The Winchesters are the property of Kripke Enterprises and the CW. The Criminal Minds crew is the property of the MarkGordon Co., CBS Television and ABC Studios. No one belongs to me, mores the pity.
A/N: If you want the details on how Sam became the Sphinx and where Dean picked up his come-hither glow you'll need to go read "Sons of the Morning".
ANOTHER A/N: Surprise, a little cross over with Criminal Minds to follow.
Walt and Roy Get What They Deserve
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot, 1925
"Garcia." "Yes, boss man?"
"Call in Reid and Morgan and Rossi. We all need to be on the plane as soon as possible. We've been called in by the Omaha office." Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner had called Penelope Garcia, his Technical Analyst. "There's an unusual one out on the Northwest corner of Nebraska."
"Yes," Garcia cut in. "I saw the report on that one come in and I wondered if we were going to get involved." She literally bounced in her seat with excitement. "Two headless bodies! Signs of mauling and bite marks. Whispers of superstition and men back from the dead. Sounds like a horror movie!"
Today was a 'yellow' day for Penny. She had yellow feathers and a sunflower in her hair. Her bat wing glasses had yellow rims and the rhinestones sparkled with the lights of her computer equipment. In the dark and crowded office she was all kind of colors, cheerful and luminous.
Hotch warmed at the excitement in her voice. "Good to know you're ready to fly. I have a feeling we're going to need your skills out in the heartland. A lot of people out there aren't going to like us stepping in even though the local LEO's seem out of their depth and I'll depend on you to smooth our way."
He turned and picked up file folders off his desk and loaded his briefcase. A tall, thin and intense man, it was difficult to imagine him smiling. With his son Jack he was a loving and attentive father; with his unit he was tough but fair, tying together as diverse a group of FBI agents as you could find. The BAU team functioned smoothly with him as their touchstone, a calm center.
Often he found himself infuriated at the evil that men could do but he controlled his emotions with an iron hand, always searching for reasons and trying to understand the motivations of the unsubs he pursued.
Garcia made the calls, assembling the team. Reid and Rossi's calls were brief and to the point. They knew the faster they got to the plane the faster they would know all they needed to about the case. The call to Derek Morgan was longer and loaded with flirting.
"Hello, sweetness," Garcia cooed.
"What up, baby girl", Morgan's dark soft voice murmured down the line.
"Excitement in Nebraska, if you can believe it," Garcia flung back at him. "Headless bodies, stunned witnesses talking of a monster and men returned from the dead. The bodies are not only missing the heads, their spines are gone too."
"Sounds like sick perpetrators or insane witnesses." Morgan came back. "Why us?"
"All I know is what Hotch said, the Omaha office called us in." Garcia stood up and groped around for her purse. "I'll see you on the plane, sweet cakes. Love you. Bye." She removed her comm unit and left the office.
Less than an hour later the team was assembled and in the air. They gathered around the conference table, subdued in the white interior, Garcia was a riot of color. She still had her flower and feathers in her hair and had intensified the whole effect by putting on a dress with an entire flower garden printed on the full skirt. She eased their hearts just looking at her.
Hotchner stood and passed out the file folders. "I am not sure how to approach this one yet. Either we have an new kind of psychotic killer , or two, or our witnesses are frighten so badly they don't know what they're saying. "
There was a moments silence as they all absorbed the materials in the folders.
Of course, the first to finish was Spenser Reid. "You know, a lot of this doesn't really make sense. The witnesses are saying that the Winchester brothers were there? Didn't they die a couple of years ago?"
"As far as the FBI files are concerned the Winchester case was closed two years ago. They were shot to death in a small town in the mid- west." Hotchner agreed.
David Rossi pitched in. "These witnesses are claiming a giant cat bit the one guys' head off…in front of them! Actual eye-witness accounts? First we are going to have to take a hard look at these witnesses."
Rossi tapped on the file papers with his pen. "These witnesses are local inhabitants?"
"We don't know much more than what you see in front of you." Hotchner explained. "This all just happened last night and the speed with which the local LEOs bounced this to the FBI's Omaha office and that office bounced it along to us is impressive. No one wants to go near this one."
"Well speculation is pretty much useless here." said Reid. "These reports are close to incoherent. Until we get there and make our own determinations I would rather not try to theorize. It would just turn into brain clutter."
"I agree," David Rossi joined in. "The best thing we can do is get some sleep. What do we have, a two hour plane flight and then we drive from Omaha all the way across the state? There are no closer airports?"
