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Tales from Pivot Point

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Chapter 1: New Beginnings

Victor wasn’t sure what was worse, miraculously surviving that “bomb” blast having landed him with the almost joking nickname of ‘Spooky’ or being assigned to an interagency task force simply because there was something weird in something that had happened.

Hopefully this ATF team he’d been assigned to work with wasn’t going to be too difficult. One of them was former FBI, though what that meant with the stories he’d heard about him. Not that his own reputation was all that good now having lost not just his partner but also his boss to one horrible night.

He showed his id at the front desk and the security guard notified someone in Team seven that their visitor had arrived. Some of the other alphabet agencies had flat out refused to send agents because of the weirdness surrounding the situation so for now it was just the FBI and ATF and the FBI hadn’t bothered sending even a full squad, opting for someone who’d lost his partner, boss, and had his reputation blown to hell. That he was grateful to still be alive and know stuff about the world that he never would have believed possible before that horrid night didn’t stop him mourning the loss.

At least the ATF wasn’t taking it flippantly, Team Seven was one of the top performers country wide and, reputation of the former FBI member aside, had a reputation of being able to handle anything thrown at them. They were the favourite for setting on weird crap apparently because once they were done the weird crap was gone.

“Agent Henriksen?”

The strong voice captured his attention and he turned to regard the tall blond dressed all in black. A smile threatened to escape as he remembered the other part of their reputation; few of them bothered with dressing like normal federal agents. It was an idiosyncrasy that was overlooked given their phenomenal success rate.

“That’s me.” Victor replied, wondering what the other agent made of him. Probably unimpressed.

“Chris Larabee, welcome to the task force on weird crap.” The blond returned, offering his hand.

“You don’t seem to mind being set on it.” Victor replied, shaking the offered hand.

Chris shrugged, “we seem to have a knack for untangling the weird and figuring out what’s actually real.”

Victor wondered what the other agent would make of the demon siege he’d lived through. Not that he was going to ask, he preferred not being in a psych ward after all.

“Hope you don’t mind being saddled with me then.” Henriksen replied.

Larabee finished signing him in and waved him through the speedstyles, “how do you mean?”

“I don’t exactly have the greatest reputation anymore.” Victor returned with a surprising lack of bitterness, “lost my partner, my boss, most of a police station, and if that wasn’t bad enough also got the two fugitives I’d been after for over a year blown up while they were in my custody.”

“Yeah, well, we’re not exactly fans of the FBI rumour mill. I read the report on that blast, you’re damn lucky to have got out alive at all. The investigators still have squat on what could have caused it, there’s no arguing with it having happened though.”

“A miracle is what I would have called it.” Victor replied softly as he followed the ATF agent into the lift.

“We try not to rely on divine intervention in Team seven.” Chris replied with a chuckle.

Victor managed a half-hearted chuckle as the lift doors opened and Chris led him out. A short while later he was led through the office area for the team into their conference area.

The other six members of the team looked at him warily.

“Everyone, this is FBI Agent Victor Henriksen. He’s not exactly in the good books of the powers that be over there, hence being assigned to a task force they think is going nowhere fast, so let’s make him welcome.” Chris introduced him then went around the table quickly, “Vin Tanner, Buck Wilmington, JD Dunne, Ezra Standish, Josiah Sanchez, and Nathan Jackson.”

There were various murmurs along the lines of ‘hello’ from the various members, though it didn’t look like he’d be welcomed with open arms anytime soon. He couldn’t really blame them. Larabee had mentioned they weren’t very fond of the FBI rumour mill and that he was fodder for it also was probably the only reason he hadn’t been greeted with open hostility. Even before he’d fallen victim to the rumour mill he’d declined to take it on face value, preferring to see what the Agents actually did for himself and applying logic to any accusations. So while he knew what the rumour mill spouted about Standish the very fact that he was completely accepted by this team and their phenomenal success spoke to it being as much horse hockey as what was being currently spouted about him, though it would be far, far worse if they knew the truth about what had happened. He’d have been sent for a psych evaluation at best or fired and committed to a psych ward at worst if they did.

