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Darkness Shall Follow 4/5

March 12th, 2007 (05:18 pm)

Title: Darkness Shall Follow

Author:

faye_dartmouth

Rating: PG-13 for creepiness and violence, gen

Characters: John, Dean, Sam

A/N: This fic is winding down--there's one more section after this, so hopefully that will tie up the remaining loose ends. This seems a bit anticlimactic, but this is how the fic came to me--my goal was to not disrupt the canon timeline as we knew it and so this blends these events into the rest. I don't know. You'll see :) Thanks so much for those who are following and leaving reviews--I'd come up with something more creative to say in thanks but my blahness today is pervasive, so I'll just leave it at thanks :)  All other notes in part one.

Disclaimer:  I own mistakes, nothing else. 

Summary: It doesn't matter who it is. It just matters that it's not both of them. That he's going to save one and probably condemn the other. This destroys him either way.

Chatper One

Chapter Two

Chatper Three

 

 

Chapter Four

-o-

The doctor lets him stay while he checks Sam out this morning. He's already sent Dean back to the motel to shower and to eat, and so he's alone with Sam during morning rounds.

It's only been three days, but John already knows the routine. He knows what to expect, and watches the doctor with some secure sense of purpose.

Dr. Vaught is friendly in a detached way, and tries to make small talk with John, and often comments nicely on Sam's character, as if he can pick up Sam's personality through his stethoscope and monitors. He checks all the machines, listens carefully to Sam's heart, then checks for Sam's level of consciousness.

This is the part that John watches closely, hoping to see something in his boy as the doctor leans close and pokes and prods his son.

So far there's been nothing, not a twitch, which the doctor has tried to be realistic and gentle about. Because the machines suggest that Sam's level of consciousness is rising, his brain waves are stronger, but there's still no sign yet.

Today is different.

It's the same tests, same things, but this time when the doctor uses cold water on Sam's ear, Sam flinches.

Not a lot, just a little. His head turns slightly to the left and a tiny mewl of discomfort finds its way around the tube.

John is up like a flash, looking expectantly into Sam's face.

The doctor tries again. "Sam, can you hear me?"

Another moan and this time Sam's hands rise up of the bed, flailing a little. They don't make it very far before Sam goes just as still as before.

The doctor is all smiles as he pulls away and jots something down on Sam's chart.

John just stares, just waits, looking between Sam and the doctor.

"Sam is responding to stimuli," he announces, a hint of pleasure in his voice. "This means he's coming out of the coma."

John continues to stare, his mouth slightly open. "So when will he wake up?"

"Give him time, Mr. Winchester," Dr. Vaught advises, returning Sam's chart to the end of the bed. "His EEG is much stronger and now that he's showing response to stimuli, I'm very optimistic. But each patient works on their own time frame. Sam's already taking more and more breaths on his own, we should have him weaned off the ventilator by the end of the day so we can reduce his sedation and then we'll see how he starts responding."

The doctor says it all like it's such good news that John wants to be excited, wants to believe. But Sam's still lying there, unconscious and intubated, and John just wants his son back.

When he's alone again with Sam, he settles back into his chair, leaning in close to Sam's bedside, watching Sam with all he has.

He wonders if Sam was awake at all while buried, if he remembers things like Dean does, if he was scared, if he cried, if he believed his dad would save him.

He wonders if Sam passed out believing in that, he wonders if Sam will know his father almost left him for dead, if Sam will be okay, and if Sam will ever forgive him for this, for everything.

-o-

When Dean hears that Sam is waking up, Dean changes and doesn't really look back.

The fear and the worry that had crippled his son, that had made him seem young and vulnerable, nearly vanish altogether.

Now he sits by Sam's side with the confidence and ego that defines him. There's no if anymore, it's just when and Dean's sure to tell that to everyone he can, even though all the doctors and nurses are already well aware of that. He doesn't even listen when they try to tell him that Sam might not be the same, that Sam might have some troubles, because Dean knows his little brother, and Sammy's coming out of this just fine.

John doesn't know where the kid gets the strength, but it leaves him a little awestruck. He'll sit back in his chair and just watch as his oldest son talks to Sam. And he doesn't talk to his kid brother like it's the hospital bedside that it is; no, Dean talks to him like it's just the two of them fighting over who gets to ride shotgun or the best way to waste a spirit.

