Rating:PG-13 for language
Spoilers:Season 5, after 5.16, Darkside of the Moon.
Summary:When Sam is attacked and marked for possession by a 'Hell Bearer,' Dean will stop at nothing to save his brother. Pain and exhaustion he's handled before; however, adding to that the horrific memories of Hell may be too much for this world-weary hunter to bear.
Disclaimer: They're not mine. More's the pity.
Warnings: There is mention of torture (from Dean's tour in Hell) in this fic.
Wake Up and Fight: Part 1
Wake Up and Fight: Part 2
Wake Up and Fight: Part 3a
"I remember you, you know," the demon said, standing up, but staggering slightly as the rock salt wounds in the body it controlled ate at it. If Dean didn't know better, he'd think the demon was drunk.
Dean took a step back, warily eying the storm of demons above him, unsure of what they were waiting for. The salt line was broken; there was nothing keeping them from taking him down for a death roll. He returned his eyes to the demon trying to control the body of the witch and saw that it was toying with the small dagger—the one Sam had used to free himself and, somehow, the witch.
"I remember you were his pet," the demon continued, stumbling sideways.
Eyes darting to the edge of the salt line, Dean swallowed. He had expected this. There had been so many; surely one of them would find him eventually. He wouldn't answer, wouldn't give it the satisfaction.
"I brought you that girl…the red head…," it told him. "Watched you wrap your fingers around her throat to get her to stop screaming. Mmm," it smiled with the witch's mouth, eyes rolling closed as if in pleasure. "Alistair was right—you really were a prodigy."
Dean tried to remind himself to keep breathing, to not listen, but he could remember a red haired girl. Remembered choking her into silence. He remembered it as if it were a movie he'd watched once—something he'd not truly been a part of, but had affected him all the same.
His breath stuttered slightly as the vibrating air seemed to press around him. He knew he just had to wait…just wait.
"They don't want you," the demon told him, glancing up at the cloud swarming above him. "Not like they want him. But since we can't possess you Winchester boys, your brother's marker is really just a dick tease, you ask me."
The demon raised the witch's slim shoulders, rolling her neck and shaking her arms out as if trying to get comfortable in herskin. The dagger was held loosely in her left hand, fingers twisting the blade. "But," it continued, "what we can do, is kill him and get this whole will they or won't they bullshit over with. I mean, enough is enough, don't you agree?"
Dean couldn't help himself. "Sure you want to do that? Your boss might get a little pissed if you take away his vessel."
The demon rolled its eyes. "He's not my boss. Don't much care if he's pissed or not. I'm just tired have having him still around fuckin' up our plans," it said, tossing the witches chin in the direction of the house. "Both of you, for that matter. Orders to not touch, orders to seek and find. Like we're fetching him. Like we're dogs. What bullshit."
The snarl on the witch's mouth looked strangely at home. The demon dropped it's gaze from the house to rest on Dean. "Y'know... there's a few of us, myself included, who kinda respect you. I know Satan's got a hard on for your brother, but...," it shrugged, "we wouldn't mind having you play for the other team, if y'know what I mean."
"Fuck you," Dean snarled, his stomach twisting.
"Hey, it ain't all bad," the demon smiled, the witch's face a dark sneer. "I mean...I got me an army up there." He glanced toward the cloud. "They don't make a move unless I say so. Be kinda nice to have an army at your disposal, huh? Whole bunch of souls to protect your brother?"
Dean pressed his lips tight, narrowing his eyes, saying nothing.
"No? Eh, can't say I expected any different," the demon glanced past Dean to the house. "You realize all I have to do is say the word and they'll rip you apart just to get you out of the way before they take out your brother. But," the demon tilted its head, lips parting in a small, secret smile, "if there's one thing I learned from Alistair…it's that killing you is too damn easy. And torturing you is too damn fun."
Apparently thinking that line was clever enough to use as a catalyst for attacking, the demon started forward, dagger raised. Dean braced himself, and then exhaled a breath of thanks as the demon stopped dead at the edge of the salt ring, confusion etched on its face.
