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FIC - Askew (for spn_reversebang)

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Jan. 17th, 2014 | 12:09 am

Art Title: Askew
Prompt Number: 1006
Artist: glasslogic


Fic Title: Askew
Author: verucasalt123
Fandom/Genre: SPN, slash, angst
Pairing(s): Sam/Dean
Rating: R
Word Count: ~3900
Warnings: mental/psychological issues, incest, sick/hurt!Sam
Summary: Dean and Sam end up back “home” again – they never imagined the trip would change everything.

Art Link(s): LJ |
Fic Link(s): LJ | AO3

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For as long as they’d had a home base in Lebanon, their travels never led them 250 miles east to Lawrence. Hell, Dean had driven as far as Wichita or Lincoln to get around even driving near the town. The place where they both were born, the house in which they lost their mother, the home of Stull Cemetery – neither Sam nor Dean had a desire to see any of it again, even in passing.

Stull…years later it continued to be a forbidden word. They never talked about what happened there; Dean’s determination and Sam’s sacrifice. There was no way to avoid acknowledging the consequences of that day, though.

It was all connected – Dean’s time with Lisa taking him out of hunting because of the promise he made to his brother; Castiel making a deal with Crowley because he couldn’t bring himself to ask Dean to leave that life; Sam’s time without a soul and the fallout from getting it back; losing his mind and being saved by Castiel all over again. It was as if everything that had happened since then was so intertwined, their lives going around in circles, one choice falling into another like an endless row of dominoes.

There was a time when Dean thought he’d never see anything worse than Sam suffering from his hallucinations of Lucifer after the collapse of his wall. It had been terrifying, the prospect of losing Sam all over again, this time from malnutrition and lack of sleep. Sam was everything to Dean. People judged them for being too caught up in each other when they didn’t have the first clue exactly how tangled up the two of them really were.

The love had always been there, through everything, but it took a hell of a lot of time and effort to get their physical relationship back. Not that either of them didn’t want it, but Sam’s fragile mental state and Dean’s concern for his health weren’t exactly conducive to a healthy sex life. Over time, though, that aspect of their relationship started to improve. Dean was angry at the world and caught in a serious downward spiral, but as Sam started to heal, the one thing that could give Dean even a little bit of peace was a morning or night in Sam’s arms.

Off and on, through the ups and downs of their tumultuous years on the road, it was the comfort of heated kisses and the slick slide of skin against skin that brought them that familiar sense of security that was so often lacking in almost every other part of their lives. They could heal for a little while when Sam would crowd Dean against the shower tiles in a motel room and suck him off under the spray of water. The ugly truth of the world might be shut out, if only temporarily, when Dean opened Sam up slowly and traced scars with his tongue while he came inside his brother. The tension and adrenaline of a nasty hunt disappeared when Sam took Dean hard and fast, fucking him against a wall or the cold bricks of an alley behind a bar. There was nothing that could take away those moments when they got to just hold onto each other in bed, hands in each other’s hair and whispers of love and forever in each other’s ears.

Even after Purgatory, they managed to get things right again. Neither of the Winchesters saw the Trials coming, though. Sam was injured badly enough while he was going through them, but after they were over…once again, Dean feared he would be left alone, without his brother. He was thin and gaunt and could barely keep down any food, which just made it harder for his body to recover. It was months before Sam was physically well enough to get around the bunker on his own, let alone go on hunts. His mental state was a whole other issue, and made more difficult to handle due to Sam’s inability to recognize just how bad off he was psychologically. Time was the key there, though, as well.

Sam eventually was able to try to describe to Dean exactly the way he saw the world, though it wasn’t an easy explanation. Everything was just…off. At first, Sam had thought maybe his eyesight had been affected, but it became clear at some point that his eyes weren’t the problem. Something was left over in his mind, he figured, something that just made him unable to balance what he saw. Not all of the time – he had days at a time when he was all right – but then one morning he’d go to grab a carton of orange juice and come back with a handful of thin air because he’d reached too far to one side or the other.

