Title: - Blind Spot – Chapter 1/14
Rating: NC-17 (language, whump, sex)
Spoilers: AU, set six months after AHBL2. S3 free-zone.
Disclaimer: All things Supernatural belong to Kripke, not me (rinse & repeat).
Summary: Dean’s on a slow burn after a bloody confrontation with an old nemesis. Sam’s got his hands full picking up the pieces. The Crossroads Deal isn’t the only timer ticking. Warnings for language, whump and sex.
A/N: Chapters post Saturdays, Dragons Mean Time (DMT). Some liberties have been taken with locations. Apologies to any mortified Oregonians. Mad props to my iron-fisted, velvet-gloved betas. kimonkey7 - you relentlessly demand more from my writerly self than I am capable of giving, and sometimes you get it. For that, the Dragons is eternally in your debt. misswonderheart - you question, you prod, you poke, you cheer, you champion, you rock. What more can I say? Cover art by kimonkey7 .
- Blind Spot - : Chapter One
~Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
It was Bobby beside the bed.
The back of his calloused hand against Dean’s cheek and the smell of engine oil gave him away. He was at Bobby’s, and he felt really, really lousy. It took a minute for him to realize they were tears Bobby was wiping away. Dean was crying. He blinked, but they kept coming. The reason danced somewhere beyond the fuzz of his grasp, and he decided maybe it was the pain, because there was plenty of that. It was buffered, and despite the blankets of vague he could feel heaped on his thoughts, he knew this was morphine. It was wearing off, and he could feel the sensation beneath the horizon – savage – laying in wait. He shifted, and the whole world split and distilled down into his shoulder and his chest. The pain intensified like a sound until the whole room seemed to be vibrating. Bobby’s palm was suddenly against his forehead, and he was saying Shhhhh, shhhhh. Dean could feel the wet slide of tears into the hair above his ear. Bobby’s thumb tracked circles near his temple, and Dean concentrated on staying still. After a while –minutessecondshours? – the pain receded, and the morphine lapped back up over his harried senses.
“It’s okay, kiddo. S’okay, Dean.”
Dean could tell by the timbre of Bobby’s voice that it wasn’t. He wasn’t.
“Sam.” Dean got the name out on a breath, because he suddenly knew Sam wasn’t there, couldn’t be there. He needed to get the weight of the name out of him. And it must have been a while – minuteshoursdays - since he said anything because his voice was rusty with disuse.
Bobby’s hand smoothed his hair, and Dean let the contact be his anchor; drifted on the morphine breeze until the air stilled and the pain crept back. It was less brutal this time but more persistent, brought with it a fresh round of salty tears. There was a release in them, a letting go when he stopped trying to hold them. There was a surrender there, and it felt like maybe the first one in a long time.
Then he was sliding again, and he didn’t care if anyone had hold of him, or where he was sliding to, as long as it was away.
“Oh, for crying out loud. You do it again, I’m getting out of the car.”
Dean lifted both hands off the steering wheel in mock surrender. He laughed sheepishly, the kind of chuckle that fully expected to be smacked out of his mouth.
“Hey, I told you burritos were a bad idea, man. Burritos are always a bad idea.”
Sam cranked his window down angrily. “You smell like a dead thing, Dean.”
The crisp night air was thin munitions against the olfactory assault. Sam leaned a little until his nose had the benefit of the breeze, saw the sign for Little Barrack Street coming up on the left.
“Hey – left. Turn here.”
Dean locked his arms against the steering wheel as he guided the Impala into the alley, lifted off the seat and committed another low-pitched, extended offense. Despite their cruising speed, Sam cracked his door.
“That’s it. Stop the fucking car.”
Dean made no move to halt the vehicle and put only marginally more effort into curbing his amusement. Sam shot him a lethal glare, and Dean sobered right up. He cleared his throat, gave Sam a practiced, contrite face as he touched the brake.
“I’m sorry, man,” he said earnestly. “I really can’t help it.”
He punctuated the end of the statement with an arching eyebrow and another short, sharp southern baritone. Sam threw the Impala door wide as they came to a stop.
“Holy hell.” He scrambled out of the car, ducked down to look back through the window at Dean. “Have you crapped your pants? Do you need to check?”
Dean pointed down the alley through the rain-speckled windshield, finger and shoulders jiggling from his barely suppressed laughter.
