Title: No More Mr. Nice Guy 1 of 7
Rating: PG-13 for language.
Characters: Dean, Sam, Bobby, Crossroads Demon, ODC
Spoilers: for AHBL 2
Genre: uhhh, wellll . . . comedy. Trust me, really it is.
Word Count: 13,500 more or less
Disclaimer: They're mine! Mine! Until after I take my medication at least . . .
Summary: The Crossroads Demon has taken his brother. How far will Sam Winchester go to get him back?
Sam Winchester was avoiding people. All people, especially the ones who knew him well. Maybe most of the world wouldn't see the scars - the Impala's paint was as shiny and perfect as daily wash and wax could make it after all. And Sam's skin bore only the old, pale lines he'd had when Dean was still there. After a month, nothing showed of the clawed wreckage left by hell hounds except in his eyes. In his eyes, there was no perfect paint, and flesh couldn't survive the bloody destruction there.
She'd come on the dot, midnight, the last day. And now Dean was gone, and Sam was waiting for the dark of the moon.
Two weeks had never seen so long. The drive hadn't been long enough to distract him. Especially not when he was alone in the Impala, and the only passenger was his grief. Music - even what passed for Dean's taste in music - couldn't rattle the cold ache in his gut. Sam had honored tradition, though, and come back to the same crossroads.
He'd seen dead cats on the roadside, but they'd been tabbies, calicos . . . useless. He hadn't felt a twinge, though, when he'd trapped the stray and snapped its neck. Couldn't feel anything but that crushing grief and, yeah, rage. Rage at the Crossroads demon, rage at his dead father, at the world . .. rage at Dean. Who'd left him alone.
The dirt was drought dry as he scrabbled in it with his hands, digging. The rules hadn't banned a shovel but if felt wrong, somehow. This was work he would do with his own two hands, feeling the dusty, packed dirt crumble under his nails, mix with the blood of torn nails, scraped knuckles. He glanced at the trowel he'd brought but somehow that felt wrong. An act of sacrifice should take blood, should be the act of his own hands.
It didn't need to be deep, just deep enough. He knelt there staring at the shallow hole he'd made. It didn't look like much, not even shadowed on a night of the new moon, with nothing but the gloom of a misty night. Sam reached down, grazed fingers along the depression he'd dug. Shut his eyes and swallowed hard, feeling the sting beneath his lids. Then he opened them and picked up the box beside him. Flipped its lid back to run his scraped fingers over the contents, making sure of what he knew by heart. Black cat bone and scratchy dry herbs. All the rest. He set it down and pulled out his wallet, flipped it over and found what he wanted. A few gentle tugs freed the stiff piece of paper from the plastic sleeve. Sam couldn't see it in the gloom, but he didn't need to. He knew this by heart too, the way the camera flash had caught Dean by surprise, in the middle of a laugh. Even in the moonless night he could faintly see the gleam of Dean's teeth. Sam smiled humorlessly and put the picture in the box.
It didn't take long to bury it in the hole. He pushed the very last of the dirt back onto the small mound and patted it down oh so softly. And then took a deep breath and looked around the crossroads, where no one else stood. A breeze stirred the weeds at the border of the road, yellow yarrow growing thick at the boundaries of the thing spot in the normal, sane world.
Sam didn't know what to do with himself. How long he'd have to wait. He paced the crossroads, circling the square. Walking widdershins all the way.
This third circle was all it took. A woman's mocking laughter rang behind him, unmuffled by the mist. Sam shivered then turned slowly, knowing what he'd see already. She was beautiful to look at, of course. For a moment he wondered what face she'd steal if a woman dug the hole. Bobby might know. "I wondered if you'd come."
Her smile was wide and cruel. "For a Winchester? Of course."
She didn't so much walk as slink, coming within reach. Her hand touched his face, smooth, perfectly kept nails and soft skin should have felt good on his skin but her warm touch left a shivering sense of disease behind, like as if she'd left slime on his skin. Sam took a breath that tasted of perfume and rot and did not step away. "You took his soul."
"You had any doubt? I can let you see him, Sam. Would you like that?" She battered her lashes coquettishly and leaned close to breathe in his ear. "I can let you hear his screams."
He couldn't stop himself from pushing her away, snarling "You bitch."
"Thank you, Sam!" She started to circle him, drawing him into a counter-clockwise spiral. "What kind of deal did you call me for, sweetheart?"
