Title: The Dead Who Groan Within

Author: Disasteriffic Kaz

Info: The boys visit a quiet lake town in NY in search of a simple hunt and find more than they bargained for in a prehistoric ruin. Stand-alone hunt set post s1e07 "Hookman" with refs from ep.

Author's note: Last Chapter! :D Had to stop myself writing several useless pages at the end of just fluff and mush as it wouldn't have served any point and Dean was in far too good a mood. Heh. So enjoy!

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

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"So, end of the world kinda guy. Awesome." Dean looked up to meet Jasper's eyes. "You down with this? Huh? Your boss summoning up the bad ass that iced the friggin Devil?" The ground beneath them began to shake and Jasper's face looked anything but sure.

Jasper shook his head. "I do what he pays me for."

"He pay you enough to end the damn world? You think you get to live through this?" Dean pushed, eyes focused on Jaspers gun hand that was now trembling and had lowered from Sam's temple a fraction. The ground shook again and the bonfire blazed hotter. Around them a wailing started. "You're just a flunkie, you know that. Soon as Captain Kick Ass shows up you're toast pal, right along with us."

Jasper looked up to Fielding then, eyes narrowing. At the same time a host of spirits appeared in a wide ring at the edge of the pit. They began to swirl, the circle tightening and pulling them in toward the fire. As Jasper's eyes were on his boss and the ghosts, his hand lowered again and Dean sprang, tackling him back from his brother as the gun went off and pierced the eerie howling of the ghosts as they funneled into the bonfire.

CHAPTER 10

Dean rolled with Jasper across the ground, hand clamped firmly around the wrist with the gun and couldn't spare a moment to check on Sam as one of Jasper's bony knees connected with his stomach and knocked the wind out of him.

"Son of a bitch!" Dean gasped and drove his right fist into Jasper's face with a satisfying crunch. He twisted the hitman's wrist until the gun clattered to the stone and pushed it away as Jasper got his knee under him and flipped Dean backwards. "Ow." Dean grunted and rolled to his feet as Jasper flew at him, blood streaming from his broken nose. Dean had just enough time to see Sam struggling to his feet behind Fielding before the man's shoulder dug into his chest and took them both to the ground.

Sam panted for air as Dean went past him, the gun exploding in his ear and stealing all the sound from that side of his head. He tilted his head and saw Dean seemed to have the upper hand. He looked back to Fielding where he still stood though now he had dropped one arm to hang limply at his side, blood streaming from a bullet wound but he hadn't stopped chanting the ritual. Sam rolled painfully to his side and got his feet under him. The ever shrinking ring of spirits around them was closing in to the bonfire and Sam knew on a visceral level that if they reached it, all hell was going to break loose. He staggered forward, drawing the gun from the small of his back and aimed at the Warlock's back.

"Fielding! Stop!" Sam shouted above the noise, the crackle of the fire, the wail of the spirits and the now constant rumbling beneath their feet. Sam fired a shot into the stone in front of Fielding and saw him startle. The chant paused; he turned to look at Sam with a growl on his face.

"Abbaton will not be stopped. He is coming!" Fielding raised his good arm toward Sam.

"Nope." Sam muttered and fired, taking Fielding's left leg from under him before he could pull some mystical crap on him. He went to the Warlock where he rolled on the ground, grabbed a fistful of Fielding's robe and drove his fist in to the man's face. Sam watched as his eyes rolled back and he dropped to his back. He turned to look out as a ray of light broke over the top of the ruins, gleaming down on the fire and the ring of spirits now only yards away.

Dean threw his elbow into Jasper's neck, making the man gasp. He followed it up with a devastating kick to his sternum and dropped him but he didn't stay down. Jasper growled up at him and charged but Dean was ready. He took Jasper's momentum and used it to flip him through the air. Dean followed his progress and watched him come to a sliding stop beside Sam and Fielding who wasn't looking too good either.

"Sammy?" Dean staggered closer and Sam gave him a nod and a smile, stepping back from the Warlock.

The ground beneath them shook in earnest as the first ray of dawn touched the bonfire. The swirling ring of spirits gave a sudden, ear shattering wail and broke apart with the ritual unfinished. They dispersed en masse and sank into the ground, released.

"Is that it?" Dean asked as silence suddenly fell and he looked around, wary.

"Maybe?" Sam shrugged his good shoulder and looked back to the fire. The shaking beneath their feet rumbled on, gaining strength and Sam took another step away toward his brother as the fire began to fall in on itself. Suddenly it exploded, flaming timbers shooting outward in all directions as a massive, spectral hand raised up from the center into the air. Sam turned and ran. Dean grabbed him as he neared and pulled them both away, throwing them to the side. The hand was enormous, clawed fingers reaching into the air and then it turned, lowering toward the two men lying beside the remains of the bonfire.

