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19 April 2007 @ 08:17 am
Supernatural Gen Fiction: It Don't Come Easy ("Heart" Coda)  
Title: It Don't Come Easy
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Sam and Dean (Gen)
Rating: PG-13 (subject matter)
Summary: There are rules that must be followed…
Spoilers and/or Warnings: Season 2, "Heart."
Disclaimer: Neither Supernatural nor its characters are mine.
Author's Notes: Written for the 60_minute_fics challenge on "Crossing The Line," and also for my Switch25 challenge (this is "Forbidden").

x-x-x-x-x

There are certain rules that must be followed, their father told them. Even in a world like theirs.

They kill evil—only evil. There is much that's strange, but still not harmful in itself.

Dad was short on examples to back up that lecture. Zombies hunt, ghouls haunt, and even quiet ghosts cause terror that invites misfortune.

To be a Winchester is to hunt things that other people don't believe in, or quickly deny. Living in the space between other people's realities and things that shouldn't exist, Dad found a way to make things Black and White (always, always with an overlay of blood).

Now their Dad is gone, and life isn't as simple as he made it out to be.

He never talked about "will become evil"— about people infected with a demon virus, who are still just people when you have to shoot them down.

He never said there were creatures who resisted their fate—vampires who only fed from animals, who crept through their unwanted versions of eternity as best they could.

So now Dean's killed things where he's left wondering. He can't be sure he was right.

He's forced demons out of people who don't have the strength afterwards to survive on their own. He's killed a wife and mother because she was probably going to turn within the hour. Probably. He hopes.

Dean wants to know where this suddenly went wrong—why Dad never told them about all these gray areas that have found Dean, that make his confidence bleed.

They never had to kill people before—at worst, it was a human shell worn by demons in disguise. Possessions lead to exorcism, and then the demons were cast out and silenced. The only werewolves they'd dealt with before were always shot while still in wolf form. Dean never knew werewolves were people until they changed, that they'd have no memory of the horrors they committed in their altered state.

Pulling that trigger on Madison would have been the hardest thing Dean's done yet, except that letting Sammy do it was so much harder. So much worse.

Here, in Madison's living room, Dean lets Sam crush him with his grief, with the weight of his very soul.

Sam crossed a line that should never have existed, forced by circumstances to kill innocence for the greater good.

This never came up, in all their training— the line was drawn at "things, not people," and there was never the possibility for conflict over what was necessary and what it would cost.

Dean can't tell if Sam's tears are all for Madison, or partly for himself. This is the end of Sam's innocence too, and the loss is bitter, oh so bitter.

Scarred by a war he never wanted to fight, Sam is broken and blackened inside. The sounds of his devastation are the glittering shards of his spirit, slicing through Dean's heart like the cruelest, coldest glass.

Dean grieves for Sam, for all the ways he can't protect him. The world is larger and less controlled than even their darkest doubts had ever fathomed.

But Dean's arms hold Sam so tightly to hide the betrayal that wavers within them.

If it ever comes to this, to him doing for Sam what Sam did for Madison… Dean's not sure he can. He promised and he should, but still— it's Sam. That's the part he can't forget.

He knows he'll try, but he's dreading the possibility. That would mean the end of everything, killing Sam, and there would be no-one to catch Dean when he falls.

If it comes to that, he will fight not to be so selfish. The future of all of humanity would rest on his choice, and his father trained him well.

But it's Sam, and Sam's his brother, and killing is the one thing a brother should never do.

Dean offers the comfort he can't find within himself, hoping he honestly will never have to choose.

But if he does, and he follows through, the few seconds he'll have to live with that will surely swallow him whole.


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




 
 
 
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on April 19th, 2007 05:19 am (UTC)
*sniffle* This piece erally brings home the enormity of Dean has been dealing with over the apst few months. And yes, i bet he'd thinking a lot about John and what he didn't tell them.

and.. i'm just very scared about what they still have to go through *meep*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
I wrote this one right before I went on vacation (not long after "Heart"), but then set it aside to woodshed later. Wish I'd gotten back to it sooner, closer to that episode! It only needed some polishing after all.

