Ahhh! I must dance a little in happiness. After watching "Fallen Idols" last night, I drifted around in a happy haze for a long time afterward, then was struck suddenly with inspiration and the NEED to write. This is what comes of that. :P
The idea for this story comes from the lovely Emerald-Water's story "Only Brothers Understand - Reversed" - the second chapter. In which she sticks Sam in a freezer in her evil Sam whumping way. ;)(You need to check this story out - just go to her profile. It's awesome.) Of course, once I read it, I knew that Dean could not possibly be left out of such an evil plan. So, in my extra evil Dean whumping way, I came up with this age-long story. The freezer!Dean doesn't come in until near the end, but hopefully you all enjoy the rest along the way. :)
Disclaimer: I own NOTHING. *sobs*
On with it!
Sam looks up from the laptop, raises his eyebrows at his brother.
Dean's sprawled across his bed, ankles crossed, a half-eaten bag of dill pickle potato chips resting near his elbow, along with the latest newspaper - which he's supposed to be reading. And he's not. He looks completely and utterly content – just sitting there eating chips, like there's no other place on earth he'd rather be right now.
Sam sighs. "Dean."
"What?" Even though he's been called twice, there's no irritation in Dean's voice. He raises his eyebrows at Sam, questioning.
"You're supposed to be reading that newspaper you know, not dropping potato chips all over it," Sam reminds him, glancing back at the laptop screen.
"There's nothing dude, I already read it," Dean replies easily, reaching for another chip.
"Sure, whatever." Sam sighs. He's not even really annoyed with Dean. It's hard to be when his brother looks so freaking happy. Which isn't something he's seen a lot of lately. "I think I found something though."
"What?" Dean sits up and tosses aside the bag of chips, swings his legs over the side of the bed.
"Well I looked into all the recent deaths around here, and they're definitely all connected. I mean, the cops found the connection too, but they don't know who's doing it." Sam turns the laptop a little so Dean can see the screen. "Richard Darling, Emilio Goldberg, Steve Richardson – all of them seem to have froze to death."
Dean blinks. "So they were outside? It's winter, you know."
"That's the thing. They weren't outside. They were found in their homes." Sam points further down the page. "By the time they were found, their bodies were mostly thawed out. But all of them had frostbitten toes, fingers, ears... the usual."
Dean shudders a little. "Ugh. So you think something's going on? Something supernatural, I mean?"
"Well I don't know if it's supernatural, but it is weird, right?" Sam shrugs, reaches for his coffee. "We could look into it. The cops don't know what's going on."
"When do they know what's going on?" Dean replies, going back to the bed and grabbing the bag of chips again.
Sam smirks. "True."
"So anything else? Anything that the vics have in common, other than having their junk frozen off?" Dean pops another chip into his mouth and leans back.
"Uhhh..." Sam scrolls down the page, finds pictures of the victims and clicks. "Huh. Well, they all kind of looked the same."
"Looked the same? How?" Dean doesn't get up.
Sam pulls up the picture of the last guy again. "Actually, they all kind of looked like you."
Dean gets up. "Come again?"
"Seriously dude." Sam can't help smiling. "They looked like you."
Dean's at his side in a second, looking over his shoulder intently. "Yeah right. Show me."
Sam brings up the first picture again.
"Dude, that guy looks nothing like me!" Dean crosses his arms. "Or that one. Or that one. That first guy looks like Freddie Prinze Jr., and the other two could never even dream of looking like this face. What the hell are you talking about?"
"Well not exactly like you," Sam concedes, dropping down the pictures before Dean can point out anymore differences. "But according to the descriptions, all of them were right around your height, and they all had green eyes and blond hair."
"I'm not blond," Dean says immediately, then glancing in the mirror as though to make sure he was right. "No way am I blond."
"You're close enough. You're ash blond. Or sandy blond. Whatever. Blond." Sam clicks off the website.