Garcia interjected. "No, Sioux Falls in South Dakota is you r next choice and it isn't all that much closer. This happened in one of the emptiest stretches of land in the US. The town of Valentine is only 2,700 people and it's the largest town in the county. The whole state of Nebraska has a population of less than two million and most of them are clustered in the Eastern part of the state around Omaha and Lincoln."
She giggled "Plenty of room to swing a cat."
"All right, Garcia. We get it." Rossi pushed his glasses up to the top of his head, reclined his chair and shut his eyes.
Hours later they were circling the Omaha Nebraska Airport, waiting to land. Out the plane windows they could see Omaha basking in the July heat. Situated on the bank of the Missouri River it was connected to Iowa with an attention grabbing bridge.
"Funny," mused Rossi. "I guess I was expecting stock yards and wide open spaces, not just another modern city with office towers and freeways."
"Catch up to the times, mon cherie," smiled Penney. "The Old West no longer lives outside jet windows. We have to travel further into the heartland to find your corrals and pastures."
In the terminal they were greeted by an imposing African American man. Penny's eyes lit up and flickered. She was immediately attracted. Derek placed a hand on her arm. "Down girl, stop drooling."
"Raymond Ellis," he introduced himself, shaking hands with each agent in turn, "SSA for this particular kettle of stinking fish. I'll have to get my Bureau Chief something special for Christmas this year in honor of this assignment. Let's get to the car and get started, shall we?"
He led the way out of the Eppley Airfield terminal. Outside a black SUV with room for them all waited.
Ellis got behind the wheel and Hotchner took shotgun. The other three agents found plenty of space in back. The SUV had seating for seven.
"We sent a tech crew on ahead of us already. We're going to be in a motel about 15 miles north of this bar, 'Elroys'; that's the crime scene. There's no housing closer than that." Ellis glanced in the rearview mirror, gathering the eyes of the agents in the back. "The tech team will see to it that you have proper communications and internet access. We may be the real boonies but we know what we're doing."
"I'm sure that everything will be fine." Hotch said. "Are there tensions that need to be addressed? What are the local LEOs like?"
Ellis snorted, "Thrilled to death to get this whole thing off their hands. The rumor mills in Valentine are smoking their wheels. Monsters, giant cats, dead men walking, this one's got everything and no-one, including me, wants anything to do with it. You guys live far enough away that the stink won't stick when you get home."
"You got the report that we sent in, right?" Ellis asked.
Reid raised his voice from the back of the vehicle. "It's not all that helpful. I'm sure there must be a lot of detail omitted because, on the face of it, this report makes little or no sense."
"Tell me about it." Ellis laughed. "I wrote the thing and fifty percent of what I was told I didn't even want to put on paper. I had to sign it and I like my job."
They drove smoothly away from the airport. After airports like New York and Chicago and Atlanta, the Omaha airport seemed almost rural. Before them stretched a 300 mile trip to the Northwest corner of the state.
"Well, we have plenty of empty time in front of us." David Rossi said. "Tell us about the other 50%."
"The Sheriff out of Valentine is Dave Conklin, a good man. Former cop here in Omaha who ran for Sheriff in Valentine as a form of retirement. He's not happy about this mess on his doorstep. I trust him. That's a pretty peaceful part of the state, mainly cause no one lives out there. The major part of the population consists of cattle and vultures."
"He was fuming when he called this in to us. The chief got us all in the conference room and put Dave on speaker after getting a taste of Dave's tirade."
"Dave said that the Fire Service spotted flames during one of their night time aerial passes and called in the trucks. When they got out to Elroys they found an almost completely burned body in the bar's parking lot. They put it out, trying to save something of the remains although they were pretty much gone. Whoever set that fire knew exactly what they were doing."
"Evidently Dave had sent his Deputy, Ron Givens, down to that bar that night because they had gotten an anonymous tip that a drug deal was going to happen that evening so Ron was right there. He had been leaving but turned around and followed the trucks."
"Ron has been our best source for confirmation of what the people in the bar have been telling us. He left before the excitement started but we'll take what we can get."
"According to the bar owners, a couple of newbies out of Pittsburg a few years back, there had been some kind of a gathering of what they call 'Hunters' in the bar." Ellis paused.
"What do they hunt in that corner of the state and why would hunters need to gather?" Hotch asked.
