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SPN Fic: The Worst Part of These Winters 1/1

March 14th, 2010 (10:13 pm)
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Title: The Worst Part of These Winters

A/N: This was written for a prompt on the Sam h/c comment fic meme over at ohsam . I wrote this quickly and it was beta'ed quickly by sendintheklowns , so any mistakes are mine :) And the ending is vague and might be interpreted sort of dark, but doesn't have to be. I leave it to your imagination but will warn you nonetheless. Title borrowed from a the song "Bed of Lies" by Matchbox20.

Warning: Torture. And, um, more torture. Set in S5 with references up through MBV.

Prompt: (from ancastar ): Some baddie is beating the crap out of our boy. The beating could be physical (fists and feet) or more magic related (along the lines of what happened to Dean in the season one finale). Dean is being forced to watch, but cannot intervene. All Sam has to do to get the whumping to stop is to tell the baddie to go pick on Dean instead. But he won't. No matter how much Dean begs him to.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Summary: Sam's always been the selfish one.

 

-o-

Don't you know I feel the darkness closing in

Tried to be more than me

And I gave till it all went away

And we've only surrendered

To the worst part of these winters we've made

-from "Bed of Lies" by Matchbox20

-o-

Sam's always been the selfish one.

Ever since he was little, that's been his gig. He's been the one who wanted more than he could have, he's been the one who did everything he could to get what he wanted in the end. Big eyes to Dean to get the last of the cereal. Fights with their father just to let himself be heard. Sam's always walked up to the precipice and looked over and threw himself off without knowing how it ended.

When he was 18, it ended with Stanford, Jess, and a fire.

When he was 25, it ended with Lilith, Lucifer, and the damned Apocalypse.

He didn't learn then, and he hasn't learned now.

Though truthfully, he's not sure what there is to learn now. Because now, there is nothing but pain.

-o-

It starts with simple things, trailing the blade of a knife across his skin. It cuts up his shirt, leaves it in tatters, and etches lines into the planes of his chest and stomach with the precision of a surgeon. They hurt (they hurt), but they're not fatal.

"They'll scar, though," the demon says with a genuine smile. "Nice and visible."

Sam's a recovering demon blood addict, though. Vanity went out the window the first time Dean saw him with blood smeared around his mouth. It was gone for good when he started hallucinating out of his mind in the panic room. Not once, but twice.

Sam just grits his teeth and stares at the demon in defiance. "Good," he says with as much determination he can muster. "Maybe if everyone can see me for the freak I am, I won't forget quite so quickly."

The demon's eyes flash back and its smile fades into a deep set frown before he brings the knife down again.

-o-

The next cuts are deeper. Skin flayed open on his arm, a deep gouge in his leg. Air whistling through a hole in his side.

"Just say the word, Sammy boy," the demon croons. "You know you want to."

That's funny, because Sam doesn't know what he wants anymore. Hasn't really known since he came back to life and Dean was condemned to Hell. The last few years have been so far from anything that Sam's even come close to wanting, that the idea of it is just ludicrous.

Like he wants to be a recovering addict. Like he wants to see the broken distrust in his brother's eyes. Like he wants to be the butt of every demon's joke. Like he wants to remember what he's done every second of every day and twice as much in his dreams at night.

Like he wants to be alive at all.

He shakes his head, steeling himself against the pain. The demon tracks the blade around his ankle, plunging it into his Achilles with a force that makes Sam gasp and his eyes squeeze shut.

The demon leans down, close to his ear. "This one's an easy one, though," it coos. "This isn't even the big yes/no that Lucifer wants. That's his call, not mine."

Sam is surprised by this. When he'd woken up in this room, he hadn't known much. He couldn't remember getting here, he couldn't remember what had happened to the hunt he and Dean had been on. But when the demon had walked up to him, all smiles, he'd only assumed that this was another lackey doing his part to get on Lucifer's good side.

The demon is watching him, nodding, a grin creeping over the host's features. "Not all of us are worried about making you crack," he says easily. "I figure, you fell this far on your own, you'll get the rest of the way there without any of our help."

Tears are on Sam's face, but he doesn't let himself feel them. His voice is shaky with the pain, but he swallows against the growing dryness. "Then why?"

