A mystrious disaster en-route to a far flung hunt tests Dean to the very edge of his physical and psychological limits; but is this all down to fate? Winchester luck? Or are there darker forces at work?
Later on in the story there will be slight, non-specific spoilers for various season 5 goings-on.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, and on the evidence of this story, they're probably very glad I don't!
Unfocussed green eyes fluttered open. Still woozy from an uncomfortable, fitful nap, Dean arched into a cramped stretch, knuckling his eyes and yawning widely. He ached miserably; every joint, every limb felt stiff and heavy; his stomach was in knots.
The irritating buzz of an engine skewered his head; the reedy whine vibrating through his whole body setting his teeth on edge. His churning stomach and the two crumpled plastic puke bags under his seat served as a depressing reminder of where he was.
He shifted in his seat and sighed, just for one moment; one beautiful, sleep-muzzed moment; he thought he was in his baby, but no. That pathetic, stupid sound could never come from his baby's engine. She roared; the roar of a mighty black panther prowling the highways; and she purred, a delicious soothing sound, rich as chocolate, that was reserved just for him and Sammy.
This? This pile of crap sounded like a bee in a bucket. That pitiful, tinny buzz could only come from a prop engine; it would have been laughable if it didn't signify the totally douchey fact that he was stuck about two thousand feet above the ground in this flying scrapheap that, quite frankly, looked like it was held together with thumb tacks and rubber bands.
Stealing a timid glance out of one of the windows, Dean shrunk back; screwing his eyes closed and pressing himself as far back into his seat as he could, he gripped his seatbelt with all his white-knuckled might. This wasn't even one of those big airliners where you could get an aisle seat well away from the windows or have little blinds that you could pull down to shut out the appalling reality of your position. This stupid, crappy bit of junk was no bigger than Bobby's pickup. It had four friggin' seats including the one where the pilot sat. Wherever you were, you had freaking rattling – yes, rattling – glass only inches from your face so you can't damn-well miss how far you've got to plummet when it all goes ass-upwards.
Dean cringed, gasping through gritted teeth, as a passing gust buffeted the small aircraft; jeez, a freakin' head-on with a moth would total this crappy thing.
He felt his guts lurch again; oh great, here comes yesterday's taco ….
Fumbling for one of the plastic bags Sam had been thoughtful enough to bring along for the flight, he thrust his face into it retching violently as his belly worked hard to turn itself inside out; ok, so sticking your head into a plastic bag wasn't really best practice as far as good health and safety was concerned, but right now? Right now, suffocation seemed like a very attractive option, thank you very much!
Once his stomach began to settle, he spat into the bag and flopped back into his seat, panting heavily as his head lolled limply against the padded seat back. He glanced across at Sam, in the seat beside him, sleeping the peaceful and uninterrupted sleep of the just. Scowling at his peacefully dozing brother he felt a strong urge to tip the contents of the screwed-up bag dangling from his sweaty fist all over Sam's head.
Yeah, thanks for the frickin' support bro', really appreciate it.
He took a hesitant sip of water to freshen his mouth. No point in drinking at the moment, he was quite sure he'd be seeing it again well before they landed this tub.
This Chupacabra hunt had all been Sam's idea. Some hick, ass-end-of-nowhere, dive on the edge of the Mojave Desert had been losing their livestock; all sorts - sheep, cattle, horses and goats. That just about said it all; the hell kind of place keeps goats in the 21st frickin' century?
No-one had taken a blind bit of notice until last week when a small child had turned up eviscerated. Suddenly, everyone was interested; except that it was such a trial to get anywhere near the place past countless roadless miles of one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth; most people still didn't bother.
But the Winchesters weren't most people.
As terrible as Dean had felt about the little girl; he had fancied the ghoul job they had found in Chicago … at least Chicago had roads; roads with asphalt no less and Chicago had all the little things that made life bearable, like pizza houses and bars for instance. Then Bobby opened his friggin' hairy trap and told Sam he already had it covered.
So here they were sitting in a flying wardrobe en route to the end of the friggin' world.
Dean had already made a mental note to royally kick Bobby's raddled old ass when – if – they got back.
He sighed, swallowing spasmodically against the awful feeling of his stomach crawling around inside him, and gripped the end of the armrests. Eyes scrunched shut, he quietly hummed to himself; Metallica, Zeppelin, Sabbath … heck, anything, even ABBA would be better right now than listening to the pathetic mozzie whine of that friggin' puny excuse for an engine.
His heart performed it's own drumroll as the little plane gave another lurch.
It was around a half an hour later when he opened his eyes, taking another tentative glance out of the window beside him, the vermillion expanse of Death Valley spread out below him; way, way too freakin' far below him.
The shadow of the little plane followed them along the sunbaked ground; a tiny, T-shaped dot haunting their path.
Beside him, Sam's soft snores drifted across the cabin, tormenting and mocking him. Accidentally on purpose he elbowed Sam hard in the ribs. The action engendered an indignant snort and a wrinking on the nose, before Sam's head drooped limply onto Dean's shoulder, the gentle rhythm of his snores resuming with scarcely an interruption.
Dean breathed deeply, he just knew he was going to be making use of another of those plastic bags soon, and if his idle freakin' sasquatch of a brother didn't wake up before then, he was definitely going to get it straight across the face.
He fidgeted in miserable agitation and scraped a sweat soaked palm over an equally sweat soaked face.
"How much longer?" he grunted hoarsely in the direction of the pilot's seat.
When no response was forthcoming he leaned forward, trying to ignore the creeping nausea that the motion caused.
Grasping the top of the pilot's seat, he leaned round, aiming to catch the pilot's attention. If he only knew how much longer he had to endure this friggin' nightmare, he could distract himself counting the seconds until they touched down.
When he had leaned far enough forward to be able to see round the back of the pilots seat, the sight that confronted him sent his heart plummeting into his boots and made him topple in shocked horror backwards into his seat, fumbling breathlessly for the puke bag.
The pilot's seat was empty.