Genre: Gen, AU
Word Count: 3,460
Warnings: spoilers for 6x22-7x03
Disclaimer: This is a transformative work of fiction for entertainment purposes only.
AN: I basically wrote an AU for episodes 6x22-7x02, for no reason whatsoever, since those episodes were awesome as they were. The scenario for this fic came out of a plot-bunny I had while doing my S6 rewatch.
AN#2: Title is from Hamlet, by Shakespeare.
Summary: Sam doesn't wake up. Dean 'dreamscapes his noggin.'
Dean arrives outside Sam’s apartment. It’s daylight. He knocks on the front door. He’s not sure who will answer or if anyone will answer, but the door swings open and Sam is smiling at him, caught in the middle of a laugh.
“Dean!” Sam says, “Come on in, man. It’s good to see you. Jess made cookies.”
Sam brandishes the half eaten cookie he holds in his hand as evidence. Dean doesn’t know what to say, so he just follows Sam into the apartment. He’s not sure what the protocol is in these situations – does he take off his shoes?
“Jess, you remember Dean, right?” Sam asks, and Dean looks over to see Jess standing in the doorway. The same doorway she stood in when Dean first met her. She’s wearing one of Sam’s t-shirts this time, her legs bare below it. She’s just as tall and gorgeous as Dean remembers, more so. She smiles and offers Dean a cookie from the tray she’s holding.
“Thanks,” Dean manages to choke out. He’s not sure if he can eat anything or not, but he takes a cookie anyway.
“It’s so nice to see you again,” Jess says. “Make yourself at home. I’ll go get you boys some beers.”
“Thanks, baby,” Sam says, and kisses her softly on the cheek. “What brings you by, Dean?” Sam asks, once Jess has left the room.
“Um, I...” Dean starts, “I came to help you?”
Sam laughs, looks a little confused, and then Sam’s smile fades, while he studies Dean with more assessing eyes.
“Dean?” Sam asks.
“Yeah, Sammy,” Dean says.
Jess comes back with the beers, and Sam quickly smiles at her and takes his. Dean does the same. He wonders if she’ll stay for the conversation he and Sam are about to have, or if Sam will send her away.
“I’ll let you boys catch up,” Jess says. “You holler if you need anything. I’ll just be in the bedroom studying.”
“Thanks, Jess,” Sam says, a little more soberly than before. He watches her leave, and then doesn’t meet Dean’s eyes.
“We’re at Bobby’s, right?” Sam asks.
“Yeah,” Dean says.
“How long has it been?” Sam asks.
“A few days,” Dean answers.
“Did Cas...” Sam trails off.
“Yeah,” Dean says. “I tried to stop him, but... I was too late.”
“What happened?” Sam asks.
“He opened the door, he uh...he absorbed all those souls. He exploded Raphael,” Dean explains, “then he declared himself the new god, and uh, we had some words...and then he disappeared. He’s been... well, killing a lot of people, actually, from what we can tell. Mostly religious bigots so far... Sam, I tried to get him to fix you, I did, but he said he wouldn’t because I didn’t stand down, because I still tried to stop him after he hurt you.”
Dean watches as Sam nods. Sam still won’t really look at him.
“I tried to wake up,” Sam finally whispers. “There were...pieces of me. I fell to pieces. I have to... I have to defeat the pieces, absorb them, and then I can wake up. I found the soulless piece, and I killed him. I remember now. Before I found him, I didn’t remember – but now I do.”
“How many pieces are there?” Dean asks.
“Now?” Sam asks.
“Yeah,” Dean answers.
“There’s just me and him now,” Sam says.
“Him?” Dean asks.
“The one who remembers Hell,” Sam says, and he looks at Dean then, and Dean begins to understand. “I tried,” Sam continues. “I found him, but...” and then Sam breaks off, and looks confused. The walls shimmer. “He warned me away, and I tried to argue, but...then, something happened and I woke up somewhere else.”
“Sam?” Dean says, because the walls are changing, the apartment is melting. The illusion is breaking. Jess walks out of the bedroom in a white nightgown.
“I think you should go,” she says.
Dean wakes up.
The next night, Dean finds Sam in an open field. He’s sitting on the hood of the Impala next to ...well, next to Dean, and that’s all kinds of weird. Dean walks over. Sam takes his eyes off the stars and sees him.
“Oh,” Sam says, looking over at the other Dean. The other Dean rolls his eyes, shrugs, and then disappears. Dean takes the empty space left.
“Hey Sam,” Dean says.
“Hey,” Sam says. He’s blushing a little, but he reaches off the hood of the car and pulls another beer out of the cooler for Dean, handing it to him without a word. Dean still thinks it’s kind of weird to drink, but it feels real enough when he takes a sip and the beer is smooth.
