Characters: Dean, Sam, Missouri, Bobby
Spoilers: None that I can think of yet
Wordcount: 2213 (this chapter)
Summary: What should have been a routine job goes wrong, and Sam and Dean's lives may never be the same again.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
He is outside again. In the woods this time. It is night time, and the world is illuminated by a bright, three quarter moon hanging in the sky above him. In his hand is a long blade, stained with blood.
The silence of the night is broken only by the cry of an owl and the sound of his heart beating in his chest. He takes a slow, deep breath and holds it, listening. Nothing. For almost a minute the world is quiet, until the sound of a branch snapping under the weight of someone's foot breaks the spell.
Dean springs to alertness. He raises the blade higher and slowly, quietly, creeps towards the source of the sound. He moves almost silently, keen eyes scanning the ground ahead of him for twigs and branches and avoiding them. He looks left and right, ears listening carefully for whatever might have left its blood on his knife.
He finds Sam in a small clearing, walking towards him just as quietly, and he hopes it was him that made the sound. He doesn't know what the hell this vision is, or how it works, but if it is anything like the one inflicted on him by the ghost of Hilda Marburg, it's possible that if he dies here, he would die in real life too. He doesn't want to get into a fight with an imaginary creature if he can help it, especially not if it could kill him and he couldn't return the favor.
He increases his pace, hurrying towards Sam, desperate to touch him, just to convince himself that his brother is alive, that he's okay. Then he sees movement behind him. His eyes focus on the shape of a man moving far too quickly, coming in from the left. He opens his mouth to shout a warning, but before the sound leaves his mouth, the figure reaches Sam. He grabs hold of him and Sam struggles. As Dean runs forward, he calls his brother's name.
The man holding Sam tilts his head and brings his mouth to his little brother's neck. Sam cries out, struggling harder as the blood begins to drain out of his body.
Dean's knife slices through the air, making contact with th vampire's neck. The blade is sharp and he swings with force. The vampire's head hits the ground before his arms realize he is dead and release their grip. They hit the ground together, Sam and the thing that killed him.
Dean drops his blade and scrambles to reach his brother laying in a crumpled heap on the ground. The moonlight washes the color from everything, but even knowing that, Sam looks too pale. He isn't moving. Dean feels for a pulse. The blood from the wound stains his fingers, and he feels nothing.
Sam isn't breathing, his heart isn't beating. The dead vampire by his side looks full and gorged on blood.
He knows this isn't real. Somehow, the man that is holding him captive is placing these images in his head. In reality, he is a prisoner, tied to a chair, God knows where. Blind, helpless and at the mercy of a madman. And as far as he knows, Sam is fine, though he does only have the madman's word on that.
But even knowing it isn't real, it feels as though it is. Sam is laying dead on the ground. Dean feels the rage and horror tear out of him in a scream so loud it rips his throat, and then he wakes up back in his prison.
“It's not real,” he gasps, as much to reassure himself as to tell his captor what he knows. “You can kill him a hundred times in my head, you won't make me believe it's real.”
“Is that a challenge?” asks the man, and the pain starts up all over again.
Sam slams the motel room's door closed so hard that the walls shake. “How can we not have found anything? I was so sure this was going to work!” He throws his bag on the floor and slumps, defeated onto the bed.
Bobby watches him. He understands the younger man's frustration, but the mood is contagious and he feels enough like he's missing a member of his family to allow the anger to leak out. He takes a deep breath and releases it in a slow, loud sigh, and clenches his hand into a fist. Not to use against Sam, just to give him something to channel the anger into. “Damnit, Sam, how could you both go out drinking at a time like this? What the hell were you thinking?”
Sam shakes his head, “I don't know,” his shoulders slump further forward and his brow creases against the headache that he still hasn't managed to shift. “Maybe that Dean's having a hard enough time right now as it is without me babying him. We're both adults, Bobby, we don't need...” he stops, they did need that kind of advice, actually. Though it would have been more useful a day or so ago. More importantly, he needed all the help he could get right now, and so did Dean. Arguing with the man trying to help him wasn't the best move he could make.
Sam nods, “Okay, you're right. It was stupid. I was stupid. I should have been looking out for him and I didn't. It's just, he's Dean, y'know? He can't stand to show any sign of weakness, least of all to me. I thought acting like everything was normal would help him. Turns out it just made it worse.” He gets to his feet and walks to the other side of the room, just to give himself something to do. He has started now, verbalizing the thoughts that have been occupying his mind for the past few days, things that he has been afraid to say, or even to think. Part of him wants to stop, but now he has begun the words keep coming. “He was just so scared. I've never heard him talk like that. If I can't find a way to cure him, I'm afraid of what he might do.”
Bobby crosses the room and places a hand on Sam's shoulder. “One problem at a time, Sam. Let's get him back first, then we'll worry about the rest.”
Sam takes a deep breath and nods, but before he can reply, they are interrupted by a tap at the door. Both men are suddenly completely alert, Sam reaches for a weapon as Bobby moves silently to the door and looks through the peephole. He relaxes.
