|Fic: Shadow People
||[Oct. 31st, 2005|12:51 am]
|||||Babyskin Tattoo - Moist||]|
Title: Shadow People
Rating: 18 +
Category: Drama, Established Relationship
Summary: Sam has issues.
Author’s Notes: Some information about Shadow People was taken from Wikepedia and modified for the purposes of this story.
Many, many thanks to my wonderful, extremely helpful betas: joyfulgirl41, stone_princess and supergrover24. Any remaining errors are mine alone.
Sam and Dean had been driving non-stop for what felt to Sam like an eternity. His backside had gone numb about a half-an-hour ago and now his t-shirt was starting to stick to the vinyl seat. Shifting around to get more comfortable proved unsuccessful and Sam hoped to hell they’d be there soon.
Dean was singing off-key and air drumming enthusiastically as Blue Oyster Cult blared from the speakers, and seemed unbothered by the long drive.
“Hey, would you keep at least one hand on the steering wheel?” Sam grumbled, bugged more by Dean’s inexplicable energy than the unsafe driving. “I’d rather not to get into a car crash in the middle of nowhere.”
“Okay. Chill. You know I can drive perfectly with no hands at all. I’ve got strong thighs.” Dean smirked and grabbed the wheel with his left hand, letting the other one rest against Sam’s shoulder.
Sam could feel red heat creeping into his cheeks. He shrugged off Dean’s touch and looked away, deciding it was a bad idea to start thinking too hard about Dean’s thighs.
Sam leaned against the door and gazed out the window, submitting to the hypnosis of a steady green blur of pines that whizzed past as the wind whipped against his face. Eventually, the wall of trees thinned out and became interspersed with clusters of homes.
“Check it out.” Dean slowed down and pointed to a sign. “Welcome to Secane, Minnesota.”
Sam rubbed his eyes and straightened up in his seat. “Thank God, we’re finally here.”
“Welcome to East Bumfuck, is more like it.” Dean sighed as they pulled into town. “Look at this place. I doubt they even have a single girl worth banging here, forget about a motel. I guess you can take the back seat.”
“We’re not sleeping in the car.” Sam reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out the crumpled newspaper article that had brought them here in the first place, handing it to Dean. He’d done some research on the laptop and scribbled down the address and directions to a local motel in the margins.
“Nice going, little brother. I didn’t think you’d had time.” Dean gave him a long, lingering pat on the thigh as he continued on.
Sam shifted in his seat, humiliated by the warm, tingling sensation that began spreading to his groin. He mentally berated himself for still being such a sick, perverted freak. Jessica, college, all those years away and nothing had changed.
He inched as far to the right as he could, moving his leg out of Dean’s reach. He tried to focus his attention on the local sights.
From what Sam could see, Secane appeared to be an average, if run-down small town. They drove past a gas station, a church, a post office, a general store, and an old-fashioned looking diner. But Sam didn’t see a single person walking around on the street.
“Weird. It’s not even twilight yet, and Main Street is deserted.” Sam strained his eyes to see if he could spot anyone inside the diner, but he couldn’t make anything out through the frosted glass windows.
“It is strange. And I’m betting it’s not just some small town curfew thing, either.” Dean posited and Sam nodded his agreement.
Something suddenly flashed by in the periphery of Sam’s vision. A dark, formless shadow appeared at the window, moving impossibly fast alongside the car and across the windshield. Sam inhaled sharply, blinked, and it was gone.
“What the hell was that?” Sam yelled.
“What was what?” Dean looked confused.
Sam shook his head and started rubbing his temples. “Man, I really need some sleep. My eyes are playing tricks on me.”
“Why don’t you rest a little?” Dean suggested, looking concerned. “I’ll wake you up when we get to the motel.”
Sam leaned his head back and shut his eyes. He saw nothing but black for a few glorious minutes, and then Jess’s hideous corpse appeared above him. It was like being right there all over again, the pungent smell of fire and death in the air and her blood dripping down onto his face. Then he heard that tortured, distorted version of her voice whisper his name, just like always. He woke with a violent jolt.
“It’s a nightmare, Sam.” Dean squeezed his shoulder, and this time Sam was grateful for the touch. “We’re here.”
Sam glanced quickly at himself in the side mirror. He raked his fingers through his hair, attempting to tame the tangled mop it had become, and his hand was still visibly shaking. Affecting the calmest expression he could muster, for Dean’s benefit, he stepped out of the car. “I’m fine. Let’s go in.”
Sam had stayed in a lot of motels over the years and felt he could state with some degree of authority that this was one hell of a shitty motel room.
Dean chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Were you expecting the Ritz? In a town like this?”
