Chapter 1: 1
Acheron made his way into the house and towards the back, knowing where his friend would be at this time of day. Sure enough he found Shemu'el sprawled on a couch with a sketchbook open in front of him. The younger Dark Hunter looked up and smiled at him, happy to see his boss. Acheron had to admit that the Egyptian born hunter was one of his favourites; Shemu'el never gave him any of the problems the others tended to.
"Hi boss." He greeted, sitting up.
"Hi Sam." Acheron greeted, using the more modern version of his name since that was what Shemu'el usually preferred and it was a bit easier to pronounce, though compared to his own name either version was very easy. He grinned as messy dark hair fell into Sam's black eyes, making him shove it back in irritation.
"Get the feeling this isn't a social call Ash." Sam hinted and Ash nodded. Sam nodded at the opposite couch and Ash sat. "So…"
"How do you feel about moving?" Ash asked and Sam groaned.
"Serious? You know Anna will kill me right? She's just started classes." Sam complained and Ash smirked.
"She's your Squire Shemu'el."
"She's family Ash; I have issues arguing with the brat. So where do you need us?"
"New Orleans." Was the answer and Sam slammed his head into the couch.
"Why me? Hell, why there?" Sam asked, peering over at his boss and friend.
"I need someone reliable that I can trust. With Kyrian no longer a Dark Hunters someone new needs to move in and help Talon cover the city. Kyrian still helps out but you know Artemis. I'm also moving Valerius in; it'll cause problems so do what you can to keep them all apart. Artemis wanted to send Zarek."
"Yeah. Alright, how long do we have to move?" Sam asked and Ash relaxed, glad Shemu'el wasn't arguing.
"Two weeks." Ash admitted and Sam nodded.
"I'll be there." Sam promised and Ash relaxed making Sam smile and go back to his sketching, waiting for the sun to set so he could get to work. "By the way, love the colour, it suits you." Sam told him and Ash flicked a strand of his currently blue hair at Sam.
"You need to either cut yours or let it get long enough to tie back." Ash taunted as Sam once again shoved his back.
"I like it how it is, thank you very much. So I guess I have to start house hunting?" Sam asked and Ash shook his head.
"There are a few town houses you can use if you want." Ash offered and Sam smiled.
"Thanks, since I'll be moving without my Squire. I can't make her move so soon after starting class." Sam grumbled and Ash laughed at him.
Shemu'el walked silently up to where he could feel his brother-in-arms waiting for him, the Squire who'd picked him up following him, still chatting away.
"Look unalive, men, here comes our reinforcement." The tall blonde Dark Hunter commented as he saw them and Sam smiled as he joined them.
"Shemu'el." Acheron greeted him. "Any trouble?"
"Well if I was you I'd stay away from Anna for a while, she is not happy." Sam warned him and Ash nodded.
"Another Greek?" Valerius asked and Sam just stared at him.
"Hardly." Sam answered.
"Talon, Valerius, this is Shemu'el." Acheron introduced him and Sam smiled at them.
"Sam's fine, unlike some I can move with the times." Sam teased his boss who took a playful swipe at him, getting a grin from Talon.
"Any problems with your flight?"
"Other than finding Anna had fun with my bag? Nope. Nick was a very good chauffeur as well." Sam told him, looking between their little group in amusement and a little annoyance. Other than Nick he was the shortest which did kind of suck since he was fairly sure he was older than everyone but Ash. Their looks were getting them odd looks from those walking by, Nick looked like a wealthy college student, Ash like a goth refugee, Valerius like an accountant, Talon a biker and Sam himself was dressed simply in jeans and a long sleeved shirt, he actually felt a little out of place. Sam sighed as Talon and Valerius started verbaly sparring, when it threatened to become physical he grabbed Talon and pulled him back while Ash stopped the Roman.
"If you can control yourselves for five minutes, we need to divide up the city. Since I'm the only one able to take the cemeteries, I'll grab those. Valerius, I want you in the garden and business districts, Sam and Talon can take the Quarter. On Mardi Gras itself, we all need to be in the Vieux Carré no later than nine." Ash turned to Nick. "You are on standby. In the event one of us goes down, I need you to mobilize quickly."
"Just one little problem." The Squire stated.
"And that is?"
Nick indicated Valerius with his head. "If he goes down, he's on his own."
"Nick," Acheron said, his voice laced with warning, "your duty is to all of us. Valerius is a Dark-Hunter same as me, Talon, and Sam."
"I know I swore my oath, but I swore it to protect Kyrian of Thrace and hell will freeze colder than Santa's iceberg before I ever lift even an eyebrow to help the man who tortured and crucified him." Nick spat and Valerius's eyes blazed.
"That was his grandfather, not him." Acheron argued tiredly.
Nick pointed a finger at Valerius. "He was there, too, watching it happen, and he did nothing to stop it. I refuse to render aid to someone who could do that." He looked back at Ash. "You, Sam, and Talon, I'll cover, but not him."
"It's all right, Greek," Valerius interrupted. "I would rather die than have his plebeian help anyway."
"Fine then, Nick would you mind being assigned to Sam for a while? His Squire had some things to tie up before coming." Acheron asked and Nick looked at Sam before nodding.
"I still have class though."
"It's fine Nick, I don't need much." Sam assured him and Nick nodded.
"Okay then let's get to work." Acheron said and Sam hefted his bag. Ash tossed him a set of keys. "Nick knows where the house is, he'll show you."
"Thanks." Sam called as he followed Nick away from the group, relaxing as his powers slowly came back.
"So you're not Greek…." Nick asked and Sam looked at him.
"Born in Memphis…..Egypt." Sam answered and Nick studied him.
"You don't look like the pictures I've seen of Egyptians." Nick stated and Sam laughed.
"My father was a trader who settled their after marrying my mother. So no, I don't look Egyptian."
"Sorry." Nick said and Sam nudged him.
"It's fine, ask away. I'm not as touchy as a lot of the others about my past." Sam assured him.
"Are you old? Real old? You don't seem it, you seem more like, well a normal guy." Nick admitted and Sam shrugged.
"Born during what Historians today call the 18th Dynasty. So yeah, I'm old enough."
"You're older than Kyrian!" Nick stared at him in shock and Sam laughed.
"Well as I don't know Kyrian I'll take your word for it." Sam told him.
"So Ash called you Shem…..uh."
"Shemu'el, it's basically just an older version of Samuel. So a few centuries back I started using Samuel to blend in. Ash is the only one who still calls me Shemu'el."
"Okay, well here we are." Nick walked up to the front door and unlocked it for him. Sam took the offered keys and went inside; glad to see his furniture had already arrived. "So do you need anything?"
"Looks like the kitchen's stocked and the utilities are on so I'm fine, thanks."
"No problem." Nick turned to leave.
"Nick." Sam called and the Squire looked back. "Be careful out there alright? Something odd's going on." Sam warned and Nick blinked but nodded and then left.
Chapter 2: 2
Sam glanced at his email and smiled when he saw he had a new one from Bobby. He opened it and then frowned at the message. Poor kid. He's keep an eye out but the odds were he was nowhere near New Orleans and he was busy enough dealing with what was going on. He liked Bobby; he was a good man and a good hunter. Sam sometimes wished he could meet the man but Bobby was too good not to notice Sam wasn't human. Revealing Dark-Hunters to a hunter would be enough in Artemis' view to have him condemned to Shadedom, not a fate he wanted. Seeing the sun setting he sent a reply and grabbed his weapons before heading out for the night.
Sam spent hours wandering the streets, taking out a Daimon here and there but for some reason there didn't seem to be many around which was very odd. Then he spotted a group and started to follow them, frowning as he tried to get close enough to take them out but then he heard their whispers and frowned. Sam followed them quietly and his frown deepened when he saw the club, he'd known Talon had a girl and from the feel of things she was there….the Daimons knew and where after her. Sam sighed but then looked around, wishing he had Talon's ability to hide himself, that would make it a lot easier. They went into an alley and Sam stepped in after them, coating the ground behind him with thick ice, fogging the air a little with the cold and making sure he'd have warning of anyone coming. The Daimons grinned at him and Sam smirked, instead of drawing a sword he let one form in his hand, made entirely of razor sharp ice. The Daimons faltered and Sam moved, the first one disintegrating before it even realised Sam was moving. The Daimons were young and cocky, against someone of Sam's age, even if he preferred books to fighting, they stood no chance. Hearing someone cursing and slipping Sam leapt for the fire escape and scrambled up and onto the roof just in time as two cops spilled into the alley, literally thanks to the melting ice. They looked very confused to find no one around and Sam waited until they were gone to call Talon and warn him.
Sam dropped to his knees beside Nick, checking him gently for injuries, finding a good sized lump on his head. Nick groaned and Sam let some ice form in his hand, icing the wound for the poor kid. "Take it easy Nick, you're safe." He assured him.
"Sssam?" Nick slurred, eyes fluttering open. "Sunshine!" He went to sit up only to groan. "They got her."
"It's okay, I'll call an ambulance for you and then find Talon. You just rest." Sam called and waited for the paramedics to arrive before taking off. Not even Ash was answering his phone. Sam stopped in an alley and slowed his breathing. Sometimes his gifts were a pain, if he could just see like in visions it would be easier. Since his precognition wasn't being helpful he had to rely on Clairsentience and Presentience to try and find a clue as to where the others and Sunshine were, hopefully they had found her. A very helpful gut feeling had him running for a warehouse. He made his way cautiously inside, following the sounds until he reached a room and stared in shock at Ash, who the hell had pissed him off that badly? "Ash! Acheron stop!" Sam yelled. He really wished his powers were more useful but he could at least help the temperature lower forming ice in the room.
Talon was relieved when Shemu'el appeared in the doorway and quickly realised the slightly lowered temperature was his doing as the older Dark Hunter yelled for Ash.
"Acheron calm down, please brother." Sam called out calmly, walking towards him and ignoring the cowering gods. Acheron answered Sam in another language.
"He says to back off or die," Styxx translated. "He's summoning the Destroyer."
A lightning bolt lanced towards Sam only to slam into a shield of ice. "Calm down Ash, you don't want to do this." And Sam knew it was true, he'd felt Acheron's emotions enough times. He saw Talon finally gain his feet and move to help him, shocked to see the young Celt's eyes were no longer black. Sam shook his head when Talon tackled Ash to interrupt his chant but didn't dare try to pull them apart as they struggled. He looked at Styxx and snorted in disgust. "Idiot." He muttered. Sam grinned when he saw Talon catch Acheron and cup his face; glad he'd worked it out. Sam moved closer, making sure Ash could see him and he placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Acheron enough." Talon called and they waited to see if he had gotten through to him.
