Beta: behrbemine, maras_morgue
Spoilers: Season 3
Disclaimer: Kripke created this universe; I just enjoy warping it and borrowing his boys for my own twisted amusement. None of it is mine, sadly.
Warnings and Notes: Slash, wincest, language, eventual light non-con and violence. AU, possible OOC, and General Weirdness.
Summary: Is it possible to fall from grace, and find the one thing left that can keep you from caring?
I realize this story is told in several time frames, including flashbacks, musings and present, I hope it doesn't get too confusing >.<
It's funny how things work out sometimes, Dean reflected, sprawling out on the huge, four-poster bed he now shared with his brother. Strange how just when you think you're safe, that you've avoided the thing you dread most, it sails in from of left field and knocks you on your ass when you least expect it. It was downright bizarre how Sam's, and by proxy, his own fall from grace came about not because of some huge, bloody battle, or the loss of those closest and dearest to them, but simply because of one drunken confession, and an accidental kiss…
It happened after they'd survived the horrific confrontation with the demons after their arrest, no thanks to that bitch Bela, who had started the entire mess in the first place. As soon as they'd been free and clear, Dean had rounded up some booze and gotten drunk. Not just happy drunk, but fall-down, shit-faced drunk. He figured he was entitled as, given what they had seen at the jailhouse, this was likely the last time he'd be able to kick back and enjoy himself. War had truly been declared, and from here on in, things would only get more intense.
Sam had settled him on one the room's twin beds after Dean had fallen down for the third time, and murmured that now more than ever he needed to find a way to save Dean, because he couldn't fight this war alone. Dean, his brain addled by booze, had chosen that moment to tell Sam what Ruby had said, that there was no way out, she'd lied to him all along.
The younger man was shocked, rearing back and shaking his head in denial, but Dean had nodded and cupped his younger brother's face in strong, if shaky hands.
"I'm sorry, Sammy, I don't want to leave you like this," he whispered, leaning over and intending to kiss Sam's cheek. But Sam turned his head at the last moment, and both of them felt the sudden jolt as their lips met. They pressed closer; hands roaming over strong shoulders and backs as Dean's tongue traced Sam's lower lip gently, seeking entrance. Once it was granted, both men groaned as they took time to map each other's mouths, before Sam nipped gently on Dean's lip.
They weren't fully intimate that night, but they came very close. For some reason Sam called a halt to what was happening, telling Dean that it wasn't yet time. But soon…
It was after that Sam started to change, but only Dean noticed it, at first. Bobby may have noticed it shortly afterward, though his knowledge came far too late to help Sam, or the rest of the world.
Despite what he'd heard from Dean about the his brother's inescapable fate, Sam began to smile and joke with him again, giving the older man assurances, mingled with stolen kisses and soft touches when they were alone, that Sam was going to save him. Dean wasn't going to become a soulless monster, not so long as Sam was around to do anything about it.
Ruby soon paid them another visit, trying to express her concerns about the 'new leader' and his seemingly ever-expanding army, but Sam cut her short. He didn't mention her lie about Dean's deal, instead he'd told her that he was ready to take his place in this war and do whatever it took to win it. But first, he needed to get that colt back, and deal with a few...personal issues.
Ruby already knew exactly what he was talking about, and told Sam that it would be a waste of time tracking Bela down. Even if they had something of value to offer, she would most likely refuse to tell them anything. Ruby then offered to help track down the colt, and they could simply take it back from the buyer, one way or another.
No one could have forseen that it was going to end as it had…
Sam sighed into the phone as Bobby told him that once again, he'd been unsuccessful in his attempts to track down Bela or the Colt. "Alright," he nodded, slanting a disappointed look at Dean. "We'll just have to keep-Bobby?" He pulled the phone away from his ear and frowned at it. "It's dead…"
Both men looked up as the lights in the room started to flicker.
"I'd say we've got a visitor," Dean said, rising slowly to his feet, narrowed green eyes trained on the door.
Sure enough, moments later it swung open and Ruby sauntered into the room, hands in her pockets, a slight smile gracing her features. "I found the gun," she said, glancing back and forth between the two brothers.
Sam immediately rose to his feet and walked toward her, towering over her as he narrowed his eyes and held out a hand.
