|The Definition of Insanity
Author: silver ruffian PM
They’re both caught in the same damn loop. Dean stays on the move. Sam gets close enough and kills every living thing in the vicinity. This is an AU, oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Supernatural - Dean W. & Sam W. - Words: 4,716 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 23 - Follows: 8 - Published: 09-26-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4559985
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Shadowless Whispers wanted to see my take on evil Sam, so here it is. I don't know, this may not be what you were looking for, but this is what came out. Sam's the older brother; Dean's the younger.
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys. Eric's letting me play with 'em for a while.
Summary: They're both caught in the same damn loop. Dean stays on the move. Sam gets close enough and kills every living thing in the vicinity. This is an AU, oneshot.
"I had my eyes opened, Dean," Sam told him the very first night. "After you left to go to school, Dad and I went on a hunt. He got injured and we went to ground in this cabin out in the woods. He was out of his head with fever, kept talking about how he was worried about you and me. We were other generations, he said. He talked about Mom, talked about how he blamed her, but he loved her. While Dad was still bedridden I did some checking behind his back. I – I learned things. Learned the true story about you and me. That's why I came here to get you. You don't belong here, bro'. What's inside me is inside you too. We're destined for bigger things than this…"
He has the dream again, wakes up with Sam's calm voice ringing in his ears as his own eyes flare dark gold in the dimness of that crappy motel room.
Time to come home, Dean.
Dean throws what few belongings he has into his duffel and steals a car off the motel parking lot in the middle of the night. Car theft's become a way of life for him now; he can hot-wire in five seconds flat. He's never run from a fight in his whole damn life, but he runs now.
Stay there. I'm coming for you.
He can't be here for that. Dean runs because he knows that if he stays everyone in a fifty mile radius will die.
He sees it on the news later. Everyone dies anyway.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. They're both caught in the same damn loop. Dean stays on the move. Sam gets close enough and kills every living thing in the vicinity.
Dean tries not to think too much about the people he meets. The waitress with the bleached blonde hair who gave him a plate of food on the house. That eldery black dude who gave him a ride into town. The old man pressed a crumpled five dollar bill into his hand as Dean leaned down to thank him again.
He hopes some of them survived, he really does, but knowing Sam, Dean seriously doubts it. Between the two of them they've amassed quite a hefty body count, and the bitch of the bunch is that practically nobody knows what the hell is going on, not yet anyway.
Dayton City, Iowa. Riverbend, Texas. Bullock, North Carolina. Springfield. New Haverbrook. Hartley, Kansas. Cameron, Minnesota…it goes on and on.
It's a laundry list of fresh graveyards, places wiped off the map by wind, water, fire and earth. Sam's phenomenal when he kills. Wild weather does his bidding like a well-trained attack dog.
Monster tornadoes here, an unexplained megaflood there.
It's been a bad year weather-wise all over.
Dean roams around California for a while, and the Santa Ana winds nip at his heels like an ill-tempered beast, blackening the landscape with one gigantic firestorm after another.
The hunters' community doesn't even know what the hell is going on, not yet, anyway. It would take someone like Bobby Singer or John Winchester to be able to recognize the signs and patterns, and baring a damn miracle that's not going to happen.
Dean tries not to think about his Dad or Bobby too much.
He still thinks about the way Sam used to be. Sam called him "Deano" when they were growing up, and he's the only one allowed to call him that, besides Dad.
Sam was always there, even when Dad wasn't. Sam read him bedtime stories, helped him with his homework, made sure he was clothed and fed all those times Dad was away on the hunt. Dean could only imagine half the stuff Sam did to keep things together. Even on hunts, Sam had no hesitation about throwing himself in front of Dean, just to keep him safe. It was comforting having a big brother like that.
Now, it's just plain damn terrifying.
After what happened up in Chicago Dean sticks to the small towns, the more wide open spaces with less population.
He looks at himself in storefront windows, any reflective surface, and he's still surprised at how normal he looks. He smiles, makes small talk. Simple stuff. He doesn't have a shadow of his own. Not any more. His shadow is his big brother Sam, and Sam looms over everything else.
