Title: From Yesterday, Chapter 18
Characters: Dean, Sam, and OCs
Disclaimer: They're not mine. More's the pity. Title is from a 30 Seconds to Mars song of the same name. Rated very much PG-13 for language (mostly Dean) and a couple of mature scenes
Summary: See Prologue.Part 2: Chapter 18-B
It took three cars to get them to the warehouse, and by the time they arrived, the afternoon sun was low in the sky, casting shadows around the empty, roped-off lot. Rufus and Jackson followed the Impala around to the back, hiding the vehicles from curious – non-demonic – eyes.
They unloaded the supplies and headed inside, avoiding the gaping holes in the floor of the far building, the only one with a basement. The missing roof had exposed the interior to the weather; leaves and twigs and the carcasses of not a few small animals littered the floor and the sunlight slanted around the clouds, filtering through to the gloom below.
Picking the room with the least amount of exits and several areas to hide weapons, Dean instructed the men to stash guns and knives where they could be grabbed on the run, then told Sam to hide everyone behind a collection of crates on the far wall.
"Okay," Dean said, his eyes sliding around the room where their friends were hiding. "You guys know what you have to do. Not sure how long this'll take, so smoke 'em if you got 'em."
Sam heard the snick of a lighter, then Tommy mutter, "Ow!" as Mason grumbled, "It's a figure of speech, dumbass."
Striding to the center of the room, the brothers set down the supplies and Sam began to draw the sigil, wondering if their father had felt the same mix of anticipation and dread when he'd summoned Azazel all those years ago.
"You thinking of Dad?" Dean suddenly asked.
Shooting his brother a surprised look, Sam nodded, "Yeah. How'd you know that?"
Dean shrugged, mixing the ingredients in a shallow bowl. "Just thinking about when he did this. For me."
"He did what he had to do, Dean," Sam said quietly. "What you're doing."
The sigil drawn, candles placed, Dean struck a match, then glanced at his brother, waiting for Sam to nod before he dropped the flame into the bowl and blinked as it flashed up bright as he muttered the summoning rite.
Sam found that he was having a hard time taking a full breath. He had to blank his mind to the implications and possibilities and focus only on the moment. He gripped the hilt of Ruby's demon-killing knife, wishing he had a shotgun in his other hand but knowing that would give away their element of surprise.
Crowley wasn't the first demon to walk forward from the shadows. Sam didn't recognize the vessel, but the black eyes were familiar enough. As were the ones on the demon who followed the first. And the one after that. Soon, there were five demons in all, staring with smug expressions at Dean.
"How 'bout you all go run and fetch your boss," Dean suggested mildly, standing seemingly empty-handed, the only visible weapon being the gun shoved into his thigh holster.
"He sent us to take you off his hands," one spoke up.
"Yeah, see," Dean's smile was cold, "I know that's bullshit and Crowley is lurking back there in the shadows, sending you mooks in here like sacrificial lambs."
Sam felt himself smile as the demons began to look concerned.
"You boys pissed off the wrong demon," another claimed.
Dean simply tilted his head, exhaling softly with boredom. Sam stepped forward until he was flanking him, matching Dean's loose-limbed stance.
"All you dumb bastards," Dean waved his finger casually between them, "all those others before you…and all the ones before them…just don't get it. Do they, Sammy?"
"No, they don't, Dean," Sam replied, lifting an eyebrow and feeling a surge of strength and power shoot through him at the thought of ending these demons.
"See, we're the ones you should be afraid of," Dean told them. "Not Crowley."
The demon in front opened his mouth as if to reply, but before he could say anything, Dean surged forward, producing from the holster in his sleeve Castiel's sword and shoving it through the soft underside of the first demons' chin, sending the demon sparking from the host in a surge of red eyes and silently screaming mouth. Without hesitation, Sam quickly followed suit with the demon-killing knife and both brothers faced the remaining three demons with cold eyes.
Dean lifted the angel sword again and one flinched away as an exasperated sigh could be heard from the back of the room. Crowley stepped forward with a slow clap, nodding at his demons to step back. He regarded the brothers with a mild expression, his head tilted curiously.
"What, no dog?"