“No, but there’s a vast spectrum between the Ritz and the kind of dump where you expect to find a dead hooker buried in the box spring. I was just hoping we’d be, you know, a little higher up the spectrum.” Sam sighed and tossed his bag next to one of the two ratty-looking double beds.
He caught another glimpse of movement from the corner of his eye, a dark flash of shadow like before, but this time he could make out a discernable figure moving by tendrils across the wall and then vanishing out the window.
Dean had been standing right next to him and didn’t seem to notice anything, so Sam chalked it up to another hallucination. He’d been having a lot of those lately, and they seemed to be getting worse. In their line of work, being able to trust his eyes was vital, and Sam told himself he’d have to overcome this soon, before he put either one of them in danger.
“It’s going to be a long day tomorrow and you should get a good night’s sleep. Take these.” Dean opened his fist to reveal two blue pills.
“Sleeping pills? No way.”
“Take them, Sam. If anything happens, I’ll be alert enough for both of us. I promise.”
“Dean, I don’t think…”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Stop being so stubborn and take the damn things. You haven’t slept in over a week. We can’t do the kind of work we’re here to do if you’re not at your best.” Dean pressed the pills into Sam’s palm.
“Jesus! All right, already. Whatever it takes to get you to stop nagging me. ” Sam tilted his head back and popped the pills into his mouth, swallowing them down quickly, before he could change his mind.
Sam had never liked the idea of sleeping pills, and since Jessica’s death, despite weeks of insomnia, he’d flatly refused to take them. Not just because sleep felt like a selfish indulgence he didn’t deserve, though it did, but also because he was terrified of getting stuck in a nightmare he couldn’t wake up from or being too dazed to fight whatever evil might decide to attack them in the night.
But it was Dean’s furrowed brow and eyes darkened with obvious concern that had convinced Sam to take the pills. He understood the toll it was taking on Dean to worry about him constantly and Sam would give almost anything to relieve him of that burden, even for one night. Besides, if anything happened did happen, he trusted Dean with his life.
“Thanks. For…well, you know.”
“This is bordering dangerously on chick flick territory, but you’re welcome.” Dean grinned and began to prepare for bed, slowly peeling off his t-shirt and sliding off his jeans.
Sam was unable avert his eyes, watching intently as Dean moved with fluid confidence, all toned muscles and tanned flesh. Sam swallowed hard, willing away the stirrings of arousal he began to feel. He hated that his relationship with Dean was always going to be tainted by this. Tainted by memories of their past together and the fact that Sam had never been strong enough to keep his own hormones in check.
Dean looked up and discovered Sam staring. His expression changed to something odd, something Sam wasn’t able to read.
Dean opened his mouth to speak, but stopped himself short. When he eventually did speak, it was in a low, timid tone, one Sam wasn’t used to hearing. “I just had an idea. We should share a bed tonight. Like old times.”
“W-why?” Sam cleared his throat, hoping the crack in his voice hadn’t betrayed that he already suspected the answer.
“Because you’ll sleep better if you’re not alone.”
“I don’t think—.”
“C’mon, you always used to sleep better with me. Besides, I hear that one of these mattresses might be hiding a dead hooker.”
Sam smiled faintly. He didn’t have the energy to refuse and wasn’t even entirely sure he wanted to. “Okay.”
Dean climbed into bed as Sam began to strip down to his boxers. Sam’s limbs felt heavy and the world began to spin in slow motion. He figured the sleeping pills must have already started to kick in.
“So tired,” he mumbled, crawling into bed next to Dean. Dean reached over and switched off the bedside lamp, then wrapped his arm around Sam, snuggling up behind him. Sam relaxed into the embrace, pushing gently against Dean’s warm body. He was comforted by the cadence of Dean’s breathing: inhale and exhale, constant and strong. It made him feel safe.
They lay there, silent and still for several minutes. Sam started to think that maybe Dean was trying to put the past behind them too, that he just wanted them to be like normal brothers.
“I miss feeling you,” Dean whispered against his ear. “It’s been so long. I need you, Sammy. I want….” His voice trailed off.
Sam froze completely, pretending he’d already fallen asleep. If Dean knew he was faking, he didn’t say anything about it.
For the first time in weeks, Sam had no nightmares. Instead, he dreamt that he and Dean were younger. They were fumbling around in the dark together, jerking each other off just like they used to. The dream was at once vivid and vague, more like a jumble of memories. Times and places morphed and changed, flowing into each other in a nonsensical patchwork. Dean and Sam hiding in a closet, then leaning against an old oak tree, then trying to be quiet on a rusty motel cot. The locations were surreal, but Sam could feel Dean’s warm determined grip around his cock, as real as it could be, moving in fast, steady motions.
