Dean's admiration for Allison grew when she didn't bat an eyelash as he hotwired a neighbor's car. He also appreciated the fact that she wasn't a backseat driver; it was hard enough weaving his way through the sleepwalking children in the street without having a co-pilot making unnecessary chit-chat. Once they outpaced the somnolent herd, Dean was able to hit the gas, but he could not outrun his racing thoughts.
We have enough time. I wasn't unconscious long enough for them to get anything done. They still have to brew the potion and that takes time. We're in a car, and they're waiting for the kids to arrive on foot. We have enough time. They haven't done ANYTHING to Sam.
Dean rolled into the driveway of the Sanderson house and quietly came to a stop. He jumped out of the driver's seat and Allison took up her position. Dean crouched and snuck up to the window near the rear of the porch, trying to get a lay of the land and see where the witches were positioned. He could hear Winifred talking, she was awfully proud of herself.
"Soon the lives of all of thy friends will be mine and I shall be young and beautiful forever!"
"It doesn't matter how young or old you are, you sold your soul! You're the ugliest thing that ever lived, and you know it!" Hearing Sam's voice as he argued with the witch was such a relief that Dean had to steady himself against the wall.
"You'll die first," Winifred growled. The threat put steel in Dean's spine, and he headed for the door.
"The potion is ready. Open his mouth!" Winifred ordered.
"Sam! Don't drink it!" Binx shouted out. Hearing the cat's voice was a relief to Dean as well.
Dean passed by the window closest to the door. Mary and Sarah had closed in on Sam who was tied to the chair where Emily Binx died. Mary cried out, "He bit me!" and Sarah was hopping around in pain from a kick that connected with her shin. But Dean's biggest concern was the ladle full of glowing, green potion that Winifred was trying to get past Sam's tightly closed lips.
Dean kicked the front door open and announced, "Prepare to die…again!"
The witches looked up in alarm. Sam was relieved, but kept his mouth shut. "You!" Winifred yelled. "You have no power here you fool!" She hadn't stopped trying to push the potion on Sam, and Mary had moved behind the chair to hold his head steady.
"Maybe not," Dean yelled, trying to engage Winifred. "But there's a power greater than your magic…and that's knowledge."
Dean could tell he was getting Winifred's attention. Knowledge was her strength and she prided herself on knowing more than everyone around her. But it wasn't enough to take her focus off of Sam and Mary was now working on forcing his jaws open.
In desperation Dean resorted to a schoolyard taunt. "There's one thing I know that you don't!"
He let it hang there praying that Winifred would take the bait. She stood up straight, bristling with irritation – finally, her focus was on Dean and not Sam. "And what's that?" she demanded.
Dean flashed a signal to Allison behind his back. "Daylight Savings Time!"
The witches looked confused, and then the room was flooded with pink light from the east. Both Sarah and Mary shrieked in alarm and ran toward Winifred. The three of them stared in horror out the window as they backed away from the cauldron toward the shadows in the rear of the room. Dean rushed forward and slipped a utility knife from his jeans' pocket. He cleanly sliced through the ropes binding Sam. Sam didn't waste a moment; he jumped out of the chair toward the burlap sack hanging uncomfortably close to the fire.
With Binx in hand the Winchesters ran for the door. Dean turned before exiting and delivered a solid kick to the cauldron spilling the noxious green potion across the ancient, wooden floorboards. The red-headed witch watched with hatred in her eyes even as she pulled her huddled, screaming sisters closer.
Dean turned and ran out the door. Allison was futilely whistling an alarm – he probably should've made sure she could whistle before making that the signal – and waving her arms like a pinwheel urging him to move faster. Dean ran around the front of the car and peeled the red gels off of the headlights.
The drive back to town was a nightmare in slow motion. The spellbound children of Salem had made their way nearly to the witch's lair. Dean had to weave around them on the road knowing all the while that Winifred would soon see through his trick and would soon be after them. At least he had destroyed the potion so none of the potential victims was actually in danger.
"Are they following us?" Dean asked intently. He picked up speed as they cleared the main group of children heading toward the house. He tried to keep his eyes on the road while watching the rear view mirror.
Sam flattened himself against the backseat and looked up at the sky. "No."
