Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester; mentions of Bobby Singer, Ellen Harvelle, Missouri Moseley, John Winchester, Tessa (the reaper), the YED, and a demonic OC
Word Count: 3,055
Warnings: AU, character death, contemplation of suicide, violence, angst
A/N: Written in response to a prompt from engel82. Has been beta'd and commented on at various points in time by engel82, lycaness, and pixie9696(if I've forgotten anyone else, I sincerely appologize), but it's been sitting on my hard drive for a month, and I kept tinkering with it, so any remaining mistakes in this version are all mine. Will be cross-posted to sn_fic and dean_sam.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no money is being made, no copyright infringement intended! "Supernatural" and its characters are owned by Eric Kripke, Warner Brothers, the CW network, et al. This is fiction written entirely for entertainment purposes only. Not mine; don't sue, please. I repeat: not mine.
Summary/Prompt: Sam kills Dean and then realizes what he's done. (This story is set during Season 2 post "Playthings," but is obviously AU).
Dean was fading fast. The large, familiar hands around his neck squeezing harder, as if their very life and survival depended on crushing the life from him. And maybe, maybe in his lost and twisted state, that was what Sam thought. Because it was Sam, sweet, little loving Sam whose callused palms and long fingers encircled Dean’s neck, choking The same hands that had hugged him as a child, the same hands Dean had washed and cleaned the blood and dirt from after countless hunts, the same hands that had beaten him at rock paper scissors. The hands of his brother; the hands of his friend. And Sam was using his hands to strangle Dean without remorse or hesitation, fueled by an almost inhuman rage and… fear. There was fear in Sam’s eyes. Sam was afraid of Dean, so afraid of him that he was killing him, and that was so wrong, so unnatural, so inconceivably horrible that seeing the fear broke Dean’s heart and chilled him more than his own fear of death, even though that Death was ever approaching.
He couldn’t struggle any more. Dean felt his eyes bulging, the capillaries bursting, veins near his temples pulsing. The strength was waning from his arms and legs. Dean could no longer hold on to Sam’s hands, couldn’t pull, couldn’t fight for breath. His arms fell limp to his sides. Sam’s thumb was digging into his Adam’s apple, crushing, flattening. The pain was unbearable. Dean heard something go “crunch,” felt the tendons snapping. Somewhere in his mind he mused that Sam might be crushing his windpipe. Dean’s rational mind still working in its own little detached world as the rest of him shut down. It wouldn’t be long now. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to draw a breath even if Sam stopped. It was too late. Too far gone.
As spots gathered in his vision and the cold, piercing numbness traveled crept throughout his body, Dean found himself thinking of the happy times… Mommy and Daddy bringing Sam home from the hospital, teaching Sammy his first word (it was “Dean”), Sammy’s first day of school, Dean’s pride at Sam scoring a full ride to Stanford (even if the leaving did hurt like hell), rescuing Sam from the fire, being brothers again… even though it was Sam’s hands that were sucking his life away, it wasn’t Sam. Dean knew Sam and knew deep down that Sammy loved him. And now, in the end, that was enough.
Dean drifted farther, he could barely make out Sam’s fearful gaze, could no longer feel the strong, graceful fingers crushing at his neck. He was numb. Sudden horror jumped to the front of Dean’s clouded mind, Sam would blame himself for this, and Dean didn’t want that. It wasn’t Sam’s fault. Whatever this was that had taken him over; this possession that was not a possession, this plague that had turned Dean from loving brother to enemy that had to be destroyed, it wasn’t Sam, and it wasn’t his frigging destiny either. But Dean the big brother knew that Sam would think it was. Dean understood that Sam would see this as his worst nightmare—going evil and killing Dean before Dean could kill him—even if that wasn’t really what it was. And the pang of sorrow that drove through Dean’s mind made his dying heart ache, in spit of the numbness in his body. Dean wished only that somehow he could ease Sam’s mind. Let Sam know, if only he could speak… but even if his throat wasn’t ruined, the monster still had Sam’s consciousness in its grasp. Somehow, somehow after he was gone—won’t be long now—he would have to make sure Sam knew. Dean didn’t blame him. Sammy would always be his greatest pride and triumph; not even death could mar that.