“Is this us?” he chuckled, tilting his chin towards the blinking neon sign at the end of the alley. Sam squinted first at the sign, then at the darkened shop front.
“Why aren’t any of these underground bookstores ever fronted by an actual bookstore? I mean, it’d be easier, right? Surely.”
Dean stretched out through his arms, wrists draped over the steering wheel. He gave a utilitarian shrug. “Kinda qualifies as a bookstore, doesn’t it?”
“It’s porn, Dean. And no, it doesn’t count as reading.”
Dean sniffed, cranked down his window.
“Fuck. You’re right. I stink.”
He kicked open his door and got out. Sam waved a dismissive hand at him over the roof of the Impala. “Uh-uh. Stay away from me. Go for a walk. Get it outta your system.”
“Oh, trust me. This is gonna take more than a walk, Sammy.”
Sam shook his head. “Just…air out. I’ll go get it. What am I getting?”
Dean ducked into the car, came back up with a piece of paper. “Guy’s name’s Tristan Bradley. Some book on religious translations. I don’t know, I wasn’t really listenin’.”
The muted sounds of conversation drifted down the alley from the street. Dean turned towards the noise, jammed his fists into his jacket pockets, and watched as the pedestrians passed by.
“Well, is he gonna know?”
Dean didn’t answer. He was still looking back down the alley, distracted.
Dean scratched his ear, turned back to his brother. “Hmm?”
“Is this guy gonna know what book Bobby wants?”
Dean stared at him blankly while the question sank in, his attention divided. Then he nodded tightly. “Yeah. Just…” he rolled a hand at Sam, “tell him you’re pickin’ up for Bobby.”
He looked down the alley again, and Sam followed his line of sight, saw nothing but the silver threads of rain spearing down, backlit by the street lamps.
“You see something?”
Dean snapped out of it.
“No. Some girl, walked past a second ago. Looked just like…” He sniffed sharply, turned back to Sam. “Never mind.”
He clapped his hands twice, twirled his index finger and tossed it towards the porn store.
“Come on, get goin’.” He looked at his watch, squinted up into the rain. “Told Bobby we’d be there by eight.”
“Looked like who?” Sam’s curiosity was piqued.
“Meg.” Dean gave his head a clearing shake, ran a hand up and down the back of his skull. “Doesn’t matter. Move your ass.”
“Meg’s dead, Dean.” Sam blinked, tilted his head a little against the increasing rain.
“I know that, fuckknuckle. Are you deaf? Doesn’t matter. Book. Get. Now. Go.” Dean barked it out as he slid behind the wheel of the Impala. He wound his window back up, leaned over the bench seat and started on Sam’s.
“Quit stinking up the car,” Sam shouted to him through the closing glass.
Dean gave him a wide smile through the windshield, bounced two fingers off his temple in a salute. His expression morphed into mock anger as he jabbed a finger towards the shop.
Go, he mouthed silently.
The guy behind the counter didn’t look up as Sam stepped in out of the rain. He stayed buried in his book, arms folded on the desk in front of him.
“Need a hand, gimme a yell,” he offered by way of a greeting, his tone less than helpful.
Sam cleared his throat. “I’m looking for a book?”
The clerk looked up, squinted. “You know, statistically, that’s the second top reason people come through that door.”
Sam frowned at him, then sent his eyebrows up into his fringe. “Do I wanna know the first?”
The clerk sniffed off a laugh, jerked a thumb towards the wall beside him. “True love, man. What else?”
Sam made his way to the counter, grimaced at the explicit sex act in progress on the poster the guy had indicated. “Yeah, right. You Tristan Bradley?”
He seemed to think that was funny. “You here for Bobby?”
Sam nodded. “Yeah.”
The clerk rummaged around under the counter, slapped a thin, black hardcover onto the desk. He pushed it towards Sam with his middle finger.
“Name’s Mike, dude. Tristan Bradley’s the author.”
Sam blinked long at the faux pas. “Oh. Right. Sorry.” He pulled his wallet out of his pocket. “What do I owe you?”
“For Bobby? Nothin’, man. On the house. Told him that on the phone. Interest you in anything else while you’re here?”
He gave Sam the sort of pitying smile that said he knew a prude when he saw one. And Sam reddened obligingly, rounded out the assessment.
“No, thank you. You have a nice night, Mike.”
‘You too, buddy.”
The whole interaction couldn’t have taken longer than two minutes. Sam was first nonplussed, then angry when he saw Dean wasn’t behind the wheel of the Impala.
