He imagines it's a lot like swimming through an oil spill, except with a torpedo on your ass. Or, you know, a shark. When his knees scrape sand and he breaks the surface, Dean opens his eyes.
There is blood everywhere.
"Sam," Dean tries, though no sound comes out. And when it does, it's wordless and meaningless--from a language that means nothing to him now, and even less to the air around him. His jaw aches, and he's not sure if it's chattering because he's cold, or because of all the vibrations in the air, the screaming, the reverberation of Sam's frantic thrashing, his own haphazard front strokes, the residual churn of the water. There are stringy globules of fat floating in the water, airy bladders leftover from organs Dean no longer needs, or doesn't need quite that much of. (Though what he's left with feels sluggish and tremorous and he wonders if he couldn't take a bit more back. What he's got ain't doing it.) Mucosal blood and oily, rubbery skin--black and pink and that familiar deep, dark red--skate until they hit the sand. Pieces of Dean wash onto shore, in jagged patterns governed by the lap of the waves and the pull of the tide. Dean does his best to swim. Beat the undertow, which was stronger than he might have imagined. It's supposed to be a fucking bay, isn't it--a safe harbor.
He can't pull himself all the way up out of the water; his arms are too leaden and his gut hurts and his heart's having a field day as it is. And it's just fucking cold; he's not sure if the bay or the wind feels worse. It's all he can do to crawl to the wrack zone and try not to drown. It would be stupid to drown now, after all that time at the bottom of the sea.
Immediately he feels his thoughts spiraling back downward, toward porpoise attaches and bright screaming and whalesong and power and power and power, but he says "Oh god, Sam," and this time forms the words as best he can. His teeth are chattering and his jaws are numb, or locked, or on reserve.
There's enough chum in the water--there's enough him in the water, Dean amends--that it would have taken Sam some time to find him, were he looking for breakfast. And though it's harder than Dean might have thought to pick him out in the haze of his own viscera, Sam's a pretty big goddamn shark. (He'd seemed so small, before. So insignificant.)
He's swimming in a disoriented zig zag, and Dean's instantly glad his body left behind such a mess. He doesn't want to know how much of this blood is Sam's. He doesn't want to be able to see what he's done this time.
He should, he thinks. He should want to know how bad it is, whether to call EMS or not (what's 911 in Canada?), whether darker, more pricey options might be a better bet. How much of Sam Crowley would give him for his soul. How much angels would, could, do for a shark. But there's a screaming in his head, and a clangor of bells, and somewhere at the back of his mind, a rock band is singing about being a rock band.
And he knows there is nothing he can do anymore.
Still, he goes to him. On his hands sand knees, he tries to go to him.
Everything he wants to say to Sam threatens to overspill. Which figures, because at the moment, Sam is one thousand pounds of big purple shark, and he is not here to listen. He cannot listen. Dean gets the horrible feeling that maybe that's what he wants; maybe all he wants is Sam when he can't talk back.
"C'mon man," Dean chatters. Everything sounds and smells and looks like blood. There's something bright, new and red spinning from Sam's side, Dean's sure. He wished Sam would just beach himself, or grow legs and arms and hair and be Sam again, and familiar again (but he's a stranger, he's always been at least half a stranger, hasn't he). Human again.
Human again. There's enochian spilled across Sam's skin like a rambling brand. Dean knows what it is, but he sees the script and all he thinks is 'angels.' Angels in Sam. Angels laying claim to Sam. (His fault.)
Sam approaches the shore--or lets the tide bring him in, in any case. It throws him against the sand. Sam's probably about as calm as a mangled shark gets, which isn't very. But he doesn't bite. He doesn't touch Dean at all.
That makes one of them.
The cool dark thing at the back of Dean's mind wishes desperately Sam were on his back, sedated and immobile. Calm, the way he'd been when Abaddon crushed out of him. He'd seemed so docile then, static the way they never were, and drowsy, unguarded. At peace.
But there'd been no peace there, had there. Because it wasn't peace, it wasn't calm; it was a shark, it was Sam, stripped of control of his body. It was Dean holding him captive. It was Dean drowning him. Not peaceful at all.
He could have killed him.
He still might have.
"I'm so sorr--" Dean gags and chokes as seawater and blood lap into his mouth. The added effort of expelling them from his lungs doesn't do him any favors, and the next wave is worse. "I-- I--"
Something rough slides past his arm, and Dean hopes to god it's Sam's big, toothy head, because he throws a leaden arm over it, him and shore acting as a vise, and draws his other arm along as many of Sam's teeth as he can find.
C'mon, Flipper, he thinks. Come on, Sammy.
There's an explosion of sound and froth, and Dean feels it in his jaw with such force the space behind his eyes lights up.
There's a keening wail, like the peal of a tiny bell.
Then there are hands grabbing at his elbow. Everything tastes more and more like blood.
Sam, he wants to shout again. Sam. But the crash of the waves is louder, the gurgle of water as it sucks back over gravel is louder.
You don't get Sam anymore, he thinks.
He listens to that bright, long bell and then he thinks he might be ready.
He had better be.
He's already made his choice.
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