AN: Okay, wow. This story? So very random. Random and awesome, I think. So, you know how I haven't updated Queen of Hearts since April fourth or something like that? Yeah, this is why. It started out as a plot bunny and I thought I would try writing a drabble, but it turned into a much longer piece. It was just an idea that hit me one day and it was so dark and gritty and raw that I just had to write it out because I practically live off of angst and dark stories. And when I say this story is dark, I mean it.


Title: asphyxiation
Summary: AU, Season Four: ''You can't keep me here forever. Sooner or later, the Winchesters will find out what you're doing and they'll kill you deader than you already are inside.''
Characters: Original Ruby, Ruby 2.0, Dean, Sam, Castiel, Bobby.
Pairings: Sam/Ruby 2.0, Original Ruby/Ruby2.0, possible hinting towards Ruby/Dean, Dean/Castiel.
Genre: Drama/Angst.
Rating: M for Mature.
Timeline: AU, Season Four.
Spoilers: Spoilers for all of season four and season three finale. Disregards season five.
Warnings: Torture, rape, starvation, dehydration, strong language.
Notes: This is one of the darkest things I have ever written and I am strangely proud of it. I was up until five in the morning writing it. I don't know why that was important, but whatever.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters.


asphyxiation

Written by Becks Rylynn


She gave up everything for those two.

She crawled out of The Pit with the name Winchester repeating through her mind because demons talk and those two sounded like two people she wanted to meet. And she fought for them, she put all her trust in them, she was willing to fucking sacrifice herself for those dumbass boys. She gave them everything she had and more and it never mattered to her that they threw it back in her face with sneers of disbelief because of what she was. She didn't care. She never cared. She knew what she was. She knew her flaws, her faults, all of the things wrong with her. And they - mostly Dean - could point them out till the cows came home. Dean could hit her, break her down, call her names. Sam could resist her, hide behind his brother, fight her off. They could pretend they didn't care.

It didn't matter.

She would still fight for them. Because they were her purpose for being.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that she probably would have been better off acting like she was just like all the other black eyed creatures out there, she put all of her faith in the Winchester brothers and the human race.

She believed in them.

....Look where that got her.


The mysterious woman comes in the dark of night after Dean Winchester has been shredded and she has returned to the body she now calls her own. Twinges of guilt eat away at her and she isn't sure why. She couldn't save Dean, she knew she couldn't save him. But the guilt comes anyway. She remembers giving all her secrets away to him on that cold night and her eyes burn. (I remember what it's like.) The things left undiscovered are doomed to stay undiscovered. It's the way the world works.

She has opened her eyes on a cold floor, covered in a Winchester's blood. Sam is gone, Dean's body gone with him and she is left all alone trying not to choke on all the blood.

Then she comes.

A redhead with black eyes, a cruel smile and a certain type of confidence that chills her to the bone. ''Hello, Ruby,'' she greets.

And Ruby is stolen in the dead of the night before she can even scream.


''Who are you?''

''Honey, I'm about to be you.''


(Sam is grieving and broken and doesn't work right without Dean. He'll fall easily into her web of lies and believe it's her because he so desperately needs someone to hold onto.)


Ruby screams and fights and makes threats for hours until her voice is raw and she can barely breathe through her screams. Then she resorts to begging and pleading and crying her eyes out because the world will end if she lets this bitch take over her life.

It never works.


She never gives a name, this brunette (she's got a new body now) who takes everything that was once hers. She likes to call herself Ruby even though she will never be the real Ruby. Even when she tortures the weakened blonde in the Devil's Trap, running her knife down pale skin, she never lets her name slip from her lips. ''I'm Ruby now,'' she always says.

The real Ruby waits for Sam to wake the fuck up and come and get her.

''You won't get away with this,'' she rasps, the clich├ęd words falling from her lips with some difficulty because her throat is so dry.

Brunette hair cascades down her back in soft waves. The nameless demonbitch has a kind face and Ruby wonders who this body was in another life. ''Oh, Ruby,'' she giggles. ''Of course I will. I'm awesome.''

''Go fuck yourself,'' Ruby snarls.

The brunette scowls. ''Now that is gonna cost you.''


Ruby thinks it can't get any worse. She's alone, trapped, no food, no water, the world is going to stop and her hair must look awful. She thinks this is as bad as it is going to get. She is so very, very wrong.

Her torturer comes back with a big smile on her face, her hair tangled, looking way too happy. She reeks of sex and Ruby gets this horrible nauseous feeling in her stomach. Oh, god. No. What has she done? The brunette sits down on a chair and crosses one leg over the other, smirking smugly. ''Guess who I did tonight?''

