Tangible Schizophrenia


The Road Less Traveled V: Have Mercy

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R. Character death.
Pairing: Sam/Luther. Implied Dean/Luther and Sam/Dean.
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, etc.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB, not me.
Notes: AU after ‘Shadows.’ Sequel to Badlands.
Summary: The final confrontation, with aftermath messiness courtesy of Sam and Luther.


Dean had barely raised his head when his father’s body suddenly whipped around. The demon grinned at him, and then Dean was back up against the wall, feeling like he had a bulldozer keeping him there but only seeing thin air.

“You’re dead,” Sam hissed. “You’re dead. The moment you—”

“The moment I what? Get out of your dad? Sorry, Sam, but I just don’t really see that happening. I mean, he’s in better shape than most twenty-year-olds—” it took a step towards Dean, then theatrically winced “—aside from the parts I had to have banged up, but those’ll heal. He’s got access to all these convenient stashes across the country, he’s got a good network of friends…well, the ones still alive…”

The demon ambled over to the table as it talked so it could pick up the gun. It spun it once, then tossed it onto the nearest bed.

“That’s been a pain in the ass,” it said. “Good thing you’re so lousy at research you don’t even know its limitations, or else I’d really have been in trouble.”

Sam snarled and the air above him heaved. The tendons in his neck and arms bulged out as he tried to push up, and for a moment it actually looked as if he might do it. Dean’s eyes shot to the demon…who had a smile playing around his mouth. “Sam—” Dean started.

As he crashed back down, Sam let out a soft, hurt sound. His arms struggled to pull back, trying to wrap around his chest, but the demon wasn’t even letting him do that. Then Sam’s head suddenly snapped back and Dean couldn’t do anything but watch as dark, hand-shaped bruises slowly spread over Sam’s throat.

“Why are you doing this?” Dean said. His voice was shaking, and he honestly didn’t know whether it was from rage or terror.

“Family.” Somehow the demon managed to drain the black hatred from his father’s eyes and look almost solemn. It took one step towards Dean. “You know Meg? My daughter.” Another step. “And those two you killed while getting your Dad back? My sons. So this is…poetic justice, I guess.”

It was almost within arm’s reach of Dean, and was lifting its hand when it suddenly flinched. Then it jerked around to glower at Sam, who went into a new fit of choking. Sam was going white in the face—white in the eyes, the fury there was so hot. “Bull…shit,” he gasped. “You really…cared about…them, you would’ve…would’ve fought for them. You—you were there--our Dad never—would’ve just stood—”

Red flushed up in their father’s face, and the demon made the body take an abortive, livid step forward. But then it rocked back, laughing and loose again. “Yeah, you’re right. What the hell do I care? I’ve got thousands of other kids, for we are legion.” All the surface cheer suddenly drained away, leaving only the cold hate. “Still, you are getting on my damn nerves. I was going to let you try to fight me, have that much to salve your pride, but I think I’m just gonna have to shut you down.”

A glint flashed up, then dropped back into their father’s hand. Sam’s eyes instantly went to the necklace the demon was tossing; when the demon stopped to take the charm off the chain, Sam twitched away from him.

This provoked another bark of laughter from the demon. “What? If I had a way to start you up, don’t you think I’d have one to turn you off?”

“Fuck.” Sam gagged, scraped grooves in the carpet. “You.”

“Open up, little Sammy,” the demon purred. It squatted down by Sam again and seized his jaw, sticking one thumb in at the side to keep Sam’s mouth open. Then it tried to drop the charm in, but at the last moment, Sam managed to jerk away. “You troublesome little bastard—stop fighting. You and all the other children like you…you can’t do a damn thing to stop what I’m doing. This has been set for centuries.”

First Dean strained at one arm, then the other. He couldn’t get any give at all—none. His limbs were glued to the wall and fuck vampiric strength because it wasn’t doing any good. It wasn’t helping, and he probably could break his arms without getting anywhere.

