Title: What evil lurks…

Author: Disasteriffic Kaz

Info: What's the world coming too when even a simple salt and burn can't be simple anymore? Post 5x05 "Fallen Idols" hurt/limp/awesome!Sam/Dean with a dash of awesome!Cas for taste.

Author's note: For those readers who live or lived in Rochester NY, as I once did for most of my life, yes I've taken a few liberties. Some of the places I adore have closed in recent years but in my story, they're alive and well again because a good bookstore should never ever close dammit. :D Also, the Subway Strangler is completely fictitious; created solely for this story.

June 30: It's amazing how much you can write when its a hundred degrees and you have no power thanks to a kick-ass storm. XD Also, writing by candle light sucks and I blame any suckage herein upon the eighteenth century tour I've had to take for a couple days. Heh.

July 01: Well the power's back BUT it's Day three with no internet, cable or phone service. That storm Friday afternoon really screwed up the city. We're lucky to even have power right now as half the city is still out. Lol and I've just realized that once I'm actually able to post this story my notes won't make much sense as you'll all be saying 'duh but you ARE online!' Ha!

July 02: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaan the frelling power is out…AGAIN. At this rate I'll have this story finished before the power and internet services are up again at the same time. Also…it's a hundred degrees again today. XD So, meltingly hot in here because of course it HAD to go out at mid-day and there's no breeze to cool things at all. Also, because it's not bad enough it's hot as hell and the power's out…I've run out of candles and the stores are closed as well due to the outage so I can't buy more! BALLS! -4 hours later the power is back on! Huzzah! But still no cable, internet or phones so again I say…BALLS!
Think it's possible Mr. Myagi is running the electric company right now: Power on, power off. Power on, power off, Daniel-san. Lol

Do please Review once you've read. :D Every comment and vote of support helps keep me writing. Not to mention if I've pooched anything, someone can always tell me. :P

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CHAPTER 1

Night was falling; the last failing rays of the sun filtering in to the subway tunnel through the arched wall and Officer Baker squinted into the dim light as he followed a sound. He'd heard it from outside as he'd walked past on his rounds. He'd know the sound of a can of spray paint anywhere. He stalked down the tunnel and grinned as his prey came in sight. He flicked on his flashlight and enjoyed the look of surprise on the teenage boys face.

"Drop the can you little idiot." Officer Baker shouted. The boy dropped the can to roll across the dirt floor and sprinted away into the darkness beyond. The officer chuckled and played his light along the wall. "Amateur." He groaned seeing the pointless scrawl now left unfinished. He didn't bother chasing him, stopping him was enough. There really weren't any laws preventing people from Tagging the walls down there, in fact some of the graffiti was considered tourist worthy, he just liked watching them run. He kicked the can and started back out of the tunnel. Behind him he heard the boy shout something in almost a scream and smirked.

"Right back atcha, jackass!" Officer Baker shouted over his shoulder, figuring it had been some sort of insult. He never looked back as he left and so didn't see the boys' sneakers being dragged into darkness by a glowing form.

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Dean ran the toothbrush over his teeth again, took a swig from his water bottle and rinsed his mouth, spitting it over the drop off. They'd driven most of the night until sleep had caught up with them. Rather than find a motel as they were in middle of nowhere America, he'd pulled into an overlook and they stretched out in the Impala. He glanced in at the mop of his brother's hair he could see in the back seat; Sam still dead to the world, and looked back out on the view. The Adirondack Mountains spread out before him, rising up across the gorge they sat at the edge of. He looked down over the log railing and quickly took a step back from the edge of what had to be a twenty story drop.

The sound of his stomach growling made him smirk. "Time to wake up, Sammy." Dean turned back to the car and quietly eased the Driver's side door open, stopping just short of the point where it squealed. He reached in, turned up the volume on the radio and then flipped it on. Van Halen ripped out of the speakers loud enough to rattle the windows and Sam shot awake in the backseat, hitting his head on the roof.

"Rise and shine, Sammy!" Dean called cheerily.

"Dude, you suck!" Sam yelled over the music. He dove over the seat and slapped the radio off as Dean climbed behind the wheel.

