Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester
Rating: T (PG-13)
Spoilers: Possible spoilers for any of Season 1-2.
Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters belong to Eric Kripke. No infringement intended – just dabbling in your sandbox, Mr. Kripke, sir.
Summary: Sam works to stop a deadly vision of his brother.
Read Chapter 1/Chapter 2/Chapter 3/Chapter 4/Chapter 5/Chapter 6/Chapter 7
A/N1: If you’ve forgotten the last chapter, it might be helpful to give it another read since this is a recapping through Dean’s eyes…but its not necessary. Sorry, yet again, for my slothfulness. I’m enjoying my vacation to the fullest!
Chapter 8: Undone Redux
Jackknifing into a sitting position, Dean struggled to maintain his composure. Maybe Sam hadn’t noticed anything unusual. There was still time to make excuses, to blow off the sudden action. Just as he opened his mouth to let out the lie, the icy-cold presence whispered through his mind again. Slippery as a serpent and just as merciless, it slithered within, coiling tightly around his soul and choking the light. God. What’s happening to me?
He felt Sam shift on the bed behind him and ask, “Dean? What is it?”
Sam. He had to warn Sam. He tried to push the words past his lips, but they wouldn’t come. Panic, fear, and confusion warred within. His body trembled with effort, quaked like earthen plates vying for domination of a too small space. He reached further and fought back against the entity claiming him.
Finally gaining a finger hold on a dangerous precipice, he pushed down all other emotion and embraced his last spark of anger at the violation, biting out, “Run, Sam.”
Sam shook his head in dazed confusion, but realized something was very wrong.
Run, Sam! I can’t hold it much longer. Please just…
“Sam, I can’t…RUN!”
Too late, Sam was too late.
A rubber band stretched too far, Dean felt himself expanding, snapping and then flung far into the corners of his mind. Control lost, locked inside his own head – helpless. He watched from a distance as the creature hauled Sam off the bed with his hands and threw his brother against the far wall with an alarming crack.
Blistering anger coursed through his veins as he beat against his jailor – clawing, snatching and bucking against the thing, but it was no use. The black, undulating jelly-like form became a second skin – moving and slipping around him, getting tighter at the slightest let up. Squeezed, engulfed, suffocated by it, he knew eventually he would tire and be lost completely.
“Tsk, tsk. No cheating, Sammy," he heard it say, “This fight’s all mano a mano.”
A sharp blow connected with his stomach, knocking the air from him with a whoosh and igniting the fury of his ribs. Good boy, Sammy. You can do this, you can get away. Keep it comin’. But Sam was too slow. The Culpa Moh gripped his shirtfront and delivered a killer blow to his nose. Inwardly, Dean flinched. That had to hurt. The sight of the blood flowing freely from Sam’s nose sickened him and he knew his brother was struggling to stay conscious. The second blow must have awakened Sam’s survival instinct, because suddenly he was no longer afraid to use pain to his advantage. Little brother lined out all his best moves.
Atta boy, Sam!
Heartened, Dean renewed his efforts. How long could this demon fight against two Winchesters – one fighting within and one fighting without? He had to find its weakness. Everything has a weakness his dad had preached. Dean began reciting Latin rites within the confines of his mind while focusing on the love he held for his brother. Demons hated love, right? Could work. It was certainly worth a try.
Surprisingly, he felt the beast recoil. Was it the Latin, the brotherly love or the salt-loaded shotgun pointed at its – his – chest? Dean couldn’t be sure, but something was definitely provoking a reaction. Before he could act on this knowledge, the demon burrowed into his soul, dug deep and brought forth painful memories that scalded away his resolve.
At his name, he turned, saw Sam with the shotgun trained at his chest. Words exchanged and then an explosion of rock salt blasted him backwards through the splintering wood behind him. Blackness for a few seconds and then sharp, stinging pain riddle his chest. Lungs labored for air as Sam appeared above him.
Then the hated words, “Are you that desperate for his approval?! I have a mind of my own. I’m not pathetic like you”.
