Title: Burden of Sacrifice
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Lindsey had found the book he was looking for fairly quickly and had settled down at the table with it and proceeded to completely ignore the fact that Sam and Dean were in his house at all. Dean could just hear him humming under his breath as he read, and only the fact that the other man seemed fairly confident in what he was doing kept him from getting impatient at being ignored.
Sam was browsing Lindsey's bookshelves, completely engrossed and more than likely compiling a mental list of books to either ask Lindsey to let him read or to try to find his own copies of. Dean was just sitting at the table across from Lindsey, one eye keeping track of Sam's slow progress around the room and the other watching Lindsey flip pages.
After about ten minutes the quiet finally got to him. "So, there's really a ritual or something to show what happened to Dad's soul?"
Lindsey snorted without ever looking up from his book. "Son, there's a ritual for damn near everything. We're not using one designed for finding souls, though."
Sam turned his attention away from the bookshelves at that odd statement. "Why not? I'd think it would make more sense to use the ritual that was made specifically for what you wanted."
"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Lindsey shook his head, finally looking up from his book. "But rituals that deal with souls are usually not something you want to be playing around with. Magic that messes with souls is usually seriously dark stuff. Which is why we're improvising."
"Improvising?" For all that Dean thought that Lindsey probably knew what he was talking about, that word did not inspire much in the way of confidence.
Lindsey just grinned. "Yep, improvising. Don't worry none. I know what I'm doing."
Somehow, that still didn't make him feel any better. "Once we can figure out just where Dad's soul is, how do we get him out?"
Something about his question must have bothered Lindsey because the other man went completely still for a moment before very carefully slipping a marker in the book and closing it. "Son, that's where it gets difficult. Finding your daddy's soul is fairly simple. It's the getting him back that's iffy. Depending on which hell he's in, you may not be able to get him out at all."
Dean snapped at that, and before he realized it he was half-way across the table and practically snarling in Lindsey's face. "I don't care what you say, I will get him back."
Lindsey leaned forward until he and Dean were nearly touching noses, blue eyes suddenly cold. "Even if it means leaving your brother in hell to take your daddy's place? Would you still bring your daddy back if you had to leave Sam in hell to suffer instead? Cause depending on where he is, you might. So, think about just how far you're willing to go before you start telling me what you will or won't do, boy."
All of the anger seemed to just blow out of Dean at that, and he almost fell back into his chair in shock. The idea of sacrificing Sam for John was so abhorrent that it had never even entered his head until Lindsey had mentioned the possibility. And the thought that in the heat of the moment he just might have done it without realizing what he was doing made him sick.
He barely noticed Sam moving until he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Dean, you need to breathe. We both know you'd never do something like that."
Dean let out a stuttering breath, glancing up and trying without words to tell Sam that he was deathly afraid that he might, after all. That Sam needed to be careful, to make sure that he didn't get carried away and go too far before he realized it.
Sam just sighed, shaking his head. "Dean, you would never do that. The very fact that you're about to have a panic attack is proof enough. Besides, Lindsey said that it all depended on where Dad is. Let's not get all worked up before we know for sure."
In the face of Sam's steady calm Dean's breathing slowly returned to normal, though he could still feel a hint of panic deep in his chest. And then he nearly jumped out of his chair when Lindsey suddenly slammed the book down on the table and cursed. Only Sam's tightening grip on his shoulder kept him from getting up and pacing.
Lindsey took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair. "Maybe nothing. The ritual I want to use needs something to act as a focus. Which means I need something of your father's, something he had for a while and that meant something to him. It needs to have an imprint of his soul on it in order for me to use it to find him."
Dean could almost hear Sam frowning at that. "An imprint of his soul?"
"Yeah. You have something for a long time, something that has some sort of meaning for you, and bits of your soul sort of rub off on it, spiritually attune it to you."
Dean suddenly turned around to face Sam. "Like the Hookman, Sammy."
Sam's eyes widened. "We couldn't banish him until we destroyed his hook because so much of his anger was tied up in it. It was linked with his spirit." Then he frowned. "Dad didn't have a whole lot. The Impala's more yours than his, and his truck's gone. I buried his dog tags, but I don't know if those would have worked anyway."
After a moment of silence, it finally came to him. "The journal. Sam, what about his hunting journal?"
Dean smiled when Sam slowly nodded. "Yeah, that might work. He used it for years, kept the few pictures of us and mom in it. That journal was almost as much a member of the family to him as the Impala is to you."
Lindsey leaned back in his chair with a grin. "Well then, boys. Why don't you get it, and we'll see if we can't manage to use it to find your daddy."