My Death Of A Thousand Cuts ~ Chapter 5

Lindsey-Eliot

Title: Left In The Darkness
Fandom: Supernatural, Leverage, Angel: The Series
Pairings: Sam Winchester/Ruby
Rating: PG-15
Word Count: 4,448
Summary: Dean Winchester saved people, but who saves Dean? Set in and through Season 4 SPN, Pre Leverage, mentions events from the last season of Angel.

Prologue

Lindsey McDonald met Dean and Sam Winchester and Eliot Spencer while trying to find a way to break his contract with the Senior Partners. He’d heard rumors of Dean Winchester coming back from hell, and wanted to find out how the man did it. He was heading to Singer’s Salvage in South Dakota when a man with long hair, wearing a copy of his face slammed him against a brick wall while a really tall guy stood as back-up.

Guys …” A raspy voice came from behind the Yeti. “Let up. Let’s ask him questions first this time?”

Dean tried to peer around Sam’s shoulder.

“You wanna talk first?” Sam sounded incredulous.

“I know ‘im. Lindsey McDonald.” Eliot growled in his look alike’s face.

“How do you know?”

“Remember when you found me?”

Dean grunted as he got elbowed trying to get around Sam.

“The demon that had me thought I was this cat and almost talked me to death about how the Senior Partners would elevate him for catching Lindsey McDonald.”

“Good thing we found you first.” Dean said as he stepped from behind Sam.

He laid a hand on Eliot’s back. “He can’t talk if he can’t breathe, Eliot.”

The pressure on his throat let up.

“This ain’t the place for this conversation anyway.”

Eliot wrapped a hand around Lindsey’s nape and pulled him out of the alley then shoved him into the backseat of the Impala.

“My truck.” Were the first words McDonald spoke.

“Give Sam your keys.” Dean ordered.

Lindsey hesitated.

“Ya wanna talk to me…we do it on my terms on my turf. Otherwise climb in your truck and forget my name.”

At the salvage yard Bobby put Lindsey through his tests. Dean could tell some were painful to the younger man, but he ultimately passed.

Now

Eliot put together supper while everyone else started digging their way through Bobby’s stacks of books. Dean had an idea of which one he needed, but it wouldn’t do to appear to be more than expected.

He’d given it two days, then snatched the book he needed off the shelf, and headed out into the salvage yard.

Bobby tried to get a look at the book, but Dean was out the door before he could figure it out.

Dean stopped at the Impala long enough to grab a bag out of the trunk that he’d put together, and walked out the gates of the salvage yard.

Bobby had protections set around the entire property line, and for the spell to work Dean had to be outside those protections.

Settling in a patch of woods about a mile from Bobby’s, Dean sat his duffel of supplies and the book on a flat rock next to a stream. As he stripped and grabbed a small bag of herbs from the duffel, he was thankful Lindsey McDonald found him in July instead of in the middle of a South Dakota winter as he waded into the stream. Words flowed easily from his lips as he began the ritual.

Dressing quickly in fresh clothes then grabbing a silver knife he began a new litany as he cut an intricate sigil into the earth. That task completed, he set up a brazier and while the fire died to glowing coals, he lit the candles he’d set throughout the sigil and drew a breath to center himself for the final part of incantations and its effects.

Castiel sat with Joshua, the angels drawing peace from the serenity of the garden. The cry that reverberated along the psychic leash he’d attached to Dean Winchester’s soul had him on his feet and standing next to the hunter in the space of a thought.

As he squatted down to check on Dean’s well being, a hand snaked out and a sword that could only have come from an angel slashed open his arm sending his blood in to a small jar. Too shocked by Dean’s actions to move, Castiel flinched as the mortal slapped a handful of herbs on the slice then wrapped clean muslin around the wound. He sealed the jar, and with a moan dropped to his hands and knees mumbling.

“Sorry, Cas … Sorry.”