There's a moment of silence, and then "I don't even want to know how you know all those names for hair colours."
"Why are we doing this again?"
"Because we want to talk to this guy's wife and find out if anything strange was going on before he died," Sam replies. "Then later, we're going to hunt down the thing that killed him, and if it's a spirit, we burn the bones. If it's a -"
"Shut up." Dean's irritable now. "I was looking forward to laying around all day and eating chips and later, hopefully, pie. I was not looking forward to walking around in this dumb, itchy monkey suit and asking questions."
"Come on dude. This is our job." Sam opens the Impala's door and gets out.
"Well I'm asking for a day off," Dean grouches, climbing out and going to slam the car door, then stopping at the last second and closing it gently.
"Sorry Dean. Can't always have one of those." Sam straightens his tie and taps the hood of the Impala on the way around.
"Can never have one of those," Dean corrects. "And don't tap my car. You'll scratch it."
"So Richie disappeared where again?" Dean asks. They're leaving the house, heading back to the car.
"Outside the convience store on Main Street. Remember the one we passed on the way in?" Sam reminds him, opening the Impala's door. "Anyway, she doesn't know for sure that's where he disappeared, that's just the last place he was headed before it happened."
"Before he showed up half-frozen on their bedroom floor?" Dean finishes, sliding in behind the wheel and closing the door.
"Yeah." Sam wrinkles his nose.
"Well what now?" Dean asks, starting the car and pulling away from the curb.
"We need to go talk to the other victim's wives. Or families." Sam pulls out his notebook and scratches off Richard's name. "Emilio Goldberg and Steve Richardson."
"Emilio's it is," Dean says. "Regulators, mount up."
Two hours later, they've concluded that all three men were last seen going to that convenience store on the corner of Main Street, two days before they showed up dead.
"So what, we're talking some creepy, homicidal guy who sells milk and freezes people to death as a part-time job?" Dean sighs. "I think that's a new one for us."
They're sitting in the Impala, having just left Steve Richardson's house. Sam sighs too. "Well we gotta go check it out."
"What time is it?" Dean asks, loosening his tie.
"It's about six o' clock," Sam replies, glancing at his watch.
Dean starts to open his mouth, but Sam cuts him off. "We can eat after we go to the convenience store, Dean. It's only going to take like fifteen minutes."
"Okay, so we're heading out to that convenience store tonight. Didn't the manager seem a little weird to you?" Sam pokes at a tomato in his salad. He's just not hungry. Unlike his brother. Dean's so wrapped up in his cheeseburger, he doesn't even answer.
"I said, are we heading to that convenience store after this?"
Dean blinks at him wide-eyed for a second, then "Oh. I guess so yeah."
"Wow Dean. Think you could sound more enthused?" Sam picks out a piece of carrot and eats it, pokes at the tomato again, and thinks that maybe it's time to stop getting tomatoes in his salad. They're looking weirder and weirder every time.
Dean smiles at him around his cheeseburger. "Ahmm enfooz."
"That's attractive, Dean. Thanks for that." Sam puts down his fork and pushes away his salad. "Let's go."
The convenience store is creepier at night, but then most things are. There's one dim light still on inside, but it only lights up the back corner of the store and nothing much else. It looks just like the kind of place where some maniac would kidnap you.
The boys stand in front of the store and look at it, neither of them sure where to start.
"Are we going to have to go inside?" Dean asks, shifting his weight a little.
"I don't think so Dean. We were in there earlier." Sam walks up to the glass and leans closer, trying to see around the shelf at the back. "Besides, there's no way we can get in without breaking in. And there's probably some sort of alarm."
Dean shrugs and stays where he is, vigilantly scanning the street in both directions.
Sam scans the shelves and cash register pointlessly, then sighs. "I guess we should go check..."
A loud scream startles them both, and Sam pulls out his Taurus so fast he almost drops it. Dean's holding his too, green eyes wide in the dim light.