Dean chuckled. "I'm hungry."

"Get back out I'll make you eat some asphalt." Sam grumped. He slid out of the backseat while Dean laughed and spent a couple minutes just stretching in the brisk morning air.

"Hey! Starving man here!" Dean called.

Sam ignored him and took a moment to admire the stunning view. Living on the road wasn't always easy but sometimes there were perks. He watched the sun begin to edge above the mountains across the gorge, smiling as the first rays streamed down into the valley. Sometimes there were little reminders of why they were still fighting.

"Sam! Get the lead out or you're walking!" Dean shouted and started the car, pressing the gas and making the engine growl

Sam rolled his eyes but turned away from the vista. He opened the door and got into the passenger seat, letting it fall shut behind him. "You know it's going to take at least an hour to get somewhere for food."

"Shut up." Dean glared over at him as he backed out onto the road and started them north again.

An hour and a half later Dean sat back from the table in the little diner and sighed happily, stuffed to bursting with bacon, eggs and hashbrowns. "I feel much better."

"Think you ate half the restaurant." Sam smirked at him and mopped up the last of his eggs with a slice of toast. He went back to reading the local paper he'd picked up while Dean flirted with the waitress and got their coffee refilled. "You up for a job?"

"Whatcha got?" Dean turned his attention back to Sam with a last appreciative look at the waitress' backside as she sashayed away.

"Few missing people, some sightings of apparitions and this is my favorite part…in an area that used to be the stalking ground for a serial killer." Sam looked up and saw the gleam in Dean's eyes.

"Definitely sounds like our sort of thing." Dean nodded. "Probably the ghosts of some pissed off victims taking it out on the locals. Where?"

"A few hours north of here in Rochester." Sam folded the paper and picked up his coffee mug, curling his fingers around the warm mug. It was March but this far north in New York that still meant near winter conditions and it would only get colder once they reached Rochester.

"Been a while since I was up there." Dean drained his coffee. "Dad and I were up here while you were at Stanford." He sat back and looked out the window at the line of big rigs across the street at the gas station. "Friggin water Kelpie in Lake Ontario was snatching sunbathers off the beach." He smirked. "I enjoyed that job."

Sam snorted. "Saving the beach bunnies. Can't imagine why."

"Well let's go find us some ghosts." Dean pushed back from the table and tossed a few bills beside his empty mug. "Dude. Best restaurant in the whole damn country in in Rochester, NY." Dean grinned as they stepped outside. "Nick Tahoe's. Oh Sammy, you're gonna love this."

"When you get that happy about a restaurant I start to worry." Sam chuckled and followed his brother out to the car while Dean rubbed his hands together in anticipation.

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The drive up to Rochester was one of the more enjoyable for Sam. He greedily took in the views of mountains, valleys, vineyards stretching across rolling hills, the Finger Lakes glittering in the late morning sun; it was beautiful country.

"We should come back up here in the fall." Dean smiled out as they passed through Naples. "The Grape Festival here is awesome, wine and pie, Sammy."

"You? Wine?" Sam laughed.

"And pie." Dean grinned. "Grape Pie."

"That sounds…weird." Sam looked out as they passed through streets of aging houses in good repair and thought the town could have walked out of the eighteen hundreds and no one would have noticed. He liked it. He glanced down at the map in his lap. "About an hour more until Rochester."

Dean nodded and gave him a lopsided smile. "Less. I know the back roads."

"Oh no." Sam groaned as Dean reached the edge of town and hit the accelerator, shooting them ahead. Dean's shortcuts always came with tight turns and high speeds. He wished suddenly that he hadn't eaten so much for breakfast.

"So who was this serial killer?" Dean asked, enjoying the look of fear on Sam's face as he tore them around a narrow curve with a steep drop on one side.

"Huh?" Sam looked over from where he'd been staring down the ravine on his side of the car. "Right, uh…they called him the Subway Strangler. He'd grab tourists and taggers in the abandoned subway."

"Taggers?" Dean glanced over.

"Watch the road! Geez. Taggers." Sam decided looking at the map was preferable to looking out the window and watching his life flash by. "Graffiti artists. The subway under Rochester is covered in it from what I read. They even run tours through part of it in the summer."

