Prompt (by maypoles): A supernatural creature (or human with supernatural powers) is out to punish sinners. The punishment for each person is what that person secretly thinks they deserve. What does Dean think he deserves? Any genre/pairing.
Summary: S3 (post 3.09, “Malleus Malificarum”)/AU S5. Sam said yes. The repercussions reverberate back to the past.
A/N: No clue what happened with this prompt. Title from the song by Van Halen. Written for the hoodie_time Dean-focused h/c comment-fic meme #5.
He feels like Captain Kirk. This is something that would happen to Kirk, except his Vulcan would magically appear, say something reminiscent of the Dalai Lama, and get him out of here. Dean’s pretty sure that’s not going to happen.
It’s dark. There are mirrors. Anytime he moves, he can catch the reflection of the whites of his eyes.
Whenever he has a visitor, he knows that they’re not really there. There’s only room for one in here, unless you’re counting inside his head, because up there, they’re just jostling for position like racehorses that don’t know they’re going to lose yet. Dean’s not betting on any of them. Hell, he’s not even betting on himself.
This time, Sam looks like he’s about twelve. “You could’ve stopped this a long time ago,” he says. “You had your chance, every single day when you woke up next to me—” Sam hooks his thumbs in his jeans, toes the design in crusty blood on the floor. He shakes his head, his hair flopping in his eyes.
Ruby visits next, putting her arm around his little brother. “Hey there, sport,” she says. “Me next.” She ruffles Sam’s hair, kisses him on the forehead. “Later,” she tells him. “Right now, Dean and I have some things to discuss.”
She’s black leather and knockoff Ed Hardy rhinestones from every angle. She takes off her belt, hangs it around Dean’s shoulders. The buckle’s cold against his chest.
“It’s gonna be soon,” she confides, cocking an eyebrow in the gloom. Dean keeps his eyes to the floor, but she jerks his chin up. “Listen, cowboy, I’m here to help.”
“You can’t.” Dean focuses on where his brother had scrubbed a line through the Devil’s Trap on the floor.
“You sure about that?” Ruby pokes the end of the belt through the buckle. “Ingenuity, MacGyver. Remember that.”
When Dean wakes up, the belt’s gone. It’s not like he had anything to hang it from anyway, but it was a nice thought. Ruby’ll come back, he’s sure of it, and when she does, he’ll have to thank her.
“So this is hell,” Dean had said to her the first time she came. “Nice to visit before I decide to buy property.”
“Please,” Ruby said. “Dante’s editor would’ve thrown this out. But for now… for you, it works.”
Hell was loneliness. Hell was knowing you were never going to see your brother again. Hell was knowing that no matter what choice you made, it was always going to be the wrong one.
Ruby tasted like blood. “I think you bit your lip, stud,” she’d told him, wiping her mouth. She was slick with sweat in the dark.
“So what was it,” Dean had panted afterwards, still trying to blink the blank white out of his eyes. There had been no stars or fireworks when he came, just… nothing.
“Your brother,” Ruby had said, nonplussed.
“Yeah, my brother,” Dean had said. “I always like to talk about him right after sex.”
“I bet you do,” Ruby had smirked, and Dean had smacked her thigh.
“No. Ruby. Fuck. What about him.”
“He’s running with the devil.” She had moved closer to him, traced his tattoo with her finger, carefully avoiding the pentagram.
“What does that mean.” Dean had pushed her off of him, laid back with his eyes squeezed shut tightly.
“Boy, you know how to make a girl feel loved.”
“You’re not a girl, bitch.”
“Hmm. And I’m not an endless fount of information, either.”
“Ruby.” Dean had caught her by the wrist. “Tell me.”
Ruby had peeled his fingers off of her arm one by one. “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.”
“You. The Rolling Stones. You.”
“Shut up, Dean. I told you already. It’s Lucifer.”
“No, the other Lucifer. Yes, Dean, the Devil.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
Ruby had pulled her jeans back on, and then her knife was catching the little bit of light in there as she cleaned her fingernails. She looked up. “Oh, not now, maybe, but someday.”
That someday has yet to make an appearance, too. Dean supposes it’s still in the queue somewhere, waiting for its number to be called. It’s probably the square root of two.
