Title: One Broken Line
Author: Disasteriffic Kaz
Info: Written for a Prompt: What happens when an anti-possession tattoo is damaged? Nothing good. Post 8x14 "Trial and Error" hurt!Sam caring!Dean to the rescue!Cas
Author's Note: Last Chapter! Hope you've all enjoyed the ride! I know I have! :P
Beta'd by the always awesome JaniceC678 :D– Friend and Muse's co-conspirator.
**Follow me on Facebook as "Disasteriffic Kaz" for frequent fic updates or just to chat!
~Reviews are Love~
"Oh, Sam," Castiel whispered as he took the man's head gently in his hands and lifted it. He was overcome with guilt for making him do this when he saw the fresh trickle of blood running from Sam's nose and down his chin. He took in the myriad wounds, felt Sam's left cheekbone move beneath his thumb and that was enough to make Sam's brows crinkle as he started to wake. "No. Stay asleep," Castiel said softly and sent a small thread of power into him, easing him gently back to full unconsciousness.
"Sammy?" Dean asked groggily as he woke. He rolled his head and then it rushed back to him…all of it. "Sam!" He shot up from the floor and slammed a hand to his head as pain screamed through it, and then his eyes fell on his brother and Castiel. Fear blew through him in a cold wave and then hatred for himself because he could remember every moment of it. Dean remembered every strike of his own hands on Sam's face, the feeling of pounding nails into his flesh and bone…of skinning a strip from his arm, Sam drinking his blood…and he rolled to his side suddenly to retch.
"Dean." Castiel went to him and knelt, putting an awkward hand on the man's shoulders to try and offer what comfort he could. "Sam will be fine."
Dean heaved for another minute and spit, gaining control of himself with difficulty. He pushed up and got to his knees. "Son of a bitch. Why?" He glared at the angel. "Why would you let him…"
"The alternative was your death," Castiel said simply and cut off the recrimination. "That is no alternative, I believe Sam would say."
"Dammit." Dean turned and knelt up beside his brother. His hand hovered over the nail pinning his left hand to the chair, looked at the knife driven through his right forearm and groaned. He had done that. He had done those things to the little brother he had practically raised and who he would still do anything to protect. He put a hand to the side of his neck and tried not to panic at the amount of blood covering him. "Sammy?"
"I put him to sleep, Dean." Castiel moved around Sam's back and frowned. "I thought it would be easier on him while we…remove these. There is another nail back here."
"I know," Dean said miserably. "That son of a bitch made sure I could see everything..." He grimaced and took careful hold of the knife in Sam's arm. "…feel every damn thing he made me do. God, Sam." He clenched his teeth and pulled the blade out, trying not to think too hard about the slightly sickening squelch as it pulled free of the meat of Sam's arm. "You can heal him, right? Cas? Tell me you can heal this."
Castiel nodded at the desperate, vaguely panicked tone in Dean's voice. "Yes, Dean. The injuries I will heal, but…"
"He's still gotta detox on his own." Dean looked at the nail pinning Sam's hand. "Pliers. They're…they're on that damn table." His gut instinct was to start triaging injuries, stop what bleeding he could but in this instance he just had to wait. Castiel would heal the physical trauma once the foreign objects had been removed. Dean bent and started untying his brother's legs while the angel worked the nail out of the back of Sam's shoulder.
"Dean." Castiel handed the pliers over Sam's shoulder to him and then moved to carefully untie his right arm, fingers sliding slickly through the blood-soaked rope as he worked.
"This is my fault," Dean said softly with his eyes on the tattoo on Sam's chest. It was one of the places not covered in his blood and it stared at him like a condemnation. "I know better. I should have checked my tattoo."
Castiel put a hand to Dean's shoulder while the Hunter twisted the nail out of his brother's hand and fixed what he could. "It is whole again."
Dean felt a wave of warmth from the angels' hand rush to his chest and dissipate. He blew out a breath and threw the nail across the room with a wet clatter before he bent to remove the last one from Sam's thigh. "Too little, too late, Cas. I did this to him." He grabbed the end of the nail with the pliers and then looked up at Sam's soft moan. "Shit."
"Hurry, Dean." Castiel took Sam's face in his hands again, ready to heal him the moment the nail was removed.
Dean got a good grip on it and pulled the nail free in a rush of blood. Sam shouted awake and Dean watched the wounds he could see begin to close almost instantly with the angel's aid. Dean grabbed one of his brother's flailing arms. "Easy, Sammy. Take it easy!"
