MarquessaS. - July 18, 2010 08:30 PM (GMT)
Sometimes it was best to lay low. But boredom is a hungry affliction, and Dean Winchester had to feed his need for distraction. A recipe for disaster, but for Winchesters, it was par for the course.
No spoilers. Set in an earlier, simpler timeframe.
The job was nothing new. Reports of dead shmucks turning up in an unusually high number and concentration, and in ever more unusual circumstances. The pattern was consistent; some one would be awol for work, or not come home one night. A worried relative or friend filing a report, and days later, the bodies would show up. They knew it wasn't some sick serial killer, not with the tell-tale signs. Exsanguination. The victims sucked dry, a total depletion of blood volume, but no significant trauma. Other than those odd little punctures. And the burns.
The source was a liitle suspect, a typical grocery-store gossip rag. But they had long ago learned which ludricrous stories to discount, and which held a grain of truth as only they would recognize. And this one bore the hallmarks of a real problem. The article screamed vampire, which was the obvious conclusion to any one reading it. Grainy pictures of Bela Lugosi replete with black cape and wax fangs accompanied the story, enhancing the silliness of the report. But there were details buried in the nonsense that only reality could produce, and Dean caught them immediately.
He sat on the bed, plowing through a soggy corner store meatball sub and reading, while Sam did whatever he did online. Dean held the paper toward his brother and shook it to gain his attention. "Hey!" he said through a mouthful. "Poindexter---shut down the porn and read this!"
Sam shot him an acid look and sighed. "How 'bout you swallow first before you open your yap, Dean? You just sprayed lettuce all over."
Dean made a face and ignored him. "Just shut up and read it. Tell me there isn't a job in there."
Sam leaned forward with a frown and snatched the paper from Dean's hand. He made an exaggerated motion of shaking the debris from the pages before scanning them.
"So? What do you think?" Dean was antsy and eager for distraction. They had lain low for a while, after attracting some unwanted attention from local law on their last job. It was in their best interest to play normal for a while, but unfortunately, Dean didn't idle well. He required constant activity, to keep his mind from wandering old and ugly paths. His need to hunt was obsessive, practically an addiction.
Sam dropped the paper back on the bed. He wasn't all that keen on crawling back out into the glaring public eye just yet. It was safer here, in BF-nowhere, but Dean's jittery energy was driving him nuts, and it was getting to the point where it was this or fratricide.
"Yeah. I guess it sounds legit. I don't get the part about ritual marks though. I never knew vampires to be particularly ritual-oriented. They're pretty much all about immediate gratification....kind of like you, actually. I mean it's not like they're demons.."
"Tomaydo tomaddo." he shrugged. " and they might have a real story there, but the details are probably crap. I'm guessing the writer juiced it up a bit, but you've gotta admit, it makes it pretty damned interesting..."
"Mmm." Sam flipped through the paper, then tossed it back. "When did you pick that up? I didn't see you go out."
"Didn't. It was at the doorstep, I saw it when I went out to get my stuff. Complimentary paper for our reading entertainment."
"Weird choice." Sam said, losing interest. "You'd think a local paper would be better."
Dean wouldn't let it go. "C'mon, Sam---how about following up on it? I'm bored out of my tree here, and I know you could use a diversion by now.."
Sam snorted. He could have added any number of things to that, but he refrained. It was late afternoon, in the middle of a steaming heat wave, and too damned hot for sparring. Instead he sighed. "Fine. Whatever. At least it's not too far from here. Lucky." He shut his laptop and lay back on his own bed, sipping at his half finished coke and listening to the fat, lazy cluster flies bounce off the speckled glass of the mildew-framed window. "This place is gross." he grumbled, surveying the room with disgust.
Dean took that and ran with it. "Yeah it is! There's no reason we have to stay here, it takes five minutes to pack up our crap. Why don't we go find some motel or something out at, what was it---Lord's Mills or something? Hell, it can't be any worse than this dive."
Sam rubbed his forehead wearily and got up with a sloth's reluctance. He knew by now that he wouldn't win this one. Dean had that damned sparkle in his eyes.
"We're here." Dean shoved at Sam, who was snoozing in an uncomfortably cramped position against the passenger door.
Sam roused himself and sat up straighter, peering at the road ahead. "Jesus, finally. I thought the place was closer."
Dean looked sheepish. "Yeah, well, we might've taken the scenic route...I got a little turned around, but I figured it out."
The town revealed itself over the next hill. It was nothing special, half farming economy, half quaint tourism--apparently it was all about the maple syrup.. It had a main street that was shut down at this hour, being somewhere past six. The pavement radiated heat in distorting waves, and the brothers were sweating against the black leather of the non air-conditioned car. "Lord's Mills." Dean breathed in relief, as the sign flew past. He used his sleeve to wipe the sweat that was beading on his brow yet again, praying that their destination was air-conditioned. It was still early in the summer, but it had been uncommonly warm for weeks, and the only one pleased by that was a vindicated Al Gore. The rest of the eastern seaboard was flaked out in sticky easy chairs, fans whirring and praying for rain. At least with the tourism component, they had a few choices for the night. They settled on a plain little motel that looked bug-free and advertised a reasonable rate. Dean pulled to the gravel parking lot and shut the car down.
Both stretched wearily in the heat as they exited. Dean trudged toward the office as Sam began to collect their things from the trunk. It only took a few moments, it wasn't peak season, and Dean returned, whistling and swinging the keys. He opened the door to their unit, and Sam carried his armload in. It was better than the last place. Fresher, cleaner, and instead of the two stale singles, this one had two double beds separated by a tidy desk. Regardless of anything else, Sam was relieved to be sleeping in this new locale. Fewer flies at least.
"See? Told you it'd be better." Dean said in triumph.
Sam couldn't bitch. "So can I take stuff out for good this time? Or should I just leave it in the car in case this one isn't up to your standards either."
"Shut up, you whiner. And yeah, go ahead and settle in. And while you're at it, figure out what you want to do for dinner... I'm gonna grab a shower, and after, maybe see what there is to do around here." He threw his gear on to bed nearest the can, effectively claiming it, and headed into the bathroom. Sam repeated the routine he'd already done once that afternoon, opening his pack and taking out his immediate needs, and arranging the rest neatly beside his bed. He sprawled on his bed and closed his eyes, appreciating the bleached- clean scent of the sheets. He had to admit that it really was several steps above the last place. As he waited for his turn in the can, he turned to what he'd dumped on the desk. His wallet was there, unhappily thin. The newspaper from the previous motel. Pack of gum, which might do in a pinch...a note book, pen, and brush. Nothing filled the need, all he could think of was the rumble of hunger that plagued him. He yelled toward the closed bathroom door. "Would you hurry up?! I'm starving here!"
The shower noise stopped and Dean finally popped his head out the door. "You haven't ordered anything yet?!" He ducked back in, dressed fully, and returned. "crap, Sam, it's already pushing eight, I can't hang around here while you make up your mind. I'll grab something wherever I end up. What about you, are you coming?"
Sam shook his head. Nothing was going to tear him away from this comfortable, clean bed after being folded up in the sweltering Impala for an eternity. "Nah. I'm beat, Dean. If you want to go out, be my guest. I'll order something in and just watch tv."
Dean shook his head. "God, you're such a wallflower. Seriously---come out with me, we'll find a couple of nice looking girls, we'll party, you'll wake up a new man."
Sam smiled indulgently and shook his head. "Go ahead, Dean. I'd only be a fifth wheel anyway. I'm not looking for what you are, so I'd only be a weight. Don't worry about me, ok? You were right, this place is way better, and I just want to relax in front of the tube after all the driving."
Dean watched him for a second, and decided it was fine. "Ok then. I get that. I think you're nuts, but whatever. I'll probably be at the closest joint around here, if it's half decent. I'll call you if there's any change. And Sam..?"
"Take it easy on the porn channels, they're not cheap you know."
Sam expected a jibe of that nature. He flipped him the bird and grunted a goodbye as the door closed.
Sam was truly content to have begged off for the night. He was tired from the drive, hungry. His own heaven was simple, a take-out chinese dinner and a clean bed. He didn't want company or stress or thrills, all he wanted was a little peace. He was more than happy to let his brother go out and conquer the world for the night. As long as they didn't come back to the motel and demand he sleep in the damned car again...
He heard the roar of the Impala engine in the parking lot, and silently wished his brother success. But before relaxing, he counted to five and as he predicted, Dean stuck his head in the door again.
"You sure, Sam? Last chance to be wing-man.."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Go already. I'm fine. Hell---I'll be better than fine once you're out of my hair!" He knew how it sounded, but he also knew Dean understood.
Dean grinned then, a rare thing lately, carefree and weightless. "Perfect.. So I won't see you tomorrow morning then, if there is a god."
Sam turned back to the book that awaited, smiling. "Knock yerself out."
When the door closed, Sam was left to himself. He sat back and looked around the plain little room. It was worn and dated, but kept well. More importantly, it was quiet. He'd endured hour upon hour in the Impala, taped classic rock blaring, Dean occasionally adding to the din with his own improvised lyrics. He was ready to poke out his eardrums with a stick long before they stopped for the night. He knew the cues, Dean was stir-crazy, and needed release. He needed something that a brother couldn't offer, and bloody soon. Sam was more than happy to send his hyper sibling out to seek what he needed. He knew from experience that the world's chakras flowed much more smoothly when Dean Winchester was sated, one way or another. If his planets lined up, he didn't expect to see him anytime before noon next day.
Dean didn't have to make a choice, there was only one watering hole in the little town. But it was busy, and loud, and he liked that. He parked himself at the bar and ordered a draught, and turned to survey the room. There were alot of women, some of them real lookers. It wasn't short of male patrons either. Most of them looked like they were just there for a good time. A few carried themselves with a certain belligerance. If he struck out, which was unlikely---he might at least expend some pent-up frustration in a decent fight. He prefered the first option, though.
As he turned to look down the row of bar stools, he felt a light tap on his shoulder. The empty stool beside him was now filled, and nicely so.
"Hey.." she said, smiling.
"Hey yourself." He returned her smile.
A young woman, dressed expensively and sporting a mane of honey-brown hair, perched on the seat, and she looked him over with coy confidence. Her posture was welcoming. She put a tanned elbow on the bar and cocked her head. "Don't tell me you're here alone..?"
He smiled and motioned to the bartender to refill both their glasses. "What makes you think that?"
She laughed easily. "Nice try, I saw you check the booty out in here. If you had a date, she'd be furious about now."
She was right, he couldn't deny it. He coloured a little, busted as he was. He introduced himself and met her eyes, leaning toward her slightly. "So how 'bout you?"
"Me? Oh, I'm just stopping for a bit. I'm on my way to New York for a family thing. The drive was killing me. It's Iris, by the way."
He pitched. then. "No, I mean, are you here alone?"
And she caught it handily. "Alone...hmm. Technically, yes. For now." She didn't add any more, and he raised his eyebrows slightly, interest piqued.
The conversation followed a predictable path. They liked the look of each other. Neither was staying for long, and both were, it seemed, looking for something this night. Any other details were irrelevant. And she was beautiful. Just the way he liked; obvious in her sexuality, and confident, with round, full attributes on a slender frame, and hair that was long and loose and caught onto her thick lashes when she tossed her head. He laid out his charms and she responded in kind. At times like this, when they were on the road and moments of leisure were hard-won, he didn't want a challenge. He wanted a girl who wanted him back, with an ardour that matched his own, and with no pretense over the need for long and complicated wooing. Or at least, not too much. Time was tight, sure---but he was looking for a willing partner, not a whore.
After a while, she leaned forward and whispered. "Listen....I don't want to seem... I mean.... I'm staying at a nice little B&B nearby. It's walking distance. The chairs are a lot more comfortable there..."
He got the drift. "Sure. Sounds great. Just let me settle up."
She rose and brushed her lips against his cheek in one fluid motion. "Just need to freshen up. Back in a minute." She left to go to the restroom.
Dean watched her go, appreciating the view. The bartender cleared away the empty glasses and Dean paid his bill. Worried for a moment about expectations, Dean turned to him and asked discreetly; "Hey, uh...the girl beside me...she's not..you know, a professional..?"
The man smirked. "Don't know. I doubt it---she looks pretty classy, and we don't have alot of "working girls" in this fly-speck town. She's not local, I can tell you that much." He grinned wider and winked. "But hey, nice work there, Bud. She's a hot little handful."
Dean tipped him and stood as she returned. She edged closer to him and smiled disarmingly. "Ready to go?"
He nodded, and she took his hand and led him outside. In the parking lot, it occurred to him that Sam would appreciate a heads up. He rooted around in his jacket for his phone, but before he had a chance to hit the number, she stayed his hand. She pressed herself against him, planted her mouth over his, and breathed, "Let's go....now. Don't make me wait..."
Sam scarfed down the delivered food in record time. It hardly mattered that it was well past warm, he tipped the delivery kid anyway, happy to be fed. When there was nothing left but wrappers and styrofoam containers, Sam cracked another beer, settled back on his bed and turned on the TV . He settled for a rerun of Bull Durham, a favourite of his, a film that didn't require him to think, but wasn't idiotic. He found his final treat, and opened the fortune cookie, reading the strip.
"Geese can be troublesome." He snorted, crumpling it and flicking it toward the waste basket. Yeah, that was meaningful. Note to self---watch out for the geese.
"A B&B huh...really?" Dean said uncertainly. He was used to more skeevy accommodations; these fancy, refined, excessively personal places made him intensely uncomfortable.
She chuckled at his obvious discomfort. "Relax, I've got the place to myself. No Ma & Pa Kettle dropping by with a tea-tray, I promise." She let him pull her closer as they walked, and her hand strayed over his backside, settling in his pocket and resting there. It was fully dark when they stepped up the stairs of the porch. It was the standard Victorian gothic brick, decorated with an over-wrought frill of painted wooden fretwork and surrounded by fussy gardens. The lights were all off, Dean was pleased that it seemed she was right, they would be alone. She unlocked the door, and before they could enter she caught him off guard, pushing him against the bricks and kissing him hungrily. He knew he'd chosen well, and he pulled her hard against him. After a few passionate moments spent there, they entered the room.
It was large, huge by motel standards, and dominated by a massive cannonball bed. If he'd noticed the decor, he'd have been disgusted by the ruffles and lace and dusty- rose everything. Another saccharine geese-wearing-ribbons decorating job. But he wasn't seeing anything but her now, and it didn't matter how sweet and pretty and pristine the room was, things were going to get dirty.
"So....." he breathed. She didn't let him finish. She pushed him down onto the bed, her weight falling on to him. He thought that god had finally listened, and he responded to her forceful ardour. She pulled away then. "Wait.." she giggled. She leaned over and opened the doors of her bedside commode, retrieving a bottle. "Nightcap.." She reached again and brought out a pair of crystal glasses., setting them on to the marble surface. The bottle was a fine old scotch, dusty with age, and she splashed some into each glass as he watched. She turned to him and handed him one. Her eyes were smokey, and she raised her glass in a silent toast. He touched the rim with his own and they drank.
The strong drink burned a pleasantly heated path down his throat. She took the glass from his fingers and smiled.
UKsnfan101 - July 19, 2010 11:31 AM (GMT)
Great to see you posting here as well...I love your writing, you always bring fresh ideas and twists and turns to every story. Looking forward to this one as well.
it is always so sad that Sam never does want to go out and hang with Dean in bars...just have fun and be brothers...
Raven524 - July 19, 2010 05:15 PM (GMT)
Nice start! Somehow I think Dean has landed himself in a bit of trouble :lol:
MarquessaS. - July 20, 2010 02:22 AM (GMT)
Thanks for reading, (and re-reading, Lisa, lol) I'm going to post a bit quickly to catch up to where I am posting elsewhere.
The channel switched to snow for the third time. Sam sighed with annoyance, having to rise from his comfort every time to try to correct it. He knew it had to be weather related. It had been brutally hot and humid for days, something had to give eventually, and when he was able to get a signal again, he abandoned the movie and switched to the weather channel. The warning that was trumpeted was hardly a surprise. Severe thunderstorm warning for the counties of--- He lost track after recognising theirs. Great. It seemed unlikely that he was going to get to spend his hard-won leisure time entertained by the television. He glanced at his watch. It was close to eleven. For a moment, he thought of going out and joining Dean, where ever he'd ended up, but he knew he'd be tom-catting it, and he didn't want to cramp his style. And Dean would have found himself a spicy little tart by now, knowing his damned luck. Instead, he hunted through their gear until he found Dean's hidden stash of a half bag of smarties, grabbed another cold beer and settled down to read.
"That was nice.." he said, nuzzling her hair. "Now where were we..?"
She kissed him on the lips with an aggression that surprised him, and bit him in the process. He protested, only but mildly. He was up for a little rough play, it was just about perfect right now. He tasted the metallic tang of his own blood and kissed her back equally hard, rolling on her and pinning her arms. "You're a wild little thing, aren't you?"
She smirked and squirmed free, rolling him and reversing their order on the bed. "Oh yeah. You bit off more than you can chew tonight, sweetheart. You have no idea what I'm capable of, Dean Winchester."
He froze instantly. "What..?" His eyes widened in shock. He hadn't revealed his last name to her---he never did that. "How do you-" He ceased speaking as his tongue suddenly felt thick in his mouth. A wave of dizzying cold flooded along his veins, and he moved to push her off, but the wires frayed and failed between his brain and the rest of him. She laughed at his reaction, forcing him back down and holding his arms against the quilt, hovering close to his face. "Surprised? God, what arrogance! You shouldn't be. You make it your business to hunt others. You thrill at hurting them, when all they want is to be left in peace You do this over and over; and you never once thought you'd be hunted back?"
He struggled hard then, as he felt a strange sensation invade his nerves. The bones in his limbs melted, and he was swept by an icy fear as he realized he couldn't even curl his fingers. Her hate-filled leer blended into a whirling fun-house mirage, the bed fell away beneath his back as her voice became a distorted echo in the chasm that he spun down into. He blinked hard once, but nothing cleared, and even breathing ceased being automatic as paralysis rapidly claimed his muscles. He panted like a winded rabbit, and managed to form one word. "Why--?!"
She held him down, and sneered at his panic-stricken impotence. "You have no idea who I am, do you? Well, you self-righteous, murdering prick, you will..."
..God he was sick of Stephen King. Sam tossed the book aside. It was just more of the same. The author might be considered a master at weaving tales of horror, but to Sam, it was all in a day's work. And the last thing he wanted to fill his evening with was a reminder of that fact. He was bored. Checking the window, he saw that it was still dry, the rain wasn't coming just yet. Fresh air and a walk was what he needed. He threw a tee-shirt on, found his sandals amongst his things, and headed out into the darkness.
It was still stiflingly hot, despite the late hour. He was glad their unit had air conditioning, otherwise it would have been like sleeping in a sauna. He walked up the highway, looking up at the starry sky and catching the bluish flashes of distant lightning. There were thunderheads building out there, it might be clear now but he guessed the morning would be wet. For once, he thought, the weather service might actually have gotten it right. Something wicked this way comes. Looked like it would be a mother of a storm. He walked about a mile, and stopped at the crest of a bridge that spanned a quietly burbling stream. The sign identified it as the Upper Goose River. He stood, leaning over the cement guard, listening to the gentle sounds of the water, and the occasional booming of a bullfrog challenging a distant rival upstream. He guessed that this was the stream that must have powered the mills of Lord's Mills fame. He squinted in the darkness to see, and some distance away, he could see the ruins of a stone structure illuminated intermittently by the approaching lighning. Cool. He might go check that out, when it was daylight. Right now, the sky seemed a little too ominous, and he thought he should probably head back. The mosquitoes were becoming more than a niusance anyway, and if he stayed any longer he'd be down a few pints to the little blood-suckers.
He awoke in decidedly less comfortable surroundings. No longer in the pink and frilly room, he was lying on an old, musty-smelling mattress, surrounded by crumbling stone walls. He could see a large square of natural light, and it was a shade of grey-blue that foretold the eminent sunrise. It confused him. He was in a building, why could he see the sky? It was too much to contemplate at the moment. He closed his eyes again against the nauseating headache that plagued him. It was a wicked hangover, and he knew from unhappy experience that it was the residual gift of being drugged. He tried to wrap his brain around the circimstances that brought him to this state. He remembered the bar...the girl. The brick house. It had all been going so well, but... it changed. Yeah, that's right...The willing girl, Iris, she was all over him, but...she'd called him by his full name. His eyes flew open, remembering. She'd slipped him something, the bitch! Fear awakened fully now, along with his memory. Her sweet expression had turned harsh and ugly. She seemed to know him, but he had no idea who she was or what possible issue she had with him. crap. Ice crept through his guts. She'd acted like an ardent partner, she was certainly the aggressor in the bed. He'd figured he was in for a wild ride, but nothing like this. The scenario might have been hot several hours ago, while she lay with him, but now, it had a definite sinister cast. He knew he was in some deep trouble now.
The light was strengthening. He craned his neck to survey his keep. Stone walls, and the charred remains of ancient beams surrounded him. There was machinery; cogs and wheels, huge and rusted. It was some sort of ruin, half roofless now. It explained why he could see the sky, and why the whine of insects was so loud. He was sure he could hear water somewhere. The were no sounds of civilization. It was an ugly situation, but at least, for the moment, he was alone. Iris was absent, so he had the bed to himself, such as it was. Under normal circumstances, he'd have been thrilled. There were many times in the past that he'd woken up to a strange woman snuggled against him, and any one of those times he's have given his left nut to escape from the entanglement. But this morning it seemed his options were limited. He was bound, hand and foot, and staked to the dirt floor beyond the mattress edge. The fog of drugs rendered him slow to react, but when the realization hit him fully, he swore out loud. No one was around to hear it. He tugged at his bindings, then yanked hard. The ropes only tightened, and he felt the tingle in his hands that told him he was strangling his circulation by struggling. Beautiful. He stopped for a moment to regroup, and summed up his night. He'd met a girl. He'd been drugged, obviously. And early too. He was crestfallen to remember that nothing good had happened that could in any way justify his current state. Nope, this wasn't the result of some epic bedroom romp. As far as he could remember, he never even got close to making it count. And things pretty much went downhill from there.. He lay sprawled in the morning light, on his damp, cast-off mattress, frowning and twisting his hands until his wrists felt raw. What the hell was this, now?
It was past noon, and still Sam had heard nothing. It was an unspoken rule between them that when Dean stayed out late, Sam was not to disturb him until at least late next morning, for obvious reasons. And Dean, in turn, would at least leave a message as to his plans. Well, Dean hadn't done so, but that happened now and then. But he always answered his phone, even if it was bad timing, because the dangers they faced demanded it. Sam see-sawed between annoyance, anger, and serious worry. He stopped pacing and plunked down on the bed. He tried the phone again, but was met with the same result. He swore quietly and threw the phone onto the comforter. The paper was there, he picked it up and flipped through it, hardly seeing the contents. He stopped and re-read the article that brought them here. There was nothing unusual, nothing they might have missed. Maybe Dean was just occupied.... He was about to discard it when something caught his eye. He held the page closer, and saw an anomaly. Everything about it matched the rest of the paper, the printing, the weight and texture of it, but when he examined it closely, he could see that the page had been carefully spliced in. He cursed their stupidity. The page wasn't even numbered, they should have picked up on that. It was a deliberate deception, it was specific and designed to intrigue only them. He dropped it, and fear knotted his stomach as the reality struck him. They were led here. Someone wanted them to be accessible, in a planned location, and it was someone who knew who they were and what they did. They must have been tailed for some time... He broke out in a cold sweat. Christ, what the hell was going on here..?!
He saw no one for hours. He figured that was a good thing, as he was about as vulnerable as he could get. But the thought had occurred to him that for whatever reason, he may have been abandoned here. It would be bizarre, to say the least. Why would anyone do that? If she had it in for him, this type of end was hardly satisfying. And besides, he remembered that his erstwhile date had vowed that he would know her. The way she said it, it seemed pretty important to the plot. He almost wished someone would show so he would know what the hell it was all about.
It had clouded over. Rain had begun to fall through the roof, and he could hear the rumble of thunder rolling . It echoed strangely in the ruin, which by now he had figured was a mill of some kind. It was torture, knowing water was just outside the wall. He was desperately thirsty. He had tried every twist, every position, but there was no freeing his hands and feet, and he finally gave up. He thanked whoever was responsible for the small kindness of the mattress. At least he wasn't lying on the muddy floor, which was getting slick with the wind-driven rain. The section of roof that remained intact was overhead, so he wasn't getting directly soaked, but enough drove through the hole to make him fairly miserable.
