OMG, the show wanted a Ben for Dean too! Ask janissa11 how much of an idiot I made of myself when I heard the kid's name. Go on. I'll wait.
New scene here, as promised, and it picks up pretty much where we left off (though the boys aren't still in bed). So. This is the big one, the one where Sam really is back, the one where I really embrace the AUness of these scenes, and the one that changes things permanently. I hope you enjoy it!
I owe janissa11 hugely for the inspiration for this part, and also for assuring me that I could actually pull this off. She is invaluable.
Finally, let me just say: OUR BOYS!
scenes one and two
Ben gets out of the shower to find Dean on the phone, scrawling notes in a battered little steno pad.
"Yeah," Dean says. "That's what I'm thinking. Call me if you find anything?"
Ben squeezes Dean's bare shoulder on his way to the closet, undrapes the yellow towel from around his hips, and pulls out a faded shirt and shorts. "Thanks, Bobby," he hears Dean say and then click the phone shut.
"Don't bother with the clothes," Dean says, coming up behind him and draping a forearm across his clavicles. "Got plans for you."
"World-domination plans or come-back-to-bed plans?"
"A little from column A, a little from column B," Dean says, grinning as he uncaps a thick black marker with his teeth. They end up on the bed, Dean sitting behind him, one sure hand pushing his head gently forward and down. Dean's thumb is warm and strong in the hollow at the nape of his neck. "Your turn for some ink."
"Protection. Way I figure it, the thing that killed my mom had to be the same something that killed Jessica. Too much matched up for it to be just some kinda coincidence - had to be something malevolent. Something with intent."
The sensation of the wet brush of the marker tip against his skin is startlingly unpleasant, and he fumbles his words. "Malevolent like that creature on the shore?"
"Malevolent like a demon," Dean says softly.
"Those are real too?"
"And it can just show up?"
"Bobby's checking into that for me. Don't know if it needs to possess someone or if it can get around on its own." Dean's fingers settle firmly, reassuringly on his shoulder. "This is the best I can do for now; it's pretty all-purpose. Lean forward."
Ben hangs his head and lets Dean finish his careful work; his skin already feels a little tighter, shrunk by ink. He's shivering by the time Dean caps the marker, turns swiftly when he hears the click. "Now," he demands.
"We can't smudge -" Dean protests before Ben's mouth cuts him off. Pushing Dean down onto his back, he gets Dean's tattered jeans and faded underwear halfway down his thighs. He sinks down onto Dean slowly, so slowly that his thighs burn, and Dean's hands come up to his biceps to steady him.
That touch sparks along his skin, and Ben rocks languorously, deliberately. Dean's hand starts to steal to its accustomed place in his hair, so he shrugs it away, pins Dean's hands above his head. "No smudging, remember?" he asks, keeping the irregular rhythm going, watching as Dean turns his head to the side, his throat going taut, tendons standing out white among the flushed skin, and bites at his own bicep. "God, Dean," Ben breathes, and Dean rolls his hips in response.
There's no way things can get any better than this.
"Get someone to redraw it for you every day, okay?" Dean asks, shoving his clothes into the duffel. "Marjorie, maybe; some girl, anyway. No hot guys for you." Dean waves an admonishing finger in his face.
Ben swats it away. "You are such a jackass sometimes."
"Must be slipping."
"Mmm, must be." He draws Dean close with an arm hooked around his neck and kisses him again, knowing he's only delaying the inevitable.
"And not that girl from the ER who's in love with you."
"Alison's not -"
"You knew who I meant. And she totally is."
"Love you," he says, and Dean smiles to hear it.
"No better words to go out on," Dean says like he finally believes it and swings the duffel over his shoulder; he walks out with his head held high.
The ER's packed from a six-car MVA on 23 and they're critically understaffed. He's going from room to room tending to the victims, everyone uniformly covered in blood and grit, making it hard to tell which injuries are the worst. He looks down at the chart Lilly just handed him, but his eyes are a little blurry; he wishes he'd worn his glasses instead of these contacts that he probably should have thrown out a week ago.
