Title: Border Song
Fandom: Fusion between Supernatural and How to Train Your Dragon (give it a chance people)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, HTTYD, psychic abilities, the Impala, a cult , or dragons of any sort (except one stuffed Nadder that if any one asks is my son's). The places mentioned exist on maps but that's about it. Anything information about them or characters mentioned is all coincidental.
AN: This had been lurking on my hard drive since November NaNo and it's either post it or move on. This all started out talking about what kind of dragons me and my son would own if they were real. Then I thought about the types of dragons other people/characters would have and then this idea came out...
Synopsis: It started out like any other case, Sam having visions and a woman murdered in her own home. They were still trying to find their rhythm even a month after Sam's possession. But this really isn't a story about Sam. It's the story about his brother Dean. Dean and dragons and valkyries and how trying to change the future doesn't usually work out as planned.
It started out like Lawrence, not that either of them had made the connection at the time. Sam had assumed it was a premonition about one of the psychic kids like Max or Andy or Ava. They had written off the Lawrence thing as a one-time deal. One could have even assumed with Lawrence the psychic kid in question was Sam himself.
Every time his brother had one of these visions they had chased them across the country. The worst part was usually nothing Dean could do. He remembered to stock up on Excedrin and to keep an extra couple of grocery bags stuffed under the seats for the aftermath but he was powerless to do anything for his brother. The only thing he could do for his little brother was to try to be himself.
“Sam,” Dean asked without opening his eyes. “Will you get your ass back to bed? It is way too early to be up.”
“In a minute,” he said distractedly, not even pausing typing on the laptop, keys clicking in the almost darkness. The monitor's light added a blue cast to the room, giving Dean enough illumination to see Sam wince every so often as the post-vision head spiked through his little brother's skull. At least he wasn't utilizing one of the grocery bags kept specially for nausea this time. Giving up sleep as a lost cause, he dragged himself out of worn sheets to wander into the equally decrepit bathroom to start his day.
By the time he took care of business and wet down a washcloth, Sam shutdown the laptop and moved to curl up on his own bed. Dean snagged a bottle of water off the kitchenette table as he passes and proceeded to push more pain pills, also snagged from the table, and the water into his brother. He sat down on the bed next to Sam and laid the damp washcloth over his brother's eyes. Sam moved a little closer, a hand curling around Deans knee, flexing sporadically with the pain.
“It was a little clearer this time,” Sam croaked out, eyes still covered by the sort-of white washcloth. “It's definitely the same woman, middle aged. Someone is behind her and she doesn't see them. They kill her in her own house.”
Distress colored his voice and Dean found himself rubbing Sam's neck in a poor attempt at comfort. Sam leaned into the touch and sighed. He didn't want to push Sam but this was the third vision in as many days. So far they had only happened at night but he worried that they would escalate, overtaking the waking hours as well.
“Any clues this time where she is?”
“Yeah,” he said, voice fainter. “Calendar on the wall, local looking thing. Mayville Comets. I looked it up. It's a University in North Dakota.”
“That's not too far from here,” Dean mused out loud. “Are you going to be good enough for a car ride in the morning?”
“Doesn't matter,” he mutters, pushing the washcloth up his forehead to look at him. “We need to go. There haven't been any deaths yet so we might have a chance this time.”
'Might' was a very small possibility since they had limited success in the past in changing Sam's visions. In the end Dean pushed the washcloth back over Sam's face. He tried to stand but Sam clutched harder at Dean's leg. Dean sat back down.
“I know that there is a lot of you but you're going to have to slide over if you want me to stay.” Immediately his brother slide over and Dean resigned himself to spending the rest of the night, as short as it was, being a human security blanket. He'd never admit it out loud but he wouldn't have slept any better if he had stayed in his own bed and let Sam try to deal by himself.
“You know, it usually take a couple of more beers to get me into bed with someone as ugly as you,” he said as he settled down under the blankets next to Sam. He took the punch to the arm like a man no matter what Sam said the next morning.
So it started out like Lawrence with Sam having the same dream over and over. He explained over breakfast that this particular dream wasn't as sharp as his normal visions, the colors faded and blending, the message lost in the fog of unconsciousness. Sam initially wrote it off as a recurring dream, not telling Dean until the headaches started, until he couldn't close his eyes without seeing the woman dying over and over. The sun barely cleared the horizon by the time they left St. Paul and headed towards North Dakota, Dean driving while Sam rode shotgun.
“So what do we know?” he asked his little brother, fingers drumming along the steering wheel.
