A/N: Happy birthday, Phoebe! This twisted fairy tale is canon, and it's all for you! It's already completed, in four parts.
POV: Dean Winchester
Summary: Sam left for Stanford over a month ago; Dean hasn't seen John in two weeks. Dean's feelings of abandonment by the two people he loves most leave him wide open to demonic manipulation. There's fevered!Dean, angst, and Daddy issues in this one. Also, cussing and Dean whumpage, some of it self inflicted.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em; Eric's lettin' me play with the boys for a while.
Chapter one - and the walls came tumbling down
My knees ache.
No…that's not right….been cooped up in this damn place for days, waiting for Dad to come back…had to get out for a while, get some air…
I can't…I can't feel my arms.
That's not right… not real…
One of the cops punched me in the face when they took me down. Left eye's swollen shut, and from the way my right arm is tingling I'm pretty sure I got nerve damage from when they stomped me.
…son of a bitch…I remember walking back to the motel room…my head felt cold and funny…everything went white…
I'm tied up like some fucking Thanksgiving turkey, and the Brainerd County cops stand around me in a semicircle under a full moon, waiting in this parking lot for the thing they've protected all these years to come and feed on me.
…none of this is real….
They're inside my head.
The head sonofabitch in charge is wearing my face and body and a sheriff's uniform. He looks like Dudley DoRight with the hat on.
"You went on this job a year ago." He looks around, frowning like he just doesn't get it. He waves his hand at the scene around us. "Those were the good old days, huh Dean? Everything was fine as long as Daddy and Sammy were around."
I lift one corner of my swollen mouth in a snarl. "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on." My throat hurts. My voice is so rough I don't sound right to myself.
Dudley blinks, and for a moment I can see a faint red glow underneath the green in his eyes.
The faces and bodies of the deputies shift and melt into something else. Long black robes. Grayish-blue skin like worn leather, silver eyes, rams' horns and scales.
I drop my head when he kneels down in front of me, and I don't look at him directly. My vision blurs and I see what this bastard really looks like. He's tall, taller than Sam, broader. Pale albino skin, short whitish-blond hair, and blue tattoos all over his body.
His eyes flash red and then he looks just like me in that damn uniform.
I keep smelling water. I can hear it, dripping, sloshing around.
"You think you can outlast them?" NotMe grins at me, same damn smirk I use to irritate the hell outta Sammy. Or cops, for that matter. God, I want to smash his face in. "Put up shit like this sad little memory to block them? You can't. You won't. They were old when the earth was molten rock back in the day."
He puts his hand on the top of my spine, and the bastard strokes my back like I'm his friggin' dog or something. I flinch when he touches me – his palm is too damn warm, almost hot, and the heat goes right through my thin grey tshirt into my chilled skin.
"Yeah. Geez, you're right." I shake my head. "What the hell was I thinking? Tell you what, I'm gonna stand up and bend over, and you and all these hell bound freaks can line up behind me, pucker up and kiss my sad little human ass."
I expect to get hit for mouthing off. What he does next bothers me even more.
He ignores me, like I didn't even say anything. And that damn hand of his keeps moving on my back.
I finally recognize the bit with the hand for what it is: ownership. Your ass belongs to us now, boy, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it.
"You're a freak," he says smugly. "Everyone you've ever loved will leave you."
I groan, roll my good right eye. What is it with these demon bastards and their monologuing? Do they practice this shit down in Hell in front of a mirror?
I growl at him again, roll my shoulders, try to shake that hand off my back.
Nothing I do works.
"We're all here to help you, Dean. You may not believe that, but we don't mean you any harm. We want to set you free, but first we have to break down some walls. It's for your own good. Don't you ever get tired of doing everything your Dad asks, and getting nothing in return?"
"All that shit you took from Sam the last four years."
"Shut the fuck up, you sonofabitch ---"
"You took care of your Dad and your brother, bled for them, nearly died for them. And it's not enough. It never is enough. By the way, where is John, Dean? You haven't seen him in two weeks. Huh. Funny, isn't it? Once Sam left ol' John boy just didn't even care enough about you to stick around. So much for loyalty to the Corps. Semper Fi."
"I don't want to hear those names coming out of your damn mouth." I snarl at him, but instead of sounding badass I just sound hoarse. Not the effect I was going for.
NotMe shrugs. "Well, it's really your damn mouth, but, whatever, dude." I see red pinpoints where his eyes should be, and the red expands and grows until it fills his eye sockets. "Let's give our guests a taste of what you're hiding, all right?"
Something sharp and pointed reaches inside my head, grabbing and pulling, and my head rocks back. I want to scream, but the only sound I can make is a choked off moan.
Lawton, Texas, two years ago. Fugly we were hunting was a 'geist with a really bad attitude and damn good aim. I zigged when I should have zagged and the bastard nailed me with a dining room table and a sofa, but not before I got him with that spell Dad cooked up.
