Author: Muffy Morrigan PM
Dean is dying after an attack by an unknown assailant. While Sam desperately searches for a cure for his dying brother, Dean makes plans of his own. Plans that might get him out of a one way trip to hell. HURT!DEAN Angsty Sam Not Death Fic.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Dean W. & Sam W. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 38,117 - Reviews: 219 - Favs: 68 - Follows: 62 - Updated: 03-01-08 - Published: 01-06-08 - Status: Complete - id: 3996122
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is the other promised holiday story, although not holiday in content, I nonetheless offer it as a Twelfth Night gift. This is the sequel to Waxing and Waning. You don't have to have read that story to understand this one. You do need to know that, in that story, Dean was wounded with a magical weapon, cured, mostly by a witch, but the scar from the wound remained and needed daily "treatment" to control. Story title and chapter titles are from John Dowland's Lachrimae (Flow, my tears).
Hark! You Shadows That In Darkness Dwell
Routine hunt. They never are, are they? Always something. Never easy, and just getting harder every damn time. It was cold in the orchard, a clammy winter cold that soaked through the clothes like they weren't even there. I remember it was once described as a lazy cold, too lazy to bypass the clothes, but just soaked through instead. Of course, the blood makes it a little colder.
The wind was rustling through the bare branches in the apple orchard, the gnarled trunks and twisted branches decorating the land like leftover Halloween items. The thing was waiting, watching from on top of the ancient wall Dean had his back braced against. It was waiting for something, he wasn't sure of what, but it was waiting.
Nice to know, friendly like. Rip me open, take my charm and leave me here while it watches, probably having coffee or something like that. Where is Sam?He sighed. Routine hunt, yep.
Two Days Before
Early winter cast a gray hand over the small town. The land surrounding the town, orchards and farms for the most part, were settled in, fallow, for the cold season, the remnants of crops brown-black on the ground, a rich smell of fermenting fruit floating on the cold misty breeze. They had been asked to come, to seek out a spirit, angry as always, that was regularly hanging people in an apple orchard to the south of town. Just a routine hunt, nothing special, in and out, Sam said the night they got the call. So, they headed into town and, arriving late, settled in for a comfortable night at the motel.
"Nice place, Sammy," Dean said, coming into the room. And it actually is, clean, neat, doesn't smell weird, and not a hooker in sight, high class for us lately. His brother smiled at him from the table where he already had the laptop open to start research. "Give me a minute, Sam, and we can go eat."
Sam nodded and Dean grabbed the small box out of his bag and headed into the bathroom. He still liked a little privacy for the spell. Especially now. He sighed, the charm and spell that Bryn Elswyth had given him to control the "scar" from the onflyge didn't seem to be working as well these last weeks. In fact, the scar had altered a little, feeling more like a wound and less like a scar. It worried him a bit.
He set the needed items up on the bathroom sink, measured out the herbs and quietly worked through the spell, the Latin now falling off his tongue as easily as English. At least for this one spell. He drank the concoction and sat down for a minute as the odd dizziness the spell produced washed through him. As he waited, he felt the wound twist open and then close again. The dizziness increased a little, he breathed through the wave of accompanying nausea.
"Dean?" Sam said gently from right in front of him. A warm hand wrapped around his shoulder. "Are you ok?"
Dean opened his eyes. "What?" He straightened. "Of course I'm ok." Dean stood up to prove just how ok he was, and then fell against Sam as the dizziness made the bathroom flip over.
"Yeah, Dean, ok."
"Just hungry, you know the spell makes me a little dizzy, Sam."
Sam frowned in concern. "Have you talked to her lately? I thought it would be cured by now."
"It's fine. Magical scars just take longer, I guess." Dean smiled at his brother and walked out of the room, Sam trailing behind him. "Cheeseburgers, Sam, that'll help. Cure-all."
"Sam…" he replied in the same tone. As expected Sam rolled his eyes, muttered a little under his breath and stalked out of the room. Works every time, every single time since he was two. Score one for big brother. They walked down to the restaurant at the end of the block and, after ordering, Dean started pestering Sam about the hunt. Distracting him, distracting me. I think I have a little heartburn. Maybe someone snuck a veggie burger in, that'd give me heartburn. He looked up, Sam was watching him. "Have I sprouted horns or something?"
Sam looked down, a flush rising on his face. "Uh…" He cleared his throat, looked away for an instant and then looked back, his face under control. "I think it's a witch," he said to Dean.