"These are hunters with a capital 'H' and they don't hunt white tail deer." Ellis went on. "There have been rumors about them for a long time. Strange men, living rough, a sort of underground culture."
"If you ask someone what they hunt the standard answer is 'you don't want to know'. We've pretty much ignored the rumors about these people but this incident puts them on the radar. I had no idea that they gathered in numbers like this but that's what the bar owners tell us."
"These 'Hunters' were gathering for a major hunt and, according to the owners, the hunt was for Winchesters."
A noise from the back of the vehicle directed everyone's attention to Derek Morgan. "If by Winchesters, they mean Sam and Dean, those guys are dead. They died two years ago in a shootout." Derek snapped out.
"So I heard," Ellis smoothly answered. "First, do you guys know of any other Winchesters? And, that shootout, didn't the bodies disappear?"
Hotch spoke up. "The Sheriff who had control of the bodies had them cremated by mistake so we supposedly know where the bodies went. Of course, there is the problem of the Sheriff disappearing immediately thereafter. So there might be a hole that they could have crawled through. They were famous for impossible escapes."
"Ron Givens claims that he saw Dean and Sam Winchester walk into that bar. He didn't know who they were until the Sheriff showed him pictures but he is positive that's who he saw. He heard some guy from the back of the room challenge Winchester and Winchester told him he'd see 'Walt" outside later. We think that one of the bodies is this 'Walt' guy.
Reid interrupted "That's one of the bodies. Another was found out on the prairie and that one wasn't burned, right?"
"Correct," Ellis agreed. "Ron was there when Winchester convinced two guys sitting at a table to follow him outside. After that the impromptu meeting broke up and gradually everyone, including Ron left the bar with the exception of the guy who had shouted at Winchester and the guys' friend who was sitting with him. We think that's the other body. It's hard to tell without a head."
Ellis fiddled with the air conditioning controls. "After Ron left we have only the three witnesses who said that they saw a giant cat bite off Walt's head and then take off after Walt's friend who was running and screaming."
"After that this Dean Winchester look alike told them not to talk about what they had seen or he would come back and bring his 'pretty kitty' with him."
"That just sent a shiver down my spine." Garcia chimed in.
"Take it easy, baby girl." Derek comforted her. "These witnesses had just hung out at a bar for the entire evening. They probably have no idea what they saw."
"We'll be there in just under three hours and you people can question the witnesses yourselves. The bar owners can't shut up according to Dave Conklin. He thinks it's a nervous reaction. On the other hand, he can't get the bar maid, Elsie, to say anything useful. Dave's pretty sure she's the one who knows what's going on out there."
Ellis now adjusted his seat belt; he was done playing with the air conditioning controls. "You might as well get comfortable. I don't know anything else useful and it's going to be a long trip."
Dean found Sam sitting in front of the cabin in the morning with a spine in his hand.
"Do you think that's very smart, Sam? Sitting around outside with a body part in your hand?"
"Nobody alive is here, Dean. I think it's pretty safe. I've got Roy attached to this thing but, god-damn Walt is hiding from me."
Sam tossed the spine up in the air and caught it again. "I'm thinking of taking Roy over to his new home in Plitvice. But we're going to have to go back to the bar for Walt. I had to come back to the lap-top to find an addition to the binding spell. I needed a summoning added."
Dean looked around, hoping not to see Roy. His little brother with his casual handling of Roy's spine was getting seriously creepy.
"Sam, do you mind? Tossing that spine around like you're playing jacks is making my skin crawl."
"Sorry, Dean." Sam put the spine in his lap. "Do you want to say bye to Roy? I can make you see him. I'm pretty proud of the psychic chain and collar I made."
"That's fine, Sam. Just make him gone. No need for tearful good-byes on my part."
"By the way," Dean went on. "Just how safe is it for us to go back down to Elroys? That place has to have cops crawling all over it."
"Speaking of which," said Sam, hiding the spine behind him. "Who the hell is this?"
Dean glanced at the black SUV that had just pulled up in front of another of the cabins. Men in dark suits exited the vehicle, carrying equipment cases. "Damn, they should just give up and paint FBI in big white letters on the damn doors. Go to the car Sam. We got to get rid of Roy and go trap Walt before he kills one of these agents."
Sam watched the FBI move in to the cabin from the Impala as Dean went and checked them out and cleaned up their room.
After loading the trunk Dean pulled away from the cabin. They stopped about three miles away and Dean pulled off the road. Sam got out, picked up Roy's spine and disappeared into the tall grass.
