Part 1 -2 -3 of Detour are here.
Title: Detour part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5 - On Hiatus
Author: Mink & Jink
Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: None to General
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Sam cursed as the bent wire skidded between his fingers, nearly dropping the pen light clenched between his teeth. Dawn was just breaking the sky, scant sunlight slashing the dark cloud cover. He'd been driving most of the night, his vision wavering. His fingers were already stiff and numb when he head the tiny click, the heavy oak doors of the church opening easily. Sam squinted in the darkness of the empty foyer. Searching for the light switch, he fumbled a few moments before finding it. Aging filaments flickered weakly to life in the dusty chandeliers.
The morning air had left this forgotten place chill and damp. It had been partially renovated, perhaps, by a retired church hand or member of the parish. Signs of the slipshod job lay scattered about. A mop and bucket. Tarp-covered equipment. Every few months the dust was cleared, the mold chased and the sunlight let in.
It was as good a place as any to hide.
Dean pushed him aside when he offered an arm out of the car. His color was back though Sam was still unsure if it was the right one. He was sweating and, Sam noticed, still shaken but stable.
“I told you man, I feel fine.”
Dean stepped past the foyer, stumbling slightly on the ancient carpet. He paused briefly to examine a gaudy golden crucifix next to the pulpit.
"Guess it looks like this is home for now."
Sam rubbed at his eyes, his hands were still tingling from handling his brother. His contact with the strange manifestation of the mark still running over and over in his mind.
"I'll come back as soon as I'm done talking with that old shop keeper dude." Dean said with some finality. "Get some rest."
"What?” Sam blinked at his brother. “Dean we have no idea of what’s going on here, I think we should—“
“Should what? Wait around here and recite some hymns?” Dean asked, anger rising in his voice. “You’ve been a couple steps ahead of the show this entire gig Sammy and I haven’t done or said shit about it until now.”
Sam found he didn’t have a single thing to say that would make him wrong.
“And I don’t know what happened back there, but you look like hell.” Dean added.
"Yeah." Sam lumbered to a pew, lowering himself shakily onto it. He folded his hands behind his head and groaned. “So do you.”
“I’m goin’ to go see our friend.” Dean turned to leave. “I suggest you use your hallowed time wisely.”
Sam shut his eyes and listened to the distant sound of Dean getting into the car and hearing the engine turn. The fear was there, the fear that Dean would get one mile from here and the strange marks would flow over his skin once again, stealing his breath and silencing him forever. But Sam knew that wasn’t just how this was going to work. That mark ignited when Sam had tried to outrun it, leave it behind and fool it with its own bag of tricks.
What ever wanted Dean, had Dean. And Dean wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Dean sighed when he saw the store front once again.
It was early but that was when these places did their business. The timely shoppers, the ‘up with the dawn’ elderly bargain hunters that liked to shop for collective spoons and mugs that stated 'Visit Coastal Georgia'. They were all thankfully absent.
A quick check around the building revealed the cellar embedded with no windows to be seen. There was only one way in and it was through the front door. Dean looked into the windows of the locked main door and saw no one moving inside.
It wasn't hard to pick, he did it so quickly and casually that anyone looking would have just thought he'd just had slight trouble with his key. They got stuck in those old locks all the time. The humidity. The rust. The old wooden frames that didn't want to budge when they swelled with the weather. He shouldered it open, looking up automatically at what he knew to be living quarters overhead. He heard nothing.
The door behind the counter was harder to pick, a protective symbol traced over it that Dean missed before his best and favorite pick snapped into two pieces under its gentle but affective charm. He defaced it with a swipe of his sleeve, the chalk used smearing across the ceiling wall in a blur.
The cellar was dark this time, no candles were lit, and the bare bulb that hung in the middle of the room shed little of its sickly yellow light. He shook his flashlight twice until it set on its brightest and set it down on a cluttered counter top. It lit the room up strangely, from the top down. The dust motes dancing its upward flow of light.
