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Title: The Shadow Men [6/?]
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Kripke owns SPN, not me
Summary: The campus of Stanford lies in ruins. The veil between hell and earth is getting thinner by the day and the only thing worse then the fires are the mysterious men emerging from the flames. [AU, apocafic]
Previous Parts:1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Dean drove. They fell into routine almost automatically. Sam lounged back in the passenger’s seat to give himself extra room through the legs and Dean slipped into the driver’s seat, flicking on the radio. Sam got the feeling that Dean was made to drive this car or maybe the car had been made for Dean to drive. When Sam drove the Impala, all he felt were the flaws, the tug on the steering wheel, the odd hitch in the clutch, but Dean handled it all like it was second nature, like he’d driven this car before. Only he couldn’t have driven this car before because this car had been sitting at Bobby’s place for pushing twenty years and there was no way Dean was thirty.

Three hundred miles into the trip, AC/DC blasting in his ears, Sam pulled open the glove compartment, and started picking through the contents. There was a locked metal box that had rusted itself shot through twenty years of disuse. Sam tried prying at the edges but he couldn’t get a thing loose. Frowning, he replaced the box and pulled out a flashlight with a corroded battery and an old, iron hunting knife. While he was examining the knife, a yellowed piece of paper fluttered out of the glove compartment and settled into his lap. He picked it up gingerly, unfolding it to examine the smudged ink.

This is yours now. Sorry I can’t be the one to show you how to drive it. Hope it’s been a good life. I know I’m not around but I really do love you, kid.
-your dad

Sam felt an odd stabbing though his heart. Uncle Bobby must have been holding this car for someone. Must have been holding it for damn near twenty years and now he’d never get it because there were hundreds of thousands of Johns out there and Sam didn’t have anything to go on.

Dean turned down the music just a little bit, giving Sam a searching look. “What’s wrong, Sammy-boy? I can sense the angst clouds gathering.”

“Nothing,” Sam said, replacing the contents of the glove box and shutting it with a snap. “How far we got?”

There was a lurch as Dean stomped on the acceleration in response.

They checked into a motel, Sam wincing at the shot to his credit card. Dean noticed his look, as they moved into the room. “You’re still using your own card?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Nothing else I can do.”

“You could apply for another card,” Dean said.

“That would mean I had to pay for another card and I don’t have that kind of cash.”

Dean dumped the weapons back onto one of the beds, pulling a box of salt out of the bag and heading straight for the windows and laying down a thick line. Next he took a knife and etched a symbol into the windowsill. Sam watched him awkwardly from the door wondering why he could remember all this when he couldn’t even remember his last name. “Who says you have to pay for it?”

“Besides the United States government?”

Dean snorted. “Loosen up a little, Sammy. They only care if you get caught.”

Dean went to Hell, Sam reminded himself. It wasn’t any huge surprise he was lacking in basic human morals. “We’ll be breaking enough laws with just the grave desecration.”

“You have no fun, Sam,” Dean said.

“I need a shower,” Sam said.

“You suck at subject changes,” Dean laughed.

Sam ignored him, heading straight for the shower. When the hot water was pouring over his head, he wondered what he was doing here. Wondered if Jessica would have wanted him to move on instead of spiral down a path like this. Wondered how long he would last before earning himself a one-way ticket to the afterlife.

He stumbled out of the shower ten minutes later, soaking wet and when he went into the hotel room to grab a change of clothes, he saw Dean standing on a chair in front of the door, tracing some elaborate symbol onto the roof. “That’s destruction of prosperity,” Sam informed him.

Dean glanced down at him. “What are you--a freaking lawyer?”

The comment hit Sam harder then he thought it might. He was going to be a lawyer. He’d taken his L-SATs and he’d interviewed at Stanford law. He was going to have his way paved: his life handed to him on a platter. But dreams of law school had gone up in smoke with Stanford and Jess. This was all he had left.

Dean finished tracing the symbol and hopped down off the chair, grabbing a sawed off shot gun from the weapons bag and shoving it into Sam’s arms. “Load up, we’ve got to talk to the cops about this murder. You can bitch about my paint job later.”


“I’m not impersonating an FBI agent,” Sam said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

Dean gave him a look, raised and eyebrow and smirked a little. Sam tried not to think of just how natural this felt. Tried not to think about how he felt more like himself with Dean then he ever had with his friends at Stanford. “Why not?”

“Illegal striking any bells?”

Rolling his eyes, Dean slipped the crime scene tape for the house, went inside and approached the nearest officer. There had been several murders in town. Fine upstanding citizens who had no recollection of the deed after it was done. Who were shaking and sick and completely horrified when they realized they were holding a bloodied knife. There were witnesses who’d witnessed black eyes. Dean said demons. The most recent murder was last night, while Sam was dreaming of hell and Dean was passed out in the car. “Officer,” Dean said. “My name is…” he stumbled on the name for a second before saying, “Dean Winchester and this is my partner Samuel Singer. We’re with the FBI, investigating the recent rash of murders.”

