AFTER THE FALL
By: Karen B.
Summary: Season Six spoiler warning. A short 6-12 pre-story. Lame attempt at holding us over until Friday. Oh! The brutal, inhumane torture of it all. But - there's always a but. I say - good things come to those who wait! Epic things even!
Disclaimer: Not the owner.
Rated: 'Eh? Warning. Read at your own risk: You might need to see the dreaded dentist after this one! Get a tooth pulled or something equally as horrid. Just sayin'.
Someone was chattering in my ear. Telling me to stop. Telling me I best heed their warning. That I dare not do this or I'd pay the ultimate price throughout eternity.
I knew I had to find courage.
Didn't try to stop myself.
Knew I must fall.
I let myself go.
Stepped off the edge of that mountain top. Or was it a plane. Or the ledge of an impossibly tall building. Didn't matter. I was falling, and for a moment I thought I was flying. I quickly realized I was just tumbling. Drifting through absolute darkness.
It was the one and only perfect thing in my screwed-up life left, that I could do.
My stomach was in my throat.
I wanted to cry, but the wind rushing past burned my eyes dry.
There was a horrible pressure inside.
A pressure I kept having to push down.
My heart threatened to drive out my belly button.
I was terrified.
A thrill seeking junkie, I was not. Terminal velocity…sucked.
My body convulsed. Once. Twice. Three times. I went rigid and cold, and after awhile, it didn't feel like I was falling anymore. But I wasn't flying either. I was weightless. Lifeless. Couldn't breathe. Wasn't breathing.
I realized I must be dead.
Air screamed by me. Hitting my body. Knocking me around.
The pressure was gone, and I heard someone laugh at me.
I kept dropping. Head over heels. Going from horizontal to vertical to horizontal again.
Eventually the weightless feeling came to a stop and something grasped hold of me. No, not of me, of my soul, and slammed it into an empty…
I knee-jerked awake, eye's fluttering open. All crusty and gummy. Everything was one big blur and I didn't know much. I knew I'd been asleep. Deeply asleep. A fire burning in my chest had woken me up. I was no longer stuffed into a place of pain and suffering. A place where even though I wanted to cry. I had to remain strong. Though it didn't take long for my tough guy persona to leap out that window. If there was a window. I couldn't remember.
I squinted against the light - it hurt my eyes. So wrong. This wasn't right. The air smelled different. This place was different. I was different. I wasn't where I was supposed to be, not that I wanted to be where I was supposed to be.
Nothing made sense.
Where I'd come from was so black and dark like I'd been swallowed by a worm hole. Or maybe I'd been abducted. I remembered something about aliens. Crop circles. Fighting with fairies. Was I insane? There were no such things as worm holes, aliens, or fairies. Were there?
Of course not.
What I did know - at least for now was - things didn't hurt so bad anymore. Except for the extra strong heartburn flaming in the center of my chest.
My eyelids quivered shut, and I begged my traumatized mind and body to comprehend even the tiniest thing.
I felt like a wreck. Physically and emotionally. Every nerve so jittery, every inch of me shaking involuntarily, unable to stop.
The sound of a clanging metal door caused me to give a little jolt. I needed a weapon, but knew I was too weak to even hold a Boy Scout knife in my hand. Keeping my eyes shut to block out the light, I struggled to sit up.
My breathing snagged in my throat, and my heart thudded inside my aching chest.
The metal door squeaked louder, then came two seconds of silence.
The echoing voice was startling and my eyes cracked opened. Everything was fuzzy and unreal. Instinct and adrenalin kicked in. The way it always did when I believed myself in danger - for what good it ever did me. I twisted and turned. No go. I couldn't make my legs work, so I tried to tuck and roll. Made it halfway off whatever I was lying on when my whole body started to shake. I was consumed by terror and could hardly see through the stream of tears that poured out my eyes.
"Sammy, stay down." Two hands gripped my shoulders and pressed me back.
I tried to raise my head to see better, but could barely hold it up. "Nuh," I sucked in breath after breath.
