Darker Shade of Black

Fandom: Supernatural

Category/Rated: Slash, T

Year/Length: 2007/ ~8153 words

Pairing: Dean/Sam

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

Warning: Wincest, language, violence, AU

Summary: They say that no one can get out of here. Never been done. Never will be done. Sam's heard that before, and Dean has never, ever, been wrong about his prediction on how long it will take them to get out. He's good that way.

Author's Notes: Um. Yes. So, what if the boys really did belong in jail? Because apparently I can't post happy fic without posting some really weird crap, as well.

Audio Version: read by podfic_lover [m4b]

Audio Version: read by podfic_lover [mp3]

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They call it Hell, this collection of steel and mortar, bars and men with guns. They say that no one can get out, that no one ever has and no one ever will. They say it's impossible, and it's where they send the worst of the worst, the ones that they can't send anywhere else. The ones that they'd really rather kill.

The anti–death penalty legislation had been a bitch.

They call it Hell, and it is intimidating, Sam will give them that. The stainless steel elevator that descends just slightly too fast to be comfortable, deep, deep below the streets of D.C. The guards with their automatic weapons, with their bullet proof vests and their cold dead eyes. All very, very impressive, a modern marvel, really.

He knows all above it, because there hadn't been a whole lot else to do but research during the trial. He knows that they're sixty feet below street level, that it's pretty much a glorified concrete tomb. Three cell blocks, twenty cells in each, almost all of them occupied already. Shatterproof plastic walls in the cells, no privacy, no way to escape or plan or think.

There are one hundred guards on shift at any given time, three shifts a day. The guards double as custodians and cooks, as medical officers. No one gets in without security clearance, no one gets in without training, no one gets in that has a chance in hell of being compromised.

It's a perfect prison. The perfect place to store the people that are just too dangerous or too crazy or too good to be held anywhere else. It was like death, while you were still alive, the best that they could do now that there were no more lethal injections, no more electric chair, no more lynching in the town square.

Sam memorizes the elevator, control panel you can only access with a fingerprint from a guard, no visible seam work in the steel, doors that closed completely flush with one another. Four guards in the elevator, all facing inward, all wearing eye protection, all with their weapons armed and trained on their prisoners.

Sam rolls his shoulders, stretching his elbows out as far as they'll go with the manacles holding his wrists in the small of his back. His elbow brushes over Dean's arm, beside him. It's a brief, invisible gesture, the guards don't so much as flick their eyes. And beside him Dean shifts, just slightly, into the touch.

He doesn't have to see his brother's face to know he's grinning, ear to ear.

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The hallways are as flawless as the elevator, streamlined perfection, each one supposedly identical to the next. Sam has an eye for detail, always has, and he looks hard, and memorizes each tiny little defect that they haven't had time to notice or fix yet.

Beside him Dean is uncharacteristically silent, and Sam knows he's watching too. That Dean's cataloging weapons and manpower and how long it would take for someone running to go certain distances, how long walking, how long sneaking. He can read the movement of Dean's body, a little twist with each step that is him, pulling at the handcuffs, testing and learning them.

Two guards walk in front of them, two behind. The cameras, one every six feet, are inset in the walls, no wires, no handholds. Everything is white and smooth, sterile like the inside of an operating room, like a morgue. Like hell, frozen over.

The cell is perfection as well, eight by ten feet of icy metal floor, boxed in with plastic. There's a bunk bed in the middle of the room, no toilet, no shower, nothing. One sheet on each bed, no pillows, no slits for mail or food, no helpful little vents.

The guards don't shove them into the room, just stand very pointedly outside. The handcuffs click off as soon as they pass the threshold, fall to the metallic floor and Sam lunges for them even as Dean is pivoting faster than humanly possible and throwing himself at the guards.

Sam registers a surprised shout, and then the quick dirty sounds of a fight. And then one of the guards kicks him under the chin, snatches the handcuffs back and the other three shove Dean back in. Sam catches a glimpse of his brother, blood running down one side of his face, running down into his gray uniform and Dean is on his feet again, grinning like a wolf at the guards outside the plastic.

Sam stays on the floor, it's a loose, undignified sprawl, but it's best not to get in Dean's way when he's bleeding.

The guards back away after a few minutes, shaking their heads, after thumping on the plastic and taunting Dean as he paces back and forth in front of them. Dean watches them go, still smiling, sharp and bright. And then he reaches down and hauls Sam to his feet, a strong hand that pulls Sam into his hard body, and holds him for just a second.

Sam lets his gaze skate around the cells surrounding them. Noting the people around them, gauging them for potential usefulness as Dean paces the cell itself, running his hands over the plastic, over the bed, eyes sharp.

There's a single man in the cell to their left, older, carefully ignoring the new arrivals. Two men in the cell to the right, both short and slight, pale, also avoiding all eye contact. Dean's already pulling at the mattresses, poking and prodding.

