Summary: Set directly after Season 8. Sam's POV. "That voice, that same voice again. It seems so broken and desperate and I want to cry because I know that voice, I know it, but I can't place it and my skull is pounding and it seems like my bones have solidified just in time to crack apart again, slow and wrenching and agonizing."
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Warning: Rated for language.
Into The Light
Bright. Everything is too bright.
I shut my eyes against the blinding flashes of light, against the pain. It feels like my body has suddenly decided to rip itself apart. I'm crippled from the inside out, my brittle bones shattering against my skin and everything's fading and nothing's making sense and all I know is that I can't take much more of this unendurable agony.
It's too bright. I just want to sleep...
"SAMMY? Sammy stay with me dammit."
That voice. I know that voice. The name that goes with that voice is right there, on the edge of my subconscious, and I know it's important but it's taking so much effort just to keep breathing and I can't focus and everything is so bright.
"Sam, please. Please!"
I know something's wrong. That voice is somehow finding its way through my tangled broken brain, it's pounding its way in past the incessant ringing in my ears and I wish I knew what it wanted. I wish I knew why everything is so fucked up and why I can't seem to find my eyelids. God it's so hard to breathe and suddenly I'm moving, shifting, and I know it's not me who's doing it because my bones are liquid and my head is exploding and it's still so bright and I can't close my eyes because they're already closed and so I let the light take me instead even as the screaming in my head gets louder...
I'm in Hell. I'm dead and I'm back in Hell and it's the worst pain I've ever known. I want to scream but they've jammed something down my throat and I'm choking, gasping for air as I writhe inside a prison I've never wanted to revisit.
"SAMMY? Oh God Sammy just relax man. Relax Sammy let it breathe for you."
That voice, that same voice again. It seems so broken and desperate and I want to cry because I know that voice, I know it, but I can't place it and my skull is pounding and it seems like my bones have solidified just in time to crack apart again, slow and wrenching and agonizing.
I'm twisting and jerking frantically where I lay, trying to escape this unbearable pain. I'm trying to focus, trying to find the right muscles but all I can see is the backs of my eyelids and all I can hear is that same familiar voice in my head. Everything hurts. I feel a strange sort of tingling that seems to spread from the inside of my arm and then suddenly, just as quickly as the agony began, I can feel it start to dull. I'm drifting now, floating. I've stopped flailing and I can finally feel the cushion of the mattress that's been beneath me this entire time. My weary muscles are all relaxing simultaneously, sagging heavily into the soft material.
And then there's a slight, warm pressure on my hand and something soft brushes against my forehead and maybe this isn't Hell after all because there is something comforting about that touch. It's so familiar and soothing and Dean.
Dean. My brother.
All at once, the pieces of my fragmented mind are slowly making their way back to me. I'm remembering the church and Crowley and Abaddon. I'm remembering my brother's reassuring smile.
"We will figure it out. Just like we always do."
I remember exactly one split second of pure, uninterrupted relief as I let go of the burden I'd been carrying for so long now, and then, abruptly, an endless sea of agony that swallowed me whole and sent me to my knees.
And I remember the angels...
Was that a dream? It couldn't be real...
I'm still grasping for the details, trying to keep the facts in order, but something has seeped into my thoughts and clouded them beyond recognition. My body feels heavier and yet lighter at the same time and I am slowly sinking back into that undiluted feeling of relief. The haze is so calming and welcoming and a small part of me wants to fight against it and try to figure out exactly where I am, what the fuck's going on, but another part of me that wants sleep overrules it. I need this sweet, uninterrupted rest. I've needed it for a long time now. Hell, maybe this is what I've needed for my entire life. And so I let myself sink completely into the warmth of oblivion.
This time the pain is muted. I can hear the steady and all too familiar bleep of a heart monitor as I ease slowly back into consciousness. The pounding in my head is still there, but it's subdued, and the agony that had plagued my body has faded to a dull ache. Cautiously, I open my heavy eyes, and immediately I find my brother.
Dean is slumped in the chair beside me, head lolling to the side. His face seems drawn and ragged, even in sleep, and I wonder how long I've been here; how many sleepless nights I've put him through. It's obvious to me from my countless visits that I'm in a hospital, but I shift slightly on the bed, trying to get a clear confirmation.
I might as well have screamed at the top of my lungs.
