Summary: Gen. Set in S3 right after Bedtime Stories. Sam returns to their motel room after killing the crossroads demon.
Warning: brotherly discipline (belt spanking), angst
Author Notes: I wrote this 2 years ago as a coda but didn't post 'cause I couldn't think of a moderately happy ending for it heh. Anyway, I’m over it now and figured I'll just post it as is.
Disclaimer: This is fan fiction, which by definition means I own nothing and no one. Not for profit.
Word Count: 2700
Sam walked into the dark motel room, closing the door behind him as carefully and quietly as he could. He needn’t have bothered.
Dean sat at the foot of his bed, not asleep. Despite the dark, Sam could see the tension in his brother's silhouette, spine buck straight, elbows resting on his knees, hands wrangling each other for want of nothing better to do.
Sam stilled, a teenage voice inside his head screaming ‘busted’ followed by the natural innate fear that came with it. But then he remembered what year it was, how old he was, and what'd happened not two months ago. And just like that, all his fear and anxiety went away. Like it was never there. And he was numb again.
“Where were you?”
Sam dragged his feet to his bed, flicked on the nearby lamp, staying out of his brother’s line of sight, for now.
That was Dean’s warning tone, the one that meant 'no bullshit beyond this point'. Childhood instincts advised Sam that he should be heeding that warning right about now. Instead he let his weight drop to the bed bonelessly, surprised he'd managed to stay upright this long.
Dean stood up and crossed his arms. “I asked you a question, Samuel. Where were you? And why didn’t you have your phone on you?”
Sam swallowed, hard. Only his big brother could manage to look that menacing in his black Zeppelin tee-shirt and a pair of at least twelve years old tattered and torn jeans. He chose a soft rasp for a reply, “I’m here now.”
Dean didn’t respond. Sam knew he couldn’t take the silence for granted, but used it to shrug out of his jacket, boots and socks. Unbuttoned his shirt halfway as he noticed, through the corner of one eye, Dean moving to the door to re-salt it, then walking back to his own bed and sitting down right in front of Sam. So he could watch him, watch his Sammy… hide his relief that Sam was okay with a veneer of anger that he'd been disobeyed, again.
“We had a deal.”
Dude, you ever take off like that again…
The heavy breathing was as loud as the words. Or maybe the words were as quiet as the whispering? “I’m sorry.”
“Please just tell me you didn't do something stupid.”
“And by stupid, you mean striking a deal with a demon to save your brother‘s life?” Sam smiled sadly, there was no bite in his words. But Dean was not appeased. He looked really agitated now.
“You summoned the crossroads demon?”
Sam sighed, the heaving of his chest painfully evident from Dean’s vantage point. He tried to pull up his shoulders, not slouch like a complete loser but he had no strength. Sam glanced down at his jacket discarded on the floor, the colt peeking out of one pocket.
He’d killed her and it’d done nothing for him. He knew it would do nothing for him, even before he decided to pull the trigger. But he’d pulled it anyway. He knew he’d be killing an innocent human being in the process… and he still did.
“What, you’re not even going to tell me what happened?”
Sam tried to snort, but it didn’t come out right. “Make me.”
“I can’t make you do anything these days.” There was hurt in the voice, Sam recognized it. And a part of him really didn’t care.
“To think that there were days you wouldn’t do anything without me. Nothing.”
“Yeah, well. If you don’t plan to stick around in a year‘s time, I’d better get used to doing things on my own, right?”
It was a low blow. Really, really low. But he deserved a little retribution too for what Dean was putting him through, didn’t he?
The silence that followed was a blunt knife slicing through his senses, but he still didn’t seem to care. Almost like… his body was still here, his mind was somewhere else. Where? Back at the crossroads maybe? Wishing he could somehow call the bullet back? Or maybe back at Stanford… wishing he’d never left with his brother in the first place.
His eyes were drooping, he wished Dean would just get his little temper tantrum out of the way so he could finally get some sleep.
“Lie to me, Sammy.”
Sam stilled again, his eyes opening up.
“Say anything. Tell me you went for a couple of beers, maybe a quick dirty fuck in the back of a bar. Tell me you went to grab a smoke. Anything, Sammy…”
Dean’s voice wasn’t pissed off anymore. Sad, maybe, tired… exhausted as he was. The “just talk to me” hung unspoken between them, because no way was Dean letting himself come off as that pathetic. Sam sagged further into himself, his head bent so low into his lap it was painful.
