This is the second sequel to "In the Pursqueeter," my AU version of the season 1 finale. You don't have to read the first two to follow this one, but it might help. (And I'd like it!)
For those who haven't read the preceding two stories, let me quickly bring you up to date:
Sam killed the demon…and John…with the Colt in the shack at the end of 'Devil's Trap.' They spent two months with Missouri, while Dean healed, and then headed east to stay with Sarah for a few weeks.
On the way, they were ambushed and Sam was kidnapped by Kate, the surviving vampire from 'Dead Man's Blood,' and her reconstituted vampire gang. Sam was tortured for two days before Dean was able to find and rescue him.
After a month recuperating at Sarah's home in New York, the boys, with Sarah in tow, found themselves forced into a hunt along the Gulf Coast, where Dean found himself in the clutches of some vengeful pre-Civil War ghosts and a voodoo witchdoctor set her sights on Sam.
Sam's telekinesis re-emerged at about the same time.
We open about a month after the events of "That Old Black Magic."
Truth and Consequences
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Sam Winchester gently pulled back on the pool stick, held his breath, and then pushed it forcefully between his fingers. The dirty white cue ball shot down the table, slamming into the 2 near the corner pocket. The blue ball came within a fraction of an inch of going in, but banked off the green felt walls of the table and collided into a group of other balls, scattering them.
"Dammit," he muttered. A few of the guys on either side of him chuckled. Sam frowned in annoyance, but held his tongue as he stood up and rested the cue stick against his hip. He eyed his current nemesis across the table, noting the insufferable smirk his opponent was wearing.
The shorter blonde man stepped up, lifting his cue stick with a quick twirl. He examined the table carefully. Sam watched him purse his lips, seemingly deep in concentration, and mused that the guy looked a lot like a duck when he was thinking. Shaking off the silly thought, he focused on the game again. His adversary lined up and fired the cue ball towards the striped 13- and 14-balls that rested in one corner.
Not many casual players could pull off such an audacious shot…certainly not Mr. "Haven't-Played-Since-I-Was-Ten" over there. Even attempting it was stupid. Yet Sam watched the cue ball sail down the table and send both the 13 and 14 off in separate directions to disappear into different pockets. A shocked murmur passed across the line of men on Sam's side of the room. From the sound of it, they were thinking exactly what he was. This guy's up to something.
Sam stared at the man. "Lucky shot?"
The other man shrugged but studiously avoided eye contact. "I guess it's better to be lucky than good, man…."
Sam snorted softly, shaking his head, "Uh-huh…." He cast a glance at the burly, flannel-clad man next to him, who returned an irritated frown. The man---Larry---had been playing against Sam in pool off and on for the past three days. He was a fairly easygoing guy who knew when to bet and, more importantly, when not to bet.
Mostly, that meant not betting against Sam, who'd been raking in some serious money since he'd been visiting this bar. He'd been honest about his skill---to a certain degree---from the start, but talked his way into the locals' game by challenging them to beat him. They'd taken the dare with surprising grace. Sam took a swig from the beer he'd been nursing all night and returned his attention to the game.
The blonde set up another shot, and the last two balls, the 15 and the 8, disappeared amidst angry whispers from the assembled crowd. The shorter man favored them with innocent eyes and a not-so-innocent a smirk, which Sam saw right through, and snatched the bet money off the table, "Too bad boys."
"That's it!" Sam clenched his fists. It was time to blow the whistle on this hustler. He slammed the pool stick down on the table and stalked around the other side. With one fluid motion, he grabbed the surprised looking man by his jacket and pushed him back against the table with a scowl. The man grasped at Sam's fists feebly.
"Whoa! Whoa! Easy on the threads man!"
Sam ignored the protests and snarled in the man's face, carefully enunciating each word. "Think I'm stupid, you fucking hustler?! Think I don't know what you're doing? Give us our money back and get out of here before I stomp your ass!"
The man held his hands up, trying to look innocent and failing miserably, "Okay! Okay! Just chill out man! We're all friends here…."
