Disclaimer: Supernatural is not mine, incidentally, the same goes for Dark Angel
Summary: He should have left this city the minute he walked into Crash and saw the double of his brother. Sam-centric, crossover with Dark Angel.
Author’s Note: I have no real recollection of writing this story, just trying to get Claire to make me stop so I could, you know, study for finals. Instead, she called just beta. So really, this whole thing is her fault. (Edited 12.6.06. Huge thanks to mayatawi for the help.
What Comes Around 1 | 2
Sam leaves the old house with a bad taste in his mouth, but once he sits down to work on Logan’s tip, the promise of a job helps clear his head.
Logan was right, Sam finds as he looks into the history of the old apartment. There have been thirteen deaths there in the past ten years: four who took a nose dive from the same sixth story window, five who ate their own guns, two who tied their noose, one who swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills, and one who slit their wrists. And those were only the cases Sam could find.
The thirteen deaths are more than enough to tell Sam that there’s something wrong. The building was built in the months directly preceding the Pulse, and the apartment's first tenant was its first jumper, out the window when it became clear the Pulse had wiped his life’s savings clean.
He was cremated, Sam notes with annoyance, which means that he isn’t dealing with a haunting. There is no pattern to the suicides, which either points to freak coincidences or some sort of demon.
Sam doesn’t believe in coincidences, but it’s too late to go check the apartment today, so he packs up his laptop and twenty minutes later is standing inside Crash, the same bar he visited last night.
The Double spots him before Sam can even figure out exactly how he got there and claps a friendly hand on his shoulder. “Sammy, my man, good to see you. Thought Maxie might have run you out of town for good last night.”
Sam forces a smile and allows himself to be pulled into the bar. Someone shoves a glass of beer into his hands and, in a loud whisper, says, “Alec’s looking for a rematch.”
Sam starts at the glass and lets out a snort of bewildered laughter. “Thanks,” he mumbles, and waits for a name.
“Sketchy,” the guy supplies, “and thank you, my friend, for proving Alec here’s actually human . What’s your secret?”
“Years of practice,” Sam says, and lets the Double maneuver him to the pool tables.
The Double shoves a pool cue into his hands, a cocky grin on his face. “What are you waiting for, Sammy? You promised me a rematch.”
He lets the Double break and, as he bends over the table, Sam sees the barcode on his neck, only half covered by hair. He wonders how he could have possibly missed it yesterday.
They play five games. Sam wins four of them and thinks that if he really had been playing against Dean, he probably wouldn’t have won a single one.
The Double smiles and shrugs as his friends tease him about dropping games and says, “Hey, I haven’t even been playing a year.”
Sam’s probably the only one who believes him.
The Demon’s grinning at him, yellowed eyes and jagged teeth. “That was your last bullet, Sammy boy. Wouldn’t have killed me anyway, would have been hell to find a way back, but this, this is so much easier.” It steps over the forgotten gun and Sam feels his body sliding up the wall.
“Guess what, bitch?” Dean says from behind the demon, and picks up the Colt. The Demon turns around slowly.
Dean is smiling, teeth bared, gun aimed square at the demon’s forehead. “Wasn’t the last bullet.” There’s the single loud crack of the gun…
Sam jerks awake and nearly cracks his head open on the steering wheel. He curses and wonders when he’ll learn that saving a few bucks by sleeping in the car isn’t worth bodily harm and constant soreness. He's not a kid anymore.
He rubs his aching back and blinks the dream away from his eyes. He hasn’t really dreamed of the Demon since they killed it. It vaguely occurs to him that the dreams restarting are probably a bad omen, but he can’t dwell on it because he has to spend the day working on the suicide case so he can get out of this city before it drives him insane. He gets the feeling that, the longer he stays, the more likely he’ll be to slip up around the Double and manage to drag him into this life.
He starts to get the feeling of being watched when he passes through the checkpoint of sector 4 and flashes his forged sector pass.
It’s just a prickle in the back of the neck, a few hairs on end, but it’s more than enough to put Sam on edge, checking behind him every at every turn. He never finds anyone watching.
