CHAPTER ONE: A psychic walks into an alley...
Shawn scrubbed his face as he wandered down the street towards the nearest 7-Eleven, trying to wake up. Sure, the motel he was crashing at currently wasn’t exactly in the nicest part of town and it was never really a good idea to wander around in the middle of the night, but he was seriously jonesing for some pineapple juice. Years of traveling around on a motorcycle without a dime to your name made you a little more brave than most and he hadn’t really thought much of making the short trek to the store.
Huh, that’s odd...
Slowing his steps, Shawn squinted down an alley that ran the length of the block. About three quarters of the way down, there was a car parked where no car that nice had business being parked. Seriously, who parked a nice vintage car in an alley next to an abandoned warehouse? Even in the Motor City, where vintage cars are pretty common, that was weird.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Shawn ambled down the alley to get a better look. He let out a low whistle as he approached the vehicle, a gorgeous black ‘67 Impala in pristine condition, but with no owner in sight.
Shawn immediately dropped to the ground at the sound of a shotgun blast. He frowned, pulling himself up to a crouch by the back bumper of the Impala. A second shotgun blast echoed in the alley, more muffled this time. Barely flinching, Shawn narrowed his eyes at the warehouse next to him where he was positive the sound had come from.
Just as he was getting up to go investigate (his dad would just have loved that), a series of crashes intermingled with a cry of surprise and pain came from the building. Throwing caution to the wind, Shawn sprung into motion, booking it for the nearby doorway to enter the warehouse.
“Damn, I can’t see a thing...” Shawn cursed under his breath, squinting into the darkness.
A soft groan drew his attention to where he could vaguely make out what looked like a caved in wall. Shawn crept over, in stealth mode, doing his best to avoid the debris and filth on the floor. A flashlight laid abandoned on the ground near the wall, Shawn quickly picked it up and aimed it towards the missing section of the wall.
Shawn stared dumbly at the four consecutive walls that were busted through, ending in a pile of rubble at the far end of the warehouse. Flicking the beam of the flashlight around the space, he carefully picked his way through the path of destruction. By the time he made it through the first three former walls, Shawn could make out what looked like a human hand poking out from underneath the pile. No longer worried about himself, he vaulted over the final wall, skidding over to where the hand was.
Shawn ignored the fearful tremble that ran through him and reached for the hand. It was warm to the touch. He checked for a pulse and breathed a sigh of relief when he found it to be strong and steady. Sitting back on his haunches, he evaluated the situation. There was a man (judging by the size of the hand) alive, probably unconscious, and trapped underneath a pile of what looked like plaster and lath. He glanced from where he came from to the pile. The man was most likely what went through the walls.
Make that what was thrown through four walls.
It was a miracle the guy survived, but he wouldn’t be alive for long if Shawn didn’t get him out from under that pile. Grunting with exertion, he quickly got to work lifting and tossing away the chunks of plaster, ignoring the way the bits of wood and nails bit into his palms. Luckily, most of the pile was small and light, making it quick work. Unable to see the man’s face, Shawn kept an eye on the back of his leather jacket, trying to tell if he was breathing or not. With a grunt, Shawn tossed the last two by four off of the guy’s legs and scooted over, gently turning the man over by his shoulders.
“Hey man, are you alright?” His voice sounded way more calm than Shawn was feeling, looking at the bruised and bleeding man in front of him. When the man didn’t respond, he carefully reached out and lifted one eyelid.
“FUCK...” Shawn yelped, snatching his hand back at the groan of pain that suddenly came from the guy’s mouth. The man brought a hand to his face, covering his eyes as he sat up to lean on his other elbow.
“Care to point that somewhere else?” The man griped.
“Sorry!” Shawn exclaimed quietly, pointing the beam of the flashlight away and set it down on the floor. “Need a hand?”
“Thanks,” the man responded brusquely, taking the hand that was proffered. Shawn deftly slipped the larger man’s arm over his shoulder as he helped him stand up. Almost vertical, the man grunted in pain as one of his legs gave out. Shawn tightened his grip on the guy’s arm, wrapping his other arm around the man’s waist as they shuffled toward a wall that was clear of debris.
“I’m Shawn Spencer, by the way.” Shawn offered as he helped the man lower himself to the ground where he could lean against the wall. The man stared at him for a second before responding.
“Nice to meet you. Come here often?” Shawn quipped with a grin as he grabbed the flashlight then shuffled over to crouch by Dean again.
“Not really--” Dean’s chuckle was cut off by a series of sharp coughs. Shawn grimaced in sympathy, pressing a hand against Dean’s shoulder to help keep him upright. “Sorry ‘bout that, man.”