Larry and one of his equally large friends stepped up behind Sam, glaring at the younger man's prisoner. Sam noticed and glanced back at them, nodding minutely in appreciation of the "backup." The man in his grip noticed too, and reached slowly into his pocket, revealing the crumpled stack of hundreds and laying it carefully on the table.
"Here, okay? I'm leaving…I don't want any trouble."
Sam responded by hauling the man around and half-dragging him towards the door. He felt anger swelling up inside him…but he wasn't really sure from where. When he looked back into the face of his quarry, instead of the hustler he saw Drew, the stocky blonde-haired vampire that had tortured him for two days back in Ohio. Rage caused the edges of his vision to blur and his fists clenched harder of their own accord.
For a moment, all he wanted to do was pummel that smirking blonde son of a bitch into a bloody mess. His breath hitched in his throat, and he saw a small note of surprise in the man's eyes…followed by a smaller note of panic. Catching himself, Sam squeezed his eyes shut for a brief second and shook his head once to clear it. When he looked again, Drew was gone, leaving only the pool hustler's pale visage before him. It's not Drew…Drew's dead…Dean killed him…it's not Drew.
He shoved the guy away, trying to get his breathing under control as adrenaline pumped through his veins. He pointed a threatening finger at the man, and tried to keep his hand from shaking. "Don't show your lying face in here again! You hear me?"
The man's hands waved in the air in surrender, "Sure, man. Will do! Will do!" He left hurriedly, letting the door slam behind him.
Sam stared at the closed door, wondering what had just happened. Why had he suddenly been so angry? It was just like Denver. I could have--- His thoughts were interrupted when a meaty hand clamped down on his shoulder. It was Larry.
"I knew he was up to no good. Thanks, kid. Let's get back to the game, huh?" Sam heard other appreciative comments coming from the other men at the table.
Sam glanced back, meeting the man's eyes for a moment. He forced his mind back to the here and now, and then nodded, "Yeah…let's not let him ruin the evening."
Larry laughed, "Sure, why would we want to lose all our money to him when we can lose it to you?"
"Yeah, but I'm much cooler than that loser," Sam snorted in amusement. Mentally, he chided himself. I've been around Dean too long…. The remark got laughs from the other men, though, and Sam nodded Larry back to reset the table.
He looked back at the door, still trying to control the anger that had hit him out of nowhere. It scared him…he'd truly wanted to beat that guy to death. Drew's dead…he can't hurt me again. Let it go.
He repeated the mantra that had reassured him for the last two months. His opposing pool player wasn't responsible…he had nothing to do with his abuse at the hands of those vampires.
Taking a last deep breath, he turned on his heel and went back to the table. He plastered the deceptive grin that his brother had taught him on his face…the one that could get him anything he wanted, and retrieved his discarded pool stick.
He wished Dean was there with him.
Two hours later, Sam was walking down the street towards his hotel room. He pulled his jacket a little tighter around his tall frame, trying to block out the surprisingly chilly night air. He liked to think of New Mexico as a warm state…but this trip was seriously disappointing him.
He'd played three more games with the burly bar patrons, throwing one and winning the next two before calling it a night. His claim of needing to "call his girl" aided his escape, with several of them commiserating with him about the need to keep "the old ball & chain" happy.
Sam played along with their banter…though Sarah Blake was hardly a "ball & chain" in his mind. He actually did want to call Sarah, but with the time zone difference between New Mexico and New York it was too late to do so. That particular pleasure would have to wait until tomorrow.
The two-and-a-half block walk back to the room hadn't seemed to take so long on the way down to the bar. Of course, it had been a balmy 85 degrees earlier that evening. He idly wondered what was causing the sudden cold front.
Freakin' El Nino or something out here….
He jumped slightly at the sound of Dean's voice. Over the last two months or so---ever since his abduction---he'd been hearing Dean's voice periodically in his head. At first, he'd assumed it was a symptom of his concussion…later he rationalized it as a defense mechanism…and eventually, he'd simply accepted that the voice wasn't going away. He rarely heard it anymore.
