Welcome Back to my vision of the end of Sam and Dean’s fight to save the world! “With or Without You” is a multi-part, complex tale that brings the Supernatural saga to a close in a way that’s quite different than the “Unity”/”Despair”/”Inherit the Earth” finale that was presented in season 15. Yes, there’s mystery, danger, old friends and familiar enemies, but the ending – well, that just might surprise you. Begin with part 1, or drop into the story in whatever chapter you may have missed by using the links on our Fan Fiction tag. Then over the next several weeks, return with us to the Supernatural universe to again immerse yourselves in the lives of Sam and Dean Winchester!
“With or Without You”
***** Dean *****
“Dean, what the hell?” asked Jo Harvelle as she opened the door.
Dean hurried inside, a diaper back on one shoulder and a baby crying on the other. “Fighting Nazis,” he said handing Jo the car keys. “Body in the car. Samantha needs a change.”
“Hi, Auntie Jo!” John said before running up and hugging her leg.
She really wanted to pick him up, but her hands were full with her shotgun and there were a couple of strangers coming into her bar.
“Who are these guys?” she shouted.
Dean stopped and turned around. “Right! The old guy is is Joram Brunswick, professor of history and world war two veteran. The other one is Arthur Ketch, Men of Letters – British division. John, stay with Aunt Jo!”
They watched Dean hurry towards the back of the Roadhouse. Jo suddenly felt self-conscious about the gun and the fact she had on a robe. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“We’ve been driving for hours,” said Arthur.
“All the way from Stanford,” said Joram. “I would prefer a bed.”
“I have a few rooms you can crash in. Hunters have been… quiet lately,” said Jo.
She pointed Joram to the stairs at the back of the Roadhouse then stepped behind the bar. Arthur handed her a five-dollar bill and said, “The strongest foreign beer this will buy me. Don’t bother with the glass.”
Jo grabbed a bottle, popped it open and handed it to him. “Wait. Did Dean say he had a body?”
Arthur nodded as he took a swig. “Former Nazi, current necromancer. Also from world war two. Long story.”
Jo sighed. “Always having me clean his messes. Help me with it, and the next bottle is on the house.”
The two of them went outside to see the trunk of the Impala standing open in the night air.
“There… was a body in the trunk,” said Arthur.
Jo hurried to the back of the car and lifted the false panel. “Looks like he didn’t bother anything,” she said with a sign of relief. “But where did he go?”
Both of them looked around, but the night was silent and empty.
“I don’t like dead bodies running loose around here,” said Jo as she climbed into the car. “I’ll park Baby around back. We need to lock up the Roadhouse.”
The rest of the night passed quietly. When morning arrived, everyone stumbled into the main hall, gathering at a table near the kitchen where they could hear sounds of Dean and Jo preparing breakfast. Jo came out, poured the professor and Ketch a mug of coffee and set out the additives. Next to the table, Samantha giggled in her bassinette while John played peek-a-boo with her.
The two men made small talk between them as the smell of the food grew unbearable. At last, Jo emerged from the kitchen with two plates in each hand, one piled high with scrambled eggs and the other loaded with sausage and bacon. She set them in the middle of the table while Dean came out and placed empty plates and forks at the settings around the table. Ketch started shoveling the bacon onto his plate, but Jo slapped his hand and warned him to share before sitting down herself. Dean handed her a bottle of grape soda and when she twisted it open, John ran over to her. With a smile, Jo picked him up and sat him in her lap. He held the bottle so she could stick a silly straw into it then he started happily drinking.
Dean had gone back for a pan of biscuits. He was emerging from the kitchen with the biscuits, butter and jam when he nearly collided with a red-haired girl wearing a red and black flannel shirt.
She mumbled some apologies while he tried not to swear loud enough for his kids to hear. The girl took a good look at him then asked, “Are you Dean?”
“I’m Charlie,” she said with a wave and a bashful smile.
“Charlie? Nice to finally meet you. You do good work, kid. Join us for breakfast.”
“I don’t want to intrude. I was just getting…” She trailed off when she saw Jo waving at her to join them.
“Sorry we don’t have more kosher, professor,” said Dean as he placed the rest of the food and a bottle of formula he had tucked under his arm on the table while Charlie sat down.
