[personal profile] brightly_lit
Title: Revelation
Author: [livejournal.com profile] brightly_lit
Rating: PG
Word Count: 4,200
Characters: Sam, Dean, Mary, Lucifer, original hunter characters
Genre: gen, hurt/comfort, intense angst, some humor, heroism, badassery, family feels, the consequences of growing up without a mother, hunter gathering
Summary: It's a good thing Mary hasn't asked her sons much about what they've been up to while she was dead, because they'd just as soon she didn't know about most of it, especially Sam. Maybe she wouldn't want anything to do with him anymore, if she knew. Unfortunately, it's no longer his choice.

"Sam really didn't want their mom to know Sam had been some kind of freak who had visions and was the devil's chosen vessel, that they'd both spent a great deal of time in hell .... Looking back, there was very little to go on the list of 'things you want to tell your long-lost mother about.'"

Spoilers through 12.6.


I LOVE S12. I've often felt inspired to write fic, watching this season, but never so much as watching 12.6, which included or hinted at things I've always wanted to see in canon: mainly, for Sam and Dean to finally get some of their due from other hunters for all their amazing accomplishments, and for Mary to get to know about them too, so this fic is putting all of that that I wanted to see into a story, plus more. I hope you like!




"I really don't want to do this, Sam," Dean growled as he slammed the trunk shut. "Dad was right--hunter gatherings are trouble."

"Then ... why are we doing it?"

"Because Mom--" Dean stopped himself, involuntarily glancing toward where she'd disappeared into the convenience store. Dean just gave him a meaningful look, then headed into the store himself. "Finish gassing up Baby, will ya?"

Sam did as he asked. Mom returned and asked after Dean. Sam told her they must have just missed each other in the store, when in fact he suspected Dean had dodged her on purpose.

Evidently, Mom did, too. "Sam ...," she began.

Sam smiled at her and gave her his full attention. She smiled back, awkwardly, and he ached anew for how fragile things were between the three of them, and had been from the start. He was beginning to get the barest hint of how it must have been for Dean all those years when Dad and Sam had been at each other's throats. Sam just wanted everything to be all right between the two of them and Mom, and he couldn't understand why Dean wouldn't just let them be.

"Dean is so ... I mean, do you think .... It's just, it's hard, coming back after all this time. Dean was my little boy! And you--you were just a baby. I would never have guessed ...." She looked him up and down. For the thousandth time, Sam wondered what she was seeing when she did that. He tried to make himself a little smaller, a little sweeter-looking, tried to forget all the things he'd killed, all the things he knew, that had taken him so far away from being that baby she once loved.

"I know. I get it," said Sam. He really did. He could imagine what it must be like for her to come back to two grown men she didn't know at all, who probably looked like all the other scuzzy hunters she'd ever known. Who'd become exactly what she hoped they never would.

"But Dean ... doesn't," she said. Sam blinked and looked away, breathing through the difficult feelings being around her brought up in him, different from the ones it brought up for Dean. For such a badass hunter, she was so ... soft. He knew he had to let her do her thing, but it was so hard to let her hunt when his mom, only just returned from the dead, put herself in danger. He wondered if she felt the same way about her boys.

"Dean ... is just Dean. I can put myself in your shoes, but he's never been in any shoes but his own. That's the only way he knows," Sam explained with a shrug.

"But what do I do? He's a grown man; I can't exactly mother him--"

Just then, Dean returned, barely glancing at the two of them, roughly yanking open the door and throwing himself into the driver's seat. "Let's roll," he said brusquely, already tapping the outside of the door impatiently through his open window as Sam and their mom got in, peeling out the second Sam's door shut. From the backseat, Sam could see his mother's face as she surreptitiously eyed Dean. It reflected his own feelings perfectly.



"Another old hunter friend of yours, huh?" said Dean as they debarked before a rickety old farmhouse in the middle of winter fields.

"A ... nephew, actually," she said. "By marriage."

"You know, if we spend all our time going to wakes, we'll never have any time for huntin'," Dean complained, nevertheless heading toward the door. "There must be another hunter's wake every fucking day."

"It isn't a wake," Mom said with a little smile. "It's a wedding."

