Characters: Sam, Lucifer (Dean, John)
Word Count: 2,410
Warnings: Gore. Violence. Graphic Imagery.
Summary: This is how he kills you after you’re dead.
Notes: I wrote this during the summer hiatus, but never completed it because I wasn't sure what it was doing. It is now complete. I still have no idea what it's doing. Title from song of the same name by David Bowie.
It starts again.
When Sam’s three he finds one of Daddy’s guns in the closets. He knows he’s not supposed to go through Daddy’s stuff, but the gun is smooth and black and pretty. He puts his hands around the grip, points at the light coming through the slats in the closet door. He’s like a policeman. Or Daddy.
(Pow! Pow, pow, pow!)
The closet door flies opens. Dean shouts, wide-eyed, scared. Sam jumps and his hands squeeze together. There’s a bang, loud. Loud enough to make Sam want to cry from shock. He’s gonna be in trouble. Daddy’s gonna yell.
And then there’s red. Like magic; red, red, red, everywhere. All over Dean’s clothes. All over the floor. Daddy’s gonna be mad. He hates doing laundry.
Dean’s making funny noises. He’s fallen to the floor. His hand flops up to his heart.
Sam crawls out of the closet and shakes his brother’s shoulder.
(Dean? Wake up! Dean!)
Dean’s eyes close.
Daddy comes home. Daddy comes home and starts screaming. And when he’s done screaming he’s crying and hugging Dean to him and Dean’s just flopping around like a fish.
(What did you do Sammy? What did you do? Why didn’t you call for help?! Oh God, Dean, oh God, oh God, oh God. No, no, please, why didn’t you call someone Sam? Why didn’t you call someone? Dean, my baby, no—)
(This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real.)
He’s six when they take him. He doesn’t know how, just that one morning he woke up and he wasn’t in his bed and Dean wasn’t snoring next to him and Dad was nowhere.
The man who finds him first wants Sam to think of him as a father. But Sam’s not stupid. He only has one dad and he only needs one dad.
No amount of screaming persuades them to let him go. No matter how loud he cries, none of the neighbors ever call the police. None of his escape attempts are successful.
There are other people in the house too. At first it’s just the man who isn’t Sam’s dad, and a girl named Meg who says she’ll be like a sister. Later, there’s a girl named Ava and then a funny boy called Andy. Ava’s scared and Andy cries himself to sleep every night. Sam tries to take care of them the best he can. It’s what Dad and Dean would have wanted. A few months later Jake and Lily move in with them, and then a skinny boy named Scott and a pasty kid called Max. There’s another girl named Mia and a boy, Ansem, and that’s after that, no one else moves in at all. Sam’s glad, because taking care of all of them is hard work and he’s almost always tired and hungry and feeling sick.
Father makes them do bad things. He teaches them to do bad things. He smiles and pets them and assures them that it’s okay, they’re doing a good job, but Sam knows. He wants to throw up every time Father makes him try to see things or move things or… hurt people.
If they don’t listen, Father or Meg or one of the other grown-ups takes them into a room in the back of the house. It’s like the Chokey in Matilda but worse and it hurts, it hurts so much in there, so much you can’t even cry and you can’t think, so when you come back out, you do what Father wants you to do, you don’t care. Just as long as it doesn’t hurt anymore.
By the time Sam’s eight, he’s lost his new family too. They’ve stopped visiting the Chokey altogether. They do what Father wants. They like it. Andy still comes to him sometimes, and of all of them, Sam thinks he’s the only one who still knows that what’s happening, what they’re doing, is bad. But he’s too scared to do anything but obey and Sam’s too tired now to try and convince anyone but himself.
Sam’s nine when he wakes up one morning after a night in the Chokey with Meg and decides to be done. With everything. He doesn’t want to hurt and he doesn’t want to hurt others and he doesn’t know where to go. He keeps running into walls trying to get out of here, trying to keep himself, trying to make it so that when Dean and Dad finally come for him, they’ll know him. Because he doesn’t look the same anymore, not really. His hair’s falling out and he gets tired if he stands for too long and most days all he wants to do is sleep. His eyes are too big in his face and his hands shake so much sometimes that he can’t lift a glass of water. Dean and Dad wouldn’t know him if they saw him, Sam thinks, so he has to be as much their Sam as he can, so when they talk to him, or look in his eyes, they can know and take him home.