The black eyes sparkle. "Dean, of course," he says. "You do know this has always been about him, don't you? Even when you were just a baby, his part in this was always more important than yours."

Sam's throat constricts somewhat and a shudder racks his body. He's tied down too tightly to do much more than that. "I don't understand."

"It's an annoying little clause," the demon continues with a shrug. "Lucifer is very fond of you, and he doesn't want us tormenting you emotionally. He says the physical stuff he can fix, but the psychological stuff goes against the promises he made to you."

Sam shakes his head, a denial caught in his throat.

"So Lucifer has--" The demon clears his throat. "--strongly suggested that we leave Dean Winchester in the free and clear until you change your mind."

Tears are burning his eyes with new vigor and his chest feels like it might explode as it expands futilely against the bonds tying him to the table.

"So all I need from you is permission," the demon says with a satisfied smirk. "One word and this torture can stop and go to the one who really deserves it."

Sam's wide eyed at that and his head jerks as the door opens and Dean is brought in. His brother is bound, but un-blindfolded. There is a bruise on the side of his face, but he is otherwise unharmed.

"Sammy!" he yells, meeting Sam's frantic eyes, stumbling against the strong arms of the two demons who are flanking him. Dean looks at them with venom and curses. "Let him go, you stupid sons of bitches. Or I will kill you myself."

It's so Dean and so short sighted and Sam can't even think clearly about this anymore.

The demon steps into view again, holding the knife high. "So," he says conversationally. "What do you say about that?"

Then he slices the knife deeply across his stomach and Sam screams in earnest for the first time.

-o-

It gets more creative after that. Bleach in the wounds. Corded whips against his tender flesh. Ripping fingernails out in clean, fast yanks.

The demon is going to work on Sam's good foot, the one he can still feel. "Just say the word, Sammy," it croons.

"Ignore him, Sam!" Dean shouts at him.

Sam grunts in pain, choking on his tears. He shakes his head and closes his eyes and tries to remember to breathe.

"Do you even know what question he's supposed to be answering?" the demon asks, contempt in his voice. He's talking to Dean now.

Sam can't open his eyes yet, he doesn't have the strength or the will. But he can hear the pause in Dean's voice. "Well, I mean. I assumed it was the big question. What else do you guys want from him?"

Sam has to muffle a sob. He doesn't want Dean to know, but he can't stop it.

"You, of course," the demon says with relish. "Sam just has to say one word and we'll stop torturing him and turn our attentions to you."

There's a pause after that and Sam opens his eyes, looking pleadingly at his brother to understand. But before he can do that, before he can do anything, a strong hand grips his finger, breaking the pinky, the ring finger, one after another in a steady cadence. "So what do you think now, Dean?" the demon asks. "Should Sammy still say no?"

When Sam's thumb snaps in two, Sam screams with more force than he thought he had, letting the sound rip from his lungs with the desperation of a man with only one thing left to lose. He doesn't listen to the demon, he doesn't wait for Dean's response. He knows the answer to this one, no matter what.

-o-

It's harder now.

Not just the pain, because that's something in and of itself. It's everywhere, encompassing. It's gotten to the point where Sam can't distinguish between the hurts. Every fresh cut feels like the same fire, just moving around his body, burning brighter, brighter. Soon there will be nothing left, especially since it's getting hard to breathe through his now broken nose.

The nose isn't the only thing. All of his fingers and toes. Probably a wrist. One knee pulled out of joint. Entire pieces of skin pulled away, slowly, slowly, slowly like a bandaid being ripped clean.

But that's not what's really hard now. What's hard is to listen to Dean. Pleading, begging, insisting. "Just say, yes, damn it. Don't do this, just say yes."

Sam's worked so hard this year, worked so hard to earn his brother's trust back. He's given Dean everything he has left, even while he is aware that it will never be enough. He wants to make things better for Dean, he wants to make his brother happy, even when Dean believes happiness isn't something he's capable of. Sam spent a year of his life thinking Dean was weak, thinking he knew better.

Since then, he's told himself every day that he's the one who's weak, that he should never trust himself, not even a little.

So to ignore Dean now--

Well, that's a torture that no knife can ever mimic.