True to his word, Dr. Vaught extubates Sam that afternoon, a process that makes Sam gag and choke. But once it's out Sam's still breathing, a little heavy and strained, but breathing, and Dean's patter of conversation rises a notch. Now he's touching Sam, patting him on the shoulder, fiddling with his hair--anything to elicit a reaction from the younger boy.

Sam never could deny Dean anything, so John isn't really surprised when Dean's antics pay off and Sam opens his eyes.

"Hey there, little brother," Dean says cheerily, leaning down carefully to get in Sam's line of vision.

Sam's face contorts in a grimace and his mouth tries to open. His eyes struggle for focus and his breathing picks up as he tries to make sense of the world.

"Easy," Dean soothes, and John sucks in a breath and holds it.

Finally Sam's eyes focus and settle on his brother. Dean's smile splits his face wide and John thinks he can almost see tears in Dean's eyes. Sam swallows hard, wincing as he does. His forehead scrunches up and he tries to speak.

The sound that comes out is garbled and awful-sounding, but it sounds like Dean all the same.

"Yeah, Sammy," Dean says. "I'm right here."

Sam just stares for a minute more before he blinks again, sluggishly. His eyes are drifting and there's a flash of dimple on his cheek.

"You're going to be fine," Dean whispers, and for the first time, John believes him.

-o-

For a few days, it's like they've regressed fifteen years. Sam is needy and withdrawn, and Dean is everpresent and effusive. John's not sure where he fits in, but he's always there, because it seems like the least he can do.

It takes a day, but by Sam's fourth day in the hospital, he's fully aware. The tests all come back with encouraging results, and Sam's being cleared from significant damage. His memory is gone from the night of the attack, and the kid seems edgy and uncertain, but all the higher reasoning skills are there, and the doctor thinks Sam's withdrawal is psychological.

John tries not to think about it, tries not to consider the idea that both his boys may be damaged to a point that needs help, because if it he ignores it long enough, he thinks it can normalize, he thinks it can all work out, and they can go on just like before.

But Dean will hardly leave at all now that Sam's awake, always perched next to Sam's bed, waiting to see his eyes and greet him with a familiar smile. That can't be good for Dean, he knows, because his oldest son needs space and nourishment and reassurance too. Convincing Dean to even go to the bathroom is like work anymore.

He only can do it when Sam's asleep, and he appeals to the logic that Dean's no good to Sam if he's neglecting himself, and he watches his son shuffle out of the room and wonders how he ever created a son that attuned to the needs of others. He wishes Dean could stand on his own, that Dean could admit his own needs and fears.

But there's no time for that, especially since Sam's stirring.

He's already moving to Sam's side, but he's not fast enough and Sam whimpers to awareness. Sam's still more emotional than John is comfortable with, and the doctors say it's pretty normal even if Sam can't remember. It hurts him to see, to witness, because Sam is strong and independent, and this has left his son broken and that's his fault, just like it's all been his fault.

"Dean?" Sam asks, blinking heavily and his voice still strained and raspy from the tube.

John leans over him, takes a risk and lets his hand rest on Sam's head like he would when he was a child. "He's just down the hall," John assures him.

Sam's eyes are focusing now and he recognizes John and seems to relax a little. "He's okay, right? He's coming back?"

"Of course," John says easily.

Sam nods a little, and shifts. "I don't want to be alone."

John swallows hard against that. "Never," he promises.

-o-

John's getting himself some coffee and when he comes back he hears Sam laughing.

"Whatever, man," Sam is saying. "All I could think about was how you wouldn't be scared."

He can barely see Dean, sitting in the chair at the end of Sam's bed. He's looking at his hands, trying really hard to smile. "When Dad found me first, and I realized you were still down there..." His voice trails off.

Sam just snorts, but his tone of voice carries of level of compassion that takes John by surprise. "I never doubted that you'd find me," Sam says. "You always do."

At this, Dean forces a laugh. "A little brain damage makes you all girly, Sammy," he says.

He can almost hear Sam rolling his eyes. "Yeah, so what's your excuse?"

