Title: Not a Whimper part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5 - part 6 - part 7 - part 8 - part 9 - part 10 *Completed*
sequel to: With a Bang and The Aftershocks
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - PG - Gen – AU in the year 2020
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Directly following: All sixteen Aftershocks! Sam POV. After Sam seeks some advice, he takes his son to the morgue to do some hands-on training.
Sam finally opened his eyes because Dean wouldn’t stop knocking on his door.
It took a few moments to fight off the nausea from the chemical hangover and untangle himself from the blankets. Blinking in confusion at the sun going down through the trees, Sam knew he’d done a lot better than a solid eight hours of rest. Those pills had taken away an entire day. He slowly formulated an excuse to leave the house as he dressed into clerical blacks and slipped the collar around his neck.
The short-term goal of the moment was to avoid his brother.
Glancing back over his shoulder, Sam hurried his pace down the dirt path that wound through the trees to the church. Dean was already on to him with the strange sleeping schedule and a night of beers no one had actually drank. One look in the eye and it would all be over. He just had to stay out of sight for a while and things would go back to how they were.
Sam had to do it right. Play it cool.
The weight of the double doors echoed loudly through the pews when he slid the bolts down.
It was the middle of the week and with no service scheduled but he checked the place top to bottom for any possible visitors anyway. Walking down the aisles, he ignored the clutter of hymnbooks left scattered on the benches and floor. Once he was satisfied that he was alone, he headed for the pulpit. But instead of moving up to the platform he stopped at the foot of the steps and took a deep breath.
Getting down into his knees, he crossed himself before clasping his hands. Lowering his head, he pressed his fingers together and rubbed them against the center of his forehead.
“Please,” he said. “Please.”
It was safe to cry here.
The cross that hung behind the altar and the stained glass began to blur into a bright mess as his eyes started to burn. Bracing himself against the steps, he blinked down at the tears on the backs of his hands and the dark spots they made on the wood.
“Please… I’m in trouble.”
He suddenly hated how the walls carried his whisper like a shout.
“I’m in so much trouble and I don’t know what to do.”
Sam tried to pray but the words wouldn’t come.
After some time passed he realized the coming twilight should have made the room darker than it was. He lowered his head further when the light instead began to grow by almost imperceptible degrees.
The arrival of the light meant something else was on its way too.
Its appearance was as random and unpredictable as glimpsing the dim flare of a falling star, but it happened if Sam waited and watched closely. Minutes. Hours. Days. Sometimes the wait brought nothing at all. But as Sam remained down in a crouch, the light began to grow brighter and brighter while the sun continued to set. The glow wasn’t coming from the cross or the sculpture of the tortured man that loomed above him either. This summoning ritual had nothing to do with relics of mythology. Sam had picked the church for no other reason than its guarantee of privacy.
The touch of the growing radiance began to sooth his mind.
If he strained with everything he possessed he could feel the gentle waver of the presence in the air stretched fine and frail as a cobweb. There were also times when he concentrated hard enough that he could sense the slightest pressure of a hand resting on his shoulder. Sam got hit with a wave of dizziness as the manifestation solidified more powerfully than it ever had before.
“Hello?” he asked. “A-Are you here?”
And to his astonishment the spirit responded.
His heart pounding, he wanted to look up but he kept his gaze locked on the floor. Not daring to speak or breathe, he fought from doing anything that might disrupt the fragile link. A gentle breeze blew against Sam’s damp face, a warm caress like fingers through his hair.
I’m always here.
Sam squeezed his eyes closed. “I did something,” he said softly. “I did it for Alec.”
No one will understand. No one will ever understand what you’ve done.
“He was almost murdered,” Sam worked his clasped hands into fists. “I was down the hall and he could have died while I was lying in bed. It’s too much. I can’t do it. I—“
There are people who want to hurt him.
Sam did look up then. Tossing up an arm to shield his eyes, he searched the roil of light searing over the altar. “People? You mean… living people?”
Protect your son.
“From who?” Sam went cold. “From Manticore?”
The agents of Hell have got lots of names.
“How many of them?” Sam demanded.
Only one of them will find you. The smartest. The fastest. The most dangerous.
“How close are they? What do I do?”
Protect him, Sammy.
“I will! You know I will but- but I need to know more, I need to know—“
The warm light stuttered and faded leaving the church dark and cold. Staggering to his feet, Sam wiped at his eyes with the back of his sleeve. His conversation with the manifestation was over.
“Dad,” Sam breathed. “Dad… please… come back.”
Stepping away from the stairs, he stumbled backwards into a pew. He numbly took a seat and wiped a shaking hand under his nose. There wasn’t much blood. He sometimes got it got from his eyes and ears too when he really pushed it too far. Staring up at the shadowy pulpit a strange calm descended over him where there had been none before.
The enemy could bring anything they wanted to his doorstep.
He would take care of it.
What Sam wanted was a controlled environment.
A secluded place where no one could interfere or interrupt.
