Word Count: 2572
Summary: Why is a vampire after Sam Winchester?
Warning, A/N: As in the original fic, I played with Vampire lore to suit the story. Character death. Sort of a prequel to an older story, Warm Hand In Mine.
"No no no no—DEAN—"
Nothing was worse, there was no fucking thing that could ever be worse, than feeling Dean being ripped out of his hands, watching him disappear under a pile of vamps. Knowing it was his fault.
If only he'd double checked, if he'd known this nest was what was left of Luther's….
This is revenge, payback for decimating the nest, both of them tricked into the worst kind of trap—he can't do anything. Sam drops back, hands clawed over his heart because it fucking hurts so much.
He's just watching—like the worst, newest, newbie ever to drop his fuckin' weapon—mouth open, frozen on a silent scream, paralyzed until one of the pile comes at him, all teeth and claws and bloody drool; it's that sight that finally flips Sam's switch to go.
He sweeps up the machete he'd dropped, swings in a wide arc, miraculously hitting his target hard—the shock of it runs up his arm and sets his teeth on edge. The head goes flying, spraying blood and bits of bone and flesh. He's up on his knees now, rolling upright and swinging and –clump—sheers off another head.
He storms the pile, taking the back of a vamp's head out with a lucky swing, takes an arm on the back-swing; Sam's fucking sweating and, okay, crying, and knows he's just getting in shots because the monsters are blood drunk, stupid with it….
"Oh, god—no—" The pile splits, and under the glare of the security light, there's Dean's face. It's a doll's face, porcelain white, the freckles standing out like cinnamon sprinkled on milk.
If this was a movie, if he was in a fucking movie, this is where Dean would whisper his name, or wink, or confess..confess his deepest, darkest, secret, before leaping out of the pile of monsters, both of them fighting their way free, and later, they'd laugh at that secret when they were safely out of this shit storm and healing.
But Dean's eyes are clouded and turned upwards, staring at nothing. Mouth hanging loose. Hands open and lax. His blood...everywhere.
An arm like a steel chain wraps around Sam's neck. He twists, saws and chops bits off the vamp, chunks off the vamp, until it finally has to let go. Sam whirls, takes its head.
He rubs his eyes clear of blood, and finds there are two bloodsuckers left—only two, that's all.
That's all. One of the two tear into its own wrist, blood spurts like a broken fountain, and then, it forces Dean's lifeless mouth open against the bleeding mess of its meat...and that's when Sam hears it.
One thready, muted moan. One small, faint sound of fear. Disgust.
Sam can't even twitch a muscle before they're gone, like smoke in the wind. In the blink of an eye, it's just Sam; alone in an alley, knee deep in corpses and staring at the bloody spot on the pavement where his brother died. He'd just stood there and let them kill his brother….Sam drops to his ass, legs spread wide like a little kid swamped by despair, head in his hands, shaking, shaking.
He'd just stood there and watched his brother get turned and did nothing.
He's managed to wipe most of the blood off his hands and face with the baby wipes he keeps in his bag. Trying not to think how Dean laughed at him every time he bought them...Sam blinks against the blurry world, crams the soiled wipes into the bathroom's stupidly small garbage can. He sighs. A shower's going to have to wait. He's doused his clothes in lighter fuel and bagged them, got them sitting by the door. Brushes his teeth to get the god damn taste of...of...get the taste out his mouth.
Dresses, makes a pot of coffee in one of those little toy coffee makers cheap motels always have.
He's poured a cup, another, and let them get cold on the table. He's walked a mile or two around the room, and occasionally hears a high-pitched keening, takes him a minute before he realizes where it's coming from. He manages to stop by biting the inside of his cheek. Grinding his teeth.
Finally, he drops into a spindly chair. Leans over the table, breathing hard. He grabs his hair with both hands, sweeping, tugging through the knots and snarls. "Okay. Okay," he says, and stops. Swallows. He's trying to figure out okay what?
"Oh god...oh, fuck" it wheezes out of him. "No. Bobby."
Right. Call Bobby, tell him...tell him...Sam chokes, sobs, bites down hard on his lip, trying to stuff hysteria back down inside. Dean...he gasps, breathes in...Dean would do it without freaking out. Dean would suck it up, wouldn't pussy out like this.
He digs down in his pocket, pulls out his phone. Counts to three. Does it again before he can make his fingers work..
