Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, any of the characters or the beautiful '67 Impala used on the set. What I wouldn't give to have that car...or either of the Winchesters...or both...
Also, this is my first attempt at a Supernatural fic. All comments, criticism and general input is greatly appreciated. This story takes places sometime after Metamorphosis (S4) and doesn't include much mention of Castiel or any of the other angels for that matter either. Otherwise, this story pretty much speaks for itself. Enjoy!
One week ago…
The obnoxious tone cut through the sounds of wind whipping past the sturdy house and June Buxley was there to take in the weather service announcement even as her husband attempted to drown it out with his snoring.
"…a heavy wind advisory is in effect until 11:45pm for the following counties…"
June's eyes were glued to the screen as the words slid soundlessly from right to left across the bottom of the glass. A small grimace crossed her features as Mineral County took its turn sprinting across the screen and her agitation flared. There were two things wrong with this situation. Firstly, Letterman was on, which meant the advisory had probably expired by now. Secondly, she didn't need national weather services interrupting her late night TV programming to tell her it was windy outside. She could've just turned the TV down a couple notches and heard the whistling for herself!
The small voice of her 7 year old son interrupted her anger induced thoughts and had her checking the clock before she looked to his figure which was no more than a dark shadow standing in the open door of her bedroom. She was certain that he hadn't slept any since they had put him to bed almost 3 hours ago. The combination of wind, thunder and lightning had managed to keep her awake just past midnight, never mind her son who was afraid of the ferocity of nature.
As if to confirm her suspicions, a blue flash of lightning snuck its way under her window shades and illuminated her son's face for a fraction of a second. There was obvious drawn across his features; however, it was the thunder that crashed through the house instants later had her son jumping slightly and inching his way into her room. Even June caught herself jumping slightly at that sudden burst. The storm was definitely right overhead.
"Hey, Jack," she began, shifting blankets and sheets to make room in her bed for her son before continuing, "You okay, honey?"
She watched as Jack's hand disappeared into the shadow that was face. Although his figure was still just barely anything more than a shadow, June was slowly beginning to discern the familiar details of her son's face. She knew instinctively that he must be rubbing his eyes, probably in his attempts to rid the burning and stinging sensation that comes with sleep.
She smiled sadly at him as she patted the spot next to her. There had been an unusual amount of thunderstorms around this time of year meaning Jack had been losing precious sleep that was imperative to a growing boy his age.
Local meteorologists had said that all of this insane weather was normal - that Hawthorne was only following a cyclical weather pattern that seemed to repeat every 50 years or so. June watched as Jack's tiny form sidled towards her when another irritating tone issued forth from the TV and drew her attention back to the screen.
"This is an emergency broadcast from the National Weather Service. A tornado sighting has been confirmed in Luning, Nevada. It was last seen heading west and…"
Fear filled June at the mention of the word "tornado," but with the knowledge that the spiral of wind was spinning its way west and directly toward them, her fear had exploded into full out panic. She needed to get her family to safety. She needed to get them into the bunker in the backyard.
Jack was just pulling himself into the safety only a mother's bed can offer when June had made the executive decision that staying in the house, no matter how comfortable, was out of the question for the night. They were in danger.
"Jack, honey," she cooed as she pulled her son close to him, "Remember when we used to play that game where we'd run into that underground playhouse in the backyard?"
Jack giggled as his mother tickled him briefly to distract him from the onslaught of the storm. He nodded in confirmation, a smile seen on his face even as another bolt of lightning slipped in through the crack between the window shade and the window.
"Well, we're gonna play that game again tonight, okay?" she asked.
Almost immediately, the fear that had been siphoning away from Jack's face began to return. She chewed the inside of her lip nervously and watched, wishing that he was still his 5 year old self that didn't need to know about imminent danger. The rumble of thunder echoed through the room as her son squirmed away from her.
"The weather's getting really bad, right, mom?" asked Jack without so much as a quiver in his voice.
"Yea, sweetie," she said and kissed his forehead.
The 7 year old nodded, putting on a brave face as he hopped out of his parent's bed, made a declaration to save Buster, his favorite stuffed lion, and disappeared around the corner and into his bedroom.
June smiled a bit and placed her hand on her husband's shoulder to shake him awake. She didn't know how much time they had.
"Paul," she said softly, wanting to wake, but not frighten. Not yet at least.
She chuckled as his snoring paused in a short snort for a moment before his eyes fluttered open. She couldn't see the blue staring back at her, but she knew that there would be mild irritation shining in his oceanic orbs until he knows exactly why his beautiful wife was waking him 6 hours before his alarm was set to go off.
"Paul, they've spotted a tornado. We need to get out of the house."
Brows furrowed in confusion as Paul struggled to throw off sleep and process what his wife had said. He blinked a few more times before nodding his head and speaking.
"Alright, let's get the Buxley's outside."
The process went incredibly smooth and June prided herself in knowing that they had practiced for this. She glanced about as she crossed the threshold of her backyard. She could smell the dampness of the earth and feel the squishing of dirt and grass as she traipsed alongside her husband and son.