Sam.

When Ruby lunges, she bounces off the invisible wall of the Devil's Trap. ''You stay away from him!'' She cries out desperately, her heart hammering because he's out there all alone and he doesn't have her to protect him from bitches like this. ''If you hurt him - ''

''You'll what? Sweetie, you're a house pet. You can't do jack.''

Bitch. Not Sam. Never Sam. She can't have him. He's wounded and broken and he may be a brilliant hunter and a strong man, but Dean is gone and without Dean, he will need someone to love. Someone to love him. He knows what she is, he knows of black eyes and unnatural strength. He should know not to fall. He'll fall anyway. Even if he doesn't want to. He'll fall for her and he'll think she's....her.

And....And this bitch will tear him open and rip his heart out.

When Ruby closes her eyes, she sees Sam underneath her alter ego and then a hand slams into his chest and rips out his still beating heart. When she opens her eyes, she stares into cruel eyes that are practically taunting her, daring her to do something.

She'd like to kill her.

She throws up instead.

Because she sees Sam and she sees blood and she can't save him this time.


Time loses all meaning fast.

She's not sure how long has passed. Days? Weeks? Months? Years? She has no idea what day it is, if it is night or day, she just knows that when her brunette counterpart bursts in she looks positively pissed off.

Ruby grasps at the string of silvery hope dangling in front of her. ''What's wrong with you?'' She questions bluntly. ''Sam find out you're a lying whore?''

The other woman answers her by screeching madly and throwing a chair across the room, watching the old wood shatter and splinter apart as it hits the wall. ''Fuck!''

Ruby blinks. ''Well, that was very animalistic.''

''That bastard!'' With another wild shriek, the brunette turns around and slams her fist into the wall. ''I should have known,'' she seethes. ''I should have known he would come back. Stupid fucking Winchester! Goddamn it! I'm gonna kill him. I'm gonna send him straight back to hell where he belongs!''

''Who? ....Sam?'' Some part of her knows the Winchester she's talking about is not Sam.

''What does it take to kill motherfucking Dean Winchester?!''

Ruby swears her heart stops. Gaping, she scrambles forwards, pushing herself onto her knees. ''D-Dean?'' She stammers out. ''He's...He's...''

''He's back from his trip Down Under,'' the brunette grumbles. ''The fucker.'' She shakes her head. ''He'll ruin everything,'' she wails.

Good.

''But that's not....that's not possible. People don't....People don't come back from The Pit. How can he....?''

''I don't know! I don't know. But I swear to Lucifer, I'm gonna find out.'' With a flick of her brunette hair, she turns and sweeps out of the room, leaving Ruby on her knees in the Devil's Trap, practically hyperventilating.

''Holy fucking shit,'' she breathes out. And she buries her head in her hands and tries to control the burning behind her eyes, but the relief is so strong it's blinding. Dean. Dean Winchester is home. For the first time in a long time, she thinks things might be all right. Because Dean's back and if anyone can see through HellBitch's lies, it's him.


Dean doesn't come for her.

She doesn't know why she thought he would.


Dehydration won't kill her, starvation can't touch her. But by the time they're done with her, she'll wish they did. It's not like her captor doesn't bring her food and water. She does. Ruby just tosses it back in her face and throws a tantrum.

All of that plus lack of sleep and the torture inflicted upon her weakens her severely until she is barely recognizable as the strong, fearless Ruby.

Do you know what happens to demons who don't eat? Don't keep their strength up? Like living ghosts. They walk stumbling steps, talk in hoarse voices and breathe, but barely. It's worse than death.

She lies on the ground day in and day out, the concrete cool beneath her slightly fevered skin, and her thoughts are always with the Winchesters. One of these days, she tells herself. One of these days, they'll find her.


(Dean isn't sure what it is about her. But from the moment he demands ''Is that Ruby?!'' and slams her up against that wall, their eyes locking together, he knows something is off. Something is not right. She's....different.)


Angels.

Ruby isn't sure she believes it. She listens to crazed ramblings about demons and angels and Sam and Dean for half an hour before her tormenter decides to take her frustrations out on the blonde, beating her down before she lifts her shirt and slowly, slowly, slowly slices her skin. It's only made worse when she sticks her bony fingers in the wounds just so she can make Ruby scream. She laughs when Ruby trembles.

And....Angels, Ruby thinks. Well, damn.

Maybe she should start prayin'.


''You can't keep me here forever,'' Ruby whispers, because her voice is only a whisper nowadays, throat bone dry and feeling like it is as shredded as Dean was the last time she saw him. ''Sooner or later, the Winchesters will find out what you're doing and they'll kill you deader than you already are inside.''