"Come back Ash, please." Sam whispered.
"Talon, Shemu'el," he rasped hoarsely. Ash's eyes flickered, then he looked back at Talon before looking at Sam.
Suddenly, another shock wave shot through the room, this one in the reverse direction from the first. It was as if the unleashed power were drawing back into Acheron. The dragon shot up toward the ceiling, then vanished. Ash's features transformed back into the face of the man Sam had known for most of his life. Ash blinked his now silver eyes and looked around as if he were waking up from a nightmare. Without a single comment, Ash stepped away from Sam and Talon, wrapped his arms around his chest, and walked across the room as if nothing had happened.
Sam ignored the godly bickering and the interaction between Sunshine and Talon to follow Ash. He put his hand back on Acheron's shoulder, feeling him tense. "Easy old man, just calm down." Sam whispered and Acheron looked up at him.
"I need…" Acheron whispered and Sam nodded, getting him out of the room before anyone noticed. Sam led Acheron back to his town house and into the guestroom.
"Sleep Acheron, I've got watch." He told his oldest friend and the Atlantean sank into bed. Sam left the room and collapsed on his couch, he knew Artemis would be calling for Acheron soon, in payment for Talon's soul. He was the only Dark Hunter who knew the price Acheron paid to free them from Artemis and he'd learnt by accident when Acheron had appeared in his home one day, his back a bloody mess. For that he hated the goddess who held his soul and had made a promise to himself to never ask Acheron for his freedom, he could not make his friend bare that pain for him.
Chapter 3: 3
Sam paused as he heard something from the alley he was passing, gripping a knife he slipped in, eyes searching the darkness for Daimons or any other threat. Slight movement caught his attention, a boot being pulled back out of sight and he silently moved closer. He looked around the dumpster to see a body clad in a battered brown leather jacket huddling against the wall. The person moved and Sam got a look at one green eye, the other swollen shut. Sam winced in sympathy, the guy had taken quite a beating and if Sam didn't get him help he'd be a nice easy meal for any Daimons around. The guy moved weakly, trying to get away and Sam held his hands up. "Easy, I'm not going to hurt you." He called softly and the human stared at him dazedly. Sam reached slowly towards him. "My name's Sam, I'm going to look at your injuries, alright?" He was relieved to receive a nod; at least the guy was coherent enough to understand that.
"De'n." He managed to get out and Sam frowned.
"Den?...Dean? Your name is Dean?" He asked and then looked him over. "Dean Winchester?" He asked and Dean tensed. "It's okay, I know Bobby, he sent an email out about you being missing. I'm going to get you to a hospital." Sam told him and Dean shook his head. "You're badly hurt." Sam argued.
"Find…me.."He whispered and then his eyes closed, head lolling against the wall. Sam frowned, find me? Who was Dean hiding from? He sighed and then gently lifted the unconscious hunter into his arms, if he wouldn't go to a hospital Sam would have to patch him up himself and hope Dean didn't notice certain things.
Sam checked on Dean before retiring for the day and was relieved to find the fever that had been setting in earlier seemed to have abated. He checked the dressings and Dean moaned, good eye opening to a slit. "Easy Dean, just lie still." He whispered, rewrapping the arm wound. Dean coughed and Sam held a glass of water to his lips so Dean could drink.
"Where?" Dean croaked as Sam fixed the blankets over him.
"My place, still in New Orleans. Get some more sleep, you're badly hurt." Sam told him and Dean struggled to focus on him. "You're safe here, I've got good security and I know what you do." He assured the hunter and Dean lost the fight against sleep again. Sam sighed and left the bedroom to get ready for the night.
After the mess with Camulus and Dionysus it seemed like things had quieted down a lot. He wasn't going to complain about that at all, it was nice to have a few slow weeks while getting used to a new city. There was hardly any activity at all which meant an early night. He locked the house up and logged on, sending Bobby a cryptic email so he would know Dean was alive and safe. Then he logged onto the message board to talk to a few of the others, laughing at some of Wulf's complaints.
"So what's with the human in your spare bedroom?" Ash asked and Sam turned his chair to look at his boss.
"His name's Dean Winchester, he's a human hunter. Went missing a few months ago and I found him half dead in an alley last night. Someone or something's after him." Sam admitted. "Figured he could sleep in there till he's healed and then hit the road."
"That's it?" Ash asked and Sam laughed before shutting his computer down.
"That's it, figured I owed Bobby one for some info he gave me a few years ago. I get this guy back on his feet and never see him again. How are Talon and Sunshine?"
"Immortal and very much in love." He answered and Sam smiled.
"Good. I'll have to send them a wedding present. So you just here about Dean?" Acheron sighed, looking as old as he actually was and Sam frowned in concern. "Ash? What happened?"
"Simi…..she nearly died while I was stuck in Artemis' temple in exchange for Talon's soul." Sam's eyes widened in alarm.
"Is she alright?" He demanded, straightening up and Ash nodded. "Wait…..how could she have been hurt?"
"A dagger that should never have still existed, I thought they were all destroyed, I was wrong."
"They're all gone."
"Good. You're exhausted Ash, use my bed and get some sleep, I'll take the couch." Sam offered and Ash went to reject the offer but Sam glared stubbornly, arms crossed and he gave in, heading upstairs. So now he had a hunter and the first Dark-Hunter under his roof, yeah his life was easy. He just had to keep Dean from seeing Ash or his own fangs. He should have known the night had been too easy, trouble had obviously hit elsewhere. Who had dared to hurt Simi? He didn't feel any pity for them and he was sure Ash had taken care of them as messily as possible.
Bobby stared at the email in utter relief, Dean was alive. After so long with no word or sign he'd honestly started believing the boy was dead. He still had no idea where Dean was since he didn't know where Sam was, or even his last name actually, but at least he knew the boy was alive and safe. He only knew Sam through email but he'd heard of the results of some of his work and he was good. Sam could keep Dean safe.
Chapter 4: 4
Sam relaxed on his couch, sketch pad in his lap. Ash was gone and Sam knew where, wishing he could take his friends place as Artemis' whipping boy. He hated her so much for what she did to Ash. If he could turn her into an ice statue he would and then shatter it and dance on the shards. Unfortunately he was no match for a goddess. He drew absently and then blinked down at the sketch to find it was of his house guest, minus the injuries. Sam chuckled and shook his head, before starting on a new sketch, this time of the view out of his front window, trying to imagine what it looked like during daylight. Hearing a noise he turned his head to see Dean clutching the wall to stay on his feet. He got up and moved quickly to Dean's side, wrapping an arm around his waist to help him, wanting to just pick him up and spare him the pain but that would be giving too much away. "Easy Dean." Sam murmured, easing him down onto the couch and then carefully lifting his legs onto the couch, giving him a sympathetic look when Dean winced and bit his lip, holding in a cry of pain. "You shouldn't be up yet." He chided gently and Dean just laid his head back. "Need anything?"
"New leg?" Dean mumbled and Sam chuckled.
"Pain pills then. And some more ice for your eye. Be right back." Sam went to his well stocked medical kit and got out some pretty powerful painkillers and an ice pack. He gave Dean the pills and some water and Dean swallowed them before holding the ice pack to his face. "Think you can eat?" Sam asked and Dean thought about it before nodding cautiously. Sam went and warmed up some soup and soft bread for him. He held it, slowly feeding it to the beaten hunter and wanting to go after whatever had done so much damage to him. Sam honestly wasn't sure if his leg would heal totally…..even if he did go to a hospital.
Dean weakly pushed the spoon away after a while and Sam nodded. "Thank."
"No problem." Sam answered.
"Why…why're you doing this?" Dean asked, feeling his body already relaxing, those were some powerful pills.
"Because you needed help and because Bobby'd fly down here and kick my ass if I didn't." The last bit was teasing and Dean blinked but then chuckled weakly. He could feel that funny floating feeling creeping over him and fought to keep his eyes open and mind clear. "It's alright Dean, rest and heal." Sam whispered, covering him with a blanket and Dean blinked slowly before his eyes fell shut. Sam sighed and watched him sleep for a while. He had to get him some sort of professional care but Dean was terrified of going to the hospital so how…Sam grabbed his phone and then looked up a number online before calling it. A vet was better than nothing after all.
Carson Whitethunder, Sanctuary's vet and doctor, showed up a while later and stared at Sam curiously before moving to the male that was obviously his patient. "Why not just take him to the hospital?" He asked the newest Dark-Hunter in town.
"Because someone or something did this to him and is still after him." Sam explained, watching the Were-Hunter work.
"His leg appears to have been broken in three places, two are healing well but the third…..it will take surgery to repair, surgery beyond what I have the equipment for at Sanctuary, at least for a human patient. The swelling around his eye is healing and it doesn't look like there'll be any permanent damage. His ribs are healing well too." Carson gave him an injection of antibiotics just to be safe.
"If the leg isn't treated?"
"He'll at least walk with a slight limp for the rest of his life."
"And since he's a hunter that life will end up being very short." Sam sighed and Carson looked at him.
"Yeah, he's spent his life hunting things like wendigos, ghosts, even a demon or two from what I've heard."
Carson blinked and looked at his patient in surprise and growing respect. He was either brave or crazy to spend his life going after beings that could and would rip him apart for fun. He looked him over more closely, seeing the scars in a new light. "If his leg isn't healed properly then yes, hunting will end up killing him fast."
"Can it be fixed later?" Sam asked and Carson shrugged.
"It will take a lot more time and work once it's healed like this and it might never be back to normal but later surgery is possible."
"I'll talk to him about it when he wakes up then."
"Be careful, he notices your fangs…"
"I know. Thanks for coming."
"Keep an eye out for fever or signs of infection; call me if he gets worse." Carson grabbed his bag and vanished, heading back to Sanctuary.
Sam gently checked on Dean before heading to bed, making sure there was nothing around that Dean could get into and learn things he shouldn't. When he woke that evening he dressed in black jeans, boots and a t-shirt with a jacket over it. His bow and arrow mark was on his lower back so he didn't have to worry about Dean seeing it thankfully. He grabbed his usual weapons and his them in his clothes before leaving his room, finding Dean sitting up a bit on the couch, still looking groggy. "Good evening Dean." He called to let the human know he was there. Dean looked over at him and gave him a small smile.
