Hi there and thanks so much for peeking in.
This started as an idea that was never supposed to make it past my own private computer.
The title is from a song by Del Amitri – I don't even like this particular song very much but I was somehow captured by the title. But then…it kinda evolved and took on a life of its own.
"Crows" is pre season 1, so apparently there's only John and Dean, with all the problems of Sam leaving and the two of them needing to get along... Sam, of course, is always a part of any story, even when he's not physically in it because there's no Dean without Sam and the other way around. Maybe he'll make a short appearance in later a chapter, though.
The story is based on the assumption that Sam left for college at around 18, the story takes place about a year and a half after that. It was mentioned in episode 1 somewhere, I think, that Sam and Dean hadn't spoken for roughly 2 years before they met up again in S1/01, and I'll just assume Sam had been gone approximately 4 years. I know it was said later on that the two year period was just a mistake in the script or something, but I'll still work with this and hope you won't mind.
Oh, and I don't own them, or anything much, period. On second thought - I bought a new laptop just today, which, of course and because it's my luck, is broken, so I'll have to get it fixed again on Monday, which leaves me, if not with the Winchesters then at least with a slightly defunct laptop that cost a freaking fortune – go me!
Alright, so…please read and hopefully enjoy and maybe you feel like coming back for the next chapter.
Crows in the Wheatfield
The light breeze caressing his cheeks and neck was anything but uncomfortable.
Usually, it would have annoyed him like nothing else that Sam had turned on the a/c, aiming the fan towards his face like that but right now it felt pretty damn good, comforting almost. As if his body was too hot and the rush of air brushing over his exposed skin helped him to maintain some level of a normal body-temperature.
The soft, rustling noise accompanying the movement of air was a lulling cadence, kept his mind geared low, in a state between being asleep and barely awake, locking him inside that feeling of safety and care-freeness and peace that he barely remembered feeling, ever, when fully awake anymore.
Not even when deeply asleep, come to think of it. Peace and safe and free words so foreign to him lately, they could as well have belonged to another language, say, Ukrainian, for example, or Swahili. One he didn't speak that was, so he had a pretty free pick, really.
Dean thought he hadn't felt the kind of freedom that he was feeling right this moment for a very, very long time now. Almost a lifetime. And while that knowledge alone should have disturbed him more than anything his peace-drugged brain couldn't even get itself to care one tiny bit.
And he couldn't, for the life of him, remember why he should be scared or worried or why he should fret and even care to get up and move. So there really was no hurry.
Dean just lay there, on his back, the ground beneath him kinda soft and slightly damp, smelling musky and cool.
He took in a breath, then another, breathed in the smell of earth and again it didn't worry him in the slightest that he'd be lying on the bare ground, no idea where exactly that might be, no idea how he'd gotten there. It felt strangely like home, strangely comforting yet again, his body almost welcomed by the earth and so he chose to revel in the feeling of comfort a little longer.
Just a little longer.
His muscles were heavy and tired, unwilling to move, even if he'd had found the strength or the will to try.
Something brushed against his cheek, something coarse and scratchy, grazing his skin with the faintest of touches but he didn't even twitch, didn't move one finger to brush it away or find out what it might be.
The rustling around him shifted, the formerly erratic sound morphing into a rhythm, picking up a cadence that resembled music, almost. The faint, distorted sounds gradually cleared into the slightly distorted notes of a violin, a cello…a soft, low drum. The melody sounded vaguely familiar, like he'd heard it sometime not too long ago, but he couldn't really place it yet. Definitely not some kind of music he'd listen to usually, not one of his rock-songs or some of that emo-stuff Sam would occasionally shove into the tape deck of the Impala when he'd won one of their stupid bets and got to choose the music for a couple of miles on the road. Not one of dad's country stuff either, like John Denver or even Johnny Cash. God, dad loved Johnny Cash.
And Dean had always had that weird picture in his head of his mom and dad dancing to one of his songs, always saw them arm in arm in their kitchen back in Lawrence…
The thought was beautiful at the same time as it was painful.
But this music now…it was nothing like that. And even though the music wouldn't make it onto Dean's playlist anytime soon, it had some kind of soothing pull to it, like that song his mom used to sing to him when he was still a toddler, insisting that he wasn't tired yet succumbing to sleep after only a minute or two of her voice singing him to sleep.
As if on cue, he thought he heard a hoarse, wailing voice sound out over the music then, far away and in a language Dean didn't understand, but he didn't need to. The mere sound, the weight of it transpiring so much misery and pain, Dean felt his heart thump painfully in his chest once, drop a little before picking up its low, slow rhythm again. But the heaviness had returned, that familiar weight resting on him and inside of him, ever present, never leaving him completely anymore. Not for as long as he could think. Unless you counted the past…what had it been? - couple of minutes, maybe, not much more, probably.
