AN: The title is a line from the poem Killing The Love by Anne Sexton.
Much love to BookwormBaby2580.
Chapter 2: Now I Am Alone With the Dead, Flying Off Bridges
Dean heard screaming. Raw, hysterical, animalistic screaming. It took a moment for him to realize that he was the one screaming, before everything went black.
Dean came to with a start, and started panicking when he felt himself restrained. He looked around frantically and saw he was in the dungeon. He was still tied up in the dungeon. A splash of violent color caught his attention and he glanced down, only to see the front of his shirt was drenched in blood. There was blood splattered on his jeans. His breaths quickened. His lungs couldn’t fill with enough air. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t fucking breathe. Sam. The pain hit him like a hammer to the head before everything went black.
When Dean woke up again, he was lying on his bed. He lay there for a moment, staring at the ceiling, willing himself not to remember. But visions of red spatters on the wall and on his clothes brought everything into stark clarity. What did the CSI douchebags call it? A ‘spatter pattern’? Sam would’ve known. Hell, Sam would probably have been able to analyze the pattern and recognize the violence of the murder that had taken place just down the hall. Sam would have been shocked at the level of brutality, even after everything he’d seen in this life. Dean shifted slightly and felt soft fabric brush against his skin. He looked down the length of his body and saw he was wearing grey sweatpants, and a light blue hoodie. Dean didn’t own any hoodies. Sam did though. Sam often slept in hoodies. He took a deep breath in, and smelt his brother’s soap. Dean rolled onto his side and reached into the small cupboard in his nightstand and pulled out a bottle of… something. He couldn’t remember what he had put in there the last time he had been here, and he didn’t care. He twisted the bottle cap and lifted the bottle to his mouth. He caught a brief glimpse of red under his fingernails and closed his eyes. He kept them closed while he drank. And drank and drank and drank, until everything went black.
Cas had eventually told Dean everything. He had explained it all matter-of-factly, in his usual gruff voice, trying to keep his words even and his voice from breaking. Metatron had killed Dean, but the Mark of Cain had somehow held on to Dean’s soul. Dean had become a demon and had gone off with Crowley. Of course, Cas didn’t know much about Dean’s time with the King of Hell, but Crowley had double crossed Dean in the end, and given him up to Sam. And Sam had tried to cure him. And Cas had been too late.
Cas had kept Dean in the dungeon, until he was sure the cure had worked. When Dean woke up and realized what he’d done, he’d been hysterical and Cas had had no choice but to send him into unconsciousness. He’d had to do that a few times apparently, as Dean had been beyond reason. Eventually, Cas had carried Dean back to his bedroom, and had stripped him of his bloody clothes. His closet had been empty though, as he’d taken all his clothes with him when he left with Crowley, so Cas had had to dress Dean in some of Sam’s clothes. Cas apologized for that. Dean heard all the emotion Cas was trying to keep from showing. Cas said things like, “it wasn’t your fault, Dean,” and “Sam knew the dangers of bringing you here, Dean,” and “Sam wouldn’t blame you for this, Dean.” None of it mattered though. Nothing anyone said could ever get in the vicinity of fixing this. Dean had killed his little brother, and it was his fault, and Sam would never have accepted that Dean might kill him, and Dean was to blame. It was all on Dean. And he just didn’t think he could live with it.
He avoided the passageway where it had happened. Cas told him that he had cleaned everything up and added a fresh coat of paint to the wall for good measure. Dean tried really hard not to think about why the wall had needed to be repainted.
Cas had remained at the bunker. He’d mentioned something about Hannah, but Dean hadn’t been listening. He hadn’t seen the other angel anyway, so he figured she’d gone back to Heaven. Cas stayed though. He was always around, quietly in the background. Dean appreciated it. And he hated it.
It was quiet around the bunker. Dean had tried to listen to music, but now even Led Zeppelin made his skin crawl. It was too loud. Everything was too loud. The quiet was too fucking loud.
