Title: Haunted Men
Note: This is the sequel to Where Angels Tread.
Programs: Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin
Setting: Supernatural, between the season eight episodes "Clip Show" and "Sacrifice"; Doctor Who, between the season seven episodes "Nightmare in Silver" and "The Name of the Doctor"; Sherlock, after season two's "The Reichenbach Fall"; Merlin, after season five's "The Diamond of the Day, Part Two."
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters or stories. I am just an obsessed fangirl writing a fic.
Summary: When the Winchesters, Merlin, and the Doctor and Clara get trapped inside a universe in which they never existed, Castiel enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes to get them home.
Los Angeles, California.
May 12th, 2013.
The Tardis door slammed behind her, and Clara reflexively looked upwards at the ceiling of the console room and mouthed an apology. She knew the ship wasn't her biggest fan, and she supposed being careless with its framing didn't help any.
"See, that was fun, wasn't it?" the Doctor was saying, a grin on his face as he dashed around the controls, trying to figure out where to take them next.
Clara rolled her eyes and followed him onto the deck. "That was not what I was promised," she pointed out for the hundredth time that day.
"Sure it was," the Doctor excused, but his smile faltered slightly and he stopped running around. "Hollywood Boulevard. Sunset Strip. Just as I said."
"Present day," Clara reminded him. She pulled her bright red purse over her head and placed it on the floor before leaning against the side controls, making herself at home. She crossed her arms and gave the Doctor a pout. "I could have jumped on a plane for that. You said 1920s! I wanted to see starlets—brush arms with Richard Burton, get mistaken for Audrey Hepburn."
"Oh, no one could be mistaken for her, that ol' devil," the Doctor reminisced with a smirk.
Clara carried on as though he had said nothing. "I did not want . . . this!"
"This is better," the Doctor insisted.
Clara's face contorted into a "you've got to be kidding" expression. "Mm, not actually," she said.
"You even got a magnet with your name on it! How cool is that?" He brandished a small alloy souvenir: a miniature American street sign reading Rodeo Drive, with Clara's name spelled beneath it in Scriptina font. It was something they'd paid far too much money for, something she could have gotten online for a fiver—but why would she want to? The Doctor, however, was beaming at it like it was the most fascinating thing in the world. The only reason she'd gotten it in the first place was because of him—because he asserted that the shop somehow knew she was coming, and could not comprehend that they make thousands of those cheap memorabilia on a daily basis for whiney children of every name to beg their parents for; and then to forget about three minutes later.
She raised an eyebrow at the cheap gift. "Doctor," was all she had to say to voice her unamusement.
"Oh, come on!" the Doctor whined. "A space monk from the year 2380 trying to take over Brad Pitt's life. What could possibly be better?"
Clara feigned careful consideration before saying, "Not sure. Let me go get the list I've made up on the topic—knew it'd come in handy some day."
The Doctor deflated. "Fine," he said at last. "We'll have it your way."
Clara gave him a cheeky smirk as he turned his back to her and began fiddling with the controls, setting their course for the real 1920s California. However, as soon as he flipped the first lever, the Tardis lurched, causing both passengers to stumble forward. Clara held on to the main console for balance, and she realized at once that the Tardis wasn't actually flying. She could not hear the roar the engines, there was no familiar vibration under her feet, and the monitors that read the external date and time were remaining the same. Still, the ship was rattling back and forth.
"Doctor!" she shouted over the noise. "What is happening?"
The Doctor was making an effort to keep his balance and circle the console at the same time, trying to get the ship under control again.
"I don't—I don't know!" he admitted, having to shout back from across. "We aren't moving!"
"Clearly we're moving!"
There was a sudden voice from over the rattling, one that Clara had never heard before. It was the voice of a woman; she sounded Scottish to Clara's ears. She was saying only one word, over and over again, gaining in volume. Doctor.
Clara's eyes went wide as they met the Doctor's, because he looked afraid—really and properly terrified, and she did not know why. He was frozen in place, his jaw slackened and his large eyes searching. Clara tried to call his name, to bring him back to her, but her voice was drowned out. She saw him mouth a short, two-syllable word, but could not hear it.
Then a bright white light emitted from the time router in the center of the console, and it quickly flooded the entire room until Clara could no longer see the Doctor in front of her. The light became too bright, and she was forced to close her eyes against it. Meanwhile, the ship continued to shake, and she yelled and groaned in the effort it took to hang on to the console.
Her hands were slipping as the tremors became increasingly more violent. Finally, she lost her grip and tumbled backwards. She expected her back to ram into the outer controls, and her heart skipped a beat when they never came. She fell through the void.
May 12th, 472.