Sam sucked in a ragged breath, preparing to shout out with the pain again, and then, just as suddenly, he felt a familiar warm tingling flow through his body, concentrating in the areas of agony, and the pain was gone, leaving only a faint, lingering ache that was already fading. He stared into Castiel's eyes for just a moment and slammed his eyes closed on a sob of relief. "Cas." Sam panted weakly. "Thanks."
"You will be weak for a while yet, Sam," Cas informed him and leaned back with a frown, not quite meeting Dean's eyes. "The injuries are healed, but I was unable to completely mitigate the effects of the blood loss."
"Unable?" Dean pulled his brother's now healed hand free of the last of the ropes and turned a worried glare at him.
Cas opened his mouth but Sam beat him to it. "Demon blood. Right?" Sam looked up at him and the angel nodded.
"Son of a bitch," Dean growled it angrily. He felt Sam's arm flinch in his grip and he shoved the anger down. Sam didn't deserve it; not this time. "This isn't your fault, Sam. You saved my ass. I wish…" Dean ran a hand through his hair and met his little brother's tormented eyes. "Shit, Sammy. I'm sorry."
Sam shook his head. "No. I should have checked your tattoo after the hell hound tore you up." He shuddered lightly at the memory because it was still too close, too near to being forced to watch Dean die in front of him. "I didn't think…I should have. I'm sorry."
Dean watched his face fall with guilt and shook his head. He pulled Sam forward into a hug, not caring that Castiel was there to see it, and just held onto him. Only Sam could find a reason to hate himself after being tortured by his own brother. "This isn't on you," he said softly and pushed Sam back, keeping a grip on his bare shoulders until Sam looked at him. "You kept your cool, dude. You could have lost it a dozen times and you didn't. You stayed calm, you…" Dean stopped and shook his head with a proud smile. "...you talked shit at the bastard while he was tearing you up. You got Cas here and you saved us, Sam. Hell, you wanna be technical about it, dude…you saved the world again."
"If the demon had returned to hell and told Crowley of you and the trials, you would likely both be dead already." Castiel said it firmly and hoped Sam would accept that it was the truth. "He had to be stopped or this was all for nothing."
"He was in my head, Sammy." Dean caught his brother's eyes again. "In the batcave. He knew about Kevin and Garth."
Sam nodded slowly and put a hand on his brother's shoulder while he shivered. "Ok. Ok. I get it, but…can I have your jacket, dude?" He pulled off a trembling smile that made his big brother chuckle.
"Yeah." Dean let him go and pulled his jacket off. He handed it to Sam, watching as he pulled it on with shaking hands. Sam was still too pale, and Dean didn't like that he was cold. Despite Cas's healing, shock could still be setting in after everything Sam had been through, not to mention the blood loss.
"Where?" Sam pulled the jacket closed around him and huddled gratefully into its warmth, finding comfort in the familiar smell of leather with a faint hint of gun oil – a smell that had always meant safety to him. "Where am I gonna…I mean, we don't have the panic room anymore." A large part of him was actually glad of that. He wasn't sure he had the strength of will to walk into that room knowing what was coming yet again. Sam wrapped his arms around himself and stood, needing to be out of the chair. "Sh…shit." He swayed with his head swimming and nodded his thanks as he was caught between his brother and the angel.
"It's only the blood loss," Castiel assured Dean as he saw the fearful expression on his face. "It will pass." He met Sam's eyes as they turned to him and felt the uncomfortable curl of guilt in his stomach again. "I'm sorry, Sam. I couldn't see any other way."
Sam nodded and carefully didn't meet the eyes of either man. "It's ok, Cas." But it wasn't. He understood it had been necessary, but he wasn't alright with it. Far from it. He could still taste the blood in his mouth, feel it churning sickly in his stomach, and he wanted away from that place. "Can we go now…wherever it is we're gonna go?"
"I must leave now." Castiel tilted his head, hearing something they couldn't. "I will…check on you later."
The angel was gone before Dean could open his mouth and he sighed as he slipped an arm around Sam's shoulders. "Come on. Let's get you outta here."
"Are you alright?" Sam asked softly. "That demon…it said it was controlling you for a week." He didn't want to imagine the things it could have gotten up to inside his brother and Sam's only consolation was that they hadn't spent that much time apart in the last week.
Dean shook his head and then nodded. "I'm fine, dude." He led his brother out of the warehouse and to the Impala silently while memories of the last week trapped in his own mind came to taunt him. He would never tell Sam how each time Sam fell asleep, the demon would stand over him with a knife, debating whether to kill him and would taunt Dean with graphic images of the things it would do to his little brother.