He can still feel it as he’s flashing his forged Seattle PD badge and lying to the weathered gray lady who owns the apartment. He can feel it as he walks the six flights of stairs to get to room. He feels it right up until the second he opens the apartment door and sees Jessica plastered on the ceiling. He stands shocked for a moment, all thoughts of being followed leaking out of his head as her body bursts into flames.
Sam shuts the door, breathing hard. He waits a moment and tries to blink away the image of his burning girlfriend, because goddammit, that was almost fifteen years ago and he’s as close to over it as he’ll ever get. He’s half expecting the entire building to go up in a blazing inferno, but nothing happens.
Sam puts his hand on the doorknob and the metal’s cool against his sweating palms. He closes his eyes and opens the door. Inside the apartment, there’s no blazing fire, no extreme heat. Sam opens his eyes.
There is no one on the ceiling.
The room itself is cold and boring. Completely void of anything flammable. There are no pictures on the walls, no wallpaper. Sam gets the feeling that the room might have been white once, but now the carpet is an ash gray and the walls are just a shade lighter. There is a small tiled area to his right, complete with a kitchenette, and to his left there is a single black couch.
There’s a splatter of red on the gray wall and a too-dark splotch on the couch that is probably blood. There’s a yellow tape outline of a body sitting slumped on the couch. Sam can almost imagine those last moments, sitting down on the sofa and staring at the barren walls that should have been filled with pleasant pictures and memories but instead are just an empty, blank, gray slate. Sam thinks of putting the gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger for that sweet release, writing the note pointing fingers at whoever…
Sam shakes himself out of his trance. There has never been a note. Not with any of the suicides. It is the deaths’ one unifying factor.
Sam sighs and turns away from the body’s outline. He pulls out his EMF detector and flips it on. There’s nothing for a long second, and Sam starts moving towards the bedroom, hoping for a better read, when the EMF suddenly squawks. Sam turns slowly in place, looking for a visual source of the disturbance, and he finds it.
There’s a body laying in the empty yellow outline.
Sam’s EMF meter clatters to the ground and switches itself off.
Dean’s lying in the yellow outline, blood still flowing from the bullet hole through his forehead. Sam chokes on his fear as he takes a step towards the body. He blinks and the body’s gone. “What the hell…”
He feels slightly unhinged, like his brain is slowly leaking out through his ears and spilling into the apartment, little by little. He can practically picture pieces of his brains splayed all across the wall. He can hear Dean’s whispered voice, You know Dad always blamed you, Sammy…
There’s a sweeping, crackling sound from behind him, and Sam whirls around on his heels, pulling his gun from his waistband and flicking the safety off.
Only his gun’s aimed at empty air. The window in the bedroom has creaked open and Sam moves towards it automatically, only vaguely aware of what the thing in the room is doing to him.
He creeps forward to look out the open window to the spot where at least four of the jumpers have splattered on the pavement. He takes a deep steadying breath, closes the window, latches it shut, and turns back to the room, only to find Jessica sitting on the bed.
You killed me, Sam, she says, but she’s smiling all the same.
“Jess,” he whispers, and steps towards her like he’s walking in a dream.
I might have had half a chance if you’d told me about you. She’s leaning towards him, beckoning him to come closer, closer. He can’t help but obey. It doesn’t matter now, we can be together.
The bed creaks as Sam puts his weight on it. There’s a cold breeze on the back of his neck. The window’s open again.
Jess is still there, solid and real. She doesn’t flicker in and out like normal ghosts. I missed you, she whispers. We’ll never be apart again.
Sam closes his eyes and bends forward to kiss her, but his hands brush against her wrist and her skin’s cold and dry and dead, and he opens his eyes to see the demon’s twisted black-lipped smile. He jerks his gun up and unloads a round of rock salt into the thing’s rotting face. Only when it hits the bed, it’s Jessica again, lovely face marred with scabs from the salt. Sam feels his heart beating in his throat as he scrambles off the bed and starts backing out of the room.
He’s been hunting alone too long. This kind of shit never got to him when Dean was around.
He trips a little as he backpedals through the doorframe. He doesn't look at the yellow outline on the couch. He doesn’t want to see the body lying there.