Dad's rented a house for the summer, so we're in town until I recover. First day back from the hospital, and I'm sitting in an overstuffed chair in the living room. I shift in the chair just enough to get comfortable, but that's kind of hard since I'm bandaged pretty tight from my chest to my belly. The drugs have taken the edge off, and I'm floating, but it's not enough. I can feel the pain just below the surface of my skin, lurking, just waiting to come back up.
Sam and Dad are in the kitchen. Forget the pain pills, I start feeling bad all over as soon as I hear their voices.
"He wouldn't have gotten hurt if it hadn't been for that halfassed plan of yours," Sam hisses.
"What the hell are you saying, Sam?" Dad snaps. He sounds pissed enough to bite steel in half with his teeth. "Are you saying that I wanted him to get hurt?"
Oh, God no. Sammy, don't say it. Don't —
"That's exactly what I am saying," Sam snaps back. I close my eyes and lean my head back against the cushions.
"You want to keep him here with you. You need to keep him here with you." I can imagine the two of them standing toe to toe in the kitchen: Sam with his chin thrust forward, Dad standing there nose to nose with him, refusing to back down even an inch. "He's your good little soldier, not your oldest son. That's all you care about, Dad, and you know it."
Fuck it, I can't take all these fights much longer. Over the last year it's been getting worse. Sam's hands curl up into fists when he's around Dad for too long, and I've noticed Dad has started doing the same thing.
I've gotten hit a couple of times when I stepped in between them. I don't know what else to do. We're all that's left of my family, and it shouldn't be like this.
I make a move to get out of the chair and my body lets me know right from the start that's a damn bad idea. Chest feels like it's going to split in two, right down the middle, hard enough to make me dig my nails into the padded arm rest as the room starts spinning around me. I try to yell out "Dad" or "Sam", but I can't make a sound.
I'm in the living room, surrounded by that lousy looking rose wallpaper all around. Next thing I know I'm on my knees, my nose pushed up against the floor. My hands are tied behind my back. It's not worn hard wood, it's white tile, slick and wet.
They're all around me. They're all around me…
Hissing, roaring, screeching in the air around me. My brain's slashed with every sound, every word.
…let us in....
Blood runs out of my right ear and down my shoulder.
Fingers brush against the side of my jaw, and I jerk back and away from the touch.
... so much pain in one so young…
"Fuck every last one of you sons of bitches!" I sound stronger than I really feel. Doesn't last though. They shut me up quick. My vocal chords freeze up and I can't even whisper.
They grab hold of me again, and this time when they slip into me my body jerks sideways. Something inside my head comes crashing down, and my knees tremble under the weight of it. My head hurts like a bitch. I'm so fucking tired, I just want it all to stop....
You can't fight us all....
The shtriga in Fort Douglas,Wisconsin almost kills Sam, and it's my fault. I shouldn't have left him alone like that. I was only a kid, but damn it, I knew better. I disobeyed a direct order, and Dad ignored me for a solid fucking month.
That wall comes down.
It's not the one they're looking for.
Sam slams his duffel bag down on the bed. Damn, I've never seen him so angry. "You want to stay here with Dad, Dean? That's fine. You can be his brainwashed little toy soldier for the rest of your natural life."
That wall comes crashing down.
I'm a split second too late to prevent that family in Ohio from being slaughtered. After I kill the freakish son of a bitch I notice that the two little sisters died in each other's arms. I have a
death grip on my pistol, but it's useless. I'm useless. I turn away. I drop to my knees and I can't stop shaking all over.
I can smell water, but I look up and Momma's lying on the ceiling of Sammy's nursery bleeding from her middle. This bad smell fills my nose and I can't breathe.
Daddy looks so scared.
"Take your brother outside as fast as you can. Don't look back. Now, Dean, go!"
Sammy cries and squirms as I hold him tight to my chest. I run, fast, stumbling, and as I run I hear Daddy yell out "Mary!" and my heart thumps too loud in my chest.
Another wall down. The oldest one. The first one I ever....
Oh, God...not...not that one...
I'm sorry...Mom, I'm sorry I let them in...I'm so sorry...
Another hunt, another fuck up. Canton, Ohio. The Gates family, Arthur and Rosalie. Killed their only child, Anne Marie. Offered her up as a sacrifice to some dog-faced Sumerian fug. Dad and I got arrested by the sheriff, who just happened to be Rosalie's clueless brother. We broke out of jail, got there just in time to watch Anne Marie's mother slit her throat from ear to ear with that ceremonial knife.
I see Dad and I stopping the demon from rising, cleaning up the mess. It's my mess. Three more seconds, and I could have saved her. Three fucking seconds. My fault. My fault, not Dad's…
They linger around this one, and I don't know why.
