As soon as Sam lowered the knife, Dean knew that it was over.
He’d smiled gleefully at the defeated and broken look on his brother’s face, before pulling his fist back and delivering a punch straight into it, sending Sam sprawling backwards and crumpling to the ground in a massive heap, unconscious.
That was three days ago.
Now, Dean had Sam tied to a chair, the very same chair that he himself had been previously bound to. Sam’s head lolled back and forth, fighting to stay upright. His face, covered in dried blood, and decorated with cuts and lesions, all courtesy of Dean.
And he’s never looked more beautiful.
"Wakey, wakey Sammy! It’s a brand new day and I’ve got a lot of fun planned out for you!" Dean chirped, chuckling slightly as the sound of his voice shocked his captive into frightened attentiveness.
Moving his way around the room, Dean finally came to a stop behind Sam, watching in amusement as his brother’s shoulders tensed, his body naturally going into defensive mode even in his half-catatonic state.
Dean smirked, leaning his face down to whisper in Sam’s ear, sending a shiver through his brother’s body. “You know, Sammy. Sometimes I wonder why I never killed you all those years ago, when Dad asked me to.”
His brother whimpered, head falling forwards as he tried not to listen, tried to move away, however Dean threaded his fingers through Sam’s hair and tightened his grip, pulling hard until his head returned to it’s original position.
His brother cried out, but quickly shut his mouth as his tear filled eyes stared up into Dean’s cold, black ones.
"You always were so pathetic. Always so damn needy about everything. And such a burden, Sammy…" Dean growled, bringing his face inches away from Sam’s, feeling the hot breath of his brother’s panicked breathing hitting his face in small puffs of air.
More tears gathered at the corner’s of Sam’s eyes, his mouth opening and closing as he tried desperately to say something, his vocal chords raw and pained from all the screaming.
It was only with morbid curiosity that allowed Dean to lean forward, bringing his ear close to Sam’s mouth as he strained to listen to the words being said.
"Th-… This… it’s… N-not you… Dean…"
The harsh bark of laughter caused Sam to wince.
"And he’s still singing the same damn tune!" Dean mocked cruelly, waving his arms around as if he were speaking to an invisible audience. "He still believes that I’m not Dean."
Sliding his way back round to the front, Dean knelt down, stroking a hand across Sam’s swollen cheek in a mock gesture of tenderness. He smirked, gently grabbing Sam’s chin and lifting it up slightly so that he could look into his brother’s eyes.
"In that case, Sammy… I guess I’ll just have to keep breaking you, until you start thinking otherwise."
And Sam could only scream as Dean unsheathed the demon blade, and jammed it down hard into the meat of his thigh, pain searing it’s way through his body and blood dripping in rivulets as Dean howled in laughter.
The punches started soon after, fists raining down on his face and body, each hit carefully targeted so that they struck over old wounds. Bruises, cuts and gashes that hadn’t even had the chance to heal yet, being subjected to even more abuse.
Sam could do nothing but bear the pain, desperately clinging to the belief that Dean was still in there somewhere as darkness slowly started to cloud his mind. But Sam forced himself to keep his eyes open, staring at the monster that was wearing his brother’s skin.
Dean grinned, all teeth as he watched Sam struggle to focus his gaze. His breathing had slowed, quiet and short, while his body trembled. His mouth was trying to form words, and Dean leaned down once again to listen.
"No-… Not… my… D-… Dean…"
The demon snarled then, backhanding the younger Winchester across the face before pulling him back.
"This. Is. Me." He growled, teeth bared in anger. "The old Dean is gone. And not you, or anyone, will ever bring him back.” And in a final flash of rage, Dean extracted the knife from Sam’s leg and plunged the blade straight into the soft flesh of his brother’s abdomen.
Time ground to a halt, and suddenly, all Dean could do was breathe.
He stumbled backwards, staring with wide green eyes at the blade embedded in Sam’s stomach. His eyes darted over the limp form of his baby brother, battered and bleeding. The darkness that had clouded his mind was suddenly gone, leaving only anguish and regret as his heart broke, knowing that he had done this to his brother.
