Title: A Phone Call
Summary: On returning from a hunt, John Winchester has an important message waiting on his phone. Oneshot. Mix of humour (hopefully), angst and Hurt!Dean and Worried!Sam thrown in.
Disclaimer: Look there, everything the light touches… belongs to someone else. Even my disclaimer belongs to the Lion King.
Author's notes: This was originally a ThreeShot from a plot bunny at work ending with John hearing a phone call at the end of what happened. I quickly realised the phone call was the most interesting bit and scrapped the rest. Hopefully what is going on is fairly clear. Next chapter of Caidil gu math should be up in a day or so, just had to exorcise the plot bunny first.
You can assume Hamish is talking with a thick Scottish accent throughout, I just didn't want to phonetically type it out!
Set somewhere in the first season before the boys and dad have met up.
Feedback, whether positive, negative or neutral, is always, always welcome
John Winchester walked into his motel room, salted the door and threw himself down on the sagging bed. He was exhausted. If Dean were here, he'd likely invent a whole new word to describe the state of exhaustion that John found himself in like 'flurfed' or 'completely gizterped.' If Sam were here, he'd probably recite the medical definition of exhaustion along with the symptoms that John displayed. John, however, was a simple man and so he was just exhausted.
He'd received word of a coven that had been making noise about having some high level demonic protection and had gone to investigate. As it turned out, they were just making noise. Nonetheless it had taken about five days to track them through the forest and eliminate them, John didn't like to leave messes behind him: they had a tendency to bite him in the ass.
He fetched his cell phone out of mud-stained duffel and plugged in the charger. It had run out of battery three days into the hunt. Moments later the phone buzzed and bounced on the bedside table, indicating he had a message. He switched it to speakerphone and pressed play.
The first two were fairly routine. A guy with a poltergeist problem in West Texas wanted his help and then a message from Caleb saying he'd heard of a suspicious house fire out in Oregon. John made a mental note to call Caleb back and eased back on the bed. The phone beeped one more time and the third message started.
"Hello John," A thick Scottish accent came over the tinny speakerphone, a voice which was vaguely familiar to him. "It's Hamish, you remember me? You helped me out with a slight demon problem a couple of years back."
Something about the man's tone sent a shiver up John's spine. It was friendly enough but there was an undercurrent, something that said this man knew a lot more than he was letting on and was waiting for the right moment to slip his ace out of his sleeve. As it turned out, he was an impatient man.
"Unfortunately it seems to be reoccurring as there's a very nasty demon nearby. A soul sucker. Takes the life right out of you. Ironic, eh?" There was a pause on the line, "Fortunately, it turns out your boys were in the area." That chill turned into a full size block of ice sitting on his spine and John recalled the case now. The man's son had been summoning the spirits and John hadn't managed to exorcise them fast enough to stop them dragging the boy off with them. The man had seemed grateful for his help at the time.
"Why don't you say hello to your father, boys?" Hamish's voice dripped malice and John took the phone off speaker and pressed it to his ear, desperate for any noise.
"Hi Dad," Dean's cheerful voice was loud and John had to pull the phone away from his ear. For a moment confusion flashed through him, unable to believe he'd misread the situation this badly, "I'd love to chat but me and Sam have got some sick bastard raising demons to take care of."
John flinched as he heard the sound of something solid smacking against flesh, likely his eldest's cheek, and the soft hiss of breath that was Dean's only exclamation of pain. He had never managed to instruct Dean in not winding up the forces of evil that usually managed to kidnap him at least once or twice a year.
"Cut from the same cloth as your father, I see." Hamish's voice was a low snarl, the words almost incomprehensible, "It took me a long time to set this up, to find the right demon. Even longer to make sure word filtered through to the ears of the right hunters and so very, very long until I could get Daddy dearest's cell phone number. I just want you to appreciate how much I've been looking forward to this." John wanted to walk out the door, get in the car and drive but he knew the place Hamish lived was at least a four hour drive and he couldn't remember how long ago this message had been received.
