By Alone Dreaming

Rating: T or PG-13 for language and blood

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. If I did, this would not be under fanfiction.

Warnings: Language, gore, and, generally, a little bit of a trippy, continued metaphor that borderlines on crazy.

Author's Note: This is an AU picking up directly after Old Yellow Eyes takes a hike at the end of Devil's Trap. I have the intention of continuing it but cannot promise anything. It has a few chapters written but I'm not exactly sure where it's going (except down the unused path of weirdness) and why it's going that way. But, regardless, please enjoy and take mistakes with a grain of salt as I do my own betaing and I tend to miss things. A lot.

He's bleeding out on the floor and his little brother's shot his dad and his dad's so pissed that he's trying to get up on a busted leg.

Today is not his day.

Something's broken inside of him and he's not just referring to the internal contusions that have him choking blood into a congealing puddle on the floor. No, this is completely mental, uninvolved with his slowly failing body. There's a lever called, 'care' in his brain which has been flicked into the off position and then snapped clear way from the workings to prevent further change. It allows his exhausted body to settle instead of forcing him into concern over their situation or worry for either of his family members. For once in his life, he doesn't give half a shit about what happens. He spent his last bit of his emotional energy begging for his brother not to kill his father; and, maybe, he would've found some sort of replenishment if he hadn't seen the longing in Sam's eyes to pull the trigger.

Or, of course, if he had thought the tears running down his dad's face had anything to do with the fact his eldest son was dying. Because, as of right now, as Sam tries to keep their dad from getting up and his dad curses like the proverbial sailor, he knows that he's dying. There's a chill that's creeping from the wounds in his chest and enveloping the rest of his body, dragging him down to the dusty, blood covered floor. Without any drive to survive, it's all happening rather quickly and distantly; he's watching it like a movie, only missing out on the soda and popcorn. Sam's snarling something at Dad and Dad's snarling back as he tries to get his belt off. 'Tourniquet,' he thinks. 'Good idea.'

A tourniquet won't do him much good. Apparently, it doesn't work as well with ones abdomen as it does with limbs.

Knock, knock. On his chest; it says it's his heart and it wants to speak to him about the mistreatment it's suffered. Something about not reading the fine print about a cessation of work should the heart, again, come under severe physical damage. Section seven point twelve, Z, asterisk seventeen, down at the bottom; it says he should've read more closely after the episode with the electrocution. Not to mention, it continues, he should've remembered the whole drain of will. After all, he'd gone through that a few months after Sam had gone to Stanford; didn't he recall the hours of feeling empty, hollow, abused, lost? Couldn't he still feel the loneliness of sitting in an empty room? Didn't he remember the last time, how he said he'd never let it happen again? Didn't he remember that last time, he'd not been injured, and, still, had felt the closing of the walls?

Yes, he recalls all too well as the sticky warmth soaks his shirt. He apologizes to his heart pattering in his chest and to his brain which spasms with emotion and then drops to agonizing nothingness. His fault; he's sorry. Well, sorry's not going to cut it, his heart tells him as it speeds up. Not this time. Too late. Contract signed. He's on his way out. And, this time, he agrees with it. He's screwed up again, and now, it's time to deal with consequences.

"Dean?" Sam's moved out of the warpath as Dad hobbles towards the car. "Shit, Dean."

How long's passed since the Demon fled? Not that he really cares but if he's going to follow this drama to it's end, he needs to have a set sequence of events. His lips refuse to offer the question and he doesn't have any awesome psychic powers to boost his thoughts. Hell, his eyes won't even obey him; they just hover at half mast, twitching to the knock, knockof his heart.

"God, you're really bleeding," Sam mutters, his hands hovering close. "Oh shit."

Bad dialogue, he tells his brain which sits drooling next to him. Every now and again, it switches on long enough to tell him he's really, really hurting. But it's too degraded to do much else so it just lolls there, half-conscious, while he stares out at nothingness. It doesn't process that Sam has him under the arms until his stomach comes to read him the riot act. It replaces his heart, which has, begrudgingly, agreed to take his apology and repentance. Hurts, hurts, hurts, it chants. You're gonna puke all down his shirt. Gonna puke. Gonna puke. Gonna puke!

"No, no," Sam corrects. "No, you're gonna be okay. Just try to hang in there. The hospital's really close. Really, really close."

Puke, puke, puke, puke, Stomach mumbles. Puke. And he does, but it's mostly water mixed with bodily fluids. He notes, with the distant interest of an audience member, that there's a lot of blood in there with it. His brain, in a moment of clarity, gives him a blinding flash of pain in his head but then slouches back to it's original position of retardation.

"Shit," Sam repeats. "Shit, shit, shit."

The world tilt-a-whirls like a J. J. Abrams film and things get hard to follow for a moment. There's the cabin roof, then the floor, then the window; he sees salt on the ground and then he's on the ground, with salt in his wounds. Someone's screaming—what the hell? It's not like there's a big fucking monster coming at them from the fog!—while someone else tries to stop the noise. Too much for him, really; he likes a good action flick but honestly, this is just confusing. He has no point of reference, no plot line, nothing but his half-decimated consciousness, a few complaining organs and a nervous system that has shut down; oh, and a set of emotions which have been pulverized so that they are a fine powder, slipping away into the wind.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Sam whispers and his face is ridiculously close. It's bruised, molted, ugly; the entire one side of it is so swollen that the eye's almost shut. He wants to ask the cameraman to pull back, but there's no one to talk to so he must endure. "It's going to be okay."

Then Sam vanishes in a puff of black smoke, leaving only the ceiling which continues to rotate. Maybe he's become a ceiling fan, attached to the roof, forever forced to stare at it and miss the happenings on the ground. Not much worse than his current existence, he decides, and elbows his brain. His brother's a freak, his dad doesn't care and he's about two inches from meeting whatever's on the other side; he hasn't really prepared himself too well, either, and if Christian standards are accurate, he thinks he may be doing the Cell Block Tango down under.

