Feeling Spike let him go, Dean pulled his knife off his belt and let it clatter to the concrete floor. He approached Sam and knelt by his tortured brother.
"Sammy? It's Dean. You hear me? It's your brother. I'm right here with you. I got you, little brother. I got you. You're gonna be fine. You're not a monster, not a freak, you're my brother and I love you. You hear me? Making me be all chick-flicky. You're not
a monster. Ruby tricked you, she's been lying to you. We'll get you all cleaned up little brother. I got you. I'm right here, Sammy."
Sam's head whipped from side to side. "No. Dean. You're messing me up. Dean. Dean?" He tried to pull his hands free, tried to lift off the bed. "Let me go, please. I need..." If he had blood, he could free himself. He could be on top of the world. He could punch Dean and make him stop. "I need it. I am
a monster, is that what you want to hear? You're right, I am."
Keeping an eye on Dean, Spike moved to the door to take the large tray out of Bobby's hands. He didn't flinch from the hunter's hostile look and didn't return it. The argument between the hunter Dean called uncle hadn’t escaped his vampiric hearing, so he knew the reasons for it. "Coffee smells good," was all he said, finding a place to set it and pouring a few cups.
"You're not a monster," Dean insisted gripping his brother's shoulders. "You don't need the blood. We're gonna get you through this. Me and Spike and Bobby. We're here with you. We'll always be with you. Not gonna let you go. Not gonna let you fall. You're my brother and not a monster. Listen to me, Sammy. Please. Right here. I'm right here."
"You're trying to kill me. You're dead, you're fucking dead and now you want to take me too. Bastard...” Sam opened his eyes wide, then squinted. “Dean. Dean?" He panted out his breaths, "I... it's you?"
"It's me. It's really me. I'm right here, Sammy. I don't think you're a monster, you hear me? You're my brother. I'm gonna get you through this. Just hang with me, Sammy. Hang in there."
Words spilled from Sam's mouth, some indecipherable, some just plain crazy. He turned his head and Spike came into view. "Dean," he whispered, waiting for his brother to lean closer. "You have to kill Spike. Need his... you have to, Dean. You gotta do it, to save me. Please... Dean! I'm your brother, Dean!"
Spike's fingers tightened around the mug and he glanced at Bobby. The hunter was definitely giving him a suspicious look. "Dean," Spike offered the mug to his lover. He'd have left if they hadn't needed him. But they needed him more than Bobby could know at the moment.
Bobby moved a little closer to the brothers as Dean asked Sam what was on his mind, too.
"Why do I have to kill Spike, Sam? He wouldn't hurt you. You know that."
"Kill him." Sam's head moved from side to side. He started to shake. "Choose me. I want it," he suddenly jerked violently like he was trying to get up. "I need it, Dean. Dammit, when did you get so weak? Kill the demon. Kill him."
Though Spike appeared calm, he was wary of Bobby and prepared. His gaze shifted between the older hunter and Dean. It was obvious to him what Sam wanted. Why wasn't it obvious to them?
"Spike's our friend, Sam," Dean told him, a little stung at being accused of being weak. He furrowed his brow as he tried to sort out what Sam wanted. He glanced at Spike and saw the offered mug of coffee, then his eyes met the blue sapphire of Spike's. He accepted the mug of coffee and took a sip, his eyes going to Bobby then back to Spike. "It's your blood he wants, isn't it? That's why he wants me to kill you. When...Spike help me out here. Do we give him blood or just try to get him through this. You said he could die if he went cold turkey. I'm not letting him die. I'm also not forfeiting you to feed his addiction. I'll go find a fucking demon if it's a risk to you."
Spike didn't know it all when it came to an addiction like this, a human craving the blood of a demon. "Shouldn't give him much, just enough to keep his heart from giving out. No risk to me. Risk is that there isn't enough demon content, then we'll have to go find one."
"Hold on," Bobby put his arm out blocking anyone from moving closer to Sam even though no one had made a move to give Sam blood. Yet. "Are you idjits trying to turn him into a vampire?" he demanded. "You know one drop is enough and there ain't nothing that will bring him back from it, nothing."
