Sam woke up with a loud yawn and went to stretch only to find his arms wouldn't budge. His first thought was that his arms were just stiff, that was until he noticed the cold feel of handcuffs around his wrists. Now that he was alert he realized that his ankles were tied up too. Sam lifted his head a bit; yep they were tied by rope. Not only that but the whole room looked strange and blurry, it almost looked like the air had a red glow to it.
"Great you're finally awake, now we can have some fun." It was Dean's voice and at the same time it wasn't. The voice sounded so sinister; never would Sam have imagined his brother to talk to him in that way.
"Dean?" Sam looked up to suddenly see his brother standing over him with a wicked sneer and was that a...a knife in his right hand? Oh god, it was.
"Shouldn't have trusted me so easily little brother." Dean tsked as he ran the blade lightly down Sam's face, just barley piercing the skin. "Don't even think of calling for Bobby, he's taken care of." Dean licked the blood off of the blade, his face looking nearly feral.
"Dean, don't do this," Sam begged, he didn't understand what could have gotten into his brother's head overnight. Maybe it had been a memory of hell; all Sam had to do was get through to him. He refused to believe otherwise, he refused to believe his Dean was gone. "This isn't who you are."
"Really now?" Dean cackled, harsh and loud. "And tell me exactly who you think I am?"
"You're my brother, my hunting partner and my best friend. We're a team."
"Oh Sammy." The nickname sounded cruel and wrong. Dean's black eyes changed to Lilith-white and Sam gasped. "We haven't been a team since you let me get torn to shreds by the hellhounds. Remember that promise you made to me, the promise to save me from Hell? Remind me how that went."
"I tried everything I could!"
"You didn't try hard enough!" Dean bellowed and shoved the knife into Sam's bicep, causing his younger brother to scream out in pain.
"You really thought I still cared for you? I'll tell you who I really am; I'm a demon, a demon that was only using you. But now, I found out that I don't need you anymore so I can stop pretending and do what I've wanted to do this whole time."
"You don't want this," Sam whispered, a last attempt at regaining his brother.
"Of course I do. I've learned so much down in Hell Sam, I'm one of the very best. There's nothing I want more than to practice my skill on the thing I wasted so much of my life worrying and protecting. And for what? You're a freak, destined from birth." He slowly brought the knife down and began to carve patterns into Sam's skin. "All you are to me is a worthless...piece...of...scum."
The knife came plunging down.
Sam woke up for a second time with a start, shooting straight up in bed while the room spun around him. He breathed deeply for a few moments and allowed the feeling of being sliced apart to vanish. When he opened his eyes again the room was bright with early morning sunlight. He wasn't tied up; he could even hear birds chirping happily from outside...
He turned to the bed next to him and was met with Dean's blessedly black and tired eyes. He never imagined he'd be that relieved to see those black eyes, to feel so calmed by their presence. Dean looked horrible and exhausted and seemed genuinely amused.
"Dream about some homicidal psychotic clowns again?"
Sam couldn't help it. He burst out laughing. Oh, Dean. He laughed so hard that his chest began to hurt, his eyes started to water.
"Or maybe it's you that's psychotic." Dean's voice was light, humorous. "I know that this has been kinda overwhelming but I was hoping I wouldn't have to send you to a mental hospital. Oh well."
All of Sam's worries melted off of him just then. Dean could lie there captive and in pain and still made the effort to crack jokes to Sam. His brother was amazing.
Sam got out of bed and walked right into the devil's trap that contained his brother's bed and sat down. He lifted Dean up and grabbed onto him in a tight hug.
"Playing nice with me won't change my mind of sending you into a psych ward."
Sam laughed again, letting a few tears fall. He squeezed Dean tighter. "You're awesome."
"Hell yeah I am. Good choice of words there Sammy, you just saved yourself a trip to the crazy-bin."
"Shut up." Sam chuckled.
"You better make good use out of this chick-flick session while I can't do anything about it. Because if you so much as attempt this again I'll...," Dean stopped to think for a moment. "I'll burn your laptop in a fiery blaze with my mind."
"Oh, but I would."
Sam let go and helped Dean sit up against the headboard. "You can set things on fire?"
"Yeah, remember what I did to motel-man's car? See...watch this." Dean stared over at Sam's boots intently and a few seconds later they were ablaze.
Sam's eyes bugged out of his head. It was mind-bending. "Cool."
"I just torched your boots and you think that's cool?"
"I hated those things anyway. You do owe me a new pair though."
"I think I can live with that." Dean was smiling, but it was nothing like the sneer from Sam's nightmare. It was a cocky, and maybe even a little...proud, smirk.
