A.N: First off, I'm not even sure if I can apologize enough for taking nearly two years to update (but hey, you had to wait longer for s3 of Sherlock, right? That makes it okay, RIGHT?!) Most of the reason I took so long is I spend most of my writing time doing original stuff, but I've always had a plan for this. Originally, this story was going to be 13 chapters long, but I'm going to cut it short and the next thing i post will be the final chapter. I might come back later and add some of the other stories I had planned.
Secondly, a reviewer mentioned writing a spin-off story based on this fic. Just wanted you guys to know that that's absolutely okay with me! If you write something in this multi-verse setting I'd love to read it 3
So, thanks to those who've stuck with me this entire time. You're all the best!
Dean Winchester watched the Doctor and Cas stare each other down as if they were trying to pry open the other's mind. They'd been at it for a full minute now, and they were beginning to make him feel irrationally nervous. Perhaps it was because this was the longest Dean had ever seen the Doctor sit so perfectly still.
At last Cas looked away, moving a knight with deliberate purpose across the seven-dimensional chess board. The humans could only see three of the dimensions, so watching them play was confusing at best, but they'd all made bets on the game.
The Doctor smiled ruefully at Cas's move. "You aren't one to stay on the defense for long, are you?" He moved his queen after that, but just after it landed on the square it vanished, moving through the fourth dimension, time, to some unknown point in the future. Dean didn't even try to keep track of who sent what where and when.
A moment later, one of Cas's pieces dropped back into view. "Check," he said quietly, voice not revealing any smugness, but still Dean saw a little of it in his eyes.
"Oh, he's got you on the run, Doctor, maybe I should've put my money on him?" Amy heckled, poking the Time Lord on the shoulder.
"The game's not over yet."
"I stand by my bet," Jack added, "Being a Time Lord has to give him an edge."
"I predict checkmate in eight moves," Sherlock said in that oh-so-sure-of-himself voice of his. "Five if one of you makes a bad mistake."
"Wait, checkmate on who?" John asked.
"He has no idea," Dean rolled his eyes. "He's just jealous he's too human to follow the game."
Before a fight broke out between Dean and Sherlock, the Doctor pulled out his psychic paper. A moment later he looked from Sam to Dean.
"There's a message for you."
"Uh," Sam began, articulating perfectly Dean's thoughts. "What? Who would send us a message on your paper?"
"Crowley. Apparently he doesn't have your numbers?"
"What's he want?" Dean barked, mood immediately soured from thinking of the demon, and of their own planet and what was happening there.
"'Hello, boys, there's a situation here at home. It'd be nice of you to pop on by and avert the end of the world. Cheers, Crowley,'" the Doctor read slowly, frowning. "Sounds serious."
Neither Dean nor Sam responded. Instead, they glanced at each other.
Cas spoke before they had a chance. "We should return to our world. Crowley might be lying, but he also might be telling the truth. We can't risk ignoring him." With an apologetic smile to the Doctor, he added, "We will have to continue this game later."
The Doctor rose and moved to the center console, sending the TARDIS into its usual rocky flight.
The Winchesters moved to stand by the Impala under the pretext of collecting weapons—not entirely untrue, but they also wanted to speak to each other without being overheard. That wasn't always easy to do with so many people on board.
"This has trap written all over it," Sam commented as the TARDIS landed.
"Duh. That's why we're going prepared." Dean tucked the demon-killing knife into his coat, nestling it between the holy water and the shotgun shells fill with rock-salt.
Stepping closer so that no one would overhear his next words, Sam continued, "I just don't think it's a good idea to, you know, bring everyone with us. Too many things could go wrong."
"Too many liabilities, you mean." Dean agreed with him. For all the Doctor's knowledge, he didn't have any experience with the things that went bump in this universe's night. "Doc won't let us ditch him, though. His stupid rules."
"Well, we can take Cas and just kinda zip off."
"Yeah, and let the rest of these guys get their hearts torn out by a werewolf while trying to find us? Or who knows, maybe they'll all sell their souls to demons for a cold Coke. We gotta convince him to let us go it alone, at least until we know Crowley isn't up to something."
"Because the Doctor's mind is so easy to change." Sam sat against the Impala with a sigh. "Don't get me wrong—he's amazing, but—"
"He always has to be in charge. I get ya. We have to try though."
"Great. Yeah. Let's do this."
Sam and Dean approached the Doctor, who was about to head towards the door. "What it is?" he asked before the other two had a chance to begin.
"You see, we think Crowley's setting some sorta trap—"
"He's a demon and you can't trust demons—"
"So probably you guys should just hang here, watch a movie or something, while we go see what's up."
No one spoke for a long while, not even Sherlock or Jack, who were usually ready with a quip or comment about anything.
