A/N: This is my first fic in English, so I'd appreciate all the comments – they will help me improve my writing and will tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'd also like to thank my wonderful beta, sgmajorshipper livejournal, whose amazing skills and wise words made this fic readable.
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural nor did I come up with the title, nothing is mine apart from the plot.
The Sower of the Wind
Part 1. Know Thy Enemy
For a moment, time in Crowley's secret torture lab seems to stop. No one breathes, no one blinks — as if blinking might cause your death — no one moves. Castiel's words hang in the air; pollute it with threats and dark promises. Slowly, oh so slowly, this places catches up with the rest of the universe — where five minutes have already passed — and Sam and Bobby look at Dean in unison, waiting for a response. Dean only grits his teeth and continues to stare at the unwelcome stranger wearing his best friend's face.
"No," says Dean Winchester loudly.
Sam flinches behind him while Bobby quickly looks around, judging their ability to run, hide or defend themselves. Frankly, none are an option; not here and certainly not with this in the room.
"No," repeats Dean for no purpose, "we won't." He straightens himself and waits for the reaction of a self-proclaimed god. The one he gets is not the one he was expecting, though. Castiel — because he can't call this being 'Cas' anymore, he can't and he most certainly won't — cocks his head to the side in an all-too-familiar tilt and studies Dean for a moment. He doesn't sigh and is expression is unreadable, but he doesn't kill him and Dean has a hard time not counting that as a victory of sorts.
"I understand," Castiel says and takes a step closer towards Dean. Dean takes a step back before he even realizes what he's doing — but Castiel doesn't seem offended by that, he doesn't seem to notice the fact that Dean practically stinks of pure terror. "You are a man of senses and you desire to be shown proof before you accept anything." Castiel smiles and Dean shudders at the sight. "I will give you proof, Dean. I will also give you time to think about your decision. You must remember that I'm not like the other God; I will not sit back when so much needs to be done. I will show you that I mean no harm."
Castiel doesn't spare a glance on Sam or Bobby; one moment he's here, standing at the border of Dean's personal space and the next — Dean barely managed to blink — he's gone, no rustle of feathers, no goodbye.
Dean relaxes slightly and turns around to look at Sam. His brother appears… fine, alive and sane, definitely not comatose or mad. If the circumstances were different, Dean would have leapt to his brother's side and hugged him already. Broken Wall is not exactly a resurrection, but surviving it deserves the celebration too.
Instead he clears his throat and says what probably is on everyone's mind.
"What the hell just happened?"
Sam looks helplessly at the angel blade that didn't fucking work (Dean doesn't know whether he's disappointed or relieved) and gives a little shrug. Dean suddenly realizes that Sam wasn't there when Cas exploded a terrified and begging Raphael and Dean tried to bullshit his way out using a so far foolproof family card. Too little, too late and doesn't he want to kick himself, hard.
Bobby swears somewhere behind him and Dean hears him move. He comes up to one of the tables, collects Crowley's notes and stuffs them inside one of those enormous pockets of his.
"Should get goin', boys," Bobby suggests and only a tremor to his voices betrays his discomfort, probably mixed with residual anger and a lot of fear. Dean silently agrees and nods at Sam. They leave Crowley's lab and only as he's climbing the stairs, it occurs to Dean that his car is not exactly in the ready-to-drive state. He wonders briefly how Sam got there and hopes that he just borrowed one of Bobby's ugly old cars, one that will fit three grown men.
He also wonders what the hell he'll do with the Impala.
"We'll get her working, Dean," promises Sam quietly as they pass Dean's car. Dean only nods in silence.
The ride back to Bobby's is pretty high on Dean's list of Worst Rides Ever. The atmosphere in the car is so thick you could cut it with a fucking machete and you could also easily trip on all the tension and unspoken thoughts. Bobby is still pissed about Ellie Visyak's death and only the fact that she wasn't exactly human is making things a little better, Dean suspects. Sam's face is expressionless, but he's gripping the steering wheel so hard that his knuckles are white — whatever's going on in this kid's mind has nothing to do with unicorns and rainbows and naked chicks. And Dean… Dean has a hard time wrapping his head around everything that has happened. For the last few hours, days even, he's been riding high on adrenaline and alcohol and now both are gone from his system and he feels drained. Hollow, dead inside.
At some point of their journey he must have fallen asleep, because he wakes up to Sam shaking his shoulder and telling they're home. Bobby's already out of the car when Dean rubs his eyes and tries to get a disturbing image of bloodied hands that suddenly appeared in his mind. Dean gets out and shuts the door behind him. Sam, though, is still plastered to the driver's seat.
"We need booze, Dean," explains Sam grimly, looking straight ahead and not at Dean, still clutching to the steering wheel as if it was a lifeline. "Lots of booze, I think. We need to talk about it. So, yeah, booze."
He starts the engine and disappears into the darkness. Dean watches him until he turns around the corner, half expecting his brother to suddenly drive into a wall or something. Nothing happens, however, and Dean has no reason to stay outside. He has to man up and get inside, to an angry Bobby and a pile of shitty perspectives as high as the tower of Babel.
"Where's your brother?" asks Bobby the moment Dean steps inside his house. He's already locked behind his desk, buried in some obscure, dusty book. He has four another on his left and three on his right, with a notebook and a pen lying in front of him on the desk. It's a picture Dean knows by heart, he's seen Bobby in the exact same position millions of times except he hasn't, because this is a situation they've never found themselves before.
"Supply run." Dean throws himself on the couch, folds his arms over his chest and stares at the ceiling. He never noticed how interesting patterns the mould on it has created. Oh, this one looks like a car while the one on the left resembles a horse…
"Good." Dean doesn't bother to look at Bobby, not when his voice is so muffled that it can only come from behind a book. "We'll need all the help we can get." Bobby mumbles something under his nose.
"I said that you'd need it especially."
