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24 October 2008 @ 09:17 pm
Supernatural Fic: To Fall By Your Hand  
Posted to supernaturalfic

Title: To Fall By Your Hand
Pairing/Characters: Dean, Sam, John, Bobby, OCs
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Seasons 1-3, Lazarus Rising
Summary: After escaping the Reaper Dean's inherits its power (IMTOD Post-Ep AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

They stand side by side: brothers in mourning.

Flames rise heavenward from the funeral pyre.

John's soul does not follow.

His Hell is to watch his boys, follow every moment of danger unable to help.

John Winchester has never been truly helpless.

He is now.

So he watches.


They don't notice it right off, but John does. No detail escapes him.

Dean beds a pretty waitress and she calls in sick the next day, exhausted, and then the next two days after. Dean's long gone. His effect lingers.

A handshake is too brief, but if the skin to skin contact is prolonged people feel it. They just don't understand what it is or know its origin. The touch of death is from death itself - death denied.

Only death, in its way, refuses to be completely denied.

The boys are too manly to touch much and Sam's used to feeling wiped out after a hunt so it's not something they'd notice.

But John waits, having faith that his boys are smart enough to figure it out eventually.

He's just not sure what it will do to them, to Dean, once they know.


They're fighting a young woman who's been turned into a vampire when visible evidence presents itself.

Dean grabs onto the girl's bare arms and she weakens instantly at the contact. Apparently the undead are more sensitive to death's touch.

She looks confused, stares at Dean in disbelief.

He stares back with equal confusion as his mere grip is enough to bring the powerful being to her knees, drain the life from her, until she falls inanimate at his feet.

He chops off her head just in case, but Dean's shaken.

Sam was off fighting another vampire and didn't see.

Dean tries to describe it, but Sam shrugs it off as anomalous after a while and moves on, unable to hear John shouting at him to pay attention.

Dean dwells.


They save a little girl from a Shtriga in Montana. She's scared - who wouldn't be? Dean holds her delicate little hand, praising her for being brave in his most reassuring voice.

She frowns at him after a moment and tugs her hand away. She backs away warily, treating him like he's a monster too.

It hits Dean that maybe he is. This touch is not only real, it affects humans, not just vampires.

By the time Sam returns Dean's in full freak out mode. They get the girl to her parents quickly then head back to the motel.

Dean paces as he relates the experience with the girl, finally realizing this power - if one could call it that - is an aftereffect of him cheating the Reaper.

Sam tries to reassure him with promises of research, but this is one condition from which Dean feels certain there is no cure.

John has never felt Hell as strongly as he does in this moment: seeing his eldest in so much pain.


Of course Sam has the bright idea to have Dean test it on him, which Dean vetoes as vehemently as possible. Finally Bobby intercedes, grabbing Dean's wrist while both are too busy arguing to notice.

Dean tries to shake him off, but Bobby holds firm long enough to feel the effect.

He lets go, blinking at Dean who bursts into an angry fit - yelling at both of them out of fear and anger and residual grief John can feel so strongly it ricochets in the room like bullets.

They try to research the phenomena, but this is too obscure. Dean's unique. Few people cheat death and no one else walking the earth today cheated death the same way John cheated it for him, the same way Dean bested the Reaper.

Dean is flooded with guilt, remembering all the women he's been with since he almost died - and there have been plenty. Nothing like a near death experience to make a man crave life-affirming sex. So he swears off women. He may love the sins of the flesh, but he'd never knowingly hurt anyone for it.

John dies a little more at his son's loss and misses Mary more than ever.

Dean scours the obituaries online for hours until he's convinced all the women he's been with are still alive.

He won't let Sam or Bobby come near him, finally just taking the Impala out alone, parking it along the side of a deserted road miles from town.

The only tears shed are John's; he trained Dean too well not to cry.


Dean throws himself into hunting with reckless abandon. His strategy now seems to be just getting his hands on as many evil sons of bitches as possible, but it's risky getting that close.

Sam yells at him, but Dean ignores his concerns. He's discovered his touch works on vampires, shtrigas, werewolves and corporeal spirits so far. It's only temporary on the spirits - they still have to salt and burn the bones - but it lasts far longer than shotgun salt so it buys them time.

The first time Dean tries it on a demon? He's gotten too cocky and the demon is too strong.

It just gets pissed.

It grabs Dean by the throat, lifts him from the ground even as his fingers scrabble for purchase on the inhuman grip cutting off his life.

Sam's too far away. He doesn't think, he just reaches out his hand as if he can choke the demon from a distance.

It works.

The demon starts coughing up black smoke, letting go of Dean to turn to stare at this new threat.

Sam ups his efforts, feeling power surge through him - his will being executed without question.

Dean recovers and jumps the demon, wrapping his hands around its neck.

The effect is immediate: Between the two of them the inky blackness is disgorged all at once, leaving a spent shell slumped in Dean's arms.

They stare at the body of the girl, unconscious yet no longer possessed, then at each other.

There is punishment for praying in Hell, but John prays anyway.


Dean pulls the Impala over only a few miles away and rails at Sam as they stand in the glare of the headlights, Dean too stunned to pace yet too agitated to stay still.

Sam argues that them both having powers makes them better able to take out demons.

Dean yells back that using powers that Sam got from a demon is in no way okay.

There's silence between them after that, just heavy breathing and crickets in the tense air.

John feels the weight of the onus he put on his son and worries about losing the other to darkness.

They argue until they reach an uneasy truce for the night.

The motel room is cold that night; neither of them gets much sleep.


