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[personal profile] blue_wonderer
Title: Shake and Bleed
Words: 4K
Relationships: Gen, brotherhood
Rating: PG-13 (brief but intense violence)
Note: Set after Winged and Wounded. This is a series where Sam starts having visions of Hell in season 2, but I try to make each installment self-contained so it should be fine to read one without the other (probably). Set in season 2 with references to episodes 3, 12, and 13.
Summary: Sam's had a vision of Hellhounds dragging his brother to Hell and Sam is going to stop it.

And then Sam has a vision of himself in Hell and suddenly he's not too sure how he's going to stop any of it.

Overall, Sam counts the vampire thing as a win.

Leaving Lenore and her family alive is… affirming in a lot of ways Sam can name but wishes he didn’t have to. Monsters can change, they can fight their nature, they can be normal and good. Monsters don’t have to be monsters.

Where he’d failed with Dad, he’d convinced Dean to spare something supernatural. It’s not like Sam wants to change Dean. OK, so, some petty, selfish part of him does want to change his brother’s thinking—does want to cut Dean’s stubborn, overbearingly righteous parts away and grin in triumph and say, Dad’s not absolute. I told you so.

But Sam also knows that he would hate that version of Dean, would hate himself for making it happen. Really, Sam’s just glad that he’s no longer the only one seeing the gray areas in Dad’s black and white world. He always thought he was fundamentally broken because the logic of hunting hadn’t always come easy to him like it did to Dad and Dean. To know that someone else—his hunting partner, his brother—saw some what ifs and exceptions to the rules made Sam feel somehow normal.

And then Gordon. It’s selfish, and he knows, intellectually, that he shouldn’t measure himself against other humans. That he should strive for better than that. But he can’t help it. No matter what kind of Death Visions he has, no matter how far he’ll go to keep his brother safe, no matter the dark materials he digs up to research about Hell and Hellhounds—

At least Gordon Walker is more of a monster than Sam is. For now.

Some broken piece in Dean seems to settle after Lenore and Gordon. He’s still quiet like he’s been after Dad’s death. He still broods, though Dean would never admit that. But as they drive away from Gordon it finally feels like Sam isn’t sitting next to a time bomb and he can talk without fear of being snapped at or humiliated. Like the rage in his big brother has finally receded a little deeper down.

If he catches Dean staring blankly at his own knuckles out of the corner of his eye and if Sam’s jaw throbs and he winces when the seatbelt touches it, well, it was just a buildup of all the tension in the past several weeks. It’s over and it doesn’t matter. Things are finally getting better. So much better that for a moment, when he’s walking out of the gas station with soda and Funyuns and Dean smiles his stupid little kid smile when he sees that Sam also bought him M&Ms, he even lets himself forget about his vision of Dean getting dragged down to Hell.

And then there’s soda spraying somewhere next to his feet, the pavement is hot like razors eating into his arms, and he’s clutching his head, imagining his skull crack-crack-cracking in sweet relief. The smell of gasoline hits his nose but he’s already thrown everything up—it’s on his face and his clothes, mixing in with the gasoline. And he’s screaming so much he can’t even catch his breath…

He’s beautiful, that’s an important thing. Beautiful like sunrise, like a crowd of stars huddle in a navy-black sky, like ivory and music and soft wind and snow falling softly. Beautiful like love, like longing and tears and fireworks and a storm on the horizon. Eyes like blue fire, skin woven lovingly together by and from light itself, wings of the purest white that take up all the space around them with feathers softer than anything he can remember.

"You’re shaking.” His voice sounds surprised, sounds fascinated and intrigued. His voice is beautiful, too. Like the birth of whole worlds, like the expanding of the universe, like suns burning and dying, like the song of the spheres. It dances across his skin, charges his bones, and he finds himself crying as his heart swells with a love and devotion so deep he thinks there can’t possibly be anything more than this beautiful being and this beautiful voice filling him up.

A hand cups his naked hip and he finds himself crying harder at the touch because it’s also important and beautiful. It’s like a soft bird song in the middle of a howling hurricane. Power and intimacy is somehow contained in one simple touch. “Thank you,” he whispers through cracked lips, blood bubbling down his chin and down his throat. “Thank you,” he repeats when he feels the other hand on his belly. “Please,” he whimpers through chattering teeth. “Thank you,” he cries and means it when the wings surround him, press him down, and quells his shaking.

