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Title: This God You Worship Thirsts for Blood
Author: [ profile] mya_rofki
Rating: R
Words: about 6,000
Characters: Sam, the Trickster
Warnings: Torture
Spoilers: None
Summary: Sam is a blood sacrifice. The Trickster is an asshole. AU wherein Sam meets the Trickster pre-series.
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. I'm not making any money off of this.
Author's Note: A long time ago, someone posted a prompt at the [ profile] ohsam h/c meme that included this gorgeous picture. I've been trying to finish a story based on it ever since, and here it finally is.

It finally appeared in a burst of light, and spent several long moments looking at him before turning to survey the crowd in attendance.

“Jesus,” it said, breaking the breathless silence in a scathing tone that echoed through the warehouse, “Sometimes, you people get it so wrong it makes me want to cry. That and strip the flesh from your bones while you weep for mercy.” It paused, and Sam saw several of the assembled cultist assholes start trembling, while the rest looked frozen with fear and shock. “And sometimes,” the thing continued. “Sometimes... and tonight is looking like one of those nights, folks... sometimes you get it so goddamn right I could kiss you all!” There was a relieved rush of cheering and clapping.

Sam’s heart dropped like lead in his chest, and he turned his burning eyes to the ground. Things looked bad, with him shirtless and helpless, hands chained to an exposed pipe above him, in a warehouse full of nasty cultists, and now their trickster-god. But somewhere out there, Dad and Dean were looking for him. It had been over twelve hours since he’d been snatched, after all. That was a lot of time for them to figure this case out and find him. He just had to keep himself alive for a little bit longer, until they got there.

It turned its back on its rejoicing worshippers, and walked up close to him, halting less than a foot away. Sam could see the toes of its plain brown shoes, and the slightly frayed hems of its jeans, but he refused to look higher. And what kind of god wore frayed jeans anyway?

“Aren’t you even going to say ‘hello?’” it asked, sounding insultingly amused.

Sam didn’t move or answer. Of course, if the being was as powerful as its supplicants claimed, it could sense every microscopic blood cell rushing, panicked, through his veins. It didn’t need a good look at his face to hear his lungs constrict, and his heart flutter. That didn’t mean he was going to give it the satisfaction of making his fear any more obvious to it than it already was.

“You know, it’s rude not to look at people when they’re talking to you.” Sam held himself statue still, and didn’t so much as blink as it reached for him.

Its fingers on his chin were warm and soft, and Sam’s blood boiled with the effort not to jerk himself free of them, as the thing spent seconds that seemed like hours holding him there and studying his face.

It didn’t seem right, that the thing that was going to kill him should look like a normal man. Average height, which meant he could look it levelly in the eyes, light brown hair, shoulders relaxed beneath a plain olive drab button-down. Nothing to even hint that there was more to it than your run-of-the-mill computer salesman or high school science teacher.

“Are you going to beg for your life?” it asked suddenly.

Sam swallowed. “Will it help? Will you let me go if I beg?” he asked steadily.

The thing raised its eyebrows. “Nope. Fraid not. Begging has no effect on something like me, I promise you that. In fact, there’s very little on this earth that could persuade me to let you go, at this point.”

Sam felt helpless anger flare up in him, and he barely restrained himself from telling the thing exactly what he thought of it, but there had to be some other way he could try, before giving up like that.

“What if I promised to become one of them, one of your worshippers?” he offered.

Its fingers finally left his chin, but only to trail down his throat, slowly, delicately. Oh God.

“Go on,” it said, eyes on its own movements, so that he couldn’t tell if it was even listening to him or not. He had the feeling it was going to snatch his throat out, mid-sentence. He talked faster.

“I could help them, help them get you other sacrifices, and help them with whatever else they do, your work, whatever it is. I’d do anything you asked, anything. And you always need more worshippers, right? Because they’re what you draw your power from? I could be one of them, the most loyal worshipper you’ve ever had, if you’d... if you’d just spare my life. I can see how powerful you are-”

“Oh sweetie,” it said. Its eyes snapped up to his, though its fingers still lingered on his throat. “Nice try. But you know what’s a huge waste of breath? Trying to trick a trickster. In general, with tricksters, the truth will get you a lot farther. And that’s all the advice I’m going to give you, because hey, I don’t wanna waste my breath. It’s kinda too late to be much use to you at this point, isn’t it?" It shrugged. "Now, this can be over pretty fast and painless, or it can be much slower and more painful. I like you, so I’ll leave that up to you. Pain, or no pain?”

Sam answered without missing a beat. “Pain.” Even on that one word, his voice was shaking.

The thing snorted. “What’s this? Reverse psychology? Didn’t I just say not to try to trick-”

“I’m not,” Sam said sharply. “The way I look at it, the longer this goes on, the more chance I have to escape somehow. If that means pain...” he shrugged, because his voice was getting ever more unreliable, and he was trying to be stoic, not pathetic.

The thing smirked. “You say that now, but five minutes in, I guarantee that you’ll be begging for death.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sam answered.