Gathering his wits Castiel looked down and gasped as he saw the two swords under Dean’s hands. Before he could reach for either weapon, they disappeared. Sitting back on his heels, Dean stared at his palms. Looking over his shoulder, Castiel gasped as he saw a sigil for the ‘light’ mark the right palm and a sigil for the ‘dark’ mark the left. Before he could question his charge further, the mortal’s body gave into its exhaustion and collapsed.

When Dean regained consciousness, he moaned softly as his body protested his abuse, but not wanting to delay the inevitable or answer questions from Sam wearing his bitch face, he snatched the jar, the book, along Lindsey and locked Bobby’s panic room door against everyone. He heard them questioning Castiel, who shrugged and told them he couldn’t follow where Dean was going.

When the two men stepped from the room 24 hours later, exhausted beyond limits, bruised and battered, Lindsey held his voided contract from the Senior Partners in his hand, which he burned on the spot using holy oil provided by the angel.

Dean could see the questions on everyone’s faces, and was stupidly grateful when Eliot stepped between them and the rest of the room declaring debriefing could wait until morning.

The sounds of three sets of footsteps thumping over their heads had woken Dean a while ago, but Lindsey remained sprawled across his chest. Dean almost chuckled out loud when the trio decided they should maybe check the panic room. He didn’t have the patience for their dickering this morning.

“Show yourself!” Dean’s voice was hoarse like he’d spent the night yelling.

“Dean?” They heard Lindsey’s plaintive question.

“’S’okay, Linds … Just mom and my two ugly sisters.” He reassured him.

“Why are you down here?” Sam asked.

“We wanted the room with the canopy bed.” Dean snapped. “Why do you think?”

“Is something comin’ after you idjits?” Bobby asked.

“No.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure. It’s gonna take ‘em a couple days to find enough pieces to do anything. C’mon Linds.” Dean pulled the lawyer to his feet. “Since we can’t sleep, might as well grab a shower.”

Lindsey followed Dean so close he practically stepped on his heels.

“Together?” Sam all but squeaked.

“Small side effect … Wears off in a couple days.” Dean smirked as he interlaced his fingers with Lindsey’s.

Lindsey stuck his tongue out childishly as he followed Dean up the steps.

“But … Dean …” Sam hung his head.

The conversation followed the two men up the stairs, but Dean continued on not caring if Sam was placated. He didn’t have the energy to deal with his brother’s high drama.

“What, Sam? Likes boys and girls? Not a surprise.” Dean could imagine Eliot waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“I really don’t need to know this.” Bobby groaned as he followed Dean and Lindsey up the stairs.

“I don’t like the way Dean was movin’. I need to check both of them for injuries.” Dean heard Eliot telling Bobby as he and Lindsey supported each other up the steps.

Dean sighed when he saw Eliot sitting on the edge of the bed. A slight widening of blue/grey eyes was his only reaction when Eliot saw the bruises on his torso. To get past the nine gatekeepers and reach the Senior Partners, Dean had stood as Lindsey’s champion through nine gladiator style matches with each opponent progressively worse than the last. The swords that had appeared at the end of the purification ritual could be conjured with a thought—appearing and disappearing from the scars on his palms. He was going to have to remember to ask Bobby how that was possible, if he could ever get the man alone long enough.

Ignoring Eliot, Dean moved to his duffel for clean clothes. His breath caught as he bent over too fast.

“Won’t be needin’ those ‘til I check ya over.” Eliot growled.

“’M fine. Just bruised.” Dean continued to get dressed.

“Now look, Hoss …” Eliot started toward the hunter.

A hand on his arm caused him to jerk back. Dean saw him glare at Lindsey, but the lawyer never let go of Eliot.

“Dean, please?” Lindsey’s voice was soft. “It’s my fault …”

Dean cut him off with a wave of his hand.

“Fine.”

