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Title: Dazed and Confused
Characters: Sam, Ruby, Dean, John
Rating: PG-13
Length: 880 words
Spoilers: Season 4 spoilers
Author's Notes: Happy Birthday to Sam Winchester! Third place winner in the spnland 'Zeppelin Rules' writing challenge. Inspired by the Led Zeppelin song, Dazed and Confused. Thanks to my beta, Stevie, who commented, "Is this meant to be really confusing? If so, great job!"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW.
Summary: When you're the last one left, you do whatever you have to.

Sam’s heart was pounding, body loose with the after-effects of his orgasm, the sulfur-sweet taste of Ruby’s blood thick in his mouth.

Ruby pulled him up off the mattress with supernatural strength and tugged Sam’s pants back up over his hips before carefully zipping him up. “Come on, baby,” she said, leading him into the other room.

A woman was tied to a chair under a Devil’s Trap, her navy business suit dirty and torn. She looked familiar, Sam thought blurrily. The woman looked up at him with black eyes and hissed.

“You want to save her, right?” Ruby said. “You can. You’re the only one who can.”

And yeah, that, that was true. He was the only one left. Last man standing.

Ruby positioned Sam directly in front of the demon, stepped behind him, and placed her hands on his hips. Sam relaxed back into her warmth, like Dean teaching him to shoot.

“It’s time,” she said quietly. “Concentrate. Find the power inside you.”

Sam closed his eyes and sank down into his own mind, towards the bright, wrong part of himself he’d always instinctively avoided. He brushed up against the light and flinched away with a gasp. “Hurts,” he whispered.

“Shhhh. You’re strong, Sam. You can do it.”

Sam forced himself back down, pushed into it, and – fuck! Pain like a joint pulled too far in the wrong direction, in that last screaming moment before it snaps. “Can’t.”

“Of course you can,” Dad snarled, “and you will.”

Sam was bent over, hands on his thighs, gasping for air, legs burning. Dad had started going crazy with the training as soon as Sam hit his growth spurt. The ten-mile road run had been bad enough, but now Dad was jogging in place and pointing him up a steep trail. Sam’s mouth was bone-dry and flooding with saliva, like he was gonna … oh fuck. He staggered to the side of the path and coughed up his breakfast. When there was nothing but drool dripping from his mouth Dad handed him a canteen of water.

“Rinse, spit it out, then drink two swallows, slowly,” Dad told him. He watched to make sure that Sam followed orders, and took back his canteen. “What if it was a mother and her two little boys up at the top of that hill, about to be eaten. You gonna let them die because you’re tired? Because you’re hurting?” Something in his tone said he thought Sam probably would leave them to die.

Sam straightened up and shook his head. “No sir,” he said, glaring at his Dad, breathing almost back to normal.

“Then what are you waiting for?”

Sam forced one leg to move, then the other. He made it to the top of the hill. Dad ended up carrying him back down it.

Sam breathed through the pain. It didn’t really get any better, the light pulsing in his head like the mother of all migraines, but it was … manageable.

“That’s it,” Ruby murmured, her hand slipping under his sweat-soaked shirt to tuck into the groove of his hip. “Now use it, baby.”

Sam reached out toward the demon with his mind. The light in him blazed up, scorching along his nerve endings.

“No,” Ruby said urgently, her nails cutting into his skin a distant pinprick. “Not like that, Sam, don’t –”

Light. Light everywhere, and he wasn’t, he couldn’t…

“Rumble strips,” Dean yelled.

Sam jerked the wheel and pulled the Impala back onto the road. Dean was in the back seat. Sam squinted against the brightness of the headlights, doggedly following the yellow line.

“Dean? I’m ... my head hurts. Can we switch, maybe, you drive for a while?”

No answer. Sam took a deep breath, trying to settle his head and stomach. The car stank of blood. He glanced in the rear-view mirror. Dean was in the back seat, covered in blood, slippery fingers buried in Dad’s thigh wound, trying to keep the femoral artery pinched closed so he wouldn’t bleed out.

“Love to,” Dean said tightly, “but I can’t see too good right now, remember?”

Blind. The warlock’s final curse had thrown Sam head-first into the wall, but it had blasted Dean blind.

“You’ve got this, little brother,” Dean told him, solid and sure. “I’m right here. It’s only a couple miles to the hospital. Just focus. Do it for me, Sammy.”

The light was everywhere but Sam could feel the demon now, a few feet in front of him. Sam focused, reaching out through the pain and the confusion. The light touched the demon, wrapped around it, crushed it, and drove it screaming back to Hell.

“For you, Dean,” Sam said thickly, swaying on his feet and wiping at the blood trickling from his nose.

“You did it, Sammy!” said a woman behind him.

Sam twisted and crashed to one knee, hand going for his missing gun while his mind fumbled for the light to fight this new threat.

Ruby froze. For a moment, Sam thought he saw fear in her eyes.

“Don’t call me that,” Sam told her.

Ruby nodded and reached down to help Sam up. Ignoring her hand, Sam pushed his aching body up off the floor and limped over to the woman he’d saved.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
"Sam relaxed back into her warmth, like Dean teaching him to shoot." Grrrrr. I hated it when Sam told Dean that Ruby told him the things that Dean would have told him. That he's equating anything she does as something Dean would have done just makes me see red. Not because of Sam, but because of how she's playing him.

“For you, Dean,” Perfect. Always for Dean.
May. 2nd, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Ruby slid neatly into the gaping, Dean-shaped hole in Sam's life. By the time Dean came back from Hell, she was doing a better job of filling it than he could.

Yes, always for Dean. Thanks, Ti!
May. 2nd, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
This is a great look into Sam's frame of mind. Great flashes of Dad and Dean. It seemed like we only got a small bit of what was going on in Sam's head from the show and this fills in a lot of detail that seemed to be missing.
May. 2nd, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
*nods* I think there's a story there that's almost entirely internal, and not well-suited to the TV medium because of it. But we have no such limits in fanfiction!

Thanks, galwithglasses!
May. 2nd, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
I love how you wove the memories into this. And I loved "For you, Dean." Great story.
May. 3rd, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Thank you, dragonlit! This was one of the ones where I had no idea if it made any sense at all to people who weren't you know, ME. So I'm glad for the feedback! For you, Dean is absolutely the heart of this story. And for Sam's story, in general.
May. 2nd, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
This is brilliant! Excellent read.
May. 3rd, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Thank you, monicawoe!
May. 3rd, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
it's a perfect mix of Sam's memories and how he uses them to get through exorcising the demon. I really like this, esp. the end where Sam tells her not to call him Sam, and Ruby's reaction.
May. 7th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, kassidy! It's a little nerve-wracking for Ruby, training Sam to kill demons with his brain and knowing he could turn on her at any moment.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )