Title: In the Darkness
By: Titania
Pairing: gen
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Sam and Dean aren't mine but if they were oh the fun we'd have!
Summary: When a hunt goes horribly wrong Dean must face his greatest fear.


Darkness. All around him. Blanketing him from head to toe. Oppressive and heavy, it crawled into his nostrils and slithered down his throat, smothering him. Cold, beneath his back, seeping into his core and sapping his strength. His breathing was laboured, ragged gasps echoing loudly in his ears. His chest ached from the strain. Fear turning the simple act of breathing in and out into a Herculean task.


He'd meant to scream it - but realised the word had died unformed on his lips.

No unnecessary noise son – every sound you make gives away our position.

In the darkness there was only silence. Total and absolute. No deep rumbling hum of traffic, no whisper of wind, no muffled voices, creaking floorboards or insect chorus to give him a clue as to his whereabouts. And he could hear no tell tale signs of breathing other than his own. Which meant he was alone.

Relief crashed over him in waves. Alone, meant no Sam. Alone meant that Sammy was safe, Sammy was back at their fleabag motel, frantic with worry, jade eyes awash with unshed tears, desperately searching for his big brother who had been fucking stupid enough to get himself snatched up by the evil bastard they were hunting.

Unless of course he's lying next to you. The dead don't need to breathe now do they Dean?

His breathing begins to settle, panic releasing him from its steel grip. Where the hell was he? Last thing he remembered was checking out the woods at the back of the Johnson place. It had been drizzling, fine spray like needles jabbing at his face while he concentrated on not breaking his ankle on the uneven pathway descending from the warmth of Steve Johnson's ramshackle home to the barren woods beyond. Twilight had been approaching but it had still been plenty bright, despite the rain. Dean had been alone, he was sure of it. He'd been in the open, with a clear line of sight into the woods ahead. There had been no shadows, faint whiff of sulphur, no movement flickering at the very edges of his vision. Then the EMF reader had let off a high pitched wail, foretelling danger and death like his very own electronic banshee and Dean's world had tumbled into darkness.

Dean's eyes hadn't adjusted at all to the inky blackness. Light itself had been snuffed out in this wretched place. Frigid air wafted across his face like the tender caress of a ghostly lover. Dean inhaled deeply, revelling in the feel of the ice cold air filling his lungs. If there was air there was a way out. Robbed of his sight Dean realised he would have to rely on touch to work out his surroundings. His hands stroked the floor either side of him. It was cold and unyielding, some form of granite or marble. His right hand reached out, body twisting as he explored the limits of his prison.


Sharp pain snaked its way up his arm as his knuckles collided with a wall. A wall, which to Dean's dismay, was mere inches away from where he was laying. The pain centred him, granting clarity of focus. Pain, hell pain he could deal with.

Bites, blows, scratches from unkind claws. The back of a hand cracking across his cheek, sound loud, like a gun shot, head snapping back, vision blurring for reasons other than the singing agony in his veins, the stench of whiskey fumes irritating his eyes. Blows meted out in anger and sheer frustration, by a man hollowed out with grief. The stomp of boots after one too many "lucky" wins at the pool table, bruises that would leave their techni-colour brand on his skin for days. The distorted reflection of his brother in the Impala's dust coated wing mirror, tear streaked face bathed in the sickly pink glow of the buzzing No Vacancy sign, striding angrily away from another rundown motel, in another no nothing town, carrying his worldly possessions on his back.

Yeah pain he could definitely deal with.

Moving with renewed urgency Dean felt around and above him, hands sliding across the surface of the stone, skin snagging on the rough hewn rock. Body writhing he wriggled downwards, unsurprised when his feet met solid resistance almost instantly. He repeated the process in reverse, outstretched hands lifted above his head, gingerly leading the way. A way that was shut, blocked with heavy stone.

Panic began to flare brightly again, hysteria a hair's breath away. A box. He was laying in a fucking stone box . He was trapped, encased in unmoveable stone.

A tomb.

The relief at the certain knowledge that Sammy wasn't trapped in here with him was countered by the fact that part of him, a part he truly despised, really wanted Sam to be here. He craved the comfort of Sam's solid warmth next to him, his soft drawl alternately soothing and gently mocking him as only a brother could. Everything was easier with Sam at his side. His reflexes were sharper, he could think better when Sam was around, with Sam he was just….…better.