He couldn't see his watch, but he'd guessed by the shadows of the morning that the rain had begun around nine or ten. By noon, it was a torrent, and the thunder was frequent and deafening. His overshirt flapped in the gusting wind, and his sleeves and tee shirt had begun to cling to him with damp. Grit and leaf detritus blew in his eyes several times, eliciting a stream of vitriole. When he'd had enough, he roared her name, several times. It didn't produce Iris, but he felt a little better. His phone, jammed uncomfortably in a back pocket beneath him, vibrated for a third time. He knew it would be Sam, and that the kid would be worried by now. Good... he thought. Now get your butt out there and look for me, dumb-ass. The ringing was a bit of comfort, even if he couldn't answer. At least he was still connected to the world, and Sam would figure this out. Sam would come, eventually. A pang of fear constricted his gut. He had to....
He was without wheels, which was a problem. His only immediate option was to hitchhike into downtown. He grabbed his phone, the gun from under Dean's pillow, and his wallet, and headed up to the highway. Several cars passed, but a pickup full of hay slowed and stopped. A man gestured to him, and asked where he needed to go.
"I'm looking for the closest bar, I guess. I'm trying to track a buddy down, he said he was going in last night to find some place to hang out."
"Well that'd be O'Connor's, there's pretty much nothing else here that fits the bill. Hop in, just push the dog over."
Easier said than done. The animal that occupied most of the bench was monolithic, some sort of mastiff, and it growled a deep rumble of warning when Sam touched it.
"Max! Friend!" the farmer barked. The dog relaxed, almost grinning, and it wagged as Sam pushed its bulk over and slid onto the seat. The young man was relieved, as Max looked like he could swallow Sam's none-too-small head without chewing.
They chit-chatted for the short trip, and Sam was let off in front of the establishment. He knew immediately that he had the right place. The Impala stood alone in the gravel parking lot. Sam's heart sank. Unless Dean was sleeping it off in the backseat, it meant he was separated from his car, and that set off a carillon of warning bells. He crossed the lot quickly, and saw immediately that the car was empty. It was locked, and he fished out the spare key from his wallet.
It started without effort. Nothing was amiss inside, as far as he could see. Dean's phone wasn't there. He sat in it for a while, letting the car settle to a rumbling idle, and fretted. Several cars had joined him as he mused. The bar was opening for the evening, and he saw several people go inside. He shut the car down and followed them, hoping someone could shed light on where Dean could have gone.
The man behind the bar listened, and then a smile of recognition spread across his face. "Oh yeah, I remember him. He got lucky last night, or was going to. He had a woman with him, real good looking. They left together. She said something about walking, as I recall."
Sam breathed with relief., momentarily. So Dean had found himself a port in the storm. If everything turned out to be nothing, then his brother was simply a jerk for ignoring his calls. His relief vanished though, when he remembered the newspaper issue. He may have left with a woman, but that didn't mean she wasn't a threat. "You don't happen to know which direction..?"
He shook his head. "Sorry. I was stuck in here. But I can tell you she wasn't from around here, so could be she was staying at one of the Inns in town. There's a couple close by; the Federal Inn, uh, the Victoria, and the Goose Nest."
Sam snapped up. "Goose nest..?" It was the second reference to geese he'd had since the weird little fortune cookie. It was almost too much of a coincidence.
"Yeah. It's not really an inn, more of a private house that rents rooms. Nice place, just up the street, here. I can get the number if you want."
"Uh, yeah...thanks." Sam waited, and then took the slip of paper out to the car. He called immediately, but it rang and rang, finally turning over to voicemail. He left a message, and then drove to find it.
It was a short drive. He saw the sand-blasted sign just up the street, and pulled into the driveway. He got out and knocked, waiting anxiously for an answer. No one came, and he tried again, this time with the bell. When the door remained closed, he peeked in through the lace of a sidelite, but all he saw was a cat, pacing back and forth. He decided to try around back, following a cobbled path that passed a shed, where a sharp, rank odour struck him like a wall. He knew that stink too well, it was the unmistakable smell of putrefaction. He grew cold, praying it was just an animal that had gotten stuck, and he pried the shed doors open.
A haze of flies greeted him, and dispersed. The stink was so strong that he gagged, and held his breath. An orange tarp lay along one side, and it was wrapped around something large enough to be cause for serious concern. He rolled it over, and more flies escaped. It was tied, and he cut the rope and pulled a corner away. He was met by a horror. Two bodies, a pair of elderly people, had been bound into the bundle. He had to go out for a moment to gasp fresh air before examining it further, and when he returned he found the same tell-tale marks on each wrinkled grey throat. Dried blood, and gaping punctures. The newspaper... He pulled the tarp back over, there was nothing he could do for them now, and backed away. When he'd calmed enough, he shut the shed doors and quickly left the scene. Whoever had lured them here had gotten the details right. There were vampires at work here, and he panicked fully now over his brother's fate.
Raven524 - July 20, 2010 11:24 PM (GMT)
Dean Dean Dean--he really does need to think with his upstairs brain more often :lol:
UKsnfan101 - July 21, 2010 11:35 AM (GMT)
yes Dean does need a bit more careful but oh well that is why we love him. Guys the bad guys are letting Dean stew for a bit...not a good sign as to what they plan on doing to him...
MarquessaS. - July 22, 2010 12:25 PM (GMT)
There, all caught up. Thanks for reading.
ps--Hey Raven, why is Castiel flashing Dean in your banner? (tee hee he he)
He drifted off for a while, still feeling the effects of the narcotic, and tired from trying to think his way through this. When he snapped-to, he was in darkness. There were soft rustling sounds overhead, and movement high up. Bats. He shuddered, well aware of how damp he and his bed were. When the storm had passed, it left the air much cooler. He shivered, watching the steam of his breath rise and dissipate. He yelled for Iris again, not surprised that he heard nothing but his own echo. By now he was starving, and nearly thirsty enough to try to suck some moisture out of the dirty grey fabric of the mattress. The phone in his pocket had long since been stilled, but he knew it would be out of juice by now. He silently berated Sam for taking so damned long. He wished somebody would show their face, at this point he didn't care who.
It was a wish he would regret.
Sam drove the town, scanning every street, every lane, every place that he could imagine Dean may have ended up. He found nothing, no trace at all of his brother. He decided that the best thing to do was break in to the brick house, and look for anything that could direct his next effort. By now, he had been watching his rear view mirror warily, obsessively checking for followers. He didn't fear them, he actually wanted them now. He needed something, anything--- that could link to Dean, and an enemy was now as welcome as a friend. But no one tailed him, he was sure of it. It seemed that only Dean had been their quarry, and apparently they were satisfied. It could be a clue in itself.
He prayed that the cops weren't yet alerted to the old couple's demise. He needed to go through that house. He drove back to the bar, parking there. No one would care about one car amongst many, if he parked on the street in front of the Goose Nest it would surely attract attention, and the last thing he needed was to be hauled in as a suspect in the deaths. While he was there, he thought to question the bartender one more time. He entered and pushed past the crowding patrons, catching the man's eye.
The barkeep nodded and came over. "Any luck with your buddy?"
Sam shook his head. "Not yet. Listen, can you describe this woman? Maybe I'll see her around here."
He thought for a moment. "Brown hair with highlights, past her shoulders. Parted at the side, I think. She had greenish eyes, or brown. Great body. She was wearing a short black dress, like one of those cocktail numbers chicks like to wear. Probably about five-five. Oh---I don't know if this matters, but she wore one of those charm bracelets, silver, I remember because it was loaded, and it jingled. That's about all I got for you."
Sam committed the details to memory. He then discreetly handed him a hundred dollar bill, which was a small fortune to him. "Give me a call at this number, if she shows again, will you? I'd appreciate it.."
The bartender looked at the bill in his hand for a moment.. "You some kind of cop?"
Sam shook his head vehemently. "No, no...nothing like that. It's just..." He sighed. "He's my brother."
The man stared at him for a moment, and then handed the money back. "You're worried, are you..?" he said, adding "I've got a screw-up brother myself. Keep your cash. I'll give you a shout if I see either of them again."
Sam shook his hand and thanked him. He left then, walking in the shadows until he was at the brick house. He skulked around the back, noting that the shed and its smell remained, so far, undisturbed. He pulled the screen door open slowly, expecting it to creak. It didn't, and he tried the brass doorknob. It turned, he was relieved to find it unlocked. He entered silently, and nearly tripped over the cat he'd seen earlier. It squalled at him, turning around his ankles in tight figure eights and offering a litany of complaints. He tried to shush it, but it was insistent. He realized it was probably famished, since its owners were lying out back in the shed, and lord knows for how long. He found a box of kibble, and dumped it out on the floor. The cat parked in front of the heap, purring happily, and Sam stepped over it and continued on.
The light was almost gone. He had to rely on his little LED flashlight, always in his pocket. He hoped no one noticed it from the street. He quickly scoured the kitchen, hall and livingroom, but found nothing of Dean. But there was a doorway off the hall, dead-bolted. He was fairly sure it was the entrance to the side wing of the house, and more than likely, the rental rooms were cloistered there, away from the owners' quarters. He turned the handle and entered another hallway. There were three doors, and all were locked. Unfazed, he jimmied the first with ease and gained entry. A quick glance told him that the room was unoccupied. Nothing was rumpled or disturbed. It had the staleness of having been shut up for some time. He abandoned it and tried the second. This room showed that it had been used, and recently. There were still glasses on the nightstand, an open bottle. He took a chance and switched the light on.
The bed was in disarray. That was predictable. But his next discovery wasn't. Beside the bed, scattered and kicked off in obvious haste, were Dean's unlaced boots.
Some time later, Dean caught a flicker from the thin beam of a flashlight. It moved back and forth as someone picked their way across the dark field, He raised his head and watched through the crumbled doorway as they approached, and when the visitor stood at the stone threshold, he recognized her. She shook her umbrella and propped it against the wall, and made her way toward him. She cast her flashlight across the place that the mattress lay, blinding him with the bright beam, and greeted him coldly. "Hi sweetheart. Did you have a restful day?"
His temper boiled over, and he swore at her. " What the hell is this?! Who are you?"
She ignored his angry tone. She had a backpack, she shrugged it off and pulled things from it. A small tarp, which she spread out on the damp dirt. And a Coleman lantern. She answered as she lit and adjusted it until the flame glowed white in the mantle. "I told you already...my name is Iris."
He clamped down on his fury, realizing he had to keep a cool head. "Ok, Iris. Now why don't you cut the crap and tell me what you want from me? Cuz I'm guessing there's more to our relationship than last night."
She smiled acidly. "Oh, there's more. But I have to follow through on a promise first." She got up, and walked to a shadowy corner of the building. Lying prone, Dean could hardly see what she was doing, but he heard the distinctly familiar sound of old hinges creaking open. She hauled at the heavy, wet doors that opened to a place below. Some sort of cellar, he realized. She glanced at him once, then disappeared down the stairwell. In a few moments, she came back up. She wasn't alone. Four others filed through the opening behind her. Four pale, thin people; three males, and one a girl. It seemed he'd never been alone at all. They circled him, and stood watching him in silence.
"Dean, let me introduce you to my friends. This is Andrew. Tristan... Margritte. And Johan."
Dean stared from one to another, saying nothing. His heart beat rapidly in fear. The strangers lived below, in the bowels of this abandoned place, away from prying eyes, away from light. It didn't take a genius to guess their nature. "Vampires." he said in quiet disgust.
The one named Johan stepped forward and leaned over him. "Yes, hunter. Correct. Just as you read." He winked, and grinned wide then, showing his destinctive dental features. "This is my band, hunter. This is our nest. You are a guest in our home, we've invited you here for dinner."
Dean's heart was already in his throat. He tried to hide it. "Dinner guest, I get it." He turned to where Iris stood, and spat bitterly, "And where do you fit in, Iris? Are you just the whore they use to lure the lonely losers?"
She stood back a little, regarding him blandly. "No, Dean. Not any loser. You."
He stared at her. "Why? Why me? I don't even know you!"
Johan spoke in her stead. Dean turned to assess what he knew was certainly the leader. Johan was tall, good-looking, actually. He bore himself with an air of authority. "Iris is not one of us, but we count her as a friend. She has helped us in our quest."
"Oh? And what is that?" Dean didn't really want to know, but a yapping vampire was better than a chomping one.
Johan crouched, resting his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands loosely. He smiled in the lamp light, and Dean could see what a powerful specimen he was. His face was lean and lined, and if you could put an age to a vampire, he was about fifty. His accent was odd, of some germanic origin. His shoulder length hair was dark and wavy, and shot with grey, and he had an aura of having known eons.
"To hunt the hunter. To right the history of wrongs perpetrated by your kind. Vengeance, if you want to put a title to it."
Dean was in a cold sweat. This was not a negotiation, he had nothing to put on the table. They had him, this was it. "You hunt hunters. How many..?"
Johan shrugged, as if it was of no importance. His rich, soothing voice echoed in the space. "Seven now, I think, before you. Lovely Iris was not part of that. She came to us, not long ago. She learned of our quest, she wanted you specifically. Has she told you why?"
"I haven't, yet." she answered, staring levelly at Dean.
"Well," Johan shrugged, "..it is not my place to offer that. Her reason is well-earned, I assure you. But we are here for a different purpose." Johan grasped Dean's left wrist, picked up his loose, wet cuff and slid it down, exposing his arm to his elbow. Dean shrank from his touch, and tried to pull away. Johan smiled gently. "Shhh. Don't struggle. Why waste your precious energy?"
The others were busy behind him, They had built a fire in a small ring of stones, and they coaxed it to a bright hot flame. It cast eerie shadows and twisted orange shapes along the stones. Dean felt the warmth begin to burn the chill off beside him, it was almost good. He couldn't see that they had pushed the points of several long knives into the centre, and they turned them to heat more effectively as the temperature of the coals built slowly. They were patiently waiting for something, and it drove Dean mad with tension. He growled at him defiantly; "What are you waiting for? Just freaking get on with it, you blood-sucking corpse!"
Johan glanced questioningly to his cohorts, but they shook their heads. He turned back to Dean with a patronizing smile. "Not yet. In a moment, I promise."
Dean struggled hard then. They could delay all they wanted, he had to do something. He yanked and twisted, kicked and roared, until his wrists bled and he wheezed with exhaustion, and the mattress had worked its way half out from under him, but still he remained staked, spread-eagled like a vivisection. They sniggered at his efforts. Johan reached forward and gently held his chin in a firm grip to quiet him. His lulling voice was oddly mesmerizing.
"You struggle to no end, hunter. Don't excite yourself, it will be wasted." He turned then, reached and grasped one of the knife handles, which was smoking now from the fire. The blade glowed orange with heat, the tip of it bright white. He knelt beside Dean, and as the terrified hunter watched helplessly, the vampire grasped his wrist, and pressed the length of glowing metal to the soft white underside of his forearm.
The smell of burning hair and skin was acrid. Dean gasped and screamed, jerking away as far as his ropes allowed. Johan held the blade firmly in place, and when it cooled he tossed it aside and grasped a second one. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve, he pushed Dean's shirt hem out of the way and held the blade across his heaving abdomen as the others forced his squirming still. He lurched, and screamed again in pure agony. It seemed endless, but the blade finally pulled away, and it left him writhing with searing pain. When he'd caught his breath, Dean croaked tearfully. "--Why?...why are you doing this--?!"
Johan's gaze was unfocused, he didn't respond. He gripped Dean's hair, forced his head to the side, and sank his teeth into the vein that stood out like rope at the hunter's sweat-slicked throat. Dean moaned in shock, feeling the puncture, the painful suction of the cold, dead mouth against his skin, as the odious sounds of feeding filled his ears. He began to black out. i'm done... he thought in misery, losing consciousness. A final despairing plea floated through his mind. ... sammy...please...
denise69 - July 22, 2010 04:12 PM (GMT)
I am soooooo glad that you're writing another woderful Dean hurt story!! I always look forward to reading them.... :cheer
I hope you update soon....what about now? :(
UKsnfan101 - July 22, 2010 08:26 PM (GMT)
sammy please...that line got to me...ah poor dean...things are not looking good for dean...but good on the story front!
Raven524 - July 23, 2010 12:58 AM (GMT)
|ps--Hey Raven, why is Castiel flashing Dean in your banner? (tee hee he he) |
Shhhh...that's supposed to be a secret :rolleyes: :lol:
ooooo, vampires--but I wonder what's up with Dean's new girlfriend? :o :huh:
MarquessaS. - July 24, 2010 11:54 PM (GMT)
Yeah, I guess I wouldn't be the first to notice it, hee hee hee.
So, back to the story
A final despairing plea floated through his mind. ... sammy...please...
Sam shot awake in terror. Disoriented, he rubbed his gritty eyes, as the sound echoed in his mind, and he fumbled for the switch on the dash. He breathed in panicked gasps, shaken by the nightmare. Birds, black beating wings, so many that they obscured the light, and deafened him, a tangle of necks and wild eyes, and flailing legs and wings and screaming ..screaming. Geese. They were geese, black and terrorized into crashing and disorderly flight, flushed from sanctuary by some unseen threat. There was no story to it, just a sudden and shocking flash of imagery and sound. And at the end of it...
He found the button and turned the dome light on, and rooted under the seat for a bottle of water, drinking a few shaky draughts. He splashed more on his face, and stared at himself in the mirror until he felt grounded. He was sure he'd heard it. It had nothing to do with anything, just a floating, plaintive whisper, at the end. It came through like a whisper directly in his ear. Sammy... It was Sammy.
He was exhausted. It was a fruitless night of searching. He knew Dean was out there somewhere, minus his footwear. There was no explanation for it that would have a happy ending. He had to find him, before it was too late. The sheer chaos of the dream had struck him deeply. What did it mean? Why the damned birds? What the hell did the goddamned geese have to do with anything?!
He sighed and brushed his hair back from his eyes. Dawn was breaking on the horizon, he could see outlines now. Good, he thought. His own wings were clipped at this early hour, being nearly out of gas and no twenty-four hour stations to be found. As soon as one opened, he'd fill up and keep searching.
It was two surprises. He awoke, which he hadn't expected at all. And he had company.
It was morning, the light filtered through the damaged roof, causing him to squint. He tried to shield his eyes, but found his ropes limitation instead. He turned his head slowly and groaned. She spoke from somewhere in the corner, where she stood uncertainly.
"Good morning, hunter."
He knew the voice. "Iris." he acknowledged hoarsely, adding "..you know my name." He closed his eyes wearily.
She stepped a few feet forward, haltingly, and sat on the tarp. She almost asked how he was feeling, but she held it back. She had to remember why this was happening. "Have it your way then, if you think it matters...Dean."
..yeah, it matters. He turned slowly to face her. He was still dizzy and faint, after his experience. He'd lost a lot of blood, enough to leave him fragile, but not yet enough to kill. He'd suffered severely.
"Is it worth it, Iris..?"
The question caught her off guard, she hesitated for a moment. "Don't ask me that. Not after what you did."
But he didn't know what that was. Here he was, trussed to the ground, hurt and hungry and weakened, and the reason behind it all was denied him.
"I don't even know you....you have to tell me what my crime was, at least. What the hell do you have against me that you would do this to me?"
She turned away, remaining silent. When she could stand to look at him again, she couldn't help but note his pallor, and the film of moisture that shone on his face. She stole a glance at his burned arm. It looked painful, tight; a scarlet strip of blistered flesh. It had split and was weeping bloody lymph down to his elbow. His collar was smeared with dried blood that had kept oozing after Johan had taken his fill. Higher up, the punctures at his throat showed like stark little bullseyes. For a moment, she heard her brother's voice. I won't become one of them, Iris, I promise you.
She couldn't bring herself to justify it, not at this moment. Instead, she offered him water from the bottle she'd brought. He choked it down desperately, parched from the loss of blood. She pulled it away before he was finished.
"Thanks." he whispered, savouring the moisture in his mouth and throat. It was a strange moment. The girl who was the catalyst of this was the only company he had, now that it was daytime. The vampires had retired below. He tried again to learn what was the source of her hatred. "Iris, please...please....tell me why you need to do this to me."
The image flashed in her mind, of better days, days when she wasn't alone. Bright, sunny afternoons on the boat, while he taught her how to fish... Evenings at the cottage, tired and happy after a day out on the coast...god how he loved the sparkling water. Her face hardened. "Shut up. Stop talking to me."
He acquiesced. It took precious energy that he didn't have to spare. They both were silent for a long time. She watched him, as he drifted off for a while. She saw him twitch and frown, fighting his own demons in his fitful sleep. He said something---a name, several times. She knew enough about him to guess it was his brother. She thought more of hers. She was exhausted herself. Johan's schedule was opposite her own and to remain wakeful at all hours was a tremendous drain on her. She felt weak, and feared vulnerability to any influence from her victim's words. She put her head down on her crumpled jacket, just for a little while.
It was late afternoon when both found themselves awake. Dean was raging with thirst, and as she witnessed his distress, she grew deeply uncomfortable. This isn't what I wanted...she thought. For god's sake, Johan, just finish this. To assuage her guilt, she crept forward and put the half-full bottle to his mouth. He drank in fevered gulps until it was empty. He licked his lips, and groaned, "Iris, this is crazy...How come they don't just drain me dry, like they always do..? Iris, why'd they burn me? Is this something you wanted..?"
"No! God, no..!" She stammered an answer. "I'm not some sadistic freak, like you!"
But she did know why. He was there because she'd worked hard to make it so. She wanted retribution for what he'd done, but the circumstances were not of her choosing. Dead and in hell, that was what she wanted for him. As painful and as quick as her brother's demise. She wanted him held accountable, she hadn't requested any of the rest, but knew the underlying reason behind the vampire's unusual cruelty. It wasn't as simple as sadism.
"They do this because...because Johan needs his blood a certain way..."
He didn't know what she meant.. His blood a certain way...What the hell was that about?! What would be different about it after they'd done this...
The reason struck him then. "Aw, jesus...adrenalin! He needs to feed on boosted blood, doesn't he..? It's not enough to just drain regular issue, he's hooked on the chemicals. That's why the burning..!"
She frowned and nodded, uneasy with divulging the details. "Yes. Adrenalin, endorphins, whatever you call it....everything your brain pumps into your blood when your body is in extreme stress. Johan needs it. He's over five hundred years old...there's wear and tear, immortal or not. He says it's how he stays so strong."
Dean blinked. It was a shocking revelation. As if a simple vampire wasn't enough of a threat, this one had to be an addict. He digested that little gem as she sat glumly beside him. "..oh I am so f***ed.." he murmured.
She had nothing to add.
"What about those other ones...are they the same as him?"
She shrugged. "They feed. They go out at darkness and return before dawn. That's all I know."
Dean thought about what she'd said. He remembered the story, the article that had piqued their interest. It mentioned deaths, and 'ritual marks'. No ritual after all, it seemed...just wounds that were put there to feed a junkie vampire's habit. He did the math. Five vampires. If they were all into it, it would have meant a lot of set-up for them to feed the need. Victims would have had to be taken, and sequestered somewhere quiet and out of earshot. While the mill was a good fit, there would have been others with him. Vampires couldn't put off the thirst, addiction or not, and if he was the only entree that night, they'd have all gone away hungry, because so far he was still breathing. No, he was sure of it, there was only one who did it this way. But it was enough.
"Where are they now..?"
"Below. It's morning."
..Great. He'd get to lie there for another twelve hours, pinned, parched, and waiting for them to wake up again and finish him off. His shoulders and hips ached from lying in the same position for so long. But it was nothing compared to the burns. And Sam was nowhere to be seen. A bitter despair overwhelmed him.
"Well, for whatever reason, you got what you wanted, I guess. So tell me, Iris...why are you hanging around now...? The fun doesn't start again for hours. Don't you have a place to go to? Your pretty room with the flowers and ducks and lace and all that crap, why don't you go there, have some wine and chill in a nice bubblebath, so you can be all refreshed for when they come back to make me scream again? Christ, why don't you just leave me alone now?!"
She looked away. Her response was so quiet he almost missed it. "I don't know."
He watched her as she answered. He sighed then. It seemed Iris, whoever she was, still had a conscience. He heard it in her voice. He pressed further, "Iris, whatever they told you, it's all lies. They're vampires, for god's sake! Look at me, there's nothing noble about any of this, it's just perverse. It's-
Her mouth tightened in hard line. "Lots of things are. Like murder, for one..."
He swore in frustration. "Jesus christ, I don't know what you're talking about! Who, Iris?! Just who is it that you think I murdered?"
She was growing angry. "Someone better than you. A fine person, who deserved anything other than the death you gave him!"
More evasion. She wasn't going to give up her mystery yet. He sighed wearily.
"They'll kill me. Your noble Johan will fry me alive and then suck the life out of me right in front of you. It's ugly, Iris. It's wrong... You know that, don't you..?"
She turned her eyes away. She wished they would do it quickly. She just wanted him dead. This other thing, it sickened her.
"It'll be on your head, Iris.."
"I can live with it."
He believed her. She'd gone to great lengths to get him where he was, and she'd sought an unthinkable ally. She had no idea what she'd gotten herself into, but it seemed her reasons were so compelling that it didn't matter. He tried another tact, one that was far closer to the truth than if he'd begged for his own life.