Sam moaned loudly as orgasm jarred him awake. He sat up slowly and discovered he was alone in bed. It was daylight. He surveyed the room and found Dean sitting in the corner chair, looking up from a newspaper.
“Another nightmare?” Dean asked, the corners of his mouth twisted into a quizzical look that made Sam think he suspected otherwise.
“Yeah,” Sam lied.
“Well, at least you slept through the night,” Dean said, returning to reading the newspaper.
“Um, I’ve got to go take a shower,” Sam croaked as he dashed into the bathroom without further explanation and shut the door quickly behind him. He splashed cold water on his face, then slid out of his boxers and rinsed them under the faucet.
Sam ran the shower scalding hot and stepped in, wanting to feel the punishing water on every inch of his body. “What the fuck is wrong with me?” He screamed, and pounded the wall of tiles with his fist, realizing too late that Dean had probably heard him.
Dean knocked loudly on the bathroom door. “Sam, are you okay in there?”
“I’m coming in.” Through the shower curtain Sam could see Dean’s silhouette enter the room. “We need to talk.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“There’s plenty to talk about. Let’s start with why you’ve been acting so weird.”
“I’m acting weird?” Sam angrily stuck his head out of the shower. “My whole life changed overnight, in case you’ve forgotten. Everything I had is gone. My future is non-existent. The only person I ever really loved is dead.”
Sam wished he could take it back as soon as he said it. Dean’s stoic expression cracked for a split-second and Sam could see in his eyes just how much he’d hurt him. The worst part, Sam thought, was that he’d been lying through his teeth anyway. Jessica had been an amazing girl, and he’d loved her in a way. But she’d never really known the real him.
It was Dean who knew him the best, even better than he knew himself sometimes. It was Dean who he’d been through everything with, things no one else could possibly understand. They would kill or be killed for each other. Dean had always been the one person he loved, and he loved him in every way that it was possible to love another person.
He could never admit that to Dean. The truth would ruin any chance they had of ever having a normal relationship.
Sam swallowed back a lump in his throat and waited for Dean to respond. He wanted him to yell back, or haul off and smack him, anything that would make Sam feel less guilty.
But Dean just stiffened his jaw and narrowed his eyes. “Hurry up and get dressed. We’ve got work to do,” he said quietly, before walking out.
There was no table to work from, so they sat across from each other on the bed, where Dean had set up the laptop and arranged a few relevant newspaper clippings.
Dean acted like they hadn’t fought at all. Although the tension between them was still palpable, any hint of anger or sadness had gone from Dean’s voice. Sam didn’t say anything about it either. They’d been trained all their lives to put aside personal matters when there was hunting to be done, and now was no different.
“Let’s figure out where to start. What do we know so far?” Dean prompted, scanning through the articles again.
Sam listed off the facts as he remembered them. “Ten suicides in just over a month, all of them right in this town. No evidence of foul play. The story was so unusual that it got picked up by the national press.”
“According to this article,” Dean plucked a worn piece of newsprint off the bedspread, “none of them had any history of depression. And all the family members who were interviewed say that these people began having hallucinations shortly before their deaths.”
“Does it give any details about the so-called hallucinations?”
“No. For all we know it could’ve been a ghost, a demon, anything.”
“Any other similarities between the deaths?”
Dean shook his head. “Not that I can see. It looks like they all used vastly different methods, so there’s no connection there.”
“Right, so we need to get as many details as we can from the family members of the deceased.”
“Okay. We can start with the daughter of the first victim. ” Dean scanned the newspaper article. “It says here that her name is Ann Ghoston and she works at the General Store.”
“I remember passing that on our way in.” Sam rose, grabbing his jacket. “Let’s go.”
Dean picked up the keys and opened the door for Sam. Dean smiled weakly when their eyes met, and a dull sort of sadness flickered across his face. Sam hadn’t seen that expression since the day he left for college and it sent a sinking pain straight through the center of his body, just as it had then.
The cashier pointed them in the direction of a petite blonde who was stocking the shelves. Ann Ghoston was a pretty girl, early twenties with pale blue eyes and a striking figure. She gave them a sweet smile as they approached.
Dean spoke first. “My name is Bill, and this is Ted. We’re reporters from the, um, Post, and we’re doing a story on the unusual circumstances surrounding the deaths in this town, including your father’s. Do you mind if we ask you a few questions? It’ll only take a minute.”
She paused and wrung her hands nervously. “Sure,” she agreed after a minute.
Dean leaned in to talk to her, affecting his standard, toothy grin. Sam caught him glancing down at her chest and rolled his eyes. Dean always seemed to be attracted to the traumatized type, like he relished playing the knight-in-shining-armor.
Sam took out a tablet and pen. “So, based on what you told the Courier-Times, we understand that your father had been experiencing hallucinations shortly before his passing. Could you elaborate?”
