Memories and Demons
Summary: A part of my Shadows Past series. Right after the deaths of Jo and Ellen, Sam and Dean are still reeling emotionally when a call out of the blue takes them from fighting the Apocalypse back to their roots when they must find Morgan before she becomes a victim of whatever is tearing a small town apart and Dean fights to not only save his friend but battle his own emotional demons when he comes face to face with their past.
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or anything related to the world that Supernatural is. Any original characters belong to me.
Warnings: Some violence, nothing graphic.
Ratings: T for language and violence.
Pairings: No slash. Minor romance, Dean/OC.
Tags: Nothing definite but spoilers for Season 5 with mentions of past seasons.
A/N: This is part of my Shadows Past series. The first in the series, titled Shadows Past should probably be read first to understand certain mentions in this one.
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Birkstown, West Virginia:
"Alright, 3 memos to self: #1-never answer a call from a nephew around the time when a spooky forest decides it's time to eat people again. #2-never answer that call or agree to check it out when both mystic and mercenaries are busy with other things due to the damn bloody Apocalypse, no guilt trip thrown there, and #3-I should've just picked up the damn cell and called you to start with since I already know how this will play out…"
Staring at the small digital voice recorder in her hand, Morgan Harrison rolled her eyes in mild self disgust as she tracked through the damp forest that sounded the small rural West Virginia town.
Founded shortly after the state was formed during the Civil War, Birkstown was a small town in the Southern part of the state and mostly surrounded by forest. It claimed a population of nearly 900 people and most of those could trace their roots back to the town's founding fathers.
According to official history, it saw very little official action in the War but a few battles did find their way onto the land and if one knew where to look, battle scars could still be seen.
Proud of it's connection and the one serious skirmish that the town could claim, the town council celebrated every year with reenactments, tours, and the usual claims to fame to bring in the tourists. A good thing for the finances of the two-redlight town but not so good when the celebration falls on another type of anniversary.
"What the bloody hell type of spirit, ghost, zombie, ghoul, demon, alien, or other non-living thing wants to come back to this place every twenty years?" the young British woman asked herself sourly, pausing to check the notes she'd scribbled in a small notebook since she'd left the real files behind.
Morgan had been blissfully minding her business in New Orleans while debating on either making a call or going in person to check up on her two favorite hunters since learning of events in Carthage, Missouri when the call had come from her fourteen-year-old nephew.
His hometown had a disturbing secret that wasn't advertised. Every twenty years people would enter a certain part of the forest and never come out. Locals blamed it as kids just running away but when strangers also began to vanish it got harder to explain away.
Never finding an answer, the stories were chalked up to urban legend until the next wave swept through and so it had gone on since during the War. Shane's call had come when his little sister had nearly been a victim.
Estranged from her family, Morgan had been reluctant to go back but the threat to innocent kids made her reconsider enough to go check it out alone rather than wait for her friends to be free or make the call to the one man who probably could help…if he'd talk to her that is.
Because the fact that five year old Emily's little friend had vanished in the woods and no one in town seemed to believe the child's story of what she saw, Morgan didn't take the usual time or precautions as she normally would have.
Getting the basic facts from Shane Murray and leaving the teenager with the full files, her cell phone, and a necklace that she hadn't taken off in years, she gave the boy instructions to call the first number speed dialed in the phone's memory if she didn't return in twenty-four hours.
Now, Morgan found herself on the outskirts of the deep forest with only brief notes, a flashlight, a small tote of supplies and the voice recorder.
The recorder was for the safe side of leaving a verbal log in case things went bad…because things always seemed to go bad these days.
"Angels, demons, devils…bloody hell, what happened to the days of ghosts, vampires and bloody werewolves?" she muttered, stepping out of the dense forest after pausing to leave a mark on a tree that couldn't be distinguished easily.
If the entire area wasn't enough to give even a novice psychic a migraine then she was crazy because as soon as the young woman stepped out of the forest her head was pounding. Surrounded by lush bushes, trees and flowers, the ground itself was dead. No grass grew in the direct vicinity of the old house.