The beautiful voice laughs and it suffuses into blood and marrow until he’s smiling back, ignoring the copper taste in his mouth and the red that’s dripping now from his nose.

"What would Dean think of you now, I wonder?”

He keeps smiling up at the beautiful voice and the beautiful face and the beautiful, beautiful eyes. He keeps smiling even as his heart aches with a fierce adoration. Burning lips brush his cheek, a holy kiss turning his tears to steam. “Going to open you up, one rib at a time. Bloom for me like a red flower. Don’t hold back, now. I want to hear you.”

Fingers seep slowly into his skin, into his chest, and wrap around a rib. And he pulls, away and away until his rib is sticking out like a gleaming white petal. And he screams, he screams and screams. And as the beautiful voice laughs and the beautiful hand reaches for another rib he also whispers, “Thank you, thank you.” Because it’s also important to be thankful for everything that is done to him and for him. Sharp teeth sink into his neck as a third rib is bent up and out like a sunflower reaching for the sun.

Very distantly, as a fourth rib is twisted and shaped as easy as a wire, he wonders who Dean is.


Sam surfaces suddenly. His skin is alive with pins and needles, heart galloping while he gasps for air. He sees light and walls and white but the images are like pieces from different puzzles. He shakes, bites his tongue until copper bursts across his senses, his chest a raw nerve yearning for that beautiful voice and those beautiful pale eyes even while his stomach wrenches with disgust and a fathomless black terror.

"Sam, Sammy! Stay with me this time-"

He wants to cry, that’s all he can think about. He wants to cry because he misses that beauty so much it physically hurts. He wants to cry because, God no, please, please, you have to save me, you have to save me, I can’t take it, I can’t take it, I can’t go there, I can’t forget Dean, I can’t go there don’t let me go—

"Sam, please!”

All he can see are pale, frozen eyes. And wings so big they fill a corner of Hell itself. Warm skin and icy breath, sharp teeth and a sweet touch and a musical voice. His ribs splayed out and his body like a bloody flower that a wonderful tongue hungrily laps at while Sam thanks him over and over and over and overandoverandoverandover—

"Damn it, SAM!”

Dean’s voice roars and Sam is suddenly, mercifully blinking back the black spots threatening to overtake his vision. He hears his own wheezing, shuddering breathing among the rush of blood in his ears. He realizes his own hands are pressing in on his head, his nails digging painfully into his skin (trying to reach in and scoop out the his brain and squish, all gone, empty plate for Sammy) and Dean’s hands are on top of his, trying to stop him.

Dean’s jaw is shadowed, he’s pale and his hair is sticking up in all directions. His eyes are too close to Sam’s, too wide, too panicked and wet.

Sam finally hears the beeping monitors and sees the white sheets and familiar rails of a hospital bed as the nurses swarm into the room. And when the bodies crowd in and push Dean aside Sam sees his own hand move of its own volition, reaching out numbly, desperately for his brother. Because that voice is in his head and his heart aches with loss greater than it ever did with Jess. He feels phantom pain in his ribs, a yearning deeper still, and all he can hear is,

"What would Dean think of you now, I wonder?”


Later, Sam finds out he was in the hospital for five days, totally unaware of himself and the world while he oscillated between night terrors and panic attacks. Apparently he woke dozens upon dozens of times, babbling and crying and hyperventilating before he either passed out on his own or the hospital staff had to put him back under in order to control his vitals. He doesn’t remember any of it.

Sam stays in the hospital for five more days after, three of which feel like one long night, stretching on forever while they weaned him off of the drugs. He’s mostly out of consciousness those days, dragged under and kept trapped in dreams by the medications. Dean is there the entire time and, Sam finds out later from some nurses, the entirety of the five days before that. Which makes it understandable when Dean collapses right in the middle coaxing Sam awake enough to spoon some chipped ice into his mouth.

