I'm so sorry for the long wait! Writing this chapter was like pulling teeth and I hate it. I hate it so much. I've rewritten it and deleted it at least five different times and finally decided I'm done. I might come back later and edit it (I'm sorry; I'll probably do stuff like this a lot) and replace it with a better version.
I hope you guys like it!
Brady knew something was wrong as soon as he opened the apartment door.
Jess was there and she looked fine. She looked like she'd always looked, like Jess, but Brady still felt a chill down his spine and after a quick look over he realized why.
Jess was missing the anti-possession charm Sam had given her for her birthday several years ago. The silver chain Brady knew Sam had spent a small fortune on was absent, his little sister's neck bare, and Brady knew he wasn't dealing with his little sister anymore.
Outwardly, Brady didn't panic. Panic was unproductive. Panic led to hasty decisions and bad life choices, at least according to Sam, who had a lot more experience with this than Brady did. He kept a calm expression and tried to pretend it really was his sister standing there and not a demon wearing her body like one of their dad's armani suits.
"You're early, sis," he said. "Sam won't be here for awhile yet."
The demon rolled her eyes just like Jess, crossed her arms just like Jess, and sounded just like Jess when she said, "I know that, dumbass. But I need to borrow your oven to make cookies. Mine crapped out again."
Brady rolled his eyes even as his skin crawled. "If you didn't cheap out - "
"I'm not using that asshole's money," she interrupted, scowling. "Now are you gonna let me in or not?"
Brady stepped aside and let her pass him, wishing he'd paid closer attention to Sam's lessons on how to deal with demons and her insistence on salt lines. If he had then the demon wouldn't be in his house, in his sister, laying in wait for Sam for God only knows what reasons.
(It wasn't like Sam had ever been too forthcoming about why the denizens of hell were so interested in her.)
He sat down at the table and watched the demon go through the same song and dance Jess did whenever she used his kitchen to indulge in stress baking. There wasn't the slightest hesitation in her movements to give her away as someone other than Jess, which upped the creepiness about ten levels.
Brady pulled his phone out with the intention of texting Sam, but a no service notification flashed across the screen. He bit back a swear and tucked it back in his pocket. Jess had been insisting he get a landline laterly, but he hadn't gotten around to it. There might be a neighbor who would let him borrow their phone, but Brady got the feeling any suspicious actions would trigger the demon and he wasn't about to bring innocents into that.
"What kind of cookies are you making?"
"Chocolate chip, why?"
"I'm not sure I have everything you'll need," Brady said. "If I leave now, I can probably get to the grocery store down the street before it closes."
He hoped he didn't have everything. A grocery run would get him out of the apartment and maybe in range of a cell signal. If Brady could call Sam and give her some forewarning -
"No, you've got everything," Jess said, interrupting his thoughts. "I checked already."
Shit. Brady was fucked. So very, very fucked. There was a demon in his apartment, in his sister, Sam was on her way, and Brady had no way of warning her in advance.
It was a few hours before Sam texted to let him know she was almost there. Brady's hands shook as he fumbled to open the damn phone and before he could calm down enough to manage it slim hands plucked it from his grip.
"I don't think you need that," the demon said, "do you?"
Brady looked up into black eyes and knew he was fucked.
The demon tied him to a chair in the bedroom with the duct tape Brady kept in a kitchen drawer. She put a strip of it over his mouth and smiled wickedly when he tried burning holes in her with his gaze.
"You make some ugly faces for such a pretty man," she crooned, trailing a finger down his chest.
Brady shuddered. He thought he might be sick. The urge was there as his sister gave him a very unsisterly look with eyes that weren't her own. Everything about this was fucked. He didn't care how leery Jess was about tattoos, as soon as Sam saved their asses he was driving her straight to a tattoo parlor and getting her an anti-possession tattoo.
The demon pouted and leaned away. "It's a shame there's not time to have any fun," she said. "I can think of a few things you and I could do together, hm?" She giggled and Brady really was going to be sick because that sound was not natural. It was too high pitched and it was fucking with Brady's head seeing his sister like this, in the same fucked up situation he'd been in three years ago. Brady could only hope the demon was keeping Jess blissfully unconscious in her own mind and not giving her a front row seat to the twisted games it was playing.
Hurry up, Sam.
"I wonder...do you think little Sammy Winchester will know it's not her lover in here?" The demon tilted her head and widened her eyes - Jess's eyes, brown and warm but now with a fractured madness in them. "I bet she won't. I'm a very good actor."
And Sam was a damn good hunter, Brady thought furiously. She would know it wasn't Jess in an instant.
