Notes: I don't know why, but this story won't leave me the bloody well alone! Seriously, tell me its a waste of time and not to bother any more. I need to be doing other things!
Supernatural Blood, Part 2, chapter 1.
Rating: M (Mature Content!)
Summary: Eric is still missing, Dean won't talk about hell, and the Apocalypse is around the corner. Sam's secret is going to be a problem too.
Supernatural Blood, Part 2 Chapter 1.
The same sound had been driving Sam crazy for hours. A small thud every one and a half seconds as the car passed over the seam in the concrete slabs used instead of asphalt. Every one and a half seconds, like clockwork, because Dean was sticking to the speed limit for some reason. The windows were all down, and the wind gave a little relief from the heat, but the constant thudding was draining Sam of all remaining willpower.
It didn't help that he had been staring at the endless expanse of nothingness for what felt like hours. They were really heading into Nowhere, USA now, and in an area they usually didn't do that much business in. A small town that used to be a hub of activity for people going west, but now barely a blimp on a map thanks to highways and cheaper air travel. Sam wondered if vampires enjoyed the desert. It seemed after everything he thought about these day, he would soon wonder if vampires enjoyed. It was cold at night in deserts, Sam recalled. Maybe they liked that.
'You alive over there?' Dean asked. The radio wasn't working, or maybe not even radio waves survived out here. Sam wanted to stick his head out the window like a dog.
'Yeah,' he replied, bored and hot. The only reason he was still wearing his sweat soaked t-shirt was that if he took it off, his arms would probably stick to his torso and melt together.
'You sure?' Sam sighed at Dean's nagging. His brother was always nagging, probably to stop Sam from nagging at him. In the end they both shut up because neither was going to talk about it. So they drove, hunted and drank till sunrise. No more witty quips or hustling pool together. Dean took care of business with credit cards and poker tables where he could find them. They barely even stopped to eat these days; Dean had become an expert in eating while driving.
'I'm breathing,' Sam sighed, confirming he was in fact his inner emo supplied and he suppressed the urge to grimace.
'You're wearing your thinking bitch face,' Dean told him, 'which means you're thinking too much, about stuff that's no good thinking about.'
'You should stick to thinking about the road,' Sam snarked back.
'Cute,' Dean snapped. They fell into their uneasy silence, a by now familiar companion. Sam hadn't heard squat from Eric in almost two weeks. It seemed like two years, and he was very slowly coming to the conclusion that it might well be two years one day. It seemed blasphemous, but he couldn't help thinking he hadn't been nearly this depressed when Jess died. Sure, he'd been devastated and inconsolable for the first few months, and he hadn't been able to look at another woman for a long time, but with Eric... it was like he couldn't even let himself accept that the immortal vampire was dead, because he knew he'd just loose it if he did. So he stubbornly wore his "thinking bitch face" and held himself together through sheer denial.
Dean didn't seem to be doing much better. He had nightmares; worse nightmares than Sam ever had about Jess. Sometimes he even screamed bloody murder, but neither of them talked about it. It was hell, Sam was sure of it, but he had given up asking about it. If Dean wanted to bottle his pain, let him drink the home-made brew on his own.
'Let's talk about the case, at least,' Dean tried.
'Demon signs,' Sam explained in a monotone voice, 'a few people gone missing, weird weather, crops gone- whatever kind that can grow out here -livestock drained, and then nothing.'
'It's like the town fell off the map,' Sam straightened himself as he got into his attempts at research. 'I can't get through to the Sheriff's office, or any other phone in the area. I can't find anyone who seems to care it's gone either. The local newspaper had a website, pretty basic, probably run by the one guy with a internet connection, but it hasn't been updated since Friday.'
'Huh, sounds like the demons have taken over.'
'Usually, when stuff like that happens, we're already in the middle of it.'
'Yeah, we might not be able to get in. They might have found a way to physically cut the town off.'
They both fell silent for a moment as they contemplated what kind of ways the demons might have employed to seal off a town. Destroyed bridges had worked well in the past, but there weren't many rivers around here. It was a very small town, though, only a couple hundred people. Easy to miss if you weren't looking for it.
'The world is pretty weird,' Dean suddenly commented.
'Not that I don't know that,' Sam said, 'but did you mean any way in particular?' Dean shrugged, eyes on the road, but Sam noticed a bitter twist of the mouth.
