i can feel the weather in my bones (causeways) wrote,
i can feel the weather in my bones
causeways

FIC: The Last Fifty Miles (1/2)

Title: The Last Fifty Miles (1/2)
Author: causeways
Rating: R
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Word Count: 19,700
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, etc. belong to Eric Kripke and others.
Summary: Sam doesn't get visions anymore. That's how it starts.
Author's Notes: Written for sevenfists' Evil Sam ficathon for the following prompts: Evil!Sam has a serious urge to pass on his genes, so seduces any number of women in an attempt to get them pregnant with his evil spawn and Dean has to keep Evil!Sam locked in a cage. Set after 2x20 'What Is and What Should Never Be' but contains a small spoiler for 2x21 'All Hell Breaks Loose' Part One. I owe albydarned big time for stepping in and whipping this fic into shape. And when I say whipping, I'm not kidding. All remaining errors are my own.

The Last Fifty Miles

Part One


Sam doesn't get visions anymore. That's how it starts.

They're in the parking lot outside of a gas station in Coalgate, Oklahoma when Dean realizes it. He's got a bag of donuts in one hand, keys in the other as he moves to unlock the Impala. When he doesn't Sam frowns at him over the hood.

"When was the last time you had a vision?" Dean asks.

Sam considers. "I dunno. It's been while, I guess. Are you going to unlock the car?"

Dean turns the key but doesn't get in. "Can you narrow it down a little?"

"Uh . . . before the thing in River Grove, maybe?" Sam's counting back weeks the same way Dean is. He laughs softly. "Geez. It's been a while, hasn't it?"

"Yeah."

"I don't know how I didn't notice," Sam says. "I mean, I guess we kind of had a lot going on: the ghosts in Los Angeles and the djinn--"

"And the prison job," Dean adds.

"Can we please never talk about that again?"

Dean grins. "I'm telling you, Sammy, a teardrop tattoo and you would've fit in just fine."

Sam throws the wadded-up receipt at him; Dean dodges it.

"Still, though, doesn't it seem weird that you would've just stopped having the visions? Like, what, your psychic radar just shut down?"

"I dunno. I'm not complaining, though."

Dean slides into the car, sets the donuts up for easy access on the seat between them. "No, I guess not." He turns AC/DC on and up and drives away.

-----

They've got a job lined up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It looks to be a spirit haunting a movie theater, a simple salt-and-burn deal, but they don't get in until after nine and there's no reason to rush in blind. They get a room at the Rodeway Inn and find a bar.

"Reconnaissance, Sam," Dean announces, depositing two shots and a beer in front of him. "Get on it."

"This doesn't look much like reconnaissance." Sam makes a face but throws back the shots.

"That's the spirit," Dean says, grinning into his beer.

If any bar in the world ever deserved the name honky-tonk, it's this one: big-haired girls, country music and a peanut shell-covered floor. Dean sets himself up at a pool table after a while. They don't really need the money right now, so he doesn't play to win; it's just something to do with his hands while he talks to some of the local boys. Everything points straight towards an angry spirit, which makes things easy; they can go right in tomorrow, dig those bones up and be on their way.

He comes out twenty bucks ahead after a while and decides to give it a rest. When he turns, though, Sam's not where he'd been before, leaning against the bar and talking to the bartender, and a momentary panic sets in before he recognizes Sam in the corner, chatting up some chick. Dean grins and says, "Attaboy, Sammy," to his beer, before what he saw really sets in and he does a double-take.

It's been four months since San Francisco and Madison, and in that whole time Sam hasn't made one attempt to get with a girl. Sam is one damned good-looking guy, and plenty of girls have asked Dean about him -- it's got something to do with the way Sam hunches over the bar, Dean thinks, trying to smaller than he is, or maybe with his dimples; chicks love dimples -- but this is the first time Sam has returned any of the interest in four months. Dean can't figure out why it should be a girl in this particular bar in Hot Springs, Arkansas, who's the one to manage to get to Sam, but Sam is bending over her, his mouth moving on her neck; clearly Sam wants her, and Dean's not about to interrupt. Sam's got a room key and he knows how to get to the hotel.

Dean finishes his beer and heads back. He watches pay-per-view porn and jerks off lazily, then falls asleep with most of his clothes still on, feeling better than he has in a long time.

-----

When Dean wakes up it's sometime after dawn. Sam is back, and he's freaking out; Dean can sense it in the air before he's even fully awake, and he seriously considers going back to sleep until Sam calms down. But it's already morning and Sam can tell when he's faking, anyway, so he rolls over and says, "Hey, how'd the rest of your night go?"

Sam's wearing a track in the carpet, he's pacing so hard. "How much did you see?"

Dean stretches, scratches at his stomach. "What do you mean? How much did I see of what?"

"I mean, what was the last thing you saw me do before you left?"

"Uh. You were in the corner about to get it on with some girl."

"Yeah," Sam says. "Yeah, well, I did."

Dean grins. "All right, Sammy! Good for you."

Sam scowls. "No, it's not like that. I wasn't planning on sleeping with anybody last night."

"Well, you never know when you're going to run into a hot chick," Dean says cheerfully against Sam's panic.

Sam pushes a hand through his hair. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah, she was hot. She was also twenty-five years old and had just gotten her G.E.D."

"There you go! She's hot and she's a social climber. She wants better things out of life than Hot Springs, Arkansas!"

Sam just shakes his head. "You didn't meet her, Dean."

"Whatever. So, was she good?"

"That's not the important thing here," Sam says stiffly.

