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Title: Ringtone
Author: debbiel
Characters: Sam... but it's all about Dean... it's always been about Dean
Rating: PG 13 (language, violence)
Warnings: Missing scene for "The End"; spoilers through 5X4
Genre: gen
Disclaimer: Not mine
Word Count: 1700
A/N: Thanks to callistosh65 for the wonderful beta.

Summary: He can still hear Lucifer whispering in his ear. And without Dean, Sam doesn’t trust himself not to listen.


After Dean tells him goodbye—this is it, they can’t be together any more—Sam drives until he finds an empty stretch of highway. Country roads go on forever but not for him. He pulls off onto the shoulder and takes a long, deep breath before he’s sure that this is what he wants to do.

He is still holding the phone. There’s a part of him that is tempted to hurl the damn thing out the window into the woods, but it wouldn’t be fair. Whoever finds him will need to know who to call, and Dean has a right to know—better for him to make a clean break, do his grieving, and then move on.

Biting his lip, Sam scrolls down his list of numbers and bumps up Bobby as his primary contact. Better for Bobby to get the call…not like the guy needs more trouble in his life, but it can’t be helped. He’ll figure out the best way to tell Dean. Maybe he’ll have Dean drive to the house, break it to him in person. One way or another, the two of them will still have each other. They’ll work it out.—Sam’s sure of it

The wind is blowing through the dark tangle of trees on either side of the road. There’s not much of a moon, and he can’t see through all the shadows. It’s a perfect place to hide, but Sam’s not fooling himself. There’s no hiding from the kind of evil that has staked its claim on him.

He wonders if he should leave behind some sort of note—it’s kind of a joke—the idea that someone who has nothing needs to make a living will. Pretty fucking ironic that the only thing worth having is the one thing he can’t protect after he’s gone—this vessel—his body. The meatsuit for the Morning Star…Sam is pretty sure that Lucifer can’t find him, but he doesn’t want to take any chances.

They can’t bury him…he doesn’t want to leave behind a scrap of DNA that Lucifer can resurrect. Salt and burn, ashes to ashes, dust to dust… definitely the way to go.

Bobby will know what to do. Bobby is a professional, and so is Dean. Once he gets over being pissed, Dean will take care of things. Maybe he’ll even see that this was the right thing to do. Really, Sam should have done it a long time ago.

He knows he just can’t fight this alone.

Once upon a time, Sam believed that he could use evil for good. He believed he had the strength to hold off temptation. Pride paved the way for his fall, but Sam has learned his lesson.

It might be true that Lucifer can’t find him, but Sam can still hear the devil whispering in Jess’s sweet, sweet voice… you will be like God… you’ll know good from evil. It’s about you, Sam. It’s always been about you.

That particular serpent has been wrapped around his heart for a long, long time. And without Dean, Sam doesn’t trust himself not to listen.

It’s going to be morning soon…there will be other cars on the road. Sam doesn’t have much time left. He wonders if he should just abandon the car and hike out into the woods—be done with it. It could be months before anyone finds him.

No, it’s not fair. Dean needs to know how Sam’s story ends. It’s the only way he’ll ever be able to move on and fight the apocalypse. Sam is cold…shivering, but he doesn’t want to close the window. He wants to feel the cold air on his face while he still can.

It’s the cusp of autumn—fall was Jess’s favorite time of the year. He remembers her buying a wreath from the thrift store a few days before she died. Sam teased her about the cutout leaves and plastic pumpkins, but Jess didn’t care. She was going to hang it on their front door. It was how you made a crappy apartment a home—that’s what she told him.

Sam can’t believe how many seasons Jess has been gone. Maybe it was easier not to think about her when he was hunting, out on the road with Dean, but he misses her now more than he has in years. It’s physically painful…he loved her so damn much. Sam has known for a long time that he won’t love anyone like that again, but her loss was something he’d come to accept…

…until Lucifer shared his bed and raped Sam with her memory.

It is starting to occur to him that he’s not really shaking from the cold.