"Yeah, this isn't odd or anything," Morgan sighed, reaching into the tote for an old knife and a flask of holy water she gazed at the two story old fashioned farmhouse that looked like something out of the past.
Bright paint shone on closed shutters, a rocker sat on the front porch as handmade children's toys sat beside it…just like something described in a story and not like a house that should have been nothing but old wood husked out by age and decay.
This was more than cursed land. Something was maintaining the house and only something with serious power could manage that but she was at a loss as to what would be interested in doing something like that is such a small town.
Not a hunter per se, Morgan had her own experiences in dealing with the odd or undead and those experiences were telling her to get the hell out and call for help. Even if that help meant swallowing her pride and having to come clean about some things she'd rather he not know yet.
Opening the holy water, she let a few drops drip onto the dead ground and wasn't surprised when it burned but was shocked when the water turned black. "Oh, bloody hell," she whispered, having only seen this once and barely surviving it. "Time to go," she decided, figuring she'd either fight one brother's stubborn streak or appeal to the other one softer side. "Yeah, we'll go with Sam and work on…shit!"
Morgan whirled as something warned her of danger an instant before pain exploded in her head and things went black.
"You should have stayed out of what did not concern you little witch but one sacrifice is as good as the next."
Barely hearing the melodic voice, Morgan wasn't sure if it was the blow to her head or the prick she felt that caused the dark swirling as she started falling into an abyss but instinct had one last thought pushing through the fog.
5 Days Later, Singer Salvage Yard:
"Quit being an ass and talk to your damn brother."
Bobby Singer wasn't in a good mood. It had been a week since the events in Carthage where the Harvelle women died and to say that Bobby was handling it well would be an understatement.
He knew that Ellen wouldn't have left her only daughter to die alone. Just like he knew that being tore up by a hellhound, Jo's injuries would have been an instant death sentence but that didn't mean he had to accept it easily.
However, he couldn't just turn over and bury himself in grief and whiskey as much as he would've liked to. No, he couldn't do that because he had two self-destructing idjits staying at his place and unlike their own father had on numerous occasions, he wouldn't leave them to flounder on their own.
Even if he did feel like smacking each of them a few times.
"He blames me, Bobby. I can't tell him not to…I mean it was my idea to go after the Colt and…"
"Sam, nobody knew that damn gun wouldn't hurt Lucifer and Dean does not blame you," Bobby argued, watching as the youngest Winchester glumly sat in the front seat of the 1967 black Chevy Impala that was both means of transportation and home. "Hell, right now he blames everyone for everything that's gone wrong and…"
Sam looked up from where he was distractedly cleaning out the front of the car to look between the older man and the house, where he knew his older brother was currently sleeping off last night's encounter with a bottle of Jack Daniels.
"Let's see, what could he blame me for? Oh, I know. I set Lucifer free because I didn't listen to him, I let myself get hooked on demon blood and didn't listen to him when he said to stop and drop Ruby. I set Lucifer free, I've got hunters on my ass and nearly got killed by them which brought back a piece of Dean's past that I'm not sure he was ready to see again. I set Lucifer free, I come up with the idea to get the Colt back and get Jo and Ellen killed, Dean almost had his skull bashed in by a tree and… oh, did I mention, I set the goddamn Devil free?" Sam finally took a breath to see that Bobby was watching him. "What?"
"You done so I can get a word in?" the grizzled hunter rolled his eyes while parking the wheelchair next to the open door. "Yeah, you set the Devil loose but not all on your own. You thought you were doin' right," holding up a hand, he cut the boy off. "Yeah, you didn't listen to your brother but then Dean didn't exactly make it easy on ya to listen to him at times so that ain't all on your head either. Eventually, you two would've gone after the Colt and I notice that the demon you got it off of didn't mention that it wouldn't work on Lucifer so how were you supposed to know?"