This made for a more festive time. Dean was soon happy enough, sitting wasted on bad beer right next to the grill, eyeing the hot female hunters. Sam hung around near Mom, just watching. He couldn't understand how Dean could be so dissatisfied when they had their mom back.

She was back! In the flesh. Hell, even if she'd hated his guts, Sam would have been overjoyed just to get to be near her and hear her voice. She knew this, too, and it accounted for a lot of the awkwardness between her and Sam. Even if Dean was only four when she last knew him, she'd have had a sense of his personality; she'd have been able to see how the little boy she knew became the man he was, but Sam ... Sam must be a complete mystery to her. He was generally perceived as enigmatic, anyway.

There was a part of him that would always long for a mother who could look at him and simply know him, through and through, from the very first glance, and love him utterly for all he was, but he was wise enough to know it didn't work like that. As legendary as she'd become through Dad and Dean's stories about her, sanctified in death, the reality was that she was just a woman, with whom he was not acquainted.

It must be even worse on her side, he figured. She had expectations of him that revolved around his being little and helpless and cute--all things he hadn't been in a long time--around growing up to be good in school, maybe, or good at sports--if nothing else, then at least normal. That was the only thing he knew for sure she'd wanted from him: that he be normal, growing up like normal kids did instead of hunter kids. Not only did he become a hunter, he was also decidedly not normal, for a thousand reasons.

He and Dean had been mostly silent around her on the subject of their exploits as hunters, about their lives in general, which had been easy, as Mom had been the same about herself, and hadn't really asked. Dean knew, of course, without a word having to pass between them on the subject, that Sam really didn't want their mom to know Sam had been some kind of freak who had visions and was the devil's chosen vessel, that they'd both spent a great deal of time in hell .... Looking back, there was very little to go on the list of "things you want to tell your long-lost mother about."

It's not like Dean hadn't always missed Mom and wished he could have her back, but there had always been this sense, growing up with Dad, that the one good thing about not having a mom was that they could do whatever the hell they wanted. Dean could get drunk and hook up with any number of chicks. There was no mother at home to worry if he stayed out late or drove his car like a maniac or picked a fight with a bunch of jerks in some bar. Sam had always had a deep suspicion that on some subconscious level, Dean sought out trouble because the little boy who lost his mother was begging for her to come back, like if only he was naughty enough, she'd have to return from whatever heaven or hell or purgatory had claimed her to straighten him out.

Now that she was actually back, though, he didn't want her to know what mischief he'd gotten up to while she was away. Sam had his own list of things he didn't want her to know about, though his list was different from Dean's. So he was none too pleased when some hunter he'd never seen before walked right up to Sam and said, "Are you really the hunter who beat the devil??"

Sam glanced quickly toward Dean, who was near enough to hear--not like anyone would have missed it, given the volume at which the hunter seemed to feel compelled to utter those words--and then at Mom, who just happened to be mere feet away at the very moment the dude chose to say that. Great. At least when those hunters at the wake had started talking like that, Mom hadn't yet arrived.

Sam spared a moment to give Dean a look. Why did he have to agree to come to this thing?? Sam just shrugged and made to move past the hunter, heading for the bratwurst.

The hunter caught him by the shoulder. "How'd you do it??" he asked.

They had Mom's full attention now. Dammit.

"Nobody can beat the devil," another hunter said scornfully--one of those hot chicks Dean had been ogling.

Boy was Dean wasted. "That ain't true," he told her. "I watched him do it, took control back and jumped right into the cage. My baby brother." He raised his beer to Sam. Leave it to Dean to finally say this stuff the one time Sam wished with all his heart he wouldn't. "He can do anything. He killed Lilith, too. Just with the power of his mind." He tapped the open top of his beer to his temple, nodding sagely.

"Dean, can I talk to you?" Sam said urgently, trying to haul him out of there before it got even worse, but Dean wouldn't budge.

Dean stood up to address the crowd, looking for all the world like he expected it to be received like the Gettysburg Address, or Churchill's 'Never Despair' speech, like drunk-Dean had many times thought making such a speech would be a good idea and had just been waiting for the opportunity to arrive.

Unfortunately, Dean wasn't presenting quite the picture of the respectable orator he plainly imagined he was, staggering there by the condiment table and putting his hand in a splat of ketchup as he righted himself.