"Ouch. Sorry, buddy." Dean shifts to the side of the bed and digs in the pile of clothes on the ground for a t-shirt. There's a solid black one that's more or less clean; he pulls it over his head.

"It doesn't matter. That's not what I'm trying to tell you. I talking to the bartender, Dean, and the next thing I knew I was fucking Melba Lynn out back of the bar!"

"Melba Lynn?" Dean says.

"The girl."

Dean winces in sympathy. What a name. "So wait. You don't remember anything between talking to the bartender and fucking this girl?"

Sam frowns. "I remember talking to her in the corner and getting her to leave the bar with me -- like, I remember having done it, but I don't remember actually doing it, you know? It doesn't make sense."

Dean chuckles. "Aww, c'mon, Sam. Sure, it does. You had too much to drink and you fucked a random girl. Shit happens."

"First off, I don't just sleep with random girls," Sam bristles. "You know that. And second, I didn't have anywhere near enough to drink for that."

"So maybe the bartender put a couple shots of vodka in your beer or something."

Sam scowls. "I think I would have noticed if my beer tasted like vodka, Dean."

Dean stares at him, considering. "So what, you think something else is going on here?"

"I don't know." Sam exhales hard.

Dean lets his mouth curve into a smile. "Whatever. Sounds to me like you just lost track of how much you had to drink and relaxed enough to get laid for once in your life. And okay, so the chick wasn't really your type, but it happens. A little sex isn't gonna kill you."

Sam frowns, screws up his forehead. "Actually, uh. Let me--" He fishes for his wallet, pulls out an unopened condom. "Shit. I'm pretty sure we didn't, uh."

Of all the stupid, stupid things -- but Sam doesn't need the safe sex lecture, Dean's sure of that. He gave him that lecture when Sam was thirteen; he couldn't look Dean in the eye for a week afterwards. But Dean knows for a fact that Sam doesn't mess around when it comes to using condoms.

"It's probably fine," Dean says, keeping his tone light; Sam's already freaking out enough for both of them. "If your dick falls off, we'll get you checked out."

Sam begins to smile, but it fades quickly. "She could be pregnant, Dean."

Dean swallows hard. "There's a good chance she's on birth control," he says. "Lots of girls are." But that doesn't mean that this particular one is. If it's taken her until she's twenty-five to finish high school Dean's not holding out hope that she knows where to find the local Planned Parenthood.

Sam's thinking something similar, from the way the unhappiness moves across his face.

"Look," Dean says, "it's probably fine. It's going to be okay."

Sam's face is unreadable. He puts the condom away, sticks the wallet back in his pants. "I'm going to go take a shower," he says.

-----

Sam's quiet over breakfast, but some of the tension drains from his shoulders when they go by the public library to start researching the case. It could be the distraction of having something to do other than think about what happened last night, Dean thinks, but he's pretty sure that it's actually just that Sam is an enormous dork and loves libraries.

This has got to be the easiest case ever; they barely even have to work for the info. There are plenty of accounts of the old Malco Theater being haunted all over the Internet: people keep hearing screams in the basement at night; light fixtures fall down no matter how many times the staff fixes them; and a couple of janitors have reported seeing a glowing woman in the basement. The spirit hasn't really been harming anyone, other than scaring one of the janitors into tripping over some boxes and breaking his ankle, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't still lay it to rest.

Sam finds everything they need in some microfiche. "Our spirit's name is Alberta Lowell," he reads off the screen. "She was murdered in her bed in 1953. They never figured out who did it. Supposedly the husband, Henry Lowell, had an airtight alibi, but there's still a lot of speculation that it was him. And acutally, I'm pretty sure it was."

"Oh yeah?" Dean says, leaning over Sam's shoulder. "How come?"

Sam taps at the screen. "Generally spirits haunt places for a good reason. Henry Lowell used to own the Malco Theater."

"Fair enough," Dean says. "I'll buy it. You know where Alberta's buried?"

Sam scrolls through more of the microfiche. "Yep. Crestview Memorial Park."

They've got nothing to do until they can go salt and burn Alberta after dark, so they give the tourist deal a try, head to the hot springs. Dean gets a full-body massage from a girl named Chandra. It's even better than the Magic Fingers Bed. Chandra has five silver rings in each ear and after she's finished she lets him fuck her in the bathroom. That part's pretty awesome, too.

Sam passes on getting a massage, but he spends all day in and out of the hot springs, and Dean watches most of the rest of the tension ease out of him in the sunlight and the steam.

Other than the actual digging up the corpse part, Alberta Lowell is the easiest angry spirit to deal with in the history of ever. She doesn't throw a single surprise. Still, it takes them until well after midnight to finish refilling the grave, and Dean's completely beat, so they head straight back to the hotel afterwards and go to sleep.

-----

Sam's freaking out again when Dean wakes up. It's a little after seven in the morning.

"Jesus Christ, what now?" Dean groans.

"I went out last night after we got back," Sam says without preamble.

That's got Dean sitting up. "You what?" Sam isn't ever all that psyched about going out at all, let alone by himself, let alone after a hunt -- and okay, it wasn't that hardcore of a hunt, but they still spent half the night digging up a grave, and no matter how many times you do it, digging six feet of dirt out of the ground never stops being exhausting.

"Yeah." Sam sits down on the desk chair and turns it so he's facing Dean. "I don't know. When we got back here I swear all I wanted to do was sleep. And I went to sleep, but then sometime after two I was in the bathroom of a bar, screwing some girl. And you know I didn't have anything to drink last night before I went to bed, Dean, you saw me." His face is pinched-up, unhappy and confused.

