Disclaimer: I don't own or make a profit from Supernatural
Thanks to Starliteyes for lending her wonderful beta skills.
Hell Is Where The Heart Is
Seattle, Washington 1995
"My daddy is so going to kick your ass."
John Winchester hadn't been "daddy" since Sam had turned twelve six months ago and deemed himself too old to be talking like a baby. At the moment, however, he felt that the childish endearment was warranted. Even at a young age he knew quite a bit about waging psychological warfare. Hell, he had been setting up verbal landmines for his dad since he could talk, and mentally screwing most every adult he came in contact with since he was seven.
The only person he couldn't get one over on was Dean, and that was because his brother had a scarily accurate understanding of his little brother's mind. The twist was that while Dean used his mouth as a weapon, causing as much collateral damage as possible with minimal word play, Sam used his as a beguiling tactic. Most times he had moved onto a whole new school system before his previous counselors figured out he had manipulated them with puppy dog eyes and little boy smiles.
So, yeah, he knew that a mad dad was scary, but a pissed off daddy was downright terrifying. And that was exactly what Sam was going for as he stared down the man who fidgeted on the far side of the room. It was time the guy started thinking about the consequences of his actions. He and his buddy, wherever he had gotten off to, weren't going to get off lightly for stealing Sam Winchester right off the street.
The Winchesters had moved to Seattle two months prior and enrolled Sam into the grammar school four blocks away from the small house they were renting. At first John had insisted that Dean walk Sam to and from school every day, but since turning twelve the youngest Winchester had developed a sense of self. That self being too old to be babied by his brother and it was only four blocks for cripesakes! At exactly 3:10 pm when he was being yanked into a nondescript white, panel van, Samuel John Winchester learned his first lesson about hindsight being 20/20.
His dad had taught him a lot of things in his young life. He knew how to salt and burn vengeful spirits, he knew that silver killed shape-shifters and that holy water worked at warding off most things evil. By the time he was ten he knew how to hot wire a car and pick a lock with criminal proficiency, and when it came to dealing with people it was necessary for him lie like a hardened con talking to his mama, but there was one thing that John Winchester never taught his children---how to fight a man without killing him. Huh, go figure.
Most predators out to snatch a kid would have been easily dealt with. They weren't prepared to handle a kid expertly trained in martial arts. They were just slime bags looking to take advantage of someone smaller and weaker than them. A well placed blow to the knee or groin would have put some sicko down for the count. However, the men who grabbed Sam weren't just two guys looking for trouble. They had the expertise of professionals, outweighed him by a hundred and fifty pounds at least, and they had a plan.
That plan being the classic mug and drug technique. Thirty seconds after they jumped him Sam was out cold from the chloroform soaked handkerchief they had forced over his mouth and nose. Thirty seconds and half a lifetime. Time had dragged to a near halt, and he saw every move in his head that he could execute to free himself from their clutches. After all, even against a bigger and stronger opponent he was still trained to win. The vulnerable spots that would bring an attacker down permanently were more clearly etched in his brain than the face of his own brother. It was the realization that two dead bodies with crushed windpipes or a sliver of sinus bone shoved into their gray matter splayed out in the middle of the street would be a whole other level of bad in an already piss fest of bad that stopped him cold. That and John Winchester's first and most Golden Rule shrieking siren-loud in his head.
Thou shall not kill….humans.
Everything supernatural was fair game. If it had claws and fangs, then the Winchester motto was that it got dead quick, but if it was human it was off limits. A couple times during hunts it turned out that the prey wasn't supernatural at all, but a twisted human doing horrible things to other humans. John's solution had always been to back off and place a well-informed anonymous tip to the police.
So with that warning ringing in his head, Sam had gotten himself captured by the enemy. Why they were the enemy he wasn't sure, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that he was going to be in so much hot water that it was going to boil his gonads when he dad did come and get him. It never even occurred to him that maybe he wouldn't live long enough to be rescued. After all most normal people lived by the Golden Rule. Didn't they?
"And if my brother gets a hold of you…," Sam let the words trail off, full of sinister promise.
He curled his busted lip into a mockery of a smile, flashing even teeth stained pink with blood. He dipped his chin, allowing his too long blonde hair that was just starting to darken with adolescence to fall in front of his eyes, hooding them. His eyes were his best and worst trait. They beamed goodness and sincerity that usually got him the extra cookie from the motherly waitress, but played hell with his bluffing skills.
