Title: “Until It Sleeps”
Disclaimer: Sam and Dean Winchester belong to Eric Kripke, WB, and various and sundry lawyers, agents, yada, yada. I only wish they were mine. No harm, no profit.
Warnings: Angst, h/c, slash, wincest and, most especially:
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL EPISODES OF SEASON FOUR THROUGH 4.10.
Summary: Dean’s back from Hell, but not all the way. It’s up to Sam to close that gap.
A/N: Title taken from the Metallica song of the same name. This is a little trip through season four through 4.10 from Sam’s POV. Also? It includes what I wanted to see after Dean’s heart-to-heart with Sam about Hell.
“So tear me up and pour me out
There’s things inside that scream and shout
And the pain still hates me
So hold me, until it sleeps”
It’s a hazy September day in
Of all the things he’s ever hunted and killed in his crazy, fucked-up life, including the yellow-eyed bastard who’d started it all, nothing has horrified and disgusted him more than this evil thing that has the audacity to wear his brother’s face.
He barely notices Bobby in his peripheral vision. Totally forgets about Ruby watching from the sidelines. He can only stand, transfixed, as the thing speaks to him. “Heya, Sammy.”
Dean’s voice, low and gravel rough, just like Sam’s heard it in his dreams every single fucking night for months, and he immediately goes for the kill. He lunges at the thing with a silver knife and a burning resolve to carve it into a million pieces.
When the dust settles, Sam has been unarmed by Bobby and undone by Dean, and can only hold tight to his brother, wrap his arms around him and breathe him in, soak him up. Solid muscle and warm skin, alive and breathing and real and Dean. Maybe the hardest thing he’s ever done is to finally drop his arms and step back, let go of him. He’s let go of Dean too many times and the last one, four months earlier, had broken Sam.
Ruby, in her meatsuit, makes a quick exit, leaving Dean and Bobby without a clue that they’d been in the presence of a demon and Sam deems it prudent not to bring it up.
Dean looks pretty much the same as before he’d died and went to hell. He’s lost weight, is a little paler than usual, but miraculously unscarred by the Hellhounds. Same piercing green eyes that nail Sam to the wall and hold him open for scrutiny until he’s convinced that Sam hasn’t traded his soul to get Dean out of the pit.
Like Sam won’t live with that failure for the rest of his life.
The big changes aren’t visible, right off, and maybe not at all to anyone except Sam. It isn’t just the fact that Dean wears Sam’s clothes for a few days, until they can get him some of his own. He has to roll the sleeves up on the shirts and tighten the belt on the jeans, and it makes him look smaller, but it’s more than that. It’s in the almost imperceptible flinch Dean makes when someone touches him or comes too close. The way he keeps looking over his shoulder when they walk down the street. The tightness around his eyes, the slight, slight tremble in his hands. The way he sleeps sitting up, fully clothed, falling asleep quickly as if he’s perpetually exhausted, but never sleeping long or soundly, and never in Sam’s bed.
The way he shies away from Sam’s touch. Every time. The way he closes the bathroom door now when he brushes his teeth, or acts like he’s deeply engrossed in whatever stupid show’s on TV until Sam falls asleep. The way he doesn’t steal food off Sam’s plate or leave Sam’s laptop opened to BustyAsianBeauties.com. The way he’s always at Sam’s side, but keeps an arm’s length between them. Exactly the same as before but different in a million ways.
Sam asks, but Dean won’t talk about his time in Hell. He claims he doesn’t remember and Sam lets him. Because, truthfully? Sam doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Dean isn’t the only one keeping secrets. That’s brought home to him as he looks at his brother, fresh back from Hell, where he’s spent four months for Sam. Looks him in the eye and smoothly lies about using his powers.
