PLEASE READ THIS... it's kind of important!
Warnings: Before you move any further, let me tell you what this story will bring. There will be sexual assault of the supernatural-male variety; there will be male-pregnancy (of sorts); there will be character death (but given that this is set in season 3, you can pretty much guess who its going to be) and there will be much angst and swearing and general misery. This is not a tale for kids... this is not a tale for the squirmy.
With that being said, let me tell you what this story IS about. Its about dreams, and nightmares; its about hope and wishes; its about love and lost.
The whole idea of doing something of the m-preg variety came from Farscapefan, a wonderfully generous fan who decided to donate to the Doctors Without Borders cause. In return, I promised to write whatever she wanted. I have to say, she presented me with quite the challenge. For those of you who have ever read any of my stories, you know that this is as far off from my usual turf as it can get :O) ... Which is the same as saying that I'm having a blast pushing myself beyond my comfort zone!
I've read a couple of m-preg stories before. I have to be honest, I didn't like them all that much. Men and pregnancy simply do not mingle in my mind and either Dean or Sam actying all hormonal and lady-like... not my cup of tea. And then I heard the tale of Sanju Bahagat, an Indian man who carried the body of his twin brother inside of him for 36 years, and I thought... wait a tic! I think I can pull this off in a believable and very different way from what I've seen so far.
So, there popped along Darkest Side of Black.
Because of the fact that I'll be busy writing my Big Bang story for the next couple of months, the updates of this story won't be as fast as my previous stories. So far, I have around 4 to 5 chapters of it ready to go, chapters that I will try to spread evenly through that time, so that there is, at least, one update a month.
To my beta, Jackfan2, my undying gratitude, because despite the fact she's not the biggest fan of this genre, she still stayed at my side. All remaining mistakes are, of course, mine.
DARKEST SIDE OF BLACK
It wasn't exactly a bucket list, mainly because Sam would flip if he ever heard Dean call it a bucket list, but it was a checklist of things Dean wanted to do before the hellhounds came knocking. Just in case.
So, Dean had his inventory, a secret one from where he would occasionally cross out an item. In it were the more usual, normal things that he could actually do if he'd take the time to do them, like visit the Grand Canyon; or check into a five star, honest-to-god, all the fuzz and gush, hotel. In it were the other normal things, things that everyone took for granted and that he would never get to do, like growing old or have a kid.
Other items weren't normal at all. Like hunting a Chupacabra.
As far as hunting went, Chupacabras weren't even that much of a big deal; just your run-of-the-mill, mutant animal sucking the blood of some farmers' unsuspicious livestock. Usually, hunters –their kind of hunters- didn't bother much with hunting the things, which was why neither Sam nor Dean had ever even seen one.
John made some vague mentions of hunting one, back in the day, when Dean was still too young to go on hunts with him, but the whole thing was hardly worthy of a half-page in his journal.
When Dean mentioned that they should hunt one, Sam had eyed him at length, eyes squinting in what was probably meant to be a do-not-bullshit-me gaze, but ended up looking like a bad case of stomachache. Inevitably, though, the sour look dissolved into one of agreement because yes, it would be fun to hunt something that wasn't likely to hunt them back and that was as far from demons and their shenanigans as one could possibly get.
Of course, it hadn't hurt that a Chupacabra had been sighted on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert, which provided Sam with a not-so-inconspicuous-as-he-thought alibi to arrange a meeting with one of the few Cahuilla Indians living outside a reservation. It was also just their luck that this particular Native American man happened to be an expert where it came to deals with supernatural beings.
In fact, it had been Dean's unplanned snooping around of his brother's computer and his stumbling across a reference to the Mojave that had clued him in on the existence of the Chupacabra sightings and where to go next.
In the end, both brothers were a bit unclear on who had tricked whom. Which made the fact that they were now both baking under the hot sun, in the Mojave Desert, in the middle of September, while standing guard over a stuffed lamb, their own collective fault.
"This is stupid," Dean let out, taking off the blue bandana he had over his head to protect his boiling brain, and used it to wipe the sticky sweat trickling down his face and neck.
"This was your idea," Sam reminded him, looking progressively red under his white shirt and gray bandana. Seeing Dean wipe out his sweaty neck was enough to compel Sam to run his sleeve over his own face, uselessly taking out the dampness that would take about five seconds to pool all over again.