But now, he’s done with that. He’s done waiting. It’s been three years and they’re not coming. He just wants everything to stop, for a moment, so he can be not-scared and not-tired and so he can’t realize that he’s alone. And if he can’t have it for a moment, then he’ll have it forever. It’s better. Probably. It’s better than this.
There aren’t any guns in the house. Sam checked before, those times he was angry enough to try and hurt Father or Meg. But he doesn’t need anything that special.
There’s something inside him that will do the job just as well.
Sam’s eleven. Stephanie Nelson has an older brother who doesn’t make it in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
He arrives just as Sam’s leaving. He wants to introduce himself. Anything else would be rude.
(Mark. I’m Mark. What’s your name?)
His words are slurred. His hands are warm.
Afterwards, all Sam can think about is Dad and Dean. About the Thanksgiving he wished he’d taken, that bucket of extra-crispy and Dad snoring away in a musty recliner and Dean flipping channels. A full stomach. A warm room.
He’s so cold.
Mark carries him inside.
(Oh God, he won’t stop bleeding.)
(What the fuck were you thinking Mark? What the fuck is wrong with you? What were you doing?)
(Call 911, Jesus – no, no, Stephanie – go to your room, get out of here!)
(What’s wrong with him – what, Daddy – what’s wrong with him? Sam? Sam?!)
(God Mark! Oh my God!)
(Put him – just put him here – we’ll – we’ll—)
He can’t see anything.
Lucifer stands close. He sets a hand on Sam’s shoulders gently. Sam jerks away.
(Leave me alone.)
Sam looks down the road. He can still feel the cold, the hurt. He doesn't want to know what's next. He wants Dean so bad. Or Adam; that would be okay. He'll take Michael even. He just wants someone with him, someone besides—
(Leave. Me. Alone.)
He starts walking. Anything is better than staying. Nothing he sees is real. Lucifer is real. So he walks.
Sam wakes up to an empty house, one morning. Dean's bed is still warm, and Dad's covers hold the shape of a sleeping body but – no one's there. No one's anywhere.
Sam calls Bobby's house and he calls Pastor Jim's and Caleb's and Jousha's. No one answers. No one calls back.
He waits a few hours for Dean and Dad, and then he leaves the apartment. He knocks on neighbors' doors, making sure not to sound as worried as he is, because he doesn't need someone calling CPS. Afterwards, he walks around the small complex to the parking lot.
The Impala's gone too.
It's fear like Sam's never felt before. He runs to the empty parking space like he might crash into an invisible car. When nothing happens, he leans over and vomits. It's like acid, sharp and burning, and it just keeps coming. He's lightheaded by the end, dizzy and trembling and crying.
He walks back to the apartment, hunched over. The effort it's taking to keep the sobs at bay, to make sure no one hears him, makes it impossible to walk upright.
Three weeks later Sam turns fourteen. Dad and Dean aren’t back. Sam’s running out of cash. The landlord came last night to get the rent. No one will answer their phones.
Sam packs a bag that night. He leaves a note, in case. But there’s no point, really.
No one is ever coming back for him, no matter how hard he prays and pleads and wishes. Because it's not just Dean or Dad. It's everyone Sam ever knew – really knew. It's all of them.
He's the only one left.
He heads out at sunset, has some dinner and then pays for a train ticket with the last of his cash.
He sits on the train, swaying with its movements, and stares into the window. It's dark outside. His reflection is clear. He's a too-small boy with too-large eyes. His eyes flick to the reflections of the other passengers, some standing, some sitting.
Their eyes are all on him.
Their eyes are all black.
Sam’s fifteen. It’s the first demon they’ve ever come across. It’s using its own form, thick, smoky black wisps with something bright and shining right in the center, like a grin.
They get rid of it. They knew what they were getting into when they came here. Dad has the exorcism, Dean has the holy water and Sam has a bag of rock salt.
