Coda: All Hell Breaks Loose. Part 1&2
Dean, Sam, PG
The characters and situations portrayed here are not mine, they belong to the CW. This is a fan authored work and no profit is being made. Please do not link to this story without appropriate warnings. Please do not archive this story without my permission.
Some day I shall rise and leave
They all need sleep. It takes an hour's drive to even find a motel in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. Ellen pays. The map wasn't the only thing in the safe. She gets three rooms, side by side by side, the one Dean and Sam share is on the outside corner, hers in the middle. There is a diner and a dinner that tastes like nothing but they eat because they have to, need to. There is a liquor store on the corner and Ellen pays again, three very large bottles of Jack and she passes them out like a boot camp sergeant handing out uniforms.
Between Bobby's car and the Impala they've got enough weapons, salt, and holy water to hold off even ten score demons -- at least for the night. They all leave the connecting doors unlocked.
It's Bobby's hands that patch up the gash on Dean's forehead while Sam takes a shower and even after Bobby is done Dean finds himself staring at the shirt and the jacket Sam left on the back of the chair, both of them dark and stiff with dried blood. There is dried blood on the front of the shirt too, around the collar. Jake's blood, Dean is pretty sure.
The water cuts off and Dean turns away, gathering his own clothes. He and Sam haven't had much to say to each other since leaving the cemetery. He watched Sam shift in the car uncomfortably, back still bothering him. They haven't talked about that, or about Dad, or even about the deal Dean made, again. They all tried strategizing a little over dinner but no one really had the heart for it. Ellen is still a little shocky. She has a mess to deal with back home, if she even goes back. Bobby is still mad and worried and Dean is hard pressed to say if Bobby is more worried about him or Sam at this point.
Sam comes out with his jeans on, feet bare and a towel around his neck to catch the dripping ends of his hair. He stares at Dean for a long moment: not hard but not smiling either, like he wants to say something but he seems to have run out of words. He manages an "all yours," before reaching down to pull his duffel up on Dean's bed, looking for a clean t-shirt. He winces when he does it and Dean can't help himself -- he puts a hand on Sam's shoulder and his fingers spread along the center of Sam's spine.
What should have been a wound or a scar is neither, there's a fold of skin, like a crease, right in the groove of his spine and another, smaller crease bisecting it. The skin around it is red, not like a stain but more like a birthmark, looking like the blurred edges of a cross. Sam goes completely still under Dean's hands, breathing uneven for a moment then settling. "It's fine."
"But it still hurts."
Sam shrugs, the movement dislodging Dean's hands. "Sore. Aches." The corners of Sam's mouth curl up and but the smile doesn't reach his eyes. "I've had worse."
He hasn't and they both know it. Dean only nods and goes to take his own shower. The water feels like heaven, and the mere thought makes him stop, take a deep breath. He's never really believed in heaven but, here it is in front of him, the marks of hell still on him in bruises and shallow cuts, a throbbing head, and a yellow-eyed Demon who won't haunt Sam's dreams ever again. He likes to think mom and dad are at rest now, maybe together finally. If there is someplace else, someplace better.
He supposes he'll never know, now.
Maybe he should feel more fear or something, but that's what he'd felt on seeing Sam, his Sam, so cold and grey and so still. He never wants to see that again. Fear of hell pales in comparison to seeing Sam dead.
Anything is preferable.
He doesn't change his mind when he finally pulls himself out from under the hot water. He finds Sam still awake, sitting on the bed with the computer open and books strewn all around him. A small stack of books rests precariously on the floor beside the bed. The books are Bobby's, some he'd tossed into his truck when they'd headed for Wyoming: a pretty impressive collection on Demons and demonic symbols.
Sam only barely looks up when Dean returns. "You should get some rest," Dean says.
Sam nods, but doesn't stop reading, flipping a page and making notes. Dean sighs and reaches over to pull the book away. "Sam-"
Sam's hand engulfs his wrist. Kind of literally; wrapping around the bone and muscle in a strong implacable grip. "Three hundred and sixty-two days. Maybe three sixty-one. It's after midnight."
Dean knows he can break free. Sam's making a point. He doesn't though. Instead he sits on the edge of Sam's bed. "You don't have to find an answer tonight."
"No? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next fall..."
"You gonna spend the whole next year counting down the days?"
"No. That'd get depressing real fast."
"Don't laugh. Don't make a joke about this."
"You're going to make the next year hell on earth for me, aren't you?" He can't help it. Bobby tried to warn him; he knows he should watch his mouth -- it's all too, fast too soon. Sam's alive, his Dad is free, Ding-dong the witch is dead -- the yellow-eyed son of a bitch is dead.
He's not surprised when Sam lets him go, when he shoves him back, comes after him, hand curled into a fist . He drives it straight forward -- sucker punch -- right into the wall. Splits his knuckles and doesn't even notice his hand is bleeding.
Dean twists out of habit, feels pain lance through his skull when his head thumps against the drywall over concrete. When he looks back he wishes Sam had hit him, knocked him out.
Sam doesn't hide things well. He tries but fails more often than he succeeds. And it's there, on his face, misery and anger, and fear and desperate denial, twisting Sam's mouth, tears streaking his face, nostrils flaring as he struggles for words and comes up empty.
Dean knows how he feels. He does. Knows how he felt when he realized what Dad had done, how he kept it in until he couldn't any longer, felt it tearing him up inside, making him bleed.
Knows how his father felt too, he thinks. In the cemetery; a hand with no weight on Dean's shoulder and no regrets. Not one.
Dean can't make this right. It is right that Sam's here, living and breathing and sobbing in that harsh, silent way he has, fingers digging into Dean's muscles. "I'm not sorry, Sam. I'm not," he says into his brother's neck.
A year isn't that long, but it is longer than never. Sam is warm and tense and shaking and alive under his hands.
He'll never apologize for that.
But he hopes Sam will forgive him anyway.
Some day I shall rise and leave my
May 19, 2007