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Gift Horses

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The fingers on his face felt cold, colder than what it was possible for human hands to be. He could hear someone speaking to him, and it was in a voice he could hear, yet not, a voice of inflection, but of no sound.

In his head, the voice said, "There were two races, of a single planet."

And he could see the planet, continents greener than that of Earth, seas tinged red. He saw the people that lived there, grand in their lives, arrogant in their spirits. He saw thousands upon thousands of years pass, until they evolved past bodies, past physicality.

He saw them at war.

"Sam. What are you doing?"

Sam turned away from the window, letting the curtain he'd been holding back with a crooked finger fall into place. It swung gently back and forth, a frayed thread floating from the corner of it, stiff with static.

Dean twisted the rod inside of the barrel of the gun he was cleaning, attention there and not on Sam's face. Sam sighed through his nose and shook his head before answering, "I must be going stir-crazy."


"Have you noticed it?"

Dean took the rod out and inspected the patch at the end. Clean. Satisfied, he put the gun beside him, where it joined the others he'd just cleaned.

"Noticed what?" he asked.

"At about ten o'clock. Every night, since we've been here. There's a strange light that comes from the alley catty-corner."

Dean looked up, eyes going wide, before his eyebrows drew down into a disturbed frown. "And you're mentioning it now?" He stood up and went to the window, looking out.

"We were busy."

"Not busy enough, if you've noticed some strange light for the last three nights."


"Sam," Dean mocked. He got the stink-eye for his efforts and smiled. "So what's strange about it?" he asked.

"It's like...fairy lights."

"Fairy. Lights."

Sam squinted one eye at him, the corner of his mouth drawing up. "What?"

Dean shook his head.

Sam said, "No, seriously, Dean, what?"

Dean said, "Just call them Christmas lights like everyone else on the planet."

"Well, excuse me."

Dean snorted. Then he said, "Could be nothing. Could be anything." He turned away, walking back to the cot, and throwing himself down on it, arms going out across the blanket. A few guns bounced. "Heck, maybe it's a transporter."

"A what?"

"Like those stories Dad was always talking about?"

Sam said, "You give me grief over saying 'fairy lights' and then you pull this out of...where exactly?"

Dean sat up, ignoring the pointed look on Sam's face. "Oh, come on, don't you remember? Pulp fiction. He loved that stuff. Aliens, and transporters, and a bald black captain?"

Sam raised his eyebrows and then squinted in thought, before seeming to remember. "Written by Benny Russell?"

"That's it."

"Didn't Russell end up in a mental institution?"

"And your point is?"

Sam huffed.

"Come on, Sam! I mean, look at what we do!"

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes, but stepped closer to the window, again drawing back the curtain and peering out.

"So..." Sam let the curtain drop again, turning around, "let's go check it out."

Dean smirked, reached across to Sam's bed, and grabbed the gun there, one he'd previously cleaned and re-loaded. He held it out to Sam, saying, "Safety's on."

Sam nodded, took it, and tucked it away in his waistband. Dean took a moment to shove the guns away in a duffle bag and push it with his foot partway under his bed, leaving one out for himself.

Dean also tucked his gun away, and they left the house, just out for a walk, in the dark. A street lamp at the corner of the block flickered, moths fluttering around it, bumping into the plastic keeping them away from the bulb.

Sam and Dean paused on the curb. Sam looked to the left and Dean to the right, before they stepped off, Sam with his hands in his pockets.

Dean was humming "White Room" in snatches, under his breath. Sam shot him a dirty look and Dean raised his eyebrows. A second later, he stopped, and Sam went a few steps without him, only stopping when he couldn't hear Dean walking behind him.

"Weird." Dean said.


"This...seems awfully familiar."

"Deja vu?"

A loud clang came from the alley, followed by a series of smaller scuffling noises. Dean and Sam looked at each other, eyebrows raised. They jogged the rest of the distance, and paused at the corner, before peering around it. Sam cast a quick glance around, and drew his gun, keeping it low and to his side.

A gray dog, fur matted and coarse, was rooting around in a garbage can. The brothers looked at each other for a few moments, undecided about entering the alley. At first they didn't notice the low whine. The dog stopped digging for food and pricked up its ears, standing stock still. The whine became louder and both Sam and Dean stepped back, as they saw the air begin to shimmer and coalesce into golden sparkles around the forms of two men, backs to Sam and Dean.

