liketheriverrun (liketheriverrun) wrote,
liketheriverrun
liketheriverrun

I've caved to the pressure...

...and started my own LJ.  A place I'll post fic and anything else I might find interesting. Whether you will, too, remains to be seen.  I write predominantly  hurt and comfort fics predominantly in SGA... John and Rodney are my boys and I write both gen and slash, but you'll always have a warning which it is if you aren't interested in one or the other.  I just posted a fic over on fanfictionnet called Velocity Asymptotic.  It's a long one, but I hope to post some shorter ficlets I wouldn't necessarily post anywhere else here on the LJ.  

I've also branched out a little and written a Supernatural missing scene for The Benders called Humpty Dumpty.... I write gen only in the Supernatural fandom.  This little missing scene came about mainly because Koschka begged and whined and wouldn't let up on me until I did. (And Dean thinks he has it bad with Sammy always whining for him to shoot him.)

Humpty Dumpty

 

 

Dean rarely lost control. 

 

He rarely let the stress of the situation crack through that ass-kicking, demon hunter shell that he had created over the years.  A shell reinforced by biker boots and leather jacket, classic rock blaring from a classic automobile, and a dark humor that gave the paint job on the Impala a run for its money.

 

Sure, if I superglued his beer to his hand he got a little testy.  If someone suckered him at pool before he could sucker them, he’d been known to throw a punch.  If someone looked cross-eyed at his beloved car… yeah, okay, yelling wasn’t quite big enough a word for what he did and I’m not sure Roget’s could come up with one either.  Just like I couldn’t find the right word to describe what he was doing now.

 

“You better just go ahead and stick that fucking knife in my eye right now.  Because if I get out of here I’m going to use it to gut you up the middle, you and your entire Deliverance-costarring family!”  That last was accompanied by a rattling of the chair he was tied to and all of it was directed at an adolescent girl.  And none of that was Dean’s style.

 

He was too much of the good little soldier, from his regulation haircut, to the steely-eyed glaze that overtook him when he was taking out a monster, to the way he straightened and called Dad, Sir, when he spoke to him on the phone… the one and only time our father had graced us with that honor since I’d rejoined the hunt.  No, Dean may have never darkened the doorway of a Marine recruiter’s office, but he hadn’t needed to.  He’d been raised by John Winchester, drill sergeant to two motherless boys that had grown into two seriously fucked up men.  And seeing as I was one of them, I knew from personal experience.  I’d also found a way out and been branded a deserter in the process.  I’d gone AWOL to try to find a normal life with normal people with normal problems.

 

I should have known that wouldn’t work, that once you’ve seen what’s really out there lurking in the shadows, there’s no pretending you haven’t.  Eventually you find that a normal life is the fairy tale and the boogieman under the bed is what’s real.  And I also realized that I hadn’t gone AWOL so much as into reserve and I’d once again been called up into active duty.  I’d left behind that dream world where I met friends at the bar just off campus to talk about the last poly sci exam before going home to curl up in bed with Jess, and had returned to a darker one where I sat in a bar in Hibbing, Minnesota with my brother discussing the elevated missing person rate of the county and what could be taking everyone before finding out first hand when I was taken myself.

 

I knew the routine, knew what was expected during a hunt.  I may have rebelled against the basic training that had been my childhood but I’d grown up in the Winchestermobile boot camp the same as Dean.  You keep your emotions in check, your gun in front of you, and someone you can trust at your back.  For Dean, that someone had always been Dad, but then Dad vanished and for the past couple of months that someone had been me.  And now… 

 

Fuck. 

 

I suddenly understood what was going on.  Dean may have never sat through a Stanford pre-law class and debated the applicability of circumstantial evidence in court.  How it can damage your case as much as help it if it isn’t presented exactly right.  But he’d obviously taken the evidence he’d been given… me locked in a cage with no way out followed by gunshots from the barn I was being held in… and come to his own conclusions.

 

That’s what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket and then slowly lose them one by one.  Mom’s was gone, Dad’s was missing, and mine, as far as he knew, had just been smashed to hell by a hunting rifle.  And that pretty much left Dean with an empty basket and turning into a basket case where he sat cursing and threatening a child.

 

Peeking around the doorjamb, I could see the girl with her back to me, the knife held to Dean’s face and the flash of firelight off the short blade.  Short but still deadly, just like the girl wielding it.  Behind me, I spotted a bedroom and an old quilt on the foot of the bed.  That should do the trick.  Using the blanket as a net, I snuck up behind her, Dean still threatening her the entire time.

