I’ll Risk Me Before I Lose You
Sam watched silently from his spot leaning against the ornate oak doors of the church as his brother fidgeted in the hard wooden pew a dozen feet way from him. Standing there in the well kept old church, lit only by candle light and the diffused light of the moon filtering through the multicoloured glass windows, he could imagine Dean as an earth bound guardian angle seeking guidance from above. The soft light lending an air of the surreal to the surroundings, his brother. Could almost forget that they were here because they were taking refuge from the hellhounds Sam couldn’t hear but his brother would soon. Too soon.
“Sam,” Dean grumbled softly, not bothering to turn towards him, instead keeping his head bowed. “This isn’t going to work.”
The younger Winchester sighed before pushing off the door and making his way forward. “Just humour me Dean.” He pleaded as he squatted down in the aisle beside the pew.
He watched as his brother first turned his head towards him before twisting his whole body his way. “Sam I appreciate all the research you’ve done over the last year, all the time you wasted trying to find a way to get me out of my deal but even without being able to know the details I know you haven’t found anything. If you had found anything you wouldn’t have demanded that we drive across three states so that you could hide me out in this church.” Without warning his body stiffen and he cocked his head to the side obviously listening to something Sam couldn’t hear.
“They’ve found us.” He continued after another moment before starting to stand.
Sam pushed his hands down on Dean’s thighs, applying pressure until the older Winchester settled back into the hard pew.
“No Dean I have a plan damn it!” He growled leaning heavier on his hands still planted firmly on his brother’s thighs.
Dean snorted and waved a hand around them, “And that would be what?” He demanded, “Encase us in this church forever? Cry sanctuary when the priest shows up tomorrow morning? I don’t think that will work so well. Never mind the fact that I’m pretty sure that churches no longer offer sanctuary but are you forgetting that Meg got to Pastor Jim while he was on holy ground? Do you really think that that crossroads bitch can’t come in here too?”
Sam could see the panic beginning to break through his brother’s carefully built walls, could see it starting to bleed into his eyes and rubbed his thumbs into the tensed muscles beneath his hands. Dean was right, he had never stopped searching for way to break the deal, didn’t stop not even after he had come to the horrifying conclusion that there was nothing short of killing the crossroads demon that could break the deal only four months into his brother’s last year on earth but he had kept up the pretence not wanting to admit defeat, not to himself, not to Dean. It had occurred to him, a bitter thought that soured his stomach and made his jaw ache from clenching his teeth, four months and six days in, that maybe if he had finished school, maybe if he had become a lawyer that he might have found a way. Perhaps not, since he had always planned on becoming a prosecutor but he would have come up against several defence attorneys who wouldn’t necessarily been on the up and up, after all someone had to defend the lowest of the low and sometimes the bad guy did get off scott-free. One of them would have been able to find the tiny loophole Sam had missed, managed to weasel a way out of the deal for Dean. The younger Winchester would bet his life on it. But the ugly reality was that he didn’t have those contacts, didn’t know any lawyers other than the couple who had come to Stanford to give lectures and somehow he didn’t think they would even remember a student from a couple years previous, someone they had met in passing and he definitely didn’t think they would listen much further past “So my brother made this deal with a Demon to resurrect me.” before they had him removed from their offices and directly into a mental institute.
But while Sam had been so busy mourning his ineptitude he had missed the inklings of the way he was going to save Dean. In fact it had been his brother that had finally, inadvertently shown him the key.
“Dude that’s like the hundredth time that shit has happened.”
Sam glanced up from his usual spot, settled as comfortably as possible in the rickety motel chair, laptop open before him balanced at the edge of the equally unstable table and various demonology books scattered nearby. He glanced back at Dean, leaning against the door frame of the bathroom, momentarily distracted by the small droplets of water sliding down his brother’s naked chest to soak into the towel wrapped loosely around his hips as said brother began to rub at his wet hair with a smaller towel.
“I know, I know.” He managed to choke out, forcing his eyes up and away from the alluring sight and back to the laptop before him, ignoring the sudden tightness in his boxers and the desire to pull his t-shirt off to combat the abrupt upswing in the temperature in the room. “But I just wanted to check something out. I’ll only be a couple minutes.”
“I’m not talking about that.” Was the muffled reply and then a deep sigh. “I mean sure if we’re not actively hunting or researching a case or you know, fucking, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll have your geek on looking for a way out of my deal but for a change that’s not it.”
