Characters: Sam, Dean, others
Warnings/Spoilers: S11, all; vaguely wincesty,bit of hurt/sick Sam n Dean
Word Count: 1200
Summary: what’s it like, Winchesters, in a world without death.
In a world without Death, there’s death. Sparrows heaped outside the Bunker door--poisoning, not sign--but why, Sam thinks, and why now. Saving sparrows. Hunting things.
Slightly different nimbus-variant, Kansas sky.
Carbon is darker.
Tears have slightly more salinity.
Scythe-edges are more memorable and fifty percent sharper.
Hell is easier to get into, tectonic shift.
When a hairpin shines in the backseat of an old car, that light refracts at an angle so very slightly --
Sam looks in the mirror, half-fogged, catches a glitter-speck on his collar (from something, stray universe-party), thinks: not afraid.
Dean makes dinner, not Mexican. Dean puts his hand on his brother’s neck. Dean lets a finger trace the veins where they were dark, where he thinks they must have been, anyway, like roadmap of oh, Nuckolis County, of all these roadways; here an old soul taken out and put back, taken out and put back. Dean says let me. Dean says you’re warm are you alright how are the, uh, dreams. Traces the memory of his brother’s toxins his brothers fibrins and collagens, geniuses; fire that is holy.
In a world without death, there’s still--
Grief. Fear. Melancholia, I guess. (Sam said that once, Stanford, which dorm, bullshitting buzzed post-Psych 1N, freaking Freud.)
Not by osmosis, dark sucks dark into itself; it’s different, not an event horizon, not anything like that.
You can’t talk to stars about it, is what Sam thinks, but you could see it in the way the burying beetles at little carcasses scritch counterclockwise, if you were looking for that sort of thing. If you were.
Childhood is more—
the word used to be ‘permeable’.
Imaginary friends are killable.
It’s not called a little death when you tip over the edge.
Fucking is still fucking. But people know.
How do you know these things, Dean says, pounds the wheel, thinks about a trunk-tossed courtesy throw (ah, girls named for the gates of dawn) and Sam gives him the old eyebrows--
You should try it sometime.
You know. Post-Death sex.
We should. We totally should. It’s not that Dean hasn’t, but.
Beginnings suck harder than endings. Truth is they always have; they just look easier.
Don’t flail on the dismount, you know?
Dreams might revise themselves, post-death:
Don’t mess up the landing, son.
That happened in Dean’s dream, the latest one.
Little bit of sweat when he woke up, five-percent saltier.
Vessels: Possession’s a different sort of filling, now.
Ask a demon, but don’t bargain.
Ask an angel, but don’t fall.
Sam pares his nails slow, like mandarins, looks at the lines where the veins were. Washed hair, plain-clean face, neck showing throat-divot. Go-time, where time, all the times, don’t lariat multiverse-style but fan open, open, like crossing the Divide and thinking o West, there you are.
Branches scrape sky.
Dean looks at babies (a girl forearm-cribbed in the Concordia Walmart ) and thinks endings.
Driving after death (he’s done that, will do again) is
well, comfort. Is home.
Even the monsters are scared. In a cave somewhere.
Tulpas pop like cartoon bubbles.
Reapers are rampant, but not— more like flocking, like songlines.
Ghosts are fucked to a fetch and sending. Or yeah, Dean says that, and Sam says, what about the Veil, is the in-between any…there’s got to be a sort of metaphysical contour map. The Men of Letters know death and not-death, know magic back to the you know, know necromancy, but what if the dead are the dead are the dead and there is no—in the sense we know it—death.
His lips go thinner, paler, unsteadier, what lives—
dies. Dean takes the tumbler from him, moves the needle off Simone, says bed, only lower, contrapuntal, to how he might have before.
Hell is easier to get into.
Angelic grace is about as stable as cesium; heaven trembles.
Demons and angels, well: bottoms up.
The boundaries of beings are become more--
the word used to be permeable.
Soul-eating is easier, obviously.
Souls are still more valuable than imagining.
No one claims they’ll reap god, because, well, no one claims.
Antigenic drift, shift, but not like you think.
Cold viruses mutate. Some can kill monsters. Purgatory.
Dean gets post-ghoulpire, post-roadtrip, post-beatdown, sick as a goddammit-Sammy -and-a-Captain-Trips- reference and Sam snorts and does garlic, lemon, sage; spell or cure there ain’t much difference anymore--
they’re beaten up, you know.
Hemostasis is a little different now, contusion.
Stories are harder to tell, sometimes, if you want the easy out.
If you wanted to, you could write back from the beginning.
Undamn that book.
Be the other brother or no brother at all.
Be the one to carry.
But you wouldn’t.
Dean doesn’t really notice that old things that don’t die, die even less; salt lasts a little less long.
Memory is different.
You can be retroactively dead.
The undead: still undead.
Sammy! He can shout it into any Empty he wants.
Probably sounds different, but not to him.
People remember stories about murder, more easily. Lizzie Borden revival. Serial killers a little safer in their nightmares, their creeptalk mouths.
It’s not something Sam recognizes until he does:
People like stories about serial killers about thirty percent more, which, how is that even—
How do you even know these things, Dean says, tears through Massachussetts ‘til the Pike locked-up like a pahking lot, nothing new. Death and Taxachusetts, Dean says, smirks, because he heard someone say that, liked it. Cranberries, granites, fieldstone, Norway spruce, vowels drawn, the sea, even this far instate, always the sea, a tender Puritan grace who cares about what grace they thought they had--
Crank it up.
Death-less makes no difference to Page and Plant, Bonham.
Black Dog still black.
They always knew what the world might be like.
They always knew.
Hmm, if you were to slice up forearms, give it up, the lifebloods, to a magic box, you’d still be riding the edge.
If you were to pray, you’d still be praying to the same thing, but not for the same thing.
If that makes sense.
You can still ride shotgun.
You can still ride the whirlwind. You still have a heart that could be—
fritzed by a live wire.
Sam: when you go to hell.
Spells require a little extra juice, but not the kind you’d think. Rowena’s robe is loose at the waist, her shades fine on the bridge of her nose, fine pheromones like herbs, like, all the follow-me in the redlets when she tosses them shoulderwards, says follow.
The Empty, all o-death elegy, hangs behind, between, branches out and breaks up edens, orchards, turns parts of America dark with rot, spots-on-pistil, mold, seed.
Some exits don’t go anywhere anymore. There are cellar-doors to—
Sammy, Dean says, when were you going to tell me.
When there’s an empty out there, you don’t save things up, wait; it ain’t like there’s a filling station.
Some things are the same: grass, Dean’s socks in a heap, memories from before, the sacrosanct of landing and oh, that smile, that one, untainted by hunt. There are sacred spaces, somewhere.
Dean’s gone Dark: a date. Sam ‘s gone (clothes scented, fried, with spellwork)—
to see an old friend, unkillable.
Leaves fall and brothers sigh and hair mingles.
Kansas clouds are still a mystery.
A car rolls down a road. Sparrows fall, you know.
There’s still death.