''Baby, you listen to me,'' is the answer she gets, ''those boys won't be alive long enough to blink when they find out what I'm doing.''

Ruby would like to swallow.

But her mouth is too dry.


She dreams of their voices and their faces.

It's pathetic, she knows. But she dreams anyway. Her dreams are the only thing she has.


''Ruby!''

Her eyes fly open and she bolts upright on the concrete floor, looking towards the door with wide eyes that scream with unbelievable relief. ''Dean?''

''Ruby!''

Her eyes water; she scrambles to her feet, standing on legs that barely support her anymore. ''Sam?''

Two sets of footsteps are echoing through the room and she almost lets herself cry because she believes she might be saved. She believes she might be getting her second chance. They've come for her. Fucking took 'em long enough. Their footsteps are getting closer and closer and she's letting herself wish and hope again. She's letting herself think maybe things will be all right.

But then she wakes on the cold ground before they can reach her and she's still all alone.


It happens after her 'friend' has pumped her full of holy water.

Ruby figures the bitch must be bored out of her mind. Or maybe she's angry. Hell, maybe Sam just ain't giving it up to her anymore. Whatever the reason, after she's pumped full of holy water, this is what happens:

Her lovely new friend decides to press cold, cruel hard lips to hers, tear clothes away and take what isn't hers to take.

Maybe it's just a way for her to process the situation, but all Ruby can think during the heinous act of torture is that she didn't know she could still scream.

When she's through, the brunette dresses, stands, smirks and forces Ruby to drink from a bottle of water, giving her no choice in the matter. Her reasoning? ''I like hearing you scream.'' And apparently she doesn't scream well enough when her throat is dry. Then she leaves her toy lying broken and bruised on the floor.

Afterwards, Ruby quickly puts her clothes back on, resists the urge to throw up and sits cross legged on the floor, eyes stony and emotionless as she wipes tears from her cheeks and refuses to acknowledge what has just happened.

Because she is Ruby, damn it, and she will be damned if she lets that bitch break her.


(When she kisses him, Sam gets this brief flash, pictures in his mind. Almost like a vision. He sees blond hair and blue eyes and she's crying and screaming with someone on top of her doing awful, unspeakable things. He pulls away abruptly, gasping like a volt of electricity has shocked him.

''Sam?'' 'Ruby' asks gently. ''Is something wrong?''

Good question. ''....No,'' he says finally, but pulls away from her. ''Nothing.''

He doesn't understand.

He will.)


''You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy....when skies are gray.'' Lying on the floor with her hand pressed to the cool of the concrete, her eyes are open and vacant and she's singing to herself, even though she doesn't know why. It doesn't help. The pain is still fresh, still haunts her nightmares. But it's not like she's got anything else to do. ''You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.''

You know, she fucked Dean once.

It was about a week before his time was up and he was scared and a little fucked in the head and she was....she was lonely. It didn't mean a thing to him, she's sure of that. But to her....well, to her she's not sure what it meant. But it meant something. It made her feel something. It made her feel....Almost Human.

''Please don't take my sunshine away,'' she sings, squeezing her eyes shut.

They're not going to come for her. They're going to kill her doppelganger and that will be the end of it for them. She, however, will rot here. Forever. Until the world stops.

A choked cry escapes her cracked and dry lips and for the first time, she actually wishes she could just die already.

''The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms.'' Her voice is soft and shaking as she sings the lullaby like she believes it will make her feel better. ''When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken.''

After all that has happened to her, all she has been through, one would expect her to give up on those boys. Blame them, even. After all, if she hadn't been on their side, this never would have happened, right? Truth be told, she'd love to be able to blame them.

But her damn faith is still too strong.

They'll save the world, they'll do what they're meant to do, they'll be who they're meant to be.

Even if it means she has to lose her life.

''And I hung my head and cried.''


(Miles from where she is, Dean awakens in a cold sweat because there is a song echoing through his head - you are my sunshine, my only sunshine - and all he can see is her blue eyes. And he doesn't fucking understand anything anymore.

He will.)


''Ruby.'' Her brunette hair is dishevled, her lips are swollen and there is dried blood on her wrist. Ruby doesn't want to know what she's been doing. ''May I ask you a question?'' Nonchalant and careless, she sits down in front of the Devil's Trap and crosses her legs, looking closely at the weak and sick demoness who just looks like a little girl.

''Even if I say no,'' Ruby rolls over so she won't have to face her anymore, closing her eyes. ''You're just going to ask anyway.''

