A/N This is my second Supernatural FanFiction, thank you so much for your positive reviews everyone! This one started out with the intention of some post Something Wicked fluff, this came instead. The time table is the same—but this is a little darker than originally conceived. Egyptophiles—I know I have taken liberties with the Eater of Souls. The story is now complete. Please review, I really appreciate your insight!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Supernatural, just stopping by to play.
Rainbows in the Dark
The sound of Dean's voice woke Sam. Dean was talking again. After a week of increasingly sullen silence and solitary drinking you'd think he'd be glad his brother was talking. But this was different. Dean was talking in his sleep, the same nightmare, the same words, the same conversation, for days.
Sam was worried.
It had started nearly two weeks before. Sam knew something had been weighing on his brother. He had been withdrawn and detached. Dean had disappeared a couple of nights, only to return to the hotel late, drunk and unwilling to talk to Sam about what was going on. Sam tried, over coffee, over lunch--even when Dean was drunk. But nothing seemed to reach him.
Sam had been patient. Dean had fallen into a funk before, and after several days, a few drunk nights--and usually a bar fight--he got back to himself. But that wasn't happening this time and it was beginning to be a cause for concern.
Sam had found some interesting news on the Internet and passed it on to Dean one evening before Dean could disappear to the lounge. He had been looking for something, anything, to distract his brother and he thought he had found it. Something was mauling people in Farmington, New Mexico. Bodies, or more specifically little bits of bodies, had been found scattered around the city. In the parks, vacant lots, a catholic school and even a National Monument.
"Seems like something we might want to check out Dean," Sam said, hoping to pull Dean out of his black humor.
"Yeah, whatever, we'll go in the morning," he said heading towards the door.
"There are attacks every night. I think we should head that way now, man," Sam said. He realized how desperately worried he was for his brother. He thought the hunt might help.
"Whatever," Dean grabbed his bag and stalked out of the hotel, he got into the passenger seat of the car and pulled out a bottle of Jack. "You drive." Sam looked at his brother as opened the car door. Dean very rarely volunteered the Impala. Sam was worried.
"Dean…" Sam said getting into the car, "We need to talk."
"No talk. Drink." Dean said and took a pull on the bottle. He didn't speak again, not when Sam stopped for gas, not when they finally reached their destination, not when Sam checked them into "The Dancing Coyote Hotel". Not a word, nothing.
Dean slept away a lot of the morning. When he finally got out of bed he was hung over and belligerent and, except for the odd angry word, silent.
Sam had found out the name of the latest victim. Pearl Rivas was a cheerleader at the high school and had gone out with friends the night before. According to the police report, they had headed out of town to a popular drinking spot for high school students, built a fire and started to party. Sometime after midnight Pearl had walked away from the party, and then her friends reported hearing an animal growl and her screams. The police had found enough of her to identify, but not much else.
So Sam and Dean had gone out to the site of the attack, located on a mesa outside of town. Sam looked around for any kind of a sign of what they were dealing with. He found the place where Pearl had been killed--it was hard to miss--she must have left every drop of blood she had in the sand. The only other things of interest he found were some petroglyphs and one odd looking animal track. Sam took pictures of the glyphs and the footprint. He looked for Dean and found him sitting on a rock looking over the valley.
"Dean, you find anything?" His brother shook his head and stalked off towards the car. Sam trailed behind him. As near as he could tell, except for a couple of angry barks, it had been nearly 36 hours since Dean had spoken to him at all. Sam felt a little lost, usually they talked through a job and now, nothing.
That night was the first night that Dean's talking in his sleep woke Sam. He sat and listened to his brother's words, some distinct, some not, some utterly heartbreaking. Dean laid bare. It hurt him to listen. It worried him. The next morning Sam struggled with whether or not he should talk to Dean about it. He chose not to, convincing himself one bad night didn't mean anything.
They continued the hunt, there had been another death, this time outside of town in an apple orchard. Sam found the same smear of blood on the ground and another one of the strange footprints in the soft earth along the edge of an irrigation ditch. Dean followed behind him, not really looking at anything.
