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21 May 2007 @ 11:16 am
Supernatural Gen Fiction: Still Holding On  
Title: Still Holding On
Author: HalfshellVenus
Character: Dean (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: Sam is bleeding, breaking, gone and yet Dean's still holding on…
Spoilers: Season 2 spoilers, including finale, so click carefully.

Disclaimer: Neither Supernatural nor its characters belong to me.
Author's Notes: Written for the 60_minute_fics challenge on "Touch," and also for my Switch25 table—this is "Lost." I assumed here that Dean and Bobby took Sam's body somewhere else besides Cold Oak, simply because staying put in a haunted town didn't seem smart.

x-x-x-x-x

Dean's afraid to let go, there on the cold, wet ground.

He's afraid that letting go will make it real—the way Sam doesn't move, doesn't speak… doesn't breathe.

As long as he holds on, he tells himself, they won't pass into the next moment. So he holds on tighter, Sam's weight nearly pushing him down.

Because the "now" Dean just found himself in is already hard enough. He's not sure he can survive what has to come afterward.

*

Dean has no words left when Bobby returns. It doesn't matter. His broken sobs say everything.

They put Sam in the back seat of the Impala, all of him filling a spot no bigger than any of those times he and Dean curled together as children while their father drove on through the night.

Dean wrestles with himself over whether to sit in the passenger seat, or in the back where Sam lies all alone. He already knows he won't be driving tonight.

It's hardly more than a shack, the place Bobby finds for them. Some empty house—rooms stripped down and almost no furniture left. It's stark and full of shadows, like the feeling in Dean's heart. His world has narrowed down to only this.

He couldn't bear leaving Sam in the car, or putting him on the floor. He's not ready for this to be Sam's body instead of Sam.

On the bed, Sam almost looks like he's sleeping. Almost. It catches at Dean's heart every time he turns around.

He'd arranged Sam there so carefully, laying his limbs down in a position that would have been comfortable, if that still mattered.

When they were children and Dad was out on a hunt, Dean would settle Sam into bed for the night. He couldn't stop thinking of that for the longest time, when he and Bobby brought Sam inside. There were no sheets or blankets to tuck Sam in, to keep him sheltered. He seemed so exposed.

Dean smoothed Sam's hair over and over, avoiding the skin that was no longer warm. With his eyes so blurred he could only see colors and not the stillness of Sam's face, time passed in silence as the sensation of those unruly strands became all that the world still held.

Finally, they slipped out through Dean's fingers for the night, just like Sam had slipped from his grasp by walking into that diner days before.

How was Dean supposed to know that Sam could simply be taken like that, transported several states away? How could he have known that?

Dean watches Sam now as if that will make a difference—as if this is a dream, or a spell that will solve itself if only he waits long enough.

Somewhere behind him, where the rest of the world keeps moving, Bobby waits too.

It's quiet through most of the first day that follows. Bobby's never been a big talker, and Dean's thankful for that now. But by evening, Dean can feel Bobby's eyes on him—weighing him down with expectations. Dean's not ready to take the next step—doesn't know if he ever will be, though he can't tell that to Bobby.

He can't decide if Bobby's being patient about this or not. Dean's lost all sense of "how long" going on like this is reasonable. His mind is stuck on too long, instead. Too long since Sam took his last breath. Too long since Dean knew what the hell to do…

It's such a relief when Bobby leaves them, when Dean's alone with Sam again. He can't live up to what anyone wants of him now. His grief is a place with no door or sky.

Dean waits and waits, but nothing changes. Sam is still dead.

When the answer comes, it doesn't surprise him. It was never that far away to begin with.

*

The world is black and blue, a bruise that never heals. It's everywhere he turns.

Under a midnight-blue sky, a woman in a black dress seals the bargain for the only thing Dean could possibly still want. Her mouth is an elixir of unseen fire, breaking through the world of ash.

The car that is his home gleams ebony in the light of the distant moon. Dean climbs inside, wondering if it'll start when he turns the key. He still isn't sure how much of that deal he's actually going to get.

*

When he opens the door to the house, his breath stops-- for a moment he's stalled-out, he's drowning. Sam looks back at him, lost and unsuspecting, and Dean feels rather than hears himself call Sam's name.

Then he crosses the room, throwing his arms around Sam and holding tight, like Sam might suddenly disappear all over again. But Sam is solid and warm against Dean instead, as real as anything could ever be.

If he keeps holding on, this will all be happening, Dean can feel it. He believes it with all his heart.

And even when Sam protests in pain and Dean pulls back, his hands stay put. They're as bound to Sam as he is.

He urges Sam to sit, still hovering close, his eyes never leaving Sam. Every movement under his fingers is miracle.

He didn't let go of Sam all this time, he realizes, not down inside where it really counted.

Through days of feeling lost in his own personal Hell… Dean never actually let go at all.



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




 
 
 
1aquaesulis761aquaesulis76 on May 21st, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
Oh...... Dean!