God, he is fucking terrified—out of his mind with grief and anger, but he knows the power of his own rage, and it can’t happen again—Sam won’t let it. Nobody is going to defile Jess—Sam can still feel her lips against his skin. But he can’t let his own darkness overcome him again. That’s how he got himself into this mess in the first place.

Dean was right. Love is the thing that is going to ruin them.

But this is good. This is justice working itself out. Dean is the one who needs to stay and fight, and Sam is the one who needs to stand down. A sigil carved into his ribs can’t beat back the devil forever. Dean will be better off on his own.

Sam rubs at his eyes, weary to the bone. Damn, he wishes this was over.

But the sun is rising, and it’s pretty in the half-light—pink frosted gilding over a blue-gray sky. Sam is awfully glad to see this last sunrise.

He wonders if Dean is awake right now—probably not… he sounded tired on the phone. He’s probably sacked out in a motel room somewhere. It’s stupid, but Sam hopes Dean will look out his window in time to see it too. It’s the little things that make this life worth fighting for, and Dean never gets to enjoy them the way he should.

Sam is stalling, and he knows it. He’s got to get this over with—it’s all about doing this while there is time. Sam is betting his last dollar that a fallen angel can’t resurrect someone that he can’t find. If he’s wrong, Sam will find out soon enough.

But there’s something he needs to do first...

Sam hasn’t prayed since Dean went to hell, but he needs to pray now. It could be the last chance he gets. Sam closes his eyes, bows his head, clasps his hands together—he has always been old school like that, and he feels a little stupid about it. He doesn’t know what to say, so he just goes with what comes to mind.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

These days, it’s the only prayer he knows.

When he’s done, Sam actually feels a little bit better. It’s gotta be the serpent talking—but there’s this idea running through his head that everything is going to be work itself out after all.

Sam shakes his head to clear it and reaches for his .45. Dean gave him the gun before he left for Stanford. It’s been a good friend and has saved him more times than he can remember. Today, it’s going to save him again.

Sam thumbs back the safety and tries to ignore the fact that his hand is shaking. He raises the gun to his head, cocks the hammer, and rests his finger on the trigger. All that’s left is for him to close his eyes, hold his breath, and then—

The phone rings.

Sam’s finger jerks instinctively on the trigger, and his body heaves with the shock of it. His eyes fly open, and he all he can see is sunlight splattering across the grimy interior of the car. It should be blood…this makes no sense. His brain should be exploding out of the back of his head—he’s dead, he should be dead, but there’s nothing dead about this.

His gun is jammed. But his gun never jams, and his phone is playing some crap ringtone Dean downloaded last year. Sam tries to shut it off but his hands are shaking so badly, he fumbles and drops it on the floor.

Maybe he is in hell after all, because only a demonic phone could keep ringing this long.

He reaches down to grab it and remembers that his idiot brother set the damn thing to ring at least thirty times before going to voicemail, after getting pissed when Sam didn’t answer the phone during a job. Sam must have reset something when he messed with his contact list. He can hear the lyrics to the song in his head.

I can’t get no…satisfaction….

Sam has to make it stop…put it on mute—anything. He can’t listen to the Rolling Stones and try to kill himself at the same time.

’cause I try and I try and I try and I try

Sam is about to throw the phone out the window, but his hand freezes mid-air—Dean’s caller ID is bright and shiny across the little screen.

Time slows down. Sam can hear every beat of his heart in his chest, just like the last time, right before he killed Lilith…

He can hear Dean’s voice calling his name.

The demon voice shouting in counterpoint—do it, just do it!

Breathe, Sam tells himself, holding the phone in one hand, the gun in the other. Just breathe—it’s only Dean.

But for all he knows, it could be the freakin’ will of God.

Faith is fear that has said its prayers, and right now, nobody is more afraid than Sam. He’s at a crossroads, but there isn’t a demon in sight—just a phone and a gun and the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sam hopes like hell that he’s not damning humanity all over again, but he tosses the gun onto the empty seat next to him and takes a deep breath.

For what it's worth—Sam Winchester is taking this call.