Dean can still charm any woman he wants to into bed, the only difference now is, he doesn't want to. He still remembers the horrified look on Cassie's face when he looked up and saw her sprawled on the ceiling of their apartment. Still remembers the smell of her flesh burning as she died.
He's standing in line for one of the self-checkout scanners in that Wal-Mart superstore outside of Canton, Ohio, hiking boots and a six pack of black socks in one hand, fake credit card (he's Dave Matthews, this time) in the other, when everything goes yellow around him. The top of his head feels like it's about to come off, and he knows it's a vision after the first eye watering second or so.
Dean staggers sideways under the weight of the damned thing. He hates it, hates the way it makes him feel, like his head's split open and everything inside comes spilling out, wet and sloppy and useless.
He hates the fact that sometimes he can't do anything to change the outcome.
Dean shuffles forward in line. His head hurts like a bitch and the light from overhead stabs into his brain through his eyes. Three minutes later the demons walk into the store in their stolen meatsuits. They're grinning from ear to ear, and why not? They're armed with assault rifles, hand guns and ammo bandoliers slung across their chests.
This is just a bit of entertainment for them, something to occupy their time. Afterwards they'll sit in other bodies, in other motel rooms after the gunmen kill themselves, and laugh and plan the next one.
They actually laugh when they see Dean pull the special Colt.
They don't laugh for long after that.
He slips out the door during the confusion that follows and he takes the boots and the socks without paying for them. Might as well have something for his trouble.
Dean shoplifts two deli sandwiches and that six pack of beer, and he's out the door and gone before the clerk can even think about calling the popo. Credit cards are no good now. He's hustled pool before, and he's damn good at it, thanks to Sam, but the pickin's are pretty slim in these parts.
He nearly gets his face bashed in and worse one night when four townies try to corner him in a dark alley. They don't just want their friggin' sixty eight dollars back, they want him too.
As he walks away from the alley moments later Dean realizes he can't hear them breathing anymore.
He also realizes that he just doesn't give a damn.
Dean's pulled over on the interstate one day, checking under the hood of the latest car he's stolen. It's a piece of crap, but that's the whole point. Highly doubtful the woman he stole the car from is gonna report it missing, but just in case Dean never holds onto the cars for long anyway. Car looks worse than it really is. It's almost as old as Dean is, rusty and dinged up. It looks like he feels sometimes. It's good for another two hundred miles or so, and it beats the hell out of walking.
Sam shimmers into the air next to him, and Dean doesn't even blink. Sam's transparent, see-through, and Dean can tell Sam's asleep with just one look. There's no heat, no urgency in the air. Sam asleep is a whole 'nother story compared to how he is when he's awake. He's yellow-eyed majesty and regal hellfire then, all I command thee and bow down to me, servant, and I know what's best for you.
Dean snorts. As if.
Sam's still human, and his body still betrays him with needs, like eating and sleeping. If it wasn't for Azazel and Ruby protecting him during weak moments like this, Sam would be dead meat for sure, but he's the Next Big Thing.
Dean's pretty sure they consider him just chopped liver.
Sam looks younger than his twenty eight years, almost as young as Dean. Hair's grown all long and shaggy. He looks thin. Dean doesn't even want to think about what Sam's been eating. He's heard rumors.
It's not the first time this has happened, and dream Sam always says the same thing.
"You miss me, Dean?" Sam's voice wavers, thin and desperate, in the warm afternoon air.
Dean doesn't answer. He leans forward underneath the hood, fiddles around with the radiator hose, his face gone blank with concentration.
"You gonna come home soon, right?" Sam just stands there, and he's twitchy and uncertain in a way Dean's never seen before. His eyes are too bright, too wet.
Dean ignores the tightness in his chest. He ignores the way his face feels, like if he moved any muscles his face would crack.
He ignores Sam.
"Dean, please. Don't leave me again."
Dean slides behind the wheel, starts the car up and pulls off into traffic. He looks into the rear-view mirror just long enough to watch Sam fade away into nothing.
Dean's eyes get wet, and he ignores that too.
Weeks later Dean barely flinches when the older man in the expensive pearl grey suit gently strokes the side of his face with his fingers.
"Such a beautiful boy," the man says.
