There is an unknown bomb wielding a too well known name as its weapon and it's bound to a chair, burning, angry. With its fingers splayed wide in blind fury and snarling, last time Sam saw it. The wrath and the hand were cold. Cold in the way Sam remembers Hell running. And it all is another layer of it, scalped off of the walls, something that against all prayer and reason, made its way up here. He tries to think of it in such categories of insignificance: of the nightmare being merely a part of the infernal, deceitful piece of rotting flesh that makes the sheets and pillows of the pathologic Winchester horrorland. But this is bullshit because this, this in front of him, behind that wall, is the mathematically exact opposite of being peripheral in meaning.

It's the heart of all things, a heart of a different hell that started beating just now and it keeps pumping truths and semi-lies in Sam's face. Stripped of all defense – since Dean was all the defense he ever had – he can't accept them. Nor he can fight them. Because they hurt too much. Not because they're real, it's not that simple. Maybe in a wicked way it's even simpler. It hurts beyond recognition and self-preservation because Dean had known for years, through the whole time and let Sam believe he had no clue.

Dean had all the clues in the world.

Tied to that chair, glaring at him with whiskey-honeyed in this light, old wise eyes, he shows how much he knows, contempt beneath the frame of his lashes, in the hiss on his tongue. It's all plain and clear, rotten eggs hanging between them in the air, concrete thick. It's there. Years of Dean's awareness, his baggage, his fucking stair five hundred and eight of endless sacrifice. He doesn't even need to say much out loud, not really, and it occurs to Sam that maybe he still can't, despite all the ease Dean has in his bones now. There's still that stiffness to his tongue when the tidal wave of the issue threatens to eat the shore and fails to give the name of the beast at which he snarls.

Apparently, the brightest, purest part of Sam is still so dark even hellfire shies away from it. And hellfire always seemed to follow both of them, years before it touched them. Or rather, before they touched it with their own hands. Idly and rather uselessly, Sam wonders for the millionth time whether it all begun with that one drop of blood on his tongue or whether it was all him, the metallic tang of his destiny not relevant. That it all was simply a cosmic disaster that he's grown to love his brother too much, a tragic accident that created them both as unplanned mutations of brotherhood. That it simply happened and they were pieces of stardust without a purpose made into the old Greek tragedy of Thebes. Dean's cunning, beautiful face smiles bitterly as if it held all the answers. He keeps his jocastian mouth shut and away from him, all swollen in mockery. Maybe Dean had them all along and never shared. Sam slams the door behind his sphinx-like face once more, pissed and confused.

He, on the other hand, as the years go by, seems to know less and less. Which is funny in a rather pathetic way, considering how his youth, his most crucial choices, were always marred with a crushing sense of certainty. Now, he isn't exactly sure who he is – he's had more years stolen from him than he had his own. At this point whether he's even real is debatable to an extent. The noise from the ruins and the debris of all the other captains had rendered him deaf. He stopped listening into his shell (this, for sure, he knows that he is), stopped trying to find himself. He doesn't even know if he really wants to live or to die. He just wants quiet. What else can he fucking want if the loudest (but still murmur-like broken and small, wilted and outdated) part of himself, of the rubble is the thing even the devil presented as a flaw. It's the only dying thing that's still left, all else long gone. Makes sense, since it appears to be equally true and twisted in all the worlds there ever were. It's indestructible because it constitutes realities.

In the cage, Lucifer told him that in the outcome Dean knew and Sam had no idea it was meant to happen (Dean never said, as usual), the devil came to him one night, a year, maybe two after the last phone call. Doesn't and wouldn't matter. Point is, he came wearing Dean's skin like he would wear Jess' before. And Sam said yes. In a Detroit motel bed, he said yes into the mouth of his brother, his own breath greedy, lonely and blind. It all comes down to it, the writings on the ruins of Sam's heart's walls, say. Comes down to his brother. To his mouth. To the two merging into something else entirely, something ugly and unrelenting in its quiet call. Contorting and evolving into new shapes and sizes ever since Sam remembers how it simply is to want.

For long he didn't exactly understand what, as obvious as it should have been, it wasn't even clear in his mind. So terrifying, putrid and out of place his head couldn't connect the blurred dots on its own. It took a demon to make him see. Because Hell always, always strolled behind them and waited. For this moment in particular, perhaps.

