Hey guys! So this is my first real AU, so we'll see how this goes as AU isn't usually my thing. Any people who read my stuff are porbably getting very sick of the witch concept I keep using, but I couldn't think of anything else to use and I'm already working on something with a djinn in it. So witch it is. And everyone's probably way bored of the Dean makes a wish and it comes back to bite him in the ass plot line, but this idea won't leave me alone and I tried to make it different from the millions out there.
This is un-beta'd so all mistakes are my own.
I have no idea how long it's going to be before I update this because I have nothing further written for this story (not something I normally do) but do know that reviews really encourage me *hint hint*
Disclaimer: You all know the deal, don't own 'em blah blah blah.
Also, this takes place early season 1 in case you couldn't figure it out.
Sam poked as his salad moodily. Dean sighed. It was always like this as of late. Sam was becoming a shell, slowing fading away. He didn't eat, he rarely slept and answers were kept to a two word maximum. And Dean knew why. The problem was, it wasn't just a problem that could be fixed with a hug and a big brother promise that it would be alright.
Because it wouldn't be. Because the problem was Jess. And it was tearing Sam to pieces, from the inside out. He was so wracked with grief and guilt and plain old misery, that there was no room to think of his own wellbeing or to even function properly.
"So I think I might have found us a hunt," Dean offered up casually. Sam didn't say anything, merely shrugged noncommittally. Go on. "It's a witch hunt."
Sam looked up, slight confusion playing across his features, before he no longer cared and dropped his gaze back down to his uneaten salad.
Dean didn't dislike witch hunts, he downright hated them. They were tricky and dangerous. Witchraft was not something Winchester – or hunters in general- needed to know much about, maybe a small thing here or there, but it was typically avoided. So going up against it was like walking into war completely unarmed. There were so many curveballs one witch could throw…Witch hunts just never went off without a hitch. And usually that hitch caused some type of physical or mental harm to at least one hunter.
But Dean was getting desperate for a hunt and that was the only one that was relatively close by. As much as Dean loved driving, allowing Sam to sit for hours and hours stewing through his thoughts seemed like a bad idea. Dean knew that Sam was awake most of the night probably doing exactly that, but there wasn't much Dean could do about that short of drugging Sam (which, at the number of sleepless nights Sam was racking up, was becoming a more and more potential idea.)
So for now Dean would focus on keeping Sam busy during the waking hours and worry about the others later.
"Christ, Sammy, look at some of this stuff!" Sam rolled his eyes
"Witch, Dean." As pleased as Dean was to have gotten something out of Sam, he wished that weary and fucking exhausted tone would leave Sam's voice.
So far the wicked witch of the west was AWOL. And it was pretty damn hard to kill something if you couldn't find it.
But Dean had to be honest, some of this stuff was pretty freaking cool. They were in the basement of the old house where there was some type of witchcraft workshop. True, some of it was gross - what was that floating in that jar? – but some of it…golden things that gleamed and rocks of various colors and shapes, there were even some feathers that sparkled. Along the wall opposite the stairs there was a big table with hex bags and beakers filled with mysterious fluids of various colors. In the very center of the table was a black cloth with a six-pointed star painted on it in white paint. In the center of the star was a rock. As far as magical rocks go, this one looked average enough. It was about the size of a Tic-Tac box and was a light shade of grey in color. There were no markings of any kind on it. It's simplicity only made it that much more complicated and mysterious. It could be anything.
John Winchester had taught his boys many things. One of which was to never touch anything in a witch's home. You never knew what kind of curse was on the most common of things. But there was something about this rock that had Dean's rough fingers closing around it before he even realized he'd moved near the table.
He expected some type of reaction. Maybe the rock would glow or maybe it would break. Maybe Dean would suddenly be in pain or maybe he'd have cool powers. Who knew? Maybe a lightning bolt would shoot out of the sky and smite him where he stood.
The one reaction that he wasn't expecting was no reaction. The rock didn't do anything. Nothing happened. Dean was slightly taken aback. He supposed he should be counting his lucky stars that he hadn't just cursed himself, but more than anything he was actually let down.
"Some magic rock you are," Dean muttered.
"Dean," Sam called. Apparently he'd wandered into the next room and was wondering why Dean wasn't following.
"Yeah, coming," he said gruffly. He held his hand out to drop the rock back into the star, but hesitated then shoved it in his pocket.