"I killed her."
"She wouldn't make a deal."
And his voice broke then, all his helplessness and rage and misery spilling out through the cracks. Why wouldn't she make a deal? Why wouldn't anyone? Why could he not save his brother from going to hell?
Dean stayed silent for the longest time, staring down at Sam's lowered head, clearly not seeing the point in breaking Sam's balls over a dead demon.
There were hundreds, if not thousands, of crossroads demons down in the underworld. It's not like Sam's deed would make a dent worth writing home about. But then there were billions of human lives too, why did that one girl's life matter at all? She could have been someone's daughter, someone's sister, or like Dean, she could have been someone's only family left in the whole wide world...
Sam slipped off the bed then, collapsing to his knees on the floor. He couldn't take the screaming in his ears, the suffocating grip of guilt within his chest anymore. His head came to rest on one of Dean's knees and he felt his big brother stiffen. Sam let the tears flow then, shaking himself apart, not making any other sound other than the occasional, soft, desperate gasping for air.
It took minutes, hours maybe, who knew, for Sam to remember how pointless this sordid and disgusting display of emotion was. He was wiping his tears (and a bit of snot) off on Dean's jeans when the older man spoke.
"Can't say I'm sorry it didn't work out the way you wanted it to, Sammy. At the very least you should feel better for taking the bitch out, but looks like that didn't happen either."
Sam sighed heavily and moved away, leaning back against his bed instead. He wiped his face some more and stared off at an obscure spot in the corner of the room.
"All you managed to do was worry the hell out of me, piss me off, and make me wonder if I can ever trust you."
Sam's eyes blinked up at Dean, wide and offended. “I’m the only one you can trust, Dean.”
Sam didn't respond. Alright fine, so maybe he hadn’t exactly been very truthful of late. And no, he wasn't going to stop trying, no matter what Dean said.
Dean just sighed, and stood up. "Pants down. Bend over your bed."
"You heard me."
Before Sam could even start to hyperventilate, Dean was pulling the leather belt out from around his waist and rolling it up in one hand. Sam started to stutter, struggling to pull himself up and off the floor but failing miserably. Dean didn't wait for him to fumble and fall again, simply reached down, grabbed Sam's arm and yanked him up to his feet.
"Take position, now, Samuel."
The tone of Dean's voice was so starkly reminiscent of Dad, Sam couldn't help but automatically obey. Wordlessly, numbly, his hands unclasped his belt and jeans, pulling them down and turning around to face away from Dean. Took him another minute to bring himself to comply with the rest of the command.
"I will not ask again," Dean growled.
Damn it. Sam lowered himself, placing his upper body on top of the bed, stretching his legs out and planting his feet on the carpeted floor for leverage. That left his boxer-clad butt hanging off the edge of the bed, in easy access of Dean's swinging arm. That belt had belonged to John Winchester, and Sam knew from past experience it really, really hurt.
One warm hand suddenly reached for his boxers and started to pull them down. Sam flinched away, mortified. "No, Dean, don't!"
Dad had never pulled his boxers down, this wasn't fair…
"I've never belted you before, Sammy. I need to see the damage I'm doing."
Oh sure, that was comforting. Dean put a hand in the small of Sam's back and didn't let him move away. Quickly, he peeled the last layer of protection away, exposing Sam's bare backside to the musky motel room air.
"I'll give you forty. Twenty for lying to me, making me a promise with no intention to keep it. And another twenty for sneaking around behind my back."
Sam just winced, his breathing hard and rapid. He kept his face turned away and his fists clenched in the duvet. But he had no intentions to fight this any more. He deserved it.
He deserved to be punished, hell, beaten to an inch of his life for what he'd brought upon on his brother (and his mother and his father… everyone he ever fucking knew). But more than that, he knew Dean deserved to have this, this outlet to vent his own rage, and his own fear and helplessness.
Dean started off without ceremony or warning. The first whack of the belt landed across both cheeks, leaving a thin bright stripe on the crest of Sam's butt. The second one just beneath it, easily an inch away from the first. The pain from the first one didn't register immediately, but by the time Sam started to feel the worst of it, the second one landed, flaming the agony further more.