"You guys are so friggin' easy," Dean said, his lips daring to tip up to a grin. "I mean…did you think I'd just let you kill us?"
The demon looked down and Dean allowed himself a moment of silent celebration as it discovered the Devil's Trap painted on the dirt with Bobby's spray paint. The rising sun slowly illuminated the horizon, its light diminished and dampened by the cloud of demons but still bright enough to show the demon riding inside the witch's body that he was stuck.
"This changes nothing," the demon declared. "You can't save him. We'll climb into his head, make him peel his skin from his bones and use it to strangle you."
Dean raised an eyebrow, the picture of calm, though inside he was shaking so badly his ribs were rattling. "Vivid. Really paint a nice picture there."
He didn't have much time left, he knew. His body was reacting to the damage done despite his mental attempts to ignore it, to force himself onward. He knew that the demon could still escape the witch's body while contained inside the Devil's Trap, so he had two choices: carve the binding link into the demon's skin, or kill the witch while the demon rode her. One way would be quicker, and more humane.
And a hell of a lot easier.
Setting the Molotov down, he took a breath, burying every flinch of pain, every groan of weariness, down to his gut where it caught fire, pushing him forward. He shoved the shotgun back into its make-shift holster, the fan belts pulling on his sore shoulders, and pulled his own dagger out, striding toward the demon, his eyes fixed, his lips thin.
The demon dropped into a crouch, ready to take him on, a cocky, confident grin plainly showing it knew it was the stronger of the two. Dean raised the knife and took a decisive step forward when suddenly the demon straightened, arms shaking. Dean pulled up short, watching, confused as the hand gripping the dagger turned away from him and faced inwards, toward the witch's vulnerable mid-section.
"What—wait, what…?" The demon stammered, staring from the arm it no longer controlled to Dean's equally shocked face.
Dean took a breath, moving inside the Devil's Trap with the witch. The demon took a step back, trying to get away but unable to. It looked up at him and the body it possessed trembled visibly.
As Dean watched, the onyx blankness cleared from the witch's eyes, exposing her own dark brown, desperate eyes.
"Do…it…," the witch pleaded, trying to maintain control. "Now…!"
Dean felt himself resisting, felt his heart scream, but her voice shoved into his mind, pressing against the edges there with two words: end this. And for a moment, he was blind, eyes wide open, darkness wrapped around his vision. Slicing through the dark one image became vividly clear: the witch holding something black and vile, putrid limbs thrashing against her grip.
His vision cleared suddenly and Dean gasped, bile climbing his throat. He forced himself to step forward, grabbing the witch in a strange, awkward embrace, the force of his body shoving the knife into her mid-section. The demon overpowered the witch's control, growling and thrashing, forcing both of them to the ground. Dean knew he had only seconds before the demon escaped to rejoin the cloud, leaving the mortally wounded witch lying in his arms.
He took a quick breath, whispered a heartfelt, "I'm sorry," and shoved his knife into her chest, directly into her heart.
He felt her body go slack, felt the demon cloud around him scream in protest as they writhed around each other, swarming but not attacking. He was safe in the Devil's Trap. But he couldn't stay; Sam was dying.
And once more, he'd killed to stop that from happening.
Releasing the witch's body, Dean crawled backwards to the edge of the Devil's Trap, and grabbed the neck of the Molotov bottle sitting just outside the salt ring. Swallowing the sudden nausea that rushed up at the knowledge of what he was about to do, Dean pulled his lighter from his jean's pocket, lit the rag at the end of the bottle, and threw it hard enough that the glass broke, the accelerant catching hold of the flame and crawling up the body of the witch.
The demons screamed and Dean heard his brother's voice echo the cry from inside the house, but he could do nothing except stare as the fire consumed the body. He didn't realize he was crawling away until his back hit the base of the stairs. The second bottle, unused and sitting outside the edge of the salt ring, toppled as the demons frothed and coiled around each other above the burning body, as if confused. Dully, Dean's gaze took in what looked like a retreat, the demons pulling up and away rather than using this moment to press the advantage and attack.