"..Iris, please.." he pleaded quietly. "Please...I have a brother, I'm all he has...he needs me, he's just a dumb kid--"
Her eyes flooded with sudden, unspent tears. "Oh yeah? Well that's just tragic, isn't it? I had a brother too, once. He was a simple, happy guy, who loved everybody. He didn't complicate life with politics or religion or judgements. He just lived and let live. One day he is attacked by something, and he wakes up and his whole world is different. He can't go out in the sun. He thirsts for blood. He has needs that defy everything...everything he knew before.
For a while, he thinks of killing himself, because of what he's become, but he doesn't, because I beg him not to. For me, he promises, he'll try. It's a daily struggle, but he doesn't give in to his terrible urges, he accepts his life, he keeps trying to live up to what he knows is right, and good. He's so sad... lonely, he misses the sunshine, he misses his normal life. And then, he finds others like him, other people afflicted, who don't want to descend into madness, or evil, or whatever you want to label it. They were his lifeline. And they all tried so hard. Lenore; poor, deluded, idealistic--- god he loved her---she tried to keep them all safe..."
She stopped, dropping her head into her hand, and rubbing at her eyes. She turned toward him with a harsh and bitter expression. "You know, my brother had a name. Conrad. You ought to know it, since you killed him. You ought to know who he was. He was kind, and strong, and sensitive. He loved gardens. He cried when his dog died. He hated watching the news. He painted his front door bright blue because it reminded him of the sea. All he ever tried to do was live in peace. ...You cut off his head with a power saw."
At last, the reason. Despite his dire circumstance, Dean was stunned by her revelations. He remembered that night, he remembered them. John had never allowed him to see the other side, there was only black and white and never a grey. They'd opened his eyes to an uncomfortable new shade that flew in the face of what he'd been taught to believe all his life. "I...I didn't know-"
"You didn't ask either, did you?! You just charged in like some f***ing mercenary, as if you had some God-given right to judge, to execute! I saw the blood in that room, I saw bits of flesh spattered everywhere. My brother's flesh! Good god, are you even capable of imagining how I felt at that moment? I came to pick him up at the end of his shift, we were going to grab a bite to eat, a midnight matinee, but he- "
She choked back the rest of her words, reliving the horror. "Lenore still believed in trying to co-exist, even after that. All it got her was torture. She died three months later, did you know that? Another god-damned hunter!"
His mouth was so terribly dry, he croaked a hoarse curse. He understood her now, and his remorse was genuine. "Christ...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry, Iris."
"Sorry?!" she wailed. She lunged at him, and gripped his throat hard, digging her nails in with her fury as he groaned in pain. "Liar--! You hunters aren't sorry for anything you cause! You think Heaven will be yours because of what you do, but we'll all see you in hell--!"
She let go, sobbing in grief and anger, and wiped her hand in disgust, then turned her back and went outside.
He lay in silence for a long time, mind and emotions whirling, the bite at his throat throbbing from her grip. Everything about this was so ugly, he hardly had the conviction or strength to oppose it any more. He remembered that night, so soon after his dad died. He was so screwed up, he'd actually seen Gordon as some sort of powerful role model, he filled the void that was an aching chasm in his soul...
He sighed in defeat. Her brother.... Maybe she was right, maybe this was justice... He groaned...the pain of it all wearing on his psyche as much as anything. The shadows began to grow long, the colours faded. It was approaching sundown, and he knew they would start again soon.
Iris. She'd brought this about, and maybe she earned it. But he sensed something in her, a reticence, like she was a part of something that frightened and disgusted her, but was a necessary evil. If he kept her talking, maybe...maybe he could find some way to make amends and still keep breathing. He was running out of time. He called out to her. He wasn't sure if she was still there, but after a moment he heard her return. She came into view, and she stood, arms crossed, in sullen silence.
"Iris, talk to me.."
He grimaced, the burns aching with a brutal insistence as he breathed. His clothing stuck to the raw wounds, but he couldn't do anything about it, and he shifted and groaned. She glanced at him and he caught the way her expression froze as he gritted his teeth and shuddered. He thought he saw a glimmer of sympathy.
"What..happened to the rest of them..?"
She answered, world weary and indifferent. "Gone. Disbanded. Most were killed, a few found other nests. They stopped trying to be Lenore's dark saints. What was the point?" She knew what his next question would be. "Conrad had a good friend, Paul. He found this one and he and a few more joined Johan. He kept in touch with me, in secret. He told me about Johan's quest. Johan is a powerful leader, he'll keep the rest of them safe now."
Dean struggled to focus, his mind was sluggish. "Paul..?"
"He wasn't with the others, you didn't see him. He refused to be part of this, he says Conrad would have hated my involvement, that it tarnishes my brother's memory. Ironic, isn't it? Despite everything, he still believes in a certain morality, he doesn't feed on animals any more, but he picks his victims carefully. For Paul, they have to be society's worst, at least then he can live with what he is. You'd have fit his criteria, I think... but he won't participate in what Johan does."
..Another vampire with a conscience. He wasn't sure he'd ever get used to that. But there were no such redeeming qualities in the leader of this band.
"..Johan is dangerous--"
She turned and laughed harshly. "Of course he is! He's a bloody vampire. And he has the balls it takes to lead, he will keep them safe, the way they should have been before you and the rest of them charged in."
He moaned under his breath. The effort to speak was taking a toll, but he had to keep her talking, he had to make her see what she was in the midst of. He inhaled carefully and continued.
"Yeah, he's strong. And I see now why the vampire aspect doesn't faze you, but most of them are nothing like Lenore's group. Most of them feed without mercy, they don't think about who they terrorize and kill. And Johan's that much worse, he's an addict, Iris. He doesn't just feed, he tortures.... He cloaks it in his so-called quest, but it's bull. What happens when he runs out of hunters? You think he'll just stop and do like Paul does? I doubt it! Like any addict, he won't blink at mowing you or anyone else down to get to what he needs. If he can't find a handy victim, who do you think he'll turn on to feed his habit? You think he'll just sip at some rat blood until he finds another hunter? He won't. He'll go after you."
She stared at him for a moment. He thought he'd gotten through...But she scowled and shook her head. "Sorry. Coming from you, it doesn't quite convince. I'm sick of hearing you. And you're absolutely right, I have no reason to hang around here while it's light. You want to be left alone? Well have your quiet time, Dean. I'm going to eat." She left him then, to wait in silence for the others to rise.
Crap. After a while, he tried to raise his head, but it was worse now. They'd taken so much blood already, with no time to replenish. He felt so weak, he could swear he was floating, other-worldly; it was an effort to open and close his eyes, let alone to think.
It had been what... two nights..? And another looming. Sam would be desperately looking for him by now. And Sammy was a bright bulb, he would find the trail, and quick, no doubt. Dean clung to that like a drowning sailor's lifeline. He knew that he wasn't the first, or the last of their victims. Vampires were predictable in that regard---they had one very pressing need. And this one went one further---he had a habit. It made him, or them---that much easier to trail. Sam would figure it out...the only question was whether he would still be breathing when he came.
Raven524 - July 25, 2010 11:51 PM (GMT)
Sam ran out of gas???!!! :blink: :rolleyes: :rotfl :rotfl :rotfl :rotfl
Sorry that just struck me as something too funny. Poor Dean is being drained while Sam waits on the side of the road for a gas station to open :lol:
But seriously, that chick needs a reality pill. How could she think they will let her live in the end? I really like where you're taking this...now how about another update? :P
MarquessaS. - August 2, 2010 01:30 AM (GMT)
Sorry for the delay---yeesh, so many other undeserving distractions...
Sam was famished and exhausted, He realized he'd be useless if he didn't eat something. He could hardly concentrate. He located a fast food place, and growled in irritation when he saw it had no drive through. He parked and hurried in. The place was busy, several stood in line ahead of him. His mood was black, and he chafed at the delay. A family stood at the counter, several squirming, fussy children complaining and whining. They changed their minds a number of times as their harried mother tried to please them. The patrons in line behind her, including Sam, grumbled and fidgeted. One woman who was clearly stressed by the situation, sighed loudly and drummed her nails in irritation on the stanchion post. Sam gritted as he heard it, until the other sound reached his ear. A soft jingle, like tiny christmas bells... His heart began to race, and he looked her over. She had sunglasses on, and her hair was in an unkempt ponytail. Brown hair..honey brown. He stared at her hand as she tapped. A tangled mass of silver shapes was clasped around her wrist. It moved, and tinkled with a metallic tone. A silver charm bracelet...
Breathe in. Breathe out. Dean meted out is energy like a miser. He was desperately thirsty. They had offered him nothing; no water, no food; and as a result, he knew this was expected to be a short, one way trip. Hardly good news. He tugged weakly at his bonds. Yeah, break right out there, Superman. They seemed even more secure, but were exactly as before, the only variable was his own strength, which was failing fast. He snorted with a palpable bitterness and let himself drift. There was nothing he could do, it was up to god, or Sam.
If he had any money to spare, the bet would've been on the latter.
It was dusk now. Iris had been gone for a while, and despite the nature of her company, he felt particularly alone without her there. He was growing more nervous by the minute as the shadows crept along the walls and began to join into a shapeless dark. Soon they'd awaken. C'mon Sammy....c'mon...He was tired and weak, and cramping from the position in which he was tied. He'd hoped to somehow reach Iris, to strike her human heart and convince her that this was wrong, but he'd failed, and she'd abandoned him, and now, it was frighteningly clear that there was absolutely nothing he could do to help himself. He knew that pain and death would come to him tonight. He was torn, feeling the pressure to make death-bed amends with his maker, but too proud and angry to begin. Probably a waste of time anyway... he thought bitterly. I've sure as hell sinned enough.
His mind turned to Sam. What would become of him? The kid would find him, eventually, maybe dead for days, or more. He'd be sick with guilt, he'd beat himself up and go out and do something stupid. He shuddered at the thought of how he'd look. A withering, rotting corpse, like so many they'd dug up before, tied and stinking against the filthy mattress in the ruins. And the god-damned flies would be crawling everywhere, in his sunken eyes, his gaping mouth... Would Sam untie his stiff wrists and ankles and carry his disgusting remains away, to bury somewhere that seemed right? Or would his little brother leave him where he lay...?
He tugged frantically again at the ropes, as a sudden panic robbed him of breath. But of course, the ropes held. He closed his eyes and swore, with a vehement passion. I can't protect him now. I can't do it... He couldn't help it, the tears slid freely, and he begged his father's forgiveness out loud, over and over again. When he opened his eyes again, it was fully dark.
He saw a flash of light in a corner. Someone had struck a match, and the glowing tip of a cigarette waxed and waned with the smoker's pull. He wasn't alone.
"Who's there--?" he demanded in a croak.
The figure stayed silent, drawing on the cigarette again, before answering.
"No one you know." the voice finally said. Dean heard footfalls, dull thunking steps across the earth of the mill floor. The cigarette glowed, moving in arcs as the hand that held it fumbled with the coleman lantern. It flared and lit, and his face was revealed. A red headed man stood there. He had a pale freckled complexion, even his eyelashes were a pale orange, a true ginger. His hair was tousled and unkempt, and hung in waves across his face, half-obscuring it.
Dean's mouth went dry. "Who the hell are you, now?!" he demanded.
The watcher adjusted the lamp to a steady white burn, and then sat cross-legged on the ground. He dragged at the cigarette one more time and put it out against the earth beside him. "The bigger question..." he said quietly, "..is who are you..?"
Dean squinted at him. "What do you mean? If you're one of them, you know who I am---that's why I'm tied to the freaking floor, isn't it?"
The watcher. stared at him for a moment. "Yeah, you got me. I do know your name, hunter. But I don't know your heart. And I know you are responsible for the death of a good friend. A good man..."
Dean realized who it was then. "You're the one she called Paul. You were her brother's friend."
Dean sighed deeply, resigned. "So, you're here, finally...what are you waiting for then? You want revenge, don't you? Well, here I am, I'm not going anywhere. You want my confession? Fine---I wish it never went down the way it did, but it did anyway. I wish I knew what they were about; Lenore and the rest of them. But I only knew what I was told, and I sure as hell wasn't in a state of mind to see any different. I wish your friend was still alive, I wish his f***ed-up little sister could go sailing with him tomorrow, on his boat, in the sun.. But there's nothing either of us can do about it now. Why don't you just do what you have to before the junkies show up? Or isn't it enough for me to just die..?"
Paul sat back. He showed no emotion, his voice impassive. "This has nothing to do with the others. I just wanted to see the face of the man that killed my friend."
Dean's voice broke with the strain. "I told Iris, I didn't know about everything then. If I knew about Conrad and the others, I would've done things differently. I never thought..." He had to stop, as emotion swamped him. "I never knew that they could choose...I thought they were all evil, that you were all a bunch of soulless predators. None of your kind up 'til then showed me anything that would change my mind. And I was taught that, by my old man. He had just died, when I found them. I was a mess...I was looking for scapegoats for everything..."
He fought to get a grip on himself before continuing. "I tried to save Lenore. I freed her from Gordon, the sadistic sonofabitch... But it didn't matter that I figured it out, it was all for nothing, wasn't it...? It didn't matter that I found out that there was another side, didn't matter what they tried to do. She died anyway, and everything she fought for fell apart.."
Paul watched him. He was a keen judge of character by now. He had to be, or else he couldn't choose his victims in such a way that he could live with himself. It was very important to Paul that he read people accurately, for the sake of his own conscience, his own soul. This man who lay trussed and harmed in front of him, had killed his best friend. It was enough to condemn him. But Paul had done his homework. He knew the history here, and he could see more in this one. He saw the conflict, the regret, the remorse. He heard the pain in his voice, and it wasn't a result of what they'd done to him now. His torture was his own.
And even more, there was Iris to consider.
Sam kept a constant eye on her as he sat in the car and wolfed down his meal. She was doing the same, it seemed. From his vantage point, he could see her as she ate quickly in the driver's seat, fiddling apparently, with the radio. He dropped his gaze anytime he thought she glanced toward him. He ate with a near frantic speed, starving and eager to resume the search. She in turn, seemed equally pressed for time. She seemed nervous, and he saw her check her watch repeatedly, and glance at the setting sun with a look of anxiety. He was sure he had the right girl. She fitted the bartender's description, and he knew from experience that she was Dean's type. He was finished long before she was, as a matter of fact, she finally packed up half her order and got out and threw it in the trash. When she returned to her car, she wore a grim look, and she threw it in gear with an obvious haste and left the parking lot in a hurry. Sam wasn't far behind. She was heading somewhere with a determined speed. He was going to find out where, as god was his witness. She was the only link he had to Dean, and he vowed to himself that he wouldn't lose her.
He hadn't counted on her recognizing the damned car...
seeya soon, ml
Raven524 - August 3, 2010 04:48 AM (GMT)
:lol: I wondered when people would pick up on the car--after all, its sooo inconspicuous!
Sam better hurry, sounds like Dean doesn't have much time left.
MarquessaS. - August 5, 2010 01:07 PM (GMT)
The older I get, the cooler those vintage muscle cars seem... weird mid-life crisis.
..Oh I don't think so--! she growled to herself. She knew that car, and it was no coincidence that she'd seen it at the restaurant, and even less so that it was now just two cars back behind her on the highway. She'd expected this. Little brother to the rescue. Well, she knew how to drive, and she had the advantage. She took the most circuitous route possible, and she didn't race, she drove with deliberate and careful strategy, winding through the streets with seemingly random twists and turns. As she glanced in her mirror, she could see him, he was clearly getting frustrated. She was sure she saw him swear out loud at several jogs. She even pulled over and entered a few businesses, a gas station, a convenience store, dawdling inside as Sam Winchester champed at the bit. When the light of day had completely failed, and her pursuer was duly frustrated, she made a swift and unexpected break for it.
It caught him off guard, just as she'd hoped. They were in the bowels of a subdivision, a dark labyrinth of new and stupidly named streets, lined with garage-dominant, vinyl-sided boxes that all looked the same in the dusk. When he lost her taillights, he frantically screeched around corners, hesitating over left versus right until it was finally pointless. He pulled over, scanning the silent neighbourhood until it was too dark to see. He couldn't believe it---he'd lost her. He swore at himself, his bad luck, his stupidity. Tears pricked his eyes, he thumped the steering wheel hard with both hands and roared a string of curses. Now what?! Now what--?!!
The vampire Paul sat in silence. his brow was deeply creased as he frowned. He sighed once, a heavy, deeply miserable sound. Dean turned toward him wearily.
"Just finish this, for god's sake..." he whispered. "I'm tired. I'm nearly drained dry. They burned me; it hurts so much, I want to puke, but I don't have the energy. I can't fix any of this, and neither can you. Conrad is dead. And so is Lenore. And Iris needs her closure. If this does it for her, then just do it."
Paul heard him out. He was about to answer, but he turned toward the entrance, listening. He stood then, and strode toward the moonlit doorway. When he returned, he wasn't alone. Iris was with him.
"Company." he said.
Iris glanced at Dean where he lay. She saw the dark circles, the translucent whiteness of his complexion, the obvious pain etched in his features, all of it accentuated by the harsh lantern light. She caught Paul's eye and looked away, ignoring his censure as she took her place on the tarp. Paul stood back, arms crossed, observing.
"Are they up yet?" she asked the vampire.
She nodded. "Why are you here now, Paul? I thought you didn't approve."
"I don't." he said simply. "But you're his family. I owe it to Conrad to see this through."
"Well that's noble of you." she said with more than a little sarcasm. "I'd have thought you'd have been more helpful."
He came forward and sat again on the packed earth floor. He glanced around the dark interior, and turned to her. "You seem to have it all worked out, Iris. You didn't need me."
"I could have used the support, Paul."
He snorted. "Support? For this, Iris? For who's benefit, your's or your dead brother's? Conrad would have been disgusted by this, and you damned well know it. Don't drag his good name into your twisted revenge fantasy. Johan serves his own sick purpose with this, and he hides that under the guise of his so-called quest. And he's full of crap, Iris, just as you are. You do this for yourself, and no one else."
She glowered at him, her eyes shiny. "No, it is for him! And someone had to do it.. God knows you weren't going to step up!"
He chuckled without mirth. "Aw, Iris. You just don't get it, even after everything he went through. You can't see what he saw, what Lenore fostered, in the middle of this bloody horror. But I know. I battle the same urges he did, it's an agony to deny myself the blood I can smell, and feel, pumping through the veins of everyone I meet. I know what he was up against, and I know what he was trying to retain. His humanity. And the irony is, even after he was turned, he had more of that than you will ever have!"
He got up then, and stalked into the darkness.
Dean was a captive audience to the exchange. It was an eye-opener, to say the least. The vampire had shown a measure of soul that should have been limited to the living, and the girl was the one who showed no heart. It was an eleventh hour revelation that would die with him tonight. He kept his mouth shut. What did it matter now..?
Once he's spent his frustration, Sam took a few deep breaths and willed himself to calm down. He'd lost her, and it sucked. But she wasn't the only route, he just had to think...to think--
His heart was pounding in his chest, and he felt sick. He had to get a grip on his panic before it rendered him useless. He rubbed his eyes hard and stared at his reflection. "Smarten up!" he growled at the image facing him. "Think, for god's sake!" He thought of Dean, how he would act now. He wouldn't be sitting useless and crying in the car, spinning his wheels, that much he was sure of. He closed his eyes, and counted slowly until he felt a sense of control return. He just had to think it through, that's all.
He sat for a moment in the dark, drinking the last warm dregs from a water bottle. He didn't have his lead anymore, so what did he have..? Not much. He knew there were vampires involved, he'd seen the evidence. He ran through a checklist of what he knew was canon regarding their habits. Night activity, obviously. And a place to hide and hibernate during daylight hours. Isolation was key. They would need a location where they could rest safely, away from the activity of normal people. He'd been all over the damned town, searching for his brother. No location came to mind that fit the requirements. Of course the outskirts could have any number of empty barns, or ruined shelters, or... He rested his head against the seat and closed his eyes again.
And there were the birds. Geese, of all things. He felt stupid even assigning them any significance, but they seemed to be a pervasive theme in the past few days. No, that was idiotic. He shook his head, trying to think of anything else that could harbour a clue. But nothing came to him. He thought again of the odd fortune in his cookie. It made no sense. He let his mind wander over his own route these past hours. The tavern, the helpful bartender. The B&B he was directed to...that was another coincidence, the Goose Nest. And it had turned out to be the right place, so the bird connection proved true that time. And waiting while Dean went out that night. Bored, and sick of television, he'd gone for a walk up the road. He remembered stopping on the bridge.....the sign that said Goose River, or creek.
..Jesus! His eyes flew open, and he sat up. He'd seen an old building from that bridge, a ruin of stone, in the distance. His heart beat in his throat as he fired the Impala up and threw it in gear. He remembered, it was the silhouette of an old mill, long abandoned. It looked overgrown and forlorn by the flashes of lightning in the distance, forgotten, ruined.... It was perfect.
It was just Iris now. But soon, the others would come up. Dean knew that he was finished. He couldn't stop this, not anymore, and it didn't look like Sam was going to either.
She was still angry from her argument with Paul. "What?!" she growled.
He sighed. He was giving up, and it hurt. "Iris, there's the knives...in the dirt, by the fire pit...how 'bout you pick one up..?"
She looked at him in alarm. "Why..?"
"Because...because you need to finish this, ok? I'm sorry. I really mean that. I'm sorry about your brother, and I wish I could change it. But you need to end this now. For both of us."
"What...what do you mean?"
"For f***'s sake Iris, just finish me off!" he whispered. "It's what you wanted, isn't it? Please---please, just don't let them do it, not those things--"
His request shocked her. She stammered something, but before she could answer, the cellar doors opened, and Johan and his band rose from the bowels and strode toward them.
Sam was grim, but filled with renewed purpose. It had to be right. It just had to. He had some distance to travel, but for the first time, he felt he knew where he was going. The girl didn't matter anymore, he had a better route to Dean, he was sure of it. He floored it back through town, headed in the direction of the bridge. "Hang on, Dean---" he said out loud. --Just hang on--
Johan greeted Iris. He took her hands and kissed them, bowing to her in a strange archaic ritual of social protocol. "My lady Iris--" he smiled. "Tonight you will avenge your brother. This I promise you."
She was struck dumb, unable to repond. Wall-eyed, and overwhelmed, she simply nodded. The vampire leader patted her shoulder and found a comfortable place to sit in the earth. His retinue fanned out behind him, and began to prepare as they had done before, setting the fire up, collecting the knives from where they'd been discarded the previous night. They had brought wine up with them this time, and Johan opened a bottle of a rich, dark red, dispensing with the niceties of glassware. He took a deep draught of a bottle, and offered it to Iris. She accepted, still a little stunned. It was happening, tonight. This thing she'd set in motion was coming full circle. She swallowed a good volume. When she'd finished, she asked Johan, "Can I give him some..?"
He looked at her quizzically. "If you like."
With shaking hands, she put the bottle to Dean's mouth. He accepted it and drank as much as he could pull from the bottle, hoping to dull what he knew would be coming. She pulled it away when he started to choke and cough.
"Well, don't drown the poor bastard." a voice admonished. They looked up as Paul joined them. He glanced at Dean, and frowned.
"Ah, Paul...you've decided to join us tonight." Johan smiled. "Lovely. It is appropriate, I think. Your Conrad would be pleased that his family and friends bore witness to this justice." But his eyes lacked the warmth of his words.
Paul shrugged. "Johan, you'll do this whether I'm witness or not. Don't pretend that it matters."
The ancient vampire chuckled. "As you wish." His followers had been stoking their fire, and they passed the wine around for a while, until the blades were ready again for their purpose. Both Iris and Paul refused to take more from the bottle, and none was offered the victim. Johan turned to Dean with his maddening smile. "Well, hunter, have you made peace with your god?"
Dean snarled and spat at him. Johan accepted the rebuke with surprising grace, simply wiping the insult away, his mild expression unchanged. But his eyes sparkled with unnatural light. "Oh yes," he said. "Go to your death with spirit. Fill your veins with vitriole, hunter. I will feed on it, and your passion will make me strong!"
Dean snarled a curse, and looked away.
Iris hugged her knees to herself, and rocked slightly where she sat. It was almost too much, and she repeated a mantra quietly to stay the course she'd set in motion. "For Conrad.." she whispered, over and over. Paul watched her, his mouth a grim line.
The lesser members nodded to Johan. The blades were sufficiently heated to harm. Johan accepted one from their hands, and held the steaming knife up in the chilled air, turning it languidly for Dean's benefit, admiring as its glowing length radiated waves of heat. Dean's eyes grew dark with panic. His heart rate leapt as the vampire tugged at his sleeve, exposing his other arm. His motions were slow and deliberate, designed to instill terror. Dean struggled, but he had no power left, and cool, firm hands held him down. There was muted laughter somewhere.
"Iris-" Johan smiled, his voice like dark honey, "Would you like to do it?"
She hesitated, but came forward. Clearly pleased, Johan passed the handle to her. "Go ahead.." he coaxed. "You earned this. Do it, Iris. Do it for your brother, for poor Conrad.."
