Dean knew that the perfection wasn't meant to last. Knew it with everything in his heart, mind and soul, his return from hell had been like this, the first day or two a confusion of images and sounds and emotions, but nothing that would cripple him, nothing that would make him fall apart or wish that he could stick an ice pick through his eye. Nope. Not the first days, it came later, it encroached on his dreams first, and then it started to reach it's nasty claw like hand into his day and hook in and cause the heart to pound and the fear to soar. It wouldn't take long, and Dean knew it. He knew that this perfection was momentary, he knew that better than his own name, and he wished, fervently wished, that he could change that for his brother, make it permanent, make this perfection rock solid so that Sam would never have to experience the pain, fear and suffering that he had had to endure.
So on the third night of their stay at Bobby's, that was when the first nightmare work Sam, and that perfection was shattered.
Sam was used to nightmares, they had plagued him most of his life, but this one was the worst he had ever had, it was worse than the ones that were nothing more than visions disguised as dreams. These were vivid and disorienting. They were so real that when he woke up he wasn't sure that he wasn't in hell trapped in the cage waiting to be kicked around some more by the evil twins.
"Sammy?" Came an alert Dean from the bed next to him.
Sam was too busy trying to catch his breath and to focus to answer him. Dean was at his bed in a flash, warm hands on his chest holding him upright and green eyes searching for hazel, trying to make the connection, trying to make Sam realize that he was here, home, not in the depths of the earth, trapped in a cage with the worst sibling fight in the universe.
"Sammy I'm right here." He said again trying to get his brother to focus. Sam finally looked up, looked into Dean's eyes and nodded.
"You never told me." Sam managed after he caught his breath enough to talk. Dean reached over to the nightstand and poured Sam a glass of water and handed it to him, and Sam drank greedily from the cup.
"I didn't tell you what?"
"What it was like…down there…."
"Dude, I'm pretty sure my experience is nothing like yours." Sam gave a half smile. "The nightmare pretty bad?"
"It's not so much images, but…." Sam reached for the words.
"Sounds…" Dean supplied.
Sam nodded and said, "Smells…."
"Feelings…" Dean added.
"Touches…." Sam said with a swipe of his hands down the length of the blanket
"Pain…." They said in unison. Dean looked at Sam and Sam looked at Dean and they both broke out into a grin.
"Yeah. It's rough." Dean said after the moment faded.
"How much rougher does it get?" Sam asked, and it reminded Dean of the child that he had once been asking when the bullies would stop treating him like he was a freak, or how much longer it would take before their father came back and stayed, the kid always asked the hard questions, the questions that Dean didn't know how to answer and he didn't have an appropriate lie on standby. This was one of those times that Sam was requiring him to tell the truth, and it wasn't an easy truth, it was one of those truths that hurt to share and hurt to hear.
"They get pretty rough Sammy. Pretty damn hard, and there will be days where suicide looks pretty damn good, but the only reason you don't, is because you are afraid that you will end up right back in hell and the torture will be there again and there will be no chance of it stopping." Dean bit the inside of his cheek and got hold of himself again. "I'm still not over it. I still have dreams. Dogs still make me nervous. Sounds make me want to jump right out of my skin. I've just learned to live with it. It's hard Sammy. It's really hard."
Sam looked up at his brother through hair and lashes and said, "Why couldn't you have just lied to me and told me that everything would be fine."
"Sorry man, can't." Sam nodded.
"I'm going to try to sleep again."
"Good plan." Both men resituated on their respective beds and Dean watched as his brother struggled to get comfortable and clear his mind of the images that plagued him earlier. And not for the first time did he wish that he could take the pain away, that he could make this better, that Sammy wouldn't have to remember all of this crap that went along with hell and the like. It wasn't fair.