"Hey. Sorry about taking up your couch."
"No problem. Hungry?"
"Yeah." Dean admitted, wincing as his stomach growled.
"Better stick to easy foods till your better able to get around unaided." Sam offered and Dean nodded. Sam went into the kitchen to get them both some dinner. He was pleased to see Dean managing to eat more this time. "How do you feel?"
"Groggy, for some reason my arm hurts a bit."
"That'd be the antibiotic injection."
"I called in medical help and we do need to talk about what he found."
"I'm not…dying or something am I?" Dean asked nervously.
Sam shook his head. "You're healing nicely except for one injury. Your left leg was broken in three places; two were clean and healing well. The third…..will need surgery." Sam saw the flash or terror in Dean's eyes and hated it. He knew the Winchester reputation, seeing such an emotion in the hunter's eyes was not normal. "Without surgery you will at minimum have a limp for the rest of your life." Sam warned and Dean looked down. "Dean who….what did this to you?" But Dean remained silent and Sam sighed. "I'll be out most of the night, do you want to stay out here or go back to bed?"
Dean frowned but he ended up decided the bed would be more comfortable so Sam helped him back to the bedroom and then gave him the remote to the TV Dean hadn't noticed before. Sam left and then returned with some food and juice in case Dean wanted it. "Thanks."
"I'll be back in the morning, just rest." Sam told him before heading out.
Chapter 5: 5
Dean woke up, feeling more aware than he had since being injured. He pushed himself up into a sitting position and reached for the TV remote only to pause as he heard something. He moved gingerly to the edge of the bed and then grabbed onto the bedside table to help himself up. He hobbled, keeping as much weight as possible off his bad leg as he made his way into the hallway. Surely Sam would have come in to check on him if he were home so who was it he could hear in the…..bathroom? He peered in and froze as he saw the tall man trying to clean blood off his own back. He knew that type of wound; he had his own scars after all. He moved into the bathroom and gently took the blood soaked cloth from the stranger, gently dabbing at the oozing wounds. "Thanks Sam." The stranger whispered.
"He's still out." Dean answered and felt the man tense.
Ash tensed, he must really be out of it to not have realised the person behind him was a stranger. It had to be Sam's house guest. Ash hated people at his back and yet the oh so gentle touch to his wounds….he looked up, silver eyes meeting green in the mirror. He felt the hunter freeze and knew he wasn't fooled into thinking Ash was blind like many humans were, he knew Ash wasn't human. Question was what would he do?
Dean stared into inhuman silver eyes, cloth still pressed gently into a whip mark. He tensed automatically but then he looked at the wounds and took a deep breath before going back to clean them. Nothing evil would let someone do this to them. "Sit on the edge of the tub, it'll make this easier." He whispered.
Ash blinked in surprise, that was not what he was expecting from a hunter. He hesitated but then did as asked. This man's future was blank to him, just like all those who were or would be close to him. But what did that mean? Ash forced himself to remain still as Dean went back to gently cleaning the wounds Artemis had made to his back. "You should be sitting." Ash pointed out, able to feel the pain radiating from the human.
"I'll be fine. Got anything like iodine? It'll kill but should stop you getting infected."
"I don't need it but thank you." Ash told him and Dean blinked but figured it had to do with not being human. He grabbed his shirt and went to put it on but Dean stopped him to cover the wounds with sterile dressings.
"Better to keep the blood off your shirt." Dean told him and Ash nodded, pulling his shirt on before standing and Dean swallowed as he realised just how tall this being was. He took a shaky breath and went to step back only to cry out in pain as he moved his leg wrong and it buckled. Ash grabbed him, lifting him off the ground to Dean's shock. Lifting Dean pulled at the wounds on his back but he would heal a lot faster than the man in his arms. He carried him back to the bedroom and gently lowered him to the mattress. He grabbed the pills of the bedside table and handed them to Dean as well as his glass of water which Dean downed. "Thanks."
"Sam wouldn't be happy if I let you hurt yourself further." Ash told him.
Dean lay back on the bed, feeling the pills kick in and everything start to get fuzzy. "What….are you?" He asked, eyes beginning to droop.
"Humanities protector." Ash answered as Dean fell asleep. Ash watched him for a while to make sure he would be alright before heading to the room Sam had left for his use. He lay on his stomach and thought about what had happened. Dean doing what he had done, even after realising he wasn't human…that had been very unexpected. Only Shemu'el had ever done something like it for him. There had been no pity in the green eyes, only wariness and understanding. But how could he understand such injuries? He closed his eyes and tried to sleep, he could figure out the mystery of Dean Winchester later.
Sam slipped into the house, worn out and a little bloody but mostly okay. He checked on Dean, finding he was fast asleep and then looked into Ash's room, relieved to find he was back from Olympus. He felt bad for not being there to help Ash deal with his injuries. Since he was asleep Sam headed for his bedroom and stripped off before getting in the shower to soak sore muscles. He stitched up the one deep injury in his arm before collapsing into bed and falling asleep.
Sam nearly hit the roof when he woke to find Ash sitting on the edge of his bed. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" He grumbled, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.
"You're immortal Sam; a heart attack won't kill you." Ash answered and Sam studied him.
Ash nodded. "Your houseguest isn't a bad medic." He admitted and Sam's eyes went wide.
"He found me in the bathroom; I wasn't paying attention and thought he was you." Ash admitted, it wasn't often he made that sort of mistake. Sam stared at him in utter shock. "He knows I'm not human too but he still kept working and didn't say anything until he had taken more pain pills and was in bed."
"What did you tell him?" Sam asked curiously.
"That I am humanities protector. Though I do not know if he heard me since he was practically asleep. He was wary but did not seem overly concerned."
Sam sighed and crawled out of bed, not caring he was only wearing his underwear, Ash had seen him in less after all. He'd been naked when they first met after all, still dazed from dying and being made a Dark Hunter by Artemis. He did some quick stretches and then grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. "Want some food?" He offered and Ash nodded so he headed to the kitchen to cook for three, making it simple for Dean's sake. He set a plate at the table for Ash and then headed into Dean's room and sat on the bed, gently tapping his shoulder. Dean shifted slightly before gradually opening his eyes. He blinked sleepily at Sam who smiled. "Hey, brought you food."
Dean just stared groggily before nodding and struggling to sit up. "Thanks." He mumbled sleepily.
"No problem." Sam held the tray for him while Dean ate. Dean studied him as he ate and woke up more and Sam knew he was trying to decide if Sam was human or just had non-human friends. "You're safe here Dean, I won't let anyone hurt you." He assured the hunter gently and Dean stared into his eyes before green widened.
"Does it really matter Dean? The world isn't black and white. Humans can be just as bad, even worse, that what you hunt. Not human doesn't mean evil." Sam told him and then bit back a frown as he saw hope in Dean's eyes. Why would that give Dean hope?
"You really believe that?" Dean asked in shock. Could it be true? Could you be something other than human and not be evil? Was his Dad wrong.
"I do." Sam hesitantly widened his smile, enough to hint at his fangs. He watched Dean, seeing the nervous swallow but Dean didn't look away from him.
"You don't hurt people?"
"I go out every night to protect them." Sam assured him. "Occasionally I will beat them up if I catch a group of idiots trying to rob a little old lady or something but I don't kill them, just teach them a lesson and then call the cops." That got a small smile from Dean. "Done that too?" He asked and Dean nodded. Sam chuckled. "Yeah, it feels good. He shifted to cross his legs on the bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Think I shouldn't have walked earlier."
"Yeah, Ash told me what you did for him. Thank you. Usually I take care of that for him but I wasn't here. Though you shouldn't have stood on your leg like that for so long." Sam chided gently.
Dean just shrugged, the two clean breaks were healing really well like he had known they would. Broken bones always healed fairly fast. It was why he sometimes seemed reckless when hunting, what did it matter if he got hurt as long as he did his job and kept others safe? "It's fine." He muttered and Sam frowned in confusion. He didn't understand this hunter at all.
"Want to join us in the living room or get some more rest?"
"Should probably get up, don't want bedsores." Dean answered and Sam chuckled.
He offered Dean a hand and Dean hesitated briefly before taking it. Sam gently pulled him up before simply picking him up and Dean gasped. "Figured since you guessed I'm not human there's no point hiding and letting you hurt yourself." Sam told him as he carried him out into the living room. Ash looked over at them and hid a smile at the way Dean clung to Sam. It was rather amusing to see a fully grown man being carried by another. Sam gently placed Dean on the couch, elevating the injured leg and putting some pillows behind his back.
Dean relaxed back into the pillows and then looked over at the table when Sam joined Ash there, both eating their breakfast. He honestly didn't know what to think about them, they went against everything he had been taught as a hunter. And yet….he felt safe here, safer than anywhere other than maybe Bobby's place. He didn't know what they were either, he'd never seen or read about anything that looked like them.
Chapter 6: 6
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Sam glanced over at the couch and smiled at the sight of Dean fast asleep on the couch and got up to rescue his plate before it fell off his lap. Ash got their dishes and put them in the kitchen. “He’s taking this rather well.” He commented and Sam nodded.
“He was watching us the whole time, I think he still isn’t fully decided but is giving us the benefit of the doubt.” Sam pointed out and Ash nodded.
“How is he healing?”
“Fine…..except for his leg. Carson said he’ll need surgery for it, the sooner the better.” Sam admitted. “Burt he’s terrified of going to the hospital, that he’ll be found by whoever or whatever did this to him.”
“And he won’t say what he’s running from?” Ash asked and Sam sighed.
“Not a word but…he has scars and not ones you’d expect from a life of hunting beings a lot stronger than him.” They both turned at a noise from the couch and then Sam dashed over as Dean began to thrash, pinning him down as gently as he could so Dean wouldn’t hurt himself further. “Dean wake up, it’s alright. It’s just a dream.” He called and green eyes snapped open, Dean fighting wildly against him. “Dean! It’s Sam, you’re safe.” Dean stared at him with wide eyes but at least stopped fighting.
“Bobby….gotta warn Bobby.” Dean said and then clutched his head in pain. Sam took the offered pain pills from Ash and gently helped Dean take them.
