sketchydean

smalltrolven

The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time


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smalltrolven

Fic: Hard Row to Hoe (All by Yourself) Chapter 2 of 5



Back to Chapter One


They are silent as they pull up to the garage entrance to the bunker.

“So am I gonna be able to get in and outta here? I assume you’ve re-demon-proofed to keep Crowley out,” DemonDean asks.

“Yeah, we have. Hold on here outside the door for a second,” Sam says, unfolding himself from the car, stretching briefly and then disappearing into the garage. He flips the lights on and comes back with a can of spray paint and a knife. He scratches at several devil’s traps painted on the cement floor, and the door, then waves at Dean.  Dean pulls the car in and Sam re-paints the symbols, slamming the garage door shut.

“So I’m stuck in here now huh?” DemonDean asks.

“Uh huh. Sorry. When you have to leave, I’ll let you out. I promise. But we gotta keep it locked up for now in case Crowley comes looking for you,” Sam says, walking towards the stairway that leads down to the rest of the Bunker.

Dean growls in the back of his throat, eyes going black, hands clenching into fists. Sam hears the growl and looks up in surprise. Before he can do anything else, Dean has Sam pinned against the garage wall, forearm against his throat. “Of course he’ll look for me. It’s why I shouldn’t even be here, you idiot.”

Sam tries to respond, but can’t get any words out. He is terrified and his airway is completely cut off.  He struggles and claws at Dean’s arm, twisting to get away from his brother, who maybe really is a demon.

“Now do you get it, Sammy? You see what I am?” DemonDean sneers, bottomless black eyes shining out of the familiar face. He emphasizes his words by pulling the First Blade out of his back pocket and running it up the side of Sam’s face until a small trickle of blood drips onto its surface, absorbing into the porous old bone.

Sam mouths the words silently at him Dean Stop Please Dean, begging with his eyes.

Dean lets him go with a sardonic laugh that echoes through the cavernous garage. Sam crumples to the floor, gasping in big gulps of air. He feels the soreness of his bruised neck and looks up at this creature standing above him and sees very little remaining of his brother. But it is still there, in the part of him that has released his hold and let him live. If that is all he has to work with, it will have to be enough.

Sam stands up, unsteady at first, but then holding onto the wall for balance. He meets Dean’s black-eyed stare with all the conviction he can muster. “Yeah, I see what you are, I do. But I know you’re still in there, Dean. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to stop just now. C’mon, let’s go see where Cas is upstairs.”

Dean enters the main room in what can only be described as a prowl, skirting the edge of the tables and peering into all the reading nooks. “Where’s Kev at?”

“He’s not here, he’s with his mom. Something about how she can’t let him just go when she just got him back. Plus I don’t think she likes him being here with us. Unsafe and everything,” Sam says.

“Yeah, I can understand that, I did get him killed after all, and you let Crowley have at him for a year,” Dean answers.

“Now you’re just being a jerk for no reason,” Sam says.

“Demon, remember?” Dean jokes.

“I’m going to make something salty tonight for dinner, just for that one,” Sam answers.

“Bring it,” Dean says, following Sam into the kitchen.

Sam opens the commercial sized refrigerator to find that Castiel has filled one of the enormous shelves with more sandwiches. Hopefully not all PB&J again.  “Oh goody, looks like we’re having sandwiches again,” Sam says with sarcasm, pulling a couple out and setting them on plates at the small table.

Castiel comes in when he hears their argument about whether the sandwiches need banana added or not.

“Hello, Dean, I had no idea you cared so much about bananas in your sandwich,” Castiel says, clapping Dean on the shoulder.

Dean looks up at his friend and grins.

“I don’t. Just messin’ with Sammy.”

“So, Cas, help me tell Dean how this is all going to work,” Sam says, biting into his sandwich with deliberate ferocity to stop himself from commenting.