He hadn't told Dean. If he had, his brother would just worry himself to death over Sam's continuing post-abduction trauma, and that was something Sam wanted to stop. He just wanted to move on.
At least the voice only came out when he was tired now. That made it easier to rationalize as part of his imagination. Of course, that also made it all the more jarring when he did hear it. Just can't win….
He reached the vicinity of the hotel, and jogged across the street. Despite the fact that their late father had somehow managed to secure a substantial life insurance policy---Sam was still puzzling that feat over, given John's off-the-grid lifestyle---that they had been able to claim, they still chose to stay in less-than-ritzy hotels. They'd barely scratched the surface of the money, which they were storing in a safety deposit box in Lawrence for safekeeping.
The familiar sight of the black Impala resting in front of his hotel room warmed his heart irrationally. It was his brother's car, not his, and he often wondered just when he had grown so fond of it. Maybe it wasn't so much the car as its owner.
He reached the door to the room, and was about to insert his key when a hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder. He turned warily, only to find himself face to face with the shorter blonde man from the bar, who was leaning casually against the wooden beam in front of the Impala.
"Little rough on me back there, buddy boy."
Sam couldn't keep the grin off his face. "Well, I had to sell it, didn't I?"
Dean returned the smile. "Remind me never to try and cheat you…. Next time you're playing the hustler."
Laughing lightly, Sam unlocked the door and ushered his older brother inside. They shed their coats by the door and removed the concealed handguns from their belts. They didn't go very far unarmed anymore. They'd seen too much and made too many enemies.
Sam paused by the bed, "We might want to move on. We've scammed about every player and pool hall in town." He paused, "Why'd you want to go hustling anyway? We've barely touched Dad's insurance money. We don't need to scam the locals."
Dean began removing his watch and emptying his pockets, "Hustling's like any other muscle, Sammy…you gotta keep it in shape. Never know when you might need it. How much did you get tonight?"
Sam pulled the wad of cash from his pocket and flipped through it quickly, "Three hundred and fifty. You?"
Dean was unfolding his take and grinning, "Two hundred, but, wait…" he reached into his other pocket and revealed more cash with a touch of melodramatic flair, "Look…another three hundred. So five. Told you I'd get more than you."
Sam blinked in disbelief, "How did---? I thought you put that last three hundred back down?"
"That's what you get for drinking on the job, Sammy. I gave 'em those counterfeit hundreds that guy in Phoenix laid on me…."
Sam smiled genuinely, "You're good."
"Heh, not as good as you, man. You convinced all those guys that you were the honest player. I guess being in 'Our Town' when you were little finally paid off for you."
Sam chuckled, forgetting himself for a moment when he answered. "Guess so. I must have been pretty good. I even saw panic in your eyes back there…."
Dean snorted, "Well…wasn't all faked. For a second, I seriously thought you were going to kill me," he sobered, "What happened back there?"
Sam cursed himself; he'd walked right into it. He should have known Dean wasn't going to let the incident rest. Not after what happened the last time.
Suddenly uncomfortable, and embarrassed that he'd fallen into Dean's little verbal trap, Sam made a show of pulling off his shoes to buy time, and then sank onto the edge of Dean's bed, "Oh. Um…nothing. It was nothing. I just got lost in the part."
Dean plopped down on the bed beside Sam…that's when Sam knew he wouldn't be dodging this conversation. He ran a hand through his hair nervously, and looked anywhere but at his older brother's concerned eyes. Irrationally, he felt like a scolded child, even though he knew his brother didn't mean to come off that way.
"I'm sorry, Dean."
"Sammy, come on," Dean replied, softer this time, "I'm not lookin' for an apology."
"I…uh--- For a second, I saw his face. Just for a second."
He knew he didn't have to explain whose face. Dean knew all too well what "face" he was talking about. Drew…the vampire that tortured him…and whose memory had been following Sam around like a dark cloud ever since that week in Ohio. The mere mention of his name made the healed scars on his chest itch.