“I thought we were in a hurry,” he shouted up the alley.
He spun on his heel, looking around. When he turned back to the car, he saw the keys. Ten feet from the driver door on the slick blacktop, the streetlamp winking off them like a distress beacon. The light was glinting off the beaded glass too, sent Sam to the shattered driver window where he found a bloodied hand print on the inside of the upholstery when he yanked the door open and nearly clean off its hinges.
Dean was gone, along with Sam’s due care behind the wheel. On the way to Bobby’s, he racked up enough traffic infractions to do his brother proud – foot to the floor and cell at his ear.
Thirty calls later, Dean still wasn’t picking up.
“How can he have seen Meg? She died right here. I saw her. Dead. I mean, we all saw her dead, right?”
Sam was pacing Bobby’s living room, index finger wound tightly in the hair at his temple. He’d been in danger of pulling that lock out of his skull since the moment he came through the door.
The hairs on the back of his neck still hadn’t settled. Wearing a hole in Bobby’s living room rug, he was grappling with an awful sense of prescience that the scope of this moment was yet to be realized. He had the horrible sensation of being nose to the canvas on a painting far larger than he could see.
Bobby watched him carefully from his seat at the table. “Sam…”
“Bobby, please don’t tell me to calm down.”
“Okay.” Bobby looked back down at the map. “We’ll find him, Sam.”
Sam bit his thumbnail. He thought about the shattered window, the glass beaded on the seat and floor of the empty Impala. A vice-grip of fear tightened behind his chest again.
“You think that blood’s just from the window?”
Bobby shook his head. “I dunno, Sam,” he said quietly.
“I mean, did it look like a lot of blood to you?”
“We don’t know for sure it’s his.”
Sam nodded. “You’re right. Could be hers.”
“Sam, are we even sure it’s her?”
Sam gave him a frustrated glare.
“This is Dean, Bobby. I was inside that store for, like, two minutes. Someone got the jump on him and got him out of that alley. He saw her, man. He told me he saw her.” He palmed his forehead, squeezed his eyes shut. “God, I just…dismissed it.”
Bobby jumped his fist up and down on the map in front of him, tried to redirect Sam back to the problem at hand. “Okay, so what am I looking at here?”
Sam stopped pacing, thought for a second.
“I don’t know. Do we assume this has something to do with Wyoming? I mean, the Yellow Eyed Demon referred to her as his daughter. You think she’s running this show now? The demons we set loose? Now that we killed him? ” Sam came back over to the table, spread his hands across the map and stared at it intently. “Doesn’t make any sense. Why’s she waited this long?”
Bobby shook his head. “I don’t know. If she is, where does grabbing Dean get her? I mean, other than you chasin’ your tail? She tryin’ to keep you busy?”
Sam stared at the tabletop beside the map, tried to still the violent swell of his thoughts. He needed to be focused, but the capacity for that was behind a forty foot flashing neon warning in his head. She’s going to kill him.
“She’s going to kill him.”
A wave of panic followed the words up his throat, so gripping and tactile he thought it would spill out onto the tabletop like seawater. He was floating in his dread, trying to keep his nose above the drink.
“I mean, she hates him, Bobby. Not just, I don’t like you. She really, really hates him.” He paused in the middle of the room, chewed his cheek. “How can she be Meg?”
“She’s a demon, Sam. Possession ain’t the only trick she’s got in the bag. It’s entirely possible she can take on the appearance of anyone she wants. We’ve seen stranger things since that gate opened.”
“Thank you, Bobby. That’s not very comforting.”
Sam was silent. He burned a hole in the map with his eyes. Willed a pattern to appear, an arrow to point.
“Why didn’t she take us both?” he asked finally.
“I don’t know.”
“Why didn’t she kill us both, right there?”
Bobby opened his mouth, shut it again. Sam knew what he’d just stopped himself from saying. And he was right.
But he’s not. You’d know if he was dead, right? You’d feel it, wouldn’t you? You don’t feel it, do you? He didn’t know. Didn’t want to sink any measures far enough into himself to find out. Don’t. Just don’t. Find him now. Think later.
“‘I don’t give a rat’s ass about the master plan.’”
Sam looked up sharply at Bobby. “What?”
Bobby was gazing at him with the vague distraction of someone temporally displaced. And something that might have been growing horror.
