Once upon a time
I swore I had a heart
Long before the world I know
Tore it all apart
Once upon a time
There was a part of me I shared
Years before they took away
The part of me that cared
Once upon a time
I had an open point of view
But that was just so long ago
Before I had a clue
Was there such a time
Where I didn't stand alone
Was there ever a time
And how would I have known
I've been a thousand places
And shook a million hands
I don't know where I'm going
But I know just where I've been
I've flown a million miles
And I've rode so many more
Everyday a castaway
A vagabond battle born
I'm battle born
"Battleborn" by Five Finger Death Punch
Dean Winchester can proudly say that he has escaped Death for like, a dozen times. Or maybe more.
His childhood couldn't have been considered normal, and with how many times he had to steal to feed two, sometimes three mouths since he was ten, it was surprising that he hadn't been permanently injured by the angry mass. Or drunken fools. Motel owners. Truck drivers. Hell, he had stolen a wallet from a sheriff once!
Okay, that one he did not out of necessity. It was a dare.
But the point is, he's good at dealing with risks and dangers. He's good at avoiding his enemies and possible injuries. Something filled his old life with conflicts, people who wanted to hurt him and vice versa. He was constantly drunk with adrenaline, his senses constantly alert for the sake of his own safety. Fear and rage fueled him in his constant fight for survival.
Well, he was a master at that. Now, though, he wonders whether his luck has run out, or maybe he finally lost his touch.
"I deserve a thank you, not a sulking man in my backseat," the woman says, after a long moment of silence. Her sharp tone doesn't fit the easy smile on her face, but well, nothing surprises him these days.
"Ah, so he can speak!"
Dean almost groans. As much as he appreciates what she did, her presence is irritating. "Why the hell are you even doing this?!"
"Personal grudges, mostly. My name's Meg, by the way. Nice to meet you, Winchester."
"I don't even know you," Dean retorts. At this moment, he really wants to strangle the woman but unfortunately, his hands are busy keeping the bandages on his skin.
It will scar. Badly. That sucks.
"Not against you, idiot." She grins, turning to see him for a split second, before her gaze lands back on the road in front of them. "I hate the bitch who's been torturing you. And well, the enemy of my enemy should be my friend!"
"You're working with them."
"I was," she confirms, "but things turned to shit and I just don't have the patience to deal with it. So, will you work with me? Yes or no?"
Dean is starting to consider the offer. Right now his captors must be looking for him; working alone doesn't seem like the best choice. "What's in it for me?"
"I already got you out of that place!" she whines. It almost sounds playful, but from the rearview mirror, he can see a mad glint in her eyes, "Isn't that enough?"
She might kill him. Right here, right now. There's almost no reason for her to spare him. For all he knows, she might be driving back towards that Hell, claiming to be the one who found the escapee and deserves a reward for it. She doesn't seem to be above that.
On another hand, if she's telling the truth, then he might have time to recover. A moment to recuperate, just enough to stitch the worst of his wounds, possibly gain his energy back, and have a better chance to escape.
Or, she might be lying and he will end up dead. Wouldn't change much, considering how he can barely keep his eyes open right now.
Apparently, there's not much he can lose now. Because he has nothing left.
"I never asked to be saved. It doesn't count." In for a penny, in for a pound. If she offers to help him, Dean will expect her to go all out. "What's in it for me?" he repeats.
Meg lets out a dramatic sigh. "Fine. I'll fix you up," she waves her hand, as if it's nothing for her. He would demand more respect, but he's exhausted. It can wait. "Make you as good as new, but you'll owe me. Just a little favor, really. Do we have a deal?"
Most probably, he will regret this later. But Dean won't dwell on it. The offer sounds good enough, and he's a man desperate to be saved.
He doesn't even bat an eye at Meg's victorious smirk.
Nothing compares to his Baby's rumble, but Dean isn't in any position to be picky. He was lucky just to find some sort of transportation—there's no bus that would take him to this no-man's-land. As old and beaten as it looks, at least 'his' car can still do its job.
After the stolen truck is parked, Dean grabs his shotgun and marches inside to finish his part of the deal. The grenades wipe down about a third of the small-fries (honestly, he doesn't give a single fuck about anyone who couldn't even reload a gun under 5 seconds. They don't worth his time), and he takes care of the rest himself. It ends as quickly as it starts; half an hour of gunfire, screaming and shouting, all kinds of chaos that just feels like home to Dean. He would've enjoyed the aftermath view, but there's still business to tend to, so he goes upstairs right away.
He finds his main target there. Azazel is sitting behind his desk, wearing a smirk on his face as Dean locks the door of his office.
"You don't look surprised."
"I know this would happen. Meg always returns, whatever reason she leaves in the first place. She always brings a new attack dog, but so far, you're the only one who really bites."
Dean raises his shotgun and pulls the trigger, only to realize that he has run out of ammo. He curses, drops the firearm and pulls out his dagger. Azazel, surprisingly, doesn't react.
"Dean Henry Winchester," he starts, "born January 24th, 1979 in Lawrence, Kansas. Your father was an outlaw, but you? You were his perfect little soldier. At least until your dear Sammy leaves for college."
Dean glares, but he stays silent.
"Honestly, I'm more interested in your little brother," at this, Dean let out a low growl, "breaking into the FBI's database is an exceptional feat for a fourteen-year-old, but he also managed to erase the records of your family. That's the kind of skill I would like to have on my side."
