I'm not gonna lie, this story was written before 'Thirteen: part 3' was even finished. XD I'm not proud but my ya-yaz had to be appeased. I wasn't even going to post this random sidedish of indulgence, however so many of you guys seemed to be thinking exactly what I was thinking aka SAM POV PLEASE!!1!!!! So I figured, what the hell, why keep the ya-yaz to myself? :D
It's not a sequel, it's not an epilogue ... it's a step sideways on the insides of 'Thirteen'. It starts and ends in odd places, but I kinda dig it that way.
Title: Half Past (Sam POV to Thirteen)
Thirteen part 1 - part 2 - part 3 *Completed*
Rating: R - Gen - hurt!Dean - abducted!Dean
Spoilers: General to all aired ep in USA
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Fan art!: Chibi!Sam to the rescue! by urdsama
Sam’s father had always made him repeat things.
Things off the radio. 1-800 numbers off billboards. Even the read back through the static of a drive-thru speaker. The old man would never dole out the pop quizzes with any forewarning. They happened regardless of time, place or energy level. Each time he did it Sam’s mind was forced to bend backwards to remember what it had been peripherally observing beforehand. After years of relentless practice, he was left with an uncanny excellence in the abilities of instant recall. Consequently, when he was deliberately committing a subject to memory his honed recollection was practically photographic. Sam held the phone against his ear long after the signal had been abruptly cut off.
By the time he found a pen to write on the flaked paint of the gas station wall, he already knew what the information was.
It was a license plate number.
The elderly man that manned the station register had wandered out into the gravel parking lot. Sam watched the lighter ignite the cigarette right beside a weather worn sign that thanked you for not smoking. Taking a deep inhale, the guy gave Sam an up and down look.
“I asked if you was okay,” he frowned a little. “You all right, fella?”
Sam automatically tried to smile and wished he hadn’t. “Yeah. Thanks.”
With the sequence burning in his head he started walking quickly to the car.
The absence of a break in the series meant he could instantly discern whether it was a current license. The last run of plates in this state that weren’t broken down into sets of three had all been made over twenty years ago. If Dean had included a break then that meant the plates could be from anywhere.
Sam’s hands settled on the steering wheel as he forced himself to think.
He tried to concentrate on what Dean had told him and not how he had sounded. He had barely understood at first what his brother had been trying to convey, and if it hadn’t kept repeating he wouldn’t have gotten any of it at all. He had to stop himself from interrupting the whisper of his brother with his own panic.
The bored woman that worked the weigh station for the freight trucks coming in through the north told him that there wasn’t anything out west past the interstate route. She said that all the folks that tried to make the mountain terrain into cattle country had all pulled stakes and headed south years ago. A call in to the county police department had told him it would take a while for their one and only clerk to dig up a car registration from that far back. They told him they’d give him a call as soon as they could. It turned out as soon as they could meant three hours.
It was well past midnight by the time Sam hit the interstate again with a destination scribbled on a piece of paper. It wasn’t on the map but that wasn’t a problem.
He had become very good at finding what was hidden in plain sight.
He found the first one by accident.
Years of searching for unmarked graves by flashlight made the odd mounds on the forest floor obvious. The relocation of soil and the scatter of unearthed rocks were all tell tale signs of interruptions in nature’s own random mess. Circling the area, he’d found several more. Some were older than others. Some were nothing but a strange clearing of the undergrowth and an elongated indentation in the ground. The unprofessional attempts at grave making always left the rectangular furrows. It meant a weak untreated wood had been used and it had rotted away to collapse.
Sliding through the dripping foliage, he let the sound of the rainfall mask his passage. He’d only brought along one pistol and he knew what good it would do him if he was confronted with what he sought. The trouble was that he had no idea what he was dealing with. He knew about a vast variety of unnatural but this thing hadn’t fit the bill of any of the regulars. He also didn’t have the luxury of time to dwell on why. He had to admit, the complete lack of information into this unknown scared him, but he had also been taught how to forcibly set his fears aside. Nonetheless, Sam felt the chill of it seep down his spine as he studied the trail under the weak beam of his light.
Another lesson from their father. In the jungle, he used to say, you could be walking over an entire battalion of hostiles silent and still as moss beneath your feet. You would never know it until you were holding the bleeding solider in front of you. Where there were corpses, there could be whatever had made them. Sam advanced with carefully placed steps.
The graves were not the only thing man made on this secluded mountainside.
