Thank you all for your supportive reviews! I appreciate each and every one so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
for the dance! Hopefully you'll like this too!
Spuffyshipper: That sounds like a great plot! You should write it up. I'd love to read it!
Alice: Yes you were the 100th review! Congrats! Here's the last chapter, so now you'll know what happened!
Lynns: Thanks! You'll just have to read some more to see if the boys make up…
Anne: I agree, protective!Dean is adorable. Then again, any Dean is adorable! Thanks for the review!
Amy: Yeah, the boys need to get back in sync and over themselves. Hopefully they'll pull it together before Sam ends up as xoxan food!
Thump in the Night: Chapter 3
The glass shattered and Sam fell back. His eyes on the mirror, Dean briefly caught a glimpse of the evil purple face that was stalking his sibling before it vanished into the mirror's remains. Dean winced and grunted as Sam's weight pushed him into the far wall and down to the floor.
Without wasting any time, Dean scrambled his way out from under his brother in order to assess Sam's condition. Sam was pale, his eyes fluttering as he tried desperately to hang on to consciousness. Once again, he was gasping for breath, and there was a gash in his neck that was seeping blood. Thankfully, though, the cut, although long, wasn't deep and wouldn't need stitches.
Ignoring the shards of glass that surrounded them, Dean pulled his slumped brother up so that Sam was comfortably leaning against the wall. Then, taking Sam's face in one of his hands, Dean tried to help his brother back to full consciousness. "Sammy?"
Sam moaned and turned his head in the direction of his brother's voice.
Taking a deep breath, Dean tried again, "Sam…come on, dude, show me your eyes…"
Sam's eyelids began to flutter faster, and his right hand came up to clench itself around Dean's arm. Briefly, Dean looked down at the hand, finding it badly cut. He let out a low whistle. "Man, that thing really did a number on you…" He released Sam's face and patted his chest. "Don't worry, Sammy, we'll fix the hand, too."
Sam coughed and slowly opened his eyes. They were glassy and confused, but at least Sam seemed to be coming back to awareness.
Dean brought his hand to Sam's shoulder to steady him. "Sam? You with me?"
Sam blinked hard and then met his brother's eyes.
Considerably relieved, Dean sat back and smiled. "I gotta say, that's a new one."
Sam, still a little out of it, brought a hand to the gash on his neck and slowly looked around. He spoke sluggishly, the words disjointed. "Uh, what, Dean?"
Dean shook his head at his brother's difficulty getting the words out. "The little trip you took into the mirror there. Way to 'handle things yourself,' Sam."
Dean watched Sam look up at where the mirror had once been mounted before turning his eyes back to Dean. Dean's smiled faded as he saw the fear in Sam's eyes. "Dean, we need to talk."
With a sigh, Dean met his brother's gaze and nodded. "Yeah."
There was a moment of awkward silence before he spoke again. He gripped Sam's shoulder harder as he spoke. "Sammy, I was pissed at you…and, yeah, I was bitching about you in my room, but I never meant to put this thing on you. I wouldn't mess around with shit like this."
Sam closed his eyes and shook his head, a small smile on his face. "I know that, man." He looked up at Dean. "I know you'd never purposely sic a xoxan on me." Dean nodded, and Sam continued, "Hey, Dean?" Sam waited until he had his brother's attention. "I really am sorry about the car. I'll pay for the damages…and I'm sorry about all week."
Dean shook his head, cutting his brother off. "We've both been acting like asses this week…and damn straight you'll pay for the car."
Sam laughed, then winced at the pull on his neck.
Upon seeing the action, Dean lifted his brother up and sat him back on the toilet. "There's a pretty bad cut on your neck and another one on your hand."
For the first time, Sam looked down at his own hand and cringed. Then, as Dean began cleaning his neck, he thought of Dean's own injury. "How's your shoulder?"
Dean shrugged. "It sucks. Be honest, it'd feel a lot better if I was lying flat."
Sam laughed. "Told you."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, you're right. This's worked out so much better than sleeping in the car."
Sam's face reddened with embarrassment. How was he supposed to know there'd be a xoxan at the motel? "It wasn't all to get you back…I really wasworried about you."
Dean rolled his eyes as he finished taping Sam's neck. "Aw, it's so nice to know you care."