When Dean's done he swaggers back over to Sam, bumps their shoulders and hums. Sam sighs, licks his thumb and rubs at the blood drying on Dean's cheek and neck. Dean flinches, eyes hard and Sam steps into his space, cups the back of his neck and pulls him close enough that their foreheads are resting together. Murmurs, "Breathe, baby, just take a deep breath."

Dean's eyes slip closed, flutter, and then snap back open. And Dean's staring back out of his eyes again, not the animal thing. Dean's mouth is warm and soft over his, deceptively gentle, his voice a whisper of sound, "I'm going to kill them all, Sammy. I'm going to take them apart."

Sam kisses him back, harder, blood beating faster as his temperature rises under his skin. Gasps out, "How long?" as Dean slips his mouth down his neck, all teeth and tongue and hands. Sam can taste Dean's blood in his mouth, wants to lick it off his face and swallow it down.

"Three months." Dean paints the world across Sam's neck. And Sam groans and presses into Dean's touch.

They say that no one can get out of here. Never been done. Never will be done. Sam's heard that before, and Dean has never, ever, been wrong about his prediction on how long it will take them to get out. He's good that way.

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Dean was six years old the first time he killed a man.

Sam knows this, not because he was there, but because Dean had whispered it to him like a bedtime story. He can still feel his brother curled around him, voice soft in his ear, quiet so they wouldn't wake up their father in the other bed. Can remember the pride in his chest, remember smiling and begging Dean to tell him about it again.

That pride never went away. That tight warmth in his chest when Dean whispered what he'd done into Sam's ear and as they got older into his skin. Dean slit a man's throat, the first time he killed, opened him up from ear to ear and watched him bleed out. The man had been in the room next to theirs, he had tried to grab Dean in the parking lot, and that had been a very real mistake.

It was such a long time ago, but Sam can still remember tracing his own fingers over the skin of his neck as he tried to imagine what it would feel like, that second bloody smile.

Sam knows about every life that Dean has taken, even the ones that the cops can't pin on him, the ones that they don't know about. They didn't manage to start pinning deaths on Dean until he was twenty–six, until he got a little sloppy with some knife work and ended up shot and in police custody.

Sam had busted Dean out that time, that first time. More truthfully, he had blown up half the hospital, and while everyone was distracted Dean had cut a bloody path towards freedom. The news had said the death toll was in the hundreds, most killed by the bomb, others carved up like so many pieces of meat.

They had laughed, at the time, in their motel room three states away. Sam had pushed Dean against a wall and tugged his heavy leather jacket off and torn the paper gown away from his skin. Sam had written promises on Dean's skin, careful with him, with the ugly red wound in his shoulder. Had hissed, "Hundreds, hundreds," in a slow deep rhythm as he fucked his brother.

And Dean had clenched around him, had pulled him down and bit his lip and promised, "Thousands," and Sam had come from just the thought of it.

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They get let out two hours a day, an hour in the morning, an hour at night. Not that there's any way to tell time, in this place. The lights never dim, there's no sun, no stars, no clocks. But the skinny little guy beside them, the one with ratty blond hair and desperate blue eyes, has a perfect internal clock and doesn't mind sharing the information.

The man calls himself Ash, and the name catches in Sam's head, rattles around looking for the information that Sam knows he knows about him. It's Dean that pinpoints it, leaning against the plastic separating them, bored and loose and apparently unaware that he was being stared at from all directions, "You're the one that did that shit in New York last year, right? With the traffic lights and telephones and emergency services and everything?"

Ash beams like he just won the lottery, presses up against the plastic like he's trying to touch Dean, hands spread across Dean's ribs and hip, fingers flexing against the barrier between them. "Pretty cool, right? They never even knew what hit them! I was going to hit Vegas next. God. Do you know how many people are in those elevators at any given time? With the power cut–" the man cuts himself off with a helpless little groan.

Dean smiles, his razor smile, so bright and perfect no one seems to mind when they cut themselves to pieces on it. Ash's eyes drag across his features, and the thin cloth pants they've been given don't do anything to hide the smaller man's sudden interest.

Sam doesn't say anything, just steps up behind Dean, smiles the soft sweet smile that's served him so well over the years. Dean gravitates towards him, like a force of nature, like magic, pushing and shoving himself into Sam's space, nipping sharply at his jaw, just once.

Ash's smile waivers, and he takes a few quick steps back from the glass. Sam lets his smile ease into something more natural, lets his hand rest low on Dean's back, just to make sure that the message is gotten across. It's for their own good, really. People that try to fuck Dean usually don't live very long. Sometimes they do, and Sam hates those times. The stains are always impossible to get out, and the whimpering gets on his nerves after awhile.

