Story type: Multichapter
Characters: Sam, Dean
Timeline: Set in the beginning of season 4
Summary: SET IN SEASON 4 – Sam's special powers doesn't remain undetected. Ambushed by the enemy in the Arizona desert he loses Dean for the second time and has to face the new threat on his own.
Author's notes: One big fat HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 to all of you, folks! Hope you had a great party, I wish you all the best for the next 12 months!
And this is my new-years-gift for you, a new story, yay! I started this one in spring 2011 and, like every story I write, it almost ended in the virtual trashbin. I had to put it aside a few times because of real life and all the surprises it brings, but now that I'm almost done with it I think it's safe to post the first chapter.
For those of you who read 'Cornered' – you migh have some kind of déjà vu. 'Running Dry' is something like the BIG version of 'Cornered'. Hope you like it.
Another note: this is set in early season 4 – Dean doesn't know anything about Sam's powers when this story begins. There's no Castiel (sorry, kiddos), no handprint. The only thing I borrowed is the conversation of Sam and Dean in 'Lazarus Rising' while driving to Pamela, only that the guys don't drive to Pamela because there's no handprint. Huh? Have I lost you now? Don't worry, it sounds complicated, but it isn't.
This story will be about 14 chapters long, so not as long as the usual stuff I write, but hey! It's almost finished!
And here's room for my lovely princess, MeAzrael, who had a really really royally screwed up year last year and still kept up keeping a sharp eye on my typing fingers. My honeypie, I hope the year that lies ahead will hold much more beautiful moments for you! I'm there for you, whatever it is!
And here's the disclaimer: Supernatural and it's characters belong to Eric Kripke and the CW – no money's made with this work.
Sam had to smile at his brother's enthusiasm, Dean's vibrating joy and anticipation infecting him, making him glad he had suggested this detour in the first place.
"Man, do you see that?" Dean beamed, his eyes darting from the road to his left through the front side window, "I mean, I knew it looks awesome, but being actually here and seeing it with my own eyes is just…freakin' wicked."
"Dude, you sound like Neil Armstrong after he set foot on the moon."
"Well, yeah Sam, maybe I feel like it, too. This looks like the moon anyway. Hey, let's try this skywalk thing, okay? I have to see if I can handle it, floating above an abyss, all that stuff."
"Whatever", Sam laughed, enjoying the magnificent view and Dean's good mood. He had suggested to take the wheel earlier, wouldn't have minded to drive so his brother could admire the sight without having to concentrate on the street. But Dean wouldn't have none of it. Probably because of the venturous tingling – driving a muscle car through the Arizona heat, raising hot sand and dust, the Grand Canyon to the left, the sun burning down from above. Pity that the Impala had no convertible roof, it would have made the whole Bonny-&-Clyde thing perfect.
There was no new job in sight, the last hunt had been successful and not very straining. So when Sam had browsed the internet the night before, had spotted an ad for hotel and lodging in the Grand Canyon National Park, he remembered that there weren't many places Dean really wanted to go when they had some spare time, but that this was definitely one of them.
A few days off would do them good. Especially with all the tension crackling between them lately.
His older brother had been reluctant at first, had asked Sam about a hundred times if there really was nothing to do, no one to safe, nothing to kill. How could they spend some leisure time, strolling through souvenir shops when there were other people's lives at stake? But Dean's eyes had already been gleaming, he had already gotten the jitters and it was pretty obvious where they were going when the sun got up.
It had been downright cute watching Dean march through the gas station shop, chattering about how hot it was in Arizona this time of the year and how he was going to throw at least one pebble from the highest point to see how long it would take to impact at the bottom of the canyon. If Sam didn't know how old his brother was he'd say he was something between 5 and 7.
Sometimes it was so easy to make Dean happy.
"You're going to get a sunburn on your arm, you know that?" Sam admonished, nodding towards Dean's left arm resting on the Impala's window sill. Both brothers had shed their jackets and long sleeved shirts due to the warmth and Dean's forearm had already turned lobster red.
