daylight_darknight: (Team Free Will)
[personal profile] daylight_darknight
These two fics sort of go together. It was actually supposed to be one fic. I was feeling really down in mid November and felt the need to write something really angsty with a happy ending, but when I wrote it, it kind of split in two. So now you can read the happy ending without the angst or the angst without the happy ending, or simply read both.

Title: When All Is Lost
Characters: Dean, Sam
Rating/Warnings: PG for minor swearing
Genre: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Word Count: 1575
Spoilers: Up to and including 7x10
Summary: Everything that's happened recently finally hits Dean.

When All Is Lost
By Daylight

Dean wakes up with grit in his eyes and an empty feeling in his chest. The grit he wipes away with his knuckles and the back of his hand, but the empty feeling doesn’t go away so easily. It’s not a new feeling. It’s actually something that’s plagued him more and more of late. It has almost a physical presence like something dark and cold was placed in his chest and clings to his heart stealing air from his lungs.

He takes a deep breath and slowly lets it out trying to push the feeling away, but even when the air is gone, the feeling remains.

For a moment, he lays there, his eyes following the pattern of water stains on the ceiling; then with considerable effort, he wills movement into his heavy limbs and pushes back the covers swinging his legs out the bed until he’s sitting on the edge. He doesn’t want to get up, but he knows if he lies there much longer the temptation to not move will simply grow until it threatens to swallow him whole.

There is a small niggling fear sitting in the same place as the empty feeling that one day he simply won’t be able to get up at all.

The feeling grows worse once he’s upright, and he pauses there on the edge of his bed, the call of the starched motel sheets trying to pull him back down. Instead of giving in, he looks over at the form lying on the bed beside his. Normally, the first thing he does when he wakes up is check on Sam, but his reactions are slow today.

Sam’s back is to him. All Dean really sees is a shaggy mass of brown hair and the outline of his brother’s overly large body under the red and green checkered pattern of the quilt, but as he watches, he can make out the rhythmic movement of Sam’s breathing, and it helps calm him. Watching Sam sleep has always made him feel better though Dean will never admit that to his brother.

Sam rolls over in his sleep letting out a guttural groan as he does so. The lines around his tightly squeezed eyes indicate his rest is not as peaceful as Dean assumed. Sam’s left arm flops limply onto the bedspread and Dean can see the overly-abused, red scar on his hand. Suddenly, watching Sam doesn’t make him feel better anymore.

Finding the energy somewhere, Dean pushes himself to his feet and takes stumbling, half-asleep steps towards the motel’s tiny bathroom. He slaps his hand against the light switch and pushes the door shut without bothering to lock it. If Sam comes barging in there, anything he sees will be his own fault.

After emptying his bladder, he stares at the shower and the mildew creeping up its curtain for a while; then the thought ‘why bother’ passes through his head and he turns to the sink instead. He goes about his normal routine, deodorant, hair, teeth, but everything seems to take ten times the effort it usually does like some unknown force is working against his every movement.

When it comes time to shave, he squirts shaving cream onto his hand, and then looks up to face what he’s been trying to avoid ever since he entered the bathroom: the mirror. It’s a crappy mirror, but then it’s a crappy motel, one of the crappiest of the crappy they’ve ever stayed in. Unfortunately, it’s only really crappy motel rooms they can stay in these days as the people who own them are less likely to call in a supposed pair of possible serial killers when they likely have their own things going on they wouldn’t like the cops knowing about. The mirror is rectangular with no frame and has several cracks crisscrossing its surface. There are also parts that are distorted and blurry, and others where the silver backing has peeled away leaving black splotches.

All these distortions don’t prevent Dean from doing exactly what he didn’t want to do which is catch the eyes of his reflection. It’s only for a moment before he quickly slides his gaze away, but the glimpse of the deadness in those green eyes makes the hollow emptiness in his chest grow larger. He does his best to focus on his chin instead, but even that proves difficult as its reflection lands right on a splotchy part of the mirror.

The image of Cas’ face covered in similar splotches flashes through his mind, red blisters where skin has simply melted away. He recalls the dried splatter of blood stains across his coat, the look of sorrow and despair in his eyes as the angel turned to say he was sorry.

Dean lets the shaving cream slide off his hand into the sink and just stares at it for awhile. He stares at the soap scum and rust stains covering the basin absorbing every detail in hopes they will push all other unwanted images and thoughts from his mind, but images cascade out tumbling over each other: his father’s body being consumed by flame, Jo’s face pale and cold with loss of blood as he kisses her goodbye, Sammy screaming and waving a gun at things that aren’t there, Alastair handing him a blood stained knife…

Shaking himself, Dean realizes he’s been standing there staring at nothing for several minutes. With tremendous willpower, he steps away from the sink until he stands in the bathroom doorway. He holds onto the doorframe staring at the thin carpet that covers the motel room floor. It’s a faded shade of puce and spotted by stains of things he’d rather not think about.