 

“I’m going to kill you and every family member I come across in the Tri-State area, which should be a pretty quick job given your obviously limited gene pool, you sick little…”

 

Dean stuttered, apparently coming out of his rage enough to notice me creeping through the darkened room, and that was enough to alert the girl to my presence.  I barely had time to register the anger at himself for giving me away, but it was there, a silent curse directed inward before he yelled out a warning as she turned and charged me.

 

“Sammy, watch out!  She’s got a knife!”

 

I wrapped her in the quilt and the blade poked out one colorful square of the homemade binding, sliding so close to my arm I could feel the coolness of the metal.  “Really?” I mocked over the muffled screams coming from the flailing bundle I struggled to hold onto.  “I had no idea.”

 

“Just…” he floundered irritably, “stuff her in the closet and untie me before the others get back.”

 

Maneuvering her toward the closet while she called for her brothers and father for help, I did my best to assure him.  “You don’t have to worry about them.  They’re taken care of.”

 

“All of them?  There were three.”

 

I picked her up thinking it might be easier than staggering across the room, but that only had her kicking at my shins.  “Yes, all three,” I gritted out.  “Ow!  You miserable little…”  Cutting off the curse at the kick to my kneecap, I managed to get the door open and heave the child inside, then wedged a chair under the doorknob.  That should hold her, at least until the cops arrived.  And seeing as the woman that was in the cage next to mine was a deputy, I was sure that was going to happen sooner rather than later.

 

I moved over to squat by Dean then, checking the ropes and deciding I needed a knife of my own to cut him free.  That wasn’t hard to find– these people had weapons lying around like most people had throw pillows and coasters.  And suddenly, our childhood didn’t seem quite as strange.  Great, I’d found something in common with a family that hunted humans for entertainment.  Too bad Dad wasn’t here; we could have had a nice cookout and discussed the best method for sharpening blades, maybe exchange recipes for the best gunpowder mixes.

 

Taking the Bowie knife that was sitting on a nearby table, I started cutting at the bindings on Dean’s wrist.  “Come on, come on, come on,” he mumbled impatiently under his breath, torn between looking at me in amazement that I was still alive and refusing to meet my eyes.

 

Dean was rattled, no doubt about it.  And in all honesty, that rattled me.  So I did my best to help him put that fractured egg he’d thought he’d lost back together piece by fragile piece.  I did what I could to bring things back to normal… well, normal for us, anyway.  “I can’t believe you let a little girl take you down.”

 

“Fuck you, she had a knife.”  I had cut one hand free and he flexed it to get the blood flowing again.

 

“She had a glorified nail file,” I scoffed as I moved to the other hand.  “Did she give you a manicure?”

 

I could feel his eyes on me, watching me closely as I worked on the ropes around his wrists.  “No, that would be more your pansy-ass speed.  She was tougher than that.  Sneaky.  Wily.”

 

“Geez, Dean, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you liked her.”  My teasing grin was met with a flinch of his jaw as he looked away again.  “Is she your giiiiiirl frieeeeend?”

 

“No, she had her brothers for that.”  Dark eyes flashed to mine accompanied by a disgusted twist of his mouth before they flicked away again and I felt one more eggshell fall back into place.

 

“Ewwww,” I grimaced as the binding came free and he rotated that hand, as well.  “They didn’t make you squeal like a pig, did they?”

 

“I guarantee, for one reason or another, I wouldn’t be sitting here in this chair if they had tried.”

 

I leaned in a little closer to cut the rope around his chest and caught a whiff of scorched fabric and the lingering scent of burnt flesh and for the first time noticed the wound on his shoulder.  “Dude, did they burn you?” 

 

I honestly thought I might have been more disgusted by the thought of them doing that than keeping it all in the family, so to speak.  Because the only reason you would burn someone like that is to torture him, and it just made me wonder what they had been trying to get out of him in return.

 

Now it was Dean’s turn to try to calm my outrage.  “It’s nothing; just cut me loose.”

 

“Dean, that’s not nothing.”  Glancing down I saw the poker still resting in the fire, the end glowing a sickly red, and felt me own teeth grinding in anger.