He looks up, scrubbing his hand across his face, and sees a familiar, unbelievable sight. Jonas. Half of Jonas's face is covered in blood that's been clumsily wiped away, leaving streaks that look like tear tracks.
"Hey, Joe," he says, assessing the damage as he gets closer. He sits, beckons him to lean forward, and cleans a long laceration at Joe's too-hot temple.
Jonas's hand drops to Ben's knee to steady himself as he closes his eyes and winces in pain. "Tell me I'll still be pretty, you butcher."
"Always, drama queen," Ben says, smiling and knitting the lac shut with a couple of butterfly bandages. "What happened?"
"Some asshole going a hundred miles an hour tried to change lanes, clipped me, and got me acquainted with my steering wheel."
"Track my finger," Ben asks, and Jonas looks at him exasperatedly but has no problems passing the test. "You got lucky. You get to go home."
"Thanks, man," Joe says, and then Ben's beeper goes off again.
"This is quite a racket you've got going here." Ben looks up from his cup of coffee to see Joe holding a cafeteria tray and smiling down at him. "Shitty coffee and food that would probably send you to the ER to get your stomach pumped . . . conveniently located in the ER."
"Yes, we're fiendishly clever," Ben says. "What are you doing here, Joe?"
Jonas's smile slips and his eyes flash weirdly yellow, catching the overhead lights. "I . . . thought you'd like to catch up," he says, sounding hurt. "It's been a while, Ben."
"Sorry. I just wasn't expecting company. How have you been? And what are you doing in Boston?"
Joe's smile is the same, wide and pleased, though he looks a little jittery; adrenaline and caffeine can do that to a person. "Drove up from the city for my grandma's eightieth birthday."
"Not really. I spent all day yesterday blowing up balloons for the party."
He laughs. "That is a lot of balloons." He points to the bruises littering Joe's arms and asks, "Everything else okay?"
"Yeah, can't complain. This could have been a lot worse."
"I'm glad you're okay." Joe looks really good, actually; the New York clothes he's wearing probably cost half of Ben's monthly rent, and he holds himself differently now, like there's something driving him, an energy Ben would never associate with the laziest guy he ever knew.
"I am. Better than okay; things are going great. I'm finishing up a big project, quite a few years in the making . . . You don't want to hear about my work." Ben knows he should protest, but he can't without lying through his teeth. "Anyway. You seeing anybody?"
"Yeah," he says, smiling like a Pavlovian response at the thought of Dean.
"You want to elaborate on that?"
"Nosy," Ben chides fondly.
"Not so much nosy as getting bored sitting here watching that dopey grin on your face get bigger and bigger. What's this guy got that I didn't?" Joe's voice is teasing, but there's another strange flash in his eyes.
Ben thought it would be harder to sum up, but it comes tumbling out before he can overthink it. "He loves me."
Joe's face goes blank at that. "Oh. How'd you meet him?" He's fiddling with his paper cup, but hasn't yet lifted it to his mouth; the sandwich on his tray is sitting untouched in its shrink-wrap.
Ben borrows one of Dean's phrases. "Picked him up while I stitched him up. He came into the clinic a couple of times with injuries."
"Huh. That doesn't sound like you."
"What?" He finishes the dregs of his coffee and thinks longingly of his bed, of getting into Dean's old shirt once he's home for the night.
"Picking up violent guys, brawn-over-brain guys."
"That's not what I said. Dean's got a dangerous job." He keeps his voice even; Joe always did have a big mouth, and that sometimes made it hard to remember that there was a good heart inside him.
Joe holds his hands up in surrender. "Just sounds like you could do better. You're a doctor, Ben; you don't need some guy with blood on his hands."