"No splitting up, rule number one," the Doctor crossed his arms, frowning in a way that made Dean feel like he was five years old and asking for cookies before dinner.
"We'll have Cas with us, Doc. If there's trouble, he'll bring us back here."
"If Crowley is luring us into a trap, having fewer people for him to harm would be best," Cas chimed in, his voice so level and reasonable that Dean couldn't imagine the Doctor refusing them.
"Doc, this world is dangerous in ways you're not used to. Wouldn't want anything to happen to the Ponds or Sherlock or John or Jack—"
"You remember I'm immortal, right?" the captain cut in, "I can't die, so no need to worry about protecting me."
"But it still stands that you guys could get hurt. Let us handle this."
With a sigh, the Doctor nodded. "Yes, alright, but take Jack with you."
"He can help you if you get into trouble."
"Okay." Sam glanced at his brother, shrugging. "But you guys stay put."
The four men quietly left the TARDIS. After they were a few yards away, Dean turned to the others.
"So, summoning spell I guess—"
"No need, boys," Crowley interrupted, "I've had my lot on the lookout for that blue box."
"He's the demon?" Jack didn't seem impressed, only amused and interested. "Doesn't look so scary."
"Who's this?" Crowley raised his eyebrows, "Last I checked there were only two Winchesters and their pet angel."
"Captain Jack Harkness," the man responded, holding out his hand and turning the charm on so high Dean worried interested parties would start flocking from hundreds of yards away.
"Crowley, King of Hell. A pleasure." He shook Jack's hand.
"Why are we here?" Sam interrupted before more flirting could distract the demon.
"Right to business, then, Moose?" Crowley's posture was relaxed on the surface, but Dean could see tension below the façade of nonchalance. "Something's happening in a little town in Texas. Every demon I send in to investigate doesn't come back. Anyone—human, demon, Leviathan—who goes near the place falls off the face of the planet. I've managed to keep it off the humans' radar, but sooner or later they'll notice."
"Let me get this straight," Dean began, voice sarcastic, "You want us to go into some Bermuda Triangle town?"
"You're the super heroes around here. Thought you'd want to help. The phenomenon seems to be spreading."
Dean looked at his brother, who nodded once in agreement. "Okay. Show us the place."
Crowley snorted. "Fat chance I'll go there myself. The town's called Stonebrook, near the Louisiana state line."
"You know the place, Cas?" The angel nodded. "Alright, beam us up." Dean made sure Cas met his eye before glancing pointedly at the demon. "All of us."
"Wait, now—" But Crowley protests were irrelevant. The sound of feathered wings followed them over hundreds of miles to Texas.
It was late afternoon on a weekday. The weather was surprisingly nice, 70 degrees and sunny. The five of them were standing in the middle of a street that made up part of the town square.
"Well, this ain't creepy at all," Dean commented, looking around. There was no one in sight. No cars, no people, nothing. Not even any birds in the trees.
"What the hell happened here?" Sam asked quietly, turning around. "This should be rush hour."
"Oh good, I was beginning to think this was normal for your world," Jack said, sounding only a little disturbed by the lack of people. Perhaps he'd seen much worse.
Silence fell between them, stretching for a full minute before Crowley huffed and spoke. "Guess we should put on our deerstalkers and investigate this mystery." He didn't seem enthused.
Together the five men began to walk down the street, followed by shadows and stillness.
"So, what movie do you want to watch?" Rory asked, opening up the compartment in the floor that served as the VHS/DVD/Blu-ray/digital copy cabinet.
"Are you kidding?" the Doctor replied, scandalized. He wasn't opposed to movie nights when he parked the TARDIS in a scenic part of space, when everyone would make popcorn and pile up around the couch in the TV room. But he wasn't about to sit around on a fun and exciting new version of Earth to explore. "This world has demons and vampires and angels and you want me to watch telly? Not a chance."
"But you told the Winchesters—"
The Doctor cut John off. "I told them to take Jack with them to see what Crowley wanted. I never explicitly agreed to stay put." He took a few steps towards the door, then turned dramatically, letting his short coat twirl all that it could. Sometimes he missed having a longer coat. "So, who wants to go on an adventure?"
Not surprisingly, the Ponds, Sherlock, and John didn't want to stay cooped up in the TARDIS. He would never travel with people who would have chosen to hide when there was so much cool stuff out there.
A beep interrupted his thoughts. Something was flashing on his console. Practically skipping over to it, he hastily looked over the readings. "Well, that's odd," he commented, glancing around the room, "There's some electromagnetic interference in here. That shouldn't happen."
"A great deal seems to happen to your ship that shouldn't," Sherlock said dryly.
