Summary: Sam and Dean go hunting on Sam's birthday. Late entry for the prompts for fics for Sammy turning 30.
Rating: T – for language, violence and imagery.
A/N #1: Sorry for the lame summary. I just don't know how to summarize this without giving it away. Cause some things have to be left for surprises right? Title is a song by Bob Seger, sorry for that too, I can't think of anything else.
A/N #2: Happy belated 30th birthday Sam Winchester.
"Kinda makes you wonder. Of all the thing we hunted, how many existed
just because people believed in them?"
Supernatural: Episode "Hell House"
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."
William Shakespeare "Macbeth"
Act IV Scene One
The air smells like a smoking pile of crap sandwiched between moldy bread. The incessant drip, drip of the water that comes from the faucet of the rusted over sink didn't smell much better either. But at least the noise kept the largest of the black plague looking rats recessed in the darkness.
The sleeves of Jody's shirt are severed from the rest of the fabric, leaving frayed holes like new fashion statements. In their absence she draws her arms to each other to pull in some warmth to her body.
The grayness is dark and heavy and leaves her swiping at her eyes trying to remove that heaviness like it's a coating of tears.
Another heavy feeling crowds her body like an unwelcomed hug. She jerks her shoulders back and raises one hand. "Don't make me kick your ass Dean," Jody turns to stare up at the clouded color that has become of his green eyes in this darkness. She can see him about to protest, but she cuts him off with a quick: "I said no chivalry remember?" She uses her best 'Mom Voice', and it comes through despite the cracking of weariness that comes after the wearing off of a massive dose of adrenaline.
Dean still looks at her, about to say something that he's famous for, the kind of something that gets him a flirtatious smile or kicked really hard in the jewels. But her look wears him down and he relents, putting the jacket back on. His boots shuffle him to a corner of the concrete room that has become their world.
The lighting here is just as spectacular as it was in the rest of the space, and the littering of old wooden crates look like really bad abstract kindergarten art.
Sam is still sitting on that pile of crates, and his hair and skin looks more wet with sweat then it did an hour ago.
"She shot you down again huh?" Sam's voice is grainy, but there is the injection of humor in it, if he swallowed a few times and cleared his throat, he would find its full force. But right now he's too tired. "Looks like you're a little rusty there Casanova."
"Shut up," Dean's retort is snappish, but only up to full strength by brute force.
"I'm just saying man, we're fox holed, Jody's next to Garth and it's me you're crowding." Sam manages a thin laugh, his voice ending on a tremor like a singer's vibrato. Despite the biological indication that sweating meant heat production, Sam was shivering. It was small, minute tremors, and in the dark it was almost unperceivable, but Sam's voice had given it away.
"You cold?" The back of Dean's hand is on Sam's forehead, while the other peels back a section of white gauze wrapped tight in a field bandage. His action reveals a puffy set of bite marks on Sam's right arm, just below the bicep. They had finally stopped bleeding; but were even angrier looking that before and continued to ooze mass amounts of foul smelling pus. Dean swore and wrapped the bandage back up. There were no more of the leaves left to make a poultice. Dean didn't even know if they were helping, the venom seemed to dissolve it like acid.
"Just the perks of a great fucking birthday I guess." Sam blows out a dry leaf rattling laugh, his voice no larger than the corner he's sitting in. A shiver runs up him like wind rattling against the panes of a window. His eyes close against a wave of nauseating pain. When he opens them again the room looks like a gray sweater worked over with fuzz from repeated washings, something you weren't supposed to be able to see through. Sam doesn't know if this from the venom or just the crappy lack of lighting. But he still makes out Dean sliding out of his jacket. "What are you doing?"
"Not being chivalrous, just being you're damn older brother," Dean's voice is rough, but the jacket goes on Sam softly like a blanket.
The warmth of the brown lined leather is inviting after the dankness of the cold that has seeped into Sam's skin. He drops his head back against the hard concrete lets it slide for a moment until he is looking sideways at the smoldering pile of blue fabric piled that was his hoodie on the ground by his feet. "I really liked that jacket."
Dean doesn't say anything and sits on the crate next to Sam, the old warped boards creaking under his weight.
Sam closes his eyes again and lets his head fall back against the concrete with a bang. "Yep, best damn birthday ever."
"Day's not over yet Sammy," Dean says, pulling a little closer to Sam to transfer some of his body heat to his brother without having to actually to put his arm around him or anything, because they weren't girls and he already used up his moment by giving Sam his jacket.
The bottle of liquior Garth hand handed off yesterday is sitting by Sam's boots. Dean bends down to retrieve it. "We still haven't drank this yet man." He gives Sam a knowing sideways look that says what he wasn't about to because he couldn't.
Sam watches Dean through overly glassy eyes. He can barely see him except in silhouette, but he hears his brother breathing. He swallows thickly. Despite his earlier refusal to stay out of chick territory Dean's hand is on Sam's shoulder. And Sam finds himself leaning into the touch.
"Uh guys-" Garth is standing by the one rectangular window in the concrete basement. The only things visible to him are bends of grass blades and the fallen branches o the trees. "I know ya'll are having a little bromance action, but that hairy tree just moved-"
Both Dean and Sam's senses immediately perk up. They snap their gazes away from each other and to the small patch of grass they can see in the dark filled night outside of the window.
Jody already has her police issue .38 pulled tight ahead of her and drawn at the glass. The click of her Maglight comes on and the beam slices through the gray.
"What the hell are you doing?" Garth hisses at her. "It tracks through light!"
"I'm not shooting anything in the dark Garth!" Jody hisses back, she takes a step closer to the window.
Sam starts to rise, his Taurus in his hand, but halfway up Dean grabs his uninjured shoulder and pushes him back down.
Sam lands back so heavily on his ass on the crate that it rattles his teeth. It disorients him for a second. "Dean, what the hell-?"
"Stay down," Dean's voice was an order, a feral order, immediate, protecting. He moves forward and over, effectively moving his body in front of Sam. His pearl handled Colt is out over his arm and he steps towards Jody and Garth in the gray blackness.
Like fucking hell. Sam is back on his feet, drawing his Taurus with his good arm. "Dean!" He hisses. The bottle of liquior tips at his feet, sloshing the dark liquid inside like a storm as he moves over to join his brother.
Dean is at Jody's right shoulder joining her aim out the window with Garth.
There is a cracking, creaking sound outside, like dry leaves scattering across a parking lot. The sound grows into a kind of whining squeak like a rusty door hinge, but amplified about 100 times. It was a sound that raised the hairs on the back of all their necks. Then just as quickly as it comes, the noise vanishes leaving them to the silence of the night again.
Garth is the one that takes a step forward, boots scuffling on the concrete. He raises the barrel of his nine millimeter in the air, then back at the window, then back at the air, the back at the window, all in spastic movements.
Dean shoots Garth a sideways 'really?' look. But he doesn't vocalize anything or break his aim away from the window pane.
Garth lowers his gun this time when another minute goes by in silence. He laughs his nervous drunk sounding laugh. "False alarm bitches," he laughs some more, his shoulders shake up and down for a moment like waves in an almost childish relief.
"I'm not so sure," Dean hasn't lowered his gun. He moves ahead of Garth, stepping right up next to the window. He grips the concrete sill with his free hand to pull himself up higher and peer out into the clipped lawn.
Behind him Jody has her gun still aimed as well, and behind her Sam is moving, slowly and with an noticeable favoring of his injured side, but still closing the gap to flank behind his brother, gun over his arm.
Dean is so close to the glass he can see the transparent reflection of himself and his gun gazing back at him. Beyond that is grass like an ocean, a few fallen tree branches.
The creaking starts up again, louder and faster this time like a rapidly increasing heartbeat.
"Dean-" Sam is almost to Dean when the sound of glass cracking starts to join the creaking. He is five steps away when the window shatters entirely and a huge hairy leg breaks through pinning Dean up against the concrete wall by the neck.
"Dean!" Sam screams above the sound of Jody's gunfire blasting through the darkness.
29 Hours Earlier
"Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off-"
Sam's eyes snap open and he jumps like he's electrocuted, a half surprised, half groan of a noise emits from his mouth.
"Wake up old man!" Something hits his leg hard over the blanket and Sam jumps again.
"Dean?" Sam rubs the sleep that has collected like grit in his eyes. "Dude what the hell?-" The little white wooden boat tacked to the fake clapboard walls of the hotel stare at Sam like some bad hallucination.
He blinks blearily at the clock, and scowls at the reading. "Man It's 8:30, what the crap?" Sam swallows trying to get his tongue unglued from his dry mouth.
Dean is standing over his bed, already dressed, and already smiling like an idiot. He switches off silver clock radio on the Nantucket style nightstand. "Exactly it's 8:30, which means you made it by 10 minutes birthday boy!" Dean's smile is like an overly lit light bulb.
Sam's brain is still half asleep, and he's staring at Dean like he like he had just solicited him for sex, but eventually something clicks in his brain. He snags his black Samsung Infuse from where it had been charging next to the clock and stares at the date readout: May 2, 2012.
He groans. "It's my birthday," he says it like a bad aftertaste. He's 30 today. He groans again.
Dean slaps him on the shoulder. "Damn right hermano. Welcome to the Big Boys' Club!" Dean slaps his shoulder again and Sam jerks him off like a bad date. "Knock it off cranky pants," this time Dean slaps Sam's chest eliciting a grunt from his brother. "C'mon get dressed, this is a Celebratory Pancake Event if I ever saw one!" He throws a pair of jeans and gray shirt from Sam's bag at his brother's head.
Sam gives him another "Dude!" when the clothing hits him full force in the face.
But all it does is make Dean smile more. "Pancakes Sammy, let's go!" He wanders off to the bathroom, whistling the song that had been playing on the radio. That band sounded like a modern day Queen, so how could he notlove them?
Sam pulls his clothes off of his face and just stares at his brother, who is still whistling on the other side of the bathroom door. Sam uses a lot of four letter words in his mind, but he finally hikes out of the too soft mattress and swipes out his sleep wrinkled clothes for clean ones.
Mary Anne's Diner is surprisingly bright and clean. The floor is black and white tile, the booths are red vinyl, there's even an old Jute Box lit up in the corner playing an Elvis Song. The entire place seems right out of the 1950's. Well except for all the patrons leafing through their iPods and iPads and reading their Kindles while they shovel eggs and sausages and biscuits into their mouths.
Still, Dean whistles at what he considers a high class place. Hell, when you've eaten in as many questionable places as he and Sam had, high class just meant the plates were clean, the food was hot, and there was an absence of stagnant water on the floor.
"Check out the digs birthday boy," Dean claps his hands and rubs them together like it's Christmas. "The pancakes here are probably made of gold."
"Did I hear you correctly?" A tiny thing of a brunette server materializes next to them in her starched white shirt and neatly tied black apron. She clutches a group of plastic menus under her arm and stares up at Sam with a smile that shows every single one of her teeth. "It's your birthday today, Sir?" Her pony tail bobs with her bouncing.
Her words are so excitable that Sam can almost taste it. "Um-"
"That's right sweetheart," Dean clamps a hand on Sam's shoulder. "My brother here turned 30 today!" He roughs up Sam's shoulder so much that Sam travels with the movement of Dean's hand.
Sam doesn't say anything, just shoots Dean a look for, literally, jerking him around.
"That's awesome!" She says this so happily it's like it will tie into a Disney Musical song. "Although frankly I would have pegged you two for something else besides brothers, but it really doesn't matter!" she says this part really fast before bouncing once on her black Croc's. "Come on!" she waves in a scooping motion at the pair of them. "Let's me show you to our best booth!"
Dean and Sam shoot each other an uncomfortable look and Dean's hand is off Sam's shoulder, and he bumps it with his fist instead and Sam is clearing his throat, and trying to act non chalant. Neither one of them were homophobic. They were just 'people thinking they slept with their brother' a phobic.
They follow the perky hostess to an empty booth and she waits for them to sit down before setting the plastic menus in front of them. "Would you like to hear about our specials this morning? We do a chocolate chip pancake stack with whipped cream and chocolate syrup for all our birthday patrons. The chocolate chips melt like hot lava in your mouth. OMG. it's killer!" She's still bouncing like a metronome in her exuberance over the diner's menu.
"You know, that sounds- fan-tastic," Dean grins up at her; he wags his eyebrows at Sam. "How about it Sammy, huh? A little Death By Chocolate action?"
Sam clears his throat, and looks up at their waitress. "Actually could you give us a minute?"
"Oh sure!" The waitress perks up. "I'll just go grab some complementary waters from the back, let you two peruse the menu for a bit, and I'll be right back out kay?" She gesticulated with her hands the entire time she talked, making her look like an over excited mime.
Dean grin's up at her again. "That would be great sweetheart, thanks."
"Awesome!" She repeats again, returning Dean's "My name's Brittany by the way, and Brittany will be right back!" She giggled and walked down the tile to the kitchen door, and disappeared through it a moment later.
Dean watches her go, she may be an explosion of overzealous excitement, but she was over zealous excitement in a well fitted pair of size 4 pants. He turns his head back to Sam. "Can't be a pretty waitress and complementary water."
Sam doesn't say anything , just stares at the plastic coated menu in his hands, brows knit down like he's reading a complex schematic.
"Sam?" Dean slaps Sam's menu down when his brother had continued to ignore him. "Come on man, untwist your panties. You're supposed to be celebrating remember? It is what your awesome older brother brought you in here for."
Sam huffs out a sigh, flashing his hazel eyes up to Dean. "I'm sorry. It's just – I don't exactly have the best track record with birthdays man – and it's kind hard not to expect the other shoe to drop."
To say that Sam had a bad track record with birthdays was like saying that Hell was just a giant Weenie Roast. His very first birthday was spent in a shitty hotel with a dad who had just lost his wife in a fire, who couldn't deal with a crying one-year-old, and had gotten too drunk from grief over Mary not being there to see their son hit this milestone. Sam's first birthday was a second hand thing put together by his five-year-old big brother a Twinkie and a candle, and an off key singing of Happy Birthday to combat the sounds of John crying drunkenly for Mary over his bottle of Scotch. On Sam's 25th Birthday Dean was thrown in hell, and it was Sam who was cried over a bottle of Scotch that time. Sam started the Apocalypse at 26, turned 27and 28 in Hell, and those needed no explanations on why they were crappy. At 29 Cas has broken his Hell Wall –
So yeah, Sam was a little gun shy about birthdays.