“She's alone in a house. She's working on something hanging from a wooden frame like we saw at that fair in Atchinson, Kansas. Someone grabs black yarn off of a table behind the woman and strangles her with it. There's a calendar on the wall for the Mayville Comets like I told you but I can't see anything else.”
“So basically, we know nothing?” Dean said. Glancing over he saw that the comment earned him a bitchface that was probably a five or six on the scale of bitchiness.
“We have a place and a name this time,” Sam ground out, face still twisted.
“You said it was 'Martha'. Such an unusual and unique name. How many hits did you get with that?”
“Fourteen in the city, more if I add in the surrounding townships,” Sam admitted. He slouched lower on the Impala's bench seat. Dean took pity on him and passed over his own sunglasses to his brother. The day remained cloudy enough that he could live without them but Sam still winced at light and loud noises. The lingering headaches also meant that Zeppelin IV played softly in the background instead of thumping loudly through the speakers.
“So we get to town, hit up the University to find out the local lore and read the local papers. Sounds like a thrilling time.” He resisted the urge to turn up the volume and continued to head towards Mayville, North Dakota. “Hey, when we're done we should swing by Bobby's. He was talking about some sort of weekend project he wouldn't mind help with. You can get your geek on with his books and I can tune up my baby at the same time.”
“A break would be nice,” Sam admitted. “Though it wouldn't kill you to not complain about research for once.”
“Says you,” he shoots back before giving into the urge and turning up the volume just a little. Sam just sighed and settled further down into his seat and soon his snores rumbled underneath 'When the Levee Breaks' as they headed west towards their newest case.
The University and the local library ended up being a total bust bust. They had stopped at the Haley's Comet Inn on the highway leading towards the town. It wasn't anywhere near the top twenty gaudiest rooms they ever stayed in but the glow in the dark stars glued to the dark blue wallpaper added to the cheesy air but easy to ignore and the Hubble Telescope pictures in the bathroom were almost pretty to look at while taking a piss. They had spent the day going through the history of the town, researching the background and supernatural history. Besides a couple of spirits that Bobby had wasted about ten years ago here, the town was a dead zone.
“Well, that was a complete waste of time,” Sam admitted after they got back from supper at a local bar. Dean agreed as he threw his jacket on the end of the bed.
“So now what?”
“Maybe we can look downtown tomorrow," Sam suggested. "The woman was making something and there was a bunch of yarn and stuff everywhere. Maybe she sells it in one of the local stores.”
“We've got nothing else better to do,” Dean grumbled. “I guess we can indulge your shopping fetish, Samantha.” Shedding his over shirt and walking past Sam towards the bathroom.
Something crawled down his spine and raised the metaphysical hairs on the back of his neck. It made him stop for no reason, an arm still in one of the sleeves. Dean turned around in time to catch Sam as he fell, hands clutching his head.
Cue vision during waking hours. He hated when a case escalated like this.
The trembles racked Sammy's large frame and all Dean could do was hold him, snagging the small garbage can with his foot in time to kick it within Sam's reach. His brother grabbed it at the same time as the police scanner went off, high pitched notes trilling and catching his attention.
“Traill County Dispatch to Traill Sheriffs. You are needed at 427 West Jefferson Road. Reports of a woman found in the house...” The rest faded out, blocked out by the sounds of retching from his brother.
“Martha Lodbrok,” Sam read out loud from the local news paper the next morning over breakfast. “Divorced. Mother of two, both currently attending colleges on the other side of the state. Worked from home as a medical transcriptionist and knitted clothing and wove rugs in her spare time as a side business.”
He held up the paper with the front page displaying a picture of the murdered woman in front of a large weaving loom.
“That her?” Dean asked needlessly around a mouthful of eggs.
“Yeah,” Sam said softly as he folded up the paper neatly for the next patron. “So now the big question.”
“Who killed her?” Dean pronounced, swallowing the eggs before drowning them in lukewarm coffee.
“Well, that too," his brother agreed. "I was more thinking how she was connected to the yellow eyed demon.” Sam laid the paper back on the table, tapping a pen thoughtfully as he reread the article.
"How do you figure that the bastard's connected to this?" Dean demanded as he stole the paper and opened it again in a crunch of crumpled newsprint on purpose. Sam glared at him, tapping his pen a little faster.
"Every time I've had a vision, it's all led back to him. I'd like to figure out the connection before it comes to bit us in the ass."
Sam stood up, leaving his mostly uneaten breakfast and the bill behind as he stalked out of the diner. Dean followed after stealing Sam's untouched bacon and paying at the register, flirting with the waitress behind the register out of habit before he followed. They had an exciting day of bluffing into police records ahead of them and maybe the bacon, and the girl's smile, would tide him over.
