|Press The Wound
Author: JALU PM
Season 7 AU. Sam never lost his soul, but the memories of Hell never leave. His hallucinations consume him, the memories of hell burning throughout his body. Dean is the only person in the world who knows what it's like to return from such a place. COMPLETE!Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Sam W. & Dean W. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 19,734 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 03-16-13 - Published: 12-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8768674
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: There are POV switches between Sam and Dean in this chapter. I should also say this chapter includes some rather detailed depictions of mental torture. If anyone thinks it's enough to raise the rating to M, please don't hesitate to tell me so.
Chapter Three: Prisoner of Mind or Body
Dean didn't return in any short period of time. He stuck the keys into the ignition, revved the engine, and set out into the night.
He didn't return to that motel for eight days.
Dean tried to convince himself it wasn't due to what had happened back in the room. No, it was just this poltergeist deal that needed to be ended. Sam wasn't in any sort of stable mind to help. He looked down and saw the white cast set to his knee, but ignored the thought he also wasn't in the right state to do any good.
He could push through it, though. Physical pain? It was nothing for hunters. Dean received his first broken bone as a present for his twelfth birthday. Werewolf, if he remembered correctly. Dad had made a makeshift splint and pushed him to keep tracking. In the right mindset, Dean could forget about any sort of physical pain.
What he couldn't forget about was Sam.
Damned if he wouldn't try, though. Dean sped up, like the speed of the car would somehow speed him through his thoughts and memories of his brother. Of how, no matter how much Dean tried in his life, he was never able to protect Sam. Even going to Hell hadn't been enough, and he hated that.
He pressed the car even faster, far beyond the speed limit now, but the night was dark and empty, no headlights coming toward him or looming from behind. It was just a desolate stretch of highway in South Dakota.
Knowing where he was going didn't help. He wanted to be searching for the specific place he needed, he wanted to keep his mind busy focusing on co-ordinates and questions of who the poltergeist was, why he was doing this, and what Dean needed to do to stop him.
Instead, the cemetery on the next road called him.
He turned right and streetlights shone through the car's tinted window and illuminated the sign informing him of Sioux's Cemetery. He had to supress a sigh at how quickly he had arrived. No resolution in his mind had been found with the short drive, and everything just kept circling back to Sam.
Focus, Dean. Even his internal thoughts couldn't control him and he considered turning back but, when the phone rang with Sam's name lighting up, he still ignored it.
He had some bones to fry.
"This is Dean Winchester's cell, if you need..."
"Jesus, Dean -!"
Sam hung up on Dean's recorded voice and threw his blackberry onto the neighbouring bed. He pressed his knuckles to his teeth and started pacing, eyes darting out the half-open window into the dark parking lot of the motel. No Impala parked outside – Dean had gone for the long haul.
He didn't even need to look to know who that was, but he did stop dead, staring straight ahead into the white wall of the room. Even if he didn't turn to look, he could feel – if not hear – Lucifer come closer.
"I'll take that as a yes."
Sam still refused to move, but he did lick over his lips and locate his voice. "What. Do. You. Want?" He demanded.
"Do you want the truth? Or the truth?" Lucifer chuckled.
Sam didn't answer.
"Sammy, my vessel." Lucifer was right by Sam's ear now, ice breath freezing his skin. "I want to torment you. I want to torture you. I want to make you pay for screwing me over."
So there was the truth, and Sam shivered with it. He shivered with the cold and the dawning knowledge – and where it took his mind to. If Sam knew this was going to happen, if he knew he was going to come back and be trapped forever, he would have found a way to stay in the cage.
"Do you think you should have said no?"
Sam's breath caught with the question and he tried to swallow down the lump of ice that had risen in his throat. He couldn't think like that, not about the "what ifs" – he couldn't go back, it was worthless to have that thought pattern.
"Why? Dean isn't here anymore, what have you got left to lose?" Lucifer circled Sam's body to stand in front of him, their eyes meeting and Sam shrinking back. "Come on, Sammy, humour me. Tell me why I should let you live."
Sam closed his eyes and pressed the thumb into his open wound which was still bleeding freely. He knew he had lost a lot of blood already, and wondered how long it would be before it caught up with him. He felt sick, but Lucifer's presence was always capable of doing such a thing to him. Though when Lucifer flickered and left, the nausea still lingered.
As did Lucifer's voice.
"You'll be here for a while yet, Sammy."
That was what he was afraid of. At least by passing out Lucifer would no longer be there. Then again those dreams...the dreams of hanging on meat hooks, of watching skin melt, of tasting blood as it dripped from your eyes and into your mouth.
There was no escape.
"I'm glad you said yes, Sammy, it makes everything here oh so much more interesting."