"Oh, it's not that simple, Sam," she said, smirking as she shook her head. "I said I found it, not that I got it back."
"Then why the hell are you here, instead of gettin' the gun?" Dean glowered at her, moving up to stand beside Sam, the two of them crowding into her space.
"Because, this buyer isn't your typical ignorant human," Ruby tilted her head and gave Dean an impatient look, her tone one of a person trying to communicate with a slow child.
Dean's upper lip pulled back in a slight snarl as he glared at her, and he opened his mouth to speak, but his jaw snapped shut when Sam's large hand settled on his chest.
"What kind of problem?" Sam asked, voice low and quiet, though his hazel eyes blazed with anger at the way she seemed to be toying with them.
Dean noticed that anger, and wondered absently why Sam still hadn't taken the opportunity to mention Ruby's lie.
"Well, I tried to get it back, but I couldn't even cross the threshold of the back door," she frowned, crossing her arms over her chest and turning away, pacing over to the window and glaring out into the darkness. "Turns out this guy already has more than his fair share of knowledge when it comes to repelling demons." She turned back to gaze at Sam. "I checked with a 'friend'-"
"Wait," Dean butted in with a sneer. "You have friends?"
"Ha ha, very funny." Ruby closed her eyes for a moment, then reopened them and glared at Sam. "This guy has a pretty interesting history."
"Interesting how?" Sam asked, moving over to take a seat on the edge of one of the beds.
"Well," Ruby began, taking a seat on the other bed and mirroring Sam's pose, "seems he dabbled for years in the occult, just enough to bullshit his way through the writing of several books, and a few other…profitable endeavors. He settled down with a witch soon after he made his tidy little fortune, then witnessed firsthand what happens when the demon who grants a witch her power comes to collect their due." She chuckled faintly and shook her head.
"Considering your history, I wouldn't think you'd find that very funny," Dean frowned, taking a seat beside Sam.
"Neither one of them had a clue what they were doing, but they sure liked to talk the talk." Ruby scoffed with a shake of her head. "They made a fortune together writing those bogus witch's spell books and everything else they could stuff down the gullible masses' throats. Now she's gone, and he's nothing but another rich, eccentric shut in. Or at least he was…"
"Explain the was part," Dean leaned forward, looking at her intently.
"He started doing real research, and learned all he could about demons. He stumbled across a few hunters, and Bela as well. She started selling him amulets, talismans, anything that was rumored to protect against supernatural beings."
"And they work? I'm surprised she wasn't selling him a bunch of bogus crap just to soak him for every penny she could get," Dean snorted derisively.
Ruby shot him a glare. "No, this stuff is the real deal. He's got enough protection around that place to keep out a small army of demons. Anyway, as I was saying, somewhere along the line, he heard the legend of the Colt, and decided he wanted it. Bela bid her time, managed to con you two out of it, and…here we are," she waved her hands theatrically, indicating the room and smirked over at them. "So, bottom line, I can't get inside. But you two can, with a little help."
"And why would we need your help just because the guy's stocked up on demon repellant?" Dean asked, folding his arms and tilting his head, green eyes narrowed.
"Because he's also got a state-of-the-art security system that would have the police coming down on you like a ton of bricks within five minutes," Ruby countered, raising her eyebrows.
"Oh," Dean said articulately, sitting back and running the fingers of one hand through his close-cropped hair, pointedly ignoring the amused look Sam shot him.
"So that's your idea? You shut down the security, we can get past the other stuff, and we take the gun back?" Sam asked, leaning forward, his forearms resting lightly on his thighs.
"Yeah, it's simple enough that even you two should be able to pull it off." Ruby smirked, rising to her feet.
"Ha ha, very funny," Dean mocked her words from earlier, grabbing his jacket. "Alright, tell us where to find this paranoid freak, and let's do this."
Ruby eyed them both, then tossed a map Sam's way. It unfolded in mid-air, both men fumbling with it for a moment. They finally managed to grab it and spotted the red circle, along with an exact address written out beside it.
"Okay, I-"Sam glanced up and blinked as he noticed Ruby was gone. "Huh, I guess she'll meet us there," he said mildly, before he followed Dean out to the Impala.
