Episode Twelve: Cult

By Kittsbud & BurstynOut

Part One

 

Defeated, Sam lowered his eyes and waited for the inhuman growl and hiss he knew would bring his demise.

Instead, laughter.

Haris, his eyes still lowered to the floor chuckled softly. "Giving up so easily, Samuel? I gotta say, I'm disappointed. You've gone soft on me." He shrugged and stepped closer to his captive allowing his host's breath to part the few strands of Sam's long hair that weren't plastered to his forehead with nervous sweat. "I guess it's understandable. Too many years spent hiding behind Daddy and big brother. My bad, I suppose."

Haris drew back again, eyeing Sam thoughtfully, his ears carefully trained on John and Dean behind him. "'Ts alright boy. I'm here now. Hiding's over. Obviously, that was all just an enormous waste of time. You've just been kidding yourselves all these years. You were never going to escape; not from me, not from your destiny, not from yourself…I've always had my claws in you, boy."

"You lie!" Sam spat, struggling against the invisible grip. The words were sharp, and his face was red with pain and anger, but he refused to look anywhere but at his captor. John and Dean would've seen the empty, dull look of resignation behind the biting remarks. They weren't the only ones who'd learned to don masks.

Again, laughter.

"Ha, ha, yes, that I do," Haris agreed readily. "But only when I need to. Truth works much better sometimes, though. But I do go on. Don't mind me. Ya see, a couple millennia in the ether kinda makes one miss the sound of one's own voice. And this guy," he indicated the body in which he resided, "is a lawyer. Has quite a vocabulary, and he can go on for hours. I think I like him. I may never stop talking." He half-winked and cocked a grin toward Sam who lifted his chin defiantly and looked down his nose at the demonic yellow eyes. "Just letting ya know." Haris sneered.

Sam stole a glance at John and Dean, refusing to meet their eyes but noting the way they stood half-crouched as though ready to take on Haris bare-handed. That would be suicide.

"Oh, Samuel, don't worry about them," Haris said. "They can't lay a hand on me or you unless I let them. Of course, if I let them, they won't live to regret it. That's on you. Just say the word, and I'm sure they'll spring to your aid. Wouldn't be the first time, but it'd sure as hell be the last. But then, that's kinda your M. O. isn't it? You've been ruining their lives for twenty-three years now."

Sam shook his head, eyes squinting angrily. "You lying bastard! Leave them out of it!"

"Oh, gladly, Samuel," Haris consented, face open and almost amicable. "I would have liked nothing better than to never have had to deal with John or Dean Winchester at all. You're the one who keeps them mired in this Samuel. You're the one who's ruined their lives. Made your father a vengeance-driven widower. Made your brother a pathetic social outcast who thinks his only purpose in life is to look out for you and Daddy. There's no chance he'll ever get a life of his own."

Sam grunted and struggled against the weight that pressed him into the wall once more. He couldn't help but meet his brother's gaze this time. Though Dean looked as stoic and concentrated as he always did in the thick of a hunt, Sam recognized the wavering shimmer in his eyes all too well.

"Oh yes, poor Deanie," Haris sneered, catching Sam's glance. "So broken, so pathetic, so lost. And who's fault is that? Hmm, Sam? Who was it that took little Deanie's mommy away? Who took his daddy? Who took his home? Who took his life, Samuel?" A beat. "Oh…that was you. You life-sucking little leech." Haris leaned closer again and smiled brightly, the lawyer's bonded veneers gleaming within spitting distance of Sam's face. "Good job, by the way. That's my boy."

Dean lunged forward but was held back by John's hand fisting in his jacket. He relented to curb his attack once he realized he had no weapon and, apparently, no backup, but shrugged his jacket back onto his shoulders brusquely. "Bastard!!" He shouted, defiantly. "You did all of that! Don't listen to him, Sammy!"

Haris gazed approvingly at John's hand now placed firmly on his son's shoulder. "Oh, do shut up," he sneered. "If I wanted any crap outta you, I'd just squeeze your head…Or, wait…maybe I'd just squeeze Sam's head. I mean, I wasn't going to go there, but if you insist…"

Dean paled and stilled beneath his father's grip, cringing inwardly as Haris smiled in approval. They glared at each other for several tense moments. Sensing a repeat of the Missouri standoff building, Sam broke the silence before Dean could.