"Relax Sammy", Dean replied, reaching for the water bottle next to him, "no need to…" He paused, looking into the rear view mirror. Letting go of the bottle, he gently steered the Impala to the right, almost brushing the escarpment.
Sam looked at him in puzzlement and threw a glance over his shoulder to see what was behind them. "What is it?"
Dean shrugged, "Nothing, just someone driving with his foot down to the floor. I'm gonna let him pass, don't want to have someone glued to my trunk the whole time."
The moment Dean had finished the sentence, a giant van with darkened windows rushed past them, engulfing the Impala in a huge cloud of desert sand.
"That son of a bitch", Dean coughed, accelerating again, "This is called the scenic route so take a moment and look around, moron."
"Maybe he's been here for a while and fed up with the view", Sam stated and shrugged.
"Could you ever be fed up with this view? I can't believe it." The brothers lapsed into silence and Dean put his arm back onto the window sill, while Sam just shook his head at him. He made a mental note to buy some sun screen when they'd be back in civilization again.
There hadn't been a gas station or a restaurant for ages now. Even cars were really rare on this part of the road, one or two every thirty minutes. But it didn't matter, they had all the time in the world, the Impala was fully fueled, they had enough water and snacks on board.
"Now look at this", Dean exclaimed, adding a gleeful "Ha!" for good measure. Following his brother's line of sight Sam could only come up with a flat "Huh."
Looming ahead at the side of the narrow road stood the dark van that had just passed them, hood opened, it's radiator giving off clouds of smoke. A young man stood beside it, staring miserably into the engine compartment.
"See Sam, scenic route. Please enjoy the view of the fantastic Grand Canyon to your left and the sight of a common dick right up ahead."
"Are we going to stop and help him?"
"No?" Sam threw a sideways glance at his brother. "Dean, you do notice that here's nothing in miles? It could take hours for someone to pass him out here and help him out."
"I'm sure he has a cell phone."
When they got closer, the kid stepped onto the street and waved at them.
"Oh you got to be kidding me…"
"Dean, slow down."
Dean mumbled something to himself, probably uttering an itches curse for Sam and something more sinister directed at the kid in front of them, but he slowed the Impala down, drove past the other vehicle and steered her to the right, parking in front of it.
"Shut up. You can get right out and help him, good Samaritan."
Sam couldn't help but bark out a laugh and did as he was told, leaving his pissed sibling in the car. He'd give him five minutes before Dean would appear at his side, shaking his head at Sam's amateurish way with engines and push him aside to take care of the problem at hand himself.
"Hey", Sam called at the kid who seemed to be pretty young now that Sam was almost eye to eye with him, maybe 19 or 20, "car trouble?"
"Yeah", came the reply and the boy waved at the fuming engine in disgust, "guess I'm out of coolant. Stupid, huh?" He stepped back, moving over for Sam to have a look at the damage.
Not that he was much of a help here, he was glad he could identify the oil dipstick from the FEAD belt. Sam leaned over the compartment nonetheless. He could at least pretend to have a clue for a moment and then get Dean, although he wasn't sure if his brother would succeed with whatever was wrong. If the car was indeed out of coolant, what were they supposed to do? Did regular water work?
Sam scratched his head and was about to straighten again when the frantic blow of the Impala's horn caught his attention. In the same second the familiar sound of a weapon being cocked rang out right beside his ear and already he felt the cold steel being pressed against his skull. While he slowly raised his hands, he heard the creak of his brother's car door and a second gun clicked.
"Don't do anything stupid", he heard Dean growl, and even with a gun against his head Sam felt the tiniest bit of relief.
However, when he heard the sliding door of the van open, the shuffling of at least three or four people, voices and a few more weapons being cocked, he knew they were in trouble. Big time. Someone grabbed him and pulled him away from the engine compound, turning him around roughly. At least he was now able to take in the scene in front of him without suffocating from engine fumes.
