BREAKING TIME

By: Karen B.

Summary: Mystery Spot. Sam pov

Disclaimer: Nothing to claim but my broken down, dusty old muse. Kripke is 'Walt Disney' brilliant....

....I just stood on his shoulders and dreamed a silly, little dream.

Dreamer's note: I love this episode. Probably my most favorite, actually. This is my spin. Thank you always for your time in reading! Be well!

The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and the other begins -- Edgar Allen Poe

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Dean's dead, and I wake back up.

He's dead, and I wake back up.

Lots of blood, and I wake back up.

No, no, no, and I wake back up.

Not like this, and I wake back up.

Please, not again, and I wake back up.

Sightless eyes, and I wake back up.

Stop! Stop! Just Stop, and I wake back up.

Gagging, gurgling, airless silence, and I wake back up.

I can't. I won't. You won't. We won't. And I wake back up.

Oh. My. God. And I wake back up.

Dean! And I wake back up.

It's a dream. Just a dream. Only a dream.

Wake back up!

Wake back up!

Wake back up!

Sam! Wake the fuck back up!

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Flip.

'Heat of the moment.'

I bolted upright, back in the heat of my nightmare -- daymare -- fearfully glancing at the clock.

7:30.

Am.

Tuesday.

Again.

"Rise and shine, Sammy," Dean said the same thing he always said, smiled the same way he always smiled, and laced up his boot the same way he always did -- for the eighty-ninth time in a row.

The room swirled around me like rapid-fire, and I almost threw up. I was a ball of nervous, overwrought energy locked inside a cage of horror. I couldn't take this anymore. Every day, exactly the same. Everything, except the creative, sick ways Dean found to die. I guess dying trapped inside a time loop was like being struck by lightning -- you never could die the same way twice.

"Dude, Asia." Dean hiked up the volume.

My life had been broken down into four segments. A song that wouldn't end, sleepless nights, chaotic days, and gruesome deaths. I was on overload, a breakdown waiting to happen. Dean was here with me every single Tuesday, but I never was so alone. I shivered hard, shut my eyes, fingers tightening into the sheets. Dean's last death experience clung to my mind like tree sap. I could still smell the smoke, see his blue lips, hear him gasp, see him twitch.

"Sam, what's wrong with you?"

"You're going to die," I choked, deciding to get straight to the point.

"I'm not going to die," Dean said in a perplexed voice. "Not today," he assured.

"Yes, today, Dean!" My eyes snapped open, looking straight ahead. "And tomorrow's today, and the today after that. Dude, its all you ever do is die and I … I won't…I can't…Gaw….I hate this song! " I snatched up the clock, and hurled time to the floor with all my might, shattering the radio into pieces.

"Aren't you grumpy!" Dean scolded harshly. "Man! You can't violate motel property like that! What the hell?" Dean was confused, again. "Come on, you love that song, and you know it."

"I fucking hate that song, Dean, and if I ever hear it again I'm going to kill..." I bit my lip, refusing to fall into the loop.

I jumped out of bed, my feet hit the floor pacing. Back and forth. From the door to the window and back again -- back and forth, back and forth, creating my own time loop within a time loop. I couldn't look Dean in the eyes, but could feel his on me.

"I'm to late, always too late. Time is liquid," I mumbled.

"Time is lying on the floor, and the motel owner is going to charge my credit card for the damages. " I heard Dean grumble.

"It won't matter."

"Sam, I can't have you busting up things, fake card or not we can't waste money."

"I'm nuts. I'm just nuts," My words sounding like crazed gibberish, even to me.

"I always thought that about you, bro. Nice to see you finally agree with me."

"Every day! Every day! Every lousy day!" I was on the edge about to lose it.

How could I get this twisted, crazy, whacked out nightmare to stop.

"Sam, what, man?"

"This will never be over." I paused to peer out the window watching a laundry service truck drive away -- again. "I don't understand."

