Disclaimer: I used to own supernatural, the boys, the Impala and everything else on the show. But then, the men in white gave me my meds and I had to take them.
Summary: Beyond anger lies fury, the heedless, ungovernable rage of the berserker, and beyond that again, a long, long step beyond the boundary of madness, lies the region of cold and utterly uncaring indifference. When a man enters that region, as few ever do, he is no longer himself, he is a man beside himself, a man without all his normal codes and standards of feeling and thought and emotions, a man for whom words like fear and danger and suffering and exhaustion are words that belong to another world and whose meaning he can no longer comprehend. Dean knew if he stepped into that part of himself, he might never step back again.
A/N: The summary is taken from a novel. I think Dean has come to that point many times in his life and made it back safely. This is a story where he doesn't make it back.
Chapter 1. Sad But True
He had been here before, in this motel hallway with oddly colored wallpaper, Dean realized. In a different age or time, but he had definitely been here before. He could remember seeing the slightly ajar door with the light of a lamp shining through and he dreaded finding out what lay behind it.
"How long are you just gonna stand there?" A familiar voice called from behind the door.
Dean took a deep breath and marched in. Yes, he had definitely been here, Dean thought as he looked around the familiar room and it's even more familiar occupant. But things were different this time around. The man was no longer turned towards the wall, flicking the table-lamp on and off. Instead he was tied to the chair with chains- big, heavy wrought Iron chains that seemed a completely overboard measure to restrain one person. And his eyes were no longer revealed to Dean in the final moments of their meeting. They were pitch black from the beginning.
"Have a seat Dean." He heard the words come out of his own mouth as his doppelganger motioned towards the bed. "I won't bite. I can't, since you have chained me up nice and tight."
"I'll stand, thanks." Dean replied. "What am I doing here? You weren't satisfied with the ass-kicking I gave you the last time we met?"
"I don't want to fight." His dark double replied. "Why would I want to fight you? I am you, after all."
"You are not me, you filthy, demonic son-of-a-bitch." Dean spat venomously. "You are nothing like me."
"Demon?" The other Dean laughed. "I'm not demonic. I'm you. I am the part of you that you have been denying all your life. I'm the part that you have kept locked-up in the farthest corner of your brain."
Dean looked around for a serviceable weapon, wondering if he could will one out of thin air.
"You know it's true." The thing said. "I'm the killer part of you. I'm the one in control every time you shoot a werewolf, everytime you behead a vampire or stab a demon. I am the rush of thrill you get when you do all that stuff, when you tortured all those souls in hell. I am you Dean. And the fact that you are here means you can't deny it anymore."
"Okay, fine." Dean concedes. "You are me, I know that. You are that dark place inside me that I never go to. I get it. It still doesn't explain what I'm doing here, though. What is this, some final fight for me to put you down for once and for all?"
"You don't remember how you got here?" It asks quizzically.
"Obviously this is some kind of dream. So that means I'm asleep."
"Try again Dean." His dark passenger encourages. "Try to remember a little harder."
How did he get here? Dean's memories start to trickle through. "We–we were on a hunt." Four vics committed suicide. All well-adjusted family men, no history of depression or drugs. "Christian was with us." Sam, Dean take Christian with you. Dean, I know you have issues with him, but he has experience with this sort of thing. He could help. "The bodies had gone missing after the funeral. I thought it was some God, but Christian said it was a wraith covering its tracks. Sam agreed with him." The pattern just fits better, Dean. "The suspect zero was a psychic at the local carnival. All four had visited her. I volunteered to be the bait since me and Sam had dealt with this thing before and Sam is different now." We'll be watching your back Dean. As soon as this thing shows itself, we'll kill it. "But it wasn't a wraith, was it? The silver knife didn't kill it."
"Very good Dean." His counterpart said. "Do you also remember who you thought it was?"
"I thought it was the Goddess Psyche. She showed the men their true selves and they couldn't handle it. I was right. I-I gotta let Sam know."
"Bravo." It said sarcastically. "Right on all counts. Except the last one. Sam knows."
