Title: The Path That No One Goes
Description: They hold no quarter
ajj2001 - September 10, 2008 03:46 AM (GMT)
I first posted this from January - March at ff.net, and by demand of one (thanks scorpio311!) I'm putting it here. This is the touched up version, with the writing improved.
Hmm, a synopsis? Sam shows up at Ellen Harvelle's new place alone and out of his mind, with no idea what happened to Dean. In the meantime, Dean finds himself stuck in a rather bad predicament. The folklore is built around Greek mythology, Louisiana Native American legend, and "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin. Somehow, it strangely worked. :D
Here is chapter 1. Enjoy!
The Path That No One Goes
Walking side by side with death
The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that's slow
The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through
To build a dream for me and you
They choose the path that no one goes
– No Quarter, Led Zeppelin
“Oh, thank God, there you are!” Relief swarmed through Sam as he ran toward his distant brother, all sorts of questions running through his mind. Where has he been the last few days? Why was he so hard to find? How did Dean get here without the Impala? Why isn’t he pissed right now over being left behind?
“What’s wrong Sammy?” Dean asked, perplexed as his frantic brother came closer into view.
“What’s wrong?!?” Sam yelled, questioning why his brother was so nonchalant. “You had me worried sick. I thought you were dead!” Sam suddenly jerked, stunned to find he couldn’t move any closer once he got a few feet from Dean. A giant, invisible force field held him back.
“Why are you worrying? I’m a big boy,” Dean said casually, almost mocking his brother over his excess reaction.
Sam pushed harder to go forward, but only met resistance. “What’s going on Dean? Why can’t I come closer to you?”
“Beats me.” Dean slowly backed away, putting a more uncomfortable distance between them.
“Dean, get back here! I don’t like this.”
“It’s okay Sammy.” Dean glanced up and down at the tall figure in front of him and flashed a wicked smile, all while continuing his dawdling trek backward. He watched with delight his brother grow more disturbed with each step.
Sam struggled more, but stayed paralyzed in his spot. Why was Dean doing this to him? What’s happening? “Don’t leave me Dean!”
Dean’s malevolent grin grew wider while he kept moving backward. The usual sparkle in his eyes was different, troubling Sam further. It was as if it turned, Sam didn’t want to admit it, sinister.
“There’s only one way you can be with me Sammy.”
“No!!!” Sam shouted, fighting harder but still watching his brother slip away. “You know I can’t do that. We’ll find another way.”
Dean shrugged. “Suit yourself. I’ll just leave.” A red glow flashed in Dean’s eyes.
Sam’s vision clouded from the tears beginning to form. “Please, don’t go!” he pleaded, pushing his hands out in front of him before they were stopped as well.
Dean broke into evil laughter before bursting into flames.
Ellen Harvelle thought she heard a scream outside. She raced through the large room and grabbed her pistol behind the bar, cocking the trigger before heading to the front door. Not too many hunters out there knew about her new hideaway, but she accepted that word travelled fast. The location was remote and not easy to find, so if anyone did come a calling, they shouldn’t be screaming.
She pushed the door open, wincing over the loud creek coming from the screen door hinges. She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t fixed that yet. A slow glance side-to-side revealed nothing, but she relaxed when she looked forward, spotting the familiar sight of the black 1967 Chevy Impala. There was no sign of Sam and Dean though, forcing her to tighten again. Based on the scream she heard, she suspected Sam had issued the warning.
She crept down the front porch stairs slowly, holding her revolver out in front, fully prepared to fire when necessary. The gun pointed left, then right, and then she moved into the dark, which was intensified by the thick forest surrounding the cabin. Her feet took her slowly toward the back, her boots sinking into the soft mud below when she spotted something in the distance. As she got closer she gasped, for the moonlight revealed the slumping figure on the ground. The tall man was on his knees, rocking back and forth.
“Sam?” She rushed to his side, touching his arm and kneeling beside him. He was shaking, eyes wide in fear, and panting heavily. “What happened Sam? Where’s Dean?”
He reached out and clutched onto the edges of her jacket, holding on for dear life. “Dean!”
“What happened to him Sam?”
Sam wouldn’t answer, still gazing at her with a terrified expression. Little gasps of breath poured out of him in between shivers, telling her he was having a hard time pulling it together. She stood up and pulled out a flashlight from her pocket, hoping to find any set of footprints that would let her know which way Dean went. Considering the ground was soggy, they should be easy to find. A quick search didn’t reveal any though. All she saw was a trail of one set of prints coming from the Impala to Sam’s location. There was no evidence of Dean at all.
She hooked her hands under Sam’s arm and pulled him up. “Let’s get you inside.” He followed her lead, heading inside the large cabin.
“How’d you get here Sam?” She asked as they climbed onto the porch. Sam stayed silent, his deep breaths of anxiety still causing him too much discomfort.
She led him inside and over to the nearest table, sitting him down and checking thoroughly for wounds, or any signs of trauma, and removing his jacket in the process. He stared off into the distance, not reacting to any of her touches. She crept slowly toward the bar, watching Sam carefully to make sure he didn’t make any sudden moves. She knew what people were capable of when they weren’t acting right. Anything goes.
From behind the bar she grabbed her flask, and cautiously approached Sam again. He didn’t notice her holding it as she stepped behind him and twisted off the cap. The quick splash of water didn’t cause him to flinch, and Ellen sighed with relief when no steam surfaced. He wasn’t possessed.
Ellen walked in front of him, forcing eye contact. “Sam, can I get you anything?”
Sam’s lost eyes gave her another burst of fear before he buried his head into his shaking hands. Ellen sadly nodded, suspecting only one thing might help. She went to the bar and fetched a glass and a bottle of whiskey, pouring some into the glass and placing the items directly in front of him. She wasn’t at all surprised when Sam temporarily snapped out of his catatonic state to pick up the glass and consume its contents. Drinking was still a primal instinct.
“Sam, you hold tight. I’ll be right over here. I’m gonna call Bobby.” His usually innocent eyes again fixed across the room in a vacant stare, since they had nowhere else to go.
“How fast can you get here?” Ellen nervously paced, not at all sure the best way to handle this situation.
The voice on the other end of the phone tried to calm her, but it wasn’t helping. “He’s not talking Bobby. Something must have scared the crap out of him. I’m not sure he’s even in his right mind. I’m still wondering how he managed to get here in one piece.”
Ellen listened to Bobby on the other end of the phone ask the obvious questions. “Yes I checked the Impala. It looks like only one person traveled a long way to get here. You know he wouldn’t leave Dean behind unless something happened to him.”
Her head dropped when she heard what was next. “A few days? What am I supposed to do with Sam in the meantime? He’s not going to want to sit here and do nothing.” She frowned, realizing Bobby was right. He told her he last talked with Sam a few days ago, and needed to go check out the location, see if he could find Dean. They were in Louisiana consulting an expert on a situation.
“An expert? A situation? There’s something you aren’t telling me.” She then realized Bobby wouldn’t reveal the story on the phone. “Okay, just let me know if you find out anything. I’ll do the same.”
She hung up, examining the tall, hunched over frame in the seat in the corner. He couldn’t be right. He wouldn’t leave Dean alone. He would be out there frantically looking for him. He would unless he knew that there was nothing to find. She approached slowly, hoping to try again. Chances are the whiskey loosed him up a bit.
“Please Sam. Snap out of it and tell me what happened.”
She watched Sam slam down the drink before shaking his head, pursing his lips together and letting a few tears well up in his eyes. “I couldn’t save him.”
“Are you talking about Dean? Did something happen to him?”
Sam moved his trembling hand to his face, rubbing his bloodshot eyes, letting a more pronounced sob escape him. “He can’t make me do it.”
“Sam please, you’re scaring me. Is Dean dead?”
He wouldn’t make eye contact, instead going for another drink, fighting hard to control his emotions with deep breaths. She realized she was just upsetting him further and was going to have to let this go for now. “Okay Sam, I know you’ll tell me when you’re ready. I’ll be here if you need me.”
She went over to the bar and poured herself a stiff drink. Hunters came into the roadhouse before emotionally and mentally wrecked beyond belief. After all, it came with the territory. She had seen even the best of them crumble from time to time, but she’d never seen anything like this before.
She watched hopelessly, witnessing Sam drink more and more, his upper body drifting closer and closer to the table, until he eventually passed out. She went in the back and grabbed a blanket, throwing it over Sam’s immobile frame.
“I’d give you a bed in the back, but I can’t move you. You look more comfortable here anyway.” She hoped Sam would talk in the morning, and that Bobby would find something in Louisiana to explain all this.
He shot up from the mattress, heart pounding, eyes trying hard to focus. His arms were instinctively wrapped around himself to tame his shivering from the cold that hung in the room. “Sam?” He shouted out, only to hear the echo of his voice.
Dean’s hand swiped across his chest, and that’s when he realized something very important was missing. He looked all around him, searching desperately, hoping it had just fallen off. The search proved fruitless, his amulet was gone.
“Just hold it together Winchester,” Dean told himself, looking at the grey and dingy walls that surrounded him. There wasn’t a door anywhere. The room was small, and aside from the bed he was lying on, it was empty. The damp chill in the air bothered him the most though. Everything about this place felt very wrong. He felt disconnected from reality.
He got up and turned full circle, stunned to find a figure behind him, facing the far corner, as if it was a child being punished. The person’s black hair was long, dirty and tangled, and his clothes were tattered and torn.
“Hello?” Dean said.
No answer. He shuffled closer, noticing the puffs of steam emerging from his breath. It was definitely cold in there. He stood next to the person, not seeing any signs of breathing, or any movement at all. He cautiously reached his hand forward, going for the person’s arm.
All of a sudden, the man whipped around and grabbed Dean’s wrist. Dean gasped and tried to wrestle free, but the man tightened his grip. His face was bleach white, his eyes dark, and his devilish smile revealed his rotten teeth.
“They hold no quarter,” the man’s gravely voice warned.
Dean yanked one more time, falling back into the bed just as the man vanished into thin air. More steam rose in the air from his heavy breathing. What the hell? No, it can’t be hell, it’s too cold. He got back up and tapped the walls frantically, not finding any passage that led outward. His search didn’t reveal any hollow spots either, only solid concrete. He stood on the bed and reached up to touch the ceiling, finding it to be solid as well.
Dean dropped back onto the bed and ran his hand through his hair, feeling his heart pounding through his chest. None of this made sense. Wherever he was, he was staying for a while.
ajj2001 - September 13, 2008 01:34 AM (GMT)
Usually with my stories, chapter 2 is always a weak setup chapter. Not this one. It's one of the more intense ones and of my favorites in this story. Oh, and it's a long one too. Enjoy!
Sam felt the rough surface of the wood underneath his cheek, the smells of the room unfamiliar to him. He was used to waking in strange places, but this time he was too scared to open his eyes. Fear and anxiety rippled through him, and he had no clue why. His eyelids slowly cracked open, allowing the dull light to peer through, revealing nothing familiar. He gently raised his head, wincing through the pain, eyes focusing on the large room, and his mind reeling. When he pushed the heel of his palm onto his throbbing forehead, it all suddenly hit him.
He jumped up, and froze after a few steps in the middle of the room, not sure where he was supposed to find his brother. He didn’t even know where he was, or how he got there. Everything in his mind was fragmented, coming at him in bits and pieces and he couldn’t tie it all together.
“Sam?” Ellen rushed over to him, face filled with deep concern. “How are you feeling?”
“It’s…I just…uh…how did I get here?”
His wide eyes of despair were a departure from the previous day’s glassy and lost. “Don’t you remember coming here last night?” She watched his far away glare and how he was wracking his brain over the question.
He shook his head. “It feels like I’ve been wandering in a fog for days.”
“Just relax. Sit down and we’ll try to figure this out.” She guided him to a nearby bar stool.
Sam thought long and hard, hoping to piece together where he came from. Bobby had mentioned to him and Dean a few weeks ago that Ellen had a new place, a safe house for hunters, but how did he find it? If he remembered correctly, it was in a remote location that required some navigating. He couldn’t have done that on a faint mind. Or could he? None of this made sense.
While running through all the questions silently, his right hand drifted to his chest, triggering a new wave of terror when he discovered the hard object under his shirt. His fingers crawled up his neck, feeling the rawhide string that draped around the back of it. He fumbled nervously while pulling it out from hiding, and his heart dropped when he cradled in his fingers the amulet that should be with Dean.
Ellen gasped at the sight of the charm as well. That wasn’t a good sign.
"Oh God, Dean." Sam eyes glistened before he shot up and rushed out the door.
“Sam, where are you going?” Ellen followed right behind.
He raced outside, feeling both relief and panic when he saw the Impala. He opened the driver side door, leaning in and searching the car recklessly, hoping something in there that would trigger his memory. He slammed the door in frustration when nothing came to him.
“I already checked it Sam. There’s no clues in there.”
He looked off to the side, remembering the field where he last saw Dean. He followed the steps in the mud, and a flood of memories from his encounter came back to him. “Dean was here.”
“No Sam, he wasn’t. Trust me, I was here with you and I looked.”
“I know I saw him!”
“I’m sure you did. He wasn’t here though.”
Horror swept through him. Am I getting visions again? He took in one deep breath after another, his mind flashing through all the recent events while attempting fruitlessly for it all to make sense. He fished through his pocket, and pulled out the keys to the Impala.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Ellen asked when Sam briskly charged back to the car.
“I’ve got to find him.”
“How? Do you even remember where you came from?” Ellen sensed his dismay, wishing she could help him through this. There was nothing of comfort she could say though.
Sam froze by the side of the vehicle, leaning over the hood face first and pounding his fist. “I’ve got to find him.”
“I called Bobby shortly after you showed up here last night. He’s out looking for Dean right now. We can go inside and call him if you want.”
Sam shook his head, pressing his lips together, not able to think rationally. “No, Dean needs me.”
Ellen grabbed his arm. “Stop it Sam! You aren’t level headed right now. When was the last time you saw Dean?”
“It was…” He took in more deep breaths, wishing the answer would come to him, but instead everything was blank. “What day is it?”
Sam closed his eyes hard in desperation, trying whatever he could to trigger something. “I remember talking to Bobby on Monday, but that’s it.”
“Is that all you remember?”
One other thing popped in his mind, but it made no sense. “No quarter.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“Please Sam. Let’s go inside. We’ll work this out.”
Sam opened the car door. “I can call Bobby on the road. Maybe something out there will help me remember.”
Ellen continued to plead. “No Sam, you can’t leave. You’ve been through something terrifying, and Bobby wants you here.”
“I can’t leave him. He’s in trouble, I feel it.”
Just when Sam was about to get in the car, a commanding voice from the porch spoke out. “You better listen to her son, or I swear I’ll knock some sense into you myself.”
Both Ellen and Sam’s heads quickly jerked toward the porch, spotting a gun pointing right at Sam’s shoulder.
“Steve!” Ellen said. “How’d you get here?”
“Car’s down the drive a bit. You know, an old hunter’s precaution.”
“Who are you to tell me what to do?” Sam shouted, now gritting his teeth in anger.
The older man took a few steps forward off the porch, looking at Sam square in the eye. “Get inside son.”
“I’m not your son!”
“No, but if John Winchester was here right now, he’d kick your ass also for not listening. If you’d get your head out of your butt, you’d figure out that this lady is trying to help.”
Sam’s eyes flared at him in a show of contempt. He looked back at Ellen, whose face begged him to listen to Steve. After a few more deep breaths, he nodded, and backed away from the Impala.
Steve watched Sam cautiously as he followed Ellen back into the cabin. He knew stubborn hunters that were half-cocked were anxious to try a fast move for escape. His hand still clutched his revolver in precaution, even if he didn’t want to use it. Luckily, he didn’t have to.
“Is it too early for a beer?” Sam asked Ellen as he flopped down on a bar stool inside.
“In your case, not at all.”
Dean pulled his arms out of the sleeves of his shirt, pressing them in a tight fold against his chest underneath his shirt, while curling up his body on the bed. The cold chill in the air started to work into his bones and keeping warm was his only motivation. It was about all he could do right now. There was nothing else.
Only one thing dominated his thoughts. Where was Sammy? What did that bitch do to him? Was Sam all alone, in a similar room, going through similar torment? He knew his brother could take care of himself, but it was his nature to worry. He wasn’t able to be there, to protect him. That was scaring him worse than any predicament he faced.
He remembered them being captured and her putting Sam into a deep sleep before she took him away and did the same to him. He wondered how long he had been under, and what day it was. It felt like he’d been asleep for days. None of that was as important though as knowing what happened to Sam.
“What did you do with my brother you bitch!” Dean shouted out, hoping he’d get some type of answer. Instead, the thick walls bounced his question back at him. Shivers began to attack his body, not just from the cold, but from anxiety as well. He closed his eyes, and for the moment thought very warm thoughts.
As soon as he opened his eyes, he jumped at the sight of the ghostly figure hovering over him. It was a child, about twelve years old, malevolence dominating his pale face. “Cold enough for ya?” The child asked.
“No. It’s like I’m at the beach.” Dean replied, in between chatters of his teeth.
The child laughed, and pulled out from behind his back a small container. The metal can looked very familiar to Dean. It was the one he and Sam used for salt. The child began to sprinkle it all over Dean.
“What are you doing?” Dean asked, wanting to jump up, but he found he was unable to move.
“Death for ghosts,” the boy said while humming, coming up with a small can of gasoline next.
Dean all of sudden remembered the boy. It was one of the first corpses he torched while hunting with his dad. The burn of the gasoline hitting his body all of a sudden made him forget the cold. He struggled harder to move, but found himself pinned on the bed. “Put that away you freak!”
“Okay,” the child said, can vanishing into thin air. The boy cackled when he produced the shiny silver lighter next.
“Don’t you dare!” Dean threatened, now fighting with no avail to get up. “What do you want from me?”
“To the death Dean, to the death.” The kid laughed just before throwing the lighter on top of him.
Dean watched in terror the flames ignite his clothes. He couldn’t move his arms to put the fire out. Within seconds, he screamed, feeling his flesh begin to burn away. The boy continued to hover over him, smiling as Dean fell further into peril. “That should keep you warm.”
In a flash he was gone, and Dean shot up from the bed, patting himself to find that he was okay. There was no salt, no gasoline, no fire. He started pacing around the small room, finding he was now shivering out of fright instead of cold.
Steve watched Ellen tend to the tall young man, who looked like he’d been through hell. The unshaven face he was sporting made him look older than he was. The mop of hair that sat of the top of his head was dirty and disheveled, and his clothes were rumpled, like he had slept in the same set for days.
Ellen was an old friend, and seeing a friendly face right now was welcoming, despite the strange circumstances he walked into. He recently had a long rough time on the road, and needed a place where his weary old bones were welcome. As much as he loved his baby, another night in the Charger wasn’t giving him any warm fuzzies.
When the original roadhouse burned to the ground, it hurt him more than he ever imagined it would. He lost the place to get in touch with those of his kind, a place where he wouldn’t feel detached from all that was happening out there. It reminded him that no matter how broken he was after a hunt, what he was doing made a difference. Even if he had to drive miles of back road in North Texas to get here, putting his baby through a brutal obstacle course of ruts, bumps and mud, he didn’t mind, for the isolation was perfect. It was a great place to hide for a while.
Eventually Ellen worked her way back over to him, once Sam was setup with a beer and some reassurance. "It’s so good to see you,” she said, giving him that warm smile that always made him feel better. “How’d you find me?”
“I got directions from a good friend,” he said, noticing her nervous behavior. Whatever was happening with that boy, it had her rattled.
She walked back behind the bar, thinking in the back of her mind that she wasn't sure how many more unexpected visitors she could take, even if Steve was a welcome one. She grabbed a glass, as well as a bottle of bourbon. He clutched onto the glass as she poured, eagerly waiting for it to be filled. The few seconds delay was killing him. When it was finally full, he brought the much needed relief to his lips and sighed as soon as it slithered down the back of his throat. He looked at Ellen with some worry. "You okay?"
"I should ask the same of you. How rough was this latest one?" Ellen asked. She knew that he was only this desperate for a drink after a grueling hunt.
Steve somberly glanced down at his drink. "Pretty bad. I swear it keeps getting worse each time. I was tracking something in South Florida for a while. I hate it there."
She nodded with a sympathetic glance. She had heard many horror stories lately since the demon war had started.
He glanced around the large room. “Love what you’ve done with the place.” It wasn’t as big as the old roadhouse, but it had many of the same touches. His wandering eyes took the opportunity to catch another long glance at Sam, who was in a trance, lost in his own little world of despair. He turned his attention back to Ellen, who had by now noticed his extended glare at Sam. “Hey, that’s a sweet looking Impala out there. Almost puts my baby to shame, but not quite. Isn’t that Dean’s car?”
Ellen sadly nodded.
“Where’s Dean?” He asked, just before choking down another bit of whiskey.
Ellen frowned. "He’s missing. Bobby’s out looking for him. How do you know the Winchesters?”
Every hunter heard about the Winchester brothers. Every old hunter knew John and the two boys he used to drag across country with him. He often wondered what that type of life those boys would embrace once they became men. Apparently they took over the dangerous family business. Not that they knew any other life. "I’ve crossed paths with John a few times before. I heard Sam was back hunting with Dean after John passed."
“I don’t know what to do. Sam’s so lost.”
“Poor kid.” He watched Ellen clean a few glasses, her anxious attention to scrubbing confirming that she was definitely bothered. “You’ve dealt with wrecked men before. Something has you rattled, and I think it’s more than a missing hunter.”
Ellen exhaled a deep sigh, admitting it wouldn’t hurt to share her burden with a trusted friend. "Sam turned up unexpectedly yesterday a complete mess. He isn’t acting right."
“He can’t remember anything, and I think he’s hallucinating. He was outside here yesterday screaming for his brother, insisting he was there and then gone.”
“Has he gotten violent?”
“No. Sam’s not like that.” Ellen lowered her head, holding back a tear. “I have a bad feeling about this. Dean would never leave his brother in this state unless something happened to him.”
Ellen glanced back to the opposite side of the bar, noticing Sam slip further into a drowsy state. She watched him fight any attempts his body made to drift off. “He needs a bed. I’ll take him to a room in the back.”
“You need some help?”
“No, I got this one. Thanks.”
Steve noticed that Sam gave little resistance to Ellen over the idea of a place to lie down for a while. For someone who was half-cocked no more than a half hour ago, the change in attitude was interesting. Something strange was going through that boy’s mind. He might have to stick around to find out what.
“Why didn’t you tell me Sam?”
Sam felt the cold chill surrounding him and turned around. His momentary excitement turned to confusion when he saw Dean’s scowl. Why was Dean so mad? His brother was across the room, stone faced and clenching his fists in anger. He tried to get close, only to be stopped by an invisible force.
“How dare you keep that from me!”
“What are you talking about Dean?” Sam asked, puzzled by the accusation.
Sam shook his head. This was all getting to be too much. “Please Dean, I’m tired. I haven’t slept right in days and my mind isn’t sharp. Can you clue me in?”
“Why didn’t you tell your own brother, the person that has saved your ass more times than you can count, that you’re a part blooded demon? Afraid I might hunt you?”
Sam’s heart sank. Who convinced him it was true? He wouldn’t believe anyone who told him that. He’d have to be, no, no, he can’t be. “Whatever you heard, it isn’t true.”
Dean took a step forward, but still maintained a safe distance. “Don’t lie to me! I saw it with my own eyes. Do you know how much it killed me to find out the truth? You were fed demon blood as a baby! That and you didn’t tell me our mother had a history with yellow eyes?”
“I didn’t know that for sure. She only recognized him. Besides, it wouldn’t have helped you to know.”
“You didn’t think I should know that!”
