Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Note: Once upon a time (right after What's Up, Tiger Mommy?) SandyDee84 said to me, "As much as we would love a dream sequence where Sam and Thor battle the evil Gabriel-as-Loki, it's probably never going to happen (although if you gave the boys a fever or enough alcohol, it might work)."
Now you know I couldn't let that pass. So this one's for you. Of course there are a couple of caveats: No alcohol. No fever. And, because this is me, Gabriel isn't outright evil. But I hope this fits the bill anyway. *g*
Thanks to Cheryl for being an awesome beta.
Summary: Sam and Dean find themselves in a mysterious wintry wasteland and face some particularly bloodthirsty enemies. All because Dean couldn't leave those runes alone when he saw them. Spoilers up to 8.02, What's Up, Tiger Mommy?
The Hammer of Thor
Chapter I: Bifröst
In retrospect, I shouldn't have gone anywhere near the damn runes.
You'd think I'd've learnt that by now – in our line of work, whenever there's a thing that you can't identify, you can bet your life that nothing good is going to come of touching it. What you should do is photograph it and take it to Geekboy for identification.
It started right after I'd read Kevin's note.
Sam, as usual, tried to make me feel better about the whole thing, but even his best puppy-dog eyes couldn't make me forget what I'd done. There was a part of me that just wanted to tell him and be done with it. After all, he knew I'd tortured souls in Hell. How much worse could it get?
There was another part of me saying It could get a whole damn lot worse. At least he seems to like you right now. And that was the part I listened to.
Another mistake, I guess. And one we've made so many times you'd think we would have learnt. But apparently Winchesters go through life without learning a damn thing except how to die for each other.
Anyway, I nodded at Sam, shoved the note in my pocket, and led the way out. Sam grabbed the hammer as we went.
"We really need that?" I asked.
"Mjölnir, Dean. And apparently it kills supernatural things. It might be useful."
"Mjölnir," Sam repeated, in that how-could-you-possibly-not-know-this voice. I grinned. I'd missed that voice. I'd missed the long-suffering tone, the rolled eyes, the half-amused, half-exasperated not-so-little brother. "The hammer of Thor."
"Oh, Chris Hemsworth."
"Thor," Sam repeated, bitchfacing at me. "Marvel comics has nothing to do with it."
"Whatever, dude. I like Batman better anyway. You know, you look like that dude in the movie. Long hair and everything. You sure you didn't get possessed and act in –"
"I'm just saying. Because, Sammy, the girly hair and that blue steel look you had going on when Balthazar put us in TV-land? You were made to be a movie star."
I laughed at Sam's furious expression.
That was when I noticed the runes carved into the wall. I went closer for a better look. They were dripping – not blood, though; it was something black. And of course I should have done anything rather than touch black goo, but after Purgatory, Leviathan ooze didn't scare me.
I touched it.
Naturally, the results weren't good. My surroundings swirled and melded together, the walls of the room dissolving in a splash of colours.
Just as I felt the world slipping away, Sam grabbed my arm.
We fell together through cold and a whirling rainbow.
I was lying in something soft, cold and wet.
Snow? What the hell? Last we'd seen –
I opened my eyes.
Grey skies above, and the tops of pine trees. Dry powdery flakes falling on my face. Wind howling. Something that sounded like wolves mixed in with the wind.
I had a second's fear – had the runes sent me back to Purgatory? Was I –
Wait. Snow. No snow in Purgatory.
There was no response. But Sam had grabbed me, which meant that wherever the weird runes had taken me, odds were that Sam was there too.
I pushed myself up. I hurt, but it was a general ache. Didn't feel like anything was broken or out of place.
The snow was deep. I sank up to my knees in it, and I could tell that there was more snow, packed hard, under my feet.
What the hell?
I looked around, and saw Sam sprawled on his front a few yards away, unmoving. Snow was starting to cover him. His arms were flung out, that stupid hammer that cost five-eighths of a virgin lying a couple of inches from his right hand.
Nothing to show where we'd come from or how to get back.
But I had more important things to worry about than finding the way back right then. I dropped to my knees and turned Sam over. Blood trickled from a cut on his head. His skin was just as cold as the snow, which scared the hell out of me. Purgatory had prepared me to touch stuff that might be Leviathan ooze, but it hadn't prepared me for a frozen and unresponsive brother in the middle of nowhere.
