The Preacher

Hope you enjoy this one; there are no angels, no Lucifer and no apocalypse just a hunt although there is mention of Dean's time in hell in the first chapter and maybe future ones. Oh and Bobby was never possessed and is not confined to a wheelchair.

Lots of hurt Dean, some hurt Sam. Worried Sam and Bobby

Warning: There will be some bad language.

Disclaimer: Don't own, mores the pity.

A huge great big thank you to sjd for lending an ear when I needed one.

Chapter One

The spirit let rip an ear shattering screech as it was engulfed in a ball of flame leaving Sam breathing hard and searching the dark, damp and gloomy basement for any sign of his brother, the same brother who once again had been tossed around like a rag doll while Sam took care of salting and burning the remains.

Sidestepping the still burning bones Sam cautiously began his search, "Dean, Dean?" but was answered with only silence, not even the sound of breathing 'No, not gonna think that' his mind reprimanded him as he continued. He pulled the flashlight out of his pocket even whilst knowing it wasn't gonna work, the fucking spirit had somehow managed to shatter both his and Dean's only source of light whilst on its rampage.

He skirted upturned boxes, peered into dark corners and ran long fingers over the surface of the wall as he went. After what felt like hours but was in fact only minutes Sam was on the verge of panic, he still hadn't found any trace of his brother and was considering his next move when he stumbled, his foot hitting an immovable object. Falling to his knees he knew, just knew he'd found his brother, relief warring with fear as to what condition he would be in.

Bringing his face low Sam gulped to stop the panic taking over, even in this light he could see the blood smeared over his brothers face, the familiar green eyes hidden behind closed lids and most terrifying of all Dean's chest was still, not even a shallow movement to indicate life.

Laying one hand on his brothers still torso Sam's heart sped up as it was immediately engulfed in blood "Nonononono, you're not dead, you're not" fell from his lips as tears formed in his eyes. He pressed trembling fingers against the cold skin of his siblings neck and nearly passed out with relief when the tell tale thrum of a pulse, a very weak pulse but a pulse all the same beat against his fingertips.

With renewed energy and careless of the dark Sam heaved as he hauled his brothers solid form up and over his shoulder and moved as quickly as he could with the added weight towards the hatch which would get them out of here and into the cold night air.

Breathing hard Sam relished the feel of fresh air on his sweat soaked face and pushed forward towards the most wonderful sight he thought he'd ever seen. The impala.

After laying his brother on the back seat and trying to find the source of the blood on his brother's chest Sam once again checked Dean's pulse and choked out a sob laden laugh as it continued to thrum its beat. Deciding that his best option was to get his brother back to Bobby's and reassured that Dean could make it Sam began the twenty minute drive to the Singer Salvage Yard where he knew Bobby would be able to fix Dean, his absolute trust and faith in the man who had become more of a father figure than mere friend over the years never wavering.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

By the time the unmistakeable purr of the Impala's engine could be heard pulling close to the front of the house Bobby had everything ready, had prepared a bed, gathered all the equipment he had available and readied himself to deal with an unconscious and badly injured eldest Winchester and a terrified, on the verge of a breakdown youngest Winchester.

Bobby sighed, he knew this was gonna be tough, he had no idea just how badly Dean was hurt but he did know how badly it had affected Sam, could hear it in the kid's voice as he'd poured out the story not fifteen, twenty minutes ago. Heaving a steadying sigh Bobby pulled the door open and ran down the porch steps to help Sam who was already manoeuvring the prostrate form of his brother out of the back seat of the car.

"Sam, let me help." Bobby's heart sank at the sight of the blood covered hunter.

Once inside the house Bobby roughly removed Dean's shirt and began wiping away the drying blood whilst Sam hovered close by, his fingers moving to his brothers neck to check for a pulse every few seconds, his eyes glued but unseeing to the bloody chest.

"Sam. SAM."

Sam visibly jumped at the command "What, what is it?" His voice trembled with fear.