The trickster frowned.

“You promised that begging had no effect on you. So it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be alive longer, whether I still want to be then or not.”

“I don’t know whether you’re the stupidest human I’ve ever met, or... well, no, you must be the stupidest,” the thing said slowly. It was still smirking.

Strategically, Sam thought, the most important thing had to be to figure out how to buy some time. It was his only chance of living, at this point. And the thing certainly seemed to like to hear itself talk.

“What pantheon are you?” he tried. “Norse? Or Greek? Roman? And are you really an actual God, like your followers say?”

“How old are you?” it asked, instead of answering.

“Um, sixteen?”

“Young.” It mused. For a second, Sam had hope that his youth might earn him some sympathy, but then its eyes darkened. “But then, you’re all such children, you humans. If you live til you’re ninety, you’re still just stupid, violent, selfish children. You’re always eager for the blood to start, as long as its not yours. Each one of you thinks the world revolves around you alone. And you’ll all trample each other into the dirt for something shiny. Don’t you agree?”

Sam shook his head frantically.

The thing snorted. “Have you caught a look at your situation, bucko? There isn’t a human in this room who isn’t rooting for your death. Well, except for you, of course. And hey, you are the one who was promising me undying loyalty in exchange for your freedom just a second ago, right?”

“You were right, though. I was lying, trying to trick you.”

It studied him for a long moment, then smiled. “Ok. So maybe you wouldn’t have ever brought me other humans to sacrifice, even to save your own skin. Or at least, you honestly don’t think you would. How very commendable. You’re better than any other human in this room. And yet, it’s your head on the chopping block here. This charming abandoned warehouse is acting as a perfect microcosm for the rest of the planet tonight. The innocent suffer while the amoral rejoice and prosper. These people will go home to drink wine and congratulate themselves on their shiny new purchase of a god’s favor, while your blood is still drying on the floor back here.”

Something glinted suddenly into existence, at the very edge of Sam’s vision. Sam's eyes dropped to it, and got stuck on the object the trickster had just revealed; a thinly shining blade that could only be the sacrificial knife.

A hush had fallen on the clamoring throng before him. He darted a glance out at them and saw that his weren’t the only eyes drawn by the blade.

And it struck him as so goddam unfair, suddenly. They were people. They were supposed to be on his side. He tried to think of the words for an appeal to them, something to sway them to his side, the side of right, the side that the amoral supernatural creature was not on. But while it made him feel sick, he didn’t think he was imagining the eager gleam in many of the eyes out there. These people were vultures, human ghouls. They hungered for his death, and he couldn’t think of a thing to say that would change that, not when they were already scenting death in the air.

Despair swept through him, and he stared at the blade with sickness welling up in his gullet. Then he tore his gaze away to meet the trickster’s eyes again. At the very least, he should attempt to meet his death with honor. The thing was watching his face closely. It looked just as hungry as the crowd. Sam repressed a shudder and squared his shoulders, as much as he could square them with his arms drawn up over his head.

The thing brought the blade up to rest in the dip of Sam’s throat, point dimpling his skin, just to the right side of actually drawing blood.

Sam stared at him, frozen.

“What’s your name, by the way?” it asked, licking its lips. “I like to know what to call my meals before I eat them.”

“Sam. Sam Winchester,” he choked out, barely aware of what he was saying. Oh God. It was actually going to eat him. Not that he supposed it would make that much difference to him, because he’d be just as dead, no matter what its plans for his body, but the thought of Dad and Dean stumbling upon that... And they would, because they would investigate until they got to the bottom of this... He swallowed past a new knot of nausea.

The thing frowned, for the first time since it had appeared. “Sam Winchester...” it mused. “Why do I know that name?” Its gaze seemed to turn inward. Sam knew it was foolish to hope, but found himself holding his breath, waiting for the verdict. It must have heard of him because of Dad. It was anyone’s guess what that fact would cause it to do once it remembered though.

“Samuel Winchester.” It looked at him sharply, finally. “Huh. Nope. Must’ve been thinking of someone else. Name doesn’t ring any bells after all.”

Sam thought it might be lying. But why would it lie about knowing his name? He was trying to tease out a possible reason, mind ticking over furiously, looking for something, anything that might buy him more time, when it struck, viper-quick, drawing the blade down his chest in a sharp diagonal that parted his skin like it was water.

Sam shouted in surprise and pain, and was instantly drowned out by the cheer that went up from the crowd. He stared out at them in confused disbelief, and then back at the creature’s face. It grinned at him. He could feel a trickle of blood threading it’s way down his chest.

“My people like a show, Sam. And you did opt for the slow way. Sure you don’t want to change your mind now?”

“I’m sure,” Sam whispered.

“I thought I warned you not to lie to a trickster,” it smirked.

Sam had nothing to say to that. He swallowed, and the trickster shrugged. Then it struck again.

