Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters belong to the CW- I'm just borrowing. The plot and anyone else is mine.
This story originally appeared in the Brotherhood4 fanzine, which I was very, very honored to be included in. It was chalk full of phenomenal writers and their fabulous stories.
Large amounts of thanks go out to KHannaKorossy for the ridiculous amount of time she spent helping me make this a better story. She deserves a giant amount of credit for her amazing ability to eliminate my redundancy and excess verbiage.
This story takes place during season 3, four months prior to Dean's contract running out. As it was also written at that time, some of the details are now slightly AU. It shouldn't be enough to majorly effect the story though...I hope. It will be posted in three parts.
Sam stopped mid-stride, his eyes focused on the copper-hooved leg of the woman in front of him. He knew what she was and, honestly, probably should've expected her.
They had come to this town to investigate the circumstances surrounding five young men who had been "scared to death." So really, the fact they had all been men, and that they'd all died of fright should've put an empusa high on the list of suspects, and yet they hadn't even considered one as a possibility. After all, what were the chances an empusa would be in Greenville, North Carolina? None had ever been seen on this side of the Atlantic. Still, as Sam stared at the telltale copper leg, there was no doubt that was what she was.
Slowly, Sam lifted his eyes and took in the rest of the entity's appearance. Floating about a foot off the ground, the silver-haired lady reached out bony fingers, the skin on her body pulling too tightly over her bones. She was emaciated, dressed in a flowing white gown, her one shiny, hooved leg hovering next to its furry partner. The copper of her leg seemed to reflect as much light as her glowing red eyes.
Unimpressed, Sam let out an irritated breath. He wasn't prepared to deal with an empusa. Hell, he and Dean had barely even started the research on this case. In fact, they were still in research phase one: Sam checking the internet and Dean talking to the local girls. Sam had just finished hiding his laptop under the Impala's front seat when he had run into this bitch. Dean was still in the bar.
The empusa hissed and moved forward, and Sam crossed his arms and held his ground. Empusas were powerful beings, but their self-esteem sucked. They immediately fled when confronted by someone who insulted or didn't fear them. Sam sneered. "Man, you're ugly…"
Okay, it wasn't the most creative insult. Dean probably could've done better, but it was still offensive. However, based on the empusa's forward movement, she wasn't all that hurt.
Resisting the urge to back away from the eerie figure, Sam cleared his throat and tried again. "What's the matter? Couldn't find any men while you were alive? Uh…you skank!"
For a moment, the empusa stopped, appearing somewhat confused. Sam just rolled his eyes at himself. Skank? Seriously? Dean would be kicking his ass right now if he'd heard that. Sam sucked at insulting people. The longhaired creature didn't even seem to know what a skank was. Sam shook his head; he wasn't even positive about what a skank was…
With a sigh, Sam conjured up his most intimidating face. "I'm not afraid of you. You're ugly, pathetic, and you smell."
Now clearly incensed, the empusa flew forward, coming to a sudden halt only inches from Sam's face. It took all his willpower not to back away or shut his eyes. He couldn't show any fear. Holding his breath to avoid the smell, Sam stared down his adversary.
With an unexpected lunge, she bit him on the forehead.
For a moment, he was startled. That wasn't supposed to happen. He hadn't backed down, she should have fled…
Then, the world began to dissolve around him.
A dark gray-and-black mist seemed to shroud everything. Nothing was clear anymore. The dirt road, the bar, the cars, the trees, all of them were just indistinct gray shapes. The only thing that remained clear was the empusa's glowing red eyes; still they hovered, unnervingly close to Sam's face.
Realizing he was losing control of the situation, Sam took a stand one last time. "I'm not afraid of you! How could anyone be afraid of something so disgusting? You have to be the ugliest woman I've ever seen!"
With a loud wail, the red eyes moved forward, and Sam felt a sharp pain as the empusa bit his left shoulder.
Grunting, Sam stumbled backward and his vision went completely dark. He was totally blind now, everything had turned to black; even the red eyes had disappeared. The pain in his shoulder ceased abruptly, and Sam found himself breathing heavily and leaning against what he presumed to be the Impala.
As he regained his breath, Sam realized his sight was not the only sense he had lost. There was no sound. No sounds of cars or wind or people. Even the sounds of his panting no longer existed. Unable to tell if he was still under attack, Sam rubbed his eyes and strained to see something.
Surprisingly, he did. Far off in the distance was a glowing white light. It was the only thing he could see and, based on his memory, the light was coming from the bar. Perhaps the artificial lights in the bar were immune to the empusa's ancient spell?