"Hey," Dean snaps his fingers to drag Sam out of his mind. "Stop thinking so much with your Megatron head alright? It practically rains shoes on us all the time man, just take today for what it is."
Sam sighs again."You're probably right."
"Dude I know I'm right," Dean corrects him.
"I mean just because I had a few bad birthdays doesn't meant that they'll all suck a-"
"What up brothas?"
The voice was high and shrill, and familiar the way an nervous twitch was familiar. A tall skinny man with a mop of Shaggy from Scooby Doo hair (actually to be fair he looked almost completely like Shaggy from Scooby Doo) strolls in, wearing a polka dot button up shirt, jeans and dark brown canvas jacket.
Sam's eyes go wide at the site of Garth coming up to their booth, hand held high in a wave. He leans over the table and whispers harshly to Dean: "Tell me you did not invite him?"
"No, what am I stupid?" Dean retorts in an equally overly loud whisper. "Dude's got some freaking Winchester GPS crap, it's disturbing- Garth-!" Dean breaks off in his rant and forces a laid back smile on his face when Garth makes it to their booth. "Hey man, long time no see-"
"For sho'," Garth laughs and punches Dean in the shoulder, then Sam, causing both brothers to grunt like an off key sounding musical instrument. "So what brings you two to up here, uh? You working a job?"
"Ain't that usually the case-" Dean replies, fake smile still in place. "But, no man, we're actually just laying low for a bit before the next score, you know rejuice the batteries. How about you, you working a job?"
"Hell to the yeah!" Garth smiles. "Big ass mother of a job. Gotta keep the dets on the DL though, you know, civilians-" Garth whispers this last part behind one hand, and nudges his head none too subtlety to indicate the rest of the people in the noisy diner. "Can't induce a mass panic among the locals."
"Hey we totally understand man," Sam says with a wave of his hand, while trying to keep his voice completely friendly. Garth was a good guy, he was just as overzealous as their waitress, and he did it with guns and bad street slang.
Garth smiled at them both, clapping them both simultaneously on the shoulders. "That's why you're my boys." He roughed them up on the shoulder, then pulls back to check his watch. "Well listen, it's been real, but I gotta go, ya know, take care of business-"
"Here we are!" Their perky brunette waitress chose that moment to return with a tray held high over her head. "I'm so sorry that took so long!" She sets glasses of water down in front of Sam and Dean that were so cold they were leaking condensation. "There was a massive pancake and sausage pile up on the service counter, and the bus boy was on break, but that's just the hazards of being in my line of work." She sets a plate in front of Sam with a huge pile of pancakes drizzled in chocolate syrup and Redi Whip in a curlicue formation all around of it. Coating that was a layer of rainbow sprinkles, chocolate chips and a bright Technicolor maraschino cherry on top.
"Uh-" Sam stared at the huge gleaming plate of sugar that was passing for breakfast. "Brittany, I didn't order this-"
"Relax, it's all taken care of!" Brittany waved him off. "We treat our customers extra special on their birthdays!-" while she is talking Garth turns to Sam with a smile that you would normally see on comic strips characters, the ones that resembled a sideways capital D.
"D-ude!" Garth punches Sam in the shoulder again and Sam makes a noise of awkward discomfort, but Garth doesn't notice. "You didn't tell me it was your birthday! That's so killer!" He slides into the booth next to Dean making him grunt and shift over to keep Garth out of his lap.
Garth eyes the pancake and whipped cream monstrosity in front of Sam and then looks up to Brittany. "Hey that pancake stack looks friggin' amazing honey! Can I get in on some of that action with a side of café blonde so I can celebrate with my boy here?"
"Absolutely!" Brittany says, she looks excitedly towards Dean. "How about you, wanna join in on the fun and make it a threefer?"
Dean bites his lip at the word threefer. "That's really tempting Brittany, but I think I'm just gonna go with the egg and bacon combo platter and some black coffee."
"Stellar!" Brittany says, collecting their menus. "I'll get those right out to you!" She starts to move away from the table, but then pops back. "I almost forgot!" she pulls something out of the side pocket of her apron. She leans over Sam with a paper red and white polka dot party hat in her hand.
The hat goes on Sam's head with a snap of elastic under his chin. The words: Maryann makes Birthdays Magic! are scrawled in silver writing across the base of the party hat.
She then throws a huge pile of glittery red and white confetti at Sam.
"Woah, hey! That's-" Sam jerks like he's been struck by lightning when a noise maker sounds off right by his left ear.
Brittany claps her hands and laughs. "Awesome!" she leans over and kisses Sam full on the on the cheek, leaving a stain of bright red lipstick behind. "Have a Maryanne Magical Birthday handsome!" she pulls back and skitters off to the kitchen.
"Wow-" Dean clears his throat, and stares at his brother, in a polka dot party hat, lipstick smeared on his cheek, with a big plate of sprinkles and pancakes in front of him. He bites his cheek for a moment. "Sammy-"
"No doubt Cowboy Casanova!" Garth cuts in banging a hand on the table. "You were working it bro, you should totally hit that!"
The laugh that Dean had been fighting off earlier pushes his way out of his mouth in the form of a chuckle. "Go for it Cowboy Casanova."
Dean didn't start this awkwardness, but Sam's Bitch Face while he clutches his still ringing ear, was entirely reserved for him.
Dean finished his breakfast plate about five minutes ago, and is now sipping his coffee, left hand curled around the warm mug. Sam pushed his food to the side 10 minutes ago, the party hat that he took off the moment Brittany cantered away sits beside his plate. He glowers at both like they were live bombs, replacing the plate's place in front of him with his elbows.
Both brothers are currently staring at Garth, Dean with his hand curled around his coffee, Sam with a tilt of his head.
Garth who slides his fork into his stack of pancakes with extra whipped cream, getting it smeared on his bottom lip like lipstick. Garth chews with a rolled eye sigh like he's making unnatural love to his food. He turns his head forward to Sam, pointing at him with his fork. "You don't know what you're missing bra." He dangles the fork with his last bite in front of Sam like he wants him to take a bite from it.
"Really man," Sam says, trying not to act like that wasn't awkward and a little disgusting. "I'm good."
"Sugar gives him the spurts," Dean volunteers, eyes closing up in a wince when Sam's size 11 boot kicks him in the shins under the table.
Garth ponders this for a moment, like he can't fathom such a rejection, but he still swallows the bit pancake with gusto, just as perky Brittany returns to their table, ponytail swishing. "How was everything guys?"
"O.M.G Brittany-" Garth answers for them.
"I know right?" Brittany chimes in excitedly. "It takes you to a magical place." Both she and Garth share a look like they just got done having really rough, dirty sex.
Sam and Dean looks at each other uncomfortably and Dean clears his throat, "Could we just have the check Brittany?"
Brittany returns the smile he gave her, although it shifts to a bit of a pout when she sees Sam's still full plate. "But you didn't touch any of your Special Birthday Platter honey-!"
"I'm allergic to Red Dye number 5," Sam tells her, and regrets it a minute later when Brittany looks so upset about it that she's about to do something crazy, like march into the kitchen and redo his entire order with Red Dye Number Six.
"Hey it's okay," Sam reassures in that low timbered soft spoken tone of his voice that follows his huge remorseful big eyes. The look that makes women melt like hot butter on warm toast. "It's the thought that counts-" He's saved from making a bigger idiot of himself over the 12 dollar Diabetes on a Plate by the ringing of his phone.
"Excuse me," Sam pulls the phone out from his wool jacket and stares at the caller ID. A minute later the phone is pressed up to his ear.
Dean is completely nonplussed about this, while Garth leans over with a cocked head curious look.
"Hey isn't good enough for me Sam Winchester-" Jody grounds out from the other end of the line.
"Sorry," Sam says, with a bit of a laugh. "How are you?"
"Spank it dude!"
Sam backs further into the booth from Garth who was practically climbing up over the table to hear snatches of the conversation.
"I'm kidding Sam, " the steady sounds of a car's engine hums in the background. "And I'm fine. How about you and Dean, you guys okay?"
"Yeah," Sam responds, glancing over to Dean who looks amused at Garth's antics because it isn't him who he's annoying anymore. "We're good."
"Good, Hey how far are you boys out from Lansing?"
Sam swears he hears a smile in Jody's words. "About four hours, why something come up?"
Dean perked up at Sam's words. "Something going on?"
Sam glanced over at him with an 'I-don't-know' headshake.
"Yeah, you might say a pretty big something. But it's nothing monster related-"
Sam has been hunting monsters since he was 12, everything in his life was monster related. So it takes a minute for his brain to process this clearly. "I'm sorry?- Jody are you okay?"
"Calm down Sam, think INSIDE the box for once. No big secret plot on the horizon here. I heard through reliable channels that it was your birthday today, and I THOUGHT," there was a shrug in her words "Maybe I could we could meet up for a little bit, my treat. I lived in Lansing for a bit during my college years. There's this old amazing restaurant on the Lake Eerie waterfront. Of course Dean's invited too."
"Jody you don't have to do that-"
"I want too Sam," Jody cuts him off "Look you save the world on a daily basis, you deserve one night off to revel in your own damn birthday. Place is at 45 Paymont Drive, you and Dean be there at seven okay? or I'll put out an APB on both your asses."
The call disconnects, leaving Sam staring at the phone, the back up at Dean.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Garth says smiling too wide and too brightly.
It makes Sam think that he and Brittany should seriously think about eloping.
"You are as slick as they come my man," Garth clamps a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Honey's in every port!"
Dean's brows furrow at Sam's look, ignoring Garth completely. "Jody okay? What'd she want?" When Sam didn't answer Dean leans hard on his elbows to stare at him, "Sam?"
Sam just gives him a sheepish apologetic look in return. "You, uh, don't happen to still have any good shirts on you do you?"
The air was breezy and cool and smelled of salt and fish, a few seagulls culled to each other in an overcast sky.
The water on the shoreline of Lake Michigan shimmered from the shine made by the streetlamps above it, like someone had spilled liquid light into the water. A long old wooden dock, a good 30 feet long, the lake's boundaries, and there were over a dozen white fishing boats moored there that bumped each other gently in the waves.
This particular strip of the Lake Michigan coast line boasted a long pier with shops complete with checkered colored awnings that sold tourist trap trinkets and old wind warped books about Michigan. There were also a few greasy spoon type restaurants sandwiched in between the stores, and the scent of all their deep fried foods combined into one smell that was almost as strong as the smell of salt and fish in the air.
The entire pier was brightly lit with rows of street lamps, and a steady stream of people milled in and out of the shops and restaurants.
One side of the pier's long street was devoted to parallel parking, and it was almost packed with cars. An old powder blue Crown Victoria slid into an empty space between a Lexis and a Corolla.
The engine cut off and the front and passenger doors opened with a creek; the sounds of Joe Cocker's "Unchain My Heart" spilled out of the car.
One leg emerges from the driver side, then the other. Dean pulls himself out of the car. He shuts the door and waits for Sam's taller frame to do the same on the other side.
Sam walks slowly over to the sidewalk where Dean is standing, and he can feel Dean's eyes on him the entire time, looking unruffled. "What?"Sam stares back at him.
It was only a black button up and jeans his brother wore, well that and the old suit jacket Dean hadn't seen Sam wear since that date with Sara Blake. Dean didn't even know he still had that damn thing. Yeah it wasn't a suit and tails, but still-
"Girly hair aside, you look good Sammy," Dean's words were sincere despite the tease.
"Thanks," Sam returns just as sincerely losing the odd expression from earlier at Dean practically checking him out. "Actually, you don't look bad yourself bro," Dean like him, is in jeans, black shirt and his dark brown leather jacket, the new one. They rarely saw each other in anything other than faded patched up clothes, or cheap tacky suits. Being hunters didn't exactly allow them to dress in anything they couldn't wash the blood out of later. "Especially the new jacket," Sam fingers one brown leathered sleeve. "Does Armani know you swiped this after the runway walk?"
"Shut up," Dean says, snatching his arm away, both at the movement and Sam's dry shrugging laugh. "C'mon Black Beauty, let's go celebrate your damn birthday."
Sam laughs quietly again, clamping a hand on Dean's shoulder as they walk along. "That the best you got?"
"I said shut up," Dean swipes Sam on the back of the head as they step onto the boardwalk planks. They creak under their feet and eventually leads them to a building that's set off from the rest of the others. It's made of white painted cement and glass windows that line half of the front and the sides of the building, giving the patrons inside an almost panoramic view of the docs and the water. The name "Harbor Bay" is lit up in curvy red neat handwriting.
Dean and Sam survey this name as acutely they survey the outside of the building and push the glass doors open. The place is brightly lit in a yellow white light, and they hear the clamor of people talking and silverware clattering on plates. The walls are of weathered wood paneling and there are pictures hanging there of the restaurant done in black and white shots at various times throughout its 30 year history.
There are white tablecloths on the square tables, and the place was classy enough to have a long bar against one wall made of the same wood as the walls. But there were kids there, and people dressed casually in jeans amongst those wearing dresses and suit jackets, making the restaurant reveal itself as high end, but not upper crusted and snooty.
Dean scans the crowd of restaurant goers. Sam mimics Dean's actions, looking over his brother's shoulder with his four inch height advantage.
"You see her?" Dean asks.
"No," Sam says eyes roaming over the dining room for any sign of Jody Mills. They walk over the dark wood floor boards to a black hostess stand to the right. The redheaded woman behind it is poised with a smile as neat and professional as her blue button up and black A line skirt. "Welcome to Harbor Bay Gentleman. Table for two?"
"Actually, we're waiting for someone," Dean answers. "A woman, 5'5, short brown hair, goes by the name of Jody Mills. You haven't seen her have you?"
The hostess checks the name against the open reservation book in front of her. "Yes, here it is. Ms. Mills reserved a table, but unfortunately she hasn't arrived yet. Would you like to wait at the bar until she shows up?"
The voice turns them around.
Jody Mills moves across the hardwood floor in a pair of black stiletto heels that echo against the wood as she walks. She's wearing a deep burgundy long sleeved wrap dress with a neckline that dips to reveal a peaking of her toned shoulders and her cleavage. The skirt ends just above her knees, a simple gold locket hanging around her neck completes her look.
She leaves both Sam and Dean gaping at her. They always considered her an attractive woman, but standing there in that dress and those heels, she looked a whole lot more than just attractive.
