Rated: strong R, for content
Spoilers: up to 4.1 "Lazarus Rising"
Warning: descriptions of gore, descriptions of murder, angst, dark/evil!Dean, swearing, Wincest, complete butchering of psychology (I didn't bother to research much about psychosis), dark AU twist to canon, spoilers for seasons 1-4.1, ummm... tread with caution? Massively fucked up.
Notes: For an anon request at spnkink_meme, inspired by this vid. Title comes from the comments on the youtube vid: "Whole thing was inspired by Henrikson's line in 2x12: 'Yes, I know all about Sam - Bonnie to your Clyde.'"
I may have claimed in the past that I'm not a Wincest girl, but wow, these two pretty much write themselves... no wonder they're so freakin' popular! (This was written in one night,
Request: Basically, Dean is a serial killer but Sam still stays with him because even though Dean does those things, he still loves him. I don't want it too dark- Dean loves Sam just as much, so no evil!Dean directed at Sam. He still is the Dean we see on the show... though he just kills humans on the side.
Also available on FFN.
Translated to Russian here, thanks to ladyjedi666!
He doesn't hate many things, because he doesn't feel many things. He doesn't feel many things, because he doesn't have the ability to. But if he could feel, and if he could understand what it is hate, Dean Winchester would attest that he hates the smell of burning flesh. It's ironic, because if he could feel love, Dean would attest that he loves the smell of cooked meat... when it's a burger, or a steak, or those thick slabs of Canadian bacon that Sam sets out for him on the mornings he's in a good mood and the reminders of Dean's inner monster so seem far away. There's nothing quite like searing ground beef on a griddle to get his juices flowing. He gets more of a high from sizzling red meat than he does fucking some broad in a back alley.
Dean has a high metabolism. He eats a lot of bloody, fleshy things.
But the smell of burnt human flesh makes him feel sick every time, his cast-iron stomach grumbling in protest, threatening to upchuck his dinner.
Sam looks up from the flames licking at a hooker's slit throat, her skin bubbling and crisping to a fine golden brown that on a steer might have been a little appetizing. The shadows of red, gold and black dance along Sam's face, reflecting in his somber eyes, making him look like some sort of guilt-stricken demon.
"You okay, Dean?"
But he's not the demon, here.
Dean frowns at him, then glances at the corpse. They'll let her burn for a while to clear up the evidence (and pause whatever vengeful spirit might come back to haunt him), and then they'll cover her up and move on the next state over. Sam never complains, but the clean up is always the worst on him, and if Dean could feel sorry for causing his brother such obvious pain, he'd say so. Sometimes he does anyway, because that's what brothers are supposed to do, apologizing in stilted words on quiet nights after the rush is over and they're settling in some random hotel twelve hours away. But Sam always rolls over in the other bed, Dean's failed attempt at human connection unacknowledged, that huge right fist curling underneath Sam's pillow and grasping worriedly at the gun he always leaves there.
Dean sees the tension in Sam's shoulders, those shallow breaths, the half-open fists, the glassy stare. He smiles at his brother like a crocodile.
"I'm fine, Sammy. I'll take care of this, you go wait in the car."
"I've got this. Let me clean up my own mess, alright?"
Sam doesn't respond, just looks at the hooker. Her hair is all gone and shriveled to burnt patches on her scalp, her eyes bubbling an opaque ooze down her cheeks. Her skin blackened, her slit throat roughened and charred. Dean wonders who she is, if she had any children, if somewhere there's a mother who will mourn the loss of her broken baby girl. It seems like Dean should know; he killed her, after all, and in the moments before her death they'd shared something special, something ancient and primal known only between predator and prey. He knows what her screams sound like, how her blood tastes, and the way her eyes flutter shut and her lungs exhale a quiet sigh of longing as she dies. But he doesn't know her name.
Dean looks away even as Sam continues to stare. He can't look at the burning carcasses for long, never can, and he's not sure why. It's not an emotion familiar to him--if it is, in fact, an emotion--and he can't identify it. Never could.
