Discl. I don't own anything related to Supernatural, Jensen Ackles or Jared Padalecki.

Beta: Thank you to the fabulous loracj2 for the support!


The Reversed Cross

Prologue

Stepping out of the grey, unimposing building, Sarah felt thankful for the fresh breeze of air that greeted her. Exhaling deeply, she took a few moments to compose herself, waiting for the wind to cool down her flushed face.

A glance at her watch told her that it was past dinner time. Her husband would've already eaten, if he was home. The thought of completely skipping dinner for today was quickly reconsidered after an angry growl from her stomach.

She started to walk to her car while pondering the closest diner where she could grab a bite to eat. Clearing her throat, which was still hoarse from crying, she reached for the remote and unlocked the car. Opening the door, she settled behind the wheel and dropped her bag onto the floor. Sarah remained motionless for a second, and took another deep breath of air while she mentally rebuilt the wall she had been tearing down over the past two hours.

This was the real world. There was no place for weakness.

Turning the key in the ignition, Sarah started her Corolla and backed it out of the parking space, carefully getting in line behind the other cars. She drove down the main street of the small town before turning left at the circle, following the small street up to the nearest
Mc Donald's.

Ignoring the guilt which settled into her system upon seeing the huge M, she silently convinced herself that she had earned herself some junk food. Once a week wasn't that bad.

After parking her car, she killed the engine and got out. She started to stroll to the entrance, then paused when she caught sight of a shiny, black car entering the parking lot. It wasn't often that such a brilliantly preserved muscle car could be seen on the streets, and for a minute she admired the well polished silver parts, sparkling in the last sunbeams of the day.

The short walk to the entrance door took only a few seconds and Sarah braced herself for the greeting she was sure to receive inside.

The noise penetrated her ears when she pushed the door open. The air was thick and filled with smoke, sweat and grease. Avoiding any deep breaths she bravely stepped forward, gracefully avoiding close human contact with the other customers and lining up behind the waiting crowd.

Her mind quickly wandered back to the therapy session of earlier, and as usual, she remembered the acquired protection tactics, successfully blocking out everything around her.

As she studied the menu board, she pondered the calorie counts of the specials for the day.

"Indecisive? Wanna see my menu?"

The soothing, flirting voice caught her off guard. Not completely grasping the ghost of a bad pick up line, her whole body tensed, the hot breath close to her ear sending her into a spiral of memories.

Instantly, one single idea dominated her entire being.

Out!

Flashes of pain, shame and deep anxiety burned in her mind, stealing her breath. While her brain frantically searched for a way out, pictures of horror raced in her mind's eye.

Spinning around, Sarah blindly headed for the exit, her senses crashing mercilessly, leaving her vulnerable and weak.

She didn't get far.

Sarah could feel the panic take over her mind, whimpering helplessly as she bumped into someone, the human contact sending shivers down her body. The unexpected feeling of two strong arms around her, protecting her from falling, did nothing to improve her situation.

Quickly sliding into hyperventilation, she felt the nausea building deep in her gut. Bile rushed up her throat, threatening to choke her. Hot tears were burning in her eyes and a whooshing sound in her ears blended out any other noise.

Realising that nothing she did was going to prevent her from this public meltdown, she finally gave up struggling, relaxed, and let the memories take over. With a sigh, she allowed the flashbacks of past events to fully absorb her mind while the present faded from her awareness completely.

x-x-x-x-x-x

"You really weren't kidding."

"Mc Donald's it is, Sammy. Deal with it" Dean smirked behind the wheel.

"It's Sam," the younger boy sourly replied.

Of course, Sam had known that his chances of avoiding the junk food giant were close to none. Dean loved and collected the Happy Meal toys and wouldn't miss an opportunity to stop when the huge M appeared on the horizon.

"Don't you ever get tired of junk food?"

Trying to be clever, Sam opted for a change of tactics. He did learn a few tricks during pre-law, or even the psychology course he took, but so far they had all failed to work on his brother.

Dean turned his head and simply raised an eyebrow, a teasing grin on his face.

"Do you ever get tired of books?"

"That's not the same!"

Sam's exasperation was real as he shook his head in frustration before gritting his teeth and turning his attention to the city that was flying past through the windows of the car.

Sometimes the hours they spent together in the Impala became overwhelming, stretching into what seemed like eternity. Nothing supernatural for two weeks and they were both itching for a hunt.

Sam recalled that he read somewhere that killings between siblings usually were downgraded to manslaughter, and that in 92 of the cases, it occurred in the heat of the moment.

Dean knew all his triggers and sometimes he hated him for it.

Sam remembered that he had been damn close to actually losing it more than once himself, and not only after the "baldy incident", as Dean kept calling it over the years.

The guilt hit him painfully when pictures of the Asylum events appeared in his mind's eye. Admittedly, that had been too close for his liking.

"Hey dude, see that chick over there? She just checked out my baby!"

Dean's voice resounded with excitement, his eyes shining with a special glint Sam had come to despise.

Sam rolled his eyes and gave an annoyed grunt.

