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[and we play like you had a war]
1886 words

notes: for [profile] shiplessheathen.


when a soul breaks, there’s no outward sign at first


There were a million ways things could have gone. He’s not sure if they had this coming, some kind of cosmic intervention for all the things they do in the dark that they never should have, but it goes the one way he prayed to God it wouldn’t. It’s not ironic, because God’s never been there to back him up, so why would He start now?

Sam tells him it was never the blood, that the power was in him, and Dean reminds him that demon’s lie – Ruby lies, lied to Sam for an entire year to get the outcome she and so many others wanted. Sam doesn’t agree, because Lucifer would never have just let them walk away whole if there wasn’t some truth in it. Sam believes he can still control it, use it against Lucifer, and make things right again.

Dean reminds him, “It’s a slippery slope, brother.”

That never got him anywhere, and it still doesn’t. Sam thinks he knows best when it comes to his powers because they’re his, but Dean’s seen where this road goes and it’s not anywhere good – the last time they did things Sam’s way, Lucifer walked free; Dean doesn’t want to think about what could happen now.

There’s something about Dean Winchester you should know: his little brother has always been his biggest weakness. Dean will follow Sam, wherever he goes, even if that road is dark and twisting, and leads them straight down into Hell. Dean swore he’d never go back there, no matter what it took, and still he’s following Sam, knowing that Hell’s doorstep isn’t that far away.

And Sam Winchester was always meant to rule in Hell, rather than burn in Heaven.

It’s slower, this time, than it was with Ruby. Dean doesn’t have anything encouraging to say, or experience to offer, so he stands on the sidelines and watches blood drip from Sam’s nose. He brings the pain killers when the headaches get so bad Sam can’t move from his spot on the floor. He hates where all of this is going, but he doesn’t stop Sam; instead, he keeps telling himself that this could turn out all right. Everything could come up sunshine and rainbows, rather than hellfire and brimstone. Dean can lie to himself for as long as the world keeps spinning on its axis, but he’s never been too good at believing bullshit.

He expects Sam to change somehow. Yellow eyes, black eyes, a tail and horns – he doesn’t know what, exactly, he’s expecting, but he doesn’t expect Sam to stay exactly the same. Sam still drinks his coffee with too much cream and sugar, he still eats yogurt, and uses syrup but no butter on his pancakes. He still sleeps with his face pushed into Dean’s armpit, and pulls all the covers too far on his side of the bed.

And maybe, that’s the whole problem: Sam is exactly the same.


when a soul breaks, triumph and folly are in the mix


It’s freezing outside, but Dean waits by the car. It’s bad enough he knows what Sam can do, but he doesn’t need to see Sam in action. He rationalizes to himself that evil is still evil, even in human form it still deserves stopping. He wonders, briefly, when he and Sam switched roles. Dean rubs his hands together to warm them up, fingertips burning from the cold; he could get in the car, start her up and let the heat run, but she’s getting too many miles these days and he doesn’t want to start the engine up without a need; she’s the last thing he has left from his life before…all of this.

When the screaming and pleading begin, he hums Dream a Little Dream to himself, and doesn’t wonder how the hell they got to his point because he already knows. He does wonder, though, if after all this Hell will still have a rack waiting for him. He pulls the flask out of his jacket pocket and drinks until the burn blends from his throat to his belly.

When Sam comes out, he’s wiping his hands on a towel. Dean almost laughs that Sam chose a white towel to wipe his bloody hands on. It’s quiet in the house now, and Dean knows that eventually the police will find a bloody, gory mess.

“Did you find out anything,” Dean asks, taking another drink from his flask. Sam nods at the trunk, so Dean unlocks it, and Sam throws his bloody towel in and closes it.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” he says. “We should lay low for the night.”

Dean nods and gets in the car, Sam doing the same. He doesn’t have to wonder if he still loves his brother, because he still does, and he doesn’t have to wonder if what they’re doing is right because he knows it isn’t. The only alternative to end this, is to end Sam, and he’s never been able to even entertain the thought, and he still can’t. Maybe, if they're lucky, and Sam puts Lucifer away for good and the apocalypse is averted, maybe Sam will just stop using his powers and everything will go back to the way it was – when Dean knew his brother, knew himself.

They’re so much closer than they’ve ever been to putting this all to rest, and Dean finds himself praying uselessly for all of this to just be over. He thinks, as he drives, that they’d buy a house out West and let everyone think they’re gay married. He’d open an auto body shop and Sam could have his own bookstore because he’s a geek, and Dean knows he’d love it. They’d pick out curtains and matching carpets, and buy furniture that wasn’t a nineteen-seventies reject or covered in sickening floral patterns. And Jesus Christ, they’d never have to see another motel room for the rest of however long their goddamn lives last.