A low grumbling sound interrupted Sam's pondering. Hot breath blew against his right ear, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Something or someone was right behind him, breathing on him.
Slowly, Sam turned and found himself face-to-face with a grizzly-sized, two-horned dog. From his point of view, the beast appeared to be hovering in mid-air, but even though he couldn't see it, Sam knew the dog was actually crouched on the hood of the Impala. So apparently he wasn't completely blind, only partially: he could see a light and a gigantic slobbering, growling canine.
The dog moved into a pounce position, and Sam began to slowly back away. The teeth were bared and the claws began to curl under.
Suddenly, the dog sprang forward.
Sam turned and ran.
Gasping from fear and exertion, he ran full speed through the darkness, toward the light. Behind him, he could hear the dog's pounding steps and barks. The animal was right on his heels.
The darkness was suffocating. There didn't even seem to be a ground below him, just black. Still, beneath his feet, Sam could feel the rocks, gravel, and dirt. The wind was there as well; he could feel it blowing against his face as he ran, but he couldn't hear it.
Suddenly, the ground seemed to drop from under him, and a hard, stiff object hit him in the shins. With a silent yell, Sam found himself falling. He hit what he presumed to be the ground hands first, scraping his palms and knees in the gravel. His feet remained tangled in whatever obstacle had tripped him.
The dog's exhales disturbed the hairs on the back of his head, and his neck was soon wet with canine drool. Fighting off the painful feeling in his chest as his heart pounded, Sam managed to pick himself up and resume running before the dog bit. If only he had his gun, a knife, something he could use to fight the beast.
It occurred to him as he ran that the dog was most likely an illusion brought on by the empusa. After all, that was what they did: create illusions to frighten young men to death. However, given the fact that his last attempt at telling the empusa off had failed miserably, Sam wasn't about to stand his ground against Fido. He had to get to the light. He didn't know what it was or why he thought it would help, but everything in his being was telling him to run to it.
Another hard object met Sam's feet, and he found himself falling once again, this time onto what felt like wooden stairs. Scrambling quickly, he felt his way up the stairs and hit something soft and warm. Whatever it was, shoved him out of the way. There was the feeling of a hand on his back, and Sam felt himself pushed in another direction.
The air unexpectedly became warmer, and Sam threw his hands out in front of him to help avoid running into more objects. There were a lot of them now; almost every step he took, he found himself bumping into something. The beast was still stalking him, its growl and hot breath following his every move. But the light was close now, and Sam felt his hope grow. If he could reach the light before the dog killed him, he'd be okay.
Suddenly, another face appeared before him. A second dog, this one almost twice as large as the first. There was no fur on this one, only a shiny black, reptile-like skin. The slobber dripping from its fangs seem to glisten in the glow of the light.
Sam was panting hard as he watched the dog stealthily move between him and the light. The other dog remained in its seemingly permanent place at Sam's back. The dog in front crouched down, and Sam tried his best to slow his heart in preparation for another run. The canine seemed to grin. It was time.
Before the dog moved, Sam darted to the side. Immediately, he felt himself hit something, and what felt like several hands caught him from falling to the ground. The front dog snapped its jaws at his arm, but somehow Sam managed to pull the limb away before it was torn off. Just as one of the dogs brought up its claws to rip open his back, Sam took a desperate leap toward the light.
"Sam? What the hell is wrong with you? Are you drunk?"
Coughing and breathing harshly, Sam blinked. He was in the bar and, what was more, he could see. The darkness was gone and the loud talking, clanking of glasses, and bad country music meant his hearing was back, too. Sam sagged further onto his brother's knee as the relief swelled through him. Somehow in that attack, he had literally fallen into Dean's lap.
"Um, that's a little weird…" A girl's voice rang out from above him, and Dean's hands were quickly pulling him up.
"Dude, get your freakin' face out of my crotch."
Before Sam had a chance to process, Dean pushed him away, and he was plunged back into darkness. The dog's snarling face was inches from his own.
Sam screamed and reached out a hand.
The dog vanished and the bar reappeared, along with his brother's now confused face.
Still catching his breath and ignoring the shaking in his hands, Sam tried to preempt his brother before he was thrown off again. "Wait, wait…don't push me off."
He needn't have worried. Dean was looking more concerned by the moment and given the way Sam had screamed the last time he was thrown off, he doubted Dean would be shaking him off again any time soon.
Sam tried again to explain through gasping breaths. "It's an empusa. I saw it. It bit me."