'Just how people today seem to be so connected. I'm constantly saying no to chicks who ask me if I'm on the damn face-thing.' Sam snorted. 'And yet no one notices that a whole damn town just flickers out of existence.' Dean raised his right hand and flicked his fingers as if he was discarding a cigarette bud.
'Yeah,' Sam agreed quietly. 'But we know it's happened before, and probably will again if the demons get their Apocalypse going.'
'I wonder how long it will take before people notice.'
'People don't want to notice, Dean,' he pointed out. 'That's why we have a job in the first place.'
'Yeah, I know.'
Sam went back to looking out the window, and the dull thudding every one and a half seconds counted down to their destination.
The road into town turned to asphalt at last - which was a relief after all that thudding - with a layer of fine dirt blown over. Sam saw the town in the distance a long way off due to the flat expanse of nothingness, though they could see hills - or maybe they were mountains, Sam couldn't tell - behind the town along the horizon.
The town grew steadily larger, yet no roadblock appeared. They rolled into town down main street like right out of an old west novel. The Impala disturbed a layer of dust as Dean parked by the cracked pavement, and it took a moment before the wind blew it away so they could take a look around.
Dead might be the best word. To the Winchesters a ghost town was anything but dead; it usually involved a whole lot of activity. This place, though, was dead. For a few buildings, it looked like someone had transported them from some imaginary spacey future into the past, and then left them to rust until present time. You could tell they had once been new and white and rounded. There was even an old movie theatre with a big planet model on top with the words "Movie World" in big faded red letters. Maybe once upon a time it had rotated. There was a few pastel Cadillacs scattered here and there, their spiky wings sticking out at the rear giving no more illusions of flight.
For other buildings it was just regular desolation, the slow kind thanks to wind and sand, not rot. Most of the oldest buildings were made of wood, though they could have been made of straw and caked mud from the look of them.
This had been a place for tourists to stop. There were two old gas stations, one on either side of the road a few hundred yards apart. One had been closed longer than the other, but both now sported boarded up windows. Maybe the few people left didn't need gas because they weren't going anywhere.
They got out of the car and walked slowly to a small brick building proclaiming it was the Sheriff's Office. It seemed the safest bet under the circumstances. They had their weapons out, both of their sawed-offs, the knife in Sam's belt, and of course, holy water in their pockets.
The Sheriff's building was the only thing that looked old in the traditional sense, and seemed to have weathered the wind thanks to its brick structure. The doors weren't locked and the place was empty. Sam checked the stone-age computer, but the power was out. It was out everywhere they would soon find out. The cells were empty. There was no sign of a struggle.
'This is creepy,' Dean said as they made their way outside again, looking up and down the road in search of somewhere to check next. The sun seem to swallow everything in a haze, like you couldn't quite decide if it was all a mirage, only without the promise of water.
'You think it's the Croatoan virus again?' Sam asked.
'Maybe, but wouldn't there be a couple of them running around? We haven't exactly come in on stealth-mode. We're easy snacks.' They looked around again, waiting to see if any zombie-esque creatures sprang forth, but none came.
'Maybe the demons just killed everyone, or possessed them all and... I don't know, went wherever it is possessed demons go.'
'A whole town?' Dean sounded dubious.
'A lot of demons got out of the gate,' Sam pointed out. 'We haven't even come close to getting them all.'
'They've been running around wherever they please, though,' Dean pointed out. 'A whole town in one go? That has to be organised.' Sam raised his eyebrows in contemplation.
'Maybe they're becoming organised,' he suggested, 'maybe someone is rallying them to their cause...'
'Someone like Lilith?' Sam shrugged as if to say "who knows", but they were both thinking it. If someone wanted to take a bunch of people for an army, where better? Nice, easy and quick. Humanity wouldn't know what hit them when the demons came out of the closet to proclaim the Apocalypse.
'Let's check the rest out just to be sure,' Dean said and Sam nodded his agreement. They decided to split up to cover more ground.
Sam went down a side street that ran parallel to main street It wasn't much more than a alley between the houses that faced main street, and the old shacks that you could barely call houses. It was like they had been relegated to behind the scenes for the sake of the tourists. Sam wondered if the people who had lived in them had been like that too: ugly or unwanted, something to hide away from the nice people who came to spend their money here.