"Dean, what do you think? This looks like the same kind of track. What does it look like to you? It's animal, I think, but it seems too big," he said looking back at his brother. Dean just shrugged. Nearly all the hours since they had arrived in Farmington and Dean had not spoken, except in his sleep. Nothing.
Three o'clock in the morning and Sam was pulled from sleep by the sound of Dean's voice. He seemed to be having the same dream as the night before. At least the gist of the conversation was the same. Sam wondered what the chances of the same dream two nights in a row were.
The next morning Dean was even more silent and withdrawn. There had been yet another attack, miles from the one the night before, in another popular underage drinking spot. Sam found the tracks fairly quickly, now that he knew what he was looking for, and he also found some of the same petroglyphs he had seen at the mesa. He took pictures and they headed back toward the hotel.
When they got there Sam sat down to do some research and Dean lay down on the bed. Within fifteen minutes he was asleep, half an hour later he was talking. Sam paused to listen. Dean was--had been--dreaming about their father, at least the half of the conversation Sam heard was directed to "Dad."
"I fucked up, Dad," That one made Sam almost smile. The one time he had tried swearing in front of John Winchester his mouth had tasted of floral hotel soap for days. "I really did" Dean continued, he sounded like he was answering a question, then he launched into what Sam was beginning to think of as "the litany"
"I almost got Sammy killed, again. My fault. I brought him back to this life, he doesn't want it, he should be in college. My fault. Jessica is dead because I took him away. My fault. He blames me for that, I know, and he should. My fault. I should have never let him come back after Indiana. My fault. People are dead because I didn't act soon enough. My fault. Sammy could be killed. My fault. My fault, dad."
Sam braced himself for what he knew would come next, something that had chilled him to the bone the first night, then again last night. "Of course I will. I will die for him. Of course. I know it's coming. He'll be fine. He'll be ok, better off without me. I should never have let him take me to that faith healer. He'd be safe at school. Of course I will die for him." Sam realized what terrified him most was Dean said will, not I would die for him--talking about a possible outcome--but I will, immediate. Frighteningly immediate.
Dean was answering questions now, just as if their father was sitting there speaking with him. The same answers, exactly the same. At the end of this he would drop back into a fitful sleep. No more words, nothing.
Sam ran his hands through his hair. One nightmare could be expected, a second identical dream--maybe. But three? Exactly the same? That was enough out of the ordinary to be troubling. Dean had been vulnerable after the shtriga, maybe he left himself open to something? Even though the black mood had started before they arrived, the dreams didn't start until they had arrived in Farmington, did it have something to do with the hunt?
Dean woke around four. He seemed disoriented and exhausted as he got out of bed. Sam walked over to where his brother stood beside the bed.
"Dean?" Sam said, beseeching. "Come on, let's talk, maybe watch some TV? Spinal Tap is going to be on in half an hour." No response, nothing. He grabbed his brother's arm and shook him a little. "Do you want to get something to eat?" Nothing, Dean didn't even look up and Sam's concern was beginning to boil up and over--coming out angry. "God damn it Dean! Talk to me!"
Dean looked right through him and headed out to get some air, at least that was what Sam assumed. He hadn't said anything.
Sam sighed. His worry and concern were manifesting more and more as irritation and anger. Even down right bitchiness. The desperation that drove him to figure out what was going on with his brother was keeping him up most nights. He wasn't eating right, he wasn't sleeping right and the one thing that usually made things better--Dean--was completely absent.
He tried to make up for his outburst. He had walked down to a grocery store by the hotel and bought a few choice treats for Dean. The "new improved giant size" bag of M&Ms, Doritos and a local microbrew. When he got back to the hotel Dean was back, too, sitting at the small table. To Sam it didn't look like his brother was there at all.
"I got you some food, if you can call this crap food," Sam said with a forced smile, putting the bag down on the table. Dean reached out and looked through the bag, he pulled a beer out and opened it.
"Don't you think you should eat something?" Sam said, trying to remember the last time he had actually seen his brother eat. "Ah, come on man. You have to eat, do you want to starve yourself to death or something?" The minute the joking words were out of his mouth he regretted them. Dean looked up and for just a minute Sam saw recognition in his eyes, he saw a depth of grief that took his breath away and he saw the answer to his joking question--yes.