Ben stands and chucks his empty coffee cup into the trash. "That's my decision, Joe. I've got to go." If he gets over to the clinic right now, he can nap for an hour before his shift starts. If Jonas says anything else, he doesn't hear it.
"They're stuck in traffic," Dean says, sounding not at all upset. "Dad's getting soft - no traffic jams or road rage in the heartland. Welcome to the Garden State."
Ben laughs. "You sound good."
"Yeah, saw a doctor up in Boston," Dean teases, then sobers up quickly. "And I got here a couple hours ago, did some research."
"Looks like this demon has a couple tells. Fucks with the weather, with the animals in the area when it's coming in for the kill. Did it in Kansas and again in California before it made its big move. And from what Dad and Sam were saying, it sounds like it did that exactly the same both times. Pins her on the ceiling alive, belly slashed open from side to side, waits for him to see her, then burns her."
It's worse than any nightmare, just hearing about it. Seeing it, knowing it for the reality that stole away the life you once knew must be shattering. He knows he must sound like a child, but he can't help asking. "Why?"
"I don't know," Dean admits quietly. "You keeping your mark clear?"
"Yeah. And salt on the doorframe."
"I wish I knew if that was gonna be enough."
There's no answer to that, so Ben contents himself with saying, "Stay safe, love you," and hearing it echoed back to him.
The phone rings again just a few seconds later, when he's gotten only one of his contacts out of his itchy eyes. "Yeah?" he asks.
But it's not Dean's voice on the other end. It takes him a second to realize it's Joe's. "Ben? It's me. Listen, I just wanted to apologize for what I said earlier."
"No, it's fine," he says, not wanting to rehash the conversation.
"I just - I was just worried about you, you know?" Jonas's voice is quiet, a little uncertain.
"No need, Joe. Thanks."
"Cause sometimes guys like that, guys with 'dangerous jobs' can start to crave that danger, get addicted to it, and they pull people around them into it too -"
"Stop. Now." He takes a deep breath, tries to calm down. There's no point in defending Dean to Jonas. "What do you want?"
"You're going to get hurt." There's no doubt at all in Joe's smooth voice. "You're exactly the same, Ben, still thinking everyone plays fair, but they don't. Trust me."
"I'm not going to get into this with you," he says quietly.
There's a pause and then Joe says, "I guess you've got it all worked out, huh? You're the one that stitches him up, gets to call all the shots? Must make you feel pretty good."
"What happened to you?" Ben asks, feeling sick. "You've changed -"
"- since you used to kiss me goodnight? Grow up, Ben." That silky voice cuts off, and all he can hear is an empty dial tone.
Get a grip, he tells himself sternly, laying down the phone and slipping the remaining contact from his eye and tossing it in the trash. He fumbles on his glasses and runs his hands through his hair, looking at his face in the mirror. He looks petrified, and he pushes that thought away; if Dean can be strong enough to chase and find the demon that destroyed his life, surely Ben can withstand a few nasty words from someone who never owned more than a little bit of his heart.
It's still hot in the apartment, so he gets the ceiling fan going and falls into bed in his underwear and Dean's old red shirt. He thinks of the long, quiet days he and Dean spent together in the apartment, him studying and Dean cleaning his weapons or making dinner, or the two of them talking, swapping stories of childhoods vastly different, wondrously exotic to each other.
He'd had a hard time reconciling the Sam he knew - big, beautiful, willful - with the Sammy who lived in Dean's memories - half-brat and half-angel, precocious and obstinate, absolutely loved. But remembering how Sam had sunk into himself when he'd finally admitted to Dean's existence, how completely defenseless Sam had looked without his brother, makes Ben wonder if Dean had been more of a mother to Sam than either of them realized or would acknowledge. He frowns up at the ceiling, watching the big wooden blades of the fan circle endlessly by, willing himself to fall asleep and closing his eyes.
