This is my gift to Hope Calaris as part of the SFTCOL(AR)S secret Santa exchange. She had two separate prompts.
visions return in S3 sending them to Lawrence, where they spend
Christmas with Missouri.
The boys spend Christmas in a motel, which turns out to be haunted by a whole bunch of ghosts because something horrible happened there on Christmas in the past.
I did a little research on the internet and low and behold if there isn't an actual haunted hotel in Lawrence. With a Hellgate on the fifth floor no less. Seriously, that's what the website said. Okay, they may have said doorway to another dimension. They say ta-may-to, I say to-ma-to. Either way, fun times!
I hope you don't mind Hope, but I've squished both prompts together. This story will be filled with Hellgates, time travel, cowboys, vampires and an honest to goodness Christmas Miracle. All that together equals a rollicking good time, Winchester style!
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Disclaimer: I do not own or make a profit from Supernatural.
A Christmas Miracle
The fire was spreading, living and breathing around him. The heat of it boiled his skin, searing his bones down to the marrow. The thick acrid smoke smelled like the breath of a thousand Hell Hounds. Men, women and children were pinned to the ceiling, their mouths wrenched open in endless screams. Their limbs were splayed apart, the edges of their flesh charring as the flames licked them. They struggled uselessly. The power holding them above his head was limitless.
Or was it him suspended over their heads?
He looked down at all the broken bodies beneath him, their fleshed burned off until only blackened bones remained. He struggled to free himself, but he couldn't feel his arms and legs. He heard laughter over the crackling of flames and he squint his eyes to see through the smoke.
Between the weaving yellow and orange flames he could see a portrait of a man surrounded by five little girls in snowy dresses. The man was dour looking and the girls' expressions were miserable. Beneath the painting was a brass plaque that he struggled to read. The flames danced in front of his eyes and his curses turned to screams.
A man rose up in front of him, a wide-brimmed hat slung low over his face. The fire flamed brightly behind him, casting the man in shadows. He tilted his head, pushing his cowboy hat back on his brow to laugh. Out of the shadowshe saw the flashing of yellow eyes, and heard a choir of tortured souls.
Sam jerked upright in bed, covered in a thin sheen of sweat, his heart pounding. In the next bed, Dean stirred, but didn't awaken. Sam sat hunched over in the bed. The only thing he could concentrate on was the pounding of blood in his ears and the harsh rasping of his breath.
The vision burnt its way behind his eyes until no matter where he looked all he saw was fire. He groaned, balancing his arms on his bent knees and pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes. He forced himself to breath easily, to withdraw from the vision until he viewed it as he would a muted television program. He no longer felt the heat of the flames or heard the screams of the innocents as he watched the scene unfurl remotely.
The portrait appeared out of the flames, and Sam concentrated hard on seeing the writing on the brass plaque before it melted from the wall. He scrambled from the bed, tripping over the covers as they tangled around his feet. He fell into Dean's bed, jostling the mattress hard with his knee.
Dean awoke abruptly. He was standing on the opposite side of the bed, his knife drawn and ready before Sam could mutter an apology.
"Sam?" Dean's voice held a dangerous quality that Sam recognized as confused caution.
"It's okay, Dean. It's just me."
Sam dumped his duffel onto the floor, flinging his possessions aside until he found a notepad and pencil. Hurriedly he wrote down the name he saw in his dream, staring at it for a second before making his way to his laptop.
"Sam?" This time Dean's tone was full of concern.
Sam powered up the laptop, rubbing his hand over his forehead as he waited. The blue light cast his features in sharp relief in the dark room, making the shadows beneath his eyes starkly visible. Dean moved to stand behind him, placing a comforting hand on his little brother's shoulder.
"I had a vision," Sam told the computer screen quietly. Dean's grip tightened on his shoulder.
"It couldn't have been. It was just a bad dream, Sam."
The laptop finished booting, and Sam logged onto the internet to do a name search.
"It was a vision, Dean."
"Dude, your visions were tied to the demon. Azazel is dead. No demon, no visions."
Dean removed his hand from Sam's shoulder, swiping his palm though his short-cropped hair.
"I saw him. Azazel was in my vision."
Dean paced away, counting the steps between his brother and the far end of the room. "That proves it then. It was just a bad dream. A nightmare."
The page Sam was searching for loaded and his hands dropped away from the keyboard in shock. Dean heard his brother's sharp inhalation of breath and he crossed the room to peer closer.
"Dean, we have to go home. We have to go to Lawrence."
Dean drew back sharply, putting distance between himself and Sam's glowing laptop.
"What the hell, Sam? We promised Bobby and Ellen we would swing by for Christmas dinner. You know I'm not big on the holidays, but dude, its food," Dean exclaimed with over-exaggerated excitement.
Neither brother cared much for the holidays. It was always a reminder to them of everything they lost. Dean had been just old enough to remember his last Christmas with his mother and his first one without her. Sam had never really experienced the holiday until his first and only with Jess. The memory was so bittersweet that sometime the sight of colored lights would cause his throat to tighten up.
Sam twisted in his seat, bringing the laptop closer so his brother could see.
"It may have just been a dream about the demon, but I definitely have never seen this portrait of Colonel Shalor Eldridge and his family."
Dean dragged his gaze away from the intensity he saw in Sam's eyes, and looked at the computer screen. A portrait of a man surrounded by five little girls stared back at him. The heading beneath the picture announced the man's name and that his legacy, the elegant Eldridge Hotel still stood in downtown Lawrence.
Dean dropped his eyes, rubbing his hand wearily across his face. Sam waited quietly, his dark eyes intense and driven. Dean knew that look. He had lived with it for a year while Sam desperately tried to disprove his destiny as a chosen child of evil. The last six months that look had worsened as Sam strove to find a solution to Dean's ill-fated deal. Either way, it boded no good for Dean. No matter how much he blustered that he was the oldest and in charge of making all of the decisions, inevitably he always did what his little brother wanted. He didn't do so out of duty or family obligation. He did it so he could help lift some of the burden from his brother's shoulders that was weighting Sam down with every passing day. He did it because he loved his little brother.
"Well, hell. What do you think Missouri is doing for the holidays?"