Sam quickly shrank the four windows he had opened closed as he heard Dean pad softly up behind him. He knew the details of Dean’s deal, knew that in no way could his brother have any idea about what Sam was up to in reference to his predicament. Knew that the crossroads demon would somehow instantly know about it and cancel the deal effectively freeing Dean but he himself would drop dead in an instant and although he could admit that he didn’t want to be dead, that wasn’t why he diligently made certain that his older brother never saw or had any indication as to what he had or hadn’t learnt. It was because if he dropped dead again he didn’t want to think about what it would do to Dean and this time there would be no way the crossroads demon would make a deal with him and with no yellow-eyed demon to still hunt what would stop Dean from giving up and letting go? No way in hell would Sam let that happen, just like there was no way he wasn’t going to not get him out of the deal.
He felt his brother’s hands on his shoulders, fingers pushing into the tense muscles, let his head drop back to lean against Dean’s stomach and stared up at him.
“I’ve been noticing that it seems like every time we face off against one of the demons that escaped through that gate that the minute it notices you that it hesitates before attacking. I don’t get it.”
Sam raised an eyebrow in question even as he moaned low in appreciation as Dean fingers found a particularly tense spot and he dug into the knot slowly loosening it. “Hesitate how?”
Dean shrugged, “It’s like they look at you and can’t decide if they should fight or I don’t know run or drop to their knees or something.” He momentarily squeezed a little harsher at Sam’s shoulders and something dark flickered through his eyes. “You sure you didn’t leave anything out that that yellow-eyed shit said to you back in your dream.”
Sam swallowed, he had left a lot out actually, like the whole the demon dripping his blood into his mouth and the fact that their mother obviously knew the demon but he still wasn’t ready to share those little revelations, wasn’t sure if he was ever going to be ready. He mentally shook himself before it was his turn to shrug until the pressure eased on his shoulders and his brother went back to gently working the kinks out. “Nah man. I told you what he told me. Looking for a leader for his army…chosen one…blah, blah, blah.”
The older Winchester tilted his head to one side, “Maybe that’s it then. Maybe, somehow, those fuckers know that you are supposed to be leading them and they are hesitating, waiting to see what you’re gonna do before they do anything first.”
“How in the hell would they know that?” He felt a shiver slide down his spine as he spoke, the demon’s blood, it had to have something to do with it. Christ that was just another thing he didn’t want to have to deal with, ever.
Dean stared at him silently for a moment almost like he was assessing before his hands slid from Sam’s shoulders and traveled down his arms. “Probably can’t.” His answer was more hot breath against Sam’s ear than voice. “More likely than not they know the name Winchester.”
Sam shivered for a far different reason than the last time as his brother’s warm tongue dragged from his ear down to his collarbone.
“Dean I really need to get this done.” He groaned.
Dean shifted, threw a leg across Sam’s and settled into his lap. “You’re working to hard.” He admonished softly before pressing his lips to his jaw. “We beat the day’s big bad. Neither of us got hurt bad during the process and I’ve only got a handful of months left.” He bit the skin his tongue had been laving a moment before.
He pulled back at stared at him sadly before the all too familiar smirk appeared, “Sam leave it for now okay? You can get your geek back on tomorrow I promise but no more tonight.”
He had allowed himself to be pulled into a kiss, acquiescing to his brother’s request and ignoring the sudden stirring in his brain until the next morning while Dean snored softly beside him.
He had made sure to pay closer attention to the things they hunted that had come from the hell’s gate from then on and he had seen for himself how they would hesitate when they first caught sight of him. It had given him an idea, a hope, that maybe even with the yellow-eyed demon gone he could maybe still control them.
It had taken time and all the patience he had honed as a hunter, to learn how to control them without drawing attention to himself from Dean. In the end he wasn’t entirely sure he had succeed in with the last part if the looks he kept getting from his brother over the past few months were any indication but he had finally gotten to the point where, without words he could force them to a stand still, suppress their powers enough that they could take them down.
The energy it took from him almost took him to his knees every time, the headaches blinding, the looks Dean kept shooting him unnerving but he had succeeded and in the end that’s what had mattered. After all if he could control them maybe he could control the crossroads demon, if only for a moment, hopefully long enough to put the plan he had been honing into motion.