As Sam went to open his mouth, a sharp look shut him up. "Ellen and Jo knew the risks, Sam. Does that mean losing 'em should be easy? Hell, no, but it also doesn't mean you can keep mopin' like this because all that's doing is shaming their memory," Bobby went on, hearing a buzzing but not finding it. "Jo got hurt savin' Dean and that's what's eatin' him…well, that and something else that he won't open up about to me yet but…speaking of…you want breakfast, you'll fix your own since you slept through the one I fixed!"
Grimacing even at the mention of food, Dean Winchester shielded his eyes from the bright sun as he nearly fell down the steps from the porch. "Please, don't even say food," he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck absently. "I have a chorus line of strippers pounding in my damn head."
"That's what you get when you drink my unopened bottle of Jack all by yourself, ya moron," Bobby could understand the young man's grief but that didn't mean he'd sympathize with him. "I wasn't expecting you up until midnight…if then."
"Yeah, well thank the sharp stabbing pain in my damn head for that," Dean growled, trying to not notice that his kid brother was intentionally trying to look at him while appearing to be not looking at him. "I woke up to a scream and some nasty images that I can do without."
"Nightmares should be par and parcel for you by now, boy," Bobby responded, not liking how pale Dean seemed and again hearing the buzzing but ignored it. "You gonna sit down or fall on your face?"
Grimacing, Dean slowly eased against the side of the Impala while sliding a glance to his brother but not saying anything. "No, it wasn't a nightmare like that," he complained, trying to put it out of his thoughts but couldn't quite dispel the cold hand he felt gripping his heart. It was usually only a feeling he got over two people and one of those people was currently trying to clean out their car. "This was more like someone screaming and jabbing me with an ice pick at the same time…haven't felt it like that though since I was…sixteen."
"That was when…" Sam started to speak but shut up, dropping his eyes back down to the pile of crumpled fast food papers, old sticky notes…and something that he thought was once a peanut butter sandwich but since he had to stab it he honestly wasn't certain. "I mean…"
"You can say her name, Sam," Dean muttered, knowing that the last time he'd had that same feeling was the year he'd been sixteen and Morgan had been with them. "I don't snarl at it…much."
"Yeah and I'm a Can-Can dancer in Paris," Bobby snorted, watching both brothers closely to see how much longer he'd have to wait before he slammed their stubborn heads together. "Before you saw her again in Oregon, you couldn't even think that name without snarling. Now you just grit your teeth and I think that's just because you didn't appreciate her parting gift."
Nearly snarling now, Dean refused to rise to the bait of that teasing even though the CD player the young woman had left on the seat of the Impala still needled him. "That's like this idiot putting that I-thing on my baby," he argued, wincing as another wave of pain went through his head. "It's sacrilege."
Keeping his mouth shut, Sam also shifted so his brother didn't see the small smile he had. Tossing the handful of crap in the bag at his feet, he then opened the glovebox to clean it out when he finally heard the same buzzing that Bobby had been hearing. "One of the phones is ringing."
"That's not Dad's ringtone," Dean shoved off the bumper to lean over the car door just as his brother was removing the ringing object and for some reason that he couldn't name, he really did not want to touch that phone. "That's my old one."
"When'd you have that ringtone?" Bobby asked, squinting as it didn't seem like the older boy's type when he noticed the odd look Dean now had. "Dean? What's the matter?"
Sam, however, thought he knew what the bothering his brother as he looked at the phone in his hand. "It's the tone you set for Morgan, isn't it?" he asked without looking up, remembering the bickering his brother and friend had done over that tone the summer he'd been twelve. "Dean?"
Ignoring his brother, Dean snatched the phone out of his hand and for a moment both Sam and Bobby thought he might throw the thing but after a couple more rings he hit the button for speaker. "Yeah?" he growled, voice hard but only Sam could tell that it wasn't from anger but concern.