People don't get to touch Dean, no one but Sam. It's not Sam's rule, and it's certainly not his idea. It's damn inconvenient to have to take care of everyone that might inadvertently brush against his brother, but that's just the way it is.

Ash doesn't speak again till he's safely back on his bunk and Sam's already thinking of ways to move between the cells. The other man derails his train of thought, "So who are you two?"

Dean scoffs, soft against the underside of Sam's chin, Sam can feel the slant of his brother's smirk, the smooth press of Dean's teeth against his jugular. The brush of his lips are silk against Sam's skin, softly condescending, "He doesn't know who we are. Can you believe that, Sammy?"

It's the other man in Ash's cell that answers. He's hunched in the bottom bunk, head down on his knees, rocking slowly back and forth as he tugs on his brown hair. Says, "They're the Winchesters, Dean and Sam Winchester." He sounds afraid. All in all, Sam figures that's probably a reasonable response.

Dean perks up, interested, the way he's always interested in new people, like a shark scenting blood in the water. His voice is almost a purr, "And who might you be?"

The man looks up, all big scared eyes and a days worth of stubble. He's young, and soft, and Sam can almost feel the twitch in Dean's fingers that means he's thinking about all that pale skin splattered with the dark crimson of blood. The man's hands are twisting in the sheets, nerves or maybe just a habit, "Andy Gallagher."

Sam raises his eyebrows, impressed, and Dean makes a humming sound.

Andy Gallagher had killed hundreds of heroin addicts down the west coast, cutting the drug with a substance that he had never revealed, one that had their brains pouring out their ears within minutes of taking a hit. Sam had read about him in newspapers, on the outside, impressed even though he didn't particularly favor that method of operation, himself.

It wasn't a bad body count. Theirs was better.

Sam's about to try to get Ash talking again, about just what he can do with computers, when the guards show up for their evening hour. There are no handcuffs this time, just guards upon guards upon guards. They close around him and Dean like the bars of a living breathing cage and Dean sticks his thumbs in the waistband of his pants and whistles all the way to the free area.

There's food, bathrooms, and an exercise area. It's all wide open, no place to hide or have a private conversation. It doesn't matter, he knows that Dean will need quiet at some point, to think and work out any kinks in his plan, but he also knows that won't be hard to obtain when the time comes.

For now they eat, chicken and vegetables and fruit, all perfectly balanced for their nutritional needs and it's probably the healthiest meal he's had since last time they got locked up. Dean sits beside him and eats everything with his fingers, sucks salt and juice off his long fingers and the smooth curve of his palm and Sam watches out of the corners of his eyes to see which guards are paying a little bit too much attention.

They're showering when the inevitable first confrontation strikes. Sam had been expecting it then, anyway, had kept his eyes open under the spray of lukewarm water.

Dean had his head bowed forward, body loose and relaxed and looking so completely unaware of his surroundings that even Sam was almost fooled. When the big man came up beside Dean, all tattoos and muscles under fat, Dean hadn't so much as twitched to show he noticed.

The man had smiled ugly, made a grab for Dean, and Sam had leaned against the wall and watched.

Dean liked knives, but he didn't need them. He was whipcord fast, coiled strength just waiting for something to destroy. Sam watched him move, heard screaming and saw blood and then the big man was on the ground and Dean was dropping something crimson and round to the floor and shoving his hand under the water to wash it off.

By the time the guards crossed the room Dean was in his pants, tugging his shirt on. Sam eavesdrops on the panicked conversation between the guards, watching the flush creep down Dean's cheeks, marveling in the dance of light in his eyes. "Oh my God, he, he, is that?"

And that's about when the big guy starts screaming, voice high and broken, "My eye! My eye!"

Dean smiles, and Sam thinks that they don't need the sun, that Dean is better than any star could ever be, anyway. Across the room Andy and Ash are staring at them, wide eyed with either admiration or horror or a mix of both and Sam watches the guards cradle the eyeball in their hands like there's a goddamn thing they can do with it.

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The first time Sam set a fire he was seven years old. They'd been staying in the abandoned warehouse for nearly a week, and he hated it. He hated the rats and the homeless people that had been sleeping there the first night and the way that they stunk now, rotting in the late fall chill.

Dean hadn't been there when he'd struck the match and thrown it into the old dry wood. Dean hadn't seen it grow and blossom into something beautiful and holy. But Dean had been there to pull him out when he accidentally inhaled too much smoke and very nearly got himself killed.

They hadn't talked about it, they hadn't needed to. Dean had bought him matchbooks whenever he asked and when Sam started experimenting, with longer wicks and with candles and then with gasoline and then with soap and all the wonderful chemicals that made his heart beat faster, he'd been a steady support.

When Sam crawled into bed, lanky and awkward, his hands smelling like kerosene and his face still warm from the flames, Dean had crawled in beside him, smelling like blood.

