Dean wasn't sure if it was a question or just stating the fact. Sam's voice was low and harsh.
Yeah, he was upset! He was more than upset... His brother was on a killing spree and Dean was powerless to stop him. He was useless in a time when most depended on. He was failing everyone, so of course he was upset.
He grunted into the dirt as Sam looped a rope around his wrists. His heart and lungs ached like they'd been sandpapered, and the tugs and the dull pain was still too much for him to bear. He breathed shallowly as he waited for the pain in his heart to pass, as if it ever would.
He was suddenly hoisted to his feet and whirled around, coming face to face with his brother, or what used to be his brother anyway. He winced when Sam's hands tightened around his arms hard enough to crack bones and no doubt leaving permanent marks. He held his breath as Sam's left hand dug into the bullet wound in his shoulder, waiting for his brother's fingers to cut into him like knives – something that had actually happened before. But instead, the hands on his arms softened to almost gentle in their touch before releasing him completely. His eyes cut to his brother, bewildered. It was this that hurt the most. The changing. The playing with his mind. The constant transformations between devil and brother.
Standing before him now was Sammy, the old Sammy, and not the monster that had just killed four men. Dean had to look away.
"Why don't you just kill me and be done with it?" he asked bitterly.
"Not yet. It's more fun this way, Dean. Having you witness everything, knowing that you were the one to set all this in motion."
Dean bit his lip, steeling himself, daring to look back at his brother. "I didn't do this, Sam." And this time he only hesitated for about a second. "You did."
Sam leered at him but withdrew his powers. The pull at Dean's inner organs disappeared instantly but instead the rope around his wrists was wound tighter. It was obviously one or the other. Still, he preferred being tied up to having his organs ripped apart.
There was one thing that was good about being Sam's plaything again. Dean was still human and this slowed his brother down considerably. Human bodies couldn't travel in the speeds supernatural beings could, which meant if Sam wanted to bring Dean with him, he would have to travel on horseback from point A to B like everyone, not just zap himself from one place to another.
They never did reach Sweetwater though.
- o -
Dean blinked against the bright sunlight and twisted his hands behind his back. His right shoulder hurt like a bitch and there was a river of blood gushing out of the bullet wound, down his arm. It was uncomfortable...and painful...to say the least. Uncomfortable was also the deathly silence between him and Sam. It was just wrong that brothers who had been allies their entire lives were suddenly enemies and had absolutely nothing to say to each other. It was weird…and just incredibly wrong.
"What's wrong?" he mimicked Sam. "Where the hell should I begin, Sam?!!" His eyes blazed in his brother's direction. "Everything about this…and you…is wrong!"
His brother's lips curled into a smile, that damn little brother grin that Dean now hated more than anything. He expected a comeback, a rush of excruciating and inescapable pain - anything - but Sam just smiled.
- o -
He didn't know it then…standing next to his father, the doctor and the marshal in the middle of the desert, far from home… Didn't know that the body in the ground - the one they were currently covering with dry desert sand was the body of a man that would change his life forever. He didn't know that by burying this thief and murderer he chose a fate one wouldn't wish upon their worst enemy. He was in the dark. But not for long. A year later he would stand face to face with Evil itself.
- o -
"You know, for someone who seemingly wants me to stick around for eternity, you sure have an anticlimactic way of showing it," Dean slurred in Sam's direction. "You do know I'm bleeding...," his gaze locked with Sam's as he forced out the words, "...to death...Right?"
As expected, his brother ignored him, and Dean turned his attention back to the bullet wound in his shoulder.
"Jesus," he murmured quietly to himself.
Dean had been in similar situations many times before and had been through way worse. But this time he was weak to begin with, and with the added duress of having his brother literally forcing the blood out of his system it was pretty obvious that this time was different...unique in a way...and most probably his last.
He felt weaker and fainter and kept slumping forward in his saddle. He closed his eyes, welcoming the reprieve of unconsciousness. He wasn't sure when he'd wake up again, or if he ever would, but he was too weak and too exhausted to care. He slipped into a coma shortly after and didn't notice when they stopped or when his brother pulled him off his horse.
When he awoke he was pretty sure he was dead. The pain was gone – all of his pain was gone, and his mind and body were at ease. He'd never known peace, never in his life, but this had to be it and therefore he must be dead. He tried a breath. Painless. Perfect. And then he opened his eyes.
"Welcome back, brother."
The devil was hovering over him. "It's a rush, don't you agree?" Sam smiled, and although he was devil now, his smile was genuine. "It's exhilarating. You feel more alive. At ease."
