A Heart for a Heart
I finished the bear of a book I've been frantically working on the past few months so this is my own little reward to myself. Just a little self indulgent one-shot to put the Winchesters in peril. No plot, just a lot of chasing and whumpage. Now back to editing.
Pre-series. I picture Sam at 16 and Dean at 20.
It was ripping Dean's heart out. Literally.
Sam heard the thud of bodies hitting concrete across the sewage tunnels and whipped around. Dad was a crumpled mess at the bottom of the manhole ladder. His empty hard hat spun on the slick ground.
And Dean… The edana held Dean against the grimy wall, spindly fingers burrowing into his chest where blood blossomed like an opening flower.
Sam didn't think, just reacted.
He'd been assigned duffel carrying duty, so duffel carrying he did, charging straight on at the edana and swinging the heavy bag into the black-hooded creature, knocking it off center.
Dean gasped, dropping like a brick.
But Sam wasn't finished. He swung the bag again. It stopped mid-arc, jolting his arm.
Not caught off-guard this time, the cowled corpselike monster grabbed the duffel and with uncanny strength tossed it aside, wrenching Sam off his feet with it.
Sam rolled to a stop on the floor and scrambled up to hands and knees.
The excuse for a zombie-ghoul hybrid strode toward him.
Dad was down.
Dean was down.
The chalk markings for the ritual to get rid of the thing weren't anywhere near complete. There was only one thing Sam could do.
He bolted, coming off the ground like a sprinter off the mark. He fled into the dark sewer passages, hoping the monster would follow, terrified the monster would follow.
Footfalls echoed behind him like loud gunshots reverberating off steel. Sam's heart took up the rhythm. Slap slap slap slap.
Gauzy light filtered from drainage grates in the streets above, slanting across wet mold-covered walls. Sam skidded into a T intersection, wrenching his shoulder, and banked left.
Their only chance, his only chance, was to give the edana something to chase long enough for either Dean or Dad to come to and perform the ritual that they hadn't even started yet.
Sam's sneakers slapped through water. A rat squealed underfoot. It was a terrible plan. The edana could outrun, out-endure any human being. Sam didn't have an ants chance at a cricket party.
His foot slid out from under him and he went down hard on a knee.
Get up get up.
Footfalls splashed behind him, a steady unhurried cadence. Sam hauled himself up, nearly fell again when he placed weight on the leg. Toppling into the wall, he held himself upright using the wall for support and hobbled down the passage as quickly as he could.
The edana was gaining on him. Sam felt the thing's presence flowing close behind him like a black wing.
He ducked into a shorter smaller sewage pipe the height of his knees and army crawled on his elbows and legs. His knee throbbed. Slimy water soaked his front, splashed into his face. He half-hoped the monster would not follow him in here, but the splashing, breathing, eerily heavy presence continued on behind him, growing closer, more menacing as the gap closed between them.
Sam reached the end of the pipe where it spilled down into a larger passageway. Sludge dripped from the lip of the pipe, smearing Sam's shirts as he crawled out and dropped to the floor.
Chest heaving, he rolled to his back, watching the pipe while he caught his breath. Please don't follow please don't follow. A long crooked pasty white hand crept out of the dark pipe and grasped onto the lip. It clenched, pulling and the white greenish orb of the thing's rotting face emerged from the dark. Silver eyes tracked the passage and latched onto Sam. Cracked peeling lips curved up in maliciousness.
Sam's heart lodged in his throat. Move, move now, his brain screamed at his protesting muscles.
Scrambling backwards, he twisted to get up, his side hitching in pain, his knee a flare of misery, but he couldn't give into it so he ran, at least tried to.
He ran into a narrower passage, moving sideways in the cramped space. The edana was practically breathing down his neck. The footfalls came on like the freakin Terminator.
Sam came to an intersection of sorts of five passageways. He took the one to the right, hoping to lose this thing. Several steps in, he paused to hide his own footfalls, hoping the creature would take another passage. His chest dragged up and down in erratic breaths that he tried to quiet. His pulse boomed in his ears.
