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Sam Winchester ([personal profile] collegedropout) wrote1992-03-16 01:41 am
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This is the End

The end of the world just happens. 

Well, something like that. Sam isn't really very keen on where it began, other than when the Croatoan virus suddenly hit big in parts of the United States and burned outward in every direction; at this point, Sam had already said his goodbyes to Dean, had picked a hemisphere (non-literally, because he's not so sure he could forge plane tickets to China right this moment), started to try to correct his life. There were dreams, yeah, some Lucifer here and there to intrude on his privacy. But he was managing. Until, y'know. Shit hit the fan. In the end, phones went down, electricity, running water supplies. Places shut down. Boarded up. Humanity, trying to thrive. Lucifer, celebrating in his nightmares.

Sam never did speak to Dean again, after their final goodbye. Now he doesn't know if his brother is alive or dead out there. 

Maybe he'll never know 'til it's too late. Or until he's dead. Sam's a pretty lucky guy, all things... considered. He's immune. Been bitten more than once even (covered by his jacket, because if people saw... well, he's not about to get mistaken for infected, even if they're only scar tissue now), though most of it was born out of a sick sense of penance. He's hardly afraid to go barreling into a horde of insane viral carriers if it means maybe saving one life who can't handle getting infected. He can go on supply runs for people, too. The more the world eroded away, the more he finds himself wandering from place to place, directionless and distraught.

This is all his fault. It's all on him. 

He should have never let the devil out. 

He should have never believed a demon could be anything but a twisted, ugly demon.

He should have... Should have done something different. 

Bobby isn't in his home, Jo and Ellen are MIA, no signs of life from anyone he knows. No Dean. Just more people to help. Mouths to feed. Croats to kill. By the time he reaches a little place in California, he's exhausted, seeking out an abandoned building to rest up there. He uses his pack as a pillow and listens for any sounds of the infected. Or survivors. It's not like he can deny someone in need of help, in a mess he made. There's probably some big issue just around the corner. Danger. Right now, his only concern is actually getting a few hours of rest before the Devil comes to poke around inside his noggin.

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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-16 08:59 pm (UTC)(link)
The virus spread too quickly.

Dean thought they had a chance, at first, to contain it. Hunters banded together to try and keep it from spreading. They risked infection to travel to towns to take down the Croats, their actions becoming increasingly more desperate as the virus expanded, hitting more and more people, until they had to admit: they couldn't stop it. There was nothing they could do, except go after Lucifer and by ending him, hopefully end the mess that he created.

Some hunters got infected. Some left the country in hopes that they could get away, if only briefly. Some stayed to fight. Dean took those who stayed and along with Bobby, a newly human Cas, and, eventually, Chuck, formed a ragtag band of survivors. Together, they raided for supplies, tried to find more survivors, and hunted down the Colt. As time went on, though, and taking in survivors became more risky, they slowed that practice, focusing instead on keeping provisioned so they could live long enough to shoot the devil down with the Colt.

It isn't that Dean didn't think of Sam; he did, and often. Sometimes, he'd wonder if Sam was out there with his own little group of survivors - it seemed likely that he would be, since he is immune and the best possible candidate for seeking out survivors.

Sometimes, though, Dean would wonder if Sam returned to his old habits. It was hard not to, given the note that they ended on. Dean vacillated between wishing Sam would have gotten in contact before the phones went dead and thinking it was best that they stayed away from each other - until enough time passed. Now, Dean just accepts that it was for the best, and tries not to spend too much time thinking of Sam.

Dean gets word from a member of his group, newly returned from a supply run, that the Colt is in California, in an area with rampant infection. A lead is better than no lead at all, so Dean packs up and chooses a few people to go with him, leaving Bobby in charge.

The group is eight strong when they leave, all piled in an old van. The Impala has suffered since the gas shortage - left to rot away in disuse. Now that Dean has to siphon his fuel, using the Impala has become impractical, especially when he can take another vehicle to fit more people.

By the time they cross the California state line, it's just Dean and Bryan, a former car salesman from Texas whose skill in hunting game translated pretty damn well to surviving the end of civilization. He's a good shot - he and Dean work well together in a way that Dean hasn't worked with anyone in a long time.

That doesn't stop Dean from putting a bullet in his head after a Croat knocks him down and intentionally bleeds all over him. Dean kills the Croat, first.

