Disclaimer: screw it

A/N: I'm not in a good mood right now… pretty depressed and upset… so there isn't going to be much of an added notes. Just one to tell you to keep reading, and remind that I always warn if a story is gonna be a death fic. Enjoy.

Title: Forty Seconds to Midnight
Genre: Suspense and supernatural and angst
Summary: A lot can happen in forty seconds. Dean finds this out as a spirit who appears only every fifteen years chooses his brother as its fifth and final victim in a ritual of violence.


Forty Seconds to Midnight

It was over.

That simple.

Sam was dead.

The freaking spirit was going to disappear. And this was all going to happen again in fifteen years.

Dean thought about giving up. Hell, he had less than a minute until midnight hit, and he didn't even know where the damn spirit was. Sam was laying a forty feet ahead of him; a victim of the elusive spirit of Charles 'Chuck' Webster. Less than a minute earlier its six foot eight frame towered over his brother, and flung him into a cement wall as easily as throwing a pillow. Sammy hadn't moved since.

Two weeks earlier the brothers were going through a stack of Bobby's research they'd found in an old warehouse storage, and found some information on a deadly spirit which appeared every fifteen years in the small Colorado town of Lesser. He would kill exactly five people before disappearing for another fifteen years; a ritual which he was following in death as he did for the sixty-seven years he was alive. The Winchester's quickly figured out that date was coming closer, and decided they would stop the cycle once and for all.

Things went south quickly, and with the time running closer and closer to the point where Chuck would disappear for another fifteen years. He had managed to kill four people before Sam and Dean tracked him down to an old abandoned mill; then decided that Sam would be his fifth victim.

"Sammy," Dean gasped now.

Thirty seconds.

Dean's brain was numb. There was nothing he could do. Sam was dead; Chuck's fifth victim was had, and in less than half a minute he'd disappear forever, and Dean would be left with only part of himself with a life without Sammy. Suddenly, though, something went off in Dean's brain. A small voice in the back of his head yelled.

'Wait! Bobby said… he told me a long time ago that this kind of spirit could be different…'

Dean struggled to remember what seemed like such a lifetime ago.

"Uncle Bo-"

"Shut up Sam!" Dean swatted his ten year old brother upside the head.

"Dean!" Bobby admonished to the elder Winchester, "You smack him like that again, and I'll show you how it feels."

"Sorry," Dean whispered, "But he was interrupting you. I wanna hear the rest of the story."

Bobby made a point of turning towards Sam, "What would you like Sammy?"

Sam's voice was small and embarrassed, "I was just wondering if I can have a drink?"

Bobby nearly laughed, "There's a case of soda in the cellar. Help yourself." He turned back to Dean, "Now as I was explaining, there are several different… breeds… of demonic spirits."

"How many?" Dean was eager to learn as much as possible; he'd have to if he was to get as good as Uncle Bobby or his Dad at hunting.

"I'm not sure," Bobby shook his head, "I've only run into about a half dozen kinds myself. But there could be countless more. There's your run of the mill angry ones; the kind that come right after they're killed in some sort of violent death and want nothing more than to hurt those around them. They're the easiest to get rid of; salt and burn the bones, and they're gone. Then there's the kind that will repeat their own death; year after year on the anniversary. More of a shame for the spirit as they don't know that it's happening. But again, salt and burn the bones, and it should take care of 'em. There's one kind that's similar to that, but a lot more dangerous."

Dean frowned, "Aren't they all dangerous?"

"That's true," Bobby agreed, "But these one especially. They're sort of like an echo demon. They're created from the worst murderers out there. When they die, they'll continue with their ritual of killing innocent people as a spirit."

"Salt and burn them too?" Dean asked.

"Not always," Bobby shook his head, "Sometimes they're in such an evil rut, that won't stop them. The bad ones… that have been killing for hundreds of years. The only way to stop them is to stop their cycle. And that can be damn near impossible."

Dean frowned in his confusion.

