The motel outside Lovelock

The motel didn't feel safe anymore. Nothing felt safe anymore. And what was worse, Sam had a constant low-level headache now that wouldn't go away. Frustrated, he paced around the room while trying to come up with a solution. The longer it took him to find Dean, the higher the risk was that there wouldn't be anything left to find. That girl in his vision, he was convinced she had somehow removed Dean from the barn, but he didn't know how and it got under his skin big time.

He stopped at the small table by the window and eyed the remains of dinner from last night for a moment before he cleared the table with one sweeping gesture. Then he picked up one chair and threw it across the room. It collided with the bathroom door and knocked a serious hole into it with one leg, which also suspended the chair in place.

Hunters were out to kill him and girls his age abducted his severely battered brother? What the hell was wrong with this world? Why did people have to be so damned paranoid and hateful all the time? His heart was thudding away in his chest, his eyes were burning, and all he wanted to do was go stark raving mad. "Dammit," he growled, picked up the second chair and threw it at the wall with enough force to break it into tiny pieces.

The anger was suffocating him, drowning him slowly, and he couldn't focus past the moment in time when he had realized that this was what he was; anger, hatred, inhuman strength fueled by the feelings he had been taught to suppress his entire life. 'Be reasonable, Sam.' He could still hear those words from half a dozen people. 'That's no way to behave, Sam.' He ground his teeth together while tears of fear and frustration rose in his eyes. 'Don't let it get to you, Sammy. What do they know?' Dean's voice interfered in the cacophony in his head, making him stop short. 'Don't let it get to you, Sammy. What do they know?'

"Where the hell are you, Dean?" he whispered hoarsely, turned to face the window next to the door, scrubbed both hands over his face and smoothed them back over his hair.

"Sam," a voice said behind him.

He swirled around, his heart jumping right into his throat when he faced that girl from his vision; the wide-eyed, slightly crazy-looking girl. He drew back a step and glanced toward the bathroom door that was still half open with the chair stuck in it. "Who the hell are you?" he snapped, not able to put enough venom in his voice because she had surprised him.

She smiled and suddenly didn't look so crazy any more. She glanced at the broken chair, then back at the one stuck in the bathroom door and pursed her lips lightly before turning her attention back to Sam. "You've got anger issues. First step on the road to Perdition," she said, brought up one hand and chewed thoughtfully on her thumb for a moment. Then she grinned and dropped her hand again. "Bad habit," she apologized. "I'm Jennifer, by the way."

Sam didn't know what to make of her, didn't know how to respond to her sudden presence. He was fairly certain that she hadn't been there before. The bathroom window was too small for her to squeeze through and he had been in there right after coming back, so she couldn't have been hiding in there. There was no way she could have come in without him knowing about it.

Still shaking with the onslaught of all the heavy emotions, he glanced at the bathroom door again, then back at her and took a moment to memorize her. She wasn't very tall, slim without being skinny. Her skin was pale and slightly freckled, her hair leaning toward reddish, her eyes a darkish green bordering on brown. She looked normal, but he knew she wasn't. There was something about her, something not entirely safe. "H... how did you ..." he tried and made a halfhearted gesture toward the bathroom door.

She glanced back there herself with a slight frown furrowing her brow, then seemed to realize what he was trying to ask without being able to put it into words. "Oh, that," she said and grinned. "Okay, don't freak out, but ... I can shift," she said and looked very proud of herself.

Sam basically felt like she'd slapped a wet fish in his face. "What?" he asked. Her words made no sense.

"I can shift," she repeated as if he was supposed to know what it meant and was just being silly for not acknowledging it.

"Shift?" he asked and blinked. Her odd comment had done one thing at least. It had calmed him down in a flash.

"George calls it biolocation or something like it," she said.

"Bi ... what?" Sam had no idea what so ever what she was talking about. "Wait a minute, I saw you. You ... where's Dean? Where's my brother?" The confusion was trampled into the ground with renewed concern for his brother's whereabouts and well-being.

"He's safe," she countered and smiled good-naturedly. "He's in Perdition."

"Perdition?" The analytical part of his mind kicked into gear, throwing up the explanation for the word Perdition, and it drained every ounce of color from his face. "Oh god," he rasped.

Jennifer eyed him with some concern for a second, then seemed to realize what she had just said. "Oh, no, no, no, not Hell. It's a place. In Texas. A sanctuary. For people like us," she said, raising both hands in a deprecating gesture.

He shook his head while never taking his eyes off her. "You killed those hunters," he muttered, then flinched when a stab of pain rippled through his head. "Aw no, not again," he groaned and grabbed his head.


