By: Extra Onions
Spoilers: Minor for AHBL1, AHBL2, BUABS, and Heart
Warnings: Language, violence, death of minor characters, non-consensual sexual encounters
Notes: Be warned, there is nothing pretty about the wincest in this story. It's not particularly graphic, but it is non-consensual in every sense of the term. This story is about a series of choices, most of which are handled poorly. Every choice has consequences, and it's the final choice, more than any of the others, that leads to damnation.
Sam doesn't know when he crossed the final line, the irrevocable one he can never return from.
Was it in Wyoming, when he shot Jake full of lead? The mercy killing of Madison? Even earlier, when he killed a man, sliced a sharp knife across his throat, even if it was a demon directing his actions? Was his destiny set in stone from the moment he first tasted the demon's blood as an infant?
Or was it in a dingy motel room just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, a few weeks after saving Dean's soul from the crossroads demon?
Sam never realizes just how strong his powers are before he reaches the point of no return. There are certainly clues, but he ignores them; passing off the times when Dean acts strangely, backing down and letting Sam have his way in odd fits and starts, as a mix of Dean's usual brand of brotherly concern and understandable gratitude for having his soul off the hook. The jobs are easier now, what with Sam pushing the boundaries of his abilities like never before, honing his new skills like he would any other weapon.
The jobs are easier, but the time between hunts is not. There is a relentless itch under Sam's skin now, a growing sense of urgency and desperation he never felt while there was a fucking countdown on Dean's soul, and he is at a loss as to why it's there now. When there's no job, Sam starts dragging Dean to bars instead of the other way round, drinking and flirting and picking fights with anyone that breathes. Sam's burning up from the inside, and he knows he'll go insane if he can't quench the fire. Dean thinks he's being reckless, and if that isn't irony, Sam doesn't know what is.
Sam watches Dean's face and the hard lines of his body, and yearns for things he can't have; shouldn't want.
It comes to a head when he controls a demon for the first time since defeating the crossroads bitch. Dean didn't like it then, and likes it even less now. Sam doesn't get Dean's reluctance to use every tool at their disposal. It's the John Winchester way, after all, and Sam says as much.
Dean seethes, and broods, and shoots Sam worried looks when he thinks Sam isn't paying attention, gripping the steering wheel too tightly while navigating back to the motel where they are currently holed up.
Sam is moody; he feels too small for his skin. He picks at Dean like one might pick at a scab on a festering sore. Finally, Dean snaps and starts needling right back. They argue all the next day, about everything—through breakfast, through lunch; about where to go next, what to hunt, the laundry, everything. Sam's not sure when it crosses the line between their usual banter and becomes actual anger, but he can't seem to stop.
Dean thinks they should go here, Dean thinks they should stop there, Dean, Dean, Dean, fucking all the time. It's just as bad as it ever was with Dad. Sam feels boxed-in; controlled, and resents it more than Dean realizes. There's an unreasoning rage rising within him, and Sam rides the crest of it, feeling it build behind him with the force of a tidal wave.
"Shut up, Dean! Would you stop thinking so fucking much and just do what I say?" Sam finally shouts, shoving a hand blindly out at his brother. He half expects a rebuttal, a shove back in retribution, but none comes. Instead, he sees Dean's jaw snap shut on whatever comeback he was planning, and the anger fade from his brother's eyes. Dean stares at him, mute.
Sam flops down onto the sagging mattress, feeling drained and empty. "Ah, fuck me. I'm sorry, Dean. Don't know why I'm in such a foul… mood…. Hey!"
Because suddenly Dean's touching him, fumbling open Sam's fly.
"What the hell, man?" Sam growls. He bats away Dean's hands. "Jerk." He's pissed off, and a little turned on, and there's no goddamn way Dean has any clue what Sam's been thinking about these last weeks, no way at all. Dean's just fucking with him.
He expects a laugh, a crude joke at his expense, maybe a slap on the back and an offer to get pizza. Sam doesn't expect Dean's hand to slip down into Sam's jeans; touching him, stroking him. He doesn't expect Dean to push up Sam's shirt to trail wet, urgent kisses across his navel.
"Dean, it's not funny. Stop, Dean!"
And he does.
