Dean's mind sank into the realm of dreaming. He was walking in a field under the pale light of a full moon. He saw a little boy curled up and crying in the tall grass. He rushed over, needing to protect the boy from whatever was upsetting him so much. The boy's shoulders heaved with his sobs. "Sam?" Dean asked, resting a hand gently on the boy's shoulder. The child looked up but instead of Sam's face staring at him, it was his own. He couldn't have been more than five years old, with floppy, golden brown hair and a sprinkling of fine freckles across his face. Dean stared at his younger self, unsure of what to say or do. When Sam was upset as a child, Dean knew exactly what to do to comfort him. What could he do for himself?
"You're a bad man," The young boy told Dean, pointing his little index finger straight at him.
"What?" Dean asked his younger self, stomach clenching around the statement.
"You let her die. You're a bad man," the boy explained. It wasn't a judgment, just a truth the boy held close to him.
Dean shook his head, "I didn't mean for that to happen," he said quietly.
"But it did," his younger self said.
"I know," Dean said, angrily wiping at the prickling in his eyes. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned around. Nobody was there. He turned back to his childhood self but the boy had disappeared. Dean felt the hand on his shoulder again. He grabbed at it, squeezing it tightly and yanking the person it belonged to in front of him.
"Sam, what the hell is going on?" Dean asked, releasing his brother's wrist.
"You're dreaming," Sam explained simply.
"You're dreaming," Dean mocked, annoyed at his brother's nonchalant answer. Then he paused to consider it for a moment. "Okay, yeah, that actually makes sense. Carry on, then." Sam grabbed Dean's hand, chuckling slightly. Sam's laugh made Dean smile despite the strangeness of the scene.
Sam squeezed Dean's hand and guided him out of the dark field and through a thicket of trees. Dean worked to navigate through them without letting the branches grab at him. He was clumsy, unable to avoid trees' fingers scratching at his face and pinching his clothes. Sam brought him out of the woods, into a dazzlingly bright city. Stark and painfully white, beige, and gray. Dean squinted against it. "Keep up," Sam said.
"I'm coming," Dean muttered. The two of them jogged across three city blocks before Sam came to a halt in front of a pale blue door, bleached by the scorching sun. Dean stopped just in time not to crash into his little brother. Sam reached the doorknob, holding it in his hand for a moment as if he was memorizing the feel of it before twisting it. The door pushed open into a dark hallway. Sam nodded for Dean to go inside. Relieved to be getting out of the burning white sun, Dean quickly stepped inside.
The door slammed shut with a bang louder than a gunshot. He spun around to see he was alone. "Sam!" he shouted, banging against the door and tugging at the doorknob. Silence. "SAM!" He kicked at the door and called his brother's name again.
"Dean." A flicker of blind hope flared in him. But it was quickly extinguished by the realization that the voice that had said his name didn't belong to Sam. He turned away from the door to see Tara standing in the dim hallway. She gave him a little smile.
"Contrary to that little voice in your head, you're not a bad man," she said.
"Uh, right. Thanks. Where's Sam?" Dean asked flat-out. His worry for Sam clouded any happiness he would have otherwise felt at seeing Tara. But his focus was on losing another person he cared about, the person he cared most about. Even though it was a dream, he couldn't help but feel the panic rising in him like bile. He couldn't stay separated from Sam.
"You don't need to worry about him right now. He'll be in your arms when you wake up," Tara assured him. Dean stopped to let her words wash over him, suddenly calming him.
He let out a slow breath. "So... is this the dream or is this... is it really you?"
She smiled and stepped forward, grabbing him in a hug. He sighed into her. She pulled back after a moment, resting a hand on his cheek. Dean shook his head and pulled away from her, suddenly overwhelmed. He didn't want to enjoy her touch if he couldn't even be sure if she was real. If Tara was just some part of his dream, he had no right to conjure her up, some sympathetic figment of his imagination. And if her spirit had actually found a way to make contact, he didn't deserve her coming to comfort him.
"Look, you're close. So don't give up or let her distract you, alright? It's all a game to her. She doesn't even care about the outcome," Tara whispered. A floorboard creaked from somewhere else in the house. Tara froze, her body tense and alert. "I have to go. You're gonna be okay, Dean," she gave him a weak little smile, pressing her hand to his cheek again before turning and leaving through a door that led off the hallway. Dean followed after her but she was gone by the time he entered the room.
"Bye," he muttered to the room at large.
"Oh, that's right." Dean snapped around to see Kelly leaning against the door frame, arms crossed in front of her chest. "You never did get to say goodbye to Tara. Well, I guess that was better than nothing, right?"
He chose not to respond to her words, though they made him bristle. "'Hey Kelly, as great as it is to see you, I'm really ready for the acid trip to end now," Dean said through gritted teeth and a forced smile.
Kelly laughed. "Fine."
Dean jolted up in bed, eyes wide and staring blindly around the dark room. Sam shifted beside him but didn't wake. Dean stared at the dim light coming from the window, allowing his eyes to adjust in the darkness as he caught his breath. He slipped out of bed, moving to stand by the window and stare out at the black field outside, much like the one in his dream. He felt the warmth in the room slowly slipping away so when Kelly spoke, he wasn't surprised.
