Benny, Dean. Gen.
Summary: Benny slowly solves the enigma that is Dean Winchester.
Notes: Fic is unbeta'd, english is not my first language.
Disclaimer: I only wish they were mine.
Dean doesn't sleep much. It surprises Benny, because from what he can remember (even though his memories are a bit skewed after all this time) he used to sleep much more before he's been turned. Sleep has been different since then and he hasn't needed it at all ever since entering Purgatory, but Dean isn't a monster like the rest of them; he's fresh and human and painfully, painfully vulnerable.
Benny suspect that Dean falls unconscious more than asleep. He gets it, too, he really does; he's a vampire and Dean doesn't trust him, and he tries to stay awake for as long as he can so that Benny doesn't suck him dry in his sleep.
Benny never would. Not only because Dean is his ticket out of this hell-hole, but because Dean is fascinating; he doesn't talk much - mostly he just glares at Benny - but he's a capable fighter, unrelenting and adamant. And then there's the thing with the angel that is just as annoying as it is extraordinary.
Not that Benny knows any details; all he knows about the angel is that it's there and Dean is looking for it, and Benny knows better now than to ask about it outright, or even teasingly. Dean isn't one for joking; Benny wonders if he's ever been, before whatever crap's happened that landed him here.
Dean is a mystery, and Benny will make sure to figure him out if it's the last thing he does.
It takes weeks before Dean relaxes enough in Benny's presence to actually fall asleep like Benny supposes humans should; lie down, close their eyes and just drift off.
It's one of those nights when they make fire, when Dean complains of being too cold and Benny takes pity on him.
Dean isn't exactly lying down, though; he's halfway sitting up, propped by a tree, his weapon still in his hand. Benny is sitting on the other side of the fire, pretending not to watch Dean but something else, anything else. They are both aware, however, that there's nothing more interesting than a sleeping human nearby.
Benny thinks it's some kind of a testimony to how much Dean trusts him now - which is, admittedly, still very little, but hey, here they are. A vampire and a human who would have rather dropped dead than fallen asleep in his presence.
Benny will take what he can get. And maybe, one day Dean will trust him enough to answer some questions.
Dean doesn't sleep for long; maybe two hours, maybe three - it's hard to keep track. He gets restless after some time, head trashing from side to side, lips parting in harsh breaths which might, Benny supposes, be words.
Benny stays put because he's not suicidal or stupid; he knows that if he went to Dean now he would probably end up with his blade stuck in his face - he's seen it happen before, Dean coming up from his slumber flailing and swinging left and right.
No, Benny will watch instead, and maybe he'll learn something.
Dean's breathing gets gradually harsher, slowly changing into a mantra of a two simple words. "No," he whispers, voice hoarse. "No, no, please, no - "
Then he screams; it startles Benny into a sitting position with the sheer force of its volume; he used to kill people on daily basis and has never heard anything like this, a blood-curdling shrill so loud Dean's voice cracks under it.
It stops just as quickly as it started, Dean's voice dying suddenly inside his throat, the only reminder of it the echo in the distance.
They are both sitting up, muscles taut and ready to push themselves up and fight, but neither of them do. Benny watches Dean catch his breath, eyes roaming his surroundings wildly.
"Are you alright, brother?" he asks tentatively and Dean's eyes find him, then; wide with something like fear at first, but it's gone fast, leaving a scowl in its wake.
"How many times do I gotta tell you not to call me that," he growls and his voice is low and hoarse, and Benny snorts at the answer.
"You never disappoint," he says and Dean scoffs.
"Yeah," he says quietly and pushes to his feet, Benny following his example. "We should probably get moving."
"We should," Benny agrees and stomps out the fire. They're a monster catnip enough without Dean screaming bloody murder into the night.
They leave as quickly as possible before the monsters start drawing in on them, Dean in the lead and Benny close behind, eyes fixed on the back of Dean's head, his own full of questions.
The longer they spend wandering through Purgatory the more questions Benny has, instead of it being the other way around. Dean's a weary, tired soul by his side, face drawn in a perpetual glare, and whenever Benny tries to pry Dean clams up instead of answering.