The decrepit house looked as old as the police dispatcher had described, and worse for its surrender to the wilds. A gaping hole had caved in one side of its cedar plank roof, and half the windows were left in jagged triangles. As he drew closer he detected a smell he knew too well. It was unmistakable even though it was laced with the forest's wet decay. The house was dark on its crumbling upper floor, but the bottom floor was completely lit up. It was a faint orange flicker that stuttered in all the hollow gaping windows like a paper lantern. Sam recognized the quality of light as something that would come from a well stoked fireplace. Crouching under the brightest of the windows, he slid up carefully to check inside.
The first thing he knew for sure was that Dean was no where present.
The smell hit him again and he fought back the overpowering urge to spit.
It was the odor of something that had long since died and was decomposing in open air. He had smelled it the night before when the thing had gained entrance to their motel, the stench so overwhelming that it made his throat constrict and his eyes sting. From what he could see, the room it was a cluttered and cramped space dominated by a soot blackened hearth roaring with a fire much too large for its cracked brick frame. Moldering books, disintegrating paper, and other indiscernible junk covered every table, chair and surface of the floor. The walls were plastered with more of the same. What appeared to be a tall and gangling human being was in his direct line of sight. It was wearing the same outlandish and old fashioned clothing it had been when he’d last seen it. Draped inelegantly in a stiff backed chair, it sat slumped with its knuckles grazing the planks of the floor. Its broad shoulders and sunken chest were rising and falling in the even cycle of slumber. A sallow emaciated face was tipped onto its knobby shoulder, its pinched features as skeletal in rest as it was sleep. Even from where he hid, he could hear the grating phlegmy expulsions of its intermittent snores.
Sam worked his hand on the pistol in the back of his jeans. He’d seen first hand that shooting at it wouldn’t achieve a whole lot. He removed his grip and ducked back under the window.
He had to find Dean before this thing woke up.
Skirting the house’s perimeter, he came out on the other side and spotted a working pickup truck with fresh mud on its tires. There was another trail leading behind that which led further out into the trees. Sam hurried that way, somehow suspecting this was a path the current owner of this land used often.
As he stepped over the bulky exposed roots of a towering gnarled oak, his flashlight caught something.
Sam stepped closer, unsure of what he was seeing.
It was a pile of shredded fabric. As he knelt down to look closer, he saw it was made of denim. Sam felt a wash of cold when he realized it was a pair of jeans that had been slashed to pieces. There was a flannel shirt that Sam had seen often enough to recognize even laying half submerged in a cloudy brown puddle dotted by the rain. The beam of his flashlight swung and caught the crumpled shape of a once white sheet half twisted in a heap. Beside it all was another mound of earth like the ones he’d found all over. However, this one was as fresh as the earth coating the truck’s tires.
He felt the water soak the knees of his jeans, his hands scraping through the grit and muck with stunned disbelief.
He hardened his gaze back through the tangle of woods that lead to the house. It had selected this location a reasonable distance from its dwelling. Probably because all the bodies it left were down hill and away from the properties’ well water. Scrambling up off his knees, the flashlight caught a glint of metal resting among the trees.
Stumbling towards the shovel, Sam numbly grabbed its handle.
As the rust-pocked spade scraped and cut into the dirt, he plunged it down into the soil again and again. The frantic motion turned into a blur, each stabbing grind of the shovel falling into the next. When the sharp tip struck the hollow thud of wood, his labor impossibly quickened. He intellectually understood he had to wait until he removed another hundred pounds of wet gravel off the lid before he’d have a remote chance of opening it. He tried to work even faster, doubling his pace without causing the muddy slide of soil to come cascading down again, and obliterating his hard won progress.
Sam fell down onto his knees to clear the last of it, found the edges with his hands and began scooping the sludge away. He thrust the shovel into the flimsy box’s side and wrenched the wood apart with one downwards shove.
Grappling for the flashlight, Sam pointed it down.
He’d always heard how death made people look different. He couldn’t count how many times a traumatized person had described the change. A child, spouse or friend was easily identified by familiar features while the person they knew seemed to be completely absent.
Dean’s skin was the wrong color.
With a growl, Sam yanked the lid further back so he could straddle its edges. His trembling hand went to his brother’s throat, the flesh under his fingertips too cold. Sam felt his vision focus in a surreal clarity as he fumbled for his brother’s pulse. He leaned down like a prayer and briefly pressed his forehead to Dean's, shutting out unwanted truth as it began to solidify into reality.
But as he had often done, Dean saved him from that dreaded place.
Sam made a strained sound of incredulity as he felt the warmth of a sluggish exhale brush his cheek. Sam raised his head, watching in frozen wonder as Dean’s breath created a fragile cloud in front of his mouth. When it happened a second time, he nearly laughed out loud like someone losing his mind.
Dean’s eyes miraculously opened.
Sam’s heart painfully skipped in his chest.
