Disclaimer: We all know it - neither I nor anyone else around here own the Winchester boys. They're Eric Kripke's. Also, even though no actual characters from Firefly appear in this, the 'Verse mentioned is copywrited to Josh Wendon.
Just a note, even though this is a Firefly crossover, you don't really need any knowledge of the show to know what's going on. It would help a lot, but I think you'll be okay.
And yes, we are all free to laugh at imagining the Impala as a spaceship. It's not like I wasn't laughing the whole time.
Also, I apologize in advance for my horrible Chinese. We can all laugh at that, too. ;)
"We found him."
The three best words Dean ever heard, and only 532,784,121 miles of empty, oxygen-lacking Black kept him from jumping through the Cortex and kissing Ash square on the lips.
They found him.
It scared Dean that, in the end, it wasn't yellow-eyed demons that took Sam. People – living, breathing, shit-eating people – took Sam right out from under Dean's nose. Stole him. That had been seven months ago, when they were still docked in Beaumonde. It was enough time for Dean to have even more malicious thoughts against the Alliance.
It would be killing two birds with one stone, except the stone would be a huge rutting rock named Dean Winchester. He was going to rein Hell – or about as close as he could get to it – on the niao se de duguei who took Sam while dragging him right out the front door of the Academy.
Well, maybe the back door.
"Alright, sir. Just have to run your fingerprints and then you can follow me to the observation rooms."
Dean glanced up at the security cameras as his face appeared on a screen under the name James Hetfield. Jo wasn't lying; Ash really was a genius. How they found him without setting foot in the Blackout Zones was beyond him, but Dean chose not to question someone who was helping him with the impossible.
Then again, just because his file was altered and he put on a high-ranking uniform didn't mean someone behind the rotating camera wasn't putting two and two together and realizing that there was more than one Winchester in the facility.
"And an iris scan? Sorry for all of the security measures, but there was a breech about two months ago. Lost one of our pupils. We don't want it to happen again."
"I know all about it." He didn't. "I understand, it's fine."
A smile leaking of charm, a flash in the eye, a look of approval, and Dean swallowed the remaining doubt lodged in his throat so that it sat as an uncomfortable lump in his stomach.
"We don't really call them "psychics." It sounds too much like a science-fiction movie." Dean held back a snort of laughter at that, considering he basically had a spaceship parked outside. "That's what they are, though. Many of them have telekinesis, telepathy… the basics."
Dean feigned interest and professionalism. "The basics? It goes beyond that?"
"Some are empathetic, or process intuition. We have three here who are precogs, just to list some of the ones we're especially interested in."
"What do precogs do?"
"They see the future. Visions, dreams – just little flashes of things that haven't happened yet. We're working to perfect them. They're godsends, Mr. Hetfield, every single one of them."
Dean was watching the passing doors, names blurring in their plastic slots beside heavy doors. DuBois… Petrelli… Parkman…
"They're evolutionary wonders, advancing on their own. They're going to help us clean up the 'verse, save us from corruption. We are simply here to help them."
Dean stopped, purposely in front of that particular door.
About five minutes after Dean gets Sam out of the room, Sam has gone through several different visions, words spilling out over each other. He can't even walk, except for the occasional flail of long legs that only makes it harder for Dean to drag him.
He stops in an empty hallway, dropping both himself and Sammy to the floor and reciting words that used to be reserved for sickness or the aftermath of a nightmare.
Dean wishes this was the aftermath as he grips Sam's shoulders.
"Sam, Sammy… shh, fang xin, di-di. Qing, please, shhh…"
At that moment, a siren wails above them and Sammy lapses into Chinese, his voice rising to match the siren's volume. Dean drops the comforting words and continues on.
"He's much more unstable than the other two." The scientist had said.
"No shit." Dean whispers.
"Don't turn around."
The haunted whisper was audible only to Dean around all of the other words spilling out of his brother's mouth. He suppressed a shiver as he brought the butt of his gun down on the back of the scientist's head. Despite Sammy's once again unfocused, faraway gaze and mindless gabble, Dean put on a brave face and a smile that would have convinced any mental hospital he was cracked.
"Didn't need a psychic to tell you that, Doc."
Maybe he was.
It's actually the side door, but Hell is involved much to Dean's content.
He takes down three guards without a second thought before Bobby screams at him over the loudspeaker. He turns away from the guards, looking straight into the ship's windshield at his old friend, that insane smile returning. Sam literally shrieks gibberish that includes "ghuh-ghuh" and "kai dong."
Dean moves as a bullet slams into the wall where his head was, but another grazes his arm. Sam continues to talk, moving on to another vision of death. He can't stop them; Dean is the only one close enough to hear and react. Dean wonders how many times Sam has seen him die as he drags him to his feet and pulls him towards the ship.
They drug Sam when he doesn't – can't – stop screaming, even when they're planets away from the Academy. Desperate whispers die on his lips – "Dean, Dean, Dean!" – as he slumps into his big brother's arms and Bobby pulls the needle out. Dean doesn't move; just sits on the floor of the deck, just holding Sammy, just listening to him breathe as if he's a newborn.
"Can't wake up… can't…"
"This one is scheduled for surgery in a few hours. To compare traits between the other ones." The scientist said, crossing the room to stand under the blue light where someone sat strapped to a chair, stringing random words together. Dean watched, almost too afraid to cross the lifeless tile that made up the floor. The room felt and smelled like a hospital, bringing back to many memories.
Then the scientist took Sam's jaw in his hand, turning his head to actually look at him, and Dean was right beside them. It took every ounce of strength for Dean not to put a bullet in his guide right there.