Dean knew about every fire he'd ever set, every explosion he'd ever created and marveled in. Knew about all the ones the police had never pinned down, the ones that they said were accidents or the ones they blamed on other people. There were a lot of them, after all, Sam had managed to stay under the radar until he was twenty–two and had blown up the apartment complex he had temporarily been living in.

Dean had drug him out of that fire, too, when he had got caught up in the dance of flames across pretty little Jessica's skin. When her screams had been written over by the roar of the fire and Sam had been tempted to let them embrace him, all that perfect beauty collecting him up.

Two dozen people had died that night. The police had never been able to figure out how he'd rigged the individual explosives, the timed detonators that meant the biggest explosion didn't happen until after the fire fighters were inside.

He'd blown Dean, hard and fast and dirty, in the front seat of the Impala while they listened to the screams over a stolen radio. And then they'd driven north, up into the mountains where there were plenty of people to keep Dean occupied and plenty of dry wood for Sam to move into the perfect state of red white flame, snaps and crackles.

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For a week they watch, and wait. Dean restrains himself from picking any fights. Sam watches him, in their hour of free time, lets his eyes drag over the lazy sprawl of his brother's body beside his, knowing that under Dean's dropping eyelids he's watching everyone. Planning. Imagining.

They exercise in their cell, because it makes the guards nervous and because it has got the attention of every prisoner around them. Sam watches, arms and shoulders and back aching from hundreds of push–ups, there's sweat running across his skin, over the bulges of his muscles, but no one is looking at him.

Dean is doing one handed push–ups, his feet on the lower bunk. He's shirtless, his skin is glowing in the harsh industrial light, and he's panting, mouth open and wet as he breathes. Andy and Ash are watching with naked fascination, Singer in the other cell watching out of the corners of his eyes.

Bobby Singer doesn't say much. Mostly he doesn't look much, either. He sits and stares at the ceiling, and pretends that he's somewhere else, as near as Sam can see. But no one can resist the terrible appeal that is the Roman fire behind Dean's eyes. No one.

Two days ago, Dean had slid onto the table beside the older man while he was eating. He'd plucked the greenest broccoli off the man's plate, shoved it in his mouth and smiled. And Bobby had looked up, and Sam had watched from across the room, and wondered why Dean had decided this was the day to agitate the silent man.

They had spoken, he had heard Dean laugh, watched the man reach for Dean and then watched him reconsider and pull back at the last minute. Smarter than he looked, then, if he'd already figured that out. Sam hadn't been able to hear the conversation, but Dean had told him later, had repeated it verbatim, lowering and roughening his voice for Bobby's end.

Singer had ran a junk yard for almost two decades. He'd been quiet, kept to himself, never caused anybody any problems, unless you came to sell him a junker on one of his bad days. The people that dug up his back yard had found dozens and dozens of bodies. Men, women, children. Shallow graves.

Dean is not impressed, but then again, Dean rarely is. But he seems friendly towards the man, more friendly than he usually is with strangers. Sam thinks that maybe the older man reminds him of their father, and decides to make sure that Singer has an unfortunately accident sometime soon.

Dean's his. Sam doesn't share.

There's a whisper of movement as Dean switches hands, singing softly under his breath. Sam switches to sit–ups, stares at the ceiling and listens to the soft rise and fall of Dean's voice. It takes him a minute to find the rhythm, and then he sings softly along, the lyrics to the Misty Mountain Hop falling off his lips.

For a week, they watch, and then Dean smiles his razor smile and Sam knows he's going to do something. He waits, watching the energy he can see bubbling beneath Dean's skin, that hunger for blood that Dean needs the way Sam needs fire.

Sam grabs him, as the guards escort them out for their free time, hissing in his brother's ear, "No guards, Dean. Not yet. Three months, remember?"

Dean smiles up at him, and Sam squeezes his arm harder, trying to make sure Dean's actually hearing him. "C'mon, say it, no guards. Right?" Dean just smiles for another moment, and Sam worries that he might be far gone enough to not care.

But Dean shrugs, says light and teasing, "I'm not an idiot, Sammy. Don't fret so much."

Sam's prepared to try to steer Dean's itchy fingers towards Bobby, but doesn't get a chance. Dean pulls away from him the instant they're in the free room, gives nothing but a jaunty wave over his shoulder. Sam leans against the wall, in a good position to see the entire room, and waits. Dean doesn't make him wait long.

Dean slides up beside a big man, bumps shoulders with him companionably. And word spreads quick, apparently, because the man flinches back like he's been burned. He's all of a foot away when Dean snags him, slides an arm around his shoulder and smiles.

The man panics, throws a desperate punch and Dean just moves. He's quick as the light on the edge of a blade, an elbow to the side of the man's head, a knee in his kidneys. No blood yet, and Dean doesn't play without blood.