Her voice had suddenly taken on this tin-can quality that accompanied the visions and the violence of the vision that struck him brought him to his knees instantly.

Warm hands grabbed his suddenly icy arms and sent a shockwave through him that threw the beginning vision off course and then subdued it. A powerful arm wrapped around his chest from behind and hauled him back to his feet.

"He's in bad shape," Jennifer said.

"Yeah, I can tell," a deep voice rumbled behind him, the vibration of it rippling through him. "He's in no condition to drive to Texas. You'll need to take him. I'll pack up their stuff and bring the car."

"No," Sam gasped and struggled to get out of the man's grip. Surprisingly, the second stranger to appear in his motel room without prior warning released him without a fight, allowing him to stumble over to the bed where he dropped down on the edge and glanced from one to the other. His vision was wobbly at best, but he could still make out the man, who was a bit older than the girl, tall, powerful, dressed in black with a mop of blonde hair on his head and deep blue eyes.

"Take it easy, pal. We're not here to hurt you," the guy said, holding up his hands, palms out.

"Who the hell are you?" Sam managed and swallowed against the rising bile in his throat. The vision might have been interrupted, but the side effects were still very much present.

The guy glanced at Jennifer and arched an eyebrow. "You haven't told him?" he enquired, a tad annoyed.

She made a face and shrugged. "Never got around to it," she confessed.

"Told me what?" Sam pressed out and rose unsteadily to his feet. "Where's Dean? Who are you? Did you kill those hunters?"

"No, we didn't. We enlisted the help of something to do that for us," the guy said and held out a hand. "My name's Tony. We're both from Perdition."

Sam glanced at his hand, then briefly closed his eyes and obviously became a little too unsteady for both of them, because they both stepped forward to steady him. At first he considered pulling out of their grips and putting some distance between himself and them, but he felt a little too much out of sorts to do that right now.

"Sit down," Tony said and helped him ease down on the edge of the bed again. "You have visions, right? Preceded and followed by debilitating headaches?"

Sam rubbed the back of one hand over his lips and squinted at the guy. "Yeah," he agreed. "How do you know that?"

Tony hunkered down in front of him. "Because you're like us. You're one of the special kids," he said and smiled vaguely.


Location unknown
Time unknown

Dean came around slowly, easing into awareness with the greatest care, while memories seeped back into his conscious mind little by little. He'd been clobbered and abducted, beaten into a pulp by hunters and had witnessed the demise of them as well.

And then there was this girl; the one who had appeared in front of him and had reached out for him. After that, things got a little fuzzy.

Since noone prodded him or punched him or threw water at him, he took his own sweet time to wake up, to assess himself and his surroundings, and realized that he felt pleasantly numb. Nothing hurt. But his head was fuzzy and he assumed he was on some sort of painkiller right now.

Slowly, he opened his eyes and then stopped short. He blinked a few times and stared up a white wooden ceiling above him. As far as he recalled, he had only had one functioning eye before he had passed out. The other had been swollen shut. But he could see with both and neither felt swollen or bruised.

"Ah, you're awake," a voice said to his left.

He blinked again and figured he would find out how long he had been unconscious when whoever the voice belonged to filled him in, so he turned his head a little and squinted up at a woman he assumed was in her late forties or early fifties. She smiled and looked oddly out of place if this was a hospital. "Where am I?" he muttered, not sure she heard him.

The smile on her lips was comforting, safe in a way, and he didn't mind that she settled down on the edge of his bed and took a light hold of his arm. "You're safe," she said.

Okay, that sounded good. A little out of the blue, but good. He could settle for safe right now. That was fine with him. His head felt too fuzzy to cope with anything beyond good. With a bit of an effort he glanced around the room he was in. Definitely no hospital. It looked more like a room in a bed&breakfast somewhere out in the countryside. "Where's Sam?" he then asked and glanced back at the woman. His head wasn't that fuzzy that he had forgotten about Sam.

"Probably on his way here," she said. "Don't worry about him. He's in good hands, Dean."

This just kept getting better all the time. Safe on both counts. Couldn't get much better than that. "Who are you?" he asked.

Her smile turned a little self-conscious and he found that sort of cute in a woman of her age. "I'm Annie," she said. "Now, Dean, you've had a pretty rough ride, so I really think you should rest some more and leave the questions until later, okay?"

That sounded like a reasonable request, he thought. Somewhere, deep down, something in him rebelled against this whole fuzziness while a small voice insisted that something was wrong, that he should snap out of it and get out while he could, but the majority of him was very accepting of this situation right now. He was lying down, he wasn't in any pain, he had been assured that his brother was on route to him. What else could he possibly need right now?


