But even if you haven't read any of those, this fic works as a stand alone.
Title: Matthew 8:12
Rating: PG - Gen - wee-n-teen!Chesters - Pastor Jim
Spoilers: General (for aired episodes only)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Something is haunting the church down the hill...
Dinner was quiet as usual.
As was the house and the small table the two of them sat around. It had been a kind of long day but the sort that you never really minded. Sam had spent hours helping Pastor Jim fill boxes with old books from the bottom cellar of the church and bring them up all those stairs into the light of day for old people to look through and buy for ten cents a piece.
He’d liked the smell of the old yellowed paper and the fantastical years they had been printed. Their covers were illustrated by a painting instead of a photograph, their glue bindings cracked and spilling pages out from their insides. His arms were tired and his knees ached from kneeling on the cellar floor, picking each book up, one by one to see if it was worth selling or just tossing away. His eyes still itched a little from all the dust and his nose was a little runny. But he didn't mind that so much, he enjoyed working hard. Anyway, it had definitely made him hungry.
He was so starved that when his older brother still hadn’t arrived at the table, he quickly voted that they begin without him.
Sam carefully ate the day old meatloaf, the three day old mashed potatoes and the brand new bean casserole on his plate. There was never a lack of food here. Sometimes breakfast was a piece of toast he dug out from the empty bread box, and sometimes lunch was the same but dinner was always provided for. It was kind of fun to see what food would appear on the door step next. Sometimes an entire chicken covered in foil and even better, sometimes the food was accompanied by a freshly baked pie. Or foreign things like lemon bars or brownies. The kind of foods Sam had never been in one place long enough to experience. The kind of things women brought to socials and reunions.
Pastor Jim only served himself a portion of what he had to the boys, something that made Sam realize the difference between parents and other grown ups. The small odd differences in behavior. The strange freedoms and no bedtimes. The choice to indulge yourself into a pie coma if that’s what you felt you wanted. To not have someone to provide for. It was strange sometimes, to shift gears between these worlds. Few people ever told Sam to do anything. Few people had ever taught him the subtle codes of staying under the same roof. There was nothing in this house outside of their respect for the man that had reigned them in. Sam hurriedly chewed all the food on his plate, even if just to say thank you.
The clergy man’s flock must of have thought he was really hungry all the time. Sam had overheard one of the ladies who came more frequently say that she thought he was too skinny for his own good. She’d play with her hair when she talked and always insisted that he should let her know he if needed anything.
At any time.
They were enjoying her ‘anything at any time’ bean casserole with their dinner that evening. Sam’s plate was so over loaded he wasn’t sure if even he could finish it—
His brother had arrived, breathless from the winter that blew and groaned outside. His jacket was half off his shoulder as if he’d been running, his cheeks flushed red from the cold.
The Pastor paused from the book that lay open on the thigh of his carefully crossed legs.
Sam could have read at the table too if he had wanted. But he never did. Something was a little too engrained in him from his father whenever he’d dared do it and they were all actually seated at a dinner table at the same time.
“Is church um open, uh, all the time?” Dean asked, his hands working on the back of the chair that was usually his.
The Pastor considered him for a moment before speaking. “The doors of the church are open at all times for anyone.”
“But you lock it sometimes right?” Dean quickly said, his practical logic making short work of the metaphysical the Pastor had meant to imply. “You lock it up at night?”
Sam chewed slowly on his last bite of meat loaf and recognized what his older brother was doing. He did it with their father all the time. Instead of asking an outright question or describing anything in a straightforward manner, he’d use the most round about methods of getting his information or questions across.
Sam figured it was just in case his questions or ideas were stupid. Or maybe Dean just didn’t want adults to feel bad if they didn’t see something that Dean had spotted right away.
“Well,” Pastor Jim sighed. “Unfortunately in these times, the church is locked after regular hours--”
“So nothing can get in.” Dean said flatly, his eyes focusing on the man
The clergyman nodded, his expression changing as he considered the words. “So no one can get in.”
Sam chewed at his lip, and he saw the Pastor had looked down at his book again but he wasn’t reading it. Dean hadn’t said anyone, he had said anything.
And unlike Dad, the Pastor didn’t take quite as long to take a hint.
“I think dinner is over boys.” He said somewhat tiredly as he stood and folded his book.
Having never heard that before, Sam quickly put down his fork and put his hands in his lap. Something new was going on but he wasn’t sure what it was.
“I’d like you both to go to your room, close the door and slide the seal I gave you half way under the door.” He instructed. “Half outside, half in your room, do you understand?”
His tone invoked an automatic ‘Yes sir’ from them both.
“I’ll be back in a little while.”
Sam was already pushing in his chair, watching as the Pastor took up the stole from his near by desk and kissed it before he draped it across his shoulders.
“Wh-where are you going?” Sam asked.
“Just down the hill.” He assured him with a small smile.
“He said- he said we had to go to our room and—“
“Shut up Sammy.” Dean hissed, busy with opening the window as quietly as possible. “You can stay here if you want, I don’t care.”
Sam felt a flare of indignant anger. “I wanna go too!”
“Fine!” Dean swung one leg out into empty air, looking above and below him for purchase. “Just be quiet about it.”
The climb down was easy enough. Sam had had more difficult times leaving the second story of his newest temporary school. You’d think all that red brick would help but instead it just—
He slipped the last several feet, his air squeezed out of him when his brother caught him around his middle before he made contact with the ground. Sam quickly squirmed out of his brother’s grasp and looked around for anyone that might have been watching.
There was little chance of that. Their window faced the back of the Pastor’s wooden three floor house. The creaky old place sat at the edge of farm land as far as the eye could see. In front of it, an unpaved road lead down the hill to the small stone church the Pastor presided over.
