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06 December 2005 @ 09:45 pm
Supernatural Fanfiction: Atonement  
Title: Atonement
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Sam and Dean (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary (S1 "Asylum" Coda): Dean doesn't want apologies, but Sam can't let go of what he's done.

x-x-x-x-x


The car ride back to the motel was far too quiet. No music, no talking. Just a periodic creak from the chassis as the car bounced through a pothole. Sam sneaked the occasional look over to the other side of the car, but Dean didn’t seem to notice or care. His body slumped a little in the driver’s seat, and he looked tired and withdrawn.

They stopped in front of their room, and Sam got out. When he looked back, Dean was still sitting in the car, staring vaguely at nothing. After a moment, he pulled himself out of the car with considerable effort and moved stiffly toward the door. Sam unlocked it, entrusted with the keys for a change, and Dean half-stumbled in and leaned slowly back onto the bed.

Sam shut the door, and edged over to the bed hesitantly. “How do you feel?” he asked.

Dean closed his eyes for a moment. “Could be worse,” he said.

Sam got the first aid kit from the top of the battered dresser, and sat down next to Dean, trying not to jar him too much. He reached over and began unbuttoning Dean’s shirt, and Dean’s eyes half-opened. “I’ll take care of it,” he said. “I don’t need to be babied, Sammy.”

“This isn’t babying, Dean,” Sam said. He finished opening the shirt, and surveyed the damage. “This is… making reparations,” he said.

“What?” Dean mumbled.

“Atonement,” Sam said.

“I knew that,” Dean said. Sam clamped down on the reflexive eyeroll, and gently probed at the bruised flesh around the wounds. “Sam,” Dean said awkwardly, “You don’t have anything to atone for. Really, man. It’s okay. I’m not mad.”

Sam sat back and looked at Dean. “It’s not about being mad,” he said.

“Do you remember when the Shapeshifter had me tied to that chair?" Sam asked. He definitely had Dean’s attention now. "Do you remember what it said?”

Dean stilled. “Yes,” he whispered.

“It said that you resented me and hated me,” Sam said. Dean looked pained. “Was it true?”

“No!” Dean said.

“Well, then… maybe you understand how I feel right now. After I shot you up with rock salt, said a bunch of assy things I didn’t mean over and over, and then tried to kill you! Thank god that gun wasn’t loaded!”

Dean bit his lip and looked away.

After a moment, Sam got out the hydrogen peroxide and the gauze pads, and began cleaning Dean up as gently as he could. He applied some antibacterial cream, put the bandaging on, and pulled the comforter from the other half of the bed over him. He lifted Dean up for some aspirin and water, and then eased him back down. Dean seemed half asleep already, and Sam turned down the light and pulled up a chair, squeezing Dean’s hand gently and then settling back to watch and wait.

As Dean’s breathing slowed, Sam chewed the inside of his cheek and stared into the darkness. That toxic rage that had swept over him in the basement was like nothing he’d ever felt before. It had consumed him, driving his own thoughts back into a corner where they struggled to escape as he watched his hands grab the rifle and blast Dean with the rock salt bullets. He felt himself losing the battle with that force all over again, heard the clicks as he fired the pistol at Dean repeatedly. The crack of Dean’s fist against his jaw had hurt like hell, but his fading thoughts had been ones of relief. He had been no help to Dean just then, and he sure as hell didn’t want to be the one hurting him. He would not be the car driven by any passing demon if he could help it.

Never again, Sam thought. Their lives had been weird enough, and they had run into so many things that were out of their control. But finding himself out of his own control? Hell no. It was strange to think that after witnessing so many possessions, he would become the victim of one himself. Maybe Dean had a point, with those amulets and charms he was so fixated on. Dean had never been possessed, not yet. The Shapeshifter had mimicked him, stolen parts of his thoughts and twisted them, but at least the real Dean had remained unviolated.

Sam wanted to scrub those angry thoughts out of his head. Their echoes still remained—they weren’t his thoughts, but they had left their traces behind. Their ugliness, their insinuations, had grown out of passing irritations and been amplified all out of proportion. He did not feel those things, he didn’t want to remember feeling those things. Anymore than he wanted to be continually revisiting Jess’ death, over and over, day and night, more times than not when he drifted off. That shock, that horror, was like new every time he dreamed it and he just needed some relief.