And all he wants to do right then is lie down on it and not move.

It’s the feeling in his chest. It’s grown so heavy it threatens to drag him all the way to the ground. How can something that feels so hollow weigh so much? It continues to spread crawling up his throat and down to his gut. He begins to panic. He needs… He needs… He doesn’t know what he needs. He just wants the feeling to stop.

He glances over at his sleeping brother. He’s tempted to wake him hoping the simple sound of his brother’s voice will drive the feeling away, but he doesn’t want to burden him with more problems. Sam has been through enough. Maybe if he calls Bobby…


Suddenly, all the strength vanishes from his legs as they refuse to support him anymore. He slowly sinks to his knees onto the grimy carpet and stays there, thoughts spinning around so much he feels dizzy.



He’s dead.

They’re all dead.

Something is screaming in the back of his mind or maybe it’s laughing.

Not sure of his destination, he begins to crawl forward. He reaches the end of Sam’s bed before he gives up and just sits there, back supported by the bed, legs stretched out in front of him. It’s not long before a tightness develops in his throat and his eyes begin to prickle. His breath starts coming out in short gasps which turn into sobs as tears fall down his face.

He curses himself, tells himself he’s a stupid idiot, a weak baby for sitting there like a useless blob of meat crying his eyes out, calls himself every swear he knows as if they could pull him out of the pit he has sunk into, but instead it just makes him feel worse.


And now Sam is awake and he’s going to see Dean acting like a giant crybaby, but he can’t seem to care.

“Dean?” Sam says again his tone confused and anxious. He appears in the corner of Dean’s eye as he kneels down beside him. “What’s wrong?”

“I… I…” is all Dean manages to get through his painful throat. Looking away, he shakes his head. It seems as if the emptiness has swallowed his words as well.

Sam’s eyebrows are drawn together in worry, and Dean can sense the panic radiating off his brother as Sam kneels there running a hand through his hair like he has no idea what he’s supposed to do.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Dean’s the one who is supposed to worry over Sam, take care of him. Dean should be doing everything in his power to erase Sam’s concerns, make sure his little brother has no worries, but he can’t seem to care about that either.

And that scares him more than anything.

More tears pour down his face. He can’t stop them. His breath hitches so much it feels like he can’t get enough air.

An arm wraps around his trembling shoulders and he hears Sam sit down beside him. Dean catches a glimpse of his face and sees tears are leaking out of Sam’s eyes too.

“Breathe,” says Sam, a catch audible in his voice. “Please, just breathe.”

Breathing like so many things seems so much harder than usual, but it’s Sam, so Dean does his best to obey forcing his lungs to take longer, slower breaths. Feeling exhausted, he leans against his brother. The arm around his shoulders holds more tightly.

“I’ve got you, Dean.”

Clinging to that thought, Dean lets his little brother hold him as what feels like a lifetime’s worth of tears pours from his eyes.

Title: Good Things Do Happen
Characters: Dean, Castiel, Sam
Rating/Warnings: PG for minor swearing
Genre: Drama, Family, Friendship
Word Count: 1060
Spoilers: Up to and including 7x10, then ultimately becoming AU
Summary: For the first time in a long time, something good happens to Dean Winchester.

Good Things Do Happen
By Daylight

Dean did not know what he was expecting when he answered the knock at the door that morning. He did know that he was seriously unprepared for whatever it might be.

The knock had woken him from another restless sleep and he had gotten up to answer it wearing nothing but a T-shirt and an old pair of sweatpants, no weapons, no checking through the window or calling out to see who it was: all things that had been drilled into him by his father since he was five years old, all natural instincts any sane hunter would use if he wanted to stay alive. But today, Dean just couldn’t seem to care. He didn’t think there was anything behind that door that could make his life any crappier than it already was.

So he stood there in his pyjamas and bare feet as he resignedly opened the door to face whatever life wanted to throw at him next.

It took several seconds for him to recognize the person on the other side, which in retrospect was strange considering how well he knew them and how long he had been wishing to see them.