"What if I'd said no?" He couldn't tell if he said it or only thought the words.
Lucifer still heard. "That was never an option. I always knew you'd say yes."
"All the angels thought my brother would say yes."
Lucifer reappeared at Sam's words, reaching out hands to place on Sam's shoulder. Frozen, Sam could do nothing but take in the devil's presence, hoping he'd just kill him. Wanting to end everything, because it didn't look like he would get out of here alive, anyway.
"Those angels, they're from Heaven. They see and hear only what benefits them the most. It didn't matter if Dean said yes or no. We had Adam."
"Then couldn't Adam have replaced me?" The question had been on the tip of his tongue since the showdown in Detroit, the last thing he remembered as himself before seeing the army man.
Lucifer leaned in close. "No way. I wouldn't have taken anyone but you, Sam, not for the big show down. Do you think I could ever choose second best?" He let go of Sam's shoulders but stepped in close. "My father, he planned this all out from the start. In millions – billions – of years, we already knew this would come about. Even before I fell."
Sam creased his eyebrows. What?
"Oh yes, my father knew I would fall. Just like your father knew you would run away one day. Even our personalities are alike. Do you believe in reincarnation, Sam?"
Sam couldn't answer. He reached out to steady himself on a nearby bench, nausea and dizziness sweeping over him. Having Lucifer so close, it was ruining his physical state as much as his mental. He tried to press his hand into the corner of the bench, but nothing happened. The devil didn't even flicker.
"I don't either, sort of goes against my religious upbringing." He chuckled. "Still, it does make me wonder. About meaning, about birth, about free will. My father always made out it was a real thing, but after this, how could anyone believe it?"
Sam hardly heard the last of those words. He gripped onto the sink so hard his knuckles turned white as the room around him spun and he knew he wouldn't be on his feet much longer. True to that thought, he felt his body sway.
Last thing he remembered was Lucifer standing over him, mouthing the words "Nighty night."
The flames could be seen from the highway, but Dean wasn't too concerned. All night time security guards yelled before shooting – he could outrun on of them any day of the week. Even with that knowledge in mind, it was never needed. Nobody came to see the desecration of human remains, or to thank him from stopping the poltergeist haunting their town. Just another job, and there wasn't even Sam to have a celebratory beer with.
After covering the grave over with dirt, Dean made his way back to his car. Loose plans of where to go next had formed in his mind. It would be just like the good old days, when Sam was in college and Dad was on his own hunting trip. Travelling with his car, weapons, and the clothes on his back. Hustling pool, poker, and darts for money and hunting just because it felt like the right thing to do. No angels, no Lucifer, no God. Just him and the USA.
He shut the car door.
When Sam woke, it was in disorientation. He couldn't tell if he was in a dream or reality, but once he tried to sit up and felt his arms and legs being pulled down, he knew just where he was.
"Good morning, Sunshine."
The rest of the world slowly came into focus for Sam as he continued to pull and thrash at the binds on his wrists and ankles but, when he looked down, nothing was there. No chains, no straps, it was just him on a plain, white table. Sam looked around to where Lucifer sat perched on a bench less than a foot away.
"What is this?" Sam demanded.
Lucifer shrugged and Sam's eyes darted around the rest of the room. It was just a box of nothing, everything in it pure white and stretching out further than Sam could possibly see.
"Optical illusion," Lucifer said.
Sam watched as he pulled a knife from his pocket and flinched back, fighting harder to free himself from the invisible bonds than held him still.
"Oh, this?" Lucifer twisted the blade on the tip of his finger and Sam could see a single drop of blood fall to the ground. Against the snow coloured ground, it stood out in the extreme. "I'm not planning to harm you – well, not physically, anyway. No, I just wanted to show you. This body, I can't feel pain. Something you would understand, wouldn't you, Sam?"
Sam clenched his fists and pulled with his wrists.
"Don't bother," Lucifer told him, "Like I said, we're living in an optical illusion, Sam, trapped in your mind. Now -"
Sam didn't even blink before Lucifer was at his side and, in every less time, had stabbed the knife down beside his head. Sam jumped and flinched backward, but the binds on his wrists and legs didn't let him move more than an inch. He was now aware something was holding down his chest and thighs. Completely trapped.
"Don't bother trying to move, Sammy. You'll be still until I let you be otherwise." Lucifer took the knife from the table and, just like the last time, was sitting on the bench again so quickly Sam didn't even see him move.
He trailed his eyes around the room again trying to spot something out of the ordinary, something he could use to escape or see a way out.
"This is your mind, Sam, shouldn't you know by now there's no escape?"