"Sam, talk to me."

I turned and headed back to the door, turned and headed back to the window.

"Sam, Stop.

My eyes welled up with tears, and I fought to keep myself in check. I was flipping out -- again. I was depressed. I was angry. I was scared. I was saturated with guilt and grief. I couldn't stop anything. Couldn't save Dean -- not now -- not ever.

"Sam, I said stop it."

"I can't, Dean. I can't stop any of it. That's the whole problem!" I hissed, hopelessly persisting my edgy march.

How could I find the words to tell Dean, yet again. Each time I told him about the time loop, he would nod his head and look half-amused, half like I was a few chips shy of Ahoy.

"Come on. Would you relax." Dean's voice brought me to a momentary standstill in the middle of the room. "The song wasn't that bad."

Ten paces one way, about face, ten paces back.

I still couldn't look at Dean -- wouldn't. If I did, he might fall through the floor or the ceiling could cave in on him. Or my eyes alone would be like red-hot lazars, burning him alive with just one glance. My life was now controlled by an uncertainty I just couldn't face.

"Sam." Dean's voice was soft, and I stopped again, staring at a blank wall.

How long did I have today to figure this out? How long before Dean died again, and by what or who this time? How much of his blood would redden my hands? Stain my clothes. Run out his mouth, gushing over his lips. How many more times did I have to look into his open, dead eyes. How fucking many more times did I have to listen to Asia? How many more ways were there to try and save somebody's life. I was running out of options. Every time I tried something new to pull us out of this loop I hit a wall -- a wall of death -- Dean's.

"Sam, what's up with you? You're not sick or anything, are you? Because, man you look sick."

I tried to swallow past the lump in my throat. Left foot. Right foot. Pace, pace, pace.

"You, that's what's up! I told you, Dean." I reached the window, stopped, turned and marched to the door." You die today. You were just dead two seconds ago, and now you're alive again, only so you can die all over, someway, somehow, on the same exact Tuesday you always die."

"What the hell?" Dean sounded shocked like he always did. "Like some sort of modern day Lazarus?" he asked trying to make sense of his crazy kid brother. "Sam, what kind of crap is that?"

"The shitty kind of crap, Dean. You're on a one-way elevator to hell, and the cables break -- daily. I'm going out of my head trying to save you!" The nausea was back, I quickened my steps, keeping my gaze straight ahead. My brother might have kept dying on the outside -- but I kept dying on the inside. "Time's broken," I whispered past the lump, that had only grown larger.

"Of course it is." I heard the bed squeaking. "You Broke it." I listened to Dean fumble with the clock, trying to fix time.

Ten steps one way, ten steps back, shoulders tense, hands clenched. How many more Tuesday's would I have to endure? How many more ways could Dean possibly find to die? I was at my wits end and beyond. The real question wasn't how many more times did I have to watch Dean die. The real question was -- when would be the last time I watched Dean die. The last time he took a breath, and his heart stilled forever. How many more chances did I get to try and save my brother's life? Maybe none. What if this Tuesday was his final Tuesday. What if when he died today -- I didn't wake back up to Asia blaring in my head. I could feel the color drain out of my face, and my heart began to heave erratically against my rib cage, I could hardly breathe as the panic set in.

"Sam, really, you don't look so good. I've never seen you so strung out."

I wasn't strung out, I was insane, exhausted, and at the end of time. The lump in my throat stuck there, writhing like I'd swallowed a container of earthworms, dirt and all.

"I don't get it?" Dean said, and I could feel him studying me carefully as I rushed by.

"Someone keeps hitting the rewind button," I explained, my heart beating faster. "I can't handle this anymore."

Right foot, left foot, pace, pace, pace. Every nerve ending in my body went rigid as I finally made eye contact with Dean -- shocked out of my gourd when he didn't burst into flames. He just sat there on the bed with a frown, the broken clock in his hands.

"Dude, you're acting really whacked out." I passed by as he set the clock next to him.

