Three Quarters Gone - SN canon oriented oneshot
Disclaimed, yeah yeah yeah... I know...
Loved, without reservation.
"Dean!" Sam barked, his eyes sprang open, his breath cold in his throat. Did I call out? I think I did... he looked around, across the room Dean's bed remained made, unoccupied. Sam glanced at the clock, 1:30... okay, he's still at the bar... I got work to do... he sighed but the thought of getting out of bed, leaving this heavenly warm cocoon, the thought of spending yet another late night at the computer, pretending to look for their next gig while what he really sought remained agonizingly elusive, was too much. He lay back, the sheet beneath his back, the pillow beneath his head damp with perspiration.
I can hear him... will I ever NOT be able to hear him? How could he do this to me? WHY? Why Dean? Without you... but he couldn't let himself finish the thought. Tiny silver ribbons slid down his temples while the part of him that would not be silenced finished the thought ...I don't have any reason to bother fighting my so-called destiny, without you... I've got nothing left worth fighting for... express elevator for one... destination hell... here I come... it doesn't matter anymore... at least there we'll be back together again.
His dream, his nightmare played out endlessly in his mind's eye. They were back in Folsom Prison, from his cell he could see Dean walking down the corridor, the Yellow Eyed Demon behind him on one side, a Crossroad Demon behind him on the other, each dressed in prison guard uniforms. Dean was in the standard issue orange jumpsuit, in his arms he held a blanket, bar of soap, tooth brush and paste, and a pair of socks. Sam watched him walk forward, each of the inmates on the row standing at the bars, watching his walk. At this point Sam's heart went from an uncomfortable trot to a racing gallop as Dean nodded at each inmate he passed, his smile relaxed, huge, and contagious in a way Sam had never been able to resist, even with his mightiest scowl.
"That's right ladies... you got it... dead man walkin' here... shag your asses out and pay your respects to the last of the Winchester Evil Hunters... once this adorable face is gone from the world my boy over there... yeah you all see him... I know... you think he's real purty don't cha? ... don't let the looks fool y'though... my boy over there's gonna be the baddest son of a bitch in multiple dimensions... yeah, that's right... y'all'd best be sure you're on the right side o'that particular Winchester I'll tell ya..." Dean laughed stopping at Sam's cell, turning to face his brother, his hand snaking between the bars, cupping his boys' face, patting his cheek gently while his jade green eyes shone bright with pride, "Ain't that right Sammy? you the baddest bitch this side o'hell and don't you let a single one of these sons of bitches think otherwise..." Dean grinned.
Sam could feel tears down his face as he shook his head, "I won't... Dean... don't leave me... please... don't let me go... don't give up... I need you to keep me..."
"Safe?" Dean asked.
"Yeah..." Sam nodded. He always knows... somehow... he always knows...
Dean shrugged with a smirk, "Sorry Sammy... I used my last get out of jail free card to bring you back from the dead... I got nuthin left... but hey little brother... don't you worry, don't you think twice about it... cause I'll tell you a little secret..." he leaned toward the bars.
"Yeah?" Sam sniffed, hoping to hold back the tears.
"It was worth it... I shoulda died that night... or the next morning... or that evening... I was supposed to... I remember Sammy... I wasn't supposed to come back, was never supposed to happen... I was on my way to becoming one of the things we hunt... and I woulda, just in the hopes that I coulda seen you, or maybe one of the 2.5 kids you're gonna have one day, doing the job... no sacrifice is too big Sam, there is no number of lives to great to save you... not mine, not dad, not mom, and not Jess...now... you go do what you gotta do my little hellspawn... so long as you know when you get home after a hard day of slaughtering the innocents... I'll be there for you..." Dean smiled patting his cheek then turned at the prodding of the demon guards behind him, to continue his walk down the block.
"Dead man walkin'... that's right ladies... shag your asses out and pay your respects..." the smile in his voice never left as he was paraded out of sight and earshot.
"Dean! NO! NO DEAN! Don't you go! Don't you let them take you! Fight it Dean! FIGHT THEM PLEASE! DEAN!" Sam's throat clenched like a fist and he gagged in the night choking, gasping, his hands sliding, grasping at his sweat slicked neck as he sat upright wondering for the moment where he was.
"Sam?" Dean moved quickly, giving his baby brother room to sit up at the side of his bed. Even through Sam's t-shirt Dean could feel the heat and damp radiating against his hand on his back.