He had to get up. Something in his heart told him that.
But maybe he'd start with opening his eyes, figure out who was singing so heartbreakingly, figure out a way to help her. That or stop her, because he'd felt really content in just lying here, not moving.
Sleeping. Possibly forever.
Something was wrong with that.
But first things first.
His eyes opened slowly, like the lids had been glued together with superglue and he instantly remembered that one time when he'd glued two of Sammy's fingers together because of some sort of prank war they'd gotten into again. That hadn't really been a very smart idea, he had to admit that, especially not since they'd been on the way to hunt that nasty revenant and Sammy had ended up having to wait in the car because he couldn't hold on to his shotgun let alone shoot it with his thumb glued to his middle- and ring-finger.
God, Dean had had to clean all their weapons for a month after, dad had been so pissed.
But the memory still made Dean smile.
But smiling somehow didn't work, something hard and unyielding immobilized the left side of his face, making any facial movement close to impossible. Alright, so no smiling then.
Dean worked on prying his lids open, actually succeeding, which surprised him somewhat. Ok, so it was only a slit and only his right eye that finally followed the orders his brain sent its way, but he had to take whatever he could get.
He squinted up, blinking his one eye, working it open farther and farther in the process, finding his range of vision widening gradually. For a couple of minutes he didn't know if the sight before him should relieve or worry him. First off, it took him a while to register his surroundings.
So, he was lying on the ground, that much had been clear before, on the bare ground to be exact - no surprise there either. All around him, swaying gently, an almost sickening swirl of greenish-beige stalks of corn or wheat, some sort of grain, from the look of it. The movement was lulling again, the swish and sound of the stalks swaying in the breeze soothing beyond anything Dean had ever experienced.
Sam would love this, Dean thought slightly amused, would first off know what kind of grain it was – and would find some highly poetic words to describe the whole setting, too - always the literate geek boy.
Again an attempt to smile was halted by that annoying substance coating the left side of his face.
With a tremendous amount of effort Dean brought up his left arm, dropping strangely numb fingers onto his face far too heavily, wincing as he basically slapped himself in the process before starting to rub and peel at his eye a bit, working to brush off what felt like dried mud sticking to his skin and hair. After a couple of minutes and his hand slapping him almost senseless two more times he finally succeeded in prying his second eye open as well.
The grain stalks around him were more pronounced now, not as blurry anymore, even though his left eye did have some trouble focusing for any longer period of time. Concussion, most likely, even though he didn't feel a thing right at the moment. But the symptoms fit. Unfortunately, he knew as much.
And still he couldn't really get himself to panic, even though the feeling of dread that had been starting to creep over him did increase another notch or two. Should he be in pain? If it was a concussion, he definitely should be. But who was he to complain, really?
He had to be lying in a field, the stalks so high, they almost blocked out the sky above him. Every once in a while, when the wind shifted the grain to reveal slits of blue above him he realized that it was bright daylight, the sky a deep cerulean blue, small snippets of clouds blocking out the sun right now even though it had to be somewhere to his right, judging from the light filtering through a thicker set of clouds there.
He seemed to be lying in a ditch, or a walk- or driveway between the stalks that was about as wide as his body. His shoulders already brushed against the stems surrounding him but he clearly wasn't resting on top of anything other than earth and maybe a couple of tiny pebbles at the moment. His body was still numb, somehow, weightless and yet too heavy to move or shift and he wasn't even able to do as much as turn his head to the side.
But the music was still there, the woman's voice too.
Damn, he had to go find her. She sounded like she was going to throw herself off a bridge or something any minute now.
It was then that he noticed the birds circling lazily in the sky above him. There were about two or three of them, circling low over the field, the beat of their wings sending new gusts of wind over Dean's face, descending lower and lower with each circle they drew in the now bright blue sky above him.
He stared at them dumbly for a second or two. His eyes were wide open now, blinking sluggishly in time with the beats of their wings, watching in rapt fascination as they drew closer and closer until he could make out the almost bluish-black oily sheen of their feathers, the small, beady black eyes, the long sharp beaks.
Whatever. Once again – Sam would know the difference.
One of the big birds detached itself from the group and sank down upon him rapidly. It wasn't till it was basically in his face that Dean finally managed to snap his eyes away from the strangely riveting sight and turn his head, his body still too heavy, still caught in a strange paralysis that didn't allow him to move away at all.