“Sure. Um. Well about a week before, you know…he had started talking to something or someone. I never saw anything, but Dad insisted that a man lived in the shadows.”
Sam scribbled down notes while Dean nodded and gestured for her to go on.
She continued, “At first he screamed with it all night, telling it over and over again to leave him alone. After a few nights of that he barely spoke at all, except in whispers to that thing. He became almost catatonic, wouldn’t talk to me anymore. His doctor and I had set up an appointment with a psychiatrist, but by then…it was too late.”
“Do you believe that he saw something?” Sam asked, still unclear about whether this was supernatural phenomenon or some kind of mental illness they were dealing with.
“Yes,” she responded firmly. “Something made him like that. I knew my Dad. He never would have killed himself in a million years. Besides, a lot of folks in town have seen these things.”
“Things?” Sam and Dean asked in unison.
“Yes, I hear tell that there are lots of them. The rumor is that they only come out at night. Only certain people can see them, but everyone in town is terrified that they might be next. That’s why most folks around here don’t tend to go outside after dark. ”
Dean asked her a few more follow-up questions, but nothing of additional significance came from them. Sam started to get twitchy. He wanted to research these things, whatever they were. The sooner they finished the job, the sooner they could move on, and maybe he could smooth things out with Dean. He motioned to Dean, indicating that he wanted to go, but Dean ignored him and kept chatting with Ann, who’d gone from somber to giggly in no time.
“Thank you for your help, Ms. Ghoston.” Dean said, taking her hand.
“Call me Ann, please.”
“All right. Ann. I know this is completely inappropriate, but I can’t resist. Could I take you out, maybe on your lunch break or something?” Dean asked.
“Sure!” She beamed, smiling widely. Sam was gratified to notice that her bottom teeth were a little crooked. “I get off in twenty minutes, why don’t you hang around until then?”
“Sounds good, I’ll just go out front and speak with my…colleague here for a minute.” Dean grabbed Sam by the sleeve and dragged him outside.
Sam choked back the hint of bile that was beginning to rise in his throat. He couldn’t believe he was actually getting jealous over this. “Dean, what the hell are you doing?”
“Dude, was I ever wrong about the chicks here. Wow!”
“We’ve got work to do.” Sam protested.
“This is working, Sam. I can get some more background from her and maybe talk to some people at the diner.”
Sam bit his lip, realizing this was a losing battle.
“Besides,” Dean stepped in closer and looked pointedly at Sam. “I have certain needs which haven’t been met in a very long time, if you know what I mean.”
The words hit Sam like a punch to the gut, but he didn’t react. He realized, especially after this morning, that he was in no position to deny Dean this, no matter how much it hurt to watch.
“Do whatever you have to do,” Sam replied, his voice sounding gruffer than he’d wanted it to. “I’ll see about talking to other family members of the deceased, or maybe I’ll go find the town library and see about some research. Meet you at the motel later.”
He turned on his heel and walked away briskly before Dean could say anything more. Sam felt like his whole world was spinning wildly out of control, but he had no idea how to stop it.
Since he really didn’t feel like talking to anyone, Sam headed straight for the library, which turned out to be a cramped room in a dingy little building at the center of town. It was so antiquated that the elderly librarian blanched at the word “microfilm”.
Sam parked himself at a table with a large stack of yellowed newspapers. He suspected that these things, whatever they were, might be vengeful ghosts or demons of some sort. He hoped to find something in the news that would shed light on their origin.
He started with the most recent editions and worked his way backward. Most of the headlines from the past month had been related to the rash of suicides. The articles contained a lot of unfounded speculation and interviews with shocked neighbors, but nothing in the way of new information.
The news prior to the suicides was practically non-existent. The headlines were all either about national news, routine matters of local interest, or weather: month after month, year after year of it. Sam never knew so many articles about weather existed, let alone in one town.
Several hours later, just as he was about to give up searching, a headline from five years prior caught his attention: Fire at Secane elementary school, 65 killed, cause still unknown.
The library had had no copier, so Sam surreptitiously tore out the article and stuffed in his pocket before heading back to the motel to find Dean.
Sam paced anxiously around the motel room. It had started to get dark, and there was no sign of Dean. He didn’t know whether to be worried or pissed, though he was leaning toward the former.
At first he’d figured that Dean was probably just off screwing that vapid girl, the thought of which made him nauseous. But now he was getting worried that something truly bad might’ve happened.
He could kick himself for letting Dean take the car and all the weapons. If Dean didn’t return in twenty minutes, Sam determined he’d go looking for him, weapons or no.
