NO MORE

ILLUSIONS

By: Karen B.

Summary: Alternate Universe. Episode 4-21. Never happen -- but wrote it anyway. What could have happened after Sam walked out that door?

Disclaim: I own nothing but my obsessive, head- in- the- clouds, muse.

Rated: A little coffee with your pot of sugar…Blaaaaaahhhhhhh!

When your dreams turn to dust -- vacuum

--Source unknown

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"You walk out that door -- don't you ever walk back in," Dean said, crossing swords with me for the umpteenth time since he'd been back from hell.

I'd come to realize there were two kinds of people in this world. The haves and the have-nots. I was a have- not, overrun by demon blood. I'd gone dark, like everyone had always said I would. I did the only thing left to do -- walked out the forbidden door, turned left, then turned right. Only seconds after, I heard the fast pace of thumping boots behind me. Before I could spin around and standoff against Dean again, something heavy and hard hit the back of my head. I fell, twisting and turning about in darkness. My finger's contorted, trying to grab onto anything or anyone -- but no one was there to grab on to.

Strangely, I woke to find myself standing on a carpet of green. In a lush meadow filled with yellow flowers, sunlight, and smiling people.

I felt like Dorothy, only I wasn't in a house that had fallen from the sky killing the Wicked Witch -- if only ending this war was that easy. Had the profit written me into a whole new story? Now captured inside a Norman Rockwell painting. The sky here was blue, clear, endless. Life was normal, happy, warm and painless.

Sons played catch with their fathers. Flew kites. Swung on swings. Husbands walked hand in hand with their wives. Picnicked on wooly blankets upon the green grass. Kissed, half-hidden under the branches of pink blossoming trees. I frowned, cocking my head in confusion. How could something so beautiful… feel so damn wrong. I glanced across the field of the peaceful setting. There stood a woman in a white dress and long hair drapped over her face. She strolled through the picture perfect painting, the beautiful scene fading into white noise and hazy gray blobs.

Humanity forgotten, I completely focused on the woman. The strong smell of sulfer filled the air. A light breeze lifted her hair away from her face revealing her hollow, black, souless eyes. Eyes that locked onto me.

"Lilith," I growled.

The primitive power inside of me tightened in my gut. Here was my chance to be that house. I raised a hand and took a step. One single step, and my insides turned edge of death cold. Monstrous black clouds roiled across the sky. Followed by jagged flashes of lightning and tornado strength winds. My powers had reached full throttle. I couldn't hold my ability back if I wanted to. Without breaking a sheen of sweat, or twitching a brow, I let loose the chaos that whirled inside -- killing Lilith with only a thought.

But things didn't stop there. Like planets colliding, and craggy volcano's erupting, lava rushed seaward. The evil power continued to flow from my fingertips, taking no more strength then a simple breathy whisper. Like the sun's energy, my ability surged from within, destroying everything else in my path. Fault lines quaked. Geysers of hellfire blew up out of the earth's cracked crust. Blood pooled under my feet. Wind, fire, dirt and water mixed. The energy blasting across the land demolishing all. All, but me. I stood in the center of the blaze -- immune to the devastation. Me...always immune. Always alone. Always different.

There was no telling how long I stood there. Unable to do anything but watch. I was scared, but faced the fire. The inferno grew more furious, the flames fueled by my steady gaze -- frying sunny rainbows and laughter.

The convulsing ground shook worse. My head hurt. My thoughts hurt. All of me hurt. What was I doing? What was I? A monster. A tower of power -- who -- with the flick of one finger had cloaked the world in darkness. Terror filled my mouth, but the screams wouldn't come. Everything stopped dead, the encompassing black-out taking over, followed by an unnatural silence. I was aware of myself. Still there, floating around in nothingness, but it wasn't me. Not really. I was a monster. I'd always been a monster.

In the beginning there was nothing -- and now -- now there was nothing again. There would be no six o'clock news. I wrote my own headline, for a world that no longer existed. It read:.

Sam Winchester -- the genetic freak who destroyed the world.

Was this just another nightmare?

Vision?

Illusion?

Despite my will to know, my knees gave out and I fell, slipping away into blissful, detached oblivion.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It was cold, like I'd been plunged into freezing water. I heard voices -- meaningless jabber over an incessant, haunting melody.

Wump. Wump. Wump.