The Doctor ignored him. He was used to the man's utter lack of tact in most situations. He focused on finding the source of the interference, walking around pointing his screwdriver at random things. Beginning to triangulate it, the Doctor discovered the energy was coming from the Impala.
His companions followed him as he made his way to the car. Yes, the interference was coming from inside, the back seat to be more specific. The Winchesters' bag was sitting in the seat. Opening it with only a slight guilt at nosing around in other people's stuff, he found the source of the electromagnetic energy—an old flask.
"Whiskey's causing the problem?" Rory joked, "Is it the ghost of Jack Daniel?"
The beeping coming from the console increased. Frowning, the Doctor picked up the flask. "I don't think it likes your sense of humor."
"Well, I thought it was very clever," Amy said, wrapping her arm around her husband's waist.
Fishing around in his pockets, the Doctor found the pair of glasses he needed—the pink ones with heart-shaped lenses. After he put them on his friends began to snicker, but he didn't notice. His attention was completely given over to the man who was standing beside the Impala.
"Hello," he began. Always best to be polite, "I'm the Doctor. Who are you?"
The man was older, bearded, wearing a hat and the same sort of thing the Winchesters were fond of—entirely too much flannel for the Time Lord's tastes. When he started speaking, the man's mouth dropped open in surprise.
"You can see me?"
"Of course! Why else would I be wearing these glasses when they completely clash with my very stylish bow-tie?"
The other man just stared at him for a moment, then finally found his voice again. "Yeah, well, I've been here for so long and no one's noticed. Name's Bobby Singer."
The Doctor's grin faltered. "You're Bobby. Of course." The Winchesters had been reluctant to talk about the man who had been like a father to them, but Castiel had filled him in on the details.
"Who's he talking to?" John whispered, "Has he gone mad or something?"
"I think there's something here we can't see," Amy answered.
Getting his screwdriver back out of his coat pocket, he pointed it at Bobby. "Now, hold still, I might be able to help you become visible on your own."
Bobby glared at the screwdriver suspiciously. "Your crazy alien gadget better not turn me into something weird, Doc, or we're gonna have a problem."
"Relax! If you've been hanging around here for a while you know how capable I am." The Doctor fiddled with the settings on the screwdriver and tried to ignore Bobby's sardonic look. "Here we go!" The warbling noise of the screwdriver lasted only a few moments before his friends let out a collective gasp.
"Does everyone who associates with the Winchesters dress like a lorry driver?" Sherlock asked. "Never thought I'd be deducing a ghost."
"How do you keep from punching him?" Bobby asked John.
"I just sort of ignore most of what he says."
Everyone seemed pretty awkward after that. The Doctor imagined talking to a ghost was a bit odd. He knew for a fact no etiquette book from his universe covered that sort of thing.
"So you've been spying on us this whole time, then?" Rory finally asked.
"Not really. I'm in and out. Being a ghost sucks." The Doctor thought that was probably a huge understatement. "But I know enough about what you crazies have been up to to know that my boys are in mortal peril pretty much all the time. Including now, probably."
"We're all in danger. Everyone in every universe is. I didn't ask them to help. They wouldn't have it any other way." The Doctor wasn't defensive. He explained this calmly, seriously.
"I know they wouldn't. But that don't mean I won't worry. And you bunch think you should just run off into a world you don't understand and look for trouble?"
For a moment the Doctor was abashed, but then he remembered who and what he was and decided he wasn't going to be bossed around by someone a fraction of his age, dead or not. "I don't look for trouble, it finds me. And not every trip I take to a new world ends in disaster."
"Enough of 'em do. Every time ya'll leave I have to sit here wondering if you're ever coming back through those doors. This time you ain't leaving me behind."
"Alright," the Time Lord agreed, "The more the merrier!" He grabbed the flask and stowed it in his coat pocket next to his Sonic screwdriver.
"I wonder how different this world is from ours," Amy mused as the group left the TARDIS. "Without all the alien stuff happening it must be peaceful. No crazy spaceships almost crashing into Earth or almost setting it on fire. No Daleks, too!"
"There's still plenty that'll kill you," Bobby informed them darkly. "But the chances of running into something like that is slim. This world ain't overrun with monsters—not yet."
"How reassuring!" the Doctor chimed, "So, where to?"
The shops had open signs on them, and open doors, but no one was inside. No customers, no employees. Dean dismissed the urge to take a candy bar from a drugstore counter. Shoplifting wasn't exactly something he was a stranger to, but it seemed somehow crass to take things from people who'd gone missing in the middle of the day. He'd seen too much of the dark to have any hope that they were still alive somewhere.
After the fifth store they entered, all of them gave up trying to find people. Jack put his hands in his pockets and looked up at the sky. Dean thought he saw the man's mouth turn to a frown briefly, but when he lowered his gaze back to the rest of them, his friendly almost-smile returned.