"What do you want?" Sam demanded.

"Sam…" Dean interrupted. "Don't…"

"Shut up, Dean!" Sam snapped. No way was Dean going to keep him from finding out what he need to know this time, and no way was Dean going to force a change of venue. Not this time. "I wanna hear what he's got to say. I need to know."

"Good boy, Samuel," Haris commended, turning back to his captive with a pleased smirk. "Take charge. Be a man. Show me what you've got." Haris leaned in even closer than he had at any point prior. Sam could smell something bitter and metallic on his breath, like black coffee and blood, and hoped to God that wasn't what it really was. By then, the Demon was close enough that, if he'd been John or Dean, Sam knew he could've felt his eyelashes against his cheekbones. It was disconcerting, having those glowing eyes so close to his own that he couldn't focus on them or glean their intentions. The hostage's chest heaved as he tried to wrestle enough slack in the invisible grip to turn his head away from the reeking creature.

Haris pulled away again, eyes distracted and thoughtful. "Answers is what you want then, eh? I shoulda figured. I mean, you always were the smart one, college boy. Stanford, right? Pre-Law?" He nodded, as though reaching an agreement within his mind. "That could prove useful." His tone was leading, contemplative.

"I said," Sam gritted, teeth clamped and lips curled back in a snarl. "What do you want?"

"Ooh, spicy. I like that."

Haris took another step back and turned the movement into a small, controlled pace between the youngest Winchester and his would-be protectors. "Isn't it obvious?" He taunted. "C'mon, Samuel. Use a little common sense, here. What could I possibly want with you? What makes you so special? I mean, if it was your skill and training I coveted, then your father would surely be a better prize. If it was your blood, then your brother…" His eyes rolled back in feigned bliss."Oh yes, his blood is sooo sweet as I recall. Yummy. I'd have to say, the sweetest I've tasted in a good while. So no, Sam, it's not you I want, because when it all boils down to it, you're just one of them, and not even the best one, as humans go. No, I can have any mortal I want. I think I've proven that on more than one occasion."

Sam ceased to struggle momentarily. His brow furrowed deeply in confusion. "But you said you had plans for me," he said. "Me and all the children like me."

Haris pursed his lips and nodded. "Well, yes, I do need you, to some extent. But it's not so much you I need as what you have that I want."

"My powers," Sam stated bluntly. Of course, that was obvious. All manner of creatures were drawn to "the shining." He'd always assumed that's why their quarry usually turned on him when Dean would have seemed just as easy a target.

"Yes," Haris agreed. "Your powers. You know, those pesky little gifts of yours."

Sam snickered darkly at the mention of the word "gifts."

Haris returned the smirk. "Well, of course, you wouldn't see them as such. After all, they've led me to you and your family all these years. Kept me hot on your trail even when you thought it was you who pursued me. As long as you have them, Sam, I will always want you, and no one around you will be safe."

From beside him on the wall, Sam heard Sarah utter a frightened whimper as invisible claws tightened around her throat as emphasis to Haris' threat.

"Stop it!"

"Oh, I can, Samuel," Haris said. "I can stop it. Whattya say, Mr. Pre-Law? You know something about contracts? Wanna play Let's Make a Deal?'"

Sam laughed again, this time in bitter amusement. "Why? It's not like you'd honor it."

Haris' head jerked back as though he'd been struck. His lips pursed in a silent "ooh," and his eyebrows furrowed in feigned surprise. "I'm truly hurt by that," he lied. "Well, no, I'm not. Good to know my reputation precedes me." He lowered his chin back down to line his eyes back up with Sam's as he glared maniacally. "Really, though, what choice do you have? Don't you at least wanna hear it?"

"Ahh!" Sarah cried out again, tears streaming down her face as she was squeezed too tightly against the wall to draw breath.

Grunting in frustration, Sam conceded. "Fine! Let's hear it!"

Behind them, Dean took another step forward, straining to get to his brother like a pit bull on a chain.