A shitload of questions and no shovel leads them to a psychic friend of Bobby’s and, even though the séance produces the name of Dean’s mysterious rescuer, Pamela pays a steep price. One more thing to add to the pile of guilt that rides the shoulders of the
Dean isn’t back on earth any time at all before the demons at Johnny Mac’s Diner try to challenge him. “Try” being the operative word because, apparently, being yanked out of Hell is a rare and wonderful thing and whatever has the power to do it scares the crap out of all the black-eyed souls hanging out in Pontiac. The patented Dean Winchester swagger backs them down and when Sam goes back later on his own, all he finds are empty bodies with burned-out eyes and no answers.
Three days later, they’re hunkered down at Bobby’s, researching angels, of all things. Sam had sat, dumbstruck at first, when Dean had told him that it had apparently been an angel of the Lord who’d laid the holy handprint on him and pulled him out of Hell. The thing is? Once Sam takes some time to process it, it’s not all that hard to accept. He’s maintained for years, despite much scoffing and eye-rolling from his brother, that given all the evil shit they’ve come face-to-face with in their lives, it’s more than a little reassuring to think that the other side exists. Sam has to agree that they don’t show up to fight nearly often enough, but still.
Dean, though? Dean’s seen the thing with his own eyes……talked to it, tried to kill it, for fuck’s sake…..and still can’t accept it. Mostly, he can’t believe that he’s worth God’s notice and Sam, not for the first time, curses the upbringing that’s convinced Dean he’s worthless. Because Sam knows that God could do a hell of a lot worse than to put his trust in Dean Winchester, for whatever it is He’s got in mind.
Sam understands why the threat of an angel in the picture makes Ruby head for parts unknown. What he can’t figure out is why she warns him to be careful and watch himself. Sam’s not afraid of angels. He’s doing nothing wrong. He’s killing demons. Practically angel’s work. He lets her go and gets back to the business of riding the roads with his brother, trying not to hover over him from the passenger’s seat. He’s not giving Dean up again to anyone, angel or no angel.
When Henrickson appears over his shoulder in the cracked, dirty mirror hanging on the wall of the gas station bathroom, Sam’s shocked. Slow and clumsy and driven to guilt and apologies because Henrickson’s right, Lillith had been Sam’s fault…the explosion, the deaths, everything. He’s slow to fight back and it’s a close, close call until Dean runs in with impeccable timing and a shotgun full of rock salt to save the day. After Henrickson’s dispatched, they slump there on the filthy cement floor, stunned and gasping for breath until finally Sam gets to his feet and reaches out a hand for his brother. Dean takes his hand and stands but when Sam doesn’t let go, when Sam whispers his name and tries to pull him closer, Dean smoothly turns away with a “Let’s go, Sammy, we gotta get out of here.”
Sam gives a frustrated sigh and slumps against the wall, wondering if they’ll ever find their way back.
It turns out that Henrickson isn’t the only pissed-off spirit roaming
The spirits are seriously out for blood and it’s a hell of a great time to learn about Bobby’s panic room. Sam wants to crawl in and pull Dean in with him and live there forever. But, as usual, there are things to do, places to go, spirits to banish. Which they do, and this time, at least, they live to fight another day. Only, now they live with the knowledge that they’re racing Lillith and her minions and the apocalypse is waiting at the finish line. Good times.
Sam and Dean flip a quarter for Bobby’s couch and Sam wins. He lies in the dark and watches Dean stir restlessly in his sleep. He’s three feet and a million miles away and Sam can’t reach him. Sam finally closes his eyes and is surprised when morning comes and he’s slept soundly through the night because he’s taken to waking up several times a night to check on Dean. But, all seems well when the sun rises. The world hasn’t ended and the coffee’s strong and hot.
Dean sits up from his blankets on the floor, rumpled and scratching idly at the back of his neck, and looks at Sam.
“So, you got no problem believing in God or angels?”
Sam answers carefully, because Dean seems sincere about this, not argumentative, and that’s new. “No, not really.”
“So, I guess that means that you believe in the devil.”
Sam wishes he had the answers Dean’s looking for. Because just the fact that he’s asking makes Sam know that more is up than Dean’s letting on. “Why are you asking me all this?”
Dean just shakes his head and drinks Sam’s coffee and that’s apparently the end of their Oprah Moment.
