Twenty-two: Dance With The Devil
Kittsbud & Tree
we melt the amulet down into a bullet to kill Haris
with. Sam is safe forever?” he asked. “It’s
looked at him starkly. He was always amazed at how black
and white things could be for Dean. But then again,
hadn’t he made him that way?
that simple, Dean. Don’t you remember what happened
the last time you lost the amulet? Don’t you remember
what Mann told you would happen if you were ever separated
from the amulet for any length of time?”
was taken aback by the bluntness of Dean’s reply.
He expected, no, wanted his oldest son to refuse, or
at the very least have some sort of reservation.
kill Haris, Sammy is safe from that bastard forever.
Game over, we win!”
you have to know, I checked everywhere, with everyone.
I even went back to visit Mann twice, hoping, praying
that there was some other way, some way to break the
binding between you and the amulet,” John explained,
his voice cracking with emotion.
“Dad, stop! Do you know so little about me that
you think I’d have to consider this for even one
minute? Do you think that if it was within my power
to kill the evil sonofabitch that I’d pass it
up no matter what the cost to me?”
shook his head, a lone tear falling free of his eye
and cutting a path down his blood-stained and bruised
I’ve always known that there isn’t anything
that you wouldn’t do to save your brother, to
save this family. I remember that night at the cabin
in Missouri, Dean. As painful as it was to be a prisoner
in my own body, it was nothing compared to watching
you sacrifice yourself for Sammy and me,” John
admitted. “Son, I don’t want to lose you.
I don’t want to lose either of you. I don’t
think I can bear it after your mother. But every day
that Haris continues to exist, I know the odds of me
losing both of you grow higher and higher…
watched as Dean walked slowly away back towards the
motel room. He swiped angrily at the tears that gathered
at his eyes, furious at what he perceived to be a sign
of weakness in himself. Weakness when he needed to be
strong, strong for Dean. He never knew his heart could
have broken again, not after the night that Mary died,
but he felt it breaking now. Bit by tiny bit, it was
crumbling apart. Step by fateful step, as Dean moved
further away, what was left of John’s hardened
heart fractured into pieces.
He watched his faithful
soldier walk off, accepting his suicide mission with
resignation, with acceptance born of sacrifice for his
fellow man, or in this case, for his brother.
John wished, no, wanted
desperately to be able to rush to Dean and pull him
back, to place the amulet back around his neck and tell
him that they would find some other way to defeat the
demon. He wanted to pull Dean to him, to be able to
tell his oldest son how proud he was of him, how much
he admired the man he had become, how much he loved
him. Yet, like always, John couldn’t manage the
words, couldn’t force the muscles into movement.
Still, with his son nearly
to the doorway, John knew he had to do something. He
couldn’t bear the thought that Dean would simply
walk away, or that he could even let him.
Hesitating, one hand nearly
reaching for the doorknob, the cropped haired head dropped
been through this. Please,” Dean implored.
“Dean, look at me,”
John softly commanded.
Reluctantly, the elder
son turned around, but his head remained down, his eyes
turned away, unable to make contact with his father.
His hands remained jammed tightly into the pockets of
his jacket, his shoulders hunched inward as though he
was trying to stay warm.
not going to try to talk you out of this. I won’t.
But I want you to come with us.”
“Dad, I can’t.
You know that. Sam will never let us go through with
this if he finds out. We have to do this now and he
can’t find out until after it’s all done,”
Dean insisted. “I’ll deal with Sammy later.
He’ll be pissed, but he’ll get over it.”
you won’t Dean, you won’t be getting over
it, John added silently. “I’ll be right
back. Okay. I swear, just as soon as Bobby and I take
care of Haris, I’ll come right back to you.”
“Dad, it's okay.
I’ll be okay. Just go and do this. For Sam, for
me,” Dean pleaded, finally looking up, green eyes
seeking out his father’s brown.
“Dammit, Dad! I
can’t pull this shit off if I’m tied up
in knots. It’s gonna be hard enough keeping my
ass together in front of Sam without you looking at
me like I’m dying! Now buck the hell up and let’s
do this thing!” Dean shouted, reaching out and
pushing off from his father’s chest.
John recoiled from Dean’s
attack, shocked at the abrupt vehemence that poured
off his son. As fast as it started, Dean relented, his
anger drained as he collected himself. He rubbed a shaking
hand across his face then stuffed both back into his
pockets once more.
come right back.
His father’s words
echoed in his head.
back for what, Dad? To watch me die? What for? You didn’t
care enough to come around when I got electrocuted and
was dying. You didn’t care enough to come around
when I begged you to help us in Lawrence. You left me
in the hospital after Missouri, not knowing if I was
gonna live or die. You couldn’t wait to ditch
Sammy and me back in Oxford. Really, Dad, why bust your
ass to come back to watch me kick the bucket now?
The venomous dialogue
rambled through Dean’s head, chewing at his psyche
like a ravenous wolf. Yet as he looked at his father,
he only saw pain and regret, sadness and heartache.
I’ve always known that there isn’t anything
that you wouldn’t do to save your brother, to
save this family. Son, I don’t want to lose you.
I don’t think I can bear it after your mother.
And in that, Dean knew.
His father wasn’t
a hard-assed, uncaring bastard. He was simply a man
that was trying to save what family he had left. Save
a family that had been torn apart by something that
average people had no concept even existed. Demons and
spirits, hunters and creatures, evil and death, surrounded
them every day, came after them like hungry dogs after
a meaty bone. All John Winchester was guilty of was
being overzealous in his attempts to prepare his sons
to fight that evil, to keep them safe, to protect them
from the same demon that had stolen their mother from
them, and to spare them the heartache and pain that
he had suffered over the past two decades.
Had John Winchester meant
to be harsh? Not really. Did Dean really hate the life
he had been forced to lead, the man he had become? Did
he even regret the decision he had just made? Was that
decision ultimately even his Dad’s fault? Had
Dean found out the truth about the amulet instead of
his dad, would that have changed anything?
you think that if it was within my power to kill the
evil sonofabitch that I’d pass it up no matter
what the cost to me?
sorry,” Dean mumbled, looking up into his father’s
eyes, apologizing as best he could by offering out his
John smiled meekly, ignored
the proffered hand and instead pulled Dean into a rough
embrace. He felt the young man tense up briefly, then
relax as he allowed his hands to find purchase on the
back of his dad’s brown jacket, grabbing fistfuls
of material with an almost desperate grasp.