"What were you, Dean?" he asks one day while hiking through the forest, damp and smelling like rot and blood.
Dean hums in lieu of an answer, not slowing down to look at Benny, so Benny goes on. "Were you a hunter?" he asks, not even trying to sugar coat it. Dean stops then and turns around; his face as impassive as ever, but then his eyebrows quirk up a little, his mouth curls into a smirk. Benny's eyes snap to the blade in Dean's hand, ever present.
"The best," Dean answers. "I'm the best."
After watching Dean fight and kill and torture for months, Benny has no reason not to believe him.
Dean hitches the weapon in his hand and Benny's eyes flick to it again, but Dean only turns around and starts walking as if they haven't spoken at all.
Benny thinks about the hunters he's met and killed back in the day; maybe he was lucky and has only met the sloppy, inexperienced ones, or maybe the world's moved on so significantly that Benny won't recognize it at all; he remembers them being nothing like Dean. Dangerous, yes, but not as lethal or efficient or frightening.
Benny is used to inflicting pain; he's not half bad at it. But Dean... Dean is terrifying when he puts his mind to it. So terrifying that the whole of Purgatory, somewhere in its collective mind, is swapping horror stories about the human walking among them, killing his way through, looking for his angel.
The most terrifying thing, Benny muses, is the fact that there is something plaguing Dean's nightmares; the fact that there is something that can cause nightmares to a nightmare makes Benny think that maybe he doesn't want to leave Purgatory after all.
Another night with a campfire; they need it every now and then, not only for warth but because Dean, unlike Benny or anyone else in this place, still needs to eat. Benny watches him as he swallows the food, eyes screwed shut and pretending that what he's eating isn't basically human meat.
"Technically, it's a werewolf," Benny pointed out earlier, prompting Dean to give him the sourest of looks.
He's waiting for Dean to finish eating to start asking his questions. Dean looks like he's about to be sick any second, and Benny knows that torture isn't appropriate dinner-friendly topic at the best of times, and Dean needs his food, as much as he can get in this place.
When Dean swallows the last bite, grimacing at the taste, or maybe the thought, Benny finally asks. "So, where did you learn it?"
Dean looks at him, brows furrowed in confusion.
"Your methods of gathering information," Benny clarifies with a smirk. Dean blinks, once, twice, and then he leans back and lets out a sharp laugh.
"Man, all the things you could have asked about," he says, shaking his head.
Dean's watching him, looking more amused than anything else. "I don't know, maybe... Why I'm running around Purgatory looking for an angel? Or was it common, back in your day? Having angel buddies?"
Benny shrugs. "Yeah, no. So you wanna tell me about that or something?"
Dean's smile drops. "Not particularly," he says and Benny heaves out a sigh.
"Then it's the torturing," he says and Dean gives him a look so poisonous that Benny can't do anything but laugh. "Come on, brother. You don't wanna sit here in silence again."
"Yeah, that actually sounds really fucking nice," Dean snaps, "so shut your trap already." He shifts and lies on his back, the blade and his gun within arms reach. "And don't fucking call me brother," he adds as if in afterthought.
Benny thinks they're done for today; he's not too upset about it because, with the way things are going, they'll have the rest of eternity for these talks. The angel, a mystery of its own, is nowhere to be found, and they are in no way closer to finding him. But then Dean sniffs from where he's lying, and shifts a little.
"In Hell," he says and Benny stares for a little moment, because he can't put this piece of information into any context.
"In hell what?" he asks and Dean makes an impatient sound, as if he's already regretting saying anything in the first place.
"Torturing," he says in a way of explanation. "I learned it in Hell."
Benny watches Dean for a little while, the flames casting shadows on his face, making it look distorted and inhuman. "By hell," he says carefully, after a beat of silence, "you mean - "
"I mean literal Hell, with capital H and demons and - the place where sinners go after they croak, for fuck's sake, Benny."