Sam moves his gun out of sight as the door opens to reveal the motel owner standing outside in her slippers, a large, heavy looking leather purse worn over her left shoulder.
“You're hunters, aren't you?”
Bobby opens the door wider and she steps inside. A quick glance outside reveals no one laying in wait, and he closes the door behind her. Sam watches with an expression of curiosity.
“My late husband,” she says, “he was a hunter. I learned to recognize the signs. He died. Twenty years ago, now.” She shifts her weight slightly and places her purse on the ground next to her feet. “I'm so sorry about your brother, I'd like to help if I can.”
“We'd appreciate that, ma'am,” Bobby tells her, “Have you remembered anything else about last night?”
“No,” June shakes her head, “You don't understand. I'm not sure, it's been such a long time since I've done this, but I think I can find out where he is.”
Sam and Bobby glance at one another for a moment, hope and suspicion flicker across both their faces. “How?” Sam asks.
She takes a step closer and opens the zipper on her over sized purse. “I was a young girl when I met my William,” she says, reaching inside and pulling out several small glass bottles containing various herbs and powders. “People in town had started acting strangely, out of character. Will came to find out what was causing it. Turned out, it was me.”
She breathes out slowly through pursed lips as she lowers herself onto the floor, bending arthritic knees to cross her legs while carefully rearranging her long skirt.
“I'd found an old spell book at a yard sale. I'd been practicing, but I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't even really believe in it. Things started to go wrong.”
Candles come out of the bag, followed by a box of matches and a large folded map of the area. She spreads the map on the floor to her right.
“William told me to stop, so I did. He stuck around town for a while after that, said it was to make sure I didn't do anything else, but he had other reasons. Even after he left, he kept coming back. I fell in love, and we were married a year later. It wasn't long after I started working spells again. He was away a lot, I needed something to occupy me. I got it right this time though, no silly mistakes. Just good spells to help people out. He never knew. Then he died, and I just stopped. I think it made me think too much of him.”
She looks up at Sam from her seat on the ground surrounded by a ring of candles. “I'm going to need something of your brother's.”
Sam rushed off immediately to look through Dean's stuff. Bobby follows him, “You think this is a good idea?” he asks in hushed tones.
Sam shrugs and lowers his voice to a whisper that he is sure June will still be able to hear across the room. “If she's the one that took him, she wouldn't need the pretense. She just wants to help.” He strides back across the room and hands June the keys to the Impala. She smiles, places them on the floor in front of her and begins chanting. It sounds like Latin. But mixed with something Sam doesn't recognize. As the chanting grows louder and faster, she reaches out and takes a pinch of one of her herbs, which she drops into the candle in front of her. A thick black smoke billows from the candle, accompanied by a sweet, sticky smell.
June's hand darts back and forth between her glass containers and the candle, dropping more and more of the herbs into the flame. The room fills with a cloud of thick black smoke, consuming the air and making Sam feel light headed.
Just as the room begins to spin, the chanting reaches a climax and June reaches for a bottle of red powder. She turns it upside down, tipping it from as high as she can reach onto the map beside her.
Sam and Bobby watch with anticipation as the powder falls downwards, landing not in a clump as it should do, but forming a pattern, an almost perfect circle covering an area just outside of town several miles across. The powder lays thicker in an area just north of the circle's center.
As she stops chanting, the pressure of the air in the room seems to drop, and Sam releases a breath that he hadn't realized he was holding. The smoke begins to clear and the light that it had been blocking filters back into the room.
June breathes slowly in and out a few times before stretching her arms and climbing painfully to her feet. “You'll find him somewhere inside the circle,” she says, he voice shakes noticeably “most likely where the powder lies thickest,”
Sam stared at the map intently as Bobby helps June to a seat. “Looks like mostly farmland. If Dean's there, there can't be a lot of places he can be.”
“That's partly true,” June tells him, “but there are a lot of small farms out there, all with farmhouses, barns, sheds... If someone's hiding him, he might not be so easy to find.”
Sam nods, reaches into his pocket and retrieves his cellphone, switches to the camera and snaps a few shots of the map. “Thanks for this, Mrs Davies, thanks so much. He heads to the door. “We should get started, cover as much ground as we can while it's still light.”
Bobby nods, but holds back for a moment, looking at June.
“Oh, I'll clear up the mess later,” she assures him.
“It's not the mess I'm worried about,” he tells her, “are you okay?”
Sam regards the old woman for a moment, she looks shaken, unsteady of her feet as she stands to leave.
“I'm fine,” she assures them, “It just takes a little more out of me than it used to. It's been so long since I did this, I used to be so much younger.”
Bobby offers her his arm and escorts her out of the room and across the parking lot to to her own place, while Sam loads up the car, jumps in the driver's seat and moves as close to the door of June's apartment as he can.
As Bobby gets into the car, Sam presses his foot on the gas and speeds away from the motel and out onto the road.