Banner by apieceofcake
Title: Somethings I Can't Regret
Pairing/Characters: Sam/Dean, OCs
Warnings: Swear, graphic imagery
Word Count: 3,960
Prompt: #30 Writer's Choice (Regret)
Disclaimer: Don't own - just playing in somebody else's sandbox.
Summary: Dean learns the hard way that not all demon's wear masks and sometimes the good guys are the bad guys.
A/N: Seventh installment of the Darkness Undefined 'verse. The rest can be found here
in order of oldest to newest. Prompt table
Dean Winchester doesn’t do regrets.
At least that’s what Dean likes to tell himself, and anyone else that will listen, but he also knows that sometimes it’s a lie.
Sure, when he picked up a bartender or a waitress, or convenience store clerk or the clerk at whatever crappy motel he was staying at and left them with a fake cell number and a promise to give them a call, he didn’t regret it. He was what he was, a nomad, a hunter of the supernatural and nothing could come from his one-night stands but mutual pleasure of the moment. And they had chosen to fall in bed with him, he never coerced anyone, maybe he was never truthful about who or what he was but they chose to spend time with him on their own accord. So regret any of his one-night stands? No.
But, no matter how much he reminded himself, or later on Sam, of his father’s adage of not being able to save everyone, he always had to push away the regret for not being fast enough, smart enough, strong enough, when a victim died on his watch.
He doesn’t regret killing that slimly, little bastard, tattoo artist, no matter what Samuel thinks, because the sick fuck was molesting kids. He does, however, regret that the animal had the opportunity to gain access to so many children because of the apocalypse, because the apocalypse is his fault. That’s why he lets Samuel think what he does, that Dean’s been in a funk because he killed a human, and that’s in the loosest sense of the term, because he knows what his brother would say if he knew the truth.
But Dean doesn’t believe in Destiny, doesn’t believe that his baby brother had to become the anti-Christ because his father is a demon. Doesn’t believe that there was no way things could have gone different, that if he hadn’t pushed Sammy away all those years ago, pushed away what his own heart had been clamouring for, that Sammy wouldn’t still be Sam and not Samuel. And that, he does regret, to the deepest, darkest, core of his being.
However he can’t feel regret for accepting his place at Samuel’s side, those years apart from Sammy felt like he had been torn in two and even if his original intentions had been different, he’s glad he’s there.
At least that was until they rolled into Terrington two hours before. Until he saw the carnage that had been wrought on the little village that had always fallen, several miles, inside Samuel’s domain.
His first warning that something was really fucking wrong, had been the smell about two miles outside of the village, a sick combination of burned wood and death clinging to the light breeze that slicked his mouth and clung to the back of his throat. But the warning did nothing to prepare him for the devastation that became apparent the closer they got.
There were still some inhabitable buildings but for every liveable space, two were nothing more than lightly smouldering skeletons, blackened support beams, chunks of charred drywall still attached here and there, roofs mostly gone, windows nothing but glass shards, left to sparkle in the early afternoon sun on cracked cement and asphalt. His mind had shied away from the reasons for the devastation because he had been through towns, villages and hamlets that had survived Samuel’s mass burning of any metropolitan area that had once boasted any population better than 5,000 and although there had been atrocities, how could there not be with demons running loose, but he had never seen anything, anything, like this.
But that had been easy to stomach compared to what was waiting at the other end of the single road through the village. Two quickly dug pits, on the opposite outskirts of the village, swarms of black flies like thick, undulating clouds, hovering over them, filled with the bloated, rotting remains of men, women and children, that almost tore the contents from his stomach, violently.
His pride wanted to be ashamed for his squeamishness, he had been a hunter, had been confronted by his first dead body, the remains of a werewolf, when he had been twelve. But these had been innocents, victims, fucking civilians, and they had been dumped into two mass graves with no care, no remorse. Left to bloat and bake and rot as the weather and the bugs saw fit.
Dean had swallowed, swallowed again and then again to keep his lunch down and had tried, in vane, to keep his eyes focused on the road splitting the two pits while his mind whirled and screamed.
“Samuel…” He had started, ashamed at the weakness leaking through his voice.
Samuel had held up a hand, “Not now.” He hadn’t bothered to glance over, instead keeping his eyes firmly ahead of them, appearing not to be unsettled by, or even really taking notice of, the gruesome sight.
“Jesus Christ Sammy! What the hell happened here?”
Samuel’s head had snapped towards him and the yellow of his eyes had frozen Dean momentarily before he forced his own gaze back to the road before them.
“We are not discussing this here.” He snarled, “You’ll want to take the second right once we get past the town limits.”
