Author's note: This fan fiction is inspired by the Kate Bush song 'Under Ice' and I have also borrowed that titled. Obviously, I couldn't ask her permission, but I am hoping that she won't mind :-P This is my first fanfiction for a VERY long time, and I am very rusty with this website too. For this reason, I apologise in advance if there is any trouble with the layout!
Oh, and I'd just like to say, as a UK writer and watcher, there will most definitely not be any spoilers in any fics I post, unless stated otherwise, because I have yet to see the finale (so no spoilers, please:p). This fic has none at all :)
(For disclaimer please see info page)
Everywhere, so white
The river has frozen over
Not a soul on the ice
Only me, skating fast
I'm speeding past trees leaving
Little lines in the ice
Cutting out little lines
In the ice, splitting, splitting sound
Silver heels spitting, spitting snow
There's something moving under
Under the ice
Moving under ice – through water
Trying to get out of the cold water
Something, someone – help them
Kate Bush – 'Under Ice'
Sam can feel the ice through his clothes. It's cold here, getting colder, and with numbing realisation he sees that there is no possible way of him escaping this place.
He's already tried to move but moving hurts too much. Whoever, whatever, has hold of him now has made sure that he knows not to struggle, not to try and escape.
The first (and last) time he'd tried, there had been a burning sensation in all his limbs which, to start with, had been welcome in comparison to the biting cold that had been consuming him, but it hadn't stopped at being comfortable. It hadn't stopped at making him feel pleasantly warm and safe.
He'd cried out his apologies as his whole body began to burn agonisingly, he'd shouted promises to not move again, and the whispers on the air, the breathy laughter, had told him that that was a wise thing to do.
And so he had just continued to lie there, watching silently as each ragged breath he took, and still takes, became visible in the frozen air. Eventually he had closed his eyes, restless with only being able to see the whiteness when they were open.
Wake up…the whisper is quick, harsh, and frighteningly human. Those two words alone carry so much malice and evil intent. He cowers at the sound, presses his cheek further into the ice. Wake up…it says again, the rasp in the voice making his own breath shorten. Open your eyes…it says. Look at what you have left.
And so he does, of course he does. The only life he knows now is to obey this voice, this creature inside his head. He opens his eyes, slowly, knowing that it will hurt to do so.
The light is bright and it stings. It doesn't look real, the whiteness that has become his surroundings. He opens his eyes wider, trying desperately to take in something more than the white, the ice, the cold. He frantically searches for something else, something that is not freezing and lifeless.
He finds nothing. This is all he knows now, and all he will ever know. The voices keep telling him so.
He can never see It. It never shows Itself, but he knows that It is there, always taunting, always laughing, waiting for him to go against Its orders so further punishment can be given.
There is no one, It says. No one is here for you, no one is coming for you. And the worst words of all, the words that It forces him to repeat out loud into the silence; You are mine.
"I am yours," he says, his voice straining after not talking for so long. Heat on his face tells him that he is crying again, but he cannot move his hand to wipe the tears away. "I am yours," he repeats and closes his eyes, knowing full well that now It is satisfied with this declaration he is no longer needed.
Until the next time.
The following time that he becomes aware of the voice at the back of his mind, where he tries to keep it when seeking sleep, he cannot help but let out a moan of misery. "Leave me alone!" he wants to shout. "Can't you just let me go?" He's so very tired of this game by now. He is tired of fighting against the pessimism that is taking over his soul, eating away at what little hope he has left.
Everything is still white but this time he cannot tell the difference between the ice on which he is sprawled and the air that he takes in sharply. What he sees around him looks different somehow, the whiteness more intense, more oppressive, but he can still feel the coldness on his face, the shivers that travel through him with the icy breeze that whispers at him to awaken. He can still feel It approaching and he knows that this time It wants more from him than before.
You are mine, it says. "I am yours," Sam says automatically, not even considering the meaning behind the words anymore. Whose orders do you follow? It asks. "Yours," he whispers mournfully.
The creature laughs, Its voice rasping and scratchy. You are almost ready, It says. It is nearly time.
