Disclaimer: I don't not (unfortunately) own Supernatural, I'm just playing in the wonderful sandbox that has been created by Kripke and company.
Spoilers: Story takes place starting right before "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1". Spoilers up to and including the Season 11.
A/N: All chapter titles are songs that in one way or another have a tie in with the chapter.
A very special thanks to my beta reader Pepper1622 who patiently puts up with my impressively terrible grammar and to BlueRiverSteel, Chrissie0707, Cornishgirl, and cfccfc who inspire, encourage, and crack the whip.
Providence - timely preparation for future eventualities.
All Nightmare Long
Crawl from the wreckage one more time
Horrific memory twists the mind
The path of destruction feel it burn
Luck. Runs. Out.
January 23rd 2019
It was the sounds.
If he died in the next 30 seconds or lived for the next 30 years those sounds would follow him forever. Everything else he was able to shut out or dismiss. The smell and the taste, the coppery metallic taint of blood and the rotting decay of death were common in their lives. It lingered like a macabre perfume, even more so in the past year and a half. The sight—if he squeezed his eyes shut tight enough he could block out the sights. Almost pretend he was doing something somewhere else—anywhere else.
But the sounds—if he was honest, and he had no reason not to be, most of the sounds didn't bother him. The wet tearing sound of flesh could easily be mistaken for sounds one might hear in a kitchen. The clanking and rattling of metal could be a hundred different things.
But the screams— they echoed off the walls in an impressive display of acoustics that made it feel like they were surrounding him rather than coming from four feet in front of him. Screams that were filled with pain and suffering, desperation and terror, defiance and courage—the screams of his brother. Like nothing else he had ever seen, done, or heard, this would haunt him for the rest of his existence.
Those screams had pushed him past his limits; he had yelled and struggled, begged and pleaded. They were not beings of mercy, he knew that—they all knew that—but it didn't stop him from trying. He would have done anything to save his brother from that torment, but beyond forcing him to bear witness, they ignored him.
The screams had finally stopped. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. If his brother wasn't making any more noise, it was likely he was no longer alive. There was relief to be felt from that: if he wasn't alive he could no longer suffer. He could no longer feel the pain he had endured for the last few hours as they slowly and expertly pulled him apart—maximum amount of pain, minimum amount of damage. They knew what they were doing.
If his brother had been making noise, that would mean he was alive, and where there is life there is hope. At least that's what his brother kept telling him. Yet, whatever hope he once held had been beaten, battered, and ripped from him. There was nothing left to hope for. Even with the walls closing in with no way out he knew he couldn't give up, no matter how much he wanted to. His brother wouldn't have given up, and he couldn't—wouldn't—let his brother down. He had to finish what they came here to do. And if it was to end here, he would go out fighting.
It was quiet for the moment; their captors, having gotten all the entertainment they could from the other hunter, had dispersed only minutes before. Whatever Dean was going to do, he knew he would have to move as quickly as he could. He wasn't sure how long they would be gone, but he doubted it would be long. They had a tendency to bore quickly.
He took a deep breath; his entire body was a cacophony of pain, injuries fighting each other for attention. The ones screaming their way to the top of the list were a shattered wrist, broken ribs, concussion, and dislocated shoulder. Breathing sharply through gritted teeth, he pulled his feet under him and pushed himself upright, easing some of his weight off the wrists and shoulders.
He took a moment, panting with the effort the simple movement had cost him before cracking his eyes open. He regretted the action immediately. His chest tightened and his eyes burned in a way that had nothing to do with his injuries as his brother's body filled his vision. A choked sob pushed its way past his lips. This was never supposed to happen. He wasn't even supposed to be here, neither him nor Cas. They were supposed to stay behind where it was safe. But they wouldn't listen; they never listen. And now . . .
He clenched his jaw and tore his gaze away from the sight. He took a shallow breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth. He had to concentrate, finish what they came here to do. Forcing his gaze upwards, he focused on the chains wrapped around his wrists. If he could finish this, then maybe—just maybe—their deaths and everyone else's wouldn't be in vain.
Some time and effort, a few choked-back screams of pain, and no small amount of curses later found Dean sitting in a heap on the floor below dragging in shallow gasps. Cradling his shattered wrist to his chest, he tucked his other arm underneath him and pushed onto his knees. The world tilted and spun unsteadily around him, threatening a return of the lunch he thankfully hadn't eaten. He squeezed his eyes shut against the dizziness, but it only seemed to make it worse. Dean dropped back onto his heels, his right hand pressed against the ground in the hopes of finding some semblance of balance. It took a few moments—far more than what he wanted to take—but the world steadied, at least enough for him to do what he had to.
As long as the other teams did their parts, the only thing left was drawing the blood seal, reciting the spell and activating it. It was supposed to be at the heart of the building, but he was sure he wasn't going to be able to stand, much less walk out of the room. Even if he could, he wasn't going to leave his brother here. Not like this. Where he was was just going to have to be close enough.
At least finding blood for the seal won't be an issue, he reflected with a grimaced as he pressed his fingers against a deep cut on his thigh. The hunter bent forward, carefully painting the symbols out on the stained and dirty concrete floor as he began to recite the spell he had spent hours memorizing the previous day.
He paused and sat back on his heels, taking a moment to catch his breath. It wasn't a short spell, but it was by no means the longest spell he'd ever had to memorize, maybe a line or two longer than the standard exorcism that they used. It was in Enochian, which at one point would have been a problem, language never really being his thing, but Cas, his two fingers of doom, and a sixteen-hour coma later, it ceased to be an issue.
