Rating: R (language, violence)
Length: under 30K total; this chapter, 877 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Four
Summary: What if Sam and Dean knew one crucial piece of information about the future before Dean's deal came due? Would it have changed everything, or would the end result have been the same? AU version of Season Four, written for spn_30snapshots .
Master table is here. Prompt for this chapter: night.
9. Por las Venas
It was a quick decision, to send Dean towards the trapped trick-or-treaters in the dark mausoleum while he headed on towards the demon Samhain, but Sam felt like it was the right thing to do. He was the one with the knife tucked in his belt, and Dean had been…off lately.
Ever since he'd faced his impending demise from the ghost sickness, Dean had been different. Sam supposed it was the consequence of his too-near brush with death; after all, they didn't know if Dean was hell-bound if he died yet again. He'd refused to tell Sam what his hallucinations had consisted of, although given what he'd shared about Castiel's concerns over Sam putting his demon blood to bad use, Sam could guess.
Sam shook his head and forced aside the dark thoughts. He needed to concentrate here, or his future would be much even limited.
He rounded a corner, and there was Samhain, facing him across a small, stone-walled chamber with stained-glass windows. Before Sam could move, the demon had raised a hand towards him, white-hot light filling the room and shooting straight at him.
Terrified, Sam threw his arms over his face in a futile attempt at defense, waiting to feel heat scorching him or burning the skin from his bones. I’m sorry, Dean, he shouted in his mind, further horrified at the thought of his brother finding his charred remains.
But nothing happened.
Sam cracked one eye open to stare through his crossed arms at Samhain, who seemed to be just as confused as he was. Slowly, he lowered his arms, and when the demon tried again, a ferocious expression on his face, Sam barely flinched. Instead, he drew the knife and started forward, not knowing what the hell was going on but realizing he'd better take advantage of it.
Unfortunately, the rest of the demon's powers worked just fine.
Within seconds, Sam was flying across the room, the knife slipping from his hand, his back landing against the stone wall with a thump that jarred his teeth. He couldn't move a muscle as Samhain strode forward, his eerily vacant eyes fixed on Sam, thin lips twisted in triumph.
The ancient demon raised his hand again, and this time there was no light, but Sam felt something tightening around his neck, choking off his breath. He gurgled helplessly, feeling his throat closing shut, his chest working furiously to draw air into his starving lungs.
The demon stepped closer, his head cocked almost curiously to the side. Sam suddenly felt something throbbing underneath his skin, like his pulse was doing double-time, and it wasn't because of the lack of oxygen. It was like something was crawling way down deep under his skin, and it would have seriously creeped him out if he wasn't already fighting for his life.
Samhain looked almost afraid for a moment, and then he must have seen Sam struggling to draw a breath, for his confident look returned. He started to close his fingers into a fist, and Sam somehow knew that when the gesture was finished, his own neck would snap like a twig.
Right when he thought things couldn't get any worse, he looked up to see Dean in the doorway, eyes wide with disbelief. Sam wanted to shout a warning, but no sound could pass through his tightening throat. All he could do was watch as Dean bent down, picked up Ruby's knife, and with a here goes nothing look, hurled it end-over-end at the demon's exposed back.
Samhain must have sensed the movement, for he whirled around, his grip on Sam loosening enough that he was able to gasp in a lungful of much-needed air. But the demon couldn't completely get out of the way, and the knife sank into his thigh with a dull thump.
Sam quickly turned away as orange light silhouetted the man's form. But for all that it looked like fire, it didn't put forth any heat, and he looked back in time to see the last of the embers die and the teacher's face relax into death.
"Toldja you couldn't handle him on your own," Dean grumbled, pulling the knife out and wiping it clean on the dead man's shirt.
Sam shook his head. If Dean had led the way, he'd have been charred to a crisp the instant Samhain saw him. But for some reason, Sam had been safe.
Rather than deal with the implications of that, he asked, "You get all the kids out?"
Something flickered across Dean's face. "The zombies got one before I could get the gate open."
"Zombies?" Sam's eyebrows shot up. "Dude, you've been waiting for ages to go up against real live zombies. Or real dead zombies, I guess."
"Yeah, well, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be." Dean abruptly sheathed the knife and whirled on his heel. "C'mon, let's blow this joint."
Sam gave the corpse on the ground one last look before following his brother out into the Halloween darkness. As the cool night air rushed over his heated face, he struggled with the question of whether or not to tell Dean everything that had transpired.
If Dean was going to keep his secrets, shouldn't Sam get to as well?