He squeezes his eyes shut tightly, grits his teeth. His hands, even though he cannot feel them by now, have formed tight fists that he holds against his chest. Desperation fills his thoughts, panic overpowers his senses.
He remembers now. He knows that he should not be here, that there was once a place before the ice where he was happy and safe and protected.
The laughter is there again and he realises that It is playing tricks with him, allowing him to remember such things to taunt and tease and remind him of what he can no longer have.
Do you miss this? It asks but he does not answer. He will not give It the satisfaction of admitting to his weaknesses. Instead he thinks about what he has been permitted to remember, trying to block out anything the creature says to him. He thinks about what had happened just before he had been caught, he thinks about the sun and what he remembers it feeling like upon his skin.
He remembers his brother and how things had been between them the last time they had spoken and suddenly he feels empty again. The cackles erupt inside his head, and he realises that the creature had wanted him to do that. It had wanted him to think about the single thing that, at this moment in time, causes him the most amount of pain.
Sam could cry again when he imagines how his brother's face will look upon finding him, broken and frozen, dead upon the ice. He's not sure how long he has been here, but it feels like a lifetime, and his brother must be absolutely mad with fear and worry by now.
And to think that it will all be for nothing. The searching, the research; after all that work his brother will find him dead, and then Dean will be alone, heartbroken, left to continue his life without his younger brother.
Sam's heart aches as he thinks of Dean. He misses him, and he knows that he always expects Dean to be there for him when in trouble, but he can't help but wonder where he is this time.
He's unsure, but Sam thinks that he's been here for over a day; it certainly feels that way. At first he had been naively confident that his brother would find him, and he had kept that hope up for as long as possible. But then It started to tell him things, things that made so much sense, and the doubt started to creep in and make him wonder whether he had been wrong about everything he had ever felt strongly about. Had he been living in ignorance, blind to the way things really were between him and Dean?
Maybe the argument they'd had before Sam was taken is a true reflection of the way things really are.
He had fought with his brother, the night he was caught. He had delivered cutting words and, much to Sam's shame, he'd seen hurt flash across Dean's eyes before he had turned his back and heard Dean slam the door shut.
He should never have left the motel later that night. Dean had returned, calmer it would seem, but Sam was still angry and not in the mood for talking. When told to grow up, something snapped and without thinking, without taking anything with him, Sam had left into the cold night air.
He'd walked for hours, trying to get rid of his frustration by walking briskly, pushing himself until he had virtually no endurance left.
It was then that he had looked, really looked, at where he was, and with a sinking feeling realised that he had no idea of his surroundings, or in which direction he had come from.
Everything was a blur after that. His normally calm demeanour was inexplicably replaced with panic. A strong sense of eyes on him from the shadows had made him jumpy but even this agitation hadn't been enough to prepare him for the attack.
Claw-like fingers had grabbed him from behind, and then he had felt cold, unbearably cold, so that he could not move and yet in his mind he was screaming at himself to run, for God's sake, run! He could feel the warmth being drawn out of his limbs, then his torso, and then the iciness had crept up his throat, spread to cover his face, until he couldn't breathe at all and darkness devoured him.
That was when he had woken here. There is nothing around him to indicate where 'here' is exactly, where it is he's been taken. He cannot tell whether it is above or below ground, whether it is day or night, but he is fully aware that Dean will not know where to start looking, or if he'll ever find Sam at all.
He must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knows he is no longer lying on his left side, his cheek pressed against the ice. Someone, or something, has moved him so that he is sat on the cold ground, his feet out in front of him. Upon further inspection he sees that on his feet have been placed delicate white skates, the blades so thin and perfect that they look ready to snap.
But the ice ahead of him is so beautiful, glistening with a hint of blue, and he knows that he may never get the chance again to glide across such a flawless surface. Surprisingly easily, as if some invisible force is helping him, he stands and finds his balance. The blades are stronger than they appear, and Sam, relieved to be free to move, makes no hesitation in pushing himself along the ice.