For a moment, Dean was
a scared six-year-old and his father’s arms felt
strong, safe and secure. Six-year-old Dean wanted to
cry out, to tell his dad that he was afraid. Six-year-old
Dean wanted to ask his dad if it would hurt a lot being
without the amulet there at the end. Six-year-old Dean
wanted Dad to be sure to come back, swear to be back
before the end came. Six-year-old Dean didn’t
want to die and even more, didn’t want to die
But in a flash it was
gone, and tough, hardened, always vigilant Dean returned.
Fears were pushed back, weaknesses were buried, insecurities
were hidden away underneath the impenetrable exterior
and he pulled away from his dad. A cocky smile spread
across his face that both men knew was a poor attempt
to cover the underlying fears, but John didn’t
comment on it.
get back in there before Sammy sends out a search party.
You know how paranoid Samantha can get,” Dean
joked. “Besides, we should rescue Bobby from him.
Not fair to Bobby to leave him in there with Sam when
he’s all hot and bothered by somethin’.”
John smiled, nodding in
agreement as they headed toward the motel room.
“So, we got this
under control, right?” Dean asked, turning back
quickly before he opened the door.
John replied, his voice still tinged with sadness. “We’ve
got this under control.”
Sam looked up from the
computer as his father and brother walked back into
the motel room. Dean smiled as soon as he made eye contact
with Sam, suspicious in its own right, but when Sam
spotted his father purposely look away, he knew something
was up between the two of them.
“So, since when
does it take the two of you a half hour to check out
an alternator?” he asked warily.
“Ah, Sam, when are
you ever gonna learn that you can’t rush things
when it comes to a classic?” Dean quickly threw
back. “Tell him, Dad.”
John twisted around, managing
a sly grin. “Stick to your computers geek boy,
leave the automotive repairs to us,” he teased.
Dean raised his eyebrows
in surprise, a soft chuckle formed in his throat as
he covered his mouth with his hand.
Sam opened his mouth but
nothing came out. He couldn’t believe that his
father had just called him a geek. Looking around the
room, even Bobby was now trying to contain a soft snicker.
“Face it, Sammy.
That whole Geek Squad thing they advertise on T.V.,
they’re talking about you dude,” Dean added,
bursting into laughter.
inclined isn’t your strong suit, son,” John
“Yeah, and let's
not forget, you aren’t exactly handy in the kitchen
either. I remember that whole deal with the Mac &
Cheese that time back at my place,” Bobby put
“Geek, dude. Certifiable,
card-carrying, geek,” Dean announced.
Sam abided the teasing,
shaking his head as they ganged up on him.
okay, laugh it up. But let’s talk about how technologically
challenged all of you are. Considering that you,”
he began, pointing at Bobby. “can’t even
turn on a computer without someone spotting you the
power button. “Or you,” now looking at John.
“still ask me on the sly to program your cell
phone with everyone’s phone numbers. And Dean…”
Sam now turned to focus
on his brother. Dean stopped laughing abruptly and had
taken to slinking back on the bed.
enlighten Dad and Bobby about the time that you had
the old laptop, you remember the one that used to get
so hot, on your lap, in bed, with nothing but your boxers
on, and um, you sorta burned…”
“No! No, no, no,
no, no. Really, Sam, no need to go there,” Dean
Sam now smiled smugly,
leaning back, arms crossed about his chest.
are you all ready to hear what the 'great geek' has
dug up?” Sam asked sarcastically.
“We bow to your
infinite geekitude. Speak on oh great Sir Geekalot,
wise king of Geekovia, land of large-brained…”
John's voice silenced his older son in much the same
way he had when his boys were younger.
He looked between Sam
and Dean, and for a brief second, he didn’t see
tough, experienced hunters. Memory flooded him and instead,
he found himself recalling two brothers, seated around
a similar motel room, one diligently doing homework
while the other just as meticulously disassembled and
cleaned a weapon. The banter was similar then, Dean
chiding Sam for having his head buried in books while
Sam sniped at Dean for the ever present smear of grease
or gun oil on his hands and clothes.
But underneath the teasing,
they were intricate parts of a puzzle. Neither one lacking
in either the intelligence or skills department, yet
both complementing the other like a right and left hand.
tried to hide the sadness that thought brought him.
Could the right hand function without the left?
been digging into Alyssa’s disappearance, reading
the police reports, the reports from the facility. It’s
all pretty suspicious,” Sam began.
“Well, like I told
you earlier. We left her pretty much catatonic in this
mental institution down in Phoenix after she tried putting
the whammy on Dean. Yet, according to all the reports,
she just vanished into thin air. There’s not a
sign of her on the security tapes and not a single record
of anyone coming to see her.”
“What about someone
on staff?” Bobby interjected.
was accounted for when she disappeared. It was during
the third shift, so there isn’t as much staff
there then. Every single staff member is accounted for
and shows up on the security tapes according to Phoenix
PD reports,” Sam refuted.
“So, what if she
did get better somehow? Maybe if she’s back to
her memory-erasing tricks, she coulda just waltzed right
outta there and made everyone forget,” Dean suggested.
“Hmmm, maybe. Scary
thought, but maybe,” Sam agreed. “I think
we need to get down there and check it out for ourselves
though. I mean, if Alyssa is back to normal, then we
need to be worried that she might be after you again
well, bring her on. I’m ready for the bitch this
time,” Dean snapped back defiantly. “Still,
maybe you’re right. We oughta find out if she’s
roaming loose. Don’t need her out there scrambling
anybody else’s melon.” Not to mention,
it gives me something to distract you with, bro!
"We can head out
in the morning then, be in Phoenix by tomorrow night,”
“Uh, Sam, Dean,
maybe you should be lying low right now. At least till
we know for sure where Sid and Rennie sulked off to,”
John suggested, casting a fearful glance at Dean.
return, Dean glared back at his father. Don’t
do this! Don’t act like something’s wrong.
Sam will get suspicious!
“We can take care
of ourselves. Just don’t you go to any midnight
meetings with any former friends. Besides, I don’t
think Rennie will chase us to Phoenix; I mean really,
black leather in that heat?” Dean covered, hoping
the humor would divert attention away from his father’s
seriousness that was threatening to suffocate him once
settled then. We’ll take off in the morning. Where
are you and Bobby headed then?” Sam asked.
John fumbled, his prepared
exterior cracking slightly by the suddenness of the
“Uh, well, we have
some work to do,” he answered vaguely.
“We do?” Bobby
asked. “I got a home to rebuild last time I checked.”
“Yeah, well, that’s
what I was talking about. We got our work cut out for
us building you a new house. Course, not that it matters
much what it looks like considering it’ll be standing
in the middle of a junkyard,” John joked.
