|Running Up That Hill
Author: stranded chess piece PM
Sam's optimism has its limits. As does Dean's. Set early S3.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 4 - Words: 8,404 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 10-09-07 - Published: 09-19-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3793617
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I'm so sorry this has taken me so long! This story's lost the heart for me I think, but here's the last part anyway. Yeah... it's still short. Sorry! I did want to get it done before the season started but oh well. Thanks for reading :) And to the people who asked me to extend it in the first place, I hope it's okay. Take care x
Dean wasn't difficult to locate; his flashlight was a blemish in the darkness. Stumbling along the leaf-covered road, Sam closed the distance between himself and his brother, tripping, more than once, on tree roots that had raised and broken the bitumen. The cemetery stretched like an obstacle course around him, gathering the dark from the edges and smearing it into shadows. The air was thin and icy, chilling the perspiration on his back. Battered lungs burning, he swallowed convulsively, relentlessly fighting the urge to be sick. More than mildly frustrated, he approached his brother.
Dean was a portrait of determination. Sweat glazed his forearms and brow as he hoisted himself from the freshly opened grave. Shovel roughly cast aside, he bent to grab a sack of salt, tearing it open and upending it into the hole with no consideration for meticulousness. The sack then followed its contents into the pit, and a dented can of kerosene was snatched and hastily opened. Sam's steps faltered as he narrowed his eyes, studying his brother, wondering again at the man Dean seemed to have become. The situation bothered Sam, but not nearly as much as the shadows crossing Dean's forehead, and the sharp, rigid set of his jaw.
Dean barely flinched. Stony eyes directed into the hole and dirt-covered hands shaking out the kerosene, his mind was on the job as Sam made his presence known, stepping out of the darkness. Big brother threw the empty can to join the shovel on the sidelines and fished out a box of hotel matches from his pocket, wrestling them briefly before striking one to life. Sam asked what the hell Dean thought he was doing, coming out here on his own in the middle of the night. The light of the small flame danced momentarily in the mirror of the older hunter's eyes, catching a splinter of emotion there, a splinter of life, before being tossed into the grave with the rest of the ingredients. Dean side-stepped the question, demanding to know instead what Sam was doing out of bed.
Sam felt his frustration boil. The match missed its target and was extinguished by the damp dirt. Dean cursed and struck another, paying no mind to the knife-edge of Sam's gaze as it traced his uncharacteristically jerky movements. Again the flame danced, and again Dean held it above the hole. Sam felt emotion ripple his features as Dean's hollow eyes met his, older brother making a comment that he didn't need Sam's help because everything was fine, completely under control. Sam wanted to argue that that wasn't the point, they were supposed to work as a team. But a sudden rush of air stole the words from his lips and the flame abruptly vanished from Dean's fingers. Quick as lightening, the handle of the shovel whipped up and struck the older man across the brow, sending him sprawling. And Sam felt what he could have sworn were clammy fingers wrapping around his ankles, pulling his feet from under him.
Harry had arrived. Sam tasted dirt against his teeth as he struggled to regain his senses, swaying to his knees. Dean was out, thrown nearly ten feet away and curled against the base of an angel statue. Sam blinked spots from his vision, thinking how serene his brother looked, like a child asleep. But another blink rapidly dissolved the illusion, bringing light to several bright crimson trails winding their way down one side of Dean's face. Sam's heart rate picked up, and he was moving before another thought entered his mind.
Dean's gun was beside the shovel, and Sam made a dive for it. Unfortunately, Harry had other plans, hitting Sam with a sudden blow to the ribs. Sam felt himself thrown sideways, and landed five feet from the weapon. Raising his head to try again, a threatening sound from the direction of his brother caught his attention. Sam threw his eyes to where Dean lay and noticed the angel wobbling, about to come down. Holy shit- Sam sucked in a breath, his racing heart stopping. Lunging clumsily, he threw his body over his sibling's and rolled them both out of the way, just as the statue shuddered one last time and hit the ground with a crash. Sam let out a loud curse, feeling the rush of air and dust from the falling stone catch at his hair, and rubble bite at his exposed skin.
Dean groaned but didn't wake. Harry was a menacing blur, a shadow in the corner of Sam's eye, darting this way and that. Sam's fingers curled around the box of matches stuffed in Dean's pocket and he fumbled one free. Struggling to his feet, he struck it to life and moved away from his brother, wanting the spirit's attention on himself instead of Dean. Harry took the bait, ploughing into him at full force and sending him careening. Sam was violently smashed along the ground and thrown straight into the open grave.
For a moment he lay unmoving, stunned, winded and confused. Harry's remains were brittle and sharp, crunching and snapping beneath him. Sam scrambled against their snagging spires, wincing as a piece of rib stuck into him. Raising his head above the lip of the grave, he caught sight of the spirit, moving towards his brother at frightening speed. He cried out, once again demanding its attention. The dead man whirled around, and Sam noticed the hollow eyes widen as he struck another match, the flame dancing menacingly between them. With an exhausted grin of satisfaction, Sam threw one last look at his unconscious sibling, before letting the match fall.