“Warn Bobby about what Dean?” Sam asked gently, not sure what was going on but wanting to keep Dean calm. It was obvious the mortal was in quite a bit of pain.
“Demon.” Dean muttered, obviously a bit out of it.
“Dean I don’t have his number, just an email address.” So Dean rattled off a number from memory before pretty much passing out. Sam glanced at Ash who moved Dean back to the bedroom but nodded for him to ring. Sam pulled out his phone and dialled the number.
“Bobby Singer? This is Sam.”
“Since you’re calling I’m guessing Dean gave you my number. The kid okay?” Sam heard the concern in his voice and was relieved Dean had someone who cared for him that much.
“Healing fairly well, other than his leg. He needs surgery but….any idea who or what might be after him? He refused to go to the hospital, was terrified he’d be found.” Sam explained and Bobby swore.
“I’ll look into it.” Bobby answered immediately, getting more and more worried about what had happened to Dean.
“And the reason Dean gave me your number. He had a nightmare or something. Passed out after it but he was in a lot of pain. He said to warn you and demon. That’s it.”
Bobby swore violently and then fell silent for several minutes. “I’ll double the protections here and keep an eye out.”
“Because of a dream?” Sam asked and Bobby sighed.
“One of Dean’s dreams, yeah.” He admitted and Sam frowned, why would he believe Dean’s dream………
“He’s psychic?” He asked curiously.
“Seems so. Started a few years back, vague dreams that have gotten clearer and clearer as well as more and more painful.” The hunter admitted. “I think John and Dean know something more about the dreams, something that had Dean pulling away from most of the hunters he knows, even me.”
Sam eyes widened. Dean’s wonder over not human not automatically meaning evil. Was it possible Dean wasn’t fully human? “What do you think it is?”
“Something to do with the demon that killed his mother. Dean was four at the time and Mary died in his bedroom pinned to the ceiling and then set alight.” That made Sam wince, talk about childhood trauma.
“Okay I know a bit about demons, at four he’d be too old for the demon to do anything.”
“Except grab him. Yeah. But who says the thing hadn’t visited when Dean was younger?” Bobby pointed out. “Look, I love that boy like he was my own and I want him safe. Right now safe seems to be with you and you have a good rep. Do anything to harm him and there won’t be anywhere safe for you. Understand?”
“Yes sir.” Sam had to admire the man for how seriously he took Dean’s safety. “Be careful, don’t want to have to tell dean you got killed.”
“You too.” Bobby hung up and Sam sighed, looking over at Ash.
“So Dean might not be fully human, explains his reaction to us.” Sam pondered.
“The question is if he isn’t fully human what is he?” Ash asked.
“Don’t you know?”
“Dean is totally blank to me.”
“Great, though it means he’ll be hanging around.” Sam shrugged, knowing Ash never saw anything to do with people who would be in his own future.
“And this is a good thing?”
Sam shrugged. “He’s got a good rep among hunters even if a lot haven’t really seen him in years…..probably since the dream visions started.”
“Just how long have you been in contact with hunters?” Ash’s look was stern but Sam could see the amusement.
“About five years? I definitely prefer Were-Hunters to actual werewolves.” He answered and Ash shook his head.
“Well have fun with your houseguest, I better get going.”
Sam gently worked with Dean, watching him closely for any sign of discomfort. He wasn’t meant to be walking on his leg still as the final break still hadn’t finished healing but if the leg was immobile too long he would lose all the muscle and have to start from scratch. Seeing the slight flinch Sam stopped and gently massaged the muscles. “You’re doing great Dean.” He praised and Dean rolled his eyes. “You are.” Sam pushed.
“Still gonna limp for life.” He muttered and Sam squeezed his hand.
“With a good surgeon there’s always a chance………”
“I have an idea; I need to go see someone for a bit.”
Sam looked at the house and then walked up and knocked on the door, smiling at the woman who opened it. “Hello Sunshine, is Talon here?”
“He’s in back.” She frowned and then smiled. “You’re…..Sam right? You helped calm Ash down.”
Sam nodded. “That’s me; I was hoping Talon might be able to help me with something. Nothing dangerous I promise.”
“Come on in and I’ll go get him.” She showed Sam into the living room and he took a seat, looking around at the paintings.
“She’s good isn’t she?” Talon asked and Sam looked at him.
“Sunshine did all of these?”
“All of them.” He grinned and then sat opposite the dark hunter. “How can I help?”
“You still have your healing abilities?”
“I currently have a mortal houseguest who can’t go to the hospital. Unfortunately he has a bad break in his leg that needs surgery or he’ll limp for the rest of his life.”
“So you’re hoping I can heal him? How long has it been since the break?”
“About two months? If it’s too far healed we could knock him out and re-break it. If you’re willing to help.”
Talon stared at the older male, he barely knew him but he was a Dark Hunter and Ash’s friend. Ash didn’t have many of those. And yes, Talon was immortal but broken legs hurt! But it would hurt the poor mortal more to have to live with a limp. “Why can’t he go to the hospital?”
“Because whoever or whatever half killed him is still after him. A hospital is far too public.” Sam admitted and Talon winced.
“How bad was it?”
“If he hadn’t moved when I found him I would have thought he was dead. Carson checked him over and gave him some antibiotics to make sure he didn’t get an infection. The other breaks are healing well, it’s just this one.”
“I’ll help.” Talon told him and Sam smiled.
“Thanks. I have to get to my patrol.”
“I’ll be by about midday?”
“That’s great, thanks. Poor Dean’s been keeping to Dark Hunter hours so I can help him around.”
Dean eyes the stranger with Sam warily and Sam smiled at him. “Dean this is Talon, he’s agreed to take a look at your leg and see if he can heal it.”
Dean frowned in confusion. “How?”
“Talon has the ability to heal Dean, and he is willing to work on your leg.” Sam answered.
“It will be completely painless.” Talon assured him and Dean hesitated.
“You’ve trusted me this far Dean, besides Bobby threatened to hunt me down if anything happens to you.” Sam told him and Dean’s eyes widened. Bobby had threatened Sam over him? Why? He hadn’t seen him in years. “It was because of Bobby that I knew to keep an eye out for you, he was worried when he hadn’t heard anything from or about you.”
Watching them Talon felt sorry for Dean when he saw the shock and disbelief that someone cared so much for him. He moved closer and saw Dean tense up a little. “I swear I won’t harm you. I just want to take a look at the wound.” Dean stared at him and then reached down to pull up his pant leg. Talon knelt beside the couch and studied the leg, carefully keeping his hands in sight and away from him. ”Betting that hurt.” He muttered and Dean nodded. “Looks like it’s partially healed so we’d have to re-break it before I could do anything.” Talon told them and Dean flinched slightly. “Not with you awake.”
“And this would fix it, completely?” Dean asked and Talon nodded. “How?” Dean asked.
“Talon is psychic Dean, that’s how he heals.”
“Psychic?” Dean looked at him with wide eyes and Talon nodded. Sam squeezed his shoulder and Dean hesitated before nodding. “Okay.”
“Let’s get you onto a bed.” Sam lifted him gently and Dean held onto him tightly. Talon watched and then smiled slightly when Dean laid his head on Sam’s shoulder. He could tell it took a lot for Dean to trust anyone so the fact he was trusting Sam was impressive. Talon got up and followed them through the townhouse.
Chapter 7: 7
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dean shifted, not wanting to wake up, but the sound of quiet voices talking nearby was annoying. He slowly opened his eyes to find himself in ‘his’ bedroom. “Dean?” A familiar voice called and he turned his head to see Sam watching him. “Hey sleepy.” He teased and Dean blinked as he spotted the other man. Talon….his leg! He sat up and yanked the covers back, staring in shocked awe at his completely healed leg. He looked back up at Talon, seeing the way he was favouring the matching leg slightly.
“Healing me hurt you?”
“Temporarily. It’s already almost healed so don’t worry. Anyway I better get home before Sunshine worries too much. Nice meeting you Dean. Good to see you again Sam.”
“You too Talon. Call me if you need anything.” Sam and Talon shook hands and then the Celt left. “Want to test that leg out?” He held his hand out and Dean took it, taking a deep breath before standing, bracing for pain that never appeared. He felt better than he had in a long time. Dean looked at Sam and couldn’t help smiling as he began slowly walking around the bedroom without limping or holding onto anything. Sam grinned happily at seeing the hunter pain free.
Dean wandered the townhouse curiously but made sure to be quiet since he knew Sam was sleeping. He didn’t know what Sam was, he’d never come across anything like him or his friend Ash. And it was more than a little freaky how safe he felt with them, was that the demon in him or the fact that they had done nothing but help him? He paused as a curtained window and pulled it back a little to look outside, wincing slightly in the light since he’d been inside for so long. He looked out at the street to find it was one of the well to do areas of New Orleans, though he had guessed that from just seeing the inside of the townhouse. It was a long way from the ratty old motels he’d grown up in.
“You can go out if you want; I’m not keeping you in here.” Dean spun to see Sam hovering in the doorway, well away from the slim line of sunlight. Dean dropped the curtain back into place and noticed Sam relax a bit.
“You can’t go in the sunlight can you?”
“No. I haven’t seen the sun in….well a long time.” Sam shrugged and Dean stared at him. He wasn’t really, really pale but it seemed to be his natural skin colour
“I’d guess vampire but you’re not like any vampire I’ve ever seen.”
“Or hunted?” Sam teased, moving to sit.
“Um…yeah.” Dean shrugged as he sat near Sam. “How old are you?”
“Ever heard about Thutmose II from Egypt?”
Dean frowned in thought and then his eyes went wide in shock. “No way…..that was BC something! You can’t be that old.”
Sam laughed but nodded. “I am. Lived there and everything.”
Dean lent back, still in shock. He hadn’t thought anything could live so long and yet here was the proof. “I…”
Sam smiled softly at him. “Just because I’ve lived so long doesn’t change anything Dean, still the same person you’ve been getting to know.”
Dean nodded shakily. “Just never knew anyone could live so long. It’s….wow.”
“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Sam got up and went into the kitchen to get something to eat and Dean winced, obviously he’d said something wrong. He glanced at the window, Sam said he could go out…he went back to his room and got changed, wishing for his weapons as he yanked on his boots. He needed more clothes and supplies but he had no clue where his bag had ended up. “Here.” Sam intercepted him before the door with a wad of cash, a gun and a knife. “Figured you need things. Just….try and be back before sunset, it’s not the safest here after dark and you’ll need time to get back to fighting fit.”
