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SPN Fic: Heat of the Moment 1/1

August 17th, 2011 (07:49 pm)

Title:  Heat of the Moment
Author: faye_dartmouth 
Rating: PG
Warnings: Set post Mystery Spot
Disclaimer:  Not mine.
Recipient:  swellison 
Word Count: 2900
Author’s Note: It’s been a long time since I’ve written Sam and Dean so I apologize that this is so short and a little hard up on plot.  Much thanks to sendintheklowns  for the beta.  Written for summer_sam_love .
Prompt: Included at the end of the fic.
Summary: It’s the heat of the moment again. It’s going to happen again.  Dean’s going to die.  Sam’s going to do everything he can and it’s not going to be enough.  It’s going to be like this forever.


It’s a dream he can’t wake up from.  Vivid and real, visceral and unrelenting.  Sam dreams in Technicolor, so the color of Dean’s blood seems to penetrate everything he sees.

No, it’s not a dream.  This could never be a dream.  It’s a nightmare.

Dean lives, Dean dies.  He’s there, he’s not.  Sam knows what’s coming and can’t stop it.  Can never stop it.  He knows every detail, knows every variable, but still can’t change the outcome.  The future is painted with Dean’s blood, a bloody message on the wall, sealing Sam’s fate for eternity.

The grief could encompass him--and Sam would let it.  He would give into it, surrender to it.  But it never takes him in.  It rejects him, pushes him out and forces him to endure. 

And in Sam’s sleep, he can still hear the song.  The lyrics are emblazoned on his subconscious and it’s the soundtrack of the nightmare.  And Dean always sings with his head bobbing, his heart throbbing, without a care in the world.

(It’s a lie, though.  Dean has so many cares.  Too many cares.  And Sam still sees the writing on the wall, dripping with blood and entrails as the hounds wail in the distance.)

Sam’s holding an axe, a gun, a knife.  He’s pushing Dean out of the way and into new danger.  He’s holding a bleeding body, a broken body, a lost soul.  He holds it so tight that he never wants to let go.  He closes his eyes and bows his head but the weight is gone.  He opens his eyes and it’s like Dean was never there.  Just his blood, all over Sam’s hands, all over everything.

(It’s always been that way, since he was six months old, since Jessica’s blood landed on his forehead, the constant drip of condemnation that Sam can’t escape.)

It’s the heat of the moment that never passes.  It just stays, it just stays and plays again and again.  He’s stuck in the moment, trapped in it, and he’s burning alive but it never consumes him.


It’s the melody of his nightmares now.  He used to dream of Jessica on the ceiling or of other people dying horrible deaths. 

Now he dreams of Dean, alive one moment, dead the next.  No matter what Sam does, it always ends up the same. 


Sam’s left with an empty spot in his soul that just keeps growing and growing and growing.

(And it’s going to swallow him whole.  Consume him, take him down to the pit.  Dean is going to be pulled by hounds but Sam will just lose himself and wake up there all on his own.)

And then, Sam wakes up.

He wakes up and the world is different.  There’s a new song on the radio.  There’s a new day ahead.  Dean’s there.  Dean’s alive.

This morning, though, the song doesn’t change.  It blares, loud and unforgiving into Sam’s ears.

It’s the heat of the moment.

He always hears it, but it’s so real this time.  The volume seems to blare into his eyes, unrelenting and with no possible escape.

It’s the heat of the moment.

It burns like hellfire and freezes like eternity.

(The Trickster tried to tell him, but Sam didn’t want to believe him.  Chose not to believe him.)

It’s the heat of the moment.

Dean is going to die.

(Dean is always going to die because Sam’s just not good enough.)

Panic surges through Sam.  It’s the heat of the moment again.  Again and again and again and again.  It’s going to happen again.  Dean’s going to die.  Sam’s going to do everything he can and it’s not going to be enough.  It’s going to be like this forever.

It hurts so much to think about, Sam can hardly breathe.  His heart is stuck in his throat and he feels like he’s choking.  He might be choking as his mind reels as the song keeps playing.

And then, it stops.

Sam blinks and looks over at the other bed.  Dean is rolling over and presses his face into the pillow.  He grumbles, “It can’t be morning already.”