"Jody," Dean is at a loss for words, and he can't hide his apprising eye roam up her entire physique "Wow, you, just –" he moves his hand to indicate all of her "- wow."
"Totally," Sam agrees under the same loss for words spell as his brother. "You look amazing."
Jody smiled fondly at Sam's words, returning their eye roams on her with hers on them. "Yeah well you two clean up pretty nice yourselves."
"Not half as good as you," Dean returns.
Jody smiles again, "Always the smooth talker Dean," she leans over and kisses him on the cheek. She turns to Sam and kisses him too. "Sam." She slips her arm through Sam's and then turns towards Dean "Shall we?"
Dean's answer is to take her free arm and slide it through his, the proudest damn smile on his face. "Yes ma'am."
They're shown to a table. Sam's a gentleman, and pulls out Jody's chair. Dean's pursuing through the liquor menu by the time Sam takes a seat and waiter dressed in black and white materializes soon thereafter.
"Even gentleman and – lady." the waiter clears throat for a moment because that sounded off. "I'm John I'll be your server. "So can I offer you all drinks to start off with?"
"Damn right you can there John," Dean pipes up making Sam clear his throat at him. "I'd like your two finest top shelf whiskeys combined and on the rocks, and my brother the birthday boy here will have the same, with a side chaser of your third finest." He hands back the wine and liquor menu he was looking at.
"Very good Sir," the waiter says, and turns to Jody, the only one who isn't currently trying to kick Dean under the table for wanting to get him drunk. "And for the lady?"
"Vodka Collins please, go easy on the ice." Jody answers.
"Excellent," John says. "I'll get those right out. How about the menu? You need a few minutes to look things over-"
"We just got here Johnny," Dean answers. "So yeah I would say we need a few minutes."
"We'd appreciate that John, thank you," Jody says with a smile that comes over Sam clearing his throat again at his brother.
"Yes ma'am, I'll go get those drinks started, and be back in a few," he returns Jody's smile but he glares at the back of Dean's head.
Dean doesn't notice that part, but he does notice the stare from Jody and the head cocked Bitch Face from Sam. "What? Guy was freakin' hovering." he drops his eyes down to glance over the food menu this time.
John soon returns with their drinks, and leaves again with Dean ordering half the Angus beef menu, leaving the waiter to shake his head and mutter something about 'a shit load of overtime for this one'
Jody raises her highball glass with a smile. "Happy Birthday Sam."
Sam raises his own glass. "Thank you," his smile matches hers, and when she toasts him he leans over to kiss the side of her face.
"Same here Sammy," Dean's highball glass is raised on the other side of Sam. "You earned it."
"Thanks man," Sam toasts his glass against Dean's, feeling Dean slap him affectionately on the back.
"Alright guys," Dean holds his glass higher "Bottoms up," he takes a drink.
Sam and Jody do the same. Sam screws up his face a bit at the liquor, and Jody blows out when her Vodka is swallowed.
"They didn't go lenient on the Vodka," Jody says looking at the white liquor in her glass. "Think I'll have to order another one."
Dean gives her an impressed look. Any woman who could hold her liquor was an A Lister in his book. "You defiantly would be able to keep up with Bobby-" Dean breaks off.
Sam looks to Dean, then Jody and they all feel the heaviness in the room, staring at the empty seat on one side of the table.
"Yeah you would've," Sam breaks off the heavy silence.
They don't know how to continue this conversation, because it aches like a wound.
Their distraction from this heaviness comes in shrill and waving.
No. No way. Sam turns his head up to the figure waving at them. "Garth?"
Dean whips his head around at the name, and his eyes go as large as Sam's when he sees the sight of the guy they left not just three hours and another city ago walking up to their table.
"Uh," Sam shifts his gaze from Dean to Garth and back to Dean again. "What are you doing here? We thought you were working a job."
"For shizzle," Garth returns. "Job's up here. Just thought I get some grub before I hit that. This is one of my favorite locals." He looks over to Jody. "And this must be your lady-"
Before Jody can do anything more than give Sam an raised eyebrow head tilt, Sam starts talking. "Uh, Jody – this is Garth, he's a hunter too-"
Garth seizes Jody's hand and kisses it "Au chante."
Jody's eyebrows knit further down. "Nice to meet you." she releases her hand from Garth's grip.
"Pleasure is mine fair maiden." He backs up so he can survey the entire group much the same way an art patron appreciates a painting. "Gotta say, you're a great catch for old Sammy Boy here," Garth clunks a hand on Sam's back.
"No, Garth-" Sam tries to correct him, again, on certain facts. But the words: 'Jody is almost like a second MOM to me' never get the chance to leave his mouth before Garth starts talking again.
"Oh damn," Garth suddenly disappears behind the table right by Dean's chair. "Almost forgot-"
"Uh Garth," Dean looks down at the man crouching next to him like the weirdest lapdog ever. "You need a moment alone?"
Garth remerged like a magician's rabbit from a top hat. He's now holding a long necked dark amber glass bottle that he pulled from the brown paper bag he had set on the floor when he first came in. He dangles it in front of Sam like he had done with his bite of pancake earlier. "Got you a little somethin' somethin' man."
Sam takes the black labeled liquor bottle in front of him. It was completely filled so the alcohol inside didn't even make a sound from the movement. He reads the label: "Bushmills Malt 21 Make."
Dean turns to Garth with a shocked look: "Dude, that's a 21-year-old of Irish Liquor-"
"It's like a 116 dollars a bottle," Sam adds with the same bewildered expression from Dean. He stares at the bottle like it was made of solid gold. His eyes flash up to Garth. "Garth I can't accept this-"
"Relax dude," Garth waves him off like acquiring 100 plus dollar bottles of alcohol were nothing. "I know people, did me a solid on the price. Just cause it's Hunter's Helper don't mean its gotta be cheap only cost effective." he rubs his fingers together.
Garth wasn't exactly one of Sam's best friends; but despite his glaring blatant nerdiness (and Sam owned a fair share in the nerdiness department, according to Dean). he was genuinely touched by the gesture that came in the form of this glass liquor bottle. "Thanks man."
This time when Garth slapped him on the back he repressed the flinch that came from his over eagerness.
"So," Garth smile got a little wider. "Can a brother crash?"
"Knock yourself-" Dean watched as Garth slid into the empty seat, unrolled the silverware from its cream colored napkin, tucked said napkin up under the collar of his shirt, and waved the wine Stewart over all in about 10 seconds. "-out."
Dean leaned in towards Sam, side baring to him behind his highball glass of whiskey. "I don't approve of your friends."
"So you're a Hunter too?" Jody says after she swallows a bite of her lemon glazed chicken.
Garth's face is currently stuffed full of his angus 12-inch steak, a gesture that even leaves Dean speechless in a pause. He holds up his hand and swallows behind the napkin he's gripping in his other hand. "Yes ma'am. I hunt everything you can think of –and I'm not talking bear or moose," he laughs heartily at his own joke, and slaps Dean on the shoulder making him almost choke on his food.
What the hell is it with this guy and slapping people? Dean thinks around his trying to stop asphyxiating on his bite of steak. He finally manages to swallow the chunk of meat without having to resort to Sam whacking him on the back.
"So what are you Hunting way up here?" Jody asked, picking up her next round of Vodka Collins the waiter had placed beside her empty glass and sipping from it.
Garth leans over the table, almost lowering his voice to a whisper "It's this thing called a Tulpa."
"Tulpa?" Sam asks, his voice completely surprised. It had been years since he heard about that creature, and in all those years between that last time he and Dean had never come across another one.
"Yeah man," Garth spears another bite of his steak, and this time he continues talking with his mouth full. "Check it out, they're these wicked bad asses born out of thoughts. Sons-of-bitches are damn near impossible to kill. You guys ever run across one?"
"Yeah we rolled around with one once before." Dean answered, sharing a look with Sam and the remembrance of meeting the Hell Hounds now more annoyingly known as the "Ghostfacers" while tracking down the alleged legend of Mortaci.
"Wait, If they're born out of thought, doesn't that make them imaginary?" Jody asks in confusion, setting her glass down on the table. "How can something not real hurt you?"
"Naw," Garthanswered her, leaning back in his char with his water glass in hand. "Darlin it ain't that easy."
"Tulpas are born from the collective consciousness of a group, and once it's born it's as real as you or I." Sam answered Jody's question. "But if whoever created it didn't think of a way for it to die, then it's basically indestructible."
"Wow that's comforting." Jody returns. "Remind me never to run into one of those."
"Yeah, tell me about it," Sam answered. "Last one Dean and I dealt with we didn't even kill, all we could do was burn down the house it was attached too."
"So who thought of this one?" Dean asked, swallowing the last bits of his whiskey. "Drunken frat party?"
"The kindergarten classes at P.S. 23," Garth answered, taking a hit from his water.
"Wait-what?" Dean came back. "You're telling me that a bunch of 5-year-olds dreamed this one up? What is it, an evil teddy bear, or Barbie doll or something?"
"20 foot spider," Garth says, seeing the other three stare at him in shock.
"You gotta be kidding-" Sam looks from Garth to Dean, to Jody, and finally back around again. "How come none of the locals seems to be freaking out about a huge spider running around the town?"
"It only attacks at night." Garth says. "It hunts out by this old fisherman's wharf. Apparently the kids are all scared of going there cause it's dark and gross and smells like old pot. So they concocted this whole tall tale deal about this thing. Supposed to be covered in wire hair and have these monster fangs- oh and if that mother bites you, it injects an acid venom that will kill you in like 5 hours. Kids tend to have more of an imagination that adults."
"Well that just made all my sperm run up for cover," Dean deadpans.
"But there's a way to kill it this one," Garth continues. "Bullet wound directly to the heart at its underbelly. Little Tommy Jenkins told me that yesterday afternoon when we were going mano-a-mano at kick ball."
"We talkin' silver bullets here?" Dean asks.
Garth shakes his head. "Just your standard .9 millimeter man. It's a great little perk to kids thinking guns are super wicked cool and can take down anything."
"You manage to track it down?" Sam asked.
"Just got into town this afternoon after our meet up, so this is the first time I'm here after dark." Garth picks up his high ball glass of milk and Kailua with three maraschino cherries speared on a cocktail sword and throws it back like a shot.
Jody turned to Garth. "So you're going after it." It wasn't a question. She had only spent one hour with this high wired man; but as a sheriff she had learned how to read people. And hire wired or not, Garth was a hunter, and taking down something like this was his job.
"You got it," Garth sucks the last bits of his drink with an audible high pitched slurp. "Since it hunts at night I gotta wait till dark, lure it out." He slides the cherries off the little plastic sword with his teeth.
"You need back up?" Dean asked, seeing Sam give him a look that was part confusion, part bafflement. Because Dean wasn't Garth's biggest fan. Especially not after the last time they wound up hunting together and he had made eyes at the woman who had drugged Sam into marrying her, and hogtied him to her bed without pants.
But even though Garth was a few strands short of a full rope, he wasn't running a crooked game or anything, he was a fellow hunter.
Garth's face broke out in a smile that would've cracked his face like a fault line had his skin been made of plaster. "Fo' sho."
The wharf looked like someone had forgotten to clean it. The wood that made up the docks and the boardwalk that ran alongside it were gray and warped, almost black in some places from decay. The sides of the dock were mounted with tall metal street lamps, but only three of them were lit, making the wood crawl with shadows. Even the water seemed to have an oily sheen.
A grassy embankment ran alongside the water's edge connecting it to where the dock began. A reflection of the moon wavered in the movement of the lake like it was shuddering at being in such skuzzy water. A few abandoned looking schooners bumped almost mournfully in the dark water, like they wanted to escape their rope tethers for someplace a lot cleaner.
The blue Crown Victoria was parked horizontally on the edge of the grass. An green army surplus duffle bag sat open on top of the trunk with a cache of guns, knives, and various other forms of weapons revealed inside it like the entrails of some vivisected animal.
Dean took the loaded clip Sam handed to him, and slid it into the pearl handled Colt. He also pulls out the sawed off loaded with rock salt bullets. Even though Garth claimed this thing could be killed conventionally, something about bringing no form of weapon that he knew for a proven fact can hurt a Supernatural being on a hunt seemed really off.
"I don't know about this man," Dean says watching Sam check the alignment and springs on the trigger of his favorite gun, a black handled, .45 caliber Taurus.
"Backing up Garth was your idea, Dean," Sam reminds him, finishing checking his weapon, and cocking it once. "Look man, I know he's a little off-"
"Yeah like a Tilt-A-Whirl," Dean interrupts.
"But this isn't prom Dean, we can't just ditch out on a hunt." Sam gave him a healthy dose of 'The Eyes'
Dean growled a sigh under his breath. "Fine. How do we even know that this thing's out here anyway?"
Sam looked up over Dean's head, scanning the dark horizon. "Hear that?"
Dean gives him a sideways look. "Hear what?"
"Exactly," Sam returns. "It smells like a garbage dump behind a fish market out here; so where are all the seagulls? This place should be crawling with them."
The only sounds they could hear were of the waves sloshing against the boats, other than that it was quiet, no sounds of anything else. Seagulls tended to be bedded down after dark, but never all of them all at the same time.
Dean gave Sam another look. "You think something could've scared them off?"
"Maybe a 20 foot tall spider," Sam returns and sees a look settle across Dean's face that comes when he and Sam find themselves on the exact same wave length.
Dean let his eyes drop down Sam's frame in disbelief "Why'd you change?" He eyed Sam's well worn blue and white checkered flannel shirt and navy blue hoodie that his brother had thrown on in the backseat of the car. "It's a giant ass spider Sam, I mean we're here to gank it, not date it."
"That's why I did it Dean," Sam says with underlying tone of exasperation in his voice. "I'm not about to go hunting in a damn blazer and button up; I'd look like-"
"A total dooshbag?" Dean offered.
"I was gonna say 'tool'" Sam returned.
Dean tilted his head to the side like he was contemplating the word.
"Shut up," Sam said, like he could hear what Dean was thinking in his head. No, not like he could- Sam had been Dean's little brother for 30 years. He could hear what he was thinking in his head.
A sputtering rumbling precedes a set of bright headlights emerging at them from the darkness. They both turn to see an old tan an brown Ford Ranchero pull up beside the Corolla.
