Title: From Yesterday
Characters: Dean, Sam, and OCs
Disclaimer/Summary: See Prologue
The spirit moved away rapidly, drawing the darkness with her. With a moan, she skittered into the corner of the landing, then to Dean's horror, crab-walked backwards up the wall to the corner of the ceiling and stared at him, her dead eyes turning the room to ice.
"Fuck me…," Dean whispered.
He'd not seen a spirit manifest itself quite so corporeally before. She was darkness, dripping shadows from her tar-like skin, her eyes two black holes in a face that defied convention.
"Is-is someone still there?" He heard Tommy's plea from one of the rooms above him, the kid's voice sounding scared and weaker than it had before. Whatever she'd done to him, Dean needed to get him out of there.
"Tommy, you just hang tight, okay?"
Maggie Flynn's spirit moved across the ceiling, trailing the dark after her like a gown, her shadow-hair spreading out from her face to bleed to the corners of the room. Dean continued up the stairs, keeping his eyes on her. He wasn't sure why she continued to shrink from him, but he refused to look away. The moment she moved into his blind side, he was toast.
He made it to the landing and brought the barrel of the sawed-off shotgun up. Maggie turned her head in an unnatural, jerky motion, the bottomless pits of her eyes making Dean shiver. Forcing himself to calm down, Dean used the tips of the fingers on his right hand to chamber a round, then fired both barrels at the ceiling, the rock salt peppering Maggie's spirit and sending her away with a bone-chilling scream.
"What the hell was that?!" Tommy called, his voice panicky. "Dean?!"
"Where are you?" Dean shouted back.
He was rattled. That had taken too long; it had felt like an execution. Something wasn't right about this whole situation.
"Last room on the right!"
Dean moved down the hallway, past the family photos on the wall, past the decorative tables with more trinkets and doilies, toward a large mirror at the end of the hall, positioned over yet another spindly-legged table. Catching his reflection in the mirror, he stumbled to a standstill.
The first thing he noticed was his eyes. He could see them in the mirror as if they'd been caught by a flash from a camera. They didn't glow so much as reflect light...and yet the entire house was covered in shadow.
"What the hell?" he whispered.
The second thing he noticed was the image of a woman with her back to the mirror, standing behind him. He turned quickly, wary of being caught by surprise when he had no peripheral vision in his left eye, but there was no one there. Turning back toward the mirror, he saw the image of the woman approaching the mirror…backwards.
As the image became even with Dean's reflection, he turned his head slowly to his left, convinced he would see that shadowed personification of Maggie Flynn standing next to him. When he saw nothing beside him, he drew in a shaky breath and the house suddenly screamed around him.
The doors along the hall rattled violently, the mirror shattered, the trinkets flew off the delicate tables, the pictures slid from the wall to crash either on the stairs or on the wood floor of the hallway.
Before he realized it, Dean was on his knees, shoulders curled forward in instinctive protection from the noise and flying glass. Fumbling with his useless right hand, he managed to shove two more rounds into the shotgun; with a cry of distress, he fired the weapon once more toward the ceiling, the air peppered with rock salt.
Everything stopped. The house was silent.
Dean looked up, rock salt clinging to his eyebrows, his lips, causing him to cough it out of his lungs. The mirror was broken; he was kneeling in a sea of shattered glass and ceramics. Using the staircase railing next to him as leverage, he pulled himself to his feet and continued down the hall to the room Tommy had been calling him from.
Opening the door, he realized it was the room with the opened window. It was clear the room had been Tommy's by the complete lack of doilies. The kid's Spartan-like decorating habits could give Sam a run for his money, but what was bothering Dean was the Tommy himself was nowhere to be seen.
"Tom-MAY!" he yelled, very quickly moving past Fed-Up and straight into Pissed-Off.
"In here, man!"
Dean looked to his right as he heard a door rattle. On the other side of the room was an old wardrobe, big enough that Tommy could have wandered into Narnia. The doors rattled again and Dean closed the distance between himself and the furniture, wondering why the kid didn't just open them from the inside. He grabbed the latch and threw it open, then gaped into the barely-visible interior.
"What. The actual. Hell."
"Just get me outta here, man!"