Dean bolts upright. He frowns and tries to think of a reason why this upcoming conversation might be difficult for him. Discarding the obvious, he's got nothing. Because — profound bond or whatever aside — Cas has been a friend to all three of them and it's not like Dean's the only one with issues now, right? Right.
"Bobby, not that I don't appreciate the concern," Dean says, fake humor coating every word and tasting bitter on his tongue, "but I'm a big boy, I can handle the talk. I'd be more worried about Sam; the girl will get drunk on liquor before we even get to the point."
"I don't mean the talk, idjit," snaps Bobby and Dean gets chills. He doesn't like the coldness of Bobby's voice or the phantom snakes behind his words. "I meant finding a way to kill this thing."
"Kill?" echoes Dean. The thought is incredulous and feels wrong. Dean stares at Bobby — if it were a comic book, his jaw would have dropped to the ground by now — and tries to process the information given to him. But the synapses just won't work properly and Dean ends up shaking his head.
That's the moment Sam chooses to come back with several big bottles. He doesn't take off his jacket; he puts the bottles on the ground and goes to the kitchen to fetch three glasses. He fills them generously with whiskey, hands them out and awkwardly sits on the couch beside Dean.
"So what's the plan?" he asks and takes a sip. Bobby is tracing the edge of his glass with his index finger and takes his time before he comes up with a reply.
"We go through every book I have, phone every damn hunter I know and find a way to kill it." Bobby downs his whiskey in one go and dries his mouth with a sleeve. "The usual drill."
"The usual—" starts Dean, then shakes his head and looks to Sam for support. "Sammy, you can't seriously be on board with that!"
"Sure I can," is Sam's answer, a touch slurred because of the drink he hasn't swallowed yet. "What I don't understand is, why aren't you?"
Dean doesn't have an answer to that. At first he wants to say 'it's Cas, we can't just kill him', but suddenly the picture of Sam stabbing Cas in the back — and wasn't it a déjà vu for a moment, Cas being stabbed the same way Sam was over four years ago — comes to mind and he has to rectify his opinion. They already tried killing him, so yeah, nothing new here. 'Cas is our friend' is not an option either, because as far as he can tell, Cas is definitely not on a friendly basis with them at the moment. 'Cas is our family' would be closest to the truth and so untrue at the same time that Dean simply cannot force those words out. And really, Cas isn't even Cas now, so maybe Bobby is right and Sam is right, and Dean is acting weird.
"He hasn't done anything yet," Dean finds himself saying instead and he should start paying attention to his mouth or at least he should start thinking first and acting later. Bobby frowns and Sam looks at him as if he grew an extra head or something and that is not cool.
"Besides proclaiming himself god and telling us we can either worship him or die? Yeah, sure, he's all innocent."
"Not what I meant," snarls Dean. "So what, we gonna condemn one of us for pulling a shit we didn't like? Maybe we should have done that after you released Lucifer too, Sam?"
Sam looks like a kicked puppy before a mask of indifference settles on his face. Dean regrets lashing out the moment he sees the everlasting guilt in his brother's eyes, but that's it, he already said it and there's no taking it back. And it's not like Dean isn't right. He is and it's kind of douchey of them to act like wrong choices never happened to them. They happened plenty and for all they know, Cas learnt how to make them from them.
Bobby narrows his eyes suspiciously, but doesn't comment. Dean rubs the back of his head vigorously.
"Maybe we should just mind our business for a while? See what's gonna happen?"
"Seriously, Dean, listen to yourself! Were you even in there with Cas? I wasn't from the beginning and I can clearly see how fucked up everything is." Sam gives him a disbelieving look that somehow doesn't make Dean question his thoughts and words. "It's a nice role reversal we've got going, but usually it's you with the 'kill 'em all' attitude. It's like you're not yourself."
Dean lowers his head and closes his eyes. There's a comforting blackness before he sees the bloodied hands again and do they look familiar. Dean is suddenly overcome with a sheer, bone-deep despair. He whimpers and presses a hand to his forehead. His head throbs like it's ready to explode.
"Get 'im in a sitting position," he hears Bobby order somewhere in the peripheral of his consciousness. Soon he finds himself being manhandled by Sam, forced to sit straight and open his mouth. Bobby pours something sticky and hot into his mouth, it trickles into his throat, burning it on its way. Sam closes his mouth and makes sure it stays shut. Dean has no choice but to swallow.
Whatever it is that Bobby gave him goes straight to Dean's head. It soothes the killer of a headache, burns away the memory of bloodied hands (that aren't his own, he's fairly sure of that) and subsequently knocks him out.
A quiet "please" is the last thing Dean remembers.
Dean groans in pain as a stray ray of sunshine decides to metaphorically stab him in the eye. He opens one eye to try out his ability to function and decides that it's far beyond his skill set right now. Everything hurts, starting with his head — and he's sure he didn't drink that much last night — he has a weird taste in his mouth, the kind you might get after licking old socks (not that he has experience in licking old socks), and he doesn't remember a thing about last night, apart from crashing on Bobby's couch after… Oh. Dean's eyes snap open and yes, it was a bad idea, he thinks as the sunlight momentarily blinds him and makes him dizzy. He's pretty sure he moaned and not in that nice, pornographic way.
"Easy, man." The squeak of an old couch indicates that Sam decided to torture the poor piece of furniture and sat down next to Dean. His brother puts a comforting, albeit gigantic hand — it's not that hand, Dean thinks suddenly and for no reason — on his shoulder and squeezes. A heartbeat later a mug full of fresh coffee is being thrust into Dean's hands. Dean articulates a strange sound that's supposed to be a thank you to Sam and takes a mouthful. Not one of his brightest ideas either, but at least the caffeine is helping with his head and blurred vision.
'What happened" is the phrase Dean is aiming for, although it comes more like 'whaaehen'. Sam seems to get him anyway, amazing college boy.
"You were possessed," explains his brother and it results in Dean choking on hot coffee. Sam pats his back with so much force that Dean drops the mug. Bobby will kill them, this time for sure. "So okay, maybe 'possessed' isn't the right term," continues Sam, both with talking and patting Dean, damn that kid, "but it pretty much covers the outcome."
