Season Two

Episode One: Call To Darkness

By Kittsbud & Tree

Part One

 

Interior Chamber

Sam could hear the pitiful screams of grown men as they were torn to shreds by demonic hands. Men that he had once fought with, hunted with, and maybe now was going to die with. He could hear the disjointed rattle of guns blazing all around him, empty shells clattering to the ground as round after round was spent battling Haris’s legions.

The young hunter could smell the acrid fog of unending weapons’ fire, the familiar choking haze of gunpowder filling his nostrils until he wanted to gag. He could smell the aroma of burning wax and tallow smoke from the now extinguished candles that had surrounded him.

Every one of his senses was on alert, and even though the room had been plunged into pitch black, he could “feel” what was going on.

Sam didn’t try to move. He couldn’t. Somehow, the cacophony of sound barraging his mind had paralyzed him to the altar as if he’d been drugged.

Even though one arm had been cut free from its bonds as Dean had been shot, he couldn’t coerce his muscles into movement. He felt numb, dead, even though the blade his brother had held had only nicked his skin as Dean had fallen.

“Dean!” Sam tried to see into the darkness, tried to listen for a muted response from his brother to indicate he was still alive, but all his straining ears could discern were the cries of the dying intermixed with the yells of the defiant that still waged their war.

Somewhere among those men was his father. The father that had just put a bullet into his eldest son, little realizing Dean had never meant to harm his sibling.

Sam clenched his eyes closed and rolled onto his side, trying not to sit up for fear it made him more of a target. He could feel his free hand shaking as he fumbled to try and untie the ropes that still bound him to the altar.

Where’s Dean?

Sam let his fingers close around the twine on his wrist and began to tug at. He had to get free, had to find his brother and try to help him.

Sam had seen Dean being possessed in Haris’s chamber, had seen the oily black hue of his eyes when he’d passed through the crowd of chanters to the altar, and yet, Sam was convinced Dean’s knife cutting the cord on his wrist had been no accident.

Some part of Dean was still Dean. How else could he have been hurt by a bullet anyway? Humans possessed by a demon were usually blissfully unaware they even had an injury until the demon was expelled – just like Meg.

Sam’s long fingers abruptly began to work faster on his bonds, suddenly spurred on by the realization that if Dean really was still Dean, John’s bullet could have seriously injured him.

But what if…?

A stray slug zinged past Sam’s skull inches from clipping his temple, ricocheting of the wall behind him with a metallic twang. He flinched, instinctively ducking as another salvo of small arms fire erupted from the far corner, briefly illuminating the underground room with flashes of white light.

What if…?

What if he was wrong? What if Dean really had intended to plunge the knife into his throat and John’s shot had saved him? What if Dean really was possessed? After all, how could he not be?

Sam felt the cord around his wrist loosen and he tugged it quickly away, freeing his other arm. Hunching over, he began to work on the final bonds to his ankles. As he pried at the rope, he squinted into the gloom, using the flash from the weapons fire to try to gain his bearings.

Maybe just the impact of the bullet knocked Dean back. Maybe he’s already trying to find me again in the darkness to finish me…

Sam shook his head. For the briefest of moments before John had taken aim, he was sure he’d seen Dean’s hazel eyes staring down at him, eyes that had spoken volumes without a single word being spoken. Eyes that had said “I’m not gonna kill you lil’ bro” over and over, even though Dean’s actions had said the opposite.

Sam pulled away the last remnants of his fetters and swung his legs down from the altar just as something seemed to fizz to his left. For a second, he didn’t recognize the sound and abruptly found himself blinded by a brilliant red burst of light.

The young hunter threw a hand to his temple, guarding his eyes as they adjusted to the flare someone had tossed into the middle of the room. Within a few seconds, he wished he had kept his hand further down shielding his view from the horrors that littered the concrete floor.

Bodies of countless hunters lay strewn haphazardly in pools of their own congealing blood. Limbs lay askew at odd angles where they had been torn from their sockets by angry demonic hands.

Moans of dying friends, hunters, maybe family filled his ears - filled his heart with dread. And through it all, yet more intermittent gunfire as if a few stragglers hadn’t realized the battle was over, the war seemingly lost before they’d even begun.

