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: See previous posts.
[Chapter 1] [Chapter 2] [Chapter 3] [Chapter 4] [Chapter 5] [Chapter 6] [Chapter 7]
Sam crouched low in the forest and kept his senses on high alert for any movement. The forest itself was remarkably quiet with the marked absence of noise associated with the nocturnal animals. He knew he should hear something, and the dead quiet was making him restless.
Two hours and still no sign of witches or the Satanists. Sam realized it was possible that they had decided to do their spell work elsewhere, but he really had anticipated the Satanists to be arrogant enough to try the rituals near the same location.
He was about to move a little farther down stream when he heard a crunch in the woodland to his south. Through the dead silence, the noise was deafening. The shuffling was the first noise he'd heard all night, and immediately set Sam on the prowl.
He kept his body low as he retraced his steps through a heavy thicket. Sam tried to keep his footfalls as quiet as possible, but even breathing seemed to echo throughout the dark woodland. He stopped after he stepped on a twig, wincing as the snap shattered the night silence like a speeding rock on a windshield. When nothing happened, he took a deep breath and continued.
By now, he could smell hints of something burning - some kind of wood or herb. Though it could easily be something from the forest itself, his instincts told him much differently.
Sam knew witchcraft and spell work.
And he was right. When he broke through into a very small clearing, he found a young girl in a cheerleading outfit leaning over a scattering of items on the ground. Rigid and soundless, she seemed cemented to the spot. Sam realized she was probably only just breaking out of the spell.
He drew his gun and pointed it at her back. "Hands up and step away from the altar."
She jerked and broke out of her daze only to turn to him with a confused face. "Dude. What the hell?"
Sam froze. The inflection of her voice was way too familiar, and betrayed the softness of her tone. He had to be hearing things.
"Hands where I can see them," Sam demanded.
She glanced down at her lap, and letting out a heavy sigh, she slumped her shoulders. "Super."
Sam shifted from one foot to the next. He was imagining things. But when his gaze fell to Dean's duffle bag and the somewhat familiar items scattered on the bed of leaves on the ground, he started to get a sinking feeling in his stomach.
The girl reached behind her back and while raising her free hand in a non-threatening way, she pulled out Dean's engraved gun and placed it on the ground. Then, she unhooked a small knife from around her ankle and did the same.
Sam fought back the urge to roll his eyes and started to lower his gun. He didn't feel threatened, but he couldn't bring himself to put the gun away. First there were the wings. Now there was spell work. Sam wasn't keen on the pattern that was starting with his brother.
"Do I really want to know why you switched genders?" he asked.
Dean scowled at him. "I'm not supposed to be a chick. The friggin' spell went all wrong." She--he--started to ram the altar items into the open duffle. "Too many distractions."
"Let me guess. I'm the distraction."
"If the shoe fits…"
"Hey, I was doing just fine until you showed up. You totally broke my concentration."
"You think of cheerleaders when you're distracted?" Sam shook his head. "Never mind," he said, deciding it was better for Dean not to answer. "I should know better than to ask."
Dean grunted and shoved more materials into the duffle. Sam watched their runaway bathmat disappear into the folds of the duffle. At least now he knew where it had gone.
Sam knew he shouldn't ask, but with everything that had happened over the past day, he needed to for some peace of mind. "Where are your wings?"
Dean glanced over his back and then down to his chest. He grinned.
"You told me control the wings or make them disappear." His smirk grew. "They're gone."
"At what price?"
Dean groaned. "Don't get your panties in a twist. They're still here. It's just a glamour spell."
"I can see that." He sighed. "And really, Dean? Panties in a twist? I don't think I should be the one worried."
Dean's face reddened, and he tugged his skirt down. "Shaddup."
Sam remained lookout as he allowed Dean a few minutes to finish packing and get a handle on his appearance. When he realized that Dean was staring at his chest more than anything else, he decided it was time to go.
He nudged Dean on the arm to break him from his stare and motioned toward the forest. While he was certain they were alone, he would feel safer if they were on the move. They'd remained in one position way too long.
Sam and Dean set up a post north of the crime scene. Yellow police tape still roped off the spot where the murders had been committed. Ratty and torn, the tape indicated that the cops hadn't paid much attention to the site in days. There were no signs that anyone else had touched the crime scene, though Sam knew that could be misleading. He had entered just yesterday and left no tracks.
Neither one said anything while they waited, knowing any sounds could give up their location. Sam was already uncomfortable how much they had spoken out in the open at Dean's spell site, but it didn't seem to make an impact on their current standing.
The silence still bothered Sam. Night was a busy time for creatures that roamed the forests and hills. There should be activity in the area. At most, he could hear the tremble of Dean's invisible wings from the cold, as well as he and Dean's rhythmic breathing as they tried to keep quiet. Yet, nothing else stirred in the woods.
