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Title: The Shadow Men [7/?]
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 | 6 


A devil’s trap. Sam remembered jotting down notes on it during his research binge at Uncle Bobby’s place. Demons couldn’t get out of Devil’s Traps. They had to stay there until the seal was broken. It was ideal for exorcisms, offering some small measure of safety in an otherwise impossibly dangerous task. “Dean,” Sam said, staring at the snarling demon. “Dean, what are we going to do when someone notices this?”

The door was yawning wide open. There weren’t a lot of people in the motel, but someone was going to notice something of this magnitude. Dean circled the demon, eyeing it coldly. “Start reading, Sammy. Page is marked.”

“Dean,” the demon snarled. “Oh, Dean, Dean, Dean. You were always one of my favorites. When we get back, I’m going to enjoy peeling the flesh from your bones.”

“You’ll never get the chance.”

“Oh, they’ll be nowhere to run before long, Dean-o,” the demon said jovially. “Hell’s bleeding out into the real world and there’s going to be no turning back.”

“Read, Sam!” Dean barked.

Sam found the page labeled Rituale Romanum and started stumbling his way through the Latin. “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio—”

“Careful with the pronunciation there,” the demon cautioned. “A wrong syllable sends me to Maui instead of Hell.”

“Don’t listen to it,” Dean cautioned. “You’re doing fine. Keep reading.”

When Sam was a kid, Uncle Bobby had always pushed for him to take Latin in school but Sam had never seen the use of a dead language. He’d taken Spanish all through high school and into his freshman year of college. He’d picked it up quickly, conjugating not quite instantaneously, but close enough to fake it. He’d stopped taking language all together when he’d settled in pre-law. He remembered Uncle Bobby’s mild annoyance, the way a Latin-English dictionary had found its way into his school books and wondered if Bobby knew he’d somehow make his way here. “Infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio, et secta diabolica.” “Perditionis venenum propinare. Vade, satana, inventor et magister omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis—“

“I ripped your father to shreds,” the demon said, staring at Dean. “I told him where you were and then I tore his heart out. Hard to pick which one hurt him more.”

Dean didn’t blink. Maybe it was a blessing he didn’t remember. Couldn’t picture a face mirroring his own as a monster tore it to shreds. “Demons lie,” he said. “You’re going back to hell no matter what you say.”

“I’ll get back out,” the demon said. “The walls between worlds are starting to crumble. Hell’s going to swallow earth.” The thing frowned. “Or maybe the other way around. Either way, there’s blood to be spilt. It’s going to be like Christmas morning.”

Dean was circling the demon slowly, glaring daggers into the thing’s black eyes. The demon was hunched in on itself, breathings coming in quick bursts. The sheriff’s borrowed face was twisted into a grin. He leered in Sam’s direction. “Poor little Jessica was just an early victim.

Sam’s breath caught in his throat. For a second he couldn’t move.

“For fuck’s sake, Sam,” Dean growled. “Stop listening and start reading.”

The page was starting to blur in Sam’s vision, the words bleeding into one another as his tongue tied itself into knots. “Humiliare sub potenti manu dei, contremisce et effuge, invocato a nobis sancto—“ he stumbled through the words. He could feel them heavily on his lips, thick syllables smeared with magic. The trick was pushing them into the correct formation, nailing the pronunciation without ever hearing it before. “Et terribili nomine, quem inferi tremunt. Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, domine. Ut ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos.”

“Your father bleed too, Sammy,” the demon hissed and Sam’s neck snapped up from the book to look her in the eyes. “Oh, I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Your daddy went and got himself killed when you were just a little boy. Thought hunting was more important then family. I heard all about it. Every knows how daddy Winchester left poor baby Sammy all alone.”

There was something clenching in Sam’s throat. He lost his place in the book, fumbling for the next word. He tried to remind himself that his life wasn’t bad at all. It wasn’t like he’d grown up in a foster home. He’d had Uncle Bobby. He’d had a good life. He’d found Jess. He’d gone to Stanford. It had been a pretty damn good life before it all burned away.

“And the worst part is your dad knew exactly what he was doing,” the demon said. “Don’t misread that for a second. He knew what he was hunting and he knew damn well that he wasn’t coming back.”

“Demons lie,” Dean said, grabbing Sam by the shoulders. “Demons lie all the time. Stop listening and sent it back to hell.”

