sequel to: With a Bang and The Aftershocks
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - R - Gen – AU in the year 2020
Warnings: Incest Lite (not S/D)
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam POV. Everything continues to really
Sam knew he had to do play this right or everyone in the house would be dead before they hit the floor.
The blare of the television was like the muted static of spirits that constantly churned underneath coherent thought. It was white noise that soothed as much as it focused every thought he had on the thing masquerading as his son. A late night rain had started to fall, pushing in all the thick humidity through the rusted window screens and making the sweat run in a cold trickle down the middle of his back.
“Can’t believe you can stomach this Lite crap,” Dean tossed Bobby a bottle. “Might as well just get back to cooking moonshine in a shed out in the woods.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Bobby grinned. “I like to add a couple packets of kool aid to make it go down smooth.”
“Do cat’s drink?” Alec poured some into an ashtray. “I used to have a dog. It drank anything.”
They all tried not to pause and look at each other uncomfortably.
“You had yourself a dog?” Bobby asked. “Didn’t know those people allowed that kind of thing.”
“It was a secret at first,” Alec said quickly. “We all took turns feeding it and then they let us keep it in the lower exercise yard.”
“You give him a better name than this guy?” Dean spun the small cat counterclockwise on the slick wood floor.
Alec was silent for a moment. “I-I don’t remember,” he dug into the pretzel bowl. “When it got too big to keep around, the staff sergeant said he gave it to the Delta-Echo base down south but I saw it in the dumpster. He shot it.”
The inelegant verbal cliff stepping whilst in mid-story seemed a lot like the other X5 Sam knew.
“It’s okay,” Alec’s smile was back in place. “It was just a dog.”
Pretending to be on his third beer, Sam continued to layer his thoughts one by one until his mind was more solid and impenetrable than what was cloaking the unknown X5. He couldn’t alert his brother or Bobby for fear of tipping the transgenic off, and he couldn’t make a move on his own either unless he wanted a repeat performance of what had happened the other night with even more unpredictable results. Alec had kicked his ass straight into next month and the kid hadn’t even broken a sweat trying.
And this X5 was much more of a threat than Alec. This X5 had more control and he knew specifically how to use it.
Sam tried to keep him the furthest from his thoughts.
How many days had it been since that fight? He counted five. Six days once the hands on the clock passed into midnight. For five days his son had been missing and he’d had no idea. For five days Alec could have been taken anywhere, moved any place and bought and sold ten times throughout the network of men that still considered him property.
That was what Sam wanted to believe anyway. Another voice deep down inside kept reminding him of what the more likely probability was. When a hostile X5 assumed a role and replaced a target there was usually very little reason to leave the target alive. Sam looked up when the young man that looked like Alec laughed too loudly at a joke. Dean and Bobby were wary of this boy, but neither one of them knew what Sam was now absolutely certain of.
He just had to wait a little longer.
Sam watched as the two week old kitten flicked a paw in distaste at the puddle of fizzling beer in the water dish. When Alec tried to nudge the bowl closer, the small cat let out a pitiful hiss as it backed up behind Sam’s boots just to be on the safe side. Picking up the indignant animal, Sam let it painfully nestle in his crotch while he scratched behind its ridiculously proportioned ears. Feeling substantially braver from its new perch, it let out a low and menacing hiss again in Alec’s direction.
“They say cats can see things,“ Alec told Sam. “They say they know things too.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“They know evil,” The curious and almost embarrassed smile was one that Alec would have used. “They can see a man’s soul on the outside of his skin. They can see sin like a ripe disease--”
“Alec!” Bobby called. “You’re gonna miss it, they’re down to the ten yard line for Christ’s sake. And yer behind on you’re beer.”
Alec made an unhappy but resigned face at the sight of a freshly uncapped Budweiser.
“Hey,” Sam said. “You want some of the good stuff?”
“Oh yeah,” Alec seemed genuinely relieved. “Yes, sir. Thank you sir.”
Sam excused himself to the kitchen and carefully mixed the crushed pills into a glass. He wasn’t sure if the kid knew it of not, but warm whiskey with a couple of rocks was Alec’s favorite.
An hour was all it took.
The rain had turned into a full fledged storm, battering the shutters and dripping rain through the chimneys and gushing down the old eaves. A flash of lightening lit up the room in a stutter of harsh light before leaving them again with the weak lamp by the bedside.
The X5 was resting peacefully.
“Ya think he’s down deep enough?” Bobby asked.
