Title: A Bond of Brothers
Author: Disasteriffic Kaz
Info: The Winchester boys find an old legend and danger on the Salton Sea. Stand-Alone hunt set Post 2x15 "Tall Tales"
Author's note: Yes I know. You love/hate me. LOL I just can't help myself. Hopefully this will make up for the last chapters cruel cliffhanger. XD Read on me lovelies!
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
Sam turned keen eyes to the back however and the dim flicker of candles behind a low, tiled wall.
"Dean." Sam touched his arm and pointed. "Molhoney's altar?" He didn't wait for a response and headed for it, determined to see if there was a way to send the Taniwha brothers back to their rest.
"Sam!" Dean hissed as a sudden vibration came up through the soles of his boots. "Stop! Stand still!"
Sam turned in alarm as the rumbling grew louder, beginning to echo in the hall. He tugged the short sword free from his own back; twin to the one Dean carried and tried to watch the whole of the room at once. The sand began to vibrate at their feet.
Dean looked across to Sam and opened his mouth to tell him to get back upstairs and never had the chance. Sam was bent with his head in both hands, a look of agony on his face and then the ground between them erupted in a cloud of sand thrown into the air. A huge, dark shadow emerged and blocked his view of his brother. "Sam!" Dean shouted and fired both barrels of his shotgun into the Taniwha's back. It was huge, a row of sharp scales protruding in a line down its back. Dean circled the creature, desperate to reach Sam when he heard him scream. "Sammy!" Dean fired again and felt horror suck the breath from his chest as the Taniwha turned to face him. He saw one pale hand within the creature's maw, heard Sam's muffled voice scream again and then the Taniwha snapped its jaws closed, cutting off his little brother's voice.
"You son of a BITCH! SAM!" Dean leveled his shotgun at the Taniwha's head as it closed on him all the while the little voice in his mind was chanting: No, no, no, no, no.
"Sam!" Dean screamed his name, still unable to accept what had happened. The creature had eaten him; swallowed him up before his eyes and there'd been nothing he could do to stop it. A despair like nothing he'd ever felt; not even when his father died crashed through him like a tidal wave. It stole his breath and his strength. It made him want to lay down and wait for the Taniwha to eat him. He fired into the monsters face as it bore down on him, aiming for its eyes. The despair wouldn't help him save Sam but the rage…that would help him get vengeance. Dean wrapped it around him like a warm blanket; a bright, red rage that wanted blood. He drew the short sword from his back, letting the shotgun fall to the sand and stood his ground.
"Come get me you son of a bitch." Dean growled at the creature, unaware of the tears streaming down his face. He let it come to him, shifting its enormous body over the sand with the help of fins he hadn't noticed before. The Taniwha rose up before him, mouth opening wide and then it froze. It stopped above him and then it flinched, its entire body shaking and Dean heard a sound come from its open maw; the sound of gunfire.
Sam felt himself shoved and pressed inside a dark, wet tunnel. His gun. The Sword. He'd lost them both when the pain of the creature's thoughts crashed into his mind. It was still there, crushing him beneath the weight of the Taniwha's mind. He wanted so desperately to open his mouth; to take a breath but there was no air for him to breathe. He felt something burning along the exposed skin of his hands and face. Panic ripped through him at the realization he had been swallowed whole and was now inside the Taniwha. His lungs screamed; starved for oxygen. His heart thundered in his chest and then…slowly, he realized it wasn't just his own heart he was hearing. It was something much larger and much closer. Sam struggled and fought to get his right hand behind him, his fist closing desperately around the grip of his gun as he felt himself losing the battle to breathe.
Dean watched in shock as the Taniwha toppled to its side before him as yet another shot sounded from inside it. "Sammy?" Dean breathed, barely able to believe what he was seeing. He shook off the paralysis and darted around the Taniwha so he could see its exposed belly. The creature lay still, dead for the moment and Dean knew he needed to take its head to make sure but there was no way he could do anything without knowing first.
"Hang on, Sam." Dean stabbed the sword into the creatures belly and began pulling it back in a long line, opening the Taniwha's guts to the air. He gagged at the stench but didn't let up. When he'd opened its length, he dropped the sword and pulled out his knife instead. He didn't want to risk hurting Sam if he was still…he cut that thought off before it could finish. His mind refusing to hear that thought as he sawed through muscle and intestines. He ignored the foul stench and bile that gushed out over his hands, burning the skin as he dug inside the creature's body. Panic drove him on and he paused when his knife found something firm to catch on to. He hastily pulled the knife away and drove his hand into the hole he'd made up to his elbow and was rewarded with the feel of his brother's shoulder in his hand.