He felt warm blood drip down the curve of his face, and he tried not to worry. Scalp wounds always bled the worst, and he was pretty sure that he didn't have a concussion. He did a quick mental check when they had first thrown him into the metal cage where he now stood. He wasn't seeing double and he wasn't nauseous, all of which was a good sign.
He was more worried about the wounds to his sides and back. He knew when they grabbed him that they were bad news, but it wasn't until they roused him from unconsciousness with an ammonia cap waved under his nose that he knew he was in trouble.
He awoke in a large hollow room that echoed every tiny noise five times over, making the fight that ensued sound like a World War III battle cacophony. He wasn't sure where they were, but the cement floor they threw him down on was damp, cold and had the subtlest sensation of sliminess beneath his hands.
They didn't give him much time to ponder his surroundings, since they proceeded to literally kick the shit out of him as soon as he hit the ground. He had curled into a ball and protected his face and head the best that he could, but their pointed cowboy boots had done some serious damage to his torso. They chucked him into a steel cage, just tall enough for him to stand in. By the time he had managed to struggle to his knees to look around, one of the guys was long gone, leaving him alone with Mr. Jerky Shorts.
Sam was pretty sure he had at least one broken rib, and no matter how well trained he was, broke was broke and it hurt like a---
"Sonovabitch," Sam whispered quietly.
John Winchester in his tried and true, balls to the wall, Marine fashion had ingrained in his sons that harsh language was perfectly acceptable in bad, I just might get shanked, situations. Sam figured that this qualified as one of them. So while normally, the word 'sonovabitch' was spat out often by his dad, and once or twice by Dean, it was never, ever allowed into Sam's very extensive and varied vocabulary. As a positive, Sam was fairly certain that his dad wasn't around to hear him mutter the word that was certain to get him bitch slapped in the back of the head. As a negative, his dad wasn't around to bitch slap him.
Pain and fear mixed well together and the glare that he threw at his captor was full of venom. Sam watched as the man paced back and forth in front of him. He was dressed in boots and jeans, a flannel thrown over a tee. He looked like a normal, blue-collar guy, but Sam wasn't fooled. He moved like a man who knew how to place one foot in front of the other with a fair amount of skill. The man moved like a Hunter, and that made Sam as nervous as a cat in a dog pound. He dipped the point of his chin closer to his chest, hiding behind his shaggy hair.
The move that was meant to conceal his doubt from his captor succeeded in making him look uncharacteristically wicked, as the shadows deepened around his babyish face half-coated with blood. Scenes from the Omen flashed in Frank's mind, and he was convinced that the kid that he had in the steel cage was ten times worse than that Damien boy. That conviction eased his tension a bit, but not by a whole fuck of a lot. Frank was used to being in bad situations. His entire life was one bad scene after another, starting with his dumpster birth behind the bar where his ma was hookin', but he was always confident that he could half-ass his way back out. This time he wasn't so sure.
Frank didn't even want to think about why the little boy thought his brother was more of a threat than his own father. What kind of boys had John Winchester raised? Killing machines, obviously. Sam was evil. Frank knew that to his core. Not just a little bit evil either, but the kind that drives kids like Dahmer to lobotomize their sex slaves or makes grown men fuck ten year-olds. No, Sam Winchester was the born in the fiery pits of Hell kind of evil. The brat had been baptized in demonic blood, and would soon rise up to take his place in Hell's army. He could very well destroy the world if they didn't stop him.
But what, Frank wondered, was the older boy's excuse? Sam was demon spawn, but Dean was nothing but one hundred percent, home-grown human. And according to Sam the half-pint was far more dangerous than their own battle-hardened, Marine-trained father. That put a shiver down Frank's spine.
He had met John Winchester once, years ago. He had been driven, intense and predatory. The man had taken to hunting after his wife died like a duck took to water. Already military trained, his familiarity with weapons and tracking had only enhanced his deadliness early on in the game and he put an impressive amount of kills under his belt in the first year alone. Now twelve years later he was the best in the business. The fact that he had taken that training and bestowed it onto his kids made this gig all that more dangerous.
The other kids they had taken had been easy prey. Most of them were neglected by alcoholic fathers that never recovered from the gruesome deaths of their wives and it was easy to snatch the kids from right under their noses. When he and Tom uncovered the clue that linked Sam Winchester to the Army of the Chosen, they both knew that they had stumbled onto something big. They had systematically been wiping out the Chosen for the last year, ever since a demon they were exorcising in Rhode Island had spilled the beans about Hell's plans, but hunting another Hunter's kid was no joke.