Turning to Bobby Dean shook his head. "Spike was a...Dracula type...vampire. Hellmouth is it?" he asked Spike who gave a nod. "The vampire nest turned him, and he's some sort of hybrid now. We know that at least small quantities of his blood won't turn someone."
Seeing Bobby's hard look Dean gave it right back. "I know what I'm talking about. Besides, Sam's immune to the Croatoan virus. Odds are good he's probably immune to the vampire virus, too.
"And just how do you know this vampire's blood won't turn someone?" Bobby demanded, not willing to let it go and giving Spike a challenging glare.
"Because I had some of Spike's blood when he was helping me with my addiction to hurting people!" Dean snapped back at him. Dean’s nostrils flared and he tried to keep his emotions under control. Keeping his gaze locked with Bobby's he said, "Spike use your best judgment. Give Sam only as much as you think he needs."
"Well that's mighty big of him, why'd he let you have it in the first place?"
Spike could see that Bobby was trying to understand. He was asking the questions any close friend or family would. "It wasn't like that," he said, trying to cut-off a hostile answer from Dean. Since Bobby now knew about Dean's addiction, Spike didn't feel he was breaking Dean's trust by giving the man more about the circumstances, though he gave it his own spin.
"Dean sleep walks sometimes and thinks he's back there, in hell." He glanced at the dagger that was on the floor, then back at Bobby. "My blood was on a knife. You know what they say about old habits? He licked it, but he's fine. Sam will be fine," he said, picking up the dagger and approaching the men.
He handed the dagger to Dean, his gaze locking with his lover's, challenging him to do exactly as he said. "Just a small
Dean looked at the knife, almost as if would it bite him. He swallowed and accepted the blade after setting his coffee aside. With one glance at Sam, his knuckles whitened from the death grip he had on the hilt.
Taking hold of Spike's wrist, he moved the knife to slice down the length Spike's forearm and stopped himself. Small nick. Just a small one.
he told himself firmly and finally drew the across Spike's wrist near the base of his thumb, the cut not even a half inch. He looked up at Spike, praying he didn't have to cut it any bigger than that. "Good?" he asked, his voice rough.
"Very good," Spike nodded, wanting to pull the hunter into his arms. "Leave the dagger out, somewhere in view," he said, stepping closer to Sam and bringing his hand to Sam's mouth.
Why? Dean wanted to protest. He wanted the damned dagger out of sight, but he knew what Spike's game plan was. After a moment he set the blade on a nearby shelf, keeping it low enough that Spike could see it, just as he could.
Sam’s mouth immediately latched onto Spike’s open wound and he started to suck on it. He was oblivious to everything else around him.
"You don't have to watch this," Spike told both men, biting his lower lip as he felt Sam's teeth tear into his flesh as the hunter started to get frustrated by the low flow of blood.
Dean’s eyes went back to his lover and seeing Sam drink Spike's blood sent a jolt of jealousy through him. Grabbing his coffee cup, he turned away.
Bobby had intently watched everything, scrutinizing all of them. He’d noticed how Dean very nearly drew the blade right down the vampire's forearm, saw the slight tremble in Dean's hand, saw that Dean did not want to leave the knife out. He frowned at seeing the young man he had known for so long, so torn up. Kid gloves, Bobby thought to himself, that's how that vampire was treating Dean. Making him face his issues, but ready to catch him if he wavered. He could see that plainly in the vampire's face. The look Dean gave Spike and Sam, that look he knew all too well. Sheer jealousy.
"C'mon Dean. You said you like my meatloaf so damned much, but I don't see you sitting your butt down and eating it. And you know, when you called me about that nest, you sort of left out the part that they'd gotten hold of you."
"Who says they did?"
Bobby folded his arms across his chest. "You said they turned him.
What, did you just happen to wander by, did he just happen to get away, and you just decided to take him in knowing he'd been turned? Don't bullshit me, kid. You suck at it. You always have."
"Really?" Dean asked. He thought he'd gotten away with some pretty damned good lies through the years.
"Really," Bobby answered, cocking an eyebrow at him.
"Huh," Dean huffed and then took a drink of his coffee, decidedly keeping his gaze away from Spike and Sam.
Spike leaned over Sam and started talking to him, telling him it was enough. He knew the blood lust was driving Sam and wouldn't let him hear, but he had to try before he started to pull his hand away. "Bloody..." the curse slipped from his lips as Sam bit down and tore his flesh with his bare teeth as Spike pulled his wrist free.
