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Oh my, would the boys be in trouble if I had a say... Just one word: SFTCOL(AR)S
And muchísimas gracias to my awesome twin sister Twinchy for the beta! A special thank you goes out to K Hanna Korossy, who thankfully pointed out a middle-sized plot hole in my original concept.
This piece was written as a contribution for the Summer of Sam Love Fic-Exchange 2009. I absolutely loved your prompt, Faye, and had a total blast writing it! Plus, it provided such a nice excuse to go all whumpy on poor, unsuspecting Sammy. Due to other urgent commitments over the summer, this fic is pretty much on the latish side but I still hope you aren't disappointed with the result. Now strap yourself in and enjoy the ride!
Language, violence, h/c, disturbing images… so, the usual by Winchester standards.
probably sometime in season three, no spoilers
Quasi-crossover with Jared's movie "House of Wax". Mostly, I've always wanted to see that abduction scene and near waxing done with Sam being the victim who gets saved by his awesome big bro at the last minute. That's kind of specific, but you can take it lots of ways – mostly, that's a creepy situation, and it'd be cool to see it done with Sam and Dean.
The Winchester brothers investigate a string of creepy accidents in a candle factory. When Sam gets snatched from right underneath Dean's nose, it all goes to hell in a hand-basket, and fast. House-of-Wax-ish
"Dean, I have a bad feeling about this."
"Dude, you always have a bad feeling." Dean feigned exasperation, his cocky reply, however, was hardly able to disguise his own unease. While the two hooded figures watchfully snuck further into the unlit factory, the night inside the building was so complete that the mignon lights seemed hardly able to penetrate the darkness in their immediate vicinity. They passed abandoned workplaces and haphazardly strewn tools. Eerie tanks loomed gloomily at the edge of the flashlight's reach.
"No," Sam interjected in a hushed voice, "this is more than that." He couldn't really narrow it down to something solid, something more than a hunch but the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
In spite of his purposefully suave air, the older hunter subconsciously tightened the grip around the handle of his gun. "Your psychic powers making an uncalled for reappearance, or are you still sweating the last poltergeist one-on-one?" Playing it cool usually worked best for him… and Sammy.
Waiting for his little brother's retort, he cautiously stepped a few paces ahead, his own sense of danger intensifying by leaps. A few more seconds dragged by but there was still no response, no smart-ass comment, nothing.
"Sam?" He asked hesitantly. Ogling back into the darkness behind to try and make out his little brother's shape, Dean's heartbeat quickened and his adrenaline levels shot through the ceiling while he listened intently into the surrounding silence, waiting for the soft voice that never came.
36 hours earlier
"Now that sounds like a gig for us," Dean beamed form ear to ear.
"If you are suggesting to investigate in a strip bar again–"
"Give me a little credit, Sammy! When do I ever mingle job and pleasure?" Dean's wiggled his eyebrows.
"Do you really want an answer to that?" Sam rolled his eyes. "When was it again that you convinced me to take this one hunt in a Finnish sauna paradise, on women's day? – Oh right, last Thursday!"
"Hey, that was totally not my fault. Who would have thought that it was no spook but a serial killer? And you have to admit the old crow really looked like she was dead already. So no wonder I misjudged."
Dismissing their current topic with a wave of his hand, Sam directed the conversation towards their next hunt again. "Okay then, tell me about the possible job you found."
"Alright, listen up, Sammy. In Hopkins, MN they found this watchman working the nightshift in a candle factory completely coated in candle wax. Obviously he had taken a nose dive into one of the tanks with candle wax."
"Could have been an accident," the younger man reasoned. "Freak accidents do happen. What makes this one so special?"
"I don't know, maybe that it was the third accident in as many months? Or that they didn't find the poor guy inside one of the tanks but standing in his booth looking like a runaway from Ma'am T's exhibition?" Dean grinned like a Cheshire cat; victory was sweet.
The next afternoon found the Winchester brothers already checked into their half-decent motel room in Hopkins. Trying to doze off the after-effects from the all-night drive up to and through North Dakota right into Minnesota, Dean reclined on the bed. Sam, who had been able to catch some z's riding shotgun, sat uncomfortably in the too small chair doing his magic on research. The table had proven too low even for the tiny chair; therefore he was balancing the laptop precariously on his thighs. It was a shame that paying their old friend Bobby a visit had been out of the question; it would have been too much of a detour at the moment but they would most certainly amend that once the job was done.
"Not much info to be found on any of those accidents," Sam sighed. "I even hacked into the digitalized archive of the state library, nothing." He had feared as much but that neither made the search any less frustrating nor the truth any more appealing, "Could be practically anything killing those workers."
"Okay, Sherlock, judging from the meagre information you managed to dig up, it's probably a poltergeist of the very nasty kind."
"The MO would certainly fit but it could still be something completely different, something not so easy to figure out."
"What more proof do you need, Sam?" Dean's impatience got the better of him. "All the circumstantial evidence points to a classic poltergeist haunting. First, the grisly way the workers died. Second, that you couldn't find anything unusual about either the building itself or the company, or any of its owners for that matter. And last but not least," he was counting off the arguments triumphantly with his fingers, "a poltergeist would be most practical to get rid of."
Sam spared his big brother a doubtful look, "How so?"
"'Cause we wouldn't have to find out what kind of whack-job is responsible for the killings and then dig up the bones to make a nice, little bonfire. Plus, if it's not a poltergeist we're dealing with," Dean conceded, "the purging of the building won't do much harm anyway."
"Just make it in and out alive, I get it," Sam answered sarcastically.
"Exactly. Now you get my drift!"
The overwhelming nausea was slow to pass. One second he had been standing right next to his brother, talking to him, then suddenly, everything had shifted out of place, like clicking on replace background. Sam fruitlessly tried to shake the thick cobwebs out of his head. In spite of the surrounding darkness, he guessed from the shadowy silhouettes around him that he was still somewhere in the factory. And apparently lying down, going by his horizontal perspective.
Common sense kicking in, the younger Winchester jerked upwards in a valiant attempt at ignoring the persistent vertigo. Out of nowhere, a presence bled from the shadows, its shape even blacker than the darkness around it. A menace radiated off the fuzzy form that revealed a depth of evil the hunter had never sensed before. The figure extended a blurry hand towards him and, despite his best efforts to evade the touch, rested it on Sam's forehead, slowly applying pressure. A peculiar tingling sensation made its way through his brain down the spine. Suddenly bereft of all strength, the young man sagged back onto the surface he had been lying on. As disturbingly comfortable warmth spread through his limbs, his muscles relaxed involuntarily, rendering his body completely immobile.
Frantically raging against the absolute loss of control, Sam tried to call out for his brother, laying all the fear he felt into his voice. His terror quadrupled when he found his mouth unable to form any sound, only low grunts and moans escaping his throat. There was no way for him to defend himself or alert Dean. The weight of that realization came crushing down on him like a ton of bricks.
Through the haze of his desolation, he felt the distinctive coolness of metal glide up his pant leg, then the other before it moved up his torso and down one sleeve after the other. The rough pair of scissors made short work of his clothes, leaving him feeling bared and exposed.
The dark shape moved away from the table, rummaging nearby for a couple of minutes. In the short reprieve Sam was granted, he tried to reign in his panic by forcing himself to look at his situation from a logical point of view. Maybe this could give him an edge. Judging from its appearance, MO and the way it moved, this was so not a Poltergeist they were dealing with. Poltergeists were nasty things, sure, but they usually didn't take a form, however fuzzy; plus, they would have just dumped him unceremoniously into one of the candle wax tanks. Why the effort? Why bother rendering him paralyzed and stripping him? There had to be some kind of ritual to it.
The young hunter was catapulted out of his musings when sticky goo was smeared over his shin, the temperature verging on not-quite painfully hot. Obviously the thing had returned. For a moment he was confused, unable to comprehend what exactly was happening to him when something was lightly pressed onto the mass. Then the figure moved towards his other leg, also applying a liberal amount of the sludge, closely followed by soft pressure. A moment's hesitation from the silhouette had the tension sizzling around the table.
A jolt of pain shot through Sam's body the instant something was ripped off his legs. The sheer intensity and unexpectedness had him inwardly scream at the top of his lungs. As soon as the sharp pain ebbed away, leaving a burning ache in its wake, it slowly dawned on the hunter that the shadow must have removed the hair on his legs with hot wax. The implications for his further treatment grossed him out, his steadily rising panic skyrocketing while the shape hovered towards his right arm.
WHERE THE HELL WAS DEAN?!
The older Winchester stalked through the dimly-lit darkness of the factory building. He had a hard time reigning in the overwhelming feelings of anger and worry. The fuming hunter was positively in the mood for tearing the whole place apart, desperate to inflict pain upon the thing that had kidnapped his little brother when he was mere inches away from the kid.
In his lifetime, Dean Winchester had confronted wagonloads of nasty sons-of-bitches, and he hardly took a hunt personally, unless they put their proverbial hands on a certain sasquatch of a baby brother. On those occasions, Dean's single focus became tearing the supernatural being limb from limb before it so much as looked wrong at Sam; none of those were still breathing air after the job was done!
Nevertheless, he was experienced enough a hunter to know that rash decisions and rookie moves were only good for one thing, getting them both killed. He needed to control his rage, channel it, calmly prepare for the hit, and then strike, swift and deadly like a hawk.
After the initial shock of his brother being taken by the thing that had already turned three watchmen into wax figures, Dean had forced himself to regain his equilibrium and use his head to find Sam in time. Preferably offing the supernatural entity in a particularly gory way while he was at it. Unfortunately, this required him to find them first. Although the older brother was fully aware of working on a tight schedule, the upside of this very case was that Sam was most definitely still somewhere on the premises.