It must have been the clothing that threw him. The man was wearing a brown cargo jacket from which several pockets had been removed, a black and white shirt with a potentially eye-watering pattern, a yellow T-shirt featuring a faded logo of some sports team Dean had never heard of, a pair of jeans that must have been held up by a belt since they were more than a couple sizes too large, and a pair of sneakers which once had been white but were now gray and in danger of disintegrating. All the clothes were old and shabby as well as wrinkled and dirty as if they had been the only thing the man had worn for a week.

It was all a big contrast to the normal black suit, blue tie, and overly-large, beige trenchcoat.

“Hello, Dean,” Castiel said, hesitantly.

Dean just stared. After a few moments of this, he distantly realized his brain had stopped functioning. No thoughts appeared in his head and his body seemed completely incapable of movement.

Castiel’s expression seemed to crumple inward when Dean didn’t reply and he looked away. “You were very difficult to find,” he said. “I went to Bobby’s but his place was gone.”

Burnt to the ground would be a more accurate description, thought Dean but he couldn’t form the words.

“And your phone numbers appear to have changed.”

Three times in the past four months and they were due to change again next Tuesday.

“I still had some sense of where you were, but the location kept changing and I didn’t have much means with which to travel.”

Out of angel mojo again, Dean observed feeling strangely detached. Cas looked thinner too or maybe that was due to the change of clothes. His watery blue eyes didn’t have the intensity they used to and his face grew more and more crestfallen the longer Dean stayed silent.

“I had to find you though. I needed to…”

“Dean, what the hell is…” said Sam suddenly interrupting.

Dean heard his brother come to a stop behind him. He’d almost forgotten about Sam idling away in the bathroom while all this was going on.

“Cas?” Sam said his voice choked with hope and disbelief.

Good. Sammy could see him too. Though considering all the things Sam had been seeing of late, did that make it more or less likely this was in fact a hallucination?

“Sam,” Castiel said with what was probably a bit of trepidation, but then he had reason to be nervous since all Sam’s hallucinations were his fault to begin with.

And Dean was still kind of pissed off about that. He owed Cas a punch in the face and more besides, but he couldn’t seem to call up any anger.

“But you…? But how…? What…?” Sam’s words tripped over themselves, but at least he hadn’t been driven completely mute like Dean.

“You’re probably wondering why I’m still alive,” Castiel continued when neither Winchester seemed capable of saying anything more. “I’m fairly certain it wasn’t God this time. I think the Leviathan just assumed I was dead when they left my vessel. I’m afraid I wasn’t very coherent when I pulled myself from the reservoir and I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I woke up in a hospital a few months ago with a bad case of pneumonia.” His face pulled into an expression of displeasure. “I’m starting to very much dislike hospitals.”

Dean wanted to say something sarcastic about hospitals being places no one liked, or at least nod in agreement, but his strings still seemed to be cut.

“I was ill for a long time, but I began searching for you as soon as I could. I needed to find you. I wanted to make sure you were okay, and I also wanted to apologize, to both of you. I know I did before, but…”

But sorry wasn’t big enough a word to cover everything he’d done, Dean mentally finished for him.

“I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I thought…” Castiel trailed off his shoulders slumping in defeat as he looked at the ground. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I’ll leave.”

He turned to go, but before he could, whatever spell had been cast over Dean broke, and he reached out to stop him. Castiel paused glancing at the hand on his shoulder then at Dean with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.

“Cas…” Dean began, but then realized he really didn’t have anything to say. He pulled the angel towards him wrapping his arms around him in a desperate hug.

Castiel stiffened, standing there awkwardly in the embrace.

“That means he forgives you,” Sam explained, a tearful break in his voice.

Slowly, Cas began to relax until his arms held on to Dean as tightly as he held on to him.

The angel’s body was solid and warm in Dean’s arms. He was real. Castiel was really there, Dean realized as his mental processes began to catch up. Cas was alive.

Dean hugged his friend tighter, hand clutching firmly to the back of his shirt and refusing to let go.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-11 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could barely make it through the first one, the emptiness was so overwhelming.

I would love if the second one happened!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-11 09:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love it^^

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-11 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
These were both fantastic, but the first one was particularly striking for how incredibly well you conveyed Dean's lethargy, how HARD it is for him to just do simple things, how much effort it's taking him to just keep living... through the prose, I really FELT it. It makes sense then, in the second one that it takes Dean a little while to really process what's happening. And it all makes that hug at the end that much more of a sweet relief. Well done!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-11 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Both were awesome! I really felt you characterized Dean's despair well.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-12 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
These were both great. I maybe loved the first one best because I’m a bit of a h/c junkie, and I really like how you write the genre - Dean’s headspace read as being exactly where I’d imagine it to be right now, and I loved Sam’s reaction to it all. And aww, the second one! <333
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