Something tightens around his throat, taut and squeezing. Sam flails, eyes open in panic as his air cuts off. He can feel it happening, the slow effects of oxygen deprivation, the burning of his lungs building, building, building--

Lights explode behind his eyes. His chest heaves ineffectually. His fingers twitch, trying to ball into fists of desperation and failing.

There's no air, it's all around him, but Sam can't have it. That's the story of his life, the way it always goes.

He needs to breathe, though. Even if he doesn't deserve it, even if he doesn't want to, he needs to.

Dean is screaming, but Sam can't make out the words. Someone is laughing, but Sam can't tell who. Someone is dying, and Sam's pretty sure it's him.

Then he convulses and things begin to dim. Dark around the edges. Spots converging. Reality melting away.

Then, air.

He gulps and coughs, sputters and shivers.

"Say yes," a voice whispers in his ear. "Say yes."

Sam is trembling, still gasping. He can't see yet, but doesn't want to. Doesn't need to.

Weakly, he shakes his head. "No," he says, his voice no more than a whisper. But the words are strong. Sure. Undeniable. "No."

-o-

Sam's lost track of time. His brain stopped trying to figure it out awhile ago, and between his bouts of unconsciousness and the lack of natural light in the room, it's just too much to bother with.

Besides, it doesn't matter. Sam will keep doing this all night long.

Because these demons are missing the point. They're missing the essential element of what makes Sam tick. This is where Ruby really was a genius, where Ruby played her cards just right. Because Sam would never break to save himself. He would never give in for the sheer sake of power alone (at least not in the beginning anyway). The one weakness Sam's always had, the one place where Sam's morality can be compromised, is Dean.

Ruby offered him a chance to save his brother. Step by step, Sam followed her straight down to Hell until he didn't even recognize himself. In the end, he'd been so turned around and screwed up, that he couldn't even remember why he started down that road to begin with.

He remembered now. He remembered every day he woke up with the blessing of still having his brother in his life.

Dean.

Dean.

More than anything, Dean.

He'd failed his brother more ways than Sam could even fathom. He'd hurt him and betrayed him and everything else, but Sam understood that his biggest failing was not starting the Apocalypse, but losing sight of the one person who could have made it worthwhile.

No more.

No more.

This demon can cut, break, torture. He can maim, taunt, rip. He can eviscerate, suffocate, destroy, and Sam will not say yes.

Eyes closed, Sam can taste blood in his mouth. His limbs are numb and his breathing is stunted.

"Come on, Sam," the demon demands, the humor gone. "Just say yes."He punctuates his point with a slap of a whip against Sam's welted torso.

Sam swallows blood and bile, and shakes his head. "No," he burbles. And he's stronger now than he's been in years. "No."

-o-

Somewhere, Dean is crying.

His threats are idle, but his pleas are desperate. "Just say yes, Sammy," he begs. "It's not your fault. I understand. It's okay. Say yes. Please."

It goes against a lot to deny his brother this, but Sam's sure it's the right thing. Dean's more important than he is in this fight, but that's not even why. Dean's his brother, and that matters more than the Apocalypse and he always had. Sam won't forget that now. Not again. Not ever.

The torture is getting slower. Bogged down. Cruel strikes. Harsh demands.

The demons know they're losing. Sam doesn't know what they'll do next, but he knows he's almost won this round.

A knife cuts off a fingertip and Sam seizes at the shock.

"Sammy, please," Dean cries at him.

Sam licks blood off his teeth and lets his eyes drift back into their sockets, even as the knife is poised to take another.

"For your brother's sake," the demon says, almost with pity. "I can't listen to his begging much longer."

Sam smiles dreamily.

"Sam, just listen to him," Dean's voice chimes in. "Let them take me instead. Take me instead!"

Dean's fury is still there, and it makes Sam feel better. Dean's not dead inside, not like Famine said. There's passion there, enough to fight with. Enough to win.

This is good for them, Sam thinks. For both of them.

Something sharp pierces his chest, deep and penetrating. Sam can't even open his eyes this time, can't even scream.

Dean does it for him. A string of curses, a litany of pleas. Real tears, real pain, real emotion. His brother is alive, just like he should be.

"Please, Sam, for me," Dean says, sounding just like he did when he showed up at Stanford all those years ago. Yeah, but I don't want to.