 

He shrugged, wincing at the action.  “Seriously, I’ve had worse.  It’ll heal fine and I’ll just have one more scar.”  He did his best to flash a cocky smile.  “And you know what they say, chicks dig scars.”

 

“Yeah?  Well, how do they feel about skin grafts?”  I checked it over as best I could in the dim light, thinking not for the first time that pre-med would have served me much better than pre-law ever would.

 

“Sammy, enough about the shoulder.  Just get me the fuck untied, already.”

 

“Are you hurt anywhere else?”

 

“No,” he answered instantly and I knew that was a lie.  One that was confirmed when I cut the rope and my hand brushed against something wet along the front edge of his shirt.

 

Raising my hand with the blood, I showed it to him in challenge to his last answer.  “Uh, Dean?”

 

“It’s nothing; just a little nick.”  He wiggled slightly to loosen the ropes around him and they puddled into his lap.

 

“At some point, a whole bunch of nothings are going to add up to something, here.”

 

“I said, it’s nothing,” he reiterated a little more slowly and directly.  “Now, either cut my feet free or give me the knife so that I can do it myself.”

 

But I wasn’t going to let him get out of this one so easy.  I’d nearly lost him a few weeks earlier.  Let me tell you, CPR on my own brother is not on my top ten list of ways to spend an afternoon.  But I’d kept the blood pumping and oxygen moving through him long enough for the paramedics to arrive and zap his heart into beating on its own again.  And after all that…  After kneeling in a puddle of water and performing chest compressions, the whole time cursing him up one side and down another for going after a rawhead instead of looking for Dad and how he better the hell not leave me to do that on my own.  After begging him not to be another addition to the list of people I’d lost.  After promising in desperation that he could play his AC/DC cassettes every goddamn day and I wouldn’t say a word if he would just take a fucking breath.  After all that, I’d been told by the doctors that all they could do was keep him comfortable until his electrocuted heart finally gave up the ghost.  Ends up it was a ghost that saved him, or more accurately, a reaper.  Ironic, huh?  I guess the family business, as Dean likes to call it, has an entirely different health plan than your typical HMO. 

 

So, no, he wasn’t going to get off that easy with a dismissal when I had his blood smeared on my fingers and the memory of him being dead in a basement still fresh in my mind.  Leaving my hand where he could see it, I pressed again, my own anger coming out.  “Dean, you’re bleeding, you’ve been burned, what else did they do to you?”

 

“Sam, enough.  Now is not the time for you to play mother hen over a nest of eggs.  I’m not that delicate.”

 

“Well, when you’re pulling a Humpty Dumpty on me, maybe you are,” I snapped back. 

 

“I guess that would explain why you’re acting like the King’s Horses’ ass.” 

 

But the sarcasm didn’t sway me.  “What else did they do to you?”

 

“Now, Sammy.  Cut me loose!”

 

Speaking just as forcefully, I ordered, “Tell me what they did.”

 

“They told me they were going to shoot you!” he blurted as he grabbed my wrist in a white-knuckle grip, his eyes meeting mine and holding them for the first time since I’d entered the room.  And what I saw he’d been hiding there scared me more than any wound that he might have been hiding ever could.  “They told me they were going to shoot you in that fucking cage you were locked up in, not even going to give you a fighting chance!  And then they left me tied up here with Dakota Fanning’s evil, unbathed twin to taunt me while I listened to them do it!”

 

“Well, they didn’t do it!”  I bellowed back, because trying for calm just wasn’t an option at this point.

 

“I can see that!”

 

“Then why are we still yelling?”

 

“I don’t know!”  He pulled in a few ragged breaths before leaning back in the chair in exhaustion, the fingers still looped around my wrist trembling even as he relaxed his grip.  “I don’t know,” he sighed, the soft voice in sharp contrast to the shouting that was still causing my ears to ring. 

 

He rubbed at his eyes with his free hand.  “I really, honest to fuck, don’t know.”  It had been a good twenty-four hours since I’d been taken from that bar, and I doubted he had slept any during that time, just as I doubted he was talking about our screaming match any more.

 

“Dean.”  I brought my own voice back down to a more respectable level.  “I’m not dead.  They didn’t kill me.”

 

“But they could have.”

 

“So could pretty much anything else that we come up against,” I reasoned.

 

“Yeah, that’s the problem.”  He sighed again before releasing his hold on me and scrubbing briskly at his face.  He flicked an impatient hand between his feet and the blade I still held.

