FIGMENT

By: Karen B.

Summary: A slice of time -- A moment in Dean's hell. Dean angst, with a dash of hurt Sam and hurt Dean.

Some parts rated: G -- for grossness -- and F for foul language.

Disclaim: I do not own the guys -- more like they own me. Non-profit dreaming.

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Hell was the dumping grounds for every sick, perverted, sinful, condemned puppy on the planet, and I was stuck in the center. Under lock and key for eternity.

Burning in hell wasn't always brimstone and fire. There were a million different playbooks, trillions of ways a person could go up in flames. Hell's bitches were a creative bunch. Especially Alistair. He's the biggest and best of the game players, always trying to bend my will. His heart may be made of ice, eyes full of fire, and his breath smelling of century old egg rolls -- but my will was stronger.

"You going to spend another day just hanging around?" Alistair laughed.

"I won't break."

"Everyone breaks, Dean." Was always the demon's answer.

Here, at the center of the earth all I could do was hang helplessly. Secured by heavy chains, my right shoulder and left side gored by oversized meat hooks -- Dean Winchester, the other white meat. The only time I got off the rack was when Alistair took me off. Walkabout, he called it. His way of working me over, getting me to conform, join the Union.

"The pain only has to last as long as you want it to, Dean," he said, pressing a finger to my forehead.

Like a bullet to the brain, I would be somewhere else. The beach. A diner. Jamming to my tunes, in the Impala with Sam. At a bar, drinking a beer with a beautiful girl. But the good dreams were always struck down by nightmares. Dragging me back to the rack by my ankles -- kicking and screaming.

Hell was a place of fury, a fifth grade science experiment gone bad, a place where all the forces of evil met and mixed. No, not just a place, but a state of being -- of being in pain. Suffering came in many forms. Not all wounds had to bleed.

Hell, in a word -- zany.

I held on to the only thing I had left to hold on to, my memories.

Ice cold beer. Peanut M&M's. The heavy-metal sound of AC/DC blasting in my ear while drumming my fingers on my baby's wheel. My brother.

I needed to escape, but finding a door was damn near impossible. There was no tracking your way out. Breadcrumbs disappeared, and labyrinths changed course every sixty-seconds. And forget the secret squirrel way -- that always ended waist deep in mud, blood, and guts. No rainbows here. Only dry dirt, dead grass, and mountains of fire. All surrounded by immeasurably high, and jagged volcanic rock. I still can't figure out how dad climbed out. If there was a way, twenty-four years hadn't brought me any closer to finding it.

Hell was like that stupid 'Where's Waldo' game, Sam was so addicted to when he was ten. I was always telling my baby brother, if you can't find Waldo -- his sorry ass deserves to be lost.

"Get a clue, Dean," I grumbled.

If I couldn't find one stupid, little exit door out of the basement -- my sorry ass deserved to be here.

Nothing in the pit ever made sense -- nothing. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the whole place would flip, and shape shift. Even in quiet darkness, chaos never subsided. I was plagued with hallucinations. Figments -- feeding like termites off my own fears and failures.

Today, Alistair had sent me on another walkabout. This time in a dark cave, or maybe it was a shoebox judging by the smell. I didn't know how long I was in the dark, moving about like a shadow on the wall, the haunting tune of nothingness playing in my ears. I did know, I was being stalked. I couldn't see them, but could feel them. Black wings. Black eyes. Black souls. Ugly-assed demons. evil monsters, just watching and waiting for the order to snap and munch on my bones. Dig inside my guts, like I was a box of Cracker Jacks that had some fun chew toy hiding inside.

When I first arrived in hell, I have to admit to being pretty cocky. I was already dead, what more could they do to me? Stupid -- I couldn't hit sand if I fell off a camel. I quickly found out there was plenty more the perverted bastards could do to me -- non of it good.

Flesh flung, rivers of blood flowed, oceans of tortured, demented souls screamed -- me being one of them. Some days, I cowered. Most days, I fought. Other days, like today, I staggered through the lonely darkness, confused, horrified -- one-step, one breath, one heartbeat at a time. Hell was full of regret, and sadness. It was also full of chains, metal bats, brass knuckles, sometimes knifes, but mostly gnashing teeth. No matter the weapon, they were all non-lethal. There was no escape -- not even in dying. No pill in hell could rid me of the pain or depression. No knife sharp enough to cut my jugular. I'd just come back in one piece. Whole again, like some sort of freakish cartoon corpse peeling its flattened self off the pavement -- good as new. The nightmare never ended.

I stumbled and stopped feeling strange, blind instinct taking hold. I took a breath, reminding myself I was a hunter -- could stay cool in a jam.

I whirled about, a huge shadow stood before me, reeking of sulfur, the presence strong and solid.

My lower lip quivered, and my knees shook, my cool stuck in a traffic jam -- hey, even monkey's fall from trees sometimes.

Magically, a knife appeared in my hand. It wouldn't matter, but if it was a circus act the demon's wanted to see -- so be it. Deciding I'd make the first move, I took two steps forward. Dodging left then right.

The shadow spread its arms in supplication. I raised my knife high and plunged the blade into the bitch's chest. The shadow went rigid, fingers clawing at my jacket. I twisted the knife for good measure, ripping the blade out violently.

"Gaaaa!" A familiar cry rained all around me.

"Nooooooo!" I yelled, knowing right away what the game had been this time.

There was a flicker of orange no bigger than the end of a lit cigarette. The flicker grew and grew until a fiery glow filled the darkness.