Sam said, "What the--" He was cut off by the dog, who started to bark, fierce and vociferous. Dean pulled on Sam's coat, a silent warning to back up, to not let their faces be seen.

They stood silent, waiting. The dog continued to bark. Over the sound they heard, "Hey there, pooch."

The dog started to growl. The same voice said, "I don't think he likes you, Spock."

Sam mouthed, "Spock?" Dean gave him a warning look and a sympathetic shrug.

The dog began to whine and then a few seconds later, shot out of the alley, tail between his legs. Again, the same voice said, "All right. Let's get going; the window's fading fast, according to Daniels. Let's see if we can finally make contact."

"Of course, Cap--"

The first voice cut off the second with a sibilant, "Shh. It's Jim, Spock."

Dean whispered, "What is going on?"

Sam waved a hand, as if to say 'nevermind,' and then tucked his gun away. Pointing to his left, he started walking that way. A moment later, Dean followed.

They didn't look behind them, but a minute later, they stopped on the corner of the street, as if waiting to cross. They saw the two men come out of the alley, headed the other way, dressed in thick coats, to fight the chill.

Without a word, Sam and Dean started following. The men gave no sign that they knew they were being followed.

That is, until the shorter of the two turned around, and asked, "Was there something we could do for you gentlemen?"

He had an open face, but a guarded smile. His companion was darker, sallower skin, with a sharp nose and high cheekbones. His woolen cap was pulled low, down over his eyebrows and ears.

Sam, and then Dean, stopped short. Dean muttered to Sam, "Score us some points for being obvious."

Sam only nodded, not looking away from the strangers. He said, "Well, for starters, you could tell us how you got into that alley. What was it? Some kind of magic?"

The shorter man said, "Oh no, nothing like that. You must be Sam and Dean Winchester."

Dean shot a stunned look at Sam, who looked no less surprised. "Well, you've got the jump on us. How do you know us? And who the heck are you?"

The taller man said, "It was only logical." His companion spoke over him, saying, "My name is Jim Kirk, call me Jim. This is Spock. And, we've been looking for you."

"So we know your names now. Answer the second question." Dean said.

Kirk slid a glance at Spock and said, "I like him. Direct."

Spock ignored the comment and said, "We want to talk to you."

"About what?" Sam asked.

"We," Kirk waved a pointed finger between he and Spock, "are people who know exactly what you're up against." Kirk stepped closer. "Ever stop to ask yourself the bigger question? What are 'demons' exactly? Why is it that there seems to be a physical place 'angels' fall from?"

"You're crackpots." Sam said.

"Uh, Sam," Dean said, "pot--kettle?"

"No." Kirk shook his head. "We have a bit more information than you do. Care to find out?"

Dean tapped Sam on the sleeve and then nodded at the two men watching them. "Excuse me, fellas," he said, and pulled Sam along with him, about five feet away.

Dean put himself where he could keep an eye on Kirk and Spock, who had turned away, as if to give them privacy. Sam looked over his shoulder at them, and kept his body angled, but mostly faced Dean.

"I'm curious," he explained. "What have we got to lose?"


"They came out of thin air, Sam."

"And that's why we should have nothing to do with them."

"This is our job, and something tells me they know that."




Sam turned around, and Dean led back to Kirk and Spock, saying, "All right, who are you guys and why are you looking to...what was it...make contact?"

"We're willing to answer any questions you have, but do you really want to hold this conversation out here?"

"He's right, Sam, we'll draw too much attention just gabbing out here."

"I don't like it," Sam said.

"Can you think of a better idea?" Dean asked.

"All right, come on, then. Let's go back to the house."

Dean said one thing on the way back, "Stop muttering, Sam, you're giving our guests the wrong impression."

Sam showed him a rude gesture.

A low chuckle came from Kirk, but when Sam looked at him, all he did was raise his eyebrows slightly.

Dean flipped the lights as they entered, and grabbing Sam's arm and then letting go, he pointed at his own bed, indicating he should sit down. He didn't. Dean shrugged his shoulders, pointed for the benefit of Kirk and Spock, instead, across the way to Sam's cot, and sat down.

Sam said, "All right. I'm tired of waiting. What's your proof?"

"Show them, Spock."

Spock took off the ski cap, and both Sam and Dean blinked, before saying, "What the-"

Kirk said, "Gentlemen, this is my proof and evidence."