The place had that eerie quiet feel about it. A few cactuses and other desert plants had sprung up here and there, but otherwise it was like the very ground was dead. The sun was was her highest point, so the main buildings cast long shadows across the way, leaving Sam blinking every time he stepped into the rays of light that shone between.
A meow startled him more than it should have. Sam spun towards it out of instinct, shot-gun aimed directly at the cat's head. He sighed in relief when all it did was lick its paw at him. It was sitting on the stairs of one of the old shacks, which had once been painted yellow. The one window on the ground floor was boarded up. Sam looked up to see the same was true of the first floor. He gazed back down at the cat. It was nearly all black, except for a white spot at the end of its tail.
'You're immune too, huh?' Sam asked the feline. He didn't like thinking about his own immunity, for it invariably led to thoughts about demon blood, old hunting lodges, vampires and Eric. All roads of thought seemed to go in that direction.
The cat meowed again and turned to trot up the stairs. It scratched at the door and Sam frowned. Why wasn't it using the cat-flap? He took a few cautious steps up, careful to listen to the creaking in case the whole thing decided to give.
Now that he was level with the door he could see a white line of salt, and that the cat-flap had been nailed shut. He hesitated, then he knocked, and waited.
He was pretty sure he heard something move within. There was a slow creaking. He thought he saw a shadow move behind the boards on the window. He held the shot-gun tight in his hand, but lowered it to his side. The cat meowed and scratched.
The creaking stopped just behind the door.
'Go away,' a frail woman's voice said, causing Sam to blink in astonishment. Though frail, it sounded determined.
'Ma'm, are you all right?' Sam ventured. 'I'm here with my brother, we're looking around town-'
'Get out,' the voice said. It wasn't an order, but a plea this time. 'Go away.' Sam swallowed.
'Have people been acting strange, Ma'm?' he asked.
'Not people,' the voice told him, 'demons.' It took a moment before Sam understood that he had not misheard the woman.
'Are they-' Sam paused as he considered his words, his mind racing. 'Are they still here?'
'In Movie World,' the voice said. 'They're hold up in the old movie theatre. You should get out. Don't go in there.'
'Do you know how many there are?' Sam pressed. The voice seemed to hesitate
'I'm not sure. They dragged people in there. At night they make them scream, to make the rest of us come out. They say they'll spare us if we do, but they won't. It's all a game.'
'A game?' Sam's ear was pressed to the door by that point, listening intently.
'They said the town was theirs, their playground. It sounded... like they were waiting for something.'
'Ma'm, please,' Sam urged, 'do you have any idea of how many demons there are?'
'Five, maybe ten, I don't know. They'd jump from person to person. I've been in here since day one, but I hear things.' Since the woman obviously knew about demons and salt, maybe she was the resident psychic, or maybe the demons went around town taunting the people who had managed to hide. It was all a game, he thought, and felt cold dread at idea of living like this for so long.
'Me and my brother are going to take care of this,' Sam told her. A hollow promise, perhaps, but he had made those before.
'Get out,' the woman repeated. Suddenly, the door opened a crack, a chain keeping Sam from pushing it further. The cat slipped in and the door slammed shut immediately. Sam noticed the cat hadn't disturbed the salt.
He left for main street to find Dean.
He saw Movie World, located seemingly at the end of the main road, though it was really where the main street turned in a ninety degree angle, before turning again almost immediately and continuing on through the rest of the town. The Saturn-like planet that sat on top of the building, beckoning. Behind him the Impala sat undisturbed. He returned to it first and popped the trunk, grabbing spray paint and the can of salt. He found a bag to carry it in and slung it tight over his shoulder so it stayed on his back and didn't dangle free. He kept watch as he moved quickly and silently back across the street where the buildings were closer together and offered more protection.
His senses were on high alert. He was only wearing a sweat-soaked t-shirt and even in the heat he regretted it. A jacket wasn't really armour, but it gave the illusion of protection. As it was, the knife stuck out in the back of his belt, and the holy water flask bulged his back pocket. He checked that the sawed-off was loaded and picked up the pace.
He kept close to the buildings, moving from door to door and keeping away from the open as much as possible. He didn't want to call Dean on the phone in case the ringtone gave his brother's position away, so he moved forward silently, hoping Dean hadn't gone inside yet.