Garth's skinny frame emerges from the driver's side bathed in light from his car's headlights which have yet to cut off. "Who's ready to rumble?"
"Garth, where the hell have you been man?" Dean asks "You said 8:30." He watches Garth shut his door, which finally triggers something that shuts off the headlights and returns the night back to its original blackness.
"Relax compadre, " Garth returns, holding up his hand. "I had to pick something up."
Before Sam or Dean could ask just what the hell that meant the passenger side door on Garth's car opened, and a decidedly female looking leg clad in jeans steps to the ground.
Dean shot Garth a look like he was insane, listening to the sounds of footsteps on the grass other than Garth's. "What's wrong with you man? You don't bring chicks a hunt."
"Dude she brought herself," Garth said pulling himself closer to Dean so that he could side bar this to him.
Dean was about to say something along the lines of 'you'd better send her ass back to where she came from' when the figure finally pulled itself out of the night that had been enveloping her.
"Jody?" Sam was the first to say it as the form of Jody Mills stopped right in front of him. "What are you doing here?"
"Well I'm either having tea, or I'm backing you boys up," Jody responded. "Thought 3 cars parked up by this abandoned looking peer might look a little conspicuous to the local authorities. Garth here was just kind enough to give me a ride. "
"She gave me an Indian Burn," Garth whispers loudly to Dean, rubbing at his still sore left arm.
"Look Jody-" Dean says. "We appreciate the you wanting to help, but this ain't your usual gig-"
"I helped defeat the God of Time, chopped off some black slimy monsters, and had to put down a town full of zombies-" Jody broke off with a heavy silence at that last part, one of her hands going up to finger the locket at her throat.
Sam watched her stroke the smooth metal with her thumb, and suspected that if it were to be opened, he knew what would be inside.
"So don't feed me your crap Winchester. I may not be a Hunter, but I'm not sitting around knitting a damn sampler during all this." Jody dropped her hand and affixing Dean with a stern piercing look.
He eyed Jody in her maroon and white flannel shirt, jeans, and canvas jacket. "What happened to the knock out dress?" Dean knew what he was defeated, so he went for joking.
"I'm not a Femme Nikita Dean," Jody came back "It would noisy as hell skulking around in a damn dress and heels."
"You armed?" Dean asked.
Jody' response was to pull her police issued 38 from the holster strapped to her waist, and hold it out for him to see.
Dean couldn't help his impressed smile at her. Neither could Sam. She could damn well handle herself. Garth had no restraint at all so he had been grinning at her from the moment she stepped out of his truck.
"So where exactly is this thing?" Jody asked, holstering her gun.
"I don't really know-" Garth admitted. "Kids I interviewed were a little off on the details-"
"Off how?" Sam asked him in confusion. "You said it hunted out by the wharf."
"Yeah," Garth said. "But all the kids I interviewed all said that this thing liked to hunt where it nests."
"And that's where exactly?" Dean asked.
"In a dark scary cave guarded by a dragon," Garth responded.
Dean paused on his next look at Garth, the one where he stared at him like he was just damn crazy. "Well that's what you get from getting Intel from 5-year-olds." He surveyed the group he was with him. His brother, a seasoned hunter, Garth a-well for all intents and purposes-a seasoned hunter. And Jody, the sheriff of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, not a hunter at all, but who could hold her own in a firefight – they were pretty much a cobbled together crew. "Alright, we all ready to hunt down It?"
Since Dean and Sam were the closest to long boardwalk that had its start deep in the grass, they took the lead, Jody came next, and then Garth brining up the rear. The boardwalk sang like a discordant song under their feet, and the parts that were the most gray from decay actually broke away with tiny splashes into the water below.
Dean swore under his breath when a particularly large chunk of rotting wood hit the water with an audible splash. "Oh yeah this is stealthy."
After a few more minutes they finally reached a section of the boardwalk that looked like it had been patched up recently because the wood looked newer, and didn't crumble at the sight of their feet. The boardwalk was longer than it originally looked from the shoreline, going on a good 20 yards in a perfect square. Sitting in the center of it was an one story building resting on its own floating wooden island, which was accessible to the boardwalk by a narrow wooden walkway. Like the dock and the boardwalk, the wood of the building hadn't faired very well left abandoned to the elements. It looked like it had once been painted, but the paint had flecked and yellowed so much that it was impossible to discern what the original paint color had been.
A few square windows sat facing them, with broken panes of glass resembling blackened eyes.
"So what exactly are we looking for?" Dean says to Sam, who is on his left.
"A dragon I guess," Sam offers, settling his fingers on the body of his Taurus.
"Oh great, let me just go get Harry Potter then-"
Dean cut off when a rusted squeaking sound on his right made him whip around, gun drawn.
There was an old signpost in front of the building, and Garth was standing in front of it, trying to grab at the corrugated aluminum sign that he had sent flapping on rusting chains when he had run into it.
"Sorry," Garth said, trying to grab onto the sign like it was a wayward piece of paper.
Dean could only give him half of a withering look before Jody moved up beside Garth and grabbed the bottom corner of the sign. She held onto that corner and flicked on a small Maglight that she had been carrying in her jacket pocket, shining it on the aluminum surface.
"You guys might wanna take a look at this."
Sam and Dean turned and Garth leaned over from where he was standing next to Jody, all three looking at what was shining her light on.
Jody snaked her flashlight beam along the sign. "That look like a dragon to you?"
The sign was almost rusted completely through, here and there were bits of white and red paint. What had been written there had long ago faded away from the corroding effects of the salt and wind on the metal. But directly below the paint globules was a picture of something drawn in red. It was faded and pockmarked with rust, but a long curved image with hooked claws, jagged teeth and a long spiked tail could still made out.
Sam huffed quietly, then stared up at the old building that stood silent in front of them. "Looks like we just found its lair."
Something skirted by Sam's ankles making him jump at the feel of thick fur on his skin. He aimed his gun down at his feet. Which caused Dean to do the same thing on protective reflex. An orange tabby stood a foot in front of them, eyes glowing yellow in what light they could absorb from the streetlamps, ears drawn back teeth bared. The cat hissed and spat at them before continuing its prowl down the boardwalk. It climbed up on the windowsill of the building and disappeared inside.
Dean looked at Sam incredulously. "Dude could you be any more of a girl?" He glanced over to Jody, having forgotten who he was with. "Sorry."
"None taken," Jody returned.
A high pitched wailing hiss broke the through the darkness, blasting out one of the windows of broken glass in front of them. Dean immediately drew his sawed off, aiming at the shattered blackness that glared at them from inside the house. He took a step forward, then another, Sam flanking him gun drawn, Garth was actually doing a good job of mirroring Sam's actions on Dean's right. Jody dropped low in a crouch, moving lithely in a straight line towards the front of the building. She knelt just below the window sill that sat the farthest on the left hand side. She raised herself up on her haunches and swept the light of her flashlight inside the blackness, peering inside.
"Oh my god."
At her whispered exclamation Dean ducked his head over hers and peaked inside the window. The room the windows looked into appeared to be some sort of kitchen. A long aluminum countertop ran along the right and back end of it, and what looked like a stainless steel stove stood beside the counter. Piles of dead leaves and branches were scattered on a brick floor and on the appliances themselves. The smell of dry rot filtered its way out the broken glass.
A thick weaving of fibers like cotton candy had taken over the entire left side of the room. And in the middle of it all was the cat, hanging there upside down, it's body half cocooned in the fibers of what Dean now realized was a huge spider web.
The cat still hissed, but it was muffled and pitiful, and then came a skittering sound as something black huge and looming blocked the cat from view. The cat gave one last wail, then there was a sickening crunch and the animal was silent.
What followed next was a sucking, squelching, tearing sound that made Dean's stomach roll to hear it.
Garth had moved to peer inside the window too, and when his ears picked up the noises he audibly dry heaved into his mouth.
The looming blackness suddenly turned, and Jody's flashlight suddenly caught the glint of three large round eyes.
"Mother-" Jody's eyes went wide at the sight of the eyes as big as tennis balls on her. She aimed her weapon at it as the thing abandoned the now half digested cat and started moving the window. "Guys – run!" She fired two blasts through holes in the glass There was an angry snapping hiss, and the windows suddenly shattered outward.
Sam grabbed Jody's shoulders and yanked her backwards as bits of glass flew on them like jagged rain. He shielded the top of Jody's head with his arms as she continued to fire.
Dean joined in and fired a blast of rock salt just as the front of the building suddenly blew apart. Pieces of rotting wood slid and splashed into the water below. A huge body attached to eight legs as broad as tree branches shook off the rubble.
The spider was massive, huge, ugly. It was covered in brown hair as thick as telephone wire, and it's myriad of coal black eyes glared hatefully at them above a set of wickedly snapping fangs.
Dean had killed and hunted may things, one of them being Satan himself. But never had he been face to face with a huge hairy ass spider on steroids. It disoriented him for a moment like some insanely bad dream; but then the spider lunged at him, jumping a good foot onto the dock so hard that it cracked the wood. And Dean remembered that he was wide awake.
He fired another blast of rock salt, but it seemed to do nothing but piss it off. The spider scrabbled forward, front two legs began reaching for him making Dean backed up further down the dock. He lowered the shotgun and made a grab for his Colt.
A force that felt like a tree had been uprooted suddenly slammed into him, knocking him flat on his back.
Dean heard Sam scream his name. The fall hadn't winded him, but that fact didn't make him fare any better because he found himself pinned under a huge hairy leg that was crushed to his sternum, making him gasp for breath. Dean aimed his Colt and began firing, but the spider's leg had pinned him too far from its stomach for him to get a clean shot at its stomach. It knew its own weak spot and it wasn't about to make it easy for him.
Dean heard Sam's thunderous bark, then the sounds of his gun firing above him. But the bullets were bouncing off the creature's hair like Kevlar, some of them pinging into the splintered wood right by Dean, narrowly missing hitting him. Jody and Garth were firing at the spider too, their gunshots echoing off of Sam's like the rounds of a rock song. But their bullets were proving as useful as Sam's; all they did was bounce off the spider's thick hair and fall away.
Sam got closer to the spider's massive head and fired of a shot that hit it dead center between its two front eyes.
The creature roared at the annoyance and reared its free front leg at Sam.
Sam ducked as that huge leg made a swipe at his head. The air that whooshed by him felt like a wind tunnel. He had no doubt that if the spider had connected it would've severed his head from his neck. Sam fired again at one of the spiders rear legs, making it move in a skittering turn.
The leg pinning Dean raised up enough for him to be able to wiggle out from under it.
Sam grabbed his brother underneath his arms and hauled him up. When Dean was back on his feet, he could feel the wood of the dock underneath him start to fall away. All the force exerted on it was becoming too much; it wouldn't take much more before the whole of the boardwalk collapsed.
The spider spun back around and reared up like a horse. Its body blocked out the streetlamps, as its front legs flailed horribly, fangs bared.
"Go!" Sam yelled at his brother, aiming for the underbelly of the spider. He had a dead accurate shot right in the center. But the wood under his right boot gave way, and his foot plunged into a hole, making him drop his gun moments before the spider suddenly dropped its over 600 pound weight on top of him, fangs snapping right by his neck
"Sam!" Dean took aim on the spider and began firing again, so did Jody and Garth behind him.
Sam couldn't breathe, the weight of the spider was crushing him. He clawed around the wood, trying to find where his gun had landed, bobbing and weaving his head to prevent the spider from grabbing his neck with his fangs. The spiders underbelly was stale and sweat smelling and Sam had to fight down the nausea and bile going up his throat. His outstretched left hand suddenly brushed against the cold metal of his gun, but his fingers wound up spinning it away.
Jody grabbed the fallen gun. "Sam, catch!" she threw the gun like a Frisbee at Sam.
Sam reached his hand out and managed to catch the gun in his palm. But the way he was pinned under the spider, he couldn't get his arms up enough to take any form of aim at its stomach. The spider's huge head was inches away from his own, its fangs open, and two little hair like projections emitting a hideous rattle. He slammed the butt of his gun into one of the spider's eyes.
It stunned it for a second, but it shook off the blow quickly. Sam's movement had made him turn slightly to his left, exposing his shoulder to the spider's fangs that suddenly lunged themselves down and tore into his flesh.
Sam heard Dean's cry over his own scream as two hot pokers of pain bubbled up his arm like molten lava. The splintering wood beneath him finally broke apart completely from the combined weight of him and the huge hair spider straddling him.
"SAM!" Dean made a move to grab his brother's shirtsleeve when he saw what was happening, but he wasn't fast enough before the huge chunk of dock gave way.
Sam was dropped into the water, the spider still on top of him, breaking into the water like an exploding bomb.
Jody and Dean's screams tore over top of each other. The wood beneath them gave another sickening crack. Sam's fall had created a fissure that was breaking up the entire boardwalk like cracking ice.
"Dean!" Jody screamed over the cracking, grabbing Dean's arm and yanking him backwards just as the chunk of boardwalk he was standing on fell into the water.
"We need to get off this mother before we drown!" Garth yelled over all the wood still splintering, backing up to the shore.
Dean wasn't listening to him, he dropped on his knees, and tore both hands through the water like he was digging in sand.
"SAMMY!" Dean's cries echoed off the water, as he reached through murky fish smelling water searching desperately for the form of his brother.
Jody was on her knees beside him, mimicking his action. The water was black as pitch, too dark to see anything. After a minute of groping at nothing, Dean was ready to jump in, zero visibility be dammed.
A head with hair plastered to the side of it broke the surface of the water about a foot away from him. This was followed by a huge choking gasp.
"Sam!" Dean made a grab for his brother's arm when Sam had swum close enough from him to reach. His fingers closed around Sam's wrist – which was attached to a hand still holding to his gun - and his other hand found purchase in Sam's soaking wet shirt.
Jody grabbed a fistful of Sam's shirt from the other side and together, she and Dean hauled him up out of the water and onto the torn piece of dock they were kneeling on.
Sam choked and gagged on lake water, but Dean barely had a chance to asses him before a big black hairy mass bobbed out of the water like a cork.
"Oh you gotta be kidding me," Dean muttered. He yanked Sam to his feet, pushing him into Jody. "Go, go, go!" he shouted, shooting at the spider that was swimming towards them. Damn fucking five-year-olds!
Sam ran in a stumble down the dock, feeling Jody yanking him along by a hand on his shoulder. He kept glancing behind him to make sure that Dean was still following, every few second hearing the sounds or rock salt filled buck shots and .45 caliber bullets blasting the night.