Sam wasn’t sure how much time had passed. He guessed maybe the creature had been working on him for twenty minutes, tops. It felt longer though. His head had been swimming for what felt like a while, and when twinkling black spots appeared before his eyes, he sank towards unconsciousness gratefully. He thought maybe it would finish the job while he was out, and he was sick enough of the pain and terror that the thought was almost a relief. Really, it was only the guilt at how pissed off Dad and Dean would be to hear him thinking that way that bothered him about the idea.

But he quickly regained consciousness to the slap of cold water in his face. The thing caught his eye and gifted him with a feral grin, and he felt like sobbing. There was a light spray of blood on its face, a smear on its chin.

There was no mercy in its eyes, and of course it wouldn’t have finished him off while he was unconscious. This cruel, evil creature would want him aware of what was happening to the end. He wondered how soon that end was coming, now. He thought that with all the blood he was losing already, the thing could probably just leave him exactly as he was, and he'd bleed out, sooner or later. Or maybe shock would kill him. He was probably already in shock, or getting there.

“Look who’s decided to rejoin the fun,” the thing swung suddenly to crow to the crowd. “Welcome back baby! Did you miss us?”

The crowd roared with laughter and approval, like the most ghoulish gameshow audience ever collected into a studio in hell.

Sam flinched and trembled. His mouth was cotton-dry. His body was coated with sweat and blood, and his cheeks itched with dried tears. Also, there was the pain, but he was trying not to think about it, any more than he was forced to by his screaming nerves. Instead, he focused on how much he’d like a shower, how much he’d like to scratch his nose, how much he’d like his pants back. Not how much he’d like the Jesus-motherfucking-Christ-it-hurts-so-bad pain to end.

The creature turned back to him. Its blade was still in its hand, much dulled now by stains of drying blood.

“You want to use one of your lifelines yet, Sam? Phone a Friend maybe? I don’t think Ask the Audience is gonna help you much, with this crowd.”

“Please,” Sam rasped. He was ashamed to beg, when he already knew it would be useless, but he absolutely could not help himself. “Oh God. Please.”

The thing threw back its head and laughed. “Oh yeah,” it said. “God’s definitely going to help you out here.”

Sam sobbed, once, before he got himself back under control.

The thing began a rambling speech about God’s historic lack of interest in helping those in sticky situations. At first it just sounded mocking, but a stronger and stronger tone of bitterness seemed to seep in as it continued. Sam decided it was probably jealous. Compared to actual God, this thing was just small potatoes, with it's couple dozen followers in their crummy old warehouse. Thinking about it like that gave him strength, and he focused on praying silently to himself. He prayed for the dignity to get through this, and for his father and brother to be okay. Mostly, he prayed for some kind of miracle, something to happen to save him at the last minute. He stopped seeing the warehouse, and the thing's vitriolic whine faded from his ears. He saw instead his father and brother, bursting into his vision, gun's blazing. He saw their faces, their vicious grins of victory, and their relief and love as they caught sight of them. He was dimly aware of his body relaxing, and he prayed all the harder.

The thing was suddenly right in his face. He startled, and the waking dream was gone,

“Stop that,” it demanded. “It’s too pathetic.” Its nose was inches away from his. Then its nostrils flared, and it looked down, and Sam suddenly realized that in his brief escape from exhaustion and pain, he’d lost control of his bladder. He hadn't even noticed in the moment it happened, he'd been so far gone. His underwear, which had already been damp with blood and sweat, were a lukewarm, soaking bundle between his thighs. There was a puddle around his feet that he could feel cooling under his soles.

Shame swarmed over him, hot and crawling and terrible. He wanted to die, and he waited for the thing to start laughing at him again, but instead it looked back up into its eyes, and for the first time, he couldn’t read its expression. It sighed heavily, and when it reached up, the blade was magically gone from its hand. Instead it cupped his cheek briefly.

Sam trembled, waiting for the blow, but all it did was run its hand back through his hair until it was gently tangled in the soft fine hairs at the nape of his neck. It held them, holding his head in place, but there was no force, no pain in its touch. And its eyes... its eyes suddenly seemed deep and somehow sad.

Insane, to imagine it had feelings after all. It was just a trick, he was sure. He forced his thoughts inward, and began to pray again, harder.

“Stop that, kiddo,” it said again, but in an entirely different tone of voice this time. Gentle. He hadn't imagined the thing could sound kind. “You’ve had enough, I know, but there’s no help for you from that corner. Haven’t you figured that out yet?”

Something flashed down at the lower corner of his vision, and he glanced down to see that it had transferred its blade to its other hand, and that it was now a few centimeters from his exposed belly.

He looked back up at it, panicking too hard to even formulate words.

The gentleness vanished, as though it had never been. The thing had just been toying with him. “No Ask the Audience. No Phone a Friend. You’re at the end of the line kid... but there’s one lifeline yet. And this one? This one might be of use to you.” It whirled away to face the crowd. “The fifty-fifty!” it announced triumphantly. The crowd cheered and clapped, their leering faces flush with excitement. The thing turned back to him, and all that was left in its eyes was eagerness. “For those of you who haven’t played the game before, here’s how the fifty-fifty works, I give our young friend here two choices, and he picks which one he wants. Spoiler alert: one means he lives, one means he dies. Fifty-fifty chance, Sam.”