The accelerant leaked from the tipped bottle fanned the flame on the body and Dean could do nothing else but watched her burn. As he did, memories surfaced—blood coating his hands and arms to the point it looked as if he were wearing red gloves. He couldn't be sure if it was his blood or theirs. He remembered blindly following instructions of where to cut to extract the loudest screams, to incite begging, and to end it.
He remembered the sick emptiness going away when Alistair praised his work. He remembered feeling almost a sense of…pride…for a job done well done.
And he remembered the fire. The burning of flesh, the smell of it.
Bile rose in his throat as accusations and absolution warred within him, offering him an out, trying to steady him and acknowledge what he'd survived—how he'd survived. His heart pounded with the horrific weight of guilt, his breath shuddering in and out of his weary lungs as the memories and images assaulted him.
He wanted them to stop, needed to escape the memories. But he couldn't pull himself free, couldn't recall song lyrics to block them out, couldn't retrieve the faces of his family. He couldn't remember being rescued; he couldn't remember Castiel pulling him free, saving him from the true Hell. Not the pain and the rack and the endless torture, but turning into one of them. His soul black and bottomless, willing to do whatever they said, willing to do whatever he had to in order to make the pain stop, to keep it at bay.
But he had been saved. He had been returned to life, to the job, to a purpose. He had been returned to Sam. He'd been returned because someone needed him.
Dean took a ragged breath and blinked as he realized he could feel the sun on his face. The demon cloud was no longer blocking it out, no longer twisting above him in a seething mass of fury. He looked around, trying to figure out their endgame, knowing they wouldn't just leave. But the body of the witch had nearly burned and the sun was turning the rusted shells of the salvage yard to burnished silver and gold.
He rolled over, the shotgun a heavy weight at his back, and pulled himself to his feet. He made his way into the house, staggering past the study, not looking at Sam, and grabbed a canister from the kitchen. He returned to the porch, eying the sky, watching the road, seeing nothing. He stumbled as he descended the steps, the space between the porch and the broken salt line seeming to stretch out as he approached the body.
Falling to his knees, Dean sensed his resistance level had reached its expiration. His body hummed with pain, his chest stinging with each breath, his leg burning, his head throbbing. With shaking hands, he reached toward the pile of ash that had been the witch—looking away from the still-burning body—and scooped some into the canister, then turned and tried to push himself to his feet.
It took three attempts before he was able to find his balance, lurching his way back to the house. His vision had started to gray-out at the edges, a tunnel of purpose leading him forward. He made his way to the study, his breath rasping in and out like a boxer who didn't know the match was over for him. Stepping over Sam's prone body, he found the Mason jar with the rest of the components for the ritual and tapped the ash inside.
As he watched, the concoction began to turn a strange, grayish hue in the jar. He slid down the desk, slumped in the center of Bobby's Devil's Trap next to Sam, the shotgun at his back clunking noisily against the wooden furniture.
"Sam," he called, his mouth dry, his throat raw. He needed Sam to be a willing part of this, needed to not torture someone else. "Sammy, c'mon, man."
Sam lay on his side, his wounded arm draped over his chest, eyes closed, face slack. Dean pulled in a breath through his nose. He was fading quickly. He needed to do this before the poison making Sam's veins black ate his brother's will and turned him against both of them. Digging the lighter from his pocket once more, he pressed his lips flat.
"I'm sorry," Dean whispered. "But…I think this is gonna hurt."
He swallowed convulsively, his breath shaking as he exhaled, and took hold of Sam's wounded arm.
Sam looked wrecked.
His skin was clammy, the sweat making tracks on his lined face, soaking through his ruined T-shirt and turning his wounded arm slick. He turned restlessly at Dean's touch, not truly conscious, but at least somewhat aware. He was shivering, his lips shaking around his quick breathes, and Dean's gut ached at the site of the dark lines running along Sam's cheeks to bruise his mouth.
"Sammy?" Dean whispered, resting his hand on his brother's chest as Sam's face turned toward him.