You're seeing all the right things in this story-- the doubts Dean has had, introduced by these sudden imperfections in the family philosophy, all these things that don't fit the mold. By Gordon, who killed his sister without ever asking if there was a way to save her-- still confident about that choice will looking in the face of vampires who decided to save themselves. :(

And Sam... always the question of what Dean might have to do vs. whether it will be the right thing to do, and whether he can manage it. I can't imagine having that weight on your heart for so many months, wondering if each step you take leads the two of you closer to having to make that decision.

*flails* The angst this season has been deadly, and yet how I love it so.
(no subject) - missyjack on April 19th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
arliss: brothersarliss on April 19th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Such an awful, black, deep abyss that's opened at their feet, and no way they can see yet to get across it. You tell it well.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
Such an awful, black, deep abyss that's opened at their feet, and no way they can see yet to get across it. You tell it well.
Thank you! I don't know what their answer will be either (Please, Kripke, don't hurt us too much!), but there are so many terrible, heartbreaking possibilities. Like Dean, we all just hope it doesn't come to the worst, when all is said and done. :(
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
The self-doubt that those other jobs brought, and the huge weight Sam had to bear for a moment, but Dean has had to bear for MONTHS!
More than just losing their father, this last year must have felt to Dean like his world was just falling apart-- for the third time, and worse than the others.

Those slow pieces falling into place of seeing new shades of gray-- and wondering if they were always there before, if he failed to notice them when he should have-- would be so hard to reconcile. Dean's already living outside of "The rules" of society, only to find that his father's rules don't always stick either-- is he doubly wrong now? Who is there to absolve him? And to discover that Sam is now a shade of gray, when Dean's been given a black-and-white directive of what to do about it-- as if he could, no matter what the logic behind it is-- augh! It's killing me just to contemplate it, and I don't have to live it!

"But Dean's arms hold Sam so tightly to hide the betrayal that wavers within them."
I'm glad so many people noticed that-- his comfort of Sam hides his own weakness, and maybe takes a little of the comfort back that he so desperately needs himself. *angsts*

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. This one was a rather personal story to me, as so many of the deeply Dean ones are. ♥
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
That's how this entire S2 arc feels to me too. Kripke... please don't break us entirely. Please?
Princess Robot Bubblegum!astrothsknot on April 19th, 2007 11:00 am (UTC)
Love how you've picked up themes that have ran through this season.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
They all seemed to build toward this central idea-- all of those starkly-drawn lines that have turned into "maybes," all those reflections of Dean in Gordon that have tilted into "wrong"... They all build toward the same terrible, final question of what Dean should (and god help him, will be able to) do about Sam if things go badly. *grinds own heart into shreds just thinking about living in Dean's hell*
hiyacynth: SPN: Dean knows John knows somethinghiyacynth on April 19th, 2007 11:59 am (UTC)
Oh, Winchesters!

Wonderful heartbreaking and true exploration. I'm going to go drown my tears in my coffee. Thanks for sharing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)
I'm so glad the emotion came out on this one. I really feel for the position the boys are in this season-- all the things they've discovered that aren't quite the way they were promised to be, and that looming possibility of what Sam might become and what Dean's supposed to do about it... *angst*
(I am a rainwalker)ultraviolet9a on April 19th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
Oh great job. I particularly adored
To be a Winchester is to hunt things that other people don't believe in, or quickly deny. Living in the space between other people's realities and things that shouldn't exist, Dad found a way to make things Black and White (always, always with an overlay of blood).
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)
I so feel for the boys-- especially Dean-- this season. All those rules that codified what they were doing and set those boundaries of "Why this is good and necessary" are being thrown into question by the new things they've learned.