Rounding the house’s corner, they crouched down in the overgrown weeds.
“Whoa.” Was all Sam could say.
Sam stared down at the dark steeple rising from the building that sat down below them. He could just make out the black figure of Pastor Jim’s shadow as he walked down towards the place.
“It’s worse now.” Dean whispered. “When I saw it, it was just a small light.”
It wasn’t a small light now. All of the church’s tall windows were vibrant and glowing right in the middle of the night. They silently flared and roiled, the colors muted and changed through the stains of glass, but unmistakably fire red and dull orange. The light flickered and flashed, cast out on the grounds outside the church, catching the Pastor’s silhouette as he passed by under one of the windows.
“Wh-what is it?” Sam asked in a small voice.
“I don’t know.” Dean answered honestly. “Come on.”
It was weird when they slipped through the heavy wooden doors and the lights just stopped. It was as if they could only be seen from the outside, leaving the interior just as it was when its keeper had locked its doors.
But it wasn't quite the same. And it wasn't quite as empty as it should have been at that hour.
The pews were filled with people. Sam cocked his head as his brother dragged him down out of sight in the back, far in the corner behind the last pew. There was something wrong with the congregation. There was something that just wasn't... right.
Their heads weren’t shaped correctly under their odd dated broad hats with nets. Their limbs seemed too long when they reached for the bibles that sat in the holders on the back of the pew in front of them. They moved almost continuously like something that lived underwater.
Some of them were talking but it sounded like meaningless mumbling and whispering. Some were wailing, their bizarre long arms trailing slowly upwards in sorrow, their flesh trailing behind its passage like a veil.
Pastor Jim was walking up the aisle as if it was any Sunday service.
One of the parish lunged at him with a snarl.
Pastor Jim didn’t turn in its direction, he just held up a hand and spoke.
The creature froze and vanished.
Another came from the left.
In mid lurch the thing fizzled into dust.
Angered, the boiling withered forms decided to organize directly above him.
He didn’t even look up.
The three that had joined forces to take him all suddenly fused together, growing closer and closer until there was nothing left.
A voice like gravel, slithered and slunk through the air, wet and slick with malice.
"This is hallowed ground." Pastor Jim warned.
Yes. We know.
There was something standing at the pulpit, too tall and too thin for its height. It was black and featureless, its arms coming out almost from the ground as it rose up in welcome. Rising until they almost reached the very height of the crucifix that hung above. Shrinking back further into his hiding place, Sam was reminded of a withered tree brought to life, all sharp angles and barbs.
The Pastor hefted a knife and flipped it once in his grip for balance. Without another word, it was then hurled with excellent accuracy directly into the center of the creature that was standing where it had no right to be.
The knife stopped just one inch from its body and clattered harmlessly to the floor.
Without warning, the thing poured out a vile stream of darkness. Pastor Jim flung himself hard to the right, falling hard between the pews. Like another limb, it crashed down like a massive hammer where the man had just stood, splintering through the wooden pews as it searched for flesh, rending thick iron standing candelabras and scoring the stone floor.
The entire building had begun to shake.
“D-Dean—“ Sam had backed up as far as he could, his back against the cold stone wall behind them.
His brother’s grip on his arm almost hurt, but Dean wasn’t making a move towards the door. He was intent on the battle going on right before their eyes.
Somewhere amid the mayhem was Pastor Jim’s calm voice.
“Vespere autem facto obtulerunt ei multos daemonia habentes…”
The elongated black limb reared back with a deafening howl.
“…et eeiciebat spiritus verbo et omnes male habentes curavit.”
The black figure staggered and seemed to shrink in onto itself. The phantoms that flailed and screamed from their seats, lashed their hands out at the Pastor but were stopped when they grew close. Their limbs withering, fraying and curling up like fiber that drew too close to flame.
“Filii autem regni eicientur in tenebras exteriors…”
The clergyman walked steadily closer to the front of his church.
“… ibi erit fletus et stridor dentium.”
The roaring suddenly ceased.
The pews were empty.
The altar was still occupied. But all that was left was what looked like the remains of a shadow. Its frail strange hands clutching the pulpit weakly as the Pastor advanced and stood before it. Looking around on the ground, the clergyman leaned down and picked up the fallen blade.
Closing his eyes, he made the sign of the cross with it.
“Quiesco.” The Pastor said softly, and then gently blew.
The shadow broke up like the spare fragile edges of a cobweb, floating away and fading into the air around him.
“That means go to bed.” Sam whispered with a wondering smile of disbelief.
Pastor Jim sighed and clapped his hands against one another as if he had just finished something unpleasantly messy. His gaze went regrettably to the rows of wrecked wooden pews that lay in shattered splinters all over the floors of his vestibule.
“He didn’t even use one shot gun.” Dean murmured incredulously.
“Or the F word!” Sam added.
A hand grabbed the back of Sam’s hood and yanked him backwards.
“We gotta get out of here.” Dean hissed.
Sam heard the strange sound of wood clamoring against itself. He chanced one more look back over his shoulder as his brother hustled him towards the exit.
What he saw made his breath catch in his throat. The damaged pews were flying up into the air, the flat pieces like a deck of cards, sliding back into place as they once were. Solid and whole, slowly lining up one after another while the Pastor just watched on with his arms crossed in concentration.
Sam swallowed, the sight cut off as the door swung shut in his face and Dean’s hand dragging him up quickly through the brisk cutting cold of the night air, the snow crunching under their boots. He knew they’d be back into their room before Pastor Jim discovered them missing. He also knew that he was not going to be able to look at the clergyman quite the same way ever again.
Dean laced his hands to give Sam a leg up on the climb back to the window. As he hefted himself over the sill, Sam also realized something else.
Reading a lot wasn’t so dumb after all.