"I considered it a gift from God himself when that delightful phone message informed me that Mr John Winchester wasn't making house calls anymore but here's the number of his darling boy." John could hear Hamish's breathing close to the phone, "You really should train your boys better. I told them I was a friend of yours and the pair came charging in to help, right into my little trap."
"Yeah, our bad. I've really got to break that saving people's lives habit but they just don't make gum for that." That was Dean again and John raised a hand to rub at his forehead, pressing away the headache that only Dean could inspire.
"I could kill you now." The voice was further from the phone now and by position, John guessed him to be close to where Dean was secured, "Slit your throat and watch the blood trickle down. Drip, drip." There was a shuffle of moving feet, "But I won't. I want to hear you apologise first for all the mistakes your screw-up of a father made, I want your daddy to hear your last words become your last screams."
"Seriously got to work on your motivational techniques." Dean's voice held a slight quake in it, the only sign that the situation he was in was worrying him.
"Apologise or maybe I'll slit the baby brother's throat. How much blood do you think someone as tall as that can lose?"
"You know what, Hamish, I'm sorry." John braced himself for what he knew was about to come, knowing it wouldn't be the type of apology that Hamish wanted, "I'm sorry your son was so incredibly stupid as to dabble in the darkness and expect not to get his ankles wet. I'm sorry that you are so moronic that you honestly blame my father to not pulling your son's shit out of the fire quite quick enough. I'm sorry that.." There was a louder smack and this time John could hear Dean's cry, bitten back as it was.
"Dean, Ix-nay on the upid-Stay." The sound of Sam's voice brought intense relief to John. Until now the silence from Sam had left him worrying his youngest was either unconscious or worse. Instead it seemed he'd just been trying not to antagonise the crazy man, a technique his older sibling would do well to learn from.
"Oh, come on, Sammy. He's already threatened to use that really fugly demon to suck out our souls. There's not exactly much worse he can threaten. So the advantage is to us." John let out a frustrated grumble and made a note to himself that when he next saw his boys, he would have a long talk with Dean about inappropriate times for humour.
"Dean, we're chained to a wall, there's a demon over there and haven't had anything to eat or drink for three days, in what crazy game is that ever advantage us?" John winced as his youngest's succinct assessment of the situation.
"Winchester rules." Dean stated cockily and John couldn't help a laugh.
"You are wrong," Hamish's silk-smooth brogue became audible, "There is worse I can do." John heard the cool rasp of a well-sharpened knife being removed from its case and gritted his teeth, wanting to yell and curse, "It's a very stupid idea to annoy me, boy."
"You know what else is a stupid idea?" Dean replied and John decided a lecture wasn't enough for him, not nearly enough, "Chaining someone to a wall and not bothering to make sure the wall was sturdy." John heard a loud crack and the clink of a tumbling chain and felt a surge of pride at his son's engineered distraction, even John had fallen for it. Similar less-fruitful rattles followed and John guessed Sam was likely trying to free himself in the same way. John tried to send a telepathic message to his son, even knowing that the events had likely occurred hours or days before, also being incredibly aware of the fact he wasn't telepathic. Don't stand in front of Sammy, don't telegraph your weakness. He knew it would be no use and he heard the clinking of chains as Dean undoubtedly moved in front of his still-confined brother.
"Do you honestly think you can stand against my demon with two lengths of chain?" Hamish taunted but John heard him take a couple of steps back.
He could almost picture the grin on Dean's face, "Given the amount of teeth that thing has, I'm thinking clove oil would do far more damage or some really sugary sweets. Unfortunately you just really don't stock this place great for today's modern hunter so I guess the chain will just have to do. Anyway, I'm thinking I take care of you first. Chances are you haven't bound that thing properly and it'll be sent on the express shuttle back down to hell. Either that or it'll be released to run rampage over the neighbourhood but hell, I've never been a big fan of suburbia."
"I see right through your bravado to the quaking little boy beneath." John heard the click of a gun hammer being cocked back, "Can you stand against a gun?"