“We will begin with an initial ceremony, where you must declare your intentions and you must express your willingness and desire to give up the Mark of Cain. This will likely be much harder than you would think. You will have to struggle against your demon nature to even say the words.”

“I’ll be there though Dean, I’ll help you do it,” Sam says when he sees the unsure look cross his brother’s face.

“What’s next,” growls DemonDean.

“You must perform the mitzvah,” Castiel says.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m gonna go get you your girl back,” DemonDean says.

Castiel doesn’t answer, just looks across the table at Dean, uncomprehending.

“It’s Meg, he’s going to go get her out of Hell for you, Cas,” Sam says.

“I will gladly accept this mitzvah, I have missed her presence greatly,” Castiel says. “It will be a great risk for you, Dean. For you to travel into Crowley’s domain is much too dangerous. Here on this plane you can defend yourself from him, but in Hell, he reigns supreme.”

“Don’t worry about it buddy, got it covered,” Dean says, leaning back against the kitchen wall and putting his boots up on the table.

“Are you sure you cannot choose something that is less risky?” Castiel asks.

“No Cas, this is what I want to do. Sammy said it had to be an act of human kindness. Obviously you’re not human and neither is she, but it’s something me as a human would offer to do. For you.”

Castiel’s eyes search Dean’s face for a few long moments. He finally answers, “I am deeply touched, Dean, thank you.”

“I haven’t actually done it yet, wait until you see her, huh? Might not be much of her left,” DemonDean says with a shrug.

“What is your human phrase? It is the thought that counts. That is it, correct?” Castiel asks.

“Yeah, Cas, you got it,” Sam answers.  “Finish telling him, the last step. I’ll be right back,” Sam leaves the kitchen abruptly.

“The blood, you will need to have injections of human blood, once per hour, for nine hours consecutively,” Castiel explains.

“Why nine?” Dean asks.

“It is some sort of numerology. I admit I have forgotten if it was Babylonian or earlier. You add the number of the beast, 666. Six plus six plus six equals eighteen. You add the digits one plus eight and get nine. Which is of course, one of the holiest and most significant of numbers.”

“That’s a lot of blood, who’s it coming from?” Dean asks.

“Well, it must be of the same blood type, and you and Sam are A+, so Sam is the likeliest source,” Castiel answers.

“What about his demon blood? Will that affect this at all?”

“That is all out of his system completely. Between the purification of the Trials and the presence of an angel’s grace for all this time, all traces of demon blood are completely gone from Sam’s system.”

“He know that?” Dean asks.

“No, I don’t believe so.”

“He’d probably want to, you should tell him,” Dean advises.

“Will he think it is a good thing?” Castiel asks.

“Yeah, obviously. He said he’s felt unclean his whole life. I think he’d probably be pretty psyched about it,” Dean answers.

“Psyched about what?” Sam asks, re-entering the kitchen holding a large leather-bound book.

“You are completely free and clear of all traces of demon blood, Sam. So your blood will be perfectly fine for use in this demon cure for Dean,” Castiel says.

“Oh, uh…that’s good to know, thanks, Cas,” Sam says, sitting down at the table and placing the book in front of Dean.

“I told him to tell you, so you’re welcome,” DemonDean says, wanting credit for Sam now knowing something he’s always worried about is no long a problem.

“Thanks, it means a lot to just know it. It’s hard to explain, and neither of you could probably imagine why, so I won’t bother.”

“Whatever, Sammy, just aren’t you so happy you get to shoot me up with your blood? It’s kinda like the reverse of your sucking on Ruby,” DemonDean teases.

“No, Dean, I’m not happy about it. I’m happy that this is maybe a chance to cure you. And leave Ruby out of it,” Sam answers with controlled anger.

“Depends on whether I really want the cure though, doesn’t it?” DemonDean challenges.

“Yeah. It completely depends on it. We shouldn’t bother unless you’re sure,” Sam says flatly. He can’t imagine this not working, he won’t let himself go there.