They argue the whole drive to Arkansas whether Sam should use his powers or not.

The debate is made moot when three demons corner them on a hunt where they thought there was only one.

Back to back, they draw the demons closer. It's a gambit, but if Dean can get hands on two of them at once the third might back off when it sees what happens.

They share wordless communication, born out of a lifetime together and of years of hunting as a team, and time their assault.

Dean grabs the two closest by the wrist and Sam reaches out with hands and mind.

Twin volcanoes of darkness erupt from the hosts' throats.

The third bolts.

Dean tackles him before he can reach the door and holds him still while Sam's power - augmented by Dean's touch - sends him back to Hell.

John wishes he could look away, not see the feral gaze in Sam's eyes.

But he can't.

This is his Hell after all.


They tear through the Midwest, Bobby calling in every sighting to them. They clean out more in a month than they used to do in half a year.

They feel unstoppable and act like it too.

Sam's power is increasing - he barely needs Dean at all; his touch just makes it so much faster.

Dean's growing sullen though. He looks longingly at women and moves away whenever anyone stands too close to him, recoiling from any hand reaching towards him.

John fears Sam's humanity is slipping away. He fears Dean being denied human contact will destroy him just the same.

And then a Reaper comes along.

It's a normal death, scheduled to occur, but Dean doesn't think - just throws himself between the young woman and the Reaper.

He sees it and it sees him. It regards him with confusion at first, then tries to go around him. When Dean blocks its way again it reaches out and puts its hand on Dean's face.

That simple gesture brings Dean to his knees, skin paling, eyes glazing over.

Dean's terror is knives to John's flesh. He strains at the torturous bonds that hold him prisoner, the boundaries of existence that prevent him from interceding, saving his son.

Once Dean's no longer a threat the Reaper lets him fall and proceeds to the girl, harvesting her in seconds.

Sam runs over to find his brother on the ground, barely breathing. Frantic, he seeks and finds a faint pulse, cups his brother's placid face in his hands and screams at him to come back.

Dean revives slowly; life so drained does not easily return.

He's so out of it it takes him - it takes all three of them - a while to realize: Sam's had his hands on Dean's skin all this time and felt nothing.

Sam is immune to Dean's power; he can't be harmed by his brother's touch.

Something breaks in Dean, in John too as he watches his sons embrace - clutching each other not just out of reassurance that Dean survived another brush with death, but confirmation that truly nothing can come between them.


Dean insists that they stay in town long enough to attend the young woman's funeral.

Heart defect, the priest says. Runs in the family.

Dean still feels responsible, like he should have been able to stay the Reaper's hand.

Sam feels every life they can't save regardless.

They stand, wearing their good suits, a short distance away from the circle of family and friends around the gravesite.

They do good in the world, regardless of the source of their powers, and they've made peace with that.

But they still grieve those they cannot save.

So they stand side by side: brothers in mourning.

And John is proud.

Pride is punished in Hell as well.

But it's worth it.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on October 25th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
This was written for fhionnuiscetine's request on the Fall Fandom Free for All. She asked for Powers!Dean with a side of Powers!Sam and an appearance by the Reaper in an AU with a reasonable set up as to why Dean had powers. I figured Dean's supernatural experience was pretty unique in IMTOD, so I gave him the Reaper's touch of death as a result of his experience with them.

I tossed in the twist of having this story be through John's eyes despite his death in IMTOD. I didn't want Dean or Sam's POV, which in a story about Powers!Dean and Powers!Sam was kind of tough, but when I hit upon starting it at John's funeral pyre I thought why not use him as observer?

For those who like to view the fic through slash goggles (Wincesters) I added in Sam's immunity, fashioned after his invulnerability when Lilith attacked in No Rest for the Wicked as a hint that Dean might only be able to engage in a physical relationship with Sam. For the rest of you, picture either brief mostly clothed encounters or imagine an OFC that has some sort of life force power (Cloak and Dagger anyone?) that counteracts his enough that they can be together.

The title was inspired I think by the Smiths lyric "to die by your side" (from There is a Light That Never Goes Out) and I kind of wish the title was longer: To Fall By Your Hand, To Die By Your Side. But wow, would that be way too pompous or what? ;-)

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais
melissima: Sam!melissima on October 25th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
Oh boys, oh JOHN! The pain of watching a child hurt is hard enough in the real world. In John's position??? Oh! /Pets him/

This is such a well-crafted dance through a tough time in all their lives. It manages to be memorable, even effecting, while still moving so fast I can almost see the world spinning days away under their feet. Beautiful.
Tori Lovelostandalone22 on October 25th, 2008 08:50 am (UTC)
Great story! I really like the idea of Dean having lingering effects from cheating the reaper.
Tangles: Winchesters 2entangled_now on October 25th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
I loved this! I'm always curious when someone gives Dean powers, where they come from and how he uses them and this was a great exploration of that.
labseraphlabseraph on November 1st, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Whoa. This is awesome. Dean changed by the touch of the reaper ... I like the twists you gave this one. And John's personal hell? Inspired.
saintsghostsaintsghost on July 5th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
WOW cool fic there man. :) Be cool to see this idea lengthed into a verse it'd be awsome! :) Great work man! :)
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on October 24th, 2009 08:10 am (UTC)
Well damned done, love!! This was fantastic!

Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 24th, 2009 08:42 am (UTC)
Well, thank you! I was sure this fic was long forgotten, so it's a lovely treat to get a fresh comment on it a year to the day after it was first published.

Thanks for reading!