Disclaimer: I own nothing of The Pretty. More's the pity.
A/N: This is not a WIP; it's completed, I just have to edit each chapter. It is also ragingly AU. Hope you enjoy. Please read and review.
Sam was brooding again. Wow. That hasn't happened in, oh, about—Dean Winchester checked his watch –ten whole seconds. I need to call this in to the papers! Oblivious to his big brother's silent sarcasm, Sam continued to stare moodily out the side window.
Then Sam sighed. Here is comes, Dean noted, still silently. Wait for it.
"We don't seem to getting anywhere," Sam muttered.
Dean was determined not to be drawn into the latest round of Winchester angst. Between his emotional turmoil and guilt since his father traded his life, and soul, a year ago for Dean's life—and Dean was struggling every day to keep control because Sammy needed him to (though there was no way he would ever be able to move past it; not until he could find a way to get John Winchester out of Hell)—and Sam's increasing fears and depression over the Demon's plans and that damn "secret" of Dad's, they were both in danger of being dragged over the edge.
So, nope, not playing this time.
"Au contraire, Sammy...what? Learned a few things on that New Orleans gig. Where was I? Oh, yeah, you are, as usual, wrong." He peered through the front window. "See? There. Mile marker 274 and we started at mile marker 39. We have definitely gotten somewhere."
Yep, there it was. A slight twitch of Sam's lips. Sammy just had to remember they were Winchesters, and thus they sneered in the face of demons, things that go bump in the night and irate fathers of nubile daughters.
And after convincing Sam, you just need to convince yourself.
At least, he had somewhat found his way again. For a while, after his father had made the fucking trade and whispered that damnable secret in his son's ear—And, thanks, Dad, for telling me how sorry you were for putting all that burden on me all those years, just before dumping a mountain range on my head!—he had been adrift, weary, soulsick, wanting there to be an end; then one morning, during that month they had lain low and searched fruitlessly for Ava, he woke up and knew he could not keep on like that. He was destroying his brother, whom he loved beyond reason and whom he had always protected, and he simply had to pull it together for Sammy's sake. And because, whether he had wanted it or not, his father had sacrificed himself for his elder son; Dean could not let it be for nothing.
So, bit by bit, he was working at healing himself and pulling Sam back from the shadows. That yellow-eyed son-of-a-bitch was not going to send the last two Winchesters running for cover and hiding like a pair of rabbits. Sam may have a connection to the Demon, but evil was always a choice. The Demon could push and poke and threaten and cajole, but if Sam stood firm, the Demon would never have him.
And Dean would see that Sam stood firm if he had to cement Sam's feet in place.
They had decided to take the fight to the Demon. They continued to hunt other things that lurked in the dark, because to turn aside from saving innocents would be to give the Demon a victory, but they also stepped up the efforts to find the other marked psychics, persuading those they could to join together and taking down those who had become minions of the Shadow. They worked on Sam's visions and he was beginning to gain control of them. And they searched for ways to kill the damn bastard that had made the Winchesters targets in the first place.
They had had some successes and some setbacks, but they had re-found their fire and the victories had given them reasons to believe they might not be hopelessly outmatched. So, it had really ticked Dean off when something new had raised its fugly head and sneered at him.
Once again, Dean was keeping a secret from his brother, only this time it was about himself and not about Sam. A couple of months ago, Dean had started to have odd dreams. Not visions like Sam's as far as he could tell, but not his usual dreams, or even his usual nightmares. Flashes of blinding light; feelings of love and peace, then of anger and great betrayal; flashing swords; the beat of wings; and lastly, a sense of duty and honor followed by a profound loss and a deep sorrow. Over and over.
Dean had no idea what the damn things meant. Or why he was having them. He steadfastly refused to consider that he, too, might have powers, just really late-blooming. One psychic wonder in the Winchester family was one too many as far as he was concerned. He was looking to remove Sam's abilities if he could, not develop his own.
Worse still was that he suspected that Sam might be getting some nightmares now, too. His younger brother had not had real nightmares in over a year, just visions, though some of them came as dreams. What Sam had started having, though—for a week now—were clearly not visions, as Sam made no effort to race off and save someone after having one.
Instead, it had caused Sam to fall into one of his brooding, endless, whiny, pissy, emo, angsty moods—to the point where Dean was seriously considering shoving Sam out of the car and making him run along behind—and had started him questioning what they were dong for the first time in a long time. Dean wondered if it would change anything if he revealed that he, too, was having dreams. Or would it just make it worse if they discovered they were having the same damn dreams? Some developing link between them—most people already thought there was one, but it was really just more that they understood each other so well—or a sending? If it were the latter, was it from the fucking Demon?
No, damn it! He had fought his way out of a guilt and depression that had threatened to incapacitate him. He had helped Sam deal with the fallout from the reveal of the secret his father had left with him. He would be damned if he would let some weird dreams throw them off stride now.
He glanced over at his brother. "We're getting somewhere, Sammy," he said firmly. "And the Demon knows it, so it's trying to screw with us. Ain't gonna happen."
Sam met his eyes and then a tentative, but genuine, smile flickered across his face. He nodded once and went back to perusing the road ahead. Dean strained his ears then barely restrained a grin. His brother was humming.
See? He knew humming Metallica calmed you down.
A/N: Next section as soon as I get it typed and edited.