"It's okay Sam, the blood" Bobby indicated Dean's chest "must've run down from the head wound, there's nothing here, look."

Sam looked and sure enough Dean's chest was clear, clean of all the blood the only marks on the skin were the multitude of scars his brother had accumulated during the years "So he's gonna be okay?"

"Yeah, he'll be fine, gonna have a bitch of a headache but he'll be okay."

"Thank god."

Bobby quickly dragged a chair forward and pushed the kid onto the seat before he collapsed "Why don't you go get some rest Sam, you look beat."

"No, I'm staying; I need to talk to him."

"Well I think you're gonna be outta luck for a couple hours at least Sam cuz that brother a yours ain't wakin up yet an that's fer sure."

"I can wait." Sam's voice was a flat monotone.

"Sam, what's goin on?"

"No…"

"Don't say nothin cuz it's obvious you've got somethin goin on in that head a yours."

"It's between me 'n him." Sam indicated his still unconscious brother.

"Okay have it your way, I've got stuff to do, just holler if yer need me."

"Thanks Bobby"

Halfway through the door Bobby stopped; his eyes resting on the troubled young man slumped in the chair looking as though he had the weight of the world on his young shoulders "You're welcome son."

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

Even though his eyes were closed Dean was aware of a presence in the room, knew he was being watched. Inching heavy eyelids apart and blinking furiously in an effort to clear his vision Dean's eyes landed on his brother, sitting beside him on a hard chair and staring at him, not speaking, not smiling, not frowning just staring at him.

"S a m y o u o k." He whispered.

"Yeah Dean I'm ok, how bout you?"

"Head hurts."

"Here take these." Sam stretched his arm forward to reveal two small white pills resting on the palm of his hand.

"What are they?"

"They'll help with the headache."

Dean popped the pills into his mouth and took the offered glass of water all the time warily watching his brother, something was off with Sam, he wasn't acting normal, well normal for him that is. "You sure you're okay Sam? That friggin spirit didn't hurt you did it?"

"How's the head?"

"Gettin better." Dean frowned "Sam you sure you're okay?"

"No I'm not okay you fucking asshole." Sam leapt to his feet, the chair flying backwards as he rose.

"Sam…"

"Shut up Dean, for once in your life just shut the fuck up, I..." Sam turned and running trembling fingers through his hair took a few steps away from his brother before spinning around and striding back to the side of the bed Dean was lying on and continued.

"I am sick and tired of you treating me like some precious breakable object, you've always done it Dean and yes, before you say it I know it's only because you care, well guess what bro, I care too, I care what happens to you, I worry whenever we go on a hunt, hell I don't even sleep until it's over and the both of us are back in whatever shit hole of a motel we've had the misfortune to find but d'you know what really pisses me off, what really scares the shit outta me, it's you Dean, you seem to have some weird sense of duty, you seem to think that it's gotta be you who takes the brunt of it all, you who gets the crap knocked outta you time and time again, well I'm sick of it Dean and it's gonna stop and it's gonna stop right now, you're gonna promise me that from now on you're gonna be more careful, you're gonna let me help…"

"Sam…"

"Shut up Dean and listen, cuz you know what I can't take it anymore, I thought you were dead, in that crappy basement you were covered in blood and I thought you were dead, I thought I'd lost you again and I can't do that, not again, not ever, d'you have any idea how it feels to see you hurting, dying, I've been there Dean, too many times and I'm not doing it again so if you don't want to start watching out for yourself and won't let me watch your back then I'm gone, I'll walk out and I swear I won't ever come back, you will never see me again."

Sam straightened from leaning over his astonished and speechless brother and heaved in a lungful of air before turning and all but running from the room, nearly colliding with Bobby as he went, clattered down the stairs and stormed out of the front door, the resounding slam as he pulled it behind him practically shaking the buildings foundations.

Dean swung his legs off the bed and was about to rise when Bobby pushed him back down "Whoa there, where d'you think you're goin?"