“FBI?” the officer said. “You don’t look FBI.”

They didn’t look FBI. Dean still wore a mess of bruises and cuts all up and down his body, walking with a hitching, not quite smooth gait and Sam was in torn jeans and an old t-shirt. Dean ignored the statement plowing on ahead. “I understand this is the most recent victim?”

“Yeah,” the officer said. He had a low drawling voice like he wasn’t at all in a hurry but there was an underlying panic in his body. As he talked he moved, leading them past the kitchen and into the living room where there was still blood on the walls and a corpse on the floor. “Sweet kid too. Known him all his life. It’s a damn shame what happened to these people. I mean the world catches fire and suddenly it’s all right to kill whoever you damn well please.”

The body was dried, caked onto the man’s throat and sticking to the couch. There was a gash in the chest area, the wound itself almost invisible in the mass of blood on the shirt. Dean barely winced but Sam had to bite down the gag reflex before speaking. “I understand this isn’t your first murder this week.”

“Town’s gone mad,” the officer said. “Nothing in terms of homicide for five years and then four in the past week. Fine upstanding citizens too. Never pulled any of them over for more then running a stop light.”

“Have you identified any connection between the victims?” Sam asked. He was evolving into the role unconsciously. Straightening his spine, keeping his voice crisp and curt. If he was going to lie like this, he was damn well going to be sure he didn’t get caught.

“Small town like this everyone’s connected,” the officer said. “Killers are connected, victims are connected. There’s some of use down at the station thinking it might be a cult kind of thing. Maybe it has something to do with those shadow men and all the fires. Whole damn world’s going to hell.”

Dean’s face tensed at the word, his body froze as if rooted to the stop and for a second Sam thought all the progress he’d made in this past week had rewound all at once to reveal the shivering mess that had stumbled out of the fire.

The momentarily lapse set off alarms in the officer’s head. Sam could see the connections being drawn one after another. Dean had underestimated him. He many have been a small time cop but he was sharp and he noticed things and he knew enough to see when something wasn’t right. “You boys aren’t cops, are you?”

Dean opened his mouth as if attempting to speak but couldn’t force the words out. His fingers flexed and unflexed compulsively. Sam put a hand on his shoulder, an unconsciously protective gesture. “No, we’re not cops, but we’re investigating.”

“Figured as much.” He narrowed his eyes. “What kind of investigating?”

“Look, there’s something weird going on and we’re trying to get to the bottom of this.”

“That’s what the police is for, son,” the officer said. “I assure you. We’re not incompetent.”

“You’re not ready for this,” Dean blurted with such forcefulness that both Sam and the officer turned to look at him. His face was blank but there was an odd glint in his eyes that was nothing short of dangerous. “These things are vicious and nasty and came out of hell itself and if you don’t watch out, it’s going drag you down with it.”

The officer folded his arms over his chest and Sam knew they were in for it. There were a finite number of things normal people could trust without seeing them for themselves and Dean had overplayed their hand. “Get out of my crime scene or I swear to God I’ll have both of you locked up.”

“You can’t handle this,” Dean said, voice rising. His face was twisted in panic. “Don’t you get that? You’re in over your head and if you make one wrong move it’s going to kill you too.”

“Come on, Dean,” Sam said, catching him by the shoulder and guiding him back and out of the house as fast as he could. “We’ve got to go.”

Dean snarled, trying to twist out of his grip. “He’s going to die, if he’s not careful. He’s going to die and he sure as hell can’t go down there.

“It’s all right, Dean,” Sam said, soothingly. “We’ll find it first.”

He got them all the way out of the house and back into the harsh sunlight of the afternoon without further incident, Dean getting calmer as they got farther away from the body. Sam thought they were finally in the clear when they saw the Impala but a car from the county sheriff’s office pulled up and a uniformed officer climbed out. Sam nodded curtly at him, maneuvering Dean toward the car, but Dean stopped short, sticking to the spot as if he’d spontaneously grown roots, staring at the officer in abject horror. “No,” he muttered. “No. I’m not going back there.”

And suddenly Sam’s arms were full of writing, Dean, arms flailing in every direction, an elbow catching Sam in the chin, another in the stomach. He didn’t let go.

The officer looked at them strangely and asked, “What’s wrong with him?”

Sam found the lie springing immediately to his lips. He didn’t think. He didn’t feel guilty. He just lied. “Oh, my friend here has these episodes. I’ve got to get back to the house and get him his meds. The flashing lights upset him.”

“You two new in town?”

“I’m not going back!” Dean screamed. “You’re not taking me back.”

Something in the officer’s eyes flashed and something in Sam’s mind clicked. “Christo,” he said.

