Title: Fade Out Again
Disclaimer: The shows or characters ain't mine, ok?
Characters: Sam/Kate Austen (LOST)
Word Count: 2,556
Summary: Azazel can bring back Dean from Hell, but he wants one thing in return: Kate Austen. Sam tracks her down, but falls for her. Now Sam is faced with an agonizing decision and while Azazel (and his gifts to Sam) haunts his dreams and waking world.
A/N: Fic based on this amazing vid (.) made by Jemma last year as my Christmas present. I hope you like this, hon. I think your vid turned out so so so much better than this fic, but I still hope it suits you. Merry Belated Christmas!
Final bullet wasted.
Dean misses, and a year later Dean dies, and only seconds after, Dean suffers in the throes of hell itself for all eternity.
And Sam is here – left behind.
So he seeks out a familiar face, one who's known him since the night of his sixth month birthday (when everything changed, but no one noticed sulfuric-scented blood stains on little Sammy's PJs).
The room is dark and Sam's palm still bleeds, but he is determined (or desperate, but Sam supposes it doesn't matter much which it is.) (Dean shouts for his brother in a totally different dimension, but Sam still feels it in his bones, agony permeating through them because after everything his big brother has done for him, Sam cannot reciprocate when he needs it the most.)
Azazel taunts him when he arrives (all glib), but Sam isn't here to play games.
His brother made a deal; Sam's here to make another.
(Any damn deal that he can get.)
He spots her at the bar, staring into an almost empty drink, posture so slouched that she fits right in with the inebriated and repellent men surrounding her.
She's more attractive in person than she is on paper and Sam thinks that she doesn't belong in a dive like this.
He asked Azazel, once before, who she was, to which he only replied that he wanted her.
Still, Sam is curious by nature.
He approaches her from behind. I'm Sam, he says, with the intentions of getting to know this woman before he hands her over to a demon. (He knows he shouldn't; knows it will only complicate things, make things harder, but his curiosity is only propelled by his conscience and he can't stop himself.)
A sip of her bottle, a smile, and then: I'm Kate.
Drinks and smiles continue all the way to Sam's motel room where they evolve to firm, fierce caresses and laughter laced with alcohol.
Later on, Sam awakens suddenly. He's facing Kate and her screams inside his head (along with Dean's – together creating a cacophony of anguish) resonate in the waking world and he knows, in an instant, that Kate's in it deep now.
(This is because, he realizes as he takes in her long smooth legs, her lovely mangled hair, and her painted freckles, that Sam is too. Just in an unexpectedly different way.)
For five months, they've been living together – or wandering together, technically. (For all his nomadic lifestyle, Sam remembers how dumbfounded he had been to discover that another human being that wasn't his flesh and blood survived like he did. But only a day after he met her, Kate, with a quick explanation – I like you. I wanna see where we go from here. You with me? – was ready by the hour later, there were two sets of bags that joined her.)
(At the end of the first week, through easy research, Sam knows why Kate is so adept at running. He thinks that maybe knowing she's a fugitive and a suspect for murder would make his life easier. Hand her over to Azazel, get Dean back, and get on with this existence that someone else deemed worthy to be called a life. But it's not like Sam wasn't accused of the same charges himself. He sees it in her eyes every damn day; Kate is genuine. Whatever she did or didn't do, it's a part of her past now and he can't seem to put that behind his conscience.)
On the night of their fifth month anniversary, Sam finds himself rattled to consciousness by Kate.
You were shaking, she offers, a worried expression on her face.
Sam feigns serenity before he dashes into the restroom, running water over his face and back through his hair while his brain runs memories on a loop that he'd rather not consider. (He denies them, these memories of a forsaken deal and the rasping voice of a man possessed, he denies them every moment he's with Kate and eats and laughs and makes love with her, but his subconscious is not as kind to Sam and it makes him remember it all until he wakes, shivering in the cold, echoes of a gruff voice still present in the darkness.)
Hey. Sam hears and he startles before he registers this voice as soft; sweet; safe (for now).
The light's been on – for like – 15 minutes. Wanted to make sure you were okay, she says, so gently that his tension melts away a little.
Yeah, he responds, exhaling. Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks.
Nightmare about your brother?
He chuckles slightly. He's never used Dean's name and it hasn't been mentioned more than twice, but Sam's still shocked that he ever told Kate about his brother's death. He thinks she has a way of getting under his skin.