The second right. The second, fucking right.
His brother’s tone had dropped back into conversational, like nothing was really amiss after snarling at him only a second before. Like the bodies weren’t there. Like the smell hadn’t invaded the car, making breathing difficult even if it was only shallow pants through Dean’s mouth. He could taste rotting meat in the back of his throat and yet Samuel acted like it was nothing. Nothing.
“No.” He growled back, “Those are, were, people Samuel. They deserve better than a massive open grave at the side of the fucking road!”
He could admit that he had sacrificed a lot to be at his brother’s side, his integrity, his basic belief that if it was evil they killed it, Bobby, Ellen, and all the others he had befriend before and after the apocalypse but there were certain basic truths that he couldn’t let go of. Even with the world gone to hell, literally, there were still thousands of civilians that were basically innocents that needed to be protected, even and especially in the event that they died. He couldn’t say with any certainty that none of them would come back as tormented spirits and it would probably be better to salt and burn all the bodies. And that had to be better than what was happening now.
“You don’t understand what’s going on here Dean.” Samuel hissed back.
“I don’t fucking care!” He started to ease the Impala off to the side of the road, ignoring the fact that he would be parking beside one of the pits, better to do so here than to wait until they drove past. It would be too easy then to ignore the screaming in his head to do something about this when it wasn’t staring him in the face.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“What needs to be done.” He growled back, forcing down his nausea as he tried to gauge the distance between the side of the car and the pit.
All he had to do was use the lighter fluid from the trunk, it wouldn’t even take all that much, not with the conditions of the bodies, at least he hoped, and a couple matches. He would be doing the right thing, whatever had happened had been horrific and only an idiot would believe that none of the souls would come back to torment those still surviving in the town.
He ignored the nagging fear that once he got the Impala stopped and the trunk popped that he would find it empty, what little he had left of his arsenal back when he had hidden his baby at Bobby’s, either cleaned out by vandals or emptied by Samuel before he had give the car back to him.
“Keep going Dean.”
“Either of your own free will or mine, we’re not stopping.”
The words were breathed out low, the promised threat was loud and clear, but then again, so was the regret riding the link between them. It was the only thing that stopped Dean from slamming on the brakes and throwing a punch at his brother.
“Don’t threaten me with your shit Samuel.” He growled but kept the car rolling slowly, trying to ignore the feeling of betrayal at being threatened. He was Sammy’s consort, not his plaything and because of it, it had never occurred to him that that wouldn’t stop his brother from using his power of persuasion against him because to him, it should.
“Then keep going.”
His heart hurt, both because of Samuel’s betrayal and for all the dead left like discarded toys, the emotion leaving him feeling angry and yet so very tired.
“Dean.” The word was sharp but was tempered with the feeling of regret coming from the tattoo. “It’s not safe here. Not yet.”
That was all it took, two little words that sent his adrenaline pumping. Not safe meant that something or someone could be nearby looking for the opportunity to kill Sammy and that overrode everything else, even Dean’s feelings about anything and everything else.
Dean crossed his arms over his chest, “No.” He shook his head vehemently, “No fucking way.”
Samuel chuckled and his yellow eyes flashed in amusement. “You can act the petulant child all you want Dean, this is happening.”
He ground his teeth together, “This isn’t fucking funny Samuel. You’re talking about sacrificing humans to your demons!”
He shrugged nonchalantly, “The townspeople started it.”
“The townspeople…” he spluttered and felt the tenuous control he had had on his anger snap. Without conscious thought, he was across the room in three quick strides and had his brother pushed up against the wall.
“You fucking started it.” He snarled as he twisted his fingers into the soft cotton of his brother’s shirt, pulled him away from the wall before slamming him back into it.
“You and your goddamn army. You wrought Armageddon, tore the fucking world apart, you sanctimonious shit and yet you dare to try to blame people for just trying to survive.”
All traces of humour melted away from Samuel’s eyes, replaced by his own anger. “They were doing just fine Dean.” He hissed low as he grabbed Dean’s wrists and pulled his hands from his shirt, both of them ignoring the sounds of seams tearing. “They had their homes, their jobs, their lives. Nothing really changed in this pissant little burg until your resistance do-gooders showed up and decided to liberate them.”
Samuel flipped them around, slammed Dean up against the wall and pinned him there with his powers. “We were betrayed, brother mine, by snivelling little shits and, because of it, demons and humans died in this hole.”
“Let…Me…Go!” He snarled.