Tears began to flood Sam’s eyes. He couldn’t take torment like this right now from anyone, certainly not Dean. He wasn’t feeling strong enough. “I’m sorry. It was best you didn’t know.”
“It’s best I didn’t know! After all I’ve done for you? I went to hell for you.”
“I never asked you to do that.”
“I know now that you’d never do the same for me.”
Sam wiped a streaming tears from his face. “That’s not true.” He was so tired, wanting desperately to lie down and never wake up in a world without his brother. To think once upon a time he wanted to be alone, to live his own life without acknowledging that he had a family, a past, a dark secret. “Dean, without you around, it hurts worse than dying.”
Dean scowled, not buying the puppy dog act. “Give me a break. Don’t you realize by now that I actually died a year ago?”
Sam bit his lip, forcing himself to stay quiet. Dean was trying to weaken him. This really couldn’t be Dean. He wouldn’t do this. None of this was real.
“Think about it Sam. You didn’t just die. You died in my arms after I witnessed every bit of your horrible and graphic death. I gripped onto you with the worst fear imaginable, grasping for hope against hope that it wasn’t real. When you slipped away, the sky fell on me. I died too. The real tragedy of it though, I was wide awake for all of it.”
Sam broke into more tears, unable to fight his emotions. “I’m sorry Dean. I didn’t want to put you through that.”
“I was too devastated to move, frozen in place by the bedside in that abandoned house, pathetically quivering over the rotting hunk of flesh that used to be my baby brother. I cried and cried over you, wishing deep down that was me instead. I lived my absolute worst nightmare.”
Sam fell to his knees, trying now to catch his breath in between his deep sobs.
“When you see the most important person in your life die a gruesome death right in front of you, there can’t be anything worse.”
“Then I’m in hell too.” Sam said softly, wishing he were dead right now. He couldn’t fight this anymore.
“Indeed you are. So why fight it? There’s only one way you can be with me.”
Sam closed his eyes, still clinging onto the chance that this wasn’t real. “No, you can’t make me do it.”
Dean moved closer, putting himself within inches of Sam, his wicked grin disturbing his brother once again. “Give up now, or live your life in insanity. You should have known there are always twists in deals with demons. It’s funny, it’s like Star Trek. One alive, one not, yet both in pain.”
“You aren’t dead! This isn’t real!” Sam shouted.
“Oh, it’s real Sammy. Why don’t you give in? We can be brothers, together again.”
“No!!” Sam exclaimed, closing his eyes tighter, refusing to acknowledge the tyrant that was disguising himself as his brother.
Dean backed away, his smile fading as his eyes went black. “Okay, just remember, you asked for it.”
Sam clutched onto his chest, screaming as he felt his insides begin to rip open. Warm fluid began to run through his fingers, as he saw through his the squint of his eyes his own blood dousing his hand.
Steve heard the screams through the thin wall. He rushed into Sam’s room, pushing open the door with full force. Sam was on his knees, doubled over, clutching onto his chest in agony.
Ellen followed right behind and dropped in front of Sam. She grabbed each side of his drenched face and tried to force him to make eye contact. “Sam, wake up! It’s over!”
Sam didn’t even recognize that she was there. “Don’t do this Dean,” was all he muttered. He let out another scream.
Ellen shook him hard. “Please Sam, snap out of it!”
That was enough to wake him, his terrified face responding to her plea. “Ellen?”
“What’s going on Sam?”
After a few seconds he rose to his feet and staggered toward the bed, falling onto it exhausted and broken. It was just another nightmare, or hallucination, or vision, he told himself. At the moment, he could tell. The lines between real and not real were thinning, and he wondered how much longer he’d be able to know the difference.
Ellen stood up, watching Sam carefully, realizing that he was fighting hard to pull everything together, and it was a major struggle he might not be winning.
“Want me to stay with him?” Steve offered.
Ellen shook her head. “No, I’ll stay.” She hovered over the bed, watching the younger Winchester stare with vacant eyes at the wall, his shaking and panting beginning to subside.
Steve nodded and pulled up a chair for her next to the bed. “I’ll be in the other room if you need me.”
Ellen gave Steve an appreciative glance before he left, then picked up the blanket and pulled it over Sam. She touched his shoulder in hopes that it would offer comfort, but considering how far away he seemed right now, she didn’t think she was getting through. “Calm down Sam. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.”
ajj2001 - September 13, 2008 03:20 PM (GMT)
“I tell ya Bobby, I’m at my wits end here.” Ellen nervously fumbled with the phone receiver, blaming her lack of sleep for her frazzled emotional state. After spending almost all evening watching Sam stare at a wall, refusing to talk, she finally gave up and got couple of hours in her bed.
“I just checked in on him. He’s in the same state when I left him. I think he’s catatonic. This goes beyond anything I’ve had to deal with.”
“Ellen, you’ve got to hang in there.” Bobby’s voice held firm and calm. He knew that she wouldn’t break silence unless it was important, but they didn’t have much time to talk. “I might get there tomorrow, but I still don’t have any answers.”
Ellen’s heart sank. “You haven’t found anything?” She really needed to hear something promising, even if the hope was slight.
“Not a trace. It’s as if Dean has vanished from the face of the earth. I’ve got one other lead to check out. Apparently whatever they ran into is really good at covering its tracks.”
“Perfect,” Ellen replied sarcastically.
“If Sam acts up, just get him drunk or something. It can’t hurt.”
Ellen faintly smiled, agreeing that was the best advice she had in a few days. “Okay, I’ll handle it. Please hurry.”
“Yeah, okay.” Bobby hung up.
Ellen grasped onto her forehead, wondering how much longer she could keep this up. Sam wasn’t just having nightmares, he was having terrors. That was enough to push anyone over the edge, let alone someone who had seen all what Sam had seen in his young life. She just had to calm down and trust Bobby. If there was anything out there to be found, he’d find it.
“Morning Ellen.” She whipped around, finding a somewhat fresh Steve standing on the opposite side of the bar.
“Well at least one of us got some rest.”
“Were you up all night?”
“I got a couple of hours in. It wasn’t enough.”
Steve slipped into a bar stool, sliding his fingers through his grey hair and letting his face drop in sympathy for her predicament. He didn’t even have to ask for the fresh cup of coffee that was placed in front of him. Ellen always instinctively knew what he needed. “How’s the kid?”
“Terrible. He never did go back to sleep, but the way he stayed so still, shutting out the world, it scared me too much.” She bit her lip, holding back a whimper. She had to be strong.
"Look Ellen, it's not my place to tell you what to do, but I've seen guys break before in this line of work. The life gets to be too much after a while. The trouble is, that boy isn’t having a case of stress here. Something else is seriously wrong with him."
Ellen took in a deep breath. Steve was involved now whether she liked it or not. “I’ve been trying to guess what could be happening. Sam’s had issues with nightmares before, but it was never quite like this.”
Steve looked at her intently, his face telling her to go on.
“Before, his nightmares ended up being psychic premonitions. They were tied to yellow eyes, and as soon as Dean killed him, they went away. At least so we thought.”
Steve didn’t seem to be fazed at all by the information. He’d seen just about everything. “When he had these dreams before, did he ever freak out like this?”
Ellen shook her head. “I’m grasping at straws really. I have no idea what’s happening.”
Steve shrugged. “I don’t think that’s…” his voice trailed off when they heard the noise of footprints coming from the back room. Within seconds the tall lanky frame appeared.
“Sam?” Ellen was shocked to see him. It was like yesterday morning. He seemed more coherent, eyes a little more alive, but the rest of him looked like crap. Maybe she could convince him to clean himself up today.
“Got any coffee?” He replied, shuffling over to the other end of the bar and taking a seat.
Ellen fetched a cup and gingerly approached him. “Are you feeling okay?” His puffy and drooping eyelids predictably showed a man that hadn’t slept well in a while.
“Yeah, fine,” Sam lied. The truth was, his head was in a fog and he didn’t know what else to do right now. Inside he was numb, fighting off any surge that might mess with his actions. If he let any type of feeling through, he wasn’t sure what would happen to him. His control was almost lost.
Ellen and Steve shared a glance of concern, confirming to each other that they needed to be cautious. Ellen leaned closer to Sam, propping herself on her elbows against the bar. “Sam, do you feel like talking this morning?”
Sam took in a good long pause, and then shook his head.
“I talked to Bobby this morning. He’s got a lead.” She knew it wasn’t much, but false hope was better than none at all.
Sam’s expression didn’t change while he took a gentle sip of the hot coffee. “He won’t find anything.”
Ellen stood up straight, surprised by that conclusion. “What makes you say that?”
Sam kept his eyes fixed on his drink and didn’t reply.
“Sam, is there something you aren’t telling us? Bobby could really use your help.”
“He won’t find him, that’s all.” Sam got up, picked up his coffee, and moved over to the corner table. Isolation right now was best.
Steve came over to a shocked Ellen. “I’m gonna try talking to him.”
“Have at it. Nothing can hurt at this point.”
Steve focused his attention carefully on the younger Winchester before approaching. The lights are burning bright, but nobody’s home. He grabbed two glasses and a bottle of whiskey from the bar before making his approach to the confused man. He placed the bottle and glasses on the table and pulled up a chair, straddling it from behind. The entire time, Sam didn’t even flinch.
Steve poured the drinks, and slid a filled glass in front of Sam, while moving the coffee away. “It’s about time we got to know one another, and it’s my rule to never drink alone.”
Sam uncomfortably maintained a distant glare, taking a sip from the new drink. After several minutes, the burning gaze from this stranger got to be too much. “I drink alone.” Sam’s gruff voice protested.
Steve let out a small grin. Not bad, that showed a little awareness. “I’ve been watching you ever since I got here. I’ve seen all kinds in my day, and I can tell just by the way you’re acting that at you’re a few clowns short of a circus.”
Sam scoffed. “Good. I hate clowns.”
Steve chuckled, enjoying a good comeback. “Steve Austin.” He held out his hand in greeting, but Sam refused to return the handshake.
“Isn’t that the name of the Six Million Dollar Man?” Sam took another swig of the whiskey. “I bet it’s an alias, although you do look like an older version of him.”
“I get that a lot. It’s the real deal, unlike those fake rock star names John got Dean in the habit of using.” Steve watched Sam with careful study, noticing his shaking hands, the dark vacant eyes, the scratches on his knuckles as if fingernails had dug into them, and the irritated face that hadn’t seen a shabby thin beard like that in a while. He could tell Sam was uncomfortable with the scrutiny, but so far was tolerating it. Time to test the control.
“So what happens when you go to sleep? From what I can see, you don’t”
“I sleep like a baby,” Sam sarcastically replied.
Steve smiled and took a drink of his own. So far nothing was happening that he wasn’t expecting. This boy was just like his Dad when it came to the tough guy act, which was another good sign that the boy wasn’t completely gone. “What would Dean think if he saw you like this?”
Sam’s teeth clenched, but he didn’t answer the question.
“Oh, I found the sore spot. Lucky for you, he’s never coming back to see what a mess his kid brother is.”
Sam’s breathing got heavier, but he still didn’t respond.
“I’ve got to know. What happened where you ended up saving yourself and not your brother?”
Sam jerked around and grasped the lapels of Steve’s jacket. “You shut your mouth!”
Steve smiled. That was the reaction he wanted. “Okay, I’m not fighting back. If you weren’t so bat crap crazy, I’d be kicking your ass right now.”
Sam’s nostrils flared, but after an aggravated sneer he let go of Steve and fumbled nervously for his glass. “Leave me alone.”
“Nope, not gonna do that.”
“Double negative. That means you’re leaving.” Sam’s steely glare declared that they were done.
Steve was satisfied with the results of his little test. “Suit yourself. I’ll be over here if you need anything.” He worked his way back to the bar, where an unimpressed Ellen was watching.
“Looks like you were pushing buttons.” Ellen said, not convinced the conversation was a good idea.
“We had a nice chat.”
“That didn’t look very nice. What’d you think?”
Steve picked up his drink and took another big gulp. “He’s still in there somewhere.”
“Sammy, it’s time.”
Sam’s head jerked up from the table, waking himself up from his unsettling sleep. He wondered how he even managed to fall asleep. Sitting on the far end of the bar, a comfortable distance away was Dean, a stoic glare on his face. Sam rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“It’s back behind there Sam.” Dean’s head pointed behind the bar. “You can be with me again.”
Sam took in a long deep breath of resignation. He was tired of fighting it. This wasn’t going to ever stop. “Why Dean? Why do you want me to do it?”
“You know why. You can’t deal with the pain anymore.”
Sam shook his head. “I’m not supposed to do this.”
Dean stood up and moved a few steps closer. “You have put this off long enough. This is your destiny.”
Tears began to well in Sam’s eyes. “I can’t tell what’s right anymore.”
“No, you can’t. Time to stop fighting.”
Sam nodded and took in a deep sigh, fighting back his emotions. “You’re right.”
Dean smiled with the wicked grin that had so dominated him as of late. “Good for you Sammy. We can be together again.”
Ellen couldn’t explain it, but she had uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She normally trusted her instincts, but did consider the fact that her unease could be due to only getting a few hours sleep. She dropped what she was doing and looked into the corner where Sam had fallen asleep. Her heart jumped when she found he wasn’t there anymore.
“Sam?” She called out in a panic, checking out the back rooms. There was no sign of him. She ran back into the main room, and caught a glimpse of him through the window. “Oh no. Stop Sam!” Ellen shouted as soon as she ran outside and spotted him. His back was turned, and he stood in front of the cabin, frozen like a statue.
He turned around slowly to face her, tears forming in his eyes. In his trembling right hand was a gun, the one that Ellen stashed behind the bar for protection.
Ellen swallowed, burying any alarm that surfaced. She had to be calm in this situation. “Put the gun down Sam.”
Sam raised the gun toward her, his shaky hand assuring that he wouldn't get off a good shot. She sensed that he really didn’t want to hurt her and moved closer with slow steps. "Give me the gun Sam." She reached out her hand.
He wasn’t about to surrender. He lowered the gun and backed away. Ellen took two more steps toward him.
“Get back!” He shouted, and then shoved the barrel right under his chin.
Ellen froze, knowing that any sudden moves would be a bad idea. "Sam, please, you don’t want to do this.”
"It’s time." Sam said with a rough and barely audible voice.
"What are you talking about? Time for what?”
“Dean needs me.” Sam cocked the trigger with his finger and pushed the gun farther into the soft part of his chin.
“He doesn’t need you dead! Come on Sam, listen to me. You’re not thinking straight. Bobby’s going to come back here with Dean and he’ll want you to be here.”
Sam shook his head. “No, Bobby won’t find him.”
Sam let out a deep sigh, but wouldn’t clarify.
Ellen’s stomach went sour, but she stayed firm. “You don’t know that for sure.”
“I see him all the time, but I know he’s not really here!” Sam whimpered at the idea that he had to die to be with Dean, but it was the only option he had left.
Ellen spotted in the corner of her eye Steve slowly moving from behind Sam. She needed to stall a little bit longer. “You’re hallucinating, that’s all. It’s not really Dean.”
Sam tightened his grip on the trigger. “You don’t know that. He wants me to join him.”
“Join him where? If Dean is really gone, he’d want you to live and carry on, you know that. Please, think about it!”
“I can’t fight this anymore.” Sam scrunched his face and closed his eyes, allowing more tears to fall. He took one last deep breath, and went to release the trigger. He heard a bang, and darkness fell upon him.
Ellen screamed when the gun went off, just before Sam dropped to the floor, falling because Steve hit him on the back of the head. She rolled him over frantically, crying in relief to find the bullet from his fired gun only grazed his chin.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” she said tearfully. “Sam would never kill himself. Dean has done nothing his entire life but protect him. Why would he think Dean wants him to die?”
"I don’t believe thinking has anything to do with it. This boy has been driven into madness. The question is, by what?”
“I don’t know, but he needs to be watched all the time now. Who knows what he’ll do.”
Steve nodded in agreement. “Come on, we’ve got to get him inside.”
"Man, it’s so cold in here.”
Dean jumped after hearing the voice, sitting up from his tight curl on the bed to see a familiar face sitting on the floor in the corner.
"What have you done with Sam?!" He demanded angrily from the young woman. Her long curly black hair, innocent eyes and ivory laced dress did nothing but spark more anger inside of him over what she did.
"Oh, that's too cute. Instead of asking questions like why you are here, why is it so cold, and what's going to happen to you, you ask about your sorry little brother. The one who abandoned you."
"I’m sure he had to leave. He'll come back for me."
The woman laughed. "Judging by the state he was in when he left here, I'd be surprised if he can tie his own shoelace."
"What’d you do to him?"
"Nothing. I just opened the floodgates. Any damages came from within."
"Where is he?"
"Not anywhere near here. I would stop worrying about Sam. You're the one in a deep bind."
Dean wanted to reach out and choke her, but he stopped himself, knowing he needed more answers. "How’d you get in here anyway?"
“Why, looking for your escape route?” She gave him a crooked smile, and phased in and out.
"You’re a spirit," Dean said, irritated by her little tricks.
She laughed harder as Dean struggled with his anger. "You have doubts that any of this is real, let alone me."
"Why am I here? What’s your plan?”
"It’s not my plan. I'm just the babysitter until he gets here."
Dean didn’t like the half answers he was getting. "He? Does this have to do with my contract?"
She moved closer, but still maintained a comfortable distance. "You and Sam started this. Don’t you realize how much trouble you’re asking for when you walk side by side with death?"
Dean was familiar with that line, and put it together. "They hold no quarter. You don’t look like a Zeppelin fan to me. Who wants a fight to the death?"
She laughed. "Oh, you just don’t get it, do you?”
Dean didn’t like being mocked, but he honestly didn’t know what she was hinting. “Why must I fight for my life like this?”
Her cackles grew louder and more agitating. “Fight for your life? It’s pointless Dean. You're already dead."
a/n: Remember, at the time I wrote this, Dean hadn't met his demise yet. So, the ending of this chapter back then was cool. Now it's cliche I guess. Next chapter the plot twists really start to take off.
Oceane - September 16, 2008 09:42 PM (GMT)
I just find this story, I'm so hooked I can't wait for more.
Sam losing it and trying to kill himself, Dean, dead.
I'm looking forward to more.
ajj2001 - September 29, 2008 04:35 AM (GMT)
Sorry, the season premiere and all the stuff I had to do for the blog threw my schedule into a tail spin. I'll finish posting this now. Expect several updates over the next few days. Here is chapter 4.
Despite how much she hated it, Ellen knew it was for the best. Sam had gone beyond distressed now. He was plain dangerous.
“Thanks, I’ve got it,” Steve said. Ellen let go of Sam’s limp arm, while Steve finished binding it to the chair.
“Lord knows how he’s going to react when he wakes up.” She opened the first aid kit next to her and started to clean the scrape on Sam’s chin caused by the stray bullet.
“Better this than giving him the opportunity to get hold of a gun again.” Steve double checked his work, feeling secure that Sam couldn’t get loose from this one. If he was a normal hot tempered Winchester, he’d come back fighting.
“I’m just not sure if this would work. Maybe a-“ Ellen stopped herself. She knew that wasn’t a practical option, especially with someone on the FBI’s most wanted list.
“A mental institution? Do you know what happens to hunters in those places? They become sitting targets for demons.”
Ellen nodded in agreement. “Why do you think I stopped myself? I just don’t know who can help him now. Maybe he’s too far gone.”
Steve hesitated, but started to talk anyway. “I think I know of someone who can help. Granted, it’s based on stuff I’ve heard and not seen but-“
Both froze in caution when they heard the squeak on the outside door. Steve pulled his revolver from his back pocket and looked at Ellen, letting her know he had them covered. As the front door creaked open, their worry turned to reassurance.
“Oh, thank God Bobby.” Ellen rushed over and gave him a hug.
Bobby patted her on the back, concerned over how shaken she was. He looked across the room to see a face he hadn’t seen for a long time guarding an unconscious Sam who was tied to a chair. “What the hell happened here?”
Ellen pulled away from him, wiping a tear so she could explain. “Sam just tried to kill himself. He was in some sort of stupor. Steve knocked him out and we had to restrain him.”
Bobby took a few steps closer, examining the other hunter carefully. “Steve Austin. It’s been a while.”
“Bobby.” He acknowledged with a nod.
“What brings you here?”
Ellen jumped in to explain. “He showed up for a place to crash a couple of days ago and has been helping me with Sam. Sam would be dead right now if it wasn’t for him.”
Bobby removed his suspicious eye from the other hunter and moved them over to a slumping Sam. “He looks bad.”
“No crap,” Ellen said. “What were you expecting? He’s out of his freaking mind. He hasn’t slept hardly since he got here.”
Bobby gave her an appreciative look. “I know you’ve done your best.”
“Did you find anything?” She asked
Bobby pulled her aside and lowered his voice. “Can he be trusted?”
“We go way back. I trust him with my life.”
“First thing Bobby, you know I always check. Holy water in the first glass of beer or whiskey.”
“I’ll take my first glass now then.” Bobby moved over to the bar, inviting Ellen and Steve with his outstretched hand to join him.
Ellen got out the special bottle of whiskey, and poured a glass for Bobby. “Him too,” Bobby instructed, pointing at Steve. Ellen poured another glass for Steve, who willingly took the drink. She watched both Steve and Bobby down their drink in one gulp with no adverse affects.
“Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to share something, something that only Dean, Sam and I know about.”
“What?” Ellen asked.
Bobby looked at Ellen, and waited for her to pour a glass of the real stuff before going on. She delivered, not at all pleased by the delay. Bobby nodded in thanks and took a drink. “Sam was murdered seven months ago.”
Ellen’s jaw dropped open, while Steve’s eyebrows raised. They both had heard and seen a lot of things, but this was a new one. “Huh?” Ellen asked.
“It was just before you showed up at my place after the roadhouse burned down. He was captured by yellow eyes, and in a fight with one of the others captured he was stabbed in the back. He died in Dean’s arms.”
Ellen gasped, holding her hand over her mouth, before dropping it when it all came together. “Let me guess. Dean took it very hard and made a deal.”
His pained expression confirmed her guess. “Crossroads deal. They gave him a year.”
She held onto her forehead while her heart broke for poor Dean. One brother trading his life for another. She couldn’t figure out if it was noble or stupid. “Sam knew this?”
“He forced it out of Dean once it became too obvious he was supposed to be dead. I don’t know why Dean thought he could hide the truth.” Bobby stopped his rant, recognizing it wasn’t going to do much good. “Sam’s been spending the last seven months frantically trying to figure a way to get Dean out of the deal. That’s why they were in Louisiana.”
Steve was willing to ask the obvious, since the others were still fixed on the bombshell. “If it’s only been seven months, Dean shouldn’t be gone yet.”
“Ever know a demon to keep its word? The problem is the only person that can give us clues is Sam.” Bobby looked over at Sam’s slumping frame. “It don’t look like he’s giving answers.”
Ellen went to say something, and then stopped herself. Bobby noticed her hesitation. “Come on, spit it out.”
“Sam’s been saying a lot of crazy stuff since he got here, but there’s one thing he said that particularly disturbed me.”
“He said that you wouldn’t find Dean. That didn’t come out of his mouth when he first got here though. You think it’s just the crazy talking?”
Bobby shrugged. “Who knows? I know one thing for sure. If the demons did come and get Dean early, they would have made it clear. They love leaving a body around or other signs to tease and show us their handiwork.”
Ellen’s face turned pale. She walked over to Sam and reached down, grasping the amulet up in her palm, holding it up for Bobby could see it. “You mean something like this?”
Bobby came over and examined the charm she held. It was Dean’s alright. His fearful eyes told her that was indeed a sign. He sank down into the chair next to Sam, considering the fact that maybe Dean was actually gone. His thought was interrupted by a soft moan. He leaned over. “Sam?”
