Dean had an afternoon off work and had swung by the high school to pick up Sam. He noticed an awkward girl around Sam's age watching his brother intently as he approached the Impala.
"Who's the chick?"
Sam turned his head to see who Dean was talking about and screwed up his face. "Her name's Lissa, she's weird – she creeps me out."
"She doesn't look so bad. She got a crush on you?"
"Maybe...I dunno, she watches me all the time and follows me everywhere. She's weird."
"Jeez Sammy, you're such a prude. The girl is obviously hot for you and she ain't ugly, you should hit that."
"You're gross, Dean. Is sex all you think about?"
Dean laughed and playfully punched Sam's arm. At fifteen, if someone had wanted to give it up for him he would've been on them like white on rice. Sometimes he couldn't believe they were even related.
A week later, Dean came back from work to the run down house their dad had left them in while he was off on a hunt to find Sam and Lissa on the sofa spelunking for each other's tonsils. "Uh, don't mind me, I'm just going to get a beer," he smirked as he walked into the kitchen. He obviously doesn't think he's weird anymore , he laughed to himself. He stopped laughing when he looked into the empty refrigerator and then out through the window and noticed the untouched woodpile in the backyard. Sam was supposed to chop more wood for the fire when he got home from school and he hadn't picked up any of the groceries he was supposed to get. He understood what it was like to be fifteen and horny but that didn't excuse him from doing his chores. Just because dad wasn't there it didn't mean Sam could slack off.
He walked back into the living room where both kids had straightened themselves out. "Lissa is it? I think it's time you headed home, Sam has some stuff he needs to do." He steeled himself for Sam's pissy response but he just sat there.
"Um, yeah okay, I guess I should be getting home. Walk me out Sam?" The teenager walked her to the door and she leaned in and whispered something to him. He nodded and then said goodbye as she left.
"Dude, I know I said you should get some, but priorities, man. You didn't pick up food on your way home so there's nothing here for breakfast in the morning. I've been busting my hump all day and now I have to go to the store. Plus, you need to get your ass outside and cut some wood or we're going to freeze later."
Sam just stood looking at the door with a thousand yard stare. Annoyed now, Dean clicked his fingers in front of his brother's face, "Hey space cadet, are you listening?"
"Oh...yeah...sorry, I'll do it now."
As Dean picked up his keys to head back out to go to the market he said, "I thought you didn't like Lissa?"
Sam just stood there for a second then frowned and replied, "I don't, I told you that. She's weird."
"Your weird," Dean countered as he closed the door behind him.
He wasn't sure what woke him so his hand instinctively went to the handle of the knife he kept under his pillow. He pulled on the jeans that were at the foot of his bed and crept into the hall. A log in the fireplace fell and crackled and he knew that was most likely what had woken him. The bathroom light was on and the door was ajar. Wondering if Sam was sick he poked his head in but the room was empty. He quietly padded across the hall to check on Sam but when he opened the door, the bed was also empty. Unease started to turn to fear as he checked the rest of the house. Sam wasn't here. He quickly checked the salt lines and finding them all intact, ran outside calling his brother's name.
Sam's cell phone was plugged into the charger in the kitchen. Panic gripped him in its vise like grip as he started to run through a list in his head of anything that might have been able to get past the salt and protective sigils to get in and take his brother as he quickly got dressed. He couldn't think of one damned monster that should be able to do it. He ran to grab his keys and gun and then grabbed his own cell phone. He'd hold off calling his dad while he did a quick search of the area just in case.
He was about to turn the corner two blocks down when he saw a familiar tall, gangly shape climbing out of a window of a house almost as rundown as their own. He slammed the brakes on and jumped from the car as Sam came slouching toward the footpath.
He pulled his gun as he got to his brother. "Are you okay?"
Sam looked startled and stopped in his tracks. "Dean?"
"What took you? How did you get away and how the hell did it get you out of the house?"
"What? Nothing took me, I walked here."
"Well then what the hell are you doing out and whose house is this?" He couldn't believe Sam had snuck out like a thief in the night.