Sam shivered as the room became cold. An intense feeling of dread landed instantly in the pit of his stomach. It was like nothing he’d ever felt before. Then he saw something moving from the corner of the room.
It was the same figure he’d seen before, but this time it was headed straight for him.
Sam tried to make a break for the door, but the thing moved too quickly. Two thick, black tendrils of vapor reached out and encircled Sam. He found that his limbs were completely immobile and he was unable to budge his feet or raise his arms to fight.
The longer Sam looked at the creature, the more human its form seemed to become. He could now see a featureless face moving underneath its hooded cloak. Although Sam knew logically that he’d fought and killed plenty of monsters more dangerous than this, for some reason he’d never felt this scared before.
“Sammy,” it rasped in a low rumble that made Sam’s skin crawl. “You just can’t seem to do anything right, can you?”
Through a haze of fear, Sam tried to bring himself back around to rational thought, figuring that might be the way to combat this fear demon, or whatever it was. “It’s not real,” Sam said aloud, betting that this thing was ethereal rather than corporeal.
“I’m quite real, Sam,” the figure rasped. Two glowing red eyes appeared from under its shadowy hood. “But we’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you.”
The thing began to move in circles around Sam, faster and faster, taunting him. “We could talk about how your mother’s death was all your fault. Or how you ruined your brother’s life.”
“No….” Sam could barely speak through his shaking.
“Yes. It’s all true. You abandoned your family. You lied to your girlfriend and it got her killed. Selfish…so selfish, Sam. No wonder your father hates you. No wonder your brother hates you.”
“No!” Sam cried, repeating it over and over again, until his muscles eventually gave way and he collapsed onto the floor.
“Dean?” Sam felt Dean’s strong, familiar arms around him, and the fear disappeared just as abruptly as it had come. He lifted his head and the dark figure was gone.
Dean gently cupped Sam’s face in his hands. “Christ, Sam. What the hell happened? Are you okay?”
“One of those…one of those things was here. It was horrible.” Sam didn’t know how long he’d been there, crumpled on the floor with his head buried in his knees. He was still shaking a little as he tried to regain his composure.
“Shit. Thank God you’re all right. You are all right, aren’t you? What did it do to you?”
“I think I’m all right now.” Sam realized that his arms were still wrapped tightly around himself, and he relaxed his hold, straightening up a little. “It’s hard to describe exactly what it did. It just—the weird part was, even though I knew it couldn’t really harm me, I felt terrified. Whatever it is, I think it feeds on fear.”
“Actually, I think I figured out what it is.” Dean grabbed their father’s journal out of his coat pocket and flipped it to the page he had bookmarked. “All afternoon I’ve been talking to people in town, people who’ve seen these things, or whose loved ones have, and all of their descriptions fit this perfectly.”
Sam grabbed the journal and trembled a little when he saw the drawing their father had made. He hastily returned it to Dean. “Yep. I’d say that’s it.”
Dean took the journal and began to read the details to Sam. “Shadow People, sometimes known as Shadow men or Shadow beings, are known to be black humanoid silhouettes, lacking in body mass or facial features, although they are sometimes reported to have red eyes.”
“Observers of Shadow People note that the forms first begin to appear at the edge of their field of vision, and that they disintegrate or move into walls when noticed, usually within a split-second. But they soon start appearing closer, directly in the center of vision. At this point, many individuals have described being menaced, chased, and even attacked.”
“There are a number of theories about why Shadow People exist, but the most credible one is that they are manifest thought forms, collections of negative psychic energy from areas where traumatic events have taken place. The negative psychic energy begins to manifest and takes on form and motive, thriving on fear and negative emotions for sustenance.”
Sam thought about it for a minute and made the connection. “I’ll bet it was the fire.”
“Yeah. I read about it at the library.” Sam fished the article out of his pocket and handed it to Dean. “About five years ago, a whole bunch of people, mostly kids, were killed in a fire at the elementary school. According to that, the authorities never did figure out what caused it.”
Dean briefly examined the article and nodded. “I had no idea about the fire, but from what I saw today, it seems like the people here are none too friendly towards each other, which is strange to see in such a small town. Maybe, some of them withdrew or turned against each other because of the fire.”
“Makes sense,” Sam agreed. “After five years, I bet these people have a lot of pent-up negative emotions: anger, sadness, blame, grief, fear. You name it. And these Shadow People have been soaking it up, all this time, and now they’re strong enough to actually lash out.”
Dean looked back at their father’s journal and seemed to discover something written at the bottom of the page. “I’ve got it!” He shouted, standing abruptly and pulling out his cell phone. “I think I figured out how we can kill these shadowy bastards.”
Dean made a call to Ann, who’d put him in touch with the mayor. Dean had been able to convince the mayor to let the two of them hold an emergency town meeting the following night. Sam surmised that the mayor must have been pretty desperate to rid the town of this menace, since he apparently bought the line of bullshit Dean sold him.