At first Dean had given the building a rough sweep, searching for immediately obvious signs, lights, sounds, anything easily detectible. When that had proven futile, he had begun combing the area meticulously, in his mind recalling the layout of the factory and adjusting the search pattern accordingly.
In the past 15 minutes he had covered about a third of the ground floor. And while the minutes ticked away, his agitation reared its ugly head, threatening to make his schooled façade crumble. An inner voice told him time was almost up. If he wanted to save his brother, it had to be soon. Trusting his instinct was usually Sammy's forte but in a dire situation like this, he knew better than to dismiss his gut feeling.
Just as he was about to walk down the next aisle, the hunter in him sensed more than saw a vague movement to the right in his periphery vision. Abandoning his current course and turning off the flashlight, Dean stealthily crept through the darkness, slowly making his way towards the first substantial hint in almost half an hour.
Approaching the spot where the movement must have come from, the young man quickly melted deeper into the shadows, increasing the death-grip he had on his sawn-off. Dean narrowed his eyes and peered into the dark. It took his eyes several seconds to fine-tune his pupils, so that he was able to make out shapes in the gloomy night ahead of him.
Suppressing a gasp, the elder Winchester suddenly recognized a very familiar figure lying on the even surface of a workstation, unmoving. By sheer power of will, he managed to hold himself back, keep himself from running to Sam. If the evil son-of-a-bitch got the drop on him, they were both toast.
And then he saw it. A blurry form, seemingly several shades blacker than the surrounding darkness, oozed from the shadows beside his baby brother's left arm. With a lightning-fast move, the silhouette ripped a piece of cloth away from the limb. Still, Sam remained unnervingly motionless through the treatment, only a soft moan drifting over to Dean's concealed position. Something was undeniably off with the kid's behaviour. Moreover, whatever this thing was, they were clearly not dealing with a Poltergeist, so their cleansing packs were practically useless.
As his hunter's instincts and reflexes took over, a dangerous calm spread through Dean's body; it was the silence before the kill. No matter what kind of spook this thing was, it was threatening his little brother's life; and it was certainly not immune to salt. A menacing smile turned his face into a cold mask of calculated skill and he let the predator in him take the lead.
The instant Dean got a clear shot at the shape when it fractionally backed away from his brother, he had the rock salt loaded gun up and firing. With an ear-splitting shriek, the figure exploded into a myriad of tiny wafts and disappeared. Dean dashed towards his brother, clasping the sawn-off in his right hand, ready to shoot again should the son-of-a-bitch return.
Arriving at the table, Dean took in his kid brother's too still form but despite the fact that his clothes lay discarded on the ground next to him, Sam seemed unharmed at first glance.
"Thank goodness, Sammy!" His relief was palpable. "Are you alright, dude? Can you move?" No response was forthcoming, nor any indication Sam had heard him or was even aware of his presence – and that was really starting to bother the living daylights out of the big brother in him. Sam's eyes were open, roaming, so he was probably conscious, even if a little spaced out. Now why didn't he answer? Why on earth wasn't he moving? What had that godforsaken thing done to his baby brother?!
Out of the corner of his eyes, Dean saw the fuzzy form approaching. Without hesitation he fired another round at the thing. A long, unearthly howl accompanied its dissipating into the darkness. Hurriedly reloading the gun, the older Winchester prepared for another attack while checking his brother's still motionless body superficially for any injuries that might have caused Sam's lack of response. When he couldn't find anything during his precursory exam, he looked into his brother's eyes and for the first time noticed his keen and pleading gaze. So Sam was indeed fully aware of what was going on.
"Sammy, I'm here, I'm here. You with me?"
Realizing he wouldn't be able to elicit a verbal reaction from the younger man, Dean wrapped the shredded T-shirt loosely around his little brother's sasquatch frame. 'And when did the kid get so bulky anyway?!'
"You ready to blow this popsicle stand here, man? 'Cause I'm so ready to hoof it!" Brushing a stray strand of hair out of Sam's face while continuing to whisper reassurances, Dean gently lifted his brother into a fireman's carry. With the dead weight of the considerably bigger man slowing him down, his hasty dash for the exit quickly turned into a hurried walk but he was determined not to let the effort show.
They were halfway to the gate when the malevolent entity charged them once more. The tiniest hitch in his brother's breathing alerted Dean to its position and he shot it squarely in its non-existent face. This time there was no sound except for a gush of wind when the figure evaporated into thin air. Clutching his gun even tighter with his right, he strained to speed up his pace.
Heavily breathing, Dean passed the gates to the building, stumbling on towards the fence. Thank goodness they had opted to cut the chain of the gate on their way in instead of climbing over it. In the not-too-far distance, he could already make out the shape of his beloved Impala, the sleek black paintjob beautifully reflecting the pale moonlight.