He suffered silently as Eliot went over him carefully. He poked and prodded his half healed gashes, the inside of his arm where he’d opened a vein, blowing up one of the Senior Partners as his blood mixed with Castiel’s seemed to have explosive properties in hell, scratches and burns. The hitter frowned when he got to Castiel’s hand print. The hand print had been altered … New scarring … A part missing.

Eliot stared at the new scar on Lindsey’s chest than back at Dean’s shoulder. Eliot frowned deeply.

“Dean … What?” Eliot started.

“Can I get dressed?” Dean cut off the question.

“Yeah. Yer wounds are past the point they need tendin’.” Eliot turned to Lindsey. “What about you, son?”

Damp curls danced as Lindsey shook his head in the negative. Eliot flicked his eyes to the new scar on his chest. Watching the interaction between the nearly identical men, Dean moved when Lindsey made a moue of distress then paled to the point where Dean thought he was about to pass out. He pushed past Eliot and gathered the shorter man in his arms.

He didn’t know if it was his voice or being held that soothed him, but Lindsey never released the death grip he had on his shirt. After a few minutes, Lindsey pulled back and after a couple of deep breaths had himself back under control. Giving Dean a weak smile, the older man pressed his lips to Lindsey’s forehead before letting him go as he headed out of the bedroom leaving Lindsey and Eliot alone in the room.

Dean poured a mug of coffee and ignored Sam as the younger man twitched and fidgeted while Eliot cooked breakfast. When he put the last bite of pancake in his mouth, Sam started. He paced and spit questions at such rapid fire pace that everyone sat back and drank their coffee while the large man circumvented the small kitchen.

“Boy, would you shut up and sit down.” Bobby barked. “How in blazes do you expect anyone to answer a question when you don’t shut yer yap long enough for anyone to get a word in edgeways?”

The others refilled their cups and retired to the living room leaving Sam standing slack jawed.

Dean had already ensconced himself in an old armchair sitting in the shadows of the overflowing shelves. Lindsey and Eliot laid claim to the ends of the couch. Bobby sat behind his desk, pouring a healthy dollop of whiskey in his coffee leaving Sam between Eliot and Lindsey.

“So what kind of deal did you make this time?” Sam practically snarled at him.

Bobby and Lindsey’s eyes went wide at Sam’s attack. Eliot’s eyes narrowed as though he was sizing up a target until they heard his chuckle.

“Jealous, bitch?”

“Just trying to find out what’s coming after you, jerk.”

“Nothin’s comin’ after me. They gave Lindsey back his contract to get rid of me.” He smirked from the shadows.

Sam and Bobby gave a sigh of relief, but Dean watched Eliot’s gaze shifting between him and Lindsey. Dean kept his expression bland, but the lawyer’s eyes had widened slightly before his expression had become one of nonchalance as he leaned back like he hadn’t a care in the world.

Eliot smirked. He’d looked into Lindsey McDonald after the Winchesters had killed the demon holding him hostage. The boy was highly intelligent and had been a major player with Wolfram and Hart, though his roots were similar to Eliot’s own. His sources in LA said McDonald had died taking out the Circle of Blackthorne so the boy must be running a hell of game.

Dean’s leaving the room effectively broke up the party. He went to the basement followed by Bobby to start loading shotgun shells with rock salt after he sent Sam to take inventory of the Impala’s trunk. He heard Lindsey and Eliot moving around above his head.

The two men worked in silent camaraderie while Bobby worked up the nerve to poke at Dean.

“What exactly did you do?” He finally asked.

“What I set out to do.” Dean answered simply.

“Boy.” Bobby’s patience was starting to wear around the edges.

“We went, we saw, we blew shit up, we got the contract, we came home. End of story.” Dean never paused in packing the rock salt shells.

“What can you blow up in hell?”

“The Senior Partners.”

Getting lost in the repetitive motion of loading the shells, Dean wasn’t prepared when Bobby spun his stool around.

“You better explain yerself, boy.” He snarled in Dean’s face.