"Good." Allison smiled and patted Dean on the leg.
Without warning, Winifred swooped down on the driver's side of the car and smashed the back window spraying Sam with broken glass. Allison and Sam yelled in alarm. Dean instinctively swerved to the right shouting, "Bitch!"
Dean righted the car back in his lane. Winifred swooped in again reaching for Sam in the backseat. "I will have what's mine!" she threatened.
Dean rolled down his window until he could reach out and grasp the end of Winifred's broomstick. He pulled her forward and landed a very satisfactory punch on her jaw. She lost her equilibrium and careened out of control into the trees.
Sam whooped in the backseat, but Dean did not share his elation. "Stay down, Sammy!"
Their time was limited before Winifred and the other two regrouped. Driving around until dawn actually arrived wasn't a feasible option. They needed to hunker down, if not someplace safe, at least someplace where they had an advantage.
Dean headed back toward the cemetery.
With a squeal of breaks Dean stopped the car as close to the wrought-iron cemetery gates as possible. Binx shouted, "Hurry! Hurry!" as Dean barked, "Go! Go! Go!"
Binx leaped through the bars and took the lead. Sam and Allison were hot on his heels. Dean grabbed the bag of supplies and made sure the cemetery gate was shut firmly behind them. He turned at top speed hastening to join the others on the path toward the little hill when he crashed into Billy Butcherson and bounced off of him, landing on his ass.
Jesus Christ! I forgot about the zombie!
Crab walking backward, Dean tried to put some distance between himself and Butcherson. All too soon he could feel the iron gate against his back - nowhere to go.
"Run, Sammy! Run!"
Dean fumbled into his pocket and pulled out his utility knife. It seemed a pitiful weapon against such a large foe, but it was all he had. Dean climbed to his feet and held the knife at the ready. If he was lucky he'd get one good shot in.
The zombie swung at Dean. He was having trouble coordinating his limbs. It was his strength that made him dangerous. If Dean could just manage to duck past him, maybe he'd have a chance.
Dean jumped and turned to look at the voice shouting practically in his ear and lost the upper hand. Billy grabbed the wrist holding the knife, and then turned and pulled Dean against his chest. Dean fought to keep possession of the knife but was no match against the zombie's superior strength.
Winifred shouted orders as she hovered above the sidewalk outside the cemetery on her broom. "Billy! Listen to me! Kill him if you must, just bring me that boy. That Sam!"
Dean struggled harder, but the zombie pinned both of Dean's hands with his left arm. The knife in Billy's right hand came closer and closer to Dean's face.
"And put some wiggle in it you putrid, festering bag of bones!"
The knife's trajectory changed as Billy put the blade up against the stitches on his lips. One by one he cut through the bindings as Winifred harangued him.
"Don't dawdle! Come along now! Kill him…do it now!"
Billy's mouth popped open with a wheeze and his jaw creaked and snapped. Ancient moths flew out of an unexpected escape hatch. Dean's eyes watered and he coughed at the stench.
Dean blinked. Winifred gasped.
Winifred's jaw dropped in shock.
"You buck-toothed, mealy mouthed, firefly from Hell!"
Winifred shrieked at the insults.
Billy leaned in closer to confide, "I've waited centuries to say that."
"Say what you want," Dean coughed, "Just don't breathe on me."
Dean didn't know the reason, maybe this close to dawn Winifred's spell lost its potency, but suddenly they seemed to have a zombie on their side. It wasn't that much stranger than a talking cat, was it?
"I killed you once, I can kill you again!" Winifred threatened. Billy just waved her off and pointed Dean in the direction the others had run.
Stumbling over the uneven ground, Dean pushed forward. Dawn - real dawn - had to be soon. They just needed to hold out a little longer.
Under a stand of trees near the bottom of a small hill by Billy's recently disturbed grave, Sam and Allison were waiting. Both had armed themselves with large branches.
"Dean! Look out!" Allison and Sam came running at them.
Dean held up his hand in a warding off gesture. "Whoa! Whoa!" He turned toward Billy. "He's a good zombie."
Allison looked suspicious, but Sam was much more flexible in his thinking. "Hey Billy!" And just like that, they were a band of five.