"Tours through an empty subway. Sounds fun." Dean shook his head, not seeing the draw.

"They only ever found three bodies, all suffocated. The police were never sure how he actually killed them. It was the local press that called him the Strangler." Sam looked up, happy to see they were now on a highway and relaxed. "They never caught him. About ten years ago he just stopped killing." He shrugged. "They do that sometimes, serial killers. Could be in prison for something else or dead or sometimes they get married and try to be normal for a while."

Dean nodded. "Never lasts." Like Sam he'd studied human killers with their Dad since ghosts started out as people, it helped to know how their minds had worked. "Sooner or later they always start again. Wonder what's stirred up the ghosts now though?"

"Could be anything." Sam replied and folded the map away. "I'll have a look at the local papers when we get there. Has to be something." He slid down in the seat and rested his head against the window. The Impala's comforting growl and his full stomach were lulling him to sleep.

Dean smirked over at him as Sam's head rolled into the window and went still. He resisted the urge to crank the radio and startle him again. Instead he hummed softly out of tune to himself and watched the mile markers fly by. For a moment he could almost forget the impending apocalypse, angels, demons and everything that was out to get them. For a moment he could pretend it was five years ago and they were just heading to a simple job with nothing more pressing than how much pool he'd have to hustle to get them a motel. He glanced over at Sam again and sighed. He wished he could rewind time. Dean missed the Sam he used to know, before demon blood and that Ruby bitch; the brother he'd trusted without a second thought. He straightened his shoulders and started humming again. He'd promised Sam he trusted him again, that the past was past. They'd both made mistakes and Sam was right, it was time to set it aside and just trust each other again. Heaven and Hell could kiss his Winchester ass; they were not going to get his brother or him.

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Rochester, New York looked much as Dean remembered it as they drove along Monroe Avenue toward the center of the city. Dean reached over and nudged Sam's shoulder. "We're here, princess."

Sam rolled his head up from the window and pushed his hair out of his eyes. "Where?"

"Rochester, genius." Dean chuckled. "Subway? Ghosts? Any of this ringing a bell?"

"Yeah, yeah." Sam rolled his eyes and took in the small city. He smiled as they passed the Village Green Bookstore and smiled wider as they passed Guttenberg's Antique books and then the Brown Bag Used bookstore. "I think I like this town."

Dean laughed. "Thought you would." He pointed ahead. "There's a motel up here. Decent rooms and pretty much in walking distance of everything."

The multi-story motel loomed ahead of them at the juncture of three roads. An old fashioned, vertical sign hung down the outside of the building in lights. Dean turned left to go around the side and pulled into a half full parking lot at its rear. Sam followed him around the back of the car and pulled his bag out of the trunk. He grabbed the weapons bag as well and tossed that over his shoulder with his laptop.

"What's that smell?" Sam asked suddenly, aware of an acrid odor on the wind.

"Kodak plant over that way." Dean waved beyond the hotel. "Don't worry. Doesn't get much worse than that." He led the way around the building back to the front, nodding at the few passersby who smiled genially at them. The breeze was cold, dropping the temperature from somewhere near fifty to more like forty and Dean pulled his jacket tighter against the chill.

"I want maps of the abandoned subway before we go down there." Sam told him as they stepped inside the Motel's front door. "Might help us figure out where the Strangler's victims' bodies are."

"You hit up the town hall for research and I'll go drop by the local P.D. See if they've got anything new." Dean smiled. "They had some nice lookin' cops here back in the day."

Sam rolled his eyes. "One track mind much?"

"Man's gotta have his priorities." Dean retorted and stepped up to the desk to get them a room.

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Sam leaned back from the computer screen and looked around, surprised to find he was now the only person in the record's room. There'd been several people when he'd started but that had been two hours ago. He rubbed the strain from his eyes and closed the articles he'd been reading; more information on the Strangler. Though three bodies had been found authorities had speculated there might have been as many as a dozen victims. Sam hoped the Strangler had kept all his victims in one place down in the tunnels or they'd be looking for years to locate them all.

"Find everything you need?"