Sam took in his surroundings, looking from Dean's bed around the room, making sure there was no hint of the cell or Folsom Prison around them, when he was sure, he grasped his big brother by the jacket, rising to his feet, dragging Dean with him and slammed him into the wall, snarling, furious, "You son of a bitch! WHY!? WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO IT?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU"VE DONE?! What..." his voice broke as his air choked, "Wha... why Dean? Why?" he bit back a sob, pulled back his fist and came within millimeters of clocking the one person he'd always been able to turn to for any reason. There had to be something horribly wrong inside him, it wasn't natural to feel like there was a mad elephant stomping around on your heart, it wasn't natural to feel like there was magnesium flare fire burning out of control in your head, and it wasn't natural to feel so horribly abandoned and alone when the only person in your world who mattered was literally in your grip. None of it was natural. None of it could possibly be real. And yet.
"Sam..." Dean breathed, his own hands gripping Sam's t-shirt. There wasn't anything more he could say. There wasn't anything he hadn't already tried to explain to his pig headed little brother, there wasn't any other way he knew to tell Sam that his life, his existence, HE was the ONLY thing Dean cared about. There wasn't any way to tell Sam the one thing he never could say, the one thing he'd never understand, and that Dean himself had only just come to realize in the last few years himself. It was Sam who'd kept him alive. It was Sam who'd always provided some reason, no matter how obscure it might be, no matter how convoluted the logic behind it might prove, it was Sam who stood for everything Dean pretended mattered out in the rest of the world. How could he tell his little brother that he was the only reason he hadn't put a bullet in his head the first time John put a gun in his hands? That watching him grow up, that watching him strive so hard for something outside the shadows they were raised to inhabit had made him so happy that for a while he'd believed his own rhetoric? How could he lay that on the only person on earth he really cared about? Fact was, he couldn't.
"Damn you Dean... how could you let this happen? How can you just walk away when I'm..." he gasped a breath, there isn't much time left... I have to tell him... "I'm lost... how am I supposed to get back home without you? ...bastard..." he finally muttered, his head falling forward, his fingers locked in the folds of Dean's leather, the scent of hundreds of bars, probably half as many women, and more drinks than he could count, a part of the garment that meant only one thing to him. Home.
Dean shivered feeling the same relief he'd felt upon returning from the crossroad where he'd sold his soul for his brother's life. He couldn't remember a time when he'd ever been as content or genuinely happy as he'd been these past nine months, the universe was going to be put right, he was going to be dead, Sam was going to be alive, John was at rest, What could be better? Sam just needs to let go is all... he just needs to trust himself, he'll be fine, he's not evil, never has been... there's not a drop of his blood that's anything but good and decent... flesh, fabric and bone puffing out from the body of the little shit that stuck Sam came to mind. Yeah, I've never seen Sam so pissed in my life... he admitted to himself. "... you think I didn't know you did something?... did you really think you could hide it from me Dean? For a whole year?!... Did you think I was just gonna say, 'whew...guess I got lucky on that one... nevermind that the scar is right over my SPINE!...'" yeah... Sam was pissed... and he had a right to be... weren't for that son of a bitch I wouldn't'a had to make the deal... and it'd be all good... just Sam 'n me, the way it's supposed to be...
"Come on Sam, not again, please..." he grasped a handful of his little brother's hair to pull his head up, "You deserve the chance to live Sam... you deserve the chance to have a good, strong, happy life... all those things you wanted to find when you went to Stanford... you DESERVE them okay? The yellow eyed demon is dead... we've sent back at least 20 of them in the last 9 months, plus however many Ellen and Bobby have wrangled... I'd do anything to give you a shot at real happiness Sam, a real shot at a real life... so you promise me something..." Dean held his brother's head up, the choking of his voice drawing Sam's eyes to his.
"You promise me that when that bitch sends her hounds after me, and when I'm gone, you turn your back on this gig... go finish school, be a lawyer, find another girl to heal you up real good... and don't you ever look back!"
Sam shook his head against his big brothers' hand, his eyes swimming in water that wanted to be shed. I can't... I never could Dean... you knew that even before I went to college but you still let me go... you still wished me well in your own way and let me try... but you were right... we know what's out there... and we're obligated... not to mom or jess.. I know that now... I know that's not what you meant... we're obligated to the ones who don't know... the one's who can't fathom... the one's who suffer when we don't do what we can...