Dean stood leaning against the car, waiting for his brother. There was nothing to see except tall dry grass waving in the wind and far off birds circling, most likely over something dead. Later, as he almost nodded off from the monotony, Dean was startled by a hand on his arm.
"What? Oh, Sam, back already? The world sure is getting small." Dean stretched and got back in the car. "Roy all settled in? What's he think of his new home?"
Sam laughed. "Well he's not too happy. Especially after I explained that bad as Plitvice is, it's nothing like where he's eventually going to end up. Let's go find Walt and get back to some place that has trees."
They drove back past Elroys. In the parking lot was a couple of police cars and Walt's pyre was surrounded with fluttering yellow crime scene tape. Dean thought that the cop cars where mostly likely Valentine's complete police force. He wondered if there was anyone left in town to pass out tickets at that lone traffic light.
As they drove away Dean saw another black SUV pull into the lot in his rear view mirror. They parked behind the slight rise where Sam had killed Roy and Dean hoped the Impala was out of sight. They exited the car and Dean started to walk back up the road, taking advantage of whatever meager cover he could find. Sam slipped into the grass and went down the face of the rise.
As the Sphinx Sam's head was perfectly visible if anyone bothered to look. He wanted to focus the attention on him and away from Dean so he sat in a perfect cat pose and watched the agents spread out in the parking lot. His tale arced up and flicked behind his head, adding movement to his silhouette.
This group certainly looked different from any other group of FBI agents he had ever seen and he wondered what kind of Unit they were. There was one cheerful looking woman with a sunflower in her hair. He nick-named her 'Sunny'. He saw a skinny agent in a sweater vest pull out and use a pair of binoculars so he knew he had been noticed.
He looked over the rest of the agents. There was a tall guy in a standard FBI dark suit, an older man with a dark beard and glasses, a tall dark skinned guy who stood like a fighter and stationed himself next to 'Sunny' with a hand on her arm. Then there was the geek in a sweater vest and lastly another dark guy in a standard FBI suit.
He wondered what kind of a geek would be wearing a sweater vest in ninety degree weather. Of course, he was wearing a fur coat. To each his own. Binoculars were appearing like magic.
Sam figured if they were all looking at him, no one would notice Dean coming up behind the bar. So he gave them a show. He stood up and stretched, reaching for the sky and accentuating his height. Then he extended his wings. The shouting came to him, carried on the wind.
"Did everyone see that?" Spenser Reid cried out. "Jesus Christ! What is it? I'm not hallucinating, am I?"
"If you are seeing a gigantic winged cat, then I'm right there with you, Reid." Derek Morgan answered Spenser's cry. Derek knew that Reid was capable of questioning his own sanity and he wanted to reassure the younger agent.
Rossi and Hotch both joined in with their affirmations also. The Valentine police, Dave Conklin and Ron Givens ran out of the bar when they heard the shouts outside. They caught a glimpse of the cat figure and then it disappeared.
Morgan handled Garcia off to David Rossi. "Keep an eye on her for me David, "he asked. He then joined Spenser and both men began to slowly walk in the direction of the cat sighting.
Morgan was nervous about walking through the tall grass. He knew it could hide anything so he wasn't surprised when a voice came out of nowhere.
"One of you turn and look back at the bar." The voice instructed.
Morgan nodded to Reid. "Do it, Spenser. What do you see?"
"Someone has his arm across Garcia's neck. He also has a gun pointed at everyone else. He's in total control of the scene, using her as a shield." Reid answered.
The voice came again. "No one has to get hurt. We're just after something that got left behind. Throw your guns in the grass or I'll tell my brother to knee-cap somebody in that lot." The voice grumbled. "Do it! Toss them!"
Spenser and Reid threw their guns as instructed. "The back-up guns too. I mean it. And then raise your hands."
They did as instructed. The cat rose up out of the grass right in front of Spenser. He was so shocked at the sudden appearance that he backed up too fast and fell on his ass.
"What are you?" Spenser's voice shook.
"I am the avatar of Maahees, Nubian warrior god and son of the Goddess Sekhmet," the cat answered him.
"Ok," Spenser continued in the same weak voice. "But you sure as hell look like Sam Winchester."
The cat laughed. God, the cat laughed! Spenser felt his world slowly sliding sideways. "I'm that too," the cat answered. "Now let's all get back to the parking lot."
They turned and started to trudge back the way they came.