“You’ve been really quiet,” Sam says and Dean pulls into the parking lot of the Motor Inn Motel.

“Just thinking,” Dean replies, cutting the engine.

“Don’t hurt yourself,” Sam says and smirks. Dean flips him off.

He lets Sam go get the room key, and thinks that times like these it feels like the old days. Times like this he could forget what they’ve become.

The motel room is a sickly green, and the bedspreads are dim, plain beige. They don’t bother keeping up pretenses anymore, Sam always nearby or with a hand possessively on the small of Dean’s back, so Dean isn’t sure why they still get two beds. He doesn’t suppose it matters, so he never bothers to ask.

He watches Sam undress, revealing bruises from fights, and a set of nail marks across the left side of Sam’s neck that he isn’t sure how he missed before. Regardless of demon-powers and mojo, Sam is still human and still gets hurt like one. All of his old scars are still there, the worst of it being the mottled white scar tissue over his spine. Dean remembers that moment, that endless day, and it makes him remember why he’s here, why they’re here; he thinks it might all be worth it in the end.

Dean doesn’t really remember moving across the space between them, but he’s standing at Sam’s back, touching the bruises and scars with his fingers. Sam turns around, looking down at Dean, and then he cups the side of Dean’s face. “What’s wrong?” He asks, thumb making soft arcs against Dean’s cheek.

“I don’t want to lose you, Sammy,” Dean says softly.

Sam takes Dean’s face in both hands, presses his mouth softly against Dean’s and then pulls back to look his brother in the face. “You’re not going to lose me,” Sam says with certainty.

Dean thinks, I already have, but any other thoughts he had go out the window when Sam’s mouth is on his. He tastes like he always has: a mixture of coffee and stale breath and it’s so goddamn good. They haven’t had time for this in too long, and Dean wants Sam so bad he can feel it burning up his blood. He lets Sam pull his tee-shirt over his head, and fights with Sam’s belt buckle at the same time Sam starts fighting with his.

When they get their clothes off, Dean pushes Sam onto the bed, and Sam lies there on his back looking up at Dean. This is one thing that Sam has always completely given up the reigns for, and Dean is so fucking happy it’s only for him. He presses his body on top of Sam’s and when Sam sighs it sounds like it’s almost in relief. He relaxes under Dean’s touch, and when Dean reaches down to fist Sam’s cock Sam moans like it might be the best thing he has ever felt.

“Dean,” Sam says. “Dean, I need…”

“I know,” Dean says softly. “I know what you need, Sammy.”

Dean only spares a few moments, long enough to rummage through his duffel for lube and get back on the bed, on Sam. Their prep is quick and cursory, three fingers to start, and Sam moans Dean’s name. Somewhere in the back of Dean’s mind, he thinks maybe he can fuck this out – fuck the darkness out of Sam and make him realize every little thing they’d be giving up if they give in to whatever this is that Sam’s doing. Somewhere, in the back of Dean’s mind, he thinks they should just run away, hide from this until the world just turns to ashes.

It doesn’t feel like just a fuck when Dean pushes into Sam, not that it ever did; it feels good in ways no one else ever made him feel, and it feels like he’s trying to hang onto something that’s been so quickly slipping away.

Sam wraps those long arms and legs around Dean, presses his mouth to the pulse in Dean’s neck, and so help him, Dean is so fucking in love with Sam that whether this all turns out to be a victory or one huge loss, Dean’s going to follow Sam all the way down. Sam moans his name, arching up against Dean, and Dean wraps one hand around Sam’s dick and they stroke him together.

When they come Sam’s face is buried in Dean’s neck. It sounds like Sam is crying, but Dean won’t ask. Instead, he kisses Sam’s shoulder. They fall asleep tangled around each other and in the dirty sheets.


when a soul breaks, the Devil is its lover


Dean has dreamt of hell every day since he got out. He remembers things more vividly than he’s ever admitted, to angels or Sam, sometimes even himself. Somehow, it’s still different. He remembers the crying, the screaming, all the red blood everywhere; he remembers the grind of his own bones, the feel of his skin being pulled from them piece by fucking piece. It’s astounding that it just looks like a dungeon, dark and musty, an empty doorstep for them to pass through. Dean, he hesitates, but Sam? Sam just walks right in, and Dean follows Sam just like he always has.


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February 2010

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