"Let's say you have an evil son-of-a-bitch," Bobby explained, "Every five years the thing kills a hitch-hiker on a highway. You need to stop him from killing to break the cycle and finally rid the damn thing."

"That would be impossible!" Dean cried, "How the hell—"

"Dean!"

"Sorry. How the heck would you know where he was going to kill? Or who?" Dean's eyes were wide.

"That's the tough part," Bobby agreed, "You really need to know your stuff before you hunt one of them."

But it was too late!

Dean's eyes once again flicked over to Sammy off in the distance. He was the fifth. There was nothing they could do now, there was no way to break Chuck's cycle.

Fifteen seconds.

Dean made a brief, quick decision in his mind. He could stay where he was, and close his eyes like he used to when he was five and pretend, even just for a minute, that he lived in a world where bad things didn't exist. Or he could go over to Sammy and be with him for the last few minutes of his life. Fore Dean knew without even thinking about it, that with both his parents gone, and now Sam gone, there was no way he was going to stay in this God forsaken earth.

He chose Sammy.

Dean thought it was appropriate as the rain started to hit against the windows outside. The time was close now; eight seconds left as Dean skidded to a stop by his brother's body. He cradled Sam's head in his hands and shamelessly let the tears fall. A steady streak of warm, sticky blood was falling down across Sam's face and right eye, and Dean used his thumb to clear the obstruction away.

Sam's eyes opened.

"Sam!" Dean's sudden voice surprised even himself.

Several things quickly happened in succession, as they tend to in tense situations. Dean no longer had time to register fully the simple movement of Sam's eyes opening than a burst of wind erupted in the otherwise still warehouse. Dean's head snapped up, and he saw the giant form of Chuck standing a foot away, a look of rage and what Dean could swear was fear swimming across his face.

"No," Dean uttered out moving back, half dragging Sam's dead weight with him.

He'd no more said this than an even louder sound than the sudden burst of wind errupted. It sounded like a terrifying mixture of someone drowning and screaming at the same time. Looking at the form of Chuck Dean saw him take a menacing step towards him and Sam's prone positions before the spirit stop in mid-motion. The noise was coming from him as his entire form seemed to sizzle away starting at the feet and working its way up to its outraged eyes.

Then there was silence.

"Sammy!" it took less than a second for Dean to turn his attention back to his brother as he shifted to be crouched in front.

He expected to see his eyes still closed; perhaps it was Dean's hopeful imagination that had seen them opened. He expected to see a blood covered corpse with a mangled body with no life flowing through it anymore. He expected the play button to be pressed again on his own personal nightmare. What he didn't expect was the ghost of a smile spreading across Sam Winchester's face.

"Sam?" Dean's voice was barely more than a whisper and shone with confusion.

If the blink of the eyes and smile had startled Dean, Sam's movement of using his elbows to prop himself up downright freaked him out.

"Sam!" Dean grabbed his brother's arm, "What the hell…"

The smile continued even wider on Sam's face as he looked around and now spoke in a hoarse voice, "Time?"

"Huh?"

"The time Dean," Sam repeated, bringing his hand to his forehead to feel the tacky blood which still seeped out of a nasty head wound.

It took Dean far too long for the words to go from his ears to his brain and he looked down at his watch and whispered, "Midnight Sammy."

"Good," Sam breathed attempting to move, but faltering.

"Whoa, whoa Sammy!" Dean cried out, "Just… freaking stop. What the hell just happened?"

"We broke his cycle," Sam stated simply, the smile returning to his face, "I hoped if he thought I was dead, he wouldn't try and kill someone else in the last few minutes to midnight."

Dean blinked hard as he stared at the man half laying on the cement ground in front of him. He hadn't told Sam of his theory of the breaking the spirits cycle; he'd only figured out that himself at the last moment.

Sam waited patiently for Dean to speak and when he didn't, spoke himself, "Dean… just because I interrupted Bobby to ask for a drink doesn't mean I wasn't listening just as much as you were."

Dean burst out in a half laugh and half sob as he leaned forward and folded his brother in a tight hug.

The End.