"Oh, Samuel, Samuel. How do you know you won't like this?" Haris asked. "You don't even want your powers. They're a regular pain in your ass," he stated matter-of-factly. "Not to mention a pain in the asses of everyone you care about. Wouldn't you like for them to just be gone?"

He would. Sam so wanted it to all be over, the dreams, the headaches, the friggin' come-and-go telekinesis that seemed always to go at the most inopportune times. He hated that the Demon had picked up on his denial and loathing. Whether or not the powers were meant to be a gift, his abhorrence for them was his weakness, and the Demon had found it. He looked away, unwilling to show that his interest had been piqued.

Haris saw it anyway. He leaned back, placed his hands in the pockets of his suit jacket, and tucked his chin into his chest. If he'd put on a couple hundred more pounds and donned a red suit, he'd have looked downright jolly; he was so pleased with himself.

"I can make this go away. If you want, I can take your powers right off your hands," he suggested politely, as though he were offering an iced tea on a hot, southern, summer afternoon. "Won't even hurt a bit," he assured. "You just gotta give 'em to me willingly. That's it. You do that, and you can go back to your normal life. Hey," he suggested with a shrug, "might even make a nice life with Sarah here. I'll go on about my business, and you and yours will never hear from me again."

Sam considered the offer but didn't answer. After all, the "business" Haris was referring to wasn't exactly house painting. His eyes darted about the room as he tried to gain focus with options swirling in his mind.

Confused, he looked to John and Dean. John met his gaze with what he imagined was a reflection of his own, shocked and uncertain. Dean however, shook his head slowly and mouthed, "No, Sam," with a determined set to his hazel eyes that Sam knew stemmed from his brother's uncanny ability to cut through the crap and see what was real and true. He trusted Dean above all others, but he ducked his eyes away, wishing that Dean had said anything else but that.

"What's the matter, Samuel?" Haris asked, voice still calm and calculated. He really did appear to be willing to listen to himself talk forever. There was not even a twinge of impatience to indicate that he was drawing short of tolerance. "Don't be like that, son. This deal's more than fair," he suggested. "You get what you want, and I get what's rightfully mine."

Mine? His?

Sam's head jerked up, and his lower jaw began to twitch as though it struggled to draw words of protest through his tightening throat.

"Sam, don't," Dean said, out loud this time, no longer able to get Sam's eyes to focus on him.

"That's right, Samuel," Haris countered. "Listen to your brother. Don’t listen to me. It's all good." He sighed, but Sam could tell it was only feigned. "I was just trying to make this easier on you. You've been a worthy adversary for a couple decades now. But don’t kid yourself. I don't need you to talk this out. I don't need you to give me your powers. Whatever I want…I can take."

Haris lowered his head, eyes to the floor, and the conduits above them reverberated with the unearthly growl that shook the air around them.

Suddenly, Sam's head snapped back against the wall, and he groaned through gritted teeth. His chest began to heave with stifled screams. Blood trickled and then ran freely from his nose, forcing him to open his mouth in order to breathe. As the blood flowed over his lip, he tilted his head reflexively to smear it across the shoulder of his jacket. When he lifted it once more, the whites of both eyes had gone red as well.

Haris grinned. "C'mon, Sammy boy. You got all that power. Why don’t you make me stop?"

Granted a moment's reprieve, Sam drew in a few deeper breaths of air and blinked through cloudy, red tears.

The Demon seemed downright giddy by then, the coppery scent that was now pungent in the air acting as a pheromone for his blood lust. "Oh, that's right. You haven't figured that part out yet," he sneered. "I forgot. Ain't that a bitch?"

Dean watched Sam sway against the wall as blood streamed from his tear ducts and ran around his lips like river tributaries at an ocean delta. Unwilling to accept being sidelined for a moment longer, he lunged free of his father's restraining grasp and leapt to his brother's aid.

He managed to cover several yards of the divide, but before he could get within arm's length of Sam, he was flung back into the corner. His head snapped against the concrete and rendered him dazed to the point of being unable to stand on his own.

"Ooh," Haris grimaced mockingly. "That hadda hurt."