Tommy was suspended from the clothing bar, his clothes woven around him like a cocoon constructed of denim and cotton. Only his head was visible.
"How did this even happen?" Dean asked, cursing himself silently for not grabbing his Bowie. He always had that damn knife – or one in his boot. Except, of course, for now.
"She-she came at me like…I mean she was like BAM! Just there, y'know?" Tommy babbled. "Scared the shit outta me, but when I turned my flashlight on her she…she like screeched, y'know? Like some kinda, I don't know, bat or something."
"The flashlight?" Dean was looking for a starting point to unwind Tommy from the web of clothes.
"Yeah, but then I dropped it and she kinda tossed me in here – I mean I guess she tossed me…," Tommy sniffed, his wide eyes not leaving Dean's face. "It wasn't like she touched me or anything."
"Ghost chakra," Dean muttered, sarcasm lacing his words together.
Dean looked around Tommy's room. "You got a knife in here, man? Scissors? Something sharp?"
"I don't know," Tommy muttered, wrenching himself from side to side. "I just…how the hell did she wrap me up so fast, man?"
Dean snorted. "You're joking, right?"
Tommy stilled and looked over at him. "What are you saying…you're saying actual ghost?"
"Yes," Dean rolled his eyes, then remembered the mess in the hallway. "Actual ghost." He hurried to the hallway and grabbed a piece of broken glass. Returning to Tommy he found the kid's face stark-white in the darkness of the wardrobe. "Dude…you okay? Don't pass out on me now."
"So it was real? What I saw was real?" Tommy's voice shook. "You're not going to…like, I don't know…pull off her mask or something?"
Dean lifted an eyebrow and began cutting at the clothes pinning Tommy in place. "This ain't Scooby-Doo, man."
Tommy laughed with a kind of manic nervousness. "Yeah…she woulda gotten away with it, too. If it weren't for us meddling kids."
"Hold still," Dean ordered and Tommy obeyed.
It was getting harder to see; if he had to guess, Dean would bet the moonlight was hindered by cloud-cover. He furrowed his brow, trying to see into the shadows where he could cut the clothes without cutting Tommy.
"Dude, what the hell is up with your eyes?" Tommy asked suddenly.
Dean looked up. "What?"
Tommy just shook his head, and Dean remembered the strangeness of his own reflection. Just then, Tommy flinched back, looking at something over Dean's shoulder with utter terror. Dean turned and nearly cried out when he realized that Maggie's spirit was standing right next to him, hidden from him by his shadowed vision.
Before he could bring up his shotgun, she lifted him and he felt himself sailing through the air, crashing against Tommy inside the wardrobe with enough force that they toppled the furniture to its side, ripping the moorings that held Tommy in place. He was still cocooned, but no longer tied to the clothing bar. Dean groaned with the impact, his tender muscles protesting the abuse.
Looking up at the spirit, Dean watched as she once more crab-crawled across the ceiling, inspecting them with empty eyes and a jerky head-tilt motion.
"What the fuck is that?!" Tommy yelled.
"Move," Dean managed, rolling off of Tommy and grabbing for his shotgun. He'd not reloaded it since firing it in the hallway. His right hand wasn't cooperating; he couldn't even force his fingers to move the amount he'd accomplished earlier in their house. "Get yourself loose."
"I'm tryin'!" Tommy all-but sobbed. "Don't let her get us, man. Don't let her get down."
"I'm tryin'," Dean echoed, softer, anger at his own limitations turning his words to granite.
He could feel Tommy flopping like spawning salmon next to him, trying to get free of the protective – for that was what it really seemed to be – cocoon Maggie had wrapped him in. If she'd died in the house, after outliving her own sons, she could easily have been attacking Tommy's grandma to get her away from Tommy, and not the house, Dean reasoned.
Which meant Dean was in serious trouble.
Growling once more in frustration, Dean managed to get two rounds into his shotgun, but didn't fire quite yet. The spirit of Maggie Flynn was perched in the corner of the room – on the ceiling – shadows flowing from her to touch them like the tentacles of a jellyfish. She watched them with dead eyes, but made no move. The smell of darkness – the wet, mildew-like stench – began to stretch across the room along with the shadows, the sound of groaning wood bearing too much weight, following it.