It's so hot. He kicks the sheet away restlessly, but it's pinned by a weight at the foot of the bed. He opens his eyes. Dean is sitting there, frowning down at his little steno pad and chewing on a pencil. Ben can feel the tension easing out of his shoulders; he sits up and reaches for Dean. "Hey," he says, and Dean smiles, quick and bright, and leans in a little closer. They're nearly touching when Dean is jerked backwards, his skull and spine slamming into the wall, dazing him. "Dean!" Ben screams and scrambles off the bed to get to him, but is repelled by some invisible force, unable to do anything but watch as Dean is dragged slowly and roughly up the wall, his body unable to adjust to the positions it's forced into, until at last he's on the ceiling, his eyes wide and dark with fear, staring beseechingly down at Ben. His mouth gapes open helplessly, silently, as a slash opens him from hip to hip, bones unmoving while the flesh gives way, blood dripping down onto Ben, hotter than anything, until a fire ignites from within Dean and consumes them both, screaming, only one with a voice.
His own screams wake him up.
He bolts upright and snatches his phone. It's not Dean, whose voice will be sleepy and unguarded, whose words will be calm and rational, whom he wants to talk to. He needs someone who will understand how much is at stake when the demon's pattern culminates, who will take him back to the beginning. He searches for "JW" in his phone and hits send.
"This is John."
"Dean's in danger. It's Dean the demon's after."
"You want to kill someone, eviscerate them, you do it with a longitudinal incision. Nothing to keep the organs in place that way. Especially if they're on the ceiling. Gravity, you know?" God, he sounds absolutely hysterical - voice pitched octaves higher than normal and speaking at a tempo only a crack addict could match.
"But a transverse cut, that's not so bad. We do C-sections that way. The demon kills them with the fire. But the slashes are about fertility - attacking your wife for having Sam, his fiancée for being the future mother of his children."
"What does that have to do with Dean?" At last, Dean's dad sounds like fear has got his guts in knots.
"Dean raised his brother, acted like a mom to him." This sounds incredibly stupid, but it's the truth.
"It doesn't work like -"
The rest of the truth comes tumbling out while he shivers from the cold. "It was Dean on the ceiling. I saw it happen."
That shuts both of them up. "A dream," Dean's dad finally says, heavily.
Ben stays silent; he's waiting to hear a plan of action, and until he does, he's not going to make any excuses for being out of his mind and nearly out of his skin with terror.
"Sam told me he dreamed about Jessica's death for a week before it happened. And I think . . . I think Mary dreamed her own. She couldn't sleep, couldn't stay asleep, the week she died. Wouldn't tell me what had her up even when the baby wasn't fussing."
"It's Dean," Ben says again. "Please."
"I want to hear the whole dream, every detail, right now," John says, and Ben closes his eyes and tries to remember.
He keeps having to explain his red eyes to everyone at the ER, and he passes them off as fatigue to his colleagues and allergies to his patients. He lifts his glasses and rubs his eyes with the heel of one hand, trying to fill out the morning's paperwork.
He's almost done, can just about taste the coffee he's promised himself after this task is complete - decaf, most likely, if he wants to sleep at all this week and stop looking like a wreck - when he's interrupted.
Ben looks up to see Jonas, standing so close he can smell the sweat shimmering on his skin, despite the chill in the air. He opens his mouth to brush Jonas off, but a closer look tells him Joe is terrified of something. "What, Joe?" It's not as warm a question as it could be, but he's not feeling very kind at the moment.
Joe's words are punctuated with shaky breaths. "I . . . I think . . . something happened. I think I'm going crazy."
"Why? What happened?"
Joe's grip on his forearm is fierce. "Last thing I remember is coming into the ER after the accident and you fixing me up," he says. "But that was two days ago, man! And I think I talked to you after that, but I don't think it was me, and . . ."
