A/N: The lovely and talented LinnieMcCary issued a challenge a few weeks ago. She asked for the POV of one or more characters in the scene from AHBL2 beginning with Jake coming to the cemetery and ending when Dean pulled the Colt from the doors of the crypt. This is my response, from the dual POV's of Dean and Bobby. Linnie herself graced me with a quick and amazingly thorough beta (as well as a great title!). Seriously, I learned a lot from it. Anything you don't like is probably something about which I didn't take her advice!
Disclaimers: All characters in this story are the property of Eric Kripke and the CW. In addition, direct quotes from the episode AHBL2 are in italics and are the property of the CW and the episode's writers, Eric Kripke and Michael T. Moore. This is a fan-authored work of fiction. The author is making no money from it and intends nothing but the greatest respect to the series and those associated with it.
If you have gotten this far, I hope you will read and enjoy. Comments are greatly appreciated (although I will be on vacation and Internet-deprived until June 16th and may be slow to respond).
What Fresh Hell - ParallelVerse
Dean knew cemeteries. He had been in a lot of them over the years, from the crisp, orderly and anonymous modern variety with small plaques and headstones standing in serried ranks like soldiers at attention, to the atmospheric, cluttered and distinctive older version, replete with grandiose mausoleums, cenotaphs and oversized, decorative tombstones scattered haphazardly over the grounds.
This cemetery was older than most. Gothic in both appearance and ambiance, it had in addition a distinctive, primal smell of loamy earth and decaying flowers laid over the cool, astringent odor of stone. Despite the lateness of the hour, there was enough light from the moon and stars to make it fairly easy to see. But the grave markers cast long shadows in the thin light and gave the grounds an ominous and mysterious feel.
Well, after all, that was only appropriate considering the ancient secret this place had been designed to conceal. And Dean, Sam, Bobby and Ellen were within reaching distance of that secret, a thought that was as disturbing as it was tantalizing. Because it was looking very much like the secret of this place was a big part of the reason Sam had…died. Been murdered as part of the Yellow-eyed Demon's sick contest for the dubious privilege of becoming its human general in its war against humankind. Killed by that backstabbing asshole, Jake, for whom the four of them now waited.
Dean pushed away all thought of Sam's death. Too close, too raw to be tolerable, even though Sam was alive now. Alive and watching Dean's back as Dean watched his. Not that Dean was entirely happy about that. He would have preferred to have Sam tucked away someplace safe, recovering from…what had happened. But Sam had stubborn down to an art form and even revealing the truth to Sam about what Jake had done to him—and what Dean had done to fix it—probably wouldn't have kept him out of this fight. Assuming Dean was willing to tell Sam to begin with, which he totally wasn't. Dean was simply going to have to be extra vigilant, because no way Jake was going to get a second chance at Sam.
Where are you, you son of a bitch? Dean thought to himself. The heat of his anger warred with the cold seeping through his jacket from the spired cenotaph behind which he hid. Sam, Bobby and Ellen were equally well hidden amidst the monuments to Wyoming's pioneer dead. Oddly, Dean was aware cerebrally of Bobby's and Ellen's presence, but his sense of Sam was entirely visceral, almost as if some invisible tendril of Sam's soul was connected to his own, as tangible as a piece of cord stretched between them.
Hell, for all he knew, that might be true. His bargain had bound his soul to Sam's, even tighter than it had been already. When the Crossroads Demon came back in one year to claim Dean's soul, she would be tearing it away from his brother as surely as she would be from Dean himself. And Dean knew what that felt like, remembered the horror he had experienced when he came to understand the sacrifice his father had made for him in similar circumstances. In all likelihood, Sam would hate Dean for what he had done, but he couldn't let himself think about that. Sammy was alive, would be alive. That was all that mattered. So, scared? Yeah, a little, because one year and then go to hell for all eternity? Not exactly a reason to celebrate. Regrets, though? None. If he had the chance to go back and do it over, he would do exactly the same thing. Sam was his brother, was pretty much his whole world. If Dean had to give Sam up to save him, then so be it. That was Dean's job. That was who he was.
For all the chaotic thoughts hammering at his brain, Dean still had years of training and discipline behind him, hunter's senses so finely honed they almost worked without any conscious input on his part. He heard the faint, distant creak of the cemetery gate and knew immediately that their quarry had arrived. Whatever task Jake was here to perform for his new master, he was going to fail decisively.