Now, days later Sam was still chasing the beast. It had been summoned, he was sure of that, it was savagely evil, he was sure of that. It wasn't a skin walker or a Black dog, he was sure of that. He was sure it was something old. Something very old, ancient in fact. An Eater of Souls. He had found the first lore in the "Egyptian Book of the Dead," then other references in other sacred texts. The creature was seen as the servant of the gods by some, but others saw it only as a thing of evil, of pestilence, a mixture of vengeance and death. The creature who devoured a sinner's soul and then consumed his body, leaving nothing.
After interviewing one or two of the victims' friends a pattern was beginning to emerge and Sam thought it might have something to do with what was wrong with his brother. Each person he talked with said their friend had become more and more withdrawn, Pearl's boyfriend said she had been talking in her sleep about things she had done, mistakes she had made and how she just wanted to die. The stories synched up with what was happening to Dean.
Now, after more and more seemingly endless conversations he was pretty sure he knew where it would attack, he thought he had found the next victim, a teacher this time, so he was cleaning their weapons and making sure everything was ready. Hoping he had figured out the right way to kill it, he had loaded shotgun shells with rock salt, silver, and a collection of sacred herbs from nine different traditions.
He had given up trying to get Dean to talk with him. Dean was still not saying a word and he was still having the same dream. In fact, Dean was dozing--he seemed to sleep more and more--and he was dreaming again. Sam sat and listened as he worked through the litany, through his assurance Sam would be fine without him, through the question and answer session. Sam settled back, only this time there was more.
"Yes, Dad, I know. Tonight."
"I'm not sure you should come, Dean," Sam said when his brother got up that evening. "You haven't really been yourself and this thing…"
Dean looked at him, actually looked at him, for the first time in days. "No, I'm coming."
"Dean," Sam said concern coloring his voice. Dean ignored him. "Damn it Dean! You have to snap out of this! I can't work with you this way. You aren't working at all. All you do is sleep and drink and I am getting fucking sick of it! If you can't pull it together man you should just get out. Leave me to the hunt. I don't care anymore!"
"Fine, you don't care. I get it," he snapped, then he paused, "Sam I…"
If Sam had hoped that response from Dean would open the floodgate, he was wrong. That was all Dean said before he walked out of the hotel room. Sam stood with his back to the door, trying to regain his composure. He hadn't meant it to come out that way. He meant he was worried--out of his mind with worry in fact. He meant he didn't care about the hunt. He meant he only cared what was happening to Dean. He meant Dean should rest. He meant Dean should lay off the hunt for a while. He meant…
"Dad?" Dean's voice behind him, confused.
Sam turned, the thing, huge matted fur, stinking breath, smelling of death, stood there, in the hotel parking lot. "Dean!" Sam was moving towards the door, lifting the shotgun. He fired, hitting the creature in its neck. The thing turned on him, growling.
"Sam?" The gunshot reached Dean in his daze. He seemed come to himself. "Sam! No!" He threw himself at the creature. It slashed out, catching him across the chest. Dean crumpled to the ground.
Sam saw his brother fall, saw the creature move towards Dean, but managed to get close enough to fire the second shot directly into the thing. It screamed briefly, and then collapsed.
Sam rushed to Dean.
His brother was still conscious but he was bleeding. Seriously. Sam pressed his hand into the wound and felt the flesh squish around his hand. Dean groaned. Sam pressed harder, hoping to slow the bleeding. It wasn't working. He pulled out his cell phone with his left hand and dialed 911.
"I am at the Dancing Coyote Hotel. My brother has been attacked. I think he is bleeding to death."
They told him to stay on the line, they told him help was on its way. They told him all the reassuring things that meant nothing. He put the cell phone down and pressed his other hand into Dean's chest.
Dean groaned and looked up at him. "Looks like you get your wish, Sam. You wanted me to leave," he said bitterly. He took a shuddering breath. "Sam, I…" Dean's eyes rolled up into his head and he was silent. No more words, his breathing slowing, his heart laboring and then, nothing.
The blare of sirens filled the parking lot, but for Sam there was nothing, just his brother, under his desperate hands, lifeless.
"Dean, no," Sam kept his hands in place, his vision blurred as the tears started to fall.