The glinting silver of the pistol pointed directly at his head.
“You hate me that much? Think you can kill your own brother? Well, then, go ahead. Pull the trigger. Do it!”
Click. Shocked disappointment twisted Sam’s features. Click…click...
“Well, isn’t this a nice turn of events? Whatcha gonna do, Sammy? Shoot your brother…again?” the demon taunted.
It enjoyed the chaos it created, but Sam held steady. A single flinch the only tell that the words hit home.
“Dean knows I didn’t mean any of it,” Sam answered.
That’s right, Sammy. Get your game face on.
But the demon knew all the right words.
“You’ll only be hurting Dean more.”
No way, not on my watch. You will NOT use me against my brother.
Anger unleashed, brightly burning, and the unwanted thing was momentarily startled. For an instant, Dean surfaced, took a victory breath and then felt the world fall away as another memory tore loose.
“Dean! Help me!”
Hannah was hanging below him, her delicate hand clutched at his, terror marring her beautiful face. Her beautiful, innocent face. Tears streamed from eyes that begged for life – begged him to save her.
Somewhere outside the abyss, the demon gloated.
“Oh, yeah. That’s it isn’t it. The secret buried so deep in the dark places. I can feel your brother’s guilt about the…girl. It burns him up and eats away at his conscience.
“Please, Dean. I don’t wanna die.”
Her voice cracked on the last syllable. Then she was falling away from him.
“NOOO…” his scream followed her into the dark night and then blood…blood everywhere.
“Your brother’s too weak to fight me, Sammy. I’m growing stronger everyday. His pain is too deep, his guilt strong…it’s been a long time since I’ve come across such a feast.”
His fault. He looked down at his shaking hands. Hands that could not hold, could not protect. They were covered in blood. Her blood. And, so were his clothes. The copper smell filled his nostrils as the echo of her screams filled his ears and he found himself cowering on cold cement, hands clapped over his ears in an attempt to shut out the sounds of her dying – her screams revisiting him over and over again.
“Oh, yeah, that feels sooo gooood,” the demon purred. “Better hurry, time’s almost up.”
Drowning in grief, but regaining awareness, Dean heard a gurgling gasp for air and knew instinctively that it was Sam. Images swirled dizzily in front of him and he squeezed his eyes shut to regroup. Sam was dying. The demon was in full control and choking the life out of his brother. Sam’s grunts were growing weaker with each passing second. Dean could feel the pleasure surging through the demon. His brother was going to die at his own hands. Abject fear replaced guilt, flooded in and washed it all away. Falling…he was falling.
He didn’t know how it happened. Maybe the demon decided toying with him was too much fun to rush things? Maybe he’d finally forced it out? It didn’t really matter, because he was free. His body seized and agony replaced rational thought, but he didn’t care about that. Sam’s coughing sputters for air met his ears in a joyous chorus of sound, of life. His brother was alive – safe. Opening his eyes, Dean’s gaze locked and held Sam’s for what could have been an eternity. Slowly, his brother was crowded out by dancing rainbow circles and he knew he didn’t have much time. To comfort? To apologize? To confess?
His overtaxed body jerked painfully and he knew nothing more.
It came out a harsh cough as Sam’s throat continued to spasm. Pushing himself up on one quivering arm, Sam shook his head and then eased up to his knees – keeping his eyes glued to Dean’s splayed, unmoving form.
Scooting over to his brother, Sam lifted him, slid his crossed legs under and rested Dean’s head on his thigh. Checking his brother’s injuries, he was relieved to see the shoulder stitches had held, for the most part, and there was minimal blood loss. Dean’s left wrist looked a little swollen, but that was to be expected after such harsh mistreatment. All things considered, these were the least of their problems. A throaty protest to the man-handling assured Sam that his brother was only ‘out’ for the time being. Still recovering, Sam found that his fingers wouldn’t still as he laid them against the pallid, stubble-ridden cheek. How could someone so strong look so fragile?
“Wake-up, man. Hey! I need you to wake-up. Please, Dean.”