Sam stole a glance at his brother's face, expecting to see reproach…or pity, which was worse. To his surprise he found neither. Dean just raised his eyebrows in understanding and nodded faintly.
"Oh. Well, good thing you caught yourself, then. The last time that happened, you put the guy in the hospital."
Sam didn't need the reminder. After leaving Missouri's house a month earlier, they'd been in Denver working a poltergeist. The spirit of a woman---who'd been murdered by her next-door neighbor as it turned out---was haunting her old residence. It seemed that her spirit was trying to warn the new occupants about the danger of the man next door: Greg Stimpson.
Stimpson had been a young, stocky---psychotic---blonde male about 5'11." When they'd discovered what he'd done, they went to confront him. It wasn't their normal kind of hunt, but they couldn't just let Stimpson keep killing people.
In the course of the "discussion" that followed, Sam had lost it, and Dean had been forced to pull his younger brother off the guy before he killed him. As it was, the little sociopath had been sent to the hospital with a concussion and a broken jaw.
It was only the fact that the man had been a murderer---and that they had gathered enough evidence to prove it---that had kept Sam and Dean out of trouble. The local sheriff had known the murdered woman, and helpfully looked the other way on the assault issue. They'd booked as soon as they could, leaving the poltergeist job unfinished. Chances were the ghost would fade anyway once the murderer was locked away.
They both knew that it could have been much worse.
Sam was having flashbacks again. But, this time, instead of just remembering the events, he was seeing his tormentor's face on anyone that had similar physical features. Sights and sounds had been common triggers for the previous round of flashbacks during Sam's recovery…but then they had triggered panic, not rage. When Sam suffered one now, he was overcome by a furious need for revenge.
In Denver the guy had deserved it; he'd actually been a monster, although one of the human kind. Tonight, the target had almost been Dean. Sam didn't want to think of what might have happened if he had not stopped himself in time.
Sam sighed dejectedly, dropping his face into his hands. "Every time I think I'm past it---"
Dean nudged him with his elbow. "Hey. Don't worry about it. You caught yourself before I had to kick your ass. That's what's important."
Sam laughed despite himself and nudged back. He played along, more out of habit than actual levity. "Yeah? You and what army, Shorty?"
Dean answered by hitting him in the back with the pillow. "Get off my bed, Jolly Green. I'm gonna try and find us a gig."
His brother did have a knack for lightening his mood.
Sam retreated to his own bed while Dean flipped through the paper he'd snagged from the bar. He was glad the conversation had taken a lighter turn. Right now, all he wanted to do was put Drew and his abduction out of his mind again. Though, he had to admit, that had been getting a lot harder since they'd left New York.
His burgeoning relationship with Sarah Blake had consumed much of his attention while they were there. Her idea of "therapy" was considerably different, and more pleasurable, than Dean's. Although, much to Dean's apparent disapproval, they had spent as many nights simply talking as they had…distracting each other.
Sarah had proven to be an excellent "distraction" from his memories of Drew---
Aaand there he is again. Right back to Drew.
Sam sighed softly. He willed the sadistic son-of-a-bitch out of his thoughts. This time he chose to distract himself the way Dean had advised him to a few weeks back.
He pictured Sarah naked.
It worked, as promised. Simple but effective….
Changing into his sleep clothes, he dropped onto the waiting bed with a huff. While Dean studied the newspaper, Sam leaned against the headboard and picked up the television remote, intent on flipping channels. Dean noticed and looked up from his search.
"Have you, uh…you know…today?"
Sam ignored him, trying to look casual as he clicked past infomercials and newscasts. Ignoring Dean rarely worked, but he really didn't feel like practicing tonight. As expected, Dean wasn't dissuaded.
"Come on, Dean…not tonight. I'm beat."
"You know the rules, Sam. Once a day. Besides, when you're tired is the best time to exercise."
Sam rolled his eyes at Dean's rendition of John Winchester's old Marine drill instructor shtick.
"Okay! Okay. Fine," he pointed the remote at the TV and stared at it.
"No hands, Sam."