"You hunters," he began, belching softly. "You hunters--it's about time you gave this kid his due. A buncha you dicks wanted to hunt him back then, and he saved you. He saved you all! He ended the goddamn apocalypse. Started it, too," he added thoughtfully, then with a cheerful shrug, said, "But what're you gonna do."

Sam looked wildly at Mom, who was listening bewildered, looking from Dean to Sam and back again. Sam laughed loudly and unconvincingly. "Dean. He's so drunk. Drunk and full of crap."

Alas, no one was fooled. "That's not all he did," a different hunter said. "I heard he cured a demon."

"He's done all kinds of things with demons," Dean bragged, adding a disastrously unnecessary eyebrow-arch that Sam was pretty sure Mom didn't miss. "And if you all are impressed with how many times I've come back from the dead, you should see Sam! It's like ...," Dean tried to count. "More times. Well, except that time with the trickster, I guess, eh, Sam? I died a bazillion times, he says."

"You've tangled with a trickster?" one hunter asked incredulously.

"Sure, sure," Dean bragged. "Sam got turned into a car. But enough about Sam," Dean said then, predictably. "Let me tell you about myself. I killed Hitler!"

"You also killed Azazel," said a female hunter, emerging from a shadowy corner. "You defeated the Darkness. You--"

"Yeah, but Hitler, though," Dean said, grinning that little-boy grin. "Hitler!"

Another hunter rolled his eyes. "Hunter stories," he said. "I dunno why you believe every word coming out of this jerkwad when we all know everybody embellishes."

"Yeah!" Sam said, leaping forward, pointing at the hunter. "Yeah, that!" Somehow this seemed to have the opposite effect he hoped.

As Dean irrepressibly continued his speech, Sam looked around, desperate for a solution, or failing that, escape. Too bad they were out in the middle of nowhere. Dean would kill him if he took the Impala, even if he came right back the second Dean texted that he was ready to go. The bathroom! He could camp out in there a while. Mom caught him on the way. "Sam, can I talk to you?" she said, wide-eyed.

"Um ... sure. Sure, of course." He smiled, or more like, gritted his teeth. "Sure, but I just ... gotta go to the bathroom first." He needed some time to figure out what he was going to say to her, how he was going to spin this.

She nodded--was it his imagination that she seemed to look knowing ... and disappointed? like a mom who knew she was being lied to?--and let him go. He fled into the rather large bathroom and locked himself in there, listening to Dean continue his mercifully rambling and rather cryptic soliloquy, thinking hard and not coming up with much ... until he realized the soliloquy had stopped. Everything had stopped. Sam moved to the door and listened closely. Maybe Dean had finally run out of words. Maybe it was just a lull in conversation ... but no. It was too quiet.

He crept out of the bathroom back to the main room ... where he found everyone pinned against the walls, silent, watching him enter, only their eyes moving. And in the middle of the room, a man turned to face him ... and it was Vince Vicente! The fanboy rose up in him for just a split second, an expression of admiration for the man's music and the success of his career, before Sam remembered who Vince was now. "Lucifer," he hissed.

Vince smiled. "Sam! Long time no see."

"Your vessel is melting," Sam noted coldly.

"I know," Vince--Lucifer--said in his cruel way, playing on the guilt he knew Sam harbored. He knew every detail of it, having lived inside him, but Sam was stronger now, he told himself. He was pretty sure he was stronger. "And all because little Sammy said no. You wanted me to help you ...." With an exaggerated sigh, he stroked his finger through another splat of ketchup--or was that blood? Oh, God, was it blood?--and put it in his mouth. "Used me shamelessly, and then you just tried to throw me away, same as always. Our relationship is so dysfunctional!" he declared, crossing his arms, then he pouted. "Couples counseling? I've suggested it before. I really think it's a good idea--"

"Let them go," Sam said coolly, finding to his immense relief that after confronting Lucifer in the cage again, the visceral terror he'd lived with for years had faded. He was calm, collected, focused. He spared a glance toward Mom and Dean. They were alive and looked unharmed. Mom snaked her hand out and took Dean's. This gave Sam even more strength. He turned back to Lucifer. "If it's me you want, I'm here. Let the rest of them go and deal with me."

