A/N: Hi there! :) I'm Rochelle and this is my first fanfiction, so please be gentle with me. I hope to update this every week, and I'm not entirely sure how long it will be. I'd love to hear what you think, so feel free to drop me a review!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even a witty way to phrase this statement.
It was early, too early for there to be any noise but the low rumble of the Impala as it ate up the road, putting more and more distance between the town the Winchesters had just left. It had been a simple case, a poltergeist that didn't take longer than a fortnight to get rid of.
Dean was sitting in the front beside their dad, half asleep, having not yet had his usual morning coffee. In the back, Sam was sleeping. His limbs were splayed haphazardly across the seat, dark hair falling across his face. At fourteen, Sam hadn't quite caught up to his brother's height yet, but he had recently hit a growth spurt that left him constantly tripping over his own large feet - something Dean teased him about mercilessly.
John's gaze was fixed firmly on the empty road, but Dean always had an eye on his brother, and he could see that the nightmares were coming on. He had learned to spot the signs, the tell-tale crease of Sam's brow, the way his mouth tightened a little as if he was in pain. Then his brother started muttering, words that Dean couldn't hear but he knew wouldn't be anything good.
It wasn't one of the worst nightmares, as it turned out. Sam jerked awake a few minutes later, gasping and slightly wide-eyed but otherwise fine. Dean liked to make sure, though, and he twisted in his seat to face Sam.
"Y'okay there, Sammy?"
There it was. Bitchface Number Three, as Sam rubbed his forehead and glared at his older brother. "It's Sam. And I'm fine," he replied, still not totally awake as he scrubbed the sleep from his eyes and stifled a yawn. He didn't go back to sleep after a nightmare, Dean knew.
The talking had pulled John's attention from the road, and he glanced up to meet his youngest's gaze in the rear-view mirror. "You sure, Sam?"
Sam scrunched up his nose, then seemed to decide it was too early in the morning to insist too heartily and instead settled for a nod. This appeared to satisfy John, who nodded in return. "Alright," he said. "We'll stop at the next place, get some breakfast."
"And some coffee," Dean added quickly. "I need coffee."
John chuckled. "And coffee," he amended, turning his focus back to the road.
Sam didn't yet see the appeal of coffee, but he would never mention that to Dean. His brother had enough to tease him with for a lifetime without throwing that into the mix as well. If nothing else, it was good enough to keep him awake, and that was something he could do with right now.
He rubbed at his forehead again, the faintest trace of a headache ebbing at his concentration. He tried to remember the nightmare, something he didn't usually do. This one had been different, though. Sam couldn't say how, exactly. It was just different. It hadn't been like the others, with their average monsters and blood and horror. He tried to recall what it had even been about, but all he came up with was a flash of yellow.
Sam frowned, decided it was best to forget about it. He was awake now, after all. They had a job to do, a simple salt-and-burn in some backwater town. He hadn't really minded leaving the last place. The people there weren't exactly nice, although the kids at school had stopped bothering him after Dean broke that one kid's nose, which hadn't really been necessary but, well, Dean had a protective streak a mile wide. So for once, Sam hadn't kicked up a fuss about leaving. Maybe that was why he and John were on such good terms right now.
Apparently more time had passed than Sam thought, because when he dragged himself out of his thoughts he discovered they were pulling into yet another grotty-looking diner. Grimacing as he tried to pull his stiff limbs into motion, Sam opened the car door and stepped out, enjoying being able to stretch his legs for a while.
They headed into the diner, just the same as every other place they'd ever been to. There were only a few people there – a man sitting at the counter with a newspaper and a cup of coffee, a tired-looking couple and a young woman, sipping tea and frowning to herself. John slid into a booth, Dean beside him and Sam opposite them. The way they always sat.
A bored-looking waitress slumped towards them, her movements lethargic. She was clearly of the opinion that it was far too early to be awake, let alone moving. Still, the blonde flashed the three males a clearly forced smile. "Morning, guys. What can I get for you?"
Dean, busy looking the waitress up and down appreciatively, didn't answer. John rolled his eyes, not even glancing at the menu. "Three coffees, please," he requested in his gravelly voice.
Dean snapped his gaze from the waitress's chest long enough to hurriedly add, "Black!"
John nodded. "Three coffees, black. And I'll have a short stack," he continued, then paused to let his sons order.
Sam sighed. Dean's attention was still on the pretty waitress, and Sam would probably have been able to see the attraction if it weren't for this damn headache. It hadn't been this bad when he woke up, he was sure. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Sam decided it would be too much effort to try and order for himself. "Make that two," he replied, giving the waitress a strained smile. She scribbled that down, looking expectantly at Dean.
He didn't disappoint. Leaning across John, he flashed her one of his most charming smiles. "Yeah, three short stacks, please," he agreed. Then he opened his mouth again, looking like he was about to make some kind of tactless innuendo about things that definitely weren't short that would have most of the girls they encountered drooling already. The waitress just gave a tight smile, though, and snapped her notepad closed.
"Will that be all?"