"Well, a witch's ghost. I think it's Polly Arthur, killed in 1848 for witchcraft."
"They were still killing witches in the 1800s? Nice to know someone was doing the work." Dean sat up straight and rubbed his hand together. "Killing witches, or their ghosts, is always a good day's work." Most witches, there is one I can think of that I would definitely not kill. The stupid cat, maybe, but not the witch. Ah, hell, I don't even mind the stupid cat. "When should we go?"
"Tonight, I think," Sam said. "Judging by the pattern of disappearances, she should appear in that orchard west of town tonight."
"She was buried there, under the tree she was hanged from, coincidentally, I think it is the same tree she is hanging people from now."
"Sounds good, Sammy. Can't wait." He smiled. A good burger, a good hunt, a good night's sleep after. This is shaping up to be a good thing. He settled in to eat with a happy sigh.
They were in the orchard three hours later. It was cold, the damp pervading the air, the trees, the ground, soaking everything in the orchard, turning the gnarled trunks black. It smelled wet. The wind was picking up as they moved into the orchard. After digging out shovels, salt and gasoline, Dean handed a shotgun full of rock salt to Sam and grabbed one for himself. They headed into the orchard, Sam going left, Dean heading right.
Dean wound around the trees. Orchards give me the creeps a little. I wonder why? Oh, yeah, nearly sacrificed to pagan god in one. He stopped for a moment. For the umpteenth time in the last week he had the oddest feeling of being watched, of being followed. He turned slightly, and just at the edge of his peripheral vision he saw something move.
"Sam?" he called, trying to get a better look at whatever it was. I don't think that's our Polly.
"Yeah," Dean said. He moved deeper into the orchard. The stars were sparkling overhead, the cold damp air casting tiny rainbows around each point of light. The sense of being watched was increasing, it was beginning to feel like a knife poised between his shoulder blades. Whatever was behind him was silent. Nope, don't think that's our ghost.
The blast of a shotgun ripped through the orchard. Dean was moving towards the sound before the echo cleared the air. "Sam!" He tore through the orchard, Sam was on the ground. Dean bent over him. "Sammy?" When he received no response, he gave his brother a gentle shake. Sam groaned a little. "Come on, Sam." He kept his voice calm, his heart was pounding in his ribcage. And there, again, at the edge of his vision, was movement. "Sam?"
"Dean?" Sam said with a small grunt.
"Are you ok?"
"I think so." Sam sat up, as he did he moved from the shadow cast by the tree. A dark stain was visible on the side of his head. Dean gently turned his brother's head towards him for a better look. "Hey, be careful."
"Yeah, I'm not the one with blood on my face, Sammy." He stood and held his hand out and pulled Sam to his feet. He shifted his shoulders as the sense of the blade in his back returned. "I think our Polly got the best of you."
"I don't think it was her, Dean," Sam said with a puzzled frown.
Ok, that does it, we'll come back tomorrow. "Let's call it a night, we've been out here for long enough to know she won't show tonight."
"We can still find the grave and burn her," Sam said.
"It can wait," Dean said, trying to see who, or what, was watching. "If we are back at sundown, she won't have time to hang anyone before we find her. I have a feeling she might be taking the night off."
"Dean…" Sam broke off and looked at him. "Ok. Tomorrow at sundown, good plan."
"Head hurt?" Dean said as they walked out of the orchard towards the Impala.
"Maybe a little," Sam said with a laugh.
Dean kept one eye on his brother as they drove back to the motel, but Sam seemed ok, no lasting damage. Always a good thing. What was out there? Did it scare off our Polly? And if it did, what the hell is it? Homicidal ghosts don't run from much. He sighed as he pulled up in front of the room. Sam got easily out of the car. He's ok. Good. Dean followed him in and flopped onto the bed nearest the door. He flipped on the TV. "Hey, Spinal Tap."
Sam groaned again. "Dean, no, please no. I will OD and die if we watch it again."
"We haven't even seen it for a month, at least a month," Dean said. And you know you love it, Sammy, you know you do. "Come on, Sam."
"Please," Dean said, employing the tone Sam used against him to get his way.
"Alright, how about we turn it off after 'Stonehenge,' that's your favorite part anyway."