“We don’t know the history of the land Pastor Jim’s church was built on.” He began, finally ready and able to fill Dean in on at least the rudimentary aspects of his plan without fear of reprisals. Since, in truth, the root of his plan was based on his belief that the demon would have no power on truly sanctified ground, that they would be safe here.
Dean snorted, “Dude it’s a church, the land beneath would have been sanctified before it was built. And she still managed to walk right in and kill him.”
“Can you still hear the hell hounds?”
“Loud and clear.” He muttered as he turned to stare at the doors, “Not quite outside the doors but close enough.” He paused and drew his lower lips between his teeth for a moment before continuing, “I’m guessing even if their momma can cross over purified ground that they can’t.” He looked back down at his brother kneeling in front of him. “She’s gonna be pissed that she had to come collect me herself Sam. It’s probably better that I go out there and let them take me before she comes.” He lifted his hand and gently caressed the younger’s cheek, “I don’t want her taking her anger out on you.”
Sam leaned into the touch, “I forced you to drive across three states for a reason Dean.” He started softly, “I needed an old church, I needed one from the eighteen hundreds at the very least. A little known fact about old churches is that the ground isn’t just sanctified once but several times. If fact up until the early 1930’s church grounds were sanctified every time a new priest came to oversee the flock.”
“So you’re saying that the ground below us is pretty much what? Super holy?” He smirked, “Baby that might mean that she can’t cross it but it still traps us here and we’re back for begging for sanctuary. And you and I both know that’s not gonna work.”
They both turned at the yell and Sam felt a thrill of triumph when the doors remained solidly closed, it appeared that he had been right, that she couldn’t step on the church grounds. It looked like his plan had a solid chance as long as he could now follow through with the hardest part.
He didn’t want to hear it, didn’t want to know what his brother wanted to tell him, not yet anyway. Instead he leaned forward and pressed his lips against Dean’s in a soft kiss.
“Don’t make me any angrier Dean or you won’t be the only Winchester going to hell tonight!”
Dean pulled away from him to glance once more towards the door. “I’ve gotta go Sam.”
He began to shift his body away but once again Sam leaned forward and stilled him with his palms pushing into his thighs.
“Stay here.” He spoke softly but the demand was clear.
“No Sam!” Dean grabbed his biceps, fear and concern warring in his gaze. “You tried, I know you tried but there was no way short of magically producing another bullet for the colt and killing the bitch. I don’t blame you but I’ve gotta tell you I pretty much had that figured out even before you started looking for a way out. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner but I didn’t think you would listen but you’ve got to understand you DID NOT fail. Okay? You didn’t. You don’t get to go all martyr now just because you couldn’t find a way out.”
“I promise I’m not going to do anything stupid.” At the eye roll he grinned, “Well not any stupider than normal anyway I promise.” He kissed him softly once more. “It’s all part of the plan.”
He tried to pull away but this time Dean kept him from standing.
“Then tell me this grand plan of yours Sam ‘cause I’ve gotta tell you I’m not feeling reassured right now.”
“I’ll tell you everything after.”
“I can’t just let you go out there without know what the hell is going on.”
Sam smiled softly, “After I promise.” Once again he leaned forward and pressed his lips to his brother’s, sliding his tongue out to lick along the seam of his lover’s lips. He moaned in the back of his throat when Dean immediately opened for him and his tongue slipped inside.
He let everything go for a moment, just enjoying the feel of Dean’s tongue sliding against his, his brother’s taste filling him up. He let himself take, hoping to remember this moment in time in case he had miscalculated, in case he was wrong and the plan went sideways.
He pushed the thought away as he broke the kiss and smiled gently one last time at his brother. Carefully he pulled his arms away and stood.
He managed to step out of range as Dean stood up also.
“Stay here Dean.”
“Damn it Sam!”
“I promised I’d take care of you.” He began to backup towards the doors, “And to do that I need you to stay here.” His hand shot out as his brother continued to move forward, “There’s rope in the bag,” he threatened softly gesturing towards the duffle back by the doors. “Don’t make me hogtie you.”
“As if you could hold me down long enough.” Dean snorted.
His brother stilled, glared mutely at him for a drawn out moment before turning and throwing himself back down in the pew.
He managed a reassuring smile, “Thank you.”
“Yeah yeah.” Was his grumbled response.