"How do you do that though? Just concentrate?" Sam asked as he leaned against the headboard next to his brother.
"Pretty much. They teach you this shit in hell." Sam shivered at that comment, brought back to his dream for a moment. Dean looked at him in what Sam couldn't deny was worry. "Your dream wasn't about clowns, was it?"
"Unless you count an evil white-eyed version of yourself tearing me apart as a clown, than no." Sam looked down, feeling embarrassed that he'd even brought it up.
Dean kicked him in the leg, hard. "Hey, bitch didn't I tell you that I'd never want to hurt you? Do you honestly think I could even bring myself to?"
"No, I know you wouldn't Dean. The nightmare just scared the crap out of me."
"Well next time you'll know it's a dream and can beat the shit out of fake-me." Sam chuckled and Dean grinned in response. "Anyway, I basically look at whatever I want and solely focus on that, everything else just kinda fades away. Then I think about what I want to do to it, like set it on fire and BOOM, it happens. It's similar to how you're going to pull out demons with your mind."
"It's that simple?"
"Kind of, I mean of course there's limits to what us demons can do, especially a lower-level like me. It's not like I can make the world explode with a thought. I can set things on fire, move things with my mind and slice things open, goes with people too."
"Do you ever find yourself wanting to?" Sam wasn't afraid; he just honestly wanted to know. It was about time he tried to understand what it was like to be Dean now and what he went through.
Dean shrugged the best he could with his hands tied up behind his back. "It's not like I'm going around wanting to do it. But if I had to, I would without a second thought."
Sam nodded. He could take that. He could be Dean's conscious for him.
Anything else that would have been said was cut short when Bobby opened up the door, looking at Sam and Dean sitting next to each other with an incredulous expression on his face. He glanced at the blanket and pillow that were now on Dean's bed with a sigh, but didn't mention it. He then must have noticed the smell because he then turned around to see Sam's charred boots.
Sam offered Bobby a small smile and a shrug, he wasn't going to let Booby in on what Dean had done, but he was letting him know that it wasn't anything serious.
Bobby looked suspicious and hesitated a few moments before he tossed Sam something small...the key to Dean's handcuffs.
"Go ahead and break the wards, then bring him downstairs."
But before Bobby could turn and leave he must have heard Sam's gasp of horror when he looked at his brother's wrists. They were openly bleeding and raw; the skin was torn to the bone in some places.
"You know where the first aid kit is," Bobby told him.
Sam nodded, eyes starting to water again from looking at the horrible state of his brother's hands. This injury would take longer to heal, just like the holy water had, because iron was also poison to Dean. He should have demanded Bobby take them off the minute he put them on his brother.
Sam knelt under the bed and grabbed the first aid kit. Dean was sitting with his hands stiffly in his lap, his face a picture of pain. The blood...the bone...it was what Sam had seen when the hellhounds...
"Shit," Bobby muttered and crossed the salt line into the room. He must have just realized how bad Dean's hands were. He spoke to Sam but had his eyes on Dean's bleeding wrists the whole time. "You're in no condition to do that Sam, move over."
Sam just realized how badly his hands were shaking; it matched with how out of control he felt about this whole situation. Bobby took the first aid kit from Sam, his eyes held something close to guilt as he continued to stare at Dean's injuries.
With some hesitation, he stepped into the devil's trap and sat down on the bed. Dean became stock-still; he was probably just as confused as Sam was.
"Give me your hands you idjit," Bobby grumbled and Dean reluctantly held out his hands with a wince and a suspicious look at Bobby.
The man that had been like a father to them both took care when cleaning up Dean's hands and bandaging them up nicely, nothing like the rough and careless way Sam had been expecting him to. He finished wrapping the gauze around Dean's thumb and forehand to hold the bandage in place, both of Dean's wrists protected from any further harm. Bobby cleared his throat, patted Dean's right hand gently before leaving.
Dean, on the other hand just looked perplexed. "What the hell was that about?" he asked as Sam broke all the barriers that kept his brother trapped.
"I...I think he's realizing that you're still you."
"By seeing my hands bleed?"
"No..." Sam forced himself to look away from the bandages. "I think he had time to think about it overnight and when he saw what he had done to you...it hurt him. I think he understands now and kind of regrets what he did."
"Hmmm...," Dean didn't seem to believe Sam as he got up and grabbed the first shower. After Sam had washed up as well (and was forced to wear an old pair of running shoes) they headed downstairs. Bobby was standing at the counter pouring some milk into glasses and there were two plates of pancakes on the small kitchen table.
