Sam honestly hadn’t thought this nightmare could get any worse, but Suzie had just upped the ante considerably. Like being forced to watch Dean in the pit hadn’t been bad enough, now he was supposed to watch his brother get raped as well?
He was still reeling from what he’d witnessed barely half an hour ago. Dean’s chances had seemed remote but he’d put up the mother of all fights and gotten the upper hand. Until the kill switch failed to engage. Then he’d become vicious, deranged and intent on committing murder; more like something they’d hunt than a human being. Sam had been shocked and profoundly disturbed by the transformation. Dean had been outnumbered plenty of times before, always ran the gauntlet between honourable intent and self-serving gratification, but he usually knew where to draw the line. Especially with ordinary people, however much they might deserve it. The only explanation was the pills; screwing with his head to the point he couldn’t tell right from wrong anymore and Sam barely recognised his own brother.
He felt responsible for that. Dean wouldn’t have started using if he hadn’t gotten shot; Suzie Wandell wouldn’t have come looking for revenge if Sam hadn’t screwed up… Whichever way he looked at it, he was the root cause of every bad thing that had gone down in the past four weeks. This latest development was just icing on the cake.
He pushed the anger and burgeoning guilt into the hole where he’d kept it locked for the past few hours. He’d kept a lid on it when Dean get shot and knocked unconscious, hadn’t gone postal when he was forced to stand for fifteen minutes, watching his brother bleed... He got through it by telling himself how one of them needed to stay in control; alert and actively seeking a means of escape. Sam hadn’t found one yet, but he’d keep trying.
He’d managed to get a look at his surroundings as Toby and Nathan led him from the pit and across a tract of muddy ground to the storehouse. They appeared to be at an abandoned carnival site; broken down rides, graffiti and decaying buildings all around. It was bleak, desolate and isolated; they were unlikely to be disturbed or accidentally discovered. Hauling their asses out of this sorry mess was going to be one supersize challenge, but both their lives depended on it. Dean might be the current focus of Suzie Wandell’s vengeance, but Sam knew he wasn’t far behind.
The rattle of a key drew his attention back to the cage. Tim was unlocking the door and Dean was watching; expression mutinous and every muscle in his body tensed.
“You walk through that door, pal, you ain’t walking out again.”
Sam joined him, standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother. He put as much menace into his voice as he could muster.
“Think you can take us both, Tim?”
Tim eyed them warily and turned to Suzie. “I ain’t going in there.”
“You’re a damned coward, you know that?” She pulled a pistol from the back of her pants and aimed it at Sam.
“Move away from Dean or I shoot.”
Sam shook his head. “You’re not coming anywhere near him.”
She dropped the muzzle of the gun and fired into the floor. The bullet missed Sam’s foot by a few inches and he swore and jumped aside.
“The next one goes through your knee.”
Sam stood his ground and glared defiantly. Dean spoke quietly.
“This ain’t worth getting crippled over.”
Sam glanced at him, surprised. “The hell it’s not.”
“I can handle that bitch.”
“How?” Sam struggled to keep his voice low. “You’re just gonna lie there and let her ra…”
He balked at saying the word out loud. It made the whole thing too real, too inevitable. Dean grabbed his shoulders and his face was set, his eyes hard. His voice was still quiet but forceful.
“It’s only sex, Sammy. There’s no way you’re taking a bullet for me.”
Sam tried to push him away but he didn’t budge. “You’re not doing this, Dean. It’s too much…”
“You got a better plan?” Dean dropped his voice even lower. “It’ll buy us some time while you use that supersize brain of yours to figure a way out of this. I’ll close my eyes and pretend it’s… I dunno, Kate Winslett.”
He grinned confidently but Sam could read him like a book, no matter what cover he put on it. Right now Dean was crapping himself. Suzie tapped on the bars with the gun.
“Huddle’s over, fellers. You going to play nice?”
Dean scowled. “You’re wearing the strap on.”
She beckoned to Sam. “Over here, big boy.”
He approached reluctantly. She had him turn round and put his wrists through the bars of the cage. Tim locked on the cuffs and Suzie pressed her gun into the small of his back. Dean stood motionless, watching impassively but his fists were clenched tight. Suzie thumbed back the trigger.
“Don’t be a hero. Play ball or Sam gets it.”
Dean’s eyes glinted with danger. “Just so you know, lady, I play hardball.”
“Stow the macho bullshit, Dean. Just do as you’re told.”
She nodded at Tim. He unlocked the door and approached warily.
“Get on the bunk, hands behind your head.”
Dean’s expression was murderous but he obeyed the order. Tim produced a second set of cuffs and secured his wrists to the bunk’s headboard then stood back, shifting nervously. Dean watched him coldly.
