Supernatural is the property of Eric Kripke, the CW, and their associated corporate entities. Discworld belongs to Sir Terry Pratchett. No infringement is intended.Spoilers:
Through "Sam, Interrupted," (5.11) for Supernatural, through Unseen Academicals
for Discworld.Author’s Notes:
No, not a Buffy crossover, but I figured I had some room in my non-crossover allowance, and people who follow my Buffy crossovers might want to know what I've been doing while not updating those stories since January. I have to thank my wonderful betas: fish_echo, reapertownusa, and booster, as well as angelicfoodcake, whose art took my breath away. Written for the 2010 sncross_bigbang -- and I also need to thank the moderators of that community for putting this whole thing together and inspiring the object of my obsession for the last five months.
When it came to the question 'fight or flight,' Dean Winchester had always favored the former option. He was one of nature's fighters: took great pride in his own combat savvy, and viewed his protective instincts as one of his few personal virtues. In certain circumstances, however, he had to give due credit to the second choice.
He was currently in certain circumstances and dashing through the basement stacks of the Sterling Memorial Library as fast as his legs would take him.
"Another fucking tulpa," he shouted to his brother Sam, whose steps he could hear a few aisles over.
"Ya think?" came Sam's panted reply.
Snotty bitch would have seen it himself if he'd ever cut off his girly-ass bangs. "Symbol's on a ceiling tile."
"Fucking religious studies majors and their fucking graffiti!" They reached a wall, and they both crouched under a study nook. The tulpa ran past them and they held their breaths until after it had charged back into the stacks. "Don't you even think about burning this library down," said Sam in a harsh whisper.
Dean clasped his hand to his chest. "Who? Me?" His brother jutted his chin out. "Fine, although it's going to be a helluva lot of fun after this convincing the Yale student body that there isn't
a giant three-headed dog in the library basement."
Sam shook his head. "Combine one kid in the classics department with peyote and a Tibetan sigil, add a Facebook group, and our weekend's shot to hell."
"Maybe we can convince them it's an obnoxious but otherwise friendly chihuahua."
Sam grinned. "We'll manage." His face fell and he tipped his head forward. "Your arm's bleeding."
The jagged gash ran crosswise a bit below his right wrist, missing the veins. "Must've caught a tooth when I smacked the left head." Dean winced as he put pressure on it with his left hand. "Doubt that thing's rabid and it's not too deep. Still, take my shotgun? Fucking thing's useless down here anyway."
Sam tucked Dean's shotgun into his rucksack, which he slung back over his shoulders. "We need to get out of here." A chorus of canine snorts reverberated through the shelves. "Split up, head back towards the front. Dodge through the stacks if you need to." Sam rose slowly to his feet.
Dean looked up at his brother, catching his breath. "Sure thing, long legs. You first." Direct eye contact, barely perceptible nods exchanged, see you on the other side
didn't need to be said; both of them had read the floor plan, knew there was more than fifty yards of shelves and books and somewhere in there five-hundred pounds of vicious imaginary canine between them and the way out. Sam started running first, and Dean gave him a few seconds head start before heading down a parallel aisle a few stacks over, and after four strides, he stretched out his arms sending books tumbling noisily off the shelf. Dean had to be subtle here, couldn't cry out 'fresh meat' because then Sam would come back to get him, just had to make enough noise to get the tulpa's attention and make sure the stupid fucker was chasing him, not Sam. Why was it always dogs chasing Dean? Came to one of the cross-aisles and saw a flash of fur out of the corner of his left eye, which was incentive enough to shift a couple aisles to the right before taking off at high speed again. Another cross-aisle approached quickly enough and Dean sidestepped a few aisles back to the left, knocked down a shelf, one of the books fell hard onto his head, and maybe that's why the aisle seemed to waver in his vision - why the light seemed to dim - but no matter, Dean was running again, certain Sam had made it through by now.