"What? No. Sam wouldn't - "
"Remember what Bobby told you?" it interrupted. "About how to kill that Goddess."
"He said- he said, the Goddess was most vulnerable when she was communing with the soul of her victim. But Sam wouldn't do this. He wouldn't let me walk in blind. He must have believed it was a wraith."
"Like Sam would ever pass up the opportunity to kill a monster himself. Face it Dean. You are the bait and your partners are probably killing her right now."
"NO." Dean denied vehemently. "Sam promised me he wouldn't lie to me anymore. He said he wanted his soul back. He said he would do anything to prove to me that he was still my brother. He said he would follow my lead."
"Oh, wake up." The thing shouted back. "Sam lies. He has never had a problem with lying to you before and he certainly doesn't now. If only you weren't so stupid to fall for it every single time."
"Sam doesn't have a soul." Dean said quietly. "That's all there is to it. He is soulless, that's why he can't make the right decisions anymore. Once we get his soul back-"
"Then what?" It said. "You will just ride off into the sunset and live happily ever-after? How can you still delude yourself like that? There is always something with Sam. Something is always wrong with him. That's why he keeps you around, to fix whatever's wrong. And as soon as he is okay again, he'll leave you behind in dust. Just like everyone else. Just like Dad."
"Okay, I get it. I'm weak and pathetic and only good for whatever I can do for others." Dean confessed. "So, is the big epiphany over now? Do I get to get away from you again?"
"Why would you wanna leave me?" The thing said sadly. "I'm all you have left."
"Look at your life." It continued. "You have no one left. No one cares about you. Not as much as you care about them. Not even as much as you care about yourself, which I know, is not much. Bobby- you are just a surrogate son to him with whom he can have a semblance of a family. HE doesn't care about how you are doing, whether you are happy or not. He just wants to keep the family together. And you are an acceptable price to pay for that."
"Bobby cares about me. He kept Sam coming back a secret to protect me."
"He kept you wallowing in misery for the whole year. If he had cared, he would have known that you didn't want that. And Sam." It continued. "Do I even need to tell you? You were never his real family, as much as you tried to be. He always picked others over you, some other friends, some other family. And now he has a new and better brother in Christian. Remember the way he greeted him at the base, he didn't look that happy when he saw you after a year. You can give all the excuses you want like he had just come back from hell or he has no soul, but who do you think he is gonna hunt with after he gets it back? Who do you think he is gonna pick? His poor loser of a brother who is good only for bait? Or his new family?"
"You are lying." Dean said unconvincingly. "He wouldn't do that."
"Wouldn't he? But maybe it would be for the best. That way you could live happily with Lisa and Ben."
"Lisa doesn't want me back. She asked me never to come around again."
"Yeah, she did, didn't she?" His double agreed. "You gave her, in her words, the happiest year of her life and she dumps you the first chance she gets."
"She made the right choice." Dean defended. "I was putting her and Ben in danger."
"It was the right choice- for her." It countered. "But what about you? You saved her kid's life for God's sake. You saved her life. How about, for once, someone putting your needs above theirs, like you have been doing all your life. All of them, everyone, Sam, Dad, Bobby, Lisa, none of them have ever put you first, not even a close second. They just use you and take from you and you just keep giving. Even Cas. Now that the apocalypse is over, he will come running if you have a shiny new weapon for him, but God forbid you need anything. Then he is nowhere to be seen."
"Cas is a good friend." Dean said weakly.
"Sure, as long as you can help him keep his faith in humanity and God. As long as you can keep assuring him that he didn't make a mistake in picking your side. But one moment of weakness, one time that you falter and he would beat you senseless and throw you in the cellar. And no one- no one stood up for you. When Sam falls off the wagon, everyone wants to help him, to make him better. But if Dean is weak, he'll figure it out, just tell him how weak and pathetic he is and he will fall in line."
Dean breathed-in hard, trying to keep the lump of despair in his chest from rising up. This thing- this creature, was him. He knew that because everything it had just said, he knew all of it to be true. He had denied his thoughts, repressed them, but there was no escaping from them now. No escaping from the truth.