The sound of crunching gravel could be heard followed by a car door then the house door. Sam came up besides Dean, gun at the ready.
"Speak of the devil," Dean whispered while he smirked. Sam looked over at Dean to confirm the strategy. Go to her or let her come to them. Dean jerked his head towards the stairs and Sam nodded.
Dean walked over to the stairs, keeping his steps light, and climbed them in silence. He couldn't hear Sam behind him, but he had no doubt the younger man was there.
They came to the top of the staircase and Dean peeked around the door frame to see a woman with longish brown hair and a tall skinny figure standing with her back to them. There was a brown paper bag – most likely from some store – sitting in front of her. Her hands rested on both sides of the paper bag and made no move to start emptying it.
"I know you're there, boys." She turned to face them, her face still a calm mask. Sam shot out from behind Dean and stepped through the doorway, raising his gun as he went. He fired off a shot which she skillfully sidestepped with inhuman agility.
Dean growled in his throat. He hated this…this recklessness Sam had lately. Constantly risking himself without giving Dean any forewarning. Apparently Sam was having a lucky streak because so far his riskiness hadn't come back to get him, but Dean knew eventually it would. This had to stop and soon.
She flicked a hand to the left and Sam's body moved with it, crashing into a cabinet. Dean raised his own weapon but it flew from his hands and landed across the room.
"Get out of my house!" she screeched.
"Sorry, no can do," Dean said, making a dive for his weapon. His body was flipped up so he was upside down and his back slammed into the wall. He managed to get his hands down to stop his head from cracking open all over the white tile and then he brought his feet down, landing in a crouched position facing the wall. Just as he got the weapon back in position there was the sharp crack of a gunshot and the witch jolted slightly. Blood began to seep from the shot right between her eyes and she fell to the ground, eyes still open in shock.
Sam came up besides Dean and offered his hand which Dean used to pull himself up.
"Nice shot," Dean offered. Sam just shrugged it off. "Let's burn this sucker and get the hell out of here." Sam nodded and headed for the car leaving Dean to get the body out back.
Now that the immediate threat was over, Dean allowed his thoughts to take forefront in his mind.
He wanted the old Sam back. The pre-Jess death Sam. The Sam who had helped him hunt the woman in white. Hell what he really wished for was that Sam had never gone to Stanford. Never broken up their small family. Sam had changed. There wasn't as much life in his eyes. More of a weary acceptance. He was stuck in this life and now he realized he was really and truly never going to get out. There had been a few months before Sam left for Stanford…months of bliss. Now Dean realized it was the calm before the storm. Hell Sam probably knew he'd be leaving soon and wanted to enjoy what time he had left with his family. But Dean had loved those months nonetheless. Sam and John hadn't fought over every little thing and things were peaceful, easy almost. One hunt to the next. Besides an occasional sprain or pulled muscle, there were few injuries. Occasionally John would leave for a few days to do a hunt on his own and Sam and Dean would do one on their own, but over all they were still one united front.
I wish Sam had never left for Stanford. Dean thought bitterly. Maybe if Sam hadn't left, if he'd somehow decided to stay, things could have gone back to that. Sure Sam wouldn't have been happy about missing his opportunity, but he'd certainly be better than he was now.
After burning the body and cleaning things up a bit, they headed back to the motel. Sam was silent – wasn't he always – and stared out the window. Dean was dying to call Sam out on his risky move, but refrained. Sam looked so miserable…Dean just couldn't bring himself to start an argument at the moment. Besides, he doubted Sam would stand up for himself at the moment. He'd probably just take whatever Dean had to dish out, say nothing, and then do the very same thing on the next hunt.
So silence reigned over them.
When they arrived back at the motel, they still remained quiet. They each took a shower then crashed on their respective beds.
That was another plus side of hunts. Short or long, they always tired you out. And hopefully that exhaustion would help Sam sleep through the night.
It wasn't long before Dean himself was asleep.
It was a couple minutes after Dean awoke that he realized the ceiling he'd been staring at was a different color than the ceiling from last night.
Dean could hear the bathroom faucet turn on then off followed by the bathroom door clicking open.
"Hey, does the ceiling look different to you?" Dean said without looking at Sam.
"Not really, why?" Dean's eyes widened and he jerked up. Sure enough…Dean thought the voice had sounded different.