"Do what you gotta do," Bryan tells him as he stands back up - then pauses, hands raised as as though in welcome.

There is a chance that Bryan could be clean. Dean could inspect him for minor cuts, maybe tie him up and count the hours to wait for the virus to show. But those are the actions that Dean took before everything went to hell - it just isn't worth the risk anymore. Dean no longer holds out hope that they could be striving toward a better form of survival - no longer puts survivors in quarantine to try and give them a chance. It's too much risk, and Dean is too focused on surviving long enough to kill the devil.

Without a word, he shoots Bryan in the head.

Now Dean's on his own, which is dangerous, but he fully intends to find the Colt and get back to Camp alive.

No matter how determined he is, though, he has to rest at some point, and that's why he scopes out and ultimately settles for an old, abandoned building. There doesn't seem to be any Croat activity, which is ideal, since Dean doesn't have anyone to take turns keeping shifts with him tonight. He plans on taking a nap and then heading back out.

He sneaks inside quietly, since it's still a possibility that there are Croats around, gun out and at the ready. It's hard to see in the dark, but Dean thinks he catches a glimpse of someone in a room he passes.

Without thinking, without stopping to care if it is a survivor or not, Dean aims his gun. He's alone out here - he can't risk infection. That means no questions - shoot and carry on.

So he shoots -

and his gun fails to discharge the bullet. The freaking thing jams.

Dean reaches for his second pistol, hoping that he can get it out in time.
ramble_on: supersuits @ IJ (pic#7436332)

[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-16 11:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Dean's ready for the person to react — he's always ready, these days, for some kind of attack — but what he doesn't expect is for the person to be such a competent fighter. The guy takes him down and succeeds in winding him. Dean ends up on his back, taking a gasping breath, but still struggling to maneuver his gun so that it's pointed at the guy. It isn't a Croat, that's clear by now, but desperate people can be almost as dangerous.

He can't see the guy well in the dark, and even if he could, Dean wouldn't be wasting time paying attention to his appearance. It doesn't matter. All that matters is Dean walking away from this alive.

Under the weight of this guy and with the way he's aiming to get hold of the gun, Dean can't get the pistol aimed, so he does the next best thing — he moves his arm up quick, hoping to catch the guy in the jaw so he can roll away.
ramble_on: supersuits @ IJ (pic#7436335)

[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 12:06 am (UTC)(link)
The guy gets in a punch, quickly pissing Dean off, because this should be over by now. It pisses him off even more that the guy is bleeding on him, because even though he doesn't seem to be a Croat, anyone with any sense should be concerned about being bled on. For all he knows, this guy could be carrying the virus, even if he isn't actively showing symptoms.

Dean tries again to aim the gun, now that he managed to get it free enough for that to be a possibility, but then his hand is slammed down and Dean loses his god damn grip.

"Fuck," he mutters.

The gun isn't the only weapon he has on him. He also has a couple of knives, but he doesn't know if he can get one out quickly enough. He goes for it regardless, trying to reach around the guy to get into his jacket. If he's going to go down, he can at least go down fighting.
ramble_on: <lj user="bushyeyebrows"> (pic#6938226)

[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 02:30 am (UTC)(link)
The guy hesitates — his mistake, and ultimately his funeral. Dean gets the knife free, and just as he does, he hears his name.

"Sam." A statement, not a question. Dean recognizes his voice, the way he intones his name. It's Sam, definitely, and now his fighting ability makes sense.

Unfortunately for Sam, though, Dean still doesn't hesitate. He presses the blade up against Sam's throat and says, words laced with threat, "Back up."

Because Sam's been MIA for years, and Dean sure as hell isn't going to entertain a warm and fuzzy reunion when he isn't sure what Sam has been up to — or if he's even really Sam. There was a time when Dean would have welcomed him back with open arms — a time when Dean entertained thoughts of uniting with Sam against the Croats and, ultimately, Lucifer — but those days are long gone. These days, you can't just take a situation at face value — Dean has learned that more than once — so he presses the blade against Sam's skin to make his point.

He isn't fucking around.
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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
"I want you to back the hell up," Dean enunciates slowly, as though Sam may have missed it the first time he gave the order. Maybe once upon a time, seeing Sam brandish his neck against a knife would make Dean hesitate, but Dean no longer lets anything he feels get in the way of survival.

