For D, who requested time travel into the past + whumpage + skinny dipping. This has caused crackfic. For those of you who don't immediately recognize the story, see Genesis 19. I stretched the probability of Dean's little chemistry experiment, but, the stuff's not hard to make anyway. [tries not to look guilty]
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, "Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters who are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city."
-- Genesis 19:15
Dean had been talking to Sam while they were laying out the points of a ritual. It was one they'd never tried before, but it was just a really old purification thing since there was some really old magic used to screw up a perfectly good park. Some would-be Satanists had been playing on the internet and came up with a mishmash of bullshit that they had taken for gospel. A few malevolent spirits wishing they were would-be demons had answered and played havoc with the energies of the place. No real harm had been done, but the crime rate had gone up and people were suffering breakdowns while walking through there. Several people claimed that something had attempted to lure their kids into the bushes. The park had finally been closed down after becoming an urban legend of sorts.
He'd been telling Sam that there should be some kind of test people had to pass to get a license to use the internet. Sam had immediately reminded him that he would be the last one allowed to get one, and Dean had blinked at him while trying to think of something insulting enough to say.
From one blink to another, there was no more park. Grass and trees, squirrels, birds, lopsided swingset, all gone. There was desert instead.
He straightened, watching Sam do the same just feet away. Sam was in a long almond-colored linen tunic and pants with a long blue and white prayer shawl and scuffed, open sandals. Dean looked down and found himself in a plain eggshell-hued linen robe with a green and white prayer shawl and bare feet. They shared a long look to make sure they were each who the other thought they were. They looked the same, but when everything else was out of whack it was best to make sure they were solid to each other.
"You see this?" Dean said.
"When Andy sent us those cookies, I wasn't the only one eatin' 'em," Dean said.
"We're not tripping," Sam said. He nodded off to his left. "Check it out."
Dean squinted into the very hot afternoon sun to watch people a good fifty yards away shuffle in and out of the gates of what looked like the entrance to a walled compound. He saw tunics and robes and prayer shawls in linen.
They were also the only guys around without beards.
And they were really damn tall compared to everyone else. That was true anywhere they went as it was, but when a whole populace was noticeably shorter, it meant several generations of barely getting by.
"Toto," Dean said softly, "it ain't Kansas. What part of the Middle East is this?"
"Not everybody dresses like this 24/7 even in the middle-middle of the Middle East," Sam said. "Torches? C'mon, Dean. This is somewhen as much as it is somewhere."
"I still say we've been drugged," Dean said. "Sadly, we're imagining each other in the Bible."
"It looks about that far back," Sam said, forehead beginning to wrinkle. People were starting to stare. Sam knew even if he wrapped his face, his height would keep getting attention. They were both too fair to pass for desert dwellers, to pretend they were used to years of sun and wind.
"You have to be kidding," Dean said. "No weapons, we don't speak the language, and no chance of cold beer. It's hell. We've finally found hell."
Sam watched small groups come in and out of the gates, raising dust beneath their sandals. Hand woven baskets were slung over the backs of goats and donkeys. The animals shuffled in the afternoon light, heads lowered, ears twitching. Human eyes glanced in their direction and away; a few men were staring openly, though, unblinking.
"No way this was all because of that ritual," Dean said. "Something else stuck a finger in this. Any guesses?"
Sam was shaking his head, staring at the people, looking stunned.
"Any chance our bodies are still sitting in the park?" Dean said. "That one squirrel...I don't wanna think about what it could do. Sam, c'mon. There's no way we've really gone BC." He looked to his own left, back up a winding road of dust. Mile after mile of desert stretched away, broken by eroded rock faces, chipped away by countless millennia of wind. They were up on a bluff that declined toward the gates of wherever the hell they were, and when he looked straight ahead he could see part of a huge body of water.
"How come I'm the one in the dress, with no shoes?" he said. If he kept talking, he could delay the big freakout that was sitting on the back of his tongue. "Sammy. How much geography did you take in school?"
Sam cast him a glance that looked truly worried.
"We're not stuck," Dean said. "No way are we stuck. C'mon, really, help me get situated, here. We'll figure a way out. We're in the desert and there's one hell of a lake over there. This is some settlement or something. Tell me where we are."