"Hey! No sleeping now. Up, Sam, come on."
Sam stirred. "Dean?"
He sounded like a bewildered child, and I felt a flare of fierce protectiveness in parts of my soul I didn't even know I had anymore. Purgatory might have changed me in a lot of ways, but nothing could change the fact that I was a big brother.
I hauled Sam into a sitting position, resisting the insane urge to tug his head down to my shoulder and wrap him in my arms.
"C'mon, Sammy. We have to move before we turn into snowmen." I grabbed the hammer and put it in Sam's hands. "You think you can hold on to that? I'll get us under the trees, should give us some shelter until the snowstorm's died down. Then we can figure out where the hell we are."
It took some heaving and grunting, because if you think it's difficult to walk through knee-deep snow in combat boots and jeans that are getting progressively more soaked, wait until you've tried it while keeping a twelve-foot-tall Yeti upright. Eventually, though, we got under the trees. I took the hammer from Sam, put it down, and lowered him next to it.
"No flashlight," I said. "And I don't want to wave my Zippo in your face, so we'll just assume your pupils are dilating normally. What's your name?"
"Sam…" Sam slurred.
"What's my name?"
"Hey." I smacked him lightly on the arm. "Don't piss off the guy who might have to drag your sorry ass out of here. You know where we are?"
"Not… in… Kansas?"
I laughed, dropping to the ground by Sam. "Good boy. Now we just need to wait out the storm."
Sam mumbled something incomprehensible.
Two hours later, the snowstorm showed no signs of dying down. If anything, it was stronger, wind blowing the snow into a flurry so I couldn't see more than four feet in any direction. Sam and I were huddling together for warmth. Neither of us felt much like speaking, but I could feel his breath on my collarbone and it was oddly comforting.
Sam shivered and pushed closer to me. The cut on his head had stopped bleeding, but I didn't like how his movements were slowing.
"Hey," I said. "Any idea where we are?"
I asked it more to keep him alert and talking than anything. Sam, of course, took the question as an excuse to launch into a long and complicated lecture about what species the pines were, how old they looked, the direction the wind was blowing and the nature of the snow. I didn't listen to most of it; the short version was that he guessed we were somewhere Europe and north of the Arctic Circle.
"Wow," I muttered. "And how do we get home?"
That Sam didn't know.
"Couldn't read the runes," he mumbled, words muffled in my jacket. "Don't know what language they were, either. Old, though. Really old." A cold finger jabbed me in the ribs. "What the hell did you think you were doing touching them, idiot?"
"Hey, you didn't have to come along for the ride."
"What, I was going to let you get stuck somewhere alone?"
It was on the tip of my tongue to point out that Sam had let me get stuck alone for a year in Purgatory, but I didn't. Last thing we needed right now was an argument.
Of course the giant girl knew what I was thinking.
"I didn't know what to do, Dean," he said quietly. "I had no idea where you were."
"Yeah, because that's always stopped us before," I muttered. Sam flinched and I sighed.
It was true Sam couldn't have done a lot to help me, and I wasn't so much angry with him as I was afraid that the normal life he'd led would pull him back, and away from me.
I brushed a hand through his hair.
Sam said something – I felt it in puffs of air on my skin – but I couldn't hear him over the howling wind. I was pretty sure it would be something silly and chick-flicky anyway, so I didn't ask him to repeat it.
I also did not – did not – hold him closer. And even if I had done – which I didn't – it would only have been for warmth.
That was when I saw the blurry outlines of a figure tramping through the snow. It was only a few feet away, but because of the storm it hadn't noticed us.
I had a strong feeling it was an it and not a he or a she.
I nudged Sam, who looked at it, then at me, and shrugged. He reached for the hammer.
The second his fingers touched the handle, the figure stopped short. It turned.
There was movement so fast I couldn't see it, and then a short man (relative to Sam I mean; on his own he would have been a respectable height) was holding Sam to the trunk of the pine we'd been sitting under. He wasn't wearing much – something that looked like a wolfskin wrapped around him, and boots.
The cold didn't seem to bother him.
He was holding Sam above his head, high enough that Sam's feet weren't touching the ground, and he had a chokehold just under Sam's chin.
