“Dean! Behind you!” The young man ducked as his brother fired wide-spraying salt buckshot at a glowing mist filling the root-filled enclave that was once the basement. The church had been torn away from the foundation, probably by a tornado, ages ago. It was now just a cement hole in the ground with rooms, reminding Sam of the Roman coliseum.
The salt cut through the mist and it scattered, then everything went calm. The air didn’t move; the exploded salt dust hung in it, glowing like fairy dust in the moonlight, after the mist dissipated. Everything seemed to pause until Dean got to his knees and coughed. “A little warning next time. At least let me hold my breath.”
The younger brother made a face. “You’re a real ingrate, you know that?”
Slapping his brother on the back, Dean walked across the broken canning jars and rusted metal cans over to the furthest wall. “Sammy, I had the whole killer mist thing completely under control.” Stopping, he winced as he inspected the body twisted among the overgrown roots, thick dirty strings coming out of his chest. “That is just…messed up.”
Sam didn’t stand around to ogle at the magnificent monstrosity along the back wall. He hated when they were too late to save them. “What does something like that? Some kind of…wood spirit or something?” Picking up the revolver they’d dropped earlier in the encounter, he began searching for what was left of the stairwell.
His brother didn’t follow, however. The older man took out a hunting knife and began hacking through the vines. “We can’t just leave him here like this.”
“Dean…he’s dead. We need to stop this thing before it goes after someone else.” As he watched his brother cutting away at the roots, he wondered just when he’d become the cold, hard voice of reason. That used to be Dean’s job.
Dean shook his head. “He was trying so hard to tell us something, before it impaled him. He knew what it was.”
“And don’t you think his…deadness is going to impair our ability to find out what he knew?” Sam began searching for the steps again among the overgrowth and rubble.
Getting everything off of the man, except for the horrible, dried up piece exploding out of his heart, Dean leaned the body forward, onto his shoulder, and began sawing away behind it. “I don’t know. We’ll check his pockets and stuff. He had some fancy gear. Maybe he’s… like… Hunter, two-point-oh.”
Sighing, Sam helped him lower the body to the ground as it gave way. “Can we just make it quick? I don’t have any more rock salt if that thing comes back.”
Instead of going for the pockets, like he thought they’d agreed to, Dean wrapped both hands around the portion of the thick root still protruding from the man’s chest, and pulled it out. The force drove him backward, into his brother, who shoved him forward again just as the root itself crumbled to dust.
They both stared at the few bits remaining in Dean’s hand for a moment, then turned back to the killer mist’s victim. The bloody gaping wound in the center of the body’s chest slowly closed over. A second after it healed into fleshy pink skin, the body gasped, and sat up, opening its eyes.
“Oh great,” Sam muttered, reaching for his gun–he was fresh out of wooden stakes. “Vampire.”
The man slapped his chest, then tugged at the edges of his blood-soaked white shirt to inspect the damage, or lack there of. “Not…a vampire.”
Dean looked back at his brother. “Werewolf? Not hairy enough. Oh oh! Demonic possession!”
“Glad you’re taking this so lightly.” Sam didn’t take his eyes off the man slowly catching his breath and struggling to a sitting position.
“Not a werewolf, either,” the man muttered toward the ground as he got to his feet. Grinning, he held out a hand. “Captain Jack Harkness. And you two fine gentlemen would be?”
He hesitated, but Dean took the man’s hand. Shaking it, he shot his brother an inquiring smile. His brother made some kind of gesture with his eyes, and then Dean noticed the man hadn’t let go of his hand. Pulling it away, Dean laughed uneasily. “Woh there, Sparky.”
Amusement twinkling in his blue eyes, Sam stepped forward. “My brother said he thought you knew what that thing was?”
The man grinned, something rather satisfied in the way he flashed his pearly whites. “Brothers? That’s hot.”
Sam looked away, trying not to let out a confused laugh. “Is he hitting on us? Dean. I think he’s hitting on us.”
“Well, it means he’s got guts. I’ll give him that, at least. Well, guts and good taste. But seriously. What is this thing? How is it choosing its victims?”
Staring at the hole in his greatcoat, the previously dead man tisked. “This thing is vintage. Damned Viltaran.”
Still with his weapon in hand, Sam took a few steps toward the odd man with the affable smile. “What is a Viltaran, exactly? How do we fight it?”
‘Captain Jack Harkness’ gestured to the hunks of salt littering the ground. “That’s a good start. But I’d really like to see if we can get it to go peacefully, if we can.”
Dean kicked at the salt, trying to find the broken remains of his crossbow, which had been snapped by killer vines about ten minutes ago. “That thing’s already killed six people. I don’t see asking it to go quietly actually working.”
Buttoning his coat over the hole, the man tried to restore some dignity to his appearance. “It probably doesn’t realize what it’s doing. They have no means of communicating with non-energy beings.”
“Then how’d it make those roots come after you? Why?” Sam realized he was lowering the gun.
The man pulled back the sleeve of his coat, revealing a thick leather band. “I was trying to do what you did with the salt, trying to get it to scatter. But I must have hit the wrong frequency because all I did was piss it off. But we have a little time. It’s going to take a while for it to reform. Do you have any way of detecting it?”
Dean and Sam looked at each other, but it was the older brother who spoke up first. “Well, just our noses. It smells a little bit…”
“Vinigary,” the stranger finished. “It’s an atomized acidic life form with certain psychic properties.”
The brothers looked at each other, then back to Harkness. “A what?”
Prodding the hole in his coat, Jack shook his head. “Acidic life form. Which is always fun, I suppose. You should see what happens when an acidic life form and a calcium-base life form mate. It takes forever to clean up the mess, and the smell never quite goes away.”
“Right,” Sam interjected, interrupting the slightly nostalgic look the new guy was getting on his face. “So how do we defeat this thing?”
Giving up on the coat, Jack put his hands on his hips and grinned as if he hadn’t been dead three minutes before. “Philophormic Wave.”
“What?” Sam asked incredulously.
The man grinned again, in a way that made Dean just a little uneasy. “Orgasm.”
“He IS hitting on us.”
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