Rating: R for violence and language
Summary: Ross Winchester knows three things to be true: his father, John, is a hero; he’s going to be the best hunter in the goddamn world; and his two older brothers are in love with each other. An AU-version of seasons one and two where the Winchester Brothers mean Dean and Sam and Ross, where John is still missing, where Mary and Jess are still dead, and where Dean and Sam are still obsessed with each other.
Okay, so here is the first part of the final chapter of World's Forgotten Boys. I decided to post what I had so far because it feels like I've been working (on and off admittedly) on this chapter for forever...
“You got to stop him, Ross,” Sam says.
The two of them are standing in front of the mirror, and Sammy is young, like thirteen, maybe fourteen years old. He’s got that stupid bowl haircut he had back then and Ross watches him purse his lips and blow out a breath which makes his bangs ruffle up. He makes a face into the mirror, at Ross, his eyes crossing and his nose scrunching up, and Ross laughs despite himself, because he can’t remember the last time he and Sammy just goofed around together.
He makes a face back at Sam and notices for the first time that he’s young too, like twelve or thirteen. He’s the same height as Sam, just like he was that year they were in junior high together when he grew quicker than Sam and everyone kept thinking they were twins.
This must be a memory, he thinks. This isn’t really happening right now, it’s a memory, it’s something I should remember.
Sam shakes his head at their reflections, says, “Nope, not a memory. Guess again.” He smirks at them both, like he’s trying out the look on his face, the one that makes him look a little like Dean, except Dean’s face suits it much better than Sammy’s.
“Remember this?” Sam says and he raises his hand. He’s holding a tube of lipstick and he tilts his head to one side, and draws a couple of lines across one cheek with the lipstick like gashes. Then he tilts his head the other way and does it again to the other cheek so it’s all symmetrical. He lowers his hand when he’s done and bares his teeth at his reflection, making a scary face, like he’s play-acting as a Red Indian.
“It’s Native American, dumbass,” Sam says and shakes his head at him, doing that annoying superior look, like he’s so much fucking smarter than Ross.
Ross shoves him with his shoulder and Sam shoves him back and they scuffle for a while until Sam’s laughing and holding his hands up to admit defeat. He looks really stupid with lines of lipstick across his cheeks and Ross itches to tell him that, except for some reason he can’t get the words out. It doesn’t seem to matter though as Sam hears them anyway, and just shrugs, all cool and whatever, and holds out the lipstick.
“Your turn, assface,” Sam says. Ross doesn’t want to do it and he bares his teeth at Sam, but Sam’s ignoring him as usual, tapping his fingers against the side of the sink. “If you don’t do it then you’ll flunk English, you know that,” Sam tells him.
He does know that because that bitch of a teacher, Mrs. Bitchface, said he had to do it. She needs twins for the play and he and Sammy look enough alike to pass as twins and anyway, Sam’s already in the stupid play and she said she’d give Ross a B if he goes through with it, and Ross can’t remember the last time he got a B in anything. Still though, he’s not putting fucking lipstick on his face. He glares at Sam in silent protest, but Sam just sighs again, like Ross is a huge pain in the ass, and grabs Ross’s chin.
“I’ll do it then,” Sam says.
He tries to protest and shove Sam away but Sam’s got him held fast in one of his freakishly big hands, and they might be practically the same height but Sam’s still got enormous hands and a surprising amount of strength for someone who’s so freaking bony. So Ross gives in and slumps against the sink and lets Sam draw matching lipstick lines on his cheeks.
“Very nice,” Sam says approvingly when he’s done, and Ross rolls his eyes at him. Sam pops the cap on the lipstick and sets it down neatly on the edge of the sink. He looks up and meets Ross’s eyes in the mirror and says, “Do you remember now? It’s very important, Ross.”
Ross frowns because he has no freaking idea what the hell Sam is talking about. He learned his lines already; Sam made him recite them with him last night while Dean watched them both and tried not to laugh at their attempts at “acting”. And anyway, he only has, like, three freaking lines in the shitty play, and the rest of it is just following Sam around and doing what he does, being mirror fucking images, and he can totally do that, he’s been doing that most of his life.
“You got to stop him,” Sam says and this time when Ross glances in the mirror he sees that Sammy’s not thirteen anymore, he’s twenty four and there’s a bloody gash in his cheek, an exact replica of the lipstick warpaint, except it isn’t lipstick, it’s real blood and it’s rolling down Sam’s cheek and dripping into the sink. “You hear me, Ross? Only you can do it.”