"Easy now. Easy."I kept reaching for something. My hand faltering each time it brushed against warm skin. I couldn't remember the last time I felt anything warm. It was scary.
I didn't know where I was, everything was a bleak blur. I slammed my eyes shut. Kept stretching every bone, muscle, and ligament to get my body to move the right way, but was so weak. I became really short of breath. Felt like a knife twisted into my chest.
"Guh," I screeched out in a wounded battle cry.
"Sam, it's okay. Open your eyes, man. Open your eyes."
Dean was with me. I trembled harder. How? I didn't understand. All I knew was this was all kinds of wrong. Dean couldn't get to me. He'd never even try. How would he know where to look? I didn't even know where to look for me. I was that lost.
"Uuunnng," I spit and gurgled like a dying animal.
"Dude! Look at me." His hands gripped the sides of my face, trying to hold me motionless
I didn't want to look. My head rolling back and forth. Desperate for escape. Always desperate for escape. My body worked against my will. I blinked and blinked and blinked again until my eyes opened - just barely.
In a rush of color, a distorted face appeared close to mine. "Sammy? You going to talk to me?"
I knew the shadowy image was Dean, but still didn't understand what I was seeing. My stomach felt sick and I half-gagged, at the same time, trying to scramble back away. Arms flailing out in protection, I got nowhere.
"Son of a bitch." Gentle fingers curled around and locked to my wrists, pushing my arms down to my sides. "Sam, stop it. S-stop it, buddy. It's okay. I'm right here. It's okay, Sam. I'm right h-here. Lie still now," Dean said all cool and calm and collected, even though his hands shook.
I stared blankly upward. My brother staring down. There was an irony there I couldn't quite put a finger on.
"Sam?" Dean was all wide-eyed and scared half out of his gourd. His face not matching his tone of voice.
Dean still kept a firm hold around both wrists and he spoke really slowly, making sure I understood him. "You -know- where -you are -now- Sam? Right?" He raised both brows.
My eyes wandered lazily about. Small room. No windows. A large ventilation fan where a skylight should be. Fortified steel walls. One door leading in and out. Place was tiny, but fully equipped for the apocalypse. Everything needed to live. Live for months and years and decades. Live for eternity. A box. A box. I was trapped inside a box. Dappled in red. The pain. The horrible, God-awful, indescribable pain. Dean shouldn't be here. He shouldn't be here. Shouldn't be within two feet of me.
"Dean!" I screamed out. Tried to scuffle away, but there was no escape. There never was any escape, yet I always attempted it. Time and time again.
"What in blue blazes…" Someone else entered the room and came to help Dean hold me down.
"He's a mess," Dean proclaimed, his watery eyes locked on mine.
I gave up the fight. Wasn't much of one, anyway as I went floppy under the restraining hands.
I babbled like a baby, not even understanding myself. My head lolled to one side. An older man was fiddling with my left arm. "Boy ripped out his IV. More bruising to add to his scrapbook."
I frowned. Bobby?
Bobby lifted his gaze to mine. "Hiya, kid."
My head lolled back to Dean, who was no longer looking at me, but at Bobby. "H-he going to be okay?" Dean asked in a waning voice.
"I don't know, idjit, guess that's up to Sam." A cloth was placed on my arm and a hand squeezed down - it burned.
"Mmmm," I moaned and coughed, things were getting a little spotty.
"Here, son. Try some of this."
My head was raised up for me, and the burning in my arm was replaced by the sound of mumbling voices, and then the roar of the sea in my ears. That same sea, a moment later, threatened to gush up my throat. I didn't think I could keep the water down, but did.
"What do you think?" Dean asked.
"I don't know," Bobby replied.
"Quit…" I swallowed what little spit I could muster. "Quit talk-talking 'bout me like…like 'em n-not here." I half-choked out, cracking open my eyes again.
Dean looked back at me with a jerk of his head. Man, he looked worn out. Really drawn. I could feel my battle scares inside as much as I could feel his. Both of us chewed up by a meat grinder and spit back out only to be used as shark chum. The knife twisted tighter in my chest again, and my eyes screwed shut, forcing me to concentrate on my breathing.
