"Dean," Sam whispered. "Get in the house."
Dean didn't move, he couldn't move, mesmerized by the sight of the demon. It was nothing really, just a man sized silhouette, nothing to be afraid of at all.
The shadow was at the porch steps.
Sam's deep voice broke through his paralysis. "Dean! Get in the house, now!"
They both turned, but Dean led the way, jerking open the door and rushing inside just as the shadow moved up the first step. Sam was hot on his heels. He slammed the door and locked it before shoving Dean toward the living room.
"Go, go, go!"
Dean paused. Sam was walking backward toward him, eyes trained on the front door.
The air took on a strange quality, not quite like how it had felt as John recited the binding spell earlier that evening. Dean was overwhelmed with a feeling of dread. He could feel the temperature drop as he and Sam stared at the front door, which almost seemed to bulge inward at them. The wood creaked, and several screws fell from the straining hinges.
It burst open with a crash. A gust of foul, stinking wind rolled into the house. The lights flickered and died.
Darkness filled the doorway.
Sam's voice was low, and chilling, with an unearthly tone Dean had never heard him use before. It was utterly inhuman. It made him shudder.
"Come here you son of a bitch," Sam growled. "Come and get me."
A hand clamped down on Dean's shoulder, jerking him backward into the living room. He nearly fell as John thrust something into his hands and pulled him further into the room. His father had anticipated the loss of light and had lit candles. The scent of sage filled the room as smoke drifted up from a stick of incense. John held in his hands an ancient, crumbling book and a container of salt. Dean had been given a bowl full of herbs and an Evian bottle, and he doubted spring water was what it contained.
Sam backed into the room. His face was set in a stern expression, all his concentration was on the black on black figure moving in front of him. He edged away as its full form crossed the threshold, and his eyes darted toward his father in silent communication.
As if he were throwing a football, John tossed the salt across the room. The shadow jerked its head toward the motion, setting its sights momentarily on the elder Winchester. Behind it Sam caught the container and poured a line across the doorway. Dean noticed the pass through that led to the kitchen also bore a barricade of salt.
He had good instincts, no one would deny that, but Dean was notoriously blind when it came to a sixth sense. He'd always suspected his father was slightly sensitive. John always seemed to stay one step of trouble and the things he knew, the way he figured stuff out, was somehow far beyond what one would expect from a working class guy from Kansas. Sam took it one step further, being undeniably psychic with a mind as sharp as a steel trap.
Most of the time, Dean thought affectionately.
Sam raised his chin. His arms were held stiff at his sides, fists clenched.
Even psychically null, Dean could feel it. It was like something was pulling at him, or that he was caught in a cobweb. The sticky strands clung to him as he pulled away, stretching until they snapped, falling away from his body much too easily. He was not what they wanted. They wanted the demon and all the dark energy in which it had clothed itself.
The shadow flickered. Behind it Sam somehow seemed bigger. The lines of pain around his eyes went away, no doubt because his body now had the strength to heal itself of the wounds John had inflicted. He drew more and more power from the shadow as the seconds ticked by. His eyes closed and his mouth opened, and a shudder passed through his body as if what he felt were orgasmic. It probably was, considering how little he'd fed in the past several weeks. A starving man suddenly offered steak and lobster might have felt the same way.
Dean could barely hear. A rushing roar had filled the room. Winds swirled around them, making the candles flicker, tugging at their clothing. The scents of sulfur and ozone mingled with that of the incense, and underneath those scents Dean caught the sickly sweet smell he'd become entirely too familiar with in recent weeks. The room reeked of death.
A deep, booming voice cried out over the roar. John had the book open, reciting the words written there in flawless Latin. Dean recalled the times his father had read them bedtime stories, playing all the parts using different voices. Incongruously he realized John was using his Big Bad Wolf voice.
His father took a step forward, and then another. Dean followed closely, the holy water and herbs at hand. John reached back for the bowl. He scattered the herbs as his voice kept up its litany of ancient verse. Not even having to turn a page made him falter.
It was then that the demon realized what was happening. It writhed away toward the center of the room, away from Sam, toward John and Dean. John held his ground. Dean looked toward Sam who looked slightly startled that the thing had broken loose from him.
Sam redoubled his efforts, reaching out a hand toward the shadow as if physically pulling the energy away.
It was not enough.