"You got one chance to walk away from this, Crowley," Dean told him. "And that's if you send all your minions back to Hell."
Crowley lifted an eyebrow. "Have to admit, it was ballsy summoning me. Even for a Winchester. But I'm afraid taking my toys and going home isn't on my itinerary today."
"You don't seem to understand," Dean said, his voice betraying none of his fear or nervousness. In fact, if Sam didn't know better, he'd think Dean had absolutely nothing to lose. "There is no version of this where you come out on top."
"I have an army," Crowley crooned. "You're alone."
Dean's smile was chilling. "That's where you're wrong."
From behind one of the crates in the back, Virgil stood up, armed with one of Tommy's Super-Soakers, and blasted the three demons who'd stepped away from Crowley, sending them to the ground writing in pain, their skin smoking from the impact of the water. Staring at Crowley, Sam began to shout the exorcism and had to smile when the demon immediately vanished as the demonic souls of the three shot from the vessel's gaping mouths and were sucked down through the cracks in the cement floor.
"That was a mistake," Crowley's voice came at them from the back of the room, sounding angry, but not yet angry enough, Sam knew.
He looked up and around, trying to pin-point the demon's location when suddenly he heard Tommy cry out and he and Dean turned quickly to see two demons appear behind the shelves where Tommy was hidden, holding the kid between them. Sam started forward, but was stopped by three more demons materializing in front of him like black smoke taking human form.
He brought up the knife and yelled, "Gun!" reaching out his right hand instinctively to grasp the shotgun that was thrown his way.
In moments, it was chaos.
Demons wearing human vessels poured in from the few entrances to the room and it was all Sam could do to fight them off. He recognized two of his friends from Freestate – Ryan, from all of his tattoos, and Kirk, from his shock of white-blond hair – and tried to call out to Dean to cull them from the crowd. When he caught sight of his brother, though, he realized he was going to have to wade in and handle saving his friends himself.
The right side of Dean's face was covered in blood from a gash that had opened up near his hairline and he was wielding the angel sword against four demons, all of whom looked like they could have doubled for Rocky Balboa. Sam blasted one of his demons in the chest with rock salt and slammed the butt of his empty shotgun across the head of another before throwing the gun to the side and sprinting for one of the spare weapons they'd stashed.
As he ran, he saw Tommy slumped against the wall – it was hard to tell if the kid was breathing – and Mason and Jackson back to back fighting off a group of demons, both with blood marring their arms and faces. Sam wasn't sure if it was from the vessels or themselves. He couldn't find Rufus or Sorenson but he heard Virgil's bellow as he cursed one of the demons he was currently trying to strangle to death.
Impossibly, more kept coming and as Sam grabbed for two of the stashed shot guns, he heard Dean yell and whipped his head over to see his brother pull his side arm from his thigh holster, the sword having been knocked free and fire point blank at the demons, the cross-hatched bullets sending the creatures to their knees. Sam felt a splash and as he fired at the demon nearest him, he saw Rufus armed with two of the holy water Super-Soakers, turning the demons to screaming, smoking piles of human vessels as they dared come close to him.
Without warning, Sam was lifted from his feet and thrown across the room, slamming hard enough against a wall that he was momentarily stunned, the breath shoved forcibly from his body in a harsh exodus. He blinked blearily around and saw that Crowley stood opposite him, staring with chilling calm at the melee. Sam knew without a doubt it had been the King of Hell who'd tossed him and found the demon's apparent lack of concern unnerving as he looked around at their small band of hunters, all of whom were getting their asses handed to them.
"Sam!" Dean called out, down on one knee, his weapon in his left hand, firing at the group who continued to surround him.
"'m okay!" Sam tried to shout back, but it came out as a harsh wheeze.
Before he realized what was happening, Virgil was by his side, hauling him to his feet and shoving a weapon into his hands. Sam had only a second to realize his arms were shaking as an after-shock of the impact before he forced himself to hold onto the gun and fire. Dimly, he was aware of the others gathering close to him: Virgil at his side, Mason and Jackson behind him, Rufus in front. He sent a fleeting thought Tommy's way, hoping the kid wasn't dead, before he roared in defiance, joining in the group rebuttal of force.
