Title: Until These Shadows Disappear
Author: liath
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Warnings: incest, character death
Rating: R
Note: Character deaths are NOT Dean or Sam. Written for the LJ community sammessiah's prompt 'Revelation 13'.
Summary: Sam embraces fate -- AU after the end of Season 2.


They lose Bobby and Ellen a few months in, demons outside Red Rock that leave a dozen dead in their wake: broken, eyeless forms in heaps strewn through affluent suburbia. They hear from Joshua not long after, but he's dead by the time they get to the Black Hills in Dakota. Failed exorcisms, a girl's fingernails snapped off in the grain of the chair she's tied to.

Dean lands five bullets in Gordon Walker, lays him out on a rooftop with his blunt fingers pale-knuckled around his rifle. Sam watches him fall from their motel window; it's the first time he's seen Dean shoot someone in the back.

Eventually, there are no other hunters left.


His skin is rough with salt, his stomach sick with the smell of accelerants. Sometimes his fingers wrinkle with the slickness of gasoline, the salt burrowing into torn cuticles. His hands burn with every corpse they light up. But the more fires they set, the fewer days Dean has left, and Sam's eyes darken with every match flare.


"You think I don't know this is what you've been grooming me for? What you've been waiting for?" He murmurs it like a song against her ear, his breath scalding her neck.

She tries to hiss at him, but her voice is sickly, broken. "Not this. You can't do it like this." Her throat catches, convulses when he presses a finger against her lips.

"Shhh." She feels his smile against her like a blade. "You got what you wanted. You just don't get to choose how I do this."

He doesn't look at her when he pulls away. Not until he lifts the gun, the glock's muzzle-flare like lightning just before the bullet tears through her skull. Then his eyes meet hers, black shrinking to green like the ocean. The demon has time to think, as the world sears her into oblivion, that he doesn't have to use the Colt. She wonders, as Ruby's body hits the floor, twisted limbs and wide, dead eyes, if he even has to use a gun at all.


The news runs headlines of fires at first, indiscernible clips of arson, burning buildings, black-and-white print smudges of wildfires ripping through the countryside. But when the skies clear, when the sickly smoke dissipates and the hellgate flames flicker into nothing, everything is still standing unscathed, untouched. There are no blackened hills, no hollow-eyed structures, no heaps of twisted metal reaching into an ashen sky. After a while it's forgotten, and no one realizes that summer still hasn't burnt out.


Ava was right, he thinks, as the nights grow hot and grey. As soon as he gives into it there's no limit to what he can do.


No one stands against him, because there's no one left that knows who to stand against. The demons he's unleashed do Sam's work for him, toying with possession and temptation, torture and lies. At least, all the work that people haven't already done on their own. They'd had already begun to fall, curtains drawn against corruption, eyes closed against the lies of a spoon-fed televised back-drop.

Just once, he rains fire from the sky because he can, blistering a thousand demons into ember-edged nothingness.


One by one he picks them off, a bloody game of connect-the-dots, tracking down the contract to Dean's soul. Tracking down Dean's soul. If they don't tell him what he wants, he destroys them, watches as they flicker like little storms into nothingness. Most fall into step behind him, more than content with the rise of Hell to the surface, content with the playground he's given them.

Most. The rest are gone before the challenge can pass from stolen eyes to lips.


"This is a pretty sick test of free will, Sam." It doesn't matter they've dragged everyone into Hell with them. It doesn't matter there won't be anything left.

"Does the news look much different to you?" Sam peers up from behind a book, stretched out with legs crossed on the motel bed, shoulders biting into the headboard.

They still bounce from place to place, low end motels with uninteresting rooms in colors Sam thinks his breakfast probably looks like all mashed together in his stomach. They drive west, always west. And Dean was sure it would be him that never wanted to stop, never wanted to settle. But it's not.

He scowls. "Are you talkin' Fox? Or like that 'Hour with Jim What's-his-face' on... you know."



Sam shrugs and cocks an eyebrow, the corner of his mouth twitching.

The air conditioning unit hums low against the burn of winter while Dean scrubs a hand over his face. "Right. People are crazy."


Later, when Dean crawls onto the bed and straddles him, when he pulls the book away, slips his hands into Sam's jeans and claims his mouth, Sam forgets that he hates what he's done. He thinks maybe it's just a daydream, a fever.

When Sam swallows around Dean's cock as his brother comes, when the clock slides into day three hundred and sixty-seven, he doesn't think about it anymore.


Hell on Earth, Sam figures, isn't that much different than any other day. It's just that people have a lot more chances to make bad decisions.


Buildings begin to topple in on themselves, gaping and empty, valleys of death where cities stood. Wind carries the fires, lights up the skyline so bright he can see the flames in Dean's eyes when they watch from the windows.

Everything smells like the sea, roiling salt scent that burns the throat.

Dogs roam the alleyways, black dogs. Hell hounds. They pick through the rubble for scraps with the ravens and buzzards as the sun falls out of the day's red haze. They whine and simper at Sam's feet when he passes and shy from Dean, ears and tails low. They bay only from the shadows, wild and frantic, hunters of souls slipping through the darkness.

The sewers are muddied red with blood, running thick with dust. Dean's boots are coated with it, the Impala's paint dulled.

Their tires beat down the miles through ashen snow, time marked by crow-dotted, skeleton power-lines and rusted state welcome signs, days as dark as nightfall. It rains, more the closer they get to the coast. It gathers on top of the spent soil, little lakes of rust and mud that coalesce into rivers, running red over broken pavement and down stripped hillsides.

By the time they reach the ocean there's no place left to stay. They sleep under the stars, still hanging sharp and bright in the blackness while the world burns. At night he forgets the sea, loses the acrid taste under the taste of his brother. He forgets the bite of salt in his palms when they graze Dean's hair, slide down the back of his neck. The shudder of the earth is lost in the cant of Dean's hips against his own.

When he wakes, the world is no different than it was a year ago. It's still all in front of him: the sweet rhythm of Dean's chest, the warmth of his breath and the slow open-slide of his eyes.


Forty-two months later, God does not step in.