Sam just shook his head and looked overwhelmed.
Dean grabbed the sleeve of Sam's tunic and pulled him along. "Let's go look at the water and see if we can figure out where it is on the map. C'mon."
Navigating all the rocks and stuff in bare feet turned out to be sucktastic and Dean was promptly sorry for suggesting a trek to the beach, but it wasn't like they were going to waltz up to those gates and ask everybody how it was hanging. Not until they had a better idea of what was going on. If it was Bible-times, then he remembered a lot of burnt offerings being offered and stonings and rules about foreigners that he couldn't call up the details for. Best just to save the locals for later and scope the surroundings.
Sam noticed the sulfur first and pointed it out. There were little outcroppings of the tiny yellow crystals here and there as they walked, and Dean began digging it out and using his shawl as a sling to pocket it. It was probably natural, evaporating out of some long gone body of water, not left behind by demonic activity. When he started seeing all the salt, it definitely lifted his spirits. The stuff was everywhere.
They were hot and dusty and thirsty by the time they made it to a spot that looked like it would let them actually get close to the water. They skirted several boulders and slid down an incline to a wide stretch of ragged, sandy shoreline crusted heavily with salt. The water was blue-green but not from algae or moss or seaweed. Sam kicked his sandals off and swished a foot in the water.
"We're at the southern tip of the Dead Sea," he said finally, and managed to look both intrigued and horrified. "All the salt, and nothing living in the water..."
"Israel," Sam said, voice climbing an octave. "Near the Jordanian border. There's no city here of any size in modern times."
Dean sat on a nearby boulder and checked the bottom of one foot. He'd scraped an arch on something and a thin line of blood was welling up. "Seen lots of pictures of it, have you?"
"Yeah," Sam said, running his hands through his hair.
Dean stripped his robe and prayer shawl off and tossed them onto the rock he was sitting on, then headed for the water.
"What're you doing?" Sam said, waving an incredulous hand.
"Swimming," Dean said. "Dude, it's hot. And you just said there's nothing livin' in here. Going skinny-dipping in the Dead Sea."
Sam watched him pick his way along the rocks until he was waist-deep. Then Dean leaned forward, dunked his head in, and whipped it back out again, flipping a wide swath of sparkling water into the late afternoon air.
"Woo! It's great, c'mon in."
"I'm not skinny-dipping in the Dead Sea," Sam said. He did put both feet in it, though. Wading was fine. Those sandals sucked and he'd managed to get a lot of sand in them.
Dean went out several more yards until the shore dropped away, then began treading water. "Pretty easy to float in this stuff."
"That's because of the high salinity," Sam said. He sighed. There was nothing else to do at the moment. Maybe there'd been a spacetime rift in the park or just a depression that they were caught in. Maybe it would pop back out and bounce them off. Maybe if they recreated the ritual here in the desert it would match up across time with the one they'd already been working on, and they could work as a conduit.
"Sammy. I hear you thinking all the way over here. Chill out."
Sam sighed again and stripped down. Dean's ability to adapt to crazy shit never failed to amaze him. He waded further out in the water and had to admit it wasn't as cold as he'd expected it to be. He got out to waist depth and turned to look back at the slope up to the road they'd left. Hopefully no curious onlookers would be gathering above. There was something about it all, something about the placement of the settlement, the gates, the ritual they'd been doing. Purification. An ancient purification rite because basic was best and the stuff they'd been trying to counter had been dead basic.
Hands clamped onto his shoulders and pulled him backward abruptly. He made an attempt at keeping his balance but bare feet on unfamiliar rock slipped and he was dunked hard when he sat down on the bottom. He twisted around and grabbed for the ankles that had to be there without opening his eyes underwater. He heard and felt Dean lose his balance and splash into the water with a shouted curse that he couldn't make out and didn't need to.
Sam came up for a breath and lunged forward, holding Dean under and jamming his fingers into a spot just under each armpit. He felt Dean convulse, and then he was kicked away and back into the water. He couldn't help it; he had to laugh. They were the same no matter the time or place.
Dean came up for air, and the look on his face promised retribution. "Out of bounds," he said.
"You started it," Sam said, wading further out.
