Characters: Sam, Dean (Gen)
Spoilers: Tiny “Asylum” spoiler
Summary: Sam and Dean versus an unknown grave-robber. (Includes bickering, bad food, and the obligatory Latin).
x-x-x-x-x Chapter 4: Doing Battle x-x-x-x-x
It is two hours later, and still no demon. Dean’s leg has fallen asleep, and Sam is desperate for a bathroom.
Dean is yanking and poking soundlessly at his leg while Sam sneaks off several bushes down, keeping an eye out for anything that might be moving.
He’s just finishing when he hears a loud rustling off to his left, and he moves quickly back to where Dean is holding the shotgun. Sam picks up the metal and the Holy water, and they wait for their visitor to make itself known.
Sam can smell it before he sees it, and fights the urge to hurl back up every part of his dinner. Dean’s elbow to the ribs snaps him out of it, and he pulls himself back together, limbs tight and ready for battle.
The demon, as it lurches into sight, is even uglier than the drawing in the journal, or perhaps this particular sample is just in really bad shape. Its flesh is hanging off its face, and it moves stiffly across the grass.
Sam and Dean trade a look, and then Dean blasts it in the chest with the rock-salt bullets while Sam throws the Holy water on it.
The demon looks—confused?—and staggers a little before moving toward them more quickly.
“Sam!” Dean cries, and Sam raises the iron cross and begins intoning in Latin.
“Vade! Vade! In nomine Patris, et Filli, et Spiritus Sancti.” The demon slows, but has not stopped moving. Dean shoots again, and Sam continues. “Dominus illuminatio mea!”
Dean calls out desperately, “Bozhe moy! Nizhny Novgorod!”
“Dean, come on!” Sam shouts in disbelief. He grabs the blowtorch and fires it up quickly, rushing toward the demon while Dean stands there horrified. “Cristo! Cristo! Soli Deo Gloria!” Sam yells, and the demon is suddenly ablaze. Sam holds his position until the demon crumbles into ash, and then waits until the fire is out. He pours more Holy water on the ashes, and they watch them sizzle and disappear into the grass. Dean pats Sam’s shoulder in victory, and suddenly a siren breaks the stillness.
“Crap!” Dean yells, and they rush back to collect their belongings and hightail it down to the car. Dean’s barely got the car started back toward town when the local fire engine passes them on the way to the cemetery.
“Man, that was close,” Dean says.
“You know, if I ever get arrested for arson in the middle of risking my life to kill some disgusting, scabrous demon, I will be done with this business for good,” Sam says. “’Cause on top of everything else, that is just damn annoying.”
“All for the greater good, bro’,” Dean says, eyes twinkling at him in the light from the dashboard.
When they get back to the motel, Sam is suddenly tired, barely able to brush his teeth and undress for bed. He falls asleep before Dean is even out of the bathroom, for once safely under without even trying.
But later, once again, Sam finds himself awake during the night, not from a nightmare this time but from being prodded out of sleep by increasingly troubled and thought-laden dreams. Dean is wrapped around him, dead to the world, and Sam is a little envious of how easy it is for Dean to get to sleep and stay there. It doesn’t matter what they’ve been hunting or killing, or what’s nearly killed them, or how recent it was. Dean is relatively unaffected by everything.
Sometimes on nights like this Sam’s irritation gets the better of him. He finds himself skipping off into the familiar playground of What Would Wake Dean And What Would Not.
He likes this game, and yes, he does occasionally test out his experiments. His favorite area of deliberation involves how Dean will react to different answers to the question “What’re you doing?”, which Dean mumbles with regularity every time Sam moves or makes a noise in his sleep.
This game works better when they are in the same bed, when Dean feels safe and unguarded with Sam so close by. Under those circumstances, Dean’s triggers for waking up are much more predictable. Sam has classified Dean’s potential reactions to Sam’s answers into different levels. This is what he has come up with so far.
“Nothing. Go back to sleep” has never gotten any response, and Sam expects this. This answer is completely off Dean’s radar. Sam thinks of this non-response as Level 0.
Something like “Hogging your pillow” is Level 1, which Dean almost never wakes up for either. This sort of answer covers responses that are a little weird but probably true, and Dean’s subconscious ignores them easily.
Level 2 covers answers that are weird but harmless. “Painting turtles” or “Shredding carrots” fall into this category. There is about a 50-50 chance Dean will wake up for a Level 2 answer.
“Building a rocket” is Level 3. This answer speaks of something that is both weird and dangerous, and it usually gets a “What?” out of Dean and an instant high-alert. Sam only goes to Level 3 when he is feeling kind of evil and resentful, and he never does it when Dean is really tired.
Level 4 would be the real thing—monsters at the door— and Sam has never pulled that one even as a joke. He likes his ribs without the knife, thank you very much.
Still awake, Sam thinks about getting up for a bit. He pulls forward a little, which wakes Dean slightly, and here it comes: “What’reyoudoing?”
Sam thinks quickly. “Admiring your butt,” he replies, aiming for somewhere between Level 1 and Level 2. But Dean must be awfully tired tonight because all Sam gets is a vague humming noise from him and then Dean is asleep again already.
Not much fun this time. Sam sighs quietly, and decides to stay put after all. It’s going to be a long night, and he’s still got the smell of burning garbage on his mind.
By morning, light is coming in through the windows again and Sam awakens to the uncomfortable pressure of Dean’s head under his armpit. Dean is pushing up hard and has gotten a really good purchase on the bed.
Sam taps his shoulder a few times, and then leans back and away just in time. “Huh?” Dean says, his head coming up suddenly. He looks dazed, and his eyes wander around the room as he remembers where they are.
“What’s going on?” Sam asks.
“Oh,” Dean says vaguely. “I dreamed I was stuck in a cave trying to tunnel out through the rock.”
All Sam can do is laugh, because really— how else can he respond to that?
He watches Dean come awake for a few more minutes, a mistake really because Dean calls dibs on the shower as soon as he’s coherent.
Sam is left sprawled on the bed, flipping through the three channels on the room’s TV. He watches The Price Is Right through a broken vertical hold for a few minutes, and then switches it off.
His father’s journal is on the table, and Sam goes over to it, flipping through it idly. It’s funny, but he never really looked at it much as a child. It was fully of ugly pictures and the nightmares that haunted their lives, and Sam had altogether too much of that on a regular basis. But now, he finds the images and footnotes and newspaper clippings intriguing. The journal is a window into his father’s mind, into his mission, and it says something that for all of the details and variety of subjects, his father doesn’t seem to be building toward any particular conclusion. Actually, that thought isn’t reassuring at all, and Sam’s wishes he could unthink it almost as soon as it happens.
He adds a few more notes on the Krazhnekhoi, its method of beginning a new feeding area (just for reference, in case others of its kind use other schemes), and lastly, the description of how they killed it.
Dean is out of the shower now. “Ready to hit the road?” he asks, pulling on something that doesn’t smell of sweat and smoke and propane.
“Yeah.” Sam closes the journal. He’ll clean up and get dressed, and then they’ll pack everything out to the car for the next Otherwordly encounter.
The days are long and full, and they must have covered half the country by now, just the two of them.
But sometimes, Sam has to wonder. There is so much that they do, protecting and searching and battling random evil, and they are on the move all the time. But is there an overall direction or destination?
Ultimately, do they have any real idea where they’re going?
----------- fin -------------