WARNING: References to non-con! Not extremely explicit to keep it at an M rating, but it could still be trigger-y for some readers.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Written for entertainment, not profit.

If We Fall or Merely Stumble

Part 2 of 2

The room was a luxury that they couldn't afford, in any sense of the word, but it was also a necessity that Dean couldn't say no to. It was the usual kind of shithole that took cash without looking at an ID for more than two seconds. Dean had let his brother take care of the details and shot inside before Sam could get the key out of the door.

"…So, like I said, I think I remember Bobby mentioning mythical hybrids in one of his books. The more commonly thought of examples would be mermaids, or a sphinx or..." Sam rambled on, the way he'd been doing since they got in the car, over an hour ago, and drove off as far from Malibu or the coast as they could manage before the stink had them pulling over. "…Now, I might be mistaken, but I think that thing must have been a mix of a human and…"

Dean let the voice fade away, staring at the room as if it were somehow different than the usual fare. Up until Frank's paranoid ass had gotten them in the habit of squatting instead of paying for four walls that came with electricity and hot water, that was. Dean could feel the bruises beneath the clothes, the welts formed and awaiting attention, the cuts scabbing over. His pulse thundered in his ears, leaving him deaf a moment. When the silent storm passed, clarity came back, Sam's voice still loud from across the room, where he was dragging in their clothing duffel and his laptop.

"…We still don't know why it was feeding, though. Why it just appeared there on the beach, but—"

Dean knew. He unzipped the bag, pulling out a pair of sweats that had worked its way to the top.

"Shower," he announced, cutting his brother off and not leaving room for debate. He disappeared into the bathroom, slamming the door shut a bit too forcefully as he yanked free the plastic bag from the tiny garbage can to throw his ruining clothes into. They'd need to burn them at their next stop.

He was toeing off his waterlogged boots when a soft tapping stilled him. "Dean?" His brother's voice was muffled through the door. "Will you be alright while I run over to the drug store?"

"Go," Dean snapped, tossing off his shirt.

A few moments later, he heard the door shut to the motel room, and he immediately let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. His whole body trembled as he released the ironclad grip he'd had on the rip at the side of his jeans, letting them fall and giving them a kick away.

"Christ," he hissed, balancing himself against the ceramic sink. He let his head hang, sucking in air and suddenly feeling like a marathon runner. He kept his eyes clenched shut, avoiding the mirror, but he didn't have to look in it to know how damaged he'd appear to anyone else.

Dean knew full well how much his body could take, and this? This was nothing. Which didn't mean his muscles would stop quaking any time soon. Which didn't mean the sting of those evenly lined, small, circular cuts along his torso, around each of his thighs, and dotting his neck, would stop any time soon. He didn't have control of that; what he did have control of was the dried blood crusted over his body, the smell of the creature on his skin.

He jerked himself away from the sink, raising one leg to get into the shower. A shock of pain from his core pushed a hiss out from between his teeth, and he could feel a trickle of wetness running down the back of one thigh. Ignoring it, he twisted the faucet, setting it as hot as it could manage and pressing the side of his body against the wall to hold himself up.

He was amazed he'd made it out of the car and inside, if truth be told. The adrenaline that had sent him at a near run through the park was long since gone, but he'd always been good at faking the important stuff. Sam didn't need to know that he could hardly stand, that the ride here had been torture. There were a lot of things Sam didn't need to know, as a matter of fact.

The heat of the water was brutal, but he stayed put, wiping a hand across his face and letting the stream trail down his neck, over his chest, to his taunt stomach. That spot of flesh was especially tender, each round circle sounding its existence at his touch. He could almost feel it again, the creature's arm pressed around him, squeezing him until he was forced to consciousness.

The memory was enough to send him down onto his knees, hard. Before he could stop himself, he was bent forward, a mouthful of bile and salt water spilling out toward the drain. He'd woke in the cave, coughing up the same mixture, but then, the water surrounding him had been cold instead of scalding.

Dean's chest jerks as he opens his mouth, gurgling up water and nearly choking on it anew. As soon as he catches his first solid breath, his eyes drift open lazily. His surroundings are dark, partly because of the rock standing high around him, partly because of the creature over him, blocking out the moonlight at her back.

"Hello, hunter." Her deep, throaty voice echoes over the cave walls like the white noise off the ocean. "It'll be so much better if you're awake for this…"

"For what?" It's all his throat, raw from saltwater and acid, can manage at the moment, but he doesn't need her answer.

The more awake he's becoming, the more details he's taking in, like the fact that his shirt is pushed high on his chest and the waist of his jeans has been yanked down to his knees. The fear that comes over him now is different from the wave he felt when certain death was his only threat. This new emotion is laced with shame, and with a sense of familiarity.