"Possessed only not?" Dean enquires to make sure he heard right.
"Bobby says it was more like a… like a mind control."
"Mind control." Dean tries not to sound dubious or overly amused and he thinks that he succeeded when Sam gives him a warning look accompanied by a first-class bitchface. "Like in little-green-men mind control?"
"They're actually grey, Dean, watch your sci-fi." Sam sighs and stops patting him, finally. "But yeah, something like that. It was weird, man. You were you, but in a very non-you way."
Dean doesn't know what Sam means, but nods anyway. It occurs to him that his brother and Bobby probably spent the night worrying about him while it was Sam who should have been observed — after all he's the one who recently got back all his memories of an extended stay in Hell. The priority should be checking on Sam, because something might happen to him when they least expect it.
"I'm fine, Dean," assures Sam, somehow sensing what his brother's been thinking about. "Even better now that I don't have to worry about destroying that Wall. And I wanted those memories back; they're a part of me. I felt… incomplete without them."
"It might drive you crazy," Dean points out and Sam laughs at that.
"If it was going to drive me crazy, it already would have," he jokes with a mischievous glint in his eyes that has nothing to do with madness and everything with a deeply rooted desire to mock his older brother's concern and over-protectiveness. And then it's gone, like it was never there and the serious side of Sam makes a reappearance. "Of course we don't know what will happen. I suspect some headaches and delayed guilt, but I'm more worried about you."
"Me? Please, Sam," says Dean, waving a hand dismissively. "I've only been made talk nonsense by little gree— grey men. Hardly something that falls into our category of a worrisome incident."
Sam is silent for a moment. He's clearly thinking of a easy way of saying something hurtful or hard or both and Dean braces himself for the blow. But it still catches him breathless.
"Bobby thinks it has something to do with Cas," murmurs Sam eventually, obviously deciding that simplicity wins with subtlety.
"Why?" asks Dean in a voice that should sound so high-pitched. Sam shrugs his shoulders, but avoids Dean's eyes. That gets Dean suspicious.
"A hunch maybe." Sam rolls his eyes when Dean elbows him in the side, trying to get him to talk. "Dean, he really had some kind of a 'eureka!' moment. He was sitting at his desk and then he was in the kitchen, making this crazy ass solution that was stinking like rotten eggs. We forced you to drink it and you passed out. Like a girl," Sam adds as an afterthought, with a wicked grin back on his face.
Sam laughs at that, honest to God laughs before replying "Jerk" with so much affection that it physically hurts. And then it hurts even more when Dean realizes just how long they didn't tease each other that way. They settle for a comfortable silence for few minutes before Dean remembers something.
"Why did you say 'please'?"
"Yesterday," explains Dean, "before I passed out under the influence of Bobby's kitchen mojo, why did you say 'please'?"
"I didn't," denies Sam and his confusion is too real to be faked. "I said a lot of sappy things — which I'm glad you don't remember — but I never pleaded."
Sam watches him with a concerned look and Dean once again stills in appreciation of the impact Sam's soul has on him. That of course leads to him thinking about the impact all the Purgatory souls have on Cas and that doesn't make him warm and fuzzy anymore. He rubs his face tiredly.
"What did we decide to do?" he asks and Sam immediately knows what his brother is asking about.
"Nothing," answers Sam too quickly for Dean's liking. But it's okay, whatever Sam's trying to hide is connected to Dean's little adventure from last night and yep, he can't really blame Sam for trying to be gentle and omit the topic. He tried to do the exact same thing after Sam got re-souled, after all. "After much consideration we decided to wait and see. It's not like we have much on him, right?" Dean raises an eyebrow and Sam stutters. "I mean… he threatened to kill us, but then he let us go so maybe it was just… stress?" finishes Sam so tightly that it's obvious he doesn't believe a word he's saying.
Dean's fine with that, for the time being.
"So what, we're gonna sit on our asses and wait for a sign or something?"
"Hell no, you idjit."
Bobby comes into the living room with a newspaper folded and tucked under right arm and a glass of scotch in his left hand. It strikes Dean that he looks even more rumpled and tired than Sam, like he slept even less. It wouldn't be unlike Bobby to worry about both of them, to send Sam to bed and to keep vigil by Dean's side on his own. Dean shakes his head. The lengths this man was ready to go for them, it never ceased to amaze him.
"So what we're gonna do, Bobby?"
"You," Bobby puts a glass of scotch on his desk and points a finger at Dean, "are going hunting. I just got a call from that idjit Garth. He found a big vamp nest in Hardin and he can't deal with it himself. So I'm sending you to help, he probably has no idea what to do."
"You're sending us on a hunt?"
Bobby looks offended. He folds his arms over his chest and glares at Dean in a way that would make John Winchester proud. It also makes Dean feel a bit awkward.
"People around are still dying, Dean. Monsters didn't take a break because you have problems with your boyfriend, princess."
"And you?" asks Sam before Dean gets a chance to come up with a snarky comeback. So maybe cutting his brother off is not the most diplomatic way, but it is effective and Bobby loses himself in listing all the books he's going to read. The 'boyfriend' comment is soon forgotten.
"I'll look for omens, check the weather patterns as well, daily," assures Bobby as he ushers them outside. "We gotta be able to locate our pal Cas in order to track his movement." Bobby glances at Dean expectantly, as if waiting for Dean's reply. When it doesn't come, Bobby's stiff posture relaxes and he even cracks a small smile. "Behave, boys. And look out for each other."
Dean and Sam exchange amused looks. Bobby acting like a mother hen; who knew?
"Sure thing, Bobby," says Sam and goes to the car he's driven the day before. The car is even uglier in the daylight and it pains Dean to betray his baby like that. But at least she's here, he muses as he notices familiar shape near Bobby's barn. Someone — Bobby, probably, and that's why he's so tired — went back and brought his car, made sure it was available for Dean to repair it.