“The first step, the ceremony will tell us that,” Castiel says.

“We need anything special?” DemonDean asks after a prolonged silence where the three of them look at each other like they’re expecting the others to say something.

Sam opens the book to the page he’s bookmarked and starts reading over the ceremony requirements. He points at one item until Castiel takes notice.

“We require more holy oil. I shall return,” Castiel says, disappearing with a swoosh of feathers.

“He still does that? I’ll never get used to it,” DemonDean says, standing up and pacing the room.

“At least he doesn’t do the invisible creeper thing anymore,” Sam says, eyes not leaving the page of tiny handwriting.

“How do you know?” DemonDean asks, peering over Sam’s shoulder at the miniscule words.

“He told me, and I believed him,” Sam says, his shoulders hunching up protectively because his brother who almost killed him a few minutes ago is standing so close behind him.

“He’s told about as many lies as Crowley, why do you believe him?” DemonDean asks, sitting back down on his stool.

“He’s our friend, one of the only ones we still have,” Sam says.

“If he’s what you call a friend, then I know I’m even more right about not needing any. I still don’t get how you can forgive him so easily, what he did to you, leaving your soul in hell, taking down the wall,” DemonDean says.

“That’s my business isn’t it? It’s not up to me to try and explain to you what friendship is. And it sure as hell isn’t worth it while you’re most of the way to being a demon,” Sam says.

“True. Just, I don’t trust him,” DemonDean says.

“Fine. I do. He was there for me, Dean, the night you left me on that dock. He was the one that helped me get rid of Gadreel’s grace. And he’s the one who stopped me from going too far to get you back,” Sam says.

Dean doesn’t answer, just gets up with a growling sound coming from the back of his throat and stalks off into the depths of the bunker.  Sam is momentarily angry that he’s left and blown off the conversation, but then he realizes, this isn’t really his brother he’s talking to, so there’s not much point in pursuing this. His Dean probably wouldn’t talk about this either, but he does wonder if the real Dean feels this way about Cas, still mistrusting him and not forgiving him for what he’s done to Sam. It makes Sam pause a little and reconsider, does Dean or even Demon Dean have a point about Cas?

After everything they’ve seen and experienced, calling an angel a friend is a risk. But there’s always been something about Cas that’s different than the other angels. He’s like a glitch in their system, which is fascinating to an observer like Sam. But Sam’s always felt like they had such similar motivations, doing the wrong things to try and accomplish the right end goal, and failing spectacularly. And it doesn’t hurt that Cas has saved them more than a few times. And now Sam feels closer to him after the whole Gadreel experience, especially remembering Castiel’s dead human body, and his hands funneling the angel’s grace to bring Cas back to life. Cas and he seem to have more of a connection, especially since Dean hasn’t been himself.

Hasn’t been himself - understatement of the century, Sam sniggers to himself, my brother’s a demon, he reminds himself. And that’s what this ceremony is all about.

“So tonight, we’re going to do the ceremony. You still up for it, Dean?” Sam asks as he enters the main room.

“Yeah sure, first you gotta have a drink with me,” Dean says, sliding a more than half-full crystal tumbler across the table. Luckily Sam is paying attention and snags it just before it goes off the edge. He remembers missing that beer bottle Dean threw in this room not so long ago. How they’d argued over who had to clean it up. He settles himself down in one of the chairs across from Dean and sips the whisky as his eyes roam Dean’s face. He’s hard to figure out, this demon version of his brother, his face is almost always set in a smirk. And not the one that always promised some sort of annoying mischief, it’s trying to be that one, but knowing that his brother the demon no long sees any point in stopping at mere mischief, the smirk is not a tease but a promise of chaos.

“I’m drinking, see,” Sam says, lifting his tumbler and swallowing down a good amount of the whisky.

“Noticed you drank almost all of my stash, Sammy,” Dean says.

“Yeah, I did. So?” Sam answers, lifting his chin a little in defiance. “Why do you care? Did you want me to pine away and drink herbal tea?”

