Title: The Watcher
Spoilers: References 'All Hell Breaks Loose', so if you haven't seen the S2 finale, be warned!
Concrit: darkhavens @ slashverse.com. If you spot a typo, please feel free to tell me in comments. I want you to!
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Warnings/Squicks: Non-graphic Wincest
Summary: Sam and Dean aren't alone.
Notes: Written for tabaqui who asked for: "Sam'n'Dean - totally up to you how 'close' they are. And for a prompt...the first line or so from Agamemnon." (Quote in full under the cut.)
Pre-read and approved by madders.
I ask the gods some respite from the weariness of this watchtime, measured by years I lie awake, elbowed upon the Atreidae's roof dogwise, to mark the grand processionals of all the stars of night, burdened with winter and again with heat for men, dynasties in their shining blazoned on the air, these stars, upon their wane and when the rest arise, I wait...
The bed has been pulled away from the wall, leaving the headboard marooned in a sea of blue-green floral wallpaper, nailed haphazardly to the plaster.
Circumscribed by a ring of salt with a diameter wide enough that dangling feet and sheets could not disrupt it, the bed sits like a dais in the center of the room.
More salt has been laid at the foot of the door and across the window sill: fragile crystalline barriers against encroachment, against malignancies.
Sigils and signs scribbled in ink and marked out in pale chalk adorn the doors, the walls, the windows and the floor.
Sam and Dean lie curled together in the twisted sheets. Legs entangled and fingers entwined in post-orgasmic slumber, they seem at peace.
A faint handprint appears on the window, triggering a ripple of disturbance, a low hum in the tranquil room. Symbols flare briefly at the contact, and Dean snuffles into Sam's left shoulder, half-awake before he knows why.
The hand is withdrawn, the protection tested but unbroken. Dean's twanging nerves settle down and let him drift easily back to sleep. By the time the morning comes, he won't remember this.
They're good boys; good soldiers. John knows this and is proud of them. He also knows that, if he were still alive, what he'd just witnessed would enrage him. He can imagine the disgust, the horror, the disbelief, but he feels none of it.
An eternity in Hell puts such things into perspective. He knows that love is much too rare a commodity to waste. True love, pure 'I'd die for you; I'd live for you' love, should never be dismissed as perversion, as wrong, as dirty and impure.
When he'd crawled out of Hell and stopped that yellow-eyed bastard cold, John had thought his time was over, his vigil concluded. He'd done his job: kept his boys safe and avenged his wife. He'd assumed his business was complete.
He knows better now.
He hadn't dared hope he'd get to spend a fresh eternity with Mary. His soul was much too stained and frayed out at the edges, too grubby and impure for that. But this - he'd never considered this - standing watch over his sons as they carry on his legacy.
He's made them who they are and what they are; he's given them the skills, the tools, the knowledge and the deep down need to see the job through to the end. And there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of new demons in the world now; every one a fiery coal burning deep into their consciences.
His boys, their bellies full of guilt and grief and pride and urgency. And love.
And all he can do is watch.
From the corner of his eye he tracks a lesser demon, no larger in physical size than his thumb. He's learnt already that the lingering taint of Hell he carries with him tends to lure the weaker-minded of the escapees in. He thinks maybe it's the familiar scent of home that makes them trust him.
His hand flashes out, ghost-white in the moonlight, and snatches the inhuman fluttering creature from the air. He's careful not to grip too tightly - he doesn't want to crush it, he just wants to-
The muscles and tendons in his jaw tense and twitch as his concentration sharpens and narrows to a focus, a point within his carefully clenched fist.
A thin runnel of smoke slips up from his hand and is snatched away by the night breeze, and so is the light stream of ash that trickles out from between his fingers.
Exhaustion rolls over him in a relentless tide but John still smiles.
He may not be able to do anything more than watch right now, but he's getting stronger and recovering more quickly than he was when he began. Each demon's death, however small, seems to leave his burden that tiniest bit lighter.
One day his boys - Mary's boys - are going to need his help, and he'll be ready.