"Let's try again," Sam's voice whispers in his ear. "You gotta help me out here, Dean. That's it," what does he need to do? Clap? I do believe in faeries, Sam. Just thought I eradicated the last nest of them a few years ago. "One step at a time."

His position changes so he can see out the door. His ears are very particular about what they are letting him hear, introducing static whenever they feel convenient to block out Sam and honing in on the distant, inconsequential noises coming from the woods. There's crickets and woodland creatures whining, competing only with a low purring. He knows that noise almost as well as the criss-cross tap-dance of his heart—knock, knock, knock—and loves it more than his pulse. The only thing he can trust to not abandon him makes that sound; it's his baby, his beauty, his gorgeous girl, all worn leather and seamless black paint. He can't see her because his head's tilted up towards the sky, but he knows she's there. He's cheering her on, throwing insults at the other characters on screen, because she's the sex appeal and the hero.

His mind dribbles a bit.

Someone else is nearby. He knows it, suddenly, without sensing it physically. Sam, who's lingering, supporting, dragging his camera along, doesn't know but he can tell. The creepy, foreshadow music has begun and if any little girls sat with him in the audience, they would be screaming their asses off.

"Goddamn it, Sam," the other person snarls.

Sam, off-screen. "Just get in the fucking car, Dad. We don't have time for this!"

Yeah, right, you don't! He cheers on Sam, momentarily, until the view changes to the Impala's roof. Because, the moment his body comes in contact with the leather seats and his head props up against a warm, soft, moving surface, his brain kicks into overdrive. It shoots up, spazzes out, and runs tight circles around the nearest illusory table, screaming about wild monkeys and disco and orange M&Ms. It bounces into walls, jolting his whole body from his head to his toes, blurring and blackening his vision until he's mixing up darkness with fading light. His stomach stomps its foot in aggravation and his old ticker has come back to the door, its glasses pushed up on its geeky lawyer nose. Sir, it says grimly, if you do not get your animal under control, we will have to ask you to vacate the premises. But I thought I already was on the way out, he replies. How can it hurt?

"Easy, son," the demon says. "Easy." And then, it growls at Sam but he cannot understand it through the static.

And Sam, whatever his reply, clearly does not notice that it's back like he has. But maybe, Sam can't hear the doom music ringing through the car. He's like the skinny-dipping chick from Jaws, unaware that the big, friggin' shark is about to tear him to shreds. No matter how much Dean shouts at the screen, it won't save Sam.

And what's funny, funny enough that he laughs, is he doesn't care. At all. He just wants popcorn so he can munch a bit.

"I've got you, Dean," it whispers in a parody of his father's voice. "Just hang in there. Look at me, boy. I need you to look at me."

He closes his eyes instead, not wanting to see the loathing in the yellow irises, not wanting this movie to go from thriller to alien invasion. Already, he's getting a mixture between The Exorcist and Body Snatchers, his dad already taken over, his brother a close second and him viewing it all through the looking glass. Something wraps securely around his face—he can almost feel it—and fingers try to pry open his lids. He catches a glimpse of the ceiling of the Impala, then darkness, a moment of its face (is he wrong to think it may be concerned?), then the inside of his head, the shadows of headlights and other cars, then, nothing.

Knock, knock, His heart's impatient during intermission while his brain has curled up in the corner, twitching occasionally, but no longer frantically tearing the walls. Knock, knock. It shoves it's glasses up it's nose and tells him if it had known the show would be so long, it would not have had him watch it. After all, he needs to leave, and it would not be fair for him to leave half-way through it, but it'll force him if this takes much longer. He sighs, gives it the finger and then, it's back.

"What the hell—John?"

He's viewing the Impala, her backseat, his face pressed against leather. The demon's gone, Sam's gone and he's alone, waiting for something to happen. Poor way to open act two, he criticizes, unless something's about to jump out and cause a ruckus. As though directly responding to him, the door opens and voices follow.

"Shit, John, he needs a hospital." Rumble, rumble. "Goddamn it, I am a doctor, not a miracle worker. The boy's going to die unless you get him to a—"

Sam's puppy dog, Frankenstein face comes into view and the Impala vanishes. There's the sky, cloudless, starry; good night for a salt and burn, he thinks dreamily. And it's a bit like a dream, because he can't hear anything clearly anymore. It's all faded into a distant mumbling as he drifts about in the night, trying to touch the moon. He can pick out constellations—mostly, because of some mythology he read up on when self-hunting—and can be awed by how big it all is. For a moment, all the complaints stop, all that's left is millions of stars, the sky and him.

It all comes to a sudden, screeching, gasping halt; he can feel something solid underneath him and the camera's gone blurry. Bad job, he shouts, I want my money back. He was promised so much better when he bought in—where the hell is the warranty for it? If he was Sam, he would've filed it away so he could find it later and insist on receiving compensation for a bad product. Sam always did stupid shit like that, from the time they were little. He remembers one Christmas, after his new tape player puttered out two days after he got it, Sam brought out the warranty and marched down to get a new one. He was five.

Suddenly, he wants to see Sam's goofy face again, wishes the camera would clear so that he could tell Sam not to worry about demanding a replacement. But the movie screen's a greyish white, fading to black and his ears are full of cotton. It must've ended while he wasn't looking, he decides. He missed the last moment. His heart's picking up its suitcase and moving towards the exit marked in glowing red letters, his mind's turned into a puddle on the ground, and his stomach has deflated like a balloon. In turn, he drops down, heavy, exhausted and uncaring.

"There's not even any M&Ms," he mumbles.

And the theatre vanishes.