(He ignored the voice of doubt in his mind reminding him that it'd taken Sam months to notice he was possessed. It was different.)
(It really wasn't.)
This demon wasn't like the demon that'd possessed him three years ago. It was...madder. More unstable. Balanced on a hair trigger that made Brady kind of glad he'd been duct taped into silence. He didn't feel like being gutted for mouthing off.
The demon moved in front of the mirror, fiddling with Jess's hair and pursing her lips, trying different poses and expressions. Brady felt a little horrified to see his tomboyish, rebellious little sister acting like - like that! It clashed with everything he knew about his sister, jarred so harshly with his reality that Brady could feel an existential crisis creeping up on him.
Jess was primping. Primping!
I have seen that which cannot be unseen.
It might've been funny if it was really Jess and not a demon wearing her body. Brady might have laughed and teased her about dressing up for Sam (quiet, nerdy, awkward, scary, hunter Sam) and Jess would've snapped something back about his one night stands, embarrassed, and Brady would've mussed her hair and Jess would've sworn at him and it would've been...nice. Happy. Good.
So much better than this, Brady taped to a chair and Jess trapped in her own body while a demon rode it around doing whatever the hell it wanted.
(Next time Sam mentioned demon proofing his place, Brady was going to listen and follow her advice to the goddamn letter.)
Jess straightened with a smile. Brady jerked and tried to yell out, to warn Sam, but it was useless.
"Show time," the demon said. She pasted on a look of concern and rushed out of the room.
"Sam! Sam, oh my god, it's been so long!"
Brady wanted to laugh. The demon had access to his sister's memories and personality, but that was the approach she took? Sam would see through it in an instant.
But maybe that was the point.
There was a murmur of voices and then a sharp crack and a thud. Someone shouted Sam's name and then there was a crash of splintered wood and shattered glass. Brady screamed and struggled, but all he managed to do was slide the chair an inch to the left.
The demon came back without a smile and grabbed the chair, towing him behind her effortlessly.
There were two people in the living room and Brady only recognized one. Sam was on the ground, dazed, with the beginnings of a black eye and blood leaking from her nose. There was a gun near the wall, out of reach, and the demon bent down to pick up a silver knife with a wicked edge. The stranger, a man in a leather jacket, groaned near the wall.
"Tut, tut, Sammy," the demon said, disappointed. "Didn't Daddy teach you better?"
Sam's pupils weren't right. She blinked to slowly to be normal. Concussion, Brady thought, and wasn't that just great? The only person who knew how to deal with demons was working with a heavy handicap and one, maybe two possible hostages.
They were so fucking screwed.
"Ssshudup," Sam slurred. She glared fuzzily at Jess – at the demon – and the black-eyed fucker laughed. The stranger – Sam's friend? Brother? Sam had a brother, didn't she? Brady swore she'd mentioned a brother – shifted. Brady heard the scrape of broken glass against the floor and a hiss of pain. Green eyes opened, blinked, and widened. Brady gave a quick, sharp shake of his head.
Don't do anything, he tried to say with his eyes. Wait. For fuck's sake, wait.
Green Eyes expression twisted and flicked to Sam and back, but he gave a subtle nod back. Brady almost slumped with relief.
The demon hadn't noticed the little exchange, too busy gloating about her success. Sam tried to get up, but the demon reacted and slammed a harsh kick into her ribs. Sam crumpled, gasping, and rage flashed across Green Eyes' face. Brady glared daggers at his sister's back and hoped the demon felt every single one.
"You know, I was so pleased to get this assignment," Jess crooned, grabbing a fistful of Sam's hair and tilting her head back. "It's not everyday we get a free ride topside. And a chance to take down the Sam Winchester…I was honored." She laughed, high pitched and insane. "But you're not tough are you, Sammy? All talk, none of the walk and with a body like yours that's a pity, really."
She slammed Sam's face into the ground and Brady flinched at the sound it made.
And Green Eyes, well.
Swift as a cheetah he was on his feet and tackling Jess off Sam. The demon's head – Jess's head – slammed into the ground with the same sickening noise Sam's made. Brady let out a distressed noise – that was his sister, jesus fuck, couldn't the asshole be a little more gentle? – and the demon snarled.
"Oh, is that how you want to play it, Winchester?" she hissed. "Then let's play."
Green Eyes was thrown off her, but she made no move towards any of them. No, instead, she snapped her fingers.
Flames erupted from the ceiling.
"Let's see you escape this time!"
She threw her head – Jess's head back – and departed in a plume of black smoke.
