under_hatches: (J2)
[personal profile] under_hatches
Old Glory, Supernatural, 3.316 words, Gen.





Old Glory.

The house was crooked and to Sam the silence was not the silence of an empty house. Everything was wrong somehow, as if the building tilted while they watched, and Sam stopped, looking at the blind windows.

“I’m not going in,” he said before realizing he was talking aloud.

Dean stopped then too, turning and looking at him.

“Come again,” he said, squinting against the morning sun.

Sam knew he sounded like a Five-year-old, but now the words were out.

“Like this,” Sam then said, hoping Dean would be fooled.

“We have guns,” Dean said, raising his shotgun. Sam shook his head. Not all things were as easy. He bit his lip, watching the looming building again, waiting for movement, anything he could point out to Dean. The wind ruffled some leaves, some birds sang, nothing out of the ordinary. Sam looked at Dean again, who simply returned his gaze and waited.

“Alright, let’s go in,” Sam finally said.

“That’s my boy.”

~*~

Dean blinked against the low afternoon sun, gripping the steering wheel with both his hands, the car silent and his knuckles turning white. Something was wrong, but it was an itch he could not reach, something far off and only on the verge of knowing about it. It bothered Dean and he cursed under his breath. When he reached for the bag on the passenger seat, he had the feeling he should be reaching for something else. He grabbed the water bottle and took a long swig, promising himself a stop as soon as he saw a place with food. Maybe coffee would clear his head.

~*~

The darkness wasn’t as bad as the cold. Sam quickly checked himself for injuries or that pain that easily numbs down. Nothing felt broken, though he was not sure about cut, the dull pain in his leg could be anything. There was a low buzzing he could not place, like angry bees. Logic told him that it couldn’t be actual bees, not in this temperature, but it caused his hairs to stand on end nevertheless.
He waited for his eyes to adjust; staying in his corner of God knows what. A cellar maybe. He seemed to remember a house, a grey one with creaking floors and high windows that did not let in any sunshine. Sam felt dizzy and tired and wondered whether he had fallen and if so whether or not he had hit his head in the process. There was no sound but the hum of something that was not bees and his breathing. He felt his eyes close.

~*~

Dean had a headache he could not place and was in a bad mood. The coffee had done nothing to wake him up, and he felt queasy now. It felt somewhat like the remnants of a binge, all pain in cotton balls. Dean grimaced. He didn’t remember drinking which did not mean he hadn’t. There was a dull ache in his left shoulder as if he had hurt it in a fall. He thought he remembered creaking floorboards and the sound of breaking wood.
Staring at the empty seat opposite him, he decided to drive back the way he had come.

~*~

Sam woke with a start.

“Dean?”

He had had a weird dream, all tailgating car and near crashes. His breathing made a small hitching echo as he remembered. The details were out of focus and when he tried to remember he was distracted by a murmur that seemed to have replaced the humming. Sam stretched his legs, carefully testing the space. He place his hands on the floor, solid stone, no cracks he could feel, and then the wall, cold but dry, most likely a cellar wall after all.
He tried to get to his feet, shaky at first, but then managing by pulling himself up against the wall. If he had fallen, he wondered, where did it happen? He placed one hand on the wall and held the other one outstretched before him. Only then did he dare to move forward with tiny shuffling steps.

“Dean,” he whispered into the darkness even though he was sure he was alone.

He could not tell how long it took him to find the door. By then he was certain Dean was not in the room with him, and the certainty was worse. Sam found the handle and pulled at it, a sharp pain jolting through his right wrist. Sometimes pain was like lightning, white and hot, and he suddenly remembered falling and Dean reaching out for him, grabbing him but not being able to hold on. He remembered slipping into the darkness. He looked up as if expecting a hole in the ceiling. It was dark.

Sam pulled open the metal door with both hands. There was a long dim corridor on the other side, lighter than the room he had been in but without any windows Sam could see. He took a deep breath and walked along, letting the door fall shut behind him.

~*~

At nightfall he stopped at a motel right at the road, bone tired and not able to drive on.

“Two bed room,” he said, slapping a credit card on the counter.

“And the room would be for you, Mr. Banks, and…”

Dean looked at the man behind the counter and heard the clock on the wall tick off the seconds.

“Never mind,” he then said, “One bed, my mistake.”

He eyed the man, waiting for a response that would allow him to get mad at the guy. A word, a smirk, anything. He could use that anger right now, he wanted to get into the face of the guy and tell him off and that it wasn’t his business. He could almost taste the words on his tongue.

The guy handed over the keys without another word.