"Where the hell did that come from?"
"Sounded like around the back," Sam hisses, and they run in opposite directions without having to plan it.
Sam goes left. The building isn't really that big, and he reaches the back quickly, his long stride always comes in useful at times like this. Once he's back there, he stops, gun at the ready. There's nothing though. Just an old dumpster and a couple of trash cans. Sam edges forward, carefully looking the whole place over before concluding there's no one here. He sighs, walks toward the opposite side of the building. What's taking Dean so long, anyway?
He shines his flashlight down the right side of the building. There's nothing. No Dean, no anyone. "Dean?"
He swallows hard, starts forward, flashlight in one hand, gun in the other. "Dean!" Maybe Dean went around the other side of the building and followed him. Why would he do that? Check anyway.
He reaches the back of the building for the third time and halts. Where the hell is he? How could he have disappeared in that short of a time? Where did whatever grabbed him come from? There's no doors on that side of the building!
He chews his lip hard, looks around again. Opens the dumpster and both trash cans, just in case Dean's playing some sick joke on him. Nothing. A couple of old newspapers blow by in the wind, and Sam shivers. He jogs back to the Impala, checks the front and back seats. Nothing.
Okay. Okay Sam, think. It's obvious the same sicko that killed those other guys has Dean. He's obviously going for tall, blond, green-eyed guys. There's no other way around it. So just figure out where the hell he is, before he freezes Dean to death, too.
Sam doesn't know what else to do, so he calls Bobby.
Bobby sounds irritable, and Sam realizes it's almost two in the morning. No wonder.
"Sorry Bobby, I've got a bit of a problem though."
"Let me guess – your fool of a brother got himself into something, didn't he?" Bobby sounds resigned.
"Yeah he did. Listen, it's bad Bobby. This guy, he's freezing people to death or something. And he's got Dean, and I have no clue where he is." Sam's panicking a little now, he totally admits it.
"Freezing people to death? Are you serious?"
Sam can hear him moving around, getting out of bed or wherever he was.
"Yeah. I don't know how he's doing it. But all the other victims were gone for two days before they showed back up, dead. In their houses." Sam shifts on the hood of the Impala. "Look Bobby, do you think you could look up if there's any cold places around here?"
Sam can almost hear Bobby thinking "idjit".
"Anywhere he could freeze somebody to death, Bobby. I don't know!" Sam takes a deep breath. "Sorry. Just hurry, okay?"
"I'm going as fast as I can, boy," Bobby growls.
Sam huffs, but he waits.
A half an hour later, Bobby has the address to the nearest meat house.
"A meat house?" Sam repeats.
"That's the nearest thing cold enough to freeze your brother to death," Bobby replies. "I'd check there if I were you."
"How long is it gonna take for me to get there?" Sam asks, already getting in the car.
Bobby's silent for a second. "About an hour."
"What? Bobby, there's no way. How would I have not heard somebody drive away? Something that far away, he'd need a car. I didn't hear anything. Unless he dragged..."
"Would you listen for a second, boy? What makes you think 'he' is a human?" Bobby asks irritably.
Sam stops. The thought never crossed his mind that it wasn't a human attacker doing this. He'd just assumed...
"If it was a spirit, it could have just zapped Dean anywhere it wanted," Sam realizes.
"Exactly. Get your ass moving, kid. You don't have much time."
Sam hangs up.
By the time he reaches the meat house, the sky is beginning to lighten at the horizon, the first suggestion of the frozen winter sun turning the sky a light grey.
Sam jumps from the Impala, grabs his Taurus and a shotgun from the back seat, and takes the stairs three at a time. For a meat house, it's actually nice. At least on the outside. It looks more like a house than somewhere slabs of meat hang.
The door is locked, of course, and Sam smashes through the glass with no hesitation. No alarm sounds – guess nobody wants to steal meat – and he steps inside and jogs down the hallway. Where to now? There's no signs, nothing.
