Title: Hell isn't one place
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
A/N: I haven't seen All Hell Breaks Loose; in fact I haven't seen most of Season 2. (Grumbles at both work schedule and a husband who messed up the task of taping the season finale.) But I have read a few minor spoilers. This is what my brain came up with. *sigh* I read too many Buffy fics.
A/N2: I did get the second season for Christmas but I'm waiting to watch it until after I've finished this fic. I've put in too much work to spoil it now.
Mary Winchester's Grave Site
They had salted and burned his body but they had buried his dog tags with Mary. That was the key that got him out of Hell. Not that his boys knew it yet, but he was working on it. The damned soul that had been John Winchester sat on his wife's grave and looked around planning. He had worn those tags for longer than either of his boys had been alive, longer than he had worn his wedding ring in fact. Just as importantly he'd thought of himself as a soldier for most of those years, a soldier in the middle of more than one war.
It was just enough to tie him back to the Earth when he escaped from Hell, in spite of his sons' precautions. He didn't blame them for doing what he had taught them to do. Cremation was his preferred way to deal with his mortal remains and they had known it. He was just glad that they hadn't melted down the tags too. That gave him a way to stay here and keep an eye on his boys. He had been there when Dean had made his deal with the cross roads demoness. He didn't approve of what Dean had done to save Sam, but he wasn't a hypocrite either. He'd done nothing less than the exact same thing to save Dean. And he knew that for Dean, there wasn't anything on this Earth that was more important than his little brother. He just didn't want to see either of his boys in the same place that he had just escaped from. But he knew a lot more now than he did when he had made his own deal. Dean didn't have to end up where he did, not if he could just figure out a way to talk to Sam.
Because there was a catch in the deal that Dean made; a loophole that he hadn't know before. Hell wasn't just one place. There were many places that were called Hell and that was all that was needed for the technicality to work. If he or more importantly, Sam, could get Dean to willingly go to a Hell of his own volition before the Hellhounds came for him, then everything would be all right. He just had to figure out a way to get the information to Sam.
Normally a ghost/spirit/restless dead can't move too far from that which binds him to this plane but John's a special case. His tags are just the smallest link he has to what's his, just the key that lets him stay. The rest is all located in one black Chevy Impala; his two boys, his journal, their weapons, their very lives. So he /moves/ in that weird way that some spirits do and he's in a motel room, watching over his boys. Sam, his youngest at twenty five now, was sitting at the small table searching the internet on his laptop. Dean, older by four years, was sleeping on the bed closest to the door. John just stops and watches his boys for a moment. Sam, all tall and lanky, scrunched up in the too small chair, was obviously searching for the information that John had. John knew his son. Sam wouldn't stop until the Hellhounds actually came for Dean, and probably not even then. He stifled the urge to brush the hair out of Sam's eyes. That's not what he's here for, even if Sam really does need a hair cut worse than any time he'd ever seen. There wasn't time to worry about haircuts. Dean, whose hair John was pleased to see was still short enough to pass inspection, was out cold under the thin blankets. He should be out for hours as long as John didn't wake him up.
That was going to be the hard part. John still wasn't sure just how to go about giving Sam the information he had. He knew that he could move objects, but how to do that without setting off any of the signs that there was a spirit around? He was just lucky that what is his is inside the salt barriers that the boys have set up. They are well done, just like he taught them but they can't keep him out. Nothing will ever keep him from watching over his boys. Sam gets up and stretches, all six feet and some inches reaching for the ceiling and colliding with the light. John smirks at the silent cussing act Sam is doing, trying not to wake Dean up.
Sam reaches for one of the bags and starts rifling through it. John knew that being as tall as Sam was, wasn't much fun. The only real thing that was good about it for Sam was that he could finally tease Dean about being taller after so many years of Dean teasing him. That was something that every little brother who outgrew their big brother enjoyed but there wasn't much teasing going on these days. He was still wracking his brain, trying to think of something when Sam chucked a familiar board out of the bottom of one of his bags. He didn't bother to figure out why Sam had a Ouija board. It was the one thing that he could touch and move in the room without waking up Dean with electrical disturbances or cold spots/drafts or anything else that screamed 'THERE'S A GHOST HERE!' There was no way that Dean would sleep through something like that. And Dean couldn't know what John and Sam were going to be doing, at least what they would be doing if John and Sam could figure out how to get the ball rolling.