Sam was still dodging somehow, free enough of the demon’s power for that, but he couldn’t move anything besides his head and inevitably he’d be forced to swallow the charm. How had he gotten that much freedom…

Finally Dean glanced at the bathroom door, but no help was coming from that direction. Son of a bitch--

He broke his arms. The pain was bad when the bones snapped, but when he sagged back? Too worn out and hurting to do anything after that? That was when it turned into agony. The world spun white, then spun back into horribly sharp colors as he frantically tried to will away the bleariness and figure out what had happened.

The first thing that became clear was a dark head, and at first Dean thought it belonged to his father. But then the person whirled furiously about and it was Sam’s desperate face; shock momentarily dimmed the pain as Dean opened his eyes wider to take in the whole scene. His dad was flying through the air, and Sam was stumbling backwards…apparently Dean’s last effort had taken up enough of the demon’s attention to give Sam a chance.

When his father hit the bed, the pressure holding Dean up evaporated and he skidded down the wall. Hit hard on his ass, and the impact rammed up through his cracked ribs and snapped the broken ends of his arm-bones against each other. Sheer will kept Dean from passing out.

Sam knocked up against the table and fell, but caught himself on the edge. He was already shouting in Latin, and the lines of the circle above their dad were glowing a deep, dull red. Their father—no, the demon was writhing and twisting, but occasionally his blows would take an odd turn at the end, as if some invisible barrier had deflected the hand or foot from going out of the circle.

Dean made a stab at cradling each arm with the other hand, but that hurt too much. When he hissed in pain, Sam glanced at him and faltered in the chanting so that the demon almost lunged off the bed. Barely in time, Sam jerked back to attention.

The next time Dean felt like he wanted to make wounded noises, he shoved his tongue up against his clenched teeth. He managed to get his hands braced against his elbows and gingerly, awkwardly edged over to the other bed. The one where the Colt was.

Just as Dean flopped on his back onto the bed, Sam’s voice abruptly spiked in volume. The stink of ozone slashed through the air, and then Dean was flattening himself as much as possible as a vicious crackle whipped through the room. He only saw the edge of the white flare. By the time he’d rolled over, mangling his lip against the pain, the light was gone and Dad’s body was lying limply on the next bed.

Sam was half-collapsed over the table, staring at Dad. His shoulders heaved and his mouth hung open as he gasped for air. After a moment, he flicked his eyes to Dean, who raised his brows in question.

“I don’t know,” Sam said. “I got through it once, but it should take more than one reading—and nothing’s come out yet—”

Air rasped out of Dad’s mouth and both Sam and Dean’s attentions went to him. After a pause so long Dean almost suffocated in sympathy, Dad sucked in a breath. His eyelashes twitched, then flew upward. The one hand Dean could see slowly curled two fingers, then weakly tried to rise. “…Sam? Dean?”

“Dad?” Dean whispered. He had a feeling he might be crying from the sheer strain.

“Oh, God, make it stop. Don’t…” Those definitely were tears trickling down from Dad’s eye. They mixed with the blood so by the time they dripped onto the blankets, they’d formed a thick, brownish substance. “Don’t—”

Dad’s hand dropped in a fluid movement; Dean had been slowly leaning forward, but now he threw himself back and down over the pistol, pinning it to the bed. Something tried to snatch him back at the same time his father, snarling like a pitbull, made a lunge at Sam, but Sam had immediately started yelling Latin again. The force dropped Dean, which temporarily filled his vision with large black spots.

When they’d cleared out again, the demon in his father was writing so hard the skin was stretching obscenely far in places, shaping itself as if clawed hands were trying to push out from inside. One pushed up from the side of his father’s neck and crooked fingers at Dean, who flinched away in revulsion. “Sam, get the damn thing out of him! It’ll kill him!”

Sam was too busy mumbling, but he threw an irritated look Dean’s way and jerked his hand in an ‘I’m trying!’ gesture.

