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Like Always

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Dean's clothes were in rags, black and purple bruises over his skin, smears of dried blood swooping over his body like kite tails flipping on a high breeze. He was tied up at the front of the church.

There was a deep bite mark on his belly (the hell knight told him that's where wild dogs and hyenas attacked, where prey animals were most vulnerable, and then she'd gotten down on her knees in Sam's body and pressed her mouth to Dean's stomach, pausing, lips quivering with excitement just before she'd tried to make teeth meet through skin).

Dean gazed up at Sam's face, head tipped drunkenly back. One of his eyes was swollen nearly shut. Sam was a blur of movement, monolith towering above him, and wasn't Sammy always? Even though half the time his shoulders were hunched to lessen his presence, which was always futile. But now Abaddon moved in him and his body was open, wielding his height, his grace, the angle from shoulder to waist like a weapon.

Using Sam as a weapon against Dean.

When Abaddon stilled for a moment, Dean saw more clearly the ruin of Sam, what the trials had done to him: wasted face, bones threatening to push through thin, stretched skin, red-ringed eyes used by another to stare out with black, black eyes.

Crowley lay broken on the floor, words like love and loneliness and other insanity pouring from his worthless, rag doll half-cured demon throat.

Maybe the world was ending. It was Dean's fault. He would never let Sam kill himself, not if the world had to end for it and not if Dean had to die because of it.

He thought maybe he'd been born to die for Sam, and if so, just as well: he couldn't be in this world without him. He'd tried to live without him once only because Sam demanded it, and it was, beneath it all, a dust bowl of nothingness.

He'd told Sam before, mixed between uneasy truth and casual insult and heartbreak. Like it always was between them. But all Sam could hear through the fucked-upness that lived on in his head even after the voices died, Lucifer and Ruby and yes, Dad and Dean, was his own failure. Dean had tried, best he could. Had told him clear. I couldn’t live with you dead.

I can't.

Abaddon had come back quickly. She had a preferred form, it seemed. Another redhead, red lips, spiked heels and hair. She’d ripped Sam away from Dean at the side of car after they’d ran from the church and laid his brother out on the ground. With the point of her heel, she'd ripped through the tattoo on his chest, making a raw red trough of plowed flesh through it. She’d fled the preferred body for another, forced roiling black smoke between Sam's lips. His body bowed up from the mud, strangling on the soot.

Abaddon took Dean inside the church and tore at him for hours. Still couldn't touch what he'd seen and needed to see. It didn't matter anymore if Sam hadn't looked for him, betrayed him, chose another, because Dean had seen deeper. Past his own shortcomings and through Sam's to the core of his brother, his intent. His devastation. It was enough. More, so much more than it should have been. Like always with him and Sam.

He looked up at Abaddon, thinking what he'd thought in despair and anger once before. Let it end.

Abaddon stood over him in Sam's body. She grinned, showing Sam's big white teeth. Watch his destruction, then, since that's all you care about.

Dean didn't answer. He couldn't, because she'd cut his tongue out.

Sam's head flung back until the smoke escaped him. The red-headed girl came back inside the church, Abaddon once more animating her body, and watched them with narrowed eyes.  

Sam looked down at the wound on his chest. He looked at Dean, confused and then horrified. He fell to his knees in front of Dean, trying to reach for the demon knife in his pocket again. His movements were slow and shocky, but he managed to cut the ropes. He was crying again, sobs wracking his body.

Dean reached for Sam. He pushed the hair off his face and kissed him. It hurt it hurt. Everything hurt.

Sam kissed him back, rough, dry brush of lips that twitched and trembled.

"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam said, same song and verse, tone running up and down a mad scale. He thought he could never be what Dean wanted. Not after this.

Though that's exactly what he was and always would be. Till death do us part. Dean smirked. It was agony. He watched as Sam walked away. He screamed through his agony of a mouth, too late.

The light rose in Sam's arms again. He cut into his palm once more, cupping the bleeding wound over Crowley's mouth. Abaddon laughed and then began to shriek.