He just gave them all a hesitant smile as a hello and sank into the chair Larabee waved him to with relief. Larabee himself moved around to the head of the table.

“So what do we have?” Larabee asked.

“Got a few visuals out of street and surveillance cams.” JD piped up, he was the youngest and looked like he wasn’t old enough to drink let alone be a full blown ATF Agent. The rumours said he could make computers dance in a row if he wanted to and so far Victor hadn’t seen anything to discount that. JD did a bit of fiddling on the laptop he had with him and the projector whirred to life, displaying several pieces of camera footage already synched up. None of the angles were great but the two who’d ended up dead could be seen clearly.

“This is right before the confrontation.” JD continued, “but the odd thing is those two were waiting there most of the night.”

“Ambush?” Vin asked.

“Maybe surveillance.” Buck put in.

“Or both.” Josiah rumbled.

Victor would have put his money on Josiah’s idea if he’d been a gambling man. It also made him wonder at the attitude of the world that a teenager out and about in the early hours of Halloween hadn’t raised any concerns.

“Okay, let’s see the footage.” Larabee directed and a single tap from JD started it playing.

When the two men came into view on the footage it was all Victor could do not to gasp. The walk, the height difference, and the way they fit together. He knew them, was probably the only one left alive who could possibly identify them from that. They’d done a great job of keeping their faces hidden without it looking like they were. Then some sort of beam lanced out from the man who’d ended up dead at the taller of the two targets and he did gasp. Unbelievably he only staggered slightly instead of going down and the two pulled out guns and fired simultaneously. The two attempted murderers went down like sacks of potatoes and their intended victims turned and left. A short while later a black car appeared briefly in the corner of one of the shots, such a small part of it that if Victor hadn’t been familiar with the car itself he wouldn’t have placed it.

“Holy crap.” He breathed, forgetting he was in the middle of possibly hostile agents from another department, “what the hell was that? And how did someone walk away from that?”

A rumbling laugh from Josiah made him remember where he was and he blushed.

“That’s a good couple of questions.” Larabee agreed, “only one problem. There were no weapons recovered from the scene. JD, any luck on the victims?”

“Tried but no luck, there just weren’t any usable angles to get identifying pictures of them.”

“Nathan, what did ballistics have to say?”

JD obligingly pulled up a picture of the incredibly mangled bullets that had been pulled from the two would be murderers.

“The bullets were completely mangled, which is odd because neither of them were wearing armour that could have done that. They might be able to reconstruct them enough to get some sort of match, nothing that could be taken to court but it might identify who the intended victims were and let us ask them what they know about those two.”

Victor frowned to himself but didn’t speak up, he was an intruder here after all.

“Henriksen?” Larabee prompted.

“Uh…was just wondering what the chance that that sort of reconstruction would actually lead to the victims rather than some random person?”

“Good point. Nathan?”

“No better than 50-50.”

“Let’s shelve that for now. We’ll have time for goose chases later if nothing pans out.” Larabee decided, “Josiah, anything on the other pieces of evidence that were collected?”

JD again pulled up another few pictures, one of which was evidence bags containing…bags. Another was one of those bags taken apart; a coin, some kind of sprig of a plant, and what looked like a charred stick.

“Based on this, I’d say their…uh…religious practices are a little odd to say the least.”

“How so?”

“That coin? Still waiting on the verdict of the assessors but it looks like a genuine Celtic coin, 600 years old. The plant, as far as we can tell, is Gold Thread, which has the local botanists in a tizzy since it has been thought extinct for 200 years. The last item is the most disturbing though, it’s a charred metacarpal bone from an infant.”

“Where exactly would a teenager and a school teacher even get their hands on that sort of stuff?” Vin asked.