No, is his automatic reply. I mean, yeah. Sort of. A bunch of stuff all muddled in, y'know?
Wanna talk about it?
He shakes his head solemnly. It's all right. Really, he says with conviction. She sees through it, but doesn't press on.
You can, y'know, talk to me about it, if you ever want to. You're a good guy and...
It takes everything Sam has not to scoff at Kate's remark. (She doesn't know what kind of man he is. She's not even close.)
… I love you, she concludes, a small smile playing upon her lips, eyes sincere and optimistic.
Sam stares at her as if she's a foreign creature. He smiles sadly and swallows dryly to stop himself from answering her, from giving her his own confession of his sentiments, his Adam's apple bobbing in quick motions. Instead, he gets up and reenters the bedroom, leaving Kate alone with her reflection and confusion.
After hours of tossing and turning, Sam looks down at a newly-asleep Kate, pulls in close to her ear, gathering the strands of loose hair and putting them back in place, and says: I'm not who you think I am. Get out while you still can. Run and don't look back.
Kate stirs a bit, her cheek edging in closer and deeper into her pillow, and a part of Sam hopes that it was a sign that she had heard him.
It's nine weeks later when Sam discovers that he can resurrect some of his powers. In addition to the visions that haunt his dreams (Sam always thought dreams were nothing but a series of silent images stringed together until now; the howls are deafening), he finds out that he can kill demons. Not just exorcise them, but kill them, permanently. He doesn't even need a Devil's Trap for it – just his mind (with demon blood to drink, Sam reluctantly acknowledges).
Deep down, Sam knows it's wrong. He hears Dean's words replay themselves: What you're doing, it's not gonna save me. It's only gonna kill you. (He pushes them aside into the crevices of his mind.)
It's not just Dean's words anymore. Kate knows what Sam's up to, at least, partially. Sam's shielded her from the existence of demons and monsters, but she knows that Sam's not exactly normal. Knows he can move things without laying a finger on them; knows that the liquid in the flask in the bottom of his duffel isn't whiskey.
She cries to him sometimes. Begs him to just take a step back from whatever the hell he's gotten himself mixed up in, long enough to really think about his actions.
Other times, she just looks at him with red eyes and a cheerless smile, almost as if she's hoping that the new day tomorrow will bring the Sam she knew; the Sam she said those words to so long ago. She'll kiss him with suspended breath (swiftly, as if afraid).
He won't admit it, but Sam's afraid too. (They're in the Impala one night. Kate's driving, the radio tuned low onto Patsy Cline. Sam glances at the window and sees his reflection. He blinks and golden eyes with his nose and mouth and hair stare back at him.)
More than what he's turning into, Sam's afraid of what might happen if he doesn't turn into it soon enough. If he can't figure out a way to kill Azazel before he figures out a way to find them, he risks losing Kate. Or Dean.
So in the morning, when Kate's in the shower, he drinks a pint from his flask. And at night, when Kate is sleeping (and when he should be having nightmares), he sneaks out and practices killing demons with his mind.
What other choice does he have?
(The shrieks are too familiar by now. She's lying on the floor, screaming and twisting and biting down hard on her lips – anything to try to alleviate the pain, but nothing works. She's handcuffed, the metal making her skin around her wrists chafe and bruise purple. She's crying out into the dimness of the room as she drops her head back for release. It impacts with the hard cemented ground and she only cries out again.
An outstretched hand is inches above her ribcage. Unrecognizable, he thinks, at first, before he realizes…
His. His hand. [Joints flexing outwards; long, pale fingers steady for destruction.]
He wears an expression of pure fury and abhorrence.
Sam, she sobs. Sam! Stop it. Please, stop. Stop, stop, stop, stop … Sam!
I! she screams, but suddenly pauses, breath and vocals stolen by hurt. I … love you.
It's not a ruse to get him to stop. She means it. She really means it.
It only makes Sam focus harder on the torture.
Behind him, the man with the yellow eyes flashes his yellow teeth and snickers.
He sneers. Peek-a-boo, Sammy. I see you.)
Sam wakes with a start.
He pulls open the curtains to let slip the light of dawn and alerts a groggy Kate – We gotta go.
Why? We just got here.