He waits until Sam looks in his direction before flipping the board over so that the letter side was up. Sam freezes and John knows he's got his attention. John waits and hopes that Sam won't do anything drastic. He just needs for Sam to get out the pointer so they can get to work. The first thing Sam does is look at the salt lines across the door to the room and along the window sills. John can see his son's brain (Dean's often stated comment of 'freakishly large brain' rang through John's mind but he ignored it) start to add things up.
"Oh man, not now," Sam muttered. John can actually see Sam adding up what little facts he has; no usual signs of ghost activity, Sam hadn't moved the board, Dean was asleep and couldn't move the board, no one else was here. Would he add it up to a friendly ghost? Sam shook his head, "This is so stupid. On the other hand it worked once before," he told himself. But he got out the pointer and set it on the board with one hand while reaching into his pocket with the other. John grinned; he knew what was in that pocket. He had drilled it into his sons to keep rock salt or pure iron on hand at all times. He had no wish to feel the iron or salt that he knew Sam must be carrying in that pocket used against him but he was glad that Sam wasn't as trusting as he had been as a child. If it had been any other spirit but him, then Sam and Dean would have been in a lot of danger.
John sat down and put his hands on the pointer. He was going to have to concentrate hard on getting it to move where he wanted it to. He carefully spelled out a few words, 'back from hell, have plan, save Dean'. It took forever, or at least it felt like it. He was exhausted when he was done but the look of shock on Sam's face was worth it. "Dad?" Sam whispered in shock. John moved the pointer to 'yes'. Sam must have known that he was getting too tired to move the pointer now because he was keeping his questions and statements to yes or no answers.
"Dean can't help," Sam whispered urgently. He had seen his dad when the Hell Gate had opened. He knew that if his dad had gotten out with all of the other damned souls, then the first thing he would have done was find them. "If he helps then the deals off, I fall over dead and she gets him anyway." John moved the pointer to yes again. The two of them would have to set everything up so that Dean wouldn't know until the last minute, if then. "Is this time sensitive?" John moved the pointer to no. The plan was time sensitive but only in the sense that Sam already knew. Dean had to do this before the year was up. "Ok then, I'll let us both get some rest. We'll do this again tomorrow night when Dean takes off." John moved the pointer one more time and then sat back against the wall. It would take him time to recover the energy he had spent and Sam did need to sleep. They had a long haul ahead of them.
Over the next few days, or rather nights while Dean was either asleep or 'out', John managed to spell out to Sam what was needed. Sam needed to find a scorned woman, who for some reason couldn't make a wish for herself and then call on Anyanka, the patron saint of scorned women. Dealing with Vengeance Demons was tricky, but John knew that Anyanka had a soft spot for demon hunters, especially if they were of the white knight variety, which his boys were. Plus it didn't hurt that Sam and Dean were both gentlemen who would never hurt a woman in that way if they could help it. Sure Dean played the field as much as he possibly could, but underneath that James Dean swagger was a young man with a heart of gold who wouldn't push a girl where she didn't want to go. Nor would Dean make promises to any woman he couldn't or wouldn't back up. The women that he spent most of his time with knew the score as well as he did and acted accordingly. That would help when Sam talked with the demoness. And Sam, well Sam was more like he was when it came to women. When he went out with a girl, he gave everything he had. It was never Sam who had ended any relationship he'd ever had, it was always the girl.