Sam grinned and pushed his brother away as Dean chuckled at his own sarcasm. "Asshole."
Dean laughed harder and lifted Sam's hand to begin treating it. Sam made an attempt to pull it back. "I can get that, Dean."
Dean shook his head. "I already got it. It'd be hard for you to clean it with your left hand, anyway."
Sam began chewing the nail of his left hand as his brother worked on his right. "Dean? Thanks…for sticking around."
Dean rolled his eyes, keeping them focused on his task. "I was pissed at you, Sam. Doesn't mean I'm gonna sit on my ass while something attacks you."
Sam smiled up at his brother, his eyes filled with sincerity. "Thanks." Then Sam smiled more widely. "You really were pissed. You sure you're not the type to sic a xoxan on your annoying little brother?"
Dean smirked and shook his head, "Nah, man, xoxans aren't really my style. Although once, when you were three and being particularly obnoxious, I came close to summoning the goblin king…"
Sam nodded in annoyance. "Nice, Dean."
Dean looked over at him. "Hey. They don't kill, just shove you in a sack and bring you to the goblin world."
Sam stared at his brother in disbelief. "Where I would've become a goblin."
Dean shrugged as he finished putting the bandage on his brother's hand. "There's a 24-hour window. I would've saved you…"
Sam took his hand back and stood up. "You should've saved me. You would've been the one to send me there…" Sam paused, searching his memories, then eyed his brother suspiciously, "You didn't send me there, right? I mean…you stopped yourself before you finished summoning the goblin king, right?"
Dean shot his brother a knowing smile, patted Sam's arm, and walked out of the bathroom without responding.
Behind him, Sam stood still, too absorbed in his memories to move. As far as he could tell, he had no recollection of a goblin world, but then, he would only have been three…
Dean's voice interrupted. "I wouldn't stand in there too long if I were you, Sam. It can find a way to get you if you're alone in a room."
Immediately, Sam took a quick look around the bathroom before jumping into the main room with his brother. Now safe from the xoxan's reach, Sam turned to his brother. "That's why it could get me in the mirror, because you were out of the room."
Dean nodded. "Mirrors are entryways to other worlds. The Xoxan can only enter and exit our world through under the bed, but it'd be able to get your scrawny ass into it's world through anything reflective…water, too."
Sam grimaced. "Great…" Then he sighed, "…uh, so the only way to kill them is one minute in light. How do we manage to keep it exposed that long?"
Dean took a breath and rubbed a hand over his face. "Uh, I know a way…but I don't like it."
Sam rolled his eyes and carefully sat on the bed, trying not to aggravate his wounded belly. "Why? What is it?"
Dean shook his head and looked at the floor as he spoke. "Well, we'd have to draw it out and then flip the bed over. It can't get back to its world if the bed's not down."
Sam sighed, considering Dean's plan. "That sounds doable. Only question is, how do we draw it out? I mean, it probably won't come out here if you're around or if I'm awake…and if I'm asleep and you're not here, I wouldn't know when it started attacking."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, why I said I didn't like it."
For several minutes, the brothers sat in silence, each trying to think up a better plan. Finally, after coming up with nothing, Sam spoke up. "You think you could flip the bed over? I mean, with your injury?"
Dean attempted to roll his shoulder and winced at the pain. "Dunno. Maybe. Why? You think of another way to get it out?"
Sam said nothing but stood up from the bed. "Can you flip it with one arm?"
Looking questioningly at his brother, Dean moved forward and bent down to try it. With a grunt, Dean had the bed on its side.
Sam crossed his arms in approval. "I guess so." Then he helped his brother flip the bed back down before Dean turned to question him.
"Okay. What's up? Clearly you have some kind of plan rolling around in that freaky head of yours."
Sam chewed on a nail and made a face before answering his brother. Dean wasn't going to like it…
"Sam, come on, man. How can I tell you the idea sucks if you don't tell me what it is?"
Sam gave a short laugh, rolled his eyes, and cleared his throat. "Uh…well…" He gave his brother an apologetic look. "I cough, right?"
Dean looked confused. "Huh?"