"What a dirty little boy your brother is," Kelly whispered. Dean turned slowly to face her, a rotten feeling spreading through his insides. She was perched on the edge of the bed he had just risen from, inches from where Sam was sleeping. Dean clenched his fists at his sides and watched as she leaned down and gently pushed a strand of hair behind Sam's ear. Sam shifted again but remained asleep. She looked back to Dean, rising slowly. "I'm impressed. He's very..." she dug around for the right word, "Precocious."
"Wait - before? You... you were watching?" Dean asked, horrified by the spark in Kelly's eyes.
"Yup. I must say, I felt a blush creep up a couple times there. Good stuff. Filthy, filthystuff," Kelly said with a smile. Dean felt sick to his stomach knowing she had seen Sam and him together like that. And he felt sicker with each word she said to him about it.
"He's so... hungry for you," Kelly continued thoughtfully. "He needs you on such a deep level. In so many ways. And you need him too. It's sorta beautiful, really. Well, repulsive actually, but still... I can sympathize."
Dean glared at her, hating the implied comparison between himself with Sam and her with Eric. Kelly rolled her eyes and grinned.
"Aw, don't look so frustrated, sweetie. Hell, if I were you I'd be thanking my lucky stars to have a brother like - well..." she gave Dean a pointed glare before returning to her nonchalant manner. "Sammy here, he's a special little boy. Eager to please, to show his affection. And he does a pretty good job of it, doesn't he? He just lovesyour cock, sucking it, jerking-"
"Shut the fuck up!" Dean hissed, his blood boiling in his veins.
"Oh, cute," she chuckled. "Are you defending little Sammy's virtue or are you disgusted by the vulgarity of what you two do to each other? The impropriety of it? I didn't think a guy like you could be rattled by a little dirty talk. It's hard to make you blush. Ooh, and yet..." she grinned, taking a few steps closer to Dean and watching him closely. He could feel his cheeks burning. Another few steps towards him. Waves of cold radiated from her, chilling him.
"Or maybe you're stuck on the big words. Do we need to have a little vocab lesson with the high school dropout?"
"Shut up," Dean said again.
"Still master of the stinging comeback, aren't you, Dean?" Kelly said. Her words grated at him but they were nothing to the stinging cold that she was giving off. He could feel it deep in his muscles. He refused to back away even though he was aching to gain some distance.
"You know, at his age he's already smarter than you," Kelly said, glancing to where Sam was sprawled on the bed. She turned back to Dean. He saw her eyes linger on the way his jaw involuntarily clenched. "Yeah, you do know that. Can you imagine what he'll think of you in a couple of years when he realizes that he let his emotions cloud his common sense? Will he still love you? Or will he have realized what a colossal waste of time he spent on you? Do you think he'll really stick around? Do you think he won't realize his potential and how it goes far beyond what you could even dream about?" She leaned in, pressing against him to whisper, "Dean, you better enjoy it while you still have him. 'Cause one of these days he'll be walking out the door."
Had she somehow planted those thoughts in Dean's head before? Weeds wrapping around inside his brain and causing those half-formed wordless thoughts in his mind? Had they already been there? Had she known to play on that? Or was Dean just that obvious? Sometimes Kelly seemed to understand him on a level that he, himself didn't. Her insight was terrifying but more than that, it was frustrating in a way that made his gut tighten and his teeth grit.
"Is that it?" Dean asked after a moment, the spite clear in his voice. He tightened his jaw even more to keep his teeth from chattering while he waited for her answer. She stepped away from him and the relief of her form gaining some distance from him caused a palpable shift in temperature, still cold, but no longer the feeling of unmelting ice lining his skin.
"Mm... yeah. No need to beat a dead horse," Kelly said with a little shrug. The half-smile she gave him showed that she knew she'd succeeded in her goal. Her words were curling around inside Dean's brain in maddening circles. She reached forward and caressed his cheek, making him jerk away before she disappeared, fading in the darkened room.
Dean forced himself to breathe for a moment before trying to do anything else. His skin was crawling. What Tara had told him in his dream resurfaced in his mind. "You're close. So don't give up or let her distract you."He hoped she was right. He couldn't let anything distract him anymore. He was about to slip back into bed next to Sam when he changed his mind. He crept to the bed on the other side of the room and rolled himself into it. He sighed and closed his eyes, desperately ordering himself to sleep. At some point, not long before dawn, he was finally able to.
Sunlight broke in through the grimy window, slanting to one side of the room. Dean registered the growing light behind closed eyelids and opened them to see the warmth that was bathing his brother. Sam started to stretch involuntarily. His arms straightened out, making him realize that Dean was no longer lying next to him. He propped himself up on his elbows and looked around blearily. Dean slowly brought himself up to a sitting position and gave Sam a little wave.
"Hey," Sam rasped in an early-morning voice. "Why'd you move?" Sam asked. Dean was about to respond when a knock on the door made them both tense.
"You boys up?" John called through the door.
"Uh, yes sir," Dean called, jumping up from his bed and crossing to open the door. The light in the room weakened as a cloud passed by outside.
"Let's get to work," John said, one hand braced against the door frame and the other gripping Kelly's journal. Dean nodded and followed his father downstairs, casting a quick glance back to Sam who stumbled out of bed and trailed behind the both of them.
-A/N: Um... can you tell that I love me some dream sequences? 'Cause I do. Anyway, as always, tell me what you think! Also, look at me not taking months and months to post the next chapter! *pats self on back*