He growls out at her, struggling, but one of the arms holds his wrists right above his head, and the weight of the other appendages—there seems to be so many of them—shifting and sliding against sand and rock and flesh keep him perfectly in place without much effort.

"Hush now, hunter, and you might enjoy this."

"Screw you," he snaps.

"You're getting the idea," she replies, smiling, black gaze crawling over his form. "Fine. Struggle. But I will get what I need from you. I know how men work."

The two long tentacles he'd seen on the beach slide over his chest like hands, caressing him. Their suckers at the tip pull and tug painfully, cutting into his skin. He grimaces, pushing his back into the weathered rocks beneath. Suddenly, one of the tentacles pulls down his body, its decent less painful, the suckers more careful as they drop below his belly button.

"I wouldn't pull away if I were you," she warns. "My touch can rip the flesh off your tender places, and that wouldn't be good for either of us…"

"Don't…" Dean bites down the word, pissed at himself for allowing the plea, and throws his head back, not wanting to see what he can so easily feel. The tentacle brushes over him, lifting him, and its slender width encircles him like a snake, squeezing the life out of its prey.

Heat seeps out of his limbs and pools at his core.

"Son of a bitch," he grunts, and clenches his eyes shut, trying to keep his mind on anything but the tight knot of tentacle rippling over his softest flesh. It doesn't feel good—too tight, too strange—but his body reacts to it. Damned betrayer.

He calms himself, trying to hear the ocean past her, trying to stop himself from getting any harder. What she wants from him…he won't give it again. He's been down that road. He's seen where it leads.

"You're going to need more," she says, but her voice is filled with anything but disappointment. He doesn't have time to question the comment before he feels the arms, their suckers less forgiving, wrap around his thighs and lift bare lower body up off the ground. The second tentacle waves its wide tip at him before dipping low and rolling its slick flesh over the cleft between his cheeks.

Dean's eyes open wide in shock, a litany of one word, unvoiced, running through his head: no no no no no…This is supposed to be a part of Hell that he left behind in the pit. This isn't supposed to happen here, not anymore. Dean struggles, tensing, but the tip of the tentacle prods against him unrelentingly. It doesn't have the subtlety of a wandering finger. It doesn't have the human instinct to take its time…The appendage folds its leaf-like shape and simply pushes.

Dean swallows down his cry as skin splits, blood slickening the already slimy tentacle. He thrusts his hips up, trying to pull free, but the movement only forces his shame to the surface.

He almost loses himself when human fingers touch his lips. The monster hovers over him and her back arches as she caresses his face, wiping away tears he hasn't realized are there. God, why hadn't she killed him yet, is the only thought still circling his head.

"Shhh, now, you're almost there…" she cooes.

The tentacle finds a steady rhythm, his mouth opens without his permission, a low moan slipping out, despite the pain.

He feels something wet sheath him as the monster lowers the core of her body down onto him. Her smile widens in delight as she takes him in, her arms shifting to rock her body over him.

There is no escaping this, but he can forget, he tells himself. He can forget where he's at, what's happening. What is over him.

"Give me your life," she demands.

He doesn't want to obey, but the suckers pull at him from the inside and the heat beckons him from the outside. The arms holding up his arms lift further and the motion is enough. He quakes, then finds his release.

She lifts off of him. Just as quickly, the tentacle pull away, merciless in it speed, and he clenches his jaw so hard something cracks. The pain wracks over him, leaving him shaking and sweating, despite the cold air.

"You're…" He chokes on his words, still grimacing. "…Gonna kill me now. Like the others."

She laughs; a sound too much like a girl's. "Unlike those sloppy drunkards, you still have your uses. I'm going to drain you dry before I feast—but you should be happy. You're going to be a father of many…"


"Now, now, hunter. We're not finished yet. You're young, strong. You've got more in you still…"

Dean pulled himself up off of his knees, his weak legs shaking under his weight. The water raining down on him was lukewarm and his muscles still as tense as ever. He ran the washrag over his flank, hoping the cheap free soap would kill the smell of the dead creature. It wouldn't, but he'd continue to try.

When the shot had been fired, when he'd realized Sam was so close by, he'd pulled his hands free and shifted his weight to get his jeans back up his legs. By the time his brother appeared, he at least had himself covered, which was some small comfort, but it wasn't until he'd stared Sam in the eye that he'd realized his brother hadn't seen anything. He didn't know…

Which meant, as broken as Dean felt, he still looked the same. Seemed the same.

Dean, satisfied the stench was gone, finally stepped out of the shower, drying himself off.

It made a certain kind of sense. This wasn't the worst injury he'd ever been dealt, and shame, it just had a way of piling on that made it easier to bear, despite the fresh weight. Pain was nothing new in his life, nothing to get worked up over. There were worse things, he knew.