“JD is digging through their history to see if that question can be answered.” Josiah replied, “both had access to a kiln; the teenager was a student of the teacher. There were more infant bones found in the teacher’s desk, there’s a search running to see if we can find a missing infant we can match the bones to.”

“Well, sounds like we have plenty to poke into. Let’s get to it. JD, could you get Victor set up?”


Victor followed the young agent who led him to a spare desk and got him set up with a login.

“So…do you listen to rumours?” JD asked as he finished.

Victor sighed, “I lost my partner, my boss, most of a police department, and two fugitives in my custody that I’d spent more than a year tracking down to one horrific explosion that only four of us made it out of alive. The stuff the rumours are saying about me doesn’t bear repeating and aren’t even close to true. Does that give you an idea of how much stock I place in rumours?”

“Yeah. Sorry.”

The young agent let him be then and Victor concentrated on the work he’d been sent here to do. He wondered at the very back of his mind when he’d get the chance to give one of the Winchesters a call and check whether they were alright even as he pulled up the footage again and went over it to see if there was anything that stood out. He hoped to heaven that that didn’t represent a weapon because he doubted anyone other than the Winchesters would be able to cobble together a defence with barely any warning, and he had no doubt that’s what they’d done.

At the end of the day he headed back to the hotel he was in currently with a sense of relief.

Victor sighed as he let himself into the hotel room. Being consigned to the departmental equivalent of Siberia aside it was nice having the expense account footing the bill for his stay in Denver.

Almost out of habit he pulled out the bug sweeper and checked the place, sometimes he wondered if he was becoming as paranoid as the brothers, then he saw stuff like the footage from today and knew there was no such thing as paranoid enough.

He dug out the unidentified phone from its hiding spot and selected the contact identified only as SW. He had the contacts on his regular phone too, but that was only for emergency use. If there was one thing that horrific night had taught him was that it wasn’t possible to be too prepared.

It rang a couple of times then was picked up.

“Vic. Everything okay?” Sam answered softly.

“I thought I’d be asking you that question.” Henriksen replied, “why are you whispering.”

“Dean’s asleep.” Sam told him, “oh don’t tell me…you’ve landed with the mess from the witches attacking us?”

“Is that what it was? Good job keeping your faces obscured by the way, if I hadn’t known you I wouldn’t have been able to pick it as you.” Henriksen responded, “got put on a joint agency task force because they’re worried the blast that hit you represents a new weapon. It doesn’t, does it? They didn’t find any weapons at the scene and I managed to talk them out of trying to get a match on the mangled bullets they pulled out of them to try and talk to the obvious targets of an attempted murder. I really don’t want to know how you managed that one. Already ruled a clear case of self-defence in case you’re wondering, they’re just worried about what was used on you.”

Sam gave a soft chuckle but he obviously wasn’t going to elaborate.

“They didn’t have any weapons beyond themselves and maybe a knife or two and hex bags.” He assured the FBI agent.

“That those little sacks of weird crap?”

“Yep. Shouldn’t be dangerous without the witches but I’d suggest burning them. We noted that the spells they used tended to be trap like rather than having to be powered and directed by a witch at the time of deployment as is usually the case, in our experience anyway.”

“Yeah, like that’d be easy to achieve. Right now they’re sitting down in evidence separated out into their components.”

“That should have broken any spell that’s been set on them.”

“And if it hasn’t?”

“Trust me, you’ll know. One of those suckers near turned me inside out the previous night.”

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen. I’m already starting to get called ‘Spooky’ after escaping that insane ‘bomb blast’ by the skin of my teeth, I DON’T need anything else contributing to that.”

Sam chuckled.

“Did that blast hurt you?” Henriksen continued, “it looked pretty scary, I was half expecting to see you go down the first time I saw the footage.”

“Had some protective sigils drawn on my skin that blocked most of it. Got a little burnt but nothing major.”

“Glad I don’t have to try to explain that one. Try to keep OUT of noteworthy stuff in the near future, okay?”

“Will do. You stay safe.”

“You too.” Henriksen hung up.