Sam’s at the Willow Motel, watching over Dean while he sleeps, when Ruby calls. Apparently she’s gotten a grip on her fear of God’s messenger enough to come around again. That, or her dysfunctional attraction for Sam trumps the angel threat. Sam doesn’t know and doesn’t much care. He knows he won’t be sleeping with Ruby anymore. He hasn’t since Dean came back. He knows he probably should feel bad about that. He’d used her for a warm body, a teacher, a rope to grab onto to keep from falling off the edge of the world when he and suicide had begun to get cozy. But his incentive to live is back in his life now and while Ruby still has her uses, not to mention the fact that Sam owes her, the terms of their arrangement have shifted.
Still, he hasn’t learned all he needs to know from her yet, so when her car pulls up outside, he checks to make sure Dean’s still sleeping and tosses his coat over him against the chill of the room. He leaves the light on, since Dean sleeps better nowadays when it’s not dark, and locks the door behind him as he drives away with a demon behind the wheel.
As expected, the demon just laughs and taunts him. Sam’s immune, though, he’s heard it all before. When he can’t gain any information on Lillith’s whereabouts, he quickly and efficiently destroys the demon, while managing not to kill the human in the process. Ruby has taught him well.
He’s on his way towards the door with the guy, intent on getting him to the ER in a hurry, when Dean walks in.
Eyes hot with anger, body rigid, he fists his hands and stalks towards Sam, not listening as Sam tries to stammer an explanation. When Ruby speaks to him and Dean realizes who she is, he’s on her with knife in hand, almost before Sam can react. Sam jumps in and tries to pry the knife from Dean’s hands, but his brother’s strength is fueled by anger and Sam finds himself flung against the concrete wall. That’s when Ruby gets her demon feet underneath her and grabs Dean by the throat, lifting him off the ground and squeezing. Sam’s not surprised when she obeys his demand to stop and let his brother go. Ruby knows not to challenge Sam on this one. He’s never made a secret of where his priorities lie.
He watches as Dean walks out the door, turning a deaf ear to Sam’s pleas for him to stop and listen. The loathing in his eyes shakes Sam to his core. He wonders if he’s gotten Dean back from Hell only to lose him again.
After spending a sleepless night in front of the motel window, staring into the darkness and praying to a God he’s not sure is even listening, Sam sighs in relief when he hears the Impala approaching.
Dean stalks into the motel room, loaded for bear. True to form for the both of them, Sam talks and reasons and yells and Dean punches Sam in the mouth and destroys furniture. They stomp around and yell and let off enough steam to power a locomotive until they get halfway to the listening stage and, even then, they’re still on opposite sides of a very wide divide. Sam can’t convince his brother, The Hunter, that there are more ways to accomplish the job than with a shotgun. Dean can’t convince Sam that he’s crossing over to the dark side.
“If I didn’t know you? I’d want to hunt you. ”
Sam flinches, the words slicing through him. He fights the tears that threaten.
“You were gone. I was here. I had to keep on fighting without you. And, what I’m doing…..it works.”
He’s twelve years old again and his hero, the king of his world, is looking at him with eyes filled with hurt and disappointment.
“So, tell me. If it’s so terrific, then why’d you lie about it to me? Why did an angel tell me to stop you?”
Sam’s stunned. He’s not even on the angel’s radar. All he knows of Castiel is what Dean’s told him and, whatever it is that the angels want with Dean, they’ve left Sam out of it.
“Cas said that if I don’t stop you? He will. So, what that means, Sam? That means that God doesn’t want you doing this.”
Sam licks the blood off his split lip and struggles to breathe. Partly from the relief of realizing that much of the hurt and disappointment in Dean’s eyes is born of fear for Sam, and partly because apparently Sam’s pissed off God and his angels and how did he even get here?