“Thanks.” Dean took the money and weapons, he hated charity but a game or two at the right sort of place and he’d be able to pay him back. Sam also gave him a spare key and the alarm code before retreating so that the sun wouldn’t reach him when Dean opened the door. Dean wandered around for a while before beginning to shop. The first thing he bought was a new duffle to keep everything in and then he started looking around for clothes and some new boots since his were a mess. He went through the various thrift shops, despite the amount Sam had given him he didn’t want to spend big and waste it all. He’d need to replace all his hunting gear at some point after all. He even grabbed a burger for dinner before heading back to the townhouse, making it just before sunset. He unlocked the door and slipped inside to find Sam dressed for the night.
“Looks like you had a good time shopping.” Sam grinned and Dean shrugged.
“Got everything I need for now. Guess I’ll have to work transport out at some point.” Dean hid a wince, he wanted the Impala but at this point that was impossible.
“No rush, you’ve still got at least a month before you’d be fit enough to get back on the road and no rushing it. I won’t let you leave only to turn up dead a week later, Bobby’d kill me and I’d let him. I better get going, night.”
“Night, stay safe.” Dean answered, watching him leave before shutting and locking the front door. He still didn’t know what to think about Sam but he at least trusted that Sam was one of the good guys.
Dean had been surprised to find the small courtyard garden at the back of the townhouse but it was a great spot to just stretch out and soak up some sun. The garden was well tended so there must be a gardener or something who came by to look after it but Dean hadn’t seen any sign of them. In his lap was one of the books he’d managed to find on his shopping trip and he was flipping through it, trying to figure out what his host was since Sam wouldn’t tell him. So far he was coming up blank and it was annoying.
“Working hard?” A voice called and Dean looked up to see Sam’s friend Ash.
“Just keeping my hand in. So...you can come out in the daylight but Sam can’t?”
“You don’t want to see what would happen to him if he did.” As stated seriously and Dean nodded.
“So will you tell me what you and Sam are?” He asked, trying to look innocent and Acheron chuckled.
“No, sorry. You’ll have to figure it out yourself if you want to know.”
“Fine.” He fake huffed before relaxing in his chair.
“Though you may be part cat.” The Atlantean commented in amusement.
“Doubt it.” Dean answered, mood darkening. Acheron studied him closely, he could feel the mostly latent power inside the hunter and it wasn’t something he was used to.
“Biology doesn’t matter Dean, it’s your actions and emotions that do.” He whispered and Dean glanced over at him before looking back at the ground. Acheron left the hunter alone to consider his words while he went to wake Sam up and talk to him about the changed patrol routes.
Chapter 8: 8
Disclaimer: Not mine
Sam laced up his boots and then smiled as he saw Dean sprawled on the couch, fast asleep. Sam grabbed the blanket of the back of the couch and gently covered the hunter with it. Having someone living with him other than his Squire had been strange at first but now it felt like Dean had always been there. And that was dangerous, he knew that. If Artemis found out….he sighed and grabbed his weapons before heading out into the night to do his job.
Several hours later Dean jerked awake, sitting up and looking around in alarm. Something was wrong. He could feel something in the house, something….evil. He grabbed the knife Sam had given him and got up, searching for whatever it was.
“Hello Dean.” He froze in terror as he stared into sulphurous yellow eyes.
Sam pushed past the fire fighters and police, staring in horror at the townhouse he had begun to call home. The whole house was engulfed in flame. “Dean!” He yelled in terror.
“Sir, is this your home?” Someone asked and he nodded.
“Dean, did Dean get out?”
“There was someone in there?” All Sam could do was nod. “Someone was home!” Was called out to those trying to contain the flames even as a crash sounded, something giving way. Suddenly to firefighters emerged from the house, a half conscious figure held between them. He was bustled quickly to the back of a waiting ambulance and Sam moved closer, seeing the blood on Dean’s face as dazed green eyes fought to focus. He gently tipped Dean’s face up to see the damage.
“Sam?” Dean asked, blinking.
“It’s okay Dean, you’re going to be alright.” Sam assured him even as the paramedics moved to examine Dean.
“Sam.” A familiar voice called and he turned to see Ash walking towards them. You had to know the Atlantean to see the worry on his face but with how long Sam had known him it was as clear as day. “How is he?”
“Concussion by the look of it, some smoke inhalation probably.” Sam answered as they watched Dean being worked on. “How did this happen?” He muttered and Ash looked over at the townhouse, frowning.
“This wasn’t an accident or done by a human.” He stated and Sam swore softly.
“Godly?” He asked, had Artemis done this to punish him for being around Dean?
“No. Something deeply evil though. I better get alternative accommodation arrange for you two for the day.” He left and Sam stood guard over Dean until the paramedics said Dean needed to go to hospital, that did not go over well. He was relieved when Ash returned and helped smooth things over. Soon they were driving up to a large gated house. Ash lead them inside, Sam helping Dean who was still rather dizzy. It took one look at the man standing in the lounge room for Sam to know he was an ex-dark hunter. “Kyrian of Thrace this is Shemu'el of Memphis though he goes by Sam these days. And this is Dean Winchester. Kyrian and his wife Amanda agreed to let you stay until something more permanent can be arranged.”
“Hi Ash.” A woman greeted, walking into the room with a baby in her arms. “Are these our guests.”
Dean stared at the baby in horror “No…I have to go, can’t stay here.” He went to move for the door but Sam tightened his hold.
“Dean? What’s wrong.”
“I can’t…..they have a baby.” He tugged at Sam’s arm.
“Dean just calm down, tell me what’s wrong.” Sam soothed the distressed hunter, he could feel the terror rolling of him. He had the sudden urge to pull the younger male into a hug but held back, unsure how he’d take that.
“He’ll hurt them Sam. I can’t…..I can’t let a baby get hurt cause of me.”
“Who Dean? We can’t help you if you won’t tell us.” Ash urged. Dean had helped him but even if he hadn’t he was human, mostly, and that meant they would protect him.
Dean looked down and Sam gently pulled him into a hug, feeling the hunter stiffen before slowly relaxing into his hold even as his hands moved to clutch at Sam’s jacket. Sam could feel him trembling and rubbed his back. “It’s okay Dean, I’ve got you. You’re safe with us.”
Dean shook his head but still clung to him. His head still hurt, even with the painkillers he’d been given and his lungs hurt from the fire and smoke. He had prayed he would never see that demon again but after over twenty years it had finally found him again. “I’m never safe, he found me.”
“Who Dean?” Sam pushed.
“The Yellow-Eyed Demon.”
“No demon will get into the house Dean, Kyrian and I are far from helpless.” Amanda told him with a soft smile.
“I warded this house myself Dean. I know you have a lot of questions about us but I swear to you that no demon can defeat my work.” Acheron assured the hunter. Though why was a high ranked demon after the young man? Dean looked between them all before finally giving in and Amanda led him upstairs to a guest room where Dean collapsed into bed, exhausted.
Chapter 9: ch9
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Hope you like the new crossover of this with Dean as the Dark Hunter on my new profile Scififan33 for those who read at ffnet.
Amanda cracked open the door and glimpsed inside to see their human guest sleeping still. After the fire though it was to be expected. Sam had told them of how he had found him and her heart went out to the young man. He had been through a lot in such a short time. She quietly shut the door and made her way downstairs to join her family for breakfast. She hadn’t bothered checking on their Dark Hunter guest since she knew he would be sleeping in preparation for working once the sun went down.
Dean lay in bed, eyes closed as he heard the door shut again. He had mastered faking sleep as a child and had never lost the skill. Once sure he was alone he got up and dressed, gathering what little he had into a bag. Once the house was quiet he snuck out and headed down the hall. He hesitated as he came to a shut bedroom door, knowing Sam was sleeping behind it. He had done so much for him and he felt bad for doing this but in the end it would keep Sam and the other safe. Dean took a deep breath and kept walking, slipping down the stairs and then out the front door. He quickly jogged down the drive and then out the gate. He was on his own again but he was used to it, it was better this way. They didn’t deserve to have his problems dumped on them. He’d been found twice now, he had to get as far from New Orleans as possible. It didn’t take long to find his sort of place and then begin playing. When he left he had enough funds to catch a bus headed for California. Leaving hurt but it was his own fault, he knew better than to get attached.
When Sam got up he checked in Dean’s room but it was empty so he headed downstairs. He smiled when he saw Kyrian and Amanda with their daughter, remembering his own parents playing like that with his siblings. Even after so many centuries remembering them hurt. He could remember his parents’ cries as he died and they were held back, he could remember his little sister standing beside her ‘husband’, tears streaming down her face and bruises vivid on her arms. That man had paid with his life for touching her once Sam had awoken to his new life. So much pain and death just because of a fat official who coveted his beloved sister.
“Sam?” Kyrian called, recognising the look on his face and Sam blinked back to the present.
“Good evening. Is Dean around?”
“He was sleeping the last time I checked on him.” Amanda answered and Sam frowned.
“His rooms empty….” Sam closed his eyes and then sighed. “He’s run.” He admitted softly. It hurt, he had thought Dean trusted him, that he felt safe with them but obviously not.
“How long will he last out there alone?” Amanda asked and Kyrian shook his head.
“Dean’s a hunter, from what I’ve heard he was raised in the life. If anyone can disappear it’s him. I better email Bobby and let him know, he’s not going to be happy.”
Dean slipped off the bus several stops before the one his ticket said, just in case he was being tracked. He needed to get some new fake ids and quick. He also needed weapons and clothes, most of what he had bought when with Sam had gone up in the blaze. It was tempting to go to Bobby’s but that would be the obvious thing to do. No, Dean Winchester had to vanish completely. It was doable at least against humans, hiding from demons would be harder. He would need a lot of ‘ingredients’, many of which were expensive. Which led to needing more money. But hey, at least he was healthier than he had been in years.
Bobby read Sam’s email and sighed. He should have expected something like this. That boy was too good at running. The fact that the demon had shown up sent up a lot of red flags. Why go after Dean after so long? To get to John since the man was obsessed with hunting it down? Or something more sinister?
