Blue Memories

Five Minutes (the clock ticks life away)

Dean, Sam, PG - AU of 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked

 

Five (time is a valuable thing, watch it fly by as the pendulum swings)

At five minutes to midnight, Dean gestures in triumph, laughing at the demons kept back from attacking them by the sprinklers Bobby so ingeniously hallowed. Sam misses the spectacle while he's fighting to open the door, nervousness and fear and adrenaline thrumming through his veins and keeping his heart pounding in staccato. Then, finally, the door springs open under his careful ministrations, swinging inside. Behind him, Sam hears Dean's momentary relief clear in his voice, belief a long stretch away but still bound to them by the chord of hope.

Not much time now.

What greets them inside has long since lost its shocking effects on Sam. As he waves away the flies and holds his breath, he waits for the others to get into the house, looking at the body then turning away. It's an unmistakeable greeting, causing his heart to flutter in his chest, screeching: save Dean (with every beat, every pulse that's proving they're still alive). The dead body only serves to drive home the knowledge of what they're up against and what is at stake; not that Sam would ever, ever forget, but in case he did, he'd remember now.


Four (it doesn't even matter how hard you try)

At four minutes to midnight, Sam is creeping up the stairs, bloody knife in hand and ready for the plunge. Nodding to Ruby, he takes off towards the bedroom, resolved to make this end, now.

The room is silent, the girl sleeping beside her mother. Sam watches her through the curtain, an eerie feeling settling in his stomach. This isn't right, it says. She isn't right. Drawing back the curtain Sam trembles, and as he lays eyes on the mother, the feeling of wrongness running through him intensifies. Do it, the mother implores. Sam shifts his eyes towards the girl by her side, sleeping so innocently tucked into her mother's side. He hesitates.

Do it.

He tenses as he readies himself for doing what must be done. This is Lilith, he reminds himself. She is not a girl anymore.
But still he cannot bring the knife down, some moral barrier remaining even after all this time. He's determined, though. Things aren't usually what they appear. He's gone a long way to learning that.

Then the girl moves, opening her eyes. Her cry of terror reverberates from the walls and through Sam, spurring him into action. The lines on his face harden as he bares his teeth, bringing the knife up to do its work.

He never gets as far, Dean suddenly at his side and Sam's hand in a sure twist. "It's not her! It's not in the girl anymore." Dean looks at Sam with accusation in his eyes, but Sam's thoughts barely go beyond Fuck and Where is she now and I gotta save Dean. It's this single-mindedness that has almost driven him into murdering an innocent girl, but at this point in time he is long past caring.


Three (even though i tried, it all fell apart)

At three minutes to midnight, Dean is Dean and cares for the family while Sam remains focused on his fucking task, desperation surging up, threatening to cut the fine chord of hope.

"Okay, you win," he tells Ruby. "What do I have to do?"

"What do you mean?"

"To save Dean. What do you need me to do?"

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Dean's hand on his arm is not unexpected, making it easier to dismiss him.

"Just shut off for a second," Sam tells him, focus on Ruby, but Dean isn't shut off that easily. He yanks at Sam's arm for his attention, but Sam doesn't waver, shrugging him off instead. "Ruby."

She sounds, if anything, even more incredulous than before, as if she isn't believing her own ears. "You had your chance. You can't just flip a switch. We need the time."

"Well, there's gotta be somethin'. There's gotta be some way, whatever it is, I'll do it."

Which spurs Dean into action again.


Two (watch the time go right out the window)

At two minutes to midnight, Sam spins around to face Dean as Dean tries to knock some sense into him. "Don't - Dean - I'm not gonna let you go to Hell, Dean!"

"Yes, you are!" Sam searches Dean's eyes in defiance, his body tense, but Dean holds his ground. "Yes, you are. I'm sorry, but this is all my fault. I know that. But what you're doing, it's not gonna save me. It's only gonna kill you." Dean's as close to begging as Sam's heard in forever, and it's this fact at last that reaches him in his determination, tearing him up from the inside out. Dean isn't supposed to get like this, ever. He's supposed to be strong and indulgent and all the things he's been as a big brother to Sam, not more stubborn than Sam is. But Sam feels more helpless than ever before, and in this moment, when Dean digs his heels in, refusing Sam to do the one thing they know is going to work, in this one moment, Sam crumbles.

"Then what am I supposed to do?"


One (the clock ticks life away)

One minute to midnight, and the clock keeps ticking.

Sam watches Dean swallow, eyes still locked and the same bitterness biling up in his own throat. "Keep fightin'," Dean tells him. "Take care of my wheels. Sammy, remember what Dad taught you, okay? Remember what I taught you."

Sam nods.

The clock chimes.


Zero.

And freezes.

*~*~*

Blinking back the tears, Sam mouths "I'm sorry" towards where Dean stands, brave smile in the face of death frozen on his face. Then Sam turns around, going for once-Ruby's throat with the knife he still holds in hands.

