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The Bright Lights of Disturbia

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When he swims back into reality a moment later, the demon has its mouth next to Dean’s ear. It’s whispering the same word over and over—Dean’s childhood nickname purred in Dad’s husky voice. Dean shudders with each fresh repetition, like the demon is skinning him instead of calling his name, and his eyes are squeezed tightly shut. His lips move in soundless, repetitive patterns. Sam thinks that his brother might be praying.

“I’m going to kill you,” Sam says. His voice sounds calmer than he feels, buried as he is beneath white-hot licks of rage.

The demon straightens, releasing Dean’s head. Dean doesn’t move—Sam isn’t sure his brother even realizes the demon has stopped whispering, thinks that maybe Dean is still hearing its voice on an endless, insinuating loop in his head.

“What’s wrong, Sammy?” the demon asks, coming back to stand in front of him. “Don’t you like your present? Happy birthday, by the way.”

Out of everything screaming for his attention right now, that tiny error is what Sam fixates on. It’s all he can handle without losing it.

“It’s not my birthday.”

“November second, kiddo,” the demon says. “It’s the only birthday you have that matters. But if it helps, you can think of it as your baptism.” It cocks its head, grinning. “Doesn’t change the fact that I got you a gift and you haven’t said thank you.”

“What gift?” Sam asks through numb lips. He wishes he could feel surprised when the demon prances back over to Dean’s side and strokes a hand through his hair.

Dean jerks his head this time, coming back to himself a little and growling, “Don’t fucking touch me!” The demon ignores the complaint, gripping Dean’s hair tightly to hold him still and making him look at Sam. Sam catches his brother’s eyes with his own and holds them, silently pleading with Dean to stay with him, to stay strong.

“Pretty, isn’t he, Sam?” the demon says. “How old were you when you first started to—oh, let’s call a spade a spade—covet him?”

Sam doesn’t have a hard answer for that question, but he has a sinking, uneasy feeling that the demon does.

“Twenty-two?” the demon asks. “When he first let you have a little taste? Or was it the first time you saw him take it like the little whore he is—you were what, twenty? How about eighteen? He looked awful sweet passed out on the kitchen table after that fight you had with Daddy, didn’t he?”

Sam remembers that night, coming back home after hours spent roaming the town pissed off and raging to find the house dark and Dad gone and Dean passed out drunk on the table. There was a line of drool running down the side of Dean’s mouth, but it didn’t look like drool in the moonlight and the sight had stirred things deep inside of him that he hadn’t wanted to examine. He hadn’t been able to keep himself from sitting down across from his brother and drinking in the sweep of his lashes and the line of his jaw and the curve of his ear—storing up memories for Stanford, he told himself then, but God, underneath his rational mind he had wanted ...

“Tell me when this starts freaking you out, Dean-o,” the demon murmurs from the side of its mouth before continuing, “How about seventeen? Your big brother and Kathy Wingate in the backseat of Daddy’s precious car, remember that one Sammy? No? Younger, then. Sixteen. Dean took you out for your first night on the town and got you drunk, didn’t he? Only you weren’t quite as drunk as you pretended to be, clinging so close to him on the ride home—did you think he’d give you a goodnight kiss? Did you pray for one?”

It’s talking faster now, skewing all of Sam’s memories around and twisting his unconscious attraction into something that sounds sick and devious. He wants to protest and can’t—can only watch the growing, horrified betrayal in his brother’s eyes as the demon winds back the clock.

“Fifteen—and this is my personal favorite, actually—Monday night pool lessons down at Joe’s. How you begged and pleaded Dean-o to show you the ropes. You played him like a pro, got that hot body of his pressed up nice and close behind you. Sammy was a bit of a slow learner for once, wasn’t he, Dean-o? Would’ve been even slower if he thought you’d buy it.”