After Sam and Dean finished making their plans for the meeting, they sat down together on one of the beds.
“So,” Sam spoke after an awkward pause. “You were out, um, interviewing people all afternoon?”
“Yeah. Sorry. I didn’t realize how late it was getting until I noticed it was dark.”
“And you didn’t, um….”
“Get my freak on with Ann? No.”
“Really?” Sam bit his lip to keep from smiling.
Dean shook his head. “No way. I mean she’s hot and all, but not really my type.”
“Listen…I’m sorry about this morning, and for how I’ve been acting lately. I know I’ve been a total dick.”
“Yeah, you have.” Dean took a deep breath and hesitated for a few seconds before continuing. “But I’m the one who should be apologizing to you. I should have been way more understanding about what you’re going through. I know how much you lost.”
“I did,” Sam replied, a little wistfully. “Jess and I had a good life together. But…it never felt like it was mine, not really. I guess I always knew deep down that this was my real life.” Sam gestured between them. “Us against the bad guys.”
Dean gazed at him intently. “It has always been about you and me, Sam,” he said, and Sam reached out for Dean and pulled him close. Warm, soft lips eagerly met his. The kiss felt like home to Sam.
After a minute, Dean pushed Sam onto his back and began to kiss him roughly, lips clashing frantically with teeth and tongues. Sam felt a rush of blood straight to his cock and he began to grind urgently against Dean. Dean moaned and thrust back, matching Sam’s speed and intensity. Dean lowered his hand to Sam’s jeans and began to unbutton them.
“Wait!” Sam wriggled out from under Dean and pushed him away. “I…I can’t do this.”
“Fuck,” Dean groaned and banged his head against the headboard. “Well, I can’t force you to do something you don’t want to.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to.” Sam said as he sat up to face Dean. “You felt how much I want to.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“It’s just…other brothers don’t do this stuff with each other, Dean. It’s fucked up.”
“Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you. We’re never going to be like other brothers. They don’t have to see the things we see or do the things we do.” Dean sighed and lowered his voice, placing his hand on Sam’s knee. “I know this thing between us isn’t normal, but it’s never felt fucked up to me. It’s always been…instinctive, like eating or breathing.”
“Second nature.” Sam quietly agreed, wishing he could accept this as easily as Dean seemed to.
Dean got off the bed and stretched. “I’m taking a cold shower before bed.”
“Yeah?” Sam asked, finding himself more disappointed than relieved that their conversation appeared to be over.
“Uh-huh.” Dean pointed to the other bed. “Would it’d be better if I slept there tonight?”
Sam shook his head, not wanting to sleep alone after everything he’d been through tonight.
“Whatever you want,” Dean said.
They’d spent the whole day passing out flyers and putting up posters about the meeting. Word must have traveled fast, because the auditorium was completely packed.
Sam was relieved. He’d been worried that attendance would be too low for the plan to work, particularly given that the meeting was taking place after dark. But apparently, Dean had been right when he said that these people were so anxious to get rid of the Shadow People, most of them would be willing to try anything.
The steady buzz of conversation faded to a hush as the crowd watched Dean step up to the podium and tapped on the microphone. He cleared his throat and glanced down at the index cards Sam had prepared for him.
After spouting off some bogus credentials by way of introduction, Dean presented everything they understood about what the Shadow People were, how they’d been created, grown stronger, and tormented people with their own negative emotions to the point that they wanted to kill themselves.
“Now comes the hard part,” Dean continued. “Since these things were created by the energy from all of your unspoken negative emotions since the fire, the only way to get rid of them is to have what pretty much amounts to a huge group therapy session. Right here, right now.”
The crowd erupted in a flurry of murmurs, and Dean banged his fist on the podium to get everyone’s attention again. “Hey, I don’t normally go in for touchy-feely stuff either, but this is the only way. You need to vent to each other, out loud, your negative feelings about the fire and since the fire. If you are angry with someone, talk about it. If you are feeling guilty, tell somebody. If you are afraid of something, admit it to the person next to you.”
A loud roar spread through the crowd, and this time Dean had to start shouting into the microphone to get everyone’s attention again.
“Listen, please. I realize that what I’m telling you sounds crazy. But I’m asking you to trust us. If you don’t, I can promise you that the attacks will only get more frequent and more intense. More people will die,” Dean said, so convincingly that Sam thought for a passing second that he might’ve made an excellent politician in another life.
After a period of hushed whispers, an old man rose from the crowd and spoke with a booming voice. “I was custodian at the elementary school at the time of the fire. I’d been trying to get them to replace that damn electrical wiring for months, but none of the highfalutin pricks on the school board wanted to listen to the lowly janitor. I don’t know for sure that the wiring caused the fire, but I’ve been mad as hell ever since!”
