The Nightmare Before Dawn

"Sammy…Sammy, help me." Sam sat up instantly, looking around the room wildly and saw nothing. He shouldn't see anything. Dean wasn't here. He was helping Bobby with a hunt. Then why did he just hear that voice? That voice that held enough plea to give him a heart attack. His brother's voice. He looked around the Motel room. Dean's bag wasn't there, his bed was still made and the bathroom was empty.

But he heard that voice, clear as a bell in his ears. Didn't he? He waited. Maybe he'd been dreaming. Silence. Waiting. More silence.

He dared to let himself lie down again, remembering that Dean promised he'd be back by tomorrow. He'd just been dreaming. His eyes were heavy and closed easily. He was dozing.

"Sammy, please. Please…help me." the voice whimpered. Sam sat up, leaping up out of the bed quickly.

Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean! He looked outside. No Impala. No Impala, no Dean, right? He snatched his phone and dialed Bobby's number at lightning speed.

"M'ello?" Bobby's sleep thick voice said.

"Bobby, is Dean with you?" He asked. He was delirious, that was all. In a moment Bobby would ask if he wanted to talk to him. He would say yes and Dean would bitch at him for waking him up this early. Sam was just hearing things from a lingering nightmare.

"No." His hopes fell to the floor with a horrible crash and shattered. His heart clogged his throat and everything in his stomach are turned to ice.

"But, but he was helping you with a hunt, right?" Sam asked, frantic.

"We called that hunt off three days ago. Just some nut with a chainsaw. What's wrong, Sam?" Bobby was fully awake now, fear making him do so.

"Dean's not here. He hasn't been. He said he'd be back by tomorrow…"

"It'll take me all night to get there, but I'll be there soon, okay?" Bobby said.

"Okay." Sam choked. The line went dead; Sam went numb. What was going on? He heard Dean's voice, he was sure of it. Was it in his head? Maybe this was some weird spell that allowed them to talk with their minds. But he was so sure he heard it. Sam dropped the phone, unable to hear the dial tone or anything else other than his own heart beat.

Dean was gone, again. No idea where he was. No idea whether he'd see him again.

"Sammy!"

Sam looked in the direction of the noise.

"God…Please, help me. Please, Sammy, please! It hurts…so much." The voice was soft, close to whimper.

"Please…" That was a whimper.

"Dean?" Sam said, listening intently for a reply.

"Sammy…"

Sam walked toward the door. He'd looked outside minutes ago, but the busted streetlight made it hard to see, and he was looking for a car. He ripped the door open and looked around.

"Dean?" He repeated. It was so damn dark.

"Here, Sammy…Please…" Sam turned. His stomach flipped at least four times. Tears sprang in his eyes and horror shooed the blood away from his face.

Dean was tied to the broken light pole, bloodied, beaten, naked and broken.

"Dean." He rushed to his brother, immediately putting a hand on his face as a source of comfort.

"Sammy…Get me down, please…please Sammy." Dean begged. Sam nodded and went to remove what was holding his brother to this awful thing. His stomach rolled again when he recognized it. Barbed wire. He wouldn't be able to get this off of him without cutting it off. Sam stared at it for a beat, before Dean whimpered in pain again.

"Okay, Dean, I have to go inside and get some wire cutters, okay?" He said, looking into his brothers wounded eyes. Dean nodded.

"Hurry…please." Sam turned and ran as fast as he can into the motel room. He dove in his bag, thanking God that he was too lazy to put these back in the trunk yet. He ran back outside, touching Dean's face again before he starts to cut the wire away. Dean moaned and gasped while Sam unraveled it, wincing as the barbs came unstuck. Dean fell forward when it was gone; Sam caught him with strong arms able to support his weight. He moved Dean into the room as quickly as possible, lied him down on the bed, shut the door and ran for the first aid kit. Questions would come later.

He came back, flicking on the lamp on the table next to him. Dean winced at the sudden change and blinked several times to get used to it.

Sam tried not to look horrified as he looked at the wounds on Dean's body. Savage burns, shallow and deep cuts, black and blue bruises, he was surprised Dean was still conscious. Or alive. He looked in his brother's fever laden eyes, which were bloodshot, wide, and –to Sam's anguish- wounded and innocent. Never in his life had he seen Dean this way. He was so damn scared, so broken. And in such a short amount of time. Whoever did this knew damn good and well what they were doing. And they knew what would hurt his brother most.

"God, Dean, what happened to you?" He whispered. Dean shut his eyes and whimpered, a tear slipping out from underneath a closed lid.

Sam set to cleaning up his big brother, and Dean relieved what had happened these past few days.

***

Darkness. Pure and utter darkness. He could see nothing, he could hear nothing. He felt cold concrete pressing against his back. He felt the air touching him all over, which meant he was naked. He felt the nasty bump on his head from where he had been hit from behind. He felt the barbed wire holding his wrists together above his head.

He had no idea where he was or why he was there, and he never would.

***

The blows were coming from nowhere. He wished to God he could see, so at least he knew what was coming. But that was a luxury that had been taken away from him. Another strike to his face. Another to his ribs, another to his legs, another that barely missed his groin.

They laughed when he cried out. They laughed when he begged. But otherwise, silence. Total silence.

They left laughing, leaving him trying not to cry and trembling in the cold. He wanted something to eat. He wanted something to drink. And he wanted his little brother.