"Pretty sure I can. You see, I'm fairly sure you promised that thing a couple of souls when you summoned it. You shoot me dead and you've got one more soul to find and I'm thinking it's not the patient kind of demon that'll loiter around if you ask nicely."
"I didn't say I had to kill you." There was the cracking thunder of the trigger being pulled, followed by a pained yelp and the sound of a body hitting the floor.
"Dean? Dean!" Sam's panicked voice sounded and John wanted to scream along with him.
"I'm fine, Sammy." The slightly croaky noise of his eldest's voice was one of the sweetest sounds he'd ever heard.
He heard the heavy footsteps of Hamish and guessed them were walking over to his fallen son. It was followed by the heavy swish of something clanking against flesh and John couldn't resist a yell at his phone until he heard the thump of another body hitting the ground, "How'd you like it?" Dean taunted.
There was a soft, choking noise. A cough of suppressed air and words unable to be forced out past a constricted throat.
"What's that I hear?" Dean taunted, "I'm very sorry for being an idiot? Well, that's not quite good enough." There was a loud thump and the sound of a slump, "Phew, thought he'd never shut up."
"Dean, are you alright?" Sammy's worried voice came through and John could picture his youngest straining against the chains holding him in place, "Dean, the demon." He yelled.
"Aw shit. It couldn't have been the nice 'go directly to hell, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars' type, could it? Nooo, That'd make life far too easy and we're Winchesters: we don't do easy. You remember any handy exorcisms?"
He heard the limping scuff of feet and chains as Dean hauled himself back up to his feet and then a soft noise like cloth rustling. Finally there was a click and extra footsteps joined Dean's, obviously Sam had been freed, "Some of it." Sam said and began to recite some Latin.
There was a horrifying yowl that thundering down the phone line, corrupting into distortion like a metallic screech. "I think you pissed it off, Sammy." Dean said and there was a scuffle of motion following by a loud thump, "Yep," Dean's voice came from a different place that he'd last heard it, "Definitely pissed it off. Any bright ideas?"
"Duck!" came Sam's reply.
There was a crack of plaster shattering down off the walls. "Good idea." Dean's breathless voice came through, "Okay, Latin pisses it off. Holy water is so not available at the moment. Gun," He heard running footsteps and a skid followed by the click of a hammer being pulled back and the echoing of a shot. "Gun really pisses it off. Damn, where's the demon handbook when you need it?" There was another thud, a yelp and John clutched the phone closer to his ear.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, Dean?" He heard his youngest say, "Punching it in the face is hardly going to work."
John slapped his hand to his forehead and began to wonder where exactly he'd gone wrong with those boys.
"Hey, wait." He heard Sam again, "Dean, look at its face!"
"I'm really trying not to," Dean replied from a different place than Sam.
"Dean, look!" Sam sounded as frustrated as John felt, "Where your ring hit, its skin is blistered."
"Silver?" Dean exclaimed, "Demons don't react to silver."
"This one does! Got anything else on you?" There was another thud and John felt his heart race.
"Sammy, stay clear of the tentacles and no, I happen to have left the candelabra and the serving set in the mansion. Freaking silver! Maybe it isn't a demonic thing, maybe it's a fashion thing. He looks like he'd suit autumnal colours to me." John heard a crash and a long groan followed by the sound of something snapping, wood not bone, and a soft squish, "It's not a great fan of table legs either."
"Metal!" Sam yelled and John had to recoil from the phone, "Soul suckers hate metal, it binds them. Dean, catch!"
John could hear the whistling noise of something flying through the air then a slick, squishing noise. John gulped in a breath of air and held it.
"Dude, that's sick." Dean said, sounding more than a little disgusted.
"I've never actually seen brains melt before."
"Or bubble. Or is that fizzling?"
"I'd say fizzling." Sam concurred, "Woah, easy there. I need to take a look at that shoulder."
"That can wait 'til we get back to the motel. What are we going to do about Frankenstein over there?"
"Call the police. There's enough freaky shit in this house to convict him for something even if it's just being a sick bastard. Come on, Dean. Sit down before you fall down."