Fifty-fifty chance. If the creature was telling the truth, those were actually the best odds Sam had heard all night. There had to be a catch.

“What-” he coughed, had to start again. He’d ripped his throat up pretty bad, screaming so much. “What are the choices?”

The thing beamed. “I like a human who gets right to the point. I really do. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s having my time wasted with needless jabbering. I say let’s just get to the point and have done with it.” it had turned its back on the crowd again, and now it casually reached up to cup the back of his neck with one hand. “Are you with me?” Sam nodded, hardly even aware of what he was agreeing to. It looked into his eyes and smiled. Then it calmly drove the knife home, deep into his belly. Sam was too surprised to even scream.

He gasped instead, thought ‘No. Not fair.’

It slid the knife back out, just as smoothly, and Sam felt a gush of warmth follow. He couldn’t tell if it was blood already, or just his nerves sparking crazily with shock. He didn’t look down to find out.

The thing was in close, meeting his eyes intently, curled fingers still pressing his neck. “Shh, shh, shh, it’s alright kiddo.” it said. “Just breathe, kiddo. Breathe. You’ve got five minutes to make your choice. But you have to calm down and focus, or you’ll pass out before you can even hear your options, okay? Just breathe. It’s easy. You’ve been doing it your whole life.” He tried to breathe, as it said, and the pain hit, and Sam gasped again, harder. Oh God. It hurt.

“C’mon there, Champ.” The thing’s fingers were working his muscles gently, and its voice was suddenly intent. “Look at me.” He looked. Its eyes were golden and almost seemed to glow. “Good. Now breath out, slow and even,” it let out a long, smooth line of breath, and Sam found himself trying to match it. He mostly succeeded.

“Now in,” it said. Sam tried, but the first sip of air in sent a spasm of pain through his belly, and he ended up trying to curl over on himself and giving voice to a strangled scream instead.

“C’mon, Sam, do you want to live or not?” it asked sternly. It didn’t wait for him to answer. Maybe it’d figured out that that wasn’t really possible with no air left in his lungs. “I know it sucks right now, but if you try, you can breathe. Your other choice is death, in four minutes and twenty-eight seconds. So how bout it, Sam? A little extra pain, and the possibility of survival, or slightly less pain, leading right on up to your untimely death?”

Sam thought the thing was underestimating the amount it hurt to breathe, but he knew that Dad or Dean in this situation would suck it up and do whatever it took to survive. Then they’d come back and kick the asses of the creature and every single one of its brainless asshole followers.

Somehow, slowly and painfully, he found a way to sip in air through the pain.

The thing looked approving, which made him kind of long to stab it in the gut and ask it how easy breathing was then.

“Ok,” he forced out, when he had enough air for a few words. “What’s the choice?”

The thing smirked and snapped its fingers. Instantly a figure popped into place beside him. It was a woman in a powder-blue robe, one of the cultists, obviously shocked to be up there with them so suddenly. She opened her mouth, and closed it, looked around wildly. Her eyes skipped briefly over Sam, but she didn’t seem to want to linger on the sight of him up close. Instead she looked quickly to the trickster.

“Uh, my- my Lord, I am at your service,” she stuttered, then bit her lip.

She must have been one of the mob who’d just been cheering and catcalling at Sam’s torture, but any trace of enjoyment had been erased by unease, and her face was pale, with beads of sweat springing up at her hairline already. She was probably 40-ish, with round blue eyes and reddish-brown hair, thick and straight and cut in bangs. Not particularly pretty or ugly, just another suburban Mom-type who occasionally liked to indulge in a bout of kidnapping and blood-sacrifice.

Sam was painfully aware of the stink of urine that emanated from him, and ashamed of his uncooperative body, which trembled with pain and fear and flash-flooding chemical cocktails. He guessed it shouldn’t matter to him, that one of the people who’d brought this on him was now twenty feet closer, but it did. He hated her, and wanted her far away, where perhaps there was some small chance that his shame might not be quite so unavoidably obvious.

God, he wished the thing would just make all of the people disappear. If he had to die, it didn’t seem too much to ask that he could at least do it in relative privacy, and not in front of an eager audience. And why had it now brought this woman even closer? Was she going to be asked to participate in the torture next? To assist in forcing him to make whatever choice the trickster wanted him to make?

“Thanks a million,” the thing beamed. “I sure do appreciate it. What’s your name, hon?”

“Um. Pam. Pam Stricklin. I-” she looked around again, eyes darting to the handful of cultists in the front who were clearly the organizers. They wore black robes, instead of blue. They’d been the ones to explain to Sam just what an honor they’d bestowed upon him, choosing him.

“Bup, bup, bup,” the creature said, pressing a finger to her lips. “No words, Pammy dear. Sam here doesn’t have a bunch of time to waste, you see.”

She nodded, keeping her eyes carefully averted from Sam.