“You earned that place in hell, Dean,” the demon said. “Just as much as I ever did. Why don’t you ask your friend there to send you back as well?”

Dean rounded on the demon, face blazing with almost incoherent rage. “I’m not going back there!”

Sam’s brain had blanked completely. His mouth was working but he couldn’t force a single syllable out. The demon smiled, black eyes impossible huge in the fading afternoon light. “Hunters are a dying breed, aren’t they, Dean? I doubt this one makes it a year.”

Dean turned around and snatched the book from Sam’s hand, taking up the ritual from the place Sam left off, “Te rogamus audi Dominicos sanctae ecclesiae.” The Latin sounded thick and grating on his tongue. His voice sounded even rougher then it had his first day back.

The demon twitched, a huge shudder that sent all his limbs jerking in different dimensions. His breath was coming in short barking gulps. His eyes were jet black. Sam found himself stepping back almost unconsciously because two weeks ago he would have sworn up and down that this wasn’t real.

“You’re all going to burn!” the demon howled.

“Terogamus audi nos!” Dean read, voice rising with every word.

The demon shuddered again, threw its head back and screamed as a thick cloud of black smoke forces its way through the officer’s throat and out into the real world. Sam watched in horror imagining that it was him. Imagining the demon ramming itself down Sam’s throat and wearing his skin like a suit.

When the smoke evaporated, transported back into hell, the body collapsed to the floor, blood spilling from his mouth. “Shit,” said Dean. “Looks like he’s dead.”

“Did the demon do this?” Sam asked. His stomach churned. If he’d eaten anything in the past twelve hours, he was sure he would have lost it right then and there.

“Maybe,” Dean said, taking the man’s pulse. “It could have been anything. Might have even been the Impala. The demon was keeping the body alive.”

The impala. The collision that Sam had nearly forgotten about in the rush of the exorcism. He felt sick with guilt. There had been a person in there and he hadn’t even noticed. “Dean,” he said. “Dean, we just killed a guy.”

“It was us or him,” Dean said. He picked the corpse up but both ankles and dragged him into the room, shoving him under the bed and leaving a bloody trail in his wake. “It was the right thing to do.”

Dean busted out of Hell. Sam shivered. Dean busted out of Hell and he didn’t see people as people anymore. Had that been product of the torture or had he always been like this? Was he that cold before he was sent to the pit?

He didn’t know anything about this man like he hadn’t known anything about Mason. This was dangerous. This was madness. He should have followed Chris’s lead and got the hell out of this life. He should have holed up in Uncle Bobby’s house and waited it out with someone he could trust.

Dean was fidgeting, fingers clenched tight around the hilt of his knife. “We should get out of here.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed. “There are going to be cops all over here.”

Dean glanced back up at him, mild surprise coloring his features. “ Yeah, them too.” He grabbed the bag of weapons off the floor.

Sam, panic mounting, spurred himself into action, grabbing various clothes from around the world and the books he’d been using for research from the tiny end table. He hesitated at the door, thinking, we should wipe our prints off, clean up, make it so there was nothing to tie them to the scene. Then he remembered his own name on the credit card on the counter and realized just how screwed he really was. He shuffled the books in his arm and stepped over the doorframe. Dean was already loading the weapons back in the car. Sam walked up beside him and threw the books and the clothes inside. He didn’t meet Dean’s eyes, couldn’t look at him without hearing the echo of the demon’s voice, You earned that place in hell, Dean. Just as much as I ever did.

Behind them there was the sudden roar of sirens and Sam felt his body tense anticipating a horde of cops, a SWAT team coming to that them both out, but it didn’t come. Instead a pair of fire trucks came whirring down the road, headed back toward the heart of town where there had been four murders by people they’d assumed were possessed this week alone. “Dean,” Sam said. He could see the beginnings of the black plumes of smoke not a mile away. “Dean, I think there’s a fire.”

“We’ve got to go,” Dean said, slipping into the driver’s side door.

Sam nodded once and pulled open the door to the passenger’s side. Dean put the car in gear and went roaring out of the parking lot, putting the corpse, the fire, this town in your rearview mirror.

“You’re going the wrong way,” Sam said. “We’re supposed to be investigating the fires.”

“I’m not going back,” Dean said and the Impala’s speedometer climbed up past ninety.