Ross wants to tell him he doesn’t know what the fuck Sam is talking about but he still can’t speak out loud and Sam’s staring at him, all freakishly intense, his eyes all dark and burning up. It really isn’t fair that Sam gets to be all grown up and in charge and know what he’s talking about while Ross is still twelve years old with stupid lipstick marks on his cheeks and no fucking idea what is going on.
Sam reaches down and grips Ross’s hand, his enormous adult manpaw completely swallowing up Ross’s 12 year old hand. “I’m counting on you, Littlest Bro. You’re the only one who can save us. You got to stop Dean. He thinks it’s all on him, but it’s you, Ross, you’re the one.”
Ross lurches awake.
He’s lying on a table, his head pillowed on his arms, and someone’s touching his shoulder.
“Dean?” he murmurs, though he knows it’s not Dean, he can tell from the weight of the hand on his shoulder and the voice that it’s not Dean. He can still hope though.
“No, honey, it’s not Dean. You were sleeping.”
He raises his head and blinks at his surroundings. He’s in a kitchen, at the kitchen table to be more accurate, and his arms are numb, skin tingling with pins and needles as the blood starts to flow again. He stares down at the wooden grain of the table and slowly registers that he slept here, with his head on his arms. He doesn’t think he’s ever done that before, at least not in some random stranger’s kitchen.
“You should drink some water,” the woman says as a glass of water appears in front of him.
He licks his lips; she’s right, he’s really thirsty and his lips feel chapped. He flexes his fingers, waits for the feeling to restore completely to his hand, and then he reaches for the glass and takes a sip. It feels good going down, his throat ragged and sore, but the water is soothing. He drinks all of it.
“Want some more?” the woman says.
Her voice is familiar, and he looks up at her, recognizing her immediately.
And Sam is dead.
He killed his brother.
The realization steals his breath for a second and he sits there numbly staring up at her, at her soft, sad eyes that are really like his own.
“Ross? Baby, you want any more?”
“I’m not your baby,” he says carefully, shaping his lips around each word.
Her expression falls and he feels viciously pleased.
“I know,” she says, “I know that, and I’m sorry. I wish I could explain – but there’s just so much.” She breaks off, takes a breath, her voice cracking when she speaks again, “There’s so much for us to talk about, but I just want you to know…”
He stares blankly at her and listens to her voice and he thinks that he doesn’t care about anything she’s trying to say to him. Sam is dead and it’s his fault. His freaky powers killed Sam, and everything else is just white noise. He watches her mouth and lips and tongue move and he hears none of it.
“Where’s Dean?” he interrupts.
She pauses, licks her lips, glances towards the open kitchen door. “He’s still with your brother.”
He pushes himself out of the chair, and walks out of the room. His legs are all shaky and trembling and there’s an enormous hole in his stomach where someone has dug out his insides and forgotten to replace them. He thinks that maybe he might be hungry, but the thought of trying to stuff food into that hole makes him want to throw up.
There’s a landing outside the kitchen which reminds him that they’re over a bar and his mom has her own bar, which would be cool if he even gave a crap right now about anything like that. There are lots of doors along the landing and he stands in the middle of it, looking around, trying to figure out where he's supposed to go now and where the hell Dean has gotten to.
He's with your brother, his mom - Angela, no, he's going to call her Angela right now - had said, and he remembers that they put Sam into one of the rooms and Dean went in there with him and Dean didn’t come out.
He thinks that might've been two days ago, but he has no fucking clue.
There's a big window at one end of the landing, light spilling through in criss-cross shapes. He wanders towards it and looks outside because he’s not even sure what time of day it is. The parking lot is all dust and stones and gravel and a few parked cars, the Impala among them, and that car the demon had stolen when he'd been riding him, and an old junker that looks a lot like the piece of shit Bobby Singer drives. Right on cue, Bobby appears from around the side of the building, trudging across the parking lot with a heap of firewood in his arms.
"He's building a funeral pyre," someone says from behind Ross.
Ross starts, turns his head to see that kid – his younger brother - standing beside him and watching Bobby go past.