"What do you want?" He asked weakly.
"I want you to accept the truth Dean." Came the quiet reply. "I want you to realize that I am all you have left now."
"Yeah, I accept it." Dean acquiesced. "I know that no one cares about me. No one ever could. And I can't do anything to change that."
"That's where you are wrong." It replied. "You can start caring. You can stop denying me because you are not doing yourself any favors by keeping me locked up here."
"I'm not the dark-side, Dean. I'm not your evil counterpart or the demon inside you. I'm the part of you that gives a damn." It explained. "I'm the hunter in you Dean, I'm the focused killer. I'm the one you have always let out when facing the creatures in the dark. I'm the one let you enjoy torturing in hell, because you would never have survived otherwise. I'm the one who has always protected you because no one else even tried, not Dad, not Sam, no one. I am all the anger and hate you have inside of you. All these monsters and people, they don't get it. I am the one they should be afraid of. The one they should all run scared to their mommies about. And I'm the only one who can't stand seeing you get hurt over and over again. Don't shut me in. Let me out. Let everyone and everything feel my wrath. Let them see what happens when you mess with Dean Winchester."
Dean noticed that the chains around his double had disappeared. He had stood up and was standing very close to himself. He knew it meant that he was close to accepting his nature, this creature.
"I can't." Dean said making a last ditch attempt at resistance. "I can't let you out. I promised myself I would never become that person again."
"Still trying to be mommy's little angel." It mocked. "Why not, Dean? You are not going to turn evil. You won't suddenly go psycho and start killing innocent people or eating children. This won't make you a monster. Your priorities will still be my priorities. Why are you always trying to tie me up? Is it because of Sam? Or Dad?" Dean nodded. "You are afraid what they might think. That's the reason you always kept me locked up. You are so scared that Dad or Bobby would see who you really are and then they wouldn't love you anymore. You are so afraid that Sam will take one look at this side of you and run screaming. Well, you don't have to worry about them anymore. They don't care enough for it to matter. They will all leave you anyway."
When Dean said nothing, it continued. "Dean, you have seen what you will become, in the future you went to. That was me looking back at you. That was me keeping the last survivors of humanity safe. Right now, the world isn't in danger, but you are. You need to let me out Dean, so I can protect you. Because no one else is willing to do that job."
"You are saying," Dean stuttered, "that-that, by becoming like you, I can be happy again."
"No Dean, you are never going to be happy." It said placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "You should have realized it by now. You are never going to be happy. You never even were. Not with Sam or Dad or Lisa or Ben or your mom. That's why the idea of heaven was unacceptable to you. Happiness is not in your fate Dean. But I promise you this much, if you let me out, no one will ever hurt you again."
"Okay." Dean said, looking up and meeting his own eyes. They were no longer black, but their usual hazel color. "Okay, I'm not shutting you in anymore."
"Are you still mad at me?" Sam said, breaking the silence of their ride back to the motel. "Dean, I said I was sorry already. I should have listened to you. You were right, it was the Goddess. But it worked out fine. She is dead and we are all alive. It was a successful hunt."
Dean gave Sam a blank stare, and then turned his eyes back on the road.
"C'mon, man. It was an honest mistake. Even you agreed that a wraith fitted the pattern." Sam said. "We all make these mistakes from time to time."
"And you just happened to have the weapons to kill her handy?" Dean said evenly. "That was convenient."
"Look, I just thought that you had a good theory." Sam explained. "I brought it as back-up in case you were right. What, believing in my brother is a crime now?"
The car skidded on the asphalt and came to a halt on the side of the road. Here we go again, Sam thought as he got out of the car after Dean.
"Sam, I told you I don't want you lying to me anymore." Dean said taking off his jacket and laying it on the hood. "Complete honesty, that was our deal if we were going to make this work. You are breaking that deal."