Dean loved his father with all his heart but years of hunting with him while Sam was away at Stanford playing with his pretty Smurfette and forgetting Dean had ever existed had worn him down. He'd spent every waking minute with his father. They'd breathed the same air while traversing mile after hypnotic mile of black top, eating together in the same greasy diners and sharing the same mildewed motel rooms. Yet for all their time together Dean had never doubted that he was utterly alone. His father lived an internal life, comforted by memories of ghosts of the past, driven by an insatiable desire for revenge and a desire for the story to be over. Day after day was filled with soul wearying silence, punctuated only by barked orders whenever his father spotted something worthy of investigation in the local obituaries.

It had never been like that with Sam. They were a team, Sam and Dean together. With Sam he was never alone. Without Sam he was lost.

"Help. Please. Help me. I'm in here. Somebody…please. Please get help".

Dean screamed his pleas to the heavens until his throat was raw and his voice nothing but a harsh croak but silence was his only reward. Desperation humming in his veins, Dean began to pound on the walls and ceiling of his prison. He kicked and punched at the stone encasing him, futilely looking for some weakness, some give in the material that he could exploit to get out of there. The stench of his sweat filled the enclosed space mixing with the sharp coppery tang of his own blood which was dripping steadily from his mangled knuckles.

But the stone walls didn't give, no chink of light appeared to give him any hope and the darkness silently mocked his endeavours.

It would all be fine. Sammy was safe. Sam would find him just as he always did. Everything would be fine. He repeated the soothing litany in his head over and over while he shifted uncomfortably on the unforgiving floor.

It was Sam who had suggested that they come to this sleepy town. One line in a newspaper report buried on page nine of the local paper, sandwiched between details of a bake sale and a campaign to save a local landmark, had caught Sam's well trained eye.

Barbara Young, 27, died after falling from the top of a seven storey building where she worked. Parents devastated, suicide suspected. Suicide whilst tragic was mundane, a side effect of this callous world, of no interest to them. Except for the quote from her best friend Rita saying that she had no idea what Barbie (Dean's eyes had rolled skyward at the nauseating nickname) would have been doing on that roof. After all, Barbie was terrified of heights.

Super Sammy, the research geek, had swung into action and in a depressingly short time has uncovered details of six other mysterious deaths in the area over a period of five years. Louise Williams, drowned, fully clothed, on a cold April morning in her next door neighbour's swimming pool, despite being petrified of water. Mike Evans, a man so claustrophobic he walked up ten flights of stairs to reach his office every day rather than use the elevator, had suffocated locked in a tiny wooden box in his attic. (Dean's Houdini joke had been met with deafening silence from a deeply unamused Sam) And poor old Steve Johnson, who was deathly afraid of wasps, had died of anaphylactic shock having been stung thousands of times by a deadly swarm which had descended on the Johnson home out of thin air.

Sam and Dean hadn't gotten anywhere with the Young family. Their grief was too raw to accept the intrusion of two well meaning outsiders asking questions they had no answers to. Dean was glad that they had been turned away so quickly, unnerved by the blankness in eight year old Katy Young's stare. Grief ageing her well beyond her years. Dean lived for the hunt, to take down those who revel in the destruction of innocent life but he was less comfortable with the human side of things. To turn up at a funeral with nothing more than a paper thin excuse and a sympathetic smile and try and inveigle your way into the shattered remnants of a grieving person's life, it left a bitter taint for Dean that no amount of scalding hot showers could ever erase.

The Williams family had moved away, unwilling to wake up each day faced with a bleak, concrete reminder of their daughter's desperate, solitary end. Dean had swept the location from top to bottom. There were no cold spots, no pockets of energy, all of the readings had been clean. Sam had confirmed that there was no dark history to any of the land where the victims had met their death. In horror novels there was always a convenient Indian burial ground, or brutal family massacre to pin the mysterious supernatural activity on but reality had a tendency to be far less helpful.

It could have been any one of a number of demons. But apart from the obvious pattern (victim dying in the way they feared the most) the books didn't reveal any likely suspects, even their father's journal, Dean's personal bible since it had become the only physical reminder of their father's existence, had been silent on the topic.