"I gotta go after Sam he…" Dean started but was interrupted by Bobby.

"I know, I heard, hell it was hard not to."

"You heard and you still let him go knowing the state he's in, you shoulda stopped him Bobby." Dean once again tried to rise but was again pushed back down.

"He needed to get that off his chest, it's been brewing for a long time and you know what son, he's right, you do always use yourself as a shield to stop anything gettin to him. Jus leave him be for an hour or so, he needs to calm down, you ain't gonna get any sense outta him whilst he's still so riled up." Bobby searched the young hunters face.

"I can't just leave him Bobby; anything could happen to him, I have to find him."

Bobby took Dean's arm and carefully helped him to his feet "C'mere" he guided the injured young man slowly to the window "See that mound of scrap over there? Just watch carefully."

Sure enough as Dean watched he could see clouds of dust billowing around the side of the heap of rusted metal.

"Sam's safe, he's just outside, he aint goin nowhere, give him time to cool down and then go see him, talk it out, ok."

Dean continued to watch and could imagine his brother pacing backwards and forwards, as he walked off his anger "Okay, I'll wait, but only as long as I can see him."

Pausing on his way out of the room Bobby repeated the words he'd used earlier whilst talking to Sam "I've got stuff to do, just holler if yer need me."

"I will, thanks Bobby." Dean's eyes remained glued to the window even as he spoke leaving Bobby rolling his eyes and reminding himself to be vigilant in making sure that 'the damn stubborn ass' lyin in the bed didn't try to sneak out once his back was turned.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

Seven minutes and thirteen seconds is how long Dean lasted before he could stand it no longer, he had to speak to Sam, make sure the kid was okay so, still sitting up in bed he craned his neck and listened carefully for any signs of Bobby moving around downstairs, a triumphant smile crossing his face as his ears failed to pick up any indication of movement, 'Bobby must be out back' he thought as he swung his legs around and placed his feet on the threadbare carpet before pushing himself upright and taking a tentative step towards the door. 'Whoa' he grabbed a hold of the back of a chair and blinked slowly for a couple of minutes in an effort to stop the room spinning. Once he was sure he could make it out of the door and down the stairs he continued forward, purposefully ignoring the hammering inside his skull and the feeling of nausea as sweat beaded on his forehead before dripping down his face, the droplets blurring his vision.

Undeterred Dean continued on his quest to make things right with his little brother and found himself leaning against the post at the bottom of the porch steps with no recollection of how he'd gotten there 'but no matter, nearly there' he thought to himself as he pushed himself forward, his sight set on the still billowing dust clouds.

Dean was almost within reaching distance of the pile of scrap metal standing between him and Sam when he knew he couldn't go any further, could feel the strength leave his body as legs at first trembled and then wobbled, dancing black spots obscured his vision as Bobby's salvage yard seemed to spin around him, he could feel himself falling forward and the part of his mind that was still coherent knew his body was seconds away from slamming into the cold, hard, unforgiving ground.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

Slamming the front door behind him Sam had no idea where he was going, he just knew he had to get away as his emotions threatened to overwhelm him, his fear at seeing Dean covered in blood bringing back the memories of that night, the night he'd relived so many times, the night his brother had been torn to shreds right in front of him, as the light had left his eyes, as he'd taken his last breath before his soul had been hurtled into the pits of hell and there was nothing Sam could do to stop it.

Finding himself standing behind one of the multitude of piles of scrap metal Bobby had littered about the yard Sam began to pace as the images of that night relentlessly flashed before his eyes. He saw himself fall to his knees beside his brother and cradle the lifeless body in his arms as tears rained from his eyes, he saw Bobby appear on the opposite side of Dean's torn and bloody body, the older mans tears only driving home that this was real, Dean was gone and he wasn't coming back, he was in hell and there was nothing Sam could do about it.

Sam stared ahead as the images of him cleaning his brothers body, dressing him in clean clothes, digging a grave and lowering the only family he had left into the cold, dark, damp hole before shovelling the earth onto the body until all that was left of his brother was a mound of dirt on an isolated patch of land.