Now Dean tries to make something out of Sam's painful and old awareness just for the sake of pissing him off. Legs wide open, hips bucking invitingly from time to time, he hisses, he hums, he lures. Leans in a wee bit too much when Sam injects the blood, purses and licks his lips accidentally too long when their eyes meet. And oh God, his eyes. All along they show nothing but disgust. Demon or not, he frantically yanks himself away when his teasing act gets him too close, close enough to touch. In this room, somehow Sam, not the black-eyed thing is the most repelling creature. Dean throws Sam's infatuation on the ground between them and he pisses on it by simply staring. Now, all the power there ever was, is his. And he's the new him who sees things for what they really are, he says, proud. For all his life Sam had thought he wanted exactly that, but the truth is, he doesn't. He loved the illusion, but he can't process the very sight of a Dean who will choose not to go after him into the fire. There were times when he longed for the hell-bent version of his brother, but that too was way different than the current reality that exists as a payback for his sinful dreams.

Looking at Dean now, he sees them all over again and detests himself. He remembers being high on grief, high on Ruby's blood, fucking her so hard she barely took it and seeing Dean all the time. Unashamed because there was no one to stop him anymore. He'd keep and cherish the sight of Dean, instead of her, offering him his cut arm to bite, to suck his red, warm blood, to kiss his arm all the way to his neck, where he would bite and devour and lick until he swallowed Dean whole, until his brother was nothing but a pleasure-wrecked, helpless bag of sulfur, wrapped so beautifully in the body that's beyond all curse and all worship. The body that would be Sam's. Dean, out of Hell and alive, breathing flushed and too spent as he'd ride his dick as if it was salvation carved into flesh. Dean, holding him tight with fingers that aren't bloody, stiff and buried below, not letting him go, looking at Sam with want, exactly like he should. Dean, shuddering and crying because Sam makes him feel that good. Dean, who is not a mother anymore. Dean, who's there with him instead of Ruby's wet cunt. Dean, who is anything but dead. And now he has it, a coal-eyed, emancipated beauty that could feed him demon blood own, conquer and seduce him on the smallest of whims even though the power of his passion dimmed and faltered over the years and Dean-themed disappointments. Sam begins to wonder if this is his punishment for being a brother-fucking scum, even if it only happened in his own head when sulfur blood would do all the thinking.

"There ain't much difference from what I turned into to what you already are," Dean judges, confirming Sam's darkest fears. His voice is molten lust thrumming around his throat, meant to tease and disturb. But Dean's afraid of that problem and of his own game, too. He changes the subject. So does Sam, doing his best to think about Lester instead whimpering out Dean's name from in between Ruby's legs. Along with that, Dean's still afraid of what he became because of Sam. Of the things he could do for him. "You took a guy at his lowest, used him and it cost him his life and his soul," he snaps and just between Sam and him, it sure as fuck isn't Lester he means. Right. Just like demons do, he turns the thing upside down. Sam forces the needle into him and this time it's personal. Because Dean's got a point.

He has to turn away again. He stares at the damn syringe. He hears Dean scream, then chuckle, low and guttural. He gets reminded that killing Dean is what he's doing. Knowing this might be true, he holds back his tears. His own words from mere months away rattle around his skull and God, now he knows how foolish he was thinking he wouldn't try to save his brother regardless the circumstances or price. He calls Cas, who only states that death is a probability. Tells him to go on regardless and for Sam, that does not compute. He notices the room falling too silent. Dean's out like a light and he yanks him back. Wherever unconscious Dean was, he clearly wanted to stay there. Back and pissed, he proceeds to dig the ground from under Sam's legs. His balance finally gets lost as the self-proclaimed lean, mean Dean says he wanted to get away from him in particular. When he says he chose the king of hell over him, Sam's heart provides the rest of the song: like he chose a vampire and an angel before and he slipped away from his grasp forever because Dean was no longer his. "You never had a brother," he snarls and has Sam on his knees – what makes it their past then, other than the obvious that neither of them were brothers in the first place, but an unfulfilled lover and a devout mother? A bitter concoction without purpose, but drank until dry all the same? Doesn't fucking matter now, after all these years.

