AND THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
By: Karen B.
Summary: Season seven spoiler warnings. One shot. Lucifer POV. Hallucinating Sam. Awesome big brother Dean.
Disclaimer: Not the Owner
Rated: Self-indulgent with a bit of kooky as a side dish. Guilty as charged. Just me wanting some more Lucifer and the illusions he creates for Sam to gain his attention…with Dean as witness. Some bloody gore.
"I Ask for so Little. Just Fear Me, Love Me, Do as I Say, and I Will Be Your Slave."
~ Jareth, The Goblin King. (1986 movie: The Labyrinth)
I was proud to call myself the biggest monster in Sammy's nightmares.
Taunting him with just words, twisting his perception on reality, watching as his eyes fluttered, his limbs grew heavy, and his heartbeat sped up too fast. Turning the kid into a gasping, jerking, teeth-chattering-in-fear lump was extremely fun. Watching him struggle to determine the authenticity of the moment was even more fun.
But stirring up Sammy's honey pot wasn't easy. Even though his wall had been torn down, he'd managed to gather up enough of the crumbled blocks to keep me just outside the circle.
He may have been able to ignore me. Pretend I wasn't real, but there was no ignoring the fact he was trapped with me. No ignoring the fact he was not deaf, dumb or blind. Okay, well maybe he was dumb, but he sure wasn't deaf or blind. I didn't have to force him to watch horrifying things, or to listen to my every word. He couldn't help but do so. I was him and he was me. And being me, I had too tight of a grip on him for him to escape. But by being so intertwined, Sammy's exhaustion sometimes became mine.
It's a boatload of work and thinking and researching, and building up…to tear someone down.
With so many ideas floating around in my head, it was hard to get organized. To help me get orgainized, I used big chart-like paper and categorized ideas under headlined columns: Slightly annoying, super annoying, utterly annoying, big- brother-shooting skills, I rock-my-own-bloody world, and over-the-falls crazy.
Today I'd folded up my charts and put them away, feeling happy about my current undertaking - super annoying.
I loved music and my favorite thing to play was the old classic "When the Saints Go Marching In." And my favorite thing to play it on was anything brass. Banished to the backseat, I'd been playing the song for two hours straight…right in Sammy's left ear.
My cellmate was screaming, 'shut up. Shut up.' But the words were only in his mind. I needed him to say them to me out loud. To look me in the eye and acknowledge I was there. Sooner or later he would. When he did that, I'd sweep through him like a chill. A chill so cold it would burn like daggers of shooting icicles turned to flame, ramming through him. And I would be in his circle again.
I played another fifteen minutes then stopped.
"This isn't fun anymore." I put the trombone away. "So," I sat up and leaned forward over the front seat staring into the rearview mirror fussing with my windblown hair. "For the record. Which rendition did you prefer? That one the French horn the tuba or the sax?"
Sammy ran a hand through his damp hair and swooshed saliva around in his drying mouth, swallowing down hard.
"Personally I like the dynamics of the fog horn." I pulled one out of thin air and blew hard into the mouthpiece.
To Sammy's credit, he didn't flinch, keeping his eyes fixed on the road ahead.
I let the sound fade slowly, like a dying scream.
"Don't you just love that soul crushing, haunting tone?" I put the fog horn away.
Sammy didn't answer.
I sighed, "Anyone ever tell you…you're not easy to talk to?"
Sammy - he hated being called Sammy - grabbed a water bottle off the bench seat, unscrewed the lid and took a big gulp.
"Come on Sammy-kins," I whined. "Talk to me. A little camaraderie goes a long way, buddy."
I could sense the bubbling anger and fear inside of him, it gave me chills of pleasure. The good news was Sammy was weakening. The bad news was… so was I. I needed him to come around and acknowledge me soon.
"Hey, bunkmate, I ever tell you the story about the boy who pretended everything was fine until one day something went very wrong?"
Sammy took another huge gulp of water, swallowing audibly.
"You can drink until you drowned, Sammy, never get rid of that dry mouthed feeling." Getting comfortable, I settled back and stretched my legs out across the seat.
Sammy sat frozen and silent, barely breathing, his eyes puffy and bruised from lack of sleep.
I grinned. "Once upon a time," I started, crossing my feet at the ankles. "There was this awesome big brother." I waggled a finger at Dean. "Who strapped ten pounds of plastic explosives across his chest. You know the kind right?"
When Sammy didn't answer I uncrossed my ankles and gave the seat a swift kick.
Sammy still refused to respond or answer or even dare to glance over at Dean who was now wearing such a device – unbeknownst to him.
"Wires, detonator, ticking clock," I continued, "The kind that can blow up Gotham or demolish a car like this." I waved a hand around. "Turn it into a clump of twisted metal and cap crusading body parts with one push of a button." I put on a grin so wide it would put The Joker to shame.
Sammy clenched the bottle, squeezing it so tight it crinkled, the water spilling out the top and splashing to his lap, yet still refusing to look over at his brother.
With another small wave of my hand I replaced the kid's water bottle with the detonator device "Want to push the little red button, Sammy-kins? Watch big bro go splat?"
Sammy stared down at his hand.
"Sam? You okay over there," Dean interrupted gruffly.
Sam inhaled sharply, the device slipping out of his grasp.
"Hot potato," I laughed as he stared at the bottle that now lay on the floorboards, water leaking out onto the mat.
"Sammy?" Dean's voice was softer and gentler now, always reminding the kid he was there, his voice alone putting Sammy's feet back on solid ground.
I rolled my eyes and sat back. "Spoiled again," I growled.
"Sorry, sorry," Sammy rambled mindlessly, quickly bending over to retrieve the bottle and cap what was left of the water.
"Don't worry about it." The Warden told him casually. "Not like you puked up spaghetti sauce." He smiled over at Sammy, hiking a thumb over his shoulder. "Plenty more water in the back seat, dude."
"Plenty more water in the back seat, dude," I mocked.