"Where's here, Sam?" Dean questioned.
I clenched my teeth. How could I have not known, now that I was more with it. "Panic room."
"That's right." Dean ran a hand through my hair, pulling me down somewhere fuzzy and warm.
Words drifted around the room. Hell, what had they been pumping into my veins? I thought about that some more. All I could come up with was I didn't belong here with them.
"I don't belong here with you," I said as much. I was nothing. A tiny, broken-winged bug. Always trying to cross the road, but getting run over by a Mack truck every damn time. "Hell knows I don't belong anywhere," I corrected myself.
I sensed Dean and Bobby gawking at me, and nobody said a word for a really long time. I opened my eyes. Dean's face had gone white. So white, it caused my heart to skip a beat. Like he'd been the one run over by the truck.
"You belong here with us, Sam," Bobby spoke up first. "No where else."
I smiled at Bobby and gave an appreciative nod. Somehow knowing how important it was to me what Bobby thought. I went back to staring at Dean. Long and hard. Trying to stay awake. Trying not to fall down the rabbit hole. Trying to figure things out. Trying to gauge Dean's thoughts.
Dean was looking at me like I was some majestic oracle that cheated death. Like some how I could tell him all the secrets of life. Like why the sky was blue and the grass was green? And which came first? McDonald's or Burger King.
"What?" I asked him in a sleepy tone.
"You're where you belong, Sam. Home. You're home."
"Where was I before?"
"The moon for all it matters now." Dean reached to help me up by my elbow.
"Dean." I pulled away with a moan. "Where was I?" I insisted.
Dean's eyes shone bright with sudden anger. "Think you can make it upstairs?"
I felt so cagey. Needed some control. Some room to breathe. To think. Dean must have been aware of my needs as he backed away. Holding his hands up flat in the air and giving a slight nod of his head.
"We'll talk, Sam, Okay? Let's just get you upstairs first."
"Yeah. Okay." To beat to argue, I rose stiffly from the cot.
Dean kept his lips pursed together as he watched my body strain to comply with my brain.
My body shimmied and shivered weakly as I got to my feet and shuffled out of the room.
Dean kept close beside me, tense and ready, in case I really did take a dive.
One fisted hand clutching at my chest, one hand on the rail, I struggled to take the steps.
Dean fell in place behind me. Bobby behind him.
I climbed slowly. Counting the steps as we went. I didn't remember there being so many, and nearly hit step six with my knees when my foot slipped out of pure exhaustion.
"Gosh," I moaned, pausing to catch my breath, surprised by my own weakness.
"Take your time, pal." Dean's hand came to the small of my back, offering support.
I glanced over my shoulder, feeling a bit dizzy. Dean gave a small, but encouraging smile.
I looked past Dean to Bobby, who also seemed a little winded, older than I remembered him only a few minutes ago. Like he'd taken these stairs one too many times in his lifetime. Crap, what did I put them all through?
Taking a deep breath, I turned and continued the climb. Dean keeping his hand at my back and pushing me onward. With each slow step, I was racking my brain to remember something. Anything. And it really hurt badly when I suddenly did remember one very important and horrible thing.
"Lucifer," I choked on the word just as we made it to the top step.
A flood of warnings flashed across my eyes. Bright and painful. My breath spent, all I could do was gasp and collapse onto my ass.
Dean immediately sat by my side, shoulder-to-shoulder. Both of us stuffed in the small space between the doorjamb.
I'd done it. I'd said yes. Became the incarnation of the Anti Christ. "I said, yes. I said yes," I wheezed over and over. "I said yes," The words kept coming, wrenched from my throat.
I'd gone over the edge. Me and Lucifer and Michael. All three of us falling - forever.
"Of course you said yes." Dean hooked an arm around me and tugged me close to his side. "And you saved the world." His tone low and sure.
