Category/Rated: Slash, R
Year/Length: 2008/ ~5026 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Series: Western 'Verse
Dean's staring at him, eyes big, all pupils. He says, "It'll be okay, Sammy," and his voice is steady and low.
Sammy can't say anything, nothing at all around the panic that's clenched around his throat like a vice. He can barely breath around it, which is fine, because each breath burns like fire in his chest anyway. His shoulders burn and his wrists are bleeding from struggling against the ropes pining his arms behind his back, but he flexes and pulls against them again anyway.
He tenses his knees around the horse beneath him, clenches as hard as he can, but the goddamn thing just keeps standing there calm as a fucking stone. There are hot little streaks down his cheeks and he can't for the life of him figure out what they are.
And the woman, the woman whose name he doesn't even know, who is doing this to them for some reason he can't even begin to comprehend, smiles across at him from her horse. She's riding side-saddle. Every inch a lady from her perfectly coiffed hair to the silks of her skirts to her tiny, delicate boots. She smiles like a school girl, all innocence.
The dozen men she has with her are considerably more threatening. And dirtier. They're all armed to the teeth, and they each and every one of them are sporting a spit-clean deputy badge. They are all silent, watching Dean, but Sammy can read the mirth in their eyes.
He'd have to be blind to miss the way they have to restrain smiles when the oldest slides the loop of rope over Dean's head and tugs to make sure it's secure. Sammy finds his voice, staring at Dean astride Impala, back ramrod straight, as though there wasn't a fucking noose around his neck waiting to snap tight and kill him. "Please, please don't do this, please let him go, please-"
Her laughter cuts him off, sweet as sugar.
"Sorry Sammy, but it was a huge piece of work to get them to give you a trial, and they just weren't willing to waste that sort of time with Dean. Not after the way he carved those poor girls up out in Texas." He wants to scream, protest, but he's to busy trying to move the noose from off of Dean's neck with his mind. Trying to kill them all with his brain. Something. Anything. And then she says, "Do it. We don't have all day."
And Dean just keeps looking at him, muscles in his jaw twitching the only sign that he isn't perfectly okay with the situation. "It'll be okay, Sammy. I promise." Even as the men smack Impala and Sammy holds his breath, waiting for her to run, waiting for the snap-crack of Dean's neck, waiting for his world to end.
Impala dances to the side, stepping in a tight little circle and rolling her head. She doesn't run. Not as they rain blow after blow down on her. Lashes out at them with her teeth and her hoofs, eyes rolling wildly, baying in panic but refusing to budge.
The woman's voice cuts through the air like a knife, "Enough. Shoot the goddamn thing and lets get a move on, gentlemen."
They do. They put at least two bullets in the Impala's flank before she jerks forward, pounding away over the flat hard land in a blur of black and droplets of blood.
Dean's neck doesn't break. He hangs there, jerking his legs and bucking his body , neck held so tense that Sammy can see every vein and tendon standing stark against his skin. He's still looking at Sammy, and Sammy jerks and twists and pulls uselessly at his own feet lashed to the saddle.
He's screaming, he can feel the burn of it in his throat, but can't hear it. Can't hear the pound of horse's hoofs as the posses mounts up and turns back towards town. Can't hear his own horse's labored breathing when the woman grabs the reigns and forces him to follow the men. Forces him into a canter-trot-run.
He's not sure when or why he blacks out.
When he wakes up he's laying on top of cool silk sheets like he hasn't seen in over a year. His hands are bound in front of him, arms and hands caked with dried blood. The room smells of sulfur and wild flowers. He doesn't have to turn to know he's not alone, can feel the itchy prickles on the back of his neck that tell him he's being watched.
He'd bet dollars to pay that he knows who it is, too.
He says, "You bitch," and his throat is raw and scratchy. He coughs, trying to ease it, and his chest aches to. Everything else is mercifully numb, including his silent, empty mind. He remembers what happened, can still see Dean jerking and twisting, but it doesn't ache and burn and twist him like he knows it will later. Mostly right now there is just anger.
"Let's not start calling each other names, Sammy."
He's off the bed before he registers her words, flinging himself at her voice because they were idiots to leave his legs unbound. Catching her in the chest with his shoulder, relishing the sound she makes when they slam into the ground and he lets the full weight of his body crush into her. Something cracks in her chest and the answering rush of adrenaline burns like fire through his body.
Then he's got his hands around her throat, idiots shouldn't have tied his hands in front of him either, squeezing for everything he's worth. The pump-pound of her pulse against his palms, the way her little hands beat at him, the way her jaw works without any sound, all add up to the sweetest thing he'd ever imaged.