Immediately, Dean's worry expressed itself through anger. "What? When the hell'd that happen? Why the hell'd you let her bite you?"
Sam rolled his eyes, the beating of his heart finally returning to a reasonable rate. "I didn't let her, Dean. I insulted her, told her off…none of it worked."
Dean smirked. "'Cause you're too goddamn nice—you suck at rank-outs."
Sam grumbled, accepting his brother's abuse. What was he going to say? Dean had always been better with the insults than he was.
The girl on the barstool across from Dean spoke up. "Um, so, do you know him?"
Dean turned to her and pointed at Sam. "My brother."
The girl looked up at Sam, appearing somewhat disturbed by that piece of information. She turned back to Dean. "He's your brother…not, like, your…" She waved her hand at them.
Dean glared back. "No. He's my brother." Then he turned to Sam. "Why is it that everyone thinks we're gay?"
The girl's expression grew aloof. "Well, he fell into your lap, and now he's massaging your shoulder…"
This time, Sam felt himself growing annoyed. "I'm not massaging his shoulder."
Dean turned to him. "Dude, why are you holding on to me? And what was with the screaming?"
Sam lowered his head, embarrassed. He so didn't want to go there. He would never hear the end of it. Despite the fact the bitch hadn't fled when Sam attempted to tell her off, the evidence still pointed to his attacker being an empusa. Empusas used fear to kill their prey. However, the spell would lose its effectiveness if the prey was in an area or around a person that made them feel safe.
It was humiliating. He was twenty-four years old, perfectly capable of being independent—hell, he'd lived on his own in college fairly successfully, the weekend after Halloween not withstanding—but years of running to Dean for help had left its mark. Dean had never let him down; he had even managed to bring Sam back from the dead. Of course his faith in his big brother would override any spell. Still, Dean would just live this up…
Unwilling to verbally admit his current dependence, Sam tried to help his brother reach the answer on his own. "It's an empusa."
Dean raised his brows, obviously missing the implication. "Yeah…so? What the hell's that got to do with you molesting me?"
Sam avoided his brother's eyes and chewed on his own lip as he tried to think of another way to explain the situation.
Never a patient man, Dean moved his arm in an attempt to shake his brother off.
Startled, and frightened at the prospect of falling into darkness once again, Sam tightened his hold and yelled, "No!"
Dean ceased his movements, concern shining in his eyes once again. "Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?"
The girl spoke. "I think he's drunk."
Sam stared at his brother, willing him to understand.
Dean stared back, his brows drawing together in confusion.
Giving up, Sam finally explained. "She bit me…her spell's in effect—it was like I was thrown into another world. I was completely blind and deaf, and these massive dogs were chasing me—"
"She was trying to scare you to death," Dean interrupted. Sam nodded, and Dean continued his questioning, still not having put all the pieces together. "So, what'd you do? How'd you get out of it?"
Sam shook his head. "I didn't."
Dean narrowed his eyes, obviously frustrated. "What do you mean, you didn't, Sam? Obviously, you did. You wouldn't be standing there talking to me if you were still under the spell."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Dean…" Dean looked on, waiting for the explanation. "I'm touching you."
At that, Dean scrunched up his face as though Sam had just uttered the most completely ridiculous statement in the world. "Dude! What the hell does that have to do with—" Dean stopped abruptly.
Sam watched as his brother's expression slowly morphed into a smirk. His lips were then sucked in as Dean attempted to hide his laughter. Sam rolled his eyes. "That's great. Just get it out of your system."
Dean doubled over laughing. Sam stood, following Dean's movements, his hand remaining on his brother's shoulder. Finally, after a minute, Dean wiped the tears from his eyes and cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I really shouldn't be laughing…it's not funny…" But even as he said it, he snorted his way into another bout of laughter.
Sam let his brother have his fun for another minute before becoming annoyed. "Dean! Knock it off! You can laugh at me later. Right now, can we just end this bitch?"
Dean straightened and made an attempt to control himself. "I'm sorry. You're right." He stood up and grabbed his jacket even as another repressed chuckle came out. Turning to the girl, he said, "Sorry, looks like my superhero powers are needed."
The girl looked over at the brothers, appearing somewhat relieved the psychotic boy was leaving.
No longer caring about the potential one-night stand, Dean gave the girl a wide grin. "I'm Batman, you know." He elbowed Sam. "Tell her, Sammy."
Sam looked away and growled; this unfortunate situation would only add to Dean's overinflated hunting ego. After a second elbow to the gut, he turned to his brother, aggravated. "Can we just go?"