Coherency will be resumed as soon as I find all the pieces of my shattered heart. This was so good, in so many different ways, I can't list them. I loved the sense of dislocation running through this - Dean performing on autopilot as his brain refuses to take in the enormity of what happened. You can tell that each breath *hurts.*

'Because the "now" Dean just found himself in is already hard enough. He's not sure he can survive what has to come afterward.' - taking each second at a time, because that's all you can cope with, that's all you can bear to think about. 'Dean's lost all sense of "how long"... His mind is stuck on too long, instead.'


'His grief is a place with no door or sky.' - beautiful line.


Love your description of Bobby too - waiting out of eyesight, but within earshot. Ready, just in case.

'Through days of feeling lost in his own personal Hell… Dean never actually let go at all.' - Would an 'oh Dean' here be too repetitive? Takes me right back to 'they never needed you as much as you needed them.' Oh Dean.

Thanks for writing, for sharing and for knowing Dean so well.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
Dean performing on autopilot as his brain refuses to take in the enormity of what happened. You can tell that each breath *hurts.*
Losing Sam now, on top of losing his Dad... this is the worst thing that could happen to Dean, next to killing Sam himself. Where can he possibly go from here?

Love your description of Bobby too - waiting out of eyesight, but within earshot. Ready, just in case.
As supportive as he can be, except that all Dean wants is to turn back the clock. There's no going forward, so all he can do right now is stop.

- Would an 'oh Dean' here be too repetitive? Takes me right back to 'they never needed you as much as you needed them.' Oh Dean.
That line... one of the worst things about the YED is that although it twists things and makes them into lies, sometimes it also tells the truth.

That particular line was truth. And oh, what a painful truth it was. :( To Dean, that's got to sound like "they never loved you as much as you loved them." And the sad thing is, I think it's true. *wails*

Thanks for your wonderful comments. Dean just gets down inside my thoughts, with his endless, often hopeless pain. :(
cindy: spn - dean looks away (by oxoniensis)tsuki_no_bara on May 21st, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
that last line is so true.... i don't think dean ever let go, not even when sam was at stanford and dean probably had no good reason to think he'd ever come back. my favorite line, tho, is He's not ready for this to be Sam's body instead of Sam - i don't think dean ever thought sam would die first, and i really like the distinction between the body and the person/soul inhabiting it. and the visual of dean laying sam out like he's just sleeping and needs to be comfy, that breaks my heart.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
i don't think dean ever thought sam would die first, and i really like the distinction between the body and the person/soul inhabiting it.
Yes-- like if Dean's stubborn enough, that change won't happen. Because he can't let go, not inside-- and he doesn't want to let go on the outside either.

the visual of dean laying sam out like he's just sleeping and needs to be comfy, that breaks my heart.
That came to me because of how Sam actually did look on that bed-- like he'd been placed there carefully, arranged with tenderness as if anything less would hurt him.

Because in Dean's mind, it's still Sam-- not yet anything else. Still Sam, for as long as he can hold on...
:insert witty name here:popmusicjunkie on May 21st, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
He didn't let go of Sam all this time, he realizes, not down inside where it really counted.

Through days of feeling lost in his own personal Hell… Dean never actually let go at all.


Oh.
*cries*

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah. That's pretty much that Finale arc for me-- all pain and being unable to take the next step, until finally the step is to undo it. No matter the cost to Dean himself-- because none of it is important if Sam's not there. *wails*
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, no kidding.

At least it ends well, from Dean's perspective. Any ending without Sam was not an ending he'd want to survive anyway. :(

A small price to pay, in his mind, just as it was for John. *sniffle*
Nutty, the slightly unstable dwarf: darkness prevailsgumnut on May 21st, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Ow, ow. Pain, pain. The beginning of that ep just rips your heart out and shows it to you and this fic sticks in sharps objects for extra effect.

I don't know whether to scream for Dean or Sammy or just wail for them both.

That's a mark of a good ep, I guess :D

Thanks for writing and sharing. Nice piece of work.

Nutty
(who has already watched the ep 4 times and now you're pushing for a fifth :D)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
and this fic sticks in sharps objects for extra effect.

:D It kind of takes those feelings and frames them in their own context, to maximize the effect. All the feelings and actions revolve around Dean and the moments in and around what the episode showed us. Except perhaps moreso. :0

(who has already watched the ep 4 times and now you're pushing for a fifth :D)
It was a fantastic finale, wasn't it? So much pain and angst, and yet aren't we all glad that Dean made the choice he did? How could he do otherwise?
lover all aloneinvisiblelove on May 21st, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Oh my heeeeaaaaart <333 I LOVE this. Good job getting inside Dean's head. Beautiful stuff :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the extra pain! But I hope the ending helped balance it out, knowing that for Dean that was absolutely the right-- and only-- choice, bringing Sam back. *sigh*
fireflyillusion on May 21st, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
Nice job of getting into Dean's head. You captured his feelings beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing.