Footsteps crunched behind him and Sam slammed a fist against the wall. He was so tired, so achingly tired.
Shoving off the wall, Sam limped down the passage as fast as he could possibly go. Every step shot agony through his leg.
The footfalls grew closer. He felt the creature draw near like a dark cloud.
Sam bore down on the pain and quickened his pace. He moved beneath another grate that striped the wall in muted moonlight. Trash, old cigarette butts and broken beer bottles crunched under his sneakers.
A sudden strike between his shoulders knocked him into the wall. Hands grabbed the back of his head and bashed his face into the concrete.
Pain exploded behind his eyes. Bones crunched. Blood ran down his face, over his lips and chin. His vision darkened.
He came to to acute pain in this chest. Flat on the floor beneath the edana, silver eyes tunneled into him. Sharp brutal torture drilled into his breast where spindly stiletto fingers broke through his flesh.
Oh God, the edana was going after his heart.
He tried to twist away from the agony. The creature's other hand pressed down on his shoulder, holding him easily in place. Sam latched onto the creature's wrist, trying to hold it off his heart.
Moonlight splashed across his vision. Tears leaked from the corners of his eyes. The pain was unimaginable. His heartbeat strained beneath the monster's grip.
Sam really didn't want to die.
Blood and tears streamed down the side of his face into his hair. His free hand scrabbled across the gritty cement through the garbage.
A blunt stab sliced into his palm. He grasped onto it like salvation, fingers closing around a cold cylinder. A broken bottle.
Without thought he plunged the bottle upward. The jagged edges slid into flesh—or whatever.
The silver eyes widened. Peeling lips parted.
With everything he had left, Sam pushed on that bottle, inching the glass in farther.
A heart for a heart.
Sam's arms shook. He let go of the edana's wrist to use both hands to push on the bottle.
Something shifted. The bottle slid in deep.
The creature shrieked, threw back its head and splintered into a million pieces—like coal dust that dropped onto Sam, coating him in dark sooty granules.
Sam still held the broken bottle upright. A shriveled blackened heart skewered on the jagged bottle, still pumped.
One arm flopped to the floor, the other stiffly held the bottle and heart upright, a living beating sinister trophy of ugly.
Sam's lungs pulled and exhaled, his breaths panting like gills on a fish out of water. His heart throbbed inside a chest that spasmed brutally cold. He threw everything he had into breathing around that pain- Just breathe around it.
A cloud drifted overhead above the grate, dousing the silvery moonlight. Synthesized music ricocheted off the passage walls for a few beats then died.
Sam panted—in, out, too rapidly, too short. He couldn't breathe around the tight concentration of pain. The cloud passed and soft muted light striped across his eyes. The edana's heart pulsed at the end of the bottle, a mockery of the rhythmic breaths Sam couldn't produce.
The music played again, the same eight beats. He knew he should know what that meant, but he couldn't think beyond breathing against the torment.
It was too sharp. Too concentrated. Too much. His entire world whittled down to the point above his heart. His entire body clenched like a tightening fist around it.
The music rang again.
Footfalls clapped across concrete.
Sam's fear spiked. His heart squeezed impossibly tighter. The edana had re-materialized? Was coming for him again?
A muted voice carried across the air. "I hear his ringtone. Dad, he's down this way."
The steps splashed through water, traveled through trash. The chink of a bottle scraping across the floor chimed out.
Something warm touched Sam's temple and he jolted.
"Easy, easy," a raspy voice soothed. "God, that's…that's a lot of blood."
Dean's face leaned into view, obscuring the grate and light above. Still gasping, folding his body rigid against the pain, Sam could only blink.
"You're gonna be okay, it's all going to be all right. You understand me?" Dean said it with enough conviction to force everything to be all right, and damn if Sam didn't believe him.
A wide palm pressed over his heart and Sam cried out. Every nerve erupted in misery.