The End


( 92 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 12th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Holy crap. I'm stunned. I don't think I took a breath from pretty much the third paragraph. It's horrifying and brilliant and so sad, all at once...and I can believe so easily that this is the Sam offscreen, after the call. The Jess memories and moving Bobby up on his contact list and the gun saving him again and "Dean needs to know how Sam’s story ends. It’s the only way he’ll ever be able to move on and fight the apocalypse."

Oh, Sam. :(

Perfect song choice (POOR SAM!!!) and another killer closing line. My heart is just broken for him.
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so thrilled you liked this - short codas are so much fun.

I couldn't stop thinking about this after episode 4 and to me, it made total sense. I figure that one way or another, this would have been a very dark, desperate night for Sam. And what Lucifer did through Jessica was really awful - such a violation. I have no doubt that Sam would have experienced it that way.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
Oct. 12th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Sigh. Sad and really well done.
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much - so glad you liked it! :)
Oct. 12th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, Sam.

This was really well done, and I can totally see it having happened. Or not happened, as the case may be. I love the gun jamming, and not because of a rabbit's foot this time!
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
Oops... completely forgot about the rabbit's foot, but you're right. His gun doesn't *usually* jam then. :)

Thanks so much for reading!
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Wow! This was really powerful. And poignant. And surprisingly funny at times (I love Sam's demon cell phone and the Stones' Satisfaction--brilliant!).

Poor Sam. I'd actually wondered about this myself. When Lucifer said, "I'll just bring you back" I'd thought 'What if he can't find him?' Or what if his body was destroyed (after all, Dean's body didn't wind up getting burned)? Is there no way out of this?

And I can totally see Sam making this kind of sacrifice. He =wants= to make a grand, noble gesture to try and balance out what he's done.

Good thing Dean won't let him get away with that kind of crap. ;-)

Oct. 12th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you so much!! Ironically, this started out as being your "happy fic" but it sure didn't turn out that way. Although I've got to say that I didn't see this as depressing. I saw it as the only way that Sam felt like he could fix the mess he'd made... I definitely don't think he's thinking his self-control is all that impressive at this point. Definitely between a rock and a hard place, but saved by a ringtone...and Dean. I will love this show as long as they are forever saving each other.

Thanks so much for reading! :)
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad Dean called in time, because this is definitely something I can see Sam trying.

I loved this fic, and once again, can't wait for the next one.
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked the story - thanks for the encouragement and thanks so much for reading! :)
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. Terrifying peek into Sam's thoughts here. Hits like a punch.
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for such lovely feedback! Very, very much appreciated!
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh my God, you just captured this brilliantly! I can so see it happening this way!
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
*happy dance* Thanks so much for such lovely feedback! :)
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was absolutely gorgeous!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Thanks so much - I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! :)
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Oh WOW. I just love the range of emotions in this piece: Sam so ready to be done with it, needing to do this, sending up one last prayer-

And then he gets the call and his gun jams. I LOVE the thought that he's not done. That there's a reason Sam is alive.

This has become my personal canon. Thank you so much.

Oct. 12th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks! You absolutely made my day. I definitely believe Sam has a part to play and I'm hoping it's to vanquish Lucifer alongside Dean. Definitely not done!

Thank you so much for reading and for the lovely words of encouragement!
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, Sam.
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Oh, Sam indeed.
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
This is another stunning piece of work, Debbie - just beautifully done. I hadn't thought about Sam wanting to end it all when he drove away, but it seems very logical given his state of mind. Kudos, and thanks for sharing!
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you, thank you. I'm just so thrilled you liked it - thank you for such lovely feedback! :)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 12th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Re: wow
*smiles* Thanks so much for reading!
Oct. 12th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I especially enjoy and admire how you weave the canon of that phone call in with Sam trying to kill himself. Just gut-wrenching. And the details of just why it takes so long to go to voicemail, and of his ringtone? Made my heart clench a little more. Marvellous, Debbie.
Oct. 12th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much - I thought of this immediately after watching the episode but it took me a while to actually sit down and write it. Just thrilled you liked it, and thank you for doing yet another beta read for me.
Oct. 12th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
I was holding my breath through this. Wow.
Oct. 12th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
Aw thanks... this was a fun one to write. Thanks so much for reading!
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