Fielding was still unconscious but Jasper rolled to his back and saw it coming for them. He scrambled to his knees, trying to crawl away as the hand came down upon them. It covered the Warlock's still form and dug ephemeral claws into Jasper's back.

"Help me!" Jasper screamed as he and his boss were dragged into the burning embers. The flames suddenly roared back to life, burning up into the lightening sky and both men were pulled from sight along with the hand.

Silence descended on the ruins finally, only the sound of the morning breeze and then the distant chirping of birds rang out. "Well that was...surprising." Sam said, a little breathless and sat up, staring around the open area as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. He shook once, hard, at how close they had come to not stopping the ritual in time. Dean got to one knee and looked over at Sam. He snorted and slapped a hand to the back of Sam's head. "Ow! What the hell, Dean?" Sam protested.

"You were on fire, dude." Dean chuckled and slapped a few more times before standing up. Sam clapped a hand to the back of his head and felt the singed and much shorter hair. He gave a long, disgusted sigh and let his still laughing brother pull him to his feet. "Don't worry, princess. It'll grow back."

"Bite me." Sam tossed at him and hunched over his aching chest. "There anything left?" He nodded to the remnants of the bonfire and Dean shrugged. He picked up Jasper's discarded gun and went cautiously forward until he was standing at the edge, looking in.

"Just a couple bloody trails." Dean called back and pocketed the gun before walking back. "Can we get the hell out of this town now?"

Sam shook his head, adrenaline beginning to wear off and didn't argue when Dean slipped under his good arm. "Still have to take care of the other Dobhar-Chu and her eggs."

Dean groaned. "Yeah, you're right. Come on, Humpty. Let's see if we can get you put back together enough for that." He hitched Sam's arm a little higher and pulled him along deeper into the ruins. They reached the main path up through the center and both men stopped, jerking back in surprise. A spirit stood in the shadows that still covered the path and watched them.

"Crap." Dean let Sam stand on his own and pulled the shotgun he'd picked up from beneath his jacket, leveling it at the spirit.

It was a woman, shimmering faintly as the sun rose and the light grew. She raised her hands slowly and smiled at them. "Thank you." She said, her thin voice easing through the air before she faded from sight.

"Alrighty then." Dean lowered the shotgun and slid back under Sam's arm.

"It was the Dobhar-Chu and the Warlock stirring up the spirits." Sam said, letting Dean get them moving again. "Hopefully they'll go back to rest now."

"Yeah cause we are definitely taking this place off the vacation list." Dean groused and took a bit more of Sam's weight as they headed uphill toward the parking lot and the car. Dawn had truly broken, sunlight streaming across the sky and turning the low hanging clouds orange and yellow in a beautiful display.

Sam realized, as they neared the car, that it was the first time he had heard the birds singing in the ruins since they'd first arrived. The ruins felt different now, lighter somehow. He knew the ghosts were gone now, he could feel it. He opened his mouth to tell Dean and then thought better of it. Telling him that would make him ask how he knew and Sam wasn't ready to have that conversation; he wasn't sure he even understood it himself yet.

"You okay?" Dean asked, sensing his brother tense and Sam nodded.

"Just tired." Sam turned and dropped carefully into the passenger seat once Dean opened the door. He cradled his left arm across his chest and leaned his head back.

Dean didn't say anything, just watched him for a moment and then closed the door with an irritated huff. Once again Sam wasn't telling him something and it was starting to wear on him; his little brother not trusting him with everything like he once had before college. He shook his head at himself and went round to the driver's side. Sam was a grown-up now and he had to keep reminding himself of that. He got behind the wheel and shook his head at his brother. Sam's head had already fallen on the seat, his whole body starting to tilt toward Dean in sleep. He snorted and reached across, pulling the seatbelt over Sam to keep him in place. He pulled out of the ruins and sincerely hoped they'd never have to come back.

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"Oh crap." Dean groaned as they neared Esperanza Mansion. Sam jerked awake at his voice and looked out the windshield, mouth dropping open.

"That can't be good." Sam said softly as they pulled around to the drive leading behind the mansion. Smoke was billowing up into the sky from the backside of the impressive building. As they pulled around the back they could see a gaping hole where the rear entrance had been. The space where the Impala had last parked was buried in rubble. Several people stood a distance away, watching in shock as the smoke poured and flames danced in the depths. Dean pulled the car up at a safe distance behind the lone police cruiser there. He and Sam climbed out and headed closer.

"What do you think?" Dean asked and Sam shook his head.