Dean turned to her in desperation. "Iris, don't! He wouldn't want this! You know it! It's the opposite of what he believed in-
Johan clamped a hand over Dean's mouth. Iris held the blade in her shaking hand. She stared from Johan to Dean.
Paul tensed. "Iris--" he said softly. She refused to look at him, and she shook her head. Her eyes swam with tears, conflicted and angry and frightened. Her fingers tightened on the handle, and she began to cry as her hand hovered over Dean's arm.
Johan stroked her hair. "Go on..make him pay for his sin." he breathed seductively in her ear. She blinked her vision clear and dropped her trembling hand, touching the bright point to Dean's skin. It sizzled immediately. Dean shut his eyes and choked back a sob as tears squeezed from between his eyelids.
She felt him lurch. The firelight reflected in the wet streaks down his face. Her stomach clenched in horror and she jerked it away. "No--" she stammered, shaking her head. "NO!" He was right...he's right...It was everything Conrad fought--
She tried to back away, strangling with emotion, but Johan gripped her arm. He pulled her back and grasped the hand that held the blade, and forced her to press it's length firmly against Dean's arm.
His scream echoed across the field.
Sam had parked as close as he could to the ruin. It's ragged outline loomed in the distance, and he could see no path. He would have to walk through the dark tangle of weeds the rest of the way. He was rifling through his coat for his flashlight, when he heard it. A distant wail...a broken howl of pain, of a timbre that was terribly familiar. His head snapped up and he paused his breath, and he began to run.
Iris struggled like a cat in his grip. She could feel Dean writhe and strain under her hand, she wanted to shut out his scream but her arms were held firm by Johan. "Stop it!" she sobbed, "Let me go--!"
He did then. She twisted away and fled.
Johan frowned. He watched her for a moment, as she stumbled out into through the dark field. Iris was lost to them now. He knew it. He'd hoped to groom her, he liked the look of her and he'd intended to turn her and add her to his band. But she'd shed his influence in favour of the weakness of human empathy, and there was no going back. He tersely ordered them to heat another knife.
But Paul leapt to his feet. "Enough!" he roared. "ENOUGH!"
Raven524 - August 5, 2010 07:10 PM (GMT)
:o Oh you didn't just do that! :blink: You can't end it there! You are just too cruel :cry
MarquessaS. - August 9, 2010 10:44 AM (GMT)
Sorry Raven--couldn't resist, lol
Iris fled blindly through the weeds, stumbling and sobbing. She collided hard with a figure in the darkness. Shocked, she fell to her knees. winded and dazed. Before she could scream, a big hand hauled her to her feet and silenced her. "Shut up!" her assailant hissed. He shook her hard. "Where is he?! Where's my brother?!"
Bewildered and terrified, she couldn't utter a sound. She pointed to the ruin. He pushed her away and ran.
Paul had seen what he needed to. Iris had seen the light, she'd rejected the twisted path she'd chosen and she was worthy of his efforts on her behalf. He was sick of Johan and his band, he hated the perverse activity, the rationalizing, the relentless torture. It was hard enough to deal with his own unholy nature without their warped outlook. He knew that Iris was in danger now, as much as the hunter was. It was time to act. He threw himself at Johan, who had no chance to brace for the unexpected impact. Paul surprised the ancient and knocked him down, rolling him away from where Dean lay. Johan was not accustomed to opposition, it caught him off guard completely. Paul immediately leapt free of the entanglement, and in one fluid motion he scooped up one of the knives from the earthen floor, crouched over Dean and severed the rope bonds that held him. He didn't wait on a thank-you, --Johan took him down in a snarling leap.
Sam tripped and stumbled through the overgrown pasture, and as he approached the dark wall, he saw the flickering light spilling from the doorway of the ruin, and he knew this was the place. He didn't hesitate, there wasn't time, and he bolted across the stone threshold. He skidded to a stop on the earthen floor and scanned the interior wildly. Vampires! A fire burned off to the side, and a lantern illuminated the space. He'd stumble into the middle of a battle, there were figures rolling and growling, pummeling each other in the dirt, And in the centre, a figure lay, spread-eagled and tied. Dean--- In a split second, he assessed the conflict, and hurled himself without hesitation into the thick of it.
Dean was in a bad way, but aware enough to know he was free. He found his hands and feet were suddenly loose, and ignoring the fresh pain of his newest burn, he used every ounce of his strength to roll off the filthy mattress. When his stiff fingers found dirt, he crawled, clawing frantically at the soil, trying to get as far away from Johan and the others as he could. He heard shouts and screams and curses, but he had one single-minded purpose now, and that was to get the hell away. It was agony, his raw and blistered skin dragging across the rough ground, but he gritted his teeth and kept going. He focussed on the doorway as he pulled himself along, unable to get up. Whatever else was going on behind him, he couldn't aid it. He pushed the pain aside and forced himself to keep moving, it was the only thing he could do. He was too weak to plan any further than conquering the few inches of soil in front of him. For a moment, when he saw the moonlight through the doorway, he felt like he might actually make it.
His optimism was short-lived. He felt the weight of a heavy body flatten him to the ground, and he tasted dirt as the breath was knocked out of him. An unfamiliar voice growled something, in a language that was strange and foreign. Sharp teeth bit into his shoulder, his thigh, the back of his neck. He wept at the pain, then raged and kicked at them, but they were too strong and too many. He curled up against the onslaught, helpless to repel them. After several moments, he knew he was done. He shut his eyes against his whirling vision, and covered up as well as he could. He almost said a prayer.
He needn't have. The weight, and the stabbing pain of their vicious teeth, suddenly lifted The second he felt it, his instincts kicked in and he rolled sideways, and when he found the comfort of the wall behind his back, he braced himself against it and tried to comprehend the situation. He blinked and panted, as a blur of movement filled his view. When it made some sense, he pressed himself flat against the wall, hoping to remain invisible, and watched helplessly as a melee erupted around him.
The vampire Johan was standing alone, away from the others. He wore a look of wild-eyed rage, all traces of his strange, old-world gentility now erased. Paul was embroiled in a battle for his life against the lesser vampires. He was tall and sturdy, but there were three of them, and they clung to him like leeches, clawing and biting. He kicked at one hard, forcing him to retreat, and then grasped the girl Margritte, sinking his teeth into her throat and tearing as a fountain of blood erupted. She made a strangled protest, scratching lines into his face, and he let go, knowing it was enough to slow her down at least. As she crawled away to safer ground, the remaining two vampires struck at him from opposite sides and the trio went down in a kicking, flailing heap. Paul was strong, but he was losing ground against the other two, and he shouted desperately to Dean.
"You! Go to the corner, over there, dig up the dirt! Do you hear me?! Give me the stakes!"
The rest of his order was cut short as the one named Tristan pulled him down and tried to tear his throat out. The words penetrated Dean's foggy consciousness, and he understood. Stakes-- Paul had hidden a handful of them under loose soil, in case things came to this. Dean gritted his teeth and hauled himself up onto hands and knees, and cursing his unfamiliar weakness, he scrambled and crawled to where Paul had pointed. He clawed at the earth in a frenzy, until a paper-wrapped bundle was revealed. Inside, a half dozen fire hardened points lay ready. Dean tore them free of the wrapping and grasped what his nerveless hands could hold, turning to where Paul struggled. He took a split second to assure that he wasn't arming one of the others before throwing one toward his ally.
It rolled a foot away from Paul's reach. The vampire grunted and strained under the onslaught, they pulled him backward but he fought hard, gaining ground, clawing at the earth wildly until his fingers touched the smooth, blackened wood. The second he felt it, he gripped the stake, twisted and drove it through the chest of the one on top of him.
Andrew screamed a brief howl. He clutched at the protrusion, with an expression of disbelief. His eyes rolled up and seconds later he fell like a ragdoll.. The remaining one, Tristan, witnessed the demise, and he hissed in fury and threw himself with mindless rage onto Paul as he extricated himself from beneath the heavy body.
"Dean!" Paul growled desperately. "Another----throw me another!"
He would have, if he was able. But Dean was otherwise occupied. Johan had worked hard this night to get himself his fix, and he was damned if he was going to let it go to waste. He stalked toward Dean where he sat propped against the wall, grasping him by the throat and hauling him down. The predicament of his band meant nothing to him, he hardly acknowledged their battle as he moved, glazed over and salivating with need, and nothing would stand in his way now. Dean uttered a yelp, but was instantly silenced, and Paul couldn't help him. Dean's view was filled with the looming face of the dark vampire, but he was spent and powerless, and he dug his fingers into the dirt, arching as Johan yanked his head back by the hair. He gasped once as he felt the teeth pierce below his adam's apple..
But the vile, slurping suction never came. Suddenly, his vision was clear of Johan's tangle of dark hair, and the hand holding his head released, the knee on his belly lifted. A sound of struggle, an anguished howl.... Dean fell back against the cool soil, released, in shock and bleeding heavily. Sound was distorted, and light danced and writhed. Another figure stood there now, tall, dark-haired and familiar. Dean lay still, deafened by the roar in his ears, mute and unable to comprehend.
Sam stood over him, panting, holding a bloodied stake in his hand. He threw it aside and knelt. "Dean! Dean, can you hear me?!" He pressed his hand firmly against the bubbling wound at his brother's throat.
Dean continued to stare, blinking several times. Finally a light of recognition flashed in his eyes. "--sam..." he mouthed.
Sam nodded, and abruptly disappeared from Dean's sight. There were more muffled sounds of conflict, a brief cry, and then silence. Dean didn't dare to breathe. His world spun lazily, he could neither see nor hear with any clarity, and he closed his lids to stop the nauseating rotation. He wanted to stay alert, in case Sam needed him, but his eyelids were so heavy. ..so tired.. The fog wrapped around him, muffling the world, softening its painful edges. He felt as if he was sinking into soft, powdery sand, and he welcomed it.
"Dean? Dean! Hey, c'mon man--stay with me.."
Sam held him up off the ground, supporting his lolling head on his arm. Dean fluttered his lids, and moved his hands a little. His left hand found Sam's sleeve and he grasped it and clung to it, fearful that the comforting illusion would fade. His eyes were rolling, but he focused with difficulty on the face in front of him. It's real...He tried to say something, tried to say his brother's name, to warn him, admonish him for how long it took. Thank him. He could only blink in an exhausted stupor.
Paul, disheveled and puffing from his battle, leaned heavily against the wall and spoke tersely. "Get him out of here!"
He fell to his knees then, clutching his side. A blood-smeared stake protruded from under his coat.
Sam was wary of this strange ally, but at the moment he took him at face value. He was a vampire, but he'd gone against his band when it counted most, and it saved Dean's life. "You're hurt, what about you?"
Paul said nothing. His compatriot had driven the stake in hard, but fortunately Tristan's aim was poor. He ground out a curse as he gripped the wood and pulled it from between his ribs, dropping it to the dirt. "It won't kill me," he panted. "...you know that." Even as he spoke, the flesh was knitting, closing over the ragged wound. He pointed at Dean. "But this one has no time- Go!" He got up, and stood weaving, and stumbled out the doorway in search of Iris.
Sam turned back to his brother. Dean's pallor alarmed him. He was ashen, so colourless that he was nearly translucent. He was clammy with sweat, and had suffered severe blood loss. Sam knew he was critical. He gathered up Dean's limp arms and pulled him up, then crouched and slung him over his shoulder. Dean groaned, stiffening against the contact, and fell silent. Sam rose with difficulty, but he managed the weight, and he headed swiftly for the open ground, pausing in the doorway to look back. All the vampires, with the exception of his red-haired ally, lay sprawled, blood-spattered and silent, scattered around the mill floor. He turned and headed out into the darkness.
He got to the Impala, and lowered his burden carefully to the ground to open the door, glancing around nervously. No vampires followed, thank god. And the red haired one and the girl were nowhere to be seen. As Dean sat slumped against the tire, Sam quickly retrieved their med-kit from the trunk. Blood still welled from the bite Johan had delivered, and Sam expertly pressed an adhesive patch over it. Dean opened his eyes and squinted at him, trying to focus. He gave up. "Freezing out here..." he mumbled.
It wasn't, of course. It was the wee hours, and the air was damp, but it still held the warmth of the season. Sam peered at him in renewed alarm. Too much blood lost, they really had to hurry. He pulled the handle and opened the door. The dome light illuminated the back seat, and he bent down to pull Dean's limp form across the seat. He gripped his arms, and Dean gasped.
"Sammy, let go!"
Sam did so, instantly halted by his strained and anxious tone. Dean pulled his arms close, he shuddered and made a sound that cut to Sam's core.. "Aw, christ--" Dean winced, screwing his eyes tight.
"What is it? What's wrong--?" Sam demanded. He found his flashlight and shone it over him.
"Sonsofbitches...burned me.." Dean whispered. "..my arms."
Sam's light reflected in the wet trails that were still drying on Dean's face. He caught sight of one of the marks. He carefully exposed his arm further, and stared in disbelief at the dark, blistered weal against tender white skin. A burn--raw and new. He checked the other arm and found it in the same state. Dean moaned slightly at the brush of cotton. Biting back rage and horror, Sam lifted his brother's face gently, forcing eye contact. "What did they do to you?!"
Dean didn't have the energy to explain. He closed his eyes and a leftover tear escaped his damp lashes and trailed back across his temple, disappearing into his sweat-slicked hair.
Sam forgot to breathe. When he found his voice, he asked, "Is there more..?"
"yeah.." he whispered, pointing to his middle.
When Sam lifted his brother's shirt, he swore in dismay. The sharp odour of scorched skin reached his nostrils, and he was overwhelmed with rage and pity. He looked away, his jaw tight, eyes pricking with the emotional maelstrom. They'd nearly drained him dry, he'd expected it considering their nature. But they'd tortured him. They'd burned him deliberately. Why?!
He had to push it away, for the moment. He had to focus on getting Dean out. He gathered him up again, glancing around one last time in fear. The ones he and Paul had dispatched seemed to be staying where they'd left them, but he hadn't been able to assure that it was permanent with all of them, and vampires had an annoying habit of resurrecting at the most inopportune moments. He pushed his hands under his brother's limp shoulders and knees, and hauled his rag-doll form up on to the seat. Sam felt his breath quicken against him, and Dean stiffened as his clothing pressed into his wounds. He cursed once and slipped into silence. Sam wasted no further time, and the engine roared to life as he threw it in reverse and spun the tires in the gravel.
He had no idea where the hell to go. He hadn't seen any hospital as he drove the streets in search of Dean. The town was a fly-speck on the map and was likely served by some regional facility. He couldn't exactly google it as he drove. He headed toward the centre of town, praying there was a sign. He already knew there were no late night gas stations where he could ask, and he had Dean's ingrained reluctance to call 911, knowing it would bring police. They'd pretty much fled their last job, with a chorus of sirens encouraging their hasty departure. He glanced back at Dean. crap. His face was as damp and white as he'd ever seen it. He may not have a choice this time..
It was if Dean had read his mind. "..just get me home, Sam... motel."
"Dean, I think-
"..too many cops."
Sam sighed miserably. "I know... but-
Dean was fading. "Sam---call David...it'll be ok. Call David..."
He was silent from then on. Sam listened to his breathing. It was irregular, and laboured. If he knew where the damned thing was, he would have driven straight to the emergency ward, threat of arrest be damned. But he didn't, and precious minutes were ticking by. He cursed in quiet desperation, took one more look at his brother, and dialed. When their friend's familiar, groggy voice answered, he felt a flood of relief.
"David---it's Sam. I need your help!"
Raven524 - August 10, 2010 08:30 AM (GMT)
:blink: Whoa! Wonderfully written fight scene and Sam found Dean! But somehow I don't think he's out of the woods just yet :unsure:
Irishgirl - August 10, 2010 05:23 PM (GMT)
I just found this story and I'm really enjoying reading it. It's packed full of suspense and intrigue. I hope that this David, whoever he is, can help Dean. I can't wait to read more!!! :cheer
MarquessaS. - August 13, 2010 11:27 PM (GMT)
Thanks, for taking the time to comment. ;) I really appreciate it.
And Irishgirl, Dr David Bowman was first acquainted with the Winchesters, and Ellen and Ash, in the first story I wrote, some time ago. It was called What Goes Around, Comes Around. It was first posted on this site, I guess a couple of years ago. and probably no longer accessible. I hope I'm not stepping on any toes by telling you it's still posted on Supernaturalville.net.
David Bowman sat down, the familiar dread a cold knot in his innards. "Where are you?"
"Pennsylvania, some place called Lords Mills. You gotta come quick--"
The good doc was prepared, as always, for an emergency flight. "Give me the details, Sam." he said, as he kicked off his slippers and hunted for some socks. He listened intently to the younger Winchester's anxious description while he dumped a massive load of kibble out for his scruffy, grinning dog and checked that the toilet seat was up, since Mayhem prefered that to his water dish anyway. He stopped cold as Sam finished his description. "Damn!" he swore. Jesus bloody hell---! Sam I don't know if there's time, his blood pressure is probably critically low. Where's the nearest facility?"
"I don't know. All I know is that it won't be in this town, and nothing's open so I could ask...and.." He exhaled a shaky sigh. "And there's a problem, David. Dean and me, we got into a bit of a scrap with the state troopers at our last gig---they're probably looking for us. If I call 911, or we go to a hospital, well, you already know how that could end up.."
David did know. The circumstances of their first aquaintance came to mind sharply, and even he couldn't face that again. Even while he spoke, David continued to get ready for the trip. He knew through experience how this usually went. They never had the luxury of time.
"What about the bites, are they bleeding a lot?" he asked as he collected his laundry from the livingroom and stuffed it into a travel bag.
"Not like they should be." Sam said grimly.
David grunted, holding the phone with his shoulder as he pulled on his second shoe. "Jesus, why can't you guys ever take a break?! I'd have thought you'd lay low for a while after you caught flack earlier." He grabbed his watch and phone charger from the mantel, snatched his glasses from the counter, ruffled the dog's ears and locked the door behind him.
"We were, David." Sam protested. "This thing went down without our even trying this time. We were targeted. Long story."
David opened the car door, checked for his wallet, and threw his bags in back. "Targeted? Well, are you safe now?! With the shape he's in, Sam, you'd better make sure nothing else tries to take it's pound of flesh. Keep your gun, or whatever the hell you use, handy. Otherwise you and I will be scoping out a burial plot when I get there."
"Yeah, I hear you." Sam wished he could say that the threat was gone, but the truth was, he wasn't entirely sure. He began to regret coming back to the same motel room, but he hadn't had much choice. "How long 'til you think you'll get here?"
"I don't know--depends on how quickly I can pick up a flight. If I can't get a seat right off from Atlanta, I'll have to charter something smaller. It'll be hours, at the very least. Is he conscious?"
Sam turned to the back seat where he'd laid his brother out. "Dean?" Dean raised his fingers in answer, and Sam continued, "Yeah, sort-of, for now."
"Get water into him. He'll be dehydrated, just keep pushing the fluids, but no booze, got it? Clean him up, but don't put anything on the burns until I can assess them, you know the drill. And drink plenty yourself, and eat something, because I'll be drawing what I can from you when I get there, there's no time to pilfer anything from the hospital."
Sam understood, it was a constant blessing that the brothers shared a blood type. "I will...and thanks, David."
"Keep in touch." David clicked off, threw his cell onto the dash and floored it out of his driveway.
Sam turned back to Dean. "Ok, you got your way, as usual. Just stay with me, you hear me? Don't you dare make me regret this!"
The drive back was short and swift. He pulled up to the darkened motel and parked, exiting quickly and opening the room, checking to make sure there were no unannounced visitors.. He returned and began the difficult task of getting him out of the car. "I'm going to pull you out this way, Dean. It'll only take a second." he warned.
Dean complained softly at the motion, and Sam hauled him up to sit. "Are you ready? Do you think you can stand?"
Dean made a motion that Sam took as a nod, and he hooked his arm under his brother's shoulders and pulled him up. But there was no way that Dean could support himself. He slipped toward the pavement so quickly that it caught Sam off guard, and he caught him around his middle and lowered him gently. Dean clawed his hand away from his midriff with a choking cry. He lay on the gravel, swearing and writhing for several moments, as Sam protected his head off the sharp stones.
"Don't touch me--!" Dean panted. Sam had no choice, if he hadn't grabbed him he'd have fallen hard into the gravel, but regardless, he felt awful. When Dean had calmed some, Sam tried again, slipping his hands under his knees and shoulders, and carrying him in.
He laid him on the closest bed. "You ok..?" he asked, still puffing and sweating from the exertion. Dean's face was still taut, but he nodded unconvincingly, and Sam turned and quickly locked the car and shut the door. He locked that too, and tested it. Satisfied, he felt safe, for the moment. He went to the bathroom and returned with a glass of water and towels.
Dean lay on the bed with his arms turned up and his hands curled into fists. He was breathing heavily, in obvious pain. Sam sat beside him. He wasn't sure how much his brother was taking in at the moment, but he spoke to him anyway.
"You're safe now, Dean. They're all gone, the vampires are finished. And David is coming, he'll help you. You just have to stay with me 'til he gets here, ok?'
Dean nodded, but it was almost automatic now. He barely heard the words, and his awareness was compromised by weakness.
Sam watched his reactions. His guts tightened, as he recognized the symptoms as Dean began to succumb. He was in a pallid sweat, nearly camouflaged against the white of the pillow. He didn't answer when Sam spoke his name again, his eyes remained half-closed. He labored alarmingly to breathe. Sam pressed his hand to his chest, and his heartbeat felt like a stricken bird fluttering against his palm.
crap. No no no, don't fade on me now!
David was still too far, it couldn't wait. Sam lunged for the med-kit. He popped the box lid, scattering its contents across the bed, and ransacked through it, snatching up what he needed. "Don't you leave me now, you sonofabitch!" he growled. He hiked his own sleeve up and wrapped a length of surgical tubing tightly above his elbow, cinching it with his teeth. He loaded the needle onto the oversized syringe David had provided, and pierced his skin where his vein bulged, watching anxiously as blood flooded the cylinder. When it was full, he pulled it, forced any stray air out and reversed the process on Dean's arm, finding a vessel and pushing the plunger, and watching the contents empty into Dean's starved system. He had to tell himself to slow down, several times. David had warned him to push the syringe as slowly as he could, but his instincts were screaming to get the blood into Dean's system as fast as possible. He counted the seconds timing with his own breathing, pacing the delivery. He did it several times more, pushing the limit on his donation, stopping only when he began to feel uncomfortably dizzy. He hoped it was enough to make a difference. God-damned blood-sucking filth! He sagged against the headboard, light-headed, watching Dean's chest rise and fall. He seemed eased somewhat, at least. His heartbeat felt stronger and a little more regular. He wasn't exactly sure how near he'd been to losing him, but it was damned close to the wire, he'd never seen him so colourless. He sighed deeply, trying to release some of the tension within, and closed his eyes.
Sam's eyes flew open. He turned and saw that Dean was watching him, and he offered a weary look of sympathy. "David's on his way. You've got a couple of my pints in you, to fill you back out a little. It'll cost you.."
"....gross." Dean whispered. He grimaced then, shuddering at the clothing stuck to his scorched skin. He was unhappily alert now, and he ran his tongue over his dry lips. "..god, I'm thirsty. Pour me a shot of something strong, Sam"
"Man, I wish I could, but David said not to. Maybe later." Sam gave him water carefully, making sure he kept the fluids coming. He could see the taut evidence of suffering in Dean's face. It lit a fresh rage in him.. "Why the hell would they do this?!"
"..they were addicts." he coughed, his eyes screwed tight. "..they wanted...the adrenalin, -- hormones, I dunno." He stopped, as the pain of the burns began to peak beyond his tolerance. "..aw--" he grimaced, rocking and unable to hide his distress. "aw, jesus! Sam, you gotta give me something, please--!"
Sam couldn't give him any relief, not until David came. All he could offer was the assurance that their friend was on his way, and soon it would all be better. His words had little effect, Dean gripped a handful of sheet in one hand, twisting and releasing the fabric over and over. He closed his eyes, but all he saw were Iris's angry, haunted eyes, accusing and grief-stricken, and filled with rebuke. He painted his door blue, because it reminded him of the sea... "Whiskey--" he demanded hoarsely.
His punctured throat throbbed relentlessly with his rapid heartbeat. He couldn't shake the feeling of Johan's cold breath, as his teeth broke through his skin.
"Now--!" he gritted, fending off hot tears.
But Sam was forced to deny him. "No, Dean... " he winced, "Doc's orders."
Dean offered a quiet string of profanity, and Sam left to get some wet towels. Dean reached blindly for the bottle that should have been on the nightstand, but Sam had expected that. When it eluded him, he dropped his head wearily to the pillow in defeat. The memories flooded back, of being tied and helpless, of fear, the heat of glowing metal, the sound and smell of his own skin burning...and at the centre of it, Iris's piercing words, as she cried over her dead brother. A good man, it turned out, one that he himself had killed with unforgivable brutality. --as bad as any one of them...
