Ok, so this story completely overwhelmed me. I woke up this morning and I had it in my head and couldn't let it go so I got up at 9 o clock (AM!! – and believe me, that's early for me, on a Saturday morning!!) to write it down. I couldn't even take my dog out for a walk until I finished it (poor thing, but she still loves me – that's why a dog is way easier to please than someone else I know ;-)).

Now, I know, you might be wondering about my state of mind, waking up and coming up with something like this, but believe me, people who know me have stopped wondering a long, long time ago, so I've given up myself.

I'm posting this one-shot as it is, without reading through it over and over again as I'd usually do. I want it off my chest, to be honest, because it does scare me a bit and I know that if I keep it, I will go all mental over it and start tearing it to shreds and I don't want that but instead concentrate on my other multi-chap for now.

Please bear in mind that I haven't seen too many episodes of season 4 yet, so if this somehow contradicts something already established on the show, I'm sorry. I just figured, however they handle it on TV, I'm sure that nobody could ever forget an experience like being buried alive that easily, it simply has to leave some scars and haunt you forever…I know it would do that to me.

This is my first season 4 story, I don't know how that will go…all that emotional turmoil and the being out of hell stuff makes me a bit nervous…

So, alright, please read and make up your own mind.

Oh, and by the way, I own nothing much, period, most definitely nothing to do with the show, unfortunately :-(

Hit the lights

Dean tears open his eyes only to find himself immersed in total darkness.

Darkness everywhere, and not just middle of the night darkness where your eyes need some time to adjust themselves a little to finally let you see faint outlines, giving you at least ideas of your surroundings. No, there's absolute, complete, pitch black darkness. Black all around him and inside him even, crawling into every pore of his body, filling him up only to push back out again, making the darkness surrounding him even deeper yet.

Within the beat of a second, he knows.

Within that exact beat of a second his breathing becomes laboured, he gasps, sucks in air in huge gulps, only that said air never reaches his starving, panicked lungs, never makes it past the dried up cavern of his mouth. The air smells stale, tastes stale, oppressing, hot.

Dean's never been one to panic easily. There have been too many things he's seen and done on his life to make him scare all that quickly. Now it doesn't take any effort at all to break him down.

He's lying flat on his back, the darkness like a smothering blanket covering him from head to toe, slipping into every crevice of his body, sweat breaking out all over, rolling off him in thick, fat drops, soaking his clothes and skin in no time, pooling at the small of his back, in the hollow of his throat.

He gasps, heaves, squeezes his eyes shut to force the drops of sweat out between his clogged up lashes, willing the burning sensation to stop so he can open them again. Not that it will do any good, not where he's at, not in this deep, black nothingness, but it's the only thing he can think about, the only thing he can consciously fight to do right now.

Open your eyes, start digging.

Contradictory, he knows that, but he thinks he's entitles to a little insanity right now.

After all he's seen and done, after all he's gone through…

The panic seizing him makes it hard to breathe, hard to think straight but there is nothing that can stop him now, nothing to break his stride. His hands, shaking and trembling, he realizes with just a surge of irritation start roaming his body, his clothes, trying to find a match, a lighter, anything. He's sure there's got to be a lighter somewhere in one of his pockets. Along with a paper clip, he's always carrying one, always. Only, no need for fire where he's just been, not really. Heat and fire enough as it was.

So, no lighter then. Not that he needs it, not really. He knows where he is, he knows what he has to do. A lighter is not going to do him much good anyway, on the contrary. Maybe seeing his predicament will only make matters worse at this point. Only that, at this point, after all this time…and he has no idea of what amount of time he's talking about here, but it sure feels like a lifetime, feels like eternity…all he wants, all he needs is light.

True, actual daylight and air to breathe that doesn't feel like it's going to singe his lungs into those tiny, shrivelled up pieces of dog-chow you can buy, cellophane wrapped in butcheries and grocery stores.

The thought makes him panic again.

His hands shoot up above his body, feel for the rough wood that surrounds him by mere inches, that makes it unable to sit up, to move into any direction at all. He finds the surface of the wooden box, starts clawing at it desperately, his breathing coming in hacking gulps now.

He's close to hyperventilating, hell, he is hyperventilating as it is, right now. He knows it's counterproductive, knows that it will only eat up more of his energy, more of the limited air supply in his small, deadly prison, but he's beyond reasonable thought at the moment.

He needs to get out.

Outoutoutoutoutoutoutoutoutoutoutoutout

He hears himself choking, coughing, hacking with each and every inhalation, with each and every exhalation but it doesn't matter.

If he can't get out, it doesn't matter. Nothing matters anymore. Nothing and everything.

His fingernails splinter under his desperate onslaught of the rough yet unyielding wooden surface above him, he can feel his fingertips starting to bleed, his knuckles peeling. He pounds the wood with his fists, hammers against it with all his strength, realizes with frustration and fear that it doesn't amount to much at all.