He scraped his knuckles on splintered wood as he forced his hand behind his brother’s neck. The box’s dimensions were made roughly to the proportions of a body with no wasted space. Dean’s head was tilted slightly to the side to fit into the tight confines. Closing his eyes for a second, Sam took a deep breath. Whipping his head to get the wet hair out of his eyes, he lifted the fallen flashlight to get a better look at what condition his brother was in. Before he started yanking him out of the hole in the ground he was going to make sure nothing was broken first. He could hear his own hoarse whisper and the rush of assurances tumbling out of his mouth before he could even think of what he was saying.
“I-It’s going to be okay. You’re okay now. Can you hear me?”
Sam jerked the light back and forth down the length of Dean’s body.
His brother’s chest rose with a deeper inhale, his pale face taking on some color as he gradually surfaced into consciousness. His awareness was rapidly spreading to his other senses, his still body starting to violently shudder with the damp chill. Dean’s dazed eyes locked on the light and the comprehension of someone else’s presence. Sam ground his teeth when his brother let out a weakened moan of fear and attempted to raise his hands in an involuntary gesture of defense.
“It’s fine. It’ll be okay.”
As the shock faded a little, Sam slowly comprehended that Dean was covered in something. Blood he could smell, metallic and sharp. There were brownish stains of it on the unmarked parts of his pallid flesh. In the stark flashlight’s glow he’d initially mistaken it for the splatter of mud. He had dismissed the other dark patterns on his brother’s skin as wet dirt that had seeped through the slats of the wooden crate. Blinking at it in confusion, he tried to wipe clean what he saw on Dean’s chest and stomach. When it wouldn’t easily come away he abruptly realized the strange pattern was deliberate. The sight of it suddenly shoved Sam’s numb astonishment aside and replaced it with horror.
It was ink.
Sam breathlessly pushed his hands across his brother’s face, relieved that the strange marks smeared. He suddenly started madly wiping at all of it, desperately trying to destroy whatever meaning lay in its careful application. He immediately stopped when he saw Dean was staring in bewilderment up into the flashlight with unfocused eyes.
Sam tried to calm down, his body shaking as badly as the one under him.
“H-Hey?” He worked both hands behind Dean’s shoulders to lift him forward. “Are you with me?”
Sam couldn’t find any breaks or significant wounds. Drawing back his unsteady hand, he stared in confusion at the dissolving maroon stains of blood. Swallowing, he searched Dean again but he couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. He held his brother’s shivering body up slightly against his so he could run a hand over his back. The line of his spine seemed intact and there were no wounds there either.
“Dean?” Sam heard the crack in his voice. “We’re leaving okay?”
Heart pounding, he arranged himself to hoist Dean’s limp weight forward.
Lurching to a stand, Sam searched the muddy grave edge for what do to next. By divine providence the grave hadn’t been dug a regulatory six feet down. It was shallow but still a hole in the ground that required use of the upper body to climb out of. Instead of thinking anymore about it, Sam leaned down to pick his brother up. With one good ungraceful heave and a mumbled apology Dean was mostly top side. Using the propped shovel to brace his boot on, Sam grabbed the flashlight and hoisted himself up alongside him.
Sam clenched his jaw as he struggled out of his jacket. He figured he should be relieved by the slurred sound of his name but Dean had said it like a hopeful guess.
“Yeah,” he rolled his brother into the coat and hurriedly pulled one hand through a sleeve. “It’s me.”
Dean shook as their breath fogged between them.
Dean flinched in his grip and made a startling pained noise that froze Sam in place. At first he thought he had missed something; overlooked some hidden puncture wound or fractured bone when he’d roughly handled his brother.
However, his attention was drawn to something else.
Sam stared down at the trembling hand he had gripped in his own. The palms of Dean’s hands weren’t just painted, they were minced.
“Wh-what—“ Sam stuttered. “What—“
Dean pulled his wounded hands back, trying to shift his body away. Sam ignored his efforts, taking his hands so he could study them more closely.
“No.” Dean breathed. “Lay off.”
“I have to see. Just let me.”
The dark blue ink had been mixed with something else. Sam urgently scrubbed at the stains on Dean’s arms and legs to reveal nothing but ordinary skin beneath. But not all of the dye came away quite as cleanly. Some of the lines had included incisions that followed the art’s path, shallow as the grave next to them but as numerous and exact as the designs that had been painted all over his body. There were calculated lacerations of varying size, some partially healed, others reddening and inflamed. Some had been made brief and thin, others deeper and curving uninterrupted from abdomen to thigh. They held the strange smoky pigment that bled into his brother's skin, sickeningly like a cruel adornment.