He turned back to Sam, his gaze locked in determination. "As I was saying. You don't have to give me the powers. I can take them." He held a hand beneath Sam's chin, caught several drops of flowing blood, and raised his bloody fingers for Sam to inspect before he licked them clean, eyes rolling in bliss. "But you won't survive the stripping ritual, I'm afraid. And, of course, if you force me to go that route, I'll have no use for Daddy, Dean, or Sarah anymore. All bets are off then. Unless you wanna reconsider that deal."

John helped Dean to his feet slowly, noting the pained glaze in his eyes, and kept his body between his son and the Demon as he listened intently. Dean surprised him when he yelled out from his protected niche. "Don't listen to him, Sammy," his older son instructed, voice trembling like his knees. "He's gonna kill us either way."

Desperate, Sam twisted his head from side to side in an effort to force his shoulders loose, but made no progress. Exhausted, he sagged back against it with a sigh, glaring at Haris with his blood-red eyes.

"Mmm, a quiet one," Haris noted contemplatively. "Guess I shouldn't really be surprised." He moved closer to Sam and tilted his head sideways with a quirk of his eyebrows in an almost amicable expression as though he were only going to brush his hair back from his forehead. "You know who else was really quiet?" He said. "Mary." He grinned and stepped back, pleased as Sam's eyes narrowed in anger. "Oh, well, she really didn't have a choice. I was squeezing her so tightly that she couldn’t even whimper, really. I couldn't take the chance on her screaming, what, with Daddy downstairs and Golden Boy asleep down the hall. That one did sneak out, though, and mmm, it was so sweet."

Haris threw his head back, blinking lazily, as though savoring a delicious sentimental moment with children at Christmas. "Too bad. I woulda liked to hear her scream more. She woulda sang so pretty. Sounded like bells…"

John and Dean both lunged forward this time only to find themselves tossed bonelessly back into the corner, both grunting between trembling jaws as their eyes darkened with fury.

Haris didn't even blink, just continued his monologue as though the elder Winchesters were nothing more than flies.

"Jess, on the other hand," he continued. "She was a screamer." He laughed gleefully. "I thought she'd never stop. I just let her go on and on…coulda listened to that siren sing forever. See, I figured if she kept it up, then maybe you'd hear and show yourself, Sam. Thought you'd play hero and come rushing in to save the day. But no, you didn't. You missed the entire show. 'Cuz you weren't there, were you? A real shame. It was a helluva finale." He turned to Sarah, gazing at her as if only just discovering a hidden flower amongst dandelions. "But hey, you don't wanna take the deal…I can arrange for a repeat performance."

Sarah's chest rose and fell more deeply for a moment, as though the grip around her had loosened enough for her to breathe once more. Then, as though pulled by her shoulders, she was dragged higher up the wall. Sam found his head released from the grip of his nemesis and turned it to watch in horror as Sarah began to scream in agony.

A tearing sound crackled through the air, and the demonic growling commenced, decibels louder than it had been previously. First there was only one slash, a harmless-looking slip in the silk fabric of her tailored, white blouse that became foreboding as the red outline spread and seeped across her stomach. Her screams became louder and more broken, until they were just one continuous keening wail as the slash marks spread upwards along her torso. Her deep brown eyes were dark with pain and pleading.

"STOP!" Sam shouted, unable to take anymore. "STOP! Whatever you want, I'll do it."

"Sammy!" Dean shouted. "Sam, no!" But his cries fell on deaf ears.

"I'll do it," Sam whispered, spent.

Haris grinned as Sarah's screams subsided to hitched whimpers and moans, her body sliding slowly to the floor. "I thought you'd see things my way," he sneered. "So be it."

Sam tumbled to the floor, arms and legs tingling from lack of circulation. He struggled against the stabbing of the pins and needles, dragging himself to a half-stand and staggering toward Sarah. He was nearly at her side when a dark-clad figure emerged from the shadows.

A single blow to the back of the head left Sam blissfully unconscious on the hard concrete.

Two more figures emerged, and Haris nodded to his fallen captive. Obediently, the newcomers lifted the slack Winchester and began to drag him toward the exit.

"Sammy!" Dean and John shouted simultaneously. Both lunged forward, desperate to intervene, but were met instead with a wall of dark-clad interlopers. The henchmen seemed to come out of the woodwork, all clad in black but looking, in all their stocky, long-haired, tattooed glory, like Hell's Angels on a ninja kick.