And then something knocks him backwards, slams his head into the corner of the bed and sends him back to the welcoming blackness of unconsciousness.
The next time he wakes he's tied to a chair, wrists and ankles.
He's still in the same goddamn room, though, and the chair is all smooth old wood and over stuffed cushions. She's sitting on the bed across from him, smiles big and bright at him when he rolls his head up. He sneers at her, pulls and tugs at his bonds. They give, just a bit, and he struggles harder against them. His wrists are bleeding again, if indeed they ever stopped.
"You're really making this hard for me, Sammy." She's still smiling, but he can see the livid red marks on the pale skin of her neck and takes some silent comfort in them. Even more at the way she keeps cutting her eyes towards his arms, something like nervousness sneaking around behind her eyes.
"Dean didn't kill those girls. I didn't kill Jessica." His voice is still a rough, broken thing, his tongue to big for his mouth. "I am going to kill you, though. Glad you stopped me earlier, in fact. That was to quick." By the time he was done she wasn't going to be begging him to kill her, because he'd have already carved out her tongue.
She makes a disappointed sound in the back of her throat, stands and walks over to him, drapes herself into his lap. "Better be nicer to me, Sammy darling, or I'll have to reconsider offering you my help."
Her mouth is blasphemy against his skin, a trail of sacrilege up his throat. She presses against him, all curves and softness and he jerks. He can feel her skin under his hands, the panicked flutter of her heart when he had tightened his grip and felt her bones creak beneath his fingers. "Go to hell. Take your help with you."
"Don't be like that Sammy," she whispers into his hair, hands dancing up his arms, fingers digging into his shoulders. "We know what you can do, baby, we know how special you are, and we just want to help you understand what's happening. We know you didn't mean to kill Jessica, but these stupid little men don't. All you have to do is agree to be a good boy and come with me and I'll get you out of here. Get you to someone who can help."
She leans back, staring into his eyes and trailing her fingers through his hair and he spits in her face.
They move him to the jailhouse. The same dozen men that murdered Dean cut him loose from the chair and march him out into the hot dusty street and across town to the dilapidated building. They're still wearing their badges, and the guard leaning against the doorframe nods his head at them so Sammy supposes they must actually be lawmen.
He doesn't care. He's going to kill them all anyway.
The cells are down a flight of stairs, damp and moldy and completely vacant save for him. That seems odd, in a town of this size. They shove him into a cage of rusted bars and a hard stone floor. Chain him to the wall by his wrists and ankles for good measure and leave him there with a parting kick in the ribs.
He doesn't know how long he sits there in the cool, dark silence before he falls asleep.
When he dreams he dreams of Dean. Of months ago, of trying to understand the world through Dean's eyes and never really succeeding.
Dean didn't believe in heaven, but he believed in hell.
He dreams about a time they had been sitting in an abandoned barn around their evening fire, huddled close against the cold night and the hard world, when Dean had explained that to Sammy as best he was able. Because Dean believes in things that he can touch, believes in things that can hurt him, and things that he can kill.
And so Dean believes in the devil but not God. In evil but not good. And Sammy doesn't particularly understand how you can have one without the other, but Dean had just cocked his head to the side and said, "Show me God. Show me peace. Show me good."
He had, there in the creaky old barn, laying on the half-frozen ground. Pulled all the hope and joy and beauty that he had ever felt or saw in his life and spread it across Dean's body with his hands and mouth. Let Dean touch it, run his hands over every inch of him, willed the other man to accept and believe.
But in the end, as they tangled together, Dean between his legs, rocking him and rocking the whole world with him, it was not God's name that Dean breathed when he broke.
That had been six months ago. And no matter how many times he tried to show Dean, no matter how much he gave him, God's name never passed Dean's lips. It was always "Sammy," voice breaking around the consonants, whispered soft and reverent against flushed skin.
"I don't know why you're being so stubborn about this Sam. Honestly. You're running out of time to get your head on straight."
He looks up at the sound of her voice, the clink of her heels on the floor, the swish of her long skirts across the dirty ground. The lighting is poor down here, but he's adjusting to it, and can see her just fine. The soft fall of her pale hair around her face, the drape of exquisite fabric over her small frame, the necklace tight against the curve of her neck.
"I've given them all the evidence the judge needs to hang you at dawn. They will do it. You know they will. The only way you're getting out of here alive is to come with me. To give us what we want." Her eyes are dark, pitch black pits staring out of her face. He wonders what kind of creature she is. Can't really bring himself to care.
"I'm going to kill you." His voice is flat, ice cold in the stifling heat, and he can see her flinch. Watches the way the corners of her eyes tighten before she takes a deep breath and steadies herself.