It is incredible to feel this free, almost like flying, his feet are so light on the ice. He turns, holds out his arms and revels in the cool air rushing over his face and fingers. He closes his eyes, lets his feet take him wherever they choose, delighting in the faint scraping sound that his skates make.
Only, this perfect moment doesn't last forever. It just can't, can it? Before long, there is another sound invading his hearing; a scratching, scraping noise that is unfamiliar and yet still manages to fill him with dread.
He opens his eyes, brings himself to an abrupt stop and looks down at the ice beneath him. The patch under his feet is no longer perfectly white. Something dark, large and figure-like is moving just under the surface, its bony hands dragging fingernails across the underside of the frozen water.
The ice begins to crack and, thinking of no other possibility, Sam starts to skate again, hoping desperately to outrun the thing under the water.
Only now Sam realises that this pond, or lake, or whatever it is that he is upon, goes on forever. Whichever direction he turns and faces, the landscape stretches out for miles, out to the horizon, and there is nothing, nothing, else in sight.
As the splitting sound gets louder, and the cracks in the ice grow larger, catching up with him again, he realises that there is no escape. There is no way of avoiding this Thing, no way of escaping the inevitable.
And so he waits, wishing that he could see his brother just one more time, just to say that he is sorry, before the cracks reach him and suddenly he is falling into the frozen water, feet first, two words echoing around him. It's me…
He opens his eyes, coughing hard and struggling for breath, and the laughter of the creature is in his mind again. It had been a trick, all a cruel trick, and Sam had been foolish enough to believe that he really had been free for a moment.
But no, he is still lying on his side, as he has been all this time, the nightmare he has just experienced nothing more than a terrifying (and very vivid) memory. So he had never been moved, had never been given the skates and the chance of freedom.
And yet Sam knows that the thing he had seen, under the water, breaking the ice and reaching for him? That was real. So now he is not only paralysed with the cold but with fright and apprehension, for he knows that the creature had just revealed himself to Sam through the vision. It has chosen to show Itself in the images It had planted in Sam's mind, and the fact that it did can only mean one thing; Sam is not going to be alive for much longer. Him knowing of the Thing's appearance is useless, pointless, because he will not be here to tell anyone about it.
How does it feel, It asks now, knowing that it is coming soon, knowing that there is nothing you can do about it?
He thinks he might just go mad with the waiting. All this waiting. Lying, thinking, hoping beyond hope and then realising that nobody is coming to save him.
Knowing that Dean is not coming to save him.
"Please," Sam whispers, licking dry lips. "Why do you need me?"
But It doesn't answer.
"Why am I here?" he tries again, his barely used voice shaking. "What is it you need me for?"
Laughter. Sam is so tired of hearing that laughter. You are not needed. You are a toy.
A toy? All this has been for nothing? He's not even needed, just a toy for this Thing's amusement?
Fear leaves him, anger takes over.
"Why?" he cries, using the remainder of his energy and newfound adrenaline to sit himself upright. His muscles protest at the action but he succeeds and the burning sensation he is expecting as punishment doesn't arrive either. "Why would you do that?" he screams.
He places his hands on either side of his body for support and the ice bites into his palms. Everything is still so white, and he cannot see anything in front of him, nothing at all…
With urgency he brings his right hand up to his face, where it should be in view. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
"Why can't I see?" Sam shouts, trying and failing to keep his voice calm. "What are you doing to me?"
Sparing you the sight of the one who will kill you. You should be grateful.
Sam frowns, and turns his head even though he has no idea whether there is even anyone or anything else with him.
"I've already seen you," Sam says, confused. "I don't understand."
Who said that it was me who was going to do it?
And then suddenly, without any warning, there are hands on either side of his face and a voice so familiar, so welcome…"Sam?"
"Dean!" Sam gasps in overwhelming relief, too weak and tired to do much else. He begins to wonder how on Earth Dean succeeded in getting here, how Dean found him, but then another thought occurs to him. "Dean, you've gotta get out of here, there's something out there!"
He hears Dean laugh lightly, the sound dismissive. That isn't right. "Relax, Sammy, you don't have to worry about that anymore." He sounds so sure of himself, so confident in that notion.