The room seemed to tilt and Dean bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself present. Narrowing his fading vision on the bite marks, Dean poured the paste from the jar onto Sam's arm, then set the jar down to free up his hand. Gripping Sam's wrist, Dean spread the concoction over the puncture wounds, eyes on Sam's face as his brother's breathing became rapid.
The moment the wound was covered, Dean knew the demons had returned. He smelled the stench of sulfur, heard the groaning roar of their advance.
Bobby's house began to shake, the Earth around it rumbling with a vengeance of a hundred seething souls thirsty for vengeance or escape. The large picture window in the study cracked, but stayed intact, the salt line on the window in place. Dean shot a look over his shoulder as he heard the front door bang against the wall, the morning sun once more obliterated by an unnatural darkness.
Under Dean's fingers, Sam's arm began to tremble—at first just fine, almost imperceptible tremors, but then increasing in intensity until Dean was pulling the limb toward him to keep hold of it. Sam's neck arched; the tendons there tightening and bulging as he groaned, his teeth grinding.
"Easy," Dean soothed. "Easy, Sam, almost done, man. Hang in there."
The darkened veins on Sam's face and neck began to turn purple, his lips taking on a bluish tint.
"Breathe, Sam." Dean pressed his hand flat on Sam's shaking chest. "Sam. SAM! Hey, hey, you gotta keep breathing! Aw, Jesus, don't do this to me…."
The demons roared around them, slipping and seething into the house, unable to reach them over the salt line, but desperate enough to keep trying. Terrified that he was about to send his brother right over the edge, Dean braced himself and flicked his lighter to life.
"Please let this work."
He touched the flame to the paste, surprised when it caught immediately, the fire burning purple, but with no heat. Sam went suddenly, completely still and Dean took a quick breath. When Sam's eyes flashed open, they were filled with utter terror, searching frantically around him.
"Sam! Sammy, I'm here. Hey, hey! I'm here. I'm here, man." He had to yell to hear his own voice over the sound of the seething cloud.
Sam was panting, the trembling of his body slowing, but the terror ever-present. He reached with a clumsy hand to find Dean's shoulder, gripping his filthy T-shirt with fumbling fingers.
"'m burnin'!" he slurred. "Dean! 'm burnin'!"
"You're not," Dean promised, glancing down to Sam's arm and seeing that the cool purple flame was actually starting to die out as the wounds drew the paste into Sam's skin. "You're not, I swear. You're gonna be okay, Sam. Hey, hey, look at me! Look at my eyes, man."
Sam's frantic eyes found his and Dean stared at him, hard, brows pulled close, pinching the wounds on his face. He curled his fist in Sam's T-shirt, holding his brother's arm down and away from him.
"You stay lookin' at me, got it? You got that?"
Sam nodded, breath hammering in and out of him until Dean was afraid he'd hyperventilate before the ritual could work. Outside, a storm was raging. Inside, the darkness grew as the demons seemed to expand, spread through the house, blowing out every light, filling the empty spaces until only the study remained open.
The brothers held eye contact as the paste continued to counteract the Neresit poison, the darkened veins fading, retreating from Sam's face, returning his features to a paler version of normal. As Dean watched, Sam's eyes cleared of pain, though fear remained. His lips stopped shivering, but his grip on Dean's shoulder was steady.
"That's it, brother," Dean encouraged, making sure Sam heard him over the cacophony. "You're doing great—"
The fire on Sam's arm flared to life in one unexpected last gasp of brilliance, then died completely as Sam cried out, back arching, body bucking. Dean held on, moving his hand from Sam's shirt to the back of his brother's neck, pulling him upright, pulling him close. Sam shook, rocking into Dean, crashing against open wounds, bruises, torn and pulled muscles.
But Dean held on.
He had no strength for words, nothing left for reassurance. He simply held on.
