Title: The Fall From Grace in Ten Easy Steps (Ten connected drabbles)
Warnings/Ratings: Adult, Death.
Notes: Though I tend to write dark fic, I rarely (only once before) ever write death fic. Nor do I read them very often. That this presented itself to me is as suprising to me as to anyone.
The Fall From Grace in Ten Easy Steps
Sam, Dean thinks, lives under a certain kind of grace.
Usually, he thinks that when he's had a few too many beers, or the last towel in the bathroom is the only one not soaked in Sam's blood.
When Sam has nightmares and Dean creeps closer to help dispel them, that's grace too.
Grace is not what most people think it is.
Grace is the period between one atrocity and the next.
The first happened when Sam was an infant.
Dean's been fending off the next ever since.
Because when you fall from grace, there's only one place to go.
Churches make Sam nervous. Mostly because some part of him still believes there's an answer to be found. He thinks it might be found in the silence.
But they make him nervous because he thinks faith is the coin you pay for being able to parse the silence into something useful.
Churches don't make Dean nervous, even when he's stealing holy water. But he doesn't like them.
"Everything's so damn loud in those places."
The silence in the car reminds Sam of churches.
His faith in Dean is the coin he pays.
Dean has no answer either.
Sam believes anyway.
Sometimes the only way Dean thinks he can protect Sam is by crawling inside him. He's not entirely sure, but he thinks it might be true.
And when he's in Sam, he loses a little of himself, gives something of himself up, and not just in semen or sweat or even always in blood.
Sam never says no and never denies him.
He fears that in giving so much of himself to Sam, that what is Sam, might be getting pushed out.
Day by day, he's haunted by the ghost of a brother who isn't dead.
In dreams, Sam is.
Sam doesn't like the taste of blood and never has. He hates the taste of his brother's blood more than anything. It's like a blasphemy on his tongue.
It's a sacrifice he doesn't deserve.
The blood of demons spattering his face sits like metal on his tongue and doesn’t bother him.
But he tastes Dean's blood on his lips when he kisses his hair after he's patched the gash in his brother's scalp.
Sometimes Dean pushes into him so hard Sam bites his lip until it bleeds.
It's the only offering he has. He knows it will never be enough.
In darkness Dean can sometimes looks at his brother for hours. Sometimes it's better than sleeping. Sometimes it's better than sex. Sleeping is something he does for his mind. Sex is something he does for his body.
Looking at Sam is something he does for his soul.
What he does for his heart is kill whatever threatens to take his brother away from him.
Sam's heart, he's pretty sure, was ripped out of his chest along with his soul, the night Jessica died. Sam will never love him like Dean loves Sam.
He'll take what he can get. It's enough.
In dreams, Sam's hand, in a font of holy water, blisters.
He presses his forehead to the altar and it cracks.
He lays a hand on a cross and it bleeds.
He touches Jessica and she turns to fire and dust.
He kisses Dean. Dean remains the same.
In daylight, the holy water is water, the altar is stone, a cross is only wood, and Jessica is gone.
He kisses Dean and Dean remains the same.
When Dean makes love to him his skin burns, his will breaks, his soul bleeds, he tastes fire and dust.
Dean remains the same.
His brother is really two people. Dean knows this. In daylight, Sam is brightness and smiles and the look in his eye and the curve of his lips is enough to take Dean's breath away.
In darkness, Sam is shadows and nightmares and an endless battle to get back to where he was, where he belongs.
In daylight Sam is protected by angels.
At night he's possessed by demons.
If Sam were anything other than his brother, Dean would have exorcised the demons long ago.
But that would leave him with only half of Sam.
Dean is not that strong.
Dean is better with a gun. Sam is better with a blade.
Dean is straight lines, load and target, fire and BAM!
Another one bites the dust.
Sam is all sharp edges and the sheen of metal. The curved blades he uses cut like claws through flesh and bone.
When they fight, Dean takes out the ones who circle and hover and Sam gets up close and personal.
When it's over, Dean has to be careful because if he gets too close, too fast, Sam will cut him too.
Dean never approaches Sam with a loaded gun.
Sam always bleeds.
When Dean drinks a little too much, he gets a little sentimental and earnest. Sam thinks it's both hysterically funny and endearing.
When Sam drinks too much, he gets amorous and demanding, and Dean finds that incredibly appealing.
When they both drink too much, they play cards. Sometimes poker, usually euchre, because it's fast and with just the two of them it's much easier to cheat.
Until the night death deals himself in, pours himself a drink, and wins.
He cheats of course, because that's what death does, cheats the living.
And two for the price of one, that's winning.
In Kansas, Missouri hears the sound of a familiar engine outside her door just as dawn breaks and rises, patting her grey hair in place.
There is nothing there.
At the Cataldo Mission, near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, John Winchester watches the threads of the mystery he's been trying to weave into sense unravel and fall apart.
When the silence gets too much, Missouri goes to the little church outside Lawrence that no one attends. The font is empty, the altar is cracked, and the cross is burned and blackened and turning to ash.
There are no ghosts.
So she prays.
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