"Okay," Dean says slowly. "The weirdest thing here is how you found the energy to get back up and go out, because let me tell you, I feel like I could sleep for a week."

Sam blows his hair off his forehead. "Yeah. I don't know what's going on with me. This isn't like me, Dean. You know that. I don't do things like this. It's like I'm possessed or something."

Dean's guts twist at that thought. He's been hoping that Sam would never get possessed again; but if it were to happen, he's been hoping he'd know as soon as it happened, that he'd notice it wasn't actually Sam in Sam's body. Dean pulls out his flask of holy water. "There's one way to find out, isn't there?"

Sam nods and takes a swig. Nothing happens.

"I guess that rules out demonic possession." Dean considers and says, "Y'know, it could just be that you've finally discovered your libido after twenty-four years, and you're trying to make up for lost time."

"Subconsciously?" Sam says dubiously. "Because I gotta tell you, when I went to bed last night I wasn't planning on leaving anytime in the next decade."

Dean scratches at his leg, exasperated. "I dunno! Work with me here."

Sam chews on his lip and then pulls out his wallet. The same condom's still in it, untouched. "You know that I know better than this, Dean. Something seriously wrong is going on here."

And until Sam produced that condom again, Dean might have argued with him, might have tried to convince him that it wasn't a big deal, but now he says, "Okay. Okay, we'll figure it out."

-----

It's not a curse, it's not a spell and it's not alien sex pollen, at least, not as far as they can figure; they've never run across actual aliens, and that time with the Trickster doesn't really count. Whatever's going on with Sam, it's not mentioned in any book Dean's ever read, and Dad's journal is coming up blank. They try calling Bobby, but he doesn't know anything, either.

"I'll ask around, see if I can figure anything out," Bobby says. "In the meantime, keep a close eye on him, Dean."

"Yeah, I will. Thanks." Dean grips the phone tighter, curls it towards his shoulder.

"I'll get back to you as soon as I can," Bobby says, and hangs up.

-----

They're on their way to check out a string of disappearances in Greenwood, South Carolina: five women gone in the past three months, completely vanished without any signs of a struggle. There aren't any signs of supernatural activity either, though, and Dean's with the police on this one: it's a very good kidnapper behind it, or they've all joined a cult; either way, it's none of his and Sam's business. But Sam insists he's got a feeling about the case, and they don't really have anything else lined up, so they're on the way.

Sam was talkative enough earlier when they were outlining the case and debating the fastest way to head east from Oklahoma. But they've been in the car for a while now and Sam's been quiet, and Dean's got a pretty good idea of why.

"It could still be nothing," he says halfway through Alabama.

"Sure," Sam says. "Also, Bigfoot could be real."

"Bigfoot's real!" Dean says, outraged. "Haven't you seen that show on the Discovery Channel? They have pictures and first-hand accounts and video evidence and everything!"

Sam raises his eyebrows. "When you say video evidence, you're talking about those fuzzy shots some guy made of his buddy?"

"Whatever. They found tracks. Bigfoot's totally real."

"Okay, sure," Sam says, and rolls up the window to sleep against it.

It's just past dark when they get in. Dean turns to Sam while they're waiting for the off-ramp stoplight to turn green and says, "D'you want to grab some dinner, maybe hit a bar after?"

Sam stares at him. "Have you forgotten about my thing?"

"Your irrepressible sex drive, you mean?"

Sam frowns. "Do you think you could maybe take this seriously?"

"I am taking it seriously!" Dean says. "Something crazy is going on, I know. I'm taking it very seriously. But come on, you have to admit this is at least a little funny."

"At least a little funny, Dean?" Sam parrots back. "We still have no idea what's going on with me. We don't know if it's something that's going to keep on happening or what, and I really don't think we should be going out before we know what's going on!"

"Fine, okay, sorry," Dean says, clenching the steering wheel. "Forget I asked."

They end up checking into the Jameson Inn, getting pizza delivered and watching Die Hard on TV. The credits roll a little after eleven and Dean's already falling asleep. "You ready to call it a night?" he says, poking Sam's shoulder.

Sam mumbles something unintelligible and jerks awake. "What?"

Dean repeats the question.

"Yeah, sure," Sam says. "But could you do something for me first?"

Dean yawns. "Yeah?"

"Could you tie me to the bed?"

And just like that Dean's completely awake. "What?"

Sam flushes but says, "Look, we don't know what's going on with me, right? And I definitely wouldn't have thought I'd've gone out last night, but I did, so I just don't want to take any chances tonight, okay?"

For some reason Dean's mouth has gone dry. "You want me to tie you to the bed," he says, just to make sure he's hearing this right.

Sam stares at him. "Yeah. I mean, maybe the last couple of nights were a fluke, and maybe nothing's going to happen tonight, but I'd really rather play it safe. It's a lot harder to go out when you're tied to the bed, I figure."

Dean feels itchy, his skin strangely tight. "Yeah, okay, that makes sense," he says slowly. "Let me go get the stuff from the car."

"Okay."

He stays outside too long, trying to remember how to breathe evenly, and he doesn't know why he seems to have forgotten how. Eventually he gets himself under control. When he heads inside Sam lies back immediately, spread-eagled. "You already go to the bathroom and everything?" Dean asks. "You'd better not wake me up in the middle of the night because you've got to pee."

"I'm good."

Dean swallows. "All right." He saws the rope into two pieces. "Just the wrists should do it, don't you think?"

"I hope so," Sam says.

A four-poster would be the best for this, but they aren't in the Ritz Carlton. There's some space between the wood of the headboard and the metal of the frame, though, and Dean wedges the rope through it, knots it tightly, then takes Sam's wrist in his hand. He can feel Sam's pulse quickening; Dean's blood pressure jumps to match it.