''True.'' She laughs like she doesn't have a care in the world. ''But seriously, I have a question for you and I want you to answer me truthfully.'' She unsheathes the knife that doesn't belong to her, fingering the cool blade with a grin. ''Do you want to die?''

Ruby's breath catches and she turns back to the dark haired nameless demon, sitting up. ''What?''

''Do you want to die?'' She repeats slowly, as if speaking to a small child who just cannot comprehend the words she is saying. ''I mean, let's face it....those boys aren't going to come for you. I've always known that. In the beginning,'' she sighs. ''I wanted you to rot. But now....I don't know, maybe I've been hanging around Sammy too much - ''

''Don't call him that,'' Ruby growls out bravely. ''Don't you ever call him that.''

''As I was saying,'' she shoots Ruby a glare. ''I used to want you to suffer. However, I'm feeling compassionate today. Maybe 'cause I just got laid. So, if you'd like to die right now, you know, get it over with, quick and easy....I could do that for you. So...do you want me to put you out of your misery?''

Ruby thinks about that for a long moment. She'd be lying if she said she doesn't think about it. She'd be lying if she said the offer isn't downright tempting. At this point, when she thinks of death, she thinks it would be one giant release. But...the boys...her faith...the world....Hell...

She can't go back to hell, she can't leave her boys, she can't let the world end. So, she squares her jaw, looks evil in the eyes and says, ''No.''


Every time HellWhore says her name is Ruby, the real one vehemently disagrees.

But when you're being tortured on a daily basis, raped by some bitch who wants to take over your life, trapped in a cramped space with no food or water....your mind wanders and you start to wonder.

Ruby wonders sometimes.

Is she even still Ruby?

Because Ruby is brave and untouchable. Unbreakable and a fighter. Courageous and smart. Ruby is strong.

Well, she doesn't feel so strong anymore.

She feels like if she looked in a mirror, all she would see is a stranger.

So, really....

....Is she still Ruby?

Because she honestly can't tell anymore.


It is a dark day when Ruby is told what Sam really does with her ever so charming buddy. At least she thinks its day. It could be night. She can't really tell anymore. The door slams open and in a flurry of raven hair, she enters, stripping off her jacket and revealing a bloody wrist. ''Man,'' she shakes her head and grins at Ruby. ''Our boy's gettin' a little greedy, isn't he?''

Ruby blinks, her stomach drops. That could be the hunger pains though. ''What are you talking about?'' Her voice wavers; she eyes the bloody wrist -

- Oh, fuck.

''He drank pretty deep this time.''

Horror strikes like lightning and Ruby scrambles to her feet, stumbling forwards as best as she can. ''You...You're....You're giving him your blood?! You bitch!'' She takes a running jump and falls right back on her ass. ''You can't do that! Do you know what it'll do to him?!''

''Oh, I know exactly what it'll do to him,'' she grins.

''He'll get addicted, you stupid fucking whore! You're gonna kill him!''

''Eh,'' her evil twin licks the blood off her wrist and pulls her jacket back on. ''That's not my problem, sister.''

If her stomach wasn't empty, Ruby would be throwing up right about now. Crossing her arms, she tries to breathe and mentally pleads for someone to help her. She thinks it's strange, her being a demon and all, but lately, she's been thinking a lot about praying. She wonders if it would work. She wonders if anyone is listening to her.

Probably not.


She gets worse before she can get better. She stops talking altogether because it hurts too much to do so, the food and water she is forced to consume always comes back up because her stomach rejects it, and the torture comes quicker and harder and way more often than it used to.

Slut must be getting worried; she's clearly taking something out on her.

There is holy water injected into her veins regularly, beatings, bleedings, clothes ripped off, knives cutting into her flesh.

Ruby's so far gone she can barely feel any of it.

And what's the point in praying if no one is listening?

No one is coming for her. The Winchester brothers aren't going to find her, no one is going to find her. She's going to rot. She's going to live forever in this cage. That is what is going to happen. She has convinced herself of that. Her faith is running short, but it's still there and if the world doesn't end.....

This is the part where she thinks of something encouraging. If the world doesn't end then her pain will be worth it. If the world doesn't end, it's okay. But it doesn't feel okay. Nothing feels okay anymore. Not the daily violations, not the sickness crawling in her body. None of it.

When she gets to the point where she can't feel anything, she almost weeps because it is such a relief not to feel a damn thing.


(It is Dean who realizes it. It is like an epiphany, a lightning strike of knowledge. It's while she's making her speech, her smug, ''I'm awesome,'' awakening something inside of him. He can see the betrayal in Sam's eyes, the love lost between those two forever. There is a knife in his hands, but he cannot bring himself to use it just yet because something is happening inside. It's her eyes that give her away, in the end.