"Ok," Dean said with a smile. Ha, ha, Sam, made you give in. Like there was ever any doubt I would win that round. He leaned back on the bed.Didn't get the ghost, but had a great burger and now Spinal Tap. It's still a good night. He closed his eyes as a sudden wave of dizziness flowed over him. The bed was spinning, flipping over and over. He took a deep breath, and another. The movement stopped, but not before a tiny twinge in his chest, the black spot, the point where the onflyge had entered his body pulled a little. What the hell? He moved the charm over the spot where the wound had been. Warmth flowed out from it and calmed what was becoming pain in his chest. Dean opened his eyes, Sam was watching him. "Watch the show, jeez, Sammy."
"Are you alright, Dean?"
"Fine," Dean said, turning his attention back to the TV. Nigel was explaining Mach. Dean knew Sam was watching him, he could even picture the look on his brother's face, the little frown that squinched up between his eyes. He did his best to ignore Sam until his bother finally turned his attention to the TV.
They'd fallen asleep with the TV on, the light from the screen shifting in the dark room. It was barely a sound that woke him, something like a soft sigh. Dean opened his eyes a tiny slit, trying to take in the room without moving. The door was open a crack, a dark shadow leaning over the edge of the door, looking into the room. Dean had the impression of dark glittering eyes. He slid his hand under the pillow, reaching for his knife, the figure at the door moved, pulling the door closed behind it. Dean was out of bed and at the door within two heartbeats. He yanked the door open and thought he saw a tall shadowy figure running away from the room. Runs like a man, I wonder what it is?
"Everything ok?" Sam said from behind him.
"Yeah," Dean said closing the door and, grabbing one of the room's hardback chairs, slid it under the door knob. He checked the lines of salt at the door and the windows. Not disturbed, what the hell is it?
"I don't know," he said, dropping back onto the bed. "Go back to sleep." Dean leaned against the headboard, listening to the TV, listening to the other sounds of the night. Sam fell asleep within a few minutes, Dean sat, listening, watching, until dawn broke through the motel's flowered curtains.
Sam offered to go get breakfast, taking the keys and disappearing without a word. He was back half an hour later with food, pancakes and bacon. Dean smiled when the smell of grease and coffee wafted across the room from the table.
"Smells good, Sammy," Dean said bouncing off the bed and digging into the food with an enthusiasm that had Sam scowling at him. He grinning through the food, Sam just shook his head. "Lighten up, dude," Dean said with a mouthful of pancakes. "What?"
"What happened last night?"
Dean put his coffee cup down. "I don't know, there was someone, something, at the door, Not sure what. I…I don't know."
"Is it what's been watching us?"
Dean looked at his brother. So you knew? Hmm. Getting better, Sam. How long did you know? And, hey, why the hell didn't you mention it? Huh? I'm the only one who gets to not mention things, remember? "How long have you known?"
"A day or two. I'm not really even sure what made me think something was there, just a shadow shifting at the edge of my vision, really."
"Yeah." Dean sipped his coffee. "So what's the plan, Sammy?"
"A little more research?" Sam said with a wistful smile on his face.
"You watched Spinal Tap, I can sit in a library and amuse myself for a couple of hours." That earned him the full-blast Sam smile, the one that melted women's hearts. And he is so utterly unaware. Sad that kind of power isn't even harnessed. He chuckled to himself. "Let me finish my coffee and then off to the library, how's that?"
The library had a "reading room," at least that was what it said on the door. Large overstuffed chairs with footstools pulled up in front of them. Cozy was the word that came to his mind as Dean entered the room. He'd left Sam happily ensconced in the stacks at a table littered with old newspapers and rolls of microfiche and gone in search of someplace quiet. Not that I can't research, but I can't keep my eyes open, and if I snore while Sam is working he'll kick the chair over. His search through the library led him to the reading room. He settled into one of the chairs and put his feet on the stool.Perfect place to research. He closed his eyes, trying to get comfortable. Heartburn again. Great, what next?
The soft brush of air over his face woke him. Years of training kept him from moving. Someone was there in the room with him. He waited, listening for footsteps, nothing seemed to be moving until it was beside him. He felt the touch of something cold on his face, just a whisper of sensation, like being touched with a frozen feather. His heart was pounding wildly, but something told him to keep still. It sighed, whatever it was. It had to be a what to get beside me like that.The touch moved, still feather-light, along his neck. The movement stopped, something gently prodded the base of his throat with something needle sharp. Maybe should have run when I had the chance.
The door to the reading room opened. The thing beside him melted away in the moment between the sound of the knob turning and the door opening. Dean opened his eyes as his brother walked in. Sam stopped as soon as he saw Dean.