"I had to see her."
"What? Who?" And then it hit him. "Lissa? You snuck into some girl's house in the middle of the night? What the hell is wrong with you? What if her parents had caught you? Do you know how much shit could rain down on us because you're thinking with your dick? Get in the fucking car!"
When Sam just stood there, Dean shot forward grabbing the teen by the collar and growled, "Get. In. The. Fucking. Car. Now!" He pushed him into the passenger seat and slammed the door.
"I had to see her."
Dean shoved his brother through the front door of the house. "You are so fucking grounded, do you hear me? You EVER pull a stunt like this again and I'll beat you into next week. Do you have any idea how scared I was? I thought something had taken you, you little fucker. You can tell your little girlfriend that you won't be seeing her anymore as well, outside of school you'll be training and doing every nasty-ass chore I can find for you." He was shaking from anger and adrenaline brought on by terror. "Get to bed now before I decide to kick your ass."
The next morning Dean got Sam up at the butt-crack of dawn and even though he tried to get out of it when he was woken by saying he wasn't feeling well he made him do a three mile run. When he returned he was given a long list of jobs to do when he got home from school. Throughout it all Sam never said a single word and Dean had thought at least the kid was smart enough not to mouth off at him or give him any more lame excuses.
"All of this better be finished by the time I get home from work and except for homework, you'll be training the entire weekend."
Dean arrived home that evening to an empty house. Not one thing on his list had been done and Sam's backpack wasn't there so it was obvious he hadn't even come home after school. He debated going looking for Sam but thought he'd give it another hour even though he was beyond angry. Sam had never defied him before – sure they argued over things and he was always getting into it with their dad but he always did what Dean told him to. He was going to beat the shit out of the little brat.
Forty five minutes later, at 7PM, Sam shuffled through the front door, dropping his backpack to the floor.
"Where the fuck have you been?" Dean seethed. The kid didn't even look remorseful – he looked kind of dopey.
"Uh...I was at the park."
Dean slammed him back into the door choking on rage, "You were told to come straight home and you decide to go to the park? After your little stunt last night, do you have a death wish or something?"
"N..no, Lissa wanted me to go with her."
"Lissa? I don't Goddamn believe you! You disobeyed an order for some chick you didn't even like a week ago!" It took all of the older boy's willpower not to punch Sam in the face. "Get in your fucking room before I knock you on your ass."
He was so furious he couldn't see straight. This was so unlike his little brother. Yeah he was starting to be an argumentative son-of-a-bitch sometimes but he'd never done anything like this before. Dean had never hit Sam outside of sparring but tonight he'd come pretty damn close. He was going to run him into the ground the entire weekend, maybe that would teach the little dick a lesson.
He made them both sandwiches for dinner because he was too tired and too angry to bother to try and cook anything. When he took some into Sam, the kid was sitting on his bed just staring off into space. He thrust the plate at him and for the first time ever, he had to tell his little brother to do his homework.
Dean had just stepped out of the shower when he heard the phone ring. It stopped after a couple of rings and he figured Sam had picked up – it was probably dad checking in. He was debating telling his father what was going on as he quickly toweled himself off but he knew his father would lose his shit so he thought it best to handle it himself. He may have been angry but he didn't even want to think about what his dad would do to the kid. He quickly threw on a pair of sweats and walked into the living room to see Sam hunched over talking quietly into the receiver. "Is that dad?"
Sam looked up but wouldn't meet his eyes and shook his head no. "Who is it then?"
He cupped his hand over the mouthpiece, "Uh, it's Lissa."
Dean reached Sam in two long strides and ripped the phone from his hand. "Lissa, this is Dean. Sam can't see you anymore, he's grounded. Please don't call here again." He slammed the phone down.
"I thought I told you to tell that her that you couldn't see her again."
"So why did she call here?"
"She said she didn't care."