"S'alright... alright, Sam," Spike said, turning away and sucking his own wound to prevent the blood from dripping, then leaning over Sam again. "You'll feel better now, yeah?"
"No. More... gimme me more," Sam demanded over and over, but his body stopped trembling.
Once Spike's wrist healed, he ran his hand over Sam's forehead, pushing his hair back. "Think of something good. A place, a person you like. Take your mind off it." Spike had no idea whether Sam understood or could do as he suggested, but eventually he stopped thrashing and just talked to the things, to people, who were only in his mind.
"His heart rate is down," Spike said, joining the others. The smell of the sandwich Dean was having made Spike's stomach growl. "Never had that... meatloaf … before," he said.
Bobby's jaw almost dropped. Vampires didn't eat human food. Thinking back to the lore, he knew Hellmouth vamps did sometimes, but that was rare and they got nothing out of it. He never expected to hear a vampire's stomach growl
"You'll never want anyone else's meatload after having Bobby's," Dean said and handed him a sandwich. He gaze flicked over to his brother and he was relieved to see that Sam had calmed down. Kind of.
Looking over at Bobby, he gave a soft chuckle. "Yeah, Spike's baffled by it, too. He's blaming me. Says my blood makes him want human food." Realizing he’d just told Bobby he let Spike drink his blood, he rolled his eyes and cursed softly under his breath.
"You let him drink..."
Dean lifted his chin defiantly. "Yeah. My blood helps him drink the cow and blood bank cocktail he usually has. He doesn't take much. Doesn't want me to end up a 'blood doll' and I assume you know what that is and it can be addictive. Usually we put it in a bottle for him to add a little to his drink."
"Does he bite you?" Bobby asked, not looking at Spike.
"Sometimes. When I ask him to. Or if he asks me if he can." Dean took a bite of the sandwich, giving a small sound of pleasure. Damn was it good. "Look, we're careful, okay? And stop acting like he's not right here with us." Dean reached out and covered Spike's hand with his own, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"Dean bites. He's not as careful," Spike said, giving Dean's hand a return squeeze, then letting go and reaching for a sandwich. "Joke," he added for Bobby who was giving him a hard look.
"When all this is over, you and I can go out for a drink. I'll listen to whatever you have to say, yeah?" He felt Dean bristle, and nudged him with his body. "I might have a thing or two to say myself." Taking a bite of just the meat between the slices of bread, he gave a satisfied sound. "And I'll be asking for your recipe."
Bobby looked between the two and finally just shook his head. "Used to be nice and black and white. Demon. You exorcise it. Vampire, you behead it. Course you didn't have angels showing up neither, or the Apocalypse on your doorstep." Looking at Spike, he finally gave a nod. "Alright Spike, we'll talk but I'm gonna give you an earful. I don't like and don't wanna believe this," he motioned at the hand-holding, "whatever it is." He snorted at Spike's request for his recipe. "Vampires cook now, too?"
Spike shrugged, "Took care of the Slayer's little sister when the Slayer... died, until she came back," his gaze shifted to Dean for a moment, then back to Bobby. "The second time," he clarified. He didn't volunteer that he might have had some responsibility for her first death, not directly but by association with the Master who'd killed her. "I'm good at listening to lectures." This time, he did not
look at Dean, knowing he'd see disbelief in those green eyes. "I've had lots of practice with a broody grandsire and a librarian watcher who went on, and on."
It had been hours. Dean had wanted to switch from coffee to something stronger but Spike wouldn't let him because he said Sam needed his brother sober. Sam's shouts, his mad ramblings, his cries for Dean to help him, were killing Dean. All Dean could do was sit by him and try to give him comforting words and tell him he was there.
Spike had given Sam blood twice more now. It had been a day, more or less, Dean thought, though he didn't really check the time. Spike had managed to convince Dean to eat once after those meatloaf sandwiches, teasing and cajoling, and Bobby reluctantly admitted Spike was managing to get Dean to do things even Sam would have had trouble with.
