A/N: I've been busy working on my other SPN story Right Behind You, and realized this one deserved an update.
Disclaimer: Kripke's a lucky man.
Dance With the Devil
Dean—if that really is his name—feels as if he's standing on his head while trying to take a wild shot in the dark. Robert? Bobby? Like John, the name gets a reaction: his stomach does an uncomfortable drop, his heart rate shifts into another gear, fluttering madly like it has wings. It's like he's on a roller coaster.
But, still . . . who is this guy?
He shakes his head. "I'm sorry, I don't remember . . ."
Bobby appears indifferent until you look at his eyes and see right through him; he gives a casual shrug to wave the problem away, struggling to suppress whatever emotions he's warring with. So the old man does care more than he'd originally thought. " 'Course you don't," the older man says. "How could ya? What with a bunch of demons runnin' the place. Damn near impossible." Bobby makes himself at home and sits down on the cot, glancing up at the moonlight shining in through the square opening.
Suddenly, he has the urge to ask if, on the way to the cell, Bobby saw John. He had already accepted John probably hadn't come back for a reason, and Bobby's appearance only supported that theory, but it couldn't hurt to see if the man knew anything else of importance. Lowering his voice to a whisper, Dean breathes, "Did you . . . see anything?"
"On your way here, I mean."
"Besides demons and prisoners?" The man tilts his head a bit, thinking. "Just the front of the prison. Had me blindfolded up till then."
Dean lowers his head, feeling defeated. He knows fences coiled with barbed wire enclose the prison on every side, knows it is the only barrier separating prisoners from freedom if they ever manage to make it past the guards and secured doors. He knows these things from overhearing conversations on his way to and from showers. He knows he's not the only hunter who wants out, who's thought constantly of an escape plan.
"So, you a hunter?" Dean gaze shifts automatically to the cell door, scanning the area for guards, knowing they can appear at any given moment. "Bobby?" he adds, the name rolling easily off his tongue.
" 'fraid so, kid."
"And how do you know me?" Dean asks again.
Bobby almost blanched in the pale light, his gut all twisted up in knots. "Well," he whispers, trying to keep the panic out of his voice, "I knew your dad way back when, and there were times, during a hunt, he'd leave you and your brother with me at my place."
Dean swallows hard. "My brother?"
Bobby's heart skips a beat painfully in his chest and just about stops. A Dean that doesn't remember his own brother? The one he's always tried to keep safe, from going dark side, human? That alone put up a dozen more red flags. "Yeah, Sam," he continues. "Your dad, John—he always told you to look out for him, being the big brother and all."
His dad, John. His little brother, Sam. Bobby, a friend of his dad's. Dean's brain felt like it'd popped like a balloon with the overload of info. How could he not remember, not know he had a family? How could someone just forget about their life? How did you wind up in a prison full of hunters and guarded by demons with no memory of anything?
At least he knows why the names sounded familiar before.
"How do you . . ." Dean trails off, taking a seat next to Bobby on the cot. He tries to rephrase the question. "How can you still remember—?"
"Everything?" Bobby provides.
"Well, I like to think it's because of my looks." Bobby adjusts the cap on his head, smirking when the kid practically chokes on his own spit at the sight. Then he sighs. "I don't know, Dean. Why they chose you to tamper with . . . and only you—" He quirks an eyebrow. "Unless you know of any others whose brain got scrambled?"
Dean shakes his head. "Where's my brother, Bobby? And my dad?"
Bobby closes his eyes for a moment. He opens them only after he's decided to answer the easier of the two questions first. "Your daddy died a couple years back. Made a deal with a demon to save your life: his life for yours."
Something is boiling up inside Dean, slowly. He doesn't notice his hands have curled into fists until he starts speaking, realizing anger is what he's experiencing. "Why would he do that?" he nearly growls. "Why would he end his life to save me? If I was already halfway gone—"
"You were, son," Bobby interrupts gently. "And I don't blame him for what he did."
Dean's jaw clenches. "Yeah, well, we wouldn't be stuck here in this hellhole if he hadn't."
Bobby's face falls. "You don't mean that—"
"The hell I don't!" Dean whisper–shouts furiously. He pushes himself to his feet and paces a few moments within the small space, breathing deeply, trying to calm himself. Finally, he turns back to Bobby when he thinks he can control his temper and asks, "What about my brother? Is he dead too because of me?"
Bobby frowns and looks away, avoiding meeting Dean's insisting stare. "No," he says eventually. "He's alive. But he's trapped."
Dean doesn't hesitate. "Where?"
"Not anywhere you can get to him. Trust me, I've tried." Bobby shifts uncomfortably on the cot, exposing his forearm. He notices Dean study the anti–possession symbol tattoo there. "I tried everything, Dean—we all did. No one could reach him."
Dean goes silent for a moment. Then—
"Who trapped him?"
Bobby meets Dean's steady gaze. "The name Lucifer ring any bells?"
Dean scowls—the name rings several bells in his head. Warning bells. And Dean knows it's because familiarity has recently become his specialty.