Crossing the street at the corner, he ran to the front doors of Movie World and plastered himself to the wall next to them. He peaked in through the dirty glass, but couldn't see much of anything. The old popcorn machine was empty, and the doors to the theatre itself were closed.
Sam could hear something, though. A whimpering? At first he thought it might be a wounded animal, but he slowly realised it was a person. Someone was alive in there. The demons were playing.
He considered his options. If Dean had reached Movie World, or found someone else in hiding who had told him about it, he had likely taken the back door. The only question was, did the demons know they were there? Approaching a town like this unnoticed was virtually impossible- you could hear and see the Impala coming miles away. But if they had been playing inside this place, maybe...
Sam freed the bag from his back and got out his supplies. He drew demon traps at both of the double glass doors on either side of the ticket booth. He made them big, enough to hold several demons in each. The white paint wasn't that visible in the grey pavement, so maybe they would get lucky.
He stuffed the canister back in the bag, shouldered it and rose, turning to go round back, but instead he walked right into a hand that seized his throat. He dropped everything immediately.
Before he could even gasp for breath the hand clutched so hard he couldn't breathe, he struggled to find purchase against the hand, and when that didn't work he grabbed the arm attached to it.
'There you are,' the demons said. It was a man, about forty with most of his hair gone and wrinkled from years in the sun. He wore overalls and had a name tag that said "Steve", but Steve wasn't home right now. 'We wondered where you'd got to.'
Sam thankfully still had his feet on the ground as the meat suit wasn't tall enough to lift him by the throat. He kicked out hard, catching the demon right in the stomach and sending him flying into the ticket booth wall. The force of the kick sent Sam off balance too, and he landed hard on his ass.
He gasped for air as he reached for the shot-gun with one hand and the knife in his belt with the other. The demon growled when he saw the shot-gun and charged him. Sam lifted the gun- the demon grabbed the short barrel and pulled hard, expecting resistance, but Sam gave none. The demon's arms flew over its head with the excess force and Sam's other hand shot out, knife already poised, and stabbed the demon right in the gut, all the way down to the hilt.
The demon froze in surprise and stared down stupidly at the knife lodged deep in its stomach. Sam hurried to his feet.
'Are you stup-' Realisation dawned as the demon realised the wound was effecting it. Sam pulled it out and the demon dropped the gun, but it was too slow now. Its clumsy hands reached for Sam's face as the hunter drove the knife through the demon's throat to finish it off, and prevent it from calling for help. Blood rushed out and the demon gasped soundlessly, clawing at Sam's face, but his arms were just an inch too short. Sam saw the flickering lights that meant it was dying and pulled the knife out, letting the body drop to the ground. Its head made an ugly slapping sound as the bloody side hit the pavement, like a fish on a ship deck.
Sam stared at it for a moment, wondering if the old mechanic had been awake for that last part. Then he looked at the knife still his hands, blood everywhere. He looked at the doors, still showing nothing but an empty lobby. He wiped at his face with his clean arm, but it came away still clean so he hoped he didn't have any on his face.
The blood slowly dripped from the knife, hitting the pavement. Sam noticed the sound and stared.
It was the first time they had fought demons since Eric's disappearance.
There were four to nine left. No chance, right? No hope. Eric wasn't there. He wouldn't be sprinting in at the last moment, a blur of movement so fast even the demons started to hesitate. And where was Dean? Already caught? Already dead?
'Sammy.' The voice was a barely audible hiss from across the street. When Sam looked up he realised he had the knife halfway to his mouth, and for a frozen moment he was scared shitless of his own actions. He hastily wiped as much blood as he could on the dead demon and got his belongings together before sprinting across the street to Dean, who was hiding just round the corner of what had once been a grocery store.
'Dude, you okay?' Dean asked, eyeing the still bloody knife and right hand. Another reason to wear a jacket, you had more places to wipe.
'You find out where the party is too?' Sam nodded, leaning against the wall, out of sight from Movie World. Dean surveyed the front doors for a moment before turning to face Sam fully.
'An old lady told me to get out of town,' Sam said.
'Found an old bomb shelter under the gas station,' Dean supplied, 'with an old dude screaming "I told you so."'
'Demons or nukes,' Sam snorted bitterly, 'doesn't make a difference when the world's ending.'
'Not yet,' Dean growled, glancing back round the corner to make sure no one had come out yet. 'I ganked a demon too, just when I came out.'
