Title: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen - Aftershock Fourteen - Fifteen & Sixteen
Also: Minor Tremors parts One & Two
accompaniment(s) to: With a Bang
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - R - Gen – AU in the year 2020
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam POV. Sam's duties as Pastor extend past the average clergyman's capabilities. Warning: This one is not fluffy.
Sam had always disliked the sight and scent of lilies.
The heavy perfume hovered on the edge of sickening and the drooping petals were grotesque to the touch. Packing half a ton of them into one room didn’t do much to enhance the experience either.
“Everything looks real nice, Pastor,” a man gave Sam a firm handshake. “Really first rate.”
“It’s nice to see you here. Have you signed the guest book?”
“Sure did,” he glanced uncomfortably at the open casket. “Real sad thing to have happened.”
“About that,” the man stepped a little closer. “Is it true?”
Feigning ignorance, Sam stifled the urge to clear his throat.
“Ya see, father, there’s talk going around that the mailman found her before the police did.”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t read today’s paper yet.“
“But everyone’s sayin’ the paper made that stuff up about finding her in bed. People are saying that her body was really found in the bathroom—“
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Sam gestured towards new arrivals at the door. “If you’ll excuse me?”
The viewing hours had ended promptly at 7PM, but no one was leaving. Some of the flower arrangements were removed to make space until it was standing room only. Someone had set up several photo collages of the deceased in large picture frames. The local quilting club had hung one of her pieces of work on the far wall over the window.
Sam braced himself when the family finally came to approach him.
“Pastor Samuel,” a young woman whispered. “This was what my mother wanted so much.”
He placed a hand on her shoulder and fought the urge to immediately remove it. Her pain was burning so brightly it scorched his skin. Sam withdrew his shaking hand and tried to replace it back at his side as causally as possible.
“I can’t tell you what this means to our family,” she said. “All she ever wanted was to be buried here on the grounds.”
Looking into her bloodshot eyes Sam knew what she was really struggling to thank him for. Due to doctrine some bodies did not get the privilege of resting in consecrated ground. Crime. Sin. Blasphemy. There was a long list designed to deny the faithful their heavenly reward.
“I’ve arranged a place beside her mother and grandmother,” Sam said. “I’m very honored to have been asked to deliver the eulogy.”
The desperate hope in the daughter’s eyes shone strongly despite the frail trembling of her hunched shoulders. This woman was well aware that Sam knew of the nature of her mother’s death. She knew that a devout man of the cloth could deny her mother’s remains the shade of this sanctuary and let the family go elsewhere.
“Thank you, Samuel,” she sagged into the arms of her husband. “Thank you for this.”
Sam watched them take their rightful seats in the first row nearest the casket. Another surge of grief rippled across the room and made his head swim. Sam swayed and steadied himself against the wall when the hushed voices got stronger. The overlapping echoes began to amplify across the small parlor like an open amphitheater. But it wasn’t any physical noise he was hearing, it was the mourner’s collective grief flaring up and over into the dark, crashing against him in wave after relentless wave.
“Alec,” Sam hadn't seen him come in. “What are you doing here?”
“I really dig live harp music.”
Sam couldn’t smile at the joke and Alec didn’t look all that amused either. It occurred to him that Alec had been drawn to the wake by the vibe that was building up around here. His son had never exhibited any signs of being able to do it before, but Sam had also been inadvertently collecting over a hundred people’s distress around him like a storm cloud.
It was probably difficult to ignore less than hundred yards away in the house.
“I’m sorry, Alec,” Sam rubbed at his head. “I think you can… I think you can hear me.”
“I can hear them too,” Alec flipped through the guest book and let it drop closed. “It’s loud.”
“They’ll be leaving soon,” Sam said. “Why don’t you go back up to the house?”
“Okay,” Alec responded absently. “But is that gonna be sitting here all night?”
“Not much longer,” Sam looked over at the casket. “The burial is at dawn.”
“That thing gives me the creeps.”