“That’s what you told him. When you were possessed. You said, ‘I don’t give a rat’s ass about the master plan.’”
“I said that?”
“Well, she did. When she was you.”
Sam pushed off from the table, turned and paced the few steps to the bookcase. He closed his eyes. Tried to pull back the choppy vagaries of those memories. For a second he couldn’t think of anything but Steve Wandell on the floor of that house, his neck gaping and open. But it was there, what he was looking for. Blinding and bright and urgent. All that rage. Anger. Hatred. The knuckles of his right hand twitched, tingled sickeningly. If he turned his mind to it, he knew he could still feel the hot, slick warmth of Dean’s flesh as his thumb slid into the wound in his shoulder. He still had nightmares about that. Dreams he never talked to Dean about. He let the memory of that simmering rage settle around him like a shawl for a moment. Soaked himself in it.
Then he blinked it all away, turned back to Bobby.
“We’re over-thinking this.”
“She hasn’t got a plan.” He shifted around the table, slid into the chair in front of his laptop. He was suddenly moving with purpose, the panic slipping away.
Bobby shook his head. “Then what the hell is she doing?”
“Making Dean pay.” The realization was as thrilling as it was terrifying. It blew the game wide open on what Meg was capable of, but it made her more geographically predictable. It meant Dean was still alive. And Sam didn’t want to think too hard about this, but it meant whatever she was doing, she wasn’t likely to be doing it quickly.
“So where is he, Sam?”
Sam shook his head distractedly, tapping at the keys.
“’Kay, I’ll look online, you get on the phone. We need abandoned buildings, warehouses, apartment blocks…anywhere she’s not gonna get interrupted. Start at Little Barracks Street and work your way out.”
Sam bit his lip, ran a hand across the back of his neck.
“Wherever she is, I don’t think she’s gone far.”
Cable ties. I am so screwed.
It was the first lucid thought when the fog lifted. Dean bent at the wrists, fingers flexing to explore the tightly drawn plastic strapping. Handcuffs? Not a problem. Rope? He could work with that. But cable ties? He kept a handful of them in the trunk for expressly this purpose, because they worked.
The ties wrapped each wrist, looped together and then through the bars of the backrest of a stiff wooden chair. He shifted his boots on the floor and got his first piece of good news. No one had bothered to strap his legs. He worked his eyes open, shut them again when his vision shimmered and tilted sharply. Okay, that’s why. I’m not goin’ anywhere.
He breathed slowly through a bout of nausea, in through his nose, out through his mouth until his stomach leveled. Bowed to the pervasive sense of fatigue and drifted for he didn’t know how long. When he opened his eyes again, the tilt was manageable, correctable if he fixed on one spot and concentrated.
He clenched his fists a couple of times, testing for give, and it sent skewers up his left arm to his shoulder. He tilted his chin carefully, his interest vague with the dope, and saw why his forearm and the fingers on his left hand were tingling.
“Huh.” That is definitely dislocated. Sonuvabitch. Dean raised his eyebrows at this new development, tried to determine its context to the rest of his predicament. Cable ties bad. Shoulder bad. Legs good. Uh…
I am high as a fucking kite.
He tested his weight through his legs, leaned against the wooden backrest and forced his weight down through his knees. A violent muscular tremor in his thighs suggested he abandon anything leg-related for a while.
His chin dipped, he drifted again. It was a bad idea. He knew that. But it was a warm tugging downwards, as compelling as gravity.
He woke to a sharp backhand that snapped his face sideways, clipped a surprised grunt from his stinging lips.
Dean squinted, looked up. Oh. Fuckin’ perfect. He sighed, closed his eyes against the tilting room.
“I guess I had that comin’,” he conceded. He licked his top lip, tasted the tang of metal there.
“What you’ve got coming, Dean? Oh, honey. We haven’t even gotten started.”
Dean seized in the back seat of the car on the way to Bobby’s. Sam didn’t know if it was because Meg had overdosed him on the morphine or because she’d carved him like a Thanksgiving turkey.
But he knew seizures were bad, either way.
And it was fairly typical of Dean, not to do anything by halves. He gave it the whole enchilada: convulsing and frothing at the mouth until Sam abandoned fragile handling and hauled him onto his side. Forgot about everything except keeping his airway clear, and two fingers against the thready pulse at his neck.
Keep breathing, you son of a bitch. I’m not ready, Dean. Not yet.
