The boys belong to Erik Kripke and the CW as usual.
Scooby belongs to Warner Bros.
Dean was on the bed, three pillows propped up behind him – yes, one was stolen from Sam's bed. It had caused a pretty manly pillow fight which Dean won, hands-down – his legs were stretched out in front of him with his feet crossed at the ankle. After nearly twenty minutes of flipping through the same twelve channels, Dean finally settled on a cartoon marathon. One of his favorites was on: Scooby-Doo.
"Aw, man. Dean, really?" Sam whined from the table in the corner where he was trying to research their current job. Velma was on-screen and he heard, "Jinkies, Shaggy." He just rolled his eyes. Dean was such a big goddamn kid sometimes.
"Hey, I coulda settled on the Gilmore Girls marathon on that other station. I know how you like your girlie T.V."
"Dude, just…" Sam shook his head and started shutting down his computer. It was getting late and he wasn't going to get anything else done, not with "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" being yelled out from across the room.
Dean looked over at Sam's bed. All he saw was a big lump under a pile of blue checked blankets. The kid took all of five minutes to get to sleep. Dean never could understand how Sam could do that.
He yawned and scooted down in the bed a little bit. There was half a bottle of lukewarm beer on the nightstand next to him and he drained it. When he put the empty bottle down, Dean noticed it was nearing two in the morning. His eyes fell back to the T.V. set. Scooby was still on; he could never get enough of that dog. Yeah, Dean didn't care for dogs in real life, but c'mon, this was Scooby...the world's coolest canine.
He felt his eyes getting heavy and he blinked to clear them. The "gang" was finally going to pull that stupid mask off the bad guy who would more than likely say "I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids." How freakin' classic.
A shadow moved and caught Dean's eye. When he looked up, he saw what looked like a small whirlwind of what, sand? And there were a pair of glowing golden eyes in the middle of it. The longer he looked, the more he could see a tattooed face start to form in the midst of the swirling chaos…then a hand moved and a breath was blown.
Dean jumped as a dusting of sand went into his eyes. Sandman was his last thought as he fell into a deep sleep almost instantly.
"Dean, man, wake up!"
The elder Winchester woke up to Sam shaking him by the shoulder. "Dude, trying to catch some Z's here. Go away." He tried to roll over, but Sam punched him in the shoulder. "Ow, you bitch!" Dean sat up then and wiped the sleep from his eyes. "What the hell, Sam?"
"Did something happen last night that I should be aware of?"
Dean looked up and saw Sam standing there with his arms crossed over his broad chest. He was fully dressed already and Dean glanced at the clock. 1:34 P.M. Shit! It felt like he had just fallen asleep two minutes ago. Almost twelve friggin' hours?
"No, why? Guess I was tired, is all."
"We've got company and I'm still trying to figure this one out."
Sam stepped aside and Dean blinked his eyes. No fucking way! Sitting right there in front of him, head coming up to Sam's chest, was a big, brown Great Dane with black spots. A blue collar ringed his neck and a gold, diamond-shaped charm hung there with a big "SD" inscribed in the center of it. Dean stumbled backwards and suddenly found himself falling off the other side of the bed onto the floor. "Fuck!" he yelled when he landed hard on his ass.
The dog glanced up at Sam and said, "Ruh roh."
"Yeah, I think he's gonna have a difficult time with this," Sam replied. Hell, he was having a difficult time with this.
"Sam, a little help over here," came Dean's voice from the other side of the bed.
"So you're telling me you woke up this morning and he," Dean's eyes drifted over to the dog and then back to Sam, "was just here? Is that really…?"
They were sitting at the small table and the dog was, too…just like a damn person.
"Yeah, it's him, Dean."
"Shit." He looked back at the dog. "Scooby?"
"Ruhh?" The dog looked back at the hunter, question on his face.
Dean was speechless.
"So, I'm thinking you got hit by whatever this thing is that we're here for."
"You think, Sammy?" The words were laced with sarcasm. Scooby was at the table packing down his tenth ramburger and Dean eyed him. He liked the dog, but this was stretching things just a little bit.
"Go talk to him. He's really not that bad, Dean."
"Me? Talk to a cartoon dog?"
"Well, you don't seem to be helping out with the research. I mean, you still haven't told me what happened last night."
"I don't know what happened, Sam." Dean shrugged, at a loss. He pried at his memory, but all he remembered was falling asleep to that cartoon marathon. Then something started coming back… "Sam, shit, wait!"
"So, the Sandman, huh? His stories have been around for millennia, but most of it's just that…stories." Sam drained the last of his latte and put the empty cup on the nightstand. "Well, I'm gonna need some time to see what I can pull up on him." He stood up and stretched. "Why don't you and the Scoobster go for a ride."