He didn't believe the words. This was just some other way for the angels or demons to screw with him. Everyone in the world was still out to get him, Sam knew that; saying yes to the devil received hatred from both sides.
"Oh, you really think anyone up there still cares? They're gone, Sam. The angels lost their warrior, they're probably still pissed at me, and they're hiding up in Heaven still searching for their father."
Sam stared at him. "Do you know where he is?"
Lucifer just smiled, showing the beginnings of teeth. "It doesn't matter."
And it really didn't. Not at this point of time, not to Sam. He was still working at his wrists, trying to escape from the bonds he couldn't understand. Nails dug into his palm, but he didn't even bother to do so for the reason of removing Lucifer. He had stopped caring Lucifer was there. He just wanted to be free.
"I think you should save your strength, Sammy, we might be here awhile."
He didn't listen to Lucifer's warning and just tugged harder. "What do you want?"
"I think you already know."
It was just like the good old days – hunting alone, just him and his car. Well, the term good could be subjective depending on his emotions of the day. He did worry about Sam, about what the kid was going through with friggin' Hallucifer riding shotgun with his mind.
More than that, Dean was pissed with himself. Pissed because he shouldn't have left Sam in such a state, even if it was Sam who sent him away. His brother wasn't in his right mind, having to put up with the devil whispering things into his ear. Dean should have grit his teeth and held on.
Instead, he was passing the state line into Montana. Someone had informed him of strange occurrences in a local school and, deciding to keep his mind off what was happening further east, he was on his way to investigate.
Not much pointed toward it being anything except a usual case of sociopathic school kids. Okay, probably not so normal, but Dean could still remember his own school experience and just how crazy some of the kids had been. Plus, didn't every murderer start off as a child?
Still, he owed it to his upbringing to at least give it the once over. Pretend to be from the Education Department and threaten to shut down the school if the principal started to question him. Despite what he might have said in the past, people, they could be predictable. Just took a bit of reading.
Pity Sam wasn't there to do that for him.
"What?" Sam's eyebrows crushed together in confusion.
"Oh, Sam." Lucifer smiled at him, laughter in his voice. "You believe I'm a figment of your imagination, don't you?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Then you should know the reason why everything is happening."
"Then you're here for no reason," Sam growled, straining harder against the non-existent restraints, "It's all fake."
Lucifer walked back to Sam once more, this time allowing footfalls and a speed which any human could match, yet he was soundless and seemed to almost float above the white flooring. He leant down over Sam.
"But then why have you kept me inside? Why can't you just make me disappear?" Lucifer's hand travelled down the table until it gripped Sam's, digging his nails into the wound. "Why doesn't this make me go away anymore?"
Sam ripped his hand from the devil's grip, hissing through his teeth with the pain that bestowed his wrist.
"And why does that hurt?"
"Because you've trapped me." Sam responded, the pain in his wrist now throbbing. The bonds must have been made of metal, even if they made no sound and left no mark.
"Look around, Sam, there's nothing holding you down. No rope, no bonds, no leather, no cuffs. Nothing kinky here, Sammy, just your own mind at work." He laughed in a way that was more like a scoff. "Such a dull mind you have, though. Only thing interesting in here is me. Guess that's why you let me stick around so long."
Sam's eyes darted away from him. "Why don't you just kill me."
"Don't you get it, Sammy?" Lucifer's voice was right by Sam's ear, hissing the words right into his body, "You were right. I'm not real. All of this is you. Only you can end it."
Sam looked down as cold metal was felt against his palm. The knife Lucifer had been holding only a few moments ago. Sam looked back at the devil as he made a fist around the weapon.
"What are you doing?"
"Shouldn't that be what are you doing?" He took steps backward until he was leaning against that bench. "Choice is yours, Sammy, it always was."
So the demon in the school had been a bust, but the same city did have its share of supernatural activity. One option had been for Dean to leave and blow them off as nothing once more, but Dean wasn't prepared to return. Not yet.
After meeting up with Officer Benson, Dean found his way back into a Blue's Brother costume with the intent of investigating every house in Owen Street where, in the last week, ten people had been killed.
He was surprised they didn't put barriers up around the whole street.
"Have you got any leads?" He'd questioned Benson in a bar the same evening.
He'd taken her here with a proposition boarding between a date and an interest in finding out more information on the case. It wasn't his fault women were usually more easy talkers when someone was whispering things in their ear.
"To be honest with you, agent, we've hit a dead end. We've spoken with everyone on the street; nobody seems to take the place of suspect. They're all just as afraid as each other," Benson had replied.
Dean couldn't let anything slip. "Are you sure they haven't just managed to mimic feelings of grief? Hiding the fact they are really responsible."