Sam blinks again and tries to understand.  This isn’t the same.  This isn’t his nightmare.  This is a different day.

It settles like a revelation.

This is a different day.

The song’s the same, but the day is different.

Dean squints at him.  “You okay?” he asks, still groggy.

Sam’s mouth is open and he finally remembers how to breathe.  “Yeah,” he says and it sounds unconvincing, even to him.  He takes a moment just to feel his body working, to feel his heart pounding in his chest, the blood rushing through his veins, to remind himself that this is real (because sometimes it’s not).  “I--yeah.”

Dean can always tell when something is off with Sam (Dean always knows), and he sits up, scratches his head and swings his legs over the edge of the bed.  “Sam?”

Sam tries to shake it off.  He tries to lose the vestiges of the dream.  Of reality.  He can hardly tell the difference sometimes.

(He wonders if they’re really all that different after all.  If they’re as different as he wants them to be.)

Still, he manages to laugh because if the nightmares have taught him anything, it’s how to stay strong--for Dean.  He shakes his head.  “Just that song.”

It’s an understatement, and Sam’s tries for wry humor with it.  He’s not sure he pulls it off, but Dean seems willing to give him this much.

“Dude, I know you have issues with music,” Dean says with his eyebrows raised, and he matches Sam’s humor with a coyness of his own.  “But this song isn’t that bad.”

This isn’t about the song, even if it is.  It’s about the song and more than the song.  It’s the song Sam can’t get out of his head, just like he can’t get anything out of his head.  It’s about the way the song changed him, the way he dreads it, the way he’s not the same every time it plays.

“It’s the song,” Sam tries to explain, tries to find the words.  He doesn’t even know why he bothers to explain--most of the time, he wouldn’t.  But hearing that song.  Hearing it in his dreams--he can’t even stop himself.  “The song that played every day when you...when the Trickster...”

It’s all Sam can manage to say, but still, it’s enough.

Dean knows.  Sam can feel it in his gaze.  Sure, Dean doesn’t know everything--he couldn’t.  Sam’s never told him.  Sam never will, but somehow Dean still knows.

(Dean knows but doesn’t say anything.  Doesn’t ask.  They exist here, in the things not said, in the moments unrealized.  It’s a tentative balance on the edge of a dark precipice and sometimes Sam thinks they’ll fall because they don’t know how to reach out and hold each other to make it stop.)

“Oh,” Dean says, and he hesitates.  Then he reaches over and turns off the radio.  He shrugs and smiles easily.  “Well, I can see how listening to the same song for 100 days might make you OD a little on it.”

It might do more than that.  It has done more than that.  Dean doesn’t quite know, though.  He does, but he can’t because he doesn’t remember.

Sometimes, Sam wants to tell him.  Sometimes, he wants to just break down and tell Dean everything.  Wants to tell him about all the ways a person can die, all the ways a soul can break.  He wants to tell him what the Trickster told him, about the damning freedom he was given in the end.  Sam wants to tell him about what it was like. 

(Wants to tell him about knowing the conversation before anyone says it, wants to tell him about seeing all the ways someone can die, wants to tell him about hunting for six months on his own, about bleeding alone in motel rooms and wishing he could just die once since Dean died so many times.)

He wants to tell Dean what it’s like to lose your soul, piece by piece.  He wants to tell Dean how scared he is--for what might happen to Dean, for what will happen to Sam.

But it’s still the heat of the moment.  It doesn’t change anything.

So Sam looks at Dean--just looks at him.  Looks at him and tells himself to keep breathing.  Tells himself that this isn’t the same.  This isn’t the nightmare.  Dean isn’t going to electrocute himself in the bathroom.  He’s not going to choke on his breakfast.  He’s not going to get hit by a car, smashed by a desk, or shot to death.  Dean’s not going to die.

Well, Dean’s not going to die today.

Because the future isn’t set in stone (it’s not the same day, it’s not the Trickster’s world) but maybe it’s still something Sam can’t change.

Sam can’t change it, just like he can’t change the dreams at night and he can’t change Dean’s deal.  Just like he can’t change the song on the radio.