They drove to the spot Ruby indicated, Dean making comments the entire way about the creepy back roads. This road was the worst, lined on both sides with trees that had long, training branches, which reached down to brush along the sides and roof of the Impala. Each brushing and scratching sound elicited yet another string of colorful curses from Dean. "Damnit, if I have to give my baby a new paint job, I'm gonna wring that son of a bitch's neck!"
Sam smiled a bit at his brother's ranting, then sat forward as he spotted the driveway, nearly overgrown with weeds, two narrow tire tracks the only indication it was still even in use. "We're here."
Dean scowled and turned into the driveway, cursing under his breath as even more overgrown branches reached out for the Impala. "This freak is so dead…"
"I thought Ruby said this guy was well-off, and the house had such a state-of-the…"
Both men fell silent as a large house came into view. It would have been a lovely mansion, back in its prime, but now it was run-down, dull and downright scary. The yard was overrun with weeds and the beginnings of small trees, some weeds even sticking up through cracks in the front step. Every window was covered with what looked like heavy, wrought iron bars, and even the front door looked to be an industrial-style metal door. There was no light visible in any of the windows save for one upstairs, on the far side of the building. The light was faint, flickering, as if cast by candles or a fireplace.
"Great, another spooky old place," Dean muttered before they got out of the car, shutting the doors as quietly as possible. "This one even comes complete with it's own whack-job."
"Well, he is supposed to be a paranoid shut-in, makes sense that he's not going to have a small army of gardeners and maintenance people in every week, right?" Sam said quietly, before he cursed the weeds that were nearly tripping him when he walked.
"I guess," Dean shrugged, falling into step beside Sam, a sawed-off shotgun in one hand, flashlight in the other. So where's the black-eyed-"
"You really don't want to be calling me a skank right now, considering the all the trouble I've gone through for you two, Dean," a soft voice hissed in the darkness.
Dean swung around, eyes widened in surprise, then he smirked and held out his arms. "Hey, just wonderin' when you were gonna join us." He chuckled, as Ruby stepped out of the shadows.
"Let's just go get the colt, and get out of here," she muttered, starting toward the house. "There are too many others interested in that gun. If we found it, they might have too."
Sam frowned and followed her, glancing around uneasily. "So what-" he stopped short as Ruby abruptly halted at the foot of the front steps, her eyes wide, and pitch black. He blinked and looked down as Dean grasped his arm, gently pulling him back a few paces, away from the blond demon.
Dean looked up and frowned as sparks rained down from the eaves high above them, and the archway above the door. There were several more small flashes around the heavy front door itself, followed by a faint sizzling sound. "Guess that takes care of the security," Dean murmured, making a face as he caught the smell of scorched wire and burning electrical circuits.
Both men turned to look at Ruby, only to discover she'd disappeared once again. "Damn thing's worse than a ghost," Dean groused, before he moved quickly to the front door, examining it. "Alright, so…" he trailed off as the door simply swung open when he touched it. "What the hell?"
Sam smirked and grabbed his arm, pulling Dean inside quickly. He guided his brother to a small alcove just down the hall, and glanced around. "The one fatal flaw of electromagnetic locks. If the power goes out, and the backup power doesn't kick in, it will open right away. She must have taken out the backup battery, too."
"Alright, let's get the damn gun and get outta here, I'm hatin' this place already," Dean said quietly, glancing around in the gloom and staring at all the strange masks, amulets, statues and other items covered the walls, taking up most of the floor space as well. "Man, how can the guy even get around this place?" Dean groused, then muffled a curse as he stubbed his toe on the base of one of the statues.
Sam gave a quiet huff and snatched the flashlight out of his brother's hand, training it on the floor and making a quick arc around the room. "Could you be any noisier?" He hissed, before turning the light off once they'd committed most of the hallway's layout to memory.
"Well, what the hell? I can't help it," Dean growled, pausing to let his eyes readjust. "It's dark in here. What kinda freak keeps every light turned off in a place like this?"
"Just be grateful he doesn't have every window covered, at least we've got some light in here." Sam moved slowly, carefully down the hall, ears straining to pick up any sound other than their own breathing, and the soft fall of their footsteps on the carpet. "I know he's going to be down here somewhere, he would have heard the commotion when Ruby took out the-"
Both men gave a startled shout and flung themselves to the right as a shot rang out in the dark, the bullet ricocheting off the statue just to the left of where they'd been standing.