The motel outside Lovelock

"You're ..." Sam rubbed his brow, unable to think straight right now. His head hurt, his mouth was dry, he felt borderline nauseous and there were two strangers in his motel room, telling him they were like him. "... like me?"

Tony nodded. A quick glance up at Jennifer confirmed that she agreed with that too. "That's right," Tony said. "Look, Sam, I kinda know that it's tough to ... get to grips with and all, but ... it's important that we stick together. Now more than ever."

"Why?" He glanced from Tony to Jennifer and back again. "Why is it important that we stick together?"

Tony rose, glanced around and sighed lightly before returning his undivided attention to Sam. "You've got anger issues, Sam. I know what that's like. Two years ago I was the same. But then I met George. And he ... set me straight. It's a long story and it might be easier if you meet George first and foremost. For that to happen, you need to go with Jenn. She'll get you there faster."

"Get me where faster?" Sam asked and rose again, this time a little steadier. "Look, Tony, no offence, but I have no freaking clue who you guys are. As a matter of fact, I had a vision of her brutally killing a bunch of hunters that had kidnaped my brother. And he's missing now. What am I supposed to think?"

"Jenn didn't kill the hunters, Sam. Two achiris did," Tony said, his tone almost solemn. "And it's not something we do lightly. But your brother would have died if we hadn't gotten to him when we did. And these ... hunters would have killed you too. They're dangerous to our kind. Misguided and impossible to reason with. We had no other choice."

"One of you can control demons?" Sam asked and wondered which of them it was.

"Not us. That would be Tea. She's back in Texas by now," Tony said and glanced at Jennifer.

Something about that statement didn't make sense and Sam was wrecking his aching brain to try and figure out what it might be. His reasoning skills weren't up to par right now, though. "But ..." Sam frowned painfully, then briefly shut his eyes and tried to set things straight in his head. Then he glanced up at Tony again. "I don't get it," he confessed.

The smile on Tony's lips was slightly amused. "I bet you're feeling really crappy right now, right?" he asked and Sam nodded reluctantly. "Well, that's understandable. I take it you have never forced a vision before, have you?" Sam shook his head in reply. "Well, when you first open up to your abilities and you do so without guidance, it's messy. It blows your sense of reason, makes you feel crappy for a good long while. And when you feel crappy for long enough, your patience goes bye-bye and you end up going bad. Not what you want. And it can be changed. That's what George does. He guides us."

"I don't think I should shift him. First-timers always get sick from the trip," Jennifer inserted, eying Sam almost critically. "And he's not feeling too good already."

Tony rubbed the back of his neck thoughtfully, then grimaced. "You're probably right," he agreed. "So, why don't you take off and tell George we're on our way? And I'll just drive Sam here to Perdition."

"Sounds like a plan," Jennifer said and gave Sam a big smile. "You just hang in there. It'll be tough for a while, but you'll get the hang of it. You're smart," she added, waved at him and winked out of existence.

Sam just stared at the spot where she had just been, then glanced at Tony with much the same expression; total surprise. "Where did she go?" he asked.

Tony smirked. "She's in Perdition now," he said. "Her speciality is bio-relocation."

Sam rubbed his right temple. "What the hell is bio-relocation?" he asked.

"She can move herself from place to place in the blink of an eye. Don't ask me how it works. I just know it does. She can take one, maybe two along for the ride, but the passengers always end up being nauseous. It's a rush, but it's not exactly pleasant," Tony explained. "Why don't you get packed so we can get out of here? I'll go talk to the motel owner and settle this with him," he added and nodded toward the chair still hanging from the door.

Sam glanced at it, then nodded. What was the point of arguing? He could barely keep his eyes open right now and, apparently, these people had Dean. "Uh ... how do I know that Dean's okay?" he asked.

Tony pursed his lips, scratched behind one ear, then hauled his cell phone out of one pocket. "I'll call Annie. That's George's wife. She'll know how he's doing," he said and dialed a number. "Hey, Annie. Listen, I'm here with Sam Winchester and he wants to know how his brother is doing. Any chance of putting him on?" He listened, then nodded. "Ah, okay. Well ... yeah and I don't blame him either. It's a bit overwhelming the first time around." He glanced at Sam and smiled vaguely. "No, he'll be fine. I sent Jenn ahead. No sense in aggravating Sam's nausea right now." He nodded. "Okay, sounds good to me. We'll see you in about two days. Tell his brother to call him if he feels up to it. Thanks, Annie." With that, Tony hung up again and gave Sam an apologetic look. "He's out cold right now. Annie says he's doing better, but he was pretty badly beaten. He'll call you when he wakes up."