After what felt like hours, he could feel Sam breathing and realized that his own gasps for air matched his brother's in speed. As the dark cloud pressed close around the room, a reminder that Hell waited at their threshold, the brothers pulled apart slowly. Sweat ran down Sam's face, sticking his hair to his scalp, but his skin was clear of the black markings. He stared at Dean with shock, his eyes once more his own, clear, bright, and worried.
Dean looked down at Sam's arm, dizzy with relief at seeing the raw puncture wounds having faded to a pink crescent scars.
"Dean?" Sam's voice cracked across his name. Sitting as close as they were, Dean could hear him without Sam having to yell.
"Y' okay?" Dean asked him, dismayed to hear his words slurring. He tried to swallow.
"Yeah...I, uh. I think so. I don't...I'm not...it doesn't hurt anymore," Sam said, looking baffled and relieved as he continued to stare at Dean.
"You…. D'ya still hear 'em? The demons?" Dean tapped Sam's head to show he didn't mean the roar outside.
Sam didn't pull his eyes from Dean's face as he shook his head. "How—?"
"I can't…it's—" Dean couldn't find the words. The rush of the last several hours was beginning to crash down upon him and Sam was blurring before his eyes.
"Dean, man…," Sam breathed, closing his mouth and pulling in a breath, his eyes darting in thought, remembering. "I was burning. You…did you set me on fire?"
"Had to," Dean tried, closing his eyes in an attempt to balance. "It was…it was the only way." He looked back at Sam. "I had to," he repeated, his voice loud and hard, needing Sam to hear him, thinking about more than the fire that burned the poison from Sam's body.
But Sam had moved past the fire. He was staring at Dean with open concern. "What happened to you?"
"Saved yer ass," Dean replied, feeling an almost drunken grin tugging weakly at his lips. "Tol' ya…'d fix it." He blinked wide, trying to bring his focus back, trying to bring himself back.
He could feel the demons pressing close, ready to tear them apart, devour them, the moment they crossed the salt line. He couldn't afford to fade. It wasn't over, not yet. But as he sat huddled close to his brother in the center of the Devil's Trap, Sam's bright, pain-free eyes taking him in, the demons didn't matter.
He'd done his job. He'd kept his promise. They hadn't got him.
"They didn't get you," he told Sam, tightening his grip on the back of his brother's neck, bringing Sam closer, rubbing the base of Sam's skull affectionately. "Told the bastards."
Sam reached up, his hand ghosting Dean's battered face. "Jesus, Dean, you look like hell…. What happened to you?" He repeated.
Dean couldn't answer. He just wanted to sit, breathe in the sweaty scent that was his brother—his brother alive. He didn't want to think, to fight, to do anything but sit and breathe, Sam next to him.
The split in the picture window suddenly widened, spreading across the whole pane with a deafening crack. Dean jerked his head up, as if coming suddenly and viciously awake. The weak weightlessness he felt coming down from the adrenaline high was quickly replaced by a driving need to survive. Sam pulled free of his grasp as he looked out and around, seeing for the first time the cloud of demons filling Bobby's house.
"Holy shit," he said.
"That's putting it mildly," Dean agreed, tried to get up, then gasped as a sudden stab a pain shot through his wounded leg.
Sam shot a look back at him. "You okay?"
"Define…okay," Dean winced, his body rebelling his need to stay conscious. "I'm still breathing...but if we can't get rid of these guys," he jerked his thumb over his shoulder, "that's not going to be the case for long."
Sam's eyes darted in thought, his tongue running restlessly along his bottom lip. Dean waited, watching.
"I think I have an idea…," Sam said finally. "But…I'm gonna need your help."
Dean grinned at Sam, the smile filling him up. "Damn, it's good to have you back."
"Say that after we exterminate these bastards," Sam told him, using Bobby's desk to gain his feet. He teetered on the edge of balance a moment, rubbing at his eyes. "Whoa."
"Take it easy," Dean admonished from the floor. "You've…kinda had a busy night."
Sam looked down at him. "Says the pot." He reached down and gripped Dean's wrist, tugging him upright.