"I'll get us some lunch," Bobby muttered, awkwardly, somehow squeezing past us. "You done good, kid," he said, patting my shoulder and then disappeared from view.
I wanted to curl into a ball, but when I tried to, Dean braced an arm across the front of my chest and held me up. Then he took my right hand that was still clenched into a tight ball against my chest. He squeezed tight and hard and his strength seeped inside of me, like a driving sword.
Thunder rolled through me and lightning flashed white-hot behind my eyes. I leaned heavily against Dean.
"Why am I still alive?" I asked dryly, looking over at my big brother.
Dean's spin stiffened and his lips tightened. The rage in his eyes quickly replaced by a tear.
Not another deal. Please not that.
I waited, trying to give Dean time to compose himself.
Minutes passed and nothing was said. The only sound that heavy breathing - Dean's and mine.
"Shit, Dean. What'd you do?"
He still didn't answer. Just shook his head a little. I felt like I was walking a tightrope right over the pit - or maybe that was Dean.
I took a shuddering breath, "Dean." I reached out and grabbed him by the arm. "What. Did. You. Do?" I looked to him for understanding.
"I can't tell you. Do you understand me, Sam? I can't…" his voice broke.
We gazed at each other for what seemed like forever, and I swear I saw the earth shattering in Dean's eyes.
"Sammy, you gotta do something for me," he begged, but his voice was strong. "I need you to trust me. To help me with this. It's the only way."
My turn to be flabbergasted into silence.
"It's not about us," Dean continued. "You or me. I didn't make a deal. I didn't promise anyone my soul. Or Bobby's soul. Or your soul. Or anything else. I'd never do that again to you or me or anyone."
Tears started falling from his eyes. So hard I didn't think he could see straight, let alone think straight.
A chilly shiver brushed over my body as Dean continued to speak.
"You have to trust me. It's all I can tell you. If I tell you anymore it will all come tumbling down," Dean breathed heavily, and became very, very still.
I considered that a moment, knowing that was all Dean was going to tell me.
We'd been here before. Building sand castles in the sand. Sand castles that would disappear and wash away with the incoming tide, the wind or the rain or tiny, child-like hands meaning no harm. One touch. One drop of a pin and our world would tumble down like a wall, yet again.
Like a wall.
There was a wall.
A single door leading in and out. A lousy deadbolt preventing my memories from coming forth. Keeping a captured monster locked inside. The wall was fresh. Newly constructed. Made of chicken wire and plaster and something only slightly more. It was still drying. Put there because I was damaged. Put there so I could defend myself. So I could be with Dean. Defend Dean.
I brought a hand up to my head and rubbed my fingers across my wrinkled forehead. So many things I didn't remember. And suddenly - somehow knew - I didn't want to or need to remember.
"There's a wall," I murmured softly.
Dean nodded, not shocked that I'd at least remembered that much.
"A panic room inside my head?"
"A safe room," Dean corrected.
I didn't know much more, and I knew enough not to try and Google that information. I had to trust Dean. Trust him like I'd never trusted him before.
There was so much more, but Dean didn't need to say a word. The look on my brother's face was enough. Spoke volumes. And though I knew he was scared beyond scared, I could also sense security and comfort.
"I'm trusting you…to trust me, little brother. Can you trust me, Sammy?"
"Like no other," I barely whispered, without faltering.
"Why?" he tested, pulling me into his arms.
"Because you're my brother," I said, not hesitating to hug him back, resting my chin on his shoulder.
"You boy's going to set up camp here?" Bobby asked from behind.
I sank deeper against Dean. It was a lifetime since I'd felt this safe and warm and cared about. Pulling away from him now would be like having my soul, once again, ripped from my chest. I'd been empty for far too long as it was. I never wanted to feel that empty again.
"I think we just might," Dean told Bobby, not relinquishing his hold on me.
Bobby wandered away, muttering something sweet and suspiciously poetic under his breath.
"Thanks, Dean." Was all I could muster as I was falling back to sleep.
"I am awesome, aren't I?"
The blah- sappy-soapy end.