Dean stares into those pale brown eyes and he steels himself. He feels like throwing up every time Mr. Grab Hands here touches him, but there's nothing in his stomach anyway, hasn't been for days, and that's the whole damn point, boys and girls.
Maybe it won't be so bad. He's never done this sort of thing before. He's tired, worn down to the bone. He's so hungry his stomach growls and snarls like a rabid German shepherd. He's tired of caring, tired of sleeping in cold, dirty places. Tired of eating food that would make a rat gag. Just for tonight, he wants decent food and a clean bed to sleep in, and right now he just doesn't care what he has to do to get it.
Dean looks at the old man and figures it's a lead pipe clinch that the dude will be a crispy critter in less than twenty four hours.
Dean hates it when he's right.
I see dead people, Dean thinks to himself. He used to laugh about that, used to call himself Haley Joel back when it was all new to him, and he was being a smartass just to calm his nerves. He's not laughing anymore. He sees too many dead now, everywhere, and damn these bastards are angry.
They're hollow-eyed, broken, ripped open like a discarded trash bag, bleeding tattered flesh hanging off yellow bone. Some of them stare at Dean as though they know who he is, what his connection to Sam is. They say that the dead can't harm you, and that's a damned lie. Dean's got the scars on his back and right arm to prove it.
He recognizes Sam's handiwork. Sam's fond of the classics. Twisting the head all the way around to the back is one. That's an oldie but a goodie, thousands of years old. It's a punishment reserved for traitors. Dean glances at the poor sumbitches and wonders what betrayal, but he knows these days it doesn't take much to piss Sam off.
More demons around this time, and not just from Sam's faction. During the early stages they were a shy bunch. Nothing too obvious. They were just finding their footing topside. They wink at Dean, flash black, red or silver eyes at him, and sometimes he'll take the hint and get the hell out of Dodge before the festivities start.
Sometimes he just gets ornery, gets tired of running, tired of being pushed from this place to that. Sometimes sprouting Latin just doesn't cut it, and he doesn't want to waste a bullet from the Colt. He's only got one left.
Dean knows a trick or two.
There was that time up near Old Detroit when he poured salt-lines around the windows and doors of that diner. Etched protection sigils in the window glass. Gave the customers and workers enough time to haul ass out the back to safety.
He's still proud of himself for that one. One of the sigils was a smiley face, and the stupid fucking demons were so spooked they ran from it. A good idea is a good idea, so Dean uses it again. Twice. He nails twelve of the lousy black-eyed bastards all total. Sweet.
Dean doesn't wonder about his sense of humor nowadays. He knows it's dark. He's got plenty of material, and nowadays the jokes just about write themselves.
He dreams of fire most nights. Those people at that bus station up in Oslo, Nevada. Human candles like Cassie, with their hair aflame and their mouths stretched wide and screaming. Dean doesn't remember Mary Winchester at all, but he's pretty sure the visual was exactly the same. Funny thing is all that flame and combustion doesn't do jack to keep him warm on cold nights.
"You always were hard-headed, dude," Sam says with amusement after Dean closes his eyes for the night. There's pride in Sam's voice, mixed with affection and sadness. "I told you that as long as I was around nothing bad would happen to you."
Dean's so surprised by that he barks laughter. "Did…did I miss a memo or something? Nearly had my head handed to me by those demons down in Florida. Then there was that time in Baton Rouge. I almost died, Sam."
"Yeah," Sam drawls lazily. "But almost doesn't count."
There's less humanity around. Dean can feel it. Before there were first responders, survivors, news crews, people. After the burning and the flooding and the winds they'd flow back into the torn, empty places, fix things up, try to make things right. Not any more. It got slow at first, then stopped altogether.
Sam's refining his technique. He targets flesh now, humankind, and he leaves the buildings and the animals alive and untouched.
Dean keeps to the newly dead places. Electricity's on in most towns, and there's running water. He finds some food and clothing. Not too many survivors head for places like that, and Dean figures he knows why. He still sees the dead all around, and he soon figures out that the others must see them now too. The boundaries between the living and dead have been blurred, wiped out in some places, and it's a little too much to take day after day.