"I've got an arm – I'm free," Tommy panted, and Dean felt the kid's hand on his arm. "I'm free."
"Grab the gun from my waistband," Dean ordered. "Can you shoot?"
"Shoot? Hell yeah, I can shoot! I go out to Mason's shooting range—"
"All right, all right," Dean broke in, not taking his eyes from the spirit. For whatever reason, it seemed as long as he was looking at her, she wasn't going to move. But he couldn't look at her forever. "I don't need a fucking resume. That gun – you got it? Okay, good. That gun is filled with consecrated iron."
"Forget it." Dean shook his head once. "All you need to know is that it should dispel her. You need to fire directly at her, got it?"
"Oh God, is there going to be like…black blood and shit?" Tommy groaned, pointing the gun shakily at the spirit.
Without thinking Dean looked askance at Tommy. "What?! No, it's a spi—"
He never finished his sentence. With a screech like a night owl, Maggie's spirit dove from the corner of the ceiling and right at Dean. He felt the breath rush from his lungs as she lifted him and threw him back and away from Tommy. Dean crashed against the wall with his right shoulder, slumping to the floor, coughing desperately for air.
He lost his grip on the shotgun, but thanks to the sling, the gun stayed attached to him. Blinking to clear his blurred vision, he looked over at Tommy and saw the kid trying to track the spirit's impossibly fast movements with the barrel of the gun. Dimly through the ringing in his ears, Dean could hear Tommy crying.
"Shoot her," he gasped, coughing again to get more air. "Dammit, shoot the bitch!"
He heard the retort of his pistol once, twice, three times. He heard the spirit scream – this time in rage – and he brought up the shotgun. As Maggie's face rushed at him, Dean fired both barrels directly at her eyes and the room was silent once more.
Dean lay where he was, trying to catch his breath. He could tell that nothing was broken – yet – but he was definitely going to be feeling this in the morning. And he had no idea how he was going to explain the bruises to Sam.
"Is…is she gone? Did we do it?"
"No," Dean groaned, pushing himself up. "She'll be back. And she'll be pissed."
"How do you know this, man?"
Dean walked over to Tommy and held out his hand for his gun. Tommy slapped it into his hand, then used the wall to stand, extricating himself from the web of clothes.
"Don't worry about that. Listen, I need you to go out back, about 100 yards north of the porch." Dean knew he was going to have to keep Maggie busy while her bones were burned. "You'll find a shovel and some other stuff – hey, you listening to me?"
"Yeah, yeah," Tommy said distractedly, but he was looking around at the ruin of his room, making his way to the destroyed hallway. "Shovel, 100 yards."
"I need you to dig up the bones and burn them," Dean told him.
Tommy turned to face him in the doorway. "Wait, what? Dig up a fucking grave?"
"Yes," Dean told him. "We don't have a lot of time. We need to do this now or someone else is going to get hurt like your grandma. Maybe worse."
Tommy rubbed the back of his head. "Why is this happening?"
Dean crossed the room and grabbed Tommy's arm, forcing the kid to look at him. "You need to focus, okay? I'll hold her off, but you need to get out there and get those graves dug up."
"Graves? As in more than one?"
"There are three," Dean said, reluctantly. "I don't know which one is Maggie's."
"Maggie…Maggie who? I don't even know a Maggie. Why is she doing this? Why did she hurt my gramma? Why is—"
"Hey!" Dean barked, grabbing Tommy's chin. "You want answers or you want to live?"
Tommy blinked. "Live."
"Good choice. You do what I say when I say it, and you'll live. You got it?"
"All right. Now…grab whatever you came in here for and let's get the hell out."
Tommy looked over at the ruined wardrobe. "You pretty much shredded it."
Dean gave Tommy a sympathetic look. "Yeah, uh…sorry about that."
He pushed Tommy out into the hallway, glass cracking and crunching under their feet. His hip twinged as he started down the stairs, but he ignored it.
He could do this. He wasn't broken yet. He could finish this job.
They got to the doorway of the kitchen before Dean felt the cold surge once more.
Damn, she's strong.
"Listen," Dean grabbed Tommy's shoulder and turned him around. "You gotta work fast. I'll hold her off, but you need to dig them up, put rock salt on them, and burn them all. There's kerosene by the shovel. Got matches?"
