Title: 火 (Bi)
Genre: gen, angst, hurt/comfort, episode tag
Characters: Dean, Sam, mentions of John and Bobby
Word Count: ~900
Warnings: SPOILERS 7x10 "Death's Door". Potentially triggering material: suicidal ideation
Summary: Sam and Dean dig another grave. Sometimes you can't give the way you'd like to.
"Yokosuka, Japan. Would you like to know the rates, sir?"
And he shakes his head. "My brother and I have a plot laid out here, if that's all right."
"Of course," says the lady on the phone, in a voice that means it isn't really. "May I ask where?"
"Down the road."
He's holding his phone in the wrong hand. He squeezes the receiver till the plastic, straining, squeaks, but it's not the same.
"Kitsune," says Bobby, when Lucifer steps back. Leaves Sam to his memories, because hallucinations don't hurt quite enough. "That's what your Daddy's dealing with."
"--I am," Sam corrects. "What I'm dealing with."
Longer than it should have taken. Which isn't entirely true.
It should take a lifetime to dig a grave. Dean won't believe that these are lifetimes. He's stood at the edge of too many graves that are not his. But whatever; they're not his rules. Too quick, not quick enough--fuck it, they have a hole, and they have a box. Dean'd keep digging until they hit the other side of the world if he thought it'd any good. In Yokosuka, Japan, it's snowing rare snow, and all their graves are ice-shiny.
"Where do you think Kara's buried?" he barely asks. In Illinois, it's just sleet, no snow, and Dean can't feel his arms, let alone his fingers.
Sam's leaning on (what is now) their post-holer. "Karen," he says. And, "Japan."
Sam shrugs. "That's where she was born. Military family."
"How do you know that?"
"Yeah. Bobby had her sent back after the, you know. Zombie thing. She's buried with her father now."
Dean repeats 'paperwork' one more time. The rest of the night is silence.
Dean dreams twice in one hour--three forty-nine to five, when Sam is awake, and keeping watch, and Dean is supposed to be crashing. He dreams of fire.
"Did he say anything to you?" Sam asks. He is tearful and his hair is mussed. He is twenty-two. He is twenty-eight. There's a cut on his nose that will soon be a scar. There's a scar on his hand that his fingernails torture until they cut.
The first time, Dean repeats himself. No. He spends a year in his dream with a gun aimed at his brother.
"Did he say anything to you?" Sam asks. In the van, while Sam was out. "I thought"--hoped--"that he might." The verb catches on its way up Sam's throat, and Dean knows the thought bears translation. Hope seemed right. Dean can think of nothing else Sam's tongue would censor.
"Not to die before him," Dean says finally. Then he's awake. He spends a night--outside of his dream--with a gun.
In the morning, there's a woman kneeling at the grave they have not marked. Her tongue rolls with a language Dean doesn't know. Dean's not sure if that means prayer, or Japanese, or both.
When she looks up, her eyes are gray, and her pupils are slits. Her chin flakes a dried red. She doesn't show her teeth. There's an offering of fresh pituitaries where she knelt.
This time, Dean knows the gun is not for her.
He lets her go, which is more than Sam expected. Sam is tired, and his expectations lower every hour.
"Why are dead people so completely fucking different," Dean says. He's kicking at cold-shriveled pituitaries, but they're already frozen to the dirt.
"--Than when they were alive," Dean clarifies. Sort of. He's pacing wavering circles around the hole and the car, like he's drunk, or wishing he was drunk, or past the point of either. "They say these--things to you, and then--"
Sam should say some things to Dean, but he feels buried. He can't.
Dean fumbles with the car keys for a long, unscripted moment, then wrenches the trunk open. The repertoire inside isn't as impressive as it's been in the past. Sam remembers being twelve, feeling like he could climb into the Impala's black and be safe inside their trade. It didn't even matter what he'd thought about hunting, or what he screamed at Dad that day. He'd felt safe. That feeling hadn't changed until recently. (How recently? Lucifer asks.
And Sam thinks, Very.)
"You could at least fucking argue with them when they were alive--" Dean's rambling on. He's probably looking for whiskey, but his cold-pale hand with its bloodied knuckles sweeps over bone hilts and bluing first. Bullets next.
These meditations make Sam unsure in ways that are too familiar.
Dean finds the whiskey.
Sam's fists unclench.
"Because when people die," Sam begins breathlessly. He breathes the cold into his lungs like it's water, or grave dirt. "They stop being able to lie to your face."
Dean is hazy around the edges, and Sam blinks. He's tired. In Yokosuka, Japan, you can see reflections in the ice on the graves. Sam can see reflections in Dean, oily renditions of their father, of Hell, of Sam, even--of the man Dean was, and the one he thinks he will never be. Of Illinois and the night they spent there, digging a shallow hole under a stone bridge.
Dean sits on the lip of the trunk that is not the Impala's and stares at the ground. He drinks. Sam can see the burn run through him.
"They stop being able to lie at all."
In Yokosuka, Japan, it's snowing rare snow.
a/n: Title is a pronunciation of the character for 'fire' in Japanese, just not by itself. The implication here is that some word--like 'kitsune' for instance--should precede it, but as a title 'bi' sounded better than 'hi' or 'kitsune-bi' to me, hence the bastardization. Sorry, Japanese language! You never liked me as a student, anyway. XP