“Sammy…” He whispered, frozen in place as he felt the mark pulsing in his arm, the demon in him roaring as it was overwhelmed and pushed back by the overbearing need to protect, protect, PROTECT.
Sam was staring at the protruding handle, his head drooping in his fight to stay awake, but when he heard his name whispered, he lifted his gaze up and his eyes widened at what he saw.
“Dean…” He whispered, blood stained lips barely moving as they pulled into a tiny, pained smile. “K-knew… it…. Knew you-…”
What ever Sam was trying to say was cut off when a cough filled with blood racked his body.
Dean jumped forward then, quickly untying the ropes binding Sam to the chair, and oh so carefully, withdrew the knife from Sam’s body. Tearing off his shirt, Dean quickly pressed against the wound, hands shaking as blood continued to pour in rivers.
"Shit! Sam, no! Sammy, I swear… You’re gunna be okay, you hear me? You’re not gunna die. I won’t let you die, Sam!"
And as the darkness finally started to take hold, Sam couldn’t help the feeling of warmth and happiness that washed over him in those last few conscious moments. The sound of his brother calling his name, lulling him into a peaceful state of rest as a single thought replayed over in his mind.
I knew you’d come back…
- - - - -
Dean rubbed a tired hand over his face as he stared at the unconscious form of his baby brother, laid out over Dean’s bed. The covers were drawn up to his chin while his chest rose and fell in small, but noticeable movements.
For a while there, Dean thought he’d lost him.
There had been so much blood. Sam’s blood. And Dean swears he can still see his hands painted in it.
But it was okay. Sammy was alive. He’d made it through and Dean had almost cried in relief.
I had been just over a day, and Dean knew that Sam needed the rest after what he’d put him through.
The things I did to you, the things I put you through Sammy… How can I even begin to forgive myself? How could you ever forgive me?
The whisper shocked Dean out of his thoughts, his eyes glancing up and locking with the glowing hazel of his younger brother’s.
He leapt out of his chair, kneeling down beside the bed and clutching Sam’s hand in his, while tears slowly fell down his face.
"Sam! Sammy, I’m sorry… I’m so sorry. I can’t-… How could I do this to you? I shouldn’t even…- Fuck! Sammy…" He cried, his head dropping down in shame, as his body shook with sobs.
The hand he’d been holding slowly disentangled itself from his grip, before sliding tenderly across his cheek, wiping away the tears it found there. The gentleness of the touch brought Dean’s head up, his eyes wide in disbelief as he noticed the small smile on Sam’s face.
"It’s okay, Dean. It wasn’t you…" He croaked, voice still sore from the abuse.
Dean shook his head, about to open his mouth in protest, but a quiet shush from Sam stopped him mid-apology.
"It wasn’t you, Dean. It was never you. You didn’t do anything to me." Sam comforted, stroking his hand over Dean’s face before reaching down to take his hand again, bringing it up to his lips and pressing gentle kisses along the skin.
Dean choked back a sob, watching his beautiful brother comfort him when it should’ve been the other way around.
"Shhh, Dean… We’ll talk about it later. Right now, I just want here with me. Can you lay here with me?"
Dean paused, uncertain. But the pleading look in Sam’s eyes melted any objections he had, and he carefully slid onto the bed beside Sam, mindful and wary of his injuries.
The taller of the two shifted slightly to the side, turning his head to look at Dean, the smile still plastered to his face.
He was still caught up in his own guilt that Dean almost missed it when Sam slowly leaned forward, pressing a soft and loving kiss to his lips.
"I knew you’d come back…" Sam whispered against him before settling in, as close to Dean as was comfortable and letting his eyes fall shut.
Dean watched Sam sleep for a while, his hand brushing the hair away from Sam’s face and gently stroking his thumb across his cheek. But eventually, his own exhaustion caught up with him, and Dean let his own eyes slip shut, the demon inside him having finally been silenced for the time being.