Sam startled at the voice behind him and looked up ruefully at the elderly receptionist who'd helped him earlier.

"Yeah. Sorry. Thank you." He picked up the roll of blueprints beside the monitor, detailed maps of the subway tunnels and stood.

"Oh no problem." The old man smiled. "Get a quite a few requests for those in the summer. You're the second this week though."

Sam stopped and looked back at him. "The second? Someone else asked for these? Do you remember who?"

"Oh younger guy, lot scruffier than you." He chuckled. "Wasn't near as nice though."

"Uh, thanks." Sam smiled and left. He wondered at the coincidence and decided to mention it to Dean. They might not be the only Hunters in town looking to lay the ghosts to rest and if that were the case…He shook his head as he headed back upstairs and stepped outside into the late afternoon sun. Beyond the well-tended lawn of the Town hall stood the Impala. He chuckled as Dean got out and waved at him. He must have just pulled up. Sam waved back and strode down the steps to him.

"Find everything?" Dean asked as he got to the car.

"Yeah and something else." Sam waved the blueprints. "I'm not the first person to ask for these this week."

Dean's face darkened with worry. Now that there were other Hunters who knew some of the particulars of the coming apocalypse, specifically that Sam was in some way responsible, they had been doing their best to avoid them and any trouble.

"It's ok, Dean." Sam smiled. "We don't know that it's another Hunter and even if it is, people have died…are dying. We do the job."

"Right." Dean nodded but couldn't squash the worry. "I'll call Bobby. See if he's heard anything about another Hunter being up here."

"Good idea. Could just be a tourist." Sam opened the door and tossed the blueprints inside the car. "No reason to borrow trouble."

"Come on. Let's get a drink and have a look at those maps." Dean climbed back in the car and did his best to swallow the fear.

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"Well, it's not the maze I was afraid it was going to be." Dean said as he looked over the map of the disused Subway beneath the city. There weren't near as many tunnels as he thought there'd be though they did span the length of the city, miles of them with branches and offshoots to what had once been booming war time business according to Sam back when the Subway was in use. "What's this?"

"That means the section is partially flooded." Sam smiled. "It runs underneath the river at one point." He pointed to it. "According to this it doesn't get more than a few feet deep, waist height in a couple places."

"That's reassuring." Dean groaned.

"This looks like a good place to start." Sam pointed to the Eastern end of the Subway. "It's an open air entrance. The station's long gone but the tunnel's open. We can start there and work our way North. What'd the locals have to say?"

Dean leaned back and took a swallow of his beer. "They think it's a copycat." He rolled his eyes. "Never mind the people who've seen freakin ghosts."

"You know they never believe that stuff." Sam smirked. "That's our job anyway."

"Works for me. They just get in the way." Dean smiled. "So we'll go in tonight. Maybe we'll get lucky and find the bodies first thing."

Sam snorted a laugh. "When do we ever get that lucky?"

Dean said nothing, keeping his thoughts on their general luck lately to himself.

"We'd better load up on the salt and lighter fluid. The authorities were convinced the Strangler had a hell of a lot more than just three victims but they never found any remains."

"Awesome." Dean emptied his beer with a grimace. "Come on. Let's go back to the hotel and get our gear ready."

Sam nodded and folded away the blueprints. He tucked them in the bag with his laptop, stood and thumped into a man behind him. "Sorry."

"Yeah you should be, Winchester." The man growled.

Sam looked down surprised and then took a step back, startled. "I remember you."

"Sammy? Problem?" Dean was suddenly at his side and didn't like the look of the guy getting way too up close with his brother.

"Lemme think. Last time I saw you Sam, you had a mouth full of demon blood." The man smiled dangerously. "You miss it yet, freak?"

"Tim." Sam glared at him and tried to ignore the way his brother had flinched at his words. "Where's your partner? You had help last time."

"Dead." Tim said savagely and took a step into Sam's personal space again. "Like you should be."

Dean shook himself. He could chew Sam out later, right now he needed to enforce on someone that threatening his brother was not ok. "Hey, jackass." Dean stepped closer but had no time to react as Sam swung his fist into Tim's face and dropped him to the floor. He'd heard the man's nose crunch and didn't envy him the pain.