“S’ok,” Shawn replied easily, turning his attention to checking for injuries as Dean leaned his head back against the wall with closed eyes.
“What are you-- Ouch! Damn, dude!” Dean’s mumbled question was interrupted by a sharp jab of pain. He opened his eyes to glare at Shawn’s head, who was busy prodding at one of Dean’s legs. “Stop feeling me up, man!”
“Pshhh...” Shawn snorted, not looking up. “As if I’d bother, you’re no Iceman.”
“The Batman villain?” Dean asked in confusion, wincing as Shawn started checking his right arm.
“What? No way, Schwarzenegger has nothing on Kilmer.”
“I am so better looking than Val Kilmer.”
“You wish you were better looking than Val Kilmer.” Shawn corrected before reaching for the hem of Dean’s shirt.
“What the hell, dude?” Dean snapped, knocking Shawn’s hands away.
“What? I just wanted to admire your better-than-Kilmer-body,” Shawn said cheekily with a grin. Dean glowered at him.
“I’m only going to say this once, Spencer. I am not gay, so whatever little fantasies you may have, you can go shove them up your ass.” Dean growled. When Shawn merely raised an eyebrow at the wording, he flushed and mumbled a weak “Shut up.”
“There’s no need to act like a half eaten donut, Dean. I was just going to check for broken ribs.” Shawn placated, pulling his hands away.
“Nothing’s broken.” Dean grunted out as he gingerly checked his own ribs.
“Well that’s some good news,” Shawn commented dryly. “Because your ankle’s already swelling up like crazy and I’m pretty sure you dislocated your shoulder.” He turned to shine the flashlight around the room. “What the hell were you doing in here anyway?”
“Shit,” Dean cursed, finally snapping back to reality. “You need to get out of here, man.” Shawn looked at him incredulously.
“And leave you?” he asked. “You just went through four walls; you’re like a smushed grape right now. Nuh uh, not going to happen. You’re coming with me.”
“Fine, but we have to go now.” Dean said with a sigh. He grunted in pain as Shawn hauled him to his feet again, pulling Dean’s good arm over his shoulders. They hobbled slowly back towards the busted wall.
“Can you hold on here for a second?” Shawn asked. Dean nodded, clearly exhausted but gripped the edge of the wall that Shawn directed his hand to. Shawn glanced worriedly at Dean’s swaying form before kicking through the two and a half feet of wall that Dean wouldn’t be able to climb over. A few good kicks later, Shawn had cleared just enough for Dean to hobble through as he stepped over the wall himself.
“How’re you doing, Dean?” Shawn asked as they approached the final wall, the door finally in sight.
“Fine...” Dean muttered. He bit off a curse when the temperature suddenly dropped. “Shawn, you need to get out of here, right now.”
“Dude, the door is like twenty feet away.” Shawn said with a frown as he glanced suspiciously around the room. He hadn’t missed the temperature change or the sudden seriousness in Dean’s voice.
“I’m not joking, you don’t know what’s in here...” Something scraped across the floor, drawing Shawn’s attention.
“SHIT! GET DOWN!” Dean suddenly yelled, yanking Shawn down to the ground, the thing that flew over them missing by a hair’s breath. Dean gasped in pain as he landed hard on his bad shoulder.
“What the hell was that?!” Shawn cried out, pushing himself up onto his elbows. His eyes widened when something that looked suspiciously like a ghost congealed from mist on the opposite side of the room.
“Shawn!” Dean yanked him down hard by his collar as the ghost rushed towards Shawn with a shriek. “Get the shotgun!” Dean yelled as it passed over them.
“The shotgun! Shoot it!” Dean barked out. Too freaked out to ask questions, Shawn sat up and looked around them frantically. Spotting the shotgun a few feet away where he had accidentally kicked it just a minute ago, Shawn launched himself at it, ducking into a roll to avoid another charge from the ghost. Shotgun firmly in hand, he scooted back over to Dean, grabbing Dean’s good arm with his off hand.
“Dean, get up--!” Shawn’s words were cut off by the shriek of the ghost. Without batting an eye, Shawn turned from where he was crouched and quickly shot it, dead on, causing it to burst into a mist.
“It’ll be back.” Dean grit out as Shawn helped him up.
“Great.” Shawn muttered, handing the flashlight he had dropped to Dean, then slung Dean’s arm over his shoulder. They moved slower this time, Dean having injured himself further and Shawn keeping an eye out for the ghost.
They had just made it to the door when the temperature began to dip again. Shawn, having put two and two together, pushed Dean gently towards the car that waited a few feet away before wheeling back around to blast the ghost that was practically on top of him.
“Ew...” Shawn griped, wiping the condensation off his face from when the ghost had dissipated. “Dean, you doing okay?” he called over his shoulder.
