Chapter 1: One Beating Heart
A SEASON IN HELL : PART TWO
THE MOURNING AFTER
Chapter 1: One Beating Heart
In a house there is a room; in that room there is a floor. On that floor there are two bodies with only one beating heart between them, one drawing breath. One living in this moment, the other torn and lifeless—Sam isn’t sure: which one is he?
He stands over his brother. He hears the sound of rushing air, white noise, and beyond that the rasp of quickly-drawn breaths; his own. Okay, so he’s the living one and the pain that comes now chokes him and threatens to stop his heart. For one agonized, mad instant he wants that, to be ushered after Dean into the darkness, then his capacity for coherent thought is drowned in a tidal wave of pure agony, sharp, clear, and cutting as a diamond.
Dean is beautiful and dead and Sam falls to his knees to cradle Dean's head on his shoulder, puts both arms all the way around Dean to pull him close, and the blood still seeping from Dean's shredded chest —though his heart no longer beats— spreads and bathes him with hot, sticky redness. Sam twines his legs with Dean's, molds himself along Dean's body, and wails like a baby, with abandon and without any consciousness of ego. There is only the pain, and Dean's body. Dean's green eyes are open and staring; just before the end, his eyes had widened in horror, as if he had seen beyond some awful door to what awaited him. There is the full knowledge of Hell in Dean's death-stare, and the pit that opens in Sam's stomach must match, for depth and agony, any that might await doomed souls beyond death.
There is not much thought in Sam's mind, only pulsing waves of painful disbelief. He can't believe he failed. Winchesters find a way. They always find a way, and Sam didn't realize before now just how deeply he had believed that he would save Dean, even until the final second when Dean had recognized Lilith lurking within Ruby's host body and cried out a warning. Too late, Sam sees, all too late. What a fool he’d been.
The floor creaks, and Bobby is there. He does not make the mistake of trying to pry Dean out of Sam's arms, only places his hand on Dean's head and weeps. Sam's tears flow so thick and fast that he is blinded, the world is only a wavering mirage that dips and sparks in shades of gray. Behind him somewhere there is screaming, and he remembers that this is some family's home, that he is lying in their dining room, a place where they have celebrated birthdays and holidays. The blood will never wash out of the soft carpet where Sam lays, and the wooden floor has drunk the blood irretrievably deep into its grain.
This all scans in a place at the back of Sam's mind where a piece of him always stays separate and distant and sane, telling him now that he must get up and see to it, that there is so much that must be done, and it will not do for itself. This small part of him is what has him pick himself up off the floor and grip Bobby under the elbow to support him, bring him to his feet. This small part that tells him that the police are most likely on their way, and they must not be allowed access to Dean's body. Above all else, above all things, Sam must protect Dean's body. Because…somewhere there is a thought forming. Because…
His body moves, shuts out the unimportant people at his back, the parents of the possessed girl, their shrill voices asking questions, demanding explanations. Sam bends and lifts his brother's body. Dean. Just a very small part of him pilots his body like a great, ungainly ship navigating an ice-locked channel with one oar and a flashlight.
The rest of his mind is busy slamming repeatedly into a very high wall lined with vicious spikes and thorns where he is torn to bloody pieces and yet keeps gathering himself to charge again.
Dean is beautiful in Sam's arms, curved lips softly parted, staring eyes like chunks of green jade. It is a shame to let Bobby close them.
Chapter 2: Last Rites
A SEASON IN HELL : PART TWO
THE MOURNING AFTER
Chapter 2: Last Rites
Sam feels himself slipping under, just below the surface in a pool of warm, still water that lets him see everything clearly, but as if from a great distance. It's a nice, safe feeling. He talks to Dean's body as he cleans it and prepares it for burial.
"You didn't actually leave any instructions, Dean, for how you wanted to go in the ground. I mean, I would have ignored them in favor of whatever the hell I wanted, anyway, but you were so goddamn stubborn about not preparing for this. Wouldn't even let me say goodbye, you bastard," Sam says, good-naturedly, really. That word; Sam would have choked on it. To be fair, it wasn’t Dean who had been stubborn. Sam was the one who’d fought Dean every step of the way, for a year, never accepting what was coming, even when Dean had asked Sam to let him go. To be fair…but Sam isn’t in the mood to be fair.