“Dean! Dad!” Sam’s eyes darted from corpse to corpse until they settled on a battered and bloodied body he was sure he recognized.

It wasn’t his father or his brother, but a colleague. Frank Driscoll had been a good tracker – his specialty had been werewolves, but he would turn a hand to anything should the need arise, and it had.

As Sam watched in morbid fascination, the body began to move, an unearthly black miasma seeping across the chamber floor and through Driscoll’s nostrils until he began to rise.

Was this the fate of hunters who had not yet quite drawn their last breath? Becoming vessels for “homeless” demons so they might continue the fight, the war against mankind?

Sam fell to his knees at the side of the sacrificial table and quickly began to fumble in the dull light until his fingers touched something metallic. Tugging out the forty-five from beneath a dead man, he took aim, careful to go for a head shot.

The black ooze was almost completely in the dying Driscoll now, had almost completely possessed his shell keeping his broken and bleeding body alive as a human vase.

“No you don’t, you bastard!” Sam pulled the trigger repeatedly until the click of the hammer on nothing told him he’d expended every shell. Still he continued to pull back, seeing Meg Masters die over and over again in his arms. He wasn’t going to have Driscoll suffer for months like that. Wasn’t going to let a friend with no hope be used by some creature of the dark.

Driscoll’s body slumped onto the concrete, nothing left of what had once been his skull. The throbbing black demon fog billowed from his body, oozing across the floor at low level until it found a grating and seeped effortlessly into it.

Sam began to breathe heavily, his heart throbbing in his chest. What if Dean was trapped somehow like Meg? What if Dean was still in there, forced to share his body with the very thing he hunted?

The forty-five dropped from Sam’s grasp as he suddenly envisaged Dean’s body on the floor before him instead of Driscoll’s. Dean lying broken, bleeding, dead by his hand. The youngest Winchester began to shake until he lost all focus of what was still transpiring – and of who or what was behind him.

A heavy hand clamped down on Sam’s shoulder, twisting him around with such force he almost lost his balance. Maybe it was Dean come to finish the sacrifice. Maybe it was Haris come to collect.

Alea iacta est, Samuel…

Right now, as Sam looked upon the carnage and death around him, he didn’t even care.

 

* * * *

 

The pain called to him, drawing him back to some semblance of consciousness he wasn’t sure he wanted to visit yet. It was much nicer to stay in the darkness, the fog that his mind had wandered into after his last fleeting memory.

Some bastard shot me!

As Dean’s body had been propelled backwards by the impact of the bullet he’d had little chance to see his assailant. All that his tormented mind could focus on was Sammy anyway. Sammy his brother, Sammy, the one he’d been about to give a Colombian necktie…

No! I wasn’t going to do it…I could never hurt Sammy.

The problem was his semi-cognizant mind wasn’t sure, was it? The whole scene was like some fuzzy overplayed video in his head, and frankly, this tape was so worn it had spots missing. Blank areas where Dean really wasn’t sure who had been in control.

I can control it…it doesn’t define me…

Inside he felt something shift – nothing physical, but definitely a presence. The demon wanted his soul. It wanted to use him, to beat him down into submission until he obeyed its every whim. It wanted him to be the pawn in Haris’s trap to command Sam. But most of all, it wanted to know how the hell he was subduing it.

Dean groaned, a thin smile playing over his lips as he took down a harried breath and almost gagged on the sulfur and gun smoke in the air. “It must really piss you off that you’re in there and can’t give the orders, you sonofabitch…”

The entity within him seemed to tear at his psyche, some inner growl echoing in his mind even though there was truly nothing audible to hear save for the unending spatter of bullets on concrete.

Dean enjoyed the demon’s frustration. He enjoyed knowing there was something at last that could prevent such a creature from taking over a person completely, even though he had no clue what that something was.

Gotta find Sammy. Gotta let him know I wasn’t gonna hurt him…I could never hurt him, could I?