Sam spent the next hour scouting the entire crime scene and beyond. As he mentally inventoried the landscape, he tried to puzzle together what they knew so far. He still hadn't been able to figure out what the hex bag was for, unless it was a way to keep unwanted visitors from the ritual site. Satanists usually performed rituals for power or access to power, so he assumed they were trying to tap into something important. He just couldn't think what could be so vital that witches and Satanists would work toward a common goal.
He knew he couldn't just assume this was about the seals. It felt much more complicated than that.
And he still didn't know how Dean's wings fit into everything.
Sam stole a glance over his shoulder to where Dean was crouching. Like Sam, he was watching the landscape, mentally noting details about the crime scene in his own way. His outward appearance might be deceiving, but Sam could see the intensity in his eyes. Whatever had happened to Dean, it hadn't dulled his brother's keen senses. He knew something was wrong as well.
As the night hours waned, Dean broke the silence.
"Nobody's gonna show." His voice was high and soft. Sam still struggled with the sound.
"Maybe they know we're here. Maybe they know who we are."
Dean sighed, moving to slouch on a nearby rock. "If they've got demons yapping at their ears, they'd have known us the minute we came to town and busted our asses."
Sam cringed as Dean leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. "Dude, cross your legs."
Dean muttered something about sexism under his breath and crossed his legs.
"Maybe," Sam said, continuing, "they know we're here and they're waiting for us to make a move."
"Make a move? Like what?"
"I don't know."
"And running around looking like a girl from a soft-core porn movie is helpful?" Sam stopped when he realized what he'd said. "That's where you got her from, didn't you?"
He swore he saw Dean's cheeks blush. "Maybe."
Sam shook his head. He just hoped Dean was legal or there were going to be a ton of uncomfortable questions when they got back into town.
When daylight started to warm the skies from a deep indigo to a pale shade of blue, Sam knew it was time to go. Dean had already grabbed his bag and was just waiting for Sam to follow. Sam was reluctant to go, but he couldn't figure out if he was missing something or if he was just being stubborn over a wasted night.
Finally, he gave into Dean's impatient glares and insults. The two of them headed back the way they'd come with Sam in the lead in the direction of the Impala.
"Satanists are arrogant," Sam said, as they worked their way through a thick section of forest. "They like to flaunt their cleverness in the faces of those they think are ignorant."
"Well, they're certainly not flaunting here," Dean said. Sam heard him sigh. "I don't know, Sammy. Something about this place just ain't right."
"Yeah…there were murders here."
"No, I mean. I was thinking what you said." He paused as he hopped over a log. "And we know Satanists do the whole blood sacrifice thing, but they have OCD worse than you do."
Sam rolled his eyes as he continued down the makeshift path. "Yeah."
"So, they'd never trash their ritual the way they left it."
He'd thought about it. The ritual was precise enough to catch their initial attention, but it was sloppier than most ritual sacrifices they'd researched. Parts of the report even had the makings of a Hollywood movie. Yet, other parts felt right. Sam had been around the hunter world long enough to recognize the real signs of a legit sacrifice. He wondered if the minor sloppiness was the witches' influence, or like he'd considered before, a show of strength and power. Maybe a warning to the town.
"I don't know, man," Dean said. "I feel like we're being played somehow."
Sam actually agreed with Dean on that point. He just wished he could figure out what it was.
When they reached the top of the hill near the creek, Sam stopped and surveyed the trek down. It was only a small hill, but there was something about the way the newborn sunbeams kept hitting the creek that made Sam's hair stand on end.
Dean came to stand beside him and frowned. "What're you staring at?"
"I thought I saw something in the water."
Sam skidded down the hill, fighting off the weight of the early morning, and made his way to the banks of Devil's Creek. He heard Dean start to follow and then a loud curse. Sam turned around.
Dean was tangled in some tree. From where Sam stood, it looked like his long blonde hair was snarled in a branch, but Sam knew better. That was all part of the illusion. He knew that Dean's wings were stuck somehow.
"I'll be back," Sam said. He left Dean to his cries of protest as he struggled to untangle his invisible wings from the barbs in the tree.
Sam started to investigate the creek. After a few seconds of searching, he reached into the icy waters and withdrew a small beaded chain.
"Well, one thing's for sure," Sam said. "There's no devil in this creek." Sam held up a rosary.
Dean stopped fighting with the tree to squint at the rosary in Sam's hands. "Rosary beads? Seriously?"
"And a bunch of other stuff…"
Sam didn't know what to think. A stray set of rosary beads in a creek was one thing and could easily be explained away in normal circumstances, but this job was anything but normal. And as far as Sam could tell, so was this creek.
Upon closer examination, the waters were filled with various objects, inscriptions, and large plaques that had incantations carved onto their surfaces. He took another look at the rosary. Unlike the regular rosaries people carried, there were strange sigils painted on every bead.
"Dean, this place is a literal mecca of arcane magic. I've never seen half these symbols."
"Oh, fantastic. Could this case get any weirder?" He tugged at the tree. "Or any worse?"
"Much worse," Sam said as he raised his hands and looked down the barrel of a gun.