He doesn't trust Sam. He has no reason to.

Of course, he doesn't want to slit his throat open, either, because that would be pointless. He knows Sam isn't infected, even if he can't sure 100% certain that someone isn't wearing his body, and Sam may have some useful information. Hell, he may even know something about the Colt — maybe that's why he's here.

Instead of waiting for Sam to listen to him, since apparently Sam is a little more than interested in dying, Dean pulls back the knife, drops it, and instead of stabbing Sam, pulls back and punches him in the face.
ramble_on: supersuits @ IJ (pic#7436326)

[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
Dean finally gets up off the ground, grabbing his gun in the process. He doesn't point it at Sam again, but he doesn't put it away, either. He holds it idly, in a way that seems like he's just toying it, when in reality, he's keeping it ready for use at a moment's notice. It obviously doesn't bother him when Sam points out that Dean nearly killed him — it wouldn't have been an ideal situation, but Dean has learned that surviving is all about mitigating risk, and in that moment, Sam had been a big risk.

You do what you gotta do, and Dean isn't going to apologize for it.

He calmly watches Sam grab his things and start walking his way out, as though Sam leaving is the most natural thing in the world —

and it is, really.

But Dean isn't done with him yet. If Sam wants to go, that's fine — it's for the best, really, since they can't expect to try and fix what has been broken for years. First, though, Dean wants to know:

"You hear anything about the Colt?" he asks Sam's back, completely ignoring all his other comments.
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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)

Figures. Dean is beginning to wonder if he's following a dead lead. He's low on supplies and completely out of backup on this trip - and yet he can't find any trace of the gun. It's frustrating, but Dean needs to discount all possibilities before he can turn back around. If the Colt is out here, he doesn't want to miss his chance to grab it.

"Bobby's alive," Dean answers. "Cas turned hippie, but he's still alive, too, somehow." A slight hint of derision in his tone - Cas is loyal, but he spends most of his time stoned nowadays, so Dean doesn't exactly count him as the most dependable guy around. "Ellen and Jo got infected." And now they're dead. Dean killed Jo himself - that was back when he was still hopeful that he could save people and push the end of the world back long enough to make a difference. It hurt, then, to aim and fire, but that was a while back. Dean has hardened himself to the guilt.

"You missed a lot. It's been one hell of a ride."

Dean spins his gun in his hands, then walks toward Sam with the intention of passing him up to get back on the road. Dean could use at least a couple of hours of sleep since he's been running on empty since he shot Bryan - it's rough business, catching shut-eye when there's no one to watch your back - but now he figures he's going to have to stay awake to make sure Sam isn't going to double back around and try anything. Or, worse, get to the Colt before Dean and use it for the enemy.

Dean doesn't know the guy anymore. He needs to consider all possible scenarios.

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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)

Dean just listens as he walks, fully intending on leaving Sam without acknowledging him beyond what he has done already. It isn't worth it - engaging in conversation, trying to act like they can get back to a place where they are brothers, again. It's better to treat him like a stranger. Then they can both move on with their lives.

But just before they make it outside, Dean turns around to look at Sam - ignoring that dismissive Bye, Dean.

"You're judging me?"

He huffs out a humorless, breathy laugh.

"For doing what I gotta do to survive in a world that you ended." He points at Sam with the pistol, emphasizing that you.

"Hate to break it to you, Sammy," Dean adds, and there is no affection in his use of the nickname, "But you don't got a moral foot to stand on."

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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 08:32 pm (UTC)(link)

"Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt," Dean replies, shrugging Sam's comments off. He is aware of his own mortality - he faces it every day, after all - and Dean definitely isn't keen on going back to Hell, but he doesn't focus any energy on thinking about the afterlife. The way he sees it, he has to do whatever necessary to bring down Lucifer once and for all. If that road leads to Hell, then so be it. If he's successful, at least Dean will have accomplished something before being tossed back down there.

He doesn't try to make any further conversation. Instead, he lets Sam go his way. Dean turns, heading back toward his van, parked just down the road. He's going to need gas, soon, which he was hoping to put off until daylight, but if he's heading back out on the road already, then sooner would be better than later.

He makes it to the van, pulls the handle, and is halfway into the seat when a Croat gets the jump on him.