“Close enough,” Dean sighed. “Now what?”
They’d drawn a modified devil’s trap around the bed on the floor and some less fancy stuff on the ceiling. All those new wards that were built and worked exclusively on the half breeds had also been placed throughout the house. Very carefully of course considering they were just as harmful to Sam as they were to--
Whoever this X5 soldier happened to be.
Sam had hoped to prove that this wasn’t Alec to his fellow hunters by doing something other than simply saying it, but all the proof he had was what he knew in his gut. But Bobby was well versed on the insidious practices performed by Manticore. In fact, the man looked almost happy that there was a good reason all his tried and true methods had bore nothing to explain Alec’s behavior. And not to Sam’s surprise, his brother was the least willing to believe it regardless of all the evidence. Dean kept touching Alec’s face and tied hands, unable to accept that the living body right before their eyes was not who they thought it was. No one wanted to reconcile with the fact that they had all been so utterly and completely fooled.
They all should have known better.
They should have been able to tell the difference between a stranger and their own family.
Sam tried not to think too much of Alec’s tears and how tightly his son had held onto him when he’d found him standing in the dark of that old house. He thought of all the things he’d promised Alec out loud and in his prayers.
“But it doesn’t make sense,” Dean was examining the stitched wound that ran up the inside of the X5’s arm. “It all looks so… real.”
“That’s because he is real,” Sam said. “He’s a real clone.”
Dean lifted the shirt to find a large impact bruise the actual Alec had sustained from trying to stop a truck filled with timber from rolling downhill. There were other more minor things. Cuts and scratches. Scrapes and grazes. It was difficult to imagine this boy searching Alec’s body to replicate each injury with slow smooth precision. Inch by inch. Cut by cut. Bruise by bruise.
Sam thought he might throw up.
“B-But how can you be so sure?” Dean circled the bed again. “I mean, it looks like Alec. I drove him home. He sounds like him. Hell, it even smells like him--”
“He‘s a fake, Dean,” Sam said softly. “This clone got to Alec when he ran away that night. Everything after that has been a sham.”
“But if this isn’t Alec, then… who is it?” Dean asked. “And where the hell is the real one?”
There was a childlike reversion to simple questions and demands of stunned disbelief. But Dean hadn’t figured the problem out all the way down to its inevitable conclusion like Sam had. He thought that maybe his brother’s mind simply wasn’t allowing him to reach the horrible and certain end of what this all meant. Because what it meant was so inconceivably unbearable that Sam wasn’t sure how much longer he could still sit in this room without using his mind to slowly and meticulously rip this Manticore clone into one-inch strips of screaming meat.
He shook his head, trying clear his mind of the hideous images.
“Sam?” Dean knelt down in front of him. “Hey, Sam?”
This impostor had taken their child away and murdered him. And Sam had sat in this house while it had happened and done nothing.
“Look at me, Sammy,” Dean was gripping his hand. “We don’t know shit right now, okay? Just hang in there.”
“Help me with this, would ya?” Bobby was looking at the X5’s neck. “I wanna take a look at his bar code.”
“What about it?” Dean rolled the transgenic over. “Doesn’t he have the same one?”
“It’s a completely different series you idjit,” Bobby pulled out a file from under a stack. “Each one of ‘em was marked with a different designation so they could be identified by each other and their owners. And look, this guy right here sure as shit ain’t X5-494.”
Dean lay the X5 back down carefully. “Then who is he?”
“This reads the same pre-coder as Alec’s but it ends in 4-9-3. And see the variation under it there? That’s a manufacturing mark that means this one was cloned, and according to everything I’ve read this clone is supposed to be dead.”
"Shit," Dean dragged a hand through his hair. "What's he doing here?"
Sam sat every still in the chair across the room and watched the bare chest of the X5 rise and fall in sleep. During sleep the resemblance to Alec was flawless. All the tension gathered in the brow, and every hard line that drew the mouth was gone under a serene mask of oblivion. Sam imagined that they would be identical in death as well, everything inside that made them into two entirely separate human beings would vanish into the ether and be gone forever.
Bobby shook his head in wonder. “This boy got whatever power Alec got and maybe more we don’t even know,” he slumped down at the table that had all his texts laid out in piles. “I got a few passages in here that’ll light him up good from the inside out if he’s packing anything extra demonic. If he was sent here by one of ‘em we can find out real quick--”
“No,” Sam quickly sat up, his voice hoarse. “D-Don’t hurt him.”