Dean blinked. "Uh, yeah. Thanks." The waitress turned and walked back to the kitchen, heels clicking as she went. There was the trill of a bell as the door to the diner swung open, another early-morning customer striding inside. He took a seat at the counter.
Dean turned back to see John looking amused as he turned to share the joke of Dean's blatant rejection with Sam. His amused expression quickly switched to a frown, though, as he noticed the pain etched into his youngest's face.
"Sam?" he questioned. "You okay?"
The fourteen-year-old glanced up to see both his dad and his brother looking at him, concerned. His pain must have been showing more than he'd realised. "Yeah," he replied, perhaps a little too quickly if the funny look Dean gave him was anything to go by. "Just, uh, tired." The ultimate excuse.
He received two unconvinced looks in return, and Sam was reminded that he was attempting to lie to two experienced con-artists, people who lied on a daily basis about money, jobs, reasons why people had to get the hell out of their house, now – everything. He didn't back down, though, just dropped his gaze to the table and tried not to like he was in too much pain.
Frowning, Dean turned to their dad. "So, what's the deal with this case?"
John took the subject change. "Just a simple salt-and-burn. A Jennifer Mills, died in 1893. From what I can find, she was murdered but they never caught the killer. Doesn't sound like anyone really tried to, either."
Dean grimaced. "Alright. You know where she's buried?"
John nodded and opened his mouth to reply, but he was interrupted by the arrival of the waitress, carefully balancing plates. She slid them down onto the table and disappeared back behind the counter, grabbed three mugs and a jug of coffee. The radio on the counter suddenly crackled as she passed, then flared to life with the sound of a too-cheerful advert for allergy tablets. The waitress frowned at it in confusion.
One of the men at the counter looked up from his newspaper. "Funny, that," he murmured around his coffee. "The power's been acting funny all week, mind." The blonde nodded her agreement, flicked the radio off and headed back to the Winchesters. Placing the mugs in front of them, she poured out the coffee.
"What's been going on with the power?" asked John abruptly, never one to beat about the bush. It was probably nothing, but he always liked to make sure of these things.
"Hm?" The waitress finished pouring Dean's coffee and straightened up, causing Dean to pull his gaze once more away from her rather impressive chest. "Oh, that. Nothing serious, just lights going out, power cuts, you know the sort of thing. I think they're sorting out some new wiring round here, it's probably just 'cause of that."
"Oh, right." John nodded, tried for a smile. "Makes sense." It did, after all. John really hoped he was just being paranoid, but in this life, it usually was the worst case scenario. He took a sip of his coffee, watching as the waitress walked off purposefully to serve the man who had walked in several minutes ago. The man who was looking right at them. John raised an eyebrow and the man smiled, almost challengingly, before turning to the waitress.
"So, this chick. Where's she buried?" Dean asked, looking more awake now that he had a mug of coffee clutched in his hands.
And so the discussion of the next hunt began, the power shortages and the strange man at the counter wiped from John's mind to be replaced by more important things.
Sam really wished he could focus on what Dad and Dean were saying, because he really didn't want to mess up on the hunt. That was the last thing they needed. His head was pounding by now, though, a steady rhythm that forced him to hold back a cry. He didn't care if Dean was looking at him funny, now – and he was. He rubbed his temples forcefully, trying to will the headache away. His coffee sat in front of him, steam swirling up into the air as the drink was left, forgotten.
"Sam?" John was looking at him, brow creased as Sam finally looked up. "You sure you're okay?"
No point in hiding it any longer. He'd just downplay it, then. "Just a headache. 'M fine," Sam replied, still rubbing at his temples as though sheer willpower would force the pain away.
"You don't look fine, dude," Dean said, eyebrows raised.
Sam didn't get much further than, "Well-" before a cry of pain tore itself from his mouth as a sharp jolt of pain shot through his head, fierce and horrible. It was like he was being stabbed from the inside of his skull, being set on fire, a thousand tiny white-hot needles... all of that pain, thrown together, it was too much, too painful, why didn't it just end?
And then it did, and Sam was drifting towards unconsciousness to the sound of Dean's alarmed shout.
Not long after that, Sam woke up. At least, he was pretty sure he did. Looking around as he sat up, though, it didn't take a genius to work out that this wasn't the diner where Sam had collapsed. This was... well, Sam wasn't sure where it was. It was a forest of some kind, he could see that. Sam was just in some sort of clearing, alone. He hauled himself to his feet, the pain in his head completely gone. That was something, he supposed, glancing over the clearing.
"...the hell?" he muttered to himself, baffled. It was night-time, now, and Sam was pretty sure it had been morning when he had, for want of a better word, left. Not to mention that he had been, well, in a diner and not a forest.
Just then, a smooth, deep voice spoke up from somewhere behind him.
"Hello there, Sammy." Sam whirled around to face whoever that voice belonged to, breath catching in his throat.
Definitely not alone, then.
Okay, well, there it is! I'm leaving for Tenerife today and I'll be gone for a week, so I'll update next Sunday - assuming people are interested, that is. Let me know what you think! :)