"It's not the Leviathan," Crowley said as they walked down yet another empty street. "My sources tell me even they're afraid to come this way now."
"What if they fell into another universe?" Sam mused.
"That wouldn't explain why I can't leave," Cas said. "Something is interfering with celestial power currents."
"Not just the celestial ones," Crowley huffed, glancing around uncomfortably. "I can't leave either."
"We can always walk out, right?" Jack asked.
Sam and Dean exchanged glances. "That's if nothing tries to stop us," Dean allowed. "Something tells me that won't happen. Whoever or whatever did this is probably playing for keeps."
"Do you smell smoke?" Jack interrupted, turning to face the direction of the pleasant breeze.
Sniffing the air, Dean realized Jack was right. The faint scent of smoke was in the wind. "This place keeps gettin' better and better," Dean sighed as the group began to walk towards the source of the smell. After a few minutes the smoke was so thick he had to resist the urge to cough and hold his breath.
And the smoke didn't smell like a wood fire, either. The hunter had burned enough corpses to have a good idea of what was burning.
The TARDIS had brought the Doctor and his companions to a small town that Bobby happened to know. He told them about the job he'd worked here a decade ago while they walked through the pleasant streets to a diner that Bobby claimed sold some of the best pie he'd ever had.
John Watson thought the diner was one of the most stereotypically small-town America places he'd ever been, right down to the special on apple pie. But the food was good, and they'd pushed two small tables together to make room for the six of them. John tried not to dwell on the wistful looks Bobby gave the food that the waitress brought. The best apple pie in the world, and Singer would never taste it again.
Shoving down those depressing thoughts, John laughed at the story Bobby was telling about the job he'd done here, which had taken an unexpected turn for the ridiculous.
After the story there was a lull in conversation. John could hear two people at the bar talking, and he glanced across the table at Sherlock to find his friend was staring at them, obviously eavesdropping. The look in Sherlock's eyes made John listen in, too.
"I'm tellin' ya, that place is haunted. Has been since '65 when those twin girls was murdered." The man was middle aged, a blue collar type.
"Ain't no ghost killed that man, it was an accident. That's what the cops are sayin'." The second man looked to be about the same age as the first, but he was balding and wore a cheap suit.
"I don't care what no cop says, I heard how the body was, what happened to it. That ain't natural."
"No such thing as ghosts," the balding man argued, sipping his coffee.
"Excuse me," Sherlock interrupted, and John realized the consulting detective had gotten up from their table and gone to the bar. "I couldn't help but overhear you were talking about an interesting death. Is the crime scene nearby?"
The two men had the usual reaction to Sherlock. That is, they didn't seem to know what to say to him or how to categorize him, other than a madman who appeared out of thin air and called the tragic death of a local man interesting.
"The house, the haunted house, where is it?" Sherlock continued impatiently, bouncing on the balls of his feet, full of energy. "Well?"
John's Sherlock-is-about-to-get-hit senses were tingling, so he hurried over to the counter. "Sorry, don't mind him, he has absolutely no idea how to talk to people. Carry on with your meal." The army doctor tried to steer his friend away from the men, but Sherlock wasn't budging.
"The house?" Sherlock insisted again, his voice quiet but intense, his eyes never leaving the two men.
"Uh—it's—it's on Cedar Road, 'bout a mile south of here. Don't know the address, but the place is huge, three stories, brown paint. Can't miss it."
After that Sherlock finally left the strangers alone, and he was practically giddy as he sat back down at the table, where he proceeded to ignore the remainder of his food.
"Feel like investigating a mystery?"
"Definitely," Amy, Rory, and the Doctor said in unison, but Bobby only frowned and shook his head with the air of the only adult responsible for chaperoning unruly children. John felt a bit of empathy for him.
The giant bonfire was burning on what had once been a baseball field in a public park. From blocks away the thick smoke made his eyes itch and water, but he ignored the physical discomfort. Human bodies were burning, hundreds of them, indiscriminately piled in the flames. Dean closed his eyes for a moment, reeling. He'd seen more than his share of horror, but none of it had been quite like this.
"Oh my god," Jack whispered, eyes wide and filled with fear. He ducked behind the building they'd just walked around, back against the brick. "This isn't possible."
"What's gotten into him?" Crowley asked, though he kept his voice down. "All I see is your average Tuesday in hell and a bunch of weird trashcan robots from the '60's."
"Daleks," Jack said at length, "They're called Daleks, and they don't belong in his universe."
"Neither do you," Sam said in a low voice, peaking around the corner of the building again. "I'm guessing they're more dangerous than they look?"