She shivered despite the warm sweatshirt as heavy rain drops fell on her shoulder and dripped from her short bob, landing cold drops on the back of her neck. She felt her husbands hand rub against her arm in reassurance and warmth and she allowed a smile to cross her face. So far, so good. They were only about 5 feet from their destination.
…and that's when it happened.
There was an enormous gust of wind - one that caused both parents to grip their son for fear of losing him. June shielded her face with her hand and glanced at the sky. She was utterly confused when she noted that the sky was still a deep brownish-crimson due to the onslaught of rain. If it had been the tornado, the sky would be the color of pea soup. Paul called something to his wife, but the words were lost in the rushing of cold air. However, it was Jack's scream and wild animation that grabbed both adults attention.
Jack pointed at the sight of two glowing red ovals that hovered up high in the night sky. A bolt of lightning had the child quaking and his parents frozen to the spot in complete shock. A massive birdlike creature was there, beating its wings fiercely against the rain. Its enormous wingspan was almost impossible to discern as its feathers nearly matched the color of the storm clouds in the night sky. However, it watched them with fascination just as the humans below it could only stare up in wonder and fear.
"Mom! What is that?" cried the young boy, desperate to hear that he was dreaming - that the monster hovering before him didn't actually exist. He hugged Buster closer to him even as the stuffed lion dampened his face with the rain it was soaking in.
June's voice wouldn't cooperate and the only reassurance Jack received was a tight squeeze on his shoulder. Another flash of lightning and the gigantic creature turned, flying away from the petrified family.
Then, just as suddenly as the storm had come, it completely disappeared.
Rain rolled across the passenger side window, obscuring any signs of the sparse vegetation that Sam would have gladly used to distract himself from his fatigue. It was to the point that he couldn't even read to distract himself without the words blurring together from his tired eyes. They had been on the road for days in what Sam was now referring to as 'The Torch-athon'. Ever since Dean's return, he had been Hell bent on stopping as many demons, ghouls, ghosts and other supernatural beings from destroying innocent people as possible.
At first, Sam had taken to the perpetual motion with enthusiasm. He was thrilled at having his brother back, even if his brother was beyond furious with him for hanging out with a demon and developing his 'Jedi mind tricks'. Then again, Ruby hadn't exactly been thrilled to have one of the best hunters back in action either. They were at a standoff either way.
Sam really just wanted to get things as back to as normal as possible without losing Dean or Ruby. He wasn't trying to replace his big brother. He knew no one could ever do that, but Ruby had been there for him and helped him trust in his own hunter's instincts. She had been there to watch his back when Dean couldn't be there. He couldn't just toss her away. He cared about her - loved her even.
Sam's eyes fluttered as sleep threatened to take hold once again. It was only as his head thumped uncomfortably against the window that Sam sat up and chanced a glance at his brother. Dean's eyes were focused on the road, but there was a smirk stuck on his lips that Sam didn't like. He knew right then and there that he was busted. Figured.
"Shut up, Dean," he mumbled as he stared straight ahead. The rain pelted the windshield with sudden intensity, but didn't interrupt the rhythm of the windshield blades that bordered on hypnotic.
Dean didn't say anything. He only continued to smirk, knowing that it would enrage his brother further than any jibe he could possible toss his way at the moment. Dean needed the distraction, the normalcy of everything that they used to have. He had been free from hell for only about a month now, but already, things between him and Sam were completely different.
Sam had grown and learned so much from the 4 months he had been gone and although it had made Dean's heart swell with brotherly pride, it had also absolutely terrified him. Sam's psychic thing had gone from headaches and premonitions to full blown demon exorcisms with a little concentration and a wave of his hand. He knew Sam thought he was using his abilities for good, but they were evil. …and that bitch of his wasn't any better either.
Dean chanced a glance at his baby brother and grinned mischievously when he saw that Sam had finally surrendered to his exhaustion against the passenger window. He kept his left hand on the wheel and his eyes on the road as he leaned over and reached his right hand carefully under the bench seat in front of Sam. His fingertips caught the edge of a cardboard box and, with a grin stuck to his face, Dean tugged it towards him.
Securing his plastic accomplice, Dean chanced one more look at his brother before slamming the Metallica cassette into the tape deck and turning the volume up to an indecent decibel.
Sam awoke with a jolt, his hair slightly ruffled and confusion plastered to his face. Dean's laughter cut through the haze in his mind and Sam realized, with sudden clarity, that Dean's favorite metal band was crooning away where there had once been silence.
Dean pursed his lips to keep his laughter in check, but the obvious bite to Sam's tone really made the entire situation that much funnier.
"What's that Sammy? I can't hear you!"