"She looked worse after the accident with Dad," says Sam and starts the engine.
But it will take him at least two weeks to fix her anyway.
It took them almost half a day to get to Hardin, Montana and Dean was happy to blame his brother for that. First of all, he chose the car. Granted, he probably just got the first car that had a working engine — desperately trying to catch up with your brother and friend makes choosing a vehicle much more difficult — but he still chose a freaking Toyota. A thirty-years-old Toyota Tercel and that is one of the ugliest and least comfortable cars Dean's ever seen and had displeasure of travelling in. Secondly, Sam just doesn't know when to quit. Dean thinks it's a residual and maybe even subconscious law-student thing that prevents Sam from driving over speed limits at the most inconvenient times. Not to mention that a part of Route 212 is currently out of order and Sam, being the good boy he is, went with the planned detour instead of looking for a better and faster way himself, just like Dean would have done if he weren't so grossed out by the mere idea of driving this monster.
"Three hours, Sammy! We could have been here three hours ago if you only listened to me!"
Sam rolls his eyes so swiftly and gracefully that Dean thinks he must have specially trained muscles in his sockets, because no one should be able to roll their eyes that way. This or he wants to carve eye-rolling into an Olympic sport. Dean resists the urge to roll his own eyes and puts his duffle bag on the counter. They're staying in a reasonably looking motel near the town border, with a nicely kept lawn and all. Dean drums his fingers on the counter, waiting for someone to check them in, when something furry leans on his leg. He tenses and looks down into the brown eyes of a dog. The dog is quite big, with chocolate brown curly fur and a flat muzzle, like it'd hit a wall when it was younger. It licks its nose and starts puffing, still looking right at Dean. Dean's not sure if the look in the dog's eyes indicates that it found a new object of adoration or dinner.
A short lady appears behind the counter and shakes her head with resignation. She bends a little, which is not easy judging by both her age and weight, and whistles, trying to get the dog's attention. The monster detaches itself from Dean's legs and pads towards the old lady, who lovingly scratches it behind ears. Dean swears the dog smiles at that. When the lady is satisfied with the amount of affection the dog received, she pats it on the top of its head and smoothly tells it to go and check on "daddy". The dog woofs and starts running towards the back doors, which is kind of funny, considering that the floor is tiled and slippery. Dean snorts and turns to wink at Sam; his brother, however, is looking at the dog with his classical 'aww' face.
"Cutey, isn't she?" chirps the old lady when she notices that Sam is following the dog with his gaze. "Always so happy to see new people. Constantly thinks someone will come and take her home and love her, poor thing."
"She's not yours, then?" asks Sam and Dean wants to moan. Super, a simple act of checking in is slowly turning out into a dog lovers' convention.
"No, no, my husband and I found her chained to a tree last year. I don't know how long she's been there; the darling was so hungry and scared!"
After that Dean stops paying attention. He still hears old lady's sweet voice and pet names she has for the dog and Sam's occasional 'awfuls', 'adorables' and 'that's barbaric'.
"Our son works at the local hospital, so he doesn't help much, it's just me and Willie and the doggie," sighs the old lady. "But look, boys, I'm torturing you with my boring life and you must be exhausted!"
"We're not," says Sam the exact same time when Dean grumbles "you have no idea". Old lady smiles widely, presenting two rows of pearly white teeth, impressive for someone her age. She checks them into a room she calls 'the best they have' and gives Sam the keys. Dean notices that the keychain has the shape of a dog's paw and he almost regrets ever setting a foot in this place. Almost, because the room really is nice — no crazy wallpaper with puppies or anything like that — and he really is tired.
Dean throws his duffel bag on the bed closest to the door and excuses himself to the bathroom. Sam just shrugs his shoulders and spreads himself on the remaining bed. Fascinating, but the bed is big enough not only to fit Sam's overgrown body but also to ensure that he's actually comfortable. So maybe this motel wasn't such a bad idea after all, creepy owners aside. Besides, Dean muses as he turns the bathroom light on, the interior design kind of reminds him of Bobby's house — the guest bedroom upstairs, to be exact — which is the closest equivalent of a home they have. The solid panelling and old-looking copper taps look, for the lack of a better word, homey. Assuming of course that someone would tidy up Bobby's house or at least remove all the spare books lying around the guest bedroom, making it inaccessible.
"What a nice woman," comments Sam when Dean exits the bathroom. He's lying on the bed full-clothed and expresses no intention of getting up in the nearest future. Whatever, his choice. Dean graciously decides to let him be.
"I don't know. I got a creepy vibe from her."
"That's because of the dog. You have some serious issues, man."
"I don't exactly have a good experience with dogs."
Sam lifts his head at that and an apologetic-sort of sad look appears on his face. Dean ignores it in favor of putting the duffel bag aside and throwing himself on the bed. The mattress is surprisingly soft and Dean can't help but groan. After a week of sleeping either on Bobby's really bad couch or his equally hard floor, this is Heaven, hands down.
"'night, Dean," murmurs Sam somewhere on Dean's left and Dean hears him shifting to his side. Soon snoring fills the otherwise quiet room. Dean tucks an arm under his head and closes his eyes.
When he finally falls asleep, he dreams of blood and bloodied hands — delicate and familiar-looking, but he can't exactly pinpoint where he's seen them before — and broken pleas delivered in a soft whisper, but when a piercing scream wakes him up, he remembers nothing.
"You wanna tell me what that was about?"
Dean shoots Sam a half-concerned, half-pissed off look from the driver's seat of the monstrous Toyota. Sam just swallows in a way that makes his Adam's apple positively jump and rests his head on the side window. He blatantly refuses to look at Dean.
"Lower the volume, Dean, my head is pounding," Sam grumbles finally and starts rubbing his temple. He looks exhausted; even the wonderful coffee — brought with a mouthwatering slice of blueberry pie — provided at the motel by the old lady, who didn't seem so creepy in the daylight, didn't manage to make him looks less zombie-like.
