Title: Our Own Lives and Nobody Else’s
Word Count: 5,750
Warnings: language and some gore, [possible spoilers]non-con and consent issues re: possession, PTSD
Author's Notes: Special thanks to hells_half_acre, whose stellar Supernatural Timeline helped me place this fic chronologically.
Summary: When Dean is halfway to hell, he and Sam hunt a half-dog, half-man, while Sam struggles with memories and instincts that are only half his own.
Dean’s in a good mood. You’re trying to be in a good enough mood, to find the balance between qualified denial and sober recognition. You’ve been at that for six months—long enough to realize that there is no good balance. Every ratio is destructive; you choose the destruction.
Link to Fic
[copied from my comment on the fic]
My stars. I’ve read this three times now, and upon finishing my third read-through just now my first impulse was to scroll back up and just read it again, instead of writing this comment. THERE WILL BE MORE READINGS, but I’ve kept you waiting for this comment altogether too long already! I love every single bit of this and, as usual, I don’t remember what most of my prompts even were, but this is all of them and then some, and this is perfect. <3333333
I’m in love with all of its small things, not just the teal carpet but the way Sam comes to know it, in the dark and trying to remember it. I love their patterns sleeping and waking and maybe doing neither, not entirely, of which I could read full fics about that and only that. I love the way they work the lights in that Indiana motel room, first by the glow of laptops and then dim bedside lamps and finally, so much later, the overhead lights. I love EMMET COUNTY and Michigan’s Route 66 (lol this weirdo state, amazing) and all of the roadside signs and bearded guy’s random restaurant and the fact that the diner is 1) an LLC, 2) put that part on the bumper sticker, and 3) is clear in Casper, WY (A PLACE I HAVE BEEN?!?) I love the mailbox man. DX I love the smattering of different motels, like nodes in a constellations each with their own strangenesses; and I love how visceral the narrow, wooden one is, because I feel like I know exactly what that one smells like, and it’s such a particular smell. I love the extended metaphor of the telescope in the wrong direction, which follows the deformation of the experience and makes me feel so fish-eyed. I love Sam’s raw severity in their interview with the mailbox man, and the way it contrasts (or perhaps it’s not a contrast at all) with the ending piece when they then must deal with the litter.
I looooooooooooove, and you know I love, the PIEEEEE SCEEEEENEEEEEEE which made me cry because it is so precious and breathless and full of yearning and it is just so, so special. <333 Which I expect I’ll say more about after reveals because with that scene this was written by one of two people and I know it wasn’t me (THOUGH I WISH IT WERE. But I also don’t because I wouldn’t love it as much if I’d had to write it, probably, and I want to love this fic as much as possible aaaah). <33333333333
I also love this fic’s second person and everything about Sam’s POV here, but I also love two specific lines and the way Sam describes Dean through them:
Dean has more articles, Dean has theories, Dean has the memory of a 1999 conversation with a hunter who claims to have been attacked by the Beast of Bray Road. Dean has the address of a cemetery groundskeeper who immediately moved to Indiana after a supposed encounter with a dogman in Emmet County, Michigan.
This whole construction just makes my heart swell. There’s a grammatical term for this, and I really need to put it on a post-it note because I love it and every time it comes up I think “there’s a word for this” and never remember what ti is. But the rhythmic succession of Deans here just sings, and I love the way Winchester idiosyncrasy just crashes through the whole thing from weirdly specific memories of conversations from 1999 to the specific names of maybe-monsters to the retrieval of addresses and random shards of relevant backstory because it’s all SO DEAN and so Sam and so Winchesters and so SPN.
And this line, too: You want a situation where the all of him that is required isn’t too much for him to give. Which sums up so much not only about Dean but about what it feels like to be Sam this year, in these moments. It’s such a complex tangle of emotions and orientations to capture articulately and this assertion from Sam does it so well.
AND THE STAKEOUT CONVERSATION ABOUT THE THERMOS/NOT THE THERMOS, from Sam’s “not really” to Dean’s casual willingness to press the issue but stop just short of badgering, because that is their moment right then. I love all the little incongruous moments like that, where their trains of thought aren’t quite on the same tracks and their experiences become discontiguous, even when they’re sitting side by side, inviting each other to speak.
And I love that they have to continually deal with the multiple aftermaths of this case (which now I do remember prompting and omg this is even better than my id-est dreams), from the musical chairs of their clothing against the blood and elements, to dealing with the litter, to even the drive home. Weird thing to say, maybe, but I’m also quite taken by the matriphagy, which isn’t even creepy or monstrous so much as it feels wild—like it’s part of some world outside expected human experience, which is a precipice upon which Sam and Dean find themselves very much standing. As we see in the last wolf on the road.
I love love love love love love love love loveeeeee thisssssssss so much; thank you thank you thank you!!!!
P.S. Wait, still more. Every reference to the deal at the end of a section, right before the barbs of a section break, felt like a pounding on my heart. Each one was different but part of the same driving sound. SO good. <3333333333333