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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Fic: Eyes Wide Open 1b/2

A/N: This post was only split due to length restrictions on LJ.  As I said in the last part, part 2 (probably a and b) will be up in a day or so. Part 1a here.


-o-

It’s June and Lincoln is hot.  Children spend their days running through sprinklers and jumping in pools.  Mothers sit with their babies under shade trees and awnings, sipping bottled water and talking about who-said-what around town.

That’s where the rumors start.  That something’s not right on Redmond Lane.

A doctor lives there who works at the hospital.  She has a handsome husband, too; good woman with a good man.  A teacher--high school math and he coaches junior high basketball in the winter.  They’ve tried, God knows, to have kids, and it’s a little sad, but they’re getting by.

At least they were.  But something’s funny now.  Something about that house.  Lights on all night.  And the smell.  Like there’s something rank in the garbage, but it just never goes away.  Then loud noises at the most random times.  The pretty little flower bed by the driveway all shriveled up.

They stop coming out together.  No more baseball games, no more twilight walks.  They see her leave for work and come home again, but he hasn’t been seen in nearly a month.

And what is with this weather lately?  The craziest freak storms you ever saw.  Global warming--maybe Al Gore is right.

It’s gossip to them, odd tidbits and noteworthy morsels, but it’s something more.  When a ‘67 Chevy rolls into town, no one notices but the kid down the street who’s in to muscle cars.  No one even looks twice at the guy who flashes his CDC badge door to door, asking about anything weird, anything at all.

It’s not the badge or the case he mentions that they remember; it’s the smell on his breath--too minty fresh to be real--and those bags under his eyes--poor boy looks worked half to death. 

When he finally knocks on the door 2717 Redmond Lane, though, it’s a different story entirely.  The rest of the neighbors were curious and perplexed, but that doctor and her husband were a whole lot more than that. 

Because it’s not the doctor or her husband.  It’s two demons, straight from Hell, powerful and bent on mayhem.  So when he goes to that door, it’s a fight both sides are ready for. 

To the rest of the neighbors, though, it’s just another random development.  There’s the sizzle of holy water and the screech of the other world but the kids next door just turn the TV up higher and wonder what kind of kinky stuff is going on.

The struggle inside is brief, because the man knows what he’s doing.  He can barely walk straight, but he’s focused; undeterred.  Subduing them is the hard part, because knocking out a demon is no easy feat, and it takes almost more holy water than he has, especially since his aim’s not very good these days.

The holy water subdues them enough; there’s no point in tying them for now.  Without the symbols on the floor, the demons could break any bond, anyway, so he just needs to get his ass in gear.

He drinks hard and fast from a flask in his pocket (which he always holds near) and the taste of whiskey is the most alive he can feel at all.

The house is already a mess, with furniture overturned and pictures askew and the collection of glass stemware in the china cabinet has seen better days.  He takes spray paint to the floors and pours salt liberally at the door and doesn’t think twice because, even if he were sober, he would know it has to be this way.

Luckily he knows how to make the sigils in his sleep, so doing it while drunk is not that much harder.  The lines bend and curve with his unsteady hand, but crude or not, they’ll do the trick.

He makes two--a his and hers--and drags the bodies into the center of each.  Pulling in two chairs from the kitchen, he props one body up in each and ties them down, because it makes it a little easier when they can’t move at all.

When he’s done, he trips backwards into a chair and gropes through his pocket for the flask.  Another drink and his vision blurs, and he wishes he were someplace else.

He’s staring, almost sleeping, when the first one stirs.  He spares a second for one more drink before he lumbers to his feet.

The woman in the chair looks confused at first, then annoyed as she looks at Sam.  Her eyes flash demon black and her smile is vile.  “Sam Winchester,” the demon coos.

Sam offers a half-hearted grin and starts the exorcism.  He knows it by heart, because there is nothing else for him to do with his time.

She grimaces.  “What, no interrogation?” she asks.  “No demands?  No, tell me what I want to know or I’ll send you back to hell?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says.  “I’m sending you back anyway.”  And keeps the litany going.

She trembles, and pain escapes in a grunt.  She stares up at him through blonde hair that isn’t hers.  “You disappoint me,” she says.  “They said you’d gone off the deep end, but I figured you’d at least try a little harder.”

He doesn’t even respond to that one, just keeps going.

Her head snaps back and she lets out a holler.  “Narrow minded!” she yells and her head drops down to look at him.  “So blinded by your grief that you don’t see an opportunity looking you in the face.”

“You’re not Lilith,” he tells her simply.  “There’s nothing you can offer me.”

“Are you so sure?” she asks, panting now.

He thinks back to the line of demons who have tried to barter with him.  He thinks to the ones that have tried to kill him.  He thinks about the crossroads demon and how his soul is useless. 