"You sure you're okay with this?"

Sam rolls to look at him. "I'm the one who suggested it, Dean. It's cool. You might want to make that last knot a little tighter, though."

Dean nods and fixes it, then goes on to the other wrist. After he pulls the last knot tight, Sam tests the ropes. There's enough slack that his arms shouldn't go numb, but nowhere near enough to be able to untie himself.

"Feels pretty good to me," Sam says, then looks down. "Oh, huh. Guess I forgot. Do you mind . . ."

Dean stares at him for a minute. "Do I mind what?"

Sam looks down again, and that's when Dean gets it: Sam's still fully dressed. "I can't fall asleep if I've still got my jeans on," he says.

"Huh," Dean says. "Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you asked me to tie you up."

Sam kicks off his sneakers and socks and fixes Dean with a puppy dog look. "Just take them off for me, would you? Please?"

Dean exhales. "Fine. Because I am just that awesome of a brother, fine, but you owe me." He reaches for Sam's belt. There's no reason his hands should be shaking; he wills them steady. Sam lifts his hips to let Dean slide the jeans over his ass and down and the moment stretches far too long before Dean's got the jeans all the way off.

"Thanks," Sam says.

"Sure." Dean drops the jeans on the floor and concentrates on breathing. "You good now?"

Sam strains agains the ropes again. "Yeah, I'm good. It's too hot for a blanket."

"Good, because remember, I'm not getting up in the middle of the night to untie your sorry ass." Dean's voice sounds wrong to his ears, too loud; he just undressed his brother, who is tied to a bed to keep him from going out and fucking random girls, and he used to think the things the Trickster pulled were the gold standard for really fucking weird but the current situation just might beat it out.

"I'll keep that in mind," Sam says gamely. "G'night, Dean."

"Night."

Dean strips down to his boxers and lies down on the other bed, but he's rattled, can't sleep.

-----

He wakes up in the dark to see someone looming beside his bed. He already has his knife in his hand before he realizes it's just Sam. "Jesus Christ, you scared me," he breathes, and then he remembers that when they went to sleep, Sam was tied to the bed and says, "Wait. What the fuck?"

Sam's mouth twists. "I guess you didn't need to worry about me waking up and having to pee, huh?"

Dean sits up. "What the fuck?" he repeats slowly.

Sam exhales. He's not even panicking. This is beyond panicking, Dean thinks; this is what happens when you've been panicking for so long that you can't even remember how to panic anymore. "I don't know, Dean. I mean, we tested those knots, right? They were good. You saw them. But uh," he swallows and holds out his hands so Dean can see the welts on them, crusted dark red, "it looks like I got out."

"You -- Jesus."

"And it's the same as before," he says. "Well, in the sense that I don't remember doing it. And I remember having done it, but only parts of it. I don't remember the whole thing. I mean, it must have taken a long time to get out of those knots, but I don't really remember how I got out of them. How did you not hear it?"

Dean works his jaw, tries to swallow. "I dunno, Sammy." Because usually he's a light sleeper, wakes up to anything; Sam knows that as well as he does, but he didn't hear a thing. "I guess you were really quiet or something."

"How can you be really quiet when you're getting out of bonds, though?" Sam asks. "I feel like I'm losing my mind."

"So it was the same as before, then?" Dean says. "You went out and fucked some girl?"

"Yeah," Sam says. "Yeah. I don't even know what her name was, Dean."

He sounds totally miserable, and Dean doesn't even know what to do about it, so he just says the first thing that comes to mind. "You, uh, wanna watch cartoons or something?"

Sam stares at him. "Cartoons?"

"Why not?"

Sam keeps staring. "At 5:17 in the morning?"

Dean shrugs. "I bet they're on already." He fiddles with the remote. It turns out that ass o'clock on a Saturday is prime cartoons time in Greenwood. Looney Tunes. Dean doesn't entirely hate South Carolina. And Sam can make whatever jokes he wants to make about Dean having the maturity of a five-year-old as long as it's keeping him distracted.

"We should call Bobby," Sam says after the second episode of Scooby Doo.

"And tell him what?"

"Tell him what happened. It can't hurt."

"Yeah, okay," Dean says, and picks up the phone.

Bobby's quiet for a moment after Dean explains about Sam and the inexplicable bond-wriggling. "Are you sure this isn't you we're talking about here, Dean? Wanting to get with girls so badly that he'd break himself out of ropes doesn't really sound like Sam."

"Hey! I don't need to get with girls that badly," Dean says. "I have excellent self-restraint."

Bobby snorts over the phone at the same time as Sam suppresses a laugh from across the room.

"I hate you all," Dean says loudly.

"Sure you do," Bobby says. "But go through this with me one more time. You swear you tied Sam up tightly enough that he shouldn't have had a chance of getting out, and then he gets himself untied and goes out and sleeps with a girl without you hearing a thing?"

"Yeah, that's pretty much it," Dean says.

"Well, fuck, Dean. I hate to say it, but the thing that's bothering me the most here is that you didn't even hear him. Maybe you're getting soft in your old age or maybe it's something else, but either way you need to step it up. Tie him up again tonight and for God's sake, keep your ears open. We need to know how he's doing it if we're going to have any chances of figuring this out."

Dean hates the familiar tightening of his throat, the feeling of having failed. He fights down the urge to say, "I'll do better, sir" -- Bobby isn't Dad -- and instead says, "I'll let you know what happens. But you don't have any idea of what's going on yet?"

Bobby huffs. "If I did, you'd know already."

