This is the first of a two-part fanfic. It was going to be a one shot but it got a little long.
Sam is 17 and Dean is 21.
Also, if you read Sam I Am: I am struggling with the next chapter but I am working on it, so have this to tide you over.
I'll probably post the next chapter to this in a couple of days.
If Dean had a dollar for every argument his brother and father had, he'd be a very rich man.
Another case, another town, and another reason to start a civil war. They'd arrived in a town in Iowa, a case of strange and mysterious accidents and deaths surrounding the town's more privileged, specifically people who had everything they wanted but still weren't satisfied.
The first incident had been Katrina 'Kitty' Wells, a stuck-up sixteen year-old bully who wanted nothing more than to have a pair of the most expensive shoes, that is until she tripped and poked her eyes out on the heels, leaving her blind. Then there had been Jeffery Dallas, a money-grabbing salesman who had his pockets full to the brim with cash, yet not anything to spare for the needy. Dallas loved money, that is until he began to eat it until he choked to death.
The Winchesters had come to town following the third incident; Jolene Prescott, a bleach-blond housewife to a successful lawyer who was unfaithful to her loving husband, that is until she died suddenly, while in bed with her lover, the autopsy revealed that the wedding ring she'd lost just a day earlier had been imbedded in her heart.
The case was so bizarre that it couldn't be anything other than a witch.
Dean had been sitting at the motel room table for the past hour, trying to research but finding it difficult when there was a yelling match going on just behind him. At seventeen Sam was certainly taller than his father, but John was bigger and more intimidating in every other way, but that didn't put Sam off.
"I'm almost finished high school," Sam growled, "This is my last chance, it's just a stupid soccer team, it won't make that much difference!"
"Then you'll be able to give it a miss," John snapped, cleaning his gun expertly as he kept his eyes on Sam. Sam sighed irritably, pacing back and forth by the beds like a tiger in a cage.
"Stop twisting my words," he hissed, "I'll still hunt, I just want to play soccer too, why can't you let me do anything I want? Do you get off on making me miserable?"
"You've been at that school for less than week," John pointed out, "I need your head in the game, this hunt needs all of our attention, I won't have your mind half in the hunt and half on the soccer field, Samuel."
Sam raised an eyebrow at the sound of his full name, "Well, John, is your mind completely in the hunt, it's not wandering off after the thing that killed mom?"
Dean tensed, the whole room seemed to freeze up.
"Don't bring your mother into this," John gritted out.
"Why not?" Sam threw his hands in the air, "She was my mom too, but no, I'm not allowed to talk about her. I might not remember her but I know for damn sure that she would hate what we do!"
"Sam," John said with eerie calm, "I've had enough of this conversation, I said no."
"Drop the attitude," John snapped. Sam just shook his head; holding himself high like he couldn't care less but Dean could see the mistiness of his eyes. He stormed over to the door, grabbing his jacket as he went.
"I'm going for a walk," he said, not waiting for a reply as he disappeared outside, letting the door slam shut behind him. John was on his feet, ready to storm after him but Dean blocked his way.
"Let him cool off," he advised, "Going after him now will just spark another argument."
John clenched his jaw, "I don't want him out on his own while the witch is still out there."
"He won't have gone far," Dean said knowingly, "Besides, he doesn't fit the M.O."
"Oh really?" John snorted, "She seems to be going after spoilt, ungrateful…"
"Dad," Dean interrupted, "Maybe you should cool off too, maybe you can talk when you're both acting like civilised human beings."
John was quiet for a moment, then left, muttering, "I'm going for a drink."
Dean dropped back into his seat with a weary moan, really having had enough of both of his family members. He went back to the police reports, looking for anything in common other than the strange circumstances of each incident.
So far he'd got nothing, he was only certain it was a witch with a rather grizzly sense of humour. He tapped his pen on the paper, his knee bouncing under the table. He glanced at the clock, it was getting late and there was no sign of his dad or brother.
