His gait is arrhythmic, and his weakened hip takes each step like a blow from a bumper car. Agonizing as it is to continue, it hurts even worse to pause, catch his breath, and try to move again after innumerable false starts. If he can just keep moving, things might not be okay - he honestly can't conceive of an "okay" at this point, with Dean near dead and Sammy ready to take on the whole world, or maybe just him, because of it - but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that could be actively worse. He's still got his mind, his sanity, and his memories. He knows what is happening when the Demon wears his body, even if he can't quite believe that all of his precautions have been for naught. He can't be seduced by false visions of Mary, or tricked by pleas from Jim or Caleb; that might be the one good thing about an enemy that plays for keeps like this, the absence of hostages. Except, of course, for himself.
He wonders if Sammy's figured it out by now, that his dad didn't just suddenly go berserk for no good reason. He closes his eyes - there's nothing to see out here anyway, the ground and air an undifferentiated brown - and tries to remember the uses his body was put to. He's counted two faces tight with surprise and bright with blood that fell beneath his fist when he considers that Sammy might have had more pressing demands on his time. He stops, though he knows what it will cost him, and bows his head, praying for his boy to wake up and make his little brother smile. He has no memory at all of Dean after the crash. Even broken and battered, he would have wanted to see his boy. His hip starts to tighten up again, so he tries to swing his leg forward and get moving once more. After the first jolt of pain subsides a little, he can feel the air start to clear. A few more steps and he feels like he's breathing a little freer, and he can't stop moving and he can't really turn around, but he opens his eyes and twists his head to look back and sees that he was just at a crossroads, at the heart of where two dirt tracks leading nowhere meet.
He fills his lungs with clean air and looks up at the blue sky overhead. He has never been this alone before. There is an absence of life all around him, and even the smell of his own sweat is receding, though he can feel drops of it rolling down his back and dotting his temples just from the effort to keep moving. He lifts his hand to scrub at his chin, finding a heavy but patchy beard. His wedding ring is cool against his cheek, and he remembers Mary sliding it on, her nervous fingers pressing it insistently past his knuckle; she'd squeezed his hand comfortingly when she was done, trying to heal the hurt she thought she'd inflicted.
But he can't think about Mary now. There's no telling what the Demon will pull from his brain once it enters his life again, even if it's found a new suit to wear. This Demon is more powerful than even he had guessed; it is unfazed by holy water and has a casual disregard for all the rules he's painstakingly learned about demonic possession. He has no suit of armor that will stand up to it, and so as long as the Demon has him in its sights, he cannot think of Mary, his dead, or of Missouri and Bobby, his living. And he simply cannot bear to think anymore of his boys, trapped somewhere in between, so he just lifts his head again and tries to keep walking. He soldiers on.
Still gen, still R-ish.
Word count (today): 654
Word count (total): 15,052 (50.17%)