The hunter tried to push up on his scraped elbows, but his right arm just wouldn’t support his weight. He cringed, remembering the wound inflicted by some unknown gunman – probably a hunter thinking he was playing for the other team. It hurt, but not enough. From what he could tell the slug had passed straight through without shattering any bone or major blood vessels. Clean entry and exit. But even so, he should be in agony right about now instead of feeling a dull ache through his shoulder.

He let fingers probe to convince himself, but he had already guessed what was happening. Maybe he was in control of the demon, but it was still part of him. While ever it was “on board” and had any influence, his physical body would be somewhat shielded from pain and injury.

Dean huffed and he tried to roll behind a podium Haris had used to give speeches to his “troops.” It was barely what he would call good cover, but he was still far too groggy to join the melee or try and find a better haven until he could explain himself to Sam.

Gee, little brother, I’m really not possessed. These are just black Halloween contacts from Wal-Mart…Yeah, he’ll really buy that one after I put a knife to his throat! Shit!

Dean felt his body sag against the hard wood of the platform and he let out a breath, realizing his mind was still reeling. Was it the demon? Was he losing control? Hell, had he ever had full control?

Are you sure you didn’t try to kill your brother, Dean? REALLY sure? The sentence was like an echo through his subconscious, but the words didn’t come from his own mind. They were bitter, taunting – evil.

Dean was tempted to slam his palms over his ears to quell the demon’s tirade, but he knew it was useless. The words were in his head.

In fact, are you REALLY sure you didn’t finish the job? I think you did, and now you just don’t want to remember it…

“No!” Dean forgot he was hiding, forgot that he was now a wanted man by Haris, and probably any number of his own kind who had seen the flash of black in his eyes as he’d hovered over Sam at the altar.

Voices began to shout across the chamber and a new volley of bullets cut through the darkness. How anyone knew what they were shooting at was beyond the hunter, but at least they didn’t seem to have heard his outburst. He looked around, but there was nothing to see, no one for the rescue party or their foes to aim at in the gloom. But then, maybe demons could see without light. Hell was supposed to be pretty damn dark after all.

“Bring me the firstborn!” Haris’s tone was sharp, acidic as he barked orders to his demon-possessed soldiers from some unseen location. “Regroup as we planned…”

Dean dared to bob his head from around the dais, at first not realizing he was the one being sought out among the bodies now littering the chamber.

Firstborn…

A sudden flashback of a grimy cabin in lush swampland entered his mind. Only the crotchety old man that had given him the amulet had ever called him that. Did it mean anything? And why the hell does that yellow-eyed bastard suddenly want me? Wasn’t this always about Sam?

Dean shook his head, trying to clear the disorientation that still clouded his mind and judgment. If only it wasn’t so damn dark. If only he could see what was going on and know his brother was safe.

“Going somewhere?”

Dean’s eyes darted up, picking out a towering form above him in the shadows. It was one of Haris’s guards from the cells, and he looked pretty pissed – although how exactly you got such a big-ass demon pissed was anybody’s guess.

“I guess this isn’t Disneyland, huh?” Dean’s lips curled into a smirk even though the creature above him had already grabbed his collar and held him by it until his feet dangled several inches from the floor. “You know, Haris is so gonna kick your ass for treating one of his kids like this…”

The guard’s own raven eyes narrowed as he saw the flick of black cross over Dean’s, but still he shook his head. Orders were orders, and Haris was not a forgiving master. “You are not one of the master’s legions…”

The thing turned, ignoring the clip of bullets that a hunter emptied into its back. It felt nothing only the burning desire to please the dark one, its father.

Dean lashed out with his good arm, trying to dislodge the demon’s grip, trying to fight it with the extra strength he now had within, but it was useless. To tap into the demon’s power he carried was like letting it have just that little bit more control. Every time he did so, the voices inside began to scream anew, tempting him to give into them. Tempting him to join the dark side.

In the center of the chamber someone let off a bright red flare, and for a second Dean could have sworn he heard Sam’s soft tones calling out to him. He opened his mouth, considering shouting out that he was alive, that he was being taken, but at the last minute he clamped his jaw closed again. Maybe that was what Haris wanted. Maybe he was the bait now.

