a Supernatural fanfic
Notes: AU crossover with X-Files/Tru Calling/Labyrinth/Watership Down/Buffy.
Summary: Some things never change.
1. The X-Files
Scully stepped through the open door into darkness, drawn gun in one hand, flashlight in the other. She played its beam over the interior of the storage room, striking bare walls and bare floor, the ghost imprints of shelves and cabinets visible in the dust. Her partner was nowhere in sight.
"Winchester?" she called. "Where are you?"
"Over here, Scully."
In another room, her partner crouched by the remnants of an intricate design chalked on the concrete floor. Someone had tried to erase it, but the scuff marks and smudged lines could not wholly disguise its ritual nature--symbols of warding and summoning, sacrifice and power. Scully had seen its like enough times for her mind's eye to sketch in the rest.
The smell of sulphur lingered in the air.
"There's no one left in the warehouse," she said, holstering her gun.
"They were here," Winchester said, without looking up. "It was them, Scully, I know it." He didn't say anything more, but Scully could read the tension in his neck, the tightness in his shoulders. He traced the chalk marks on the floor, and she knew he wasn't seeing Laurie Cole or Josh Parkinson or any of the other missing kids, but another little boy vanished from his own bedroom many years before.
"Winchester--" she began, and didn't know how to continue, didn't want to say anything as inane as "We'll find him." Three years ago she hadn't even believed in the existence of the paranormal, would have laughed at the idea of demons snatching children away. And now it was her job to investigate exactly that, hauntings and possessions and other occult phenomena, but above all else to find Sam, and she wondered how Winchester's obsession had become hers too.
She laid a hand on his shoulder, but he stood quickly and allowed it to fall. "No time to get all mushy on me, Scully. We better go talk to the delivery guy before he skips town too." He let out a rueful sigh, but his knuckles were white.
As Scully followed her partner outside, she thought that the worst thing must be knowing that his own father had once been involved in orchestrating the disappearances. John Winchester had died with those secrets locked inside him, though sometimes Scully suspected that Mary Winchester knew more than she told.
But it was John Winchester whom Scully blamed most, for laying that burden of guilt and responsibility on his remaining son. What kind of man would trade away one of his children and put the other one through such misery? What temptation could possibly drive a man to make that devil's bargain?
If there was indeed a hell, Scully thought, she hoped John Winchester was roasting in it.
2. Tru Calling
"I don't get how you can work here," Dean said, swinging his legs from his perch on the edge of the desk. "Doesn't it creep you out, being surrounded by dead bodies all the time?" He jerked a thumb in the direction of the cold chamber down the hall.
"It's called doing my job," Sam said, continuing his rummage through the office fridge. "Something you could stand to learn more about."
"I have a job!"
"Hustling poker doesn't count."
"Yeah, well, not everyone's cut out for med school."
Sam finally found what he was looking for, his hand closing over something cold and lumpy. He pulled out the icepack and tossed it to Dean, who caught it one-handed.
"Thanks, man." Dean raised it to his face, and froze. "Dude. You didn't use this for packing corpses or anything, did you?"
Sam rolled his eyes.
"Hey, just checking." Dean applied the icepack to his cheek and winced. "That's gonna be one hell of a shiner tomorrow."
Sam sighed. "Seriously, Dean, you've gotta be more careful. I can't always be there to haul you out of trouble."
"Yeah? You planning on going somewhere?"
Sam shook his head. "I don't know if you've noticed, but my job can get pretty crazy sometimes. I don't mean working here at the morgue, I mean--the other thing." He waved a hand, as though that gesture could sum up the whole hearing dead people, rewinding time, saving lives business. "And now that we know Mom could do the same thing I can do--"
"You think whoever murdered Mom is gonna come after you too?"
"I don't know. But I don't believe her death was a coincidence. It's all connected somehow." He paused. "They never caught the guy, Dean."
"You're forgetting something, Sammy. You've got one advantage Mom never had."
"Me," Dean said. "I'm not gonna let anything happen to you. If someone's out to get you, they're gonna have to get past me first." He looked deadly serious, a million miles away from his usual carefree attitude. Sam stared at him, amazed and, he had to admit, moved.
Some of what Sam was feeling must have shown on his face, because Dean's expression suddenly closed. "Sam," he said warningly.
"I'm touched, I really am," Sam said. "You know what? I think we should hug now."
Dean growled and threw the icepack at him.
"Wait, wait, I think I got it," Dean said.
The two riddle doors gazed back at him, expectation on their faces. And yeah, it was weird, but it had been that kind of day. All he wanted now was to find Sammy, kick the Goblin King's ass, and get the hell out of this maze.
"So if I asked you if he always tells the truth--" Dean frowned. "No, hang on--if I asked him if you always lie--" No, that didn't work either.
"Oh, screw this," Dean said, and kicked the nearest door down.
4. Watership Down
"Dean, something's wrong," Sam whispered. "You can sense it too, right?"
Dean lifted his nose and sniffed. The great burrow was flooded with unfamiliar smells, but of course he and his band were the strangers in this warren. "Only thing I can sense is a lot of fat, happy rabbits. And you know what, I wouldn't mind being one of them for a while."