The old man smiled and waved off the concern. “When you’ve spent weeks on MREs, you learn to appreciate even scraps. You have shared more than enough.”
Satisfied that all was well, Dean sat down last, removing a burp rag that was tucked into his back pocket. Tossing the rag over his left shoulder, he picked up Samantha and made sure she was cradled comfortably in his arms before giving her the bottle he had prepared.
“So brother, you said yesterday you were fighting Nazis?” asked Jo.
“Well, just the one,” Dean answered.
“A member of the Thule society, no doubt intent on killing me,” said Professor Brunswick as he sprinkled some pepper over his eggs.
“What’s the Thule society?” asked Charlie.
“The Thule were a cabal of necromancers within the Nazi party during World War Two,” explained the professor. “They performed… horrible experiments on camp prisoners.” Joram shuddered as his voice trailed off.
“That Cyrus kid I had to find,” said Charlie, “is he a Thule or something?”
“No, he’s a member of the Styne family,” answered Ketch. “They’re a very old, very powerful family that has caused a lot of trouble over many centuries. It looks like they’re working with the Thule.”
“We’re trying to piece it all together,” added Dean. “The professor here worked on a little project with the Men of Letters during the war called the ‘Judah Initiative.’ We’re hoping he can give us an edge.”
“We should find the weapon,” Joram replied.
“You did develop a weapon?” asked Ketch in between mouthfuls of bacon. “The files mentioned such a project but not whether you were successful.”
The old man nodded. “We made a golem.”
Dean set the bottle on the table and moved Samantha to his shoulder where he began patting her on the back. “A golem?”
“Quite strong and almost indestructible. He slaughtered hundreds of the enemy in Belarus, but their leader still managed to escape.”
“That sounds useful,” said Jo. “Can we make more?”
The professor sighed. “Possibly, but even knowing how, it will take months to create. We should get the original.”
“It’s still around?” asked Ketch.
Joram nodded. “We cast lots after the war to see who would be entrusted with the weapon and continue the fight if needed. Rabbi Issac Bass was the one who took him.”
“Great!” said Ketch. “We find Rabbi Bass, point the golem at the Stynes and Thule, and call it a day.”
Dean, having put Samantha back in her bassinette, finally began helping himself to what remained of the breakfast food as he said, “We could have this wrapped up by the end of the week.”
The table ate in silence for a minute. Jo having finished, was helping John as he nibbled on a strip of bacon before she said, “Is a golem the only way to kill a Thule?”
Everyone at the table looked at her quizzically.
“When I went to move the car last night, the trunk was already open, and there was no body in it.”
Dean swallowed his food and turned to Ketch. “How? You stabbed that guy right in the heart.”
Ketch shrugged. “That knife is silver too with a few enchantments. There’s not many things it doesn’t kill.”
Professor Brunswick put down his fork and took a deep breath. “We were afraid of this. During the war, all those experiments? They were the Thule’s efforts to find immortality. We hoped to stop them before they discovered it.”
“So they’re immortal?” asked Dean. “We have an immortal Nazi running loose?”
“No way he got into the Roadhouse without setting off an alarm,” said Jo.
“If he knew I was here, he would have called for help,” said Professor Brunswick.
The sound of gravel crunching beneath tires signaled cars pulling up to the Roadhouse. Everyone’s fork dropped onto their plates.
“How do we kill them?” asked Jo, scrambling to her feet.
“That would be in the Red Ledger,” answered Joram. “A record of their experiments we never found.”
“Fatal wounds seem to at least slow them down,” Ketch said as he stood up and headed to a window by the main entrance to check outside.
“Joram! Charlie! I need you two to take John to the upstairs lodgings and get packed, only essentials,” Dean ordered. “Jo! How are the vehicles?”
“Gassed up Baby last night,” Jo answered as she pulled out her favorite revolver from behind the bar and checked that it was loaded. “Mom’s old minivan is filled up too. Who’s our guests?”
“Three black SUVs and a large black van,” answered Ketch. “All German made. Couple of blokes getting out look a little overdressed.”
“Maybe I can bluff them into leaving,” said Jo as she tossed a pump action shotgun to Dean.