Sam’s head rolled for a bit while he shook himself out of his blurry state. His bloodshot eyes propped open, gazing blearily at Bobby. He quickly realized he was bound to the chair, and struggled fiercely against the ropes, before silently leaning back in defeat.
“We’re just bein’ be careful Sam.”
Sam continued to give Bobby the glazed over stare, obscured by his messy bangs, but still didn’t say anything.
“We don’t have much time here,” Bobby said in a firm tone. “Where’s Dean?”
Sam either didn’t or couldn’t answer, while his head lolled back than forth. It frightened Bobby, for the last time he saw Sam do that he was near dead in Dean’s arms.
“Bobby, come here.” Ellen said, waving him across the room to where she and Steve were standing. Bobby sighed over Sam’s sorry state, and came over.
“Steve mentioned someone who might be able to help, just before you got here.”
“What sort of someone?”
Steve went to explain, then hesitated. “I’m not really sure what he is. I’ve heard some people call him…a water being.” He muttered the last three words under his breath.
Bobby couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “A what? Those are a bunch of new age crackpots.”
Steve’s face twisted at the reaction. “No, not that type. He doesn’t use crystals or moonbeams or anything like that. He communicates with spirits.”
That outraged Bobby worse. “What kind of spirits? That’s what got these guys into trouble in the first place!”
“I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve heard good things.”
Ellen was too hung up on Bobby’s last comment. “Wait, wait, wait. Can we go back to the part about what got them into trouble?”
Bobby wasn’t sure what to say, considering he really didn’t understand what happened himself, but he went on. “Sam heard about this person, a shaman of some sorts, who could communicate with demons and fix issues with lost souls. He tricked Dean into checking it out, disguising it as a hunt. Last I heard from Sam, they were closing in, but hadn’t found her yet. I can only assume they did, and the results were disastrous.”
“Judging by what happened, I would say that wasn’t an ordinary shaman,” Ellen said. “So that’s what you were looking for the past few days?”
“From everything I’ve heard, this one’s different,” Steve said, interrupting the conversation. “He’s the real deal.”
Bobby turned around and began pacing, contemplating whether he should even consider the idea. He took a good long look at Sam, watching his gut-wrenching struggle for lucidity. He remembered when Sam went after the supposed real deal on a whim and ended up saving Dean’s life. Whatever Sam was facing, he didn’t know how to help and time was important. He’d seen crazier things in this world, so he’d have to trust Steve on this one. “How far is it?”
“About eight hours from here.”
He turned back and nodded. “Okay, but I’m driving.”
“To hell you are,” Steve said. “You’ve been driving Chevys too long. I ain’t traveling in any old piece of crap. Besides, there’s more room in the back seat for that freakishly tall boy there.”
“Fine,” Bobby griped, grabbing his jacket. “I get the back seat though. I could use some sleep myself.”
The humming noise sounded hauntingly familiar. At first he was comforted, remembering the many times that he would wake up to find himself in some desolate and pitiful part of the country with his brother smiling behind the wheel. Then reality set in, Dean couldn’t be driving.
Sam’s eyes cracked, and then flew open when he found himself in a strange vehicle. The driver looked vaguely familiar, but all he could remember was this person irritating him at one point. He went to move, but found he couldn’t because his arms were tied behind the passenger seat.
“You stop this car now,” Sam ordered with gritted teeth, pulling against his restraints.
“What, you aren’t enjoying the ride? I thought you’d love riding in classic cars by now.”
“And do what? You can see we’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Sam struggled against the ropes some more, but somehow had this feeling that whoever this jerk was, he had a reason for this. His head fell back onto the head rest. “I can’t believe this. You at least going to tell me where we are?”
“Gotta check out something.”
“You’ve kidnapped me to take me on a hunt??”
“Not a hunt. Just somethin’.” Steve glimpsed in the rear view mirror. “Yo, Bobby, sleeping beauty is awake.”
Sam twisted his head to see Bobby come out of his slumber in the back seat, straightening up and yawning. He smiled in relief. “Bobby, thank God. Please tell me what’s going on.”
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
Sam went through the cobwebs of his brain, fighting to come up with some sort of answer. “I was at Ellen’s.” His stomach turned when more came flashing back, and he glanced down at the amulet resting on his chest. “Oh no, Dean.”
“Dean’s the least of our worries right now Sam. You’ve got some head problems.” Bobby explained.
“Is that why I’m tied up? You think I’m dangerous?”
“No son,” Steve stepped in, “we know you’re dangerous. The nightmares and sleep deprived haze that resulted in your suicide attempt wasn’t my imagination. You’re a mess.”
“My what?” Sam turned to Bobby for reassurance, but Bobby’s stare back told him it was the truth. “I don’t remember that.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Steve said. “We should be there soon.”
“How do you know where to find this place?” Bobby asked.
“He only works during the rise of the morning sun. When we see people, we’ll know.”
“That’s the plan? How do we know he’ll help us?” Bobby’s impatience echoed in his voice.
“Come on, Bobby,” Sam said. “He’s following a lead.” He winced, wondering why in the world he was supporting a stranger on this, especially when he had no clue what this was. Probably because many times he’d gone after things for less.
Steve smiled over Sam’s comment while turning down some desolate dirt road. Within a mile, they spotted the sign they were looking for.
“Well I’ll be damned,” Bobby said, watching a dozen or more people on foot, heading from the side of the road down a path into the woods.
“You plan on untying me now?” Sam asked.
Bobby pulled loose the knot behind the seat. Sam stretched his aching arms forward, enjoying the small amount of comfort. “Would someone please tell me what this is about?”
“Come on, looks like we don’t have much time.” Bobby said, watching the crowd’s head start down the path. Steve and Bobby got out of the car, both waiting to be joined by a reluctant Sam. Sam shook his head and got out.
They headed toward the path, but not before Sam looked at them like they were crazy. “You two are actually serious.” The two men turned at him stone-faced, so Sam stopped his protest and walked behind. For half a mile they hiked down the soft path, the crowd in front of them quiet. Sam wanted to ask questions, but also wanted to remain respectful to the group preceding them. He’d get his answers soon enough.
Before long, the woods changed into a river bank, where a tall man stood in the water thigh deep against the flowing current. He had long grey hair, and was dressed in a black shirt and black pants. He welcomed the coming “flock” with open arms. “Come forward,” he instructed.
Steve, Bobby and Sam cautiously stayed at the edge of the woods while the others moved forward, scattering themselves among the river bank. Steve noticed the disturbed look on Sam’s face. “What’s the matter?” He asked.
“This is a little too O Brother Where Art Thou for me,” Sam answered. “Let me guess, he’s supposed to wash away sins?”
Steve was about to explain, but was interrupted by a distant voice.
“Samuel!” The man in the river shouted.
Sam, Steve and Bobby were all stunned, and looking behind them for another person whom he might be addressing.
“Yes Samuel Winchester, I’m talking to you.”
Sam squirmed a little, not sure what to say.
“Samuel, heard by God, please come forward.”
Sam gave him an uneasy smile. “Thanks, but I’m good.”
The man held open his arms. “You weren’t resurrected pure. Your soul has not returned.”
Sam turned toward Steve and Bobby, very irritated by what was happening. “What did you tell this guy about me?”
They both shrugged. “Nothing,” Steve said. “I’ve never met him before.”
Sam didn’t believe either of them, and decided he’d had enough. He turned toward the path.
“Samuel, who not unlike the prophet has directly encountered numinous beings. Your brother needs you, but first you must save yourself. You must get back on the path that no one goes.”
Sam froze in terror, realizing that those were the last words he heard when he was with Dean, before everything went dark. The path that no one goes. They hold no quarter. While lost in the memory a few others from the river bank came to his side and took each arm, guiding him toward the river. With each step Sam felt both terrified but curious, lost in the man’s gaze, which pierced through him like he was reading his innermost thoughts. Before he knew it, he was standing in the river.
The man held his hand over Sam’s head. Sam expected some sort of blessing or chant, but instead felt a palm clasp onto the top of his head. A surge of listlessness overwhelmed him, causing him to drop to his knees. The man closed his eyes, pushing Sam lower. He didn’t resist, for feelings of serenity swarmed him and for the first time in a while, clarity.
Sam didn’t even notice being submerged underwater, held down by a forceful hand. Radiance overcame him and he welcomed the beautiful river that swallowed him.
The visions were quite enthralling. Spirits in white swirled around him, all giving Sam a peace that so eluded him in his young life. He’d never seen anything so beautiful.
Bobby and Steve both realized after a minute Sam hadn’t come back up and made a rush to the river. The others held them back, watching with delight as the man in the river was lost in a trance, while Sam’s limp form underneath accepted his power. “You’re gonna kill him!” Bobby shouted. His loud protest didn’t disturb anyone.
Each second brought a new transparency, but Sam wasn’t aware he was running out of breath. That’s when the true vision hit him, the one answer he sorely needed. He wanted to cling to this moment and never let go, but the corners of his eyes turned grey and the vision began to fade. No, please, don’t leave me. Just as he was about to succumb, he felt himself yanked out of the water. He gasped for breath, wiping wet from his eyes to see a panicked Steve and Bobby being held back by people on the river bank. The man who had plunged him into the water hovered over him, taking a long reflective look. He exhaled in relief and gave him a weak smile.
“You have been restored, but your fight is long from over.”
“Can I start my mission?” Sam asked, understanding exactly what the man told him.
“Not yet. First you must rest, for the damage was deep. After that, you’ll find your path. Go in peace Samuel.”
Sam stood up and staggered out of the river, with Steve taking one side and Bobby the other. They assisted a dazed Sam up past the shoreline. “You okay?” Bobby asked.
Sam wearily nodded and staggered forward, before falling to his knees. He shivered, feeling numbing cold chill him to the bone. Considering the reasonably warm morning and that he emerged from tepid water, he didn’t understand why he was so cold. Then he realized why. The vision showed it.
Bobby knelt down and pulled Sam’s eyes toward him, or what he could see through the dripping wet hair that hung over his face. “What’s the matter Sam?” He felt the trembles and placed his jacket around him.
“I…I saw something.”
“Dean. I know how to save him.”
ajj2001 - September 29, 2008 04:54 AM (GMT)
Dean’s patience was officially shot. What did she mean he was dead? She took off before she would explain further. He was tired, going stir crazy, and freaking cold. He wasn’t in the mood for any more speculation.
What did she say about Sam’s state? What’s wrong with him? He tried to wipe his mind clean in hopes of settling down, but it wasn’t working. That bitch is playing mind games with me. There had to be a way out of this place that he wasn’t seeing. He found himself running his hands over the walls again, convinced he missed something the first time.
He didn't want to get out for his sake. Not knowing what happened to Sam was killing him. Every bit of his inner voice screamed that Sam needed his help now. It was his job, and he couldn't fail him again. He scoured every inch of the wall, but the more empty his search became the greater his disturbance grew. Sam is lost out there. He wouldn’t accept his own fate until he knew Sam was safe.
“Noooo!” he yelled after going over the walls multiple times and finding no means for escape. He began pounding his fists, wailing on the wall while showing no concern over the cuts and bruises forming on his knuckles. He collapsed in the center of the room in exhaustion, burying his face in his hands, gasping heavily for breath. In a final show of frustration, he lifted his face up toward the ceiling, clenched his fists and shouted, "What did you do to Sam?"
The only answer he got was the question coming back to him in the form of an echo. This was his worst nightmare. So what if he was dead, so what if he was being punished, he could handle all that if he knew that Sam was okay. Not knowing was the purest definition of Hell. He dropped back into a heap on the floor, the impact of it all finally beginning to crush him.
"You need to get a grip man."
Dean's head popped up, his insides turning over that familiar voice in the corner behind him. No, it can't be. He slowly turned his head in that direction and jumped. Someone sat cross legged in the corner, all dressed in white.
Ellen’s alarm was apparent the second she saw Bobby and Steve enter, both dragging a slumping Sam in on their shoulders. “Oh God, was it that bad?”
Both men looked at each other, wondering why neither had prepped an explanation by now. “No, it went good.” Bobby said.
“How can this be good?” Ellen asked. “He’s unconscious.”
“Actually,” Steve clarified, “we think it’s a deep sleep.”
“Please tell me the difference?”
Bobby and Steve continued their trek through the room. “Ellen, he’s killin’ my back here,” Bobby said. “How about we get him into bed and we’ll go through the details then.”
“Also, can you fetch some extra blankets?” Steve asked. “He’s a little cold.”
Ellen wasn’t sure where that request came from, but any attempt at clarification would fall on deaf ears as they disappeared into the back. She sighed, following behind, and retrieved the requested blankets. She came into the bedroom where Sam was placed and noticed he was more than a little cold.
“That’s some intense shivering.” She draped several blankets over him, and felt his forehead, then the rest of his face with the back of her hand. “He’s ice cold.”
“I had the heat blaring the entire way,” Steve said. “Bobby and I almost stripped down to our shorts we were so hot.” Bobby’s disturbed look indicated that was not the case.
Ellen put her hands on her hips. “Please tell me what’s going on.”
Bobby chose to take the lead on that one. “This guy ended up being some sort of water healer. He dunked Sam into the river, and next thing we know he’s back. The look in his eyes, everything about him, told us it was the Sam we know.”
Steve continued. “That is until we started walking into the car. He got weaker and weaker to where we were practically carrying him in the end. He fell asleep in the back seat of the Charger and hasn’t woken up since.”
“You didn’t stay around to find out who this guy is and what he did to him?”
Both men looked down in shame, figuring that one was coming. “Our biggest priority was getting Sam back to the car. Once we did, we went back, but everyone was gone,” Bobby answered.
“We think it’s because the sunrise ended.” Steve added.
Ellen couldn’t figure out why they were so calm in their storytelling. “None of this freaks you out?”
“The healer told him something when he was done,” Steve said. “He said Sam had to rest for a while, because the damage was deep. Judging by this, I’d say he’s doing just that.”
“For how long?”
Both men shrugged.
Ellen grabbed her forehead, forcing herself to fight the rising irritation. “Well I just hate unspecific healers. Did anything else happen?”
“Yep.” Bobby said.
“He said he knows how he can save Dean.”
Dean was on the verge of tears over the sight in front of him. He went over to give his brother some sort embrace, but he couldn’t get close enough to touch him. He was stopped by some sort of force. “Please tell me you aren’t some sort of ghost.”
Sam smiled, which made Dean feel slightly better. It was his normal bright smile. “No, I’m not a ghost.”
“You aren’t real.”
“Define real. This is a pretty screwed up situation.”
“That’s an understatement.” Dean sank down on the floor in front of Sam, his heart pounding over all that was happening. He swallowed, not sure if he wanted to know the answer to his next question. “So, um are you-“
“No Dean, I’m not dead.”
Dean exhaled in relief. “So how are you here?”
“I’m only here in spirit. The physical part of me is someplace safe for now.”
“The physical part?”
“I can’t explain it all now. We’ll have plenty of time to go through it all. For right now, let’s hang.”
Dean’s eyebrows raised over such a suggestion. “Seriously? Let’s just hang? I’m going stir crazy in this inescapable room, evil spirits and demons are showing up every hour to mess with me, I have no idea whether we’re alive or dead, and you’re showing up in the forbidden corner dressed like the cast of ‘Touched by an Angel’.”
Sam looked down at his brilliant white attire. “It does seem strange, doesn’t it?”
“Strange is putting it mildly.” Dean said. “Please tell me you’re not an angel.”
“I’m not an angel.”
Dean gladly accepted that answer, since a yes would have been scarier than anything he’d faced so far. Still, this wasn’t right. How was Sam here? “Then what the hell are you?”
“Thanks genius,” Dean said, rolling his eyes. He threw an unsettled gaze at Sam, like he was some sort of freak.
“What?” Sam asked, noticing how uncomfortable Dean was.
“That getup of yours. It’s blinding me.”
“I didn’t pick this.”
Dean’s unimpressed glare grew stronger. “Cut the crap. How are you even here at all?”
“Okay. Just remember you asked for the truth.” Sam took in a deep sigh before delivering the next piece of news. “I’m a eudaemon.”
Dean’s look turned to just plain disturbed. “A what?”
“Eudaemon. The Greeks call them guardian angels, but really, they’re more like benevolent spirits.”
Dean stuttered, not exactly sure what to ask next. “Did you graduate from spirit school or something?”
Sam chuckled. “I know, this is weird.”
“Weird doesn’t begin to cut it. How did you become one of these things?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I don’t think we’re going anywhere, so I have plenty of time for stories.” Dean’s disconcerted look didn’t fade. “Let me get this straight. Your spirit is on the loose, but you’re not dead, and you’re not an angel.”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
Dean took a long pause to process all he had been told. None of this made sense. If Sam was a spirit then…oh. “Wait, if I can see a eu, eu whatever you’re called, then I must be…” Dean’s voice trailed off. He had a hard time accepting the notion.
“Yeah,” Sam said, “you could be.”
“The bitch that put me here said I was.”
Sam wasn’t concerned. “If you are, we’ll fix it. If there’s one thing you and I both know, there are ways around death.”
Dean let out a small laugh. “I have been called a cockroach before.”
Sam laughed with him, both enjoying the chance to find humor in this completely scary situation.
Dean let out a deep breath, trying to fathom this strange visit. The other apparitions visiting him have been cruel and taunting. Sam’s presence was giving him a huge wave of calm. That’s when he noticed for the first time since he arrived, something was different. “I’m not cold anymore.”
“Yeah, I took care of that, for now anyway.” Sam said.
Sam smiled. “You really don’t want to know.”
Dean huffed. “Oh stop it! Can you freaking tell me anything? I’d hate to break it to you, but I’m in a big jam here and you’re talking in circles.”
Sam looked at him puzzled. “What sort of jam?”
Dean threw a suspicious glare, wondering why he hadn’t figured it out. “You see a door here Sammy?”
Sam looked across the room and pointed next to the bed. “Right there. You don’t see it?”
“You think that if I did I’d still be here?”
Sam didn’t seem worried. “That’s okay, you’ll see it eventually. That’s the door you’ll use to get out of here.”
“Then what are we waiting for? Open it!”
Sam shook his head. “It can’t happen yet. I’m only here to keep you company for a little while.”
Dean couldn’t believe all the crazy answers he was getting. He wanted to reach over and choke the whole story out of Sam. “Some almighty spirit you are. That evil chick hinted that she messed with your head somehow. You’re talking pretty crazy to me.”
“Nope, I’m all fixed now.”
Dean’s hand swiped across his agitated face. He was too tired for this. “Do I even want to know how?”
“It’s a pretty strange story. You might not believe it.”
Dean threw his arms up into the air. “How stranger could any this get?”
Sam smiled again. There was always something fun about irritating his big brother, even in these circumstances. “Okay, we’ve got some time, I’ll explain everything. There was this man in a river…”
Bobby sat at the distant end of the bar and hung up his cell phone while watching Ellen and Steve enjoy a conversation. He had to make some calls, not only for information about the river guy, but to get answers to some of the nagging questions. His sixth sense was kicking in. How much of a coincidence was it that Steve showed up shortly after Sam got there? How did he even think that there was someone who could help Sam? It just didn’t feel right. While Steve was helping, Bobby suspected he wasn’t telling the complete truth either. He knew more about what happened with Sam than he let on. Bobby felt the need to be cautious.
His suspicious thoughts were interrupted by the ring of the cell phone. “What’d ya got?” Bobby answered. What was told to him was pretty revealing. “There’s two of ‘em?” He listened further, taking down any relevant info. He hoped that Sam brought his computer, because there was some stuff he was going to have to look up now. “Did you find out about the other thing?” His face dropped when the answer was no. “Fine, call me back if you do.”
Bobby got up and approached Steve and Ellen, ready to share his new info.
“What we ran into was a spirit guide.”
Ellen was confused. “Didn’t you say it was a person? I thought spirit guides were disincarnate.”
“Yeah, well that’s the kicker. This one has managed to take human form. That’s not all though. It seems there are two of them.”
Ellen saw where this was going. “The other was the one Sam and Dean ran into.”
“Yep. Word is the guy in the river channels all types of benevolent spirits to protect living human beings and helps them find the direction they lost. That’s the crude explanation anyway.”
“What about the other one?”
“Apparently that guide went a little rogue. She calls upon evil spirits and demons, and delivers those with dark sides to their condemned fate.”
Ellen weakly nodded. She was a little scared that some of this made sense. “The anti-spirit guide.”
“Yeah, you might say that.”
Ellen took time to guess what this all meant. “I can see where she was able to take Dean given the deal and all, but what happened with Sam?”
Bobby shrugged. “Who knows? Hopefully Sam can tell us when he wakes up.”
Bobby watched Steve carefully while talking, noticing that he didn’t seem to be thrown back by this new info like Ellen was. That only fueled his suspicions further. “You don’t seem to be too surprised by all this.”
“Since I’m the one that found the river man, and from all the things I’ve heard, it ain’t that crazy.”
“You weren’t more curious about what this guy could do and why?”
Steve sensed there was more to the question than met the eye, but he would let it go. “I’m not much into research. I just know I didn’t have to kill it.”
Bobby didn’t buy that answer, but chose to back off. He and Steve would address their issues later. He turned to Ellen. “Was Sam’s computer in the Impala?”
“Yeah, I’ve got it in the back somewhere.”
“I hate those things, but it’s all I’ve got right now. We need to find out more about the legends behind spirit guides. Maybe it’ll explain why Sam isn’t waking up yet.”
“I don’t know Sammy. This all feels so weird. It’s as if I’m floating, or just disconnected in general. I’m not sure if this is dead, but it certainly isn’t real life. It’s exactly when-“ Dean stopped, realizing he remembered what happened in the hospital after the car accident.
“When you were disembodied?”
“Yeah. Except that time, the reaper was showing mercy. There’s no mercy here, only torment.”
Sam looked around. “It seems pretty peaceful here to me.”
“Maybe because my friendly ghost is scaring them off.”
Dean mimicked the words that Sam spoke. He was getting tired of them. “You lied to me.”
“Spirits and ghosts are the same thing.”
Sam opened his mouth in protest, and then closed it. “Yeah, I lied.” He watched Dean mutter in irritation. “Why does this bother you so much?”
“A dude dunks you into a river, and now all of a sudden you’re some ethereal being that visits other spirits? None of that makes sense! Why you? Why did it happen?”
“I don’t have all the answers. All I know is that I can only visit you, so it’s not that great a power. It’s probably because we’re connected.”
“Oh of course. There’s always rules.”
Sam leaned forward, realizing his brother’s distress wasn’t improving. “Look Dean, I know this is a daunting situation, but you’ve just got to hang in there a little while longer. You’ll get out of this.”
Dean didn’t feel very strong. “I’m a fighter Sam, but I’m tired. Maybe I should just let go, accept my fate early.”
Sam shook his head. “It’s not your time.”
“What’s the difference if it’s a few months early?”
“It makes a big difference to me.” Sam looked down with hurt eyes, playing with the bright white shoelaces of his white shoes. Whatever’s happening here, whatever’s allowing him to communicate with Dean, it wasn’t taking away the feelings of guilt. "Dean, I'm sorry. This is all my fault."
"How were you supposed to know the bitch was psycho?"
"I should have done more checking. Apparently she wasn't the right one."
"Well I don’t think the right one exists. Whatever happened to you sounds intriguing, but that doesn’t mean some spirit guide could help me. The result could have been the same.”
“No, if you saw him first, you definitely wouldn’t be in this mess. He might not have been able to help with the deal, but you wouldn’t be like this.”
Dean watched his brother carefully as he talked. That deep feeling kicked in, the one where he sensed that Sam wasn’t telling him everything. "Maybe you can find river dude and bring him to me."
Sam shook his head. "No, he can't help you."
"Why are you sure about that?"
