Title: “Until It Sleeps” Part 2/2
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.
Crazy gets crazier as the week goes on and the town spits out Bigfoot sightings, a forty-six-pound Incredible Hulk, invisible teenage horndogs, a seven-foot-tall, alcopornoholic Teddy Bear with a serious depressive disorder, and the Don Juan misfit who started it all, with a cursed Babylonian coin and a wishing well.
Finding the answers isn’t easy, especially with Dean sleeping less and drinking more and Sam finds himself growing more and more exhausted from hammering at the wall between them, but they finally succeed, the wishes are reversed, and all is well once again in sleepy little Concrete, Washington.
They’re sitting on a bench at the pier, enjoying the winter sun and a cup of hot coffee before hitting the road, when Dean talks.
“You were right.” He folds his newspaper over and lays it down on the bench.
“About what?” It’s not often that Dean owns up out loud to Sam being right and Sam’s ready to bask in the moment.
Dean stands up and looks Sam in the eye. “I shouldn’t have lied to you. I do remember everything that happened to me in the pit. Everything.”
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Sam can’t breathe. He’s almost afraid to speak, afraid Dean will change his mind. “So tell me about it.”
“No. I won’t lie anymore. But, I’m not gonna talk about it.”
“Dean, look, you can’t just shoulder this thing alone, you gotta let me help.” Sam figures they’ve gotten this close, he’s going to push as much as he can.
“How? Do you really think that a little heart-to-heart, some sharing and caring, is gonna change anything? Huh? That it would somehow heal me? I’m not talking about a bad day here.”
Sam is ready to take everything Dean’s got. His frustration, his fury, his fear, all of it, he’ll take it off him. He just wants Dean to let go of it, to be well again. “I know that.”
“The things that I saw? There aren’t words. There is no forgetting. There’s no making it better.” Dean puts a finger to his forehead. “Because it’s right here. Forever. You wouldn’t understand. And, I could never make you understand. So, I am sorry.”
He walks away, leaving Sam with a hollow victory and nothing to do but to follow his brother to the car and whatever waits for them down the road.
Sam’s playing drunk, hustling pool and about to win a $500.00 pot, when he spots Ruby sitting at the bar. Dean almost passes out when Sam forfeits the money without blinking and goes to talk to her, but Sam knows she wouldn’t be here without a damn good reason.
She pretty much ignores the nasty remarks Dean throws her way and tells Sam about a girl who’s on the loose and is apparently high up on the demon’s radar. They want her captured alive, so whatever she’s got is worth a hell of a lot.
Dean calls bullshit but they’ve been neck deep in demon business for too many years, so when Sam pushes, Dean grudgingly relents. Sam gets the details from Ruby and they hit the road.
When they visit the psychiatric ward that Anna Milton had broken out of, they get a shock when they find the sketch book she’d left behind filled with drawings of Lillith, notations on the raising of the witnesses and the 66 seals. A visit to her home turns up the bodies of her parents amid traces of sulfur and a whole lot of blood. A visit to her minister father’s church turns up the elusive Anna.
And the shocks just keep on coming. It seems Anna can hear the angels talking, and they’re talking about the Winchesters. Apparently, Dean’s their Golden Boy. Sam? Not so much. And, Anna’s Angel Radio reception had begun on September 18th, the day Dean had returned from Hell.
Before they have time to question her further, they’re faced with a nasty-assed demon named Alastair who’s apparently the Grand Inquisitor of Hell, a real special son of a bitch. Dean remembers him, Ruby’s terrified of him, and Anna’s on his Most Wanted List.
Sam tries to exorcise him with absolutely no effect. Then, he tries to stab him to death with Ruby’s knife, which only serves to slow him down and allows the demon to keep Ruby’s knife. Sam finally takes Door Number 3 and, pulling Dean with him, dives through the church’s stained glass window to escape.
Ruby takes Anna to find a hiding place and Sam and Dean go back to their hotel to patch themselves up. They share a bottle of Jack as Sam stitches up the bloody gash in his own arm. Dean hovers over him, cursing his dislocated shoulder, mostly because he should be stitching Sam up. Sam doesn’t mention the numerous times he’d done this alone while Dean was in Hell. Worse cuts, too, and more than a few of them self-inflicted.