Not the least of which is the question of what happens when it's your brother who rides on that line while you wait to see which side he'll fall on. *wibbles*
tyricaltyrical on April 19th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
This is one of those pieces that continually ask the question 'How do I know what's right?" Then tells us you either found out the answer after you make the choice or you never will. You hope that you've learned enough that your moral compass is clear enough that you will make the right decisions.

I feel for Dean. This piece rips him open and lets us peer inside for just a little bit. Telling us he's human, he hurts, he doubts, he loves, and he prays that in the end he's doing the right thing. Because when the choice becomes Sam he's not sure what he will do.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:33 am (UTC)
I feel for Dean. This piece rips him open and lets us peer inside for just a little bit.
Can you imagine having relied on that framework your father set up-- the one that made what you were doing important and okay-- only to find that parts of it are faulty or broken. What does that mean now for all those choices you made back before? Dean's already on edge as it is.

Telling us he's human, he hurts, he doubts, he loves, and he prays that in the end he's doing the right thing. Because when the choice becomes Sam he's not sure what he will do.
That's the part that tears me up. He knows what he's supposed to do-- what he was told to do. But he also knows that it's Sam, and now he knows that not all bad things started out that way or even stay that way. What if there's still a chance to save Sam, and he bypasses it with the same ruthless intent that Gordon would have done? Dean will probably kill himself in the next breath if he has to go that far with Sam anyway, but he'll torture himself all the way up to that possible decision asking those impossible questions. :(
cindy: spn - dean looks away (by oxoniensis)tsuki_no_bara on April 19th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
i love the last line - the few seconds he'll have to live with that - i think if dean can look at sam and not see sam any more - if all he can see is a demon - then yeah, he can take his brother down. but then he'll turn the gun on himself.

the ptb have done a lot this season with introducing shades of gray into the boys' black/white world view (at least as regards hunting), and you captured dean's unease with that really well.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
think if dean can look at sam and not see sam any more - if all he can see is a demon - then yeah, he can take his brother down. but then he'll turn the gun on himself.
I completely agree. I don't think Dean wants to outlive Sam no matter what, but if he's the one who has to kill Sam, well then... no. The space of breathing will be all it takes for Dean to kill himself next. And I understand that completely.

and you captured dean's unease with that really well.
Thank you! I've been fascinated by that this year-- first the vampires, then Gordon's single-mindedness that never asks if there's a possibility of redemption, and finally the werewolves and the awful discovery that they remember nothing while in their human state. God, to have killed one as a human while finding that out... *heart crumbles in upon itself*
angels3angels3 on April 19th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Because
there will only be a few seconds left for him to feel it cause the next bullet coming out of the gun will be for him. It was sad but great.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:38 am (UTC)
Re: Because
there will only be a few seconds left for him to feel it cause the next bullet coming out of the gun will be for him.
I'm glad that was clear to the reader, because that's exactly what I meant.

If Dean has to do it-- if there's no other way-- he doesn't plan on living with the aftermath. He just couldn't, and who would blame him?
1aquaesulis761aquaesulis76 on April 19th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
It's all about the shades of grey... not just in the world around them, or in the new aspects in the things they hunt. Having John's last words 'screaming in his head' has changed Dean too. Last season, he would have been black-and-white: 'no, I'm not killing my brother.' Now, he's having to think about it.

I love the way you've really got Dean's character perfectly - all the vague thoughts I get while watching an ep, are here brought together and crystallised into a logical, comprehensive picture. Thanks for writing and sharing - and keep channelling your inner Dean!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
Last season, he would have been black-and-white: 'no, I'm not killing my brother.' Now, he's having to think about it.
Yes! Until John planted that idea in Dean's head-- that terrible responsibility-- the idea would have been unthinkable and even ridiculous. Now, it might be duty, and even contemplating it is killing Dean from the inside out. He said it so clearly: "I'd rather die." And you know he really would. *sniff*

all the vague thoughts I get while watching an ep, are here brought together and crystallised into a logical, comprehensive picture.
I love, love, love hearing that. There's something irresistible to me about focusing the abstract moments into a clearer picture and reflecting the character through that. Dean really resonates with me-- I don't necessarily like him, but I feel for him and most especially the parts of him down underneath all that "noise" he throws out on the surface.