The gun piercing his temple was held by no one else then the skinny kid. Only that the hostile gesture didn't fit to his appearance. His shoulders were slightly slumped, his face showed insecurity and nervousness. Sam was sure if he'd knock the weapon out of his grip the boy would turn around and run away as fast as he could.
To Sam's left three men appeared, each one carrying a gun, trained on him and Dean.
His brother stood a few feet away next to the Impala, his own gun aimed at the kid, his death glare scrutinizing their opponents. If Dean was scared, and Sam knew he probably was, he didn't show any signs of it.
Suddenly, a slow applause by one pair of hands sounded from behind them and Sam had to keep himself from whirling around to avoid earning himself a hole to the head. He darted nervous eyes over to Dean, tried to read his brothers expression.
But Dean's face was devoid of any emotion, just plain hatred written over it in big bold letters. He was obviously glaring at the person clapping his hands. When Sam saw movement from the corner of his eyes he dared to turn his head slightly.
"Gentlemen, you look fabulous." A well-built man in his thirties appeared from the shadows, wearing a smug smile. "Reminds me of a real movie scene."
"What is this all about?" Dean snarled, his glare darkening even more.
"Dean. Relax. How about you put that thing somewhere else, huh?"
The ripple that went through Sam's body at hearing his brother's name caused him to straighten. And given the look on Dean's face his sibling was as bewildered as him.
Nice. Whoever those people were, they knew their names. Well wasn't that just terrific.
"Now, Dean. Because I tell you something. I see five people with guns, two are trained on little Sammy's head, two are trained on yours, one is trained on me. But even if you manage to shoot it'll take less than a second for you and your brother to slump down to the floor with nice little bullets in your pretty heads. So I'd suggest you hand the thing over to us and play nice. How does that sound?"
Sam darted narrowed eyes from their opponent to his brother, who still hadn't moved. Put it down, Dean. Damnit. Just when he opened his mouth to convince Dean to let it go, his brother lowered the weapon. One of the men stepped up to him and ripped it from Dean's hand.
"See. Much better."
"You seem to know us", Sam spoke up, trying to sound calm and nonchalant, directing the attention away from his sibling, "so how about you tell us your name, too?" Playing for time. Trying to get as much information as possible. Which kind of trouble had they gotten themselves into here?
"Oh yes, absolutely. You can call me Kane."
Kane. That name didn't ring a bell at all.
"Well, Kane – what can we do for you?" Dean's voice was dripping with sarcasm.
Kane buried his hands in the pockets of his sand-colored linen trousers and chuckled. A noise Sam found very disturbing.
"Not 'we', Dean. Actually the question should be, 'What can Sam do for us?'"
Sam clenched his jaw. He glanced over to his brother, whose eyes widened.
"Yeah yeah, you heard right. I'm going to explain what I have planned, I mean it's your right to know what's going to happen during the next five minutes." He strolled to Sam, who fought the urge to recoil. This was so not good.
"Don't you dare…"
Kane stopped beside Sam, unfazed by Dean's low growl, and put a hand on the younger Winchester's shoulder.
"You, Sam, will get in the van, nice and calm. We're going to handcuff you, better be safe than sorry, right? Nothing will happen to you, I promise. As long as you're cooperative, I won't even have to hit you."
The alarm bells in Sam's mind started to scream.
"Nice offer", he replied, cursing inwardly when his voice shook, "but I think I'll pass."
"Nice try", Kane leaned in, his mouth too close to Sam's ear, "but not an option."
"That's actually a gorgeous plan", Dean spoke up, and Sam recognized that his tone had changed. He was trying to switch tactics. Be nice. Get the attention away from Sammy. Damnit Dean. "Do I get to play a role in this, too?"
Kane turned to him. The creepy smile was back. And the pit in Sam's stomach grew.
"Of course. You got to play the decaying brother. How does that sound?"
There was a silence. Sam darted nervous glances to his brother who just blinked at Kane, a mixture of fear and confusion written on his face.
Neither of them had time to comprehend Kane's last comment.