“I just did.” Dean snapped back.

Shoving the racks of shells in an ammo bag, Dean pushed past the older hunter, his anger making him forget he wanted to pick the older hunter’s brain about the Swords of Balance.

Bobby followed Dean up the stairs where they sailed past Sam. Sam looked at the thunderous expression on Bobby’s face, and followed to watch the fireworks.
They entered the living room in time to see Eliot snatch Lindsey by the nape of the neck.

“You better explain yerself, boy. Why do you have a piece of Castiel’s handprint over yer heart?”

Lindsey was about to say something to Eliot when he heard two gasps from the doorway.

Sam and Bobby watched wide-eyed while Dean looked resigned. Grabbing the whiskey bottle from the shelf, Dean went out the door.

He heard the scuffle behind him, but never stopped as he headed out into the junkyard.

“Dean?”

“Go away, Lindsey. Tell ‘em whatever you want, but don’t expect me to be part of the conversation. My nightmares are my own.” He took a deep pull from the bottle.
Dean could tell the younger man didn’t want to leave him, but the surly curse Dean sent toward him, changed his mind.

“Come in the house before you pass out.” Was all the younger man said as he reluctantly turned away.

A grunt was his only acknowledgement.

“You can carry yer ass back to the house with him, Spencer. Don’t need yer nursemaidin’.” Dean’s voice made both men jump.

Dean smiled sadly as he watched his old and new friends sleep. It said something for Eliot’s state of mind that Dean had crept past, showered and made coffee without waking the paranoid man.

The mystical bond Dean had forged with Lindsey to make it through hell without losing the younger man had faded. He’d driven into town and replaced the bottle he’d thrown against one of the wrecks in a fit of self-pity with only a slight twinge. The nightmares of Hell were back in full force, and since he couldn’t sleep he would drive and hunt until he could … Today might be a good day to pack his Baby and hit the road.

Heading back to the coffee pot, he didn’t see the sliver of blue/grey behind the curtain of dark lashes.

The groan of antique sofa springs, creak of the wooden floor boards, alerted Dean that the ‘twins’ were up and moving. He grabbed his cup and headed out the door before they got into the kitchen to start the next round of questions about how he was feeling.

Dean had his head under the hood of the Impala when he heard the door slam and could hear Sam practically stomping across the yard. With a tired sigh Dean mentally braced himself for Sam’s newest rant.

“You didn’t come to bed last night.” He state baldly.

Dean never lifted his head from under the hood.

“When did you become the ‘little woman’?” He snarked.

“The nightmares are back?”

“Who said they left?”

That stopped Sam in his tracks.

“But …”

“You ready to go?” Dean pushed.

“Go?” Sam asked confused.

“Did you hit yer head? Yeah … Go … Get in the car and drive away.”

“What about the thing with Lindsey?”

“Not a problem. Now move yer giant ass.” Dean growled.

He straightened and lowered the hood gently.

“Or stay here and get yer demon bitch to zap you wherever you wanna be.” Dean glared as he brushed past Sam to the house.

With a quiet sigh, Dean heard Sam following him meekly to the house.

Sam had continued up the stairs while Dean turned to grab a glass of water found himself cornered by Bobby.

“Dean, just hear me out before you go off all half-cocked.” Bobby knew he had to talk fast before Dean’s sharp tongue got ahead of his exhausted brain. “Give me a chance to find you a hunt instead of just aimlessly driving around ‘til something falls in your lap. We all need time to regroup after whatever idiot stunt you pulled to get that boy’s soul back.” Bobby tried not to raise his voice, but his fear of what Dean was willing to sacrifice for others made his tone sharp.

Dean looked as though Bobby had slapped him before his expression smoothed over.

“Fine. You ladies let me know when you recuperate from having to deal with the class fuck up.” Dean said through gritted teeth.