“You goddamn pieces of shit. You think—you think this is going to work? You think you can pull something like this on me? Do I look bush-league to you?” the demon hissed, thrashing around. He was making the veins in Dad’s eyes stand out so much they were nearly separated from the whites. “You little fucks. You—”

Dad’s head abruptly went back and his whole body bowed upward till the only contacts he had with the mattress were his hands, feet and the top of his head. The muscles in his face distorted grotesquely, pulling away from his mouth till it was monstrously large. A tiny black tendril, so thin Dean could barely make it out, sluggishly drifted out of it. Then another, and then another and another till an oily cloud was grudgingly pulling out of Dad. Dean’s heart twisted in his chest.

And then it suddenly all fell back in. The cloud streamed back into Dad, who crashed to the bed with the demon’s cursing coming out of his mouth…Sam crumpled over the table, barely hanging on by his nails, and Dean just doubled over under the whiplash of disappointment.

A slow laugh cracked out of his father’s mouth, and then the demon turned to smile silkily at Dean. “It’s not going to work.”

“Not yet, but eventually it’ll work. And you’d better believe I can keep trying till it does,” Sam retorted. “Guess you messed up on how much I’d learn before you got to me.”

“Oh?” The demon transferred his gaze to Sam, and the calm certainty of it turned Dean’s gut cold. “What you’ve--learned.” And then muscles slackened, eyes bleared over, and Dad was staring in horror at Sam. “Jesus Christ. Sam—you and Dean—you two…you’ve…with each other…tell me he’s lying. Sam, please. Please.”

As soon as Sam had figured out what Dad meant, he went white. His mouth opened, moved a little, but nothing came out. Not even a stammer.

The silence pressed hard on Dad, crumpling his face in as he let his head fall back. His eyes widened, then closed as if he couldn’t bear to even look at the ceiling.

The light in the room flickered.

“So much for familial love,” the demon suddenly snarled, jerking up. He threw himself towards the end of the bed and was stopped in mid-air, but to Dean’s horror, he’d managed to force one arm out of the circle’s span. Dad’s eyes rolled and the whites turned a lurid red, while a stream of vicious obscenities poured out of his mouth.

Sam flinched backwards and nearly fell over the chair. He caught himself and tried to say something, but he overshot his breath and ended up choking a little. The glow of the lines on the ceiling dimmed even more; the demon heaved his shoulder forward and was held up for a second, but then there was an awful tearing sound and his other arm abruptly swung out. The chair rammed forward of its own accord, just barely missing Sam as he dove sideways.

Dean jammed the Colt between his legs, then forced himself up and over the end of the bed. The jagged ends of his broken bones ripped at his insides, but he managed to keep the pistol held under him. “Sam!”

After one pass, the chair came around again for another go, but this time, it skidded to a stop six inches from Sam. The wood groaned and vibrated; snarling, the demon imperiously waved one hand. That made the chair leap, but just straight up. Sam had shoved himself back on his knees and was staring fiercely at the chair, lips peeled back from his teeth.

He suddenly whipped around to look at the demon—the chair burst into flames and the demon was buffeted back a few inches, but at the same time, something seized Dean and flung him into the wall. He tried to grab the Colt, but the pistol slipped through his fingers. Clipped his thumbnail.

“Sam! The gun—” It felt like Dean was trying to shout through water. His body was immersed in pain and too sluggish to hear anything else, and his own hearing was muffled, distorted. But he could still see, with that strange clarity that sometimes came with shock.

Sam made an attempt to intercept the gun mid-flight, but missed and landed on his side on the floor. He was up almost at once, but he didn’t have time for a second try. So he screamed out the exorcism ritual while backing towards Dean, but he kept his eyes on their father’s body so he didn’t notice he’d slammed up against the other bed and wasn’t going anywhere.

The demon had grabbed the gun, but was swaying back and forth; their Dad’s face was sometimes flushed scarlet in rage and sometimes pale with grief, and always contorting till Dean wondered that the muscles hadn’t torn themselves off the bones.

