Summary: Repercussions from Dr. Ellicott's meddling.
Notes: I've read several stories set after Asylum from Dean's point of view but none from Sam's (if there are any, I'm sorry I've missed them and I'll keep looking! g) so this story came about.
Disclaimer: Not mine. The pretty, snarky, angsty brothers belong to the WB.
Tilting his head to the side, Sam looked closely at his brother through the fog that surrounded him. He couldn't remember ever seeing that look on Dean's face before, full of doubt and hurt. It made him smile, but in the back of his mind, just beyond reach, he could hear another voice.
A maniacal thrill had pulsed through him as he had taunted Dean, as he had shot him with the rock salt pellets. He had felt a rush, palming the pistol Dean handed him, before pointing it at his brother.
Sam shook his head, trying to ignore the voice, but the weapon began to shake. His vision blurred as he listened to Dean ask just how much he hated him. Did he hate him enough to kill him? The second voice grew louder - screaming.
One last look at Dean, prostrate before him, and Sam smiled coolly as he pulled the trigger, the sound of the gunshot echoing deafeningly off the walls. The roar, however, was overshadowed by the small gasp Dean gave just before his eyes slid shut. A gasp that almost sounded like Sam's name.
Suddenly, something snapped. The world found its focus, the fog rolled back, and the screaming was no longer silent.
Tearing his eyes away from the sight of his brother lying broken and bleeding, Sam stared at his hands and the gun they held. His hands began to shake, the pistol dropping to the floor.
Sam collapsed, his legs refusing to hold him, and he crawled forward until he reached Dean's side. He hesitantly touched Dean's neck, although he didn't know what he expected to find there when so much of his brother's chest was missing.
"Dean?" Grasping Dean's shoulder, blood covered his hands. "Dean!"
When nothing happened Sam fell backwards, unable to blink, barely able to breathe. Shaking his head roughly from side to side a litany of "no" rolled from his mouth, the small words catching on the stuttering sobs that sought to burst forth.
What had happened?
What had he done?
His breath hitching, Sam looked around the dingy room, almost frantic in his search. There, just beyond his reach, was the gun that he had pointed at Dean moments before. Sam crawled, barely able to move, until he reached it.
Looking at Dean, unable to see anything but the horror he had caused, a strange sense of calm washed over Sam. It was only fitting, he thought, looking at the gun, its weight comforting against his palm. He smiled then, still staring at his brother.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, wishing he could hear him, although Sam doubted if he would understand. "I'm sorry," he repeated, turning the gun toward himself.
And he pulled the trigger.
Sam jerked, gasping for breath as his eyes wrenched open. Frantically he looked at his hands - his empty, clean hands. He looked at Dean, whose own hands rested on Sam's shoulders, a blood free Dean. Sam reached out, his fingertips ghosting across the undamaged skin of Dean's chest and felt a relief so strong it made his own hurt.
His eyes flickered around the room, struggling to separate reality from dream, present from memory, as he tried to calm his breathing.
"It's okay," Dean said quietly. Sam could feel the weight of worry in his brother's gaze. He shook his head, his throat closing around any words he might try to speak. There was a moment of heavy silence before Dean asked, "Bad?"
Sam nodded but refused to look up, fearing what he might find in his brother's eyes.
Dean moved his arm as if to reach out only to abort the move and lay his hand on the blanket instead. Chewing on his lower lip, Sam blinked hard against the tell-tell burning in his eyes.
Memories of the dream were still far too close, too uncomfortable. Guilt from both what had happened and what he had dreamed happened were suffocating, but he finally managed to choke out, "I'm sorry."
Dean sighed, sounding resigned. "Sammy..."
"I didn't mean it," Sam whispered, knowing he would never dare say such things in the light of day. Dean had made it clear that he wanted the issue buried and forgotten; however he couldn't seem to stop the words that tumbled forth.
"I fought. I tried. I just... I couldn't stop it. Him. I was screaming but you couldn't hear me. And then I..." He took a deep breath, his voice faltering to a whisper, "I didn't mean any of it."
Dean placed his hand on Sam's shoulder but remained silent. Sam imagined that he could feel Dean's judgment, or worse, his disappointment. He wouldn't blame him for it, in any case.
Pulling away, Sam pressed his back against the headboard and wrapped his arms around his knees. It was a position he hated but still craved, even though it revealed a weakness he never wanted to admit. Dropping his head to rest against his knees, Sam took a shuddering breath.
"I know you don't want to talk about it," he said, wondering if he was talking to himself.
He felt the bed shift, recognizing that Dean had stood, and expected that the conversation was at an end. Sam couldn't quite seem to vanquish the sudden worry and fear - feelings he had been taught time and again had no safe place in a hunter's life.
Sam felt a gentle touch to the top of his head - a comforting feeling, familiar from youth when Dean would rub his hand along Sam's hair to reassure him. It was a feeling of home even when they'd had none but each other. He risked a glance upward, wishing away the moisture he knew shone in his eyes.
Surprise filled him when he saw the same sheen in Dean's eyes as well. Then he blinked and Sam could only guess if it had ever been there. "Dean?"
Dean let out a sigh and dropped beside Sam, removing his hand. He wondered if he had pushed too far and if Dean would retreat once more. The Winchester men weren't known for talking through their problems, Dean most of all.
"What happened in your dream?" Dean asked.
The question surprised Sam, although it probably shouldn't have. He hated discussing his dreams - even with his brother - but somehow he couldn't quite stop this time. "I... You... Then I..." Sam shook his head, frustrated, the words becoming too tangled, even in his mind.
"You shot me," Dean said calmly, and Sam couldn't help but notice it wasn't a question. "But it wasn't empty." Dropping his gaze to the threadbare blanket, Sam nodded. "Then what?"
He couldn't help but notice the words weren't accusing, instead it was concern he heard in his brother's voice. Sam looked up, searching Dean's face for a minute. "I'm sorry," was his only reply.
"What did you do, Sam?" Dean insisted, his voice growing hard.
Sam managed a small shrug, wondering why it was so important. "What I had to do."
Understanding made Dean's eyes bright and he grabbed Sam's shoulder, shaking him. "I don't care what happens, don't you ever do something like that. Not for me. Not for anybody."
Sam was silent for a moment before saying, "I don't hate you." He didn't know why he said it, only that he wanted to make sure Dean understood. He despaired to think of Dean doubting that.
Dean blinked, before nodding in acknowledgement. "I know, Sammy."
Hoping that were enough - for both of them - Sam felt compelled to lighten the mood. He wanted to give Dean an escape from the discussion he had wanted to avoid in the first place. "You think maybe Oprah's on soon?" The confused look on Dean's face, complete with raised eyebrow, made Sam risk a small grin.
Recognition dawned and Dean rolled his eyes. "Shut up," he said, smacking his hand against Sam's shoulder as he stood.
"'Cause maybe she would have something to say about all this," Sam prodded, hoping to help Dean relax. "Some insightful wisdom that would help."
"Just go back to sleep," Dean muttered, a familiar inflection in his voice that made Sam breathe easier.
He watched as Dean crawling into bed before stretching out in his own and curling his arms around the pillow. He still questioned if his weakness in fighting Dr. Ellicott might cause more problems between him and Dean someday. But he could hope not.