And that’s when the apartment door bursts in and Sam spins around and crashes into the extremely solid, very real form of his brother.
“Dean?” he chokes, before his brain can remind him that his brother has been dead for ten years.
Dean doesn’t answer, just holds Sam’s arm in a vise grip as he stares back into the bedroom, stares at Jessica’s burning body. Sam sees his glazed eyes and wonders if he’s watching the same thing. “What the hell is in here, Sammy?” he breathes, and Sam suddenly recognizes that it’s the Double, not Dean.
Dean’s lying on the couch with a hole in his head.
“OUT!” Sam croaks, and pushes the Double out into the hallway.
The door to the apartment slams shut on its own.
Sam doesn’t feel sane again until he’s out of the building and sitting on the Impala’s hood. The Dean Double is leaning against the alley wall opposite him, studying him with open curiosity. Sam doesn’t return the gaze.
“My name is Alec,” the Double says finally. “I may have been cloned from your brother, but honestly, that’s not my problem.”
“You were following me,” Sam says.
The Double smirks. “You’re welcome.”
They lapse back into that same uncomfortable silence, Sam staring at his feet, the Double chewing on his lip.
“Why would you be following me?” Sam asks suddenly.
The Double shrugs and unfolds his arms. “Better than work.” A beat. “You going to tell me what the hell that was in there?”
Sam is painfully reminded that he isn’t actually talking to Dean. “What exactly did you see?”
The Double looks at the ground, and for the first time since Sam had met him, he doesn’t seem sure of his words. “She was on fire.”
Sam squeezes his eyes shut and feels the beginning of a headache start to form behind his temple. “It was a demon,” Sam whispers, because he never could put a lie past his brother, and he doubts the Double would be any different.
“A demon?” the Double repeats. “An honest to God, pitchfork-toting demon?”
“Devils are the ones who tote pitchforks,” Sam jokes weakly. “Demons are different.”
“It all sounds like fire and brimstone to me,” the Double says. “How do we kill it?”
How do we kill it. Sam doesn’t miss that the Double is including himself in this little venture, even though the last thing Sam wants is to drag him into it. “We don’t kill it,” he snaps, sounding a hundred times harsher than he intended. “I do.”
He’s honestly surprised that the Double lets him get away with it, because Dean would never let him get away with that kind of hero shit. Alec, on the other hand, just shrugs, mumbles “Whatever, man,” gets on his bike, and leaves.
And when he’s out of sight, Sam can admit to himself that he wants the Double to stay, wants his help more than he’s wanted anything since he'd gotten his revenge on the Demon that started this whole damn thing. His brother always deserved better than this and he’ll be damned if he lets the Double spiral down the same road.
So he spends four hours alone in the library looking for possible leads on this demon, and finally finds it in Dad’s old journal. The irony that, after all these years, the ratty old leather-bound book is still his best source of information makes him smile and think, with a certain amount of nostalgia, that his dad really was the best of the best. Only in the end, it didn’t help him a bit; even John Winchester eventually ran across a demon he couldn’t handle.
Sam shakes himself, whispers, “Focus, Sammy,” and reads his father’s cramped handwriting.
The demon’s called a Sapener. It picks up on a person’s insecurities and fears and plays them out over and over until the person, a: goes mad, b: leaves, or c: takes their own life. The more people the thing drives to death, the stronger it gets, until the whole dwelling is so corrupted, no one can even walk past without out contemplating their own demise.
How to kill it is simpler than Sam expected. Decapitation, according to his father, does the trick, but there is a note underneath the entry, written in a far shakier hand and a different pen. It says, They come back if the bodies are left unburned. I saw my boys burning…
The remainder of the entry is scribbled out.
The Double’s still tailing him, Sam notices as he turns onto
He’s good at this, Sam realizes, and doesn’t know why he’s so surprised. The kid’s a trained soldier; of course he’s good at staying out of sight.
Sam feels the uncontrollable urge to flip the Double off, but there are other people on the street who might take it the wrong way, so he just grabs his bag of weapons and moves into the building.
He tells the owner that he’s back to clean up the crime scene. She narrows her eyes suspiciously and asks, “What happened to your partner? Cale, I think his name was.”
