They burst out of
the house into bright sunlight that pounds through Sam’s head. He has
his arm slung over Dean’s shoulder and Mary is half a step behind
them, covering their exit.
There are three
steps down from the porch to the sidewalk leading to the driveway.
Sam grunts and braces himself on Dean, his thigh spiking pain hot up
“Easy, Sammy, I
got you,” Dean says, quiet and low and steers them toward the back
of the Impala. Sam’s eyes prick and burn to hear the sound of the
voice he built his world on. Dean alive is too good to be true, too
surreal. Having Mary here just makes it that much harder to believe,
but Sam doesn’t think he is hallucinating again. There’s too much
real, physical pain aching through every part of his body. It’s
different, just like Dean had said all those years ago, begging Sam
to believe. Sam is trying to believe again, but he feels scraped raw
and ripe for infection. Torture brings Sam’s hell memories so much
closer to the surface.
Sam’s been to the
cage three times now, by his count. Once he jumped in himself. Once
Cas broke his wall and sent Sam careening into the memories of 180
years of hell torture so devastating that Sam had to split into three
pieces just to survive it. And once when Sam had walked right into
the cage, terrified but hopeful, because he thought God was asking
him to. Every time Sam ended up in the cage, he ended up there on
faith. The faith that he was doing the right thing, the faith that
Cas would not hurt him, standing there like an idiot while Cas
touched his forehead, and faith that he was worthy of God’s trust.
Strange that Sam’s
faith should suffer now that he knows God is alive and well. He tries not to think about how Chuck helped him
and Dean make it to Stull Cemetery so Sam could do the right thing
and fall. He’s grateful for that help. It was the right thing to do.
Sam has to believe that, even now with Lucifer on the loose again.
But if he thinks about how Chuck, how God, played a roll in getting
him there, he has to think about the rest of what that means.