'How'd you manage that?'
'Get this, the guy had a demon trap painted on the ceiling in the gas station. I kicked the sucker through the door, it landed right in the middle of it, and I exorcised it.'
'Someone was giving them pointers,' Sam surmised. 'Maybe the old lady. She had a psychic vibe to her.'
'Whoever it was, it saved my ass,' Dean admitted. 'So, we're two down, three or eight to go depending on how lucky we are...' Dean's eyebrows rose as he contemplated the odds. 'Doesn't look good.'
'They could be anywhere,' Sam pointed out on top of everything else, making Dean sigh. 'The one I ganked was looking for us.'
'Probably saw us coming a mile off,' Dean hit the wall in frustration, 'why did we do this?'
'Cause there's no other way into town,' Sam said, 'we couldn't have sneaked in if we tried.' Dean nodded reluctantly and glanced back again. He was making Sam nervous, but he knew they had to keep watch.
'You finished those demon traps?' he asked.
'Yeah, both doors are covered.'
'Awesome, let's head round back and do one there, then sneak in and scope out the situation. If we're lucky, we can have ourselves a demon hunting party.'
'Both in back, or?'
'Your pick,' Dean graciously offered. Sam sighed and looked past Dean to the entrance.
'I'll take the front,' he said, handing over the bag with paint and salt. Dean took it and headed round the building so he could cross the street further down the road. Sam decided he might as well cross here. If they were inside they weren't going to see him approach, and if they were outside, they weren't getting in. He hoped Dean managed the demon trap before one of them found him.
He passed the slain demon with a mild grimace of disgust, making sure that it wouldn't bleed all over the demon trap. He pushed the door and it swung in without much noise. Inside, he could hear the whimpering noise much clearer.
He quickly decided against just going into the theatre itself and found a door marked "Employees Only." He mounted the stairs to the projectionist's room.
At the top of the stairs he found a door, and opened it just a crack. The room appeared empty so he slipped inside. It was filled with around a dozen big canisters of film, and both big projectors were open as if someone was just about to put in a new film to show. Sam approached the nearest one and crouched down so he could very carefully look through the opening for the projector.
He could see the theatre, but the canvas the projector should be aimed at was gone; ripped down and pushed down into the front row. The stage was fully exposed, and what it held made Sam's stomach roll.
Several people were strung up on ropes that were probably once used to haul set pieces or sway the occasional cute angel at nativity plays. Now they held people in tatters, some upside down, others by the arms, one by his throat. Around six in total, all half-dressed and bloody, a few with their insides flowing out. A couple of them were alive, hence the whimpering. Another couple of bodies lay deceased on the stage itself, in different stages of mutilation.
In the corner of the stage lay several pillows and big draperies bunched together, also probably once used for a community theatre production. The pile held two occupants, heavily engaged in kissing as though the scene in front of them didn't concern them. Sam suspected they might be demons. He had noticed demons tended to like sex. He doubted they got much of it in hell.
Several heads were sticking up in the first few rows. At first he thought they were more demons, but the thought of so many of them sitting quietly was frankly impossible. He realised they had to be people. Dead people. Discarded one after the other as the game continued. Propped up as a sort of sick pantomime of an audience.
He really wanted to puke at that moment.
A door banged somewhere, rousing the two kissing demons: A young girl, wearing a very lovely summer dress, and a young male wearing what looked like a store uniform. They looked off stage right, and Sam wished he could see, but he was too high up.
'Amy?' the female demon called. Sam couldn't remember having read of a demon named Amy, but there were probably enough in hell to fill the whole world. A yell was heard - it might have been Dean, Sam feared- and then a gun went off. Sam knew the sound of that gun. There was a strange silence as the two demons stared at in the direction of the sound, and then at each other. They suddenly sprung into action, but only go as far as on their feet before they heard a scream, a demon's scream; the kind they make when they're being exorcised. Go Dean, Sam thought with relief. His brother was one badass hunter.
'You go check,' the female demon told the other. He appeared to weigh his options for a moment before striding purposefully towards stage left. Sam decided he might as well make his move and hurried back the way he came.