He kicks his feet upwards, cracks his knees hard, throwing his whole aching, oxygen starved body upwards.

The lid doesn't budge, doesn't crack, doesn't break.

No, that can't be, it simply can't be…that isn't like it is supposed to be.

He is supposed to have a chance…a fighting chance. He is supposed to be fucking strong enough, to make it out… He can't…there's no way.

A part of him just wants to give in to the inevitable, knowing what's going to happen anyways, knowing that there's no way out. Never. That this was the way it is going to be like for the rest of…well, for eternity. But he can't give up, can't just give in. Buried alive…

Oh god…

He needs to get out. Out and away. He needs to breathe, needs to move.

The panic seizing him with iron fists again and he slams his fists into the material above his head and chest, not feeling the pain of scraped and bloody knuckles, of torn skin and swollen joints. He doesn't care if he breaks every single bone in his hand, his entire body as long as he makes it out, just out.

His air-supply runs out, he can feel it, taste it. It becomes harder and harder to think straight…or maybe he hasn't done that to begin with, but the edges of sanity start crowding closer and closer together, smothering him even more, intensifying the feeling of running out of air even more.

He can't even be sure if he's digging in the right direction now, can he? Or, on the other hand, yes, he has to be. The way the sweat is pooling at the back of his neck, everywhere, below him a sure enough sign. The way his arms want to fall back towards his chest with overwhelming exhaustion, too.

This is the way to go, the direction to take. Only, he's running out of time…

The damn wood not giving, not an inch, not splintering. He chokes out a sob, his lips parted wide as he sucks in breath after painful breath, feeling nothing but smothering panic filling him to the brim.

Even if he makes it, if he breaks the lid and manages to push his body out, he's still not out entirely, is still not safe. He's under the surface, buried, feet of soil piled on top of him, packed tight, most likely, maybe even wet, like cement. Even if he manages to break the casket, there's going to be earth all around him, no more room to move, no more however stale and searing air to breathe. He will have to dig his way to the surface or choke to death trying.

He shudders, seizes almost, trying desperately to shut off his thoughts of despair and hopelessness. This is not helping, it's not helping one bit…

But he can't, try as he might, shake the panic.

He isn't going to make it.

Then, suddenly, his fingers, swollen and numb, connect with something, something different in texture, something softer, something yielding.

He halts for a second, instinctively turning his head sideways, squeezing his eyes and mouth shut and trying to shield his face from what he assumes has to be earth and soil and dirt crashing down on him any second now, as soon as the hole he's managed to make is big enough and the weight of the earth on top of him collapses the casket in on him.

But nothing happens.

He claws again, tears at the softness that slips between his fingers, feels it give way and he feels something different still, something warmer, soft on the surface, unyielding underneath.

Now what the…

That isn't earth between his fingers, not the cool, slightly damp texture of soil, no tiny pebbles of sand and stone, no slimy worms slipping between his fingers, no long tendrils of roots and buried vegetation he needs to dig through.

This is nothing like what he was expecting to find.

And that thought, again, almost topples him over the edge.

He claws at it, feels his nails slicing something, feels something even warmer, warm and sticky, against his fingertips.

What sick game is this? What kind of sick, fucked up game are they playing with him?

He has to get out, he knows that he has to get out, knows that there are feet after feet of earth still to dig through before he can be safe again, and be it just for a minute, a second even. A second of safety, of freedom, that's all he's asking for. That's not too much to ask for, right?

The buzzing and ringing in his ears is deafening, exhaustion making him dizzy, that and lack of air, but he doesn't stop fighting, doesn't stop struggling.

He needs to…needs to get out. Not like this, not again, not like this.

Then, suddenly, something heavy comes pressing down onto his chest, a weight so crushing, it drives what little air had been left in his lungs right out of them, pushing him down, down, ever down.

He strains his back, fights it with everything he's got left, which might not be a lot to start with, but it still is something, or so he hopes.

The weight on his chest bearing down, crushing his rib cage and the all too fragile bones feel like slowly bending inwards, giving way, shattering beneath the pressure, bursting into a thousand tiny pieces, his chest caving in, folding around his starving lungs, pressing the shattered fragments of his ribs right into his lungs. He tastes blood in his mouth, feels himself choking on it, shudders from the overwhelming, nauseating taste of iron sticking to his tongue.

They are doing this to him, they have to be.

Trying to push him back down…wherever the hell hell is, in the sense of direction, that is. Dean is almost sure it isn't actually down, as much as heaven probably won't be up, either.

Hell having no coordinates, most likely, it probably simply being a state of mind, or a parallel universe or something like that. Besides, up, down…it doesn't really matter. There's no way out, that's what it all comes down to.

The weight on his chest shifts, then there is something on his face, something warm, hot almost, gripping his face, holding his thrashing head immobile.

He's fighting still, but he can feel the strength leaving his body gradually, not so slowly at all. All the air being snatched away from him all of a sudden and his body becomes heavier and lighter all at the same time.