Catching the gun, he racked a shell into the chamber and took up a position at the other window next to the Roadhouse’s entrance across from Ketch. “Make it quick. I’m a little pissed I didn’t get any bacon.”
There was a knock at the door.
Jo took a deep breath and tucked her revolver into the back of her jeans as she whispered, “You’ll cover me if this goes bad?”
Dean and Ketch both saluted her with their guns.
Jo opened the door and took a step onto the bar’s porch. Putting on her most diplomatic smile she said, “I’m sorry, but the Roadhouse isn’t open until five!”
Outside, one of the SUVs and the van had parked in front of the Roadhouse, while the other two vehicles had turned to angle themselves across both driveways that flanked the building. There were close to a dozen occupants and all of them were dressed in dark suits with buttoned up black overcoats. The one who had set foot on the porch and knocked on the door was smiling in a fashion that reminded Jo of sharks.
“Greetings, frauline. My name is Eckhart,” he said. Eckhart gestured to a redheaded man with round glasses that was standing just a few feet behind him. “My associate, Torvald. We are looking for a lost friend. A professor that was brought here by some men of letters.”
Jo put her hands on her hips. “Some guys came by last night with an old dude. That was probably them. But they’ve left already this morning.”
“Where did they go?” asked Eckhart.
“They didn’t say, I didn’t ask,” Jo said with a shrug. “There’s a cheap motel down the highway,” she said, pointing in that direction, “maybe check there.”
“We’ve had a long drive. Do you mind letting us use the toilet?”
“Restroom is for customers only,” said Jo as she inched her hand towards her gun.
“We are quite parched. We would be happy to purchase a few biers for the road.”
Jo took a step back, putting her in the doorway of the bar. “I’m running low on foreigns. Let me check what I have in stock.”
Torvald said something in German.
“Do you know… the men of letters?” Eckhart asked, taking a step forward, placing his hand on the door and opening it wider.
“The who now?”
“My observant friend was here last night, and noticed that your fine establishment is warded quite well. Why would such a simple bar be so protected against the unseen?”
Jo pulled out her revolver and pointed it at Eckhart’s chest. “Because I don’t like uninvited guests.” She fired one round, hitting Eckhart in his heart. He fell back, releasing the door so that Jo could grab it and slam it closed.
Gunfire erupted as Dean and Ketch began firing through the windows. Torvald shouted something in German and the rest of the Thule pulled guns from beneath their overcoats and began firing at the Roadhouse.
“That bulletproof plating on the door was worth the money,” Jo said as she locked it back and placed the cross brace.
Unfortunately, the rest of the walls weren’t as well protected. Bullets punched through them and the windows, shattering some of the bottles on the bar.
“Fall back!” Jo shouted to Ketch and Dean.
The three of them scrambled to the bar in the middle of the room and ducked behind it.
“Is this safe?” asked Ketch, shouting over the sound of the gunfire.
Jo nodded. “I had the bar reinforced and armored after some… previous incidents.”
“Daddy!” came the panicked cry.
Dean stuck his head out just enough to see his children cowering on the stairs with Joram and Charlie. “Jo!” he shouted as he ducked back down. “Time to save people!”
Jo kicked at a section of the wall behind the bar and a hidden panel popped open. From the panel she pulled out a keyring and two Heckler & Koch MP5A3 submachine guns. Tossing the keys to Dean she said, “Go. Ketch and I will shoot the monsters.”
Ducking down, Dean ran to the back of the Roadhouse while Jo and Ketch stood up and unloaded their magazines.
“Everyone ready to leave?” asked Dean as he ran up the stairs.
“Daddy! Sammie’s crying!” John said, his little voice trembling with fear.
“She’s scared, buddy,” he replied with the most reassuring tone he could muster while he checked that nobody was hit by a stray bullet or ricochet. “It’s up to me and you to look out for her. Professor? Charlie? Both of you ok?”
The professor, who had been holding and comforting the baby as much as he could, nodded as he handed Samantha to Dean. “Give me a gun,” the old man insisted. “I used to be a soldier. I can help.”