Just freezes. Sam scrambles back from him, panting slightly, trying to gather his wits together. He stares at Dean in disbelief. His brother isn't moving, isn't talking, and it's almost as if….
Sam's heart twists in a sickening lurch as he realizes what's happened, his sharp memory playing back the last few minutes of their argument. Unless….
"Christo?" Sam whispers, actually praying for a demon. He knows what to do with demons.
"OK. OK, uhm. Dean, just. Just sit down, OK? Sit down right here," Sam's babbling, and knows it, but he's terrified. Dean's automatic compliance, gaze locked on Sam as if awaiting further orders, is a silent accusation.
"Christ." Sam runs his hands through his hair, trying to think. "OK, alright. Not panicking. Can you talk? Dean, say something."
"Something," Dean says, without inflection, and that's when Sam knows just how fucked they are. He cups Dean's face with his hand, staring at his brother's emotionless face.
"Did I—did I do this to you? Oh, God, Dean. I—I'm sorry, man. I'll fix it, I swear, I…." Sam trails off; fascinated by Dean's slightly parted lips and the glazed look in his eyes, undeniable temptation rising in him. Desire. He's hard, painfully so, and in his head, he sees….
"Dean?" he whispers.
Shuddering, Sam wavers on the brink for a long, long moment. He falls.
Growing up, Sam craved a normal life and a stable home. Dean tried, but Sam increasingly resented the power his father held over him. At Stanford, Sam found himself on the path to his new life—he would have everything he deserved, provided he worked hard enough, studied long enough.
His idea of normal may have changed, but within eight months Sam has everything he could ever have wanted or dreamed of as an angry, dissatisfied youth—power, prestige, the respect of his peers, and more money than any lawyer that graduated from Stanford has any right to hope for before making partner in a high profile law firm.
Everything he wants, except his brother. Dean lives with him, sleeps with him, and obeys Sam's every whim. But his brother, the real Dean, is gone, and all that's left behind is a puppet, an echo… an empty shell.
On paper, Sam looks like any other wildly successful CEO of a thriving dot com. He lives and works at the top level of a high-rise condominium, which he owns. He wears Armani suits and drives a tricked out slate-grey Aston Martin Vanquish (though he keeps the Impala in a place of honor in the sub-level parking garage). He lets Dean drive it sometimes, but mostly he contents himself with having Dean detail it weekly, hands moving with practiced grace along the sleek black lines of the car, while Sam watches.
He has employees. He pays salaries and taxes and provides life insurance. The fact that his so-called employees are actually possessed by demons is insignificant.
It's amazing what the practical application of power and wealth can do. Even the FBI backs off, dropping all charges against the Winchesters. Sam smiles sweetly at Agent Henricksen while the man stumbles awkwardly through a forced apology. Dean doesn't.
Sam's very careful at first; very cautious. He only lets his demons possess willing hosts, and humans who have already damned themselves with their crimes. Sam tells himself it's justice.
Eventually, he allows them to take the ones with nothing left to lose—paraplegics who could not hope to ever walk again, coma victims, and the hopelessly insane. Their families have no complaints—how could they, with their loved ones suddenly 'cured' and on the road to successful careers? They think it's a miracle. Sam tells himself it's practical.
After a while, he stops keeping track. The demons take hosts as they please, and Sam turns a blind eye. Sam tells himself it's efficient, and thinks no more about it.
Meanwhile, Sam builds his army. The demons are his hunters, his weapons, his eyes and ears to the ground, and he wields them without mercy. Fighting fire with fire, he pits supernatural against supernatural, and he always wins.
Sam himself is armed with information, gathered through his website and hundreds of contacts across the states. He directs hunts over phone lines and email like a spider in the center of a giant electronic web and wonders why no one else has accomplished the clean, cold efficiency of his technology-driven hunting empire. Too many hunters like his father and Pastor Jim, perhaps, whose network was limited to word of mouth; friends of friends, and surviving on the fringe.
Meg is one of his first acquisitions, and one of the sweetest. He wonders sometimes at the irony of it, taking up the daughter of the demon that had such plans for him. It's the corporate merger from hell. She watches Dean with hot, knowing eyes, and Sam wants to crush her. He won't. She's useful, and loyal to a point. Meg hates him and fears him in equal measure, for Sam has learned enough of hell to make one here on earth for his demons.
