I'm back with another story that popped into my mind some time ago. I actually intended this to be an one shot but it's going to be longer than I thought - should know that by now... :) So here is the first part. Set between 7x13 and 7x14. All mistakes are mine. Enjoy!

Burning Cold

"You're kiddin', right?" Dean's voice was barely audible when an ice-cold gust of wind blew over their heads as they made their way towards a large mansion, towering up amidst the dark forest that surrounded it.

"I mean, really? A ghost hunt? After everything we've been through… you found us a ghost to gank?"

Sam wrapped his arms around himself, shivering slightly in the unforgiving wind. The sudden change in weather had been unexpected, blue sky turning into an ominous mass of dark clouds in the past half an hour. He should have taken his hoodie with him.

"I thought something normal would be nice for a change.", Sam replied, shrugging his shoulders.

Dean gave a laugh next to him and Sam smiled. Crazy - a ghost hunt 'normal'. But wasn't it just their life? And after Leviathans and creepy monster daughters the haunted mansion story just seemed to be the perfect hunt. An easy in and out without the dangers of getting shot or adding another deeply felt hole to the ones they've already gathered over the past weeks – or years. No black ooze and monsters rising from the dead, just a simple salt and burn. Something they'd be able to look back as being a success for once.

"So what's the story again?" They stopped a few feet away from the large oak front door, eyes taking in the cracks in the walls, cracked windows and ivy growing up high.

"There was a burglary about forty years ago. The owner Norman Jameson wasn't at home at the time but his wife and kid got killed at it. The murderers were never found though and Jameson hanged himself a few weeks afterwards when the case got closed. Some families moved in and out since then but never stayed for long. Flickering lights, moving furniture and a few harmless accidents were reported through the years, nothing serious. The mansion has been abandoned for the last decade now, getting the official haunted status by the locals. Now and then people come here for stupid games or just for the kick. It's been two months since the first death happened, followed by a second about a week ago. Both suffocated."

"Sounds like this Norman guy stayed to find the murderers of his family and finally snapped. Is he hanging them too?"

"Not sure. There haven't been any obvious signs, no rope imprints, no abrasions, no hand prints either."

"What isn't a surprise if there's a ghost choking you. Oh I can't wait to shoot it full of rock salt!", Dean said, shouldering his shotgun as he opened the door.

They stepped inside, door creaking as it shut behind them. They stood in a large entrance hall with an old glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling and doors at all sides opening to who knows how many rooms.

"His body got cremated, wife and kid too.", Sam went on.

"Awesome! So we're looking for something he's still attached to. Any idea what it is?"

"Not really. Could be anything. Might be something of his family that he's still holding onto."

"Well Sammy, let's split up then. Wanna be out of here before it's dark and my butt freezes off. I take the upper floor and you scan the rooms down here."

Sam nodded and watched Dean walking up the stairs, kicking up dust at every step he took. He waited till he was out of sight before he approached the first door on the left, raising his shotgun and kicking it open. The room behind it was empty despite a lonely chair in a corner. He looked around, searching for anything that might seem out of place. Coming up with nothing but spider webs and swirling dust that made his eyes water and his nose itchy, he proceeded. The next three rooms were pretty much the same, nothing closely to giving him a hint.

A sudden clashing noise from behind startled him. Sam spun around, shotgun raised but nothing to point at. No one was there. Across the entrance hall a door was ajar, swaying slightly. Sam frowned and approached it carefully, stopping shortly in front of it before he tore it open. A blast of icy wind blew him in the face, taking his breath away for a second. He shivered involuntarily.

One of the windows in the room was broken, splinters of glass littering the floor, no longer a barrier for the unforgivable storm that was raging outside by now. Sam looked around, lowering his shotgun when there wasn't any ghost in sight. The room was large, an old piano standing in a corner, a moth-eaten rug on the floor and a cupboard and a gold-rimmed mirror hanging crooked to his right.

Sam took a deep breath and stepped inside, hurrying over to the cupboard to scour it. He cursed when another freezing blast hit him, making his flesh crawl and sending shivers down his body. Why the hell didn't he bring his hoodie?

"Because you know it wouldn't do you any good."

Sam jumped at the taunting voice behind his back, pausing for a moment in his search. He swallowed and resisted the urge to turn around and flee but looked through the last drawer which ended up being empty as well as the other ones.

"Sam, you know I hate to be ignored like that. Doesn't this feel just like old times?" Ice-cold fingers touched his shoulder. Sam froze, bile rising up. He felt his mind drifting off slowly. No, not now!

Sam bit his lip and touched his scarred hand, pressing his thumb into the long since healed palm. He sighed with relief when he heard the familiar sizzle behind him that indicated Lucifer flickering and disappearing. He was still tense and held his breath when he turned around. But he was alone in the room. Task forgotten Sam had only one thing in mind right now – run, get out, away from the biting cold and the haunting voice that was still ringing in his ears. Sam crossed the room with a quick pace, stumbled out and closed the door with a loud and reverberating thud.