"You gotta talk to me, man," insists Dean and Sam makes a face. "Sammy, we all know how the 'not talking about it' crap worked out for me."
"Fine," snaps Sam and finally looks at Dean. Dean counts it as a small victory even if Sam is now annoyed. But as soon as it appeared, the irritation vanishes and leaves a haunted Sam with tired eyes. "Just… not yet, okay? I still got to work few things out on my own."
"Then we'll talk", states Sam and Dean knows this is the end of this particular conversation. At least for now.
"Where do we meet this Garth guy?" asks Dean and Sam visibly relaxes at the change of subject. Sam fumbles with a small map he borrowed from the motel owner and points something on it with a satisfied expression.
"Community Center Bowl at 1st Street West. Bobby said he'll be waiting outside."
Dean turns into North Terry Avenue and parks near grocery store. He pointedly ignores Sam's raised eyebrows — his brother chose this car, so he wouldn't understand Dean's mortification over being associated with this monster by other hunters. Or other people in general. 'Cause that's just not him. It's as not him as fruit salad and still water. They get out of the car and Dean shuts the driver's door with so much force that the side window seems in danger of dropping out.
"I hate this thing," decides Dean for the twelfth time this morning, "I can't wait till we get back to Bobby's and I get my baby working." He looks at Sam. "You just couldn't pick something less ugly, could you?"
"I was in a hurry, Dean," answers Sam as they turn into 1st West and pass a couple of giggling girls who look up at Sam with interest. "I needed to catch up with you guys in Kansas as soon as possible, so no, I didn't waste time choosing the car I liked. I just took the first one that was available."
Sam moves past the girls without any indication that he's noticed their flirty and inviting looks. Dean watches them as they turn around and resume their stroll down the street. One of the girls puts a lock of black hair behind her ear the way Lisa did and the memory makes Dean stop looking. Sam is few feet before him, never noticed that his brother stopped to appreciate the local beauties. He seems only interested in getting to that Garth dude, if he's thinking about the case at all. Maybe his mind is on something different entirely.
From what Bobby told them about Garth, Dean assumed that they'd meet a Richie-type hunter, flamboyant, loud and too stupid to work in this business. He imagined short, balding man in his early forties, dressed in a ridiculous red sweatpants made of nylon and a T-shirt from Disneyland or something. In his mind, Garth was also missing two teeth, but Dean can't explain what prompted that image. It's just… the way Bobby talked about Garth, it made Dean think of him as a loser and maybe even a nutjob, the kind of guy who needs advice 24/7 and who needs saving more times than not. Dean's mind immediately went to Richie, except of course that Garth wouldn't have the "I kinda like you" factor.
The man waiting outside Community Center Bowl is indeed a short Latino, but that's where the similarities between him and Dean's image of Garth end. He's got a full head of slightly curly black hair and is dressed like a rock star merged with a businessman. All black, from head to toe, fitting designer jeans, cotton shirt that looks like it's permanently ironed and an expensive-looking leather jacket. Garth's black shoes are so clean that they shine in the sunlight. He's wearing sunglasses like a royal douche from one of the sixty versions of CSI and doesn't look amused. To be honest, he seems plain bored.
"Ah, the cavalry arrived," says Garth in a deep, rough voice that reminds Dean of Castiel. It stops Dean dead in his tracks, so Sam is the first one to reach Garth.
"Nice to meet you too, I'm Sam and that's my brother Dean."
Sam and Garth exchange a handshake and Dean only nods. It doesn't bother Garth.
"So… what do we have?" asks Sam when the silence between the three of them becomes unbearable. Garth reaches to the pocket of his jeans and takes out a simple small notebook. He licks through few pages before handing it to Sam to read.
"Bunch of animals with bite-marks and a suspicious lack of blood; mostly goats, but there were few cows reported too. And one human victim."
"Only one?" Dean is stunned. So maybe this Garth isn't so smart after all — with vampires there are usually disappearances, dead, bloodless bodies, lots of them. Not one. How on Earth can you assume that you're dealing with vampires after one body?
"Yep," confirms Garth and that's it, the guy's clearly a moron. "She's still at the hospital, but they're going to discharge her soon."
"And she's alive?" asks Dean and Garth nods. No wonder Bobby has trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that this guy is still kicking. "Then why do you think it's a vampire? She could have been jumped by a black dog outside a bar for all we know."
"You think I'm dumb?" Garth looks at Dean questioningly and Dean has a hard time not answering "yes". "I interviewed her. She was bitten in a locked hospital room. Four days ago, when she came to have her appendix removed."
Dean blinks. Oh, that's something new.
"So you're saying that whatever was attacking the animals went on to feed on humans?" It's Sam's turn to ask. Dean's glad; at least Sam doesn't seem to have a problem with their new hunter pal.
"It looks like so. Maybe it got bored, maybe it wanted excitement in its diet."
"But still," Dean interrupts, "why do we assume it's a vampire? Could be any other thing, like—"
"Because the bite-mark on Ashley Morgan's neck is clearly a trace of vampire teeth," Garth cuts him off. "And really, boys, I didn't ask Robert for help, he offered. But if you're going to stand here and be skeptical, I have no use of you. You either trust my judgment call or we part ways."
Dean has no intention of trusting Garth and his lack of knowledge, but he does want to take part in a normal hunt for a change. Something that doesn't involve angels or demons or grand plans or the end of the world or any kind of crap like that. An old school hunt that's about ganking an evil monster and saving people. He needs it before they head back to Bobby's and have to come face to face with all the fucked up shit they've left there and yep, Dean doesn't want to think about it now.
"So okay, part A of the hunting trip is done; we know what we're dealing with. Vampires. What now?"
Garth smiles a self-satisfied smile and Dean feel the urge to punch him square in the face. There's something off about this guy, something so sure of himself that usually means he's gonna get himself killed. Dean hated that kind of hunters.