"That's because I am whacked out, Dean!" I blurted. "You'd be whacked out too if you woke up every morning, and every day was the same. Trapped inside Tuesday -- the day repeating again and again and again." I punched the door with my fist, turned and breezed back to the window. "You'd be blind if you researched as much as I have. I've read all there is to read about space-time continuum's shattering, temporal rifts, and the theory of möbius. Everything adds up to a giant pile of freaky Twilight Zoned nothing, and then you die and then it's Tuesday again."

"Sounds more like X-Files." Dean raised an eyebrow. "No, wait, more like 'Ground…"

"…Hog day," I finished for him, my feet tripping over the hole I'd paced into the carpet. Dean opened his mouth to say more -- I took in a deep breath and knowingly said more for him. "No, it's not like the deja vu thing. Yes, it's dingo ate my baby crazy. No, I can't stop it. No, it's not a freaky vision. Yes, I've tried everything. I just keep looping through the same day. Tuesday --forever. The same exact day just keeps going and going and going. Over and over and over. I'm the damn Energizer Bunny, Dean! Only there are no batteries anyone can yank out, and… and .." I took a breath as I'd run out, bony weary. "...And worst of all, the day only ends when you die. Some way. Some how, you die. And then I wake up. And you forget everything. But I still remember, Dean!" I yelled. "I remember it all!"

"Sam just…"

"Don't tell me to just calm down, Dean!"

"I didn't."

"You were going to."

"No, I was going to tell you to stop pacing around and sit down," Dean said, quietly as if he was talking to a wounded bird. "Sam, do you know what you look like when you tell me things like that?"

"Yeah, Dean, I look nuts, even for us, nuts."

"So, I buy the farm?" Dean questioned nervously, picking at the bedspread.

"Everyday." I walked by, wondering if he could smother himself in his sleep with the comforter.

"How?" Dean asked.

"Inside, outside, upside down -- eighty-nine damn times," I growled.

"Huh." Dean scratched his head. "Does that make me immortal?"

"No, Dean!" I screamed in frustration. "That makes you dead! And I have to witness you being dead, and if I have to witness you being dead one more time…I…I…I'm going to jump off a building or some shit," I blabbered, repeating myself as often as Tuesday had repeated it self. I was completely out of breath and energy.

"That never helped, Murray," Dean sumised.

"Murray never had to watch the person he loved most….wait." I shook my head in wonderment. "Maybe, maybe that's it," I muttered to myself. "Why didn't I think of that sooner. Maybe I have to sacrifice my own life to save ..."

"Sam!" In mach speed Dean was up off the bed. "Sam!" He stood toe to toe in front of me gripped my shirt roughly by its collar. "You will not do anything to hurt yourself. Not now! Not ever! If your bitch ass has to watch my jerk ass die a thousand times a day…you will…not…hurt…yourself! Promise!" Dean shook me hard.

"No." My arms quivered, body tensed. ``No, I . . . I can't...can't do that."

"Look, Sam," Dean said in a slow measured way, slightly letting loose the grip he had on my shirt. "There has to be something else you haven't tried."

"There is nothing else." My shoulder's dropped. "Nothing but me…waking up to another Tuesday -- knowing I can't save you." My hands fell limp to my sides. "I can't fix time."

"It's just a clock, Sam. Nothing more."

"You're wrong, Dean. It's not just a clock, it's a time bomb, waiting to explode, ticking down the seconds until I have to watch and endure you dying again. And you leave me. Alone. And never remember. It's…it's…." At a complete loss, I turned away swiping the tears from my eyes and trying to keep my legs under me.

"Sam." Dean brought a firm hand down onto my shoulder.

