Rating: R for language and violence
Spoilers: It takes place after "Nightmare" and before "Shadows" so anything up to there is fair game.
Summary: Sam and Dean have to figure out what's causing all the bodies buried in an small town cemetery to suddenly come alive again.
These chapters are pretty short, but that means I'm getting them out faster. :-)
“It’s the same every night.”
Sam watched as Joshua drained a fourth of his coffee cup and set it back down again. Joshua brought a hand up and rubbed at his eyes, the creases of old age sagging at the corners of his face as he massaged his temples. Sam looked at him. Really looked at him. Joshua was looking tired. In more ways than one. He looked tired the same way John did. It was the life they led. It aged you, quicker than anything. Sam knew first hand. He’d seen the way it had done the same to his family, to him.
Although, Sam knew some of the tiredness had to be from the lack of sleep they’d been getting lately. Last night, it had been hard to fall asleep, at least for him anyway. He didn’t know about Joshua, but he knew that their little romp in the graveyard didn’t seem to effect his brother’s sleeping habits. They’d gotten back to the motel and Dean had zonked out before Sam was even done showering. It always amazed Sam the way his brother could just put stuff to the side, put his mind on hold for a while and just let go. Sam’s mind was always moving, always racing. Racing minds made for long nights.
Luckily, Sam had found out quickly that the Ma and Pa diner here in Oak Springs had wonderful coffee. Some hazel flavored stuff that didn’t really taste at all like hazel, but was way better than the sludge they normally got in small towns like this. Sam was nursing his second cup already and Joshua had just started his third. They’d all polished off their eggs and bacon and were ready to get back down to business.
“They always just stop like that?” Dean asked, awake, alert, and unfairly refreshed. Sam glowered at him out of the corner of his eye. “Nothing ever comes up? No Night of the Living Dead reenactments?”
Joshua nodded. “None so far,” he replied. “Though they’re getting more intense every night I’m here. A week ago, I would have mistaken it for a strong gust of wind. But you saw last night, that was no wind.”
“So you think there’s something reanimating all the corpses in the graveyard?” Sam asked quietly, very aware that there were other people in this diner. But for the most part, all of them seemed to be minding their own business. Except for the pretty waitress who had been eyeing Dean since the moment they’d walked through the door. Typical.
“Maybe,” Joshua acknowledged. “But I never heard of anything like that. That ringing only lasted half a minute, at most. Short-term reanimation? Doesn’t make a damn lick of sense.”
Sam rang a hand through his unruly hair and leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table, thinking. He’d never heard of anything like it before. Reanimation was a tricky thing. There were a multitude of nasty creatures or spells that could bring back a corpse. He looked up at the older hunter. “And you think that has something to do with the killings.” It was more of a statement than a question.
“Too much of a coincidence if you ask me,” Joshua said. He gave a gruff laugh. “’Sides, I don’t want to think about if we have to deal with two things at once. Never been good at multi-tasking.”
Dean gave a wry laugh. “Yeah, Dad told me about Vegas.”
Joshua’s face lit up at the comment and Sam felt a similar smile creep onto his own face. He looked between Joshua and his brother, watching the two of them converse, share jokes, laugh and reminisce. It brought on a pang of guilt in Sam, though he couldn’t quite place why or where it was coming from. Maybe it was because he felt he should be a part of these inside jokes, of the knowledge of past hunts and hunter stories. But leaving for college had seen that he missed out in that “coming of age” in the hunter world. He was young when he left, still a kid to his father, his brother, and every one of the other hunters he knew. Of course they wouldn’t share these type of stories to a kid, to someone impressionable. If Sam would have stuck around, maybe, and that’s a big maybe, he would have been treated like an adult. Maybe he could have been a part of the club instead of a soldier.
“Vegas shall never be mentioned again,” Joshua said, his voice stern but the gleam was there in his eyes to show that whatever had happened in Vegas wasn’t too bad to not get a laugh out of.
Dean snorted. He swatted Sam’s arm and said, “Don’t ever take Joshua on a job in Sin City. He gets distracted by all the pretty lights.”