“Dean … Boy …”

Bobby shook his head in exasperation as Dean stalked out of the house with a slam of the door that rattled the windows.

Exhausted, haunted and angry, Dean stood in the middle of the yard quivering with the need to DO something, but having no target to focus on. He stood mustering all the control forty years of torture under Alastair had taught him to keep from losing his tenuous grip on his emotions. He was startled out of his inertia when something wet, cold and warm attacked the fists clenched at his sides.

He looked down at the two sets of brown eyes staring up adoringly. Samson and Delilah were the Rottweiler pups Bobby got shortly after Dean’s return from hell.

“At least someone around here loves me.” He muttered. “Come on, pups. Let’s see what we can find to piss somebody else off.”

He looked around the yard until he spotted Lindsey’s truck. Ah, the perfect project. There was something that just wasn’t sounding quite right about the old girl. Dogs in the back, Dean fired up the old Ford and headed for Bobby’s shop. Since he didn’t see sleep in his foreseeable future—tearing the classic apart and putting her back together would have to suffice.

Samson sitting up from where he was lying by the front wheel of the truck alerted Dean that someone was coming toward the garage. The near silent footfalls told him it was Eliot. He half expected Eliot to grab a leg and pull him and the creeper from under the old truck, so before the mercenary got any closer he rolled completely under the Ford. He decided to head any intervention to his self-imposed exile off at the pass.

“Workin’ here. Go away.”

‘Yeah, well, the dinner bell just rang so get cleaned up and yer ass to the house.” Eliot leaned against the workbench, arms crossed over his chest.

“In the middle of somethin’, Spencer. I’ll come in when I’m done.” Dean growled.

“Dammit Dean.”

“Don’t need yer motherhennin’, Eliot … Better spent on Lindsey … Boy had a tough time of it.”

The conversation was ended when Dean pulled the trigger on the impact wrench.

Finally exhausted enough that his brain quit feeding his hands the information he needed, Dean put the shop to rights and closed down the lights. Standing in the deepest shadows between the house and garage he watched as Sam stole from the house.

Three hours later, the click of the locks signaled his return.

“Don’t forget to shower the stench off before you go in our room.”

Sam spun into a defensive crouch at the voice, but relaxed when he saw Dean sitting in the book lined living room.

“Dean?! … I …”

Dean continued as though Sam hadn’t spoken.

“Strip in the laundry room. I don’t wanna have to smell Hell every time I go in the room.” He tossed back the last bit of liquor in his glass before heading out the door. “Think I need some ‘fresh’ air.”

He left Sam gap mouthed in the middle of the room.

On the porch Dean drew in deep lungfuls of the night air. Smell had always been his strongest sense memory, and after this second trip to hell in less than a year everything was just as bright and vivid as the day he clawed his way out of the grave. Sulpher, ash, brimstone, Ruby’s stench … He’d learned all their scents…each demon had that baseline hell stench, but layered over that was a smell that belonged to each one. Ruby … Alastair … All the ones that had tortured him for his forty years in hell. He might not know their names, but he knew their scents, and the memories that each one’s scent triggered in his brain.

His mind prodded his body awake because someone was in the room. The smell brought forth memories of Pastor Jim’s church and … Lindsey.

“Do somethin’ for ya, Counselor?” Dean’s sleep roughened voice drawled.

Lindsey shivered. “I should be asking you that.” He moved from his chair to shove Dean against the back of the couch before sitting snugged against the hunter’s hip. “I’m …” Blue eyes met green. He scrubbed his hands over his face. “You’ve been there. You know it takes a day or two to shake the dust off.”

“Yeah.” He reached out to squeeze Dean’s hand. “I’m sorry.” At Dean’s quizzical expression he continued. “For causing you to dredge it all up again … Making it all fresh and nasty and right there.” He tapped his forehead.

Dean chuffed out a breath in a weak laugh.

“S’what I do. Find dragon, slay dragon, and rescue wavy haired damsels in distress.”