Three minutes later he was finally able to ease Sam onto the backseat, rolling his aching shoulders contentedly once his brother was settled. He swiftly jogged to the trunk and returned with the old and threadbare army blanket they had stashed there, spreading it over Sam's tall frame.
"There you go, kiddo. We'll be at the motel in a minute; and then we'll figure this out. Okay?" Dean affectionately patted the younger boy's feet before he melted into the driver's seat and floored the pedal.
As soon as they had put the factory well into their rear-view mirror, Dean released a shaky breath and fished for his phone.
"What?! It's 3 am, idjit!" barked the familiar gruff voice; despite the fact that taking the call after only two rings strongly indicated that he must have been awake.
"Bobby, Hopkins/Minnesota, Minnetonka Motel." Dean didn't even wait for a reply before he cut the connection.
Less than ten minutes later, the Impala skidded to a hold on the gravel parking lot in front of their motel room. A soft rustling of fabric and a deep groan from the backseat caught Dean's attention as he was about to open the driver's door.
"Sammy?" he asked hesitantly. "You okay, man?"
Not really expecting an answer, Dean almost jumped through the roof at his brother's slurred reply. "Yeah, 'm good, jus'… numb is all." For a moment they locked eyes when the older Winchester glanced over the backrest. He sighed inwardly, 'Those expressive hazel eyes conveyed more emotion than a hundred words.'
Finally, Dean tore his gaze away from the feebly moving form behind him and got out of the car. Opening the backdoor, he reached inside, preparing to lift his brother out of the bench seat but his hands were batted away with surprising force behind it.
"Dude, I'm not a rag doll!"
"Bitchy much?!" Dean raised his hands in a placating manner. "Seriously, dude."
"Just help me up. I can walk on my own."
The older Winchester furrowed his brow doubtfully but thought better of prolonging the discussion. If Sam was determined to get into their room under his own steam, the kid wouldn't admit defeat before he had face-planted in the mud – and neither boy would ever breathe a word about how close they had come to just that when Sam had tried to get his wobbly legs under him after crawling out of the backseat rather awkwardly.
Supporting a good part of his little brother's weight, they made slow progress towards the door, which was thankfully only a good dozen feet away from the car. Dean was aware though that Sam was shuffling at the top of his speed right about now. The fact that he was puffing like an old steam train bore witness to how much this little effort took out of him.
Eventually, when they had covered the distance between the car and the second bed, seemingly going through the young hunter's whole inventory of expletives, his rubber-like legs were ready to give out, and he let his exhausted body flop onto the top.
"Thanks, man," Sam wheezed out after a moment, a deep-felt relief reverberating in his soft voice.
Grasping the different layers of meaning, Dean shrugged it off, not willing to go there. "Nah, don't mention it." He waved his hand dismissively, "I'm just too lazy to doing all the research again myself. That's what I have my geek of a brother for."
Sam smiled warmly up at his sibling, their normal banter providing much-appreciated comfort; and a welcome distraction from the night's events.
Sensing the younger man's relative unease, Dean hated to breach the topic but knew it needed to be addressed nevertheless. "So, what happened between you and the spirit back there?"
The taller boy gave one of his patented little-brother sighs, puppy-dog eyes trained on his brother full-force. At this moment Sam looked younger and more vulnerable than he had in years. It broke Dean's heart to prod on. "Why couldn't you talk or move when I found you? I mean… whatever it did, it seems to be wearing off pretty quickly now."
"Thank God for that." Sam sighed. "I don't know," he continued groggily, "it kind of touched my forehead and I went all limp." His eyes blinked sleepily, slowly drifting shut, each time taking longer to reopen. Subconsciously he snuggled deeper into the mattress. Staying awake was clearly a losing battle, and one he wasn't even willing to fight. He wanted to ask Dean to delay the conversation but his breathing evened out before he so much as completed the thought.
"Yeah, we can talk about it tomorrow." He smiled affectionately at his little brother's quietly snoring form, gently wrestling him into a more comfortable position on the bed before tucking him in and switching off the light.
"YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!" The eardrum-shattering yell woke him with a start, and he sat bolt upright. It was forceful enough to have the dead stand to attention.
"You gave me a friggin' heart attack! Do you even have the slightest idea how I sped up here?! How many goddamn laws I broke?! The only thing I didn't break – and simply 'cause I fried my damn engine – was the freaking sound barrier; and even that just barely!"
"Great, now he's awake–" Dean chimed in with a half-hearted roll of his eyes. Obviously that didn't deter Bobby in the least; he didn't so much as miss a beat before rambling on.
"You couldn't even be bothered to pull your heads out of your asses long enough to give me a call that you boys were alright before I practically tore down your door?!" he groused. In his worry for the Winchester brothers, Bobby had undoubtedly set a new speed record for travelling from South Dakota to Minnesota; no wonder he was pissed.