It's about a second later that he feels a sudden rush of cold air, has a split second to think "I guess this is the right place" and then something very heavy hits his head and everything goes dark.
The first thing he knows is that it's cold. Not freezing cold, just kind of chilly. Just enough to be uncomfortable. He opens his eyes and blinks. There's something warm dripping in his eye.
It takes him a minute to remember what's going on, but then it all comes rushing back. Dean. Gone. Meat house. He pries his eyes open further and squints. His head is pounding, especially right above his left eye. Somebody hit him with something, he knows that much.
Sam's surprised to find that he's not tied up. He's just been thrown on the floor. Huh. A bit of good luck for a change. He stands up, a little wobbly, and has to catch himself on the wall. The chilly air is starting to get to him though. Where the hell is it coming from? He looks around again and notices a couple of doors. One is marked "Meat Freezer" and the other has nothing.
Sam heads immediately for the meat freezer, but after yanking on it as hard as he can for a few minutes, he realizes it's not opening. "Dammit!" He swings around, heads for the second door. It opens into a very small, very dark room, probably a closet. "Damn," he curses again, but leans in anyway, feeling around on the walls. There's a light switch, and he throws it, only to jump back in surprise a second later.
There's a body in the corner. He panics for a second, but then realizes it's a skeleton. Or not really even a skeleton, just a rotting body. The smell is horrible. Holding his nose, he leans closer. The body is small, probably a child. He pulls out of the closet and stands, taking deep breaths of the cool, clean air. The meat freezer door makes a noise behind him, and he jumps at it, pulling. It comes open immediately this time.
"Dean?" He's yelling before the door is even all the way open. "Dean!" There's no answer, and Sam plunges inside. The air is positively frigid, and he's already shivering. For a split second, he's terrified. Dean is nowhere. The room is empty. He turns around, frantic.
Dean's huddled just to the left of the door Sam just came through, as though he was waiting for it to open. He's curled up on his side, arms wrapped around himself, eyes closed.
"Dean! Oh God, Dean." Sam drops on his knees beside his brother, checks for a pulse. He's definitely breathing. "Oh thank God, thank God," Sam breathes, and hurriedly pulls his brother up towards him, gets one arm under his knees and the other around his back, picks him up somewhat awkwardly, and heads for the door at the back, praying it leads out of the freezer.
The room on the other side is warm, at least compared to the freezer, and Sam kicks the freezer door shut behind him and puts Dean gently on the floor. "Dean? Dean I need you to wake up man. Please." Sam lightly pats his brother's cheek, and Dean's eyes open slightly.
"S'mmm?" His mouth doesn't even move. His eyes are tiny slits of dull green, watching Sam as though he's not sure he's really there.
"Yeah Dean. Yeah, I'm here." Sam reaches down and lifts him under the arms. "Come on, we have to get out of here."
"S'mmmmm!" Dean sounds frantic about something, and manages to get one hand against Sam's chest, even with the cold freezing his muscles.
"What? What's the matter Dean?" Sam meets his eyes, tries to see what his brother's trying to say. "It's a ghost right?" Dean nods jerkily, his frozen fingers trying desperately to curl around Sam's shirt.
"It's okay Dean. I saw the body. It let me come and get you... I think it just wanted me to see its remains. I'll come back later and burn it. Now come on, we have to get you warmed up." He doesn't wait for an answer, picking Dean up again and carrying him out the door.
He's shivering now, shivering so violently Sam can barely hold him. He rests his frozen forehead against Sam's neck, teeth chattering so hard it has to hurt.
"Easy, Dean," Sam murmurs, finally reaching the Impala and, shifting as carefully as he can, he lowers his brother to the ground and leans him against the wheel. "I'm just gonna grab some blankets, Dean. I'm not going anywhere."
