The Devil Made Me Do It
A/N: General Season Seven spoilers. This is an attempt at horror that I'm not very pleased with but the muse is off working on something else and refuses to do anything else with this, so it is what it is.
What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks – is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
~In a Dark Time. Theodore Roethke
Dean is humming something to himself, low and haunting from across the bench seat. The world is muffled darkness through Sam's eyelashes, splintering and spider-webbing the sky, looming above the Impala's windscreen.
Must be late, Sam thinks purposefully. Must be night. He always has to remind himself of how time passes here. The Cage was dark for decades.
He shivers at the memory and Dean's humming pauses as if he'd hit an off switch. Barely a second passes before Dean's palm rests on the bare skin of Sam's forearm, rests without restraining, warm and calloused and homesafeDean. It's almost enough to make him forget that something feels wrong. He can't open his eyes properly. Why can't he open his eyes properly?
Dean's hand squeezes, then moves away, and Sam wants to cry out, make Dean come back, because Dean must know that something's wrong, but he's quiet and the world is quiet and Sam's suddenly afraid that his eyelashes might actually be spiders trying to crawl into his brain, oh God, Jesus. He tries to swat at them but his hands won't work.
He needs to calm down. There can't actually be spiders trying to crawl into his eyes, not if Dean's next to him. Dean wouldn't let that happen. He rolls his head along the seat back in search of his brother. The broken world through his lashes is freaking him out. He wants to see.
"Deee?" His tongue is asleep and won't wake up enough to complete his brother's name but Dean will understand. Dean will explain. His shadow shifts in the driver's seat.
Dean just restarts his humming though, slow and soft.
(So close, no matter how far...)
Something's wrong. This is wrong. It's not just his tongue that's asleep, it's his whole body. It's that lethargic disconnected feeling that sleeping pills bring on, mind struggling to stay sharp in a body that just wants to lie down. Sam wants to lie down...
"Dee?" he moans again but he can't keep his head up any more. He's slumped against the passenger door, and something in his brain wakes up and reminds him that being in the Impala is wrong. The Impala's in storage, or was. They shouldn't be in the Impala.
(Couldn't be much more from the heart...)
"Deean," he finally manages to say with only the smallest slur.
"It's okay, Sammy." Dean finally speaks. "I've got this one. Go back to sleep."
Dean sounds so confident, so sure. Sam wants to give in and let his big brother take care of this, whatever this is. He wants to sleep. But everything is wrong and Sam wants to know what it is. It's in Dean's voice as well, something dark and dangerous.
Sam forces his head up. He means to look at Dean but the sky is too distracting. Black on black on black, it goes on forever, clouds smothering the moon and stars like smoke, smoke from hell fire, smoke from... clouds, they're just clouds. The overhead light brightens the interior of the Impala and beyond that the impression of nothing is unbelievable, an endless canvas of black with miles of nothing on nothing on nothing.
That's when it clicks. The big click that he's been waiting for. There should be something but there's no road stretching out before them. The engine is silent. There's just... nothing.
It's the edge of a cliff. The ocean must be at the bottom, camouflaged and huge. For some reason, it makes Sam think of his younger self, pestering an increasingly irritated Dean with question after question.
'Why is the sky blue, Dean?'
'Because it reflects the ocean and the ocean's blue.'
'Then why is the ocean blue?'
'Because it reflects the sky. Now leave me alone or I'll give you a wedgie.'
Sam had liked that. Not the wedgie part, obviously, but the two things being blue because the other was, wanting to be just like each other. Sam wanted to be just like Dean.
Except everything's black now. Black reflecting black onto black reflecting black.
(Trust I seek, and I find in you...)
"Dean," Sam says, sudden fear shaking some of the slur from his voice. He can't look away from the sky. It's the whole universe pressing down on him.
"Sam, it's okay," Dean says soothingly but Sam's not soothed. "I know what I'm doing. It's under control, okay? You don't have to worry."
Sam struggles to sit up but his limbs feel like wet noodles. "What're y'doing?" he tries to demand. Panic is weaving tight little knots in his chest and movement makes the Impala's dash ebb and flow like the ocean beneath them.