"Sammy!" Dean curled his fingers in a fierce grip on his brother and pulled. He dropped the knife and sank in his other arm until he found more of Sam to grab on to and tugged, grunting with the effort. He gave a short cry of relief when Sam emerged, sliding out of the warm, bloody mess in one fluid movement to tumble into Dean and then the ground.
"Sam? Come on, little brother." Dean bent over him and put his ear near his face but he could hear nothing; no sounds of breathing. He put shaking fingers to his neck and felt the faint thump of Sam's heartbeat. "You gotta breathe, Sam. Breathe!" Dean tipped his head back and blew a breath for him but his chest didn't rise. "Dammit!" He swiped his fingers into Sam's mouth, coming out with a gob of blood and mucus and flung it away before leaning in to give him another breath. This time Sam's chest rose and, feeling the first stir of hope, he breathed for him again. "Come on, Sammy. Please." Dean leaned back and slapped Sam's face sharply. "Dammit, Breath!" He slapped him again and sobbed in relief when Sam coughed and gasped in his first breath.
"Sam? Sam!" Dean pulled his head and shoulders into his lap. "That's it, buddy. Come back to me."
Sam gasped in air then panted and slowly realized he was no longer inside the Taniwha. The sound of Dean's voice brought him all the way back and he opened his eyes, frowning at the sickening feel of something viscous caked to his face. "Dean?" He said hoarsely and coughed again trying to clear his throat. His big brother was bent over him, holding him tightly and Sam had trouble understanding why his face was covered with the unmistakable tracks of tears. "You ok?"
Dean laughed rather than sob and nodded. "Yeah, sasquatch. I'm fine."
Sam hissed in a pained breath when Dean's hand squeezed into his shoulder. "Ow."
Dean bent to get a look and scowled at the clean cut of a knife through Sam's shirts. "Uh, sorry about that." He leaned back to look at Sam with a sheepish smile. "Did that while you were doing your Tauntaun routine." His brother chuckled and it was then Dean noticed Sam's right hand still curled tightly around his gun. "Pretty sure that's a first. Killing a monster from the inside."
"Well, isn't this touching?" A voice startled both men.
Dean jerked his head around to see Molhoney himself emerging from the stairs and narrowed his eyes dangerously at the gun steadily trained on them. "Molhoney." Dean purposefully kept his position, keeping himself between the madman with a gun and his brother.
"How ever did you manage to kill one?" Molhoney stepped further into the pool area, looking wide eyed at the carcass in front of him. "I'm impressed." He turned to grin at Dean. "I'm still going to kill you but I'm impressed."
"Gee, I'm so proud." Dean dead-panned, holding Sam still when he tried to move. He silently cheered his brother as he saw him slide his right hand with the gun out of sight. "Tell me you weren't doing all this for some mythical treasure. You can't be that stupid."
"Stupid?" Molhoney stared at him and shook his head. "Billions. There's billions out there under that damn sea just waiting to be found and I happen to have the vision to find it."
"And kill…how many…in the process?" Sam asked, still breathless. "The drilling. You're gonna cause a…an earthquake."
Molhoney shrugged. "What can I say? I've never been burdened with an overabundance of conscience when it comes to getting what I want." He waved the barrel of the gun at the brothers. "You're Hunters aren't you? I thought you might be when I saw you in my office that day."
Dean's eyes widened in surprise. "You know about us? Who the hell are you?"
"Today I'm David Molhoney." He smiled knowingly. "Once I have my gold I'll be someone else." He chuckled. "Someone filthy rich. Wont that be nice?"
"We're happy for ya." Dean said; his voice low and tensed as Molhoney rounded them so he could see Sam and the belly of the Taniwha.
"He doesn't look so good." Molhoney smirked and lowered the gun to point at Sam's chest. "Start with him I suppose.
Sam felt Dean tense above him, his arm tighten across his chest and decided they were out of time. He whipped his right arm up and fired before Molhoney had even registered the movement. The man stumbled back as the bullet took him high in the chest. Dean was out from under him like a shot and tackled the man to the sand. They rolled further away and Sam held his breath until Dean came up standing with Molhoney's gun in his hand and the other man wheezing and keening in pain where he lay.
