HELLO! Welcome to the final chapter of this story! Whew, it has been quite a journey and let me just say THANK YOU to everyone out there who has stuck with me, with the boys, and with the stuff my imagination has brought out. I would really appreciate any comments or thoughts you may have about this chapter or the story as a whole. Thanks again. I hope you enjoy! :-)
As Dean starts to rummage through the pockets of this guy, he keeps his eyes firmly in place on his face, in a relentless gaze that makes the man shudder and look away. Dean figures he must be busy trying to figure out what is going to come next, what Dean has got planned for him. No way in hell he has the faintest clue. And that just spurs him on. Dean keeps up his search, to the other pocket now, and eventually finds what he seeks. The older Winchester grips his hand on the prize and grins madly as he brings it out and shows it off to the man in his sights. "Lookee what we have here! Man, I am so going to enjoy cutting into your skin, seeing and feeling the blood ooze out of your body, listening to your moans and painful cries. Remember? Didn't you get off on that when it was ME in the position you find yourself in now?" Dean moves his thumb along the blade of the knife and frowns slightly. "Ah, well, it just isn't your night is it? It's a bit on the dull side. That may be bad news for you buddy but great news for me! You see, it's always much more painful when it's dull. Takes longer. More agonizing. I remember it hurt like a bitch when they would use the dull blades on me." Dean pauses and reflects on the memories his words evoke for a second. He shakes his head and continues. "It takes more pressure to puncture the skin. But, don't worry, you will find out soon enough for yourself. One piece of advice though, in the future try to keep in mind the golden rule when carrying concealed weapons. Always keep them in tip top condition okay? You just never know when you are going to need them." Dean smiles. Good one.
Sam starts to worry. His mind races as he wonders where Dean could have gotten to, what would have made him leave the car when not so long ago he looked like he was on the verge of sleep. The younger brother scopes out the area, his eyes and ears tuned in and on constant alert to catch any movement, any noise. He walks hurriedly down the sidewalk and glances into each store window, each establishment that he happens to pass. The town looks like it is shut down for the night so he is fairly certain his brother didn't wander off to do some late night shopping. So where the hell is he?
"Take the knife." Dean presses it into the man's hand but feels no attempt by him to grab the weapon. "Take it...or die." The darkness, the control in which Dean says the words sparks the man into action and he grabs the blade. "Good, see, not so hard right? Now, I want you to cut into your wrist." The man's eyes widen in response. "C'mon, don't be shy, I know you are quite capable, the scars on my wrists are evidence of that." The man looks at Dean, shakes his head and is promptly rewarded with a hard punch to the face followed by increased pressure on his neck. "Start slicing, or I decorate this dark, dingy alley with whatever brain matter you have rumbling around in that ugly head of yours."
Sam takes a glimpse down the dark corridor of an alley as he walks past. And then he stops. And backs up. And peers down it once again. Shit. Even in the dim lighting Sam can tell the shadowy figure he sees is his brother. What the hell is Dean doing? Sam can't quite make out the state his brother is in but he seems to be crouched down, knees resting on the ground. Sam fears that he is hurt, or confused, or a million other things. As Sam moves towards the scene he feels a pit form in his stomach as his eyes take in a very disturbing sight. It's Dean alright. Dean, his brother, is crouched in front of another man, and currently sports a wicked, almost evil looking grin that carries with it of both satisfaction and smugness. His brother's arm is placed across the other's neck and Sam swears he can actually feel the hairs on his own neck, arms, and everywhere else stand straight up when he takes in the surroundings in more detail. Dean has his gun drawn and has it pointed, not just in the general direction of the man in front of him, but pressed right against his temple. He sees the other man, a knife in his grasp, and as he gets closer to the pair of men, Sam can hear his brother spit out words full of such venom that they stop his blood cold.
"Do it. Now. Or DIE!" Sam is horrified as he watches the man in front of his brother actually do exactly what he is told. He moves the knife across his wrist and lets out a painful hiss. "C'mon man, what the hell was that? Put some feeling into it! Like THIS!" Before Sam can react his brother grabs the man's hand, puts it back on the handle, places his own hand over top and pushes hard against his skin to run the knife over the same groove that was just cut into him moments before. "Good Job! See? I knew you could do it! Feels pretty fantastic doesn't it? What a rush it is to feel the blood, the life within your body slowly seep out of you. I know it always gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Or, no, wait, then again maybe that was because I was bleeding to death! AGAIN!" Woah, his brother'shead is totally not firing as it should be and the only conclusion Sam can make as he tries to digest everything is that Dean has somehow managed to track down the very person responsible for all the pain he suffered the night before. And, by the look that remains on Dean's face, Sam can tell that all he is consumed by is his want, his need, to exact his brand of vengance onto him.