"Uh,” Sam let out a nervous smile, not sure how to explain it. “He told me."
Dean threw him a blank stare, letting him know that answer wasn’t good enough.
“He told me in a vision."
Dean's heart turned sour. "You're having visions again too? Of course, why not? You’re already a-" He paused, not remembering the term.
"This vision wasn't like the others Dean. I can't explain it, but it was different. It wasn't...evil."
"Oh, well that's a comfort." Dean pushed his hand through his hair, tiring of these big surprises. "So what did the shiny happy vision tell you? Am I doomed?"
Sam shook his head. "No, the news was pretty good. Apparently there’s only one person on earth that can save you.”
"There is? Were you told who it was?”
“Yeah,” Sam replied reluctantly.
“Well, who is it?"
ajj2001 - September 29, 2008 05:16 AM (GMT)
Chapter 6. More coming tomorrow.
“That would have been my first guess you know.” Dean thought Sam’s admission was somewhat of a let down.
Sam smirked. “You just don’t like the idea of being at the mercy of your little brother. Tables turned a bit?”
“Tables turned?” Dean was incredulous. “It’s just your job to get me through that door. Then we go back to me saving your ass.”
Sam chuckled slightly. “Maybe I should just let you find your own way out.”
Both sat on the floor, legs stretched out, resting their backs against a dingy wall. The strange silence that fell between them didn’t bother their moment together. Both knew it was only a matter of time before it would end.
“Sam, do you still have it?”
His comfortable appearance turned to unease. “Yeah Dean, I do. It doesn’t belong with me though.”
Dean’s shoulders slumped, pleased that another worry was off his mind. “The amulet isn’t going to do me a fat lot of good in this fix. As long as you have it, I feel better.”
“It needs to be with you, protecting you. I don’t know why you gave it to me.”
“I’m not sure I can be saved anymore Sam.”
“Of course you can and I’m going to save you. We’ve been through this.”
Dean shook his head in disagreement. “I don’t like the idea. It’s too dangerous. You’re putting yourself at too much risk.”
“It’s what we do all the time. This isn’t any different, and you know I’d do anything for you.” Before Dean could answer, Sam began to fade in and out, in two or three sharp jolts. “I think I’ve got to go back now.”
Dean straightened in alarm, worried over what would happen now. “Don’t you dare do anything reckless and come back for me. I can go on now knowing you’re okay.”
Another quick flash hit Sam. “No chance man. I’m not leaving you here. Don’t stop fighting, because I’m coming back.”
Dean silently lowered his head, and wouldn’t commit to anything.
“Promise me Dean.” Anxiousness flooded Sam, for knew he could leave at any second without hearing an answer.
Dean was still silent.
“Come on, I don’t have much time here!”
“Fine, I prom-“
Sam disappeared, leaving an empty corner in his wake.
Dean took in deep breaths to calm his racing pulse over having to evade his brother like that. That could have been the last time he would see Sam again.
He wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or scared. Panic set in quickly though when he recognized that Sam would risk it all to come back. He couldn’t shake the bad feeling that plagued his senses. Nothing had gone right so far, why should he think it’ll be okay now?
“Please Sam, don’t try to find me.”
Ellen hunched forward in the chair, resting her elbows on the top of her legs, watching with captivation how peaceful Sam slept. Despite the fact he was freezing cold, he looked comfortable. Whatever went on in that head of his, it had to be pleasant and a far cry from the pained restlessness plaguing him earlier. She hoped that this long sleep meant only good things, despite how long he had been under.
She reached over and cradled the amulet in the cusp of her hand. She wasn’t sure how the charm had protected Dean from trouble since he always managed to find it, but it likely played its part in keeping him safe. Could it be he met his fate as soon as he parted with it? She wiped such a morbid thought out of her mind, not ready to give up hope just yet. Dean had to be out there somewhere.
Every day she thought the same about Jo, how she was out in the world alone, up against horrible things she didn’t understand, but she was managing to get through it all. Seeing such mishaps happen to Sam and Dean frightened her because that cemented the inevitability that one day it would happen to Jo too.
She jerked out of her somber thoughts and dropped the amulet when she spotted the twitch from Sam’s hand. “Sam, are you with me?” She pressed the back of her hand against a flushed cheek, finding it wasn’t cold anymore.
Sam’s eyes flew open and he propped himself up halfway on his elbows, startled and glaring at Ellen with deep confusion.
“It’s okay Sam,” she said, guiding him back down. “Take it slow.”
He groaned, forcing himself to make sense of the flood of thoughts coming to him. Everything was crystal clear again, and his mind frantically tried to process it all. He rolled his head back and forth to slow the rush.
“Whoa Sam, take it easy. You’ve been asleep for a while.”
“I remember everything,” he muttered, choosing not to come out of a sleep professing he just spent time with his brother. That truth could be saved for later. “Dean’s in trouble.”
“We sort of guessed that,” Ellen said, noticing for the first time since he arrived a normal, clear glow in his eyes. “We were a little more worried about you since you fell asleep in the back of Steve’s car and wouldn’t wake up.”
Sam thought back, and recalled with ease his visit to the river. This must have been the rest he was told he needed. “You couldn’t wake me?” He sat up slowly, pleased when he didn’t feel any adverse affects. “Something must have worked, because I feel like I got a good night’s sleep.”
“A good night’s sleep? It’s been a bit more than that,” Ellen said sarcastically.
Sam delivered another confused gaze. “What are you saying?”
“Sam, you’ve been asleep for almost three days.”
Bobby waited until Ellen wasn’t around to make his approach. Two plus two was making five here, and that wasn’t right. “A word, Mr. Austin.”
“Sure Bobby,” Steve said, finishing his last shot of pool. He stood straight up, stick still in hand, giving Bobby his undivided attention.
“Where were you before coming here?”
Bobby nodded. “Really, tell me, how do you so easily get from Louisiana, to South Florida, to North Texas in a day’s time?”
“Well, normally I’d give you a smart answer and brag about fast my baby is, but I’ll say instead that I wasn’t in Louisiana.”
“No? Strange, a buddy of mine said you were.”
Bobby crossed his arms. “How many pepper haired hunters driving a red classic Charger do you think there are in the world? Especially when you were in Baton Rouge, asking questions about a young woman with long curly black hair. My source said she has a reputation in the area. They call her ‘The Witch Doctor’ and she’s bad news.”
“He must be mistaken. Of course only a dead alligator can confirm my alibi.”
Bobby’s patience was thin, so he reached forward and grabbed Steve by the shirt, pulling him in close. “I swear, if you had anything to do with what happened to Sam and Dean, I’ll rip you in two.”
“I had nothing to do with what happened to them. If you didn’t want my help anymore, just say so.”
Bobby released his shirt and pushed him backwards. “You knew exactly how to find that guy in Mississippi. You took someone else there six months ago.”
Steve held firm. “Nope, never been there before either.”
“No? Cody’s mother says different.”
“Cody’s mother is pissed at me.” Steve’s deflective manner turned quickly to anger, for he never liked accusations. “So, all those calls you made, you were checking up on me? Don’t you think finding the Winchester boy would have been a better use of your time?”
Bobby took another step closer, making sure they were face to face. “Don’t tell me what to do as far as Sam and Dean are concerned! I’ve known those boys ever since their mother died and their father dragged them screaming into this cruel life. They’re family.”
Steve didn’t back off either. “I ain’t looking to hurt your so called ‘family’, but the last time I looked these are big boys that have been fending for themselves! Danger’s part of the job so finger pointing ain’t necessary.”
Bobby curled up his fist, ready to take a swing and beat the truth out of him when he heard footsteps. Two sets of footsteps. Both men glanced at each other, delivering the nonverbal message that this wasn’t over. Within seconds, Ellen and Sam stood in the doorway.
“Oh, thank God Sam,” Bobby said, coming over and giving him a pat on the shoulder. He knew Sam always hated contact, but this occasion warranted one.
“Thanks Bobby, I’m okay.” Sam took a seat at a nearby table, and everyone else joined him. They all shared uncomfortable glances, wondering who would go first.
“How are you feeling Sam?” Bobby asked.
“We need to find Dean,” Sam replied, eager to get back into the search. “We were in Baton Rouge the last I saw him.”
“He could be dead Sam,” Bobby said. “I went to Louisiana and couldn’t find a trace. We also noticed you have the amulet.”
Sam looked down at item slung on his neck and gave an uneasy smile. “I’m sure you’re taking this to be some sort of sign.”
“It’s not unusual.”
“If he’s dead, we need a body. Leave the rest up to me.”
“Oh God,” Bobby said, disturbed by what he heard. “you’re still insane.”
Sam’s smile grew wider and he shook his head. “No, this is the most together I’ve ever been. It’s like something has been awakened inside.”
Bobby’s skeptical glare indicated he wasn’t convinced.
“Just trust me on this. We’ve got to find him. I’m getting in the Impala right now and going to Baton Rouge. You can join me if you want.”
Bobby took one last look to make sure he hadn’t lost his mind. A road trip couldn’t hurt. “Fine, we’ll go.”
Sam stood up. “Let’s go then.”
“Don’t you want to take it easy first, get something to eat?” Ellen asked.
“I’ve been asleep for three days. How much more rest do I need?” He pulled the keys out of his pocket. “Come on Bobby.”
“I’m coming too,” Steve said, pushing his chair away as he stood up.
“We’ve got this covered,” Bobby said with clenched jaw, trying to stay composed for Sam’s sake. “We don’t need your help anymore.”
Sam couldn't believe what Bobby was saying. "He’s got to come.”
Sam was still confused over why he had to mention the reason. “Because he can help find the woman that did this to us.”
Now Bobby was the baffled one. “What makes you say that?”
Sam turned to Steve. “You didn’t tell them?” Steve tried to plead ignorant, but wasn’t doing a very good job.
Sam shook it off, since there wasn’t time for guessing. “He’s the one that rescued me.”
“I knew it!” Bobby shouted at Steve. “You were in Louisiana!”
Steve opened his mouth, and then backed off. “Yeah.”
Sam started moving. “We’ll figure this all out in the car. We’ve got to go now.” Bobby threw a scowl at Steve and followed, with Steve bringing up the rear. Once the creaky door slammed behind them, Ellen sat alone in the big room, absorbing the silence, trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
Dean curled up on the bed in a ball, trying hard to stay warm, since the cold had crept its way back once Sam left. He never felt more isolated, or more alone, but he was ready to surrender now. Time to move onto whatever fate awaited him.
“I’ll tell you, the brotherly reunion brought tears to my eyes.”
Dean rolled his eyes, not in the mood right now, but it wasn’t like he had much of a choice. “Glad we could melt that cold stone heart of yours.”
She giggled. “Speaking of cold, don’t you think it’s a little chilly in here?”
“Bite me.” He glimpsed into the corner at her malevolent smirk, wishing hard he could smack if off the bitch’s face. “What do I call you, besides ‘you whore’?”
Dean scoffed. “Some angel you are.”
“Actually, the Greek meaning is a little more literal. It means ‘brings good news.’ In many ways, that’s what I do.”
“Who says only good people deserve good news? I’m here to serve who I’m meant to serve. Just like Sam.”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but I know he’s not a hateful piece of scum.”
She laughed again, using that annoying spiteful laugh that quickly got on Dean’s nerves. “I’m so surprised at you. You haven’t even tried to question what just happened. That was no ordinary family visit.”
Dean held his hands up in the air, looking all around the cold room. “Nothing ordinary here.”
“Oh Dean, your naïveté is just so adorable, especially when it comes to your brother. You honestly think he’s a saint, don’t you?”
Dean rolled himself upright, ready to face this woman head on. No one could trash-talk his brother like that. “Unlike you, he helps people.”
“How’s that? By making everyone’s miserable existence in a cruel world just a little bit brighter for the time being? He’s every bit of a monster I am, maybe worse. He was certainly powerful enough to keep me away for a while.”
“What sort of power?”
“Do you even know the mythology behind a eudaemon?”
Dean stayed silent, for she was going to tell him no matter what he said.
“It’s a derivative of daemon, which in Greek mythology is how they classify spirits. The Greeks separated their daemones into good and evil categories, the eudaemons good and the daemons evil. Both were the same kind of spirits though, bred from the same blood, and either could turn in any direction. So the mythology says anyway. Me, I think underneath, they’re all evil.”
“Sam is not evil.”
“Anyway, daemons are more powerful than demigods like me. Christian culture was so impressed with the Greeks, they adopted their own secular beliefs based on theirs. The difference was instead of having eudaemons, they called all their wayward spirits demons, while admitting there could be an existence of benevolent demons among the evil ones. Sounds like they were tampering with a thin line.”
Dean gritted his teeth, knowing that she was trying to mess with him again.
“Not just anyone can be a eudaemon you know. There has to be something special about them, a little certain something in their blood.”
“Sam doesn’t have anything like that in him. There’s another reason for being that way.”
She broke into laughter. “You believe that? Maybe you need to ask Sam to tell you his little story when he comes to rescue you. Yes, I already know that plan. He knows the truth, once a daemon, always a demon.”
Dean was about to lose it now. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Later Dean.” She disappeared in a flash, leaving Dean to scream out again in frustration.
Oceane - October 1, 2008 02:29 AM (GMT)
What a captivating story :)
You're doing an amazing work, I can't wait to know what'll happen next :)
ajj2001 - October 2, 2008 03:11 AM (GMT)
Thanks Oceane for the comments! I'm glad you're enjoying this. Here's chapter 7.
"Seriously? They hold no quarter?” Steve lightly scoffed over the sick sense of humor. “So even demons are Zeppelin fans."
Sam gripped onto the wheel, pushing the accelerator as hard as it would go. They lost some time in Dallas, and he was determined to get there fast. "It took me a while to figure it out. Dean would have got it in no time."
"But why would use those words when she summoned the evil spirits?" Steve smiled over Sam’s disregard for speed. He had to admit, the ride in this bucket of a Chevy wasn’t so bad.
"The song originally was about the Vikings leaving their families and going off to war, a war that was implied to result in certain death. The lyrics can be applied to any soldier in any war. Walking side by side with death. The devil mocks their every step."
Steve couldn’t argue that viewpoint. "Sounds like it especially applies to a war against demons."
"Demons love irony, but in our case, Dean was the grand prize and someone loved the idea of mocking him with his favorite rock band.”
That revelation didn’t surprise Steve at all from all he knew about demons.
“Wait a second,” Bobby interrupted from the back seat, trying to figure out why the conversation was on rock lyrics. “Aren’t there more pressing questions here? Why couldn’t she take you Sam? Why did she leave you behind?”
Sam stared stone-faced at the open landscape in front of him. That question had been nagging the back of his mind, but he’d been too afraid to go there, for he wanted to focus on getting Dean back. “I don’t know. Demons have been itching to come after me, but for whatever reason, she was unable to deliver me.”
"So she inflicted harm on you instead,” Steve said.
“Which leads to my next question,” Bobby said to Steve. “What’s this business about you finding Sam? Care to tell us how you know so much about this woman?”
“I’ve been hunting her for a long time, but most of the time I end up cleaning up the messes she leaves behind. Once she connects whoever she’s taken to the otherworld, two things happen; death or insanity. From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly death. That’s how I found Sam. He’s only the second person I’ve found alive.”
“Was the other Cody?” Bobby wasn’t about to let that go.
Steve’s face turned solemn. “Yep. He was a hunter, the son of a long gone buddy of mine. After I found him I took him to his mother’s house because he was out of his freaking mind. At the time, I’d never seen anything like it, so I didn’t know how to help him. He got worse and worse to where he wasn’t living in reality anymore.”
“So that’s why you took him to the river,” Bobby said. “What happened to him there?”
“Nothing,” Steve answered, gazing out the passenger side window. “Clayton couldn’t help him.”
“Clayton?” Sam asked. “Is that river guy’s name?”
“Yep. It seems that Clayton can’t help everyone. There has to be something unique about those that he heals.”
“Unique, like what?” Sam asked with a small hint of apprehension in his voice.
“I’ve never been able to figure that out. That’s why I’m surprised he could help you. Us taking you there was the last desperate shot.”
Sam’s face dropped, guessing that he already knew the answer to this question.
“What happened to Cody?”
Steve let out a long sigh, the memories of the moment still fresh in his mind. “He blew his brains out.”
Sam let out an empathetic frown, accepting how hard that could have been. All of a sudden, he drew in a long, deep gasp and slammed on the brakes, forcing the Impala to come to a screechy and unsteady halt before swerving off the side of the road, jerking them all forward, backward and sideways in the process. Sam opened the door with wide eyes and a frantic expression, bolting out of the Impala and dashing into the open field near them.
Steve and Bobby watched Sam for several seconds, and then looked at each other with a “what-the-hell” gaze, since they didn’t see anything there. Once they were over the initial shock, they too jumped out of the car and followed.
Sam didn’t let up on his sprint, the weeds at his feet crunching noisily in a swift pattern, his breath growing heavier with each step. Panic swept through him the farther he moved into the field, for he sensed the terrible danger on the other end. Eventually he came to a line of trees, stopping abruptly in his tracks when he spotted it in the distance. Given all his past experiences with psychic premonitions, he shouldn’t have been surprised to see it there, but he was.
He reached behind his back and pulled out his gun, visually scanning the area all around, pointing the barrel upward into the trees. Once all seemed clear, he moved guardedly forward, gun now directly in front, and the only sounds he heard was his heavy breath and pounding heart.
Steve and Bobby saw Sam in the distance, but noticed his careful approach and stayed a safe distance behind for backup. Both decided to trust his instincts, even though there were no obvious signs of trouble and they had no idea what they were looking for.
With each step closer, Sam’s inner anxiety flared higher. He felt the evil swarming the barn in front of him, and stopped in front of the main door, performing another cautious inspection of the area that surrounded him. He took a deep calming breath, and raised his hand to the latch, where he was hit with a terrorizing flash. A woman, screaming for help, fighting in vain before succumbing to the hands holding onto to her tightly. Sam winced and shook off the horror before cracking the door open and going inside.
The stale and musty air hit him in the face, while a pale stream of light from the roof provided inadequate illumination. He reached in his pocket and pulled out his flashlight, still holding the gun firmly in the other hand. His search came up with nothing but scattered farm equipment and hay, but every instinct inside told him something was there. He shuffled forward, eyes on red alert for any sudden moves. Sam was so absorbed in his search he didn't notice Bobby and Steve enter a safe distance behind him, both with guns in hand.
Sam jumped in fear when a startled creature came streaking by, grazing the top of his head while fleeing. The screeching noise led him to believe it was a bat, and he didn't pause to think about the irony of the symbol. The terror in him now reached overwhelming levels, and only adrenaline was pushing him forward. Whatever he was feeling, he was close to it.
He fought hard to keep the gun steady, and suspected at this point he would fire on anything that flinched. That's when he spotted something in the corner. A weathered tarp covered a long object, possibly a table, but the dust on it was minimal. Sam crept his arm holding the flashlight forward, lightly touching the tarp, looking for any obvious signs. There were no traces of blood, sulfur, or any other material, and nothing moved. He put the flashlight under his arm and was about to push away the tarp, when he was all of a sudden startled by a tap on the shoulder.
Sam whipped around, ready to confront the person behind him, but his wrists were quickly restrained and a burst of light shone in his face, revealing his angry glare. “Bobby, what-“ Bobby held his finger to his lips to signal quiet, and released Sam. Bobby pointed his gun at the suspicious area, while Steve by this time had moved to cover the other side. Both signaled Sam to go ahead and remove the covering. He slowly proceeded to pull it backward.
All three were shocked to find a woman’s body there, on her back on a long table. She was blue all over, with a thin layer of frost covering most of her. Sam slid his hand onto her arm, and then jumped back in an extreme reflex reaction.
“Owww!” Sam said, shaking his hand in pain and looking befuddled.
“What?” Bobby asked.
“It looks like she’s frozen, but when I touch her, it’s like I touched a hot stove.”
Steve titled his head in curiosity, needing to see for himself. He touched the opposite arm, but didn’t flinch. “It’s cold. She’s definitely frozen.”
Sam didn’t understand what was happening, judging by his lost expression and shallow breaths from the shock. He reached across the body, and touched the arm Steve did. He jerked his hand away. “Nope, burning hot.”
Bobby touched the exact same spot Sam did. “I’m with Steve, it’s frozen.”
Sam fought hard to not let the alarm overtake his rationality. “How could that be? Why is she hot to me?” He reached out and touched Bobby’s arm, and it felt perfectly normal. Sam shook his head. “This is the weirdest game of touchy-feely I’ve ever played.”
“Forget that, how did you know she was here?” Bobby asked, not understanding any of this himself.
Sam was stricken by that question. “I don’t know. I just felt her, her presence, the evil all around. It’s the same feeling I had when Dean and I were with our mystery woman before.”
Steve lowered his weapon, no longer seeing any threats. “That’s what she does. The bodies are frozen, but by the time people find them, they’re thawed out.”
Sam put his gun away and took a long pause to reel in all the questions flowing through his mind. “This must be how she hides the bodies. Were the others found in a barn, or remote location like this?”
Steve shook his head. “No, they’ve turned up all sorts of places. I honestly don’t know why she’d want to hide one.” He cupped his hand behind the woman’s head and turned it, exposing the side of her neck while shining his light on it. “Weird.”
“What is it?” Sam asked.
“Usually there’s some sort of mark, a red imprint of something. It varies, but it’s usually a symbol. She doesn’t have one.”
“Maybe that’s why she wasn’t supposed to be found yet,” Bobby said. “Is it possible the spirit guide isn’t done with her?”
Sam couldn’t avoid but thinking that Dean was out there somewhere frozen like this. That would explain why he was feeling cold. The thought terrified him more. “So do we wait to see if anyone comes back for her? I know I can’t keep driving at random until I find Dean.”
“There’s got to be something here. Let’s search for clues,” instructed Bobby. Sam and Bobby began their tedious search by flashlight, while Steve took the body, looking for any other form of identification. The dark made the search difficult, and time consuming. After twenty long minutes of searching, Sam spotted something small and shiny resting in a nearby bundle of hay. “I’ve got something,” he declared, picking up the small charm and scrutinizing its every feature. “It looks like it fell off a bracelet.”
“The bodies are usually stripped of all their jewelry and other belongings,” Steve said. “It could belong to this gal.”
Sam sadly nodded, realizing that Dean probably gave him the amulet because he feared it would be taken and lost forever. His flashback was interrupted when Bobby recognized the symbol. “That’s a Caddo solar cross.”
“The Caddo Indians?” Sam was suddenly blindsided by a revelation. “No…no the bracelet is hers, the spirit guide. I remember it dangling on her wrist when she touched me. She used an old Shaman type ritual to start her trance.” Sam paced back and forth, thinking through what all of this meant. “How far are we from Shreveport?”
“Half hour I think,” Bobby replied.
“There’s a Caddo presence there. It would be a great place to do some research.”
Bobby shrugged. “It makes sense.”
Sam looked sympathetically at the frozen corpse in front of him. Another vision where he was too late to save someone. He hated that feeling. “We can’t leave her here like this.” He pulled out his phone to make the anonymous call.
“Don’t,” Steve said. “I’m stayin’ here with her.”
Sam didn’t understand why he’d want to do that. “You sure?”
“Just in case our missing spirit guide comes back. I have a feeling her work here isn’t done.”
“Don’t you need backup?” Bobby asked.
“I’ve been chasing this witch for an eternity. I’m not turning down the slimmest chance to run into her.”
Sam shook his head. “No, I don’t like it.”
Steve clenched his jaw, and issued a direct order. “Get yer ass out there son and find your brother. The last thing you need to worry about is me.”
Bobby grabbed Sam’s arm. “Come on Sam, he’s right.”
Sam relented, but still didn’t like it. “Fine, we’ll go on. Call us if anything happens, or if you need a ride.”
“Whatever, now go.”
Both Sam and Bobby didn’t waste any time, and Steve listened as the footsteps in the hay moved farther and farther away until they were gone. He sat down on a nearby bale of grass, and dug in for a long wait.
Dean’s eyes fluttered open, noticing the different ceiling hovering over him. It was much higher, darker, and rough to see, but from what he could tell, he was in a barn. He was flat on his back, on a wooden table, frozen and unable to move.
“Call us if anything happens, or if you need a ride.”
Dean wanted to turn his head, but couldn’t. He knew that voice anywhere. “Sam!” he shouted. “I’m here Sam, don’t leave!”
He heard his brother’s footsteps move farther and farther into the distance. “Please Sam, you can’t leave me to die!” He tried to move, but every part of his body was pinned tightly to the table. Eventually the footsteps and Sam’s voice were gone.
Dean wanted to pound his fists in frustration, but then a horrible burning emerged in his gut, like he was on fire. The pain grew so intense he screamed, and the louder he screamed, the worst it got, quickly rushing through him like he was burning alive. “Help me Sam!” were his last words before the agony consumed him and everything went black.
Dean sprang up in his bed, another nightmare unsettling every bit of him. Each one was getting more vivid, more real, more dark, and his isolation only made his wavering psyche worse. If the plan was to break him before being delivered to his end, it was working.
He felt a cool breeze brush up his neck, causing his already shot nerves to jump. His eyes moved slowly across the room, for he was afraid over what he might find this time. “Holy crap.”
A door, exactly where Sam said it would be, was not only there, but was wide open. Even though his first thought was to run through it and never look back, that uneasy feeling deep inside warned him that might not be a good idea. This could be a trap, or delivery to a place he didn’t want to go.
“Hello?” he said. Dean quickly realized he’d be more disturbed if there was an answer. Luckily, he didn’t hear one. He rose from the bed and cautiously stepped toward the door, peering through the frame to see a long dank hallway with the same dingy walls as his room. It was dark on the other end, but he could make out a figure standing there.
“Can you hear me?” He asked the form in the dark, but got no answer.
He found himself going through the door frame, creeping closer to the shadow. Before he knew it he was halfway down the hall. The closer he got, the more he was able to make out what was in front of him. A few steps later it was crystal clear. He was face to face with a young woman with dirty blonde hair, tattered clothing, and she was shivering. Her face twisted from despair and bewilderment.
“He didn’t save me,” she said, voice quivering.
“Who didn’t save you?” Dean was especially bothered by the horror deep in her eyes, as if all hope was gone.
“Sam. He was there. All he had to do was touch me.”
She whimpered, letting the tears of anguish fall down her face. “He didn’t help. Instead he walked away. I’m doomed now.”
“Doomed from what?”
Before she answered, apparitions in black rose ominously from the ground and began to circle her, first slowly, then bit by bit gaining speed. Dean stepped back to avoid the spirits, and watched in dread until they were spinning like a cyclone around her. She began to scream. “Please, help me! Don’t let them take me!”
Dean moved closer and stopped, eyeing the masses in front of him before pushing his hand in. One stopped and clasped into his arm. He stepped backward and waved his arm frantically up, down, and around, but was unable to shake the creature.
“Save me Dean!” She shouted, as the circle of the other spirits whirred ferociously around her, making a noise similar to a turbine on a jet engine.
Dean felt himself being pulled into the cyclone, but resisted, taking determined yet heavy steps forward toward the room that he left. “Let go!” he grunted while each inch forward proved to be a victory. He yelled when the grip tightened on his wrist, the bones being crushed slowly, but with one painful yank he freed himself.
“Sam can’t save you Dean! He’ll let you down,” The woman shouted above the loud noise.
Dean couldn’t turn around to see her, for any look back would force him to lose ground. He was inches away from the doorway, his fingertips touching the frame, before he was slammed on the floor, chest down, and left choking to recover from the wind being knocked out of him. Something grabbed him by the ankle, and slid him back at a slow, torturous pace. The rough floor dug into the flesh on his chest and stomach when his shirt bunched up, but the scratches were the least of his worries. He wriggled as hard as he could, but any effort proved to be pointless, for the cyclone was now only a few feet away. “Goodbye Sam!” He shouted, his fate now inevitable.
Dean heard one last blood curdling scream, then a loud boom. He closed his eyes, braced himself, and then everything disappeared. He no longer felt anything holding him, and whipped his distraught eyes around to see the spirits and the woman gone. The door in front of him was still open, so he staggered quickly to his feet and propelled himself inside, falling in the center of the room on his hands and knees seconds before the door slammed shut and disappeared. He gasped desperately for breath, but he felt his senses blur before he fell flat on his chest and everything went dark.
Steve watched as a red bulge suddenly appeared on the exposed neck in front of him, and the girl on the table thawed out within seconds. He sighed in resignation, another soul delivered.
“You can deliver the body now,” Steve heard behind him.
“Sure Evangelina, because you’re all about closure for the family.”
“Isn’t that why you’re here?” She sauntered closer, always enjoying how sad these moments made him. It was pitiful for anyone to feel so deeply about these particular humans. “I assume Sam found the charm.”
“Yep, although you hid it pretty good this time.”
“I knew he’d find it. He’s pretty talented. I can’t wait to see him again. I think it’s those puppy dog eyes that make him a joy to have around.”
Steve somberly ran his hand along the now soft corpse in front of him. “He could be more powerful than you think. He’s determined to reach Dean in time.”
She laughed. “Dean’s already started to turn. He’d better hurry.” She started walking toward the barn door. “I’m off to Shreveport now. I would give you a lift, but you’ve got work to do.” She left the barn wearing a grin eager from anticipation.
Steve shook his head, let out a deep sigh and reached for the bowie knife in his jacket. “Darlin, I don’t know what you did, but sorry it had to be this way.”
He raised the knife up and plunged it right through her heart, and then back out again. Once he wiped the knife off and put it back into place, he took his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed. “Yeah, I want to report a dead body.”
ajj2001 - October 2, 2008 04:47 AM (GMT)
The stale air of the cut-rate motel room filtered through his nose the second he opened the door, but Sam didn’t take notice. He was too engrossed by what he found earlier in the library, plus he was all too familiar with such smells by now. He sat in the rickety and well-worn chair by the window and buried his head in the book that fueled for him all sorts of theories as to what could be happening not only to Dean, but to him.
After a while he put the book down, giving his eyes a much needed a break. He had put in about five hours of research before finding this book and his head was swimming. He blearily examined his surroundings, wondering briefly who thought bright purple and chocolate brown was a good color combination. He didn’t mind though, probably because rooms like this were always home and that sick familiarity represented the only consistency in his life.
He stared at the two beds next to him, the one he absent mindedly took on the left out of habit, and the empty one. He was offered a single king bed at the motel office, but couldn’t find it in his heart to accept it. No, that other bed had to be there, even if Dean wasn’t with him right now. It symbolized that it would be there waiting for him, and he couldn’t have it any other way. That was the excuse he gave Bobby anyway. That wasn’t the only reason why he needed a private room though. There were some things he wasn’t ready to share with Bobby yet.
The downside of research time was it often fired the internal questions he wished to avoid. His thoughts pushed those nagging questions to the forefront, and he couldn’t prevent postulating the answer. He knew why the mystery woman couldn’t take him like Dean and left him behind. When she got into his head, she wasn’t expecting to find someone with powerful latent abilities that could be awakened at any time, abilities previously tied to demons. The revelation jarred her, and she had to stop or risk her own consequences. He could never admit that to anyone though, not Steve, not Bobby, and certainly never Dean. What bothered him was that if she couldn’t take him, what did she do to him instead and how was Clayton able to fix that? How did Clayton manage give him the abilities to save Dean? That was the missing link he needed to find, and the book in front of him was offering some strange possibilities.
The cell phone rang, shocking him out of his deep thought. He fumbled in his pocket, checked the number and quickly answered. “Where are you?”
“On my way. I found a ride.” Steve looked over to the trucker next to him, who was happily minding his own business.
“What happened to the girl?”
“Exactly what I said would. I made a call.”
Sam felt a deep pang of sympathy for the family that would be getting the news soon. He couldn’t imagine anything worse. “Okay, Bobby and I are at the Natchitoche Inn off 71.”
“Got it. I’ll catch up with ya in the morning.”
Sam hung up the phone, throwing it on the bed next to him. He re-opened the library book, deciding he had procrastinated enough. As he started to read, there was a knock on the door. He got up, cracked it, and left it open for the visitor to enter while returning to the chair.
“Find anything at the parish?” Sam asked. He let Bobby take the Impala earlier, while he did some research nearby.
“I heard a good story. What about you?”
Sam held up the book in his hand. “Dida’Latli’ti. The literal translation, ‘to destroy life.’”
Bobby caught the title of the book. “Sacred Native American Texts.”
Sam placed the book on the table, and stretched his long arms backward. “Sacred texts for a variety of tribes, used by shaman. There’s some really intense stuff in here. So what did you find out?”
Bobby sat down on the edge of the bed, eager to share his story. “I ran into a tribal elder, who was kind enough to share a little well known legend among the Caddo. Once upon a time there was a Greek demigod, her mother was a goddess, and her father was a mortal. She arrived in the US in the early 1760’s with a small contingent of Greek travelers that settled in North Florida, and whose traces were shortly thereafter lost in history. They guessed that she ended up fleeing with other Spanish settlers to the new territory of Louisiana, which the Spanish just acquired from the French. It was there she became friendly with a prominent Caddo spiritual leader.”
“Or, a shaman perhaps?” Sam replied, seeing where this was going.
“The story is she learned black magic from him and used it often to protect Caddo tribesmen and inflict harm on enemies of the tribe, especially during the time when most of the tribe was massacred by Indian hunters in Texas when they were pushed out of Louisiana. She used a mixed bag of tricks to deliver those perceived to be evil to the dark spirits.”
“Did he say what happened to her, or the shaman?”
Bobby shook his head. “Nope, once most of the tribe was scattered and forced to live in other territories, the legend stopped there.”
Sam took it all in, seeing the pieces neatly fall together. “Greek mythology tied in with Native American shamanism. That’s a mixed bag. So what are the chances that the Greek woman is who we’re hunting, and the shaman is our man in the river?”
“You think he could still be alive?”
“Demigods weren’t limited to Greek mythology. They exist in all sorts of cultures.”
Bobby nodded, having no good argument for that point. “I got nothing better.” He took a good long glance at the worn leather cover of the book next to Sam. “So what’s that you mentioned, destroying life?”
“This has all sorts of texts in native languages, but I was reading about a ritual where the shaman actively seeks to destroy the life of another. The process has him concealing himself near the trail along with the victim is likely to pass. He acquires something from the victim, for example waiting for him to spit was a popular method, and that gave him control over the life of the victim himself. It goes onto exhaustive detail how the piece from the victim is mixed with wild parsnip, placed in a tube of seven earthworms beaten into a paste, and the tube is buried at the base of a tree that has been struck by lightning. The shaman would place seven black pebbles, an emblem of death, around the site, cover it with earth and build a fire around it to destroy all traces of his work.”
“So why is this ritual so interesting?”
“The end result is what got me. If the ceremony has been properly carried out, the victim becomes blue. Unless the victim employs the countercharms of a more powerful shaman, the soul begins to shrivel up and dwindle, and within seven days that person is dead.”
“What does that mean, shrivel up and dwindle?”
“I’m not exactly sure, but my hunch is it means the soul starts to turn, you know, go dark.”
“And the turning blue, like being frozen perhaps?”
“The text isn’t specific, but from what we know, it’s likely. The text was pretty clear about the seven days though.”
Bobby didn’t like the sound of that. “If that’s true, we’re pretty close to seven days, aren’t we?”
“We’re at seven days tomorrow. It’s possible someone has intervened though, slowing the process.”
“Who would have intervened on Dean’s behalf? Clayton?”
Sam hesitated, but couldn’t tell Bobby about his visit to Dean and that if there was an opposing force, it was him, not Clayton. “Yeah, it could be him. We have to assume we don’t have anytime though.”
Bobby got up, and headed for the door. “Come on, there are a couple of places I still need check out. If we don’t have much time, we better do it now.”
Sam accepted that it being two in the morning wasn’t going to stop Bobby, but he had a plan, and one that he wasn’t ready to share. “I should stay here and finish reading. I could uncover something important.”
“Bring it along, you can read in the car.” Bobby couldn’t understand why Sam didn’t want to go, but if he knew anything about the Winchesters, it was their agendas were often hidden.
“There’s something in here that will help, I know it. The trip will be too distracting. Just call me if you find anything and I’ll be there.”
“How will you get there? I have your car.”
Sam tried to avoid the guilty look, doing his best to sell a plausible reason. “Look, I didn’t want to worry you, but I’m still not feeling quite right from the thing. I really need to rest for a bit.”
“You need more rest after a three day nap?”
“Sounds strange, doesn’t it?”
Bobby suspiciously agreed. He wasn’t sure what Sam was up to, but he’d let him get away with it. “Okay, I’ll go check it out alone, with your car.” He stopped at the door, turning around to take another long gaze at Sam. “You sure you’re okay?”
“I’ll be fine. Call if you find anything.”
Bobby gave him a slow nod and left the room. Sam fell to the bed, feeling guilty about lying to Bobby, but accepted it was for the best. He opened the book, flipping the pages to another sacred ritual. “Gahu’sti a Giyahu’sa’,” he repeated to himself. All he needed to pull it off was a possession of the missing person. He clutched the amulet in his hand, and recited the text. In less than a minute his mind wandered from reality, thoughts of Dean swimming in his head.
“Wake up Dean!” Sam was easily flustered when he saw his unconscious brother on the ground, frustrated that he couldn’t shake him awake. He looked dead, and it scared him. "Come on man, I need to know you’re okay.”
Dean stayed stretched on the ground, not moving a muscle.
Dean heard the voice, his head fighting hard for coherence. He concluded whatever was trying to wake him was another intrusion, another thing that wouldn’t leave him alone. “Go away,” he commanded in a weak voice, muffled by the floor.
Sam let out a small sigh of relief. “It’s me Dean. Please, get up.”
Dean carefully raised his head and peered his glassy eyes into the corner, rising them slowly up the height of his tall brother. He scoffed and put his head back on the ground. “I don’t need you here Sam.”
Sam crouched down, giving Dean an easier chance to see him, but Dean wouldn’t look. “I know you’re tired and stressed. You’ve got to pull it together.”
Dean’s head shot up, flaring an angry but weary glare at Sam. “I’m tired? You think this is all because I’m drained? How about it’s because you’re the last person I want to see right now.”
Sam was at a loss to respond, thrown back to hear such words. “What’s wrong with you?”
"For the first time in my life, I’m seeing who my brother really is.” Dean rolled up slowly into sitting position and swung around, defiantly turning his back toward Sam.
This can’t be a good sign. Sam’s stomach dropped, for a soul turning dark would push away those that meant the most. He had to keep trying to get through. “Dean, I’m here to help you. I’m going to get you out of this, I promise.”
“Were you ever gonna tell me the truth, Sammy?"
Sam again was dumbfounded by Dean’s agitation. "The truth? About what?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. You’re supposed to be the smart one.”
Sam sank on his knees, wishing he could turn Dean around to look at him straight. “Would you please fill me in on what you’re talking about?”
"I know what you are.”
"I’m your brother, and I’m here to save you."
"Save me?” Dean stopped to swallow a big lump in his throat. “I don't need help from a part-blooded demon."
Sam was overtaken by the sting lingering in those words, but he maintained his composure for Dean’s sake. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Dean whipped around, furious that Sam would be so dishonest. "Don’t lie to me!” How could you lie to me? After all we’ve…“ His voice trailed off, unable finish his sentence.
Sam stammered, unprepared for this onslaught of accusations, not ready to confess his dark secret. His brother’s heartache tore him apart, as this was exactly how he expected Dean would take the news. He didn’t know how to explain this to him, especially at this moment, when so much was on the line. He always pictured a better setting, a better time. “Dean, it’s complicated. Can we discuss this later?”
“It’s complicated? Either you are or you aren’t. What is it??”
Sam looked down, unable to find the right words needed to cushion the blow.
“I’m not going anywhere with you until I know the truth!”
Sam’s eyes lifted with guilt toward Dean, peering through the shaggy bangs, watering when he saw Dean’s crushed expression. “I am,” he confessed.
Dean dropped his head into his hand, his shoulders shriveling as though a ton of bricks fell on him. He knew Sam loved his secrets, and that made him no different than their dad, but this one still hurt more than anything he had kept from him. “When? How long? Was it…was it when your abilities started?"
Sam shook his head. "When I was a baby."
"When you were born?"
Sam looked away and exhaled a staggered breath. “The night of the fire,” he replied with shaken voice.
"How long have you known about this?" Dean felt his own eyes getting moist, but they were for betrayal.
"Since Cold Oak."
"How did you find out?”
“When yellow eyes appeared to me in a dream. He showed me everything that happened that night, including mom-“ Sam stopped, not sure he wanted to go there.
“Just tell me what happened!”
Sam pursed his lips and glanced to the side, unable to stop his eye from dropping a tear down his cheek. “He fed me demon blood. Mom walked in by mistake, so he…he killed her. She would have been fine if she didn’t interrupt him.”
“Which is why some mothers died in nursery fires and some didn’t.”
Dean slapped his hand on the top of his leg, now deeply frustrated by the news. “You mean she died a senseless death? Why couldn’t you tell me that?"
Sam slumped his shoulders in defeat. "I'm not the only one that wants to protect his brother from the truth. I knew it would tear you apart."
Dean clenched his teeth, the anger inside rising fast.
“Does any of this matter Dean? You’ve known me your whole life. I’m not evil, or malevolent. I help people, we both do. Didn’t you once tell me that nothing bad would happen to me as long as you were around? As long as we have each other, we’ll be okay.”
“You let that girl die,” he said with low voice tinged with disappointment.
“She said you were there, and you didn’t save her. They got her Sam, they got her, and you didn’t stop it!”
“Who got her?” Sam couldn’t understand who he was talking about, but then remembered. “The young woman in the barn? I found her body, but it was frozen.”
“She said all you had to do was touch her.”
“I did. It was like I touched hot coals. It was too late Dean.”
“No it wasn’t! You could have found a way. You didn’t though, because you’re just like them. You couldn’t save her, and you can’t save me!”
“No Dean, don’t say that. I can save you. What’s happening is your soul is shrinking away. They’re trying to get you to surrender. I’m here to stop that.”
Dean closed his eyes, pondering whether to believe Sam or not. He shook his head violently and cast his hand toward Sam, generating a force that pushed him into the wall. “You’re a liar! You’re pure evil.”
“Dean, don’t do this,” Sam pleaded, feeling himself pressed harder into the concrete. He knew he could fight back, but he didn’t want to. He needed to get Dean to see reason.
Dean went to throw another blow, but Sam held out his hand and blocked whatever was coming at him. Together they fought for control over the invisible force, wearing each other thin in the process. “Stop it Dean! Don’t give into it.”
“I’m finally accepting the truth. Dean pushed harder, but only managed to budge whatever resistance he was getting a few inches before it came back on him. Sam gritted his teeth, fighting hard to maintain even ground.
“I don’t want to leave you here. Please Dean, listen to me!”
“Why should I?” Dean went for the final surge, and Sam had no choice but to disappear, or be on the receiving end of the massive hit.
Dean panted heavily, the deep anger and betrayal inside him reaching a boiling point. Learning the truth about Sam was the only reason to hang on. Now he didn’t have one. “I’m ready to move on,” he said into the air.
Sam snapped out of his trance in a huge sweat, shaking and hurting from the mental and emotional exertion. “Oh God,” he said once he focused his eyes, noticing Bobby in front of him.
“What the hell Sam?”
Sam tried to come up with an explanation, but instead threw Bobby a spectrum of faces that reflected the fact that he didn’t have one.
“You were out of it! I’ve tried calling non-stop for the last hour. I rushed in here when you wouldn’t answer thinking something awful happened. What you were doing?”
Sam was skilled at lying, but didn’t know how to lie to Bobby, not in this case. “I…I,” he paused, giving him a nervous smile. “I can explain this.”
“It was one of these shaman rituals, wasn’t it?”
Sam twisted his face, trying to find the right words. “I just did it and it worked.”
Bobby rubbed his chin, wondering which Winchester he needed to worry about more right now. “Sam, you’re scaring the crap out of me. Don’t tell me it’s the psychic stuff again.”
“No, it was the river. Ever since then, I’ve been able to do things.”
“Like talk to the spirit of your lost brother?”
Sam mocked surprise. “What makes you think I was doing that?”
Bobby picked up the open book, reading from the page. “Gahu’sti a Giyahu’sa’, or ‘finding something you lost’.”
Sam wasn’t about to resist anymore. “He’s not gone yet Bobby. His soul hasn’t moved on. He’s close though, and we can’t waste time.” Sam’s face turned questionable, all of sudden realizing that Bobby wouldn’t be there without a damn good reason. “What did you need me for anyway?”
Bobby grabbed Sam’s jacket and threw it at him. “I found something, but I couldn’t handle it alone. I need your ass there with me an hour ago!”
“What’d you find?”
Oceane - October 3, 2008 10:55 PM (GMT)
This story is so captivating, I'm at the edge of my seat waiting for more :)
Terrific work so far ajj :)
ajj2001 - October 6, 2008 02:24 AM (GMT)
“How…where…you found him??? You just left him there???” Bobby found Sam’s irritation understandable given the circumstances, but he figured Sam would know him better by now.
“Don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere. He’s under the protection of a tribal Xinesi and his son. They said that in this state he shouldn’t be moved. You need to be there.”
“You found a spiritual leader in the tribe? How in the world did Dean end up with him?”
“The tribal elder I talked to this afternoon thought the Xinesi might be able to share some more insights about our mystery woman. Turns out he knows a lot about her alright, whose name is Evangelina by the way. She’s more than a legend, and she brought Dean to them for safe keeping almost a week ago. Helping her is the Xinesi’s way of honoring all she’s done for their ancestors.”
“So you walked in and he told you Dean was there?”
“Hell no. It took my poking around their barn for them to confess to me.”
“They were cooperative?”
Bobby nodded. “They know he’s almost gone and took pity on his devastated ‘Uncle Bobby’. To them, Dean’s death is a done deal and they’ve never liked the idea of anyone dying alone.”
“How nice of them,” Sam said sardonically, rolling his eyes.
“I told them I’d be right back because I had to get Dean’s brother. They had no problem with that.”
“You fell for that? They’ve probably called Evangelina by now.”
“Something told me they were on the level. Plus, I put my GPS tracker in Dean’s pocket when they weren’t looking.” Bobby pulled out his cell phone and checked the display. “He’s still there.”
“A GPS tracker? Isn’t that a little Mission Impossible for you?”
Bobby shrugged. “It’s easier than tricking a cell phone provider to give you a location. They’re getting too wise anymore.”
Sam ran his hands through his thick hair, and clasped them on the back of his neck. He couldn’t believe that after all this Bobby was able to find Dean so easily. “I don’t know, there’s something about this that doesn’t feel right.”
“You mean like a trap?”
“Could be, but I don’t know for sure.”
Bobby knew better than to discount Sam’s sixth sense, especially with the way he’d been acting lately. “Since we’re talking about strange feelings, you want to tell me what’s going on with you?”
Sam twisted his face slightly. “Things just seem to be starting again.”
“You mean psychic things.”
Sam hesitated with an answer, not ready to draw any concrete conclusions. “It’s different this time Bobby. I don’t know if it’s psychic, or spiritual, or abilities that have been there the entire time and awakened. I’ve never been able to go into spiritual world before.”
“But you can now.”
