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
Someone - or something - is scaring people to death in New York; Bobby's on the case, but opinion is divided on whether or not he needs the Winchesters' help.But those boys; they just won't take no for an answer …
Things moved quickly once Bobby had spoken to Nightingale; the chill in the car during the brief conversation had been palpable; unspoken yet undeniable hatred on both sides. Bobby, however, still hadn't been too proud to beg.
"Where's the boy? C'mon it's nothing to do with him, tell us where he is. You can have the damn ring. Just tell us where he is, please."
The deal was, no ring; no Dean.
That's how Sam found himself standing, the following morning, outside a derelict factory about a million miles from anywhere. Looking up at the crumbling grime-darkened walls and the weathered bunting of shattered glass which hung from rotting window frames; he reflected that even the graffiti artists couldn't be bothered coming out this far.
The place looked as sad and broken and lonely as Sam felt without his brother.
"You okay Sam?"
Sam blinked back tears, turning to see Bobby walking up behind him, his fists thrust into his jacket pockets against the cold.
"Uh, not really …" he sighed, "Can't shake this feeling; something bad, real bad is gonna happen."
Bobby clapped him on the shoulder. "I'm gonna offload this ring and you're gonna get Dean back." Bobby gave Sam a watery smile, "that's all that's gonna happen."
"'WE'RE gonna get Dean," Sam corrected, hesitating as he guessed Bobby wasn't expecting to survive this showdown.
"Bobby …" Sam pleaded; but Bobby had already marched up to the building, heavy boots crunching over layers of broken roofing slates and glass, and was dragging open a rusty door hanging off one hinge.
Sam followed Bobby inside, unable to shake the feeling of despair in his gut, hopeless, terrible despair. Gnawing away at him, destroying him
When they had left the motel room he had been all ready for a fight, ready to rip the faces off the bastards who had Dean. Now he felt like all he could do was lay down and die, the feeling had intensified the closer they had got to this awful place.
They had barely stepped inside when two figures emerged from the shadows. The shorter of the two, a balding, wiry man with beady, darting eyes who looked almost comically like a ferret was holding a gun pointed at Bobby's head.
The second man; Nightingale, Sam assumed, was almost twice the size of his oppo, sharp dressed and oozing self-confidence. This man was clearly not used to hearing the word, 'no'.
"Well, well, well;" Nightingale glanced dismissively at Sam then turned, smiling coldly at Bobby; "the organ grinder's brought his monkey."
Bobby faced the two men and their gun, his tired eyes burning with loathing. "I've got the ring, where's Dean?"
"Oh Dean;" Nightingale smirked; "he was no bleedin' help to us you know." He sighed dramatically, "wouldn't say where you were, nothing we did could get him to talk." He shrugged, "I suppose it's true what they say; no sense, no feeling."
Sam's face fell into a grimace of fury, "he's loyal to the people he loves; it's not something I'd expect you to ever understand."
Bobby spoke up abruptly before Sam's fragile grip on his anger spilled over into an incident that would jeopardise Dean's rescue. "Where is he?" he asked again.
Nightingale ignored him; "C'mon, you thieving old sod; hand it over. Ring first; then Dean."
Bobby bit his lip, shakily twisting the gold band off his finger, and threw it to the ground in front of the two men, he stepped back holding his hands aloft, his eyes not moving from the gun that the rodent man was still waving gleefully in his direction.
"Now where the hell is Dean?" He growled.
"Oh, he's here," Nightingale replied calmly, smirking as Sam visibly flinched at his words.
"Well, excuse me for not trusting you," Bobby snorted, "how do I know you're not lying?"
Nightingale crouched to pick up the ring and glanced up at Bobby; "given that I'm not the one handing back stolen goods, I don't think you're in any position to lecture me about trust!"
Sam suddenly gasped, the three other men turned to him, rodent face nervously trained his gun in Sam's direction.
"He's not lying; Dean's here;" he stared at Bobby, "that's what I can feel, that despair, that hopelessness, that pain … it's not me; it's him." His eyes filled with tears, "he's here, Bobby and he's feeling all those terrible things for real."
Bobby stared open mouthed at Sam; he knew the brothers' bond was close, but he never expected this. He smiled gently at Sam before turning back to the two men, his eyes narrowing with anger; "right, you've got what you friggin' want, now quit assin' around and tell us where Dean is."
"Not so fast," Nightingale shook his head with an exasperated sigh; "you see, I'm not going to press charges regarding your theft from me, but I don't think it should go unpunished either."
The rodent sniggered, lowering his gun.
Sam's breath hitched and he took a step towards Bobby; Bobby held his hand up to stop him.