"Bobby. Hey Bobby, this is important, if Dean makes it past your wards, don't let him in. He'll ask, or maybe try to rush you, or...oh god."
Sam smashes the phone against his cheek. He gives into it, and cries like a baby. He hears the other phone drop, indistinct cursing and the sounds of things toppling. A few seconds later, Bobby's voice is clear.
"Damn it, son, I'm sorry. I just...are you okay? They didn't, they didn't hurt you...I mean."
"Yeah, yeah, no, they were focused, let me go for some reason. To suffer, I guess. It was what was left of that nest Dad and me and Dean took out. The mate of that nest's alpha, the female that got away. Dumb move, right?"
"Fuck. Don't go looking to assign blame, boy. There ain't none."
"Yeah...so, other hunters…you gotta let them know that crossing paths with Dean now is gonna be like crossing paths with death."
Sam breathes, listens to Bobby's voice breaking, trembling. "Can't imagine a worse monster—" Sam gets that in a fucked up way, Bobby means it as a compliment. "I'll spread the word. God, I'm sorry, boy. I am so goddamn sorry."
What can Sam say in return? He cuts the call as quickly as he can, after Bobby promises to send the best hunters he can on Dean's trail. Tells Sam he knows a guy, crazy as fuck but smart as hell, with a hard-on for clearing out vamps. That's good enough for Sam. He can't—won't go after Dean. Let someone else take him out. It can't be him.
Thing is, Sam knows vampire lore—everything his Dad wrote down, everything Bobby can find, Sam knows. And the one fact that rattles around in his head, chases him into sleep is this: fledgling vamps, whenever possible, will come for the blood of family first.
He pulls himself out of the car, juggling hot coffee and his duffle. Hipchecks the car door shut. It's dark, way past a dinner time he hadn't had interest in. It's too fuckin' much work to chew.
Sam leans back against the chilly side of his car—Dean's car. Closes his eyes and sighs, a noise dragged from the depths of his raggedy, tarnished soul…it's been weeks, feels like years. He's been hunting; minor hunts, he's not stupid enough to take on big hunts without a partner, that's suicidal. But there are days...days that it feels like maybe that's not such a bad idea. He's tired. It's only been short while, but he's so tired of carrying the weight of his loss, his guilt. If he'd moved a little faster, been a little smarter….
Sam jolts, trips backwards into the car, drops his coffee. Whirls around, but but the parking lot's empty, save him. Stares into the dark edges where no light can reach, but there's nothing there.
Right. Sam's not stupid enough to believe that. He's back in the car with the doors locked between one breath and the next. He pulls away from the motel he'd been headed to, turns back on his trail; soon as he can, swings back the way he was headed and hopes that's enough. He's afraid to head towards any of their friends, not wanting to remind his brother about Bobby, Pastor Jim, Caleb...Missouri he isn't too worried about. A vampire was bound to radiate its presence on all planes—she was smart as hell, that woman. Even starving, he doubts Dean would try to go up against her. Sam blinks hard, working the sting out of his eyes.
He stares at himself for a long time that night, stares at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. All he sees are eyes set in dark flesh and thin, deep caves of bone. He lifts his hand to brush his increasingly wilder hair out of his eyes, and it shakes like, like...shakes like he's been living on Power Bars and caffeine for weeks and weeks and moving constantly like a goddamn shark.
A week on, he's coming back to the motel he'd chosen for that night, thinking hard about taking Bobby up on the offer of one of a couple of safe houses he's got scattered here and there, places Dean might not think to look. Sam's carrying a bag of groceries, hiding a big silver knife under it, juggles a key-card out of his pocket and trips over a cat, nearly dropping everything—a cat sleeping in the doorway of his room. "Hey, puss, what—"
The cat's too still; Sam's sneakers make an unpleasant squelching sound as he lifts his feet. "Fuck…"
He wraps the cat up in a sheet of cardboard fished out of the dumpsters back of the place, drops the cat in. He wipes the door clean, scrubs the letters away. Goes inside. Dean not going to do anything else tonight, he's sure.
When Sam falls asleep that night, he sees MISS YOU scrawled in thin, bloody letters all over his dream landscape.
Days pass, and more frequently, he hears Dean...sometimes as he leaves a diner or a gas station, or just as he's ready to drop off.