"That'd be a neat trick." She steps forward, tiny hands in their pristine white gloves resting on the rusty bars that separate them, lip curling up in distaste. When she tips her face up to meet his eyes she's smiling, her teeth gleaming dagger-bright. "Last chance, Sammy. Let me take you away from all this."
Lunging at the bars is done without even thinking about it, and he enjoys the sear of pleasure through his veins when she jerks away from the bars even though he's chained to the wall. He bares his teeth at her, grasping onto the anger that swirls up in his mind, and wrapping it all around him like a shield.
Her face is almost sad when she turns away, but her voice is a gloating lilt, "It didn't have to be this way Sam. It wasn't supposed to be. You were never meant for the gallows." When he doesn't reply she finally leaves, swinging her hips slow and soft from side to side. "See you in hell, Sam."
The guard that ambles his way down the stairs not fifteen minutes after she departs won't look at him. The closest he manages is some point over Sammy's left shoulder and he's not sure why. It's not guilt that motivates it, because as near as he can figure they all believe he's guilty as sin. It's not regret, because they would have lynched him yesterday, out there on the plains, if the woman hadn't been there to stop them.
The guard keeps a buffer of several feet around him as well. As though he wasn't in a goddamn caged chained to the goddamn wall.
The man doesn't say anything to his request for steak and a salad for a last meal, just slides the some watery gray slop through the bars. Explains in a whisper thin voice that Sam's last meal isn't until breakfast tomorrow morning, actually.
Then he stands there, twisting his hands, waiting for God knows what. Sam grabs the plate of food and flings the crap back towards the man, sneering when the man cowers back, making little whimpering sounds in his throat. Not like he needs to eat it to keep his strength up.
The guard scrambles backwards, tripping over his own feet as he lunges for the stairs, splattered with beans and fatty meat. The smell of urine is sharp and rank in the humid air, and that's just disgusting.
He makes himself speak before the guard is gone, startled at how low and thick his own voice has gotten, "I'm going to kill you, too. I'm going to kill all of you."
And it's funny, how much like the truth that feels in his chest.
Hunting was not all that different than he had imagined it would be.
It's a hard, ugly, lonely life. It's bloody and painful and leaves him with ice is his belly and cotton in his throat. There's just so many wicked things out there. So much evil that kills just for the sake of killing. So much hate, just bubbling up in the world, oozing and spreading and unchecked for the most part.
He wants to stop as soon as he starts, but can't. He's in way over his head, and he knows it. But Dean's always there, a shadow in front of him or at his shoulder, calm and confident and the scariest thing on two legs that Sammy's ever seen.
He's always known Dean was dangerous. It's impossible to not know Dean's dangerous. The way he walks, moves, breathes, is to alert, wound to tight to be anything but threatening. But he doesn't really comprehend it until they're on the trail together. Till he realizes that there is regular-scary-Dean and hunting-scary-Dean.
And that takes watching Dean kill. That takes Sammy tied to a chair, some creature wearing Dean's face leaning over him, pressing bruising kisses against his mouth, pressing a knife against his cheek and sliding it. The kitchen walls of a stranger's house closing in too tight around him as he thinks about how stupid it was to come here alone. His breath frosting in the early February air when he had whispered, "He'll find me, you son of a bitch."
His blood all salt and iron in his mouth when the thing with Dean's face backhands him. He spits it onto the creature, some defiant reflex that's curled in his chest.
The creature has Dean's strength, whatever it is. Blow after blow that leaves his head spinning and pulsing flashes of pain wherever they fall. Till there's to much blood in his eyes for him to see, till all he can taste is the salt burn of it in the back of his throat, till all he can hear is the pound of it inside his skull.
The shots go unheard, unnoticed till the thing falls into him, loose limbed dead weight in his lap.
Dean's fingers are rough, pushing the blood around on his face, cutting the ropes that bind him, shoving the thing with his face off of Sammy all at the same time. Tugging him off the chair and half-dragging, half-carrying him out of the house as fast as he can.
The first thing that Sammy sees when his vision clears is the line of Dean's jaw. The first sound is the agitated, whining rumble in Dean's chest. The first taste is Dean's mouth when Sammy shoves him against a wall and does his best to crawl inside his skin.
That had been three months ago in Texas, and three women had been killed before Dean had put two bullets in the head of the thing with his face. Dean had found him then, had tracked him and drug him away from that place without a backward glance. Now Dean's swinging from an oak tree, food for the crows and coyotes.
Sammy doesn't realize he's screaming till two guards pound down the stairs.
They beat him black and blue.
