IN THE ABSENCE OF SAM

By: Karen B.

Summary: Warning! Season Six spoiler warning!. Sam and Dean find out Sam has no soul. What now?

Disclaimer: Not the owner.

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He'd fallen straight into hell, fighting the devil. He didn't think there could be anything worse. Having no soul - was worse.

Sam sat on the hood of the Impala, strands of hair ruffling in the wind. He stared upward into the starry night. Desperate to feel some kind of emotion. Wanting to pray. But the brutal truth was; there was nothing to pray about. No rhyme. No reason. No making sense of anything. Nothing seemed to matter. Everything just a big white, blank canvas.

Sam's shoulders hurt and his head pounded. His nose was swollen and throbbing. Nostrils clogged with blood and on fire. He welcomed the physical pain. The way most people welcomed a trip to Hawaii or Disneyland. Sam viewed agony as a luxury. Physical pain he understand. Tonight he sported a broken nose and bruised face, maybe even a cracked jaw - compliments of his brother - man he'd won the lottery.

Sam sat and listened to the wind blowing through the nearby trees, situated in the empty schoolyard. The moon was bright and full, shadows dancing all about. Sam searched for his shadow, but he already knew he wouldn't find one. He had no shadow.

A man with no shadow - was a man with no soul.

Was a man with no soul human? Sam doubted it.

Humans slept. Humans dreamt. Sam didn't do either. There were a lot of things Sam didn't.

He didn't regret anything. Didn't feel guilt or sorrow. Didn't feel joy. Didn't feel anger. He wasn't scared. Wasn't courageous. Wasn't happy. Wasn't sad. When he smiled, it meant nothing. When he cried, they were empty tears.

He didn't hope for anything or love anything or hate anything.

He was calculating. Cold as concrete buried under ten-feet of snow. What was right? What was wrong? He was wrong. Sam was all wrong. He had come to understand that much quickly. How he was now. So very, very wrong. Ever since he'd been back from the pit. But wrapping his head around that wrong - he just couldn't do it.

In the absence of Sam, he ran on instinct. Simply existed. Replaced his emotions with logic.

He approached life as if it was a chess board. A game of strategy, tactic and skill. He studied his opponent. Didn't take his finger off the chess piece until he was sure it was the right move to make. Sacrificed pawns to increase his chances of winning the game. It was an impossible situation. Fuck. He'd been checkmated before he ever made a move - he knew that.

Sam heard the approach of familiar footsteps, continuing to gaze at the stars.

"Hey, Sam," Dean choked out, fingers coming to lightly caress the back of Sam's neck.

Sam very slowly turned, obedient to the touch he knew so well. "Hey, Dean."

"What are you wishing for?" Dean asked, glancing up at the sky.

Sam cocked his head to one side noticing his brother's shadow stretching out across the pavement. "I…I…I…" Sam hunched his shoulders.

He wished…he wished…he didn't wish for anything.

"I can't make a wish," he whispered, knowing shame should be attached to the words, but he felt nothing except the increased pounding in his head.

"Give me your hand." Dean's request was clear and strong

Sam stared at Dean, blankly.

"Dude, give me your hand."

Sam lifted his hand and Dean grasped it with a firm slap. He pulled Sam roughly off the hood of the impala, fiercely dragging Sam against him to hug him close.

"D'n," Sam choked, his breath wheezing in and out of his mouth..

"No soul. Can't feel?" Dean squeezed even harder. "What do you feel right now?" he growled.

"Don't be such a jerk." Sam wiggled awkwardly.

"Stop. Just stop, Sam." Dean held on, not letting up. "Listen to me."

Sam concentrated on what exactly he did feel. He felt dizzy, slightly nauseous, crushed.

"We are going to fix this." Dean tucked Sam's head to his shoulder.

Sam could feel Dean's breath hot on his neck.

Feel his brother's heart slamming against his own. Every muscle of Dean's bundled in tense knots.

He could feel Dean's strength squeezing the life out of him. Damn near strangulating like a giant anaconda roped around him.

"You're going to follow my lead, Sammy. Feel sad when I'm sad. Get pissed when I get pissed. Be peachy when I'm peachy. You and me, Sam, we're going to be together. Connected emotionally. Stuck like glue. "

"Rrrr." Sam struggled to pull away. "Are you serious?"

Dean released Sam from his hold, instead quickly reaching up to tweak Sam's nose.

"Owe. Damn it, Dean," Sam growled in pain, cupping a hand over his nose. "That hurt."

"Uh-huh. Good," Dean said. "Right now, I'm pissed. So you should be, too. I had to do that to your face, because I didn't know what you were. Wasn't sure you were my brother anymore. Bro, if you would have told me what was going on with you from the jump… I wouldn't have had to bust your nose. I'm pissed. You're pissed. Get it?"

"I get it," Sam moaned, lowering his hand and checking to see if there was any blood - there wasn't.

"Is it working? Are you pissed?" Dean winced. "'Cause man, Cyrano, your nose looks like hell?" Dean said softly. "I'd be pissed if it was me."

"Leave my nose out of this," Sam said dancing around the loaded question and lame apology, feeling nothing but his pulsating nose. "So, what should we feel now, Dean?"

"Drunk." Dean pulled the car key's from his jacket pocket. "Need a beer. A lot of beer." He eyed Sam up and down. "Piss away some of our pissiness?" He patted Sam's stomach and got inside the Impala.

"Try anything at this point," Sam said unemotionally, climbing into the passenger seat as they sped off into the night.

End