Hexbags and salt

Summary: There's a poltergeist. Sam fights it. Set in season 2.

Warning: They swear. I mean, let's be honest, if they were allowed to on TV we would have learned a few beautifully nasty words from them.

Author's Note: I don't know any Celtic and used google translate instead. Apologies to those who do speak the language. Also, I tried for a different ending. This one sucked the least.

Light crawls through the slits of the blinds and casts lined shadows over Sam's face. He sits, squatting just beside the door with his ear pressed against the wall. Any scuffling or scratching and he grabs his iron knife tighter, ready to spring and stab if something tries to get in. Salt lines the walls and the door. The poltergeist is part of the house, so even now Sam's not sure it won't be able to get in. But if it does try, it'll go through the door – ghosts like the human, beaten paths.

Dean is outside somewhere, trying to work his way around whatever lockdown the poltergeist has put on the house. Sometimes, Sam swears he can hear him pounding loudly against the front door with something hard and metal.

The circle of salt in the middle of the room protects a small family. Father and daughter – hugged close and whispering so softly that Sam wonders if even the ghost's superhuman hearing could understand. It's been gone for almost an hour now, though Sam's pretty sure it knows they're here. It's bating it's time, testing the boundaries and the lengths they're willing to go to protect the owners of the house.

It will be back. It will try to break the salt line. It will be dissipated by the iron in Sam's knife. Then all this will start again. Over and over until Dean finds his way in or Bobby finds Sam a way out. It's just simple maths.

Sam's muscles are strained from the squatting, his fingers slick on the hilt of his knife.

A tinny sound echoes through the room an startles its occupants. Both Sam and Mr. Miller, the father, flinch. The child, Jenny, burrows deeper into her father's chest with a barely hidden sob. It's Hot Blooded, the ringtone Dean fashioned for himself on Sam's phone.

The phone is flipped open.

"Yeah?" Sam asks, whispering uselessly.

"The goddamned fucking door won't goddamned fucking open!" comes Dean's reedy voice from both his phone and outside the house, "I tried everything man. Seriously, I'm considering driving Baby into the wall just to see what happens."

"Oh, no you don't." Sam chuckles, "Cause you'll go blaming me for wrecking the car and it's not my fault. Besides, you know that won't break the lockdown. We're gonna need some kind of spell."

For a second, Sam thinks he hears something outside. He tenses, ready to spring, but then there's nothing. The father rocks his daughter to and fro. It's both sweet and heartbreaking to see. He really wants to get these two out. If he doesn't, it'll knows this hunt will haunt him forever.

"Yeah, Bobby's working on it. Would be easier if you could just kill it somehow, you know." Dean says with a grunt. Something large scrapes over asphalt, and Sam wonders what the hell his brother is dragging to the door this time. He rolls his eyes.

"Oh, I'm sorry, you're right. I'll just quickly nip the hex bags into all four corners of the house. Piece of cake with all the flying knives and furniture."

"Yeah, yeah, Samantha. Spare me your woes." Dean replies.

The blinds rattle and scratch against the windowsill.

Sam's looks at them sharply, and wishes them to stay still. It's probably nothing, probably just the wind blowing through the window. The closed window. Yup, that's it.

"Gotta go," he whispers, and flips his phone shut.

He rises to his feet and slips slowly closer to the window, willing it to rattle again. Willing it to show some sign that the poltergeist is using the window, this time, not the door. Nothing happens. Sam curses the ghost's invisibility. There's only a vague displacement of air when it moves, a shuddering of light that's difficult - but not impossible - to see.

There's nothing there, so Sam moves back to his spot at the door. He smiles slightly when the girl looks at him from between her father's arms. She smiles back shyly then buries her face back into her dad's chest.

"I think she likes you." He says.

Sam feels warm at the thought. Children usually love Dean a lot more than they love him. It's probably because everything he does screams cool older brother, while Sam has more of a young, college boy look (one that does wonders with motherly types, much to his dismay). Mr. Miller is right though. Jenny took a shining to him from moment one. Or a crush, more like.

