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SPN Fic: This Valley of Dying Stars

August 21st, 2010 (03:59 pm)

Title:  This Valley of Dying Stars

A/N:  Another summer_sam_love  contribution, this time for Devil’s Trap.  Beta credit again to geminigrl11 .

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

Summary:  Sam’s been in near death situations before.  Tag to DT.

-o-

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

-from “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot

-o-

Sam’s been in near death situations before.  Some, a lot worse than this.  Hell, he hunts down things that want to kill him on a weekly basis, so the whole nearly dying thing is kind of par for the course.  True, he’s still a bit rusty with it all, and he’s been lucky since he’s been back.  Not even a trip to the hospital for his troubles. 

So Sam knows the drill.  He knows what it’s like to have bright lights fill his vision, blinding him even when his eyes are open.  He knows what it’s like to stare and blink, stare and blink, and see nothing at all.  He knows the way his heart skips a beat, catches on the intake just slightly, lungs stilling, body jolting before everything falls back into place with a burst of pain and awareness.

He’s heard it said that when you’re about to die, life flashes before your eyes.  Or some variation thereof.  He knows enough about legends and myth to know that usually the most popular theories hold some credence.  The more often an urban legend is told, the more likely it is that it’s true, but in all of Sam’s experience, it’s nothing like that.

When Sam’s faced death, it’s just nothing.  Shock and surprise, a gasp of breath and fumbling for reality.

But then again, Sam’s never had a semi come out of nowhere and t-bone his brother’s car into oblivion, trying to take Sam and his family with it.

It’s not a normal thing for Sam to be driving.  In fact, Sam can’t remember when it’s been like this.  He’s always been low man on the totem pole, the one who plays backup and left hand man.  Third fiddle in his father’s makeshift and deadly band.

But Dean’s bleeding in the backseat and his father’s holding his leg in the passenger’s seat and Sam’s at the wheel making promises he intends to keep.

“No, sir.  Not everything.”

It took some time to see the clarity in that, but he knows it now.  Knows he wouldn’t risk his brother for anything, not even revenge, not even preventing his destiny.  They can find another way to do this, Sam thinks.

Sam thinks they’ll make it to the hospital in time.

Sam thinks his father will understand.

Sam thinks they’ve dodged a bullet.

And landed right in the path of two tons of metal at sixty miles an hour.

And this time--this time--Sam realizes they are all right.  Life does flash before your eyes.  Sam just never knew it before because he’s never been this close to the edge, never felt himself falling toward the precipice with no way to stop himself.  He could lose everything, if not his own life, his father, his brother.  His family.

All he has.

No, sir.  Not everything.

It’s one moment.  An important moment, but just one.  There’s more to the story.  There’s his father tied to a bed and a splash of holy water that doesn’t do anything.  There’s a girl in a chair and Sam didn’t mean to kill her, but he knows it’s partly his fault.  There’s his brother with a hand on Sam’s chest, his father in his face, Sam’s rage rallying deep within him as he fights a battle he’ll never win.

And more.

He sees Dean in a puddle in a basement, the smell of burnt flesh in the air.  He’s not moving, he’s not moving, and the gun is still in his lax, lax fingers.  The doctor says “I’m sorry,” and Sam trades some kid’s life for his brother’s without ever knowing it, without ever regretting it.

And he’s dreaming about his house, the one he first came home to as a baby, one he doesn’t remember.  There’s someone else living there now, but somehow it still feels like home.  Sam stands in his nursery and tries to think about his mother kissing him goodnight, his father changing his diaper.  He tries to imagine a crib and some toys, not his mother on the ceiling (a nightgown and a red slash across her stomach, he knows, he knows without even knowing).

Then he’s at Stanford, coming back after a weekend away.  He thinks, this is good.  Maybe he can have it both ways.  Maybe he can have a family and have his dreams.  Maybe Dean will accept him the way he is, and maybe someday Dad will, too.  Maybe Dean will stand at his wedding, maybe his father will give a speech at the rehearsal dinner.  Maybe Jess will say how she sees the resemblance between them all.

But all Jess says is “Why, Sam, why?”  Because she’s on the ceiling, in a nightgown, a red slash across her stomach, and Sam knows because he knows the moment before everything lights up with fire.  In all of it, sometimes his biggest regret is that he didn’t burn with her, like maybe he was supposed to all those years ago.

And there’s more.  Meeting Jess at the bus stop, and seeing her smile for the first time.  Getting the acceptance letter to Stanford, the look of betrayal on Dean’s face, the anger on his father’s.  Being fourteen and writing a paper that’s as true as anything he’s ever written and discovering that sometimes the truth is a lie and the lies are the only truth that matters. 

His first hunt.  Finding out the truth.  The crappy motel room when he is seven and falls off the couch and breaks his wrist.  His cast is green and his friends at school write on it, and so he remembers their names even after they move.

Scratching his name into the trunk of the Impala.  Learning to walk while his father cleans guns on a motel room bed.  Sharing a bowl of Cheerios with Dean for dinner because it’s all they have left before their father finally (maybe) remembers to go to the store.

He imagines his mother’s smile as she holds him as a baby.  He sees her round and full, putting Dean’s hand to her belly to feel Sam kick.  “If you are quiet, you can feel him move,” she says (and she’s beautiful, happy and smiling and alive).  “This is your brother, Dean.  This is the start of his life.”

And this could be the end.

