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Title: Stone Safe, Worry Free
Author: [ profile] mya_rofki
Rating: PG-13
Words: about 1,000
Characters: Sam, Dean, Lucifer
Warnings: Little bit of blood
Spoilers: Mystery Spot, The End, Season 6 through Family Matters
Summary: The Devil breaks his promises. Surprise, surprise.
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. I'm not making any money off of this.
Authors Note: Unbetaed and written fast, so definitely not perfect. (If you see any typos, feel free to point them out. :) Written for my "Broken Promises" Angst Bingo Square.

Daylight in the garden, and Dean’s neck snaps cleanly beneath his shoe. Snap. He lets the sound linger for a minute before he decides he's ready to face the world.

He opens his eyes and turns his face to look at Dean, studies the shadowy statue of his brother: still, silent, sitting like a man of stone on the opposite motel bed. Staring at him. Spotlight glare on high cheekbones. Eyes like miner’s lamps. Full moon tonight.

Dean watches him back and doesn't move. It's like being murdered in Sam's memory has turned Dean into stone. Not a terrible fate. Dean being turned to stone could nestle right in with the rest without a trace, rustle along in the endless shuffle of deaths and not even cause Sam a second’s pause.

He wonders where Dean’s mind is. He wonders if the real Dean is somewhere dreaming, or if he died years ago. Sam wasn’t dreaming, because he doesn’t sleep, but he was remembering, and for him it was daylight in the garden a second ago. The one where his loafer snapped Dean’s neck. Snap.

He knows that never really happened. It was just serpentine trickery, though Lucifer said that scene, or something like it, was the way things were meant to play out. It feels like it really happened. They all feel like they really happened, all of Lucifer's conjurations. The garden was hardly more than a warm-up for what Lucifer can do when he really gets creative.

When Lucifer bent all of his vast, imaginative cruelty to making Sam regret the decision to trap them together in the cage of hell, the snap of Dean’s neck quickly became almost a lullaby. Snap. Suffering over for Dean. Peace at last.

Lucifer had lied, of course, about not lying to Sam, about not tricking him. Or maybe his promises had only ever applied topside.

Down in the pit, he convinces Sam of a thousand futures. The Devil’s eye for detail and passion for creation are unrivaled, except by God himself, perhaps. Which makes sense: like father, like son. The Devil takes the blocks his Father created, and scatters and stacks by the millions, builds labyrinths, towers, winding garden paths that all lead to horror for Sam, pain for Dean. It's child’s play for the Devil. A way to pass the time.

Down in the pit, the Devil makes worlds for Sam that are real down to the hangnail on his left thumb, and the grit flying into his eye when the wind blows. All for Sam, he makes kindly old ladies to smile in passing, and snappy little dogs to sniff at his ankles, and intriguing movie posters starring actors he knows in roles he’s never heard of. For Sam, he makes musty libraries, greasy diners, blinking traffic lights, and most of all he makes Deans. Hundreds of Deans. Each of them almost a love letter to Sam, his smirking, mocking, swaggering brother in the flesh, real and whole every time. And the Devil always gives Sam time with him, to grow attached, before things began to go subtly, inevitably awry.

One at a time, the Devil has paraded them before Sam; perfect facsimiles. Every time, Sam begins to believe that this is the real Dean, this is the real world, finally. Eventually, stupidly, every single time, Sam has believed.

And once he's let himself be convinced, the Devil has stepped up and set the final act in motion, every time.

The Devil has ended it in a thousand ways, and all of them have hurt. The Devil has ended it with Dean killing himself because he couldn’t stand to be Sam’s brother any more. The Devil has ended it with Dean going crazy, killing other people, getting the chair while Sam watched helplessly from the other side of the glass. The Devil has ended it with Dean inside-out and skin-side-off, and eyes still, somehow, catching Sam’s, begging him to stop while Sam tries to piece him back together again. Stop, Sammy, please stop, while Sam’s hands keep rushing through their wet work, while things spatter on Sam’s skin, and he can’t pause to wipe them away, and he can't stop thinking God no, Dean, don’t die like this. He won't be certain until the new one starts, that that was never Dean at all.

Like the Trickster’s game at the Mystery Spot, it's always rigged to tear Dean away. But Broward County was to the cage as boot camp was to real battle. In Broward County, every day was just a day, and always ended early, until Wednesday, which lasted months. In the cage, every day is a Wednesday, and every Wednesday lasts years, decades.

If it takes twenty years to convince Sam that this world is finally the real one, that’s how long the Devil will spin it out before snipping the thread. The Devil is infinitely patient, with infinity to express to Sam just exactly how angry he is. How deeply disappointed.

Now, Dean's face seems to echo that disappointment, as he gets up and disappears into the bathroom. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn't offer excuses for watching Sam, for the mistrust in his eye as he does it. One doesn’t offer excuses to machines for watching their monitors. He doesn’t say anything to Sam tonight, because, in this world, they say Sam is soulless. Less one soul. He is apparently too much less, this time, to restore their brotherly relationship completely. Sam's okay with that.

So Dean’s cold to him this time. As long as Sam remembers that this isn't the real Dean, he's ahead of the game. He can be cold right back, and it's easy, feels good. As long as Sam doesn’t believe, doesn't care, he's winning this game. He hopes that somewhere, far above him, the real Dean is out living his life, winning it too.

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