"Maybe…Fielding's altar? Every witch and warlock has one. Maybe Abbaton took it out when he took him." Sam saw Deputy Dooey ahead of them and the officer turned, eyes widening when he saw the brothers. "Wonder if he knows about the chief yet?"

"Shush." Dean told him and met the Deputy near the yellow tape he'd put up. "Deputy. What the hell happened here?"

Deputy Dooey pulled the hat off his head and ran a hand through short blonde hair. "Well, one of the witnesses says it was a steam pipe explosion." He looked back at the building and shrugged. "I don't know honestly and uh…" He looked back at both men. "Well, the Chief's missing. No one's seen him since sometime yesterday."

Dean gave him innocent eyes. He liked the Deputy and maybe even trusted him a little but being involved in the death of an officer, however innocently was not something they needed. "We haven't seen him. Believe me." Dean raised his hands. "I've steered clear of him."

Deputy Dooey nodded and then took a closer look at Sam. "Are you ok? You look like…" He trailed off and stared. "Um…the snake?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, it's dead." He smiled at him. "So this witness, he see anything else?"

"She." Dooey waved an arm behind him. "The owner's personal assistant. She barely got out."

Dean looked over in surprise and saw Lana standing very near the building. "Mind if we uh…" Dean waved toward her and Dooey shrugged.

"Yeah go ahead. Fire's mostly eaten itself down at this point." He stepped away and Sam and Dean went around the tape and over to Lana where she rang her hands, looking into the building.

"Lana?" Sam called and she turned in surprise. "Are you alright? What happened?"

"Oh my…." She gasped and came to them, touching a hand to each of their arms. "Is he…Mr. Fielding, is he…dead?"

Sam nodded and put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "He's gone. You're free."

Lana whisked her hands to her face, eyes closing and tears began to fall. "When his altar…it went up in flames." She dropped her hands and gave a shaky smile. "I knew it had to be. I…I hit the fire alarm and got out and then this happened." She looked back at the mansion.

"Lana." Dean leaned in so no one would over hear. "Are you sure there's nothing still alive in there?" He raised his brows meaningfully and after a moment her eyes widened in understanding.

"Oh! Well, I don't really know." She looked nervous now. "I mean, all that fire…it would have to be dead, wouldn't it?"

"Maybe." Dean looked over to Sam who was frowning and then jerked in surprise.

"Dean!" Sam grabbed his arm and used his body to physically push them all away, back toward the yellow tape as a smoldering black body erupted from the rubble, slithering out into the parking lot. The few bystanders screamed and ran. Dean grabbed Lana's arm and threw her behind them as he pulled the bronze Skein from his back. The Dobhar-Chu's hair had all been burned off; she looked more like a great Anaconda now as she rounded on them. Her massive head swung up, tongue lashing out and she spotted Dean. Her head wavered and then turned, seeing Sam.

"Son of a bitch." Dean gasped as she lunged forward and took Sam's legs out from under him. She remembered his brother swiping one of her eggs obviously. Sam rolled away, getting slowly to his feet and falling back as she arrowed her head at him again. "Sam!"

"Get down!" Deputy Dooey's voice carried over the chaos and the sound of gunshots ripped through the air. The serpent's head jerked with the hits and Dean looked back in surprise. Dooey was holding a shotgun and firing what had to be rock salt rounds. "Guy learns fast." Dean muttered and ran to his brother while she was distracted.

Sam waved him off. "No! Dean! Let her come for me!"

"What? Are you off your damn rocker?" Dean skidded to a stop as Sam got to his knees.

"Kill her while she's distracted dammit!" Sam yelled back at him and then picked up a piece of stone, lobbing it at the side of the Dobhar-Chu's head.

"Oh we are gonna talk about this, Sammy." Dean growled as the snake turned back to his little brother and lunged across the pavement at him.

Sam ran behind a large green dumpster, wondering if maybe this hadn't been one of his better ideas as the serpent's head slammed into the other side, shoving it and him backward. "Crap." Sam gasped and risked a glance over the top. He reared back in surprise as her head rose above the dumpster, jaws wide and hissing. She lowered her head down until her muzzle was only inches from his face, red eyes searing into him as a horn slowly emerged from the center of her head. Sam gagged a bit on the smell of burnt hair and flesh coming from the Dobhar-Chu and silently begged Dean to hurry. She opened her jaws wide as Sam backed into the low stone wall behind him and suddenly, she lurched back as an unearthly scream burst from her throat and Sam saw a blur that could only be his brother vanish beyond the dumpster.