“Now Sam, meet Pam.” The thing gestured at her like Vanna White displaying a prize. “Pam here has been a member of this little gang for about ten months now, and an exemplary member she’s been, too. Pam is the one that procured the sedatives to lace your family’s coffee, and she’s the reason they are still snoring peacefully in a motel bed, while you hang from your wrists, on the verge of bleeding out, in a warehouse a mere block and a half away. She works as a doctor, you see. A real stand up member of the community.”

Sam blearily searched her face, but she was biting her lip, her eyes lowered, and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to find there anyway. Even if she regretted her role now, she couldn’t take it back, could she? The way she still wouldn’t look at him suggested that she wasn’t going to even try apologizing, for all the good that would do.

“Now, your choice is simple. Pretty much as simple as simple could be. You can choose to be back in that motel room with your father and brother with just a snap of my fingers, and good ole Pam here will take your place as the sacrifice du jour. Or you can choose to stick around this dump, and you will die, as scheduled. Your life or hers, Sam, and you’ve still got a few minutes to decide, before you pass out from blood loss. Ah ah, Pammy,” the trickster grabbed her arm as she fell back a few steps, and his grip must have been strong, judging by the way it stopped her dead.

She looked terrible, pale and sweaty and horrorstricken, eyes fixed on the thing. All in the warehouse were silent, holding their breaths, and probably thanking their lucky stars not to be her. Sam thought maybe he should be thanking his lucky stars too, but he was afraid. It was too good to be true, wasn’t it? There was something he wasn’t seeing, some missing piece that he was too slow and shocky to put together. He urged his mind to work, to function for at least another minute or two, while he tried to work out the angles.

More to buy time than anything else he said “I want to- I want to ask her a question.”

“A question?” the thing repeated. It sounded exasperated. “What is it you want to know? What kind of person she is? Whether she’s ever done this before? I can tell you that this is the first human sacrifice she’s attempted, and she’s never killed any of her patients, or at least, not on purpose. In fact, she’s a pretty good doctor, all things considered, a real credit to the profession. But c’mon Sam. What more do you need to know about her? It’s not like she wandered in here looking for the bathroom, and then someone handed her a robe and told her to start chanting. When she took the drugs from the hospital she works at last week, she knew exactly what they would be used for. She knew what she was coming for when she came here today, and she’s been cheering, oh yes, she’s been cheering with all the rest of them while I cut you to ribbons, just for kicks. Does that answer your question? Or do you want to know her star sign and her favorite color too, before you make your decision?”

Sam gathered his thoughts as best he could. He found that there was something he wanted to know, before he condemned even this amoral, merciless woman to death.

“I want... to ask her... why she’s doing this,” Sam panted. Breathing seemed to be getting harder. “The truth... Is it just for money... or power... I... all I want to know... is why.”

The trickster frowned. “You want to know-” he began, but Pam cut him off.

She was directly looking at Sam for the first time since she’d been summoned up there, and her voice was urgent and surprisingly strong.

“My daughter,” she said. “You have to understand, my daughter is dying. Dying. There is nothing they can do for her, and she has no time left. Three years old, and she doesn’t have any time left. Can you even imagine? Her name is Shannon, and she loves drawing and Disney princesses, and she hates bananas, and she’s spent the last few months just withering- just withering in front of me. I would have done anything to save her, paid any amount of money, risked any experimental treatment, but nothing modern medicine could do for her was enough, and this was- is my only choice left. Believe me, I would never have, I would never have been a part of this if there had been another way.” She dissolved into tears, and turned her face away from him again.

“Is she telling the truth?” Sam asked the trickster, after a minute. His tongue felt heavy in his mouth, and he thought maybe he could actually feel his own life draining away, second by ponderous second. Soon, he wouldn’t have anything left to make the decision. He needed to choose now. He still didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

“Yes,” the thing said. “Shannon Stricklin has less than two weeks to live, barring divine interference. And you and I both know, I think, by now, how unlikely the big guy upstairs is to answer desperate prayers. But c’mon, Sammy, does it make a difference? Everyone in this room’s got their sob story. That guy wants his dead wife back. That one’s planning to quit his job so he can develop cheap, sustainable energy sources and save the world. Well, and play more X-Box Live. Bottom line? They’re still all willing to be bloodthirsty murderers. Are these the kind of people who deserve a second chance? You think Pam here, who’s gonna kill someone else’s child on the off chance it will make me pleased enough to save hers, should really be released back into the wild?”

When the trickster put it that way, it was no choice at all. But the thing was pushing him, herding him towards a decision like a hunter herding prey into a trap. It wanted so badly for him to make the easy choice, and he didn't trust it. It clearly cared nothing for his life, so why would it want to lose a follower instead? It didn't make sense, and he couldn't think, and he was dying. It wasn't fair that he had to think through it all to make this impossible decision.

“Will it save her? Killing me?” Sam asked.

“Who? Pam? Obviously, that’s the ide-”

No. The little girl. Will you save her if I die?”

For the longest time it just looked at Sam, measuring him.