"Arguably the most dangerous species from our universe." Jack seemed to have composed himself, mostly. "I don't know why they're here, but it's not good. They'll keep killing until the entire human race is gone."
Crowley snorted. "Yeah, I can see that happening. No heavenly or demonic forces will have anything to say about that. This planet without humans is like a glass with no scotch. What's the point?"
Jack took a step towards the demon, and Dean watched apprehensively, afraid a fight was about to start. He wouldn't have minded seeing Crowley get his ass handed to him by an immortal human, but he was worried about the noise that sort of thing would produce. The Daleks weren't that far away.
"This isn't a joke. Everyone in this town is dead," Harkness spat, "And we have to stop them before they take over this whole universe. How long have they been here?"
Crowley shrugged his shoulders and turned away. "About three days, maybe."
Jack nodded. "Probably setting up a stronghold here, preparing for the main invasion."
The entire time Cas had been staring at the distant fire with an inscrutable expression. But at last he spoke. "I'm interested to learn how they're interrupting our powers."
"I'm interested in getting the hell out of here." The demon's hands were in the pockets of his overcoat, and though he attempted to act nonchalant Dean could see tension in the lines of his shoulders and neck. Crowley was out of his element here, and that made him nervous. Dean would have been happy if he weren't in the same situation.
"We need a solid plan," Sam advised. "And we should probably get out of the area before they see us."
"I'm with Samantha on this one." Crowley brushed past Jack, checking him in the shoulder. "I doubt anyone's using that nice house we passed a mile back."
Dean caught his brothers eye as they snuck away. Sam seemed to think the same as he did—that Crowley was going to cut and run as soon as he could, and would probably leave the rest of them here to die. Dean touched the knife in his pocket to reassure himself it was still there.
The house did indeed have a haunted look about it, looming out of an unkempt lot of tall grass and old trees. The Doctor loved it immediately, down to the one shutter that was nearly falling off.
"Gimme a minute," Bobby said, then flickered away. Ten seconds later he reappeared. "Place is empty, so knock yourselves out. Just try not to get arrested."
"Oh, we're experts at not getting arrested by now," Rory joked, walking towards the house beside Amy. Everyone else followed.
As he approached the front door, the Doctor spun in a circle, taking in the entire scene outside. The nearest neighbors were an acre away, but even from that distance he could see that their homes were in much better repair than this one. The Doctor turned his full attention to the supposedly haunted house again as Amy opened the door.
"It's not locked?" she asked, surprise in her voice.
"Maybe this is one of those towns where no one locks the front door?" John suggested.
"A house where the owner recently died? Doubtful the police would be so remiss," Sherlock countered. "No, something else is going on here."
The entrance was empty of furniture, but the room to the left had a couch and boxes and a TV mounted to the wall.
"Must've just moved in," Rory commented as they nosed around.
"Obviously," Sherlock sighed. "We need to find where he died."
"The basement," Bobby answered. "At least that's where the big-ass blood stain is."
Despite his gruff nature, the Doctor liked Bobby immensely, and having a ghost around was certainly useful. He wished he'd noticed the man's presence earlier, and he also wished there was something he could do about his situation. A few hundred ideas came and went through his mind as the group tromped down the steps to the lowest floor of the house.
The basement was large but cluttered with boxes, broken furniture, and thousands of little odds-and-ends. Dust hung in the air, illuminated by sunlight that came from the small windows near the ceiling. The bloodstains Bobby had mentioned were near a worktable that was against one wall, in a space that was mostly free of junk.
Pulling out his Sonic, the Doctor pointed it at the stains to be certain they were really human blood. It was. He frowned.
"So, according to the story those men gave us," Amy began, walking around the room slowly, picking up random items and inspecting them, "The dead man bought this house a month ago, then was killed in a freak accident while cutting wood."
"I don't see a saw," John said, eyeing the work table.
"The police took it." Sherlock gestured to a space on the table. "It was sitting there. See? They didn't get all the blood."
The Doctor glanced where Sherlock pointed. There were a few stray spatters of blood that suggested the outline of a saw.
Sherlock was a flurry of energy, stooping under the table and then standing on top of it and staring around the room. A minute later and he returned to the floor with a smug smile on his lips.
"That man was murdered. I'm sure of it."
Bobby snorted. "What was your first clue?" the ghost said sarcastically, but Holmes missed the tone.
"Well, for starters, the spatter pattern isn't consistent—" But John interrupted him.
"He was joking, Sherlock."
"A place like this, and a guy just accidentally saws his arm off and bleeds out? Not likely. There's a ghost here." Bobby crossed his arms. "I mean, other than me."
"Wrong. The homeowner was killed by a living person. This was run of the mill murder, though I admit the method was fairly ingenious—"
"Hang on, what makes you so sure this was a normal killin'?"
