Characters: Gen – Sam and Dean,
Rating: PG-13 – some disturbing imagery
Original Story: All Ripe For Dreamin' by essenceofmeanin
A/N: Thanks so much to vipersweb for the beta, I really appreciate the suggestions you gave me. : ) Life saver!
So, then Bobby turned around with the punch line and said, "Sam, I ain't never seen your daddy turn so purple or sputter so much in my life. I still can't watch a pumpkin chunkin' contest without chuckling."
Night after night she died, black and burnt or red and empty. Sometimes she spoke to him, but it was only ever one word and when he opened his mouth to reply he found his tongue gone. Fire rained down on his head and smoke filled his lungs. The world ended.
Dean woke him up.
Sam was making breakfast in the kitchen, keeping the eggs in the cradle of his knuckles to protect them from falling while he turned from the refrigerator to the stove. Carefully, he rapped them against the counter and let runny insides fall out into the pan with a sizzling hiss.
The phone rang in the living room. He went to answer it, and Jess crawled across the ceiling to follow him. Glancing up at her, Sam saw that she had empty eggshells instead of eyes. The wide slash across her belly dripped down on the carpet. His only thought was that they probably weren't going to get their deposit on the apartment back.
Dean woke him up.
The first time I saw Jess, she was covered head to toe in flour. Phi Alpha Delta was in the middle of a bake-a-thon fundraiser, but she was just about useless in the kitchen. The frat's president bribed me with a free cupcake to distract her with a run to the store for more supplies. It's why I got into law.
Dean woke him up.
Those first few weeks were worse than anything Sam could ever have imagined. He'd seen death, he'd dealt death, but never before had he felt so ripped to pieces. Food turned to rubble, the air tasted stale, and there wasn't enough water in the world to wash his soul clean. He saw the world in a new light, vicious technicolor that was too raw. He just wanted to close his eyes and make his whole life go away.
Everything hurt. It hurt and he just wanted it to stop, but the only relief he could find came in those first few moments that fell somewhere on the border between awareness and sleep. Those moments where his brain shifted from waking nightmares to sleeping terrors gave him peace he didn't deserve.
Dean woke him up.
He felt stuck in a time warp, just like when he was little with night terrors about the thing that he could have sworn lived under his bed. Dad gave him a gun, but Dean was the one who stood sentinel through the night protecting him from everything that went bump in the night. Dean was perfect and strong; a good hunter, a good son, and everything Sam didn't want to be.
My first memory of you is when I was four. The motel owner asked where my daddy was; I pointed to you. She laughed and told me that you were too young to be my dad. I told her she was a stupid head and ran out to you crying. You hugged me, kissed my forehead, and made me a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Dean didn't wake him up.
Fine. Sam didn't really expect for Dean to baby him as long as he did.
When he started seeing Jess during the daytime, that was when he knew that he was damned. He stopped sleeping since he couldn't count on Dean any longer. He didn't deserve the snatches of peace he managed to steal before sleeping. Somehow his unconscious mind was far more brutal than anything he could do to himself while he was awake. Later, he might wonder if it was the demon blood.
Sure, sometimes he nodded off over research or when he waited on Dean to finish pumping gas into the Impala, but sleep ambushed him in those few times. He found no more peace there. He knew that he deserved to rot in hell.
Remember the first time we met the Trickster? All that shit he put us through trying to get us to leave? Actually, I was the one who use the parent blocker to black out all the porn channels on TV. I just let him take the blame so you wouldn't be pissed at me again.
Dean didn't wake him up.
He slept again with nightmares that made his previous terror feel like a walk through Candyland. Dean still didn't wake him up. It might have been the real first betrayal, but not Dean's last. Not his worst, not like selling his soul and leaving Sam alone with his nightmares.
Sam caught on to the Ambien the third night. He stopped letting Dean dose him, and instead just laid on his bed, thinking through all the demon lore he'd managed to pick up. He was going to get that godforsaken bitch of a demon if it was the last thing he did.
The Dark Knight was so overrated. Michael Keaton still gets my vote for best Batman.
He never expected Dean to talk to him. They weren't really a talking family, or a hugging family, or much of a family really. But Dean was all he had, and Sam soaked up every little drip of information about his brother that he could. Slowly, Dean filled him, made the ache of losing Jess a little more manageable, though it never went away.
They fought a swamp monster and Sam finally took the drugs that Dean pushed on him. There must have been some kind of venom in the thing's saliva though, because he's wide awake just in time to hear Dean pour his heart out. It was all Sam could do not to sit up in bed and apologize for every shitty thing he'd ever done down to stealing Dean's shoelaces when he was five.
The nightmares weren't as bad after that. Dean grew until he was the center of Sam's universe, and Sam felt the gravity with every step they took. His balance shifted until he always leaned closer to his brother, bumped their shoulders and slapped his back. Something clicked inside his mind and he realized that he'd been given a second chance to make things right. He would protect Dean, protect his bother and together they'd fight the nightmares.
Sleep was just sleep.
I never thought about calling you when I was at Stanford. Never once. One of us had to make the hard choice and I knew that you never would. You'd kill yourself bending over backwards for me and Dad. And I never asked you to. I just wanted a brother, not one absent father and one overprotective father.
He didn't wake Dean up.
Years later and a four month trip to Hell on Earth made Sam look back on those days after Jess' death with nostalgia. He'd failed again, failed to the ultimate degree when Dean died. Not just because of Sam, but for him. And once again, the only choice he had in front of him was revenge.
Lilith's head was the only thing that would make the nightmares of Dean's body ripped to pieces go away.
Sam didn't need much sleep anymore. It was okay, he was tougher than Dean, he could handle it. And there wasn't much use in pretending when Dean tossed and turned all night from his new Hell-filled nightmares. Sam wouldn't have been able to sleep through the whimpers and the moans even if he'd wanted to.
He couldn't even get pay-backs and dose his brother, because Dean self-medicated himself. The whiskey bottles piled up in the trunk, clanking with every erratic move Dean made. So Sam talked. He talked about their childhood, about Stanford, and about those times when Dean was gone.
The words hung in the air between them.
After Lilith took you, I never really got that you were gone. I drove down road after road, and no matter how much I tried to leave your memory behind, you stayed. Your amulet was like a weight around my neck. I drowned. I still don't feel alive. I wanted to go to Hell too. I still miss you.
Sam didn't say anything else after that. Dean continued to pretend that he was sleeping and Sam sent a text to Ruby, moving their plans to the next night. Sam spun out of control, his gravity gone. Nothing was there to stop him, nothing could.
No one was there to wake them from the nightmare they shared.