"Dean?" Sam approaches slower now, not wanting to provoke his brother in any way. "Hey Dean, I think you should put the gun down, let go of the knife and back away. I know you, you do not want to do this." Sam watches as his older sibling tilts his head in the direction of his voice, and slowly turns to look at him. Not good. In this moment Sam doesn't see the brother he knows within that expression anywhere. If the younger of the two didn't know better he would say Dean's eyes are black. Not because of a demon, no, but because of the all consuming darkness within him. The darkness that has bubbled up to the surface, that has escaped the hold of Dean's control, that has suddenly been freed by recent events. The darkness that must have devoured him in the depths of Hell itself. Sam feels real fear grip him as he stares into his brother's expressionless eyes. Fear that he won't be able to reach his brother's tormented mind in time. Fear that his brother is actually going to kill another human being. And fear that if he does, his brother will be lost to Sam, and to himself, forever. Dean doesn't speak, doesn't vocally acknowledge the presence of his younger brother, he just moves his unflinching, unfeeling gaze from Sam back to the man before him.
"Sam, I am so glad you could make it, you are just in time for the show. I was just re-acquainting myself with our friend here. It's okay, don't worry, you haven't missed much, just getting started. Huh, I don't know why but I think he's kind of scared of me." Dean chuckles and smiles at the man before his eyes drift back towards his brother. "And I'm sorry little brother but, no, I'm afraid I won't be listening to you this time. I've realized something. I really do want this. More than anything."
Sam sees the man on the ground look up to him. His face wears a pained expression, the expression of someone who really thinks they are about to meet their end. His eyes plead, his body shakes and his mouth quivers. "Please... please... God...do something... help me! I'm sorry, I...I... I wish I could take it back, just please, please, don't let him kill me!" A loud laugh makes it's way out of Dean and Sam feels a shiver run its course through his own body at the sound. That laugh does not belong to Dean.
"Right, they are always sorry after the fact right Sam? You are a God Damned LIAR! Scum like you are never sorry until you get caught, until you are face to face with justice! Are you gonna tell me you were just out here, trying to find me to apologize for what you did? Or maybe that you suddenly grew a conscience and were heading over to the police station to turn yourself in? Do you really think that I AM AN IDIOT?"
Dean notices that the man is still staring at his brother, silently imploring him to help end this. Not bloody likely. "Sam's not gonna help you, you ass! He is on my side, he is my brother, and what are you? I'll tell ya. NOTHING! You are just some random dick who messed with the wrong guy!" Dean pants as his emotions start to ramp up. "You? God! You have no idea do you? What I can do? What I have done? You would not believe how many times I have ripped away flesh from bone, or believe the sounds of the screams I heard, that I caused, or believe the voices, so many of them as they pleaded with me to stop." Dean closes his eyes briefly and tries to calm his nerves. He needs to focus, not on what he has done but what he still has yet to do. To this bastard. "So save your breath because none of that worked, none of it made me stop. I didn't care, hell, I think I kind of liked it after a while, to have such total and complete control over someone. To be the one in charge for once. It was satisfying, exhilarating. It made me forget, just for a little while, what it was like for me when I was in that exact same position. Made me forget the times that it was me who was brutalized, tortured and helpless to stop it. I turned into the monster I feared, and dished it out just as good, or better than I got it. And you know the funniest part?"
Sam just listens. He feels the sting of tears in his eyes and wants to rush right over to his brother and hold onto him and never let go. As Dean hasn't made any more movements towards the man he is focusing on, Sam just lets him vent, lets his rant continue. As painful as it is to watch, and to hear, Sam is learning more and more of Dean's inner turmoil without even having to ask. His brother spills out all sorts of details to this stranger before him, the one he wants to torture.