But it isn't guilt, because Sam's the guilty one. It's something else. And knowing his luck, probably something about his mother.
Dean's fingers tremble a little at his sides, and he balls them into fists, confused by his body's reactions. Sam glances at the movement, frowning deeper now. "No, Dean," he finally says. "You won't get rid of me that easily."
Sam grasps at Dean's right fist, and interlocks his fingers with his brother's. Somewhere deep inside of Dean, where the humanity in him isn't completely dead, he feels just a little bit warmer at Sam's determined hold. If he could love anyone on the planet...
He would be lost without his brother. Dean knows this in a distant, yet poignant way, and he squeezes his brother's interlocked fingers reassuringly, because this is what brothers are supposed to do.
Sam nods at him, then lets go of Dean. He takes the shovel lodged in the dirt pile they'd made earlier, and wordlessly begins tossing the dirt onto the burning corpse, smothering the flames.
It comes in cycles.
After he kills, his monster is content for about a month, and then Dean is on the prowl again, sating it for the next turn of the wheel. Sam's learned to tell all the signs like a well-trained lion tamer, from the twitching of Dean's fingers as he cleans his guns, to the way his nostrils flair just a little more than usual at the prospect of food, and Dean's habit for pacing in the motel room like a caged beast as the night approaches before he pounces wildly on his bed to the left of Sam's, and pulls out Vonnegut dressed in a porno cover so Sam won't suspect that he has more brains than he lets on.
Not that Sam doesn't know what he's really reading, because he's well aware that most of Dean is all about appearances, and many of them are built for reasons that are almost chillingly methodical. Dean is charming, because the monster hides well behind a smile. He is rough and dim-witted, because his prey will nearly always disregard an idiot. He drinks, because drinking is a social act that will lead him to the easiest kills, like a lion at a watering hole.
Dean likes to keep up appearances for Sam, because he believes that pretending to be human, to be normal, is comforting to little brother. But Sam knows the truth, and he's well aware that Dean's emotional make-up has flat-lined along time ago. The only thing his brother's smile does is disturb him, and yet... Sam never tells him to stop. He can't, because the lie is easier to handle than the truth, most days. Dean's naive, almost child-like attempts to grasp human connection with his little brother are, on some level, endearing to Sam, and in witnessing these attempts, Sam is always reminded that his brother, however ill, loves him very deeply.
If he can love.
But Sam never allows himself to think such thoughts, because he knows the truth, he knows that Dean loves more than anyone else Sam has ever known, and those who would dare tell him otherwise haven't realized the truth. The truth that no matter what, no matter how hungry Dean's beast might become, he would never, not ever...
Sometimes when Sam is feeling particularly masochistic, he wonders if there's any part of Dean at all that isn't crafted for the beast, or molded around the indomitable will of their father. Though Sam has never dared to voice it, it's hard not to notice that all of Dean's favorite songs, his insatiable crush for the Impala, his dedication to Sam, his neat-freak, almost neurotic obsession with clean guns, sharpened blades, and his bed tucked at all the corners after he's up for the morning, are all the lost relics left of their father, training Dean to be the good little soldier John Winchester needed him to be. Sam never could handle that life (which is why he'd fled many, many times), but their father took Dean's sickness and molded it into the perfect hunter. The perfect tool.
There are days when Sam wonders if Dean hardly ever has an original thought at all that wasn't crafted by a John Winchester driven mad by vengeance. Those are bad days.
After their father made a deal with Yellow Eyes and saved Dean's life in trade for his own, they took off for the road and things gradually turned back to old patterns again. Sam had long learned that he would never get back to Stanford, and was surprised to find that, after Dean's scare, he didn't really want to. He loved his brother too much to leave him to his inner beast, and even if it meant the utter destruction of Sam's own good conscience, so be it.