An arm shaped appendage lashed out and struck at John. It may not have been corporeal but it could still level a telekinetic blow. Sam yelled a warning and Dean spun away to the side. John moved slightly slower. He could not avoid the strike. It hit him hard, hard enough to make him grunt, hard enough to send him flying backward into a wall. His head snapped back against the edge of an ornamental shelf. Features falling slack, he crumpled to the floor and did not move again.
It was Dean who moved, crawling quickly across the floor to avoid another attack. He skidded around on his knees when he reached the sprawl of his father's body, and scrambled around seeking the book. He looked up frequently to keep his eye on the demon. It was stalking toward him.
"Sam, hold it off!"
He heard Sam shout through clenched teeth. It was a cry of frustration. He was doing his best. Dean had to finish it.
The book lay half hidden beneath a small end table. Dean lunged for it and rolled before the table was shattered by another telekinetic blast. He came up frantically whipping through pages trying to find the spell his father had been using. He found it. It was bookmarked with a photo of Mary. Dean drew strength from the sight of his mother and lurched to his feet, screaming the Latin phrases at the top of his lungs and praying he got the pronunciation right. John had made notes in the margins, not only making it easier for Dean to find his place, but telling him when to use the water.
There was a shriek of outrage from the shadow as the blessed water splashed through it. It lunged at Dean, who twisted away before it could hit him. He retreated to a corner and continued reading. Chaos continued all around him but he drowned it out with his voice, booming out the words of the spell as his father had done. The end was only a few lines away.
Something's wrong. It's weakening, that's for sure, but it's not even close to dissipating.
His voice lowered to a growl as he read the final phrase and slammed the book closed. His eyes watered as the unnatural winds whipped up even stronger.
It wasn't quite true. Something was happening but not what they'd expected. The demon still existed, slightly diminished, definitely weakened, but its energies had not dissipated. It had been too strong, even with Sam draining it.
Now it was coming after Dean, and it was pissed. He cringed back into the corner, trapped like a rat as it advanced with what sounded like the scream of a wildcat. Dean ducked and covered, making himself as small as possible, peering out from under his arm at the approaching darkness. It was going to kill him. It had shown him how it would do it too, how it would rip him apart piece by piece, make him beg for mercy, and he, crouched there without any sort of weapon, would not even be able to fight back. He felt it mocking him.
And then he felt its anxiety.
Dean raised his head to see Sam standing there in front of him. He had vaulted over the coffee table, putting himself between the shadow and his brother. His presence stopped its advance. It was afraid, afraid of Sam. Dean held his breath.
Sam's voice came to him with perfect clarity over the demon's blood curdling shrieks and the howl of the wind. His voice was frighteningly calm with a chilling note that made Dean's hair stand on end.
Horrified, Dean watched him step into the shadow.
It drew back, taking Sam with it, and uttered a scream worse than anything Dean had ever heard in his life. The winds grew. They battered at the windows, threatening to break them, scattered anything loose about the room, including the spell book which exploded in a snowfall of pages. They whirled around in the vortex, fluttering like pale demonic birds. Everything rose to crescendo - the screaming, the winds, the pressure building inside the confines of the room. Dean covered his ears.
There was a muffled boom and an eerie sucking sound. A flash of light lit up the room and then collapsed in on itself. Dean cowered in the corner with a yell...
And suddenly everything was silent and still.
The electric lights flickered. They came on again, burning steadily. John moaned from where he lay, and Dean slowly uncoiled, rising to his feet. He was shaking, but not from fear, just from the surge of pure adrenaline that had shot through him as he thought his life had been coming to an end. He drew an unsteady breath and looked around.
Sam stood quietly in the center of the room. He looked very young, very tired and very, very frightened.
"Is it gone?" Dean asked hoarsely.
"Not yet," Sam whispered. He curled a fist against his chest, his face twisting in what appeared to be pain. "It's here, it's part of me now."
Dean frowned, not fully understanding what he meant.
Tears welled in Sam's eyes, but he smiled, and laughed a little. "I can feel the good again, Dean. How fair is that, here at the end?"
"It's not the end, Sam..."
Sam shook his head slowly. "I have to destroy it. For Mom, for Jessica. I swore I would."
Their eyes met and Dean knew it was over, all of it.
Smiling faintly, Sam repeated the words that had become so painfully familiar...
"Don't do anything stupid."
Before fire exploded out of nowhere to engulf him.
Dean lunged forward as the flames shot up around Sam's body in a cocoon of heat and flame. They rose to the ceiling, expanded outward toward the walls, and if throwing himself into them was something stupid, he was just par for the course.
