All the People Who Aren't You
K Hanna Korossy
It's not Dean who grabs him from behind and yanks him up into air.
Sam splutters and swallows more water but hasn't got the strength to fight anymore. Even the adrenaline-fueled burst of before has been sucked up by the raging force of the river. He hangs limp instead, sandwiched between a solid arm and a hard chest, and gratefully thinks, Dean.
"Steady, bud, we'll have you out in a minute."
But that's not Dean's voice vibrating through his back, nor his arm clutching at Sam.
He hasn't got the energy left to look and see who his savior is if not Dean, and sinks into the black in confusion.
It's not Dean who squeezes his hand when Sam jolts awake to the disconcerting feeling of flying.
"It's okay, sir, you're in a med chopper. Nothing to worry about."
Definitely not Dean, who would be the one who'd need hand-holding if they were flying.
Sam blinks in exhaustion at the strange face above him, feels the press of unfamiliar calluses against his skin. The way his hand is squashed instead of cradled like it was something precious. "Wh—?" he starts to ask, until the tearing coughs start.
There's yelling in the background and the prick of a needle. The pressure on his hand lifts, and he drowns in the dark, on his own.
It's not Dean who palpates his stomach and tells him to "take it easy."
It's a woman's voice, actually, and Sam's mind blurs between Mom and Jess before he can flutter his eyes open to check.
She's got dark hair and a white coat and something hanging around her neck, and she looks up from Sam to snap out an order that makes her sound kinda like Dad. But she's not anyone he knows—doctor?—and Sam feels his sluggish heartbeat pick up in panic.
"Hey, honey, try to relax, okay? You're going to be all right."
Her hand's too small and her voice is too high and his stomach's being rubbed instead of his chest, and despair Sam can't name sucks him down before he can figure it out.
It's not Dean who's talking to him over the beeps and cold antiseptic smell.
"…help you get that temperature under control and clear your lungs up, sweetie. You'll feel better…"
Sam jolts awake. Who is he, where is he, where is Dean, what's going on…? He looks at the strange woman in pink and tries to frame the questions.
"Take it easy," she soothes. "You've been pretty sick since they pulled you out of the river."
"I don'…" His voice is slurred to his own ears. "Dean?"
"Is that your name? You didn't have any ID on you. We didn't know who to call."
That's the thing: they shouldn't have had to.
It's not Dean who shakes his shoulder and draws him out of a nightmare of red eyes.
"Hey, mister? We're here."
Sam blinks hard, but the fatigue drags at him like an iron skin. "Wha—? Oh. Here?"
"This is where you told me." The man, pudgy and graying and pretty much Dean's total opposite, pulls back and looks around doubtfully. "You sure this is where you wanted to go? There's nothin' here."
Sam huffs at that, digs out the money the kind nurse had loaned him after advising him he shouldn't be leaving yet. It takes a ridiculous amount of effort to drag himself out of the cab onto the quiet dirt road.
But he has work to do. He doesn't even watch the cab drive off, leaving him completely alone.
It's not Dean who arrives seconds after Sam finishes burying the box, although it looks like him.
"Back so soon? Aw, little brother, you miss me?" Dean's mouth curves in an alien smile as red overlays the hazel.
Sam stares back evenly. "Get out of him."
Dean's head cocks. "You know, I would, but…I kinda like it in here. Been a while since I've been in something so…fine." A hand slides appreciatively down his chest.
Dizziness washes over Sam, but he doesn't let it show. "You're only supposed to borrow hosts while you do your business—that's the rule, right? That's why the anti-possession tattoo didn't work on you?"
The shrug almost looks like Dean's. "The rules for our kind are pretty flexible, boy. Maybe my business isn't finished yet."
"Right." Sam nods, a humorless smile curling his mouth as he looks to the side, then back at the face he knows so well. "Got more people to throw in the river?"
"You survived, didn't you? And I wouldn't have had to play rough if you'd just let me borrow your pretty brother."
"Get out of him," Sam repeats, done playing.
"Maybe later." Dean's face smirks, and he turns away. And stops. "What—?" He whirls back, eyes narrowed. "Samuel—"
Sam smiles with grim pleasure this time. "Took me a while to make a five-hundred foot devil's trap, but I was pretty motivated. So, last chance—get out, or I'm kicking you out."
Dean's face glowers darkly at him.
Sam sighs, braces himself, and starts reciting.
"Wait. I'll go."
Sam pauses. He really wanted to send this thing back to Hell, but crossroad demons had a free pass out anytime…and he wasn't sure he was ready for the upheaval of a full exorcism. "No taking him back later," he clarifies. "Or me."
Dean's lips curl in a mockery of his brother's smile. "Oh, my boy, we've got far better plans for you."
A shiver goes down his back that has nothing to do with his weakness or lingering fever.
"Done," the demon spits, less than amused now.
Sam doesn't bother answering, just shambles a few steps to where the nearest sigil is hidden by a bush, and rubs his foot over the line.
The demon gives him one more hate-filled, ruby-eyed look, then throws Dean's head back. Black smoke rushes out.
Sam stumbles toward him, but Dean's body collapses before he can get there, and doesn't move.
It's Dean looking back at him when Sam finally drops to the ground beside his prone brother and flops Dean over into his lap.
"Hey," Sam says weakly.
Dean blinks heavily a few times, drags a hand up to clumsily pat Sam's. "'S me. 'S me, Sammy." He probably can't even see Sam swallow and nod, but then, Sam's vision is blurry, too.
"I know, man. I know it's you."
And that's my last regular Sunday post. More to follow eventually, but I hope you enjoyed the summer reading and here's to the start of Season 7!