When Sam’s done, he puts his hands on his brother’s shoulder and quickly and efficiently snaps it back into place. Dean cusses a blue streak and tosses back the rest of the whiskey, then starts worrying about Anna and what Ruby’s done with her.
“Why do you trust her so much? I really want to understand.” Sam listens to the question, watches as Dean leans a hip against the sink and puts on his best non-combative face, and he knows he’s dodged this bullet as long as he can.
“Because. She saved my life.”
Dean pulls up a chair and listens and Sam talks. Slowly at first, choosing his words carefully. He doesn’t want to set Dean off, not when they seem to finally be finding ways to not fight about every fucking thing every minute of the day. Plus, he’s never been good at keeping things from Dean, never feels right when he’s doing it.
So, he tells Dean about how Lillith let Ruby out of hell after she’d promised to find Sam and kill him. He unflinchingly looks Dean in the eye and confesses how he’d offered his throat to Ruby and her blade, practically begged him to kill her, because he didn’t give a damn anymore. Because he didn’t want to live without Dean. He talked about his trip to the crossroads when he’d tried to trade himself for Dean and, when that didn’t work, about the rivers of alcohol he’d drunk and the stupid, reckless chances he’d deliberately taken on hunts, because he just didn’t give a fuck whether he lived through them or not.
But she’d refused to kill him. She’d taken on the body of a Jane Doe just taken off life support to appease Sam. She’d thrown away the liquor and promised to teach him how to find and kill Lillith. She’d seen him through the DTs as his system dried out, sat by his side during the nightmares when he’d tear at the sheets and scream Dean’s name. Fed him, nursed him, and, yes, screwed him. And Sam had given in, because why the fuck not? Dean was in hell, because of him, and Sam couldn’t get him out. The only thing left for him to do, the only way he could do a single fucking thing for his brother, was to kill the bitch that had taken him away. And, if literally getting into bed with demons was the way to do that, then Sam couldn’t come up with any reason not to.
Dean listens through all of this and Sam doesn’t look away from him, hoping against hope that he can make him understand. He tells Dean what Ruby said to him, the words that had finally reached the dark place inside him that was threatening to engulf him. She’d reminded him that the way Sam was living wasn’t what Dean would have wanted. It wasn’t what Dean had died for.
“Ruby came back for me. Whatever you have to say, she saved me. More than that, she got through to me. What she said to me, it’s what you would have said.”
Dean’s quiet for long moments, rubbing his bottom lip with his fingers like he does when he’s thinking things over, and Sam just waits. He’s all talked out and, whatever happens now, he’s just relieved to have it all out in the open.
His breath catches when Dean gets up from his chair and comes to kneel on the carpet in front of him, laying his hands on Sam’s knees.
“Sam. I won’t lie and say I trust Ruby, cause I don’t. But, if you were being the idiot you say you were and she kicked your ass? Well, you’re right, it’s what I would have done.”
Dean reaches up and brushes the hair from Sam’s eyes and Sam’s holding his breath because he hasn’t seen this Dean since before….before everything.
“Dean, I….” His voice breaks as he leans towards his brother, but Dean just gives Sam’s knee a squeeze and stands up. He reaches to trail his fingers through Sam’s hair.
“I need some time, Sammy.” He reaches to trail his fingers through Sam’s hair. “Please?”
Sam fights tears and gives him a nod.
The hell of it is? Time is something the Winchesters always seem short on. Right now, the clock is ticking away for Anna Milton and it seems it’s up to them to save her. They no sooner hook back up with her and Ruby than the angels themselves make an appearance and it seems like Hell’s not the only ones looking for Ms. Milton. At least Hell wants her alive. Heaven isn’t being so picky.
Sam’s really tired of trying to talk to these angels. Castiel talks in fucking riddles, saying that Anna’s “far from innocent” but not saying how or why. And, Uriel? He’s just a dick who’s up for killing anybody, it seems. He jonesing for Sam’s head on a platter but apparently he has to wait for orders to make that happen. Lacking that opportunity, he amuses himself by throwing Ruby into a wall and goes Warrior Angel on Dean’s ass when he jumps in to defend her.