“Good night, Alec.”
His son was still staring at the coffin.
“Yeah,” Alec blinked a few times. “See ya later.”
Waiting until Alec had left, Sam returned to the casket to make sure everything was still in order. The family had chosen a yellow silk dress that made her pale skin look even more pallid and hollow. Smoothing the orchid corsage on her wrists, his fingertips brushed the rough line of vertical sutures that the flowers had meant to conceal. Everyone knew there were some acts against God that were unpardonable. But Sam believed in a slightly different variation of the cardinal rules.
And in this church, forgiveness would always come first.
Sleep was impossible no matter how much Sam needed it.
The crowd of people that had packed the church left their grief behind like the scent of snuffed votives. Sorrow and anger had built up on the premises like a lethal dose of carbon monoxide, seeping out of the ground and flooding every room. Dean hadn’t been able to feel it like Sam had, but Dean could feel Sam just fine. Before midnight rolled around his brother jumped into the car and took off for a better time elsewhere.
Sam rolled around in bed and tried to shut his eyes.
It would have been an effort to siphon off the flood of sensations but he could have done it. Sam did it everyday just to survive being around other people without going crazy. He could ease off the constant barrage of emotion just as easily as he could turn it up to examine it in sharp focus. And he didn’t feel like shutting it off right now. He had kept the stream wide open, flowing and escaping through his fingers like sand. But it wasn’t the churning cloud of grief he was interested in. Tonight he couldn’t stop thinking about the body waiting in the church’s basement.
She was still earth-bound.
Reaching out, Sam could sometimes offer comfort to the shy and fearful presences that fluttered just beyond his touch. He wasn’t sure if any of them listened, but every now and then the murmur of their agitation grew calm.
Sam went still when he heard the spirit whisper forlornly in his ear.
When he allowed himself to sink deeper he could touch the cold surface of what had just recently housed a warm breathing soul. There was a small glimmer of the woman still lingering nearby for now, waiting for the ceremony to be completed before it departed completely. All that was left was a dull echo of what had been a human being, a few traces left of the agony that had driven her to end her own life.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Oh please God, make it stop—
Sam stared at the red glow of the digital clock.
He could see the woman too if he wanted. She’d lived in a tidy house without much furniture or light. Her bedroom window faced the road. All of her grandchildren’s photos were neatly framed and hung down the staircase wall.
A sound distracted him.
The bathroom door down the hall opened and then was followed by the whine of a faucet. Reaching out with his hand and mind, Sam brushed Alec’s thoughts that were drifting just out of sight. He caught a flash of ceramic tile. The humid rise of steam from the sink. He could feel Alec’s awareness of his father watching him. Hot water was thundering down into the bathtub now.
Something was wrong.
Stepping outside of his room, Sam walked around discarded jeans, and followed the trail of Alec’s clothes. The bathroom light at the end of the hall flickered on and off before it stayed dark.
As soon as the name left Sam’s mouth a sharp pain stabbed behind his eyes.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Fumbling for the light switch, he found Alec lying in the filling bathtub. Sam felt his heart skip in his chest when he realized what Alec was holding in his hand.
“No,” Sam said. “Please, don't.”
The razor blade was identical to the one the woman had used. The metal was bent and cracked into a jagged triangle. Everything in the bathroom had been arranged like Sam had seen in his mind. A candle on the bathtub. The towel folded on the sink. A bible open on the floor. The long slash that started at the wrist and ended under the elbow.
Alec was recreating that detail with a slow blank determination that wasn’t his own.
“Alec,” Sam stepped forward. “Put that down.”
There was already one perfect incision and Alec was pushing in the razor blade to make another one right next to it.
“This won’t take long,” Alec’s voice was dull. “I read that the water helps.”
Sam forced himself to stay still in the doorway. He was unwilling to make an aggressive move on an X5 and he was even more unwilling to attempt to subdue Alec the other way. His son could do a lot more damage with his head than with any blade.
“Can you hear me, Alec? It’s me. It’s Sam.”