His arms were folded across the windowsill of his chambers, and he peered out into the night sky. It was a clear night, not a cloud for miles, and Merlin could see the twinkling brightness of every star. He could not stop the corners of his mouth from pulling upwards ever so slightly as he recalled the time when he flew amongst those stars, however brief a time it was. Merlin sometimes thought it was a dream—a half-remembered memory from some other life—but he, more than most, knew what magic filled the world.
From behind him, he heard his chamber door creak open, and Merlin tore his eyes off of the past to see the Queen, the golden embroidery on her nightdress catching the flickering candlelight, as she entered.
"My Lady?" Merlin asked, his brow furrowing with wonder as to why she made the journey to his chambers so late in the evening.
"Hello, Merlin," she said, walking halfway into the room. "I'm sorry to disturb you so late, but I fear I'm at my wit's end. It's Arthur." She shook her head, worry in her doe eyes despite her elegant smile. "I think he may be ill."
"Ill?" Merlin wondered.
"Yes," she said. "His forehead is very warm. Would you mind taking a look at him? Please?"
Merlin could not refuse her. "Of course," he said, collecting Gaius' old medicine bag from off the wooden table in the center of the room. "It's no trouble."
He followed her through the shadows of the empty castle, and soon Merlin gazed down into the crib at the toddler, who cooed slightly to Merlin's touch. The child's dark skin was hot to the back of Merlin's hand, but he didn't suppose it was anything too serious. He flipped his hand over on Arthur's forehead, feeling the sweat matted blonde tuffs underneath—blonde, just like his father, Merlin had to remind himself. Sometimes he found that he was beginning to lose Arthur's face.
His eyes glowed a shining shade of gold, and the child's own blue eyes drooped and closed. Merlin straightened out and turned to Gwen, who was chewing on her thumbnail in anticipation.
"It's only a fever," he reported, and Gwen looked instantly relieved. "I've given him a draft to help reduce it, and I've put him to sleep for the night. He should be well by morning."
"Oh, thank you, Merlin," Gwen breathed.
"Well," Merlin said with a dutiful grin. "We don't want our future king running fevers for too long."
"Honestly, he fusses enough without a fever. He keeps me up half the night." For a moment, the Queen looked tired and weary.
Merlin had no response to this other than another pushed smile. "You did name him Arthur," he tried to joke. "They have a habit of keeping you to their schedule."
Gwen smiled at this. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Merlin," she said kindly. "You are very skilled."
Merlin blushed slightly and looked to his shoes. "I don't think so," he said modestly. "Now that you've raised the ban on magic, any sorcerer could have done what I've just done."
When he looked up again, Gwen was shaking her head and striding towards him. "Yes, but I doubt very many of them also have your skill as a physician. Gaius would be very proud."
Merlin smiled softly at the memory of his mentor, and broke eye contact with Gwen to remember Gaius' face. It had been nearly a year and a half since Gaius' passing.
". . . Arthur would have been proud, too," Gwen added, her palm over her heart and her eyes staring at the crib behind Merlin. He knew she wasn't talking about the Arthur inside it: for when she looked to Merlin again, her eyes were glistening, but she was strong enough to keep her cheeks dry.
Again, Merlin was at a loss for words, so he instead recollected his medicine bag and tucked it under his left arm. He crossed closer to Gwen and, with his free one, rested his palm comfortingly on her shoulder. She ran her soft hand over his wrist and smiled.
"Get some sleep, my Lady."
She nodded and released him. "Goodnight, Merlin."
He wished her a goodnight as well and bowed his way out of her chambers, making his way back to his own. Once there, he found the candle on the table had burned out, and was now emitting a thin stream of fragrant smoke from the wick. He did not light it again when he placed the medicine bag next to it, and instead let the rays of the full moon light his way through the darkness.
He let out a heavy sigh and dropped his shoulders, allowing the night to engulf him as he stood in the silence that seemed to hang in the chambers now that Gaius was no longer around—and Arthur was not there to fetch Merlin each time he needed to put a sock on. Merlin smiled at the memories of Arthur barging in unannounced, calling Merlin's name is aggravated neediness. The memory seemed so clear that Merlin could almost hear Arthur calling his name now . . .
No. But Merlin could hear Arthur calling him.
He snapped back into attention, looking wildly around the darkness for the source of the noise. It couldn't have been what Merlin thought it was—it couldn't have been him. And yet, he heard Arthur's voice as clear as a bell.
It was barely a whisper, but it was definitely him.
"Arthur?" Merlin called back, his eyes wide and his heart pumping loudly in his ears. He wished he could silence it long enough to hear Arthur's voice again.
Merlin spun around on the spot, his eyes meeting the door to his bedroom. There was a white light shining through the cracks in and under the door, and Merlin's mouth fell agape at the sight. He inched towards the door, and up the steps until he was able to place his open palm on the wood. It seared his skin, making him retract his hand quickly with a hiss.