"Nice shot, Sammy." Dean said proudly and went back to his brother. "You stand?"
"Dunno." Sam rolled to his side, mindful of the slice in his shoulder and waited while the ground rolled beneath him a few times before settling. "Yeah, I think so."
"Good, come on." Dean slipped his arm under his shoulder and pulled him up.
"Dean." Sam closed his eyes as his head began to pound, raising a hand. "Dean, its coming. The other Taniwha."
"Shit! Come on." Dean half dragged him to the rear of the facility, around the low wall they'd seen when they entered. Behind was the altar they'd been looking far. Dean lowered Sam to the ground beside it as he moaned in pain. "Just hang on, Sam."
"It knows." Sam ground out through the pain. "Dean, it knows."
Dean nodded and stepped back out into sight, looking to the dead Taniwha. It knew its brother was dead and it was coming for them.
"I can do this." Sam said behind the wall, pulling himself up the altar until he could see it. "Just…gimme a minute."
Dean watched him study the altar, the candles, crystals and Cuhilla runes inscribed on it, desperate to find a way to send it back to sleep rather than kill it. "You do that, Sam." Dean told him gently and then stepped further away. He scooped the short sword from the ground and waited, knowing there would be no sleep for the other creature and not wanting to hurt Sam by telling him.
The sands began to vibrate again, a rumbling noise following something as it neared beneath the ground. Out beyond the empty windows something large blew water into the air just off shore and then disappeared. It was coming and it was pissed.
Sam struggled to see through the monster's vision. He needed to focus on the altar; find a way to send it back. He could feel it nearing and worse; he could feel an overwhelming rage in the creature's mind. It wanted vengeance and underlying that was a hopelessness that made his heart ache. Sam closed his eyes for a moment and tried to focus. He tried to reach the Taniwha or rather the man it used to be. He wanted…needed to explain; to apologize for killing his brother. For just a moment he felt his thoughts get through and what greeted him was a burst of white hot anger so powerful it rocked him back into the ground with a cry of agony.
Dean heard Sam cry out but couldn't risk moving. The creature was too close and as his worry for his brother won out, the Taniwha burst through the soft sand beside Molhoney who was still wailing on the ground. He could have drawn the creature off. He could have shot at it or stamped and gotten its attention. Dean, however, was fresh out of mercy for things…or people that tried to kill his brother and so he stood still and waited for the opportune moment.
"God! Help me! Please!" Molhoney screamed as the creature turned on him. The Taniwha's massive head darted down, jaws open and scooped Molhoney from the ground. Dean watched, cringing in sympathy in spite of himself when it closed its jaws and cut the man in half.
"Ow." Dean breathed as Molhoney's legs thumped to the sand still twitching while blood flowed from the creature's mouth like water as it threw its head back to swallow the rest of him. Dean smiled grimly and raised the sword. He rushed forward, throwing all his speed into it while the monsters head was in the air leaving its throat open. He held the blade out in front of him and charged beneath it to drive the sword into its throat low, aiming for roughly where he knew the heart to be now, thanks to his impromptu dissection while saving Sam.
The Taniwha roared in pain as Dean danced out from beneath it seconds before it crashed to the sand where he'd been standing. The impact drove the sword in deeper prompting another enraged cry from the beast. Dean pulled his shotgun around and waited for the head to turn to him. He'd hit the heart. He was sure. Even as he watched the Taniwha's struggles were weakening. Its long tail pulled itself from the ground in a shower of sand and water to thrash as its powerful fins slapped into the ground. When its head turned toward Dean, he aimed and fired into the nearest eye.
He wasn't angry anymore, just resigned as he fired again and saw the light fade from the Taniwha's eyes finally as its body slowly stilled in the moonlight. He risked walking closer until he was standing beside it and rested a hand on its head for a second. "Sorry." Dean said softly and then turned away.
He found Sam pulling himself up with the help of the altar again. "Sam. You okay?"
Sam nodded weakly. The last round of visions from the creature had taken what little he had left. "I'm ok. Just let me do this."
"Sam." Dean said sadly and took his arms. He helped him stand and turned him to look out at the pool. "It's over."
Sam stared in shock to see the second creature as dead as the first. He had been so sure he could save them. He'd needed to save them. "Why, Dean? It didn't have to die!"
"Yeah he did, Sam. We killed his brother." Dean stared sadly at the two dead creatures. "Doesn't matter why. We killed him." He glanced over at Sam's face and then away. "He would have hunted us down and slaughtered us right before he took his own life."