They slept in the car that night. Sam didn’t know if it was to give his battered credit card a rest or that Dean only ever seemed to sleep soundly stretched out in the impala’s back seat. Dean was out like a light within minutes, but Sam couldn’t think of anything but the sheriff belching black smoke and the way his empty body toppled gracelessly to the ground.

Sam wasn’t going to sleep that night no matter what he did so he stayed in the passenger’s seat of the car, rooting through the glove box. He found himself staring at the letter again, wondering who Johnny was and who might have owned this car before it had earned its permanent place in Uncle Bobby’s salvage yard. He pulled out the rusted metal lock box out from the car and set it careful on his lap. He tried pulling at the edges but there was nowhere to get a grip. Frowning, he readjusted his grip, searching for some sort of leverage. He didn’t find in.

Then struck by inspiration, he leaned over the driver’s seat and pulled the trunk release button. In the back seat, Dean snored and rolled over, one arm lolling over the seat and grazing the floor of the car. Sam took the lockbox in his hand and cracked open the door to slip outside and into the cool air. They were in Nevada now, or at least somewhere in the nebulous expanses that was in the American Midwest. Sam had lost track of where they were and where they were going back when his life and Stanford had gone up in flames.

It was a cold night. Late November. It might have even December by then. Sam felt like he’d been on the road months rather then weeks. The minutes had bleed into hours and the hours straight on into days.

Sam pulled the Impala’s trunk open, shivering in the chill of the night. With shaking figure he pulled a knife out of their weapons bag and unsheathed it, examining the glint of the blade in the moonlight. Then he took the blade to the small grove in the lock box, working it slowly back and forth until the whole thing sprang open in a shower of rust. Sam carefully sheathed the knife and tipped the contents of the box out and onto the top of the impala’s truck. There were dozens of tiny plastic pieces, all more or less the same size as a driver’s license.

They all belong to a different governmental agency, FBI, CIA, the Forest Ranger, various police departments. They were well past expiration date; most of them listed the time issued in the eighties. All of them bore a different name. Sam recognized some of them as members of old rock bands, character out of television shows but others he didn’t recognize at all.

The pictures he did recognize. It was the same face smirking up off of the badges. The face that proclaimed itself a member of the FBI, the CIA, the person who called himself Sammy Hagar, John Bonham and a dozen other names. The face was younger then the one Sam was used to, infinitely less battered, but it was still recognizable.

Sam flipped through fake badge after fake badge and on every card, Dean’s face smiled back.


There should be more Sunday. Enjoy.
8 | 

(no subject)

3/9/08 20:35 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Hmmm...parallel universe? Time warp? Demons changed time around when Dean's deal went through? This all has to do with John somehow too I think...

Oh yeah, and it's great!

(no subject)

3/9/08 22:42 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Answers to theroies in no particular order: no no, sort of, no. Believe it or not, this is a definite, pure AU. It's not like PoL where it only looked like one...

Thanks! This is such fun to write so I'm glad it's fun to read.

(no subject)

3/9/08 21:13 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I'll be waiting for Sunday!! :):)

(no subject)

3/9/08 22:42 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
And I'll be ready. Maybe even ahead with how quickly this is going.

(no subject)

17/10/08 08:28 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
The doctor was able to tell me pretty quickly what at least one of my problems is, although there may be more tests down the road.

(no subject)

4/9/08 00:47 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Dude, WTF? Not that I mind 'cause it's really interestingly confusing, but did I mention I have no clue what's going on? I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment so I can get a clue about what's going on.

(no subject)

4/9/08 02:31 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
You're really not supposed to know what's going on. Believe it or not, there is a distinct plot and there is a plan and it looks like we are going to tie up in 11 or 12 chapters...

(no subject)

9/10/08 17:28 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
   I'll have a computer with me on our trip, but that's only so that we can watch movies on the plane.

(no subject)

17/10/08 07:39 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I would be farther along, but I decided to watch the movies on the plane. 27 Dresses. Not that great.

(no subject)

4/9/08 04:00 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ahhhhhhhh, neat. Neat! I love how all the little pieces are slowly being assembled...


(no subject)

6/9/08 13:15 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thanks! More tomorrow =)

(no subject)

15/9/08 11:17 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
The end of this chapter makes me incredibly grateful I'm reading this in one go. That was one hell of a reveal at the end. I'm wildly forming theories, but I'm sure all of them are wrong.


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July 2015

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