It was the exact same words as his but they described something completely different. Dean didn't feel alive. He didn't feel the rush or the exhilaration. He felt dead inside. At ease but empty and numb. And weirdly, out of pain. He was still weak and struggled to sit up, his eyes wandered to his shoulder to examine the wound. The bleeding had stopped and the wound was gone, closed up - not stitched up or healed - just gone.
"What did you do to me?"
Sam's smile disappeared. "What I had to do," he replied. He grabbed Dean by the arm and hoisted him up. "You're going to feel worse than before once my blood is out of your system but this works for now."
"What?" Dean spoke softly, not sure he'd heard his brother right. "Your blood?"
Sam pushed him towards the horses. "Yeah, 'my blood', 'your drug', whatever you want to call it." He spun Dean around, his face close enough to Dean's for Dean to feel his brother's breath on his cheek, hot and oppressing. "I'm your addiction. You're bound to me now."
Dean felt immediate disgust and shuddered involuntarily. "Thanks for the grosse imagery, Sam. I promise to keep that in mind next time I escape you coz then I might turn back only so I can have that blood of yours – or, you know, so I can at least shed it." He received a hard shove in response and staggered backwards, almost falling on his ass.
"Shut up and get on the damn horse," Sam demanded.
This time there was no trouble mounting the horse with his hands tied behind his back. Sam's fingers dug into Dean's waist and then he lifted Dean up onto the horse's back with a strength that no person should have. It was humiliating to be "handled" like that, like luggage, and especially when Sam did it so effortlessly. His brother was sometimes gentle, but mostly rough and he never offered Dean any leeway. It made Dean want to kill himself, and not only to piss Sam off.
Not more than a day later, White Rock was shook by another round of killings. Five people dead, all of them of blood loss. And all of them with a set of holes in their necks. Once again Sam and Dean were stumped because - what the hell?! - vampires weren't real. There were stories about vampires, told from generation to generation, but everyone knew that they were just mythological creatures, made-up monsters to scare little children. Vampires weren't real - their dad had said so and he'd never been wrong. Or at least up until now.
"Smith? Jones? What do you think?" Patrick, the Doc, asked Dean and Sam, gesturing towards the bodies laying on the floor of his clinic. "Any ideas what happened to these people?"
Dean crouched down next to the body of a little girl, fingers tracing the holes on her neck, a grim expression on his face.
"Jesus Christ," he muttered, frustration and anger clear in his voice.
Sam breathed out slowly. They'd seen a lot of shit, were both hardened by a life of hunting, but dead kids always struck a nerve - always angered and always shocked them.
Dean got up, jaw set in determination. "We're killing this thing tonight!"
Sam glanced at Patrick who frowned at Dean's words. "This thing? Do you know who killed these people?"
"Yeah," Sam said softly, regrettably, "we have a pretty good idea."
Having a pretty good idea didn't help them much though. And when two days had passed and they still hadn't found any vampire they were forced to give up their hunting.
Sam pulled Dean off the horse and dropped him on the ground unceremoniously. Dean grunted softly when he landed on his tied hands but quickly recovered and struggled to his knees.
"What the hell are you doing here, Sam?" he yelled furiously. "Isn't it enough that you're leaving corpses behind you everywhere you go? Do you really have to dig them up too!?"
"Shut up," Sam said calmly, eyebrows furrowed in concentration. He held his palm to the grave, to the dry desert sand covering it and closed his eyes. Soon whirls appeared in the ground, whipping up sand in the air like a small tornado.
Dean turned his head and closed his eyes to keep from getting a ton of sand in his eyes and face. There was no point in trying to stop his brother. Sam would do what Sam wanted to do and there was nothing he could do about it. If he tried he would be in a world of hurt and he really wasn't too fond of that idea right now.
It took no more than a couple of seconds before the grave was uncovered and human remains lay before them. Dean looked at the skeleton of the girl – he knew so because of the dress – and felt sick to his stomach. It was one thing to dig up people whose ghosts were terrorizing the living, another to dig up random, innocent, people just for the heck of it.
"Just like old times, huh?"
Sam winked at him as he dropped his hand to his side and crouched down next to the remains.
Dean blinked in disbelief at his brother. 'Old times' wasn't exactly how he'd phrase it. He wanted to pound something, and more than anything his brother, but there really was no point in trying.
"Why are you doing this Sam?" he asked instead. "And who is...was...that?"
"This, my dear brother, is Amanda Solomon."
Sam made a gesture with his hand as if introducing Dean to an old acquaintance of his.
Dean thought his eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. "What did you…? Did you just say Amanda Solomon?" he gasped.
TO BE CONTINUED...