He can’t help it.  He laughs.  “Yes,” he says and he keeps chanting.

Because he knows that the demons have what they want.  Sam thinks maybe he was a ploy all along, that maybe the entire damn universe is just setting him up for failure.  The Yellow Eyed Demon, the Trickster, Lilith--all using him, using the people around him to get him alone, to get him vulnerable, to make him hurt and ache.

Maybe it’s about Dean.  Maybe it’s about him.  Maybe it’s about neither of them and both of them and maybe life just sucks.

Sam doesn’t care.  He has his flask of whiskey and a memorized exorcism and two demons to kill.  The demons never needed a reason, and now he doesn’t either.  It doesn’t bring Dean back (it never brings Dean back) and it doesn’t make him feel any better (nothing makes him feel better), but it’s one more thing to do that doesn’t involve swallowing his own gun.

She’s screaming now, fast and incoherent, there’s begging and some pleading and, then, it’s over with a retch of smoke and a shudder that rocks the house.

The woman’s body goes limp in the chair, held up by the ropes, and Sam doesn’t bother to check her as he turns his attention to the man.

And that’s when he realizes the mistake.

Well, there have been lots of mistakes.  But this one may just cost him what little he has left.

Because the man’s black eyes look up at him, awake and alert.  He cocks his head to the side and grins.  “Took you long enough,” he said.  “Funny.  I heard you were better than that.  Oh, wait.  That was before.  With Dean.  Dean always was the better half of you, wasn’t he?”

Sam just stares, feeling blank.  He should probably panic, maybe start reciting, maybe do something, but it’s a hard thing because they always talked about how demons lied, but really, in the end, they more often just told the truth.

A hiss of Latin and a tilt of the head and the floor shakes and cracks just enough to ruin the entire thing.  The trap is broken, the seal undone, and Sam’s got nothing but an exorcism and a flask to defend himself.

The knife is over in the bag.  So is the rest of the holy water.  His lunge in that direction is meager to say the least.

He hits a wall before he makes it two feet and he falls to the ground in a rain of plaster.  Staggering, he rolls to his front, making it to his knees before he’s flying again.  He smashes into an end table this time, taking a lamp hard in the kidney, and when he opens his eyes, he’s looking at the small man stalking toward him.

“The great Sam Winchester,” the demon says.  “Immune to so much.”  His smile widens.  “But not to the simple stuff.”

A flick of the wrist and Sam hits the ceiling, but doesn’t fall, flies instead to a far wall where breaking through the plaster rattles his brain.  There’s not a second of reprieve before he smashes into something glass this time, raining shards in his hair, and he falls face first into a sea of it.

For a second, he can’t move.  His body aches and his chest feels tight.  His head throbs and his vision is dark around the edges.  He’s screwed.  He’s got no back up and there’s a demon on the loose and he couldn’t walk a straight line even before this all began.

“Lilith is a genius,” the man’s voice says.  “A true capitalist.  Lobbies the marketplace to get what she wants for the best price possible.  You Americans should revere her.  She sees your poor little soul rotting in the afterlife and sees Dean Winchester bending over backwards to get you out.  And why not?  Dean’s soul is pure and good--well, was pure and good.  The things he’s up to these days--that’s another story entirely.”

That’s the part that pushes him over the edge and he’s crying and he can’t stop and he doesn’t care.  “Shut up,” he spits out, and blood runs down his chin.

The demon cocks his head with mock sympathy.  “But you haven’t heard the best part, Sam,” he says.

Sam doesn’t want to.  He really doesn’t want to.  But the demon saunters closer, too close.  There’s no force holding Sam back this time, but he still can’t move.

The demon licks the lips of its host and its gaze seems to bore into Sam’s skull.  “The best part, the kicker that makes Lilith damn near perfect, is that she got your brother to sell his soul for you.  Your soul?  Isn’t worth anything.  What does Hell want with another tarnished soul?  You’re already ours.  We don’t need to trade for you.  We don’t need to worry about whatever good deeds you try to tell yourself you’re doing on earth.  Your eternal torment was planned from the day old Azazel bled in your mouth.  And yet, by having you up here, we got something so much more.  Dean threw his soul away for you, so you could live.  Well, now, isn’t that funny.  Here you are.  But I wouldn’t really call this pathetic existence living, would you?”

No, Sam wouldn’t.  It was nothing like living, it was everything like dying and Sam just wants it to be over.

This is the moment, though.  Sam’s been here so many times.  That last chance.  The final escape.  Demons are prone to monologuing, to laying it all out on the table, and that’s where they get sloppy.  Where they let their guard down.  Sam should be plotting, should be eyeing the bag with the knife and the holy water and be ready to make that one last leap to save himself.