When it’s over Dean unties the woman it was tormenting. She’s strapped to her dining table, terrified and frozen still, scraps of her silk dress sticking to her thighs. But she’s alive. That’s what matters.
Sam goes to bed early that day, exhausted but okay. It had been a different job – strange, but easy. They got through it in one piece, not a scratch on any of them. Dean’s with Dad, sitting in the living room. Sam can hear their voices, warm and muffled and safe. They’re probably sharing a couple of beers and going over the hunt again. They always do that after a good one. They’ll start with the demon and take a right turn at exorcisms and probably end up having an argument over which gun is better – a Colt .45 or a 9mm Beretta. Dean has a soft spot for the Beretta. He’s going to go to his grave defending that pistol (Dean will say, Fifteen rounds, Dad, what part of that don’t you get? and Dad will say, Why bother with fifteen when eight will do? The Colt is tried and trusted and reliable, Dean.) and calling Dad a Colt-loving geezer.
When Sam wakes up it’s to screams and the sounds of bullets ripping through the air and fire.
He runs out of his room and the thump-thump-thump of his bare feet on the floorboards is mimicked by the thump-thump-thump of Dad’s boots hitting the glass window as he dangles off the roof.
Sam screams (Daddy!) and then he sees Dean, strapped to their rickety dining table, its legs folded and broken under Dean’s weight, and Dean’s wide, dead eyes and the gaping mouth of his slit throat.
Sam’s eyes go back to the window, the thump-thump-thump as whatever’s holding Dad’s body shakes. There’s a shower of blood. The body falls and a head follows.
Lucifer finds him after.
(Well. Well, well, well. Overkill, perhaps, but…)
There are fingers in Sam’s hair, gentle, and blood on Sam’s hands. There are – globs – of something spattered all around him. Sam doesn’t know what happened.
(You killed them. The things that hurt your father and brother. It was your right, of course. But, my, were you terrifying.)
Lucifer bandages Sam’s hand, careful of the wrenched-back nails that came from ripping things apart.
(Shh. Now, now. Shh.)
It’s Sam’s sixteenth birthday and he’s drunk.
(I’m scared of this. I’m scared you’re gonna die and Dad’s gonna die. I’m so scared man. I’m scared I’m gonna die. I don’t want to die. I don’t. Dean. Dean, I don’t wanna die, please. You could – you could tell Dad. He’d listen. Please. I can’t – I’m so scared. Don’t make me do this. Don’t make me go out there anymore. I don’t—)
Dean pulls away the bottle.
(Fuck, Sammy. Can’t you even be happy when you’re wasted? Jesus.)
There’s a light in Dean’s eyes. It’s a strange light. Soft and sad. It’s the understanding in the look that scares Sam. The understanding and the not-doing-anything-about-it. Sam thinks Dean’s supposed to save him. Because if Dean doesn’t, who will? No one.
It makes him angry. Being scared usually does. The words are out before he can even think about stopping them.
(I think about killing myself sometimes.)
Dean doesn’t flinch. Sam didn’t expect him to. There are roles here, and they follow them. Inside his head, Sam is melodramatic. Inside his head, Dean is realistic. Sam thinks he’ll do it, but Dean knows he won’t. This is a problem. Sam wants to hurt Dean right now. He wants to make Dean let him stop. He doesn’t want to be scared anymore.
(I really do. I think about it.)
Dean watches him, the bottle of whiskey hanging in his fingers.
A little later:
(Why didn’t you?)
(That didn’t happen. That never happened. That never happened!)
(Of course it did. Somewhere inside that head of yours it happened. It happened all the time.)
Sam’s hardly seventeen when—
Sam's twenty-one and—
It finally happens when he's twenty-four—
They don’t talk about it, but Sam knows.
These are his nightmares. The could-haves and would-haves and might-haves and almost-dids. These are all the ifs and maybes he’s made up of, all his fear laid out on a blood red road for the whole world to see.
This is Lucifer’s home.
This is how he kills you after you’re dead.
Sam's twenty-seven and in Hell.
He sits on the dirt road and rocks. And rocks. And rocks.
The man by his side hushes and coos and kisses.
(I'm here, Sam. I won't leave you. I'll always love you.)
It starts again.