GENRE: Sam POV, gen
RATING: R for show level violence, graphic imagery and language
WORD COUNT: 1830
WARNINGS; Spoilers for 11x17, lots and lots of spoilers
SUMMARY: He fights so hard to live because he doesn't want Dean to die.
A/N: thanks to adelheide for very thoughtful comments and feedback.
ONLY MOSTLY DEAD
"He won't leave you and we won't last out there without him."
And Sam knows exactly what's going to happen next - he dies -
and then after that - they somehow force or convince Dean to leave, to go with them, to protect them - 'Saving people, hunting things, the family business.'
and then after that - Dean gets them to safety, hunts down the fuckers who killed his little brother (doesn't matter squat that the one who actually shot him is already dead by Dean's own hand, in his brother's eyes the whole pack is guilty of murder) and goes full-on Deliverance on all their asses -
and then after that - Dean dies - 'I can't live with you dead,' He'd first said that a decade ago after selling his soul to bring Sam back. Repeated it just a few months ago when Sam told him about Billie. 'She's gonna throw us into something called the Empty, Dean, says there's no way out of there, no deal, no spell, nothing and no-one can ever bring us back. We die again and we stay dead. For ever.'
'Well she'll just have to take the both of us then cos you know I can't live with you dead, dude. Ain't ever gonna happen.'
And even knowing all of that he still fights and struggles with everything he's got, right hand slapping ineffectually at Corbin's wrist even as he feels the last scrap of air leave his burning lungs. His final attempt at exhalation, saturated with poisonous CO2, bereft of even an atom of live-sustaining oxygen is trapped in his throat and mouth and nose by Corbin's hand and fingers and thumb.
He fights so hard to live because he doesn't want Dean to die.
He can't knee him in the groin because the bastard is straddling his thighs, knees digging like daggers into the muscles of his upper legs and he's a heavy sonofabitch.
He can't scratch his eyes out because even with his freakishly long arms, he can't reach them. His blood-slicked fingertips can only brush against the bastard's beard and cheeks.
He sees what can only be a werewolf bite on Corbin's lower arm, only hours old, so fresh it's still oozing blood and that only makes him fight even harder because he has to warn Dean about the monster in their midst, about the human who looks and acts just like a helpless victim but who could turn at any moment, any second and then kill or turn his unsuspecting brother in an instant and if Dean has to die then Sam at least wants him to die human, to go down swinging and in a blaze of glory and all that stupid fucked-up macho crap and bullshit that he's always giving Dean so much shit about.
So he fights and struggles until he's simply got nothing left, no air, no strength, nothing.
Everything goes black and cold. He feels Corbin's hands against his chest and then his neck, fingers pressing against his throat, searching frantically for a pulse and there is one, there must be because he's still alive dammit! but it's so faint, so weak it may as well not be there at all.
He can't move, not a blink or twitch of his finger to indicate his state of non-deadness, not that he wants Corbin to know. Sonofabitch would just finish the job of killing him and he would no doubt use something a lot more final than strangulation and suffocation to do it. He faintly recalls seeing a meat cleaver on the kitchen counter and no... just no.. Sam likes his head right where it is, thank you very much.
But.... if he has to die to warn Dean, to save him then he's okay with that.
So he can't move and he can't see and he can't make even the smallest, quietest sound but somehow he can still hear. He can hear the soft shuffle of Michelle's footsteps as she staggers closer, her breathing harsh and laboured.
"What? Is... is he..."
"Dead." And Sam knows without a doubt it's not a question in Corbin's mind. To him, it's a fact.
The door opens, there's a couple of heavy footsteps and Sam's heart stops for real. "We gotta go." Dean! And then it starts again, still faint and intermittent but Sam is sure that Dean will be able to find it, will be able to tell that he is still alive, if only barely.
A pause and then a single word. "Sam?" Shock. More footsteps then, "Sammy?" Disbelief. And then Dean's hand is on Sam's chest, fingers spread wide, tips brushing against his blood-soaked shirts. And then Dean's hand is on Sam's neck, fingers pressed firmly against the flesh of his throat but not firmly enough it seems because Dean really thinks Sam is dead. He doesn't shake him forcefully, saying his name over and over and pleading 'Come on, come on. Come on, damn it.' like he did after Sam's first hell flashback in Rhode Island and he doesn't hold his face in his hands and slap him lightly and he definitely doesn't threaten to lick his damn face.
"What happened?" he hears Dean ask.
"I... I... I don't know. He just went."
Dean gently shakes him. "Sammy," he says, voice soft, grief-stricken.
