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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

SPN Fic: My Own Funeral 1/2

August 16th, 2010 (07:15 pm)

Title: My Own Funeral

A/N: My submission for the episode "Skin" in the 2010 summer_sam_love  Celebration. With love to sendintheklowns , who motivated this fic, and geminigrl11 , who is still my beta after all these (wonderful!) years.

Disclaimer: So not mine.

Summary: There had been two Deans. Sam had been so certain the one who had died was the shifter. Dean had been so Dean, but this was not his brother.

 

-o-

Sam had had enough of lessons.

Lesson one: connections with the outside world are messy. Hearing Becky chew him out, seeing the sadness on her face as he said goodbye: yeah, Sam got the message. Straddling two lives didn't work. When he'd left Stanford behind, he left it all behind, and it was about time he started facing that.

Lesson two: never split up while chasing a shifter. Since, after all, they could change form. Whenever they wanted. Making them especially hard to spot when they donned a familiar skin. The thing had gotten the drop on him once, then twice, and he'd fallen for it both times. Not the smartest moments in his college boy career, but that lesson had been pounding into his skull with the force of a concussion. Literally.

Lesson three: Dean was somehow always right. About Sam's college friends, about the shifter, about everything. In fact, his brother was so exhaustingly right, that Sam didn't even have the energy to be in his presence at the moment. So when Dean had wanted to go out for burgers, Sam had been more than happy to crash at the motel.

After all, they'd been driving all day. St. Louis was behind them, but Sam's head still ached from the hunt all the same. So rest and relaxation and forgetting. Just for a little while longer.

And it was beautiful. Quiet and dim. Sam jacked up the heat and sprawled on the bed, letting himself mellow, drifting for a moment between sleep and awareness, contemplating if he wanted to fall asleep right there, on top of the covers, or take a shower first. Sleep was very compelling, since the only semblance he'd gotten in the last twenty-four hours involved the half-sleep of being in the car and the forced sleep of being knocked the hell out.

But showers-he hadn't showered in over a day. He still had the stink of sewer on him. Ten more minutes of being awake wouldn't kill him, and it might do something to wash away the feeling of failure that permeated this entire situation. Sure, he'd proven Zach's innocence. But he'd exposed his true life to Becky. And Dean's true thoughts had been exposed to Sam. The resentments, the issues.

And that didn't even begin to approach the issues Sam had with himself. Fool him once, shame on the shifter. Fool him twice, and Sam was just a bad hunter.

He sighed. Shower it was. And maybe he could wash away the self-doubt and avoid nightmares for the night.

But then, a rustle came at the door. Someone fumbled with the lock, and the door swung open as he brother stalked in.

Gauging his brother's face, its angry set and grim lines, Sam wondered if there was a lesson number four in all this: be prepared.

Good little hunters were like good little Boy Scouts. Expect the unexpected.

And yeah, he hadn't expected Dean to charge back through so soon, much less empty-handed. Sam was just starting to pull out something clean to put on after a shower when the next thing he knew Dean was in his personal space, just like that.

Sam backed up, a little perplexed, his instincts flaring sluggishly to life. The hunting lessons were great, and all, but the application portion could really wait until his head wasn't throbbing.

"Dude," Sam said, or started to, but never quite got the chance.

Dean came at him with a right hook he saw coming, but just didn't believe. After all, Dean might like to pick a fight with him from time to time, but only in the name of good-natured brotherly sparring. His older brother liked to plant him on his ass just to prove that he could and to smugly remind Sam of the pecking order that sort existed and sort of didn't. And maybe those issues the shifter had talked about were closer to the surface than Sam knew, so maybe he really had a little something coming.

So Sam saw the motion. Saw the bend of his brother's arm, the fingers curling into a fist, and he thought it must be a joke, some kind of passive/aggressive game they were about to play. Maybe truly a lesson in being prepared, just like their dad used to do, landing a glancing blow that was more air than skin, just to remind him of the power of readiness. It would suck, but it wouldn't be totally out of the realm of possibility in the whacked out Winchester way.

But Sam wasn't ready. Not for a lesson, not for a brief foray into therapeutic brotherly sparring, not any of it. Not with this headache (concussion, Dean had told him), not with his throat (bruised and swollen, Dean had pointed out), not with that ache in his back (he was simply too big for the Impala's cramped seats). So whatever this was, whatever reason it was happening, it was a game Sam just did not want to play. Not now. Not until he'd slept and regained some semblance of his pride and managed to let go of the idea of ever returning to Stanford once and for all.