Dean was incredulous. "Well you'd better care or you ain't gonna like the consequences. Go to bed. I want all of the weapons stripped and cleaned first thing in the morning then you can chop the wood we need for the rest of the week. After that we're going to do target practice and finish with a five mile run. I don't want to hear a word out of your mouth tonight, not one word. Go."
"Rise and Shine, you've got a lot to do today."
A messy brown mop of hair poked out from beneath the covers as he slapped at the overly large feet. "I don't feel so hot, Dean."
"Oh no you don't, you're not weaseling your way out of this. You did the crime, you do the time. If you aren't eating breakfast in the next ten minutes, you can go without and add a morning run to your punishment."
Sam spent the entire time cleaning the weapons in complete silence. Dean hoped it was because he was feeling guilty for the ridiculous crap he'd been pulling and not because he was sulking. When he finished Dean jerked his thumb toward the woodpile in the backyard, "Get chopping, Paul Bunyan." Sam didn't bitch and moan or even glare – he just walked out and picked up the axe.
Dean was listening to the steady thunking noise of wood splitting while he was flicking through an old car magazine. He figured he'd relax for a bit because he was going to be out there pushing Sam hard for the rest of the day. Stupid little brat, he thought as he thumbed his way through. He'd hoped to spend the day getting in some R&R – he'd been working his ass off at the garage all week.
After a short while, he realized that he wasn't hearing anything from out back anymore and irritation started to mount because there was no way his brother had chopped nearly enough for what they needed for a week and the lazy runt shouldn't even be game enough to be slacking off. He sighed heavily as he pulled himself from the chair to go and bawl Sam out for stopping. As he got to the back stairs he saw that Sam was no longer even in the yard.
You've gotta be freakin' kidding me!
It probably hadn't been longer than ten minutes so he figured Sam couldn't have gotten too far and jumped in the car practically vibrating with anger. Sam had gone too far this time and he'd obviously stopped listening to Dean so he was going to have to deal with a very pissed off John Winchester and right about now Dean thought it served the kid right – but that would be after Dean kicked the living shit out of him.
He saw the hunched, loping figure of his brother a few houses away from the girl's house, he figured that would be where Sam was heading. Dean loved girls but he'd never been so far gone on one that he'd be willing to face the wrath of their father to be with her. He figured Sam had maybe lost his virginity to her – along with all of his common sense and survival instinct.
He pulled to the curb and almost flew out of the car, fury making his vision dark around the edges. He grabbed Sam by the arm causing the younger boy to startle and shoved him into the back seat. Launching into a stream of curses that would make a marine blush he dragged him out of the car when they reach their ramshackle house just a couple of minutes later.
"You want to test me, Sam? Is that what this is about? Because if you wanted to find out what my limit was, you've found it and then some."
He shoved the boy through the front door and continued shouting, "You were heading to her house weren't you?"
When he got no answer he finally snapped and lost control. The punch sent Sam sprawling to the floor, his lip splitting under Dean's fist. Although he'd had much worse while hunting and even occasionally while training, Dean had never purposely hit or hurt Sam before and seeing the blood on his baby brother's lip stopped him in his tracks.
"Damn it Sam, why?"
Sam wiped the blood from his mouth but made no move to get up. He didn't look up either – his eyes hidden by his long bangs. "She told me to meet her...I had to."
"For fuck's sake Sammy, if she told you to jump off a bridge would you do that too?"
Sam cocked his head to the side like he was thinking seriously about his answer and then said the one thing that Dean would never have expected. "Yes."
His anger hadn't really abated but the desire to hit had and he reached down to offer his hand to pull Sam to his feet. "Look I know sex can be pretty damned fantastic kiddo but you've gotta start thinking with something other than your dick. This is a hell of a turnaround, a week ago you said the girl was weird and now you're defying me and risking a hell of a beat down from dad for her. I thought you didn't even like her."
"I don't like her and she is weird!"
"You don't like her but you're screwing her?"
"No...I...we haven't done...not yet."
"Then why in the name of all things holy are you sneaking out and breaking every damn rule me and dad have given you."
Sam looked confused, "Because she told me to."