And he was going to die.
He had murdered Sam. Dean's Sam. Stuck a cowardly knife in Sam's back and left him to die in Dean's arms. There was no forgiveness for that on earth, in heaven or in hell as far as Dean was concerned. Jake had to pay. Dean would watch the light go out in his eyes without guilt or regret. Wasn't like Jake even had a claim on being human any more. He had forfeited that when he'd decided to play the demon's game for keeps.
At the soft sound of footsteps approaching, Dean melted around the corner of the cenotaph out of Jake's line of sight and waited for his moment.
Bobby knew cemeteries. Been in more of them over the years than he could count. Nowadays he left more of the field work to younger hunters and spent his time collecting ancient texts and ferreting out arcane mysteries. Knew himself to be an unlikely scholar. Barely finished high school and had always believed himself to be a man more at home with engine parts under his fingers than vellum and old leather. But his brain soaked up occult knowledge like a sponge, knowledge he was happy to share with other members of the hunting community at need.
Didn't mean he couldn't still handle himself in the field, though. He kept his weapons ready and his skills honed, even if he ran a little slower now and his bones ached more the day after. He figured that was a good thing because it looked like he'd been right a year or so ago when he'd told Dean and Sam that something big was coming and they were smack dab in the middle of it. Whatever it was, it was here, now, and the book knowledge would help, sure, but it was probably going to take a lot more than that. It was going to take getting down and dirty in some heavy shit.
Dean and Sam, Bobby thought. John's boys. He hadn't always gotten along with their daddy—hell, he had almost unloaded a shotgun into his sorry hide once and had thought about it more often than that—but those boys had claimed a place in his heart from the first time he ever met them, no matter how hard he had tried to keep that particular body part out of play.
If he was honest, he'd have to admit that his softest spot was for the elder of the two. Maybe it was because he had always understood Dean, or thought he had. He could appreciate Sam's basic kindness, his book-knowledge and research skills, and Sam was near as good in a fight as Dean or even John. But Dean was a born hunter. He ran on instinct, a need to save people and a dedication to destroying evil things as profound as Bobby's own. Add to that the kid's talent as an auto mechanic, his wiseass sense of humor, and his taste in music, women and beer…. Shit, Dean could've been Bobby's own son and Bobby would've been proud to claim him.
Only maybe Bobby didn't know Dean as well as he thought he did, because he had certainly failed to get how far the boy was willing to go to save his younger brother. Oh, he knew how much they cared about each other. Couldn't be around them long and miss that. Dean had practically raised Sam, been mother, father, brother, teacher, protector and best friend to the younger boy from the get-go. Even the hell he had experienced when Sam threw it all over and ran off to college hadn't changed the way Dean felt, though the pain of Sam's abandonment had added another layer of emotional scars for Dean to plaster over with sarcasm and a crooked smile. So Bobby had been damn well aware of the danger Dean was in after Sam had died. But Bobby was mostly afraid Dean would take it in his head to just follow his brother right into the grave. That was why he had tried so hard to convince Dean to bury Sam and come with him on the hunt for Sam's killer. When Dean refused to do either, Bobby had left as asked, but with a heavy heart and an ass-load of dread.
The last thing Bobby had ever expected was to open his door to find Dean and Sam—Sam!—standing on his doorstep and Dean not able to look him in the eye while Sam thanked him for a patch-up job he'd never done. It was only when the shock had subsided enough to allow him to think and he'd dragged Dean outside and confronted him that he had finally realized just how messed up the whole situation really was, how messed up Dean really was. And Bobby had wavered between beating the shit out of the boy and holding him until his own shaking stopped.
Circumstances in the form of Ellen—alive and more or less well, thank God—intervened and it may have been a mercy. He wasn't sure either one of them could have gotten past that moment otherwise. Even now that he'd had a chance to run it around his brain a few times, he still found it hard to believe that a man like Dean Winchester, a good man like Dean Winchester who gave and gave to the people he loved and even to a lot of strangers who had no claim on him at all, could look inside himself and find nothing of value except his ability to protect his brother at any and all cost. And to have sold his soul for his brother's life after everything he had suffered when his daddy did the same thing for him? Well, it was just fucked up way beyond the understanding of the simple man Bobby believed himself to be.
It was a considerable relief to hear the distant creak of the cemetery gate and realize that their quarry had arrived at last. Bobby was sick of his own thoughts and more than ready to get on with the business at hand.