Dean was afraid Sam was going to ask him to do that. "Dude, dog. Dog plus Impala equal no. Not in my car. Nuh-uh." The words were said in a hissed whisper. Unfortunately, Scooby was not your typical dog. They had to be careful what they said around him.
That answer earned Dean a patented Sammy bitchface…and Sam wasn't backing down.
"Fine. I'll take him to a park or something." Dean couldn't believe he was doing this. "Call me if you find something. We'll be back later." He pushed up off the bed and grabbed his coat and keys.
"C'mon, Scooby. We're goin' for a ride."
"Rare re roing?" Scooby asked, looking at Dean from Sam's place in the front seat.
It took Dean a second to translate. "Sam said he needs some time to get the gears rolling in that geek head of his, so we're going to a park."
"Roes re reed relp?"
"Um," yeah hold on for two seconds to figure that one out. "No, he's good."
They sat in an uncomfortable silence while Dean drove, but finally he had to ask. "Dude," he turned to glance over at Scooby, "what's Daphne really like? Is she really that hot?"
Scooby looked at Dean and smiled. "Rup."
Dean laughed. "Yeah, I thought so." That broke the ice.
They stopped at a hot dog stand on the way to the park. Dean bought five hot dogs, one for him, four for the dog. If they didn't figure this thing out soon, they were going to go broke. The dog really did eat like he did on T.V. Thank god Shaggy didn't come through the boob tube, too, then they'd be in trouble.
"So what do you remember before coming here?" Dean asked as they walked a fairly quiet trail out in the woods. (Where else could he hold a conversation with a talking dog? This wasn't cartoonland.)
"Rou…and Ram. Relevision."
"What?" Dean came to an abrupt stop. Did he hear what he thought he just heard? "Me and Sam? Where?"
"You watch us on television?"
"Rup," Scooby said with a smile. "Rararon, re rand Raggy," he gulped, "…ren Randman."
Dean walked over to a fallen tree and sat down. "Let me get this straight. You and Shaggy were watching a marathon of me and Sam on T.V., then the Sandman got you, too?" He hoped he translated all of that correctly.
"And now you're here?"
"Rup." Scooby looked a little saddened at that.
"You miss him, huh?"
"Ruh-huh," Scooby answered solemnly.
The hunter stood up and patted the dog on the head. "Well, pal, we'll get this fixed. Sam and I haven't run into anything yet that we can't handle. We'll get you home to the gang before you can say Scooby snack."
"Sam, you'll never guess-" Dean stopped three feet into the motel room, but stumbled as Scooby crashed into him from behind. There were papers strewn all over the place and Sam was sitting in the middle of them on the floor. "What the hell happened in here, a damn tornado?"
"I went to the library. They had quite a bit of info on this thing."
Scooby sidled around Dean and started nosing at some papers. "Rat's rim."
Dean stepped over and took the page the dog was pointing at. "Really? 'Cause my guy had tattoos on his head. He was a lot fuglier than your dude."
"Let me see." Sam reached out to take the picture from his brother. His brows pinched into a frown as he looked at it. "I was afraid of that."
"What?" both Dean and Scooby said at the same time.
"It's not the Sandman per se, but a 'cousin' of the thing if you will. I think this thing's a cross between a sandman and a djinn."
"So it's some hybrid monster?"
"Technically speaking." Sam nodded. "I think in our world, it's more djinn, and in Scoob's world, it's more sandman. A sandman here is just a fable, and djinns in Scooby's world are just harmless genies, you know, three wishes stuff."
"And you figured all this out in what," Dean looked at his watch, "four hours? Damn, Sam. You're getting good at this research shit these days."
"Well, we're not there yet. We need to find out where this thing is holed up. And we're going to have to get some lamb's blood. That's my best guess on killing the thing. But you're missing something here, Dean."
"What? Naptime djinn, lambs blood, silver knife. The thing's going down, Sam."
"Don't you remember what happened last time you ran into a djinn? He had you by the short and curlies." Sam glanced at Scooby then back to Dean. "I think where we find the djinn, we're going to find you."
Dean thought back to the damn djinn back in '07. Friggin' bloodthirsty thing had him going for a while. "You mean…?"
Sam nodded as he gnawed on his bottom lip. "Yeah. But this is a bit different, maybe because of the Sandman interference. I think your 'dream' world is happening in the 'real' world and I think Scooby, here, is more or less sleeping and truly dreaming until we kill the thing. He probably can't wake up in his world."