This is the moment, and Sam knows it.

He lets it pass.

The demon smirks.  “And you roll over and play dead,” he says.  “Once and future king.  Killing you doesn’t change anything, but damn.  It’ll make me feel good.”

And Sam just closes his eyes, swallows blood, and prays one last time for this to end.

-o-

“Sam wouldn’t give up,” Dean said before he could even think anything else.

“It was pretty hard to miss.”

Dean shook his head.  He knew Sam, and that wasn’t his brother.  That wasn’t the younger brother who defied everything and ran off to Stanford.  That wasn’t the Sam who had stood up to their dad up to the very end.  That wasn’t the Sam who could cold-heartedly summon a demon just to blow it and its host away.  That wasn’t the Sam who could lie to Dean’s face without a flicker of remorse.

No, Sam was a fighter.  For better or worse, always a fighter.  “Well, seeing as you were possessed, I’m not sure you are the most reliable witness.”

Her face hardened.  “I was awake for all of it,” she told him.  “The demons in my house, using me and my husband.  I was awake when that demon took me on my rounds and prescribed the wrong meds and let some guy bleed out just for kicks.  And by the time Sam rolled over and played dead?  I was awake and in charge of my own body and scared out of my mind.”

Dean still couldn’t buy it.  “So you caught the tail end of a fight,” Dean said.  “The hunt’s hard.  It happens.”

“Sam nearly died that night,” she said.  “The demon nearly killed him.”

“Nearly being the operative word,” Dean insisted stiffly.

Her face turned with a flicker of disgust.  “And just where were you exactly while Sam was getting himself nearly killed?”

Dean blanched in spite of himself.  “None of your damn business.”

“Well, then don’t tell me how it was,” she said.  “Sam was a walking disaster and didn’t have a single person to back him up, and now I learn he’s got a big brother around?  Doesn’t add up.  Seems to me that wherever you were, you left the kid out to dry, so don’t sit there and act like you know how it was.”

“I didn’t leave by choice,” he told her harshly. 

Her gaze didn’t soften.  “So where were you?”

“You do not want to know.”

“I figured you were dead,” she blurted.

Dean’s expression turned guarded.  “Did Sam tell you that?”

“Sam didn’t tell me crap,” she said.  “All I knew was that there was a Dean and that he wasn’t around.  And I couldn’t figure why anyone would leave a kid in the state Sam was in without being dead.”

Dean offered her a half-hearted smile.  “Do I look dead to you?”

She seemed to consider that.  “So that still doesn’t tell me where you were.”

“And I’ll keep telling you it is none of your damn business.”

She didn’t look amused.  “Fine.  But you wanted the details,” she told him indignantly.  “So I’m telling you the details so don’t start questioning them.”

“No, I wanted the truth,” he said.  “Not some overly-dramatic version of it.”

“No, you want the truth that makes your life easier,” she snapped back.  “You want to think that Sam was a-okay for some reason.  I don’t know why you think that.”

Dean leaned forward, a surge of anger moving through him.  “I don’t want to think that.  I just have to make sense of it.  Because Sam’s been able to hunt just fine since I’ve been back.  He’s been his usually bitchy self, only on a whole new level.  I’m not seeing any suicidal tendencies.  No drinking binges.  Not even alcohol hiding in the car.  No, my brother’s doing just fine.  His tendency to be a jackass is just who he is now.”

“Wait,” she said, a disbelieving smile on her face.  “Are you pissed because you think your brother is stronger than that or are you pissed because you don’t think he missed you enough during whatever summer vacation you were on?”

Dean wanted to scoff, to deny, but her question hit him harder than he would have expected.  It was that niggling doubt that had hit him the minute he found a girl in Sam’s motel room.  That pain in knowing that, of all the things Sam had failed to follow through on, his ability to move on after Dean’s death wasn’t one of them.

“You don’t think he missed you,” she said, gaping a little.  “Dean, you’ve got it all wrong.  When I tell you Sam wanted to die, I mean he wanted to die.  And if he ever was the person you seem to think he was, then there was a pretty big reason for it.  I don’t know where you were or why you two weren’t together, but whatever went down, I’m guessing it changed your brother.  He didn’t even try to defend himself against that demon, and it gave him every chance.  I can’t imagine that’s exactly called good hunting.  When I tried to get him to go to the hospital, he flat out refused.”

Dean gave a small shrug, his face guarded.  Still didn’t add up.  Still didn’t explain Sam’s lies.  “We’re not big into hospitals.”

“A few stitches, sure,” she agreed.  “Sam was bleeding out.  How he didn’t shatter half the bones in his face, I’m still not sure.  He almost died right there in that bedroom you slept in.”

“If he was so bad off, why didn’t you call for help?”