All Sam sees is Dean’s still body on the floor, splayed out with such finality, and suddenly he sees instead a torn, swollen chest and blood splattered like a flower and pale, beautiful eyes peering into the private corners of his soul…

When Sam wakes yet again (painfully but manfully stifling the whimper this time) Dean is asleep in the chair next to his bed and for a moment he thinks he dreamed up Dean on the hospital floor. Then a nurse walks in, dark rings under her eyes and her smile small but genuine.

"You and your brother are a pair, you know,” she says softly by way of greeting. She checks the IV bags. “He should be in his own room, resting and getting a round of electrolytes and eating a good dinner. All that takes time, of course, which is why he refused.” She tsks a little under her breath as she starts taking Sam’s blood pressure.

Sam’s eyes sluggishly finds his brother’s face, noting the beard that’s forming and the same clothes he was wearing the day they faced Gordon.

"Don’t make that face, now. You’re just as bad.” She reprimands as she sticks a thermometer in between his lips before he can protest. “You fell off the bed, trying to get to him when they were taking him away. Do you remember?” Sam shakes his head. “Well, you did. And it was a spectacularly embarrassing fall, you should know. Gave yourself a bruise.” She taps his chin and he winces before scowling at her.

She whips the thermometer away. “Well, at least your fever broke. Honestly, you two act like everyone’s out to get you, like the only thing you got left on this big, wide planet are each other—you want to sit up a little?” Sam can only nod dumbly as she raises his bed and, contrary to her strict tone, so very gently rearranges his pillows. “Seems to me you’re only hurting each other. A place like this, I see it more than you think. People clinging so hard to someone else they end up breaking them instead of helping. Do you want ice?”

"You’re very opinionated.” Sam mutters, throat burning and dry. “And vocal about it.”

She purses her lips, eyes snapping to him in a way that reminds him of Missouri and makes him want to hide underneath the blankets. “Well, you wouldn’t know what with you being a mess the whole time,” she continues, ignoring his deepening scowl and pushing ice past his lips whether he liked it or not. The ice is cool and melts on his burning tongue, creeping down his hurt throat and he’s thankful. “But I’ve been more of a mother than a nurse to you boys for the past several days. Hounding that brother of yours to eat and sleep and to shower, for God’s sake. And trying to keep you from diving off of perfectly good beds. I have a stressful job and I like the challenge, but you boys are on a whole ‘nother level. You have nice eyes, by the way. It’s good to see them aware for once.” She pauses, head tilting as a new thought seems to come to her. “Tell me, is your brother always a jerk?”

"Yes,” Sam responds without hesitation, imagining the abuse Dean had rained down on the unsuspecting staff. “But the best kind of jerk.”

She smiles tiredly and produces a wet, warm cloth out of nowhere to wash his face. It’s clean and makes him feel more human than he’s felt in a long, long time. For this he is also thankful. He even manages to smile back at her.

Two days later Sam is sitting in the Impala, fighting sleep and overall trying to look like a sane, healthy little brother whenever Dean glances not-so-discretely at him from the corner of his eyes. The nurse’s words stay with him. He wishes he could remember her name, wishes he could go back and thank her. But she was off the day after she talked to him. And the day after that Sam insisted that they leave, even though his head and stomach still spun and he couldn’t sleep without the nightmares and the same vision playing on repeat. But Dean was starting to look worse than him, if that was even possible, so Sam put on a brave face and insisted he was fine, all he needed was rest in a motel away from the hustle and beeping and noise of the hospital.

He doesn’t even remember what the nurse looked like. If she had brown hair or if she was blonde. He remembers she was older, a little rounder, with sure, calloused hands. But he doesn’t remember how old she really was, either. But he’s thankful for her all the same.

It takes some time and another close call at a different hospital followed by a horrific but not quite as bad visit to a small clinic, but eventually, through sheer stubbornness, he starts to manage the side effects of the Death Visions. He waits until Dean is gone or asleep before he cries silent and lonely into the motel sheets. He keeps migraine pills in his pocket and loses count of how many he takes throughout the day to cope with the headache that never goes away. He can’t sleep without slipping into nightmares but he manages to nap off and on during the night, always waking up before the scream claws its way up his throat. He’s almost constantly nauseas and develops an aversion to red meat and starts to dislike salad because it requires too much chewing which bothers his head, but he makes do with grits and oats for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches and sometimes pasta for lunch and dinner. About once a week he can even manage chicken or some bacon for breakfast and he thinks he eats enough to appease Dean.