Suddenly, Dean's mouth went dry. All of this was so unlike Sam – the sneaking around, the blatant disregard of Dean's orders and now that look of pure bewilderment. None of this seemed 'natural'.
"Sit down, Sammy." The boy sat on the sofa while Dean got ice from the freezer for his lip. "You said you had to. Do you have to do everything that Lissa tells you?"
Sam nodded his head.
"What has Lissa told you to do?"
"Um...I can't tell you."
"Because you don't want to or because you can't?"
He answered quickly but was looking anxiously between the clock and the door like he was going to try and make a break for it. "I can't."
"Is that because Lissa told you that you can't?"
He nodded his head again. A spell or a curse maybe? Dean thought. First he had to figure out the extent of the control. He stood in front of the door to block the exit.
"You supposed to be with her now?" He got another nodded response, "Did she threaten you?" He shook his head no. Okay, that's a start.
"Has she made you do anything bad?" Sam scrunched up his face like he wasn't sure how to answer.
"Okay, let me reword that. If she asked you to hurt someone would you have to do it?"
"Have you hurt anyone?"
"Is she human?"
He got another scrunched up face in response and then Sam started to look at the door desperately.
"It's okay Sammy, we'll figure this out but you're not going anywhere until we do."
Just to test his theory he stepped away from the door and moved toward the kitchen. The moment he did, Sam shot out of his chair and made a run for it. Dean tackled him to the floor and a small whine escaped the younger boy. Just then, the phone rang. Figuring it was their father and Dean needed all the help he could get, he stuffed Sam into the hall closet and braced a chair against the handle.
"Sorry kid, but I gotta get this and you ain't going anywhere."
When he picked up the phone there was silence on the other end. He said hello a couple of times and then hung up the receiver. It could've been a wrong number but he was betting it was Lissa, Sam was supposed to meet her and he didn't show up and now she's looking for him.
As soon as I figure out what you are and how you're doing this, I'm coming for you bitch!
Sam was frantically banging on the closet door making distressed whimpers. Knowing his brother was likely to hurt himself, he knew he was going to have to let him out but he also knew that whatever was compelling him was going to make him do his damnedest to escape. There was no other option, he was going to have to tie Sam up. The thought made him feel a little sick – he was already feeling plenty guilty for hitting the kid. He couldn't use rope because if Sam struggled, he was going to get rope burn and he didn't want to hurt him so he quickly shred a sheet into strips to use instead.
After he had a sweating Sam bound to a chair he started with the questions.
"Did she give you anything Sammy, like a gift – anything at all?"
"Did she say a spell or speak in a language you didn't know or Latin or something?"
He started shaking his head frantically, "No."
"Tell me everything she said when you first spoke."
Sam scrunched up his face again.
"She told you that you can't tell?"
All of a sudden Sam started to shake and he bent from the waist, "Dean, it hurts, make it stop...please."
"What hurts Sam?"
"Everything...please...hurts...make it stop."
He started coughing violently until blood appeared on his mouth that had nothing to do with the split lip.
Dean grabbed Sam's backpack and upended it on the floor. He spread everything out and started to go through the pockets. He was panicking now because if he was wrong about this he didn't know what was going to happen to Sam.
"I know this is hard Sammy but you have to look. Is anything in here not yours?"
Sam was gasping but trying hard to focus. He shook his head no. Dean shoved his hands into Sam's jeans pockets and pulled out his keyring, a pack of gum and a wallet. He opened the wallet but the only things in there were a few dollars, the condom Dean put in there last year, a library card and an old photo of the two of them. His brother was crying with the pain now and Dean was ready to rush to bitch's house and drag her back there and torture her until she broke whatever it was she had over his little brother. The only problem was he didn't know what she was – if she was some stupid human kid dabbling in witchcraft or some kind of monster. He also didn't know if her family were part of it and how many of them there were. If he dragged a teenage girl kicking and screaming from her house, her parents were going to call the cops and if he was arrested he couldn't help Sam.