"Sam!" I yelled watching his shocked face a hand reaching sluggishly out to grip my jacket. "Oh, God," I moaned as he fell against me, his head landing with a soft thwack to my shoulder. "I got you." I held him up, squeezing my eyes shut.

Blood seeped through to my skin, my brother's tortured breaths -- harsh in my ear. Behind me, demon's laughed and joked. The clash of steel and the ripping of phantom claws seeming to gouge out what was left of my soul.

"You don't deserve to be here," Sam groaned weakly.

"Hey, hey, hey." I eased Sam away, keeping him on his feet and peering into his face.

"Dean." His eyes opened and closed, moving from side to side -- cottony and hazy.

"Are you ready now, Dean?" Alistair's voice bled through the white noise of the demon's taunting in the background.

"Alistair. You sick, fuck!" I blurted.

"You got that part right, kid," Alistair added.

"Ugggh." Sam released a gurgling breath.

"Nononono!" I drew Sam back to me like a magnet. "Not real. It's not real. It's never real," I muttered, but it was always all too real -- every friggin' time I went walkabout in hell -- it was real. "You're okay. You're okay."

"Don't lie," Sam whispered, slipping from my grasp, dead weight in my arms.

"Sammy!" My fear exploded, struggling to hold him upright. "Don't move." The air smelled of death. "Sam! Stay with me."I fell to my knees, taking Sam down with me to the blood reddened ground. "Dude." We locked eyes, the heat of hell was like the sun backing my back.

"Dean," he whimpered, his face mirroring my fear.

"Not real," I repeated, but hell would never let me truly believe. "Hold on." I pressed one hand to my brother's seeping chest wound, a wound I put there.

"Ahhh." The sudden touch making him jerk. "Dean." Sam stiffened, his right hand waving in the air, searching blindly.

"I'm here." I grabbed his hand and gave a hard, white-knuckled grip. "Sam, I'm here."

"Dean." Sam opened his mouth, but his constant shivering wouldn't allow the words to come.

"No. Easy. Don't talk."

"D…" his mouth shut hard against the pain, his eyes closing, body twitching.

"Sam." I dug my teeth into my lower lip, pulling my little brother into my arms, his head falling limp to my shoulder. "Breathe. Just, just breathe." I hugged him close, feeling him grow cold. "Why? Why are you here?" I begged to understand.

"You're rotting in hell." Sam's breath was short and strained. "And I can't…" he coughed, his words fading. "I made a deal."

"Bullshit!" A chill ran through me -- no easy feat in hell. "You did not!" I frantically shoved Sam up. One hand cupping his chin searching his eyes for the truth. "What kind of deal?"

"Doesn't matter." Sam averted his gaze.

"Sam!" I raised my voice, fingers bunching a fistful of shirt. "What kind?" I jerked at the material, angry, frustrated. "Better be the Bob Barker kind, bro!"

Sam weakly shook his head, answering, "The crossroad's kind." He looked at me, his eyes -- two empty, black pits. "You kill me. You're out. I'm in!"

"Damn you, Sam!" Blood bubbled and dripped out both his nostrils. "Take it back. Take it back!" My voice escalated, tears streaming down my cheeks. I wanted out, but not this way. Never this way.

"I'm sorry. Dean, I'm sorr….ahhhhhh!" Sam screamed in pain, his head flopping about like an old stuffed toy, fingers scratching and ripping at his face.

I watched in horror as my brother melted like hot wax, leaving nothing in my grasp but a skeleton. Horified, I let loose my hold of Sam's tattered shirt, his bones falling away.

"Friggin' hell bitches!" Dropping down to my ass on the ash covered ground, I frantically crab-crawled backward away from what was left of my brother. Figment or not, I was flipping out. "I'll kill you!" I yelled, unable to take my eyes off the gore fest. "All of you!" I swallowed down the sickness. Pieces of flesh still clung to ivory white, blood glistening in the light of hell's fire. "Alistair!" I shrieked, closing my eyes -- preparing for the dog and cat fight.

Sure enough, everything turned black again, barren, and lifeless. The ground moved beneath me, growling and wailing filling my eardrums. Hell's demons were back, an army of un-dead. There was nowhere to hide. Nowhere to run. I'd tried a million and five times before. All roads in hell lead to -- well, more roads to hell. I lay quiet, ready for the spat.

Claws grabbed my arms. Jaws gripped my ankles. Both pulling in opposite directions. My cries for Sam went unanswered as I was devoured by beasts. Bits of me flying every which way until there was nothing left.

Despair.

Agony.

Misery.

Silence.

"Dean." I opened my eyes. "Twenty-four years," Alistair laughed, yanking on the hook in my shoulder. "That hurt?"

"No!" I growled out clenched teeth.

"I love this part." Alistair yanked twice as hard.

"Ummmph!" I cried, this time unable to hold back the pain.

"It's no fun being on the rack, Dean."

"I'm not..." I panted. "G-going anywhere, bitch." My voice sounding gravelly, even to me.

"That's kinda true." Alistair grinned, leaning down real close. "Only eternity to go."

"Bring it!"

"Now, now, kid. Aren't you ready to get out of the shade, into the heat?" Alistair raised a singed brow. "Just say it. One simple word and you can be the one calling the shots, paying out the boss's dues."

"Stick it…" I forced a smile. "Where the sun shines."

The end -- for now.

** As the muse allows, I may add to this. A series of snippets of Dean's time in hell.-- thank you for reading!