It’s not about how long it’s been in here, it’s about what he’s missing wherever not-here is. If Dean knows games, he’s pretty sure that the rules are not being bent on this one, and that the hourglass is still running out, and every dayweekmonth he’s in here, it’s less time he has left to stop whatever Ruby keeps hinting at.
The other worst thing, besides the lack of a clock, is that Dean is starting to wonder about what’s real and what’s not. He knew- knows- that Ruby’s not actually here. That his brother is no longer twelve, even though he still needs a haircut. That his dad is the only one of them to make good on what death was supposed to be.
Still, it’s tempting, to just give himself over completely (as if he hadn’t already back in South Dakota with gravel crunching underneath his boots and wind howling in his ear and the demon’s fingernails scraping behind his ear as he kissed her).
“Hey, Ruby,” Dean asks her the next time. “You wanna make a deal?”
“There are no curtains here,” Ruby deadpans. “Plus, you’ve got nothing to bargain with.”
Dean shrugs. “I still got my soul, for now, right?”
Ruby rolls her eyes, but Dean’s already latched on to the idea, and he’s going to stay attached to it until he bleeds it dry. “Yeah, I guess.”
“So…” Dean tucks Ruby’s hair behind her ear.
“So you could help me.”
“Dude,” Ruby says. “I’m already the Bonnie to your Clyde. Actually, make that the other way around.”
Dean snorts. “Whatever. Just… I had an idea.”
Ruby gives him a look, leaning in closer until their noses are almost touching. “An idea,” she repeats.
“Yeah,” Dean says, and takes a deep breath. “I want to do it again.”
“Already?” Ruby smirks. “Didn’t think you had the stamina.” Dean cuffs her ear.
“No. The… the demon thing. Hell, the deal, Ruby. I want to make a deal with you.”
Ruby’s expression softens for a moment, and then she gets up abruptly.
“You. Me. A deal? What are you, nine kinds of crazy?”
“It’s been said before, in more than one language.”
Ruby turns in a slow circle, and then walks over to the wall and touches one of the mirrors. It splinters, slowly, starting at her palm, until the whole thing shatters onto her bare feet.
When Dean wakes up, he’s lying on a really ugly motel bedspread and Sam’s watching him.
“Dude,” Dean croaks. “What did I tell you about watching people when they slept?”
Sam’s face breaks into a smile. “Save it for the creepy pedophilic vampires?”
“Exactly.” Dean coughs. His voice feels rusty. “What happened?”
Sam runs his hand through his hair. “You got kidnapped.”
“Yeah. Some mermaid run rampant.”
“I’m assuming the ‘run’ part wasn’t literal.”
Sam shakes his head. “No, it wasn’t literal. God. Dean. I missed you.”
Dean sits up slowly, feels around on the nightstand for a glass of water, and takes a long drink. Sam watches him.
“Dude,” Sam says. “That bitch was crazy. She had you in some cave in the dark.”
“Was she blonde?” Dean suddenly has a thought.
Dean rubs his throat. “No reason.”
Sam reaches out, pats Dean on the knee. “How’s the neck?”
Dean feels around some more. “Huh. She bit me?”
“Like a pedophilic vampire. You’ve got hickeys all over.”
“Huh,” Dean repeats. “I’ll be damned.”
(You will, the Ruby in his head whispers. Soon enough…)
Dean shuts his eyes again. “Ruby? Has she been with you?”
“Ruby?” Sam looks confused. “No. Why?”
“Forget it.” Dean waves a hand at his brother. “It’s nothing. I just had a dream, and she was in it.”
“Oh.” Sam gives him a weird look, then asks, “You want some more water?”
“Sure.” Dean holds out his empty glass. Sam’s midway to the bathroom when Dean says it. “Sam. You know anything about Lucifer?”
Sam stops, shifts the glass from hand to hand. “The Devil?”
(No, Sam, the other Lucifer, Ruby laughs.)
“Not really. Should I?”
The moment has its turn, finally. It’s so bright Dean could look at it and see the uranium reacting right then and there. Dean considers, is about to open his mouth and say something, but Sam’s already turned away, and is filling up his glass. He takes it back when Sam offers it to him, and swishes the water around in his mouth.
It was just a dream, right? A nightmare, maybe, but still just a dream. Nothing to worry about.
(Yeah, but sometimes dreams come true, Ruby reminds him. Didn’t you ever hear of Disney World?)