"Dammit, Dean–" he deflated, leaving the sentence hanging in the air while chancing a glance at Sam. He plopped onto the end of Dean's bed looking old beyond his years. Inhaling deeply he added, "I need a beer!"
Giving a detailed account of previous night's events wasn't easy for Sam by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, they needed to gather as much information as possible about the evil thing haunting the factory and therefore couldn't spare him reliving the traumatic experience while the memory was still fresh in his mind.
Shaking hands locked in a death-grip around the whiskey flask, the shaggy-haired young man recounted his observations most accurately and in a tone of voice that belied his agitation. To their great disappointment, however, his recollections revealed nothing new about the spirit – besides that it was most definitely no Poltergeist. Even Bobby drew a complete blank on the subject.
"My best guess is that something inside that factory is keeping it here," Bobby mused. "There has to be a connection between the spook and the factory, for goodness sake!"
"What do you think, we go there – you and I, Bobby –, have a good look around. Maybe we can find anything while our college boy here sees if he can dig up anything useful on the internet?" Dean suggested.
"You're kidding, right?" Sam ground out bemusedly. "This thing – no idea what it even is or what keeps it here – and we have is just itching to lay its foggy hands on its next victim. Hell, it almost turned me into a frigging wax figure –, and you want to go there half-cocked, strolling down the game trail? What are you, insane?!"
"That is exactly the point, Sammy! If we don't go there tonight, someone else might get killed, some unwitting guy who hasn't got the slightest clue what's going on," the older Winchester argued. "C'mon, we know for a fact that it is not immune to rock salt; we'll figure the rest out."
"Bobby, tell him what a stupid idea this is." Sam prompted desperately.
The seasoned hunter stalled for a moment, then shook his head. "Sorry, kiddo, but I think your brother has a point here."
"No." Sam was dead-set on not allowing this idiocy. "No, I'm not going there again, not before we have anything substantial on how to destroy the spirit." Trying to stare the other two men down, he crossed his arms in front of his body for effect.
"Great, then everything is settled. As I already said, Bobby and I will go; you are supposed to search the internet for further information." Dean explained off-hand, packing his duffel.
"Come again?" Sam asked incredulously, totally taken aback.
"You're staying, we're going. While we're keeping any innocent bystanders out of harm's way, you see what you can find out about the history of the place. Maybe we missed something the first time around."
"Dean–" the younger boy pleaded.
"That's final." He was brushed off rather harshly. "And when you find anything, call us."
"Fine, where is my phone, anyway?" The underlying whine was unmistakable.
"Huh, must still be in the factory, I guess …with the rest of your clothes," Dean trailed off, unwanted memories assaulting him.
"Why didn't you bring them as well?" The question was innocent enough, completely oblivious to the fact that he knew exactly why.
"Geeze, I was a little preoccupied lugging my pain-in-the-ass little brother around!" Dean snapped when his temper got the better of him. Grabbing his duffel, he headed towards the door but hesitated when he turned the handle. Then, in a much softer voice, "We'll be careful, Sammy. Don't worry."
Sam's back rested against the headboard of the bed as he typed more furiously than the keyboard deserved. Being angry while researching a hunt, more often than not was a recipe for disaster but it was nothing new for him, either. Growing up, he had spent countless days degraded to research after his father had cut him down to size. Naturally, it messed with your concentration, BIG TIME, which made you more prone to overlooking something important. On the other hand, the fire in your gut drove you on, teased and tempted you, and sparked ideas you might not have considered otherwise.
So when he virtually stumbled over a locked down entry in a secluded corner of the police reports after following dozens of promising leads into dead ends, his interest peaked. Moreover, he was livid enough not to be deterred by the irritating obstacle the high-level passwords proved. After all, there had to be something worth looking into if they were going through so much trouble to keep it hidden.
The younger Winchester had to hand it to whoever was responsible for locking down the page. The code was a real bitch to decipher but Sam was as smart as they came and nothing if not resourceful. It took him almost twice as long to access the site than what he had presumed but when he was finally there, scanning the police report that popped up, it had been well worth his effort. In the nineteen-twenties a night watchman, Isaiah Baker, had accidentally fallen into one of the candle wax tanks, dying a horrible death.
'Okay, so he had a name. That was a start. But why was the spirit active just now. Everything had started merely three months ago; before that, nothing! What had caused the spirit to kill its colleagues, more than eighty years after its initial demise?'
Remembering a snippet from a recent article on the deaths and leafing through his notes, a terrible suspicion dawned on Sam. Perusing numerous birth and death certificates, comparing them with the names scribbled on his notepad, suddenly all the missing links clicked into place. This wasn't a usual unrestful spirit they were dealing with, nor was it a vengeful spirit by any means. This was a Gidim; the first that crossed their path.
Frantically typing Dean's cell number into the internet phone program on his computer, Sam's worry for Bobby and Dean rose. They really needed to get the hell out of that factory, NOW!