Sam sat down right away as he was starved and it wasn't until he took his first bite that he noticed that Dean was standing awkwardly on the other side of the kitchen. It seemed that he was afraid he was going to do something wrong or...
"What are you standing there for boy?" Bobby huffed as he turned around and glared at Dean. "Sit down with your brother and eat."
Dean looked from the plate to Bobby. He had thought the food at the table was Bobby's, that he had been forgotten and left out of the meal since he was a demon. Shit, Dean thought Bobby wouldn't have cared to feed him.
"Mine's over here, stupid." Bobby pointed to another stack of pancakes on the counter.
Dean sauntered over carefully; the look he was giving Sam with his now-green eyes was pure confusion. As soon as he took his first hesitant bite of his pancakes though, he was in bliss.
"Holy shit, Bobby. I forgot your blueberry pancakes were fucking amazing. Now I remember why I like you so much."
The last statement was for certain something Dean had never meant to say. But it seemed to have some effect on the older hunter. He seemed to really study Dean for a moment, almost as if he was analyzing him.
"I'm going to give you a chance boy. But just so you know, if you ever lay a finger on your brother in a harmful manner….I won't hesitate to send you straight back to Hell."
Dean rolled his eyes at Bobby's warning. "Wow, thanks Bobby, I've missed you too. More importantly, I've missed your cooking."
Bobby raised an eyebrow. "Shut your cocky ass mouth or I'll never cook for you again."
Dean turned to his brother. "It's your lucky day Sammy, looks like I'm finally going to shut up for once."
Dean scarfed down his pancakes and instead of getting up to eat the rest, he demanded that Sam eat them so he could 'get some meat on his bony ass'.
Sam was able to finish half of the second helping and that seemed to please Dean enough to get him off Sam's back. Dean was just finishing Sam's leftovers when Bobby walked back into the kitchen.
"I have something to show you boys, follow me."
Dean stopped licking the syrup off the plate and waited for Sam to take the lead. "You're going to go ahead of me and warn me where all the wards are. I do not feel like getting trapped again."
Sam followed behind Bobby, tugging Dean out of the way whenever he saw a ward until they were in Bobby's basement.
"What the hell is that?" Dean glared at the contraption - a whole new room made out of steel that now took up a large portion of the basement.
"I'm with Dean on this one Bobby. Why did you make this?"
"It's a panic room. Mostly to protect from demons." Dean sneered at the comment but Bobby didn't find it hard to ignore him. "But I really put every single ward and protection mark I could think of on it. Once you go in there, you're protected from anything and everything."
"Way to go Bobby!" Dean cheered sarcastically. "A little late though, don't ya think? I could have used that to prevent the hellhounds from tearing me apart."
Bobby glared over at Dean; he didn't seem too comfortable with him. Sam didn't understand that. Bobby accepted him as Dean now so why couldn't he feel at ease?
Maybe Sam wasn't seeing things straight because of his blind faith in Dean. He and Dean just had that bond and Sam connected with his brother in a way that no one else could. He couldn't really blame Bobby for being paranoid and not seeing Dean as the same person he had been. Sam honestly believed that he was the only person that would ever be able to completely see past the demon and simply see Dean.
"What happened to you was my whole reason for getting this room, Dean."
"Won't do me much good now, I won't even be able to enter it." Dean's eyes flashed black and his expression went cold. "So you know if Lilith or Alastair came here, you and Sammy can be all nice and safe while they slice me apart and send me back to the pit."
Dean turned around and stormed back up the stairs leaving Sam and Bobby in confusion. Sam glanced over at his friend for a moment before following the path his brother took.
"Sam," Bobby called out to him. "Don't, leave him be."
Sam got it; Bobby was scared of Dean when he was angry. He didn't want Sam near him.
"He's not going to hurt me Bobby." Sam shook his head. "And I'm not going to sit around and watch him hurt."
Sam walked into the living room just in time to see Dean walk right into a devil's trap unknowingly.
"Fuck!" Dean swore and clutched his hair in anger, tugging at it. "Fuck this!"
Anger and rage were practically radiating off of Dean as Sam stepped right into the devil's trap.
Dean jumped back as much as he could and fisted his hands at his sides tightly. "Sam."
Sam grabbed his shoulders and squeezed hard, trying to pull Dean back into the here and now. "Dean, relax. Just take a deep breath and tell me what's wrong."
"I don't know what's wrong Sam!" Dean bellowed
"There has to be a reason."
"No," Dean shook his head wildly. "No, you don't get it Sam. I'm not human anymore, there doesn't have to be a reason. Demons just get angry Sam. I'm furious and I feel like I want to beat someone to death!"