He would stand and stare at a table for half an hour wondering why it was crooked before he realized that it wasn’t, it just looked that way to him. And it wasn’t just that. Some days words would come out of Dean’s mouth and sound like nonsense sounds to Sam for hours at a time. They’d tried writing down notes to each other when that happened, which worked just fine unless it happened to coincide with a time when words and letters on a page registered only as unfamiliar shapes when Sam looked at them. Of everything, that was probably the most frightening part. Even when he was sick, Sam could still do research, he could keep himself busy reading a book or going through some of the Men of Letters’ archives, but not when that happened. It was like his very last line of defense could be taken away randomly and then just as suddenly handed back to him out of nowhere.

Luckily, the time they’d spent recuperating in Lebanon had mellowed them both and Sam never attempted to keep anything from Dean. When he was having one of his off mornings or afternoons or days, he always told his brother right away. He never even kicked up a fuss when Dean insisted on helping him sit down or pouring his coffee for him, speaking slowly or using his hands to communicate, trying so hard to make things easier on Sam. That was exactly how it should be, right?

Sam wondered sometimes why he’d always been so reluctant to ask for or even accept help when he’d needed it in the past, especially from Dean. It had made sense at the time, he thought, always wanting to prove himself, do everything on his own, never admit to weaknesses. But when you had someone who loved you like Dean loved him, it finally clicked – this is how it should be between them, always.

Once Sam couldn’t take any more convalescence and Dean was ready to admit he was restless as well, they decided they’d find a job. Something fast, easy, something close. And right there in the online obituaries, what looked like it might be a simple salt and burn presented itself. A haunting, all the classic signs, nothing complicated.

Except that it was in Lawrence.

Just that almost made them decide not to go, but Sam thought it would be all right. Hell, they lived in Kansas now, it didn’t make sense to avoid it forever. The cemetery wasn’t in Lawrence, just closeby, and it would be easy to stay away from it. Anyway, this was an easy job, a good way to ease their weary selves back into hunting, just to see how it went.

About two hours into the trip, Sam turned to Dean and said, “Do you think she’s still there? Missouri?”

It had been ages since they’d spoken of her, even longer since they’d spoken to her. Missouri Mosely was an incredibly kind woman and neither of the Winchester brothers had any desire to pull her into the mess their lives had been since that visit years ago.

“Lived there all her life, far as I know”, Dean replied, “so I don’t imagine she’s gone anywhere. Why? You want to look her up? Stop in and let her yell at you about the mud on your boots and fuss over my language?” Dean was smiling; he had such fond memories of the woman. She’d helped them when she had no obligation to do so, even though it had been a frightening experience in some ways.

Sam laughed. “Actually, yeah. It would be nice just to see a friendly face. I mean, if she considers the two of us as friendly faces these days and doesn’t just shoo us off her front porch.”

For once, the hunt actually went down pretty much exactly as planned. The ghost had been an elderly man who was mistreated in the nursing home where he lived out the last years of his life. With no family to look after him, he had no way to stop the staff from being nasty to him, forgetting his meals some days, leaving him to develop bedsores before he eventually died. As a spirit, though, he had plenty of power and was using it to get his revenge on those who’d wronged him in life. Dean and Sam didn’t really even blame the guy, but the ghost couldn’t be allowed to just wander the town getting back at asshole nursing home employees. It was easy enough to find his place of burial and they found themselves looking down at a pile of salted and charred bones just like the old days. Funny how they could get sentimental about the simplicity of digging up graves after everything they’d been through with angels and demons over the years.

It really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Missouri knew they were coming.

Sam and Dean didn’t even get a chance to knock before she opened her front door, a smile gracing her lips for just a fraction of a second before it fell completely. Missouri looked at them both like she was afraid of them, but still moved back and said, “Come on in, boys, and leave your shoes right there.”, as she walked backward into her living room, like she didn’t want to turn her back to them. The three of them stood awkwardly staring at each other, not really sure what to say, until Dean finally spoke.