Are you sure he’s even alive? You had a knife at his jugular, Dean…

No!

Dean’s temper blazed almost as fierce as the flare now glowing brightly in the chamber. He hated the thing within him, hated its jibes for fear they might be true. What’s more, he hated himself for allowing any of this to happen.

He was helpless, being lugged out of the room like a slaughtered animal, his boots dragging on the floor as he was hauled behind the huge behemoth that was his hellish captor. And all because he had trusted Zack and that damned code word.

Dean licked his lips, tasting the tang of his own blood as he suddenly had the insane urge to hum. He wasn’t on a plane. He wasn’t even being dangled off the floor anymore, but somehow hearing the defiant drone of his own voice was comforting at a level only Dean Winchester understood. It kept him focused. It kept him in control. It kept him human.

The demon entered a secondary corridor and turned, cocking its head in bemusement. As it briefly looked down at him, Dean continued his version of The Stones Sympathy for the Devil, with a smirk. He was getting just the reaction he’d hoped for.

“Gotta have sympathy for your boss, dude, ‘cause damned if he isn’t going to regret having his kid possess this Winchester’s ass…”

The guard’s expression remained neutral, but with one swift backhand it slammed Dean into the nearby stone wall so hard there would be no more quips. No more defiance.

Satisfied with its handiwork, it nodded, picking up the bloodied hunter and tossing him over its shoulder as it followed its master from the complex.


* * * *


Sam felt the hand squeeze his shoulder in something akin to affection and he exhaled. The eyes that now looked down into his were not the black orbs of a demon, but the reassuring eyes of his father. “Sam…”

John pulled his youngest into a quick bear hug and then stood back to check him over. When his searching gaze found no serious injuries or unwanted bullet holes, he nodded, relief clear in his expression.

It had been bad enough having to watch as Dean pressed a blade to Sam’s neck, but if his youngest had been hurt by a stray hunter’s bullet John would never have forgiven himself. The brothers had been through so much already because of his sometimes misguided crusade.

John cleared his throat. Maybe Dean had already paid the ultimate price for his blind loyalty to his family. The bullet wound he’d sustained wasn’t serious – John had never intended for it to be a kill shot, but wherever Dean was, he was still possessed. Maybe there was no way to fix that.

Exorcisms worked, but not always. Sometimes the ritual was too much for the broken body once the demon inside was vanquished. And tonight, who knew what damage Dean had already been subjected to?

“Dad? Where the hell is Dean?” Sam pushed away from the altar, letting the ropes that had secured him fall as he faced his father. “You shot him…how could you..?”

The father sensed anger, fear, resentment, but then that was only to be expected. “Sam, I had to. You saw the color of his eyes. He was possessed and you know it.” John’s voice remained neutral, low, even though inside hurting his eldest had torn his heart in two.

Part of him still wished every day that Sam had killed him back at the cabin and taken the demon with it. Part of him ached knowing because he’d lived, the damned thing still walked the earth hurting people – hurting his kids.

Sam looked around, noting the gunfire had finally ceased. Bobby was somewhere, barking orders to the hunters still standing. Cries of agony filled the air from the dead, the dying, the afraid. Was this a lull? Or had Haris taken flight after all? Sam wasn’t sure he even cared. Finding Dean was his mission, his priority.

“I saw his eyes,” he admitted, avoiding eye contact with his father. “But right at the last minute…right when he held the knife at my throat…I saw Dean, Dad, not some damn demon…”

“It could have been a trick.”

Sam shook his head, watching as a group of his father’s friends began to assemble together in a huddled mass, unsure of what move to make next. “It wasn’t a trick. Dean cut the rope on my wrist on purpose. I’m sure of it. And you had to barge in here and shoot him!” The words were scathing, just like the old days. Somehow, in Sam’s eyes John always managed to do the wrong thing at the wrong time.

It wasn’t really what he believed, but it was his defense mechanism against all the bad things that seemed to happen to the Winchesters. Now, he had to pick up the pieces again. He had to hope that Dean had somehow survived the hunters assault and was lying somewhere in the chamber, bleeding but alive.