"Okay, thanks," Dean says, and hangs up.

They get waffles from the diner down the street a little after nine. Sam's doing all right, as far as Dean can tell. "You wanna figure out what's happening to those chicks?" Dean asks as they pay.

Sam pushes his soggy mess of waffles around the plate. "Yeah, sure."

They spend a frustrating morning interviewing friends, boyfriends and parents, but they come up dry on all counts. There doesn't seem to be anything that the missing women even have in common, really; a couple of times people mention the missing women's general unhappiness with their jobs or lives or current circumstances, but the police have been through all this with them before, and that's not anywhere close to a good enough link to make a pattern.

They finish with the last of the women's families a little after two. "I'm telling you, Sam, I really don't think there's anything we need to be worrying about here. Have you heard a single thing that sounds supernatural about this? I mean, it's a little weird that there are this many women going missing, sure, but that doesn't mean a creature or a spirit or whatever has anything to do with it."

Sam frowns. "I know, okay? There's just something about it that's bothering me, is all, and I just want to keep looking for a little while and see if I can figure out what it is. If I don't figure it out by tomorrow, we can go."

"Fine," Dean says. It's not like they have another case lined up yet or anything, and if Sam's got a feeling about the case it's a good enough reason to stay, even if Dean's ninety percent sure Sam's wrong. "We'll keep looking. After lunch, though, because I'm freaking starving."

They find a family-style restaurant that serves big plates of barbeque and cornbread and fuck if Dean doesn't really like South Carolina. The waitress is named Molly, and she's cute, college-aged and redheaded. She brings the check and smiles shyly at Dean.

A couple of the missing girls were in their early twenties, Dean remembers, and it feels like they've asked everyone else in the whole town about them, so he says casually, "Hey Molly, what do you know about those women who've gone missing?"

"Sue Ann Renson and Tara Andrews and them, you mean?" she asks.

She doesn't seem suspicious or anything, so Dean looks at the bill and counts out his cash slowly. "Yeah. Did you know any of them?"

Molly shrugs. "Yeah, sure. I went to high school with Sue Ann and Tara. Why do you want to know?"

Sam leans over the table. "It just seems weird, is all. I mean, the police don't have any leads, their families don't know what's going on -- if it weren't for the fact that there are five of them who did it, it'd seem like they all just ran away or something."

Molly frowns. "It's real funny that you should mention Sue Ann and them, actually, because just the other day my friend Betsy was swearing she saw Sue Ann on the street."

That's got Dean sitting forward. "She did? Where?"

"On Duncan Street. She was coming home from a party and she said she saw Sue Ann going inside the old Radford place. Betsy was pretty drunk, though, and anyway we haven't seen Sue Ann in ages, probably not since the summer after high school, so she was sure she was just imagining things. I would have forgotten all about it if you hadn't just brough it up. Funny timing, huh?"

"Yeah," Dean says, finishing counting out the bills. "That is funny. The old Radford place, you said?"

"Yeah. It's a big old white haunted house," she says. "It's got those creepy windows like in the Amityville Horror."

Dean nods. "Gotcha. Thanks for lunch."

Molly smiles. "My pleasure. See you around!"

With that smile, Dean's about thirty seconds away from asking her to meet him out back on her break, but Sam's eyes are on him and he pushes the thought down. There will be other red-headed college girls, and he's already got her out of his head and moved on to thinking about the case. "What's your feeling about this, Sam?" he asks, unlocking the car. "Because my feeling is, Molly's friend wasn't hallucinating anything. What if these women aren't missing at all? What if they've just gone underground?"

"Underground in the sense of having joined a cult or something?" Sam says.

"Or something," Dean agrees. "I don't know. Let's go check out the Radford place, see if we can find anything."

It doesn't take long to find the house Molly was talking about, and she's right: it does have those creepy-ass Amityville windows. There aren't any signs of life in the place that they can see from the street, so Dean pulls over a couple blocks down and gets out.

They walk around the outside of the place, peering through the windows, but there's still nothing to be seen. Dean's about ready to call it off when Sam examines the foundations and says, "Hey, check this out. It looks like there's a basement."

Dean jimmies one of the back windows with a knife and they climb inside. They check around the upstairs of the house just to make sure there aren't going to be any surprises, and then they hunt for the basement door. It doesn't take long to find: it's the only one of the interior doors that's locked. Sam presses his ear against it and motions Dean forward. There are muffled voices behind it and low thumping music.

Dean nods. Sam pulls out his lockpicking kit and goes to work. The bolt turns quickly and Sam eases the door open; it doesn't even squeak. It's dim in the basement below them, and Dean's afraid the sunlight from the ground floor might give them away, but the quality of the voices doesn't change. Dean pulls out his knife and creeps down the stairs, Sam at his back, and then the basement opens up in front of him.

People are sprawled across ratty couches and all kinds of stuff hanging from the ceiling and taped to the walls. The only light comes from lava lamps and a couple of black lights in the corner. That music is still thumping, low and insistent, and it's hard to keep his heartbeat from moving to match it. The whole place smells like sweat and pot and piss, and there's no question about it: they're in a drug den.

There are about a dozen people in the basement, all in varying degrees of functional. Dean recognizes one of the women passed out on a couch as Tara Andrews, although she looks like shit, and after squinting hard he can identify two of the others. A man tries to rush Sam with a knife, but his movements are off, erratic, and Sam knocks him out cleanly; he crumples to the floor, and no one else tries anything.

Sam goes to Tara Andrews and says, "Are you all right?"

