The Dying of the Light
Summary: A 'Supernatural' story. The Winchester brothers find something more ominous than Bigfoot during a trip to the Cascade Mountains, reminding both of Dean's comment during the Benders: "Demons I get; People are just crazy." Set during Season Two, some point after 'Everybody Loves a Clown' and prior to 'Croatoan'. NOT a deathfic!
Title is from the Dylan Thomas poem 'Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night'
Part One, Chapter One
"Angel of the backward look, with folded wings of ashen gray, and echoes of voices from far away." From 'Snow Bound' by John Greenleaf Whittier
The colors really were amazing. The red was startlingly bright. It seemed endless in its depth; rich, and coppery, and shimmering. A single drop slid slowly over his foot and spattered on the frosted rock. He was enamored with how the color spayed translucently against the barren stone.
He stepped forward again, lurching at the slight pain of the sharp rock on his bare feet. Fascinated, he looked carefully at his bare foot, nearly as white as the spiked frost on the rock below. Except where the red gash on his ankle provided some color. He stared for awhile, mesmerized.
Finally, stumbling, he proceeded forward. He wasn't really sure 'why' he was bothering to move. He really didn't have anywhere he wanted to go particularly. No, his feet just seemed to want to do it all on their own. So he let them, examining the shadowed gray landscape with awe.
Occasionally he brushed up against the harsh, rough bark of a tree and would stop to study the grain lines and the construction of it. He would look for a long while before he moved on.
Or once in awhile he'd fall, and would take the time to notice more of the deep red leaking from his bare knees, the redden scrapes on his legs and the slight blue tinge shade of his skin. Once again, he was entranced by the colors.
But for the most part, he just stumbled along, absently noting the sharp gravel under his bare feet, or the dead leaves he shuffled out of his way.
Time itself had no meaning. He just enjoyed the small things in the ground, or the bits of bright red color around him; that seemed to be coming from him. That was interesting. He frowned, wondering about it for a moment. Then deciding it wasn't worth worrying about, he stumbled on.
That is until a flash of blue invaded his senses. Interesting. He hadn't ever seen a tree that color.
Then the blue shaded into a red, translucent hue. It wasn't like the red on his ankle or knee. Nope. This was different. It caught his interest. He reached to touch the bark of the tree. And just as he did, it shifted back to a translucent blue. He stood mesmerized, watching the red shift to blue, back to red, then to blue again. He wasn't sure how long he stood there, or what made him turn. But turn he did. And this time his attention was caught by something completely different.
The brightness was nearly blinding, and it took him a minute to realize that it was the same red and blue lights. But brighter. Oh, so much brighter. They hurt his eyes. He lifted up a hand to shade them. The intensity faded after a moment, and he took in the rest of the scene. Police cars, several of them, light bars strobing the colors he'd seen were parked haphazardly all over the side of the road in front of him, gravel scattered with the force of their apparent stops.
Gravel. He looked down at his feet. The same gravel was under the, all over the ground. He wondered if the gravel hurt the tires of the cars like it hurt his feet. He looked up to the scene once more. Police were running, shouting. It was chaos. He was glad he couldn't really hear them, he bet they were noisy.
One person caught his eye. A man with a hard as flint face, short military type haircut, and an old leather jacket instead of a uniform. Something about him seemed . . . familiar? As he pondered this, the man looked up, and the far away gaze sharpened. Their eyes locked. He felt like an electric charge went through him. His feet started moving on their own once more. Was this where they wanted to go? To this man?
The far away man's mouth moved. And for the first time, he heard a sound. Clearly.
Curious, he wondered what 'Sam' was.
Then all the attention was suddenly focused on him, and police were running towards him. He tried to back away, but stumbled and almost fell. And the police and the other man who had spoken were converging on him, frightening him. Claustrophobic, he tried to get away, and when that failed, his legs not obeying him, he fought back.
He didn't know what he was doing, but whatever it was, it was working. Sensations, the solid blow of his fist against a firm surface, something crunching under his other hand, appeared and disappeared, then he was restrained by arms around him from behind, and he was sobbing in terror and frustration.
The man's voice, again, the only clear thing in his ears, and this time it was very close, speaking again. He couldn't really understand the words, something about 'safe' and 'ok now' and 'Sammy'. What was okay now? He didn't get it, but the arms held him firm, and the others backed off, and he tried to breath again. And as he did, the canopy of trees above him shifted and darkened, and he decided it was best to go with them into the blackness, because now, somehow, he felt it was okay to let go. So he closed his eyes and followed the peaceful darkness away.
Dean was running on pure adrenaline. It had been 36 hours since his brother went missing. Never patient under the best of circumstances, the situation right now had him wound to the breaking point. Even the hardened State Patrol officers were unconsciously avoiding him, picking up the non-verbal 'danger' aura around him. The situation was just too much like that with the Benders for him to feel anything even close to calm.
He ran his hand through his hair once again. He felt lost without the Impala and a weapon close at hand. Hell, he felt lost without his brother by his side. But the proximity of the State Patrol was a necessity, and he'd put up with a lot more than to get his brother back.
The sergeant he'd ridden with flagged him. Dean's attention snapped to him and he made his way through the chaos with long, sure strides. Sergeant Leary had been a marine in former years, making Dean more comfortable with him than any of the others. Leary seemed to feel the same.
"We've found some traces of disruption in the woods."