Benny thinks Dean must be joking, but Dean never jokes; he glares and snarls and kills like he's been born to do it, and he screams in his dreams, and -
"Oh," Benny says, and thinks that he probably shouldn't be as shell-shocked about it as he is. He lives in a fantasy, too, after all; a twisted fairytale but a fairytale nonetheless, with vampires and werewolves and, apparently, even angels.
"Yeah," Dean adds, voice defensive as if he's waiting for Benny to start hurling insults or maybe get up and walk away.
Benny says nothing after that. He hates that everytime he learns something new it brings more questions instead of answering any; he hates that he's so goddamn curious, too. "How?" he says after a long moment and Dean's whole body jerks at the sound of his voice; Benny wonders if he's been falling asleep, falling into his nightmares again.
"How what, now?" Dean asks, voice annoyed and rough.
"Just - how, Dean?" Benny shrugs. "You can't just say things like, 'I was in Hell,' and expect people - " Dean snorts and Benny pointedly ignores it, " - to roll with it. I am one curious vampire here. Indulge me a little."
'Sinners go to Hell,' Benny's mama used to say, 'so make sure you're a good boy, Benjamin.' And Benny did, for as long as he could until that choice has been taken from him; and so he expects Dean to confess to some horrible crime, now. He's dangerous enough to do so, certainly.
There is no point in having sympathy for the guilty, is there? Benny is smiling, smirking almost. Dean calls him the monster, but at least Benny's never been to Hell.
But instead, Dean sits up and runs a hand down his face; even in the dark Benny can see how exhausted, how utterly horrible Dean looks. Dark circles under his eyes, shoulders slumped. "I sold my soul to save my brother's life," Dean says and he sounds resigned, apathetic, and - oh. Oh.
"Oh." Benny blinks, confused and shocked speechless all over again.
"Yeah." Dean heaves out a breath and leans back against the tree, apparently giving up on getting any sleep tonight. "Not what you expected, is it?" he asks, voice amused and bitter at the same time.
'How can you joke about it when it haunts your dreams so much?' Benny wants to say but swallows it down. "No," he says instead, truthfully. "No, that's not what I expected at all."
"Made a crossroads deal with a demon, to bring my dead brother back to life," Dean continues, staring off into the darkness, unmoving except for his hands cradling his blade. "Got a year and then bam, one way ride straight downstairs."
Dean turns to look at Benny, then, and there's something in his eyes; the same look he gets when he gets to bury a knife in someone else's body and twist it. A particular kind of madness. "Good times," Dean says.
It's a slow, creeping feeling that Benny gets. They sit in silence and Benny thinks, 'This man next to me has been to Hell, for love and not sin,' and he thinks of all the horrible things he's seen on Earth and in Purgatory, and wonders if they could ever compare. "I thought that demon deals were only a myth," he blurts out.
"Says the vampire in the monster pit," Dean retorts, and Benny has to give him that one. They fall into silence once more; it's heavy and uncomfortable, and Benny's hands itch with the desire to know - to know everything there is to know about the creature sitting across from him, a man that travels through dimensions like the heroes of stories Benny used to dream up as a child.
"I was a vampire once, while we're at it," Dean adds after a few agonizingly silent minutes.
Benny stares for a moment, and then says - squeaks, really, if he's being honest, much louder than he intended to. "What?"
Dean's laughing now; a low, rumbling sound Benny's never heard from him before - an honest laugh, not a snicker or a half-manic cackling of a crazy man. He shifts slowly as if his whole body aches and refuses to cooperate, wincing when it probably does. "Sharing time's over, man," he says and he's grinning and Benny's shoulders slump a little.
"Come on, brother," he says. "You can't just leave me hanging like that."
"Don't fucking call me brother," Dean snaps and turns his back to Benny before he can say anything. "Now shut up, I'm getting some shut eye."
Benny sighs, pointedly loud. The conversation's over for now, he knows, but they only have a few hours before they need to move or the other monsters will catch up with them, before Dean shakes himself awake from nightmares Benny almost wishes he didn't know about. Then the night will fall again and Benny will get another chance to pry.
And he will. He will figure out the man that is Dean Winchester if it's the last thing he does.