Hiding the phone again he crawled into bed.

The next few days passed uneventfully, digging into the pair’s past. The girl had pretty much appeared from nowhere when she arrived as an emancipated minor. The man not that much earlier and they hadn’t been able to track down where he’d got his qualifications. If the entire case hadn’t been such a hot potato that Homeland Security wanted nothing to do with it that department probably would have pounced on that evidence to point to them possibly being terrorists and taken over the entire thing.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Strategy

Josiah watched the FBI agent disappear into the lift on his way home, or at least his temporary home for as long as that agency decided to leave him with them. After a moment he headed into Chris’ office, Vin and Ezra following him close behind.

“Well?” Chris asked once the door was shut.

“Flashed Hunter sign at him and he didn’t react. He’s not a Hunter, not yet at least assuming he did have an encounter.” Vin stated.

“Pretty safe bet he did. If that explosion didn’t give a pretty good argument for something supernatural occurring there are multiple reports of a mass hallucination or sleepwalking incident a few hours before the explosion. The various statements from the victims only mention the 4 survivors being present at the police station plus two more men who do not correlate to any of the staff of either the police station or the FBI personnel that were present.” Josiah put in.

“Hallucination or sleepwalking?” Chris asked with surprise, “demonic possessions and mass exorcism? How many?”

“Somewhere in the vicinity of 30. Apparently, there were no casualties, and I doubt I have to tell you the chances of that.” Josiah answered.

“And the two unknown men?”

“Probably a couple of Hunters. There’s only one reason they took that many people, the building had been fortified, or the demons would have just blown through there and possessed everyone without a charm. And the only way they managed to exorcise that many demons without casualties is they picked their battleground.” Vin replied, “and I don’t know about anyone else, but I wouldn’t want to even think about trying to take on that many demons let alone managing to keep many or all of the victims alive.”

“Me either.” Chris agreed, “any idea who?”

“Probably the two ‘felons’ that Henriksen makes a point of saying were still in the cells when the place went up, Sam and Dean Winchester.” Vin answered.

“The Winchesters?” Chris asked in surprise again.

Josiah nodded, “they’re not always the quietest, not without trying though, but they’ve taken on some real big situations. Remember the demon gate opening about a year and a half ago? They were part of the group who went in to try and stop it. They didn’t manage to completely, but the gate was closed a lot sooner than it would have been otherwise. They also took on many of the more powerful demons that escaped.”

“Should we try to check on them? Do we have a connection to them?”

“Bobby Singer was also part of the group that went in against the gate opening.” Josiah supplied, “so yes, we do have a connection to them just not a direct one.”

“So should we check on them?”

“We can at least contact Bobby and find out exactly what happened.” Josiah replied.

“Good idea. He’s your friend, Josiah, you call him.” Chris ordered.

“Will do.” Josiah replied.

“Any read on Henriksen himself?”

“He’s wary, understandably so.” Vin answered.

“He’s given no indication of his opinion of the rumours within the FBI, but he’s also given no indication that he gives any credence to it either.” Ezra stated, “aside from that, I agree that he’s quite wary and reluctant to speak. If he’s been through a full-on demonic assault that is more than understandable, and we’re not likely to get any information out of him in this setting. Without knowing that we’re not going to label him crazy or have him committed he’s not going to risk speaking to us about what he’s been through.”

“JD sounded him out on his opinion of the FBI rumour mill when he was setting up his computer.” Chris commented, “he replied that what the rumours were saying about him didn’t bear mentioning and weren’t even close to being true.”

“Guess that’s similar to the supernatural, easier to believe when it’s happened to you.” Vin stated.

“I’d suggest letting him get used to us and relax around us. Once he trusts us, then we can take him somewhere other than the office and sound him out on the supernatural, camping at your cabin maybe.” Ezra noted.

“Good idea.” Chris agreed, “Josiah, what’s your read on our current case?”

“I’m almost certain it was a pair of witches, though the jury is still out on what type of witch. There’s every chance that they obtained the more obscure ingredients by living during the period they were actually available.”

