Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: G

Synopsis: Dark thoughts in a dark place. Is this the end?

Author's note: Don't ask me where this one came from. I have no idea. I tend to lean toward happy endings, after all. It's a one-shot and it just had to be written. Hope you like it anyway.

Oppressive was a word he had never really known the meaning of until now. This place was oppressive. The sounds reaching him were scary, would probably have made anyone else quiver with fear, but he was hard to scare. Nevertheless, he was scared. He could admit it to himself, but he was hard pressed to let it show. Like always.

A shift on the chilly, damp and uneven dirt floor of what passed for a fairly deep root cellar was all he could manage. He was beaten physically, hurt maybe beyond repair, and there was noone coming to his rescue. Not this time. Not any more.

He swallowed, hard, but his throat was so dry, he was considering the moisture leaking down the boulder walls now. No mercy, no leniency, no give. No matter how he turned and twisted it. His hands were numb from too-tight shackles and the chain running away from them to the opposite wall – not that far away – was heavy as an anchor cable.

Halfheartedly he shifted again, cleared his throat painfully and raised his weary head. He was reduced to this, unable to fend for himself, awaiting a fate worse than Hell, worse than death, worse than ...

His gaze shifted, toward the rickety open staircase. Light filtered through from up there, the flickering light of torches and candles. Occasional footsteps overhead shifted dirt between the heavy planks and sent it raining down on him. But his main point of attention was the figure crouching on the ground next to the staircase, back bent, upper arms resting on knees, hands clasped, head down. Darkness shrouded the soul like someone had turned out the light and right now, there was a power failure, the damned power plant had shut down and was refusing to work again.

His own soul felt darker now, shredded and torn, wrung out and hung up to dry. There was no more hope, no more chances, no more get-out-of-Hell-free cards. Whatever grace had been granted was spent, wasted and thrown away. Darkness was all that was left and in the end, darkness seemed stronger than light. There had been times when he would have denied that, refused to believe that good would not conquer over evil, but now he wasn't so sure, now he didn't believe that good would win.

With an effort almost beyond him, he pushed himself up a little, used the uneven, cold, moist wall behind him for support, his gaze never leaving the figure by the stairs. He wasn't beyond begging, not any more, not now. It was just a question of whether it would do any good any more, something he doubted at this point in time. But he had to try, didn't he? He had to. He wouldn't be who he was if he didn't at least try. "Sam, please."

But his words fell on deaf ears now. There was nothing left to plead with, nothing left to turn back to the light. It was all gone and so would he be too; soon.

The End