“Sorry for just showing up like this. We were here, and – I don’t know, I guess we were thinking about you.”

Smiling again briefly, she replied, “Hush, Dean. Let me get a look at you two.” She reached first toward Dean, fingers circled lightly around his wrist, and looked up at him shaking her head. She couldn’t see it all, not specific events like watching a movie, but she could feel the damage, the wear on Dean’s heart that had started so long ago with what would have been the most devastating loss she could have imagined for them when they’d first met. Clearly, things had gotten much, much worse. Quietly, she said, “I’m sorry, son. Sorry about your daddy, and, well, everything…after…you’re strong, stronger than you think, and you stayed with Sam…”

At the mention of his name, Missouri turned and reached a trembling hand toward the younger Winchester. She hesitated a moment before lacing her fingertips through his, and her eyes immediately filled with tears. Part of it was fear, but mostly it was sorrow, remembering the young man she’d seen here looking for answers years ago. She recognized him physically despite how he’d grown and changed, but there was only the barest hint of that young man left on the inside.

The best comparison she could come up with was that it felt like someone had hollowed Sam out like a grapefruit, ripped away his heart and soul, mashed up all the pieces and thrown them back in without regard for where they landed. That bright little spark, though – that flash of Sam - it was still there. Hidden, dimmed, like a lamp that had been turned on its side and covered up with debris. Some of what was covering up that light was horrible; it was evil and ugly and so very deeply entrenched that it was permanent. But some of it was just the broken bits of Sam that couldn’t find their way back to where they belonged.

Sam stepped back suddenly, breaking their physical connection, but she could still feel his pain lingering. His eyes barely daring to meet hers, he asked, “Are you afraid of me?” It was his biggest fear these days, even with Dean. Every now and then, especially when it was obvious that he still hadn’t fully recovered his faculties after the Trials, maybe never would, he thought no one could ever know the truth about him and not be frightened, at least a little bit. Dean always denied it on the rare occasions when Sam had the courage to ask, but he couldn’t help thinking it was impossible.

He’d housed the devil. He’d walked around without a soul for ages. He’d suffered in the Cage, and he’d suffered out of it. He’d even come close to giving up, to accepting that he’d just hallucinate until it killed him, and then again when he thought the Trials would end in his death. That was probably the worst of it all – that feeling of hopelessness, of being so certain that he would never get any better. And now, even though he had, in fact, gotten better, he was still defective on the inside.

Missouri wasn’t about to look at either of these men and tell a lie, so she answered honestly. “I was. Maybe I am still, a little bit. But that doesn’t matter, Sam. Come and sit down, both of you. Please.”

The brothers walked further into her front room and sat on the same worn but well cared-for sofa that had been here the last time they visited. She brought them both glasses of iced tea and sat in the stuffed armchair next to them. “I’m glad that you came, honestly, I am. I don’t think you came here looking for help, but I’d like to offer it.” Sam’s eyes were fastened securely toward the carpet under his feet, but Dean was looking right at her, so Missouri spoke directly to him. “Dean, I can’t tell you anything about your brother that you don’t already know, I’m sure. But I can feel something – in his heart, or in his mind, maybe – something that needs to be moved. Righted, I guess, picked up off its side? I don’t know exactly the word for it.”

At that, Sam looked up at her with narrowed eyes. “Righted. Like, it’s knocked over, you mean?” Dean recognized Sam’s tone and expression, instantly realizing what he meant, as Sam continued. “Is that what it feels like to you?”

“You know what I’m talking about then?” she asked, not all that surprised. It wasn’t like Sam made any attempt to hide the fact that he wasn’t exactly in great shape psychologically. He nodded, almost enthusiastically, as if she’d said something that gave him hope. “Yes, God, yes, I know, it’s-” Sam stopped there, looked at Dean for help, and the two of them tried their best to explain Sam’s mysterious symptoms while Missouri described what it had felt like to her when she held Sam’s hand.