"Sam! Promise me you will! Promise me right now!" Dean demanded.
His breath wavered on its way in but he nodded his head, "I promise if I can't get you out of this..." I'm going to follow hot on your heels big brother... "... I'll turn my back," on hunting evil, on giving a damn about any ONE or any THING.
"Sam?" Dean questioned, eyeing him intensely, He ALWAYS knows... Sam thought but nodded.
"I promise Dean... but it doesn't matter... we still have a few months... I'm GOING to get you out of this..." he assured his brother, the man who was brother, friend, mentor and the father figure he'd needed most of his young life while John was off hunting.
"I can't help you y'know..." Dean reminded him.
"I know..." Sam nodded clapping his big brother at the neck with a nod before grabbing a cold beer from the six pack Dean had brought back and sitting on the edge of his bed while his brother went through his nightly ritual before bed.
When Dean emerged from the bathroom Sam was in the same position, making him frown, wondering what was going to happen to Sam after he was gone. He sure seems to be taking it a lot harder than I thought he would... please Sam don't do anything stupid, don't be crazy little brother... let me give you one last gift that can mean something...
"...hole...big hole..." Sam muttered nearly burning a hole in the carpeting his focus was so concentrated.
"You're whole thing... 'what's dead should stay dead' bullshit... big freakin hole and I'm just wondering if you fell into it or never even bothered to see it..."
"What're you talking about Sam?" he asked, honestly not sure he wanted to hear it.
"You're a god damned hypocrite... what's dead should stay dead? You still believe that?" Sam asked knowing he had Dean in a philosophical corner.
"Unless it's my little brother, you bet your ass I do..." Dean slid free, or so he thought.
"YOU weren't dead Dean! Your heart stopped for a few seconds... a few of the most terrifying seconds of my life you ass hole... but ONLY for a few seconds... and you still had EEG spikes... no heartbeat for those few seconds BUT you DID have brainwaves! So you NEVER DID DIE... ME on the other hand... I was STONE COLD DEAD..." AND I've got DEMON blood IN ME! But you don't know that do you? So help me God I'll NEVER lay that burden on you. "How long was I gone for Dean? A day? Two? More? Come on... tell me... if either of us SHOULD be dead it's ME NOT YOU! And you have the nerve to call me a selfish bastard..." Sam got to his feet, stalked to where his big brother sat on the edge of his bed staring at him in wonder and motioned him to get up.
They set their beers down on the table, "Your rainchecks' come due Dean..." Sam growled, his fist balled into a flesh and bone hammer as it came round to connect with his elder sibling's cheek, the force of the blow literally throwing him into the wall where he smiled, his hand working hard to wipe the stars out of his eyes.
"You done?" Dean asked straightening up, standing on his own two feet again.
"Oh no... you don't get out of it that easy... see I'm gonna save your selfish ass and I am NEVER gonna let you live this down do you understand me Dean?"
The elder hunter pursed his lips and nodded then smirked, "On one condition..."
"You wanna get me out of it? Fine... You know I can't help you, and if you don't manage to pull my handsome ass out of the fire remember your promise... you quit hunting and get yourself that nice safe life you wanted... BUT, there's one contingency..."
"What?" Sam challenged.
"You can't give in to darkness... we ALL have darkness inside, we all have light... you do whatever you want, whatever you can to keep that bitch and her hounds from getting to me, long as whatever it is you do doesn't hurt yourself, or anyone else..." he proposed.
Sam reached over to the table after thinking and frowning over the challenge for a few moments then handed Dean his beer.
"Deal," Sam smirked 'clink' ing their bottles together, the tension having dissipated for the time being, somewhere in the back of his brain a plan, a series of plans was beginning to take shape.
"You got a helluva right hook dude... I'm proud of you..." Dean smiled easily turning the tv on, "... hey they have Latin spice here..."
The Winchester brothers looked at each other then shook their heads, "Nah, that'd be..."
"Awkward..." Sam nodded.
"Yeah," Dean agreed turning the station to the cable guide.
"Oooh hey look... 'The Blob'..." Sam pointed out.
Dean rolled his eyes but selected the channel with a smile, "...what's this like...two hundred times or something by now?" he asked.
"Mmmm 'bout a hundred and twenty actually...hey we got corn?" Sam asked.
"Corn chips..." Dean tossed a bag to him then sat beside his little brother on his bed, their bare feet dangling over the side while the movie played.