He doesn't feel any of it. Not one blow, though he's dimly aware of it happening. It feels to far away to be happening to his actual body, disconnected from his nerves and heart. He wonders, fleetingly, if they'll kill him there are the dirty floor.
They're pathetic and weak. Little boys playing at being men. Hitting him because Dean's dead and now there's no one to stop them. Because Dean had told him, a week ago, arms like living steel holding him close and safe, "Nothing will happen to you as long as I'm around."
Sammy had tasted the truth of that then. Had heard it in the slow, steady pulse beat of Dean's heart against his back. He had believed, falling asleep cocooned in Dean's heat, the smell of mud and blood and gunpowder in his nose.
Dean is dead.
His scream evolves into laughter, booming wild laughter that echoes around the cell, bouncing off the walls and the bars and the men and amplifying till it's something else entirely. Till he's quoting scripture he hasn't read in years, about forgiveness and vengeance and the pits of Sheol.
Till he's mixing Latin into it, a warding spell that Dean had taught him as they pulled themselves out of an abandoned mine, leaving a burning corpse behind them. The starting words of the exorcism are a combination of everything else, and the men jerk away from him, hissing, when the first words fall past his lips.
They stare down at him, eyes black as midnight on a starless night, faces blank and empty of anything remotely human.
He says, "Kill me. Please."
They leave him there in a puddle of his own blood.
The guard that brought him dinner brings him breakfast.
It is, unsurprisingly, not the steak and salad he had requested. He doesn't bother moving to get it, just stays on his back, staring up at the lichen growing on the ceiling. They broke his arm, and he still can't feel it, but there's an extra bend below his wrist that wasn't there before.
It all seems inconsequential with the hangman waiting.
They have to drag him up the stairs when he finds some fight still simmering low in his gut. It takes four of them, and they all come away from it bloody. One of them is missing the lower half of his ear and Sammy doesn't remember biting him, but there's a hot spread of blood across his chin, so apparently he did.
There's a part of him that expects the woman to be waiting for him, but she's nowhere to be seen amongst the crowd that has gathered. Men, women, and children gathered in an expectant mass below the gallows, flinging jeering words and rotten fruit. He sneers back, growls at them because that's all he has left.
He goes stiff at the foot of the gallows, makes every joint hard and unyielding as he can and gains some amusement from watching them attempt to wrestle him up the steps. In the end they pick him up and carry him and he goes limp the minute his feet are off the ground, feels them almost drop him at the sudden shift of weight.
It's all just postponing the inevitable, of course.
They don't offer him a last request, which is just as well, because they can't give him what he wants. He imagines what he can't have, Dean's mouth under his, Dean's one hand curled around the back of his neck, the other tearing at buckles and buttons with desperate abandon.
He's smiling when they yank the black hood over his head, feeling Dean's skin under his fingers. The unnatural smooth of his scars, the coarse hair of his chest, arms, legs, the silk over steel of his cock in Sammy's hand.
The rope settles heavy around his neck, rough even through the burlap of the hood. They tied his hands in front of him again and he's reaching up without thinking to adjust it when the floor under him disappears, leaving behind empty air beckoning to him.
There's a wet smacking sound from somewhere far away, and then the ground rushing up to meet his body like an old friend. For a second he thinks that he snapped the rope, that they misjudged the weight of the sandbag to use, that the lever was pulled before the noose was properly adjusted. He's scrambling to his feet, tearing the noose off before he can settle on a likely explanation.
The lightening crackle of electricity across the back of his neck, the fire flash of heat in his stomach, almost sends him back to his knees. He rips at the burlap sack till it comes away in his hand, sucking in the fresh air that he hadn't realized he'd been missing, looking around wildly for the impossible.
The pound of familiar hoofs makes him jerk his head to the right, and that's all the time he has to react before strong arms are catching him around the shoulders and pulling him with a flex twist of determination onto the back of a horse he thought he'd never see again.
There's a flash of movement, Dean twisting in the saddle towards him, a knife flashing out and slicing through the ropes around his wrists like butter, lips catching in contact so brief that he almost thinks he imagined it. Sammy has time to see the hangman, slumped bonelessly on the ground with a perfect circle in his forehead, the noose neatly frayed, swinging in the breeze.
And then Dean is turning Impala, saying in a voice like whisky over gravel, "Hold on tight, Sammy," before leaning low over the horse's neck and giving her the command to fly. Sammy presses himself tight as he can against Dean's back, unbroken arm wrapped tight around him as humanly possible, and closes his eyes.
Sammy doesn't recognize the little cabin they finally stop at. He's not even sure where they are or which direction they fled Dodge City in. He's not sure he cares.