Bobby did a reasonable impression of a field medic, and Sam didn’t know why he was surprised. In the back bedroom he set up an IV drip, tapped the line into Dean’s arm like he could do it in his sleep. When Sam asked him how many times he’d done that, nervous laughter bubbling over, Bobby didn’t look up.
“Too many times, kid,” he muttered. “Too many times.”
He’d never had to use it, but Bobby kept Narcan in the kit along with half a pharmacy’s worth of drugs. Just in case. Sam could have kissed him right on the baseball cap. They played it safe, dosed Dean through the IV in increments hoping to control the rate at which he surfaced from the morphine. Get his breathing and his heart rate stabilized, but keep him doped enough to manage his pain. A couple of minutes after the third hit, Sam held up a traffic cop’s hand and nodded.
“I think he’s picking up.”
Sam could feel the thready whisper of blood beneath Dean’s jaw as it skipped and gained momentum. Bobby leaned in a little, listening to his breathing. He nodded. A second later Dean’s eyes fluttered and Sam felt a cool flood of relief wash over the hot coals of his panic.
His right hand jerked up off the bed and Sam caught it smoothly, squeezed. Dean’s face creased and he made a low, distressed sound that threw all of Sam’s protective switches. He looked up at Bobby.
“You think we gave him too much? That’s pain. He’s in pain.”
Bobby shrugged helplessly. “I dunno. We’re just gonna have to play it by ear.” He turned his attention to Dean’s chest. “Either way, I gotta stitch these cuts.”
Sam rubbed his mouth, exhaustion and horror vying for pole position behind his eyes. “Jesus Christ.”
“He’s still plenty off his dial, Sam. Look, you don’t have to be here. I got it.”
Sam straightened in his chair, shook his head emphatically. “No. I’ll do it.”
Bobby stop-started a few times before he spoke, circling for the right angle. “Sam,” he said softly. “Show me your hands.”
It took Sam a second to realize what he was saying. He held up his bloodied hand, the one that wasn’t locked with Dean’s, and knew immediately he wasn’t stitching anything. He was shaking like a leaf.
He huffed off a tight, hysterical laugh, but the look he shot Bobby was one hundred percent self-recrimination.
“I’m sorry. I should be doing this. If it was… I mean, if he…” He shook his head and looked away, eyes threatening to spill. “Can you--”
“I got it, Sam.”
Two stitches in, Dean fingers tightened around Sam’s hand and he breathed, Please. A doped monotone, stripped of inflection.
Sam shushed him, squeezed his hand in return.
“I know, man. Hold on.”
The words were for his own benefit as much as his brother’s.
Dean said it again a few minutes later, when Bobby slipped with the needle. This time through his teeth, nothing pleading about it. The word was wounded and angry and desolate and it made Sam’s spine cold.
Sam caught Bobby’s eye across Dean’s chest and swallowed hard. How many times did you say please before it started sounding like that?
She was behind him somewhere. Every fiber of Dean’s being wanted to toss a look over his shoulder, find out exactly where. But he didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. Besides, his shoulder was killing him in a teeth-grinding-holy-fuck kind of way. The morphine she’d doped him with had almost entirely worn off, and he was starting to wish she’d wave that fucking syringe around again. Do something useful.
“Where’s my brother, Meg?”
“I slit his throat.” Her voice was silk and ice.
Dean felt as though she had shoved a rag down his throat.
“You’re lying,” he told her thickly. Dear God, please be lying.
He lifted his chin a little, surveyed the warehouse floor again. Door to his left. Run of windows from wall to wall about twenty feet up from the floor dead ahead. Straight ahead. Not dead ahead. No-one’s friggin’ dyin’, here. Stay calm.
Meg was talking again. She sounded closer, striking distance behind his left shoulder. The shoulder that was hosting an impromptu cabaret in his pain receptors. Her proximity shifted the hairs at the nape of his neck.
“Am I?” she asked. “What possible purpose would I have for your brother, Dean? I know you don’t think much of yourself, but you’re the Grand Prize as far as I’m concerned. Everyone’s been scrabbling ass over tit to get their hands on little Sammy Winchester, but me? You know how long I’ve waited to have you all to myself?”
Dean shifted a little, dipped to the left. Tried to take some of the pressure off his shoulder. The move was excruciating, but after he’d bit his lip and blinked back the pain, it felt a whole lot better. A trickle of sweat stung his right eye. Any time you wanna start throwin’ the morphine around again, lady…
Dean was pretty sure he should keep his mouth shut at this juncture, but the whole situation was starting to piss him off.