Joe sounds as panicked as Ben had felt last night. "Shh, wait, Joe. Hang on." He puts a paper cup of water in front of Joe, gets him a chair. "We'll figure it out." Half the water ends up darkening the front of Joe's shirt when he lifts it to his lips. "Have you slept at all in the last few days?" Joe's shaking his head, and Ben can see the grayish bandages on his temple. "Has your injury been bothering you?"
Joe is crumpling the cup in one severe fist, his body tweaked tight. "This isn't from a bump on my head. Something happened to me. Like I was sleepwalking or something. But -"
"But you never sleepwalked before," Ben concedes grimly. Joe had always slept like the dead; nothing could wake him up but the million-decibel alarm he kept next to the bed.
Joe grabs his hand suddenly. "I remember saying some shit about the guy you're with now. But it wasn't me, I swear."
"I believe you."
"I don't know how." All he can do is call in a favor from Uma, the best psych on the staff, and escort Joe down to her office, an arm around his shaking shoulders the whole way.
Alison bumps into him accidentally-on-purpose on his way back up. "Oh, hi!" she says, blowing her bangs out of her face, big blue eyes fixed on him.
"Ooh, new tat?" she asks, tugging his shoulder down with a firm hand, trying to get a better peek at the back of his neck.
"Not really a tattoo," he says, waiting for her to say whatever it is she wanted him to hear, twisting away when her fingers dance a little too close to Dean's ink.
She drops her hand and replaces her flirtatious smile with a nicer one. "I need a consult," she says, leading the way to the ER. "Kid came in with a busted-up arm. Dropped off by a coach, who said the parents were out of town and a nightmare to reach."
Ben nods; this is all pretty straightforward. "Sounds like you don't need a consult so much as a babysitter," he says.
"Got it in one," she grins. "But the kid won't really talk to me. Figured he might open up to you, man-to-man, you know?" She cocks her head to the side. "There's a free cup of coffee in it for you if you say yes," she wheedles.
"Decaf, please," he asks, and she nods agreeably.
The kid, Jeremy Martin, turns out to be a scared eight-year-old with tear-tracks on his face and a torus fracture in both radius and ulna. "I want my mom," Jeremy says firmly, implicitly denying any tears.
"We're trying to get hold of her and your dad," Ben assures him, taking in the dusty pin-striped uniform. "You're a baseball player, huh?"
Jeremy's small chest swells with pride. "Shortstop." His wrist is hugely swollen, and his arm is warm and soft in Ben's hands.
"I was never any good at baseball," he confides.
"What'd you play?" Jeremy asks, then gasps as his wriggling jars his arm. His little cap sits askew on his head.
"Soccer. Number five, just like you."
"I thought only girls played soccer. Like that one in the Gatorade commercial."
"Nah, where I grew up, everybody played. It was fun."
"We're league champs, three years running," Jeremy says, serious as can be. "And then I broke my stupid arm."
"It's not broken, Jeremy. The bones have been bent and we need to take some X-rays to figure out how long it'll be before you can play again, but you're gonna be fine."
"Really?" Jeremy's smile lights up his whole face, little crooked teeth shining like his big brown eyes.
"Really. I'll look for you in a Gatorade commercial."
Alison finds him when he's finishing up Jeremy's paperwork and perches herself on the edge of his desk. "I was thinking, maybe instead of coffee, I could buy you dinner instead? To say thank you? You really saved my ass."
She's ramped up the flirtatiousness, and he thinks she might lunge at him at any moment. She shakes her hair back, whipping it across her face, and his tired eyes are playing tricks on him, making it look like the yellow flash is coming from within her eyes instead from streaks of blonde.
"No problem," he says, watching her slide across the desk. Looks like Dean was right about her crush. He has no idea how to put her off without coming across as a jerk; she's ignored every one of his signals so far.
"Done," he says, closing the folder and handing it to her. "And, about dinner, I appreciate the offer, but I've got a boyfriend."
