Written for the Summergen Fic Exchange 2011
Set in 6.01. Sam is soulless, yet doesn't realize it yet.
Summary: Takes place before Sam saves Dean from the djinn poison. Sam is hunting solo, but something isn't quite right. Prompt at bottom to avoid spoiling.
Thanks to my terrific betas wallflowerlady and glimmerella
Usual Disclaimer: just having fun
Fear of the Soulless
Sam tore down the dark alleyway after the werewolf, exhilaration pumping through his veins as thickly as blood. He hurdled a tipped-over garbage can, his boot splashing down in a puddle. A woman screamed and Sam dodged into a narrower alley between fenced back yards. Slowing, gun drawn, he studied the backyard sheds and garbage cans placed out for early morning collection, listened for growls and heavy panting. His senses felt heightened, muscles coiled in anticipation, the thrill of the hunt overriding everything.
He was made for this, made for the hunt and was damn fine at it. John Winchester had been right: the hunt was what was important, wiping every evil creature and monster off of the planet. Sam's lips twitched, recalling arguments between them. He remembered having a sensation in his chest—a yearning for something more—but that feeling was no longer there, a disconnect he didn't understand, yet wasn't concerned by.
He knew he'd come back from Hell different. It was Hell. Who could come out of the pit and not be changed? But he was better for it as well, faster, stronger, more calculating and focused. Like a blade forged in fire and stripped of all impurities, Sam left the flames of Hell stripped of . . . something . . . whatever it was that had held him back from reaching his full potential.
A whimper floated across the air. Sam snapped his attention to his left and moved into the narrow space between the back of a garage and a tool shed. A flash of eyes reflecting a street lamp flicked up.
The werewolf curled around a gasping woman. For a moment he thought he recognized her. Curly dark hair and long slender legs gouging dirt. The monster glared at Sam protective of its prey. The woman gasped up blood. More blood gurgled from her torn throat. Guess he'd have to put her down too. She shouldn't have gotten in the werewolf's path.
Sam aimed and shot the werewolf in the heart. It spasmed backwards and thudded to its back, returning instantly to human form.
The woman stared up at Sam, chest heaving. Sam lowered the gun to the woman's heart. Dark liquid eyes stayed on him, pleading. His head tilted, brows bunching together. A memory—Madison—flitted through his mind and Sam pulled the trigger.
He frowned down at the two bodies and debated clean-up options. He'd have to hotwire the closest car he found: no way was he dragging a dead smelly ex-werewolf into the Charger. After he did a little salt and burn in the nearest field or dumpster, he'd come back for his car. Not like he had anything better to do. Not like he slept anymore.
Sam looked down the alley for a suitable vehicle, then glanced back at the bodies. The woman sat up.
The hell? He swung his gun up.
Her forehead puckered, head tilting to the side. She blinked up at Sam as though he was a puzzle she couldn't figure out. Once again, Sam had the impression he'd seen her before.
She lifted her arms for Sam to help her up and he shot her, again. She slumped back over the werewolf and Sam shot her once more for good measure, this time watching long enough to make sure her chest didn't rise.
Forget finding wheels. These two were getting burned right here. If anyone came outside to see what was going on, Sam just might have to shoot them too.
Two days later, Sam ran into a burning warehouse after a vengeful spirit. A pyromaniac vengeful spirit who liked to trap a dozen or so people and burn them alive. As far as hunts went, ghosts were his least favorite. Fleshed-out monsters worked on basic animal drive, predictable habits and patterns, an innate instinct for survival. Sam got that. He could reason out a monster's next move and get ahead of it every time.
But ghosts? Ghosts were unpredictable, unstable, a whole other kind of whackadoodle. Logically, Sam couldn't piece together the motivation for an average suburban housewife –without any evidence of a lifetime trauma—to stick around after death and burn people. That disconnect, that missing something, left a vacancy in his thought process he couldn't quite access. Whatever. So he didn't get a spirit's unstable feelings. Wasn't important. He still knew all the methods of getting rid of it. If one didn't work, he'd try the next. It was a stupid hunt with little purpose anyway, but Sam had plenty of salt rounds and nothing better to do this evening. Plus, taking out ghosts was part of the job and Sam was damn good at the job.
Screams floated above the roar of flames. Smoke rolled along the ceiling, pouring out of one of the rooms at the end of the warehouse. Fire flickered off of the walls. Sam ducked inside, finding a cluster of people trapped between sputtering lines of flame.
"Help us! Save us! Please!"
"Where'd it go?" Sam shouted over the roar. He headed toward the opposite door.
A woman cried, her sooty face tear-stained. Sweat-drenched curls stuck to her face. "You can't leave us!"
Chills swept up Sam's spine. She was familiar.
"How can you leave us? You have to save us!"
Pausing at the door, Sam scanned the adjoining office for indications of the crazy ghost. He called back over his shoulder, "Don't worry. I'll be back." Now where had that spirit gotten to? Getting it was the first priority.
