Dealing in Absolutes
His fingers desperately tear at the earth- Sam’s still-fresh blood coating them mixes with the dirt. He throws the box down into the ground, further toward hell- where he knows he’s going- and buries it. It doesn’t matter. None of it does.
The crossroads was conveniently close to Cold Oak. It was completely empty, and a little too dark. The moonlight seemed obsolete- it couldn’t reach the land quite well enough.
He stumbles when he stands up too quickly and stars dance before his eyes. His boots kick the gravel and the sound seems to intrude the space. The crossroads eat the sound up, devour it- there’s barely an echo when he yells out to the sky.
He spins around, ignoring the fresh dose of vertigo and nausea- maybe he shouldn’t have drunk so much before he left. It was a wonder he didn’t get in a crash- he had wanted to, no doubt.
“Dean Winchester. What a surprise,” a feminine voice teases from behind him.
His head snaps around and he saunters toward her. “A demon bitch. What a surprise.” he mimics, words slurring ever so slightly. His tongue feels too heavy in his mouth.
She seems to notice, eyes (still black) flicking toward his lips. “Careful, sugar. I can just leave, you know. I know why you called.”
Dean retaliates slightly, sets his shoulders. He wishes he wasn’t so damn transparent. “Oh yeah, why’s that?” he demands, swallowing.
The scene seems to change, the lighting dims. A cloud had ghosted in front of the moon, making it ever darker. If his life was some stupid-ass screenplay he was sure the dramatic music would’ve kicked in right about there.
“Following in daddy’s footsteps. You want to make a deal.” It wasn’t an accusation, it was a statement. Both he and she knew it.
“Fair deal,” he offers weakly, voice cracking. “My soul, ten years, if you bring Sam back.”
Her laughter was sharp and sudden, causing him to flinch. The crossroads seemed to embrace her- her darkness rivaled its own. She steps forward, eyes glinting. Her red dress hugs her form perfectly as she walks. “We’ve got you Winchesters right where we want you. Why would we make a deal with you?” She spits out the last word.
The world crashes down on Dean Winchester. Again. The black pulls down a curtain over his eyes. Show’s over, folks.
There’s a silence, a moment where Dean almost panics, almost gives up. Almost shoots her right where she stands.
Almost being the key word.
“I don’t need ten years,” he offers quickly as she turns away, stopping her in her tracks. He can hear the desperation in his voice- it mocks him. He ignores it as he continues. “I don’t need nine. How about five?”
This time, her smile is pitying as she faces him. “Sugar, I wouldn’t give you one year.”
And with that, she is gone, before his eyes.
Dean uses the logic that if he screams loud enough, she’ll come back. His throat is hoarse an hour later and still no demon. A soft rain begins, and Dean curses just about everything.
Downing another bottle of whiskey helps his throat, if only slightly. He doesn’t hear the Impala as it rumbles slowly to life. The headlights barely illuminate the crossroads. In a moment, the car is gone, and the only trace of Dean is a small indentation in the dirt, slowly pooling with water.
The drive back is silent. He doesn’t dare turn on the radio, in fear of something akin to “Ramble On” coming on and compelling him to drive off a fucking cliff.
The empty passenger seat beside him says more than any Led Zeppelin song ever could.
He looks in the rearview mirror. Sam’s blood stains the back seat. It stains his shirt, his hands, lingers underneath his nails. He can see red, and guesses that’s Sam’s blood, too.
And god, he can smell it. The metallic smell of what seems to follow him everywhere. He remembers carrying Sam into the motel. He’d done it many times before- out of a housefire in 1983 and any other time Sam bled just a little too much. But this was different. This was absolute. This was the last time he would carry Sam, ever. Sam wouldn’t be able to recover, to recuperate. Sure there was blood, yeah, but this time he wasn’t bleeding anymore.
With that, Dean parks the car, and makes a decision.
Inside, Sam is lying on a crappy mattress. Here, the moon is bright and confident- it lights up and accentuates every single pale part of Sam’s unmoving body.
Dean regards him for a moment, moisture blurring his vision, before he steps carefully through the room. For a reason he can’t begin to explain, he doesn’t dare make a sound. Even his breathing is controlled, quiet.
When he reaches the bed, lays down next to Sam, the first tear falls. His brother smells just as he always does- Dean ignores the iron undertone of dried blood. He hooks an arm around Sam, pulls him closer. Sam makes no protest.
“I’ve gotcha, Sammy,” he whispers, smiling weakly. “Always will.”
The gunshot rings out clearly, stopping an approaching Bobby Singer dead in his tracks.
Dean’s blood smells the same as Sam’s.