The old wood had finally had it and vanished completely beneath the water, making Dean have to jump the last foot to the shore. He landed with a shock that rattled his teeth, but he didn't pause, continuing towards the car.
Dean tore into the driver's side of the Corolla, gunning the engine, Garth jumped in the shotgun position beside him. Sam and Jody threw themselves into the backseat. The spider's front four legs thumped like iron onto the land. One of its back legs smashed into the flatbed of Garth's car, knocking a dent into the metal that leveled it to the grass.
"Aww man, no not the car!" Garth cried as Dean floored the accelerator and sped into the night.
Dean almost flattened the Corolla's accelerator, zooming the car along at 80 miles an hour, which the car wasn't handling well, judging by all the choking sounds the engine was making.
The two lane road they were on was completely empty except for them, which was a good thing because Dean wasn't paying attention to the road at all, his eyes fixed on the rear view mirror aimed at the backseat.
Next to him Garth was forlornly fingering a circular keychain with the words: "I don't break for ghosts" written across it in script. "That was my baby man."
"Shut up about the damn car Garth!" Dean snapped. He was the first guy to understand the connection a man had with his vehicle. But right now he didn't give a flying fuck about cars.
"Hey!" He turned around completely to stare at his kid brother in the backseat. Sam's head was thrown back against the vinyl seat, his face an contortion of pain, trickles of sweat evident on his hairline even in the darkness. "Sammy, damnit, talk to me!"
"I'm okay Dean," Sam said behind closed eyes. His arm felt like it had been dropped in acid, and waves of nausea and pain rolled on him, but he would never admit to it.
Sam's eyes opened when he felt Jody manipulating his arm. She had torn off the right sleeve of her shirt and tied it high on his bicep over the bite marks.
Jody tied the cloth off as tightly as she could to make a tourniquet to force the venom out of the large jagged puncture wounds and away from Sam's heart.
A bubbling viscous substance oozed out of the holes, and Sam grunted a cry both at the tightness of the tourniquet and the effects of the venom on the surface of his skin which burned corrosively.
Dean wasn't convinced at all of Sam's words, especially when he heard his brother's last scream.
"Jody how's he looking?" Dean had been forced to turn his attention back to the road to avoid swerving off of it, but the concern in his voice still reached her.
The road that they were driving on had no lights, and the dome light of the Corolla was dim at best; but Jody could still see the bites on Sam's arm were already puffed out and an angry red around the edges.
Jody ripped off her other her shirt sleeve and wrapped it tightly over the bite marks. The words 'not good' hovered on her lips, but she bit them back. "We need to find someplace to stop," her worry poured out in those words, and it carried over to Dean when she met his eyes. "You guys got a first aid kit?"
"In the trunk," Dean said.
"What about the spider?" Sam grunted in pain when Jody tied off her makeshift bandage. "We can't –ah!" he broke off in a hiss. "Dean we can't just let it roam around." His eyes opened, irises glassy, staring at his brother."We gotta go after it."
"Not until we find some place to patch you up first," Dean's words were an order, but they weren't harsh, they were worried. From what he could see of Sam, he looked like he had become even paler. "We pissed off that son-of-a-bitch, something tells me we're not going after it, it's going after us."
Dean watched Sam hold his gaze before his brother's eyes closed again in pain. He watched Jody placed a worried finger to the pulse point at his carotid. And Dean clenched his fists around the steering wheel in frustration at being unable to do anything else for Sam.
The car bumped awkwardly as the surface of the road suddenly changed from asphalt to dirt. An wooden gate cut off the road 10 feet in front of them, and beyond it Dean could see bits of what looked like a house peeking out from the branches of fir trees that were silhouetted in blackness.
The gate had a chain, but no padlock and it stood partway open.
"Hang on!" Dean said, he pushed the gas pedal all the way down, and the car bumped and jostled its way down the dirt until it broke through the wooden gate, sending it flying up over the roof of the car with a splitting crash.
The dirt road continued for another 10 or so feet before it ended at a ranch style house with crumbling red brick. The place looked abandoned; all of the windows were either broken or boarded up, and there were no sign of cars.
Dean pulled up next to a cracked driveway. He jumped out of the car and ran the short distance up the drive, then three creaking steps up to the front door. Testing the knob revealed the door to be locked, Dean rammed his shoulder into it, but the door still didn't give. He tried again with the same result.
A slamming car door made him turn to see Garth out on the grass and Sam standing next to Jody. Sam was on his feet by his own power, his gun in his hand, but he looked like he would sway and fall over if he took too many steps. Dean pulled out his gun, indenting on shooting at the doors hinges to try and loosen it, but then he heard it.
It was faint, and sounded like it was a ways off, but it was still there. A clicking, snapping sound, that made him whip around to scan the night. Nothing except the silent fir trees and lawn of cropped grass.
No sound – except for the clicking.
Fuck. Dean tried the door a third time, nothing. It felt like it was bolted multiple times on the inside.
Dean turned to see Garth pointing with his gun at a set of wooden doors built in a slant at the side of the house. He abandoned trying to open the front door and ran back down the stairs. He popped the lid on the Corolla's trunk and grabbed the first aid kid stored back there, as well as the weapons duffle. Then, like an afterthought, he grabbed the unopened bottle of Malt Liquor that had been stowed next to the duffle and crammed it inside the bag.
Garth was already at the wooden basement doors, grunting as he heaved their heaviness open revealing a set of concrete steps leading down into a yawning darkness.
About 5 miles out, a scattering of birds took flight with a rush of beating wings, like something had startled them from their perch in the trees.
"We gotta move – now!" Dean slammed the trunk closed and threw the duffle over his shoulder moving towards the opened doors.
Garth ran down the steps into the basement. Jody was beside Sam on his right, trying to help him down the steps, but with only one of the double doors open it was too narrow for them to be walking beside each other, and Sam's injury left him too unsteady to walk down the steps without tripping.
Dean came up behind them and threw back the other door with a slam. He tossed the duffle bag into the darkness then slung Sam's uninjured arm over his shoulder, clamoring them all down the stairs.
Once they reached the bottom Jody reached in her jacket pocket with her free hand and brought out her Maglight, clicking it on. A pile of crates became illuminated under her small beam of light.
"No!" Garth hissed, when the beam swept by the rectangular window that was recessed in the brick wall. "No light!"
"We have to see you moron!" Dean snapped, a little too hostile. But he had one thing on his mind right now, and that was Sam. He lead the way over to the crates where he and Jody eased Sam down onto the piles of wood. Sam helped them out as much as he could, but being jostled and moved so quickly made him bite out a groan.
Dean ran back up the steps to help Garth with the heavy doors. They dropped in on them and shut with a heavy 'clang' against their frames. Dean drew down the wooden bar that bolted them closed. He turned to Garth, and even in the gray darkness his glare was evident. "Garth, what the hell? What's with the freak out?"
"This thing tracks through light," Garth said, blinking furiously at Dean in the blackness. "It's like GPS for its prey."
Dean glare became angry bafflement at the other hunter. "Why didn't you freakin' tell us that sooner man?"
"Uh, cause I didn't think it was important at the time," Garth returned. "I mean how the hell would I know we'd be some rank basement with no lamps?"
He kept pace with Dean as the other man stomped angrily back down the stairs. Dean felt along the floor for where he had thrown his duffle. When his hand closed on the canvas he unzipped it and pulled out his high intensity beamed flashlight. The floor below them was made of concrete, and next to Dean's boot was a piece of filthy looking tarp.
He picked it up and tossed it to Garth. "Cover the window so we don't send Ginormo's Spidey senses tingling." He left Garth to complete the task and grabbed the first aid kit and the bottle of Liquor and moved over to where Jody was crouched over Sam.
Sam's eyes had been screwed shut while Jody had removed the shredded cloth from his arm to inspect the wound. But when he heard Dean approach they opened to slits. He spied the bottle in Dean's hand. "Little too early for a victory party don't you think?" His laugh was dry and painful.
"Well I like to plan ahead," Dean came back. "Here." He unscrewed the lid off the bottle, hovering it in front of Sam's face. "Take a hit off this."
"I'm good," Sam said through gritted teeth.
"Sam-" Dean's voice was stern.
"I said no." Sam's look was stern.
Both senses from both brothers met out in the open air until finally Dean relented and handed Jody the bottle.
She took it from him turning Sam's injured bicep towards her and doused the bite marks with the alcohol.
Sam swore and reared back, his arm flexing so tightly that the tendons emerged like thick rope. He threw his head back and banged it into the brick behind him.
"Hey, easy." Dean laid a hand on Sam's shoulder.
Jody opened the field first aid kit and tore open a packet of gauze. She started dabbing the excess alcohol off of Sam's skin. In the beam of her flashlight the bite marks on Sam's arm were now indurated, stiff and bright red, and warm where she hovered her hand over his skin. And slow trickles of greenish yellow foul pus leaked out of the holes.
Jody bit her lip at the sight as she continued to dab at the marks to try and clean them as best she could.
"You don't have to pretend it's not bad Jody," Sam gave a dry broken sounding laugh in between panting.
"Neither do you," Jody returned, she flicked her eyes over to Sam when she said this, finding her thumb tracing the edges of his arm for no reason other than comfort. She had no idea when exactly she had adopted Sam Winchester, but did that really matter anymore?
"Hey," Garth called out as he banged into something. "Shit, ow – I, mother effin!- I found a sink guys." He swore some more and rubbed at his knees.
Dean moved his beam over to a deep welled shop style aluminum sink sitting along a back next to an brown Kenmore washing machine that looked like it had last washed clothes 40 years ago.
"I'll get some water; see if I can flush this thing out better." Jody announced. She took Sam's uninjured hand and pressed it against the gauze on his shoulder. "Hold that there okay?" She raised herself up from her knees, giving his arm a reassuring squeeze before walking over to the sink.
Dean moved in front of Sam. "Alright let go Lack of Efficiency," he took Sam's hand off of the gauze and replaced it with his own, pressing down hard on the wound, masking his concern with sarcasm. Sam hissed under the pressure of Dean's hand. "You might wanna cool it with the puppy eyes bro, Jody's about to sign your adoption papers. It's all a bit too kinky if you ask me."
Sam managed a dry laugh like cracking leaves. "I'll get right on that."
Jody's curse made both Sam and Dean raise their eyes over to where she was standing by the sink near Garth.
"What?" Dean asked.
In the darkness he could hear the struggling whale call like moan coming from the faucet.
"Water here's not Korbel," Garth answered, shining Jody's flashlight on the mason jar filled with warm water dotted with a healthy amount of rust flakes that Jody was holding.
"The pipes must be rusted," Jody added. "It's going to have to suffice for a drinking source. But I'm not about to rub tetanus into an open wound. But I found this," she held up what looked like a bundle of pine needles, as she walked back over to Sam and Dean.
Sam watched her through hooded eyes, staring at the bundle of green. "What is that?"
"Silver Fir, it's got antiseptic qualities," As Jody talked she broke off a bundle of flat dark green needles and stuck them in her mouth, chewing them and spitting them back out in a goolike paste into her palm She shooed Dean's hand away from Sam's shoulder and peeled back the gauze, smearing the half chewed needles over the bit marks. "I don't know how well it will work for giant supernatural spider bites-"
"And I'm not dropping any jokes about you swapping spit with my brother Jody," Dean cut in, handing her a roll of white field pressure bandage. "If it helps with anything, we'll call it a win."
Jody took the bandage from him and wrapped it end over end around Sam's shoulder and securing it to itself. "How you doing Sam?" she eyed him critically.
"Still got my arm," was his weak sounding answer. "Guess we'll call that one a win as well."
Sam's closed his eyes, even in the darkness it was evident that his cheeks were tinged in pink, and when Jody placed the back of her hand to his forehead it was warm.
Dean watched her actions. "Fever?"
She gave him a nod. According to Garth the spider's venom could kill a person in around 5 hours, and already an hour had passed since Sam had been bitten. Their shared look of worry met in the open air.
"Guys I'm not dead yet," Sam opened his eyes to two sets of concerned looks on him. His bicep was throbbing from the wound and all the probing done on it, and a headache burned its way between his eyes. But he still looked at Dean and Jody with the best Bitchface he could manage.
Dean met that Bitchface and raised him a protective older brother look. "Yeah well, just make sure you stay that way."
From where he stood by the front wall, Garth peaked out from behind the canvas he had draped over the window. The window over looked the large grassy lawn, and it stood like a calm sea, the incessant clicking sound from earlier had stopped. Now there was only silence, grass, and night.
"Think we gave the Eight Legged Freak the slip," Garth dropped the canvas back down over the window.
"Woo hoo," Sam muttered almost drunkenly, dropping his head back to the wall. He didn't know if was shock or spider venom, or maybe both, but he was starting to feel fuzzy and uncomfortably lightheaded.
"Alright, enough of that Cowboy," Dean ordered.
"S'rry," Sam slurred out an apology. Like he was supposed to apologize for feeling loopy after getting bitten by a spider the size of a Sherman tank. "What now?"
"Now you shut your big dumb eyes and get some rest," Dean answered.
"D'n," Sam swallowed thickly trying to force the slurring back down his throat. "You know that won't work. There were four of us out on that dock and we barely managed to hold that thing off. We can't be down a man-"
"We can if I say so Sam," Dean said. "You can have next watch with Jody. Garth and I got this one, understand?" Even as quiet as Dean was trying to make his voice, it was still an order.
It was the voice he always gave Sam when he was worried about him, but pretended instead that he was only angry.
Sam sighed and an agreement came out with the blow of air. His gun was lying beside him on the crate and Dean picked it up and placed it in his brother's hand. Sam closed his hand around the handle, his finger tips brushing Dean's hand who had yet to let go of the gun.
They let this go on for another second before Dean let go, watching Jody take the empty space on the crate where Sam's gun had just been. He tried to grab her arm to help her so she wouldn't slip in the darkness, but she pulled it back.
"No chivalry Dean," she told him, using her flashlight as a guide to help her sit. "Taking care of myself is not what I'm worried about."
Jody was a small thing beside Sam's bulky muscled frame, but the way she gripped her .38 and the look in her eyes weren't small things at all.
Dean left his brother in that care and moved over the concrete floor to join Garth who was still standing by the window, giving him a look once he reached the other hunter. "Anything else you forgot to tell us about this thing, like that it shoots Skittles out of its ass?"