"Dad?" he sputtered. "W-what are you doing here? I mean I thought you…when…" John looked at him like Dean had just grown another head.
"Dean, what are you talking about? Why wouldn't I be here?" Dean stammered nonsense for a few minutes before giving up. Clearly something had happened. He could see now they were clearly in a different motel. Had he hit his head on the last hunt or something? Dean couldn't remember being injured…but maybe he was and Sam had called their dad…but no that didn't make sense. For starters he didn't feel injured and second, if it was that bad that Sam didn't know how to handle it then he would have brought Dean to a hospital.
So then why was John there?
And also, why wasn't Sam there?
"Where's Sam?" He was surprised it took him that long to notice his brother's absence.
"Sent him out to grab some coffee. Kid needs some time to get his head on straight." Dean frowned at the comment.
"What do you mean?"
"He needs an attitude adjustment. Needs to accept this is his life and that's just how it is." Dean's frowned deepened.
"I-is this about Jess?" Dean asked in confusion. Did John somehow know how reckless Sam was being? Though Dean personally thought Sam was doing pretty good as far as accepting the hunting life went. Hadn't complained once. After all, to have someone come along after a few years of living a certain way and just change it all? And that was part of the problem. Sam was too accepting. In everything. The fire had just completely left him. Like there was no fight left.
"Jess? Who's Jess?" Dean's jaw dropped. Was John going to ask who Ellen was next? Before Dean could reply, the door opened and Sam stepped in with his head bowed. Dean could hear the rain pattering against the asphalt before Sam shut the door and the noise was cut off. Sam gave a shake of his head, sending rain droplets flying from his long hair. He set the food and keys down on a table then stepped into the light.
Now that Dean could really see his little brother, he noticed the huge difference.
Sam looked to be a teenager again. Seventeen or eighteen if he had to guess. His eyes weren't filled with that guilt and grief however there was something else there…some type of misery.
And now that Dean thought about it, John looked younger too. He hadn't noticed before because it had been longer since he'd seen John, but now that he really looked…
"What?" Sam asked. His voice was completely emotionless.
"I, uh…what'd you get for breakfast?" Sam sighed and turned back to the food before pulling out a few things. Sausage biscuits for both Dean and John and a cream cheese bagel for himself.
"Uh, thanks," Dean said while taking the offered sandwich.
"I think I found us a hunt, a black dog by the looks of it," John said. Dean was still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
His first thought was a djinn, but this hardly seemed like anything that could come from a wish. This was just plain old crappy life. And besides, they weren't hunting a djinn, they were hunting a witch.
The witch…The rock! That was it!
Dean gasped and they both turned to look at him.
"You okay?" John asked gruffly.
'Uh, yeah…" They both eyed him strangely before John slowly began explaining the hunt. Dean wasn't really listening though, his thoughts were somewhere entirely different.
So the rock…how had it gotten him here? It didn't really seemed wish based, so what then?
"What?" Dean asked as he was jerked back to reality.
"You sure you're okay?"
"Yeah, Dad, fine. Just got a headache is all." John seemed to buy it.
"Fine, get some Tylenol and get going, it's about an hour drive there." Dean nodded and John went out to the Impala.
"What's really wrong?" Sam asked quietly.
"Really, Sammy, just a headache." He could tell Sam didn't believe him. Dean prepared himself for the bitch eye roll and the 'yeah, right' followed by the 'I'm your brother…it goes both way…blah blah blah' speech Sam always dished out when he found out Dean was hiding problems.
Instead Sam sighed and turned away. Dean's brow furrowed. He knew Sam knew there was more to it…so why didn't he ask? It just wasn't like Sam to back down so quickly.
Sam started packing his clothes with his head hanging down. His shoulders were sagging as though the weight of the world was pressing down on him.
"So, what about you?" Dean asked casually. He may have no idea how he got to this strange alternate world, but he was still Sam's brother, no matter what world. And if Sammy was hurting, Dean was going to do something about it. "You feeling okay?"
"Yeah, Dean," he said softly, but Dean could detect a tiny quiver in Sam's stooping shoulders.
Without another word, Sam went out to the Impala. Grabbing his duffle, Dean followed behind.
He needed to figure out a way to get back, but until he figured that out, he needed to figure this version of Sam out.
Good? Horrible? As I said AU isn't really my thing so feedback would be wonderful!