When Sam returned, he could see the fresh trail of moisture that led away from his eyes. He knew Dean could handle pain...he'd seen him deal with it stoically on countless occasions, and he'd marvelled at his ability to take abuse. But it was different this time, he was so reduced, too weak to play the role he'd assigned himself. He had nothing left to fuel the facade.
Sam wiped away his own impotent tears as he raged inside, vowing rid the world of the lot of them, with a bloody vengeance the likes of which they'd never see before. He sat down, and carefully began stripping Dean of his soiled and bloody clothing. Dean hardly noticed, and Sam was able to get him tidied up with minimum embarrassment. Sam could now see the full extent of the burns. Nasty, narrow strips, blistered and scarlet, branded both arms, and another above his navel. They were dirt-encrusted from his crawl across the mill floor. "Dean, I have to clean these, or they'll infect, " he warned softly. When he received no answer, he began to dab the soil and sweat and blood from his skin. He was as gentle as he could be, but it had to be done.
He couldn't stop it, The ordeal had taken a harsh toll. Dean covered his eyes, and wept in silence. The only way Sam even knew was by the hitch in his breathing and the lines of steady tears that escaped from beneath his hand. As Sam cleaned him up, he wondered what they'd done to him to cause the wounds. The why had been answered, and it was unsettling enough. Vampires were dangerous in nature, they were greedy, self-serving and amoral, the heat of the devil ran in their veins and they denied themselves nothing. But this was an entirely new facet, and it was as ugly as it could get. And they'd lured him in a careful and deliberate way to do it. There was more to that, he was sure. To see his iron-willed brother reduced to tears, trembling with the hurt, was more than he could bear. He clamped his jaw and tried to tune out his sounds of protest as he gently washed Dean's raw and damaged skin. When he was done, he stepped away, and let him come to grips with it in privacy. But he sat close by, enough to be a comfort, but far enough away that he didn't intrude.
After a while he was quiet. Sam listened to him settle. He crept forward and sat watching, as Dean's chest rose and fell in shallow, fitful sleep. He shivered and moaned, mouthing words, frowning. Sam soothed his clammy brow, talking to him gently until he fell silent, only to have to do so again, and again. And he wondered at the words he could make out. I'm sorry, And the phrase I didn't know, repeated until the words became mere whispered sounds. There was more affecting Dean than what he could see. Sam sat, feeling useless and hollow, waiting anxiously for word from David. He chewed his thumbnails to the quick, worrying. He'd been gone for nearly three days; bound, starved, and burned. They'd taken a nearly lethal amount of blood... Why was he so distraught now that he would be apologizing..? What the hell had happened to him while he was in their vicious hands?
He paced for several hours as he anxiously awaited the knock. When it came, he flew to the door at David's voice, and pulled him in. David shot Sam a look of shared grief. He knew exactly how the kid felt, he'd seen it enough times. As he made his way toward Dean, he asked Sam, "How are you holding up?"
Sam shrugged, his mouth a grim line. David nodded knowingly and sat at the bedside, and he began to set up. He hung an IV bag, as he always did--from a standing lamp, and connected it to the arm of the stricken figure on the bed, noting the puffy red wounds. He whistled his dismay, and he turned his attention to his range of checks, frowning at Dean's low blood pressure, and shaking his head when he examined the burns on his arms. Dean startled awake at his touch, groaning and confused. They were appalling, a stark contrast to the tender skin surrounding them. The blistering was severe, but the fact that they were so painful told David that the deeper layers that held the nerves hadn't been significantly damaged. He huffed in relief, thankful that they wouldn't require grafting. He painstakingly cleaned them, and wrapped them loosely in sterile gauze. He turned his attentions to the bites next, putting a few stitches in the worst of them at his throat. Dean stirred again and protested weakly.
"There's a third burn, on his stomach." Sam sighed wearily.
David nodded and lifted the sheet. Dean seemed to rise to consciousness then, and David spoke to him gently. "Hey there, buddy. It's me, your favourite sawbones." He worked over Dean's abdomen. Dean shuddered and tried to push his hand away. but David efficiently put his emotions aside as he treated the wound, keeping up a quiet conversation to distract his patient from the pain. But when he touched the worst of the places, Dean's eyes flew wide and he gasped.
"--freaking hack!" he whispered hoarsely.
David smiled a little at the familiar jibe ."Easy now---got to fix this up. You can sue me for malpractice later, alright?" David reassured him that they'd be done shortly, as Dean lay rigid, thin-lipped and staring hard at the ceiling.
When he was finished, he spoke to Dean further, carefully probing him about his ordeal. Dean provided a few short answers, until it was clear that he was in too much pain to talk, and David gave him something to to ease it. The IV bags were doing their part to restore his damaged fluid levels, he needed rest now. He needed some peace.
Raven524 - August 13, 2010 11:43 PM (GMT)
Ah, completed fan fiction stories never die--they just go to their home in the Fan Fic Archives ;) The link to your previous story is here
Now off to read! :skip
:blink: Awww...poor Dean, no whiskey or pain meds :cry Somehow I don't think he'll be getting that peace though :unsure:
MarquessaS. - August 14, 2010 12:55 AM (GMT)
oh yikes---i think those were some times of rough formatting.... :wub:
Irishgirl - August 14, 2010 05:31 PM (GMT)
Wonderful update!!! :clap :clap :clap Poor Dean, he's been through so much both physically and emotionally. I'm glad he is back at the motel. Sam is taking such good care of him, so sweet and gentle. I think he's going to be the one to help pull Dean through this b/c I fear that the dark times are nowhere near being over for Dean. Yay for David getting there. He can help Sam shoulder the burden, plus, Dean needs real medical care in his current state, not that Sam wasn't doing a good job. I can't wait to read more!!!
Btw, it's okay to mention other sites that you post your fic on.
MarquessaS. - September 10, 2010 09:49 PM (GMT)
Thanks for hanging in there. Can't believe this many days snuck past, had to go out east to batten down the hatches on our old place there before hurricane Earl, which turned out to be nada where we were. Oh well...it was a gorgeous week anyway.
David poured them both a stiff shot. "So...what happened here, Sam?" he probed after they had downed it. "He's in pretty rough shape..."
Sam sighed with a weary defeat. "I don't know yet. It involves a woman, of course. And the rest--it's just what I told you earlier. We were lured here by someone, and it's obvious now that they knew enough about us, and must have been tailing us for a while. The reasons are still a mystery, but the vampire threat that got him all excited turned out to be real. I found him...."
He paused for several moments, and David refilled him.
"I found him in the middle of a nest of the sonsofbitches, and they'd had him for a few days. They tortured him, David...and I don't know if we're lucky that they did, because ordinarily you don't last beyond one feeding with these damned things. He said that this group fed on blood that was juiced with adrenalin, or whatever your body pumps out when you're in pain. I guess they were using him for that purpose.."
David whistled softly. "Poor bastard."
"No crap. He was in a bad way when I got him back here...I didn't know if he was going to die on me, he was so white, his heart rate was like a squirrel's. I drew everything I could from my own arm and stuck it in his. I know you said that was dangerous, but I really thought it was critical." His voice trailed off to a whisper, and he rubbed his eyes. He held out his glass and David once again refreshed their drinks.
"You did good Sam. I think we got him in time."
Sam nodded in silence. David could see that the younger man was tired and distraught. "Listen, you look like hell yourself. Why don't you crash for a while? I'll take first watch."
"Thanks, David, but I just can't, right now. I just don't know what the hell could be coming."
He explained the events at the mill, and the strange ally he'd encountered.
"I don't know what to make of it. I don't know why he helped us, I don't know who the girl is, but he's connected to her, because he went out to look for her. I heard him out there in the dark, calling her name. Iris. I was busy trying to carry Dean back to the car, so I don't know what happened after that."
"That is pretty damned odd. From what Dean told me in the past, there aren't a whole lot of vampires who have an altruistic bent."
"Yeah. There was a time I would have said it wasn't possible. But Dean and I came across a group of them, some time ago. This particular bunch was trying hard to keep as human as possible, by feeding on animals instead. It was a bloody eye-opener, to say the least. Dean was pretty screwed up at that time, with Dad having just died, and the accident and all the rest of it. As a matter of fact, it was the first time we met Gordon Walker, and he and Dean hit it off. But once we found out that these vampires were struggling hard to steer away from the evil of their nature, and that they were actually managing to live that ideal, Dean did what he always does, he took up the fight of the underdog. It made a bitter enemy of Walker, as you well know."
David did know. His first encounter with the brothers was the result of Gordon Walker's vendetta. He sighed and swirled the dregs in his glass, remembering. "So where does this go now, Sam?" he asked. "So far we have a girl who was part of the ruse, who is seemingly still human and who knows you somehow. We have a nest of vampires who crave hormone-boosted blood, and a rogue one that helped rescue Dean and is linked to the girl. Do you think he's a threat..? Or that she still is?"
"I just...don't know. When Dean is awake, maybe he can shed some light on it. Whatever happened out there, there's more to it than the effects you and I saw on him. He was...crying about something, saying he was sorry, something about not knowing. After everything they did to him, David, he should have been pissed, vowing to get back at them, when he was able... but he wasn't..."
David glanced at Dean sadly, watching him breathe quietly in drugged sleep. It was puzzling, and he hoped Dean could tell them what it was about, for his own sake. Trauma was best dealt with head-on, and he knew that Dean was a tightly corked bottle at the best of times. And he'd really like to know that this was over...he was an ardent believer in the causes the Winchesters took up, but he didn't necessarily want to take them on personally. He had no idea how to manage himself in a fight situation; he was more accustomed to patching the two of them back up in the aftermath. "But you're sure the other ones are dead now?"
Sam shrugged, frowning. "Between the red-haired vampire and me, we did a lot of damage. I know at least two of them were run through, and I did my best to spear the one that was on Dean. Powerful sonofabitch, that one. I left him lying on the ground with a stake in his chest. He looked pretty damned dead. But I couldn't stick around to really make sure, with Dean nearly bled-out. I should have cut their damned heads off, but there was no time."
He snorted at that. "He'll give me crap for that, of course. He'll say I should have finished the job, that it was more important than looking after him."
David smiled a little at that. He stretched and got up, parting the curtains to peer out into the darkness. It was silent and still in the parking lot. "Well, I'm sure as hell not going to want to sleep now. But you really need to recharge, Sam. You've been through the wringer yourself. He's going to be ok, I promise. And I don't want to catch it in the neck from him when he see's the state you're in. You know how he is."
Relieved, Sam offered a tired smile. "Yeah, I know. And thanks, David, as always. Don't know where we'd be without you."
"Pushing up daisies, that's where. Now shut up and sleep."
With Dean in David's capable and caring hands, Sam figured it was safe enough to have a short nap. He was dead on his feet, and stiff and aching from the bruises he'd gained in the melee. He crawled across the other bed, and sprawled on his stomach. His mind was still whirling, but he was out in minutes, too tired to resist.
David watched his patient as he mumbled and frowned in his sleep. Let it go, buddy... he thought. But he knew the make-up of Dean Winchester well enough to know that he never let anything go. David hadn't seen him smile in a very long time, and it hurt to watch the brothers constantly beaten by fate, or destiny, or their own misfortunes and choices. He checked the level of the IV and listened to his heart. Big heart. It'd kill him one day.
He settled back in his chair and picked up his book, leafing through with little interest. He picked up where he left off and tried to immerse himself in the story, but after several readings of the same damned line, he discarded it, sitting in the quiet, listening to a lone katydid that chirped intermittently from some corner of the room where it had gotten trapped. He closed his eyes.
The kick at the door shattered the peace. David jolted out of his reverie in a panic as the door flew inward with a violence, and a strange figure stepped through. Sam was instantly on his feet but the stranger was faster. He grabbed the young man by the throat and forced him against the wall, pointing at the doctor where he stood. "Stay there or die!" he growled.
David froze and stared wild-eyed to Sam, who struggled in the grip of a tall, red-haired assailant. The man barked an order. "Be still! I didn't come to harm you!" He released his grip slightly, and Sam stopped struggling for the moment. He recognized him then.
"You're the one from the mill--!"
"Yes." He let go then. His entrance was purposely dramatic. He had no time and needed to impress upon them that he would brook no argument and could harm them if it became necessary. His point was well taken.
Sam shrugged his hand away angrily and backed away, tense and wary. "What do you want?"
Paul glanced at the open door. " I need you. She's missing, I can't find her. Daylight is coming, I won't be able to search for her!"
The tension in the room was thick. David stared at the newcomer. His eyes were strange--red-rimmed, and reflecting an unusual light. He was obviously very strong, more so than his lean frame would suggest. He spoke in a clipped tone, with a cadence that suggested some Irish heritage, or something close to that. And the hair--flaming red, wavy and loose. The doc had never seen a vampire, but the brothers had told him about them. If he wasn't mute with terror, he might have been fascinated.
"Who the hell are you talking about?!" Sam demanded. "The girl that led him here?"
"Yes! Iris, She is in peril! Johan lives, you didn't kill him, he has her somewhere, I know it!"
Sam's anger peaked at that. "I don't give a crap about her! She did this to my brother, she's the reason he's half dead on that bed! If you think I'm going to leave him to help that bitch you're nuts!"
Paul's face transformed. He bared his teeth and hissed at Sam, advancing on him with a cocked fist. "You owe me! He owes me, and he owes her! You will help me, or you'll all die here!"
Sam had nothing within reach that could be a threat to Paul. The vampire out-classed him in strength, and had all the advantage. His own life was threatened, but both Dean and David were in equal peril.
"Dean owes her? For what?! They nearly killed him, and she set it up! Maybe I owe you for not killing my brother, but why should I help her? If she's in harm's way now, she's getting what she deserves!"
Both heads turned toward the voice that answered. Dean had awakened at the shouting, and struggled to pull himself up. Too weak to do so, David came forward and helped him. "Sam!" he growled. "Listen to me. He's right. I do owe her. You don't know the story yet." He turned to Paul. "I'll help you, just give a few minutes!"
Paul snorted in disbelief. "You?! You can't even stand, you're useless to me! I need them!" He pointed to the others, and David's mouth turned to cotton as he realized that the vampire was including him as well.
"No!" Dean rasped, pulling himself up on the edge of the bed. "I'm the one who brought this on, I'll be the one to fix it." He panted, as darkness swirled in the periphery of his vision and the hiss in his ears grew to a roar.
Paul moved so fast that he was a blur. He shoved Dean back down, flattening him with one hand against the bed, and the hunter was helpless to resist. He turned and growled to Sam. "Come with me, or I'll kill him where he lays--"
Dean blinked hard, trying to stave off his faint. He knew Paul meant it, he knew his desperation. He stopped Sam's lunge cold with a sharp word. "Don't!" he barked. "Everybody just stay still for a minute!"
When he'd caught his breath, he added. "Let go of me, you sonofabitch! Let me talk!"
Paul did so with a scowl.
"Sam--" Dean began wearily, "He's right, I owe Iris more than you know. Her brother Conrad was part of Lenore's group. He was one of them, trying to exist without killing, remember? Well, I'm the one who murdered him, Sam. With the saw, that night. I killed Iris's brother."
Sam's eyes widened. "So she came at you for payback..?"
"Yeah. And there's more, Sam. Lenore and the rest of them are dead. Hunters followed after us and wiped them out. Paul here was Conrad's friend. He escaped and joined up with this nest, led by the one they call Johan. He's the addict, Sam, he's the bloodsucker that tortures for the juiced blood. If he has Iris, then he'll do it to her."
Sam shook his head. "So what? She nearly killed you, Dean! She brought this on you!"
"I f***ing deserved it!" Dean said, growing hoarse with weakness and emotion. "I took everything she loved away from her, I left her with nothing but ashes and memories. I killed a decent man, vampire or not-- who deserved better. She had a right to see me suffer, but in the end, she couldn't do it. She ran when Johan tried to force her to burn me. She threw away the knife and ran. And Paul cut me loose. Just as you got there, Sam. He freed me and took them on." He was growing too weak to continue. And he knew Paul was right. "Sam, the last thing I want to do is put you in the firing line...but I can't do it myself. You have to go after her. You have to help me...help me make it right."
Sam understood then. He had wondered what could be preying on Dean's mind while he lay unconscious, and now he knew. He looked at him, exasperated. "I can't leave you alone here--"
"I'm safe here." he whispered, near exhaustion. "And I'm just dead weight right now. Go find her Sam. For me..."
Sam reluctantly agreed. "But he stays here," he said, indicating David.
Paul answered. "No. I need both of you to cover ground. He will not be in danger, they will go underground soon. I need day-walkers."
Dean turned to David. "This is your call, David. If you want to go, just set me up however you need."
David didn't want to go. But he glanced at the red-headed vampire, and he knew that despite Dean's words, he did not have the luxury of choosing. He nodded then. He'd once asked to accompany the brothers on a hunt, a long time ago. They'd talked him out of it. Well, it looked like he would get his wish, just as that old adage warned.
The trio left just before dawn. Dean was left behind in the silence, helpless and consumed with worry. He'd grasped weakly at Paul's sleeve as he passed. "You bring them back safe, you sonofabitch, or I swear to god I'll hunt you down and burn you alive--" he warned in a whisper. Paul smiled slightly at the absurdity of the threat, but he solemnly agreed.
Won't be so long next time, I promise.......mal
Raven524 - September 11, 2010 12:34 AM (GMT)
Sam Sam Sam Sam...*shakes head* I knew the vamp wasn't dead :lol:
Poor Dean, I think he's gonna suffer more knowing he can't help. Lets hope they find her in time... :)
UKsnfan101 - September 11, 2010 01:05 PM (GMT)
really separating guys...don't you know by now that that never works out well!
Glad to see you back to writing this story!
Irishgirl - September 12, 2010 01:10 AM (GMT)
Wonderful update! :clap :clap :clap I hope they know what they're doing by leaving Dean alone. I fear that Johan is going to want more of Dean's amped up blood. Not that Dean has much more to give. I hope that they can find Iris and get back to Dean as soon as possible. I can't wait to read more!!!
MarquessaS. - September 25, 2010 12:56 AM (GMT)
How's this for timing...twenty minutes til the season opener. But I was so overdue that I had to get this out as soon as it was done. For you poor dears who aren't yet expecting season 6 tonight---hope this is a little cookie for you :)
Dean lifted his hand with effort. He rubbed his forehead, and bleary eyes. God, he hated this. He'd just sent them out into god-knows what danger. He should be there with them, protecting them. But he knew that if the circumstances demanded his action, he would rise to meet the challenge, and promptly collapse in a heap onto the floor. Damned bloodsucker had summed his status up succinctly, he was useless. He checked the alarm clock that sat on the night table. It was pushing five in the morning. Paul was right, his window of opportunity was closing fast, and he really would have to rely on Sam and David to be his eyes, ears and limbs. Dean wished he knew more about the vampire Johan. It would have made things simpler...knowing his history, his methods, his choices. He lay still for some time, miserably aware of his burns, trying to master the pain. David's ministrations had helped, but it still hurt like a bitch. But pain was an old acquaintance; it was weakness that he couldn't come to grips with. He knew enough about the chemistry of life to realize that he was now dangerously anemic, and without red blood cells to carry oxygen, he tired at the slightest motion, and he was severely limited. David had explained it, several times. The volume of his circulatory system could be corrected quickly. But his red cell count, the one that fed his starving body the oxygen it needed, would stay low for much longer. He would be weaker than a kitten for far too long.
He swore. No. No, screw that. He might not be able to stand at the moment, but he coulddo other things. Like drive-- The situation rolled through his mind, like a rogue wave. Sam...Paul...the girl Iris. He turned to his tether, the IV line, and cursed under his breath. The day was dawning, probably less than an hour. The damned vampires would be underground soon...it was good for Sam and David, but it eliminated a huge source of info. Paul would need them to be brilliant in deducing the location of Johan. But Johan was far from stupid, he was clever, he was apparently very old. He had experience that they could only begin to dream of. And if Sam and David found the nest, what then? Sam knew what to expect, but Dean was always there as back-up, and David was a wide-eyed neophyte. He felt a panic rise, and his rapid breathing made his wounded midriff burn so sharply he felt the rise of bile in his throat. Calm down, idiot! he thought angrily. This isn't helping.
He took a few measured breaths, and reminded himself of what he knew to be true. Vampires, no matter how old or wily, still had to sleep like the dead during daylight hours. Those two wouldn't be in danger as long as it was light. Unless, of course, they had guards... Bloodsuckers were crafty, they did that sometimes. Human security for when they were most vulnerable, people without conscience who engaged in such dangerous liasons for their own benefit, for excitement, or who knows what sick reason. f***! He roared it out loud, but it was a mere croak. His eyes pricked with the threat of tears of bitter frustration. He wished the damned IV bag was filled with 180 proof, at least then he wouldn't be worried about anything.
David still had a dry mouth. He and Sam followed Paul's car in David's rental. Sam had claimed the wheel and David had no objection. "What do you think we'll...I mean, where will we...this Paul guy, or thing, or...ah crap--- Christ, Sam---what the hell's expected of us here?"
If it hadn't been so serious, Sam might have smirked. But he didn't.
"David, you know as much as I do right now. Bottom line is we have to find this girl. Frankly, I don't give a damn if she's breathing, but it means something to Dean. I know this is a whole new world for you, but relax, ok? I won't let anything happen to you, I promise. And as much as I say that because we owe you and you're a good friend---it's mostly because Dean would kick my ass to hell and back if a hair on your head was harmed."
David looked down and smiled. "Ok. So...Paul...
"Paul is a strange creature.." Sam murmured. "He was obviously a devoted friend to this Conrad, and he's frantic to keep Conrad's sister safe. I don't know....maybe there's more to it.."
"A strange vampire." David snorted. Sam had nothing to add to that. They followed the taillights of Paul's car ahead, as it sped toward the mill.
Thinking out loud, Sam mused, "I guess he's getting to his safe zone. I can see the pink on the horizon, his skin must be starting to burn.."
David looked to him in shocked alarm. "Are you serious? You mean it's just like-
"Just like in the movies, yeah. They burn at the slightest UV. And they exhaust at the end of each night, since they don't exactly have the lifeforce of the regular guy. If he doesn't get to his shelter he'll be too weak to shield himself, and the sun will crisp him."
David's eyes remained wide. His empathy kicked in. "Jesus, the poor bastards. I wonder if I could-
Sam cut him off. "David, drop it. This one is an extreme anomaly. They're evil. You do not want to cure their ills, trust me."
David nodded. Right....vampires....It was so absurd that for a moment he almost laughed. But he remembered what he'd experienced through the brothers, and he trusted their insight. The humour evaporated.
They pulled in and parked. Paul was already out of his car and huddling under his heavy oilskin coat. Sam and David got out and joined him. David was again struck by the pathos of this man, this creature, who struggled to save a girl even as the sun began to bubble his deathly white skin. Sam asked the obvious question.
"So now what?"
Paul drew his collar tightly around his throat. He was shaking, his voice husky. "I have to leave you now. I can't stay here any longer. Pay attention --I'll tell you all I know."
They listened as he spoke tersely. "He is more than your match, certainly... he's more than mine. I've known him for some time but I still know nothing, you understand? One like him...so old, he's seen many, many things, learned tricks that he will divulge to no one, not even his own kind. Johan comes from an old world, he feels most at ease if he is near what he knows---stone and water. The mill was perfect, but it is compromised now and he won't return. You need to search for a place with these things, but he's not stupid either and he will not jeopardize his safety for these comforts."
As the two absorbed his instruction, Paul leaned against the cool damp of the stone wall. Sam noticed his struggle. The vampire was sweating, pulling at the limits of his coat to cover him, and appeared on the verge of collapse.
"You ok...?" he asked doubtfully.
Paul shook his head. "I had no time--" he mumbled.
Paul took a shaky breath. "To feed. I am starving. It can't...I have to-"
He staggered then, and reached out to steady himself. His hand found David's chest and he clutched at the doctor's shirt-front. The moment he felt the warm beat of the doc's strong heart beneath his fingers, he lost the tight grip he kept on himself. He moaned a strangled sound and lunged, grasping David's wrist with shocking speed and biting down on it.
David yelped, and fell backward, with Paul on top of him. He struggled beneath the vampire, wide-eyed in sudden terror at the pain and visceral, violating sensation of feeding. It was mere seconds, but it seemed like eternity before he felt the heavy weight tear away from him. He scrambled away as Sam flattened Paul to the spongy, moss covered soil.
"Filthy sonofabitch!" Sam growled as he sweated to pin him.
Paul squirmed and kicked, uttering gutteral sounds like a trapped animal as Sam struck him repeatedly until he was stilled. When he stopped moving, and his hideously distorted teeth and eyes returned to something close to normal, Sam dared to turn toward David.
"David! You ok?!"
David was clutching his wrist. He was panting, but he crept forward. "I...I guess. He bit me---he was sucking at it!"