This resolve is hard to keep hold of as he watches Dean coldly dispatch the monsters on their hunts, careless of the victims that he's saving in the process (because killing monsters can never sate Dean's hunger the way killing innocents can, and Dean has little regard for the lives of either). Being raised as they were, the brothers still wreak havoc on vampire nests, haunted mansions, evil demi-gods and demon packs, floating from one dangerous hunt to the next, and navigating Dean's beast along the way by picking off the bottom-feeders of society, those who will not be missed by many because they're just as lost as the brothers themselves.
The demons are the always worst jobs, because they always recognize Dean for what he is, and no amount of torture and exorcising can make them quit their bone-cutting taunts. Dean, of course, remains unaffected either way, but it always hits Sam like a bullet to the heart. There are days when Sam envies Dean's ability not to care, and those are bad days too.
Today is a good day. It's only been a week since Dean's last kill, so he's content and loose-limbed, sprawled on the bed nearest the motel door while he watches Dr Sexy MD with rapt attention. Sam's not sure what Dean sees in the series, except perhaps as a very poor study on what humans should and shouldn't do as they interact and go about their business in society. Dean seems genuinely interested in the story and characters, and for some bizarre reason, mourns those that die off for shock value, but mostly Sam suspects he treats it like a third-rate education. Sleeping with the nurse in the elevator is bad, he imagines Dean thinking. Must remember that. Humans generally don't like it when you come off as a whore.
Dr. Sexy announces that a young woman with D-sized coconuts has a terminal disease the actor fumbles to pronounce, and bawling ensues.
Dean picks at his nails clean with a knife, and sighs.
"Bored," he says. "This episode is a repeat from last week."
From his laptop, Sam frowns, but he knows this is the normal kind of bored for once. "I'm still researching those heart attacks at the cafe," referring to their latest hunt. "Maybe you should go and interview some more."
"Nah," Dean says, lifting the remote and flipping through channels. "Already asked around, and I've got nothing."
"Dunno what to tell you, Dean. Watch more TV."
He does so, settling on Sesame Street. Sam watches him covertly with a smile.
His skin makes a supple pop, blood dribbling from Dean's slice like a drooling smile. The boy--some random punk, a Latin King, his prey, convulses in Dean's arms, choking around the fluids, his trachea whistling in the exposed air as he struggles to scream. Dean gets washed in the spray, and he can't help but find it necessary to make this death as messy as possible to show him the courtesy of being a fellow killer. Dean knows it because he'd witnessed it hours before when a collision struck between two warring gangs, and innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire.
The kid is maybe sixteen. Poverty has to be the most cruel fate of any society, but Dean wouldn't know, because he doesn't know what it is to be heartbroken and desperate.
He strokes the boy's hair, and whispers comforting nonsense into his ear as he pins the boy against his chest and waits for him to die. "Sh-sh-shh... that's right, baby, it'll be over soon. I know it's been a long road, and you're probably real tired. Just let go, baby... just let go..."
Like a siren calling sailors to the rocks, the boy twitches his head towards Dean's voice, and there's a sharp breath. Those eyes go glassy, the boy's spirit floating towards some other far better place that Dean wishes he could follow.
He sighs nostalgically, pulls out his phone, and calls Sam.
Sam is killed by Jake, one of the other psychic kids from Yellow Eyes band of misfits.
Panic-stricken for the first time in his life, Dean makes a frantic deal with the Crossroads Demon to bring his brother back, and when he kisses her, she tastes like sulfur and ashes.
Sam breathes again. Then he kills Jake. They get to the Devil's Gate with the help of Ellen and Bobby, and Dad's ghost shows up. Dean aims the Colt, fires, and finally kills Yellow Eyes for good, all fury and righteousness, emotions free and flowing in the act of cold-blooded murder.
He waits for the peace of his family's redemption, but it never actually comes. Instead, all Dean feels is dead, dead like before, and there's some part of him horribly disappointed by it.
But Sam's alive. Sam's alive, and Bobby and Ellen are bonding in the back room with a bottle of whiskey.
Sam's alive, and Dean has one year left to live.