He took a step back and smirked. “Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was a little hamlet that fell behind the demon’s line but it was doing okay. Sure the people were pissed because of the demons but what can you do?” Samuel paused and shrugged helplessly before continuing. “Now one day a young woman snuck into town and some of the townspeople hid her from the authorities and she in turn started whispering in their ears. She promised many things but the most important was freedom from the demons and those desperate enough to grab at it made sure those that weren’t were silenced. Men, women, family’s were slaughtered in their homes by their neighbours under the cover of darkness all for the elusive promise of freedom.”
Dean’s stomach rolled and his mind tried to push away the painful truth of the words but he couldn’t deny them. He had been seeing mankind at it’s lowest for the last few years and man turning on man for a chance at something better wasn’t all that surprising or unexpected.
But Samuel had said that hunters had come to the town and one of the only demands that Dean had for those that chose to follow him were that they fought for mankind and didn’t use those they were fighting for. This couldn’t be the people he trained because even if he no longer directed them, Bobby would never allow this kind of warfare either.
“Those in control here were remiss in their duties to their charges. They didn’t notice those that were missing and that was their fatal mistake. Because just like with the murders, freedom fighters attacked in the night. They were well armed and efficient. The five demons who held the town never stood a chance.”
Dean wanted to be elated, a hamlet, this hamlet, had been taken back but it had been miles behind enemy lines and liberating it would have been futile, whoever planned this had to know that. And that was on top of the murders of those that were too scared to help the first hunter to come to the town. What the hell had whoever had planned this been thinking?
Samuel paced the room for a minute before he leaned up against the desk in front of the small window facing into the backyard. He stared out into the late afternoon sun and Dean could see his body becoming tenser, could feel his anger burn bright through their link.
“They didn’t come to liberate the town.” Samuel said low, not bothering to turn back to make sure Dean was still listening, knowing instinctively that he would be. “What would be the point in trying when it is so far into my territory?”
He felt the shift in the pressure against his body, shifted in his newfound freedom but didn’t pull away from the wall. Instead he stayed leaning against it, using it for the support that he was sure he was going to need soon, Samuel’s words leaving him with a chill.
“They blessed the town’s reservoir,” He shrugged, nonchalantly before he turned his head to smirk at Dean. “Wonder where they learned that little trick.”
It wasn’t a question and needed no answer, since they both knew that if it hadn’t been Dean that taught them directly, it would have been someone else he had taught. They had started doing that back in the beginning days after Armageddon, it was a quick and sure fire way to tell possessed from truly frightened and hadn’t bothered to stop. It may not keep the demons out of the towns but it sure as hell helped.
Samuel turned back to stare outside once more, his hands coming up to grip the sides of the window frame and Dean heard the old wood crack beneath his fingers. “The thing is, they didn’t stop there. Every last farm animal was slaughtered, gardens destroyed, all fertile farm land around here was treated to the same but with the added benefit of salt.” He turned to glare back at him, “They took away every chance this hamlet had to survive because all outside resources would have to come from the nearest towns and they are controlled by me. Why?”
He crossed his arms over his chest, “They knew they couldn’t hold this ground so they destroyed it for everyone.”
Dean’s legs were weak; the only thing keeping him up was the wall at his back. They couldn’t hold it, so they destroyed it. Tactically it made sense but the whole point of fighting against Samuel and his legion was to help mankind, not make it harder for them.
“This happened six days ago.” Samuel continued after he waited a moment to ensure that Dean processed what he had told him. “Three days ago we took the town back. It wasn’t all that hard since all but one of mankind’s fighters have moved on. Don’t know what good they thought leaving her here was but…” He shrugged again before his yellow eyes flashed with anger. “The pits that disturbed you so much,” he nodded towards the way they had come. “They were here when my army got here.”
Oh fuck! Oh fuck no! It couldn’t be, hunters would know better, they wouldn’t do that, they wouldn’t leave the bodies of those that could potentially become angry spirits. He thought about the salted farm fields, the dead animals and had to swallow down a groan. Yeah they would, if it could potentially add another element to ensure the hamlet’s destruction and subsequent abandonment.
“The villagers had no idea what had been done to their land, though I can’t see them not missing their livestock but sometimes people are blind to all but their own desires and freedom to some was more important than necessities like food I guess. So when my people arrived to take back what is mine, there was a struggle and more died, bodies were added to the pits.”
That bit of news barely registered as a horror, not after what he had already heard. Dean had only agreed to teach, to lead, those against Samuel because they wanted better. Not this, never this.