He hasn't spoken to the kid yet, it's another of those things that he can't figure out, that his brain hasn't got room for right now. There's too much other stuff in there (Sammy is dead) that he can't get his mind to take in the whole idea that he has another family, and that it's no longer just him and Dean and Sam and Dad, but he has a mom and a little brother, too. It occurs to him that he doesn't even know right now if Dad is this kid's father - if this kid has taken his own place in the family as the youngest son, just like he took Sammy's all those years ago.
"It's for that hunter guy - you know, Gordon Walker," the kid says. "My mom had a fight with Bobby about it, he said he deserved a real hunter's funeral, and Mom said he didn't because he was an asshole who was going to kill her. I think Bobby won 'cause he's building a pyre anyway and my mom's pretending not to care."
"Oh," Ross says. He'd forgotten about Gordon Walker. "So you know Bobby?"
"Yeah. He used to come visit sometimes, like John. I mean, your dad." The kid speaks like it’s not important, like it’s just totally normal that he knew Dad and he knew Bobby and everyone knew everything, except him.
He’s got dark hair and dark eyes and Ross supposes that they look like each other, like their mom, maybe like their Dad too, he can't remember. He’d need to look a picture of Dad again to check that, but he can’t bear the thought of it. Dad would be really mad at him for killing Sammy.
"Have you seen Dean?” he asks the kid.
The kid blinks at him, jerks his head towards another closed door. “He’s in there.”
"Okay, thanks," Ross says. His heart is beating fast and he feels nervous and sick to his stomach, and it’s so weird and wrong to think that he’s scared of seeing Dean again. But it’s his fault because he killed Sam, and however much Dean insists that he loves both of them, Ross knows that Dean has always loved Sam best, and Dean will never forgive him, and honestly, he doesn't think he deserves to be forgiven.
He knocks on the door, just a light tap. There’s no answer, so he tries again. It’s weird, doing this, knocking is never something he’s done much before, not when it comes to Dean. He's always barged in on Dean's spaces; he’s never wanted to have space away from Dean.
“Dean, it’s me,” he says quietly, speaking with his mouth up against the door. “Let me in please.”
He hears a rustling noise and a creak and then the door is opening slowly, and Dean’s head peers around it. He blinks at Ross, grabs a hold of his shirt and yanks him inside, slamming the door behind him.
“Did Bobby send you?” he asks, eyes wary and suspicious.
“No. I just – I wanted to see him,” he says. The room has two single beds, Sam is lying on the nearest one, except… no, that’s not Sam, it’s Sam’s body because it’s so horribly, awfully obvious now that Sam is dead. He looks like a corpse, and although he still sort of looks like Sam, it’s not really Sam, and he’s not going to wake up and he’s dead. He’s really dead.
“Oh, right,” Dean says. He turns his back on Ross and Sam’s body and drops onto the other bed which is piled and strewn with books.
Ross watches him in silence for what feels like a long time, standing in the middle of the room. He can feel Sam lying there, just lying there, he can see him from the corner of his vision, and he thought it was a good idea to come and see Sam, but it’s really fucking obvious now that it was a stupid fucking idea and he should never have come in here because Sammy is really dead.
Dean starts turning pages in one of the old books, head bent so low that his chin’s almost touching his chest and his body looks like a C shape.
“What are you doing?” Ross says, his voice sounds all cracked, so he clears his throat and tries again. “What are you reading?”
Dean jerks his head up and blinks at him, like he’s trying to get dust out of his eyes. “Trying to fix it,” he says.
Ross nods, he can feel the lump in his throat swell up. “I want to help.”
Dean licks his lips, nods at him. He pushes aside a pile of the books to make room for Ross on the bed. “Sit down and get reading then.”
They’re walking down a dirt road, kicking up dust and Ross has a tennis ball that he’s dribbling like it’s a soccer ball. He’s about fourteen years old because he’s wearing those Nike sneakers he found in the Goodwill that time, right at the bottom of a box of shoes. They were orange and black and he could remember a rich kid in one of his old schools had a pair just like them, and this pair looked like they’d never even been worn. When he showed them to Dean, Dean rolled his eyes disgustedly and said, “Jesus, must be nice to be rich.” Dean bought them for him and Ross wore them until they literally fell apart.
“Quit it,” Sam says.
Ross ignores him, just kicks the ball up into the air with the toe of his shoe. Sam leans over and snatches it out of the air. He stuffs it into his pocket and glares at Ross.