Another elbow, to the man's nose, and now there's blood, a punch up under the back of his skull, and another, and now there's blood in his ears, too. The man goes down heavy, and Dean's on him, hand wrapped around his throat, twisting and pushing and throwing crushing punches up under the man's ribs.

When the guards pull him off, seconds later, the man's heels are beating against the floor. He's grasping at his own throat, eyes rolled back in his head, skin almost purple. He throws up blood, and Dean is laughing all loose and happy, not even trying to get away from the guards.

When the man dies, noisily about a minute later, the guards drag Dean off.

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Sam doesn't see his brother for almost a week, at least that's what Ash says. He's not worried. Dean needs quiet to work, always comes up with plans and schemes in solitary. He considers that they might be beating Dean, probably are, but pain has never been something that Dean concerned himself with very much.

When the guards drag Dean back he is surprised. He wonders if Dean killed someone else, because he's in incredibly bad shape. Limp, not even conscious when they throw him into the cell. He's wearing a clean uniform, but the blood is already seeping through it.

Sam makes a move to grab Dean, but he's already on his feet, reaching out and grabbing one of the guards and Dean's managed to drag him halfway through the doors by the time they slam closed. The guard makes a sound like a rat caught in a trap, and now they know how much pressure is behind the doors.

By the time the other guard gets the door open his buddy isn't screaming anymore. He isn't gurgling or bubbling or anything, anymore. His chest is crushed, and Dean watches the guard drag his buddy away, smiling lopsidedly.

When he sways, Sam catches him.

Dean's a bloody mess, Sam pulls his uniform off as gently as he can. Apparently someone had decided to have some fun with him, maybe they had thought it would be ironic to carve him up a little. Sam doesn't care. All he can see is the bright shine of his brother's blood, the name carved into his lower back. He wonders who the fuck Stan is, and he wonders how he'll kill the man, when the time comes.

He tears his own shirt to shreds, bandaging his brother up while Dean hums under his breath. There's silence in the cells around them, everyone very pointedly not watching in the way that means they're staring desperately every time Sam looks down.

Dean's silent, mostly. Still, mostly, letting Sam take care of him. It's so rare that Dean lets Sam patch him up, take care of him. It's always been the other way around, their whole lives Dean has watched out for him, covered up for him, taught him how to survive.

But in here, in here, Sam watches out for Dean. That's just the way it goes.

That night, when Ash says that it's after ten, and they trust that he knows because no one else has a shitting clue, Sam wraps Dean up in his arms and holds him. And Dean breaths against his neck, skin hot with fever, "Been making friends with the warden, me."

"Stan?" Sam's voice is cool and calm. He's always calm. Calm and still as the wood before a match is struck, as plastic before it touches heat and sparks and melts.

Dean grunts, fingers trailing over the pattern the knife made on his gut. His voice is light, because Dean's voice is always light. "Ex–military bastard. Bad skin. Jaundiced eyes. Don't think he can get it up." It's a report, words low and sarcastic.

Sam feels himself tense, "Did he?" Because a man had, once. Five big drunk guys when Dean was fourteen. Sam had went with him after he'd patched Dean up, and they'd killed them together. Dean had worked them over with a knife while Sam set up everything he needed to bring the righteous fires of hell to a little town in Connecticut.

The fire had burned for hours, because Sam had added a few special surprises. The fire department had been marvelously puzzled when nothing they threw at the fire managed to so much as dampen the flames. He knows, because he and Dean had stood outside and watched.

Dean moves closer to him now, pushes their bodies together and puts Sam's big hand on his stomach. Says, "Nah. Fucker. He tried."

Sam shifts lower, pushes soft kisses across the skin that's not covered by rough bandages. He paints promises with each kiss, wipes away any other touches that might have been made on his brother's skin with his hands and his mouth. Says, "I'll get him for you, when this is over. You and him and a little room. I swear. For as long as you want."

Dean arches into him, gasps up to the ceiling, hard and hot and all Sam's.

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A month in and Dean's healed up. He's itching under his skin again, Sam can tell, can read the little ticks. They're sitting at the table, poking at their soup. Dean's got their legs pressed together, is twirling his spoon absently. And then he slides it into Sam's bowl, and winks.

Sam pockets it absently, because Dean wouldn't have given it to him if he didn't want it, wouldn't have given it to him it if someone was watching. Dean nods, just barely, and Sam knows what Dean can do with spoons in the absence of knifes.

Across from them Ash and Andy slide into seats. They're huddling together, the way they always seem to be. It's Ash that speaks for them, Andy all curled up in himself, "We want in."

Dean folds his hands, leans towards them and they lean back. Smart boys. It's Sam that speaks, with a hand around the back of Dean's neck, because they could be potentially useful and he isn't ready for Dean to kill them, yet. Says, "In what?"