It took Sam two weeks to find a woman who met John's specifications. The news article and other research that Sam had turned up was enough to make both men burn with anger. It would be more than enough for Anyanka. While Sam had been researching, John had painstakingly spelled out the rest of the plan. The loophole was simple. If Dean knowingly and willingly completed the contract before the Hellhounds were sent to collect him, the crossroads demoness couldn't touch him. He could go to any Hell he wanted and most importantly, he wouldn't have to stay. All Sam would have to do was summon him back from that particular Hell as soon as the first ceremony to send him there was complete. Anyanka was their key to making sure that Dean would survive in which ever Hell they sent him to for as long as it would take to get him out. She would be the one to give them the spell that would send Dean to a Hell that they picked, rather than the one that the cross road demoness had. Sam and John waited until they had all of the information they needed, both on the woman in question and on how to summon Anyanka. Then they had to figure out a way to get Dean out of their hair while still keeping him safe. They ended up going to Vegas and meeting Bobby there.
"Dude, you know that I can't let you get me out of the contract," Dean said tiredly as they pulled into the parking lot of a small rundown Vegas motel.
"I know and I promise you, we're not trying to get you out of it," Sam said earnestly.
Dean eyed him suspiciously but Sam had never been able to lie to him, lie to everyone else yeah maybe, but never to him. "Ok, so you're staying here while Bobby and I go check out the casinos. Is there anything you need me to do?" Dean was still worried but as long as Sam didn't try to get him out of his contract, then Sam wouldn't die and truthfully that was what he cared about, well he didn't really want to go to hell but Sam alive and well was much more important to him. Plus he did need some time alone with Bobby to make sure that Sam was taken care of after he was sent to Hell. Casinos might be fun and the two of them probably would check one or two out but only after everything was worked out about taking care of Sam after he was gone.
"No, Bobby has everything covered," Sam said as he got out of the car and went to the trunk. There were some supplies that he needed but he had already asked Bobby to bring those. As soon as Bobby showed up and took Dean off for the night he could get started. The supplies that he did have were in his duffel. He took that out of the car's trunk along with Dean's bag. They wouldn't need any of their weapons tonight. Dean showed up with the room key and quietly let them into the room. They silently fell into their routines of making the room safe for occupation; salting the doorway and windows, setting up better physical security than the flimsy door locks and unpacking their duffel bags.
Finally Dean couldn't take it any longer. He had known for weeks that Sam was on to something. "Dude, either you tell me what's going on or I'll make sure that the crossroads bitch doesn't have to wait a full year," he threatened. Not that he would actually kill himself or let himself be killed but he had to know and he knew that was the one threat that would get Sam to talk to him.
Sam smirked; he knew what Dean was doing. He had been expecting it actually. Dean never did have the sort of patience this type of thing required. "Actually, that's kind of what I'm doing. We can't get you out of the contract, that's a given because of the fine print. But we can fulfill your contract ahead of time, on our terms rather than hers. It won't save you from going to Hell but it should work out in the end."
Dean rocked back on his heels a little, his mind already racing around the information. He really and truly didn't want to go to Hell. He had seen a little of what their father was going through right now for his deal to save Dean's life. And he wasn't unaware of the irony that he was now in the same situation that his father had been, trading his soul for his brother's life. The one thing he was sure of was that his father would approve of what he was doing. Sam was the important one. If he hadn't survived, then there would have been no way to close the Hell Gate. As for whatever Sam was working on, he knew that he could trust Sam. "Ok, as long as that hell bitch can't say I negated the contract and take us both I'll let you do whatever it is you're going to do without interfering. Just tell me that Bobby has your back on this."
"Don't worry. I've got back up," Sam said. Dean had to accept that. He knew that there was a lot that Sam wouldn't be able to tell him. The knock on the door interrupted them and Dean went to answer it. It was Bobby who silently handed over a bag to Sam before following Dean out to the Impala.
Bobby knew that his job was to keep Dean occupied and calm during whatever it was Sam was doing. He wasn't sure why Sam wanted to call up a Vengeance Demon but then nothing the Winchesters did in the pursuit of vengeance for their family surprised him any more. Sam was so much like John it was scary, even for him and he had known Sam since he was toddling around. He also knew that whatever Dean had told Sam they were going to do, they were more likely to end up with a couple of beers and a long list of what needed to be done to take care of Sam. That would be the thing that was uppermost thing on Dean's mind right now.