With one last flap of its wings the crow landed next to Dean's shoulder, right in front of his face, the tips of its huge black feathers brushing over his face lightly, closing his eyes for a brief moment before he was able to reopen them again.
Dean found himself eye to eye with the bird, the space between the rows of grain too small to allow either of them much personal space, but for some reason the close proximity of the wild animal didn't perturb Dean in the slightest. On the contrary, he found himself almost curiously gazing into the birds pitch black eye, found himself fascinated by its muscular body, the shiny feathers, the talon-like claws digging into the soft earth underneath its feet.
The bird tipped its head to the side, eying Dean so intently he would have flinched or jerked back under normal circumstances. There was something there, if he looked beyond his own reflection in the birds jet-black orbs, something that sent an involuntary shiver down Dean's spine. The animal's eye seemed almost human, it's gaze piercing, slicing deeply into his soul, prying, searching…
It took a step closer still, its long, dark beak covered about halfway down with soft, downy feathers that were just as black as the rest of its feathering, Dean realized. Its legs were not completely black but dark grey, its pitch dark pupils surrounded by a slightly lighter shade of brown.
Dean felt himself shudder, all of a sudden, felt the breeze suddenly chilling him uncomfortably. The feathers on the bird's chest ruffled slightly with the gust of wind and for a second the crow seemed to grow, expand before his eyes. Dean blinked in confusion, still unable to look away, to fucking turn his head and look somewhere else, to figure out what the hell this was all about.
Figure out why the hell his body felt too heavy and yet light at the same time, the way he didn't feel anything, nothing, not even the cold or the apparent dampness of the earth underneath his body, no worry, no pain…
Something was wrong.
He blinked, brought the bird into focus again, its eyes still on Dean as if the human lying there in a field of grain was the most interesting thing the animal had ever seen. As if he had waited for him, had expected him and was now contemplating what to do next.
The next step the crow took brought it so close, it slipped out of focus and in Dean's muddled brain the animal changed from bird to monster within the beat of a second, its eyes suddenly glowing a deep, rich yellow, its body growing and expanding impossibly right before his eyes. The crow opened it's beak, gave a loud, gravelly croak, so close to Dean's ears, so loud, he couldn't help but close his eyes in surprise, in disgust.
Because that was when the smell hit him, the smell of blood and decay that emanated from the animals beak, washing over him like a tidal wave of gagging odour. Carrion eaters, that's what they were, picking flesh off bones, ravaging bodies long dead…
Dean tried to shuffle away then, for the first time in what seemed like minutes now the urge to move, to get up and away overriding his need to stay put, to lie here and just rest, never move again. It wasn't fear of the animal, per se, more like an overall sense of urgency, of wrong. Like a warning the bird sent him, challenging him to move, to get up and get away from here.
Only Dean's body didn't seem to want to obey the commands his brain was trying to send its way and he merely managed to blink, roll his head weakly on the soft ground, managing to break eye contact with an almost audible snap as the connection broke, staring up at the sky again.
His breathing quickened, expanding his chest in a sickening pace as he saw the two remaining crows still circling overhead, the birds either drawing closer or blocking the sunlight for suddenly the light seemed to dim all around him, casting him into shadow.
With the shadow came a picture, too quick and too faint to grasp it, the flash of something darker than the night itself, of something deep red, then a snipped of bright white before pain hit with a force so blinding, so fierce, Dean screamed. His whole body went rigid as a wave of agony washed over him, drowning out all other thought, all other sound, all other color, dipping his world first in bright white then dark red, and then pitch black as the ground dropped from underneath him, sending him plummeting into darkness.
OK, so…I'm not very good at this, still awfully nervous, so I'll make it short. I'll clear up what exactly happened to Dean, don't worry, but you'll have to come back for that (and I hope you will).
Apparently, the first chapter was a little bit inspired by a certain movie scene, but the music and the singing will all be explained in later chapters, I promise. It will (hopefully) all make sense for you as well… ;-)
Oh, and I love crows, I swear I do. They are beautiful and wonderful birds and I will redeem them in later chapters if they seem a bit evil. I just borrow a little from mythology here…
I never post without having at least a couple of chapter in store already, so don't be afraid that I won't continue or finish this - if you want me to, that is. The rough draft is pretty much done already (Doesn't mean I won't change something as I go along, though…)
Please, make my day and let me know if this is worth continuing at all. If its any incentive, maybe – tomorrow is my birthday. I'm turning very old and need the reassurance to not fall into am early midlife-crisis ;-)
Alright – thanks for reading and special hugs to all those who take the very short time to leave me a review.