As he speaks, he slides a curved needle through a torn flap of flesh on Dean's chest. The blood has been cleaned away, which is actually eerie because the claws and teeth of the hellhound left such wide, jagged gashes that Dean's slopped insides are clearly visible. Red and pink gristle and slashed tendons, muscle ripped and tossed like shredded meat, ribs gnawed and cracked clean through, long strips of pale flesh curled back from ragged, gaping holes. When Sam figures out how to bring Dean back, he's going to have to make sure the method—spell, deal, whatever—includes a good healing, because otherwise, well, this could put a serious cramp in Dean's style. Duct tape and sutures aren't going to cut it once Dean's up and walking around again.
"Bobby wanted you salted and burned, but it might be a little harder to animate a handful of ashes, and we've already got the deck stacked against us," Sam lets Dean know, shaking his head as he loops and tightens another stitch.
Sam washed his brother's body before this, thoroughly, lowered him into a bathtub full of warm, soapy water. Carefully propping him up so as not to let his head slip under and drown him. Dean most likely would have protested at the thought of a sponge bath being administered by anyone other than a hot candy striper in a white nurse's cap, but too bad. And it was certainly something that should stay in the family, though Bobby is the closest they have to a father without there being a blood connection. Family doesn't end with blood.
Still, washing your dead brother's balls is really something that one should do in private, and with eyes averted, thank you. Dragging the washcloth over the skin between his thighs, soaping him up and scrub-rinsing. It's unbearably intimate, parting Dean's legs to take him in hand, wrapping a fist around him with only the damp terrycloth between flesh and flesh. Two quick movements, up and down and then wash the soap away.
"Bobby's building you a pine box, nothing complicated.” Hunters don’t get memorials or engraved tombstones; no satin-lined coffins and a place in the family plot where loved ones can mourn and bring flowers. Hunters get shallow graves dug by the side of an unpaved back road with a hastily assembled wooden cross and, if they’re lucky, a friend present to say a few kind words and pour some whiskey out onto the churned-up dirt.
“It's not like you're going to be down there long. And I'm going to leave you everything that was on you. Just your lighter, your watch, your ring, shit like that. I got you some clean clothes, but none of your best stuff, ‘cause frankly I don't know if grave dust comes out of cotton blend in the wash." Sam laughs a little, aware of sounding not at all like himself—the glib remarks, the half-assed nervous humor. That was more Dean’s MO than Sam’s. He doesn’t think too hard about it, though, just keeps focused on the task at hand.
He uses a finger to smooth out a wrinkle in one flap of skin as he finishes another row of stitches. Joining the edges of such jagged wounds is not an easy task, they don't exactly line up evenly like the pieces of a puzzle. The hellhound had taken strips of flesh away with it, buried beneath its claws and filling its maw. Sam exhales in a huff, has to work to keep it from hitching on this hook in his chest. His fingers tremble, another stitch goes awry. Sam has ideas, he does, but he's not sure any of them are good ones. Dean's chest is just so torn up, look at that. God, that must have hurt. The sounds Dean made as he died, his cries, his gasping moans and screams, choked gurgling as he drowned in his blood, just, God, he…
No. Sam breathes in quick and deep, blows out hard. "No" is a beautiful word, it's Sam's favorite word, really. The word has magical abilities, to say so much with so little, imbued with the power to calm his mind and soothe his heart and rest his fears. Every time the jungle drums pound in his head, louder and louder until he can't ignore them, just one magic word makes them all go away. "No." Not really that much to it, but there you go.
No. Just…no. He acknowledges that he sounds childish, that attitude like the world will conform to his will if he just wants it bad enough. Just says it with enough force behind it. He even knows the term for it from freshman Psych. It’s called magical thinking. Yes, like a child at the center of his own universe. The word makes the bad thing go away.
Because it's starting to sink in, that yes, it happened, Dean is dead. Sam couldn't save him, a fact which he had been denying for a year, despite the (often smug) declarations of so many others. The Trickster god, demons with their smart mouths—hell, Dean himself, all had told Sam that there was nothing to be done. Dean is in Hell. Dean is in Hell, a real place close enough to claim Dean's soul but burning at a great enough distance that Sam has no means whereby he can reach in and pull his brother out.
But that doesn't mean he's giving up. Dad had brought Dean back from the dead, Dean had made his deal to recover Sam from some unknown place beyond life and death. Wasn't Sam just as capable as the rest of his goddamn self-sacrificing family when it comes to pulling last-minute rescues out of his fucking ass? Like father—like brother—like son, right? Sam will be damned to Hell himself if he's going to let those sons of bitches show him up—and leave him here in this craphole of a world all alone.