“Why not?” Dean honestly wanted to know.
“Because he’s Alec’s brother.”
“This is different, Sammy.”
“Different how, Dean? Different that he wasn’t born on a quilt Jess’s grandma made?” Sam felt a sharp pain begin behind his eyes. “Different ‘cause I didn’t cut the cord with my pocketknife?”
“You listen to me,” Dean said. “They built this kid out of spare parts. Every piece of intel we've ever found says the same thing about every second-gen clone that came out of that place. Hell, even their own scientists couldn’t wait to shove the poor bastards down an incinerator.”
“Please,” Sam put his hands on his brother’s and willed Dean to understand. Tightening his grip, he knew was trying to convince himself too. "No matter how they made him, h-he’s still got our blood."
His brother’s resolution stayed firm for about another five seconds before it crumbled. “Damn it,” he shoved Sam’s hands away. “You’re out of your fuckin' mind. We can’t keep him like this forever! What the hell do you want to do?”
“I just got to talk to him,” Sam steadied himself. “That’s all.”
Looking uncertainly at the sleeping X5, Dean let out a long ragged sigh of frustration. Bobby was silent as he slowly shut all his books and blew out the thick white candles one by one. As soon as the last sputtered out, Sam knew the fragile hold they’d had over the transgenic’s sleep would quickly wear off.
“Uh, Sammy, he’s waking up,” Dean said. “Now what?”
“It’s all right,” Sam told him. “I’ve got him.”
Besides some twine knotted around his wrists and ankles, Sam did have him. He had this boy so completely under his thrall that X5-493 would not be able to draw in one single breath if Sam didn’t permit it. He had the transgenic in sway and control, countless threads of invisible steel going in and out and up and down into the ground below, the sky above and in a mile in every direction. The boy knew it as soon as he opened his eyes, his trapped consciousness thrashing ferociously enough to send a tremor rocking through the house. Bobby and Dean looked up at the swinging chandelier and waited to see if the next one would bring down more than dust. But Sam didn’t let his grip ease in the slightest, because even though he was strong, the boy on the bed had been constructed to be a close match.
X5-493’s green eyes glittered wet in anger. “You drugged me,” he growled. “That’s not fair.”
“How many more of you are there?” Sam asked quietly. “Is the other clone alive too?”
The X5 responded by clenching his fists and sending another tremor that shook the walls and made his bed thump repeatedly against the floor boards.
“T-The records,” Bobby coughed on the clouds of falling plaster. “They uh, they documented two clones made from Alec’s original genome: 493 and 492, and they were both cited as destroyed back in ‘09 when the Pulse hit--”
The shaking and thumping abruptly ceased. The X5 twisted in the blankets but he couldn’t move much else besides his mouth. “The records are wrong. Only one of us died at that gate in Wyoming. And my name is Ben now.”
“Ben,” Sam said the word slowly. “What are you doing here, Ben?”
“I-I didn’t think you’d end the game so soon,” Ben seemed distraught. “I would have had something prepared to say. Something nice to fit the occasion.”
“Where’s Alec?” Dean demanded. “What the hell did you do with him?”
“I bet you don’t know that I’m famous?” Ben asked. “I’ve even saved the world once. No one knows because the Pulse is such a big fat secret. But you guys know the real story. You know the truth. But you don’t know that it was me that saved the day. Just like every Winchester, we never get any credit when credit is due.”
“So yer a hero, huh?” Dean asked. “How you figure that?”
“Manticore bred us to open that big gate out in Wyoming. It was the one that was going to start the war rolling. And it wasn’t just me and 492 either, it was a whole bunch of other little X5 kids all in one big circle.”
Dean exchanged a skeptical look with Sam and Bobby before falling into a seat next to Ben on the bed. “So you were there?”
“I knew they’d nail us to the altars but I didn’t care. I knew that the rites might blind me, and the knives might castrate me but I didn’t care. I wanted to be there so I could stop them.”
The room was silent as the distant roll of thunder rumbled over head.
“Wait a second…” Dean rubbed at his head. “Are you tryin’ to tell me that you’re responsible for the Pulse? The gate failed because you screwed it all up on purpose?”
“I had to do it. Manticore had no respect for Her. All those animals wanted was to bring even more mindless animals out from their cages on the other side. So, I didn’t do what they told me. I read the words wrong and the entire thing fell apart. When everyone was dead I ran away.”
