adrenalineshots (adrenalineshots) wrote,
adrenalineshots
adrenalineshots

Two Minutes of a Lifetime

 

Dean had expected the nightmares, and the cold sweats, and the flashes of things that didn’t belong to this world but that had been a part of his existence for forty years. He’d been around enough of his father’s army buddies to even know what to call it.

But Dean had kind of hoped that, at least, he would be spared of the flashbacks. Why he would think that was beyond his comprehension. After all, why should he catch a break now?
 


Written as a Christmas gift for Faradheia. Now beta-ed by the most awesome Jackfan2.

 

TWO MINUTES OF A LIFETIME



He wasn’t an idiot. He knew that there were consequences to what had happened to him; to what had been done to him; to what he’d done to others.

You don’t just walk sane and carefree out of Hell. Not even by a long shot.

Dean had expected the nightmares, and the cold sweats, and the flashes of things that didn’t belong to this world but that had been a part of his existence for forty years. He’d been around enough of his father’s army buddies to even know what to call it.

But Dean had kind of hoped that he would, at least, be spared of the flashbacks. Why he would think that was beyond his comprehension. After all, why should he catch a break now?

It was innerving, actually. The constant alertness, the ever present fear that something, anything might send him back to that place, that any minute he might begin acting like an insane person. Having angels threaten to actually send him back didn’t help much.

The bar with the thirty ounce-steak on the menu and the pool tables in the back had seemed like a good idea at the time. Dean didn’t even flinch –much- at the décor of grotesque faces and hanging heads that the bar patrons seem to favor. It wasn’t like Dean had become incapable of seeing an ugly mug without running for cover under the bed. It was just that those faces tended to look familiar now.

So, the bar wasn’t perfect and really, he wanted nothing more than to crawl back to their motel room and loose himself in to a nice and safe alcohol induced stupor.

Sam, however, was getting antsy, walking on tiptoes around Dean, treating him like a delicate flower. It was getting on Dean’s nerves, making him too aware of how different he was, of how different they were with each other.

They’d both changed over the course of the summer and, as far as Dean could see, neither had changed for the better. And their new sharp edges were grinding in a terribly wrong way.

So, the bar was far from perfect, but it was a good way to get them back on their feet, to find their balance as a team once again. And a belly full of, if not good, at least substantial amounts of food and some good ol’hustle to pay the stay, couldn’t harm either.

Dinner was awkward as meals tended to be in these days when they didn’t have a case to discuss, any evil thing to figure out and kill. In these moments, awkwardness came, not from having nothing to talk about, but frigging too much.

Too much to say, too much information to share and neither could bring himself to open his mouth and talk. Even the silence was pressing in ways that it’d never been before. The steaks were good, but both had a hard time getting them to pass through their choked up throats.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o00o

Sam had stepped out for a whole of two minutes, to take a leak, leaving Dean polishing his cue to do the opening shot of his fifth game in a row with some biker guy. He would say that his brother was acting weird tonight, but to be honest, Dean had been acting the same way ever since he’d returned from Hell.

It wasn’t like Dean was that much of a talker before. There wasn’t that much sharing and caring going on in their fucked up life as it was, but the thing was, before… before Sam had, at least, some clue, some vague notion of what was messing up his brother. He could understand, hell!, he could even relate to what it was like to have a loved one taken away from you in a brutal and incomprehensible manner, he knew what it was like to feel responsible for something horrible happening to a person that means the world for you. Sam could even try to imagine what it would be like to spend a whole year knowing that it’s your last.

But, Hell? Sam knows he doesn't stand a snow ball’s chance of even beginning to grasp the concept of such an epitome of evil, pain and suffering.

And while he can’t relate, Sam knows it’s eating Dean alive. He’s not blind; he can see it as clear as neon.

Two minutes. Sam gives himself two minutes to empty his bladder and give himself a breath from Dean’s oppressive silence.

It didn’t seem possible for things to go to shit in such a short time.

0o0o0o0o0o0o

It was the woman’s scream. That was actually the last coherent thought crossing Dean’s mind, that there was someone screaming.

A part of him knew that it was just some random woman, screaming in delight because she’d won some sort of jackpot on the lonely slot machine at the bar’s entrance.

At a distance, Dean could still hear the joyful dings and dongs and bells and chimes of the slot machine as it spit out the woman’s prize. But it was all fading away, being eaten by louder sounds, by the thumpthumpTHUMP of his beating heart in his ears.

The bar’s yellowish lights and orange walls became darker and darker, until there was nothing but blackness and blood and the thumpthumpTHUMP of his blood pouring out on the floor.

The people around him shimmered and twirled, becoming nothing more than shadows with eyes of fire and taunting voices thumpthumpTHUMPing against his skull.

Dean knew it wasn’t real, but that notion lasts only a few seconds before he’s consumed by what his senses told him.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

The heavy beat of the background music was still going strong, but no one was paying any attention to what was playing. Instead, all eyes were on the pool tables. More precisely, on Dean.

