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January 6

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Dean doesn’t this his nightmares have ever been this bad.

Not after he came back from Hell, seeing blood and gore every night behind his closed eyelids, Alistair’s cruel laugh still in his ear even after he woke himself up with a yell.

Not even after Purgatory, running, always running, even when he was supposed to be sleeping. Running and never stopping because if you stopped, they’d get to you.

But this is different. This isn’t him being tortured. This isn’t him running, bloodied and bruised with dirt caked to his face and hands.

This is different because it wasn’t him but it was. On the night he became a demon he became something else, something twisted, but something that was still him.

And he is haunting himself at night, always circling that damn hallway, twirling the hammer – a goddamned hammer – between his fingers and calling out to his little brother in that godawful voice. His own voice is boxing him in in his head, driving like nails through his skull.

This night, too, he awakes with a start. Somehow, thankfully, mercifully he always wakes up before he gets to Sam. Because he bashes his baby brother’s skull him with a hammer because he’s so wrong, the black from his eyes creeping into every other crevice of his body and taking root there.

Dean thinks he can still feel it. The wrongness. The darkness that consumed him.

Occasionally, he wonders if this is what Sam feels like sometimes. Whether he feels like Dean does, like he’s never going to scrub himself of this filth.

He jumps badly, startled, when the door creaks open. “Dean?” his brother’s soft voice slithers into the room, through the sliver of light coming from the hallway.

Dean rubs his eyes, willing his heart to start pounding so hard. “Sammy? What’re you doing here? You’re s’pposed to be asleep.”

“You were calling my name in your sleep.” Sam slinks into the room and pushes the door closed, returning the room to darkness.

“I was?” Dean sits up, dangling his legs out of bed. He might take a walk around the bunker to calm down.

“Yeah. What were you–?” Sam hesitates, “You wanna talk about it?”

Dean replies, “Not particularly. ’s always the same. I’ll get a handle on it.”

Sam approaches, his sleep pants rustling as he walks. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. I just … I just wanna know you’re okay.”

“I’m peachy.”

Sam huffs a breath, as Dean knew he would. “Come on,” he says, “Scoot over.”

Dean is dumbfounded for all of one moment. “What?”

Sam gently nudges his knee and without thinking about it, Dean complies. Makes space for Sam and lies back down.

“What’s this for?” he asks when Sam joins him and pulls the blanket up over them both.

“Ssh,” Sam says, “Sleeping.”

Dean contemplates him for another moment but since Sam is getting comfortable in the pillow and doesn’t look like he plans on moving any time soon, Dean relaxes into the mattress.

In the morning, he doesn’t remember dreaming anything at all.