Ash waves a hand, like he's clearing the air. Says, "Please. You two always get out. Always. We want out, too. I can help you, I know everything there is to know about computers. Andy knows everything there is to know about people. We can help you, you just have to get us out with you."

Dean snorts, drops a hand onto the table and slides his fingers closer to the other men's arms. "And why should we trust you?"

Ash snatches his arms back off the table, not a stupid man at all, then. Andy is a second slower, curling into himself even further. It's him that speaks, in his shaky voice, "Please. There's no way in hell we can get out of here without you. If anything we should be worrying about trusting you."

Dean shrugs, and then he's on his feet, Andy and Ash startle, almost fall backwards out of their chairs, but Dean isn't paying any further attention to them. Says, "I'm gonna shower," and Sam would have to be blind not to see the way Dean's eyes are glazed, the way his fingers are dancing. There's one man under the showers. Sam wonders how Dean will kill him.

He watches, keeps his attention on Andy and Ash, and finally says, "We'll take you with us. But you have to do something for me first. Kind of a...hm, goodwill gesture." He tells them. They listen, and when the guards drag Dean away from the bloody body his brother is almost glowing with happiness.

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When Sam was twenty–one their father found out what they were doing. Sam's not sure exactly how John Winchester managed to keep himself so blissfully in the dark for so long. Maybe it was another one of the immensely helpful skills that the Marines had taught him, that he'd passed on to his sons.

But he'd been waiting in the motel room one night when they got back, sober and awake for once. He'd stared at them hard, and Sam had been aware of the blood under his fingernails and the soot smeared across Dean's face and had stared back a challenge of his own.

John had looked down at the pistol in his own hands, drawn a deep breath, asked, "How long?" in a small dead voice. And Sam had wondered what their father thought they were doing with all the information he gave them, with the training and the abilities that had been hammered into them so often.

It had been Dean that answered, pushing in front of Sam, because that was what Dean did. Stood between Sam and the rest of the world, a shield behind which Sam could practice the craft of fire and explosions. Dean, who had been smiling his wolf's smile when he said, "Did you call the cops?"

John had ran his free hand up through his hair and Sam had noticed the tear tracks down his cheeks for the first time. "No! No, you're my boys. We can get you help, we can fix this, we can–"

"We don't need help." Dean's voice, friendly and warm as anything. And behind his back, Sam could see him turning a knife over and over and over in his fingers. He can hear the smile in Dean's voice, "You gave us everything we could ever need, Dad."

"You kill people!" and John had sounded so broken, so confused, that for a half second Sam had even felt something like sorry for him. It didn't last. Pity and empathy weren't emotions that he'd ever had very much acquaintance with. Besides, he'd been thinking that they had to get rid of the old man for some time, didn't like knowing that Dean's loyalty was split, even a little bit, between them. John's apparently hit his stride, "Women! Children! You just, you blow them up!"

Dean had shrugged, and suddenly he was dancing the knife from hand to hand, all smooth easy movement, so often practiced it was habit, "Sammy mostly does the blowing up, actually."

When John had swung the gun up Dean had already been moving across the room. Their father had went down in a spray of blood, gurgling on a last scream, and Sam had started setting up the explosion. They were peeling out of the parking lot when the motel went up, a black fireball that would take a dozen additional lives.

Sam's thinking about this, when the guards drag Dean back a week later. Dean lets him patch him up, and doesn't even comment on the fact that Bobby Singer isn't in the cell beside them anymore, or that Ash and Andy are suddenly on Sam's good side.

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The third time Dean picks a fight and gets carted away for a week, Sam considers that the warden might just kill him. And then dismisses the thought immediately, because Sam knows how people think, and right now Stan is getting far too much enjoyment from carving Dean up to think about killing him.

The man had fucked Dean, last time, left him bloody and torn up, cut up, soaked in sweat and smelling like smoke. It's been a long time since Sam's seen Dean quite that messed up. Since he's looked into his brother's eyes and seen only the wild animal rage, the sharp edges that meant it might not even be safe for Sam to touch him.

Dean had grabbed him, had pinned him to the floor and Sam had whispered soft soothing words and Dean had settled. Had let Sam smooth a hand down his flank, had let Sam patch him up and kiss each wound like they were kids again. Like that was all he had to do to make it better.

He'd stuck closer to Dean, those next few days. A constant presence at Dean's back, between him and any people that might get in their way. He'd braced his hands on either side of Dean's shoulders in the shower, stood behind him to eat.

It had been days before anything human had looked out of Dean's eyes. And then he'd killed another man.