The panic still there, omnipresent, surrounding him, joining the darkness in seeping into his every pore, into his very core.

He feels tears welling in his eyes, the sensation of being out of air so overwhelming, he doesn't even care anymore if anyone sees it or not. After everything he's said and done, after everything…it doesn't matter anymore. Let them come, let them break him. Yet again.

He feels his fingers slip from the feeble hold they've gotten on whatever is bearing him down, feels something that reminds him faintly of fabric, something that smells and feels vaguely familiar, something that he knows he should be able to pin an image to, slip out from his grasp and his arms fall limply onto his body, slipping off and to his sides.

His back arcs with tiny tremors, his body not yet giving up the fight, apparently, even though he knows it's all in vain.

Then the weight shifts yet again, something gripping his shoulders, hoisting him up, pulling him backwards…backwards? Up or down, alright, but backwards?

Something strong and warm and strangely reassuring sneaks across his chest, holds him up, presses him against something equally warm and soft and familiar, something that makes him feel…save?

He chokes out a shallow gasp, realizing that there is air still left, surprisingly, somehow there's more space all of a sudden, even though that thing across his chest is pretty tight, pretty confiding. But it feels strangely good all the same.

He reaches up with one arm, latches onto the vice around his chest, feels his fingers connect with something warm and strong and safe and home.

It's at that moment, that he knows, that he realizes his mistake.

The ringing in his ears is still far too loud to make out any sounds for sure but he thinks he can hear a voice, low and soothing and incessant, mumbling close to his ear, something about don't fight, Dean…stay with me…just me…Sam…safe…alright…out…free…not alone…save…I've got you…relax…

The sound that tears from his lips as realization sets in, slowly but surely, would be enough to fuel his humiliation for months and years to come, usually, he knows that, but for once he doesn't care if he sounds small and broken and hurt. The sob tearing from his innermost core breaking free without asking his permission but its ok, really. For the first time he feels that it's ok, for now. For this tiny window in time.

He's save, he's out, he's back. Back with Sam.

Sam holding him, Sam gripping him tight and raising him from perdition, so to speak.

Just a nightmare.

And then, like a switch having been hit, the lights come on and he realizes that it's not pitch black, never has been. A dim, yellowish light emanating from the small bedside lamp between their beds to his right, an even dimmer glow from the red digits of the microwave in the little kitchenette across the room. His eyes have been open all along, only he's been unable to see, too caught up in his own nightmare to see what was right in front of his eyes.

He blinks his lids slowly, sluggishly, sees Sam's face swimming in and out of focus above him, his lips moving, his deep hazel eyes boring into Dean's, smiling a little even though it doesn't look like he's really having a whole lot of fun right now. He thinks there might be some tears in Sam's eyes, but he can't really be sure because his own are pretty much drowning in wetness and he chooses to blame that on sweat and exhaustion later on, should Sam ever approach him about the subject.

Which he probably won't, but just to have a plan of action, should push come to shove…

Dean feels himself shake with relief and exhaustion and actual cold as his body can't adjust to the sudden drop in temperature his own mind has subjected him to and he feels Sam shift and tighten his hold on him, then leaning away and for a moment there Dean's scared, actually scared that Sam's gonna let go of him, that he's maybe thinking that that is what Dean wants right now. To be left alone. He sure as hell has told him so on more occasion than one…to leave him to deal with whatever was eating him alone. Only he doesn't want it, not right now. Probably not ever, but Sam is never going to know that, not if Dean can help it.

But for now, he's content with being weak and vulnerable and cared for, all he wants is for Sam to stay and maybe just hold him for a little longer.

He almost panics when Sam slips out from behind him and he tightens his grip on Sam's forearm, digs his fingers into his skin, but his brother doesn't leave him, doesn't even break contact really, just scoots down a bit, disentangling the knotted up sheets from Dean's legs and lower body, smoothing them out and drawing them up over his sweating and trembling form, up to his chest.

Never breaking contact.

Never ceasing to talk, either, but for once Dean's fine with that too. Sam's voice, even though he can only make out bits and pieces of what is being said, keeping him centered, keeping him real. Keeping him away from the darkness, the dream or memory or whatever it was.

Doesn't matter, really.

He is safe.

Has dug his way out of hell. Again.

The last time, he's done it all by himself.

This time, Sam the one doing the saving.

And he's more than fine with that.

The end

AN:

Now, I know it's a bit emo and maybe not entirely in character, but it's fiction…and I would love to see something like this on the show once, even though I know it's never going to happen most likely.

I've tried writing this a little differently, I usually don't write in present tense, but this is the way it popped into my head, so who am I to fight myself, right?

Hope you could still read without getting sick with mistakes in spelling or tenses.

If you didn't like it: I'm sorry I stole your time, hope it isn't going to scar you forever!

If you did like it, be kind enough to leave a review, if you have the time.

Either way, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night/weekend!

Take care.