He remembers.

''I'm not like them. I-I don't know why, I wish I was, but I'm not. I remember what it's like.''

''What what's like?''

''Being human.''

He remembers that one night that shouldn't have meant anything but it did because it was a week before the hell hounds came and took him away and he couldn't remember how to feel and with her....he felt. He remembers the backseat and her clinging to him and most of all, he remembers her eyes. The truth in them.

The eyes always give you away.

Before he can even utter a ''holy shit'', Sam is grabbing the knife and diving for her, ready to kill. Dean snaps back to reality, feeling shocked, twisted and a little sick inside. When he catches sight of his little brother, he leaps forwards and the words bubble up and escape his lips before he can stop them. ''Sam, that's not her! That's not Ruby! It's not Ruby!'' His words are incredibly familiar, he remembers the last time he said those words. But this time is so different. There is no Lilith inside of her, no hell hound on his trail.

All he can think is ''that's not our Ruby.''

It terrifies him that he is even thinking of her as....his.)


It's been awhile since she's seen whatsername.

Ruby's beginning to wonder if she has forgotten about her. And then she wonders if that's a bad thing or a good thing. She can't tell between the two. How long has it been now? Forever? It sure feels like it.

Weakly, she uses whatever strength she has left to tug her torn and dirty jacket tighter around her thin body.

And she tries to get her hands to stop shaking but she knows they never will.

How long has it been now?


(Sam is a man. But sometimes Dean looks at him and all he can see is a boy. That is what he sees when he breaks the news that he is about 99% sure that Ruby has been gone for a long time and this twit took her place.

Dean glances over at the bitch tied to a chair inside of a Devil's Trap, jaw tightening. His hands clench into fists at the sight of the grin on her face and he wants to kill her so bad for breaking his brother. But he won't. The anger is all but gone when he steps farther into the room and crosses his arms, leaning against the wall casually. ''Comfy?'' He asks.

''Oh yeah,'' she grins.

''Having fun yet, sweetheart?''

''It's a riot,'' she quips.

''Hmm,'' he smiles pleasantly and sits down on a chair in front of her, dropping his chin into his palm and conversing with her like she's his friggin' best friend. ''So....what'd you do to Ruby?''

''I'm not telling,'' she singsongs.

He smirks, deciding to try a different approach. ''How long ago?''

''How long ago what?''

Okay. Patience wearing thin here. ''How long ago did you take her?''

She lights up at that, leaning forwards as much as she can. ''Do you remember the night those pretty doggies came and tore you away? Do you remember what happened to her? Well, you see, after Lilith was gone, Sam thought she was dead. Except she wasn't. I took her before she could get to him, though. I stole her. I stole her in so many ways. You will never know everything I've done to her.''

He wants to pale at that because the way she is speaking, the words that are falling out of her mouth are suggesting something he doesn't want to think about at the moment. Swallowing hard, he clears his throat and leans back in his chair like he's completely unaffected by everything in the world. ''So, she's still alive then?''

''Alive,'' she mulls. ''....Maybe.''

''And where is she?''

''Oh, now, Dean. I'm insulted. You don't think I'm that stupid, do you?''

''You really want me to answer that?'' When all she does is laugh, he shakes his head, grinning at her like she's wonderful. ''Okay, one more question,'' he says, meeting her cold and cruel eyes. ''What should I call you now?''

She looks at him with this coy look that he thinks he might have seen somewhere before and she tilts her head to the side, licking her lips. ''I got lots of names.''

He can't contain his non reaction this time. Smile slipping off his lips, his eyes widen and he stares at her for a long time without breathing a single breath because he's not sure he remembers how. Well, goddamn. He swallows again and the guilt is strong. ''....Meg.''

She cackles in delight.

He shivers.)


Hallucinations are her new best friends.

Weak and sickly and not feeling like Ruby, she spends days and nights in delirious fogs and when she allows the ghosts to take over, she gets that contact she's been craving, even if it is artificial. Sometimes her hallucinations are kind and soft. Dean is sitting next to her, stroking her hair and telling her ''Don't worry, darlin', it'll be okay. We'll find you.''

Or Sam has his arm slung around her, smiling and whispering, ''You didn't think we'd give up on you, did you, Ruby?''

Those are the ones that keep her going.

But other times, her hallucinations are cold and taunting with Dean sneering at her and murmuring, ''You got what you deserved, you worthless whore.''

Or Sam pacing in front of her, snarling out a, ''You let yourself get this bad? What kind of a fucking demon are you?''