He was cold now. The end was here. It had been minutes since even the faintest wisp of air had entered his lungs. His body was dead, only his mind remained. And faced with death, Dean found himself surprised. He always thought he would be fearless, accepting, plowing on into whatever hell had in store for him, or wherever it was that he was going. But instead, Dean wanted home. He wanted his Sammy. Mommy and Daddy. But Dad was in hell, he had sold his own soul for Dean’s life… what a waste now; and mom, mom had let herself be consumed, had given her afterlife to save Sam. There was no one waiting for Dean on the other side, not unless he went to hell and got lucky and actually saw his Dad. But somehow, Dean knew that wasn’t where he was going, and that wasn’t how hell worked. He was scared, and lonely, and alone; his mind sobbing with fear and regret even though his body could not make the sounds or produce the tears. But then he saw the reaper, wearing Tessa’s face, and he knew it was time to let go. Maybe there was nothing he could do, but somehow, maybe it would be OK. Dean let his sightless eyes close and knew no more.
Finally, finally the monster was almost dead, no dying, no DEAD. The horrible demon that had haunted Sam and taunted him, threatening Dean—trying to kill his brother, trying to destroy them—was almost dead. But Sam had to be sure. He couldn’t let this thing, come back to haunt them. So he just let his hands keep squeezing for a few minutes more, his breath coming in ragged pants, all his energy exerted into that one simple task of ‘stop the monster’—it didn’t even have a name. He wasn’t sure what it was. He’d thought it had tried to possess him, had felt himself losing control of his body but then snapping back, then losing again, over and over like a rubber band pulled taught and released. But finally he had figured out what it wanted and figured out how to stop it. Whatever it was, the thing had needed to breathe, and its throat crushed nice and easy, like a human’s. But it was gone now; there was no way it was coming back. Sam had protected himself and saved Dean. He was about to call to his brother and let out a glorious whoop of joy, but as Sam released his hands from around the monster’s throat, the illusion dissolved.
Oh God, oh no, oh my God!! Sam’s mind raced, bile rising in his throat, his stomach turning itself inside out over and over again as he vomited in shock, not yet revulsion. What had happened, what he had done had not yet caught up with him. It wasn’t the monster, it was Dean. But it couldn’t be, Dean was over on the bed, safe!! Relief flooded through Sam again, momentarily pushing aside the waves of panic that were crashing and breaking in his mind, sloshing inside, and jostling his sense of self like a fragile boat dashed upon the rocky shore.
He looked over to the bed farthest from the door, his bed, where he’d protected Dean after the monster had attacked, but the bed was empty. Frantically he searched a little more, rising from where he crouched next to the slumped now-dead body. He looked over the bed, in the bathroom, his movements desperate, jerky, completely ignoring the pool of vomit when he stepped in it. This couldn’t be. Dean had to be safe. He had killed the monster to save Dean, to protect him. But…
But deep down, from the moment Sam had broken contact with Dean’s crushed, bruised, reddened neck and the illusion had snapped—the rubber band of control finally breaking—he had known, the part of him that knew, that felt, that comprehended on a subconscious almost extra-sensory level, the part that could always sense Dean had known that Dean was gone. Dead. Killed by Sam’s own hand. And the horror of it shook him, literally. Sam shivered with tremors that strengthened into full convulsions, unable to look at the body, unable to hold himself together, he collapsed to the floor. How could this be possible? A nagging voice full of self-hatred and self-doubt pushed itself to the front of his mind. It’s your destiny, Sam; you’ve finally turned. Just like you feared, Dean was the first casualty. You killed him before he even had the chance to kill you. You’re a monster. You have nothing. All alone, scared, and lonely.
