the couch again, picture clutched in his hand. Dread settled in his stomach, staking its claim and making itself at home. Bobby had spent months trying to get Sam to talk to him, and now that he was finally here, one tiny blonde girl with a picture was about to ruin everything.
“Sam…” Bobby said, his words trailing off with a sigh.
“It’s Dean,” Sam said, eyes still focused on the picture. “At least I think it is.”
“We don’t know that,” Bobby said coming to sit next to Sam.
“But we don’t know if it’s not him either,” Sam pointed out.
“You’re going to Los Angeles whether I want you to or not aren’t you?” Bobby said with a sigh, already mentally creating a list of things he’d need to pack.
“Bobby, I have to.”
“I know Sam,” Bobby said. “That’s why I’m going with you.”
Shocked at the abrupt dismissal, Buffy found herself on the front porch, door locked behind her. “Well, that was rude.”
She kicked at the door petulantly.
"Can I at least give you my contact info?!" she whined through the door. When she didn't get an answer, she snatched an old receipt from her pocket and a marker from her purse before writing out her name and the location of the hotel where she was staying. Folding it in half, she slid it with little difficulty under the gap in the door, then stood.
Straightening her clothes, Buffy turned and walked away, pouting and grumbling about unruly, paranoid hunters the whole way. When she reached her car door, Buffy pulled it open with more force than necessary, nearly yanking the door past its stopping point. Wincing at the whine of bending metal, Buffy climbed in and shut the door. Soon her cell phone was out and she was dialing Spike’s number while turning the key. A cool blast of air hit her face at the same time Spike’s voice came over the line.
“Ragged Angel Investigations, what do you want?”
“Nice greeting,” Buffy said. “It’s not wonder you guys are rolling in clients.”
“Ha, ha, Slayer,” Spike grumbled. “We’ve been getting telemarketers all day. Now what have you found out?”
“Sam is very much alive and very paranoid.”
“Yeah, I found him at this guy’s house. His name is Bobby Singer,” Buffy answered. “I got the feeling he knew both Sam and Dean pretty well.”
“So he’s a friend of the family,” Spike replied. “Doesn’t explain your paranoid comment though.”
“Well, they both hunt demons.” She paused and licked her lips before she continued. “And so did Dean, before he died.”
“Died?” Spike asked. Buffy could picture his shocked reaction in her mind.
“Yeah,” Buffy answered softly. “Dean really died and was cremated. Looks like it didn’t stick.”
“Bloody hell,” Spike grumbled. “Is there a Resurrections R Us store that we missed?”
“No,” Buffy said with a soft giggle. ““It just seems that the Powers are screwing around with people’s lives, like always. Dean was a demon hunter who made a deal with a crossroads demon to resurrect his brother. The demon collected and his brother lives.”
“Spike,” Buffy said with a sigh. “I’ll try again tomorrow, but as for now, I’m heading back to my hotel.”
“All right, luv,” Spike said, his voice carrying his distraction. “Call when you know if they’re coming or not.”
Hanging up the phone, Spike rubbed his forehead. Dean had died, and just like Buffy, and just like him, Dean had been resurrected, brought back against his will. Of course in Dean’s case, it might have been a good thing, what with him being in hell. Spike had seen a bit of hell and remembered the few tales Angel had shared. A person like Dean didn’t belong there.
“Take it that call was bad news.”
Looking up, Spike eyed the young man standing before him. “You were dead.”
“Yeah, I know,” Dean sighed. “The FBI-“
“Got that part wrong, yes,” Spike interrupted. “But you did die.”
“Hellhounds. Seems you made a deal with a crossroads demon in order to bring your brother back. The demon gave you one year.”
“I…then how did I come back?”
“Buffy and I think the Powers That Be did it.”
“Honestly? I don’t know.” Spike sighed. “I guess they figured since Angel wasn’t playing at being their puppet anymore, that it was time to find a couple of new puppets.”
“Any way we can cut the strings?” Dean’s words were hallow, his eyes bleak.
“Know where we can find a bloody huge pair of scissors?”