I prefer to think of it as a place of rest for automobiles
that have served their country well. Kinda like a retirement
home. They deserve to sit back and relax now,”
the older hunter said defensively. “And the way
I figure it, the Winchester family owes me a nice new
“How do you figure
that, Bobby?” Dean exclaimed. “We didn’t
blow it up. Rennie’s crew did.”
“Yeah, well, they
were after you all.”
“Ha! Well, I guess
it not only sucks to have Winchester for a name, but
also to have Winchesters for friends, Bobby,”
Sam replied, slapping the hunter on the back as he walked
the truth, son. Ain’t that the truth.”
Dean stood at the driver’s
side of the Impala, one foot already perched halfway
inside while he leaned on the open door. By all appearances,
he merely leaned out of impatience to leave, but if
anyone had looked closer, they might have noticed the
way the weight of his upper body was supported by the
frame of the car.
But that was the magic
of Dean Winchester: Allowing people to see only what
he wanted them to, when he wanted them to, was a skill
he had perfected and was now coming in very handy. Just
this morning, Sam hadn’t noticed when Dean had
nearly stumbled out of bed, room spinning, and staggered
into the bathroom grumbling about the early hour and
his brother’s incessant need to get up with the
Even now, Sam was so eager
to get to Phoenix that he hadn’t seen Dean strain
with the simple effort of tossing his gear bag into
the trunk of the car. Sam hadn’t seen it, but
So as they prepared to
part ways, John going first to Sam and pulling his youngest
to him in a quick hug, Bobby quietly approached Dean.
“Thanks for everything,
Bobby,” Dean said appreciatively, offering out
Bobby shook the young
man’s hand, maintaining the grasp long after Dean
was ready to let go and suspiciously eyeing him.
“Not a problem,”
he replied, finally letting go but continuing to watch
Shying away nervously
from the scrutiny, Dean looked over toward his father
keep my old man out of trouble will ya?” he asked.
“Sure, and I’ll
work on peace in the Middle East while I’m at
it,” the older man sniped back, chuckling. “And
you’ll watch your backside too? Keep it in one
piece. It’d be nice to see the Winchester family
together for once without one of you filled with holes
or beat to hell.”
Dean remained silent,
able only to smile grimly at his old friend. Bobby was
about to probe further when John drew up beside them.
me know what you find out in Phoenix?” John asked.
“’Specially if it involves Haris.”
Dean replied dutifully.
stay in touch with you too. Let you know what’s
going on, okay?” John continued.
Dean flashed him a look
of concern and Bobby noticed the exchange between father
okay, Dad. I’ll keep Sammy safe,” Dean firmly
John placed his hand on
Dean’s shoulder, his eyes softening.
“I know you will,
son. I know you will,” he answered gently.
John quickly hugged Dean
goodbye, neither of them belaboring the farewell, feeling
both Bobby’s and Sam’s eyes watching them
intently. Dean turned away, sliding into the Impala
and firing the engine to life.
on you, princess,” he snarked out the window to
He threw the car into
drive, glancing out the window at his father, nodding
slightly, saying goodbye silently, as he pulled out
of the motel parking lot.
John watched as his sons
pulled away, knowing that it might be the last time
he’d ever see Dean alive again. He felt the emotion
threaten to overtake him, but he pushed it back down
and strode purposefully over to his waiting truck. Tossing
his own bag into the bed, he then jumped up into the
cab and the waiting glare of Bobby Singer.
“My ass. I know
that look, Bobby. What’s up your craw?”
“Oh, I’m just
making observations,” Bobby replied.
“Ah, just little
things. Like, how you had a bullet in your shoulder
and another graze your chest, yet you managed to throw
that bag of yours in the back of the truck easier than
Dean could haul his out of the motel room and toss it
into the Impala.”
“Yeah, well Sid’s
men worked Dean over pretty good. He was pretty beat
up,” John covered, starting the truck and pulling
out onto the highway, moving off in the opposite direction
to his sons.
“Oh really? 'Cause
I’ve seen that boy of yours half dead and looking
better than he did this morning. And of course, there’s
that whole emotional thing you got going on between
the two of you. And don’t try to tell me there
ain’t nothing there. I’ve known you and
them boys nearly all their lives and I can count on
one hand the times I’ve seen you act like that
around that son of yours. So what gives John?”
When John didn’t
immediately reply, Bobby grew more worried. Putting
it all together, Dean’s weakness, John’s
sudden display of unabashed emotion, the strange farewell,
and the calloused hunter suddenly grew fearful.
“Oh my God, John.
What’s wrong with Dean?”
all my fault Bobby. I wish to hell I would have never
found out about that goddamn amulet,” John replied.
“The amulet? What
are you talking about?”
John stared blankly out
the windshield, but his jaw clenched tightly, and Bobby
didn’t miss the white-knuckled grip on the steering
“I found out a while
back that Dean’s amulet will kill Haris. It was
once a part of King Solomon’s sword, but the original
sword was broken apart, reformed and scattered across
the world for safekeeping. A long while back, when Dean
was young, I got a call from a Shadrack Mann. I didn’t
know it then, but he was Mary’s uncle. He’d
been holding the amulet, waiting for Dean to be old
enough to assume his role as the amulet’s Guardian,”
“Guardian? Are you
talking about Dean being some sort of Freemason or something?”
“Not exactly, I
don’t know much about what the Guardians did or
do, other than in Dean’s case, just keep the amulet.
I don’t even know how many others are out there.
The rest might not even be amulets, they could be anything.
But what I do know is that Solomon’s sword was
a demon killer and so are any of the other pieces,”
the elder Winchester continued on.
“Okay, so I get
“No, no you don’t!”
John shouted back, turning to glare at his friend with
so much intensity that it startled the older man.
started tentatively, his body recoiled to the farthest
corner of the passenger’s side as he stared at
the angry man. As he continued watching, he saw John’s
face soften, his body nearly slump and for a moment
Bobby worried that he might lose control of the truck.
“The Guardian is
bound to the amulet, Bobby. Once Dean took possession
of the amulet, it was tied to him body and soul. I s'pose
that’s why Haris couldn’t get it off him
back in Tennessee, why it kept him from being completely
possessed and well, why we couldn’t exorcise the
“John, what aren’t
you telling me?”
“I found that I
can melt the amulet into a bullet, summon that yellow-eyed
bastard and destroy him forever. The only problem is…”
John paused, sucking in a deep breath before continuing.
“The problem is that if Dean loses the amulet,
he dies. The Guardian cannot be separated from the amulet
for any prolonged length of time. It happened to Dean
once before. He lost the amulet and he nearly died.”
Bobby shook his head in
disbelief, one hand absently rubbing at the dark scruff
of beard as he tried to process what he was hearing.