Sam’s so single-minded in his quest for control he even manages to push aside just what the latest vision was about. Not forever, but for this moment and the next, long enough for Dean to start eating and sleeping again. Long enough for Dean to stop looking at Sam with those bereft, pleading eyes that Sam doesn’t even know how to begin to understand.

Long enough for Dean to stop clinging and start stepping back so Sam won’t break them both.


One night when he’s in between napping and he’s listening to Dean’s soft breathing, Sam can’t hold back the truth anymore. But he’s ready for it this time.

Truth: Sam had another vision.

Truth: Sam had a vision of Hell. Specifically, Sam had a vision of himself in Hell (he won’t think or acknowledge the horrifying specifics, or else he’ll lose it again for sure) sometime in the future.

Truth: In the vision, he was in Hell, but there weren’t any demons or Hellhounds. It was a being made of light, the most beautiful thing he could imagine and so much more. The being had wings. The being was an angel. It’s identity was never confirmed, but Sam knows who—what it was like he knows his own name.

Truth: Dean was going to be torn apart by Hellhounds and dragged to Hell. Sam was going to end up in Hell with Lucifer himself.

Sam thought he knew about Hell. He thought he understood torture, thought he understood and accepted that evil people ended up there. But now he can’t imagine any monster that would deserve a second of it. Which means sometime in the near future Sam and Dean must become even worse than monsters. Why else would God allow this to happen?


While Sam claims his big brother is a dumbass, Sam himself has never once denied the fact that he’s one as well. Maybe he’s an even bigger dumbass.

It really starts with Ronald. Sam isn’t quite sure how, like he’s not sure of a lot of things these days, but he knows on the road to Milwaukee he lived in fear of the next breath, the next blink of his eyes. Any moment, any movement could possibly bring on another Death Vision and he never, ever wanted another one like….

He snorts to himself, choking down delirious laughter because he can actually hear the pieces of his sanity fall apart if he even thinks about the vision that put him in the hospital those three times.

Which is why he’s a dumbass and why he thinks it’s because of Ronald. Because on the drive from Milwaukee, as they cut through traffic and roads in their stolen SWAT gear, as they leave behind flashing lights, numb with the realization that there is someone—a whole, government-sanctioned organization—on the hunt for them, Sam finds himself wishing he could control his visions.

Not to block them, not to stop them, not even to erase the memory of them. For a stupid, absurd moment that he wishes he could take back, Sam finds himself thinking Ronald Reznick did not have to die, I could have stopped it if I had seen it in time.

He’s still thinking about this days later and he laughs out loud, a high-pitched, foreign sound that makes both he and Dean jump at the same time. Dean shoots him a strange look as they both take the steps up to Our Lady of the Angels like they’re both creaky old men and not still in their twenties.

“Just thinking,” Sam responds to the unasked question, reaching up to push his bangs in his eyes and shoving his hand back in his pocket when he realizes how bad he’s shaking.

Dean rolls his eyes and lingers still until Sam rushes past.

It takes an unhealthy amount of hubris that would have worried Sam about a year ago or maybe a few months ago but now… Well, now there’s a Hell of a lot more to worry about (see what he did there? Oh, God, please, keep him sane just a little while longer). If Sam could control his visions, could choose what he wanted to see, then people like Ronald Reznick wouldn’t have to die. If Sam could induce a vision, or even spend more time in one when they happened, then he could narrow down dates and time. Could see all of the factors. Could see what led up to whatever horrific thing he witnesses.

He could know more about Dean going to Hell and he could stop it.

Sam decides wishing more Death Visions on himself definitely lets him win the Dumbass Winchester category by a landslide.


Sam was really hoping the string of killings in Providence, Rhode Island was an angel. In fact, he’s pretty damn sure it’s an angel, gruesome vigilante-like deaths and all, and Dean’s ghost theory is flimsy at best. He’s seen both he and Dean go to Hell. He’s seen Lucifer. So he sort of breezes past the Murdering Angel thing.