He holes up in this one four family flat and spends several days in each unit. He eats the food, sleeps in the beds. Dean tries not to look too closely at the family photos or the kids' artwork on the refrigerators.
One of the drawings is of this little stick figure with a dog and a cat. It's signed Abby. Dean looks for her, but dead little Abby and the others never show up.
The Jesus Guy's pretty popular all over. Dean's heard of him, alright. Survivors all over the country have. Crazy sonofabitch has all the answers, namely kill everyone who doesn't toe his bottom line. He's a special guy.
Name's Kubrick, or so Dean's heard, and ol' Kubby's been real busy lately. He got his message out over the radio airwaves right after the free networks, the worldwide web and the cable stations went dark, before the rivers flowed with waterlogged bodies and the air got thick with the stench of decomp.
According to Kubrick it's the last days and the beast is prowling the land. Dean's reminded of something Bobby Singer said once: "Even a clock that's stopped is right twice a day." That just about covers it.
The Jesus Guy's message is simple and to the point: Repent. Confess. Purify.
If you were useful to his group, you were "adopted." Useful meant just about anything, from being young and fuckable, to having a strong back good for hard labor, cooking skills, whatever they needed. You had to repent, you had to confess, and you had to be purified, which meant anything from a good old-fashioned ass whupping to three days and nights of gang-rape.
And that was the best-case scenario.
Burning folks at the stake was a popular method of purification.
As a group they're loud and noisy because they think making a "joyful sound" will drive the devil away. It's obvious to Dean they've never met Sam.
As it is, Dean does a pretty good job of keeping out of their way. Dad's training turns out to be pretty handy, and now Dean regrets giving his father such a hard time when it was time for those endurance runs and evasion exercises. That was how most of those arguments between the two of them started, when Dean wanted to study rather than spar, and Sam put himself in the middle whenever it appeared that Dean and Dad were about to come to blows. Dean realizes that they were just practicing for the mother of all blow-ups, the day he left for Ohio University, and he still feels a little bad about that.
Some of the people he meets on the road walk right up to Kubrick's people in those black SUVs. They kneel down in front of them almost joyfully. The idea that they don't have to survive day to day anymore, just submit and in return get one or two meals a day and a reasonably soft bed is a pretty big selling point these days.
Dean's wary, just like a clever feral dog that's been around humans a little too much, and besides, he's still John Winchester's son. They've got nothing that could entice him to come closer, to kneel in the dirt and allow them to slip that brown leather collar tight around his neck, so he hangs back, conceals himself, and lives to starve another day.
It all comes to a head one night in what used to be the outskirts of San Diego, and it's his own damn fault. He should have known better. The place was secure, at least he thought it was, safe to sleep in at night.
They wait until he's asleep. Images of yellow flame that sings fills his head, and then a flashlight in his face blinds him so he can't see. Dean's dragged outside, choking, kicking and punching uselessly as that rope around his neck tightens and black spots bloom blacker than the night sky in his vision.
Either Sam's asleep at the switch or this is a lesson Dean's supposed to learn.
They are too many of them. They're angry and righteous, with flashlights instead of flaming torches. They have signs and banners too, like any good lynch mob should, and as soon as he sees the words on the banner Dean knows he's in deeper shit than he already thought he was in.
Repent. Confess. Purify.
He's not going to do the first, it's too late for the second, and he'll be damned if he does the third.
Dean's dumped in the middle of a circle of females wearing long hooded purple robes. They slap him in the face, scream at him to confess, and whoever said women are the weaker sex very clearly didn't know what the hell they were talking about. Dean goes into a fetal position, tries to protect his head with his arms as best he can. His refusal to speak angers them, and they put the boots to him with a lot of effort and enthusiasm. The pounding continues for several minutes, punctuated by several kicks in the head and kidneys, and the pain is white hot, all-consuming. He loses what little control he has then.
Dean's eyes glow dark gold. The clouds overhead rumble in response, as though they had been waiting for their wayward son all along, and all Dean had to do was ask.
The night sky responds with lightning strikes into the mob, and they learn the same lesson they'd taught to everyone else.
There's a beach nearby. Dean follows the smell of salt water to the sand. It's as good a place as any to end it, just as the sun pushes up from the horizon.