“Okay, I understand
that you’ve spent your whole life chasing that
bastard, but John, you’d actually risk Dean’s
life just for your friggin' quest?” Bobby questioned.
it for Sammy,” John blurted out, quieting Bobby
Stunned, mouth agape,
the older hunter found himself clenching a fist silently.
he finally shouted. “How the hell do you justify
sacrificing Dean for Sam?”
gonna lose them both. Haris is after Sam, always has
been. He’s relentless and he’s been upping
the ante lately. That deal with possessing Dean to get
to Sam was just the tip of the iceberg, he nearly killed
them both back in New Jersey a few months back. Bobby,
don’t you understand, Haris won’t stop till
he has Sammy and Dean will never stand by and let that
happen. Haris will kill him the next time he gets in
just willing to serve up Dean to save Sam? What the
hell, gonna lose him anyway, so you just toss him aside
now? You’re as much a bastard as that demon, John
Winchester.” Bobby replied disgustedly.
dare judge me! You can’t even begin to know what
I’ve gone through, how much this has eaten away
at me. How long I’ve carried this around with
me even before I said anything to Dean about it. It
was his decision, he begged me to let him do it once
he knew about the amulet,” John refuted.
“Of course he did,
John. What else did you expect that boy to do? What
else does he have in this world besides you and Sam?
Did you think for one second that once you told him
about that amulet, about the fact that it could be used
to kill Haris and save his brother, to kill your mortal
enemy, that Dean was gonna tell you, 'no thanks, Dad,
I’d rather just sit back and see how things work
out'?” Bobby snapped back sarcastically. He calmed
down slightly adding, “Don’t you know your
boys at all, John?”
John shook his head sadly.
“I just feel like I’m gonna lose them both,
Bobby. I can’t bear the thought of losing either
one of them, much less both of them. I’d rather
put a bullet in my own head first. But that sonofabitch
is coming after them and it’s the only way to
stop him. God knows I’ve hunted high and low for
any other answer. But it’s too late now,”
he said regrettably.
“Too late? He’s
already given you amulet hasn’t he? That’s
why he looked so bad? It’s already started for
Dean? How long has he got John?”
elder Winchester nodded quietly. “He gave it to
me last night. I don’t know how long it will take,
but I promised him I would come right back after I took
care of Haris. I promised I would be there with him
at the end. I know I haven’t been a good father,
Bobby. I know you’re right, I have been a bastard,
but I’m gonna be there for Dean. I will
keep that promise to him.”
Bobby pretended not to
see the stray tear trickle down John’s cheek,
or the casual way he wiped it away, acting as though
he was scratching at his beard. Bobby didn’t comment
when John swallowed hard, several times, trying to hide
the way his chest was threatening to hitch with pent
Instead, Bobby recognized
that this man, for better or worse, had made a decision
and was now bound by it. Maybe Bobby wouldn’t
have made the same decision, but then, Bobby had never
watched his wife being burned alive on a ceiling. Nor
had Bobby had his sons harried by a demon all their
knows what decision Bobby Singer might have made if
the tables would have been turned. In the end, John
Winchester was his friend and Bobby was nothing if not
loyal to his friends.
do you need me to do, John?” he asked quietly.
“I’ll do whatever, for you, for Sam, and
State Psychiatric Institute
Chronic Care Ward
The hospital’s stark walls somehow
reminded Dean of the bleak, unwelcoming aura that had
surrounded Roosevelt Asylum. Even though this place
was supposed to be far more modern, it still oozed the
unnerving atmosphere that he’d felt in abundance
back in Rockford.
That was something he could relate
to a little too well right now. His head was buzzing
with what he guessed normal people called a migraine
– except this wasn’t something he could
just pop a pill for. The disorientated feeling and nausea
had steadily been growing worse ever since he’d
removed the amulet, until he was sure Sam would soon
notice the bauble was gone.
Hiding his fatigue the previous evening
had been easy, there were excuses to be had after his
ordeal at the hands of the hunters, but each hour that
he grew worse instead of better meant Sam had to realize,
if I just keep him focused on Alyssa? Maybe he won’t
see my hands shaking and my friggin’ skin oozing
sweat as I try to keep my balance even though my ears
are hearing Quasimodo’s finest.
“Dean?” Sam paused mid-step,
noticing his brother was somehow distracted. “We’re
not here to do a survey on Arizona’s hottest nurses,
“Huh?” Dean shook himself,
realizing he’d already slipped up."Distracted
Dean" was only normally evident in the presence
of women, beer, or fast classic cars. Recovering as
quickly as his befuddled brain would allow, he shrugged.
“I’m looking, Sasquatch, but I ain’t
seeing. This place wouldn’t know a sexy nurse
if one jumped up and…” He eyed the nearest
burly porter with distaste and headed for the small
reception desk without finishing the crude comment whirling
through his brain.
here to see Nurse Russo,” Sam offered warmly as
they came to a halt in front of a short, beady-eyed
man in uniform who had obviously seen One Flew Over
the Cuckoo’s Nest a few too many times. “We’re
Alyssa Medina’s cousins-”
“Of course you are,” The
man whose nametag read "Walt" sniffed sarcastically,
somewhat unimpressed with the brothers’ announcement.
He began to search down a list on the clipboard in front
of him with his forefinger and after a short pause,
his moustache twitched and he looked up. “Nancy’s
on her coffee break in the staff room. Straight down
that corridor, first door on your right.” He stared
pointedly at Dean. “And no straying anywhere else."
He tapped a monochrome computer monitor. “I can
see your every move on the security cameras…”
smiled broadly even though he already hated the security
guy. In fact, after his little trip to a very non-existent
"Sherwood Falls" one time, he hated all security
guys with a vengeance. “You sure your name wasn’t
Howie in another life?” He mumbled as
he turned to walk towards the staff room. “’Cause
he sure had a camera fetish too-”
Sam inhaled deeply and shook his head
but followed as Dean took a slow amble down the passageway.
It hadn’t gone unnoticed that his brother was
doing everything a little slower since he’d taken
a beating at the hands of Rennie and her hunter buddies,
but Sam was trying to be coy and not mention it –
at least for a few days.
Dean could be stubborn when he was
hurt, and if he’d gotten bruised badly or even
a couple of broken ribs, Sam knew he’d try to
breeze over it and mask the pain. As long as he started
to get better, not worse, Sam would keep his mouth shut,
even if his eyes were keeping a close watch on his sibling.
“Nancy?” Sam rapped his
knuckles lightly on the staff room door and then stuffed
both hands in his tan jacket pockets while he waited
for an answer.