“And their targets?”

“Not completely sure actually. My first instinct was to say a pair of Hunters. However, there are very very few Hunters who’d be able to take on witches let alone actually withstand a blast from one.”

“Might they be another pair of witches?” Ezra asked.

Josiah shook his head, “if they were they’d have responded in kind not used guns.”

“So we’re back to Hunters being the most likely candidates. Any idea how they protected themselves?” Chris asked.

“I believe there are some warding symbols that might work, but taking the time to research them wouldn’t typically be a priority for most Hunters. The only one I can think of who might know is Bobby, and I’m pretty sure he’d need to haul a book out to read.”

“Well then, I guess you’ve got two things to ask him.”

Josiah nodded.

“Good. Ezra, see if you can come up with an explanation that’ll explain that blast and the lack of something to generate it. Preferably something that isn’t going to get the two probable Hunters in trouble.”

“On it.”

“Good. Dismissed, go home and get some actual sleep.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Bamboozled

“…hypothosised that a few more seconds of exposure would have caused an effect not unlike the stories of spontaneous human combustion and only the target’s quick reflexes with their guns saved them. As a weapon it is quite evidently far too fragile for general deployment, only splinters that are easily mistaken for general refuse remained, and as there have been no further sightings, it can be surmised that the pair were attempting a field test of their prototype.”

Henriksen had a hard time keeping a straight face as Ezra finished off his explanation, the visiting FBI brass’ eyes had glazed over before the southerner had finished the second paragraph. While he wanted to laugh, he also couldn’t help but feel sad, for with this meeting his assignment to the task force was over, and Team Seven and he would go their separate ways.

“Thank you, Agent Standish, for that…concise explanation.” AD Travis, the only member of the ATF brass present, stated and Henriksen had to fight to keep his expression neutral again. The older man turned to Chris, “Agent Larabee, what is your opinion on how this taskforce has functioned?”

“Surprisingly well.” The blond leader of Team Seven replied, “Agent Henriksen fit in very well with my team. He has a mind and isn’t afraid to use it. I would certainly welcome working with him again in the future.”

From the expressions on the FBI brass’ faces, they hadn’t wanted such a favourable report. Henriksen winced internally as he wondered what punishment assignment they were going to give him next. He wasn’t about to blame Chris though, it was just the brass’ way when they felt you’d failed them.

“Ah, good, then if you don’t mind continuing the unconventional arrangement there’s an atypical case I believe would benefit from the multifaceted approach the taskforce has displayed.” Travis stated, and Henriksen blinked.

“Uh…” one of the FBI brass spoke up.

“That is, of course, as long as Agent Henriksen’s expertise is not urgently needed elsewhere.” Travis interrupted smoothly, and Henriksen knew without a doubt that the AD knew that his superiors were going to be dumping him in transfer limbo for a while before finding a hellhole to drop him in.

“Ah…no…nothing urgently requires his assistance.” The FBI brass who’d been put on the spot confirmed, stumbling over his words slightly as he was utterly outmaneuvered.

“Then it’s settled. I’ll have the case on your desk within the hour, Chris. Dismissed.” Travis declared, and the agents filed out before the FBI brass could figure out what had happened.

“Is it just me…” Henriksen asked quietly once they were a safe distance away, “or did they just get completely and utterly owned?”

Buck gave a laugh and slapped him on the back, “that they did. It’s few enough fibbies we actually like, keeping around one of the good ones, especially knowing the brass over there doesn’t much like them, is just sensible.”

“And Travis agreed.” Chris added, “and he certainly wasn’t above using Ezra’s patented bamboozling to steamroll them. They’ll be too busy trying to save face to protest.”

“Well I’m not going to complain, sure beats transfer limbo and some Siberian assignment somewhere down the lines.” Victor stated, “I wonder what the case is though.”