"Stevie", Kane barked at the kid who had his gun still trained on Sam's head. He then nodded towards Dean. "Shoot him."
Everything happened lightning fast. Realization hit Sam like a steam hammer. When he felt the nozzle of the weapon being removed from his skull, he jerked forward, a shouted 'No!' tumbling from his lips. A voice in his head reminded him that this might not have been a good idea, that everything he was about to do was absolutely useless, with no weapon, no way out, being outnumbered by five people. Somewhere he heard Dean yell his name when a set of large, strong hands grabbed Sam's arms and shoulders and pushed him down onto his knees, holding him back and in place.
The rushing in his head stopped and he looked up, taking in the scene in front of him.
Dean had taken a step forward, probably to get to him and keep him from doing something stupid. His forward movement had been stopped by the kid, Stevie, who still stood next to Sam, but was now aiming at Dean.
"Okay", Dean held his hands up, talking slow, "might be an interesting role but...come on...seriously?"
"No, wait", Sam started, "please…this isn't necessary…why not…" Think, Sam, think… "You can take both of us…whatever you want to do, whatever you have planned, we might be useful together…" They couldn't do that, they were about to shoot Dean, he couldn't just sit kneel here and watch. There had to be a way. There just had to.
No way would he ever watch his brother die again. Period.
"No, Sam, YOU are useful." Kane leaned down to him. His tone was soft and understanding. Like a fuckin' father who was about to tell his child that it couldn't keep its teddy bear. "And I don't think I have to explain to you why it's not possible to hold you hostage and let Dean get away, right?"
He stood. His tone changed again. "Put a bullet into his head, Stevie."
"No, no, wait…" Sam struggled, physically and mentally, he struggled for words, for arguments, for anything that might save his brother's life. They could take him, he'd go with them willingly, he'd even get into that fucking van without chains and handcuffs, whistling a happy tune if they'd wanted him to do so.
"Stevie. What are you waiting for? Do it."
Sam looked up at the kid with desperate, pleading eyes, "Stevie…don't do that….I'm begging you here. Come on, you don't seem to be a killer, do you. Please…"
Stevie's aim wavered. He was chewing his bottom lip and his Adam's apple was bopping convulsively. He was completely overwhelmed by the whole situation, Sam could see that very clearly. If he could only reach the kid, maybe he'd help them out. Maybe…
The young man flinched. Sam flinched. And from the corner of his eye he noticed that Dean had, too. Turning his head, Sam met his brother's gaze.
Dean was no longer glaring. Not at Kane, not at anyone. His green eyes were searching Sam's face. There was this expression again. Sam remembered it. And he hated it. Because the last time he had seen it on Dean's face it had been a goodbye. Those huge glassy orbs in combination with that feeble smile…the only thing that was missing right now was a clock in the background striking midnight.
"It's okay, Sammy. We'll find a way out of this, somehow we're going to fix this. Don't panic, just do what they want and you'll be fine, you hear?"
Was his brother asking for approval? Was he really thinking Sam would just leave it be? Just like that?
"Don't you give up, Dean…don't you dare…no…" Sam struggled on, hissing when a spike of pain shot through his shoulder due to the unnatural position it was held in.
"Sam, let it go…"
"Awww, this is so heartbreaking, really, I'm on the verge of tears here, guys." Kane made a noise that sounded like a sniff. "But you know what, I just don't have time for this. Now, Stevie. How about you end this, huh?"
Sam's mind was reeling. He glanced up at the kid again who tightened his grip on the gun and narrowed his eyes. He looked over to Dean who was finally glaring again.
"Don't forget to salt and burn me, you son of a bitch", his brother growled, "because I might be just itchin' to rip you apart when I come back."
Kane flashed him a dirty smile. "Of course. Sleep well, Dean."