“Alright. You’re coming with me back to the bar. Charlie?” Dean tossed the keys to her. “Carry what you can to the cars out back. Those are to the minivan.” Dean pulled a second set of keys out of his pocket and knelt down so he could look John in the eye. “Remember the plan we discussed?”
John nodded, trying to hold back the tears that were streaming down his face as he took the keys his father was holding out.
“Take your brother outside as fast as you can – don’t look back. Now, Dean! Go!” It felt like a memory, but one Dean didn’t recognize. He was small, looking up at his father as a precious bundle was placed in his arms. The room was hot, fire was enveloping the ceiling and spreading rapidly. It was all up to him. He had to get out, he had to save… someone… someone important…
Dean shook his head clear. Now wasn’t the time to be getting lost in visions. “I’m going to need you to take your sister outside as fast as you can. The car is waiting out back. Just like we planned, get inside, lock her, and hide.”
“Dean! We don’t have all day!” shouted Ketch.
“Everybody ready?” asked Dean.
They all nodded.
“Now!” Dean shouted at the top of his lungs. Grabbing his son, he ran down the stairs as fast he could, trying to shield both of the kids with his body. Jo and Ketch raised up again, unloading fresh magazines to provide cover fire for their friends. At the bottom, he set John on the floor and placed baby Samantha into the boy’s tiny arms. “Now, John! Go!” Dean ordered as he raised his gun and turned to the front of the Roadhouse, shooting to protect his children. Joram tapped Dean on the back to signal his presence behind Dean as they reached the bar’s cover just in time, when the ammo ran out. Dean leaned out to look back and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Charlie shepherding both kids outside.
“Give me a gun so I can shoot these bastards again!” shouted the professor.
Shoving Ketch aside, Jo pulled back a black, ergonomic floormat revealing a trap door. Yanking it open, she climbed down, and a moment later, a rifle was tossed up from the opening.
“A M1-Garand?” said Joram as he caught the gun. “My lady, you do know how to treat an old-timer.”
Jo climbed up just enough to hand him a box of ammo. “Veterans are always welcome at Harvelle’s Roadhouse.”
“I feel like I’m back in the war!” laughed Professor Brunswick as he loaded the gun with practiced movements.
“You’ll have to tell us some more stories,” said Ketch as he slapped a third magazine into his MP5A3. “Come and get a second arse-kicking you Nazi bastards!” he shouted as he and Joram rose up to return fire.
“Are we making any progress?” asked Jo.
“I can’t tell,” said Dean, leaning over the edge of the cellar. “Even your ammo stash will eventually run out against an immortal enemy.”
“We’re leaving,” said Dean. “Let’s get some presents and get out of here!”
While Dean relayed the plan to Ketch and Joram and the three of them kept the Thule busy, Jo got to work. Rather than rows of bottles or cans, the cellar’s walls were stacked with boxes, clips, and magazines full of ammo from years of dealing with hunters and accepting bullets in exchange for beer. Hanging on load-bearing walls and columns were rifles, shotguns, and pistols in more varieties than the average gun shop. Around the center of the column were racks of grenades and plastiques. By the ladder used to climb in and out of the cellar were several bags. She grabbed an army green duffle bag and began tossing a selection of weapons and their corresponding ammo into it.
“Don’t forget to toss in something for the wife!” Dean shouted down at her.
“What does she like?” Jo asked as she shoved a bandolier of grenades into the bag.
“Do you have an M4-Carbine?”
“Yeah! And tell her the Glock 43 is from me!”
She almost had the bag full when the bar fell eerily silent. “What’s going on?” asked Jo, climbing up just enough to hand the bag to Dean.
“I don’t know, but we’re almost out,” said Ketch.
“Frauline!” shouted a familiar voice.
“I shot him!” Jo said in an angry whisper.
“Not fair,” said Joram. “The enemy is supposed to stay dead when you kill them. That’s how war works.”
“Frauline, your bullet pierced my heart almost as deeply as your beauty!”
Everyone raised up just enough to peak over the top of the bar. Eckhart, whom Jo had shot, was standing at one of the windows, a red stain on his chest.
“Definitely necromancers,” said Ketch. “As long as one of them remains alive, he must be able to bring back the others.”