Sam set the phone down and closed his eyes. She was dead, the last link to his family was gone. He should never have left her behind but she hadn’t wanted to move so soon after starting college. Now she was dead all because of some idiot with a gun wanting some quick cash. He had never had children and neither had his sister but their brother had and Sam had kept track of them through the centuries, several of them had served as his Squire even. And not one of them had ever died in such a way. He was having her body shipped to the family crypt in Egypt. She would rest for eternity with the rest of her family. He picked the phone back up and dialled from memory, the Squire’s Council had to be informed of her death after all.
Ash stepped up to walk beside Sam as the younger man patrolled and Sam glanced over at him. “Are you alright?”
“Let’s see, Dean vanished under my watch and the last of my family is now dead. Yeah, I’m great boss.” Was the sarcastic answer.
“Neither event was your fault.”
“Wasn’t it?” Sam sighed. “I knew Dean wanted to run but I thought he trusted me enough to stay. Can you find him?”
“I can’t see his future.” Ash admitted and Sam kicked at an empty bottle. “I will keep trying and I have sent out an alert to the others. If anyone sees him they will call.”
Chapter 10: ch10
Disclaimer: Not mine
Dean sat in the booth, watching the other customers even as he ate. It had been six months since he left New Orleans and so far there was no sign anyone had picked up his trail. He hated not contacting Bobby or Sam but it was safer this way. He had almost gotten Sam killed by staying there and while Bobby had protections John had proved they were no deterrent for humans once already. He honestly didn’t know which would be worse, John finding him or the demon. He also knew his own abilities were getting out of hand. He’d woken more than once from a nightmare to find the room in an utter mess. He was scared and so he ran, only stopping to sleep and eat. He knew it was only a matter of time until someone found him and he died.
Sam was finally settled into his new home. It was newer than the townhouse that had burned and in a different neighbourhood. Thankfully he never kept many mementos of his family and life in one place so he hadn’t lost much in the fire. He missed the feeling of history the old place had, not to mention the memories of time spent with a friend. Sam only knew Dean was alive because of Acheron but not even his boss could track the hunter. Talk about skills. At least the local Daimon population was taking the brunt of his frustrations and had dropped a bit since Dean had vanished.
He had become friends with Kyrian and Amanda which was nice. He almost envied the Greek for having a love strong enough to free him from Artemis. Sam had never had anything like that, even as a human. He had loved his family but that was all, he had never loved a woman the way Kyrian loved Amanda or Talon loved Sunshine. It wasn’t like he hadn’t been old enough he’d just always been so busy helping his father that he had never really thought of marriage. And unlike many of his brethren he had no liking for one-night stands, loving and leaving them. He’d done it once or twice soon after becoming a Dark Hunter but since then had remained alone. He’d made use of the Squires trained to see to those needs more often but once they were outlawed he simply stopped. Sharing a bed required trust as far as he was concerned, how could you trust someone you just met? So maybe he was lowering his odds of ever going free, he didn’t care. It wasn’t a bad life, he had everything he needed and an exciting job. He had acquaintances among the others via the online chatrooms and even the occasional phone call and now he even had some friends even if those friends were now mortal. And he had made a promise to never make Ash be beaten for his sake.
Valerius took another Daimon’s head off and spun to face another. He was actually almost out of breath and was wondering where they had all come from. This was one of those time when he hated Artemis even more for not giving him psychic abilities. Any other Dark Hunter would be tossing them around but he was stuck with physical fighting and he was badly outnumbered….until several at the back suddenly became coated in ice before shattering to reveal the newest Hunter in New Orleans, his own sword in his hand. Between the two of them the mass of Daimon’s was soon dust in the wind. The shorter male nodded at him and then turned to go. “Shemu'el?”
Sam turned to face the Roman, at least he had managed to pronounce his name properly. “Yes?”
"Thank you for the assistance." He told him stiffly.
“No problem. What Artemis does to you Romans isn’t right. If you had powers you could have easily handled that lot.” Sam just shrugged.
“You aren’t Greek?”
Sam laughed and shook his head. “Egyptian. I know the majority of us are Greek but not all. I don’t care where you were born, we all work for Ash now. See you around.” He walked away, leaving Valerius to ponder his words.
Dean sprawled in the booth, absently playing with a mug of coffee. Bobby had finally tracked him down last week, though not physically. The voicemail had been rather scathing and made him feel even worse for not contacting him but he couldn’t put his surrogate uncle/father figure in danger. But it had been nice to hear a friendly voice for the first time in over a year. He’d half figured one of Sam’s friends or a demon would have found him by now but nothing. His dreams had gotten worse in that they came wether he was awake or asleep now. Add to that his uncontrollable ability to move things during a nightmare and he was spending less time in motels and more sleeping on the road in the beat up car he had managed to get his hands on. Now he was taking a short break in a crummy diner in the middle of nowhere and bored out of his mind. He hadn’t found a good hunt in almost a month and everything seemed quiet, too quiet for his peace of mind. The waitress screamed and Dean went to get up, seeing her start to collapse only for the world to go black.
He gasped and rolled over as he woke, every sense on alert for danger and he tried to work out what had happened…..and where the hell was he? He looked around in confusion at the collapsing buildings and creepy trees, just your typical ghost town then. He quickly checked himself over and found his weapons were gone and his phone had no reception.
“Help! Help me!” A female voice screamed and Dean cautiously moved towards it, finding a locked shed.
“Get back from the door!” He yelled and then beginning hitting the lock until it fell apart and he pulled the door open to release the girl. “You hurt?”
“No….where are we? What’s going on?” She asked fearfully.
“Just stay calm. I’m Dean, what’s your name?”
“Ava…where’s my fiancé?”
"I don't know. I was just in a diner and woke up here. We better stick together till we figure it out, okay?”
Sam frowned, he had a very bad feeling. He paced the living room, unable to sleep but stuck inside due to the sun. He threw himself down on the couch and closed his eyes, focusing on the feeling to try and learn more. “Dean.” He whispered and swallowed. Dean was in trouble, life-threatening danger and he had no way to help him. He grabbed his phone and bit his lip in thought before finally dialling. “Hey Ash, its Sam. There’s something wrong, Dean’s in danger. Any sightings or word?” He hung up and sighed, voicemail meant Ash was most likely with Artemis so who knew when he would be able to call back.
Dean looked around at the ragtag group and had to fight the urge to bash his head against the wall in frustration. He was stuck with a bunch of super-powered civilians with no clue, yeah this was going to end well. Of course that was when they realised Lily was missing so they had to split up to search. Dean grabbed Andy as one of the least annoying of the group.
"I...uh, think I could maybe get a message out.” He admitted and Dean turned to him.
“Got something that belongs to someone who can help?” Andy asked and Dean frowned before digging out his wallet and pulling out a list of phone numbers Sam had given him. He didn’t have anything from Bobby or he’d contact him. “Okay, now focus only on the person and….images that will show where we are.” Andy instructed as he put his hands on Dean’s. Dean closed his eyes and focused on Sam, the town and the bell.
Sam frowned and rubbed his forehead.
“Sam?” Ash asked in concern, grabbing his elbow to steady him.
“I don’t know….Urgh...” His knees buckled as pain stabbed through his brain. Ash immediately transported them to Sam’s place to get away from prying eyes. Sam gasped as an image flashed through his mind of an old abandoned town. Ash quickly lowered him to the couch and then Sam cried out in pain again even as he saw a shaky image of Dean and another young man in the town and then an old bell. “Dean.” He moaned in pain. Ash frowned and used his own powers to try and see what Sam was seeing. If they knew where Dean was he could go to him.
Dean stared Ava down as she went on about this all being a game. “You are one psychotic bitch.” He growled. “You actually fell for a demons sale pitch? I feel sorry for you. Demons lie girl, it’ll use you and then kill you.”
"Well you won't be around to see it. I'm the heavy weight champion.” She smirked and began calling the demon, Dean preparing to defend himself only for Ava to stiffen before going limp as Jake dropped her dead body.
“You hurt?” He asked and Dean shook his head.
“Let’s get out of here.”
“But the demon?”
“Ava was controlling it so we’re safe now. We’ll find the nearest road and either hitchhike or walk to the next town.” Dean explained as they walked through town.
“Demon said only one of us can leave alive.” Jake argued and Dean snorted.
“Yeah, well I don’t obey demons.”
“I am not dying here.” Jake said and Dean stiffened at his tone.
“Jake….” He dodged the first blow and then the fight was on.
Sam looked around in confusion before looking at his boss. “Something powerful is blocking the town, we’ll have to walk from here.” Ash answered and they took off through the woods. Sam broke into a run as they heard a crash from the town up ahead. Everything was silent as he ran onto the main street, looking around wildly for Dean.
“Dean!” He yelled.
“Sam?” A voice called back and then Dean staggered into sight, cradling an arm and with blood smeared down the side of his face from a cut. Sam smiled at the sight of the hunter he hadn’t seen in a year, he looked tired and injured but otherwise good. “Sam!” Dean yelled with a smile, relieved to see help. He walked towards Sam who suddenly stopped, eyes wide in fear.
“DEAN!” He screamed and Dean went to turn only to gasp as the blade sank into his lower back. The knife was pulled out and then plunged back in before Dean was released and Jake ran off. Dean’s legs crumpled and Sam moved top speed to catch him as gently as possible. “Stay with me Dean.” He murmured as he cradled the injured hunter close. He lifted Dean’s jacket to see the wound and felt sick even as Ash knelt beside them.
"S...." Dean choked even as blood leaked from between his lips.
“It’s okay Dean, we’ll patch you up.” Sam whispered, looking at his boss who hesitated before moving to heal Dean. Messing with people’s live wasn’t something he liked doing but he knew Dean was important to the future. Dean suddenly went utterly lax in Sam’s hold. “Dean?” Sam called, a shaking hand going for his pulse only to find none. “No, no, no.” He shook his head in denial. “Please Acheron.” He begged, he knew Ash was the final fate, that he could bring Dean back. He had never considered asking him to bring someone back before but for Dean he couldn’t help asking.
Acheron stared at Shemu'el even as he cradled the dead hunter tenderly in his arms. He should let Dean rest, he’d had such a hard life he deserved eternal peace and yet…Sam had never asked him for anything in all the time they had known each other. He hated not being able to see Dean’s future, to know whether or not bringing him back would be a good thing. He watched as Sam gently wiped the blood from Dean’s lips and face and felt so bad for him. Despite how short a time they had known each other a bond had formed between them, something Sam had always avoided. He had never wanted to get close to anyone outside his Squire’s until Dean. Could he really make Sam suffer like that?
