Title: What's up Doc?
Author: Disasteriffic Kaz
Info: Takes place directly after s1e09 "Home" Some hurt!sam with a sprinkling of hurt!dean, could be some limp action, don't know, not done writing it yet. It's like a surprise I'm giving myself…that may just be the insomnia talking.
Author's note: Pretty sure I spent more time trying to think of a title for this one than I did writing the first twenty pages. If the story wanders, well…for once I didn't have a clear idea in my head when I started writing it. Hopefully my train wont derail too often as I go. Also, the Fort was a real place, did research and everything and then…I coopted it and made it supernatural worthy. Heh.
Do please Review once you've read. :D Every comment and vote of support helps keep me writing. Not to mention if I've pooched anything, someone can always tell me. :P
The comforting growl of the Impala's engine rumbled through the seats as it sped down the dark highway. Dean Winchester glanced over at his younger brother and smirked. Sam was sound asleep, head resting against the window.
"Some things never change." Dean said softly. Even as a child, the sound of the Impala's engine could lull Sam to sleep when nothing else worked. He remembered when Sam had been plagued by nightmares, crawling into his big brothers bed and Dean would carry him out to the car, turn on the engine and watch his little brother fall peacefully back to sleep.
He shook his head and frowned. The image of their mothers' ghost stood stark in his mind. Part of him still refused to believe it had happened. Part of him wished he'd never let Sam talk him into returning to that house while the rest of him savored that last moment with his mom and the smile he'd almost forgotten.
Dean brushed a tear from his eyes and looked over again; glad Sam wasn't awake to see his moment of weakness. He wondered for the hundredth time how their Dad could have ignored his call. That damn house had almost killed Sam a second time and once again, Dad had left Dean to protect him.
Dean squared his shoulders in the seat, sitting up taller. That was fine with him. Protecting Sammy was his job and one he wouldn't trust anyone else with, not even their Dad.
Sam stirred beside him and rolled his head away from the window, stretching his arms over his head.
"How long have I been asleep?" Sam asked, rubbing sleepily at his eyes and pushed himself up in the seat.
"Few hours. I know how you need your beauty sleep." Dean grinned and took his phone out of his pocket, handing it to Sam. "We've got new coordinates."
"Did Dad say anything?" Sam asked.
"Dude, he didn't call. Just sent those so get out the map." Dean said shortly. The disappointment on Sam's face reflected what he felt himself.
Sam opened his mouth, looked over at Dean and then closed it. Dean thought he hid it but Sam could see he was still upset, still of his game since their visit home less than two days earlier. He rubbed a hand over his bruised throat and could still feel the cord wrapping itself around his neck, his air being choked off. It still hurt.
"Hey." Dean elbowed his shoulder. "Map."
"I'm working on it." Sam shot back but was grateful for the distraction. He didn't look over but knew Dean was still watching him. He dug the map out of the glove box and the flashlight and busied himself finding where Dad was sending them this time. Sam itched with the need to find him. He wanted so badly to talk to his Dad, to tell him about Jess and even more important to ask him why. Why Jess had died. Why Mom? Sam was sure their Dad knew much more than he was telling, not that he was telling them much of anything.
"You gonna read that map or scrunch it into a ball?" Dean asked and Sam looked down to see he'd crumpled part of the map in his fist. "You okay?"
"Yeah." Sam said absently and bent to the map. Dean didn't push, probably guessing what he'd been thinking about. "It's in Kansas." Sam said and Dean cursed, slowing the car and making a quick U-turn on the vacant road. "Looks like an old Fort of some kind. Fort Atkinson."
"Ghosts?" Dean suggested. "Most likely suspects."
"Maybe." Sam folded away the map. "I'll have to research it when we stop."
"Speaking of…mah baby needs go juice." Dean patted the dash fondly, making Sam roll his eyes and laugh. "Huh." Dean nodded ahead. "That station was closed when we passed it the first time." He shrugged and angled the car across the road, headlights illuminating the dilapidated pumps as they rolled to a stop beside them.
"I'm gonna grab some water." Sam got out as Dean did.
"See if they have pie." Dean grinned over the roof at Sam.
Sam laughed. "Any pie I find in there you're not going to want." He said and left Dean arguing with the pump.
The gas station door creaked loudly as Sam pushed it open. Inside the station, flickering fluorescent lights shone on mostly empty shelves and a cooler filled with soda and water. At the counter by the door, the lone attendant stood, watching silently as Sam pulled two water bottles out and grimaced. It wasn't turned on and the water was warm.
"Great." Sam groaned and then froze, eyes widening. "His breath had puffed out in a cloud of cold vapor. Slowly, he turned to look back. The attendant was still where Sam had first seen him, behind the counter, tall and pale, grimy coveralls and now that Sam looked closely, a stain of blood low on his right side. "Oh crap."
The man flickered like a stutter in an old film reel, in and out of focus and Sam acted. He turned to run for the door and felt as though someone dug a shoulder into his sternum and threw him backwards as the lights went dark.
"What the crap?" Dean kicked the pump. Despite numerous curses and threats, it stubbornly refused to pump any actual gas. "Oh that's it. I'm gonna…" His voice trailed off as the light above him winked out. "Huh?" He turned around and saw the lights in the station flicker off as well and bolted for the door as he heard a crash from inside.
"Sam!" He yelled. Dean attacked the door, pushing hard and found it locked. Inside, he heard a cry from his brother and growled, drawing his leg back to kick in the door.