Damn, he was tired. Tired in his body and tired in his soul. Sam looked over at Dean, sleeping fitfully, and felt the guilt rising up inside him again. He pulled the comforter and pillow off the second bed, and dumped his shoes on the floor quietly before climbing up next to Dean. It was a little crowded… but far less lonely than sitting in that chair fighting off those whispers of anger, or lying in the other bed waiting for the inevitable nightmare. He lay next to Dean, head near his shoulder but careful not to lean into his chest. The scent of gunpowder in Dean’s hair was oddly comforting, a memory so basic and familiar that it carried the whole pattern of his childhood. Dingy hotels, danger in the shadows, and the cleanup afterwards all culminating in the two of them returning safe and exhausted, curled up together at night, sometimes battered around the edges but still there to survive another day. It was the smell of constancy, of family.

Dean moved in his sleep, and started to roll toward Sam before awakening himself with a groan. “Sammy?” he said. “What are you doing?”

“Making the bed smaller,” Sam whispered.

“Oh. ‘Kay,” Dean mumbled. He shifted onto his back again, and drifted back into dreams of being trampled on by horses.

Sam hooked his arm up through Dean’s and lay there, hand clasping Dean’s shoulder and listening to him breath.

He hoped the injuries would heal well, wouldn’t leave any evidence behind. Dean had a few scars—probably fewer than he should—but none of them were Sam’s doing. He didn’t think he could handle a constant visual reminder of how he had hurt Dean and how much worse things could have gone. The wounds inside Dean were bad enough. He’d avoided thinking about them much when he was away, but the ones called Abandonment and Selfishness were still there, and he could feel them in the awkward distance that still cropped up between them from time to time. That wasn’t how it used to be, him and Dean, but that was all before he had left. He hoped those wounds could heal too, that they were not yet scars. After everything Dean had given him, everything he’d done for him, he’d done a pretty lousy job of repaying him.

Dean stirred a little next to him. “You’re not… crying on my neck, are you?” he asked sleepily.

Sam swallowed noisily. “I’m trying really hard not to,” he whispered back.

Dean patted his arm clumsily, and turned his head into Sam’s.

“S’okay,” he mumbled. “Go back to sleep.”

And there it was. He hadn’t earned it and didn’t deserve it, but there it was.

Forgiveness.


-------- fin --------




 
 
 
I'm in love with Sheppard and Teyla needs to diesouthernwinds on December 7th, 2005 06:06 am (UTC)
Dean stirred a little next to him. “You’re not… crying on my neck, are you?” he asked sleepily.

Sam swallowed noisily. “I’m trying really hard not to,” he whispered back.

Dean patted Sam’s arm clumsily, and turned his head into Sam’s.

“S’okay,” he mumbled. “Go back to sleep.”


... awww. That is just so perfectly them. Might I say I am just really adoring these episode-takes. Thanks for giving me another one to read obsessively occasionally. ;)

Cheers,
Kits
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2005 06:09 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it.

That episode so badly needed something more. This is the weak area of the show-- all these painful areas that are surfaced and then ignored.

Dean deserved to hear that Sam really was sorry, so that he had a chance to believe it. The empty pistol alone kind of demands that.

Fastest review in the West :-) Barely posted this.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2005 07:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comments!

I can't leave "Skin" alone, although after Maygra's incredible stories from it I'm kind of flailing in the dark.

And I like the different directions the authors take with these stories. Supernatural_fic is so busy, and it has so much high-quality gen and slash stuff. Not to mention variety.

Plus, the readers/authors comment frequently, which is very gratifying. That's the other awesome part.
jdsampsonjdsampson on December 7th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC)
Very nice from me to you. I like seeing these loose ends pulled together. . these guys have so much baggage - I love it.

Here's my favorite bit. I can see it.

“What?” Dean mumbled.

“Atonement,” Sam said.

“I knew that,” Dean said. Sam clamped down on the reflexive eyeroll,
Blonde on the insidestormcloude on December 7th, 2005 08:09 am (UTC)
I was a little mad at Sam at the end of that episode, but I really like the way you ended this. It almost makes up for him pulling the trigger. ;)
kaly: brotherskalyw on December 7th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
Awww! Very sweet. :)
jellicle on December 7th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
Sweet how Dean forgives Sam. The thing is, Dean will always forgive Sam because he doesn't know how not to, it is part of who he is.
Great job.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC)
Dean will always forgive Sam because he doesn't know how not to, it is part of who he is.