“Just give us the professor and we’ll leave!” Eckhart offered. “Give us the Men of Letters and we’ll even pay for repairs.”
“Think if we hit them all at once, they’ll stay dead?” asked Dean.
“It might slow them down for a few minutes,” Joram answered.
Jo handed a smaller bag to Dean who took it then helped her out of the cellar. “Think we can get them all in here?” Dean asked.
“Maybe,” Jo sighed as she rubbed her forehead. “But the insurance won’t cover it.”
“You have thirty seconds, Frauline!”
“Got your phone?” Dean asked.
Jo nodded and held up an old silver Nokia. “What are they doing?”
Ketch pulled out a compact pair of binoculars and looked. “They’re opening the back of the van. Something big is getting out.”
“Let me see,” said Professor Brunswick, taking the binoculars.
“What is it?” Jo and Dean asked simultaneously.
The professor turned very pale. “It’s the golem.”
“Die Zeit ist abgelaufen,” shouted Eckhart.
The man that had exited the van was giant. Clad in a beige, button-up shirt and reddish-brown pants, he stood nearly seven feet tall and seemed almost as wide. With a deep, guttural, inhuman roar, it charged the Roadhouse as everyone behind the bar scattered.
The heavy metal front door exploded free of the frame, flying across the room and slamming into the bar. The golem took three thundering footsteps into the bar before a load of buckshot peppered the left side of its face.
“Run!” shouted Ketch as he cocked his shotgun. “I’ll slow it down!”
On the other side of the room, Dean was helping up Professor Brunswick who had fallen in the chaos. “No!” Joram tried to shout, but he was afflicted with violent coughing fits as dust now filled the air.
Ketch managed to fire another round before he had to dive out of the way of the golem’s fist.
“I’m clear!” shouted Jo as she ran to the back exit. “Grab the other bag!”
Dean left the professor, who was still coughing violently, to run over and grab the larger army bag that Jo had filled, but it was partially trapped under the debris of the bar.
“Get out of here!” shouted Ketch as he continued weaving his way around the bar’s tables, taking pot shots at the golem who smashed everything between him and the ornery Brit.
Straining as hard as he could, Dean finally wrenched the bag free, falling back as he did. “Ketch, time to go!” he shouted as he tried to get to his feet.
Ketch turned, intending to run to the bar’s exit, but half of the main entrance’s crossbar had landed near him. His foot caught on the beam as he spun around, and Arthur Ketch fell face first, his weapon flying out of reach.
Professor Brunswick raced forward, shouting something in Hebrew but he could only utter a couple of words before coughing overtook him again.
The golem bent down and lifted Ketch up by the back of his shirt. The man of letters kicked and struggled as hard as he could but the thing’s grip was too strong. It placed its massive hand on top of Ketch’s head.
Joram took another breath and shouted in Hebrew, “Clay of Adam, surrender your bond unto me!”
A second too late. The golem’s arms fell to its side as it bowed its head, dropping the body of Arthur Ketch onto the ground.
“Arthur!?” shouted Dean as he and Joram raced over to their fallen comrade.
As Joram rapidly spoke to the golem, Dean checked the body. Ketch’s head was twisted at nearly one-hundred and eighty degrees.
The professor finished writing on a tiny scroll and hurriedly put it into the golem’s mouth. “We have to go now, Mr. Winchester.”
“What about him?”
“Yifalchunbee,” said the golem, bowing to the Professor.
“He works for us again. Come.”
Dean shouldered the duffle bag and followed the two of them to the back exit, muttering curses he was glad his son wasn’t there to hear. Out back, the dark blue and wood-paneled minivan had its engine running, with Jo and Charlie in the front seats. They were surprised to see the golem with professor Brunswick, but accepted his explanation and slid the side door open for the two of them to climb in.
Dean went up to the Impala and knocked on the passenger side window. John popped up from where he was hiding in the floorboard. Seeing his dad, he unlocked the door and handed Dean the keys.
As he went to the trunk, Jo rolled down her window and leaned out to ask, “Where’s Ketch?”
“Not coming,” answered Dean as he lifted the trunk’s false bottom.
“What are you going to do with that?” asked Jo when she saw the weapon he had withdrawn.