He managed to open the door to the theatre without making much noise. He stuck his head in and saw the female demon standing on the stage, looking off in the direction where her mate had gone. Sam slipped inside as silently as possible, crouching down and moving quickly down the aisle. When he got as far as he dared, he slipped into one of the rows next to a dead guy and slumped as best he could in his seat, slipping the shotgun into the mess of a jacket the dead guy was wearing, while keeping the knife for himself. The whimpering on stage kept a steady pitch, so Sam hoped they hadn't noticed him.
He was just in time to play dead before he heard the sounds of more fighting.
'Look what I found!' the male demon's voice was filled with delight, and Sam opened his eyes just the tiniest of slits. Dean came tumbling onto the stage, gliding several feet across towards the girl, who looked down at him curiously.
'You're the one with the car,' she said. Dean, on his back with a bloody face - though Sam couldn't say from what wound - stared up at her balefully.
'He's a hunter,' the other demon said, coming onstage with a smirk on his face.
'Even better,' she said, grinning. 'Fresh meat and a hunter too, perfect.' She drew out her "r" like a purring cat, crouching down by Dean and reaching out to stroke his cheek. He flinched at her touch.
'I told you no one visits this town,' the male demon said. 'That's why she gave it to us.' He -the meat suit- was really just a boy, probably barely seventeen. 'We should have all gone to check the second we heard him roll into town, and now Amy's been sent back downstairs, and who knows what's happened to the others.' She spared him a bored glance.
'I'm sure they're around. One hunter is hardly enough to kill three of us.' She tilted her head to one side, eyes on Dean. 'What's your name, little hunter?'
Sam didn't hear what Dean muttered, but the girl was disappointed. She stood, going over to one of the hanging bodies, one of the dead ones. 'Let's string him up. I'm bored with these townsfolk.'
'There's more,' the other demon said. 'He's sprayed a demon's trap at the backdoor.'
'Check the entrance,' she ordered and he hurried down the stage steps and up the aisle, right past Sam, who remained dead to the world. The girl started pulling the dead body down. It hit the floor with a squishy thud. Sam thought he could see movement from Dean, but wasn't sure. He hoped his brother was watching the girl, waiting for the right moment. The door to the theatre banged open.
'He's done the front too!' the boy cried.
'You little shit,' the demon bitch said, dropping the rope and advancing on Dean. 'You'll be washing those off.' The boy was coming down the aisle, and just as he passed Sam, both brothers reacted.
Sam rose from his seat as fast as he could, knife out, but the demon was just quick enough to block with his arm. The knife cut in deep, though, and the demon screamed in pain and surprise. The sound was drowned out, however, by the screaming from the girl demon.
Dean had whipped out his holy water flask just as she had reached for him, and she was now clawing at her face, blinded momentarily by the sting of holy water.
The demon Sam was battling grabbed Sam's knife-wielding arm and twisted it, only just shy of breaking it. Sam spun with the twist as much as he could to prevent himself from dropping the knife. He punched at the demon, but it was too strong. It grabbed his jaw, nails digging into his cheeks, and brought Sam's face close to his own, leaving Sam in a very painful position.
'We thought we'd have to wait until the Apocalypse before we got to play with the likes of you,' it hissed.
The other demon's screams reached a new height and distracted the one holding Sam enough to look up. Dean was sitting on her, pouring holy water in her mouth and muttering an exorcism. The boy demon growled. Sam gritted his teeth and moved.
He twisted out of the hold and rammed the demon with as much force as he could. They hit the floor hard, Sam rolling to the right so he could grab the knife with his left hand. His right arm was dislocated and would be useless. The demon raised his hand, probably to try and do the telekinesis trick, but Sam reared up on his knees and stabbed it just in time, right in the chest.
Dean came flying into the rows, landing on one of the dead audience members.
Sam got to his feet, turning to face the girl demon. She stood on stage, face red from her own clawing as much as the holy water, and looked furious.
Dean was scrambling out of the row and Sam put the knife between his teeth long enough to grab the shot-gun from its hiding place. He threw it as his brother, who caught it gratefully.
They ended up one in each aisle, weapons at the ready, waiting to see what she would try. Was she powerful enough to do telekinesis? Sam doubted it.
'We swore we would wait here, like nice little demons,' she told them. She sounded almost sad or frustrated like a kid who hadn't gotten a birthday cake. 'She said we could have this town to play until she called us. Why did you have to ruin it!' With that she opened her mouth and spewed herself out of the meat suit. The black smoke rose up, probably to find an air-duct to escape through.