He was about to laugh it off, to deflect his brother with some kid-like sheepishness, maybe appeal to his brother's protective nature, until the fist raked across his face. Not a glancing blow, not a purposeful whiff, but a full-throttled punch to the face that sent Sam reeling, flailing backward with stars exploding behind his eyelids.

Blackness overtook him, just for a moment, but his awareness didn't leave him-not quite. He breathed, his heart pounding in his ears, the rasp of his own breath as it struggled past his bruised throat. He had flipped onto his stomach, hands grappling with the ground as he tried to push himself up even before his vision cleared.

Looking back, he squinted, trying to focus in on his brother's face. Dean was standing over him, something like a snarl on his face.

Sam blinked, trying to focus better, because something was off. Something was very, very off.

"I thought you were going to go to bed," Dean said coldly.

Sam rolled into a sitting position, fingering his already bruised lip. "I thought you went to go get burgers," he said back, trying to reign in his spinning mind. The time between hunts was sacred-their slight reprieve, their time to just take it easy before jumping into the fray again. One night, one week-whatever the time, it wasn't the time for intensity.

And they'd just finished the hunt. It had been messy-too messy, with a body that looked a lot like Dean and too many knocks to the head for Sam to even keep track of-but he'd hugged Becky and closed that chapter of his life, and they'd packed it up and headed out. This was their recovery time, so what the hell was Dean doing hauling off and hitting him?

Maybe his head injury was worse than he'd thought. Things had seemed mostly clear in the car, but he'd been exhausted since they'd left. After all, that was why he'd wanted to stay in tonight, despite Dean's suddenly insatiable need for burgers. So maybe he was dreaming, maybe they were still in Missouri, maybe this was the shifter-

Sam's throat constricted tighter, and a brief second of clarity came to him.

There had been two Deans. He'd been so certain the one who had died was the shifter. Dean had been so Dean, but this was not his brother.

Sam didn't know how it was possible-hell, he didn't even want to know. He just wanted this to be over. Now. These damn things had knocked him out twice, nearly choked him to death, and now it was here, punching him-again. He'd had enough of shapeshifters to last him a lifetime, or at least for the next three months before some other supernatural entity made the top of his must avoid list.

The shifter smirked. "And you're supposed to be the smart one," it said, with a shake of its head. "Those four years at college, and this is the best you can do."

Sam felt a surge of anger, for him, for Dean. "You son of a bitch," he muttered, and flung himself upward, with all he had.

The shifter was ready, though. Supernatural prowess with his brother's hand to hand skills. He had fallen victim to it before. It couldn't happen again.

Sam lashed out with a fury of punches, catching the shifter by its shoulders and ramming a knee into its forehead before ramming his boot hard into its stomach.

It grunted, an oof that sounded so much like Dean, it hurt.

But Sam couldn't stop. He followed up with another punch across the face, but this time the shifter saw him, ducking Sam's blow and smashing a hand into Sam's nose.

The cartilage was already sore from before, and Sam felt warmth trickle down his face. But he could manage it. He ducked a punch, and landing one of his own, but not without taking a kick to the knee that sent him down, leaving him open to a volley of blows to the head.

It left him dazed for a moment, still perched on one knee, and he heard his brother's laugh. "Pathetic," it spat. "I'm glad I chose this skin instead of yours. Yours...would be too weak. Too worthless. Selfish little brat."

Sam swallowed hard, pushing himself to his feet again and flying at the shifter, ignoring Dean's features as he pounded-as hard and as fast he could, leaving no respite.

He slammed it against the wall, pressing hard against it, whipping the pistol still tucked in his pants and ramming it hard into the shifter's head.

The shifter hit the wall, spit blood, and laughed at him. "You kill me, you kill big brother," it said.

Sam's eyes burned as the pounding in his head ratcheted up another notch. The room seemed hazy, the features on his brother's face blurred, even at this close proximity. "If you're here, then Dean's already dead," he said.

It looked at him, eyes soft, just like Dean when he was trying to appeal to his brother's sympathies. "Are you sure?"

Sam wasn't sure about anything because he still couldn't quite clear his vision and he could barely focus over the roaring in his head. And this-this wasn't helping and if ever there was a time to use his reasoning skills, this was probably it, but the idea of it made his stomach turn. Someone had died back in Missouri, someone who looked like Dean. But someone else had driven the Impala due south for two days straight, joked and laughed and watched TV just like Dean. Someone had scarfed down a bag of peanut M&M's and called Sam a bitch and that had to be his brother...didn't it?