Sam sobbed, choking on his tears, other voices in his mind struggled to be heard, coaxing maybe he’s not dead, check his pulse, and what about CPR? Sam forced himself to hold together long enough to crawl to Dean’s body. Still afraid to look, he let his fingers find their way to Dean’s carotid artery, seeking out a pulse. Of course, there was none. He started to position himself, tipping Dean’s head back to start rescue breathing and then chest compressions, but the coldness and stillness stopped him. Already, Dean was losing his warmth. And the bruises, the angry, accusing, purple and red imprints of Sam’s hands that stood out stark and vivid against Dean’s now ghastly pallid skin spoke of the damage. Sam could see that Dean’s throat was crushed. Even if he hadn’t been too late, even if there had still been time, if Dean’s brain hadn’t surely long since died of asphyxiation, there would be no way for Sam to deliver air to Dean’s lungs. No way to save him. Possibly if they were near a hospital, but not here, not out in the middle of nowhere at some infested, cut-rate hotel where a monster, me, Sam thought, had chosen to slay the greatest remaining Winchester.
He let go and cried. Sam wasn’t sure what he was feeling: rage, anger, self-loathing. One moment he hated Dean for leaving him, the next he hated himself for killing Dean, then hated his dad for sacrificing himself and leaving them alone, knowing what a monster Sam really was. Then he was just scared and grieving. Unable to comprehend a future without Dean. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be Sam dying, not Dean. Dean was the good son, the good hunter, the good man. Not the tainted, twisted, evil psychic freak. Not the failure. Not the one who had abandoned his family, but the one who had held it together. The Winchester who had defied death twice. So how could he be dead, and Sam still be alive?
Part of Sam’s mind was still rebelling, as unhappy with the guilt as the grief. It’s not your fault, Sam. It was the monster possessing you, don’t let it take even more from you by giving in now. That’s not what Dean would want, the voice in his head spoke. It was calm, gentle, reassuring. It reminded Sam of Dean’s voice. He hadn’t been strangling Dean, but the monster. Sam had never wanted to kill Dean, never his brother, never hurt a human. Only, it was Sam who had been possessed, altered. It had attacked him, not Dean, and so… it was Dean who had paid the price. But that wouldn’t make Dean any less dead. It wouldn’t shake the knowledge that those were Sam’s hand prints staring back at him accusingly from Dean’s crushed neck. And Sam wanted to die.
But, death seemed too easy. Too much of an absolution for such a horrible deed. Of course, if he died, Sam knew, he’d probably go to hell. He was all part of some demon’s plan after all, so what other option was there? Hell would be suffering; hell would punish him. But what if it didn’t? What if that wasn’t what happened? What if Sam died, and he didn’t get the punishment, the suffering he deserved? Still, Sam was a monster. This was his worst nightmare coming true. He was turning, or had turned, become something he didn’t recognize, something that wasn’t Sam, and like he’d feared—not just since Dean had told him their father’s awful Secret, but ever since he’d met Max Miller and realized that he too could be a monster—Dean was the first casualty. There could be more. There would be more. Without Dean to tether Sam to himself, to give him something to fight for, how would he find his way? Hell, the Yellow-Eyed Demon himself could probably waltz right into the hotel room this very moment and ask Sam to join him, and Sam wouldn’t be able to say ‘no.’ Without Dean, how could he be strong? How could he resist? Who would protect him from himself? So, maybe it was for the better if he died…
Or maybe he should run. Or burry Dean? Dean didn’t deserve any more harm in all of this, Sam couldn’t bear the thought of just abandoning Dean’s body, leaving it here for someone to find, rotting and bloated, unloved and forgotten, possibly trapping his soul on earth. After all, if being murdered by your own crazy supernatural freak of a brother doesn’t make for vengeful spirit material, what would? But would Dean stay? If he had, then shouldn’t he be exacting his revenge on Sam right now? Maybe he had let go, moved on? Maybe Sam could give Dean a proper burial in Lawrence, next to Mom’s headstone and Dad’s dog tags? Sam shuddered at the thought, the recent memory of his father’s death breaking the barriers of shock and restarting the deluge. Sam found himself once again shaking and rocking and choking on his tears as he sobbed. There was no getting better from this; no way to move on or through; no end in sight. No matter what, just a lifetime of eternal torment. Living or dying with the knowledge that he, Sam, had killed Dean. How could he ever give Dean anything again? How would Sam even get Dean to Kansas? How would he bury him? Could he even salt and burn the body, all by himself? Could he do that to Dean? Could he afford not to?