Dean laughed and threw on his jacket, coordinating his movements with his brother so they wouldn't separate. Then, together, the brothers made their way out of the bar. Dean resumed speaking as they left the building. "Man, the girls in there were hot. I gotta say though, when we came in here, I didn't think I'd be walking out with you on my arm."
Sam shot his brother a sideways glare. "Believe me, you aren't my first choice, either."
Dean smirked. "Yeah, your first choice would be your laptop…"
Sam pushed his brother away in an automatic response, but then quickly pulled Dean back. The action sent another wave of snickers through his brother. Finally, the two hunters ceased walking as they reached the middle of the gravel parking lot.
Dean looked around before turning to his brother. "You see her?"
Sam scanned the area, searching for the red eyes and copper leg. He knew she wouldn't have gone far, wanting to feed off his corpse after he died. However, in every direction, the empusa was nowhere to be found. Sam shook his head in reply.
Dean sighed. "You sure it's an empusa?"
Sam shot his brother a look. "Silver hair, bony body, glowing red eyes, and two donkey legs, one in fur, the other in copper."
Dean nodded grimly. "Okay, then." After thinking for a moment, he turned back to Sam, a curious expression on his face. "And you insulted her and she still bit you?"
Sam lifted his free hand in a shrug. "I insulted her, told her I wasn't afraid of her, and, yeah, she bit me…twice."
Dean pulled his head down to closely examine where Sam pointed to a bite. After a minute of inspection, Dean released him with a long breath. "Well, I can tell you why the insults didn't work."
Sam shook his head in confusion. "Because I suck at insulting?"
Dean raised his brows in consideration of the explanation. "Well, there's that…but no, it didn't work 'cause she's not an empusa. The bite's shaped like a spiral—that's a mormo bite."
Sam was startled as he contemplated Dean's theory. Mormos and empusas were related. Mormos also scared their victims to death via a spell…and mormos were shapeshifters, so one could have shifted into an empusa form.
Dean spoke again. "That's gotta be one smart bitch. She must have known you were a hunter. What better way to throw you off than to pretend she's a different monster? You stand your ground to prove you're not scared, and she gets an easy lunch ticket."
Sam nodded. That would make her one smart bitch. There was only one problem with the theory. "Dean, mormo spells are stronger than empusa's. If it's a mormo, the spell shouldn't turn off just 'cause I'm near you."
Dean shook his head in disagreement. "They're related creatures. Mormos are stronger, but the same rules probably still apply to the spell. It'd just take a stronger feeling of safety to break it."
Sam rubbed his face with his free hand and sighed. "It makes sense. I mean, you've never let anything happen to me—"
Dean interrupted him with a snort. Looking at the ground, Dean mumbled quietly, "That's not true. It happened, I just figured out a way to undo it at the last minute."
Sam nodded. "Either way, Dean. The point is I do feel more secure with you around than I do on my own, and not just for the spell. Our job…it can get pretty scary, and I trust you, you know? You're my big brother, and maybe it's 'cause I still look up to you, but a part of me really still believes you can fix any problem I have and…I just feel safer."
Dean stared at him for a moment, listening, as he took in what Sam had said. Sam could see in his eyes that the speech had hit his brother hard. They may not have discussed it often, and it may have been something he wasn't happy about, but he wasn't blind; he knew Dean's sense of purpose came from being able to protect him. It pissed Sam off to no end because he himself hated feeling dependent or in any need of protection, and Dean's need to protect him often interfered with his own autonomy. It also pissed Sam off because he wanted Dean to realize he was many great things on his own, independent of Sam. But regardless of Sam's feelings, Dean always had, and still did, take the greatest pride in being a good big brother. And it was clear Sam's little mormo-provoked speech had meant a lot to him.
Suddenly, the deep expression left Dean's eyes and he pointed. "See, that shit right there is why people think we're gay."
Sam let out a laugh and shook his head. "All right. So how do we fight a mormo?"
Dean scrunched his face in thought for a moment before shaking his head. "I have no idea. I'm guessing we can shoot the bitch with the Colt, but I'd hate to waste the bullet."
Sam agreed. "Should we call Bobby?"
Dean sighed before nodding. "Yeah, I guess. Man, I'm beginning to get a complex here—this is, what? The third hunt in a row we've had to call him?"
Sam shrugged and sent his brother a look. "At least you're not the one holding on to someone else because you're scared."
Dean let out a laugh and shook his head. "You always were a girl."
Sam growled; he really was never going to hear the end of this…
And there's chapter 1. Chapter 2 should be up within a few days. If you get a chance, review and let me know what you think so far!