Expecting to hear a smart comeback about the tone used to answer the call, both brothers were a little surprised to hear instead of the often soft but cocky British lilt a fully American youthful sounding boy on the other end.
"Is this Dean Winchester?"
Scowling more and this time with a definite surge of anger, Dean gripped the phone. "Maybe. Who the hell is this because you sure as hell ain't the person who should have this number."
"Listen, dude, I've been calling this number for the past five freakin' days looking for a Dean Winchester because my Aunt said to call him if she didn't come back in twelve hours. Well, she didn't come back and you don't answer your damn phone so is this Dean Winchester or not because if not then I gotta find a way to scream for a mystic!" the boy snapped back
Blinking as in surprise at the tone, Dean shot Bobby a glare before he could smirk before he turned the glare on the phone that Sam had grabbed to hold in case his brother decided to toss the thing anyway.
"Who's your Aunt?" Sam asked, hoping to buy time so his brother would stop smoking. "Dean, settle down!"
The boy on the other end snorted in such a familiar way that Sam guessed the answer. "Do I sound like I just fell off the turnip truck to you, Mister?" he countered, obviously shushing his own warning voice at his end. "I have people dropping dead and disappearing in the woods all because some stupid witch can't stay dead. My Aunt went to check it out and didn't come back and she gave me all the files, her cellphone and orders to call some guy I don't know and tell him to quit being an ass because if she was desperate enough to call him for help then something should be wrong. That and she gave me her necklace which she said to give him the second he showed his face but if neither of you are going to say you're who I need then…"
"I'm Dean Winchester," Dean had grabbed his phone back from his brother to cut the snot nosed kid off. "Now, who are you and where's Morgan?" he demanded, feeling the pain in his head again but ignoring it in favor of squeezing information out of the kid, who sounded wayyy to much like Morgan had back then for his comfort, for information.
"I'm Shane Murray, she's my Aunt, and if I knew where she was I wouldn't be calling you, smart guy," he shot back, hissing at someone behind him before going on. "Alright, sorry. My cousin is pointing out that I just dropped this on you sorta hard and Aunt Morgan did mention that you weren't always good with shocks so…"
This time Bobby had to turn away to hide his smirk even as Dean's eyes were narrowing dangerously. "In twenty words or less, sitrep this for me," Dean gritted, warning Sam with a look to keep quiet. "Where are you, what was she doing, where the hell is that damn merc and or mystic, and what witch?"
"Birkstown, West Virginia, Aunt Morgan came because the disappearances started again like they do every twenty years. She went in because the batty witch who is supposed to be behind the curse tried to grab my little sister. Kelly's in Hungary and who the hell knows where MacShayne is," Shane replied in a similar tone to the one Dean liked to use when pissed. "That clear enough?"
Not answering for a minute, Dean turned to stare at the junk cars in an effort to buy himself time and to calm down his racing heart.
He should've known when he'd woken up like he had that something was wrong. Hell, he'd always known it before but that link had been blocked since the night she'd run from Bobby's when he'd been sixteen. Something was bringing it back and Dean wasn't certain he liked what those reasons could be.
Five days. Morgan had been missing for five days on a job that could involve anything but he knew that she should've been able to handle a simple witch's curse. If not, then something else was going on. Something that screamed trouble, especially with the way he was feeling. The problem was, he and Sam were still reeling both physically and emotionally from recent events. He wasn't sure if they were ready to deal with anything yet. Plus, could he justify leaving the problem of the looming Apocalypse just to go help a friend…even if that friend had been more once and she had just recently saved his little brother's life.
"Damn it," he scrubbed a hand over his face, avoiding looking at Sam because he knew what he'd see reflected in those big hazel puppy dog eyes. "Don't, Sam."
Knowing the inner struggle that his brother was going through, Sam bit his lip. "Dean, it wasn't all her fault that she left," he reminded him tightly, motioning to the phone as the boy talked again.