This time when the guards drag Dean back they're almost gentle, they lay him down inside the cell like a broken thing. Dean's not moving, staring sightlessly up, and Sam drops to his knees beside him and lets all his hurt and fear show on his face. The guards don't move away for a long moment, and then one of them ducks and whispers furtively, "We can get you medical supplies at dinner, yeah? Stay sharp."

Dean doesn't start smiling until they're out of sight, and then he's rolling to his feet, staring at Sam like he doesn't recognize him for just an instant. But Sam's been with Dean his whole life. He knows how to get through, touch Dean when he's buried himself deep behind his shields.

He whispers and soothes and runs his hands down Dean's arms and Dean rumbles and presses close to him. There's something hard and square digging into Sam's gut, and he slides a hand and palms it. Dean's smiling, showing his bloody teeth, pulls Sam in for a kiss and says into his mouth, where no one else can hear, "Get that to Ash."

Sam licks the blood off his brother's skin. All of it.

They only have another month here. He contents himself with that knowledge, and with the dreams of fire and screams that keep him warm through the long cold nights. Dean doesn't come to bed anymore, whispers with Ash and Andy, planning and scheming, hypnotizing them, the way only Dean can.

hr

Other prisoners start showing up at their table, then. One or two a meal period. Nervous men who bring Dean little trinkets, little pieces of cloth, who talk in soft voices and flinch whenever either of them move. Dean smiles at all of them, and whispers secrets into their ears and Sam watches.

The guards look the other way, like seeing Dean bloody a few times has completely rewritten their priorities. It probably has. The next time Dean kills a man, the next time Stan paints him bloody and bruised, the guards bring medicine and bandages right to the cell. They stand nervous and fluttery in the door and each time Dean whimpers they cast each other looks.

Dean picks another fight the next day, and when the guards bring him back they're almost openly mutinous. They're running their hands over Dean, trying to be soothing, and Sam can see the flat hate in Dean's eyes, but Dean controls himself.

They have two weeks till Dean's proposed three month mark, and Sam wants to tell him not to pick any more fights, not that it would help if Dean got it in his mind that he needed to kill someone. Turns out he doesn't have to, Dean keeps to himself, to Ash and Andy and the daily stream of supplicants.

Dean starts whispering the plan into Sam's skin. Writing it with his own blood across Sam's skin, like he needs to see the words for it to work. He'll start a fight, he says, get taken to see Stan. He bites Sam's skin when he speaks the name, and Sam traces the line of his brother's jaw and runs his fingers down his neck and feels Dean relax into his touch.

And then all Sam has to do is wait, he promises. He's got the PDA back from Ash, hidden somewhere on his person that even Sam can't seem to find. He knows what he's going to do, and when the doors open Sam will go straight to the far elevator, let everyone else go to the closer one. Dean has that taken care of, too.

Dean promises that he'll be waiting at the top of the elevator, and Sam believes, because Dean doesn't lie to him. Sam promises that they'll blow this place to hell, and Dean smiles and says, "Except for Stan. We're taking Stan with us."

Sam had kind of figured that they would be.

hr

They'd been convicted of hundreds of cases of murder, and that was just in the state of Maryland. Illinois had been trying to extradite them, and South Carolina, and Florida, and Texas. Really, it could have been any state, except for Alaska or Hawaii. They hadn't made it that far yet.

They'd been charged for the destruction of Camp David, and they'd been charged with the synchronized destruction of the public transportation system in Baltimore. They'd been accused of setting the fires that were still burning in the mountains, turning trees centuries old to dust and ash.

They'd done it all, and more. They'd broken out of every high security prison they'd been held in. Killed guards and other prisoners that stood in their way and some that Dean just felt like killing. And without fail every prison that had ever held them blew up within two days of their escape.

Sam had a gift for fire.

He's been thinking about how he's going to destroy this one, and there's a thrill down his spine that comes with a brilliant idea. He waits till the night before their escape, curls around Dean and asks, "Can I bring Ash with me? I have an idea that we'd need him for."

Dean grunts, shifts against him and his skin is so pale from being away from the sun for so long that Sam can see the stretch of veins at the temples and in his neck. Dean doesn't ask why, possibly because he knows what Sam's thinking, possibly just because they trust each other.

"Sure," and Sam hadn't really thought that Dean would deny him it, but he thrills in the confirmation anyway. Kisses Dean hard and feels his brother's strong hands in his hair, tugging and pulling and Dean's teeth on his bottom lip.

Dean mumbles against his mouth, "Wanna give 'em a show?"

And Sam thinks about it, because it's been a long time since they've had each other. He can feel Dean's cock pressing into his hip, can feel his own desperation, taste it in the back of his throat. But he can feel the scabs on Dean's stomach, and knows that they're another man's name. He kisses Dean again, hard, says, "When we're out."