And both boys laugh and John's heart aches. When he finally walks in, sipping his coffee, both boys look brighter and healthier than they have in weeks.

-o-

By the end of Sam's week there, Dean has worked wonders on his kid brother, and the nurses and doctors dote on Sam and tell him what an amazing kid he has. And Sam does flourish in a way he doesn't at home, grinning shyly at their praise, going above and beyond just because they ask him nicely and smile at him while he does it. With Sam's strength returning, Dean's comfort level skyrockets, and John can see shades of how things used to be. Dean is snarky and calming, Sam is tenacious and petulant, and he's gruff and detached through it all. They're clinging to that dynamic for a sense of normalcy none of them feel, and so far it's working okay.

As usual, Sam's obedient to anyone but him, so he's eating his dinner like a good little patient, and telling John how tired he is of being here. "I'm missing so much school," he explains, so logically and plaintively.

Except it's not the right argument at all to make with John, and John feels his frustrations creep back in. It's been easier lately, with so much focus on getting Sam okay, but now that the kid is almost there, okay is wearing thin. "You need to gain your strength back," John says, because he doesn't want to admit that he's afraid of seeing his son so weak.

Because John is afraid. He's afraid to take his boys out of this hospital and back into a world where he's not sure he can protect them. It means more work, more risks, and more energy, and if they can barely survive each other's company in a hospital, he's not sure how they'll manage in seedy motel rooms.

"I don't need that much strength to study math," Sam grumbles, shoveling a bite into his mouth.

John tries not to glare. The doctors say that Sam needs to be kept calm and relaxed and that he needs to be upbeat and positive. Clearly they know nothing about living with a teenager who doesn't see things his way at all. "No," he agreed. "But you do need to get yourself ready to get back into training. You've been out of it for almost a week."

Sam's eyes darken and a haunted scowl crosses his forehead. "Can't we take a break? Spend some time as a family or something?"

At that, John's a little incredulous. He raises his eyebrows at the boy. "A break? You think evil will just take a break?"

He knows it isn't fair to say, not after this, but John can't stop himself. It's the same conversation he's had so many times. So often that he's not even surprised by Sam's retort. "After all this, I'd think we'd be able to see that life is more than hunting."

"I'm just trying to protect you," John erupts, shoving himself off the chair.

Sam's a smart kid, and he can be a sweet kid, but he's just a kid. "Great, which is how I ended up here," he mutters.

And that about does it, it's about all John can handle. It doesn't matter that Sam's right, that Sam's hit the nail on the head, that Sam's managed to expose all of his fears and doubts right there. John's prouder than he knows how to deal with. He stands. "Fine," he says. "Then I'll just leave you to fend for yourself for awhile and see how well it goes."

He makes it in a huff to the door when Sam's voice stops him. "Dad."

Sam's voice cracks and there's a suspicious tone of fear and pleading in it.

John turns to look at his son, and is surprised to find the boy strickened.

"Just stay, okay?" Sam asks, and John's heart breaks.

He's not mad at Sam, he's mad at himself. Mad that he couldn't save his son from this, mad that he hasn't managed to give his boys the lives they deserve, mad that he's failed so much. Mad that he shouldn't be reaming out his son, but telling him that he's right, that he loves him. But he can't say that, doesn't know how to say that.

In that moment, his son's not rebellious, his son's not petulant, his son's not a hunter. His son is just a boy who's lived through more than any kid should, and all John can do is yell when he's not living up to impossible standards.

He doesn't say a word, just steps back in the room and sinks back into his chair. Sam watches him, a little scared and a little nervous, and waits a minute before he starts to pick at his food again. But the energy and life seems to have abated in Sam, and he barely touches the rest of his food. Instead he pushes it away and mumbles something about being tired before curling on his side and going to sleep.

John sits there, watching Sam breathe, and tries to figure out the balance. How can he protect them without preparing them? How can he prepare them without putting them in danger?

There are no answers, just Sam's quiet snores, as the hours fade away.

-o-

Sam's going to be okay, John doesn't doubt that at all now, and Dean doesn't even need to hear it. John's anxious to get them home, out of this hospital, because the longer they stay, the more the doctors seem to want to talk about each boys' psychological states, and he doesn't think he can risk either boy talking to a shrink.