Bobby and been in and out multiple times and more than a few of those times, he'd found the two men sitting beside each other holding hands, or with an arm around the other's shoulder or waist. Once he’d even caught them kissing. He’d also heard Dean snap at Spike a couple times and Spike seemed to take it all in stride, usually making a joke which only pissed Dean off, but then soon after a few more words were passed, Dean would calm down. Spike had a way with Dean he'd never seen Dean take to, and it sure as hell didn't look to Bobby like Dean was under any sort of spell.
He'd seen Spike sleep for about four hours, wincing when he dropped something that clattered loudly on the floor. Dean gave Bobby a half smile and told him not to worry, when Spike slept it was just like the Drac vamps. Damned near nothing woke him, however Spike had told him if he was alone his sleep tended not to be as deep and strange sounds or voices talking would rouse him due to self-preservation.
It was night time again and Dean watched his brother getting worse. He felt so damned helpless and his lack of sleep was making him even more short tempered, and he knew it.
"How much longer is this fucking going to last?" Dean demanded, venting his frustration as he lobbed the cup of coffee at the wall and began to pace, his gaze constantly going to his brother who had slept briefly but was back to shouting and crying and screaming at things that weren't even there.
Spike didn't answer the rhetorical question they'd both asked over and over. They'd taken breaks and left Sam alone for hours at a time, but they'd been in the room or right outside sitting or standing around the stairs, more often than not. It was an unspoken agreement that Dean was never in the room alone with Sam for longer than a few minutes. Either Spike or Bobby would be with him. Spike didn't think Dean would do anything, especially when he was awake, but the consequences if something went wrong, they were just too big to risk.
Walking over to Dean, Spike put his arms around the hunter's stiff body, waiting until he felt the tension slowly ease. "Let's go out, sit on the stairs. Have a beer," he offered. "Talk, hmm?"
Dean looked at his brother again. Sam was drenched in sweat but was quiet except for the occasional soft moans and tugs at his restraints. Hopefully, he’d fallen asleep and he’d sleep for a good few hours.
"Yeah," Dean said softly. "I could definitely use a beer, though I think I could down about half a bottle of whiskey right now. Maybe even...maybe even grab a slice of pizza or something. Didn't Bobby say he'd ordered pizza?" he asked as he let Spike guide his tired body out to the stairs. He needed sleep, he knew he did, but he was wound so tight, so worried about his brother, he just couldn't bring himself to close his eyes.
"Funny you should mention it, I heard the door," Spike smiled, and watched as Dean sat heavily down on one of the bottom stairs. Before going up the stairs, he stroked Dean's face. "Back in a vampire minute," he smirked.
True to his word, Spike was back with a few slices of pizza for Dean and two beers. He sat next to Dean and took a swig of the beer then resting his elbow on his knee, he held the bottle by the neck and let it swing back and forth as he watched Dean take a bite of his pizza. "The things he's saying," Spike nodded toward the door to the safe room. "You're going to have to let them go. He's not in his right mind, and he’s pushing every button... saying things just because he knows they’ll hurt. He doesn't have to think any of it is true. Twisting reality is the best way to get to someone."
"Just one problem with that theory. A lot of what he's saying is
true. I am arrogant. I thought maybe I could find a way out of the deal that wouldn't get Sam killed. I brought him back when he was probably in heaven, because I was selfish, 'cause I'm not sure I believed in heaven. My job is to take care of him. Always was ever since Dad put him in my arms when I was four. And I didn't want to be without him. I didn't want to try to go on without him. I didn't have anything left. We got another guy out of a deal with the crossroad's demon. Why couldn't we get me out and save Sam too? I'm a selfish, arrogant bastard who failed him. I left him alone with Ruby, left him carrying all that guilt about not being able to save me from the deal, and of not being able to get me out of Hell." Dean shook his head and forced himself to take another bite of pizza that he washed down with a hefty pull on the beer. "Honestly Spike, if you weren't here to help keep me something close to sane...I don't know where I'd be, what I'd be doing. Thanks seems pretty fucking inadequate."