Sam gulped down a sob as he remembered making the simple wooden cross that marked Dean's grave and how he had stayed with his brother the whole night until Bobby had arrived and guided his trance like self back to the impala before driving them both to his place.

Continuing to pace Sam relived Dean's return and didn't even try to stem the tears as he once again thanked whoever was listening for giving him his brother back before his anger once again rose as he recalled the numerous hunts they'd been on where Dean had thrown himself into the line of fire either by taunting whatever it was they were hunting or simply pushing Sam out of the way leaving himself as an unmissable target.

Alternating between wanting to knock some sense into his siblings thick head and wanting to wrap him in cotton wool Sam's pacing eased a little as he thought about his earlier outburst and although he meant every word he'd said, well almost, there was no way he'd abandon his brother no matter what. He began to feel guilty for losing his temper like he had, after all Dean was injured.

Having made the decision to return to the house and talk to Dean Sam stepped out from behind the pile of scrap and for a moment thought his eyes were playing tricks on him before his brain processed what he was seeing.

He launched himself forward, reaching his brother seconds before the injured hunter crashed to the ground and managed to save his stubborn, stupid jerk of a sibling from further injury.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

Eyes closed as he readied himself for the impact Dean peeked out of one eye as instead of slamming face first into the dirt he found himself held against the familiar warmth of his brother's muscular chest.

"S a m…"

"What the hell did you think you were doing Dean?"

"Wanted to see you. You okay?" Dean quietly breathed the words.

"Dean, it's not me who has a concussion you stupid jerk, c'mon, let's get you back inside."

"No!"

Sam watched amazed as his brother pulled his body free and rolled himself to his knees where he sat for a few seconds before slowly, agonisingly staggering to his feet. "Dean, c'mon man, you need to rest."

"I'm sorry Sam."

"We don't have to do this now, here."

"Yeah Sam, we do."

Knowing that there was no way his brother was going anywhere until he'd accomplished what he'd set out to do Sam shook his head before taking Dean's arm and leading him to sit on a pile of old tyres.

"I shouldn'tve said what I did Dean, there's no way I'm gonna leave, you know that right? I was angry and it just came out." Sam knew that his brother would've latched onto that one part of his earlier rant more than anything else and wanted to reassure him that it wasn't ever going to happen.

"I can't help it, I can't help being the way I am and I know that I piss you off more often than not but it's j…"

Sam couldn't believe what he was hearing and jumped right in before Dean had the chance to continue "No Dean, stop, you do not piss me off, okay sometimes you do but sometimes I piss you off, it's a two way street man, we're brothers, we're supposed to do that to each other, hell we're with each other practically twenty-four-seven, spend hours cramped in the impala or in a motel room, we eat together, do our laundry together, watch tv together." Sam sighed "What I'm trying to say is, this is our life Dean, not your life, ours and I just want you to let me take some of the crap off of your shoulders, you don't have to do it all, you don't have to protect me, look after me. We should be looking out for each other; all I want Dean is for you to stop throwing yourself in front of anything you think may be a threat, you don't need to shield me and before you say it, I know what dad expected from you whilst we were growing up and although I do understand how he felt, he was wrong, there's no way he should have heaped what he did onto you, dammit Dean, for as long as I can remember you've always taken care of me and I, I love you for it." Sam lowered his head and peeked at his brother through floppy bangs before continuing "Let me help." Sam finished speaking and once again lowered his eyes.

Dean watched his brother and couldn't help the small smirk as the kid's eyes fixated on his shuffling feet, it was a classic Sammy trait, say what you've gotta say and then wait for the outcome by looking anywhere but at him and then the smirk fell away as he processed all that his brother had said.

"Okay."

Sam raised his head to look directly at his brother "Okay? Is that it, okay?"

"What do you want me to say Sam? You're right and I know it it's just that its hard y'know, after all these years, it's hard to change but I hear what you're sayin and I will try."