"We know that whoever that vampire is, it has an easy access to the hospital. We also know that it recently developed a taste in human blood. I'm basing my assumptions not only on the attack on Ashley Morgan," adds Garth quickly when both Dean and Sam look at him with doubt, "but also on the fact that blood bags are going missing."
"Type A-negative, I checked. So." Garth rubs his hands with excitement. "From what I learned, the hospital has already asked for more. Someone from the blood bank is going to come today with the new supply. Therefore we have to wait at the hospital and see who's going to come out running with the bags. Then we catch it and kill it. Bam! And the job is done."
"So your brilliant idea involves waiting here?"
"If you have a better one, I'm all ears."
That shuts Dean up. For about half an hour.
With Garth being friendly with the hospital's director and Sam being the only one who could stand the sight of their Toyota, Dean was assigned with checking out the lobby of the hospital. It was boring as hell, but at least provided Dean with interesting view. Apparently, a cheerleading squad from the local high school had a pretty bad coach vs. car accident and now all those girls were stuck in the lobby with him. At some point a doctor named Morrigan Wyle asked Dean if he was injured too, to which Dean answered that he only had a really bad migraine so he could wait. Doctor Wyle smiled sympathetically at him and walked away, leaving Dean with a feeling that he knows his name from somewhere. But then one of the cheerleaders fainted in front of him and Dean got to be the hero who caught her. Adored, looked-up-at, first-crush-ever kind of a hero. But all in all, it was a pretty boring day.
Dean yawns. He gets off the uncomfortable plastic bench in order to stretch his legs and get a can of Cola, when he sees a familiar, big shape making its way through the hospital door. The lady-owner of the motel he and Sam are staying in comes in, supporting a rather pale and sick looking man with one arm. Vending machine forgotten, Dean — in an act of unusual chivalry — walks up to the old lady and offers his help with… whoever it is that she's brought here. The lady's face lits up like a Christmas tree, all bright smile and shining eyes, which are really blue, Dean notes abstent-mindedly.
"Oh, thank you, sweetie," says the lady in a sweet voice and starts looking around, trying to locate a doctor. "My husband is not feeling well today, I'm afraid."
Dean blinks and glares at the man whom he's currently holding upright. Judging from his appearance, he can't be more than thirty five-years-old, smooth face with no trace of stubble and cropped hair. He's not very lucid at the moment, but he doesn't seem like the type who likes to get married to older ladies. Plus, this particular old lady is neither rich nor hot for her age. So either she has amazing personality or this guy has one crazy kink, Dean decides.
"Debra," says doctor Wyle when he spots the old lady. He comes up to them, a flashlight in his hand, and checks old lady's — Debra's — husband's pupils. He must be happy with whatever he got from this, because he smiles. "Not feeling well today again, are we?"
"It's the second time this week!" Debra puts her hands up in a resigned gesture.
"Don't worry, ma'am, I know just the thing that might help him. Thankfully, we're fully stocked again."
Doctor Wyle pats Dean on the back and thanks him for helping. He then gestures at the nearest nurse and orders her to get Willie into a wheelchair and to take him upstairs, to his office. As the nurse passes by him, Dean hears her telling Willie that he's right in time for dinner. Dean's stomach makes an interested grumble at that, reminding Dean that he hasn't eaten anything today, not since Debra's delicious blueberry pie in the morning. Dean looks around. There are parents of few cheerleaders waiting in the lobby — besides that, the hospital looks peaceful. He glances at the front door. At their way here, he spotted a café not far from the hospital. Surely nothing would happen if he went outside for a moment, to grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee, right?
A heartbeat and a decision later, Dean takes out his cellphone. He hits number 1 on speed dial.
"Sam? Going to grab something to eat, meet me in the café opposite the hospital in five, okay?"
He hangs up before he hears Sam's reply. A t the far end of the lobby Debra and doctor Wyle are deep in a conversation — they mention Ashley, Dean's pretty sure of that — but Dean can't help but think that they're shooting worried glances at him from time to time. He nods the old lady as he moves to the front door and she smiles.
Sam's waiting for him outside the café when Dean gets there. He's sitting at one of the benches, holding a cup of fresh coffee in an outstretched hand and Dean takes it. He just hopes that Sam's not in the mood for pranks and there isn't any cinnamon or something equally girly inside. Thankfully, it's pure black.
"I've been sitting outside the police station for the last couple of hours and guess what. Nothing happened," says Sam in a bored voice. "Zero, zip, nada, no one came, nothing happened, there wasn't even a badly parked car. For the whole day."
"My day wasn't better." Dean tries not to sound amused. He fails. "Of course unless you're totally into hot cheerleaders waiting for a rescue, that is."
Sam has the decency to look hurt and annoyed at the same time. Royal bitchface #3 forms on his face.
"That is what you were doing all day? Staring at a bunch of half-naked girls?"
"No! Not only. I also saw our dog loving motel owner." Sam gives a little, interested 'huh'. "She came with her husband. And I gotta tell you, man, she must be really good in bed to keep a guy his age at her side." Dean makes a disgusted face. "And God, I didn't need to visualize that."
"Wait." Sam puts his empty cup of coffee on the bench. "He's younger than her?"
"A lot younger," admits Dean. "A thirty year gap at least."
"And he's sick, right? That's why they were at the hospital?"
"She said that it's the second time this week." Dean closes his eyes. "There's something epic that I'm missing here, right?"
Sam moves on the bench so that when Dean opens his eyes again, Sam's sitting much closer to him, staring right into his eyes in a very… And no, not going there.
"Dean, you remember what she said after we checked in. She said that she lives with her husband and that their son is working at the hospital. Their son, Dean. Think about it. If her husband is so much younger, how come they have a son who's after medical school and internship and residency already?"
"Not really possible."
"So what, you think that our motel owner and her husband are vampires? And their son…"
"Who works at the hospital so he can supply them with blood bags and who might even forge medical reports and such? Yes!"
Dean hits his thigh.
"That's stupid, Sam. The lady's old!"