“Jesus, you’re such an annoying little bitch,” Ross says. He smacks his lips together a couple of times because it feels good to speak again, and it’s kinda nice that Sam is here too. There was some stupid reason why he was missing Sam and he can’t think right now why that might be because Sam is just, like, seriously, the most irritating person in the world and he’s always there in Ross’s space. But this is a dream and he knows that, in the way you always know you’re in a dream, but it’s also a memory and he thinks that maybe he and Sam ended up fighting after Sam stole his tennis ball, and Dad grounded them.
“Yeah, and you’re a brat,” Sam says, shrugging. “Get over it.”
“Get over it,” Ross mocks.
“Hilarious,” Sam says. "You're so totally hilarious."
They keep walking, and it doesn’t feel like they’re going to fight, so obviously this is a dream, and something weird will happen right now because time is slipping and sliding and changing like it does in dreams, though the landscape around them hasn’t changed at all: the road is still all dust and dirt and the fields are still scorched. He glances across at Sam and thinks: oh, so that’s what’s different, because Sammy suddenly isn’t 16 anymore, but 24 and he’s got matching bloody tracks across his cheeks like warpaint.
“You should’ve listened to me,” Sam says and Ross sees that his lips and tongue are stained bright red with blood.
“I never listen to you, you know that,” he tells him, because it’s true and Sam should know that.
“Yeah, but this is important, Ross,” Sam says. He puts his hand on Ross’s arm to stop him and Ross stares down at it, shocked by how freaking enormous Sam’s hand looks wrapped around his skinny forearm.
“Dude,” he protests.
Sam just squeezes harder. “Listen to me,” he says, and his voice is low and bubbling with intensity and it really isn’t fair that he sounds all gruff and manly and Ross sounds like a freaking teenager. How’s he supposed to fight when he’s stuck at age fourteen? “You got to stop Dean.”
“Yeah, you said that before, how about being, like, I don’t know, a little more precise?” Ross says, rolling his eyes.
Sam pushes out a frustrated breath. “You know what I mean. You already know it. You know what he’s going to do. Read a fucking book for once.”
Ross wrenches his arm out of Sam’s grasp. “I have no fucking idea what to do!” he shouts at Sam because he’s remembering now and Sam is just standing there with blood rolling down his cheeks like tears and mingling with the war-paint smudges that he put on before, and it’s staining his skin, which really shouldn’t be that pale – except of course, Sam is fucking dead, so of course he’s fucking pale. Christ, he’s so stupid sometimes.
“You’re dead and it’s my fault, but I don’t know how to get you back! We’ve been looking and looking and we didn’t find anything! Please – just – just tell me what to do.” He falls forward, fists his hands in Sam’s shirt and presses his face into Sam’s chest where his heart is no longer beating.
He feels Sam’s enormous hand land on top of his head and ruffle through his hair. He lifts his head up and stares up at his brother. Sam smiles down at him, soft and intimate.
“Ross, Littlest Bro, you’ll know what to do. I have faith in you.”
This time when he wakes up, his cheek is resting half on the pillow and half on an open book. He raises his head and he can see Sam's body from the corner of his eye, and he’s still dead, and his chest hurts so hard he wants to scream.
Dean is gone.
He lurches to his feet and a book tumbles onto the floor with a heavy thud. He ignores it and stumbles across the floor to Sam's body. He sinks to his knees by the bed and stares at his brother's silent, cold face.
“I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” he says.
Sam doesn’t say anything of course because he’s fucking dead. Ross blinks and he can feel tears, hot and burning at the back of his eye sockets, starting to blur his vision. He brushes them away furiously and leans in closer. Sam’s lips look blue, his skin has that pale look to it that Ross has seen so many times before, in so many corpses over the years, but he’s never really taken notice of it before now. It's never mattered before now.
“You know I hate all that cryptic shit,” he says. “I don’t know why you’re doing that – being all fucking cryptic. You know I hate it, Sammy.” He can feel the tears roll down his cheek now, the moisture sinking into his skin. He sniffs and bows his head until his forehead presses against Sam’s shoulder. Sam feels stiff and cold and dead, and Ross curls his fingers around the bed frame and squeezes, tight, tight, tight; tight enough to dig grooves into his fingers. He can feel his chest start to heave, his breathing getting hard and forced like he’s going to hyperventilate, and he realizes dimly that he’s crying for real now, the bed covers under his nose and cheeks feel damp and sticky with his tears and snot.