One slight movement from me is all it takes. Dean is wide awake, the chair screeching across the linoleum as he pushes himself out of it, stumbling towards the bed.
That one word is dripping with pain and anguish and relief and I know it had to have been bad, especially when he moves to take my hand, his eyes catching my every movement.
"God Sammy, you scared me for a minute there," he laughs shakily, running a hand through his hair and across his face, trying to hide the tears that threaten to slip past.
"S'ry," I croak. I sound awful. It feels like my vocal cords have been dragged across a cheese grater and my tongue has been turned to cotton. I lick my lips, about to ask for water, but Dean already has the ice chips in hand, practically forcing them down my throat before I can even try to get the words out.
We sit together in silence for a while after I wake up. Dean is beside me on the bed, trying hard not to stare at me for too long, but his eyes keep flickering to my face every few seconds as if to reassure himself that I'm still here. I'm trying to ignore his lingering gaze, instead focusing on collecting my thoughts enough to start asking questions, but at this point I'm not sure if I'll want the answers. After a few more moments, I break the unbearable silence with one of the most pressing situations, one that I know will have a huge effect on my brother.
It's just one word, but the moment Dean hears it, he seems to fold in on himself. His shoulders tighten, the muscles rippling across his back as he turns away from me for the first time since I've woken up.
"I can't...I don't know where he is, Sammy. He won't answer my prayers, he won't...he's just...gone," Dean pauses, his eyes tracing the patterns on the floor, as though he's waiting for the angel to manifest himself within the tiles. "Look I'm sure he's...he's fine. Let's just worry about you right now, okay? Let's just...get you better." His tone scares me. He's too quiet, too careful with the words he chooses. But I continue with the inquiries on my long list of "what the hell is going on".
"Yeah, that was my next question," I cough. "What's wrong with me? I mean I feel better than I did obviously, but that could just be the drugs. When can I leave?"
Dean has turned away from he again, not meeting my eyes. He is silent for a long time, and when he speaks again, I wish for the silence once more. The pain in his voice is almost tangible. "Sammy...they don't know what's wrong. You're organs aren't...I mean everything's kind of shutting down...you're not...it's not..." Dean draws in a ragged breath and finally turns to face me. "Sammy I can't lose you. Please."
That last word breaks me. My brother never begs, never asks for anything. I reach across the bed, squeezing his hand. He squeezes back, tears pooling in the corners of his eyes, but he still refuses to let them fall.
"It'll be okay," I say, knowing that the words are meaningless.
And suddenly I'm struck with how not okay this entire situation is. We had been so close. So close to closing the gates of Hell. Forever. I had been about to rid the world of the demons that had ruined our lives and taken countless others. It had all, quite literally, been in my hands- and once again, I had failed. I had allowed myself to walk away from saving the lives of thousands of innocent people, all for the sake of my brother. All so that we could continue to fight this never ending war together. And now I was dying anyway.
The guilt was crushing, and suddenly I was drowning in it. My death could've meant something. Could've meant everything. My sacrifice could've finally brought peace to this dark, dismal, shit show of a world we lived in. I could've saved everyone. Could've saved Dean.
Dean, who had sacrificed so much, given everything to keep me safe. And I couldn't repay the favor, because it was him who was asking me to walk away. God I should've died. Should've shoved my own purified blood into Crowley's waiting mouth and given Dean the life he had never known but always deserved. Sure, he would've grieved for me. But then he would've been able to move on. To live in a world where monsters under the bed were just stories and nightmares could fade to nothing, could be erased with a flick of a light switch. I could've given him that. And instead all I gave him was his little brother. A sick, dying little brother with no fight left and a world still shrouded in darkness.
I had been so lost in my own thoughts that I didn't immediately notice when Dean finally gives in and lets the first of his tears fall until I hear his sharp intake of breath, followed by a cracked sob. He had shifted to face away from me again, but his hand is still holding mine, and I squeeze it once more, feeling my own tears begin to form.
"Dean I...Dean you should've just let me die," I whisper. The words slip out before I can stop them, and Dean's reaction is instantaneous. He leaps off the bed, wiping violently at the few tears he had let slip past and whirls to stare at me, incredulous.
"Fuck no, Sam. That was never an option. I said we would figure this out. So we will." Dean's jaw is set, his hands shaking with something close to rage as he begins to pace the room. The transition from despair to determination is so sudden it leaves me reeling, trying to find some kind of response. But Dean beats me to it, his words dripping venom.