Joshua pointed a finger at Dean. “Lights were not my weakness,” he said, waggling his eyebrows. “I can’t help it if they put nudie pictures on every street corner. It throws my game off.”
Sam rolled his eyes as Dean said, “It happens to the best of us.”
“Can we stay focused, here?” Sam asked, looking pointedly at both of them. They both grinned wildly. God, it was like babysitting teenagers. “So 1978, there were three teenagers killed. I think we should start there. Find out what they were doing over here if they lived across state.”
“If they lived in Bethlehem, there might still be some people around there who remember them,” Joshua agreed, nodding his head. “Good idea, boy. I knew there was a reason I called you.” Sam snorted. “You boys go check that out.”
“What are you gonna do?” Dean asked as Sam slid out of the booth and stood up. Dean scooted to follow, but glanced at Joshua for a response.
Joshua grinned. “Town Hall across the street there holds all the records for this town,” he said, nodding his head towards the window. “I’m gonna see if I can’t find any fun facts about that lovely little graveyard.” The three of them walked outside, walking together towards their respective vehicles. Joshua came up beside Dean. “So Sam tells me that guy I sent you to go see in Nebraska, that gig went south, huh?”
Sam cringed and he tried to look nonchalant as he glanced at his brother. Dean was rigid, but kept it mostly out of his face. He looked passive, which because Sam knew him, he knew it meant that the question struck a nerve. Sam didn’t think that any topic dealing with faith healers or reapers would ever not strike a nerve in his brother. Sam wondered what Dean would say. They didn’t talk much about it. Actually, that had hardly talked at all about it. After Layla had said goodbye to Dean, his brother had closed up for a while. He’d been completely silent for about a hundred miles before he’d started resembling the Dean Sam knew again. It always scared Sam when something effected Dean so deeply like that. But his brother had moved on. He hadn’t gotten over it, he probably never would, but he’d moved on.
“Yeah,” Dean said, his voice hushed. “Roy was…” Dean licked his lips and Sam wondered if maybe he should jump in. But he didn’t get the opportunity. “Roy’s a good man. His wife was the one messing with things that shouldn’t be messed with.”
“So it wasn’t an act of God?” Joshua asked. Sam frowned. There was something in his voice. Something that Sam recognized in John’s voice a lot. That hint that he already knew the answer to the question he just asked. That he’d always known the answer. Sam studied the man closely.
Dean shook his head. “No. She was using necromancy to control a reaper.”
Joshua nodded knowingly. “I thought it might have been something like that.” Sam frowned deeper and noticed that his brother had joined him. They’d all stopped walking and stood on the sidewalk. Joshua smiled at them, not a fake smile, not a forced one, just a smile, a true smile. “I shoulda told you boys, but I’m not apologizing. Sam wanted a way to save your life, I gave him one. Don’t hold that against me, Dean. You’re alive, let’s leave it at that.”
Sam swallowed hard. He watched his brother chew the side of his cheek, studying Joshua for a moment. Sam couldn’t tell if Dean was angry, upset, or just contemplative. He wasn’t sure how he would feel either, after everything. He wouldn’t be surprised at any emotion Dean held towards the events.
“Well,” Dean said at last, the grin slowly spreading across his lips again. “Just don’t expect a thank you any time soon.”
Joshua laughed, full and heavy and it spread to Dean, who chuckled along with him. Sam just watched, as if from a distance, worry still etched on his face, but it was already starting to fade. “I never do,” Joshua told him, clapping Dean on the shoulder and then looking pointedly at Sam. “Now, you’ve got some geezers to track down.”
“Geezers?” Dean asked, pulling the keys to the Impala out of his jacket and walking towards his car. He looked over his shoulder at Joshua, who was crossing the street. “They’re probably not any older than you.”
Joshua turned around, walking backwards, and he held his hands to his chest. “Young at heart. I’m still a hormonal fifteen year old.”
“Two peas in a pod,” Sam muttered as he climbed into the car.
“Aw, Sammy,” Dean said, climbing in and starting the engine. “You’re not hormonal, just broody.”
Sam turned his head to glare at Dean. “Funny.”
Go to Chapter Four