“You’d do that?” it asked finally, voice unreadable. At least the smirk was gone.

Sam hesitated. Because, okay, his brain was feeling fuzzier by the second, but why should some three-year-old with a murderer for a mother live, while Sam died? Wouldn’t it be better, in the long run, for Sam to live? Dad and Dean did so much good in the world, and they’d be devastated by the loss. It might make them stop hunting, or get them killed. For all he knew, Pam Stricklin would raise her daughter to be the same kind of dangerous that she was. For the good of the world, according to strict logic, and trying to discount completely his own feelings on the matter, shouldn’t the right choice be obvious to anyone? And he could spend his life making up for it, killing so many monsters (hopefully starting with the one in front of him) that even the sternest God would have to agree that he’d made the best choice he could in a horrible situation.

“Yeah,” he rasped, and he couldn’t even believe he was saying it himself. “I would.” Where he would have expected fresh terror, or instant regret, he felt only a sense of peace creep over him. It was right.

“You’re choosing death,” the thing said. “Just to be clear here. You’re going to finish bleeding out in two minutes and counting, and you’re okay with that, because it saves the life of a three-year-old you don’t even know.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, and if he’d had the breath he would’ve laughed, but things were getting increasingly dark and twinkly, and even his own voice was sounding increasingly far away.

“Oh God,” he heard a woman-Pam- say. She sounded like she was crying.

“S’okay,” he tried to say, but he wasn’t sure the words made it out in any recognizable fashion, and he didn’t have the energy to worry too hard about it. He was too busy coughing, choking out a sudden mouthful of blood, and writhing at the pain the movement caused him.

“No. No. There has to be another way. Pick someone else, okay? There has to be someone else-” Pam sounded hysterical. Was the trickster going back on his word and killing her anyway? That wasn’t right. He’d wanted to believe his death was for something after all, but if the thing wasn’t trustworthy, there was no guarantee he’d even think about saving the little girl. Sam forced his hazy eyes to open wide. Pam was hanging onto the trickster’s arms, screaming in his face. It didn't seem like it was killing her.

“Me, okay? Pick me!” she screamed. “I don’t- I don’t care. I just wanted to watch my daughter grow up, but it isn’t worth- You need to fix him. I made a mistake. I’ll do anything, I won’t even move, just strike me down, but God, don’t let this happen. Fix him now. Please. He doesn’t have time and this isn’t right. Please, I made a mistake, and this isn’t right!”

The trickster eyed her. “You’re willing to die for your daughter, right here, right now? You’ll leave her alone, motherless, all to save this kid, who’s already volunteered for this, by the way?”

“Yes! Yes! I will.”

“Alright,” the trickster said, and snapped his fingers. She dropped like a stone to the floor. Her glazed blue eyes stared out at the room, but she wasn’t home anymore. She’d never be home again. Sam squeezed his eyes shut, and tried to just breathe, for a minute longer. Maybe he had a full minute left before he joined her. Maybe it was less than that. His head spun. He opened his eyes and the trickster swam into view, close up, and getting closer. His golden gaze seemed to fill Sam’s vision.

“This surprised me, Sam Winchester,” the thing said. “And that never happens.”

The thing cupped a warm hand around his cheek.

Sam wanted to say something, now that Pam was dead, something about who the real murderer was here, but more blood bubbled up in his throat, choking him. His ears rang, and his vision fuzzed out. He found his head dipping down, too heavy for him to hold up anymore, and the trickster’s shoulder was right there, for his forehead to lean on.

“You saved her,” he thought he heard it muse.

Who? Sam thought. The little girl?

“Pam, of course,” the trickster said, though Sam was certain he hadn’t asked his question aloud.

“But she’s dead,” Sam stirred himself to slur.

The trickster pulled Sam’s head up, using his hair as a handle. Surprisingly gently, actually.

“Yeah, and at the apex of her selfish, miserable life, too. Don’t you get it, you idiot? She never would’ve traded her life for her daughter’s if you hadn’t shamed her into it. Never. Not in a million years. She’s in heaven right now, singing with the choir, or whatever people think they’re gonna do up there, waiting for her daughter to join her. Any other point in her life, she died, she was going to hell. Any other point. And at a blood sacrifice she's attending, of all places, she discovers her inner saint, or whatever.”

It snorted and stared off into space for a moment, before looking back to Sam. It shook it's head slowly. "That never happens."

Sam felt some blood drool out onto his chin and slide down his throat, but didn’t have the energy to even close his mouth. The trickster’s eyes follwed it, for an instant, before flicking back up to his.

“Don’t say I never did nothin for ya,” the trickster murmured, and pressed two fingers to Sam’s forehead. “Be healed.”

Things went black.

Sam was on his back. Above him ran a pale stretch of motel room ceiling, as blank and uninformative as the million motel room ceilings that had come before. Encroaching on each side of his vision were the edges of beds, looming tall. He was lying on the rug. In the next instant he was reeling upright. No black spots danced before his eyes, and the blood had disappeared from his breathing passages. Relief trickled through him, to have a body that wasn’t screaming in pain and failing by the second, but it was weak compared to the fear pretty much flooding his system. His father and brother were side by side on the bed, and they were awfully still. He reached out and began shaking his dad, who was closest. If the thing had killed them... Oh God... if they were dead... Sam didn’t know what he would do.