“Dad?” Dean said.

It came out more like a croak, and couldn’t possibly have been audible over Sam’s yelling, but somehow it seemed to get through. Dad suddenly stiffened, then fell over. His head dangled off the mattress, while his arm had dropped so that the gun was plainly visible at the edge of the bed.

“Oh, God. It’s still in me,” he rasped.

Sam slowed in his chanting, then hurriedly finished up. He started to speak, had to cough, and tried again. He sounded like his throat had been shredded. “Dad. I’ll get it out. Just…just hang on.”

“No…it’s in me. I can’t fight it—”

“I’ll get it out, Dad. I’ll take care of it—”

“You have to kill it! Kill me, Sam! It’s the only way—the only way to stop this and to stop what’s happening to us,” Dad barked. Then he jerked in on himself, crying out in pain.

Both Sam and Dean moved forward; Sam went towards the pistol. But before they could do anything, Dad suddenly sat up with an unnatural fluidity and swung the Colt around to point at Sam. Red was leaking back into the whites of his eyes.

Sam put up his hands, but not to indicate surrender. “Get out of my father,” he growled.

“No. No, I won’t…Sam, you have to kill me. Destroy it,” Dad desperately said. His hands were shaking, and his voice wavered in and out of the demon’s voice.

“No! No, Dad—” Dean arched and pushed his way up the wall “—Sam, Sam, hurry up and get it out—”

Sam was already starting up again. A fine spasm began in Dad’s head, but quickly grew in intensity as it spread down his body. His eyes jerked to Sam, then to Dean, and then back to Sam. The Colt slowly dropped in jagged stages.

An odd calm came over Dad. “I can’t ask you to do this,” he quietly said. His next words were broken up by a suppressed sob. “I love you boys.”

Dad--” Dean screamed, lunging forward.

He was dimly aware of Sam breaking off the ritual to do the same, but they were both too slow, too unprepared. The gun spun around with lightning speed and the world behind their father bloomed with blood. Then it went fiery and black, with smoke pouring in from all around. It got in Dean’s eyes and burnt out his tears, it got in his throat and scorched away his sobs. It suffocated him and left him blind and groping, and when he did find something, he clung to it with all the strength he still had. Sam couldn’t go, too.

* * *

Sam decided he was exhausted.

He’d gotten Dean out, and then in the parking lot had remembered about Luther and ended up yanking him out as well. Luther had been and still was mostly in some kind of coma, so that had turned out to be a wasted effort. What Sam probably should’ve done was to go for some of their gear that’d been in the room that he’d had to leave behind. They’d have a hell of a time replacing it all.

God knew why he’d gone for the fucking pistol. He pushed himself around in his chair to stare at the goddamned thing, which was just lying there on the table where he’d dropped it. It was still covered in soot and blood. He should probably clean it off. He’d had to do a quick and dirty scrub on himself with paper towels and a water bottle in order to get this new room, and if the cleaning staff came in and saw that gun, all that effort would be wasted, too.

Instead Sam got up and checked on Dean, whom he’d laid on the bed farther from the door. They both had some experience with setting bones, but when Sam had tentatively felt over Dean’s chest, it’d been like pressing into pebbly sand in places. He’d ended up experimenting with the telekinesis to get all the bones set, but since he couldn’t see what he was actually doing, he just had to hope that he’d done it right. At least the vampirism would help with that.

Dean was still out, skin around his mouth tight and papery with lack of blood, so Sam moved over to the other bed. He stared down at Luther for a long moment, then carefully climbed on the mattress till he was kneeling beside him. After carefully rolling up his sleeve, he peeled off the bandage over his wrist.

None of the cuts were fresh enough, so he had to get out his knife and scrape off one of the scabs. Blood instantly welled up, and for a moment Sam had to think about Dad’s blood splattered all over the wall.