"Come on," Binx urged, "We'll have to hold them off until dawn."
Dean surveyed the territory. The trees overhead would impede the witches' flight but aside from ducking behind large headstones there weren't many places to take cover. What concerned Dean was that Sam was clearly Winifred's target and there was no good place to hide him. Dean toed the soft, brown dirt of Butcherson's grave thoughtfully. If the witches couldn't step foot on hallowed ground they certainly couldn't go in it. But Sam could.
"You've got to take cover, Sam." Dean stated.
Sam looked down into the empty grave with a frown. He looked at Dean with a raised eyebrow and gave a heavy sigh.
"It's not so bad," Billy added helpfully.
"Just until the sun comes up, Sammy. No time at all."
"'kay." Sam agreed. He held out his hand to Dean who grasped his wrist and lowered Sam into the grave. Then Dean passed him the branch he was brandishing earlier.
Satisfied that Sam was squared away, Dean knelt and opened the bag of supplies. He handed a container of salt to Allison who quickly drew a circle around the grave where Sam was standing. He took out a baseball bat for himself and took a few warm-up swings. Binx perched on the top of Billy's headstone and they all looked to the sky.
"Here they come!" Binx cried. "Billy, guard Sam! Dean and Allison, spread out!"
Dean was so well trained that he never questioned following orders from a talking cat. Moving to an area that was slightly clearer gave Dean more room to work, although it would also give the witches greater access. Dean didn't care if they all came at him; as long at they were focused on him they weren't focused on Sam.
With an angry growl, Winifred zeroed in on Dean. "For the last time, prepare to meet thy doom!"
Dean took a swing with the bat, but the witch easily evaded it.
"I've had enough of you," she snarled.
"Oh sister, not nearly enough as I've had of you," Dean retorted. He swung again but this time Winifred caught the bat in a surprisingly strong grip. She pulled the bat out of Dean's grasp and tossed it aside. Then she leaned forward and came at him on her broom determined to run him down.
Dean sprinted away from the area where Sam was stationed but he wasn't fast enough to evade Winifred on her broom. She managed to grab the back of his sweatshirt and pull him off of his feet until she lost her grip on his shirt and he fell to the ground. The wind was knocked right out of him.
Dean forced himself to breathe and climb back to his feet, but he knew he was too moving too slowly. By the time he turned around Allison had run out of salt and was having trouble dodging Sarah's aerial attacks. Winifred had circled around and was focused on taunting Billy. Without warning she dove toward him, but at the last second she pulled her broom up sharply and cleanly knocked his head right off of his neck.
Sam yelled in alarm as Billy fell to his knees searching for his missing head. Dean headed back toward the grave and yelled at Sam to leave it alone because he knew that Billy would be fine for a while without his head; it hadn't seemed to stop him before when Dean knocked his gourd off. But Sam didn't know what Dean did, and since the zombie was fighting on their side, Sam felt compelled to help him.
It was like a nightmare. Dean could see Sam pull himself out of Billy's grave to retrieve the zombie's head from where it landed after rolling away. He tried to yell for Sam to get back inside the circle, but his lungs had no power. Sam was so focused on getting the head back to Billy that he wasn't watching the sky. He placed the lost head in the zombie's hands and stood up to head back toward the grave. That's when Winifred swooped in and claimed her prize.
"Dean!" Sam cried in alarm.
"Sam!" Dean scrambled over fallen logs and broken headstones, but all that was there upon his arrival was Billy's empty grave.
Winifred swung around in a lazy circle. "Say bye-bye, big brother!" She halted the broom's flight about 25 feet up in the air. Sam's balance was precarious, though Winifred was careful to hold on to her precious cargo.
"All right you little brat." From within a pocket of her voluminous robe Winifred pulled out a vial of the noxious green potion she had spent the night trying to brew. Sam gave up a valuable handhold on the broom in order to clamp his hand over his mouth.
Winifred pulled the stopper out of the vial with her teeth and struggled to pull Sam's hand free of his mouth. "Drink it! Drink it you vile child!"
"Hang on, Sam!" Binx shouted. Nimbly, Binx climbed a nearby tree leaping from branch to branch until he matched the height of Winifred's broom.