Giving Dean a little shake, he called his name and patted his slackened face. No response. Knowing he didn’t presently have the strength to get either one of them on the bed, he did the only thing he could think of. Heaving Dean up and forward, Sam hooked an arm around his brother’s chest, drew him close and dragged them both backwards until his back met the bed. Once there, he settled Dean against his chest, head nestled on Sam’s shoulder – slightly tucked under his ear – and took a minute to catch his breath.
Head reclined on the bed, Sam blinked away fear-induced wetness. Dean’s heart was fluttering softly against his open palm with patterned regularity – chest rising and falling beneath his hand. Sweat from his brother’s forehead left damp spots on Sam’s skin that cooled rapidly as it evaporated. Rolling his head to meet the top of Dean’s, Sam closed his eyes and thanked God his brother seemed to be only resting.
The room had gone quiet except for the static buzz of the air conditioner. Alone with his thoughts, the scenes replayed themselves repeatedly in his head. Dean’s face twisting as he fought for control. Carnal malice creeping across his brother’s features as the thing took over. Amused delight when the demon tapped into his brother’s pain and savored it.
And confirmation that Dean was keeping something from him – something important. A secret about a girl, the demon had said. What could be so bad that Dean would be afraid to tell him? The demon was right, Sam was losing his brother – he could feel it. From one space to the next, he could see Dean wearing down, losing the battle. Maybe if he knew what the secret was, could help Dean shoulder it, they’d have more time to figure this thing out. But getting Dean to confess? That posed a whole new set of dangers.
Something like that could wreck the bond they’d painstakingly rebuilt over the last two years. It could push Dean over an edge he might not come back from. What if the secret changed something delicate and precious between them? Exhausted, Sam let his eyes shut, telling himself it was only for a second. A second stretched into a minute and a minute stretched into the next until, finally, Sam slept.
Sometime much later…
Cold, he was so cold. Yet, he was drenched in sweat. Maybe his body was in shock. It was definitely in pain. That fight with Sam had been hell on his injuries and had reawakened his damn shoulder and ribs. That fight with Sam. Oh, God…he’d tried to kill Sam! Okay, maybe not him exactly, but the thing inside. It had used him, made him into a weapon against the only thing he had left in life worth living for. He was a danger to Sam now, couldn’t be trusted. It was his duty to keep his brother safe and he’d failed big time. No way could he let that happen again. No matter what.
Close by music blared and demanded someone’s attention, preventing him from carrying through with his thoughts. A figure brushed by, grazing his outstretched hand as it passed. The music silenced and a voice took its place.
“Hello? Oh, hey, Bobby. Yeah, it’s Sam, Dean’s asleep. Not great, I’m a little worried to tell the truth.”
Dean heard his brother’s hushed voice tremble and knew the words had been an understatement of mass proportions.
“I think he’s okay for now, just resting. Did you find anything?”
“Uh huh. Yeah, we kinda figured as much. I thought these things didn’t possess people?”
“Well, I guess that makes sense. Okay, so…how do we kill it?”
Another pause, this time long.
“But, Bobby, there has to be something else, someway to-”
Well, that didn’t sound good.
“Well, what’s that mean? Yeah, yeah, I get that, but-”
A heavy sigh and the sound of a hand scrubbing through hair.
“All right. But, if you don’t find anything else…if there’s no other choice…”
Yeah, I’m screwed.
“Yeah, I know you will. Thanks, Bobby.”
Sam’s bed groaned beneath the sudden weight and there was another heavy huff of air. Whatever Bobby had told Sam, it wasn’t good. What if there was no way to stop this thing? A drink, he needed a drink right the hell now – and not of water. He needed to settle his nerves and make a plan. A plan to keep Sam safe. Safe from him.
Reluctantly pushing sticky eyelids apart, he braced himself for the onslaught of pain as he arduously pushed himself up.
“Dean! You’re awake!”
Before Sam could clear the bed, Dean was holding up a hand, keeping his brother at arm’s length.