"Yeah, they do that." Sam growled. He turned his attention back to Paul. He held him hard against the ground, and was ready to cut his damned head off right there and then, but he stopped. He was astounded to see that the vampire was weeping. Paul lay still under Sam's hold, heaving with deep, wrenching sobs.
"I'm sorry---" he whispered brokenly. "I'm sorry.." He was silent for a time, still crying. Sam felt no fight left in him, and he released him warily, standing over him.
"What the hell was that?!" he demanded, still huffing with the exertion.
David was still wide-eyed, but his need to know more narrowly won over his fear, and he glanced at Sam, and crouched beside them, just out of reach.
Paul rubbed his pale eyelashes roughly, wiping at the red-tinged tears, struggling to regain his composure. His expression was so raw with self-loathing that it pained them to witness it, despite the circumstance. Finally, when he could speak, he explained.
"I tried to go with out....I had to find her. I couldn't take the time." He sat up slowly, and David saw a trail of red, his own blood, smeared on the vampire's pale, lightly bristled chin.
David knelt, still clutching his wrist to himself tightly. He watched intently, and listened, fearful, but unable to contain his curiosity. He glanced at Sam's taut, stony face. The young hunter was clearly in the position of power, and the vampire had pulled into himself, sitting with his arms wrapped tightly around his knees, and rocking with agitation. He looked back to the creature, once a man, who sat shivering on the ground in front of him. Doctor Bowman couldn't turn it off...his hippocratic oath was deeply ingrained, and he knew the symptoms of hunger, of physical distress, of pain. It beat down his fear and anger, and he spoke to Paul now as if he were a volatile but suffering patient.
"Why did you do that?" he asked quietly.
Paul looked away. "I have to feed. Every night I have to feed. It's what I am. I try to find the worst of them, the violent ones, those with bad intent, rapists, muggers, killers....the worst of the living. Sometimes I find nothing, and I feed on rats, or creatures that live in the alleys or dark places...ugly things. I have to do this every night, or the need wins out, and I become an unstoppable, evil thing..." He would have said more but Sam interrupted.
"You are evil, you lying freak! You brought us here for what? Your midnight snack?! You never needed our help, you just needed our blood!"
Paul covered his eyes and shook his head. His strength, his aura of other-worldly power had abandoned him completely now. He was no longer the commanding being he had been, he was crumpled and beaten, a hollow, suffering shadow, growing frail and more helpless as the sun grew stronger. He shook his head in tearful denial, dropping his head to his knees, and covering it with his arms as David watched him.
"Sam--don't." he said softly.
Sam turned to him, still furious. "David--you don't get it, he was only-
David stood up. "No. No, Sam. I know how this looks...and I know you and Dean are experts in dealing with this crap. But you have to trust my instincts too--"
Sam could see the intensity in his friend's face. David had just had ten years scared off of his life, but still he had empathy. He reluctantly held his tongue, but kept his hand ready.
David stepped close to Paul now, and sat. He tucked his bloodied wrist into his coat for safety. "Go on."
Paul cleared his throat and continued miserably. "I didn't bring you here to feed. I thought I could miss it, this once. I thought... I thought I was stronger."
He sighed with a palpable misery.
"I'm sorry I attacked you....I just couldn't go any longer. I had to find her---my Iris. I had to make her safe. I spent all night...but it was wasted. I know what will happen...it probably already did. She'll be dead, he will have done things.... She'll have suffered so..and it's my fault. I spent all night looking for them, everything I could think of, I ran until I couldn't breath any more..." He stopped to get a grip again.
"..Johan is brilliant, but he's so cold. I thought he was a shining hero at first, for his quest. We all did. After the way Conrad died at the hands of hunters, I thought he was right...and it was all justified. He said that he would rid this place of them, and we would all go on to be champions of good, taking the worst of humanity, like the sword of God Himself..."
It shocked Sam to hear a vampire talk in such religious terms. God?! These cursed things still held this concept in high regard?
Paul continued, his voice growing thin. "When they took Lenore....her ideals, her refuge...died with her. Most of them succumbed to their nature after that. It is so terribly hard to struggle against the need. A few of us moved on. And then we found Johan, and we believed in him. They still do, or did. But I saw through it. Just another self-serving, maniacal despot. His lord was nothing but his addiction, the so called "Quest" was bull. He was a pied piper, a svengali....he mesmerized those who were lost. We thought we could live with ourselves, we could stop hating our nature, under his lead. And I told her...I told Iris."
David had forgotten his fear. He hovered close to Paul, absorbing his words, assessing his condition. Even Sam had dropped his guard slightly.
In the shadows of the mill, the dawn light was making pale inroads. It cast shadows from the bodies still sprawled within the confines of the walls. They were beginning to steam---wisps of smoke rising and curling from where the sun touched the dead flesh. The stink of it began to grow. Paul pulled his heavy hood tightly around himself and shuddered. "Please..." he whispered. "--Find her. Find Iris. Keep her from dying in his brutal hands. I promised him. I promised Conrad I would protect her, even if I couldn't have her."
David sat back. He glanced at Sam, who shared his expression. Ah hah. There it was...the meat of it. Paul was in love with his best friend's sister. And his friend was gone. The vampire was a conficted mess of love and guilt and self hatred and honour.
David turned back to him. "Tell us anything else we might need now, Paul. Quickly."
Paul raised his red rimmed eyes at them. "You..you'll help me? ..Still?"
Again David looked toward Sam. Sam cursed under his breath and sighed. "I'll do it for my brother. He bought into your sob-story. For Dean, not you. And for sure not for her."
Paul smiled a little. Brothers...it was a strange bond. But he was grateful. The UV was piercing the tight weave of his cloak, he was beginning to burn in earnest. He squirmed against the pain of it, and huddled tighter, and he thought of all detail he could that might be significant. He had to speak quickly. "I think...if he had to, Johan would find refuge wherever he could. Stone is meaningful to him, but water more-so. He grew up on the sea....he claims he can't rest unless he is near water. Keep that in mind. I wish to god that I could fly----I could see the places below, and know his mind. I could see where he would choose..."
Sam snapped up. " I can do that, with my computer, I can see it online!"
Paul didn't understand, but he knew there were ways, machines nowadays that facitated any whim. Smoke was beginning to rise from his own clothing as the bodies of his dead and exposed compatriots crisped and crackled around them. "I'm burning...I have to go underground. Look then. A place of water, of solitide. And most important, of quiet, or of constant noise, either would suit him---day and night. He draws screams from his victims, he will want to hide this. Please--" he croaked as he rose. "Find her---I saved your brother...I saw her resist, I saw her refuse to hurt him when Johan insisted----I...I beg you --"
He turned then and fled, disappearing beneath the heavy cellar door. The echo of it's closure reverberated within the stone ruin. Sam and David simultaneously turned to each other. David, who had been attacked and weakened by this dubious ally. Sam, who's brother had suffered and nearly died at their hands. They had the same unspoken question. Sam was the first. He nodded resolutely.
"You heard him, buddy. Let's go find Iris."
David nodded. He rose, and the two stepped through the stone doorway and into the rosy light of the coming day.
MarquessaS. - September 30, 2010 11:18 PM (GMT)
Another bit. Thanks for reading as always...mal
He startled awake. "Sam..?"
He was greeted by silence. Still panting with the jolt into the present, he eased himself back down against the sheets and groaned. It'll fade...please fade, for christs sake... He shut his eyes tight, and made a conscious effort to relax the muscles of his abdomen, which flamed with a searing intensity from the abrupt movement. The pain hung on for endless minutes, and he had to measure his breathing to keep from losing the soup David and Sam had made him eat before they left. Beads of chilly sweat trickled into his hair and under his neck, he felt suffocated by his own weakness. Easy. In....out... he coached himself, struggling to keep it down. It was a dicey few moments but he finally bested it. He took a careful breath and tried to relax.
The nightmare that had vexed him before he was propelled so sharply into wakefulness still lingered. More a memory than a dream, it was no less bitter to relive, and he tried to force the emotions away, but they persisted. Panic, mainly...as the images and sensations of his horrific captivity clung stubbornly to his mind. He groaned again, and brushed his damp hair with a shaky hand, and stared at the benign and comforting whiteness of the ceiling. He couldn't shake the image of the damned heated blade, and the agony, the fearful anticipation of it, that had made him scream and strain against the ropes that held him down.
And Johan's glassy-eyed and noisy feeding. He shuddered, and fumbled for his lifeline, the cell phone under his pillow, still safe beside his gun. He pressed the button with his sweaty hand, and the time shone brightly. It was past seven, and it flashed a message. He'd been out for hours, since they'd left. It annoyed and shamed him when he saw that he'd missed their call. Just missed it, actually. He realized it was what had snapped him awake.
It took him several tries to get it right, but he got through, and the sound of Sam's voice was a welcome relief. Sam was terse, concerned that he hadn't answered earlier, and he said so.
"I let it ring forever! Are you ok? Damn it Dean, I didn't know what the hell to think!"
His hackles rose at the tone. "Well, sue me! crap, Sam--I'm not exactly myself at the moment." he protested. "And you knew David shot me up with something, I'm amazed I can even talk straight now."
Sam realized he was being hard on him, even if it was out of worry. He softened.
"Yeah, I get that. It's ok, I was just worried, that's all." He was glad to hear him, but the thready timbre of Dean's voice alarmed him.
Dean ignored his mothering tone and continued. "So what's going on? You find anything yet?"
There was a heavy sigh on the other end. "No. We dropped Paul at the mill....he was pretty spent. We figured something out from the way he was talking about the girl. It's more than just his loyalty to Conrad. I think he's carrying a major torch for her."
"Huh. That makes sense. I figured there was something else going on here... How's David, is he freaking out about any of this? It's a bit out of his comfort zone.."
Sam paused. "Uh...no, he's ok. Just doing his Doc thing big time, now he's fretting over sick vamps.. He had a little experience with Paul before he went underground, a bit of a lesson first hand in what they're really about."
Dean snapped to full attention. "What do you mean? Is he ok?!"
"Yeah. Paul attacked him, chomped on his wrist. He hadn't fed last night, he was desperate, and...well, he lost it."
That revelation put some fire back in Dean's tone. "Wtf!! Put him on!"
David took the phone. "Dean, are you alright? What's the level on your IV bags? Are you drinking the water I left? What about pain--?"
"Shut up, David! What the hell happened with Paul?!"
"Oh...well, it was like Sam said. He was apparently starving after spending the night searching for the girl. He was on the verge of collapse, and he...well, he grabbed my arm and bit in. He sucked out a pint or two before Sam got him off me--christ they're efficient--- It was only for a few seconds."
"Did he do any damage, David?! Do you need to come back here?"
"No, I think it's fine. I mean assuming he has no social diseases.. But he's still a wreck, as far as I could tell. He...well, I was a little shell-shocked, maybe Sam should tell it."
Sam took over and described the events of the early morning. Dean listened intently, and when the tale was finished, he wasn't sure how he felt about it all. "Huh. So Paul has a thing for Iris....it figures.. That explains why he...why he was..."
The focus he aimed on their conversation was taxing, especially after his abrupt awakening, He stopped mid-sentence, feeling strange. His fingertips tingled, his face prickled with cold sweat. His hand was growing numb. He took a trembling breath. "Listen, maybe you two should come back here, to coordinate. We can...uh...we can talk some of this crap through, and..."
He trailed off and dropped his arm, the strength draining from him with alarming speed. For a moment he saw flashes of light, squiggles worming their way in front of his view. It was all he could do to keep a grip on the phone as a blackness crept into the periphery of his sight. He swore softly and shut his eyes until the hiss faded enough for him to hear clearly again.
"Dean? You ok? Dean!"
"..yeah..." he answered unconvincingly. "but maybe you oughta get here. Just to try to figure out where they might be holed up. The more heads together the better, right..? Just for a little while..."
Sam knew that Dean would never ask for help, no matter how necessary. He'd long ago learned to decipher the cues, and he heard it in the weak voice at the other end now. Dean was not at all well, and it scared him. He caught David's eye as he spoke. "Sure, Dean---we'll head back. We could use another perspective, I think we're against the clock here in a few ways."
When he'd hung up, David asked the obvious. "Is he ok? Does he need attention? Aw dammit, I should have stayed with him, I knew it.!"
Sam sighed. "I dunno.. He sounds like crap. He was shaky, drifting as we spoke, and I'd feel a hell of a lot better if we went back for a bit. I'm running out of juice on the computer anyway, I should get it charging, we're gonna need it."
They headed back toward the motel, both consumed by their worries.
Dean had his own worries to contend with. When his call was over, he lay back again, fully awake now, and miserably aware of just how angry fresh burns were made by his unheeding movement. He'd inadvertantly brushed his arms several times against the bed edge and could feel the loose gauze sticking to the wounds, and he lay, eyes watering, with his wrists awkwardly turned upward to keep from doing so again. He cursed quietly, over and over, wanting to pluck away the coverings, but he wisely thought to leave it to David. He felt pinned, trapped, and it brought the ugly imagery of his captivity sharply to mind. He tried to picture calming things, but he had little reference for such things, and his mind always returned to the darkness of the mill, and his ordeal.
He felt a sharp pang of guilt. Yeah, she'd brought this on him, but he'd done worse to her. He thought about her description of her brother, and the look on her face as she said it. Conrad's state of being had not been his choice, but he did his best with it, it seemed. And it made no difference to her---she loved him...he was her big brother, always would be. And from what she'd said, they still had some good moments... It might have even worked...with Lenore shepherding them. But then along came Righteous Dean Winchester to punish him for what he was. He shut his eyes and sighed, hating what he'd done. But it couldn't be remedied now.
And then there was the enigmatic Paul. Powerful, harsh at times, but strangely moral, and in love with his dead friend's sister, a damaged and lonely girl he could never have. Like Conrad, attacked by some bloodsucker, but spared and sentenced by his maker to walk in darkness and lust for blood for eternity. He could have lived like the rest of his kind, killing without conscience, revelling in the power of the evil they'd inherited. Instead, he battled nightly with his urges, his conscience--- choosing instead to use his curse like a weapon for the greater good. A self-loathing sinner who struggled in self-imposed misery to soothe his tortured soul. Dean flinched at the parallels to his own life. And he'd killed dozens of the damned things...he wondered now how many really deserved the damnation he sent them to.
..Ugh. Nothing was ever this complicated when his dad was around. He didn't have to question back then, it was all so blissfully black and white.
Iris kept running, after her collision with Sam. She ran as if she could flee from the horror, leave it all behind her---Conrad, the vampires, and him--- If it were only the ghosts of her past chasing her, she might have made it to greener pastures eventually. But she'd started something that now had the momentum of a landslide, and she would be buried beneath it along with her intentions. She stumbled and tripped, blinded by tears and terror, through the coarse and weedy field. The gravel road was in her sight, and scratched bloody, she picked herself up yet again and lunged toward the dim glow of the distant street-lights. She almost made it to the guardrail. But swift and strong hands pulled her back down as she moved to step over the cables. She rolled back down into the ditch, winded, seeing stars, as her back hit the ground with a bruising thump. She blinked for a moment, chasing the birds away. When clarity returned, she found herself eye to eye with a far from genteel Johan.
He lifted her by her shoulders and thumped her hard again against the ground. She stared at him in terror.
"You run from me now, Iris?" he snarled. "After all I've orchestrated for you, for your brother---you reject my efforts?!"
She was speechless with fear. When she found her voice, it was a dry whisper. "It was wrong--it was sick,! He was sorry, ..I..I believed him--"
Johan spat on the ground beside her. "And?! So he repented, what of it?! You stupid, cow-eyed bitch! Did it bring him back, your precious saint of a brother? I did this for you, Iris! I helped you set this trap. You think you can decide now to abandon this? To discard me?!"
He grew angrier with each clipped syllable, and his cold, firm hand tightened on her until she felt his nails tear her clothing and break her skin. She wept and begged him to stop as he lifted her again and pounded her viciously against the ground. "Ungrateful whore!" he hissed. "You're weak and useless! You and God can forgive him all you want, it means nothing to me! I can't believe I thought you might make a worthy companion, but you are nothing--!
He hauled back and struck her hard across the jaw. She sagged then, her eyes rolling up. He swore something in a gutteral, furious voice, reverting to a dialect that came to him when he was most agitated. Iris heard nothing, and he hauled her ragdoll form over his shoulder, like a butcher with a fresh and pliant side of meat, and he set out toward the place where he'd hidden his car.
The night was not yet over. He'd had a taste of what he craved, and a taste of pain and bitter betrayal as well, thanks to her, and Paul and the hunters. Well, he would take what he'd worked hard to cultivate this night, one way or another.
Sam and David pulled up in front of their unit. As Sam stepped out, he glanced around warily. It was a dull day, rain piddled off and on since early morning. The room beside theirs was still empty, as was the next one. Several doors down, there was a car parked, it seemed there was an occupant, but as no light shone through the tightly pulled blind, They were probably still sleeping. Sam's experienced eyes saw nothing amiss. With Dean so vulnerable, he hated more than anything that he was forced to leave him alone right now. His brother was in bad shape, he could never defend himself against a threat, and Sam knew that half the time the greater threat was Dean himself. He'd lost count of the number of times he'd begged Dean to stay in his bed to heal up from some trauma only to find him back on the doorstep, and sagging against the jamb with a defiant grin. Left to his own devices, god knows what he was liable to do. But Paul was pretty persuasive, they didn't have much choice, and Dean was even more insistent.. He just hoped it was worth it.
He entered quietly, but saw that Dean wasn't sleeping, he was alert. David followed, and he immediately became Dr. Bowman, fussing over his patient until Dean shoved his hand away with irritation.
"David, get the hell away from me!" He grabbed the doc's wrist and turned it to reveal the punctures, examining them with a deep frown, "Don't you need to put something on this?"
David was used to this. "Don't use me to change the subject! I asked you if you were feeling any dizziness, weakness or shortness of breath!"
Dean sighed angrily. "Well yeah! How the hell am I supposed to feel? Look, if you really want to do something helpful you can get that bottle of bourbon out of my stuff. Otherwise sit down and chill for a minute."
He shut his eyes, tired by his outburst. He turned toward Sam. "So where are we on this right now..?"
Sam rubbed his forehead wearily. "Nowhere so far. I need to check online for some aerials of this place. Paul said Johan prefered locations with water and stone, or at least old buildings. I already went all over the place when you went missing, and there was nothing like the mill anywhere else. Unless he holes up in some barn or something.."
"Or bucks the trend and finds himself a quiet room in a completely opposite locale.." David added. The brothers turned to him then.
"But Paul said he had requirements--" Sam reminded.
"Not exactly. He said Johan had preferences. I mean, he could move out of his comfort zone if he were forced to, right? He just needs darkness and security, mostly..."
He was thinking like a hunter. Dean swore. "Well that could put the sonofabitch just about anywhere now! And we're back at square one."
That sobering thought left the room in quiet for a few moments. Finally, Sam shrugged. "Well, I'm going to look up google Earth anyway. Maybe there are some places around here that fit enough to go check out. I don't know what else to do."
He did so, and while he was busy with that, Dean had David help him get up and use the bathroom. David grunted with his weight as Dean leaned heavily on him for the short few feet. "Seriously, Dean--how do you feel" he asked quietly.
Dean answered truthfully. "Like pasty crap, David. I'm seeing stars even now. Christ, I couldn't protect either one of you from a shadow right now, how long am I going to be this freaking useless?"
David smiled a little at Dean's chosen words. The elder Winchester's focus was, as always, how his state of health would affect everyone else. He never gave any weight to the impact of these things on himself. He got him back in bed, re-hung his IV, and tried to settle him. "Relax, buddy. It won't be too long. And quit worrying, Sam and I will find Iris and we'll all put some serious miles between us and this Johan bastard. But we can't concentrate on that if we're worrying that you're going to do something stupid, alright? Yeah---Sam told me about all the times you skipped out of care when you were in no shape to do so. I saw it myself, remember? So do us all a favour and stay where you are this time. We can't help that girl if we're having to rescue you from yourself."
Dean's pale cheeks reddened slightly with shame. He knew David was right. And he hated it. He nodded angrily.
Sam had filled a page with notes and directions. He took it to Dean, to include him. "These are all the places around here that sort of fit Paul's description that we haven't checked yet. It ought to keep us busy for a while, they're pretty scattered. What do you think..?"
Dean shrugged angrily. "Sure. Whatever. Just stay in touch, alright? And don't freak out if I don't answer right away. I'll probably fall asleep at some point. Not like there's anything else to do."
Sam could feel Dean's palpable frustration like an angry wall of energy.. Nothing brought his brother down faster than being incapacitated. He glanced at David, making sure he was out of earshot, and he sat beside him for a moment. "Dean...I know this sucks. And I know how important it is to you that we find her. Me and David, we'll do everything we can, but I need you to keep thinking about all this while we're gone. You had a really awful experience with these sonsofbitches, but you're on the inside a whole lot more than we are. If there's any detail you can remember, anything at all, --that might point us somewhere, you call me, ok? Cuz I'll have my hands full keeping David safe, and without you, right now we'd have nothing."
It was calculated, and not entirely false. And it had the desired effect---Dean took a settling breath and nodded, assuaged somewhat that despite his state, he was still needed. He relaxed a little then, accepting it. "Alright. Go, hurry up. Check out your spots, and if I think of anything, I'll call you."
They left him then. He would spend the next few hours wracking his brain for useful details, while Sam and David drove and searched fruitlessly through their list.
Raven524 - October 1, 2010 12:03 AM (GMT)
okay, the darkened room at the same hotel--coincidence??? :unsure: Somehow I don't think they'll have to look too hard, I think Johan will find Dean :blink:
Great updates! :hi5
MarquessaS. - October 6, 2010 12:23 PM (GMT)
Hey again. I think this is chapter 12.
They'd crawled over yet another entry on their list. Nothing. They'd found no trace of anything other than pigeons, cowshit and poor foundation waterproofing. Sam sat on a cracked slab of concrete, and buried his heavy head in his hands. They had come up empty again. They had nothing. Every damned cellar, every barn, every abandoned building within a fifty mile radius had been searched and discounted. Water and stone. Well, based on that criteria, Johan was some sort of visionary, because he must have found something that had steadfastly eluded them. David sat on the bumper of the rental, exhausted and crestfallen.
"Sam, I think this bastard threw us a curve."
Sam raised his head. "Who--Paul or Johan?"
David scratched his unruly salt and pepper hair. "Paul has no reason to, as far as I can see. I think his fearless leader has been feeding him crap. Maybe Johan has, in the past, chosen places like Paul expects; old, stone, water, whatever. But I'm thinking of what Paul said earlier, about his having known Johan for some time, but knowing nothing. Seems to me that maybe this one protects himself not only from the living, but from his own kind as well. If he's been around for centuries, I'm inclined to think that he doesn't let anyone in to his inner circle. I mean ultimately, everyone's a rival to him, aren't they? Kind of a contest to see who can last the longest."
Sam blinked. David surprised him again with his insight. "Crap. David, I think you're on to something. Johan probably plans for things like this---betrayal from the ranks. He throws Paul a bone about his needs, or his preferences, and Paul, or in this case us, heads out on a wild goose chase while the sonofabitch operates under everyone's nose."
He sighed, and got up. "We've been wasting our time. We're spinning our wheels, and Johan's probably watching and laughing his ass off somewhere. "I am old--I must be near these ancient things" What a load of crap!"
It wasn't exactly a turning point for them in their search. Not a positive one, at any rate. All it did was highlight that they, as well as the vampire Paul, had probably been duped, and Johan could be literally anywhere.
"What now then..?" David asked dejectedly.
Sam reached down and picked up a stone, throwing it away with a violence. It bounced up the pavement and disappeared into the roadside grass. It was getting on in the evening. He was tired and hungry, and worried about Dean. David shared in all those sentiments. "I don't know. Christ, David, we covered so much ground, but we're still nowhere. I'd just as well head back to see Dean. He didn't answer last time I called, sleeping I guess. We need to tell him this, and decide what to do before Paul gets up. Neither one's going to be too happy."
David agreed, and the weary duo got back into the rental and headed back.
Dean had finished his pitcher of water. He'd consumed all the things they'd left for him. He'd taken the pills David had scheduled. All he could do was wait now. But waiting was never his strongest suit. He turned to check the time through every electronic means available; the bedside clock, his phone, his unclasped watch, and they all said the same thing. The minutes were crawling with an agonizing slowness. He was stuck in the room, stifling in his sweat-dampened sheets, alone, and useless. He wanted to leap up from the bed, throw on some clothes and floor the Impala out to save the day, but everytime he tried he was met by the brick wall of his weakened state. No matter how much he wanted to contribute, he had to finally admit that he was not going to be the leader of the charge this time.
The minutes dragged into hours. It was only through extreme effort that he refrained from calling as often as he wanted to. He knew that was counter-productive. He stared at the ceiling, he slept fitfully, he tried to sit up without collapsing in starry blackness. Finally his basic needs refused to be ignored, and after the humiliation of his days of bound captivity, he vowed he would make it to the damned bathroom or die trying.
