A/N: I know I'm years late, but, I mean, it was practically begging to be written. Too much unanswered, and Sam in the panic room is way too much fun to write. Plus, I came up with (in my opinion) a decent reason for Dean not having any reaction to Famine. So this is my take on the aftermath of My Bloody Valentine. Hope you like it!
The drive to Bobby's was silent.
For Dean, it was the sheer weight of Famine's words, and the knowledge that if he even tried to say anything, he might break down.
For Sam . . . well, Dean could only imagine. Actually, he couldn't. He chanced another glance at his little brother-not so little, destroying Famine like that-before keeping his eyes straight ahead.
Sam began to tremble, and Dean held back a curse. Sam drinking that demon blood after staying away for so long . . . the withdrawal was bound to happen sooner rather than later. The shakes continued to grow in magnitude.
Sam's plea was more a grunt than anything, but that just told Dean how bad it was. Dean couldn't respond in any other way than pressing his foot down harder. The speedometer crept higher.
He shouldn't be relieved to shut up his brother in a cold room. But some dark, wrong part of him was. See, Famine? He could feel relief. That was an emotion, if the wrong one. He wasn't empty inside. But when the screaming started, Dean couldn't bring himself to feel pain for his brother beyond a dull ache.
He retreated-coward and soulless-and fled from Sam's screams.
Sam couldn't remember much from his first time in the panic room. What he did remember, he avoided thinking about. Alastair, however, was intent on bringing out every painful memory . . . and more. Sam tried to keep in mind that Alastair couldn't be there. Really, he couldn't. Sam had sent Alastair to hell himself. He even told the demon so, in-between screams.
"Sam, Sam. Don't you think the devil can get whoever he wants out of hell?"
And there went his argument and his last remaining hope. Sam's cries went from denial to pleas for help. Dean, Cas . . . anyone. No one came. Except for Lucifer.
"No. No. I'm never saying yes. Get out of here."
"Sam, I would never hurt you. But Alastair has control in here. All you have to do is say yes, and I'll stop him."
"No," Sam grit out.
Lucifer's expression was sympathetic. "I'm so sorry, Sam."
Alastair got back to work.
"Dean, we have a problem."
Dean didn't bother giving him an answer to that comment, just offered Cas his patented "no duh" look. The angel said nothing, and Dean sighed. "What, Cas?"
"Sam has mentioned Lucifer."
That sent a shock right down to his toes. They hadn't even thought of Lucifer. Dean gave Cas a panic-filled look. "What do we do? He'll say yes without even realizing it."
Cas looked pained. "I don't think there's anything we can do."
"You can't knock him out?"
Cas shook his head. "He's too powerful when he's like this. And it would only slow the process down more."
Dean couldn't bring himself to go down there. If Sam somehow gave into Lucifer while he was like . . . that, Dean didn't want to see it.
Cas disappeared, presumably to keep watch outside the panic room. Dean choked back another sob. His brother could turn into the devil, and he couldn't even watch. How did he even deserve to live?
The torture stopped. At least, Sam hoped it had. He managed to crawl into a sitting position, breathing deeply. No blood. No fire. That was good.
Sam closed his eyes. "Jess."
"Sam, why are you doing this to yourself? Sweetie, just give in. It'll be better that way. He'll let you see me."
"What's dead should stay dead," Sam whispered hollowly.
"You should be dead." Jess's words were in her most practical tone-the one she used whenever they argument she was going to win.
Sam lost track of the different people who tried to convince him. Dad, Mom, a younger Dean, himself. . .
All he could do was sound like a broken record. "No."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
Sam sat up, breaking into sweat. "No," he whispered again, as Azazel paced around him.
"Oh yes, Sammy. Just flip the switch, and you can fight me." Yellow-eyes threw Sam up against the wall, the pressure building in his chest. "Go on, Sammy. I don't even want you to say yes. The power's there. You know it is. Just use it."