He managed a weak upturn at the corners of his lips for his brother before he turned his back on him and forced himself to cross the few final feet between himself and the door.
There was always the chance that the plan could still fail, that he had been wrong and she could walk on sanctified ground or that controlling the yellow-eyed demon’s army had been a fluke because they had been trained or had it beaten in to them or brainwashed or something to force them to follow Sam’s lead. Maybe it wouldn’t work on her or, and here he always felt terrified, perhaps in pulling enough power to control her would finally tip the scales and send him head first into the darkness that Dean had spent so many years protecting him from.
This was for Dean, father, mother, brother, confident, best friend, lover and for him he would face that fear. Either the fact that he was doing this for Dean out of love would keep him from falling into the seductive lure of the darkness or once he turned the ground he stood on would do the same thing to him that he was hoping it would do to her, kill him.
He pushed open the doors and glanced around at the dark forest surrounding the church. Once upon a time, when the building had first been built there had been the beginning of a town surrounding it. But for whatever reason the founders of the fledgling town had decided to move it a couple miles North, leaving the church where it stood but still using it. It had remained throughout the years, the congregation apparently never complaining about having to drive a half hour out of town to go to services. Sam didn’t understand it but wasn’t complaining. It was one of the few churches that fit his qualifications and the only one he had managed to track down that was secluded enough to meet his needs.
Satisfied that the surrounding woods held no witnesses, at least none that were civilian or visible, he looked down to the wrought iron gate at the end of the church grounds. He smirked as he watched the dark haired woman pace back and forth in front of it, he could clearly make out her features pinched in aggravation but even if he hadn’t been able to, her angry strides would have given her irritation away.
He swallowed down the hesitation he felt, he really didn’t want to die, Anything for Dean, he reminded himself silently thinking how his brother would do anything for him including trading his own life for Sam’s.
“Good evening.” He called as he forced his suddenly numb legs forward and down the concrete steps.
She whirled and glared at him, “Well, well ,well.” She snarled as she took a step closer but never near enough to risk the purified ground. “Dean’s a lot of things but I never would have believed being a coward was one of them.” She taunted, “Sending his little brother out to bargain for what? Another day, week, month, year? The thought of having to face those he sent to hell before him finally given him pause?”
He felt his anger rise at the taunt but managed to swallow it down, he was going to need all his composure, he wasn’t a five year old who needed to defend his brother’s character. Hell even at five he had never needed to defend it, nobody had been stupid enough to impugn on the character of the Winchesters back then. Few were stupid enough to do it now, with the notable exception of demons.
He stilled before the gate and ignored the sudden pounding of his heart as he pulled it open. He stepped up so that he was standing just a couple feet in from where he believed the property boundary was and smirked out at her.
“Hardly.” He finally answered while he began to concentrate on centring himself, feeling inside his mind for that dark place where he knew the power lay waiting. “Matter of fact he’s just inside if you would like to come in.”
He watched her jaw clench as she gritted her teeth.
“No? Now why would that be?” He asked softly, his own tone turning taunting. “Not scared of a little holy ground are you?”
“Don’t fuck with me Sammy boy.” She snarled, composure completely gone so quickly he took a surprised breath. “Technically I could call the deal off right now and you’d be a corpse before you hit the ground. Either you’re brother gets his ass out here now or that is exactly what’s going to happen.”
“No! I’m coming just leave him alive please.”
“Goddamn it Dean!” He didn’t bother to turn around just snarled over his shoulder. “Stay the fuck there!”
“Sam she’s not fucking around.”
Even if Dean hadn’t stayed in the church he was pleased to realize that at least the sound of him coming down the stairs had paused.
He chanced looking back at his brother, “She can’t get to me or you as long as we’re in here.” He smiled reassuringly at him, hoping to dispel the look of fear on his brother’s face, knowing it was for Sam’s own safety not his own.
He turned back to face the demon once more, “Isn’t that right sweetheart?” He purred softly as he felt the first stirrings of the power within him begin to make his body tingle. “If you could I would have been dead when you first showed up, probably even before once you realised that your pretty pets couldn’t get to my brother.”
She sneered back at him,“You can’t hide in there forever. I will get what’s due.” She looked him up and down once before continuing, “With interest.” She promised.
“Hmmm.” The tingling had intensified to almost painful and he took a deep breath.