He gritted his teeth and swiped some off his arm, then put his finger by Luther’s nose. Nothing happened, so Sam smeared it over Luther’s lips. At that, he thought he got a slight twitch, but apparently not one that signaled a return to consciousness. The blood was now in danger of dribbling over the bed-sheets, so Sam wiped off more and shoved his finger into Luther’s mouth. He scraped off as much as he could inside, then moved back.

After a moment’s thought, he scooted forward so he could keep Luther’s face pointing up with his knee. Then he liberally smeared his index and middle fingers and went back to trying to force-feed Luther.

Around the fifth repetition, Sam felt a slight sucking at his fingers. He left them in a little longer, and when he did pull them out, there was resistance. Instead of putting them back in with a fresh coating of blood, he just turned his wrist and pushed it up to Luther’s mouth.

Luther definitely was swallowing now, but still very weakly so the blood tended to trickle out; Sam didn’t want any more waste, so he wiped at the overflow with his other hand, then dripped the blood back between Luther’s lips. They parted more, fitting themselves to the curve of Sam’s arm, and a wet, snaky pressure briefly moved across the cut itself. It withdrew, only to come back more strongly.

Sam was beginning to feel a little dizzy, so he let himself lean forward so he could rest more of himself on the bed. He watched—pretty calmly, he thought—as Luther’s eyes fluttered open. No real comprehension beyond that of a feeding animal was in there; at the same time, fingers clamped around Sam’s elbow and hand, pulling him a fraction closer. He momentarily lost his balance and fell half on Luther.

Teeth snapped into Sam’s arm. The pain was intensely localized and made him try to jerk back, but Luther’s grip didn’t let him move. He scrabbled with his free hand for the headboard and raised himself a bit, but by then the hurt had numbed and was actually pretty bearable. So Sam stayed where he was. He glanced over at Dean, but his brother was still deeply unconscious.

When he looked at Luther again, intelligence was present in Luther’s eyes, but it was struggling against fierce hunger. Sam gripped the headboard and rocked his arm so the cut opened up more; Luther’s eyes widened and he let out a muffled exclamation that caused blood to spill out from around Sam’s wrist. He dragged Sam forward and jerked up his knee at the same time, then twisted so his mouth nearly slid off Sam’s arm.

Sam shoved it back, and snarled when Luther fought him. “You’re a vampire, damn it. You could act like one.”

Luther spat, or tried to spit. The blood bubbled like crazy out of his mouth and got all over Sam’s arm, slicking it up so he accidentally pushed it right off Luther’s chin. He pulled back, but a hard blow in his stomach almost sent him falling off the bed and by the time he’d righted himself, Luther had dragged himself to the other side of the bed. “What the hell are you doing?” Luther demanded.

Then Luther looked around. A cracked-up laugh got out of Sam before he could help it. “My dad’s dead, and Dean’s half-dead, so don’t worry about somebody chopping off your head.”

He threw out his arm, dug his fingers deep into the bed and used that handhold to propel himself across the mattress before Luther could dodge. Sam grabbed Luther by the wrist and tried to lift the son of a bitch the rest of the way, but Luther only rose two inches before Sam’s head exploded in pain. He had to drop Luther, nearly losing his hold on him in the process.

“Sam—” Luther hissed.

Sam waved his bloody arm at Luther and Luther went stiff, distracted. It gave Sam the moment he needed to haul Luther back the old-fashioned way and get on top of him. “What? You seemed to like it a lot the last time, so what’s the matter?”

“Your father’s dead?” Luther stared up at Sam like he was—like he was sorry for Sam. Sorry and worried, and oh, did that get on Sam’s nerves.