An aching lump lodges in Sam’s throat. He knows how much his brother cherished those nights, how proud Dean was that he had a skill Sam actually wanted to learn. And so Sam had dragged his feet, wanting Dean to have that feeling longer, wanting to draw out those nights where Dean smiled wide and bright and ruffled his hair with an easy laugh.

But he can’t be sure the demon’s wrong, because he liked the closeness as well, and now that he’s remembering, he ended up jerking off more nights than not, and ever since Stanford—ever since he figured out what he wants—he’s gotten hard whenever Dean’s anywhere near a pool cue.

Sam can’t keep the guilt from his eyes and Dean sees it, of course he does. Dean’s own eyes dull. Accepting. He sags visibly in the demon’s grip.

“Fourteen,” the demon continues mercilessly. “Dean looked mighty fine all covered in grease and sweat that summer, didn’t he? Sammy here spent his afternoons watching you work, Dean-o—that’s why he popped up so nice and prompt whenever it was quitting time. No? Still not there? How about lucky number thirteen? That was the first time Sammy walked in on you, wasn’t it? Wouldn’t be the last, though. Hmm, let’s see ... twelve—you know when you took Sammy to that carnival he honestly thought it was a date? Not then, either, huh? How about eleven? Would you believe that you were Sammy’s first wet dream?”

Sam can’t take it anymore. He can’t keep looking into his brother’s wet, betrayed eyes. “Stop it,” he rasps. “You made your point, just—just stop.”

He doesn’t actually expect the demon to listen, but a slow smile spreads across their father’s lips and instead of continuing the count the demon says, “You didn’t actually think he’d ever have let you touch him if I hadn’t taken him first, did you, Sammy?”

It hits Sam with the force of a physical blow and he jerks a little against the demon’s power. Oh God, he did this to his brother. Not with his own body, maybe, and not intentionally, but he wanted Dean. He wanted Dean and this—this yellow-eyed son of a bitch raped his brother over and over in that shitty bathroom. It broke Dean with deliberate, calculating malice—fashioned him into someone who would be open to a relationship with his brother because he didn’t trust anyone else enough to give it a go.

It raped Dean as some kind of sick, twisted gift for Sam.

The demon releases Dean suddenly, and Dean takes the opportunity to hang his head and close his eyes. Sam knows that his brother is fighting back tears, doing his best not to cry in front of the son of a bitch that violated him.

“Dean,” Sam calls. “Dean, I’m sorry, I didn’t—God, I didn’t want any of this.”

“Funny, Sammy. That’s what Daddy’s trying to say.” The demon shoots him a disingenuous smile. “All those years of watching you lust after big brother and he’s still trying to deny it.” Reaching out, it grips the collar of Dean’s t-shirt in two hands. “He’s gonna have to see it with his own two eyes, I think.”

The demon tears Dean’s shirt down the middle, forcefully enough that Dean’s body jerks from the violence of the motion. Sam’s heart rate speeds as his brother’s pale chest is revealed, wondering if the protective tattoo on his chest is going to do anything. The demon does pause, and pulls the cloth back to get a better look, but the look it casts toward Sam is mocking.

“Nice try, Sammy, but you’re gonna need a little more firepower than that if you really want to mark him off limits. From something like me, anyway. Now, let’s see ... ah yes, here it is.”

There’s a scab partially covering the tattoo, but the demon peels it off. Dean grimaces as his skin beads blood, head coming up slightly, but doesn’t otherwise move.

“I have to admit, I’m a little surprised,” the demon comments. “I had you pegged for a traditionalist. Still, I guess not every blushing bride wants a wedding ring.”

“Dad,” Sam tries, speaking past the demon. “Dad, I’m sorry, but it isn’t what he’s trying to make it sound like. It isn’t about the sex, I swear—”

The demon’s head swings around to him and the rest of Sam’s words dry up in his mouth because it isn’t the demon looking out at him anymore. It’s Dad. The man is crying weakly, his mouth twisted in disgust. “How could you,” he breathes. “Your own brother, Sammy, how the fuck could you?”