Two seconds ticked by and then the
same nurse they’d spoken to about Alyssa before
appeared, coffee cup in hand. She scrunched her brow
in confusion, momentarily unsure where she’d seen
the two handsome young men before. “You’re
Alyssa’s cousins!” She eventually blurted,
quickly ushering them into the meager staff quarters.
“I’m so sorry about what happened…”
what did happen?” Sam pulled out a chair, noting
Dean flop onto a second seat as if his knees had suddenly
decided to give way. “We were informed that Alyssa
is missing. Did she recover enough to escape?”
Nancy shook her head, her face once
more a mask of mystification as she refilled her cup
and then gestured for the boys to grab a mug if they
wanted a drink. “That’s the thing,”
she explained, slipping a cookie from a packet on the
table and taking a bite. “Alyssa was just as catatonic
the day she vanished as she was when you boys brought
her in. The doctors say there’s no way she could
have just upped and walked out of here, even if we didn’t
have great security.”
“You think maybe Alyssa could
have been faking? You know, fooling the docs somehow
so she could up and out?” Dean tried to keep his
gaze focused on the nurse, but the room was swimming
like he’d been at Liberace’s infamous tequila
bottle all night.
hunter blinked and put a hand on the table to stop his
body swaying. Can’t let Sammy see…
“I really don’t think Alyssa
was faking. I’ve worked with patients like her
for a long time, trust me.” Nancy picked up the
packet of cookies and stuffed it under the elder hunter’s
waved her off with an unsteady hand. His usually huge
appetite was suffering just as much as the rest of him.
“Could we see the video footage from Alyssa’s
room? I mean, she’s practically the only family
Sammy and I have left…” He batted the long
lashes Nancy had been so intrigued with on his last
visit for good measure, knowing it was usually enough
to gain control of anyone of the female persuasion.
Who needs freakin’ mind control?
“Well…I really shouldn’t…”
be discreet,” Sam promised. “We really do
owe it to Alyssa to find her – especially if she’s
in no state to be on the outside-” He smiled wanly,
knowing exactly the right buttons to push to make the
nurse feel guilty and sympathetic at the same time.
“Okay,” Nancy acquiesced, setting her drink
down. “But we can’t be too long. Walt has
a thing about people messing with his footage.”
Dean’s eyes rolled to his brother,
silently conveying the message that "Walt"
was indeed the jerk he’d already pegged him as..
“I’ll bet he does.” The hunter pushed
up from his chair stiffly, the mockery in his tone proving
his body may be waning, but his mind had far from dulled.
After a brief teeter, he regained his
composure, falling in behind as the nurse led them through
two security gates into a small CCTV room. A row of
monitors lined one wall, but no one appeared to be manning
“Walt has everything on a main
feed down to his desk,” Nancy explained, ushering
the brothers to the opposite side of the room. “All
the archived footage is over here.” She slid lithely
onto a wheeled desk chair and pushed herself up to a
keyboard. The hospital’s logo appeared as she
touched a key, and the nurse quickly tapped in a password
that gave her full access to the recordings.
Sam leaned forward as the screen came
to life with footage from the night Alyssa has disappeared.
Watching the girl’s room was like viewing a still
image. Nothing moved, nothing changed – it was
simply Alyssa sitting in a chair, her eyes staring blankly
at the wall, the glimmer in her pupils that should have
been present blatantly absent, like her mind was a deep
void of nothingness.
“Hell, this movie is friggin’
Oscar material.” Dean scrutinized the time stamp
in the corner, watching as seconds ticked by even though
the image never changed. “Hey wait. Can we take
it back a few seconds?” He raised a brow and Nancy
“I saw it too.” Sam fidgeted,
moving slightly until he was overly close to the nurse
without even noticing it.
Nancy didn’t complain.
She wasn’t really sure whether
it was his unruly mass of hair, height, or just plain
cute looks, but her stomach got a myriad of batting
butterflies in it every time he spoke. Not that the
shorter brother was hard on her eyes, either.
Dean pointed to the monitor, bringing the nurse back
from her guilty thoughts. “Do you see that?”
Nancy paused the feed as the screen
seemed to flashover with an opaline glare for what the
time stamp said lasted no more than half a second. When
the whiteout dissipated, Alyssa was gone from her chair.
“It must be a camera glitch,”
The nurse offered, not really believing the coincidence
herself. “I mean, no one can vanish in half a
unless you got a Star Trek transporter stuffed
up your ass.” Dean stepped back from the desk
area and folded his arms. “Or your name is Jimmy
Sam pouted but refused to shift his
gaze from the anomaly on the screen. Something was very
wrong here – and not just because it was an ex-psycho
psychic kid they were dealing with.
He’d long since learned that
he could trust his senses, even when they were telling
him something was impossible. Those unwelcome feelings
were screaming at him right now like an air raid warning.
“We’re missing something…”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Yeah,
one catatonic chick who likes to fry memories instead
Nancy glanced from one brother to the
next but thought better of asking just what the last
comment had meant. She liked Alyssa’s cousins
A LOT, but there was no question that, like the girl,
they were a little strange.
“Can we see Alyssa’s room?”
Sam took his eyes from the monitor as Nancy logged off.
“There might be clues…maybe we can tell
if someone tampered with the camera…”
The nurse bit her bottom lip but shrugged.
“I guess it’s okay, you being family and
all. Not that I think you boys will find anything. The
police already scoured that place with a fine tooth
comb.” She pushed up from the chair and pulled
a swipe card from her pocket. Two corridors and three
electronic locks later, they were outside Alyssa’s
Sam looked inside from the open doorway,
realizing just how sparse the quarters really were.
There was very little inside save for a chair and bed
– but then, in Alyssa’s condition she really
had need for little else. The meager trappings also
meant there was really nothing much to search through
for clues to the girl’s whereabouts, and that
If Alyssa had recovered and fooled
her doctors, she could already be up to her old tricks.
Sam looked over his shoulder at his brother as they
walked into the cell-like area. Dean had been a target
before, what if he was again?
“Has anyone moved or touched
anything?” Dean kneeled, letting a hand probe
under the chair Alyssa had been seated in on the video
“Like I said, only the police
have been in here-”
hunter pulled a cynical face and continued his examination
of the seat. “Yeah, I bet they were real thorough.”
He shifted his gaze to Sam. “You know, I’m
thinking Alyssa just might’ve whammied Walt and
his buddies with her memory magic and walked on right
outta here. It’s the easiest explanation.”
don’t know, Dean. Why now?” Alyssa can’t
have gotten her powers back. She just can’t. Not
now, it’s too…too damn convenient.