Sam crashed into the glass cooler doors and hit the floor in a shower of bottles, cans and glass. The ghost appeared in front of him and thrust a hand into Sam's chest. He cried out as the icy cold fingers slid past his ribs. He rolled his head and saw several round containers of salt on the near shelf. Dean's voice and an impact on the door spurred him to move. He threw himself to the side, scooping one of the cans from the shelf as the attendant bent over him again. Sam ripped the top open and flung salt into its face.
The spirit dissipated as the door to the station crashed inward. Dean rushed inside, gun drawn and went quickly to Sam, laying on the floor and clutching his chest as he heaved for air.
"Ghost." Sam gasped as Dean took his arm and pulled him up. "The attendant. He's dead. Dean!" Sam warned and pointed behind his brothers head. Dean turned, knowing he was going to be too slow as his finger squeezed on the trigger and felt ice cold hands take hold of his arms and lift him, tossing him away into the shelves and they collapsed beneath him. He grunted with the impact, his head spinning and could only watch as the ghost stalked closer and closer.
Sam scooped the salt canister from the floor, an idea in his head and sprinted for the counter. He jumped, sliding across the top and landed on the other side. He sighed sadly, finding what he'd expected. Stretched in the space behind the counter lay a skeleton still clad in grimy coveralls. Sam upended the salt, covering the remains and grabbed a book of matches from the shelf by the window.
Dean brought his gun up to face the ghost and scowled with it wasn't there. He watched Sam run to the counter and gasped when the ghost reappeared beside him, hands reaching for his chest. He brought the gun around as a hand thrust through his chest, making him wheeze a breath and throw his head back as his heart was squeezed.
The ghost attendant screamed suddenly and vanished in a flare of fiery light. Dean heaved in ragged breaths and looked over to see Sam standing over an open fire. "Sammy." Dean managed, pushing himself to his elbows in the wreckage of the shelves. Sam hopped the counter again and knelt by him.
"It's Sam." He smiled and helped Dean back to his feet. "Poor guy must have been killed during a robbery or something months ago and no one ever noticed."
"A haunted gas station. What were the frakkin odds? Why us?" Dean groaned, rubbing his chest and saw Sam doing the same. "You okay?"
"Think so." Sam ran a hand down the back of his dark head that came away spotted with blood.
"Lemme see." Dean stepped around him as he grumbled about being fine to look for himself. Sam hissed and hunched as Dean felt around the back of his head. "Not that I can see under this shaggy mop of yours but there's nothin' serious. Take more than that to crack your egg head." Dean pronounced. "Good job on the crispy corpse by the way. Come on." He lightly slapped the back of Sam's head, grinning when Sam yelped in protest. "Suck it up, princess."
"You know, I could have left you on the floor with Caspar the handsy ghost." Sam muttered and followed Dean outside as the flames burned slowly down behind them.
The next gas station they'd stopped at had been big, well lit, busy and ghost free. Dean sat now at the table in their motel room with a lustful expression as he gazed down at the homemade apple pie he'd found at the gas station. Sam shook his head with an amused smile and went back to his laptop. He sat comfortably against the green headboard, legs stretched out on the firm bed. The room was papered in lime green and he'd caught himself following the diamond patterns in the rug with his eyes. That was before he'd found the articles on Fort Atkinson.
It had been the first army fort constructed on the Sante Fe Trail in 1851, put there to protect travellers and mail coaches from the Indians. More and larger forts were built in better locations and the relatively small Atkinson was out of service four short years later. It was left alone and fell into ruin until the eighties when it had been taken up as a historical site and renovations started. It became a tourist stop and favorite spot of relic hunters but that didn't last long either. People were prone to accidents within the diamond shaped walls; falling through floors, picking up odd coughs and one pour soul crushed when a sod wall collapsed on him. They closed it down but the accidents continued with relic hunters and the odd ghost hunter making frantic calls for help over the years. Sam ran a hand through his hair, wincing at the cuts and bumps on his head and sighed.
"This fort has racked up an impressive body count over the years." Sam commented and rattled off what he'd learned to Dean.
"So." Dean paused with a fork full of pie. "We talking bad Indian mojo here?"
"Could be." Sam shrugged. "The Fort was only in use for four years though, didn't see much action from what I can tell." He scrolled down the page he'd found, written by a relic hunter, for any useful information on why Dad would send them there.
"Has to be something hinky going on for Dad to send us here." Dean said, echoing Sam's thought and polished off the last of his pie.
"Hey, the guy who made this site, he lives near here." Sam jotted down the address and closed the laptop. "We should go see if he knows more than he's posted." Sam glanced at his watch. "Sleep first." It was five in the morning, they'd driven all night and his head was pounding a tattoo against his eyes.
"How much beauty sleep you need in a night?" Dean chuckled but didn't argue. He could see in Sam's face that he was in pain and in true Winchester fashion was keeping it to himself.
Sam groaned awake and startled to find Dean leaning over him.
"First, you need to take these." Dean held out a bottle of aspirin and a glass of water. "Second, whatever crazy crap you got going on in there giving you nightmares, you need to deal with it." Dean left him to take the pills and finished toweling off his hair. He'd turned off the shower only to hear Sam calling out in his sleep again. The nightmares frustrated him because dammit how was he supposed to protect his little brother from his own head?
"I'm fine, Dean." Sam said, as he had so many times before but he did shake out two aspirin and take them. His head was splitting and the glare of midday sun around the heavy curtains was making his eyes water.
"Uh huh." Dean tossed his duffel up on the bed and started pulling out clothes. "Shower fast. I'm hungry."
Sam snorted and rolled out of bed, rubbing the back of his head. "World could be ending and you'd still want food."
"What's wrong with that?" Dean grinned as Sam shut the bathroom door on him.