There were gongs going off in my head. The world kept tilting in ways it wasn't meant to tilt. Heat licked at my back.
I couldn't think. Everything was fuzzy in a bad way, like I was trying to think through cotton. I could hear the crackle roar of flames. Someone was shouting, screaming really, and fuck, that was familiar. Why was that familiar?
" – AM! SAM! HEY!"
Rough hands rolled me over and grabbed my face, forcing my gaze up and I saw Dean – Dean, bracketed by flames, like something straight out of a nightmare, or a very distant memory.
"Hey, you listening to me?" he demanded. "SAM!"
"I'm lishening," I said, but the words came out slurred and slow. I felt slow. Dean swore and pulled my arm around his shoulder, hauling me to my feet. The room spun, smoke and flame, and I thought I'd be sick.
There was someone on the floor. Someone with blond hair in spiraling curls and a pretty heart shaped face and I knew them, that was –
"Jesh," I said and noticed the other person, tied to a chair. "Bra'y?"
Brady was tied up with duct tape and gagged with it too. He looked frantically at me and then at Jess, like I'd ever leave them behind.
"I'll come back for them – " Dean tried and I shook my head. No, he had to get them now, we had to get them out right now. The fire wasn't natural, it was demon made and it would swallow them up if we let it, if we left them.
I'll eat you up, I love you so, I thought and giggled. Dean swore, loudly and at length, but set me against the as of yet untouched couch. I watched through bleary eyes as he pulled a pocket knife from his shoe and got to work on the duct tape holding Brady.
The smoke got thicker. The heat got warmer. I started to cough and slumped sideways. It was so hot. So hard to breathe.
"SAMMY! Stay awake, damn it, I've almost – "
Dean's knife slid through the last bit and Brady was up and out of his chair, ripping the duct tape off his face in one go and kneeling beside Jess.
I let my eyes fall closed.
Everything was going to be fine.
And it was, for the most part.
We got out alive. Jess was alive. No one was possessed.
It was a win.
"You should go to the hospital," Brady said as we sat outside on the trunk of the Impala, watching firefighters and ambulances swarm the street and try to contain the fire.
"Hate hospitals," I mumbled.
"Is that why I'm always patching you up?"
Jess limped around the side of the car, Dean half a step behind her. She looked like she hadn't slept in a week, with the shadows under her eyes and sickly pallor to her skin. Brady lifted an arm and she tucked herself against her brother's side without hesitation.
If that wasn't a sign something was seriously wrong, I don't know what was. Jess didn't seek comfort.
Brady noticed it too. His pulled her in tighter like he could protect her from the world if he just kept her close enough.
"Sammy's always hated hospitals," Dean said. "Runs in the family."
"That explains the crazy," Brady said. "A whole lot of untreated brain damage."
"Rude," I muttered and made grabby hands at Dean. He stepped closer and I latched onto him like a teddy bear, tucking my forehead against his neck and sliding my arms around his back, letting my full weight sag against him.
"Is she okay?" Jess asked.
"Yes," both Dean and Brady answered. I felt Dean go stiff and let out an annoyed noise. He sighed, and fingers started searching through my hair, find the bumps and contusions the demon had left.
"I know how to take care of a concussion," Dean said.
"Sam's tough, Jessie, you know that," Brady added. "Remember last time she was here?"
Jess made a noise, something like a growl, and said, "Yeah, I remember. I remember the fucking foot plus long gashes in her side too."
"Hate wendi'os," I mumbled. "Fuckers."
I was slurring less. Skipping consonants more, but less slurring. Still felt fuzzy, thinking through cotton. The sirens and shouting were like hammers to my head on top of the throbbing my head was already doing. Dean's methodical injury search turned into soothing petting.
"Don't fall asleep," he said.
"'m not," I protested.
I wasn't that fucked up, jesus. Everything was fuzzy and slow, but I at least had enough clarity of thought to know better than that. I couldn't quite figure out why it was important that I stay awake, which might be kind of bad, but that might've been the concussion talking.
"Excuse me, are you Brady Moore?"
"Yeah, that's me."
"You're the tenant in apartment 3-B?"
I tuned them out. Dean stopped petting my hair. He smelled like smoke and sweat.
"You need a shower," I mumbled.
He snorted. "So do you."
"I smell like fuckin' roses."
Of course, coming out alive was the simple part. Brady's entire life had burned up in the fire. He didn't have insurance and he'd been cut off from his trust fund during the whole possession fiasco three years ago, which had led to the Moore family split; it was a lot like the Winchester family split, except, you know, there'd been less child disownment and a whole lot more parental disownment.