But then who was dead back in Missouri?

And what had happened to the brother who had left him not ten minutes ago to pick up burgers?

And who was this?

And his head hurt and his throat was scratchy and he couldn't hardly think straight. "Dean?" he asked, hoping for an answer, for some sign, that maybe this was a joke after all. A lesson, something.

Then the shifter grinned. "Maybe you'll never know," it said, and it jerked forward, head butting Sam hard.

Sam's vision darkened and his body felt loose. Then he was being spun, turned on his feet, the motion loosening his grip on the gun, which fell, impotent, to the floor. And then an arm, hard around his throat, pulling him tight against the body behind him. Pressure came down behind his head, forcing it forward, even as he was anchored tighter by the arm around his neck.

There was a way to get out of this, Sam was sure, but he couldn't remember. Couldn't remember much of anything except the look on Dean's face as he looked at his own corpse. How often do I get to go to my own funeral?

Sam's energy had already been depleted-it had been depleted before they'd left Missouri and he hadn't gotten it back yet-and when the shifter forced him down, he had no choice but to comply. His knees folded, and he sank down, the arms still tight around his neck. Sam's hands were at his sides now, dangling and useless as he was pulled back farther, sliding off his knees and onto his ass, his back cradled against the strong torso behind him.

Sam tried to remember if he'd missed something. If he'd gotten confused. But when Dean had stormed in to save him last time, he'd been too out of it to know. By the time he'd come to, there had been two Deans, one dead on the ground, the other looking grimly at him. He'd assumed, of course. He'd thought-

He should have checked. He should have never let the shifter get the drop on him. Not once, not twice, not three times-

Dean would kick his ass.

Dean just had.

Concussion or not, Sam had messed up but good. No wonder Dean had issues with his sorry ass. They should have talked about it, should have talked about something, and maybe now it was too late. Sam was always too late. Too late for Jessica. Too late for Dean.

A soft chuckle resounded behind his ear. "You really should have gone to bed," it said. "But we can fix that, can't we?"

As the pressure increased, Sam's throat flared in pain a second before darkness overtook him completely and he knew no more.

-o-

The whole idea of fast food was that it was supposed to be, well, fast.

Apparently no one told that to the folks in Ransom, Alabama, since it took the kid behind the counter twenty minutes to put together a simple order for three burgers, a side of fries, and two soft drinks. To go.

After nearly ending up with a breaded fish sandwich and a bowl of chili, Dean had dropped a twenty on the counter and told the kid to keep the change, regardless of whatever mismatched order was in his bag. As long as it was edible, it would do. He could eat what he wanted and leave whatever crummy leftovers there were for Sam. It would serve the kid right for pooping out on him.

Like a concussion and a bruised throat were a good excuse for being too tired to keep Dean company. Okay, so maybe they were good excuses, especially since Sam had seemed unusually exhausted. The concussion seemed to be mild enough-usually those things made Sam loopy as hell-but this time Sam just seemed worn out by the entire thing, which Dean suspected wasn't entirely just about the numerous injuries his little brother had sustained during this hunt.

But Dean had warned him-about the dangers of having connections. It wasn't that Dean necessarily wanted to be anti-social. But it was fairer to everyone else if he was. The hunting life was hard work and it meant there was little permanency except that which could be stuck in a car. That was why Dean had always clung to family like he had-there was nothing else he could cling to. The sooner Sam accepted that, the sooner they'd all settle back into the rhythm of things. Sam could be happy again. Maybe not as happy, but a kind of happy. The kind of happy Dean had settled for a long time ago where all he needed was a gun, a hunt, and his family by his side. It wasn't perfect, but hell, it wasn't without its perks.

He peaked inside the bag as he parked the Impala outside their motel. It wasn't without its drawbacks as well. Crappy food, crappy motels, and crappy shifters stealing his body and driving his car. He could practically smell the thing like it was still around.

Shuddering, Dean pushed himself out, slamming the door shut. He'd have to give the Impala a cleaning soon anyway. Maybe that could be Sam's compensation for nearly getting himself killed twice on the last hunt, which Dean hadn't even wanted to pursue. If they hadn't, his car might not have been violated, Sam's dreams might not have been pushed back, his brother wouldn't have finger bruises coloring his neck, and there wouldn't be a grave marker for one Dean Winchester being erected in some pitiful public cemetery in Missouri.

