This is a Devil's Trap Tag of sorts. It is also my pathetic attempt to become a part of the SFTCOL(AR)S. So please read and review. Warnings: Language
Special thanks to Faye Dartmouthe for taking the time to beta this and offer her suggestions. It is a better story for having known her. DarkTales
In the Twilight
"Shit," Dean Winchester grinned as he looked across at his younger brother from his propped up position in a hospital bed, "Man, I can't believe I'm finally getting sprung in the morning. About friggin' assed time too. I am so overdone with all this sissy, being mothered crap."
"Dean," Sam Winchester's voice was soft and held a trace of sadness that the older man couldn't place. "You almost died, dude. I think that warrants a bit of mothering, don't you?"
"Yeah, well so did you," Dean cut back, his eyes looking away and his smile fading.
"Touché," the younger man sighed and leaned back in the visitor's chair, carefully stretching his long legs out in front of him.
Dean didn't miss his brother's wince either.
"Your knee still bothering you?" he demanded, watching Sam carefully. He did not believe for one moment that his brother was doing as well as he proclaimed.
Although not as internally messed up as Dean had been, Sam had suffered his own grievous injuries from the car accident. His most serious, a severe concussion, had left him incoherent for almost a week afterwards, and a badly busted knee, still in a brace, kept Sam limping; not helped that the stubborn young man refused to use the cane the hospital staff had suggested.
The younger man's face was also still heavily bruised although the accident had been almost a month ago now.
Their father had left again, giving them some cockamamie story about drawing the demon away while the brothers recovered but neither young man was convinced.
Deep down Dean was sure John just couldn't bear to face him after almost killing him in that accursed cabin. Although at the time his father had been possessed. However that was semantics; bottom line, it was still John's face, his hands and his voice that had done this. All of this. It wasn't something either would easily forget.
Dean had been treated to his very own special version of the hell Sam had gone through only months earlier when a shapeshifter wearing Dean's skin had almost killed the younger hunter. He swallowed hard at the memory. That had been close.
"No," Sam denied. He was lying and they both knew it but before Dean could press, a stern faced nurse came into the room and told the younger Winchester he had to leave.
"Visiting hours are over," the woman said as she fussed over Dean. The older hunter rolled his eyes but tolerated it, having learned early that it was just easier to give in to these hospital type people.
Sam glanced down at his watch. "Wow," he mumbled before running fingers absently through his dark hard. "So soon?"
"It is ten o'clock," she said stiffly not even giving him a glance. Dean frowned at her but she ignored him too.
"Bitch", he mouthed to Sam and his brother graced with a ghost of a smile and something tugged hard at Dean. His brother just seemed so… so sad.
The younger man stood up carefully and grabbed his coat from the end of Dean's bed. This was the part that the older man hated the most about all this. Even more than that stupid catheter, and that was really saying something.
It bothered him that at the end of each day Sam had to leave him and return to an empty motel room. He worried about Sam being by himself and it was more than concern that something might physically attack his brother; it was more that he worried about Sam's frame of mind and of not being there to help if the younger man had another nightmare or vision.
It had been over three weeks now and Dean noticed a declining mood in his brother, sharply punctuated during the last couple of days. Sam was increasingly distracted, often times staring out the small hospital room window for long periods of time and then offering vague excuses and apologies afterwards. He just seemed so… melancholy and it worried Dean. His brother might be broody at times – and with damn good reason – but melancholy? It made something inside the older hunter ache; something more than those damn stitches.
Today had been the worse though. Sam was tense, jumpy and he wrung his hands anxiously in his lap for most of the day, twisting at the end of his shirt agitatedly. When asked, he insisted that he was just wound up at the thought that Dean was getting discharged tomorrow.
Dean didn't buy it – he knew something was upsetting the kid but wasn't ready to face a blowout over it in the hospital. But as soon as he got out of here and they'd had a bit of down time, he was determined to find out what was bugging his brother - regardless of anything, including Sam himself.
He was pretty sure that part of it was that Sam had been alone each night, squirreled away in some cheap motel, pining away the hours until he could go back to the hospital to sit with Dean. At least that much would be resolved in a few hours.
"One more night, Sammy," he reminded his brother, noting how Sam tensed slightly before he gave a brief nod. "And call when you get there," he added gruffly, making the same request he had every night since Sam had been discharged.
And as with each night, the younger brother nodded and gave him a thin smile. "Yes, Uncle Dean."
"Not likely," Dean scoffed, feigning chagrin. "Unless you've got some very well hidden secrets."
"None like that," Sam responded cryptically and was already moving out of the room before the older man was allowed his comeback.
"Sleep safe, Sammy," he whispered to the closing door. Frowning, Dean pursed his lips, his brow creased in worry. This was going to be a long night.
"Damn demon," he murmured again and then closed his eyes, hoping his brother would be all right for one more night.
Sam hunched his shoulders and pushed his hands into his coat pockets as he left the warmth of the hospital for the cool night. It was windy and the cold chaffed his cheeks as he limped towards the motel two blocks away.
He couldn't afford a taxi and didn't mind the walk usually. But tonight his heart was heavier than usual and he chided himself on not being able to keep his increasing distress from his perceptive older brother. Not that it surprised him; Dean had practically raised him, and the older man knew Sam better than Sam did at times.
But other times –
Well Sam wasn't so sure anyone knew him.
Hell, sometimes Sam even surprised himself. And other times he just scared the crap out of himself. And tonight was one of those times.