He gets plenty of visual evidence that his brother's still out there, dodging hunters, wreaking havoc. He finds...gifts in his doorway. Reminders that Dean can find him whenever he wants him:
A blood-soaked hoodie hanging from the motel room's doorknob.
An arm laid out on the Impala's hood, a pricey tank watch glinting under crusted blood.
A pair of Pumas, mostly clean but for thin smears of blood, sitting on the step when he opens the door of a squat he's in.
One cold autumn morning, he finds a bag of M&Ms, so blood-soaked the candy has melted, their outer shells dissolved by hot liquid, then cooled into a horrific mess...he kicks the bag off the cracked concrete step, uncovers a badly-sketched heart drawn in more blood where the bag had been. Sam's breath catches in his throat, cutting off a building scream.
Either Dean's being cruelly sarcastic, or his prime directive's gotten twisted up in his predatory vamp brain and he actually means for Sam to enjoy a treat. Sam sobs, wipes at his eyes and goes back into the cabin. Dean can't get to him, not without an invite so….he slams the door shut and wards it best he can against every bad thing he can think of.
The last straw's the girl, bundled into Baby's front seat, on the passenger side.
She's pretty, curled up like a kitten, her hands nestled under cheek, her blonde hair curling against the window. She looks like she's asleep. Except, the closer Sam comes, he can see her eyes are open just a bit, cloudy green...full lips, a mole right between her eyebrows….he sees how much she looks like Jess at the same moment he notices there are blood stains on her shirt collar, on the shoulder, streaked across her chin. A tear like another mouth gapes below her chin. Sam's knees go weak with guilt.
He's most horrified, more horrified, by what she's wearing than the fact that she's dead, in his car, in the front seat. His seat.
She's wrapped in Dean's leather.
Sam stands there, open-mouthed with horror, breathing shallow, fast, and deep in the shadows across the old motel's lot, he hears a sharp crack—a branch, a bone—
Sam turns and sprints to the room, rips open the door—he glances over his shoulder and gets a glimpse of teeth, blood, corpse-white skin, blazing eyes—he slams the door and locks it. There's a deep jab of pain, he curses loud and long as he pinballs off the room's desk and chair, ends up curled up in a ball on the floor.
It's quiet, only the sound of his hyper breathing breaking the silence. After a bit, he uncurls, drags himself upright. It's okay now, he reminds himself. Dean can't come over the threshold without invitation. Sam spends the evening in the bathroom, throwing up.
Dean never gives up, and never gives up, and finally the day comes that Sam can't run fast enough.
Sam's in a motel at what feels like the end of the world, and Dean's outside...has been circling and circling the tiny, old-fashioned, motor court cabin. It reeks of mildew and bleach and generations of cigarette smoke...it was the kind of place they'd have bitched about once, would have laughed at together….once upon a time. Now here they are, Sam working up to be ready to do what he has to do, what's always been his job alone.
He'd dug the heavy, thick-bladed hunting knife out of his bag, one Dean had given him, and now has it clutched between his fingers, grip so tight, his wrists ache. He lets his legs go, slides slowly down the door until his ass hits the floor. His head knocks against the door panels with a soft thump.
It's quiet. The quiet before a thunder storm, a fearful anticipation in the air.
Sam's lips are so dry; he nibbles and worries at chapped skin unconsciously, hisses slightly when a shred of skin pulls free and he gets a faint taste of blood. Something hits the outer wall—hard.
Something. He rolls his eyes at himself. Yeah, something...there's another heavy thump, this time at the front door, and a low, low moan that seeps under the threshold and creeps up Sam's spine.
"Smells so gooood, Sammy. Gonna let me in?"
Sam closes his eyes, they're burning so much. There's a rustling along one wall. He can see the bathroom window through the open doorway...there's a dark blot against the frosted glass, and then….
scritch scritch scritch
Sounds like a glass cutter, but Sam knows what it is. The shadow of a hand drags down the window and the scritch-scritch sound comes again—fucking vampire nails, thick, and hard enough to scratch grooves in the panes.
And it comes again...louder, what Sam's been dreading, but waiting for, too. The sound of his brother's voice; that missed, that desired, that thing he needs. Sounds like a dream, like everything he's ever wanted. And it floods his body with fear, raises the hair on his neck. Still makes him want to go to Dean, open the door to him. It fucks with his head.
"Ssssammy, Sammieeeeee," it sing-songs, "Why won't you let me in?"
He can't, he can't, he can't….