Sam ties off the last stitch and puts his hand on Dean's shoulder and tries not to notice how the dead flesh feels like cold clay. For the first time, he allows himself a glimpse at Dean's face. He feels nothing at the sight, it's like looking at a wax effigy of his brother, rather than the man himself. It is very easy to believe that this is not Dean. And yet.
"I should have led that demon army out of Hell," Sam whispers into this dead Dean-like thing's ear. "By the time you got there, it would've been empty."
This isn't over. Not even close.
Chapter 3: Deal or No Deal
A SEASON IN HELL : PART TWO
THE MOURNING AFTER
Chapter 3 : Deal or No Deal
Sam is at a crossroads. Literally. He sits on the dusty earth where four roads converge, the mutilated body of the Crossroads Demon in pieces all around him. The ease with which he slaughtered the thing scares and excites him. He thinks about his contaminated blood, Azazel's blood, pumping through his veins and tainting his soul. Demon’s blood.
Speaking of blood, there's blood everywhere, on the knife, his hands, his clothing. A satisfying spray of guts encircle him in a tight blast radius. He's blacked-out on the last hour or so, at least parts of it. He pushed reason into the back seat and let rage and grief take the wheel. Threw himself into the slaughter with gleeful (God help him) abandon. All the frustration and the pain took hold and he let fly.
Sam was ready to throw himself into the Pit if it meant he could be sure in the knowledge that somewhere Dean was alive, his soul safe, rescued from torment and torture. He knows that he could hack it in Hell, just knows he could make it through anything if it means all that.
Hypocrite, some nasty little voice inside of him whispers. Round and round the Winchesters go, the Crossroads Demon had said, and he hears the echoes reverberating all through his mind. He pleads for silence…just saying "No," isn't gonna hack it this time.
A deal with a demon was his last resort. First there was research; spell books, legends and fables, witches, psychics, voodoo mambas, old gods, new gods, prayers and pilgrimages. And when none of that worked he went to Wyoming, stole a Dodge 4 x 4 and rammed it repeatedly into the Devil's Gate. Figuring on marching right into Hell to pull Dean out himself. Ready to search a hundred years, if necessary, though he was somehow certain that he would be pulled to Dean as surely as are two magnets with opposing positive/negative attractions. Dean's soul would be a beacon for Sam, drawing him forth. He could picture it, his love for his brother would be the light that shines even in the darkest depths of Hell. Then he'd reach into the fire to take Dean’s soul, bring it home and shove it back into his body with his own burn-scarred hands.
But even once the entire front end of the Dodge was crumpled, as well as the truck bed (he tried ramming it backwards, too) there was not even a scratch on the gilded onyx doors of the Devil's Gate. Goddamn Samuel Colt made that thing to last. Black and gold and disguised as a tomb, for which the only key in the world is the demon-killing Colt.
The long-barreled pistol is gone, though, in Lilith's hands thanks to the doomed Bela, the supernatural grifter to whom Dean and he had made the supreme mistake of giving their trust, despite irrefutable proof that she was not worthy. She had stolen the Colt right out from under their noses, taken from their hotel room safe and then handed it over to Lilith in the hopes of welching on the deal she made with a demon exactly ten years prior. Her time was up, her bill come due, and she was desperate to make a new deal to avoid taking her place in Hell. It hadn't worked, and though Sam was filled with resentment for the bitch, it had still been hard for him to sit beside Dean in the Impala while his brother talked to her on the cell phone and watch the clock switch over to midnight. He’d gotten nauseous picturing the doom and bloody death that came to her after Dean hung up. Hell took her soul into its fiery belly, chewed her up and swallowed the pieces.
But Sam doesn't really have it in him to mourn her. His life has always been about painful choices and consequences; he's learned to live with the hard ones. She would have killed him and Dean to save her own pretty hide. So good riddance. Saving Dean had been his only concern and now it is his only mission, his obsession, the driving force that keeps him putting one foot in front of the other, keeps him breathing in and breathing out, waking up every morning and getting out of bed instead of lying back down and eating a bullet.
Sam scoured all the same old spell books, rooted around for recycled information, sure that he could still find a way to save Dean, if he could only appease the right forces. If only he could find something worth offering in exchange for his brother's soul.
