Title: Sasquatches and Spider Webs
Disclaimer: I don't own anything created by Kripke, just stepping into his world for a bit.
Warnings: PG-13 for some swearing (probably an f-bomb or two) and mildly disturbing situations. Some hurt!Sam and protective!angsty!Dean/Bobby in later chapters.
A/N: Takes place during Season One, directly after the episode 'Hell House.' Working on revisions and the ending. Chapter 1 revised. Big THANK YOU to Beaignu and MT for assisting with edits.
Chapter One: Just Another Day
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Sam awoke to the light rumble of thunder — not that the noise had been loud, but since being back on the road with his brother, sleep rarely came easy and never lasted long. He turned groggy hazel eyes toward the digital clock between the two queen beds, 5:02 a.m. — Super. He briefly considered rolling over and just going back to sleep; it's not like they had anywhere to be today. He closed his eyes for just a moment, and a flash of raging flames and blonde curls assaulted his vision. The thought of falling back to sleep in that moment made him nauseous.
Nightmares of Jessica's death haunted his subconscious, persistently roused him, and left him exhausted on a daily basis; all he wanted was to find their dad and hunt down the monster responsible for her murder. After months of sparse contact with his father and being tracked across the countryside on random jobs, it was getting extremely difficult to keep his frustration in check. After several weeks, he had deduced the best way to stave off the ache of her absence was to focus on the hunt.
The curtains were thick, but the dim morning light still managed to creep in around the edges. Dusk illuminated dark outlines of the sparse furniture in their most recent shabby motel room, but thankfully, it was still too dark to see the rotten yellow paint coating the walls.
Sam rolled from his stomach to his back, preparing to sit up and grimaced over the stiffness present in his shoulder blades. Mordecai hadn't been gentle slamming him into the sturdy cabin wall, but it really wasn't too bad compared to the larger scope of potential injuries.
Thunder rolled again above the motel, and the first raindrops of the storm smacked against the outside surface of the room's ac unit. Within minutes, the patter turned into a lulling white-noise as the downpour released.
Sam sat up — hair sticking up at every angle — and looked over to the other bed where his brother still slumbered, breathing deeply and oblivious to the sour weather. Kicking off his comforter, Sam stood and stretched out, shivering slightly as the cool air prickled the skin on his arms and legs. He slipped his jeans up over his boxers and pulled his worn Stanford hoodie over his head which helped to flatten his unruly locks.
Taking a seat at the small table near the door and opening the laptop, Sam started looking for their next potential hunt — or his next potential distraction. Dean hadn't mentioned receiving any recent case tips from Dad, and a new job seemed like the best way to keep them occupied and to keep his mind from reliving darker thoughts and memories.
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At about 8:30 a.m. Dean rolled over and stretched beneath warm covers. He recognized the faint clip of keystrokes from the table at the end of his bed. Great, Sammy is already up; I wonder if he got any sleep last night. Despite having readjusted to Sam's new sleeping and eating schedule, or lack thereof, it still made Dean uncomfortable that the kid wasn't taking proper care of himself.
After a minute, his groggy voice drifted from the pillow masking his face.
"Yeah?" Sam replied, glancing up from the glow of his laptop screen.
"If you're up, why don't I smell coffee?"
Sam chuckled in response, reached to his left for the curtain cord, and gave it a sharp tug. Dean groaned at the sudden invasion of light, but realized it was still much dimmer than the early morning sun. Squinting toward the glass, he could just barely make out the drizzle of rain.
"Well," Dean yawned as he climbed out of bed and stretched, "I'm gonna grab a shower and then we can get some grub."
Sam watched him lumber off into the bathroom and the door slid shut. A couple minutes later, the shower came on, and Sam could hear the water pressure straining the pipes in the walls. Hazel eyes refocused on the screen, opening an online article about an undergrad student from Garland, Texas who went hiking a few weeks ago and didn't show up for class that following Monday.