"Where are we going?" Sam asked wearily as he dropped into the passenger seat of the Impala.
"Batcave." Dean shrugged and knelt in the door. "Should be able to, you know, keep you on lockdown safe enough there. How you feelin'?"
Sam knew what he was asking and nodded. "It's coming." Thanks to Castiel, he'd drunk just enough of Dean's blood to kill the thing inside him and the rush of power from it was nearly gone. He could feel the first twinges of withdrawal, sensations he'd hoped to never feel again and he shivered.
Dean closed the door and scrubbed his hands over his face as he walked around to the driver's side. He felt like crap and still a little…disconnected from himself, like everything was just slightly out of synch. He got into the driver's seat and curled his hands around the familiar wheel like he was learning the feel of it all over again.
"Dean?" Sam watched him carefully. Demonic possession was something he'd hoped his brother would never have to experience. Dean internalized everything to a fault, and Sam knew he was going to have trouble accepting what had happened.
"I'm good, Sam," Dean said quietly and started the car. He spent a moment listening to the engine rumble around him before he pulled away. It galled him that the demonic bastard had been driving his baby for a week. He scowled as he drove, and then his lips quirked in a smile with the memory of Sam's reaction to the demon insulting their car. It quickly faded with the all too visceral memory of feeling his own hands choking the life from his brother immediately after that. He knew his dreams would be haunted with visions of what he had done to Sam for the rest of his life. "We're good."
The four hour drive did little to make Sam feel better. If anything, he felt worse by the time they pulled up outside the Men of Letters bunker. He didn't remember the withdrawal symptoms hitting him this quickly in the past, but then, pulling the demon from his brother and killing it had taken a lot more effort than it should have as well. His head was still splitting, and he wished Cas could have taken that pain along with everything else.
"Come on, Sam."
Sam jerked his head up in surprise with Dean's voice at his elbow and stared at him. He hadn't even heard his brother get out of the car or come around and open his door, and Dean was looking at him now with thinly-veiled concern. "Uh, yeah. Sorry. Ok."
Dean frowned and watched Sam stand. His movements were stiff and he'd clearly been a little spaced out for a moment. He kept close to his elbow as they went into the bunker, down the iron stairs, and then Sam stopped and stared down the long hall beyond the library. "Sam?"
"Should probably put me downstairs." Sam said it softly.
"Come on." Dean took his arm, mentally discarding that idea and steered him down the hall. He knew his brother was expecting to be tied down in a dark room somewhere alone for hours or days but he just couldn't do it. He couldn't restrain him so soon after watching himself torture Sam.
"Dean, what?" Sam stopped as Dean pushed him into his room. "This won't work, Dean."
"Shut up, Sam." Dean took a look around his brother's room and nodded. "Lucky for you, you have the decorating sense of a monk." He smirked and gave Sam a shove to his bed. "Be easy to take all the potential flying objects outta here. Sit down."
Sam dropped to the side of his bed and only then, once he was sitting somewhere not the car, could he feel the constant tremors running through him. He lowered his head miserably. "Sorry, Dean. I should have found another way."
Dean stopped. He'd been tossing things from Sam's desk into a small box and he sighed. He went and sat next to him. "Sam, there wasn't…not without killing me. You know that. Sure, Cas could'a burnt my eyes out, but I'm kinda partial to them."
Sam was startled into a small laugh, smiled, and nodded. "Yeah."
"You'll get through this again." Dean told him firmly and rested a hand on his shoulder before he stood and went back to clearing the desk. "We both will."
Four hours later, Dean had thrown all his qualms about chick flicks and personal space out the window; all in an effort to avoid restraining Sam again. He sat on Sam's bed, in his brother's now-empty-but-for-the-bed room and leaned against the headboard with Sam's back held tightly to his chest. "Take it easy, Sammy," he soothed, holding Sam's arms firmly down with his own while Sam shook and gasped against him.
Sam shook his head with his eyes tightly closed. The pain rolled through him in waves, taking even his ability to speak as his body rid itself of the last of the poisonous blood and he was mildly concerned; as bad as the pain was, the other symptoms he was used to had yet to manifest. He kept waiting for the delusions to start in earnest, but, other than the occasional glimpse of Lucifer smiling in the corner, they hadn't. Neither had the bursts of telekinesis that had always accompanied detoxing for him. No, the pain was the worst of it…the pain and the memory of nails being driven into his body and flesh stripped from his arm. He could still vividly feel each of those hurts if he thought about them, though the wounds were gone thanks to Castiel.