"Oh," Haris said, putting a hand to his chin thoughtfully. "I think I promised Sam I'd let you live." He glanced at the unconscious figure being dragged across the floor. "Well, what he don't know won't hurt him."

"John, Dean," he said. "These are my boys. Wish I could stay for the show, but well, I've never been one to overstay my welcome." Haris turned, hands clasped behind his back decisively, and strode after his prize. As he reached the doorway, he raised one hand and snapped his fingers.

In an instant, the wall of dark soldiers descended.

John and Dean unconsciously backed up, the eldest Winchester noting his son’s still faltering gait as they recoiled from their foes. Dean had taken quite a knock, and even though John was certain he would try and fight, the father was also sure his son would not emerge victorious.

But then, with the amount of opposition they faced, it was pretty much a certainty that neither would live to see another dawn, regardless.

“Where are you taking my brother, you sons of bitches?” The question was spat out with such venom Dean almost reminded himself of the “snake girl” he had once been so entranced by. Right now, he almost wished he had the use of her gift in this fight, as he swayed precariously on knees that didn’t seem to want to carry his weight.

The lead bad guy grunted, his thick-set frame and Nordic features contorting with a bemused grin. “Not something you need to know, little one.” The voice was cavernous, taunting - the depth of his tones almost sinking below a normal human’s vocal range. And yet, this was no demon. No darkness tainted his eyes.

“'Little one?'” Dean’s head tipped to the side in feigned shock and he forced a smirk. “Dude, just because I’m not as tall as my brother doesn’t mean I can’t kick all your asses and have some steel toe left to take out your buddy Harry.” The hunter blinked, trying not to show that his vision was still swimming in and out of focus from the demon’s attack.

Deception was the only game they could play now, and damned if Dean wasn’t getting good at it after spending so much time in the presence of demons and their familiars.

“Dean…” John shot a warning glance at his eldest, knowing Dean would attack the growing mob before them, going on instinct alone. Sometimes his son’s ill-conceived bravado paid off, but not here, not now. There was a time to fight and a time to reason. “You think because you follow that thing it’ll give you immortality, riches, power?” The experienced hunter put his attention on the blond behemoth who seemed to be the leader of Haris’ cohorts. “Trust me, all you’ll get is a quick death.”

The thug laughed, taking the time to turn and nod knowingly at his comrades in arms. When he turned back, he pulled out a small curved blade with serrated notches along one edge. He flashed it through the still cascading light in the center of the room. “Death,” he acknowledged, pursing his lips, “is our ultimate goal. These mere mortal suits we call bodies have too many limitations…”

Dean straightened from his crouched, fighting stance, a look of sudden realization spreading across his face as he waved his arms almost dismissively. "Dude, I never thought of that. You just might have a point there. Let's see," he taunted, placing a hand to his chin as though deep in thought, "Quick death and possible resurrection as a mindless zombie or a life of getting your ass beat down fighting the good fight against an undying legion? Hmm?" A beat. "You know, I'm getting kinda tired of getting my ass handed to me, and yeah, this whole situation is looking pretty grim, so I'm thinking I might like to join the winning team for a change. What exactly do I gotta do to get into the Hary Cary club? I mean, is there some kind of initiation?"

As he talked, Dean took a small, casual step forward. He was scrutinizing every part of the group before him. Their number, their positions, their readiness to fight. From what he could tell, only the blond leader appeared to be armed, although under the dark, almost robe-like clothing they could have a plethora of hidden artillery.

The hunter paused, his eyes zeroing in on a small tattoo that ran along one of the bad guys’ hands. The colorful sigil brought back a memory from an earlier gig in Louisiana, and the realization finally hit home that he had fought members of this group before. These are the bastards that stole my necklace! Why would they want the amulet?

Dean licked his lips. "Whoa, nice tattoo, man. That the 'get in the country club free' logo? I'm thinking I need one of those. Is there a party involved? Like, do we get to sit around, play truth or dare maybe, paint pictures on each other, and braid our hair?"

The goons were obviously not used to being taunted. If they'd been bluffing, then it would've just been called. But why bluff when you had the winning hand? They stood their ground, unflinching as Dean eyeballed them through pain-glazed eyes.