If given the choice, Sam would have given his life up willingly for his family.  Sam’s not afraid to die for a cause that matters, but he’s afraid to die for a cause he doesn’t understand.  He doesn’t want to die in vain; he doesn’t want to give up the fight until he knows they’re safe, that not everyone has to die before the last chapter is told.

Sam can still hear the metal crunching all around him.  Glass is flying and he’s rocked back and forth.  The steering wheel is hard when his head hits it and Sam can taste blood, slick and coppery, coating his tongue.

There is a quality about this, a certain clarity.  It happens in slow motion and Sam sees it all, one point after the next.  He sees the car get run off the road, strong body yielding under the semi’s sizable weight.  He sees his father hurled against the door, Dean lolling in the back seat.  It’s like Newton’s Laws of Physics.  Things put in motion, stay in motion.

Stay in motion.

Sam can’t stop this; Sam can’t stop anything. 

He’s helpless, like a baby in his mother’s womb.  It ends like it begins, with things they can’t control and the decision to live or die not within their hands.

Sam’s been in near death situations before.  Some, a lot worse than this.  Hell, he hunts down things that want to kill him on a weekly basis, so the whole nearly dying thing is kind of par for the course.  True, he’s still a bit rusty with it all, and he’s been lucky since he’s been back.  Not even a trip to the hospital for his troubles. 

So Sam knows the drill.  He knows what should happen.

This time, however.  Is different.

His breath doesn’t catch, his heart doesn’t skip a beat.  Everything is suspended, time and space, and Sam understands what it’s like to hold onto his life by a string, watch it waft and waver in a strong and uncertain wind.  If he lets go, he’ll never get it back.  But the more he holds on, the less he has to grasp.

But Sam’s seen his life.  He knows it better than he wants to.  It can’t be over yet, it can’t be over yet, and even if it’s not Sam’s choice, he clenches his fists, steels himself and lets oblivion come.

Comments

Page 1 of 2[1][2]
Posted by: CJ (flawlessglitch)
Posted at: August 21st, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Sam- Tied Up

Oh my gosh.

This is just...beyond words beautiful.

Wow.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
dork

Thank you so much!

Posted by: borgmama1of5 (borgmama1of5)
Posted at: August 21st, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)

Wow!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
find me

Thanks!

Posted by: CeCe Away (cece_away)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)

Man! Speechless here.

I hit a lightpole once and everything seriously did move in slow motion, believe it or not.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
dazed

I've never had the slow motion thing happen to me, but I can imagine how scary that would be! I'm glad you liked the fic :)

Posted by: supernaturaldh (supernaturaldh)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Loved this

This was just an awesome read. You could feel Sam's emotions as the semi hit the Impala. I loved it. Thanks once again for an wonderful read.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Loved this
bruised sam

I'm flattered you enjoyed it! Thank you :)

Posted by: dtwilight (dtwilight)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Sam

This was great and I loved the little look into Sam's state of mind. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
christmas awe

I always like looking at things from Sam's POV. Thank you!

Posted by: Maimat the Rat (maimat)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 12:45 pm (UTC)

Excellent story!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
brothers malleus

Thanks so much!

Posted by: carocali (carocali)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)

Isn't it funny how this seems to be the easy way for Sam? Back then it was just building up. Knowing the guilt that Sam has, I bet he wishes it would have ended back there.

Always love your trips through Sam's head. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
brothers herding

Sam is such a tragic character--to think that all his early angst was just a precursor--it hard even seems fair.

Thanks!

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)

This is brilliant!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
brothers2

Thank you!

Posted by: tifaching (tifaching)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)

Wow. That's brilliant!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
doe eyed

Thanks so much!

Posted by: jessm78 (jessm78)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
Supernatural: Sam & Dean (ELAC final sce

Oh my gosh. My heart aches for Sam so badly here.

Yet it reminds me of just how much I love him.

Amazing job.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
i have these nightmares

Sam is such a tragic character. And yeah--it reminds me why I love him, too :)

Thanks!

Posted by: harrigan (harrigan)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)

Ouch!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
alone

Thanks :)

Posted by: scullspeare (scullspeare)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)

I loved Devil's Trap and In My Time of Dying, but poor battered Sam kind of got short shrift in the transition. So, I really love fic that gets inside his head during this time.

Excellent job with this; loved the life passing before his eyes moments as he falls into unconsciousness.

Beautiful.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
broken sam

I'm with you--I thought they were two stellar eps, but I would have loved for some more insight into Sam in them.

Thanks!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 28th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
brothers herding

Thank you so much for your kind words!

Posted by: floralia2 (floralia2)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
Sam - gun shot

This is so painful. Sam makes the realisation that some things are worth more to him than understanding or vengeance, and almost the instant he does they’re taken away from him anyway. His trip down memory lane is moving, but it’s so depressing knowing it’s just going to get worse. You always seem to break my heart just a little bit more each time. (I mean that it a good way)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
brothers2

Sam never gets a reprieve in the show--worse yet, every decision he makes, good or bad, is ultimately for the worse. My heart breaks for him.

Thanks!

Posted by: gidgetgal9 (gidgetgal9)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)

The finale of Season one was so traumatic and you really captured the pain and confusion Sam had to be feeling in dealing with the crash on top of everything else. :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 29th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
bloody hero

In so many ways, this is still my favorite season finale. S5 did good in the end, but this one was just amazing :)

Thanks!

31 Read Comments
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