"Hey!" I yelled, because what the hell? Did he not see one big brother right next to one Sasquatch? Did he really think he was going to be able to choke Sam without repercussions?
Wolfskin apparently did think that, because he ignored me and snarled something at Sam, something low and threatening in a language I couldn't understand. That just made me madder. If there's one thing I like less than people threatening my brother, it's people threatening my brother in gibberish.
The man continued to ignore me. He spoke to Sam again, this time in a different language, but one I still didn't understand, although it sounded vaguely familiar.
Sam seemed to, though, because his eyes went wide with disbelief.
And then he responded in the same language.
The guy looked shocked, but he didn't loosen his hold. If anything, he tightened it. Sam gasped, hands going up to claw at the guy's fingers.
"HEY!"I pulled my gun out of my pocket and pointed it at the man. I doubted it would fire properly; it was too cold and the powder was probably damp, but maybe the guy didn't know that. "Let him GO!"
The guy turned to me, a wry smile on his lips.
"English? And we're a good thousand years away from that weapon, aren't we? It won't work on me in any case." He turned back to Sam. "So how did you get here? What are you doing with Mjölnir? And how do you speak Enochian, human?"
So. Not gibberish. Or, to be specific, Enochian gibberish.
Yes, of course Sam spoke freaking Enochian. With all the time he spent in the Cage, he probably spoke it better than English.
"Let him go and we'll talk," I said.
The guy stepped back and away. Sam collapsed to his knees. I got to him just in time to keep him from face-planting.
Sam nodded, but didn't say anything. He wasn't breathing so much as he was panting for air, fingers clutching my jeans like he would drown without the contact. I tilted his chin up. I could see red marks from the guy's fingers; they were going to turn into bruises later.
Bruises on Sammy's throat?
I didn't realize I was moving until I felt Sam stagger to his feet and put his hand on my elbow.
"No," he insisted. "Dean, don't. Trust me." He looked at the wolfskin dude. "We'll talk. Can you make it a little warmer here?"
Wolfskin raised an eyebrow. "Mortals making demands on –"
Apparently Sam's wheedling voice worked on mysterious semi-naked supernatural men, because this one grimaced, rolled his eyes, and snapped his fingers. A large greenish bubble surrounded the three of us, keeping out the rain and the cold air.
Sam sagged against my shoulder.
"I don't even know which question I want answered first," Wolfskin said. "Let's start with the obvious one. How do you know Enochian?"
"Your… your brothers," Sam gasped. "They taught me. Michael and Lucifer." Sam pushed away from me, swaying but managing to stay on his feet.
"Lucifer? Are you out of your mind?"
"I can't explain, but I – I've met you. You in the future. We're from the future. I can't – look, I speak Enochian. You just heard it yourself. Where do you think I'd have learnt it if Angels didn't teach me?"
"Maybe," Wolfskin said. "That doesn't explain how you have Mjölnir."
"Plutus had an auction. Somebody bought it. I think maybe it was one of you – not you you, but Vili or Vé or someone – and I killed him." Wolfskin raised an eyebrow, and Sam explained, "He paid with five-eighths of a virgin."
Wolfskin pursed his lips. "Probably Vili. It's an unfortunate habit of his. I'm surprised Plutus took it. That's not much to weigh against Mjölnir… But maybe he thought that stupid hammer was more trouble than it was worth. So you're a hunter. Figures that hunters would outlast – never mind." He grabbed Sam's arm in a grip that probably bruised. "This isn't the time or place for this conversation. You know how to get back to where you came from?"
"Let him go," I snarled.
Sam ignored me, answering Wolfskin's question instead. "There were runes –"
"Idiots," Wolfskin hissed, releasing Sam's arm and shoving him away. Sam stumbled back, just managing to keep his feet. I caught him, steadied him, and tried to convey through a single look all the ways in which I was going to torture Wolfskin if he kept pushing my brother around. "Why would you… Can you at least read Enochian?"
"Yeah, I –"
"Fine. Then we'll manage. Come with me. I need to speak to him, and later we'll see about getting you back. Bring the hammer; it might calm him down."
"How do we know this isn't a trick?" Sam demanded.
"You should trust me."
"We're not stupid. Nobody trusts you. Especially not here. You can just send us back right now. You want something from us. That's why you're not doing it. Where do you want us to go?"
Wolfskin stared at us, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
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