His brother is desperate to find a way to stop it, but Dean, not wanting to risk Sam's death again, refuses to help him. He knows this makes him a hypocrite after being pissed that their father sacrificed himself for Dean, and by the very same method. He doesn't care.
Sam's pissed at Dean, and worried. He should be, but Dean doesn't know how to fix it. Instead, he goes out at night more and more often, each time coming back in the early hours with bloody palms and dirt caked under his fingernails.
Sometimes Sam yells at him for going it alone (because they were meant to share these things together), but Dean's suddenly tired of dragging his baby brother into it, and he doesn't want him around anyway. Not lately.
Sam's pissed, and Dean's frustrated he can't do anything to fix it. They move a lot, trying to stay ahead of the authorities hunting them down when Dean's kill rate increases, and Sam doesn't comment on it, but the cycles get shorter and shorter, and more innocents than monsters are slain by Dean's hands as time goes on.
His little brother starts having nightmares. More of them. Bad ones.
Dean listens to the fearful moaning buried in the sheets of the other bed each night, and reads Breakfast Of Champions by moonlight as he fights the urge grab for his knife and catch a ride to the nearest bar. He mouths the words in the book like he's testing out a foreign language on his tongue. Like he's eating poetry, and tasting Sam's screams in the letters.
Vonnegut proves to be a useful distraction.
"This is a very bad book you're writing," I said to myself.
"I know," I said.
"You're afraid you'll kill yourself the way your mother did," I said.
"I know," I said...
Dean knows the end has been coming for a long time, and there's a distant part of him that's even relieved by it. He knows that Hell won't be a picnic, and yes, he'll probably end up as a fucking demon, maybe one of the worst imaginable. But after that, the killing will be expected. It'll be normal. He'll be free to be exactly what he is and always had been, and he won't have to try to pretend otherwise. It'll be paradise, for a monster.
He tries to explain this to Sam one night, pacing in the motel room back and forth and back and forth, his clawed hands whipping in the air.
"You deserve better than this, Sammy. You were always the best of us, and you deserve the chance to live without having to salt, burn and bury the bodies after me. You deserve to be... to be normal," Dean says, stressing the word.
Sam smothers a sardonic laugh. "Normal picked up and left a long time ago."
He doesn't like that laugh, that jaded defeat. He doesn't like that he's poisoned Sam into the cruel cynic he's quickly becoming, and it needs to stop before it's too late for both of them. Dean twists abruptly in his pacing, and strides towards his brother, not giving Sam the time to protest as he seizes him by the lapels of his jacket and shakes him violently.
"Not for you it didn't! Look at me, Sam! It's too late for me, alright? But you still have a chance."
"Go back to Stanford." Dean's eyes are burning strangely, like there's tears lining like a hot, wet film over his corneas, and that's never happened before. It scares him, deep down, and he doesn't understand that either--so he shakes Sam again, trying to make him see. "I want you to go back to Stanford, Sam, I want you to finish your degree. I want you find a girl, another pretty girl, and I want you to marry her and have children and settle down with your boring white-picket fence and little pink house and your fucking apple pie. You will never kill another thing, Sam, living or dead. You will never bury another fucking body, do you hear me?"
"Dean... Dean, I don't want you to die."
Dean's eyes are still burning, but Sam's the one with the tears streaming down his face all of the sudden. Dean relaxes his hold on his brother, and lifts a gentle hand to Sam's cheek. He wipes at the saltwater absently, staring, his own tears receding back without ever spilling forth. He wishes he could cry. He envies Sam his tears.
"I don't want to die either, kid. But I'm gonna, and you're just gonna have to accept that."
Sam gurgles something agonizing, something that makes Dean's lips twist with frustration again. He pulls his brother into an awkward hug, and claps on Sam's back the way Bobby does it when he's trying to be both manly and comforting at the same time.
"I don't want you to die," Sam says again, choking, wet lashes smearing more saltwater into Dean's neck. His little brother holds him like Dean will vanish in the next ten seconds, those huge hands squeezing hard enough on Dean's biceps to bruise. Dean holds back as best he can.