“No. Don’t,” Dean growled.
“Get the handcuffs from the trunk.”
“What!? Wh-no. No, Dean. I’m not handcuffing you.”
“Yes, Sam you are. I’m a danger to you, to others. Get the cuffs.”
“But, Dean, your shoulder…”
“Doesn’t matter, Sam! Get the cuffs or I’m outta here.”
Sam blanched at the threat. Dean was dead serious and he knew it. Disgusted, Sam stomped out to the Impala, found the cuffs and slammed back into the room.
“This is stupid, Dean. You’re not gonna hurt me. It’s not coming back, not like that.”
“You don’t know that,” Dean insisted.
“Bobby said what, Sam? That you can’t kill this thing?”
“You were awake?”
Sam shifted the cuffs into one hand and gestured with the other.
“That’s not it. He didn’t say we couldn’t kill it, he just said killing it wasn’t without risks.”
Looking up at Sam from under his brows, Dean asked, “Risks? What risks?”
“Well, for one, it might get trapped in your body. For good.”
Quirking an eyebrow, Dean said nothing, knowing there was more.
When Sam said nothing, he prodded, “And?”
“And, the black magic involved is, well, black. Dangerous to the cast-er and the cast-ee.”
“No. It’s too dangerous. Black magic can easily turn against you, and will more times than not.”
“I know, but what choice do we have? I’ll be careful, I will. Besides, Bobby’s still looking for another way. We’ve still got time.”
Dean broke eye contact, pursed his lips then bowed his head.
Looking back up, he said, “Give me the cuffs.”
“I’ll do it.”
Sam gently lifted Dean’s right arm. Clamping the hardened steel around his brother’s wrist, he then clamped the other end to the bed’s headboard – feeling lucky this motel had beds with headboards or Dean would have demanded he cuff both arms.
“No. But I will be.”
Confused, Sam cocked his head, watching as Dean grunted and winced – rummaging through the bedside drawer with his opposite hand. Then, pulling out the flask and the pill bottle, he settled back against his pillows and proceeded to pop three of the pills into his mouth, washing them down with the last of the liquor.
Shaking the flask to emphasize its emptiness, Dean said, “I need a refill, Sammy. Care to help your maimed, demon-possessed brother out?”
“Dean. You’re not demon-possessed-”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t work that way…yadda, yadda, yadda.” Then, with sincerity, “Please, Sam.”
He gestured with the empty container again.
“Do you think it’s a good idea to mix the two?”
Feeling contrary, Sam had to ask even though he knew the answer. Even though Dean had said please.
“Sure. Why not? Might as well be a good host and get the party started right.”
Dean patted his belly. Sam shook his head, did the predictable scoff, and did as Dean asked. Confident he’d made his hesitation look good, he snagged the keys and headed to the gas station. He knew what he had to do. Get Dean drunk. How else would they be able to get through what he knew was coming next.
An hour and a half later, Dean Winchester was skunked. One hundred percent, no doubt about it, hammered, soused, under the table, tanked. It didn’t happen easily, but that’s where the pills had come in handy. He was flying so high Sam doubted he could spell his own name right about now. Time for phase two.
“Dean, how much do you remember about what the demon said while it possessed you?”
“Said,” Dean slurred, “it talked?”
“Yeah. I think something it said might be important.”
“Pbfft. We already knew I’m the awesomer brother. Probly why it picked me.”
“Nice, but no. I don’t think that was it.”
“Okay, Sam-mie-pie, spill. You know you’re dying to.”
Dean grinned mischievously, put the bottle to his lips and took deep pull.
Rolling his eyes, Sam moved to the edge of his bed, close as he could get to Dean without actually sliding off the bed.
“It said you had a secret. A secret about a girl. What was it talking about, Dean?”
Dean’s face closed up, eyes lit for a split second by surprise.
“I dunno. Probly just tryin’ ta get yer goat. Looks like it worked.”
Dean tossed back another swallow of beer. Sam had switched him over a while ago. His goal was to get Dean drunk, not to pass out.