"Pick up, already!" He shouted at the screen when the call went to voicemail after 30 seconds without Dean taking the call. Immediately cutting the connection and hitting dial once more, he eagerly waited for his brother's answer. "Come on, come on, come on!" he coached. This time the no reception sign popped up and the call went straight through to voicemail.
"Dean, it's a Gidim! There are no remains at the damn factory, we gotta torch the bones. I've got a name. Now get the fuck out of there! Like yesterday!"
Ending the phone call, the young hunter dialled Bobby's number but wasn't surprised at being notified that the signal wasn't going through. He closed the lid forcefully enough to risk damaging the display. "Fuck! Damn WiFi! I knew this was gonna suck!" Sam burst out. With his right foot he hammered a staccato rhythm into the floor, contemplating his options.
Calling his brother and their friend every unprintable name under the sun, Sam rolled gracefully out of bed. "I'm so gonna kick your asses into the middle of next week once I find you in the factory!" he swore under his breath.
Parking Bobby's hot-wired car right next to the Impala, Sam gave his brother's baby a kick against the front tire in passing. Sometimes it really felt good to have a substitute for his pent-up aggressions when his warnings were dismissed or ignored as usual.
A cold shiver crept up his spine as he entered the candle factory once more, last night's experience multiplying the building's eerie atmosphere. Focusing on his goal of finding Bobby and Dean, it still took all his willpower to keep moving.
From afar he could make out a fuzzy gleaming light. Since the rest of the factory was completely dark and silent, that could only be them, their flashlights leading his way towards them. The light continuously ebbed away during his cautious approach but the faint glow remained, which was kind of weird but the two hunters could have split up and gone down different aisles.
When he reached the spot, he recognized it at once; and Sam's heart dropped right down onto the floor upon seeing the table. The very table he had been lying on just yesterday. Thus distracted for a handful of seconds, before he was able to regain his composure, the attack came totally out of left field. The Gidim was upon him before he had time to raise the muzzle of his rock-salt gun.
"No!–" The protest died on Sam's lips as the disconcertingly familiar warmth spread through his body again, the paralysis taking hold instantaneously. He sank to the ground like a boned fish, unable to move the tiniest muscle.
Soon the young hunter was lifted onto the waiting table where his clothes were unceremoniously cut away again. His panic skyrocketed when the fuzzy shade returned with a canister and began to wash him carefully from head to toe with lukewarm water, taking its sweet time to complete the task.
'Dean and Bobby must be around here somewhere. The place wasn't this big to begin with. How could he have missed them? Where the fuck could they be?! …Unless… No! No, he was not going there. Never!' He refused to believe in the most logical explanation. It had to be something else.
Suddenly he remembered his undeveloped psychic powers, how they had helped him in dire situations before. Concentrating on his inner strength, he tried to reach out to Dean with his mind.
'You are strong, young one', an unfamiliar voice echoed inside Sam's head, 'but that won't help you this time. Your brother and the old one don't possess this skill. They won't come to your aid.'
'I– I know what you are,' Sam thought aloud. 'Let me go and I will help you find peace.'
The presence chuckled evilly. 'I don't want peace. You cannot help me other than with your death.' To drive his point home, the spirit picked Sam's tall frame up telekinetically and hauled him towards the looming candle wax tank only a couple of feet away.
The youngest Winchester's terror reached new, untrespassed heights as he hovered only inches above the hot wax, totally helpless to do anything. 'You are Isaiah Baker's spirit, a Gidim,' he pleaded.
'So?' came the cold reply but the slow descent halted for a moment.
'Your spirit rises from oblivion when you are utterly forgotten in the world of the living, if you are powerful enough that is.' Sam remembered having read an exhaustive article about these in one of Bobby's old volumes ages ago.
'And powerful I am indeed as you can see. I had seven sons, and prosperous were the years. But my line failed; there are no living descendants from me now.' Despite the voice becoming quieter, tinged with regret, the Gidim tightened its invisible grip on the hunter and commenced lowering him towards the brewing surface, toes already sinking into the wax, which was surprisingly less scorching on touch than he had expected.
Sam's mind reeled, he was going stir crazy inside. Already the wax reached above his calves. 'Please,' he beseeched tearfully, 'I know what happened to you. I know they discarded your memorial plate at the wall in the watchman booth and shredded the old files about former employers. Please, I could restore your memory.' His breath hitched when his hip sank deeper into the mass. Covering half his body, the wax had gradually become painfully hot. If his begging couldn't sway the Gidim, it would be over soon.
'You are irrelevant, young one,' came the damning words from the spirit, and his last slivers of hope vanished. There was no way out anymore. He was already coated in wax up to his torso. In a few seconds even his head would dip underneath the surface.
An odd calm spread through his mind; death was near. Sam fondly remembered his brother one last time, thinking of all the times the elder boy had made good-natured fun of him; he recalled their dad avoiding his gaze on that last day in the hospital with Dean, or Bobby taking them in afterwards like a father.