He feels like he's playing the starring role in act he doesn't have the script for, and it shows in Dean's too-stiff shoulders, and the way he continues to pat stupidly at Sam's back while his brother unleashes over a year's worth of emotional agony. This isn't just about Dean dying, he knows, but Sam dying as well, and before that, losing Dad, losing Jess, losing his dreams and aspirations. It's about helping Dean to bury the voices of all those innocent people. Somewhere along the way, Sam's innocence died with the rest of them, and it's like he's been broken and twisted inside out. Sam keeps babbling the same words over and over, desperate to keep hold of the one thing he has left--I don't want you to die, Dean.
Dean is frustrated that there's nothing he can do about it.
But there is one thing he can do, and it happens almost on autopilot. Dean squirms out of Sam's grip to better circle his arms around Sam's waist, and he drags his little brother into bed with him, like this is something they do all the time, though they haven't shared the same mattress in years. Sam curls up around him, mindless and frantic, his long, gangly legs entangling with Dean's, Sam's head resting on Dean's right shoulder, face pressed tight against his neck. Those strong hands grip at Dean's shirt like that's all there is keeping him on this side of the veil. And maybe he's right.
"I'm sorry, Sam," Dean says, his voice lacking any sort of inflection, but the words are all the more true for it. "I'm sorry for doing this to you."
Sam mutters something pained--Dean interrupts him. "You had to know it couldn't go on forever. I never had any illusions that what I am is good, that you being with me is good. Because it isn't." Sam shakes his head then, groaning a noise that sounds like denial, but Dean continues. "Shh, Sam. You're good enough for both of us, so be my redemption. Promise me... promise me that when--not if, Sam, but when I go, you will let me stay there. You will give up trying to save me, and you'll go live the happily ever after that you deserve."
"No," Sam says, pulling away to glare at him. "Stop saying that I deserve it. I don't care what I deserve. Nobody gets what they deserve anymore. Even you--you think you're bad? You're not. You can't help what you are. You can't--"
"I'm a serial killer."
It stops Sam dead in his tracks. He goes pale, because they've never actually voiced it before. Not in so many words. Never like this.
Dean says it again, without care or concern for the way it rips into Sam like a knife to his gut: "I'm a killer. That's what I am, Sammy. A murderer, and what's more, I have no qualms about it. I could hurt you just as easily as anyone else, Sam, and the only reason I don't is because I love you." Sam inhales sharply. Dean continues as if it means nothing, adding, "Death is the least of what's coming to me, and to you too, if you continue to make excuses for what I am."
"Dean, I..." But now Sam's pulling away, stumbling off the bed. He walks backwards, and falls into the other bed across from Dean. His eyes are wide, slapped by the cruel reality of what's been done.
"It can't go on like this, Sammy."
"Dean," Sam says, heartbroken. "You would never--"
"I'm sorry, but I would."
But he isn't, because he doesn't really understand the feeling.
Two months later, he's pinned to the floor in suburbia hell as Lilith's hellhounds rip him to shreds. It's not the screams that haunt him as his spirit tumbles into the pit--it's Sam's look of utter hopelessness, like his entire world has been shattered, and nothing will ever put it back together again.
Forty years later, he's crawling from his own grave in a tiny, abandoned town somewhere west of Pontiac.
His injuries are gone, he feels great, there's a fucking handprint seared into his shoulder, and there's something else, something... different. Something strange about the world, beyond the obvious.
He doesn't place it until that night, when an angel dressed like a tax accountant spreads his shadowed wings up and outwards in a barn surrounded by symbols of every lore that he and Bobby could think of.
Castiel looks at him with bright blue eyes so intense that it's like he's peering right into Dean's soul, and it's massively uncomfortable. Then the angel is frowning oddly as he asks, "What's the matter?" And then, "You don't think you deserve to be saved." Like it's a fucking question.