He chanced a glance at the body, noticing for the first time, that the essence of Dean seemed to have already left it. Maybe that would make it easier to see it go up in flames… Still, the eyelashes, freckles, expressive lips, and—Sam gulped—the amulet were all Dean. Even if Dean was gone, Sam could still see him in the body he had left behind, and it hurt like hell…
What could he do? Where could he go? Who could he call? Sam just wanted Dean to hold him, to make him all right. To pull him from the fire like he had after Jessica’s death; to keep him sane like when their Dad had been kidnapped by a demon. Sam let out a long shuddering sigh. But Dad was dead, and now Sam had gone and murdered Dean, and there was no one else. Ellen, Bobby, Missouri? But, why would they help him? Sam was a monster; he’d killed Dean. He couldn’t show his face to his former friends. They’d probably shoot him as soon as they realized what he’d done. But, maybe he deserved that. Or maybe the police? But, could Sam trust himself to wait for the criminal justice system to mete out “justice” and orchestrate his execution? It could take years; who knows what Sam would have become by then.
Sam felt himself slipping further under the guilt and grief and helplessness, swirling lost and helpless in his mind while he bawled, sprawling over Dean’s corpse, wanting to be close to the only part of his brother that remained, selfishly not wanting to let it go. That had to count for something, right? Remorse, regret, revulsion? Sam wasn’t pleased with what he had done, no pleased was about the farthest thing from Sam’s state of mind… But all the remorse in the world wouldn’t bring Dean back.
Stop!! The voice penetrated through the fog in Sam’s mind. It sounded strangely like Dean’s. Not like this; never like this! You’re not lost Sam, don’t let the demons win.
Sam ignored it, it was too easy. Probably just my own evil self trying to let me off easy, Sam mused brokenly. He had killed Dean. There was no way he could be forgiven so easily.
Sam fumbled his hands free to pull something from his pants. Along with his wallet, two objects lay within: his gun, tucked securely into his waistband at the small of his back, and his cell phone, pressing into the muscled flesh of Sam’s thigh. After a moment’s hesitation, Sam reached around his waist to pull the gun free.
No! The voice that sounded like Dean’s echoed again. He must have imagined it, but he released his grip on the gun nonetheless.
Don’t blame you, not you, not your fault… not evil. The voice spoke again, almost as if it was whispering in Sam’s ear, sounding like the speaker should be close enough for Sam to feel puffs of warm, moist breath against his neck, but there was nothing, but a vague sense of warmth—love—that seemed to penetrate his shaking form. Could it be Dean? Was it just wishful thinking? But the warmth seemed too real to ignore. And Dean wouldn’t want Sam to end it like this. There was something he could do. Something Sam could still do for Dean.
So, stiffly, numbly, dreading every second, but knowing he had no other choice, Sam pulled the cell phone free from his pocket, scrolling through the list of contacts, giving a silent prayer of thanks that he didn’t have to scroll so far as to see Dean’s name, and pressed “send.” This couldn’t fix anything. Sam was broken now; would always be, incomplete without Dean by his side. But maybe, maybe there was a way to still save Dean? Or at least a way to give him dignity in his death? Maybe someone could help Sam.
The voice answered, and Sam spoke, his voice cracked, quavering, struggling to force the word out around the lump in his throat; voice hoarse from the sobs that had wracked his body.