"Now if this isn't all kinds of fucked-up crazy."
"Ruh-huh," Scooby chimed in.
Sam looked between the two. Clearly, his brother and Scooby had bonded a little out on their excursion.
"Oh, hey, while we're at it, let me throw something else in." Dean glanced at Scooby and then back to Sam. "Listen to this. In their world, Scooby's a big fan of me and you. Dude, we're on T.V. over there. He was watching a marathon of us when he fell asleep. I think through some quantum physics or something that's how we magically bumped into each other."
"Seriously?" Sam looked surprised, but then he grinned. "Are we cartoon or real?"
Dean lifted an eyebrow and looked at Scooby. That thought hadn't even occurred to him ealier.
Scooby frowned. "Rartoon. Rut relse?"
"Dude, we're cartoons?" Dean broke out laughing. "Oh, man, I'd love to see that. Scoob, next time's there's a marathon, call me up. You, me, and the Shaggs can hang out with a few beers."
"Dean!" Sam could only picture Dean corrupting one of cartoon's legends.
"What? It'd be fun, Sammy."
It was nearing midnight and the three were sitting outside an abandoned warehouse just on the outskirts of town. They had spent the evening correlating the attacks with any empty buildings in the area and this was their best guess.
Scooby was sitting in the backseat, front paws up on the seat between Sam's and Dean's shoulders. "Watch the upholstery, dog," Dean warned looking back at their third partner for the night.
Scooby looked at the hunter and dropped them. "Rorry."
"You ready?" The elder Winchester asked, glancing over at Sam who was holding a silver knife dipped in lamb's blood; Dean had his own as well.
"Yeah, I'm good."
"And you?" Dean glanced back over his shoulder. He lifted an eyebrow when he noticed a tremble going through the dog. "You can always stay here if you want."
"Ruh-uh," Scooby shook his head "no". There was no way he was staying here all alone with a monster on the prowl.
The brothers opened their doors almost simultaneously and got out of the car. Dean opened the back door for Scooby.
"C'mon, dude. When this is all over, I bet Freddie or someone has a whole box of Scooby snacks waiting for you. They probably have a couple of boxes for you if I know Shaggy."
The dog's ears perked up at that. Dean wasn't sure if it was Scooby snacks or Shaggy that did it, but whatever worked. Scooby jumped out of the car and headed off.
"Rome on, ren."
Dean glanced at Sam over the roof of the car and he caught a dimpled smile. "Shut up." He spun and followed the dog. Sam was right on his heels.
"Dean, we can't split up. You know how powerful djinns are."
"Sam, this place is huge. Listen, according to you, I'm not me. I'm 'dream me'. My real body is probably hanging somewhere dying right now. I, meaning me right here, can't die. If I do, I'll just wake up, right? That's how it worked last time. So it's safer if you two go together, watch each other's backs." Then Dean smirked. "You make a better Shaggy anyway, hippie boy."
"Dude…" Sam sighed. Dean had a point. The real Dean was out there somewhere, waiting for them to find him. "Fine. If we don't find anything in…fifteen minutes…let's meet back here."
"You got it," Dean said and then ran off down the dark, dilapidated hallway, flashlight beam bouncing all over the walls.
Sam looked at Scooby. "I guess it's you and me, then. Let's go." They headed in the opposite direction, away from Dean. The younger Winchester hoped he was right about all of this. If not, that was the real Dean running away, not worried about dying.
Dean had been wandering the endless maze of corridors. Something told him he was getting closer to what he was looking for. He found himself in a sub-basement, two levels down from ground level. His only light was from that of his dimming flashlight. "C'mon batteries, you can make it." He gave the flashlight a few good, hard taps and it came back to life…a little bit.
Probably about two hundred feet down an endless corridor, he came to a turnoff. As he did, he glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes had gone by. Damn. Sam was going to be worried. Too late now. Dean felt like he was getting close.
He took his cell phone out to see if there was any signal down here; he could call Sam. But yeah, nothing down here. The device was as useless as a rock in a glass house. Dean kept going.
A noise behind him had Dean stopping in his tracks, ears listening. He switched off his flashlight and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Something small and black ran across the floor. Rats. Oh, god, not rats. The hunter moved forward again, switching the flashlight back on.
Sam and Scooby eventually came to a dead end in the direction they had gone in. The roof had collapsed in this part of the building and they could go no further. Sam looked at his watch. It had been less than ten minutes since they split up from Dean. If they moved quickly, maybe they could catch up to him.