John would probably stumble back in during the early hours of the morning, stinking of whiskey as he dropped into bed. Sam should be back by now, or he should have at least called Dean to let him know he was okay. The kid was either really pissed or really… no, Dean wasn't even going to think about that. Sam was fine.
He jumped to his feet and grabbed his leather jacket and the Impala keys from the crooked coffee table which sat in front of an ancient looking television. He was halfway to the door when Sam slipped quietly into the room, head bowed and hood pulled up.
"You shouldn't be running off by yourself in the middle of a case, you know how dangerous that could be," Dean told him, Sam shrugged.
"I'm fine. Just leave me alone," Sam mumbled, pushing by to go to the bathroom. He locked the door behind himself.
Dean sighed and waited patiently on the end of the bed, tapping his foot to distract from how irritated he was feeling. Sam emerged a few minutes later, having brushed his teeth and washed his face, but Dean could see that Sam's eyes were a little red from attempting to cover up the fact that he'd been crying.
"You going to tell me where you went?" Dean asked.
Sam didn't look at Dean, just shuffled past and changed into his pyjamas, then climbed into bed, curled up beneath the blanket and facing away from Dean.
"This is a little childish, you know?" Dean said, feeling more and more annoyed with Sam's moping, "It's just a soccer team."
Sam didn't say a word, just reached out an arm and turned off the bedside lamp. Dean sighed. If Sam wanted to be a whiney bitch, fine. Dean had been willing to stick up for the kid, even after bringing up mom, but no, Sam didn't need anyone.
But Dean needed Sam so badly, Sam was everything to him, always had been. Obviously, Sam didn't feel the same way. Dean huffed and went back to the table to try to finish researching. He found it hard to concentrate, but Sam had been drifting away for a while now, spending more time doing school work than he did talking to his family. It was like Sam was trying to distance himself from his family.
Eventually, when Dean was sure Sam was asleep, he went over to check on him, only to find Sam buried beneath blankets, a tuft of dark hair protruding from the top. He sighed, something was up with Sam and Dean was going to find out what.
Dean fell asleep at the table at some point, only to be woken in the early hours of the morning by his father attempting to fit his motel room key in the lock. Dean got up and let John in, helping him to the spare bed and removing his jacket and shoes for him.
"You're so good, Dean," John mumbled, slurring slightly as he lay down and closed his eyes. Dean stood there for a moment, wondering if he'd heard properly, and then went back to the table, finding himself unable to sleep so he went back to working.
Dean woke the next morning John and Sam's beds were already empty and Dean could hear the shower running behind the bathroom door. Dean rubbed the grit from his eyes, blinking them clear, feeling stiff and groggy from sleeping at the table. The door opened and John came in, balancing a tray of coffee cups and a takeout bag. Dean reached up and took the tray, setting it down on the table. He took the cup of strong black coffee and took a sip, sighing happily.
"Working late?" John asked. Dean nodded, guessing his father didn't remember the night before.
"Yeah, thought I might've caught onto something but I was wrong," he lied easily.
"I'll send Sam to the library later to look up the town's history," John told him after taking a sip of coffee, "You and I will interview the victim's families."
Sam had gladly gone off on his own, but Dean had made sure his little brother hadn't left without his knife, holy water, cell phone and gun.
"I'm not taking gun to the library," Sam had whined, but he'd taken the weapon reluctantly and, hiding it at the bottom of his back pack, he climbed out of the back of the Impala and trudged off to the library entrance without another word.
For John and Dean, the interviews were of little use; just a mother sobbing about how her poor daughter Kitty would never look the same again, never mind the fact she'd never see again. The dead salesman's wife flirted with Dean, flashing new and expensive jewellery. The newly widowed lawyer had broken down over his wife's death and infidelity, barely able to get a word out.
They'd found a hex bag in each of the victim's houses, at least they were certain it was a witch. Sam had had more luck at the library, climbing into the Impala with a smug look on his face and a bunch of notes in his hand.