Sam bit his lip and tried again. "I can sleep in here, you keep your head to the door, and once the xoxan starts attacking me, I'll start coughing. Then you just bang on the wall 'til I'm awake, I'll lead it away from the bed, give you a signal, and then you can come in, flip the bed over, we'll turn on the light, and bye-bye, xoxan…"
Dean, who had started shaking his head at "you keep your head to the door," immediately nixed the idea. "No. No way, Sam."
Sam held out his hands, pleading with his brother, "Dean, come on, man. You said it yourself, there's no other way."
Dean crossed his arms and shook his head again. "Sam…no. We'll do some research—there's a way to call these things off. We just have to find what the phrase is and I'll say it."
Understanding Dean's reluctance to go through with the plan, Sam rationalized calmly. "Then the xoxan'll just leave me and go after someone else. We have to kill it, Dean."
Dean threw his hands up. "What is it with you lately, Sam? What's with your need to kill every supernatural thing we run into? You know, sometimes we should just be happy with surviving. No need to go looking for trouble. We've got enough of that shit as it is."
Sam took a breath and tried to avoid rehashing the fight they'd been having all week. "Dean, this is a xoxan. We can kill this. It's what wedo. This is an easy one for us—"
Dean nodded, cutting his brother off. "If it was stalking someone else, I'd agree with you. But the plan here is to leave you alone and defenseless in a room with a deadly creature that's aiming to kill you. Dude, you can't ask me to do that."
Sam sat down on the bed. "We don't have a choice." He sent his brother an understanding look. "We can't just let it go, Dean."
Dean sighed and stared at the floor. He clearly had a hard time agreeing to the plan, but Sam was right, the xoxan was deadly, and there really was no other option; they couldn't just let it go.
As Dean considered the plan, Sam spoke again. "I trust you, man. Even if you're not in the same room as me, you'll know when it's here. Hell, Dean, you managed to wake me up when you didn't even know it was attacking. With you listening for it, you'll wake me before it gets a chance to do any damage."
Dean shook his head, eyes still on the carpet. Finally, after a few more moments of silence, he looked up, a resigned look on his face. "Okay. But I hear anything I don't like, I'm coming in, Sam. I mean, you stabbed the thing—for all the hell we know, it may be past sucking your breath and moving on to killing you in your sleep."
Sam smiled and shook his head. "I don't think so. Even in the mirror, it was still trying to suck my breath. It only slashed me when I tried to fight back."
Dean nodded. "Okay." Then he looked around. "I guess I'll go back to my room then…"
Sam smiled, trying to send reassuring vibes to his brother. "It'll be fine, Dean."
Dean grumbled under his breath as he waved his brother off. "This better turn out better than the broxa thing, dude."
Sam laughed, "Why? I left the broxa hunt just fine. You were the one who made out with the ground…"
Dean sent his brother a vulgar hand gesture before closing the door to his own room. Sam snickered and stood up to go to the light switch. Almost immediately, Dean's voice sounded through the wall. "Where you going?"
Sam smiled, fully confident Dean would wake him before anything happened. "Dude, relax, I'm going to turn off the light."
Once again, the voice came through. "Uh-huh…take your knife."
With a start, Sam looked around for his knife. "Uh, Dean? I think my knife's still in the xoxan."
Sam heard the exasperated sigh through the wall before Dean even opened the door. Sam turned, and Dean threw a knife onto the bed. "Here." He pointed at Sam. "That's my good knife, Sammy. Don't lose that one."
Sam rolled his eyes and nodded. "Thanks, man."
Dean nodded and went back into his room as Sam shut off the light. Now in darkness, Sam sighed and turned…smack into a large purple chest.
With a start, Sam looked up and immediately felt the breath vacuumed out of him. Before he could move, the creature wrapped its long arms around him, effectively pinning Sam's arms to his side. He twisted in its grasp as he struggled to breathe.
Behind him, Sam heard a thump, and out of the corner of his eye, saw the bed upturned. Then he heard his brother's voice. "Sam! The light!"
Twisting his hand around, Sam thrust the knife into the xoxan's leg. Immediately, the creature hissed and released its hold. Without waiting to breathe, Sam reached behind him, flicked on the light, and ran toward Dean.
He didn't have to run far; Dean was almost to him when Sam flicked the switch. Dean immediately stepped in front of his brother, gun drawn, as Sam desperately tried to regain his breath. The creature, having realized its life was in jeopardy, left the brothers and hurried back to the bed to flip it down again.