Dean’s still going to die.  Dean’s going to die because Sam doesn’t know how to save him.  Dean’s going to be taken to hell and ripped to shreds for an entire eternity and Sam’s going to keep waking up to the Heat of the Moment day after day for the rest of his long and miserable life.

The Trickster made the time loop, but Sam made this mess and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t unmake it.  Hunting down the Trickster had been relatively easy.  Finding a way to break Dean’s deal--is an exercise in futility.

It’s sort of like living the same day over and over.

(And over and over and over until sanity isn’t something that even matters, until things like safety and normal and identity have any meaning whatsoever.  Just over and over until all you are is a single day, a single moment, a single mistake you can’t take back.)

Because all the days have felt the same since Dean made the deal.  Cold and depressing and lingering with inevitable tragedy.  The only thing that changes is Sam’s growing desperation as he tries and fails to break the cycle.

“Sam?” Dean asks.  He’s watching Sam carefully now, concern couched in his expression.  He knows, but he doesn’t, and for everything Dean has pieced together, there are five things he’ll never know unless Sam tells him.  “You’re starting to act a little weird.  Or, you know, weirder.”

Sam looks at him again.  Just keeps looking at him.  He’s giving himself away and he knows it.  He’s letting down the facades that he works so hard to keep in place, but he can’t help it.  He can’t help it.

(He can’t help anything, he’s useless and worthless and no matter how good he is, it’s not good enough.)

It’s the heat of the moment.

Dean looks so alive.  He’s vibrant and real and alive.  His brother has so much to live for and so much to offer.  He could be a great hunter.  Or he could be a great man in anything.  He could have a family, a career, a life.  He could be anything, do anything, be anyone.  Dean has potential that he hasn’t even let himself tap and he’s signed it all away.

And for what?

For Sam?

For a kid with demon blood who brings tragedy to anyone who loves him?  People die because of him.  People live because of Dean.  It shouldn’t be such a surprise then that Dean will die for Sam.

(Dean’s been trying to die for Sam all his life and Sam’s tried to run away and they’ll both get what they want even when it’s not like that at all.)

Maybe it’s not a surprise.  Just like the radio playing the same song isn’t a surprise.  Sam knows what’s coming.  Expects it in his bones, in his blood.

He just can’t stop it.  No matter how hard he tries.

“Sammy?” Dean asks again, a twinge of urgency now.  “You’re really starting to freak me out here, dude.”

Sam actually laughs at that because he’s been freaking himself out for months now.  Maybe longer--he can’t even keep track of it anymore.  “Just starting to?” he asks, too aware of the near-hysterical lilt of his voice.

Dean’s brow furrows slightly.  “Is there something you want to tell me?

Sam stares.  He wants to tell Dean everything.  He wants to tell his brother that he doesn’t know how to stop this.  That he doesn’t know how to keep this cycle from happening again.  Like with their mother, Jessica, their dad.  Sam can’t stop it, never could stop it. 

He wants to tell Dean he’s sorry.  He wants to tell Dean that he’s not worth it.  He wants to explain to his brother once and for all that he can’t do this alone.  That Sam will never be strong enough to survive without Dean.  That if Dean goes, Sam’s going to follow one way or another.  It may not be quick and it may not be easy, but Sam’s already starting to self-destruct and the only thing keeping him together is Dean.

(He has to save Dean.  He can’t fall apart because if he does, there’s no one left for Dean.  Dean can’t be the last man standing because Dean’s already been the last man standing and it cost him everything.  Or maybe he’s just better at it than Sam is.)

He wants to tell Dean the truth about the Trickster.  He wants to tell Dean that he probably won’t be able to find a way.  He wants to tell Dean that he loves him, he needs him, he wishes it were him instead.

He wants to tell Dean how scared he is.  That every night he goes to bed thinking about the deal and every morning he wakes up with a scream in his throat about how he still can’t change it.

(Tell Dean that he doesn’t know how, doesn’t know because he’s tried everything and more, doesn’t know because he’s tried everything and failed, failed, failed.)

He wants to tell Dean.