Her eyes go wide with terror and she says, "Please don't tell anyone I'm here," and vomits on Sam's shoes. And there's their answer, Dean thinks: they're here of their own volition, these women, and he doesn't know what would have made all five of them get into drugs this hard all at once, but people do crazy things. It makes him sick to think what could have driven them to it, that their families wouldn't have even noticed--

A woman in the corner is clutching her knees to her chest, rocking back and forth. Dean goes to her. It's Sue Ann Renson; he recognizes her from the picture in the paper. Whatever she's dosed up on is bad. She can't even get her head up to look at him. He catches a glimpse of her wrist and pushes the sleeve up to reveal needle tracks. Heroin, then, he's guessing. She's saying something but the words are all jumbled.

"What?" Dean says, leaning in, and the mumbling turns into words: "Blood in the mouth," is what she's saying. "Blood in the mouth, evil in the blood." Nonsense babbling, just those two phrases over and over -- "Blood in the mouth, evil in the blood" -- and she's shaking like she's having a seizure, and then she gets her head up and stares. Dean turns to follow her eyes and she's looking straight at Sam, still hissing about evil and blood, and something twists in Dean's gut. She's dosed up, he tells himself, she's just saying things, but he can't fight down the need to get out of there now.

Dean drops her arm, walks over to Sam and says, "Come on, we can't do anything do for them, let's get out of here and call the cops."

Sam looks around the basement. "Yeah, let's go," he says reluctantly, and follows Dean out.

They call in an anonymous tip from a gas station pay phone in the next town over. Dean stocks up on Twinkies and peanut M&Ms and chain-eats them as he drives, ignoring Sam's disgusted looks. Dean was right about there not being anything supernatural going on with the case, but can't bring himself to gloat about it, and he can't get Sue Ann's words out of his mind. It doesn't mean anything, what she said. He turns the music up and tries to drown out his thoughts.

They head west; Dean doesn't really have a destination in mind. They take I-20 past Atlanta and stop about an hour later at a hotel just off the highway. Sam pulls out his laptop as soon as they check in and hacks into the hotel's wireless.

Dean gives him about thirty seconds before he says, "Where's our next hunt, wonder boy?"

Sam stares at him. "Impatient much? I'm working on it."

Dean's already itching for a good hunt, a real one, with lots of shooting and lighting things on fire. "Right, well, let me know when you find anything," he says, and picks up the phone book to look for take-out options. "Mexican good with you?"

"In Georgia?" Sam says dubiously.

"Sure, why not?"

Dean can actually hear Sam's eyeroll. "We're about as far from Mexico as you can get and you want to -- never mind."

Dean grins and orders burritos. It turns out the place delivers, which clenches the deal, because no way is Mexican food delivered right to them not going to be awesome. He feels a little better already at the thought of it.

And okay, maybe it's not one hundred percent awesome. It's giving Dean about the worst gas ever, but it doesn't matter, because dude. Burritos. He gets sodas from the machine in the hall to go with them and turns on the ten o'clock Law & Order rerun.

"The body's in the the dumpster," Sam says without looking up from the laptop.

"I hate to break it to you, buddy boy, but the body isn't always in the dumpster," Dean says. "The bathtub."

God damn it if the dead chick isn't in the dumpster, though. "They're still not always in the dumpster," Dean tells him.

"Definitely not," Sam says smugly.

Unfortunately, Law & Order always gets about eight billion times less exciting after they find the body. Dean tries to concentrate on the show but he can't do it; he's itchy after that shit in Greenwood. He could really stand to go to a bar and drink a couple beers, but he can't do that, either. He thinks of the conversation with Bobby that morning. They need to figure out what's going on with Sam, and for that he needs to stay awake and sharp.

Sam doesn't even make it all the way through the episode before he's yawning. "You ready to call it a night?" Dean asks.

"Yeah," Sam says, then flushes. "Except we might want to try something other than ropes this time, considering how well those didn't work."

"I think we've still got some handcuffs in the back," Dean says, tongue heavy in his mouth.

"That should do it for my hands," Sam says. "And get the rope for my ankles, okay?"

Dean nods, digs for the keys in his pocket and heads outside.

It still doesn't mean anything, Dean tells himself. He's just confused or something, and he definitely doesn't think about Sam like that. But when he comes back in Sam's stripped down to his boxers, spread-eagled on the bed, and Dean goes hard in about two seconds flat.

"You all right, Dean?" Sam says, glancing up. "You look kind of funny."

"Your face looks kind of funny. I'm fine." He gets Sam handcuffed and tied before he has to bolt for the bathroom, but it's a close thing: he's coming before he's even got his dick all the way out of his jeans. He takes a long shower afterwards, breathing hard. God damn it. It doesn't get much more fucked up than this.

It doesn't matter. It's just a weird situation, is all, he's under some kind of stress from it, and it'll all be over soon.

When he gets out of the shower, Sam's already asleep. That's good; Sam needs it. Dean lies down on the other bed, but even if it weren't for the fact that he needs to stay awake in case something happens with Sam, he wouldn't be able to sleep. He can't ever get comfortable. He gets up and turns the A.C. on high, but it doesn't seem to be working; he's still too hot in his skin.

Sometime after two a.m. he hears noises coming from Sam's side of the room. At first Dean thinks it's just the A.C. finally kicking in, but the A.C. unit is at the foot of Dean's bed, and the sounds are from behind him. He's got his back to Sam's bed, and much as he wants to roll over and see what's going on, he's afraid Sam might realize he's awake if he does, so he keeps face to the wall and breathes steady and slow.