Most nights, Dean would wake up screaming. He saw everything so vividly in his dreams. He saw Sam’s back tense at the moment Dean swung. He saw the shock on Sam’s face as the hammer connected. He felt Sam’s hand grab at the wrist that was hanging almost casually at Dean’s side while his other arm kept swinging. His baby brother held on tightly even as he collapsed to the floor. He remembered, after the final thud, how Sam’s large, warm hand had given a final, gentle squeeze to Dean’s wrist before it slid away. He knew what that was. That was forgiveness, and he hated Sam for it. Sam had never made a sound, the loudest silence Dean had ever experienced. And every night, after he woke up screaming, Cas would be sitting on his bed, a hand on his leg or on his shoulder or on his back. Offering quiet comfort that Dean didn’t deserve. Cas never once told Dean that it was just a dream, or that he was safe now, or that it was okay. Because it wasn’t and he wasn’t and it never would be.
Dean would wake up alone in his bedroom in the morning, and for one blissful moment, he wouldn’t remember what the hollow feeling in his chest was. Dean hated the mornings.
Cas had told Dean how he had arrived just too late to save Sam. He never told Dean much more than that, but Dean could see the pain in Cas’s eyes at the memories of what he must have seen. Dean didn’t need Cas to elaborate. He didn’t want him to. Dean hated Cas for not coming in time (he thought maybe Cas hated himself a little for that as well). He hated himself for hating Cas, but that was just one more item on a very long list of things Dean hated himself for.
Dean was so fucking full of hate.
At first he had tried to look for anything that could undo what he had done. Of course he had. But there were no spells and no demon would deal with him, and finally he learned that the deal Death had made with Sam after the angles had fallen, when Sam had been ready to die, still stood. When Sam died, it had been final; no come-backs or deals or do-overs. Sam had asked that no-one else would have to suffer when he died, but Dean was suffering. Dean would have suffered no matter how or when Sam died—his stupid baby brother never had realized just how much Dean loved him, how Dean simply couldn’t ever live in a world where Sam was dead. But this was a thousand, a million times worse. Dean had killed his baby brother.
Dean had killed Sammy.
And before Dean had bludgeoned his brother to death, he had told his brother the most horrible things. Untrue things. Sam had died with Dean’s voice in his ears, telling him that he was a monster, that he was a burden, that their mom’s death was his fault.
Dean couldn’t live in a world where Sammy was dead, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to put an end to his pain. He thought briefly about putting a bullet in his brain, but he didn’t deserve an easy way out. Dean deserved to live a long, long life, with the weight of his brother’s death in his heart every. Single. Day.
So Dean left. He left Cas in the bunker. Cas couldn’t follow with the angel warding on his ribs and Dean hoped Cas would never find him. He left every cell phone he had in his bedroom. He left the Impala in the garage. He didn’t leave a note. He took Dorothy’s bike (he no longer needed a passenger seat), and rode away from the life. The life that could kill him when he didn’t deserve to die. Dying would be too easy. And anyway, Dean couldn’t let himself feel as if he were doing good, helping people, saving them from the darkness. Dean had done the worst thing possible, and he could never feel good again. He wouldn’t allow it.
Dean rode. He drifted. He drank. Drinking was the one reprieve he allowed himself, but he was always careful that he never drank so much that he wouldn’t wake up in the morning. Eventually Dean found himself at Rufus’s cabin. He stayed there for a few years. He would occasionally go into town, and work odd shifts at the local mechanic’s. They were always happy to give him jobs—he was probably the best mechanic for more than a hundred miles. But he wouldn’t take the permanent job they offered him. Nothing permanent. Dean just needed to earn enough money to buy more booze. He occasionally did the odd credit card scam, or played pool for bets. But he preferred working on cars, because that was something he could fix, and it took very little thought on Dean’s part. While he was working on a greasy engine, his mind could go blissfully blank and at the end of the day, he had put something back together.
Cain had eventually found him. “Time to give me what you owe me, Dean Winchester,” he’d said. Dean hadn’t even thought about Cain in a long time.
“Listen man, I’m sorry but I—I don’t have the blade. Crowley…” But Cain had lifted his hand, holding that fucking First Blade. Dean had stepped back quickly. He wanted nothing to do with that thing.
“You owe me, Dean. You gave me your word.”
Dean looked at Cain. He was desperate to not have to pick that damn blade up. It must have shown, because Cain sighed, looking as weary as Dean felt.