He leaned back for a moment, slowing down his breaths. 'Come on Sam, keep it together, you're in the middle of a hunt.' He tried to push the images to the back of his mind that threatened to resurface with the cold still lingering in his limbs.

Quiet whispers reached his ears, hissing and snarling. He couldn't understand a word of it, wasn't sure if he wanted to. He shut his eyes, bit his lip and pressed his scar again. The whispers ceased but before Sam could sigh with relief, loud crashing and rumbling followed. Sam's breath hitched and he dug his finger into his palm even deeper. A scream pierced the air and Sam screwed up his eyes, not daring to look, afraid of what he might see.

'It's not real, it's not real…", the mantra played out in his mind, his thumb probably bruising his palm by now. But the sounds didn't fade.

"Saaaammm!"

Dean's voice echoed through the house. Sam jumped and his eyes shot open as another cry of his name resounded distantly followed by a loud crash above him. That was definitely real. Damn!

He made a dash for the stairs, taking two steps at a time, shouting Dean's name when he reached the first floor. His brother didn't respond but another crashing sound came from the right and he didn't hesitate to rush forward, shotgun already raised and ready to fire. He neared the end of a hallway and kicked open a door on the left.

Sam gasped when he entered the room, the ghosts presence undeniable when the cold consumed him at once, creeping into every pore of him, making his fingers hurt, his lungs burn and his heart race. He felt like stumbling right into a freezer.

"Or the cage!" His whisper was like poison, infecting him with memories he just couldn't deal with right now. Cause across the room was an obviously raging ghost, towering over his big brother who lay sprawled against the far wall, only coming around slowly. Sam shook his head as if to shake off the devil on his shoulder and stepped forward.

"Hey!" The ghostly figure turned, furious eyes meeting concerned ones. Sam didn't hesitate and pulled the trigger, salt hitting the white apparition with force. He disappeared at once, salt grains falling down on Dean. Sam ran, dropping to his knees next to his brother.

"Dean, you with me?" He shook his shoulder and a quiet groan escaped Dean. His hand was swept away.

"For a princess you're all but gentle you know." Sam smiled, not complaining as long as his brother opened his eyes and bitched at him. Dean sat up, right hand clasping his left shoulder with a grimace. Sam opened his mouth but his brother beat him to it.

"I'm okay, just bruised my shoulder in the fall. Fucker came out of nowhere. Where the hell is he now?"

Sam stood up, holding out his hand. But before his brother could grasp it, Sam was suddenly lifted into the air. His eyes met Dean's shocked ones for a second before an invisible force threw him backwards. He hit the wall painfully, head banging into the hard stone with a sickening thud. For a moment all he could hear was a nasty ringing in his ears, drowning out all the sounds around him.

He felt the spirit before he could even see him. The cold was closing in again and as he cracked an eye open, a blurry white figure was standing right in front of him. His shotgun was lying a few feet away behind it. Not good… Its hands shot out fast, pale bony fingers reaching for his throat at the same time Dean's voice split the air.

"Sam, get down!"

He didn't hesitate and hit the dirt as Dean fired his shotgun. Jameson flickered out before the salt round could hit him. It went right through the window behind instead which shattered loudly. Shards of glass were raining down on Sam and he threw his hands up covering his head. They cut into his arms, leaving tiny scratches that stung painfully. But that was nothing compared to the icy rain suddenly pelting down. Sam was soaked in no time, gasping and shivering violently.

Lucifer was back in a second, sitting next to him cross-legged and stroking his hair affectionately. Sam felt bile rising in his throat. Pressing his thumb into his scarred hand he expected to stop the hallucination long enough to get up and help Dean. But the fingers in his hair didn't disappear.

"Oh no, you won't get rid of me so easily this time." The devil laughed heartily. "You remember the first time I touched you? I told you I burn cold but you were still so surprised."

Sam swallowed hard as memories assaulted his mind, no longer able to hold them back. Icy hands tracing deep gashes across his chest, the biting cold multiplying the pain instead of numbing it. Sharp-edged chains cutting into his wrists as he struggled to escape the sharp claws that dug into him like he was butter. Flames spiking up around him, his flesh smouldering and melting to the bones while the devil laughed next to him. No, stop it! He pressed his eyes tightly together to try to keep the horrific images out. He knew it wouldn't do him any good, it was all in his mind. Lucifer sneered into his ears.

"Let's have some fun, shall we? You were blocking me out for way too long. I'm a guy who needs some action from time to time. And that's just a fantastic fight to watch, don't you think?"

Lucifer's fingers tightened in his hair and he tug at them painfully, lifting his head and forcing him to look straight ahead. The spirit was back and heading for Dean in full speed who obviously was still a little wobbly on his feet from the knockout before. He wasn't fast enough to raise his shotgun in time and was flung right into the opposite wall, back hitting an old painting which broke and crashed down. Dean would have followed right away but Jameson gripped him by his throat and held him upright.