Breathing was becoming increasingly difficult when the wax reached his neck. His chest felt constricted and the painful burning had intensified into a bone-deep, blazing ache that flooded all his senses.
With the wax already covering the underside of his chin, it was time to let go.
Sam's toes meeting resistance, effectively stopping his descent, puzzled him beyond measure. He had seen the tank, seen that it was filled to the brim with wax. He couldn't be tall enough not to be submerged entirely; and yet, here he was, his chin barely covered.
Then he heard the sudden commotion around him, voices, disturbing his peace, familiar voices! Several rounds were fired, there was shouting but he couldn't make out the words.
An all-encompassing, ungodly screech echoed through the factory, shaking its walls in their very foundations. Obviously still interconnected with the Gidim's telepathic abilities, the hideous shriek's resonance unleashed a tsunami in Sam's mind that threatened to split his head.
As suddenly as it had begun, the noise evaporated into nothingness, leaving utter silence in its wake. Then, like a levee breaking, the spirit's paralysing grip fell away and the young man felt the numbness seep out of his body. Sam would have sunken bonelessly to the bottom of the tank if it weren't for the inflexible shell that still held him immobile.
He was unable to conceal the hot tears of joy that ran down his face. He wanted to take a relieved sigh at his last-minute rescue but realized that due to the coat of wax hugging his body tightly, he couldn't inhale nearly deep enough to satisfy his aching lungs. Trapped in a body completely covered with candle wax, a new kind of panic threatened to take him under.
"Sammy?" "Sam?" Dean and Bobby's worried voices were almost synchronous. The ghost of a smile graced his lips, the panic and discomfort subsiding almost instantly.
"Are you okay? Sammy?" Judging from the sound of their voices, they were peeking inside the tank now, looking down at him.
"Hm hmmm." Sam tried to be as reassuring as possible. The wax locking his chin in place prevented him from moving his jaw though, or pretty much any other muscle in his body, which made communicating rather challenging. He hoped the message had come across, anyhow.
"Sit tight, boy, we're getting you out of there in a moment." Bobby sounded as much in charge of the situation as ever. "Let me just seal the leak before your idjit-brother and I slip on the friggin' wax."
'A leak?' For the first time Sam noticed the gradually retreating surface of the wax inside the tank. 'So this was how they had ensured his not submerging as soon as the Gidim lowered him into the tank. Obviously he was not the only one smart as they came. Duh.'
Calling being heaved out of a candle wax tank with an improvised crane while you were frozen in stillness, an awkward experience, was the understatement of the century! After an eternity of waiting for something to happen, Sam had lost track of time. He was dying to get out of the tank and especially out of his waxy prison while Dean and Bobby slaved away lifting the heavy figure inch by painfully slow inch. Their laboured breathing was the only measure of time the younger brother had.
"Dude, you really need to lay off the healthy food," Dean groaned once they had Sam standing safely next to them outside the tank. "You weigh at least as much as a grown elephant." It was grotesque seeing Sam stock-still in his milky shell of wax. Bobby had gathered their gear while Dean had started checking his brother superficially for any injuries or obstructions that needed to be taken care of before they could return to their motel.
"Hey, Bobby," Dean winked in Sam's direction. "I just came across this cute wax figure. Can we keep it?" Both hunters burst out laughing, and even the incapacitated Sam chuckled inwardly.
If he had thought being lifted out of a tank completely coated in wax was awkward, it was nothing compared to being carried across the premises like a log when your carriers seemed determined to surpass each other's string of curses about your weight. Sam wished for merciful unconsciousness by the time they reached the cars, his desire turning into a desperate prayer for being allowed to pass out when Dean looked at Sam, looked at Bobby, looked at Sam, and then announced, "There is absolutely no way we fit him into the Impala like that!"
"Maybe we could get him into my car; I can dispatch the passenger seat." Bobby answered thoughtfully.
'Seriously!' Sam furrowed his brow, and continued to pray for oblivion.
The youngest Winchester didn't pay attention to what exactly Bobby and Dean had to do to get him inside one of the cars as he was; he only cared that they did. What felt like hours later, Sam was in Bobby's sports car, lying in a most uncomfortable position when they were moving out to their motel room. Apart from the considerable discomfort of not being able to move at all and breathing being reduced to shallow sips of much-needed air, an itch had formed near his left shoulder blade. To his utter dismay, there was no chance in hell he was able to scratch that itch, nor could he talk to direct either Bobby or Dean to doing so. He was so screwed! Despite his miraculous rescue, which he was beyond grateful for, this was going to be a very long night!
When they finally arrived at the motel, he was manoeuvred, or better yet, wrestled out of the car like an oversized Christmas tree, and Sam called all his blessings when they eventually managed to lay him onto his bed.
"Now we need to figure out how to get all this wax off of you," Dean looked doubtful.