He sits on the bed, trying to regain composure. Look, Kate, I've been here before. There's really not much to see. I say we head west. This time of year, everything's blossoming. We should check it out.
A frown is the answer he receives. What's wrong?
He sighs. I just … got a bad feeling about this place. Just trust me, he says with a shaky smirk. Can you do that?
It's a lie, Kate knows all too well (you can't become a professional liar without learning to read the truth from the fabrications), but in that moment, Kate sees the Sam of months ago (agreeable and content).
She throws back the covers and grabs her duffel.
Sam hopes (prays) that he's hallucinating when he turns his head and faces out the window of the Impala.
(A silly commercial just played on the radio and Kate commented on it, white teeth peeking through in a full grin accompanied with light laughter. Sam smirks, despite his best attempt to focus and consider a plan.)
Too late for plans.
Sam nearly gasps and jumps back when he sees Azazel in the truck beside them. One arm securely on the wheel, the other hanging out his open window. Then, a raised hand, only a forefinger and a thumb extended into a makeshift gun, and a gesture toward Sam.
Found ya, it reads.
With that one gesture, Sam is paralyzed … long before the car crash.
(…long before he eyes Kate crawl out of the upturned Impala and feels her dragging him out too. [He wants to scream any variation of the following: don't be an idiot – save yourself; get the hell out of here; run!, but any vocal expression then seems limited to painful grunts.] )
(…long before he stares at the bright blue sky and hears the cock of a pistol and Hey, Kate.)
Sam's last thought before he slips into unconsciousness is that for all his powers of telekinesis, when it comes down do it, Sam can't even move his damn legs.
When Sam wakes, he inhales deeply, as if he'd just been resurrected. The air is welcomed as it fills his lungs with oxygen and his head with clarity.
When Kate wakes, she inhales deeply, but her lungs give out, like deflated balloons. All the better – the air smells like rotten eggs.
Everything hurts. Back, chest, insides, outsides. But he thinks how he met her nine months ago today and he digs his fingers into the dirt at his side, and sits up. He can't stand up so he gets on his hands and knees and crawls. One hand in front of the other, again, and again, until he finds the strength to save her.
Everything hurts. Back, chest, insides, outsides. She writhes on her back because she has no where else to move to. When she opens her eyes, she sees a hazy version of him, looking down at her (his wide sadistic smirk seen in perfect acuity).
You got me, she heaves with a groan.
Yes, Kate. Yes, I did. (She hears the pleasure in his words.)
In between screams, sheopens her eyes and manages to croak out, Your eyes. What's wrong with your eyes, Edward?
Any drop of curiosity is long forgotten as he coils her intestines from within and Kate screams herself hoarse.
Let her go.
Yellow Eyes scoffs. A widdle gun, Sammy? Really, that's the best you can do?
Sam is reminded of an earlier meeting with Azazel. The demon's still loquacious and derisive, but Sam's still not here to play games. So he doesn't say anything at all.
Instead, he focuses on what matters. A steady hand and a sharp mind.
He spots Kate behind Azazel; limping, bleeding, but alive. (Or so he thinks – if it wasn't for the fear in her eyes, he'd say she looked dead inside. You did that to her, he tells himself, before centering his attention on Azazel.)
I said, let her go.
Azazel shrugs. You know. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll send her back on her merry way. Maybe I'll snap her neck like a twig. Either choice is equally probable. It doesn't really matter. See, Sammy … it wasn't about her. It was about you. It's always been about you.
Sam's hand falters and he lets his gun drop.
But then, I guess you've figured that out by now, right?
Yeah. I have, Sam says, as he raises his hand and concentrates until crimson blood trails down his mouth.
His head pounds in tempo with his accelerated heart (thousands of vessels threatening to erupt at the strain), his insides feel as if they are being roasted, and … he goes blind.
For one moment, his world turns black (a blackened world with complete lucidity; how is that possible?).
When his vision returns, he sees Azazel stationary on the floor. He sees Kate gape at him, haunted and horrified.
Are you okay? He steps toward her.
Flinching, she steps back (stumbles back, feet too slow for the terror she is feeling).
Sam closes his eyes and breathes in deep. What has he become?
Heart still racing, Sam lets himself the say the one truth that has not yet been revealed.
I love you, Sam says … and plunges a blade into his abdomen.
A/N ii: Feedback very much appreciated. Enjoy.