I tried not to feel bad for it, because from everything I'd heard the Moore parents were giant assholes on a good day. I didn't always succeed because I hoarded guilt like a dragon hoarded gold, but, you know, a for effort and all that.
Brady had nothing. Jess lived in an all girl's dorm and point blank refused to go back.
"You can't seriously expect me to go back after that," she said, three days after the fire, when Brady brought up the subject. "I was possessed. By a demon. Do you have any idea – "
"Yeah," Brady interrupted, "and I had it a hell of a lot worse than you did, sis."
I reached for the bottle of jack on the table and poured myself a generous glass. The demon that possessed Brady had systematically worked to destroy everything he'd considered important – his grades, his scholarship, his friendships, his family, his reputation, his faith. By the time I figured out what was up, Brady's life had been in ruins. His family was feuding, he'd fucked off his scholarship, his parents had cut him off from his trust fund, he'd been addicted to multiple drugs, and he'd had no friends left beside me and Jess.
And that was without getting into the issues being possessed left behind. Post traumatic stress, paranoia, depression, mood swings, nightmares, the whole shebang.
Lots of reasons to rock the guilt complex.
"You were possessed? Is that – that's what happened, isn't it? When you were…"
I picked up my glass and went outside. Let them talk this out. It was none of my business. Especially since I was the reason Brady, and now Jess, had been possessed in the first place. Dean followed me out.
"He's been possessed before?"
I tossed back half my glass. "About three years ago. He was possessed for months."
"He is," Dean said. "Most possessed people end up dead. Or worse."
"Most people don't get possessed in the first place," I retorted. My hands were shaking. I set my glass on the hood of the car and rubbed my hands on my pants. "Bobby hears about three, maybe four possessions in a year, usually. That's, what, twelve, sixteen in four years? What are the odds that two of those possessions would be friends of mine?"
Microscopic if I'd been anyone else. But I wasn't. I was Sam fucking Winchester, girl with the demon blood, destined starter of the apocalypse, true vessel for the devil.
"You're over thinking it. Shit happens, Sam. Random, unpredictable shit and it sucks, man. It sucks bad. But that's life."
"Yeah, well, I fucking hate it."
"You and me both, Sammy. You and me both."
I finished off my drink and wished I'd brought the bottle out with me.
"So…what're you gonna do now?"
"What?" I looked at Dean in confusion. "What d'you mean?"
He avoided my gaze. "I'm going to hit the road soon to keep looking for Dad. What're you going to do? Stick around here with your friends? Head in the other direction?"
"Are you seriously asking me that?"
"It's a legitimate question, Sam. You and Dad didn't exactly part on the best of terms."
"Are you serious?" I stared at him incredulously. "You're really – what the fuck, Dean."
Dean started to scowl. "You left, Sam."
I pushed away from the car, away from Dean, and dragged a hand down my face, laughing a bit. Our family was so fucked up. Dean really thought that I would – what, leave Dad to his own devices? Leave him to his own devices? Fuck off to whatever I'd been doing before Dad disappeared?
"Do you really expect me to just, what, leave? Walk off knowing Dad's missing and pretend like you didn't ask for help?"
"I don't know what to expect Sam! I didn't expect you to leave the first time, but guess what? You did!"
"I got a full ride into Stanford, Dean! An Ivy League college."
If he'd known anything about who I was in my first life, he would've realized what a fucking accomplishment that was.
And with the life I'd led this time around? It was a fucking miracle.
"Would it have killed you to say 'I'm proud of you. You did a good job'?"
"Sam – "
"I just wanted one thing, Dean. One thing just for me, just one normal fucking thing! And I couldn't even have that without Dad going ballistic and kicking me out!"
My voice cracked. I swiped at my burning eyes. This was stupid, it'd been four years. There was no use crying over spilt milk.
"If you wanted normal so bad, then why'd you keep hunting? Huh? Tell me that, Sam."
Because I didn't have a choice. Because people died. Because they kept dying. Because someone had to do something; it might as well be me.
Because when I was a baby, a demon bled in my mouth and I lost whatever chance I had at being normal.
Because I'm so fucked up that going a month without hunting anything made me feel like an addict going through withdrawal.
I wiped my eyes. "You know what, it doesn't matter. Let's just find Dad, okay?"
Dean snorted and looked away. "Yeah, whatever."
He stormed back into the motel room and the slammed shut behind him.
So, things happened differently. Jess was possessed, but is still alive. There was still a fire, but no one died.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter! I'll try to get the next chapter out quicker than this one and hopefully it'll be less like pulling teeth.
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