1. 11 Days by kettle_o_fish
7x17 "The Born-Again Identity" alternate ending | Sam, Dean, Castiel | gen, hurt/comfort, episode tag/ish
Sam and Dean are soulmates; sooner or later that's gotta pan out to something, right? It's about time. The idea of Winchester!soulmates sort of makes me laugh, possibly because we got it from Ash, IN HEAVEN no less, but kettle_o_fish does an amazing, amazing job with it, and the dialogue and her lush(-ly horrific) descriptions are absolutely to die for.
2. kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep by minviendha
S6 AU | Sam, Nick, OCs | gen/slash/who cares, horror, alternate timeline
You really don't see that many horror stories in SPN fandom--astounding, I know--but when they come up, they come. up. Sam wakes from a seizure in Tulane, Nebraska, surrounded by people full willing to help him (as they would for anyone). So begins his new existence; lonely, grateful, curious, all of the above. Then comes Nick: “It’s the way he watches people,” Rachel said, pausing by his station as Nick was wandering out of the store. “Like they’re hardly even real, like they’re pictures in a magazine or something.”
“I haven’t seen that,” Sam protested. Rachel glanced at him.
“Yeah,” she said. “Exactly. You’re the only one he doesn’t do it to. That’s what makes it so creepy.”
3. Paper Illusion by nwspaprtaxis
7x01 "Meet the New Boss"-7x02 "It's a Cruel World" insert!fic | Dean, Sam, Chuck | gen, hurt/comfort
Dean's sick, Chuck's psychic, Sam's present, (--and Lisa's not). Another example of great dialogue, this fic is like finding the eye of the storm in the midst of the hurricane that is S7. You take a grateful breath and you dive back under, with the memory of sunlight.
4. Stonewall by roque_clasique
post-7x02 "It's a Cruel World", general S7 | Dean, Sam, OCs | gen, hurt/comfort
I feel like it's condescending to multiple parties to say "this is the kind of story that proves that fic is more than just the fancy hair extensions of canon" but let's start with that. You can take this fic from any direction and you'll never see the rigging; it just feels real. A storm, a homeless shelter in Spokane, and one overnight that fulfills Sam, Dean, and all of the fic's other participants beyond even the vibrant wealth that we are given in this one moment, on these few pages.
* And while we're on the topic of Spokane, and of recs, GO READ SHERMAN ALEXIE'S INDIAN KILLER, for it is masterful and glorious and I want to talk shop about it with someone so incredibly badly, oh please. A++