Dean let his bag fall next to the bed and gave it a kick. It was too quiet in the room, so he turned on the TV, having the unshakable feeling that he had forgotten something. He went back to the car, checked the empty interior, before locking it up again. Back in the room he lay down and fell asleep to the TV babble, not waking until morning came through the blinds he never drew close.

~*~

So far, Sam had explored two more windowless rooms, both completely empty, and now he was in another one that seemed to be a storage of some kind. He looked at the dried plants in smooth pots and what looked like dead rodents in storage glasses. There were too many to have crawled in by accident, and Sam quickly turned. He thought he had seen a snake or maybe a lizard as well, but he did not stop for a closer look; something was wrong with this place. Right now, all Sam wanted to find was an exit.
A flicker caught his eye and he moved towards the next door. He had the feeling as if this house had more rooms than it should have, and he stood and listened for several minutes. His heart was beating fast and he listened to his too quick breath. When he was sure that the next room was empty as well, he opened the door and entered it.

The room had a high table in it, with several burning candles casting shadows on the walls. Sam could make out symbols in the flickering light, mostly eyes and intertwined circles. Next to a big centre candle was a low dish filled with blackness. It made Sam’s hair stand on end, and he walked closer, his eyes never leaving the altar with its spirals and twigs twisted into charms. When he noticed the hairs and the piece of cloth in the dish, he wanted to turn and run. The details hit him with such force he did not need to look again to realise what it was; the blood that soaked the small piece of Dean’s shirt, the dark short hair, the kind of spell.


~*~

Dean floored it. He had woken from strange dreams, and when he was awake, he knew that whatever caused this started in Old Glory. So that was where he was heading.
He had dreamt about a house, two stories, crooked and uncared for, and even after waking he could not shake its image. If something was telling him to go there, he would at least see if it sparked any memories.

Up on the road, he turned to say something, eyes on the empty seat next to him and headache building.

Sam, he thought, though it was far away, like the echo of a dream. Sam.

~*~

Sam cleared the altar, dissecting the patterns of small stones and twigs, placing them aside. He left the small bowl untouched, but extinguished the candle. He tried to remember how to do this right, but his hands were shaking and all he wanted to do is throw this all away, smash the items, unsee it all.

~*~

Just as Dean got out of the car, his headache reduced to a dull throb.

“Son of a bitch,” he whispered, memories rushing back in like some dam broke.

Sam, looking up at him, scrambling for a hold. The pain in his own shoulder when the weight became too much and then Sam falling.

Walking out and back to the car. And fucking driving off.



Dean slammed his fist against the trunk, immediately regretting the action. He took out an axe, ready to take the place apart if he had to. Guns did not work the last time, so he left without.

The door opened to an unsuspicious hallway, flower tapestry, and Dean did not recall any of it. He walked along to where he thought the stairway must be, but when he turned, he could see the cream coloured railing behind him.

“What the…”

The spiral staircase opened up to what seemed like four stories, going on and on, and Dean suddenly was not sure anymore that this was the same two-story house he entered.

~*~

Sam could hear footsteps above, and said a silent prayer. He quickly cleared away the rest from the altar, breaking small twigs, crushing them under his heel. Sam made it to the next door before he heard a crashing sound from upstairs, like splintering wood, and the buzzing sound started again, sounding angrier and more urgent than before.

He hurried along the corridor that seemed to stretch on and on the farther he got. When Sam finally reached the door at the end of it, he pulled it open, only to find himself starring at the same room he just left.

The altar was back in place, the candles burning again, and it took Sam several heartbeats before realising the flames were not flickering. He rushed past the altar to the door,

please lead somewhere else, please lead somewhere else, please, oh please

And when he opened it, he saw another corridor that ended in a flight of stairs.

~*~

Dean did not bother with picking any locks. Anything that did not budge on first try got torn down. He remembered reading about hauntings like these, spells that stayed long after the person who cast it was gone. He was not sure if this was the case, not with that sound building up and not with the way reality seemed to bend as soon as he put an axe to the house. There was something lurking in the corners, something that had kept Sam from him, and as soon as he had found his brother, he might take another look at that thing.

“Stupid witch,” he muttered as he opened yet another door that led to another room he had not been in yet. He saw a movement from the corner of his eye, nothing more than a shadow to his right, so he turned, axe raised, only to stare at Sam.

“Sam? What are you doing sneaking up on me like this?” His smile faded when Sam did not answer.

Suddenly the hair on his neck stood on end, and Dean was not sure if it was the way Sam appeared when he wished for him or the way Sam looked at Dean. Sam cocked his head, and that was when Dean saw the gun. He dove behind a dusty sofa just as soon as the first shot fell. The gun sounded off, a bit like guns on TV, and when Dean carefully peaked from his hiding place, Sam, no, not Sam, whatever that was, it wasn’t Sam, was gone.