"She seems like a good kid," Sam answers.

Something clangs out in the hallway before an answer can come. Sam stands again, wound tight and ready. Hot Blooded echoes through the room again, and Sam answers soundlessly, waiting for what Dean has to say.

"I've got a ritual to trap the poltergeist in an inanimate form. I can do the prep from out here, all you have to do is find some object to bind it to and then say a spell."

Sam, eyes still locked on the closed door, barely dares to break his concentration to ask how that will work. How can Dean prep something outside when Sam needs to use it inside? Another clanging echo in the hall, and then everything falls silent.

"Sam? You hearing me?"

Just wait a minute, Sam thinks. He just has to be sure that whatever was moving stays still for longer than a few seconds. He just needs to count a few breaths.

"Sammy?"

Twenty deep breaths. No sounds outside. Okay, maybe it's nothing, Sam tries to tell his quickly beating heart. The beats slow, but the knot in his stomach grows tighter. There's something very off about all this.

"Yeah, I hear you," Sam finally says, "How does that work though? How are you going to get what you prepared into the house?"

Mr. Miller's head cocks up at those words, interested in any sort of plan. He soothes Jenny's curls. They were cut only yesterday and they seem to have gained some extra springiness, like they no longer want to be contained by the frilly hairbands that hold them back. God, he hopes there's a plan. Sam can see it in his eyes.

Dean explains, "Well, according to Bobby, if I do the ritual on my hex bags, they'll automatically happen on yours too."

"Why does that transfer?"

"Well, err," Dean says uncomfortably, "Bobby says the bones were from the same person, so…"

Nope. Sam did not need to know that at all. Especially not with a little girl staring at his back and a nasty poltergeist loose in the house. The crunch of bones in their bags is suddenly sickening. It's easy to forget they used to belong to an actual person, and he doesn't even want to think about Bobby, having to dig them up from some graveyard… The thought almost makes him wretch.

It's a totally different thing to burn the bones than to dig them up and use them.

"Okay, never mind." Sam says, and he smiles back in the hope the Millers didn't hear him. Don't want them to think the Winchesters are psychos, after all.

"Anyway, it transfers, and all you have to do is find an object and tell say some kind of Celtic spell. I'll text you the words. Then set fire to the bag and we've got the think locked away forever."

"Sounds pretty easy."

"Yeah, well, according to Bobby it only works if you're touching the thing, too. The first few words bind you together, then you work as some kind of bridge from the poltergeist to the object. So, you're gonna have to get close. And I mean, close enough to smell it's creepy, ghostly breath," Dean says, a strange tone in his voice, "Can you do that?"

The mere thought of getting close to it, of touching it, sends shudders down Sam's spine. There's this feeling that comes off the poltergeist, dank and malignant – like rotting syrup. Just being here, it seems like Sam can feel the evil in him growing, like this monster is bringing the monster out in him.

He's probably just imagining it.

"Sure, I can do that," Sam says. No one can know how scared he is of this thing, so he jokes, "I think it has a thing for me, anyway."

The joke falls flat, Sam can feel Dean's tension on the other side. Maybe joking has only alerted Dean to his fear more. The older Winchester has never done good on the side lines, and since Dad's death, he's wound even tighter than usual.

"Just be careful," then after a moment, "Bitch."

Sam's smile is brittle. He recognises the strange echo in his brother's voice now – it's worry.

"Jerk." He answers

The phone slams shut.

::: :::

Sam explains the plan to Mr. Miller, tells him to stay in the circle until nothing in the house is moving anymore. The man looks sceptical, but his daughter's little voice makes him fold.

"Are you gonna save us Mr. Sam?"

Sam smiles, though his stomach flips. He can see Mr. Miller deciding to stay safe for the sake of his daughter. It's the right choice.

"Yeah," Sam says. He damn well hopes so.

The plan is simple: lure the ghost, catch the ghost, trap the ghost. Fail proof if anything ever was.