Dean was running, but had lost track of where he was running to. The 'from' was a little clearer: the triplicated canine huffing still audible when the sounds of his brother had long since faded away. Dean had run rather further than fifty yards at this point, he thought, but at the next cross-aisle he still shifted a few aisles over this time back to the right. Had to keep running in roughly a straight line: back to the stairwell that would lead him up and out and the hell away from this thing, its snorts all too close to that of a hellhound's for Dean's taste.
The books looked older in this part of the library, he noticed as he shoved a group of them to the ground. They'd all just been colorful blurs while he'd been running, but now that he looked, these books were bound in real leather, not that plastic-coated cardboard shit. And Dean must have hit his head harder than he had thought because the light wasn't just dim anymore: it was barely there, and what was there flickered, not like a fluorescent light with a bad ballast, but like a flame. But then he could feel the heat of the breath of the three-headed dog coming at him from the other side of the shelf and it was time to take off running again.
It was sort of like the dreams he used to have, that year that was so many years ago now - for him at least: no place to run to, nowhere to hide, just running away from the hounds hot at his heels, knowing full well that eventually the dogs would win. Had won with him, had won with Jo and Ellen, and never fucking gave up. Dean swallowed the gorge back down, because the library was going on forever, and maybe this was just a nightmare flashback and he'd wake up in the motel room and then he and Sam would go and have breakfast. Or just coffee. Something wet for the back of his throat because it felt like he'd been running for hours now and he could still hear that damn tulpa behind him. Then there was a flash of something reddish-brown swooping past him from overhead that made new sounds - meat slamming into more meat and the whimper of a pack of dogs - but Dean wasn't looking back right now, the terror of the whole situation motivating some portion of the lizard brain which carried no truck with logic. No, he was hurtling on through the open space that had opened up at the end of the shelves, through the open doors visible not too far past that and out into the courtyard to collapse on his knees in the cool grass and take giant heaving breaths of chill night air.
A few seconds allowed fresh oxygen to circulate to Dean's brain, causing a neuron to fire off the thought that in all of that running, he hadn't climbed any stairs. In a nearby cortex, the recent memory of being in a basement drew attention to itself, while the visual processing centers of his brain were confirming that Dean was in fact outside at this very moment. A slightly older memory was then comparing evidence with the visual processing centers to draw the conclusion that the Yale campus didn't look anything like this, didn't have a stone tower stretching up forever like the one in front of him. But none of these processes were fast enough to stop Dean's instinctive first action, which was to call out, "Sam, you okay?"
Sam wasn't there, but there were a couple of men standing out there in the night, barely shadows in flickering torchlight – what was with the torchlight – and were they wearing dresses or something? Tall stone walls all around and it all seemed off and wrong. Where the hell was he and where the fucking hell was Sam
? These guys in the dresses didn't look terribly friendly, and he wasn't going to go back into the library to face that dog alone, just needed to find someplace quiet to get his head straight, so Dean got back on his feet and, as nonchalantly as he could manage, scampered over to a low spot in the walls. Ten feet high, but the masonry had seen much better days, and it wasn't too hard to scramble up and over, drop onto the cobblestone street below on the other side.
Now that was weird.
Dean rubbed his jaw with his hand, a trickle of blood smearing on his chin. He was pretty sure he wasn't in New Haven anymore. That gave him two options about what had just happened - well, two options that he could think of - neither of which made him very happy. "Gabriel? Zachariah? Which one of you smug assholes is it this time?" called out Dean, his voice resonating down the narrow and abandoned streets. No response while Dean took in his surroundings, back pressed up against the wall. Damn, except for the crescent moon's light it was dark here; more like being in the woods than in the middle of a city, and from the glimpse he'd gotten when he'd climbed over the wall it seemed like this place went on for a ways. A soft breeze blew down the street, and Dean had to stop himself from gagging on the scent. It was like being next to an enormous open sewer: New York City subways didn't smell that vile.
