Dean’s a survivor. A strong one. He made it when nobody else did.
Okay, he knows this is actually wrong. He knows survivors are out there, waiting…
Waiting for what?
He doesn’t really know himself. Doesn’t know anymore what’s up. Hope had never been his thing in the first place… now, it’s barely a word he remembers anyway.
It doesn’t matter. One day, it’ll end, they’ll all die and Dean, well, Dean’s going to burn the whole world down.
Because that’s everything he ever knew.
Emotions consuming him like a merciless fire, chewing on his insides, licking at his heart.
His existence in itself had been a true fire, burning everyone that came too close, keeping them too far, coming from someone whose fire had died when he was born.
He had lived with that fire, the thing that made him what he was, what he is; moody, unpredictable, weird. It had kept him alive at times when nobody believed he could make it out, it held his hand when he couldn’t do it himself, helped him out every time.
The fire had always been there, in his chest, in his blood, in him. He was the fire, the cruel, mad flames, the burning and the aching, he’s so much more than what he is.
“Oi, kid, don’t go too close, Char’ll kill both of us if you don’t bring yer ass over ‘ere soon!”
With a groan, he turns around, walking away from the small fire he had caused. He could still feel it, burning quietly the papers he threw there, right behind him. “Yeah, yeah, comin’. Why do I have to do Flair’s little jobs?”
Becky snorts, her bright red hair moving just enough to show the small wound on her cheek - visibly starting to heal, probably thanks to Charlotte, her girlfriend. “Because she gives you ‘nough protection t’ do yer stuff.” She presses a hand on his back, forcing him to move. “Two spots left to do, lad.”
They don’t talk much on the way.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Both are his friends - more like some big sisters. They found him, one day, starving to death but still dumb enough to pick a fight with them. Becky had him pinned down on the floor at Charlotte’s feet in a minute. He had let them take care of him. And by the time he was good to go, they just had brushed him off, saying that he could live wherever he wanted, but that he wouldn’t get rid of them.
They are also taking care of, well… the entire town. They know about almost every camp around. Basically, every time they crossed a survivor’s path, they were the ones to tell them where to go. Or to turn them into monsters if they weren’t…. peaceful.
And Dean, well, he had been friends with them. Actually, they were, before it all started. Just work out buddies, but still close. And after that, he met them again… six months after the Beginning.
He never really leaves their side. He doesn’t live with them- a bit too paranoid, too himself to make them go through it. And he never liked being the third wheel. Even though it never was like that with them.
He has somewhere to go at night, but during the day, he mostly stays with them. They always have something for him to do- like today.
Becky doesn’t really go with him- it’s rare, and Charlotte going out with him is even rarer. She’s the one who runs a lot of it. Becky likes to use her body much more than Charlotte. Well, they both work out, but Becky has too much energy to work in papers all day.
Today, they’re supposed to lit up fires outside town.
Not a hard job, not at all. A bit boring but at least they always choose spots with a big view so they don’t get surprised.
Dean is lighting up the last when Becky clicks her tongue twice.
Alarm. It means danger. It means that things are going to get dirty.
He’s kneeling before he even realizes it, and he’s right to do so. One of Becky’s axes flies above his head.
He doesn’t need to look up to know it found its target. He moves faster, doesn’t let himself relax. He’s on his feet again, fists clenched.
There are five of them. They’re slow but they look strong enough. At least, Becky managed to take one down before they could get too close.
“Deano, careful with ‘em. Don’t want to bring a dead body to Char.” He can feel the way she’s standing behind him. If he’s a fire, she is one hell of a fire too. Becky’s just like him. She just took different paths in her life. “Dean. Let’s try to have ‘em from far away, see if we can take the others down, too.”
Dean watches the first one, watches how close they are. Half of his face has been melted previously, at some point, and his skin is a grayish green, covered in bugs Dean doesn’t want to look at.
He misses his arms, bloody holes instead, clothes torn to shreds. His mouth is open, tongue cut in several points and his good eye is fixated on Dean, on Dean and his flesh.
“Dean, now. We don’t have time. Step back ’n throw some knives, yeah?”
Becky is still behind him; he knows he’s being stupid, but it warms his heart to know that no matter what she thinks, she’d stay with him even if it meant going through hell.
He steps back. Grabs the knives he only uses from a certain distance. They’re heavy in his hand, he knows his knives by now, the rough fabric against his rough skin. He remembers when he first got them.
“Dean.” Her voice is strong, rough, low in his ear. It’s enough to make him move. He steps back and she moves with him, perfect sync, of course. They’ve been doing Charlotte’s jobs for a long time together now. This kind of environment forces you to know people well and fast, to work with them and not against them. He had long stopped trying to get rid of her.
“Five.” He just has to growl this for them to take five steps back. Then, Becky is in fighting mode, her axe ready to hit, legs solid, leaving marks on the ground. Dean throws the first knife. Right in the eye. The thing falls, dead.
The second is thrown with the same, exact precision.
Dean can be quite good when he’s close. A bit less good when he has to do it with a gun. But knives are his thing.
“Too close. Step back or not?” Becky’s voice is more like a hissing now, fast since they have to choose quickly.
Dean shakes his head. “Get them, man. We can take them down. But we have t’move fast. Can’t stay here long. We also can’t leave Axe 2 and my boys.”
In a second, they’re both flying towards the last three. Dean hits the first with a punch under the jaw, sending him flying. He doesn’t have time to check on Becky but he can hear her axe burying in flesh. It’s good enough for now.