“Dean?” Shawn turned with a frown. “Dean!” He rushed forward to catch the taller man who had been sliding limply down the side of the Impala. Shawn dropped the shotgun as he hauled Dean up by his waist then reached into the pocket of Dean’s jeans.
“Whoa, dude, I told you I’m not gay...” Dean slurred. Shawn rolled his eyes as he pulled out the car keys. Unlocking the door, he not so gently deposited Dean across the backseat along with the shotgun and flashlight then hopped into the front.
“What are you doing?!” Dean asked sharply, the roar of the engine starting apparently rousing him.
“Getting us the hell outta here, duh.” Shawn responded as he carefully drove down the alley.
“You can’t drive my car.”
“It’s a miracle!” Shawn joked weakly, focusing on pulling out onto the main road. “We’ve gotta get you some help.”
Shawn frowned, taking a turn that would take them back to the motel he (and he bet Dean) was staying. “What room?”
“Huh?” Dean mumbled. Shawn glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
“What room are you at the motel? I’m guessing you have protection or something against.... whatever that was back there.”
“17... and it’s a vengeful spirit.”
“Is that like a ghost?”
“Pretty much.” Dean trailed off with a wince of pain when the car bounced over the parking lot curb. Shawn parked the car in front of Dean’s room, ironically only a few down from his own, before hopping out to help Dean. Leaving the shotgun and flashlight, they did their little hobble to the door with Dean leaning a bit more on Shawn than before. Dean, having procured the key sometime during the car ride, unlocked the door, letting it swing open as Shawn helped him over to the bed.
“Sooo much better than the ground...” Dean muttered then turned his head to look at Shawn, who was already sticking a pillow under Dean’s swollen ankle. “Grab the shotgun and the medkit out of the trunk.” Shawn blinked owlishly at him for a moment before nodding and heading out the door. Dean chuckled to himself when he heard Shawn’s exclamation of “what the hell”, likely after opening the trunk.
Shawn returned a minute later, dropping the medkit and shotgun on the floor before locking the door. Adrenaline gone, he slid down the door to sit with his back against it, breathing hard as though he were trying to catch his breath.
“You doing okay there, Shawn?” Dean asked carefully from the bed, appearing much more coherent than he had in the car, as he looked at Shawn worriedly. Shawn blinked at him.
“What... the hell just happened?” Shawn asked slowly, his face blank.
“You saved my ass from a vengeful spirit that thought it was fun to toss me around.” Dean explained blandly.
“Okay... ghosts.” Shawn frowned as comprehension dawned on him. “Since when are ghosts affected by buckshot?”
“They’re not.” Dean snorted, then groaned a little in pain when he flopped back onto the bed. “The rounds are rock salt.”
“...Oh. So I guess that explains the salt line on the door and windows.” Dean sat up again to look at Shawn incredulously. Shawn stared back at him confused. “Right?”
“Yeah,” Dean replied. “How’d you know?”
“It’s pretty simple. The rock salt rounds made the ghost go poof so then the lines of salt must prevent them from coming it.” Shawn explained, the act of deduction relaxing him. Dean shook his head with a grin.
“I’ll be damned,” he chuckled. “Usually people are screaming their heads off, freaking out by now.”
“Oh no,” Shawn answered quickly. “I’m freaking out. I’m pretty much about to go all Macaulay Culkin on you.”
“The kid from ‘Home Alone’?” Dean asked, his face screwed up in confusion. Shawn nodded silently. When Dean suddenly hissed in pain, Shawn snapped out of his funk and leapt up. He crossed over to the bed, frowning when he saw the blood on Dean’s fingers.
“Must have hit my head on something back there.” Dean commented with a wince as he prodded the back of his head. Shawn gently turned his head to get a better look at the spot.
“Yeah. Something.” Shawn scoffed. “Dude, you went through like four walls!”
“Ugh, stupid bitch.” Dean groaned.
“Hold on a sec, I’ll get that cleaned up.” Shawn said, stopping Dean from leaning back against the headboard.
“You really don’t have to do that, I can take care of myself. You’ve already done enough.” Dean said. Shawn rolled his eyes, pushing Dean’s exploring fingers away from the wound.
“I’m pretty sure we’ve already had this conversation before. And I won that argument last time too.” Shawn stated matter of factly as he gently cleaned the gash on Dean’s head with a cleansing wipe, removing the dried blood and grit.
“Only because we were a little busy at the time.” Dean muttered, wincing.
“Yeah, with me saving your butt. Admit it, you’d be a ghost’s play thing right now if it weren’t for me.” Shawn fished out a couple of butterfly bandages and closed up the gash. “You’re lucky that you don’t need stitches for this.”