"I'll be collecting a lot more than 'thanks' when this is all over," Spike promised, "at least twenty four hours in bed uninterrupted, yeah?" He nudged his too serious lover, coaxing a semi-smile from him. "There's two sides to everything you did. Some would say those were all completely unselfish acts. Plans don't always work out, I should know," he said rolling his eyes at all of the schemes that had come crashing over his own head in the past. "Your heart's in the right place, and if I had to pick someone to be my brother... I'd want you, but then we'd both go to hell for incest," he added, smirking a little. "And how many people do you know that have been snatched out of hell by a bleedin' angel?" He raised his brow. "And don't you dare go on about them not having a choice and you being the only one who can stop the apocalypse. The prophet called you a 'righteous man' and that's after you made your deal. ‘Righteous Dean’... ‘bloody do-gooder Dean?’" he started to make fun and pulled away in case Dean got physical.
"I'm not a do-gooder. I just do my job," Dean said then gave a soft snort. "No matter where I'm at, I'm really good at my job. Except when it comes to Sam apparently." He put his arm around Spike's shoulder and just sat there for a time, letting the pizza get cold as he slowly sipped his beer. He finally kissed Spike's temple. "I think twenty-four hours won't be enough. Two, maybe three days. Sleeping. Eating. And having wild sex that'll shake the fucking pillars of Heaven."
The door at the top of the stairs slammed shut.
Spike looked at Dean, then started to laugh. "Right, I think you just added to the list of things I'm going to get an 'earful about.'" Lifting his beer to his mouth, he took a sip, then leaned in and stole a quick kiss on the lips. "Figure you owe me that as an advance." They sat in silence for a while with Spike nudging Dean to eat.
With Spike's incessant nagging, Dean finally finished off the two pieces of pizza though Spike stole a good portion of the pepperoni and sausage from the second piece.
"You're tired. You should sleep," Spike said. "We should set up a cot in there for you, if you can sleep in spite of Sam's racket. He seems to have quieted down for now." He saw the fear in Dean's eyes and shook his head. "I'll be there. If you sleep walk and there's any danger, I'll stop you. Want you to think about a trigger, something that can wake you. A song, a word, something that means something to you, something you won't forget. And if you sleep walk, you can say the word, hum the song, wake yourself. It's worth a try."
"Dude, I don't know when I'm sleepwalking. As far as I'm concerned I'm back in Hell and all of this was just a delusion. A trigger word...I don't know. I, uh, hum Metallica sometimes when I don't like where I'm at." Dean thought a minute longer and shrugged helplessly. "You, my brother, my car, Bobby, that's about all that's important to me. I'm not complicated." He gave a bitter laugh. "About the only thing that has special meaning to me is 'funnel cake.' I guess I'll try that. It's supposed to be our safe word. Maybe it'll keep everyone around me safe. But I don't think it's a good idea for me to sleep in there. Just get me some more coffee. I'm good. Really."
"I don't expect you'll be able to sleep or sleep walk on command, but when you do sleep, it should be in there. Your brother's dealing with one sort of bloodlust. What better time for you to deal with yours?" He grasped the front of Dean's shirt. "I won't let you hurt him," he promised, drawing him close and slanting his mouth over Dean's. "'Funnel cake'... when you want to breathe," he warned, right before he took Dean's mouth in a searing kiss, trying to wipe his mind free of his fears and worries, trying to show him how much he loved him and had confidence in him, and maybe telling him which of the two of them was correct. Right, there was a bit of that.
Dean was about to protest that they should deal with one bloodlust at a time, but Spike's passionate kiss cleared just about every thought out of his head. Fuck, he never thought he melted easily, but with Spike, especially when Spike wanted to be in control, he didn't have a chance. He just couldn't deny Spike anything. He'd try, but Spike would wheedle and joke and pretty soon Dean was agreeing to whatever it was Spike wanted him to do.
His lungs were burning and he was seeing spots before his eyes. "unnel-ake" was as close as he could get to saying the 'safe word' and after another long second, Spike broke the kiss and Dean drew in a deep breath.
"Damn, you're evil," Dean gasped, his cock twitching with need. With a kiss like that they should be spiraling into some damned hot sex, but that couldn't happen right now. "Don't be looking so fucking smug," Dean glared at him, but the glare had no effect what-so-ever on the vampire and he knew it. "...All right. I'll sleep...in there. But you don't leave. For any reason. And...and maybe you better cuff me to the bed, just in case."