He can't smell the smoke from LA County burning this far out, and it's just as well. Dean sits there cross-legged on the beach with the Colt in his lap and the weight of it doesn't feel so heavy anymore. Suicides might have gone to hell in the old days, but Dean has a hunch that things have changed a lot since then. Hell's come topside. He just wants to go in the opposite direction.
He curls his finger around the trigger and thinks about just where he should put the muzzle. In his mouth, maybe. Between his eyes. Underneath his chin. Doesn't really matter, not with the Colt, anyway. Dean's heard of people surviving gunshot wounds to the head, but he's not going to survive this, no matter where he puts the muzzle.
He sits there, blinking, and he thinks about a lot of stuff. He doesn't remember his mom. Sam's face lit up whenever he talked about her. There's a sense memory of John Winchester's big hand ruffling his head when Dean was a kid. He used to giggle when his Dad did that. He'd give anything to see John smile again.
Dean thinks about Cassie. She was curious about him, curious about the scars she saw on his body. He hid inside himself whenever she asked him about family. Dean would get this carefully blank look on his face and she'd get very quiet.
"They're your family, Winchester," she'd say with a wink as she poked him with her elbow. "Can't be that bad, huh? After all, you turned out okay."
He never told her how wrong she was, or anything about the family business.
Dean sits there in the sand. He thinks about last night, what he did. The people he killed. It's not that he hasn't killed before. It was the way he did it. The way he felt after he did it.
Pretty damned good, as a matter of fact.
He should be beat all to hell, banged up, bruised, barely able to move. There's not a mark on him. He feels fine. He hasn't felt this good in months, when he'd gotten used to waking up with the metallic taste of fear in his mouth, all nervous and jittery inside, feeling fake and worthless.
That feeling's still there, but it's faint, pushed down even further inside his skin. This new thing that's awake inside him now, it's restless, eager. It's been waiting for him to open himself up to it all his life, and now it's purring underneath his skin like a newborn kitten.
The surf rolls up the beach towards him, and then rolls right back out. He could easily fall into a trance watching that smooth motion in and out; he even sways a little, back and forth. He could sit there for hours watching, but he's got a decision to make, and he knows he has to make it soon.
Dean closes his eyes, and the vision slides in behind his eyes relaxed and easy. He sees eight black SUVs on the highway, sixty miles out, slowly picking their way through the human wreckage and the debris. Apparently Kubrick's come to retrieve the members of his flock.
There's not much left of them, a pile of fine grey ash that could fill one large trash bag.
It'll take some time, but the others will be here soon enough, and one way or another he's not going to be here when they do.
Dean sits there and stares at the Colt.
He's not the same as he was before. Everything's changed, and nothing has.
He sees Sam in the world.
You gonna come home soon, right?
Dean thinks that maybe, just maybe, Sam doesn't need to be alone in this crazy fucked up mess of a world by himself.
Dean, please. Don't leave me again.
"You made me," Dean whispers hoarsely to himself, "but I made you first."
You miss me, Dean?
Yeah. Yeah I do, bro'.
Dean gets to his feet. The sound of the Colt splashing into the ocean isn't very loud at all.
Sam's up north now. Dean feels the pull in that direction, and this time he goes with it.
Winter in the Midwest's just as hot and dry as it is down in you know where. That's one climate change that Dean doesn't mind. With any luck, he ought to cross into Nevada pretty soon, and it's all uphill from there.
He finds a muscle car, a dark blue 1972 GTO with a hood scoop, sitting in a back yard on his way out of town. She's seen better days, but she won't run, not until he pops the hood, puts his hand on her engine and wills her back to life.
Dean knows a few more tricks now.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Throwing the Colt away was crazy. Going to Sam is fucking mental, and Dean knows that, too. He doesn't know what to expect, doesn't even know what he's gonna do when he walks up to big brother. Might hug him, kick his ass, or kill him. Family's like that sometimes. Family will run you crazy.
Crazy's the only game in town, and Dean's ready and willing to play now.
A/N: The people have spoken. Everybody wants to see what happens when the boys reunite, so I'm working on that now. I'm very glad you guys like this story. Thanks!