But now, sitting bloody at a crossroads with what was once a man spattered around him, Sam's head is spinning. It was the last thing Sam could think of to give, his own soul, his own freedom. And he has been denied. That last spark of hope that he has harbored in his core is fading and going out like the light of a dying world. Dean, his Dean, is out of Sam's reach. No matter how hard he tries to make up for the distance between them, he falls short.
His eyes burn, his vision wavers and he closes his eyes against the tears that threaten to come. If he loses control now he may not get it back. He wants to let go, to open up and weep for his brother, weep for himself, for his broken heart and bleak future. All he can see when he looks forward is a flat black, a darkness that has swallowed his brother up forever. His mind reels at the immensity of the concept: forever. Never and never and ever will he see his brother again. Never sit beside him, touch him, or share a second kiss. Sam’s shaking, he’s gasping for air, all of Hell might be watching and laughing at him, but he cannot turn aside the tide of his pain, his regret, his loss.
No, no, oh please no, and the word means nothing, a denial that doesn't have enough weight behind it to budge a feather.
Why? he wants to know, just why? Can he have nothing for himself, is this his doom, his fate, his curse, to always be alone? Dead mother, dead girlfriend, dead father; and now, the one person who had, at one time or another, strangely sort of been all of those things for Sam, parent-brother-friend-lover…
He gives in to despair and falls back in the blood-spattered soil of the crossroads. This is where he belongs, covered in dust and gore, stuck in a living Hell that is not of his own making. He has nothing left to give. There is nothing left to be done. It all clicks into place in his mind; it's over. He failed and Dean is gone from him. Forever.
And then he wills himself to die, asks his body to let go, but his heart keeps beating with obnoxious, stubborn persistence. Still, he stays stretched out on the road. He'll move, maybe later. Right now, all he can do is stare at the stars and offer up his final breath in exchange for oblivion.
But it doesn't come. The universe just isn't that kind.
Chapter 4: A Fly In Amber
A SEASON IN HELL : PART TWO
THE MOURNING AFTER
Chapter 4 : A Fly in Amber
Alcohol, is what Dean would do. Sam is unpleasantly sober. A situation that he must remedy, fast. They say alcohol just exacerbates your problems, expands them and brings them into greater focus. But Sam’s biggest problem right now is that he’s sober, so he’s not worried. He finds an all-night liquor store just a block away from his motel with an honest-to-God drive-thru window. The clerk behind the counter ringing up his purchase flinches back from Sam's touch when he reaches for his change. Sam is a wild and deadly animal with burning black eyes; even this soft-headed man with a paunch and a comb-over can sense the shadows that surround him like a charred and blackened halo. Sam slinks from the store, head down with a paper bag under his arm. Whiskey, the Winchester drink of choice. Two steps out the door and he’s got the bottle open.
That warm bubble Sam has been living in has popped, the defiant fuck-you to reality Sam used as a shield has dissipated, leaving only him, with every one of his options exhausted. None of it worked, none of his final resources, not one of his desperate plans: voodoo, hoodoo, white magic, black magic, gray magic, wishes, spells, rites and rituals, all of it and none of it. Worse, and sickeningly, Sam sees that he never expected any of it to work. It was all a lie he told himself. Gross denial that kept the wind in his sails, kept their bellies full and the ship running before the breeze. Now the wind has died, and with it goes all of Sam's hope, all of his tender emotions. Left seething in his gut are all his darker thoughts; they prey on him every goddamn sober second. This is why he takes a drink and then another while walking down the street to the little no-tell motel with its hot pink-painted bungalows trimmed with blue frosted gingerbread eaves and shutters, and a plaster fountain in the middle of the gravel parking lot depicting a cherubic boy pissing into the chlorinated pool of water at the fountain's base. Dean would get a kick out of it; make some winking statement, maybe just nudge Sam to get his attention and then point and laugh.
By his third swig of whiskey, Sam's already feeling it. He hasn't slept in days, can't remember the last time he ate. It's all reflex, anyway; routine, habit, things like eating and sleeping. Without Dean, sometimes Sam forgets. Dean was the one that reminded Sam to eat up, kept an eye on him when the spaces between his ribs started to hollow and his cheekbones to sharpen. When they were kids he had always made sure Sam had breakfast before school and cleaned his plate at dinner. Even as adults Dean concerned himself with things like whether Sam was getting enough sleep at night. Dean took better care of his brother than Sam did himself.