“No. I don’t think that was it...and I think you know exactly what it was talking about, Dean.”
Dean began shaking his head, but Sam interrupted him before the denial came.
“Damn it, Dean. Don’t be stubborn. There’s nothing you can’t tell me. I promise, whatever it is, we’ll work through it together.”
Acknowledging his slip, Dean sat up and turned his back on Sam, his shackled arm stretched beside him, the other hanging loosely along his leg.
“How do you know?”
“Because I just do, alright!” he exploded. “You can’t handle this. Not this.”
The last part said quietly. Too quietly. The anguish and foreboding in Dean’s voice bristled the hair at Sam’s neck. Suddenly, he wasn’t so sure he did want to know.
“Dean, don’t shut me out. I don’t need to be protected, I need to be treated as an equal-”
“Stop it, Sam! Just stop it, okay!”
Dean tried to stand, to get away, but his legs were wobbly and the cuffs wouldn’t allow it. Seeing his brother struggling to keep his composure and fighting to keep his feet, Sam walked over and freed him.
“What’d you do that for?”
“You’re not going to hurt me. Dean, I trust you. Can’t you please…please just trust me? Tell me what’s going on? I need to know if I’m going to help you.”
Turning abruptly – for a second, nearly toppling over – Dean pleaded, “Please, Sam. Don’t do this. Don’t make me do this.”
Stunned by the quivering plea, the defeated stance, Sam’s mouth snapped shut. Hands to hips and a deep breath, Sam made his own plea.
“Dean. I have to know what we’re dealing with. I need to know what this demon is using against you. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me. It’s safer for both of us if I know.”
It wasn’t fair, Sam knew, to play Dean like that, but he had to play hardball if wanted his brother to come clean. Slowing, unsteadily, Dean faced him. Sam loathed what this was doing to his brother – briefly considered backing off even – but didn’t dare break face for a second.
Despair coloring his eyes, Dean whispered, “And what if I tell you and…you leave?”
He didn’t think it was possible to be surprised any further, but with that softly spoken question, Sam felt his heart do a double somersault.
Quick to deny, he reassured, “Dean, I’m not going anywhere, dude. What could you possibly say that would change that? I’m not going to leave. You’re my brother. I promise, we’re in this together. You and me.”
Their eyes met and silent messages transmitted between them. Dean’s face, now stark white, greened a little at what he was about to do. Sam was right. This was the right thing to do. The deserved thing to do. Placing a hand to his stomach, he felt his fear settle there, churn and twist. Pressing a quick fist to his lips, he turned and made for the bathroom, shoving Sam aside and falling in front of the toilet.
Retching violently, his stomach attempted to rid itself of all the liquor, all the terror at what he was about to do. Maybe he’d rupture something in his head, die now and take his secret to the grave. One could always hope. The obscene amount of pressure being exerted on his brain from the repeated full-body heaves made it seem possible. Vaguely, he was aware that Sam had come into the room and had perched himself on the tub next to him. Then, one large paw rested itself mid-way down his back. How could things possibly get more wretched? Once the gagging stopped, he allowed gravity to pull him back to sit against the tub, legs pushed out front.
“You all right?”
Dean nodded, but didn’t attempt to stand. Lowering himself down, Sam took the spot next to his brother, handing him a dry cloth to wipe his mouth.
Dean nodded his thanks, then, after a few beats asked, “You sure you want to hear this?”
Sam nodded. Dean pulled his knees to his chest and rested his head there, arms tucked around his stomach. It was an unconscious protective measure, but not looking at Sam, pretending to talk to the floor was the only way he was going to be able to do this.
A/N2: Super huge thanks to Mady for the beta even though she JUST stepped in the door from her vacation and to Tidia for the multiple looks. I wouldn’t want to post without these guys, y’all.
Big hugs and thanks to everyone who read and super special cookies to those who reviewed…I’m so appreciative to be a part of this great fandom.
And, big props togaelicspirit for giving me a push – thank you for being my friend.