Sherlock stepped closer to Bobby, staring down at him haughtily. "What makes you so sure it's haunted?"
"A lifetime of huntin' and common sense. Who'd wanna kill the guy who lived here?"
"I'd need to know more about his life, starting with his name, and I'll need to examine the body."
"Or," Bobby countered, while the rest of them watched eagerly, like spectators at a sporting event, "You could open your eyes and have a look at this place. It ain't been lived in in years. Probably because all the owners keep havin' mysterious accidents. My money's on ghost for this one."
"The evidence will speak for itself, I assure you." Sherlock turned sharply, his coat spinning in exactly the way the Doctor loved coats to spin, and then he stalked towards the stairs.
"So, what you're saying is, we got no plan?" Dean leaned back in the kitchen chair, rubbing his eyes as if that could take his weariness away. "Great."
"We need the Doctor," Jack sighed. "He's really the only one who can handle this."
"Well, he isn't on hand, is he?" Crowley snapped. "You say no conventional weapons can hurt them. What about unconventional ones?"
"Unconventional?" Jack's frown turned to a crooked grin. "What do you have in mind?"
"How does he make that sound like a pick-up line?" Sam asked, amusement in his voice despite their situation.
"I doubt he was attempting to pick Crowley up," Cas said seriously.
"I'm talking about what this universe has that yours don't, Jack. Magic." The king of hell had apparently decided to ignore Sam and Cas's discussion.
"You're going to just wave a magic wand and kill all the Daleks?" Jack chuckled.
"No wands. But we have these," Crowley shrugged his right shoulder and an angel's blade fell out of his coat sleeve.
"What else are you hiding in there?" Jack joked, but he stood up and took the blade, examining it.
"These can kill an angel, so they might be able to penetrate whatever force-fields these aliens generate."
Dean wasn't so sure that would work, but it was better than waiting to die. "Hell, why not? But we can't just walk up to all of them and hope for the best. We need to test it."
Half an hour later the five of them wandered through the empty town, searching for a lone Dalek to use as a guinea pig. Dean saw a flash of movement that disappeared around the corner of a building. A comfortable amount of adrenaline rushed into his blood, and his pulse quickened. All they planned to do was throw the blade at a Dalek and see what happened—not exactly fool-proof, but Jack assured them if they got close to the alien and their weapons didn't work, they'd all be slaughtered.
Cas volunteered to do the throwing, since he was an angel and likely couldn't be hurt by their weapons. Something they had was interfering with his celestial power, but he still should be able to heal. Jack had volunteered, too, but Cas insisted, since the man could be hurt and killed, he just came back to life.
The Dalek moved down the street, searching for more people to murder. Dean poked his head around the corner and watched it, then nodded to Cas. The angel deftly threw the blade. It rotated through the air and would have hit its mark if some unseen force hadn't stopped it.
Dean didn't see what the Dalek did after that. All of them took off sprinting down the alley, then along a few streets until they were back at the house they'd chosen as their base of operations. The hunter was out of breath by the time they shut and locked the door behind them. Even Crowley seemed ruffled.
"So," Sam began between gasps, "Plan B?"
"They'll be looking for us now, they know someone's still alive." Jack slumped down in a kitchen chair. "We need to figure this out fast, or try to get out of town and find the Doctor."
"I doubt they'll just let someone waltz out of here," Dean grumbled, "Or a demon would have made it out. They run at the first sign of mortal peril."
Crowley made a face like he was going to be offended, then gave up the act and shrugged. "I do have an idea. There's a spell. But it's not exactly Plan B material. More like last desperate attempt at stopping them."
"What's so dangerous about the spell?" Sam asked seriously.
"It unmakes sentient life. Unravels them from existence completely. And it doesn't pick and choose targets, which is why I haven't used it on Moose and Squirrel here."
"That would kill the Daleks," Jack allowed, "They're technically alive in those suits. How do you cast the spell?"
"Slow down, Harkness, you may have missed the part where it'll kill all of us too. So we need to disable whatever's keeping me and the angel here before we cast the spell. I'm just glad the ingredients are at hand."
"Well then," Dean stood up. "Let's get started."
After an hour of nosing through a dead man's possessions, John Watson had completely lost his ability to feel guilty about it. All he felt was a vague disappointment that they hadn't found any evidence pointing to murder.
"Have you seen any ghosts here?" Amy was asking Bobby.
"Not yet, but I can tell you from experience, sometimes they're in and out."
They'd worked their way to the top floor and were searching a bedroom that was full of boxes. John stepped over to open another one, and he felt like he'd walked into a freezer. The air was suddenly so cold he could see his breath.
The Doctor noticed immediately. "Bobby, you mentioned cold spots?" he asked brightly. "I think John's found one."