But then his Dad was slurring “Sammy? Wha’ is it? Sammy?” And Dean let out a sleepy snuffle and began to snore. And Sam collapsed on his knees by the bedside and prayed “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Later he’d have time to analyze everything that had happened to him in that warehouse, and search through everything the thing had said for some kind of meaning, some way to make sense of it all. It had talked about heaven like a real place, about God like a real being. It had killed that woman, Pam, but it had said it was the only way to keep her out of hell when she died. It had tortured him, but it had let him go, in the end. And it hadn't killed his father or brother.

It was all too much. He couldn't wrap his mind around it.

Later, he was sure, he'd have no choice but to ponder it all. His mind was like that. And he wouldn't forget either, about the fact that when he went to his knees by the bed in that first beautiful instant of relief, he hadn't been thanking some old guy in a robe in the sky. He told himself he hated the thing, and that was true. He feared it too. But it was the Trickster he'd been praying to.

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Date: 2011-01-22 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Chilling and absolutely bloody PERFECT.

Date: 2011-01-22 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw. Thank you so much! ♥

Date: 2011-01-22 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was excellent! I could hear the Trickster's voice in my head and I could see him just as well; really great job getting his character down. I was on the edge of my seat for most of this and had a moment of panic when the Trickster said Dean and John were drugged and still back in the room. I think one of my favorite parts is Sam praying after the torture begins and Gabriel telling him to stop.

I was so excited to see this pop up at the comm because it was my old prompt. I love your fics, and this was no exception. Lovely job!

Date: 2011-01-22 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! I'm so so glad the Trickster worked for you. I've been trying to write him for the longest time, because I pretty much adore his character, but it's tricky, when he's been in so few episodes, and he spends most of his screentime lying anyway. It's so nice to hear that you think I did him justice.

It's also really nice to hear that it kept you in suspense, of course, and which parts in particular you liked. :D

Thank you so much for posting that prompt. I never would've seen that picture if it weren't for you, and it is awesome. And, of course, thank you for leaving such a sweet and thoughtful comment. *♥'s you*

Date: 2011-01-22 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was just creepy good. I love the Trickster/Gabriel character and you had his voice. Poor Sammy though....

Date: 2011-01-23 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I love the Trickster so very much too, so I'm really happy you felt I got his voice down. And heh, yeah, poor Sam. This is gonna mess him up a little. :)

Date: 2011-01-23 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is awesome!
Excellent Trickster voice, too!

Date: 2011-01-23 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! Thank you so much for commenting, and I'm so happy you feel I got the Trickster's voice down!

this god

Date: 2011-01-23 04:06 am (UTC)
auroramama: (Tree peony)
From: [personal profile] auroramama
Spectacular. Loved the bitterness in Gabriel's voice, the way that even while he's performing for the worshipping crowd and having fun with all his might, he trails off into his private grief and anger. And I love your Sam, who never stops thinking, but is still a real kid despite it.

And the ending is just wonderful. I would have loved to see this as an episode.

Re: this god

Date: 2011-01-23 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hah, yeah. Oh, man. How much would I pay to see this as an episode? Actually, scratch that. How much would I pay to see the Trickster brought back in any form. (Well, obviously, with Richard Speight Jr. still playing him.)

Anyway, I'm so glad that Gabriel's voice here worked for you. Because Sam had no idea who he was, he did let the mask slip a little more than he should have, but he's always struck me as an extremely impulsive character. Clever as all hell, and so powerful he can usually fix his own mistakes with a snap of his fingers, but also careless. Maybe even willfully so. He does like excitement.

I'm so glad that teen Sam's characterization worked for you too, and that you liked the ending (which gave me quite a bit of trouble, as endings do.) Those are both things that are really nice to hear.

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me. :)

Date: 2011-01-23 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Great job. I loved what you did with Pam, and the irony of her death. Also: poor Sam! Poor, brave, Sam.

Date: 2011-01-23 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! Thank you! I'm so happy Pam, and her death, worked for you.

And yes, poor brave Sam. If only it weren't so endlessly fascinating, making him suffer. :D

Date: 2011-01-23 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, that was fantastic. I love your portrayal of Sam here, and I love how you wrote the Trickster - because no matter how cool he was, he did have a favour for rather random acts of violent murder.

Date: 2011-01-23 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the Trickster's awesome, and hilarious, but he's definitely an unrepentant murderer. I read a lot of fic about him where he's kind of softened up, and I love a lot of it too, but I wish there were an equal number of fics that had darker, scarier Trickster. Cause, man, he's such a great character.

Thank you so much for commenting, and I'm really glad you enjoyed this! :)

Date: 2011-01-23 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really enjoyed this! I love how you've instilled compassionate!little Sammy into this and how he's still willing to give himself up for someone else. Plus, it's the trickster! I wonder if he's drinking a Pepsi along the way...