“No,” Dean said shaking his head.
“No matter,” Spike replied nudging Dean’s shoulder. “We’ll just make sure to give them indigestion for all the trouble they’ve caused us.”
The next day, Sam was standing in the hallway of the local Holiday Inn. Raising his hand, he gave two sharp knocks, then stood back. Buffy opened the door quickly, her purse on her shoulder and her keys in hand, making it clear that she'd been preparing to leave -- probably to come and kick their door in again, Sam thought. She blinked in shock and surprise at seeing Sam towering over her, and jumped when Sam barked out, “Where in L.A is he?”
Her hand at her chest, she sighed and answered. “The Hyperion Hotel-“
“I know where that is,” Sam said, cutting her off. Turning, he left casually calling over his shoulder. “Tell him we’ll be there Friday at noon.”
~~~~~~~~~Oct. 17, 2008: 158 Days Later~~~~~~~~~
Sam had read plenty of descriptions about buildings looming, but had never really seen it done in real life. The hotel before him managed to loom quiet nicely, as far as looming went. He remembered reading about the Hyperion Hotel a few years ago with Dean, both making bets on what type of demon or spook had caused all the chaos and deaths. Dean had insisted it was a vengeful ghost, Sam had thought otherwise. Neither had been able to make it to the hotel so that they could find out who was right, and who had to pay up.
“So this is the place, huh?” Bobby asked from Sam’s right, eyes focused on the hotel. “Looks…charming.”
“Dean and I always thought this place was cursed or something,” Sam said with a grin.
“You boys would,” Bobby chuckled with a nod. “Sam.” Bobby placed a hand on Sam’s shoulder halting him. “Are you prepared that this guy might not be Dean?”
“I am, Bobby,” Sam said with a sigh. “But are you prepared for the fact that this guy might be?”
“Sam…” Bobby said. “I know you want your brother back. Hell, I’d give almost anything to have Dean back, but people don’t just come back from the dead.”
“Yeah, well your brother sold his soul to bring you back,” Bobby snapped, then sighed. “Look, Sam, what I’m saying is that to bring someone back, there’s always a price. And in most cases, you don’t always get back the person you wanted.”
“I know.” Sam ran a tired hand through his hair. “But the only way we’ll ever know is if we walk through those doors.” Taking a deep breath, he walked up the steps and opened the front door. Silently, Bobby followed.
Dean paced across the lobby, hands restless at his sides. He was mumbling to himself and kept checking the clock every time he passed it. He was anxious, and with good reason -- his brother was arriving at any moment. That didn’t stop his antics from getting on Spike’s nerves, however.
“Bloody hell, Dean,” Spike growled. “If you don’t stop pacing, I’m going to tell one of Buffy’s mini-slayers that you feel like sparring.”
His comment shocked Dean from his trek across the floor. “Don’t you dare! Those girls…hell, I’d rather go after a chaos demon than spar with any of them.”
Spike just chuckled. “Still having trouble keeping the young one’s hands off your bum?”
“And you don‘t?” Dean snarked back. He liked the girls, really, he did. They were smart, funny, and incredibly good fighters. They were also incredibly bold, and a part of Dean couldn’t wait until Buffy left so that they didn’t have a reason to hang around the hotel anymore.
“We’re not talking about me,” Spike said. “I’m not the one wearing a bloody trench into the lobby floor.”
“True,” Dean said. “You just run and hide like a little girl whenever one of them talks about a little practice match.”
“I do not!” Spike yelled.
“Did you, or did you not, suddenly decided to go buy more supplies the moment Sheila mentioned wanting to practice her sword work?”
“Yeah, well if I remember correctly you buggered off pretty quickly that day too,” Spike volleyed back.
“Dude, she’s fourteen and she’s already grabbed my crotch twice!“ Dean yelled, arms waving. “You know I love the ladies, but I do not go in for jailbait.”
