I like that show where they solve all the murd3rs (cedarlibrarian) wrote,
I like that show where they solve all the murd3rs
cedarlibrarian

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SPN fic: Fire of Known Origin, Dean-centric gen, R

I blame heidi8 for this. Thank you, loff.

I've been meaning to write a decent-length SPN fic for some time, and I love writing gen, so I was really happy when Heidi told me about signups for spn_summergen. The big reveal is now live, so I can be all public and say that I wrote Fire of Known Origin for missyjack, who, um, doesn't know I exist. dettiot did the beta and hand-holding. Can I also be proud that I wrote the only first-person fic in the fest? I'm proud that wrote the only first-person fic in the fest. It was easier than it should have been, which is either totally great or totally frightening.

Fire of Known Origin. Supernatural gen, Dean-centric, rated R for violence and language, ignores the information and events from "No Rest for the Wicked" and "Malleus Maleficarum" but is otherwise canon-compliant. missyjack's prompt was "Dean in hell (crack or horror)."


Fire of Known Origin


Before I sold my soul, I had been convinced that Hell looked like Disneyland. I mean, sure, Clive Barker, Hellraiser, that shit was pretty convincing, but it was conventional, y'know? Since the time of the Greek gods everyone knew the stories about Hell being some terrible dark place, with demons doing all kinds of torture, turning people on spits over fires and all that. I had no doubt at least some of those stories were true, but secretly I always held on to this idea that Hell looked different for everyone. I had been sure that Hell was hordes of screaming kids, moms bashing your ankles with strollers, chicks wearing fanny packs and mouse-ear hats, those people in the furry Donald Duck costumes, and worst of all, "It's a Small World" over and over and over...

I was fucking clueless.

First thought in Hell is icantbreathe. It's so hot. Air thick with smoke. A weight in my arms.

"Dean, take your brother..."

There's a tall man with a deep voice. Then there's more smoke in my lungs than oxygen and I fade out.

I don't know how time passes here. Legends say it passes a lot quicker in Hell than it does on Earth but I don't know how anyone down here could stay conscious long enough to figure that out, not if they were going through what I went through.

"Dean, take your brother..."

The tall man again. Something soft in my arms, again. I'm blind from smoke, choking on it. Again. I look up and the last thing I see is fire catching on the tall man's clothing.

His shriek is the last thing I hear.

Next thing I remember I'm surrounded by the crackle of fire and painfully bright light and the tall man is here.

"Dean, take your brother..."

Third time's the charm. I figure out he's talking to me. I must be Dean. My brother? The warm weight in my arms. Suddenly heavy.

An explosion. A ball of flame through the door. The thing in my arms catches fire and it screams and the man screams and I scream and after that I...

...I don't know.

I live and die through this scene more times than I can count.

Everything starts to look the same.

"Dean, take your brother..."

I escape the fire but I trip going down the stairs and crack my head open.

"Dean, take your brother..."

I look down at the baby and his eyes are bright yellow.

"Dean, take your brother..."

I'm in that dream where I'm running from the monster and I can't move my legs, only this time it's a fire monster and I see it eat the tall man before it eats me.

"Dean, take your brother..."

One time I'm able to remember enough to get out of the house with my brother (what's his name?) in my arms and the lawn outside the burning house is wet and cold. I've figured out by now that the tall man has to be my father. Who else would tell me to take my brother and run as fast as I could? But then I see him trying to run from the house and he's in the front doorway when the whole house blows up.

By the time I know what I'm living through, I'm sure years have passed on Earth. There's a name for it, but I have to die a few more times before it forms in my head.

When I finally come up with the word hellfire, I remember everything.

Hellfire.

Oh holy fuck.

This is what it's going to be, Hell. Hell is different for everyone. I think on this as I drift through open space.

Where I am, it's not night or day. It's not warm or cold. It's not bright or dark. I'm alone, but not lonely. The sky is the same color as the ground, sort of an I-washed-my-darks-with-my-whites gray. This would be a really good time for a demon to come by and tell me exactly what's going on here, but there's no one around as far as I can see. I look down at my hands and think

Sammy

and hear

"Dean, take your brother..."

and see

Dad

and finally I know what to do.

There is hell all around me.

I take Sammy and run. Fire chases my dad out of the house but he makes it out all right. As he picks me up I'm still holding Sam and I've forgotten how strong he was. I'm not wearing shoes and my socks are wet from the grass. Dad doesn't stop running until we're at the car. There's no saving the house. Fire pours through the upstairs window and climbs toward the roof.

For a minute I think there's an earthquake because something is shaking underneath me. Then I realize it's Dad.

"Dad, you're crying."

He looks down at me. I'm still holding Sam, who's fallen asleep. I feel Dad's breathing stop for a second but all he does is hold me tighter.

I don't think he ever cried after that but you know, I'm not sure. A lot of my memories are kind of fading.