"You don't get to quit," he finds the strength to say. "We don't get to quit in this family," he reminds Dean. Sick or not, they're still that. "This family is all we've ever had!"

Ice and acid, Dean informs him that it's nothing. That their father – less than nothing: a life sucking void. Ten years in the past, Sam'd cry tears of joy hearing that. Now he was the one desperate enough to bargain using the holy picture of John. Dean has a whole litany of shit prepared for that one. He gets to eat another needle. Out of arguments and patience, Sam leaves this time. He invades Dean's room, wanting to see at least a trace of his brother. There, he finds too much. Of their past, of them, of the good old days and a bed that could have been theirs if things went differently years ago. He can't stay there if he wants to be sane and strong.

This is punishment. He atoned for breaking the world, he never paid penance for ruining the doe-eyed savior of his that now haunts their home and stares at him through merciless pits of tar. This is it. Every single thing or warm thought Dean ever gave him, now Sam has torn right out of him. Human enough to walk out of the trap, his brother is eager to hunt him down. From the bowels of hell he also seems to have gathered out the courage and creativity to perform the torture through what it should be served. Sam hears him everywhere. He hears him breathe even though he's not even exactly sure if Dean does. But it's there, in his bones now, settling in. The echo of a lewd, little threat in the tone of the nightmare's voice.

"Come on, Sammy!" he calls. "Don't you wanna hang out with your brother? Spend a little quality time?" he suggests. Goes silent, perhaps still all talk and no play, but Sam's guts tell him he shouldn't be counting on that, not anymore.

"This isn't you!" Sam tries, hearing himself sound desperate, pathetic and small. If he'll ever have his brother back, he can't have Dean do what he wants to do now. Dean, the real Dean, wouldn't survive that brand of guilt and disgust.

"Yeah, of course that's not me!" comes the answer. "It's all you! I'm just putting your shit back where it came from! Open up and swallow, buddy!"

Sam does not grace that with an answer. It only fuels Dean further. After an overdramatic moment of silence, he hears him ramble on. "You know what, I'm not even surprised," Dean pulls the whole disappointed teacher voice. "If there's anyone that'd whine and bitch at a dream come true, that's you. Now that I've finally left you alone, you decided to cling and bother like a piece of shit stuck to a dog's tail. So what's your problem?" Dean's question echoes in the halls and Sam's head both. "Me not wanting to deal with your crap? Me wanting things? Or just things that aren't you?" Well," he drawls, "it's your lucky day! Today I will gladly give. Will show you what you been missing out. I have a blunt instrument we can have fun with, you know."

Sam can't be fucking hearing that right, but at the same time, he simply knows that he does. He knows what it all means. Except that it still can't.

"I don't wanna leave!" Dean confirms the morbid suspicion after Sam shuts the bunker down. "Not till I find you!"

The lights are on again. That means Dean is close, too close. He tries, he begs, he gets nothing save for a deadly version of some the Shining roleplay, and Dean's face contorted into madness akin to Torrance's. He looks, well, inspired, if there's any word for it. As if were some kind of poetic, divine fury. He says as much himself. Blessed, he calls himself. "Let's finish this game!" he demands and takes a swing. That could be a perfect hit if Sam didn't dodge last moment. One needle away from being human, and Dean's determined to bash his head in with a hammer. That's a lot to think of in the future, if there ever is one. Most likely not. Still in shock, he manages to put the blade to Dean's throat. He's amused. Satisfied, even. "Well, look at you," he praises. "Do it," he commands, showing the tip of his tongue obscenely, tauntingly. Do what you always fucking wanted to do, Dean's mouth tries to tell him. Save him with your shit love, kiss his pain better – it and Dean's eyes leer. "It's all you."

So much hate in his voice. Sam backs off while Dean's eyes flick black again and he makes the final step forward, pins him to the wall with ease. Holds his throat. Squeezes. His head is spinning and ringing, breathe constricted, but he manages to wheeze "I don't love you like that anymore, not in years."

Dean's closer, all in his blurring sight, eyes watery and green again. Drifting away, Sam wonders why. There's a small, chaste peck on his lips. And another, and another. More. Until Sam loses count and his mind and his vision and air.

"What do you mean you don't?"

It comes out needy, desperate and broken. Like glass.