Sam hears the unmistakable sound of a vehicle approaching.
"No, no, no." He hears the fear in Michelle's voice.
"It's them." And the certainty in Corbin's.
"Let 'em come." Dean's tone chills him to his very soul but doesn't surprise him. It's the tone of a man who has nothing left to lose and no longer cares whether he lives or dies, only how many of the monsters he can take with him.
"He wants to stay."
"No, you can't!"
"Hey, hey, you stay, you fight, you die. And so do we. Look...he's gone. I'm sorry, but he's gone. Help us. Please."
And as much as Sam hates Corbin right now and he despises him as much as he's ever despised anyone - Yellow-Eyes, Jake, Brady and Metatron all come immediately to mind - he agrees with him. If Dean stays, he dies. They all die. He remembers telling Dean, "Saving people means all of the people, Dean. Not just that baby. Not just each other."
Sam can feel Dean's breath on his cheek, warm and familiar. "I'm gonna come back for you, okay? I promise."
And Sam has no doubt what so ever that Dean will fulfil that promise. One way or another he will come back.
"Okay. Okay. Let's go."
The door opens and Sam hears Corbin and Michelle leave. He senses Dean standing in the doorway, knows he's looking back at Sam’s body with sadness and grief and determination.
'Go, Dean. Please just go,' Sam silently begs. 'I'll wait for you, okay? I promise.'
And then the door closes and Dean is gone.
The truck gets closer, twin beams of white light sweeping through the ranger's station, briefly turning the pitch black behind Sam's eyelids dazzlingly bright for a few seconds as it does a slow U-turn and retreats the way it came, following Dean.
And then it's quiet and dark again and Sam is well and truly alone.
In the silence of the empty cabin, he can hear the ticking of the clock above the stove as the thin second hand slowly makes it way through one minute and then the next and then the next and suddenly it's the loudest sound he's ever heard, defeaning almost, thundering into his ears and pounding against his eardrums. It's his own personal Doomsday clock, he realises, counting down to his inevitable demise and if he could laugh then he would but he can't so he doesn't. He can only lie in the growing pool of his own blood, gut wound ripped wide open during the fight, skin torn and hanging by a bloody flap, the flesh and muscles underneath exposed to the freezing cold night air.
He can only lie there, his body and its vital functions frozen by shock, suspended on the very cusp between life and death and listen...
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
... And wait for Dean. "I'm gonna come back for you, okay? I promise."
As he waits for Dean to return, "I'm gonna come back for you, okay? I promise." he calculates the distance to where they left the Impala (a couple of miles, he remembers Dean saying) and then the distance to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it-town where they re-stocked Dad's medkit and bought water and protein bars and M&M's (no more than 4 or 5 he hopes, prays)
As he waits for Dean, "I'm gonna come back for you, okay? I promise." he also begins to wonder why he hasn't seen Billie yet. He knows he's in far worse shape than the first time he met her. He knows she should have shown up while Corbin was smothering him or even before that when he got gut-shot and was bleeding out as Dean worked frantically to extract the bullet. The human body just isn't designed to lose so much blood and survive, though run-ins with ghouls and vamps remind him that it's not always fatal.
Minutes or hours later (he doesn't know which and time seems to have slowed to a very slow crawl or has maybe stopped altogether) true unconsciousness takes hold and drags him under. He doesn't fight it, welcomes not being able to feel the excruciating agony in his belly and the pain in his neck and throat and nose and the gut-wrenching heartache when he thinks about Dean's probable fate, killed by a cowardly from-behind blow by Corbin or slaughtered by the pack after fighting for his life (and Michelle's) for god knows how long.
Welcomes not being able to hear that fucking clock.
When he wakes an unknown time later the first thing he feels is the sun on his face and it's as warm and familiar as Dean's breath. More out of shock than conscious thought, he takes a short, sharp breath and then another one, a big gasping gulp of air and then another. He doesn't know how and he doesn't know why he can suddenly breathe and move and see. His gut still feels like it's on fire, an level of pure agony ripping through him that he hasn't experienced since Lucifer's cage.
He looks around. "Dean!"
Dean hasn't come back for him and Billie hasn't come to reap him and the combination of those two things cannot in any way be good.
He grabs the edge of the counter. It takes two attempts to pull himself upright and then to his feet and holy fuck it hurts like nothing he's ever felt before and he nearly throws up and nearly passes out but then he's standing and staying vertical and that's a start.
"I'm coming, Dean. Just hold on 'cause I'm coming. I promise."