Chapter 11: ch11
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Sam gently cradled the too still body of his friend. He had no healing powers, not that they would make a difference now. Dean was dead and it was his fault, if he hadn’t distracted him…
He looked at his oldest friend and boss and managed a slight nod. He understood that Dean’s death wasn’t really his fault, no matter how much it felt like it. “Sorry.”
“Well this isn’t right.”
The voice had Ach on his feet and protectively in front of the two in less than a second. Silver eyes met yellow even as Ash summoned his staff, feeling Simi shift against his skin, wanting to come out and protect him. He saw Shemu'el lower Dean to the ground even as the temperature plummeted. “Leave demon.” He warned. Technically since there were no humans in danger from the creature he should leave it be but he held no love for the creatures and would happily destroy it.
“Not without what belongs to me.” He pointed at Dean’s body and Sam actually snarled at him.
“You don’t own him.”
“And what would you know little Dark Hunter? I bought him fair and square before he was even born. His own mother, dear Mary, sold him to bring back her precious John. Wonder what she would think of dear old husband now if she knew just what he’d done to her darling baby boy.” The demon smirked.
Sam was shocked by the revelation. Dean’s mother had…no, there was no way any mother would knowingly sell their child to a demon, was there? If she sold him before he was born, had Dean even been conceived yet? “Well you got him killed so he doesn’t belong to you anymore.” It was a weak argument but all he had.
“Shemu'el has a point. His body is of no use to you and you can’t bring him back.”
“Red tape is a pain, true. But there are ways around it, Crossroads Deals exist for a reason after all. Pity you don’t have a soul, bet you’d sell it for him.” Azazel looked at the shorter of the two men, the Dark Hunter obviously cared for Dean but since he had already sold his soul he was of no use. But there were others who cared for the boy and could be manipulated into making a deal. He would have his perfect general somehow. Jake was pathetic, he’d killed him himself when he ran after knifing Dean. He had put too much work into the boy to lose him now, too many years of manipulating people and events. John had been the hardest but in the end he had swallowed the false information and turned on his own flesh and blood. Dean had been isolated and hurt, ripe for the picking….until his idiot daughter had lost track of him in Dark Hunter central. Finding him again had been difficult, the house had been well protected, but in the end he had driven the boy out of hiding and back onto the road from where he was easily snatched. Now it was looking like it was all for naught.
“You should be used it to.” A new voice called and Azazel began to turn only to gasp as a blade emerged from his chest. He stared down at it in confused horror. Why were they interfering now?
Acheron stared at the blade emerging from the demons chest, able to feel the power radiating from it and as the body dropped he realised why. The man standing there was nothing remarkable, unless you could see beyond the surface of the vessel. He knew what the man was immediately. An angel, an Archangel to be precise but what was one doing on Earth? They had not walked the world in over two thousand years and yet here one was calming killing a demon.
“He always did talk too much.” Gabriel muttered before sheathing his sword and looking over at the group, sad eyes locking on Dean’s body. “This wasn’t meant to happen.” He whispered.
“What was?” Acheron demanded and the angel looked at him before flicking his hand and their location changed to that of a room with Dean laid out on a bed. Acheron tensed, he didn’t like being moved without his permission. But the angel simply sat down and sucked on a sweet.
“For starters it was never meant to be Dean with demon blood but his baby brother, except little Samuel was never conceived let alone born. Someone screwed up majorly there.” Gabriel answered, leaning back in his chair. “Not that I knew, haven’t been back up there in millennia.”
Acheron frowned at that, an Archangel away from Heaven? That meant….”Gabriel? Didn’t you die?”
“Nope. I left, went into a sort of witness protection to keep away from the infighting. These days most know me as Loki, the Trickster god. It’s been a good hiding method. Guess I wrecked it though by killing Azazel.” He muttered, there went all his centuries of careful plans. But Dean, well he held a bit of a soft spot for the young hunter who, if he had actually been a Trickster, had killed him. Thankfully he was an angel and the bloodied stake hadn’t even hurt. “So with no little Sammy it was Dean Azazel claimed as his and fed his blood to, killing Mary at the same time for disturbing him. John went into hunting and took little Dean with him, doubt I have to point out to you two what sort of life the kid would have led. It kept Dean fresh in Azazel’s mind as John hunted him and the demon fixated on him.”
“But what for?” Sam demanded, finding himself unable to look at the body anymore. He had failed to defend the one truly mortal friend he had and it hurt. Acheron calling him Gabriel had answered the Dark Hunters question on who and what the newcomer was but why was he here?
“To open the gates of hell and then lead the demon army in conquering humanity and freeing my annoying older brother from his cage.” Gabriel snapped and Sam swallowed, oh.
“The demon blood would leave Dean more open to influencing and able to control the army without being vulnerable himself to the normal methods of protection.” Ash leant back in the chair that had been provided. Not a bad plan, though it could have used some work. Why infect so many if you only need one? To get the best of the lot? All he had to do was take and raise the child, train it to be the best. Ash glanced over at the bed, if he was to bring Dean back it had to be soon but would the boy end up being a threat to humanity? He had shown some abilities already, would he succumb to the blood that ran through his veins?
“Yep.” The angel agreed and then got up and moved to stand over the body before looking at Sam. “You aren’t like most of your kind. I’ve seen a few over the centuries but you…there’s none of the rage that most carry. Instead you lock yourself away. So why come after him?”
Sam hesitated, the angel was right. Outside of his families descendants he had simply stayed away from anything that could make him live and feel. So why had he let Dean in? “Because he’s my friend.” And Bobby would hate him if he just left Dean to die too. “He matters.”
Gabriel smiled, knowing it was the best he would get for now. He put his hand on Dean’s forehead and let his Grace flow, healing all the damage dealt by the blade. Then he reached further, pulling Dean’s soul back into the body and anchoring it inside. He hesitated and then took it one step further, letting his Grace infuse Dean’s body and soul, feeling the demonic blood boil away under the onslaught even as Dean’s body became sturdier, harder to injure. If the boy was going to hang around Dark Hunter then he would need the advantages he was gifting him.
Sam flinched back as the room flashed with white light and then blinked and looked around in confusion. This was his house, more specifically the guestroom he’d set aside for Dean despite the hunter being long gone. He took a deep breath and then looked at the bed only to stare with wide eyes at the breathing body upon it. He moved closer and reached out to touch Dean, feeling the warmth of his skin. “Dean?”
Chapter 12: ch12
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dean’s head moved restlessly on the pillow before his eyes slowly flickered open to find a familiar figure leaning over him.
“Dean? Please answer me.”
Why did Sam sound so worried? What had happened? He couldn’t remember, everything was fuzzy. “S...” He coughed. “Sam.”
Sam smiled as Dean finally answered him. His eyes were still the brilliant green he remembered, he had his soul even though he’d been dead for a while. “Hey. How do you feel?” He sat down on the bed beside Dean and checked his pulse.
“I…I don’t remember. What happened? Where…” Dean was getting agitated and Sam hushed him gently.
“You’re at my place, back in New Orleans. You’re safe Dean, the demon after you is dead.” How was he meant to tell Dean he’d been dead?
Dean frowned in confusion. He...he’d been in a diner, how did he get here?
“Don’t push it Dean. You need to rest. The memories will come in time if they’re meant to.” Sam brushed Dean’s hair back from his face, it’d had gotten a bit longer and messier since last he’d seen him. Looked like Dean hadn’t been doing much to look after his appearance.
“Sure it’s dead?”
“Positive. I saw the demon die.” Sam smiled as he saw Dean fighting sleep. “Just rest, I’ll be here.” He doubted Ash would complain over him taking a night or two to make sure Dean really was okay. Dean slowly succumbed to sleep and Sam went to get something to eat and a book.
Ash looked at the bed and chair that were now empty and then at the archangel with a raised eyebrow and the angel shrugged. “Figured Dean would prefer waking up without a large audience.”
“You brought him back.”
“Yep. All healed and with his soul, even burnt out that pesky demonic issue and gave him a few…surprises. If he’s going to be hanging around you boys he’s going to need an advantage now his demonic gifts are gone.”
“Why? What do you get out of this?”
“Fun. Not to mention causing my siblings a migraine. Besides, Dean would have been a great Trickster is his Dad hadn’t tried to beat the humour out of him. He didn’t deserve to end up stuck in the middle of my idiot families plans. And...I may have messed with him a bit a few years back.”
“So this is your way of apologising to him. Artemis won’t allow him to stay around.” Ash warned and Gabriel smirked.
“I’d like to see her try something. About time she got knocked down a peg or five.”
Ash stared in shock, just what had the angel done to Dean? But Gabriel just vanished rather than explain.
Dean woke up again later that night to find Sam sitting beside him reading a book. “Hey.”
Sam put his book down and smiled. “Hey, how do you feel?”
Dean frowned in thought. “Hungry.”
“I’ll get you something.” Sam left the room and came back with a tray a while later, there was juice, scrambled eggs and toast. “Thought we should start with something easy to digest.”
Dean sat up and inhaled the scent of hot fresh food but why did he need something easy? “Sam please, tell me what happened.” He took a mouthful of toast.
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Being in a diner……..she screamed….I don’t know.”
Sam nodded and sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “Ash and I found you in a ghost town, you’d been in a fight and then…this guy came up behind you and he, he killed you Dean.”
“What? No, that’s crazy. I’m not dead Sam.”
“Not anymore.” Sam agreed.
He sighed. “Well the demon showed up and then died, an archangel killed it and then took us from the town to a room. There was talking and then he did something to you. Next thing I knew we were here.”
Dean just stared at him in shock. He had been dead? He swallowed and then his hand moved to his lower back as a vague memory of pain emerged. “He…he stabbed me.” He whispered and Sam nodded.
“There was nothing I could do, it happened too fast. I’m sorry Dean.”
“It’s not your fault Sam.” It wasn’t. He should never have turned his back on Jake. He was starting to remember what had happened. “So you got the message Andy managed to send on where we were.”
“You remember now?”
“Mostly, I think.” Dean shrugged and went back to eating.
“Dean why did you run? We could have protected you.”
“Sam that thing snatched me out of a crowded diner and killed everyone inside. Imagine if that had happened in a city? It burnt your house down to get to me, I couldn’t put you in danger.”