Back in that nowhere place. Purgatory? I never did figure out if that was real. I mean, I don't really care what this place is, it's better than the fires so I'll take it. So now it's like, what next? Am I going to have to keep reliving this hellfire over and over, rescuing Sammy all the time? Huh. That would be...what's that story with the guy who keeps trying to push the rock up the hill? Something like that. I guess I could live with that. Beats being turned on a spit over a fire by some demon.

And in any event, it's not Disneyland.

I think after a while I fall asleep, because I wake up in a bed that's way too small.

A small bed. Surrounded by stuffed toys and pictures of racecars.

It's my room in Kansas.

I get up and nearly kill myself tripping on the tangled blankets. The fire's probably started and Dad will need me to take Sam out. Hell might be reliving this fire day after day but if I can save Sammy I might almost be able to tolerate it. But when I reach for the doorknob it's cool. Cracking the door open, I take a breath and find the air totally clear.

Time is on my side.

I plot fast. Dad won't have anything around that could kill a demon, not yet, but maybe if I can come up with a fire poker and some table salt I can hold it off, get Sam out of the nursery. Got to get to the kitchen without being noticed. I don't bother to close my door before heading for the stairs, past the door to my parents' room.

...shhh, Dean, when the door's closed that means Mommy's sleeping. Let's not wake her right now...

The TV is on downstairs in the living room. That's a good sign. With Sam being so little they're probably not sleeping through the night yet. Dad's catching a nap whenever he can and the TV should drown out my movements. I move silently down the stairs like Dad always taught me to, catching my weight and transferring it to my quads. So far, no creaking.

At the bottom of the stairs, I hear Sam crying.

Forget the salt and the poker. No time. I turn and run, taking the stairs three at a time towards Sam's room.

Save Sammy. Change everything. Fight the demon before—

I'm already breathing hard by the time I get to Sam's room but I can't stop. There's a man in a dark coat standing over Sammy's crib and I throw myself at him. I've got nothing to fight him with except my bare hands, meaning if I last ten seconds in this fight that'll be a long time. But I have to try.

It's like this demon's made of rubber. I bounce right off him and he throws me into a wall headfirst. Little white stars flash in my eyes and my head hurts so bad I feel like it's about to split open which, knowing this demon, it probably is. I touch my hand to my head and it comes away dry, but that's still not very reassuring. For a second I barely know up from down.

"You."

I think that might be my voice. It might be the demon's. I don't know. Sam. I just have to get to Sam. Feels like my legs are made of lead. Standing is hard but I get there. Focused on the crib, I take a step forward.

Yellow-Eyes smiles and raises his hand. Next thing I know I'm slammed back into the wall.

"Son of a bitch."

There's a force holding me here that feels like those carnival rides that spin you around so fast you stick to the walls. I can feel my arms and legs but it's like they weigh about ten times what they're supposed to. I've been here before, not here here, but pinned to walls like this by demons. I know it's stupid to try to fight them but Sammy's life is on the line here, so I struggle anyway. I can just about move my fingertips and turn my head.

It's not until I start sliding up the wall that I realize I've got no fucking chance.

The floor is sinking away from my feet and that's when panic sets in. I try wrenching away from the wall while saying any Latin I can remember, hoping I'll hit on an exorcism. For all I know I'm reciting some demon's grocery list. I probably am. This Latin thing was never my strong suit. Why couldn't they just speak goddamn English?

"Your Latin is almost as pathetic as your attempt to save your family," Yellow-Eyes taunts.

"This what gets you off, huh?" Talking is hard. Every word I say requires more energy than the one I said before it. "Putting me... through this?"

"Dean, Dean, Dean. You always act like it's all about you. Jealous of Sam?"

He slides me around the moldings and over the bumps in the paint until I'm flat against the ceiling. The room looks a lot bigger from here. I can see Sammy wiggling under his blankets. He's whimpering and the sound breaks my heart.

"Look, just...just let Sam and my parents go, okay? You can... take me and do… whatever you want to me, make me your slave, whatever it is you sick bastards like to do, all right? I'm yours. Just leave Sam alone."

Yellow-Eyes looks from me to Sam and back to me. "Do you honestly think you're in any position to bargain with me right now? What do you have to offer? Someone else already owns your soul. I've already got more demons working for me than I know what to do with. You were never the one we wanted, anyway. But it seems I'm stuck with you, so..."

I hate when demons do that mysterious demon-talk thing. It's not mysterious. It's just annoying. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Sam's gonna lead your demon army, all hell breaks loose, been there done that. Only he's not, because Sam's better than—"

With a twist of his hand, Yellow-Eyes forces the rest of the air out of my lungs. Some kind of thought involving the words don't need dead in Hell breathe anyway crosses my mind but doesn't form a coherent sentence. He's petting Sammy now, stroking his head, and I'm so enraged I think that my anger alone can get me off the ceiling. It can't, of course, but it's nice to think that for a minute.

When the tear starts to open along the front of my shirt I have this awful moment of clarity.

He's going to keep me alive long enough to make me watch him rip out my guts.

