Pairing: Sam and Dean (Gen, Drama)
Summary: (Late Season One) Sam hates cemeteries, and he hates what he and Dean do there.
Author's Notes: *flails* I finally finished this one! I started it for 60_minute_fics about 18 months ago, but couldn't get the ending. Last night it finally all came together. This combines the two-word title prompt from the 60_mins challenge and "Grave" (from my Supernatural Switch_25 table)
Sam hates cemeteries, and he hates what they do here.
Whether it's digging up and burning the bones of angry ghosts, or waiting for something that comes from the grave, it's all wrong. Things should die only once and stay buried. No good comes of anything else.
They're not sure what they're watching for tonight, but it's probably undead. The pattern shows that it's ambitious and mobile, and there are bodies to show where it's been.
This is the part where the two of them don't talk, where they sit back-to-back in the shadow of a tree scanning the darkness. Sam thinks he can feel the heat of Dean behind him, but it's probably just awareness. So many times through exactly this routine, their movements are choreographed strategies and hand-signals without words.
Sam's seen enough movies to know where this comes from, where Dad learned it. He wonders whether Dad really told them everything about what he'd done in the War.
Dean leans into him suddenly, and Sam turns his head to see what Dean's found. They're as careful as always: no words, no noises of any kind, if they can help it.
In all this silence, the slightest movement can be heard without much effort. This time it isn't theirs—it's a rustle off to the right in the direction where Dean nods. Sam can't quite tell what that shape is in the space between the trees. It's bulky and tattered, and the half-moon doesn't reach the area where it moves.
Sam rolls into a crouch on his knees, his nerves as taut as the string on his loaded crossbow. This is the part that's hard—waiting to see if the thing comes closer or whether they have to track it with noiseless caution until it's in range.
It approaches on the diagonal, and it isn't that it's stealthy— the creature is simply slow. It's on a directed path, Sam can tell that now, and two rows over it stops at a tall, granite headstone.
The head lifts in the moonlight, one eye missing on the side that droops toward the ground.
Sam's arrow catches the creature near the middle, and Dean's rifle shot brings the thing to the ground.
It dissolves, and the earth rushes upward to claim it. God, that's unsettling—they can't be sure it's dead if they can't tell what it is. No specimen, no certainty.
They could be back here tomorrow all over again.
"Dean," Sam whispers.
"Dig it up," Dean murmurs back.
"No! Dean…" It's not whining, it's just that digging up and burning isn't the answer to everything. Especially when you don't know that the thing you're digging up isn't using those bones right now.
"Let me put salt around the grave and use a binding spell." Dean stands up and scans the area.
No more visitors for the night, not yet. But they make no assumptions—not everything that causes trouble returns here all at once, and not everything that's quiet remains dormant.
Dean seals the site where the creature fell, and then Sam turns the earth slowly under the watchful beam of the flashlight Dean's holding. "Pieces," Sam says finally. "Random bone and loosened chunks of flesh."
"The animate undead," Dean murmurs, nodding his head. "Doesn't matter where the grave is then, we can take care of it here."
And so they do.
Sam brings the supplies from the car: a bagful of pennies, and a crucifix blessed by a priest. Dean has already dug a circle around where the creature lies, wider than necessary just for safety's sake.
Laying the pennies all through the trench to form a line of copper, Sam glances at the name on the headstone.
Seeing his own father's first name reminds him of all the parts of this he hates. People are laid in cemeteries to rest, to be honored by their families and to form a place of repose for when those who love them come to visit.
What he and Dean do—the digging up, the desecration, even the waiting around for something to unfold—breaks peace with that. As necessary as their work is, it still feels like a betrayal of all the unknown families for whom the cemetery is a sacred place.
Burying the crucifix down inside the earth, Sam helps Dean cover everything over and smooth it out. This job is done.
Sam gets to his feet and looks around him, listening once more. All is silent as ever but for the muffled sound of Dean's boots on the grass, and the waning moon casts shadows that touch and change the midnight landscape of this lonely place.
Sam follows Dean, stepping around the graves as he goes.
I'm sorry, he thinks.
No-one answers but his own heart, soothed by knowing that the sentiment is true.
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