a/n: This is my very first Supernatural fic. For those that don't know me, I've spent the last couple of years in the House fan fic world, but after falling in love with this show recently I decided to give this a try.
This fic stems from a crazy idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a long time, and now I finally have the proper fic universe to use it. This will be a long one. I'm pulling my influences from films like Flatliners and Jacob's Ladder, with some mysticism from Led Zeppelin thrown in for fun. I'm really excited about trying this, and I hope it lives up to the many wonderful fics I've read in this fandom thus far. Happy reading!
The Path that No One Goes
Walking side by side with death
The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that's slow
The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through
To build a dream for me and you
They choose the path that no one goes
– No Quarter, Led Zeppelin
"Oh, thank God, there you are!" Relief swarmed through Sam as he ran toward his distant brother, all sorts of questions running through his mind. Where has he been the last few days? Why was he so hard to find? How did Dean get here without the Impala? Why isn't he pissed right now over being left behind?
"What's wrong Sammy?" Dean asked, perplexed as his frantic brother came closer into view.
"What's wrong?!?" Sam yelled, questioning why his brother was so nonchalant. "You had me worried sick. I thought you were dead!" Sam suddenly jerked, stunned to find he couldn't move any closer once he got a few feet from Dean. It was like a giant force field held him back.
"Why are you worrying? I'm a big boy," Dean said casually, almost mocking his brother over his excess reaction.
Sam pushed harder to go forward, but only met resistance. "What's going on Dean? Why can't I come closer to you?"
"Beats me." Dean slowly backed away, putting a more uncomfortable distance between them.
"Dean, get back here! I don't like this man."
"It's okay Sammy." Dean glanced up and down at the tall figure in front of him and flashed a wicked smile, all while continuing his dawdling trek backward. He watched with delight his brother grow more disturbed with each step.
Sam struggled more, but stayed paralyzed in his spot. Why was Dean doing this to him? What's happening? "Don't leave me Dean!"
Dean's malevolent grin grew wider while he kept moving backward. The usual sparkle in his eyes was different, troubling Sam further. It was as if it turned, Sam didn't want to admit it, sinister.
"There's only one way you can be with me Sammy."
"No!!!" Sam shouted, fighting harder but still watching his brother slip away. "You know I can't do that. We'll find another way."
Dean shrugged. "Suit yourself. I'll just leave." A red glow flashed in Dean's eyes.
Sam's vision suddenly clouded from the tears beginning to form. He wasn't ready to be left alone like this. "Please, don't go!" he pleaded, pushing his hands out in front of him before they were stopped as well.
Dean broke into evil laughter, haunting his brother before bursting into flames.
Ellen Harvelle thought she heard a scream outside. She raced through the large room and grabbed her pistol behind the bar, cocking the trigger before heading to the front door. Not too many hunters out there knew about her new hideaway, but she accepted that word travelled fast. The location was also pretty remote and not easy to find, so if anyone did come a calling, they shouldn't be screaming.
She pushed the door open, wincing over the loud creek coming from the screen door hinges. She wasn't sure why she hadn't fixed that yet. A slow glance side-to-side revealed nothing, but she relaxed a little when she looked forward, spotting the familiar sight of the black 1967 Chevy Impala. There was no sign of Sam and Dean though, and that caused her to tighten again. Based on the scream she heard, she suspected Sam had issued the warning.
She crept down the front porch stairs slowly, holding her revolver out in front, fully prepared to fire when necessary. The gun pointed left, then right, and then she moved into the dark, which was intensified by the thick forest surrounding the cabin. Her feet took her slowly toward the back, her boots sinking into the soft mud below when she spotted something in the distance. As she got closer she gasped, for the moonlight revealed the slumping figure on the ground. The tall man was on his knees, rocking back and forth.
"Sam?" She rushed to his side, touching his arm and kneeling beside him. He was shaking, eyes wide in fear, and panting heavily. "What happened Sam? Where's Dean?"
He reached out and clutched onto the edges of her jacket, holding on for dear life. "Dean!"
"What happened to him Sam?"
Sam wouldn't answer, still gazing at her with a terrified expression. Little gasps of breath poured out of him in between shivers, clueing her in that he was having a hard time pulling it together. She stood up and pulled out a flashlight from her pocket, hoping to find any set of footprints that would let her know which way Dean went. Considering the ground was soggy, they should be easy to find. A quick search didn't reveal any though. All she saw was a trail of one set of prints coming from the Impala to Sam's location. There was no evidence of Dean at all.
She hooked her hands under Sam's arm and pulled him up. "Let's get you inside." He followed her lead, heading inside the large cabin with little resistance.
"How did you get here Sam?" She asked as they climbed onto the porch. Sam stayed silent, his deep breaths of anxiety still causing him too much discomfort.
She led him over to the nearest table, sat him down and checked thoroughly for wounds, or any signs of trauma, removing his jacket in the process. He stared off into the distance, not reacting at all to any of her touches. She crept slowly toward the bar, watching Sam carefully to make sure he would make any sudden moves. She knew what people were capable of when they weren't acting right. Anything goes.