Dean's only answer is chattering teeth, and a small whimper, which scares Sam a little. Okay, a lot. The shivering must be getting too painful to stand, or Dean would never have let himself slip. He rushes to find the blankets in the trunk, finally finding two old blue ones they always use during emergencies.
He takes them out and crouches near Dean again, waiting until his brother meets his eyes. "Dean, look at me okay? I'm gonna get you warmed up, but we have to get you out of those clothes first."
He swears that Dean gives him a look, one that clearly means "Those words should never, ever come out of your mouth" but a second later it's gone, and Dean is still just shivering, teeth chattering, miserable and frozen.
Sam doesn't waste any more time. He pulls his brother to his feet, holds him up with one arm around his waist, and quickly strips him down to his boxers. It's no easy feat, as Dean can barely move, but Sam manages. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, after all. Dean has a habit of getting himself stuck in cold places it seems.
The clothes are quickly replaced by the blankets, and then Sam opens the Impala's door and bundles Dean inside. He closes the trunk, then reaches in the front seat and turns on the heater. He then climbs in the back after his brother, wrapping his arms around him and pulling him close.
Dean's aware enough now to bury his face in Sam's chest and hold on to his shirt with one trembling hand, and Sam busies himself with rubbing Dean's back, arms, and chest to get the blood flowing again. His brother is so cold he can feel it in his own bones, and shivers himself. "God Dean. You're so cold bro."
Dean shifts in his arms and mutters something.
"I know, I know. You're not cold right? You're hot. I know." He laughs, feeling some of the tension drain out of his body. It's going to be okay. Dean's going to be alright.
They stay there for a long time, until Sam's starting to actually sweat in the heat being produced from the heater. Dean's definitely not hot, but he's getting warmer. His shivers have died down a lot, but he's still leaning limply against Sam, eyes closed. Sam's pretty sure he's fallen asleep.
He takes the opportunity and runs a hand through Dean's hair, checking his scalp for any injuries. There don't appear to be any, so maybe the ghost didn't hit Dean with something like it did with Sam. As far as he can tell, Dean has no physical injuries. Thank God.
He knows he should probably get out of here, go to a motel room and get Dean in bed, warm and safe, but Sam doesn't really think the ghost is going to come after them again. It just wanted somebody to know what happened to it, so it could move on. Anyway, he's exhausted too, after all that driving and worrying and getting hit over the head. So he settles down, pulls Dean closer, and closes his eyes.
"Who was it?"
"Elena Smith. She went missing a few years ago now, and nobody ever found her." Sam closes his laptop and sighs.
Dean's curled up in his bed under a ton of blankets, still shivering off and on. He's on his side, watching Sam with much brighter eyes. "So what, she brought me there so you'd find her body?"
"I guess she just kept taking people and hoping someone'd come looking for them there," Sam guesses, shrugging.
Dean shivers. "She could have left them a clue. A piece of meat or something. Why outside that stupid convience store, anyway?"
"Well apparently that's where she was going when she got kidnapped," Sam replies, turning in his chair to face his brother. "Nobody put the pieces together, I guess."
"Until you came along, geek boy," Dean says, giving him a lopsided smile. "What about the whole good looks thing she was going for?"
"I dunno Dean. I can't figure that part out. Maybe she just has a thing for short guys that look like you. Why she would, I don't know, but..."
"Shut up." Dean rolls over and buries his face in the pillow, then sighs. "Sammy?"
"Thanks for getting me out of there. I thought I was going to freeze to death in that frigging place."
You almost did. "Don't mention it, Dean." He goes to his own bed and sits, then reaches across and fixes one of the blankets covering his brother.
Dean opens one eye long enough to give Sam a slightly evil look, then closes it again. "Hands off, Samantha."
Sam huffs. "Go to sleep, Dean. You're grumpy."
He leans back and sighs, looking up at the ceiling. Dean would be okay. And he'll go burn those bones tomorrow. He closes his eyes and drifts off.
Please let me know what you thought on the way out, and thank you for reading! :)