But the worst ones. The absolute worst ones, the monsters looming over her, the ones that make her cry, the ones that make her wish she had said yes and let that evil bitch kill her....are the ones where they are both standing in front of her, whispering two simple words. ''You failed.''

You.

Failed.

Yes. She did, didn't she?

And she's not sure where her faith has gone. She knows it is still there, she can feel it squirming inside her dying to be let out. She just can't reach it.


(Meg. She's Meg. She's fucking hellwhoreslutcuntBITCH Meg. Fuck. Fucking hell. What the fuck does he do now? Well, naturally....he goes to Cas. Dean begs. He hates that he is begging and pleading and he loathes that he is this fucking close to throwing an all out temper tantrum worthy of a five year old who missed naptime, but he does it all anyway. ''Come on, Cas,'' Dean stomps his foot and pretend he doesn't notice the barely noticeable raised eyebrow Castiel throws back at him at the whole foot stomping. ''You have to find her.''

''She is a demon, is she not?''

Dean falters. ''Yes, but - ''

''Then I cannot.''

''You have to!''

''Dean - ''

''Can't you at least try?''

''Dean, I - ''

There is no time for whatever Cas is going to rattle on about. Not now. Dean meets the angel's eyes, places his hands on his shoulders and now he has officially done everything but get down on his knees, wrap his arms around Castiel's waist and beg until his throat is raw. ....That's his next plan. ''Castiel, do this,'' he says, dead serious. ''For me.''

And what do you know? It fucking works.)


She's not real sure where her faith has gone. She knows it is still there. She can feel it squirming inside of her, dying to be let out. She just can't reach it. She used to wonder what it would be like. To touch faith. To reach heaven. She used to think that maybe, maybe if she could just help save the world, if she could just find her redemption....she might earn her golden ticket into the place she had been turned away from for so long.

But now....

Now things are different.

Now....Hell might even be something of a relief.

Just....something. Anything. Somewhere. Anywhere.


(Okay, so Plan B.

He's got Ruby missing, he's got Cas searching, he's got Sam brooding, he's got Meg tied to a chair somewhat helpless and you know what else he's got? Forty fucking years in Hell. So, he's gonna give it his all and make her bleed until she gives it up.

''Dean,'' she greets him with a smile, eyeing the bag in his hands. ''Whatcha doing? Did you miss me?''

''You caught me,'' he says flatly, turning to give her a look. ''I just wanted to be close to you.''

She shrugs, eyes sparkling. ''I seem to have that effect on Winchesters, don't I?''

His eyes harden so he turns away and focuses on his tools. He brings them out slowly, making sure she gets a look at each and every one. There are flashes of flames and ash and screams and laughs but he puts on his mask. He turns to face her, grinning that monstrous smile and he almost makes himself believe his eyes are black too. ''Tell me, baby,'' he says, picking up a scalpel from the table and fingering the edge. It's deadly, but not deadly enough so he dips it in holy water and watches fear streak across her features briefly. ''What should we start with?'')


Is this the end?

It feels like it.


(Sam plain refuses to believe. He's the walking wounded enough over the betrayal, this is just too much. She's not Meg, she's Ruby. She's Ruby and Ruby is an evil, lying bitch. That's what he tells himself, that's what he wants to believe. It's what gets him through the detoxing while Dean does whatever it is he's been doing these past few days. There is only one Ruby and she is gone now. She's dead because Dean killed her because she was bad.

His flawed reality comes undone when Dean approaches him one day, pale, sweating, shaking. He looks like he's about to be sick and Sam worries because even after everything he is still Sammy underneath it all. ''Dean?''

''I know where she is.'' Dean clenches his fists and his fingernails dig into his palms hard enough to draw blood.

Sam swallows. Pretends Dean is talking about someone else. ''What'd you have to do to find that out?'' He asks, looking his weak looking big brother up and down.

Shadows pass through Dean's eyes and Sam dives forwards just in time to catch his brother when he falls.

....Oh.)


She wanted Sam to wake the fuck up and come get her. She wanted Dean to see through the lies. She wanted them to fucking save her! She wanted them to realize that thing was not her and she wanted them to come for her. They never did. They never did any of those things.

Until now.

She wanted them to save her, didn't she?

Well, here they come. They're a little late, but they're coming.


And they all merge into one big broken pile of blood, flesh, bones, sweat and tears. It's DeanSamRuby and the end of the world and it happens like this:

Dean and Sam find her. They burst into the room with guns drawn because they don't know what will be waiting for them on the other side of that door and they find her weak, sick and if she were a measly human, she would have been dead a long, long time ago.