He stepped into the room and was thrown back through the doorway. Sliding nearly into the fire, Sam got off two rounds. The fat lady ghost shrieked and flew toward him. What kind of ghost was impervious to salt? She lifted Sam, slamming him into the wall even as he stabbed out with a giant railroad spike. She shrieked again and flames shot out around them. So much for iron.
She tossed Sam into a metal desk. The window above him shattered. A dark form leaped into the room, onto the desk and jumped to the floor, dragging the flowing end of a long industrial-sized hose through the open window. Water sprayed over the fire.
The ghost screeched, flickering in and out. Sam's eyes widened, taking in the newcomer's wide-leg stance as he battled the fire. "Dean?"
This wasn't possible. His brother could not be here hunting. It didn't make sense.
"Ghost is a daccubus, Sam. It feeds off people's suffering."
Daccubus. Okay. The deceased variation of a succubus, which preys on energy ripples coming off fear, pain, grief, that sort of thing. Why wasn't Dean freaking out about seeing him alive?
Sam's gaze flew toward the burning screaming people. He had completely missed the clues. He would have gotten to them eventually. Saving people was part of the hunt. It just never occurred to him that they should have been the focus.
"Saving people is the purpose of the hunt!" Dean snarled as though he heard Sam's thoughts.
Sam glanced from the wavering ghost to the civilians. He had messed up, nearly botched the entire hunt. If it hadn't been for Dean . . . Sam scrambled up from the floor, tipped the desk over onto its top and shoved it over a line of flames so the people could run across the top of it. He pulled a child out, reached for another and found himself clasping the arm of the brown-haired woman. Not letting go and not moving, she stared at him.
And the ghost threw him against the wall. Sam's head wrenched up. The spirit materialized above him. "You're not fast."
Suddenly the werewolf was there, powerful hands around Sam's throat. "You're not strong," it growled. Sam's hands curled around the werewolf's wrists to pry him off. "Pathetic."
Black streaks ribboned across his vision, wavering in and out. His lungs burned, couldn't draw in air.
"You call yourself a hunter," the witch he'd ganked two months ago cackled. "You have no instinct."
The rugaru bit into his hand, teeth ripping off Sam's pinkie. Sam screamed though only a wheeze pushed out through his collapsing windpipe beneath the werewolf's grip. He'd screwed it all up. Thought he had it all under control, but he had missed the big picture, the larger scope. His clouding mind couldn't even reason out why.
This didn't fit any patterns. None of this made any sense. He'd missed something more. Think. He wasn't hunting a ghost, couldn't be. Or a daccubus. Had to be something different. He really wasn't the hunter he thought he was if he'd missed something this huge.
"You blew it, man." Dean looked impassively down at him, hose spraying water over Sam. "You never did have a knack for this gig . . . you failed."
"No!" Sam shouted. "I'm a better hunter than you ever were."
Samuel smirked at him. "No, Sam, you're not. You're ruthless, but you never grasp the complete picture, don't have the smarts." Samuel tapped his head and slammed a four inch needle into Sam's chest.
"Yeah," Samuel tossed his grandson a water bottle. "Lucky Mark found you."
"We weren't even tracking a djinn. How'd it make me as a hunter?" The curly-haired woman flashed to his mind. He had seen her before. She had checked him in at the motel. She was the djinn, had to be. She'd poisoned him somehow.
"They. There's an entire pack of them. And from what we gathered, it looks like they targeted you specifically. Think of any reason why?" The chair Samuel pulled up next to Sam's cot creaked.
"Dean and I killed one several years back."
"Vendetta. Could have been the pack's daddy."
Sam shrugged, unconcerned. "So you got them?"
"A couple. Rest went to ground."
"So. Let's go get them." Sam pulled his boots out from under the cot.
"Didn't you hear me? The rest went to ground."
"Also said they were out for revenge." Sam slipped a boot on.
Samuel's eyes narrowed. "Dean. They'll go after him next. We've got to warn him."
"Or we can watch him."
"You mean use your brother as bait?"
Sam paused at lacing his boot, feeling Samuel's disturbed gaze bore into him.
Sam let his eyes wander up slowly enough to allow time to adjust his expression to a concerned one that once came so naturally. "No, of course not. He's my brother. I just don't want to ruin the whole white picket fence thing he has going on by showing up out of the blue. So we'll watch him, protect him, and if any djinns show up, we'll take them out and Dean won't have to know anything about it."
Samuel frowned, unconvinced. "You sure? Might be a good time to bring him in. With all these new breeds of monsters, we could use him."
"No," Sam snapped, and then forcefully smoothed out his voice. "Dean deserves his peace." Except . . . Sam had royally messed up. He hadn't given the daccubus's victims more than a passing glance, or the woman the werewolf killed. He hadn't thought to, when the answer of the djinn lay there all along.
Then again, it had all just been a djinn-induced nightmare.
Awesome prompt: (6.1 based) Sam got dosed with djinn poison when he had no soul. He can't dream, he feels no fear or love. What DID he hallucinate?