But Sam couldn't respond. He couldn't tell Dean to stop.
And then something happened. The pain eased. He didn't know if it had simply run its course, if his muscles were somehow relaxing, or if it was just…Dean.
An audible gasp broke through. He was able to lift a shaky arm and latch onto Dean's wrist in the same way he had the creature's.
"Sam." Suddenly his dad was there, steady and strong enough to make Sam stay with them with just his voice alone. "Look at me, son."
Oh, but he couldn't. He was too afraid. If he took his eyes from Dean, the pain might come back.
"It's okay. He's with us, Dad."
A hesitation. "You're sure?"
Green eyes stared into his. "Yeah. Right, Sam?"
Sam blinked. That's all he could give him.
Dean's hand—the one not above Sam's heart holding him together—slipped into his hair, a warm reassuring pressure on his scalp.
"Okay." Dad again and Sam wanted to tell them how glad he was that they were both there, that they'd found him. Long fingers curled over Sam's unyielding hand, gently prying his fingers from around the broken bottle. There was something wrong about that. He had to hold it up, keep pressing the bottle up into the monster. His hand clamped more tightly. "It's okay, son. I got it from here."
His fingers were uncurled and the bottle taken from him. A large calloused hand took its place and Sam clamped onto his father's palm like the last twig in a tumbling landslide.
"What is this black stuff all over him?' Dean's voice started to sound echoy, like he spoke from a far distance. Sam screamed for them not to leave him, but all that came out were punchy gasps of air.
"I think . . ." Dad's voice floated farther away like the distant footfalls that would forever plague him. "I think that's the edana."
"But the ritual didn't work."
"Sam found a way." Their voices were fading. "The heart . . ."
"Pour this over it." He didn't know if they meant the creature's heart or his own. He couldn't tell who was speaking anymore, their voices indistinguishable and blurring.
Until burning liquid splashed over his chest and everything crashed back in startling clarity. Muscles jerking, his shoulders slammed off the floor.
"Whoa, whoa. Easy." Dean. "Just holy water."
Hands grabbed him from behind before he could fall back, keeping him upright, the pressure of each one slightly different. Dad's hand below the left shoulder blade, Dean's to the right.
Sam was sandwiched between both men and couldn't think of a safer haven.
Air began to flow more deeply through his lungs. His chest throbbed like a massive dull ache, but Dean's hand still rested over his heart and Sam let his fear ease. His coiled muscles relaxed and the pain lessened. His dad still held his other hand, even though the cut from the bottle bled between their palms like a shrouded promise.
"D-dad." He managed to finally croak out.
His dad leaned into view and Sam flinched, startled at the deep-seated lines of worry straining the usually calm self-possessed hunter's brow.
John's lips stretched in a semblance of a weak smile. "You're okay now." It was a statement, making it the truth. Sam had no other course but to comply. He gave the obligatory nod and his dad's smile lightened, his shoulders expanded as though he, too, could finally breathe easier.
"All right. Good. That's good, son." His dad's Adam's apple bounced. "I want you to stay here with Dean. Keep breathing steady like you're doing. In and out. You can do that, son. That's all you have to do."
Sam nodded again and John smiled again and pulled back. The sudden withdrawal of his arm at his back and palm against his felt the same as when their voices were drifting away so Sam kept watchful eyes on the man, making sure he didn't fade as John picked up the shriveled pumping heart by the bottle and walked down the passage until the darkness swallowed him. Sam imagined he was going to perform the ritual on the heart or splash it with holy water, something to put it to rest once and for all.
Dean edged closer, filling the absence Dad had left. "Shit, Sam, taking off like that—What were you thinking?"
He'd been thinking that no way was that creature going to take Dean's heart. But that was too large an emotion to put into words, so instead Sam let his forehead roll onto Dean's chest, just above the ripped material in the shirt and listened to his brother's patience heart beat.
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or The Terminator. If wishes were fishes though…