“Memory magic?” Nancy’s
brow furrowed and she fumbled with the card key in her
hand nervously. It was one thing to be worried about
a missing cousin, but the conversation between the two
brothers was getting alarmingly weird.
“Yeah, well, maybe you’ll
change your mind, when you see this.” Dean had
moved over to Alyssa’s bed, and ignoring the nurse’s
query had begun to examine it as if there was a cache
of diamonds hidden within it somewhere. He’d come
to a halt just short of where Alyssa’s chair had
been resting when she’d vanished from the CCTV
The sulfur wasn’t exactly easy
to spot, just the tiniest trace smeared on the metalwork
where the mattress rested on the frame.
Dean rubbed the substance between his
fingers knowing what is was without even smelling the
tell-tale odor from hell. He looked up to Sam, new concern
mingling with the fatigue that contorted his features.
“It’s sulfur, Sammy-”
think Haris decided to break Alyssa out for some reason?”
Sam hunkered down, his boyish looks changing to show
a different side – a hardened, and yet deeply
disturbed countenance that could easily have been worn
by a much older hunter. “Dean, this could be bad…”
He raised a brow, suggesting rather than saying that
their nemesis was up to something new.
guys, just who is this Harry, and what has
he been doing on my watch?” The nice side of Nancy
– the side that had to deal with patients and
their families had vanished - succumbing to the real
And suddenly, she was pissed.
Dean pushed up from his stooped pose,
unconcerned with her newfound bravado. “Sister,
let’s just say you wouldn’t wanna meet this
freak down a dark alley. Hell, you wouldn’t wanna
meet him period. Just be thankful you weren’t
around when he broke our dear cousin out of this joint.”
“I‘m calling the police…”
Dean shrugged. “Be my guest.
Oh, and be sure to mention the sulfur.”
“Dean! We don’t have time
for this. C’mon, Alyssa could be out there with
Haris right now, plotting their next victim.”
Sam grabbed his brother’s arm and tried to guide
him towards the door. Remarkably, Dean yielded all-too
easily, as if he hadn’t the strength to fight
back. “In case you hadn’t noticed, dude,
you’re kinda the top of both their hate lists.”
Dean huffed but allowed Sam to push
him down the hospital passageway towards the nearest
exit sign. Thankfully, Nancy had been kind enough, or
maybe slightly too scared to think, and had left the
security gates open.
I’m telling you, I don’t think we need to
worry about Haris and his right-hand bitch.” Once
Dad’s finished with the amulet, we won’t
have to worry about Harry and his crew ever again…
Dean slowed, finally pushing Sam’s hand from his
arm as they scooted through the last exit and made a
beeline for the Impala.
“After all we’ve been through
how can you say that so easily?” Sam placed a
hand on the Chevy’s roof, clearly not intending
to climb inside until he had an answer.
Dean shrugged his shoulders. “I
just can, Sammy. Trust me on this one. Whatever those
two are planning, it isn’t gonna work.”
Without further enlightenment he dropped behind the
car’s wheel and cranked its engine to life, making
it blatantly obvious he had no intention of explaining
The drive back to the motel room had
been pretty silent. Dean had simply cranked up the music
and stared at the blacktop as if his eyes were mesmerized
by it. The silence and the bravado weren’t fooling
Sam one bit.
As far as the younger hunter was concerned
he was sure he already knew what was going on.
Dean was faking it.
Big brother was scared that Haris was
going after Sammy again. He was scared of a replay of
the events in New Jersey when Sam had nearly died, and
yet he didn’t want Sam to see that fear. So, instead,
he was pretending Alyssa’s disappearance wasn’t
Sam bounced down onto the end of his
bed and considered confronting Dean with the truth.
He wasn’t a kid anymore after all, and he didn’t
need to be watched over and hidden away – even
if he was a freak.
One look across the room made him change
had flopped onto his own disheveled bed and was now
stretched out on it, flicking through TV channels with
a battered remote. He didn’t look scared –
he didn’t look anything – except
maybe dog tired.
Seeing Dean that way made Sam wonder
just what was really going on. His brother wasn’t
acting normal, hell, if Dean even had a normal bone
in his body.
Samantha, quit staring at me. You’re creeping
me out here…” Dean pulled a face. "I
know I’m friggin’ cute, but dude…”
Sam cleared his throat and considered
telling Dean he was actually looking at the huge bags
under his brother’s slightly bloodshot eyes. Or
that he was worried about the fact that said brother
hadn’t appeared to eat for hours, even though
he was usually a human trashcan.
After a second, he thought better of
both and pulled over the laptop that had been balancing
precariously on the edge of his duvet. If he couldn’t
get answers from Dean, then maybe he could get some
from the internet.
sleek silver machine beeped and gurgled as it booted,
only surpassed by the abrupt throaty ringing of Dean’s
cell phone as it blasted out AC/DC’s Big Gun
a little too loudly.
pouted, looking quickly across to see just who would
be calling. Knowing Dean it’s some hot chick
he’s already hooked up with out here.
Dean didn’t notice his brother’s
attention, but seemed to sit just that little bit straighter
on the bed as he responded to the caller. “Dad-”
“Dean, Bobby and me are going
to melt down the amulet today and then head on out to
Big Horn to summon Haris. We’re about ready to
finish that bastard, son…” John’s
tone was deep as ever, but somehow clipped.
It was hard to talk to Dean, hard to
tell him the events as they were about to transpire
given the consequences that would surely follow. How
did a father really choose between two sons? But then,
there really had been no choice, no chance but this
“Sounds good, Dad.” Dean’s
gaze flicked to Sam, knowing his sibling was hooked
on every word. Hell, he was psychic boy, maybe he knew
what they were saying anyway.
should be done in a couple of days…” John’s
voice wavered and the sentence hung unfinished for a
few seconds. Did Dean even have a few days? “How
are you holding out, son?” I could bring the
amulet back, before it’s too late? The grizzled
hunter thought the latter part of his sentence, but
didn’t offer the option to his eldest. It wasn’t
the Winchester way.
And even if he had, John knew what
Dean’s reply would have been.
Dean wanted Haris dead. Dean wanted
Sam to live. This was his gift to his brother. A last
parting offering that no father could deny his child
from brother to brother.