He was leaning toward a human using witchcraft because she'd been in the house so it was unlikely she was some kind of monster, the house was well protected.
He was about to call his father when Sam gasped out, "D'n" and had another coughing fit.
He rushed to his brother's side and pushed the sweaty bangs from his face. "I'm here little bro, I don't know how she's doing it, I gotta call dad."
"On my (cough) wrist." He nodded his head toward his left hand.
Dean pushed the piece of sheet binding his brother's wrist back revealing the braided leather bracelet. He had a matching one, they made them together when Sam was twelve and they never took them off. He could see where it had snapped and been knotted again.
"It broke last (cough) Friday...oh God, it hurts," he was bent almost double now, "Lissa's friend, Holly (gasp) said she found...found it near my locker." The sweat was pouring off the younger boy now. "She...(cough cough) gave it to me...Monday."
Dean grabbed a knife and sliced through the leather. For a moment he couldn't see anything different about it except for where it had snapped and been retied but then he saw it – what looked like a few strands of hair wound tightly together braided through the leather strips.
"Jesus, I hope this works."
He grabbed the lighter fluid from his duffle and the bag of salt from near the back door, threw the bracelet into the kitchen sink, covered it with both and lit it up. He ran back to his brother's side and after a minute or two the coughing stopped. Sam was breathing heavily but not gasping for air anymore.
"Sammy, you okay?"
"Yeah... I'm okay. Can you untie me?"
Before Dean grabbed the knife to cut through the bindings he had to make certain, he had to see if the compulsion had been broken and see if Sam could answer him now. "What did she make you do?"
"Ugh, she said I was special. She wanted me to be her boyfriend and – God – I had to make out with her even though I hated it and I couldn't stop. There was other stuff too but can you untie me first, I feel like I've been hit by a truck."
When Dean removed the restraints he helped his brother to stand and Sam threw his arms around his big brother and hugged him fiercely.
"I'm sorry Dean, I didn't want to do any of it and I wanted to tell you but I couldn't. I'm so sorry!"
"Not your fault, kiddo, I'm sorry I hit you and I'm sorry that I didn't work out sooner that something was wrong, I should have known. Let's get you cleaned up and then you need to tell me everything. We need to stop her so she can't hurt you or anyone else. Do you think you need a doctor?"
"Nah, I've just got a killer headache and I still feel kinda sick but I've been feeling like that for a few days. Please...please don't tell dad, he'll kill me for letting this happen. He already thinks I can't do anything right."
"It's not your fault. It happened on my watch so if anyone is to blame, it's me. God, you really have been feeling sick and I didn't believe you. The stuff you were doing – I should have known you would never do that. Sit down and I'll get you some Tylenol and some water and then you need to tell me everything. We gotta work out what she's doing and how to stop her."
He handed the painkillers and a glass of water to Sam who was still as white as a sheet.
"Where were you supposed to meet her?"
"At her house, her parents are away and she's supposed to be staying at Holly's."
"So she's human right?"
"Yeah, I think so but I dunno for sure, I haven't tested her or anything. It was like my brain was messed up and I haven't been able to do or say anything and it's all kind of foggy. "
"So did she want you to do anything or is she just so hard up for a boyfriend that she had to use witchcraft?"
"The first couple of weeks at school she just followed me everywhere and was always watching me. She creeped me the hell out but I thought she was just some weirdo freak, then all of a sudden she was talking to me and I needed to do anything and everything she told me to. A few times my head would clear a little bit and I wanted to tell you that I thought something was strange and then...it was like I couldn't remember what I was going to say."
"Do you remember everything now?"
"Most of it, there are a couple of blank spots but God, I remember most of it although I wish I didn't."
"What do you mean?"
"She made me touch her and she touched me," he said with a shudder. "I don't even like her but she was making me want it while it was happening. I was supposed to sleep with her tonight."
"Damn, you mean I could've left it another day and you would've got your cherry popped?" Dean smirked.
"So not funny, Dean."