"You are weakening, Dean!" Everyone heard Crowley's mocking tone over the crush of bodies and blast of bullets. "You cannot hold out. You will lose everything!"
"You have no idea what I am capable of!" Dean shouted back, echoing the same certainty he'd claimed back in the mine when fighting the draiocht.
Sam shot a look over to his brother, rattled by the blood that covered most of Dean's front, though he knew much of it came from the demons his brother had stabbed and sliced his way through. Dean stood alone, surrounded by bodies, his holster empty, his hands empty, his eyes blazing from his determined expression.
Sam felt the men flanking him pull up short at the sight: Dean's eyes held a silver hue, lit from within like the beacon of light he was.
A demon cried out, the sound abbreviated by a roar Sam knew too well as a soul being sucked down to Hell. He shot a look to his left and saw Tommy leaning heavily on Sorenson; the kid was pale and trembling, the demon-killing knife that had been tossed from Sam's grasp held in his blood-covered hand, a demon lying prone at his feet.
"Told ya they fuckin' glowed," he said, looking at Dean.
Crowley's army stopped their advance, backing away from the group of humans as if following a silent order. Sam forced himself not to gape: despite the number of bodies strewn about on the floor from the demons they'd dispossessed or killed, there were three times that number still on their feet. And in the middle of them stood Crowley, his dark suit jacket setting off the deep red of his tie, his hair and beard neatly groomed, his eyes mild.
"So," he said, stepping forward, his voice cutting through the harsh gasps for air from the men who made up the Resistance. "My weapon…is you."
He tilted his head in curiosity as he slowly closed the distance between himself and Dean. Sam darted his eyes between the two, the anxiety he'd shoved down in the face of battle ratcheting up once more. Dean didn't move. Sam wished his brother at least had a gun in his hand; he hated that Dean looked so vulnerable, despite the fierce light of his eyes.
"I should have known," Crowley shook his head at his own mistake. "It was so obvious. An angelic weapon of light inside the one being who defied the Devil and lived."
"Add that to the growing list of cons for being a douchebag," Dean growled, his voice like crushed glass.
Crowley's brows bounced and as Sam watched, the demon crossed his arms over his chest. It was an odd gesture, one he wasn't accustomed to seeing from Crowley, and he realized that it was a tell: the demon was actually nervous. Sam shot his eyes to Dean and in a glance realized his brother saw it as well. Dean's lips twisted into a cocky grin that usually made Sam anxious.
This time, however, it gave him hope.
"We beat you, Crowley," Dean said.
"Oh, I hardly think so," Crowley huffed and suddenly Dean flew back, his body slamming roughly against the far wall. He cried out involuntarily as the demon trapped him there, clearly pressing force against him.
"Hey!" Sam shouted, starting forward, but then felt himself shoved down, his knees hitting the ground and his shoulders cracking under the pressure.
"Easy, Moose," Crowley said in a mock-soothing voice. "It'll be your turn soon enough."
"Crowley!" Sam heard Rufus shout and saw from his bowed position a stream of water splash against Crowley's face, burning the demon and making his skin smoke.
Crowley shot a glance Rufus' way and Sam saw the water stop and heard Rufus cry out, unable to see what was being done to him. Gunfire erupted from around Sam, followed by cries of surprised pain and the thunk of weapons as they hit the ground, super-heated by Crowley's power.
"I gave you an out," Crowley said, his attention back on Dean. "I offered you a chance. And you shat on it!"
"You…will…lose…," Dean choked out against the pressure of Crowley's grasp.
Crowley took a step forward and Sam felt his attention lessoning, realizing he was able to lift his head. He watched as those around him slowly pulled themselves to their feet, holding seared hands, or bleeding heads. He watched as the demons stood in the shadows, snarls subverting human expression into evil, waiting for their orders.
As Crowley drew closer still to Dean, Sam was able to push himself to his feet, though his body felt heavy, drugged, uncooperative. He wanted to fire something at the demon, to keep him away from Dean, but he could barely lift his arms.
"You stupid brat," Crowley snarled. "You insignificant speck of human feces. You think you can defeat me. ME! I am the ruddy KING OF HELL!"