Dean put the panel back in place and tossed in the supply bag he had been carrying before shutting the trunk. He still didn’t respond to Jo as he opened the rear door to throw the weapon onto the back seat before he sat down behind the wheel.
“Buckled up?” he asked John.
The kid nodded, tugging on his seat belt.
Dean lifted Samantha’s baby seat into the front seat and with John’s help, quickly secured it with the middle seatbelt.
“Daddy, what’s that?” asked John, looking at the back while Dean started the ignition.
“A DefTech 37mm grenade launcher,” Dean said as he rolled down his window. Throwing the car in reverse, he stomped on the gas, causing the tires to spin out briefly on the gravel before moving the car backwards. Once it was clear of the building, he threw it into drive and headed to the front of the Roadhouse, Jo’s van following.
“Daddy, you’re not buckled up,” said John.
“One moment, son.” They rounded the corner and saw one of the German SUVs at the opposite end of the building was blocking their path to the open road. Dean stopped the car and grabbed the grenade launcher from the back seat. He stepped half out of the Impala, just enough to rest his arms on the roof to steady his aim before pulling the trigger.
The side of the SUV exploded, and it toppled over onto its side as Dean fired again. A second explosion hit the now exposed underside of the vehicle, sending it spinning out of their way. Dean sat back behind the wheel and placed the gun on his lap as he rolled down the window. He put the car into drive, then picked the gun back up. Steading it across his left arm, Dean double checked the barrel’s aim before hitting the gas.
As the Impala rounded the corner, Eckhart and the others were approaching the SUV. Dean fired out the window. The grenade hit the porch of the Roadhouse, sending several Thules flying. Dean kept his eyes on the road as he fired again and again. A round hit the van and tore it apart while others destroyed the SUVs they hit.
The weapon’s rounds ran out right before the Impala reached the road that ran in front of the Roadhouse. Dean tossed the weapon into the back so he could spin the wheel with both hands, turning the car almost ninety degrees as it hit the blacktop. In the rear-view mirror, he double-checked that the van was still following him.
As the carnage of the Roadhouse faded behind him, Dean pulled out his cell phone.
“Daddy, where we going?” asked John.
“Somewhere safe, buddy,” he said as he dialed Jo. “Phone home,” he said to her.
The front of the Roadhouse was almost completely gone, with flames licking the few standing pieces of the wall. Most the vehicles the attackers had driven to the bar were wrecked, burning husks. Eckhart emerged from the thick smoke in the area, plucking large splinters of wood out of his face and neck.
Spotting him, Torvald walked up and said, “They have escaped.”
“So they have,” said Eckhart as he turned his friend’s face to better see the burns that had claimed Torvald’s right side.
“It will heal. I am more concerned about how the golem let them escape.”
“As am I,” said Eckhart.
They stepped through the hole where the Roadhouse’s door once stood and surveyed the area.
“Perhaps he… pursued them out back,” suggested Torvald.
Eckhart pointed out a body lying near the bar. “What luck. They have left us an informant.”
Torvald ran over and crouched beside the body. He held his hands high over his subject and began chanting, causing his hands to emit a deep, purple glow. As his words grew in volume and his chant became faster, the body started twitching.
“Do you hear that?” asked Eckhart.
It was muffled or distant, but it sounded like a phone’s ringtone.
In her side mirror, Jo watched the fireball climb into the afternoon sky as the sound of the explosion hit their minivan like a thunderclap.
“Was that the Roadhouse?” asked Professor Brunswick, looking out one of the back windows of the van.
“Yeah,” sighed Jo. “I kept an old cell phone wired up to a bit of C4 just in case. While I was in the cellar, I switched on the phone.”
“I’m sorry,” said Charlie. “You loved that bar.”
Jo groaned and nodded, but before she could reply, her phone rang. Seeing it was Dean, she accepted the call and switched it to speaker mode.
“Claire just called me,” said his voice.
“Claire? Is she ok?”
“She was backing Anna up while she tried to connect with one of the Styne family.”
“Is it going well?”
“No. The Stynes kidnapped my wife.”
*****To Be Continued*****
Story and Illustration by Nate Winchester
Edited by Nightsky