Sam sighed, his shoulder smarting, and looked over at Dean. They were surrounded by dead people, and both of them wore expressions suitable for the occasion. Dean had a few scratches and a bloody nose.
A whimpering caught their attention.
They both rushed the stage.
In the end none of the people in Movie World made it. There was too much damage done, and too far to the nearest hospital.
Sam and Dean made the rounds, checking for any remaining demons, and when they found none they went knocking on doors to see how many people had managed to hide. About a dozen people had, and they all left town together, none of them even going inside Movie World to check for loved ones. It was as if they had just been waiting for permission to leave. They looked as zombie-like as Sam felt. Only the old woman who had warned Sam came up to the boys, both leaning against the Impala and watching as the townsfolk got a couple of pick-up trucks ready for the journey.
'Thank you,' she said and patted Sam's hand. Nothing more was said. The brothers watched the pick-up trucks grow smaller and move closer to the horizon. The sky was brilliant with reds as the sun set. Finally, they got in the car and drove back out of town the way they had come.
They only stopped when they were back on the highway so Dean could reset Sam's shoulder, and then they kept going, east and north, into the night and towards the cold.
'So, that was awful.'
Dean's first words came out of the blue one day later and one state across on the map. 'Looks like Lilith is preparing her army.'
'Yeah,' Sam replied dully. He was stuck in the passenger seat, even though he felt like driving, because of his shoulder.
'She's giving them fun stuff to do while they wait,' Dean said, but Sam couldn't tell if it was sarcastic or just disgusted. He felt Dean was sending him glances every so often, so obviously he was going to nag again, only it didn't feel like it usually did. He felt tense, and that made Sam's shoulder ache. What was his brother up to? He decided to ignore it. The vegetation was a nice change, so he stared as it.
'You did good back there,' Dean commented, just this side of condecending. Sam sent him a look, which Dean convieniently missed by staring at the road ahead.
'Thanks,' Sam decided to mutter, just this side of sarcastic. For one sharp moment he wished things could be as they had been. There had been a time when they would drag things out of each other whenever they had issues, but everything was different. They both had secrets they didn't want exposed, and even if Eric was gone, somewhere, it was like he was still sitting right between them.
'You got that demon outside Movie World good,' Dean continued, far too casual to be casual. Sam's stomach dropped.
'Yeah, thanks,' he said, knowing he sounded way too uncomfortable, but failing to hide his guilt. He hadn't even considered- hell, he hadn't even been aware of what he was doing himself.
'What were you doing right after you killed him?' Dean asked, voice low and inscrutable, eyes on the road.
'I- I'm not sure what you're asking,' Sam said. 'You showed up right after, so I ran to you. You were there.' Dean looked at him with that sideways glance of his. Sam had always wished he knew that trick: Dean somehow managed to look Sam straight in the eye, yet he had barely turned his head. That sideways glance had pulled many a confession from Sam in his younger years. It was less effective now, but it still creeped him out.
'You were holding the knife, Sam,' Dean explained slowly, 'and you were bringing it to your lips.'
'What?' Sam huffed, sounding surprised. 'I- that's- That's crazy.'
'Is it?' Dean asked.
'Yes, why, you think I'm really a vampire?' Sam challenged. 'Eric somehow managed to change me without you noticing?'
'No,' Dean shook his head. 'It's not human blood you're after.'
'At the house where the vampires were working with the demons,' Dean reminded him, 'you got demon blood on your face and practically freaked out.'
'I didn't.' Sam's voice was too quiet to stop Dean.
'Eric had to pull your back together,' Dean was on a roll now. 'You've been telling me over and over how Eric saved you from Ruby, got you to see how she was manipulating you, but it was more than that, wasn't it?'
'No.' Sam shook his head when Dean glanced at him. His brother pulled the car sharply to the side of the road and stopped. Sam knew it was all going to blow up. Dean parked and turned in the seat to face him. His eyes were hard, and Sam knew he would see disappointment if he looked in deeply them.
'Just tell me the truth,' Dean ordered. Sam fidgeted in his seat, palms sweaty. He swallowed several times. Finally, he forced the words between his teeth, the only ones that would come.
'I messed up.'
'You messed up?' Dean repeated, his voice barely staying on the calm side.