Thanks so much for your lovely comments. :)
iamstealthyoneiamstealthyone on April 20th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
Nicely done. Both boys have definitely learned a lot about shades of gray this season, and it’s hit Dean harder than Sam, given how Dean always fell back on John’s black-and-white teaching, as you mentioned in here. And also, given that Dean now knows that Sam’s part of the shades of gray.

Favorite lines:

Dad found a way to make things Black and White (always, always with an overlay of blood).

Shivery good, that.

Pulling that trigger on Madison would have been the hardest thing Dean's done yet, except that letting Sammy do it was so much harder. So much worse.

Well said.

Dean offers the comfort he can't find within himself, hoping he honestly will never have to chose.

But if he does, and he follows through, the few seconds he'll have to live with that will surely swallow him whole.


Oh, Dean.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
and it’s hit Dean harder than Sam, given how Dean always fell back on John’s black-and-white teaching, as you mentioned in here.
That part is so hard even in the abstract. Dean's world re-formed around whatever John claimed it to be, once they'd lost Mary and their lives became this bizarre and unheard-of hell. To have pieces of that construct start to break just throws everything into question-- the things they've done, how they've done them, even the whole "what" and "why" of the way they live.

And also, given that Dean now knows that Sam’s part of the shades of gray.
So much harder. Although parts of Gordon were a little heavy-handed, one of the things his character really brought out was that he saw no shades of gray even when it was his own family, and Dean by contrast very much sees that it's ALL gray in that context until the moment that all hope is lost.

Oh, Dean.
But could anyone blame him? It would be the release he has earned if he has to follow through on killing Sam. No-one should have to live with that, no matter how "right" that decision might prove to be. *cries*
(no subject) - iamstealthyone on April 30th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
getting the chocolate in the peanut butter: dean thinkingdotfic on April 21st, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Beautifully done, I think you've gotten at the conflict Dean feels about this, the sense of responsibility but also knowing that killing Sam would be unbearable and it may be beyond him to do it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2007 07:52 am (UTC)
but also knowing that killing Sam would be unbearable and it may be beyond him to do it.
Yes, yes. I don't think he's even sure that he could-- he knows he's supposed to if it comes to that, and he definitely knows why... but it's still Sam, and he's still Dean. He'll never do it pre-emptively the way Gordon would, and if he doesn't do it in time when he has to, the world would suffer but likely not blame him. *angsts*
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on May 2nd, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
Wow. This is really beautifully painful. The ending line is just one more shot to the heart.

These lines:
Dad found a way to make things Black and White (always, always with an overlay of blood).

Now their Dad is gone, and life isn't as simple as he made it out to be.


Poor Dean. I feel like that's really where Dean's at right now, in canon. And I feel like maybe, anyone but Dean might hate their father a little bit for that.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 2nd, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
The ending line is just one more shot to the heart.
What's really nice is that no-one has been confused by the meaning in that final line. They all feel it for exactly what it is. *wibble*

And I feel like maybe, anyone but Dean might hate their father a little bit for that.
Oh, I totally agree. His loyalty knows no bounds, and it has kept him from answering even the slightest of questions that Sam is willing to shout out loud. The life that was imposed on them-- made into their whole existence-- should never have happened to begin with. And to suspect that it isn't entirely what John always said-- god. Imagine having that on your conscience, along with the difficulty of just doing what you do already. :(
nesdy on August 5th, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
That last line killed me.
This is amazingly well written. Love it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on August 16th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
It's amazing how much more painful that thought is when we know now that Dean wasn't ready to survive Sam's death on any level-- even without causing it, he couldn't stand the overriding emptiness of a world without Sam. *sniffle*