Dean stares into the eyes of the other man once again. "Would you believe I didn't even hate those people? I didn't know them, they had never done one thing to me and yet I still did unspeakable things to them, because it boiled down to either them or me. And I chose me." Pause. "So, let me sum it all up for you and make it very clear. You should realize that any pleas you mutter, any screams you belt out will just fall on to nothing but deaf ears. Because, although I did those things to people I had no personal reason to hate, I sure as hell have a reason to HATE YOU!" Pause. Dean's voice lowers in volume as he continues. "So, just imagine it. What I am capable of when it comes to someone like you, that I despise with my entire being, who doesn't deserve to breathe, who is a waste of time and space. No mercy, no forgiveness, no chance for redemption. Just pure, unabashed hatred and at the end of it all you are going to beg me to kill you just to make all of the pain stop. But I won't stop and neither will the pain. But, I am not going to kill you either. I just want to have some fun and then leave you, right here, right in this spot, still alive. And trust me when I say that you will live this little nightmare over and over again in your mind. You will never be free, you will never find peace, you will never, ever be the same. So, we've taken the first step, shall we continue with our little party?"
Okay, Sam senses his brother is moving on from talking the talk to walking the walk and he just can't let this happen without doing his very best to intervene, to break through to his brother before he acts.
Dean feels his brother move along side him and stoop down to be at his level. He doesn't look towards him this time, just ignores him and transfers the blade to his other hand. "You did a so-so job last time so be a sport and go ahead and take care of that other wrist for me okay? A little more pressure this time and we'll be set." Dean holds out the knife to be taken and when no attempt is made, he pushes it forcefully into the other man's hand. "I won't hesitate to blow your brains out, don't test me.. you will lose." Dean smiles broadly as the blade leaves his fingertips.
Dean sees his younger brother move towards him, to touch him, and pulls his entire body out of reach. He stares at his brother and is satisfied his look did the job when Sam stops any more attempts at physical contact. Instead, the younger sibling raises his hands in an I'm not going to stop you, just listen to me for a second kind of posture.
"Dean, okay man, you made your point. Just look at this guy... he is not worth it. You can not do this! I am not going to let you torture him, it will not solve anything! You need to stop and talk to me! Tell me what is going on in your head, don't let it come to this Dean, you are not a cold blooded murderer. Please, let me help." Sam moves again, this time to try and place his hand on the gun, to move it away from its target. Sam is surprised at the hard and cold tone that he hears next in his brother's voice. And it is directed at him.
"Back off Sam. If you don't back the hell off, right now, I am going to put a hole right through this douchebag's head. And, since he is so worthy of living in your opinion, you better do it. Now." To emphasize his point, Dean presses the gun deeper into the man's flesh and lets his finger apply just the most minuscule amount of increased pressure. "I ain't kidding Sam. I will shoot him dead, right here, right now."
Okay, enough is enough. Sam stands, towers over his brother's form and uses a more assertive tone. He needs to deescalate this situation fast. "Dean! STOP IT! You are totally freaking me out! Let's just get out of here and hit the road. You are not thinking clearly and this, what you are doing here, you will regret it for the rest of your life." Sam can't stop the words that flow from him but he can tell in an instant that he has definitely chosen those words poorly.
"HA! THAT'S A GOOD ONE! THIS? YOU THINK I AM GOING TO FEEL REGRET? ABOUT THIS? AFTER EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE DONE WHY THE HELL WOULD I REGRET THIS?" Dean punches his victim squarely in the jaw and lets him collapse onto the ground in a heap along with the knife that clatters onto the pavement. He rises, turns to look his brother straight in the eye but makes sure to keep a firm boot heel pressed into the scum that he isn't going to let go just yet.
"Sammy, you really have no god damned idea do you? This is going to be FUN! Why can't you see that? Why can't you just let me have what I want for a change? Nobody is going to care what happens to this loser. Hell, they will probably thank me! This freak will be so messed up that he won't hurt anyone ever again! Why is that so bad? Why?" Dean pauses and feels frustrated that his little brother won't listen to reason. He thinks about it. Maybe Sam is right? Maybe. No, he is fine, everything is fine, he knows what he's doing. "Not thinking clearly? I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, this is the clearest thought I have had in my head for months! I know exactly what I am doing! I am in complete control of my mind, of my body...and of my soul." Dean moves closer to his brother, releasing his pressure on the other man as he does. He silently begs Sam with his eyes to just let him have this one thing, but Sam's expression doesn't change and Dean really starts to wonder if it is him who needs to listen. "C'mon Sam, trust me. This is a good thing. This will help me. I can't...I need... I need. He...but he... he deserves it! I didn't!"