Every Vengeance Demon knew John Winchester and his boys. John Winchester had done so much destruction in the name of vengeance for his wife that he had become quite the hot topic. Anyanka could really get behind a man like that and he had raised his sons to do the same. There was currently quite a large amount of betting going on as to whether or not Sam would go into the vengeance business once his brother was gone and just what his specialty would be. It would be a terrible loss if at least one of the three men didn't become Vengeance Demons. So it was with great excitement that Anyanka materialized inside the summoning circle. She wasn't sure why she was the one Sam was summoning, especially as both his mother and his girlfriend had been avenged with the destruction of the demon that had killed them.
"Hi Sam, I'm Anyanka, Patron Saint of Scorned Women. I'm really pleased to meet you. I'm not sure why you called me. Dyhoffrin is the one in charge of Vengeance Demons. I'm sure that whatever deal you want to make he'd be glad to make with you. You'll make a wonderful Vengeance Demon." She turned to where she could see John. "You've really taught him well," she said, complementing John on the way he had trained his sons. "Oh, you can't see or hear him can you?" she asked Sam when she realized that Sam hadn't heard John greet her. "Well I can't have a conversation with both of you without you being able to see and hear him; it's so tiresome having to repeat everything." She waved her hand at Sam and to Sam's surprise his father appeared, semi transparent but there. "Now, I'd be very happy to be your go between for deal with Dyhoffrin, although he'd be more than happy to come here and meet with you directly."
"Actually I want to make a deal with you," Sam said calmly. He wasn't anywhere near calm but with what he had seen growing up and being raised the way he had been, he was able to fake it very well. He had expected to see a demoness in the form of a human woman, probably a beautiful one, but he hadn't expected to see the misshapen features that Anyanka had. That, when added to her cheerfulness at the prospect of his becoming a Vengeance Demon, nearly threw him for a loop. Fortunately he was working from a script that was rather loose save for the wording of the deal.
Anya looked at him suspiciously. "I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. I only grant wishes to scorned women, not to demon hunters, even if you look like you'd be almost as good as Xander was at giving orgasms. I certainly can't grant you a wish to save your brother from his own stupidity."
"And I certainly wouldn't ask you to," Sam said reassuringly. "But you can give me information on how to complete my brother's contract on my terms in exchange for a wish made on behalf of a scorned woman who cannot wish for herself."
To say Anya was intrigued was an understatement. "Who?" she wanted to know.
"Pamela Huffman," Sam said firmly. "Her husband cheated on her and when she confronted him he beat her into a coma. He also had at least two other women he was sleeping with on a regular basis besides his mistress." Sam could sense the power and anger crackling around the Vengeance Demoness as she paced inside the confines of the summoning circle.
Anya wanted a wish for those women. The moment Sam had said her name all of the information that she needed was given to her, including information that she doubted Sam had. Both Pamela and Katie Jones, Robert Huffman's mistress, were pregnant. Well, Pamela had been until Robert had beaten her into a coma. The bastard had gotten away with claiming that he hadn't been home the night his wife was attacked too. Katie was busy planning a wedding along with getting ready to have her baby. She had no idea that her boyfriend was married so Anya considered her to be a scorned woman as well. The others were sluts who deserved whatever it was that they got but Pamela and Katie didn't. They were faithful.
The other piece of information that Anya had to consider was the fact that Sam Winchester was more than just smart and between the influences of his father, the most notorious revenge driven Hunter in centuries, and the touch of demon blood that he had been gifted, he was twisted towards the best sort of revenge. That was what had made him such a tempting prospect for being turned into a Vengeance Demon for Dyhoffrin. Giving Sam what he wanted would make it that much easier to get him to call on them a second time. There was also the fact that she would get a wish out of it for Pamela and Katie, well Pamela at least, Katie would have to make her own wish as she was still able to make one for herself. He should be able to come up with a truly worthy wish too. Finally she faced Sam and asked, "What exactly do you want in exchange for the wish?"