Sam hadn't denied him then.

He will now. Even as Sam's body is failing, even as his lungs can't draw in oxygen, Sam will leave his brother unrequited, not for the first time, but maybe the last.

After all, Sam's always been the selfish one, and there's no point in trying to change that now.

 

Comments

Posted by: Kris (dontknowmyname)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
DeanSavesSamBendersCage

I don't even know what to say. This was absolutely wonderful! Poor Sammy! He's so brave though and I loved every second of this. I think it was a great way to end even though now you have me wanting more! So great =).

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
broken sam

I'm so glad you liked this!

(And aaah, I so need to be thinking about the contest! I'm sorry I haven't been much help recently!)

Posted by: Kris (dontknowmyname)
Posted at: March 21st, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Not Quite by Firelight (tahirire)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
SamnDean - Dark Side

OUCH.

Very spot-on, though. That's the Sam I know and love. Now can we have the part where Lucifer shows up and kills all the demons and fixes Sam and then pats them both on the head and sends them merrily on their way and tells them to stay out of trouble until Detroit? *puppy eyes*

One thing, though - and I do know how comment fic can tend to do this -

Sam's wide eyed at that and his head jerks as the door opens and Dean is brought in. His brother is bound and gagged, but un-blindfolded. There is a bruise on the side of his face, but he is otherwise unharmed.

"Sammy!" he yells, meeting Sam's frantic eyes, stumbling against the strong arms of the two demons who are flanking him. Dean looks at them with venom and curses. "Let him go, you stupid sons of bitches. Or I will kill you myself."


Dean is certainly being articulate here, for a gagged person. ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
pretty sam s5

Thanks :)

(And fixed.)

Posted by: prophetofdoomy (prophetofdoomy)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
Supernatural

Because these demons are missing the point. They're missing the essential element of what makes Sam tick. This is where Ruby really was a genius, where Ruby played her cards just right. Because Sam would never break to save himself. He would never give in for the sheer sake of power alone (at least not in the beginning anyway). The one weakness Sam's always had, the one place where Sam's morality can be compromised, is Dean.

Ruby offered him a chance to save his brother. Step by step, Sam followed her straight down to Hell until he didn't even recognize himself. In the end, he'd been so turned around and screwed up, that he couldn't even remember why he started down that road to begin with.



That part? SPOT ON. It was just perfect to describe what she did, and oh sam! *hugs him* He's so much braver than people give him credit for.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
the things I'd do

Poor Sam :( He is rather under-appreciated all around, I think.


Thanks!

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)

Faye- this is BRILLIANT!!!

And yeah, that part with Ruby is totally spot on! I wonder if Lucifer will do the same...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
hope2

Hey you! How are you? I feel like I never see you anymore (which is entirely my fault, likely).

And I wish we could see more of how Lucifer is breaking Sam down, but that would require the show to, you know, focus on Sam for more than two seconds an ep.

Thank you :)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: March 22nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: MacByrne (macbyrne)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 10:09 am (UTC)

Heartbreaking and horrifying and so damn good I can't stand it. What a perfect torture scene. Not just the actual physical torture, but Dean having to watch. Awesome, awesome job.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
weary sam

Is it wrong that sometimes I enjoy writing torture? I'm not sure what that says about me.

Anyway, thanks :)

Posted by: My name is Ancasta (ancastar)
Posted at: March 15th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)

God. This is just chilling. And devastating. Hard to read, but very well done.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
brothers2

I hope it lived up to your prompt ;)

Thanks!

Posted by: Megan (wicked_crayon)
Posted at: March 17th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)

Brilliant and 100% Sam, every word of it. The only thing I don't like is the "1/1" up in the header... you sure I can't convince you to write a sequel? I want to see the aftermath of this (after Lucifer comes and fixes everything up).

<3

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
whole

LOL. Sometimes things just come to me in one-shots. It's a rare thing, yes, but it helps my sanity. I never rule out sequels, but I can't say for sure if/when it will happen.

Thank you for your interest!

Posted by: sam_dean_hot (sam_dean_hot)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)

Oh My Gaw.. Now THIS is the kind of hurt/limp!Sam that I've been looking for. Great job.