Unsure of where to even begin, he headed towards the bulletin board where he’d found the picture.
Allowed more time, and better access without anyone looking over his shoulder, he leant down in the dim light. Face after yellowed face, he studied the cracked images trapped in the black and white moments of times long gone. Dean paused when he saw a particularly striking photo. He plucked it out from were it was layered under the others. There was the woman, Lily if he was not mistaken.
She looked alive in this photo, her smile for the man behind the camera, her flat blue eyes lit up in something like a beauty she could turn on and off at will. Beside her was a man Dean hadn't seen in any of the other scattered pictures. His skin was dark, made even darker by the overexposure of the camera. He sat next to Lily, his bare arms crossed and no trace of a smile on his face.
The man’s stance and presence reminded Dean of American natives that prescribed to the opposite philosophy of the photograph doing your soul harm. Trapping in fact. But contrary to that belief, some thought that it was a good luck charm to have a likeness of yourself. It allowed their likenesses to be kept safely hidden away and to ward off bad spirits looking for their souls. A spiritual decoy of sorts. Kept in twine and buried in a place to confound their enemies on the spirit side.
Dean flipped it over. It was dated almost 11 years ago, that would make it one year before the fire. There was a small note at the bottom.
Gideon & Lily
It wasn't written in a way that suggested intimacy but Dean got that sense anyway. He flipped the picture back, studying what he could of the stone faced man. Tilting it back and forth in the meager light, he couldn't make out the whites of his eyes. With a thoughtful sigh, Dean slipped it into the back of his pocket.
The rest of the pictures were of a crowd of silent strangers whose names and dates made no connection to him. He found one last one of Lily. This time seated beside the shop keeper owner. He looked a younger man then, his smile steadfast with the woman by his side. Dean looked around despondently at the cluttered dusty heaps and piles of books that any Wiccan owned for simple spell casting and a few more than did a little more than that.
But it wasn't what he was looking for.
The woman who had created the den of this cellar was not a person that dabbled in the black arts. The memory Sam had said he he’d had, about a fire and the knowledge of her mark was enough to tell him that she certainty knew someone who dabbled in something much more powerful what this dusty apothecary could conjure.
Dean looked hard at the photo of Gideon once again.
And he had a sneaking suspicion just who that someone might have been.
Dean climbed the stairs carefully, unwilling to startle the man who owned the shop, or end up staring at the end of a cop's rifle for breaking and entering. Considering the man’s reaction to him during normal store time hours, he wouldn’t have been shocked to see the rifle in the hands of the owner himself.
But the store was as empty as he found it in the first place. He looked over at another locked door that undoubtedly lead up to the small apartment above. Checking first and disabling the charm that would hinder his efforts, the lock sprung free.
He climbed the narrow steps cautiously, reaching the top quickly. He decided he didn't want to surprise anyone even if he'd already invited himself in.
"Hello?" Dean called out in his best friendly voice. "Anybody home?"
No one answered him. The tidy living room was bordering on a collective mess. The jumble of folded blankets and books stacked in neatly places. The small cavalcade of magazines flowed evenly across his path like a card trick. The kitchen was off to his right, strong with the smell of cooking oil and coffee. There was one window that brought in light from the street, but it wasn't enough. It left the place bleak and claustrophobic.
Shaking off his nerves, Dean walked towards a wall with even more pictures, but these were framed. There was Lily again, another decade taken off her face and her dress bright and tied at her shoulder. Dean titled his head at her enigmatic smile wondering how she ended up burning ten years ago. And what the hell did his father have to do with it?
"Hello?" He tried again, knowing this time that no one was home. The place was as still as a grave.
Suspecting why, Dean walked deeper into the apartment, the clutter starting to look more like a mess. He stepped over a stack of tomes that had been knocked violently over into a pile. The well cared for pages were now bent and crumpled, some of them kicked and as far into the open bathroom's tiled floor. Dean’s brow furrowed. The pictures down this hall were askew or knocked down to the floor completely, the carpet covered in shattered glass.