She doesn't look surprised, but angry, so angry her eyes seem to flash that weird color again and her voice goes positively venomous. "Boyfriend? Is that what you call it? Because I -"
His phone interrupts her, buzzing loudly on his hip. "Excuse me," he says, and stalks off. "Hello?"
Dean's voice comes through, rough and urgent. "You okay?"
"Yeah, are you?"
"Yeah, but all that stuff we were talking about - freaky weather, dead animals, all that shit - it's all happening in Boston right now. The demon's there and we gotta stop it."
"No! You can't come here. Please."
"What are you talking about? You're sitting in the middle of a war zone!"
"It's you - you're not safe," he counters. "I dreamt the demon got to you, put you up on our ceiling, gutted you, and burned you, and all I could do was watch."
"It's got no reason to hurt me."
"It's got no reason to hurt me. It goes after people Sam loves, right?" Even if Sam had loved him at one point, that was a lot of years - and a lot of silence - ago.
Dean's quiet for a moment. "Point is, if we know where this thing is, we've got a chance to end this, once and for all."
"I think so."
"Bobby, it's Ben." His little silver phone is cutting into his fingers but he can't relax his grip. "Dean and his family are coming here - they say the demon's here in Boston right now. But I dreamt - I saw Dean die just like his mom."
"Easy, son," Bobby says gruffly, but there's panic in his tone. "You tell him what you saw?"
"I tried. I told John, too." That obviously didn't work; maybe Bobby can get through to them.
"Damnation! John listened to the whole thing and then decided he'd make his move anyway, am I right? Stubborn, pig-headed fool!"
"Please, I don't . . . I don't know what to do."
"No one does, son, that's the whole goddamn problem." Bobby takes a deep breath and starts over. "I've been workin' on this as best I can since Dean called, gave me that heads-up about it being a demon, about the pattern it's following."
"All I can find is that this demon - it's got lots of names, don't know which one is the real one - is fairly high up. Likes to play, likes the personal touch."
His skin is crawling, but there's no help for it now. "Tell me, please."
"It likes to mess with people's minds, the victim and people close to them."
It's easier, somehow, to think the victim than Dean. "How?"
"Makes things happen. Possesses people, that kind of thing."
"So it can't get around on its own?" he asks, remembering something Dean had said when he'd first drawn the protective sigil. "It needs to possess somebody?"
"Well," Bobby says slowly, "most cases that's true. This one seems to be able to do both. Like I told Dean, trouble is, if John or Sam has figured out how to kill it, they'll be killing whoever it's possessing at the same time. So it needs to be in its own shape, you understand?"
"How do we do that?"
"All I can find is that you'll know it by its 'eyes of gold.'"
Where are you? Dean texts.
Clinic he writes back. He can't go back to the apartment and lure Dean into the place of his death, and the ER is too crowded. Here, at the clinic, there are only a few people around and for the most part they'll comply if he asks to be left alone; this isn't his shift anyway.
Outside shows up on his screen about five minutes later, so he goes to the parking lot just as Dean's opening the trunk. "Hey," he says, wrapping Dean tight in his arms and burying his face in Dean's neck.
"Hey," Dean murmurs. Dean's skin is warm and smells like soap, thin over the pulse jumping in his throat. "I'm fine, see?"
"Yeah. Let's just get you to stay that way, huh?" His voice is lost against Dean's neck but Dean must hear him anyway because he tightens his arms as if to say you too.
"Help me get this stuff inside?" Dean asks, finally taking a step back.
"The demon's been here." Dean goes still, head and shoulders still ducked under the protective cover of the trunk. Ben starts babbling. "I talked to Bobby and he said this demon had 'eyes of gold' and it's possessed Jonas and Alison, even though it didn't need to, and who knows what it's going to try next."
"Yeah, it likes to play games," Dean says grimly. "But I've got this." Dean's eyes are dark and calculating as he brandishes a long, slim blade. It doesn't gleam; it absorbs the light somehow. It looks old and deadly and completely right in Dean's hand. "I found it at Rick's. And I found an invocation that should let us separate the demon from whatever skin it's in." Dean closes the trunk with a resounding slam.