Besides, the hospital is just a reminder of what happened, of injury and illness, and they're all ready to put that behind them, so John gets Sam checked out as soon as he can. Dean is restless, nearly driving the staff insane, and Sam is moody and difficult, nearly driving John insane.

Sam's a little wobbly, but Dean's right there, ready if Sam needs anything. They don't speak, they don't have to, and Dean is so close to his brother that they're practically touching, but not quite. His boys stand by themselves, the proximity enough to keep all of them upright.

"You boys ready?" he asks, shouldering their things.

Sam scowls a little. "Let's just go."

John says nothing in acquiescence. Instead he moves them forward. The staff asked them to wait for a nurse to get a wheelchair, but he's pretty sure none of them want to deal with that, so he leads their trek out anyway.

The walk isn't long, but it's tiring, especially for Sam. Sam gripes a little for good measure, but despite the exhaustion and the frustration and all the crap that's happened, it's pretty clear that Sam is anxious to get home.

In that moment, it's a little like seeing both his boys for the first time again. Watches them interact, watches the nuances of their movement. Each boy holds so much potential, so many emotions, and John doesn't know how many he's missed out on.

Dean will be strong even when he's not, because he feels like he needs to be here for everyone else. It's something beautiful and worrisome about his son.

Sam's different, though, and not as easy to figure out. John can see a lot of feelings in Sam--a lot of anger, a lot of resentment, a lot of pain--but the one thing John doesn't see is hate.

Instead he sees a boy who wants more and never gets it, no matter what he does. He sees a boy who just wants to hear I love you but will shout I hate you to get his point across.

John knows, because when he says no, he really means I'm afraid for you.

But they're Winchesters, and they've never been good at talking, and sometimes now, John has to admit, talking to Sam can be like talking through six feet of dirt.

-o-

John thinks they may be in the clear, that this event made fade away like most of the other tragedies in their lives. Sam's been at home for nearly three days and he's adjusting well, moving forward, and despite small comments to the contrary, Sam's flourishing in his training. Dean is nearly bursting with himself, he'll even leave home for his part time job and the occasional social outing, and it's beginning to feel good and normal.

Until they find the bodies on the news.

Seven of them, just like John suspected, all buried in unmarked plots in the same cemetery John had found the boys. It is a horrific scene, and it's splashed all over the news, the newspapers, everything.

He really should have thought about the effect that would have on the boys, but he doesn't think about it until it's already too late.

He's making dinner and the boys are in the living room, bickering and watching TV. Then the apartment gets quiet.

John's attuned to that kind of thing and pokes his head out to make a joke at his children's sudden silence. But then he sees them, both staring at the TV.

The TV has images of body bags, holes in the ground, and cemetery plots.

Dean looks blank, his face slack, as if he's not quite sure what to think.

Sam looks like he's about to pass out, pale and shaky and weak.

John strides over and shuts of the TV. "I'm sorry," he says because he can't think of anything else. "You shouldn't have had to..."

But he can't finish, because Dean's looking at him with that look of trust and fear again and Sam's not really looking at anything at all.

-o-

That night Sam wakes up from a nightmare screaming and crying and babbling.

"God, Dad, make it stop, make it stop," he's begging when John and Dean come to his bedside. They pick him up, put their hands on him, try to soothe him, but Sam's sobbing with it, thrashing. "I can't breathe, please, I don't want to die."

It's one of the hardest things John's ever had to witness, and he sees Dean breaking with his brother's words. His sons are broken together in this, even though neither will admit it, Dean won't even admit it in his sleep, the one place where Sam's not quite able to let it go.

It passes and Sam calms, drifting back to sleep, his brother not far behind. And as John sits there, he watches his sons on the bed, Sam entangled on the sheets, Dean on top of them, he can't stop himself from wondering.

This is his family, his boys, all he has left. But they're fractured and difficult and John doesn't know how to fix it.

He's wondered for years what he can forgive, how much insubordination he can take, how much defiance he can stomach. Sam has pushed him and tested him, and they still haven't broken yet, but John wonders if there will be a day.

Just like he wonders how much Dean can take, how much Dean can obey, how far Dean will follow orders before he realizes that John's making this up as he goes.