Then Dad’s gone, buried again, and the demon is beaming over at Sam. “Like I said, Sammy—you’re my favorite. I couldn’t have raised you better if I tried. And really, all you needed were a couple of nudges in the right direction. All that selfish desire of yours did the rest. Of course, I’m pretty sure you haven’t actually had the balls to consummate the relationship yet, or am I wrong?”

Before Sam has had a chance to respond, the demon is opening Dean’s jeans and pushing them down. The threat has been there, obviously, but somehow Sam still hadn’t believed that things would go this far, and he’s shocked into silence by the sudden revelation of Dean’s thighs and limp cock. Dean’s body is trembling—fear, Sam thinks until his brother tosses his head with a growl.

Dean may be afraid, but that isn’t why he’s trembling. No, he’s struggling against the demon’s power, trying to stop this. Trying to attack, or get away, or do anything but stand there and take it.

“Spread ‘em,” the demon says, tapping Dean’s inner thigh, and Dean’s eyes narrow in rage as his legs open as far as they can with his jeans around his ankles.

“No!” Sam yells, straining forward mindlessly as Dad’s hand disappears between his brother’s thighs. A moment later, Dean’s body jerks and he throws his head back into the wall. The demon’s other hand is there immediately, cushioning Dean’s skull.

“Shh,” it soothes. “Don’t want to damage Sammy’s property, do we?”

When it pushes its hand back further, Dean squeezes his eyes shut and lets out a harsh groan.

“Nope,” the demon announces cheerfully. “He’s a little too tight to have been taken for a ride lately.”

“Okay,” Sam tries, panting as he fights against the demon’s restraining power. “Okay, you’ve made your point. Just—stop, okay? I’ll do anything you want if you—please, stop hurting him.”

“Sammy, Sammy, Sammy,” the demon scolds. It twists its arm and Dean makes a second, louder noise. His eyes fly open, focused somewhere over the demon’s left shoulder. “You gotta learn to share.”

Sam screams as the demon plays with his brother’s body—yelling at it to stop at first, and then telling Dean to focus, to look at him, please Dean please.

Dean doesn’t seem to be hearing him, biting down on his lower lip hard enough to break the skin and dribbling blood on his chin. His skin is covered in a thin layer of sweat, muscles shaking and twitching violently.

The demon leans in, rubbing Dad’s body against Dean’s, and purrs, “That’s right, boy, go ahead and fight. Not that it’s going to do anything. After all, you fought like a little wildcat last time, didn’t you?”

That doesn’t dovetail with what Dean told Sam, doesn’t mesh with what Sam can see now either—Dean standing still as a statue against the wall. Then Sam realizes that Dean is fighting—the way his muscles are shaking is proof of that—and he understands that Dean must have fought in that bathroom in Vegas as well. He just wasn’t able to move, and his disoriented brain translated that into passivity.

But that doesn’t make the demon any less right: Dean can fight all he wants and he isn’t going to be able to budge from where the demon wants him.

Oh God, the son of a bitch is going to rape Dean again, wearing Dad’s body, and it’s going to make Sam watch.

Throwing back his head, Sam lets out a wordless scream of enraged despair. The demon glances over at him, smirking, and then lays a hungry kiss on the side of Dean’s neck. Dean tries to headbutt it and the demon ducks out of the way with a laugh.

“Feisty, aren’t you? I like that. But I liked it more when you were begging me not to make you come. Let’s see if we can’t get you there again.”

Sam feels a tiny pulse of relief as the demon takes his hand back from between Dean’s legs, but then his heart sinks again as it grips Dean’s limp cock and starts to pull. It’s being gentle with him, stroking him the way a lover might, whispering how beautiful he is in his ear and telling him how much he’s going to enjoy it. But Dean’s panicked, disgusted grimace makes the demon’s gentleness a mockery, and his cock remains pitiful and limp.