Ben leads the way to exam room three. As they wait, Dean allays a little of the tension by teaching him the invocation. Dean smiles and unknots his shoulders as the unfamiliar syllables in dead languages begin to flow more easily from Ben’s mouth.
"Gotta say, this would be so much harder if you were stupid," Dean says, and grins at the swift punch to his shoulder. "Not that I'd be with anyone stupid," he adds agreeably.
"Where are they?" Ben asks, feeling adrenaline flood his overtired system.
"They were about five minutes behind me, but I know the area better than they do." Dean checks his watch, looking anxious again. "Run through the words one more time?"
Ben trails off when Sam comes into the room with a duffel bag full of weapons. Sam doesn't even notice him at first, crouching to draw a complicated symbol on the floor with what looks like a black Craypa. Sam's hair is longer now, little curls everywhere, and his body has filled out. Aside from the pallor of his face, Sam looks good, healthy, like he was on top of the world until not too long ago.
Ben takes a step forward and Sam looks up from his sketching, blank face turning furious when he registers Ben's presence. Well. If he'd ever wondered how Sam would take the news about him and Dean, now he knows. Dean sees it too and steps close.
"Where's Dad?" Dean asks.
Sam glares at him, then says, "He needed something from his truck. Said he'd be in in a minute."
"Been longer than that," Dean mutters, heading for the door. Before he gets there it swings open. John Winchester is a big, solidly built man with dark eyes that seem to see everything, frown lines on his forehead and laugh lines around his mouth; it's not hard at all to see why Dean pretty much worships him. John locks the door behind him, takes one long step into the room, scuffs at Sam's design with one booted foot, and looks up with a grin. "Howdy, boys," he says as his eyes flash yellow.
All Ben sees before it all goes to hell is Dean, dark eyes in a crumpled face, lips already tightening with determination. And then Dean's brutally flung against one wall, Sam against another, and the demon is looking right at him.
"God, Dean," Ben gasps, and then he's slammed back against the wall, too. It feels like he's being squeezed by giant fists, the top of his head ready to pop off, and he can’t get even a single muscle to move.
"Oh, God can't help you now," the demon purrs. "And neither can Dean." A flick of its finger - Ben can see the wedding band on John's hand - and there's a long gash in Dean's cheek, bleeding freely. Just like in his nightmare, it's Dean's blood flowing, and Dean's eyes meet his. Dean can't move at all, but his slow, deliberate blink jolts Ben into an awareness of what he has to do.
Ben starts the invocation and the demon backhands him, slamming his cheek into the cold wall and knocking his glasses half off his face. Then it smiles. "I've never had one try to fight back before." It glances over at Dean, who's choking on words that won't emerge from his sealed-shut mouth. "You sure picked a feisty one, Dean!"
It turns back to Ben and puts its hands on him, straightening his glasses and patting his cheek. "Aw, look at you. So sure I was going after your pretty boy, so sure you knew better than he did. Well, I guess that's fair, because I just don't think he could have played this any dumber, do you?" It speaks in a horribly relaxed drawl, a whiskey-rasp of a voice that somehow sounds nothing like John Winchester's normal clipped words or troubled baritone, that can't be shut out.
"Really, Dean," it says, forcing Ben up the wall inch by excruciating inch and pressing him nearly through it, "you should have listened to Mr. Juicy Med-School Brain here. Sorry - Dr. Juicy Med-School Brain. He saw that it was all about Sammy. Actually, so did Sammy. Isn't that right, champ?" It love-taps Sam on the jaw, grinning hugely.
"But you, Dean, you were in such a hurry to forget that Sammy dropped you like a hot potato all those years ago that you went when he called you and cried like a little girl." It turns to Sam. "Jessica didn't cry, you know," it tells him.