"So maybe she was turned later than the rest of them. Point is," Sam decides, getting up, "we have to go to that hospital, now. Before something happens."
"Why do you think something will?"
Sam rolls his eyes and grabs Dean's T-shirt, hails him off the bench.
"Because something already did, Dean, remember? Ashley Morgan? The bitten girl?"
"Yeah, I heard doctor Wyle and Debra… Oh, crap." Sam looks at him quizzically and Dean rubs his chin. "Wyle, I knew I saw that name somewhere." He reaches into his pocket and takes out their motel room key. "'Wyles' Home Ranch', the motel we're staying at."
Sam bites the inside of his cheek and Dean knows that he's just trying not to say 'bravo, Sherlock'. Dean starts running towards the hospital and fuck, he should have noticed it sooner. That nice doctor who kept asking about Dean's migraine, fucking vampire and shit, from what Dean understood doctor Wyle was on call today so he was the one responsible for all those cute cheerleaders. Who knows, maybe half of them are dead now.
And most of all fuck that idiot Garth, who's too stupid to live if he didn't connect all the dots.
"Sorry, doctor Wyle's office, which floor?" asks Dean when they reach the lobby. The nurse raises her eyebrows at the sight of two panting man, but gives them the instructions anyway. Second floor, second door in the right corridor. Room 102. After Dean hits the elevator's 'down' button four times, they decide to take the stairs. It will be much faster than waiting for this piece of junk to come down from the third floor.
"You got a plan, Dean?" asks Sam on the first middle-floor. "And do we have anything besides one syringe of dead man's blood?"
"We do have a one syringe?"
That surprising and surprisingly good news, Dean decides. Sam stops for a moment and takes a long, thin syringe out of his jacket's pocket. Dean whistles.
"After all these years you finally decided to take on Bobby's prime advice."
"Better safe than sorry," Sam grins.
They stop running when they get to the second floor. No use in looking suspicious in a hospital, a nurse might alarm the security, especially if doctor Wyle is universally liked. Dean notices that Sam hides the syringe in his sleeve. Smart move, having it on sight is not safe either. Sam points the right door and they knock. A loud 'not now' comes from the inside; Dean cracks a smile at the long-legged nurse who passes them by at the corridor. When he's sure that she's out of the eye- and earshot, he opens the door and quickly gets inside. Sam takes out the syringe and prepares for an attack.
They're greeted by the sight of a thirty-something Willie sitting on a folded plastic chair in front of Morrigan Wyle's desk, with a half-empty blood bag in his hands. Debra the motel owner sits on another chair by the window, with her hand over her mouth, frozen and still, like a statue of a gasping woman. Morrigan Wyle crouches by Wille's side, but his sharp, green eyes are focused on Sam and the syringe in his hand. None of the vampires make a move.
"Mum," says Morrigan Wyle finally, while still looking at Sam, "I told you that moving here was a bad idea. A hunter was bound to find us one day."
Dean and Sam exchange confused looks and Debra puts her hand down. She keeps her mouth slightly open though, like a fish freshly out of water. A loud slurp indicates that Willie continues to drink the blood. It takes a moment for Dean to notice that the blood bag has a straw in it.
No one is still moving.
"This is getting awkward," Dean decides finally and it seems to break a spell. Morrigan Wyle's shoulders slump, Debra closes her mouth and Sam lowers the hand with syringe in it. Only Willie is still oblivious to the whole situation.
"Could you please put that syringe away, it makes my mother uncomfortable," asks Morrigan Wyle, gesturing somewhere in Sam's general direction. Sam looks at Dean and Dean shakes his head 'no'. "Okay, fine, but just for your information, we're not doing anything."
"You're vampires," says Sam. Debra suddenly gets up, clearly indignant about Sam's comment.
"I beg your pardon! I'm from Ohio!"
Sam raises his head a little in an openly 'so what?' gesture. It's a challenge that Debra doesn't recognize. That's strange.
"Okay, stop for a second, just stop." Morrigan Wyle gets up and puts his hands up so that both Sam and Dean see them clearly. He's not armed and he doesn't strike them as dangerous. He moves to stand in front of his still angry mother. "I know what you're thinking, that we're a bunch of psycho killers… or something, but if this is about Ashley then I swear, it was a one-time thing. My dad…," Morrigan Wyle glances at Willie, "is sometimes difficult to reason with. Four days ago I left him alone in my office, I went to get a bag, his favourite one, and he was gone when I returned. We didn't mean for Ashley to get hurt, that was an accident, now my mum is always keeping an eye on him. We don't leave him alone anymore so that he won't be able to bite anyone else. And besides," Morrigan Wyle lowers his hands and puts them on his hips in a somewhat defensive move, "you can't really judge us, that was just one girl and she's fine. I'm a doctor, more than that, I'm her doctor so I'd know if she wasn't fine. Which she is."
"Just one girl? You seriously want us to believe that?" asks Dean incredulously.
"Yeah, because that's the truth." Morrigan Wyle takes a step closer to Dean. Sam raises the hand in which he's holding the syringe up, causing Morrigan to stop and put his hands up again. "We're relatively new here, okay? I'm a doctor, I help people. My parents are good people, even if dad is still a bit confused after this whole… Eve thing or whatever."
That gets Dean's attention.
"What did you say?"
Morrigan shrugs his shoulders.
"Dad's been under influence of someone named Eve for some time lately. I must say, it did cause me some headaches, but nothing as bad as dad. Normally he's…," he risks another look at Willie, "well, he's charming and great, but he's been acting more like a vampire for the past few months. Scared my mum."
"But it didn't affect her?"
Morrigan looks at Dean as he was an idiot.
"She told you she's not a vampire. And she isn't. One hundred percent human, just like you."
"So what, your vampire nest consist of you, Mr. Vampire Medicine Man, and drunkie here?" Dean doesn't quite believe it. And judging by Sam's defensive posture, he doesn't either. But there's a concentrated look on his brother's face, as if he was trying to solve a particularly difficult puzzle and was missing an important piece.