And, for goodness' sake, he wonders when he'll let his sons be boys. When he'll just recognize that Sam's desire for more isn't selfish, isn't wrong. When he'll tell Dean that life isn't all about orders, that maybe sometimes he should be more like Sam. Both his boys deserve more, need more. Only one of them knows that, and he wonders how far gone he'd be if Sam didn't call him on it, just like how he wonders how long ago he would have lost all his sense of purpose if Dean didn't reassure him of it.

But for the first time he wonders, really wonders, how much he can do before he's beyond redemption. He doesn't know how far he can take his sons, how far he can push them before they fall, how deep he can take them into all this until they are consumed. He doesn't know how many years are worth vengeance, how many hunts are worth Mary's legacy, how many moments of happiness and joy he can miss before he's passed the point of honor and reached the depths of obsession.

He leaves before he cries but he doesn't sleep at all that night. He thinks about Mary, about the boys when they were little, about the cemetery, about the seven body bags, and all the families who were grieving that night.

-o-

They don't talk about it, not really, and all of them move on. Sam still blanches a little when they go to cemeteries, and Dean is more vigilant than ever of his little brother, and John does all he can to plan and perfect and plan some more.

He doesn't tell them much about the man that did this, and they don't really ask, and the status quo returns with a silent promise to do better next time.

But Sam grows more defiant, and John's patience runs thin. He's always tried to protect his sons, and he doesn't understand why Sam won't have any part of it. It's like sometimes Sam forgets how close they came, how dangerous the darkness is.

Other times, it's like Sam knows more than he should, like Sam was in that crypt to listen to Garrett tell his plan and unearth John's deepest fears and weaknesses.

So John fights harder and louder, anything to keep Sam in check. Not because it's right. Because that's how it has to be.

And it works. Most of the time.

But John knows sometimes that he's lying to them and that he's lying to himself. He remembers it all, every second of it like it's yesterday. He was helpless and incapable and it's been nothing but a mere man who had nearly taken his children away from him.

John still doesn't know how Sam even survived, but sometimes he's grateful to hear his son yell just to know he still has breath in his body.

Other times, though, when John is not so sure and not so strong, it's like they're both still underground, dying slowly while their father rages against the dying of the light, both waiting for grace, for freedom, for life. He's kept them there for 16 years, telling them just one hunt more, one more kill, just one more day, and they're holding their breath.

But he's digging. He's always been digging. Sometimes he doesn't know which ways up or down, sometimes it seems like whenever he unburies one boy, he's just throwing the dirt onto the other. Sometimes, often he feels like he'll never get there, that he'll never really set them free, but he'll keep trying the only way he knows how.

-o-

John was pretty sure that the night he dug his sons up out of the ground was the worst night of his life. He still feels the terror, the numbness, the encompassing sense of failure of that night. It still haunts his dreams, his darkest thoughts, lingering with him, never to be forgotten.

But tonight he knows he was wrong.

He's tried everything to protect them, everything to make them understand. It's worked with Dean, but he's always losing ground with Sam. Part of him has always believed, though, that his son would understand, that when push came to shove, Sam would get it and stay with his family.

But push has come to shove, and Sam let himself be shoved right out that door.

John's tried punishment, John's tried threats, John's tried everything. He's yelled, he's guilted, he's tried everything short of laying a hand on the boy. And tonight he tries an ultimatum, his last huge gamble, and Sam calls his bluff.

Sam's gone, and so are his meager belongings, and Dean's looking at him with that look of fear and trust, like he expects John to make it right. But John can't do anything, can't make Sam come back, can't make this all right.

The world is vast and the world is dangerous and he's trained his sons, he's trained them well, but now Sam's alone. Alone and vulnerable, and John's line still stands in the sand and he can't cross it now.

That night, John dreams of the cold night, of the shovel in his hands, of finding Dean. And in his dream, Dean asks, "Why didn't you save Sam?"

John doesn't have an answer. He never has, and he just stands there, his mouth open, and wonders where it went wrong.