“Why not come collect now?”
She lurched backwards as if she had been slapped.
“You know you want to.” He continued, focusing his thoughts on forcing her desire to get to Dean to overwhelm her instincts of survival. “He’s right there only a couple feet away. Come and get him. Come and get me. I promise we won’t fight.”
He raised his hand out to her, palm out, gesturing for her to take it, take him.
“Sam what the hell?”
He had purposely kept his voice low and knew that only the demon before him could hear his words, which also meant that Dean could only see his movements and wouldn’t understand. He desperately wanted to reassure his brother but couldn’t risk breaking the lure he was building around the demon.
The sound of Dean clattering down the remaining stairs forced him to push past the limits he had set within himself when luring the other demons. “Come on sweetheart.” He purred while wiggling his fingers at her. “Come on baby come and get me.”
Without warning she leapt forward, latched onto his hand and tried to drag him towards her. Instead he used her own momentum against her and hauled her onto the holy ground.
The results were instantaneous, the moment her feet cross the boundary she began to scream, loud and ear piercing howls that made both brothers cringe and cover their ears. Then smoke began to rise from beneath her feet and she appeared to try to jump back but at the same time stayed rooted to the spot.
Dean reached him just as her body began to convulse and drop to the ground.
He pulled him back away from her flailing limbs just as the demon’s screams raised another pitch before suddenly chocking off as the demon’s essence, pitch black smoke, escaped out of the possessed woman’s mouth. It hung in the air before them, swirling in on itself before a hideously misshaped face appeared in the centre of it.
For a short minute red eyes glared out at them before suddenly the cloud exploded outward, disintegrating in the light breeze.
Nausea and the sudden need to be vertical brought Sam to his knees.
He heard Dean, knew he was right there with him but he sounded so distant, like he was calling him from a great distance.
In all the times he had used the power to control a demon, this was the worst and the exhaustion was overwhelming and yet in the back of his mind he could feel strength coiling. It would be so easy to draw on that strength and use it if only to get himself to his feet then the Impala.
Why stop there? Whispered seductively through his mind. I can control them. If I can control a crossroads demon, a demon not of his army why can’t I control all of them?
Behind his closed eyes he could see it clearly, making his way back to the hell’s gate, opening it and amassing an army of his own of the creatures that dragged their way out of the pit. So easy to control them if he only accept the strength, the power to do so and then everything would be laid at his feet, hell, earth maybe even heaven. So easy, so much power, then he could do whatever he wanted; never have to fear anyone or anything again. Neither him nor Dean.
He had used the power for Dean. To save him but if he followed through with the insanity running through his mind, this would kill him as surely as if he had left his brother bound to his deal. But this would be so much more torturous.
He felt his cock harden at the thought of causing pain, of controlling the one person who had always had a sliver of control over him for a change.
“Sammy please open your eyes. Baby please.”
He could do that, open his eyes, stare his brother down. Set down the ground rules as to how things were going to be from now on starting here and now.
His gaze wavered and he had to blink the haze away before he could clearly make out his brother’s worried gaze before him.
“Sammy.” Dean breathed out and touched their foreheads together. “Christ you scared the hell out of me.”
He pulled back so that he could stare his brother down but felt his resolve, his need to dominate, begin to melt at the obvious relief and love shining back at him.
He had done this for Dean but not just to keep Dean with him but because he loved him and his brother loved him back. If he allowed the darkness to rise eventually that love would die and then everything would be for not.
He let the strength slip through his fingers; he didn’t need the world, just Dean. Slowly he fell forward and buried his face in his brother’s neck. “’M tired. So, so tired.” He slurred as he allowed his eyes to fall shut once more.
He felt Dean’s arms come up to cradle him, “What happen Sam?”
Sam let out a huff of breath, “Later, promise. Just sleep now kay?”
He felt his brother rub his cheek against the top of his head before he started to shift, trying to get them standing. “Okay but not here. I saw a motel a few miles back on the outskirts of town. You can sleep there.”
He let himself be pulled to his feet and fell into his brother’s side as Dean looped an arm around his shoulders.
Sam forced himself to place one foot in front of the other and kept pace with his brother as he led him slowly towards the waiting Impala.
Yeah this, the comfort of Dean holding him close, caring for him, loving him was much better than all of heaven and hell bowing down to his every whim.
Much, much better.