Sam saw Dean look up above Crowley's head and the smile that shifted his brother's expression sent a chill down his spine. He followed Dean's gaze up through the missing roof and realized that the growing darkness that had helped to illuminate Dean's eyes wasn't just from the dying light of day.
Above them churned a frothing, seething cloud of demons – hundreds, thousands of them. Purple lighting streaked through the mass. Sam could feel the power reach out to them, feel the pull of their might and their hunger and their all-consuming hatred.
"Holy Mary Mother of God," Sam heard Sorenson whisper.
"What the fuck is that?" Tommy bleated.
"That, you little Irish wanker, is an ARMY!" Crowley shouted, turning from Dean and facing the group of friends who had followed him into the fight. "That is what this piss-ant and his giant brother told you they could defeat. That is what will rain down darkness on this world and lay waste to each and every last one of you!"
Sam shot a look to Dean and realized that Crowley had reduced his grip on his brother. Dean was looking at them. He nodded once and Sam took a breath.
"NOW!" Sam shouted.
Each of the men who'd decided to fight next to Dean and Sam, who'd laid their lives on the line for a promise of light, brought up the weapon Dean had told them to stash on their person and not use until Sam gave the order. The guns were filled with bullets marked by Devil's Traps and as they unloaded the bullets into Crowley, the demon lurched and flinched, falling back in surprise, unable to escape the room or his vessel.
His grip on Dean disappeared and Dean fell to the ground, momentarily – frighteningly – still. Then Sam saw his brother rise to his feet, his damaged body lurching slightly to the right as it had after Stull, and spread out his arms.
This was it. It was time. And Sam was terrified.
Crowley shouted at his demons to bloody do something as the guns fell empty but as the demonic hosts in the room began to move forward, Dean began to speak, the Enochian spell falling from his lips like lyrics to a song only he knew. Sam felt power ripple through the room, a rush of wind blowing open doors and knocking down shelves and sending the demons stumbling backwards in confusion.
"What is this?" Crowley muttered, his vessel riddled with bullet holes, his soul trapped, his powers tapering. "What is he doing?"
"He's kicking your ass," Rufus yelled.
Sam couldn't tear his eyes from his brother. As Dean continued the spell, light wrapped around him, like flame – the same thing he'd seen with the aid of night vision goggles in the dark of the mine was visible now in the unnatural dark of a demon-covered twilight. The light seemed to lick up Dean's body in silent waves, wrapping around Dean's torso and framing his outstretched arms like wings.
Sam dropped his gun and stepped forward, unable to keep himself back. His eyes were burning with tears, his body aching from the battle, but his heart hurt the most. He knew this had to happen and he wanted to stop it at the same time.
"Leave!" Crowley suddenly yelled, his eyes cast upwards. "Leave!"
The realization of what Dean was doing, of what was about to happen to him, was etched on Crowley's face like a tattoo. His expression no longer placid, no longer smug, his fear pushed him to screaming obscenities at his demon army. But they didn't – or couldn't – move.
Dean grew brighter as the spell finally completed, his body bowing backwards slightly as the light intensified, streaming from his eyes, his mouth, his fingers, every bit of skin. Sam felt himself shaking, remembering with vivid clarity how this very thing had happened to Dean at Stull, how he'd been connected to his brother then, how he'd felt the light drive into him, shoving the darkness from him while Dean gripped him tight.
The demons in the room began to scream in pain, falling to their knees as they writhed. Dean cried out, the heat and light beginning to take its toll on his very human form. Sam lurched forward, but was caught across the chest by someone's strong arm.
"Dean!" he screamed, wanting, needing to get to his brother.
"No, Sam," Virgil said in his ear. "C'mon, buddy."
Virgil's arm was joined by Rufus and Sam was held back by two of their group as he fought, his eyes on Dean's form, wincing as Dean cried out again, the light growing too bright for human eyes. Sam looked up as the light shot from Dean to the writhing cloud of demons. It cut through the darkness, scattering it and sending the seething cloud down through the ground, sucked into the cracks of the floor back to Hell, dissipating the evil it as if it had never existed.
"NO!" Crowley bellowed and Sam squinted through the blinding light to see the demon crawling toward something just off of Dean's right.