Comments

Posted by: ironic sweater vests (estei)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)

Each chapter of this story just gets better- I love that you didn't cut corners with Sam's recovery, and that you allowed for the psychological damage in both boys. Too often authors seem to fall back on the "tough guy" facade, even in pre-series fics. I loved John in this, even when I wanted to take him and shake him, because even when he seemed like the bad guy you wrote him so well that his frustrations, his conflicts came through perfectly without it seeming like he was making excuses for himself. You write the Winchester dynamic in a very realistic, beautiful, and sad way. I really enjoyed how your Sam can't deny too, so often it's portrayed as being only the vice versa.

I love the themes of burial, digging, and dirt in this chapter, they conveyed such evocative and vivid images.

John has to admit, talking to Sam can be like talking through six feet of dirt. This is so awesome, and so heart-breaking.

But he's digging. He's always been digging. Sometimes he doesn't know which ways up or down, sometimes it seems like whenever he unburies one boy, he's just throwing the dirt onto the other. This line killed me. Obviously it's perfect for the context of this story, but it's also seems such an apt, and beautiful, description of John and his attempts to raise and protect and teach two very different boys.

Sam's eyes darken and a haunted scowl crosses his forehead. "Can't we take a break? Spend some time as a family or something?" This exchange just broke my heart, and then when Sam backed down, too afraid to be alone... so perfect, yet so darn achy.

But push has come to shove, and Sam let himself be shoved right out that door. Wow... just, wow.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
awed

I'm so glad to hear from you always, and these comments really made me feel really good. I was worried I'd made them not tough enough, made them too emotional. I just feel like there's more emotion than they let on and sometimes even the strong are beaten down by overpowering forces, which humbles each person differently.

It saddens me how much John loved his boys, how much he wanted for them, but how he was never truly able to demonstrate it in a way that made a big difference.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Amy (mellaithwen)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)

do you go to EA meetings? they're like AA meetings only for Evil Anonymous :D just when you lull the reader into thinking yay, Sam's waking up and DEAN is being this, ahh, I loved how you described him; The fear and the worry that had crippled his son, that had made him seem young and vulnerable, nearly vanish altogether.

Now he sits by Sam's side with the confidence and ego that defines him.


perfect.

where was I? Oh yes, you lull the reader into thinking that everything will be okay now, they've had their smidgen of angst (and by smidgen I mean, oh my you buried them ALIVE) and now they're recovering and alive, breathing and all that jazz, but NO haha fair reader, don't be fooled! They will dream! And have nightmares! And be tormented (as is rightly so granted) and

Alone and vulnerable, and John's line still stands in the sand and he can't cross it now.

um ow, that hurt.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
puppy dog eyes

Would you really expect anything less angsty from me? I mean, REALLY.

EA makes me happy though. I'd go but then they might try to cure me which is NO good.

Posted by: Cynthia (coell)
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)

*cheers*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)

:)

Thanks!

Posted by: Becky (ewanspotter)
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
SPN Metallicar

But he's digging. He's always been digging. Sometimes he doesn't know which ways up or down, sometimes it seems like whenever he unburies one boy, he's just throwing the dirt onto the other. Sometimes, often he feels like he'll never get there, that he'll never really set them free, but he'll keep trying the only way he knows how.

Very rarely does a story get a, Oh, John from me. I've read plenty of Dean stories that do and plenty of Sam stories, but rarely does someone dig this deeply into John. This is beautiful.

So, are we going to find out what happens to Garrett? Or are we getting a sequel? *hopeful puppy eyes*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
rest

I never thought something I wrote would warrant an oh John...it's almost counterintuitive for me, but thank you all the same!

There's an epilogue to come (posted, actually) which deals with our beloved sadistic serial killer.

Posted by: Hope Calaris (hope_calaris)
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 09:10 am (UTC)
Sam

This left me speechless ... love the imagery with the dirt and that it creeps me out(especially Other times, it's like Sam knows more than he should, like Sam was in that crypt to listen to Garrett tell his plan and unearth John's deepest fears and weaknesses. *shudders*).

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
united

It's strangely enjoyable creeping readers out. And I'm thrilled the imagery worked. It sort of tied the angst to the action, and I liked it.

