Category: Angst, Drama, Humor
Spoilers: Spoilers through On the Head of a Pin
Summary: When a hunt to protect one of the seals goes wrong, Sam awakens to find he's a hot-shot lawyer and Dean is a mechanic. Now, as the end of days nears, he must navigate a foreign life to figure out what went wrong, and get back to who he should be even if it means sacrificing the ones he loves.
Word Count: Approx. 33,000
Disclaimer: See previous posts
[Chapter 1][Chapter 2] [Chapter 3] [Chapter 4] [Chapter 5] [Chapter 6] [Chapter 7]
As they moved out of the suburbs of Boston, Sam explained his plan. They would break into the warehouse on the wharf, grab the mirror, and then try to invoke the incantation. He left out the blood part for now. First he needed to know if Dean could handle himself in a fight.
"I'm not bad. I can fight. You wanna see me fight? I can fight right now."
"Can you use a gun?"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Of course I can. I'm not an idiot."
"Well, you look a little rusty."
"I'm not rusty." Dean snorted with indignation. "Just because I haven't been hunting in a few years doesn't mean I can't work a gun."
Sam shifted in his seat. "A few years?"
"When I got married, we decided no guns. Mom blessed the house anyway."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, we got charms all over the house. Defensive stuff."
Sam leaned back and considered what Dean had told him. He was beginning to think Dean was inflating his hunter experience to impress. He wouldn't put it past Dean to do something like that, but it hurt Sam's attempts to organize a coherent game plan. If Dean hadn't hunted in years, and had only limited exposure after high school, then Dean was pretty much an amateur. No way could he have faced Azazel. Not like this.
"How do you get rid of a ghost?" Sam asked.
Dean peeked at him before returning to the road. "You're testing me?"
"How do you get rid of a ghost?"
"Salt and burn the remains."
Sam nodded. "Okay, what are signs of demons?"
He heard Dean let out a heavy sigh. "Sulfur, black smoke -- What the hell is this?"
Sam broke off from his conversation with Dean and peered out of the windshield. Ahead, the cars had started to slow into a crawl and finally to a stop. From what Sam could tell, traffic was backed up for miles.
They didn't need this right now.
"Gotta be an accident," Dean said. He motioned to the red and blue lights flashing in the distance. "People drive like maniacs in the rain. They ever heard of hydroplaning?"
Sam just stared at him.
"Dammit. I wanted to be home to see my kids to bed."
While the words were spoken out of frustration, they hit Sam with a biting guilt just the same. Now that the shock of seeing Dean and his family had subsided, the reality of what he was doing started to emerge. Dean had a family. He had a life. He had a wife and kids he loved.
And Sam had ripped him from them in a quest to find his old life.
"I'm sorry," Sam managed to say.
"Sorry? It's not your fault. The universe is just seriously screwed up."
Sam nodded in agreement, but deep down he knew he couldn't escape the truth.
He suddenly felt even more alone than before. If he truly were trapped in an alternate world, he wondered how his other self was coping. He wondered what Dean thought, if he could tell the difference, if he was even alive.
Dean seemed to sense his tension, and surprised Sam by clapping him on the shoulder. "Let's just listen to some tunes."
Dean had become more relaxed after they talked. Maybe knowing that the craziness he was experiencing wasn't his reality had softened him, taken away some of the guilt he seemed to be carrying. Sam wasn't sure what to think. Dean, alternate reality or not, seemed much more comfortable rolling with a virtual stranger than his own brother.
While Sam watched the dead traffic ahead, Dean fiddled with the knobs. They'd already cycled through Zeppelin and Metallica. By the time they were heading for AC/DC, Dean seemed to have noticed Sam's annoyance and had just shut the radio off instead. Now, he was desperately searching for any local classic rock stations.
The radio popped in and out, a loud static filling the airwaves. Dean hit the dashboard twice, like it would help, before he swore and tried again. Sam noticed the backlights of the cars ahead of them start to flicker.
Sam stiffened. He knew what this was.
Without a word, he lurched from his seat and reached his arms back into the van. He grabbed a small bag, reached into it, and pulled out one of the charms he'd bought from Big Chan.
"Here. Put this on." He handed Dean a cord with a small medallion at the center. "This'll protect you from demons."
"I'm not wearing that."
Sam shoved it in his hand, not wanting to hear any vapid excuse. "This is serious, Dean. Put on the charm."
Dean hesitated, but did as he was told. He kept frowning as he watched Sam take out salt and holy water. "Why don't you get a charm?"
"I have a tattoo," Sam told him.
Dean made a face, but to Sam's surprise kept his snarky comments to himself.
"We need to get out of here." Sam peered out of the windshield and looked up. The storm clouds were swirling, dark and heavy, but he couldn't tell if they were from the rain and thunder, or from an approaching demon army. He had no intention of sticking around to find out.
"Get into the breakdown lane and floor it."
Dean gaped at him. "Are you cracked?"
"Breakdown lane. As in cars broken down. We'll get creamed if anyone's in there."
"We have to take that chance. Believe me, the alternative isn't pretty."
"Cops! I could get pulled over."
"Dean, don't. Seriously, we have far worse problems than a cop ticketing you."