Sam just hopes to talk to it and not get his eyes burned out. He hopes to ask the angel what they did or will do to get into Hell. He hopes to find out a way to save Dean. And, after a nightmare where he wakes up sweating and emptying his stomach yet again, Sam also hopes to beg pathetically for his own soul.

It turns out to be a ghost. Of course it’s a ghost and Sam is an idiot for tuning a blind eye to the evidence and ignoring Hunting 101 and just common sense.

As they’re packing up at the motel Sam’s headache spikes despite the six pills he’s already taken (he ignores his own common sense again when it reminds him he’s taken six pills before 10:30 in the morning, which is just asinine). He thinks he tries to say something to Dean as the floor starts to tilt, but he’s pretty sure it comes out as, “meelaaargh”. And then he’s curled up on the motel bed, burying his nose and mouth into the covers, and Dean’s hands are frantically pulling at his hair and his ears and he keeps shouting at Sam to breathe.

Bobby’s dead behind them. He sees it in the reflection of the Impala but he doesn’t care. In fact, he loves how it twists Sammy up inside and he laughs at that.

His fist flies, he doesn’t feel the pain on his knuckles, he’s never felt pain except once in his long, endless life. The face in front of him splits again and bleeds more, though, and he laughs at that, too. Admires the already swelling face of Dean Winchester. Admires the big brother’s bright blood on Sammy’s fingers.

Inside a corner of himself, Sam is seeing what he’s seeing and feeling what he’s feeling and thinking what he’s thinking as is the way of a proper horse to his rider. He loves the way Sammy cries, the way his will unfurls slow and delicate (like a flower, he muses). The way he buckles with defeat.

Dean is saying something, Sam’s name maybe. He can’t be bothered to care. He’s about to make his mark on this world. He’s about to turn the earth into rubble and it’s human filth—well, he’ll go slow with them. He’ll destroy each human one a time if he feels like it, open up his Father’s so-called pinnacle of creation and reveal all of the blackness inside each of them—he’s got eternity to do so. Starting with this human, the one most important to Sam. He feels Dean’s life slipping away and he’s making Sam’s body take that life.

And he sees that this is good.

Sam gasps as Dean finally wrenches his head to the side, forcing him to breathe. He hears Dean curse quietly above him and feels it when Dean keeps himself from collapsing, too, his hands bracketing Sam’s head as he, too, tries to catch his breath.

“Sam,” Dean rasps out and Sam cringes. He swallows hard, willing his stomach to behave, trying to keep from crying because that would make the headache worse. He blinks back the dimness encroaching his vision, trying to keep from passing out (though for the life of him he can’t figure out why he’s trying to).

“Sam, you can’t keep—you have to tell me. Sam, you can’t ignore them.” He frowns at Sam’s sarcastic bark of laughter, probably because it sounds more like a sob. “Are people dying? Is it about the demon? Sam, what are you seeing?” Dean hisses the last part, something in his voice almost tugging apart Sam’s resolve. But when he blinks he sees Dean’s broken face and Dean’s blood decorating his knuckles and flecking up his forearms as easy and simple as spattered paint.

Sam swallows and minutely shakes his head. Dean slaps the bed on either side of his head. Sam’s resulting whimper is drowned out by, “Damn it, Sam!” and the subsequent slamming of the motel door.

He rolls off the bed, hitting the floor, and actually makes it to the bathroom before getting sick. He can’t get back up, can’t even crawl, so Dean finds him an hour later propped up against the bathtub in the midst of feverish dreams.

No wonder he’s going to Hell. Sam becomes Lucifer. He tries to kill his brother. He tries to end the world. He probably succeeds in one or both. Suddenly Sam doesn’t want another damn thing to do with the visions. He wants to shut them up, shut them out. He doesn’t want to know the future, he doesn’t want the nausea and fatigue and the never-ending headache.

He has the vision again that night and wakes up screaming for the first time in several weeks. Dean’s there, anger suspended, letting Sam rest on his shoulder while he coaxes Sam back into reality.

Dean hums Metallica and Sam grips his brothers shirt while he laughs brokenly into Dean’s neck. It just figures that Sam would come to Providence looking for heaven only to find the devil in him.



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May 2015

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