The kerosene ignited. Fire rushed to fill the hole. A scream so piercing it threatened to make Sam's ears bleed echoed through the night. Smoke rose in a blinding screen, pressing its way into Sam's eyes and lungs. With skin beginning to blister, Sam threw himself up onto flat ground, rolling frantically to smother the flames that clung to his clothes. Tears flowed freely from his stinging eyes and the smell of singed hair assaulted his nose. He coughed and hacked until he gagged and threw up. His limbs shook so hard he could barely move them. Harry's screams intensified, and then they were gone.
Flames licked the sky. Sam felt their hunger as they kissed the stars. Hurtling ungracefully towards his brother Sam scooped up the shovel and gun, tucking them under an arm as he hoisted Dean over his shoulder. Dean was pale and unmoving, but breathing, so that was okay. Adrenalin shot through Sam's spent body as he rushed them back through the cemetery, carving a path through the darkness, determined to find the car. Finally, after what seemed like hours of running, Sam's gaze was snagged by the outline of the Impala under some trees, and, stretched far beyond his physical limits and exhausted beyond belief, he collapsed against the driver's door, lowering his brother to the ground. Sam swayed, doubled over, choking and gasping against the icy 4:00am air. Dean's hand twitched suddenly, and his eyes fluttered open. But Sam was too busy hurting to notice or care.
Big brother groaned, swore loudly, and sat up. Sam's focus dissolved inwardly, blocking out the world as he fought to gain control of his breathing and churning emotions. His thoughts bled into one another, staining his vision red. Dean's questioning hand on his arm was an irritation, and it pushed him over the edge. Fear evaporating, Sam was left with an angry residue that quickly overwhelmed him, causing him to snap.
His fist connected with Dean's already blood-stained jaw. Big brother was caught off guard and stumbled against the hood of the car, groggily blinking, his hand shooting out in a futile attempt to grab hold of something. Sam stopped his fall, roughly snatching a fist-full of leather and drawing his arm back to take another swing. Chest heaving, he stared hard at his brother. Dean opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it, possibly noticing the fire in his sibling's eyes or the burns on his skin. There was a moment of scorching silence, before Sam found his words. With the agony of raw emotion, he demanded to know when, exactly, Dean had stopped trusting him; when, exactly, the older had decided to go it alone. Because it seemed as if there was a great wall between them, and each day they were drifting further apart. Did Dean find it so hard to believe that his little brother could save him?
Hot against cold, sharp breaths broke Sam's lips. He waited for a response to his questions, but no such comfort came. Dean's eyes were broken mirrors, glassy in the night. Sam released his brother's jacket, withdrawing his trembling fingers. Shattered, he stepped away, slumping to his knees upon the frozen grass.
Time passed. Snow began to fall. Sam felt the flakes settle against his cheeks and catch in his hair. There was a shuffling beside him, and Dean lowered himself to the ground. They both sat, backs pressed against the side of the Impala, staring into nothing. Sam couldn't work out whether the burning in his eyes was from the smoke he'd been subjected to, or the strain of suppressing all the tears he'd refused to let fall.
Dean wasn't one for sensitive moments, and discussions like this were taboo in his world. It was a surprise, then, when he began to talk; his frayed voice a lot thinner than usual, but bearing a splinter of familiarity that Sam had missed so much these past few weeks. Dean apologized, explaining to Sam that he did trust him, he was just scared. He didn't want his little brother to die trying to save him. Sam crinkled his brow, confused, and asked what Dean meant by that. But the older brother simply shifted his weight, hugging himself against the near unbearable cold and biting his lip. Again Sam asked what he meant, but Dean just shook his head.
So it's okay for you, but not for me? Sam voiced the thought, the words tumbling from his lips.
But Dean didn't answer, and the gap stretched between them once more, endless and threatening. Sam's eyes fell closed as he mentally attempted to bridge it.
Eventually Sam turned to face his sibling, staring hard at the hunched silhouette. That's not for you to decide, he stated simply, lacing his words with defiance and feeling surprised that he still had it in him.
Dean's reply was a whispered admission, a heart-felt regret. With a slight nod of his head and trembling fingers raking nervously through his hair, he answered quietly, I know. You're so fucking stubborn, Sammy.
Sam felt his lip quirk into what was perhaps his first smile in months. The warmth didn't reach his eyes, but he savored the feeling anyway. Yeah, well... I've learned from the best.
You don't want to hurt me
But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder
There is thunder in our hearts
So much hate for the ones we love
Tell me we both matter don't we?
...And if I only could
I'd make a deal with God
And I'd get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say, if I only could...