Sam winced, and writhed, and jerked, soft reflexive gasps escaping his mouth once in a while. The sting in his ass grew and grew, building in heat and intensity as did the color of his ass - going from pale white to pink to, soon, a crimson red.
"If something happened to you, I wouldn't even know where to start looking, man."
That was such a lie, Dean could always track him down no matter what. Whether he was able to do it in time or not, now that was another matter.
Sam couldn't hold back his whimpers as Dean swung the belt for, maybe, the twenty third time. He couldn't be sure, had lost count a while ago after a particularly hard whack that landed on the tender spots where his butt cheeks met his thighs.
The Winchesters were used to pain, a whole lot more pain than a piece of worn leather could ever hope to deliver. Punishments in their family were never about trying to dissuade the guilty from repeating their mistakes. If there was something to be learned from a mistake, the boys learned it well enough on their own, they didn't need to be spanked to reinforce a lesson. No, discipline in the Winchester household was more an expression of disappointment, acknowledgment that someone fucked up, and recognition that the rest have worked out their anger and we-almost-lost-you issues (on Sam’s butt more often than not) and moved on.
Forgiven and forgotten.
Free to make the same mistake again if they wanted, so long as they were willing to face the consequences.
So yeah, Dean knew Sam was not going to stop trying, which meant he'd be summoning every demon in the book to try and strike a deal with someone, somewhere. Sam knew that Dean knew, and that he was really disappointed. Well, too bad. He also knew there was nothing Dean could do to stop him. But in exchange if Dean decided to whip Sam's butt black and blue every fucking night, then so be it.
Dean paused and rested the flat of his (soothingly) cold hand on Sam‘s butt for a moment. "You think you're doing me a favor, don't you?"
Sam bit his lip.
"Giving me the satisfaction of being able to hurt you the only way I'd allow myself to?"
"I don't blame you, Sammy, you have to know that. Oh, I will whip your ass for you as often as you ask for it, don't you worry about that. But I won't do it because I need to. I'll do it because you need this. Because you want me to do this for you."
Sam whimpered again, but didn't let the dam burst. He couldn't believe how easy it was for Dean to read his mind, even when Sam himself wasn't quite sure of what he wanted.
"All I need is to know that you're safe, Sammy. I need to know you will not be this reckless and fucking suicidal when I'm gone."
When. Not If. And that broke the dam, and him, but good.
Sam buried his face into the bed sheets nearly suffocating himself, trying in vain to muffle his traitorous sobs. Dean seemed to hurry up the remaining few whacks after that, without compromising on the effectiveness of course. And when it was over, it felt nowhere near over. Nor did it feel remotely… enough.
The belt buckle clanked against itself as it hit the floor. Dean gently slipped the boxers back over Sam's sore backside and stood up, taking a couple of steps back. Sam continued to weep for a couple more minutes, too tired, too miserable to move, even from that humiliatingly prone position.
It was Dean who deliberated, then sighed heavily and walked back to the bed. He lifted his little brother by his sides and slid his tall frame further up the bed until his head was on the pillow. He didn't dare turn Sam over yet, of course. Instead he took the duvet (tore it out of Sam's clutching hands, actually) and covered him from shoulders to toes. Sam still kept his face turned away, streaked with tears, burning red hot with guilt and shame.
Dean stretched out on the same bed beside Sam. He propped the side of his head up on one hand bent at the elbow, and put the other arm around Sam's trembling form. They hadn’t shared one bed to sleep since Sam was eight, far as he could remember.
"I know, Sammy," Dean whispered soothingly, meaning every word. "I know. I know."
Sam closed his eyes, squeezing out a couple of fresh tears. He didn't deserve this mercy, he didn't deserve his brother's apologies, his fingers running through Sam’s unruly hair, his kind words of comfort. But he was still going to take what he could get, Sam was selfish like that.
"Shh, it'll be okay, Sammy, you'll see. It will be okay, it has to be."
Maybe. Maybe not. He knew his brother just as well as his brother knew him. He could read the fear and the uncertainty in Dean's voice loud and clear.
If Sam Winchester didn’t figure a way out of this hellish deal in nine months and six days, then nothing will ever be okay. Never again.
Dean will be in hell serving Sam's punishment. Sam will live on with his guilt. And neither would deserve their respective fates either.
*** END ***