"You can call me 'the big bad' if you like," Spike said, not losing his smirk. "And we're not cuffing you. You're going to control yourself and wake yourself up. I know you will. It'll be good practice, and I'll be right here with you. If we cuff you and Bobby walks in, we'll be hearing a lot more than a door slamming. You know there are some things I can't resist," his gaze was focused on Dean's mouth, but he dragged it away.
"I'm not calling you 'the big bad.' Unless we're talking about your ego and your humor," Dean smirked back. "You can't resist anything when it comes to me, but who can blame you for that?"
Dean's smirk faltered. "Promise me. Promise me you won't leave. And that knife goes outside the room."
"Trust me." Spike didn't make the promise. There would be no point if there were no knife in the room, but he wasn't beyond humoring Dean and putting it out temporarily if Dean insisted. "And since you seem to need a reminder, I'll be showing you what else is big and bad about me," he got up. "I'll the get the bed set up. You go upstairs and... talk to Bobby, yeah?" He gave Dean a look. "Good luck."
"Bobby's just gonna have to learn to deal with the fact you and I are together," Dean said but pushed himself wearily to his feet. "I'll let him know I'm sleeping down here," he said making a face. Still he didn't want to leave Sam alone and he didn't really trust himself upstairs if Bobby was there. What if he had one of his waking nightmares and tried to hurt his friend?
* * *
Hours later, Spike sat on the floor, leaning against the wall and itching for a smoke. He couldn't go for one though, not with Dean finally having fallen asleep an hour and a half ago. He seemed to be peaceful, laying on his stomach and hardly moving.
Spike's gaze shifted to Sam who was less than peaceful. His mumbled pleas were getting louder and his tugs on the restraints more violent. Spike's blood seemed to calm him quite quickly but they were only giving him a little, and then only when his heart was beating dangerously fast.
Spike knew first-hand it had to be torture seeing illusions which tormented and taunted you and being unable to separate fact from fiction. He'd told Dean a bit about the time he'd been under Caleb's control like that, being restrained and seeing realistic visions of the Slayer. The vision would insult him, push his buttons, his insecurities. Then she’d pretend to free him, but he’d find that he was still there, all chained up. It had all been games, and the Slayer had never been there at all.
He was sure that every insecurity Sam had was growing in stature and biting him in the arse. He hoped when this was over, Sam would see that Ruby did not do him any favors getting him hooked on demon blood like that. He didn’t know how Sam had been fed. Maybe she gave him a bit of her blood, that was possible. Or maybe they’d killed to get it, which had to weigh on the hunter’s soul when he knew that demons, at least the sort the Winchesters dealt with on a regular basis, could be exorcised and the possessed human did not have to die.
He stretched to pick up his mug of coffee when he heard Dean's cot creak, and turned towards him, watching him. The cries echoed in his skull. They gave you breaks in Hell, breaks from the torture. It gave you a chance to hear the other cries of agony that weren't your own screams of pain. It gave you a chance to watch what the demons did to the other souls, what new and creative methods of torture they came up with and which you knew you would get to experience first-hand.
Dean seemed to be one of the 'chosen,' getting special attention from the master torturer Alistair. Lilith visited often as well. Other souls, other demons, they got their turn at him too of course.
"You can get off the rack if you put other souls on, Dean," Alistair told him every day. When he finally caved, when the thought of another day of agony was more than he could bear, he did just that. Alistair told him if he didn't have a talent for it, he would end up back on the rack. "Show me you're worthy, dear boy."
Dean zeroed in on the soft whimpering nearby. That wouldn't do. Screams. That's what he needed to hear. Screams that weren't his, screams that would never again be his own, screams that would satisfy the master torturer. He needed a weapon.
Searching for one, he saw the glint of steel in the red shadows. He wanted to smell the blood, taste it, and taste the fear he’d endured for so damned long.
Vengeance. He could get vengeance. Maybe not on the ones who had tortured him, but on the others who screamed, the others who helped break him down. Alistair had told others that if they could convince Dean to get off the rack, they would be spared for a time. Their cries and begging had all contributed to his final failure.
He walked across to the blade that called to him and picked it up. He tested its sharpness by slitting his own thumb, then sucking the blood, his blood, that he’d tasted in his mouth every day, along with too many other things.