Dean used the moment's hesitation and stole a quick glance to the mill’s cold concrete floor. Sarah had curled into a ball, clutching at the heinous wounds inflicted by Haris to try and stem the blood flow. Still, the scarlet liquid ebbed from her body and seeped through her fingers until it pooled, just like his own had back at the cabin in Missouri.

The hunter flinched, instantly feeling the pain Sarah was enduring as if it were his own. Once, not so long ago, it had been.

The blond leader followed his gaze and seemed to understand the brother’s thinking. Perhaps Haris had informed his “toy soldiers” about the Winchesters, or perhaps it was simply intuition. Either way, the stocky disciple decided he wanted a show of his authority. Enough with the grandstanding already.

Killing John and Dean for his master would, undoubtedly, be easy with so many of the cult members at his disposal, but killing the girl first and letting his people soak in his sacrificial offering would be much sweeter- especially if the Winchester boys were made to watch. After all, what was a sacrifice with no one to mourn the price?

“I think it’s time to put your brother’s play thing out of her misery, don’t you? I can see her pitiful moaning is bringing back bad memories for you, little one.” He made the blade in his hand cut a slicing motion near his own neck and then grinned. “I’d hate for you to have any unpleasant thoughts of our master. It is our job to defend his honor, after all…better to slit the bitch’s throat now and end both your torments…”

Dean’s eyes flashed to his father’s, and this time John let his head tip just enough for his son to see his acknowledgement. They were outnumbered four-to-one. There was no chance of escape, but if they were going to die, it would be fighting to save Sarah from anymore suffering. The blood of innocents wasn't a price they paid often or willingly. That was the Winchester way.

The blond leviathan stooped, grabbing a handful of Sarah’s hair and tugging at it until her head was yanked pitilessly from the concrete where it had rested. She screamed in pain and fear, but the cry was half-muted by the blood rising in her throat.

Sensing, needing, wanting the kill, the dark-clad mob began to chant in some unknown dialect. Some flicked back their cloaks to reveal hideously sharpened weapons whichthey clanked together over their heads in some malevolent salute to both leader and demonic master.

The show of intrinsic evil was all the catalyst Dean and John needed.

Both Winchesters dived for the leader, knowing if they could take him as a hostage they might hold off the rest of the group.

While Dean concentrated on acquiring the knife, John attempted to subdue their quarry with a swift and painful right jab to his mouth. “You talk too much, just like the thing you serve!”

Neither the blow nor the jibe seemed to faze the thug, and, instead, he licked the small glob of blood that formed on his bottom lip as if it were candy, savoring the taste of iron with glee.

“Kill them!” The leader’s bass tones echoed through the mill, and any hesitation his group felt dissolved at his command.

The mob moved forward as John punched their commander again in an effort to force his submission, but the man was just too strong. In all his time fighting the ungodly, the elder hunter had never come across anyone without demonic powers who could withstand such punishment without flinching. “Who the hell are you?” He gasped down a breath and dared to steal a fleeting look at the throng gathering around him.

“Or maybe what the hell are you?” Dean offered, finally prying the curved knife from his captive’s fingers with a determined tug. “Maybe Harry gave you a little extra something to keep your followers under your thumb, huh?”

Dean pressed the blade to his foe’s throat until it dented the flesh but didn’t quite draw blood. “Back off or your man here gets his wish to join ol’ Harry in hell.” He addressed the cult members as if they might actually care.

A figure stepped from the mob. Small, yet intimidating like his master. He sported the same tattooed sigil as the rest, although he wore no robe. In his left hand, he carried an axe that reminded Dean of the one Mordachai Murdock had used. “We don’t bargain. We kill.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say. You freaks are kinda redundant with your dialogue. Guess you caught that from Harry, too.” Dean pushed the leader harshly to the ground and made a dash for Sarah.

John did much the same, and between father and son they managed to lift the girl to her feet. She groaned in protest as her body was yanked swiftly from what she had assumed would be her last resting place. “Leave…me,” she pleaded. “You can’t fight them off and carry me.”