Something had happened here.
He followed the silent path of violence to the back bedroom, a streak of blood on the door jam, the door splintered inwards, kicked in or pushed by something with incredible strength. Dean stepped into the disaster of the bedroom. The body he was expecting to find was on its side by the neatly made bed. The mismatched quilt barely meeting the corners of the sagging mattress. His neck was twisted almost at a 180 degree angle. There was only a little blood. He knew that other than this last minute struggle towards this back room, it had been very quick.
He knelt by the storekeeper's body and sighed. The body was only a few hours old.
The man seemed to have been trying to escape something or.... Dean stood up and looked around. Had he been trying to reach something? He looked under the mattress and dropped it. The small shelf of dime store books that sat on a shelf over his bed didn't seem very promising either. But then his gaze fell on the only picture that was framed and hung on the bedroom wall. It was strange considering the hectic amount of them everywhere else in the house.
Dean approached it, the familiar subject of Lily watching him come closer. Her pale hair and skin glowing white in the black and white film. He lifted her portrait off from the wall and found what he expected.
A small lock box embedded in the wall’s plaster.
"Whatcha got for me Lily?"
It was an old safe.
Even for someone not like Dean it wouldn’t have taken much to get into it. Timing the right and left turns with the rusty old tumblers giving away the magic numbers. In less than five minutes, he had it open. There was a gun, he hefted it, surprised by its caliber and weight. It was loaded and well taken care off. Admiring it, he slipped it into the back of his jeans. These folks weren’t going to be needing it anymore.
There was a small cardboard box with cash in it that Dean briefly counted before leaving it alone. Some old papers that looked like deeds for the building he stood in and few others around town. Dean pocketed those for inspection later on. But there were still a few more things in the safe he’d over looked. They were easy to miss, they were only slips of paper. Notes. Letters.
Dean picked up the closest one and pulled the aged paper out of the stiff envelope.
If we do this, it will be over. The monster will be dead.
God help us if we stray one step from the path.
I would be a fool if I said I wasn’t scared.
John, please come back to us when you’re ready.
The moon’s almost just right.
Dean stared down at the yellowed paper. And quickly dug out another one.
Gideon believes my faith in him is absolute. He’s marked me ensure that my soul is dedicated to his work.
I can feel it sometimes crawling over my skin at night. I do not trouble Joseph with these things. He already thinks we are insane.
You are my only source of belief that this thing we must do can be accomplished. Write again soon John, I want to know you are still alive and still a secret to this man we mean to end.
Dean sat down heavily on the made bed, his gaze going to the storekeeper whose name was undoubtedly Joseph. Lily was his wife. And she was marked, like Dean. But what did that mean?
Shaking his head in a sigh of frustration, Dean looked back at the hand penned letter. They were obviously out to kill someone. And Dean would bet a twenty spot that it had all to do with this spooky guy named Gideon. But from the sounds of it, it seemed like they hadn’t succeeded in offing the guy. Thinking of Lily’s demise, Dean couldn’t think of a more plausible way to piss off a guy than trying to put him to death. So if his dad had anything to do with it, how did he escape the barbeque? Dean carefully tucked the correspondence away with the other document’s he’d found. But besides those scattered envelopes, all that was left in there was a small thin book.
With a deep breath, he slipped it out and swung the safe door closed. It was a small book but it felt strangely heavy in his hands. Curious, he traced the cold black leather cover with his finger tips. There were words and symbols carved there, also in black so they were virtually unseen by anything but touch.
No sooner had he traced a full circle around its border did his vision suddenly falter, fading in and out like someone had a dimmer on his brain. Numbly, he felt the book fall away from his grasp and distantly hit the floor. Its contact like static arching from his hands to its binding, searing into his flesh like cold fire.
He heard himself gasp, clutching his open palms closer to his body.