'You were gone, Dean,' Sam tried desperately. 'I hadn't seen Eric in weeks. I was all alone and Ruby-' Dean's sudden departure from the car cut Sam off. He hastily followed. Dean walked several yards down the road, though Sam decided to stop by the front of the car. He watched as his brother took several deep breaths, hands on his hips as if he was about to bend over and hurl.
'I thought it would make me strong,' Sam tried. 'Ruby convinced me I needed it to kill Lilith.' Dean was facing away from him, but he could see the shake of the head, the hard set of the shoulders; all signs Dean was too angry to respond. His head came up, as if he was looking at the nice clouds passing by overhead.
'So you decided to drink demon blood.' He turned slowly and walked with measured steps towards the car. 'That was logical to you?'
'Yes,' Sam said, the barest stings of anger flashing in his eyes. 'Yes, goddammit, Dean. I thought Ruby wanted Lilith dead too, I believed her, and I listened to her advice.'
'So when Eric showed up and ganked her, you just stopped drinking?'
'He showed up, threw me out of the motel room and exorcised Ruby,' Sam explained, wanting the whole story straight. 'I was pissed, like I told you, and he disappeared. A week later I was... I was feeling withdrawal symptoms.'
'You were jonseing for another hit of demon blood,' Dean surmised. Sam clenched his fists, jaw working.
'Eric helped me detox. He did everything, held my hair while I was sick, fed me when I could eat again. I don't even know how long it took. I was hallucinating half the time. When I came back, I realised my mistake.'
'But you still want it,' Dean's words cut into him. 'You almost licked the damn knife!'
'But I didn't!' Sam insisted. 'Look, Eric explained I'll always be more susceptible to the blood because of what Yellow Eyes did to me. The blood has always been in me, but I can fight it. It's just been hard without him here to remind me.'
'You need your vampire to keep off demon blood,' Dean spat, 'well, that's healthy.'
'Fuck you, Dean,' Sam spat right back. 'It's not like you're the picture of mental health here.' Sam spread his hands wide to illustrate what a fucked-up pair they really made. 'You're having nightmares about hell practically every time you close your eyes. Why don't you tell me what happened down there and then you can ask me out about my addiction.'
'Addiction? You make it sound like you drank too much whiskey after work!' They were full on shouting now, the empty road and trees their only witnesses.
'You have no idea how much of an addiction it is.' Sam found himself yelling his confession as if it was a string of insults. 'I want it every time I look at a demon, when I see their eyes, when I see the blood,' Sam gasped the words out. 'Because of how it made me feel, like I could do anything, save everyone. But I won't because I know it's just a trick. I'm strong enough without it,' Sam finally let go of his anger and his voice lowered along with it. 'Eric taught me that.'
Dean watched Sam through his eyelashes during the whole little speech. Sam fell silent and stared back, feeling hopeless. He wished he knew if any of that had gotten through. Even if it hadn't, it had been cathartic to say. Dean's eyes lowered to the road.
'You love him,' he said quietly.
'You don't need to tell me how fucked up it is to love a vampire,' Sam pointed out. 'Believe me I've already gone through all the agonising on my own.'
'What is it with you and supernatural creatures?' Dean asked, only half serious, eyes still downcast. Sam decided to ignore the question, and it appeared it hadn't been a serious one when Dean continued. 'I'm sorry he's gone.'
'He's not,' Sam bit out. Dean ignored him this time. He gave a long sigh.
'I don't know how to handle this.' Before Sam could ask for specifics, Dean gestured between them. 'You. The blood. Eric.' Sam didn't know what to say to that. He was terrified Dean would leave him, right there by the side of the road. It was a distinct possibility in Sam's mind. A calm Dean could be an unpredictable Dean.
'I won't drink it,' Sam insisted. 'Ever again.'
'He was there, when I wasn't.' Dean seemed almost to be talking to himself. Sam frowned. 'I was-' Dean shook his head at the road. 'I was in hell, doing something much worse.'
'What are you talking about?' Sam had seen his brother cry before, but it always scared him, and seeing a tear fall from Dean's eye made him distinctly uncomfortable. Was Dean still mad at him? Would he welcome comfort? Probably not, demon blood issues or not. Sam was at a loss, but at least they were talking, about everything.
Maybe they could get past their secrets.
Then Dean told him about hell.