"There've been similar incidences in the past," Sam began rattling off information right away, "Every few decades or so there have been weird accidents and deaths just like the one. Get this; this one lady back in the sixties had a real green finger, entered gardening competitions, except she used get bitter if she didn't win and would poison other people's plants. She was found dead in her own garden; apparently she slipped on her ladder and got hung by the vines on the side of her house."
"Sounds like our witch," Dean agreed, causing Sam to flash his dimples with a grin, blushing a little.
"And I was talking to some kids who go to the high school too," Sam went on, somewhat excitedly, "Apparently, there's a local legend that a witch lives in a cabin in the forest, local kids dare each other to find her cabin, but there's no properties listed in that area."
John shrugged, pulling into the local diner's parking lot, "Could just be a legend."
Sam scowled, "You were the one who told us all legends come from truth," he muttered under his breath.
For lunch John and Dean tucked into cheese burgers while Sam pushed salad leafs around his plate, glancing awkwardly at his dad now and then, clearly he hadn't let go of the soccer issue.
"I say we investigate the forest later today; before it gets dark," John decided, "Get ready for forest terrain when we get back to the motel."
"Yes, sir," Dean answered. Sam continued to fiddle with his lunch but when he noticed John's stern glare he muttered, "Yes, sir."
John sighed exasperatedly, "Sam, is it so hard for you to be part of this team?"
"No, sir," Sam answered quietly.
"Then do as I say."
Dean blinked and looked at his brother, Sam had pushed himself up straight and was staring at his father.
"Sam," John warned.
"No, sir, I won't live my entire life by your rule. Yes, sir, I will join the soccer team even if you say no."
John stared at his son for a moment, then fished out his wallet and left the correct amount of bills on the table; he got to his feet without a word and signalled for the boys to follow. Dean left the table, checking over his shoulder to see Sam shuffling along behind him.
"Why do you have to do that, huh?" Dean hissed when Sam reached his side.
"Start arguments, provoke him, be such a pissbaby…"
Sam pushed on ahead without another word, getting into the car and slamming the door. When Dean slid into the passenger seat Sam and John were already arguing.
"You're acting like a child," John growled, pulling onto the road.
"I'll stop acting like a child when you start acting like a father."
"Watch it, boy."
"Did you ever think that maybe I want my own life?"
"And what the hell is that supposed to mean?" John demanded, stopping at a traffic light.
Sam went a little pale and dropped his head, "Nothing," he said, leaning against the window.
"C'mon, Sam, talk to me," John pleaded, softening a little at the miserable look on his son's face.
"Nothing to talk about," Sam mumbled. Dean frowned, something was seriously bothering the kid, probably had been for the past few months and Dean had no clue what it could be. They used to be so much closer, Sam used to tell him everything.
John sighed, "Could you just do as you're told for once please, Sammy?"
There was no answer from the back.
"It's like you're trying to make things difficult," John said wearily. Dean couldn't help but agree; for the past few months Sam had been questioning orders at every turn, challenging his father daily.
"You played soccer when you were younger, and I was so proud of you, I'm still proud of you," John went on, "But now that you're older you need to focus on the hunt, otherwise you're putting everyone in danger. Sam, just do as I say."
There was beat of silence, then a quiet, "Yes, sir."
There wasn't another word spoken between them until they returned to the motel room when John ordered them to get their gear ready. They all changed into boots and more durable clothes to hike in the forest, and armed themselves with knives, guns and flashlights.
The forest was old and dark and very suited for a witch to live in. Even in the early afternoon the trees cast huge shadows, branches creaking and swaying in the breeze. The trees were tall, with deep and overlapping, curling into the ground like long fingers.
"Straight out of the creepy, supernatural realty catalogue," Dean joked, "Perfect for all you gross witchy needs."
No one answered with a laugh but both John and Sam couldn't help the curl of a smile on their lips. The headed into the forest, John at the front, Dean at the rear and Sam safely tucked in the middle, as it usually was.
"What are we looking for again," Dean asked after a good few minutes of walking.
