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That's the first thing he notices. The silence. All-encompassing, stifling, suffocating, impenetrable.

There's no breathing, no rustling of clothes, other than his own. There's no 'so get this', no 'dude!', no 'Dean', annoyed yet fondly amused. There's no clicking of laptop keys, no sighs or huffs of frustration, no turning of pages, no coughing from dust-clogged lungs.

There's no “fuck, Dean,” no drawn-out groans, no soft chuckles, no heavy, ragged breathing, no “god, I'm gonna—“

There's the ticking of a clock, counting the seconds where it hangs on the wall. Tick tock, tick tock tick tockticktocktick.

There's the sound of metal spinning on top of wood, stopping, spinning again, the sound of his gun's chamber being loaded, the click of the safety. The spinning.

Tick tock.

Six shots, the whole chamber, rolling through the bunker like thunder, bouncing off the walls to be carried deeper. Bam, bam, bambambambam.

The ticking stops. The clock falls.

No more counting seconds, but he still knows how long it's been since—

Since blood, since “Sammy!”, since “Dean!”, since “Sammy, it's alright now—hold on—I've got you—Sammy, c'mon—Sammy!”, since “God, no, please”.

Since silence.



That's what's next. He doesn't feel.

He doesn't feel the steering wheel beneath his fingers, the gear shift against his palm, the cold metal of the keys pressing into his flesh, the wood of the railing sliding against his skin, smooth and polished.

He doesn't feel the water beating down on his skin, scalding hot until it turns freezing cold. Doesn't feel the rough denim and the softer cotton against his thighs.

He wishes he could feel—

Shoulder bumping against his, elbows brushing, thigh pressing against his, fingers closing around his wrist briefly before letting go, tip of a boot nudging his calf, foot stepping down on his.

Could feel—

Body heat, like a furnace pressed against his side, heavy limbs tangled with his own, sweat-slick skin, large hands holding, kneading, caressing, bruising, fingertips pressing, teeth against his skin, biting, lips, kissing and sucking, hot, wet mouth, skilled tongue, strands of hair winding around his own fingers.

But he feels—

Cold metal against his temple, a heavy weight in his hands, shaking, a finger curling around a trigger, the gun slipping from his lax fingers, hitting his thigh on its way down.

Wetness on his cheeks.



That's what everything is. Tasteless.

He doesn't taste the whiskey, only feels it burning its way down to his stomach, and then hours later back up again, together with bile and stomach acid. It should be disgusting, but it isn't because he can't taste it. Can't taste the hangover on his tongue the next... morning? Afternoon? Evening?

He doesn't taste the coppery tang of blood flooding his mouth when goes looking for a fight and gets beaten to a pulp, solid fist connecting with his cheek, teeth biting down on his tongue.

He doesn't taste the bun or the meat or the ketchup of the burger he's trying to choke down.

He wants to taste.

Spit and come and sweat. Wants to taste skin, lips, wet mouth. Traces of cold beer, warm coffee, salad dressing.

He tastes ashes.


No scents.

Nothing smells. At least not right.

The coffee doesn't smell bitter or strong enough. The Imapala doesn't smell of leathery comfort. Burgers and pie smell nauseating. The bunker smells of damp, rotting paper.

He longs to smell ridiculous flowery shampoo and deodorant. Sweat and blood.

Sex, heady and sweet and wonderful.

Instead, he smells smoke and burning flesh.



He might as well be.

He'd like to close his eyes and never open them again, because when he does open them, he doesn't see a broad grin bracketed by dimples, white teeth, lips stretching, unruly mop of hair, broad shoulders, tanned skin, abs and pecks worthy of a CK ad. No shadow in his peripheral vision, no body sitting in the seat next to him.

He doesn't see a back arching in pleasure, muscled legs spreading, toes curling, fingers fisting sheets.

What he sees is empty rooms, empty chairs, empty shotgun seats.

Blood and pallid skin, torn clothes, stillness, a chest not moving.

Fire reaching for the night sky.


But then.

He sees the article in a newspaper.

He hears the purring of the Impala as she eats up the miles.

He smells the sulfur.

He tastes the orange juice he's offered as he interviews a witness.

He feels the horn of Ruby's knife handle against his palm and fingers.

The adrenaline makes everything sharper.

He hears the rhythm of his pulse clear in his ear, rush of his blood.

He sees the body moving, inhumanly fast, crossing the distance between them in the blink of an eye.

He feels his skin giving in beneath the pressure of a blade, teeth ripping through flesh and muscle, warm blood, pain spiking and tearing through him.

He tastes the bile and blood he's coughing up.

He smells death.

Feels the floorboards against his back.

Hears the manic cackle.

Sees black.


When he comes to, he doesn't open his eyes right away.

But he smells the Impala's leather. He feels it against his fingertips, hears the tinny sound of AC/DC from the speakers.

He moves his hand to the right, feels his pinky finger brushing against rough denim, hears a huff of silent laughter.

He turns his head and opens his eyes, sees.

Dimples and a grin, hazel eyes soft and happy, floppy hair.


His fingers curling around the back of a neck, hair brushing against the back of his hand.

Lips against his, teeth and tongue, noses bumping for a second, awkwardly.

He tastes desperation, hears the I missed you that isn't spoken, says it back, without words but with his kisses and touches, with the way he holds on too long when they break the kiss, the way he presses their foreheads together this once.

He hears

and feels

and tastes

and smells

and sees


And everything is back where it's supposed to be.