All that exists are Dean's hands braced on his hips, helping him slid off Impala's back All that matters is the unyielding strength in Dean's shoulders as they hold onto each other long enough to stumble through the rickety door. He doesn't care how, he doesn't care why or who or what happened. Dean is alive and that is enough.
Dean's reaching for Sammy's broken arm, brows drawn together in a frown, but Sammy shakes him off. It can wait. Dean's kiss is hard and open mouthed, accompanied by desperate little sounds that could belong to either or both of them. It's to hard unbuttoning Dean's shirt with only one hand and Sammy rips and tugs till the worn fabric tears.
The skin he finds beneath is bordering on burning, the way Dean's body always is. Muscles jump and quiver at his touch, and he feels an answering tightening in his chest, in the muscles of his shoulders and stomach. In the sudden hardness pressing into the curve of Dean's hip. He tilts his head up, gasps at the ceiling and feels Dean's mouth move over his skin, hot wet desperate.
His body is a mess, bruises and scrapes and broken bones that he's still not registering properly with the pain sensors of his brain. Dean doesn't say anything, doesn't comment, just rumbles brokenly, trails tongue and lips and fingers trying to be gentle over each wound.
Sammy can't bring himself to reach for the brown handkerchief tied around Dean's neck till afterwards. Till the razor's edge moment where they are safe and the world outside their intertwined bodies doesn't exist. Dean's already rolling to his feet, still whimpering in the back of his throat, the outward manifestation of whatever desperation and fear is fueling him.
The cloth is moist with blood, and Sammy can't look away from the wound beneath it now that it's been revealed. The angry red ring that surrounds Dean's neck, swollen and livid and weeping blood that weaves slow lazy trails down Dean's chest. Sammy, who had found his voice earlier, with Dean heavy and real above him, hard and moving within him, asks, "How?"
Dean's answer takes time, watching him move around the single room with purpose, laying salt lines that they should have completed the second they stepped through the door. When he does speak his voice is nothing more than a rough whisper of what it once was, and Sammy wonders if that's the way he'll sound from now on. "A girl found me. Cassie. She cut me down."
"Dean-" but Dean is shaking his head, sitting and drawing Sammy's broken arm into his lap. Frowning down at the angry snap in the bone, whining and baring his teeth at the world in general. Sammy waits till it's set and splinted before attempting to speak again. "We're safe here, right?"
And Dean glances at the ceiling before nodding.
Sammy's sleeping when they kick the door in and laugh while stepping over the salt line. He's blinking and twisting for the gun that he keeps two feet from him whenever he sleeps when the first shot rings out. He jerks sideways in time to see the man that had stepped through the door collapse sideways, a burning blue hole in his forehead.
He doesn't recognize the dead man, but he'd know the woman anywhere.
Dean is smirking at her from across the room, gun pointed at her but not firing and Sammy screams when she charges. She stops halfway across the room, bounces back as though she'd ran into a wall, her skin faintly smoking. And Sammy stares up at the ceiling, trying to figure out what the symbol there is when Dean steps up to the woman and slams a fist down into her temple.
She hisses and jerks awake when Dean upends the holy water over her head. Her eyes are black, flat and empty and wrong in some nameless way that twists Sammy's stomach into knots. Dean leans close to her ear and Sammy barely hears him say, "Tell us what we want to know and it'll be quick."
For a long moment she stares at the dead man laying next to her. When she speaks her voice is not the sweet cadence from Dodge City. There's nothing of the sweet girl or fraudulent innocence left in her face or tone. "Fine. What do you want to know?"
They burn the cabin when they leave, a bier for the two bodies they leave inside.
Sammy's not sure where they're going, but Dean's jaw is set and he's not going to argue with the hard edge in the older man's eyes. The woman's words echo over and over again in his ears, things he doesn't want to believe and wishes he'd never heard.
He presses close as he can behind Dean on Impala's back, buries his face in the curve of Dean's neck and shoulder. The handkerchief is rough against his skin, settles and grounds him. The sound of his own voice startles him, "She said I was going to destroy the world, Dean."
Dean squeezes his hand where it's pressed flush against his stomach. "Demon's lie, Sammy."
It's not the reassurance that he had been looking for, and he wraps himself tighter around Dean, breathes in his smell and tries to block everything else out of his mind. He wants to beg to be told that everything will be alright, that nothing has changed, that it's okay, but can't get his voice to work.
Dean answers anyway, "Even if she was telling the truth, it's not going to happen. I'm here, and I won't let it."
::go to 'Wilderness, Nowhere' —>::
::back to index::