Sure, so more people would have died, but it drove his car.

And tried to kill Sammy.

So that thing was pretty high on his list of things that deserved to die.

But man, he needed to talk to Sam about all this. Figure out just how much of Joe College was left in his little brother, figure out why Sam had let the thing get the drop on him in the first place. But he'd give the kid the night off-after nearly getting beaten senseless and strangled, Sam had probably earned that much.

Gripping the bag of food in one hand and holding the cups between his arm and his body, he'd started to use his free hand to finagle the motel room key out of his pocket, when he noticed that it didn't matter. The door was open.

Dean's stomach dropped and his mouth went dry.

Sam would never leave the door unlocked, much less open. And Dean knew he'd shut it, and he knew this was the right room. Which meant-

Heart pounding, he put the food on the ground, pulling out the pistol tucked in his pants. Licking his lips, he edged the door open, doing a keen sweep. He cleared the door, checking behind it, before moving forward. A sweep of the bathroom showed it to be empty, and then he ventured farther.

There was a lamp on, and Sam's bed was tousled but not slept in. His brother's duffle was on the dresser, open, and a pair of boxers pulled halfway out. But everything else seemed in order-nothing overturned, nothing obviously missing-

Except Sam.

Sam was nowhere to be found.

Then he saw it: Sam's gun, and his brother's knife, too, spread out on the table at the far side of the room. Nervously, Dean moved closer, his gun still tight in his grip.

The gun was fully loaded, but it was the knife that got his attention. The blade was covered with blood, still dripping onto the table.

Dean's breath hitched. Sam's blood. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he knew. There was no other explanation. If Sam had had an altercation and used the knife, he wouldn't have left the knife in the open like this by choice. No, something had taken Sam.

That's when Dean saw the journal.

Open to a blank page, in a scrawl that looked like his own but knew couldn't be: coordinates.

Dean swallowed hard. Coordinates to find Sam.

He glanced around, nervous. He hadn't been gone more than a half hour, so whatever had taken Sam didn't have much of a head start. But, his brother had already been hurt, and if the blood was any indication, had been hurt worse. But by what? And why? And how had it gotten the drop of them less than an hour after they'd pulled into town?

He swore. Dean was getting sick and tired of people beating on his little brother. That was Dean's job, no one else's, and he'd kill every supernatural moron who thought otherwise. He should have made Sam stay in Missouri, forced the kid to talk it out with Becky. Maybe going to his own funeral would have been fun, after all-more fun than this, anyway.

Still, he needed to focus. Sam was missing and he'd already seen the kid nearly get choked to death once-it couldn't happen again.

Steeling himself, he forced himself to look away from the knife, turning his attention to the journal instead. Dean didn't know what he was up against, and he knew the coordinates had to be a trap, but there weren't many other options. Just load up his arsenal, find the coordinates, scope out the place, and kill whatever it was that thought his little brother would make a good bargaining chip.

After all, he's already killed himself once this week for Sam's sake, so whatever this was, it had no idea just what it was messing with.

Resolved, Dean let his eyes only linger for a moment on the bloody knife before picking up the journal and heading for a map.

No time for fear. No time for what if. He had work to do.

Next


 

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: August 17th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)

'Dean would kick his ass.

Dean just had.'

*slaps knee* That just tickles me.

And you joked out Sammy! Okay, you didn't. But you wrote it. *high fives*

Love the protective!Dean part here. I'm moving on to see what happens next :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
scarred for life

Heh. I love that we can share that kink together. It does make me rather happy :)

I'm glad you like it.

Posted by: tangled skeins of cytokeratin (emmram)
Posted at: August 21st, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)

You know, I'm kind of surprised that - barring a shifter - Sam didn't wonder if his brother had been possessed by a demon. I understand Sam's a little out of it, but his thought processes in questioning Dean's motivations - if it'd been the real Dean - seems pretty logical and structured.

Loved the hurt!Sam, otherwise! :) And what's the odds that they'd encounter another kidnapping shifter so soon after their last one? ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
doe eyed

I do recall thinking that Sam should have been a bit more skeptical about which Dean survived during the ep.

Thank you!

Posted by: princess_schez (princess_schez)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)

Wow... great, but scary start. You know that who/whatever hurts Sammy will end up deader than dead, Dean'll make sure. :-)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
skin limp lights

I'm glad you're liking it so far :) Thanks!

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