~*~

As soon as Sam heard the shot he sprinted up the stairs. The door upstairs was locked but he still rattled the handle.

“Dean,” he shouted, hoping that it had been his brother firing the gun.

He gave the handle another angry rattle just for good measure, surprised to find it relenting and opening. He was even more surprised to find Dean holding the other side of the handle.

“Sam, is that you?”

There was a reply on the tip of Sam’s tongue about how stupid the question was, but Dean looked at him almost a little desperate, squinting just so as if he did not believe his eyes and Sam thought there would be a time for smartass later. He nodded, grabbing Dean by the elbow.

“Let’s get out of here,” Sam said, and Dean let out a breath of relief at his brother’s voice. He nodded, and took a few steps forward, but then stopped again as he saw the sofa, remembered the shot. He remembered all the things he saw just outside his field of vision, the way things got twisted in here. And he remembered that the only door that he could easily open inside the house had been the door that Sam touched at the same time.

The sound built up, increasing in volume and anger. It was as if a storm was building around them and Dean turned and shouted at Sam who was still directly behind him. Dean was all but grabbing his shoulders and shaking him, trying to make him understand without telling Sam.

“Close your eyes, okay, Sammy? Don’t open them until I tell you to.”

Sam nodded, his expression grim and a little unsure.

“Don’t make me blindfold you.”

He got a tense smile in return and reached for Sam’s hand.

“Dude, you’re not holding my hand!”

“You bet I will. Now do as I say.”

Sam closed his eyes, not without a little huff that was not lost in the noise around them. Dean was glad that Sam bit down a remark about Dean’s tone, certain that there was one on his tongue.

“Don’t open them until I tell you to,” Dean repeated, his voice almost breaking when he caught a glimpse of something at the next corner.

“I got it, okay. I don’t need to be told twice. Can we please get out of here?”


The walls began to bleed and twist. Dean held his brother’s hand a little tighter and started to slowly move down the corridor as madness exploded all around them. Dean kept thinking about what Sam would have seen, the way it would have made him live through it again. He thought of the fire and Jess, holding onto that thought of getting Sam out of this. And maybe if he kept that thought up long enough, Sam would not have to think about

their mother.

No, Jess, Dean reminded himself, taking a left turn and praying that this was the closest way. The way leading to
loss. Their father, leaving, his back to Dean and no matter how he shouted, how he tried and fought, it would never be enough and he was still leaving, leaving him behind with Sammy and
the exit. Dean clenched his jaw, flexing his hand a little, his fingers touching Sam’s hand, like a lifeline.

“Not real,” he mumbled.

“What?”

“Nothing, keep moving.”


Dean thought about Sam, that his leg might have been hurt in the fall, but there was no time to check it now. He could feel Sam limping, slightly, masking it well. Cursing under his breath, Dean turned right at the end of the corridor, the house moving and adjusting, more rooms and hallways than it could possibly have had before. Around the corner, everything fell apart.

“Stupid bitch,” Dean muttered, wishing he could curse people, because, boy, he would plant a curse on that witches ass for all of this. Most of all, for making him forget that long. And another one for showing him all this. When he saw Sam before him, hurt and somehow looking broken, Dean almost forgot that Sam was behind him, warm and there.

“Next time, turn left, we’re moving in circles,” Sam said behind him and Dean turned to stare in his brother’s face, checking if he still had his eyes closed.

They moved on, too slowly, and Dean wondered for a second if he could do this, if he could get Sam out, before falling back on stubborn resolve. He turned left where they shouldn’t be able to, and there was the door, the only thing not moving in this damn house. He tore it open, pushing Sam out in time to hear their father shout his name. He could see Sam fall to his knees and knew he should not turn, but he did.
It felt like falling. Dean idly wondered if the floor vanished; the walls seemed angry, and he wished he had brought something to burn it all down, the whole damn wicked place. Before that, he had to get his father out.

He took a step forward, the door suddenly to his left.

There was a sharp yank, and Dean must have closed his eyes, because when he opened them again, he was looking at the sky.

“What the fuck was going on in there,” Sam shouted at him. Dean could tell Sam was angry, but right now, in the clear evening air and with his back on grass that prickled his neck he had to laugh.

“Dean,” Sam settled down next to him and only then Dean realized he was crying.

“How’s your leg,” Dean managed to get out, and Sam hit him against the chest hard enough to hurt.