“All right, I’m going to get some food into the two of you, and then we’re going to see what we can do, okay?” She stood and beckoned for them to follow her into the kitchen; it seemed the subject was temporarily on hold as she got dinner together, Dean chopping vegetables and taking out the trash while Sam washed dishes and set the table. They were both soothed by her soft voice and caring demeanor as she told them stories about her life, her clients, some of the silly things that had occurred over the years. Missouri had a way with words that kept them focused on her, and their dinner, until she decided it was time to return to their previous conversation.

Settled back into the living room, she asked Sam, “When you think about those parts of you that haven’t gotten better yet, what do you see? If you had to come up with something visual, a physical representation?”

It didn’t take Sam more than a few minutes to come up with a response, looking first at Dean, then back to Missouri. “I guess it’s kind of like a house…mostly okay on the outside but a place that most people would never want to open the door because it’s so obvious that there’s nothing good on the inside.”

Dean couldn’t stand hearing those words, he reached out to take Sam’s hand, to pull him closer, instinctively, then thought better of it since they weren’t alone. Looking at Missouri, though, he knew. He knew immediately that she knew, that she didn’t care one bit, that she wouldn’t discourage Dean from trying to comfort Sam even though their contact was something other than purely fraternal.

So he did – he wrapped his hand around his brother’s arm, looked at him closely and said, “Don’t you say that, Sam. Don’t you ever say there’s nothing good inside of you. It’s not true. You had Lucifer inside of you and you were still strong enough to push him out of the way when you…” Oh, and that was it, they never talked about that day in the dead grass of Stull Cemetery but Dean’s emotions had led him to that forbidden memory to make a point – to convince Sam that he was wrong about his diminished sense of self-worth.

Missouri spoke again. “Sam, stay there close to your brother, you know he can help you. I want you to close your eyes and think about that house you just described to me. Open the door. It’s messy in there, I know, and dark too, probably, but it’s not dangerous. Believe me, please, nothing is going to hurt you in there right now. Can you do it? Can you open the door?”

In his mind, Sam turned the knob, trying not to trip on the mess covering the floor. The house was trashed, furniture broken and pieces strewn all over the place; floorboards pulled up and glass scattered everywhere. When he was able to focus for a minute, though, he was sure he saw some light coming from deeper inside the house, another room, just out of his reach. He didn’t think he could walk through to where it was; there was just too much in the way.

But he could hear Dean’s voice telling him not to let a bunch of trash stand between him and what he was looking for, and Missouri encouraging him, saying the light was real and to find the source of that light, that he was strong enough to get to where it was. Somehow, he was moving through the room, through an equally trashed hallway, farther inside, away from the door. He must have voiced his concern about being so far from the exit, because Dean was telling him not to worry about it, he didn’t need to leave right now. And Sam believed him, could almost feel his anchoring touch and that was enough to help him keep going.

Finally, in what looked to be some kind of closet or pantry, a tiny little spot, there it was – the light Missouri had assured him was really there. It was buried under so many sharp and broken things that it felt like forever before he could move them all out of the way. Once he did, though, he studied it. There was no visible power source – no oil or batteries or wires – just a pulsing glow encased in what must have been an unbreakable substance if it was still shining even underneath all that he’d pushed away. There was still a pile of rubble on the floor underneath it, but the light rested on its side, leaning against bits of wood and fabric and unidentifiable debris.

Sam felt the connection with his brother and their friend helping to move his hands toward it. He could hear what they were saying, but he already knew what he needed to do. Letting go of his hesitation, he grabbed onto the casing around the light and picked it up, then immediately set it back down so that it was upright on the clear piece of floor in front of him. The moment it was righted, the light got brighter and flooded the house in Sam’s mind, and suddenly the rooms around him didn’t look or feel nearly as damaged. The whole space was still in disarray, but there was room to move, a clear path to lead him back to where he’d entered.