Sam doesn’t get any punches in at all, with anyone, before Castiel lays two fingers on his forehead. Next thing he remembers, the angels are gone and Dean’s helping him up off he floor. It’s more than a little humiliating, but they’ve got bigger worries when they find out that the mysterious Anna has banished the angels with a serious blood spell that she doesn’t even recognize.
Dean rounds everyone up, makes an executive decision, and calls Bobby. He’s can’t help this time, since he’s in the Dominican, helping a buddy with the sudden and unexplained disappearance of half the workers on his sugar plantation. But, he does offer up his panic room, which is the best place they can think of to hide out and regroup.
Sam feels kind of bad that Ruby has to stay outside the room because of all Bobby’s wards and talismans, but they leave the doors open and Dean even hangs out with her in the kitchen, making sandwiches for everyone. Watching that makes Sam’s head hurts. His world has just gotten too fucking strange.
Sam does his research thing and gets a little background on Anna, but not much is available, so they decide to call on Pamela to try and help her remember her past. Pamela comes quickly and Sam’s reminded again of what a special woman she is. He’s also reminded again that she wouldn’t be blind if not for him and Dean. She doesn’t blame them, though. She blames the angel who blinded her, however accidentally.
She does her hypnotist thing and Anna shocks the whole bunch of them when she remembers she’s an angel herself. Pamela hits the road and Sam can’t blame her. The rest of them don’t really know what the fuck to do. Like Ruby says, Heaven wants Anna dead, and Hell just wants her. Ruby’s running scared from Alistair and wants to ditch her or give her to him. And, like always, the Winchesters are caught in the middle. Dean’s not giving anybody to Hell and Sam’s just trying to figure out how to get him and Dean on the other side of the fucking world from this mess.
Anna’s got a story about losing her Grace and falling to earth that’s so far out there that they have to believe it, but even though they try to help her find this grace, it seems someone got to it first, so they’re back to square one.
That’s when Anna’s Angel Radio gets the bulletin that either the angels get Anna by midnight, or they haul Dean back to Hell. Sam’s immediate reaction is to ask her if there are any weapons, any thing at all, that will work on angels. That gets him a look of incredulity from Dean, but Sam doesn’t give a shit. If it’s angels he has to kill to keep Dean, then so be it. They hadn’t exactly turned out to be the saviors he’d expected them to be and Dean is better off in Sam’s hands than theirs. But, Anna’s got nothing.
Sam shuts himself in Bobby’s library. Paces and curses and reads until he’s about blind. Prays, just in case all the fucking angels aren’t serial killers, and reads some more. Carries on a conversation with his dad in his head because, say what you will, John could hunt anything, and reads some more.
When he’s thought it all through and planned it seven ways to Sunday, he goes to find Dean. Who happens to be outside in the dark with Anna and, Sam knows his brother, knows everything about him, knows all his tells. His heart sinks when he realizes that Dean and Anna have fucked and it’s not because of the whole sex-with-an-angel thing because, hello? Sex-with-a-demon?
It’s not even the sex at all, in a way. It’s because Dean is standing close to her. Closer than he ever allows Sam to get anymore. He’s relaxed and smiling and talking low and just being with her, like he’s not been with Sam since before Hell and it makes something way down deep inside Sam twist and burn and he fights not to throw up right there on the ground.
But that’s a fight for another day, if they manage to live through this one. He cloaks his emotions and acts like he’s not dying inside and calls them inside where he shares his wild-assed, not-a-chance-in-hell plan with them and Ruby. They all agree it’s crazy and fucked-up, but nobody’s got anything else and it’s probably the end of the world anyway, so what the hell? Sam’s bringing both sides in for a showdown.
Sure enough, it’s not long until the demons and angels show up for the party and chaos ensues. When the smoke has cleared, Dean’s been offered a choice between the death of Sam or Anna and everyone on both sides knows how that’s going to go. Ruby’s been sliced and diced by Alastair. Everybody punches everybody. And, Anna pulls the Grand Finale by grabbing her Grace from Uriel, who turns out to be a thief as well as an asshole, and disappears in a blinding light, taking Alastair and his henchmen with her. Uriel takes a last stab at going for Dean, but Castiel stops him. Sam tries to understand the silent communication thing that Dean and Castiel have going between them, but he doesn’t have a clue. He can only watch as Castiel gives Dean a long, assessing look and a nod, and takes Uriel with him as they disappear into the darkness.