But looking at his brother, seeing the worry on his face, the love behind his features, Sam can’t.  If Dean’s a dying man, then he doesn’t need Sam’s issues.  He doesn’t need Sam’s guilt of his apologies.  He needs a brother fighting by his side, laboring in the face of the impossible, just like they always have.

Just like they always should.

Sam collects a breath and controls himself.  He ghosts a smile, shaking his head.  “No,” he says.  “Just a dream.  The song threw me out of whack.”

Normally, that would be enough.  Normally, Dean would take the lie at face value because that’s just what they do.  Talking about these things, admitting fear and regret and doubt and uncertainty--it’s too hard now, especially with the deadline looming ever closer.

And Sam wants it to be true.  He wishes he could let go of it just that simple, let it melt away into his subconscious, unimportant.

Since he can’t, the lies will have to do.  Most days, they’re enough.

Dean looks at him, though.  In his pajamas, hair still mussed--looks at Sam.  He seems to see what Sam isn’t saying.  Seems to read the tragedy Sam won’t acknowledge haunting the depths of Sam’s eyes.

No matter what they normally do, this time Dean doesn’t let it go.

“You can tell me,” Dean says, voice quiet and strangely gentle.  They don’t do this often.  They’re so busy figuring out the hows and whys that they rarely stop to talk about how it makes them feel.  “I’m here.”

It’s such a simple statement.  It’s such an honest truth.  It’s such an earnest plea.  Dean is offering this solace of vulnerability, he’s letting all the walls down.  He’s giving Sam the chance to talk and come clean, to share and be unburdened.

And Dean is here, and that’s a tempting offer.  Sam wants to cling to it while he has it, never take it for granted.  He doesn’t know how to take it for granted, not when he closes his eyes and dreams in blood and wakes to a nightmare that just lingers on.

Dean’s here.

(Just not for long.)

Someday Sam will wake up, and Dean will be gone, just like the dream.  But if he fights the dream so hard, he’ll fight the reality harder.  Because he has to.  He has no other choice. 

(Not in the heat of the moment.  Not ever.)

Now, the smile on Sam’s face is painful.  He swallows hard and nods, refusing to let his tears break through.  “Yeah,” he says with bittersweet reality.  He breathes to solidify the promise still roiling in his gut.  Because Dean is here, and it’s up to Sam to make sure that it stays that way.  “I know.”


Prompt:  About a month after Mystery Spot, Sam wakes up to "Heat of the Moment" playing on the radio at *that* time (I forget if it's 7:32 or 8:32 am) and freaks out. Dean coaxes out of Sam what's wrong, and gets a better feeling for what those 100 days of Tuesdays were like for Sam. Also, Sam has the chance to come clean about that extra 6 months he's spent alone. Does he tell Dean, or just angst about it, unwilling to let Dean know (so close to Dean's going to Hell) that Sam alone is a *very bad option*, and Sam furthers his resolve to prevent Dean's deal.


Posted by: monicawoe (monicawoe)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)

Oh, ouch.

This is beautifully written. Poor, poor Sam. Poor Dean.

Excellent work!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 12:30 pm (UTC)
never alone

Mystery Spot is one of those eps that can be written about endlessly for all its angst. Thanks!

Posted by: dtwilight (dtwilight)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)

Loved it! I love to read all stories that are Mystery Spot related and you did a wonderful job.

Thanks for sharing!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
never desert you

It is amusing how popular Mystery Spot has been during this exchange. Though it's really not all that surprising since it's a critical Sam ep :)


Posted by: I want another pony (verucasalt123)
Posted at: August 21st, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)

Beautiful and so ouch.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 25th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
never alone

Thank you :)

Posted by: swellison (swellison)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)

Oh, this is awesome. You delved into Sam's head and *stayed* there.
"Finding a way to break Dean’s deal--is an exercise in futility.

It’s sort of like living the same day over and over."
These lines and the parallel Sam draws between the 100 Tuesdays and his never-ending and never-successful hunt for a way out of Dean's deal just blew me away. Thank you SO much for writing this for me!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 25th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
bloody hero

I kept meaning for this fic to have more plot, so I hope the jaunt into Sam's head wasn't TOO much for one fic. I'm just relieved that you liked it!

Thanks :)

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