Would it be possible to add Episode: All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2 to the heading for the snmissingscenes community? It just makes it easier to archive and tag. Thanks so much and thanks, too, for sharing your story. Wonderful. Poor Dean.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
It just makes it easier to archive and tag.
Oh good heavens, of course you'd want the specific episode noted. *thwaps self* Yes, I'll update it, and try to remember for my backlog of S1 stuff I need to post up there. :)

So glad you liked the story as well. Somehow, Dean's voice is the most vivid to me of all the SPN characters.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: SN Sam melancholydeirdre_c on May 22nd, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
This is just so hurty and gorgeous and quietly desperate.

I adore the description of how Dean lovingly lays Sam out, how he thinks of tucking him in as a child. Gah.

Wonderful one, honey. Thank you!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
I adore the description of how Dean lovingly lays Sam out, how he thinks of tucking him in as a child. Gah.
Oh, the canon brought that out entirely-- Sam's position on the bed really does look like he's sleeping, like he's been placed there with care.

And I just can't see Dean doing otherwise, because it's Sam.

*sniffles*
dc_longwing on May 22nd, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
These were amazing. Painful and perfect. I kept nodding my head the whole time, because YES, that's just what I imagine Dean going through -- only described way more eloquently than I could have. This sentence: The world is black and blue, a bruise that never heals. It's everywhere he turns. made my heart break.
Thanks so much,
DC
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
It's funny how with something that is basically paralleling or underlying canon, there's still so much that can enhance the experience of what the original story already said.

I'd hoped to do that here. Sometimes I ask myself whether this is really fanfic at all, but in any case that episode compelled me to write it. This was one of the most significant and painful events in Dean's life, and how could I turn away from that?

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, as always, DC. ♥
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
There's so much hurt - for me - in this passage;
Oh, me too-- the contrast between what was, all those years ago, where they were bonded so tightly together physically and emotionally, and the now, where it's all suddenly at an end... *tears up* So terribly, vividly sad.

just as desperate as Dean to have Sam back, unwilling to relinquish him, my heart broken with no chance of mending.
This means so much to me, because that's how the entire canon-arc affected me as well, and I wanted to really get down inside it and show it more deeply even than we saw on the show. This is all about Dean's devotion to Sam, and how there IS no Dean without Sam (that's the "Lost" half of the prompt). I can't turn away from that feeling without wanting to really... honor it more thoroughly, I guess.

You can see why this would have been my birthday story for you, I think. It speaks to you every bit as much as it speaks to me. *sighs for Dean, who at least has Sam back now*
iamstealthyoneiamstealthyone on May 22nd, 2007 05:19 am (UTC)
Lovely, aching look at Dean’s grief. Really good job getting into his head right after Sam’s death.

Favorite lines:

He couldn't bear leaving Sam in the car, or putting him on the floor. He's not ready for this to be Sam's body instead of Sam.

Oh, Dean. *hugs him*

Dean smoothed Sam's hair over and over, avoiding the skin that was no longer warm.

I really like this detail, and he’s trying to hard to avoid the things that will make this real.

The world is black and blue, a bruise that never heals.

Awesome description.

Through days of feeling lost in his own personal Hell… Dean never actually let go at all.

Perfect ending.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
I really like this detail, and he’s trying to hard to avoid the things that will make this real.
Yes, exactly-- it's still Sam, and he can pretend it's almost a moment out of the past, so long as he doesn't cross the line and have to confront what is instead of what he wishes it was. :(

Awesome description.
Just thinking of what Dean went through in losing Sam... we can't tell if it's a few days or several days, but I think it must have felt like a single long, punishing eternity from that moment on the ground where he realized Sam was gone until his bargain brought Sam back, and he could see the evidence for himself.

*sigh* I could never fault Dean for the bargain he made for Sam. Never.
x5valex5vale on May 22nd, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh Dean...never loved a Tv character more than him...except Alec maybe.

Thank you.

Loved it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
never loved a Tv character more than him...except Alec maybe.
I've seen many intriguing TV characters over time, but hardly ever any that just get down inside me the way Dean does. I feel for him, I feel frustrated at him a lot of the time, and oh, do I understand the way he feels. :(

So glad you felt this story did him justice. :)
(no subject) - x5vale on May 24th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sofie: SamAndDean - Creepychickyoops on May 23rd, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm at a loss for words. *gulps* Damn, that was amazing.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
That actually says everything I need to know. It speaks from heart to heart, and that language is often the clearest of all!

Thank you so much, chickypooh. :)
(no subject) - chickyoops on May 23rd, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fiery_fox2fiery_fox2 on June 18th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
"He didn't let go of Sam all this time, he realizes, not down inside where it really counted." Can you say "fiery_fox2 melts"? You sure know how to pack a punch with your 60_minute_fics. Loved it though. *smile*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

The 60_minute stories are often first drafts, where sometimes (as with this one) hardly anything is changed. They're just polished a little afterward. The ones that become the beginning of larger stories have had good results too, though it's always a shock to me when I realize that I am way out of scale for what I thought I was writing.

This seemed like a story that had to be told-- even though it's basically the canon, it's the internal viewpoint of all those awful moments. Somehow, those are irresistible to me.

I'm thrilled that you liked it so much. ♥