"What makes you think I'd ever deal with you?"
She pouted. "No one ever calls me for anything else, honey. I put out, give you whatever you want, and do you write, do you call?"
"I don't want to play games with you," he growled, stopping and turning to face her.
"Poor little Sammy." She reached out, ran her fingers over his collar, down his chest. "No games tonight? Not going to try to lure me into a circle or force me into a deal?"
"Would you let me?" His words were bitter and he delivered them with a smile to match.
"You wouldn't ask if you didn't already know the answer." She shimmied her hips, drew a high-heeled foot up his calf. "I could offer you ten years, Sammy. Like I did with Evan."
He shuddered at her touch but held still. "But you wouldn't. You only offered Dean one."
Her laughter pealed, her throat long and fine as she threw back her head. "Would you take the year? I could come for you together then."
Sam reached up and wove his fingers through the hair at her nape. "Dean made his deal. And kept it."
She grinned gleefully. "Yes. He did. And oh, how he fought when I took him, Sam. He struggled. It made me hot. I wish you could have seen it."
"He didn't want me there." Sam spoke the truth in a quiet, sad voice.
It made her lick her lips and moan. "You and your brother. Your pain is so delicious. I can't wait to tell him about it."
Sam tightened his grip more, pulling back her head. "I'll tell him myself."
She twisted her head, miming sexual play in his hands. "Sammy, Sammy . . . much as I'd love to take you, I'm not going to give you a deal."
He bent over her, holding her up now. "My soul not good enough for you?"
She ran the pointed tip of her tongue over her bottom lip and slid her fingers along the waist of his jeans. "Something like that."
"Don't like the demon taint in my blood?"
Her eyes narrowed, her playfulness fading a bit. "Let go of me."
He felt the strength she started to bring to bear. It was . . . other than human. But he could respond in kind. "In law, there's the concept of a gift, bitch. A gift isn't a loan and it's not a trade. It's something you give freely. And the recipient doesn't need to know or care about it's value, you know."
"Let GO of me!" Her voice had gone shrill.
He tightened his grip instead. "I was given a gift. A couple of them, actually, if you consider knowledge a gift."
"I'll burn your bones in the pits!" She clawed at him. One of her nails dragged a vicious scratch down his neck. Sam pulled her in tight and wrapped his arms around, whispering in her ear. "I bet you'll have to stand in line, bitch. Take a number."
Something more than muscle fought him now. The air was sharp with the tang of ozone and her eyes glowed a lurid red. There was a high, horribly human screaming sound in Sam's ears, and then he . . . REACHED in and found what felt like the smoke of burning corpses inside her and twisted and she howled, long and loud. Her screams sounded nothing like the sickening whimpers he heard from all around, but unlike those agonized sounds, hers cut off when he wrapped his big hand around the pale throat and felt for the darkness within. He squeezed, just a little, then relaxed his hand and she drew in a gasp. Sam leaned close and whispered in her ear, "You're going to do something for me."
"I told you," she hissed. "No deals."
Sam smiled sweetly into her face. "I'm not asking for a deal. Dean made his deal. And he kept it. You took him. And now I want you to give him back."
Her lipsticked lips thinned. "It doesn't work that way."
He stroked her throat and shredded a bit of the darkness and she writhed and groaned, long and loud. When he stopped she nodded, tears of blood staining her host's pale cheeks. "What do you want?"
"I want my brother back. I want Dean Winchester, body and soul, resurrected on the face of the earth whole and free of you. He made his deal. He's not breaking it. You're choosing to give him back."
She bared her teeth, then hesitated, eyes narrowing. The faint screams were making Sam's skin crawl, and the look in her red eyes made him reach into her again, but she shook her head. "Wait! Wait. You want him back. Body whole, soul installed, 28 and free of . . . encumbrances." She hissed the legal term.
Sam watched her, trying to find the trap his instincts told him lay within her words. The screams had died away as if she'd given up on pressuring him with the sound and all the pain it held. He still felt them, in remembered empathy, and the thougt made his stomach ball up tight. Made him add, "and I want him free of hell's touch, you bitch."
She nodded fast, face ugly with fear. "Whole, soul in body, same age and . . ." There was the tiniest pause as her pink tongue flicked at the white teeth. "Free of hell's touch. Done!"