Sam crushed his lips together and nodded, fear of the unknown dwelling in his troubled eyes.
“I don’t have all the answers either Sam, but all I know is trap or not, Dean’s there and he needs us.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
This was one of those times that Sam was grateful for Dean’s love of such a fast car. Bobby was pushing it as hard as it would go, and before he knew it, they were there. They pulled into the long rutted drive, bouncing wildly as they approached the isolated farmhouse and crumbling barn. The lights were on in the house, and a rusted old Ford pickup sat next to it, looking like it was ready to fall apart at any second.
“Stop here,” Sam instructed, before they reached the end of the drive.
Bobby noticed Sam’s deep alarm. “Did you see something?”
Sam shook his head. “I’ve got a feeling.”
“No harm in extra caution.” Bobby backed up the Impala and pulled it into a little clearing in the trees halfway down the drive.
Sam examined the surroundings cautiously, reluctant to get out of the car. “This definitely doesn’t feel right. It’s the same evil I felt when we found that girl, only ten times worse.”
“I’ll do a check around the house, you take the barn,” Bobby said, opening the car door. Sam pulled out his semi-automatic pistol from the glove box and drew the slide on the barrel backward before letting it snap back into place.
“You know this the point where I tell you not to do anything stupid,” Bobby cautioned Sam, seeing that wild look in his eye.
“Too late for that.” Sam climbed out of the car, getting the expected creek from the old door as he slammed it shut. Stepping outside only spiked his inner anxiety, and by instinct he raised his gun while maintaining his wide-eyed sweep. He moved slowly at first, each step closer toward the barn agitating his nervous feeling. Once he got to the barn door, he quickened his pace inward, now certain that Dean was in there.
Sam knew what to look for this time, but that didn’t change how jumpy he felt. He quickly spotted the covered object on a long table in the corner. As he was about to approach, he heard the barn door creak open. By instinct, he jumped behind a stack of hay. It could have been Bobby, but he had to be sure.
Sam couldn’t tell who it was, but judging by the height and build he could make out from the shadow, it wasn’t Bobby. The bright flashlight coming from whoever approached blinded him, making identification impossible. The mystery person walked straight over to the corner and removed the cover. Sam muffled his gasp when he saw a blue and frosted Dean, looking dead with an unsettled guise on his face.
The person put down the flashlight, and pulled something out from the jacket, letting out a long sigh of sorrow. Sam could see the silhouette of a head shaking. He saw two arms rise in the air, and as soon as the sparkle of a silver blade hit the path of light, Sam lunged forward. He yelled and tackled the man before he had a chance to deliver the intended blow.
Sam and the other figure wrestled on the ground, both hands flailing above their heads for control over the large bowie knife. The other man was strong, but Sam was larger and more determined. Sam slammed their hands on the ground with a few sharp blows before forcing the knife to drop, and punched the other person in the face. “Why are you trying to kill my brother?”
“Sam?” The other person said. Sam’s heart sank as he recognized the voice. He grabbed the nearby flashlight and used it to confirm the identity.
“Steve? What…what are you doing?”
“Carrying out my task.”
“Killing Dean??? How is that your task???” Sam grasped onto Steve’s jacket, and was ready to slam him repeatedly into the ground. He fought off his anger though, for he needed answers.
About this time Sam heard others approaching and the lights went on in the barn. He turned around to see Bobby and another older gentleman. Bobby couldn’t believe what he saw. “What’s going on?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out,” Sam said with gritted teeth, turning his ire back to Steve.
“He’s almost gone. I was told this time not to wait for the usual sign.” Steve said.
“What sign, and by who?”
“Evangelina,” Steve said, not expecting Sam to understand. “Normally I have to wait for the red mark on the neck and the body to thaw out. She said we might not have time for that.”
“You tried to kill Dean!” Sam angrily shouted, not at all in the mood for weird explanations.
“Sam, once they’re gone they need a silver blade straight through the heart, otherwise they could come back as an evil spirit. You don’t want one of those things roaming the earth.”
“He’s not gone! I’m here to save him.”
“Exactly how do you think you’re going to do that? Last time you couldn’t touch the body.”
Sam threw Steve a furious glare before letting go, breathing heavily as he rose to his feet and turned with anguish to his brother. “Oh God, Dean.” Sam reached forward to lay his hand on him, but had to jump back when it felt like he was touching pure fire. He tried again, willing himself to the pain, but after a few seconds the burning sensation was too unbearable.
“Don’t touch him Sam,” Bobby shouted, moving closer before seeing Sam’s physical anguish diminish the second he pulled away.
“Bobby,” Sam said with shaky voice, “put this on him.” Sam rolled the string holding the amulet over the top of his head and handed it to him. Bobby nodded, sadly taking the necklace and placing it around Dean.
The older Native American man stepped from behind Bobby in awe. “I don’t believe it.”
“Sam, this is the Xinesi I told you about,” Bobby said. He threw Steve the evil eye while Steve raised himself up from the ground and brushed himself off.
“You’re the eudaemon,” the Xinesi declared to Sam in disbelief.
“The what?” Bobby asked, more rattled when Sam’s guilty face let on he knew exactly what the man was talking about.
“A daemon can spare the stricken from their fate. I was told in a vision that one day one would appear. You’re not what I expected.”
“How do you know it’s him?” Bobby asked, eyeing Sam with suspicion when he remained silent.
“Only the eudaemon feels fire when touching a frigid shell.”
Sam further avoided eye contact by focusing on Dean instead. Now wasn’t the time to offer explanations. He held out his hand and placed it on his brother’s arm, feeling again the intense burn. He tried to hold it there, wincing in pain, but Bobby jerked his hand away.
“You shouldn’t be here,” the Xinesi said to Sam. “You’re in danger.”
“I’m not leaving my brother.” The mere sight of Dean’s prone corpse tore him apart, let alone the fact that he couldn’t hold him or deliver him to safety. Every bit of him wanted to get Dean out of there, for he could feel the presence of something very dark surrounding them, and that feeling was now at alarming levels.
The old man frowned. “That’s most unfortunate.” He stepped back, just before Sam felt himself flying backward at quick speed. He landed hard on a set of shelves on the opposite side of the barn with a large crash, slumping down to the ground as searing pain shot through his entire body.
“Sam!” Bobby rushed over to help him, but Sam flew again over him, and into the side of a large tractor several feet away. He groaned in agony, gasping for breath from the wind being knocked hard from him.
“What are you doing to him!” Bobby yelled at the Xinesi.
“It’s not me. The dark spirit was waiting for him.”
“Get Dean out of here!” Sam shouted at Bobby. He felt himself yanked upward feet first, hauled all the way to the top of the barn at a ridiculous speed, before feeling the jolt of a sudden stop. He hovered a dangerous distance over the ground upside down, fighting hard to overcome the double vision that obscured his view. He managed to make out shades of Bobby standing underneath him several feet below.
“I told you to get Dean out of here!”
“I’m not leaving you like this,” Bobby said, refusing to take the order.
“He’s in worse danger than I am. Get him out now!”
Bobby took one more hesitant look at Sam before rushing over to the table. He scooped up bottom half Dean’s stiff frame, only to find Steve taking the other end. Both men hauled him toward the door, with Bobby pausing to glimpse at Sam’s pained face while he struggled. “Go!” Sam yelled again, and both men did as commanded.
Sam tried to pull himself up, but felt something smack him hard back down every time. He growled in agony, but kept trying to get back up even though each blow made him feel like he was slipping. He swung his fists into the air, but didn’t hit any resistance, and could tell from the sliding he wasn’t going to stay in this position much longer. Finally, everything gave way, and he plummeted downward, closing his eyes and pushing his arms forward, bracing himself for a hefty impact.
“Sam!” He felt Bobby take his arm, opening his eyes to realize he was on his feet with wobbly knees. He was too disoriented to figure out what happened, and willingly took Bobby’s lead. They got outside of the barn and saw Steve pulling up in the Impala.
Sam felt the wave coming behind him. He stopped in his tracks, stood straight up, and held his hand outward, halting whatever invisible blow was coming his way. Bobby watched with unease Sam’s haunted eyes, chilling grimace and heaving chest as he held off with determination whatever invisible force existed in front of them.
“Get Dean away from here,” Sam said with gritted teeth, his struggle starting to wear him physically.
“No way in hell I’m leaving you behind.” Bobby went to the driver’s side and stood near the rear door. “Dean’s dead without you, and I’m not losing you both.”
A huge gust of wind whisked upon them, and Sam yelled when the force became too great, pushing him into the hard steel of the Impala, crushing him into the surface. The engine cut out and the lights went dead.
Bobby clung to the Impala and crouched down, using the car as a shield against the powerful wind. He cracked open the door and slid through it into the rear seat, where a prone Dean was stretched out. He closed the door behind him despite the hard resistance, feeling no more force of the wind. “Sam! You’ll be safe in the car!”
Sam let out another loud cry, for the pressure was intense. He closed his eyes, fearing that darkness would fall upon him any second, fighting hard to remain lucid. All of a sudden, the strain subsided and he fell swiftly to the ground, feeling another powerful breeze coming from the north. He grabbed onto the car door handle, and looked up to see a young man, the Xinesi’s son, holding his arm out, pushing the wind in the other direction, chanting.
Sam saw out of the corner of his eye Steve pushing open the door and his strong arms yanking him into the car. He shut the door just in time to peel out of the driveway and take them quickly away.
Sam was too distressed from what transpired to say much at first, taking time once in a while to reach back to Dean’s body and touch it, only to shake off the pain from the heat. He sank farther into despair, finding little consolation in retrieving his brother in this state. After a while, Sam spoke softly. “Thanks for saving us, both of you.”
“I only claim credit for Dean. The rest you did yourself,” Bobby said.
“Yeah, when you crashed to the ground. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“What’d I do?”
“You don’t remember?”
Sam shook his head.
“You stopped yourself in mid air a foot from the ground, and then flipped yourself on your feet. I was only there to help you stand back up.”
“How did I?”
“Beats me. How did you do any of that? You stopped that spirit with some sort of freakish mind control, not to mention the fact that you’re a eudaemon?” Bobby shook his head. “Winchesters and their big secrets.”
Sam didn’t say a word, rubbing his eyes and letting out a deep breath. He didn’t want to explain what he was. He just wanted to get Dean back, and he would accept whatever was happening to him if it served his purpose. He wished he didn’t have to get others to accept it.
“I’m still trying to figure out what that kid back there did,” Steve said.
Sam had a theory. “I read about a ritual where a Shaman could literally push a storm away with his hand. I’m assuming that’s what happened. By the way…”
“Here it comes,” Steve said.
“Why the hell are you working for Evangelina, and why did you try to kill Dean?”
“It’s hard to kill something that’s already dead son.” Steve knew that answer wasn’t enough. “It’s complicated, but it’s my job to clean up Evangelina’s messes. Otherwise, there’s all sorts of supernatural crap that results from it.”
“Her messes?” Bobby asked, because Sam was too speechless. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Souls just don’t go to hell. They need to go dark first, sort of like a hell boot camp. Once that happens, they need to stay in the spirit world. I used to hunt all the ones that got away from her and came back. Now she lets me know when its time.”
“How long have you been doing this for her?” Bobby asked.
“Ten years now.”
“How many of them came back dark?” Sam asked.
“Most of them didn’t, but it was enough to cause trouble. These things are mean and nasty. The walking dead I like to call them.”
“I think walking dead is more politically correct.” He dropped his smile when he noticed neither Sam nor Bobby were amused. “No, not like zombies. It’s not exactly what you see in the movies. They don’t try to eat brains or anything. They just taint souls. They’re like vengeful spirits, only darker.”
“How could Dean come back as an evil spirit? If he escapes that way does that mean he won’t go to Hell?” Sam wondered what situation would be worse. He couldn’t imagine anything worse than Hell.
“No, he’s bound by an iron clad contract. If he did come back, it would only be for a few months. That’s enough time to do some damage though.”
Sam dropped his head in disappointment.
“If you’re really what the old man said you were, you can save his spirit from going dark Sam, but I don’t know of anyone that can break his contract.”
“I still have to try. It gives me more time to find a way.”
“How’d that happen to you anyway Sam?” Bobby interrupted, still needing more answers. “He said the word daemon. How did you get the power of a benevolent spirit?”
Sam opened his mouth to answer, but he only shook his head instead. Steve pulled into the parking lot, giving them the chance to drop the discussion for now. Sam got out and stood with his hands in his pockets, watching with distress over Bobby and Steve hauling Dean out of the backseat. It bothered him that he was unable to carry his own brother inside.
Sam made sure the motel room door was wide open for them, watching them with pained emotion, closing the door as they put Dean onto the empty bed. Sam cracked an unsettled smile over his insistence over the double beds.
Once they got Dean settled, Bobby came over to Sam. “You going to share the plan now?”
“It’s called spirit walking. I can’t do it for more than twenty minutes.”
“Was that what you were doing when I walked in before?”
Sam gave a slow nod, eyes still fixed on Dean. “During that time, I can’t interact with the physical world, only the spiritual one.”
“What do you do once you get there?”
“Judging on how he was on the last visit, he’s not going to want to come, so I’ll have to fight him.”
“Fight him?” Bobby had a hard time accepting that plan. “There’s usually only one winner in a fight. If that’s the case, what happens to the loser?”
Sam exhaled a sorrowful breath, accepting the huge risk involved. “He stays behind.”
Oceane - October 7, 2008 09:27 PM (GMT)
Another gripping chapter.
I hope it's not to late for Dean and Sam'll save him.
Can't wait for your next chapter ajj :)
irisheyes - October 8, 2008 12:25 AM (GMT)
Wow!! Wow, wow, wow!!!!
I hope they can save Dean withouth sacrificing Sam in the process.
ajj2001 - October 9, 2008 07:17 PM (GMT)
Thanks! I'm glad this is catching on. Here is chapter 10.
Bobby and Steve waited in the motel room, avoiding eye contact in awkward silence, both looking at their watches to see how long they could steer clear of conversation. It had only been a few minutes since Sam went under, but it seemed like an eternity.
Bobby resigned himself to break the silence. “So, if you’ve been finishing off what this evil bitch started, how did you manage to get Sam out and not know about Dean?” Bobby accepted the unwritten rules of disclosure with hunters. They learned to mistrust for good reasons, so they weren’t going to enter any situation forthcoming. Still, he wasn’t satisfied with all he’d heard from Steve.
“She delivered the same message she always does, with a location for a warehouse in Baton Rouge. I went there, but instead of finding a frozen body, I found Sam instead, unconscious but alive and well. I was even more shocked when I was able to wake him so easily. He was disoriented, but didn’t seem to be too out of it, so I gave him instructions to Ellen’s place and told him I’d follow in a bit. He went off without a fight. He didn’t mention his brother, so I thought he was alone.”
“You knew something might be wrong though.”
“Yeah, why do you think I sent him to Ellen’s? I stayed behind for a while and looked around everywhere, hoping to get hold of Evangelina to find out what was different this time. I still don’t know how Sam came out of her spell.”
“She didn’t tell you anything more?”
“Nothing specific, but from what I know about her, whatever happened probably surprised her. I think she looked into Sam’s soul and freaked over what she saw. I’m not certain she’s given up on him, but I’m pretty sure she can’t do anything to him.”
Bobby sighed, not at all surprised. He paused, and decided there was no harm in sharing the story given all Steve had seen. “John Winchester gave me a warning once, something to watch out for since I was so close to the boys and he knew they would come to me if anything happened to him.”
Steve didn’t give a verbal response, but gave Bobby the visual cue to go on.
“I was supposed to watch for certain signs of trouble with Sam.”
“Trouble? You mean like the ability to enter the spirit world as a eudaemon?”
“Yeah, among other things. John wasn’t very specific, he never was, but whatever the problem, it scared the crap out of him. This much I do know, if Sam ever gave into his personal demons, the consequences could be staggering. He could become dangerous. Dean’s role is very important because he’s the only one that’s ever kept that boy in check. Of course, I’m not sure either of them know this. Hell, I’m not sure what it means myself, but I wonder if John told me because he was scared enough that something awful could happen.”
“Bobby, you do know that one can’t be a eudaemon unless-“
“Unless some sort of a daemon, yes.”
“That sounds like a warning sign to me.”
Bobby shook his head. “I’m not sure what it means, but there’s no reason to panic yet. The way I see it, it works to our advantage right now. Neither of us can go and get Dean.”
“Depending on the outcome, I’m prepared to make a tough choice if I have to.”
Steve nodded, leaning forward in his chair. He knew what Bobby was talking about all too well. “I shot Cody in the head.”
“He was beyond hope and violently attacked his mother. He turned into a horrible monster that couldn’t be stopped. She never forgave me, but I’m still convinced I did the right thing.”
Bobby remembered his own tough choices of the past. “You aren’t the first man to face an unwinnable situation.”
“I was going to shoot Sam that day at Ellen’s, but at the last minute my instinct told me to knock him out instead. Ever since then, I wonder what happened if I gave Cody that chance instead.”
“What if’s don’t work in our business.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Steve got up. “I’m running out for a soda. Want anything?”
Bobby shook his head. He sighed shortly after hearing the door click shut, looking at both Sam and Dean in their less than peaceful slumber, recognizing all they sacrificed for each other. “You boys were much too young to learn about unwinnable situations.”
Dean abruptly awoke, disconcerted because he was sliding up a wall. He had grown in his short time in captivity to get used to certain surprises, but this one rattled him, especially when he opened his eyes and saw the cause.
“What the hell Sammy?” Dean saw Sam in the forbidden corner, hand reached out, immobilizing him. “Figures you won’t let me fight back. You know I’d kick your ass.”
“We’re leaving Dean. It’s time.” Sam waved his other hand at the wall a few feet away, and a door appeared, flinging wide open.
Dean tried to counteract the effect, but Sam’s sneak attack was too powerful. He couldn’t lift a finger while he clung to the wall, inching toward the door.
“It’s a pretty slow pace Sam. You’re going to run out of time before you get me out.”
“Not if you work with me.” Sam remained determined, all concentration focused on moving Dean to safety. He wished desperately he knew how to move faster, but he didn’t want to break his stance and give Dean the chance to resist.
Dean gave him a cocky sneer, refusing to let his fear get the better of him. “It’s time to let me go Sam. You can’t do this on your own.”
“You’re right, I can’t.”
Dean slid to the edge of the doorframe. “I can’t believe how wrong I was about you. Guess who you’re becoming? The one person in this world you hated the most.”
Sam shut out everything Dean was saying, refusing to let his guard down by opening old wounds. “It won’t work.”
“You’re just like dad and you know it! I was too blind to realize you’re the same obsessed bastard he was. You’re also the same lying son of a bitch, who would rather lie to those that matter in your life to preserve your twisted psyche. You sicken me.”
“I’m getting you out of here Dean.”
“How many other things haven’t you told me Sammy? I’ve only caught you in one lie. You’ve probably been lying to me your whole life. After all I did to defend you, all the sacrifices I made, and it turns out that psycho Gordon was the one that was right. You aren’t human. How do I know you’re going to save me? For all I know, you’re the head demon you were supposed to be, and you’re personally delivering me to Hell.”
Sam lowered his hand, and let Dean drop to the floor, before slamming him back against the wall in a quick fury. “You haven’t been perfectly honest with me either Dean. Let’s face it, we do what we do to protect one another. Our secrets aren’t meant to hurt.”
“Let me go you lying demon bastard.”
“Look at me! Tell me I’m lying to you right now!” Sam pointed down the long hallway, toward an open doorway at the end. “The way out of here is that way, and it’s not too far. It’s not your time yet Dean.”
"Why should I believe you?"
"We found your body Dean. I can take you back now. It's not too late."
Dean looked long and hard into his determined brother’s eyes, but refused to give in. “You’re a liar.”
Sam’s frustration peaked, and he released his hold of Dean, throwing his arms up into the air. “Fine, I’m lying. What’s the worse that can happen by going through that door! You’re going to burn in Hell no matter what, so what have you got to lose?”
Dean stayed against the wall, and softened a little after another glare at Sam. He could never tell when Sam was lying, but he could tell when he was telling the truth. “I can go back?”
Sam pointed again. “Down that hall Dean. It’s all we need to do.”
Dean took one more glance at Sam, then down the hall, and then his stance toughened. “I’m staying here.”
“How about you go through that door to spite me then! I’ll even stay behind and never come back to make your life easier!” Sam took in deep breaths to control his livid temper, while never breaking his glare burning through Dean.
Dean paused for one more look, and pulled himself away from the wall. “Fine. Let’s do this.”
Sam let out a small sigh of relief and let Dean lead the way. They had only moved a few steps forward with suddenly small trails of black smoke emerged from all directions. That caused Dean to break into a sprint. “Hurry!”
“What is it?” Sam asked, keeping up the quickened pace.
Dean watched with terror as the smoke began to circle him in a swirl, thicker and faster like a swarm, to where he could no longer move. “It's too late for me, Sam. Save yourself."
“No, I can fight this. Hang on." Sam studied for a few seconds the black vortex swirling around his brother, and flung his arm inside.
Dean saw a streak of black clutch onto Sam's arm. "Let go you son-of-a-bitch!" He tried to knock the smoke away from his brother, but for him it was like swiping through air.
Sam held firm over whatever got him, slowly realizing that he was winning the struggle. Steam emerged from the spot where he was gripped, and a loud shriek came out as whatever held him let go.
Sam plunged his other arm into the fog, causing the black trails to part around him and Dean, but still circle them at a larger distance with intensity. Dean felt himself gliding in the air while Sam moved them down the hall, black swirls steaming whenever they tried to get close to him or Sam.
Dean saw a new streak of black approach from the end of the hallway, driving fast and furious toward them. "Watch out!"
Sam lunged forward when he felt the sharp blow on his back, but refused to let go of his grip and went on. He knew the dark spirit that confronted him in the barn was back for more. Dean saw the next strike, Sam grunting in pain, eyes watering from the agony but still holding on.
"Let me go Sam. We can fight it together."
Sam's sole focus was on the door in front of them, which was only a few more steps away. He yelled again as the next hit was the worst, which propelled him forward to the door. He was grateful, for he knew he couldn't take any more blows.
“Get through the door now Dean! It won’t be open much longer.” Sam felt his strength weakening and knew he could only protect them for a few more seconds. Dean turned around to stare through the opening behind him. His legs felt like cement and he couldn’t move. "We go together."
“Just go!” Sam yelled. Dean propelled backward through the opening, seeing Sam’s outstretched arms. He watched a stunned Sam take a step forward, only to have the door slam sharply in his face before he got through. Dean went to open the door, but it vanished as soon as his hand hit the doorknob.
“Noooo!” he shouted, right when everything went white.
Bobby looked at his watch again, expecting something to happen almost any minute now. Sam’s time was almost up. Despite being prepared, he still gasped and jumped in his seat over the sight of Dean popping up in his bed, looking alive and well.
“Dean!” Bobby cried, rushing over to him. He grabbed Dean’s chin, looking deep into his harried eyes. “It’s so good to see you.”
“Sam!” He looked around, eyes disoriented from seeing light. He turned to see his brother’s frame lying in the bed next to him. “Is he okay?”
Steve took a long look. “No still out.”
Dean tried to get up, but was caught by Bobby after a wave of dizziness hit him. He was shivering, and felt numb all over. “Sam, wake up!”
“What happened Dean?”
“We were separated. I felt Sam push me, but he didn’t make it through the door.” Dean stumbled his way over to Sam, falling to his knees a short step away and catching himself on the edge of Sam’s bed. “It’s my fault. I wouldn’t listen to him.”
“Give him time Dean. He knew there could be problems,” Bobby said with calm assurance for Dean’s sake, although Sam’s last words to him echoed in his mind, troubling him greatly.