Serious blue eyes stopped his words.

“I know. Thank you.” He placed a chaste kiss on Dean’s lips before he moved off to the kitchen. “Coffee?”

“Think I’ll grab a shower first.” He stood and stretched. He felt keys digging into his thigh. “Linds.” He tossed the keys to the lawyer. “She oughta run better.”
Lindsey stared after him as he continued up the stairs.

When Dean came back down the stairs the near identical men were standing with their heads together over one of Bobby’s books. A pang of envy made his chest ache as he watched Lindsey lean into Eliot’s heat. He marked the calendar in his head that by the time the year turned those two would be together. Pasting his usual smirk on his face, Dean made his presence known.

“Ya wouldn’t be causin’ the cook to burn my breakfast?” He waggled his eyebrows when Lindsey jumped back from the retrieval specialist.

Before Lindsey could sputter out an answer, Eliot jerked his head toward the stove.

“Oven.”

Dean tackled the plate of food with gusto, but as soon as he was finished, the plate was washed, and grabbing a travel mug disappeared with his four legged shadows. When he stepped into the house several hours later, he heard Lindsey’s voice coming from the living room.

“When Dean finally found me they’d already cut into my chest. I don’t know where he got the idea to cut a piece off Castiel’s hand print and use it as a bandage, but it worked.”

While everyone’s attention was on Lindsey, Dean slipped up the stairs, his shoulder aching with remembered pain. With a jaw cracking yawn, he pulled off his boots and stretched out on his bed. Pulling the extra blanket over his shoulders, he wished for a few hours peaceful sleep before having to rejoin the real world. A rumpled sentry kept watch from the foot of the bed. When sweat broke out on the hunter’s forehead and he started to toss and turn, a gentle hand reached out to soothe away the nightmares. Satisfied, the exhausted mind was pushed deeper into sleep, two fingers smoothed over the frown lines across the freckled forehead. Satisfied the sentry disappeared from the room.

Cup of coffee in hand, Dean turned when he heard a familiar step behind him.

“Bobby, if you …”

“Dean, I just got word …”

The two men started at the same time.

“You first.” Dean leaned against the counter blowing across the top of the cup to cool his coffee.

“Riverton, Colorado …” Bobby refilled his cup and led the younger man to his desk.

Dean eased the Impala down Bobby’s dusty driveway. By the time wheels met tarmac, the rumble of the engine vibrating through his hands as he gripped the wheel already had him relaxing into ‘drive all night’ mode.

Sam’s shifting and twisting finally drew Dean’s attention from the almost hypnotic trance he’d been in since they crossed over into Wyoming.

On the south side of Denver he found a motel that was shabby but surprisingly clean. Dumping their gear in the room, he took advantage of Sam’s sleep fogged brain to leave him in the room while he made a food run. As he pulled away from the motel, he was hitting 2 on his speed dial.

“What did you do, Boy?” Bobby barked.

Dean ignored the question. “Did you find anything?”

“Not yet. Have you asked Castiel?”

“No. Don’t think I want the angels knowin’ ‘bout ‘em.” He admitted.

“Point.” Bobby paused. “Lindsey’s still ‘organizing’ my library. Want me to tell him to keep an eye out?”

“Guess it couldn’t hurt to have an extra set of eyes.” Dean conceded grudgingly.

“I read the spell, Dean … There was nothin’ in that spell that would have done that.”

“Don’t you think I know that? I went over that spell six different ways. I may not have Sam’s big brain, but I’m not an idiot.” Dean’s tone was petulant.
“Don’t git yer dander up, Boy. I know you’re not stupid.” Bobby insisted.

The comment was lost when Dean put the phone down while he ordered their food.

After Sam was asleep, Dean slipped out of the room, and when he came back several hours later, he was sore and battered, but his hands on research of the Swords of Balance had been a success.

Now all he had needed was to find out why.

~ Fini ~

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