The next morning, Sam can’t believe that it’s over, for now at least. They’ve made it through the night. A night spent battling demons from Hell and God’s angels, and they’re still not sure which side they’d been on, and that’s more than a little disturbing. But, it’s morning, the sun is shining, and Sam’s got his brother with him, alive and whole and that’s enough for the moment. He’s going to bask in that until the next threat comes along.
Ruby heads for parts unknown, has to have her demon space after sharing air with the angels. Sam gives her a hug and Dean gives her his cell phone number, which Sam thinks is all kinds of funny.
Sam and Dean straighten up Bobby’s place and do not leave him a note thanking him for letting them use it for a near-apocalyptic face-off. Then they take off, heading to anywhere away from
Mid-afternoon finds them parked on the side of the road, sharing a beer in the weak winter sun. Sam’s sitting on the hood of the car, feet propped on the bumper, just waiting for Dean to give him hell about it and make him get off. But, Dean’s got his back to Sam, leaning against the fender, his fingers picking at the label on his beer bottle. His voice is low when he speaks and Sam has to lean towards him to hear.
“I know you heard him.”
“Alastair. What he said. About how I had promise.”
“I heard him.”
“You’re not curious?”
Sam sighs. He deliberately hasn’t brought this up, and he really doesn’t want to argue with Dean today, not after everything that has just gone down.
“Dean, I’m damn curious. But you’re not talking about hell and I’m not pushing.”
Sam thinks that’s the end of it and is surprised when Dean keeps going.
“It wasn’t four months, you know.”
“It was four months up here, but down there. I don’t know, time’s different. It was more like 40 years.”
Sam can’t breathe. He almost wants Dean to stop. “My God.”
Dean clears his throat and goes on. “They, uh, sliced and carved and tore at me in ways that you……until there was nothing left. And then suddenly, I would be whole again, like magic, just so they could start in all over. And, Alastair, at the end of every day, every one, he would come over and he would make me an offer to take me off the rack if I put someone else on. If I started the torture. And every day I told him to stick it where the sun shines. For thirty years, I told him.”
Dean’s fighting tears now and Sam is so afraid of what he’s going to say next, but he keeps still. Whatever has made Dean open up now, Sam knows he’s got to get it out.
“But, then I couldn’t do it anymore, Sammy. I couldn’t. And I got off that rack. God help me, I got right off it and I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls. The things I did to them.”
Sam’s throat closes up and he struggles to say something…anything….to help, even though he knows that whatever he says can never be enough. He’s never felt so fucking useless.
“Dean…..Dean, look, you held up for thirty years. That’s longer than anyone would have.”
Dean sucks in a deep breath and wipes at his face. His voice sounds like broken glass. “How I feel? This….inside me? I wish I couldn’t feel anything, Sammy. I wish I couldn’t feel a damn thing.”
The sun is shining like any other day and traffic’s buzzing by on the nearby interstate. Sam wonders how the rest of the world is going about its business when his brother, the center of his world, is breaking apart. Dean’s right, there are no words. None that he can say to make Sam understand the depth of his horror and none that Sam can say to make it go away.
Sam tries to harness his own emotions and decide how to intervene in a way that Dean will accept but, in typical Dean fashion, his brother straightens up, drains his beer, shrugs his shoulders, and marches around to fling open the car door.
“Let’s go, Sammy. I want to be in another state when the sun goes down.”
They ride pretty much in silence. Dean keeps the radio turned up loud and whenever Sam acts like he’s about to say anything, Dean brings up some random story about old hunts, or bars he likes, or why he hates Starbucks or any other avoidance-type subject he can think of, until Sam gives up and stares out the window.
By dark, they’re in
Sam’s sitting on the side of the bed when Dean comes out of the shower in boxers and a t-shirt, his hair damp and his eyes tired and empty. He gets up and strides into Dean’s space, catching him off-guard and backing him up against the wall. He reaches for Dean’s hand, takes it and places it over his heart. He presses Dean’s hand close and knows that, the way his heart is thundering, Dean has to feel it, even through Sam’s shirt.
Dean’s too surprised to do anything but look up at him. “Sam?”