“Sweetheart, I’m not leaving you anywhere.” Dean winked, needing to keep Sarah awake, even if he had to be a sarcastic rogue to do it. “Hell, I told Sammy to marry you. Can’t just go and leave you here, now can I?” He paused, turning sharply to toss the knife he’d acquired after their pursuers.

The blade zipped past “axe man’s” head and bounced off the nearby wall, clattering to the concrete with a metallic clank.

“You need to practice your…knife throwing skills,” Sarah panted, slightly impressed with the fact they had evaded capture for a minute. Even if it was a minute her failing body couldn’t afford.

“She has a point, son.” John’s eyes twinkled briefly, and he let go of Sarah’s arm, frantically tugging at a rusty door handle that appeared to be their only escape route.

Dean huffed, not believing his abilities were being questioned, given their current situation. “Bite me,” he retorted, "See how your aim is when you're seeing everything in triplicate. And how do you know I didn't mean to miss him?" He said, grabbing a small hunk of steel he’d spotted on the floor with his free hand and whirling it in the face of the nearest thug.

The steel bounced off the man’s nasal bone, leaving it squashed and bloodied, but he still kept coming, managing to land a fist in Dean’s face before he had time to dodge the punch.

Dean staggered back, losing his tenuous grip on Sarah as the blow made his ears ring. So gotta stop getting tossed around by bad guys today…

John caught Sarah before she could hit the ground and gave up on opening the door. It was either locked or barricaded from the other side. That meant they were now backed into a corner by Haris’ goons with no way out. I can’t die here, not while that bastard demon has my son…

Dean retrieved his steel bludgeon and spun it around like a band leader’s baton, taking position between the lead bad guy and his father, who now cradled the failing Sarah in his arms. “I’m gonna kick your ass,” he addressed “axe man.” “And then I’m gonna kick your ass…” The hunter pointed his makeshift weapon at the blond leader, letting him know he and his father would never surrender. Gotta get out of here, for Sammy’s sake…

The gang stopped advancing, their leader pushing through their masses until he was nose to nose with Dean. A hand-to-hand fight, suited him just fine.

He waved a hand, signaling for the mob to back up just enough to make room for his little “arena.” “Ah, little one. Time for me to snap your neck like a turkey’s before Thanksgiving.”

“Yeah?” Dean’s eyebrow rose cockily. and he continued to twist his metal baton. “Dude, lotta people tried, lotta people died.” At least they don’t have guns…

“Am I supposed to be impressed?” The leader unexpectedly grabbed one of his own people from the crowd and wrapped a brawny arm around the man’s neck. Without remorse or guilt, he squeezed until a grating crunch signaled the snapping of the man’s vertebrae.

Unfazed, the leader let his cohort’s body slump from his grasp and then stepped over it towards Dean. If the Winchesters had ever doubted his strength, they didn’t now.

Shit! Dean didn’t wait to feel his own neck being crushed by the demon’s advocate. He swung back with the bar, fully intending to slam it into the arrogant jerk’s face until he backed off or fell down. Hand-to-hand was only fair if the odds weren’t stacked in the other guy’s favor, and right now, Dean was sure they were.

The steel bar reached halfway to its destination before its intended target caught it with one hand, stopping its motion mid-flight.

Dean looked on incredulously as Haris’ pawn tore the rod from his grip and tossed it aside with a shrug. “Turkey time, little one.” He smiled, beckoning for Dean to come forward and accept his fate.

“Yeah, well no offence, dude, but I’m a steak man myself…I don’t hear any gobble, gobble.” Dean backed up until he was level with John and Sarah. He glanced at the girl who was almost unconscious now and wanted to tell her he was sorry. Sorry he’d encouraged Sam to see her. Sorry he’d let her get involved when all the women in their family ended up dead.

Dean turned his attention to John, unsure if he even had time for words. If this was to be their final swan song, there should be something said between them. Something, anything to bridge the gap caused by the demon and make them a real family before it was too late. “Dad…”

"Don't," John said sadly. If anyone should have been mending fences at that moment, it was John, and he knew it. His own words failed him, but he'd be damned if he'd let his son spend his last moments accepting any of the responsibility for what their relationship had become.

John's eyes spoke volumes that Dean could read even in the failing light, but his mouth never got the chance to speak the words.



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