Dean considered casing houses at night as a necessary evil, a part of the job that caused them some trouble in the past. Normally breaking and entering didn't bother him but something about this particular house set him on edge. Each room stood magazine picture neat, clean and sophisticatedly decorated, knit afghans laid artfully on couches and chairs that could only be the victim's creations. The smell of scented candles wafted up from various spots, luring him into a false sense of peace. The artwork all evoked the same feels and pictures lined shelves and walls chronicling the life of a woman and two kids as they grew up added to the surreality.
As a murder scene it ranked near the top of the cleanest scenes Dean ever dealt with. The doors and windows remained undamaged, nothing knocked over, no traces of sulfur or secretions or goo left by the monster of the week. Even the room at the back of the house where the murder occurred sat barely touched. Small white placards decorated surfaces but otherwise if a person didn't know that a murder occurred in that very room, there were no clues hinting at one committed, no signs of a struggle, not a single drop of blood on the floor or anything sinister left behind.
Dean poked at various knickknacks on shelves as Sam made his way to the small desk covered in magazines and envelopes.
After a brief search of the shelves, Dean noticed the lack of small sounds of his brother's own search. He looked up to see that Sam staring at the large loom taking up one wall with the half finished piece still hanging from the frame, skeins of wool waiting neatly nearby for their weaver to return. Dean walked up next to him and stared as well but nothing suspicious jumped out at him. Sam stood entranced by the woven threads of white and red and orange.
“So what are we looking at?” he prompted. His brother startled and looked away from the unfinished project for the first time.
“I don't...nothing.” Sam shook his head, looking bewildered. “I'm just tired, dude.” He deliberately turned his back to the loom and handed over a flyer. “Found this in the junk mail on the desk. Some sort of new age group trying to recruit new members. There's a personal letter attached saying that she would be a welcome member.”
“The Assembly of Seekers,” Dean read out loud as he looked over the flyer. “You think this is linked to her murder?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he shrugged uneasy.
“You guess," Dean repeated. "Is this a shining thing or an educated guess thing?”
Sam shrugged again, not answering the question. “Either way it means we get to do your favorite thing.”
“Research," he grumbled as he lead the way out.
“So no demons, no mysterious disappearances before this, no history to the house since the freakin' thing was built in the middle of old farm land,” he ranted as Sam typed idly on the laptop hours later while they sat in their motel room. “This cult is our only lead so why the hell haven't we gone to check it out yet?”
“Because they don't announce the locations of their meetings until an hour or so before they are supposed to start.”
“And you know this how?” Dean questioned, descending on his brother.
“It's all on here,” he said, spinning the laptop around. It displayed a personal blog, all eye-watering bright colors and pictures and the type of font supposed to look like handwriting but just made the text harder to read.
“This woman, searcheroftruth92, talks a lot about the group," Sam explained while Dean leaned over his shoulder to see the screen. "Most of it is a rehash of the mission statement from The Assembly's website but her last entry is interesting. 'Tonight we will receive the gifts of the goddess and finally receive the Truth.' It goes on saying that the chosen will be blessed with the sight.”
Dean felt his eyebrows raise at the statement. “You want to bet they're going to get a jump start on that with our murdered woman's blood?”
“No bet there. I was also able to pull up a hell of a lot more information on the Assembly of Seekers. They were founded a couple years ago by a Daren W Merrill. I guess he stresses giving up all earthly bonds to discover self-truth and the idea of 'The Truth of the Universe'.”
“The Truth,” Dean repeated, injecting as much smarmy humor as he could. “As in how many lonely housewives he can con into his group?”
Sam wrinkled his nose in disgust but even he couldn't deny that a good portion of the website was aimed at a female demographic.
“Did you notice the background of the website?” his brother asked instead of commenting on Dean's last statement.
“What about it,” Dean asked as he took a swig of beer.
“The basis is the 'Symbol of Ameth' but the writing's been altered, something's changed. There are some symbols that look familiar, almost like part of the Theban Alphabet,” Sam said, fingers back to tapping sporadically. Dean waited for his brother to work his own brand of magic...
Dean reached over to the nightstand and snagged Dad's journal. He flipped through the pages, searching for one of the creased pages, one with a coffee stain on the corner.
“Some of those symbols aren't Wiccan though.” Dean flipped to the corresponding page, the alphabet painstakingly copied in heavy black ink. Many of the symbols matched, but some didn't, twisted a little too much and looking a little too sinister to be just random. They almost looked like...
“Binding symbols,” they said at the same time, both seeking the other one out.
“Witches?” Sam asked. The had limited experience with witches, their Dad keeping them far from those types of cases in the past.