He hesitated over the new security panel by the door and was relieved when Alec knocked his hand aside to disable it himself. They took the stairs down three flights with the stink of the basement getting worse with every step. A morgue was always a lot of interesting smells all jammed together. Sam usually picked up the reek of industrial chemical preservatives first. Second came that scent of meat just starting to turn. Under all that was stale coffee and the hot burning scent of a used up Xerox machine. Alec had probably detected very tantalizing nuance from the parking lot, but the kid hadn’t said a word.
“I can’t help but notice that Dean wasn't invited,” Alec pushed the door open and flipped on the lights. “So is this a big secret or what?”
“No,” Sam said quickly. “He just wouldn’t understand what we’re doing.”
“I don’t understand what we’re doing either,” Alec mumbled. “So… does that mean it’s a secret or not?”
“No. Yes. No. Look, you can tell him anything you want, just remember that he once mentioned it’d be a good idea to put you in the basement to keep you out of harm’s way.”
“The super creepy locked up mystery basement?”
Sam figured it was mostly the truth. It was just an outdated truth. Since they'd gotten to Blue Earth his brother hadn't been big on the 'locking and hiding away' parts of the plan anymore.
Alec wandered past him and tapped on a dead computer keyboard.
“Just think of this as a classroom,” Sam went through the collection of keys until he found the right one for the desk. “This is educational.”
“Doesn’t feel educational,” Alec said. “It feels like breaking and entering.”
Sam was glad to see the registration clipboard in the file cabinet was completely full. That meant plenty of violent deaths on top of the usual naturals. He wasn’t sure where to start first so he decided to begin at the beginning.
“Jacobs, Abigail. Age 57,” Sam read. “Death from severe blunt trauma to the head. Higgins, Kenneth. Age 34. Death by stab wounds to upper right quadrant. Capriati, Michael. Age 19. Death by asphyxiation.”
Alec shifted in place.
“You okay, Alec?”
“I’m not sure if I’m supposed to give a round of applause for each one or wait till the end.”
“This is serious.”
“I get that,” Alec said. “But now what?”
“Now we wake them up.’
Alec backed up a few steps. “W-Why would we go do something stupid like that?”
“Because you have to learn how to handle it,” Sam said. “You have to learn what it feels like and how to keep it under control.”
“Can’t I learn without asking them out to play?”
Sam put his hand on the body bag of Abigail Jacobs. Age 57. Death by… Sam could see the murder weapon now. It had been a steel hammer. Brand new. Her voice came to him as vividly as the image of the bloodstained tool.
Please don’t hurt me.
Please don’t hurt me.
Please don’t hurt me.
“Something is still here,” Sam said softly. “She’s still afraid of her husband.”
“Her husband?” Alec asked. “Maybe she’s afraid of you.”
Sam felt a dull pain from each shadow strike of the hammer’s forked end to his skull. Once. Twice. Three times before an elderly Mr. Jacobs cast it aside.
“I can hear her crying,” Alec’s hands hovered over his ears. “I don’t like this, Sam. I think we should leave her alone.”
“Listen to her,” Sam urged. “Listen closely.”
The spirit slowly assembled over the black plastic sack that contained its remains and begin to spread like a mist eagerly towards Alec. Sam could see now that the dead were drawn to his son just like they were drawn to him. Alec’s mind was like a flare of light in a sea of dark with a voice that could hear and respond to their muted pleas. But before the spirit hungrily settled over Alec like a shroud, Sam stopped it before it could get comfortable.
“Can you see it, Alec?”
“Yeah,” he reached up and grazed the black static with his fingers. “She’s saying the same thing over and over.”
“You can do more than listen if you let them have prolonged contact,” Sam rolled another body out from the freezer. “But these things are capable of possessing your body and mind. They can make you do and say things you don’t want to do.”
“B-But what’s wrong with her? “Alec swallowed. “Can we help her?”
Sam paused when he felt Alec’s mind start to wrap closed again.
“These people are so lost … and if you try to pull them out you’ll start to get lost too.” Sam didn’t mean to look at his son’s injured arm, but Alec caught him looking anyway. “The ones that aren’t dangerous are the ones that are already gone. Like Kenneth Higgins here. He’s not home.”
“So what’s keeping this lady around?”
“Sheer will. Sadness. Anger. There are lots of reasons why they won’t go. You can try to point them in the right direction but-but it doesn’t work very often.”
“I want you to let her in.”
Sam released his hold on the phantom, watching it twitch and twist in agitation from its brief confinement. Slightly more cautious this time, it slithered slowly through the air towards Alec. When it met no resistance, it sought to rush and flood his muscles to flex its own phantom limbs.
Alec jerked back when it did just that.
“Stay on it, Alec,” Sam was ready to rip the spirit away at any moment. “You control it. It doesn’t control you.”
“It itches,” Alec clutched his head. “I can taste her.”
“Push her out now.”