"No!" Sam screamed, but his voice trailed away into a whimper as he was thrown against the ceiling. Azazel snapped his fingers, and there was fire, fire and pain, and . . .
"Sam, don't. Listen. Sam."
The voice was familiar, but not familiar enough. Sam was being pulled in two directions, and the pain was overwhelming. He couldn't even scream.
Dean made himself go back inside. He made it down to the panic room, and was surprised to find Castiel absent. Angel probably didn't want to be present for Lucifer, Dean didn't blame him.
Sighing, Dean pulled open the small opening into the panic room. He was shocked to find Cas in there.
He almost called out, but then saw how Cas was fighting to keep Sam on the bed. Sam's eyes were rolling, his whole body taut, blood pouring from his nose. Dean backed away, pressing the heels of his hands into his own eyes. He couldn't do this.
The next time he managed to look through, Sam appeared calm. He still hesitated. Maybe it was over.
"Cas?" Sam's voice was hoarse.
"Did I say yes?" There was sheer terror in his voice.
"If you had, Lucifer would be here now." Cas's voice was matter-of-fact, but Dean could sense some relief in it.
Dean closed his eyes. The question was achingly familiar . . . even the voice was the same.
"Is he all right?" Sam's voice was slurring.
"I believe so."
"Go . . . help him." Sam muttered. Dean chanced another glance in, and saw him straining against Cas's hands.
"You are still going through withdrawal," Cas said.
"Tie me up. I don't want you to see this," Sam grunted. "Go help Dean."
Round after round of torture. All by Dean. Sam had to tried tell himself that it wasn't Dean, but everything pointed to the opposite. His brother raised the bloody knife from Sam's stomach.
"Really, Sam, I should've done this the day I came back from hell. I wouldn't be rusty, then."
Sam could feel the tears pooling around his eyes. The cuffs stopped him from sitting up properly.
"Or at least when I found out you were using your powers. Or when you were drinking demon blood. Or when you, oh yeah, started the apocalypse. Because I'm-" Dean paused to take a deep swipe at Sam's chest, "-good at this."
Sam managed to choke out a choked laugh. Because Dean was good at this-Dean was good at everything.
Dean seemed to take the thought out of his head. "You're right. I was never the screw-up. It was always you. Getting Jess killed, your half-hearted attempt at revenge. Who killed Azazel in the end? Oh yeah, me. Then you get yourself killed, and who brings you back here? Me again. Always having to fix your messes. And I haven't even gotten into current events yet."
Sam tried to breathe. He couldn't panic. Because he did deserve this, he was a monster.
"You'd think you'd look in the mirror during all that time and see yourself. Monster." Dean smiled cruelly.
"Dean, I think it would help if you went in there."
"Tell me how that would help, Cas. Tell me, because I can't think of a reason."
The angel was silent. Dean snorted.
"He's talking to a hallucination of you. It sounds like you're torturing him."
Dean paled. He pushed out of the chair and headed down, bracing himself. He entered the panic room, only to find Sam unconscious.
"Oh, Sam." Dean stood over him, unable to sit down on the narrow cot, since Sam was about to fall off as it was. "Bet you don't even want such a messed up brother."
Sam woke up. Dean had a second's warning before Sam was thrashing, trying to pull away from him.
The detox ended. At least, he hoped so. Sam could no longer feel the hunger for blood, and that was good. He did, however, still feel absolutely worn and miserable.
To make it worse, Dean was avoiding him. Whenever Sam was at his worse, that normally meant Dean was at his best, taking care of him, fixing whatever was wrong. But instead, Sam had to manage alone, with the clumsy help of Cas.
His body was black and blue from the wall's abuse. He had a hand-print shaped bruise on his sternum from where Cas had been holding him down. His wrists were torn up from the handcuffs.
But it was the rest of him he worried about. He had slipped, again. Demon blood. Sam would give anything to be a recovering drug addict instead.