Her gaze was penetrating.  “My house looked like a war zone and that didn’t even begin to describe the weird drawings all over the place.  I just--didn’t want to deal with it.  I don’t think I was ready to admit it to myself.  I mean--I still don’t even know how to wrap my mind around what happened to me.”

“So you decided to just play doctor at home?”

“I had the skills and enough equipment,” she said, shrugging slightly.  “Couldn’t swing a blood transfusion but I could pump him full of fluids to help him ride it out.  Seemed like the thing to do at the time.  I may know a thing or two about coping mechanisms myself.  Avoidance is a personal favorite.  At least it’s not quite as self destructive as drinking and sloppy exorcisms.”

“Hey, I’m not saying Sam didn’t go through something,” Dean said, because, okay, yeah.  He would have to suspect as much.  Watching your brother get killed right in front of you was no picnic.  Dean knew that from experience.  But life sucks.  Sam moved on.  That much Dean had seen.  “But he got over.  By the time I got back, he was stone cold sober and getting some action.”

And, if he were honest with himself, that hurt.  Seeing Sam shacking up with a girl while he was pulling himself out of a grave had been difficult enough.  Finding out that it’d been Ruby--a demon and that his brother had continued to hunt with her even after Dean had gotten back?  Was yet more evidence of the depth of Sam’s betrayal.

She rolled her eyes.  “Yeah, and no one ever uses sex as an escape.”

Well, fine.  Maybe.  But it had been a damn fine coping mechanism.  And it didn’t change the fact that it wasn’t the sex that bothered him.  It was Ruby.  She was a demon who had lied to Sam up until the very end--well, Dean’s end. 

Funny how he always thought of it like that.  That his death was the end.  Time had stopped for Dean, but it hadn’t for Sam.  Sam had kept living and kept breathing and he’d told Sam to move on, to remember what he’d been taught, and what did Sam do?  He’d blown it.  Squandered it.  Thrown it away like garbage.  Dean had made a deal, but he hadn’t gone against every moral fiber and teaching he’d ever been told.  He hadn’t compromised all his standards.  He’d lived up to his responsibilities.  He’d saved Sam.  And knowing that Sam hadn’t--didn’t make him feel any sorrier for the kid.

“But there was some girl,” she continued with a shrug.  She glanced over her shoulder, as if worried Sam might hear.  “Some brunette.”

“Ruby,” Dean muttered, sinking low in his seat.

Bethany gave a noncommittal tilt of her head.  “I barely met her.  But she was the one who dragged Sam here the second time.”

“Ruby brought Sam here?”

“Apparently, Sam refused a hospital,” Bethany deadpanned back.  “Can’t imagine that.”

“We get banged up,” Dean said.

“Yeah, well, Sam nearly died--again.”

He wanted to deny it, to say she was wrong, or at least exaggerating.  But he didn’t know.  He had no idea.  Sam had never said anything.

Well, and Dean had never asked.

“And Ruby brought him?”

Bethany nodded.  “Yet another story you don’t know?” she asked.

“You said it yourself, Sam’s not very talkative.”

“I know, but did you even ask?”

“Like Sam would have told me the truth.”

She laughed a little.  “Best damn excuse ever,” she said.  “Absolves you and puts all the blame back on him.”

“You going to lecture me or tell me about it?”

She sighed.  “Fine,” she said.  “But this one’s no prettier than the first.”

next



Comments

Posted by: magser (magser)
Posted at: March 10th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)

This is fantastic!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
bloody mess

Thank you!

Posted by: Nebula (authoressnebula)
Posted at: March 10th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
spn sam cry finale

I posted the sequel/second half of my story. YOU HAZ TO POST THE NEXT PART TOO!!!

*eagerly waits for it*

*bounces*

This is AWESOME. I was really hoping I'd see a hurt!Sam with angst and Dean starting to see Sam's side of things. Because Sam? Didn't exactly get the best of things, either. They're both to blame for the space and situation between them, but...okay, I like seeing my Dean guilty and then back with Sam. Because it makes me happy. ^_^

~Nebula

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
monster limp

Heh. I love you for your enthusiasm. It makes me feel so much better when life is nuts.

And I agree. Both boys have it rough and I to admit, the more fics I see about "poor Dean" make me feel like I have to balance it out since I think the boys are equal in this!

(Guilty Dean is a kink we share, I think!)

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: March 10th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
anything for you

“I know, but did you even ask?”

“Like Sam would have told me the truth.”

She laughed a little. “Best damn excuse ever,” she said. “Absolves you and puts all the blame back on him.”

I really like this gal. And the flashbacks are great! Great storytelling.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
bruised sam

You are awesome. When I don't have a brain, you make me feel grounded. And you always review me. Which is, of course, so awesome of you!

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