Dean glanced up to see if anyone had followed them. There was no way anybody was sneaking up on them. He wasn't going to settle for a stick as a weapon, and with the sulfur he realized he didn't have to. He followed Sam further out until they were both treading water. He came alongside and glanced at him, watching water trickle down his face. He didn't look quite as freaked out. "So," he said, "I gotta gather a few things, then we can go meet the folks up there and see what happens. They're gonna come force a meeting sooner or later, if we're hanging around."
"Yeah," Sam said. "Okay. What're you looking for?"
"We got sulfur," Dean said. "Maybe there was volcanic activity here once, or it's just a spring that dried out, but the stuff's all over out here. There's all kinds of minerals crystalizing out of this water, and I'll bet a few of 'em are potassium-based salts. Potassium nitrate, maybe sodium nitrate, anything like that."
Sam was squinting at him, nose wrinkled. "Saltpeter."
"Hell yeah," Dean said with a grin. "Then you know those folks up there have been tossing the remnants of fires all over. Charcoal, potassium nitrate, sulfur. Fifteen-three-two ratio. C'mon, Sam, we used to make this all the time until we got bored with it."
"Gunpowder," Sam said. "We never made it like this, though. You have to be really careful."
Dean made a dismissive spluttering sound when a wave momentarily covered his mouth. "Not waiting to see if everybody's friendly first. We need a backup. You act like you might know where and when we are."
"I don't," Sam said quickly. "I don't wanna assume anything until we look around a little more. If we do figure it out for sure, it might help us get back. I just need more info."
"You said there's no settlement or city or whatever here in modern times," Dean said.
"If you think about it, you'll get it," Sam said. "I'm not gonna put the thought in your head just yet."
Dean gave him a suspicious look for that and came closer until they were treading water right in each other's space. There was nothing but water and sky and rock, vast amounts of each, and they might as well have been the only two people in the world. When he looked at Sam's eyes reflecting the sky and water beading on his lashes, he could almost believe that.
"We're okay," he said.
"If you say so," Sam said.
He dunked Sam again and swam for shore, yelling threats about what would happen if Sam came anywhere near him and tried to dunk him back.
They dressed and hunted along the shore. Chunks of asphalt and sodium and halite were everywhere. They went further down shore and closer into the beginnings of a set of halite cliffs. There at the base were several small caves with minerals crystalizing on the walls in massive groupings. Dean kicked a batch loose and examined the chunks in the fading light. They were soft and granular, grayish. He tasted a piece.
"Dude, don't put it in your mouth if you're not sure what it is!" Sam said.
"It's nitre," Dean said. "Saltpeter. Jeez, shut up."
"Now your sex drive will vanish," Sam said.
"Kinda don't need it here," Dean said. "Birth control hasn't really been invented, I think, and I don't want to be my own greaty-hundred-greats grandfather."
"It's just a myth anyway," Sam said. "Like your sex drive."
"Ladies and gentlemen, Sam Winchester, rotten little bitch in every place and time," Dean said, wrapping several fist-sized chunks of the stuff in his shawl. "The third ingredient's the easiest, so, let's go meet the locals."
This time they walked right up to the gates as the sun began to set. There were more people, as if they'd been waiting for the boys to return. No one said a word to them. There were women as well, openly watching as they passed. Suspicious, Dean was careful not to stare back for once. They had to find out where they really were and how far back they'd been thrown.
One man in particular came out of a group waiting just inside the gates, and with the beard and the lines in his face backing an open smile, it was hard to tell his actual age. He said something to them and it was likely Hebrew or Aramaic but it didn't matter because they didn't understand a word of it.
It was Sam who bowed and smiled and said thank you, but no in Latin. Dean kept his gaze steady because he hadn't caught on. He kept an eye on everybody else in his peripheral vision and tried to look very tall.
There was a moment of pleased surprise on the man's face, and then he repeated his request in a more expansive tone, hope in his eyes.
Sam said we will stay out here on the street, thank you, and the man would not take no for an answer.
Dean really hated what he was thinking.
"Dean," Sam said, turning to him with an expression that told him to play along, "this is Lot. He'd like to invite us to his house."
