Prompt: (from thegeminisage) Sometimes after sex, Dean runs his fingers up and down the scar left on Sam's spine from 2.21, listens to dogs barking in the night, and remembers hell. Author can choose how to end the story...flashbacks, Dean deciding it was worth it or getting depressed, Sam rolling over to comfort him or start round two, all up to you. I just really really like the idea of Dean touching that scar and being all Dean.
A/N: Title is taken from the song by Pink Floyd. Inspiration from the lyrics of said song. Words… yeah, they’re all mine. ;) Vague S4 setting.
Written for the hoodie_time Christmas Wish List Party. Merry Chrismannukahestivus.
It’s 2 a.m. and they’re tangled underneath the latest set of not-quite-white burial shrouds. Dean’s doing cartography with his hands, pressing along the jagged line down his brother’s back, leaving fingerprints as though he’s laying claim to crime-scene evidence.
It’s that time of morning that always reminds him of Hell, even though he can’t begin to discern exactly why, because the clocks in Hell didn’t measure time in any conventional matter- minutes and seconds and hours. No, it was lifetimes and souls and debts that kept on racking up. Never mind Freudian puns.
From outside, there’s the sound of dogs barking. Dean thinks of Pavlov, but merely shifts around on the bed, presses his fever-hot cheek into Sam’s shoulder. Listens to his steady exhalations.
Hell is the feeling that your life is being narrated out to you in the second person. That you’re living inside of one of those choose-your-own-adventure books, but you’re a conscious protagonist, and you know that you don’t get to make the decisions, even in your own story. You know this the same as you know that there’s a Venn diagram of protagonist and villain. A Venn diagram that’s indistinguishable from a singular circle.
Sometimes Dean’s jealous of Sam’s scar. It ties him together, it lashes him to the Earth with iron chains. All of Dean’s such linkages were severed. The only scars he’s got left are on his soul, and they’re of the sort that don’t ever heal properly.
Hell’s like having all of your sins tattooed on your forehead, but you hadn’t had any say or artistic liberty in it. You can’t see them, but everyone else can. It renders fumbling for conversation topics obsolete.
Hell was a puddle of water on the floor. Maybe it used to be a snowman. Maybe it came from a defrosted fridge. Maybe there was a leak in the ceiling. The point was, you couldn’t tell.
It was standing in a city square watching a clock. Letting your balloon go just a minute too early. Watching it float up into the sky all by itself, feeling ridiculously lonely even though you were surrounded by people and fireworks and energy. Free energy, increasing entropy. That veritable black hole feeling of being alive.
Dean wraps his leg over Sam’s. Sam shifts slightly but doesn’t wake up.
Hell wasn’t a Magic Fingers machine. It didn’t take quarters. It was a war of attrition.
It was the way you re-lived those incendiary moments, in the vain hopes that the rest of them would catch fire and disperse like volcanic ash, to settle far away. You knew that you would still run into them, but maybe in distilled levels, it wouldn’t hurt quite as much.
Dean knows that’s a lie. He’s tried to stop lying since he came back from Hell. Seventy-two times, at current count. It’s an addiction, and every time he says he’s going to kick it, he has to start over.
They’ve begun to breathe in unison, at least whenever Dean’s not coughing that rattly cough, trying to bring up more transgressions from however deep they’ve settled and begun to congeal. Sam’s scar is smooth, but it’s not straight and narrow. That must be ingrained into their DNA or something.
Walk the line, Johnny Cash said, but he never specified if it was direct.
Dean never thought that they’d be breaking the laws of physics, too, but here they are: the world’s first operational perpetual motion machine.
Hell took your blood- your brother, and held it ransom up against your bleeding heart until you decided to roll the dice that you knew had ones on every side.
Was it worth it? Dean doesn’t ever wonder about that.
Hell was knowing how much something was worth, what it would cost you, and how much that differed from what you were willing to pay.