“Huh,” Dean lowered his voice as he shouldered into Sam. “I’m not sure if I should thank ‘im or smack ‘im.”
“It was all because of me,” Ben’s pride was tinged with wonder. “Everyone caught fire and burned slow, charring like candlewicks soaked in wax. They screamed and screamed and the gate broke apart and started to fall up through the sky. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
“You’ve been…“ Sam asked. “On your own since you were ten years old?”
“I’ve been lots of things since I was ten years old.”
“Sam, I want you to know that I never expected you to come looking for me,” Ben said. “All of Manticore’s databases clearly said I had died along with every one else on the base the night the gate failed. I understand I’m not like a real person.”
“Ben,“ Sam said. “What have you done with Alec?”
“But I’m better than a real person,” Ben nodded. “And after everything you had done in Seattle, I did everything I could to find you as quickly as I could.”
Sam’s mouth felt dry. “Why?”
“Because you know how to find the gates, Sam,” Ben smiled a real smile. “And all I’ve ever wanted was to try it again. But I want to do it the right way. The men who died that night deserved it. They had no understanding of what these celestial portals of God are really meant for.”
Thunder boomed and shook the windows, the light flickering on and off before it stayed on.
“You’ve seen it for yourself, Sam,” Ben said. “I want to see it. I want to see Her there. I want to join Her on the other side.”
“Join Her?” Sam knelt down. “But Ben, you understand that these gates open to Hell. The gates that weren’t built by demons were fortified by human beings to keep them sealed. They aren‘t meant to be--”
“Everyone thinks that but its not true,” Ben regarded Sam kindly as if he were a ignorant child. “The gates open to many places. The gates were designed to create doors to all the sides in this universe and beyond. Did you really think there could be a Hell, and no Heaven?”
“I need you to tell me something, Ben,“ Sam placed both hands on the clammy burning flesh of Ben’s cheeks, and locked his gaze with the fever bright eyes. “Can you tell me if Alec is still alive?”
Sam had one small spark of hope.
Ben’s unadulterated happiness faltered with the strange question. It was clearly understood that he was discussing the divine circumstance of the existence of heaven and all these ridiculous men wanted to know was about some rogue transgenic.
“I don’t know,” Ben suddenly appeared troubled. “I put him so far away. It‘s hard to find them sometimes after you send them so far.”
“Where?” Dean grabbed him by the shoulder. “I’m gonna be needin’ an address.”
“There is no address,” Ben almost laughed. “It’s a trick I learned from the vudun. Why bind the body when you can send the soul away? I don’t know how long he’s been out there, but time moves there differently than it does here and I can barely hear him anymore. Sometimes one day can feel like a year. Sometimes one hundred. Sometimes when I wait too long to find them they‘re just… gone.”
Dean and Bobby exchanged a grim look.
Sam sat forward. “Ben, I’ll help you find a gate.”
“Sam!” Dean hissed. “Sam, no!”
“Shut up, Dean-- j-just let me talk. You want gates? You’ll get them. We’ll hit the road and open as many as you’d like. But I won‘t show you jack shit unless you tell me how to find Alec.”
The innocent hope in Ben’s eyes was enough to make Sam’s heart thud in his throat. The boy that had wept in his arms hadn’t gone anywhere. That had been no circus act of grief and loneliness.
“I can do that,” Ben promised. “I know exactly where his body is. You‘ll need his body first.”
Behind him, Sam could feel his brother’s anger silently shift into deadly rage. He knew Dean’s pistol was out before he heard the safety click off.
“Dean,” Sam didn’t take his eyes off of Ben. “You go with Bobby. You bring Alec back here as fast as you can.”
“I’m not leaving you alone with this freak.”
“I’ll be fine,” Sam said. “Time’s up, Ben.”
“I swear I didn’t want to kill him!” Ben’s eyes started to glimmer and overflow. “I knew if I killed him you would have felt it. I can hide lots of things from you but I couldn’t hide that. Everything would have been ruined before I ever got a chance to--”
Sam jerked backwards when the gun went off less than a foot away from his ear. Shaking his head from the ring of the discharge, he saw Ben curling in around his wounded leg. Dean pressed the hot muzzle against Ben’s other thigh.
“Great pain creates great lucidity,” Dean said. “So make great use of it and tell us where Alec is. Please.”
“That old house I found…” Ben gasped. “I-I was keeping him in the cellar but… but I moved him closer… I used Sam’s truck but no one saw us…”
Dean’s gun slid to rest against Ben’s temple.