From behind the bar she grabbed her flask, and cautiously approached Sam again. He didn't notice her holding it as she stepped behind him and twisted off the cap. The quick splash of water didn't cause him to flinch at all, and Ellen sighed with relief when no steam surfaced. He wasn't possessed.
Ellen walked in front of him, forcing eye contact. "Sam, can I get you anything?"
Sam's lost eyes gave her another burst of fear before he buried his head into his shaking hands. Ellen sadly nodded, suspecting only one thing might help. She went to the bar and fetched a glass and a bottle of whiskey, pouring some into the glass and placing the items directly in front of him. She wasn't at all surprised when Sam temporarily snapped out of his catatonic state to pick up the glass and consume its contents. Drinking was still a primal instinct.
"Sam, you hold tight. I'll be right over here. I'm gonna call Bobby." Sam's usually innocent eyes again fixed across the room in a vacant stare, as if they had no where else to go.
"How fast can you get here?" Ellen nervously paced, not at all sure the best way to handle this situation.
The voice on the other end of the phone tried to calm her, but it wasn't helping. "He's not talking Bobby. Something must have scared the crap out of him. I'm not sure he's even in his right mind. I'm still wondering how he managed to get here in one piece."
Ellen listened to Bobby on the other end of the phone ask the obvious questions. "Yes I checked the Impala. It looks to me that only one person traveled a long way to get here. You know he wouldn't leave Dean behind unless something happened to him."
Her head dropped when she heard what was next. "A few days? What am I supposed to do with Sam in the meantime? He's not going to want to sit here and do nothing." She frowned, realizing Bobby was right. He told her he last talked with Sam a few days ago, and needed to go check out the location, see if he could find Dean. They were in Louisiana consulting an expert on a situation.
"An expert? A situation? There's something you aren't telling me." She realized Bobby wouldn't reveal the story on the phone. "Okay, just let me know if you find out anything. I'll do the same."
She hung up, examining the tall, hunched over frame in the seat in the corner. He couldn't be right. He wouldn't leave Dean alone. He would be out there frantically looking for him. He would unless he knew that there was nothing to find. She approached slowly, hoping to try again. Chances are the whiskey loosed him up a bit.
"Please Sam. Snap out of it and tell me what happened."
She watched Sam slam down the drink before shaking his head, pursing his lips together and letting a few tears well up in his eyes. "I couldn't save him."
"Are you talking about Dean? Did something happen to him?"
Sam moved his trembling hand to his face, rubbing his bloodshot eyes, letting a more pronounced sob escape him. "He can't make me do it."
"Sam please, you're scaring me. Is Dean dead?"
He wouldn't make eye contact, instead going for another drink, fighting hard to control his emotions with deep breaths.
She realized she was just upsetting him further and was going to have to let this go for now. "Okay Sam, I know you'll tell me when you're ready. I'll be here if you need me."
She went over to the bar and poured herself a stiff drink. Hunters came into the roadhouse before emotionally and mentally wrecked beyond belief. After all, it came with the territory. She had seen even the best of them crumble from time to time, but she'd never seen anything like this before.
She watched hopelessly, witnessing Sam drink more and more, his upper body drifting closer and closer to the table, until he eventually passed out. She went in the back and grabbed a blanket, throwing it over Sam's immobile frame.
"I'd give you a bed in the back, but I can't move you. You look more comfortable here anyway." She hoped Sam would talk in the morning, and that Bobby would find something in Louisiana to explain all this.
He shot up from the mattress, heart pounding, eyes trying hard to focus. His arms were instinctively wrapped around himself to tame his shivering from the cold that hung in the room. "Sam?" He shouted out, only to hear the echo of his voice.
His hand swiped across his chest, and that's when he realized something very important was missing. He looked all around him, searching desperately, hoping it had just fallen off. The search proved fruitless, his amulet was gone.
"Just hold it together Winchester," Dean told himself, looking at the grey and dingy walls that surrounded him. There wasn't a door anywhere. The room was small, and aside from bed he was lying on, it was empty. The damp chill in the air bothered him the most though. Everything about this place felt very wrong. He felt disconnected from reality.
He got up and turned full circle, stunned to find a figure behind him, standing in and facing the far corner, as if it was a child being punished. The person's black hair was long, dirty and tangled, and his clothes were tattered and torn.
"Hello?" Dean said.
No answer. He shuffled closer, noticing the puffs of steam emerging from his breath. It was definitely cold in there. He stood next to the person, not seeing any signs of breathing, or any movement at all. He cautiously reached his hand forward, going for the person's arm.
All of a sudden, the man whipped around and grabbed Dean's wrist. Dean gasped and tried to wrestle free, but the man tightened his grip. His face was bleach white, his eyes dark, and his devilish smile revealed his rotten teeth.
"They hold no quarter," the man's gravely voice warned.
Dean yanked one more time, falling back into the bed just as the man vanished into thin air. More steam rose in the air from his heavy breathing. What the hell? No, it can't be hell, it's too cold. He got back up and tapped the walls frantically, not finding any passage that led outward. His search didn't reveal any hollow spots either, only solid concrete. He stood on the bed and reached up to touch the ceiling, finding it to be solid as well.
Dean dropped back onto the bed and ran his hand through his hair, feeling his heart pounding through his chest. None of this made sense. Wherever he was, he was staying for a while.