Characters: Dean, Sam, Bobby
Spoilers/Warnings: Not canon; warnings for scenes of torture
Word Count: 27,500 over 15 chapters
Disclaimer: I don't own them
But those boys; they just won't take no for an answer …
Sam stood alone watching busy hordes bustling to and fro through Newark Airport Arrivals; he yawned, bunching his shoulders against a chill breeze that whistled past him as he scanned the faces of the crowds.
He was tired, so bone-crushingly, horribly exhausted, he could barely keep his eyes open. He was convinced people were glancing at his hooded, dark shadowed eyes, and pallid complexion with pity; probably thought he'd just climbed off of some red-eye and hadn't slept for a couple of days.
Well, at least part of that was right.
It was three days since Dean had disappeared. In that time Sam hadn't been idle, far from it. He'd moved to another motel in the town, offloaded the far too noticeable Impala to one of his Dad's old lockups, and secured himself some bland, featureless rental car; a medium sized silver sedan; he smiled, knowing that Dean would loathe it on sight, but it guaranteed invisibility.
He'd tried to track Dean's cell but without success, each time he tried the damn thing was either switched off or not registering a signal.
Then he had hit the town in his invisible car, and began to canvass the neighbourhood; Agent Ulrich, pounding the streets investigating the mysterious and sudden disappearance of an innocent man. Hour after hour, interview after interview; he had lost count after thirty interviews but had carried on regardless. To his dismay, no-one had seen a damn thing. His brother might just as well have dropped through a hole in time.
By the time he stumbled back into the motel room, a weary, despondent figure; footsore and hoarse from too much speaking and too little drinking, he was in despair - the only glimmer of light on the horizon was that Bobby would be on his way back. He had needed to settle a few affairs in London and was catching a BA flight into Newark tomorrow morning.
Slumping heavily on the side of the bed, Sam poured himself a large whisky. He wasn't sure his nerves had ever been as shot to pieces as they were right now.
That was until he took the phone call …
Sam was jolted out of his melancholy thoughts by Bobby's gruff voice, "Hey, you with me there, boy?"
He blinked, to clear his vision and looked up to see Bobby standing in front of him, a battered suitcase on a cart beside him. The older man looked ashen.
"Jeez Boy, it's good to see ya," Bobby smiled weakly, and the two men hugged.
Sam unlocked the rental car and heaved Bobby's case into the trunk. Bobby didn't need to ask, he knew exactly what Sam had done and why he had done it. A sad smile played on Bobby's face when he thought about Dean and how he would hate the thing on sight.
"Good idea to ditch the Impala, kid;" Bobby smiled, reassuring Sam as they both climbed into the car. "So, tell me what happened."
Sam talked through Dean's sudden disappearance, the words tumbling out in a frightened, anxious cascade; he told how he had found the keys near the Impala, his efforts to find information, his complete lack of success.
Bobby listened intently, taking everything in, not interrupting. He knew Sam was close to the edge; in truth, so was he, but panicking and frazzling both their brains was going to get them no-where, they had to be able to think clearly for Dean's sake. He knew that would mean coaxing Sam to get some sleep and, hell, that wasn't gonna be easy.
Sam turned to him, the emotion was so near the surface, his voice cracked with the strain, "There's something else Bobby; and you're not gonna like it." Bobby frowned at the younger man, his grizzled face a mask of apprehension.
"What?" he coaxed.
Sam took a deep, shaking breath, "I got a call last night from Dean's cellphone; it was the guy who's holding him." He swallowed deeply, tightening his grip on the steering wheel as he blinked back tears that were blurring his vision, "he said you've got something that belongs to him and he's been trying to get Dean to tell him where you are, but he won't. He said he's been trying very hard."
He turned to Bobby, "You know what that means, don't you."
Bobby stared at him, aghast, and nodded slowly. Oh yeah, he knew what that meant.
Torture. That lowlife sonofabitch had been torturing his boy.