"You're not getting your hands on him." Who is he fooling here? Dean doesn't even know where the heck his brother is right now. Last thing he knew, Sam was studying law at Stanford, and that was more than a decade ago. The kid may already have children and Dean wouldn't even find out.
Not that it matters.
"Oh, I already tried. But he's just so hard to crack, I can't make him do anything he doesn't want. Nothing changes his mind."
"So you took me instead?"
"You're a secondhand product, actually. I really hate that part of you, but you're still a good weapon. It's who you are. I've had my fun with you."
"Don't objectify me."
Azazel laughs. He rises from his seat, rolling up his sleeves as he approaches the Winchester. "First, you followed everything your Daddy said. Then you joined the Army and obeyed all your orders. This time, you work for that bitch. I'm pretty sure I got you all figured out already."
Dean snaps. He let out his battle cry, lunging at Azazel with his fingers wrapped tight around his dagger. The older man steps aside, grabbing the back of Dean's collar and slams his head onto the desk. Dean swings his knife blindly, grazing Azazel's side enough to loosen his grip. He then pushes himself up, trying to pin Azazel onto the wall, but he is suddenly kneed on the stomach.
"See? You're a damaged good, Dean. Can't-"
A hit onto the back of Dean's neck. His eyes widen as he gasps for air.
A kick to his side. He lets out a painful groan, which doesn't even last for a second.
Another punch to his head. Dean falls on his knees, barely conscious.
With that, Azazel pulls him up and drags him out of the room, purposefully bumping his head onto the edge of the doorway. Dean grits his teeth. God, it hurts. His whole body now aches, and it looks like he's dragged towards a slow and painful death.
But does it really hurt that much? Surely he's dealt with worse, right?
... Yeah, he had.
Six months in captivity, with an almost daily torture from a pair of psychopaths, well... nothing should compare to that.
Where's his dagger again?
... Oh, when did Azazel stab him with that?
Dean pulls the knife out of his arm (thank God it isn't too deep) and stabs Azazel's hand. He releases him, and Dean, still holding the dagger, quickly stabs his enemy's leg. He shouts in pain, kicking Dean's head immediately, but it doesn't hurt.
Nothing hurts anymore.
Dean pushes himself back to his feet and into his fighting stance. Blood is still dripping from the back of his head, pouring out of his arm, staining his own fists. Azazel stumbles in his steps, but he gives Dean a satisfied smirk.
"Now that's more like it! Come at me, Winchester!"
Dean doesn't move.
"Where's all those anger just a while ago?" Azazel taunts, just as he lunges at him.
Dean frowns. He let out a deep sigh, though his gaze is still locked on the other man. He takes the hit without a single sound, though he does land on his knees. It barely aches. He should thank Ruby; her tortures seem to increase his pain tolerance, however fucked up it seems.
"I guess you're right, after all. I'm a damaged good," Dean mutters. Azazel stops his attack, taking a step back and licking his lips with a hungry look on his face.
"And what does that mean?"
Dean pulls out another spare knife from his boot, and jumps towards Azazel, pinning him down on the floor. In a matter of seconds, the blade is pressed against his neck, already drawing blood. Azazel is frozen in shock, eyes locked on Dean's. His grin, though, never falters.
"I guess it just means," Dean's glare hardens, "that I WON'T BECOME ANY WORSE THAN THIS!"
He slit Azazel's throat without a second thought.
The heat of the fire, at least ten feet from where he stands, it is enough to make Dean want to take off his shirt. Of course he won't; the woman beside him is already ogling him even with the dozen layers of bandages, clothes and more clothes.
"Color me surprised. I never knew your morals were this lacking, Winchester."
For god's sake. He never signs up for this wrench and her running commentary. "You're the one who told me to kill him. I'm just doing my job."
"Burning down the place with you in it is still a whole different level of low."
"I prefer the term 'taking precautions'. It would be nasty if they start looking for me," he says, as he glances at the brunette. She has her arms crossed, staring at him with a smug look on her face. "Why are you still here, Meg?"
"Oh, I'm just enjoying the view. Don't mind me."
Dean turns his attention back to the burning warehouse. It should hurt; it already reminds him of his mother, the night his own home burned down, it should've hurt. But he can't feel anything. Not remorse, not guilt, not sadness, not even anger or closure. The place burns. There's smoke and there's fire. That's all there is to it.
Somehow, he can't feel.
"Is there anything else I can help you with, Dean?" He quietly shakes his head, ignoring Meg's heavy sigh. "Well, you know where to find me. If you ever need something, just ask."
"And allow you to order me around after that? No thanks."
Meg shrugs. "Your loss." She pulls out her phone and starts typing, "You'll still do it, right?"
He may have issues, but he's still a man of his word. "As long as you do the same. This talk never happens. Dean Winchester's gone, tortured to death by none other than Alastair himself." Fun. Even in a made-up story, he just can't die peacefully. "The sicko then sets their HQ on fire, and he escaped with his superior, Ruby."
Meg nods, an amused smile on her face. "And Azazel had gotten rid of the soldier's body, but he also died in the fire. Ain't that just a wild story, from start to finish?"
He can't resist rolling his eyes. "I'll give you ten seconds to shut up before I strangle you, Meg."
She grins. "Nice," she says, before she hurriedly returns to her own car, "Until next time then, Winchester."
"No, there won't be next time."