Dean took a swing out of his lukewarm water bottle to avoid taking a swing at his brother. Not that Sam was completely without reason.
According to what they'd dug up and the few notes in dad's journal, the way to catch a Chupacabra was by luring it in with bait, usually a lamb or a goat, the things' favorite nibbles, and then cut off its head.
Dean had flat out refused to take a live animal into the middle of the desert, only to tie it to a post and wait to die. And no matter how much Dean said it was because of the mess the animal would make in his car, Sam knew better.
So, they'd tried the Winchester's version of Chupacabra bait: a stuffed, big assed fake lamb, covered in the real thing's blood, tied to a wooden stake –that would usually be serving as a zombie nail- and stuck on top of a dune. Lore didn't said much about it, but they were hoping that the Chupacabra would be near-sighted enough to not tell the difference until it was too late.
Either the Chupacabra had better eyes than what they'd given it credit for, or it was just too damn hot for it to come out and play.
Dean was starting to believe that out of the three of them, the mutant supernatural beast sucking on goats' necks might've been the smart one.
No matter how much water they drank, the feeling of sand down their throats never seemed to wane. It was like a direct link had been established between their mouths and their skin and everything they drank leaked out almost immediately without spending time enough inside to quench their thirst.
They were tired, cranky, achy and on the downhill side of a very bad sunburn, even though Dean could still sort of see the white wisps of sunscreen that Sam had applied abundantly over his nose. If he crossed his eyes hard enough, Dean could see the same white mess on his nose too.
Dean tried to stop himself from smiling at the memory. It was one more to add to his growing collection; the collection that he would never admit to, because it was massively girly and emo, but that was his none-the-less. And like the bucket list that wasn't a bucket list at all, Sam would never hear a whisper about the 'moments' collection'.
Like a coin collector, Dean was gathering all those moments and feelings and carefully setting them apart, perfectly safe in little pockets of memory, conserved for eternity. Those small events that were a part of their day-to-day routine and meant nothing more than brothers being brothers, of family acting as family, but that were, in the gloomy shadowing of his future as Hell's tenant, becoming more and more precious.
Moments when he could look after Sam and not have his brother bitch about it; moments when Sam tried to look out for him and Dean could bitch endlessly.
Like the small matter of putting on sun block before leaving the motel that morning. Dean had teased Sam endlessly because of it, claiming that, as long as they were at it, they should break out the nail polish and curl out their hair. Sam had put on his bitch face, along with generous portions of the white cream stuff on his face, warning Dean about the dangers of being mistaken for a lobster in a hungry crowd; Dean had teased about nail polish and looking pretty, but had been forced to concede the point when Sam threw a glob of the stuff at his face anyway. If anything, Sam had very good arguments.
For a couple of minutes, before grabbing their guns and their fake, stuffed lamb and driving off into the desert to kill one more monster, they had laughed and been silly, having a Winchester equivalent of a cream pie fight. The sunscreen tube had been utterly useless afterwards, but it had been fun while it lasted.
Like most times, adding one more happy memory to his stock sent Dean in a downright spiral of concern and depression, reminding him why he was doing it and what would happen afterwards.
In just a matter of months, Dean would be dead and there would be no one around to keep Sam grounded.
Dean was perfectly aware that his brother could take care of himself and survive on his own. Hell! On some days, Sam could take care of them both better than Dean ever could.
He could survive on his own. But he couldn't live alone.
Dean had seen the consequences of the months Sam had spent alone, hunting on his own, believing that Dean was dead already, courtesy of the trickster.
In the following weeks after leaving Broward County and the mystery spot behind, Dean could easily see through his brother's struggle to reconnect with his emotions, to reengage his feelings and stop being the cold and detached man that he had been thus far.
Something very crucial and human had broken inside Sam when he was left alone, something that changed him into a much worse version of the destructive and obsessed hunter that their father had been.
Bobby would be there for him, Dean also knew that. But Bobby was like a solid rock while Sam was more like an angry ocean. Sam would occasionally cross paths with the older man, but he would never stick around long enough to let himself be comforted and grounded.
Sam needed someone with him, someone to take care of and to keep his heart rooted and bleeding. Without his bleeding heart, Sam wasn't Sam.
