posted by [personal profile] bibliophilia at 06:49am on 03/07/2007 under ,
Title: Tears of Ashes
Author: [profile] ghani_atreides
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2.219
Warning: Character death
Disclaimer: I own nobody you can recognize. The words though...
Summary: One more casualty in their pointless war.
A/N: for [profile] dazedizzy

He’d called Bobby. Bobby had called Ellen. They had both arrived at the same time. Dean suspected it was part of an agreement. 

She had gone straight to him, pulling him up from the floor, holding his bleeding hand within hers, a look of concern mixed with the choking oppression of tears that dared not fall. Bobby just stood there, by his pick-up truck, watching Ellen drag an almost limp Dean to the car she’d borrowed ignoring him completely, too busy with the way Dean didn’t seem to notice his cut-open knuckles, bleeding a little too much for her likings.  

Though maybe all of it wasn’t blood, maybe it was rain mixed in, making it look like it was pouring out of him. Like he was dying fast through the raw skin of his hand. His free hand hung limp by his side, defeated.
 When Ellen asked him where was Sam, his gut clenched painfully, he thought he’d barf, even fell down to the ground again, hurting his knees and coughing, but nothing came out, no release that allowed him to breathe better, nothing.  

Ellen knelt beside him, holding him by the forehead, like his father used to do to keep him from vomiting through his nose. Ellen was there to take care of him, and for the first time, Dean didn’t argue, didn’t care. It wasn’t important to defend his pride, nothing was important anymore. 

As Ellen made him stand again, he heard Bobby’s voice, gruff and harsh “I’ll find him” he said. He’d understood, that Bobby, always paying attention. Ellen sobbed by his side. 

“God, Dean” there were no tears in her eyes, but her voice was another thing “how did this happen?”
He didn’t know if she meant the fire, his bleeding hand, or the wrongness of the world. He took it to be all three together. 

“I did it Ellen. It’s my fault” Their advance stopped, a poodle of water splattering soundly when his boot fell hard in it. Her hands pulled his face up, eyes meeting eyes. She swallowed and he wished he’d barfed.

“I’m not gonna say it’s not, because some of it… some of it is your fault kid. But not all of it. Not… not that” her stare was too much, everything was too much. Dean hung his head again, running away from her eyes and his failure.

 “C’mon Dean, lest get you cleaned up while Bobby…” she didn’t finish and Dean thanked her from his soul. 

***

“I didn’t try hard enough” He said, breaking the silence. Ellen was kneeling on the ground, mindless of the mud and the rain still falling, although its intensity had diminished in the last… what? Hour? Hour and a half? He didn’t know. 

“How come?” Ellen’s eyes didn’t leave his hand, the cuts were deeper than they seemed, way deeper than they felt. Even if it was all he could feel at the moment. Maybe he’d never be able to feel properly again.

“I got… hell I don’t know what. I should have tried harder. Make him stay. Come here myself. Alone” She pressed a cloth to his wound, he hissed in pain. Pain was good. Pain was the reason he’d hit the pavement in the first place. 

“He wouldn’t have had any of it” Once again, Dean thanked her. This time for not saying his name. As impersonal as “He” sounded, it was all he could handle at the moment.

She looked up, he didn’t avoid her gaze this time. And maybe he should have had, because now Ellen’s tears were falling free, shining under the moonlight, heavier than the soft rain around them, thicker than the blood on her hands, more heart-wrenching than any howl he had uttered. The tears of a woman in pain. Silent tears that screamed her sadness, her sorrow. 

Too much. It was too much. Ellen’s tears, the rain tapping on the roof of the car, Bobby’s noises as he searched for him, Sam’s scream when the fire bit his flesh, the girl’s desperate sobs as he tried to stop the bleeding of her belly. She knew she wasn’t gonna make it, Dean knew she wasn’t gonna make it. The both knew there was too much damage, too much lost blood. Too much.

Everything was just too much. 

Sitting on the backseat, with the door open and Ellen kneeling on the dirt, Dean Winchester cried.

When she stood up, to leave him to his pain, probably thinking he would have preferred it, he reached for her and she acquiesced. Still standing, towering over him, she held him and he let her. His arms wrapped around her waist, pressing hard, he cried. Full sobs and whimpers he hadn’t allow to come out when crying over his father.  
That weakness he had to hide from his brother now shone bright in his darkness, now that there was nobody to hide it from. Now that Ellen’s gentle hand was patting his head, while she valiantly tried to keep her own breathing normal, so her crying wouldn’t disturb his.

His face pressed against the cotton of her shirt, he could smell her scent, the fading hint of some woody perfume… and ashes. A strong whiff of ashes that made him wish, once again, he’d barfed when he had the chance. 

***

They’d left Bobby still trying to find… whatever it was that could be found. Ellen had taken him back to his motel room; Dean vaguely remembered telling her where it was, guiding her through the streets. He didn’t remember much after that. 

When they entered the room, first thing he did was find his bed and sit at the edge, elbows on his knees, face buried in his hands. Then he hard her talking, not to him, but talking. About nothing or about everything maybe. Dean didn’t know, he wasn’t paying attention. Until he was.

“God knows we…”

“There is no God, Ellen” he cut her off

She turned around to look at him, Dean met her eyes steadily. “There is no God” he repeated, lower now, but as steely as the first time.

“Dean, I know…”

“If there was, none of this would have happened” he interrupted her again. “This shouldn’t have happened at all. What God goes around letting good people die, while the world over-populates with ass-holes and dicks that deserve to be mass murdered? Huh? Can you answer that Ellen?” Anger building again, dangerous because he couldn’t scream it off this time. Not with Ellen watching.