He was jerked back by the collar and he fought, hard, struggling to get back to where Sam had been, crying out Sam's name even as he was dragged out of the room. The intense heat followed, smoke billowed out into the hallway. Dean's cries broke off into coughing and he could no longer fight. He was dragged out of the house and out into the yard where he collapsed to his knees beside the Impala. John was still on his feet, but bent over with his hands on his knees, coughing. After a moment he collapsed to the rain-soaked grass beside his son.
Together they watched Missouri's house burn to the ground despite the best efforts of the firemen. Dean sat on the ground where he'd come to rest, his head resting against the Chevy's passenger door, oddly comforted by the car's proximity. John stood leaning against the front fender. Neither of them had said a word to each other since leaving the house.
Dean's voice was rough. His throat was a wreck. It felt scalded, and given the intense heat of the fire, it might have been. "What now?" he whispered.
"We carry on," John said softly. "This isn't over, Dean, not by far. This was only one of many, and what we've done here isn't going to be overlooked. I know the truth now; it's a war we're fighting."
"It's a war that will never end," Dean croaked. He rose waveringly to his feet. "Unless we chose to end it."
John looked at him, puzzled.
Dean staggered around the front of the car, using its hood to support himself. "You fight your war, Dad. I quit. I'm done. Let them come and get me, because I don't give a damn anymore."
He opened the Impala's door and got inside. A quick search turned up the key in his coat pocket. His fingers fumbled it into the slot and with a twist of his wrist the car rumbled to life.
For a moment he thought he was going to have to run his father down. John stood in front of the car, staring at Dean through the windshield. Dean stared back impassively. For a long, silent moment the stalemate did not look as if it would end.
Dean gunned the engine a little.
John finally stepped aside.
Edging the car around a fire engine, Dean found open road, and without looking back, he left Lawrence for good.
He took a few courses at a community college in Wisconsin - computer science, a bit of accounting, some history. At night he worked at a call center helping consumers set up their brand new PCs. None of it felt right, but he labored on, struggling to complete his classes with a passing grade, making sure computer illiterate people had their "defective" machines actually plugged in. He often wondered why he was torturing himself. College made him think of Sam, and thinking of Sam hurt - a lot.
In his second year he met a girl. She provided a much needed distraction. Ultimately she credited his lack of warmth for why she left him. Dean was surprised to realize he didn't care, or at least that's what he told himself afterward when he got shit faced drunk over her leaving. He cared too much, that was his real issue, and the only person who had ever known his secret had been Sam.
John sent him an email the year after that.
"There's something in Racine you might want to check out." His father wrote. "I can't get there myself. I thought since it's not far from you..."
Dean went. It was a poltergeist. He dispatched it without incident and dropped out of school.
What had he once told Sam?
"It's just like riding a bike."
Two weeks later he was on his way to Iowa to check out a series of mysterious deaths. All the victims had been asphyxiated while alone in locked rooms. All efforts to find some reasonable, scientific explanation had been exhausted.
"Time to call in the ghostbusters," Dean murmured, and glanced into the rear view mirror as he had done countless times before.
From the mirror a face stared back at him.
The Impala's tires squealed on the pavement as Dean slammed on the brakes and brought the car to a complete stop in the middle of the road. He quickly turned to confront the stowaway despite the fact that he knew...
No one would be there.
The back seat was empty save for the faint scent of a familiar aftershave.
Doing this alone is getting to me. Maybe I should get a dog or something.
A moment later he glanced in the rear view again, and again saw a face peering back at him. This time he did not stop the car, and he did not turn around to look, but continued driving as if he'd seen nothing at all.
"You know," he remarked after a few miles of silent contemplation. "I know a guy who says he can reunite the spirits of the dead with corporeal bodies. Maybe we can get you into something nice, like a cute little blonde with big boo..."
"That would be considered something stupid, Dean."
Dean tried not to smile, but ultimately couldn't resist it.
"Just seeing if you were paying attention, Sammy," he said softly. "Just seeing if you were paying attention."
The concept of the psivamp is not an original one - wish I could claim it, but I can't and I must give credit where credit is due. I've read many vampire books (featuring the classic blood sucking type) that say it's not always about the need for blood, but also the thrill of the psychological games they often play with their victims. The inspiration for the psivamp in this fic actually comes from a book by Mercedes Lackey called Children of the Night. There's also a classic vampire and a Japanese demon called a gaki in her tale. Light horror. Good read.
And speaking of reading. Thank you all for reading and commenting on this fic. Breaking in a new fandom is never easy. I appreciate all the help and support.