Sam sighed dramatically, "You know, I'm not ten…you don't have to talk down to me."
"Of course I don't," Dean intoned patiently. Too patiently. He could always get under Sam's skin like that. Sam flipped him off and set the remote down beside him on the bed.
He focused on it, furrowing his brow in concentration. He tried to visualize what he wanted to happen. That was usually the best way to make it work. The remote lay still for a moment, before jerkily rising into the air and pointing itself at the TV. The channels began flipping rapidly.
"Easy. Just relax and focus on what you're doing," Dean chimed. He didn't bother to look up from the paper, reciting by rote, having spoken similar words every night for more than three weeks. Sam knew without looking, though, that Dean was covertly watching him.
His fatigue was making the effort more difficult, and Sam grunted as a spike of pain flared behind his eyes. The batteries flew out of the remote with a loud pop, and the TV shut off abruptly. The remote and the batteries fell to the bed with a thump. He looked forlornly at Dean, whose eyes had left the paper and were flicking back and forth from the remote to Sam and back.
"I think you're over-thinking it, Sammy…." Sam replied with a soft groan, "You okay?"
"Headache…." Sam whispered, squeezing his eyes shut against the dull throbbing ache that had appeared in his forehead. He slid down the headboard, lying flatter on the bed.
Dean nodded and folded the paper over, "Yup. You overdid it. I told you, just relax and let it come naturally."
With effort, Sam cracked one eye open and looked at his brother incredulously, "Let my TELEKINESIS come naturally?"
"Hmm," Dean frowned, "point taken. Still---"
Sam let out a tired sigh, "I know, I know. It's just…sometimes I wonder why I bother." He'd been trying for almost a month now to gain control over his psychic gift, ever since it had re-emerged so suddenly during their trip to Mississippi with Sarah. Despite Dean's encouragement, he was no closer to controlling it---really controlling it---than he had been then.
Dean stood, stepped over and dropped onto Sam's bed, punching Sam's arm lightly as he did, "Hey, Sammy…I know you're frustrated. And, I know I can't really understand what it's like to have…an ability…like this. But, I really do think that if you can get this under control, the visions won't be far behind. You just gotta keep trying, man."
Sam opened his eyes part way and met his brother's gaze, "Yeah. I know."
"It's only been a few weeks; we'll figure it out," Dean continued, "Headache bad?"
"Nothing some sleep won't cure."
"Good, 'cause I got us a gig."
Sam pulled himself up and took the paper out of Dean's outstretched hand, "What is it?"
Dean pointed to a small article at the bottom of the page, "Read. Right here."
Sam read aloud from the page, squinting to clear his vision through the headache, "Um…local man found dead, no cause found…." He looked up at Dean skeptically, but Dean just motioned back to the article.
"Police suspect foul play, but examiners could find no cause for the man's demise…wounds were severe…but not severe enough to cause death. Only suspect is George McDowell, a local cemetery worker, who had been seen in the vicinity…but no evidence has been found that links him to the incident. Hmm. Where was this?" he scanned the headline, "Truth or Consequences? What the hell…is that a town?"
"Yeah, little place. They named themselves after that old game show back in the fifties. All part of some big publicity stunt."
He looked at his older brother as if he'd announced that he could fly, "Dude…how…why do you know that?"
"Hey, I know things."
Sam stared at him until Dean shrugged and admitted the truth, "Okay. I saw a special about game shows the other day on the History Channel."
"You were watching the History Channel?"
"Yeah, while you were busy soaking up all the hot water like a punk," Dean shot back, then looked at him expectantly, "Well?"
Sam nodded slowly, "Sounds like a maybe…yeah. We should check it out."
Dean patted him on the knee, grinning like a child with a new toy, "Man after my own heart, Sammy. Get some rest. Game Show Central isn't far from here. We can head over tomorrow."
Sam settled into his bed while Dean moved back over toward his own. He let his eyes start drifting shut as he watched his sibling pour salt lines along the door and windows, then undress and climb under the covers. He saw Dean's eyes meet his.