The IV bags were nearly done emptying into his thirsty vein, he yanked the tube from the port David had inserted into the back of his hand. He meted out his strength like it was gold, knowing from previous attempts that he was severely limited. He counted the steps down like a NASA launch. When he had mastered the altitude of sitting up, he searched around for handholds for the next procedure. Headboard. Chair-top. Closet door frame. Bathroom knob. He took his time and met each challenge, stopping between to gasp in pain as his taut burned skin was stretched to painful capacity. A hearty chant of expletives helped him cope, and he made it to his goal.
Afterward, when he was able, he carefully braced himself against the sink edge, and turned on the tap. Cool water flowed over his hand, and he scooped it up and splashed it over his face, and cupped more to drink. It was the best water he'd ever had, hard-won and overdue. When he was quenched, he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. Grey-skinned, and sprouting reddish growth over chin and upper lip. He could be a pirate's corpse. That ain't pretty, he thought wryly. He looked like he felt. But he shrugged off his vanity and concentrated on negotiating his way back to bed.
It was harder this time...the distance back to soft and padded safety was the same, but he'd exceeded his ability, and a cold wave of faintness flooded through him. Little further...he cajoled. Nausea accompanied his vertigo, and he white-knuckle gripped the closet bifold door, swaying where he stood. Just a couple of feet to the bed....
He shut his eyes tight again to keep the whirl from spiralling him off to oblivion, but it was an effort that cost more than he had. His breath came in shallow gulps as he tried to focus on the few feet that yawned like a chasm between his feet and the bed, but it failed to put the breaks on his spinning descent, and he gave in to it with a defeated groan. He let go of the door and dropped, grasping blindly for any handhold as he slipped to the carpeted floor. He found the night table edge, and hauled it down with him, scattering its contents. In the wake of his descent, he lay panting on the floor, surrounded by things that should have been elsewhere, the up-ended lamp, the alarm clock, his water glass, and phone. He let the darkness take him. When it began to wane, and sight and sound returned, he laughed without humour at his predicament. He lay for a while on the carpet, thankful that it was reasonably clean. When he could summon the courage to haul himself up, he gritted his teeth and reached up to grip the edge of the mattress, and he pulled himself to his knees, shuddering at the pain in his middle. He rested his head against the rumpled bedspread, eyes closed, ...and counting to three, he hauled himself back up onto the bed.
He drifted for a while. He didn't know how long, he couldn't see the clock where it had landed on its face, casting a halo of blue light on the floor. Nor his phone, a yard or so away on the floor. His tender arms screamed in protest at the abuse, and again he turned his shaking hands palms up to relieve the contact with the burned skin. He could see the the sun was setting, and in a way, he was glad. Sam would be back soon, successful or not. And David, bless him-- could shoot him with something that would make the bloody pain retreat. It interfered with his thinking now....he needed to feel he had at least some grip on his situation. He turned again to the ceiling tiles, but they offered no comfort. He felt his heart begin to race. It was just a little claustrophobia, he admonished, ordering himself to settle down. He tried his best to relax and wait patiently for Sam's return. It didn't work, and without being able to measure the passage of time, he began to feel the rise of an unreasonable panic.
..The car. He needed to get out to the car. In the Impala, he could relax, he could put in a tape, check the time and keep from stroking out with imagined worries while he waited. Yeah...
He raised his head and surveyed the shadowed room. The keys were in his coat, which was hanging on a hook on the back of the door. Good. His shoes were out of his view, but he didn't care, --nobody would be looking at his feet. He checked to make sure he was dressed adequately to leave the room, and he carefully buttoned his long sleeved shirt to hide his bandages. And with the clean sweats Sam had put him in, he figured he was decent enough for public view. Not that anyone was around, but you never knew. Duly prepared then, and painfully aware of what happened the last time he got up, Dean made his way from his bed to the door in measured and calculated increments. He clung to his coat when he got there, and took some time to recover from the expenditure of effort. When he felt better equipped, he shrugged it on and fished out the keys, and opened the door.
It was growing dark, and still raining. The cold drops hit him like needles, he flinched and swore at their touch. He stumbled the short distance to where she sat so patiently. Rain beaded on her black coat, like dew on a panther's sleek hide. It was a thing of beauty. He laughed inwardly at himself for waxing so poetic, and unlocked the door, settling in gingerly, and pulling the heavy door closed behind him. The black leather seat was unyielding and firm with the cool temp, and it took a while to soften, but when it did, it accepted his form like the warm embrace of an old friend. He sighed deeply. He hurt, almost too much to describe, and he was so drained that the slightest activity was a monumental achievement if it didn't render him unconscious. But he was home now.
He settled back in his seat, and let relief wash over him like a drug. He adjusted the seat back a little to accommodate his discomfort, and fished underneath for his precious box. The torn cardboard offered up his treasure-trove of tapes, and he selected one that suited, and he turned the key. The car fired up with a growl of protest, not unexpected considering the rain. But she warmed up and settled momentarily into her familiar purr, and he felt the comforting vibration of her contented rumble through his seat. He pushed the tape in then, and closed his eyes.
After a short and precious period of peace, his eyes flew open. crap. Shitshitshit!--- He'd left the god-damned phone behind, somewhere on the carpet where it had fallen. It was nothing, under normal circumstances. So what? just go back in and get it---big deal. Well, it was a big deal. He may as well have left it in the last county, it would take as much effort to retrieve. He derided himself for his stupidity. He debated the merits of ignoring it's absence, but he knew he couldn't take it. Sam could be calling right then, and he couldn't help. He growled a curse and shut the car off.
As he steeled himself to exit the car, Dean saw something. His motel neighbour from several doors down was leaving. The man was absurdly protected from the elements, even if it was raining. He had his oil-skin trenchcoat collar pulled high, and a hat yanked down far over his ears. He had gloves on, which was ridiculous. It wasn't that cold---maybe he was a visitor from warmer climes, not used to the temperature fluxes of the area. But he still looked like a jack-ass, regardless, and Dean snorted at his expense. The man ducked into his car as if the rain would melt him, and he hastily left the parking lot. Dean still couldn't get a decent look at him, his face was a dark and featureless blur, it was almost as if he was wearing a drab mask. Even the car windows were tinted so illegally dark that he was sure to be pulled over.
When the car had been gone for several moments, Dean turned his attention to the unit the man had left. In the waning light, it stuck out oddly. The other rooms that were occupied had varying degrees of light spilling from them. But this one was different. Dean had caught sight of light behind the doorway as the occupant left the room. Nothing out of the ordinary. But when the door closed, it plunged the room facade into total darkness. All the other windows allowed some illumination past the curtains, but this one was starkly different. No light escaped whatsoever. Dean cocked his head at the anomaly, He knew he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer at the moment, but that didn't sit right. It begged an explanation.
He decided it warranted some snooping. He was in desperate need of distraction, and this little mystery suited. He looked around, behind the car, but nothing moved in the grey rain, and he seemed to be alone. He knew he'd have to get back anyway, just to retrieve the damned phone...might as well take at peek at Unit 9 on the way. He geared up for the effort and slowly exited the car. The trek across the parking spaces was endless. He nearly dropped halfway, but he regrouped out of sheer pride. He reached the stuccoed wall, and made his way toward the oddly darkened window.
He tried to peek in, but there wasn't a single crack between the window treatment and frame. It defied logic, until it struck him... Paint. It was painted--! What he'd assumed to be a tightly pulled shade was in fact, much more opaque. Someone had taken the time and effort to spray-paint the window completely, so that neither light nor peering eyes could penetrate the glass. He pulled back in sudden alarm. The significance of that was screaming loudly to him. Nobody needed that kind of privacy...this was done for one reason alone. Whoever was renting number 9 didn't want to see the daylight, and had gone to abnormal lengths to assure it stayed out of the room. No regular joe had that kind of requirements.
He caught his breath, heart pounding. For a frightening second or two, he felt the dreaded creep of cold crawl up his veins, but he fought the faint, and waited it out. When he felt more grounded, he glanced around fearfully, and tried the door.
It was locked, naturally. He pursed his lips tightly and fished through his breast pocket, retrieving what he sought. His little burglary kit was in hand, and he pulled from it a particular tool, and deftly disabled the latch. When he heard the click of its retreat, he tucked away his kit and carefully opened the door a crack.
It was lit inside, just as he'd seen earlier. He glanced around again, not daring to breathe, and pushed it wide enough to slip through.
The scene that met his tired eyes then would burn in his memory forever.
Irishgirl - October 7, 2010 01:35 AM (GMT)
Wonderful updates!!! :clap :clap :clap Poor Dean, I know he's hating being out of commission. I hope that Johan doesn't come back while Dean's in his room, cause I'm guessing that whose room Dean entered. Sam had better hurry up and get back to motel. He's probably going to freak out when he finds that Dean's not in their room. I can't wait to read more!!!
UKsnfan101 - October 7, 2010 10:17 AM (GMT)
As always love what you write...like I wrote before (many times and in different places!) :lol: Leaving Dean alone is never a good idea!
MarquessaS. - October 15, 2010 12:01 AM (GMT)
Thanks, folks. Here's 13---
Johan felt the sting pierce his carefully wrapped mask, and he cursed the touch of the last remaining light. Even with the greyness of the rain, he could feel the UV penetrate the cloth. He wished the night would hasten. He was hungry, and he wanted everything that was available to him now. He knew that the hunters would figure it out eventually. They would return any moment, dejected and tired, angry with their lack of success. He smiled to himself, knowing the directions in which Paul would have sent them. Idiot. He had a healthy respect for the younger vampire's sheer physicality, but he had long ago assessed him, and had found him flawed by an unseemly conscience. Paul was bound by his own high principles, perhaps some relic of his human experience. He was unyielding, and earnest, and it hamstrung him. He was that much easier to manipulate.
Johan was old. He did appreciate the solidity and security of stone. And of course he loved the water---he grew up on it, spent his formative years on the decks of VOC ships plying and plundering the East Indies for the Dutch markets. Perhaps he truly did pine for these things. But he didn't need them.
..Ah Paul....Paul had been a worthy companion. He was always a touch prudish for Johan's taste, having been plucked from an Irish seminary and turned, while still filled with the vigors of youth and the firebrand of religious vocation. The quality, if one chose to call it that, never left him, really. He chose his friends carefully after his change, and his victims more-so. Johan would miss him.... For a moment, anyway..
He knew his former ally would awaken soon. He was glad that Paul had none of his own stamina for day-walking. If he'd done as Johan had, torturing, working to lace his feedings with the chemicals that drove the living to transcend their own limits, he would have been a danger now. But his curse of morality had never allowed it. And Paul, of course, knew Johan's transport. He had to hide the car, or risk tipping them off before he was ready.
And then there was the Winchester. The object of Iris's hatred, now lying nearly spent a few doors down. Johan had checked on him frequently, watching through a crack in the curtains as the hunter struggled against weakness and pain. His mouth slavered at the remembrance. He was amazed that the man was still alive, considering. But he'd heard the legends of these brothers, so he had come to expect a certain level of resistance. He could only guess at percentage of adrenalin infusing his blood by now. He could hardly contain his lust for it. As soon as he had the full advantage of darkness, he would drain that troublesome vessel dry.
And the others--well, it remained to be seen how he would take them. But Paul would be a treat that he would savour for a long time. Human blood, especially the way he took it, was a pleasure almost beyond description, but to take a fellow vampire's essence was a forbidden ecstasy, a dark sin amongst his own that he could hardly wait to commit. He had all the advantage, being able to operate in daylight. He was tired, of course, bone tired. But he was up, and that was all the difference. And he was waiting.
When he'd hidden the car sufficiently, he strode back through the rain and approached his usually well-sealed door. But this time, light spilled from it, a narrow, glowing strip lighting the deepening grey around it. He tensed, stopping in mid-stride. He glanced around, but nothing was changed. The hunters hadn't returned, as far as he could see. And the other one was in such a bad way, he was fairly sure that he couldn't have...
He didn't finish that thought. His eye caught a hint of movement. No, something had changed. A slight curl of steam rose from the wet hood of the black car several doors down. Johan's eyes narrowed, and he turned back, approaching his door with the stealth of a snake.
Dean nearly slipped to his knees. When he'd pushed the door open and entered, he was shocked to see the interior of the room. It was carnage, by any descripion. The bodies of the proprietor and his wife lay in a grey, rigored heap, discarded like candy wrappers on the floor. The air within was cloying, heavy with the stench of eucalyptis incense, burnt flesh, blood, and the unmistakable medley of odours that rose from the freshly dead. And bound and gagged in the middle of that horror lay a girl.
Dean stumbled to the bedside, nearly speechless with shock. He scrambled with nerveless fingers to free her from the duct tape that silenced her, and when she could speak, she merely sighed. Tears were dried in trails across her face, but none flowed now, she had nothing left. Dean fought the urge to gag as he surveyed her. Burned skin, the distinctive triangular shape of a travel iron, still plugged and radiating on the night table. Cigarette burns... It seemed Johan had forgone the use of fire this time, he'd found more modern, convenient means. Her throat bore the same marks his did. She was ashen, and struggling for breath.
"Shhhh.." he said shakily. "I'm here. It's ok...it'll be ok." He worked at the cord that bound her to the head and footboard, cursing his wooden hands, and managed to loosen and pull her limbs free. She didn't move.
"C'mon, honey--we gotta get out of here--" he said quietly, patting her face. She was barely conscious, and she blinked in response, her pupils dark with terror. She was far too weakened to help herself any more, she stayed silent, her face crumpling in dry tears. He saw her transparent skin, her bluish lips. Her breathing was irregular and barely raised her chest. He knew she was nearly done.
He couldn't lift her. He pushed his hands under her and tried to haul her off the bed, but her limp weight was more than he could manage in his state. She didn't react as he sweated and cursed to pull her toward safety. The vampire would return, maybe any second, and Dean taxed himself to exhaustion in his effort get her out, nearly blacking out with the strain. But he got her off the bed and onto the carpet, but it's texture resisted his pulling of her, and he coughed and panted, as he dragged her body across by hard-won inches, closer and closer to the partially open door.
"Come on, Iris!" he growled, fighting tears of pain and frustration. "Help me--! For christs sake, move!"
He felt to response, no tensing of her muscles, nothing. He stopped, and looked into her half closed eyes. "Iris, please...please, you gotta help me--" he begged quietly. "We can do this---Paul loves you, he's coming for you..."
Her eyes widened slightly, and for a moment she focused. She mouthed the vampire's name.
Bingo-- "Yeah, that's right. Your brother's best friend has it bad for you. So help me, Iris---Don't let him find the both of us as corpses!"
She drew a deeper breath and swallowed hard, her eyes looking off in confusion. He saw her fingers curl and scrape across the flooring, and for a second he thought he had reached her.
"That's it, sweetheart. Paul's coming. But so is that other bastard, so help me, ok? Try, Iris! Try to get up with me!"
She moaned. He saw her steel herself, and begin to gather herself to move. He knew how hard it was, he'd felt that utter lack of strength himself. He silently cheered. She tried to roll over and he helped her, steadying her as she pulled her elbows slowly beneath her body and rose on to them.
"Good, that's good. Just pull yourself, Iris, the door's so close, we're almost there--
He was on his knees, arms clasped around her middle, ignoring the ferocious pain in his forearms. It was working, she seemed to find it within herself to keep moving. He sweated to pull her along, and began to feel relief as the cool air flowed over his face through the open door. He turned to look beyond it, and a shadowy figure blocked his view.
He recoiled as the door was kicked wide..
Johan stood still for a moment, surveying the scene. He carefully shut the door behind him, and when all threat of natural light was extinguished, he wrenched his mask off and his face split wide in a grin of sheer pleasure. "Oh--!" he laughed with pure glee, "You came to me--! Wonderful!"
He almost danced with his unexpected gain. "I am so flattered!" He seized upon Dean where he knelt and grasped him by the collar, dragging him free of the heavy weight of the girl. Dean was helpless to resist. He flailed at Johan's strong, cold hands, but he couldn't pry them away, and he found himself lifted and thrown, hitting the apex of wall and floor with a force that winded him and left him reeling. But before he could regroup, the vampire was on him. Johan pressed him to the floor. grasping Dean's hair and nearly breaking his neck with the force of his pull. Dean felt the vampire's breath against his throat, and he recoiled with a fierceness that surprised the both of them. He rolled out from under him, clutching wildly for anything with which he could defend himself.
Johan hardly skipped a beat, he pounced back on his victim and tried to pin him where he lay, but Dean saw him coming. He shifted, squirming half under the bed, deflecting the vampire's thrust. He scrambled about for a weapon. His fingers found the curled and dusty bristles of a broom in a corner, and he pulled it close, and wedged it against the carpet to haul himself up. Once on his feet, he had only a split second to react as Johan threw his full weight at him. He fell back against the bed edge, and the broom handle, still clutched hard in his hand, shattered into two jagged pieces against the iron frame. The hard old hickory splintered, leaving Dean with a short section. His fingers were tightly twined amongst the nylon filaments, and he clenched them tightly.
Johan lunged again, and his clammy hands found Dean's tender throat. He gripped hard, and Dean's eyes bulged with the pressure. The stricken man clawed with his free hand at the vampire's wrists, but the hold tightened. Stars began to prick, then explode in his vision, Dean writhed and gasped in silence, turning blue and flailing at his assailant's face as it leered over his own.
"Oh yes, fill your veins with it; struggle hard, my friend--" Johan taunted hoarsely. He was glassy-eyed with want. "--Go on, find that well of strength within you! Feed me!"
Dean's heart felt like it would burst along with his starving lungs. Sensation began to fade, and he felt a wash of almost welcome indifference as his muscles relaxed. His lids fluttered, his eyes rolled up.
"Your failure is my fervent delight, hunter..." the vampire breathed against his ear. "Go to your grave with this--she dies with you, and because of you."
Johan's words hit home. "no.." Dean thought, "no! Don't you lay that blame on me, you sonofabitch! He blinked hard and chased away the fog, long enough to feel again. He grew aware of the bristles between his fingers, the broom section was still in his hand. He curled his hand tightly, and willed his failing senses to recognize what he wanted to do.
Johan felt Dean tense beneath him, but he was so rapturous with anticipation that he didn't take notice. He brushed his open mouth along Dean's damp neck, then sunk his teeth into the raised jugular above his crushing hands with a deep sigh.
Dean lurched, and in one final, desperate act, he pulled the broom close, dug his nails into its centre for grip, and drove it's shattered end with everything he had into the body that pressed heavily against him.
Johan grunted in surprise. His eyes flew open in shock, and his canines tore back out of his victim's throat. He stared at Dean, wide-eyed in disbelief. For a moment, time was suspended, their eyes locked on each other's as one man couldn't believe he'd done it, and the other began to grasp what had been done.
Spent now, Dean's vision failed, and he felt the broom-head tear out of his hands, and the weight of the body lift away. The crushing tightness released from his throat, he gasped for breath, heaving, sucking precious oxygen into his bruised trachea as he forced himself to roll away. He found the wall and the room swam and darkened. He caught the blurred vision of Johan stumbling back, wall-eyed, spewing blood and falling. Sound dissolved into white noise and his senses abandoned him. Dean sank into the carpet, the walls stretched around his outline and formed a velvety tunnel. Lines softened, shapes lost integrity, and he dropped into a yawning oblivion
Sam cursed the rain. It made dusk appear that much sooner. He wondered out loud about how Dean was doing.
"He'll be ok, Sam." David assured. "We'll be back there in a minute. He's just finally taking the time he needs to start healing. I expect him to be asleep...hell, I'll give him a piece of my mind if he isn't."
Sam grunted in distracted agreement. But there was hardly time to discuss the angles of whether or not Dean would comply with the doc's recommendations. They were back at the motel before the conversation was finished. Sam parked beside the Impala. He was glad to be back. The two got out of the car, both ducking against the windswept rain.
"Geez, nasty now--!" David commented, squinting as the wind buffeted.
Sam nodded. "Not exactly like the last few days. It was too hot before. This isn't any better--" They passed the Impala, and as he did so, Sam put his had on it briefly, as he often did. A talisman, for good luck. He felt the warmth still radiating from the engine.
He stopped and David caught his eye.
"Car's been run. Recently--"
David heard the alarm in the young man's voice. They turned, and ran from the car to the door.
have a good night...mal
Irishgirl - October 15, 2010 06:49 PM (GMT)
Wonderful update!!! :clap :clap :clap Quick thinking on Dean's part grabbing the broom. I hope that this means that that bastard Johan is dead. I hope Sam can figure out where Dean is and quick, cause Dean's not doing so good right now. I can't wait to read more!!!
MarquessaS. - October 19, 2010 01:19 PM (GMT)
Thanks for the comments. Always a boost.
Here's Chap 14
He was gone. Sam paced about the room, beside himself with worry. "He can't have done it again!" He was used to Dean going awol from care, but he had no reason to do so now.
David righted the up-ended table, and asked the question that he feared. "Something happened in here--do you think he was taken..?"
"I don't know...maybe..." Sam picked up the cell phone from where it had landed on the carpet. He'd have expected the place to have been more totalled if someone had tried to take him. Weakened or not, Dean would have put up a bitter fight. Everything else within the room was fairly normal, even the door was closed, and unmarred---the lock was intact, no splinters were shed from its frame. Apparently no one had forced their way in. He realized that something was missing. "His coat is gone." A quick check showed it was nowhere in the room. "So he put on his coat...means he probably left on his own." He remembered the warmth of the car hood, and it dawned on him. He knew his brother well. Dean was stubborn, but even moreso, he was sentimental, and unreasonably emotionally connected to that car. Any time he was uneasy, or upset, he could be found in it. It was his sanctuary. "David, I think he managed to get out to the Impala. He does that, when he's freaked out."
David shook his head. "In his state?! He could barely lift his head, I can't picture him making his way outside..."
Sam smiled a little. "You don't know that stubborn sonofabitch. If he wanted to get to that stupid car, he'd crawl if he had to." He hoped he hadn't had to. "His shoes are still here.....I guess he didn't plan on going very far." He sat on the bed and sighed. It was almost fully dark outside now. Paul would arrive at any moment, intense, angry, and, well...unpleasantly vampiric. He got up grimly, his stomach a tight and uncomfortable knot of worry. "We'd better check around outside, to start. He can't be far, if he was walking."
David felt a little sick. He nodded, and ran a hand through his unruly salt and pepper hair, then pulled his glasses off to rub the tired grit from his eyes. He was still adjusting to being in the thick of things, Winchester-style. He had a bad feeling about all of it, and he didn't know if it was simply stress, or if he was indeed now seeing the lay of the land like a hunter. He suddenly longed for his comfortably styleless livingroom, his slippers and his dog.
Sam paused with a hand on the doorknob. "You ok, David..?"
The doc nodded unconvincingly. "Yeah...I'm...I'm just.." He cursed. "I'm fine, I'm just... not used to this. "
Sam sympathized. He hoped David never would be. He patted his shoulder. "Just be extra eyes and ears for me, David. I've got the rest covered." David nodded and the two of them stepped out into the dark.
They stood by the Impala, each staring down the length of the motel building. It was quiet, few cars were parked in front of the units. Most were dark, a few had the flicker of bluish light shining past the curtains, some one watching television. The rain still pestered, although it had grown thinner since the daylight faded. Small mercies. David pulled his coat closer, and he glanced at Sam, who had started to walk the opposite way up the row of rooms. Sam passed each room and stopped, searching for anything that could steer them. David took his lead and began to do the same.
His end was shorter, and after deciding that there was nothing unusual, he turned back to trudge back toward the car. When he reached it, Sam was already making his way back.
"Nothing amiss there, I think.." David reported uncertainly. He wasn't exactly sure what he was supposed to be looking for, but he certainly saw no evidence of Dean.
Sam joined him at the cars side, and stood in silence, hands on his hips, scanning the darkness. He squinted against the stinging rain as it gusted against his face. All he could see was darkness, some shadowy and unremarkable shrubbery. He peered hard at the ground, his eyes following anything that could be a path or lead, but there was really little that qualified. It was getting hard to see. He glanced back to the car, following the lines from the ground up. The door, he knew, was locked. No evidence of prying, or tampering. Dean seemed to have left it under his own steam. He drew a breath to combat his frustration, and turned to David. "David, let's split up and-
He didn't finish. David's eyes darted past him as a sound of a door opening abruptly several doors down pierced the steady din of rain and wind. Sam whipped around, and they witnessed as a figure fell through and hit the pavement, illuminated by the sudden spill of light. Sam had been past that room, twice---it was pitch dark, he'd dismissed it as empty. He caught David's eye, drew his gun and sprinted toward it.
The figure rose before they reached him, and stumbled away into the black brush. Sam was poised to chase him but he stopped short at David's shout. David had entered the room, and Sam followed quickly at his friend's urgent call. The doctor was already crouched over someone who lay sprawled by the wall. He was frantically checking him for life-signs.