I turned around. Dean smiled at me, his hand moving to cup the back of my neck. Warm fingers threading up into my hair, a code Dean always used from as far back as I could remember. The simple gesture was Dean's way. How he communicated. Without girly hugs, without saying those three words. The action was his way of saying; 'I am your anchor, cling to me'. And he was. And I did -- do. Dean had always been there, when Dad wasn't. He never made me feel like I should have, when I didn't. Dean always knew when I was sad. When I'd had a bad day at school, when my first girlfriend dumped me. And he knew now what I was going through, even without truly knowing -- he knew. That simple code between brothers was a reminder of our love, and for a few moments we just stood soaking in the embrace.

"Now, who's ready for some breakfast" Dean, always the first to break the code, let his hand slip away from my neck and walked to the desk. Rummaging about he picked up the black bra and smiled, mildly amused.

"It's not mine," I quickly said before he could ask.

"How'd you….never mind." He dropped the garmet to the floor. "It's going to be okay, Sam. You broke time," Dean waved a hand at the smashed remains on the bed.

"Can't be that easy, Dean." I walked to the door.

"Then we go to plan B."

"Which is?"

"I've decided -- not to die."

I nodded. At this point I'd go with any suggestion.

Eighty-nine Tuesdays and I never once thought about smashing the clock -- or Dean's power of suggestion. This could work. Murray's Groundhog Day had nothing on mine.

"Do you really think it's all that simple? Deciding not to die, breaking time?" I asked, feeling a little hopeful as I leaned against the open doorframe.

Dean went back to rummaging through his stuff.

"Bro, I think, that you think, that I think, that you think too much." Dean glanced up and winked. "And you do, Sam…think too much." He went back to searching.

I tried to smile, looking down at the carpet. Maybe Dean was right. Maybe I'd been over thinking. I sighed. Maybe it really was as simple as breaking time.

Bang!

My smile faded as a spray of hot blood splattered my face. I didn't look up right away, didn't want to know, but then I couldn't not know. I'd forgotten about the gun. I raised my eyes. Dean stood with his hand over his stomach, blood dripping to the carpet.

"Stupid," he choked. "Safety was off."

"This can't be happening." I stared at Dean in disbelief. I should have been used to this ride by now but each time I boarded, the spinning just got worse.

"Sammy?" Dean's trembling voice snapped me out of my stupor.

"Not today!" I ran to him and he fell into my arms. "No!" My knees hit the carpet bringing Dean down with me. "You decided, Dean." I hugged him fiercely, thinking I could hold on to him, keep him here with me by sheer will alone. "You decided not to die today," I needlessly reminded. "I broke the clock. So, you're not going to die today."

"I'm okay. Okay, Sam"

I touched the blob of red saturating his stomach. Blood was everywhere, and I was uncertain exactly where he was bleeding.

"You're not okay, Dean. It's happening again. Come on, Sam," I whispered to myself. "Wake up." Tears streamed down my face. "Damn it, wake up!" I couldn't watch Dean die again.

"Ungh," Dean groaned, not taking his gaze off me. His eyes wide in surprise, finally believing me -- again -- too late.

"Please, please! Just let me wake up."

"S'm." Dean struggled, desperate to breathe. "I'll t…try to remember this time…S…Sam… I'll try."

Blood continued to pool sickeningly beneath Dean, drenching my jeans.

Watching Dean die again -- was hard as hell. I wanted to look away, but I wouldn't, couldn't.

"Sam, I won't leave you alone -- just… you don't give up...we'll figure this out." Dean's eyes clouded over. "Promise." He let out a slow breath.

"I promise." The pain I was feeling in my chest was like eighty-nine jagged knives pushing their way out of my heart. "Dean, I promise."

Dean gave a small smile, then slumped against me -- dead -- again.

I cradled him, squeezed my eyes shut tight, took in a breath and waited. For a moment everything was silent, calm, blank. For a moment I thought this might be it...the last time.

But the calm didn't last.

'Heat of the moment.'

Hearing that stupid song and the steady flip, flip of time -- unbroken -- I slowly opened my eyes.

"Rise and shine, Sammy."

The end