Better than he deserved.
There are flashing red and blue lights and he looks up to see a black and white pulling over to his side of the road. He’s a little unsteady on his feet, though it’s not from the whiskey. Still, he tries to imagine what the cop sees: a physically imposing stranger with a staggered gait drinking whiskey from a brown paper bag. A man entirely too at home in the night, prowling the street and trailing shadows in his wake. The car comes to a stop and a police officer gets out with a flashlight in one hand and a ticket pad in the other.
Dude, 5-0! Dean’s voice is in his ear. “Fuck,” Sam hisses, then turns to face the cop. Okay, be calm, just chill, you’re not doing anything illegal, just remember the name on the ID you’re carrying and take it easy. Sam stands up straight and tries not to look half as dangerous as he feels. That’s it, Sammy. Now turn those big, sweet eyes on him and charm him right out of his pants—you’ve got no problem with that, right? And then Dean’s familiar, wicked laugh that lightens his heart even as his chest tightens painfully. Bitch. Jerk.
It's scary, how good Sam is at acting innocent and getting away with telling some pretty outrageous lies. Dean was always visibly impressed when Sam slipped them loose the noose more than a handful of times just by flashing his dimples and a shy smile. Dean tried it once or twice, but it never really worked for him. Too much snark, too much sass, maybe just that cynical glint in his eye and set to his jaw, something, Dean just couldn't pull off that "who, me?" expression with any degree of effectiveness. In fact, sometimes it pissed people off more, being presented with this smarmy man with a mocking tilt to his pretty lips, looking like he was the only one in on a really good joke made at the expense of everyone else. It was often best to let Sam do the talking, which Dean hated, and so, of course, Sam loved it.
"Good evening, Officer," Sam says, all tucked-in smile and dewy eyes. "I'm sorry, have I done something wrong?" He toyed with, Did I do something bad? but he wants to sound like he's innocent, not a mentally-arrested moron.
The cop gives Sam the steely eye for all of five seconds before the tension around his eyes loosens and he turns the beam of the flashlight slightly to the side so that he is no longer blinding Sam. There ya go, Sammy, there ya go.
"Good evening, sir," the cop says, his eyes narrowing a little, sensing Sam's shadowed soul for a moment, like the liquor store clerk, although this time Sam is attempting to hide it.
The cop is thinking drunk and disorderly, Sam's pretty sure, small town like this. Sam doesn't want to spend the night in the tank drying out, so he amps it up a little.
"Officer, please, if I've done anything wrong, I'd just like to apologize and ask, sir, what it was?" Sam tilts his face down and then looks up at the police officer from beneath his lashes, and the cop inhales sharply, a quiet little movement of air that's barely audible. The cop's eyes hook onto Sam like a baited fish, and Sam reels him in.
"Sir, uh, I just—" and the cop is looking at Sam with confusion written on his face, like even he is not certain as to why he stopped this innocent young man just taking a moonlit stroll. He looks into Sam’s catlike eyes and the shadows swirling there and stumbles over his words "That—that is—"
"Yes, Officer?" Sam's laying it on thick and the guy is eating it up. Sam holds the officer’s gaze, keeps him trapped like a fly in amber. He can tell when the cop makes a decision; the man breaks free of the magnetism pf Sam’s eyes and he immediately straightens up a little, the wrinkles in his forehead smooth out, he even shakes himself a little and says, "Sir, I just wanted to let you know that you shouldn't be walking around all alone like this after dark." He smiles, like he’s proud he got the words out and gestures to the night around them. The liquor store, the motel, and an abandoned diner make up the full roster of urban development on this part of the road. Across the street is a green and untouched forest, and beneath his feet grass and weeds are growing up through cracks in the concrete. This night holds no danger for Sam. Sam is the dangerous one.
"Oh, thanks, Officer, I really appreciate that. I'm just going to the Fontainebleau Motel up ahead, though, so I won't be out here for long."
"Well, that's good," the cop says, rather lamely, still looking confused and more than a little relieved to be going. Sam sees him off, waves at the man as he drives away shaking his head like he's trying to knock something loose.
Good job, Sammy, Dean says, and Sam turns to meet his brother's grin. But no, he is alone. It's like a punch in the gut, he loses his breath and stands gasping at the roadside for another minute before he can force himself to move.