Man I hated that bum of a big brother. Always interrupting us. Daddy's good little solider. Well trained. Always waving that white flag even when the bombs of death were about to detonate. He was a real threat. The keeper of what was left of his brother's sanity. And as much as I had Sammy jailed in my cell with me…Warden Dean had us both jailed in his – the stint long and grueling.
"Being the third wheel really sucks out loud," I griped, pulling out my charts and pencil to work on my 'escaped convicts' plan.
It sure was proving hard work… driving someone out of their mind. I chewed on the eraser tip.
Writers block sucked – big time.
As Mark Twain put it "The secret of getting ahead is getting started" So I'd sharpened my pencil like an axe and came up with a few more juicy ideas to smash Sammy's head region like a pumpkin lying in the dry sand under the heat of the sun. Writers block be damned.
And now after another couple of hours of playing the old classics: I spy, road bingo, the license plate game, and flipping off passing motorists as they drove by, we were restless and bored and irritated.
"How much longer?" I asked for the twenty-first time, rolling the back window down and up, down and up, down and up.
Sammy cleared his parched throat again, fidgeting in the passenger seat, but said nothing.
"We're hungry, Dumbo," I grumbled, giving up on playing with the window, instead playing with Sammy's ear, using thumb and pointer finger to flick at the right one. "That hurt?" Then at the left. "Feel that?"
Sammy ran a hand through his hair.
"Why aren't we there yet?" I screeched in annoyance in The Warden's ear.
"Are we there yet?" I rephrased.
Sammy reached over and cranked up the volume of the radio.
"Goodie." I clapped my hands patty-cake style. "Another sing-along, we love Metallica."
"Good song," Big, bad brother Warden said, tapping his hand to the beat on the steering wheel.
"Sing it with me Sammy." I bent forward, poking my head into the front seat between them. "Hush little baby don't say a word. And never mind that noise you heard. It's just the beast under your bed, in your closet, in your head."
Sammy didn't sing along, just stiffened up like he had a stick rammed up his ass. Good plan. That'd fall under 'utterly annoying' on my game chart.
Enter The Sandman ended and only halfway through singing Sweet Home Alabama we slowed to a crawl.
Looking out the window, I was very excited when big brother warden pulled us into the parking lot of the Dolphin Family Restaurant. 'Good old- fashion home cooking' the sign read…real comfort food.
"We're here," The Warden announced shutting off the engine.
I stretched farther into the front seat reaching past The Warden to blast the horn four times in a row. "Yeah! We're here!"
I smiled when Sammy jumped just a little.
Warden-Dean just looked over at him, eyes dark with worry.
"It's about jolly time," I whooped as we all three exited the car. Eating out was always fun.
I skipped alongside Sammy, happy as a clam – clams were happy right?
"I want crayons, and I need a booster seat. Don't forget the booster seat," I chuckled merrily, poking Sammy in the shoulder continuously as we went.
Sammy ignored my super annoying self, taking bigger and faster strides toward the diner to get away from me.
"You that hungry?" Warden-Dean picked up his pace to keep up with us.
"Guess so." Sammy shrugged.
"We're starving," I barked out loudly, never losing stride and still poking.
Sammy didn't even flinch.
I began placing my order before even knowing my choices. "We want a greasy double…no triple cheeseburger smothered with pickles and onions and mustard and dripping with mayo, a chocolate milk shake for me, and ice tea for you," I poked Sammy in the shoulder again, "A bowl of ice cream, shrimp cocktail, the jumbo kind, rice pudding and baklava for desert. Mmmmm good." I rubbed my tummy. "Oh, yeah, and French fries the curly kind, extra crispy." I was so excited I snapped my fingers as we walked past a small Crab Apple tree sending the whole sapling roaring up into flames.
Sammy ignored the crackling fire taking one step closer to big brother warden – his safe haven – their shoulders brushing against one another as they continued across the lot.
The Warden's eyes shifted our way, but he didn't say a single word.
I stuck my thumbs in ears, waggling my four fingers and poking my forked tongue out at him. Gratification filled me when I saw worry bubble up inside Warden-Dean like a cauldron of blood. Good.
Skipping ahead, I squeezed past a family of four as they were coming out of the fine establishment. I thought about setting them on fire too, but didn't want to ruin our lunch. I'd do that later after our bellies were nice and round and full. Watching Sammy barf up his guts, spewing out everything we'd just ate like a fountain gone berserk…always the highlight of my day.
Sammy and The Warden waited to be seated like the sign ordered them to do. I didn't do well with taking orders, kind of a take action sort of guy.
So instead of waiting, I stomped around the wooden floor of the family-styled restaurant singing, "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In", both hands clasped behind my head, kicking one leg up really high and then the other, being sure to point my toes. Man, I am awesome.
"Oh, when the Saints go marching in. Oh, when the Saints go marching in. Oh, hell I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in."
Soon as the guys were seated, the music stopped and I plopped down in the seat next to The Warden. "Whew, tough crowd," I said.
Sammy ignored me. The Warden too, both staring down at their open menus flat on the table in front of them.
"You didn't get me my booster seat," I yelped, kicking at Sammy's leg under the table.
Kid ignored me still.
"Whatever." I scooted up to sit on the back seat of the booth, high above everyone else. "This is much better," I chuckled, just as a grandmother of a waitress came over, plunking down two glasses of water to the table.
"I'll be back in a few minutes to take your orders," she said sweetly then walked away.
"Where's my menu? Where's my water?" I hollered after her, slipping down off the back of the seat and plopping into the vinyl bottom cushion. "How rude." I picked up the knife and fork that had been sitting on a napkin near The Warden and started banging the handles loudly against the table. "Feed us! Feed us! Feed us!" I chanted loudly, the salt and pepper shakers rattling with each thud.
Sammy kept staring at his menu like he was studying for the bar exam. Nonchalantly he snuck both hands under the table in hiding.
"Oh, no. No, no." I promptly set my knife and fork down. "Don't do it, Sammy. Don't you hurt me," I begged. "I'll try to control myself. I'll be a good little devil. Promise I will." I laced my fingers together and set my folded hands on the table, steepling my fingers and blinking at him innocently.
Sammy winced, eyes still cast downward, obviously only pretending to read.