"Like me?" Sam asked, knowing what the answer would be.
"No, not like you, you moron! You...you're the only thing keeping me sane."
That was exactly what Sam needed Dean to say. His brother needed to hear himself say those words.
"I get it Dean. And I'm right here. I'm not leaving you alone, no matter if you have freak outs or get angry or anything. I'm always going to be right here, it doesn't matter what Bobby thinks. I'm always going to have your back, understand?"
Sam waited for Dean's terse nod before he continued. "Now tell me, who is Alastair?"
Dean actually paled. Shit! This couldn't be good.
"No." Dean shook his head stubbornly.
"Please tell me Dean."
"You don't need to know the shit I went through."
"You're right, I don't. But I want to. Talk to me Dean."
"He was the sick bastard that tore me apart and taught me how to torture souls until they lost all humanity. There you go."
Sam's eyes widened in shock but he never let go of his brother's shoulders. "Dean..."
"You're not running away? Not disgusted?"
"You're a demon Dean. I know you've done things that I find horrible. If I was so disgusted by that I would have run away a long time ago. Didn't I just finish telling you that I have your back?"
"I did stuff you'd never imagined the old me would have done. Hell, human-me would have killed myself in a heartbeat."
"I don't care."
"Really now? Even though before I went to Hell, I told you to kill me if I ever turned into this?"
Sam shook his head. "I don't know that Dean anymore. But I know the Dean standing in front of me right now and he's still the best brother I could ever ask for."
Sam knelt down and broke the devil's trap; he almost forgot it had been there. He stood up again and looked at his brother's black eyes.
"I'm going to learn these powers. And when I do I'm going to fucking kill Aliastair."
"Uh-uh," Dean reminded him. "No mind-killing allowed."
Sam took a deep breath. "Fine, I won't kill him with my powers, but I am going to kill the son-of-a-bitch. I'll make sure of it."
"Whatever you say Sammy, now can we please tell Bobby about the spell we need so we can get the hell out of here?"
It turned out that Bobby did know of a spell but it would take a day for him to actually find the old book and get the supplies that were needed. Of course Dean was anything but thrilled about having to stay another night.
"Gonna destroy my wrists again?" Dean hissed at Bobby. Dean was sitting on the couch with his arms folded, refusing to help Sam and Bobby with research.
"I'm not even injecting you anymore, so why would I tie you up again?" Bobby gritted his teeth and looked over at Sam. "Sam, get him out of here. I've got this. Just find something to entertain him, I can't concentrate while he's in here whining."
"Well, I would just leave the room on my own, but you won't let me anywhere if Sam's not with me!"
Sam got up and grabbed Dean's arm. "Come on Dean, let's go."
Dean shoved Sam's grip off and got to his feet, staring daggers at Bobby.
Sam dropped his voice so only Dean could hear. "If you want the damn spell, then let's just get out of his way. Come on, let's get something to eat."
Dean seemed irritated, but Sam was happy that he followed without complaining any further. They grabbed a couple of beers and Sam made them both a sandwich before they retreated upstairs.
"You know..." Sam stated as they got situated on their respective beds. "Bobby wasn't trying to go out of his way to make you angry in the basement."
"Showing me a contraption he created to keep things like me away? How did he NOT think I wouldn't get angry?"
Dean did have a point. "I think he was just trying to make sure you didn't feel left out, but went along with it in the wrong way."
His brother gave a heartless laugh at the comment. "No Sammy, you're seeing this through your rose-tinted glasses again. He brought me down there because he wanted to prove a point to you. He wanted to get me angry and he wanted to get me out-of-control. I don't know, maybe he even wanted me to try going after one of you just so he could show you that I don't deserve to be treated like a person."
Sam didn't know what to say, Dean's argument actually made a lot of sense.
"It's obvious he doesn't like the way you're talking to me normally and the way you feel comfortable around me."
"But I know you'd never hurt me Dean. You're always going to be my brother."
"I know that." Dean seemed frustrated with the whole situation, they needed to get out of Bobby's soon for Dean's own sanity. "But he doesn't think that. He thinks the fact that I'm a demon should outweigh the fact that I'm your brother. He wants an excuse to end me."
"I don't think it's that serious Dean."
"Oh really? Well he at least wants a reason to kick me out and for me to stay away from you. Even you can't deny that."
Dean was right. Bobby hadn't spent these last two months with Dean like Sam had. And even if he had, he would still never trust Dean, not the way Sam did.
"We'll leave as soon as Bobby finishes the ritual tomorrow. I promise."