This was normally where Dean came in and joked enough to draw Sam's mind away from the darker ones dragging him down. But he didn't.
Sam couldn't blame him. He had seen the look on his brother's face. Shock, fear, and maybe disgust. The small part of Sam that had been in control had hoped that Dean would have been proud of him for taking down the horseman instead of drinking the blood of the demon henchmen . . . but that hope went out the window of the Impala on the silent drive to Bobby's.
Sam got Cas to leave him alone after a while. Bruises healed with time, not angels poking at them futilely with an unhelpful amount of magical healing.
He took a shower. Wrapped his wrists. Put on a clean set of clothes. And still felt hollow, because maybe, just maybe, Dean was going to leave again.
Dean couldn't avoid Sam forever. Well, he could try, but when it came down to it, Bobby's wasn't that big. Plus, he couldn't have Bobby run interference for him-the man had picked that week to be gone, of course.
He winced at the hoarse sound of Sam's voice. Dean took a deep breath, strengthening himself. They could do this. Get through this conversation. Just one conversation.
"Are you okay?"
Dean managed to throw his little brother an incredulous look. "Me? Look in the mirror, man."
Sam flinched at the words, and Dean gave him a questioning look, to which Sam shook his head.
"You got Famine's ring, right?" Sam asked.
The silence wasn't quite unbearable, yet.
"How'd the demons get the drop on you?" Sam's voice was rough around the edges from all of the screaming.
"Sent Cas in first, with the knife. You saw him, with the meat."
"Ah." Sam was silent for a moment more, before murmuring. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Dean questioned tiredly.
"Giving in. This whole time, I've been trying to prove to you that I won't go back, that I'm strong, but . . ." His little brother's voice broke, and Dean couldn't look at him. "And I saw you, when I was . . . you know. I know what you think of me for that, but I promise, I was just using them because it was the only thing I could think of, and . . ."
"Whoa, Sam." Dean heaved a sigh. "You've got it wrong."
Sam was frozen beside him.
"I was just scared that you were gonna lose control. But hey, you didn't. That's what counts. I don't know how you resisted going after those demons."
Almost imperceptibly, Sam's shoulders relaxed. "Hey, you were beating Famine's mojo." His brother's eyes met his, the trust in them breaking Dean's heart. "Least I could do was fight it too."
Dean closed his eyes. "Sam . . ."
"Sam, I didn't fight it. There was nothing to fight."
"So . . . Sam's voice trailed off, obviously puzzling it through.
"Famine told me. I'm dead inside, pretty much. Broken. I can't feel anything. Haven't for . . . a long time. End of story."
He waited for Sam's horror, his appalled gasp, but it didn't come. Dean managed to glance over at Sam.
His little brother met his gaze. And then deliberately, almost casually, said, "nah."
Sam actually grinned. "Dude, you think Famine wouldn't lie to you?"
Dean grimaced. "Sam, he wasn't lying. I haven't felt anything at all. Not for anything, anybody."
Sam flinched a little at that, and Dean figured he was taking it personally. Great.
The conversation was spinning out of control. Sam sighed, raking a weary hand through his hair. "Look, Dean. It doesn't make sense."
Dean's voice was vitriolic. Sam repressed a shudder at how similar it sounded to the Dean in the panic room.
"Dean, Famine's powers draw out whatever you're deeply hungry for at that moment, right? Well, we've been through a lot. And my bet is, you've been longing not to feel anything. Tell me I'm wrong." Sam couldn't look at Dean as he finished. He wasn't positive he was right, but he was sure that Famine was lying.
Dean made an odd choked noise. Sam looked at him in confusion to find Dean swiping away a tear.
"I don't know, Sam. I just don't know."
"Yeah, well, I do. I know you don't trust me, but just . . . let that be enough for now, okay?" He didn't have the strength to continue the conversation, and just walked away, feeling Dean's gaze on his back. It would have to be enough.