Dean didn’t miss the inflection
in his father’s voice but he couldn’t respond
to it. Sam was watching and listening too closely. Instead,
he pushed away the bleak topic, evading his brother’s
probing glances. “We’re doing okay here,
Dad. We’re following some leads on the missing
psychic chick. Yeah…” He glanced over to
Sam. “Yeah…Sammy’s looking some stuff
up right now. I’ll keep you posted if we find
anything more on Haris…”
Sam waited as his brother hung up and
then raised a brow. “What did Dad Want? He never
calls, it had to be important?”
tossed the cell down next to him on the bed and stretched
back out. It wasn’t hard to lie to Sam, but it
hurt that it was necessary. “Dad and Bobby think
the hunters might regroup. They’re checking out
some stuff they heard…” He clasped his hands
behind his head and sighed, feeling the pounding in
his temple getting more and more intense as the hours
wore on. Can’t take anything, Sammy might
“Hunters, huh?” Sam’s
eyes narrowed but he didn’t press the issue. There
was something going on – something between John
and Dean that he wasn’t being allowed to be part
of. It wasn’t the first time, and he guessed it
wouldn’t be the last.
There was a time when the exclusion
would have angered him, but he’d become so used
to the foibles of the Winchester clan that it now became
second nature. No doubt they were trying to protect
him once again, and he was just going to have to show
them he didn’t always need a chaperone.
“Whatever,” Sam finally
mouthed. “While you were plotting with the old
man I think I found something important-”
“Important as in directions to
the local bar?” Dean smiled, thinking if he was
going to have a headache, he may as well have a good
“Listen to this,” Sam continued
unabashed. “I found an article from Oxford, Nebraska…”
Dean stopped fiddling with the TV remote
and looked up. “Oxford as in the town with a platoon’s
worth of spooks?”
Sam bobbed his head, reading more from
the screen without voicing what he saw. “Dude!”
His eyes widened. “David Mitchum was reported
missing over a week ago. This can’t be a coincidence.
Two special kids vanishing without trace is no accident.”
“Maybe they went to Disneyland
maybe Haris is finally playing his cards,” Sam
countered. “Dean, I think we should go to Nebraska
and check this out.”
Dean blinked, keeping his eyelids closed
for a prolonged period while he took in the idea. Going
to Oxford, going anywhere wasn’t going to do a
damn thing. Haris would soon be dead at the hands of
John and Bobby, and all he had to do was stay alive
long enough for Sam not to suspect anything.
But then again, if going to Oxford
and chasing their tails meant Sam wasn’t scrutinizing
his every labored move, then maybe, just maybe the trip
was worth it.
Sam rolled over, squinting as the morning
light filtered through the crack in the motel room curtains.
It was early, he could tell, and yet the familiar whoosh
of a steaming shower was buzzing in his ears.
The young hunter groaned and checked
his watch just to be sure. Dean couldn’t be up
before him, could he? It was always Sam’s job
to be the early riser - the guy who fetched the coffee
and food while big bro snoozed, one hand under his pillow
for at least an hour longer.
“Dean?” Sam pushed up on
his elbows and glanced at the nearby empty bed.
Apparently, Dean was up and showering,
even though it was only just past 6 a.m. The last time
that had happened... Well barring during a hunt, it
had never happened.
Sam ran a hand through his unruly mop,
tousling the already tangled mane. Maybe Dean had rested
too long, slept too long, and now he was feeling better
he was getting ready for an early start on the hunt
for Alyssa. It made sense.
“Guess if Dean is gonna spend
half the day in the bathroom preening himself, I could
be working…” Speaking to no one in particular,
Sam grabbed his laptop from the bedside table and quickly
The hunter wasn’t sure what else
he could find before they started out for Oxford, but
it was always better to check and then check again rather
than be caught with your pants down.
As the laptop used the motel’s
slightly sporadic wireless connection, it pinged, signaling
the brothers had mail. Well, specifically, Sam had mail.
Dean’s "friend's" tended to be technologically
impaired, for the most part.
With a second ping, Outlook opened
to reveal one solitary message – a message with
the subject line "Time to say goodbye."
Sam instantly clicked on the ominous
sounding mail, swallowing hard without thinking as the
message opened up on screen. It was short, and very
much to the point.
really think I’d let your brother get away so
easily, did you? I’ll be seeing you around. Who
knows, I may even let you say goodbye.
The e-mail seemed to blink at him, even though it was
really quite static on the small screen. Sam forgot
to breathe for a second, his attention fully focused
on what he’d read over and over twenty times already.
When his small PDA began to warble,
the hunter finally inhaled, sucking down a long breath
before putting it to his ear.
“Hello?” It was a simple
greeting, but in his line of work he could rarely afford
to offer his real name unless he recognized the caller
hello right back at you, Samuel…” The voice
was quite clearly Alyssa’s, but somehow, the way
she used his full name reminded him of Haris –
of how he might actually belong to the thing that stalked
him somehow. Alea iacta est…Samuel…
“What do you want?”
“Why, you know what I want. I
want Dean, or should I say, I want to finish what I
started with him.” Alyssa paused, letting her
plan sink into Sam’s thoughts. “I’m
free now, Sam, free to kill your brother. Maybe you
should go say goodbye now…”
The line clicked ominously and then
began to buzz with static but Sam didn’t register
that Alyssa had hung up for several seconds. She was
pissed at him, and she was going to channel that anger
into hurting Dean even more than she had originally.
And this time, maybe she’d have Haris’ direct
flipped his PDA over in his hand and looked at the caller
I.D. again. It was a local landline number that seemed
strangely familiar. Luckily, unlike Dean, he tended
to keep records of each and every one of their gigs
on the laptop’s hard drive. Sam liked to think
of it as a more advanced version of his father’s
Closing Outlook, he clicked into "My
documents" and pulled up the notes he’d made
and any contact numbers during the Medina case. Glaring
at him almost right away was the phone number listed
for the Medina house where Dean had lost his memory.
“Why go back to the very place
I’d look for her?” Sam bit into his lip.
Criminals sometimes returned to the scene of their crimes,
but demons and their minions? Hell, they only ever did
that kind of thing when it was a trap.
Sam made a quick, conscious choice
and closed the laptop without even powering it down.
He had to find Alyssa and put a stop to this before
she even got the chance to get to Dean.
If that meant he was the one taking
the wild risks for a change, then he was quite willing
to do it. Grabbing a clean t-shirt from his bag he slipped
it on, followed by the jeans resting on the bottom of
his bed. He had no time to shave, shower or even try
to tidy up his windswept hair, but that was the least
of his worries.
Rapping his knuckles on the bathroom
door he felt his heart begin to thrum faster in his
chest. It was hard to lie to Dean – far harder
than his brother actually realized. “Dude, seeing
as you’ve decided to groom like a girl for an
hour, I’m gonna go grab some coffee and donuts,
A muffled reply of, “Bring me
a burger” made Sam wince. Dean rarely ate well,
but this was a new breakfast low, even for him. Still,
it gave the younger brother more credence to his excuse
to leave the motel before Dean finally exited the shower.
