Dark. Everything was dark, black. No light, no sun.
No warmth. Cold, so cold. Shivers wracked his body, and his chattering teeth filled the silence—the all-consuming silence.
He was alone. No sound, no warmth. There was pain, piercing and throbbing everywhere. It was everywhere. He curled into himself tighter, his moan breaking the silence of this black hole. He felt his mind slipping slowly as more and more time passed. Soon, he would be beyond saving, beyond recovery.
Light suddenly broke apart the darkness, and he flinched, burying his head into his arms. Before, he thought the light would bring hope, but he was wrong…it just brought pain. Pain, and a wish to return to the crushing darkness. The wish would be fulfilled eventually. He just had to wait; wait for it to finish with him and leave.
He felt a touch on his arms and heard a noise. His skin felt like it was burning from the warmth of the touch and his face crinkled in confusion. Its touch had only made him feel colder. The noise was getting louder now, more insistent. He retreated, pulling into himself even more, physically, emotionally; confused and weary.
What more do you want? Just let me die now…please.
The touch grew more insistent, from a gentle grasp to a gentle shake, then to a touch on the back of his neck. The hand squeezed gently in a way that reminded him of the past. Once, people cared about him. Once, he had a brother. Whenever he was hurt or sick, his brother would do that; squeeze the nape of his neck. It was a wordless offer of comfort and support. The voice was starting to sound familiar, the tones comforting him even if he didn't understand what was being said.
It sounded like his brother.
It only took a moment for comprehension to dawn. This was a hallucination. He was going to die soon. The idea wasn't as bad as it might have been once upon a time. He'd been here in this darkness for long enough to see death as an escape from the pain, the hunger, the nothingness. His mind was easing the transition, giving him a calming presence to focus on before the end.
Another squeeze to his neck drew him from his thoughts back to the voice. He didn't know what words were being spoken, but just the tone was enough to remind him of better days. Each time they sat in the car, talking about everything and nothing, jokes being tossed back and forth as they teased each other. Jerk…Bitch…
His lips twitched into a smile. He had missed him so much this last eternity. He would have made this…this darkness bearable. A shame his mind had not been able to create the hallucination any sooner.
The voice got louder and it dawned on him that it wasn't calm and soothing, but frantic and worried. What? He concentrated, forcing himself to hear what "his brother" was saying and not just letting the words wash over him.
"Please, please, open your eyes. Open your eyes, it's okay. It's over, I found you."
Just as quickly as he understood the words, he felt his mind shut down. Not true. Impossible. He was disappointed. Why would the hallucination lie to him? Shouldn't it be telling him it was okay to let go?
"It's me, Dean. Come on man, open your eyes."
The words filtered through the wall he had erected, sparking the hope that had long been dead. It hurt. Too much. Wasn't it bad enough that he had to suffer through the loss of his hope? Now he had to feel it come back, too? It was just a hallucination, nothing more.
The last two words somehow found their way out of his mouth, hoarse and whisper-soft.
"Go…go away? I'm not leaving you, Dean. I'm not. Come on, open your eyes."
He flinched when "his brother" grabbed his hands. They were clenched into tight fists and "Sam" slowly started rubbing them, loosening the muscles until the fingers straightened from their tense grip.
It was too much; the words, the hands touching him, even the light that filtered through his eyelids. It was too different, too startling for his broken mind and body to deal with. He escaped into a different darkness, his body growing limp as he welcomed oblivion.
He wasn't out for long, but when he woke next, he knew. He knew he was too far gone to be saved even if Sam did manage to find him. The rumbling beneath him was familiar and comforting…and it felt so real…
To be able to create an illusion so strong that he could feel the car moving beneath him, could feel the warmth of "his brother's" arm as it wrapped around him, could feel the weight of "Sam's" hand over his heart, must mean he was even closer to death than he had thought.
His last bit of composure disappeared in that moment. His breathing hitched and he felt his face crumple. I'm sorry, Sam. I'm sorry…so sorry.
"His brother's" voice floated down to him and he felt the car pull to a stop.
The hands were pushing at him and tugging until he was resting against a hard surface he recognized as the car door. One hand rested on his shoulder, the other on his neck, for support…and connection. He felt himself sway, the movement sickening him and reminding him of the pain he had momentarily forgotten about. The pain was nothing compared to the agony of wanting Sam and only having a cruel imitation.
"Sorry…sorry…'m sorry…" he whispered.
"No. No, Dean; there's nothing to be sorry for!"
"Dean, open your eyes." The voice was carefully commanding, gentle but firm.
"No." He shook his head, agitated. He couldn't open his eyes. None of this was real! None of it! Opening his eyes now would just show him he was still in the basement, in the darkness that had swallowed him whole.
The hallucination sighed, a noise Dean recognized as equal parts frustration and sadness. "Why not?"
"Not real," Dean huffed, not sure why he was explaining this. "You're not real…'S not real…" It hurt to say those words. There was no way to describe how badly he wanted this to be real; his car, being safe, his brother.
The quick intake of breath was completely different from the sigh—this one showing understanding. It was the same sound Sam made every time the last piece of the puzzle fell into place on one of their cases. It was him knowing what the problem was; it was him knowing how to fix it. "Dean." The word was accompanied by a gentle squeeze to his shoulder. "It's real, man. I promise. Trust me, Dean."
Trust. That was what it always boiled down to between the two of them. Did Dean trust his bother to watch his back? Did he trust Sam to do the right thing? To be able to pull through for Dean when he had lost all hope?
He did. He trusted him. They were brothers.
But what if…what if this was a cruel joke it had created? What if?
The word was little more than a whisper, but it packed enough force to hit Dean right in the chest. He could never deny his brother, even if this Sam was just a dream. And he trusted in Sam to believe this was real. It had to be. Please, please be real.
He opened his eyes.
And saw his brother.
AN: I first became interested in Supernatural a few short months ago when I read a Psych/Supernatural crossover. Long story short, crossover fics became Supernatural fics, which led to watching and owning all seasons of this show...Suffice to say, it's a new love. :) I would very much enjoy hearing what you thought of this chapter. I am (tentatively) planning on adding Sam's pov to this, if you are interested.
A huge thank you to TotallyLosingIt who read over this for me. I am forever grateful to you, my friend!