Dean needed to stay with Sam, but he was the only one who couldn't.
"I say we call it a day and try to get this sucker at night. I don't care what lore says about them hunting only by day... there's no way that mother is doing any work in this dam-"
Dean cut himself short. The desert was surprisingly noisy, something that he hadn't expected. Small animals, invisible for the most part, scurried around, minding their own business and producing a low-grade cacophony of sound; dry bushes bounced to the whims of the wind, producing raspy sounds of their own; and the birds, eagles and vultures for the most part, soaring above in turns and cackling amongst each other.
The silence that suddenly settled all over that part of the desert was massive in its intrusion and wrongness.
Dean looked at his brother, searching his face to see if the geek in Sam had some answer for what the hell was going on or if he was just as clueless as Dean. The way Sam's eyes grew wide before his mouth slowly dropped open told of some really fucked up shit happening somewhere behind Dean. He couldn't help but turn and see for himself.
It was like the ground had reached up to touch the sky and the world had suddenly turned yellow from top to bottom.
It was more instinct than strategy, the way both Sam and Dean's hands reached for each other, fingers convulsing around the other's wrist, grabbing on to the only thing around that could provide any sort of solid shelter.
"Dean..." Sam whispered, his eyes still fixed on the rapidly approaching menace, unable to unglue his gaze from it for even one second. And it wasn't like he needed to look at his brother to know that he was there and that neither of them was going anywhere.
The car was parked at least two miles away, where the sorry excuse for a road around those parts, ended. The gargantuan wall of sand was moving too fast; there was no way they could make it to the car in time.
The wood post that they'd pounded into the sandy ground and strapped the fake lamb to, was barely standing on its own and would be of absolutely no use if they tried to use it as an anchor.
Dean's only answer was to grasp his fingers tighter around his brother's cotton shirt and pull them both down. The smaller the body surface they offered to the fast coming storm, the better, he figured.
Sam followed him down without a word, jerking the bandana in his head down and adjusting it with shaky fingers around his mouth and nose instead. From the corner of his eyes, Sam could see Dean doing exactly the same.
The brothers kneeled on the sand, legs braced against a force that they could not measure but could easily guess to be impressive; they stood like penitents, waiting for some sentence from high above, eyes set and jaws locked, trying to steel themselves to what was coming. No amount of preparing, no abundance of stoicism could stop either of them from screaming when the sand storm hit them.
It was like being eaten alive by a thousand bees, swirling, stinging, stealing their breath away. The sound of the sand filled winds was deafening, like an old vacuum cleaner, plugged right in their ears.
When they instinctively reach with their hands up, in a feeble attempt to protect their ears, both Sam and Dean knew they'd made a mistake.
Through the thick wall of sand and dirt, they'd already lost sight of one another. Now, with their arms crossed over their heads, they couldn't feel each other.
Sam was alone in his world of sand and blindness and all he could hope for was that, at least one of the shadows surrounding him, was his brother.
The transition from seeing nothing, hearing nothing, feeling nothing but the whipping pain of sand in his skin and being blinded by an unforgiving bright blue sky was so sudden that Sam barely registered when it happened. His body was still reacting to the last wave of battering assault and only when the hot air of the desert hit the raw flesh of his arms did he snapped from the fresh memory of pain to the reality of its absence.
Sam coughed, a raspy feeling scratching his throat as sand made the reverse way from his lungs back to the desert. He clawed his fingers at his chest, wanting nothing more than reach beyond the barrier of skin with his nails and clean out all the dirt that he could feel inside.
The lack of any other coughing sounds other than his own registered as soon as Sam could draw in some air.
"De- cough- DD--n?" Sam croaked. He looked around, forcing his eyes to work through the veil of tears. "DeeANNN?!"
The whole desert had changed. The dunes had shifted further away; replaced by valleys just as deep as they'd been high, with Joshua trees that hadn't been there before, blossoming out of the sand. The post and the stuffed lamb that they'd stuck to the ground were nowhere to be seen.
And neither was Dean.
Sam ran a hand over his hair, closing his eyes against the downpour of sand that the gesture released. He could feel panic building up inside his chest. Any of those mounts of sand could be his brother, his suffocating brother.
And unless Dean was alert enough to call him back, Sam would have to search them all.