When the single shot rang out, it was drowned by Sam's scream. He tried to jump forward, tried to get to Dean, to catch him, to protect him, but found himself still being held back by his captors. He watched in horror as Dean jerked backwards, his sibling's outcry of pain searing through Sam like a hot blade. There was a small explosion of blood erupting from Dean's temple. His face contorted with pain for mere seconds before his features went completely slack and he dropped hard to his knees.
Sam heard screams of denial, was temporarily relieved about the fact that Dean was still screaming because that meant he was still alive and not kneeling in the dirt in front of him with a fucking headshot, only to realize that it were HIS screams surrounding him, engulfing him, that it was him fighting and trashing on the floor, trying to get free.
One more time their eyes met, Dean's wide eyed and in shock while Sam blinked frantically to get rid of the damn veil of tears because FUCK he relived it again, his brother was dying right in front of him and he couldn't look at him, couldn't see him properly because of those goddamn tears.
Dean didn't blink, he just looked at Sam, trapped in this moment. Too much blood ran down at the side of his face.
Then his eyes rolled back and he slumped forward into the hot desert sand.
The howl tearing from Sam's throat was almost inhuman. It was raw, it was guttural, it caused Kane's men to jump. Maybe it would have been the right moment to break away from their hold, if Sam would have had any strength left.
He didn't move. Couldn't move. He said Dean's name over and over again, his pleas turning first to whispered rasps, then to choked sobs.
"Good job, kiddo", Kane spoke up, "go and check on him."
"Don't you touch him…" Sam snarled hoarsely, his voice almost gone, but his hatred and rage enough to keep it going, "no one touches him…" He stared at Dean's body. Couldn't help but imagine a rise and fall of his sibling's back. Couldn't take his eyes off his brother, laying a few feet away on his stomach, arms stretched out above his head, his face turned away from him. A small puddle of blood formed itself beneath Dean's head, staining the golden sand.
From the corner of his eye Sam noticed Stevie making a tentative step forward. Before he was able to lunge at the kid, his captors tightened their grip on him again and pulled him backwards once again.
"Back off, you fucking son of a bitch...back the hell off!" Through bleary eyes he had to watch the young man step up to Dean slowly, crouch down beside him and poke Dean's throat for a pulse. When Stevie looked up again, shaking his head, Sam felt his world crash for a second time.
"Okay. We're done here." Kane clapped his hands together. He turned towards Sam. "Load him up. Make sure he's secured. And I mean, Leavenworth secured. Don't underestimate a little brother's wrath."
Sam felt himself being hauled to his feet and was met with Kane's smug smile, only inches away from his face. "I know you're royally pissed right now. I get that. But this is a chance, son. You are free to start a brand new life now. No one holding you back. No one clinging to you like a…"
It should hurt like a mother. Slamming your own skull into someone's face with full force was supposed to be painful and not to be pulled off without side effects. But everything Sam felt was satisfaction. It wasn't enough, you couldn't put a band aid onto the wound of a torn out limp and expect everything to be fine again. But watching Kane stumble backwards, holding his nose and grunting in agony was at least something.
However, when Kane straightened again, chuckling mildly, Sam's anger flared up again.
"Don't waste your strength", he laughed, wiping the blood from his face. "Let's hit the road. Stevie, get the gasoline and the salt from the van. If you're finished here take the Chevy. We meet at the ranch."
"I'm going to kill you", Sam hissed, "I promise, I will kill you and I will take my sweet time for it, I swear."
Kane didn't move a muscle. "I'm sorry about your brother. I really liked him." He then went to the van's passenger's door and got in.
Sam's tearful gaze was glued to his brother's body, brother, not body, not a corpse, he isn't dead, he can't be dead, I can't lose him again, please no, who hadn't moved wouldn't move ever again.
His thoughts were jumbled salt running in circles gasoline like snowflakes in a snowstorm they were going to burn him, they're going to fucking burn him and he trashed again, screamed at Stevie, screamed at his captors, the thought of Dean going up in flames causing his stomach to churn and his mind to shut down completely.
The hurricane of despair and rage and agony was abruptly stopped when something hard and blunt slammed into the back of his head.
To be continued...