“Tip, sweetheart: You gotta roofie a guy? He’s not interested.” You idiot.
It brought her around in front of him, up close in his face. She smiled, a slightly lopsided twist of her lip that moved her neat wide nose but didn’t get as far as her eyes. He remembered that about her now. Even when they weren’t pitch black and roiling, her eyes were dead.
“Tip, Dean: You’re all interested. It’s part of what makes you tick. You’d know all about ticking this year, wouldn’t you? On the countdown, waiting for it all to be over. But it’s not going to be over. It’ll be a whole new beginning for you. And you know what the real kicker is? What makes me sing?” She dropped her voice to a whisper, moved her lips to his ear. “However bad you think it’s gonna be? It’s gonna be so…much…worse. This? Us? It’s only a little taste, Dean, of what’s in store for you.”
It wasn’t anything Dean hadn’t already thought himself. But there was something awfully effective about being tied to a chair and having a demon point it out. And he was in no shape to be wrapping his responses before he dealt them. He looked away instead, closed his eyes until he got a handle on the flare of fear.
When he felt Meg move back he opened his eyes, set them with all the neutral impassivity he could muster.
“I’m gonna make you say please, Dean. What do you think of that?”
Dean tugged his right wrist against the ties behind his back. He smiled sarcastically.
“Honestly? I don’t think it’s my manners that need the brushing up.”
She smacked the smile right off his face. It was a skull-rattling blow, took him the better part of a minute to clear the galaxy of stars that exploded in the wake of her hand. He ran his tongue around his mouth, spat a bloodied mass onto the ground beside the chair.
It wasn’t remotely funny. Nothing about this was. And it was grim, the chuckle he let loose.
“My point exactly.”
The next time Dean woke he was all hot and cold and knives and shakes and everything was jangling and jostling in a nauseating, excruciating way. He felt clearer and wished he didn’t. Sam was beside the bed. Impossibly there, because Sam was dead. Dean knew this required some further thought but he didn’t have it to give right then. What he really needed - more than his dead brother out of the room - was some water.
He asked Dead Sam for a drink, and Dead Sam gave him a sip from a bottle. Dean wanted more, but Dead Sam said he could only have a little, that he threw the water up last time. Dean didn’t remember that but he figured Dead Sam would know. It stood to reason that Dead Sam would have the skinny about that sort of thing. Being dead and all. A few minutes later the little sip of water didn’t seem like such a great idea either. Dead Sam was ready with a bucket when he rolled and puked, ran a cool cloth over his face and down his neck. The damp slide of the fabric against the heat of his skin was simultaneously the best and worst sensation he could ever remember having. He gagged again, but there was nothing there to throw up.
Someone was talking, and Dean wished they would shut the fuck up, wondered why they didn’t because Dead Sam was shushing them. And he was just done wondering if maybe they couldn’t hear Dead Sam – because he was dead - when Dean realized it was him mouthing off and he had no clue what he was saying.
“Shhhh,” Dead Sam said again, and Dean squeezed his eyes shut, just to see if the room was going to throb less or spin less or just stop, but it didn’t and he thought maybe he was going to puke again until he felt the cool cloth against his forehead. And that seemed to help. The whole bed was on fire, the cloth the only thing in the room not making Dean sweat. Behind his lips his teeth were clacking together like castanets.
And then he was telling Dead Sam I’m sorry, I’m so sorry because he really, really was. That he’d done it again, that he’d let Sam down. He was sorry that Sam was dead, and that he still had to be there, taking care of him. It seemed like a long way to have to come. When you died, Dean thought, you shouldn’t have to worry about stuff like this.
And Dead Sam kept saying the same thing, over and over again:
“Shhhhh. Don’t be sorry. S’okay. You’re okay.”
I’m not ready.
There was a crack in the floor of the warehouse near the chair leg. The flat of his fingers pressed beneath Dean’s jaw. Eyes like grey fog – vacant, dead. Sam’s stomach flipped, barbs spiraling outwards inside him.
I’m not ready yet. Not yet, Dean. Not yet.
“Dean. Hey. Dean.” The words tripped, stumbled up out of the tightness in his throat.