Dean stood with a low groan, but was unable to put any weight on his wounded leg, the cuts there lacing fire up through his hips and torso, making him sway. Sam caught him, wrapping his arm across Dean's back and supporting him. Leaning on each other, they raised their eyes to the frothing black cloud.
"That's a lot of demons," Sam said, yelling over the storm surge of noise.
"Yep." Dean looked at his brother, having to tilt his head up to do so, they stood so close. "What do you wanna do?"
Sam looked back at the cloud turning Bobby's study into an island inside his home. His eyes narrowed and his expression became hard as he answered. "Kill 'em all."
"I can get on board with that," Dean muttered, unable to pull too far away from his brother. He knew he wasn't going to be able to stand on his own very long. "What's the plan?"
Sam swallowed. "Obviously, it's gonna take more than just the exorcisms we've said before." Dean watched as Sam's eyes skimmed the book-laden shelves surrounding them. "I read this book a couple weeks back where you add sigil, and some other stuff that pulls the demons—"
"Sam. Show. Don't tell," Dean ordered, gripping his brother's shirt for balance.
"Right, okay." Sam helped Dean lean back against Bobby's desk. He rubbed his head as he moved to the shelves on the far wall. "Feel hung-over," he called over the noise. "Headache from Hell, man."
Dean knew his brother was trying to keep him talking, keep him engaged. He recognized Sam's tactics from years of fighting alongside him, of knowing his partner. Keeping his eyes on his brother's movement, he played the game, though the effort of talking tore at his aching chest.
"Yeah, well," he shouted. "I told you to stay in the other wing."
Sam grabbed a heavy book from the shelf—he seemed to know exactly what he was looking for—and dropped in on the desk next to Dean, leafing through the pages.
"Couldn't let you have all the fun," he countered. "You know I love dogs."
Dean chuckled, pressing the flat of his hand against the stinging scrape on his chest. "Think I just became a cat person."
Sam glanced up at him as he moved to the broken china cabinet and grabbed two jars and an empty bowl. "You do tend to land on all fours."
The demons were growing impatient, it seemed. Dean gasped as he felt a sudden pressure change, his ears popping as the cloud roared around them.
"Need…chalk…or a marker or something," Sam shouted.
"Duffel," Dean called back, remembering the grease pencil he'd used to mark the Nova just last night.
He watched as Sam bent down and dug through the duffel laying half under the resituated couch. Worry pulled Dean's brows close as Sam wavered a bit, using the couch for support.
"I'm good," Sam said. "Just…dizzy."
"Want me to—"
Sam jerked a dark look in his direction. "You stay there," he ordered. Dean blinked, then watched Sam's expression soften as he continued, "I need you to stay upright a little longer, man. Just…just stay there."
Dean knew he had to look rough. He felt rough. But something in Sam's expression had him wondering just how bad off he was. He glanced down at his body and saw his ripped T-shirt, bloody chest, filthy jeans torn open with seeping wounds visible on his leg, a pink shop towel stained with blood on his arm.
No wonder Sam looks freaked out.
Turning his attention back to his brother, he watched as Sam set the book next to him and drew an unfamiliar sigil in the center of the room, beneath the Devil's Trap. Putting the empty bowl in the middle, he poured something from one jar and pinched something from another.
"Need a knife, Dean," he yelled, looking over his shoulder.
"Knife!" Sam shouted back. "Need to use blood."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Sorry, man," he called. "The witch has 'em." In fact, he could still see them in his mind's eye, protruding from her chest.
"Dammit!" Sam cursed, looking around the room.
Dean pushed away from the desk, widening his stance to find his balance. He stepped forward until he stood in the center of the sigil, directly above the bowl.
Sam was eying the cracked window. Dean knew where his mind was going.
"Sam!" he barked. "How much blood?"
"Three drops, but—"
Dean untied the shop towel from his arm and held it over the bowl. Gritting his teeth, he squeezed the cut until blood pooled, then ran from his arm to drip into the bowl. When he'd seen three drops fall, Dean pulled his arm back and wrapped the towel back around the cut, tying it quickly.