Dean stares at him. "Don't you know what I've done?"
The angel nods, slow and deliberate, and remarks coolly, "You have been cleaned if your previous sins, Dean. You have been reborn. The illness in your soul no longer exists."
Dean doesn't know what he's done to warrant favor from the Upstairs, because there's nothing he's done his entire life that has been righteous or good, and it pains him that there are a million other souls screaming in Hell who better deserve the privilege. He tries to explain this against his better judgment, but Castiel mentions destiny, God's will, and cryptic references to an upcoming battle. Dean isn't able to pay complete attention, struck dumb by the shock coursing through his veins. So many emotions, so much morality, so much... so much to question, and he doesn't even know where to start.
He doesn't deserve this.
Sam couldn't be happier.
Sam can't stop touching him; it's subtle gestures, like the brush of shoulders, the slight touch of fingers against his own, the manly one-armed hug that gets delivered with a lopsided grin of relief. Dean doesn't take a moment to breathe, because he's still learning how to feel, how to care, how to reconcile... everything.
He tries to explain this to Sam one day, his eyes wide and grief-stricken.
"I've killed people," he whispers.
"But you don't do that anymore, Dean. You're not--"
"I've killed people. I don't belong here, I belong in Hell."
"Do we even know how many? I didn't... I didn't even know their names."
"Dean, you couldn't help yoursel--"
"Don't you dare, Sammy. I killed people. I was a fucking murderer. Am I still? Castiel said... Castiel said I'm better, but I don't feel it. I feel sick. Is that normal? Is this how you're supposed to feel? It's like my stomach is twisting in knots, Sam. It's like... it's like being dead would be preferable. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't--"
He's somehow ended up in a chair, and Sam's kneeling in front of him with a big wet frown on his face. He looks like a puppy, with sad, begging eyes and everything.
"Listen," his little brother says, looking up from the floor like Dean's a fucking god, like he's someone worth looking up to, and Dean just wants to die. Sam or no Sam, he just wants to--"You were sick. Now you're better, Dean. You're better. It's okay."
"No it isn't."
"It isn't, Sam. It'll never be okay. I killed people."
"We both have, at this point--"
"The fuck kind of excuse is that, Sammy? We're bad fucking men. You by association, mostly, but especially me. What the fuck does an angel--I'm not supposed to--Sam, I can't--"
Dean's finding it hard to breathe, and the world darkens a little, bright spots swimming in front of his eyes.
Big fingers wrap around his own, warm and steady, like a flesh-covered rock. Dean's rock, and one that he hasn't earned. Sam's still looking up at him like the little brother he isn't anymore, insisting, "It doesn't matter. You're here now."
"I shouldn't be." Dean wants to slap him. I should be on Death Row.
"But you are, Dean, and that's what matters."
I should be torturing witches in Hell. I should be threading their entrails through my fingers, I should be plucking out their eyeballs with a rusty spoon.
"I don't know how to be good," he whispers, looking lost into the space before him. I should be bathing in the blood of infants.
Those big hands around his own squeeze a little, then release. Sam sits up and hugs his older brother like a man-sized teddy bear, all warmth and love and understanding. Into Dean's ear, Sam says quietly, "I'll teach you, Dean. It's gonna be okay."
Dean laughs into his brother's throat, but his face is wet and his eyes are burning, and the world is lost to a blur of saltwater that drips down his face in streams of acid. "Th-There's nothing I can do to make you leave me, is there? You'll always... you'll always be my little brother. N-No matter how much I hurt you. No matter what I do. No matter what."
"No matter what," Sam echoes, and hugs him tighter before releasing. There's a desperate need in Sam's eyes that Dean's never noticed before, a need that needs fulfilling, and Dean knows he's the only one who can sate it.
And so he does, because for Sam, he'll do anything.
Dean smiles and paws at his face, wiping it dry of the evidence. "Okay, Bonnie. Good to know."
"Yeah," Dean says, and pulls his brother down for a first kiss. "The Bonnie to my Clyde."