The voice called again.
Merlin swallowed hard, his eyes fixed on the door as he ran through the possibilities of what could be happening. He could have been dreaming, or going mad, or perhaps someone or something was mimicking Arthur's voice to draw him in.
Or perhaps it was somehow—impossibly—Arthur through the door. Was he willing to take that chance? Was he willing to believe as much as he wished he could?
Merlin summoned all of his bravado and straightened his spine. He knew that curiosity always tended to be a man's downfall, but he also knew—yes, much more than others—that there was magic in this world.
He placed his palm on the wood again and pushed through.
May 12th, 2013.
Sam yawned and laid the bloody axe on the long table, wanting nothing more than to fall into one of the cushioned chairs and call it a night right then and there; but his skin was sticky with crimson and dirt, and he knew he'd probably have to peel his clothes off before getting into the shower. Dean trailed in behind him; his shoulders slumped as he ran a palm down his exhausted face. He looked up at Sam.
"Ugh, c'mon, Sammy, how many times?" he yelled irritably. "No bloody weapons on the table."
Sam rolled his eyes and picked up the axe, muttering an insincere apology as he placed the weapon on the floor instead.
"Yeah, whatever," Dean mumbled back. He rubbed his tired eyes, making them bloodshot. "Doesn't matter, anyway. Wasted outing."
"It's not our fault nobody wanted to deal, Dean," Sam told him. "Vampires, Shifters, you name it—Crowley's probably got them scared running. None of them are gonna tell us where to find a demon. It was a long shot and you know it."
"And no demon to cure means no beating Crowley, I know," Dean said with a heavy sigh. "Look, man, we tried Plan B, but now we don't really have a choice here. We don't do somethin' quick, that sonovabitch is gonna kill more people—people we saved."
"I don't want that to happen, Dean," Sam said with a gulp.
"Never said you did," said Dean. "And that's why we stick to the original plan. We take out Crowley once and for all—there's nothin' for it."
Sam nodded, reserved.
"So, get some rest, brother," Dean told him. "Long day tomorrow." His face suddenly became worried. "How're you feelin'?"
Sam shot his brother a look. "I'm fine, Dean," he insisted, the words coming out like a knee-jerk reaction.
Dean scanned him up and down with pursed lips, unconvinced, but he didn't say anything else on the matter. Instead, he started towards the bathroom. "Alright, I'm hittin' the showers."
"What? No way, dude. Me first," Sam bickered, jogging towards the bathroom and blocking Dean's way through the door.
Dean groaned and shot Sam his do-what-I-say-because-I'm-older glare. "Get outta the way, Sam. I smell like a sewer."
"Yeah?" Sam challenged. "You're not the one covered in Vamp blood."
Dean raised a brow. "That what that is all over you? I thought you just got your period for the first time, Princess."
Sam tilted his head to the side, unamused, and Dean backed down.
"Fine," he said, turning around on his heels and starting towards his bedroom. "Don't take forever washing your luscious hair, alright?"
"I'm not the one who takes half-hour showers, Dean!" Sam called after him.
Dean faced Sam and kept walking backwards. He flourished his hand down his face and body like it was the main attraction at a high-class auction. "What? You think this just happens, Sammy?"
Sam rolled his eyes and stepped into the bathroom. "Gimmie five minutes."
Once he was sure Dean was in his room, he closed the door behind himself and rushed to the toilet, fumbling to quickly open the lid before vomiting blood into the bowl. He groaned in pain as he wiped his lips with the back of his hand before flushing the toilet and leaning back against the tub. He closed his eyes, able to feel his heart thump along every inch of his aching muscles, but that was good. That meant he was still alive. He allowed himself a few more moments of rest—just a second to breathe—before using all his willpower to stand up and turn on the shower.
A few minutes later, he was redressed and striding towards Dean's room, drying the loose droplets of water on his hair with a towel.
"Dean?" he called, trying to get his brother's attention before stepping into the doorframe of the bedroom and seeing Dean in bed. He was sprawled out on his stomach, still in his clothes, and twitching in his sleep. Sam immediately knew that Dean was having a nightmare, and he slackened his shoulders. He considered rousing his brother, but it was better to let Dean sleep. Nightmare or not, the older Winchester didn't get enough shuteye these days.
With his bare feet, Sam padded towards the lamp on Dean's bedside table and reached over to turn it off. Dean stirred slightly. He didn't wake up, but he mumbled, "Dad?" in a small voice. Sam's jaw tightened in empathy as he looked down as his brother's sleeping form, and he plunged the room into darkness.