"Stay the hell away from me." Sam told him. "Or you won't walk away."

"Go to hell, Winchester!" Tim tried to shout but his voice was muffled by his hand and his broken nose.

"Come on." Sam shouldered his bag and strode quickly out of the bar, ignoring the few people looking on in shock. The moment he'd seen Tim's face he'd been back in that bar, held down and struggling on the floor while they force fed him demon blood in some wacked plan to avenge their friends' death. He bared his teeth and almost went back inside to finish the job. Worse than the memory though was the look of strain on Dean's face and the way he was not looking at him.

"Dean." Sam watched him round the car. "It's not what you think."

"Whatever. Forget it." Dean said dismissively and got behind the wheel. So Sam had fallen off the wagon and neglected to mention it. He couldn't understand why he was so surprised; Sam had become an expert at keeping secrets from him, something he'd once never been able to do. "Let's go."

Sam stood for a moment staring at the car. He swallowed the hurt Dean's words had caused and got inside. He said nothing on the way back to the hotel but the hurt was burning a hole in him, a hole quickly being filled with anger at Dean once again jumping to a conclusion about him. He kept his silence as they parked and got out; said nothing as they strode to the elevator and headed up to their room. Dean's stiff back lead the way and seemed to silently accuse him. Sam shut the hotel room door behind them and clenched his fists. This time he was not going to be blamed, not when there was nothing he could have done.

"Dean, dammit. I didn't have a choice." Sam turned and said heatedly.

"You always have a choice, Sam." Dean replied, his voice tired and he was; tired of the constant fight to keep Sam on the damn straight path when he seemed determined to screw up. Obviously he hadn't learned a damn thing. He watched in surprise as Sam's face reddened, his arms shaking with his fists clenched. It wasn't the reaction he'd been expecting.

"How about when the bastards take a hostage? When they hold you down and force it down your damn throat because they want you to be their little pet demon killer?" Sam shouted, seeing red. "Do I have a choice then, Dean?" He heaved for air against the rage. The stunned look on his brother's face was enough to make him swallow it back. He hadn't meant to lose his temper. He took a few deep breaths and consciously unclenched his fists. "I didn't swallow it, if that matters. I spit it in their faces." He closed his eyes. "I need some air." The truth was he didn't want to look at Dean right then. He needed a few minutes. Sam didn't wait for him to say anything. He pulled open the door and slammed it shut behind him.

Dean watched him leave in mute shock. That had been the last thing he'd expected and a great tide of rage rose up in him, helplessly picturing what had been done to Sam while he'd been absent. "Dammit." He groaned and turned, kicking the empty chair to fly across the room. He'd promised to trust Sam again, to be equals and here he was at the first test…jumping wrong. "Ok. I suck."

Dean headed for the door. He had the keys still so he knew Sam would be walking. He needed to fix this. He went out into the hall and hit the elevator, waiting for it to come back up and decided he also needed to have a little quality time with Tim the walking dead man. He cussed at the too slow elevator and ran for the stairs instead. He didn't want Sam getting away from him while he was this angry. Dean dashed down the three flights of stairs and out into the lobby.

"Hey, you see a tall guy come through here?" Dean asked the desk clerk.

"Yeah. He had to duck under the door." The clerk chuckled and pointed toward the street entrance.

"Thanks." Dean ran for the door and outside. Luck was with him and he saw Sam across the street heading toward the bookstores they had passed coming in no doubt. "Sam!" Dean called and jogged across the street between traffic. "Sam, come on!" He called when Sam's stride hitched but he didn't stop or turn around. "Ok he's really pissed." Dean muttered and figured he deserved it.

"Sam! Sam, I'm s…" Dean froze a mere twenty feet behind him on the sidewalk as his eyes caught on a car coming toward them. The driver's side window was rolled down and the muzzle of a gun peeked out. "SAM!" His shout broke his paralysis and Dean sprinted toward him as the dark sedan neared. It drove into the shadow of a building and Dean could suddenly see the driver; Tim.

"Sam, look out!" Dean yelled and tackled his little brother to the pavement as shots rang out in the early evening air.

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To Be Continued…