It wouldn't be so bad if they could off the brats at a distance, but sending the little bastards back to their demon daddy that spawned them took a fair bit of ritual. Frank glanced back at the kid who was huddled down at the bottom of the steel cage he and Tom had thrown him into after they beat him. Part of the ritual to killing a Chosen was spilling its blood, which they had done with relish. He checked the chalk lines to the Devil's Trap that was traced out on the cement floor of the warehouse, the cage squarely in the center, carefully making sure none of the lines were broken.
The protective circles were necessary to trap the demon after the boy's body burned. Once free of its mortal flesh the demon that dwelled inside would try to escape, but the Trap would keep it bound and the purifying fire would send it back to Hell where it belonged.
It was a horrible way to die he supposed, burning alive, but it wasn't like it was human or anything.
Sam watched as the man paced around the perimeter of the room nervously. He could see chalk lines laid out into a ritualistic design, but he couldn't make it out very well, and he didn't know what the runes meant. He eyed the shallow brass cauldrons that lined up at the points of the symbol painted on the ground, and he couldn't help but to notice that all the lines led to him.
As scary as that was, that wasn't what was making him afraid. There was the overwhelming scent of kerosene in the air. It was so strong that it was nearly burning out his nose hairs and his eyes were watering. He was thankful when the man opened the steel set of double doors to let some fresh air into the room. The cloying scent of gas mixed with the antiseptic taste in the back of his mouth from the chloroform was giving him a bad case of cottonmouth.
He wished he knew what the men wanted from him, why they had snatched him up. The one who was left behind to watch him was obviously the weak link. He was twitchy, his brown eyes darting between him and the door, like he couldn't wait to get away. The guy was good and afraid so Sam thought that maybe it was time that he started working on those negotiation skills his dad was always talking about.
"You know if you let me go I won't tell anyone what you did."
The guy just glanced his way, but didn't answer.
"Cause, you know, stealing a kid is bad news. I hear they do things to guys like you in prison."
The man whirled around, his face twisted up into a snarl. "Shut the fuck up, you demon spawn!"
Okaaay. That wasn't the way to go.
A high pitched chirping sounded from the guy's pocket. He dug out his cell phone, flipping it open to read a text message. He nodded, muttering to himself in a way that made Sam very, very tense. The guy pocketed his phone and paced behind Sam, pausing at one of the brass bowls.
"Whatcha doing?" Sam's young voice cracked and all of his throbbing bruises dulled beneath the buzz of panic that was suddenly strumming his senses.
The man leered at him sardonically, all of his previous nervousness gone. He held Sam's eyes as he very deliberately lit a match, his maniacal grin widening. Sam wrapped his scrapped hands around the bars of his cage, feeling the thin sheen of sweat on his palms as they slipped against the cold metal.
"Stop! Oh, God. Stop!" Fear cramped Sam's gut and he knew he was going to spew right there all over his shoes. He had been a couple of hunts with his dad and Dean, and he had been afraid, but never like this. Always he knew that Dean was looking out for him, and that dad was right behind him, but he was all alone now. No one knew where he was, and there wasn't going to be a well timed rescue. There wasn't even a monster he could fight off to make his dad proud. It was just a man. Nothing more. Just a human man and a lit match.
Frank dropped the tiny flame into the cauldron filled with kerosene, stepping back when it flared up to his knees. He felt all of his fear dissipate with that single action. John Winchester had been neutralized. The threat was gone. And now he was going to take care of one more demon before it could hurt anyone else. It was a good day to be Frank Potter.
The cauldron flamed and he kicked it over so it ignited the kerosene laced chalk on the floor. He watched as the fire raced along the lines, jumping into the shallow pots before streaming up the next line. He heard the kid screaming, but he couldn't hear much over the roaring of the flames and the pounding blood in his ears.
He ran towards the open doors, turning back to glance at the demon one more time. The brat was trapped in the cage in the center of the inferno, his blonde hair cast red in the blaze.
"Burn in hell, kid."
Sam watched as the man ducked out the door, leaving him in the center of the flames. He rattled the bars to his cage, screaming as loudly as his oxygen deprived lungs would allow him. Smoke filled the room, and his eyes watered, streaking his face with tears. All he could think of while he screamed for someone to save him was that he was wrong. So very wrong.
He wasn't too old at all to be walked home from school by his brother.