Sam lures them in, one by one, using the dark promise of his blood, the gift of the demon in trade for his mother and later his father. Blood that made him in the demon's image as surely as God molded Adam out of clay.
He commands them, sends them out into the world, and they fall upon the dark things that he and Dean and their father hunted like jackals. The kills mount up, and innocents are saved, and Sam tells himself that it is good.
He limits them, contains them, and they bite and chafe at their chains, but they are his.
Bobby doesn't approve of Sam's methods, and eventually he travels from South Dakota to tell Sam so to his face.
"Are you threatening me?" Sam asks mildly.
"You know I'm not," Bobby replies, and he sounds tired. Old. It's not really a concept Sam has ever associated with the other hunter before.
"I love the both of you boys, and I've done my best to protect you." Sam knows this is true. "But there're a lot a hunters out there unhappy with what you've done. I've tried my best, but most of 'em won't listen to an old mechanic like me.
"Won't lie to you. Think you're a damn fool. I don't like it, Sam. Using these demons… it leaves me cold," Bobby confesses.
Bobby's eyes aren't on Sam at all, but rather on Dean. He is working through a series of reps in Sam's expansive gym, oblivious to Bobby's presence. Sam enjoys watching Dean work out. It's easier to pretend that everything is normal when Dean is engaged in something physical.
"You don't have to like it, Bobby. It works." Sam replies.
"It's dangerous. You're asking for trouble."
Sam shakes his head. "I have complete control. My hunter-demons have put down more ghosts and poltergeists and monsters in the last few months than my father did in his whole life. And while they're handling the salt-and-burns, they can't wreak havoc elsewhere. Just think of it as making them useful members of society." He ignores Bobby's snort of derision.
"And when there are no more ghosts? No more monsters?" Bobby shifts on his feet, crossing his arms over his chest. "What will you do with this army of yours then?"
"There will always be ghosts."
"Still ain't right," Bobby pauses. "What does your brother think about all this?"
Sam grimaces. "Dean… appreciates the necessity." It's apparently enough of a non-answer to satisfy. Sam is always careful not to let Bobby realize what Dean has become. Bobby clears his throat, looking troubled, before changing the subject.
"You'll be having visitors soon, I think."
Sam nods. "I appreciate the heads-up." Dean's movements are sure, fluid. He's currently spinning through a series of flashy looking roundhouse kicks—adapted partly from Muay Thai, partly from Caleb, and partly from watching too many Chuck Norris flicks—that are 100 pure Dean Winchester.
"Tell Dean to call me," Bobby mutters. They both know he won't.
"I'll see you out," is Sam's reply.
He knows that Bobby has watched Sam, these past months. Weighed the good Sam's wrought against the danger his demons pose to the world. He suspects that Bobby has his own plans to set in motion, should he find Sam lacking. But Bobby is a practical man, and Sam knows he won't act as long as Sam works for the greater good.
Sam also knows that Bobby privately thinks they'd have all been a lot better off if Dean had never made the deal to bring Sam back in the first place. That Sam came back… changed. Sam's not sure he doesn't agree.
But Bobby doesn't say it. More importantly, he doesn't act upon it, and it is that restraint which allows him to walk out of Sam's penthouse suite alive.
Sam has always liked Bobby.
It's desperation that makes Sam try demonic possession to get a little of his brother back. He hopes a demon will bring enough of Dean to the surface that Sam can pretend, at least for a little while. He misses his brother. Misses the stupid jokes and the sarcasm and the back and forth banter that used to exasperate him.
He can make Dean talk, keep up a running commentary on just about any subject, but it's not much different than winding up a toy car and letting it go. There's no power behind the words, no soul. He might as well listen to Dean reading the telephone book.
The first demon that tries does such a crap job that Sam sends it back to hell on principle. Meg does it better.
She has the advantage, after all, of having known Dean, the real Dean. And she's been inside Sam's head, inside his body for longer than he likes to think about, knows better than anyone how to fool a Winchester.
Sam ties Meg's current puppet, a pretty blonde thing, to a hard backed chair before Dean approaches. Dean kisses her, long and deep, and Sam can sense the exact moment when the demon leaves the girl's body and enters Dean's. He shudders.