"Fine," Bobby stated flatly, "punish me, but the boy goes – gets his brother."
"Bobby, no …" Sam gasped.
"Sorry, the 'boy's brother is part of the problem." Nightingale sighed in mock regret, "you see, the obstinate bastard wouldn't co-operate; made life difficult for us." He smiled horribly, "Sorry, but 'the boy' is as much a part of this as you are."
Nightingale held the ring up between his thumb and forefinger and began to speak slowly, quietly as his sneering partner looked on.
oufth bh'ast besthud
d'och il d'yaen veh
As he finished speaking, he looked up to Bobby with a twisted smirk. Bobby took a stumbling step backwards, his face a mask of horror, and grasped Sam's wrist as a pall of brown mist began to form, hovering between them.
Sam stared wide-eyed at Bobby, "Bobby, what … what's goin' on?"
"Druidic chant, Singer" Ferret Face smirked, "goes way back further than the medieval stuff we heard you was pokin' around in," he grinned. Sam couldn't help but notice even his front teeth were long and pointed. The man was clearly the love child of a moron and a rat.
Bobby tightened his grip on Sam's wrist and his horror struck face fell into a smirk. Reaching down into the collar of his shirt, he pulled out a long chain with a thick gold ring hanging on the end of it.
"Yeah, I know" he stated quietly, "and if you were any kind of decent hunter and not the festering sewer of rat's piss that you are, you would know it doesn't matter whose mouth the words come out of." His voice was thick with satisfaction; "whoever holds the ring controls the spirit."
The two men looked in abject horror at the fake ring in Nightingale's hand, and back up to Bobby, "you scheming bastard, Singer." Ferret Face raised his gun, squinting through the mist, but his hand was shaking too much to take a realistic aim.
They stumbled backwards, slamming against the wall as the mud-coloured mist began to form thicker and thicker, swirling into a rippling semi-solid column, filling the building's empty space with a keening desolate moan and a stomach churning stench.
"Where's Dean?" Bobby asked calmly, staring at the two cowering figures. "Tell me where he is and I'll call it off."
Nightingale was already on his ass, pinned against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest, his pallid face yawning a silent cry of unimaginable terror. Rodent had managed to scurry three strides before falling to his knees, sobbing pathetically as he balled up into a foetal position.
"Basement…" screamed Nightingale, curling up smaller and smaller behind twitching, flapping arms as the putrid, shapeless, oozing mist bore down on him, "In the basement;" he cried, "JESUS CHRIST, SINGER, PLEASE - CALL IT OFF."
Sam stood, in open mouthed shock as he watched the two men cower, insensible with terror on the floor. Rat Face had already pissed himself, and Nightingale's hair was turning grey at the temples.
"Basement? You sure?" goaded Bobby.
"YES;" screamed Nightingale; "Yes, staircase o-over there, the f-first door; for the love of God, Singer … CALL IT OFF."
Bobby stood impassionately watching the two men as they unravelled into incoherent, terror-stricken madness. Sam stood beside him, paralysed in horrified fascination at the scene unfolding before him.
Eventually, Bobby spoke; there was a coldness and a malice in his voice Sam had never heard before. "Go to hell you stinking pond scum," he muttered calmly, "go to hell and rot there. No one hurts my boys."
The two men convulsed in their death agonies, their faces frozen for eternity into a terror-stricken rictus as their hearts finally gave out. The spirit's dismal moan filled the empty building, a keening wail filled with misery and sickness; it's foul, shapeless brown mist swirling and boiling, dripping putrid ichor as it drifted slowly over the two contorted, twisted corpses.
Eventually Bobby muttered a short incantation under his breath and the mist slowly dissipated leaving Bobby and Sam standing, shaking wildly, staring at the two lifeless shells.
Bobby released Sam's wrist; "Sorry son, I had to do that; holding you made you an extension of me. If I'd let go, it would have come after you too."
Sam looked back at Bobby, still panting, the shock still evident on his face. He nodded mutely.
Almost immediately, both men snapped back into their purpose, and set off running the length of the building, reaching the rusty metal staircase pointed out by Nightingale, leaping down it in three strides.
"He's here," gasped Sam pointing to another metal door ahead of them, "I can feel him, he's in there … God Bobby, he's so weak, so scared."
Bobby slammed into the door, putting his whole weight behind his shoulder into pushing the unyielding metal. It opened slowly with a rusty squeal and both men stumbled through it into the unlit room recoiling at the heavy odour of fear and suffering that hung in the moist air. A weak shaft of light filtered across the room from a narrow vent at ceiling level, illuminating the figure within.
Sam dashed frantically across the room, and his shaking hands cradled the face he had been longing to see for four days.
Chapter 8 here