Sam thought of the span of time his brother had been missing and swallowed back a wave of nausea. He released his brother’s hands and pushed them into the soft pockets of the jacket.
He locked his hands behind Dean and started to pull him up again.
“I can-I can’t—“
“It’s fine. It’s okay.” Sam wondered how many times he could keep saying that before Dean would call his bluff. “I gotcha.”
It had seemed like a long distance when he’d made his way in from the access road. Even carrying the extra weight of his brother, the return trip took no time at all. As the branches whipped at their faces, neither one of them made a sound as they trespassed back through the steep terrain. When they reached the break through the gigantic pines and his boots hit asphalt, Sam almost started laughing in amazement. Releasing Dean, he watched his brother stagger up against the car like the trip had somehow reached its end. Sam swung open the back door and decided that this wasn’t even near a conclusion until they saw a couple of state lines pass by. There were some extra clothes in the back and a few blankets they kept for times they had to camp in the car. Leaving the coat zipped up, he helped his brother get into something dry while trying to avoid Dean’s injured hands as much as possible. Sam wrapped white gauze around his palms before settling him back with the blankets.
Oddly enough, Dean let him do all of it, his weak protestations easily overridden as Sam worked. Looking into his brother’s glassy eyes, he would have said that Dean was simply and utterly exhausted.
Situating him in the backseat, Sam slid into the driver’s side and jammed in the key.
“W-What are you doing?” Dean demanded from the back.
“Dean, we need to get out of here,” Sam didn’t want a dialogue. “We have to—“
“No,” Dean groaned as he tried to sit up. “No way.”
“Dean.” Sam worked his hand on the ignition.
“This ain’t done.”
He heard the determination in his brother’s voice no matter how strained it sounded.
Sam shut his eyes.
Bullets didn’t do much to the thing but slow it down a little. If there was a verse in the bible or the journal in regards to this interesting new phenomena, Sam didn’t know what it would be. He didn’t exactly have an afternoon in a library to roll the dice trying to figure it out either. Resting his forehead on the wheel, he fought every instinct that told him to ignore his brother’s words and just turn the engine. They could be in another state to work all this out and make sure Dean was really all in one piece.
But this thing wouldn’t still be here when they got back. It would take one look at its dug up hoard and the footprints Sam had left everywhere. The thing would pack up the show and skip town. If Sam didn’t move on it now they might miss their only chance at annihilation of the abomination’s existence. He looked at his brother’s hunched form shivering uncontrollably in the backseat of his own car. His mind instantly began to run through the inventory of the arsenal that currently might be of any use.
Knives might work. Machete. Axe. He didn’t have a chainsaw but he was sure that probably would work effectively if only in short range.
Sam sat back and dug the heels of his palms into his eyes.
His gaze fell on the car’s fuel gauge that was hovering a few degrees above empty.
He didn’t know what silver bullets or a splash of holy water could accomplish, but he had no doubt what some gasoline and a spark would do.
The trunk creaked as he swung it open again. He shouldered a shotgun and packed his shirt pockets with extra shells. For kicks he slung a canteen strap of holy water and slipped a half foot bowie knife through his belt. There were a few other things he was preparing but the rest of his armory was stashed away in a very different kind of munitions store. His mind had as many deadly things to use as the car trunk. Leafing through the annals of his knowledge, he armed himself with cryptograms and wards that affected all forms of living dead. He had no idea if any of them would work but he had enough black magic on file to give it a decent shot. He could leave enough voitile graffiti on the muddy forest floor to make anything that could experience pain regret stepping into his range.
“I’ll be right back.”
Sam paused, his mind already thirty meters ahead in the dark woods and remembering exactly where he’d seen some old cars. The pickup truck that the thing drove up here in would have plenty of gas in it. Grabbing a length of siphoning tube, he wrapped it around the rest of his gear.
“Get my stuff,” Dean was looking at a hand where a ring usually sat. “All of it.”
Clicking off the flashlight, he tossed it into the driver’s seat. Sam rolled the barrel of a revolver and gingerly placed it into Dean’s maimed grip. He patted his brother’s other hand over a sheathed knife. With those details taken care of, he got ready to stop thinking about anyone else’s survival but his own for the next few hours before sun up. His brother sat back uncomfortably and cocked the gun on his knee. His resolute but faltering gaze held unvoiced frustration that he would not be accompanying Sam on the romp back into the lion’s den.
“Have fun,” Dean told him. “As much as possible.”
Sam felt a half smile come on even though he felt like hundred miles away from one. This was one job that he didn’t feel any abundance of overkill was inappropriate or needlessly brutal.
In fact, it felt just about perfect.
Fan art!: Chibi!Sam to the rescue! by urdsama