“The church,” Ben blurted. “I put him in the church. I-I thought he‘d like it there. It‘s so quiet and-and--”
"See? That wasn't so hard," Dean was already holstering his gun. "Where in the church?"
“One of the crypts,” Ben was distracted by the spreading pool of blood under his thigh. “It’s the pretty one made of black marble all the way in the back.”
Dean was already out the back door with Bobby right behind him. Sam winced at the sound of the tool shed crashing open, his brother ransacking it for shovels, crowbars, and whatever else they might need.
“It’s okay Sam,” Ben said. “I told you. Alec’s not even in there. Not the real parts.”
Sam caught the harsh sob in the back of his throat before he could help himself, his body starting to shake in a way that made him worry if he wasn‘t gong to cause Ben harm by pure accident. But to his surprise, he felt Ben’s hand, sticky with blood, settle over his and gently pat him.
”I could teach you that soul trick some day,“ he left a bloody streak along Sam’s jaw in a strange caress. “But not today. Are they gone yet? I thought they'd never leave.”
Dean and Bobby. Sam slowly understood that the bed secured with all the written wards and magicks were igniting and disappearing in wisps of black smoke. With a half smile, Sam had to hand it to his children. They were an ingenious and unrelenting bunch. He also realized that something was happening to him. The massive amounts of energy he had been using to keep Ben contained was now flowing back in the opposite direction.
“B-Ben,” Sam stammered as he slid down to one knee. “W-What are you doing?”
Ben pulled himself out of the tangle of blankets and regarded him with annoyance. “I can make you do more things than just forget. Lots more.”
Sam felt white hot heat sear behind his eyes as Ben took his lapse in attention to free the rest himself. The young man stood, hauling Sam with him as he went. The transgenic’s weight crumpled on his injured thigh, but being from a resilient stock, he made it to the window for a view of the cornfields just fine.
“T-The nearest gate is hundreds of miles away,” Sam tried to say. “Too far.”
At first Sam didn’t know why the low sound of Ben laughing made his skin crawl, until he realized he had heard the unhinged mirth before. It was the same hollow noise that had echoed back to taunt him the night Alec had vanished into the corn.
“Now it’s our turn, Sam. It is our turn to find the Blue Lady,” Ben said. “Do you understand?”
“Y-Yes.” Sam was having trouble thinking. “I understand.”
“If you don’t mind,” Ben held up his hands. “We don’t have much time.”
Whipping out his switchblade, Sam slashed through the tight binds on Ben’s wrists.
“It was important to me that we do this together, Sam,” Ben watched the knife shine. “It has to be just us or the gate might not come.”
Ben pulled Sam away from the window, their minds interlocked in so many strands and knots that Sam was having trouble seeing and hearing too. But dully, Sam had heard something Ben had said that had made no sense.
The gate might not come?
“I came looking for you for lots of reasons,“ Ben said from beside him. “Your knowledge and your ability. Your rank and favor with both sides of course.”
Sam accidentally grazed his arm with the open switch blade and felt nothing but a vague sting.
“But mostly, Sam, I’m here for your strength.”
Slumping against the wall, Sam knew he was in trouble, but Ben was flooding his senses with a deluge of unyielding composure. A sense of well being and religious zeal that set Sam’s rational thoughts reeling into no where. Sam grazed the blade again across his other arm to try to feel anything besides what had started roaring in his head. With a moan, he tried to fight back the onslaught of a sudden scream of countless voices all clamoring for his attention at the same time.
Hundreds. Thousands. Millions.
The sheer volume of their need was paralyzing. Sam didn’t know who they were. He couldn’t wrap his slurred thoughts around any idea as to where they might have come from.
“Can you hear them, Sam?”
Ben was whispering, his mouth against the skin just below Sam’s ear. A surge of desire flashed through Ben’s mind as the boy’s hands eagerly searched and touched his body. Shuddering with disgust, Sam slid backwards onto the steps when he could no longer keep himself upright. Ben’s mouth was over his, talking and assuring him. “I can hear them too, Sam. They know if we try we can make a gate crack open anywhere we want. Anywhere.”
These screeching voices were not spirits.
They were demons.
Sam felt himself being lifted up, the stairs moving one by one under his boots.
“But first,” Ben said. “You have to get dressed, father.”
Sam closed his eyes when his son kissed him again.
He let his mind go dark when he realized he was kissing him back.
go to part 8