“It’s nice to see my baby looking so good,” Dean says, running his hand down the hood. “I’ve been having a hell of a time getting her roof straightened out.”
“What happened?” Sam asks, concerned.
“Fucking demon cloud flipped us,” Dean explains, “right over onto her roof. I’ve been making her shiny and new again while I wait for...uh, you know.” Dean waves a vague hand.
“I’m sorry,” Sam says.
“It’s okay,” Dean replies. He looks up at the sky, the constellations are all wrong. Sam’s mixed up the seasons. “Where’s Jess?” Dean asks, because he has to – because he was sure that Sam would never wake up when he saw her.
“She’s still there,” Sam says, “in the apartment.” There’s a pause. Dean takes another sip, wondering how he can approach the topic without making Sam kick him out again. “I don’t think I’m remembering her right,” Sam says softly. “She’s... I came out here to try to see if I could remember what it was about her that used to annoy me, you know? Everyone has something. Like, she used to leave the cap off the toothpaste – but, did that really annoy me? And I can’t think of anything else, it’s like I’ve forgotten what made her... what made her... real.”
Dean nods, remembering her perfect legs, perfect skin, and perfect cookies. It’s what everyone does to the dead, if the dead don’t deserve to die.
“She’s not real,” Dean says, “that’s why.”
“I know, it’s just-” Sam cuts himself off, and shakes his head. “I guess that’s why I started driving.”
“Where were you going?” Dean asks.
“I don’t know,” Sam replies, “just somewhere... with you.”
“But that wasn’t actually me,” Dean points out.
“I could remember more of you,” Sam says.
“Do you know where the other piece of you is?” Dean asks. “We could go find him.”
Sam eyes snap to his and the stars disappear.
Dean wakes up.
Sam and Jess are having sex, loud and athletic. Dean backs away from the bedroom door and doesn’t knock. There are certain things you don’t interrupt, and your brother’s wet dreams are one of them. So, Dean goes exploring.
It’s different here, because Dean can exit the apartment in Palo Alto and find himself next to the biggest ball of twine. He can walk down the road from the ball of twine and find himself in a motel room. He can exit the motel room and find himself in Bobby’s scrap yard.
His baby is there, the roof partially caved in, as though Sam’s trying to make things match up. He wanders up to the house to see if Sam has his own body sleeping inside. Because Sam knew they were at Bobby’s – Dean’s not sure how he knew, but he did. So there’s got to be part of him that knows reality. Dean’s started talking to him during the day, telling him about the progress on the Impala.
The inside of Bobby’s house is dark though, everything covered in sheets. There are candles everywhere. It’d be a fire hazard, if there were any danger of burning Sam’s brain down. Dean wonders why Sam did this. When Dean’s eyes adjust, he sees a figure sitting at a table, with the knife in front of him. It’s Sam. He’s about to make a joke about finishing with Jess so soon, when he realizes that Sam is bleeding.
“Sam!” Dean runs over. Sam is slow to look up, but when he does, it nearly stops Dean in his tracks. This isn’t the Sam that Dean has been talking to.
“Dean,” Sam says, “you shouldn’t be here.”
His voice is weary and rough, and Dean approaches slowly, his heart in his throat.
“Sammy,” Dean says, as he kneels next to Sam’s chair. Dean puts a hand to Sam’s cheek; it’s habit more than anything. Sam lets him, but winces like it pains him. Dean takes his hand, now sticky with blood, away.
Sam just looks at Dean, and Dean doesn’t know what to say. He can’t speak. Because this is Sam, he can see it in Sam’s eyes – this is his brother, broken, bleeding, and suffering. It is as much Sam’s soul as the other piece and Dean suddenly realizes what he had asked, when he had asked Death to just ‘cut off’ the damaged bit. He had asked Death to destroy Sam, he feels guilt and regret crawl up from his chest, along with gratefulness that Death knew better.
Dean wants to hold Sam, to hold him and look after him, but when he lays a hand on Sam’s thigh, Sam cringes, when he puts a hand to Sam’s waist, there’s a flinch. He can’t touch his brother, can’t comfort him, and he chokes back a sob, because Sam just keeps looking at him – looking at him with sadness, with this mix of defeat and salvation. Dean wants to speak, to tell Sam that he’s sorry, but the words get stuck in his throat, and instead he holds on the edge of Sam’s chair, he rests his forehead on his knuckles and lets the tears fall.
He feels a hand stroke his hair, and he feels the sticky blood that it leaves in its wake, and Dean cries until he wakes up.
Dean finds himself on a rain soaked street. He ducks under an awning and then recognizes the shape lumbering up the street towards him.
“Hey Sam,” Dean says.
