|The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep
Author: Wysawyg PM
Sam Winchester was beginning to wonder whether the demon had forgotten his plans for him. Sam Winchester had forgotten that the demon played a long game. Dark!fic. Multichapter. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Tragedy - Chapters: 14 - Words: 65,204 - Reviews: 131 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 29 - Updated: 08-31-07 - Published: 06-01-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3569019
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: The woods are lovely, dark and deep
Summary: Sam Winchester was beginning to wonder whether the demon had forgotten his plans for him. Sam Winchester had forgotten that the demon played a long game. Dark!fic. Multi-chapter. Not WIP.
Disclaimer: Everything the light touches belongs to someone else. The darkside too. It's all Kripke and the guys and gals at the CW.
Warnings: Not a humour fic. It will start off light, it will get very very dark. Expect multiple character deaths.
It is not a WIP. It has been entirely written and Beta'd. Posting speed will depend on the cliffhanger and how busy I am that week to edit up that chapter.
I started writing this story in early March this year. Any foreshadowing of recent episode events is entirely coincidental and somewhat amusing.
Timeline: Diverges AU from season 2. Approximately after Born under a Bad Sign but before Heart.
Beta: Beta'd by the wonderful TraSan who is a wonderful writer and beta but does torture flame-retardant ducks hence proving that no-one is perfect.
Feedback: Makes the hamsters in my head dance.
The night the first dream came; Sam had thought he was prepared.
He had known about the dreams. Known from Max. Known from Andy's freakish twin brother. Known from the kid that Gordon killed, the one who'd had yellow eyes plastered on the inside of his wardrobe.
Frankly, Sam had begun to wonder what was taking so long. Did the demon think so little of him that it would kill his mother, kill his father, play mind-games with his brother but leave him alone? Sam should have known that the demon was just playing a long game with the youngest Winchester.
The first dream came disguised as a vision. Maybe if Sam had noticed the man standing in the back watching with yellow eyes then what followed might never have happened. But Sam's gaze was fixed upon the writhing form of his older brother, at the desperate twist of his screaming face as flames licked around him, at the blonde-haired beautiful girl that stood impassionate above Dean, watching him die.
Sam awoke sweating from remembered heat and scrambled out of the blankets that tried to snarl his feet, moving across to his brother's bed. Dean slumbered peacefully, unaware of his surroundings with his mouth wide open and soft sleep snorts coming out. Sam couldn't resist reaching a hand out to touch his brother and assure himself that Dean really was lying there.
Dean awoke with a snort and eyes darting around to try and locate what had pulled him from his dream, which likely involved two supermodels and an inordinate amount of chocolate sauce. "Sammy?" He asked, dazed, "What are you doing?"
Maybe if Sammy had answered truthfully in that moment then Dean could have kept his promise, could have saved his brother but he held his tongue, not wanting to burden his brother with another vision. "Nothing."
Dean peered blearily at the LED display of the clock, "Well, nothing somewhere else. It's four in the morning and some of us weren't tucked in bed with their teddies by nine." Dean flipped himself over to face away from Sam and with a couple of snorts, he was fast asleep once more.
Sam retreated to his bed and sat against the headrest, pulling his knees up to his chin and wrapping his arms around them as he attempted to banish the images of the vision that lingered in his mind. The worst was the lack of context. The room had looked ordinary, no notable furniture, no time frame, just a girl and Dean and death.
Sam let his head droop until his chin rested on his knees and hugged his knees tighter to himself, trying to block out the chill that ran down his spine. It was in that same position that he fell asleep.
"Rise and shine, campers." Dean's boisterous voice pulled Sam out of his dreams which had been shadowy and malevolent, dark figures hovering at the edge of sight. "It's a beautiful day," Dean continued, obviously in his stride. "The sun is shining, the birds are singing and we have a choice of not one, but two different hunts."
Sam unclenched his hands from where they were still wrapped around his knees and arched backwards, feeling the click of his spine re-aligning itself after the awkward spot to sleep. He sniffed the air, checking for the tell-tale scent of coffee before he slipped sideways onto bare feet, padding bleary-eyed towards the smell.
