Death Becomes You
Disclaimer: The car, the concept, and the brothers belong to Kripke et al. The love belongs to us.
Beta'd: By the talented Phx. Thank you!
Special Thanks: To Sherry and Cati for encouraging my little idea.
Time Line: Immediately following 5X22, Swan Song. Spoilers abound.
AN: If you're concerned about content – please scroll to the author's note at the bottom. I'm the Pollyanna of Supernatural, remember?
It took him a few minutes of standing there under the burnt out street lamp to gain some semblance of understanding of exactly where he was and what had just happened. He'd actually talked to God. Not the one-sided conversations of prayer, but honest to goodness not flesh and blood but spirit to creator communication.
"It's over, Samuel."
A gentle, warm rush of peace and love swelled in Sam, filling all the holes and fissures in his soul left by Lucifer and torment.
"You did well. You and your brother have both pleased me. I am proud of you."
The underlying darkness deep in his heart, the pain that had been with him all his life, slowly ebbed away.
"You resisted. You made your own choices the way I always intended for you. You are free."
"He is free, too."
Sam wanted more than that for his brother. He wanted Dean to be at peace, to have the life he should have had all along.
Sam should have known God could hear his thoughts.
"More like your heart."
At a simple touch, joy filled Sam until he felt his aforementioned heart would burst.
"Go in peace with my blessings."
And then he was here. Standing under the street light, trying to make sense of his scattered thoughts and the absence of all filling him from within. Sam's mind finally clicked into place enough to recognize Dean, his brother, sitting at a table having dinner with Lisa. He looked – happy.
I should go. Leave. Give Dean his chance. He deserves this life. As soon as the thought ran through his head, he discarded it. Sam knew full well how it felt to be the one left behind, knowing his brother was in the pit. He couldn't do it to Dean. He wouldn't. Dean also deserved to make his own choices and to be at peace.
The journey from lamppost to door seemed to happen in an instant, without Sam fully realizing how it was that he ended up on the front stoop. He hesitated only a moment longer before lifting his fist to wrap on wood. It wasn't until his knuckles went through the door that he understood what God had meant. This wasn't Sam's chance to live again. It was his chance to be at peace and to help his brother have peace.
Sam was dead.
Dean watched as Lisa washed dishes, the soapy bubbles removing all the stuck on food and grime from dinner. He wished it were that easy to clean everything.
He was still more than a little pissed with Castiel for healing him. He'd been in so much pain, broken bones, internal injuries, his very soul. He'd practically felt his insides hemorrhaging even as he'd sat there, waiting for the end.
Then Cas, and his damnable new and improved angel mojo had zapped him back to health with a touch. Physical pain – gone. Emotional pain – overpowering. Intense grief crushed his chest until the fire of anger pushed it away far enough he could breathe. "What'd you do?"
Dean blinked away the memory when he felt a gentle touch caress his cheek. He looked up at Lisa, shock lingering on his face. She smoothed his forehead, probably trying to erase the crease of sorrow that had taken up permanent residence there.
"You were crying," she whispered in his ear. "Ben was worried."
Dean's eyes flicked to the boy he'd so quickly grown fond of nearly three years ago. Ben eyed him warily.
"I'm sorry," Dean said, nodding at Ben. He lifted his face to gaze up at Lisa. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Ben should go upstairs and get ready for bed."
"Good night, mom," Ben said, hastily beating a path out of the kitchen. He stopped at the threshold, turned around, and made eye contact with the broken man. "Good night, Dean."
"Night, kiddo," Dean said, swallowing the second word before he choked on it. He stood up, and wiped his hands on his jeans. "I should head out."
"Don't leave," Lisa said, running her hands up his chest, resting her palms on his shoulders. Artificial lemon fragrance filled Dean's nose. "I thought you could stay tonight, maybe we'd talk…"
"I want to," Dean said, "but I can't."
Lisa sighed, her dark brown eyes filled with concern. "It's okay."
"No, it's really not," Dean said, cupping her cheek and placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. "But thank you for understanding."
"I'm not sure I do." Lisa took a step back and gave a pointed look to Dean's left at what he knew was the empty glass of whiskey behind him. "I'm trying, Dean, I really am, but I have Ben and I have to think about him first."
Dean nodded, sucking on his bottom lip to keep from saying anything that would make it worse.
"If you'd just talk to me," Lisa insisted. "If I only knew what happened, maybe I could help."
"No one can," Dean grated out. "I promise, I'll talk to you about it one day."
He'd only taken three steps towards the door when Lisa spoke. "Soon, Dean."
He barely hesitated before he strode to the door and out into the night air.
Sam watched as Dean left the house and climbed into the Impala. He couldn't let Dean leave alone; he needed to go with him. At that thought, Sam found himself in the passenger seat of the car, his customary spot for thousands upon thousands of miles of their lives.
Dean turned the key and music blared from the speakers. With an angry snap of his wrist, the guitar solo cut out. Sam eyed his brother with concern. Music was the language of Dean's soul. Turning it off when it wasn't for, well, for Sam, never boded well.
"Why'd you turn it off, Dean?" Sam asked, knowing his brother couldn't hear him.
Dean gazed stonily out the windshield. His hands gripped the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were white. In short order they were turning onto a dark, gravel county road on the outskirts of town.
"You're mad?" Sam huffed and he rolled his eyes. Of course Dean was angry. Sam remembered clearly just how angry he'd been when Dean was in Hell.
The engine growled as the needle on the speedometer pushed ninety. Angry and reckless.
"Dean, slow down, man," Sam begged. Ninety-one. "Dean!" He reached for his brother's arm only to have his fingers close in around nothing. He really should have paid more attention to that Patrick Swayze movie.
"Sam," Dean whispered, his tone strangled. His foot came off the gas pedal, the needle slowly edged back down.
Light from the dashboard reflected off the moisture on Dean's face. Sam's brow crinkled in empathy. "God, Dean…"
Sam was so busy watching his brother, the sudden grinding, rock-spewing slide as Dean stood on the brake, took him by surprise. The car fish-tailed and Dean fought with the wheel. When the Impala finally stopped, its headlights were aimed in the opposite direction.
Dean rested his head on the steering wheel, his chest heaved with each hitching breath. Sam frantically searched out the window for what had caused his brother to stop so suddenly. There was nothing there.
Sam reached out, his large hand hovering over Dean's bent head. "Dean."
"Sammy," Dean said, his voice muffled in the sleeves of his jacket.
They sat there in the middle of the empty road for hours, two souls, one cold car, and a lifetime of memories threatening to bury them both.
AN: I know, I know, it's total AU – but hey, that's part of what fanfic is about, right? I had to have a bro-mo (brother-moment) at the end of that episode and trust me, there's one coming. It's not a death!fic no matter what it appears to be right now.