"We're just checking the place out," John reminded him, "Any signs that there might be a witch around. If you see a cabin, let me know," he chuckled a little, "Though if she is here I'll bet she'd keep her cabin well hidden."
"You mean a cabin like that?" Sam piped up from the middle. They all stopped, John and Dean's eyes followed the direction Sam was pointing. A little up ahead in the middle off a clearing there was a small cabin, smoke billowing gently from a chimney, odd looking plants growing in the garden around it.
Dean let out a small, "Huh." The cabin had definitely not been there a moment ago. He patted Sam's shoulder, earning a shy grin from the younger hunter. John pulled out his gun, holding it ready, he signalled to his boys and they all took to moving stealthily towards the cabin. Sam and Dean crouched underneath one of the windows while John was backed up against the wall by the door.
Dean carefully took a peek in the window, there was no one in the room, but there was plenty going on; jars filled with powders and an odd number of grotesque things, an altar, complete with spell book, cat's bones and bloody symbols. A pot was boiling over the fireplace, sending sparks on bright colours into the air as the liquid bubbled and spat. Dean crouched down again, silently informing his brother and father of what he'd seen.
John reached out and turned the door knob, it clicked open. He carefully stepped inside, gun raised and ready to fire, Sam followed, then Dean, keeping his eyes on the surrounding woods. They spread out and scanned the room; Sam looked at the spell books but knew better than to touch them. Dean grimaced at the sight of jars full of eyes, live worms and some things he couldn't identify.
"Looks like we've got the right place," John said, he was standing next to the altar. There were photos of the three victims on the wall. Kitty's school photo had two pins in her eyes, the salesman had one in his throat, and the lawyer's wife had one in her heart.
The three of them took no hesitation in tipping the table and destroying the alter.
Someone from behind cleared their throat, causing the Winchesters to whirl around. There was a young woman standing in the doorway, a hand on her hip. She wore a knee-length black dress and black boots, her hair was red, falling in long waves down her back. She was not who Dean would have pegged as the inhabitant of the cabin.
"You know it's rude to barge onto someone else's property?" she drawled, strolling into the room and paying no notice when the three of them aimed their guns at her.
"I'd heard there were hunter's nearby," she went on, "I suppose I expected you to turn up eventually."
"Yeah, well, I guess this isn't your lucky day," Dean smirked. The witch looked up and blinked, then snorted.
"Please," she sneered, "You don't frighten me."
"You should be," John growled, "You're responsible for how many deaths?"
Her head snapped up, "I grant wishes," she said, sounding a little irritated that they might have thought otherwise.
"No one wished to be blinded or murdered," Sam said angrily.
"Enough talk," Dean interrupted, "Let's end the bitch."
Suddenly, their guns were flying from their grasps with a wave of the witch's hand.
"Like I said," she smirked, "You don't frighten me."
She kept her hand raised threateningly and none of the Winchesters dared to move. She took a few steps over to one of the shelves in the room and retrieved a jar of black shimmering powder.
"I grant wishes," she said again, "But I also teach lessons. People can become very ungrateful of what they already have, I like to remind them to be more appreciative."
She eyed them all in turn, "All of you have a similar problem," she said, her gaze wandered to Sam, "Young boy, you feel so trapped, so smothered, so unhappy, you don't realise how loved you are. I could remind you of that."
Sam froze up, she turned to Dean, "You leave a string of nameless women, you don't realise you've already met a few potential lifelong loves, you didn't give them a chance. You disrespected them. I ought to take your manhood away."
Dean startled, hands protectively covering his downstairs.
Her eyes lit up when they fell on John, "But, you, you are something else," she smiled, "I can give you your wish, I can make him do as he's told."
Before anyone could move she whirled on Sam and held out a handful of the black powder and blew it into his face. Sam stumbled back, grimacing as she muttered out some ancient words. Dean lunged at her with his knife but it fell through empty air. The witch was gone, the candles in the room snuffed out.
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