The crypt—large, solid, ornate in a way that echoed the artistry Samuel Colt had applied to his gun-making—dominated the center of the cemetery. It was no surprise to Dean when Jake headed right for it. Sam's greeting—Howdy, Jake—stopped him less than a yard from his goal, and that did both surprise and disquiet Dean. Not that it was Sam who confronted Jake first. He had the right. Only the words Sam chose rang oddly in Dean's ears. They were the Yellow-eyed Demon's words, Meg's words. Never Sam's words—except when he had been possessed by the demon they had chased out of Meg.
They were all facing Jake at that point; Sam, Bobby, Ellen and Dean arrayed in a half-circle with weapons aimed. Jake was armed as well, and with a shock Dean recognized the gun Jake held. It was the Colt, Samuel Colt's special gun that could kill anything when loaded with the bullets the famous gunsmith had cast with his own hand. The Colt Dad had traded, along with his immortal soul, for Dean's life almost a year before. Dean had never thought to see it again, and the implications of its presence here, in Jake's hand, were stunning.
Jake glanced at Dean, Bobby and Ellen briefly and dismissively before settling his gaze on Sam, and Dean went cold with fearful anticipation as Jake spoke.
Wait…you were dead. I killed you.
Yeah, well, next time finish the job
I did. I cut clean through your spinal cord, man..
Dean tried not to look at Sam. Couldn't stop himself. Sam's glance cut like a knife. Eyes narrowed, brow furrowed, he threw silent questions at Dean that Dean couldn't possibly answer. Not here, not now. Preferably never. What the fuck, it wasn't like he really thought he could keep it from Sam for long. Sam was too smart for that. But Dean wanted some time. Time to get past Sam's death, which he knew would remain an empty ache in his gut and a hole in his heart for a while despite Sam's resurrection. Time to choose the right moment to tell him. Time to figure out how to tell him, and how to deal with Sam's probable reaction.
Time it looked like he wasn't going to get.
Nevertheless, he forced himself to look away quickly, face impassive, aware of Bobby's knowing glance darting his way even as he did.
Bobby had fully intended to kill Jake if he had caught the kid back in Cold Oak after he had stuck that knife in Sam's back and run. Jake had been too fast for him, had known the layout of the town and had slipped between the buildings and disappeared into the woods before Bobby could catch up. He was just as willing to do it now, if necessary, although he figured either Sam or Dean or both had dibs on that. First, though, he wanted some answers. Wanted to know what that yellow-eyed bastard had planned and what Samuel Colt had put so much effort into confining within his iron devil's trap.
And beyond that, he found himself unexpectedly pitying the kid. This despite the cold rage that coursed through Bobby every time his mind replayed the sight of Sam dropping to his knees after Jake struck, expression shading so fast from shock to agony to blankness, and, later, the image of Dean sobbing as he rocked Sam's lifeless body in his arms, face buried in Sam's neck and hand tangled in his hair.
The kid was so young. Same age as Sam, yeah, but he'd been shoved into the whole fucked-up mess with no warning, no preparation. Probably hadn't had any idea demons even existed before finding himself caught up in a sadistic game in which the winner was the biggest loser, losing everything he was. Sam, at least, had known what he was up against. If Jake could have trusted him…but was it really so surprising he hadn't? Jake was a soldier, trained in the kill-or-be-killed mentality of the military and, pushed to extremes, he fell back on that when he made his deadly choice.
Of course, none of that excused cold-blooded murder. Nor did it make it any easier to listen to Jake describing exactly what he had done to Sam and why Sam couldn't possibly be alive. Knowing what Dean had done, and how desperately he wanted to keep it from Sam as long as possible, Bobby was shaken to the core by the stunned speculation in the glance Sam cast at Dean. Hell, he'd wanted to throttle Dean himself over that stupid, self-destructive act of love, but his heart was bleeding still from the look on Dean's face when he'd begged—Dean Winchester, begged—Bobby not to tell.
Bobby did the only thing he could; tried to defuse the situation a little and distract Sam at the same time.
Okay, just take it real easy there, son.
Dean was grateful to Bobby for the timely interruption and attempt to calm things down, but Jake apparently wasn't having any of it.
And if I don't?
It was Sam who answered. Dean could almost feel the anger and tension radiating off his little brother, for all Sam was standing yards away from him. Sam's voice was cold and raw and the threat in it was soul-shaking.
Wait and see.