Thanks! :)

Posted by: jewel21 (jewel21)
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)

Awww, man. This story is so good I'm sad to see it coming to and end. You do a wonderful job of drawing the reader in. And all the angst just kills me, in a good way, naturally. Anyway, great job :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)

YAY ANGST! It's just so FUN to play with!

And I'm kind of sad this one's ending too. I enjoyed writing it and the reader response has been fun.

Thanks! ;)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 18th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
longway

Dean telling people he's going to be a big brother? Wow. That's like the best image ever. He'd be thrilled, all beaming and full of pride. That's so fic material.

Aww...I win? Thanks! Really! I like winning. You know, it's funny because I write in a really schizophrenic way. I hardly ever write a complete scene at once and never write a story from beginning to end. I had those two paragraphs done so early on, before I had most of the story finished. They were kind of my guiding purpose, my way to justify something as extreme as live burial for a greater purpose beyond pure entertainment value. So I'm really glad it struck you.

Thanks!

Posted by: the fbi's most unwanted (buffyaddict13)
Posted at: March 19th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)

*flails* oh the hearache. you make me care about john even though he's so stubborn and driving sam away. you write them so perfectly, so realistically. *is in awe*

i love sam's recovery and how dean blossomed around him. and the shock of seeing the other bodies on the news and sam's nightmare.

i'm sad there's only 1 chapter left!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)

Making people care about John isn't exactly like my goal in life, but considering how many issues I have with the man, I take that as a compliment :)

Thanks!

Posted by: squishy is the new shiny! (teithiwr)
Posted at: March 19th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
brothers writing

This just gets better and better all the time. Such amazing characterisations all through - and your John feels especially real to me. There are so many bits here that make me go oh John!, and that doesn't happen all that often, so you get the cookie!

The Winchester way of not talking about things is so wonderfully put here. Oh. I love this fic so much.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
limpsamcom

Oh Johns SHOULDN'T happen that often and I am loathe to admit when I have to give them myself. So don't ask WHY I had to write this. John's kind of persuasive, I guess :)

And as much as I want them to just TALK they never do. Stubborn men.

Posted by: You shouldn't let poets lie to you (kroki_refur)
Posted at: April 4th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
noses omg

So, I have been utterly remiss in not reviewing the last two chapters of this awesome story, and I have no excuse to offer, only shame. *is ashamed*

Oh, Faye, the first section of this was so fragile, so balanced between hope and tragedy. John is so relieved, so expectant when Sam moves, and God, I was too. I love that you didn’t just have him wake up like that, that it took a little time. But most of all, I adore these two paragraphs:

He wonders if Sam was awake at all while buried, if he remembers things like Dean does, if he was scared, if he cried, if he believed his dad would save him.

He wonders if Sam passed out believing in that, he wonders if Sam will know his father almost left him for dead, if Sam will be okay, and if Sam will ever forgive him for this, for everything.

Because oh! There’s that bitter undercurrent. The image of Sam, scared in the dark, having seizures in the coffin (which, by the way, you MUST write), and wanting his dad to save him, God. And the reminder of how it all went down, of how John gave up, and he almost lost Sam just because of that... I would be wringing my hands right now if I wasn’t typing, those lines are just so forlorn.
I love how Dean draws so much strength from Sam, how as soon as he knows Sam is waking up, he’s ready to be the big brother, to be strong and not to let this pull him down. He needs to be needed so much, and the idea of what would happen to him if Sam was gone and no-one needed him any more is pretty horrifying. You’ve put that across so well, that Dean can only really be himself when someone needs him.

The sound that comes out is garbled and awful-sounding, but it sounds like Dean all the same.

Oh, this is creepy and relieving and clever all at once. I love that you don’t flinch from the aftermath, that Sam isn’t better as soon as he wakes up. And I love that Dean doesn’t let the weirdness of Sam phase him. *hugs Dean so hard*

John tries not to think about it, tries not to consider the idea that both his boys may be damaged to a point that needs help, because if it he ignores it long enough, he thinks it can normalize, he thinks it can all work out, and they can go on just like before.

OH MY GOD JOHN! GET THOSE BOYS SOME HELP!

*ahem*

I love how you convey John’s sense of being on the outside looking in when it comes to the family. I mean, we know from the show that Sam’s always felt like that a little, and Dean has too, but of course John would feel that way when the boys share such a strong bond. And this:

"I never doubted that you'd find me," Sam says. "You always do."