Sam eyed him for a moment, then nodded. He was too much out of it to do much in ways of opposing this guy and in general Tony seemed pretty nice.

Tony left to clear things with the motel owner while Sam started packing their stuff together. He was uneasy, but not afraid, and he figured the moment he heard from Dean himself, things would be fine. Until then, he would just take it slow and see what happened.

Half an hour later, the Impala was packed and ready to go. Sam stood there with the keys in one hand and stared forlornly at the car, well aware that he wouldn't be driving anywhere any time soon. His head hurt too much and his vision was too shifty right now. He glanced at Tony, who stood by patiently, waiting for him to make up his mind. Finally, Sam held out the keys to him. "I think you'd better drive. But don't tell Dean about this. He'll kill me."

Tony smirked, took the keys and got in. Sam followed suit and didn't know if he liked this idea or not. Essentially, Tony was a stranger, one who had proclaimed to being one of the special kids. And the last time he had trusted one of them, he had died and Dean had gotten in over his head with that crossroad demon. The good thing was that it couldn't get worse. The bad thing was that Sam had no idea if he could trust this guy or not.

"I think your brother will understand that you weren't up to the task. I think he'll just be happy to see you," Tony said.

Sam sighed and sank into the seat. "You don't know Dean," he countered and made a face. "Just ... drive carefully."

"I promise," Tony agreed. "Don't worry, Sam. There's no way I would put even a dent in this beauty of a car."

With a glance at the other man, Sam tried to find a way to relax, but his head hurt and he was still feeling nauseous. "You remind me of Dean," he said after a moment.

Tony started the car and listened to the rumble of the powerful engine with rapt attention for a moment. Then he sighed almost contentedly. "Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?" he asked and glanced back at Sam with a look in his eyes that Sam knew only too well. Dean had worn the same look the day Dad had given him the keys for the Impala and told him to take care of the damned car.

"I guess," Sam agreed.

They drove off, leaving Lovelock, Nevada behind and Sam was happy to see it go. This place would not be something he thought back on with fond memories.

"How far is it?" Sam asked after a while.

"If you take it in one go, one day. But I don't think that's a good idea. You shouldn't drive right now and I know I can't take it in one stretch and be aware enough to avoid an accident. We'll spend the night somewhere along the way," Tony said.

Sam considered that for a moment and nodded. It sounded reasonable. "Where is it?" he asked after a moment.

Tony smiled. "Big Bend," he replied.

Sam frowned. "Isn't that a national park?" he asked.

"Yup. George found a spot out there for the sanctuary. We're pretty far away from everything, but it's fine. We've got everything we need. And if we need something from the nearest town, we just send Jenn. She pops in and out in a second flat." Tony chuckled. "She's quite a little hothead, that one. A bit weird at times, too, but she's an okay kid."

Sam took a moment to digest that, then shut his eyes and tried hard to will the headache away. It didn't work, of course, and he scrunched up his face, then rolled his head from side to side without any beneficial results. "Damn," he muttered and rubbed his brow. "So, are you the only ones or are there others?" he then asked.

"I think there are about thirty, thirty-five of us. People come and go all the time, but the general population of Perdition is around thirty at all times," Tony said and glanced sideways at him. "Don't worry, Sam. We're all okay. Nobody's turning bad in Perdition. That's what George is there for."

"Who is this George?" Sam asked. The guy sounded a bit like a religious leader of some sort if Tony's almost reverent tone was anything to go by. Sam had to admit, though, that he actually admired Tony for putting up with all his questions without flinching. Dean would have had a fit by now.

Tony smirked. "He's of the first ... generation," he said. "Well, generation is probably not the right word for it. That yellow-eyed s.o.b. has gone after kids like us for the past fifty years or something. Seems to be every two years or so that it has popped up and destroyed a bunch of folks' lives. One or two of every ... batch generally survive and end up in Perdition. The rest either die or go bad."

Sam considered the things the demon had told him about his mother and wondered if he should ask about it. But it was a bit premature. For now, all he had was Tony's word for that he was one of the special kids. And no matter how much Sam wanted to trust Tony, he had grown weary of strangers of late. It always seemed that his trusting nature got him in trouble and he just knew what Dean would say if he spilled the beans to this guy and he turned out to be one of the bad guys. Instead he settled into the corner between seat and door, pulled his jacket tighter around him and closed his eyes in the hope of getting some sleep that might chase away that damned headache.