He left the door open a crack when he exited, allowing for a sliver of light, and headed towards his own room, where he left his own door fully open, as he always did, simply because it was strange not sharing a room with Dean, and it was something he was still getting accustomed to on a regular basis. He turned off the light and fell asleep almost as soon as he hit the pillow—but it wasn't an easy sleep. However, that was expected: He hadn't had a good night in what seemed like forever.
But this dream was different. It felt almost real, so real that he thought he had actually woken up.
He was in the main room of the bunker again, staring around at the books and the polished table. The axe he had left there before was gone, replaced by Ruby's knife and the EMF detector. He wondered briefly how he ended up back in the room, and how he was fully dressed again.
"Dean?" he said, but got no reply. That unnerved him for a reason he could not explain, so he picked up the knife and headed towards Dean's room, calling for him again. The bedroom was empty when he pushed the door open fully.
"Sam," he heard, an echo bouncing off the walls.
He spun around into the emptiness. "Dean?"
But that voice didn't sound like Dean. It sounded like . . .
"Adam?" Sam swallowed hard, listening out for another call from his half-brother. Nothing came, and for a moment he was certain this was a dream. He ran his hands through his hair, willing himself to wake up.
What is this, some trials crap? he thought.
Adam called again.
His heart skipped a beat, and Sam decided that being calm could go to Hell. He ran across the main room, checking every door and every nook for a sign of Adam, but the voice was disembodied.
Ghost? he considered. No. That wouldn't make any sense.
He placed his palms on the table, urging himself to think, but all that came to his mind were flashes of his little brother in the Pit with him. Adam screaming. Adam begging. He was still down there, as far as Sam and Dean knew, but Sam tried hard not to think on that—to block the images from his memory when the guilt resurfaced in the dark nights. Survivor's guilt. He had convinced himself that there was nothing they could do for Adam. Hell, he'd even started believing it.
Was it possible Adam found a way out?
Suddenly, the EMF on the table sprung into life, every bulb lighting up and causing it to whirl. The noise took Sam by surprise, and he cocked his head at the device before pacing towards it and picking it up. He felt eyes on his back, and he turned around to look, but he saw nothing.
In place of the walls and furniture was complete emptiness—just white. He gulped and looked forward again, met by the same nothingness.
"Dean!" he called desperately, his heart pounding in fear now. He was hit with the frequent sensation of having never left the Cage; that this was just another one of Lucifer's creative tortures.
Adam answered. "Sam," he said, his voice clear now. In fact, he was screaming—in pain. "Sam! Sam!"
He woke with a start, still gripping the knife and the EMF as Dean was on top of him, clutching his jacket. Dean looked worried but relieved when Sam blinked in confusion and sat up on the dusty floor. It took him a few moments to get used to what little light he had, but when he had done so, he saw he was in an old, disused room. Moth bitten curtains hung over the windows, blocking the moonlight from streaming in and painting patterns on the decaying bed and rotting wooden wardrobe.
"What the Hell?" he grumbled.
"You're tellin' me," Dean answered. He stood up and offered Sam his arm, which Sam clasped at the wrist and allowed his brother to pull him up. He wobbled slightly and it made him dizzy, but Dean was peering around at their new surroundings, so he didn't notice.
"How did we get here?" Sam wondered aloud.
"No clue," Dean admitted, looking back at Sam. "Last thing I remember, I was yellin' at you to hurry up in the shower and then . . ." His eyes flashed in memory, like he had just recalled something hazy.
"What?" Sam probed.
"I dunno," Dean answered. "It was a dream—I think. I was back in Lawrence . . . Dad was there."
Sam remembered what Dean was muttering in his sleep. He wondered if their nightmares were somehow connected.
"I had a dream about Adam," Sam told him.
"Adam?" Dean repeated, taken aback.
"Yeah, he was—" Sam licked his lips and shook his head. "He was calling for me. I never saw him."
"I saw Dad," Dean said ruefully, his face solemn and he stared into space. "He was pissed. Blamed me for how he died. Said he never shouldda made that deal. He came after me." Sam didn't know what to say, but before he could say anything, Dean continued, "There was this white light and I ran outta the house and all of a sudden, I woke up here."
"What if they weren't dreams?" Sam voiced his theory.
Dean shot him a glare. "Ya think?" he said sarcastically.
They heard a creaking of floorboards, followed by hushed voices from under their feet, and Sam saw his brother reach into his jacket and pull out his Colt. Dean's face was set in stone as he inched towards the door of the room and peered out it both ways.
"Clear," he said, lowering the gun slightly.
"They're coming from downstairs," Sam whispered, and Dean nodded.
"Check it out?"
Sam gripped the handle of the knife tighter and squared his shoulders, preparing himself.