The pool cue in his hands had been broken in half and Dean was brandishing the splintered and sharp tip on any one daring to come with a foot of him. Sam’s heart skipped a bit and jumped to his throat. Dean’s eyes were… wild. Feral.

“Call the cops! This guy is nuts!” The biker, now supporting a bleeding cheek, shouted to anyone listening.

From the number of nodding heads, Sam was sure that someone would eventually do exactly that. And Sam had absolutely no idea what to do to get Dean out of there before that happened. What was he going to tell the cops? ‘Sorry, but my brother is a bit disturbed on account of having just come back from Hell?’

This was a version of Dean that Sam had never seen before; this was a Dean he could not predict; this was a broken and scared man that, for whatever reason, had decided that the same bar filled with semi-drunk and lumbering patrons, was now teeming with demons… something that, by the way, he was announcing out loud, for anyone willing to hear.

That was the only clue that Sam needed to know that, wherever Dean’s head was right now, it wasn’t the same bar of two minutes ago. And Sam figured he had a pretty good guess where Dean thought he was.

“You fucking bastards! I’m gonna gut every single one of you black eyed sons of bitches!” Dean blared, his sharp wooden weapon circling around himself, keeping his invisible attackers at bay. It wasn’t like anyone was dumb enough to go near him like that.

Sam had never been so grateful for asking his brother to leave his gun in the car.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

They were too many. Too many of them. Just too fucking man—

They did this sometimes. Toy with him. Free him from the rack, allow him to taste freedom for a while, just so he wouldn’t forget what it was like. They never allowed him to walk whole, though.

Most of the times it was a leg, or an eye or even both arms, that would be missing, freshly cut and abandoned on the filthy floor.

Today, it was his right leg. Dean looked down, surprised to see nothing but air bellow his knee, even though he’d felt it, God!, how he’d felt it, every agonizing inch of that leg being cut and ripped away from his body, every nerve ending being stretched out and bitten off.

And then they’d set him free. Because they’d had fun hunting him down, just as he’d hunted them all of his life.

Dean would lose. He always lost. But today he had a weapon in his hands, some old bones that had been left to rot on the ground. It wasn’t his leg, he was almost certain that it wasn’t his own leg… he would’ve used it anyway even if it were.

Anything was better than that sense of helplessness, of being powerless to fight back, to defend himself, to stop them for just a second.

They were sneering at him, smirks looking alien and distorted in their grotesque faces. Dean knew them all. They’d all played this game before.

“Dean.”

Dean startled. He hadn’t heard a human voice in so long. He hadn’t heard that voice in so very long.

Just the screams and the wails and the fucking howls that never stopped, never faded away. Dean backed away until he could feel rock against his back, sharp and edgy, cutting in to his bones.

“Dean… come on man, it’s me.”

There it was again. That same voice. The voice that didn’t belong there. God! They’d found a new way to taunt him, to hurt him.

“GO away! You’re not here,” Dean let out, his voice trembling just as much as the shattered bone in his hands. “You’re not here… not here… you can’t be here!”

Dean closed his eyes. The demons didn’t have much patience for subterfuge, not when they could satisfy their every whim and wish. If he closed his eyes for just one moment, the voice would go away and dissolve into some other scream, some other growl. The deceit would be gone and reality would flood back.

“Dean, it’s okay… you’re not there, I’m not there… you’re safe,” the voice said, inches away from him.

Dean’s eyes popped open. Everything was the same still. The voice had lied. And he had lost once again. How could he have believed its words just because it was using Sam’s voice to say them? How big of an idiot could he be even after all this time?

Dean swung the weapon in his hands with all his might, roaring his despair, freeing his anger. Balanced precariously on one leg, he fought to maintain it, and lost. Landing on his ass, Dean felt the wetness of the blood filled ground soaking through his skin and knew that this was the end. This was the prelude to him being dragged back to the rack, the foreplay for the demons to start tearing him apart again.

For one second, Dean felt the pleasure of seeing the thing using his brother’s voice recoil in pain, clenching the arm where it’d been hit. Such a small victory, but it would keep him breathing for at least ten more years of pain and agony.

“Dean.”

And then there were arms around him, and warmth and a body pressed so tight that Dean could feel a heart beat against his chest that was not his own.

There were no heart beats in Hell. No one had one. This was a heartbeat that Dean knew as well as his own. That safe thumpthumpTHUMP lulling him back away from harm.

“Sam?” Dean ventured, hands clenching around the soft fabric of the arms around him. “What are you doing here Sam?”

“You got out Dean… this is not Hell… you’re safe,” Sam whispered, mouth glued to Dean’s ear, the words for him alone. “You’re home.”

And trapped between the wall and Sam’s arms, seeing nothing but the faded denim of his brother’s green jacket, hearing nothing but Sam’s breathing near his ear, feeling nothing but his familiar heartbeat, Dean felt home.

The demons were still there, the screams were slowly fading into the distant background, but he was home.

The end

 

Tags: dean, sam, season 4
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