“I am sorry about your brother.” If anyone understood, Cain did. “How about this? You kill me with this blade, you owe me that much, Dean. But I give you my word in return, that the moment I am dead, both the Mark and the Blade will die with me. They are linked to me, after all. It is my black soul that powers both of them. If I don’t exist, neither do they.”
Dean was skeptical. “I have your word?”
Cain had nodded. Dean didn’t have much choice. He picked the First Blade up, and felt its power course through him. But it was dulled. It wasn’t overwhelming. After the deed was done, bringing with it unwanted flashbacks of the last time he had murdered someone, Dean had felt a freezing numbness travel down his arm and he dropped the jaw bone. That’s all it was now, just a jawbone, Dean could feel it. He rubbed his arm, where the Mark had been, seeing only a white, indistinct scar. That patch on his skin had remained numb for the rest of his life.
Dean thought about Sam all the time. All the fucking time. He would remember stupid little things, about when Sam had been a kid. Teaching him to tie his shoelaces and the blinding grin when he’d gotten it right by himself for the first time. Or how he would always be bent over a book. Or how he could never seem to pick his socks up, socks constantly strewn over every goddamn motel room. Sam’s ridiculous love of salads, how he thought licorice was disgusting. His stupid fucking hair.
Dean was haunted with memories of what Sam’s hair had looked like the last time he’d seen him. Sam had always kept his hair so shiny clean. That last time, it hadn’t been clean. Dean really hoped Cas had washed it before he gave Sam a hunter’s funeral. Dean had been too out of it to help with that. He hadn’t been at the pyre. He just hoped Sam had been sent off with clean hair.
Eventually Dean left the cabin. He woke up one day and just left. He didn’t take any notice of where he was going, he just rode. Different landscapes rushed past him, and when Dean reached blisteringly hot desert, it was time to stop. Another motel, bottle of the strongest stuff he could get. Another night lying on a bed, staring at the ceiling. That was the first time Dean had heard Sam’s voice.
And he wasn’t even surprised.
“Wow Dean. What a dump.”
Dean didn’t even blink.
“Well. It’s about time. I’ve finally lost my mind, haven’t I? Cuckoo for cocoa-puffs, right?”
“Yup!” Sam declared happily. Dean could see him now, sitting at the small table, looking over at Dean with a wide grin. And dimples.
“Bitch.” Dean mumbled.
“Jerk,” Sam replied with a nod. Obviously.
Dean didn’t even begin to think that it might really be Sam. A ghost or an angel or what-the-fuck-ever. Because he knew none of that was possible, that Death kept his bargains. And honestly, he’d been waiting to go crazy for a while now. It was inevitable.
It could be worse.
The day that Dean Winchester died, was just a regular day, not exceptional in any way. Dean had forgotten how many years he’d been wandering, with his dead brother keeping him company. He knew he was old, could see the wrinkles and grey hair in the mirror. Could feel the arthritis in his gnarled joints. He didn’t remember it, but the day Dean Winchester died, he was eighty seven.
He hadn’t gotten out of the old bed in the abandoned house he’d been staying in for days. He was sore and tired. He wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Sam had been telling him stories, perched on the corner of the mattress with his legs tucked under him, a weightless comfort. He’d told him about his days at Stanford, about Jess and Brady. They’d chuckled together over stories about trips in the car with dad in the front seat, and silly young brothers in the back. He’d told him stories from books he’d read. Right now, Sam was humming Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On. Sam had never really liked Led Zeppelin.
The humming stopped. “It’s just about time for you to go, Dean.”
Dean nodded weakly, and reached for his brother, a question in the gesture that Dean had lost the ability to ask a few hours back.
“No, I won’t be going with you. You won’t need me, where you’re going, Dean. Why cling to sad imitations, when you’ve got the real thing?” Sam winked.
Dean’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.
A movement in the corner of the room caught his attention, and Dean turned his head with difficulty and tried to focus on a familiar figure in the shadows.
“Dean,” a gruff voice called him. “It’s time to go home, old friend. Sam’s waiting.”
Dean’s last breath was a whispered, “Cas.”