"Doesn't this motel have hair dryers? Then we could warm the wax, so it would be easier to peel off," Bobby suggested.
Actually, the hair dryer proved to be a pretty decent idea when it came to removing the wax. The only problem was that they had only one hair dryer and it took ages for them to peel away the rather thick layers. The part around his chin alone, plus a tiny spot on his right arm where they had practised their technique to make sure they weren't removing more skin than wax, took the three men more than half an hour to get rid of. At least he was able to speak now, engaging the other two in conversation while they kept on working.
While Bobby had busied himself with peeling away the wax on his right upper forearm and biceps, all the while telling him how they had managed to get the drop on the Gidim, Dean had whispered reassurances and begun stroking his brother's still covered left hand encouragingly. It was a very peculiar feeling through the layers of wax but Sam leaned into the loving gesture as best he could. It provided comfort, strength and most of all, a sense of safety.
Since the beginning of their account, Sam had learned that Bobby and Dean had instantly known when the younger boy had been taken again because the air inside the building had suddenly come to life and sizzled with supernatural energy. They had seen the missed calls and therefore, had a rather accurate idea of what was going on.
The Gidim had paid them no heed when they observed the scene unfolding from the shadows. When Dean had attacked the spirit, purposefully distracting it with a couple of buck shots, Bobby had taken care of cutting a leak into the tank, so the level of hot wax to dump Sam into would lower. Between the two of them, they had managed to lay a full circle of salt around the Gidim, rendering the malevolent spook confined and powerless.
"How come the spook never touched one of you, anyway when it knocked me on my ass in ten seconds flat? You had been at the factory long before me. I mean, why wait for me when it didn't even know that I was coming at all?" the immobilized boy asked curiously.
"First of all, it's in the looks, Sammy," his big brother teased. "Neither Bobby nor I have damsel in distress written all over our face like you do. Plus, we had doused our clothes in salt to prevent an attack."
"Smart." Sam said admiringly.
"Yeah, well, you're not the only genius in the family." Dean dead-panned.
"What time is it?" Sam began getting nervous again. He couldn't see the wall clock from his vantage point. Moving his head was still an issue because they hadn't bothered to continue with his neck after removing the wax from his chin, claiming that some of the wax had got into the lower part of his hair which would require shaving away. Sam had protested till he was blue in the face, literally. He had learned the hard way that not breathing properly and talking a mile a minute didn't mix well. Certainly, it was at least another half an hour that had dragged by without them making much progress on freeing him from the stiff wax suit. This was all taking such an incredibly long time.
Comprehending the full extent of being confined in a skin-tight, unyielding shell of dried candle wax did nothing to assuage his nerves, and again, he felt panic rise, his breaths coming out in puffy gasps that bordered on hyperventilation.
"You need to calm down, Sammy. Please," Dean coaxed.
"I'm trying." The younger brother sounded breathless.
"He's panicking again, Dean. And who can blame him?" Bobby added sadly. He started digging in one of his bags.
"What are you doing?" Sam asked. He wasn't able to turn his head and see what Bobby pulled from his bag, secretly showing it to Dean. The older man nodded before approaching the bed.
What are you doing?" the younger boy demanded nervously, realizing that they were purposefully withholding information. A cool liquid touched his skin on the arm the wax was already partly peeled away from, followed by a sharp prick.
"An injection? What for?" His throat was going dry as the meds kicked in.
"Just relax. This is gonna make it a lot easier for you." Bobby gently rubbed the spot where the needle had pierced the skin.
"No… I don' wan' a go t'sleep," Sam slurred groggily.
"It's okay, kiddo. Everything's gonna be fine, Sammy." Dean resumed stroking the palm of his hand comfortingly. Sam's eyes closed of their own volition, and his consciousness was lost in fog.
It took them two days to finally dig up Isaiah Baker's bones. Not that it took so long to locate the gravesite or for Sam to recover, but with the Gidim thoroughly imprisoned and posing no immediate threat anymore, they had decided to take a day's rest and be wonderfully lazy with the end of their hunt.
Also, they wanted to give Sam the opportunity to finish the Gidim himself, once and for all since he had been the one to suffer most extensively from its evil nature. After the events of the past days of course, finishing the hunt didn't mean for Sam to actually dig up the corpse. Quite the opposite because Bobby and Dean did all the digging while the younger boy sat on a nearby gravestone and made sure no unexpected visitors showed up, be they human or supernatural.
Called to the open grave, Sam took the offered match book from his brother and the canister from Bobby, pouring another liberal amount of lighter fluid onto the salt-covered remains. He lit the matches, staring absently into the flames while he thought back to what the nasty spirit had done to him. Eventually letting go of all the ill-feelings he harboured against the Gidim, he cast the blazing match book into the casket.
Sorry for any inconsistencies concerning the spirit. I have but a vague idea of what a Gidim is; and its general concept worked perfectly for the fic, so I wrestled the notion into submission to fit into my story.