"Look bra, sorry about the DL with the light thing okay?" Garth said by way of apology. "But I swear, all the intel on the spider is up to speed. Evil hairy bastard, likes to slurp up its dinner all gross and bloody and shit."
"What about a cure for its venom?"
Garth shook his head. "Kids don't usually think that far ahead."
Dean glanced over to where Sam was on the pile of crates, trying to force his glassy eyes to remain open.
Garth followed Dean's look, and guilt pulled at the eyes above his large nose. "I'm sorry about Sam. I should've just gone after this mother alone."
"That would've been suicide Garth," Dean said. The dude was an idiot, but he hadn't done any of this shit intentionally. It was just the hazards of their profession. "Look man, you didn't force us into anything. So how about we save the emo crap for after we put this big bad mother down?"
Garth smiled. "I'm down with that." he held out his hand for a fist bump.
Which Dean didn't return, but did give him a responding: "Good."
"Here," Jody pressed the mason jar of water into the hand on Sam's good arm. "Last thing you need is dehydration."
Sam's hand on the glass was shaky; Jody's hand hovered on his wrist while he drank. The water was warm and tasted coppery, but he managed a few swallows water dripping down his chin. He hastily wiped it away with the back of his wrist, embarrassed. "Thanks."
Jody didn't call him on it, trying to help him save face. "No problem," she took the jar from him before he dropped it and set it on the crate beside her.
On the ground at her feet is Sam's dark blue woolen hoodie that Jody had removed after he'd been bitten. Sam had grabbed it from the car as a force of habit. The entire left sleeve was pock marked with huge holes from where the spider's venom had eaten away at the material, and it gave off a faint wisp of rotten egg smelling smoke from the chemical reaction. Jody grabbed the untouched right sleeve and ripped off a chunk of the wool. She dipped it in the jar and wipes the water across Sam's forehead to try and bring his fever down. "How about you tell me the truth now Sam? " She turned so that she was looking him directly in the eye. "How are you feeling?"
Dean stared out a corner of the window, his pearl handled Colt gripped in his hand, back turned towards Sam. Without his brother's eyes on him, Sam felt the mask he always put up to be brave in front of Dean fall away.
"Like my skin is on fire," he shuddered at the description, remembering a time when his skin had literally been on fire. His first descriptor opened up a floodgate. "I'm so fucking nauseous, and my skull - it's like someone's jamming an ice pick in between my eyes-"
"You need to let Dean know this," Jody said, wiping away the sweat that had accumulated on his hairline.
"Jody no," Sam's eyes flew up to hers, a combination of fear and worry. "I can't. If Dean knew I felt like this he'd never let me back him up. And I'm not letting him take down that thing alone."
But it wasn't worry for him, it was all worry for Dean.
Damn self sacrificing- "Sam-"
"Jody," Sam cut her off. "If I don't make it out of this-"
"Shh," Jody soothed the damp fabric through his hair. "Don't talk like that Sam, you're going to be fine."
Sam reached up and grasped her wrist on the next pass with the cloth. "If I don't make it out," he swept his eyes over to his brother's back. "Tell Dean—I'm sorry; and that I-" he closed his eyes and swallowed painfully. The words were there, but he couldn't say them out loud.
But Jody heard them, she knew what they were. "Get some rest Sam, okay?" She gave him a smile like she had given her son when he was sick with a high fever and fighting not to sleep, the one that was comforting even though she was scared for him. This time she didn't resist the urge, and brushed Sam's hair back with her fingers.
Sam felt his eyes slip shut and he drifted into the place between sleep and unconsciousness.
Jody watched Sam's head slump down. She placed a hand on his wrist checking his pulse. It was fast, too fast, but it was there, and right now she would take that.
He stayed like this for an hour, then an hour and a half. Dean stood guard by the window with Garth that whole time, but he would keep glancing back to check on Sam. Jody would flash him a look that said 'He's hanging in there' wishing each time that she could look at Dean differently. Dean in turn gave her a look that said he wished she could too.
As they neared the two hour mark Jody felt Sam becoming restless, sleep becoming plagued by the pain of the conscious world. His eyes opened into slits, and he looked at her with a disoriented gaze.
"Mom?" He blinked again, and visibly shook himself when Jody's worried face suddenly came back into focus and he remembered where he was. "Sorry," his words were a whispered embarrassment.
Jody smiled something sad and with broken edges. "Hey don't worry about it, free pass." She blinked and her eyes betrayed her by being damp. She cleared her throat heavily. "I need to stretch my legs; you gonna be okay for a minute?"
Sam gave her the slightest nod. "I'm not going anywhere."
Jody laid a hand on his arm and then stood up walking halfway between the crate and the window. Her thumb tracing her locket as furiously as she blinked to keep her eyes dry.
Dean found her like this, and she felt a heavy warmth as he draped his jacket over her, or tried to. "Don't make me kick your ass Dean…"
"Dean!" Sam screams above the sound of Jody's gunfire blasting through the darkness.
Her bullets bounced off the spider's hair, rebounding back inside.
Sam takes aim with his gun, but raises it up a second later when he can't get a clear shot without hitting his brother. Outside the clicking sound is monstrous and Sam can hear the spiders 7 other free legs stomping and tearing apart the ground outside.
Dean is grabbing at the spider's leg, and Sam can hear him gasping, choking. Dean's hands are digging frantically, trying to force air that won't come out from his crushed trachea.
Sam's shoulder screamed at him for that first instant when he raised his gun, but then he felt nothing as a rush of hot adrenaline blotted it out. Dean's struggling was getting slower, and his hands were becoming slack, legs becoming limper.
"No!" Sam's scream tore the darkness like paper when he saw Dean's eyes start to roll up in his head. Sam rushed closer, close enough for the spider to be able to reach him with his outstretched legs.
Dean is barely consciousness, he can't even feel himself inhale anymore. But he still saw Sam coming dangerously close to the spider's massive leg. "S'mmy no!"
Sam drops low and fires a shot on the underside of the spider's leg that he is able to reach. The bullet ricochet off the brick, but not before hitting the spider someplace sensitive on the bottom of its foot.
There was an ungodly roar and Dean was dropped choking to the ground. The leg retracted out of the broken window as the spider's wail became a high pitched keen.
"Dean!" Garth grabbed Dean's arm and yanked him to his feet. He slapped him on the back like it was a form of first aid. "You okay?"
Dean choked in a crushed sounding gasp, grabbing at his neck. "Super," his voice was a raspy wheeze. He peered out the shattered window, seeing the spider duck into a shadowed area of trees. "Guess we're lucky the damn thing's ticklish."
"Dean, y'all right-"
Sam's voice sounded off behind him.
"Dude what the hell-"Dean turned around eyes glaring, intending to let Sam know just what the hell he thought of Sam doing something so insane like trying to take down a ginormous spider with a half masticated arm. But the words never came because one minute, Sam was standing there, panting so heavily his shoulders were shaking with it, gun in hand, eyes wide in relief at seeing Dean standing there. Then the next minute his gun clattered to the floor because Sam's fingers could no longer hold it.
Dean wasn't fast enough to catch his brother when he crashed to the ground. Neither was Jody who tried to grab him, and his weight knocked her to the ground with him.
"Sam!" Dean dropped to his knees beside his brother. Sam lay on his side, his arm locked tightly over his injured arm. Streams of dark blood streaked with pus trickled their way between Sam's closed fingers.
Jody was on her knees on Sam's other side. She started to pry Sam's fingers away from the wound, but when she moved his hand even a fraction, he screamed.
That scream pierced Dean down to his bones, and when he grabbed Sam's fingers and managed to pry them away from his shoulder he could see why.
The bandage was completely sodden in dark blood, and was leaking heavy red trails down Sam's arm. "Damnit."
Sam started to shudder violently from the force of the pain.
"Hey, Sam, Sam-!" Dean palmed a grip on the flat of Sam's bicep.
Sam's shuddering turned into gasps that writhed him off the ground, his eyes locked tight in pain, then flew up in terror, locking open time, on Dean's face. "D-De-" stuttered his name out on choking breaths.
"I'm here dude," Dean curled his fingers tighter around Sam's skin. "Stay with me, you hear?"
Jody unwound the bandage from his arm, and this time Dean swore something much harsher than 'damnit.' The wound was almost black, and looked like it had tunneled under Sam's skin, traces of darkness spider webbed around it, and without the bandage pus and blood ran freely down it.
Sam tried to turn his head to look at it, but Dean grabbed his chin and turned him away. "Hey no peeking, That's too much for your girly stomach dude," Dean's voice ended on a laugh that was dry and fake, forced out – for Sam.
Sam slammed his head down against the concrete and, and swallowed painfully. Then came a stab of pain so blinding his hand flew out and latched tightly onto Dean's bicep. Sam's eyes, they were completely terrified, and they weren't 30 anymore, they were scared, young. They were the boy locked on his big brother, wanting him to fix this, wanting him to take this all away. "D-" he tried to say his brother's name again, but he couldn't.
"Hey!" Dean grabbed a fist full of Sam's shirt in return. "I'm right here Sammy you understand? I'm here, you're okay. I'm here."
Sam was panting so fast now it was like one long hitching breath. His fingers were curled so tightly into Dean's arm that Dean could feel them grinding against the bones. Sam's next gasp never completed itself, it ended it a choking shudder. His eyes rolled up into his head and his hand dropped off Dean's arm.
"Sam!" Jody felt under Sam's noise, but felt nothing under her hand but stillness. "Dean he's not breathing!" She dropped her fingers lower to Sam's neck, but again she felt nothing. "His heart's not beating either!" Her words were ringing in her head like she had been caught in tower of the Notre Dame Cathedral when the bells had gone off. In the absence of Sam's heart beating, her own thundered in her ears.
"Dean!" Jody braced her hands over Sam's chest and began compressing it down, hard fast movements, one, two, three, four her body jerking hard with each downward thrust.
It was like Dean was suddenly snapped from a dream when he saw Jody initiating CPR. He grabbed the base of Sam's chin and tilted it back. "C'mon Sam, breathe!" he pinched Sam's nose shut and breathed twice into his brother's mouth. Sam's chest rose and fell with each of Dean's breaths, but they didn't continue once he pulled away. "Damnit!"
Jody started compressions again, a set of 30, two breaths from Dean.
30 compressions, two more breaths.
"You fucking breathe Sammy you hear me!" Dean blew two more breaths before Jody could finish her next set of 30 compressions. He and Jody's fingers met on Sam's neck this time.
Dean waited, Jody waited.
Stillness echoed under their hands, no air under Dean's hand pressed against Sam's nose.
"Sam?" Dean grabbed Sam's shoulders and shook him. Sam's head flopped boneless, eyes not opening.
"No," He slid a hand down the side of Sam's face tangling his fingers up in Sam's hair, digging into the side of his brother's face. He felt like an iron weight had suddenly fallen on his chest. "No-!"
He pushed Jody aside and started compressing Sam's chest. On the fifth thrust Dean heard one of Sam's ribs crack.
Jody heard it too. "Dean-" She tried to grab his arm, but Dean threw her off violently.
"No; you're not doing this to me Sam! You don't get a fucking I told you so on your birthday!" Sam's body jerked with each compression, but none of it under his own power. "C'mon!"
Jody grabbed Dean's arm again "Dean-"
Dean reared back with enough force it toppled Jody to the ground, and threw him backwards onto his haunches. Dean lay back on his legs gasping like a fish that had been forcefully thrown to the land. His breathing trembled and shook as he sat back up.
He leaned over his brother.
"No-" he griped the side of Sam's face turning it towards him, feeling a stab to his heart when it came so compliantly. "No, no, no man, we're not doing this again-" his other hand snaked up the other side of Sam's face until he was cradling his brother's head in his hands. "You hear me? We're not doing this again!" A rush of hot tears dropped down like a thunderstorm down his face. "Sam?" It was a broken whispered question, as he touched the sides his face. "Sammy?"
"No," Dean brought that face up to his, and dropped his forehead down to his little brother's.
"Oh go-" His tears pooled onto Sam's closed eyes. Dean keened like a dying animal, choking on sobs, face pressed into Sam's, holding him up off the cold concrete in the bend of his arm.
Then suddenly he raised his head up and threw himself in an assault at the storage crates behind him. The crate easily weighed 30 pounds, but it was hurled against the wall where it splintered apart. The next one followed suit, then another, hitting the brick with such violence it seemed to shake the entire house to its foundations.
Having nothing left to throw Dean turned around punched the brick wall, he felt the skin of his knuckles break apart. His shoulders then heaved on a scream so painful it was unearthly. Dean wiped at the hot tears down his face turning back around to see Jody kneeling down next to Sam tears dripping off her chin as she held his limp hand in both of hers.
Dean's jaw clenched so tightly he felt like he would bite through his chin. He grabbed Sam's gun from where it had fallen, and stared out the broken window.
"I'm going after it."
Jody turned her head up to him, her face streaked in tears. "No Dean, not by yourself-"
Dean wasn't listening to her, he checked the clip in Sam's gun there were four rounds still inside, his moves were hurried, frantic. "If I kill this thing it might erase it's mojo, undo all it did-" He glanced at Sam's still body when he said this.
"No Dean," Garth frantically followed Dean as he grabbed his shot gun from where it was beside his duffle bag. "Man you're not thinking clearly! Look you were right before; it's suicide to go alone!"
"Then come with me," Dean methodically loaded rock salt bullets into the barrel of the shot gun. He knew that it wouldn't kill the thing, but he wanted the biggest bullets he could lay his hands on to blast that fucker to pieces for what it did to his brother.
"That isn't going to work man!" Garth yelled. "This thing wasn't created like that. None of the kids thought that killing the spider would bring its victims back to life-"
Dean whipped his head up to face Garth. "Well I'm thinking it now!" His voice was an angry terrifying scream. "And you sure as hell better be thinking it too. Now you're either coming with me or you're not, but either way I'm ripping that monster apart! So what's its gonna be?"
Garth backed up at the pure raw anger he could feel coming off of Dean. But he also felt the reasoning behind it, the frantic earth shifting pain of watching his brother die right in front of him. "I'm with you man."