"Son of a bitch!" Dean snarled, hunching down and trying to make his way into the living room, intending to hide behind the nearest piece of furniture, a large, overstuffed wingback chair.
Sam set the flashlight on a wall-mounted shelf, pointing it at the stairway on the far side of the living room, then moved away quickly, wincing as another shot rang out, the shooter obviously trying to hit the light.
At the foot of the stairs, caught in the beam of light, stood a frightening specter. An elderly man stood hunched in the glare, wearing a tattered robe and pajama pants. The man could have been anywhere between fifty and seventy, his gaunt features made his age difficult to guess and his deep-set eyes, surrounded by heavy wrinkles and dark circles, were wide and feral as they darted about the room, searching for the intruders. His skin looked deathly white, as was his hair where it stuck up in all directions like a jagged halo around his head. Thin, gnarled hands stuck out from the worn, stained sleeves of the robe he wore and in those hands was held the very item they came for, the Colt.
"Oh no you don't, you sons a' bitches!" The man shouted, squeezing off another shot before he stepped back out of the light.
Sam moved further into the room, trying to stay hidden as he made his way over to the nearest chair. He jumped as he felt cold metal pressed to his fingers, nearly crying out in surprise until his fingers clasped around the gun Dean was trying to press into his hand.
"Easy, Sammy," Dean whispered quietly. "Take this. I'm gonna get his attention, you squeeze off a shot. It's just rock salt, don't wanna kill the poor bastard, right?"
"Dean, wait, don't-" Sam gasped as the old man's next shot spun the flashlight around just as Dean rose to his feet, the beam settling squarely on the older Winchester.
Time seemed to slow down to a crawl then, Sam seeing everything with crystal clarity and agonizing slowness. He saw the light glint off the Colt as it swung around and pointed at Dean, heard Dean's sharp intake of breath as he prepared to try and throw himself out of the way. Then came the deafening boom as the Colt was fired again. Sam saw the bullet leave the barrel, then slow down as it hurtled toward Dean. Just as Sam's fear rose to a fever pitch, it seemed as if the bullet stopped in mid-air, hovering just inches from Dean's face.
"What the hell?" Dean asked slowly, eyes wide and wild, shoulders hunched as he stared at the bullet.
It was then that Sam realized the bullet actually had stopped, and was in fact floating harmlessly in front of his brother's face. However, with his concentration broken, the bullet fell to the floor with a faint clatter. He stared at Dean in shock, then his attention shifted as he saw movement on the stairs again.
"You bastards!" The old man roared, taking another step closer. "I'm gonna send you right back to hell!" He took aim at Dean again, who by now was wisely trying to duck out of the light.
The world around Sam seemed to dissolve, and he was aware of only two things. Dean, and the man that was trying to hurt him. It was too soon, the memories of their time with the mystery spot, living the same day repeatedly, and seeing Dean die each time, not to mention having to live without him, were too fresh, the pain still too close to the surface.
Rage welled up inside Sam then. Pure, white-hot rage that burned away everything else but the sure knowledge that he was going to keep Dean safe.
No matter what…
The old man prepared to fire again, then suddenly his hands gave a jerk. One slipped off the Colt, coming to rest on his throat as he made a choked sound, eyes widening. A moment later the gun slipped from his grasp, gnarled fingers clawing at his neck as the man began to sway, appearing to struggle with some unseen foe.
Dean lunged forward, snatching up the gun and then scrambling back to stand beside Sam. "What the hell's wrong with him?" He didn't realize his question was falling on deaf ears.
The man's hands left his throat, instead clapping over his chin and lower jaw as a thin, reedy cry fell from his lips. Suddenly his head swung completely around, the sound of bones snapping incredibly loud in the darkened room. The force with which the man's neck was broken hurled his body into the air, making it spin around several times before it came to rest with a muted thud, halfway up the long staircase.
"Jesus…" Dean said weakly, staring up into the gloomy stairwell. "What the fuck was that?" He took a step back, then looked up at Sam, realization dawning in his eyes, before a hint of fear settled there. "Sammy…did you…?"
Sam looked over at Dean calmly, then nodded once. "Yeah, I did." His eyes narrowed as Dean staggered back a step, then two. Slowly the taller man moved forward, stepping well into Dean's personal space.
