Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Set sometime near the end of S3. There are all sorts of things out looking for a piece of Sam Winchester and one of them finds Dean instead.
Dean automatically raised his hands when he saw the flash of the gun.
One thousand different lectures on the Almighty Importance of Being Diligent came back to him all at once. His old man had been a strong advocate of never letting your guard down. Because the one and only time you leave the trunk wide open while you go take a leak will be the time your carelessness will bite you hard on the ass.
It was just the way the cosmos worked.
Dean took a few seconds to weigh in his new friend. Lots of gray skin under a patchy beard. About fifty pounds underweight and a tattered coat that didn’t look like much use with a few feet of snow in the overnight forecast. Dean honestly wasn’t sure what pissed him off more. The fact that the guy had managed to sneak up on him while he was only a few yards away, or that the disgusting bastard was holding the freshly polished mother-of-pearl handle of his gun.
“I want you to come with me,” the man said. “Right now.”
“Sure,“ Dean started walking slowly backwards. “But all my money is right here in my wallet.”
“I don’t want money.”
“If you’re lookin’ for a new set of wheels, you can forget it--”
“I don’t want that either.”
“Then what’s with the all gunpoint, pal?”
The car was parked under the only street lamp in the empty lot of the rest stop, the faulty bulb stuttering on and off with the rising wind. Keeping his eyes on the gun, Dean took one more step that brought him outside the pool of light and into the dark. The car and the real world suddenly seemed like they were an entire universe away, lit up in a spotlight of swirling snow and the radio playing a fuzzy AM radio station.
“You surprised me,” the man cocked his head. “I like surprises.”
“You surprised me too,” he kept moving backwards. “Thought I was all alone out here.”
Dean glanced down at another set of boot tracks that were almost gone in the falling snow. A half an hour ago they’d pulled off the road because his brother wanted to stretch his legs before they crossed another state line without sleep. With a strange sense of relief, he saw Sam had walked in the opposite direction this man was taking him. He didn’t know why but he didn’t want his brother anywhere near this freak.
Listening to their footsteps crunch loudly in the snow, Dean didn’t hear anyone else around anyway.
Not that it mattered much because this fun filled evening of petty larceny and possibility of 1st degree manslaughter was soon going to be over. And the epic ass-kicking that would be comprising the exciting finale was going to be the best part.
“It’s a special day today,“ the man’s frozen smile stayed in place as he maneuvered Dean further back into the shadows. “Do you know what the date is?”
Walking backwards while keeping an eye on an armed lunatic wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t supposed to be this stupidly difficult either. Dean kept slipping and this time he went down hard, his shoulder planting painfully into a snow bank filled with chunks of ice. “W-What?” There was something in the lull of the guy’s voice and the weight of his gaze that was making it difficult to concentrate. “The date?”
“It’s the winter solstice.”
Dean realized he hadn’t blinked in a while, the frigid air stinging his eyes and making them run like tears down his face.
“You don’t look like royalty,” the man said. “You don’t look like anyone important at all.”
Letting out a growl of frustration, Dean didn’t understand how he’d allowed himself to get this far away from the car so fast. He should have disarmed this jerk-off by now and handed him his front teeth. Dean should be wiping his pistol clean with some snow and texting an address for the cops to send a paddy wagon. He should be doing anything besides listening to each and every single word that came out of this asshole’s mouth...
“I want you over there,” he nudged Dean with the pistol. “Back behind the fence.”
There was a small brick building at the far edge of the parking lot surrounded by sagging chain link. The weeds were frozen and brittle as they moved behind it. Everything in Dean’s head was saying that this was where he had to stop before he ended up with a bullet in the back of his skull. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t do anything but comply. Squeezing his eyes closed, he attempted to force some good old trusty Outrage to show up and lend a hand, but it looked like it was on vacation too.
He got a shove for being too slow to get down onto his knees.
“I really thought you’d be taller,” the man knelt beside him. “All the talk. All the stories. I thought you’d be one hundred miles high.”
“Maybe you got the wrong guy?“ Dean tried.
He knew he should have felt fear or even shock when the man’s eyes liquefied into solid black, but all he could feel was a dull burn of the snow falling on his face and sharp rocks through the denim under his knees. The pure black sure did explain the sad state of the body however. This demon had chosen a human already hovering near the end, a homeless drifter that wouldn’t have seen another day go by if this abomination wasn’t steaming under the surface.
“I’m so happy I found you,“ His proud grin matched the rot that flowed from the dripping round eyes. “She has so many of us searching and I am the one that succeeded. I found Sam Winchester.”
This idiot really did have the wrong guy.
“I-I’m not him…” It was getting hard to talk. “I…I’m not--”
“She said there would be two of you,” the man stroked the muzzle of the gun down Dean’s cheek before drawing it up under his chin. “She told me to watch for a big black car. She said I would see it on the longest night of the year. But I had to watch for a very long time. I had to travel many places. I had to walk and walk.”