Sam falters and almost asks What partner? before he remembers how the Double followed him in the first time. He catches himself, puts on a professional grin, and says, “He went back down to the station to file the report.”
The owner nods, not seeming entirely convinced, but she hands him the apartment keys anyway.
When he opens the door to 61C, Dean’s still on the couch. A thought floats through Sam’s brain. It should have been you that died. You can fix it.
Sam’s thankful he left his gun in the car.
Before anything else can seep into his mind, he pulls one of the throwing knives from his bag and hurls it at the corpse.
It hits Dean square between the eyes, and there’s so much blood that Sam’s suddenly afraid he made a mistake and hit the Double instead of the demon. But then Dean’s corpse stands up, pulls the knife out, and looks him in the eyes. “Come on, Sammy,” the demon says in his brother’s voice. “That’s not playing fair.”
Sam smiles ferally, lips curling back around his teeth. “Neither are you. Hiding out as my brother? That’s low, even for hell.”
The demon smirks and tilts its head, and suddenly it's Jess in front of him instead of Dean. “This better, Sam?”
“Fuck you,” Sam hisses, and as the demon laughs, it turns from Jess to his father.
“You never were good enough, Sammy. Ran away like the coward you always were. Got your pretty little Jessica killed because you didn’t let yourself see. It was your fault.”
Sam reaches into the bag for his ax, but his fingers feel thick and clumsy, and as he fumbles for the hilt, he cuts himself on one of his knives. He pulls his hand out to see a thin red trail of blood on his wrist. He glares at his father’s form.
“You always figured you’d bleed out,” the demon cackles. “Go ahead, take the knife. I made the first cut for you. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find what you’re looking for…”
Sam’s hand dives back into the weapons bag, and this time he manages the grab the ax. He attacks the demon blindly, swinging the ax like he’s one of the mindless ghosts he always fights. The demon sidesteps him and throws him into the wall. He hits hard, cracking the cement, and falls into the yellow outline of the body. The demon’s laughing as it turns back into Dean. “You’re dropping your shoulder, Sammy. Attack like that and it’s your back-up that’ll get killed.”
There’s a gun on the table in front of the couch. It’s not Sam’s.
The demon’s Jess again, stepping towards him with a menacing grin. “Always knew you’d crash and burn without me.”
The gun’s in his hands now, Sam doesn’t know how it got there.
And then a pair of hands grabs Jessica’s neck and twists. There’s an audible crack and, the glamour gone, the demon falls. Breathing hard, Sam looks up to see the Double standing over it. “Twice I’ve had to save your ass now, Sam, twice.”
“Jerk,” Sam mumbles. He rolls off the couch, places the gun on the table, and grabs his ax. “There’s a box of salt and some matches in my bag. If we don’t burn this thing, it’ll be back.”
As the Double goes over to the bag, Sam studies the demon’s twisted black face, whispers, “You stinking son-of-a-bitch,” and cuts off its head.
The Double looks at him strangely. “I get the burning, but what the hell is up with the salt?”
Sam laughs because he honestly has no idea where the idea of the salt originated, just knows it’s one of those things that have always been around. The Double passes the box and the matches towards him and he pours half the salt onto the demon’s body.
“Isn’t that overkill?” the Double asks.
“Can’t be too sure,” Sam grunts. “Besides, someone’s got to keep the salt industry in business.” He holds out the book of matches. “You want to do the honors?”
The Double strikes the match and grins at the flame. “Gotta say, weapons training at Manticore was never this cool.”
Sam buys the Double a beer, unsure of whether he wants to chew him out for following or thank him for saving his ass. He can’t decide which, so instead the two of them sit in the booth, talking about nothing at all.
An hour later, the bar’s starting to fill up and the beer’s completely gone, but they're still talking.
The Double is annoying in ways Dean could never even dream. He jabbers constantly, most of it sarcastic, most of it pointless, but to be fair Sam isn’t any better. The Double doesn’t talk about Manticore and Sam doesn’t volunteer anything about the hunt.
Finally, Sam puts a few bills on the table and hesitates for a moment before standing up. The Double looks at him and asks, “You sticking around?”