Dean's mouth opened, and he stammered, trying to find the right words. "Your powers," he finally rasped, looking up apprehensively as Sam stopped in front of him, so close their chests brushed. "Why, Sammy?" Dean whispered, suddenly looking stricken. He moved to take another step back, then jumped as one of Sam's hands settled on his bicep, gripping lightly. "He was just an old man, not some demon, and you… Why'd you do that?" He felt a chill at the deceptively calm, almost serene expression on Sam's face.
"I was protecting you." Sam whispered, his free hand coming up to cup the back of Dean's neck.
Dean merely stared up at his brother for a moment, before his eyes darted to one side. He noticed Ruby standing before the still-opened front door, watching them with a strange expression and for some reason, that expression really bothered him. "We have to get out of here," he finally managed to say. He stood stock-still, not knowing how to react as Sam slowly moved away and started walking around the room, gathering up a few of the dead man's unusual talismans and charms, before he grasped Dean's hand and led him back out to the Impala.
Sam frowned when his cell phone rang, fishing it out of his pocket and scowling at it. "Hey Bobby," he answered, his voice sounding almost cheerful. "Yeah, we got the gun. No, no problems at all, in and out, everything's cool."
Dean was too stunned to even protest when Sam led him to the passenger seat, then got in behind the wheel. He closed his eyes, part of him wanting to laugh at Sam's words while another part wanted to snatch the phone away and scream out what had happened, do something, anything to stop what was happening to Sam. Yeah…sure, everything was cool.
Dean frowned and sat up, one hand scrubbing through his hair. It was longer now, nearly falling into his eyes in the front. This was a decision recently made by Sam, really. He said that he thought Dean looked younger, and hotter with a little more hair than the stark military cut their father had always insisted on for him, which Dean had simply become accustomed to. Dean suspected it was yet another way Sam was trying to push their father's influence from their lives, just as he had when he'd held an almost ritualistic burning of their father's journal.
He didn't fight Sam on any of it, with one exception. He wouldn't let Sam destroy the Impala. He'd tried to reason with Sam that the car was his, not just something their father let him use, since he was the one that had rebuilt it from the ground up after they'd all nearly been killed in that accident, just before their father's soul was taken by the yellow-eyed demon.
Sam had become annoyed at first, then downright angry, accusing Dean of wanting to hold onto it out of some desire to remember and even respect their father.
Dean had denied the accusations, saying that wasn't the case. He admitted that their father had been obsessed, and yes, he had been a bastard at times, and made a lot of mistakes.
Sam had countered that the line Dean had fed him after they'd started hunting together again, 'Saving people, hunting things, the family business', was never the case. Vengeance was the only business their father knew, every hunt he went on was only another stepping stone on the way to the yellow-eyed demon. Dean was the one that hunted things in the sole interest of helping innocent people. Sam didn't understand why Dean would want to hold onto remnants of the man, after the way he'd turned out thanks to John's spectacularly lackluster 'parenting skills', nothing more than a good little soldier that even considered himself expendable.
Dean had admitted that yes, the car started out as something of a loan, considering the way their father would berate Dean about his care of it at times, but John was dead now. Even the car had basically died and been recreated, given that it was Dean who restored it to its former glory when even Bobby said it was beyond repair. The car was now his and only his, its former owner wasn't even a consideration anymore. Besides, he'd said, playing his trump card, it reminded him of not only his humanity, but some of the times they'd actually come close to being happy, traveling the country together.
At that Sam had relented. The expression on his face had made it clear that Sam too remembered some of those good times.
"Good times," Dean sighed, rising from the bed and stalking across the room. He snatched up a black t-shirt that was draped across the back of the chair, and pulled it over his head. Long fingers ran through his hair as Dean tried to tame the unruly curls forming there, and he laughed softly, reminded of the times he'd teased Sam about his curls.
Dean looked toward the heavy wooden door, a pensive expression on his face. I'd give anything to tease you and have those kinds of good times with you again, Sammy, he thought wistfully, then scowled as he glared into the mirror, eyes changing from green to onyx. But I don't have anything left to give…
I did realize that by the time I got around to posting a chapter or two of this, there would be something in the episodes that bumps this even further into the realm of AU, but hey, I'm enjoying this ride XD. Feedback is love.