Sam shook his head in disbelief. "You can't know that."
"Yeah I can." Dean tossed the sword down beside the Taniwha. He hitched Sam's arm on his shoulder and started him back toward the stairs. "It's what I'd do."
That simple sentence delivered so calmly rocked Sam. He went quietly as Dean helped him up the stairs, righted one of the lounge chairs and deposited him in it with strict instructions to stay put while he finished the job. Sam watched numbly as Dean vanished back down the stairs and understood then why Dean had been crying when he'd woken up below. It had only taken minutes for Dean to think him dead and plan his own death after killing the thing that killed him. It was the second time he'd had to face Dean's desire to die if Sam was gone and he wasn't any more comfortable with it now. He understood. He felt completely the fear Dean carried of facing the world alone without his brother at his side but it didn't make it any easier to take. He knew now, truly knew that the only thing that had kept Dean alive after their father's death was him.
Dean jogged back into sight up the stairs as a warm, orange light followed him; fires from the Taniwha bodies burning below. Dean dropped beside Sam and studied his pale face. "How you feeling?"
"I'm ok." Sam told him and smiled for him. "Head's killing me and uh…" He rotated his shoulder stiffly.
"Yeah." Dean rubbed a hand through his hair. "You look like a horror movie reject dude." He smirked at the disgusted look on Sam's face as he took in his own appearance. "Let's get you back to the motel and cleaned up before any of that crap gives you the damn plague or something."
Sam nodded and let Dean pull him back to his feet. His hands and face were still burning lightly from the Taniwha's stomach acid, his shoulder aching from the shallow cut of his brother's knife and his head, well…he was close to crying from the pounding pain that was near to making his eyes cross.
"Gah I want a shower." Sam groaned as they crossed the debris strewn floor and emerged back out into the night. "Now."
Dean tightened his grip on Sam as they staggered back toward the lights of Bombay Beach. "Sammy. Don't ever do that to me again." Dean said softly. He cursed himself the moment the words left his mouth but he couldn't help it.
"I'm ok, Dean." Sam said and smiled. "You saved me."
Dean flinched at his choice of words echoing their father but he nodded and pushed the fear away for another time. "Can't believe I had to cut you out of that damn thing." He tried for a lighter mood. "Dude, that was disgusting."
"Next time you can get swallowed." Sam said ruefully.
Dean took a good look at him in the moonlight and laughed. "Not if I gotta come out looking like something a vulture threw up. Eww dude."
"Jerk." Sam said with a roll of his eyes, instantly moaning at the pain it cost him.
"Bitch." Dean tossed back and with that simple exchange, felt his reality fall back into place. "Think you've got intestines stuck in your hair."
"Aw god." Sam groaned, feeling nausea creep up on him and resisted the urge to run a hand through his hair while his brother chuckled happily. "I will hurt you." He warned and swallowed hard as the evening breeze blew the smell of himself back into his nose. "On second thought…" Sam stopped mid-sentence, hastily bent and couldn't help the vomit that spewed forth. If he got any pleasure from the fact it covered Dean's boots, he wisely kept it to himself while his big brother cursed but didn't let go of him.
"Dude!" Dean shouted in disgust. "Aw man! That is just…that's just wrong." He held on to Sam while he spewed, keeping him from falling even as he wanted to dance out of the way.
Sam straightened finally with effort, letting Dean take most of his weight. "Karma." He said gruffly and gave a lopsided smile up at Dean.
"I Han Solo'd your ass out of a giant lizard!" Dean protested and got them walking again. "How do I deserve puke shoes?"
Sam grinned in the semi-darkness. "Make me puke I make you pay."
"I'm gonna remember this, you know." Dean warned though he laughed. "Oughta dump your ass out of the car next chance I get."
"Hey." Sam looked up at him. "You call Bobby yet?"
"Huh. No." Dean shook his head. "I'll call him in the morning."
"You don't think he might be worried?" Sam asked with a smirk and then burst out laughing when Dean's phone started ringing, the rock music tones shrilling out of his pocket. "Bet you ten I know who it is."
"Shut up." Dean groaned and fished out his phone. He flipped it open and ignored Sam's laughter as Bobby's irritated voice yelled out at them. He scowled for Sam's benefit but in truth, it settled him to know all his family was safe…even the jolly green idiot cackling beside him.