Benson shrugged. "It's possible, sure – we're a small police force, unlike the FBI we don't have behavioural analysts." She looked up with an apologetic smile. "Sorry, not trying to be ungrateful for what the agency provides for us."
Dean dismissed her with a shake of the head. "None taken." He leaned in closer to her, blocking out the sounds of music from the DJ and of people talking, "Is there anything particularly unusual about these crimes?"
She took a sip of her drink. "Unusual like what?"
"Ahh, like black smoke or people acting differently."
She seemed to move back at his words, twisting her straw around her fingers and keeping eyes firmly planted on him. Yeah, she probably thought him insane.
"No, no...nothing like that," she finally replied. Her eyes then moved around the room. Dean could tell she'd start running if he didn't do something.
"I know it sounds really, really weird," Dean confessed, "But, uh, similar sightings were found in other towns across the state."
Dean really needed Sam here to come up with better excuses, because he was just clutching at straws and finding out nothing.
"We spoke to all the cities in a hundred mile radius; nobody has faced any rise in deaths."
Oh, crap. She was moving back further now, looking poised and ready to stand. Dean followed her eyes to an exit sign. Why did he have to try something without Sam's analytical thought? In the past, maybe Dean could have done it on his own. Recently, he'd just depended too much on his brother.
"Well, no, we meant further out..." Yeah, he wasn't fooling anyone.
"Who are you?" She was standing now, body turning away from him.
"Look," he said, standing as well, "I'm here to try and help your town. That's all that really matters."
That wasn't telling her the truth was it? It also wasn't a lie. A perfect medium, maybe he could do this gig without Sammy after all.
"I'm a police officer. If you're lying about who you are..."
"I'm not, I'm not!" He raised his hands, palm up, in an attempt at submission. Stumbling for words for a minute – because this was not going to plan – he finally decided on, with a low voice, "If you must know, I'm here on some pretty specific business."
He gestured for her to come closer. For a split second she looked like she was about to run for that exit and alert every police officer in the district of his presence, but she soon gave what looked like a sigh and sat down.
"The FBI, they're looking into some...ritualistic...killings. Cults, black magic, voodoo." Also not a lie. Dean was pretty sure this was the work of a spirit or demon, but a particularly vengeful witch could also be the culprit.
"Black smoke is part of that? Isn't it all just...bull?"
She seemed to be listening now and not ready to flee. Dean was able to relax.
"It's plausible to make, a big bonfire or something similar." Most of the houses around here looked like they possessed tiny backyards, but he hoped that fact would slide. "What we're really focusing on is if these deaths can be considered part of the investigation. So if there's anything that's been left out of the newspapers...?"
She bit down on her lip. "Well, Agent Scott, people had reported strange noises around the time of the killings and for several days beforehand."
Now he was getting somewhere. "Noises, huh? Like what?"
No noise, no sight except those forever white walls and his own body. Even Lucifer was gone.
Then there was the knife, but Sam refused to look at that.
Turns out it was witchcraft. One of the bigger covens he'd seen in a while, one of the more powerful ones, too. But, he managed to handle them.
And no, he wasn't about to include the part where they had him tied to a chair and began chanting streams of death about him. Or where one of the women linked him to Michael. No, they were events worthy pushing into the back of his mind and never bringing out again.
Back in the car, and he didn't know what to do.
Part of him, a very prominent part of him, wanted to head back to South Dakota and see how his brother was doing. He wished that part also coincided with his pride and bravery – yet it didn't. He was coward. Maybe not when it came to hunting spirits or demons or wendigos or rougarous, but when it came to people? He knew he was the kind to run.
Dean turned the keys and started the car but, almost as soon as this had occurred, shut the engine off again.
He had no idea what to do.
The blade was between his fingers. Squeezing cut through flesh but there was no pain, just the sticky wet feeling of blood. When he lifted his wrist, it moved. His arms were now free, though his body and legs still stayed held down.
"Want to be free, Sam? You know what to do."
Dean still hadn't made up his mind when his phone began to ring a few minutes later. Thinking it to be Sam, he pounced without checking the caller ID.
"Dean." That definitely was not Sam's voice, but it did sound urgent.
"Bobby? What is it?"
"Your brother seems to have gone off the deep end, room service found him almost unconscious, shouting some Lucifer crap. Took him in."
"What do you mean 'took him in'?" Dean pressed the phone closer to his ear, wishing Bobby would hurry up with his explanation.
"Psychiatric unit here in Sioux Falls."
Phone still to ear, Dean started the car and sped back east.
A/N: I hope nobody minded the fact I threw a case in here...to me it felt as though, without Sam, Dean would just go back to his roots. As his way of coping.