“No, Dean. I can’t. But neither can you” so devastating, so painful, so true. Damn her. Damn Sam. Damn God. Damn everything. 

He glared at her some more, before scooting back and -clothes and boots still on- lying on the bed, looking at the ceiling, arms crossed over his chest. Dean heard her walk into the bathroom, close the door softly and make it bounce against its frame when she pressed herself against it; he heard her hitched breathing, the whimpers she unsuccessfully tried to silence.

And he cried again. Quietly. Tears of anger and impotence. Tears of despair and hate. Not tears of sadness. Those might come later, but not yet. 

Fisting his hand, Dean felt the stretch of the wounded flesh under the bandages, felt the pain it caused and reveled on it. Pain was good, as long as he felt it he could feed his wrath, if he was angry he wouldn’t have time to be sad, to be broken.

Pain was very good. 

***

Back in the field, when the girl died in his arms, pain had kept him sane. After he left her, bloodied and cold, anger had fueled his body into motion. Half way to his car, rain started, merciless and hard, like little needles embedding themselves in his skin.  

At first he’d welcome it, the relive it brought to his heated skin, the cover-up it provided to his tears, yeah, rain had been good.

But then, the ashes from the fire had started melding with the rain, soaking him in a pasty coldness that grossed him out. Morbidly, he thought that both Heaven and Hell were crying for their loss. Both sides had wanted his little brother on their lines, both had pushed him into a self-destructive behavior, a hero complex that winded up being the end of him. Both sides had killed his little brother, and with him, they’d killed Dean.  

And these… tears of ashes, were like adding insult to injury.

Feeling his legs give out, his gut knotting and his head spinning with dizziness, Dean fell to the ground, knees protesting the roughness of it. He’d looked up then, all his anger and frustration molten in his scream, a cry to the skies that tore his throat.  

And then, recrimination ensued.

“Is this all you can do?!” he didn’t know who was he asking it to, the demon, God, himself, the world… all of them possibly. “Is this all you can give him? Your tears, a rain! A fucking rain? What gives you the right dammit? What makes you think you can play with us? What? Answer to me?! Why Sammy? Why not me? You should have taken me, you fucker!” 

He waited, but all he got was more rain and ashes. So he screamed, he cursed, he howled until his throat hurt and his voice became a suffering rasp.

It had been worthless, Sam’s sacrifice meant nothing because the girl died, and the promise she represented died with her. Sam’s god had failed him and he never knew it.  

So Dean hoped that somehow, Sam would find out about it, and hoped it hurt him to learn that his faith was meaningless because it was ignored. Dean wanted Sam to feel his anger, to feel as betrayed as he felt. As alone and scared.

Somewhere deep down, he knew that he was being selfish, that he’d ram on his own ass for it later, because Sam had gone down doing the right thing, it was the death of a hero; but it didn’t matter, it wasn’t important. 

All that was important was the irony of it all. Sam had died in an act of faith, believing that his soul could be redeemed for it, for saving the girl that was like him, but not quite. She knew a way to destroy the yellow-eyed demon, she understood its war, she was a key element to bring him down and put an end to the slaughter of innocent souls. She was the key.

And then she had to go and die. Right after Sam had used his own body to push her away and keep her from getting burned. Right after Sam had died for her.  

That’s when he’d landed on his hands, punching the pavement with his left fist. Powerless to do anything else. 

Wishing his fist was hitting Sam’s face for dying on him, on god’s face for taking his Sammy away, on the girl’s face for not surviving despite his brother’s attempts, on his own face for not be there in time, for letting Sammy go in alone, for listening to his stupidly reckless plan and actually sticking to it.

The first jolt of pain was a blessing, like a bolt of electricity had run through his entire being, cleansing the wrath for a second, so he went for more. He took another punch, and another, and another. Only stopped at the sight of blood. 
Broken skin oozing red, thick blood. If he was lucky, maybe his knuckles would be broken too.  

Dean focused on the pain. Feeling it throb in his flesh, feeling it burn a fast trail to his brain, accelerating his heart and making him feel. Distracting him from the anger and emptiness his brother had left him with.
For brief moments, Dean was numbed by the pain.  

Then Ellen and Bobby had gotten there. Night had fallen and he realized he hadn’t heard the crackle of the fire for a while, probably the rain had drowned its destructive impulse. Too bad it hadn’t done it fast enough for Sam.
Through a grey haze, he remembered having called Bobby before Sam and him got out of the motel, telling him where to find them, telling him to please hurry because he’ll need his help, because he couldn’t do this alone and 
Sam wasn’t listening to him. It was noon by then. 

Dean didn’t check his watch, but he caught a glimpse of Ellen’s as she cleaned his self-inflicted wound and stopped breathing for a second when he read three-thirty. Sam had been dead for at least nine hours. Nine hours he had no memory of. When Ellen touched his shoulder, he was still kneeling on the pavement, soaked in rain and dirty with ashes. Sam had been dead for nine hours when she asked where he was.

*** 

Rolling to his side, eyes fixed on a water stain on the wall, ears picking up Ellen’s soft sounds as she moved around the bedroom, hands still in a fisted invitation for pain, Dean kept his crying soundless. And when a tear fell on his lips, his tongue darted out to catch it.

It tasted like ash and he wished he could barf.
 
***
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
location: kitchen
Music:: You look so beautiful in love - George Strait

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