Spock said, "I come from another planet." He replaced the cap, pulling it down over the slanted eyebrows and pointed ears.

Sam sat down, eyes wide, staring.

Dean sputtered, "You're-- you're an--"

Spock interrupted, before Dean could get any further, "An alien, that's correct."

Kirk pointed at Spock with a thumb, and said, "You can't tell, but he's amused by your reaction."

Sam said, "Pinch me, Dean."

Dean reached over and slapped the back of Sam's head, saying, "That feel like you're dreaming, Sam?"

Sam jerked away, giving him glare full of death, and exclaimed, "I said, pinch me!"

Kirk said, "No, you're not dreaming. There's a slight catch to the information we want to give you. There's really only one way to do this. We know you don't trust us, and this is all unfamiliar to you, but believe me, we're doing this because it must be done, because you, both of you, can help us. My friend, here, is telepathic. He can share this information psionically."

"Psi--onically?" Dean asked.

Spock said, "We would share mental processes in a procedure called a mind meld."

"No, no way. I'm not volunteering for that."

Kirk turned to Sam, "What about you?"


"Jim said this was the only way. That's not entirely correct. You could reject our proposal. We would share the information, nonetheless. However, with the mind meld, all forms of dishonesty are stripped away. You would have all the information we have at your disposal, with the certainty that it is true."

"What happens if we just say no?" Sam asked.

"You'll lose your war," Kirk said.

"Why? What information do you have that's so important?" Dean asked.

Kirk and Spock shared a glance.

Kirk said, "Just as Spock is an alien, those entities you call 'demons' are aliens. They have been engaged in a war with the entities you know as 'angels'."

Spock said, "They are non-corporeal."

"This is absolute bu--"

Dean interrupted Sam, "That makes a scary amount of sense."

"Then why would they be bound by religious rituals? I'm not buying this. You expect us to believe this?"

"No, we don't. But the fate of our future lies in your hands. We're not in a position to make the change you two can."

"All right. What do I have to do?"

"Dean," Sam said, his voice low and fierce, a warning. "Are you stupid?"

"Let's just hear them out."

"What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing, Sam. This...feels right."

"That's all you're gonna say?"

"All right...what about this? Can you do it to both of us?"

Kirk and Spock shared an unreadable glance.

"It can be done," Spock said.

The presence in his mind withdrew, leaving gently, carefully. The information shared stayed behind, along with a message.

"You know this to be truth. You will remember this as shown."

There was sunlight in his eyes. Even with them shut, it was bright. Dean raised a hand to shield his eyes, before he opened them.

His first thought was, 'What the--' and then, 'Sam?'

He was...wait...had been in an alley. Hadn't there been a dog? A dog had been barking. He shook his head, which was a mistake, and then heard Sam say, "I feel like there's a spike in my eye."

"Thank God," he muttered to himself and rolled back over, to see Sam come to a sitting position. He was rubbing his neck, head down.

"What's the matter?" asked Dean.

"Got a crick in my neck, too," Sam answered. He rubbed the spot a few more times, then shook out his shoulders, rolling them and moving his head from side to side.

Dean stretched, feeling his spine crack. "So..." he said.


"They're gone, huh?"


Dean scratched his nose and leaned forward on the side of the cot, elbows on his knees.

"What now?"

Sam shook his head. "It's unbelievable."

Dean said, "I didn't ask you what you thought about it. I asked you 'what now'?"

"Let's go talk to Bobby." Dean raised his eyebrows. Sam said, "I'm just saying. Maybe he can tell us more about the Hayyoth and-"


They paused, just for a moment, looking at each other with eyebrows raised. Sam opened and closed his mouth like a fish lacking water, before saying, "Yeah."

Dean slapped his knees and stood up. "Fine. Let's go."

"It's a false memory, Spock. Doesn't that bother you just a little bit?"

"Why, Captain? Isn't this what needed to be done? He will never know the difference."

"That's right. Thanks to you. Pardon my...momentary attack of moral fortitude."


"Well, at least we can say that's a job well-done. No one will ever remember that Earth was nearly obliterated by the Hayyoth and Shedu. Thanks to us."

"And Dean and Sam Winchester."

"Of course. How could I forget them?"

"One could even consider them as heroes. Will that be all?"

"Yes. Yes. Go on."