"I don't think so."
Anticipating the creature's actions, Dean ran over to the bed, grabbing the end and pushing it back up. For a few seconds, the two fought over the bed, the creature pulling down and Dean pushing up. The xoxan's skin was now covered in thousands of large blisters, each bubbling and then popping, sending spurts of slime and pus from the now-open wounds.
The creature was becoming more desperate. With a howl of anger, the xoxan suddenly released the bed and leaped toward Dean. With his arms full of bed, Dean was unprepared to defend himself. Behind him, Sam shouted a fear-filled warning, but it was too late… or would have been if the xoxan had actually attacked.
The xoxan brought up its claws in the beginning of a slash that it never carried out. Instead, it just stared at Dean in frustration. Appearing startled by the turn of events, Dean straightened and stood back, a wary expression on his face. He turned and looked at his brother.
Sam's mouth was wide open as he stood partially doubled over in an attempt to catch his breath. Despite his relief and initial surprise that the creature hadn't attacked Dean, he quickly understood the reason. Based on Dean's look, though, Dean didn't. Sam urgently explained it to his brother, between gasps for air. "It can't…hurt you…you didn't…do anything bad…"
Dean's brows drew together in annoyance. "What're you, kidding me? I've been a pain in the ass all week."
Sam shot him a disbelieving look and then jumped back as the melting xoxan lunged at him. The xoxan had also apparently figured out why it couldn't hurt Dean and had decided to go for Sam instead. Before it could get to its target, though, Dean was already there, having repositioned himself between the xoxan and his brother. "You're not touching him again, Barney."
Sam coughed out, "Barney?"
Dean kept his eyes on the oozing monster as he answered his brother, "You know any other big purple creatures filled with evil?"
Sam shook his head while gasping. "Right…Barney."
Seeing Dean over by Sam, the xoxan stopped and turned back toward the bed. Once again, Dean cut it off. The next fifteen seconds were a game of chase. The creature moved toward Sam, Dean blocked it; the creature turned to the bed, Dean blocked it. Xoxans normally had incredibly speed, but the light seemed to have slowed this one down to where Dean could match it. Finally, after the minute-long stand off, the light was too much, and the xoxan ceased its game.
Dean stood next to his now evenly breathing brother and watched as the monster slowly lost its form, melting into a blistering, slimy pile of ooze. The xoxan now defeated, both brothers just stared at the grotesque purple, white, and gray remains that were soaking into the motel carpet.
Finally, Dean spoke. "Glad you checked us in. I wouldn't want that shit under my name…"
Sam gave a half-shrug, still watching the slimy mass. "Actually, 'Robert Delaney' checked us in."
Dean nodded, eyes on the growing puddle surrounding the creature's remains. "Still, it's your face they're gonna associate with this."
Sam grimaced. Dean had a point. He let out a remaining cough. "So…I take it we're leaving?"
Dean raised his eyebrows. "Well, this's been about as much fun as I can stand in one night…unless you still want to sleep in a bed?"
Sam looked over at the upturned bed and made a face. "No, I think I'm good."
Dean gave a nod of approval, stepping back as the puddle on the carpet began to reach his feet. "Great. So, provided the car still works at all, I say we ditch this joint before the owner gets a look at your room and calls the cops for destruction of property."
Sam looked over at the where his blood was still smeared by the door. "Don't forget the mirror and the wall."
Dean made a face before putting the bed flat and heading back to his room. "The mirror, great. Just throw another seven years of bad luck on for me…"
Sam smiled and grabbed his bag, intent of following Dean into his room. Then, suddenly remembering something, he stopped. Grabbing a hanger from the closet, he tiptoed his way through the sopping carpet and over to the wet, slimy mass, wincing as his bare feet squished in the ooze from the dead creature's body. Using the hanger, Sam searched through the disgusting remains.
Toward the bottom of the glop, he found what he was looking for. He grimaced as he pulled the knife handle out, trying to shake off the tendrils of slime that still held the handle to the oozing mass. Once it was freed, Sam stared at the handle that had once belonged to his brother's favorite knife. Unfortunately, it seemed the blade of the knife had met its demise along with the creature. Dean was gonna kill him…again.
