Sam always wins at Rock, Paper, Scissors.
This story is about the one time he actually lost.
Sick Sam. Worried/Guilty Dean. Worried/Fatherly John.
Dean 19. Sam 15.
Thanks to Phx for the wonderful beta work.
Warning/Note: Swearing, blood, and... er... more blood.
Unfortunately, my historical facts have undergone a severe fiddling. The same goes for my medical facts, so please bear that in mind in the last chapter, 'cos you won't find many 'facts' per se.
I'm afraid that I just don't have the time needed to perform any proper research on these things, so I use what little facts I do have swimming around in my brain, and make it up as I go along. The advantage being, I can bend history, time and space to suit my plot. And you have to admit, that does take some skill, and means that not only can I tell a good yarn, but that I'll also make an excellent politician someday...
"Ok, boys," John called out, "spread out. Remember, we're looking for a mass grave here, so let's make it fast. These people need putting to rest. Permanently!"
"Yes Sir!" came two young voices.
Sharp, yes. Perfectly in sync, certainly. But one of the voices definitely carried a spark of attitude that John chose to ignore. For once, he wasn't the cause of it, and that in itself was the reason for the small grin he was fighting.
Dean was the object of Sam's displeasure on this occasion, and John was feeling more than a little smug about it. For the first time in ages, he wasn't the one on the receiving end of the SammyScowl; those brows drawn down into a steep 'V', eyes narrowed to slits, mouth pursed and twisted into a sulky pout.
Yep. John was in the clear.
John was the good guy in all this.
Dean, of course, wasn't exactly making a case for himself. Grinning from ear to ear, and shooting sarcastic comments at his kid brother, he sauntered casually into the woodland cemetery, whilst Sam trudged along in his wake, feet dragging, shovel in hand and raised as though seriously considering the back of Dean's head for it's next resting place.
Sam had drawn the short straw.
Well, actually he'd lost in the Rock Paper Scissors stakes and earned himself a few gruelling hours digging a hole.
It was his own fault, John reflected. Sammy always rose to the bait, and Dean, in turn, loved baiting the kid, especially if it meant leaving the heavy stuff to someone else. Dean preferred holding a shotgun to a shovel, and in this instance he'd definitely gotten the cushy number.
And as Dean was so fond of telling him, shotgun? Equals Majorly Cool.
Shovel? Equals Shit Shoveler.
The older brother had even pointed out the need for the capital letters, like it was a job description or something, reiterating that it was now Sam's turn for the grunt work.
John had shaken his head in amusement. Was I like that at his age?
"Never mind, Sammy," Dean gave his brother a friendly slap on the back, his tone just this side of patronizing. "If it gets you away from those damn school books and out in the fresh air, maybe some decent exercise, it can't be a bad thing, huh?" he finished off with a grin so smug it could have been appointed professor of smugness at Smug University.
Sam's only answer was to deepen his scowl and shrug Dean off.
Dean wasn't the least bit put out, as always.
But he sure was going to be.
Turned out there was more than just one mass grave in the area. Its history was littered with the usual family betrayals, cholera outbreaks, typhoid and, just occasionally, death by bullets and the hangman's noose, both of which were, by far, the speediest methods of dispatch.
However, it seemed the world beyond the veil had been growing restless of late. Plans for rejuvenating the village and surrounding areas hadn't gone down any better with its current locals, than it had with its past ones. Big time construction companies and rich suits turned up, pontificating and demanding, harassing and intruding.
One rich suit in particular had purchased a large chunk of land that contained a good portion of the village itself, and had already set the legal hounds on the poor folks who'd settled there many years before.
Poor though they might have been, they were also prideful. They paid their rent on time, were always neighbourly to each other, and extremely welcoming to brief visitors.
But not these visitors.
These visitors had plans, involving wine bars and restaurants, shopping malls and boutiques. Modernization was the buzz word in the area, and not one of the natives was happy about losing their peace, quiet and tranquillity to the beast of 'progress'.
So when the new owner found he couldn't legally force them out right away, he grew impatient and let loose an entirely different species of hound.
In other words, the legal hassle was at an end, its own baying hounds locked away in some board room.