Lot , Dean thought. I have a lot I'd like to say, starting with 'what the' and ending with fuck.
He tried to remember what he'd read about Lot. He'd read the Bible once from cover to cover, making notes in the margins about what might be useful and what sounded like the meanderings of some old guy with an agenda. He'd read the Book of Samuel several times since just because it used the name Samuel constantly. He'd stuck to the Nova Vulgate since then, for exorcisms, and just kept the texts that related directly to the job. All he could remember at that point was something about the guy's wife turning to a pillar of salt.
The wife in question and the two daughters (underage, he didn't look) didn't say anything to them but stared so hard that Dean was pretty sure his ass was going to catch fire. Then there was the whole foot-washing thing, which wasn't all that bad since he hadn't been picked for the sandals and his feet were killing him, but it was still kind of awkward.
The house itself was two stories, mud brick covered with mud plaster, reed mats for the roof. The floor was stone paving and they were only on the first floor long enough to get a foot-washing before being rushed up the ladder to the second floor to sit on reed mats and check out what was on the loom up there while cooking went on below.
Dean took stock while Sam checked out the walls, looking for designs that might be familiar. He had sulfur, nitre, and charcoal snagged from cold fire pits on the way there. He needed to put them together in case a distraction was needed.
"Can't believe you don't remember this story," Sam said. "Do you not realize where the hell we are?"
"No, Sam," Dean said. "Why don't you enlighten me, O Bible scholar?"
"Lot," Sam said. "We're in Lot's house. I doubt there's more than one Lot. We're here for a reason, Dean. We're in Sodom."
Dean stopped laying his ingredients out on the floor and looked at Sam's back. "As in Sodom and Gomorrah."
"Yeah," Sam said. "Hellfire and brimstone."
"Explains all the hot chicks outside," Dean said. "Got some brimstone right here, anyway."
"You don't get it," Sam said. "It's from Genesis. In the story, Lot greets two angels at the gate of Sodom and invites them in. They warn him that the place is going to be destroyed."
"So by morning the place is toast," Dean said. 'We'll be back out of here by then."
" Dean, " Sam said, turning to look at him in exasperation.
"You're rocking that prayer shawl, by the way," Dean said without looking up. "Is that how you knew what he said, just because of the story? You don't speak any Hebrew and you answered him in Latin."
"We're the angels," Sam said. "He thinks we're messengers from God."
Dean looked up then. "Bullshit."
Sam made an arm-waving gesture that said where have you been? .
"So what if the real angels show up? Who's going to wash their feet?"
Sam shook his head. "We have to warn him to get the hell out of here with his family. He has to live so the rest of the story plays out."
"None of this stuff is real, Sam," Dean said. "The Bible's a bunch of parables."
"That's irrelevant," Sam said. "This feels pretty real. So we'd better play along."
"And God is gonna destroy the place at dawn," Dean said. "Right. Whatever." He began looking around for a mortar and pestle or something he could use like one.
Sam went back to the walls and floors, looking for any clue as to why they'd ended up right there, right then.
"There's a lot of incest in the Old Testament," Dean said.
Sam looked at him, trying to figure out where the statement had come from.
"Lots and lots," Dean said.
Fairly certain that Dean wasn't looking for a reply from him, Sam went back to examining the daub walls.
"Like, usually brothers and sisters," Dean said. "Abraham and Sarai, right. Lots of first cousins. And lots of stories of brothers messing each other up. Cain and Abel. Joseph and his brothers. Esau and Jacob. Messed up."
"Happens in the animal kingdom all the time," Sam said without looking at him. Dean was suddenly remembering a lot more of the Bible. "Animals don't really have taboos, and we do."
"Lots of taboos," Dean said. "Plenty of incest."
Sam was careful not to turn around. He didn't want to know what was simmering in Dean's head right then. He was looking for symbols to see if he recognized anything.
"Would have been perfectly normal to marry you if you'd been a girl."
Sam wondered whether his eyebrows would get stuck if he kept raising them as hard as he was. "Probably," he said hesitantly. "Um..."
"I need more charcoal," Dean said, using a stone to begin crushing the ingredients together. "Run down to the kitchen and tell them I need all the charcoal they chuck out back or whatever. Tell them it's for holy stuff. Because we're angels ."