"You're gonna be fine. You'll make it." He turns to me, as if daring me to disagree. "You're going to live Sammy." The words are said with such conviction that I find myself believing him. Especially when his eyes meet mine, and I see a spark of something deadly behind those green irises. And suddenly I'm afraid of what he might do, of the lengths he might to go to save my life. Again.
"Dean don't..." But he's got his jacket on before I can finish my sentence, fumbling for the car keys and striding towards the door.
"DEAN!" I scream. But the door slams shut and I'm left alone, unable to fully lift my head off the pillow, much less follow after him. I try anyway, reaching clumsily for the IV in my arm, but a nurse chooses that exact moment to come rushing in, probably summoned by the slam of the door. She's at my side in an instant, pushing my hands firmly, away from the needle and injecting what I assume is a sedative, even as I continue to scream my brother's name. My struggles waver as the drug takes effect, and I am plunged into darkness once more.
I don't let myself float in this calming space between sleep and wakefulness. It's so peaceful and inviting, but I know I can't stay here. I know something horrible is about to happen, if it hasn't already. I shove frantically against the fogginess, trying to push past the drug induced sleep. Finally, I break the surface, squinting against the rays of sunlight that slice across the room and make the dust dance in circles above my head.
"Dean?" I cry out, twisting beneath the scratchy sheets, trying to find my brother. I catch sight of him a moment later, staring at me from across the room, arms folded across his chest.
"Calm down drama queen, I'm right here," he smirks, moving almost lazily to stand beside my bed. His words only make me panic more.
"WHAT DID YOU DO? DEAN, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO? " I'm screaming and I can feel the tears coming again but I don't care because my brother has just done something unforgivable. I can feel it in my bones and I can see it in the passive way he walks and in the soft smile he gives me as he tries to reach for my arm. I jerk away, not feeling the slightest bit guilty at the hurt expression on his face.
"Tell me what you did. Did you make another deal?" I've managed to lower my voice to a deadly whisper that I hope will be more intimidating somehow, and I'm holding his gaze, willing him to undo it all.
"Sammy, give me some credit. I didn't make a deal, I'm not that stupid," he replies, still smiling slightly, still trying to make this into a fucking joke.
"Then what? I know you didn't just walk out of here like that to grab a goddamn snack. Tell me what happened. Now." Dean rolls his eyes, clearly trying to keep up the act, but when he sees my expression, his face softens.
"I swear Sam, I didn't do anything. I mean yeah, I thought about it. You would've thought about it too." He raises his eyebrows, as if waiting for me to protest, before continuing. "But in the end...I don't know. I couldn't do that to you. Not again."
I nod slowly. I know my brother well enough to know when he's telling the truth. But I also know that there's no way he would be this relaxed if my body was still shutting down on itself.
"So then why are you so calm today? I'm still dying, aren't I?" The words come out more harsh than I meant them too, and I berate myself when Dean flinches. But he recovers quickly.
"The doctor ran a few more follow up tests while you were out. He expected the same results, but it seems like your body is starting to recover on its own somehow," Dean pauses when he sees my disbelieving look and crinkles his nose at me.
"Hey, don't ask me how geekboy, I'm not the one with the college education. All I know is that last night they were basically saying you were a gonner, and today...well, damn it Sammy, today is a fucking miracle." Dean's eyes are shining again, but I know this time it's not from grief, just like I know he won't dare to let these tears fall.
I'm still wildly suspicious. I'd have to be crazy not to be. There are so many unanswered questions. Like how on earth am I still breathing? I mean how is this possible? How can I, Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood, have so many goddamn second chances? How can I once again be recovering from something that should've killed me? The only silver lining is that at least this time I know Dean's soul is safe, and even though I don't have anything else, for the moment, that one fact is enough.
Dean is still looking at me with those too bright eyes, trying to gage my reaction, trying to see if I trust what he's told me. I struggle into a sitting position, surprised and pleased at how much easier it is to move today.
"Okay," I say, meeting his wary eyes, "Then I guess we've got work to do."
I'm thinking of doing Dean's POV as well, so please leave me a comment if you'd like to see that. I'm also thinking of expanding this story- I've got an idea in my head that I might just run with.
Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed it!