Beacon

(c)2005 gekizetsu

Supernatural and all related characters are (c)Warner Bros., etc, not me. The following takes place between the episodes Home and Asylum. Sadly, I also borrowed from another of my own tales for this, because it seemed to fit too well. Not sorry. Spur of the moment fic.

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my tortured beacon
we need to find like minded companions.
--alannis morissette, joining you

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-|-

"Sam."

Sam ignored him from his place at the small, tilting table by the room's single window. Dean had suggested using the Bible in the nightstand to level it with, and Sam had been trying to ignore him ever since. He was sprawled in one of the two motel-standard hardback chairs in front of his laptop, wishing his head would stop aching while he scanned yet again for something he could make sense of. Loose limbed and annoyed and wondering why it all mattered so much, this time.

"Sammy." Dean was cajoling him now from the edge of the twin bed closest to the TV. His voice was lower that time, with a dash of hey brat enough already .

"I don't want to watch a movie right now, Dean," Sam said with all the distracted impatience he was ever able to dredge up for his older brother. "I gotta figure this out."

"C'mon," Dean said. "You know you want to."

"I know you want to," Sam shot back without raising his eyes from the laptop's monitor. "You're not really gonna watch that again...I mean, it's funny the first couple of times, then it's just some lame old 80's movie."

"Heathen," Dean said. "Blasphemous heathen. Ghostbusters transcends the 80's."

"Even the cartoon version had more substance," Sam said.

Dean turned the volume up. Sigourney Weaver was busy being fearful of her refrigerator. "Except for Slimer," he said aloud. "Janine was hot, though." Only slightly lowering his voice he added, "...and we all know you had a crush on Peter."

" What? "

"Nothing, O Gatekeeper. Just sit and watch a movie for once. Research later." Dean waited a beat, and when a grouchy denial didn't hit him immediately he realized he was wearing Sam down. And I know your head hurts and I want to talk to you and I don't like it that the critters all go straight for you now without even hesitating.

"Whatever's wandering the halls of that office isn't gonna solve itself, Dean," Sam said in a tone that Dean had come to think of as college boy bitchery. He clicked his laptop closed anyway and sighed. His eyes were tired of scanning Google entries and various forums postulating about local myths. Nothing in John Winchester's journal came close to describing the thing in the office Sam had come face to...well, reasonable facsimile for a head with the night before. How the hell they'd managed to find something they couldn't slap even the most rudimentary designation on troubled him in ways it didn't even phase his brother.

It was looking for something, and that was all they'd been able to figure out. Sam had not passed muster and it had moved on. It had looked at him without eyes and seen more than he liked and then discarded him.

"Few things do," Dean finally said with all the mock gravity he could muster. Most of his attention was on the movie, or so Sam thought. "We need popcorn for this."

" Ghostbusters no longer deserves popcorn," Sam said wearily, but he came over and sat down next to his brother anyway. He'd seen the movie so many times in so many hotel rooms as a kid that he and Dean could recite the scenes and dialogue from memory. The child had loved that, but the adult had seen too much since to find anything like it amusing any more.

"It might help you sharpen your skills again, padawan," Dean said softly without looking at him.

Sam turned his head only slightly to see how serious Dean was, or thought he was. All he got was a side view of the TV's technicolor flicker reflected in Dean's hazel eyes. "Gozer was a puss," Sam said.

There. A smirk, a quirk of one eyebrow. Trademark Dean Winchester. "Yeah. He/she wouldn't have stood up to us for long. I mean, demigods, they're so last season."

"You'd have hit on her long before things got to the point of opening dimensional gates," Sam muttered, turning his eyes but not his attention to the beaten old TV.

Dean briefly considered making some base remark about what would be opening instead, but left off this once. He wanted Sam distracted enough to give him an in, but not to get annoyed with him. Not yet. They spent several minutes watching the movie, until the destruction of the Hotel Sedgewick's ballroom made Dean laugh like it always did.

"Maybe I should start calling you Tex," Dean said.

"Sticking with 'Sam' would be better," Sam said. "Really."

"So, when exactly did it start?" Dean said, the teasing gone as quickly as it had come.

Sam knew him well enough to realize there was Something Big under the question and that he should already know what it was about. "Which thing," he said.

"The shining," Dean said. "Seems like someone would have noticed it before, especially if it's been going on your whole life, right? It's something you probably would have said something about."

Sam hesitated. He didn't want to talk about it, but there was no good reason not to. Not like Dean to come right out and ask. Hypothesize aloud and wait for confirmation on Sam's face, yes. He was stopping just short of saying how could you keep that from me, ever? That said enough to Sam to push him into reflexive honesty.

"Since I hit puberty," he said. He watched the sudden motion that followed in his peripheral vision as Dean whipped his head around to fix him with an openly incredulous stare. Sam purposely didn't look back.

"Just in bits," Sam said. "Little things here and there. Nothing - nothing - like what happened with Jess. I never saw anything coming, before. There was no way I was gonna say anything, when it felt like more crazy bullshit and we were already knee deep in it. I figured what we did growing up made us what we are. Just...the occasional dream. And idea or two. That's all."

He still didn't look at Dean, but Dean was looking at him so hard he thought maybe the rest of it should come out while he could still say it.

"It stopped when I left for Stanford."

He let the unsaid murmur itself into the space between them, behind the dialogue pouring from the TV.

It stopped when I quit hunting, when I quit charging through cemeteries and abandoned houses and dark, dusty places. It stopped when I didn't have you and dad in my space all the time.

now dad is not here

but you are

and the dreams about Jess dying started the moment dad left you and you made a beeline for me.

The brothers were something together that they could never be while separate. But saying 'Hey, Dean, guess what? I'm pretty sure the two of us make a third something that draws crap right to us' was not the place he wanted to go right then. Dean could trundle the reasoning together himself if he could stand to. There would be no bullshit about one leaving to save the other, since that was long past possible, so they could skip all the unnecessary words that people often filled silence with while they were stalling to hide what they really felt.

Dean had not brought Jessica's killer with him. But he had brought the rest of Sam. Whatever that was had allowed something to converge on them with terrible accuracy and speed. It had heard them and found them and then waited for them to be apart long enough to make a point to Sam.

I don't think it can touch us directly, I don't think it dares. But it wants to.

Sam had begun to realize that he might never be loose again, that his four years away had been some encapsulated fluke of luck. Even if he wanted to, even once the evil things of the world were dead and banished, leaving Dean again would be like severing a limb. He'd been brave enough for that only once in his life and now bravery against anything but the malign would come with effort he most likely didn't have.

There was no blame in his voice, and no hint of the conjecture he'd worked up in the nights since Dean had pulled him from the second and hopefully last ceiling fire he'd ever know.

"They can hear you, can't they," Dean said. More trademark Winchester: keeping it cool when most folks would be pacing and scolding.

"Us," Sam corrected gently. "They lost me for a long while." He was sorry the moment he said it; he could all but hear Dean's immediate thought of so did I . That was fine, though, at least it wasn't out loud this time. Every now and then the filter between mouth and brain worked for Dean whether it should or not.

The things they were hunting occasionally hunted back, but did not close completely in as long as the brothers stood back to back. It wasn't much of a leap to realize that if one stepped away again, it wouldn't be long before something else filled the void now that Sam was found . Something hateful.

Nature abhorred a vacuum.

"You want a foil hat?" Dean said.

Lifeline thrown.

"I got enough trouble without adopting the Hershey's Kiss look," Sam said.

Lifeline accepted.

-|-

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