And then the hands are moving from his face to his neck, pushing him back onto the ground with great force, squeezing until Sam can no longer drag any freezing air into his already abused lungs.
This isn't Dean, he tells himself. These hands, these cold, scarily strong hands, they're not Dean's. He's being deceived again, made to think that the one person he is hoping to see is the one to bring him his death.
"No," he wheezes and the hands tighten even further. "No…you're not real…"
The whiteness begins to fade, change to black. He's losing consciousness, failing at this one-sided battle.
And he will die, maybe never be found, and It will move on to Its next victim.
The gunshot surprises him, the first sound aside from his own voice and breathing that he has heard in much too long. The shot is so loud that he can feel the vibrations through the ice and along his body, and it makes him wonder whether this is how he will die instead.
No new agony erupts in him though, and it takes him a moment or two to notice that hands are no longer choking him. Maybe it's over? Part of him hopes that maybe he has died already and it all happened painlessly.
"Sammy!" calls a voice from a distance, his name echoing off of invisible walls, but this time Sam is ready for the cruelty. "Don't worry, Sam, I'm getting you out of here!"
Sam doesn't give them the satisfaction of replying, thinking that by remaining silent It will simply give up trying.
He is dimly aware of a rushing sound which indicates the beginnings of a roaring fire. He's had to start plenty of fires in his time, what with their way of living, to recognise that sound anywhere. The flames spit and flicker; he can feel it with the increasing heat on his skin.
Running footsteps, the sound of something falling down beside him on the ice. "Sammy, can you hear me?" The voice is somehow different this time. More emotional, more…human.
And there are on his face hands again and a voice that he has missed, yelling his name repeatedly.
But the hands are warm, not cold. The voice sounds scared, not confident.
"Dean?" He turns his blind gaze in the direction in which he thinks Dean's face is.
He feels the fingers on his cheeks twitch slightly in response. He can hear his brother inhaling sharply.
"Dean?" he says again. The next words he says are mournful and wavering. "I can't see you."
The hands tilt his head back slightly; a thumb gently pulls down one eyelid. "I know, Sam," Dean says softly. "But you'll be able to. I promise."
Sam swallows against a lump in his throat and reaches out blindly, clumsily gripping the sleeves of Dean's coat. "I don't know about that, Dean," he manages to say, his numb fingers tangling in the fabric. "It did this to me and now It's gone." He pauses a moment, listens to Dean shifting uncomfortably above him. The fire continues to crackle and burn. "It is gone, isn't it?"
"I think so," Dean says and Sam, although he cannot see, can still feel the hard stare he is being given. "I think it is, Sammy, but," another pause, "but I can't be sure. We need to get you out of here as soon as possible."
But neither of them makes any move to stand. Sam stays lying on the ground, the back of his head throbbing where he was thrown down just minutes earlier, and he stares blankly ahead hoping with all his might that his vision might miraculously come back.
"Your eyes," he hears Dean whisper, a strain to his voice, a hint of what Sam can only describe as sadness.
"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam says. It seems like the only appropriate thing to say. He shivers again, dragging in a harsh breath. "I'm sorry you had to do this."
There is silence then, and just for a while Sam thinks that maybe Dean has left without him noticing. But then eventually:
"Do you think you can walk if I help you?"
Sam nods and, with Dean's help, is sat upright. His head swims at the sudden change of position and he almost falls back again.
"Whoa, easy!" Dean says, putting a strong arm around Sam's shoulders, and he hauls his younger brother to his feet. "The car isn't too far away, and I'll make sure there's nothing in your way, ok Sam?"
Sam nods and tentatively takes a step forward. His legs are weak, very weak, and it is with a combination of embarrassment and relief that Dean more or less carries him, occasionally letting Sam walk a few steps to repair damaged pride.
It's strange, not being able to see, but nowhere near as frightening now that he knows that Dean is next to him. His other senses are now incredibly strong, and every step they take, every drip of water that falls at their feet, is amplified.