"No, no," Lucifer said, pacing around, enjoying having an audience, especially such a shocked audience, an audience of hunters, who all knew what he was and were appropriately terrified. "See, I know you too well, Sam." He wagged a finger at him. Sam restrained himself. This kind of teasing that Lucifer found so amusing brought it all back for Sam, what it had been like to be under his control and at his mercy when he was his vessel. There was nothing funny about it from the inside. "Always so ready to sacrifice yourself for the greater good ...." Lucifer made a face.

Sam couldn't help glancing again in Mom's direction. He didn't relish all these hunters hearing the vivid, private details about the darkest events of his life, but for Mom to hear them, too ... and right when he'd been thinking about how to keep her from ever finding out about any of it. He realized suddenly that he'd been trying to find a way to only tell her the good things about himself, to present only the face a mother would want to see, and with cruel Lucifer parading there in front of him, intuiting exactly what Sam didn't want him to say and blurting it right out ... all hope was already lost. Lucifer would say everything, every last thing he could think of to expose his deepest secrets.

Expose them he did. Sam cheeks burned as Lucifer told his literally captive audience all about memories buried deep in Sam's consciousness that he'd rooted out when he was in there: his first kiss, his first crush ... other, more embarrassing firsts, and Sam could do nothing to stop him--not just because he was the devil, but because the more into humiliating Sam he got, the less attention he paid to keeping the hunters pinned to the wall. Sam saw them slip an inch down the wall, then another.

Sam abruptly crossed the room so that when Lucifer faced him, his back would be to Dean, who was struggling. Dean had more experience escaping the grip of demons than anyone in this room. He was almost free.

"And why?" Lucifer asked, ridiculing. "Why did little Sammy sacrifice himself, just jump right into the cage for eternity--or what should have been eternity," he scolded disapprovingly. Sam kept his eyes locked on Lucifer's as via his peripheral vision he saw Dean get free and creep out of the room. "Because of this need to prove himself," Lucifer said, like he'd impressively succeeded at psychoanalyzing Sam after long effort.

"Little Sammy never had a mommy to love him, could never do enough to please daddy, and he'd always be the little brother, no matter how ridiculously tall he got." That had always seemed to annoy Lucifer, actually, to be shorter than Sam no matter what vessel he took, unless it was Sam himself. "See, the thing is," Lucifer went on, taking on a magnanimous tone, "you never had enough to survive on, Sam."

Lucifer turned and fixed him with a victorious stare. Sam stilled, watching closely. Why would he be feeling victorious now? Nothing had changed ... had it?

"A boy needs his mother. Without that, well .... The reason you've always been so ready--eager, you might even say--to die is because without a mother around to make you feel wanted, like you have a place in this world, you just ... died inside. A lot of you died with her, Sam," Lucifer said, nodding sagely, accomplishing a fair approximation of an expression of sympathy. "A baby is still connected to his mother, and then whoops, she's gone, and she took part of you with her--the part that believed you had a reason to live. It's called a failure to thrive. You got tall, but inside, Sam, you were always dying."

Sam felt the blood drain from his face, and it wasn't just because of the sharp sting of his words that cut, as ever, so deep. This wasn't just about Sam and Dean. It wasn't the usual tricky manipulation Lucifer was always engaging in. He had an ace in the hole--the ultimate ace in the hole. He knew Mom was back, that she was here, in this room. He had known all along.

Just then, Lucifer started edging toward her. "No," Sam said desperately, lunging toward him. "Please. I'll do whatever you want. Except--except that. You know I can't be your vessel again."

Lucifer laughed. "Well, then, shine my shoes! Bring me a bacon cheeseburger." His voice abruptly got dark. "You know there's only one thing I want you for. There was only one reason for you to exist at all. If I can't get that, then ...." He shrugged lightly, which was somehow the most threatening thing of all. Sam knew him so well, and Lucifer knew it. He would kill everyone in the room, one by one, until Sam said yes.

"Hey, ass-butt," Dean growled from behind him, having returned.

Startled and annoyed, Lucifer turned and easily hurled Dean across the room with a sweep of his arm, then turned back to Sam, who was edging around toward Dean, toward Mom. Lucifer followed. "Sam," Lucifer said warningly, like a parent feeling pushed to take disciplinary action. "Now, I don't want to have to hurt you--oh, who am I kidding, I love to!" Lucifer said, gaily, raising Sam up with an invisible hand around his throat. "I can just fix up the vessel when I'm done toying with my mouse."