I peeked under the table. He was digging his fingernails into his scar like a scardy cat clinging to a wall made out of paper while the family dog nipped at his tail.
I popped back up. "You're going to have to do better than that, Sammy-kins." I smiled cruelly at his distressed face when he realized I wasn't going anywhere.
I could tell by the painful look on Sammy's face and the way his shoulders stiffened and his biceps flexed that he was pressing into his palm for all he was worth now. It wasn't so easy for him to get rid of me these days. Mr. Hand was getting weaker by the day.
"You're smart bunkmate and you're good looking, got lots of beefy muscles." I took a deep breath. "But the only thing between me and you getting out of this hell is a shiny, pointy, cold, steel plated projectile exploding out of a long metal barrel with the kicking force of a jackass on steroids entering in through your chin and going straight up into your puny brain." I panted for breath.
Sammy's jaw clenched.
"You can't ignore me forever, bunkmate."
Sammy didn't raise his eyes to me.
"Anything of interest on that carte du jour?" I tried to make casual conversation.
Sammy frowned and wiggled restlessly in his seat.
"Oh ,sorry, forgot myself. Carte du jour means 'menu of the day'."
Sammy bit into his lower lip.
I know," I said pompously. "It's a little known fact… the devil speaks French."
Sammy's face contorted with anger.
I was getting to my partner. "Why can't you be proud of me," I cried. "Why do you hate me so?" I continued to whine. "Sammy, why don't you love me? It's not much to ask for, not really. Just fear me, love me, do what I say, when I say it, and we can be besties with testies forever. "I grabbed the Warden's napkin and whipped at my teary eyes.
Sammy's whole body seemed to strain and flex, fighting me from the inside out. I felt myself flicker once, but quickly gained back control. My bunkmate's chances were getting slimmer by the day.
"It's so unfair," I whimpered, assing the kid up further. "I'm so sad. You don't care about me the way I care about you." I blew my nose into the napkin like a trumpeter swan.
Sammy glanced over at his butter knife resting on his own napkin. I knew what he was thinking…if his fingers weren't able to do the walking…a knife surly would – butter or otherwise.
I stopped crying and smiled coolly, leaning forward over the table. "Not much of a chance of that happening, bunkmate. Not with Warden-Dean watching the inmates."
Sammy's gaze nervously shifted to his brother.
The Warden was staring straight at him with that same dark and worried look on his face.
"Told you so." I slumped back, sniffling and looking over at big brother. "Now that's the kind of edgy look that is going to leave us strapped to a bed with a glazed look in our eyes," I crossed my arms over my chest with satisfaction.
Sammy gave The Warden his distressed puppy eyes.
"Sam." Big brother masked his worry with a weak smile. "What are you ordering?"
At that moment, a fat man in a blue suit just happened to toddle on by. Hammering on Sammy's weaknesses was fun. He had a lot of them. Hurting the innocent was my favorite. "Time to rock- my- own- bloody world." I waved a hand at Fat Cat. "He'll have a plate full of blubber," I said, snapping my fingers and turning the over-sized guy into a large chunk of grisly fat surrounded by baby peas and new potatoes arranged neatly on a plate decorated with sprigs of parsley that now sat in front of Sammy.
Sammy grimaced unable to take his eyes off my creation. I straightened in my seat, feeling a flutter. After all, I am a master chef who knows his way around food.
Granny came back over and took the Warden's order.
"No need to be polite. Dig in. It's yummy," I told Sammy, extravagantly licking all ten of my fingers.
Sammy twisted in the booth, eyeing Fat-guy who'd just sat down at the table behind us, still in one big fat piece.
"Sam." The Warden annoyingly called. "Sam? Sammy." Big bro kicked his brother under the table to gain his attention.
"That a boy, Warden," I chuckled.
Sammy swallowed hard and turned back around. "Huh?"
"Your order?" Warden-Dean frowned at him.
I laughed at Sammy's confused and pale-sick face as he glanced up at Grandma.
"'Eh…I…I'll have a bowl of chicken soup," he smiled shyly.
"And to drink?" She tapped her pencil annoyingly against her order pad.
"Just water." Sammy brought his hands out from hiding and picked up the glass of water sitting on the table, taking a few quick sips.
"Okay, thank you." Granny walked away.
"Sammy. I'm hurt. I salved all day for you and you hate my cooking." I started with the tears again, snapping my fingers and taking back the meal.
"Just soup and water, Sam?" The Warden questioned.
"It's fine, Dean." Sammy took a bigger sip of water then set his glass down, completely ignoring me and talking to the Warden about shit I didn't give a crap about.
"It's fine, Dean," I mocked, feeling overlooked and defeated for the moment. "You're not the Superman you think you are, I muttered prissily to myself. Totally board, I stared out the window dreaming up my next plan of attack and going back to singing.
And when the sun refuse (begins) to shine
And when the sun refuse (begins) to shine
Oh, hell I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in.
I sat for a long time, just leaning on my elbows while Sammy slurped his soup. I could hear the thumping of his heart. Saw the slight quiver in his hand as he raised his spoon to his lips. The kid was wrecked. I knew it. He knew it. And judging by the not-so-casual glances of his street-smart, tenderhearted, big brother from behind his giant taco…Warden-Dean knew it too. Still Sammy fought to ignore me.
"Going to keep the hits coming until you acknowledge me, Buddy of mine." I did my best impersonation of that nose-twitching Bewitched witch, Samantha, sending a thousand tiny brown birds smashing one-after-the-other- after- the-other into the restaurants window like a bad Hitchcock movie.
"Bam! Bam! Bam!" I banged a fist to the tabletop.
Sammy did real good. Kid didn't even cringe. Just sat forward a bit, holding his breath and watching the birds commit harry carry.
Warden-Dean noticed Sammy's posture change and followed Sam's gaze, looking skeptically out the window for a long time.
Collision after collision the bird's necks broke against the unforgiving glass that was now cracked and streaked with blood and feathers and icky guts.
"Don't you want to play with Mr. Hand?" I laughed when Sam didn't budge, just kept staring out the window.