Dean nodded. They'd been working on trying to triangulate the location back at the office in Ellensburg when the call came in from a passing motorist. He'd seen something strange, like a ghost in the pre-dawn hours. It was close enough to the body dump sites to send all of them out. Dean rode along with Leary, not wanting to miss a first hand look. Since the 'ghost' had been moving, they were hoping to find a live one.
"Stay close," Leary commented.
Dean just nodded again, a still stone in the rushing pond of activity around him. By now, the State Police had accepted him into their fold, recognizing one of their own even without realizing it.
Dean looked out into the woods again, dawn blazing over the scene, but not easing the cold one bit. He shivered into his jacket, clenching his hands into fists in the pockets.
He hoped Sammy was warm, wherever he was. Damn kid still seemed to react like he was still in California, even though it was nearly 18 months. It had been a miserable six months dealing with John's death. He wished his dad were here right now, a strong figure next to him. Solid support. Sam was beginning to take that place. Or had been until Dean had shut him out. Damn Dad and that secret. Well, that was for another time. He just wanted the kid back. In one piece. And unharmed. And to put a bullet through whatever had taken him.
He must have been throwing off that danger vibe again, because a couple of the cops in his vicinity had begun to do double takes at him again. He purposely took a deep breath and began to hum Metallica under his breath. Huh. Danger vibe. He'd get lots of mileage with that from Sam. Since Sam only seemed to have 'puppy vibe'. He grinned a little to himself at that one. And couldn't wait to use it on Sammy. And that brought him full circle back to 'Sam was gone'. He was beginning to feel like a Hamster on one of those exercise wheel things.
Then he saw a flash in the woods.
Dean looked incredulously at the chopper as it landed. No frickin' way. After 36 hours of sheer, unadulterated hell, he was now expected to ride in a helicopter. Not just an airplane, but a monster that could turn faster than his car (maybe - hadn't yet been proved, and he'd pit his baby with him behind the wheel against ANYTHING) and was an open tin can. He was not trusting his brother (or himself) to that thing.
But another look at Sam, still unconscious, covered with swarming paramedics and bright red blood made his phobia seem irrelevant. Almost.
'Only for you, Sammy. Only for you,' he thought as he followed his brother's gurney into the aircraft. 'I've just lost Dad. I'm so not losing you too.'
Dean sat to one side, huddled in as close to Sam as he could get, one hand hanging onto his brother's, trying to ignore his churning stomach. He wasn't airsick. It was just reaction to Sam. Winchester's didn't get airsick. Unless they were Sam. He got carsick, airsick, any kind of wussy sick there was. But not Dean. He wasn't hanging on to Sam for dear life for his sake, nope. He was trying to reach Sam. The Life Flight staff had given up trying to keep him back. By this time they knew it just ain't going to happen.
Dean swallowed hard as he looked at his brother and listened to the yelled conversation from the paramedics. The helicopter was not quiet by any stretch of imagination.
Sam looked abysmal. The neck brace looked like something on a morgue table, and Sam's pallor under the oxygen mask didn't make it look all that impossible. His right eye was swollen shut, and the bruise coming up under his nearly translucent skin promised more colors than a kaleidoscope. It was apparent he'd been beaten badly, and it looked like he had a dislocated shoulder. Considering he was only wearing an undershirt and a pair of boxers in 20 degree weather meant everything was on view. Clearly, he had internal injuries. The quick glance Dean had gotten of Sam's hard, swollen abdomen and the bruising before he was swaddled in blankets confirmed it. But it was his feet that had gotten Dean's attention.
They were shredded. The soles of both feet were bloody pulp. And he had a massive gash on his left ankle over the top of his foot. To add to the carnage, both knees and shin's were skinned, and well as the palms of his hands, adding to the impression that he'd been stumbling around, falling regularly.
Dean's lips tightened again as he thought of the sight of his terrified brother, scared witless as they'd rushed towards him. Dean had tried to stop it, knowing that Sam would fight when cornered. And fight he did, damn near breaking the jaw of the first deputy who reached him. Dean managed to get hold of Sam right after that, grabbing him in a bear hug from behind, keeping him from damaging himself more than worrying about the all-to-real concern of him damaging others.
Now all he wanted was for Sam to look at him. But the hand crushed in his was still.
". . . Mr. Winchester!"
He looked up, suddenly aware that one of the paramedics was trying to get his attention. "What!" He yelled back over the noise of the chopper.
"What's his name?" The paramedic yelled back.
"Sam!" He hated carrying on a conversation at full volume.
The medic nodded and turned his attention to Sam, trying to get a response, and holding a pen light at the ready. Nothing.
The medic looked up again. "See if you can get a response!"
Dean nodded. "Sam! Sammy!" He yelled, pad of his thumb rubbing his brother's hand. Such a small motion compared to the yelling they were having to do in the chopper. However it seemed to work. Sam eyes began to move erratically, frantic under closed lids.
The medic nodded for him to continue.
Finally, Sam seemed to pry his lids up halfway, and Dean grinned. About time. "Hey Sam! Bout time. You weren't going to make me ride in this thing alone were you!?"
Sam's attention followed the words back to their owner, causing a mega watt Dean grin, which quickly faded when it was clear there was nobody home in his little brother.
"Sam?!" Dean tried again, rewarded with the sagging eyes wandering back to him, again, no recognition in them.
A jolt made him clench suddenly, and look up quickly.
"We're landing," the medic yelled at him, then quickly looking at Sam's eyes with the light.
Dean looked back at his brother, who's eyes had lolled shut again. He didn't think he felt any better now that Sam had come round. Things actually just seemed worse.