“Sam…” Words evaded the father and he rubbed the bottom of his graying beard as if the motion would somehow provide him with some new excuse, some new order that would block any other thought. But then, Sam was never the one to follow his orders anyway.

Sam brushed off his name and turned. He didn’t really blame John, how could he? He and Dean had walked right into the trap. John had tried to shield them. He’d tried to send them on some fake gig that would keep them well away from this place when the war came. But oh no, they were Winchesters. They’d smelled the ruse a mile away. Pity they hadn’t smelled Murzak’s ruse so quickly.

My fault. I’m the one this damned demon wants. I’m the one he wanted to sacrifice, or whatever the hell that ceremony was…

Sam continued to chide himself as he walked among the bodies, stopping every few steps to tug over a corpse, his chest hitching in case the mangled remains belonged to his brother.

When the bullets had started flying and Dean had been shot, Sam had noted pretty much where he’d fallen. Dean had been close to a small stage where Haris gave his little oratories. Yet now, there was no sign of the injured hunter. Was that a good thing?

Sam kneeled, his gaze locking on a small pool of blood on the floor. It was smeared and seemed to trail up the side of the podium as if someone still bleeding had rested there.

Dean…

Sam let his forefinger trace through the drying red liquid. There wasn’t a lot. That was good. It meant his brother’s injury wasn’t life threatening. Dad always was a good shot. So where the hell is he? The young hunter swiveled on the balls of his feet, still not straightening from his crouched position. Maybe Dean had crawled to a better hiding place. Maybe he knew the good guys had shot him. Maybe he was scared of his own kind.

Dean scared? No way…

But then, what if he’d seen who had shot him? What if Dean knew his own father had pulled the trigger and might do so again? A flashback from Missouri repeated over in Sam’s head until he had to put a hand to his brow.

You shoot me, son! Shoot me! Son, I’m beggin’ you! We can end this here and now! Sammy!

Dean had heard those words too. Would John apply the same rule for him now that Dean was possessed? Sam winced at his own thought and flinched slightly when his father’s voice called to him from across the chamber. It was like those sweet, deep tones had suddenly turned to a knife.

“Son, we have to move…”

Sam stood from his crouched pose to see his father looking at him. John had joined the other group of hunters and had somehow managed to hush their rowdy, uncontrolled banter with his harsh military-style approach.

Bobby was at John’s side, shotgun in hand, his left arm covered in blood – whether it was his own or the enemies, Sam wasn’t sure.

“We have to find Dean…” It was the only coherent sentence Sam seemed to be able to string together.

Bobby glanced to John before answering. “Sam, Haris and his boys have made a run for it. We don’t know where Dean is. He could be with them…”

Sam sensed the suggestion in Bobby’s voice. Maybe the other hunters had seen Dean’s eyes flash black, maybe they hadn’t, but John and Bobby had. They thought there was a chance Dean had gone with Haris willingly. “No.” It was one word, but it conveyed everything that needed to be said.

John nodded, accepting his youngest’s answer. Dean was a Winchester. He’d die before he’d fight alongside a demon or let one control him.

“Hey, people, can we cut the crap and get after the demon’s ass before it gets away? Too many of us died here today to let that bastard live…”

The voice was from the back of the throng of hunters, and John didn’t recognize which man had complained. The complaint, however, was met with a hearty response from the rest of the men.

Jeering voices mixed with the sickly aroma of stale sweat and gun oil filled the chamber along with something else. John couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but there was another odor, faint, but still teasing his senses. He ignored it, holding up a hand to calm the masses.

“Listen, a lot of good men have died here today. But if we go after Haris now we’d just be adding to that number. He’s not running because he’s afraid of us. This bastard is too smart for that. I’ve tracked it, I’ve fought it more than any other man among you…you have to trust me…”

John paused, wondering if the hunters would trust anyone again after Zack Murzak’s betrayal. There was a buzz as the hunters talked amongst themselves, each man evaluating just where his allegiance lay. Some had never even heard of John Winchester before today. Others, like Bobby, knew John’s marine background, knew his exploits in the field, and knew he would never back down unless there was no choice.

