Title: The Genesis Variant
Category: Gen, Drama, Humor, Angst, AU, wing!fic
Spoilers: Through It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
Series: Playing the Angel - While Sam and Dean continue fighting to prevent the Apocalypse, Dean inexplicably manifests a pair of wings. The brothers must work together to figure out what is happening and reverse the act before the changes overtake Dean completely.
Summary: Dean manifests wings for the first time, which complicates the case the brothers are investigating.
Word Count: 32,244 (Total)
A/N: This series is obviously AU, but will follow show canon as closely as possible. Each story can be read as stand alones, but it might make more sense together. I may occasionally post out of order.
Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke and co. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This is for entertainment purposes only; no financial profit has been gained from this story. This story is not mean to infringe upon the rights of the above-mentioned establishments.
It happened on Tuesday, November 04, 2008, at about 11:37 PM. Dean didn't know it at the time, but that night would forever change the course of his life, and that of his brother.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 – earlier that day
Sam slammed shut the driver side door. He didn't bother to wait for Dean as he headed to the small café.
Since their encounter with the angels, Dean had become sullen and cranky. He had complained about the case. He had complained about the motel. He had complained about the food and the coffee. He hadn't even wanted to drive.
If anyone had the right to complain, it was Sam. He was the one who had always been faithful. He was the one who prayed every day. And for what? The angels he had met were the farthest thing from what he'd imagined them to be.
Sam hadn't even attempted to address the accusation Uriel had laid against Dean about his memories of Hell. As much as Sam wanted to ask Dean, he couldn't with his brother acting like a bitch over every little thing.
He entered the café and quickly found the nearest waitress. He gave her a gentle smile as he flashed her his fake ID.
She lowered her coffee pot and frowned. "Detective Tate?"
"I'm here about the two recent murders outside of Devil's Creek."
She fell quiet and shifted her weight, but said nothing.
"I'm sure you've heard about it," Sam said. He reached into his trench coat, grabbed his notepad, and unfolded a copy of the local newspaper. "Two young girls, one strangled, the other cut up and mutilated on a slab of stone in the woods outside of town."
The waitress nodded and held the pot a little closer as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Yes, right. I heard about it. Whatever I can do to help, I will, but I don't know much about those people."
"Really? Because the papers confirmed what Sheriff Johnson already told me: you were good friends with the girl who was strangled."
The waitress shifted her weight again, her nervous gaze darting from Sam as he scribbled in his notepad to some invisible spot on the wall. He finished writing his unintelligible marks to stare her in the eyes.
"I-I don't know much about what Cheryl was doing out there. She was hanging out with some weirdos. I told her to stop, but she wouldn't listen." She glanced back to the kitchen. "I should get back."
Sam grabbed her arm and pulled her back. "Why do I get the impression you're lying to me?"
"Why would I lie?"
"I don't know," Sam said, never breaking his gaze. "Why would you?"
Her breath hitched, just slightly, but he could see in her eyes that there was much more to her story. Sam was certain she was about to break when Dean burst through the doors.
Both Sam and the waitress turned to watch him enter. He seemed off-kilter, his gait unsteady as he rolled his shoulders back, over and over again. His nose was red, his cheeks flushed, and his eyes were unfocused and glassy. Sam pondered whether Dean had been drinking again.
"Detective Rockenfield." Dean withdrew his badge and gave it a sloppy wave before he slid it back into his pocket. "You've already met my partner?"
"Yes," she said. "And I just told him all I know." She looked over their shoulders. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to help some customers."
After she gave them a definitive glare, she brushed past them. Dean's gaze lingered a little too long, and Sam saw his worn face break into a mischievous grin.
Sam clenched his jaw and stared over Dean's head. "Thanks for that."
"Oh, come on. This is pointless." Dean winced and rolled his shoulders again. "You and me both know she ain't talking. Damn Satanists."
"She's our best link to the ritualistic death that happened in the woods." Sam took a step closer and lowered his voice. "We need to know what this town is hiding and if it's linked to Lilith."
"Good job with that, Colombo."
Sam swallowed hard and chose to ignore the comment. He wasn't sure what was with Dean lately, but since the ghost sickness episode, and maybe even before that, he just seemed so detached from hunting. Not from hunting monsters or ghosts or anything random, but from hunting demons and Lilith. That detachment only seemed to intensify and exacerbate the distance Sam sensed was growing between them.
"Whatever's going on, we need to get to the bottom of it," Sam said. "Did you talk to the deputy?"
"Nah, he wasn't around."
Sam opened his mouth to respond, but stopped and wrinkled his nose. "Dude, have you been drinking?"
Dean scowled and took a step back, as if offended by the accusation. "I don't drink on the job."
Sam raised his eyebrows.
"That don't count. Ghost sickness, dude. That totally wasn't me."