Sam was gaping at him. "What. The hell?"
Dean found that he was struggling to steady his breath, his vision slipping from gray to white before clearing once more. He wanted to hold onto something, but there was nothing nearby.
"Let's just say," he panted, staggering a bit, "we redefined blood brothers tonight."
Sam swallowed, his eyes wide and more than a little scared. "Okay, um," he said, looking back at the dark cloud surrounding them. "This is gotta be done fast. The second I start the rite, you have to break the salt line—"
"What? And let them in here?" Dean stared dumbfounded at his brother.
"Listen, Dean," Sam snapped, his face tense. "This is going to open a portal that…basically sucks them out of here."
"Does it matter?"
Dean thought about that a second. "You sure this is gonna work?"
"As well as any of our plans ever do," Sam said with a tiny shrug.
"Okay, so, how do you keep them from beating the hell out of you?"
Sam looked at the cloud. "If I'm right, they won't have time."
"Hell with that," Dean muttered, though he saw Sam heard him over the roar.
You look them in the eye.
He reached back and pulled the shotgun free from its holster, breaking the barrels across his arm. He fished a shell from his jean's pocket and slipped it into the empty barrel, before snapping it closed and looking back at Sam.
You don't flinch, you don't fail.
"They're not touching you," he declared.
Sam's eyebrows bounced. "Dude. You're like…Ripley."
Dean scowled at him. "Ripley's a chick," he protested, moving closer to the threshold and the demon cloud, the smell of sulfur suddenly reaching a potent enough level he wanted to gag. "I'm like John McClain."
He didn't have to look to see Sam's grin. The witch had been wrong. There were people worthy of sacrifice. One of them was sitting right behind him.
"You ready, man?" Sam shouted.
"Yippe-ky-yay, motherfucker!" Dean yelled at the cloud, shotgun up.
Sam began screaming out the rite, his voice crackling with effort. Dean kicked the salt line free, firing the first barrel into the cloud as he did so. The howl of the demons was so loud it was quiet. He saw the flurry of books flying from shelves, the wild twist of Sam's hair andclothes, the rush of demonic smoke as it broke the barrier and rushed his brother.
Dean fired again and felt the scream of the demons shake through him, saw it shake through Sam, but his brother never faltered. Sam stayed in the center of the sigil, his mouth moving as he shouted the rite, not blinking as the demons seemed to dive into the bowl in front of him, sucked there against their will by the power of the words Sam spoke.
As Dean watched, Bobby's house cleared, demons retreating, escaping, or sucked into the void Sam was creating. The pressure of their presence increased for a moment before suddenly disappearing, evaporating into the light that spilled into the room in their wake. It felt like hours, but Dean knew only seconds had passed when the wind stilled, the deafening quiet hissed back to reality and Sam's shouting tapered off.
They stared at each other, breathing hard, almost unable to believe they were still in one piece. Dean watched Sam's throat work as he swallowed, noticing even the minute motions of his brother as he reacted to the fact that they were still there. Still alive. Sam pushed to a shaking stance, his eyes still on Dean. Weakly, a laugh bubbled from inside of him.
"Guess it worked," Sam said, his voice rough from screaming.
"What in the holy hell is going on here?"
The voice was filled with baffled fury, but it was one of the sweetest sounds Dean had heard in hours. He turned, his body wavering, the empty shotgun falling from his loose grip, and tried to smile.
"Hey, Bobby," he greeted. "Sorry 'bout the house."
Bobby stared at him, angry, but then Dean saw something shift in his expression. Shock and worry swam across his eyes as he stepped forward. Dean meant to reach out. He fully intended to greet his friend and mentor with a grateful hug and a pound on the back.
Instead, his knees buckled and he felt himself going down, Bobby's strong arms catching him and holding him close, a whisper of, "I gotcha, kid. I gotcha," slipping across his weary ears.
Concluded in >Part 4: The Recovery.
a/n: Thank you for reading. Come back for the end and a link to an original story soundtrack fanmix by secretlytodream.
All My Life by Foo Fighters