Dean gave a curt nod. He walked over to where Jody was still crouched over Sam and knelt down next to Sam's head. "I'm bringing you back Sam, you hear me? No deals this time, just me." His hand found the side of Sam's face again, the skin was still warm beneath his fingers. He choked on the pain that wanted to heave up out of his chest and pushed it under the tearing brutal anger.
But he let a bubble of that pain escape so he could press a warm hand to Sam's head and kiss his brother's forehead like he was merely asleep.
"Stay with him. Talk to him." Dean looked up to Jody with eyes like the windows of a haunted house. A lonely place where something inside had died, his voice loud, but broken. "I don't want him to be alone."
Jody felt another rush of tears at the sight of the shattered man before her and the one who's hand she gripped. "Dean – what if it doesn't work?"
"It will," Dean snapped. His hand was still on Sam's head, and he brushed his thumb through his hair, He raised his head up to her, his gaze piercing. "It has too." He rose from his feet standing there like a half man, something severed.
But then he dropped that gaze, hid it away behind a stone mask, one that slowly turned to Garth. "Let's do this."
The lawn was buried under two huge fallen trees, their roots torn from the ground, bending upwards like a ladder.
Garth crouched in the underbelly of these roots, peeking around them to the destruction that continued on the lawn like the demolition path of a tornado – branches of the uprooted trees, scattered bodies of dead birds that hadn't taken flight fast enough to escape the fallen trees.
"Damn," Garth whispered, he ducked his head back under cover and turned to Dean who was crouched beside him. "This thing is one messy arachnid."
Beside him Dean, was silent, staring like he wasn't seeing what he was looking at, hands locked to the body of Sam's Vector.
A crashing boom like a herd of elephants preceded a massive shadow of eight legs and body that blotted out the patch of stars where it stood.
Garth and Dean ducked lower, watching the spider clear a foot with one crawling movement of its body. It then bent low over one of its legs, the one that Sam had shot, rubbing it with the leg closest to it, hunched on itself like it was injured.
Garth turned back to Dean again. "I think our best bet would be to go in stealth."
Dean was still looking like he was seeing something removed from the warm air and the torn up lawn in front of him. He couldn't feel his heart beating anymore, or feel himself breathing, all he felt was the cold metal of the gun in his hands.
He stood up and fired two shots into the air.
The spider's head snapped up and there was a screeching sound of huge legs righting themselves under a massive body.
"Dean!" Garth tried to grab Dean's arm, but he had moved away from the tree, walking right out in front of the spider.
"Hey fugly!" Dean fired another shot into the air, walking towards the spider, seeing its huge head swivel to it like the gunner on a Humvee. The spider was moving closer to him with sickening 'cricking' movements of its legs. "Yeah I'm talking to you, bitch!" He fired a shot at the spider's legs, blasting up a chunk of grass, goading it. "Come on!"
Garth crept out from behind the roots of the tree and took aim at the spider, firing a shot at its back legs. The spider's head turned away but only for a moment before it shook the noise off like a nuisance. It swept closer to Dean.
"Dean!" Garth shouted, watching as Dean disappeared behind a wall of black.
Dean stared into eight glaring black eyes, caked with molted bits of slime-like discharge. The spider leaned its huge head down so that it was only a foot in front of Dean, blowing a hot billow of breath out between chortling fangs.
He raised the gun, Sam's gun, dead center in between those fangs, feeling that hot breath on his face like fire. Dean's eyes were cold, shattered, angry, hateful. "This is for my brother you fucking monster."
"Dean!" Garth screamed as the spider's fangs snapped down over Dean's head.
The darkness of the basement folded like the corners of an unwanted blanket on Jody. She knelt in this darkness over Sam's body. The wound on his arm still continued to bleed, and the large hand attached to that arm was limp and pliant in hers.
His face was turned towards her, still and unmoving, waxed in sweat, eyes closed. The same eyes that had tried to refuse going to sleep when they were trying to bring Dean back from Elliot Ness's time, the same eyes that looked at her so remorsefully as he slid the rifle from her hand to take her place in putting a bullet in her son's head.
"Sam-" Jody's voice felt as heavy as lead. "You are not staying dead, not from some stupid spider bite dreamed up in art school, understand?" She tried to laugh, but it didn't work, it only sounded like it was- pain. "Dean won't let you die like this, I won't let you die like this-" She stroked the flesh of his palm with her thumb, not caring how insane her words sounded. If insanity was wishing someone you loved alive again after a giant spider killed them, the Jody wanted to be insane.
"I've already lost enough people in my life, I don't want another one." Her hand went up to the locket at her neck. She used her thumb to open the locket.
Inside were two tiny pictures – one of her husband, and the other of her son. Jody held it out to Sam like he could see it. Her tears hit Sam's hand and slid down into his palm. Her free hand was gripped viselike to her .38. She looked around the abandoned basement, where shadows and rats fought each other for competition in such a god forsaken hole. "This isn't the end of the story." She leaned down towards Sam. "You fight, Sam, you hear me?" Her tears hit like heavy rain against Sam's face, his eyes. "I promised Dean I wouldn't leave you alone, so you better do the same for me kid."
Jody aimed her gun out into the blackness, never letting go of Sam's hand.
The spider's fangs missed Dean's by centimeters. There was a split second moment where Dean felt hypnotized by the hot breath, those snapping fangs. It all meant an end to the crushing pain he felt every time he took a breath. It meant he could be with Sam.
But then Dean remembered Sam writhing in brutal agony, the pain that had contorted, and tore and taken his little brother from him. And he raised his gun and fired, hitting the spider square between its fangs. The bullet ricocheted, and it nicked Dean on his left ear, he felt warm blood gush down the side of his face.
The spider screeched its horrible wail and back up, writhing. Dean fired again, making it scuttle backwards again, legs rhsing on the grass.
"Dean!" Garth was firing rounds somewhere at the back of the spider. But the thing was ignoring Garth, shaking its head like it was trying to come out of the pain inflicted from the glancing bullets. It lunged forward 2 feet and snapped, its fangs echoing like giant blades against each other.
Dean backed up to avoid those huge snapping fangs. But then he took off in a sudden sprint, right at that colossal segmented body. When he was only inches away Dean dropped into a slide, and disappeared on his back under the spider's body.
"Dean!" Garth shouted again, for another countless time. Dean Winchester was reckless on his best day. But, today when he had watched his brother die in front of him –Dean was a suicidal live bomb.
The spider dropped its head upside down. There was that ticking hissing clamor, then the sound of a round being fired. The spider wailed horribly, rearing up completely vertical.
Another shot fired from Dean, who was lying flat on his back, gun aimed up at the spider's underbelly.
It landed on its back, indenting a massive crater in the grass where it rolled. It's legs bucked and kicked, spraying the air with huge chunks of grass and dirt.
Dean was on his feet again, and fired another shot, then another, then another. Each bullet hitting the spider's underbelly, making it wail a screeching cry, until finally they stopped and its legs and huge hairy body collapsed completely still on the grass.
Dean stood beside the dead spider, holding Sam's still smoking gun, breath coming in heavy pants.
"Dean!" Garth lowered his gun, but still kept his hands locked on it He jogged over to Dean, who was staring at the spider's body. It's legs had already started to curl upwards like all insects do when they die.
"Is it dead?" Garth looked down at the overgrown insect. Even still, it looked horrible, unnatural, creepy as hell.
Dean was still panting out heavy breaths, he turned to Garth and could only nod in the darkness. His breath blew out in front of him from the temperature of the night.
Garth looked at the dead spider again, then back up to Dean "Does this mean Sam?-"
He didn't get to finish his words because Dean shoved past him so hard that he almost fell over.
Dean broke out into a run over the grass to the house that sat at the end of it, leaving Garth to run to catch him, calling out his name again.
"Sam!" Dean tore down the steps in the blackness of the basement. His heart beat like a pounding base drum. He heard Garth's clopping steps and out of breath breathing fall behind him. But he continued to push into the darkness like he could break it away with his hands. He found Jody sitting where she had left him; but her back was turned towards him. He could barely see her. He clicked on his flashlight, and it illuminated part of shirt on her back.
She didn't move or acknowledge him in any way.
He wanted to say 'we killed that mother,' and 'did it work?' all at the same time.
But words fled him when Dean's heard her crying. He crept closer to her.
Jody's fingers were tight around the locket around her neck, and her other hand was fingering blue fabric, Sam's jacket –she was holding the remains of Sam's jacket, clutching the material and crying.
Dean could see nothing else in the darkness but her still, crouched form, all he heard was her crying.
His voice whipped her head up to him. He saw the tear tracks on her face, the raw redness of her eyes.
Dean's heart rate suddenly exploded. His breath all suddenly blew out of him. It hadn't worked, Killing the damn thing, it had done nothing, Sam was - No, NO!-
Dean whipped around, his flashlight beam cutting a swath of light, like a sword slicing through blackness.
It fell onto Sam, who stood there, five steps behind him. He was shaking and covered in sweat, and blood ran in rivulets down his arm. But he was alive.
Dean's heart stopped pounding, it stopped entirely. He watched Sam draw in a breath in the absence of his own breathing.
Then Sam was rushing him, heavy solid arms going around his back, his massive weight almost toppling him over.
And Dean was returning the gesture, his heart, it exploded, beating again, exploded and leaking its vitality as he grabbed huge handfuls of his little brother into his embrace, eyes closing tightly, feeling that heartbeat against his chest. "Sammy.."
The flames licked the night with a raging warmth that cracked and split and smoked.
Garth dragged a long fallen branch across the ground like a sled. He raised it up over his shoulder and threw it into the huge bond fire that burned in the middle of the grassy lawn. The flames cracked a brilliant blue at the pine resin igniting, and rose higher in the blackness. Stars were visible through the smoke and outline of trees. Garth stood there and watched the fire burn, seeing it spark again as Jody threw in another branch from the scattered remains of the tree that had fallen.
The fire rose another foot into the air, the flames radiated a blinding heat, making them both step back, watching as it cracked and split and enveloped the wood, and the giant body of the spider that split and cracked along with the branches.
Over the grass came Dean with a yellow colored 20 lb bag of rock salt slung over his shoulder.
"Give you a hand," Sam's voice came over the darkness and leaping flames. He turned to take the other end of the bag.
"Not a chance," Dean said brushing past him. "Not with those busted ribs," Not a word was spoken between them about the reason for Sam's broken ribs. The spider bite was wrapped up under a torn piece of Dean's shirt until they could dress it properly when they got back to the car. Both injuries still throbbed, both reasons for them still fresh, still raw.
Sam kept silent. He stood beside Jody, watching Dean heave the entire bag of salt into the flames. The fire licked the bag, burning a hole into it and there was a pop as the flames found the salt inside. They burned bright blue for another moment, before returning to orange.
Task completed Dean moved to stand beside his brother.
Garth stepped over beside Dean, and all four of them watched as the fire consumed the spider. The smoke burned thick and black and the smell was horrendous. But compared to all that had dealt with that night, it was a trivial thing.
"Burn mother burn," Garth deadpanned, hearing one of the spider's legs snap in half and dropped, severed into the fire.
Jody brushed her fingers against Sam's hand, and slid them into his, not taking her eyes off of the flames.
Sam closed his hand around her smaller one, telling her in that squeeze what he couldn't say yet – what he couldn't even think yet Just telling her – thank you.
Dean reached down in the grass, and lifted up the brown bottle of malt liquor. He unscrewed the lid and held it out to his brother. "Happy birthday Sam."He pounded a hand lightly across Sam's back, letting his hand linger longer than he normally did.
Sam turned his head towards the touch. In the light of the fire he could see a trickle of blood dripping off the wound from Dean's ear. But Dean seemed not to be noticing it. Sam took the bottle from his older brother and took a pull from it.
Dean watched him the entire time, his eyes following the movement of Sam's Adam's apple as he drank, watching the breath expel from Sam's lungs that came after he was done.
Sam handed the bottle back to Dean.
Dean took the bottle back, hand lingering for a moment on the neck of the bottle above Sam's. He tipped a healthy swallow into his mouth as they all continued to watch the fire burn.
One Day Later
"Good morning class!"
"Good morning Ms. Finchter!" The group of 5-year-olds chorused to their teacher.
Ms. Adeline Finchter stood to the side of her blackboard with the date and time written neatly in print under a big happy smiley face. Ms. Finchter was in her early 40's and her hair was plaited with as much neatness as the lines of her khaki a-line skirt.
She looked out over the sea of children's faces. "Today we have some very special guests, who are going to talk to you all about safety. "Adeline Finchter watched as the kids looked at each other in excitement. She turned with a smile towards the two men in suits standing in front of her desk. "Special Agents Rock Erfeller and Agent Sam Smith from the FBI! Let's give them a warm welcome!"
"Good Morning -"
"Good Morning Agent FBI's!"
The children's greetings stumbled over each other like raindrops.
"Hi guys," Sam waved to the kids.
"Hiii!" The kids chortled again, some returning Sam's waves, while others stared up at him in awe like he was a huge Sequa tree at a national park.
"Sup rugrats?" Garth said, waving like Sam had. Then his left hand suddenly shot up covered in a sock complete with red lips, shoelace hair and google eyes. "How's everybody doing too-day?" Garth's sock covered hand asked the children in a high pitched voice. "My Name's Mr. Wiggles and I'm Agent Rock Erfeller's partner-"
A boy with dark brown close cropped hair sitting in the front row shot his hand up at the same time Sam shot Garth a wide eyed 'what the hell?' look at his sock puppet routine.
"Yes Rickey,"" Ms. Finchter called on the boy. "You wanted to ask the Agents a question?"
"Isn't Rockefeller some old rich guy who died a million years ago?" Ricky asked Garth.
"Agent Rock is very PROUD to be named after such an incredible role model," Garth said through Mr. Wiggles voice.
"My friend Tommy said that you missed the easy passes in kick ball." Rickey said smugly.
"It's not nice to tease people on their sports agility Ricky. BAD things happen to little boys who tease-" 'Mr. Wiggles' warned, Garth making the puppet's lips droop sadly.
"Yeah like what?" A redheaded kid behind Rickey piped up in a bit of a tough guy voice.
"Mr. Wiggles really doesn't want you to find out-"
"Ah, woah, okay," Sam grabbed Garth's wrist through the sock and pulled his hand down. "That's enough there Mr. Wiggles." He cleared his throat and gave Garth a sideways glare. He then turned his eyes back to the kids. "What my partner's partner is trying to say kids is that – there've been some rumors about a giant spider running around-"
A calamity of noise rose from the kids.