There’s so much of Dean in that question, Sam wants to cry, but he promised himself that he would get out of this town as soon as the job was finished. He works alone.
It’s better this way.
“There’s a job in Oregon I want to check out,” Sam says tonelessly. “First thing tomorrow.”
The Double nods, grabs his jacket, stands up. Sam follows suit, but when he starts to walk, he’s weaving a bit and he’s not sure if it’s from his notoriously low alcohol tolerance or if the demon did more damage than he thought. He is getting old, he thinks and almost smiles, sore after being thrown into one measly wall.
The Double doesn’t wobble at all and Sam figures it’s Manticore’s genetic engineering that lets him walk like he’s stone cold sober while Sam’s weaving all over the place. “You want a ride?” Sam asks when the reach the car.
“Nah.” The Double grins at him. “I got my bike. It’s all good.”
“Where you headed?”
“Was going to meet up with my girl.” The Double’s smirk is all Dean. “Head back to Terminal City in the morning. Max wants us detailing weapons tomorrow. The usual.”
“Do you sleep?” Sam asks suddenly, and the Double laughs like it’s a joke. And that was how Sam meant it, but once the words are out of his mouth, he can feel them take on a different weight.
Damned if he knows why it’s so important.
“Watch your back, Alec,” Sam whispers as the Double walks away.
He sleeps in the car for the third night in a row because he doesn’t trust himself to drive. His nerves are shot to hell and the headache that has been building up all day has finally decided to hit him full force.
When he closes his eyes, he sees her on the ceiling, blond hair splayed out, slash on her stomach, blood dripping slowly down.
More than ten years later and she's still burning.
Sam screams himself awake.
The sun’s just peeking through on the horizon. Sam’s watch tells him it’s just past six. He opens the door, suddenly desperate to get some fresh air. He takes two steps, bends over, and empties the contents of his stomach into the gutter.
The dreams haven’t been this vivid in years.
He blinks blearily and starts to move back to the car when, out of nowhere, the vision slams into him. He leans up against the car for support, clutching at his head for what seems like hours. When the vision lets go, his entire body sags.
And he knows they’re going to attack Terminal City.
He hopes he’s not too late, but he’s cutting it close. He passes a military convoy as he speeds through sector 5 and the radio’s talking about an act of transgenic aggression. But the station’s more than half static, and Sam catches the story in bits and pieces.
“I knew that it was…four suicides in the last year something wasn’t…two of them came to investigate… Kyle Jacobs and Dean Cale…”
Sam pulls to the side of the road and slams on the brakes.
His ID for the Seattle PD says Kyle Jacobs. He checks to be sure, but there it is. The Double must have just picked a name out of the air and run with it. Sam fiddles with the radio dial, looking for a better signal.
He recognizes the voice when the static clears. It’s the lady who owns the suicide apartment. “They were covering up for it. Something killed those people and they cleaned up the evidence, helped it get away with it. It couldn’t have been anything but one of those transgenics.”
His swearing would have done his brother proud. They mistook a demon for a transgenic and they’re looking to start a war. Sam can’t see anything but death.
He doesn’t know where Terminal City is. He doesn’t know how to stop it. He should have left this stupid fucking city the minute he walked into Crash and saw the double of his brother.
He pulls back onto the street and punches his foot down on the accelerator..
If Sam doesn’t get there in time, there’s going to be a blood bath.
There’s no one manning the gates. Sam gets out of the car and twenty seconds later he’s on the other side with no real recollection of how he got there.
He doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do, who he’s supposed to warn, but Max finds him before he has too much time to panic.
He opens his mouth to say something, but her hand collides with his jaw before he has a chance to get the words out. She hits harder than any demon he’s ever fought. “You’ve got some nerve, coming down here.”
“I’m trying to help you!” Sam sputters.
Max’s face goes red. “Help, that’s real funny.” She slams him back against the fence and its déjà vu all over again. “What did you do to Alec?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Sam says, but he knows from experience that his pleas will ring false. “Why the hell would I want to hurt him?”
“He was tailing you,” Max hisses, “wanted to see what you were up to. It’s not every day your clone’s brother rides into town. But I guess we were wrong about that. White probably just told you the right name to drop.”