"That's all I'm asking for Dean."

"And just for the record I do know how it feels to watch your brother die."

Silence surrounded the two of them as those words hung in the air until it was broken by the sound of running footsteps.

"Thought I'd find you out here damn stubborn idjit." Bobby directed his gaze towards Dean.

"Yeah sorry Bobby I just really needed to speak with Sam" Dean looked toward his brother "but we're good now."

Sam returned the look "Yeah, we're good" before turning his attention to the agitated older hunter "Somethin wrong Bobby?"

"Yeah, somthin's wrong. I just had a call from a friend of mine, a hunter, he's in the hospital, had his legs ripped off his body."

"What!" Sam and Dean asked in unison.

"He was on a hunt in some woods not too far from here when he and his partner were attacked, his partner didn't make it, in fact the only reason Ray made it is because his partner attacked the creature, distracted it so Ray could make his escape, unfortunately the other guy wasn't so lucky." Bobby explained.

"What attacked them?" Sam asked as he gripped his brother's arm and began walking towards the house.

"I'll explain when we get inside." Bobby glanced worriedly at Dean before striding ahead.

Sam also glanced at his brother not having failed to notice that apart from the initial shock at what had happened to Bobby's friend Dean had remained quiet which was unlike him, usually Dean would want to know everything, places, dates, times, what they were dealing with and how to kill it but right here right now he remained silent.

"Hey, you okay in there." Sam questioned his brother with a small smile.

"Yeah Sammy, I'm okay, just thinking is all" and then after a beat "I meant what I said; I will try Sam I promise."

"I know you will Dean, c'mon lets get inside and see what's goin on with this thing."

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

"Whatever it is it's a nasty sonovabitch that's fer sure. I remember your daddy and me hunted this thing over fifteen years ago, coulda sworn we'd ended it, salted and burned the damn thing, hell we stood side by side and watched it burn so either this things not destroyed by fire or there was more'n one of em."

"What was it Bobby?" Sam asked.

Pausing to look at the two boys in front of him Bobby swept a hand across his face as he told them all he could remember about the creature and what it did to its victims. "I don't rightly know what you'd call it but it was a huge mother, as tall as it was wide and covered in blue/green scales and coarse hair, it had a huge wide mouth, its razor sharp teeth protruding over the lips and the most horrendous looking talons on each of its four feet as I've ever seen.

Thing is, and this is where it gets even more weird" Bobby paused before continuing "somehow this thing creeps up on its prey unnoticed, I mean a thing that size you'd think it was impossible but as sure as I'm standin here your daddy and I were alone one minute and the next, without warning were confronted by this thing but we were ready and managed to take it down without it harming us too much, your daddy did take a hit to the head but nothing too serious. We brought it down, filled it with silver, rock salt, lead, holy water the lot, you name it, we pumped it into the damn thing, watched as it bled the weirdest lookin blood I've ever seen but still the damn thing survived, it was hurt but right before our eyes we watched as its injuries healed themselves. Knowing we had to act quick we poured petrol over it and set it alight after which it simply burned, didn't make a sound, just burned into nothing more'n a pile of ash. We watched it burn." Bobby shook his head "I don't get how it can be back, no it can't be back, there must be another one." He spoke as if to himself.

"Were there ever any witnesses to the attacks?" Dean asked, causing Sam to smile in relief that his brother was back.

"Only a handful" Bobby began "Over the years more'n forty, fifty people musta gone missin but only four survived and out of those four one committed suicide as soon as he was released from hospital and the other three were declared insane and placed in a sanatorium for their own safety but your daddy and me did manage to speak to all three of them."

"What did they say?" The Winchester brothers asked in unison.

