Road Closed Ahead
Summary: Sam and Dean run into an urban legend that's not quite what the stories say...
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing. Still poor as a church mouse.
The very patient and very kind bhoney won me at auction and this story is the result of her request. It's season 1, post Asylum and Scarecrow. I hope it was up to snuff.
"Seriously?" Dean asked.
"Yeah," Sam said again in exasperation.
"The headless horseman."
"The headless horseman. Rides around chasing the nerdy little guy."
"Ichabod Crane and... sort of. This is a headless horseman, maybe where Irving got the idea for the story... Or maybe not. Who knows? There are dozens of different headless horseman stories all over the country, Europe, too, for that matter."
"This one just happens to be real?"
Dean was silent for a moment. "Huh."
"That's all you have to say?" Sam asked. "Huh?"
Sam just rolled his eyes. "You'll think cool when it's coming after us."
"How scary can it be?" Dean asked. "It's just a dude on a horse. So what if he doesn't have a head? Now Wyatt Earp comes after me on a horse, then I'll think about being worried."
"I'll remember you said that."
"I bet you will," Dean said, just a hint of bitterness in his voice. "In fact, I'm sure you'll hold it against me for years to come."
The sudden bitterness drew Sam up short. Getting back together after the whole mess at the asylum had been easy enough once they had their talk on the phone and got past the psycho scarecrow. Sam still felt guilty about shooting Dean, but he also still thought his brother was an idiot for not going after their father when they had a chance at tracking him down. No doubt, Dean still thought he was an idiot for always questioning what their father told them to do.
The result was that they kept running over potholes that reminded Sam their relationship never had been smooth sailing. The things he'd said at the asylum, and that they'd yelled at each other before Dean drove off without him, had been years in the making, years of hard feelings, years of resentment and fights, all building up and turned against each other.
Physically, they weren't in any better shape. Even though they'd had a few days since the asylum, Sam was still having terrible headaches and was afraid to ask just what had caused the nosebleed. Dean clocking him might have a little something to do with it as well. For Dean's part, he hadn't said anything, but his chest had to be a bruised mess and getting blown through a wall couldn't have done him any favors. He'd also somehow ended up trussed to a tree in an orchard, sporting a beauty of a shiner.
As a result, while Sam was squinting painfully at the computer screen, his brother was currently lying flat on his back in bed. Granted, Dean's normal tendency was to stay in bed until forced to rise. Hurt or not, if he could mock from a prone position, then all the better from Dean's point of view.
With all of that in mind, Sam chose to deflect a potential argument. "If I get run down by a horseman? You bet your ass I'll hold it against you forever."
"Awww... Poor Sammy. You never did like horses," Dean said, accepting the verbal side-stepping as Sam had known he would. Winchesters were masters of the refusal to discuss what was really bothering them. It was practically in the training manual.
"And you do? You've never been closer to a horse than driving past one."
A strange expression crossed Dean's face. "Yeah." He smiled tightly. "What would I know?"
Sam frowned, his curiosity suddenly piqued. "What-"
Dean sat up abruptly, paling as he slid his legs over the side of the bed. He remained very still for a second, and Sam wasn't sure if it was his head or his ribs giving him grief. "So where is this guy?" Dean asked, still breathing a little too carefully. "Where do we have to go?"
Sam sighed, making a mental note to ask about the horse thing again later. "It's in Massachusetts."
Dean pursed his lips in concentration. "That's not where the story's from, is it?"
"The Sleepy Hollow stuff is set in New York. Revolutionary War era. The ghost was supposedly a Hessian."
"Did you just sneeze?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "Hessian. Soldier, sort of a mercenary type in this case."
"Any idea if this thing in Massachusetts is the same kind of deal?"
Sam just shrugged. "Don't know. Just found an article saying there'd been another sighting of the horseman. The witness was suspect-"
"You mean drunk," Dean cut in.
"Probably," Sam admitted. Discrediting a witness who had some personal issues was one of the most common ways for people to ignore the weird crap that went on in the world. "But the article says there have been numerous sightings over the years. It at least deserves a look."
Dean sighed and ran a hand through his hair tiredly. "You just want to go because it's ringing all your nerd bells." Dean scrunched up his nose in distaste. "Why does that sound kinda dirty?"
"Cause you are kinda dirty." Sam snorted. "So, it's a famous story and I'm interested. Sue me. We'll just go and see what we find. You in?"
Dean grinned suddenly. "It'll be like Lit class... but with shotguns. I'm in."
Dean walked into the front office of the little rundown motel. It had been a long drive to get to Massachusetts, and he just wanted a shower, some food, and some sleep, not necessarily in that order. His ribs were killing him after sitting in the car all day, bouncing over the roads, and his head wasn't doing him any favors either. He doubted Sam was feeling too great himself. Dean had kept the music at an indecently low volume and Sam hadn't called him on it, which meant his head was still hurting, too.
Dean was trying not to let the lingering effects of what happened at the asylum bother him, but it was hard to ignore when they were both still wincing every time the lights were too bright, or someone slammed a door too closely to them. Dean was especially worried for Sam. He'd had several days for his headache to pass and it was still hanging around.
"Can I help you?" the woman behind the desk asked. She was short, in her mid-fifties with dark hair pulled back in a bun, although her roots were showing a bit. She was wearing an apron over her shirt and slacks and Dean guessed she must do the housekeeping as well.
"A room with two doubles, please." The woman looked past him to the car where Sam was waiting for Dean to return with the key. "My brother," Dean offered. "We're just staying for a couple of days."
"I don't want any trouble. You understand?" she said straightly.
Dean put on his most innocuous expression. "No, ma'am. Wouldn't dream of it."
She looked him dead in the eye. "Sure, honey. That's what all the hunters say."