Morgan was trembling in frustration but he had noticed that the cat appeared to be well armed. In addition to its physical traits there was a gun in its' hand, paw, whatever. He held his peace. They came to the end of the grass and stepped into the parking lot.
"You must be Dean, then," Morgan said to the man holding Garcia hostage.
"If you asked me I would say that right now my name is Tammuz but you can call me Dean if you're more comfortable with that." He laughed. "Look, we just came back to pick something up that got left behind."
"What? Evidence?" Hotch joined in the conversation.
"Not even close," was the response. "Sam, come here and get the keys and the shot gun."
The Sphinx moved over to Dean, keeping Morgan and Spenser still covered. Now that he was out of the grass his size was even more overwhelming and he was noticeably, aggressively male. For the first time they saw he was wearing a shoulder strapped pouch that hung off his hip, the same color as his fur and almost invisible.
He took keys from his brother and dropped them in to the pouch. He also got a sawed off shotgun out of a scabbard on his brother's back.
"Tammuz was an ancient Babylonian fertility god," Spenser announced. "And I would describe Sam here as a Sphinx. What happened to you both?"
Spenser was clinging to what he knew in the face of a world that he could not believe existed.
The Sphinx answered him. "We kept getting killed. We came back after Walt and Roy because they shot us both in an early morning sneak attack when we were in our beds in a motel outside Muncie in April of 2010. We owed them for that. This is payback."
Dean joined in. "Every time we came back we came back a little less human. We still have our souls but our humanity is getting a bit tattered."
"I would second that remark," David Rossi spoke up. "But how is it that you keep getting to come back from the dead? That's quite a gift."
"Hold that thought," Dean interrupted. "Sam, get on with it. We can't stand and chat all day."
The Sphinx removed a spine from his pouch and threw it on the ashes of Walt's funeral pyre. He started chanting and a chill passed through the air. He increased the volume of his chant and suddenly the spine twitched and moved. It started to slide and Garcia screamed. Everyone else in the lot felt like joining her.
The Sphinx picked up the spine and shoved it into is pouch. The pouch then started to shift and shiver.
"You got him, Sam?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, all done. Didn't even need the shot gun; he never had a chance to materialize."
Sam approached his bother again and replaced the shotgun.
"Go get the car, bitch. I'll keep our friends here entertained." Dean instructed.
The Sphinx dropped to all fours and took off. His speed was chilling and his passing made a breeze.
All eyes went back to Dean and his hostage. For the first time several of the men noticed that Dean seemed to be glowing. There was a soft golden light surrounding his figure. Garcia did not seem distressed. As a matter of fact she looked very comfortable and could almost be described as cuddling in his embrace. Rossi, the man closest to Dean also looked pleased and couldn't take his eyes off Dean. No one appeared to be distressed in any way.
Rossi said, "So how is it that you get to come back from the dead?"
"God wills it." Dean answered. "I think he's got a sense of humor. Sam believes he really doesn't give a shit and it's the old family curse at work. Our family is cursed, we're cursed and our children will be cursed."
"Now, Sam's going to be back in a minute with the car and I would appreciate it if you people would just leave us alone. That's all we ask. Walt and Roy belonged to us and that's over now. I don't think we have any carnage planned for the immediate future and even if we did there's not a damn thing you can do about it, so knock it off."
The roar of an engine heralded the arrival of the Impala. Behind the wheel Sam Winchester just looked like Sam Winchester, not a giant cat. Dean leaned forward and kissed the side of Garcia's face. She put her hand up to touch the kiss on her skin.
Dean backed up into the passenger seat, keeping his gun on them continuously. With a spitting of gravel and a cloud of dust, the Winchesters took off; leaving stunned and bemused agents in their wake.
There was a general movement towards finding their guns but Hotchner turned to Ray Ellis and said "Sorry Ray, there's not a lot we can do for you here. You know who your killers are, you even heard them confess. You certainly don't need a profile and I don't know that we could give you one anyway. There is no need for the police to look further."
Hotch's eyes included Dave Conklin in the group. "About the only thing that you really need is a good fantasy writer to file your report for you."
"I'm going to get my team back to Virginia. Some of them are severely traumatized and will need time to recover from this case."
Everyone made a generalized movement towards the various vehicles. In a short while the only thing still at the crime scene was the bar and the crime scene tape fluttering in the wind.
A/N: The next planned story in this sequence is named Hunter's Moon and willstart posting sometimethis coming week.
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