“Seems like some things never change.” Both Spike and Dean halted their argument, heads whipping around to stare at the front doors. Out of the corner of his eye, Spike could see the color drain from Dean’s face, could hear his heart rate sky rocketing and his breathing shallow. Coming to stand next to his friend, Spike leaned over and whispered, “Breath,” into Dean’s ear and pushed him forward slightly.
“Sam,” Dean said, his voice shaky.
For several minutes, no one moved. Then Sam came forward, and flung a clear liquid in Dean’s face.
“Ow, fuck!” Dean cried out, taking several steps back. Spike was by his side before anyone else could move, a low growl rumbling in his chest.
“What in the bloody hell did you throw at him?”
“Holy water,” Bobby answered, eyes narrow.
“You‘re not Dean,” Sam said, his voice cold.
“Then who the hell am I?” Dean snapped, eyes bloodshot and itchy.
“My brother isn’t a demon!”
“I’m half demon you oversized freak!” Dean yelled back.
“There is no half,” Sam snarled, as he took a step forward.
“Right, and since when are you a bloody expert on all things demony?” Spike snarled, eyes flashing yellow.
Dean watched through blurry eyes as Sam and the guy he figured was Bobby Singer take a step back, their anger depending to a stark cold rage.
“Stop it!” Dean’s voice echoed throughout the lobby, causing everyone’s eyes to lock on him. “Just…forget it. This was obviously a mistake.”
Dean turned, heading back towards the stairs leading to the second floor of the hotel. His shoulders were tense, arms held stiffly at his side. Spike’s voice sharp and dangerous filled the lobby. “Get out before I rip your bloody intestines out and hang you with them.”
“Come on, Sam,” Bobby said, reaching out to take Sam’s arm. Sam’s eyes stayed focused on the familiar form of the man who thought his name was Dean, his doubts growing by the second. Maybe they were wrong. Maybe Dean had come back, memories wiped clean with a demonic roomate. It was the demon part that had Sam hesitating. Demons were evil, with few exceptions as far as Sam knew. But then why would a Slayer seek them out if that were the case? Making a gut decision, Sam pulled free and took a step forward.
“Wait.” Dean, or the guy who was using his name, stopped, though he didn’t turn around.
“Sam.” Bobby’s voice cut through Sam’s chaotic thoughts and the anguish in his eyes deepened. Spike, against his better judgment, felt himself feeling sorry for the pair. “Dean wasn’t a demon.”
“But.” Sam had to swallow a few times before he could continue speaking. “He’s Dean.”
“Could be a revenant,” Bobby said softly, placing a hand on Sam’s shoulder. His own voice sounded haggard, reminding Spike of Giles after Buffy’s death. That was the only reason he held his tongue.
“'Scuse me?” Dean asked, both eyebrows raised as he turned to look at Sam. Both hands rested on his hips, feet slightly apart. It was a classic Dean pose, and Sam had to blink several times to clear his vision.
“He hasn’t changed,” Sam explained, voice shaky. His gaze kept darting from Bobby to Dean, confusion and grief battling for dominance. “The way he talks, the way he acts, hell even the way he moves, it’s all, well, Dean. But-”
“I’m part demon,” Dean finished. A Sam’s nod, Dean felt his shoulders slump. He couldn’t stop the sense of loss he was feeling from coloring his words. “Yeah well, it’s not like I have the memories to explain that part.”
“Maybe it’s for the best,” Sam said hesitantly, coming to stand before Dean.
“For the best?” Dean spat, glaring at Sam. “How in the world could this be for the best?”
“Well for one thing, you don’t remember dying.” Sam’s voice was flat again, barely holding back emotions that had been plaguing him since his brother’s death. “Or being in hell for that matter.”
“But they’re my memories,” Dean growled, his frustration lacing his words. “And... alright, so not remembering hell is a damn good thing, but I don’t remember Mom, or Dad, or growing up, or anything else that’s important.”
Nodding, Sam had to swallow a few times before he could speak. “Then we’ll find away to get them back.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” Sam said. “There's going to be some things you'll wish you didn’t remember. But you‘re right, they're your memories and you shouldn‘t have had them taken away. No matter how painful some of them are.”