Chapter 1

Rated for language, violence and mature subject matter.

This is my first Supernatural fic and I hope I do good. I know, when I write fanfics characters tend to get a little OOC so don't bug me about it. Also this takes place in between the episodes Provenance and Dead Man's Blood. I've also been having technical difficulties with fanfic...so please if you notice anything screwed up let me know. That's also why this story may appear as the Fire of Fear in my profile but its actually called Living Hell. Well anyway, please review and just to let you know flames are accepted as long as they contain CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Don't review just to let me know it sucks. If you don't like it tell me what's wrong and I'll do my best to fix it.

Full Summary: It truly was like a living hell. People used that phrase without knowing what hell really felt like. It wasn't just pain to make you regret your sin. It was fear and ever-lasting torment.When Sam lets fear take control, life becomes much like a living hell. The guilt that controls him, the fire that eats away at him is becoming more than he can handle. When a dark figure appears in his dreams he tries to run, but fear always catches up. What will he do when the Winchester boys take a job that affect Sam not only physically but emotionally as well. Who is the Tarren family and what do they have to do with a series of and death's in Vermont. What will Sam do when he is placed in head to head combat with his fears and risks not only his own life but his brother's and everyone else's as well.

..x0x..

Fear. Definition: frightening thought; an idea, thought, or other entity that causes feelings of fear. But to Winchesters fear was something else entirely. Fear to the Winchesters was rare but was defined but the ice that ate away at your insides, the nagging voice in your head telling you that everything will not be okay no matter how many times you say it will. Fear is thoughts in your head that will never leave you alone. You can run until your legs give out and collapse beneath you, until your lungs have breathed their last breath and your heart has pumped its last drop of blood, but fear will always be with you until you come face to face and even then, it may overcome you.

..x0x..

Scalding heat.

Never-ending darkness.

He stood alone, the blackness pressing in on him, the heat so hot he was beyond sweating and even though no burns appeared on his body he felt the pain of them, the searing, blistering pain that he cold not escape.

This was Sam's nightmare that haunted him day and night, no matter where he was. No matter what he was doing the guilt was always there. Sure, he could hide from it during the day, push it away until the pain became a dull ache deep within his heart. But at night there was no escape, no relief. The guilt of the events at the Roosevelt Asylum, the guilt of Jess's death and many other things were all his to relive at night in one painstaking nightmare. One that he could never escape. He stood in the blistering heat, the shadowy darkness until it all shattered into a familiar blinding white light.

And then he was standing in his old nursery, dancing flames engulfing everything in sight. Reluctantly he looked up to the ceiling, dreading the painful sight that he couldn't quite remember but knew was coming.

Tears welled up in his eyes when he saw his mother pinned to the ceiling, staring at him with wide, unblinking eyes that to him held blame for everything that had happened to her, to them, to their family.

And then his mother became someone else and when he recognized the face a lump appeared in his throat and the tears that had been welling up finally fell, evaporated by the blazing inferno before they had gone halfway down his cheek, ending their short lives and becoming yet another thing he could not save.

It was Jess. Beautiful, defenceless Jess. The Jess that he had had the power to save, just not the intelligence to listen to his dreams and not the courage to act on them. The Jess he would have died for, should have died for. His Jess. And he did not have to look into her eyes to feel the guilt inside him grow. The guilt that everyday threatened to eat away at his heart and soul. The guilt that now threatened to consume his being.

Then he was at home, holding his acceptance letter to Stanford, his father yelling at him telling him that college wasn't what mattered. Hunting was the only thing that mattered. Feeling a sudden rage possess him he yelled back, telling his father that he was going and nothing was going to stop him and then he stormed out the door, never looking back.

Now he was in Roosevelt Asylum, standing over his brother, a gun pointed at Dean's head. Dean was talking to him but he couldn't hear him. All he could hear was the voice in his head. Encouraging him, telling him to kill Dean. But he couldn't with the rock salt gun in his hand, it wouldn't kill Dean, and he told that to the voice in his head. Unexpectedly, Dean was offering him a gun, one loaded with metal bullets. He considered it for a moment before the voice within him became impatient and Sam reached out and took it in his hand.

The voice told him that Dean deserved it and Sam felt anger at his brother. He felt the anger that he had always had control over and knew it was no longer his to control, it now belonged to the voice in his head. His finger tightened on the trigger and the voice laughed and said one last thing 'Pull it Sam,' and then it was gone. But it didn't matter that he was no longer being encouraged, his anger had finally been unleashed and he pulled the trigger and the gun fired.

Finally, he was back in the motel room, but he still held the gun in his hand, an indicator that the dream had not yet ended. He had been having this dream for days and it always ended when he shot Dean. This part was new and he felt another feeling mingling with the guilt he harboured deep inside him. It was fear.

A figure stood before him, so wrapped in darkness that he could make out no features. The intense heat seemed to be radiating from it and as it took a step closer the heat increased.