I agree. He treats Sam better than Sam treats him, and I wanted Sam to suffer a little bit more before Dean let him off the hook. And at the same time, I wanted Dean to understand how truly awful Sam felt about what had happened-- because Dean's been on the other side of that, too.
Stacey: sneakingstaceey on December 7th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
I loved this. So intune with poor Sams thoughts after Asylum and the way Dean just gave his forgiveness, touched me. :) Thats the way I see him doing it. Great job!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I think Dean had already forgiven Sam, but was too hurt to let him know that yet (outside the Asylum). But then, when Sam turned it back around with those Shapeshifter memories, I think Dean understood that it was important to LET Sam ask for forgiveness. And that it hurt Dean less, then.
Raven: Supernatural - Sammysxeraven on December 8th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
All the emotional baggage HAS to come up in an episode eventually. I mean, really...

But... that aside. This was great. I can see Sam feeling badly like that, and not making Dean talk because he knows Dean won't... and Dean just silently forgiving him, because that's how Dean is.

It's weird though... and correct me if I'm wrong, it seems Dean will forgive Sam anything Sam does to Dean, but not to anyone else (esp. Dad)?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 8th, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)
It's weird though... and correct me if I'm wrong, it seems Dean will forgive Sam anything Sam does to Dean, but not to anyone else (esp. Dad)?

No, I think you're right about this. But I think it's him being protective of the people he loves.

Being caught in the middle, and half father to Sam himself, I can see him feeling that his Dad sometimes had a point... as did Sam. I think Dean has anger at his father for how John treats Sam, and anger at Sam for how he treats their Dad.

And for Sam, it may be partly a parent dynamic (always having to forgive the slights your children commit against you) and also partly the fact that Dean has to forgive Sam because he cannot stand to lose him.

Think of Dean's life without Sam. I think of Dean's life after Sam left for college, and that picture? Is bleak.
(no subject) - sxeraven on December 8th, 2005 03:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 8th, 2005 04:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sxeraven on December 8th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 8th, 2005 04:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sxeraven on December 8th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
ivy_x3 on December 24th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
i think you're going to make me cry. oh god.
that was beautiful and painful and just amazing.
thank you for writing this.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 24th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC)
i think you're going to make me cry. oh god.

Oooh! That is very high praise.

So glad you enjoyed it! Love the Sam icon.
she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on December 27th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
I really, really liked this. I was being nosy and reading some other users' comments, and to one you replied: That episode so badly needed something more. This is the weak area of the show-- all these painful areas that are surfaced and then ignored.

See, that's exactly why I like the show. I don't think the nature of their relationship allows too intimate a conversation. Not only is Sam brooding and closed-off, but Dean tries so hard to maintain this rugged, solitary, man's man persona. I mean, he's not (obviously the boy has more layers than an onion), but I think Sam would be the last person that Dean would show his weakness to, because Sam is the source of so much pain, jealousy and feelings of inferiority.

I like the open-ended nature of the show. I think it keeps it from progressing too quickly. Their family and their shared history of pain is what keeps the show going. Rather than trying to patch things up too soon, I want a gradual, slow, painful realization of love and acceptance. For me, Sam saying "Do we need to talk about this?" was enough. And besides, look at what a beautiful fic you created in the episode's incompleteness!

“This is… making reparations,” he said.

“What?” Dean mumbled.

“Atonement,” Sam said.

“I knew that,” Dean said.


I loved this exchange. It reminded me of dialogue from the show. ::sigh:: How I adore these boys.

While I'm not sure yet if I could see the boys sharing a bed and being that intimate this soon, it was beautifully done. What a lovely image. And more than that, you didn't go over-board--it wasn't mushy. Well done, truly.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on December 31st, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
I like the open-ended nature of the show. I think it keeps it from progressing too quickly.

Actually, I like that too-- it gives so much possibility rather than telling everything all at once.

While I'm not sure yet if I could see the boys sharing a bed and being that intimate this soon,

You did notice that this was a Genfic one, right? Sam's next to Dean for a number of reasons, including feeling haunted, knowing that he almost lost him-- by his own hand!-- guilt, loneliness, and I think also the secret hope that if he persists, maybe it will get better, that uncomfortable spot they're in after this last adventure.