The next wall's the second oldest. Black stone. It's the one I keep adding to.
They slip inside my head again, clawing, grabbing. Holes in the wall now…
...Dad didn't have my back…
I throw my head back, and my mouth opens, and I hear myself making this high thin gasping sound. I'm on my feet again and I don't even remember getting up.
What did I do wrong? Why did Dad leave me like this?
Every muscle in my body is stretched tight, and sooner or later I'm going to snap like an overstrung wire.
I do everything I can for this fucking family, and they don't appreciate it. They never do…
All around me the voices howl in delight, like they know they've hit the fucking mother lode,
I bleed from both ears this time.
What's inside the wall comes pouring out, and it's cold and its hot, and it's pale and red with teeth ---
Dad couldn't keep Mom safe. Can't keep me and Sam safe. I got his back, but he never has mine…
And it screams
Tired of this shit. It's not fair, why does it have to be me all the time?
And it sounds just like me.
I see the way Sam looks at me sometimes, like he's so fucking smart, better than me, taller than me…
It is me.
Just when I think I can't take it anymore, my vision clears, and everything stops. I stagger sideways and fall to my knees. I hit the floor face down.
Every bad thought I ever had (…oughta use my pistol and just take the damn money instead…),
every wrong thing I ever thought about doing and didn't do (She's alone here in the house. I could fuck her right here) makes my body shake.
My heart's pounding away in my chest. If I'm lucky I'll have a heart attack.
If I'm lucky…
I'm lying in front of the pool. That boarded-up rec center. I remember when they dragged me into the place. Tagger graffitti on the walls and the ceiling. No one's touching me, no one's inside my head, and the light from the pool floats in the air all around me. It's a peaceful feeling, and for a moment I can fool myself into thinking that it can't get any worse.
Then another head breaks through the water. When they come up out of the pool they're dry, not a drop of water on any of them. They're so ugly it hurts my eyes just to look at them.
Ten of them already standing around me, and here comes five more of them, standing on top of the water, staring at me. Waiting for a chance to eat me away from the inside out.
Tattoo kneels down right beside me.
"It's okay, Dean. It's all right." His fingers skim over the side of my face and I snap at him with my teeth. That makes him laugh. "We're gonna set your mind right. Make a few…changes. Then you can see John again, tell him how you really feel. And if you do really well, then maybe we can all take a little trip. Go see Sam at Stanford. Show little brother he's really not as smart as he thinks he is."
I want to see that.
Dad on his knees in front of me, all bloody and bruised as I kick his ass. I'd do it slow, make the old man suffer for everything he ever put me through.
I'd go slow with Sam too. Use my knife, carve all those fucking names he ever called me right into his Sasquatch hide, and then rub salt into the wounds….
My heart stutters in my chest. It slows, hitches again.
Have to stop this…don't wanna hurt Sam and Dad…using me…these assholes are using me…
I'll fucking die first if I have to...
In my mind's eye I can see the walls, pretty much blown to hell, and I know they can see them too. Gaping holes in the ones left standing. Bricks pulled out, ground to powder.
If I had my gun with me I'd blow my brains out right now.
Dad and I talked about it a few times. Talked about what we'd do if a fug ever latched onto us. Sammy would always get upset whenever the subject came up, but hey, it's a part of the job. I won't live like the things I hunt.
And if I can stop them, I won't let them use me like that, either. Not against Sam and Dad. Not against anybody.
I can barely keep my eyes open. My heart beats slow in my chest, and I will it to beat slower. I will it to stop. I can do this. They've fucked me up good, but they can't stop me from doing this. I don't know how the hell I know that, but I do.
My heart beats even slower.
The leather cord around my wrists loosens. Whoever cut the cord slashes my arms with the blade. I see my blood splatter, but I can't even feel a damned thing. My arms fall to my sides and I can't move them. I've lost circulation and right now that's the least of my worries.
They turn me over on my back and the first thing I see is this old hag. She's staring into my eyes and I can tell the bitch doesn't like what she sees.
Stop...I have to stop this...
Tattoo pushes Witch Hazel out of the way. He fingers the pulse in my neck, snaps his head around and screeches at the old hag. His mouth moves as he bitches her out but I can't hear a damned thing.
Everything's too light, too shallow…everything gets slower...
I can't keep my eyes open anymore. I think of Dad, and Sammy, and I take one last deep breath.
Think you're so damn smart, don't you, boy?
Tattoo…inside my head……no…
Think you're gonna get off this easy, huh?
My heart thumps hard in my chest, right up against my ribcage. Rhythm picks up, strong and steady, and I can't stop it.
You can't leave now.
No...can't let them use me like this…
You got work to do, kiddo.
Next chapter will be posted on Sunday.