“This is what I get for saving your ass in New Orleans?”
Tim shook his head. “I’m sorry man, I didn’t know…”
“I was in the hospital for a week.” Dean’s tone was scathing. “Remember saying how you owed me big time? You got some fucked up ideas about payback.”
Tim stared at the floor and Sam suppressed a smile. Dean had identified the weakest link in the gang and was putting in some preliminary work. Unfortunately, Suzie spotted it as well.
“He’s yanking your chain, Tim. Get out of there now.”
Dean smirked. “Listen to teacher, you pussy whipped sack of shit.”
Tim’s face went red but he didn’t move. He remained in a state of flux until Suzie marched inside, grabbed him by his coat and shoved him out. She turned to the rest of the men.
“Give me some alone time with the boys.”
She waited until they’d all left the warehouse then tucked the pistol into her pants. Her eyes went from Dean to Sam and back again.
“Two Winchesters on lockdown; aren’t I the lucky one?”
“Screw you, bitch.”
They snarled the words in unison and she lifted an appreciative eyebrow.
“Nicely done. I knew you guys were telepathic.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and ran a finger down Dean’s cheek. He didn’t flinch, just looked her right in the eye. The finger moved lower, tracing the bloody, ragged bullet wound down his side and breath whistled between his teeth. He still didn’t move.
“You throwing in some S&M with the bondage?”
Sam couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “What the fuck, Dean? You trying to put ideas into her head?”
Suzie’s head whipped round. “Shut up, Sam, or you’ll be spitting teeth.”
Sam yanked the cuffs in frustration. Why couldn’t Dean keep his mouth shut? Why did he poke and provoke like it was a matter of pride to take whatever beating was laid out on the table? Like he wasn’t beat up enough already…
Physically he was exhausted from the fight; emotionally he was a train wreck. The psychological repercussion of forced sex was something he might not be able to handle and Sam could see the fallout of that in Technicolor. The coming months of drinking, drugs and denial mixed up with silence, secrets and psychotic meltdowns… They’d walked that path before, always managed to get things back on track but this time he wasn’t so sure.
He attempted to reason with Suzie, keeping his voice calm.
“He’s not up to this. Give him time to get over the fight.”
She ignored him; straddled Dean and he grunted with pain. When he looked at Sam, there was dread in his eyes.
“Don’t watch this.”
Sam stared at the floor. He had no desire to watch his brother getting raped, but sick curiosity pulled his eyes back to the bed. Suzie was running her hand through Dean’s hair.
“Don’t be frightened, honey. I want you to enjoy this.”
Dean didn’t respond but his face was a mask of revulsion. She reached into her pocket, pulled out a bottle and shook it gently.
“How about some candy to help you settle, huh?”
With a shock, Sam realised what she was wafting under his brother’s nose. It was the painkillers and Dean was looking at them like a dog in a butcher’s shop. He opened his mouth to protest; tell Dean to resist, then thought better of it.
Suzie was watching Dean closely. “How many do you need?”
Dean snorted. “Try the whole friggin’ bottle.”
“Be honest, Dean. We’re in OD territory here.”
Dean looked like he was about to say something smart then bit back the words with an effort. “Three gets the job done.”
“There you go. That wasn’t so hard.”
She shook out the pills and offered them to him. Dean hesitated and threw a questioning look at Sam, almost like he was seeking approval. But this wasn’t Sam’s call. Three doses of high octane medication seemed excessive but if it helped Dean get through the ordeal, who was he to object? He shrugged helplessly and Dean winked at Suzie.
“Got any Jack to wash ‘em down?”
She patted his cheek gently. “I want you pliant, not comatose.”
She fed him the pills then sat beside him to wait. They both knew when the morphine kicked in because all tension left Dean’s body. His eyelids drooped and his jaw went slack. Sam called his name, had to call it several times before he got a reaction. Dean rolled his head slowly and blinked at him.
“You gotta try this shit, Sammy. It’s awesome.”
His words were slurred, his pupils the size of dimes. Suzie seemed satisfied with the result and when she climbed back on top he gave her a dopey smile.
“Hey Sugarlips; you look a hell of a lot better now.”
She slapped his face and he grinned. “Now you’re talking.”
Suzie had her hand on Dean’s fly when Sam closed his eyes. It was like witnessing date rape with his brother the roofied and unwitting victim. His heart was pounding, charged by frustration, anger and fear. Blood was rushing in his ears, blotting out any sounds from the bed and for that he was grateful. He got the shock of his life when a female voice rang through the silence of the warehouse.
“Suzie? What in the name of Christ are you doing?”