This was the part that made Sam sweat. Although he was certain that Anyanka wanted the wish, he wasn't sure that he could get her to agree to the bargain that he and his dad had worked out. John had warned him that she was really mercenary, even for a Vengeance Demon and would probably want more than a single wish. "I want a ritual to send my brother Dean to a hell dimension that has no cars, no women who will sleep with him, nothing supernatural for him to Hunt that will return him to me after he has fulfilled the terms of his contract with the cross roads demoness." The wording of the request was as important as what Sam was asking for. At no point had Sam used the word 'and' which could be seen as asking for two rituals. He only had a single opportunity to make a wish without going into debt. With the deals that his father and brother had made, Sam was far more aware of the consequences not only to himself but also to those around him should he make such a mistake. He couldn't have an open ended debt hanging over his head.
Anya was well aware of the details and fine print of Dean Winchester's contract. She didn't like CRD (as the demoness was known to others of her kind) as she had thwarted one of Anya's wishes nearly a century before. CRD had been bragging for months about snagging Dean Winchester's soul and how Sam Winchester would be an easy target once Dean was out of the way. The best part, CRD had said, was that because she would have her hounds rend Dean's body into little shreds when they collected his soul he would be trapped in Hell even after the single year called for in the contract. There would be no body for his soul to return to. But like all contracts this one had loopholes and Sam had just told her that he was aware of the two in this one. The first of course was that any Hell would do. The second was that Dean didn't have to be dead for his soul to enter a hell dimension. He could do so while he was alive. But Anya was curious about why Sam had asked for that particular dimension. "Why that dimension? A single year spent in any hell dimension will fulfill the contract. I would think that you would want to send him to the world without shrimp. I can understand why you would want your brother back. He is very loyal and faithful to you and a man like that is hard to find. Most men would never sell their souls to bring another person back from the dead, the wimps."
John spoke up, "Because that is Dean's definition of hell."
"It'll drive him nuts but he'll survive it," Sam said flatly. He didn't outwardly react to hearing his father's deep rumble. Being able to see and hear his dad would send him on an emotional roller coaster if he let it. That would give Anyanka leverage on him and for the literal sake of Dean's soul, he couldn't let that happen. He also didn't want to take the chance that Anyanka had been waiting for a wish to cause Dean harm. With Dean there was always the chance, not that he thought Dean would ever intentionally hurt a woman in any way, but that didn't mean there wasn't a woman out there who hated his brother for his one night stand ways.
Anya was delighted. Sam's answer showed just how wonderful a Vengeance Demon he would make as even the ritual he wanted was shaded towards vengeance upon his older brother, the man he was trying to save. She couldn't wait to see what he had come up with for Robert. She conjured up a scroll with the ritual Sam wanted written on it. "I accept your bargain," she said. "Now break the circle and wish."
Sam reached out with his foot and broke the circle by wiping out a portion of the chalk outline of the summoning circle drawn on the kitchenette floor of the motel room. Anya stepped out and held out the scroll. Sam reached for the scroll but she tilted it up, her meaning clear. Sam nodded and began, "I wish." When he said the words Anya laid the scroll in his hand although she did not let go. Neither noticed the door to the motel room opening or Dean and Bobby walking in. "That Robert Huffman have his genitals caught in a rusty vise in an abandoned workshop in the middle of a cooled lava plain in Hawaii where no one can reach him with the workshop on fire and his only chance of escape being a rusty, dull knife while Pamela Huffman makes a complete recovery with no further medical problems," Sam said completing his end of the bargain.
"Granted!" Anya said gleefully, relinquishing the scroll and disappearing with a wink.
"SAM!" Dean yelled in shock. Dean couldn't believe that his little brother would do something like that wish. For one awful moment he could almost feel himself caught in that vise. He was supposed to be doing something to resolve the hellhounds coming to kill him thing, not going around wishing for someone to be put in a situation where he'd have to cut his own nuts off to survive!