Sam is drunk, finally. It makes it so much easier to do things like going out to the Impala to get Dean's duffel bag—yeah, he still has it and all its contents—and bring it back to the room. There, he sits on the bed, opens the bag, and pulls out one of Dean's shirts. Soft, green, button-down flannel; Sam buries his face in it, inhales long and deep. If he closes his eyes and holds very still, he can pretend to himself that he is sitting in the passenger seat of the Impala with Dean at his side, a faint, herbal scent rolling off of him, his scent, Dean's scent. The scent of comfort, and home, and everything good in Sam’s fucked up little corner of existence. He knows how pathetic he is, but there's no one there anymore to see it, no one to help keep Sammy's feet on the ground.
Sam folds his hands around the fabric and whispers Dean's name like a prayer. If he thought it would help, he'd get down on his knees. He strokes the soft, worn material of the shirt against his cheeks, his lips, his neck, lightly so it feels like another person's touch, and the shirt smells so much like Dean that Sam can imagine being there with him. That it's Dean's hand at the join between his neck and his shoulder, Dean's fingers moving up the column of his neck and his jaw line, then over to gently brush his lips. Sam puts his own hand to his mouth, just as he pictures Dean doing, then slides it down to cup his neck, then under his collar to meet bare skin. Sam holds the shirt in his left hand and moves his right hand down his front, palm skimming over his chest, but it's not enough and so Sam takes off his overshirt and then drags off the t-shirt beneath it to get skin on skin.
As he imagines Dean's hands on him, he gets hard and drops his hand to his crotch, to the growing bulge in his jeans. He can't get the fly open fast enough, pushes his pants and boxers down to his knees, and gets his hand on his erection, red and thick and pleading for attention. He's too hot all of the sudden to go get something like lotion from the bathroom, and he pauses just long enough to spit-slick his palm and gets his fingers wrapped back around his cock, smearing pre-cum from the tip to help ease the way. But not too easy, friction is the name of the game, after all. "Dean," Sam says, and behind closed lids he can see his brother, so beautiful, he always thought so, even when he was a small child looking up at Dean with one hand firmly grasping Dean's pocket. Sammy, Dean would say, and Sam just knew that his brother was some kind of creature of light sent to smile down at Sam just like that, all sparkling eyes and loving smile meant just for him. Wrong, bad and wrong, Sam is useless and sick, but he still sees his brother's long eyelashes and perfect mouth, and the clear emerald color of his eyes. Sam's pulling on his cock, twisting and pumping and his arousal is like a spear that penetrates all the way into his gut. He is so goddamn hard, he feels like unyielding stone in his own grasp, moaning and digging his toes into the carpet. He makes small, pained noises that bubble up and slip out though he tries to stop them. He whispers, "Dean," just that, and he comes hard, inhaling the scent off of Dean's shirt and jerking his hips to rise up into every downward stroke. He comes and comes, so good it aches, and tears form in his eyes from a pleasure that's like pain. There is cum on his hand and on his stomach, he is shivering with the aftermath of his self-induced orgasm, and if Sam wasn't already going to Hell, he is now.
In this moment of release, Sam is honest enough with himself to admit to his failure. Dean is gone and there's nothing Sam can do. And maybe worse, situations reversed? Dean would have found a way, no question. Sam's just not as good as Dean was, and he never will be. Dean was better than him in every way. Sam gave his word that he would save Dean, promised his brother that he wasn't going to Hell, but he just didn't make good on it. Why can Sam save everyone in this world but his own family?
Sam feels dirty all over, he flops naked back on the bed where he just masturbated while thinking of his dead brother, and instead of feeling sick, he just gets hard again. Laying Dean's shirt over his neck, he follows the valley running center down his chest and stomach. Hot slide of skin on skin as his hand seeks out his cock and encircles the hardened flesh. And he does it all again.
There's so much regret inside of Sam, he's not even sure what he feels so guilty about anymore. Part of it is a fear so penetrating and hopeless that it might still drive Sam mad. This is all he'll ever have. He dug his own grave, now he has to lie in it. All the platitudes about grief are complete and utter bull shit, and Sam has to come to grips with it—he's never going to "get past this", he'll never be able to "move on." This will always be a knife blade lodged in his flesh and bone and his every move pulls at it, renewing the sharp (never gonna dull) and hot (never gonna cool), slicing pain (never gonna stop).
So he stretches out on the scratchy comforter and jerks off to a hot little fantasy about his brother involving hands and mouths and teeth scraping smooth, hard skin.