"We can't be certain Bobby himself isn't causing it," Sherlock countered distractedly, as he flipped through a stack of papers. "Interesting," he continued in a lower voice. "I believe I've found a motive."
"And what's that?" John asked, crossing his arms and rubbing them. The air was still cold.
"He was in witness protection and someone found him."
"How do you know that? Do they give you a certificate or something?" Rory joked.
"No, but this man, Steven Cole, he had no personal effects, no pictures, not even of friends. He had no family and no ties to this area. Yet he bought a house here. His clothes are designer, as are his appliances, cookware, everything. It's all expensive, high end."
"That doesn't prove—" Rory tried to say, but Sherlock cut him off.
"He also has a folder full of newspaper clippings about a certain crime family in Chicago."
"Lots of people scrapbook," Rory insisted, but he did so with doubt in his voice.
"Scrapbookers aren't usually murdered," John added in.
"You're trying to tell me that it's more likely that some ex-mafia guy moved here, got found out, and was murdered in a bizarre way, than it is that this place is haunted?" Bobby scoffed. "And let me remind you, this world's full of ghosts and worse."
"And the odds are better for ghosts than usual murders?"
"Hang on, both of you," John interrupted. He could always tell when Sherlock was about to lose his temper. "Stop. No use fighting about it."
Amy put her hands on her hips and looked around the room. "You know, it just occurred to me how unlikely this entire situation is, ghosts or murders or whatever this is. What are the chances of us—us, of all people—randomly setting down in a place and just stumbling on a mystery like this?"
The Doctor looked proud as he answered, "This sort of thing happens constantly."
"Does it?" Amy countered. "You're always bumping into things that want to destroy planets or end universes. But the TARDIS brought us exactly to the world you wanted her to. Everyone else is off doing who knows what, saving the world, but this is just a little ghost or one murder. Bit of a smaller scale than what we're used to."
"Just a crazy coincidence it was nearby," Rory suggested. "Weird that it seems so much like a haunting and like a murder mystery. Like they knew we'd be coming with Sherlock Holmes and a hunter."
John listened to their discussion with only partial interest. There was one last box in the room they hadn't opened, so he did. "That's odd," he said aloud, "it's full of sweets." In the box were dozens of types of candies and pastries, all imported.
Bobby glanced in the box, then rolled his eyes. "Aw, hell."
On the kitchen table sat all the ingredients for the most terrifying spell Dean had ever heard of. All but one was something you could find in the average person's spice cabinet. Tears of the king of hell was the only odd one, and it had only taken fifteen minutes of light torture to get a few drops out of Crowley.
"Now comes the hard part," Crowley said, slipping his overcoat back on. "We need to destroy whatever's stopping our powers from working."
As with all things, that was easier said than done. The five of them packed up the spell ingredients and left the house, venturing to where they'd seen the most Daleks congregating.
They'd taken over the town's courthouse, which was situated in the middle of the square. That made sneaking up to it more difficult because they'd have to cross open road no matter what direction they came from.
"Sneaking in isn't going to work well," Sam whispered as they watched the scene from an alley.
"Neither will going in guns blazing," Jack added.
"We all know what that leaves." Dean glanced at his brother, who nodded.
"What does it leave?" Cas asked.
Dean gave him a grin, then turned to Crowley.
They waited ten minutes before the first explosion erupted a few blocks away. It was followed by three more, then Dean stopped counting. Dozens of Daleks left the courthouse to investigate, and while they weren't watching, the hunters, Cas, and Jack raced across the street and to a side door. It was locked, but Cas pushed it open all the same.
The courthouse was plain but nice enough. A fresh coat of paint covered the walls, and the floors were hardwood in good condition. Dean could have believed nothing was wrong if the scent of smoke hadn't permeated even this part of the place.
"Any idea what we're looking for?" Dean asked Jack softly.
"Not exactly, but it's probably transmitting from a central location. We should check the roof."
All of them had weapons out, even though they'd do no good. Dean for one just felt more relaxed with a gun in his hand. They crept through halls and up staircases, coming close to being discovered by Daleks but managing to remain hidden, just barely. Their good luck didn't last, however, because when they finally reached the door to the roof, Cas opened it to reveal half a dozen Daleks standing guard around a huge metallic object that had a spire sticking out of it.
"Uh, hello," Cas said to fill the awkward silence.
The Daleks all turned to face them. "EXTERMINATE!" they shouted in unison, their voices sounding like bad sci-fi sound effects.
Dean didn't wait to see if their weapons were as cheesy as their voices. He made a run for the nearest cover—an AC unit protruding from the roof—firing at the aliens reflexively. He lost track of everyone else, but when he made it to cover, Sam was beside him. The air filled with fire from the Daleks. Turns out their weapons weren't lame after all. Pieces of exploded roof scattered around them.