They'd decided to separate, cover more ground by visiting the death sites separately. A desperate straw-clutching attempt to try and find something, anything that would lead them to the identity of the creature they were dealing with. He should have known better. One lesson drilled into him since birth.

Never leave Sam alone.

He'd broken the golden rule, brutally choked down his objections to splitting up, not wanting Sam to realise how much the thought of even a few hours apart distressed him. He wasn't quite sure when it had happened. When he had gone from being a man comfortable with sharing his days with only his own thoughts and the Impala for company to someone filled with mortal terror at the prospect of being separated from his baby brother. He'd existed when Sam was at Stanford, gone through the motions as his father expected him to do, but he'd never lived. Like a phoenix his life had begun again with ashes and flame.

The demon had slaughtered the most precious thing in Sam's life, and given Dean back his reason for living. Dean thought about it often, in that place between wake and sleep where the shadows are longest and day break seems like a world away. He had his mother's murderer to thank for his brother's presence at his side and some days when he watches his brother smiling, watches the shadows and the pain erase from Sam's face he can't bring himself to care. He's sad that Jess died, sad that her death has destroyed his brother's spirit. But he's not sure that he's sorry. How he can be sorry about something that bought his brother back to him?

None of that matters now, not now that he's lying cold, stomach cramping with hunger in a stone coffin.

Sammy will find me. Sam will save me. Everything will be alright.

The mantra now sounds hollow and mocking to his ears. Dean has no idea where he is and no idea what took him. He prays that Sam found something at the Evans home that will lead him to the demon, lead Sam to him but Dean has always been a realist. He learned early in life that hope could be far more destructive than hate. Sam won't know that Dean is missing right away, will chalk up his absence to a perky waitress or inviting game of pool with too easy marks. Once he knows that everything has gone to hell, he'll exhaust every resource and tear the place apart in his desire to find his brother. But it won't matter. Dean will have died long before Sam has run out of books to consult, contacts to call.

It wasn't true that Dean was never afraid. He just never let others know it. Never let Sam know about his dreams. Nightmares of his father being slowly mutilated before his eyes. Dreams of his brother screaming his name over and over, whilst faceless beings drag him away from the comfort and safety of Dean's arms. Dreams in which his mother, face contorted in sheer agony, disintegrates into vapours of ash and smoke while the ever hungry flames lick hungrily at his skin leaving white hot agony in their wake. Lips blistering, retinas scorching until they burst, liquid bubbling down his cheeks like melted candle wax in the brutal heat. Fear was a constant in Dean's life – it was just something that he refused to give into lest it overwhelm him. But of all the fears that kept him awake in the twilight hours the fear of being alone seemed to Dean to be the least of them.

He was a hunter. His father had trained him for it and fuck it he was damn good at it. Death had never fazed him but then he had always imagined going down in a blaze of glory. His death should have been significant. He should have died killing the creature that stalked his family. Should have bled to save those he loved. But there would be no glorious death for Dean. He'd been captured without a single blow exchanged, entombed, a living relic, to die a slow and painful death from dehydration. It wasn't the death of a hunter. Wasn't even a good death, just a pointless one.

Chances are his family would never even know what happened to him. Dean wasn't sure he could bear the thought of Sammy torturing himself with thoughts of what had happened to his brother. Fevered imaginings of a brutal frenzied attack, of his brother dying cursing his name. Hot tears sting Dean's eyes but he refuses to let them fall. He knows he is in shock, can feel exhaustion tugging at his senses, encouraging him to embrace the security of sleep. He fights it for a while until his eyelids are too sore and gritty for him to force open any more and he willing embraces oblivion.

When he awakes nothing has changed. There has been no miraculous rescue while he dwelled in the realms of Morpheous. He has no concept of time in this place. No idea how long he has been trapped. No idea how long he has left. All he knows is that his stomach is rumbling with need, that his throat feels like sandpaper and each breath is harder than the last. There is still no sound, no light, no hope.



Sam I'm here

I'm in here. Sam please

Please find me.


Dean begs, rasping shouts which taper to a sobbing plea.

The darkness doesn't answer.