(why are they in the impala what's wrong with him why is the ocean beneath them what is Dean doing)
Dean turns to him, raising a hand to touch Sam's cheek, lightly trailing across a faint scar. (Poltergeist when Sam was 16. He should have ducked.) Sam waits for an explanation and Dean returns his hand to the steering wheel. His face breaks out in a wry smile.
"I feel like there should be a Thelma and Louise joke in here somewhere."
Sam stares at him, turning that over and over in his head. He can't think properly, or maybe he just doesn't like the conclusion. Did Dean drug him? Dean wouldn't drug him.
"You're not Dean," Sam blurts, words falling over each other, and it's the only thing that makes sense. This isn't real. He's hallucinating. "Dean wouldn't do this."
Not-Dean looks out at the sky, at the impossible drop mere feet away. He rubs a hand over his face and for a moment the confidence is gone, the 'holding it together' expression drops. "Sam... there's nothing left. Now that Bobby's..."
He shakes his head and pulls himself together, smiles like he's actually happy. "We're done, Sammy. We're finally done."
Sam tries to shake his head too but the world spins around him. "No." He presses his thumb into his palm as hard as he can, closing his eyes, but the stitches have long since been removed and the smooth scar isn't enough by itself. This isn't real though. This can't be real. This is Lucifer messing with him.
"Sorry, Sammy," a new (old, from every day of every year of every decade) voice murmurs in his ear, not the least bit apologetic. He doesn't have to turn around to see the Devil in the back seat. "I think it's Dean that's lost the plot this time."
"Shut up," Sam mutters, trying to gouge his fingernails into his palm but his arms have no real strength. He's still in the car, still on the cliff, when he opens his eyes. "'s not real."
"You know," Lucifer says musingly, breath cold against the side of Sam's face. "Even if this is going on in your pretty little messed up head, who's to say you're not in the driver's seat?"
Sam does turn this time, as much as he can while the sky is trying to smother him, looking from Dean to Lucifer. The Devil cocks an eyebrow. His panic is starting to choke him now, horror rising in his throat. How is he supposed to know?
"I'm not... this isn't..." He looks helplessly at Dean, wordlessly pleading for some sort of reassurance. (It's not Dean though. It can't be Dean, it must be Lucifer, must be in his head but if he can ride shotgun with the imaginary devil and still get somewhere, maybe he can drive himself off of a cliff without ever touching the steering wheel.)
Dean glances into the back seat, mimicking Sam, but his eyes skim over Lucifer as though he's not there (because he's not there, focus, Sam, is Dean not here too?).
"This is what's wrong, Sammy. You can't live like this. We can't live like this."
Sam tries futilely to rise from his seat. "No, Dean, please... I know, I know what's real and..." (Except this. He doesn't know if this is real.)
Dean sighs and reaches out to close his hands around Sam's, making eye contact. Lucifer's fingers walk over his shoulders, across the back of his neck. "Sammy, don't you get it? We're done." He chuckles humourlessly. "It's actually over."
Sam doesn't want it to be over. He wants to knock Dean out and drive them both away from here. He wants to run because maybe it's only him in the car and he's about to drive himself over a cliff and he'll never know if it was actually him or Dean or Lucifer. (Not Lucifer. Lucifer's not real.) He wants the real Dean to leap out of no where and save him.
But Dean's sitting next to him and Sam can barely move with whatever's swimming through his bloodstream. Grogginess is sliding over him like a silk sheet and all he can do is slump in his seat and look at the never ending (black black hellfire black screams black) sky, and the ocean is so far below them.
"Dean..." he pleads, but Dean's starting the engine.
"It's okay, Sammy," he says softly. He's staring into the abyss too. "As long as I'm around, nothing bad's going to happen to you."
Lucifer slings a freezing arm over Sam's shoulders in a kind of backwards hug that turns Sam to ice. "The real Dean's gonna be pissed that you messed up his car," he says mildly.
Sam can't breathe. He doesn't understand. How is he supposed to know?
The emptiness rolls forward and the sky is enveloping him, embracing him and they're going to fall, and maybe if he closes his eyes he'll wake up and this will all have been a bad dream.
(And nothing else matters...)