Sam nodded, but didn't believe him. There was a distinct…something wafting around Dean like bad perfume. He wasn't sure whether Dean was popping mints to hide his drinking or using some other method, but the smell was overwhelming.
Sam tried to block out the smell as he eyed the waitress behind the counter. "We could wait until her shift ends and jump her."
Dean stared at him.
Dean shrugged. "You're just usually a little more subtle."
"We don't have time to wear the kid gloves, Dean."
"Yeah, yeah." Dean winced again and rolled his shoulders.
Sam watched him fidget. While Dean had never been one to keep still, his constant restlessness was starting to unnerve Sam. He kept thinking back to what Uriel had said.
"What's wrong with you?" Sam asked.
"What?" Dean's tone was full of exasperation. He looked away, as if distracted by something unseen, and squirmed again. He stopped at the menu on the wall. "Corn dogs."
"Satanists don't get this sloppy," Dean said, turning back to him with another shake of his shoulders. "This case ain't for us."
"But that sigil was legit."
"So? Some amateur got lucky."
"Don't mean it's supernatural."
Sam frowned. "Are you actively avoiding this case?"
"I'm heading back to the car," Dean said abruptly. And just as suddenly, he marched out of the café.
Sam gaped at him. He found himself immobile as he watched Dean ram into the diner's door and practically run to the Impala. After he pocketed his notepad, Sam started after him, mentally keeping track of the waitress and her wary look as he passed. When he reached the outside, Dean was already seated in the passenger's side of the Impala with his right hand stretched over his head as it reached down his back.
"What are you doing?"
Dean winced again.
That was when Sam realized that Dean was scratching. "You have a rash?" Sam felt his stomach bottom out. He tried to block out the events of the past month as he swallowed down the anxiety that he felt fluttering inside. "What kind of rash?"
"I dunno. I'm just friggin' itchy." Dean squirmed in his seat and changed hands. "It won't go away."
Sam flung the driver's side door open and hopped into the seat next to Dean. He felt helpless as he watched Dean fidget in the passenger's seat, struggling to find a comfortable position as his hands tag-teamed whatever was bothering him on his back.
"I know what you're thinking and no, it's not the damn ghost sickness," Dean muttered. He swore under his breath and buried himself into the seat. "Dude, quit staring. I'm not going to spontaneously combust."
"How long have you had it?"
"Couple of days."
"Since we left town."
Sam sighed. They didn't need any more problems. This was going to slow them down. No way could Dean hunt if he was distracted every ten seconds.
"We should call Bobby."
"I'm not calling Bobby about a rash."
"Fine, then I'll call Bobby and tell him you're too chicken to call him yourself."
"I'll call Bobby," Dean mumbled.
Sam nodded. He started the Impala and headed back to the hotel. Once they were checked in and settled into their room, maybe he and Dean could figure out a plan on how they were going to investigate the case.
He just hoped Dean was right and this turned out to be nothing but mundane, non-paranormal problem.
But something in Sam's gut told him that was just wishful thinking.
Dean decided this plan sucked.
He sat at the edge of his hotel bed and stared at Sam's open laptop on the table across from him. He was supposed to be doing some research on the history of murders in the town while Sam scoped out the forest, but Dean couldn't really find the motivation to do it. The two of them totally deserved a vacation, especially after the whole town-smiting thing, and yet here they were again, on another case. This time they had the pleasure of tracking down a bunch of Satanists.
He grabbed the beer bottle at his feet and took a long swig. "Goat-loving freaks. Fan –freakin' – tastic."
He sighed and placed the bottle on the floor before he staggered over to the table. He'd already done some preliminary research on the cult that lived right outside of town. Dean figured you read up on one cult, and then you know them all.
They had the same MO as just about any other LaVey wannabe.
With an unsteady push, Dean forced himself to his feet. The movement brought a sharp pang between his shoulders, and he immediately reached back to scratch at the itch. This whole rash thing was starting to get old. Growing up he'd had the chicken pox – thanks to Sam – once. That was it. Now, it seemed like the universe was making up for lost time. Whatever horrible things he'd done throughout his life and through his death, he seemed to be paying for them now. Man, karma was a bitch.
Dean tried to ignore the itch and the soreness near his shoulders and grabbed his beer bottle. He shrugged on his jacket and walked outside of their room, standing to lean on the entryway. The night had that cool chill of a waning fall, sharp enough that it seemed to cut through any of the warmth that was left to the air. Dean could almost taste the cold of winter.
That meant it was time for some defroster for his windshield wiper fluid.
He breathed in the air and shook his shoulders, hoping some of the cold air would soothe the throbbing on his back.
Bobby had told him to just keep putting on the disinfectant cream he'd been using to treat the rash. Like Sam, he'd had a bit of a hissy fit over whether it was more ghost sickness or not, even though Dean told him he could feel a difference. It wasn't like the ghost sickness was subtle or nothing. Besides, he'd been cured of the ghost disease ages ago now.