Sam heard his brother gasping, desperately trying to pull in the much needed air. But to no avail, the ghost had him tightly in his grip. A whisper echoed through the room, hissing and voice laden with anger.

"You killed them. They didn't know, were innocent, had nothing to do with it. And you killed them!"

Dean opened his mouth to say something but his voice was choked off as the ghost tightened his grip even further.

"No! Dean!" His anxious outcry reverberated around the room. He tried to get up, reach out for the shotgun which lay only a few feet away. But the devil still had a firm hold of him. Lucifer wasn't real, damn it! He knew that. So why the hell couldn't he move?

Sam could see Dean's eyelids fluttering now, clearly spacing out due to the lack of oxygen. No! Not again!

"Yes Sammy! Again! And again and again… You know it's one of my favorite tortures – killing Dean right in front of you."

His heart sank. Yeah, he wouldn't forget that. Dean had died so many times while he'd been unable to move a finger to save him. He'd known it wasn't his brother at first. The thought of Dean being safe and not in hell had given him the strength to fight and stay strong. But after years and decades in the cage it had become harder and harder to remember…

But he wasn't in the cage now! Wasn't at the mercy of the devil anymore. He could save his brother this time. He might not have stood a chance against Lucifer in hell but he knew he could get the upper hand here. He just had to get rid of him.

Head still in the devil's vice-like grip, Sam's hand searched the ground blindly till his fingers touched the sharp edge of a fragment of glass. He didn't hesitate, didn't take the time to prepare himself for what was to come. It had to be quick, had to hurt like hell. And it did!

Sam raised the piece of glass and thrust it right through his left hand.

White hot pain shot through it, travelling up his arm like electricity. He couldn't suppress the scream that build up in his throat. But through the haze of pain he felt the devil's hand release him and his scream turned into a small laugh of utter relief. He didn't care if he sounded crazy right now. No longer frozen to the spot, Sam didn't waste any more time and reached for the shotgun, salt ripping through the ghost a second later. Dean crumbled, slumped down and lay motionless on the floor.

Sam stood up on shaking legs, shivers still ripping through him thanks to his soaked clothes. Bleeding hand pressed tightly to his abdomen he made his way over to Dean, coming to a staggering halt in front of him and crouched down. His brother was pale and unresponsive when he shook his shoulder. Sam's heart was pounding fast when he felt for a pulse, not daring to take a breath till he felt the reassuring beat against his fingers.

"Dean? Come on, time to wake up!" No response of course.

Sam checked him shortly for any kind of head injury, glad to find only a small bump but no wound under his shaggy hair. He noticed with concern how shallow his brother's breaths sounded. His good hand travelled down palpating his throat, shocked to feel it already beginning to swell. He swore quietly. With Dean out and him one-handed they should definitely make a run and come back later. But how was he going to get his brother up and out of the house safely? He was still shaken to the core from his little memory trip and his muscles were barely able to hold his own weight. And they still had a very pissed ghost on their tail.

"Murderer!" The whisper was directly behind Sam and he whirled around, firing without hesitation. The spirit dissipated mere inches in front of him. No more pondering, time to hightail it!

Sam bent down, reaching under Dean's arms and heaved him up. He stumbled with the weight of his limp brother, injured hand reflexively trying to brace against the wall. Big mistake! The glass, still stuck in his hand, was pushed in even deeper and Sam's vision turned white for a moment. He found himself sprawled above Dean a second later, crushing his brother under him. Sam swallowed the bile that tried to force itself up his throat and blinked a few times to get his eyes to work again. And was surprised at what he saw.

The wall, right where his hand must have hit it, was pushed in now. He took a closer look and saw one of the bricks turned halfway, revealing a small opening behind it. And something was glinting from the inside. He reached for it with his good hand and stared at it in amazement. Small and transparent pellets lay in his open palm, not bigger than pebbles that sparkled in all kinds of colors when he moved his hand to and fro. He couldn't believe his eyes. Are these…? No. Or maybe… Dean would freak out. Well, he wasn't some expert but they were hidden inside a secret hollow so-

"Mine. Give it to me!" The eerie whisper was back and Sam only hand time to turn and swing his shotgun before the ghost's skeletal fingers could wrap around his throat. It vanished instantly with the touch of the iron.

Gemstones. Really? Hidden from greedy hands for decades. And a furious ghost who seemed pretty eager to get them back. Seemed like they found what was keeping their ghost in the world of the living.

Sam was already fumbling with his brother's jacket for the lighter before Jameson could make a comeback when a troubling thought struck him and his hands halted in midair. His excitement was crumbling like dust and his heart sank.

How the hell were they supposed to destroy gemstones?

TBC

I'd love to hear what you think?Good? Bad? I'll try to hurry up with the next part with our lovely caring big brother. :)