As he finished the last symbol, spoke the last words, he heard them. Their movements were quiet and swift, like the hushed whispers of nightmares too horrible to speak of. There was little time for any reaction beyond a choked gasp as they seized him by the throat, snapping him up off the floor.
Dean grasped at the appendage coiled around his throat, trying to dislodge it. He knew it wouldn't do him any good, but there was no way he was just going to sit back. If they wanted to kill him they would have to work for it. He kicked out at his captor; the thing easily caught him by the shin. It gave Dean its own hellish version of a grin as it slowly increased pressure on his leg. The bone popped and creaked like the breaking of ice. It would have almost been a peaceful sound if it wasn't for the shearing pain that drove itself through his leg into his chest before exploding out in a strangled scream.
He attempted to catch his breath, forcing what little air his could past the pressure building against his throat. Spots teased his vision, growing in size when he was abruptly released and found himself nose-down on the ground once more. There were whispers, words, and shouts all dancing at the edge of his hearing, just barely out of reach.
Dean sought out the barely recognizable form of his brother. He could still finish this. He clenched his jaw, gathering everything he had left, reaching out toward the sigil in front of him. The room lit up with a bright light that was warm and comforting yet cold and soothing as his blood-soaked hand struck the center.
Then everything just . . . stopped.
April 27th 2007
Dean folded an arm across his chest while brushing a thumb back and forth across his lower lip. Deep lines creased his forehead as he stared downwards in concentration.
"Don't hurt yourself, man."
Dean glared through his eyelashes at his brother while attempting to decipher what answer he could give the younger man that would be satisfactory enough to let him off the hook.
Sam released a huff of air. "Dean . . ." There was a hint of warning in his tone; his head tilted to the side and his eyebrows raised in a show of impatient expectation.
"Yeah, all right, don't get your panties in a twist." Dean patted the air between them. At this point continuing to stall would only weaken his position, and Sam would not wait much longer for an answer.
His eyes fell back down to the space between them, debating for a moment longer. "All right." Squaring his shoulders, he prepared to give his answer. "Ketchup."
"Ketchup?" Sam asked with an air of disbelief. "Dean, the stain is green." Sam gestured to the large spot between them on the brown may-have-once-been-white carpet.
Dean shrugged, a crooked smile settling on his face. "They have green ketchup," he responded defensively, raising his hands animatedly between them. "Hear me out." He took a deep breath as he started to roll his story out. It was a completely ridiculous, off-the-wall, could-never-happen-in-a-million-years type story. But then, that was the whole point. He spun his tale to the best of his ability, and then stood watching his brother's face, a small grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Sam folded his arms across his chest, shaking his head. "That's the best you got?"
"What? Come on, man, that was gold."
"Better than an angry melting ghost?"
"I—shut up." All right, leading with ketchup probably didn't give him the strongest start. Dean gave the stain one last look, rubbing the back of his neck. He rolled his eyes, sighing as he reluctantly admitted, "Yeah, okay. That is better." He leaned down, picking up a bag heavy with dirty laundry.
Sam smiled triumphantly. "Hey, try not to dye everything pink this time."
"Stop putting your girly pink panties in the bag with the whites and I won't."
Sam paused from pulling his laptop from his bag to give Dean his best bitch-face. "Dude, for the last time: Those. Were not. Mine."
"Mhm, whatever you say, Samantha."
Sam threw Dean an obscene gesture, followed closely with a "Jerk," as he settled himself down at the battered motel table with his laptop.
With a chuckle Dean reached for the door handle, only to stop short as an odd sensation passed over him, sending a chill down his spine. His smirk slipped away as he cast a glance over his shoulder at the motel room, trying to identify the source. It didn't feel wrong so much as just . . . not right.
"Dean?" Sam's voice called from across the short distance.
Glancing over to him, Dean could see Sam's eyebrows raised in a question. "I'm not . . ." His eyes glided across the room for an answer. He'd been a hunter long enough to know not to ignore that feeling, but nothing in the room seemed out of place. Everything appeared the same, like every other crappy motel room they had ever stayed at. The old scent of cigarettes lingered in the air, questionable stains decorated various surfaces, yellowing paint flaked off walls so thin they knew the couple in the next room over were having an affair. Well, they were till the wife showed up.
A second shiver pulled him out of his musings as an uncomfortably warm feeling brushed over him, settling at the center of his chest. Dean placed his free hand flat against his sternum, looking down as if the answer would be written there.
"Dean?" A chair shifted backwards, thumping against the wall. Quick footsteps crossed the floor, stopping just in front of him.
Dean's eyes shifted up, locking onto Sam's. Any answer Dean had planned on was lost as the sensation shifted before exploding into a searing pain. It raced through his system like molten fire, filling his entire being and stealing his breath. His legs disappeared from under him; the forgotten laundry bag slipped from his numb fingers as he felt himself pitch forward.
"Dean!" Sam reached out, catching him before he could hit the floor. "Dean? Hey, man, talk to me."
He couldn't breathe. The fire was pressing in on him, burning away any air he managed to suck in. Distantly he could feel his brother's touch against the back of his neck, hear his voice, but it washed over him, lost in the roaring sound that had filled his ears. The fire increased, pulling him under—Dean was almost grateful for the dark oblivion as it rushed up to greet him.