"Mom, now!" Sam managed to yell just as Lucifer threw him, too, across the room.

Lucifer turned ... just in time to see Mom light the ring of holy fire around him that Dean had been pouring while Sam kept him talking and then led him right into. Lucifer looked undeniably annoyed. "Well, I guess I'm just going to have to kill everyone then," he said with a shrug--then vanished in a burst of light as Dean activated the angel-banishing sigil he'd been drawing in his own blood after being thrown.

All the hunters lining the walls collapsed, freed, struggling immediately to their feet and getting straight to business. "When's he coming back?" one demanded of Sam, who was also slowly climbing to his feet, wiping at the blood that was dripping down his eyebrow, trying to go into his eyes. There was a lot of blood; he switched from his hand to his sleeve.

Dean answered for him. "Get out of here," he told them. "All of you, leave, now. Get as far away as you can."

"Like he couldn't find us?" another hunter demanded.

"He won't," Sam said weakly, sitting down. He wasn't sure if it was the wounds he sustained after being thrown so viciously by an angry Lucifer or if it was the devil's cruel words that made him feel so feeble right now, but he couldn't stay vertical. "It's me he wants. If you get out of here, you'll probably be okay."

Hunters didn't need to be told twice; three minutes of car doors slamming and skidding tires and they were all gone.

"We should go, too," Dean said, holding out a hand to Sam, ready to be his crutch, to hold him up long enough to get him to the car, as he had so many times. Countless times in their lives. "Unless we want to angel-proof this place. Which would probably be safer. He could probably find us in Baby."

"Angel-proof it," Mom said immediately.

Sam glanced up at her as Dean got to work obeying her order. Seeing what he was doing, she followed suit, quickly angel-proofing the room. Sam wiped his face again slowly, looking at his mom's back, knowing that was probably all he'd ever really see of her again. Now that she knew all his secrets, everything he'd done, saying yes to Lucifer--which of course Lucifer cast as luridly and darkly as he could as he described it, making Sam sound almost as bad as him--and all the rest of it ... she wouldn't want anything more to do with him.

Mom finished her last sigil. "Good?" she said to Dean. Sam kept his eyes down. He'd always tried not to be jealous of Dean for having gotten to have Mom at least for the first four years of his life. But now, to hear her voice, sounding just as warm as it ever had as she spoke to Dean, since Lucifer hadn't spilled all of Dean's secrets, knowing it was only Sam she must hate now ... Sam couldn't bear it. He'd been trying to keep upright in a sitting position, but he let himself slip the rest of the way to the floor.

It didn't matter. Lucifer was right. Sam had been fighting all this time to prove that he belonged here, that he had a right to exist, that he mattered, even though it had never seemed like there were a lot of people around who thought it was so, and now, at last, it had been proven that the fight was all in vain. He got his mother back ... and promptly lost her, because of the truth of who he was. He couldn't win. Now he saw that he never would.

Soft hands touched his face. "Sam, you're hurt," she cooed, gently touching his cut. She tore her own sleeve, spat on it, and started dabbing at his wound carefully. She lifted his head and slid her leg under it so that his head laid upon her lap.

"Dean," she called, as Dean had moved on to the outer rooms in order to angel-proof the whole house. "Would you bring me some warm water and a cloth?"

Sam gazed up at his mother as she dabbed at his face. His feelings were indescribable, perhaps because they were wordless, primal, from before conscious thought. His eyes filled with tears. When she paused in her work to smile at him, gazing into his eyes, hers filled with tears, too .

Dean returned--and stopped in the doorway, stunned, taking in the scene. "You, too, Dean," she said sternly. "Head on the lap. You got hurt, too." She gestured for him to bring her the bowl of warm water and the cloth.

Grinning, Dean scampered across the room, all heaviness forgotten, four years old again, and promptly put his head in her lap. "Sam, God, your head is so big--move over!" Dean complained.

"He's right where he should be, Dean. You've got plenty of room," she scolded. Feeling her soft hands on his forehead and his brother just there on the other side, Sam closed his eyes, at last someplace he'd been longing for as long as he could remember. He was home.
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