Sam’s eyes flew open to find a woman standing at the door of the cage. For a second he thought it was Suzie then realised the doppelganger was leaner, older and better dressed. Other than that they could have passed for twins. Suzie leaped off Dean like she’d been shot. She seemed genuinely embarrassed.
“You said you weren’t gonna make it.”
“Looks like I made it just in time.” The newcomer approached the bed and studied Dean. “Why’s he handcuffed? What have you done to him?”
“She ain’t done nothing yet.” Dean considered for a moment then snickered softly. “B-b-b-baby…”
The woman looked at Suzie sharply. “You drugged him? Seriously?”
“What do you care? These are the Winchesters; neither of them are worth a crap.”
Suzie turned to Sam, her voice loaded with sarcasm. “Meet my sister Kate. She’s been itching to meet you.”
“The man who killed our daddy, huh?” Kate scrutinised him for a long, uncomfortable moment. Can’t say it’s a pleasure, Sam.”
She was cool, sardonic and Sam tensed. Physically she was a few grades up from Suzie; psychologically she might be just as unstable. He had no way of knowing. He decided to give honesty a shot.
“I’m sorry about your daddy but I was possessed by a demon. She controlled me, used me to kill him and I don’t remember any of it. Afterwards she made me shoot Dean, my own friggin’ brother. Go check his shoulder and you’ll see.”
“A demon?” Kate shot a hard look at Suzie. “You didn’t mention any demon.”
“What does it matter?” Suzie sounded defensive. “This bastard murdered our kin and I don’t give a shit who was wearing him. All I know is that he’s gonna pay.”
“What happened to mitigating circumstances?”
Suzie was incredulous. “Seriously?”
Kate pulled Dean’s shirt up gingerly. He opened his eyes and his gaze shifted slowly between the two women. He seemed confused, then he looked euphoric.
“I’m cuffed to a bed with the Double Mint twins? There’s a God after all.”
Kate stiffened as she took in the bruises all over his body. The older bullet wound was barely noticeable alongside the recent one, which was bleeding again. She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and pressed it to the injury.
“He should be in the hospital.”
Suzie snorted. “Not gonna happen.”
“Then go get the medical kit. I know you got one the size of Hollywood in your trunk.”
“I’m not wasting supplies on him.”
“Do as you’re told, dammit.”
Kate’s voice was harsh and boded no argument. Suzie glared for a moment them stomped out of the cage, pouting like a teenager. Sam considered the implications of the exchange.
“She listens to you?”
“Sometimes.” Kate turned back to Dean. “He’s a mess. What happened?”
“Suzie locked him in a pit with two heavyweights.” Sam couldn’t keep the bitterness from his voice. “She shot him, fed him drugs and was all set to rape him. Real nice sister you’ve got there.”
Kate looked at him appraisingly. “Suzie isn’t exactly the full ticket but she’s got a point. Why should you get away with murder, Sam?”
Sam yanked the handcuffs in frustration. “She’s hurting me by hurting Dean and he had nothing to do with it. Punish me however you want but for Christ’s sake let him go. He doesn’t deserve this.”
The sound of his voice roused Dean from his stupor. “Shut your pie hole, Sammy. It’s my fault we’re in this mess. I didn’t clean up properly.”
Sam frowned. “What the hell are you talking about, Dean?”
“You’re the one getting out. Don’t matter what happens to me, I’m not important…” Dean’s voice tailed off. His moment of clarity was over.
“He’s got a low opinion of himself.” Kate sounded amused and Sam bit back a retort. Dean’s self-worth issues were none of her concern.
“You two are hunters?”
Sam blinked at her, surprised. “You’re not?”
“Got out when I was twenty. I went to college, got a regular job but Suzie decided to stick with it.” Kate shrugged. “She wasn’t always like this. She was a sweet kid, full of dreams and ambitions… Hunting fucks everybody up eventually, if it don’t get them killed first.”
Wasn’t that the truth. Sam felt a pang of nostalgia for the life he’d briefly tried to live. “I tried to get out as well, went to Stanford for a couple of years but….”
Sam gazed at Dean, comatose on the bed. “My brother needed me.”
“You two are close?”
“We look out for each other.” Sam forced down an unexpected surge of emotion. “I’m truly sorry about your daddy; ours got killed by a demon a few months back.”
Sam wanted to shrink away from the memory but it seemed important she know this.
“Dean was dying. He made a deal with a demon called Azazel, traded his life so Dean could live.”
He was half expecting Dean to chip in again but his brother was in a better place right now. The bullet wound was still leaking and Kate looked at it doubtfully.
“Can you patch him up?”
“If Suzie lets me at him.” Sam smiled sourly. “We’re both going to die unless somebody stops her; you know that, right? Do you want that much blood on your hands?”
considered for a long moment. “Jury’s out on that one, Sam.”