A flash of lightning momentarily blinded the younger Winchester as he tried to get his grumpiness is check. He should have known Dean would pull a stunt like this. Inwardly, Sam knew he would be laughing about this in the morning, but because Dean had woken him from sleep that he so desperately needed to recuperate, Sam was one grumpy Winchester. A devious smirk crossed his features and he began thinking of payback. He let his head fall against the cool glass window and wished he hadn't held back that whole cling-wrap-over-the-toilet idea in the last town. His prank-filled thoughts were interrupted, however, as a clap of thunder erupted over head accompanied by what must have been the sky's attempt to drown the world.
"Maybe we should think about pulling into the next town, Dean," said Sam as he turned the volume knob to the left in an effort to be heard over the music.
"Nah, we've driven through worse, Sammy boy!"
Almost as if on cue, another brilliant spark of lightening tore through the sky. Dean ducked a bit to look up at the sky just as the thunder decided to make its debut. He grimaced a bit at the storm, but decided to hold his ground on the issue.
"I'm pretty sure we haven't, Dean."
The brothers turned to each other with daggers in both of their eyes. However, the intense staring contest ended abruptly as Dean started laughing and turned back to the road.
Dean tilted his head to the side thoughtfully as he spoke, "Nothing, Sam. Its just good to be back. To have this again, you know?"
Sam smiled and looked at Dean and immediately caught the smile in his eyes as he spoke. He was right. It was good to be back like this.
"Yea, it is," said Sam as he glanced out the window, "and I'd like to keep it that way, which is why we should pull into the next town. You know. So we don't die?"
Dean, much more awake now that James Hetfield was growling through the speakers, began to drum on the steering wheel with his fingers as Enter Sandman continued to assault both Winchester's eardrums. It felt good to be back into their old rhythm, but something was missing.
That was better.
"Jerk," shot back Sam after a well placed huff off feigned annoyance. It was all part of the act. All part of what it meant to be brothers.
An intense flash of light lit up the sky, but it wasn't the lightning out the window that had startled Sam, nor was it the thunder that broke over head in immediate succession. It was the immense winged figure that tore through the air with glowing eyes and wings that were churning the air.
"Its only lightning, Sam. God, you're such a girl!"
"Dude, shut up! It wasn't the lightning."
Dean arched an eyebrow at Sam's protest, falling further and further into the older brother role that he had missed so much. He glanced at Sam from the corner of his eyes and watched bemusedly as Sam craned his neck to look at something out the window.
"Well, what was it, then Samantha?"
"I…I don't know," began Sam, ignoring the dig, "It was this huge… Bird. Thing. Red eyes. Definitely not normal."
A sudden gust of wind had Dean pulling at the wheel with both hands as it blew his baby into the other lane. The tires squealed against the wet asphalt as Dean coaxed the Impala back into the right lane where it belonged.
"Alright. Seriously, Dean, this is getting bad! Don't you think we should stop for the night?"
Dean was silent, stoic, and focused entirely on the road once again. He glanced to the right as they streaked past a wooden "Welcome to Hawthorne" sign that glistened as the car's headlights glinted off of it. The elder Winchester found himself increasing the wiper's speed as the rain continued its unrelenting attack on the windshield.
Dean sighed and relaxed into his seat a bit in thought. Maybe Sam was right. Maybe they did need to pull over for the night. The rain certainly didn't look like it was going to let up, but Dean also didn't want to pause. Pausing meant rest which led to thinking which caused horrific nightmares. He knew he could drink himself to sleep, because he had been ever since his return. However, all he really wanted was one night of nonalcoholic induced sleep free from dreams of Hell and all of its memories.
"Dean," Sam said, staring into the side of his brother's face hoping to elicit some kind of response. His brother had gotten very quiet all of a sudden and he didn't like the look on his usually stoic face.
Sam rolled his eyes, however, as Dean, never taking his eyes of the road, moved his right hand and adjusted the volume so that the little's boys whispered night time prayer sounded more like an overly loud, static riddled EVP being pumped through the speakers as the Metallica cassette continued. That wasn't exactly the kind of response he had been going for.
"Dean, can we please just…"
Another flash of lightning had Dean hollering in surprise while turning the Impala sharply to the left, sending the car skidding along the asphalt before it came to an abrupt halt that tossed both brother's slightly to the right.
"Dude!" shouted Sam, still holding onto the frame of the Impala for dear life.
Dean was panting and stringing together the details of what he had seen moments before. It was massive, at least two of his baby in wingspan alone. It definitely had feathers of some kind, but they matched the hazy brownish-red shade of the storm clouds outside. And its eyes! They glowed and they were definitely deep red.
Still panting from the sudden adrenaline rush, Dean turned to Sam, "Maybe you're right, Sammy. Maybe we should stay for the night to figure out what the hell that thing was."
An uncharacteristically cocky grin fell across Sam's lips as he looked at Dean, making his older brother a little uncomfortable.
"What?" asked Dean, clearly confused.
Sam held his position for a moment, relishing in the discomfort of his brother as well as finally having the upper hand in the situation for once. He would remember and cherish this moment for as long as he lived.
"Who's the girl now?"
"Shut up, Sam," Dean grumbled as he put the car into gear and gently coaxed it down the road and to the nearest motel.