He had barely had time to fill himself a mug and take a sip of the bitter liquid before Dean was continuing his cheerful monologue. "Come on, what'll it be? Behind door number one, we have Saragon, Colorado and a suspected werewolf. Suspected because so far it has been chewing but not swallowing. Three victims, all of which are potential werewolves. Behind door number two, we have East Smidgeley in Tennessee and a coven who are getting to know the town in the biblical sense. And by biblical, I mean old testament, lots of smiting and vengeance and not a smidgeon of forgiveness. Think 'The Craft' if they were all women in their mid-forties and a lot nastier. Come on, Contestant number one, what'll it be?"
Sam was fairly sure that coffee hadn't been on the list of options but that was certainly Sam's favoured option as he started to glug the cooling liquid in the hope that the caffeine buzz would offset his brother's insane morning perkiness. It wasn't doing too great a job at that moment. "Sounds like four werewolves are more serious than a few witches with serious PMS."
"It's alive!" Dean crowed, tucking into his own mug of coffee with a voracious gulp. "The witches have killed two people so far including a teenage mother; one of the group is very touchy about her infertility; as well as a young mechanic foolish enough to shun one of the coven's attentions. Not to mention the non-lethal stuff that they've been doing to people."
"So then the coven is more important." Sam was fairly sure that Dean knew exactly which job he was going to take and was just going to taunt his brother until Sam was forced to make the same decision as he'd already got.
"Possibly but then it could be that the werewolves are just waiting until there are enough of them and then they'll go on a killing spree," Dean said, slurping the coffee in what Sam felt was a deliberately loud manner.
"Then the werewolves," Sam said in a tired manner.
"But then…" Dean started.
"Oh for crying out loud, just pick a damn hunt and let me know. I'm going in the shower." Sam stormed through to the bathroom, his moody attempt to storm off slightly destroyed when he tripped over one of Dean's shoes. Sam bent to pick up the shoe and lobbed it at his brother's head before slamming the bathroom door.
Sam twisted the shower knob onto full and stepped in, ignoring the fact that the water was icy cold. The frozen needles stabbed through the last dregs of sleep but did very little to remove the traces of horror from the vision. The thoughts running through Sam's mind was which of the two hunts was least likely to lead to the vision. On the one hand, the coven appeared to be too old for the twenty-something he'd seen. On the other hand, the werewolves likely wouldn't need to resort to setting people on fire.
Sam raked fingers back through his damp hair and squeezed shampoo into his hand, rubbing it into his hair. It was worth keeping long hair, just to keep the extra ten minutes that washing it earned him over Dean in the shower. Back in Stanford, Sam had tended to use Jessica's floral-scented shampoo and conditioner, liking to walk around the rest of the day smelling like her. Now he used whatever cheap stuff Dean bought from the dime store. This month was mint-scented though Dean protested that it made him smell like an after-eight.
The water was quickly heading from tepid back down to freezing cold by the time Sam stepped out of the shower. He scrubbed a towel through his hair, rubbing away most of the dripping water before wrapping it around his waist and tucking the ends in. He walked over to the bed, ignoring the voice of his brother as he pulled on his boxers, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
"Hello, Earth to Sammy?" Dean called, walking over to his brother and tapping his wet head, "Anything in there?"
Sam batted the hand away, "Go away, Dean." Sam grabbed a comb and raked it back through his hair, tugging it viciously through the snarls and ignoring the pain. "So which hunt are we going on?"
Apparently Dean realised that he had reached Sam's breaking point as he just said, "The witches. We'll leave in a couple of hours. I'll drive first. Just made a fresh pot." He nodded to the full cafetierre, one of the fancier accoutrements to this motel room.
Sam poured himself a fresh cup and tipped it down his throat, not caring that it had barely cooled enough for the flavour to come through. Once the mug was empty, he poured again, hoping that he could banish the horrors with enough caffeine. "Fine. Sounds good to me."
"I'm going out to the store. Anything you want?" Dean asked.
"Aspirin," Sam said, knowing he had used up the last of it the night before.
"Back in ten," Dean said and headed out the door.
In the end, Dean had let Sam do more of the driving, Sam suspected solely so that Dean could get some shut-eye and not keep seeing his brother looking at him out of the corner of his eye. Even so, Sam suspected the reason his brother was wearing shades was so that Sam couldn't tell if he was really asleep.