"Can't, I think I broke the only chair." Dean grumbled.
"Sit on the floor!"
"It's covered in demon brains."
"I think your jeans are a write-off anyway."
"My favourites," Dean sulked. John could a slide and a thump followed by a quiet, "Ow. So, what the hell was that thing anyway?"
"Dunno, we might have to pop in on Bobby. I don't want to run into one of those things again." There was a hiss of pain, sounded like it was from Dean, not Sam, "Hold still. The bullets still in there and I can't get it out now but I need to stop the bleeding before we can move."
"That's not easy with those giant hands of yours mauling me." There were moments of silence, broken only by the peeling noise of surgical tape and a few more non-verbal hisses from Dean, "There. Patched up for now. Let's go."
"Wait a moment." He heard Dean get up and the clatter of something being picked up from the floor.
"What are you doing? We can't kill him."
"I'm not planning on killing him," Dean said in the low, dangerous voice John recognised as his 'nobody messes with my little brother' voice, "Just making him wish he was dead."
"Dean, you can't cut off that." John felt a jolt of alarm. Sure, he knew that the life they led had messed his kids up a lot but surely not to that extent. He worried about what exactly had happened to them in captivity.
"Don't be such a stick in the mud, Sammy." There was a crackling rasp, three, four sweeps and then the whistling noise and a twanging noise as Dean probably tossed the knife into the wall, "There, much better."
There was another long silence and then Sam said, "Hmm, looks a lot different."
"You know what they say about scotsmen and beards." Dean replied and John breathed a sigh of relief, his kids were still screwed up enough to keep a psychiatrist in business for life but fortunately not that much. "Come on, let's go."
"Lean on me," Sam insisted in that 'I'm getting my way or else' tone of voice that John had come to dread, especially when he realised it could slide through his defences, "Oh shit." John felt his heart rate pick up again. What the hell was happening now? "The phone!"
John felt a mutual moment of confusion with Dean over the distance of time and space that the telephone line breached, forgetting for a moment about the very object clutched like a lifeline in his hand, "Phone?" Dean asked, "Oh shit, the phone. Do you think Dad heard all this? I'm so dead." John quietly agreed.
"Why are you dead?" Sam asked, "We got the monster."
"Yeah, but Dad's always ragging on me about not mouthing off to things trying to kill me while they are still in a position to kill me."
"So why do you keep doing it?"
"Because it's fun." John could hear the smirk present in his son's voice, "So, erm, Hi dad." He could hear Dean's voice close to the phone, "Don't worry, me and Sammy are fine."
"You call this fine?" Sam stropped in the background, coming closer, "Dean has a bullet in his shoulder, has been thrown into two walls and a table and…"
"Dude, shut up. I'm fine."
"Fine. Dean is the Winchester version of fine which is usually somewhere between actually fine and bleeding to death." John rolled his eyes, recognising the pissy note, even on a one-way line, his youngest could still manage to have an argument.
"Anyway," Dean interrupted before Sam could start, "We're fine, gonna head back to the motel. Hopefully see you around at some point. Anything else?" The voice changed direction, obviously asking his brother.
"How about 'where the hell are you?'" Came Sam's suggestion and John rolled his eyes.
"Dude, not now." Dean replied, "Yeah, anything. All's good. Erm, yeah, see you around." There was a long pause as his son tried to think of anything appropriate to say and John felt a physical need to reach through the phone to comfort him, "Oh Dad," He heard Dean say, "We really need to have a talk about the people you hang around with. Seriously."
With that, the phone call disconnected leaving John with a discordant voice listing options. John pushed his finger down on the two button and heard 'Message saved' in response. He stowed the phone and charger back in his bag and grabbed the duffel, all exhaustion having fled from his body at the first sound of his boys' voices. He walked out the truck and got in. He had unfinished business with Hamish MacLeish and John Winchester didn't leave messes behind.
A/N: Did it work? Could you understand what was going on? All feedback will bring my eternal adoration.