***

He squirmed, trying to get away from that horrible blade, his wrists complaining as he did so. He was desperate, helpless, and at these monster's mercy. He doubted they had any. The knife jabbed at his neck. The blade was removed and he looked around, as if he could see, trying to anticipate its next move.

The icy blade trailed up his inner thigh, making him whimper and try to wriggle away. The knife reached the top of his leg and ran down the inside of his thigh. He screamed, pain blinding him. The man laughed in his throat. He moved the blade back to his neck. He sliced Dean for eons, enjoying every second of it.

He screamed for his baby brother, making the man laugh more and cut deeper. He begged for an end. And when it came, he wasn't sure if he would make it to tomorrow.

***

He couldn't move anymore. All he could do was watch the glowing end of the poker dart toward him and burn him. He pleaded, cried, begged for death, but that faceless thing had no conscience, it merely did what it was told. It burned him and burned him. The pain was so excruciating he threw up, though there was nothing left in his stomach. Laughter was heard in this endless darkness. Dean hid his sobs until the man was done. He cried himself to sleep, unaware that there was still more torture to come.

***

He swayed as the leather hit his back again. A harsh SNAP filled the room. He whimpered and sobbed, finding no way to block this agony. Another stroke of the whip. More laughter from invisible faces in the dark. When would this nightmare end?

Death, let me die, please! He no longer cared if the angels needed him. He wanted peace. Just some shred of peace, some sliver of dignity. But he had been stripped of that as well as his clothes.

Another stroke. Another, another, another, another, another…

It was never ending. That's why he was so confused when it suddenly stopped. He listened to his deep gulps for breath mingled with harsh sobs and heard nothing else. A bright light blinded him from the corner. A door. Figures danced through it before he was plunged into night again. 72 hours of this was enough to kill anyone. But not him. He had a brother to worry about. He couldn't give up.

***

He was thrown unceremoniously into the bed of a truck. His eyes had been taped over, but he was still denied the right to be clothed. No one was in the bed with him, which allowed him to cry, huddled together, freezing. After what seemed like forever the truck came to a halt.

Calloused hands ripped him from the bed and threw him to the rock covered ground. He gasped, the wind leaving his lungs. They hauled him up and slammed him against something hard and unforgiving. The wire was taken from his wrists and he attempted to fight back. Rough hands pushed his arms down with little effort.

More wire was stretched across his chest, wrapping him in it. It stuck in his arms, his stomach, his sides and in one place his neck.

The tape was ripped from his eyes when the truck started. He saw nothing. The headlights flashed in his face and he immediately had to clamp his lids closed.

It took a moment after they were gone to adjust to the bright light around him that most people would see as incredibly dim. He saw he was at a motel. And through the window he saw his brother's sleeping figure.

"Sammy," He called weakly. "Sammy, help me."

***

Dean winced as the alcohol touched his shredded back, burning like a mother. He bit his already bloodied lip to stifle a scream. Sam gently rubbed the back of his head, whispering his apologies. Tears leaked from his eyes onto the pillow underneath him. He wanted the pain to stop. That was all he wanted.

Once he was stitched and wrapped he rolled onto his damaged back, deciding the pain on his front was worse than his back. He was thankful Sam had covered him up.

Sam…Sammy…

A water bottle was tipped into his mouth. He drank greedily, downing the entire thing quickly. Sam took it away from his cracked lips and looked down at him.

"Sammy…" Dean rasped. Sam caressed his forehead.

"Shh…" He soothed. "It'll be okay, Dean. You're safe now." Dean whimpered, his lead weighted hand trying to reach his little brother's shoulder.

"Sammy…"

Sam leaned down. Dean got a grip on his shoulder and tried to pull himself up. The younger Winchester understood what Dean wanted then.

He carefully wrapped an arm around Dean's back, sat up, and hugged him. Dean hugged him back, burying his face into his neck, sobbing.

If Sam wasn't scared before, he was now. How whatever took him broke him like this he didn't know. He wanted to know what did this to his brother. He wanted to find it and kill it as slowly as he could for this. And he wanted his brother to be okay.

"Shh…" Sam said, cupping the nape of Dean's neck. "It's over, Dean. It's over. Sh…"

"It was so dark. So dark, Sammy." Dean cried.

"It's okay, they can't hurt you anymore." Sam assured.

"I don' even know what they wanted." Dean whimpered.

"Doesn't matter," Sam said. "You're alive, and you're safe."

"It was like Hell, Sammy." He said softly. Sam swallowed hard and hugged his big brother a little tighter.

Dean cried all night. And Sam held him. He watched the sun come up and heard Bobby pull up before he realized Dean had fallen to sleep just moments before. And he was glad. The exhaustion had been too much for Sam, let alone for his big brother. Dean's breathing was rhythmic, his sleep deep. But Sam didn't let go. Dean was still clutching him like he would disappear, like it wasn't real. Sam refused to let Dean think that he had left him even for a second. So he held on, resting his cheek on the top of his head, finally allowing his own tears to break free. Bobby opened the door and asked what happened.

Outside, a piece of paper floated away from the motel. One that went unnoticed by Sam in his rush to get Dean untied from the pole. It was written in Dean's blood and said:

Castiel,

Surrender.

-Alastair

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