Warnings/Spoilers/tags: 13 x 18, hurt Dean, fever dreams, metaphysical bullet wounds
Summary: If a bullet hits you in apocaworld…
Dean gets shot in all the ‘verses.
Fuck it hurts. It freaking hurts.
There's a black hole in his shoulder and Ketch's hand on him makes it worse, several layers of humiliation worse. Wouldn't even let Sammy touch him like--
Take it easy, Ketch is saying, or shut up, or something like, and holding him down, coat to snow, to the backbone of this world that swallowed mom and the devil's kid.
Ketch mutters something about hermetic technotoxin, something something, about tears in the fabric of--
ah, shit, Ketch spits.
Dean goes dark for a time.
Sam's anger hot-cool like grace--it burns in the bunker.
Bits of flesh can open rifts, Rowena said once, more than one spell to open worlds.
Surely you know that, boy.
There's an angel under his hand and another at his side and vial of what might as well be soul in his --
This is the body, he thinks, plates it like sacrament to carry when there's the discharge of a weapon, distant, no concrete between, sharp and clear in winter-thick air. A flesh-thump and a sick ripple like the veil.
Sam! Cas says.
He might have slipped to his knees, had an angel not steadied him, and his grace.
All the way through. That's best, with bullets. Or just a graze. Or nothing at all.
When Dean falls through the rift he's clutching at the hits, at the near-misses, the bullet he wished he took in that Idaho cabin, where his hands got dark with his brother's blood, where Sam went blank and the hole in his body kept on going ‘til he was gone and Dean had only what he dug out to carry him through.
Sam's telling him he's hurt and oh, fuck --
--it hurts, for everyone he's ever lost.
Arsenic and lead, Rowena was saying, have been used in occult triage for--
her hair is roses, her mouth moving through a gap in time, riffing on witch-killers, monster paralysis, silver and sickles, regular old 9 mm's that you boys--
what can take a life, Rowena says, or not take one, but carry it, through all the rifts and spaces and weathers 'til it dies and lives and lives again.
The trunks are bleeding out. The fuckers.
Ketch is muttering and mixing and touching and it needs to stop.
Ah shit, Ketch says again, this is going to--
his fingers dig into Dean's body, into the dark radiant in his body into something beyond that is bullshit and pain bigger than--
Neuropsycho--Ketch mutters, and poison path, and something interdimensional ethnobotany, that's why it works, that's why it hurts. Dean doesn't care. Dean is cold and his mother's face and the last time his brother laughed.
The air's still and the snow sifts black to the ground and around them is ash as that wing-burnt wound, like when Dean came out of the grave, gasped through the earth and came back home.
Dean tips through the rift and stumbles against Sam's arm, and into his arm, and tries to push his brother right off and something explodes through him and he himself is the projectile, is the weapon of mass freaking--
Dean, Sam's saying, take it easy.
Sam is looking at the wound, gentle and close, squinting the way he does, at the hole and the faultlines and the flesh and Dean won't lie still.
Interesting, Sam says, traces the edges like he sees another world.
Dean, himself, is the rip. Gold ribbon of time you can trip through. He's been sucked into an alien geography, and not like they haven't been though so many.
The bullet splintered him, starburst, into many Deans.
Past-future. Heaven-hell. If-then. As if.
It wasn't all a fever dream. Parts of him are still running.
He's in bed in the bunker and Sam is on speakerphone.
Yes well, Ketch says, I didn't say there were no side effects. Fever should go down in a day or two.
It's --he's gonna burn up, Sam's saying, like, ash-of-a-phoenix, burn up.
Yeah, Ketch says, put him on ice if you have to, you know the ...
It's like some spell goes dark and Ketch shuts up and Sam is next to him.
It's OK, Dean, Sam's saying, it's just a dream.
Shitty one, Dean says.
Yeah, Sam says, holds water to his mouth.
Dream-walking into the bad place isn't a good idea. Best to keep walking.
Best to be passing on through.
Ketch is kneeling in the snow while the trees begin to go dark--
this place is Michael's body and all the angels' body and his mother's, and the body of a kid of an angel and a woman. All around him bodies falling like snow, cast out.
My brother--Dean says.
Ketch hushes him and lays on the damn hands and there's a soughing over their heads, in the bare trees, and a creaking.
We're gonna get you home.
Latin, nix n. f. nĭvis, snow
German, nix pron, nothing