After being caught up in a few similar articles, Sam heard the bathroom door open and Dean strolled out, adjusting his t-shirt as it attempted to cling on his slightly damp abs. He looked over at his little brother before announcing, "Grab your shit and lets blow this pop-stand; I'm hungry."
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Over the short drive from the motel, the heavy storm had drifted out leaving sparse cloudy patches to dot an otherwise sunny sky. The air was warm but the dreary morning storm had left a cooler breeze in its wake.
The diner Dean had located was on a small no-name back road north of Houston. It seemed sturdy enough but the location amidst a few dilapidated buildings and the emptiness of the diner itself radiated a ghostly feel. Sam followed Dean into the front glass doors of 'Harl's Home Cooking' and slid into the booth across from his brother.
Business seemed pretty slow as Sam observed the three other patrons sparsely scattered around the open space. There were two older gentlemen sitting up at the breakfast bar, spaced out on the stools furthest apart, and another person at a booth toward the back who held a newspaper up, effectively hiding his appearance.
Dean's eyes immediately hooked on the young, blonde waitress who bopped up to their booth with more enthusiasm than was called for at this hour of the day. "Hello guys. Nice to see some new faces. What can I get ya'll this mornin'?"
Dean flashed a flirtatious grin as he noticed that the top of her apron was a bit snug for her bust. His eyes glanced at her oval name tag. "Well Amber, I'll have the three meat skillet with an extra side of bacon and coffee."
Her lust-filled eyes lingered at Dean for an extra moment as she scribbled his order down before turning to face Sam. "And for you, sweetie?"
Sam cringed a little at the question — that tone of voice was usually reserved for toddlers. "Waffles and coffee, please."
Amber nodded and slid their menus off the table while blowing a small pink bubble from the wad of gum in her mouth. It popped as she batted thick eyelashes at Dean. "Shouldn't be too long. Please let me know if you need anything else."
Dean's head tilted toward the aisle as he watched her walk away, noting how she over-exaggerated her hip movements. Sam's obviously fake cough brought his attention back to his younger brother.
"Dude, you're gonna get drool on the table." Sam jibed, offering his older brother a napkin.
"Whatever man, don't be a sore loser… just because I'm hot and you need a kiddie menu…" Dean let the words hang in the air as Sam glared at him, slouched down in the small space with his arms crossed.
"So, any new texts from Dad?" Sam asked, effectively changing the discussion. Dean had hoped his brother would be in a more light-hearted mood this morning after all the pranks they had pulled over the past week.
"Nothing yet." Dean replied, and for just a brief second, saw a flash of disappointment in his little brother's eyes.
"Well I may have something we can look into since we're still in Texas." Sam stated while removing his laptop from its secure space in his backpack. He turned the screen around so Dean could look at the pages he'd saved for offline viewing.
The earliest article was published early May of this year and what started out as 2 disappearances that month became 4 in June, 6 in July, and was up to 7 as they were now nearing the end of August. At a glance, the victims didn't appear to have anything in common — different ages, different cities and states, different genders — mostly tourists. They had all vanished with their last known location being in the woods around Lake Tawakoni. Whatever was causing the disturbance at the park didn't seem to have a specific preference for targets.
After letting his older brother have a few minutes to look over the articles, Sam turned his attention back from the window view of a partially dismantled vehicle resting in the trashy lot next to the diner. "So, what do you think?"
"First thought was a serial killer grabbing loners from the park, but they usually have a specific type, so this may be our kind of problem. Plus, people tend to get sloppy and none of the bodies have been found yet. Maybe its some kind of satanic ritual or 'corporeal' creature eating them; that would explain the lack of leftovers."
"Your new favorite word, huh?" Sam grinned, pleased about his influence over his brother's vocabulary.
"Shut up." Dean replied. He pushed the laptop back over to Sam while watching Amber glide over, plates skillfully balanced on her palms.