Sam turned to his brother and the Hunter he thought of as an adopted uncle. "Robert Huffman beat his pregnant wife into a coma when she confronted him about his cheating on her. She lost the baby. He deserves exactly what he's going to get. As for why I made that wish, Anyanka could get me the ritual I need to send you to Hell Dean. You see, I do this ritual and send you to Hell. You go of your own free will and complete your contract by staying in Hell for the time covered in the contract and then this ritual will bring you back to me. This way you don't die and I don't either because we're not trying to void the contract by getting you out of it. After you spend your time in Hell the cross road demoness can't touch you and we can get back to our lives. We're not getting you out of the contract Dean, we're fulfilling it."
Dean relaxed. Any jerk who would do that to his wife deserved to end up needing to cut his balls off and hopefully he would bleed to death in the process too. "Good," he said shortly. Bobby just grunted in agreement. He didn't approve of either Sam's actions or this Robert Huffman's but he knew that stubborn look on Sam's face. There would be nothing that would change Sam from this course. "Bobby is going to watch your back while I'm in Hell. Don't argue. I don't know how long I'm going to be there but I don't want you on your own while I'm gone. The last thing I need is to get back and find out that you're dead because I wasn't here to watch your back. He can put that big brain of yours to use in that library of his."
"As long as you promise me that you'll do everything you can to survive while you're there. You'll be physically going into Hell. It's the only way that you have a chance at coming back once your contract is complete," Sam said.
"Deal," Dean said and they grabbed each other's hand while looking deep into each other's eyes, each determined to make the other see how much this meant to them without having a chick flick moment.
"So what do you need?" John asked. He walked over and leaned in close. He couldn't exactly read the scroll over Sam's shoulder as he was three inches shorter than his son but he couldn't take the scroll and read it for himself either.
"Not so close Dad," Sam said shivering. "You're making a cold spot." He unrolled the scroll. "Hey it's in English!" he said surprised. "That'll make this a whole lot easier."
"Dude?" Dean asked as Sam laid the scroll out on the table he had shoved into a corner. He was starting to think that his little brother had finally lost it. Bobby looked up from where he had started cleaning up the summoning spell.
Sam rolled his eyes at both of them. "You two do remember that little problem we have going on right now? The Hell Gate, a ton of escaped damned souls, does any of this ring a bell?" Dean made a face back at Sam while Bobby grunted, secretly relieved that Sam hadn't really lost it. It made perfect sense to both of them that John Winchester had escaped and was now haunting Sam.
"How do you know its Dad?" Dean wanted to know. He wanted to make sure that Sam wasn't just thinking that any old ghost was their father, not that he doubted for a moment that his tough as nails father wouldn't have fought his way out of Hell if there had been the chance.
"We used the Ouija board at first but Anyanka did something so that I can see and hear him now. She didn't want to spend any time relaying what Dad was saying," Sam said absentmindedly.
"Tell him I don't like the deal he made but its better than you being dead or that bastard's thrall. I'm not going to yell at him for doing the same thing I did. We need to deal with the contract as fast as possible. We'll deal with the rest later," John said.
Sam repeated that for Dean and Bobby while making a list of needed supplies for the ritual. John's words calmed Dean in a way that nothing else could. Only John Winchester would dismiss his own ghostly state and give scant praise for getting around an almost impossible situation. "So how long before I take the hand basket ride Sammy?" he asked, flopping down on his bed. He still wasn't supposed to help and that was fine with him. He hated magic and would much rather shoot things or burn them up.
"From the looks of this, I'd say tomorrow. I have to get a couple of things but I've already got most of it. I just want Dad and Bobby to check this out before I do the ritual." Dean nodded and slid his knife underneath his pillow before nodding off.
Bobby set the candles on the table before reaching for the scroll. Demons were his expertise and he had more than a little experience with rituals dealing with Hell. So it hadn't surprised him in the slightest that Sam wanted him to look this one over. What was surprising was that this one was the most straightforward ritual he had ever seen. There were no catches, no silly gimmicks to make the caster look more important, no this was just a round trip ticket to a hell dimension. "Why was she so nice to you?" he asked suspiciously.