“You weren’t such a frigid bitch last time, Dean-o,” the demon purrs. “Is our audience making you shy, or do you need something else from me—something a little less ... gentle.”

Dean looks confused through his fury and his fear, but Sam knows what the demon is getting at and he knocks his own head against the wall in helpless frustration. He thought it couldn’t get any worse, but it can. Oh God, it can get a lot worse.

“You like a little pain with your pleasure, don’t you?” the demon says, and before Dean can finish processing that, he’s tossing his head back and letting out a hoarse yell. With a glance in Sam’s direction, the demon eases back far enough for Sam to see blood seeping out through his brother’s skin to run down his chest in hot streams.

“Dean!” he yells. “Dean! Jesus, stop, you’re killing him!”

“Promise I won’t break your toy, Sammy,” the demon murmurs, rubbing Dad’s borrowed hand through the blood. “He’s too perfect for that. A whore and a guard dog, all rolled up into one pretty package. Keep you safe. Keep you satisfied. I couldn’t have found a better gift for you if I made one from scratch.”

Dean’s still screaming, blood streaming down his chest, and now Dad’s hand is covered in a slick, red glove. The demon pats Dean’s cheek, leaving a red smear and earning a flash of green, hurt eyes, and drawls, “Saddle up, partner.”

This time, when the demon reaches down, it bypasses Dean’s cock and pushes its hand back up between his thighs. Whatever it’s doing—however many fingers it’s using—it forces a hurt, compressed noise from Dean’s throat. It’s the same sound Dean made when he was hypnotized, the same sound he must have made when the demon used Hanson’s body to fuck Dean in the bathroom, and Sam can’t handle hearing it again. He fucking can’t.

His struggles redouble, his shouts of protest reduced to nothing more than Dean’s name over and over again. Sweat breaks out over his skin, and his head pounds alarmingly.

Over by the wall, the demon has stopped cushioning Dean’s head and is opening Dad’s pants instead, moving quickly but methodically. Apparently, it’s done playing around.

Dean isn’t crying, but Sam’s sure that’s only because his brother isn’t coherent enough to manage it. His eyes are pain-hazed and panicked. Pleading as he twists against the demon’s power.

“Dad,” he pants. “Dad, please. Please, Dad, don’t.”

“Love it when you beg, baby,” the demon announces, but a tear slides down its cheek unnoticed.

Unnoticed by the demon, anyway, because Dean’s pleas redouble. “Dad—Daddy, please. Please don’t do this to me. Don’t let it hurt me.”

The demon reaches inside Dad’s pants for his cock and then freezes. Their father’s face twists, eyes scrunching shut and head dipping. When he looks up again, they’re brown and soft and doomed. Dad’s eyes.

He pulls the hand hidden between Dean’s thighs away, making Dean flinch again and cry out, and jerks his other hand out of his pants. “Dean,” he whispers, horror filling his voice.

Against the wall, Sam feels the demon’s power loosen its hold and strains forward in a desperate surge. That dark, painful place in his mind flexes again, and he drops to his feet as the demon’s power snaps.

Sam doesn’t let himself think about it. Doesn’t let himself hesitate. He dives for the table, grabbing the gun and tucking in his shoulder as he rolls onto his back and then comes up into a crouch, Colt leveled at their father. The demon is already back in control, and it takes a single step in Sam’s direction before catching sight of the gun and pulling up short.

Gun or not, the demon’s grin is triumphant. “You kill me, you kill Daddy,” it points out, and Sam can tell that it doesn’t expect him to do it. Despite what it just did to Dean—what it’s still going to do if Sam doesn’t stop this—it doesn’t expect him to pull the trigger.

“I know,” Sam agrees.

Dropping his aim, he pulls the trigger and puts a bullet in Dad’s thigh. He isn’t sure whether it’s going to be a fatal shot anyway, considering the weapon’s purpose, but it’s the best chance he can offer their father.