“Yeah. Yes, he’s dead, and he’s dead because he shot himself to kill the demon that I couldn’t exorcise fast enough. That I couldn’t get rid of. I…I couldn’t help Dean, I couldn’t help Dad, and I’m what this is all about, so what am I supposed to be good for, anyway? What?” Sam snarled. He pretended to think for a second while Luther wriggled around trying to toss him off, then slammed down with his arm. It hit closed lips, and when Sam tried to jam his arm in, he got past the lips but couldn’t work in past the wall of clenched teeth. “I’m good for my vampire-crack blood, and for my worthless powers, and for getting people killed! That’s what! So why won’t you—”

It was the blood again that screwed things up. It made Sam slip to the side, and before he could recover, Luther had worked one arm free and had grabbed him by the shoulder to shove them over. Sam lashed out with his foot and rolled them back, but it seemed like he and Luther had managed to even themselves out in terms of strength right now. Figured. Once again, it wasn’t going to be a straight fight that’d settle matters.

“You are not what it’s all about,” Luther snapped. His knee rammed up, probably aiming for Sam’s gut, but ending in Sam’s thigh. It hurt like hell, and Luther wasn’t slow to follow up. He got hold of Sam’s wrists and was wrenching them back when Sam just let himself drop.

To Sam, the blood smeared over Luther’s chin tasted like any other blood. Metallic, nastily sweet at the finish, generally unpleasant. But his mouth on Luther’s skin made Luther’s grip loosen a lot, so he pushed upwards till he’d covered Luther’s lips. And then he kissed him. Not nicely—that wasn’t even an option since Luther’s mouth had dropped so far open—but messily, deeply, like Sam was trying to drag out Luther’s brains. Which he basically was aiming to do.

Luther’s fingers went completely slack, allowing Sam to prop himself up on one elbow and work his other arm between them so he could rub fresh blood over Luther’s mouth. A slow hiss whistled over Sam’s wrist, and then Luther tried to turn his head away. So Sam ducked and went at his mouth again, and this time Luther convulsively pressed into it. His tongue flicked through Sam’s mouth before he tore himself away. Somehow he dodged Sam’s wrist and hauled himself halfway out from beneath Sam. “I am not doing this for you.”

“Really? Judging on what just happened, I’d say Dean actually was right about that part.” Sam held onto Luther’s waist, but found himself unexpectedly short of breath. His head was still hurting, and his vision was starting to go a little fuzzy around the edges. His cut wrist was slowly numbing, which was a nice non-feeling to finally have. “Come on. I thought you’d given up on being the hero. You just try to survive, right? Well, here’s your chance.”

“I am not doing this for you. Go blow out your own brains if you’re that determined on it,” Luther grated out. He twisted and jerked some more, but once it was clear he couldn’t get the rest of his body free, he slumped down to face Sam. His jaw dropped slightly in an open-mouthed, taunting smile. “Lot harder when you’ve really got to do it yourself than when you can blame it on somebody else, isn’t it?”

They stared at one another while the blood on Luther’s face slowly lost its moist sheen and while Sam felt the warmth of the stuff dribbling over his hand cool. Then Sam turned to look at the Colt. He’d thought about it. He’d thought he was too much of a failure to bother using that rare a bullet.

He thought, and suddenly he’d been yanked down and slammed onto his back by Luther, who looked all worried and fearful again. “What about Dean? What happens when he wakes up and finds you dead? Think he’s gonna keep from killing people forever?”

“Why do you always bring up Dean when you’re afraid of me?” Sam asked.

Luther flinched, but didn’t let go. “Think I’m gonna keep from killing him? I could, and then I’d be home free.”

“Well, you can’t seem to kill me, and you haven’t even—” Sam leaned up “—fucked me.”

When Luther flinched this time, Sam knocked his knees out from under him and heaved at his shoulders. He cursed and clawed at Sam, managing to grab enough of Sam’s shirt to drag Sam with him, but Sam stopped sliding at the edge of the bed while Luther continued down to the floor. Sam grabbed Luther’s arm and throat while he had the chance and yanked him forward again. This time, Sam didn’t pull away when he needed to breathe. He kept mashing their mouths together, feeling Luther’s teeth rip into his lips and tongue, begging for the goddamn blood to make enough of a difference. He wanted it. He made himself like it. He opened himself up to the downward spiral of dizzy heat, letting it spin out of him.