"Well, we can't go any further this way. Let's go back the other way and see if we can find my brother." So far, the dog had been keeping pace with Sam, even if he'd stayed several feet behind him. But Sam knew from the cartoons, he probably wasn't going to be able to depend on the dog once shit hit the fan…and Scooby had a habit of finding trouble, too (almost like Dean).
They passed their waypoint and continued on into the darkness. Sam could hear Scooby starting to whine behind him and tried to urge him to keep going. "Hey, Scooby, just remember Shaggy's at the other end of this, okay? I know you don't like this, but we gotta keep going."
"Right, Ram." Scooby tried to give a show of confidence that he didn't have; his tail was already hanging low, betraying that front.
The hallway split and Sam shined the light on the floor. He could see Dean's footprints head off in one direction, but they doubled back and went, instead, toward the interior of the building. "This way."
Dean poked his head behind several doors. Most of the rooms held old, defunct generators and nothing more. He continued his way down the tunnel, which he started to think of the long hallway as, and came to a solid metal door at the end.
He noticed the hinges were rusted, but that rust had been broken loose. Someone had been using this door recently. God, if my body is down here… The thought gave him the chills. If he died deep down in this dungeon of a place, no one would find him. That was just disturbing.
The door opened with a loud, protesting groan and Dean cringed knowing that particular noise could be heard a mile away. But he didn't stop; he knew he was going in the right direction. He stepped beyond the door and that's when his flashlight gave out.
"Dammit!" Dean hissed and beat the thing a few times. Nothing. "Fuck." He tucked the flashlight into his coat pocket and tightened his grip on the silver blade in his hand. "Come out, come out wherever you are," Dean mumbled into the darkness.
And that's exactly what it did.
Sam and Scooby followed the dusty footprints down the first flight of stairs. On the first landing, the hunter saw they kept going down. Scooby saw it, too.
"Rope." He shook his head "no". "Rot roing." Sitting up, Scooby crossed his arms in defiance. "Roo scary."
Dammit. Sam didn't have time for this crap. He knew it was coming though. Actually, he was surprised it didn't happen sooner.
"Scooby, you like Dean don't you?"
"And do you know where Dean is?"
Scooby swallowed. "Reah. Rown rhere." He gestured with his chin down the stairs.
"Yeah, he is. And do you know what's gonna happen to my brother if we don't go down there?"
A clearly audible gulp was heard. "Rie."
"Yeah, he's gonna die. I need to go down there. Now you can either come or stay; it's up to you. I won't force you. But I don't have the time to argue." Sam turned and started down the rickety metal steps, following where Dean had disappeared not more than a few minutes ago.
Dean got slammed against the wall and then that all too familiar glow appeared right in front of his face. He wasn't sure what that would do to his 'dream' self, but he wasn't willing to find out. He brought the knife up between himself and the djinn and the creature's eyes widened in the bluish light at the sight. He backed up a step and released Dean from his hold.
At the edge of the eerie glow, Dean could see a form he knew too well; it was himself hanging upright, toes scuffing the ground and arms outstretched overhead, tied to a beam high up in the ceiling. An IV needle was jammed into his neck with the line running down to a bag full of blood. He had just enough time to see that before it went dark.
Oh, hell. He held the knife up in front of him and slid along the wall, keeping it to his back as he moved towards where he saw himself. This seriously sucks.
Sam heard Scooby following down the stairs behind him and smiled. It's not like the dog wasn't used to this crap. The biggest difference was that in his world, all the baddies were just people dressed up in costumes. Here, well, it was a little different. Creatures were actually creatures that killed. He hoped Scooby wouldn't be irrevocably messed up from seeing anything that was more than likely going to happen.
They finally made it to the bottom of the stairs. A long corridor lay before them and Dean's footprints appeared to follow the length of it. Sam picked up the pace and fell into a jog. This was just the type of place a djinn would hang out in and he had a bad feeling about this.
It was like one of those dreams where you were running down an endless corridor and the end never seemed to get any closer. Sam felt like miles had passed behind them by the time they reached what looked like an old flood door at the very end – It dawned on Sam that this place was near the harbor. The engineers probably knew there was a risk digging these tunnels/hallways so close to the water. There was no other reason to have a door like this down here – And Dean's footprints went right through it.
Sam stopped when they got to the door. It took Scooby a second to catch up with him. "You good?"
The dog nodded. "Rin rhere?" He eyed the door warily.
"Yeah. Listen. You can stay out here if you want. It's gonna get hairy in there."
Scooby looked between Sam and the door. "R'okay."
Okay, what? It didn't really matter at this point. Dean was in there. "I'll be back. I promise."