"What?" he said soundlessly. Dean shrugged and stood, he looked towards the one hidden place in the room, a single shelf, blocking the view of the fire exit. Great design plan, hide the emergency escape. He moved silently around the shelf, listening for a breath, the sound of cloth rubbing against cloth. Nothing. He had just edged around the corner when it moved, shoving him down and diving out the emergency exit. The alarm started blaring.
"Dean?" Sam was bending over him.
"Yeah?" he said, looking up at his brother from where he lay on the floor.
"You ok?" Sam said with a little quizzical frown.
"Sure, just wanted to check out the carpet, nice shag," Dean said, standing. His brother was still looking at him with concern. "Sam? I'm fine." He looked over at the door as a security guard ran in. "Great response time," he muttered to Sam. His brother laughed.
"What happened?" the man demanded.
Sam shrugged. "Some kid was back here, when I came back to get a book he freaked out and ran."
"Damn kids, get stoned and come in here to sleep," the guard said as he turned the key in the alarm box, shutting the horn off. "Sorry you were disturbed." He shook his head and walked out of the room muttering about "kids today."
"Friendly," Dean said, smiling at Sam.
"Oh, yeah, almost as nice as the harpy on the reference desk."
"Not really?" Dean said. "A harpy?"
"Not really, at least I don't think so, there were no rotting bodies lying around, but…"
"That bad, huh?"
"Yeah," Sam said with a laugh. "It's getting late, want to get some food before we head back out?"
"Yep," Dean said as they walked out of the library. He pulled the car out of the lot, toying with the idea of going straight to dinner and taking care of the spell after they were back. No, not with the way it's been acting lately. The sooner the better I think. The black spot was awake, pain coalescing around the point in his chest. Dean took a deep breath. Ok, maybe it hasn't been heartburn. Good job on the denial though.
He parked the Impala outside the motel room as the sky was starting to shift into evening. The sun wasn't down yet, but the cloud cover increased the growing twilight. Dean got out of the car and headed into the room. Sam followed more slowly. Dean closed the bathroom door and got the stuff for the spell out. He lit the candle and started reciting the spell. He finished and tossed back the foul tasting liquid. The dizziness hit him before he could sit down. He fell against the wall, breathing through the nausea and pain that flowed over him like a river in flood.
Warm hands were on his shoulders, steadying him. "Bad?" Sam said softly. Dean managed a nod. Sam steered him over and set him down on the toilet. He still kept a hand on Dean's shoulder.
Dean let his head hang down, breathing deep as the wave receded, leaving flotsam in its wake, pain, nausea and the small black spot—it was pulsing in rhythm with his heart. Oh, this is just fun. He took another deep breath and looked up with a little smile. "All better."
"Yeah, right," Sam said. He offered Dean a hand up and frowned when Dean accepted it. "Maybe you should…"
"Go eat? Good idea." Dean said, walking out of the bathroom. His legs still felt a little unsteady as they headed out of the room. He could feel Sam hovering at his back on the way out to the car.
"Burgers. Sammy, they can cure anything," Dean said half an hour later as he swiped his fries through the tartar sauce.
"You keep repeating that, I still don't believe it." Sam said, eyeing the remains of Dean's dinner with distaste. "And extra onions, nice, Dean."
"How else would you eat it?"
"Never mind," Sam said with a laugh. "We should get going if you are finished with that, I guess you can call it food."
"Sure," Dean said, wiping his hands on the napkin. He handed Sam some cash. "I'll be right back." He walked through the small restaurant to the bathroom, just outside the plate glass window he caught that shifting movement. Just great, this will be a party tonight, I bet. When he came out, it was still there, just at the edge of his vision.Oh, yeah, fun freaking times. He shifted the charm on his chest so it was sitting over the black spot, it calmed the rhythmic pain a little. Sam was frowning at him when he dropped in the car. "I'm fine, Sam."
When he pulled up at the orchard the wind was starting to blow, little drops of rain were falling, wetting the already damp ground. He looked over at Sam with a grimace. "In and out?"
Sam looked out the window. "Sounds good."
They broke apart again. Sam headed quickly into the orchard. Dean drifted along, following the path he had taken the night before. He was weaving between the trees, the wind driving the drops of rain into his face. This is just great. I love rain, my favorite thing. "Sam? You ok?"
"Yeah, you?" his brother's voice echoed back.