With a nod to his brother, then moved to the other side of the small wall. Sam peaked around the corner and started firing at the metal object. He hit it a few times, but nothing seemed to happen.
That's when Dean saw Cas. The angel had walked out into the open, ignoring the Dalek's fire. He stepped up to the closest one and placed his hand on it. Blue light flashed so bright Dean had to shut his eyes, and when he opened them again, the Dalek was a burned husk.
That caused a bit of a stir among the rest of them, but Cas just continued to serenely step around them, killing each he touched. Dean was so distracted by the sight that he didn't see Jack shoot the transmitter until it exploded in a shower of sparks.
By the time all the Daleks on the roof were dead, Crowley was standing next to Dean and Sam.
"Now for the fun part. Shall we?" He held his hand out, and Dean handed him the ingredients. Crowley mixed them deftly in a small bowl.
Cas and Jack moved to stand near them. "Never seen magic before, this'll be fun," the captain said.
"As soon as I finish, I'm getting the hell out of Dodge. I suggest you lot do the same."
Dean saw movement from the corner of his eye, and turned to see hundreds of Daleks converging on them. Apparently they could fly—that explained how they got up stairs. But Crowley was saying the words of the spell, and just before Dean disappeared on the sound of feathered wings, he saw a brilliant white light.
"Come on out, you jack-ass," Bobby shouted, "Game's over."
As the Doctor watched, the entire room shifted. The boxes disappeared, save for the one with the sweets, and the chipped paint and old carpet turned to brand new. A man stood in the doorway, with brown hair and golden eyes. He wore the grin of someone who could find humor in almost anything.
"Ain't you supposed to be dead?" complained Bobby.
"I could say the same for you."
"Hello," the Doctor chimed, stepping up to the newcomer and holding out his hand. "I'm the Doctor. Who are you?"
"His name's Gabriel," Bobby answered for him, "As in the archangel Gabriel."
"Don't mind him," Gabriel dismissed, "He's been so grumpy since he was murdered. A pleasure, Doctor."
"I don't understand," John said, "You're an angel? Like Castiel?"
"Not quite like my baby brother, but mostly, yeah."
"And you're here because?"
"How could I miss the chance to play a prank on the Sherlock Holmes. I honestly thought you'd be the one to get it, Sherly, but Amy and Rory here beat you to the obvious."
Sherlock narrowed his eyes and replied in clipped words, "None of it was real. There was no murder."
"Ding ding ding! Give this man a prize." Gabriel grabbed a box of chocolates from his stash of sweets and began to eat them. "I knew you'd be too caught up in the trees to see the forest."
"But why?" John asked.
Gabe shrugged. "Why the hell not? He looked like he needed reminding he's only human."
"There are worse ways to spend an afternoon, I guess." Bobby crossed his arms. "You gonna let us go, now?"
"I was never stopping you. Tell the boys I said hi. Too bad I missed them."
"Back to the TARIDS, then?" Amy asked, and they began to file out of the room.
As the Doctor walked past Gabriel, the angel held out a hand to stop him. "I came to take Sherlock down a peg, it's kinda my hobby, but it's worth reminding you that you're not human, but you're not a god either. Just remember that it's okay not to be God."
The Doctor didn't know how to respond to that, do he didn't, only followed his companions out into the cool evening air. The walk back to the TARIDS took half an hour, and on the way Bobby spoke.
"I'd appreciate it if y'all didn't mention any of this to Sam and Dean. I don't want them to know about me." He sounded ashamed.
"Trust me, Sherlock won't be keen on sharing this story," John joked, lightening the mood. Everyone agreed to never mention what had happened. Instead they'd tell anyone who asked they'd spent the day watching movies.
Crowley was nowhere to be seen when the four men landed near the TARDIS. Dean wasn't sorry about that fact. He made to step towards the blue police box, but Jack stopped him.
"I think it's a bad idea to mention this to the Doctor," Harkness said warily. "If he knows Daleks are using the situation to invade other universes, he might feel obligated to go after them."
That sounded like something Doc would do, but the needed to focus on stopping the Voidsong altogether, not just minimizing damage. They all agreed, then knocked on the TARDIS's door.
The Doctor opened it with a friendly smile. "Any trouble?"
"Nah," Dean lied, "Just some Leviathan stuff. We handled it. You guys do anything interesting?" he asked to be polite as they all walked into the ship.
"Not really, Lord of the Rings marathon. Well, half of one." The Doctor bounced to the controls and began pressing buttons. "Not often we have calm days like this, is it?"
"Nope. It's like a vacation." Dean opened the trunk of the Impala, hoping the action hid his sly smile.
If only they knew.