Morrigan Wyle shifts uncomfortably and that's what it takes for Sam to get an epiphany.
"You're a dhampir."
Both Dean and Morrigan Wyle look at Sam, the former clearly confused, the latter with something akin to disbelief and intrigue.
"Yes," confirms Morrigan at the same time when Dean asks "What the hell is a dhampir?".
"Well, folklore of some Slavic countries describes a child of a vampire father and a human mother. A dhampir. It's supposed to possess powers similar to vampires — enhanced senses, strength — but it doesn't suffer from bloodlust. And it ages normally, like a human. A half-vampire."
"What, like in Twilight?"
"No, definitely not like in Twilight," Morrigan cuts in before Sam can reply. "Mainly because this is real life, not badly written fiction for desperate teenage girls; you don't die in order to become a vampire."
Dean looks questioningly at Sam, who nods.
"This is bullshit," says Dean.
"Not necessarily, Dean. And you did wonder why there weren't any victims in this town. From what I gather, doctor Wyle," Sam gestures at Morrigan, "uses his position in the hospital to get blood bags for his… father, so that he wouldn't have to look for fresh, human blood."
"And I don't use any myself," adds Morrigan. "I much prefer steaks."
"This is still insane. Sammy, support me, this is insane!"
Sam makes a face.
"I'd rather see it as an improvement of Lenore's idea."
The notion of Lenore and the memory of her nest drinking cow blood reminds Dean of something.
"And what of all those dead goats, huh? They just magically happen to die of bloodloss?"
"Oh, that's nothing, sweetie," says Debra, who's been suspiciously quiet till now. "Just the chupacabra. That's the main reason why we moved here."
"Yes," Debra nods and smiles sweetly. "We needed a safe place for Willie and I thought that if we located somewhere where a blood-drinking creature already lived, we'd be safer. No one would suspect us, but then Willie had this incident earlier this week and that must have alarmed a hunter… And now you're here." She sighs. "We really tried and I thought that after this Eve thing ended, everything would go back to normal. And it did, but then it got worse again. And it's not like its safe nowadays anyway."
Sam furrowed his brows.
"What do you mean?"
"It's coming," replies a raspy voice that startles everyone in the office. Willie drops his empty blood bag and turns his head so that he's looking exactly at Dean. Dean shivers. Willie's eyes have the look of a madman. "We can feel it. We need to run but we can't and it's coming."
"He keeps saying that." Debra crouches in front of Willie and takes his hand in hers. But his eyes are still locked with Dean's. "I don't know what he means."
Dean takes a step closer to Willie.
Suddenly, Willie jumps out of the chair. Debra shrieks and falls on her butt; Willie gets into Dean's personal space in a blink of an eye. He grabs Dean's wrist with one hand and the back of Dean's head with the other and leans into to Dean to whisper into his ear. As quickly as he moved from his chair, Willie comes back to sit in it, once again lost in his own world. He mumbles something under his breath, but nothing's coherent.
"You okay?" asks Morrigan Wyle worriedly, and he also sounds a bit scared, as he reaches for Dean's wrist to check for his pulse. "I'm sorry, I'm really sorry for dad, but you're okay, right?"
"Fine," answers Dean a touch shakily.
"So… you're going to kill us?"
"No!" assures Sam. "It's all a big mistake, due to an… idiot… colleague of ours. We'll tell him that it's a chupacabra and that he's stupid, no one's gonna bother you again." He grins a fake grin and both Morrigan and Debra buy it. "Just… take care of your, uh, dad. And we… have to go. Now."
Sam nudges at Dean's shoulder and when Dean doesn't move, Sam smiles again, grabs a fistful of Dean's shirt and drags him out of Morrigan Wyle's office. Outside, they both lean against the hospital's wall and take a deep breath.
"That was interesting," Sam laughs under his breath. "It gives a whole new meaning to that 'vampires mate for life' thing. Dean?"
Dean shakes his head and gestures the elevator. Sam disposes of the unused syringe and they leave the hospital. Neither says a word till they get to their hideous car.
"I'll call Garth and tell him that he was wrong," offers Sam when they're safe inside. They still have to go back to the motel to grab their things and then they'll leave this crazy town. Dean decides they're not gonna pay for the room — considering the fact that they just left a vampire alive and lied about him to another hunter, he figures that old Debra won't mind. Not to mention that they didn't use the room that much.
"What did he say to you?" asks Sam when they're back at the highway and are heading to Bobby's. Dean feels his brother's eyes on him and he knows that Sam's been politely waiting for the right moment to ask that question.
"It was gibberish, Sam."
"Didn't look like it, man. For a moment I might have said that it's shaken you pretty bad."
Dean rubs his eyes. He's driving, this time. Sam would obey every law and rule and Dean doesn't want to waste another four hours on a trip. At least he knows that when he's driving, they'll reach Bobby's within ten hours from every freaking place in the USA.
"Dean, talk to me! You told me to share today morning, and it's gotta go both ways."
"Fine," snaps Dean, "you ready to share your traumatic experiences from Hell? Why were you screaming in your sleep, Sammy? Was it Lucifer? Or Michael?"
Sam turns his head and starts staring at the empty field behind the window like it was the most fascinating view he's ever seen. Dean's preparing a funny comment to brush off the issue when Sam unexpectedly says:
"Neither, actually. It was Adam."
"Adam? You remembered Adam?"
"Had a glimpse of what was being done to him." Sam shifts his gaze from the field back to Dean. "Your turn."
"What? You're not gonna elaborate?"
"Nope," says Sam and clasps his hands in his lap. "Not yet, still figuring it out. Your turn, Dean. What did Willie say to you? What's coming?"
"Chaos," answers Dean. He sees from the corner of his eye that Sam looks like he was going to accuse Dean of kidding, but thinks better of it. Dean's tone of voice indicates that he's deadly serious.
"It doesn't sound good," is what Sam settles for. Dean snorts.
"No shit, Sherlock."