Sam sighed and glanced over at his sleeping brother. He could see just how relieved Dean was by how fast he had fallen asleep. A way out of hell and back to Sam, provided that he survived while he was in Hell, had seemingly erased all of Dean's concerns. "Apparently there's a rumor that going around in demonic circles that once I lose Dean to the cross road demoness' contract I'll become a Vengeance Demon. I'm honestly not sure what to think about that but she was real enthusiastic about it. She just sort of treated me like I already was one," he finished, rather confused. He had thought that he was going to have to talk his way out of her doing something drastic for summoning her. Instead she had gone out of her way to make sure that he could do exactly what he wanted to do.
Bobby nodded, "I can see you going that route. Only reason your dad didn't was because of you boys." John snorted but didn't refute Bobby's observation. If he had thought that becoming a Vengeance Demon would have helped him, he would have done it. But his boys had needed him and there was no way even a Vengeance Demon could have killed old yellow eyes.
"Dad didn't have any demon blood!" Sam said surprised.
Bobby snorted. "Vengeance Demons don't have any to start out with. They start out as regular humans in serious pain. They call on Dyhoffrin and well, by the time that he's done with them, there you go." He looked up to see Sam's shocked face. "It's the sort of emotional pain you'd go through if you really lost Dean and hell, your dad did go through, that attracts that demon. You boys are two sides of the same coin. You can't live without each other in your lives in some fashion. I told John that you two were too wrapped up in each other for your own good."
John smirked, "That's what started that last fight."
"You don't have to be so happy about it," Sam told his father. When Bobby looked enquiringly at him Sam said, "He's smirking and says that's what started your last fight with each other."
Bobby snorted with laughter, attempting to keep quiet for Dean's sake. "Yeah it did and I can see why Anya didn't want to do the whole translation thing."
"Anya?" Sam and John both asked.
"I met her once while she was Xander's girlfriend. I swear that boy has the worst luck with women," Bobby shook his head. "It doesn't matter now. How long will Dean be in Hell?"
"According to Anyanka, the contract will be up in a year. As long as Dean can survive that long the ritual will return him to wherever I am."
"Get some sleep then and I'll go and get the supplies." Bobby didn't want to tell Sam that time ran differently in different dimensions. There was no telling how long Dean would be gone. He would just have to deal with it if, when it became a problem. "Leave the scroll out so your dad can have a look at it." Sam nodded and headed for his own bed. "Watch over your boys John. Sam's going to need you," Bobby whispered as he left. John nodded and began his own check of the ritual.
The next morning Sam set up the ritual while Dean and Bobby ate breakfast. Dean was stocking up on all of his favorite foods but couldn't joke about it. There was no telling when he'd get to eat again. When Sam was ready and they were finished Dean walked over to the pentagram drawn in chalk on the kitchenette floor. He grabbed his brother in a quick hug before handing over all of his weapons to Bobby. Silently, with his head held high, Dean walked to the center and stood waiting.
Sam lit the candles and set the herbs on fire. Then he made a cut on his hand and poured three drops of his own blood onto the burning herbs while he chanted the incantation. As the first blood drop hit the herbs a wind blew up inside the pentagram and a tear in reality began to form. In seconds it surrounded Dean and then with a flash it and Dean were gone.
Tears poured down Sam's face as he quietly began to clean up. There was nothing more that he could do. Bobby watched him as he mechanically began to prepare for the trip to Bobby's house. It wasn't going to be easy. Bobby hadn't been joking when he said that the boys were too close in his opinion. He had no idea how either of them had been able to handle the four years apart Sam had been at school. Well, it looked like he would now.
Fifteen minutes later they were done and Sam's tears hadn't stopped, although he hadn't made a single sound in that time. So when they heard a thump behind them just as they were about to leave, they turned around in shock. It was Dean, huddled on the floor and shaking. They rushed over to him and turned him over. For some reason he was wearing a black suit, not the t-shirt and jeans that he had left in. Dean reached out a shaking hand and grabbed Sam by the hair at the base of his neck. "Sammy," he said. "You never told me 'Pleasantville' was based on a real place!"