It wasn't anything special; standing there on the outskirts of town, alongside a parade of new trading units which were butted up alongside its crumbling exterior. It had once been the headquarters of the Kensington and County Gazette before the newspaper had gone out of business some ten years previously.
The building was currently the focus of much disquiet in the town, and that was how Sam and Bobby's casual enquiries had led them to this place.
An eyesore, the proud people of Kensington said; a blot on the landscape; an insult to their perfectly manicured lawns and colour co-ordinated windchimes.
The Manager of the nearby Post Office, 'Marjorie', with her blue rinse and startlingly garish lipstick that reminded Sam of that pink stuff the doctor gives you when your burger has disagreed with you, had explained huffily to the well-dressed strangers - visiting town planners looking for a suitable location for new civic offices - that there had been much interest when an unknown organisation from out of town had purchased the site sometime over a year ago.
No-one in the town knew who it was or what they did, and the organisation itself kept its own counsel; no mean feat in a small town.
The realtors gave nothing away, having been silenced by legal confidentiality contracts; but townsfolk were, at first, prepared to give the new occupants the benefit of the doubt despite rumours abounding of the need for secrecy being a cover for the manufacture of biological weapons, or the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.
The population of Kensington had all hoped that whoever had purchased the plot would herald a new era for the ramshackle site; that it would be smartened up, or better still, demolished and replaced with something far more respectable, in keeping with such a classy neighborhood. However, despite the mysterious vanloads of equipment being taken out and delivered in the early days of its current occupancy, here it was a year later, still as dilapidated as the day upon which it had been purchased.
Marjorie was clearly far more concerned about her neighbours' lack of pride in their premises than their rumoured capability of starting a cholera epidemic.
Sam and Bobby didn't share Marjorie's concern about cosmetic matters at all; they were far more interested in structural matters.
The building had been both office and printing plant for the newspaper which, in its seventies and eighties heyday, had boasted a circulation well into six figures.
The office building was not huge. It stood just two stories high on a footprint not much bigger than the average family home, but both men knew that what they could see would be only the tip if the proverbial iceberg. Old-style mechanical newspaper printing presses were massive, loud, dirty and very, very heavy.
Which is why they were nearly always located in basements - very large basements.
That basement would be Sam and Bobby's next stop.
"How will this be dangerous for me?" Dean asked curiously.
"This incantation is supposed to work by healing a gravely sick or injured person by infusing them with the life force of a healthy person," Tom explained rapidly, his eyes flicking nervously across to Jimmy's motionless body with virtually every word he spoke; "but here's the catch, it'll only work between a close blood tie – between siblings or between parent and child."
Dean shrugged; "well me an' Jimmy, we're kinda brothers."
"Yes, but not in the strict sense of the word," Tom replied; "I don't know if it'd work under these circumstances."
"You said yourself, we're like identical twins," Dean snapped; "we've gotta try it, Tom, we'll never know otherwise."
"Dean, this is serious stuff," Tom countered, "it was only ever used as a very last resort, on the most exalted and highest-ranking members of a tribe because very often, the strain of the healing would kill the other person, the brother or son or whoever was used as the source of life; it simply drained the life out of them. That's why it was so rarely used - what's the point in saving a king by killing his son? You've screwed the line of succession either way."
"But they don't always die?" Dean prompted impatiently.
Tom shrugged; "I guess not – I don't know. I only read about this in a journal that was bequeathed to me by an old hunter years ago. Even he wasn't writing from first-hand experience."
Dean nodded. "We'll just have to take the chance; look at him," he pointed to Jimmy; "we can't - I can't - just stand here with my thumb up my ass and let him die".
Both men turned to look down at Jimmy's still form. Grey-faced and inert, Jimmy was the very image of life lost, only the barely-perceptible, laboured rise and fall of his chest indicated otherwise.
"Dean, I really don't like this," Tom groaned, pulling in a deep breath as he spoke.
"So you keep saying," Dean replied flatly; "tell me what I need to do."
"Have you got any idea what Sam and Bobby will do to me if this goes to crap?" Tom pleaded.
Dean shot the older man a wry smile; "they know what a reckless asshole I am, they won't blame you."
Tom absently brushed the back of a hand over Jimmy's forehead, wincing at how cold it already felt; "we need to get that journal," he observed with a deep sigh after what seemed like forever. "Go to my office, it's on the bookshelf; a really old black leather book with a devil’s trap embossed on the spine; I'll stay here with Jimmy."
Dean nodded smartly and disappeared through the open door before Tom had a chance to change his mind.
Dropping heavily into the chair beside the couch, Tom heard Dean's footsteps receding urgently up the stairs. He rested a hand on Jimmy's shoulder, a gentle squeeze as a gesture of unspoken comfort, and was disappointed but not surprised when there was no response. His heart clenched when he thought about this poor kid. So lost, so confused; without a purpose or a place in the world, trying so hard to understand the world around him, and where he fitted into it.
He couldn't condone what those bastards had done to Dean, nor could he even begin to forgive the way they'd treated Jimmy; but a small part of him, his inner scientist, had to hand it to them; they had truly created a marvel.
The more he had come to know Jimmy, the more he knew that when he had initially described Jimmy as Dean in his purest form, he was completely right. Jimmy was Dean as he would have been before the life he was forced to lead hardened him; trusting, inquisitive, thoughtful and compassionate. All those close to Dean knew that he possessed all those qualities and more besides, but the hunters' life had hidden them deep, crushing them under a brusque and watchful shell of steel.
But aside from that, they had also somehow managed to imbue Jimmy with some life skills. He knew how to function on a basic level, he could even talk, and not just talk, but converse - to a degree at least.
Jimmy was a miracle, a wonderful, beautiful miracle; arising, as do many miracles, out of the worst of circumstances.
As Tom looked down into Jimmy's slack, lifeless face, he knew that he was screwed. There was nothing he wouldn't do to save this young man. He just wished with every atom of his being that he didn't have to risk Dean's life to do so.