And the reminder once again that it was Dean who never gave up on Sam, not John, and the fact that John witnesses that scene as an outsider, plays perfectly into that.

And Sam does flourish in a way he doesn't at home, grinning shyly at their praise, going above and beyond just because they ask him nicely and smile at him while he does it.

I love this little look at how well Sam does when people treat him a certain way, a way that he never gets treated at home. Sam suffers from low self-esteem, and he needs to be built up, and we know from canon that if people treat him well, he’ll act just like you have him acting here. So nice to see him have that for a little while.

At that, John's a little incredulous. He raises his eyebrows at the boy. "A break? You think evil will just take a break?"

OH MY GOD, JOHN!

"Just stay, okay?" Sam asks, and John's heart breaks.

*weeps*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 5th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
haunted

Hey there :)

John is just so...John. He knows what he SHOULD do but never does it. I saw that in the end of S1 when he knows what dreams he has for his sons, but they run contrary to everything he's ever done since Mary died. He just can't truly put the boys first, no matter how much he wants to. He's a coward, to me, and always will be.

And I've always thought that was why Sam gravitated to "normal"--because in normal situations, from other people, he found love and acceptance and understanding, which he clearly did not feel in his family (as Bugs lets us know). Sam will do just about anything when someone asks him to, when someone shows understanding. It's orders and commands he rebels against. So I really wanted that to show here.

And how ultimately John is his own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with his sons. It's sad and makes me want to cry and they all need hugs.

Posted by: You shouldn't let poets lie to you (kroki_refur)
Posted at: April 4th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)


But they're Winchesters, and they've never been good at talking, and sometimes now, John has to admit, talking to Sam can be like talking through six feet of dirt.

This is a beautiful line, so clever. You are so clever.

And Sam’s nightmare, God, so terrifying and sad. Samis so broken, and Dean too, and John just doesn’t know what to do. Which, you know. Average day for the Winchesters, really.

I love the way you use the image of the boys buried and John digging throughout this, even thought the actual event is long gone. It’s a lovely metaphor for their lives and how they’ve gone wrong and John’s desperation, not knowing how to fix it. And I love that Dean has the same look on his face when Samleaves for Stanford, like he needs John to fix it, because no-one else can, and that once again John finds himself inadequate for the task. Oh my God, woman, the angst!

Well, I guess I broke the character limit again, so I might as well ask how you are? I feel like I haven’t seen you around for a long while, and I hope you’re OK. Oh, and as for the dream you had about me way back when – well, sorry to say, I’m short and plump with brown hair and I live in the middle of a city! (But also by a forest, so.) But if it makes yours dreams happy, feel free to keep thinking of me looking however you want :D.

Right, got to go now. Will do my best to review part five tomorrow... *hugs*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 5th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)

It has been a long time since we've conversed and I've been a little off the map here for awhile. Mostly because we just moved and so everything is completely out of whack and I've fallen behind online. And I can't believe I have to admit that when I've been away for a bit, I'm always shy to jump back in. Posting-anxiety :)

As for my dream, it's funny, because I never really thought of you as a tall, skinny redhead. My subconscious is just twisted and likes to mix ideas and images and feelings. I was more amused that you were in my dream at all and that my dream actually took the time to think about what you looked like.

Anyway, it's always good to hear from you :)

Posted by: teachertam (teachertam)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)

Aw, man!

This is an incredible story, and all throughout thsi chapter I kept building up the things I would say.

But just as I neared the end, I hit that moment when you're suddenly too sleepy to make any more sense.

Which is really annoying.

Because I should be able to last another fifteen minutes.

But I clearly can't. Because I'm making a typing mistake in just about every other word, here.

Sigh.

Plus, I'm afraid that I may not be able to find this story, tomorrow, to finish it!!!

Here's hoping.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this story.

Oh, yeah! The thing that struck me, early on in this chapter, was *Dean* saying Sam would be all right and *John* believing him. I love Dean being the protector, even if it is very sad.

I also loved the whole burial metaphor (for their difficult life) that you've got going.

Beautiful fic.

Thank you.

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