“Come on man,” Dean pleaded to Sam, “use all those freakish powers to save yourself for once.” Dean fell further on the floor, the small amount of energy he had to reach his brother now gone.
Bobby and Steve both picked Dean up by his upper arms and lifted him back to his bed. “Take it easy son,” Steve said. “You aren’t doing Sam any good this way.”
Dean stretched out on the bed, noticing feeling was quickly working its way back to his extremities, but he was very tired and didn’t have much strength in him. He also had a fleeting thought wondering who the stranger was with Bobby. “Sam can’t control his abilities.”
“Dean, you’ve got to rest. You look like hell,” Bobby said.
The world was still spinning, and he didn’t feel so good, but Dean pushed it all aside over his worry. Sam had to make it through. He just hated the idea Sam was fighting the battle alone. “Come back Sammy…” he said trailing off, before weakness consumed him and everything went dark.
Sam pulled at the closed door, doing everything he could to open it physically, pushing it, slamming into it with his broad shoulder, kicking at it, but had no luck. He paused, cursing at himself for not thinking, before closing his eyes and touching the door with his hand. He wasn’t sure why he forgot that in this world he could only open doorways with his mind. Instead of opening though, the door disappeared, revealing a concrete wall underneath.
He stared at the wall in a panic, and what struck him the most was that the wall was no longer grey and dingy, but pure white. He looked down to see he was wearing white as well and turned to see the immaculate bright walls throughout the entire long hallway. There were several open doors staggered off the corridor that weren’t there before. He walked cautiously down the hall, peeking briefly into one immaculate room after another, realizing he was in the wing of some magnificent palace. After several more confused glares he finally reached the room at the end of the hall, where double doors brought him into sitting room. The walls of the two story room were covered with dark oak bookcases loaded with books, and the room was decorated with dark and traditional furnishings.
Sam looked into the center of the room to find a dark haired woman in an elegant black gown sitting in one of the chairs.
“Kind of fitting, isn’t it?” She said.
“What’s fitting?” Sam replied.
“Where you are. Come on, I know you read the Bible. ‘In my Father’s house there are many rooms.’ You eudaemons have all the fun.” She sauntered over to him, slid her arm up the side of his face and touched his forehead. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, feeling all the energy inside.
“We were never properly introduced, Evangelina.” Sam said, sneering in disgust at her touch.
“Sorry, I’ve never had good manners, and you took me for too much of a surprise last time I saw you. Of course you’ve met Clayton since then. Figures he would find your benevolence. If I had my way, daemon would have been a more fun choice.”
“Sorry to disappoint you.”
She backed away, giving them a little space for conversation. “I have to admit, you picked up on your ability to shift to other dimensions quickly. Too bad you don’t know how to control it yet.”
“Why are you keeping me here? You know you can’t do anything to me.”
She gave him her trademark giggle, realizing he was hearing it for the first time. “You think I have a part in this? Why would you think that? You’re way more powerful than I am. No, all I get to do is visit, and tease, because I can.”
She backed away farther, held out her arms and did a full circle the large room, taking in all the luxurious surroundings. “I mean, look at this place. You’ve got some incredible taste in choosing your eternity. For someone whose mission has been to turn his back on his dark fellows and help humanity instead, I’ll admit, you’ve earned a big reward. I think I got this ‘dark spirit guide’ career choice wrong. Still, I’ve got to meet the most interesting people.”
Sam glanced around at the stately surroundings, not anywhere near as impressed as Evangelina. “It could use a pool table.”
“Yes and your brother by your side. Of course you had to go and change that though by delivering him back. Now you get your ultimate eternity, but it’s going to be alone. I think that’s pretty sad. You know what else is pretty sad? All that goodness inside you going to waste.”
“Last I checked, I was still one of the good guys.”
“You think you’ll always stay that way? There’s a fine line between good and evil Sam, and without your brother the darkness inside will consume you. I felt it the moment I touched you. All you need to do is go on by yourself. I don’t have to do anything. You’re going to deliver yourself to darkness.”
“We’ll just wait and see.”
“Look at you. As we speak, the eyes give it away. The fear and anger is already welling up inside. I’ll admit, if this doesn’t take long, I’ll be so disappointed. I heard you were stronger than that.”
“Dean’s safe, that’s all I need.”
“It doesn’t matter if he’s safe. You two will be without each other. In both your cases, that’s the fate worse than death. Knowing that he can’t save you from this, he’ll unravel just like you will.”
“Believe what you want Sam.” Evangelina walked over to the books, casually running her finger along the binding of some of the numerous titles. “For a bookworm like you, this will keep you busy for eternity. I’m not sure why you aren’t happy about this.”
Sam scoffed, not buying into her act. “I’m not staying here. I’ll find my way back.”
“Take your time, you’ve got plenty of it, but be careful. If you shift to somewhere else without control, you’ll end up in someplace far worse, and one that will try to corrupt your soul. I doubt anywhere is better than here. Until then, Dean lives his next few months alone, before being dragged kicking and screaming to the pit without a benefit of a nice transition. And you thought you were saving him from something awful.”
Sam lowered his head and wouldn’t respond. He didn’t want to believe she was right.
“Happiness was never part of your destiny anyway. Enjoy your eternity Sam.” She disappeared into thin air.
“No wait…” Sam sighed when he realized she was gone. After a few seconds of taking time to regroup, he walked over to a bookcase and started scanning the titles. Something there had to tell him how to get out of this.
irisheyes - October 9, 2008 07:39 PM (GMT)
Oceane - October 9, 2008 11:08 PM (GMT)
Sam is trapped, alone. Dean is safe but without Sam beside him.
What's going to happen next, can't wait to find out.
Terrific story so far ajj :)
cindy123 - October 10, 2008 09:51 AM (GMT)
:o Wow...I mean...wow! How the heck is Sam gonna get out of this one? Can't wait to find out.
ajj2001 - October 10, 2008 08:39 PM (GMT)
Wow, thanks everyone for all the positive comments. This story only got mild reaction at ff.net. I thought it was because it was too complex.
There are three chapters left. Here is chapter 11, which is a big setup for chapter 12, or what I call the WTF? chapter. This is a pretty long one, so get yourself a beverage and dig in!
The first thing Dean noticed when he opened his bleary eyes was that he was hot. Burning hot and sweating profusely. He first thought he finally did reach Hell, but remembered the motel room from before. He threw the blanket off, but didn’t get much relief from the cool air touching his skin. “It’s hotter than Hell in here.” Oh, great metaphor Winchester.
Dean’s voice was enough to wake Bobby, who was slumped on the chair nearby. “Dean, you okay?”
“I feel like crap Bobby.”
“Your 103 fever probably has something to do with it.”
“My what?” He winced from the pain that hung in his joints when he tried to move. His mouth was dry, swallowing was difficult, and his mind was like swiss cheese, but it didn’t prevent him from suddenly remembering. “Sam!” He shot up into sitting position, but his head pounded furiously from the rush and the room spun so bad he had to go back down.
“He’s still out Dean,” Bobby said, getting up and fetching a glass of water.
Dean shifted his clouded vision over to the bed next to him. “We’ve got to help him.”
“You need to help yourself first. You’ve been in and out of delirium all damn day.” Bobby returned with the water, and propped up Dean before putting the glass to his lips. Dean chugged it down, and then instantly regretted it when his stomach went sour. Too much too fast.
“He does seem better,” Steve said, watching Dean accept the sorely desired drink. “Green is a much better shade than white.”
“Who’s he?” Dean asked Bobby while pushing the water away, letting him know he had enough.
“Steve Austin, please to meet you.” Steve would have gotten up and shaken his hand, but he was sure Dean wasn’t into the pleasantries right now.
“The Six Million Dollar Man? Wait, I remember you. You helped out my dad once. You still got that awesome Charger?”
“It’s at Ellen’s if I ever get it back. Sam ended up driving us in your baby instead.”
“Wait, wait,” Dean said, wiping his damp forehead with his shaking hand. “Ellen? Where’s she?”
“You’ve been out for a while Dean, we’ll need to catch you up.” Bobby scrutinized Dean visually to make sure he was okay.
Dean broke into shivers. Wasn’t I just burning up a minute ago? He grasped the recently discarded blanket and covered himself back up. “Why am I sick?”
“Your body was frozen for a week, I’m sure it doesn’t like you just coming back and wanting to use it again.” Steve honestly didn’t know if this was normal, since no one had ever come back alive before.
“What about Sam, is he frozen?”
Steve shook his head. “Nope. He’s in a deep sleep.”
“I’ve been out for a while? Sam should have been back by now.”
“We’ve been discussing that,” Bobby said. “I even talked to the local Xinesi for some advice.”
Dean processed the info, not having any clue what Bobby was talking about. “What did this guinea say?”
“Xinesi,” Bobby clarified.
“We’ve got to go to Mississippi,” Steve said.
“Then why aren’t we there yet?” Dean couldn’t believe these two were just waiting around.
“Because you had a dangerous fever that usually results in death!” Bobby shouted. He was never impressed with Dean’s self sacrificing attitude, and wasn’t going to put up with it now.
Dean tried to get up, but groaned from all the stiffness. “We don’t have much time.”
“According to the Xinesi, we have plenty of time with Sam.”
“Trust me, I know what it’s like there on the other side. He doesn’t have plenty of time before the place starts getting to him.”
Dean stood up shakily, fighting hard to steady himself, but he managed. "Where are we?"
"Shreveport, Louisiana,” Steve answered.
"And we have to go to Mississippi?" Dean swayed back and forth. Bobby went to help, but Dean just held his hand out, and controlled it on his own.
"Okay, you guys get Sam. I'm driving." Dean took one step forward and sank to his knee.
"To hell you are," Bobby said, grabbing his arm and pulling him up.
"Fine, then he's driving," he commanded, pointing to Steve.
Dean was shocked that Bobby would ask such a question. "Hello, Charger? The dude really knows his fast cars."
The giant wall of books towered over Sam as his eyes scanned the titles. He needed to do something to curb the anxiousness building inside. He had only been there a few hours and was already going stir crazy. Every instinct told him that Dean was okay for now, but that he was about to go through something horrific. He didn’t belong where he was, and despite the risks, he had to get back. He still needed to get Dean out of the deal. He still had an obligation to fight the evil in the world.
Judging from the titles, it seemed just about every piece of work was at his disposal. It took a while, but after hours of skimming through book after book he found something that might help him. It was another book of sacred texts, but this one was much different than the one he found before. For one, it was entirely in Latin. If he didn’t know better, judging from the translation, it was one specifically for ethereal beings.
He read for a long while, but the texts ended up frustrating him more. Eudaemon’s were messengers, designed to lead people toward righteousness and good. His abilities were far more pronounced than that, resembling those of a demon. Why was he so different? There was some mention that eudaemons could shift through dimensions, but it didn’t tell him how they did it or how to control it. Then he found a passage that mentioned the ultimate test of a divine warrior, but the words were shaded in obscurity.
His thought process took him back to where this all started, simple lyrics from a Led Zeppelin song. Maybe they weren’t so simple. He knew the band tended to read from ancient texts for inspiration, so maybe after all this the words actually meant something. He scoured the scriptures for anything that might explain them, including the most unclear verse of all. What exactly did “the path that no one goes” mean? That could be the underlying lesson of this experience all along. He spent hours scouring through the book from beginning to end, and then finally slammed it shut and tossed it aside in disgust.
He got up and strolled through the hallway, hoping the answers would pop out at him. He was tired and thought about resting, but his mind was going too fast. The answer had to be there. This couldn’t be his eternity, he wouldn’t allow it. He glimpsed into a nearby room while walking by, and was stunned to find in the center of stood a young woman, short dark hair, gaunt face and dark eyes, wearing a flowing ivory dress. He entered the room cautiously. “Hello?”
She stared at him with an eerie gaze, and phased out and back in. “All warfare is based on deception Samuel.”
“Dissimulation is the form of deception in which one conceals the truth.”
Sam remembered where he had read her comments, and tried to make sense of them. “The Art of War? What’s this about?”
“The war between light and corrupted light is taking place in all levels of reality Samuel. Your actions mean you’ve chosen to fight.”
“Light and corrupted light? You mean God and Lucifer?”
The woman waved out and in again, and then vanished. Sam cocked his head in confusion, and wondering what all of that meant. If he had to guess, she was likely a presage. The question was, what kind of omen was she delivering, favorable or non-favorable?
He shrugged and turned to leave, only to find the door now led outside, to a brilliantly lit, wide open meadow.
“You gonna get sick?” Bobby turned around to ask Dean, who was stretched out in the back. He was looking dark green by now.
“No way, not in my car.” Dean pulled up the blanket to his neck, for he was back to shivering. The sweet hum of the engine and the rumble in the back seat were the only things giving him comfort right now. He cracked a small smile, for he sure did miss his girl. “She’s got some real performance, doesn’t she?”
Steve nodded. “You know your engines, I’ll give you that. Your brother doesn’t know much about them at all.”
“Yeah, I wonder sometimes how were related.” Dean somberly looked next to him, his limp brother propped in the right corner, resembling a rag doll. He had no idea what was going to happen, but if river dude saved Sam before, maybe he could do it again. He moved his gaze to outside the window, recognizing some of the Mississippi landscape. Lord knows he’d been through this state enough times. “Seems like you’ve made good time.”
“Yeah, we’re almost there.”
Dean slung his head back against the seat. It was throbbing like crazy, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to be there. “So what are we looking for?”
“A flock of people,” Steve said as he pulled onto the country road.
Dean was going to question what that meant, but Bobby gave him a stare that told him they had it covered.
Within fifteen minutes Steve pulled off to the side of the road, parking in the same spot they did before. He turned off the engine, and they sat and waited. The silence was eventually broken when Dean suddenly threw the blanket off of him and opened the car door. He spilled out of the vehicle and dropped to his knees, while Bobby and Steve squirmed a little at the retching sounds coming from his location. “At least he waited until we got here,” Steve said.
Dean shakily stood up after a few minutes, gripping onto the side of the car, still choking a little. “I’m fine, thanks for asking,” he said, getting no reaction out of Steve and Bobby. As he straightened himself up, he saw about a dozen people off in the distance, all appearing from what seemed like nowhere, heading into the woods. “I’ll be damned.”
Steve and Bobby got out of the car. They started heading toward the path, only to see Dean still hanging onto the car watching them. “You coming?” Bobby asked.
“So we follow these people?”
“Half a mile that way,” Bobby said, pointing toward the woods.
“What about Sam?”
“Leave him here. It’s a safe neighborhood,” Steve said.
Dean watched a still slumbering Sam, wondering what would happen if he woke up alone. His resistance softened when he realized Sam would see he was in the Impala. He reached into the rear seat to retrieve his much needed protection.
“No guns,” Steve instructed.
“Come on Dean, you’re wasting time. We need to catch up.” Bobby said.
Dean rolled his eyes. “I don’t believe this. Fine, no guns.” He slammed his door and took one more long look at Sam before going.
“We’ll be back,” Dean assured his brother. He let go of the car and moved stiffly along, questioning his ability to take a long hike. He joined Bobby and Steve on the path, and they headed toward the river.
Sam stepped out into the grassy field where the sun beat down on him, delivering both warmth and blinding light. His foggy mind tried to determine whether this was real or not, but then again, he’d been having a hard time lately knowing what real was. He guessed that this was him shifting again, without any control.
He scanned the empty field with deep resignation, never feeling more isolated in all his life. He was weary of all these surprises, weary of being vulnerable, weary of everything. He wanted to go back to when things were normal, when it was just him and Dean against the world. Without Dean, his raw emotions weren’t in check and were running amok inside him.
Suddenly Sam saw one person walking in the distance, then another, then another, and pretty soon the entire field was scattered with people. They wandered around, each taking a slow stride, watching Sam with suspicious eyes.
Sam moved farther into the field, a creepy sense rippling through him. He surmised these were malevolent spirits, each one giving him piercing glares. He couldn’t shake the feeling they were reading him, inside and out, like they were absorbed in a scary book. The scrutiny unnerved him, and he could only look away, not able to face the judgment they were delivering.
“It’s because you won’t accept who you are Sam.”
Sam whipped around to see the young woman in the ivory dress again, facing him with a grim look of her face.
“What do they want with me?”
“You’ve been elevated to great power, but there’s still something that has led you astray from your path. It’s the demon called deception.”
Sam started to piece together everything in hopes of understanding what she was saying. “All warfare is based on deception, the war between light and corrupted light. Is this about my role the demon war?”
“There’s always been a demon war, ever since Lucifer fell to earth. It never stops, the fight between good and evil. No, this is about your demons. It’s your test.”
A passerby bumped into Sam, and he felt a wave of guilt swarm through him. The person slowly walked away, throwing him an ominous glare. Sam looked back disturbed, and ashamed.
“Is that shame Sam? You can’t show weakness in your position.”
Sam’s face pleaded with her for illumination, for he was too emotionally spent to comprehend.
“Everyone here can see through you like glass. They know exactly who you are. They know you better than you do, or what you’re willing to admit to yourself. Let’s see how you can take being in a place where you wear your darkest secrets on your sleeve. Good thing Dean isn’t around to see this.”
Sam’s eyes flared in anger at the mention of his brother. “Leave Dean out of this!”
The woman stoically accepted his ire. “Don’t you get it Sam? Dean is the one that rose you up, made you what you are in spite of yourself.”
Sam’s raw emotions shifted again, this time to shock. He still didn’t know where this was going, or what Dean had to do with his predicament.
The woman took two steps forward, moving closer toward a confused Sam. “You claim that you’ve never seen an angel, yet there was one by your side the entire time. You’re the demon Sam.”
Sam took in the news like he’d been sucker punched, his eyes welling up in dismay. “I didn’t know,” he said softly.
“No, you didn’t want to know. Self deception is the worst form of warfare, for it guarantees defeat. There are only two outcomes in this test. Rise or fall.” The woman faded into thin air. Before Sam could make sense of it all, the others began to move in, surrounding him.
“We need to carry you?” Bobby asked in a teasing way, watching Dean struggle with walking.
“Yeah right,” Dean replied sarcastically.
They followed the others, and Dean grew more unsettled with each step. This was all too weird for him. “If I hear one strain of Go Tell It on the Mountain, I’m beating someone with a stick.”
“That’s the spirit,” Steve replied.
Dean grumbled under his breath a bit more, but not too much considering he was focused on walking. Every bit of him ached and keeping his breath was proving to be difficult. He wiped his forehead with his sleeve to clear the sweat that was drenching him, giving him one more little thing to be irritated over. He didn’t think he could go too much longer, but thoughts of Sam in the car kept him going.
Eventually, they came out of the woods and to the river bank. Dean watched with disbelief as the people gathered by the river, surrounding a silver haired man in black. “Are you sure this isn’t a scene out of O’Brother Where Art Thou?” Dean asked, disturbed by it all.
Steve and Bobby didn’t have much time to answer, for the man in the river spoke to them. “I’ve been waiting for you Dean.”
“Yeah, I was a little busy,” he wisecracked, bothered when some followers came toward him. He reluctantly let them lead him to the river, glancing backward toward Bobby and Steve for some sort of support. When they did nothing, he went on. He saw the old man’s gaze pierce through him, and feelings of both curiosity and terror swept through him as he moved closer. The man didn’t break his stare, as if he was reading his innermost thoughts. Before Dean knew it, he was standing in the river, right in front of the man he knew as Clayton.
“Take me to the river…” Dean sung nervously, trying to break the tension in the middle of a long pause. The old man without expression lifted his hand over Dean’s head and clasped his large palm over top of it. Dean became overwhelmed, sinking to his knees, while the man closed his eyes and pushed Dean lower. He didn’t resist, for feelings of calm swept through him, and he easily sank underwater.
His calm instantly disappeared over what he saw next. He saw Sam in a field, facing a terrifying battle and losing. Dean’s felt feelings of deep evil rip through him, but was troubled to find they were all coming from Sam. He was too caught in the vivid nature of the vision to notice he was still underwater and not getting any air. All of a sudden, the moment of clarity hit him, and his role became perfectly known.
Dean barely noticed himself being pulled up from the river, for he was still too stunned over what was revealed to him. He gazed into Clayton’s dark brooding eyes with bewilderment while water dripped off his face. “But he’s my brother.”
“Then your blindness toward him seals his fate, as well as many others.”
Dean lowered his head, knowing Clayton was right, but that didn’t help with his massive heartbreak. “The path that no one goes. It means sacrifice.”
“It does indeed Dean, but not self-sacrifice. Your heart has been good, but misguided. Take your mission with heavy heart.” Dean slowly staggered out of the river, taking assistance from a follower.
“Dean,” the voice behind him said. He turned around to face Clayton, who offered him a compassionate look this time. “For now, your own fate stays sealed, but don’t give up. An answer will come.”
Dean couldn’t give him any type of reaction, for he was still too despondent over his vision. He couldn’t give a damn about his own fate. He slowly turned back around and headed toward Bobby and Steve.
“What are we doing Dean?” Bobby asked as Dean brushed by them, walking down the path.
“We’re taking Sam back to Ellen’s.”
“What’s going to happen there?” Bobby was extremely concerned over Dean’s apparent devastation.
Dean dejectedly looked forward and continued down the path, refusing to answer the question.
irisheyes - October 10, 2008 09:25 PM (GMT)
Wow! Looks like Sam is in a world of trouble.
|“Take me to the river…” Dean sung nervously,|
Gila River Casinooooo, where the jackpost flow.... :unsure: Oh, sorry! Where's my mind today?
Oceane - October 12, 2008 09:13 PM (GMT)
Dean didn't seem to like what has been revealed to him, his "But he's my brother", it's like his role is to kill Sam :unsure:
Can't wait to know what'll happen next.
ajj2001 - October 13, 2008 04:22 PM (GMT)
Here it is, chapter 12, or what I call the WTF? chapter. I mean that in a good way, I hope! I've changed this considerably from the version I posted on ff.net. I think this chapter is much cleaner and less confusing. Chapter 13 is the final one. Happy reading.
Dean was the first one through Ellen’s front door, much to her surprise. She ran over and wrapped her arms around him. “Dean, you’re okay.”
Dean accepted the hug, but didn’t have any words for her. She pulled away, sensing something was wrong by his stiffness, and noticed the gloomy look on his face.
“Oh God, what happened?” She got her answer when Steve and Bobby stumbled in, dragging Sam. Ellen could tell from the color he wasn’t dead but given the overall mood, it wasn’t good. Bobby and Steve took Sam in the back, leaving a still weakened Dean behind.
“Sit down.” Ellen guided Dean to a chair, also noticing he didn’t look too good. He was shaking, and his face was flush. He did as instructed, a sad frown still on his face.
“Sam got me, and then got stuck himself.” Dean’s voice cracked on the last word.
Ellen gently grasped his hand. “It’s okay. I’m sure Sam is out there fighting somewhere.”
Dean didn’t say anything, for that was exactly what he was afraid of. Steve and Bobby emerged from the back, both cautiously aware of Dean’s fragile mind. “He’s settled in the bedroom Dean,” Bobby said. “I can sit with him while you sleep.”
“No thanks.” Dean got up, walked past them and disappeared into the back.
Bobby watched Dean shuffle by, chilled by his expression. The last time he saw that face on Dean he was holding vigil over Sam’s corpse. He had hoped to never see that side of Dean again. Something wasn’t right, but he knew Dean wouldn’t tell him, no matter what he tried.
Steve took a seat at the bar near Ellen. “We just came from Mississippi.”
“Dean got to have his own dunk with the man in the river.”
Ellen frowned, for the encounter couldn’t have been good. “Judging by his look, I assume it didn’t go well.”
“We aren’t sure,” Bobby said, choosing to join the conversation. “Dean’s been acting distant since we left there. He sure as hell isn’t talking about it.”