As the early light of dawn casts an eerie red glow into the morning sky, Sam passed the 'Welcome to East Smidgeley' sign and started the habitual scan for a cheap looking motel. It's not long before gaudy neon signs violated the morning light and Sam peeled the car into the parking lot. He knew Dean would be annoyed at Sam waking him just to check in but neither is Sam willing to let his brother out of his sight, "Dean!" He hissed, prodding his brother.
"Wuh? Hhhh. Leave the cabbages," Dean mumbled as the remnants of whatever bizarre dream concocted in his mind faded away. "Sam? We're here? Fine, what room?"
"Haven't checked in yet," Sam said it fast as if that made it somehow more acceptable, "I wasn't sure which credit card to use."
Dean gave his brother a disbelieving look. Forgetting which credit card is valid was somehow akin to forgetting to put on trousers in the morning and Dean's eyes briefly dip to make sure his brother hadn't forgotten that too. "The Amex, made out to Jeffrey Cazabyzan," He said, leaning back against the seat. "Wake me again when you are done."
"Dean!" Sam prodded again. "You may as well come in now. Going to give up your chance to flirt with the motel girl?"
Dean lazily lifted one eye, "I'll have plenty of time to meet with her later. Maybe I can apologise for my doofus of a little brother." The eye shut again and opened moments later. "Sam, shoo."
Finally Sam knew he could come up with no convincing argument so he stepped out of the car, slamming the door a little harder than necessary and smirking internally as his brother jerked up and grumbled.
He stepped into the motel office, ducking his head to avoid the low doorway. "Good morning, sir. How can I help you?" A voice greeted him, feminine but tempered by a southern lilt. Sam looked up, straight into the eyes of the girl from his vision. He took a step backwards, a visceral part of himself leaping up and screaming to get this thing before it could hurt Dean, quickly tempered by common sense.
"No, sorry." Sam almost stumbled backwards. "I thought… but no." He ducked and headed out of the doorway as fast as his feet could carry him.
"Finally," Dean chorused when Sam lowered himself back into the driver's seat, "So, what's the room number?"
"We're not staying here," Sam said bluntly and closed his hand around the keys in the ignition, twisting.
"What?!" Dean's hand stilled on his, holding the keys in place. "Why not? Did the nasty motel girl try to touch you in the bad place?"
"I just have a bad feeling," Sam answered.
"Bad feeling I just had a vision or bad feeling I ate bad macaroni cheese last night?"
"Just a bad feeling. Come on, let's find another motel."
"Nuh-huh. You know how it goes little brother. Face your fears including scary motel girls." Dean frowned, noting the shade of pale his brother's skin was, "Fine. I'll go get us a room."
Dean didn't even have time to close his hand around the door handle before Sam's hand fisted in his shirt tugging him backwards, "No, I'll…I'll do it. Just stay in the car."
"What the hell, Sammy?" Dean said, looking like he was adding two and two together and coming up with seven thousand and ninety two repeatedly. "First you want me to come with you like some human safety blanket and now you practically tear my favourite shirt to stop me going. What's going on in that freakish brain of yours?"
"Nothing, Dean, just facing my fears like you said." Sam unfolded himself from the car before his brother could ask any more questions and walked slowly backwards the motel office.
The girl looked up warily as Sam walked back in and he could see one hand hidden beneath the desk where it was likely a panic button resided. That left Sam oddly comforted. If she was some pyromaniac demon-spawn, it was unlikely she would have to resort to a panic button. "Hello again." Her tone was more clipped this time.
"Erm, hi." Sam said, giving her his best lost little puppy smile, "Forgot my wallet. Can I get a double room?"
There was a plastered nervous smile on the girl's face as she leafed one handed through the reservations book in front of her. "Of course. What name would that be under?" The odd phrasing making it sound like she knew it wouldn't be Sam's true name which put him back on edge.
"Cazabyzan." Sam almost slurred the word, the syllables leap-frogging over each other.
The girl blinked, "Can you spell that?"
Sam briefly wondered what she'd do if he said no. Thankfully years of looking through tomes of demonology, where various sects had apparently had a competition for who could get the most Zs, Ks and Xs into their name, had prepared him well and he spelt it out without too much difficulty.