"All of em reported seeing a man, like a preacher man immediately before they were attacked and went on to explain that before the creature was let loose on them this preacher man would kneel before them and beg that they be forgiven their sins before they were subjected to some kind of trial, that their whole lives would play out in front of their eyes like a picture show, that they were able to speak with relatives and friends who had passed on but these family and friends would always be hostile, would spit venomous accusations before they seemingly turned to the preacher and asked that whoever it was standing before them be put to death in the most horrendous manner imaginable and that is where the creature would make its entrance, it would swoop in as if from nowhere and play with its prey until agonised cries begging for death could be heard echoing around the woods and then with a final swoop the internal organs of the poor victim were ripped out of the body, the creature feasting on them even as the poor soul they belonged to watched before the luxury of death took them, that's how most of the victims died but occasionally the preacher would apparently decide that another form of death be more suitable, no one was able to tell us what exactly happened to those who were spared the creature but one thing's fer sure, none of em were ever seen again after having been dragged semi conscious from what sounds like a makeshift courtroom."

"Okay, which woods exactly? Sam and I can head out there and finish what you and dad started." Dean was already beginning to rise.

Sam gently placed a restraining hand on his brother's shoulder as Bobby began to speak.

"You aint goin nowhere the state your in boy, and you certainly aint goin in there without having done some decent research so sit back, get yerself back ter whatever passes for normal with you boys whilst Sam and I look into it and then if and only if I think its safe enough, you and yer brother can head out to see what you can find but you have to keep in close contact with me at all times, I'm gonna have a backup of hunters I know who will come in at a moments notice to get you boys outta there if I think you need it."

"A backup of hunters. Who? Do we know them? Can we trust them?" Dean questioned.

"D'you really think I'd call for help from hunters I don't know or trust. I managed to get a hold of Joshua who's gonna be bringing along a coupla guys he's been workin with these past two years or so." Bobby held Dean's gaze until the younger man spoke.

"Sorry Bobby, I didn't mean anything by it.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

By lunchtime the next day Sam and Dean were throwing their rucksacks into the impala and checking their weapons in the trunk. Satisfied that they had everything they needed the two of them gave a wave to Bobby as the car pealed out of the scrap yard, the older mans advice ringing in their ears.

"Remember, this is a nasty bastard, don't go takin any unnecessary risks." Bobby looked pointedly at Dean before switching his gaze to Sam.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

Climbing out of the car and stretching, the muscles in his back popping Sam looked at the sight before him, masses and masses of trees, so dense you could hardly see between them "Guess this is the place then huh." He looked over the top of the car at his brother.

"Guess so. You ready for this?"

"Ready, and remember Dean, don't do anything stupid, remember what Bobby told us and what the research pulled up, as long as we stay together, keep a fire lit wherever we set up camp and don't make our move too soon we should be okay to finish this, hopefully without having to call on Bobby's hunter friends and be back at his place in time for dinner tomorrow night."

Dean merely nodded his agreement, to be truthful he still wasn't feeling a hundred per cent and would let Sam take the lead even though it went against everything he'd had instilled in him his whole life. "So how you wanna do this?"

"We go in, keep walking until we come to the ravine Bobby mentioned then we set up camp and wait as that's where most of the attacks seem to have happened." Sam gave his brother one final look before grabbing a hold of his rucksack and heading off into the woods knowing Dean was right behind him.

They'd been walking for about ninety minutes when Sam noticed the trees thinning a little allowing him to just make out the edge of the ravine they were heading towards and turned his head to let his brother know they were nearly there when the breath caught in his throat. Walking directly behind Dean, a smile on its face was a man, or what used to be a man, its face almost transparent. The figure was dressed totally in black with the exception of a white collar indicating he was a man of the church; it had to be the preacher Bobby had mentioned. Swinging his body around Sam had his shotgun filled with rocksalt up and ready to shoot but his brother was directly in his line of fire.

Before Sam even had time to shout a warning to his brother the preacher man raised one of his hands, razor sharp talons erupting from the tips of his fingers before sweeping his arm down towards Dean's back.

Sam's scream of "NO" echoed around the woods.

0*0*0*0*0*0*0*0

T.B.C.

Thanks for reading.