"Sam!" Sam cringed, hearing his brother's voice from the other room. "What the hell you doin' in there? Making out with the thing?"
Sam looked down at the knife and made a face. Hearing Dean come in through the adjoining door, he turned to face his brother.
Not yet seeing the knife handle, Dean yelled in disgust, "Dude! What the hell are you doing? You trying to bathe in that shit or something?"
Biting his lip, Sam held up the handle for his brother to see.
Immediately, Dean's face went from disgusted to suspicious. "Is…was…" Understanding dawned and Dean's face darkened. "Sam…" Sam flinched at the threatening tone. "…is that my knife?!"
Scrunching his brow in apprehension, Sam cleared his throat and tiptoed his way out of the liquid remains and over to his brother. "Sorry, Dean." He held the knife handle out to give to his brother.
Dean looked at what used to be his favorite knife, now covered with sticky ooze, and with an expression of regret and disgust, stepped back.
Sam shrugged. "If it makes you feel better, it saved my life…"
Still looking disturbed, Dean's eyes left the knife and moved up to his brother. "That's…nice." Then he sighed, obviously recognizing that there was nothing he could do about the damaged weapon. Dean shook his head, looking dejected. "You keep that…I'm…I'll…I'm gonna go see my car."
As Dean turned to leave through his own room, Sam dropped the handle on the floor and wiped his sticky hand on his pants. He'd buy Dean a new knife in the next town, maybe even get it engraved or something. He owed his brother at least that much.
Grabbing his bag and throwing on some shoes, Sam ran out after Dean, catching him just before he got into the car. "Dean?"
Dean threw his bag in the back and then looked over at his brother.
"Your shoulder okay to drive?"
Dean's face grew dark as he glared at his brother. "Number one… you are not touching this car for a long, long time. I don't give a shit if I'm freakin' crippled—I'm still driving. And number two…you're way worse off than me right now, dude."
Sam nodded. Dean was right, given the state of his abdomen, hand, neck, and shoulder: Sam wouldn't have been the better candidate for driver, anyway. Sam sighed as he got into the car. With a grunt, Dean slipped into the driver's seat next to him.
Holding up the keys, Dean took a deep breath and looked over at his brother. Wearing a mask of hope mixed with fear, Sam gave his brother an encouraging smile. Shaking his head, Dean rolled his eyes and started the car. Immediately, the engine purred to life. Sam flopped back into the seat with a relieved sigh.
Dean sat there, listening carefully to the engine, inspecting the sound for any abnormalities. Finally, he nodded his approval and backed the car out onto the road. It seemed to run fine.
Unsure, Sam cautiously looked around before questioning his brother. "It's okay?"
Dean nodded. "You're freakin' lucky. Water probably splashed up into the engine, just needed some time to dry."
Sam smiled, relieved. "Thank God." Then he closed his eyes and listened to the sweet sound of the purring engine as it revved on down the road.
After several minutes of comfortable silence, Dean spoke. "Sammy?"
Sam opened his eyes to look at him, and Dean continued, "I said I couldn't stand you, that I'd be better off without you around. That's why it came." Dean let his eyes leave the road briefly to look over at his brother. "I never meant that, man. I swear. I was just pissed. I didn't mean anything I said. I just needed to let off some steam."
Sam shook his head and sat up straighter. "Dean…you saved my life three times tonight. Hell, you threw yourself between me and that thing without a second thought. Dude, you've taken care of me and had my back my whole life… Actions speak louder than words, man." Seeing that Dean still looked guilty, he added, "I broke your car. You're allowed to be pissed…and you're allowed to curse me out behind my back."
Dean smirked. "Yeah, maybe." Then he looked at Sam again. "But you can bet your ass I'll watch what I say from now on."
Sam smiled as he stared out the passenger window. "Thanks."
Dean just shook his head. "So…it's 3 a.m., we got about three hours before sunrise. I don't know about you, but I've had a hell of a night." Dean pulled the car over into a grove of trees so it was hidden from the view of the road.
Sam laughed. "Hey, Dean? Why don't we just sleep in the car?"
Dean sighed and pulled a pillow out from behind the driver's seat. "Now that is the first good idea you've had all week."
The end! Please leave me some feedback and let me know what you thought. I'd LOVE to hear from you!