“Hmph.” Shawn grinned at Dean’s obvious sulk.
“C’mon grouchy pants, let’s check for a concussion.” Shawn said jovially. He took the maglite Dean handed him and checked his pupil reactions. “Hmm.. not too bad. Somehow you managed to only get a mild concussion.”
“You’re awfully perky for a guy who was just freaking out a couple of minutes ago.” Dean groused, leaning back again as Shawn went to grab a bottle of water. He handed Dean the water and a couple of extra strength Tylenol, who took them immediately, thinking of his dislocated shoulder.
“And you’re awfully bitchy for a guy who just had his life saved by a courageous bystander with fantastic hair.” Shawn replied with a grin as he started wrapping Dean’s twisted ankle with an ace bandage. Dean rolled his eyes then turned serious.
“Thanks for that, by the way,” he said quietly. “And for this. You didn’t really need to do any of it.”
“I know.” Shawn replied simply with a shrug. He said nothing as he dressed a long gash on Dean’s leg before giving him a once over.
“Dude, I told you--”
“Yeah, yeah, you don’t swing that way.” Shawn finished with a laugh. Dean breathed out a sigh of relief that the awkward silence was broken. “I was just checking to see if I missed something.”
“Other than my useless right arm?” Dean raised an eyebrow.
“Other than that.”
“Nope, just a few bruised ribs and little stuff.” Shawn nodded then looked a little nervously towards the door.
“That ghost isn’t going to come after me if I go get some ice, is it?” Shawn asked.
“Nah, that bitch is stuck in the warehouse. You’re good.” Dean replied.
“Alright, I’ll be right back.” Shawn said, grabbing the bucket and disappearing out the door. Dean took advantage of his absence to head to the bathroom. He had to catch himself against the wall when his head swum as he stood up. Breathing hard, Dean limped heavily towards the bathroom, sighing in relief when he finally made it.
“Dean? Dean!” He groaned when he heard Shawn yell from the other room.
“Taking a leak! Gimme a second!” Dean called, zipping up his fly and limping over to wash his hands, well... hand. As soon as he opened the door, Shawn was there, swinging Dean’s arm over his shoulder and helping him over to the bed.
“You’re freakishly helpful, dude. It’s almost like you’ve been possessed by Sammy or something.” Dean joked as he sat at the edge of the bed, cradling his dislocated arm.
“Your brother?” Shawn asked with an odd look as he gripped Dean’s arm and shoulder, preparing to reset his shoulder.
“Ye-AHHH!” Dean’s response was cut off by a yell of pain when Shawn suddenly set his shoulder in one quick movement.
“What the hell, dude?!” Dean gasped, looking at Shawn like he was crazy. “Who taught you how to set a shoulder, Hannibal Lector?!” Shawn laughed as he helped Dean put on the sling from the kit.
“My dad.” Shawn replied with a wry smile. He frowned at the look that crossed Dean’s face. “How long has it been since you’ve seen your dad?” He asked quietly. Dean looked at him in alarm and started to stand up before falling back onto the bed with a groan of pain.
“How the hell do you keep doing that?” Dean asked.
“Do what?” Shawn looked up from where he was filling a plastic bag with ice.
“That... that thing! Like with the keys and the motel and Sammy and Dad!” Dean sputtered waving a hand, his expression suspicious. Shawn grinned mischievously and raised a hand to his temple.
“I’m psychic,” he replied smugly. Dean barked out a laugh.
“Dude, they don’t exist.”
“Ghosts do, why not psychics?” Shawn argued with a bit of a pout.
“Seriously, man,” Dean said. Shawn sighed.
“My dad was a cop, so he decided that I was going to be a cop too. Trained me to be a detective my whole life.” Shawn said with more than a hint of bitterness. Dean relaxed, letting out a sympathetic chuckle. He had more than a little bit of experience with that kind of thing.
“I’m guessing you didn’t end up becoming a cop,” Dean replied lightly, laying down on the bed and propping his ankle up again. Shawn snorted as he handed Dean an ice pack to place on his shoulder.
“Took off after graduation. Been on the road ever since.” Shawn said proudly as he placed the other ice pack over Dean’s ankle. He tossed a blanket over the man. “Get some sleep, man, cause I’m going to be waking your week-old-chinese-food self up in a couple hours.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Of course it does.”
“No it...” Dean trailed off with a shake of the head. There was no point in arguing it, especially since he was feeling so damn exhausted. “Don’t forget to wake me up,” he mumbled as sleep overtook him.
As he drifted off, Dean wondered what the hell he was doing trusting some random guy and decided that perhaps his concussion had made him just a little bit crazy...