"He said if he doesn't start being more co-operative, he's gonna write him off as a lost cause, then he'll come after me. He hopes that will encourage you to be a bit more forthcoming."
Bobby was crimson, shaking violently, the rage boiling up within him spilling down his cheeks in hot, furious tears.
"Bastard;" he spluttered, "if he's hurt him; so help me God, I will end him bloody; I'll slaughter him like friggin' vermin an' I'll do it with a smile on my face …" His voice trailed off as the emotion overwhelmed him.
The two occupants composed themselves for a moment, readying themselves for the long drive back to the motel. It was a few moments before Bobby spoke up, clearing his throat.
"Sam, you say they called you on Dean's cell?"
"Yeah;" Sam replied, "Dean had it in the pocket of his sweatpants; he wanted to keep it close in case …" Sam hesitated, then swallowed hard; "in case you called," he added in a small voice.
"Give me your cell Sam;" it wasn't a request.
Sam fumbled in his pocket and passed the phone to Bobby, watching as the older man dialled Dean's number.
"Bobby, what the hell are you doing?" Sam's eyes widened as Bobby smiled on reaching the messaging service and raised his hand gesturing for quiet.
He spoke urgently into the phone; "Singer here. I'm ready to meet you; give you what you want. Just don't harm the boy. He's nothing to do with this; he didn't know where I was. Call me on Sam's cell."
Bobby handed the phone back to Sam who was staring at him in wide-eyed alarm. "Bobby, what the hell? These psychos could be dangerous."
Bobby nodded, "I don't friggin' care; if we wanna get Dean back, this is the only way we're gonna do it."
Sam felt himself tearing up, was he going to regain a brother, only to lose an uncle?
The invisible car hummed smoothly as it sailed along the highway toward the motel, both occupants had been silent for some time, lost in their own thoughts. It was Sam who spoke first.
"Bobby, talk to me," he asked softly, "what's all this about? You gotta tell me everything."
Bobby sighed and nodded, "yeah, you're right." he blew his nose into a grubby handkerchief, and took a deep breath.
"I guess you've done your own research?" Bobby muttered with a wry smile.
Sam bit his lip guiltily and gave a ghost of a nod.
"Despite everything I said over the phone …" Bobby continued, scolding gently.
Sam stared at the road ahead and nodded, "Uh - yeah."
Bobby shook his head with an exasperated smile; "so you'll know about the twelve victims in London, then."
Sam nodded again, "yeah".
"It all started over a hundred years ago," Bobby began.
"I know," Sam replied, "Fifty Berkeley Square."
"Yeah, well, the spirit at Fifty Berkley Square was no ordinary spirit." Bobby continued, "the damn thing was so profoundly evil, it was fatal to everyone who saw it."
Sam nodded, and gave a shrug, "Yeah, but what's so special about it, we see evil spirits every day, and we don' keel over."
"Not like this, son; nothing like this." Bobby spoke quietly, almost as if he was scared the thing might hear him. "Do you know how this thing came into being?"
Sam shook his head, staring intently at the road ahead, "no".
"How's your European history Sam? You heard of the black Death?" Bobby asked.
Sam thought for a moment and replied; "vaguely – the bubonic plague, wasn't it?"
Bobby nodded; "right, the plague came to Europe in the 14th century. Wiped out over half the population there; in heavily populated areas like London the death toll was nearer three quarters."
Sam wrinkled his nose in disgust at the thought, as Bobby continued.
"People were dying in their thousands every day; so quickly the authorities had to excavate massive trenches - plague pits - where they just buried the bodies en-masse. There are dozens of them under modern-day London."
"Nice …" Sam muttered.
"Berkeley Square is built over one of these plague pits." Bobby explained.
"So it's the spirit of a plague victim?" Sam glanced at Bobby to ask the question.