"No," Sam said. "Do it yourself." He moved a rug aside and traced a carved symbol. "Got it. This looks like the same symbol."
Dean looked at it. "Same one we were using in the park."
"Yeah," Sam said. "Maybe it acted as kind of a conduit or something, if this was the first time it was ever used."
Dean snorted. "Whatever."
"Hey, do you have a better explanation?" Sam said.
"No, Trekkie, I don't."
Lot came up the ladder and probably told them that a meal would be ready soon. One, it was custom to feed anybody that came in your house, and two, he put his fingers to his mouth in the universal gesture of something goes here .
"Why is this mark here?" Sam asked gently in Latin, pointing to the symbol on the floor and hoping his meaning would make it through.
Lot gestured to the symbol and then pointed upward, eyes alight.
"I think he's trying to tell us that God asked him to," Sam said.
"Dude probably thinks English is angel-speak," Dean muttered, crushing sulfur crystals. In Latin, he said, "It's one of the Lord's many ways of speaking."
Lot offered them wine and water, and they agreed with thanks. When he was gone again, Dean said, "So how do we use the symbol to get us back?"
"You were making fun of it a second ago," Sam said.
"I'm open to anything that gets us out of here," Dean said. "Seriously. I've had fun before, and this is not it."
"We can try recreating the ritual. But we can't leave without warning this guy to pack up and get out."
"By playing charades?" Dean said. "Better yet, Pictionary. We're not even supposed to be here, Sam, he'll figure it out."
It was getting noisier outside as if a crowd was passing by. They ignored it.
"Dean," Sam said as if speaking to a recalcitrant child, "we're the angels. We have to get him out of here. His kids or grandkids or begat-begats are founders of huge tribes in Israel. His family has to survive."
"Maybe the real 'angels' got picked up by someone else at the gates, then, right?" Dean said, shaking the bowl containing his experiment.
"I think we're it," Sam said darkly.
Dean stopped to look at him. "As in, the original angels," Dean said. "As in, that's us in the Bible in some cute little paradox."
Sam shrugged. "Either way, we have to keep the story straight or we could screw up that part of the Bible."
Dean sighed. "I gotta piss. You see an outhouse or whatever out back?"
"Yeah, I imagine there's something out there," Sam said. "Try not to talk to anybody, okay? You've never needed to speak the same language to be understood by just about anybody."
Dean pulled a curtain aside to look out the square-cut hole in the wall and down to the front of the house. Darkness had fallen but there were a couple of oil lamps hanging near the corner of the house. "Actually, I can hold it," he said. "Check this out. We're popular."
Sam looked down. There were several hundred people surrounding the house, men and women from teen to elderly. One man began to pound on the door.
Sam closed the curtain again and looked torn between hysterical laughter and outright panic. "Okay, I forgot about this part of the story."
"What?" Dean demanded. "What the hell is this?"
"They're gonna demand that Lot send us outside," Sam said. "So they can, uh, know us."
Dean gave him an exasperated look. "Know, like, Biblical 'knowing'," he said. "Threesomes are fun and anything beyond that is a crowd. No way. Figure out the symbol and let's get the hell out of here."
"He's gonna offer his daughters instead," Sam said.
Dean went from exasperated to horrified in an instant. "Does it say that in the Bible?"
They pulled the curtain aside and watched Lot try and negotiate with the crowd, which seemed to get pretty aggravated with him.
"That's it," Dean said, starting down the ladder. "Go set something on fire from the kitchen and bring it to me."
Sam followed him down the ladder. Lot's wife and daughters were in the doorway to the kitchen, looking concerned but faintly resigned. Sam and Dean shared a glance. Then Dean whipped the door open and he and Sam grabbed the back of Lot's tunic, yanked him back inside, and slammed the door again. Dean put his back against it. Sam took off for the kitchen, apologizing to Lot's wife and daughters as he jostled past.
"Don't I wish I could make some pronouncement about not ever offering your kids to the masses," Dean growled at Lot. "But it's Sodom, what the hell did I expect?" He ignored the pounding on the door at his back in favor of gesturing Lot away and grabbing the pan of coals that Sam brought him. "You get the door," he said to Sam. He didn't have to explain what he was doing, not to Sam. When it counted, Sam was always in step with him.