Watching Sam and the witch struggle at that height made Dean nauseous. Suddenly Binx leapt on Winifred's back from behind. Clawing and scratching he added to the mid-air fight. Winifred lost hold of the potion. Dean scrambled to catch it. With an angry yell, Winifred reached over her shoulder, dislodged Binx and threw him down to the ground.
"Give me that vial!" Winifred demanded.
"Put him down, or I'll smash it!" Dean yelled in return.
Winifred locked an arm around Sam's throat and pushed him off-balance on the broom. "Smash it, and he dies!"
Everything was suspended for a horrible, endless moment. There was no safety for Sam either way – smashing the vial or giving it back would both result in his death – so Dean really had no other options.
Locking eyes with Winifred, Dean brought the potion to his lips and swallowed it in one gulp. "Dean! No!" Sam yelled.
Dean never looked away from the witch. "Now you have no choice. You have to take me."
Winifred brought the broom down to ground level slowly, perhaps frightened about spooking Dean if anything happened to Sam; she didn't have enough time to chase him down. She hovered close enough to speak to Dean but still leave Sam's legs dangling without touching the ground.
"What a fool to give up thy life for thy brother's."
Dean's gaze shifted to Sam's worried, frightened face. He was all big eyes and denial; it was all happening too fast for him to comprehend. Dean wished he had the time to explain that it was really okay; that he was doing exactly what he needed to do. Sam reached out his hand to Dean, and Dean raised his, ready to grasp it in his – one last bit of contact before they were done.
But Winifred grew impatient with the reward so close at hand. Unceremoniously she gave Sam a shove. Dean couldn't help but watch the fall. Sam fell the last few feet to the ground and Dean was relieved when he rolled as his feet made contact. Winifred reached forward and grabbed Dean's shirt with both hands, not needing anything other than innate magic to remain seated on her broom, and swiftly rose into the air.
Sam was in motion beneath them immediately, calling "Dean!" but they were already out of reach. Allison and Billy gathered around Sam, but there was nothing they could do but watch.
Dean might have swallowed the potion voluntarily, and then stood quietly as a sacrificial lamb until Sam's feet hit the ground, but he had no intention of allowing that bitch of a witch to suck the life out of his body without putting up a hell of a fight. Winifred pulled Dean closer and leaned in as though to kiss him; instead she breathed in deeply and he could feel a weakness spread throughout his body. With his left hand holding onto the broom he used his right hand to grab the witch's chin and push it away. She was surprised by the resistance and lost her grip on him.
Dean felt himself slipping and made the mistake of looking down. It was a hell of a long way to fall. Panic gave him power and he grasped the broom's handle with both hands. Winifred leaned forward again and grabbed him with both hands. Even the small gulps of his energy that Winifred was able to take were draining Dean tremendously. He managed to give her another shove and was surprisingly able to throw her far off balance. She pin-wheeled her arms in order to keep her seat while she called out in alarm to her sisters, "Hallowed ground! Hallowed ground! Sisters!"
Winifred regained her stability and leaned forward once again. "I'm going to teach you a lesson you'll never forget!" she threatened.
Dean was unable to do much more than hang on and try to wiggle around making it harder for Winifred to get a good grip on him. There was screaming from the other sisters and noise on the ground, but Dean couldn't see what the others were doing to cause the commotion. Then, out of nowhere, the other Sanderson sisters whizzed by in uncontrolled flight. Winifred sat up, distracted and Dean managed to shake the broom so hard that they both fell off.
It was probably lucky that Dean fell through a tree and had some branches to break his fall, but it sure didn't feel lucky on the way down. He landed on his back on a relatively soft patch of dirt and counted himself fortunate that he didn't land on a headstone. It seemed like getting the wind knocked out of him was a running theme for the night.
Dean struggled to get to his feet, but the best he could manage was to wave his hands weakly in front of his face. His hands, like the rest of him, were glowing softly. It was weird to be able to see his life-force on the outside; he distantly wondered how long it would last.
A sound to his left got Dean's attention. He was abruptly reminded that he was not the only one to fall from the witch's broom.