Dean’s limbs felt heavy and useless as he was carefully searched. The far off lamp light caught the flat of the blade as it was pulled from its sheath.
“I want something,” the man said it with a child’s wistful vehemence. “I want something before She comes to take you away.”
“She owns me.”
Dean was confused by the real smile that suddenly appeared. The bleeding split lips peeled back in a grimace of pure joy over blackened teeth.
“She loves me.”
Dean didn’t expect he’d feel pity next, but he recognized a faithful slave when he saw one. This servant didn’t have his own passage in the bible or some minor variation of Sin to call his own. This was a mindless watch dog set to wander off its chain. Its boss probably had even forgotten dropping the thing off on some lonely highway with an order and a small kiss for good luck.
“But before She comes, I want to taste it first for myself,” the man‘s mouth contorted into hunger. “I have that right, Sam.”
“Wha-What the fuck are you talking about?”
“I want to taste what Azazel put in your blood.”
Dean’s mouth went dry, his shaking hands unable to push away the slight weight of the ferocious creature on top of him.
“Your brother doesn’t have it. I found him first and I drank and drank and all I tasted was water. His blood doesn‘t sing. His blood was barely warm.”
“S-Sam?” Dean felt panic spike through his haze.
“But your blood will be sweet.”
“Sam’s not…” Dean struggled to stay upright, his hands and elbows scraping on the frozen dirt. “I’m… I‘m not…”
The demon ignored him, smoothing bony hands through his hair, feeling his face and clenched jaw. Dean groaned when his mouth was forced open to the slick and putrid saliva running from the demon’s salivating tongue. He knew he should have been fighting the gnash of teeth on the flesh of his throat, human teeth that had no serration of a truly efficient animal, just blunt force and pressure--
The sudden blast of gunfire lit up the dark.
It was Sam.
Thrashing madly on the ground, the demon whined and spit as a full magazine was unloaded into its face. Still dazed, Dean watched the body next to him twitch knowing that bullets wouldn’t harm whatever it was that was attached to its insides. He knew his brother knew that too. But there was only so much damage that even a demon could keep walking and talking. When the skull was mostly gone, the black mass of its host began to assemble over the quivering corpse like smoke.
And with nothing handy and wardless nearby to take, it was gone with the next strong gust of wind.
“Dean?” Sam was pressing something against Dean’s neck. “You okay?”
“Been better,“ Dean couldn’t see very well, his vision still glowing with the gun‘s discharge. “Help me up.”
Sam hauled him to his feet, taking all the weight that Dean couldn’t handle and then some more. But now that they were all up close and personal he could get a better look at what the demon had done to his brother. Sam had definitely been in a fight but his neck didn’t have a single scratch or bite mark on it. Besides a bruise darkening one eye and a rip on his jacket, everything on Sam looked just fine. There was plenty of someone else’s blood on him though.
Dean took a second to think, wondering if the demon’s influence was still hanging on and doing things to his head.
“W-We have to get out of here, Sammy. Right now.”
“That thing isn’t coming back,” Sam waved off their demonic assailant as if it had just tried to annoy them by selling magazine subscriptions. “Don’t worry about it.”
“No, we have to go! It said it was working for a She.”
“How many Shes could there be?”
Dean thought it was a good sign that he was starting to feel righteously pissed off again. That deep down kind of pissed that made a guy believe he could put an aimed fist through a telephone pole by sheer will alone. As they headed back to the car he felt himself getting his legs back too, whatever sway the demon had on him wearing off with every deep breath of icy air.
“Sam?” Dean paused with his hand on the car door.
Sam’s face was unreadable. Bruised and tired.
“That thing back there thought it’d killed you,” Dean said. “It talked about drinking your blood like it drank you dry. But you look pretty okay to me.”
He watched his brother carefully for all the signs. The lie. The guilt. The thousands shades in between that meant everything but the truth. But this time, and to Dean’s surprise, all he found in Sam’s eyes was puzzled honesty. Sam turned to look back over the empty parking lot, the snow fall starting to create gentle slopes of white. The unlucky soul that would eventually discover the man’s body would be saved from most of the gruesome scene. It would all be buried under two feet of snow by tomorrow and neatly frozen for the cops.
“It did try to kill me,” Sam said. “I guess it just didn’t try hard enough.”
The car door creaked when Sam swung it closed without another word. Dean got in and fumbled with the engine, refocusing his attention on the flurry of snow in the headlights and the feel of the tires as they began to zigzag on slick asphalt. Touching the bloody cloth on his neck, he sincerely hoped that he wasn’t going to be needing stitches for this one. Because it wasn’t too often that both of them came out completely intact after a tangle with a full fledged demon.
He chanced a sideways look at his brother sitting silently in the passenger seat.
In fact, it was something his dad would’ve called a snow ball’s chance in hell.