“John’s right,” Bobby let his Remington rest on his shoulder. “The only way to follow Haris is to search each and every passageway in this place. Reminds me too much of the underground warrens the gooks used to dig in Nam. You guys don’t want to find out how much fun being a tunnel rat is, believe me. I heard all about it from my brother, and he has some pretty nasty looking scars to prove it…”

More murmuring from the masses, followed by slowly bobbing heads indicated the hunters finally trusted their new leader. A wane smile and a nod back from John let them all know he appreciated it.

“We need to get back topside, regroup and get the injured some help.” John looked to Bobby again. “Can you get them back out? I’ll stay and help with the injured…”

Bobby’s eyes twinkled and his beard twitched with an understanding smile. John was holding back. He was going to help those wounded in the fight, it was true, but he was also going to look for Dean. “You’ll find him, John.” The hunter pulled a small flask from his pocket and offered it up. “Just promise me you don’t try to shoot him again when you do. Kinda a habit of yours if I remember correctly…”

John took the flask and let it lie in the palm of his hand, uncertain what to do with it. “Holy water?” He eventually asked.

Bobby chuckled. “Hell, no! Whiskey! Now go find your boy…”

“Something’s burning!”

John, Sam and Bobby turned simultaneously as the voice from the back of the crowd began to yell a new warning. In the same instant, John at last realized the aroma he hadn’t been able to pinpoint earlier. It was the smell of an electrical fire melting through plastic and cable. It hadn’t been strong enough to identify before, but now the sickly scent was almost too pungent to miss.

“Haris wouldn’t just leave like he did.” Sam sprang towards the nearest corridor, noting the whispery tendrils of smoke ebbing from the entranceway at ground level like an innocent morning mist. “This has to be another ambush. His men probably booby-trapped the whole complex!”

To confirm his fears, an explosion in one of the far tunnels seemed to rock the small chamber, bringing down chunks of plaster and concrete from the ceiling. After the first detonation, several more followed in a chain reaction that made the very ground shake beneath the hunters’ feet.

The air began to fill with a thick white dust as debris of all sizes toppled onto the dead, eviscerated bodies on the floor, mingling with their blood to make a nauseating strawberry split colored glop.

“We have to move! NOW!” John grabbed his own shotgun and gestured to a corridor that still seemed intact and fire free. It was like he was back in the marines taking point of the motley troop that now saw him as their leader.

Sam looked to his father, both proud and afraid. They were escaping, leaving the complex before it was blown to pieces, but what about…

Dean! We can’t leave. He could be down here. Trapped, imprisoned…dying even…

John saw the look in his son’s eyes and read the thoughts behind them as surely as if he were psychic himself. As he reached the corridors entrance he paused, letting Bobby take his position at the front of the men as they raced down the dimly-lit passageway.

Letting a hand fall on Sam’s shoulder, he swallowed. “We’ll find him, Sam. We’ll find him and we’ll fix him. But first we have to find a way out…”

Sam knew his father was right. They were no good to Dean if they died in Haris’ “tomb.” That still didn’t make it feel right. It didn’t make it any easier to just walk away not knowing.

“C’mon, Sam, we have to leave…maybe Dean’s already out and waiting topside...” John tugged more firmly on Sam’s shoulder, not giving his son any chance to rebel. Because hell, this was Sammy. And while he had never liked following orders, he sure knew how to disobey them.

This time, Sam didn’t put up a fight and slowly followed his father into the tunnel with the last few stray hunters. He was no good to Dean dead.

As his eyes adjusted to the dimness, he began to scramble forward, following his father and the illumination of a flashlight beam far in the distance. His companions didn’t speak, but simply clambered onwards, knowing that if they saw daylight ever again it would be a miracle.

“Get back!”

The cry came almost at the same time as the last detonation. Sam wasn’t sure who had yelled or how far ahead they were, but then he didn’t need to know. The bright blinding flash that seemed to sear into his eyes was followed by a deafening explosion of noise and debris.

Sam had little time to even shield his eyes, little time to see the fireball now expanding outwards towards his group, and little time to say one last prayer before his legs were torn from under him and his whole world turned hellishly black.

 

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The Winchester Chronicles

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