Thanks for sharing!


Date: 2011-01-23 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lol. I love Richard Speight Jr. so very, very much. I hope they bring him back to Show sometime.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this story. Compassionate!Sam is the best, and has been in such short supply this season. :( We must make up for it in the fics, somehow.

Thank you for commenting. ♥

Date: 2011-01-23 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, this was definitely tense. In all this Sam was hoping for his dad and Dean to show up and then he finds out they were still drugged in the motel room, what a blow. But the sacrifice of his own life for the little girl of the woman who drugged all of them, this is absolutely incredible. I wouldn't expect anything less from our boy. And he even impressed the trickster. Great story. Hugs, Vonnie

Date: 2011-01-26 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that it kept you on the edge of your seat. :) I think Sam did indeed impress the Trickster, despite the Trickster's reluctance to be impressed by any human. (Deep down, he loves us though.)
*hugs you back*

Date: 2011-01-24 08:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This one had me on the edge of my seat. Great job!

Date: 2011-01-26 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2011-01-26 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was so, so good. I really like how you wrote the Trickster - Even in all his pagan glory I could definitely see Gabriel in there. Just fantastic. :)

Date: 2011-01-26 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it, and that you could definitely see Gabriel beneath all the pagan trappings. Thank you again for giving me the heads up about the missing link, and thank you so much for this lovely comment. :D

Date: 2011-01-26 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This has me rooted to the spot and is just... wow. I love this glimpse at a younger Sam, with less bitterness and more spirituality. And this Trickster? Scares the crap out of me.

Date: 2011-01-27 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, yay, thank you! I love imagining what younger Sam would've been like, and playing around with his beliefs. And this Trickster was definitely supposed to be scary, so hooray!

Date: 2011-01-26 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gabe was just perfect in this, the way he twisted the situation and every single one of his lines, they were all so in character. This is a really great fic. *adds to memories*

Date: 2011-01-27 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I'm so glad he seemed in character to you. You know, I had to research to write this fic. (i.e. rewatch all the trickster/Gabriel episodes. What a hardship. ;)

Date: 2011-01-27 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was quite powerful. It's not my favorite version of Gabriel, but it was a very realistic one, and I love that Sam's self-sacrifice actually changed things for Pam and for Gabriel, too.

Date: 2011-01-27 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you felt Gabriel was realistic, even if he wasn't your favorite flavor. And yeah, Sam definitely got through to him. If I were better at writing sequels I would follow this up with how actually, this one incident changed the entire course of the apocalypse. But I suck at writing sequels, so just imagine it in your own head, instead. :)

Date: 2011-01-28 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was on the edge of my seat brilliant. And you had the Trickster's personality spot on with all the subtle clues given that young Sam couldn't decipher. Excellent read. Thank you.

Date: 2011-01-29 11:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so pleased that this characterization of the Trickster rang true to you, and that the story kept you on the edge of your seat. Those are very lovely things to hear. :D Thank you so much for commenting!

Date: 2011-01-30 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, this was just such an amazing story.

I'm a little in love with how you wrote the Trickster, taking an honest look at him and the fact that he's done some admittedly terrible things in his time on Earth. I love the fics where he's kind and sweet and mischievous, but it's wonderful to see the darker parts of his character explored. And despite the fact that he's capable of gleefully torturing someone, you still managed to bring out hints of Gabriel-the-angel, the small and hidden seeds of goodness in him.

I also loved how you wrote Sam, his intelligence about staying alive long enough to be rescued, the goodness that prompted him to trade his life for the little girl's.

Man, I kept rooting for John and Dean to save the day but when the Trickster revealed that they were drugged, I went :O.

I could keep listing more about what I loved in your story (I even liked Pam, in the end), but I don't think it would all fit in a comment, so I'll just leave the big stuff.

Date: 2011-02-03 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's a fan of the darker parts of the Trickster. I have a big old soft spot for fluffier Gabriel fics as well, but man, I love dark Gabriel. The immoral (according to human standards) side of him is a huge part of what I find so alluring about his character on the show. I'm really glad that this story satisfied another dark!Gabriel fan. That's pretty much exactly what I hoped to achieve.

I'm also very pleased you liked Sam (and even poor, morally-challenged Pam as well). A story pretty much cannot go wrong for me if the Sam in it displays his intelligence and goodness. Sounds like we have similar views of what makes a good Sam.

And of course I'm thrilled that the story kept you guessing. When I set out to write it, I had actually planned for Dean and John to come to the rescue, after Sam and Gabriel'd had some bonding time, of course. But then Sam decided he was going to be all impressive and rescue himself. :D

Thank you so so much for this wonderful comment, and I'm really happy you enjoyed the story so much. :)

Date: 2011-09-10 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Congratulations! You have been rec’ed at [ profile] spn_littlebro!
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Date: 2011-10-21 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw! Thank you so, so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the story and thought it was good enough to rec!
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