But the physical bullying… well, that was a different matter.
It was certainly cheaper employing eight big guys from the newly set up construction site, and everyone knew just how effective fear could be.
The locals didn't give in, however.
But they didn't get mad either.
They got even.
The Winchesters had been passing through, as always moving on to their next job, when the trouble started.
The rich suit was mysteriously struck down by cholera. The eight construction bullies were found hanged by their own utility belts from the site's crane, in what looked to the 'experts' as a suicide pact.
Next came the legal team, the twelve of them found in a sealed conference room, all with a single bullet wound to the back of the head, bodies arrange in a weird drunken parody of Da Vinci's The Last Supper, and no forensic evidence suggested anyone else had even been there.
No one living at any rate.
And the real kicker?
The doors and windows were all locked from the inside. Even so, persuading twelve people to sit perfectly still in their seats without protest, whilst someone set about systematically whacking them was a pretty neat trick, one any assassin would value in their repertoire.
The cops and, eventually, the feds were puzzled enough to raise an eyebrow, but there was no real evidence of foul play. So they declared suicide yet again, then quickly, and some might say gratefully, closed the case with shaking hands and moved on, effectively illustrating once again the reason for the Winchester family distain of the so called 'authorities'.
To the trained eye, however, it was more than obvious what was going on. And John Winchester was certainly more trained than most.
He was a master.
He could spot the patterns, the tiny details from fifty paces and never, ever, left anything to chance.
If it seemed too improbable to be true, then it probably was true.
And this seemed like the more specialist kind of case; the kind the feds backed away from, and the Winchesters advanced on.
'Progress' had been and gone from this tiny village, wiped out in a mysterious wave of deaths. The construction company packed up and went home, files and records shipped back to whence they came. Blue prints, carefully laid out in perfect detail and never to come to fruition, were destroyed by the locals.
But people sighed with relief just a little too soon.
Whatever they had summoned to protect their little community wasn't yet done.
The post master, Tom O'Grady, bought it in the back storage room of his depot, found hanging from the ceiling fan by his own tie.
The district nurse, Ellie Green, was taken down by a violent case of food poisoning.
Mike Bodkin, owner of the local bar, narrowly missed having his head blown off when the shotgun above the bar became mysteriously dislodged from its display shelf above the entrance. He swore until he was blue in the face the padlock holding it in position was kept clean, well oiled and fully locked. That, and the weapon had been decommissioned in recent years, indicated something was amiss.
Additionally, all these events took place within twelve hours of each other.
The deaths of the rich suit, the lawyers, and the construction workers, all occurred within eighteen hours.
Whatever they had summoned to protect their village, it was stepping up its attacks.
Like a bad episode of The A Team, John had quickly figured out what was going on and confronted the locals. Of course, an argument ensued with lots of shouting, angsting, crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth, until he was able to convince them that summoning the spirit world was not the answer, and was essentially a bad, no, try fucking stupid idea.
"You people are in way over your heads," John had scolded, angrily. "What the hell did you think you were doing? Summoning the dead to take care of your dirty business has got to be the most stupid thing I ever heard."
He was bombarded with excuse after excuse.
How they didn't have any choice…
"There's always a choice!"John had roared back at them. "You could have called in government help."
How they didn't want any outside influences involved…
"You had the feds and reporters here. I'd say it's a little late to be worried about that!"
Eventually they had all stood around, some staring at the sky, some shuffling their feet awkwardly, all with the air of naughty, petulant school kids after a severe telling off from their Principal for talking during class.
When John went on to tell them that what they'd done was to essentially commit murder, some of them actually started crying, and explained they had no idea it would go that far. That it was just meant to scare the outsiders away, but once it all started they just couldn't stop it.
John had shaken his head in despair. "Next time, fake it for God sake! Dress up in a sheet or something…!"
What they'd done, was to summon their ancestors. Notably, the locals that died weren't technically local, in the sense it was widely felt that anyone whose parents hadn't been born here, were traditionally considered as outsiders.
The O'Grady family came from Ireland and moved into the community just before Tom was born.
Ellie Green was from another village a few hundred miles away, but married the local doctor shortly after meeting him at a conference.