It's like someone is drawing a dull knife across my stomach, left to right. Blood seeps out and stains my shirt. I can smell it, metallic and sickening. He's cut through the top layer of skin and the pain, Christ, I'm surprised I don't pass out. I know I shouldn't look down at the wound, but I do, and I choke down vomit. I can see what I think is muscle. It might be organs. I don't know. I'm dripping blood onto Sam now and he's starting to make noise in protest. That sound alone is enough to kill me. Yellow-Eyes opens the wound an inch at a time, like it's a mouth that's going to swallow me from the inside out. I'd scream if I had the energy, but it's draining from me with every drop of blood.

Dad. Doesn't Dad show up right about now? Shouldn't he? Maybe with a fire poker and some salt, enough to get me down from here?

"He can't save you," Yellow-Eyes says. "Not any more than you can save him, or your brother. You're in my territory now, Dean, and believe me, I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

"Dean! Dean!"

Dad's voice.

He doesn't know I'm not coming. He can't see things for what they really are.

The last thing I hear is an eruption of flame around me and a wail of fear from Sam.

By now time is meaningless. I pass it by being pissed off all the time. First I focus on Dad. He could have raised me and Sam to be normal, even after what happened to Mom. He didn't have to pick us up and move us around every other week. He could have let Sam go to college without a fight. He still had me. Wasn't I worth anything? Sam had all this potential. He was really good at school. Spent all his spare time reading when he wasn't whining. Dad could have just let him do his thing. I was always better at hunting than Sam was, anyway. He had the brains but not as much common sense. And Sam… I'm not sorry for what I did, selling my soul for him. He's worth it.

Sometimes I forget that.

I'm starting to forget too much.

Is that...?

It is. It has to be. You live with someone long enough, you can pick them out from a distance just by the way they walk.

Dude. It's like my thoughts brought Sam here. Wait. Does that mean Sam's dead? Maybe he is. It's probably been a long time on Earth since I left.

I run towards him.

"Sammy?"

He doesn't say anything. Just keeps walking in my direction. I don't know what to do or say first. When I reach him I hug him. It's the first time I've touched another person in God knows how long. He's solid and after the fires I've been through his jacket feels cool.

Something's wrong. He's not hugging back. And he was way more huggy than I ever was.

I pull back and hold him at arm's length. It sure looks like Sam. It even stands and moves like Sam. Have I been down here so long I can't tell the difference?

My train of thought is cut off when Sam takes my wrist. He's squeezing it a lot harder than he needs to.

"Sam?"

The way Sam curls his lower lip in, I know he's upset about something. He's focused on my arm, not my face.

"What's wrong? Sam, you're kinda hurting me."

He doesn't say anything. He looks up so we're eye to eye. It's that look that says he's got a lot to say but won't say it. His fingers are still tight around my wrist.

Flame bursts from between his fingers. My shirt is on fire and I scream, "Sammy! Let me go!" I try pulling my arm away but he's stronger than I am. He is? Since when? Fire climbs up my shirt toward my neck. The smell of the fire in my hair makes me gag. I still have time to put it out if I can get away. I still…

So. Hot.

Smoke up my nose and in my mouth.

sammy let me go

Coughing. Eyes watering. Knees weak. Losing consciousness.

Sam doesn't move. Doesn't say anything. Just watches me burn.

As I turn to ash in his hands, he blinks and I can see that his eyes are glowing yellow.

This shit has to stop, I think when I'm conscious and alone again. And I'm going to have to cut it off at the source. If everything started with the night of the fire... I don't know. Maybe I can go back and stop it. Would stopping it in Hell make a difference?

Worst thing that can happen is I die and go to Hell, I guess.

Closing my eyes, I will myself to drift into nothing.

I wake up in my bed in Kansas.

Man, I swore I would never go back. But a hunter's gotta do what a hunter's gotta do.

This plan might be the batshit craziest thing I've ever thought of. No time to think on that now, though. I jump out of bed and open the door slowly. Everything's where it should be: Mom and Sam in bed, Dad's got the TV on downstairs. I creep down the stairs just far enough to make sure he's asleep, and then as fast as I can I run for the fire implements and grab the poker. If I can get the important part done maybe...

Can't think about that right now. No time to think. I've only got half a minute or so to grab the salt. Technically I don't need it now that I've got the poker but I'm not interested in taking chances. Kitchen. No, table. There it is, next to the napkin holder. I race up the stairs and there's an old Metallica song in my head.

Kill, it's such a friendly word, seems the only way for reaching out again.

This may or may not be the only way for reaching out, but it's the only idea I have right now. There's no sign of the Yellow-Eyed Demon. For once, maybe I'm in the right place at the right time. Even in Hell.

I only let myself breathe out when I see I've made it in time. Sam's alone. No Yellow-Eyes. I sprinkle a line of salt behind me across the threshold of Sam's room.

God, I hope this works.

Just for added reassurance, or maybe because I'm kind of paranoid, I make another salt circle in Sam's crib, right around him. Can't take any chances.

For half a second, I pray.

Then I raise the poker and aim for Sam's heart.

--
Tags: fic, spn
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