"No, you're right, it's not. But she just wanted a boyfriend on a leash, right?"
"No, I don't think so, that was part of it but she said tonight was really important – that everything would be different after tonight. That she would show everyone how powerful she is."
"Any idea what she meant?"
"A ritual, maybe?"
"Maybe, things like blood and sex can make for some pretty strong magic. Do you think...?"
Before Dean could finish his sentence Sam jumped up from the sofa and ran into the bathroom. He was kneeling in front of the toilet emptying his stomach when Dean ran in behind him.
"Shit, Sam. Are you okay?"
Sam sat back on his heels and wiped his arm over his sweating brow while his older brother wet a washcloth.
"I dunno, I feel pretty awful."
"Is this from all the pain and coughing?"
"Nah, I've been feeling pretty sick for a couple of days, it's just getting worse."
"But we burned the bracelet."
"Maybe it's just an after effect."
Dean put the wet cloth on the back of Sam's neck and felt his clammy forehead. "Shit, kiddo. You're burning up. Fuck, that means whatever spell was on the bracelet was compelling you to obey but there must be more to it. I'm gonna skin the little skank alive."
All of a sudden the young teen lurched forward and started retching again. Dean rubbed his back and smoothed his bangs back from his face and after a minute or two he stopped again. He had just rinsed his mouth out when the phone rang. Both boys looked at each other.
"What's the bet that's her? I need you to buy us some time, do you think you can do that?"
Sam nodded and got to his feet shakily and he walked out and picked up the phone. "Hello," he nodded at Dean to indicate it was Lissa.
Dean hoped Sam could stall her long enough so that they could come up with a plan. His brother was listening intently to whatever she was saying and then spoke quietly like he was trying to make her think he didn't want his older brother knowing about their conversation.
"He's in the kitchen making me soup. I don't know what's wrong, everything hurts real bad and I'm sick," he panted, groaned and coughed throughout while rolling his eyes, "I tried but I couldn't get out of the house, he pretty much has me on lockdown."
Dean really wished he could hear what Lissa was saying.
"Oh... okay." He grabbed his notebook and a pen from his upturned schoolbag and frantically scribbled, Decem horis expectare dolor sit audacia. He stopped with the coughing and groaning and made it sound like he was getting his breathing back under control, the same way he did when they had burned the bracelet. Dean was pretty impressed at how good he was but their dad had been teaching them both how to con people since they both hit their teens.
Lissa was talking again and Sam had a look on his face that could strip paint. "Thank you...but I can't get out right now, he's really worried about me being sick. As soon as he brings me my soup he's not gonna leave my side until he goes to sleep but I could still sneak out tonight after he's gone to bed just like you told me to." Dean was pretty much holding his breath when there was pause while the girl responded and Sam gave his brother a thumbs up signal. "Yeah, I got it, before midnight, okay." Another pause and his grip on the phone was so tight his knuckles were white and the plastic creaked. "Thank you, Lissa."
He slammed the phone down, "Bitch!"
"That was Oscar worthy, dude!" Dean grinned, "what the hell were you thanking her for?"
"For putting a hold on the pain part of the compulsion. Bitch told me I had to thank her."
"So what was the Latin?"
Sam read over the words he had written and raised an eyebrow. "Uh, let's see, ten hours to wait... let pain...I think that word is abate." He rolled his eyes, "The phrasing and grammar are all wrong in Latin, like she translated each word separately but it would rhyme in English. It's like a cheesy spell out of the movie 'The Craft' but it worked. If I was still wearing the bracelet I'm guessing I'd be coughing up blood again if I didn't make her timetable. But you were right, it obviously wasn't just that because I still feel like shit even though I don't feel like throwing up now and she said she would also do something that would help with the sickness...for a while."
Dean practically growled, "She's gonna pay for this." He flopped into a chair and scrubbed his hand over his face. "We gotta come up with a plan and you gotta tell me everything you remember."
He looked over at his brother knowing that Sam wouldn't like what he was going to say next, "And I think we're gonna have to call dad."