"Sam?" The Warden finally spoke up.
Sammy quickly sat back in his seat and blew out a long held breath. "What?" he picked up his spoon and dipped it back into the soup, aimlessly stirring the alphabet noodles around.
"Bunk buddy, you sure are getting good at telling where the unreal starts and reality begins." I shrugged. "Or maybe not, how can you ever be sure of anything when I'm around?"
I gave an 'I Dream of Jeanne' nod at his bowl and spelled out the words: I win. So I win. I had a pretty efficient system going even if I did say so myself. And I did. "Pretty efficeint system, huh, Sammy?"
Bunk Buddy winced a little reading the words.
"You…'em…are you…" The Warden paused, unsure of what to say I assumed.
I on the other hand always knew what to say. "I'm roped and anchored to you, Sammy-kins. You can't escape me," I said cupping my hands under my chin, and flashing my innocent little devil look. "Sooner or later you will hit bedrock. No matter what Saint Dean over there," I gestured toward The Warden, "Says or does."
Sammy ducked his head lower over his bowl of soup, but even behind that curtain of bangs I caught the twisted raw agonizing look of pain on his face.
"How's the soup?" The Warden finally came up with something to say, taking another big crunchy chomp of taco, pieces of lettuce and chunks of salsa plopping to his plate.
Another one of Sammy's weaknesses – food – he was a picky little shit. I snapped my fingers. "Yes, Sammy, how is your eyeball soup with bugs?"
Sam stared at his spoon, and I could tell he was fighting not to react.
"Warden's watching." I grinned. "Eat them. Eat them. Yum…yum."
"Good," Sammy commented, going through the process of trying to act normal, quickly shoving the spoon into his mouth and struggling not to choke as he swallowed the two juicy eyeballs that had been staring back at him.
"Right." the Warden muttered disbelievingly.
I gave two thumbs up. "You're a good student. Extra points for eating the big, black bug, bunk buddy."
The Warden wolfed down his food, while Sammy took three faster spoonful's of eyeball soup. I was hoping he'd vomit all over the Warden's taco plate, but all he did was turn a sickly-looking shade of leafy-green. Kid was a real powerhouse of self-control, really putting on a show. Trying to freak Sammy out was once again, proving to be a real chore.
Sammy took a sip of water, but stopped and set it down when I turned it into a bubbling black brew. Still the kid held strong.
I sighed and stood up in my seat. Soap boxin' time. Waving my flag – black with a white skull. "I know there will always be soldiers. You grew up military, Sammy-kins. You're daddy a hardened marine and all, but let there be no mistake," I vented my frustration, stomping my feet and marching in place. "Good does not always prevail over evil. The good guys don't always kick ass. Heroes and cowboys are a thing of the past. Chivalry is dead. One way or another…I will come out the winner."
My soapbox speech ended when kind, sweet, old grandma came back and cleared away a few of the dirty dishes, but left the silverware. The Warden ordered a piece of apple pie and my bunkmate, to my dismay, a bowl of ice cream. Guess he wanted to keep the Warden guessing. I would have ordered the devil's food cake, but nobody asked me.
My pestering wasn't getting me far today. I sang another stanza of the Saints song, but got no reaction so I shut up.
Things got quiet for a while. Too quiet and I slumped back in the booth slipping into a deep depression. The thought crossed my mind to turn my besties bowl of ice cream into a bowl of graveyard dirt with worms and fingernails and bits of crushed bone, but I decided that just wasn't going to cut it. All my hard work was getting me nowhere. This was worse than detention, and I was sick of being ignored, and it was time to really get creative. After all…this was hell and in hell you saw things you never saw before, things you haven't even read about in books or seen at the movies.
"I'm stuffed." The Warden dropped his fork to his plate and pushed it away. "You ready, Sammy?"
Sammy blinked up at him struggling to focus. I got a bit excited. The kid was exhausted and weak, and maybe about to crack.
"Sam," the Warden whispered. "What's going on in your head?" he asked nervously.
"Nothing, Dean." Sammy said assuredly, drawing back his shoulders in defiance of me.
"Sick, but bold," I spat. "I like that about you, Sammy."
"So you're with me then?"
"Yeah, Dean. With you. All the way."
"Yeah, you damn well bet you are." The Warden looked upon my bestie as if love could conquer all.
Sammy took in a deep breath, and still looking The Warden in the eye – unblinking – said, "I'm not going anywhere." he flashed a gloating, almost evil smile.
"Neither am I, Sammy. Neither am I." Dean reached across the table and patted Sammy's hand approvingly. The Warden waved Grandma over, "Sweetheart, the check please."
I knew Sammy's words were meant for me, even if they were not spoken to my face. Damn it. So close and yet so far. I almost had the kid in my vest pocket. All he needed to do was look me in the eye and acknowledge me and Sammy would be mine, and I would be his slave forever.
"You proceed to annoy me, bunk buddy. I will not cease, I will not stop, in a boat, in a box, in a car, on a train, in the rain. You will take a bite of my green eggs and ham. Oh, yes you will. For the devil I am."
My pestering seemingly was not affecting Sammy the way I wanted it to.
I went board straight, getting seriously down to business now. I could mess with The Warden. Sammy's major weakness, but that was just getting so old.
"This whole 'Sam I am' theme we got going on, partner, sure it's funny, but it isn't going to last much longer," I spat with gravity. "Nobody mocks the devil and gets away with it. I didn't want to do this to you, partner," I shrugged, "But you asked for it."
I perched on the window ledge and glanced around the establishment – studying the lay out like the scholar I was – the little darlings were enjoying their burgers, steaks, seafood, salad and rolls, over heavy conversation. I debated their unsaid fate. I thought hard. This had to be one of my best illusions. Over-the-falls-crazy.