With effort, I opened my eyes, starring upward. Between the slow revolving fan blades, I caught a glimpse of blue-gray sky. For a split second, I drew a total blank. My head throbbed, muscles ached, body soaked in sweat. I had been out of my mind, now forced back in. I wanted to return to the dark place, but voices coming from behind kept me awake.

"I don't know if we can fix this."

"Something, needs to be done."

"Well, I friggin' agree with that."

"He could die here, Dean."

"Then I'll die here, too. Son of a bitch, Bobby… I know it's the right thing to do. If he keeps doing what he's doing, drinking demon blood…he'll turn into a monster." A sob filled the air. "Sam would do the same for me. He would," Dean vowed. "I couldn't let my baby brother walk away. If I have to slit his throat, then mine. I won't let him turn into a monster. Won't let him die alone."

I heard the heavy metal door slam shut and lock. Everything plunked back into place, shooting through my brain like skyrockets. All hell had broken loose again -- this time the flames of eternal damnation destroying from the inside out.

I had run. Escaped detox jail. Dean had come after me, turned his fists loose, telling me never to come back, just as quickly reclaiming me -- probably with the butt of his pistol judging by the pounding going on inside my head. Here I was, back in the panic room. Resisting the urge to thrash about like a fish caught in a net. Dean, my big brother, responsibly shepherding me like he'd done all his life.

Pain struck everywhere. My fists clenched, and I wrestled for a comfortable position unable to move much. I recalled my nightmare, if it was a nightmare. I was having a really hard time distinguishing reality from illusion.

"Gahhhhhhh," I gasped.

"Sam." Dean was no longer a disembodied voice as he sunk down next to the cot. "You look like shit." He cut to the chase, an edge of regret in his tone.

Dean, never a stickler for detail. He should talk. He was pale as moonlight, the dark circles under his eyes -- midnight black, and worry deeply lining his face. Worry, I didn't deserve. Why did he and Bobby even bother to dry me out? How many people on this planet were demon blood junkies? There was nothing they could do to help me. Bottom line -- I still needed what I needed. Wanted what I wanted. They'd never trust me again. I'd never trust me again. I was changed. Now and forever, changed.

"I'm here, Sam. Are you?" Dean asked.

I mulled the question over then nodded, not even trying to speak -- weak, whittled down to nothing.

I shivered and shook. Jerking my writs against the metal cuffs binding me to the cot, and turning my head away in shame -- unable to look Dean in the eyes. Detox had come in heavy and fast enough to drive anyone mad. The withdrawal was painful, like chewing your tongue off, painful. Muscle cramps, involuntary shaking. Uncontrolled sweating. Being thrown around by the beast within.

Must have demon blood.

Must have demon blood.

Tripping out was the worst. The pain of my hallucinations -- just too damn real. Voices kept chanting in my head. Once, I even envisioned a bunch of feathered birds, gobbling and standing around in the snow. I think I must have laughed like an insane Jack Nicholson. Cold turkey -- sucked, and the cravings would never taper off. They'd haunt me to my grave.

Dean, and Bobby had drawn a hard line. I couldn't blame them. Considering what I had done. What I could do. What lurked inside of me was an evil invader running ramped through my soul. Was destiny truly written in stone? Unchangeable? Would I be the one to destroy the world? I wanted to shrink into nothing, cry like a baby, but wimpy wasn't becoming of a Winchester.

"Dude." A heavy sigh filled the room. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry it went down this way."

I sensed in my brother's tone, he was telling the truth, something I didn't know how to do anymore.

"It's been a while since you've had any," Dean informed.

No shit. My senses were twisted and knotted, whirling around the room. Sweat poured down my back. My finger's gnarled. I had the shakes. The poison fighting to stay inside me. Kicking demon blood was unbearable. Agony lanced through every nerve ending. My weakness tangible. I couldn't so much as squash an ant let alone gather the strength to suck demon blood from a host. If I ever made it out of here, I'd need to be spoon fed the blood -- like a baby.

"Can I take these chains off? Can you lay still? Not fight me?" Dean touched my wrists and I flinched, my body going rigid "Shhh. Relax, bro. I'm tired of fighting, Sam. I just want to help you. The padding slipped off and your writs look like chipped beef."

"Real reason?" I asked, just above a whisper.

"Sam." Dean was quick to answer. " I'm not going to…I'm not going to give up on you." Dean came clean. "Even though you've given up on yourself." Dean paused "And me," he supplied.