Luther’s free hand smacked him in the shoulder, then wrapped around it and pulled him forward. Then pushed back, pulled up…pushed over and up to curl around the back of Sam’s neck. He slowed it down, and then he made Sam take some of it back.

Bastard,” Sam hissed, jerking away. He couldn’t get as far as he wanted, thanks to Luther’s grip on him, and he couldn’t push Luther back, thanks to how weak he’d gotten himself. Weak, and tired, and so incredibly useless. “You goddamn asshole. Why not?”

“It’s insulting to my pride.” A humorless smile flicked over Luther’s face at whatever expression Sam made to that. Then he settled back on the ground, loosening up his hold. “You didn’t fail with Dean—from what I can tell, he just won’t let you help with that. And if your dad shot himself, then you weren’t exactly holding the gun to his head, were you?”

“I might as well have. The demon told him Dean and I had to screw a couple times, and the look on his face…” Sam dropped his head to the bed, then let go of Luther and let his arms dangle as well. He wasn’t exhausted—he was used up.

Luther’s hand was still on the back of Sam’s neck. Its fingers curled slightly, tickling the little hairs on the nape. “That only makes sense if he shot himself after the demon was out of him.”

“You don’t even know my Dad. Shut up,” Sam muttered. His eyes were stinging. They’d been so dry before Sam had had to drip water into them, but now they were wet and they still hurt. And his throat was closing up. “God. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t, and I can’t go back to—to law school now. Dad’s dead.”

The hand left Sam’s neck. But Luther kept sitting there, watching Sam cry and sob all over the bloody bed. It was a nice view, Sam guessed.

“You miss Kate?” Sam finally said. He had to cough several times before he got it out.

Luther blinked, then ducked his head and pulled at the white sheets beneath the comforter till he’d ripped off a strip. He handed it to Sam, who awkwardly began to wrap it around his cut wrist. “As much as I miss my children.”

That was a weird answer. It made Sam think long enough for him to not notice his throat had loosened up till he spoke again, and didn’t have to fight to sound like a human being. “Would you kill Dean? If I were dead?”

For a moment, Luther didn’t answer or look at Sam. He busied himself with scraping the clotting blood off his cheeks and hands, then discreetly sucking it off his fingers. “I’d say fifty-fifty. If he found you dead and me gone, he definitely would assume I had a part in it no matter how you died. But you know, it’s a hundred percent that any demons left—and there’s probably some—would try to kill him. And they’d probably manage to do it.”

“How are you so calm all the time? Why do you keep hanging around?” Sam said, some small part of him rousing enough to be annoyed. Because Luther was right, and Sam was together enough so that he couldn’t help but listen. And Dean was there, lying just beyond Luther and just as much of a presence in the discussion for all that he wasn’t actually capable of participating in it.

One side of Luther’s mouth quirked up. “I’m grieving too much to think properly, so I’m fixating on you because I’m used to fixating on something in order to keep on living.” He glanced at Sam, then shrugged. “It’s as good as anything else I could tell myself.”

Sam yanked the cloth tight around his wrist and tied it off. He felt like shit, and closer to passing out than before, but he was beginning to think about what they needed to do. They needed to get Dean fed somehow, and Luther too, because no matter how controlled Luther seemed, he still couldn’t stop trembling and…

Luther inhaled sharply just before their mouths met. He rocked back from the pressure, not doing anything at first, but just as Sam was pulling away, he suddenly lunged up into it. It took some hard shoving to get him off, and when he finally gave, he fell over onto one elbow.

“You know,” he rasped, breathing unevenly, “I’m not that calm.”

“You’re not getting any more of that, either. I just needed to get the last of the crazy out of my system so I can function,” Sam said, slowly getting off the bed. It was as good as anything else to tell himself.


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