"Dean!" Sam fairly stumbled over the other body in front of the door. He crouched beside David, anxiously waiting for some sign that his brother was alive. "Is he-
"Alive, yes!" David said, all business now. He pushed Sam clear and barked "Get a towel!"
Sam stepped past and snatched something from the bathroom and tossed ot to him. Dean groaned and his eyes opened slightly. He swallowed hard and protested softly as David pressed it against his bleeding throat.
"No..David, don't---Iris-" he struggled.
"Shut up." David ordered tersely. But Dean raised his hand and grasped the sleeve of his friend. "Check her--" he rasped. "Iris..she's hurt, check her--!"
Sam took his place, and David turned his attention to the other victim sprawled on the carpet. There was blood everywhere, spattered on the floor, the bed, on both of the occupants. He quickly turned her over, and gasped at the state of her. Burns-- She was bleeding sluggishly from the neck, and her eyes were half opened, fixed and glassy. But she was breathing. The blood was apparently not hers. He was alarmed by her responses. Her breathing was shallow and almost reluctant, as if she had to remind herself to do so. Her pulse was dangerously rapid. He turned toward Sam.
"She's dying! She's in shock--"
Sam had begun to pull Dean up, at his brother's insistence. Dean propped against the wall, panting, and trying to steady the rotationg world in his fuzzy view. "Help her--" he insisted, over and over. When the remembered threat struck him, he focused, and glanced around wildly. "Johan--where is he, is he dead?"
Sam tried to settle him. "Easy, Dean. Don't move. He got away, we couldn't go after him. David's with her now."
David continued to minister to Iris as she lay deathly still on the carpet. He glanced up once at the others, a look of professional panic etched on his face "She's so drained, christ--she's hanging on by a thread--she'll never make it to emergency!"
Dean swore, and grew fretful, and he tried to rise, but couldn't. He squirmed against the hands that held him. "David, no--give her my blood, anything, do something--!"
Sam held him still. "Dean, it's too late.." he said quietly. "Stay still, you're in no shape--- let David do his thing-"
The argument was squelched by the arrival of a third party. Paul appeared suddenly at the doorway, red hair flying, a wild and anxious look on his face. He wasn't the shadow he'd been earlier. He radiated power now, freshly infused with the blood of some unfortunate sinner. He saw Iris first, and he dropped to her side.
"What happened?!" he demanded, grasping David's arm brusquely.
David wrenched free but didn't look up, he was frantically administering CPR. "I'm losing her--" he growled. "--Get out of my way!" He pushed the vampire aside and continued, cursing as her vitals refused to stabilize. "Jesus, come on, girl--stay with me--!" He pressed her chest, one--two--three--and listened again. Her body wasn't picking up the rhythm.
Paul took it all in, and his face bore a look of pain that was agony to witness. "Iris!" he shouted, grasping at her limp shoulders. "--It's me, it's Paul, I'm here--!"
She showed no sign that she had heard, and he turned to David. "Fix this!" he hissed, teeth bared. "Fix her-- you're supposed to be able to do it, damn you!"
Aware of what was happening, Dean pushed Sam aside. He crawled toward Paul where he hovered over Iris. David kept up his attempts, sweating hard, and finding no response. "Paul!" Dean rasped.
The vampire tore his eyes away from her white face.
"Paul, listen to me--" Dean said, gripping the vampire's forearm. "She's done! Johan made sure of it, --for god's sake, look at her! There's nothing we can do for her now--"
Paul struck out and knocked Dean's hand away. "No--don't lie to me! This one--he has the skill, he can save her!" He turned to David, looming over him, with a fearfully threatening expression. "Do it!" he hissed. "Or as God is my witness, if you let her die-
Dean gathered what little strength he had and roared at the distraught and dangerous vampire. "She's nearly dead, for christs sake! He can't bring her back, he's not a f***ing witch-doctor!" He couldn't believe he was about to suggest the next course of action. It went against everything he'd ever devoted himself to. He held Paul back, a hand against his chest. "Listen to me! If you want to see her saved, then you do it! You're the only one who can stop her from dying, you hear me? If you want to see her live, you've got to turn her!"
Paul reeled at the enormity of Dean's words. He let go of her for a second, dropping his hands loosely. His red-rimmed eyes registered his shock, and then grew bleak with his understanding. A look of horror froze on his tear-stained, ashen face.
"Did you hear me? Paul!" Dean demanded. "Answer me!"
Paul stared at Dean for a moment, then dropped his gaze to the silent, white face of Iris. He shook his head, imperceptibly at first, then with greater vehemence.
"No--" he croaked. "No--" He stood up and backed away, wide-eyed, conflicted, filled with a torturous awareness that indeed her mortal life was in his hands.
David struggled to keep her heart beating but he was growing weary with the doomed effort. "She's not responding! Damn it, Sam--I need my kit from the room!"
Sam immediately dashed out to retrieve it, and when he'd returned, David grabbed a pre-loaded syringe and he plunged it into Iris's chest. He forced adrenalin into her system, in a last ditch attempt to restore her grip on life, but it failed, and her body began to shut down. He turned toward the vampire then, a mixture of despair and fear in his eyes. "I can't do any more.."
A heavy silence crushed the room, and Dean broke it. "Do it, Paul!" he whispered harshly. " Turn her, now! Do it or she's dead!"
Paul blinked. He stared from one to the other, then dropped to his knees. David moved away from Iris, and Paul reached down and pulled her nearly lifeless body to him. He held her close, rocking softly, brushing her hair away from her half-open eyes. He stroked her face, whispering to her, so softly that the others couldn't hear the words. His own pink-tinged tears dripped steadily onto her face. He ran his white fingers over her eyes, closing them, trailing across her slack, bluish lips.
"You have to do it now!" Dean urged in a final whisper. He collapsed then, as exhaustion and pain took their toll. Sam pulled him away, laying him out at a safer distance, and he brought the towel to Dean's bloodied throat again. He watched, breathless, at the scene playing out in front of them.
David stood frozen. He'd done everything he could, and it wasn't enough.
But Paul was aware of nothing but Iris. He held her tightly, weeping in silence, breathing in the scent of her hair, shaking his head. "No.." he said softly, over and over. "No.." He knew his curse was the key to her living. He couldn't bear the thought of her dying. But he loved her, he'd loved her for years with a quiet, secret passion. He would not do that to her. He wouldn't do it to Conrad. He knew what it meant to be changed. For some, it was exalting; a powerful, exciting, deliciously evil new life. But for those like him, who still bore the cruelty of a conscience, it was the purest hell imaginable. He made a choice, then. It cut his heart to pieces, but he did it. He let her go.
Dean turned toward their rapidly blurring shape. "Paul..." he said softly.
Paul turned away. He gathered her lifeless body up, and he stood then, carrying her as if she was weightless. He stepped toward the door, and turned. His face was harsh, and set in stone.
"She goes to God." he said flatly. "I will not condemn her soul to hell along with mine." He stared at Dean. " Hunter, can you hear me?"
Dean was faint, the hiss of blood rising in his ears. He nodded shakily. "..yeah.."
"Did you kill him? Is Johan truly dead?!"
Dean had no choice but to answer truthfully. " I...I ran him through with hardwood. It stopped him cold. But he stumbled out that door. I...I don't know if he will die from that."
Paul growled a string of gaelic curses. His eyes flashed with fury. "Then know this;" he snarled, " I will come back for you, Dean Winchester. I swear by all that I once held holy, I will come to claim what you owe me. You have your life because of me. I should have let them kill you.. I should have allowed her to have her vengeance. This is what comes of my efforts....This."
He paused to regain control, and continued. "Tomorrow, I will return. Johan will pay for this atrocity. And you will help me serve him the death you failed to deliver tonight!"
He turned from them, and gathering his precious burden, he disappeared into the night.
thanks for reading....ml
UKsnfan101 - October 19, 2010 03:29 PM (GMT)
wow...emotional scene...Loved how Dean tried to get the vampire to turn her to save her but the vampire knew the right thing to do...
Irishgirl - October 19, 2010 11:04 PM (GMT)
Wonderful update!!! :clap :clap :clap So intense. I think Paul was right not to turn Iris. She probably wouldn't have wanted it. However, I hope he leaves Dean alone. It was Iris who got herself into this mess, not Dean. I can't wait to read more!!!!!
MarquessaS. - October 23, 2010 11:17 PM (GMT)
Yeah, yeah...so it's Sat night. I'm married, and not that young. And I like writing, lol. So here's....what, chapter 15...?
The silence in his wake was deafening. Paul was gone, and so was the girl. It left the three of them to deal with the aftermath.
David, accustomed only the denouement of these things, was shocked by the experience, and sharply mourning his inability to save her. He stood, hugging his arms close, and torturing himself with endless I-should-haves.
Sam was more seasoned, he had recovered from the moment, and was supporting Dean, who had grown limp against his hold. Sam lowered him to the carpet gently. He kept the towel in place, and urged his brother to relax.
"He's gone, Dean. Iris is gone. There's nothing we can do now."
Dean stared at him, trying to focus. Sam was a blurred shape, and growing ever more amorphous as he felt his grip on the world abandon him. He remembered the other victims. "The owners--" he whispered, pointing near where they lay.
Sam looked to David, who glanced up and caught sight of the unfortunate couple. David moved toward them, and he spent several minutes with them before he shook his head.
"They're dead." he said. They bore the marks of feeding, but thank god, they had not suffered as Iris had. He pulled a sheet off the nearest bed and covered them, and he stood up, still reeling. "What should we do..?"
Sam slipped his arms beneath Dean where he lay. He lifted him with some difficulty, and when he was able to steady himself with his weight, he answered. "We need to get the hell out of here, David...out of this room, out of this motel, crap's gonna hit the fan, with all the blood and the bodies. We'll find someplace quieter."
David surveyed the room. It was a gory testament to the carnage, and impossible to explain to the law. He nodded. He gathered up anything that was theirs, and held the door open. Dean tried, but couldn't support himself, and he cursed quietly. Sam shushed him. "Easy--just stay still, I've got you. We'll get out to the car, ok? Then I'll clear us out of our unit and we'll put some miles between us and this mess."
He nodded wearily, and let himself be hauled out into the rain.
Sam quickly vacated their own room and packed their things into the trunk of the Impala. He wiped away any prints for good measure, and drove away from the place. David followed in his rental. After some quiet travel they located another refuge. This time, in a rare stroke of luck, they found a place where a separate cabin was available, and it was as close to perfect as they could hope under the circumstances. They were well past any reasonable check in time, but the night manager kindly let them in anyway. Sam had gotten Dean in without any unwanted attention, and he laid him out on a bed. All three were stumbling with exhaustion, after the strain and the late hour. And Dean was clearly suffering from his violent altercation with Johan.
When their gear had been brought in, and they had settled, David switched into physician mode. He checked everything he could with Dean, he'd changed the dressings on the burns, and re-stitched the torn punctures at his throat. When he'd finished, he sat back, tired and shell-shocked.
"You'll be ok, eventually.." he assured half-heartedly. "I think you hardly lost anything to Johan, this time. I wish I had more plasma to give you, but at the moment, I don't. Your heart-rate is alright. You'll still be feeling weak...that'll be with you for a while. But my professional opinion is that you're a tough and stubborn SOB that'll survive this just fine."
Dean nodded. He thanked him wryly for the assessment. "Ok then. So how 'bout you, Doctor Bowman? How are you making out after all this crap..?"
David looked up, and met his eyes. He was battling extreme exhaustion, and so many other things. "Me..? How am I making out--?"
"Yeah, genius, what's your own diagnosis here..?"
David was too tired to spar. "Well, it doesn't really matter, does it? You're pummelled, but will rebound. Sam is beat, but it's all par for the course. A girl is dead, partly because I couldn't save her. Oh, and she's been taken away by a bloody vampire... Two hapless old motel-keepers are lying in rigor on the floor of the last place I was staying, where landscapes are painted on the walls in blood. Lemme see...anything else?"
Dean leaned against his latest headboard. "No..that about covers it." he said quietly. "I hear you. And David, maybe this is too little, too late, but...thanks, for saving my ass."
David nodded in silence. He drew a deep breath and sighed. " I wish I could have done as much for the girl... God, I am so damned tired. I can't begin... How about we all crash for a while? Sam, I know you're as tired as I am, And Dean...you'll certainly benefit from some sleep."
No one offered any argument. There were two beds, and a roll-away. Dean had already been laid out on the one bed, and Sam claimed the rollaway. David simply dropped on to the third option. As he lay there, appreciating the lumpy comfort of it, he offered Dean some options for relief. "I have some things with me, Dean, for the pain. --Don't shake your head, for christ's sake, I'm not blind!" he griped.
Dean still refused, fearing the sedative effects under the circumstances. "Maybe later.." Instead, he turned to Sam. "Sam, you know where my stuff is..?"
Sam got up. He knew what Dean needed. "Yeah..hang on." He found their gear, and rummaged through Dean's. He returned with a bottle, and he handed it to his brother.
Dean accepted it with a weary nod of thanks. He held on to it for a moment as his hand shook uncontrollably. It was so heavy, he almost dropped it.
"Here--" David said. He grasped the half-full bottle, and went into the bathroom, returning with a paper-wrapped glass. He unwrapped it and poured it full. "My prescription--" he said simply.
Dean took it from him, and downed it. He then saluted his friend. "Good meds, thanks." he said softly.
David smiled wearily. "Consider it an open prescription." he added. "For all of us."
The cheap scotch was raw and strong. They all had at least one too many. And they fell asleep, finally. Each wanted to purge the events from their minds, for a while at least. They needed the separation.
When the light of morning pierced their consciousness, it was unwelcome and intrusive. It was Sam who awoke first. He sat up, bleary and feeling bruised. He looked over the other two where they lay in the thin, cool light. David was on his back, snoring softly, glasses discarded on the table, grey eyes closed and obscured by his wavy hair. Ellen was always after him to get it cut, but it was his little defiance. Hen-pecked men took their victories where they could...
And Dean was on his side, fetally tight and shivering, his wounded arms pulled close to his body. Sam pulled the blanket back over his shoulders, then took his chances and reached out and touched his forehead. It was hot, and damp with sweat. He got up then, unhappily accustomed to this. He pulled out the courtesy coffee-maker, and he filled it with water and added the packet of cheap, coarse grounds. When it was well under way, he turned back to his brother.
"Dean..?" he prodded softly.
"You ok? You feel kinda hot."
Dean swallowed dryly. "A little.." he acknowledged. "It's ok."
Sam sighed. He patted Dean's shoulder slightly, almost for his own reassurance. He turned back to the coffee-maker, waiting impatiently for it to complete its cycle. When it beeped, he sought out some mugs from the small cupboard and poured. The scent of it roused David, and Sam handed him some steaming solace. He nodded toward his brother and said quietly, "He's running hot, David."
David glanced over. He watched Dean as he lay, still curled beneath the blankets. He took the mug meant for Dean and sat at his bedside. "Hey..Got a coffee here for you, good and hot.."
Dean opened his eyes and shook his head. "Thanks, maybe later. I'd take some cold water, though."
Dean lived on coffee. It was significant that he would refuse it. David set it aside and felt his forehead.
"Get lost." Dean growled.
David ignored his surly demand, and he took his wrist and felt his pulse. He wasn't pleased by what he saw. He decided something was in order to combat any rising infection. Dean's near exsanguination had robbed him of the ability to fight infection, and his burns had been exposed to rough treatment, and the result was predictable.
"Well.." he said, "Short of sticking a thermometer in your yap, I'd say you're running a fever. We'd better nip this in the bud.." He got up and searched his bag for the appropriate pills, and he handed two of them to Dean.
"Are these going to slow me up or anything? I can't afford it, not with him coming out tonight.."
"Just take them." David sighed. "They're just antibiotics. And you'd better let me have a look at you. If you expect to be in any state to deal with things later, you have to let me make sure we keep everything under control."
He knew David was right. They were all tense about the next appearance of Paul, and it was Dean's responsibility to stay as healthy as he could in preparation. He couldn't bear it if either of them were compromised through his own weakness. Iris was already dead because of it... He leaned back and let David unwrap his arms first.
David frowned as he examined him. His right arm in particular was reddened and swollen. Dean flinched and swore at his gentle touch. David checked the burn on his stomach next, but it was in an acceptable state, considering. He cleaned and rewrapped all three, and noted Dean's sweaty pallor as he finished.
"So?" Dean grunted. "Need your bone saw?"
"Not yet." David assured. He stood then, stretched, and stifled a yawn. "But I think we all need some breakfast, I know I sure do. I'm going to stick my head under the tap and then maybe go out to get something for us all. Figure out anything else you need while I'm in the can, ok?" He made his way to the tiny bathroom and shut the door.
Sam watched from the corner of his eye as the doc left, and Dean visibly sank back into the stack of pillows behind him and shut his eyes. He hated seeing it, and he silently railed against their circumstance. Dean needed days, maybe weeks, to recover from the ordeal he'd experienced. Instead, he was feigning strength because the damned drama wasn't yet finished. Paul would return tonight, he would demand Dean's utmost effort to hunt down and kill Johan. And Dean was so bloody consumed by guilt over the whole thing ...Sam knew he would stop at nothing to pay what he felt was his debt. Well.. he vowed. Not on my watch. He couldn't stop the vampire from coming, but he could sure as hell step in and take Dean's place if things got tricky. He'd done as much for Sam on countless occasions.
David left on his quest. When he was gone, Sam reheated Dean's coffee and took the opportunity to try to sound him out about it all. He sat down, and cleared his throat.
"Aw great, here we go." Dean growled irritably.
"Don't do that, Dean! Just listen to me for a minute.."
Dean took the cup. "Fine, Dr. Feelgood. Go ahead--ask me how I'm doing."
Sam sighed. "I'm not gonna do that, all I'd get is bull anyway, as usual. I just want you to know that Iris's death wasn't your fault. I know right now you don't believe me, but it was something that just happened. She targeted you, remember? She set this thing in motion, and it spiralled out of her control. We tried to stop it, Dean. None of us counted on something like Johan."
Dean frowned, his expression pained and bitter. "Are you done? Cause you got it wrong, Sam. Iris didn't start this, I did. I killed her brother. And now she's dead too, and I'm still breathing. Does that sound like justice to you?!"
"Just leave me alone, Sam. I'm tired. I don't want to rehash this crap right now just so you can feel all warm and fuzzy."
Sam relented. He didn't take his brother's harshness to heart, he'd expected as much. He got up and took advantage of the bathroom being free, and soon Dean heard the shower start. Dean pushed the mug away, the smell of the coffee was turning his stomach. He pulled the thin blanket over his ears, feeling both hot and cold. He was bone-achingly tired. He wished Sam hadn't brought it up. His eyes pricked, and he rubbed at them angrily. He couldn't get the image out of his head...he had her moving, they were almost at the door.
A few minutes more, and the outcome might have been a happier one. He swore bitterly. He felt like crap, more than he cared to admit. Whatever Paul had planned for him tonight, he hardly felt up to it. He hoped the bastard came up with some brilliant revelation during his beauty sleep, because they had squat otherwise. He just wanted this thing to be over.
David returned with a wealth of healthy food, and an armload of six-packs. He didn't have the stomach for grease-laden fast food at that time, opting instead for meals that he could heat in the microwave. He set about making something filling and hot, and when it was ready, he made sure his patient ate something, which was a battle. He didn't like how Dean looked, but he knew he couldn't do much about it until the whole thing was resolved. He called Ellen once, needing a little comfort and reassurance, but it wasn't her strong suit. He spent some time talking quietly with Sam while Dean slept. It didn't ease his worry. He was terrified of the coming night. He'd been witness to Paul's parting words, and he didn't know what to expect, but he was sure it would be a trial. He just hoped they all survived it.
They spent the precious daylight hours nervously. Poker cost David the usual small fortune. The television offered an hour or two of mindless distraction. Sam buried himself in his computer. And Dean slept, mostly. The down-time was sorely needed, it afforded him a brief chance to regenerate a little. Sam and David, knowing they would be awake all night, tried to catch some shut-eye as well. They had varying degrees of success. When the sun finally disappeared below the treed horizon, David took a deep breath and thought out loud.
"I guess we'll be on soon.."
Sam was standing at the window, peering out into the gathering darkness. He turned, and nodded. He saw David's fear. And he knew that the doc could be counted on regardless. He wanted to put him at ease, tell him it would all be fine in the end. But he couldn't, and David would see right through it if he tried.
"Yeah..." he said. "We ought to see Paul pretty soon. I hope he has some sort of plan or something, otherwise I don't know what the hell he expects from us. Christ, Johan must be long gone by now."
They woke Dean. He was silent and sullen until he'd had a good strong coffee. But once infused, he gathered himself to play his role. He noted the time, and sat up carefully. "Any word, or anything yet?"
Sam shook his head. "Not yet. But it's only been a few--
His words were interrupted by a knock at the door. The trio exchanged glances, and Sam opened it. The manager stood there, smiling. "Hi there, gentlemen. I got a call from a friend of yours--said his name was Paul. He asked me to give you this message." He handed over a slip of paper. Sam stared at it, and thanked him. When he was gone, he fielded their question.
"Looks like GPS coordinates. Our vamp's gone high-tech. All it says is go to this place, and his name."
"How the hell did he know where we are?" Dean wondered pointlessly. He'd half hoped that their change of location might have afforded a reprieve, but he wasn't surprised that it hadn't.
David reached for the note. "I have a unit in the rental. I can punch it in, it should show us the way."
It was a bit of a relief that it hadn't been Paul himself. "So we have the where at least..." Dean mused. "I guess we'll get the why when we get there, wherever the hell it is. Pack up, we might as well get this over with."
They followed David, who negotiated the directions dictated by the GPS, and arrived at the place. They parked at the edge of a field, and the three got out, scanning the moonlit terrain with wary scrutiny. It looked like some sort of old homestead, long abandoned. A cluster of foundations sat on the crest of a gentle rise, surrounded by an overgrowth of lilac and honeysuckle. They caught a twinkle of dim light. Dean looked to the doc for some assurance that it was right.
"This is where he wants to meet.." he confirmed.
A rusted farm-gate was ajar, and Sam pushed it wider and motioned the others to follow. The new spring growth was already dewy with the night's drop in temperature, spider webs caught silvery droplets all throughout the grasses. A path was disturbed through the soft fresh pasture, defined by recent footsteps. It led to the lilacs, and they found him there.
Paul sat on the ground, his back against an ancient and twisted lilac trunk. He'd brought a kerosene lantern, it hissed where it hung in the branches. In front of him, painstakingly chopped out of the stony and root-choked ground, was an apparent grave. As they approached, the vampire raised his head and nodded a silent greeting. They stood at the edge of the hole, across from him. A cloth-wrapped body lay at the bottom. Iris. There was no earth covering her shroud yet. A handful of purple flowers was scattered on top of her. Slight plumes of mist rose from the fresh, damp soil. The air was heavy with the fragrant perfume of the lilacs, at the peak of their flowering. It was strong, almost sickeningly sweet, like apples that fermented on the ground after falling from the branch, overripe, and verging on spoiling. Soon the florets would turn brown, their scent would fade, and the bushes would spend the rest of the season blended with the unremarkable brush.
Silence reigned for a while. No one knew quite what to say.
Paul finally spoke. His voice was flat, and tired, and he stared down into the darkness of the pit in front of them. "I couldn't cover her." he said. He raised his head and looked through them, staring at some distant place. "The ground is so..damp, and black. It stinks of decay. She would have hated it."
Dean leaned heavily against his brother. He knew he had a short window in which he would be useful, he could already feel himself tiring. The dismal scene was suffocating, he had to move on. "You left the note, and now we're here. What do you want me to do now..?"
Paul turned his eyes to rest on Dean. He stared at him for a moment. "You owe me a dead vampire."
Sam answered before Dean could, his impatience rising. "We already know that. Where is he? Have you located Johan?"
Paul frowned at him, but said nothing. He held something in his fingers, it flashed and caught the moonlight as he played with it absently. Silver. It was Iris's bracelet. He turned back to Dean, and spoke in a dull and dejected tone.
"Johan..." he sighed. "Johan is wherever he wants to be. He is three steps ahead of me, a hundred ahead of such as you. We will never find him. He will go on for another eternity, despite us all. He'll torture and kill, and he will grow ever stronger, laughing at us all the while. None of us--not you, not me, nor those who come long after, will ever stop him."
The finality of his statement left them confused and uneasy.
"Then why did you bring me here?" Dean asked. "If you think hunting Johan is pointless, then what do you want..?"
Paul answered after a time. "You owe me a dead vampire." he repeated quietly.
Dean rubbed his eyes. "So you said. And then you told us it was impossible."
Paul was frustratingly slow to speak. When he did answer, it was not what they'd expected.
"I don't mean him. It's me. I want you to kill me."
have a great weekend---mal
Irishgirl - October 24, 2010 01:29 AM (GMT)
Whoa, I was not expecting that from Paul. Great twist! I guess he can't live w/o Iris. Wonderful update! :clap :clap :clap I can't wait to read more!!!