I noted the place really lived up to its name. The Dolphin Family Restaurant must have had 'the' largest collection of dolphin gear in the world. Not Dolphins, the sweaty locker room, Miami football team dolphins, but dolphins, the happy, too smart for their own damn good mammal kind of dolphins. I squirmed uncomfortably. I wasn't a dolphin fan. Dolphins were the only creatures on earth that would not and could not succumb to my powers.I shivered. Just gross. Dolphin portraits hung all over the walls, dolphin statues sat on every available counter space, dolphin's smiling, dolphin's jumping, dolphin's dancing on their tails, even a dolphin clock that chirped like Flipper when it struck the hour.
This plan had to be blockbuster good – Godzillian in size. I'd really have to sharpen my skills. Sammy was fighting me with every raw nerve he had left in him. I whipped out my chart. Guns, knives, ropes or chains weren't going to cut it today.
As the not very timely grandma-waitress headed our way with the check it hit me. All my brainstorming had paid off. "I've had an epiphany," I hollered out joyfully, putting my chart away.
Sammy flinched hard.
"Sam?" Warden-Dean saw it too. "You okay?"
"Thank you for coming to The Dolphin," Grandma smiled placing the check on the center of the table."
"No, thank you." I clapped my hands three times, excited over my ingenuity fest. "Let the fleshcapades begin," I laughed whole heartedly. "And I don't mean porn, Warden." I switched from my window seat to the tabletop near big brother and started singing through my bullhorn this time.
"Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh hell I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in."
I merely winked at the old hag of a waitress sending her body into a contorted seizure of screeching pain.
I laughed and chuckled and smiled. I had my bunk buddy's full attention now as Grandma 'what can I get you' transformed into something Great White – literally.
Sammy's eye-popped wide, and his hardcore look was quickly replaced by the weirded-out face of fear.
"Shark week was great, but this is greater, huh, partner?" I giggled.
The old hag made one magnificent monster of a shark. She lazily swam through the air above the patrons of the Dolphin Restaurant; who still sat eating and talking, oblivious to the approaching danger. Her dorsal fin scraped along the ceiling breaking light fixtures, sending sparkage raining down around the tables like hot snowflakes. Man, she was something, big and bad and predatory and stunning. Of course the restaurant wasn't oceanic and Granny wasn't the largest Great White ever reported, but she'd do the trick.
"Sam? What?" The Warden waved a hand in front of the kid's face getting no response at all.
"This is neck-breakingly fantastic," I flexed my own muscles; proud to own the cell block now. The remote control was in my hands.
Granny-Jaws was the perfect shade of dark gray with a white under belly. Man, I was the artist. I maneuvered her with care through dark, bloody waters, her large snout snooping around the patron's plates, her gray pectoral fins brushing the tops of people's hair, rear tail swishing side to side in agitation. Every year one-hundred shark attacks are reported worldwide, but never in a Dolphin family-styled restaurant. I'd outdone myself.
I glanced down to see what was happening in the Winchester world. Sammy, he was still freaked. Good. Warden-Dean, he once again was trying to take charge.
As a trusted friend of the family I kept my mouth shut and listened in.
"Sammy, what the hell is going on?" The Warden got up out of his seat, moving slowly he crouched next to my buddy who sat catatonic at the table, eyes roving around, tracking the Grandma-shark.
The Warden followed his charges gaze, circling the ceiling of the restaurant. "Sam, there's nothing there," he said, turning back to grip the kid's knee.
Sammy was trembling all over. Practically paralyzed. He could barely breathe and he had to fight to keep from sobbing.
Dean…I mean The Warden…made eye contact with me and sneered, hovering over his brother more protectively then I'd ever seen him do before. I winked at him, knowing he didn't see me, but it gave me an explosive rush to think he might have.
I brushed a hand through my hair flippantly. "I know. I do have a certain…shall we say… "je ne sais quoi." I nabbed a fork, charmingly clambered up to stand on the table top, and bowed at the waist. "And here we go," I screamed out, my voice amplifying tenfold as I animatedly started waving and twisting my hands about, the fork my baton as I conducted my orchestra and signing.
"When the moon turns red with blood
When the moon turns red with blood
Oh hell I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in."
I gave a peek down at my cellmate.
Sammy had turned white and reached for the Warden – his only safe refuge – grabbing him by the shirt collar. "Dean, we have to get these people out of here, now!" Sammy's eyes blazed with fear, his knuckles turning white as they knotted further into The Warden's shirt.
"Why, Sam. Tell me what's happening," the freaked out brother begged. "What's he doing now?" The Warden obliviously glanced my way again.
"What?" I flashed Warden-Dean my glad-to-know-me-smile. "Everyone loves a good time, right, boss?"
The Warden didn't comment because the Warden couldn't see me…or hear me…or stop me on any given day or century or planet.
Sammy was unable to exercise anymore restraint, suddenly pulling himself upward and spinning away from The Warden, wildly heading for the middle of the restaurant obviously trying to warn the crowd there was a shark in the water…I mean in the air.
"Sam, stop," The Warden snapped, stumbling after the kid, snatching him by the arm and yanking him back toward the booth and plopped Sammy back in it forcefully. "You want to get hauled off to the squirrely nest?"
Sam cocked his head.
"Dude, the nut house."
Sam fidgeted with his hand, pressing hard, desperate to keep grasp of reality, or not reality.
"I wonder if Grandma-Jaws is hungry." I ran a hand over my jawline in thought. "Let's find out." I snapped my fingers turning all the patrons into dolphins. Well, okay, only their heads were dolphin, the rest of them I left human –a little creativity on my part. Fake dolphins I could handle. "Hot damn this is therapeutic," I said, lurching off the table and dancing around the joint exchanging my baton for a cracking whip like the shark trainer I was.
I kept half my attention on Sammy-kins. His face was now red, his breaths panting, eyes filled with unshed tears as he watched Grandma- Jaws chomp off heads like they were soft boiled eggs. She was eager and she was bloodthirsty, the floor, walls and just about everything else now tacky and blood-red.
Sammy continued to shiver as if he was freezing cold, his grip on reality literally slipping through his fingers.
The Warden grabbed Sammy by the shoulders and pulled him to his feet. "Bro, come on," he whispered softly, tugging Sammy toward the exit. "Hold it together. Going to get you out of here."
Bloody pandemonium ensued. Red foamy sauce coating the floor.