“What about Sam?” Ellen asked.
“We don’t know,” Bobby answered. “I suspect Dean is the only one that does, and given his blue funk it can’t be good. He’s the one that insisted we come here.”
Ellen picked up the whiskey bottle, and brought out a few shot glasses. “Maybe they just need some private time together. It could be Dean is just worried.”
“I hope so,” Bobby said taking a seat at the bar. He wasn’t sure if Ellen was right, but would have to accept it for now. “Hopefully that drink will shake my uneasy feeling.”
Sam was eerily familiar with the maneuver, for their goal wasn’t just to trap him, but to intimidate him in the process. Each being continued a slow stride in a circle, their rotation closing in on him bit by bit, cutting off any chance he had at escape. Their watchful and burning eyes stayed fixed on him, and he forced himself to think strategically, because any other thought pattern would consume him with panic.
Thoughts of Dean popped in his head, how much he wished his brother was by his side. The last time he had to fight alone, it got them into one huge mess resulting in a deal that was sending Dean to Hell. He wondered what sort of consequences were on the line, and if maybe surrender was the best option. Then again, surrender was something he was never trained to do.
Sam braced himself as he was now surrounded by a crowd of hundreds in a circle, leaving him standing alone in a center area about ten feet wide. “What do you want from me?” He yelled to the crowd.
No one answered.
“Everyone back off, now!” Sam readied himself for a fight, even though his only weapons were his hands.
They started moving in with very small steps, relishing in the sight of fear growing in Sam’s eyes. Sam turned in a full circle slowly, looking very carefully for any sort of sign like black eyes, trying to figure out what the intentions were. He couldn’t sense their feelings and their expressions were blank, making it impossible to tell if they were good or evil. They were clean slates.
“I’m leaving now,” Sam announced. He took in a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself and stepped forward. No one reacted. He took another step, putting him only a foot from the crowd. No one reacted again. Finally, he took one more step, and felt something from behind clasp onto his shoulder. He froze in terror and turned his head slowly around to see what had him. There stood a man, taller than him, his face bleach white, his eyes dark, and his devilish smile revealed his rotten teeth.
“They hold no quarter,” the man’s gravely voice warned.
Sam gasped and instantly struck the man in the chest with his fist, who then disappeared into thin air. Suddenly the entire crowd converged on him, one after another, each delivering swift and painful blows. Sam managed to block a few hits coming his way, and dissipated a few spirits in the process with strikes to the chest, but he was still vastly outnumbered and they kept coming at him fast and furious.
While fighting off a group of three in front of him, Sam screamed when he felt something sharp dig into his back and slice downward. He whipped around with fury to find a spirit with his blood dripping from her sharp claw-like nails. In a fit of rage he yelled, dispelling the spirit with a furious hit. Another jolt of pain came from his ribs, and he protected the wounded side with his left elbow while taking out the spirit with a right hook.
Each time he felt sharp pain, no matter where delivered, his anger and fury grew higher inside. He fought harder, faster, and with deeper intensity. However, the attacks on him grew as fast as his pace did, and the constant waves of agony began to take its toll physically. He was too far gone in a rage to notice though, unable to stop himself from fighting or maintaining any type of control. Every action was fueled on primal instinct, and he took out one being after another like he was a machine.
Sam felt a crushing blow to the side of his skull, snapping him out of his rough offensive. He kept swinging, but was now sluggish and woozy. He wavered as his attackers became distorted, and another swipe to the head took him down with a resounding thud. His bruised cheek welcomed the feel of the cool grass, but that feeling was short lived when something grabbed him by the ankles and dragged him quickly. He was too disoriented to surmise what was happening to him, and blows to his body from kicks by felt distant, like they were drops of rain running down his skin. He was barely aware that he was still moving, as if he was gliding across a slick piece of ice as opposed to a grassy field.
Eventually he stopped and felt several hands roll him onto his back. His hazy vision managed to see the assortment of pale faces beat down on him then part so that one brutal creature could emerge from the pack. The large man hovered over Sam, holding in his hand a long shining sword that twinkled from the bright sunlight, blinding whatever poor vision Sam already had.
“No quarter,” the man said, raising the sword up high, foaming at the chance to deliver the fatal strike.
“No!” Sam shouted, but that didn’t deter the man. The sword came downward, and Sam closed his eyes and threw his hands upward, bracing for impact. “Nooooooo!!!”
Dean propped open the door and stood forlorn in the doorway while a prone Sam rested on the bed. He closed and locked the door behind him, for this was a private matter. Each step toward the side of the bed felt like his heart was being ripped out of his chest, but he had to hold it all together. Too much was at stake here.
Dean stretched out the fingers on his right hand along Sam’s neck. No marks yet. He wasn’t sure if that was good or not. In a way, Sam was still okay, but in another, the waiting would kill him. He leaned back into the chair next to the bed, and watched Sam, not at all convinced his rest was peaceful. If what he saw at the river was any indication, it wasn’t.
“I’m sorry Sammy. I honestly didn’t know…” He felt the surge of despair inside, forcing a tear to run down his cheek. “I made things worse by making that deal, especially for you. I didn’t know how to let go. How could I? I couldn’t face-” Dean lowered his head into his hand, overwhelmed by feelings of failure. He spent the entire trip back trying to come up with a better solution, but nothing came to him. Either way, he wouldn’t win.
“I swore that I’d protect you, and lord knows Dad held me to it. You know I wouldn’t have had it any other way. You mean everything to me Sam, and you have since the day you were born.”
He thought back to that day, waiting at the hospital, charming all the nurses who were falling all over his cuteness while mom and dad worked on getting the new baby. He remembered coming into mom’s hospital room and holding his new brother with pride. Sam looked so squished and wrinkly, and he told everyone he thought the new baby was ugly. While everyone laughed at his comment, he realized it didn’t matter, for having a brother was the coolest thing that could ever happen. He had six whole months to cling to that life, and no four year old should have had to face what he did. At least Sam was too young to remember the perfect life before it all happened. At least Sam never had to be haunted by that memory.
Dean leaned forward and sighed, wiping away a few more tears. This vigil was nuts. He couldn’t do this. No brother should have to make this choice, even if it was the right one. At one point he could never do it, but now he knew it was for the best.
“Sam, I’m sorry for screwing things up, for holding on too tight, for making you rely on me so much and for making you worry about me.” Dean stopped himself, for he didn’t want to explain the next part. He was still hoping the vision was wrong. He was still hoping all wouldn’t be lost.
Dean inhaled a deep staggered breath and held onto his brother’s warm but unresponsive hand. He wished for more time, another opportunity to give Sam a proper goodbye with him awake. Like so many wishes in his life though, he wasn’t confident that chance would happen.
“I don’t want to let you go Sammy. Please don’t make me let you go.”
Sam kept his eyes shut, for he thought he had shifted again. He felt the tall grass on his back, but there wasn’t a sound. No one was attacking him, and the pain he was expecting didn’t come. He didn’t want to see what happened. The terror in him was too overwhelming and every inch of his body ached. He was certain he had several broken bones and a bad concussion.
He couldn’t avoid the inevitable though. His eyes cracked open and instead of a blurry sight like he expected, everything was crystal clear. All he saw now was the crisp blue sky, brightened by the high sun. He turned his head and came face to face with a stiff form, eyes wide open but vacant, terror frozen on her face. He yelled and jumped up to find bodies scattered all around him, bodies of those that tried to attack him. He was consumed by vibes of darkness and evil, the truly horrific nature of the massacre hitting home.
“What did you do Sam?”
Sam glanced up, overwhelmed by remorse, glancing at the short-haired woman from before with confusion. “I…I don’t know.” He looked down at his shaking hands, his eyes wide with fear.
“You gave into terror and anger,” she said. “You took everyone out in one swipe.”
“I did this?” Sam asked with a shaking voice, taking in short breaths. Everything felt wrong.
“Didn’t I warn you what could happen without control? You’re dangerous.”
“No, it’s not my fault. They were trying to kill me.”
“You’re a eudaemon. What could they have done to you? You didn’t believe in your power.”
“I…I don’t understand.”
“No, you never have. That’s been your downfall thus far, and that’s why you failed this test.”
He lifted his troubled eyes back at her. “Self deception is the worst form of warfare. They were my inner demons.”
“All you had to do was let go.”
Sam didn’t know what to say, his stunned expression and heavy breath being all he could muster.
“If you acknowledged exactly what you are, the demons would have turned to angels and you would have been lifted. You didn’t let go Sam. You clung on too tight to fear and it smothered you, forcing you to act out.”
Sam lowered his head and nodded. “What I am, it’s never felt right. I don’t deserve the mercy of angels.”
“Sam, angels aren’t cherubs with wings, playing harps in fluffy clouds, nor are all demons evil. You’d be surprised who the angels really are on the earth. They aren’t divine messengers, they’re often silent and unknowing. Most angels on earth have another duty, which is to protect innocents, no matter what the cost.”
Sam felt so foolish, so blind to everything. “Dean.”
“Yes Sam, Dean is your guardian angel. He’s bound by duty to you and was chosen because of the evil that made you. He’s as flawed and broken as every other human being, but he carries out his mission with unwavering loyalty. Those are the ones God chooses for service, even if those in his service don’t believe in him.”
Sam had a hard time grasping such an idea, even though it made perfect sense. Dean was the one that lifted him up, and if he was going to fall, it would be without him. “What happens to me now?”
“You’re falling back to earth, like the many other daemons before you.”
Sam felt the deep rush of panic over the judgment. "No, you can't send me back there like this. I'll come back evil and dangerous. I'll hurt people."
“Your soul will be tainted.”
"Please, you can’t do that. I can't control what I am, and Dean’s going to hell. He won’t be able to stop me."
“There is a long history of fallen angels on earth Sam. You’ll walk among them, side by side with death.” She turned and walked away, leaving a devastated Sam to agonize over his fate.
“Wait,” Sam said, stopping her. “What does it mean, ‘the path that no one goes’?”
“Sacrifice for the greater good. You ruined your chance to follow that path. Dean still has his.”
Sam tilted his head, confused by the comment. “What does that mea-“ He suddenly felt a sharp, white hot poke through his heart. He moved his eyes in front of him to see the dark spirit plunging in the knife deep, his look happily condemning Sam to his doom. Sam crumpled slowly to the ground, and everything started to spin. The last thing he saw was the waves of an ivory dress in the bright sun before the light faded and he felt himself plummeting downward.
Dean watched in agony as Sam’s body clenched tightly before he relaxing again and sinking into the bed. He watched the blotchy red circle emerge on Sam’s neck, thus playing out exactly what he saw while in the river. Even though every bit of him wanted to fall apart, he shook off his instinct to weep for he could do that later. He had to spare the world more despair, even if it meant heightening his own.
Dean stood up, hovering over his succumbed brother, and reached into his coat pocket. He barely was able to get the object out, for his hand was shaking too bad. He took one last long gaze, and reached deep for strength to perform this one final act of protecting his baby brother. “I love you Sam.”
He raised up the long silver blade of the bowie knife in his hand and plunged it downward, driving it right into Sam’s heart.
Ellen, Bobby, and Steve stared in shock when Dean, fraught with a tear drenched face, barreled through the room and stormed out the front door without saying a word. They ran out after him, only to watch from the front porch him throw the Impala into sharp reverse and spin the tires in the dirt before speeding forward. They looked at each other with dread, for Dean wouldn’t leave without Sam.
Ellen led the charge into the backroom and was first to throw open the cracked door. She froze in her spot, gasping in horror and covering her eyes, not believing what she saw. Bobby came in behind her and was too stunned to do much other than stare in shock. “Sam,” he said softly.
Steve gave them both a brief moment for grief, respectfully sliding by them. He cautiously inspected the damage, but didn’t see what he hadn’t seen before. As many times as he’d experienced this scene, the heartbreak never got old, especially when it was someone he knew. “Poor kid,” he said, noticing that at least that Sam’s look was peaceful. Most of the others showed fright.
“Did…did Dean do this?” Ellen asked with a quivering voice, noticing the knife still lodged in Sam’s chest.
“It appears so.” Steve said. He surmised that Dean was chosen at the river to stop whatever evil could return with Sam. It was sad, but he knew it had to be done and admired Dean’s strength. He couldn’t have done that to his own brother.
Ellen broke into sobs and fell into Bobby’s arms. He held onto her while his eyes began to water, his heart sinking for he mourned for a lost son.
Steve watched the others with deep sympathy, and checked out Sam a bit more, looking at the neck. His eyes widened in shock and he bent over to inspect further, while Bobby noticed the extreme reaction. “What’s the matter?”
“The symbol on Sam’s neck. It just changed from a simple red circle to the Caddo sun cross.”
“What does that mean?” A perplexed Bobby asked.
Steve looked at him with disbelief. “Light. The other symbol means corrupted light.” Steve grabbed the handle of the knife and yanked it upward, pulling it out of Sam. The resistance of the blade caused him to stagger back a few steps.
Sam abruptly popped up into a sitting position, taking in one huge gasp of air, scaring everyone in the room. He glared at the others deeply alarmed and disoriented. They all returned a similar gaze.
irisheyes - October 13, 2008 04:50 PM (GMT)
At first I was like, "Nooooo!!!" :cry :cry :cry
But then I was like, "Huh? WTH just happened? The symbol on his neck changes and all of a sudden he's alive again?"
Oceane - October 13, 2008 08:44 PM (GMT)
What a powerful, poignant chapter.
Does it mean that Sam is alright, no evil in him with the changing symbol on his neck?
I'm at the edge of my seat waiting for the last chapter.
ajj2001 - October 15, 2008 01:50 PM (GMT)
Here it is. The final chapter. It's much shorter than the others, but ties up things nicely. Thank you so much everyone for your comments and taking time to read this. It was fun going through this one again. It inspires me to write more, but there's that pesky time thing getting in the way. Happy reading!
“How is he today?” Ellen asked, hearing all the commotion.
“Just a bed of roses,” Steve replied.
“The same as yesterday, not happy.”
“How much longer does he have to go through this? He seems fine to me.”
“That’s what I’m about to find out.” Steve entered the bedroom, greeting the Xinesi and his son with a nod. Sam wouldn’t look at him, still seething.
“I’m fine, now let me go,” Sam said with anger.
“Yeah, I got that the first hundred times you said it,” Steve replied. “We need to be sure.”
“Actually, he’s free to go,” The Xinesi said. “It’s been three days, he’s passed our tests.”
“Are you sure?” Steve asked, not very convinced. Of course, he wasn’t exactly sure what would convince him. He’d never seen anything like this before.
“The silver knife wound from his protector drove away the evil spirit,” The Xinesi’s son said. “He still has the sign of the cross. Only the benevolent spirit has remained.”
“He is pure,” The Xinesi pronounced.
“All I know is that Dean’s out there thinking I’m dead!” Sam yelled angrily. “Let me go or so help me-“
“That don’t sound too benevolent to me,” Steve said jokingly. He got blank stares from the Xinesi and his son in response, and one very pissed off look from Sam. “Don’t worry, Bobby is closing in. He called me an hour ago.”
“He’s been saying that for three days. No one knows Dean like I do.”
“Fantastic. So where are you gonna find him?”
Sam didn’t respond, just reacting with another defiant glare.
Steve looked at the Xinesi and his son for final assurance. When they nodded he pulled the bowie knife out of his pocket and sliced through both pieces of rope that bound Sam to the chair.
Sam fired another pissed off look at Steve before getting up and moving toward the door.
“Sam, if you need anything-“ Steve said.
“I won’t be calling you.” Sam walked away and entered the main part of the roadhouse.
“Don’t you need a car?” Ellen asked, watching Sam open the front door.
Sam shrugged. “I figured I’d find something.”
Ellen frowned, picturing someone getting all angry over their car being stolen. She reached behind the bar and threw a set of keys at Sam. “Out back. It still runs I think.”
Sam gave her a weary smile. “Thanks.”
Ellen moved closer, examining Sam carefully to make sure he was okay. “Just be careful. I’m sure Dean’s okay. He just doesn’t want to be found. And don’t be a stranger.”
“I’ll bring back the car.” Sam stepped through the door, stopped and turned around. “Thanks Ellen, for everything.”
He left, leaving Ellen to worry about those two. Their troubles were far from over. Dean’s deal was still looming, and precious time had been wasted. “Good luck Sam.”
Sam’s head started to hurt, probably because he’d been thinking too hard. He had driven aimlessly for hours, waiting for an idea or an instinct to kick in and tell him where to go. Nothing hit him.
Sam worried about Dean’s frame of mind. He didn’t blame him for wanting to retreat. He didn’t think he could do the same thing if the situation was reversed and was very proud of Dean for doing what he did. He sacrificed the most important thing in the world to him to protect others, but any pride Sam felt wasn’t helping Dean much right now. Dean was alone out there somewhere with no one to help him deal with the complete horror of having to kill his brother. He had to let Dean know it was all okay.
Sam didn’t even know what state he was in. Thoughts of all what happened swirled in his head, and clear thought had long since passed him. He didn’t want to stop, didn’t want to rest, or eat, or do anything. He was shaken from his wandering thoughts by his cell phone going off.
“Hey Bobby…Where?...No, I don’t know where I am.” Sam looked up in time to find a road sign that told him. “I’m twenty miles from the state line. I’ll be there in an hour.”
There she was, that old black beauty never looked so magnificent. Relief overwhelmed Sam the second he spotted the Impala in the motel parking lot. Sam checked around carefully to make sure there was nothing suspicious around. There was no credible threat but he was trained to always be cautious. He went up to room number five and pounded on the door.
The door flung open within seconds, and Dean stood in shock on the opposite side, turning pale white, looking like he’d seen a ghost. He backed away in fright.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Sam said with a relieved soft voice. “I’ve been worried sick trying to find you.” He took a step toward Dean, but he backed away further, tears pooling in his eyes.
“Who are you?” Dean asked, very shaken.
“Dean, it’s me. Don’t worry, I didn’t come back evil. I’m okay.”
“The stab in the heart was supposed to prevent you from coming back. You’re supposed to be dead.”
Sam closed the door behind him and held his hands out in an attempt calm his emotional brother, although they were shaking nervously, as well as his voice. “Dean, it’s not what you think, I’m okay.”
Dean stared at him with silent caution. Sam could tell Dean wanted to believe him, but remained unconvinced. He slowly reached up to his shirt collar and pulled it away from his neck. “Look at this,” he said, showing Dean the red mark.
Dean took two weary steps toward him, and leaned forward to check it out. His eyebrows raised when he saw the symbol. “It’s different.”
“It’s a Caddo sun cross.”
Dean still glared at him confused.
“It symbolizes light Dean. Benevolence.”
Dean stared at Sam bewildered, taking a good look into those sincere puppy dog eyes of his. Dean’s lip quivered the further he examined, for he saw his brother in there. He lunged forward and flung his arms around Sam, who returned the hug with his own tight grasp. “It’s really you,” Dean said, still hanging on.
“Yeah,” Sam said, only able to muster that one word as his emotions got to him as well. They clung onto each other for dear life, both too overcome to do or say anything else.
Eventually they broke their grasp, and Sam broke the silence. “We’ve been trying to find you for days now. Bobby found your cell off the side of the road near Ellen’s.”
“I’ve been here, trying to figure out what to do next.” Dean went over to the bed, and sank onto the edge, wiping away the tears on his face. Sam smiled when he took a good look at the messy room.
“What?” Dean asked, curious as to what made Sam so happy.
“You got two beds.”
Dean shrugged. “Old habit I guess.”
Sam nodded, understanding the habit completely. He went over to the opposite bed and sat down. “Why’d you come back to Lawrence? I figured this was the last place you’d want to be.”
“My entire family was gone. It was the only place I could think of that reminded me of what used to be.”
Sam was surprised. “You wanted to relive those memories? I always thought they were too painful.”
“Yeah, well, if the latest experience has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t forget who I am, or where I came from.” Dean took in a deep breath, and then realized there was far more to talk about. “Enough about that. What the hell happened to you?”
“I failed a test.”
“A test? Wait, did this test involve a big fight in a field?”
“Yeah, how did you know that?”
“I saw you Sam, in the river. You were fighting, and you were pure evil. Then I was given my mission. I had to stab you in the heart, to kill that evil inside of you. If I didn’t, you’d come back and kill us all.”
Sam’s insides turned, for he wished Dean didn’t have to witness such a disturbing scene. He was disturbed just thinking about it. “The vision was right Dean. I would have come back a monster.”
Sam went on with his explanation. “I spent some time with the Xinesi in Shreveport and his son. They figured out the only way I could have come back normal was if I was sacrificed by my protector, the one responsible for rising me up. As soon as my protector let go, I was able to fall back down. The knife prevented the evil spirit from returning, but not the benevolent one.”
“I’m sorry Sam. I didn’t want to do it, but the vision was clear it had to be me Sam and only me.”
“You don’t need to apologize. I’m grateful Dean. What you did, you saved a lot of people. It sounds like you actually passed your test.” Sam paused to collect himself, for he had to finish telling Dean the truth. He owed him that much. “The truth is, whether I want to accept it or not, I’m a demon. I maybe only a part blooded demon, but I’m capable of horrible things. My spirit might be benevolent, but my blood is still evil. That didn’t change.”
Dean wasn’t unnerved. “But you’re okay right now.”
“For now, yeah.”
“Then that’s good enough for me.”
“You aren’t the least bit worried? You saw what I can become.”
Dean vehemently shook his head. “You aren’t like that Sam, and as long as I’m around, I’m not letting you get that way.” Sam relaxed a little at Dean’s assurance. He always knew how to make things seem better.
“What did they mean by protector?” Dean asked with curiosity. “The person who’s been looking out for you your entire life?”
“Yeah, something like that.” Sam felt Dean’s stare, sensing he knew there was more to it. “They were talking about my guardian angel.”
Dean’s eyes shot wide open. “You believed that crap?”
Sam shrugged. “It made sense to me.”
“Do you see any wings on me?”
Sam chuckled slightly. “No, I suppose not.”
“Besides, angels don’t go to Hell.”
Sam frowned, for he didn’t want to think about that reality yet. “You never know, that might be what ends up saving you.”
Dean couldn’t argue with that. “Clayton did say an answer will come. I’m hoping it’s the right one.” He saw how the mention of the deal saddened Sam, making it time to change the subject. “How about for right now, we stay away from spirit guide chicks and dudes in a river.”
Sam smiled. “Deal.”
Dean slapped his thighs and got up. “I’m hungry. What’s say we go out and get something to eat?”
Sam gave a quick nod in agreement, even though he still couldn’t eat a bite. He got up and they both headed toward the door.
Dean stopped and turned toward Sam before they headed outside. “You know Sam, if you think about it, “No Quarter” should be our anthem. Walking side by side with death, the devil mocks their every step. They carry news that must get through, to build a dream for me and you. That’s our everyday lives.”
Sam cracked a small, crooked smile. “They choose the path that no one goes.”
Dean gave Sam a wide grin. “Zeppelin rules.” He opened the door, letting his smiling baby brother lead the way.
irisheyes - October 15, 2008 02:08 PM (GMT)
That was awesome!!!
Absolutely loved it!!!
ajj2001 - October 16, 2008 02:29 AM (GMT)
|That was awesome!!!|
Absolutely loved it!!!
Thank you! That makes me so happy to read that for this one.
This was my first Supernatural fic. For two years I wrote House fanfiction and then discovered Supernatural. I got all cocky and thought, "I can write a Supernatural fic, no problem!" This was BY FAR the hardest fic to write. Building mythology is not easy. I tried another one this summer, and found writing for this genre is definitely challenging. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the Supernatural writers!
Oceane - October 18, 2008 02:22 AM (GMT)
Great ending to a great story :) I enjoyed it start to end :)
You did a terrific work ajj, thanks for sharing :cheer