"Won't run -- can't." I pushed out a breath, sagging against the mattress and starring at Dean. Why the hell did he care? I wanted to sleep, but kept my eyes open.

"Sam." Dean undid the cuffs and gently began wiping my wrists. "You don't have to stay awake," he said, obviously sensing my weakness.

I averted my eyes, staring upward, only slightly wincing at the burning fizz of peroxide.

"Dean," I swallowed trying to rid the quiver of fear in my voice. I didn't want to sleep, to dream. "Why?" A tear fell from my eye and brushed down my cheek.

I needed to know why Dean cared so much about me…the brother he'd rejected…the brother who lied, disobeyed, disappointed, shamed him, and made him miserable. The brother who was a monster. I tried to talk, but my throat closed and the words wouldn't come. Instead, a moan escaped and I squeezed my eyes shut.

"Because, Sam." Dean's breath was close to my ear. "Because the end of you -- is the end of me -- of our family." I opened my eyes, looked at Dean. "You know that, Sam. somewhere inside -- shoved deep down -- you know that."

No. No, I didn't know that. Not anymore. My hands clenched, while Dean wrapped my wrists in gauze.

What I did know was demon blood was scary stuff -- garbage, and I'd sucked the red shit into my body like it was lemonade on a hot summer's day. The power the blood bestowed on me was like a massive disease outbreak. I didn't want it. Not really. Who was I kidding. The cravings, they disgusted me, but I couldn't help myself. The idea that my new found powers could wipe the planet out with just one single thought, and a flick of my finger hurt to much to think about. Dean was right to say what he'd said, to lock me in this room like a leper. I'd truly changed.

"You're close to kicking this, Sam."

"No." I shook my head, too scared to believe that was true. What was inside of me -- was stronger than I could ever be. It would kill me before I could beat it. "No." I continued to shake my head.

"Sam. Yes, you are."

"Not that easy."

"Course not, bro. It's not like you're addicted to Big Macs like when you were eight," Dean laughed lightly. "Sam, I'm going to tell you exactly what's happening to you." Dean laid a hand to the middle of my chest. "Cas said, if you keep drinking demon blood…you will turn into something horrible. Something I…" Dean pushed against my chest, firm, yet caring. "Something I would…Sam." Dean glanced away.

"What?" I clenched my teeth, already knowing what my brother was going to say.

"I can't hunt you, Sam." Dean turned back, blinking tears away. "Never going to happen"

"Have to," I gulped.

"Do you really think I'd do that?" Dean twisted an anxious hand in the air. "Seriously, is that what you want?" My brother asked.

"You don't know…" I swallowed. "How to fix this," I ground out, my body trembling.

"We'll make it happen. Bobby, me, you. You can't run from me. Wherever you go, I'll track you. Come and get you. Red pill. Blue pill. Doesn't matter which you pick. I'll drag your ass out of the Matrix or any other realm you try to hide in." Dean's tone transformed from soft to angry. "Two choices, Sam. I die trying. Or you let me help you. Help you kick this demon blood habit of yours. Let me stand by you. Fight by your side. Like the soldiers dad taught us to be. The demons, this apocalypse…" Dean shuddered. "Will probably kick both our asses,the worlds too, but I don't care! There is just one thing I want to come of all this." Dean leaned downward. "One word Sam. Just say one word." He pushed his face closer. "Brothers?" He took my face into both his hands. "Are… you my brother? Because I am yours," Dean whispered. "

I looked up into green, caring, forgiving eyes

"Come on, man." Dean's lower lip trembled. "Tell me, now. Just -- please." He fumbled to push a strand of knotted hair off my forehead. "Please. Help me -- to save you."

I felt a jolt race through me. Images of our lives together ran like time-lapsed film. Every moment Dean and I every shared.

"Sammy." Dean said my name, quiet and soft.

"Yes." I wheezed out. "Brothers." I made my promise, lowering my eyes.

"That's my boy."

Dean eased me upright. Scooting behind me, he pressed my back against his chest wrapping his arms around me. There would be no more crossing swords, fighting alone -- locked in empty rooms, holding on to nothing.

We were brothers. We would hold on to one another. Each other's pulse of life -- until there was no more life. No more lies. No more illusions.

No monster inside of me was going to steal our brotherhood away.

The end