It took Sam a moment, but when he realized what it was that Crowley had grabbed anger like he'd not felt since being enhanced by demon blood surged through him. It hit him with such force he ripped the restraining arms from his torso and bolted before Virgil and Rufus could grab him back. He launched himself between Crowley and Dean just as Crowley shoved the angel sword forward, intent on sending it through Dean's heart.
Instead, it stabbed through Sam's left hand, spearing the scar from the amulet and causing Sam to scream in pain. He went to his knees, framed by the light emanating from his brother, and pulled the sword free, his hand bleeding. He looked up at Crowley and saw the demon on his knees in front of them, somehow still alive.
"You will never get him," Sam growled.
"He's weakening," Crowley rasped, his dazed eyes on Dean. "He's taken out my army, but there's not enough angel juice in one little human to wipe me from the Earth. I am eternal."
Sam looked down at his bleeding hand and realized he knew what he had to do.
"Don't bet on that," he replied, pushing himself to his feet, turning and reaching out to grab Dean's outstretched right hand, scar to now-open wound, just as he'd done in the mine, just as they'd started at Stull.
The resulting slam of power caused him to cry out and he felt once more the wash of light and heat from Dean slice through him. He felt Dean shake with the power of their connection, felt his brother's screams meld with his own, felt something rush outward from them through the building to the clearing skies above, but he could see nothing.
As suddenly as it began, the connection and surge of power ended, and Sam realized he was lying prone on the floor of the empty building, his breath rasping in his ears, his body throbbing with latent power and pain. His ears were ringing, a hissing sound like the after-effects of a rock concert muffling anything else. Someone rolled him over and it was then he realized he was still gripping Dean's hand.
His eyes were swollen, as though he'd been crying for hours, and hurt as he blinked them open. Blearily he saw Virgil bending over him, saying something he could neither hear nor comprehend. Someone was trying to pry his hand from Dean's but Sam tightened his grip, unwilling to let go.
Sound began to filter slowly in, his ears shifting like a tuning radio station, catching every other word at first until someone tipped a bottle of water against his lips and he swallowed, feeling the soothing coolness of the liquid course down through his scorched insides.
"Dean?" he rasped finally, reality starting to filter through the confusing chaos of his brain.
"You gotta let go, Sam," Virgil was saying to him. "Let me see him."
Sam forced his fingers to release and felt someone ease him upright, leaning his weakened body back against them, holding him gently. Rufus, he realized, looking down at the hands that wrapped around his torso. The older hunter was practically cradling him as Virgil moved to Dean.
Looking over, Sam realized that he could actually see Virgil despite the shadows of the night. The room was now bathed in a soft, silver light. Dazed, he looked up and saw sky, brilliant and clear, the stars achingly bright against the midnight blue.
"It worked?" he rasped. "They're gone?"
"Every last one of 'em," Mason answered from somewhere over to his right.
Sam followed the sound of the big man's voice and saw him toeing what looked like a large, smoking husk until Sam realized it had at one time been Crowley. The demon's vessel was burned out, hollow; it's eyes and mouth were gaping, dark holes and when Mason pushed at it, the body rattled slightly as though it would crumble to dust.
In the distance, Jackson and Sorenson had assumed their law enforcement personas and were helping the very confused human vessels who had survived the assault to their feet and out the door, informing them what had happened – at least the cover story they'd all agreed upon – and how they should handle it. Tommy stood near Mason, looking shell-shocked.
Dizzy and in pain, Sam rolled his head against Rufus' chest to see Dean, truly afraid to look at his brother after seeing what was left of Crowley. Knowing that Dean would become the light and seeing the after-effects of it were two very different things.
"He's breathing," Virgil said. Sam couldn't see Dean; he could only see Virgil's back from where he was bent over his brother. "It's rough and shallow but he's breathing. His pulse is for shit, though. And I don't know…these burns…."
"Lemme see," Sam ordered, his voice stronger than before.
Virgil backed slightly away, grabbing his medical kit from Mason, and Sam saw Dean's face in the starlight. It was unmarked, save the wound on his forehead and the scars he'd already had. If it weren't for the blood, it might look as if he were sleeping, the ever-present frown from his nightmares folding his brows. Sam tracked his eyes down Dean's body and saw why Virgil was rushing with the bandages and saline.