Sammy resisted moving, his muscles were tight and his skin was slick with sweat. His eyes fluttered, he was definitely over breathing, about to pass out, teetering in Warden-Dean's grasp.
"Good, Sammy, keep it up. Send yourself into cardiac arrest." I grinned bigger than Grandma-Jaws. "This is the sweet stuff."
"Sammy whatever it is, man, it's not real." Warden-Dean tried to reason, giving my cellmate a rough shake of the shoulders.
"Shut up naysayer, "I scolded. "This is the best brunch for the price this side of hell," I waved my hand about sending Grandma-Jaws toward a little boy dolphin eating a donut. She gulped him down with one swallow. "They all taste like chicken," I cracked myself up.
I could see Sammy's heart throbbing in his jugular. Hear his mind screaming in protest.
This isn't real. Not real.
He backed up away from Dean bumping into the table we'd been sitting at, gripping the edge to stay standing. Reaching around behind him, he fumbled for the butter knife still sitting there, but his hand was too slick with sweat and trembling too badly to nab it.
Kid was an emotional atom bomb about to explode.
The Warden saw, and savagely grabbed the butter knife, looking all around. "I will kill you, you bastard."
"Are you talking to me?" I chuckled. "Can't kill what you can't see, Warden."
"It's okay, Sammy. It's okay." Warden-Dean firmly wrapped his fingers around the silver handle of that butter knife, nabbed his brother's hand and stuck the very tip into his Sammy's scared palm for him, digging in just enough to draw a few drops of blood.
"Guh," Sammy moaned, slamming his eyes shut, instinctively trying to yank his hand away from the pain, but Warden-Dean was stronger and held fast.
"Sorry. Sorry, Sammy."
The Warden didn't have to dig in far, or for long. Sharp point or not the knife did the trick. Well sort of the trick. Sammy managed to erase my totally rewritten version of Peter Benchley's novel. Now there was nothing but a bunch of human faces whispering and staring and pointing at him. I glanced down at myself; I was little more than a wavering dream-like apparition.
Sammy's eyes shot open and he stared – dumbfounded- first at the trickle of blood oozing up from his scar, and then slowly he looked at The Warden.
"What was that?" The Warden demanded. "What did you see?" He tossed the knife with a clatter back onto the table.
Sammy shook his head refusing to answer.
"How bad?" Warden-Dean questioned more urgently, three fingers squeezing down on Sammy's hand to stop the little bit of bleeding.
Sam writhed weakly, and reached up, pushing big brother's hand aside taking over on putting the pressure on Mr. Hand, digging his nails into the opening the Warden had made and squeezing down hard.
"I can handle it, Dean," Sam slurred.
"Damn it, Sam, just tell me. How bad?"
"Top of the list," Sammy admitted, squeezing his eyes shut, and swaying.
My bunkmate had the skin of an armadillo, but right now he looked like a stripped down goose that'd just hit the propeller of a fast-moving plane. I was getting to him, slowly but surely getting to him. Being the attention whore that I was, I scanned the crowd. Just about every dolphin…I mean person in the place was staring. It was creepy and rude and annoying and it made me proud.
"What a way to bust loose, hey folks?" I did a little Cuban dance. "Cha-cha-cha."
Sammy didn't seem to notice the crowd, but The Warden did. Suddenly becoming aware of the twenty or so eyeballs and craning necks practically doing a complete circle to get a better view of the entire ruckus. It really pissed him off. Big time.
The Warden became very agitated. "What?" He stared every one of those people down like they were his next kill. "Really?" he yelled loud enough to break glass. "You people are just plain sick. Why don't you whistle and throw money too! You ever hear of an epileptic hallucination?"
Prying eyes still lingered.
The Warden didn't say another word. He didn't have to. Just arched an inquiring eyebrow and glared right back with dangerous, non-blinking I-will-kill-you-all eyes.
Everyone in that room got real quiet, cowering and quickly going back to eating their food.
I had to give credit where credit was due. The Warden was defiantly oversensitive when it came to his little brother, but he was also a real son of a bitch, even if I did say so myself. And I did.
"You're a real son of a bitch, Warden." I did a little more of my Cuban dance for him.
Sammy slowly opened his eyes and looked directly at me, our gazes locked and steady. "Hi, buddy," I waggled my fingers at him even though I was still flickering in and out like the clichéd candle in the wind.
"You still seeing him?" Warden-Dean asked gently, looking around as if he could somehow pluck me from the crowd.
"Looks twice as bad as I do," Sam said in-between gulps for air, "But still here."
"Thanks for ratting me out, buddy," I whined. "But trust me, Sammy, when I say, I look way better than you do. And guess what else?" I smiled, spreading my arms out wide. "I'm not going anywhere, Sam," I said, repeating our mantra as I flickered out then back in. "Not for long," I amended. "Together forever," I sung.
A deep crease appeared on Sammy's forehead, eyes dark and tormented, his body hunched over; face a blanket of pale white. His legs trembled and his muscles went all liquid soap collapsing like a collapsible cup.
"Don't do that. I gottcha." The Warden swiftly wrapped one strong arm around the kid and held him up on his feet.
"Till death do us part, Sammy-kins," I pronounced solemnly.
"No. No, no, no," Sammy panted, barely able to stand even with Dean's help.
"Come on, Sammy, don't look at him. Just don't look at him," The Warden instructed softly, spinning them quickly toward the exit.
Jousting with Warden-Dean was getting to be a real pain in my bum. The Saint had more dogged furry than I gave him credit for, steering the kid through my obstacle courses, being brave, dedicated, and protective.
The Warden pushed open the door and walked them out into the parking lot.
"You two make me sick." I weakly schlepped along behind, wishing I could conjure up another grand over-the-falls illusion.
Sammy tried to straighten his bent body, cuddling up closer to the Warden, slip-sliding over the uneven parking lot, missing a step here and there.
"Easy, Sammy. It's okay. Almost there." Warden-Dean coaxed him along.