Just like always, though, their lives are shoved aside for a job and they dance the Winchester Avoidance Shuffle by answering the call for help in
Sam inadvertently spills that he’s known for a while that he’d been visited by the demon and gifted with demon blood as a newborn and that just sets Dean off again about Sam keeping secrets. But, they barely argue this time. Sam thinks they may have moved even beyond that and wonders if they’ll ever be on the same side of anything again.
So, they turn to the job and act like their world isn’t falling apart.
Jack Montgomery turns out to be a Rugaru and it ain’t pretty. He’s got a monster inside of him, slowly turning him from human to something he may not be able to control and Sam can empathize. He watches the horrifying transformation as Jack goes from gobbling down raw meat to sniffing at humans with a light in his eyes and Sam tries so damn hard to save him from himself.
Dean’s hunter buddy who put them on the Rugaru’s trail swears there’s nothing to do but put the guy down but Sam fights him on it. The lore says Jack can resist and Sam wants to believe, so fucking badly. He watches Dean watch him as he explains what he’s learned. That the Rugaru can start to turn, but they never take that final step, so they don’t fully transform. It’s not what they are, it’s what they choose to do.
Dean calls him on it later, on the parallels that Sam’s drawing between himself and Jack and they pull the car off the road and bail out for another shouting match, stomping around under the trees and spitting out secrets and truths. Maybe it’s that this Rugaru thing has wound him up to the breaking point, but Sam mostly thinks it’s that he needs for Dean to be with him like he needs oxygen to live but, whatever, he gives up trying to explain and reason and just screams out his fears. That he’s a part-demon freak who’s terrified and is doing all he knows how to keep his head above water and his mojo on the side of good and he’s scared shitless that he’s fucking it up. And he doesn’t say that none of it matters, none of it, if Dean doesn’t believe in him but Dean’s apparently fluent in Samspeak because he goes quiet and eases Sam back into the car and off to have a talk with Jack.
On the way, Dean rests a hand on Sam’s thigh until Sam stops shaking. Sam holds his breath, soaks up his touch and stays quiet so he doesn’t scare him off.
Of course, Sam’s stars are just not fucking lined up right, and Jack’s not in the mood to listen to two strangers tell him he’s a freakazoid who’s about to start munching on his neighbors. The hunt goes south and ends up with Sam locked in a closet, trying to talk the Rugaru off the ledge before he makes dinner out of Dean. Sam only barely manages to break free and roast the monster in time. The monster who couldn’t change his destiny, after all.
They spend a few days in
It ranks right up there with the strangest cases they’ve ever worked. Dracula and The Mummy and Wolfman and Sam almost smokes the wrong guy. Jaimie ends up being the one to kill the shifter, but Sam saves Dean, so he chalks up a win in his column. Plus, that’s after the shifter has dressed Dean in Lederhosen and that just will never not be hilarious.
Things aren’t so funny when Sam has to stand by and watch Dean kissing Jaimie good-bye. He kind of wants to choke them both. The only good thing? He’s kissing her good-bye. He drives off into the sunset with Sam and he doesn’t look back. Sam considers that a win, too.
Sam tries to stash Dean away in a hotel room for safety…….ground floor, of course, because Dean’s afraid of the higher floors…….and goes for food and research. When he gets back, Dean’s smashed the clock that’s ticking away his last hours on earth. Says he’s been there and done that. Sam’s able to calm him down and decides to keep him close, takes him with him to check out Cassity and Son’s Lumber Mill, which looks to be ground zero for this thing.
Dean’s scared and refuses to go inside until Sam plays dirty, says “ I need backup and you’re all I’ve got.” Not that every word of that isn’t true, but it reaches something inside Dean that he responds to. Sort of. He still won’t carry a gun and takes off running at the first sign of trouble, unable to get past his terror. Sam gets what he needs inside and finds Dean back at the car, slugging whiskey out of a flask he keeps under the front seat. Sam chalks it up to medicinal therapy and doesn’t say a word.