"He melts your eyeballs!" A little girl in a blue jumper said in the middle row.
"He takes your kitties and eats them for dinner!" The redheaded kid behind Ricky shouted.
"He ate Mrs. Johnson!" A tiny imp of a girl in plaited pig tails shouted the loudest from the back row.
"Who's Mrs. Johnson?" Garth asked.
"My neighbor," the girl responded. "She lives cross the street."
"What's your name?" Sam asked, taking a few steps closer to her and lowering his 6'4" height down to her level so he wouldn't tower over her and scare her.
"Becca," the girl piped up, staring at Sam with green eyes that reminded him of Dean.
"Becca? That's a pretty name," he said in a soft, calming voice. "It's okay Becca. None of that was real, alright? It's all just make believe-"
"Like X men?" A little boy with a brush cut who could have been Harry Potter's younger brother said asked from his seat across from Rickey.
"Exactly," Sam said standing up and waiving his hand at him in affirmation. "Like X men. It's all just stories, like the X men comics."
"Then what ate Mrs. Johnson?" Becca asked her face melting into confusion.
"Turns out it was Mr. Johnson-" Garth said. "He'd been out all week on business, and he was really happy to see her-"
Sam cleared his throat loudly at the same time the narrowed glare Mrs. Fincter was giving reached Garth. "Agent ErFeller means that Mrs. Johnson is fine, okay?" he shot another sideways glance at Garth. Seriously, was this guy's censor permanently on off? He smiled as least awkwardly as he could and nodded at the girl, and after a moment she nodded too.
He stood back up and walked to the front of the class so he could address all of them. "There is no giant spider kids. I went down there to that dock and you know what I saw?"
All the kids either said 'no' or leaned in closer with a shake of their heads, their curiosity piqued.
"Well you see that place used to sell wigs, lots of colorful wigs. And a group of homeless cats got in there to sleep, and somebody saw some of the cats shooting out with a black wigs on their head, and they thought they were a giant spider. Isn't that silly? I mean a bunch of cats with wigs on their heads-" Sam gave an awkward sounding laugh, not believing he was actually saying half the shit that was coming out of his mouth. "How scary is that huh?"
Sam felt pretty effin "silly" as he finished the lamest story ever concocted (Thank you Dean) and waited for the fallout from the kids. Just because they were five-year-olds didn't mean they were stupid.
Little blonde pigtailed Becca raised her hand tentatively at Sam.
"Yes," Sam said pointing at her with what he hoped was an encouraging smile. "Becca?"
"It isn't scary Agent Smith," she was tentative with her words, like she was calculating this whole thing to its logical conclusion in her head. "So it's –silly?" She knit her eyebrows at him. "Right?"
"Right." Sam agreed.
"So all that mean the spider's not real?" Harry Potter's little brother said with such a forceful jerk of his head out that his glasses fell down to the bridge of his nose.
"No!" Becca said turning to her classmate. "You gots to listen Peter! It ain't scary, cause it's silly! Agent Smith said so." There was a 'stupid!' at the end of her words. She turned to Sam with a smile that took over her entire face.
Sam returned her smile. Close enough.
"It IS silly Becca," Mr. Wiggles said with a chortle, his sock puppet lips pulling up into a smile. "Silly, silly, silly!"
Outside the school, was a row of red painted benches sprouting up out of circles of cedar mulch.
Dean was sitting at one of them with Jody. To their right was a playground and a handful of kids were climbing up a blue and white jungle gym, screaming the way only kids could when they were released to their own freedom.
Jody watched them. "My son went to a school just like this. He'd be way at the top of the monkey bars whenever his dad and I would pick him up from school." She felt Dean shift beside her and when she turned her head she was looking in his eyes.
A moment of sadness hung there, brief and gone, but leaving a mark before Dean granted Jody what she wanted and turned his attention back to the kids. "Sam was the same way," Dean watched a boy in front of him crash to the cedar filled ground in a tangle of legs and arms. But then the boy just hopped right back up, un hurt, screaming, and going again. "He'd be hanging upside down by his legs waving at me when I'd come to get him after we got out of school. Kid was a freakin' Spider Monkey-" his words died out. Memories of anything about spiders was too fresh of a thing to tamper with or joke about yet.
"Listen-" Dean turned back to face her. "What you did back there – Sam and I don't have anybody left, and if he would've – I don't know what I would've done if things turned out differently . Actually I know what I would've done-" a moment of sad clarity came over Dean when he said this. There was no denying anymore what he would do if Sam died. "So thank you, for keeping me from that for another day."
The life of a hunter was never easy or happy, Jody heard it covering every bit of Dean's voice as he talked. But she also heard what he said in the silence, the unyielding loyalty that maybe didn't make their lives happy, but made each moment worth something.
Jody reached across the bench to slide her hand onto Dean's wrist. "You're welcome Dean. Sam's lucky to have you for a brother."
"Yeah well he's lucky to have you too." Dean didn't look at Jody when he said this because it was very dangerously close to Emo Territory.
But Jody knew what he meant.
The front doors of the school opened and Garth and Sam walked down the set of concrete steps.
Dean and Jody rose from the bench they were sitting on as the other two walked across the lawn towards them.
"How'd it go?" Dean asked Sam when his brother was close enough to hear him. He could see Sam's Bitchface already affixed firmly on him.
"Fan-tastic!" Garth held up Mr. Wiggles, grinning at Sam while he punched him in the shoulder. Thankfully not his bad shoulder which was still thickly bandaged under his suit jacket.
Sam gave a half rolled eye roll to Dean. "Seriously man? Cats and wigs? I mean couldn't you think of something less, I don't know – stupid?"
"Exactly," Dean said pointing a finger at Sam, who narrowed his eyes at him, wondering just what the hell that meant. "Sam, there is nothing scary about a herd of Tidy Cats coifing it up all over town. And now that all the junior members of the Make Believe Think Tank think it's true I figure it's as good a ward as any to keep away evil 20 foot tall arachnids from popping back up."
"Until the cats turn feral and choke people with the wigs." Sam pointed out.
"Then that's tomorrow's problem," Dean told him simply.
"And tomorrow's hunt." Garth said pointing at them with fingers shaped like guns. 'uh, uh?' His grin was as wide as his spread apart fingers.
"Actually I think I'll pass on the next hunt dreamed up by over active childhood imagination," Dean said. "One evil spider snacking on Sam is enough for me," Dean chuckled at the end of it, but something he couldn't pretend wasn't pain crept up in his eyes.
"Yeah me too," Sam agreed, meeting that look on Dean's face his next blink absorbing it because he felt it too.
"Well then," Garth clapped his hands together with an echoing sound, surveying Sam and Dean. "It's been real. But – I gots to go – you know," he thumbed the air behind him. "There's a world out there to save." He moved his hands back around and formed them into fists. "Proppers Gentleman."
Sam and Dean bumped fists with Garth, exchanging looks between themselves. Not just because Dean had bumped the fist Garth still wore 'Mr. Wiggles' on. But at this high wired, over the top, somewhat dooshy, but still somewhat likeable hunter they'd run across.
Garth turned to Jody, his grin still in place. "And Lady – I'll crank up the old Ranchero Relaxo."
To which Jody smiled in return. "Thanks."
Jody's car had been parked Harbor Bay all night, and in the early hours of dawn it had been towed to an impound lot. Through a lot of angry threats that all involved jail time for 'obstructing transportation of a law enforcement officer' Jody had cajoled the owner of the Impound to release her car back to her. And Garth had graciously offered to give her a lift back to said impound lot. She didn't even have to torque his arm this time.
Yeah he was a bit of a doof, but she couldn't help it – she liked him.
"Take it easy out there man okay?" Dean said with sincerity. "We may need you again."
What only could be described as 'fondness' came over Garth's features, melting them down like wax to a slurpy ball of 'Garth emotion' and before Dean knew it Garth had pulled him into a hug.
"Oh-okay-" Dean's arms came up awkwardly "We're doing-" he reached down and patted Gath's back, feeling the other man settle his head on his shoulder. "Yeah." Dean patted the other side of Garth's back, and shot Sam an uncomfortable look.
Garth pulled back and stared at Dean like a long lost friend, then went over and threw himself at Sam, who couldn't help the audible wince that came from Garth squeezing his bad shoulder and broken ribs.
"Garth-" Sam didn't have time to get out the 'stop squeezing my injuries' before the other hunter pulled away from him.
"You take care of yourself Sam," Garth clamped a hand on Sam's shoulder.
"I'll do my best," Sam said around the wince that gesture caused him.
"Okay," Jody said, stepping in between Garth and Sam. "It's non-hunter's time, move over." She reached up and wrapped her arms around Sam.
Sam folded her into his arms, holding her for a long moment. He felt her hand reach up behind his neck and she drew his head down to kiss him on the forehead. She pulled back with eyes that glistened, letting her hand linger there for a moment, staring at this grown man with a fondness she thought she had buried with her son.
She looked over to Dean. "You two-" a shadow of a smile came over her. "Stay alive – okay?"
Dean's chin tilted up, just slightly after her words ended, hearing all the other ones that came behind them.
He watched her walk ahead of Garth to his Ranchero parked next to someone's Ford Focus and someone else's Dodge Intrepid in the Facility parking lot. Garth opened her door (for a bit of a doofy hunter he was a gentleman) then he climbed in beside her. The huge crater like dent was still in the flat bed, and the driver's side window had an enormous cracked hole in the middle of it. But Garth had insisted on going back for 'his girl' and apparently the damn thing it still ran.
The rumble of the Ranchero's engine cut under the asphalt like a wave. Then came the sound of the beginning cadence of Vanilla Ice's:"Ice Ice Baby." blasting from the vehicle's monosound speakers. Garth backed out of the parking space, flipping a sideways peace sign out the hole in the window to Sam and Dean.
Sam waved back.
Dean just shook his head. "There goes the future of monster ganking."
"Don't be so hard on him, man." Sam returned watching Garth's car disappear. "He gave you solid back up out there, when I couldn't." He said 'when I couldn't' like it could be used interchangeably with 'when I died.'
Dean turned to him, just watching Sam breathe for a moment, hording it like a junkie horded his stash. The insane part of the universe that allowed them to die multiple times – it didn't make it any easier, didn't erase the heaviness, the gut wrenching, heart shredding feeling of watching your brother die in your arms.
"How you doin'?" Dean asked. "You good?" Sam was far from okay. He was pale, and exhaustion clouded his green eyes like film. He was favoring his broken rib and his injured arm. The poison of the venom had been reversed when the spider died, but Sam was still left with a grotesque looking bite wound that looked like it would take weeks to heal.
"I'm alive," Sam turned to Dean, the honesty of his words resounding like an echo. Even with all the throbs and aches of his wounds – at least he was still around to feel them.
Dean took this in with another nod of his head. "Let's keep you that way." He gave Sam a slap on the back. There was no repeat of their hug; Sam wasn't dead anymore – and how fucking ironic was that to even think about? – But the slap was heavy, resonating, gentle. In lieu of the any embrace, it said what Dean couldn't.
Dean turned away from the bench he had been sitting at with Jody and began walking down the sidewalk that blazed its way like a trail through the neatly manicured grass.
Sam's voice stopped Dean and turned him back around.
"Thanks," Sam's voice was quiet, and a little thick. "Jody, told me about the Tulpa when you were on that liquor run."
Sam had passed out at their motel last night while Dean had redressed his wound properly with actual bandages. Jody had followed them there, wanting to make sure they made it back alright. Garth had come along, because he was her ride, and had been more or less an awkward presence in the background as Dean hovered over his unconsciousness brother. He had been preparing to make a supply run, but hadn't gotten any farther than the end of Sam's bed.
Jody had finally kicked Dean out the door, knowing full well what 'supplies' he needed to buy. He'd given Sam the last of the Malt Liquor in the car to settle his brother in an almost sedated sleep so that he wouldn't feel the rumbling of the broken asphalt. She told him that she would "spell him watching Sam for a while", sounding so much like Bobby that Dean couldn't help but smile, maybe a bit sadly, but trustingly, finally relinquishing his duty over to her temporarily.
Sam had resurface half asleep, half awake, bleary eyed, but listening to Jody as she sat there on the edge of a dusty comforter and told him about what Dean had said to her in the basement, over his dying –dead body. Garth had been in the background, leaning back in the only chair in the room warbling out a version of "Gangster's Paradise" And Dean had come back through the door, paper bag piled high with a 32 ounce bottle of Jack under his arm, and had met Sam's eyes over the din.
It wasn't the worse way to wake up.
"What you did-"
"I wasn't even sure it would work, man." Dean cut Sam off. "I mean, we hadn't had the best record with Tulpas in the past-"
"Yeah but it did, Dean." Sam cut him off this time.
Even though it wasn't said, Dean knew what Sam meant. And it wasn't about Dean killing the thing in vengeance over him. It was about him believing that offing the thing would reverse it, would bring him back.
"So just-" Sam breathed out for a moment. "Thank you."
Dean breathed out two, invisible words flowing out with that breath. This is how they communicated best, with breaths, sighs, looks – everything that words were too small for. "You're welcome Sammy – Now can we hit the road before I grow ovaries bigger than yours?"
Sam drops his head in a huffed laugh. He follows Dean this time down the sidewalk to the Corolla sitting by itself at the end of the lot.
Sam climbs in the too small car, ducks his head down so he won't add another injury on top of the ones he knows he'll be feeling for weeks. "Not the worse birthday ever- but pretty close."
Despite what he had just said, Sam sounded oddly okay with it. Not like "at peace" or any stupid shit like that, because death was never okay to pulsing, beating life. More like had survived and he was okay with that part.
Dean turns his head, and all the does is stare at Sam, not saying it's true, but not denying it either. He cut the car engine on, watching Sam settle back into the seat, eyes on the road in front of him, the radio cracking a song into the interior. He backs the car out and pulled it out onto the road.
"But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know anymore..."
This story was truly born from itself. All I had to work with at first was the scene of them in the basement. Then bits and pieces kept coming, and adding more and more to it. And a month later, we have this.
Writing Sam's death was the hardest thing I've ever written – I felt so wrong- it took a lot of listening to sad, depressing music to get into that mood. I never intended for him to stay dead, but it wasn't any easier.
The bits of song here are from "Some Nights" by: Fun. I am in major love with this song.
Hope you enjoyed it.