"Uh…no," Tommy patted his pockets. "Quit smoking for Lent last year. Never picked it back up."
"Swell," Dean grumbled, digging into his pocket and handing Tommy a box of waterproof matches. "Here. Go fast, okay?"
"You're staying here?" Tommy squeaked as he hurried toward the door, a quick glance over his shoulder.
"Unless you wanna fight her out at the gravesite, yes," Dean said, awkwardly shoving two shells into his shot gun. He felt the weight of his pistol in his pocket and shook his scarred right hand, cursing his inability to force his fingers to work. If he could even just pull the trigger with his right hand, it would be something! "Here," he handed the pistol to Tommy. "In case she gets past me."
Tommy took the weapon with a shaking hand.
"What are you still standing here for? Go!"
Tommy was looking at Dean, but as he reached out to put a hand on the door knob, his eyes shifted over Dean's shoulder and grew impossibly wide. Dean felt the air around him pull close, as if he was trapped in a vacuum, and his body started to slide backwards.
"Go!" he shouted at Tommy and just before he felt icy fingers wrap around his neck from behind, he saw Tommy dart outside, the door slamming shut behind him.
"What kind of trouble?" Sam asked, his mind racing from taken to jail scenarios to suicidal depression scenarios as he pulled his T-shirt over his head.
"The kind I think you're the only one equipped to deal with," Mason said, cryptically.
Sam stopped cold, his heart slamming at the base of his throat. No way…it can't be.
"Where is he?" Sam demanded.
"Just come to the garage, dammit!" Mason yelled before hanging up on Sam.
Sam sank back down on the bed, staring at the phone in his head, the glow from the LED the only light in the room.
"Sam?" Stella said hesitantly, moving toward him from the shadows. She was wearing his shirt, having apparently given up the hunt for her own clothes. "You okay?"
Without answering her, Sam dialed Dean's number. After two rings, he got his brother's voicemail. He hung up before Dean's message completed.
Sam swallowed, the block of ice that had been his heart making him shake from the inside out. Dammit, Dean. He'd promised to try, Sam argued with himself. He'd promised and now he was in trouble. Supernatural trouble. And now, after everything Sam had done to pull himself out of that life, he was going to have to go back in.
Stella stepped closer to him, positioning herself between his legs and running her fingers through his tangled hair. He leaned forward so that his forehead rested on her belly, wrapping his arms around her slim waist and pulling her close. He just wanted to breathe in her scent, this moment, this life one last time before he had to let it all go once more.
"Sam?" Stella's voice trembled a bit. "You're kinda starting to scare me."
"'m sorry," Sam said against her, not letting go.
"Want to talk about it?"
No. Yes. Never. Finally.
He released her and leaned back, looking up at her face in the glow of the LED. "You hungry?"
Stella blinked and tilted her head, studying his face for a moment. "I could eat," she said.
"I'm starving," Sam declared. "And, uh…I don't have a car."
Stella nodded slowly, clearly weighing his words against his expression. "Want to see what IHOP is like at four in the morning?"
"Help me find my clothes."
Sam stood, feeling around the floor with his feet, toying with the idea of just…not leaving. Just letting whatever happened play out. He flirted with the idea for all of a minute before he thought he would be sick at the ramifications such a choice would bring.
He couldn't not go to Dean. Not after Hell. Not after Stull.
Dean could have walked away. Could have kept that promise and gone on to live a normal life. Instead, he chose not to let Sam die alone. And in the process, saved his life. Again.
Promise or no promise, he had to go see what sort of trouble his brother had gotten himself into.
"I should've had the power turned on in this place," Stella was saying. "I'm probably putting my dress on backwards."
"You want help with the bed?" Sam asked.
Stella turned to him and the headlights from a car on Massachusetts Street slipped across her face. Sam caught his breath at her grin. It was innocent and daring and just a little dirty. But not evil.
"Nah," she replied. "Leave it. For next time."
"What happened to all your brother's stuff?" Sam asked as they made their way down the now-quiet stairs.