Dean—Meg—leans back from the dazed girl and crosses Dean's arms, slouching just so. A familiar smirk is hovering at the edges of Dean's mouth. Sam swallows.
"Sammy. Did ya miss me?" It sounds like Dean, and Sam has to close his eyes for a moment.
"Don't play games with me, bitch," he warns.
A chuckle. "I thought that was the plan, Sam. This? This is going to be fun." Dean's grin is wicked; full of promise and Sam is aching to touch him already. Dean stalks up to him, threads a hand through Sam's tie, and pulls him in for a bruising kiss. Behind them, Sam can hear the girl—he's not sure what her name is, he's always just thought of her as 'Meg'—struggling against the ropes, gasping and choking in fear.
Dean's loosening the tie, yanking open the edges of Sam's shirt collar. He runs a hand down Sam's chest, working the buttons loose. His hips are rocking against Sam's and Sam groans hungrily into Dean's mouth at the contact.
He reluctantly pulls away when the girl starts screaming. Dean moves fast, faster than Sam, and cruelly backhands her. Her head rocks to the side, her scream cut off midway.
"Please, please. Don't hurt me," she begs, tears streaming down her face. Her face is red and blotchy, and already showing signs of an ugly, rising bruise. Sam wonders how much of her possession she has actually been awake for, but dismisses the question as inconsequential.
"Don't worry." Sam's voice is soft. Kind. It's the voice he's used for years when interviewing victims and consoling grieving family members. "Nobody's gonna hurt you. But you're going to sit here quietly for a while, alright?" As he speaks, Sam unwinds the tie from his neck entirely. He gags her with it, knotting it tightly behind her hair.
"Hey, that's pretty kinky," Dean says from behind, threading an arm around Sam's midriff.
"I suppose you'd know," Sam retorts.
"What can I say, dude? I'm a bad, bad man. Why don't you come punish me?" Dean tugs at Sam, leading him away.
And it's so sweet, so good, to think of Dean wanting this, meeting him halfway, matching Sam desire for desire, that he forgets for a little while that it's not Dean at all, and just a demon playing Dean's body like a musician's virtuoso performance.
But Dean's eyes are coal-dark when he—she—comes, gasping and cursing and clawing at Sam's back hard enough to draw blood.
Later, Dean's curled up against Sam's side, fingers idly tracing old scars. Sam is drowsy and sated, but he misses the concern, the love, that should be behind the trace of those fingers across his skin. He feels Dean's absence like the phantom pain of a missing limb.
Dean stretches languorously, like a cat. "I like this body. It's so roomy. And there's not even any redecorating to do." The tone is mocking. "Can I keep it?"
Sam pushes him away and growls "Get out!" The bitch is testing him.
"Mmm, you're the boss, Sammy." Dean straddles him, kisses Sam lingeringly. "Let's do it again sometime." There's warm breath against Sam's lips. Then Dean's head jerks back, the demon erupting from his mouth like an obscene volcano and swirling away. Sam knows Meg will have no trouble breaking the bonds on her waiting body.
Dean is limp in his arms and feverish to the touch, and his utter unresponsiveness makes Sam weep. His skin tastes of sulfur.
"Dean, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Sam holds his brother close, presses a chaste kiss to his forehead. His lips. His heart. "I won't do it again."
Even as he says it, he knows he's lying.
Sam is knee deep in demonology research when Jo shows up, the first of the hunters Bobby warned Sam about. His copy of Goetia arrived from Amazon the day before and he's trying to cross-reference the illustrated symbols against those in the Lemegeton and the original illustrations from Dictionnaire Infernal.
Sam's not sure how she made it past his security, but it doesn't really matter. He suspects Meg sent her up.
He wishes it was Ellen, but she's been dead since just weeks after Jake opened the Devils' Gate in Wyoming. Ate her own gun. Sam wonders if that should have been his first clue about just how insidious these demon-powered 'suggestions' are.
"Howdy," Sam says, allowing himself a hint of a smirk before he jerks the knife away from Jo with a thought and sends it spinning across the room to land in the coffee table with a dull thud. Telekinesis never gets old.