“All my children have moved away,” tears flowed down Alec’s vacant face. “No one should have to live all alone.”
Blinking in confusion, Sam knew he was witnessing some kind of possession. It was a half formed phantom playing out its last moments on earth.
“Alec! Look at me!”
The house, the church, it had all been filled to the rafters with a fog of sorrow so thick you could choke on it. Sam knew how to ward it off as easily as opening the windows to clear the air, but he hadn’t thought about what it might do to Alec. It hadn’t occurred to him that his son might be overwhelmed by it as easily as smoke from a fire.
“T-This is my fault,” Sam stammered. “I made a mistake.”
“It’s hard to sleep alone,” Alec absently wiped his bloody arm across his face. “It gets so quiet at night.”
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Sam staggered backwards when the dead woman’s voice rang clear and urgent.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
Sam took the moment of her hysteria to grab Alec’s hand. He met no resistance when he ripped the razor away, grimacing at the splash of scalding water cloudy with blood.
“A-Alec? Hey! Alec!”
Alec slid limply backwards and made a strangling sound as the ghost tried to use him to speak again.
Sam had had enough.
Closing his eyes, he let out a breath and slammed his mind downwards like a hammer. He shuddered as it surged in every direction and drove away any trace of the lingering spirit. Pushing it as hard as he could without bringing the house down, the force of it sent a wind crashing through the trees and a dull rumble in the sky.
Sam listened to himself pant in the dark until the light over the mirror sputtered back on.
It was over.
Quickly grabbing one of the towels off the sink, he wrapped it tight around Alec’s arm before lifting him out of the water. Dean’s room was closer and the bed was conveniently devoid of sheets. Alec started to come to when Sam cracked the first aid kit and the bottle of alcohol.
“W-What happened?” Alec rasped. “What...“
Sam pushed Alec down gently with a hand on his chest. Alec immediately stilled but the fear in his eyes remained.
“What did you do?” Alec hands shook as he tried to sit up. “You did something.”
“Alec please stay still, you’re hurt.”
“Don’t touch me!”
Sam met Alec's bewildered stare and felt his chest tighten by the sight of the betrayal in his son's eyes.
“I heard you,” Alec said. “I-I was in my room and I heard you talking to that dead lady. And then she kept getting louder and louder. So-So I started listening too and... and...”
“I had no idea this was going to happen,” Sam felt pain start to grind behind his eyes again. “I’ve never lived with someone like you... like us. Please Alec, I don’t understand how all this works yet.”
Alec was silent as Sam threaded a needle for the stitches.
“We’ll talk about it tomorrow,” Sam told him. “I want you to try to get some rest.”
“I don’t want to.”
Sam didn’t warn Alec before he did it. One flash of power, one snap of his fingers and he could make almost anyone drop off into dreamland if that’s what he wanted. Pulling up the blankets around Alec’s chest, Sam wished he’d dried him off before putting him down.
Sam tossed a blood soaked towel into the trash.
The peak of his adrenaline finally crested and crashed, leaving him clutching the wastebasket until he knew he wasn’t going to throw up. With slow measured breaths, Sam willed his heart to stop pounding and beat at a normal steady pace.
He had some work to do before Dean got back.
With a glance at his watch, he knew he had plenty of time to perform a quick and dirty cremation. No one would be the wiser if they buried an empty coffin tomorrow. And if Dean noticed the casket was a little light, Sam would lie about how cheap the wood was. His hand lingered on Alec’s forehead, the boy’s frown not quite smoothed away in the forced slumber. If Sam pushed harder he could provide more than a deep sleep.
He could make all the memories go away too.
“I’m sorry,” Sam felt his mouth pull in a humorless smile. “But this is for your own good.”
Alec made a soft sound as Sam smoothed his palms over the boy’s eyes. The injuries could be explained away. The bathroom cleaned up before anyone saw a thing. Sam could make it all better for now.
And right now was all that mattered.
go to part 15