The demon looks shocked as hell for a moment. It stands there, looking from the gun to Dad’s leg, and then up at Sam’s face. Then, with a flicker of lightning across bloodstained denim, it topples to the floor. Behind it, Dean comes unglued from the wall and slides limply to one side.

Sam is moving before his brother’s body hits the floor.

He isn’t quite fast enough to catch Dean, but he’s there in the next second, hands fluttering over his brother’s blood-soaked chest. He wants to cover Dean up but doesn’t quite dare to try it—he doesn’t know what touching Dean below the waist will do to his brother right now.

“Dean,” he says instead, reining himself in and planting both hands on the floor where his brother can see them. “Dean, hey. Oh God, you—you’ve lost a lot of blood.”

The look Dean gives Sam is confused, like he isn’t sure exactly where he is or what’s going on. “Where’s Dad?” he rasps.

Sam glances over his shoulder—Dad’s still down, maybe breathing, maybe not—and then turns back to his brother. “He’s right here,” he says. “He’s right here, Dean.”

Dean gives a weary nod and lets his head thunk down on the floor. “Go check on him.”

“Dean,” Sam protests.

Dean doesn’t open his eyes, but his voice is uncompromising as he repeats, “Go check on him.”

Grudgingly, Sam goes. Less because Dean’s asking him and more because he wants to make sure the danger is over. He wants to be sure the demon’s gone, even if it took their father with it.

“Dad?” he calls, moving carefully toward their father with the gun out and pointed toward the floor. “Dad?”

Dad stirs suddenly, hauling in a breath and jerking his body. The Colt comes up in Sam’s hands automatically, and he takes a shaky step back.

“Sammy!” Their father’s voice is hoarse, but it’s unmistakably Dad speaking. Unmistakably Dad looking up at Sam with tears running down his cheeks. “It’s still alive,” Dad says. “It’s inside me, I can feel it. You shoot me.” His head comes up off the floor, as though he’d press his own skull against the end of the barrel if he were able to reach. “You shoot me! You shoot me in the heart, son!”

Sam knows he should obey, but for some reason he’s hesitating even before he catches Dean’s desperate, pleading whisper from behind him.

“Sam, don’t you do it. Don’t you fucking do it.”

Sam doesn’t know how Dean can beg for their father, how he’s in any condition to do anything but curl up into a ball and wait for the nightmare to go away. But when he looks back at his brother, Dean is actually struggling to sit up. He’s struggling to move toward the two people in the world whom he cares about more than he cares about himself.

“You’ve gotta hurry!” Dad shouts from Sam’s other side, jerking his attention back. “I can’t hold onto it much longer! You shoot me, son! Shoot me! Son, I’m begging you! You do it before it can hurt him again!”

The threat to Dean gets through, just as Dad must have known it would, and Sam brings the gun up, sights down the barrel at their father’s heaving chest. He’s about to pull the trigger when a trembling hand curls around his ankle.

“Sam, no.”

It’s Dean. Dean, who hauled himself over here, chest leaving a bloody streak on the floor, because he couldn’t figure out how to stand up with his pants stuck around his ankles. There’s a bloody smear on Dean’s cheek from the demon’s hand—more blood between his thighs, hopefully just transfer from his chest, but fuck, Sam doesn’t know—but it’s Dean’s eyes that leave Sam cold and empty and hollow. Dean’s devastated, broken eyes.

If Sam shoots Dad now, he might as well shoot his brother as well, because Dean isn’t going to be able to come back from something like that.

Dad is still yelling at Sam to shoot, to end it here and now, but Sam is already lowering the gun. If the demon seizes control again, he’ll shoot to kill and damn Dean’s pleas, but he can’t put a bullet in their father like he’s a horse with a broken leg.

Besides, the Colt is too quick for the demon. Too quick by far.