Sam watched the group as the old man’s comment began to have a ripple effect. People started standing up and talking. Some of them spoke quietly to the person next to them, but most seemed to be shouting.
At one point, Sam nearly dove into the crowd to break up a fistfight, but Dean held him back. “This needs to happen, Sam,” he said.
Shadowy figures began to creep into the auditorium. They all swirled together at the center of the room, forming what looked like a massive black cloud. Tendrils of thick, black vapor extended and began to engulf people. A multitude of gasps and screams could be heard from the crowd and Sam was gripped by that intense feeling of dread again.
“Keep talking!” Dean yelled into the microphone. “Whatever these things say or do can’t hurt you. You’ve got to get it all out in the open.”
Sam realized that this involved him now, that he’d probably helped feed the Shadow People. Doing his best to ignore the cruel, taunting whispers in his ear, he staggered over to Dean and clutched at the podium. “Dean,” he gasped, “I need to tell you—.”
“Tell me,” Dean said. “Anything.”
Sam struggled to spit out the words. “Sometimes I’m afraid—that you must hate me. That you’ve hated me ever since I left.”
“Sam,” Dean grabbed him firmly by the shoulders. “I love you, no matter what. You’re my brother and I could never hate you, not even for a second.”
“But…what about that big blow-out we had back when you came to visit me at school?”
“It was a fight, that’s all. People fight. I was pretty pissed off and jealous for a while after you left. Not having you around…hurt. But I never, ever hated you.”
The gloomy feeling began to loosen its grip on Sam, enough that he was able to straighten up and examine the crowd. People were still talking frantically, but the shouting seemed to have calmed down a bit.
He looked over at the black mist and was amazed by how quickly it had reduced in size. Their father had been right about the solution. The cloud continued to get smaller by the minute, swirling faster and faster as it shrank, until it finally evaporated into nothing.
Sam sensed immediately that the presence had gone, and if the cheers coming from the crowd were any indication, he wasn’t the only one.
“What happened?” Dean asked anxiously.
Sam had forgotten that Dean couldn’t see the Shadow People. He slapped his brother triumphantly on the back. “The shadowy bastards are gone.”
As soon as they got back to the motel, Sam threw off his jacket and stretched out on the bed. He wanted to revel in this good feeling. The weight of worry had been taken off his shoulders, at least for a moment, and energy was buzzing through his veins.
Dean grinned at Sam. “Nothing quite beats that high you get after completing a hunt, does it?”
“Nope,” Sam replied, beaming back. He was grateful to have Dean to share these moments with, moments no one else in the world could even begin to comprehend.
“I’m gonna take a quick shower,” Dean announced, grabbing some toiletries before making his way into the bathroom.
Sam shifted on the bed and gazed idly around the room, feeling suddenly restless. His thoughts wandered to Dean and he imagined him taking a shower, wet and naked, scrubbing himself all over. Sam let his hand drift down to his groin and he began to rub himself through his jeans, getting immediately hard thanks to the massive adrenaline rush.
Sam made sure he heard the water running for a minute before unbuttoning and unzipping his fly. He yanked his jeans and boxers down just to his thighs and began stroking his cock, hard and fast.
Just then, the bathroom door flew open and before Sam had a chance to react, Dean dashed out, soaking wet with a towel wrapped around his waist. “Hey, have you seen the—oh, Jesus!”
Dean’s jaw dropped and he fell back against the wall. Their gaze locked, and Sam began to stroke himself harder, staring into Dean’s eyes.
“So fucking hot, Sam,” Dean whispered. His towel had slipped off and Sam saw that he was hard too.
“Touch me,” Sam gasped, unable to remember the last time he’d wanted anything this badly, if he’d ever wanted anything this badly. “Please?”
Dean nodded fervently and moved to the bed. Without hesitation he wrapped his hand around Sam’s erection, gripping it lightly at first and then tighter. Sam let out a low, grateful groan. He closed his eyes and allowed his head to sink back into the pillow, waves of pleasure surging through him as Dean pumped his fist up and down.
“God,” Dean whispered in a quavering voice, leaning in close. “I’ve wanted this for so long.”
“Me too.” Sam barely managed to mumble, his breath caught in his throat. Every nerve ending in his body began to tighten and throb and he knew he wasn’t going to last.
“Yeah,” Dean said, stroking faster. “I want to see you come for me, Sammy.”
Sam’s eyelids fluttered open and Dean’s hazel eyes were staring intensely, hungrily back at him, a look that sent Sam over the edge. Orgasm pulsed through him and he shook with euphoria, clutching at the bedspread and babbling incoherently as he came.