With a menacing growl Winifred pounced like an angry panther. Dean tried to roll away from her but he was too weak to get very far. Winifred, fueled by anger and the energy she had stolen from Dean, had no trouble picking him up off of the ground and holding him aloft. Eagerly she sucked the life-force from his body. Dean struggled in her grasp, but knew he didn't have the strength to pull away.
Abruptly, Winifred blinked and looked down. Dean looked down as well. It looked like there was steam rising from Winifred's boots. She shifted her weight and looked down again. The steam was growing thicker. Then over Winifred's shoulder, just brushing the crest of an eastern hill, Dean could see the arc of the sun peeking above the horizon. It was the most beautiful thing Dean had ever seen.
"Hallowed ground…hallowed ground…" Winifred muttered.
Dean looked down again and saw that Winifred's boots and legs had begun to turn to stone. Rapidly as the steam rose from the ground it transformed the witch's body from flesh to rock. Frantically Dean pulled against Winifred's hold. He was suddenly overtaken by the terrifying thought that if he didn't break free before the transformation was finished, he would be turned to stone as well.
Dean watched in horror as the transformation progressed. He had no leverage and was too weak to pull himself free. Suddenly, there was an arm around his waist. Sam yanked him backwards with all of his might and the two of them fell to the ground – flesh and bone, not stone.
Above them, Sarah and Mary were airborne. But as the light of the true dawn touched them they exploded into dust. Sam took one look at the statue of Winifred and then threw himself at Dean. He curled himself around Dean's shoulders and head while covering his own with his arms. Winifred's explosion was more gravel and less dust than her sisters, but Dean didn't mind listening to every last bit of rock hit the earth.
When Sam considered the coast to be clear he pulled away from Dean. Dean lay on his back, looked at the morning sky and took a deep breath. Sam hovered nervously to his left.
"Dean? You okay?"
Dean rolled until he was facing Sam. "Yeah, I'm okay."
"You saved my life," Sam whispered.
Dean smiled tiredly. "That's what big brothers do."
Sam reached out tentatively and rested his hand on Dean's chest. "Thanks."
Before Dean could respond, Sam was all the way in his space and wrapped his skinny arms around Dean in a tight hug. Dean reached his hand up to grab the back of Sam's head and push it into his shoulder. "Welcome."
Sam alive and well in his arms made Dean feel about a million times better, or at least well enough to get to his feet. Dean walked with his arm slung around Sam's shoulders back to where Allison was watching Billy climb back into his grave. It was totally weird – a monster putting himself to bed.
With Allison nearby to hold Dean up, Sam went looking for Binx. It didn't take him long to find the body of the cat lying broken where Winifred had thrown him.
"Oh no…" Sam's breath was punched out of his gut. "He's not…he can't…"
Allison knelt and gently stroked the cat's silky head with tears in her eyes. "He's gone Sam."
"But the spell…" he pleaded.
"It must've been broken when the witches were destroyed." Dean explained.
Sam bowed his head in grief.
"Don't grieve for me, Sam." Dean turned to look at the familiar voice coming from a new source. The transparent form of the boy walking toward them wore the clothing of an early American colonist. "The witches are dead. My soul is finally free!"
Sam stood and joined Dean. Binx took them all in with his gaze. "You freed me." He looked at them all and touched his right hand to his heart. "Thank you."
Then Thackery grinned sardonically. "Hey Dean…will you tell Max thanks for lighting the candle?"
Dean let out a soft chuckle and nodded.
"Thackery! Thackery Binx!" Another ghostly figure appeared darting among the trees of the cemetery.
Binx's face lit up. "It's Emily!"
Binx made his way to where Emily waited near the cemetery gates. She reached up her small hand to take his and demanded in a way only a little sister can, "Thackery Binx! What took thee so long?"
"I had to wait 300 years for a virgin to light a candle…" he explained as they faded away walking into the rising sun.
Dean took a deep breath. It was a great relief to know that Binx was at rest and that they wouldn't have to salt and burn his restless ass at some point. With his arm again around Sam's shoulders and Allison's hand in his, Dean headed their rag-tag group toward home. They had a lot of explaining to do and it wasn't something you could wave away with a wand and some hocus-pocus.