The ghost suddenly evaporated back into the nothing where it had come from. Alec looked shaken and nauseated, but otherwise fine.
Sam started breathing again. “Ready for another one?”
“It’s not so hard,” Sam said. “You just have to be prepared. You have to maintain an awareness of their presence at all times.”
“This … training is all for my protection?”
“It will save your life.”
“Sounds like they’re the ones that need protecting from us,” Alec half smiled. “If I can make a ghost do what I want, then who needs a gun?”
Sam hadn’t thought about beginning the evening with the ethical portion of the work they were forced to deal with. Being in regular commune with the dead gave a man a heavy set of responsibilities that stretched far beyond any conventional contractual notion of privacy and trust.
“We’ll talk about that stuff later,” Sam said. “We only got this place for the night.”
He picked up the folder of the 19 year old named Michael Capriati. A drug screen tested positive for methamphetamines and alcohol. And even though it was not the cause of death, the young man had also sustained three bullet wounds to the arms and chest.
Alec looked worriedly at the massive body lying under the plastic tarp.
“Get ready,” Sam said. “This one is going to be pissed off.”
Alec went still when the ghost struck and Sam had a half-second to wonder if maybe he had pushed the kid too far too fast. But then Alec’s smirk was back in place with the addition of a lilt of confidence Sam hadn’t seen there before.
“This guy has some money stashed out in a bean field,” Alec said. “Twenty grand in cash and he croaked before he could spend it.”
Sam watched carefully as the other spirits churning around them closed in tighter as they sensed Alec’s interest.
“He-He hadn’t been able to see his mom before he died,” Alec’s voice changed. “Or his dog. The bastards could have at least let him see his damn dog.”
“Alec, I want you to back out from him a little,” Sam said. “He’s taking over.”
“If I ever find the bastards that shot my dog,” Alec’s voice dulled. “I’ll skin them alive and then I’ll …ah!”
Sam held on to Alec as the chills racked through his body.
“He tried to stay in my head,” Alec sounded offended. “I tried to push him out but he didn’t want to go.”
“I pushed him out for you,” Sam held on until he knew Alec could stand on his own. “But you’ll get better. You’ll see.”
“Gimme a girl this time,” Alec demanded. “I think I can do a girl.”
Alec didn’t argue when Sam sat him down into a metal folding chair. Sorting through the files, Sam stopped on the next one tagged as female. A suicide. Sam swallowed hard and left that one in the pile. Searching further he stopped when he found one marked in a bright red folder. A messy double homicide was always good for a few thrills.
“This one shot her boyfriend along with the woman she found him cheating with. Police eventually took her out when she holed up in a Taco Bell with a hostage,” Sam flipped a page. “She shot her boyfriend twelve times. Fives times right in the—“
“Okay,” Alec paled. “Bring her on. I can do it.”
As Sam stood back to let Alec try, he checked his watch. At this rate they could get through the majority of the cadavers and maybe go back through the problematic ones twice for extra practice. Tomorrow night Sam planned on taking Alec on a tour of the local cemeteries that didn’t stay as quiet as they should. There were plenty of jobs that fell below the scope of Winchester’s usual work.
After all, they couldn’t salt and burn everything that went bump in the night.
“I think I got her,” Alec said with a frown. “She’s not that angry. She’s just really sad.”
“It’s weird,” Alec said. “All she wants to know is if I think she’s pretty.”
They both glanced over at the gray corpse of what had been a bottle blond with green eyes and freckles across her nose. The policeman who had put her down had been an excellent shot. Two entrance wounds almost overlapped each other right over the heart.
“What do I say?” Alec asked.
Sam dragged out another chair and settled down into it. “Say what you think is right. And if she listens, she might decide to rest.”
“You mean leave?”
“You said its hard to talk them into going,” the spooked look that had been in Alec’s eyes since the night of the wake was finally easing into something else. ”But you didn’t say it was impossible.”
“No,” Sam agreed. “I didn’t.”
“I’m gonna go for it then,” Alec shut his eyes and got ready. “It’s worth a shot right?”
While still monitoring Alec, Sam allowed a small portion of his mind to wander. But he didn’t want to linger on the stained glass of the church windows. He didn’t want to think about the warning his father had given him.
Only one of them will find you. The smartest. The fastest. The most dangerous.
That could mean a lot of things in a world where every fresh corpse that hit the ground was an open door that could lead right to his son. With the right power involved, the body didn’t even need to be recently vacated either.
He fought back his panic and concentrated on the task at hand.
“Any luck, Alec?”
Sam could feel the sickening grope of the dead woman blindly attempting to communicate. But this spirit wasn’t listening to a word anyone had to say. And if the angels and devils didn’t have her attention, Alec didn’t stand much of a chance either.
“Give me another five minutes,” Alec crossed his arms and squeezed his eyes shut harder. “I think this is the kind of chick that needs a little finesse.”
Sam looked through the doors at the morgue’s coffee machine.
This was going to be a long night.
go to part 2