“The little hunter that started this all was the one left behind and she will be among those that will be handed over to Marcus. It’s a blood debt Dean and be happy I convinced him to take only those three.” He crossed the room and gently brushed his fingers down Dean’s cheek. “Demons chose mates. Granted most matches don’t last long but sometimes they do. One of the demons killed here was his mate. He wanted the whole town, starting with the children.”
He paled as his stomach rolled. It didn’t matter that he had never met the demon using some poor guy named Marcus, a demon was a demon and one demanding children for it’s games smeared his imagination with visions of screams and blood and naked little bodies tortured, brutalized.
His mind twisted away in horror, settling instead on the memory of plunging Samuel’s hunting blade into the tattoo artist’s heart, of the heat of his blood as it had run down the blade and onto Dean’s hand. Of the vicious satisfaction he had felt, still felt, at watching the spark of life fade from the pedophile’s eyes as he slumped in his brother’s arms.
He had killed a monster without a mask and had felt nothing but grim pleasure. But now Samuel, his own brother, was asking him to stand back and let a monster, hiding inside a victim, do as it pleased with a misguided hunter and two innocents and his fists clenched so tightly that his knuckles cracked.
He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t stand by and let this happen.
“This is still murder Samuel. I refuse to have any part of it.”
“What part’s murder Dean? The hunter who pushed desperate people into murdering their neighbours? Or the two that single handedly did the killing of said neighbours? Who used other friends as shields when my people came back to reclaim this place? They deserve to live to you?”
God damn it!
“You said it yourself Samuel, they were desperate for their freedom and they made bad choices.”
He smirked, “And the hunter? What’s her excuse?”
Dean ground his teeth together in frustration. Really there was nothing he could say in her defence, Samuel was right, she had set this all into motion and he felt little for her but anger. Only. Only there was one small chance, one small hope, “She was doing as she was told. Following the chain of command.”
Samuel smiled coldly and nodded. “Okay so the townspeople were following her word and she was following orders. Sounds a little Charlie Manson’s girls to me. But fair enough. Problem is, that wouldn’t have saved them from being charged and convicted in a court of law six, seven years ago.”
“This isn’t six or seven years ago though is it?” He grumbled back, pissed at himself because he could feel the sides of the corner Samuel had talked him into closing in.
“No it’s not. Laws change. Now it’s my law and some of it includes things like blood debts.”
Samuel’s yellow eyes flashed, “You are my confident, my consort, my equal and as such I need you by my side, on my side as I pass down my judgement.”
Dean started shaking his head, “I can’t. I can’t stand by while you sentence three people to a hideous death at the hands of a demon. It’s still murder.”
He laughed darkly, “So it’s okay that they caused the deaths of over half this hamlet. That they personally committed murder. You’re saying that I should just let them live?”
He knocked his head against the wall at his back, “Sammy…”
“There’s no way for this town to survive. Those still living will be broken up into smaller groups and sent to other towns around the area. Or that was the plan.” He grabbed Dean’s chin and forced him to keep eye contact with him. “But if I let those that should be punished live then that can’t happen. I can’t let word spread that I will let such indiscretions pass.”
He narrowed his eyes, “So you’re telling me that I either back you on three deaths or a hundred?” He demanded, “You’ll kill those left of this place.”
It should have giving him some hope but Samuel’s yellow eyes were practically glowing and that was something that only happened when nothing good would come of it for anyone but maybe the legion.
“But I will force them to stay here and try to survive. I will triple the demon contingent and ship in fresh water and food for them only.” He smirked coldly, “And I will put Marcus in charge of running this hole.”
Dean shivered, instinctively knowing that no human would be breathing within two months and that the last two months of their lives would be worse then hell.
“And if I stand by your side and let you hand over the three?”
“I will stay true to my word and ship the others out to other towns.”
Samuel’s smile was still cold but his eyes had lost the iridescent glow, fading back to the yellow Dean was sadly becoming accustom to and that, at least, was something.
“It works better that way for both of us.” He continued softly, “I know you, brother mine, if you fight me on this and I bend to your will, those left here will be under Marcus’ heel and we both know that will play on your conscious and really isn’t there enough weight there already? But if I send them away they will be safe, well safer, and I get the added benefit of them telling their new neighbours about what happened here. It’s doubtful that many will be so ready to hide another freedom fighter from my people again after knowing what they did to this town. Sometimes it really is better to chose the devil you know.”
So maybe Dean Winchester did do regrets but knowing exactly how things had gone down. Who had effectively made this hamlet into a ghost town and left the survivors to eek out any kind of living they could from it and face Samuel’s wrath. He couldn’t feel regret for the three he was about to watch be handed over to monsters. Not when the ultimate truth was that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.