Sam cracks open the door. He looks down the hall, scans for strange wrinkles in the air. He lets out a part of him he doesn't quite understand – a muscle he didn't know existed until a year ago. Something evil crawls into his mind, alerts him to its presence on the far right. A fan lies on its side, encroached by a strange haziness. It's probably the source of the clanging he heard earlier.

Suddenly, the fan shifts all the way to the door and stops right in front of Sam. The flick of a switch and it turns on, blowing the salt at the door away. Immediately, Sam steps forward and kicks against the fan until it turns off. He turns to see that the circle holding the Millers is miraculously still whole. Almost like Sam willed it to stay intact.

A push in his back and Sam stumbles into the room, he catches himself, grabs a paperweight in his left hand and raises it threateningly to the ghost. He pretends to throw a hexbag and the thing grabs onto Sam's hand with a cold ripple of air. For a moment, time stops.

A crazed woman appears before him, shaky, like her image playing on a frequency Sam can't imagine. Her teeth are bared, her eyes ghostly white. The hand on his arm burns like ice, and it's almost like he can feel he evil ooze off of her onto his skin.

"Naisg beo is spiorad," he whispers in Celtic and he feels their arms melding, feels the evil ooze under his skin, sees his own hand ripple her static figure. Her eyes widen impossibly, then she screeches and the entire house goes wild. Things slam to and fro. The Millers hunch together in their circle.

A table slams into Sam's and sends him to his knees, but when he falls, he takes the poltergeist with him. His left hand still clutches the paperweight, the right holds his phone. He reads the text on it and feels the ghost get more and more angry when it realises it can't escape.

It sends half the room crashing into Sam. Shelves, glasses, letter-openers. Things crack and rip and tear and Sam feels like he's being beaten by thousands of angry spectators. The phone's little screen wavers before his eyes. She tries to take it, but her fingers ripple through it. It's not part of the house, she can't have it.

The last line, and Sam thinks he can hear the door downstairs slamming open over he the poltergeist's shrieks. He thinks he hears Jenny crying. Thinks he can see Mr. Miller doubting between the safety of the circle and helping Sam.

The last words.

The poltergeist screams and seems to get sucked into the paperweight.

Sam sags into the remnants of furniture around him, vision failing. In a dead sprint, Mr. Miller is beside him in seconds, hands ghosting uselessly over Sam's broken body. Sam grunts and tries to tell him to burn the hexbags in Sam's pockets. But the father doesn't listen.

After that, Sam's not so sure of anything.

Mr. Miller calls 911, he thinks. Not before Dean runs in and starts frantically pulling at Sam in every possible, painful way.

"Hexbag," he tells Dean, but he's not sure he makes himself clear until Dean pulls it from his pocket and burns it right before Sam's eyes. He also tells Dean, "I'm fine."

Judging by the annoyed and worried look on Dean's face, his brother strongly disagrees. Sam's body does, too, if the all-encompassing pain means anything. He holds himself together pretty decently, though, until Jenny comes and asks him if he's dying.

"No," Sam says, "I'm not."

"How do you know?" she asks. Sam thinks he understands why she likes him. They're similar. Curious, shy, confused which of the two will win out.

"I can't die here." He mutters, "It would kill my brother."

A broken sob carries through the air and for a moment Sam thinks it's Dean. But it can't be. Dean doesn't cry. He bottles everything up. He gets angry. He mourns in violence and beer. But he doesn't cry.

Sam rues the day that Dean does, because that can only mean one thing; Sam is dead. And, despite the evil in his bones, and the plans the yellow eyed demon has laid out for him, despite the promise he forced Dean to make, Sam knows one thing with absolute certainty.

He does not want to die. So he won't. Not today.

Sirens swell up outside the window, whining beeps that edge ever closer. Dean mutters some kind of nervous insult about Sam's blood ruining the floor. Then he pushes hard against the wound at Sam's side (stupid letter openers).

Everything goes black.