There was something in there. Too much-- Too much of something--
Dean started to feel sick, fast and quicker than he could think to find the bathroom. He stumbled into the nearby room, reaching the sink just in time to bring up everything in his stomach. His hands felt like they were burning, the cold water barely taking the edge off the flame.
Panting, he ran the water over his face as it all slowly began to subside.
“Oh Lily.” He breathed down into the white porcelain. “What the fuck were you up to?”
Sam didn’t remember falling to sleep.
He'd only blinked or thought he had. Closed his eyes in the dim space for only a moment to find himself blinded by hard sunlight. Time was playing tricks. Fragments of memory came and went, bright shrapnel behind his eyes causing him pain. Sounds and smells hyper real and intense. He groaned under the onslaught, the sound grating like ancient rusted metal. He blinked, feeling suddenly the cold hard surface beneath him.
The wooden ceiling of the church loomed over him. He thought he'd heard a bell. The din could have had rung an hour ago or yesterday, he wasn't sure if it had resonated in his dreams or in reality. But it had been so loud and deep he'd heard it in his bones. He was so tired. Sam struggled to sit up, his body stiff and sore.
The sounds were as foreign around him as the sudden sun, long fingers of light filtered through the slats in the wood ceiling catching particles, igniting the multicolored faces of the apostles. Dean was still was gone.
Shaking his head to clear the fog, he sat up and blinked hard for a few seconds. Dean had told him to wait. He remembered that. Twice he'd looked outside and twice seen nothing but a carpet of dead leaves and a parking lot. The waiting was going to make him a little crazy. His hand went immediately to his phone. No signal. He rubbed a hand over his slack face. He wasn’t tired, he was exhausted. More weary than the usual wear of the road, and the ever present fatigue he wore as easily as a jacket. His head was starting to hurt just a little behind his eyes but then suddenly it started to hurt quite a lot.
Sam sat back down and folded his hands on the pew in front of him, lowering his head. The reek of decaying prayer books hit him and he coughed quietly in the silence.
From behind he heard the click of the door. He was too tired to even look up.
“Hey Dean." He responded weakly, expecting to hear his name returned.
"Sam!" Dean was calling him from outside.
Sam growled in irritation. Why wouldn't the idiot just come in? He got up and swung the heavy oak doors open. There was no one outside. Not even the car he swore he thought he'd heard pull in.
"D-Dean?" He ventured.
The chill damp of the ground had misted in the warming afternoon. Sam’s eyes searched the surrounding woodland frantically, his heart beginning to pound. He was alone.
Dean’s distant voice again, this time from somewhere behind him, making his head turn sharply. Sam clenched his jaw. Dean’s tone meant trouble. He took off in that direction, first at an uncertain brisk walk which turned quickly into a jog. His hand shoved aside branches, confusion flaring his panic white hot.
"Where are you?" He shouted, cursing as his phone signal dropped again.
He was running, following the call of his name, losing his sense of direction. He smelled the ocean, the tang of brine and sand. Sam didn't stop when he broke through a patch of trees, tearing apart brambles, cutting away at the thick foliage in his path. Dean’s voice echoed in his ears, pulsing painfully behind his skull over and over. Sam stumbled down into the leaves, his hand going down in the damp foliage as the pain behind his eyes flared white blinding him to everything but his own staggered breaths.
When he opened his eyes and looked up again, he quickly staggered to his feet. Swaying slightly, he looked all around him, confusion settling across his brow and rending him speechless.
He was standing on a shore. He wasn't even sure how he'd gotten there. The beach ran right up to the jungle he had emerged from. And there was a boat.
It was Dean, standing in the boat, sitting down on to one of its plank seats and smiling out over the water as it started to swallow the sunset whole. Sam blinked at him in confusion. No, it wasn't Dean, was it? It was a man standing stock still in the boat’s center, his dark eyes unblinking, his hand out, the sign of the mark circling his flesh like a living thing. Sam tensed, panting for breath.