He hadn't seen the Croat, which isn't like Dean - usually he's good at spotting them, even in the dark, since he's had so much practice. Freaking Sam - distracting him. He shouldn't have let that happen, but here he is, a Croat looming over him, cutting its stomach open.


The blood pours out all over Dean - his jacket, his shirt, his skin. The Croat - a woman - rubs a hand over her stomach wound as Dean struggles to raise his pistol, reaches forward toward Dean's face -

And Dean shoots it, a single shot sounding in the night.

He shoves the corpse off of him quickly, but the damage is done. He's covered in blood and the chance that he's managed to be infected is pretty damn high. Dean was in a scuffle with Croats just yesterday, and while he doesn't have any gaping wounds, he did suffer a couple of scrapes, which may not be completely scabbed over. He sits back up, pistol still in hand.

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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-17 11:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Dean does see Sam taking care of the other two Croats, and thinks he's an idiot for not keeping walking. Dean likely would have, were the situation reversed.

Then again, Sam is immune and he isn't.

It still strikes him as a stupid move, but Sam makes quick work of the Croats, then comes over, freaking out.

Dean is calm. He grabs Sam's wrist to get him to stop pulling on his shirt. "Stop."

There's only one way this is going to end, and it isn't going to be with Dean becoming a Croat.

He raises the pistol in his other hand to his head, resting the barrel against his skull. "Guess it's Hell for me after all," he tells Sam.

It's the best, most logical decision: off himself before he turns, just like he offed Bryan and countless others. It isn't that he is without reservation — he really would rather not put a bullet in his own skull, but he doubts Sam has the gumption to do it for him — but he refuses to live to see himself spread this infection.
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it's perfect

[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-18 03:19 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe it's indicative of just how hardened Dean has become, but he doesn't expect Sam to stop him. He expects Sam to be sappy about it sure — expects him to lament a little, because that's just the way Dean remembers Sam as being, and he figures old habits die hard — but he doesn't anticipate that Sam will try and stop him. It doesn't help that Dean's guard is down, since he plans on dying anyway.

Sam is too quick. Dean is effectively subdued and knocked out.

When he wakes up, he's in the back of the van. He sits up, head pounding, and rubs his face. He doesn't know how long he's been out, but he isn't a Croat — yet.

He opens the door to the van and climbs out. He realizes, sparing a glance downward, that he is wearing Sam's clothes now. He doesn't have his pistol on him anymore, which makes him feel ill at ease. He never goes anywhere without having it available.

Seeing Sam, Dean walks over to him, noting that he's having a little trip down memory lane but not giving a damn about that — Dean is pissed.

"You fucking moron." Dean wants to go off on him, wants to punch him again, a few times for good measure, for saving him — because saving him risked Dean becoming something he never, ever wants to become.

But he needs to know, before anything else: "How long has it been?"
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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-18 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
Two hours, no symptoms. He's not clear of the threat just yet, but now that he's made it this far — forced into riding it out — he might as well see it to the end.

It isn't like Sam was kind enough to leave him his freaking gun.

"Don't tell me what I should or shouldn't do," Dean snaps, and yeah, it's pretty freaking tempting to just let loose on Sam, but he restrains himself because he has other questions. "Everything I do is for survival." Not necessarily the survival of his little group, but the survival of the world — the idea that he can get to Lucifer before there are no survivors left.

Then, the most important question: "Where's my fucking gun, Sam."

And his knives, which are probably in the blood jacket Sam's now wearing.

"Gimme 'em. Now."
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[personal profile] ramble_on 2015-03-18 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
They can debate their separate philosophies to the death, but it won't change Dean's mind. A guy might be infected? Better to take him out before he rips out of his restraints and tears open someone's throat. Dean's seen it happen. A looter is camping in an abandoned building? Better to shoot first and ask questions later or you'll wind up shot over the territory. It happened to Dean — twice. He still has the scars from the shitty doctoring job he did on those wounds.

Get contaminated? Dying is better than risking being part of all of this. Dead would have taken death easily — doesn't regret that he was about to pull the trigger, even though he's survived so far.

"It's none of your god damn business what I do with it, so hand it over."

Dean reaches out an arm.

Sam's right, though, in that Dean has little faith in the rest of his men. He doubts they'll pull off finding the Colt without him. It needs to be Dean — but Dean would rather be dead with a bullet in his brain than a Croat, no matter the consequences.

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