He has to strain to catch the sounds, but they're still there: a slow creak, a scrape of skin. Sam's trying to get out again, he's got to be, and damned if Dean knows why. Dean doesn't move, watches the flashing numbers on the hotel alarm clock and listens to the low noises. It's been nearly half an hour when there's a different noise, a slow crunching of bone, and Dean bites down on his bottom lip to keep from making a sound. Sam doesn't make a single pained noise, even though he had to have just broken his own hand to get out of a pair of handcuffs, and how he can stay silent through that -- how he could have done that at all -- Dean doesn't have any idea.

The noises aren't any louder after that, but they come more rapidly: the click of the other set of handcuffs being sprung, the untying of ropes, and the rustle of cloth: Sam's getting dressed. If Dean weren't completely awake and straining to hear this, he never would have had a clue it was going on; he knew Sam was a good hunter, but nobody's this good, this quiet.

Another rustle of cloth, and the shadows in the room shift: Sam's leaving, he's out the door, door closing silently behind him. Fuck. Fuck.

Dean's up and moving, pulling on his boots and heading out. He wastes a couple of seconds making sure he doesn't make any noise as he gets the door shut, because that would be stupid, giving himself away -- and fuck, he's thinking of this as if it's a hunt.

Which it could be, the slow roll in his stomach tells him. Something's very much not right here, and he knows it: Sam wouldn't be leaving under his own power, and there's no chance in hell Sam could have gotten out of those handcuffs and bonds that quickly or quietly. He's good but he's not that good, and if it weren't for the fact that nothing happened when Sam drank the holy water Dean would be sure he was possessed. Sam would be able to break his own hand to get out of a pair of handcuffs, Dean thinks, but not if his life didn't depend on it, and if he wasn't completely sure of it before, he is now: it may not be a demon that's doing this, but Sam can't be completely in control of his body.

Dean can make out Sam's form at the edge of the parking lot, moving towards the main street. He doesn't know why Sam's not taking the Impala, but then he realizes he's still got the car keys in his pocket, and no matter what is controlling Sam, it would have had to have known that going for Dean's keys would have been the number one sure way to get Dean awake and pointing a knife at his face. Sam's moving fast and quietly, but that's not anything unexpected; Sam's always been good at moving quietly. He turns right out of the parking lot.

Dean catches up to where he can see around the hotel, and it becomes obvious where Sam's headed: there's a dive of a bar just down the street.

Dean hangs back as Sam goes through the door, fingers his knife. He counts to one minute, two, then walks into the bar.

It's smoky inside, dim and oddly full -- but then again it's a Saturday night. A lot of the people here move through the bar comfortably, like they're regulars.

Sam's easy to spot: he's at the bar, an empty pair of shot glasses and half a beer in front of him. His wrists are bleeding from the fresh effort of getting out of the handcuffs, he's favoring his left hand, the one he broke getting out of the handcuffs. It's already swelling up. The bartender looks a little nervous around Sam, but then Sam pulls out a twenty and slides it across the counter and the bartender's back on board, pouring him another beer as Sam chugs the rest of the one in front of him.

It's too fast, Dean thinks, and it's wrong; Sam drinks, sure, but not like this, not when Dean's not around to push him. Dean's making his way through the bar to get Sam, do something, when the bartender hands Sam a second beer. Sam picks both of them up and heads towards the back of the bar.

Dean's good at pushing through crowds -- give him a government official's ID and he's excellent at it -- but he's not good at doing it without causing a scene and that's about the last thing he wants right now, for Sam to realize he's here before Dean's ready for it. He moves as quickly as he can, his eyes never leaving Sam. And that's another thing: Sam's got a good four inches on him (not that Dean would ever admit it to his face) and it's kind of hard to be stealthy when you're 6'5" -- except that Sam's slipping through the bar like it's nothing, like he could hold up a hand and the crowd would part for him.

Dean loses sight of him for a moment, people closing in, but there's no exit the direction Sam's heading and no need for Dean to panic. The crowd shifts and Dean's got him in his sight again: he's in the corner, chatting up a dark-haired chick in a green dress. She's holding one of Sam's beers with one hand and she's touching the other hand to Sam's arm; Sam's curling towards her, inviting, about to kiss her, and then Dean's there, hand on Sam's shoulder, not thinking about anything other than that he can't let this happen.

Sam turns into the touch, but Dean's just staring, hand heavy on Sam's shoulder. Dean can't lift it, can't stop staring: Sam's pupils are dilated out to the edges of his irises, full-black, and he grins at Dean, perplexed, but it's not Sam's grin.

"Get out of here," says the thing that isn't Sam, skin-crawlingly pleasant, and Dean doesn't know if there was a whammy in the words or not but either way he's out of there, scrambling into the parking lot and vomiting on the gravel. He pukes up the burrito and lunch from the diner and probably everything else he's eaten in the past week and he's not thinking about anything, he can't.

The second he's back in the hotel he's got Bobby on the phone. He's still not thinking. He can hear himself talking to Bobby, explaining what he saw, and he knows he sounds calm enough, logical, but he can't figure out what he's saying; he knows the words but the sentences don't make sense.

Bobby's silent on the other end of the line. "I'll call you back within the hour," he says finally. "Don't go after him."

Dean breathes through his mouth and hangs up the phone. It's three a.m. He turns on infomericals and keeps his gun in his hand.

He doesn't have long to wait. Ten minutes and the keycard slides in the door. Dean clicks the safety off the gun.

The second he's through the door, though, it's obvious it's Sam: the ease of movement is gone, and he's tired, slow and wincing, cradling his broken hand -- and Dean's already puked up everything he's eaten in weeks but he can't stop the urge, he's in the bathroom, clinging to the toilet, gagging on stomach acid.