Sam can tell by Dean's body movements and unsure eyes that he is close to giving in. His older sibling just needs his brother to help guide him home. "You're wrong Dean, and inside you know it. Listen to me. No one deserves it. No matter who they are or what they have done, no one deserves it. And what you went through, no one deserves that either. What you are doing right now, as much as you think it will help you it won't. He isn't worth it and it will not make your pain go away. You need to talk to me, to tell me what you went through, and not just a glossing over it kind of talk, a real one. Details. Share with me what you endured. What happened to you. What you did to others. You need to let some of it go. I care about you and nothing you tell me could ever change that. Nothing." Pause. Sam notices Dean's eyes are now focused on the ground. "You are not to blame for what happened when you were in the pit Dean, you did what you had to to survive. Anyone would have. Why can't you just forgive yourself? Even a little?"
Sam watches his brothers posture, his shoulders as they start to sag and he moves in a little closer to him. Almost there. Sam reaches out and is thankful that the gun his brother still holds comes out of his grip without a fight. Sam wants to take his brother in his arms, hold him in some sort of embrace, just be there for him. But he doesn't want to spook his older brother, he wants him to be the one to make the first move.
Dean looks at his brother, and blinks through the tears that have formed, through the memories, through all the torment that constantly swarms through him. He turns to look at the man he has just terrorized and realizes that his brother is right. It isn't worth it. He has to stop. He wants to believe that Sam can help him, can listen to the horrors, can make the memories lessen, dim, fade into the back, even for a moment or two. But Dean fears that if he delves into the very fires of Hell and tells his brother what lurks within them he will walk away from him for good. Dean's brain runs around in circles, contemplates every single thing that his brother has said. No, Sam wouldn't lie to him, wouldn't lead him on right? He cares, he wants to help, he may be the only one who can. Yeah, maybe it's time to let go. To share. To express to the closest person in his life the demons that flood his heart, mind and soul day and night. With his baby brother by his side maybe he will be okay in the end after all.
The man starts to move slowly and tries to come to terms with what the hell is going on. His face tells him he was just on the receiving end of a pounding but what else? He finds it hard to concentrate, to focus on, but he knows there is more to it. He attempts to rise but his efforts are met by a wave of pain in his arm. Shit! He looks down to his wrist and it comes crashing back to him and then he stops, paralyzed with fear. His mind races as he thinks this may actually be the night he is going to die. Why? Because he just messed around with a few people here and there? He never actually killed anyone right? So he doesn't deserve this. He does not deserve to die. His eyes roam in all directions, looking for his attacker and when he catches sight of him he sighs a little in relief. The two other men in the alley seem to be caught up in an intense conversation. Perfect. He tries to move again, with more determination, but it is no use, he isn't going to get out of here. His hand reaches out to the ground in hopes that it will steady him and brushes up against a familiar object. His knife. He knows he won't be able to just slink away down the alley without being seen so decides he might as well try and give that bastard something to remember him by long after he is dead.
Dean takes a step towards Sam and just as he is about to say the words that he knows his brother has been waiting and wanting to hear, he stops short when the younger sibling's eyes widen and his mouth spits out a warning. Before Dean can register what is going on he feels a hot flash of pain in his shoulder, as if flames are shooting right through it. His vision goes white for a second and his breath is caught in his throat. The pain flares up through his arm. It takes a couple of moments for him to realize what just happened but when he does he figures hey, all bets are off. Although he isn't in the mood for torture anymore, it doesn't mean he can't beat this sorry excuse for a human being into the ground the old fashioned way.
Dean spins around and his hand juts out to grab hold of the arm. The arm that holds the knife which now has the distinctive colour of blood, Dean's blood, glistening off of it, dripping down the blade, down the shaft. This guy really is an idiot. Dean wants to beat this shitface to a pulp. He holds the arm high and tenses as another wave of pain hits him and leaves him fighting to catch his breath again. He sees a shadow at his side and then sees Sammy take hold of the knife-wielding arm. "It's okay Dean, I got it. Let me take care of this. I'll be with you in just a minute." Dean lets go of the arm, staggers back a few paces and watches Sam go to work.