Bodkin originally came from Leeds, England. So, definitely not a local…
John could easily see the pattern.
The spirit, or spirits, had moved on to attacking the little community itself Terminator-style: Skynet was programmed to eliminate all threats, the bugger being, of course, that it also came to see all humans as a threat.
And that was what John worried about the most.
His own family were relatively safe, with salt lines in the motel room, and both his sons were armed with rock salt should trouble head their way.
So he demanded to see... it!
With heavy reluctance, mostly brought on by shame, the people showed him their little altar, the summoning ritual, and the black candles, which he immediately upturned, sprayed with accelerant and set light to, much to the annoyance of the resident fire fighter – whose fire fighting equipment consisted of a bucket of sand or water, depending on the nature of the fire.
John couldn't quite comprehend a group of people so monumentally stupid, that they hadn't thought to disassemble the apparatus that caused all the trouble to start with.
The altar's desecration seemed to do the trick, though John was adamant they also showed him the burial sites of their ancestors, just to be on the safe side. The people had ummed and ahhed and once again adopted the petulant school child approach.
Turned out, they hadn't a clue where the burial sites were, though eventually some partially deaf, toothless wonder in his nineties had been nudged awake, whereupon John used a well known and often successful method of communication, namely to shout and gesticulate wildly. The old coot vaguely gestured in turn at the woods surrounding the churchyard.
John didn't have a clue what he was saying, but thankfully one of the school teachers managed a translation.
The main bulk of the ancestors had been buried together in a mass grave after being wiped out by…
And there were various mutterings about which particular beastly infection had been the cause, before someone piped up and tentatively suggested:
"We think it was cholera, though it could have been typhoid, and my grandfather once said he thought it was tuberculosis."
John had eyed them carefully, tamping down his frustration.
"Wow."He'd deadpanned. "That's real helpful. Thank you."
But given that some of the deaths weren't down to cholera/typhoid/tuberculosis John felt it was necessary to spend a bit of time hunting down all the potential gravesites. This meant a long library stint for the youngest Winchester and his big brother, which led on to said older brother falling victim to a common teenage complaint.
Hence, Sam, having done most of the research whilst Dean stared out the window, or flicked pieces of paper at his little brother's head when he thought he wasn't looking, was too irritable to not rise to the bait.
"So, how many, Sam?"
Sam was already fast developing the scowl.
"Two mass graves, and a further six individual graves for the people killed by bullets or hanging."
"I'll take the six."
"Who says?" Sam replied indignantly, pout well on the way.
Dean held out a hand, still grinning.
"Best out of three…?"
Thirty seconds later, Sam lost.
And so, a very disgruntled Sam was digging a very large hole in the middle of nowhere. With each and every stroke of the shovel, he cursed a blue streak, then cursed his brother, then cursed the village and its residents, then cursed his father just on general principle, then cursed the Impala for bringing them here in the first place.
Once he'd cursed his way through the entire list of suspects, he began again.
"Stupid friggin' brother."
"Stupid friggin' people."
"Stupid friggin' car."
"Stupid friggin' ghosts."
"Stupid friggin' mass graves."
The hole grew bigger, wider and deeper, but Sam didn't really notice.
Dean watched the flames with satisfaction. He liked this part, the smell of the accelerant, the flare of the match book, the soft whumph as the long dead corpse went up. It all appealed to his inner pyromaniac, and, if he was honest, turned him on just a little. And today he got to do it six times...
He would never admit that aloud just in case Sam overheard, and the least ammunition that fell into the kid's lap the better, as far as Dean was concerned.
Somewhere in the distance he could hear his father and brother at work on the two mass graves, and sighed.
Suppose I should go and help the squirt before he hurts himself.
Sam didn't even realise he'd dug so far down until the shovel went straight through, cracking the floor holding him up, and then he was falling.
It was only a short drop but it shook him up, especially when his journey ended abruptly, dumping him into a pile of skeletons.
It was all he could do not to shriek like a girl when he opened his eyes to be confronted by a pair of eyeless sockets.
"Oh my God..." he looked around, eyes wide with horror. "Oh my God...!"