He dives, avoids the last one, grabs one of his knives lying in a body and crushes the one he had sent flying earlier. Clear, great, as always.
He’s about to turn around to take care of the last one when there’s a piercing scream. He freezes.
Becky? No, it’s a male. Horror and fear. Who’s here? Where? Not that close… But there’s no one in this part of town. They made sure of it while burning things down.
He moves fast, but not fast enough. He feels nails digging hard, very hard in his biceps, probably drawing blood. They’re also in his thighs, hard and soon unforgiving.
He doesn’t have time to think.
He doesn’t need to think.
He avoids teeth, moving his elbow faster. It’s enough to make the guy fall and then, it’s Dean’s turn to be on him.
He delivers punches after punches, ignoring the way his arms and legs are screaming, burning and aching.
"Dean!" Becky’s afraid but rough screech brings him back, putting his mind in action mode. He has to move.
He looks up when there’s no face to beat up anymore.
Three more are coming on their left, probably from the previous fire. When he looks at his right, Becky slides and side-kicks the one she was taking care of, efficiently knocking him out - or killing him? He doesn’t have time to check. He’s on his feet again, adrenaline pumping in his veins.
"Take cover, Becks. Gun?" He asks, running towards her and pushing her towards the closest tree. If he can put her up there, she can shoot them easily without a single problem.
"Yeah, got mine. Tree?" When Dean nods, she frowns. "You sure? Can you climb?" she looks at his biceps and at his jeans, only now noticing that his thighs are covered in blood. That bad?
"I don’t know. I’ll survive. I’m alright. Go."
He pushes her again towards the tree when she suddenly goes stiff.
"Dean." Four more appear in front of them.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck. Distracting ‘em, great idea, Char. How the fuck are we gonna make it out?" Dean mumbles while stepping back, relying everything on his hearing. "Stop. We can’t go that way. They’re behind."
"Okay, okay, okay... kill the closest. Easy kill. Don’t fight." Becky switches into big sister mode, eyes sliding around, only now noticing how fucked they are- they’re surrounded. In a minute or so, they’ll be on them.
Dean obeys. He catches the closest, ignores the hands grabbing at his bicep, and sticks his combat knife in his skull.
He lets go quickly, keeping the bloody knife.
"Got an idea!" He grabs Becky’s arm and pushes her towards the small hole in the human-barrier he just created. "Now, you’re out.”
She just looks at him, horror in her eyes. “You crazy brat-“ She doesn’t have time to end her sentence, already stepping back.
Dean kills. He kills the first one. The second one.
He hears Becky shooting but he knows it’s too dangerous for her to shoot all of them; he’s too close and the noise will bring more of them here.
Every time one falls down, another one appears. Dean is careful enough to pick up his knives when he puts them in a skull.
At some point, he feels an awful feeling in his leg and in his bicep. When he looks down, two of them are biting the flesh there, trying to tear something. He groans. Tries not to scream but the pain is too much.
He’s not weak. He kills both of them, tries to keep his groans and his whimpers to himself and get going.
If he didn’t really feel the pain before because of adrenaline, this time, he feels it. It hits him hard, wrapping around his body, his mind.
He feels exhausted, eyes closing a bit but he doesn’t have time for this shit. Kill, kill, kill, his mind sings but his body cries and shouts and he’s overwhelmed by the pain - how deep the bastards went?
He has blood all over himself - his or not? His thoughts are so fuzzy. They’re all on him, hitting and scratching, and he fights like a little devil, throwing punches and kicks around.
"Ambrose, down!" Becky. Authoritative tone. For a minute, it sounds like he’s a soldier.
"I fucking can’t, dumbass!" He hears his voice coming out raspy, a pathetic, hurt voice. He manages to give himself a bit of space by losing his last knife in a head. But he knows it’s the end. His whole body is burning so bad he wonders if there’s not a real fire, wonders if the fire from inside is slipping outside. "I can’t!" He roars again when he sees Becky moving. And it’s not a help-me kind of sentence. It’s a move-your-ass-far-away-leave-me kind of sentence. It’s a fucking roar.
But then, someone roars. It’s loud. Animal? No, must be human. But Becky doesn’t do those sounds.
He’s alarmed for a minute but the hands tugging on his arm drives him mad. He head butts someone, ignores the little stars and dots of colours he sees.
Somehow, the pressure around him stops tightening. Without anything to hold him, he falls down, knees giving up totally for whatever reason.
Well, he knows. They must have hurt something in his thighs. His biceps are no better, especially one of them but thinking right and left is too hard for now.
He thinks he’s done. Is this how he’s going to die? In front of Becky? A real buffet for the bastards?
Awaiting for the big, ugly faces to appear above him, he clutches the small picture in his pocket, folded carelessly.
But, instead, a guy appears. He has a beard, black hair with a blonde streak and big puppy eyes, worried and scared. "You look bad as hell, dude." And then he’s on his knees, moving Dean’s head in his lap and looking at his bicep.
He can hear roars around, sounds of fighting. "What...?" He says, trying to avoid the fog in his mind but he just can’t. It feels like he has been drugged. The pain must be too much. But he almost died so many times. Why now? Why so weird?
It takes time for him to focus on the guy. He hears footsteps coming closer and he knows by the sound of it that Becky is coming. "Oi, nice of you but move yer god damn ass and don’t tou- oh. Fuck, well, that’s a surprise, Crossfit Jesus!"
That’s the last thing Dean hears. A curtain falls over his eyes and there he goes, unconscious in someone’s lap- wait, Crossfit Jesus?