"Something's wrong," Sam repeated. "This whole place is wrong."
"This another one of your visions, Sammy?"
"No. Just a feeling."
Dean tried to suppress a flare of impatience. "Look, I'm not saying I don't trust your instincts, 'cause I do. But we're safe here, underground, and if these guys try anything they'll find we're no pushovers. So just relax a little, okay?" He lowered his voice. "I think that doe over there is looking at you. Go say hello."
"You go," Sam said unhappily, ears twitching. "I'm going outside."
"It's raining!" Dean shouted after him.
Bigwig nudged up beside Dean. "What's wrong with him?"
"Hell if I know," Dean grumbled.
He hopped over to join a group of three or four fine does, whose company cheered him up considerably. One of them invited him back to her burrow afterwards, and cheered him up even more.
He woke at dawn next to the doe, whose name he realised he couldn't remember. He nuzzled her flank lightly and then went back through the run into the great burrow. He couldn't find Sam anywhere; surely he hadn't stayed out all night? But when Dean went outside, he found Sam huddled under the branches of a yew tree, fur damp and speckled with dew.
He didn't know if he should be angry or relieved. "You're a damn fool, Sammy. Let's get you inside."
Sam dug his claws into the ground. "There's something wrong with that warren, Dean. I don't know how I know, but I do."
"Come on, Sam. You can't hang around out here forever."
"Then I'll just go on by myself."
"You'll get eaten by the first owl that comes past! Come on, you can't be serious."
Sam slumped in misery. "What can I do, Dean? If you don't believe me, who will?"
He looked utterly wretched. Dean sighed, acknowledging defeat. Whatever wild notion Sam had got into his head, it had him worked up enough to risk his life.
Dean didn't expect Bigwig and the others to like the idea of leaving any more than he did. And if they didn't want to, well, there was still no way he was letting Sam go off alone. The idea of two vagabonds wandering across open country gave him the chills, but as long as they looked out for each other, he reckoned things would turn out okay.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
They stood on top of the tower, storm winds gusting around them, the brilliant blaze of the portal like a wound in the sky.
"What the hell are you doing, Sam?" Dean gripped his brother's shoulders, holding him in place. "You trying to get yourself killed?"
Sam struggled weakly, eyes fixed on the portal. "Let me go, Dean! I have to do this. Before it destroys everything." Blood stained the robe Glory's minions had made him wear for the ritual, oozing from the cuts on his stomach to slide down his legs and drip onto his feet. It made Dean's insides twist into knots, made him fiercely, unrepentantly glad that the one responsible was dead.
"That's not gonna happen. Stop saying stupid things."
"Glory told me everything," Sam said, and Dean felt dread sink through him. "My blood opened the portal. So my blood--my blood has to close it--"
Dean shook his head, denying what Sam said, what Giles had said, what he knew was his duty as the Slayer but could not accept. Sam was the last thing, the last thing he had, and if Dean had to watch him die then the world might as well end for all he cared.
All he could say was, "No, Sammy, no," repeating the words like a mantra, and then it hit him that the words were true, that there was another way, because they shared the same blood, he and Sam, and maybe death was his gift, but no one said it was the only thing he had worth giving. He turned to gaze at the portal in wonder, and it was like Sam could read his mind, because he said, "No! Dean, you can't, it should be me, I'm not even a real human--"
"Sam," he said, and the quiet insistence in his voice shut Sam up the way yelling never did. "Do you remember--you remember when we were kids and I got my first bike and I wouldn't let you touch it?"
"You remember, right? And then one afternoon when I was in detention you snuck out with it and broke your arm?"
Sam nodded slowly. "Yeah. I remember." His eyes unfocused for a moment. "When I healed up, you said I'd better learn how to ride."
"How about the time I put Nair in your shampoo, and you got revenge by putting chilli powder in the toothpaste? Except you forgot to switch it back before Dad got home."
"Oh yeah." This time a shaky smile. "He grounded us both for a week."
"And remember during the divorce when Mom and Dad both forgot my birthday? But you went and got me that cake with the weird green frosting--"
"I remember. But Dean--none of that was real. The monks put those memories in your head when they summoned me."
"Like I care about that. You hear me, Sam? You're real enough for me."
Sam swallowed, eyes wet. Dean patted him on the shoulder.
"You have to grow up, Sammy," he said seriously. "Finish high school, go to college, find yourself a girlfriend. Settle down and have a bunch of little Winchesters." Sam was crying now, and Dean could feel his own eyes getting suspiciously damp. "You live a good life, Sammy. You do that for me, okay?"
"I mean it. And you have to listen to what I say, 'cause I'm your big brother." And because it was the end of the world, he allowed himself to pull his little brother close and kiss him on the forehead.
Then he turned to the portal, which wanted a sacrifice to close it, wanted Winchester blood. He started running, and god it was a relief, to know that the slaying was over, that he could lay it all down at last, that everything was going to be all right. He heard Sam calling his name, but he didn't look back.
Dean closed his eyes and leapt into the light.
- fin -