"Sold some, stored some, gave some away," she replied. "Our dad was never in the picture – well, I mean, he was at some point of course, but not from the time I was a baby. I never knew him." They walked across the eerily quiet bar and dance floor and grabbed their coats from the check. "Anyway, my brother joined the Army right after 9/11 – like a whole bunch of other 18-year-olds – and was killed in Iraq about four years later."
Sam frowned. "I'm really sorry," he repeated, helping her with her coat.
"Me too," Stella smiled up at him sadly, the security lights making it easier for him to see her. She pulled her long hair out from beneath her collar. "I really loved my brother. He was only two years older than me, but he was kinda my only dad, y'know?"
Sam nodded. He did know.
"Anyway, when he died, Mom left all the decisions up to me, and I knew what Joe would've wanted, so…I got rid of everything."
"Except the loft," Sam said.
"Except the loft," Stella agreed, opening the door.
"Shouldn't this be locked?" Sam asked as they stepped outside into the cold, their breath instantly crystallizing into tiny clouds visible even in the dark of the alley.
"Well," Stella shrugged deeper into her coat. "If it was, we'd be in trouble."
"You know the owner of the bar, don't you?" Sam guessed.
Smiling at him, Stella lifted a set of keys from her pocket. "Yeah," she said. "I do." She turned and locked the door behind them. "And I hear she's pretty great in bed."
Sam chuckled, slinging an arm around her shoulders and pulling her close to him. "Why do you work at Freestate if you own this place?"
Stella shrugged. "Something to do. My cousin runs the place for me. I'm just a landlord, really."
He kissed the top of her head, wishing with everything in him that he didn't have to drop the façade, that he could just be this guy who'd been on a roadtrip with his brother, ran into some trouble, decided to stick around to heal up.
They got into Stella's Subaru and she cranked up the heat, beating her cold feet against the floor in a rapid tattoo to get the blood flowing. Sam wasn't as cold, but then again, he wasn't wearing a knee-length skirt and strappy heels.
"So, IHOP?" Stella asked, pulling out of her parking space.
"Uh, there's…one place I need to stop first, if that's okay," Sam hedged.
Stella reached for the radio, hitting a button. When the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army belted out of her speakers, she turned it up, raising her voice so he could hear her over the music. "Lemme guess…Mason's garage?"
Sam nodded. Stella pursed her lips and turned left on 6th, preparing to cross the bridge.
"What is it?" Sam asked, trying to read her expression.
"Nothing," she shrugged. "Just…I'm actually kinda hungry now."
"Yeah," Sam sighed. "Me, too."
He dialed Dean's phone one more time before Stella pulled up to the bay doors of the garage. Nothing.
"You can drop me here," Sam told her.
Stella frowned, shaking her head. "I'm not just going to leave you here, Sam."
"I'll be okay," he told her. "Trust me on this."
She looked out through the windshield. They could both see a large man with dark hair and a scruff-covered chin standing in the doorway, watching them. Looking back at Sam, Stella shook her head again.
"You didn't even know who Mason was," she pointed out. "I can't just…drop you off."
"Stella, if I wanted to, I could walk home from here," he reminded her. "Besides, my brother works for this guy."
"And your brother's in trouble," she reminded herself.
Sam nodded. "I gotta help him."
"Something tells me he gets in trouble a lot."
Sam looked down. "We both do."
"Who gets you out of trouble, Sam?" She asked softly.
Sam met her eyes. "Dean."
On a sigh, Stella leaned forward, cupping his chin and smoothing her thumb over his lips. "I wanna see you again, Sam Winchester."
"You will," he promised, watching her mouth.
She lifted herself up to kiss him, letting it linger, then pulled away and put both hands on the steering wheel as if to keep from touching him. Sam smiled at her profile, then got out of her car and headed up to Mason's door, not letting himself look back. He heard the gravel crunch under her wheels as she pulled away, and shifted his attention to the man in the doorway.
"You're Sam?" Mason asked, blue eyes bouncing over his face.
Sam lifted an eyebrow, slightly amused to find himself looking the man directly in the eye. That happened so rarely.
"Way your brother talks about you," Mason said, turning away and letting Sam into the warmth of the garage, "I thought you'd be wearing a cape."
Continued in Part 1: Chapter 9.
a/n: Thanks for reading!