"Dean?" Sam's saying, but Dean can't even get his head up to look at him.

"Give me a minute," he says to the toilet.

"Yeah, okay." There's the sound of shoes hitting the floor and the creak of the bed as Sam lies back on it.

The only thing left to puke up after a couple of minutes is his stomach, and Dean's really hoping it doesn't come to that. He washes off his face, spits in the sink and comes back out.

"Sorry about," Dean says. "Let me see your hand." He takes Sam's hand and runs his fingers along the lines of the break. Sam sucks in a sharp breath. "Fuck, Sam."

"I know," Sam says, taking his hand back. "How do you do something like that, Dean? How in the world do you break your own hand to get out of a pair of cuffs?"

"I don't know," Dean says, his mind full of what he'd seen at the bar: Sam's eyes gone black, the thing's words coming out of Sam's mouth--

"I don't know, either. I don't even know what happened, Dean. I don't know if I slept with anyone or what happened at all. The first thing I remember after going to bed is leaving a bar, and my hand hurting like a bitch and--" He's babbling, Dean realizes; Sam's barely holding himself together. "And I'm losing it. I'm losing my mind. I've got a few flashes of what happened, right, but that's it, except you -- you were there, weren't you? At some point, in the bar. You were there and I said something to you and you left. Why'd you--"

Dean's cell phone rings. He's not going to answer it but then Bobby's name flashes on the screen. He curls his mouth into a frown for Sam, says sorry and picks up. "Yeah?"

Bobby's voice is urgent. "Dean. Is he there?"

Dean looks at Sam and mouths, Bobby. "Yeah, why?"

"Okay, good. Don't let him go anywhere."

There's an edge to Bobby's voice, a thin line of nerves, and goosebumps prickle along Dean's arm. Bobby doesn't do nervous. "Why?" he says slowly.

Sam flashes him a look and says, "I'm taking a shower," and goes into the bathroom.

Dean slumps back against the bed. "Sam's taking a shower," he tells Bobby. "What's going on?"

Dean can hear Bobby considering his words. "What did John tell you about Sam?" he says finally, and that's Dean's stomach rolling over again, all right.

"What do you mean, what did Dad tell me about Sam?" Dean repeats back, stalling for time, but it doesn't do any good.

"Just answer the question, Dean."

He knows it's Bobby, and that Bobby's doing him a favor, whatever it is that he's trying to tell Dean, but still he has to force his mouth open, force out the words. "He said Sam might turn."

"It's not a might kind of thing anymore, Dean. He's turning."

Dean's glad there's nothing left in him to puke up. "Turning."

"Yeah."

"It's not a sure thing, though," Dean says, trying to convince himself. "It's not done or anything, and there's some way to stop it, right?"

Bobby's quiet. "I'll tell you what I know," he says finally.

"I'm all ears."

There are so many different ways that this conversation could play out, and Dean's thought of a dozen of them in an instant: it's just a curse, or it's that virus from River Grove kicking in, but it's curable, or it's nothing, really, Sam's just a stealthier hunter than you thought he was and the condoms thing is just a fluke--

"I want you to take everything I'm about to say under the condition that I can't be completely certain," Bobby says. "I haven't seen Sam since this started, but from what you're told me and from what I've found, I'm pretty damn sure."

"Okay," Dean says. "Go on."

He can hear Bobby working his mouth like there's something nasty in it, and then he just says it: "Demons like to reproduce."

The words filter into his head slowly. "Demons like to reproduce," he repeats back.

"The no-condoms thing," Bobby says. "Dean, I know your daddy raised you boys smarter than that. But evil things like to reproduce, and condoms tend to get in the way of that."

"You're gonna have to give me a minute here, Bobby."

Bobby waits a few seconds, then says, "I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you. Dilated pupils? Breaking his own hand to get out of a set of cuffs? That's not your brother, Dean."

Dean's vision blurs. "Yes, he is," he hisses into the phone. "He is too my brother. You haven't seen him, Bobby. He comes back and it's him. It's just a couple of hours and then he's back, all the way, so don't try to tell me he's not my brother."

Bobby is quiet for a moment. "John told you what to do if Sam turned, didn't he?"

"Listen to me," Dean says firmly. "Sam and I went through this before. I'm not killing Sam. Maybe he's turning but he hasn't turned, not all the way, and there's still -- there's got to be something we haven't thought of, hasn't there?"

Bobby exhales. "If I thought there were any chance at all of stopping it, don't you think I would have told you already?"

Dean grips the phone. "You said you weren't completely sure about this."

"Yeah, because I haven't seen Sam with my own eyes. But all the signs are there, Dean, and believe me when I say that there's no way to stop this."

"I've got to keep trying, Bobby," Dean bites out. "Don't you know that? There's got to be some way out there to stop this, and I'm going to find it."

Bobby sighs. "I know you can't kill him, Dean. I just wanted to make sure you know what you're dealing with here."

"I'll figure it out," Dean says firmly.

"If there's anyone in the world who's stubborn enough to do it, it's you," Bobby says. "But look, you're going to have to restrain him for now."

"That didn't exactly work so well before," Dean says.

"Yeah, I know," Bobby replies. "Just binding him wouldn't be enough. He's turning, and it sounds like he's getting pretty damned strong in the process. Look, I can't guarantee anything, but there's one thing I can think of that might work."

Sam comes out of the bathroom then, the towel hanging low around his hips. Dean swallows and says, "What?"

"A cage," Bobby says.

Part Two
Tags: evil sam, fic, sam/dean, spn
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