The guilt is unbelievable.

Sam has no choice but to believe and believe he does. The weight of his mistakes crash down on him and he can't breathe when he looks at her.

Dean doesn't know what to feel. That's all there is to it. He doesn't know what he should be feeling right now, he just knows the sight of her makes guilt gnaw at his insides like something horrible and deadly.

Ruby....Ruby thinks they're not real. Hallucinations own her now. She is nothing more than a zombie and she is positive that these two boys are just two fragments. Two very realistic fragments though. Impressive.

She doesn't move, doesn't speak, doesn't even lift her eyes and they begin to wonder if she is still alive. They share a look, a brief one and then Sam panics. There is guilt and pain and grief and anger and it all leads up to panic. She can't be dead. If she's dead, it's all his fault and he can't have another death hanging over his head. He rushes forwards, drops to his knees and grabs her a little too roughly just to see if she'll react. When she moans, he thinks it is the most beautiful thing he has ever heard. ''Ruby,'' he whispers....

....And that's when she starts to think maybe they're real. Hallucinations never say her name like that.

''Ruby, I'm sorry....I'm so sorry. Oh, Jesus....Fuck, Ruby, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry....'' Sam is holding her close and crying into her hair. Blubbering actually. Like an idiot. And she'd like to tell him to knock it the fuck off 'cause he's embarrassing himself, she'd like to tell him she's perfectly fine and she can walk it off, but she lost the ability to speak a long time ago.

They're real. They're real. They're real.

''Sam,'' Dean's voice is harsh, his breathing labored, his eyes locked on her frail, too thin body. ''Move.'' When his brother moves obediently, Dean crouches in front of her and pushes dirty hair out of her face, gently moving a hand to her forehead. She's way too hot and shivering way too much and it's been a goddamn fucking year so this isn't good. ''Ruby,'' he takes her face in her hands, looking into dazed eyes. ''Ruby, do you know who I am?''

She frowns at him and somehow manages to roll her eyes at him, nodding.

''Good.'' Dean throws a look over his shoulder at Sam, who is pacing now and running his hands through his hair, mumbling to himself. ''Dude,'' he hisses, ''get it the fuck together.''

''We did this!'' Sam explodes. ''We did this to her! We should have....This is our fault, Dean! Look at her! This happened to her because of us!''

''Don't you think I know that?'' Dean sneers. ''Just shut up about it, Sam. Now, go to the car and get some blankets and water.'' When Sam doesn't move, Dean glares his most deadly glare and barks, ''That's an order, Sam!''

Startled, Sam has no choice but to listen.

Dean feels sick for saying those words, for being like his father, but he allows himself to focus on Ruby instead. ''Hey,'' he tries to smile for her, keeping her against his chest because she's too cold and she is seriously freaking him out. ''You ready to get out of here?''

Her eyes plead with him as she nods and she would cry, but she doesn't have any tears left.


She's as light as a feather. Too light, too thin, too dirty and her clothes are too ripped for him to think straight. He knows. He knows what Meg did. He knew the minute he saw her. He also knows neither one of them will ever tell Sam because Sam doesn't need to know.

''Do you think....?'' Sam watches Dean gently place Ruby in the back of the Impala, a blanket wrapped around her, her body still shaking uncontrollably. ''Is she....Is she going to be okay?''

''I don't know, Sam,'' Dean snaps. ''She was there for a friggin' year, you know.'' He's being unnecessarily cruel, he knows that. But this is Ruby. He has spent the last year hating Ruby for what she has done to his brother. He has spent a year hating her more than he hated anyone. But that wasn't Ruby. This is. And now...he doesn't know what the fuck to feel. All he knows is that he's scared and guilty and he cannot fathom why he fought so hard for her.

''I know,'' Sam whispers, fixing his eyes on the ground. He's not real sure what to do now. He's spent the last year screwing someone he thought was Ruby but apparently was Meg and he drank her blood and...and yes, he fell for her. He couldn't stop himself in time. But he thought he was falling for Ruby. So....that is very confusing.


''Jesus Christ,'' Bobby breathes when he sees the woman limp in Dean's arms. ''Is that who I think it is?''

Dean smiles weakly and Sam doesn't even try. ''Sort of.''

''Get your asses in here.''


When they get water in her and she's warm for the first time in....how long?....she coughs and looks up at Dean with wide, childlike eyes. ''What....W-What....was...h-her name?''

Dean looks away. ''Meg,'' he whispers.

