Title: Now I Will Tell You What I've Done For You
Disclaimers: not mine: the damn demon didn't seal the deal.
Warnings: spoilers for 2.21 and especially 2.22 "All Hell Breaks Loose - part one&two"
Notes: title from the Evanescence song, "Going Under"
Summary: About the deal. (duh) Some sort of coda.


Now I Will Tell You What I've Done For You

It's always been an option. From the moment Sam collapsed into his arms and didn't return his hold, it's been the only thing that matters. It started quietly, just an image creeping in the back of his mind, until it gnawed its way up front. It eats away at him now. Urgent, scorching, burning. Bit by bit, unrelenting and unforgiving like the fire that burned his childhood down, like the blade that took Sammy away, and what's stopping him is not altruism. There's no thought of "How would Sam feel?" or "What would Sam want?" holding him back. It's fear. Pure, selfish, unadulterated fear. Because what if it doesn't work? What if Dean comes back, and Sam is still dead? He can't have it all slam back into him again. He can't have another hope, the last one, shattered like bones after a fall.

There's a ticking sound somewhere in the background, the dripping of small drops into the sink, spelling out stab after stab of pain like a pendulum spells out time, a hollow soundtrack to the broken words he whispers in a dead man's ear.
It's always been an option. By now, it's the only one he has left. It probably isn't fair, making up for his mistakes like that. It probably isn't right. But he figures Sam isn't the only one who's supposed to rebel against his destiny, and Dean needs this one chance to look after Sam just for a little while longer.
When the Impala roars, he doesn't hear it. There's nothing he's aware of but the way his blood burns with the knowledge that it's not about what he's supposed or not supposed to do. It's about that option, the only card he's got.

He briefly wonders why everything is done in the dark, as his hands dig deep into dirt and gravel, his nails blackening with the stuff of nightmares and desperate hopes. He heard a song once talking about this man watching the sun rise upon the crossroads of his life. But there's no sun over Dean's crossroads and he wonders why he can't look into a demon's eyes in the daylight.
The answer comes when the woman whispers truth in his ear and he figures in the night time, in the dark, he can pretend they're lies. The kiss of Death. The end. The beginning. It's a good thing that when he opens his eyes again it's night that greets him and not day. Because here, in the dark, he can pretend he's starting from scratch and nothing ever happened, the turning point of Sam growing cold in his embrace having been whisked away by a gust of forgotten dreams and nightmares he won't be living long enough to see. And when he looks down and there's no sunshine to enlighten them, he can pretend that his hands aren't shaking.

Sam doesn't return his hold. It's all right though, because he hisses and breathes in his ear and he's warm as he stiffens up in his arms. It's all right because he looks up at Dean and asks for explanations, trusting him to fill up the missing pieces.
Dean lies, the words getting caught a little on his tongue, but that's all right as well, because Sam is visibly shaken other than confused, and he doesn't really notice. It's all right because Sam looks to Dean again, to make things right, to make it understandable, to help him out. And Dean has his job back, and suddenly one year feels both like an eternity and the breath of one second.

It's weak lies and devastating truth. It's pleas and anger and fear. It's despair and hope and fierce need. Sam doesn't ask. He states. He states facts that they both know already and begs Dean to deny them. But Sam's piercing stare is like broad daylight and suddenly Dean can't trust the dark anymore. He doesn't have to tell though. His silence speaks for him and confirms Sam's words, and Dean can't take the anger. He pleads with Sam to bury it, to please don't let the night time help him to mask his fear behind raging words, and Sam listens.
It's past dreams and new nightmares. It's promises that don't need night or daylight to be seen, as Dean tells what he has done for Sam, and Sam tells what he will do for him, and another deal is made.