Title: Round and Round We Go
Rating: PG-13. Language, mentions of character death.
Disclaimer: Supernatural is not mine
Summary: There’s a train at the end of the tunnel.
Spoilers: Vague references to “Simon Says”
Round and Round We Go
“There’s a train at the end of the tunnel.”
It’s the first thing Dean remembers his father saying in the wake of the fire. He mutters it quietly as the neighbors tried to offer small words of comfort. At the time, Dean hadn’t understood what his father meant. But as the years pass, he starts to crack a smile when someone tells him there’s a light waiting for him at the end.
His father may have been a cynical bastard, but he was onto something.
There’s a train at the end of the tunnel.
Dean opens his eyes.
You don’t get it, there really is a fucking literal train at the end of the tunnel.
Sam orders eggs for breakfast for the fourth day in a row, douses them in ketchup and shovels them into his mouth with gusto. Dean purses his lips and tries not to stare at the red ketchup stains surrounding his brother’s mouth because they’re starting to look just a little too much like blood…
Dean wakes up at seven-thirty-seven.
Sam is screaming.
Sam is always screaming.
There’s nothing he can do to stop it.
It’s like living life with perpetual déjà vu. It’s one of those video games where you get to go back to the last checkpoint when you die.
The road branches in front of Dean, a choice. Do they head south down route one or back up north. North ends with fire. South ends with blood. Either way’s the wrong decision. Either way there’s that tug of inevitability telling him that there’s no possible way this will end well.
Dean takes the road less travel but knows it won’t make a lick of difference.
Dean wakes up at seven-thirty-seven and that right there should have been a sign that something was wrong. The Winchesters and Creedence Clearwater Revival have never mixed well but at this moment. Dean is too damn tired to tell himself getting nervous about song lyrics is just stupid.
Sam is screaming
He rolls out of bed automatically and without thinking takes two quick steps around the bed to catches his brother as he flops off the opposite side. “Sam,” he whispers and tries not to feel like he’s reading a script. “Snap out of it Sammy.”
On the fourth day, Dean decides to make his stand in that crappy little diner. Sam’s sitting there across from him, eating his ketchup covered eggs with an absurd urgency. He’s still shaky from this morning’s dream but Dean can’t force himself to run.
Sam insists the demon’s coming after them, that it’ll find them before nightfall if they didn’t move, move, move. But this time, Dean just doesn’t have the energy to keep running.
The diner’s only occupants are an aging waitress and the stereotypically obese chief and a little voice in his head keeps whispering that he’ll get them kill. Three days ago, Dean would never have taken that gamble. But he’s had enough.
And he’s feeling kinda reckless.
Dean wakes up at seven-thirty-seven. Sam’s screaming, locked in the throws of the same endless vision. Seven days now and Dean still hasn’t asked for specifics. He doesn’t think he ever will.
Besides, all Sam’s visions are the same in the end. He doesn’t want to count how many times his brother must have watched himself die.
And Sam’s visions are always right.
The demon’s close. Dean can feel it. He’s been through it all in his head the demon’s got to be here, there are only so many places it can be.
Sam’s in a panic beside him. “Dean, we’ve got to go, now. It’s coming.”
The demon’s always coming. Every single day, the demon’s coming. “It won’t matter,” Dean mutters. “None of this will matter unless we get to it before it gets to us.”
“Dean, you have no idea how bad this will get if it finds us.”
Sam, Dean thinks, you have no idea what I know.
Dean wakes up at seven-thirty-seven. Sam’s screaming, just like he is every morning. And despite everything, it still chills a part of him. No matter how many times he does this, there’s always part of him that panics with his brother’s screams.
He doesn’t know how much longer he can keep this up. One more day like this and he swears he’s going to go insane.
The first time, Sam’s blood splatters all over his face. Red, sticky and still warm. His brother crumples, sags like a marionette with it’s string’s cut mid act. Dean can’t move, can’t breath.
The Demon’s laughing, yellow eyes shining bright in the darkness. Sam’s crumpled body is all he can see. And there was nothing he could do.
He should have seen it coming. He should have moved faster, should have been smarter, should have saved…
He can feel himself unraveling, cut loose and spinning out of control. All the essential parts of Dean are gone with his little brother lying dead on the floor.
The Demon is laughing.
Something inside of Dean sparks, catches fire.
Turns out, a catalyst is all he needs.
Dean wakes up at seven-thirty-seven. Sam has eggs for breakfast, smeared in ketchup. Every day they run. And every single day the demon finds them.
The idea briefly occurs to him after the whole thing with Andy and Weber. An vague notion that lurked in an unwanted part of his brain and whispered: Brothers. The pattern breaks with brothers. But the idea only flickers before Dean banishes it to the depths of his mind.
Sam’s the special one. Sam’s the one the demon wants. Dean’s got enough on his plate just keeping Sam safe.
Because that’s all he really needs; his brother, safe and healthy and alive.
It’s easier said than done.
There’s a train at the end of the tunnel.
Dean’s starting to think his father was right this whole time. That there’s never a light waiting for you in death, just a train speeding towards you to shatter false hopes.
And he’d really thought he had it this time. Put the puzzle together and figured out how to get them both to tomorrow.
His brother’s frozen like a deer in a headlights, completely shocked to see the end speeding up on him. He always has the gull to look surprised when the end comes. Dean wants to tell his brother that in the scheme of things, a train’s not a bad way to go. Dean’s seen far worse, seen his brother die far too may times in far too many ways.
“It’s not going to end like this,” Dean whispers. “I won’t let it.”
The train’s coming fast. Dean grabs Sam by the shoulder, closes his eyes and pleads do-over…
…and Dean wakes up yesterday at seven-thirty-seven.