"Sam." Dean gave him a slight shake when it sounded as though he were going to hyperventilate. He could feel Sam's heart beating frantically through his back. "Dude, slow it down already." Every whimper drove a knife through his heart, every moan of pain was a reminder of just how much he'd hurt his brother. "I gotcha, buddy. It's ok."
The pain eased off yet again, and Sam's body collapsed back into his brother's. "Sorry. Sorry." His head rolled back onto Dean's shoulder, unable to support it himself anymore as he caught his breath and felt the warmth of tears on his cheek that he couldn't stop. "Should have been stronger…should have seen…seen it sooner. Sorry, Dean."
"Dammit, Sam. Shut up." Dean snarled in his ear and kept his tight grip. "You don't get to feel guilty about this."
A weary smile creased Sam's face and he snorted softly. "Then neither…neither do you." He frowned. "I should have seen it…tattoo. Patched you up and…and I missed it. I missed it. Stupid."
"The damn thing's on my chest, Sam." Dean rolled his eyes. "I'm the one who should have damn well noticed. Daily ink check from now on."
Sam snorted again, still breathing heavily and nodded. He rolled his head toward Dean's face. "You know this…what he did to me, that's not…not on you, right?" He cracked his eyes, watching Dean's jaw tighten and scowled. "I mean it, Dean. You always told me Meg…that wasn't on me. Not…not my fault and Luc…" Sam's voice choked off at a flash of that damned face in his peripheral vision and he flinched.
"Easy." Dean felt him jerk and, as he'd used to do when Sam was a child and scared, dropped his chin into all that shaggy, dark hair. "He's not here, Sammy. Just me. You're safe." Sam nodded under his chin and the fact that he didn't pull away told Dean how out of it he was really feeling. He sighed. "I know you're right, ok? I do. I just…you gotta gimme time to…" Dean swallowed hard. "I can't get it outta my head, feeling myself driving those damn nails into you."
"Wasn't you." Sam worked one arm slowly free of his brother's hold to pat his arm. "The thing that hurt me is dead and…I'm not sorry I did it now." The guilt at drinking demon blood had finally lessened under the knowledge that he had saved Dean. That made it worth any amount of discomfort or self-hate for Sam.
"Alright, look. I'll stop beating myself up if you do." Dean said softly, feeling Sam begin to go lax with sleep in his arms. He was lying of course; it would be a long time before he stopped tearing himself up over the whole thing, and he imagined he'd added a few more sleepless nights to his life…and Sam's. His brother didn't need to know that though. "Go to sleep, Sam." He felt Sam's head nod slowly in agreement again and sighed.
Dean looked down in surprise. He'd thought Sam was well on his way to being out cold. "What? Dude, do you ever listen to me? Sleep while you can."
Sam smirked and patted his arm again. "So this is like…my chick flick quota for a month, huh?"
Dean chuckled in spite of the situation and the night's events and shook his head. "Try a year, little brother. Maybe two depending on whether or not you drool on me in your sleep." He smiled at Sam's soft snort and sat there holding him as Sam fell asleep, sometimes twitching with the withdrawal. Dean was pleasantly surprised that detoxing this time hadn't meant the nightmare his brother had suffered in the past. For the first time, Dean was actually grateful Sam had ended up doing the trials as it was the only reason he could think of for the change. They had altered something inside his little brother that made it easier. But that thought…that they were changing Sam somehow…that scared him. But that was for another day. They had enough issues right here, right now, that he didn't need to add to the pile. He worked to set the worry aside and tried to trust that Sam would tell him if things started to go bad.
"Right," Dean whispered and rolled his eyes. They were both crap when it came to admitting weakness. Once, Dean would have considered himself the worse of the two when it came to that, but Sam had taken it to whole new levels after the cage, determined that Dean wouldn't see him as anything but capable of watching his back.
"We'll get past this…and the trials, and whatever else is waiting down the road to try and tear us to shreds," Sam said suddenly in a soft voice. As bad as the night had been for him, it was so much worse for Dean, he knew. "We always do. We always will."
Dean smiled in spite of himself; Sam always seemed to know when he was beating himself up. He loosened his grip a little as Sam turned slightly and rested his head on the wall behind the bed. "I believe in you, Sam," he murmured softly. Dean stared up at the ceiling and felt himself start to drift off against his will as his eyes closed, for the moment, letting his demons go, knowing Sam was safe where he belonged.