Dean was getting out tomorrow and as much as Sam was excited about that, another part of him was terrified. Right now Dean was safe in the hospital but once he got out… Sam shivered and couldn't finish the thought.
Unlocking the motel room door, Sam pushed it open and then went into the dark room.
Fumbling for a moment to turn on the light, he tossed his jacket onto the first empty bed and then sighed heavily, running a hand through his dark brown hair. For a few minutes he just stood in the room letting its emptiness pull at him. There was just something so unnerving about its silence. It seemed to mock him, a blatant reminder of just how alone he was.
It was a simple room. Small. Two beds. Queens, as per usual. It was a waste of money but Sam could not stay in a room with only one bed. That would have been too much.
Other than that, it was bare. Horrid green bedspreads matched equally horrid heavy drapes. A small faded picture of a running horse hung crookedly on the wall between the two beds and Sam never had the heart to straighten it. It really didn't matter.
Nothing about this mattered. Nothing at all.
Finally the weary hunter sat down on the edge of the second bed and leaned forward, letting his head rest in his hands as he closed his eyes and tried to keep the fear he was feeling from manifesting itself.
'I have plans for you and all the other children like you' the demon's words haunted the young man, amplified tonight by the knowledge that within a few hours Dean would be here. Usually Dean's presence was a comfort, but not anymore. Not with what he knew now
The demon was not done with him yet; it had certainly made that clear enough and its quest had already cost Sam his mother and his lover. He was terrified that it would cost him his brother next.
'Why?' he had asked the demon.
Why had it killed Mary and Jessica?
'Because they got in the way,' such a simple set of words and yet they destroyed the thin veil of denial Dean had cocooned Sam with, brutally confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt what Sam himself had been suspecting.
Sam had caused their deaths; they had died because of him.
Graceful, long fingers shook as they tangled in his hair and he sniffled.
"I don't want anyone else to die," he whispered to the empty room. "I'm not worth it."
If Dean was here he would have smacked Sam for ever thinking such a thing, but Dean wasn't here.
The motel room got just a little bit lonelier… The emptiness was suffocating him now. His body trembled with need. A need to be comforted.
But no one was here.
Sam was alone.
The young man didn't know what to do. He didn't want Dean to die--that much e was sure of--yet he wasn't sure how he could stop it. The demon had already shown him how ineffectual his meager powers were and it was a bitter defeat. Sam was weak and Dean was made to suffer for it.
Exhaling a shaky breath, the young man stood up and moved towards the bathroom, his mind a playground of guilt and worry as the weight that had been laid across his young shoulders threatened to crush him to the ground.
What could he do? He couldn't stop the demon but he couldn't let Dean die either. He couldn't let anyone else die. Not for him. Not just for Sam.
A morbid thought entwined its fingers around his injured soul, stabbing coldness into him with its absurdity. Leaning over the sink, Sam splashed cold water on his pale face and then stared at the mirror, shocked by the tortured stranger that stared back at him.
Who was this?
This was not Jessica's lover.
This was not the child his mother had died for.
This was an exhausted, world weary, emotionally destroyed young man.
A young man who wanted to ease his burden by easing the burden of those he loved: his father and his brother. And yes, Sam did love his father. Even when he was the angriest at John Winchester, he still loved him and understood more than his father would ever know about what drove the man and why he had made the choices he did.
Sam did not agree with many of them but he understood and he loved.
Dean was Sam's everything. He was the one who was always there; the one whom the young man knew, even when things seemed darkest between them, that his brother was only a word away. At any time, all he had to do was pick up the phone and say one word. 'Dean.' And the older man would have been there.
Next to those two men, Sam felt inconsequential. Small. And yet he, the youngest, had been the accelerant that started the fire. The demon wanted him.
The demon would destroy anyone who stood between it and Sam. It had already done so, twice now, and the young hunter knew it would need to do it one more time. It would have to kill Dean to get to Sam and Sam knew it. Dean knew it. Hell, the demon knew it.
The morbid thought grasped tightly and squeezed. Sam inhaled sharply and embraced it. There was no choice as far as he was concerned. If he was a prize worth killing for, than Sam would just destroy the prize.
Pushing away from the sink, the determined young man moved towards his bag, fumbling past underwear, socks, knives and bandages until he found what he was looking for. He wanted one more sleep. A final, peaceful sleep.
There would be no blood or gore to imprint itself into Dean's memory as the last image he would ever have of his brother. No, Sam would try to spare him as much as possible.
The bitter irony of that thought was lost on him.
Pulling out the bottle of prescription painkillers that he had been given when he left the hospital, Sam uncapped it and then sighed. He hadn't used any, refusing to allow himself any comfort when he had caused so much pain to the people he loved, so the bottle was full.
Leaning over, he opened the small motel room bar and pulled out a miniature of whiskey, noting wryly that it was Dean's favorite. He barely took the time to pop the small lid before using it to swallowing the pills down.
Within moments, he felt giddy.
Slowly he pressed himself back on the bed and wondered if he should leave Dean a note. It certainly seemed the decent thing to do.
Struggling as his body started to succumb quickly to the overdose, Sam pushed himself off the bed and weaved towards the small table where he knew there was a writing tablet and a pen.
He almost made it.
But as the floor rushed up to meet him, Sam felt a flicker of remorse. He really would have liked to have left that note.
'I love you big brother,' was his dying thought.
To be continued in chapter 2 of 2.