Dean, seated on the couch and cleaning an impressive array of weapons, doesn't flinch. The guns don't really need cleaning, but Sam likes to watch Dean go through the motions, his hands deft and sure and his face peaceful. It brings back memories of happier days.
"Jo, Jo, Jo…" Sam says, shaking his head. "Nice little girl like you should know better than to play with Daddy's knives." Her face tightens.
"You don't get to talk about my dad. Never again."
Sam affects a hurt look. "Aw, c'mon, Jo," he taunts. "Seeing as we're so… close. Like family. You are here to kill me, isn't that right? What's a little murder between friends?"
Jo doesn't deny it. "These demons? The way you're using your abilities—it's an abomination."
Sam's in a good enough mood that he decides to play along, at least for a while. He adopts an earnest look. "Then what do you suggest I do, Jo? I can't just let them loose." He smiles. "Demons are dangerous."
The irony either rolls right over Jo's head or she chooses to ignore it. "Help us. We have a plan. You can lure the demons into a trap, and we'll send them all back to hell where they belong."
"Who's we? How many hunters are we talking here?" Sam asks, only mildly curious. It would be useful to have names. He sees frown lines between Jo's eyebrows and at the edge of her mouth.
"Not important," she says, shifting uncomfortably.
"Oh, but it is," Sam replies. "How many of your hunters against, what, a hundred or so of my demons? You really think they can take 'em? Even Samuel Colt's trap couldn't hold in that many demons at once, all set on the same goal."
"Then we'll do it a few at a time," Jo promises, a little wildly. "It'll work, Sam."
"Dean. Can you help me for a second?" Sam calls and Dean stands immediately, weapons abandoned on the coffee table. He walks to Sam's side, and Sam takes the time to appreciate the smooth motion of his shoulders, his easy strides. He doesn't greet Jo, just looks at Sam expectantly.
"Dean? Are you…." Jo's frowning, trying to figure out what's going on. Sam lets the wheels turn for a moment. She's so cute with her nose scrunched up like that. Still, he can't go soft just because she's an old friend. Have to set the proper tone.
"Dean, hold this for me while I kill Jo, would you?" Dean holds out his hand obediently for Sam's book, a nineteenth century original printing. "Don't loose my place."
"What? Sam, don't—Dean, help me… you have to help me. Dean!" Jo's backing away, begging. "Christo! C-christo," Jo gasps out, just as Sam yanks her into his arms.
"Stupid." Sam says, his good mood vanishing. "Dean's not possessed. He's just not listening right now." He leans in to Jo, smelling her strawberry-scented hair, and smiles at the little-bird trembling of her racing heart. Runs a hand along her cheek, strokes her forehead.
"Mmmm. Seems like we've been here before, baby," Sam murmurs, just before snapping her neck. He lets her body fall to the plush carpet below. He stares down at her for a moment, thinking about choices, and lines that are surprisingly easy to cross.
Sam retrieves his book from Dean with a light, teasing kiss. Flips open his cell and speed dials Meg.
"Yeah, it's me. Send up two bottles of champagne and a light dinner… maybe sushi." Jo's sightless eyes are staring up at Sam. Shocked. Scared. Still defiant. "And get someone up here to clean up this mess."
Sam puts a hand to the small of Dean's back and leads him to the couch without a backwards glance.
It's early in the morning on the anniversary of Sam's death when Missouri calls (the scar on his back still twinges from time to time). He's been at work for an hour already, emailing out assignments and gathering intelligence from the demons who serve him. There's a vampire nest in Georgia kicking up a fuss, a handful of cakewalk hauntings and cursed objects across the eastern seaboard, and, if his contact is to be believed, a genuine swamp monster down in New Orleans. Dean is sitting on the floor at his feet, needlessly sharpening a knife. Sam stares at the caller id for a moment before answering.
"Boy, what do you think you're doing?" she demands before Sam can offer so much as a greeting.
"Missouri—" he begins, but she cuts him off.
"Don't you 'Missouri' me, Samuel Winchester. It's not right, what you've done. You have to fix it, Sam."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Sam denies. Dean's head is resting against Sam's knee. He threads his fingers through his brother's hair as one might a favorite dog. It's grown longer than Dean ever let it get on the road. Sam likes the feel of it slipping through his fingers.