I know you from two other sites (ff.net and your Limp!Sam site). I tried to gget added as one of the writers on your site. Back then I was using the pen name skycandygirl, then I changed on ff.net to AquarianNightSky, and now I'm here on lj. Can I add you as a friend?

ONe more time: Wonderful, Sam pain filled story. Yes Sam was selfish, but he was still in some way selfless.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 20th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
zonked

Hey! I remember you! (And you were interested in limp!Sam right when it was starting to not be updated very often, so I didn't have much recourse to get you added before the whole site went kaput! I'm sorry about that!).

And yes, please friend away :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Nobody's laughing now (lavinialavender)
Posted at: March 21st, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
SPN - hug without smiling

OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO GOOD.

It's a hard, hard prompt, but you did so much with it. I love this, this victory of Sam's. The whole section where he remembers why he first started following Ruby - of course, all about Dean - to the final line of it:

Sam swallows blood and bile, and shakes his head. "No," he burbles. And he's stronger now than he's been in years. "No."

AMAZING. It's awful that this situation - Sam being tortured endlessly - is such a triumph for him at this point, but it really, really is. Poor Dean, too - that this is the way he shows he's alive (at least as Sam interprets it).

Gah, I wish we got a final scene of a happy ending, though - I mean, just with the torture stopping and them somewhere else, Sam physically healed. Dean would still be furious, but it would still be a good scene for them.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
monster limp

I so want Sam to win at something--anything at this point. The show has beaten him down so completely that sometimes I'm surprised he can even go on at all.

And the way I sort of figure it is that these demons can kill Sam and go on their way but, just as promised, Lucifer will bring him back. Not exactly a happy ending, but I don't think Sam will even be granted the mercy of death until his cosmic usefulness is spent.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Nobody's laughing now (lavinialavender)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)

Posted by: soymade (soymade)
Posted at: March 25th, 2010 09:04 am (UTC)

I... oh, dear.

Had it occurred to me that this might actually not have a happy ending, I would have been more reserved in reading. I certainly would not have let myself get drawn into its painful insight and excellent characterization. No indeed.


By which I mean, this ruled but now I need a sequel OR AT LEAST FOR SAM TO BE OKAY D:

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
pretty sam s5

I think I never see my fics as sad as other people do. For me, this fic seems ambiguous just because of the fact that even if Sam dies here, he won't stay dead. Lucifer will bring him back one way or another, which isn't happy, but he will be okay.

And LOL, I will contemplate a sequel, okay? I promise :)

Thanks!

Posted by: soymade (soymade)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)

Posted by: mimblexwimble (mimblexwimble)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Sam

Oh crap, this was so hard to read. I want to say I loved it and it was amazing, but damn, it was so brutal that saying that makes me feel sadistic. But seriously good writing. Ouch.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 6th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
little bro 2

Most fic writers are a bit sadistic. You'd be in good company :)

Thanks!

Posted by: sapphire and faded jeans (cirramin)
Posted at: April 11th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)

Holy crap, what vivid torture! I was squirming and cringing; I'm sure Kripke would love you for a writer!

Yes, I so fervently believed in this Sam and his unbending will. This is Season-Five-Sam, coming-of-age-Sam, learnt-his-lesson-Sam, and you captured the characterisation we've been seeing lately so perfectly. It was painfully delicious.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 13th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
pretty sam s5

LOL, thank you! I'm not sure I'd love working for Kripke, though...

I have my qualms with the way the show has developed things, and I do think they missed some critical steps of Sam's journey, but I do admit that I like this newer Sam in his resolution. He's still broken but determined to keep going. It's an amazing trait.

Thanks!

Posted by: xsamxgabrielxshipper (wolfish_willow)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
Abused!Sam

OMC, this was amazing and painful and I loved it. Sam is just so Sam and I adore that you made him so... triumphant in this. He may be selfish, but he's always tried to do right, always been selfless at the same time. And this just shows all of that. Even with him still being tortured, even with Dean still being forced to watch, I think this piece is perfect. *grin*

Amazing <3<3<3

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 24th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
bruised sam

This is sort of quintessential Sam to me--strong and defiant and just certain in what he's doing because he thinks it's the right thing to do.

Anyway, thanks!

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