Disclaimer: I do not own them.
Through the Looking Glass
Dean bends over the sink, splashing cold water over his face. Taking deep breaths he tries to still the shaky tremors that spill through his solid frame. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he looks up at the mirror. Just to be sure that this time, this time, he will see the same reflection of two green eyes, and dirty blonde hair. He just has to be sure that it's his face he's seeing.
But when he looks up at the mirror it isn't. It's him alright, just like it was this morning, but it's different.
As beads of cold water snake down his forehead the face looks back at him with black eyes. "Hey, Dean," his reflection says in a husky voice.
Dean stares at the mirror wanting to break it, wanting to scream, but the terror leaves him numb.
"Just delivering a message," the demon says with a causal wave of his hand. He glances down, inviting Dean to follow his gaze.
Dean looks down at his arms; muscles tensed at he clings tightly to the edges of the sink, and sees nothing. When he looks up his own green eyes stare back at him, equally curious about the vanishing face. The more Dean wonders, the more his arm starts to itch. What starts as a gentle scratch becomes painful as he walks out of the rundown bathroom.
Slumping down to the mattress he glances down once more at his arm. In long bloody letters carved into his arm is simple message—
We miss hurting you.
Dean immediately stops scratching. The message starts to fade as the implications sink in. The only thing that doesn't disappear is the blood under his finger nails. In Dean's world, he's never free of blood.
The slam of the motel door stops his thoughts abruptly.
"Hey, Dean," Sam says as he tosses his keys down on the dresser. "How's it been?"
Dean looks up at his brother and forces a smile. "Peachy. What's for dinner?"
Sam holds up the greasy bag and nods. "Burgers."
"I hope you got extra onions." Dean says as he stands up to meet him at the dinner table. Sam hands him his meal and nods as he sits down.
"Yeah. Have you found a case yet?" Sam says as he starts to unwrap his meal.
Dean also peals back the white paper of his burger. The hamburger patty is red and raw, maggots squirm and wiggle out of the meat. Ketchup and blood drip from sloppy burger. On the paper letters appear in red.
We had fun. Didn't we have fun? We miss you.
"N-n-n-no." Dean stammers. "No, it's not possible!"
"Relax, Dean," Sam smiles, "It's not vegetarian."
"Don't you see that?" Dean says in a barely controlled voice. As he looks down again, the message is gone and the burger remains normal.
"See what?" Sam says, instantly serious.
Dean takes a deep breath before looking into his brother's steady eyes. "There was a message…"
To Dean, it seems, Sam almost starts to laugh. Hazel eyes regard him like a curiosity. "Never mind," Dean clears his throat. "I'm not hungry."
Before Sam can question him more, he gets up from the table. "I'll check my computer again."
Sam watches his brother like a spider watching a fly. "Alright," he concedes, "if you're sure."
In the morning, as Dean steps out of the shower he inadvertently glances at the mirror. His reflection winks at him. Without thinking, Dean immediately slams his fist into the mirror.
The reflections glances up at the crack near it's forehead before looking back at him. "That hurts, Dean." He says in a morose tone. "We just wanted to send you a letter."
Dean starts to reply, but in a blink, the monstrous image is gone. Instead, all he sees is himself cradling a hurt hand, in front of a cracked mirror. One piece of the glass has fallen off.
Behind the mirror is blackness.
Dean steps back.
He knows what's behind that kind of blackness.
"What was that about this morning?" Sam asks as he picks up his duffle.
"Nothing," Dean shrugs as he shuts the door behind him. Sam probably just wants to make fun of him. "Let's check out."
At the front desk, everything goes smoothly until the man behind the desk looks up at Dean and says, "A letter came for you Mr. Winchester."
Dean takes it without question, hiding his surprise. He can see the panic in Sam's eyes. Sam probably thinks he's getting careless, telling someone their last name and smashing mirrors. Sam probably thinks he's loosing it. Pocketing the letter, he decides to open it when Sam's not around.
When they get into the Impala, Dean catches his reflection in rearview mirror. He doesn't like what he sees. Sam slides in next to him. "Any idea where we're going?"
"Any were but here." Dean says.
Sam grunts and leans back in the seat. "Wake me when we get there then."
It isn't until they get to a gas station four hours later that Dean finally gets a chance to be alone. The letter in his pocket has been burning against his chest, the strange heat that makes his skin feel like ice.
When he finally unfolds the letter he sees it's burned- holes and ashes and embers scattered across the bone white paper.
Don't you miss us too? Don't you miss the pain?
You had such potential.
Come back to us, we miss you.
Dean presses a hand into his forehead hoping to stifle the tide of memories flooding against the surface. He doesn't want to read the letter anymore. Crumpled up, he stuffs it back into his pocket. Sam gets back into the car as nosily as possible, it seems. Holding out a coke to Dean he asks, "So what was the letter?"
"Fan mail." Dean says as he takes the coke. He drinks the entire soda in mere moments, but his throat still seems dry. He feels like a man in the desert. "Did you get directions?"
Sam looks his brother over. It doesn't escape Dean the way his brother lingers on the bags under his eyes, or the questions that hide behind hazel eyes. His brother doesn't trust him. "Yeah," Sam says after a moment, "the next town isn't to far off. We can be there in an hour."
"Good," Dean grunts.
"Want me to drive?" Sam asks quietly.
"No." Dean says as he starts the car. "I've got it all under the control."
The letter simmers in his pocket.
They keep running, but the reflection in the mirror never waivers. Sam keeps asking, but Dean stops answering.
The message is always the same.
They promise him pain, they promise him blood, they promise to wrap him in chains.
They're not empty promises, he knows. He also knows their sincere. If Hell even had emotions, he supposes they would be love letters. Hell misses Dean. And to some extent, he misses them.
In Hell he was in control. In Hell no younger brothers questioned him.
In Hell it all made sense.
Dean wonders why he even bothers running.
They're at their sixth motel in nine days and he's starring into one of the few mirrors he hasn't broken. Sam only left Dean alone because Dean promised he wouldn't do anything drastic. They both know he's not fine. The cuts on his knuckles don't heal, and he just keeps breaking the mirrors.
Every time the glass falls apart he sees glimpses of what's waiting.
In the blackness he can see the faint glow of embers and the shine of teeth.
He looks up at his reflection.
"Are you coming back?"
Dean's body aches. He's tired of being tied in this world to responsibilities and duties. This world was never meant for him.
"Yes," Dean croaks. "I've missed you."