There was a wet sound and a sluice of blood left the corner of his mouth. Sam shifted his fingers beneath Dean’s chin, raised a thumb instinctively to wipe it. People shouldn’t make noises like that. Rivers coming out of them.
“S’okay. I gotcha. Dean?”
Sam was coaxing, prodding, and then he saw Dean’s pinpoint pupils and realized with a flash of bright, hot anger that she’d drugged him. He was beyond the capacity to respond.
Sam knew, roughly, what a liter of blood looked like splashed around. It was a sort of macabre aptitude that came with the job. He also knew that you couldn’t afford to lose much more than that. It started complicating things inside you. He made some mental calculations, and arrived at the conclusion that Dean was in a whole world of trouble.
I’m not ready.
Blood was steeped into his jeans, spattered on the floor. Rivulets of it ran from the wide black gashes in his chest. Blood trickled from his nose, his mouth, the cut on his chalky cheek and the gash at his temple. His hair was matted with it. Crimson smudges and smears marked his lips, were fingerprinted like war paint down his jaw and his neck.
Dean’s lips were working. Sam leaned in to hear what he was trying to say as he flicked open his knife and started on the cable ties at his torn – God, where is he not bleeding – wrists.
“Please.” It was barely a breath. “Sammy, please.”
Oh, God. Not yet, Dean. I’m not ready. Not here. Not yet.
Sam’s hands were shaking. He got the knife behind the rails of the chair-back, sawed blindly back and forth across the plastic strapping until it snapped free. Pried the cabling away from Dean’s lacerated wrists, swallowed bile as the strapping slipped wetly through his flesh.
By the time he got Dean out of the chair and onto the ground, he couldn’t rouse him again. Sam panicked. He ripped his hoodie up over his head, pressed it against the wounds in Dean’s chest. Then he lost it completely, screamed his lungs out for Bobby until he felt hands close around his shoulders -
Sam woke with a start, Bobby’s hand gripping his collar.
“Whe--What? Is he --?” Sam wiped both hands down his face, blinked his eyes open wide. Wake up. “He alright?”
“He’s awake. Sort of. He’s in and out.”
Bobby looked wiped. Sam cleared his throat, shook the clinging vestiges of sleep from his skull. He brought his watch up to his face, squinted at it, nose crinkling.
“What is it? Three a.m.?” He’d been asleep for nearly two hours. “Okay. Alright.” He tried to gather his thoughts.
“He’s a little messy, but I’m gettin’ that he thinks somethin’s happened to you.”
“I dunno, but he’s pretty upset. I didn’t wanna wake y’up, but I figure you go in there, set him straight when he wakes up next, he might shift down a gear.”
Sam was on his feet before Bobby finished speaking. He ran his hands through his hair, gripped and pulled at the tangle at his crown. Tried to tug himself free of his nightmare. But it wasn’t really a nightmare, was it? If it had actually happened. You couldn’t call it a nightmare. You had to call that a memory. He shook the thought out of his head.
It doesn’t matter, he told himself. You call it a fucking miracle he’s alive. That’s what you call it.
Dean dozed. When he came to it was Sam in the chair, ankle drawn up over one knee and elbow on the armrest. He dropped the visor of his hand to his mouth when he saw Dean was awake, slipped his shoe off his knee to the floor and leaned forward.
“Hey.” Sam’s voice was soft and weary and scared and relieved.
It wasn’t possible, though. Couldn’t be. He’d lost Sam in the warehouse, bleeding from the throat, shirt soaked with the stuff. He’d seen it. Hadn’t he? Dean felt his way through the thick folds of cotton in his head before he responded.
“Hey.” His voice was husky, almost not there at all. He swallowed and tried again: “Am I -? Are you -?”
“Hey, it’s okay.” Sam’s face was lined with lack of sleep and worry, but his smile was genuine, reassuring. “Take it easy. You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re both okay. Okay?”
Dean shook his head against the pillow, tried to align the tussling realities inside his mind. He was clear enough to know he was in no position to be picking shit from Shinola.
Sam reached out and laid a hand against Dean’s shoulder and there was such a violent relief in the physical connection that Dean closed his eyes, turned his face away.
“It’s all right. You okay?” Sam withdrew the hand, fussed with the blankets.
“I thought I saw- She said-” He couldn’t get it out, brought the hook of his right elbow up over his face, voice breaking.
“God, please tell me you killed that fucking bitch.”
Tap tappy for Chapter Two