“I'd bet good money on it,” Dean finally said, fingers tapping on the fake veneer of the table. I'm also willing to bet they're going to use that woman's blood in some spell.”
“You up for some party crashing?” Sam asked as he snapped down the top of the computer and stood to grab his coat.
“With a bunch of desperate housewives? I'm in.”
It took about twenty minutes heading south out of town along haphazardly plowed roads, slick with the half melted snow from the warm spell the region had fallen under for the past four days. The defroster blasted at max, fighting a loosing battle with the moisture fogging up the windshield as unseasonal rain misted in the air. They headed towards the meeting spot, an old farm far from any neighbors and surrounded by fallow fields that produced corn and hay months ago. They could see the hulking shapes of round hay bales left in one abandoned field as they drove though the darkening evening. Dean stopped a half a mile from the farm, pulling far enough off the road that no one should notice a black car hidden by evergreens and slumbering oaks.
“So what's the plan?” Sam asked as he took a flashlight from the depths of their makeshift weapons locker.
“Go in and interrupt the ritual,” Dean said with absolute finality as he pulled a couple spare clips to put in his jacket.
“Dude, I figured that about ten minutes after we decided that a witch or an entire freaking coven was behind everything. I'm talking about sneaking in or going in guns blazing.”
They stood in front of the open trunk, checking guns. Dean reached towards the back and pulled out the taser guns they rarely used, the unmodified police ones not the suped-up rawhead killers. Sam winced when Dean's hands hovered over the Rawhead tasers. They didn't talk about faith healers, the memory still too fresh, especially after Dean's latest stint in the hospital after the car crash.
Shaking off the memories he snagged a couple of holsters and an extra knife. Sammy stood next to him, eyes too wide in the flashlight's anemic beam.
“If they're human,” Dean took a breath and repeated. “Human, we stop them tonight then make an anonymous call to the cops. If they aren't human anymore...”
He trailed off. Sometime witches went too far, became something other than human. His Dad mentioned one time, two thirds of the way into a bottle of Jack, that a witch who delved to deeply into black magic turned into an inhuman creature even before their deaths. Rare but even more dangerous because of the once human thought processes they still utilized.
Sam took the offered taser from his lax hands, jerking him back to reality, and buckled the holster around his hips. Dean did the same before closing the trunk and patting his baby one last time. By now the darkness hid them and anything else outside. It wasn't hard to spot the farmhouse, all the windows on the first floor lit up and the multitude of cars littering the otherwise desolate front yard. They worked their way around the house to the open yard between it and the ramshackle barn farther back.
Large metal barrels ringed the open space, flames flickering above the tops and warming the air and melting the snow and frozen mud. In the center of the yard burned a huge fire, large metal cauldron hanging suspended above the flames. Around it danced about twenty men and women, mostly women. From their vantage point they could see a lone man on the rotting porch, eyes reflecting the flames and he watched the dancers. Two women, as naked as the dancers stirred the contents of the cauldron, their voices and indistinct murmur over the snapping fires and the footsteps pounding the ground and throwing mud up into the air.
Dean bit his lip to stay silent, to keep in the comments about the dangers of nakedness so near to open flame and campfires... and spend a couple of minutes enjoying the sight. It wasn't meant to be because after a couple of minutes the man, the only man still fully clothed in dark slacks and a black dress shirt, stepped off the porch and all the dancing stopped. As one all the dancers threw themselves to their knees in the muck, eyes unblinking and completely fixated on the man walking towards them, all enthralled. He stopped, raised his arms in a twisted blessing and spoke.
“My children. You have come to seek the Truth. Tonight we will give the goddess our sacrifice and ask for our eyes to be opened in return.”
As he stepped forward towards the central fire, his features slowly appeared. The man, most likely the Daren W Merrill of the website, stood slightly bent, all crooked elbows and knees. His proximity to the fire revealed a full head of pale hair, blond or white, impossible to tell from a distance. He looked restlessly from one person to the next as he made his way to the center of the yard, the woman that followed after, sans her clothes left on the porch carrying a large reed basket.
The man kept speaking a mix of English and Latin, all buckets of crazy. Over his speech small, pained sounds started. The noise started quiet, like the first cries of a baby waking from a nap or something sounding young and scared and in pain.
Dean felt his jaw clench. This group already murdered a woman in cold blood. Was it such a big step to sacrifice a baby after that? Sam's hand shot out and grabbed his shoulder to stop his forward motion, looking as equally upset and pissed.
“I'm thinking tasers blazing?” Sam suggested, eyes glinting angrily in the firelight. That was definitely a plan Dean could get behind.