Sam opened the door as hard and fast as Dean had moments earlier, and nailed a guy square in the chest with a foot as he started to push in. The guy standing next to him caught Sam's foot and pulled, and when Sam caught himself on the doorframe, several pairs of hands grabbed him and slammed his head against it hard enough that Dean felt it in the floor.
" Hey! " Dean shouted. He dumped the coals into the wooden bowl of gunpowder mix and then used the hot pan to nail anybody within reach. He yanked Sam back inside and then slid the smoking wooden bowl out onto the paving stones of the walkway. He backed up a step without looking and had maybe a centimeter to spare when Sam timed Dean's retreat with how fast he closed the door.
"You assholes be careful, or there won't be anything left for God to demolish," Dean said to the door.
There were a few seconds of hushed confusion. When the stuff in the bowl went off, it lit up the inside of the house through cracks in the door and the narrow windows cut into the walls with a furious blue-white color.
Lot's wife covered her face with a cry and retreated into the kitchen. Lot said something that neither Sam or Dean tried to guess at. There was a lot of screaming outside and the pounding of sandaled feet running for it.
Dean grabbed Sam and looked him over, checking the reddened and darkening mark on his forehead, the indentations of fingerprints and nails on his wrists. Sam fingercombed his own hair down over his forehead and patted Dean on one shoulder. "Angels don't get hurt," he murmured even though the room was swimming a little and his neck felt like there'd be a permanent kink in it. "I'm okay."
Sam decided not to tell Dean the part in the story about the angels blinding the people outside so they couldn't find the door. He'd just show Dean a Bible at the next motel room they stayed in.
Lot was looking at them with grateful shock. When it seemed like he might get down on the floor and start gesticulating, Sam grabbed one arm and Dean grabbed the other and they sat him down on one of the wooden benches against the far wall. Sam mimed the act of writing, using his hand as parchment.
Lot nodded and left for another room, and Dean checked outside. Everybody was gone, or at least they were far enough into the shadows that he couldn't see them. He cracked a grin. "Who got known there, huh?" He looked at Sam, grin vanishing. "They almost took your damn head off. You still conscious because your head's as hard as I think it is?"
"We have to figure out how to convince them to clear out," Sam said.
"And what if nothing happens in the morning?" Dean said. "Then they've moved away, left their house, for nothing."
"The rest of it's come true so far," Sam said.
"You're just assuming that's Lot, and this is Sodom," Dean said.
Sam just looked at him. It was mildly pleading. That, plus the fact that Dean was having a bad time getting rid of the feeling of the thud he'd felt in the floor when Sam's head had hit the doorway made it hard for him to hold on to his stubbornness.
Lot returned with parchment and a pottery inkwell. Sam braced the edges down with stones and began sketching. There was a house and a large body of water, and four small figures leaving the house. There was a basic map of the area, with arrows pointing from the figures to an unseen place off to the west. Sam pointed at the largest figure and then to Lot. Dean watched carefully and bit his tongue in an effort not to smirk when Sam pantomimed something raining out of the sky. He added to his sketch, drawing giant hands coming from above that hurled something down onto many small houses. He drew flames on the tiny roofs.
Lot looked concerned and said something to them. Sam pointed to him, then toward the kitchen, then to the front door. He circled the small family on the paper several times. All your family , he said in Latin.
Lot looked from Sam to Dean and back, appearing to check their eyes for sincerity. Then he nodded and rose, headed for the kitchen.
"He's gone to get something sharp to run us out of here," Dean said. "He thinks we're nuts."
"He thinks we're angels," Sam said. "He'll do it."
"Can I keep this?" Dean said, gesturing at the parchment.
"No," Sam said, rolling it up and tucking it away.
There was a flurry of movement and chatter in the back of the house. It didn't sound like anyone was breaking in or getting killed, so Sam and Dean stayed where they were.
It took the family a couple of hours to gather everything together, round up their animals, and run out to warn whatever family they had in town. Sam tried to remember who else was supposed to be around in the story, in laws or siblings, and couldn't. He and Dean helped them pack up and accompanied them outside the gates, pausing on the part of the road they'd first found themselves on.