Ben's halfway to the ceiling now, can feel everything in him straining to give under the pressure being exerted against him. His eyes must be bloodshot, and his skin stained with the blood pushed right up against the surface. The demon halts his slide, keeping him pinned against the wall while it turns to taunt Dean in his father's voice. "You would have liked her, Dean," the demon says. "If you hadn't decided to play for the other team and retire your jersey."
It clicks its teeth in mock-disappointment. "Of course Sammy made sure you'd never meet her. You know, no one would have blamed you if you'd ignored him after he abandoned you, left him in that little world he made just for himself and not for the two of you. But instead, you brought him back into the fold, told him you'd make me pay. Very bad move. Because Sammy believed you, needed you. So I had to take you out of the picture." It looks at Ben and then swings back to Dean. "You put your boy on the chopping-block, Dean."
Ben looks down at Dean, vision coming clear for one long, painful moment. Dean is shaking with rage, tears standing bright in his eyes as he keeps his gaze fixed on the demon. Ben can hear the demon's words come through loud and clear still, undiminished by the heavy heat of his head, the ringing in his ears. "Oh! Don't you want to know how I found him? That pretty little mark you put on the back of his neck. That kind of stuff has power, boy; you can't waste it on protecting someone who doesn't really understand, love of your life or not."
Ben dimly registers the demon's movements as it grabs Dean's face, mashing his cheeks together and pulling his head away from the wall. It lowers its head to stage-whisper into Dean's ear. "Don't you dare turn away now; you don't want to miss the climax of the show."
It turns back to Ben. His hands and feet are buzzing, prickling like they've been asleep forever, and the demon's voice seems to echo in his head. "Damn dropped ceilings. Guess the wall's gonna have to do for you."
The demon's like a snake, transfixing his blurred vision, but out of the corner of his eye Ben can see a movement behind it. Dean's head has been released from the demon's paralyzing spell, and he shoots Ben one fervent look and begins to move his lips, chanting something under his breath. Ben needs to buy him time and keep the demon's attention away from him, so he starts the invocation again, the words hard to remember, hard to shape.
"Oh, no you don't," the demon says nastily. Ben keeps going, though he's getting dizzy and his limbs are tingling; he feels hollow but somehow dense too, paralyzed with his back against cold plaster. Still he can't escape the demon's words. "You know, kid, this isn't personal. Well, I mean it is, but not personal about you. Fact, I kinda like you. That was smart, what you said to John, gave me some ideas, you know, about vertical incisions and evisceration. That's a fun word to say. E-visc-er-a-tion. Looks like all that school -"
It stops talking. It stops talking because it splits, horribly, John's body going stretched and rubbery as a thick, greasy black smog erupts from his throat. Ben only has time to blink before he's falling, crashing into the linoleum floor, slammed onto his hands and knees, wrenching his wrists and aggravating his bad knee, the sharpness of the pain the only thing keeping him from sliding into unconsciousness. Oxygen floods his system, and everything around him gets a little too loud, a little too bright, doing him no favors as he gets shakily to his feet. He sees Sam stagger forward in time to keep John's head from hitting the floor, but Dean just stands there, back still against the wall, watching as the smog swirls and takes form like liquid accommodating to the shape of its container.
The eyes of the demon once it's in its own form are not just yellow but golden, shining like sunlight against the smoky, stained pallor of its skin. Before it can take its first breath, Dean's stabbed it in the throat, put out its luminous eyes, and gouged a bloody X through its heart. It shatters silently, exploding into dirt that bursts into flames that die before they hit the ground.
Dean tucks the knife into a pocket and pulls Ben to him; Ben stumbles but Dean doesn't let him fall. "You can stitch me up at home, right?" Dean asks lightly. Ben nods, not trusting his voice yet, keeps one hand in Dean's for strength, and holds out the other to help John to his unsteady feet.
My OTP brings me joy.