Dean just laughs, a darker version of his usual full-body guffaw when Sam’s really hit him with something hilarious.  “Never change, Sammy, never change.”

“Don’t plan on it. I’m planning on changing you, though. And that’s tonight by the way,” Sam says. “Unless you’re going to try and wimp out on me or something.”

“Naw, I’m down for the attempt. Why not? Doubt it’s going to work though. A lot of the stuff Crowley tried on me failed since I’m not just a regular demon. But I know you gotta do what you gotta do.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. I get it that you don’t care one way or the other if this works. But I do, I’m caring enough for the both of us.”

“I know, Sammy. Not a surprise. Pretty pointless though.”

“Dean, if this doesn’t work. We’ll figure something else out.”

“This is why I left you that note, tellin’ you to just let me go. I don’t want you spendin’ your life tryin’ to fix me.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot, only you get to do that for me. Just shove it, Dean. If you don’t get it by now that it’s a two-way street as far as that goes, there’s no hope in me ever getting you to believe it. Especially while you’re like this.”

“Like what? A knight of hell?”

“Yeah. Or whatever you are, but you won’t be, not for much longer. And then when you’re back to being just my brother. We’ll try having this conversation again.”

“Whatever. Won’t change anything.”

Sam leaves the room at that point. There’s nothing left to say when Dean’s like this. Feeling like he’s been hitting his head against one brick wall after another has left him exhausted and heart sore. It might not be an actual thing to be heart sore, but that’s how he feels at the moment.   He lays down on Dean’s bed for a while, just closing his eyes and trying to convince himself that it still smells like him, even though that’s faded weeks ago. He misses Dean so much it hurts, and it’s even worse having the demon version of him here in the Bunker. Sam falls asleep remembering all the times they’ve held each other in this bed, after bad hunts and good ones, after amazing sex and angry sex, and it all blends together into a seamless quilt of images and sensations and feelings that makes him deeply recall why he’s even still trying to save Dean.

DemonDean pauses at the doorway to his room and sees Sam curled up on his bed, hugging one of the pillows in his big, gorilla arms. He leans against the doorframe and just watches Sam sleep, fighting within himself to not go over and curl up with him. It’s not what Sam wants from him, not now. And it’s not what he can really give Sam, without hurting him even more than he already has. That he cares about it is his biggest clue that this gambit of Sam’s might actually work. Just being around him this past day has reawakened the human side of himself that he’d been pushing down while he was out howling at the moon with Crowley.

He lets his eyes click to black while he thinks of how to best take revenge on Crowley. If this doesn’t work tonight, that’s the first place he goes when he busts out of here. And if it does work, well then, he’ll have to stall Sam long enough to go take care of one last demon-related errand. Sam will understand. He’d probably even want to come along. DemonDean comes back to himself and notices that Sam’s awake and watching him with a strange smile on his lips.

“What’re you lookin’ at,” DemonDean growls, angry at being caught staring.

“Could ask you the same thing,” Sam says, stretching on the bed in that slow sinuous way he knows always gets Dean’s attention.

“Cut it out, Sammy, you really don’t wanna mess with me when I’m like this,” DemonDean hisses, and stomps away, his angry footsteps pounding up the stairs.

Sam hears some glass breaking and hopes it isn’t one of his favorite library table lamps, they’re already down a couple. They’ve always been hard on lamps, it’s a thing with them. Two big guys in usually small motel rooms, stuff gets knocked over. But in this big place, you’d think they’d be able to not break the damned lamps, which as far as he can tell are actual, legit Tiffany. He sighs to himself as he gets up, tucking the things he’ll need from this room tonight carefully into his pockets. As he leaves the room he looks back one last time at Dean’s room where they’ve shared so many nights, he closes his eyes in silent prayer to any and all deities that might be paying attention, Please Bring Him Back to Me.

Chapter Three


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