"Are his bonds secure?"

The rope tying Sam's wrists together around the gravestone at his back tightened painfully and he grimaced, kicking his feet a little in annoyance. "Dean's gonna be really mad when he gets here," he told the woman in charge.

She rolled her eyes. "So you keep saying. But I think we can take care of that, can't we?" While the other witches continued flipping through books and drawing on the floor with burning herb bundles, the leader pulled a cell phone from the pocket of her black robes. Sam recognized it as his. She pressed a few buttons, then kneeled in front of Sam and held the phone to his ear. With her free hand, she picked up one of the silver knives spread around him and held it to his throat. "Now," she said pleasantly. "Tell your brother that you're staying at a friend's house tonight and everything is fine, or I'll slit your throat and go find another boy to complete the spell."

Sam swallowed and felt the point of the knife press into his skin at the movement. The phone was on speaker so the witch could hear, and already ringing.

"Sam?" Sam could hear the tinny rock music that was always playing in the auto shop Dean worked in for a few hours after school.


"Sammy? What's up?"

"I'm…staying at a friend's house tonight, is that okay?"

"A friend?" Dean's voice sounded suspicious. Sam usually made a friend or two at school after a while, but rarely in their first few weeks at a new place. "What friend?"

"Uh…Brandon. From school. Remember, I told you about him yesterday?" He'd done no such thing. Hopefully, that would tip Dean off that something was wrong.

"Brandon, huh?" Dean sounded thoughtful. "Was he the one you were saying had that awesome backpack that you really liked? Red or yellow, or something? What color was it, again?"

Sam had to hold back a sigh of relief. Dean got it. He knew something was wrong, so he was asking Sam for the color code- green for home and fine, yellow for kidnapped or stranded somewhere, red for serious danger. But…how was he supposed to answer that? He was in a family mausoleum in the cemetery just across the street from the motel (creepiest motel ever, Dean had said. He was right), mausoleum number three, he'd noticed as he was dragged inside. But he had been kidnapped, even if they hadn't taken him anywhere far. And given that their spell required the eyes, tongue, and heart of a boy in early puberty, he'd say he was in pretty serious danger.

"Uh," he said, helplessly. "It was…red. With green stripes, and…three yellow skeletons on the side."

There was silence for a moment. "Huh," Dean said finally. "Was it a joke backpack?"

"No," Sam said quickly. "Definitely not a joke. It was definitely a serious backpack."

The witch was starting to look suspicious, and Sam knew he had to wrap it up.

"Look," he said desperately. "If you can get the backpack, I'll be really grateful, okay? And I can't wait to see you when you get back. Really. I really, really miss you." Sam bit his lip. What if Dean didn't understand? The witches' altar was set up, their sacrificial circle was ready. If Dean really thought he was at a sleepover, he wouldn't even start wondering where Sam was until he didn't come home after school the next day. Dad wasn't expecting to get back from a hunt until the night after that.

If the witches had their way, he'd be just a pile of body parts within an hour, and nothing more than ashes to be scattered to the moon by nightfall.

Sam's cheeks felt hot and his eyes suddenly got blurry.

"Okay, Sam," Dean said, his voice perfectly calm and gentle. "I'll work on that backpack, okay? I promise I'll have it for you real soon. Miss you too, bro. Have fun at Brandon's."

"Bye, Dean," Sam whispered.

"See ya soon, Sammy."

The call ended.

The witch stood up and tossed the phone aside. It hit the stone floor with a cracking sound. "Now that's settled," she said, standing tall and proud in the light of the ceremonial fire they'd built on one of the tombs. "Shall we begin?"


Sam twisted his head sluggishly. He knew he should be fighting…something, but he couldn't remember what, or why. There was a strong smell in the air and it made him feel dizzy.

He giggled.

"Annabel Lee," he shouted suddenly. "Dadadadum, da dadadadum, the kingdom by the sea…."

"Shut him up!"

Sam stopped singing abruptly when a sharp sting smarted across his cheek. Sam scowled. "Din' haveta do that," he mumbled irritably. "Dean'll get you back, ya know Dean? He's'a big guy with the jacket an' he says nobody gets to push me around 'cept him 'cause he's my big brother." Sam beamed. "Dean's awesome, do ya know Dean? He's my brother." He nodded proudly. "He's my brother."

There was another smacking sound and his cheek stung again. Sam felt his lower lip stick out in a pout. "Dean's gonna be mad, 's'all I'm sayin'," he muttered petulantly.

"Pity the spell calls for the eyes before the tongue."

Something sharp poked painfully underneath his eye. Sam frowned. "Don' like that. Stop it." He twisted fretfully. There were loud voices rising up all around him and he couldn't move. "Where's Dean?"

Suddenly the loud voices cut off. The poking under his eye went away. Then there were shrill shrieks and screams and bangs that made Sam's ears and head hurt, and he tried to cover his ears but he couldn't move his hands. He kicked out unhappily.

The noise stopped.


Something moved in front of him and Sam vaguely noticed for the first time that his vision was really fuzzy. Hands covered his and then he could move his arms.

"Sam? Sam. Hey. Sam. You okay, dude?"

Sam couldn't really see anything, but he knew that voice just fine. He beamed. "Dean!" he crowed. "Told 'em you were gonna get mad an' make 'em stop poking me." He leaned forward and toppled comfortably into his brother, broad arms catching him at the last second and wrapping around his back. Sam grinned up at his brother and poked him on the nose. "Boop. Gotcha!"

"Dude, you are so stoned."

Sam nestled in and smiled, feeling Dean's voice rumble in his chest.

"And just so you know, we're making a new color system after you're back on planet earth, got it?"

Sam nodded, not really paying any attention to Dean's words but knowing that that particular tone of voice meant he might as well agree to whatever Dean was saying because he'd definitely get his way in the end anyway, no matter what Sam said. Then the ground disappeared under him and he was rocking like a boat, Dean's arms tight around him. The light suddenly got brighter and the air got clearer.

"I'm thinkin' we can add a few more colors in there. Probably all of 'em," Dean said over his head. "Throw in some patterns, too. Stripes and polka dots."

Sam mmhmmed again and shifted until his head was comfortable against Dean's shoulder, and let himself drift off.