Dean mulled over what Sam told him. Finally, he sighed and nodded. With what Sam heard as a distinct curse in his general direction, Dean pulled the mini-van out of the right lane and started down the breakdown lane. The clouds above churned harder, faster, more violent.
"Faster," Sam told him.
"Dude, I'm in the breakdown lane."
"Dean, if you want to see your wife and kids again, you'll go faster."
His brother's face darkened at what Sam realized sounded like a real threat. Dean shoved his foot down on the accelerator.
The mini-van bounced and ground over the grooves that lined the breakdown lane. The cars to their left and the trees to their right passed in a streaking blur, blinking in and out, as Dean steered the rocking van through the chaos. The rain pelted the roof and hood so hard it sounded like rocks until Sam realized golf ball sized hail rained down on them.
Then the sound of sirens wailed behind them.
"Crap," Dean mumbled.
"Keep going," Sam said.
"Keep going. Take this exit and do whatever you can to lose them."
Dean muttered something about the things he does for his brother, before he swerved to the right. He nearly launched the van out of the breakdown lane into the woods, but steadied the steering in time to even out. He zoomed past the stopped cars and barreled toward the exit. There were already some cars that had taken the exit. Dean remained in the breakdown lane even on the exit and bypassed them and their angry honking. The sirens continued to chase them.
He took a hard right. A stuffed purple Barney sailed over Sam's head, though neither of them stopped to move it. They were speeding down a four-lane road, two lanes in each direction. Angry drivers cursed at them as Dean maneuvered the van in and out of traffic, weaving through the cars.
Dean took the van off the main road onto one of the side streets. The sirens still followed behind them, somewhat muffled by the thunder that broke out around them. Despite the speed Dean was pumping into the van, he noticed he'd slowed now that they were in a residential area. He took a left, a right, and two lefts.
Sam thought he was doing remarkably well for someone so terrified of breaking the law.
"Had practice with this?" Sam asked with a smile.
"Shut up," Dean muttered.
Sam chuckled. "Keep heading south. I still hear the sirens, but we can't risk getting back on the highway if the traffic is still backed up."
Dean didn't protest this time. He kept changing up his direction, taking random turns, weaving in and out of traffic, while attempting to find the more secluded parts of the town.
As Dean did his best to lose the cops, Sam had his cell phone out and was looking up the nearest hotels and businesses.
They turned down an old dirt road, now muddy from the heavy rain and hail. Sam saw a lightly forested piece of property looming to their left.
"There," Sam said, pointing to the woods. "Drive in there and get prepared to run."
Dean turned onto a shoddy stony road and shot Sam a nervous glance. "We're running?"
"We'll never make it to the wharf in this van. The cops will be on us at any time. The woods will give us some cover." Sam slid out of his seat and grabbed the weapons they'd packed in the rear of the van. "We're going to have to hide your van and steal a car."
"Steal a car?" Dean asked, aghast. They grunted as they hit a large pothole. Elmo started to laugh in the back. "I'm already going to jail as it is."
"Dean and I have been caught by the cops a half dozen times."
"Super. Real badge of honor."
"I'm sure your brother has enough connections to get you out of this." Sam saw a clearing ahead and pointed. "Stop. Get ready to go."
Dean reluctantly slammed the van into park. After Sam nodded, he grabbed one of the bags and bolted. The two of them charged through the rain-soaked brush, leaving the van behind them.
Running through the woods during a lightning storm wasn't the brightest plan. The alternative was unacceptable.
The two of them darted through the woods. Sam tried not to focus on how hard Dean was breathing or think about the state of his fitness. They just had to make it out of the woods and find a car as quickly as possible. The mud would leave definitive tracks to trace. He knew they had little time to grab a car before the cops were on them.
He frowned as they passed a couple of dead squirrels. And then three more. Dead birds. Dead possum.
Dean frowned with him.
They broke the clearing and were running onto the back of someone's property. They slowed and edged around the yard and past the house, not wanting to attract any more attention to themselves. They made it onto the street and rushed down to the next intersection.
The rain continued to fall. Sam shivered, feeling the chill of the night and the rain that soaked his clothes. He and Dean kept up their pace, regardless, and kept hurrying to the center of town. He used his phone as a GPS; they needed a car fast.
"Here," Sam said. He crossed to a shabby looking motel. In the parking lot rested several cars.
Dean looked miserable.
Sam ignored his sulking brother and searched the cars, trying to make a quick decision on which would do. He crossed the lot and found a suitable one -- old, but not too old, and it looked reliable.
He reached into his bag and grabbed the tools he'd bought at Big Chan's. Within a couple of minutes, he'd jimmied the lock and hotwired the car. They tossed the weapons in the trunk and took off.
"I don't wanna know how you know how to do that."
Sam raised his eyebrows. "I think you know the answer."
Dean's cheeks reddened. "Yeah."
The Oldsmobile hummed down the street. Sam told Dean to keep driving on one of the main streets through town and to be on the lookout for the cops just in case. He thought hiding in plain sight would work for them better at this point.
Sure enough, the police were everywhere. If they could make it a couple of towns over and then pick up the highway again, they might buy enough time before the car was discovered stolen and they would have to change cars again. By then, he and Dean should have the mirror in hand. They would worry about the consequences later.
He tried hard not to think how much he'd already ruined their lives.