The girl scribbled the name down. "Rates are fifty bucks a night, cleaner comes around every second day, check-out is expected at ten a.m. on the day you leave. Any questions?"
Sam shook his head and took the key, every instinct telling him to just turn away and run from this girl. Instead he forced a regular pace away, only remembering to breathe once he cleared the doorway. He had to check the key fob to find out what room they were in.
Dean was watching him, a tilt of amusement to the set of his mouth. "Did you face the scary motel girl?"
Sam flicked the key at his brother. "Room two-oh-four. Round the back." Sam slid the car into gear, pulling away from the office and round the first l-shaped protrusion before pulling in at the door.
Dean practically leapt from the car as soon as Sam switched off the ignition, pulling his duffel out of the back and heading towards the mock-cedar door with tarnished brass numbers. Sam was only footsteps behind, his heart jumping in his throat as he hoped the room they were about to enter wasn't the same one as from his vision.
As it turned out, it was just one from his nightmares. Whoever had decorated the room must have been colour-blind, there was no other way to justify the lurid pink and lime green that squiggled down the wall. That might almost have been redeemed if not for the neon orange carpet. All the furniture was pristine white plastic and Sam felt a headache brimming just from the sight of the place. Dean took one look, hmphed and slipped his shades on. "Last time I let you pick the motel." He bounced onto the nearest bed to the door. "Bagsies."
Sam walked over to the other bed, trying to pretend the cover wasn't leopard print. If there was ever a time for mind over matter to work, it was now. Sadly when Sam re-opened his eyes, the bedspread was still leopard print. He glanced to Dean who had rolled off the bed and was now tugging his tiger print spread off the bed and looking like he might start off this hunt by salting and burning it. "I offered to switch motels."
"I didn't know that your psychic senses had expanded to really bad furnishings," Dean complained, "Though I swear there must be something demonic here. Have you ever come across a possessed interior decorator? Supernaturally bad taste?"
"Maybe a colour blind one?" Sam said.
"Because colour blind decorators are far more likely than demonic ones." Dean curved one eyebrow upwards. "So how about we try to find some place around here that can serve a plate of breakfast without making your eyes bleed for it?"
"I'm not really hungry," Sam stated though that was an understatement. His stomach felt like it had wrapped itself into a knot in his belly, squeezing so tight that there was no room for any food.
"You sulking at me, Sammy?" Dean asked.
"No, I'm just not hungry."
"Fine. I'm going to head out to the diner. If I'm feeling like a wonderful, kind, amazing brother like I am then I might bring you something back."
"I told you, I'm not damn hungry."
"Fine, Maybe I'll just go and flirt with that motel girl."
"On second thoughts, maybe I could eat something," Sam said, ignoring the nausea that uncoiled within him, even as he thought about it.
"Seriously Sammy, as soon as I'm awake enough to give a damn then we are going to talk about this," Dean protested, unpeeling himself from the bed and retrieving the boots he'd kicked across the room.
Sam swore to himself that he was fine, that there was nothing wrong. But as the brothers left the room of clashing colours and into the Impala, Dean in the driver's seat this time, Sam can't help to glance to the motel window and for a moment, he could swear the girl was watching.
The waitress in the diner was exactly Dean's type and he gave her a lascivious stare before the glass door had even finished swinging shut. She sidled up, protruding her breasts in a pretence of putting her nametag on display. "Hey sugars, Just the two of you?"
"Unless we find better company," Dean replied with a wiggle of his eyebrows. Sam assumed Dean was trying to be suave. Personally Sam thought his brother just sounded like he'd seen far too many James Bond movies.
The waitress seemed to lap it up as she motioned the brothers over to a table. "Here, you'll get yourselves a good view. Now, what can I get to drink?"
"Coffee, black," Dean said, grinning at the waitress who giggled as if Dean just make some kind of fantastic joke. Sam was sick of this already.
"Make that two." Sam gripped the menu, wrinkling his nose at the sticky patches. The menu read like a doctor's guide on how to have a heart attack and Sam saw Dean's face light up with glee. Sam's stomach still clenched in on itself so when the waitress returned, bending over far more than necessary to put down Dean's coffee, he just ordered the light bite breakfast. Dean ordered the early bird special which probably had more cholesterol in it than the average daily output of a liposuction clinic.