"Don't worry, Sam. We'll figure it out."
Sam knew he was referring to his trouble with the telekinesis, but he didn't answer. Instead, he just smiled slightly and pulled the sheets closer to his head.
"Goodnight, little brother," Dean replied quietly, communicating more in those three simple, heartfelt words than most "normal" people did in a lifetime of chick-flick moments, before shutting off the lights.
He was in Denver. He knew it because he remembered the ugly siding on the houses and the incessantly barking dogs next door. He saw the blonde man, the sociopathic neighbor…Greg Stimpson…no…not Stimpson…Drew. The vampire. Before he knew what was happening, he was on top of the stocky man, punching him in the face. He couldn't stop himself. He didn't want to stop himself.
He felt hands grab his shoulders. Dean.
"Sam! SAM! Get off of him! Sammy stop! You're gonna kill him!"
He felt the strong arms pulling him back, and Dean wrestling him to the ground. He screamed with rage, straining to get up, but Dean held him down. The blonde man---not Drew, Stimpson---bled quietly a few feet from him until the world dissolved and was replaced by a tacky hotel room. Another tacky hotel room….
He sat on the bed, staring at the closed bathroom door. He could see himself when he looked down…he was wearing only a towel, as if he'd just came from the shower. But he was disconnected. Numb. He didn't feel a draft or even know why he wasn't dressed. He looked up at the door again. Well…his head moved and he WAS looking at it again, anyway. He waited until the door opened, and his brother stepped out, also wearing a towel.
"Sam…why aren't you getting dr---"
He didn't wait for Dean to finish; he stood and jerked his head in Dean's direction. Dean slammed into the wall without Sam ever moving toward him. Then, he was in front of Dean, pressing Dean's own knife against his throat.
"How're you feeling, big brother?" he sneered.
He glanced in the nearby mirror…and did a double take. Drew's image looked back at him. His eyes were cold, hateful. Blood dripped from his fanged mouth. Shifting his gaze back to Dean, the hotel room dissolved and the cabin from Ohio shimmered into existence. Dean hung from the ceiling rafters, the chains clinked lightly as he swung back and forth.
It wasn't possible. This place had been destroyed. Dean had burnt it to the ground.
Sam felt himself grin as he slowly drug the blade down his brother's chest, living a trail of crimson blood pouring out of the incision.
Dean's anguished eyes looked down at him, but his voice was cold and unfeeling when he spoke.
Sam gasped and lurched into a sitting position on the bed. Panting, he glanced over, finding Dean sleeping peacefully in the other bed. He blinked away the last vestiges of the dream, shaking his head slightly in order to clear it. The images of Dean bleeding stayed with him, as did the sight of Drew looking back at him from the mirror.
He wiped the sweat off his face, and swung his legs onto the floor. The cabin was gone. There was no way they'd ever see it again. And Dean had addressed him specifically before the attack…so he wasn't seeing it through someone else's eyes as he had in the past. He had attacked Dean…or was going to. But why?
My God, what does it mean?
The image of Drew and that hated cabin floated through his mind. No distractions could expel it this time. A glance at the clock told him it was 4 AM.
He had no desire to return to sleep, no desire to see those images again---as he knew he would if he tried.
He stared hard at Dean's back, unwilling to believe that it had been a mere nightmare. His heart pounded in his ears as he rose silently and moved to the room's small table. He switched the laptop on, muting the speakers so that the noise wouldn't wake his blissfully unaware sibling.
He knew he'd have to tell Dean what he'd seen. After Picayune, and the terrible price Dean had paid for Sam's silence after a vision, he couldn't risk not telling him. Besides, he'd sworn to his brother that when it came to these visions, he'd be open about it and not internalize it all as much.
But, what was the connection between his apparent attack on Dean…and Drew and that vampire nest? Another glance confirmed that Dean was still asleep. He turned back and stared at the laptop's glowing screen…then started surfing the internet aimlessly, not knowing what he was even looking for. Almost unconsciously, he typed in a name to search for.