He rolls his head to one side to take a heaving breath, and the book that fell to the floor catches in the corner of his vision. He blinks at it, absently watching the pages flutter and then settle onto a chapter heading with a spiky line drawing.
Crossroads demons and demon deals, he reads. He stares at it and feels the breath catch in his throat. He staggers to his knees and crawls across the floor. He picks up the book and reads the page. He looks up, blinks at Sam's body and feels the book slide out of his hands. Then he takes a breath, surges to his feet and runs out of the room.
He knows what it has to do now.
The Impala is gone, just like he knew it would be. That doesn’t matter though, because the car he drove here in – the car the demon drove here in – is still there, sitting pretty with a full tank, and the keys are still in his pocket because he hasn’t bothered to change his clothes in three days.
He palms the keys, fisting his fingers tight around them, and runs across the parking lot towards the car.
He ignores the voice, still heading for the car. He pauses when he gets to the car, puts his hand on the roof and turns around.
“Ross!” Angela is running towards him, her hair flying, her feet bare and a panicked, terrified look on her face. “No, baby, no, this isn’t the way!” she pleads. She grabs onto his arm, tries to pull him around, but he shakes her off. “No, please, don’t do this.”
“When did Dean go?”
She stares at him, her chest heaving and hands fluttering, pawing at him, trying to get him to move away from the car, trying to tug him backwards, back with her towards the building where Sam’s dead body has lain for two fucking days too long.
“Did you see him? You gotta tell me! When did he leave? Where did he go?”
She shakes her head. She’s crying now, her face all scrunched up in a way that reminds him painfully of Sam. “No, Ross, baby, please.”
“I told you, I ain’t your baby!” He curls his fingers around her arm, forces her to look into his eyes. “If you even give two shits about me, then tell me this: where did Dean go? I know you know.”
She stares back at him, then slowly, reluctantly, starts to speak: “Two miles east of here, there’s a dirt road on your right. Head down there about a mile till it meets a crossroads. There’s a lot of bad history associated with that place, and a lot of power. That’s where he’ll be.”
He nods his head, heaves a breath, letting his hand fall to his side. “Thanks.”
He turns his back on her and gets into the car. When he glances in his rear-view mirror he can still see her, standing alone in the middle of the parking lot. He swallows, adjusts his grip on the wheel and puts his foot to the gas, watching the needle hover over 80, 90, 100mph as he roars down the road, Angela fading from view.
He sees the opening on his right and he swerves the wheel around, foot stamping on the brake pedal as the car bumps and lunges through the small opening. Branches whip at the paintwork and the tires crunch and smack over fallen branches which rear up and lash at the windscreen.
He barely blinks at it, eyes focussed intently on the road, on the crossroads coming into view, and the two figures standing in the middle of it. His brother and a tall, sinuous brunette in a slinky dress. A demon, he can feel it already, feel the crinkle at the back of his neck, the shiver down his spine.
He feels something shift deep down in the pit of his gut, something coming awake, a coil of something dark and intense and knowing. It’s his power, and he knows now how he’s going to use it. It’s the same dark evil something that destroyed the demon and killed Sam. But he’s not afraid of it any longer, the worst has been done, and he knows now what he has to do – Sammy has told him what he has to do.
He sees Dean whip his head up and glare at him as he smashes his foot to the brake. The car skids, spins but eventually comes to a rest in a spray of dirt and stones and torn up branches. He kills the engine and lurches out of the car. Dean is stomping towards him, a furious look on his face. In contrast, the demon standing behind Dean has her arms crossed, her expression darkly triumphant and smug.
“What the hell are you doing?” Dean roars at him. “Go! Now! Get out of here! That’s an order, goddamnit!”
He shakes his head, stands his ground. “No.”
“Ross, I swear to God—“
He lunges at his brother, cradles his head with his hands, fingers grazing Dean’s cheekbones and lips. Dean tries to jerk away, a brief shocked look in his eyes, before his vision starts to get hazy. Ross leans in, putting their foreheads together, and he feels the dark power loosen and swell inside him. Dean’s eyes roll back in his head and he slumps to the ground, out cold.
Ross leans down, brushes one hand tenderly over his brother’s cheek, quickly checking his pulse before he stands up again. He smoothes his hands over his shirt and walks towards the waiting demon.
“Whatever he offered, forget about it,” he says. “You’re dealing with me now.”
“Oh baby,” she says, “you're exactly what I was waiting for."