Even so, Bobby was checking for any cases of relapses. While Dean appreciated Bobby and Sam trying to look out for him, it also meant he was grounded for the time being. Neither one of them wanted him out working jobs just in case he panicked or freaked out or some other nonsense. Not to mention the thing could be contagious.
That meant Sam got to do the interesting stuff while Dean got stuck with research.
Dean took another drink from his bottle. He'd been stabbed, shot, hexed, cursed, drugged, tortured, and survived Hell, and it was a rash that kept him from doing his job. Twice.
After a few minutes, Dean realized the fresh air wasn't doing any good, so he decided to call it a night. He'd go back inside and find some more tidbits on Satanists and their rituals for Sam, and then he was going to tune into some tasteful porn and go to sleep.
Dean shuffled into the hotel room and locked the door. Once he'd tossed the beer bottle in the trash, he grabbed his gun, his phone, and his flask and threw them on top of the dresser. He winced as he reached over his head and peeled off his shirt, the burn of the fabric only aggravating the sore red spots on his back. Dean tossed the shirt onto his bed and sauntered over to the bathroom. Might as well get it over with.
He opened the drawer and withdrew the bottle. At first he squeezed just a dime's worth onto his hands, but considering how much his back was burning right now, he decided a whole glob of it couldn't hurt. He piled the oily stuff onto his hands, rubbed them, and did his best to reach behind his back to get to the red spots.
The cream offered a brief reprieve. He breathed out and sighed with relief as the cool ointment covered the fire that prickled down his shoulder blades.
The relief was short-lived. Within seconds, the burning overcame the cooling sensation, more emboldened than before. Wincing, Dean grabbed the bottle again, lathered up his hands, and then arched his back for a better view in the mirror.
"What the hell is that?"
The rash had started to blister. Dean noticed that the red blotchy spots had enlarged into huge welts and open sores. With a grimace, Dean reached back to touch the enflamed splotches, frowning when he easily peeled back a layer of dead skin.
He stared at the large chunk of skin in his hand. It was thin and damp, drenched in oils from the cream he'd been using. But it was definitely dead skin, not unlike what a snakeskin looked like after it was finished molting.
Slowly, as if awareness finally came back to him, he brought his gaze back to the mirror. Where he'd stripped the skin from his back, more layers teased at breaking away, leaving a bloody, throbbing mess behind them.
Dean tossed the shredded skin on the floor and ran into the main room of the hotel. He had no idea what the hell was happening, but he wasn't about to waste time dwelling on it. He could have been cursed or bitten by something, but he couldn't remember anything like that happening. He immediately thought of the man-eater and his quick transformation, shivering at the thought. But even closer to the forefront of his mind, the blood and quivering mass on his back reminded him of Hell, the tearing and the ripping and the carving. He couldn't deal with that again.
Dean bolted for the phone on the dresser. He didn't make it.
The first spasm ripped through him like a knife. He doubled over and cried out, grabbing onto the edge of his bed for support. His muscles burned and jerked, sending a ripple of spasms down his arms and legs. He gritted his teeth and clenched his jaw as he fought the pain, but already he could see black spots forming in front of his eyes.
Somewhere deep inside, he managed to find the strength to pull his shaking body to its feet. He staggered toward the dresser, crashing into it for support.
Dean fumbled for the phone, his uncooperative fingers refusing to press the buttons. He squeezed away the spots and focused on his cell and Sam. He had to call Sam.
Finally, the phone started to ring. He felt a twinge of hope when he heard Sam's voice over the small speaker.
Dean struggled to find his voice, to say anything, but the spasms had reached his throat, holding tight onto his vocal chords. He knew his grip on the phone was tenuous; he wasn't going to last very long.
Dean moaned through his bolted jaw. The throbbing in his back only become more and more intense, and he felt a pushing, like there was something real and alive just below his skin, begging to break through.
God, he had Alien in him.
"Sam," he managed to say, feeling the panic surging through his blood. His voice sounded pained, foreign even to his own ears. He opened his mouth to call for his brother again, but no sound came out.
"Dean, what's going on? Dean?"
He felt the second wave smack him hard and he cried again, his seizing body jerking out of control. His hand thrust out and knocked over the lamp. The cell phone went with it, hitting the carpet with a thud. Dean fumbled for it, reaching out his hands to try to snatch it away from its exile on the floor, but the spasms proved to be too great.
Mustering the last of his strength, Dean launched himself across the room toward the beds and the small table between them. His dad's journal rested right next to the lamp, and he knew there was a Bible in one of the drawers. One of them had to have answers to help him.
The third wave of spasms struck him cold. Dean dropped to the floor, the pain so great that he felt nothing but cold fire threading across his back. The black spots grew and faded into hot white. He tried again to fight against the pain, even though he knew it was a losing battle.
The last spasm burst through his back muscles and he heard a distinctive popping noise. There was a bright flash; a loud thunderous tear ripped through the room, and he was gone.