Sam stepped through into pitch black. That was a bad sign. Dean should have had his flashlight on wherever he was, but there was no light at all, nothing beyond the small beam of his own flashlight which was being overwhelmed by the darkness.
His other senses kicked in as he swept the void with his flashlight. He smelled copper…blood; he heard heavy breathing coming from somewhere, and then Dean's voice shouting.
"Sam! Get outta here, dude!"
Did Dean really think he'd run? Hell, no! "Dean!" Sam called out to his brother. He ran further into the room and that was when he ran into the 'real' Dean's body hanging limply in the darkness. "Shit."
Sam reached up and pulled the IV needle free and then used the silver knife to cut Dean down. When he got his brother to the floor, he tried to rouse him, but he wouldn't come to. "Dean, c'mon, man, wake up." He smacked the man's cheeks lightly, but still got no response.
Why wouldn't he wake up? Suddenly, Sam knew what had to happen. He stood up and turned toward 'dream' Dean who was still scuffling with the djinn. The creature had its hand up in front of the man, trying to do its Vulcan mind meld or whatever it was that it did. The thing had to know Sam was there, but Dean was doing his best to keep it busy, keeping its attention off Sam.
At the last minute, just as Sam raised the knife in the air, the djinn spun. In the midst of the motion, he picked Dean up and threw him across the floor, leaving the elder hunter stunned and breathless for the moment.
Sam couldn't move quickly enough. The Djinn was on him in a heartbeat, the ice cold heat hovering over his forehead. Nonononono. If he got taken down, this would be the end, but the djinn was too strong. It held his wrist immobile and squeezed until the knife fell from his hand. "Fuck!"
Suddenly, in a flurry of black and brown fur, the djinn was knocked away from Sam. Scooby! The younger Winchester reclaimed his knife from the floor and ran to the dog's aid. "Scooby, look out!" Sam attacked with the blade, driving it with force deep into the shoulder of the djinn. It howled in pain and the blue light flashed in its eyes and then died out as it, too, died. Its body melted into a pile of sand.
Sam had just enough time to look at Scooby as the dog blinked out of existence. "Thanks, Scooby." He smiled.
A groan came from somewhere behind Sam and he spun on his heel; he was still catching his breath from the recent encounter. He didn't like what he saw because his earlier hunch appeared to be true. This was going to kill him. Ending the djinn sent Scooby back, but it didn't fix Dean. The last time Dean went through this, he had to kill himself in the dream to release himself.
Sam slowly walked across the floor to 'dream' Dean and knelt beside him. "It's dead, Dean. Scooby's gone. He got sent back to cartoonland." Sam could see blood dripping from Dean's mouth, more than could be considered okay. "Dean, man, y'okay?" He noticed his brother wasn't moving much; he was hunched over in the fetal position.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Sam. Just awesome as a matter of fact." More blood bubbled out from his mouth and he was struggling to breathe.
"Dean!" Sam pushed Dean over onto his back and he saw it. The hilt of Dean's knife was sticking out of his chest. At the rate Dean was bleeding, there was no saving him. "Oh, god, Dean! No!" Sam started tearing at his overshirt to try to staunch the flow of blood.
"No, Sam. I'm not real." Dean coughed and more blood poured out of his mouth. His eyes rolled towards 'real' Dean. "He is. He'll," he coughed again, "be fine."
Sam's hands were sticky and hot with Dean's blood. He knew this wasn't 'real' Dean, but it was still Dean. And Dean was dying right in front of him. "Dean…" Sam hadn't noticed the tears pouring down his face. "Don't…die. Please." He grabbed Dean's hand and held it, squeezing. Dean squeezed back and then was no more.
The body in front of Sam wavered and then dissolved into thin air, leaving the silver blade in its wake.
And then it was like déjà vu. A groan was heard from behind Sam. He wiped the stinging tears out of his eyes and jumped up to his feet to run over to the other Dean, 'real' Dean.
"Yeah, I'm here, Dean."
"Dude, I had the weirdest dream." Dean shifted and sat up. "Where the hell are we, and why do I hurt so much?" He rubbed at his neck where the needle previously resided and flinched. "Aw, don't tell me. Djinn?"
Sam nodded in the darkness. "C'mon. Let's get you outta here. This place gives me the creeps."
"Yeah, okay. Just help me up."
It took a whole lot of willpower for the brothers to make it back to the car, but they did…eventually. Sam opened the passenger side door and helped Dean into the seat. "I'll get you a bottle of water from the trunk."
"Sure, Sam." Dean rested his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. As he did, he felt something under his left hand. He picked it up and forced himself to open his eyes. It was a blue collar with and golden name tag on it.
"Son of a bitch." Dean smiled.