"No Sam, I wish it were that simple," Bobby sighed, "it's a single manifestation of the spirits of thousands of plague victims; buried in that pit without ceremony in unconsecrated ground; never recognised, never missed. Thousands of helpless, frightened and bitter anonymous folk who died under the worst circumstances imaginable.
Sam looked at Bobby in horror.
"Imagine it Sam;" Bobby continued, "you're dying of the foulest, most disgusting disease you could think of. You're in agony, bleeding and drowning in your own fluids, watching helplessly as your body decomposes in front of you. All around you people afflicted by the same terrible illness; all suffering, everyone you know, everyone you love; the squalor, the misery, the stench of death and putrefaction everywhere."
Bobby warmed to his theme, watching Sam trying to rationalise what he was being told; "You don't understand why you're suffering like this; you don't understand the reasons, the cause. There's no cure; all you know is that you keep being told that it's the wrath of God; that's the only explanation anyone can come up with. This scares you even more."
Sam looked utterly horrified.
"Do you get it, Sam?" Bobby asked, "thousands of lost spirits … imagine, all the worst kinds of negative emotions a person can feel; overwhelming terror, anger, dread, despair, confusion, hatred, misery, agonising pain … multiplied thousands of times over and all compressed into in one single entity."
"No wonder anyone who saw it was scared to death," Sam whispered weakly.
"Exactly," Bobby agreed; "the owner of Number Fifty had tried for years to deal with the spirit without success, he couldn't live in the house and was living in fear for his family. He had tried getting it exorcised several times and it never worked; eventually as the reputation of the house and the spirit spread across London, a hunter offered his services to deal with the spirit."
"He didn't even try to exorcise the spirit; instead he found some medieval incantation which bound the spirit to an object, in this case his ring." Bobby continued, "that trapped the spirit, bound it to wherever the ring was and it was never seen at Number Fifty again."
"This was in 1907?" Sam asked; "when the haunting stopped, according to the legend."
"That's right." Bobby agreed with a nod.
"The owner of the house locked the ring away in a safety deposit box, he willed it down to his son who willed it down to his son, and the subsequent generations of the family, knowing how dangerous the spirit was kept it a heavily guarded secret, under secure lock and key.
Bobby shrugged, "unfortunately the latest generation of the family got some different ideas about uses for the spirit." He glanced across at Sam again, "One Mister Frank Nightingale, small time crook, bit part player on the London organised crime scene and thoroughly nasty piece of work."
Sam shook his head, "but this is seriously heavy duty stuff; how would he have the know-how to understand a thing like that?"
"He doesn't;" Bobby replied, "after his father died four years ago, and he took ownership of the ring, he teamed up with a London-based hunter who happens to be a descendent of the hunter who originally bound the spirit back in 1907."
"So," Sam put all the pieces together, "the two of them are travelling around using the spirit as a lethal weapon to kill the poor bastards they then go on to rob."
"Bingo!" Bobby agreed; "never staying in one place long enough to get caught".
He continued, "anyway, I got wind of all this through the hunters' network, and I enlisted an acquaintance with, uh, certain appropriate skills to acquire the ring.
Sam shook his head and managed a sly smile; "you stole it from them?"
Bobby cleared his throat; "I took it to London to find out more about the lore, mainly how to dispose of it; see, the ring can't be destroyed; that would release the spirit."
He hesitated, "that was until I spoke to you, and you told me about Dean."
Sam glanced across at Bobby and for the first time noticed the thick, plain gold band around the middle finger of this right hand.
"Is that …?"
Bobby nodded, "uh, yeah. Doesn't look much, does it?"
Sam's breath hitched; "it's not gonna … uh, you know …?"
Bobby shook his head, "No, I gotta read the unbinding incantation to release it".
"Oh okay," Sam muttered nervously, "just, um, don't - okay?"
"Oh, don't you worry about that!" Bobby smiled.
They both turned abruptly on hearing Sam's cellphone ring.
"Well, that didn't take long!" Bobby muttered, picking it up and pressing the answer key.
Chapter 7 here