Title: November Falls - 1/2
Word count: 3,561
Rating: NC/17 for bad language and violence
Summary: They lose Sam in November....Teenchester fic with some serious Sam whumpage...what? Yes, I know I like whumping Sam and I'm totally okay with that. :D
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This is part one of a two part story, read with caution because part two isn't finished yet but will be posted next week, fingers and toes crossed. Thanks to the epically wonderful gidgetgal9 for beta'ing. I've played since then so all remaining mistakes are my own.
November Falls - Part One
They lose Sam in November. It's freezing cold and the ice on the roads sparkles when the sunlight hits it just right—tiny diamonds, scattered across the ground.
Sam is twelve years old. He's old enough to carry a shotgun on a hunt but young enough to still get sulky if the nearby greasy spoon is all out of chocolate milk.
Dean has nightmares every so often about the terrible things he's seen. Horrifying monsters with sharp jagged teeth and wickedly evil eyes. Sometimes, in his dreams, Dad is the first one to be slaughtered and sometimes it's Sammy but either way Dean always ends up alone. Dean doesn't tell anyone this but even though he loves the hunter lifestyle he's scared a lot of the time. His brave face is a mask he wears because it makes Dad proud and reassures his baby brother.
Dean is sixteen years old. He's old enough to drive the Impala even though he doesn't possess a genuine driver's permit but young enough to still get sick if he drinks too much of his dad's cheap whisky.
The current motel of choice is 'The Weary Traveller Inn' in Laramie, Wyoming. The lengthy, seemingly never-ending, drive to get there only mildly notable for the fact that Dad had caved to Sammy's pestering for once and agreed to take the scenic route I-80, passing a gigantic bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln's disembodied head on the way.
The motel is pretty unspectacular, the room is sub-standard and Dean's mattress has more lumps than Dad's homemade porridge. It's around midnight when Dean wakes to pitch-black darkness and the sound of screaming, he sits bolt upright in bed just in time to see Sam's feet disappearing out through the shattered window which hadn't been broken when they'd turned in for the night. At first he thinks it's another nightmare and it's only when he tries pinching himself awake that he realizes it's all horribly real.
Dad's drinking a beer in the dingy bar next-door to the motel, Sammy's gone and Dean's running through the parking lot in his bare feet and boxer shorts waving a loaded .45 at shadows and crying so much he can't see through the blur of tears.
Strangely enough, after that night, Dean's nightmares stop altogether and it's his life which becomes the bad dream he can't wake up from.
They look for Sam everywhere, exhaust every possible lead and personally eradicate every Supernatural nasty within spitting distance of the motel. But there's no trace of Sam, not anywhere. If it weren't for the duffle bag containing his few pitiable belongings and a handful of photographs, it would almost be as though the kid never existed at all.
Dad stops looking for Sammy after two years pass by but Dean, Dean never stop looking. He gives ever pre-pubescent boy with dark hair a double-take but none of them ever turn out to be his brother. Still, Sam is always at the forefront of his thoughts. He's the first thing Dean thinks about when he opens his eyes and the last thing he sees late at night is Sam's wide dimpled smile.
Dean counts the passing months in milestones, memorable dates from time spent growing up with Sam. Like how it was August and high-summer when Sam made his first kill because Dean remembers the sweat running down his kid brother's face and the way his own sweat-drenched tee clung to his chest, sticky and uncomfortable. The date of Sam's birthday in May passes without a mention but it's acknowledged in the way Dean closes in on himself more than ever and Dad spends the day hugging a bottle. But it's November, the month when Sam was taken that Dean finds the hardest of all to get through.
If truth be told, it never stops hurting.
When Dean reaches eighteen, Dad forgets his birthday but a week later, when he finally remembers, he gives him his precious leather jacket as a makeshift gift. In the hidden pocket sewn into the lining where Dad used to stow a small hipflask filled with holy water, Dean keeps a photograph of him and Sam. It's faded and dog-eared from too much handling but Dean would never part with it. At times he's worried to death that he'll forget what Sam looks like, even though he could never erase the image of his brother he already has burned into his brain like a cattle brand. Sam's fourteen now, Dean thinks. If Sam's still breathing, he's fourteen.
Keeping that small Polaroid eases the pain and guilt but like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam, Dean knows he's just biding his time until it all comes crashing in on him.
When they were growing up, Sam had always been an enigma to Dean. So it really shouldn't have come as such a surprise that the kid would turn up in an entirely unexpected place, at a time when Dean was barely holding on with the skin of his teeth to the hope that his brother would return.
Dean's on a solo hunt, sitting in the Impala and scouting out a bar in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina which is reputed to be a favoured drinking joint of a Selkie who has more of a taste for fresh blood than it does for a brewski. Dean's done his research, he knows a Selkie can shed its seal-like skin to take on the form of a human and so tonight, everyone entering the Deep Blue Bar is a suspect.