Dean waited until the creature's head was stretched out over the dumpster, reaching for Sam before he ran in. He ducked under a loop of her body as Deputy Dooey loosed another round and drove his Skein into where he hoped her heart was located. She screamed as he dragged the blade heavily through the interlocking scales. "Come on." He grunted and then shouted in surprise when he was lifted from his feet as she rolled, trying to escape the knife. "Oh no you don't." He wrapped his legs around the Dobhar-Chu's body and held out. He rolled his eyes and plunged his hand inside the hole he had made, feeling for her beating heart. He found it as she slammed him into the pavement. Not releasing his grip, he pulled the blade free and plunged it into the heart.

The Dobhar-Chu gave a mortal scream, her coils thrashing and fell to the ground. Dean rolled away from the twitching body and got painfully to his feet.

"Dean? You alright?" Deputy Dooey ran over, skirting the serpent as Sam emerged from behind the dumpster.

"Yeah." Dean bent over and took a few deep breaths. His back was going to look like a Rorschach test of bruises he was sure. "I'm good. Sam?"

"Here." Sam staggered over and pulled Dean upright. "Now can we go?"

Dean snorted a laugh. "Oh hell yes. Deputy, no offense but I hope we never see this town again."

Deputy Dooey lowered his shotgun and smiled with a nod. "Thank you. Both of you." He glanced back at the Dobhar-Chu. "Don't know how I'm going to explain this."

"You don't." Dean took his arm in a friendly grip. "You salt the body and burn it. Now. Things like this, if you don't get rid of them, sometimes…sometimes they can come back." Dean watched surprise spread across his face. "Look. You did good." Dean tapped the shotgun. "There's hope for you yet." He grinned at Dooey.

"But if you start talking about giant serpents and ghosts…" Sam smiled sadly up at him. "Trust me, you don't want to try and explain this. Get rid of the body and come up with a good story."

Deputy Dooey looked between them and finally nodded. He fixed Dean with a serious look. "The Sheriff. He's not coming back, is he?"

Dean considered and then took a chance with a short nod. "We did kill the other one but uh…not in time. I'm sorry." Dean looked back to the smoking building. "There were seven eggs in there. Make sure they all went up." He handed Dooey his Skein with a smile. "Just in case."

Dooey nodded, taking the bronze blade. "Thank you. You two should get out of here. I'll…I'll take care of this."

"Thank you, Deputy." Sam said sincerely and turned to follow his brother back to the car. He gripped his hand below his left shoulder and tried to ignore the pain running through him. He startled when he felt Dean beside him, pulling his right arm over his shoulder.

"Dude you need to get horizontal." Dean said seriously and steered them toward the Impala. "And you ever pull that snake bait crap on me again I will kick your ass."

Sam snorted. "Doesn't bother you when you do it." He said as Dean opened the door and helped him in.

"That's different." Dean belted him in and met the bitch face aimed at him. "I'm the awesome big brother."

"Right." Sam rolled his eyes and let his head slide down to rest on the window as Dean shut the door.

"Idiot." Dean groaned and walked around the car to find Lana waiting for him.

"Thank you." Lana said and impulsively threw her arms around Dean's neck, pulling herself up and kissed him before dropping back. "Um…just, thank you." She said as her face blushed a brilliant red while Dean grinned.

"Next time someone offers a deal for your soul, say no." He told her and got in the car, grin still in place.

"What is it with you and women?" Sam asked, amused and Dean chuckled.

"Chicks dig me, little brother." Dean said, satisfied as Sam laughed and pulled out of the parking lot as the first fire truck arrived and a second plume of smoke rose from what had been the body of the Dobhar-Chu. He pulled out and drove north, aiming to get the hell away from Bluff Point and Keuka in general. "How you doin' over there?" He glanced over to see Sam grimace as they went over a pothole.

"Just lemme lay down somewhere for a week I'll be good." Sam smirked over at him and let his head fall back to the window.

"I'll see if we can get you some hot nurses." Dean grinned as Sam jerked his head up.

"Dude, no. I'm fine. I don't need a hospital." Sam argued and Dean shook his head.

"Suck it up, Sammy. You and your broken ribs are getting checked out." Dean assured him and to prove his point, he aimed for the next pot hole and smirked when the blood drained out of his brother's face on a groan. "Unless you wanna wrestle for it?"

Sam let his head fall back on a moan. "Jerk."

"Bitch." Dean retorted with a happy smile and followed the first sign with a blue H he found. He turned the radio on and hummed along with Meatloaf about paradise and wondered how he could humiliate his little brother in a hospital with an open back gown.

"Why are you laughing?" Sam asked suddenly, warily from the passenger seat and Dean just shook his head.

"No reason, Sammy." Dean turned the volume up and started singing.

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The End.