"What's with the light bite?" Dean quizzed, twirling a spoon around his coffee, more because he enjoyed the ringing, clanging against the side of the mug rather than the need to mix in anything.
"Told you I wasn't feeling that hungry," Sam answered.
"Uh-huh." Dean put the spoon down on the table and peered intently at his brother seating opposite him. "So, when are you planning on telling me what's going on?" Before Sam had a chance to answer, Dean started listing off his fingers. "I wake up a couple of nights ago to find you hovering over my bed. Every time you fall asleep in the car, you wake up and stare at me. You practically freaked out when you had to go book a motel room on your own. You did freak out over some motel chick. You then proceeded to freak out about me seeing some motel chick, twice." Dean ran out of fingers and glanced to his other hand before deciding to leave it there. "So?"
"I just have a bad feeling about this," was as much as Sam would admit.
"Damn, knew I should never have let you watch Star Wars," Dean muttered and then grinned up at the waitress as she brought over their plates.
Sam looked down at the plate in front of him. Apparently their idea of a light bite was a meal slightly less likely to give you a heart attack immediately after consumption. He already knew where Dean would drag them to eat every day during this job and not just for the dubious attraction of Brandi the waitress. Sam dug his fork in, slicing into the egg which looked the least grease coated thing on the plate.
Dean was re-enacting the battle of the Somme on his plate. Tomatoes were hapless casualties, strewn in red splashes of gore to the side of the plate while sausages and bacons were sliced and chewed faster than it should be possible. Eggs were sliced open and were now leaking yellow ichor over the rest of the plate, mixing with the splodges of ketchup to create watery-red pools. The mushrooms were piled like burnt corpses and the pancakes were ripped and torn, draped like human flesh in the red pools.
If Sam hadn't been feeling sick before, he certainly was now. He excused himself hastily from his mostly untouched breakfast and beat a path towards the bathroom where he retched the food he had managed to keep down for the past twenty four hours into the certainly unsanitary basin. Thankfully the bathroom was empty apart from him so Sam could just lean back against the stall door and let the post-puke quakes shudder through his body.
When Sam was sure there was nothing else down to come back up, he staggered up to unsteady feet and made his way to the basin, splashing water on his face. He looked at himself in the mirror, his eyes were red-rimmed from the combined effort of bad sleep and the strain of being sick. Sam tugged his bangs to drape mostly over his face, disguising himself a little from prying eyes. Finally he straightened and made his way back out of the bathroom.
Thankfully the massacre of Dean's plate had finished and Sam was fairly sure his plate was short a few items that it hadn't been when he had left for the bathroom. Sam slid back into his seat and took a gulp of the luke-warm coffee, making a token effort to continue with his breakfast.
"You are fine, eh?" Dean asked, affecting a casual air as he sipped at his own coffee.
"Yeah, think I ate something that disagreed with me. I've been feeling a bit off-colour." Sam was shocked he hadn't thought about it sooner. Dean could be a complete busy-body when it came to physical injuries but when it came to sickness, anything milder than life-threatening was just another excuse for mockery and mockery didn't equate concern.
"Awww, ickle Sammy got an ouchie," Dean snickered. "Well, while you were busy chatting up the toilet, I got some very interesting words out of Brandi."
"If you are about to discuss your sex life, please let me know so I can go back to the bathroom."
"Not now, Sammy. Jerking off in a diner is just not sanitary, at least wait 'til you are back at the motel."
Sam glared at his brother so fiercely that he felt Dean should burst into flames from the intensity of it, but then the vision struck the back of Sam's mind again and it was only the sheer force of willpower that stopped him from dashing back into the bathroom. "What did she say?" He dragged the words out in an attempt to get the conversation back on track.
"Well, you know that little motel girl that got you all stressed out?" Dean said, eyes darting a little to make sure no-one was listening in. "Guess who she is?"
Sam really hated guessing games. Usually because they meant Dean looking smug for about half an hour until he revealed something Sam would never have guessed in a million years. "Madonna's younger sister?"
"Way off," Dean smirked before apparently deciding this little piece of juicy information couldn't wait. "She's the coven high priestess' adored only child."