Opening his eyes, Sam realized Dean was still pressed against his side, and Missouri had leaned over to take his hand. “What – what did you just do? I feel so different, like something really important just changed, but it was only some kind of lamp I made up in my head, so I could do what you asked, give you a tangible comparison…I don’t – God, I’m so tired. Missouri, please, I don’t think I can even get up. Tell me what you did.”

With tears in her eyes once more, she assured him, “I didn’t do anything, really, just tried to help you find what you already knew was there. That light needed to be uncovered and set right, and that’s what you did, Sam. Maybe it won’t fix everything, but it’ll help. I know it will.”

Sam turned and rested his head on Dean’s shoulder, finally breaking down in tears from the high emotion and complete exhaustion. Of course, Dean pulled him as close as he could, whispered comforting words and offered strong arms to hold him up. After a few minutes, Sam was barely able to hold his eyes open.

Missouri stood and said to Dean, “I’ll just make sure the guest room is ready, you two aren’t going anywhere tonight. Your brother needs to sleep; you can gather him up and take him home in the morning, all right?”

Dean thanked her and led Sam to bed, though he stayed awake most of the night himself just listening to Sam’s even breathing and watching him sleep peacefully.

The goodbyes were emotional, but there were no promises of keeping in touch or coming back to visit. All of them knew it was better that way – maybe they’d see Missouri again and maybe they wouldn’t, but she didn’t want to be a regular fixture in the life they had now any more than Sam and Dean wanted to subject her to it.

Sam stopped seeing and hearing things wrong, felt more balanced and tethered than he had in a long time. And no, everything was not fine; life was never going to be all sunshine and rainbows for the Winchesters. They still had emotional scars, they still had to hunt, they still had to carry their burdens. But because of the unexpected help and kindness of an old friend, Dean and Sam both stood a little steadier, like the ground was even beneath their feet once again.

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Comments {16}

glasslogic

(no subject)

from: glasslogic
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 05:18 am (UTC)
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I'm so glad you claimed the piece:) You did a fantastic job and I had a great time working with you!

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 05:21 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks so much - hopefully we'll get a chance to work together again!!!

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LiveJournal

Edition 2,782

from: livejournal
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 07:23 am (UTC)
Link

User lesson_in_love referenced to your post from Edition 2,782 saying: [...] by (PG) Askew [...]

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borgmama1of5

(no subject)

from: borgmama1of5
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
Link

I loved the hope and trust in this piece!

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you!! I was definitely going for hopeful with the ending :)

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imaginecoolname

(no subject)

from: imaginecoolname
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
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How wonderful to see Missouri again! She's such a great character, and I always wondered why they never brought her back. So glad you did, though, giving the boys hope and helping Sam right his world a bit. This was a lovely piece, thank you!

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 17th, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, I love seeing her in fic so I figured I'd try it out for myself! Glad you liked it :)

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CJ

(no subject)

from: reggie11
date: Jan. 18th, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC)
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That was really lovely. Poor damaged Sam, with all of he darkness and damage, he still had light within.

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 18th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you for reading!

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mdlaw

(no subject)

from: mdlaw
date: Jan. 19th, 2014 02:52 am (UTC)
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There are just not enough Missouri stories. sigh of contentment. m. :)

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 19th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
Link

I agree, I wish there were more!!!

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LiveJournal

Edition 2,784

from: livejournal
date: Jan. 19th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC)
Link

User clex_monkie89 referenced to your post from Edition 2,784 saying: [...] at [SPOILERS for 9.13] Fanfic: Sam/Dean Askew [...]

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I'm Mulder, She's Scully

(no subject)

from: runedgirl
date: Jan. 19th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
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Sam so needs and deserves this kind of help - thanks for a beautiful, healing story :)

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Jan. 19th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad that you liked it!!

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deezy_y

(no subject)

from: deezy_y
date: Feb. 10th, 2014 04:31 am (UTC)
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Oh my heart...I'm all teary eyed too...beautifully written.

Glad to see Missouri again...I miss her.

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Feb. 10th, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks so much! I miss her too :)

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