Ruby pales and closes her eyes. Meg. Of course it was Meg. She remembers Meg. Meg was one of the many people who tortured her in Hell. More importantly, Meg was one of the many people she tortured in Hell. Was that what this was? Revenge? Or was it just karma? She'd like to think more about it. But she passes out instead.

It's easier.


She's really sick.

They learn that within the first 24 hours when she vomits up whatever they give her and doesn't stop shaking. There are cuts littering her skin, bruises everywhere, she is startlingly thin and every single one of them knows that she has been raped, but they don't say anything because they're all cowards who can't deal with that.

If Dean hadn't killed Meg seconds after getting the information he needed, he'd do it again with his bare hands and Sam would help.

Castiel shows up, takes one look at her, sighs and says he'll help. He's a fucking angel. What is he going to do? Turn away someone who needs help? Not when Dean's looking at him like that. When Dean's looking at him like that, he'll do anything.

They get her through the worst, but she is nowhere near okay.

It's going to be a long time until she is.


''How long?''

She startles Sam with her question one day because she has been lying in bed staring blankly at the ceiling for an hour with Sam by her side and she hasn't said a word. He frowns and looks at the ground. ''Ruby, are you sure - ''

''How. Long?''

He can't look her in the eyes. ''One year.''

She swallows. ''Oh.'' And then she goes back to looking at the ceiling. Somehow, she thought it had been longer.


''Take it away,'' Sam begs Castiel, the guilt raging inside of him like a crawling disease. ''Take it away, Castiel. Make her forget what she's been through, what we've done to her. Make her better.''

''I am not permitted to do that, Sam,'' Castiel says. ''Besides, that is a violation of her mind.''

''She's been violated everywhere else,'' Sam mutters darkly. ''At least this one would be helping her.''

''Sam!'' Bobby scolds. ''Imagine how hurt she would be if she found out you took away a part of her life.''

''She was held hostage for a fucking year and raped, Bobby! How is it a bad thing if we take that pain away from her?!''

''We all have pain, son. It's what makes us stronger.''

Dean thinks he should break into this argument, say something, at least scream at them to shut the fuck up because Ruby's sleeping. But he's too busy watching her sleep. And he's not sure why, but he's holding her hand so tightly he fears he will break her brittle bones.


Dean is there the first time she is able to stand without shaking.

The first thing she does? She punches him in the nose, her eyes flash black for the first time in too long and she growls out, ''You bastard.''

He clutches at his nose, bright red blood running into his mouth. ''I'm sorry,'' he whispers and it's the hardest thing he has ever had to say because he means it so damn much. ''Ruby,'' he says, ''I am so sorry.''

She says, ''You should have....You should have....'' She forgets the rest.

But he says, ''I know,'' like he knows what she is trying to say.

When she falls apart into a million pieces, crying and screaming because she needs to, he catches her.


''The world will crumble,'' Castiel warns.

''Let it,'' Sam mumbles.

''It won't crumble,'' Dean says confidently.


She finds her faith again and it's beautiful.


''You're both fucking morons,'' Ruby says.

But you're my morons.

''And I hate you for not realizing that wasn't me,'' she adds.

But I still have faith in you.


It won't be the same. She won't be the same. Too much has happened; she's been through too much. Those boys won't be the same either. They won't have the same relationship they once did. Too much has changed. But she's alive and home and getting better and the boys are at least speaking and being brothers and there is a world that needs saving, isn't there? So, they better get to work.


She wakes in the middle of the night all of the time. Nightmares plague her and she stiffens before she can open her eyes, some part of her believing she'll be back in that trap, all alone and looking like death warmed over, feeling like a dying damsel. She never is back in that place, but the fear is always there, lurking in the shadows of her mind.

One night, she wakes up, paralyzed with fear. But when she opens her eyes, she's suddenly not all that scared.

Because she's got Dean on one side, sleeping soundly with an arm draped across her stomach and Sam on the other, snoring softly and she can hear Bobby shuffling past the door and Castiel is no doubt somewhere watching over them she's perfectly content right now. She's got her boys.


See, none of them are okay. They are all damaged and disintegrating. They are all broken into tiny little pieces and shattered in all the wrong places. They are all flawed and unbearably heartbroken.

But it is all a matter of faith, you see. They're all fucked up, but they've got faith. They've all got problems.

But they'll be damned if they let the world fall.

end


AN: So, this was dark, huh? It was originally supposed to end with Dean/Ruby. There was going to be a scene where he sang You Are My Sunshine to her and it ended all fluffy, but I just couldn't end a story like this with that. I decided to go for a more broken approach with some hope in the dark. Since there are so many unresolved issues with her and everything she's been through and it was kind of an open ending, I might do a sequel later on. So....Questions? Comments?