“Dean!” Sam greets with a smile. “I was just going for a beer. Do you want to join me?”
Dean nods and falls into step next to Sam. Dean doesn’t know what city they are in. It seems familiar. They go into a dark bar. They’re the only customers. A hot bartender with a smokey voice brings them two bottles of El Sol.
Dean doesn’t mention meeting the other piece of Sam. He doesn’t know what to say. Instead he tells Sam about Cas killing motivational speakers, about the plan to talk to Death, about painting the Impala, and Bobby finding some new engine parts.
“You should see her, Sam,” Dean says. “She’s almost good as new.”
Sam smiles a little wistfully, and Dean realizes that this is an angle he hadn’t considered.
“We could go to Bobby’s and I could show you,” Dean says. Sam looks confused, but also like he’s considering the idea, so Dean counts it as a win.
The bartender chooses that moment to disappear into the back, Dean watches her go out of habit, and Sam knocks Dean’s leg with his knee.
“You can sleep with her, if you want,” Sam says.
“That is all kinds of messed up, Sam,” Dean says.
“Well, only if she wanted to, of course,” Sam protests.
“I’m not going to have sex with a figment of your imagination,” Dean says.
“Suit yourself,” Sam replies.
“Yeah, well even if she were real,” Dean says, “I don’t need your help getting the ladies.”
“She was real,” Sam says. “I killed her.”
“What?” Dean asks.
“Hostage,” the bartender says, as she returns from the back. “Collateral damage.”
“Sorry,” Sam says.
“I told him he wouldn’t like what he found,” the bartender replies.
Dean is confused.
“I told him to stay here,” the bartender continues, “I still think he should.” She turns to Dean, and adds, “And I think you should go.”
Dean wakes up.
Dean can’t find Sam, so he walks through doors and down random streets until he finds Bobby’s house again. He’s better prepared this time, he thinks.
“Dean,” Sam says, and Dean thinks that Sam sounds a little surprised underneath the sadness.
Sam is still sitting in the kitchen. He still has the knife in front of him.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Sam says.
“I tried to get him to come,” Dean replies, he ignores the hitch in his voice. “The bartender kicked me out.”
“It’s a defense mechanism,” Sam says. “He’s better off where he is.”
“You’re wasting away,” Dean says, and then he bites his lip, because he hadn’t meant to tell Sam that. He didn’t want to scare him. In truth, he hadn’t even wanted to admit it to himself. Sam’s body wasn’t made for being comatose.
Sam just looks at him.
He finds Sam in a graveyard, standing six feet down and prying up a coffin.
“What are you doing?” Dean asks.
“I’m hunting a ghost,” Sam answers.
“In your mind?” Dean asks.
Sam pauses, looks down at the bones, and then his shoulders slump.
“You haven’t been around as much,” Sam says.
“You keep kicking me out,” Dean replies.
“No,” Sam says, shaking his head. “I don’t – I don’t want you to go.”
“Part of you does,” Dean replies. “It’s a defense mechanism.”
Sam nods, and crawls out of the grave. They salt and burn the bones together.
They sit by the fire and Dean tells Sam about binding Death. He tells Sam about the eclipse and how he doesn’t think it’ll work, because Cas is gone already – there’s no way he’ll listen to Dean. Sam argues that Dean should still try, that they shouldn’t write Cas off yet... that there’s no reason to give up hope.
Dean wants to tell him that he’s delusional, that it’s hopeless, but he’s running out of dream-root and he’s not sure how many more conversations he and Sam will have. So, instead of arguing, he tells Sam that he’ll try. Sam makes him promise.
“Don’t make me promise, Sammy,” Dean says, but he does anyway.
“We’ll fix this Dean, you’ll see,” Sam says, as the bones smoulder, and the smell of burnt hair hangs in the air.
“I might not be back for a couple of days,” Dean replies. “Maybe while I’m gone, you could try to go to Bobby’s.”
Sam looks off to the horizon, as though Bobby’s house were just over the hill.
“Why would I do that?” Sam asks.
Dean wakes up.
Days later and Dean finds himself back at Bobby’s. He doesn’t even try to be stoic this time. He sits against the wall and looks at his bloody brother. Dean feels bloody himself, stripped raw. Cas is dead. He’s used the last of the dream root.
“Dean,” Sam says.
“Come sit with me,” Dean says, as Sam looks over at him. Sam’s eyes are also wet, Dean wonders if he knows that this is the end.
Sam rises from the table, leaving the knife behind, and sits down beside Dean on the floor, back pressed against the wall. He smells like blood.
“Cas is dead,” Dean says. “There are these monsters from Purgatory loose – Leviathans.”
Sam doesn’t say anything. Dean turns and studies Sam’s profile.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Sam says.