Sam slams the idiot roughly up against the wall and spits angrly into his face. "You really are a stupid son of a bitch aren't you? You must really have a death wish. I was going to let you walk out of here pretty much unscathed but you just screwed with my big brother... AGAIN! And I just can't let that kind of stupidity go unpunished." One. Two. Three punches in the face. One. Two. Three knees to the midsection. One. Two. Three wacks of this slimeballs head against the side of the building. Sam lets go and watches the body as it slides down to the ground, unconscious and bloody. Sam turns to look at his brother and they share a small smile.
Dean holds his injured arm and gingerly walks over to the figure. He reaches into the pocket again and when his hand comes into view this time it is wrapped around a cell phone. "Okay Sammy, can we get out of here now?" Sam nods and the two brothers walk along the alley, peer out into the street and make it back to the Impala as fast as they are able.
"What's with the phone? Gonna rack up a huge bill for this asshole?"
"Nah, that ain't my style." Sam watches his brother dial and keeps silent. "Yeah, um, there is this guy in the alley, down from the diner on the main street and...well... he... god, I've never seen anything like it. He, he was crazy! Slicing himself, hitting himself, bashing his head against the wall. He kept on muttering away. Stuff like how he doesn't deserve to live... that he wishes the police would find out what he had done and lock him up. It was just so disturbing. I... well I freaked out... and... I ran...but I think he really needs some help. Please, send an ambulance right away! My name?" Dean hangs up the phone, wipes it off and throws it out the window. When he turns to his brother again it's with a huge smile, which turns into a slight grimace as he hold pressure on his wound. "No worries Sammy, a one or two stitcher at the most."
Back at the motel the two brothers sit at the table and each nurse a glass of whiskey. Sam was satisfied that Dean's newest injury was nothing to concern himself overly about and had stitched it up promptly when they returned to the room. What worries the younger sibling is that his brother is going to clam up the first chance he gets. That he will ignore the events that Sam had been witness to and just brush it aside as nothing. Sam fidgets with his glass, swirls the contents around and around and wonders how he can bring up the topic without pissing his brother off. When he looks up to see how Dean is doing, he is met by his intense eyes and Sam raises his eyebrows in a familiar question mark way in response.
"You were right Sammy. Thanks. If you wouldn't have been there, well, I think I would have done something that I would end up hating myself for. And I don't think I can add one more thing onto that list." Pause. "I've been thinking about it and maybe you were right about something else. Maybe it's time. I can't do it alone anymore. I wanted to keep you out of it, didn't want to drag you down into the pit with me but it is killing me, from the inside out. I can't escape the hole I have within me. The hate, the loathing that I feel every time I look into a mirror. I don't know how much more I can take." Dean looks down to the table. "I... I need your help Sammy. Please."
Sam doesn't respond right away. He feels he is in a slight state of shock, in awe, that his brother is the one to bring this delicate subject to the forefront. Sam knows that it means Dean really is on the brink. And he admits that it scares him a little. But, he also feels a huge sense of optimism. His brother wants to talk about it. Wants to share his torment. Sam knows it will be a painful journey, for both of them, but also knows that it is also the start to some sort of peace for his brother. He hopes Dean can learn to forgive himself for some of the things he feels responsible for. And Sam is going to do whatever he can to make that possible. To help his big brother heal.
"Of course Dean. I will do anything to help you. I want to help you. Whatever you need, whatever you want to talk about, you can. I am here for you and no matter what you tell me, I will always be here, I will never leave you."
"Thanks Sammy." Pause. "Well, I think I would like to talk now." Dean looks into Sam's eyes and watches for any sign that he is having second thoughts. When he sees his baby brother nod in his direction and give him a small smile Dean feels sure. Sure that this is a step in the right direction, that he is doing what he needs to in order to start to live again. To try and lift the veil of darkness, even if only a little, before it takes him over completely. Dean feels thankful that he has someone like Sammy, someone so willing to help him try to pick up the pieces.
"Okay Sammy, here goes but I'm not sure where to start." Pause. "I guess, well, might as well start at the beginning."
Sam sees Dean look up to him again and already sees the tears start to form. He takes the chance and reaches over to put his hand on top of his brother's, not in a prolonged fashion, no, just a quick touch and a slight squeeze to let him know he is ready to listen, that he is there for him. A grim smile flashes across Dean's face then and Sam feels the floodgates slowly open. Dean closes his eyes, takes a swig of whiskey from his glass, sighs and takes a deep breath...and when he begins, his voice is not much stronger than a whisper.
"The first memory I see in my mind from Hell is when..."
Thanks for reading everyone. I hope to be back soon with another angsty tale. :)