"Yeah." A rock wall, ancient and moss-covered, ran along one side of the orchard. Dean started following the line of the wall, reasoning that the grave might be somewhere along the wall. The sense of being watched was increasing, the blade-like feeling in his back growing and knotting to a point of actual pain. "Sam, you ok?" He called out to break the suffocating silence in the dark trees.
"Yeah, just like three minutes ago."
"Good," he yelled back with a little smile for his brother's snarky tone. Always good when I can annoy him a little. He chuckled.
It hit him. Hit him hard, he was down, thrown against the broken trunk of a tree. He brought the gun up, fired it off. The sound shattered the stillness and the sudden light blinded him for an instant.
It grabbed him and dragged him away from the gun, tossing him against the wall. He struggled to get to his feet to defend himself. It was on him again, slashing at him with claw-like nails. His skin shredded as easily as paper. He was torn open. The black spot responded to those claws and woke up fully, the sudden pain keeping him down. It grabbed him again and pulled him up. Glittering black eyes met his. Not a demon,part of his mind said coolly. It held him as easily as if he were a doll, he was immobile in its grasp. It reached out with one clawed finger and hooked the charm around his neck. With a swift movement it broke the chain and threw the charm over the wall, deep into the fields behind them. Dean could smell something like burned flesh from the thing's hand. It smiled, its teeth bright in the dark night. "Now," it said, dropping him on the ground.
Dean couldn't move, the wounds the thing had inflicted were pulling him away. The thing bent over him with a glowing knife, it looked insubstantial, barely real. Dean struggled to get away. The thing put its knees down on one arm, Dean felt his shoulder dislocate. It looked at him and laughed. A sighing laugh, filled with irony and pleasure. The knife pressed down against his chest, then moved a tiny bit to the left to the exact place where the black spot was awake. The knife drove into his chest, pain lancing out, filling his body with fiery black agony. He thought he heard himself screaming. He wasn't sure, the black wave broke, pulling him along with it.
The thing pulled the knife out and hopped onto the wall above him, chuckling to itself.Just great, it's happy about his. Nice. Why are they always happy about it? He sighed, trying to get his back more firmly against the wall, trying to stay conscious long enough for Sam to find him. He looked up, it was crouching above him, watching with its night-black eyes, the acrid smell of burned flesh drifting down to him. Just watching, nothing to say. Nice to know, friendly like. Rip me open, take my charm and leave me here while it watches, probably having coffee or something like that. Where is Sam? Routine hunt. Yep. He glanced up, the thing was still crouched above him.
What the hell is that? Music was playing. Phone. He managed to get it out of his pocket. "Sam?"
"Where are you?" his brother's voice said, panicked.
"Against the wall somewhere," he said, trying to keep the pain, the growing weakness, out of his voice.
"Hang up, I'll call back and follow the phone."
"K, Sammy." He hung up and listened as his phone started ringing again then stopped and started again. Again and again, then he heard Sam's running steps getting closer. "Be careful," Dean shouted. Only, yeah, came out as a whisper. He looked up at the thing, it watched his brother's approach and then disappeared over the wall, moving into the fields where it had thrown his charm.
"Dean!" Gentle hands turned him over, lifted him a little. He was braced against something warm and soft.
"It took my charm," he said. Or he thought he did. He didn't hear his voice at all.
"Hang on, Dean," his brother said desperately. Dean felt something pressed against his body. "Stay with me, Dean." Sam pressed the cloth tighter against his chest.
He's trying to stop the bleeding. Hmm. I wonder if it will work?
"Dean?" Sam's voice came from a long way away. And the pain was gone, the cold was gone. Everything was gently pulled away.
Don't think it's going to work, Sammy.
"Stay with me, man, come on."
Sorry, Sam. Nice try, though.
To Be Continued
A/N II: As we have all heard the CW has pulled our beloved show from the lineup as of Feb. 28. There are many reasons being bandied around, whatever the actual reason, we still need to let the network know how we feel about this show—so here's an idea, simple, and doesn't require a long letter. Buy one (or more) postcards (postcard stamps are only 26 cents) from your hometown and just write:
I am a fan and support Supernatural AND those advertisers that purchase time during the show
I will try and get a list of the advertisers up on my bio today or tomorrow, but just saying we support the ads is important. Send your postcards to:
President of Entertainment
The CW Network 411 North Hollywood Way
Burbank , California 91505 USA
While you're at it, drop a postcard to Eric Kripke and let him know how much you appreciate the show as well.
9465 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills , California 90212 USA