He's digging through the glove box for the last of the stale donuts bought over a week ago, when he resumes staring out of the windshield and it's then that he sees a young kid leaning against the wall outside of the bar. The kid must only be fourteen or fifteen but he's real tall and kind of skinny looking much like a willow tree. He has thick chestnut hair and Dean's brain automatically starts thinking Sammy as it does with every kid who meets that same vague description but when the teenager lifts his head Dean knows...he knows it really is Sam.
Dean's fingers scramble to unlock the Impala door and he breaks into a run, crossing the street in-between busy traffic in the direction of the bar. The kid's head pops up at the thundering sound of running footsteps and he looks half scared to death. He's preparing to bolt but Dean reaches out to grab hold of his shoulders, holding him firmly in place.
Sam's face has barely changed at all in the two years they've been apart but there's dirt smeared on his cheeks and his hair is filthy, he looks like a street kid. There's less softness to his features, more hard lines and a definite guarded edge to his hazel eyes which wasn't there before. "Sammy?" The name leaves Dean's mouth as a croaky whisper.
Sam blinks once, then twice before his eyes go wide. "D—Dean?"
"Thank God." Dean wraps his brother in a hug. He buries his nose deep into Sam's hair and takes several huge deep breaths, breathing in the scent of him. Dean is often up close and personal with a whole range of diverse aromas from phameldahide to iodine to the stink of burning corpses and yet Sam smells exactly like home. It takes awhile but eventually he feels Sam's arms snaking around his back and Sam's shoulders start trembling with sobs.
When they pull away from each-other both their noses are red and their eyes are shining. Sam's chewing on his bottom lip like he's trying to stop himself from bawling any more and his hands are clinging to Dean, bunching up the material of his leather jacket with white-knuckled fists. "You need to get out of here."
Dean almost laughs, he finds the suggestion that hilarious. "Like hell. What happened to you, Sammy? Where've you been? Jesus, man, we searched everywhere for you. Tore up half the damn country looking." Dean's already walking back towards the car, towing Sam along with him. The hunt isn't even an afterthought for him now.
"Wait...Dean, wait!" Sam pulls to a halt and claws to free Dean's hand which is wrapped around his wrist. "I can't go with you."
"You're kidding, right?" Dean scoffs, shaking his head in disbelief. "I'm not leaving without you."
"Please, Dean. Please. He'll be here any minute now. You have to leave." Sam's eyes are desperate and something worse than that, much worse in Dean's mind, is the fear he can see simmering there.
"Who? Who will be here, Sammy?"
And just like one of those nightmares Dean used to have, Sam yanks himself free and makes a break for it.
Dean runs after him, arms and legs pumping like pistons, his lungs burning. Sam isn't fast, in fact he seems to be struggling to keep up a decent pace but he's a wily son of a bitch, dipping down alleyways and doubling back on himself until Dean doesn't have the first clue where he even is anymore. Dean's close to catching him several times but he never gets close enough and eventually loses sight of his brother outside a row of old apartment buildings. The string of expletives which leaves Dean's lips like a burst of gunfire would have made Lenny Bruce blush. He almost breaks his hand throwing a punch at the solid brick wall of the building he's standing closest too.
Dean really thinks he's lost Sam for good this time.
Dean spends the next day searching for his brother. He calls all the homeless shelters and the hospitals, pounds the pavement and drives the length and breadth of Wilmington, twice. He waves Sam's photograph in the face of every half-sober down-and-out he comes across and more than likely scares the pants off them in the process. Frenzied and dangerous isn't a good look on any Winchester.
He's meant to be meeting up with his dad in Indianapolis on Sunday but he knows he won't be going anywhere until he's found out what the hell is going on with Sammy. It's only when he goes back to that same bar from his first night in Wilmington and stumbles across the Selkie that he realizes he should have been paying attention to his hunt all along.
The Selkie looks like any average Joe. Short dark blonde hair, average height and build, no distinguishing marks. He could be a trucker or the local barkeep. He's dressed in casual clothes too, a simple button-down shirt and jeans but as he's leaving the bar, Dean sees the split second when the Selkie drops his guard because when he climbs into a dirt covered mustang, he picks up a bottle of water and pours the contents over his face, groaning with pleasure as it splashes over his skin.
Dean's had nothing but finding Sam on his mind all day but he can't help thinking score. Lore states Selkies are unable to stay on dry land for long and often have to return to the sea after feeding, Dean starts the Impala's engine and starts to follow the mustang out of the bar's parking lot. Looks like this sucker is starting to dry out.
He trails the Selkie back to an apartment building on the same street where he'd originally lost sight of Sam and fuck, Dean's interest is really starting to go up a notch. He climbs out of the Impala and watches from the shadows as the Selkie walks right up the steps and through the large entrance door. Dean follows the creature up several flights of stairs, always staying a few steps behind, out of sight.
The Selkie stops on the third floor and produces a key from its jacket pocket, swiftly disappearing through a door which has a wobbly brass number plate marked Room 19 fighting to stay fixed in place by way of a loose nail. Almost as soon as the door closes behind the Selkie, Dean hears the sound of shouting voices. One of the voices is achingly familiar. One of the voices belongs to Sam.