Dean's right hand was charred, the scar once more a gaping hole, bleeding freely. His T-shirt was burned away in different areas, wounds like brands showing through the missing fabric and looking raw enough Sam wanted to throw up.
Virgil was barking orders; Sam tore his eyes from his brother when he heard his name.
"I'm okay," he protested. "Help Dean."
"Kid, you just lie still, okay?" Virgil was saying, his blue eyes more worried than Sam had ever seen them.
Frowning, Sam looked down at himself and was shocked to see some of the same burns that appeared on Dean's chest were on his own. He started to reach up to touch them and gasped in pain as he moved his left hand. He hadn't forgotten about the sword, but it seemed that grabbing Dean had done further damage – his hand was as charred as his brother's.
As Sam watched mutely, Rufus held him tight and Mason followed Virgil's instructions by inserting a needle and catheter, getting a bag of fluid started for Sam. Virgil was saying something about being burned on the inside, and Sam didn't think that was true, but Virgil seemed to be treating him as he was treating Dean and knew that it was in his best interest to stay quiet and let the paramedic work.
However, the problems began as soon as Virgil started an IV for Dean: his burns began to bleed and Dean's back bowed, his face knotting in pain. Virgil removed the IV and Dean collapsed, his breath rasping out through parted lips. Virgil sank back on his heels, his trembling hands gripping his blood and dirt-smudged head.
"I don't know what to do," he said helplessly.
"Brenna," Sam whispered. "Get him to Brenna."
"Unless Brenna is the name of a hospital, you're outta your damn mind," a rattled-sounding Mason protested.
Sam ignored him and looked at Virgil. "He wasn't supposed to survive this," he said.
Virgil looked at Sam, then over Sam's shoulder, presumably to Rufus. Glancing up at Mason, the paramedic came to a decision. He stood and looked over at Jackson, having instinctively known who he could trust with what actions.
"Jackson," he barked. "Take Tommy and Sorenson with you to the hospital. Get checked out and start our cover story. We'll follow as soon as we can, but if we take Dean there now…he won't make it."
Jackson nodded without question. Sam felt his eyes slipping closed, relieved that action was happening around him.
"Oh, no you don't," Rufus ordered, his voice rumbling up through his chest. He tapped Sam's cheeks. "You stay with me, kid. You hear me?"
"Hear you," Sam mumbled, forcing his eyes open.
He saw Virgil speaking to Mason, but couldn't follow the dialog any longer. It was all he could do to stay awake as Rufus had ordered. As he watched, Mason crouched low and scooped Dean up into his arms, lifting him as if his brother weighed nothing. Dean's legs swung loose and his head lolled onto Mason's shoulder, his bloody right hand hanging free. He looked so young Sam had a fleeting memory of seeing his father carry Dean to bed when they were kids.
"C'mon, soldier," Rufus was saying to him. "On your feet."
Sam wanted to, he really did. He wanted to stand and walk off the battlefield triumphant and victorious. He just couldn't summon the energy to climb to his feet.
"I can't get up," he all-but whimpered.
"It's okay, kid," Rufus whispered. "We can carry you."
He felt Rufus push from behind as Virgil grasped his wrists, carefully avoiding his charred hand. The room spun around him as he got upright and he felt Rufus tuck up under his arm, taking his weight. Virgil's steady voice encouraged him forward and somewhere between the empty strip mall building and the parking lot, time folded and the next thing Sam realized, he was slumped sideways on the front seat of the Impala.
"The bodies," he mumbled.
"I got it, Sam," Rufus assured him, engaging the final part of their plan: setting the ruined building ablaze to burn the evidence of their battle and stop any of the human victims from coming back to add to Lawrence's hauntings.
Sam didn't know who drove them home, he didn't know who helped him inside, and he didn't know how Brenna had known they were returning. All he knew was that when the door opened next, he could smell roses and mint and knew Stella was close and he heard Brenna's voice softly chanting in Gaelic as they were helped inside.
He felt himself lowered to the floor and seemed to sink into the surface, the darkness closing around him like an embrace.
Chapter 18 continued in post 19-D, here.