"Got a while until dawn," Dean said. "You remember the symbols well enough to draw them again, here?"
"If I get any of it wrong, there's no telling what'll happen," Sam said. "It wasn't supposed to be that - "
They both felt something more than just the ground shift beneath and around them, so Dean couldn't blame Sam's sudden waver on his concussion.
They both crouched at the same time, looking around, waiting to see if they were being attacked or if the feeling was a precursor to something. When there was no followup, they cautiously stood again and watched the dark.
"Earthquake?" Dean said softly.
"It was more like only we moved, not everything else," Sam said.
"Is it too much to hope that our ticket here will expire and we'll get yanked back to good old 2007?" Dean said. "We've gotta be violating some sort of rule about displacement of mass or something."
He heard Sam huff a soft, affectionate laugh beside him.
"Who's the Trekkie now?" Sam said, sitting down.
Knowing Sam wasn't laughing at him, Dean said, "Well, we've broken rules before but not this far. There's a balance somewhere getting tipped the wrong way. Like when a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and there's a hurricane in Florida three days later."
"Chaos theory," Sam said. "Yeah, you're probably right. Those things have a way of taking care of themselves, though."
"Like ejecting us into orbit because we're out of place," Dean said. "We're never using that damn set of symbols again. You can just toss 'em."
"If we were really sent by God, then the violation of the rules won't matter," Sam said.
Dean turned to look at him in the starlight. "I'm not getting into this with you."
The world shifted again, much more than the ground. There was no sound to accompany it, so they had to again discard the notion that it might be an earthquake.
"I think this den of iniquity is about to buy the farm in some big, unconventional way," Dean said. "I hope God knows we're here, if he sent us, and decides not to brimstone us too hard." He didn't move or acknowledge it when Sam placed a hand flat against his back. It was just so Sam could steady himself, that was all. Perfectly fine, if the world was going to be shifting around like that.
Dean 'steadied' himself by grabbing Sam outright when the whole sky shifted. There were no clouds, but something began to swirl up there with an ominous crackling, large enough to encompass the town and stretch beyond. When Dean yelled Jesus Christ!, Sam's attention was too invested in what was happening above them to remind him that Jesus was a long way in the future.
Something pulled on them, every cell in their bodies straining toward some indefinable direction. It didn't hurt but it wasn't pleasant. When the buildings started to break up and one of the torches lit a batch of spilled oil, flames spread fast. They could hear screaming as people awoke. Something exploded with a low whump and a moment later, in the light of the flames, they could both see bricks from one house raining down on the others.
Dean rolled over in the grass and nearly smushed a squirrel. It took off and then bitched at him from halfway up the nearest tree.
He sat up and looked for Sam, who was out cold a few feet away with a fair sized bruise on his forehead.
When he could get Sam to open his eyes and accuse him of cuddling, Dean went over and scratched the symbols out of the dirt. To hell with the park, they could build highrises on it.
Sam checked all the drawers in their motel room and was annoyed that there was no Bible. Tradition was getting kicked to the curb in favor of being PC, or, people were stealing them. He went out to the car and dug around, finally coming up with a battered old King James version. He flipped pages as he walked, and when he returned, he shoved the book into Dean's hands and used an index finger to point out a spot on the facing page.
Dean read with a frown at first; one eyebrow quirked after a moment, followed shortly by the other. "This isn't true, we didn't get to eat," he said. "Not that I'm all hot on unleavened bread or anything..."
"Keep reading," Sam said.
Dean hummed under his breath but Sam couldn't catch him moving his lips.
"Smote them with blindness," Dean said. "Huh. Yeah. And we forgot to tell Lot's wife not to look back."
Sam didn't say anything.
"So was that...." Dean paused as if it was just too hard to have the thoughts much less put them to words. "Was that the same thing that dropped us there in the first place, or was that..."
"God?" Sam said. "We'll never know for sure. Stick with whatever makes more sense to you."
"I'm not opening any more boxes from Andy," Dean said.
He made Sam put ice on his head and then spent some time flipping the rest of the way through Genesis, muttering about incest. And making notes in the margins.
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