He was suddenly looking at his brother again.
“You coming?” Dean's voice was impatient. Sam ground the heel of his hand into his eyes.
"Dean, I--something's wrong." Swarms of flies in his head. Dean held out his hand.
Sam stumbled forward and let the hand help him aboard.
Dean pulled into the church parking lot with all sorts of things ready to go in his head.
He had a lot to say. He’d been organizing and reorganizing what just what to say and in what order ever since he snuck out of the dead tourist shop. First off was this woman Lily, he thought he had that pretty much figured out. She was marked by a man. Probably a priest. Dean was no genius but he'd put a pretty safe bet that it was vodun, and you didn’t play around with a man like that unless you liked trouble.
But according to those letters she wasn't in it for the thrill, that woman wasn’t there for the power either. She was there trying to somehow take the guy down. Tricky business. Risky too and she’d paid the price for crossing him. But that left Dean with this mark ten years later. And why?
Dean’s thoughts were stopped when he saw the church doors wide open.
“Sam?” He called inside. “Sammy!”
The solo set of his brother's tracks were easy enough to follow but they were strange. He followed them to the edge of the overgrown parking lot and then followed them as they doubled back behind the church. It was here that they headed right into the jungle in a straight line.
“What the hell…”
Dean ripped his way through the foliage, cursing when barbed branches snapped back into his face. He almost lost the trail twice but picked it up again, the direction suddenly shifting east. Towards the sound of water and the smell of the ocean.
He finally emptied out on a small branch littered beach. The sun was down under the waves, igniting the coming night sky in hollow purples and slashes of dismal red. There was only one set of prints, his brother’s, and they vanished into the surf, eaten up by the incoming tide.
He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled in every direction. “Sam!!”
Panting, Dean looked up and down the beach. There was nothing.
Dean dug for his cell, surprised to see 5 missed calls. But he was in the middle of no where, his phone was as useful as a skipping stone. Cursing the jungle and water around him he turned and sprinted back through the tangle of undergrowth. Racing with the oncoming dark, and hoping against hope he’d hit the old church grounds somewhere in here before full on nightfall. His phone started ringing in his jacket just as he saw the staggered steeple rise above him out from the jungle and fall of Spanish moss.
“Sam? Where are you, where—“ Dean paused, the gravel under his boots on the weed choke parking lot the only other sound besides his voice. “D-Dad?”
“Why are you in Savannah?”
Dean sighed, slumping down on the hood of his car.
"That’s the question of the hour isn't it? But I figured while I was here--"
"You shouldn't be there at all. You got me?"
"Dug up a few things, a few old friends of yours…”
“I don’t have any friends in Savan—“
“Not anymore.” Dean agreed. “They’re all dead.”
“Listen to me, I want you and brother out of there--”
“I can’t Dad.” Dean half smiled up into the deepening twilight. “You see, your plan back ten years ago didn’t work. Gideon’s alive.”
There was silence on the line.
“I thought that name might ring a bell.” Dean shrugged. “And I think he’s pissed.”
“I’m telling you now, it’s an order, leave that city tonight—“
“They already got me Dad.” He mumbled down looking at his wrists and wondering when the mark Sam said he saw might reappear. “And now I think they got Sammy too.”
“Why?” John demanded.
“I don’t know but you know what they say." Dean breathed a tired laugh. "Yer a tough guy to find when you don't want to be found.”
The trees whispered with a warm topical wind.
“It just came to me that maybe... maybe...." Dean rubbed a knuckle hard between closed eyes. "... they'd know what exactly it would take to make you come here.”
His father was silent once again.
"Cuz, Sammy is just ... he's gone Dad. An-And I don't even know where to start lookin'."
“Tell me where you are.” John demanded in a low voice. “I can be there in a few hours.”
Dean told him.
And he sincerely hoped he'd still be there by the time his father arrived.