"Great. Now my last bit of appetite is gone."

His big brother didn't even acknowledge the sarcasm in Sam's voice, but parked the car wordlessly and got out, carefully closing the creaking door behind him.

Sighing, Sam followed him, uncomfortably unfolding his tall frame before yawning and stretching his stiff body parts, grateful to be able to move his legs after the 4 hour ride.

Shoulder to shoulder, but in silence, the two hunters walked over to the entrance. Reaching for the door, Sam was startled when Dean suddenly jumped, ungracefully bumping into him, and two pre-teens came running outside, nearly knocking him over in their play of tag.

Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean, but his brother just grinned and shrugged his shoulders innocently.

The inside of the restaurant was packed with people, mostly families with screaming kids. Sam wrinkled his nose at the smell of grease, smoke and sweat in the air. He definitely wouldn't eat tonight.

Dean seemed oblivious to the noise and stench in the air, instead staring ahead with a confident grin on his face. When Sam followed his glance, he realized why.

The tall boy sighed and once again rolled his eyes, but remained quiet. He knew better than to pick a fight with his brother about a girl – again. He hadn't liked the ending the last time when he had woken up in a sleazy motel, his hands tied to the bedpost with Dean standing over him, pouring ice over his crotch.

Dean had labelled it "preservation support".

Staying behind his brother, Sam observed the scene in front of him. When the girl froze at Dean's words before spinning around on her heels, Sam hoped that Dean would finally get what he deserved.

How long had he waited for a girl to take action and tell Dean off for his lousy pick up lines?

Only when he caught the fear screaming from her face, her eyes darting around the room, looking for a way to escape like a hunted animal, he knew that something was wrong.

Still, she nearly sent them both flying to the ground when she suddenly moved forward and rushed into him with full force. Instinctively he reached out and wrapped his arms around her slender body to steady her.

Sam was immediately unsettled by the ragged, panic like breathing she developed upon his touch, but when he wanted to let go of her, a flash raced through his mind and the familiar headache flared up when he caught fragments of scenes he didn't recognise.

Brilliant. As if death visions weren't already cruel enough, he could now also telepathically connect to people? And of course it couldn't be normal people, but damaged people, evidently.

He shivered and gulped, forcing himself to pay attention to the memories she involuntarily shared with him. He had learned the hard way that there was always reason behind his visions.

Sweat started building on his forehead and he felt sick to his stomach at the images he witnessed. It probably only lasted a few seconds, but to him, it felt like hours.

When it finally stopped, Sam wavered and gulped, fighting to regain his posture.

"Dean!" he hissed when the girl went limp in his arms.

"What? I didn't do anything!" the older hunter replied obliviously.

Sam forced his eyes open to send his brother a glare.

"Let's get her out of here," he rasped.

Dean only shrugged and followed Sam, who was carrying the strange, unconscious girl in his arms. Thankfully, she could be considered a lightweight. Crossing the parking lot, Sam stopped in front of the Impala and waited for Dean to open the back door.

Carefully placing the girl on the backseat, Sam grabbed for the blanket they had stored under the driver seat and covered her with it, before retreating from the car, closing the door as gently as possible.

"If she pukes in the car you're so cleaning it up!" came Dean's feisty comment when Sam turned to face him.

"Fuck, Dean, just… shut up."

Tiredly rubbing his eyes, Sam felt drained. Exhausted from the emotions she had transferred and the horror he had seen through her eyes.

Leaning heavily against the car, he sighed and massaged his temples, hoping for the persistent headache to subside.

"You ok?"

Suddenly, any traces of anger or annoyance disappeared from Dean's voice, and warmth and concern replaced them.

"No, I'm not, Dean."

Looking at his older brother, Sam noticed the confused look and the narrowed eyes giving him a thorough once over.

"Another vision?"

Just nodding slightly, Sam closed his eyes and tried to remember anything relevant in-between the horror scenes, anything that might provide a clue as to what exactly he had witnessed. When he re-opened his eyelids, he met Dean's confused glance, his brother's hazel green eyes flickering with worry and doubt.

"I'm sorry, Dean. I just… I didn't expect anything like this."

"What did you see, Sam?"

Turning around, deliberately avoiding further eye contact with Dean, Sam took a quick glance inside the car and noticed that the girl was still out cold, though the nervous twitching of her closed eyes indicated that her mind was still fully alert, and his heart filled with sympathy for her. He wouldn't wish his worst enemy what she had gone through.

"Sammy?"

Dean's voice had once again changed from worried to soothing, but was now underlined with a pressing urge to mask the confusion Sam feel radiating from his brother's entire being.

"Let's find a motel, alright? We gotta talk to her when she comes to."

"Sam, what the hell…"

"Please, Dean. Just… trust me on this one."

"Fine!"

This time the anger was not disguised. Dean stomped around the car, ripped the door open, slid behind the wheel and started the car, all in one fluid motion.

Trying not to agitate his brother any further, Sam hurried to get inside as well, seconds before Dean pressed down the accelerator and sped out of the parking lot with screeching tires.


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