Sam…

The voice was that of a woman, sad and lonely but filled with an emotion he couldn't put his finger on in his disoriented state, in his dream state. The figure, the woman, came closer until it was about 2 feet away. He could feel the heat on his skin, burning at his clothes and, despite his better judgment, his human survival instincts kicked in and he dropped the gun and threw up his hands to protect his face. But the figure reached out with its shapeless black hands--at least he thought they were its hands--and took his arms and pushed them out of the way. Sam screamed in pain as he felt the flesh on his arms burn and the intense agony of it all took over him and screamed not only in pain but in fury, in sadness, in fear.

He fell to his knees, the darkness of the spirit still clinging on to his arms. Then the darkness started to shrink and he felt it seep into him, burning not only his flesh but his heart, his mind, his spirit. The sensation took hold of him and as hard as he tried to fight it, it would not let him go.

Eventually the strain of it all became to much and just as the strange dark entity disappeared and filled him completely, his vision wavered and vanished, and he fell to the floor. Just before the dream vanished he saws the face of the figure. But it faded along with the dream, its features lost in the swirling waves that was his dream memory. The memory in which all but the unimportant is lost, never to be found again until the time came when the truth discovered itself.

x0x

Sam awoke with a start, his dream shattering as he shot bolt upright in a cold sweat and a feeling of panic that was trying to crawl its way outside of him.

Eventually the panic diminished as the events of the dream faded almost completely from memory and reality came hurtling back at him with full force. But even as reality settled in, there was one thing that didn't leave him.

The heat.

The heat from the fire that lately had been present in all of his dreams. The heat that had always been there to remind him of all the things that he regretted, all the things he had done in his life that had hurt someone he loved. And that's when he remembered the figure.

He shuddered when he remembered its voice, filled with a longing as it called to him. And its touch. Opposite from any ghosts, whose touch was always cold, it had been filled with a strange kind of heat that made him suddenly feel dirty, tainted in a way, like when the darkness had seeped into him some of it had been left behind and stained him with a substance that was impossible to get out.

He became aware of the pain that now encircled his arms. He felt the fear inside him rise to terror when he realized that the marks from his dream could be left in the real world, like a visible stain not unlike the darkness that hid within him.

If the marks were here then this meant a very large problem for him. If the burns had appeared then that meant the this thing was more that a nightmare, more than a premonition. It was an apparition. It was an apparition that was completely focused upon him with a kind of attention that he did not want from something that could steal into his dreams. The attention of lust.

He had heard it in its--her, it was a her--voice, felt in in her touch. This girl, whether it was a spirit, a demon, a human with extraordinary powers, wanted him and he knew that if that was the case as he suspected it to be then this would not be the last nightmare of this sort.

Slowly, he got out of his bed, eyeing his brother's sleeping form warily for he knew Dean was a light sleeper, and stumbled towards the bathroom, blinking as light flooded the tiny room.

He made his way to the mirror and frowned when he saw what looked back at him. His face was touched with red, burnt from the heat in his dream, and he looked down at his wrists he saw bad burns encircling his wrists like snakes, spiralling all the way up his shoulders.

Sighing in frustration he crept back out into the main room and quickly grabbed the first aid kit. Returning to the bathroom he applied an ointment to his burns to relieve the pain.

Sam…

It was a faint whisper in his ear, a gentle caress in his mind but he heard it and he felt it. The presence of the woman encircled him and he felt another hint of fear, not of the woman herself but of the fact that he was defenceless against this thing that he knew could hurt him. He had felt what it could do, could see the burns on his arms and it scared him.

But as soon as it came it was gone. His awareness of the presence vanished but not before he heard it. Something that transformed his fear into sheer terror.

It was a heartbeat.

This woman was no spirit, no demon. It was a human. A human who somehow had the power to appear in his dreams, to hurt him without physically touching him. He instantly suspected Meg but it was an illogical thought since Meg did not long for him like this woman did.

He stood up and turned off the light of the bathroom, momentarily blinding him until his eyes could adjust to the dark. Groping around for his bag, he returned the first aid kit and crept back into bed.

It took him a while to fall back asleep with all the thoughts that were whirling around in his head but exhaustion finally won and sleep took over him. But it was not a restful sleep, but a sleep filled with nightmares about the woman. And most of all it was filled with something that would not leave him alone and would haunt his sleep for days to come.

It was the beating of a human heart.

x0x

"Sammy are you feeling alright?"

"It's Sam." he replied absently, looking out the window of his brother's black Impala. It was four days after Sam's first nightmare and the heart was not only haunting him at night but during the day also. It made sleep impossible and even when he managed what little sleep would come to him it was not truly sleep. It was just another visitation from the woman, more burns, and the blackness tainting him more and more until it was almost unbearable for Sam. He could no longer concentrate on the hunt, could not concentrate on anything but the heart beating within his head and the darkness that was starting to consume him.

"You didn't answer my question." said Dean, glancing sideways at his brother, "Are you okay Sam?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." Sam answered in a tired voice.

"Fine except for the fact I haven't slept in four nights and this damn heart won't leave me alone." The thought rang in his head, like lyrics that followed the rhythm of the heartbeat.