He doesn’t realize what he’s doing, just sees Max fly off of him and sees her arms pinned to the dumpster. Sam’s lips twitch up in a sort of manic glee. The telekinesis is back. “Don’t,” his voice is low, quavering with barely suppressed rage, “you ever talk about Dean like that.”
She opens her mouth, but when Sam narrows his eyes, it snaps shut. “There are people coming for you. They’ve got it in their heads that one of you killed one of them and they’re going to try and take you out.”
“Why the hell,” Max snarls, “should I trust you?”
Sam blinks and Max falls back down to solid ground, raising her fists but not attacking. He’s scared her, he realizes, and surprise nearly chases away his unease. His powers haven’t been this strong since the Demon was still alive.
“I don’t even know why I’m still in this goddamned town,” Sam says softly, and looks up to meet her eyes. “If you don’t do something, people are going to get killed.”
“We can take handle it ourselves,” she says, folds her arms over her chest, and Sam knows she’s the most deadly thing he’s faced in a long time.
“They can’t handle you,” Sam says, and when he says it, he knows it’s true. “You might take them out, win the fight, but that’s the worst possible outcome, because if you stay and fight, there’s going to be bodies everywhere when you’re done. And no matter who started it, they’re going to blame you.” He can see the gears whirling in her head. “Trust me, it’s best for everyone if this place is a ghost town when they get here.”
She nods curtly and mutters, “Thanks for the tip.”
Relief seeps into Sam’s body, and suddenly he wants nothing else but to get into his car and just get the hell out of this city.
“But Sam,” Max says to his retreating back, “if you come back to my city, I might have to kill you.”
It would have been more of a threat if Sam hadn’t already decided he’s never coming back.
He notices the Double sitting in his car when he opens the door. He's leaning back in the passenger’s seat like he has every right to be there. Like he's Dean. Sam’s too tired to question it, just slides in and puts the key in the ignition. The Double doesn’t look at him, just stares out into the empty streets, watching something Sam can’t see.
“Your friend Max is kind of a bitch,” Sam tells him, but he gets no reaction. After a minute he adds, “I’m leaving town.”
He expects the Double to catch the hint, but instead he just turns his head to look at Sam.
His face is covered in soot.
“Where we headed?”
Where we headed. The Double seems to have decided he's coming along. Sam doesn’t know whether to argue or just accept it. “There’s job in Oregon,” Sam says. “A demon’s turning people inside out. I was going to look into it.”
The Double nods, taking it in stride even though, as far as he knew, none of this shit existed yesterday. Sam wonders what Manticore must have been like if he can take hell and high water like it’s an everyday occurrence. Sam sighs and starts the car.
Music blares out of the speakers: AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”. One of Dean’s favorites, one of Sam’s now too, if only because he couldn’t listen to the same music for twenty years without becoming at least a little attached. Alec, on the other hand, reaches for the controls and flips it off almost immediately. He scans the radio for a minute before settling on techno. There’s blood on his soot-caked face, and realization his Sam hard and fast.
The car smells like fire.
“You all right, Alec?” Sam has a hard time getting the words past his throat.
There’s the oddly toneless quality of a well-repeated response in the answer. “I’m always all right.”
Sam hasn’t been dreaming of Jessica. He doesn’t know how he could have possibly missed that detail. He forces himself to look at the passenger’s seat, because he owes the kid that much at least. “What was her name?”
Alec looks away from him and stares out the window, looking just like Dean always did when he was biting back tears. Sam almost misses his answer. “Asha.”
There’s a silence that stretches for miles and Sam can’t make himself say he’s sorry, because it’s not his brother sitting next to him. Just a kid he barely knows, with bad enough luck to be saddled with both Winchester blood and Manticore’s brand. There’s nothing he can possibly say to make it any better.
Sam sighs and puts the car in gear. “Let’s get hell out of here.”
I can't believe I wrote this. My God what was I thinking?
ETA 8/23/06- This verse recently highjacked my brain again and This was the result. It's a Dean and Manticore centric prequel to What Comes Around. So Manmade Monsters. Go read.