"Look, I can get that you probably don't want to come all this way but…" Shane paused as if considering something. "She'd been in New Orleans getting ready to go see you when I called. She said something about not calling unless she didn't come back or it got too bad because she knew you and your brother were both hurting but…she's hurt too. Something about stupid Angels and breaking a bald freak's head so she probably shouldn't have gone into those woods alone," he said, adding in a more sedate tone. "She did say to tell you that if the whole Apocalypse thing had you too busy to come, not to worry about it. Just to look after your brother or she'd slap you in the head from…"
"Directions!" Dean snapped, having heard enough. He knew the words in between those. He knew Morgan didn't expect him to give a crap enough to come even though clearly from what Sam had learned she had been watching out for both of them without them knowing it. She knew he still harbored a grudge for the way she left without an explanation so he wouldn't come now. Well, he wasn't letting go that easily. He'd fight for his brother and he'd fight for the friendship he once had with a girl his father had hated. A girl that his sixteen year old heart had slowly fallen in love with.
As both Sam and Bobby watched, Dean reached for a piece of paper out of the glove box to write directions down when a chuckle was heard. "Dude, I know Aunt Morgan said you didn't have too much technology in that car but surely you have a GPS that can track your way to rural West Virginia or track the GPS in her cell?"
"Kid, remind me when I get there to…" Dean stopped himself from finishing the threat even before Sam cleared his throat. "Shoot the coordinates to this number and we'll be there. Is there anything else she said that I should know?"
Shane was silent for a little while as if he was thinking. "She jus said she was sorry she messed up your lives so much and she wished she would've told you the full truth."
"Oh, no worries there, kid. I fully intend for that to happen," Dean muttered, hanging up even as Sam's phone began ringing with a text message or coordinates. "Nothing's happening to that girl until I find out just what the hell she's been doing. Pack, we're on the road in thirty."
Not surprised, Sam nodded but didn't mention that he hadn't unpacked. "What are we doing, Dean?"
"We're telling Lucifer, the Angels, Heaven, Hell and everything in between to take a backburner while we go back to our roots, Sammy," his brother replied, looking at a worn photo he'd pulled from his jeans pocket. "We're going to find a goddamn witch and burn her bones if Morgan's hurt and then I'm going to throttle our friend for driving me insane more than you do!" he growled, stomping back to the house to grab his own duffel.
"This should be interesting," Sam sighed, not sure who was in more danger from his brother; the witch in question or the teenage boy with an attitude on the phone. "Bobby, do you think I should…"
Wheeling the chair back to the house, Bobby just shot the younger man a look. "Dean's taking you with him because you're a team, Sam," he replied, rolling his eyes. "And because you can keep him and Morgan from killing one another but if things get too bad you call me and don't hesitate to head back here if she's hurt."
"Her being hurt is what worries me," Sam muttered, checking his phone to see where they were going and knowing that after Jo Harvelle died in Carthage saving Dean that his brother wouldn't be able to cope with another woman he cared for dying. "Dean, where the hell is this place?" he asked after Dean came back out and practically shoved him into the Impala.
Bobby missed the older Winchester's response as the Impala roared out of his lot with wheels spinning and dust flying and he sighed. "Damn you, John," he said aloud, giving the senior Winchester a sour thought. He'd been inside his house the night that John Winchester and Morgan Harrison had had that final fight before the girl stormed out but only Bobby knew the real reasons she left. Just like he knew more than Dean did about what the girl had been doing and how upset Dean will be when he finds out.
Taking a pack of bundled letters that had been sent to Dean but the boy had never seen out of a drawer in his desk, Bobby tossed 'em on top. "Damn kids are goin' to be the death of me yet," he growled, hoping the boys were in time as he started looking into this possible witch himself.
A/N: More action starts in the next chapter as Dean and Sam arrive in Birkstown to look for their friend only to find it not so easy. Is it really a witch or something else? Can Dean finally put the past aside to help his friend and how will he react when demons from his past begin to resurface? Sam must cope with his own inner doubts plus a brother too close to the edge.