It followed as he cruised the aisles, as he handed the half-asleep final shift worker a few crumpled bills, as he walked the two blocks to the motel's one-level form. In the distance, light crawled over the world, announcing dawn, but Sam knew madness wasn't abated by a new day alone. His passenger remained, just out of sight, no matter how much he pushed on the scar at his palm or how much his head ached.

Sam told himself it was the concussion, that he wasn't getting any worse, and that it absolutely had nothing to do with the hunt. Even though he couldn't see him at the moment, he could hear Lucifer tut in his ear…"Really, you haven't put any of this together yet, Sam?"

Always in sync on some level, Sam stepped through the room's front door, holding a bag of fresh tubes of antibacterial gel from the drug store, the same moment Dean stepped out of the bathroom, holding a garbage bag heavy with what had to be his soiled clothes. Dean's lips tightened into a line, but he gave a curt nod of acknowledgement before tossing his load down on the floor beside the TV stand and then rifling through the duffel for their med kit.

Sam dropped the ointment beside him. Without a word, Dean picked it up, adding it to the supplies.

Sam swallowed hard, not bothering to hide the fact that he was taking inventory of Dean's wounds. He'd stepped out in a pair of sweat pants, and his bare torso was a canvas of purple bruises and bright pink welts. The array of circles making paths over Dean's skin were so perfectly patterned that healed, if they scarred, they'd probably look deliberate. Like some sort of tribal sigils. Sam reached out, touching one across the shoulder that was still bleeding, but Dean side-stepped.

"Knock it off," he muttered.

Sam frowned. "If you let me give you a hand, we can have these treated in half the time. Then we can get some sleep."

"I can take care of it." Dean shrugged, as if to make the statement less hostile. Then he took the kit with him, disappearing back into the bathroom.

Sam took a step to follow, confused. Dean could be cold, distant, when he wanted to be, but when it came to injuries, he was rarely impractical. Sam knew for a fact he couldn't reach those cuts across his back without help.

A whistle sounded. "Oh, Sammy?"

Sam turned, face tight with annoyance for paying attention to the call, but Lucifer only frowned slightly from his spot beside the television, leaning with his back to the wall. With one foot, he kicked at the garbage bag full of Dean's clothes, and they rolled into the walkway, the loose knot at the top springing open. The devil didn't speak; he simply watched, a slow smile growing on his face when Sam swallowed hard and stepped over, trying not to meet his eye. It wasn't a hard task, as his attention was fully on his clothes spilling out.

Sam reached down, ready to shove them back into the bag, but his hand hovered over the leg of the jeans, then pulled them completely free. Sam could remember, from the park, from the ride here, that they were ripped in spots and filthy, but he hadn't seen the long tear down the side, or the missing button. Dean must have been holding them up the whole time.

"Huh," Lucifer said, leaning forward as if curious. His eyes rose, a smile in their blue depths. "You know, I wonder what she was doing to him all that time…Didn't have him out at sea, or he would have drowned. Didn't take him far away, either…And she obviously wasn't eating him."

Sam tasted bile in the back of his throat. The seat of the pants, the light colored denim inside, was stiff with a pool of almost dried blood. The center was still wet and bright and fresh. From sitting in the car. In pain. Bleeding.

Lucifer's smile widened with amusement. "I'm sure the two of them just enjoyed a bit of light conversation before Sammy came to big brother's rescue."

Sam clenched his jaw to stop from speaking and shoved the jeans back into the bag, tossing it back down into place. Then he charged across the room, hand over the bathroom door knob before he'd even realized what he was doing. He paused, blinking, breathing so loudly he was sure Dean could probably hear him from the other side.

Lucifer bounced down onto the edge of the bed, smirking. "Take it as a good sign, Sammy—the monsters have taken to screwing with your brother instead of you these days. That's a step in the right direction."

Sam wanted to scream at the hallucination, but his voice was caught in his throat. Instead, he slid down the door, sitting with his back against it, and waited. He could hear Dean inside, ripping open bandages, tearing at wrappers.

They didn't make anything to cover wounds that big.

Sam ran a hand over his face, resolved to stay put, even as Lucifer sat with him, chattering in his ear. The devil voiced his thoughts—there was no fixing some things. Even before tonight, there was no fixing either of them. Still, Sam knew how to keep them from shattering entirely:

When Dean would come out, Sam wouldn't say a word about the clothes, or the circular cuts the bandages missed. He wouldn't offer up the antibiotics his brother needed to take, but leave the med kit open for him to see them instead. Sam wouldn't offer comfort, but an open road, a quick job he'd find sometime in the next hour. Moving—after what happened to Cas, after what happened to Bobby, after what would happen to him the day the devil didn't stop speaking…After all that, Sam knew the best way to keep Dean from falling apart was to keep him moving too fast to notice he was so badly broken.

Sam mentally mapped out the course of action, but stayed glued to the floor, listening to his brother on the other side.

End Notes: Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story. Our poor boys. I really shouldn't hurt them so.