The officer hissed as if he’d been struck and an inky blackness seeped steadily into his eyes. Dean lunged left and into the driver’s seat of the car. Without even thinking Sam dashed around the car and into the passenger’s seat. Dean hit the acceleration the second Sam shut the door, plowing straight into the officer’s stomach. The force of the blow knocked the demon off it’s feet and sent Sam’s head snapping back and forward with the force of the whiplash. Dean slipped the car in reverse, roaring back and onto the road. “Holy shit,” Sam said. “You killed him! You killed him.”

Dean put the car back into drive and roared forward and up the street. Sam was breathing hard and in the rearview mirror, he caught sight of the figure pushing himself to his feet and staggering into the cop car to take after them. Dean drove the impala forcefully, drifting around the corners and skidding on the asphalt. He got to the motel in the a quarter of the time it had taken them normal, double parking and dashing into the room before Sam even had the chance to react.

The lights were off in the motel room, which was just as well because Sam could see the lights flickering on the fast food place across the street anyway. Dean was standing tensely next to the bed, an iron knife clutched in his right hand. There was a book on the bed. He barely looked at Sam before he said, “Page is marked.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Sam said. “We’ve got to get out of here. Someone must have seen that!”

“I’m not going back,” Dean said. “And if we leave now he’ll find me. They’re like vampires. They’ll never let go once they’ve got a bead on me.”

“They’re going to find us,” Sam repeated. “It’s going to come here and rip us to shreds.”

Dean smirked dangerously. “Let it try.”

Sam could hear sirens now, impossibly close, screaming just outside the room. Dean’s grip on the knife tightened. Sam felt oddly heady, adrenaline flowing into his veins, his fingers tingling in the anticipation of a confrontation. He was overcome by the growing certainty that this was how he was going to die. That he would be torn to shreds by a demon. He wondered if this was how Jessica felt in her last moments. He wondered if this had happened to Dean right before he was dragged into hell.

The door burst open, torn from its hinges like it was made of paper. Sam felt himself break into a cold sweat. “C’mon,” Dean muttered, crouching down, knife extended in front of him. “Come and get me you fucker. I dare you. I’ll tear you the fuck apart. ”

The demon snarled, stalking forward in the officer’s uneven gait. Sam could see a piece of bone protruding from the left wrist, an injury from the collision with the Impala, but the demon didn’t seem to notice, didn’t seem to feel any pain. Sam found himself reaching for the weapons bag, for a shotgun or a knife or something that didn’t make him feel so worthless. He feels like a deer caught in the headlights as a huge semi-truck barreled toward him, unable to move.

The thing took another step forward, grin twisting up its face. The eyes looked even darker in the shadows and then it stopped in its track, reeling backwards as if it had run into a solid wall. Dean smirked, looking up at the intricate symbol he’d drawn on the ceiling. “Gotcha.”


I'm going to try to even out posting by going on Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm thinking eleven chapters total but my outline has roughly 80 words in it so that's subject to change. Until next time!

7 |

(no subject)

1/9/08 00:10 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Can't wait!! Thanks so much for your hard work..

(no subject)

1/9/08 00:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I'm so happy to be writing this one it doesn't feel like work at all. The fact that you're enjoying it as much as you are is just gravy. Thanks for reading.

(no subject)

1/9/08 01:04 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I really like how smart Dean is in this. He may be suffering from some serious PTSD moments, but he plan ahead far enough in advance to mark the page and paint a devil's trap. I also like how completely over his head poor Sam is. Doesn't know jack about demons, too righteous for credit card fraud, but still able to lie. Nice.

(no subject)

1/9/08 21:08 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Dean is a smart guy no matter what he's been through. I think a lot of what he'd remember after hell are the ingrained hunting habbits and he's competent no matter how hard he's PTSDing. Sam out of his depth is so much fun to play with because we almost never see it in cannon. =)

Glad you're still liking this.

(no subject)

1/9/08 06:10 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I love this! The part where Sam disapproved of the credit card fraud was great (and nteresting that Dean remembered it) and the note in the glove box almost made me teary...this is excellent stuff.

(no subject)

1/9/08 21:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
[No comment on Dean but...] I'm happy you're picking up on the stuff you are because it's you know Important. =) More soon.

(no subject)

1/9/08 19:29 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ahhh, cool. The fires and the shadow men and 'in hell' are all creepy and horrible. Connections!!

(no subject)

1/9/08 21:10 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Glad it's starting to piece together. It's going to be a pretty wild ride from here on out.

(no subject)

15/9/08 11:13 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Hmm... The note is addressed to "Johnny," (as in Winchester?) and that's the name Dean muttered when he was still out of it. The use of the diminuitive is not something I'd associate with canon!John, however, so I'm definitely waiting for further developments.


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July 2015

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