The spirit behind it all turns out to be one Luther Garland, an employee of the lumber mill, and they track his only living relative, a brother, to the Peaceful Pines Assisted Living Center to see what they can dig up on Luther. It’s touch and go when Dean’s afraid to use their fake FBI badges, but Sam manages to settle him down and covers for him. They listen to a sad story about a gentle, misunderstood man who’d led a lonely life, until he’d ended up being chained to the back of a pickup and road-hauled until there was nothing left.
Not only is the story extremely sad, but it also spells big trouble for Dean, because there are no bones to salt and burn and the clock is still ticking. It throws Dean into a panic that makes him swear off hunting for good, tossing Sam the keys to the Impala, and taking off down the road at a run.
Sam finally finds him back at the hotel, with less than four hours left. He’s sitting on the couch, desolate. He looks at Sam with no hope in his eyes. “I’m gonna die, Sammy.”
Before Sam can reassure him, Dean’s cowering against the wall, eyes full of terror, and he’s screaming at Sam. “You get out of my brother, you evil son of a bitch!”
Knowing Dean is terrified of him, seeing him shrink from his touch, breaks Sam’s heart and he wonders where the hell Dean’s angels are while he’s dying. Again.
He manages to calm Dean down and gets him settled while he goes to meet Bobby at the mill. They’re racing against the clock without a clue as to whether what they’re doing will work or not and Sam has to take a minute to call Dean’s cell. He just wants to hear his voice. He tries to reassure him, but his knees are shaking as he lies and tells him everything’s going to be fine, he has a plan, he’s going to save him. He desperately prays that this time he can make good on that promise.
They come in just under the wire.
But, when Sam turns to kiss him and Dean quickly moves away and says he’s going for coffee for them both, Sam knows they’re not even close to okay.
Sam hates Halloween. Nothing good ever happens on Halloween.
Two days before the holiday, some poor bastard breaks into the trick-or-treat stash that his wife’s stored in the cabinets and eats four razor blades. Bleeds to death on the kitchen floor. When they go to question her, Dean finds the hex bag and goes on his usual rant against filthy, skeevy witches.
Next up, a cheerleader bobs for apples at a high school party and drowns when the water starts boiling and she can’t escape it. While Dean questions another cheerleader, Tracy, at the party, it’s Sam who finds the hex bag.
Sam does the research on the contents of the bags. It’s serious shit, 600 year old Celtic black magic, part of a spell that requires three blood sacrifices in the three days ending on Halloween, all with the objective of summoning Samhain, who is Big Ass Evil. If they can’t stop the summoning, he’ll be able to raise all the evil shit he wants to…..demons, ghosts, zombies, you name it. His own little Army of Darkness.
When their suspects are narrowed down to Cheerleader Tracy and her weird ass teacher, they return to the room for some recon only to find two figures standing in the shadows of the room. Sam goes for his gun but Dean stops him, recognizing Castiel.
Once Sam gets over the fact that he almost blew away a freaking angel of the Lord, he’s thrilled to finally come face-to-face with Castiel. This guy has saved Dean, which has saved Sam, and even if they still haven’t figured out why, Sam will take it, and shows proper respect towards the angel. He’s momentarily thrown because, well, he’s never seen a more normal-looking dude. He hasn’t expected halos and wings…..well, maybe he has….but, this guy looks like he’s just stepped off the subway on his way home from his boring accounting job. But, whatever, he’d had the stones to march into Hell and grab his brother, and that’s all that matters to Sam.
Castiel’s brought along an angel buddy. A “specialist”, he calls him, and they meet Uriel.
Uriel’s an asshole. And, he’s apparently hip to everything Sam had thought was his Big Secret.
“Sam Winchester. The boy with the demon blood. Glad to hear you’ve ceased your extra-curricular activities.”
The angel looks at Sam like he’s something nasty on the bottom of his shoe and Sam feels his balls tighten up. Sam is trembling a little, until he feels Dean take a step closer to him. Castiel looks at Dean and clears his throat and Uriel backs off.
Huh. Sam files that away for future dissection. For the moment, he’s just glad he seems to be on the side with the best mojo.