“It’s a weird one.” Chris replied, “initially looked like a garden variety missing persons. Paediatrician vanished from his home one night, no signs of forced entry, car not taken, no signs of a struggle, none of his appointments for the next day or subsequent days were cancelled.”

“Knew his assailant, taken by surprise, kidnapper used their own vehicle, the victim wasn’t expecting to be gone.” Victor listed and Chris nodded.

“Several months later he’s carried into an emergency room, unconscious, across the country. Police were summoned when signs of restraints were spotted. However the rescuer had vanished by that time, and they weren’t able to be identified beyond ‘tall’. He wasn’t able to describe either his captors nor his rescuer or rescuers.”

“They got no leads?” Henriksen was surprised, there weren’t many who could be that unmemorable especially with a prominent feature like being unusually tall. His thoughts uneasily flicked to one pair he knew who were uncannily good at precisely that.

“Multiple newspaper appeals for them to come forward to be honoured went unanswered. More than a few columnists speculated that they were military or ex-military.”

“That makes sense.” Vin put in, “there’s more than a few active and retired military who see any sort of publicity as an anathema. And they’d be more than capable of pulling off a completely under the radar rescue like that if they’d discovered someone being held.”

“Think your contacts might be able to get us some answers, Vin?” Chris asked the former Ranger.

“I can try. No guarantees though. If they’re active, there’s no way they’d acknowledge an off the books operation like that would have been.”

“That’ll have to be good enough.”

Victor had to grin as they entered the team’s area, the AD and team leader had obviously arranged things to keep him around, and he had to admit that it felt good. Even if the case was the departmental equivalent of busy work, a result wasn’t expected or even anticipated. Travis made it clear that the consensus was that the task force was believed to be the only place answers might be uncovered even if it was unlikely.

Over the next few days, they scoured through the case files the locals had sent over, the photos, the interviews, the evidence analysis. All of them tried any contacts they had that had even the most remote chance of being connected. Victor was tempted to contact Sam and Dean on the off chance that they’d heard something, but he had no idea how he would explain it if they did have relevant information.

On the third day JD hung back as the rest, and in particular Hendriksen, headed home for the day. He’d been concentrating on the evidence analysis and had just turned his attention to the initial crime scene photos. He emailed on in particular to Chris, who never left until after everyone else did, then went into the blond’s office. Chris regularly ensured that the place was bug-free in case odd stuff had to be discussed during work hours.

“What’s up?” The team leader asked as JD closed the door behind him, he already had the photo up on his monitor.

“I think we’re looking in the wrong place for the rescuer.” JD replied, coming around the desk. Chris obligingly allowed him access to the computer. JD quickly zoomed in on a small section of the photo and cleared it up, there was a tiny pile of some sort of powder in the corner.

Chris raised an eyebrow, “did forensics take a sample?”

“If they did they didn’t analyse it, can’t really blame them. A pile of powder isn’t likely to lead to a perp in normal circumstances, they’d have assumed it was from some sort of project the doctor was doing. That sort of thing isn’t something a normal kidnapper would inadvertently leave behind.”

“True. So demonic possession?”

“That would be my guess without having a sample of the powder to test.”

“Explains the lack of a struggle and not taking a car at least. The more powerful ones don’t need external forms of transport.”

“And why he hasn’t spoken of the time he was held captive even though it’s unlikely he was out the entire time. He’d be dumped in a psych ward before the end of his first sentence. The demon had to have been an unusual one though, most ‘play’ with their victims even if they have a mission and leave them with an irreparable criminal history if they don’t kill them outright.”

“Assuming it is a demon it had him for months and not only didn’t kill him it also didn’t destroy his life. Powerful and unusual, bad combination.”

JD nodded.

“Good work, I’ll get Josiah to check with his friend to see if they’ve heard anything and give him the heads up if not. Keep working though, we don’t want to provide the FBI with any reason to snatch Hendriksen back.”

JD nodded again before heading out of the office and home. Chris followed a short while later, stopping by Josiah’s place to pass on the information before heading to his ranch.