“Man, you’re so gonna harden
your arteries eating that crap,” Sam chided as
he deftly tossed his Glock, holy water, and a selection
of other items into his backpack. “How the hell
do you eat a burger at this time of day anyway?”
The hissing of the shower stopped,
even if the steam venting from under the door did not.
“Trust me, Sammy, it won’t be any greasy
burger that kills this hunter.”
Sam smiled and tossed his bag over
his shoulder, scooting out of the motel little realizing
the truth behind his brother’s words.
Dean could eat what he wanted; drink
what he wanted, because he could probably pinpoint the
day, time, and maybe even hour of his death with alarming
accuracy. If anything, Louisiana and a certain Shadrack
Mann had taught him that much.
* * * *
Sam spun the wheel of the Ford he’d
stolen as if the car had been his for a lifetime. He
looked perfectly at ease in the driving seat, even though
not five minutes previously he’d been furiously
picking the driver’s door lock with one of his
Lying to Dean was one thing, but there
was no way he could walk to the old Medina house in
the time it would supposedly take him to grab coffee
and food. No, he had needed transport to facilitate
his lie, and that transport had been sitting outside
the motel manager’s office calling to him like
The little white car wasn’t exactly
easy on his overlarge frame, but it did the job. In
fact, its battered bodywork and off-white paintwork
reminded Sam of Kyle Williams' beat up little vehicle.
What he’d give to have Kyle’s help now –
hell, anybody’s help except Dean’s.
don’t want Dean near this bitch. What if I can’t
use her gifts against her this time? Did I really reflect
Alyssa’s powers, and Max Miller’s too, like
some freaky mirror?
Maybe only Haris had the answers Sam
sought. Maybe he’d find the yellow-eyed sonofabitch
right along with Alyssa. Maybe, just maybe he would
finally be able to get to the truth and end it all.
The Ford shuddered as Sam accidentally
asked too much of it, his mind so lost in thought he
didn’t even realize he was accelerating too harshly
on the rough road surface of the back alley that led
to the Medina home. He slowed, tapping the brakes a
little as he swerved the wheel to avoid a pothole.
if I can only pick up on the powers of the other kids
when I’m stressed? Maybe the fact that Dean’s
life was on the line both times it happened somehow
amped up my gifts?
Sam recalled how he’d turned
Alyssa’s "mindwiped" against her to
save his brother.
A memory etched into his subconscious
burned into his brain as if it were permanently implanted
on the back of his eyeballs. Somehow, these last few
days, Dean wasn’t Dean – not in the sense
that he really wasn’t Sam’s brother –
but he wasn’t himself. He wasn’t the sibling
who had fought being possessed by a demon and won. He
looked tired, fatigued, all the fight drained out of
And then there was John.
seemed sad since he returned – like he’s
shouldering more than just finding Haris…
Sam hit the car’s brakes again,
this time bringing it to a stop at the rear of the Medina
home. The alleyway was empty, devoid of even the usual
fluttering litter or stray cat that normally frequented
Warily clambering from the battered
Ford, Sam dragged his backpack out with him and took
out his Glock. Checking the clip, he glanced over to
the house he’d come to search. Part of him hoped
Alyssa and Haris were inside, part hoped that he would
never have to set eyes upon either ever again.
Against Haris, his handgun would be
useless, so Sam stuffed a flask of holy water into his
jacket pocket as a backup along with the weapon. Not
that the liquid would have any effect on the demon –
but it at least gave him some mental comfort.
Taking long strides, Sam left the Ford
behind in favor of the rear of the Medina home. Once
at the door, he carefully withdrew the Glock and felt
at the handle. He’d expected it to be locked,
but the door swung inwards, allowing a gloomy view of
the house’s interior.
took a long breath and stepped inside, stretching out
his arms to scan the passageway with his gun.
There was nothing, not even the skitter
of a rogue mouse.
Sam moved on, keeping the "ready
for action" pose until he’d scoured both
stories of the building and come up empty. If Alyssa
or her demon boss had been here, they were long gone.
they lured me away from Dean?
Sam suddenly felt the urge to sprint
back to the car he’d stolen and floor the gas
back to the motel, only the warbling and vibration of
his PDA stopping him in his tracks.
Sam dared to pull out the overly-large
phone, some part of him expecting the leering voice
of Alyssa to taunt him once again. When the caller I.D.
read "Dean" he exhaled and felt his heart
rate slow considerably.
Dean was okay.
In fact, Dean was probably pissed that
he wasn’t back already with a huge greasy burger.
Sam took a second to conceal his gun
back under his jacket and then exited the Medina house
without answering the telephone call. Dean would ask
questions – hell, he’d ask where Sam was,
and that was one query he didn’t want to lie about.
No, it would be better to grab food
and coffee before returning. Dean would forget all about
how long Sam had been once his nostrils smelled the
fresh aroma of a caffeine overload and his beloved burger,
extra onions et al.
Sam smiled to himself as he crossed
over the sidewalk to a small café he’d
spotted. The place wasn’t exactly gourmet cuisine,
but it was a typical Dean-style establishment.
really shouldn’t worry about Dean…
The words popped into Sam’s head
as if he’d thought them, and yet he knew the sentence’s
origin was not his own mind. It was like he’d
been privy to another’s thoughts – another
that felt close.
Sam stopped dead, spinning so fast
he had a brief loss of equilibrium as his senses caught
up with his body’s rapid move.
Someone was watching him, following
him so closely his intuitive gifts had picked up on
them when common sense hade failed.
Sam peered around the empty sidewalk,
eyes latching onto every detail around him that could
give some clue to his invisible stalker. They were here
somewhere, he just couldn’t see them.
The dreary, un-yielding street glowered
back at him in all its stark morning glory. There was
no one to confront. Was he just getting jittery because
of Alyssa and her mystery phone call?
Sam moved on again, quickening his
stride until he was stepping through the glass door
of the café. A bell jingled somewhere above him
as he pushed through the entrance, and he was momentarily
distracted by its innocent chime.
When he looked back where he was going,
he realized his mistake.
was in front of him, and he’d almost walked headlong
into them. Worse still, even without getting a look
at them, Sam felt the same tingle he had on the sidewalk.
was the person who had been watching, waiting –
not outside, as he’d thought – but from
within the very café he’d chosen to get
The voice stealing its way inside his
brain wasn’t Haris, it wasn’t Alyssa, but
as Sam was engulfed in a blinding mountain of pain,
he realized that maybe the voice was something far worse…
the episode here