They both lay in the grass for a while, catching their breath, and for once Dean did not urge them to move on. They could torch the place a few minutes later; it’s not as if it would go anywhere. And Dean thought of how he had had to hold Sam’s hand when they were little, so Sam would not get lost. How he had been told again and again to never let go of Sam’s hand. So often, that he had sometimes wondered what would happen if he let go for just one second. Sometimes he had wanted to. But he never did, he always had held on to Sam. And in a way he still did.

He turned his head and looked at Sam, who was tousled and dirty, soot hanging in his hair, but smiling. He smiled back, trying hard to turn it into a smirk.

“Let’s go dust-boy. We better burn that thing down and get you into a shower.”

“What was in there?”

Dean looked away for a moment. When he looked back at Sam, he smiled again, hoping it would not seem sad around the edges, but maybe it did, because Sam did not ask further.

“I’ll get the gasoline,” Sam said instead. And sometimes Dean was able to hear what Sam really wanted to say, despite talking in code all his own life himself.

“Yeah, I’ll grab the matches. Let’s burn that sucker down.”

Everything was going to be fine.



~*~

Uncoil, Gen, 827 words.



He walked up the stairs to the apartment they had rented in one of those dingy complexes that were three stories high and had a landlord you needed to pay by the week. It had a small kitchen, even with a cooker, and it had been a while since they had that, a true apartment for themselves, with a kitchen and a working shower and two rooms. It was cheap and the carpet was worn, the wall paper was peeling off in the room Dean had chosen for himself, because it was towards the busy street and if he left the door open, he could see the apartment's main door. Somehow he didn't mind coming back to the same place, even though it was a dump and Sammy half-heartedly complained about it.

Dean was clutching the brown paper bag with groceries to his chest, breathing against the blunt ache that had been sitting between his shoulder blades and now was slowly spreading. It hadn't been so bad when he had slammed into the wooden beam during their last job, and he muttered under his breath how ridiculous it was that it was troubling him now. When he took the last few stairs, he winced, the pain a dull roar by now, and he shuffled his feet and fumbled for the keys. Before he turned left towards their door, he paused, his mind racing back to the other night, when Sam had been testy but wouldn't say why and they had fought over the case, the apartment, the fucking dinner like some old couple out of love.


”Made omelets.”
“Great.”
“What? You used to like those.”
“Dean, that was years ago.”

“This is not about the friggen food, is it,” Dean had asked but thought





What if I don't know you anymore, Sammy? What if I don't know you enough anymore? And the thought had scared him enough to shout and throw that ridiculous spatula he had still been holding and storm out to get some air, because this, this thought, was suffocating him.

He unlocked the door and pushed it open with his left elbow.

“Sammy?”
He could hear Sam somewhere, rustling with papers or something, and then the sound of a chair pushed back on linoleum. He kicked the door shut.

“Sam, I'm back. Sorry I'm late, man, I got us food.”

Sam appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, crossing his arms above his chest and looking at him.

“You shouldn't have.”
“Yeah, well, but you're a big boy and you gotta eat. And we were out of everything but eggs,” Dean said gruffly.

“No, I meant, you didn't need to, Dean. I went to the store earlier.”

Dean looked at him a little dumbfounded, but let himself be steered into the kitchen. Sam took the bag from Dean's hands and started unpacking and storing away, making a noise at the candy bars that sounded suspiciously like laughing. But then he started talking, or maybe he never had stopped, Dean couldn't say. He only noticed being pushed down into one of the two chairs, the plates already on the table along with cutlery, and now he noticed the smell too.

“You cooked?”

Sam looked at him.

“Ya. Dean, I was talking about that the last five minutes. Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Dean said, shaking his head.

“Dude.”

Sam sounded worried and Dean rubbed at the tension between his eyes, the one that had settled there during their fight and was only now slowly dissolving. Sam started chatting away again, about the case, and Dean managed to follow despite being tired. He even got up again to lose his jacket and wash his hands when Sam told him dinner was ready.

Dinner was meat with potatoes and greens and Dean made a face for show, but shoveled down the green beans as if he hadn't eaten in days. He looked at Sam over the table, turning this over in his head.

“Remembered you liked those,” Sam said, and it sounded like an apology.
“Still do,” Dean said.

The tension uncurled and lifted. It wasn't so bad adjusting to a few things as long as Sammy knew him better than anybody else could ever even begin to.

“Dude, you sure you want to keep the room you picked? It's tiny.”

Sam's tone was still careful, and Dean smiled at that. There was something else in his voice too, like an echo. Dean thought of Sam being small, so small that he could lift him up easily, making him squeal and protest and kick his feet. Sam being small and offering to share even though he did not really want to.

“Nah, keep it, Sammy. You need the space. Spread your papers and all.”

Sam grinned wide, and Dean crossed off omelets of his mental list and added space.
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