When Dad throws his head back and opens his mouth to let the demon out, Sam watches it happen with dull, apathetic eyes. There’s a tiny spark of anger inside of him, a trickle of fear. Mostly, though, he’s numb. This ... the whole goddamn thing was just too much. He can’t process it right now.

“Goddamn it, Sammy,” Dad sobs when the last tendrils of the demon have seeped through the floor. “Goddamn it.” Pressing his hand over his eyes, he lies unmoving on the floor. He’s breathing, though, and it looks like Sam managed to avoid nicking the artery, so he feels safe enough turning his back on Dad and crouching down to check out Dean.

His brother is on his side now, trying to grab his jeans without bending his torso at all. It hurts to look at him, to see the tremor in his hands and hear his harsh breathing. Sam’s numbness doesn’t break, but it has an edge to it now: something bitter and desolate.

“How bad is it?” he asks, and he isn’t sure whether he means Dean’s chest or his ass or his mental state. When Dean just keeps making that pathetic, useless attempt to get his pants, Sam puts a hand on his brother’s shoulder to get his attention.

It’s a mistake.

Dean makes a choked, panicked noise and flails out at him before making an undignified scramble across the floor to huddle with his back to the wall. Sam can tell it’s hurting Dean to move like that, but Dean’s fear is riding him harder than the pain and he sits up when he gets there, pulling his knees up to his chest and staring at Sam with wide eyes. Dean’s staring at him like his eyes are yellow and not hazel, like Sam’s going to hurt him.

It only takes a couple of seconds for Dean to blink and come back to himself a little, but a couple of seconds is long enough. It’s too fucking long.

“Sammy?” Dean rasps, blinking in confusion. He looks down at himself as though he can’t remember how he got here, or what’s happening to him, and there’s a part of Sam that’s yelling at his brother to snap out of it, not to forget again, but there’s a larger part that knows now isn’t the time to jeopardize anything Dean’s mind is doing to keep him functional.

“Yeah, man. Can you—can—” He swallows, tucking the gun down the back of his pants and doing his best to look harmless. “Do you need help getting your pants up?”

Dean looks down again at that, sharply, and Sam can see the memories flickering around the edges of his brother’s eyes. Then Dean licks his lips and says, “Might. Chest hurts.”

“I know,” Sam says, even though he doesn’t know at all, doesn’t have the faintest clue what the demon might have done to his brother’s insides in order to make him bleed like that. No doubts about it this time—they’re going to a hospital.

Clearing his throat, Sam offers, “Try on your own, okay? If you need help, I’m right here.”

While Dean struggles obediently with the worn denim, Sam chances a glance back at Dad. The man’s hand has slipped from his eyes down onto the floor, and his face is slack in a way that tells Sam their father’s unconscious, which is probably a blessing. One unstable family member is all Sam can handle at a time right now.

When he looks back to his brother, Dean has managed to get his pants most of the way up his thighs, but he’s white with pain and dripping sweat. “Sammy,” he says tightly.

Sam’s careful to move forward slowly. Instead of pulling Dean’s pants up on his own, he tells Dean to get a grip on them and hauls his brother up by his armpits. In the new, standing position, Dean is able to get his underwear and his jeans up over his hips. When he starts zipping his pants again, though, and the denim constricts, he lets out a startled, hurt noise.

“Dean?” Sam says, trying to keep his voice even.

“It—Sammy, did I—” Dean shakes his head, lifting a shaky hand to press against his scar.

Sam bites his lip hard enough to taste the zing of copper, but doesn’t say anything and he gingerly takes his hands away, now that his brother’s standing on his own.

“Dad’s hurt,” Dean says when he lowers his hand again.

“Yeah.”

“You shot him.”

“Dean, we need to get you to a hospital.”

“I can’t believe you shot him.”

The really sad thing is, Sam thinks Dean would still be saying that if he clearly remembered what just happened.