"Teacher's pet," I grouched, noting with each step I was fading further. Still, the kid was weakening too, and at this level of talent I could still pitch one more fast ball. "Hey, Sammy, check out your brother. You sure you want him guiding you anywhere?" I smugly said, coming up alongside the Warden and jabbing a finger into one of his hollowed out black eye sockets.
Sam came to a sudden stop – powerless to do anything other than shake in his skin. "Nuh."
"I know. Cool, huh?" I pulled my finger back out. "Remember that bowl of eyeball soup, buddy?" I laughed heartily.
"Nuh." He jerked away, forcing The Warden to let go and staggering back.
"Bro." The Warden stepped forward and seized Sammy by the forearms, pulling him back toward him. Sam jostled his head ever so slightly, hardly able to stand on his wobbly legs.
"No, no." Sammy's frustration increased as he tried to scramble away again.
The Warden drew Sammy to him in a deadlocked hug. "Just hold on, bro."
"I'm losing it, Dean." Sammy's chest heaved as he spoke each word.
"No." Warden-Dean spoke softly in the kid's ear. "No you're not. I won't let you. I've got you. I'm with you. Not him. You understand me, Sam? Not him."
"You sure about that, bunk buddy?" I stood right behind The Warden where Sammy could see me. "Yummy eye goobers." I popped my finger into my mouth, sucking on the bloody pulp and optic nerve wrapped around it like string.
Sammy went limp.
"Hey, hey. Don't you give up on me now, Sammy." Warden informed his little brother with steadfastness, squishing the kid even closer.
"Nooo." Sam jostled his head ever so slightly. "Dean." The word was little more than an exhaled whisper.
"Your mind is mashed like overcooked squash, Sammy," I said with conviction. "Very soon now I will have my prize." I grinned. "You." I bounced up and down on my heels "This is so much fun for me," I proudly proclaimed.
Sam could do nothing more than moan weakly. He was losing the battle. Had gone nearly shapeless, his lips lisping out small short breaths totally exhausted as he melted further into The Warden and hung on him like wet laundry caught in a rainstorm.
"Sammy." Dean pushed Sam upward and stared into his eyes. "Concentrate. Hold it together," The Warden demanded with urgency in his tone. "You do that. You do that for me!"
"Damn near euphoric," I glided over to Sam and blew him an icy kiss, the smell of decay and death hitting his nostrils.
Sammy swayed eyes unfocused.
"I don't know my own strength," I said, filling my cheeks with air and blowing another puff of hellish breath into his face. Kid was a wreck, wobbly as a two legged stool. "That works better than a heavy boot stamping your nose to the back of your head. Easier on my back too," I sighed, supporting the middle of said back with two hands.
"Sammy, talk to me." The Warden snapped his fingers in front of Sam's face. "Where are you, buddy? What's happening?"
Sammy gagged, his legs suddenly sweeping out from under him like the speed of light.
"Whoa! Sam!" Warden-Dean flashed out a hand to grab him, but missed.
"Nuh." Sam dropped to his knees and retched, dragging air in and out like his pipes were clogged.
Dean crouched by Sam and laid a hand on his back. "Sammy, whatever you're seeing you know it's not there. You understand that right?"
"We've been here before." I rolled my eyes.
Sam retched again, spitting something disgusting to the pavement, letting his eyes slip shut. "S...sorry," he uttered to the Warden.
"Sorry is so lame." I cringed.
"Come on, Sammy, and stay with me now," Warden-Dean pleaded desperately.
Sammy swiped a hand across his mouth, and opened his eyes, looking into The Warden's green ones, shining with concern.
"Their back," I snickered. "Spooky." I held up both hands, wiggling all ten of my fingers.
"You want to tell me what you saw back there?" The Warden asked. "What're you seeing now?"
Sammy's made sure not to look at me, staring off in the distance. His breathing sill erratic, face flushed red and sweaty.
"Just a short vignette," I shrugged. "Being the devil is a demanding career and I'm out of mojo at the moment. Next time maybe I'll wrap big brother's intestines around his neck. I think the whole eye thing is getting old."
"Sam, you hearing me? What did you see back there?" The Warden persisted.
"Doesn't matter," Sam gasped loudly.
"Fine. It doesn't matter is right. Because it's not real, man." Warden- Dean kept one hand steady on the kid's arm, the other squeezing the back of the kid's neck. "I want you to stay down a minute. I don't like how you look."
"What? No fetal position, buddy?" I stuck out my lower lip, pouting. "Damn I miss those days. You shoved in a corner all curled up into a ball with your thumb in your ear," I chuckled.
"No, Dean. I'm good." Sammy nodded, straightening his bent body, the Warden having no choice but to help him rise up to wonky legs.
"Don't fight it, Sammy, embrace it," I instructed as the kid pressed his fingers once again into his scar.
"I'll tell you when you're good, Sam." The Warden wrapped a gentle, but firm arm around Sammy's waist.
"Don't you do that to me." Sam took a quick step away.
"Don't do what to you?" The Warden asked.
"Let me do this my way, Dean. I need…I just –"
The Warden nodded and raised his hands backing away. "You're going to wear yourself down faster than a grinding stone," he argued. "But, okay, Sammy. I get it. You need to have some control." He waved Sam on. "Take the wheel."
Sammy nodded and headed toward the car under his own steam, pressing into his scar as he went.
I marched along beside him. "I'm like an annoying toothache, buddy. You can press that hand all you want…it's not working so good anymore is it? Why? Because you're not working so good anymore, Bunkie."
Sammy ignored me.
We got to the car and Warden-Dean grabbed the handle of the passenger door and opened it, so my bunk buddy didn't have to stop putting the pressure on his scar.
"Thanks, Dean." Sammy lowered himself inside.
"Where we going now?" I excitedly leap frogged into the backseat. "Disneyland? Oh, oh," I jumped up and down in my seat, "I've had an epiphany. How about The La Brea Tar Pits. You do know that's one of the seven gates of hell right?" I smartly said.
The kid stared blank-faced out the front windshield, his fist balled up, resting on his lap, nails digging into the fleshy line of his scar, tiny drops of blood dotting his jeans as he continued to try and get rid of me.
