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").
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.
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