"Don't lie. You know damn well I'm talking about your brother." Sam can practically see her eyes narrowing. "It's gotten worse, just in the last few weeks…. That poor boy… I hear him screaming in my sleep. He's wandering in the dark. There's no light; no sound. He's lost, Sam. Honey, you have to find him. You have to bring him home."
"There's nothing wrong with Dean," Sam says. His voice shakes, and he hates himself. He closes his eyes. Part of him, the part that is still a chubby twelve year old named Sammy, would like nothing better than for someone older and wiser than him to fix the mess he's made. But it's always been Dean who fixed his messes. Dean who saved him. And Dean can't save anyone anymore.
Sam is not and will never be his father. There's no part of Sam Winchester, adult, that can have faith in anything Missouri Moseley offers.
"Sam, please," Missouri's voice turns gentle. "I know it's been hard for you. But think what you're doing. Dean wouldn't thank you. I'm not sure he'd even be able to forgive you." Sam's hand tightens in Dean's hair, probably painfully. The soothing sound of whetstone scraping across metal falters.
"Missouri. Don't call again." Sam says, and there's a crackle of menace in his voice that seeps across the ether. In a little house somewhere in Kansas, the lights flicker and Missouri closes her eyes in despair.
"I'm warning you, Sam. If you won't help Dean, I will," Missouri promises. The line goes dead.
Sam frowns thoughtfully at his cell for a moment before going back to his laptop. There are things that need doing. He hopes his demons get pictures of the swamp monster.
That night, Sam fucks Dean into the mattress, hard. He knows he's leaving a trail of pain across Dean's skin, rough crescent-shaped indentions in his thighs, bite marks across his back, finger-shaped bruises crushed into his throat. He doesn't care. Dean doesn't complain. Dean never complains.
The next morning, Sam eats brioche and drinks orange juice while reading through the dozen or so newspapers he has delivered daily. He pointedly doesn't read the article in The Journal World about the mysterious house fire that claimed the life of one aging psychic from his former hometown.
Dean eats scrambled eggs drowned in pancake syrup, the same way he's eaten them in hundreds of diners across the continental United States for years. But there are no waitresses here for Dean to flirt with, and Dean's hands look strange holding the Strasburg flatware that Sam favors.
Afterwards, Sam blows Dean at the table, enjoying the soft, needy noises Dean makes as he comes. He thinks it's the most genuine Dean is for him anymore. When Sam kisses his brother, he tastes of syrup and sorrow.
Sam is stretched out across the bed, head resting on the palm of one hand, and naked but for the silken sheet draped over his lean body from the hips down.
He thinks about Missouri. About Jo. About the demons he controls. About his father, and Jess, and his mother, who started everything. Thinks about his brother. He tells himself that Missouri was wrong; that Dean would forgive Sam anything, even this.
For just a moment, Sam envisions it: Dean lightly gripping the Impala's wheel and singing along to the radio, windows rolled down. Sam himself riding shotgun, watching the setting sun paint his brother's face in hues of gold. He feels the wind rushing past, smells old leather wafting up from the battered seat beneath his lanky frame. Dean looks over at him and grins. "Whaddya think, Sam? Just you and me and this highway, forever." It sounds like a promise.
The moment stretches out like elastic before snapping back to reality. Sam tastes bile in the back of his throat. Dean appears in the doorway, naked, hair still damp from his shower. His eyes are blank as he approaches the bed. Sam remembers the way Dean's whole face would light up the room upon catching sight of Sam. Before. The words are out before he even thinks about them, and they are the truest words Sam has ever spoken.
"Dean. I want you to be my brother. I want things the way they were before."
Dean staggers to a stop. Blinks. He looks at his surroundings with that wary hunter's gaze that Sam has missed so badly.
Realization is slow to bloom. Sam takes in the changes, the way Dean's face is etched in grief and guilt and rage. "S-sam. What… what did you do? Sammy—" Dean stumbles backwards, horror writ large across his beloved features.
"Dean," Sam says, and his voice is sharp, sharper than a knife. "Stop thinking so much. Come to bed."
And he does.
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Eric Kripke and others (but not me). No infringement or disrespect intended.