Sam had chosen not to tell Dean because truthfully, Dean would probably blow it way out of proportion. Sam just saw it as a nightmare, another premonition for him to add to his collection, just another demon. Dean would see it as their next job. That or he would think Sam was going insane, a thought which Sam didn't think was too far from the truth.

"Are you sure? You look like you haven't slept in a week. Are you having those dreams again?"

Sam grew irritated. He knew his brother was just trying to be helpful but honestly he was just aggravating Sam further.

"I'm fine Dean. I'm just not feeling to good. Let's just find somewhere to sleep for the night."

Sam saw his brother glance at him warily and he knew it wasn't like himself to sound so annoyed. But the heartbeat and the lack of sleep were getting to him and he knew it wouldn't be long until he cracked. It was just a matter of time.

..x0x..

It was now 2 weeks after the first visitation of the women and Sam felt his sanity slowly deteriorating. The sound of the heart had completely taken over every part of his brain and the blackness from the woman was consuming him. He knew Dean had realized that something was wrong but whenever he tried to question Sam about it Sam always evaded the questions or would just ignore them completely.

So that night, he awoke with a start and as he made his way to the washroom to treat the burns that appeared every night, he did not realize that Dean was awake. He did not know that Dean had resolved to stay up this night to see if he could find out what his little brother was not telling him.

Sam quickly grabbed the first aid kit and treated his burns in the bathroom. He examined his arms and saw the burns that appeared every night in the same place, doubling the pain every day.

Sam…

He whipped around at the sound of the voice, the presence once again encircling him, the beating of the heart growing from a dull pounding to a deafening roar.

Sam. I need you.

"Wha-what do you want?" he managed to stutter. This was the first time she had spoken to him directly.

Can't you remember…

"Remember what?" he asked, barely able to collect his thoughts as the heart pounded inside his head. Sam did not hear Dean get up to stand beside the door and listen.

The woman did not answer but the presence that was around him constricted and he sank to the floor, unable to breathe, unable to scream in pain, or in terror. Just as the edges of his vision began to dim he was released and he collapsed into a heap on the floor.

You must remember!

The woman was angry now, he could feel it. Two serpents appeared on the floor in front of him, along with a group of venomous spiders. He shrank back against the wall as the serpents and spiders advanced towards him.

He sat there, frozen in terror as the snakes slithered up his legs, wrapping their long bodies around him. He struggled against them but it only made them tighter and as the spiders began to climb up onto his body, his struggled only encouraged them to bite and he screamed as he felt the poison sink into him.

Suddenly Dean was in front of him, staring at him in concern. Sam frantically wondered why he was not trying to pull the spiders off of him, to free him from the confines of the snakes.

"Help me Dean! Please help!" his panicked screams only encouraged the spiders and they bit harder, deeper.

"Sammy? What's wrong?" Dean asked in concern, kneeling down in front of Sam and reaching out to him but afraid to touch him while he was writhing around on the floor.

But Sam couldn't hear Dean, he could only hear the heart that pounded in his head. A dark figure appeared behind Dean and Sam recognized it as the woman that was always after him. As she lunged for Sam, Sam shouted "Dean, look out!"

But the woman leapt right through Dean and plunged herself deep within Sam's chest. The heartbeat grew louder for a moment and its pace nearly doubled. And then Sam felt it. It was not the familiar burning that he was used to but a different sensation entirely. It was like his heart was being ripped from his chest, his soul torn into a millions pieces. He felt the spirit inside him, her fury flowing in his veins until it was spread throughout his entire body, like a poison that was never going to let him go.

He screamed in agony and struggled even harder against the snakes that bound him tight. He barely registered Dean kneeling in front of him, a look of horror upon his face. He struggled and screamed but nothing worked. It would not let him go, not now, not ever.

Eventually he became tired, his throat raw from the endless screaming. His struggles grew weaker as the pain became more distant, the heartbeat slowing to a crawl. He felt like he had been plunged into a deep pool of water.

At first he was floating, the pain encompassing his entire being, the sound of himself screaming hurting his ears, the look of fear on Dean's face. But as he sank deeper his ears were filled with water and the only sound was the ever-slowing heartbeat. And then his face sank below the surface and Dean's face blurred and Sam's breathing stopped, cut off from his source. And as he sank to the bottom of this dark pool of water he felt the pain become even more distant, like he had left it all of the surface. His vision dimmed.

You will remember…

He heard the whisper but it didn't matter. He knew he was dying but in all his near death experiences he never thought he would die like this, a prisoner to his guilt and his nightmares. He felt his heartbeat slow to a stop and in his last moments of consciousness he realized something that he should have realized long ago.

It had been his heartbeat all along.

..x0x..

A/N: Okay yes, its short but hey my teachers have all caught some bug that makes them all hand out projects at once. I'm aiming for an update every two weeks but it all depends on response. If people don't like it then it'll be longer be cause I'll be more careful when revising. If they like it then I think I'll try to get more out. Please Review!