Dean stood up shakily and went over to pick up the towel from the floor, using it to wipe Sam’s come off his hand. Sam looked over at his brother and felt a pang of longing. He wanted to give Dean everything, right then and there—all the things Dean had ever wanted from Sam and been denied.
Sam came up behind him and placed his hands softly on Dean’s back. Dean was shivering, his skin still moist from the shower and flushed with arousal. When he turned around, Sam grabbed him by the wrists and pushed him against the wall, pressing into him. “Sam…fuck,” Dean moaned approvingly, his eyebrows raised in surprise. “Are you trying to kill me?”
“Uh-huh,” Sam teased, licking his lips and running his fingernails down Dean’s chest. Sam brushed the back of his hand lightly against Dean’s stomach, and then lower. He grazed his knuckles along Dean’s cock, which elicited a low whimper.
Wanting to give Dean something more this time, Sam dropped to his knees. He glanced up at Dean, searching his face for a reaction, for consent to move into new territory. They’d never done anything beyond jerking each other off.
Dean was hyperventilating and stared down at him with a dazed, unreadable expression. Sam didn’t want to wait any longer. “Can I?” He asked outright.
“God, yes.” Dean panted, running his fingers eagerly through Sam’s hair. “Anything…please.”
Sam leaned forward and took Dean’s cock slowly into his mouth, flickering his tongue against the tip and under the shaft. “So good,” Dean grunted, grabbing two fistfuls of Sam’s hair and thrusting forward.
Sam felt his cock start to harden again, excited by the sensation of having Dean in his mouth. It turned him on to be able to control Dean’s pleasure so precisely. After teasing slowly for a few minutes, Sam picked up his pace, licking faster and sucking harder, moving his lips up and down as quickly as he could.
Dean’s body started to quake, his leg muscles tightening, and Sam swallowed as he felt the base of Dean’s cock pulsate against his tongue. Then Dean was coming, cursing loudly and shouting Sam’s name as he shuddered with his own release.
Sam sat back, feeling satisfied with himself, and Dean sank to the floor beside him. They stared at each other in silence for a minute before Dean asked breathlessly, “Jesus, Sam, where the hell did that come from?”
Sam shrugged, laughing a little. “No idea. Just felt doing like it, I guess.”
“Well, shit. Now I can’t figure out why we never did that before.”
“I can,” Sam replied, deadpan. “I didn’t find out about blowjobs until I got to college.”
Dean grinned and threw the towel at Sam. “Go turn off the shower, genius. I don’t think I can stand up.”
Sam splashed cold water on his face and studied his own reflection in the mirror. He brushed his fingertips against his lips, which were still red and swollen. He was definitely a freak, he told himself, there could be no mistaking that now. He swallowed hard, the salty, bitter taste of his brother’s come still in his mouth.
Sam guessed he’d just have to find a way to live with it.
Ann showed up at the motel just as Sam and Dean were loading up the car to head out of town.
“I’m glad I caught you two before you left,” she called out and then walked over to them, handing Dean a large cooler. “That’s just some sandwiches and drinks and stuff for your trip. My way of saying thanks.”
Dean accepted the gift with a grateful nod and passed it over to Sam who finished loading the car. Sam waved to Ann and climbed into the passenger side. He spied on Dean and Ann through the mirror as they said their goodbyes, and considered it a feat of personal progress that he only cringed a little when Ann leaned in and kissed Dean.
Ann moved away from the car and Dean slid into the driver’s seat, slamming the door behind him. “Ready?” He asked as he turned the key in the ignition and cranked up some AC/DC on the stereo.
“Definitely,” Sam nodded, pensive. “Something’s still bothering me, though. Why do you think the Shadow People appeared to me and not to you? No offense, but I just don’t buy that you’re so well-adjusted you have no negative emotions.”
Dean shrugged. “Beats me. I mean, I’m sure everyone in this town had to have some negative emotions. Who knows why they were drawn to certain people and not others?”
“Do you think it was completely random?” Sam asked.
“Well, I don’t think I’d say that either.” Dean said quickly, clearing his throat.
Sam persisted. “What are you saying, then? Why me?”
“In a word?” Dean smirked and looked over at Sam. “You have issues.”
“Bite me.” Sam punched him in the arm. “And, um, that’s actually three words.”
“Whatever you say, Professor.” Dean tousled Sam’s hair and turned the music up louder.
Through the rearview mirror, Sam watched as the town disappeared into the distance until it seemed like nothing was behind them or ahead of them but miles of highway road. He caught a sideways glimpse of Dean banging his head to AC/DC and smiled. In that moment, Sam thought that maybe normalcy was overrated after all.