He wants to make Stan watch him wipe any trace of him off of Dean. Wants to fuck his brother slow and hard and good while the other man dies slow. Dean rumbles under him, disappointed, and rolls onto his side. Ash looks up from the other cell, his eyes very bright, says, "It's midnight."

hr

The guards don't drag Dean off, when he leaves a man drowning in his own blood. They escort him, weapons down, eye guards up. They're Dean's, heart and soul, and Sam wonders if any of them realize that they're all going to die down here.

He doubts it.

And then there's nothing to do but wait in his cell for the door to open. It doesn't take very long. All through the halls he can hear excited shouting, and running feet and he snags Ash and drags the smaller man along to the sound of his protests. He smacks him hard across the jaw and the arguments cut off. They leave a trail of bright blood behind, running down Ash's chin.

The elevator is empty when they get to it, and the doors slide closed as soon as they're inside. They jerk upward and Sam leans against the wall and waits while Ash huddles on the floor, hands over his mouth, blood seeping through his fingers.

When the door opens Dean is there, wearing nothing more than his thin pants, face bruised and bloody, chest and arms sliced up already. Dean's got an AR15 in one hand, a big knife in the other, smiling his beautiful smile while blood slides down his chin.

His voice is all easy charm, "Good to see you made it out, Ash. C'mon, this way."

Ash is yelling, "What do you mean, made it out? Everyone is getting out, aren't they? Andy?" And Sam hits him again, hard enough to break his jaw, and the man sobs noisily but keeps up when they take off running.

Dean leads them past a room with a bunch of television screens, his bare feet soundless on the metal floor. Sam watches as people pound on the elevator down below, and fights break out and gas hisses out of invisible vents. And then Dean is half turning, pressing a little remote into Sam's hand.

Sam doesn't ask what it's for. He's touched by the gesture, can feel himself smiling like a fool. Dean hadn't had to do that for him, and he pushes the buttons and imagines that he can hear the roar of flames so far below, the screams as men are surrounded and consumed by the cleansing fire.

There's a man laying in the hallway in front of them, bound hands and feet and Dean bends down as they pass him and hefts him over his shoulders. Bad skin. Jaundiced eyes. The man's bigger than Dean, but Dean carries him like he weighs nothing, leading Sam and Ash through a maze of corridors.

And then they're in a parking garage and Sam almost laughs. He's looking at all the cars, calculating and itching and aching with want and he meets Dean's eyes over Ash's head. Dean beams at him, says, "Go for it Sammy, five minutes and then we're out of here."

Dean shoves Stan into the backseat of an Intrepid, pushes Ash in after him, while Sam makes himself busy. There's fuel to collect and cloth to place and the matches that Dean got for him from one of the other prisoners two weeks ago itching in his palm.

They're out of the parking garage, driving a steady twenty–five miles an hour, listening to fucking Allison Krauss on the radio, when it blows up. Sam cranes his neck back over the seat to watch the smoke billow and grow, to watch people panic and run their cars into other people and Dean's hand is on his knee, squeezing.

And then there's nothing but Washington D.C. spread out in front of them, a computer genius in their back seat and a man with security clearance to anything they could possibly want bond and gagged. Sam catches Dean's eyes, and they shine like polished steel. There are so many options, laid out before them, it makes his mouth salivate. Sam groans, "The Pentagon?"

But Dean's already shaking his head, tapping a counter rhythm to the song on the steering wheel, lit up inside his skin. Says, his voice light and pleasant, "You know, Dad never did take us to see the White House like he promised."

hr

They don't get to see the mushroom clouds personally, of course. Sam's not ready to die, and certainly not from radioactive fallout. He's sure that it'll be all over the new later, anyway. Or, maybe not, as Ash is completely in his element now, and Sam's not sure that there will be anything left for the news to report.

The east coast is gone, California no more, Argentina wiped off the map because Sam had never particularly liked Argentina. And Ash is still going, is smiling with his broken face, mumbling about Moscow and Iraq and China and Japan and how he can–

Dean slits the man's throat from behind with a look at Sam, because if any of those countries get nuked then D.C. gets nuked and, yeah. It all comes back to that dying thing, again. Ash slumps over the computers, gurgling, and Dean shrugs and wipes his knife off on the back of the other man's shirt.

They step over the bodies to leave the room, people who an hour ago would have been instantly recognizable by anyone in the country. Sam has a feeling that no one would be able to identify any of them without dental records, now. And in about ten minutes, when this place goes up, even those won't help. Sam's made sure that the fire will be hot enough to completely destroy the bodies.

There's panic outside in the streets, panic all around them. Sam soaks it in, and winds his fingers through Dean's, and they walk off into the blood red sunset. When 1600 Pennsylvania Ave goes up it's the best thing Sam's ever seen, and he pulls Dean in for a kiss as the white hot flames lick their way up into the sky.

Dean had promised him thousands once.

Today, they'd got millions. And they still had the Pentagon to visit.

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