Fear is a source of unnameable power, and the power beginning to surge through him feels incredible, like a dark fluid thrumming through him. He feels how what once lay dormant comes alive with want, potent desire out for blood, provoking a chain reaction: Sam becomes the vessel of an almighty power. He can't explain how he knows what to do, he just does: and as the knife smoothly cuts Lilith's throat (severing all ties), he literally feels the light pour back into him, rinsing out the darkness from within him and replacing it with how he should have been all along. The world surrounding him glows, and Sam sees every single thing that might happen around him; around Dean; around Bobby in the house across the street; sees every possibility and every path with a clarity that shakes him to the very core. Lilith is the sole thing that moves in this non-moment beside Sam himself, uselessly rattling for air in front of him, blood spurting out of her open throat as her eyes widen in disbelief. Sam smiles a cold smile at her, and then -

And then she's gone and life goes on, not quite the way it used to be.

*~*~*

Zero (things aren't the way they were before)

Dean smiles at Sam, but Sam isn't standing where he'd been a fraction of a second before. Turning around to his brother, Sam watches the smile die on Dean's lips and the fearful glimmer go out in his eyes as he tries to take in the situation. Searching and finding Sam's eyes, Dean looks at him uncomprehendingly.

"Sam -"

Sam can pinpoint the exact moment Dean notices the crumbled demon body behind Sam. Something wild enters his eyes, more fear, but also more caution than there was before.

"Sam?"

Dean's voice is brittle, drawing an equally shaken smile from Sam.

"I did it, Dean," Sam tells him, tears in his eyes again. He still feels aglow, at peace with the world in a way he never was before. It's all going to be okay. "I did it." Closing the distance between himself and Dean, Sam catches his brother in a tight embrace, clinging to him like he's done so often (not often enough) before. "I did it," he murmurs again into Dean's neck, sucking in Dean's smell and basking in the warmth of Dean's body and pressing himself so tightly against Dean, he can feel the steady beating of Dean's heart.

Sam thinks there's never been a better moment in his life.


Two days and counting (it all comes back to me - in the end)

"Sam, you gotta talk to me, man."

Sam looks up from his research, a jolt of joy running through him upon laying eyes on his brother. Dean, alive and breathing and as well as can be. It's an image that sends positive energy running through Sam's veins and that Sam thinks he won't ever get used to. Still he huffs in annoyance, because this is a thing they've been going over again and again since time
 was almost gone. "Look, I told you everything I know, all right? Just - drop it, okay? I don't know anything else. I just knew it wasn't Ruby."

Dean won't look away, though. "How can you be sure this isn't some freaky demon power thing? C'mon, Sam, it's not like you know anything about those psychic powers of yours -"

"I know enough. I know this hasn't got anything to do with those. I haven't had any dreams, right? No freak accidents happen around me. I can't twirl knives with the power of my brain. What else do you need from me to convince you?"

"Stop being an idiot, man! Time doesn't just stop moving!"

Sam goes quiet then, looking down at his papers again, not seeing anything. Yeah okay, so maybe that is freaky, because Bobby doesn't know how to explain that one either. Nor that weird glow that surrounded Sam for a couple hours before his aura returned to normal.

"All right, I give you that," Sam says slowly into the heavy silence of the room. "But" - looking up again - "you gotta trust me when I say this whole thing's got nothing to do with any demon powers. I would know, and I'd tell you. There's nothing bad going on."

Dean looks at him for a long time, causing an itch under Sam's skin he can barely ignore: he'll not fidget under his brother's stare though.

That night when they go to bed, it takes Sam a long time to fall asleep. Dean's the same; Sam can practically feel the thoughts in Dean's head himself. It's easier to bear if Dean's in another room, feels as if the wall between them dulls the intensity of their connection. But Sam won't let his brother out of sight, not ever again. He's come too close to losing him.

When Sam finally falls asleep, he is greeted by the mother he barely remembers, smiling her angelic smile at him, glowing from the inside. Well done, she tells him. You used the powers you were given to save Dean.

What does that mean?
he hears himself ask back, frowning. Mom?

Absolution, she says, still smiling, and fades away.

The next morning, he touches the almost-dead evergreen plant in one window of the crappy motel room, causing it to straighten up and its green to brighten. He feels the same peace wash over him as he did when he killed Lilith. Two days after, he and Dean are on a hunt, Dean lighting up some girl's corpse as Sam holds the seriously injured father. The father doesn't die. Instead his wounds heal in front of their eyes and he stands up as if he wasn't injured at all, thanking the two brothers a thousand times and calling Sam his savior.

Sam throws Dean an irritated glance while Dean watches him wearily. "Great," he says more to himself than to Dean. "Now this is a turn of my powers I totally anticipated." With a sigh he turns towards Dean, who is perched on his shovel, still watching him (always watching him). "You comin'?" Dean looks seriously weirded out, which Sam supposes is understandable. "Yeah, yeah, we're gonna talk to Bobby, okay? God. I hope I won't start glowing in the middle of the night or whatever." Then Sam turns around and walks towards where they parked the Impala, counting on Dean to follow.

Dean always does.

 

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