"He's much different than the others already, though. We were monitoring him before he was brought here, and he was nothing like this. He was composed, and the visions came at random." Sam was looking past both of them, though the ceiling and searching for the sky. "Now he's all over the place."
"I understand he had a brother."
"We have theories that Sam's visions are based more on empathetic feelings. That he was able to control his visions when his brother was around. We didn't think of it at the time, and his brother is obviously no where to be found."
Suddenly, Sam snapped to attention, as if he suddenly saw and understood everything, and looked straight into the man's eyes as Dean found a grip on his gun.
"Don't turn around."
Dean doesn't blame himself for letting Sam get taken. Well, he hasn't for a few weeks now, since the nightmares stuck on replay stopped. It was always on Beaumonde, with Sam next to him one minute, just smiling up at the neon lights. Reds and blues and oranges shone on his face, his smile almost a shadow. Then Dean turned to squint through the pregnant crowd, and turning back, both the smile and his brother were gone.
It wasn't really blame now. It was anger back in the Academy, but now it's—
Sam's bunk smells like old books and wet paper. Symbols are drawn in various places all over the room, and salt lines the latter used to get in and out. Sam is looking up at him from the bed with wide and quiet eyes when Dean pulls his hands away from his face.
"Go back to sleep, Sammy." Dean says with a gentle tone. Sam keeps staring.
"I'm always asleep." He answers, but obeys anyway when his eyes slip shut. Dean doesn't even try to figure that one out; he's just happy Sam finally said something after three days of doing an impression of a rock.
Bargain was a good word. No one would get a bullet between the eyes in exchange for never touching his brother again.
Dean finally reappears after sitting with Sam though the first screaming fit in a week, leaning against the doorframe of the cabin while nursing a new bruise forming on his arm right where Sam hit him in the midst of thrashing about. He's too tired now to question himself for letting Bobby pilot his baby, but though the haze he's able to thank some higher power that Bobby is there.
"You should get some sleep." Bobby grumbles without turning around. Dean leans his head against the frame.
There's a beat of silence and Dean doesn't need Sam to tell what's coming next.
"So what do we do now?"
"It's dark in the cabin, except for the buzzing lights for different controls Dean still hasn't figured out. The sight of the Black is wide and infinite before them, with only a thick layer of glass standing between it and them. It's unsettling when Dean really thinks about, and almost remembers that he hates flying.
"What we've been doing." He answers.
"They're goin' to hunt you down, Dean."
"You picked an awfully nice time to tell me the consequences of this rescue, Bobby."
"You were pretty hell-bent on the plan as soon as Ash told you where he was. And in our line of work, it doesn't exac'ly keep us off the Cortex for Most Wanted."
"You saying I should have just left him there?"
"Everybody and their uncle know that's not what I'm sayin'."
"Then it's just one more thing they can add to their list."
Bobby finally turns, a look of annoyance on his face, but not anger. It's never anger when he's dealing with a Winchester's stubbornness.
"They'll be on us as soon as we land."
Dean meets Bobby's eyes, stern and serious, as he replies, "I dare them."
"Damn, this place is crowded."
"You're the one who said we should take a vacation."
"I didn't mean in the center of half of the 'verse's entire population."
"It's not too bad."
"Yeah, Sam, you keep telling yourself that. It's easy because you're huge."
"Sucks for you, then."
"Quit laughin-- where is the stupid bar? Come here, Sam, let me climb up on your shoulders."
Dean jerks, raising his head up out of his hands before he dunks it in the oatmeal in front of him. He groans at the ugly tablecloth – red, orange, and a green that sucks in the dim light of the ship with a big fu dog sitting in the center, grinning at him. It gives him a reason to abandon the slop and go deal with his sudden headache.
Sleep, Bobby's voice echoes in his mind, and he decides it's not a bad idea.
He passes the engine room on the way to the bunks, and finds himself surprisingly calm when he sees a figure hunched down near the beating heart of the ship.
"Are you sure she's a she?" Sam asks, his eyes never leaving the engine as Dean stops in the doorway.
"That's the first time you've ever referred to her as a "she" rather than an "it.""
"I guess I kind of know how it feels to be called an "it" now."
Both of them embrace the silence, all except for the rumble of the ship beneath their feet. Dean moves slowly but surely as he sits next to Sam, leaning against the wall. He takes in the sight of his brother – alive, awake, breathing – from the corner of his eye and pretends to watch the engine turn. Sam smiles suddenly, looking towards Dean.
"Step five. Acceptance." He says casually, as if continuing a conversation. "You skipped a few."
Dean just snorts and nudges Sam's head gently.
"Stay out of my head. There are things in here you're not old enough to see yet."
"I'm four years younger."
"Aha! Key word being "younger.""
"No comeback, psychic boy?"
But Sam's smiling, and that's all the reply Dean needs.
Sam leans his head against the iron wall, hands resting on his knees with his fingers twitching.
"I'm tired." He says with closed eyes. "And hungry."
Dean's already followed suit, his voice groggy and low. "There's oatmeal or something like that in the kitchen."
Neither of them makes the motion to move though. Just sit, side by side, like it's supposed to be. The engine, gears scuffing up against each other with creaks, is a lullaby, and Dean finds himself not caring when Sam's head lolls onto his shoulder.
He gets pulled down into a dreamless sleep, a small smile on his face.
Acceptance is definitely the right word for this.
niao se de duguei: piss soaked bastards
fang xin: Don't worry
di-di: little brother
ghuh-ghuh: big brother
kai dong: move