Something about this street bothered Dean and so he opted for cautious exploration away from it. Sticking to the shadows of the wall, Dean turned around the corner and started walking away from the smell, the cobbles under his feet shiny and slick with damp. He checked his cell phone: no bars, but no real surprise there. Zachariah would have shown up by now to gloat, and he'd always kept Dean's fantastic journeys a little more restricted, closer to Dean's own lifetime. This wacky medieval bullshit definitely had more of Gabriel's signature to it. Dean shook his head, biting on his lip. Fucking angels, if it weren't for Castiel and Anna he'd say that they were worse than the demons, when it came down to it. Cas – he'd found Dean last time, when Gabriel had zapped him and Sam into TV Land. "Cas!" hissed Dean. "Are you there?" Nothing again, and Dean distracted himself from his own personal freak out by thinking about the freak out that Sam must be having right now. He'd have no trouble running down that tulpa himself, Dean thought, it was the sort of thing Sam was damn good at. But Sam had proven himself an unknown quantity if he didn't have Dean around to keep him in line, so Dean had to get back before Sam did something profoundly stupid. Again.
"C'mon, Gabriel, we've been through this shit before, and I really don't have the time for it right now."
This time there was a sound like someone clearing their throat and Dean whirled on it. There, standing in a threshold just out of the wind, was a short – make that very short – collection of limbs under what appeared to be medieval chain mail and armor, smoking a cigarette. Dean hesitated to think of it as a person, but it cleared its throat again before speaking. "Realize you're speaking to yourself there, eh, guv?"
Dean allowed a sheepish smile to creep across his face, remembering how very real things like gunshot wounds could be in these angelic power trips. "Yeah, I'm just supposed to meet someone and they're late, that's all." He took a few steps closer to the little person, noting the glint of a badge attached onto the dented and rusty chest plate. "Mind telling me where I am, so I can know if I'm in the right place for the meet-up?"
The little guy eyeballed Dean, as much as he could given the vast difference in their heights. "'s Peach Pie Street, by the University." Little guy pointed his cigarette towards a plaque on the wall beside him which indicated that this was indeed Peach Pie Street, wherever the hell that was, and which was sadly lacking in any actual pie. Dean must have come out of the University, which might as well be the Angelic University of Fucking-With-Dean-Winchester because this guy didn't bother to elaborate with a name. "If you're looking for a 'meet-up' this time of night, you'll have more luck up in Sator Square," and the cop gave him a wink while pointing a reassuringly opposable thumb behind them, "the Seamstresses tend to gather up there after three." The cigarette was dropped to the ground and another poorly-rolled cylinder retrieved from behind what basic anatomy insisted must be an ear. "Tell 'em Nobby Nobbs sent you. Welcome to Ankh-Morpork, guv."
Dean blinked. "Right. Thanks." Ankh-Morpork? Nobby Nobbs had what sounded like an English accent - not Bond-English, but Guy Ritchie-movie English - and Dean's geography outside of the U.S. was essentially non-existent, but that name didn't sound familiar at all. Dean gave Nobbs one last look. Gabriel as Trickster hadn't had the best taste in the world, but Dean just couldn't see him deigning to use Nobbs as his disguise. "You have a good night." Dean turned to head in the direction he'd been pointed in, hoping to find a quiet lonely corner to wait out the night. Give Zachariah the chance to appear and gloat just in case he was the one behind this latest trip down the rabbit hole: usually when these trips separated him from Sam, it was Zach, and Sammy didn't seem to be around this time.
Any such plans were interrupted as a monster rounded the corner. "Get back!" shouted Dean, pulling his pearl-handled automatic out of his belt and taking aim.
"Oh, hells," said Nobbs. Dean fired three shots at the monster that was lumbering its way towards him and Nobbs, but the bullets had little effect on what appeared to be a walking boulder carrying a siege weapon over its back, and now the boulder looked really angry and could move with remarkable speed for a rock monster of its size. One massive arm swung towards Dean and he flew across the street with the impact, slamming into the University wall. Dean forced his eyes open one last time and saw Nobbs and the rock monster looking down at him, a horrified look on Nobbs' already horrible face. "Vimes is gonna go spare." Not a word of that sentence made a lick of sense to Dean, but before he could figure that out, darkness turned to black.