Dean's ready to kick the door down when it all goes deathly quiet. He waits until he can't wait any longer, until the artificial sallow light seeping out from the gap underneath the door goes dark, then he steps forward and picks the lock.
Pushing the door open reveals a gloomy narrow hallway which reeks of too many years of neglect. The walls are bare, not a single framed photograph or well-placed mirror in sight. The woodchip wallpaper is peeling away in places, hanging down like curls of shavings from a pencil sharpener. There are three doors in total, all closed, which it doesn't take a university degree to figure out must lead to the apartment's main living spaces. Dean licks at his lips, wipes his sweating palms down the front of his pants and braces himself to find out what is hiding behind mystery door number one.
It's a normal bedroom and Dean suppresses a relieved sigh. He wasn't sure what he was expecting, a ferocious rampaging Selkie perhaps, waiting to suck his face off and lap at his pooling blood like the cat who got the cream.
The room is dimly lit by one dismally weak bedside lamp and at that moment Dean notices that over by the wall, flat on his back on the too small bed, is Sam.
Dean swallows hard around the lump in his throat which feels like a rapidly inflating balloon. At first glance, he thinks Sam's asleep but as he edges closer to the bed he realizes that Sam's eyes aren't even closed. They're half-open and all Dean can see is the whites. It's a huge change from when he saw his brother yesterday. Even then Sam hadn't looked healthy but now the difference is unnerving, unnatural. Sam's skin is so pale and thin it's almost as though he's made out of fine parchment paper, the kind used in ancient books kept locked away in deep library vaults because the pages can tear even if you simply breathe on them too heavily. Sam's arms and legs are laid out as straight as rods, it's such a tiny detail but it's one which screams out to Dean how seriously wrong the picture in front of him is.
Dean leans over the bed and he can hear Sam's breathing. Heavy, laboured almost panting gasps for air and Dean's stomach churns with a sick fear as cold as the November wind which whistles through the night and makes every sleeping infant huddle under their blankets that much deeper.
Dean has to bite down on his tongue to stop himself from shouting Sam's name and shaking at his brother's shoulder until the kid's bones rattle. He's waited so long to find Sam again, it takes everything he has not to pick Sam up under one arm and just run. God knows where to, anywhere, just away from here.
He crouches down by the side of the bed, fingers worrying the edge of the sheet which Sam's long frame is spread out on. "Sammy?"
Sam seems to be so out of it that Dean doesn't truthfully expect a response but Sam's head rolls slowly towards him on the thin pillow, eyelids lifting so that he can peer at Dean. Dean can't read the emotions that flit across Sam's face too fast for him to name but he knows for dead certain that happiness isn't one of them.
"I'm getting you out of here." Dean doesn't wait for Sam's answer, not even convinced whether the kid could formulate one or not , all he can think about is that Sam's sick, Sam needs help.
Sam mews a soft low moan of protest as Dean slides one arm under his brother's knees and the other he positions behind Sam's back, lifting him up into his arms with all the ease he had when Sam was just a runt of a child. Sam's too thin now, frail and light like a feather when by rights he should be brawny and lithe. Strong like a hunter should be.
Dean pauses, Sam still hanging all but limp in his arms. He can hear footsteps in the hallway outside of the bedroom. Not loud footsteps but the soft tread of someone moving carefully, someone trying not to make a sound.
Dean carefully positions Sam back down on the bed, patting Sam's arm soothingly when he notices Sam's eyes are still open but struggling to track his movements. He draws the gun he has wedged in the waistband of his jeans, cool metal briefly sliding against the warm skin of his back leaving a line of tingling flesh in its wake.
His gun is a Glock, one he's used many times before but it's never felt as heavy as it does right now. He's going to kill the Selkie; he's going to make it pay for every single second Sam was kept apart from his family.
The door creaks open on squeaking hinges and Dean brings the butt of his gun down with a brutally hard swing of his arm, hearing the satisfying crunch of bone as it connects with the Selkie's skull. The Selkie drops, falls and lands in an unmoving heap on the floor and Dean kicks it hard once in the stomach. He's drawing back his foot to boot at the creature again when he hears Sam gasp and he turns jerkily to glance over at the bed.
Sam's eyes are squeezed closed as though he's in pain and Dean doesn't need more incentive than that. He pulls back the trigger and fires. The silver bullet shatters half the Selkie's skull, fragmented bone and brain matter making pretty patterns on the carpet but Dean isn't disgusted, what he feels about the killing transends that. It reaches dark places inside of him that only Sam's pain can touch.
Sam moans again and Dean is by his side in two long strides, collecting Sam from the bed once more and hurrying out of the room, out of the apartment. The local downtown cops are going to find one hell of a clean-up job when the neighbors starts complaining about a strange smell coming from Room 19 but Dean doesn't want to hang around. He doesn't even stop to wipe his prints. He's not worried about Chief Wiggum and his donut-munching PD. Dean's a ghost to the cops and Feds anyway, Dad always saw to it that all the Winchesters were.
Reviews are most welcome and will give me something nice and shiny to focus on while going through the torment of waiting for next week's episode....