And, as it turns out, he was right about that last part.
(no subject) - resounding_echo on January 1st, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 2nd, 2006 08:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
tyrical: SPN_Taillypo_SD_togethertyrical on February 10th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
This made me cry.

Sam can be his own worst enemy. I feel for him. He internalizes everything and then he must analyze it at ad nauseam. Yet for the really big things he clams up as well as any man. For the most part his sensitivity is a cover for a great many things he keeps to himself.

Sam's guilt over leaving and his anger is a tasty thing. You feel it in your mouth, in this piece you feel it in the words, and see it in his actions. He's smart enough to not show much of his guilt to Dean. Dean wouldn't accept it. The atonement Dean can understand but you know for Sam atonement is not enough. He wants Dean to get mad to yell at him, to accuse him of all the things that he's thinking of about himself.

Sam's judgments of himself are so much more than anyone else has for him. Especially Dean. Dean we know would forgive Sam for anything. I think its that full acceptance that Sam has the most problems with. Its the one thing(even as sensitive as he is) Sam can't do.

He blames his father for the life he had.
He blames himself for Jess's death.
He blames himself for not having full command of himself so the possession would have never occurred.
He thinks he's weak.

Sam wants punishment. Too bad its not in Dean to give. Sides the only person that can forgive Sam is Sam himself and he's far to judgmental of himself to ever give it to himself.

Lovely story.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on February 10th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, tyrical, I'm so glad you liked this so much. Your words were so lovely.

Yet for the really big things he clams up as well as any man. For the most part his sensitivity is a cover for a great many things he keeps to himself.
Exactly. Sometimes his sensitivity is very self-centered. He knows what hurts and bothers him, but at the same time... he can turn those feelings off when he's doing it to someone else. When he chooses to break of contact for four years-- punishing Dean when the goal is to punish their father, and he must be a little bit mad at Dean for standing by their Dad through all that.

He blames his father for the life he had.
He blames himself for Jess's death.
He blames himself for not having full command of himself so the possession would have never occurred.
He thinks he's weak.


All of this, exactly. I think he wants the universe to make more sense than it does, for something to be responsible. Whereas Dean can choose to shrug things off-- knowing that not everything has to always make sense. Sometimes it just is.

What was so interesting about this episode, and why I wrote this, is that Sam KNOWS what he did was horrible, and he knows that Dean's feelings took a real blow even though Dean denies it at every turn. Given all that Dean did for him, and how much love he gave to Sam, there's no way to pretend that shooting Dean wasn't an enormous betrayal.

Now, how do you convey that to a brother who doesn't want to hear your apologies? How can you be sure that HE knows you're sorry if he won't let you say it? And how can that inner turmoil not be tearing you apart until it is finally, somehow resolved?
(no subject) - tyrical on February 10th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Profiterole: Mirage of Blaze - Naoe and Takaya_profiterole_ on February 25th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
It was great. Especially the last part. I love their dialogue.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on February 25th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. :) This was one of so many episodes that needed an emotional resolution beyond what we saw in the show. It certainly gave me some closure to write it.
tabaquitabaqui on February 27th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
Ah, sweet. Makin' me sniffle.
Lousy fb, i know. Blah. My head is pounding and reading is a distraction.
Lovely stuff.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Gen: icon by Tinamishihalfshellvenus on February 27th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Ah, sweet. Makin' me sniffle.
Lousy fb, i know.


Actually, no. That's perfect feedback right there-- it tells me how you feel after reading it :)

My head is pounding and reading is a distraction.
*Passes you some mondo-Advil* Hope it all helps :)
ezgal on April 8th, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
aw.. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on April 8th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)
Doesn't it feel better than the dangling ache at the end of that episode, though? Ouch.
tis a seekrit: hell doesn't want heroes;killanidea on June 23rd, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Aw I loved this especially the way it ended. *clings*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. Those dangling threads of anger and betrayal and hurt left behind in that episode... even now, they still seem to need some kind of resolution. Dean not only needs to hear that Sam is sorry.... but Sam really needs to somehow say it. It makes for a heavy burden otherwise, and it weighs the two of them down.