Sam nestled the computer back into his bag right as the plate took its place — narrowly missing the syrup dripping off the edge of the ceramic, but Amber's attention was glued to Dean, so she probably didn't notice the near accident.
The waitress leaned over toward Dean as she sat his plate down — an obvious attempt to show off her cleavage. "Give me a holler if there's anything else I can do for you; pay up at the counter when ya'll are finished." Amber ran the tip of her tongue against the back of her slightly parted lips and walked away with the same excessive motion as before.
"Talk about transparent…" Sam mumbled before taking a drink of coffee. When he looked back up his brother was holding a piece of paper, which by the pattern of stains on it must have been placed on the greasy plate with his meal. It wasn't possible for Dean's shit-eating smile to get any wider. The words 'call me' were followed by digits and sealed with the stereotypical lipstick kiss.
Sam rolled his eyes and poked at his soggy waffles, wishing they hadn't put the syrup on for him, while Dean shoveled in and gulped down scoopfuls of egg, pork, and cheese. After a few bites, Sam gave up on his meal and went back to looking out the window, sipping at the hot coffee.
Dean noticed Sam's grimace and the apparent lack of appetite that followed. He slowed down eating, nearing the end of his plate and glanced up at Sam, making a mental note that he needed to get a proper meal into his little brother later today — despite his fit physique, Dean could tell he'd lost weight since the fire in Palo Alto. "So Sammy, where is this place anyhow?"
"It's Sam," his brother replied dryly, "and Lake Tawakoni is straight north of here, east of Dallas. I think we should grab a motel on the outskirts of the city and then drive over to scope out the area, interview some of the locals. Most of the vics weren't from the area, and since whatever this is appears to be confined to the park, I think its unlikely that the relatives of the missing would have any link to what's happening here."
"Perfect, except for one thing." Dean glanced back down at his plate with an odd expression that Sam couldn't quite place.
"Well, what is it?" Sam asked after a minute of silence.
"We sorta need to avoid the Dallas/Garland area. Me and Dad worked this case while you were off at school and really pissed off the area law enforcement."
"That's it?" Sam responded, an incredulous look on his face. "We piss off officers all over the country, and you're worried about a couple of cops in a massive city?"
"Well, its not just a couple cops… its more like over half of the Dallas PD, Garland PD, and the county sheriff. Trust me, its best that we just stay clear of the entire area."
"Holy crap. What did you and Dad do?"
"I don't really wanna go into detail. Let's just say it involved a couple hookers, a high speed chase, and ended with a massive block fire, destroying about four industrial buildings." Dean's look was grim, and despite all the follow up questions he had, Sam could tell the discussion was closed. He let the subject drop… for now and made a mental note to corner his brother about it later.
"Alright then, so how do you feel about camping? There isn't much out near the park; I already checked. We could pick up a couple of tents."
Dean made a noise that sounded vaguely like a growl from a poked grizzly bear. "I'd rather sleep in my car."
"There is an area with cabins, but I doubt they'll have TV, and probably not electricity or water either." Sam responded.
"Eh, better than the hard, dirty ground and less risky than trying to stay in the city." Dean conceded, but his tone definitely indicated he wasn't thrilled with the arrangements.
"I'll make the call on our way there then, see if any bunks are open." Sam stood up from the cramped booth and stretched slightly before hauling his backpack over his shoulder. "You pay; I'm gonna head out to the car."
"Sure stick me with the bill!" Dean called after his retreating brother.
"Figured you'd want a little time with your new high school friend," Sam replied waving a sarcastic hand in the air and walking through the doors into the parking lot. A puzzled look came over Dean's face as something moved beside him.
Amber appeared next to the booth, having just come out of the kitchen after overhearing the end of their conversation. "High school or not, I can be 18 for you." She winked, and Dean's shoulders jerked a little as his gulp of coffee went down the wrong pipe.
"Here's a twenty; keep the change." He managed a few coughs to clear his windpipe and hastily took off after Sammy.
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So there it is, first chapter. Thanks for taking the time to read; please review.