He turned to sounds coming from a bound and tortured soul. No, the cries just weren't loud enough. Alistair would want more and he was not gonna be put back on that rack because he failed to give it to him.
Tensing, Spike stood up, his eyes on the blade that was in Dean's hand. The low light glinted off it. He raised his gaze to Dean's face and saw how hard his expression was... no, not hard, but empty and cold. Those eyes that usually held a wealth of emotions were blank slates.
Without drawing attention to himself, Spike slowly inched closer to Sam, but still stood at least five feet away. He concentrated on Dean, not on Sam who was still fighting to free himself.
"You're not making enough noise," Dean crooned to the soul that was damned to hell. "But I can help with that," he assured and walked forward, knife in hand. "Don't worry, I'm good at my job. It'll be elegant, the way I'm gonna carve you up. Masterful. You'll feel every slow draw of my blade through your flesh. Can't have it over too fast, you know."
Dean ran his hand along the man's leg, across his groin, and up his sweating chest. The man thrashed and muttered things as Dean continued to move his hand up to his face. "It's no fun if I can't see your face," Dean told him and gripped the man's chin firmly, turning the brunet's face toward him. He held the knife ready, but frowned.
The man was dressed. That wasn't typical. And the man's face. His brow creased even more as he searched his memories. "Sammy?" he whispered. Sam was nine and begged Dean to let him go on the twirling ride. Dean bought the tickets and they stood in line and soon they were on it. His brother's grin practically split his face as the ride started and they began pressing their feet against the floor, each trying to overtake the other one to get the compartment to spin. They laughed as they slid into each other, though Dean had put on enough height and muscle that he had to be careful not to smash too hard into his little brother. The ride ended and both of them booed. It had been far too short as far as both of them were concerned. "Look Dean! Cotton candy! Can we get some?"
Dean gave him the money and the young boy raced over and picked out some purple fluff. Smelling a cinnamon sweetness in the air, Dean looked around. "Hey Sammy, let's try that stuff, it smells awesome."
They headed over to the stall. "Yeah, gimme one of those things," he told the guy behind the counter. "What's it called?" Dean asked, pointing at the pastry that looked like fried worms or something.
"Funnel Cake," the man said in an English accent.
Dean was suddenly awake. Immediately awake. He stood over his brother, his grip bruising on Sam's chin, a knife in his other hand. He released his brother and backed away, the knife falling from numb fingers. His eyes quickly scanned over his brother's body, searching for wounds but finding none. Sinking to his knees, he began to sob.
In a few strides, Spike was in front of Dean, dropping down to his knees and drawing him into his arms. "Shshsh, Sam's fine. You didn't hurt him. You woke yourself up, Dean," he stroked Dean's back with one hand and cradled his head with the other. "You did good. You haven't had one of these in a while, and it’s the first time you woke yourself. It's good, s'all good, you're alright," he crooned, "alright..."
Dean clutched at the vampire, holding him so tightly that if Spike were human it would probably approach crushing him. "We were at the carnival. He was just a little kid," Dean whispered. "Rode that octopus ride like you and me. Got cotton candy, then...then...funnel cake. I asked the guy what it was. It was your voice I heard. Did you say it? Did you pull me out?" Dean couldn't believe he had woken himself up. It had to have been Spike. Spike must have said it and snapped him out of his nightmare.
"No, wasn't me, Dean. It was you, all you." Spike pulled back slightly so he could look into his lover's face. "You
stopped it all on your own, mate. All on your own." The disbelief in Dean's eyes was hard to bear, but Spike stared right back at him, willing his words to sink in. "This is a good thing. Just like when I first kept a bag of hospital blood down without being in pain. Just like seeing Sam waiting a longer before needing my blood will be. It's the same thing, steps toward beating it... this thing."
Dean stared back into Spike's eyes. He saw no lies, no deception in them. Only love and belief. "We're all monsters made by the supernatural," Dean said softly, "trying to beat what it's made us into. You did, all by yourself. I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you. You...you're more human than either Sam or me right now. The three of us, we'll always have these monsters inside us. And you, you'll always catch me and Sam when we start to fall, won't you? And we'll catch you. We'll keep each other human."
"Keep each other human. I like the ring of that," Spike answered, giving Dean a smile as he started to get up, pulling Dean with him.