"Oh for pities sake, Sammy, stop trying so hard. I'm not real, remember?"
"Let me see that hand," The Warden encircled Sammy's fist.
"You can't stop us," I said loudly.
He didn't hear, but Sammy did.
The kid flinched, batting The Warden's hand away.
"Sam." Warden-Dean berated. "I'm going to fix this." He gripped Sammy's chin and tugged him around to face him. "Sam, once and for all…I will find a way to fix this. You doubt me?"
Sammy squirmed in his seat, blinking eyes trying to focus as he opened his fist and held his palm flat out for the Warden to inspect. "No, Dean. Not ever," he muttered.
"That's right, Sammy. Not ever." The Warden used his shirt sleeve to wipe away the blood from Mr. Hand. "At least it's not as bad as the first time. This doesn't need stitched up."
"It hurts," Sammy mumbled, staring at the crud scar.
"Stop looking for an exit, Sammy." I grinned, knowing damn well my bestie was talking more about his screwed up head hurting rather than about his screwed up hand. "It doesn't exist. You're trapped inside your own head and you got me in there with you." I paused for one Sammy heartbeat. "Forever," I added, laughing so hard I almost pissed my pants.
Sammy drew in a sharp breath and held it.
The Warden shot his brother a very troubled look. "What? What's happening now?"
Sammy remained in his breath-holding- trance, eyes fixed and staring. I lounged against the drivers-side rear door of the car and stretched my legs across the seat. Even from back here I could see the kid's pale-white skin changing to the temper tantrum-red of a pouting child's.
"Aw, Sammy, I know you're upset because I am slowly taking away your toy." I sat up and glanced over his shoulder at his scared hand. "But depriving your already messed up brain of oxygen…buddy," I shook my head sadly. "I'm afraid that just isn't going to help." I flopped back in my seat.
"Sam!" The Warden looked like a frightened parent, getting right in his brother's face. "Breathe, dude!" he yelled.
Sammy immediately drew in a breath and held his head up high against The Warden's scrutiny. "I'm okay, Dean."
The Warden scowled.
"Really, I'm fine." Sammy tried to hide a shudder.
"You can't go on like this, Sam." Warden-Dean's tone was more than troubled.
"Oh, yes we can!" I stomped my feet against the floorboards, doing a little happy dance. I was still fading in and out thanks to the knife in Mr. Hand, so illusions were out, and screwing with the Warden's good looks were out, but I could still jib-jab – a backseat devil.
Sammy tried really hard not to look my way, but I knew he saw me out of the corner of his eye. "Don't talk to me like your Dr. Phil, Dean."
"Fine," The Warden chimed. "So I'll talk to you like I'm your big brother then." He ducked his head further into the car. "Lay it on the line for me, Sam," he said roughly.
Sammy ran his tongue around his dry lips and jostled his head ever so slightly. "I'm scared, Dean," he whispered, hunkering further in his seat. "What if I totally lose it?"
The Warden opened the glove box grabbed a small first-aid kit. "I won't let you," Warden Dean hissed, slamming the glove box closed, rattling the entire car as he started to Dr. Phil Mr. Hand.
"I'm tired, Dean." Sammy shook his head pathetically, drawing his hand away and folding them into his lap.
"I'll fight for you, Sammy," Warden-Dean shot back confidently.
"How? You can't see him." Sam slouched down.
"I can smell him." The Warden took a whiff of the air. "He's still here in the car isn't he?"
"Oh, no, you didn't!" I held up two hands in my defense. "Fox smells his own hole first."
"Sammy, we're going to just keep flushing until he goes away. You got me?"
"Always have to play hardnosed and even harder assed, huh, Warden?"
"Can't fight what's only in my head, Dean," Sammy said in the tiniest of voices.
"Listen to your brother, Warden."
The Warden's frustration increased and he tossed the first-aid kit to the bench seat, grabbing Sammy's hand back, jerking it so hard he nearly dislocated the kid's wrist. "Sammy, I'm here." He dug his nails into the kids' wounded hand. "You feel me?"
Sam gasped, wild eyes darting up to meet The Wardens
"You hear me, man?" The Warden kept his voice low and steady. I have you. I have you. Not him." The Warden chanted soothingly, his brother's blood soaking up under his nails. "And I'm not ever letting you go."
Sammy pushed back against the car seat, a shocked look on his face.
"I'm here and you're here, Sam and Dean, the awesome Winchester brother's and – " The Warden paused.
"And the devil makes three," I cut in.
"And what do we do?" The Warden continued. "We carry on. And that's all." The Warden shifted his gaze to the back seat, shooting daggers at me, posturing like a savage, hungry wolf and raising his chin offering up his throat to me. "Trust me, Sammy. That's all."
I cowered a bit at the sight of the Warden's angry face.
"Okay. Yeah, okay." Sammy nodded his agreement so hard I hoped his head might fall off.
I tried to make it fall off. The Warden's too. But I'd been stonewalled.
The Warden shut the passenger door and crossed to the driver side, getting in. "Come here." He reached over to Sammy and pulled him across the seat.
My cell mate went to his brother easily. His strength gone, looking as fragile as a sick child resting his head on the Warden's shoulder.
"Close your eyes, Sammy. I got this for now."
"Okay, Dean." Sammy closed his eyes, curling further against The Warden, all heavy and limp and languid.
"That's my boy," Dean said softly, wiggling an arm behind the kid and locking Sammy tight against him as he drifted off in half-sleep.
"Ewww!" I threw up a little in my mouth. "The brother zone," I swallowed hard. "It's making me sick."
"That's it little brother. Don't you worry," Warden-Dean soothed further
What a load of donkey dung." I shimmied and shook, some more of me disappearing like the lines on an Etch-a-Sketch. This wouldn't last long. Soon the kid would wake completely soaked in a cold sweat, his heart racing, his breathing shallow and 'yours truly' back in the game.
"That's right, Sammy Don't you worry," I leered. "I won't' be gone long and when I come back I'm going to make you eat your brother's own heart. Mean time… I'll still be the whispers you hear in the dark."