“Sam,” Dean says, and swallows, “I just want you to know that I... I...”
A sob wracks Dean, and he tries to clear his blurry vision. Sam doesn’t say anything, but Dean can see the tear track through the blood on his face. Dean lays a hand on Sam’s arm, as gently as he can.
“I’m not going to leave you,” Dean tells him, “please, don’t... I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Dean spends the night crying on his brother’s shoulder, his hand on a bloody arm, and Sam’s fingers leaving bloody smudges where they stroke over Dean’s knuckles.
He never notices that they’re being watched.
Dean arrives back from Kansas. He comes in the door to find a note from Bobby, explaining how he had to go out suddenly. It’s habit for Dean to head down to the panic room to check on Sam. He doesn’t expect there to be any change. He certainly doesn’t expect the cot to be empty.
“SAM!” Dean yells as he searches the house, but it’s obvious he’s alone. He tries not to panic. He takes a deep breath and looks around. Sam’s shoes and jacket are missing. Sam’s cell was in his jacket. Sam’s cell that Dean always keeps charged, just like their dad’s, because you never know who has one number and not the other. Dean is already halfway to the car as he dials the number.
“Hello?” Sam answers, breathless.
“Sam?!” Dean says, “Where are you?”
“I don’t... Dean...I woke up, and no one was there, and then he... I saw... there were... and he said...”
“Who said?” Dean asks, then curses himself, because Sam still hadn’t answered the important question, and Dean didn’t know whether to turn left or right outside of Bobby’s. He just sits there in the car idling as he waits for Sam to answer.
“Dean,” Sam says, “I don’t know what’s real.”
“Do you know where you are?” Dean asks, closing his eyes as he concentrates on his brother’s voice.
“No,” Sam says.
“Can you turn on the GPS on your phone?” Dean asks.
“Yeah, yes,” Sam says, and the line goes dead.
Dean scrambles, and it feels like an eternity before the blinking dot appears on the map on his own phone. He floors it.
Bobby’s van is parked haphazardly outside a warehouse. The lights still on and the door open. Dean finds Sam inside, leaning against the wall. He weakly points a gun on Dean as Dean runs in.
“Whoa, Sam, it’s me, it’s me,” Dean says.
“I don’t know...” Sam says. “How do I know?”
“I came to visit you, remember? While you were sleeping,” Dean says.
“I saw you,” Sam says, lowering the gun slightly. “I saw how I needed... and you weren’t afraid of me, like I was...”
“No, Sam,” Dean says, and he tries not to be scared of Sam now. “I know you’re afraid, but we’ll figure it out, I promise. I just need you to believe me, to trust that I’m here.”
“Maybe he’s right – I woke up, and I tried to find you, but Lucifer...he said that I didn’t wake up, that it’s all been a game in the cage,” Sam says.
“Do you remember what you told me about Jess, in your dream – about how she wasn’t real because you only had memories? How about me?” Dean tries, “You said you could remember me better, but look at me, you can tell that I’m real – it’s different isn’t it? I’m different here than in your dreams, than in whatever fucking things they did to you in the cage.”
Sam lowers the gun completely, and stares at Dean. Dean fights the urge to rush him and take the gun away – he doesn’t want to scare Sam.
“Dean,” Sam says, and then Dean moves forward.
The embrace ends when Dean’s phone rings. Dean steps back and fishes it out of his pocket. He keeps a hand on Sam’s arm, because Sam is swaying – weak from having slept for so long.
“’lo,” Dean says.
“Dean,” Bobby’s voice comes, breathing hard and choked. “Dean...Sam-”
“I got him, Bobby, it’s ok,” Dean smiles.
“What?” Bobby says, and there’s a sort of desperate relief in his voice that Dean so seldom hears.
“Yeah, don’t worry, Bobby, I flipped when I got back and he was gone too – but he had his phone on him, and I have him now. We’re heading back to yours,” Dean explains. “Sorry I didn’t call ya, but-”
“Dean, don’t go back to my house,” Bobby cuts in.
“What?” Dean asks.
“The leviathans are in Sioux Falls,” Bobby says, “they torched my house. It’s gone, Dean. It’s cinders.”
Dean looks at Sam, who is staring at him in concern.
“You thought Sam was still...” Dean trails off, he can’t even complete the sentence, let alone imagine the call that Bobby thought he was making.
“You boys drive west,” Bobby says, “towards Montana, I’ll meet up with you there.”
Dean hangs up, a little stunned. He leads Sam out to the Impala. He locks Bobby’s van up before they go. Once they’re on the road, Dean glances over at Sam.
“What made you change your mind?” Dean asks.
“I didn’t want to leave you alone,” Sam replies.