“Feel this, Dean.” He presses Dean’s hand closer, holding it tight to his chest. Leans closer, his voice a fierce whisper. “Feel. This.”
Dean sucks in a breath, but doesn’t move, doesn’t push him away, and Sam tries to ignore the shaking in his knees while he struggles for the words that will get through to Dean.
“Dean, my heart…..my life…..stopped.”
Dean closes his eyes, but Sam’s not letting him hide from this any longer. It’s killing them both.
“Look at me.” Dean does, with eyes full of fear and doubt but also full of something else that lets Sam go on. “Feel my heart beating, Dean, and never, ever forget for one goddamned minute that it’s beating because of you.”
He lets Dean’s hand drop and when Dean carefully places that hand on Sam’s hip, lets it rest there, Sam draws a shaky breath.
“Dean, you gave me my life back but, if you’re not in it? I can’t make it work. I tried it and I just can’t.”
Slowly, cautiously, he reaches to touch Dean’s throat, his fingers lying over the pulse that’s beating there so strong, skin so warm, and he can’t feel where he stops and Dean begins because that’s the way his whole life has been and there’s no way to turn that off.
“Dean, I can’t take away what you went through in Hell. I can’t understand it, I can’t make up for it, I can’t share it. I know that. But, I’m alive and so are you. We’re alive and we’re together and we’ve beat some fucking huge odds to get here.”
Sam feels tears threaten and he blinks them away. His throat closes up, and he’s just so fucking sick of crying, so sick of struggling, every goddamned day, so sick of everything that’s tearing them apart.
His next words are whispered against Dean’s lips. “Let me in. Dean. Please. ”
Sam knows the second Dean gives in. Feels it in the way Dean’s fingers tighten in Sam’s shirt, in the broken sigh that escapes him just before he starts to kiss Sam back , in the way he moves to press against Sam, his arm snaking around Sam’s waist to pull him closer.
It’s been months since Sam’s had this, was afraid he’d never have Dean this way again and he kisses him long and slow, drinking in the taste of him, of his mouth and his neck and the skin at the base of his throat. Kisses him until he’s dizzy and breathless and Dean’s walking them backwards, his hands firm on Sam’s hips, not hesitating until they hit the bed.
They undress each other like it’s something new and different and Sam thinks maybe it is. Neither one of them are the same men they’d been before. Before Dean went to Hell and Sam lost his way. Their hands shake a little as they map each other’s bodies, learn each other all over again, slow and thorough. Sam runs his hands over Dean’s skin, over all the places that have been wiped free of scars by the angel. Dean shivers when Sam places his mouth over the handprint Castiel had left on Dean’s shoulder, laying claim once again to the brother who had been returned to him. Dean moans, soft and low and needy, and grips Sam’s hips and the slow discovering gives way to a burning hunger.
“Sam. God. Please. I need……”
Sam knows what he needs, has always known, and gives it to him. As night swallows up the dim light in the room, he takes Dean in his mouth and holds his hips steady while he sucks him down. Bites at his thighs, sucks a bruise on his belly, makes him feel every single second of it. Soaks up the broken record sound of his name on Dean’s lips. “Sam…Sammy…Sam”.
He fucks him long and deep and hard and Dean thrusts up into him, rakes his nails up Sam’s sides, curses and begs and pushes and pulls and Sam drives into him over and over and over, until there’s nothing else, nothing evil enough or pure enough, no demon or angel or any fucking thing, nothing in the world that can get between them, until Dean’s breaking apart underneath his hands and Sam comes inside him, hard and long and shaking.
Long moments later, when they’ve regained their breath and lay stretched out on the sweat-soaked sheets, Sam listens. Hears the cars speed by on the nearby interstate. Hears the intermittent buzz of a short in the wiring on the neon Motel 6 sign that’s blinking outside their window. Hears the drip of the bathroom faucet that Dean forgot to turn all the way off, because he always does that.
A million nights in a million motels, and it’s the soundtrack of his life. A life he almost lost because the most vital part of it had been missing. Sam’s not sure where they go from here, but he knows they’ll go together and that’s good enough for him. As Dean stirs beside him and reaches over to rest his hand over Sam’s heart, Sam closes his eyes and falls into sleep.