And he is more sensitive to things he can feel now as well. Aside from touch, Sam is very aware of just how relieved, and worried, and exhausted Dean is feeling. Never before has he used his mind in this way, has never needed to, but now that it is necessary his brotherly instincts, and maybe something else, are allowing him to sense Dean's own discomforts.
This search has nearly killed Dean, Sam can tell that much.
"Where are we?" Sam asks to change the topic within his own mind. "I don't know where It took me."
"You were under ground," Dean says, stopping a moment and readjusting his grip on Sam. "I don't know what it was exactly – a Goddamn lair for that Thing, I think, all ice, completely frozen over." He sounds bitter, his words short and harsh, but Sam knows that this is not directed at him. "I'm lucky I even found the place, let alone you, considering how well it was hidden."
Makes sense, Sam thinks, as they start walking again. But then something else occurs to him:
"Have you called Dad?"
"Yes," is Dean's simple reply, and when Sam realises that he is getting nothing more on that matter he turns back to what he was saying before.
"How did you know where to find me?"
"I didn't really know," is Dean's cautious reply. "It just sort of…came to me I think. After the first day I knew there was no way I was gonna find you without some sort of help and," he squeezes Sam's shoulder reassuringly, "I think that you were the one to give me it. That mind of yours seemed to know what to do."
Huh. He didn't know he could do that either.
"Are we above ground?" asks Sam, not wanting to dwell on what else his 'gift' may be capable of. He thinks the air smells different now, but he can't be totally sure. Their way so far has been sloping upwards and the ground now feels like it is beginning to level out a little more.
"Yeah, we're close," says Dean. His breathing is beginning to get a little laboured and Sam realises that it is because of the effort of him having to carry his younger brother. "Do you think you can manage the last bit on your own? Don't worry, I'll keep a hold of you."
Sam nods shakily, unsure as to whether he can actually make it at all. With Dean's support, however, he somehow gets to the Impala and while he waits for Dean to help him in he runs a hand along the roof of the car. With a sigh he rubs at his itching, unseeing eyes and is surprised to find that he is actually smiling, if only ever so slightly.
Sam likes to think that he is warming up now, what with the heater on full blast against his face and a blanket tucked securely around him, but at the moment he doesn't feel any better.
Upon reaching the car, Dean had insisted upon Sam staying in the passenger seat. More than anything, Sam had wanted to be able to lie down and sleep on the back bench. With false sternness to his voice Dean had said that was simply out of the question. "There's no way I'm letting you get more of my car wet than necessary," he had said. "You're staying in the front where I can keep an eye on you."
Sam is well aware of the real reason why he had been made to sit in the front. He vaguely remembers reading something long ago about keeping a patient conscious after being out in the cold for so long. That's what he is now, Dean's patient, and Dean sees it as his job, no his duty, to nurse his little brother back to perfect health.
Even without his eyesight Sam can sense Dean giving him worried glances every few seconds. He is sick, and Dean is scared, and neither of them knows whether there really is a cure for Sam's problems.
But right now that doesn't matter, because Sam is back in the Impala, and is unbelievably relieved to hear such familiar sounds as the creak of the doors closing, or the keys jangling in Dean's hands before they are put in the ignition.
"It's gonna be ok, Dean," Sam finds himself whispering when he hears the tapping on the steering wheel start up, a sure sign of agitation.
"I know," Dean replies a little too quickly.
Sam aches, his head throbs, he feels frozen to the bone. He cannot see and there is a nagging feeling at the back of his mind that tells him that the creature is not yet dead. But still he says it.
"No, Dean," he insists firmly. He reaches out to touch Dean's right shoulder. He finds the spot perfectly first time. "I mean it. I really think it might be."
Dean says nothing. Putting his foot on the accelerator, he pulls away from the place that has given the two of them so much grief and distress. The journey is held in silence, but when Sam feels Dean lean over to adjust the blanket covering him, and when he brushes Sam's hair away from his sore eyes, Sam begins to believe his own words. Maybe things will be ok after all.
Author's note: Well, there you go, how was that? I'm rather nervous to receive comments but also very interested in what you all have to say, so please review if you have the time. Thanks for reading!