Castiel shows them the hex bag he’d found in the wall of their motel room. He say’s the raising of Samhain is one of the 66 seals, that Lillith’s got her hand in it, and it must be stopped at all costs. Then he warns them both to leave so the angels can destroy the town in order to prevent the summoning.
Sam’s astounded that this is the only plan that the angels of God can come up with. Killing everyone in a town…innocents, children. Uriel calls it “purifying”. Castiel calls it “taking it on faith.” Dean calls it “bullshit”. They tell the angels to stuff their plan, which causes Sam a moment of panic, but Dean holds firm.
“If you went to the trouble of busting me out of hell, I figure I’m worth something to the Man upstairs. You want to waste me? Go ahead. See how he digs that.”
Apparently, Castiel has an idea how much the Man wouldn’t dig it and just warns them to work quickly, and they’re gone. Literally. Into thin air, and that’s more than a little creepy to Sam, but Dean takes it in stride.
On Halloween night, they interrupt the teacher mid-ritual. He’s got the cheerleader bound and gagged and is just about stab her to death when Sam and Dean race in, guns blazing. The surprise is on them, though, when it turns out to be Tracy who’s the demon and she raises Samhain before they can stop her. Course, it’s her last act before the bastard breaks her neck.
Then, Samhain the Terrible takes off for parts unknown, presumably to start raising his army. Sam wants to use his powers to stop him, but Dean opts for Ruby’s knife and begs Sam to hold off.
“It’s like playing with fire. Please.”
And, Sam wants to, he wants so much to do what Dean wants. He’d promised Dean, he’d promised himself. Not to mention the order from the angelic posse. But, when everything comes down, when the entire town is in danger of being annihilated and Dean is stuck in a crypt with a bunch of murderous zombies, well Sam figures you work with what you’ve got.
Samhain is one evil powerhouse, and it’s taking everything Sam’s got inside him to destroy him. Sam’s head feels like it’s going to explode and blood is pouring from his nose, but he keeps going. He falters only once, when he sees Dean race up to help, only to come to a screeching halt when he sees what Sam is doing. Sam can’t figure out if the look on his face is disgust or fear or a combination of the two, but he can’t stop now and through the excruciating pain in his head, he hangs on until Samhain is nothing but a pile of black dust on the cold concrete.
Sam comes to on the floor a few minutes later, his head in Dean’s lap, Dean’s hands clutching his shirt, Dean’s voice in his ears. “Sam, Sammy, wake up, come on.”
Sam thinks he could gladly drown in that voice and wants to lie there forever with Dean this close, not moving away, not shutting him out. When he looks up at his brother, Dean’s eyes are wet and Sam can feel him shaking.
Sam covers Dean’s hands with his own and Dean’s not pulling away. “Dean, I’m sorry. But everyone would have died, you would have…”
“Shhhh, I know, Sammy. I know.” Dean leans over to kiss the top of Sam’s head and it feels like redemption to Sam.
The next day, when Dean’s gone for coffee and Sam’s packing to leave, Uriel appears in the motel room. Sam wishes these guys would just learn to knock on the fucking door.
The conversation starts off badly and goes downhill from there. Uriel warns of dire consequences if Sam doesn’t stop using his powers, but doesn’t offer Sam an alternative when people’s lives are on the line and he can do something about it. He threatens to end Sam once he ceases to “be useful”, which Sam doesn’t get at all. Then, he drops the bomb and tells Sam to ask Dean what he remembers from Hell.
Sam will be so fucking glad to put this town and these angelic assholes behind them.
They’re sitting in a bar, later, when Sam asks Dean why Uriel would tell him Dean remembered Hell if he didn’t. Sam’s nursing a beer. Even though it’s only mid-afternoon, Dean’s downing shots at a mile a minute and just brushes him off. Looks Sam straight in the eye and unequivocally states that he doesn’t remember a thing.
Sam watches him slinging back the shots and knows he’s lying but he also knows that if Dean doesn’t want to talk, Dean won’t talk.
It’s two steps forward and one step back, but Sam’s not giving up.