What, you a tough guy all of a sudden? What are you gonna do? Kill me?
It's a thought.
You had your chance. You couldn't.
I won't make that mistake twice.
Dean knew Sam better than anyone in the world. Knew when his brother was bluffing and when he was as serious as a well-placed bullet. It both jolted and infuriated Dean when Jake only chuckled dismissively, like he found Sam both amusing and unworthy of his concern. Jake damn well better be concerned about Sam, and about his brother.
What are you smiling at, you little bitch?
Bobby felt a distinct premonitory chill at Dean's words, although premonitions were hardly his stock in trade. But something was thickening the atmosphere in the cemetery besides the creeping fog, something ancient and hostile and threatening. When Jake answered, the way he answered, Bobby felt as much as saw the flash of otherness reflected briefly in Jake's eyes.
Hey, lady. Do me a favor. Put that gun to your head.
Horrified, Bobby watched as Ellen obeyed Jake's command, the sheer wrongness of it compounded by the obvious effort to resist that left her shaking all over even as she turned the barrel of her pistol to her temple.
See, that Ava girl was right. Once you give in to it, there's all sorts of new Jedi mind tricks you can learn.
Sam's angry order to Jake to let her go and Ellen's heartbreakingly courageous demand that they shoot Jake anyway pierced Bobby like a blade, even knowing that neither command would be obeyed.
You'll be mopping up skull before you get a shot off. Everybody, put your guns down. Except you, sweetheart.
Bobby looked at Ellen, brave, resolute and terrified, and laid his gun on the ground.
Dean looked at Ellen, standing next to him, shaking like a leaf in a high wind but still fighting, and knew he couldn't risk her life. He had once been suspicious of Ellen and had never quite come to terms with his feelings about her old grievance with his dad, but she had proved herself over and over to be a true and loyal friend. So much so that all he had been able to do upon discovering her in Bobby's scrap yard, alive after all, was throw his arms around her and hold on. He couldn't let her down now. He uncocked his gun and dropped it as well.
To his relief, Sam followed suit, raising a placatory hand before allowing his gun to fall to the ground in front of him. The next few seconds, Dean knew, could go a lot of ways, and most of them were straight to hell, but he trusted the people with him like he trusted no one else in the world. With a brief prayer sent up to a god he was far from sure he even believed in, he prepared himself to act.
Okay, thank you, and Jake broke for the door of the crypt and jammed the Colt, barrel first, into an opening in the middle of a curiously inscribed circle of bronze between the two doors.
Dean made a leap for Ellen and knocked her arm away so that her pistol discharged harmlessly into the air.
Bobby dashed at Ellen, grabbed her just as Dean forced her gun hand up, and supported her when her knees threatened to give way afterwards.
When the retort of another four shots sliced the fog-heavy air, Bobby turned toward the crypt in time to see Jake stagger, red stains blossoming in an amorphous pattern on his back, and fall backwards onto the ground. Blood was pooling in his mouth and spilling over his lower lip.
Dean turned toward the crypt, saw his brother step around Jake's prone form and stare down at him, stone-faced. Heard Jake plead weakly for his life and watched in shock as Sam coldly fired three more shots into the man's chest.
What the hell? Bobby thought, staring into Sam's suddenly unrecognizable face as he and Ellen passed him on the way to the crypt.
Dean looked at his brother, down at the ruin that had been Jake and back at Sam again. Not judging, no, because Sam had paid for the right to be Jake's executioner, however much Dean would have preferred to take that role himself. But shaken and uncomprehending because his brother had carried out the execution without hesitation, in a way that seemed almost completely foreign to the Sam he knew.
And Sam offered neither apology nor remorse. He simply wiped his hand over his face where Jake's blood had speckled his cheek and stared at Dean as if daring him to comment.
The creaking noise coming from the mausoleum pulled Dean's attention away from Sam and he watched with the others as the incised wheel ceased to turn around the fulcrum of the Colt and settled into the shape of a pentagram. Dean was distantly aware that the symbol meant something, portended something, but most of his attention was suddenly riveted on the Colt itself. With Bobby's shouted warning ringing in his ears, Dean jumped forward and wrenched the Colt out of the lock. He turned and ran, hurled himself over the nearest headstone and hunkered down behind it, checked quickly to be sure that Sam and the others had found protection as well, and clenched his hand tightly on the handle of the Colt. And then, between one breath and the next,
All Hell Broke Loose.