Even the dim light from the world above failed to disguise the utter misery of the tiny space. And he didn't think he'd ever forget the smell; it triggered his gag reflex and made his stomach churn like a vat of rancid butter.
Sam reluctantly counted ten corpses, all draped in scraps of old decaying cloth, but his heart broke when he spotted one curled in the corner of the makeshift crypt. It was holding what appeared to be a tiny skeleton, probably a baby no more than a few days old.
So make that eleven, then, he thought sadly.
Skeletal hands still clutched the infant tenderly to its ribcage, and Sam idly wondered if this was the child's mother.
Blinking back tears, Sam gingerly got to his feet, brushed himself down, reached up with shaking hands, and tried to pull himself up and out.
Instead, all he got for his trouble was a face full of grave dirt as the ceiling gave way a little more.
Coughing and spluttering, Sam's eyes stung and watered. Blinking rapidly and waiting for the air to clear, Sam stood as still as a statue for a few minutes.
He felt completely humiliated as he assessed his situation. There was only one way he was getting out of here...
Sam took a deep breath.
Dean, shovel resting over his left shoulder, damn near swaggered in the general direction of his little brother and the second mass grave. He wasn't hurrying. Dean never hurried; he often maintained that the only good reason for running was being chased by some supernatural fugly. Otherwise, it just wasn't cool.
After all, this was just a precautionary salt and burn; his Dad had taken care of the altar, and twelve hours later no one had died.
Time to relax...
A small grin made its way on to his face as his mind changed track.
What was her name again?
In a low cut blouse, short skirt and high heels. Slutty, definitely slutty. Just the way he liked it. Deep cleavage, one Dean could happily bury his head in, and more gold jewellery than Snoop Dog...
...If she fell in the river she'd sink to the bottom...
...which meant Dean would get to dive in to the rescue...
...mouth to mouth resuscitation...
...heart massage... Dean's grin widened into that which could only be called filthy.
The grin dropped like a stone.
Dean spun round... and round again.
"Sammy? You ok?"
"Uh... no! Not really."
"Where the hell are you?" Picking up his pace, Dean strode through the trees. He could hear Sam's voice well enough, though it was muffled, like coming from the bottom of a pit, in fact...
"Whoa!" Rounding one more tree, he just caught himself before falling into the grave. Arms windmilling for a few seconds, Dean sought his balance then crouched down. A dust coated face with watery blue-green eyes stared up at him out of the gloom, pleading and hopeful. The grin returned. "Well, now. You really are in quite the pickle, huh?"
The pleading look turned into a glare.
"Quit messing around Dean, and get me out of here!"
"M'not entirely sure you want to," Dean scratched the back of his head with an air of false innocence. "'Cos I mean, you haven't said the magic word."
That glare intensified. "Hospital!" Sam puffed out an angry breath.
"Noooo... pretty sure that ain't the magic word, Sammy... Sam?"
Right out of the blue, Sam began coughing.
"Ok, give me your hand."
But Sam was still coughing and it sounded like it was getting worse. He suddenly bent double, arms wrapped round his waist, and began hacking. Deep, harsh, painful sounding coughs that put Dean in mind of sealions at the zoo.
"D-de...hl'p..." Sam couldn't catch his breath, shoulders heaving, mouth gaping wide open in desperation.
Dean's eyes widened with fear. He threw himself on to his stomach and reached into the grave, grabbed hold of the kid's shirt and tugged hard.
After one last cough, followed by a loud wheeze, Sam fell silent and sagged limply in his brother's grip.
"C'mon, Sammy. I gotcha..."
But the grave was beginning to collapse, long years of peace finally disturbed, and the ground rebelled. Dust kicked up, clouding the air and smothering the boys... and the walls gave way.
Sam was slipping from Dean's grasp, seemingly unconscious and unable to help. Dean was pulled down, refusing to let go of his little brother, but nothing he did was going to stop the inevitable.
Sammy isn't going down alone.
Author's end notes:
So here we are at the start of another LIMPSAM! Fic.
For those of you who have left reviews to other stories in the last 24 hours or so, I apologize for not having replied. There seems to be a problem with the site at the moment, but once it's cleared up I will drop you a line, I promise.