Sam sighed. Dean could be very stubborn once an idea got into his head. And now that he knew that Sam was soulless, even the suspicion of a lie was enough for him to go into full stack mode. Well, not anymore, Sam decided as he readied himself for the inevitable fight. He wasn't taking Dean's crap anymore just to keep him happy. He had been hunting for a year, he was in the best shape in his life and Dean had lost his edge in all the soft living. He could take Dean and if necessary, knock some sense into him. He dodged Dean's first punch easily.
As it turned out, Dean had lost none of his skills over the year. Sam wasn't holding back, he couldn't anymore even if he wanted to. But still, after a fast and furious exchange of blows, he found himself pinned to the ground with Dean kneeling on his back and twisting his arm behind him.
"I was gonna let this one go, Sam. But you just couldn't let it rest, could you?" Dean said applying pressure to his shoulder blade. "You wanna apologize, you can start by telling me the truth." He said, twisting Sam's shoulder farther back. "C'mon Sam, tell me. Or I'll dislocate you fucking shoulder."
"Dean, you are not listening. I'm telling you- Arrghh." Sam screamed as Dean made good on his threat and pulled his shoulder out of the joint.
"Keep lying and you elbow's next."
"Okay, okay I'll tell you. Just let me up." Sam pleaded.
They got up from the ground and Sam cradled his right arm close to his body. It was strange, he thought, Dean seemed entirely unconcerned by his brother's pain.
"Look, I'm sorry Dean, but we needed someone to be the bait." Sam explained. "And you needed not to know the truth, otherwise she would have known. Gods can sense these things. It couldn't be me, because she would have sensed something wrong with me and Christian had no experience dealing with Gods. Even if he did, we didn't know if he would be strong enough to resist whatever mojo she was pulling on people. But you could handle it. And you did. Besides, you'd never have gone for sending another hunter blind, even if you hated his guts. I wanted to tell you Dean, but I couldn't. I'm really sorry."
Dean turned around quietly, wiping the blood of his busted lip and putting on his jacket.
"Don't be sorry, Sam." He said. "I don't expect anything else from you."
"Dean, please, I mean it. I'm sorry. I will never do any- what are you doing?" Sam said surprised as he suddenly found himself staring down the barrel of Dean's gun.
"Just doing what needs to be done." Dean said calmly. "You are an animal, a soulless beast and you need to be put down."
"Dean, don't do this please." Sam begged. He was too far to leap at Dean and too close to run. At this range Dean wouldn't miss. "I'm still your brother, Dean. I know I'm screwed up but I'm trying to be better. Please Dean, don't do this. Give me a chance."
"All out of chances, Sammy." Dean said. "Bye-bye, now."
Sam closed his eyes and flinched as the shot rang out. He waited for the pain to came, but it never did. He slowly opened his eyes, afraid of what he might see.
"Huh?" Dean said, smirking at him and putting the gun back in the waistband. "Looks like something does scare you after all."
Sam looked on in shock as Dean went around the car and started getting in.
"Funny." He said nervously. "You gonna fix my shoulder now?"
"No. Not until we get back to the motel. Christian can fix it for you there." Dean replied calmly. "And just so you know, I intend to hit every pot-hole on the way back, so if you wanna avoid some pain, I suggest you start walking from here on."
Sam stared at his brother as he got back into the car. Quietly, Sam went in the passenger side. For the first time since he had come back from hell, Sam felt fear.
A/N: There it is, the first chapter. Now, I want to clear up a few things. First, this will clearly be AU, but I'll try to include as much of the show as possible. Second, the thing inside Dean isn't some demon or effect of the goddess, its Dean. Whatever has happened to Dean, or might happen, won't be supernatural, it will be all him. Third, I have no idea how I'm going to proceed with the story. I have a vague idea where I want it all to end. So don't expect many updates. Fourth, the titles of the chapters will be taken from some of my favorite rock songs and will be relevant to the theme of each one. Fifth, Sam and Dean are both going to be very dark in this story, but Dean will definitely be darker. I'm not trying to make it into a hate-Sam or hate-Dean story, even if it might seem like that sometimes. Sam might get his soul back somewhere in the middle, but Dean won't be back to himself for a long time, if ever. Sixth, reviews, as always, are welcome. So type away.