 

Snorting, I took the knife and cut at the ropes around his ankles.  “That’s been the problem since you were four.  After twenty-two years, why’s it any different now?”

 

“Because you got out.  You got out and I brought you back in and now, if something…”  He took a deep breath and shook his head, his discomfort at trying to say what he meant making him prickly.  “I feel responsible, okay?”

 

“You’re kidding, right?”  I shook my head in disbelief even as I moved to cut the final rope.  “You think I came back to hunting because of you?”

 

“Well… yeah.  You were happily finishing up school, making plans for a suit and tie job, settling down, and I came in and pulled you away from that Hallmark card moment to go find Dad.”

 

“And when we didn’t find him, I said so long and had every intention of going back to my life.”  When he just looked at me in confusion I continued.  “Dean, if Jess were still alive, I wouldn’t be here right now.”  The rope broke free and I sat back on my heels.  “You didn’t pull me back into hunting; the thing that killed Jess and Mom pulled me back in.  I’m here because I want to find that thing and destroy it so it can’t hurt anyone else.  Not because you took me on a wild ghost chase for a weekend.  You’re off the hook; I’m not your responsibility.”

 

Dean stood, stretching against being confined for so long, then folded over when his stab wound protested the action.  Standing myself, I took his arm around my shoulder to support him.  His hand gripped my shoulder as he shook his head.  “If you really believe that, you haven’t been paying attention these past couple of decades.”

 

We made our way slowly out of the room, the two of us glancing only briefly at the renewed banging coming from closet.  “Dad’s not here,” I reminded him.  “No one’s going to punish you if you slip up now and again.”

 

“Wrong again, little brother.  You may not be doing all this because of me, but I’m not doing it because of Dad.”  His hand squeezed again, this time a little more possessively, and I felt a twinge of guilt to think that when this was all over, when we’d killed whatever it was that had taken Jess from me, I had another life waiting.  One that after a long day on the road and another night of eating fast food in a cheap motel room, I looked forward to returning to.  And eventually, I’d intentionally leave Dean’s basket one egg lighter again.

 

But not tonight.  Tonight I’d play the King’s Men role and work to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  “Dude, you’ve seriously been watching too much Dr. Phil.”

 

“Well, if you’d ever figure out how to unscramble the porn channels, I might actually have something worth watching.”

 

I snorted again, surreptitiously looking down to the bloodstain on his shirt and jeans to see if it was growing.  It wasn’t; which meant that maybe he was right and it wasn’t much more than a nick.  “Yes, because using my laptop to download it evidently doesn’t meet your porn quota for the week.”

 

“What’s the point of having illegal credit cards if I can’t use them to do something like that?”  We reached the front door and he straightened.  “All right, all right, get off of me.  Don’t want the deputy to see me and get the wrong idea.”

 

“What?  That you’re human and aren’t immune to pain?”

 

He shrugged and took a step away from me.  “Pretty much.”

 

Staying close, just in case he was hurt worse than he let on or worse than I could tell, I nearly ran into him when he stopped short in the doorway.  The deputy stood in the muddy driveway, a shotgun in her hand, and an almost… lost look on her face.

 

“What’s wrong?” I asked.  Surely she wouldn’t turn us in the cops.  After all, we’d saved her life.

 

Dean shook his head and the motion quickly spread through his entire body like a shiver.  “Nothing.  It’s just… that could have been me standing out there.”

 

I knew immediately what he meant.  I’d felt the same way when I had left her holding a gun on the man in that barn to go find Dean; that sinking feeling deep in my gut to match what I’d seen on her face when Dean had confirmed that her brother’s car was parked behind the house, confirmed that her brother really was dead.  A confirmation I’d feared finding myself.  And if I was honest with myself, maybe Dean wasn’t the only one that had needed put back together again.  Sometimes you played Humpty Dumpty, and sometimes you played the King’s Men, and sometimes you played a little of both.  And, yes, sometimes you played to King’s Horses’ ass along the way.  At least we had each other to do it.  I just hoped the deputy had the same waiting for her at home.

 

“It could have been,” I told him with a push to his back, “but it’s not.”

 

“No, Sammy,” he agreed with a grin over his shoulder, “it’s not.”  The grin was brittle, a little cracked around the edges, but genuine. 

 

I’d take it. 

 

Chalk one up for the King’s Men.

 

The End

Tags: fanfic, supernatural
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