“We need to get Dad to a hospital,” Sam tries. It’s what he should have said in the first place, and it gets through Dean’s confusion and makes his brother stand a little taller.

“Can you lift him?” he asks. “I don’t think I can help. I fucked up my chest.”

Sam’s eyes are stinging as he turns away. “Yeah, man,” he says, wiping at his tears. “I’ll bring him.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It’s a measure of how messed up Dean feels that Sam comes out of the cabin with Dad slung over his shoulder to find the Impala’s engine on and Dean curled up in the back seat. One of Dean’s hands is lying limply on the seat next to him, the other is rubbing agitatedly at his temple.

“Didn’t want to get blood on the driver’s seat,” he says when Sam shoots him look while strapping Dad in. Sam’s vision blurs at his brother’s flimsy cover, and he accidentally elbows Dad’s chest while straightening. By the time he’s sliding into the driver’s seat, their father is coming around again.

“Dean.” It’s Dad’s first word, moaned as Sam shuts the driver’s side door after himself and fastens his seatbelt. “’S okay?”

“He’s fine,” Sam agrees, glancing in the rearview mirror to find his brother watching them both with pain-glazed, anxious eyes. “He’s in the backseat, Dad.”

“Hospital,” Dad says, and he’s clutching at his leg but Sam can tell it isn’t himself he’s requesting it for. When he glances over at their father as he drives away from the cabin, Sam can tell that the man remembers. He remembers everything.

Dad turns away from Sam’s glance, tilting his body toward the side window and scrunching his eyes. Sam’s pretty sure that his father is crying.

Sam can feel control slipping away from his hands, feels the panic descending, and clings harder to the numbness. The numbness lets him operate. It’s going to let him get Dad and Dean to safety.

Okay, think, he tells himself as he flicks on the high beams and speeds up. You need a hospital. Where can you find a hospital?

Bobby.

Steering with his left hand, Sam uses his right to fish his cell phone out of his front pocket and then holds it out toward Dad—he doesn’t want to have to take his eyes off the road long enough to find the man’s number. The last thing they need right now is a crash.

“Call Bobby,” he says. “We need directions to the nearest hospital.”

Dad takes the phone without really looking at him—red hands, red with Dean's blood—but Sam can feel the weight of his brother’s eyes from the backseat. He isn’t sure which response is more upsetting.

Dad has a subdued, mumbled conversation with Bobby over the phone and then hangs up and says, “Couple of miles up, take a right onto Dearbourne Lane. Hospital’s a forty mile straight shoot from there.”

Forty miles is further than Sam would like it to be, and once he locates the right turn off, he guns the engine until the car starts to shake around them, and then eases off a little. They drive in near-silence for almost twenty minutes; the only sounds breaking the quiet are Dad’s gasps of pain and one or two rasping breaths from Dean.

God, Sam prays his brother isn’t bleeding out internally.

Finally, after Sam nails a particularly rough bump, he can’t take it anymore. “Look, just hold on, alright?” he says. “The hospital’s only ten minutes away.”

“You should have killed it.” Dad’s voice, sullen and empty. “Christ, Sammy, you saw—” He chokes a little and has to clear his throat before finishing, “Why didn’t you just shoot the bastard?”

Sam glances into the rearview mirror and finds Dean looking back at him. Dean still looks out of it, but there’s more awareness in his brother’s gaze than before. More shadows.

Sam thinks that what happened in the cabin is starting to come back.

“Dean needs us,” he says, not caring if his brother hears. He’s pretty sure Dean isn’t in any kind of condition to protest, anyway. “He needs both of us, and I wasn’t taking that away from him.” Clearing his throat, he continues in a more casual tone, “Look, we still have the Colt. We still have one bullet left. We just need to regroup, all right? I mean, we already found the dem—”

Something picks Sam up by the spine and yanks him sideways. The Impala screams around him. Glass peppers his face—no, not glass. Mirror shards.

Close your eyes, Dean, Sam thinks.

Silence.