“I don’t want to argue with you Dean. I just….I’m glad you’re alive.”
“Me too.” Dean smiled shakily at him. “Hey, you’re not at work?”
“Well Ash isn’t here and considering what happened I doubt he’ll say anything.”
“Just don’t get in trouble over me, please.”
Ash walked into Sam’s place and smiled as he heard laughter coming from the room Sam had done up for Dean. He walked to the doorway and looked in to see Dean sitting up in bed with Sam sitting beside him. It was good to see Dean alive and relaxed. The last time he’d seen the kid alive he had been very tense and scared. Should he tell him what Gabriel had said about making it so he would have a chance in their world? Or let him discover it for himself?
“Ash? Is everything okay?” Sam called, seeing his friend.
“Yeah. How do you feel Dean?”
“Weird knowing I was dead.” Dean shrugged. “And mother-Sam here won’t let me out of bed.”
Ash chuckled. “I don’t blame him Dean. You vanished and then died. You should take it easy for a while.”
“Teaming up is no fair.”
“You really feel fine?”
“Yeah. Why? Is something wrong?”
“Ash?” Sam straightened in alarm.
“Gabriel and I talked after you left. He managed to remove the demon blood from you Dean.”
“He….I’m normal?” Dean asked hopefully and Ash hesitated, he could say yes. Give Dean some hope for a while but….it wasn’t right.
“He thought that if you are going to be around Sam then you needed to be able to protect yourself better. I’m not sure what he did exactly but I’d guess he at least toughened you up physically.”
“Oh.” Dean closed his eyes. There went that hope. “So why do I need to be better if I’m around Sam? Can I finally know?”
Sam looked at Acheron who stared at Dean for a while before sitting down to explain just what they were.
Chapter 13: ch13
Disclaimer: Not mine
Sam glanced at Ash, he wanted Dean to know and understand, he was tired of hiding the truth from him. Acheron considered it, Gabriel’s words weighing heavily in favour of the truth so he nodded. “Have you ever heard the term Dark Hunter?” He asked and Dean considered it before shaking his head. “When someone is wronged and dying from an act of betrayal or brutal treachery, their soul makes a scream that echoes through the mountains of Olympus. When Artemis hears that sound, she goes to the one who made it and makes a pact. For an Act of Vengeance against the ones who wronged them, they will swear their fealty to her service and will spend the rest of eternity hunting down and slaying Daimons, protecting humanity. Because each Dark-Hunter is so different, so are their powers. Their psychic abilities and physical powers hinge on what they were in their lives. A Dark-Hunter who was a general who could easily predict an enemy might now have mind reading. The only thing the Dark-Hunters have in common is that they all have fangs, and almost all of them have black eyes. There is also bow-and-arrow mark on the spot where Artemis took their soul. It is possible for a Dark Hunter to be freed from service and regain their soul but it is rare to find a love strong enough to work. If a Dark-Hunter dies without their soul they become a Shade, doomed to wonder the world, unseen and unheard, forever thirsty and hungry.” Acheron basically quoted the Squires Handbook to the young hunter who listened in shock, eyes glancing between them especially when eye colour was mentioned.
“You died?” Dean asked, staring at Sam who nodded.
“You have to die for Artemis to claim your soul. You haven’t seen my mark because it is on my lower back.”
Dean nodded and then frowned. “What’s a Daimon?”
“Descendants of Apollo who he cursed for killing his Mistress and their child. Daimons were originally Apollites. In order to extend their life cycle past the twenty-seventh year and avoid an unbearably torturous death, they choose to siphon human souls. However, a human soul starts to die as soon as it is eaten by the Daimon, causing them to replenish every few weeks. Once the human soul dies it is forever gone. This is one of the reasons the Dark-Hunters were created: to hunt down Daimons before the ingested soul fully erodes into nothingness.” Acheron explained and Dean shivered in disgust. How could anyone chose to do that just to extend their life?
Dean looked from Sam to Ash again, confused. “You’re both Dark Hunters? But you can be in the sun and your eyes are silver.”
Ash nodded, it didn’t take a person as smart as Dean to see the differences but he couldn’t bare to tell the full truth. “I was the first Artemis made.”
Dean’s eyes widened. “Sam said he was 18th Dynasty…how….I mean…” He winced but Ash chuckled.
“I can tell you that Atlantis once existed and that it was the gods who destroyed it.”
Atlantis? That was a myth…..except apparently it wasn’t. “You’re Atlantean?” He whispered and Ash nodded. Wow, that was just mind blowing incredible. “Feeling really young now.”
“Perhaps, but not inexperienced.” The first Dark Hunter smiled at him. He stood up and grabbed his ever present backpack. “You should both rest, I’ll cover for you for a few days Sam.”
Dean sat in the small backyard, enjoying the sun even as he tried to come to terms with everything he had learnt since….well since dying. It was strange knowing and even remembering dying, though what came after was blank, and even stranger to know it was an angel that had brought him back and removed the blood that had tainted him. Instead he’d been altered by the angel which was still creepy. He’d noticed his senses seemed better, he could hear and see more than he could before. And his strength now matched Sam’s as proven by their armwrestling contest which had ended in a tie. Was that all it, he, had done? Something told him it wasn’t.
As if that wasn’t enough he’d finally learnt the truth about Sam and his friends, Sam had gone into more detail since Ash had left them. Were-Hunters, Daimons, Squires….it was just so unbelievable. Daimons seemed similar to vampires but smarter and he guessed Were-Hunters could be equated with werewolves but they were way too different for that to work. How could a whole second supernatural world hide form normal people and hunters? Or did some hunters know?
It was just so overwhelming tot ry and accept everything, to work it out and accept. It was good knowing the demon was dead and he was free but that wouldn’t stop John. Once he made his mind up nothing could change it. Gabriel himself could tell John that Dean no longer held demonic blood and the man wouldn’t believe it. Sooner or later he would track him down to kill him. It would end up kill or be killed and despite everything Dean didn’t know if he could do it. Did he want to? To kill a human…..he’d never done it before and the idea made him feel sick. But he also didn’t want to die, not now. He had friends now, people he cared about and who would miss him, it didn’t matter if they weren’t human, they had been once after all. But then so had a lot of what he hunted. The difference was that even without their souls the Dark-Hunters still fought for humanity.
Finding out the various Pantheons existed was strange and more than a little worrying. But in a way it was easier to accept than angels. He’d run into a lot of ‘pagan’ things over the years. Though he did not like Artemis from what he had learnt so far. And what Sam left out made him think that she was responsible for the injuries he’d helped Ash with. Frankly, she seemed to be a bitch. The thought of her punishing Sam or Ash because of him scared him and pissed him off. He wouldn’t let anyone be hurt because of him. Just thinking about it made his chest feel tight and sort of hot which was weird.
Dean started as a hand came to rest on his shoulder and he blinked, realising the sun had set. “You okay?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, just thinking.” Dean looked up at Sam and smiled, making Sam smile in return.
“Well come inside and eat.” He held his hand out and Dean took it, letting him pull him to his feet.
“You going out tonight?”
“Yeah. I need to get back to work before anyone notices.”
“You’ll be careful?”
“Been doing this for a very long time Dean.”
“So? Accidents happen.”
“True.” Sam set out the plates of pasta and salad before sitting at the table with Dean. Sam considered it and then shrugged. “Want to come?”
“You mean it?” Dean asked in shock.
“Best way to test what you can do now and you already know how to fight. You prefer guns so all you have to do is shoot through the heart though watch their speed.”
“I…yeah. I’ll come.” Dean grinned and Sam grinned back. They finished eating and then went to gear up, Dean favouring guns but also taking a good sized machete as back up while Sam took one of the standard retractable swords and some other blades. They left the house and Sam drove into the heart of the city to show Dean his world.
Chapter 14: ch14
Disclaimer: Not mine
Dean ducked and then spun, machete slicing through flesh easily and he watched as his opponent dissolved into nothingness. That was new, at least he wouldn’t have to worry about a body being found or having to salt and burn it. He glanced over at Sam to find his opponent dead, Sam watching him with a small smile. “What?”
Dean just shrugged. He was an okay fighter, he was a better shot though. “Sun up soon, we heading in?” He asked instead and Sam nodded.
“Yeah. So how do you feel after your first Daimon hunt?”
“Pretty good actually.” That was odd, considering he’d been shoved into a brick wall. “Not sore at all.”
“I’ll still take a look at your back.”
“You just want to get my shirt off.” Dean teased and Sam laughed.
“Maybe.” He smirked. Neither noticed the man watching as they got in Sam’s car and returned home. Sam had Dean sit on a stool and pulled his shirt off to find no bruising or marks. Sam ran his hand down the bare skin, making Dean shiver slightly, the skin was warmer than normal but that was it. “Not even a scratch.” He commented softly.
“Guess that’s the extra toughness?” Dean offered and Sam nodded.
“Looks like it.” He offered Dean his shirt back but Dean left it off.
“Gonna grab a shower and then sleep.” He stood and stretched and Sm forced himself to look away.
“Alright, see you in the morning.” Sam headed for his room to shower as well. What was wrong with him?
He kept watch on the house, seeing the two men come and go, the stranger only at night which was interesting. Dean had grown stronger it seemed, walking with confidence, even laughing. It wasn’t right, how dare he. It was time to finish things. Rumour had reached him of the demon’s death but that didn’t matter. This tainted thing needed to die as well, it was all his fault after all. Then Mary could rest in peace.
Dean left the house and headed into the Quarter, looking at the various stalls. He stopped by one selling art and then blinked at the man with the seller. “Talon?”
Talon looked at the person calling his name and then smiled. “Good to see you up and walking.”
Dean shrugged. “Thanks to you.” He looked at a piece of pottery.
“All made by my wife, Sunshine.” He stated proudly.
“Been married long?”
“We got married about two weeks before I met you.”
“I’m glad you’re back, Sam was worried about you.”
“Yeah…” Dean hesitated. “So how do you.” Dean cut off at the sudden burning pain in his chest. He looked down in shock to see red spreading across his shirt before he coughed up blood, legs giving way.
“Dean!” Talon grabbed him, hauling him back between buildings, eyes tracking to find the shooter. The shot had been silent, a sniper, and thankfully no one else had noticed. It was a good thing Selene and Sunshine had gone to lunch together, leaving him to mind the carts. He gently lowered Dean to the ground, applying pressure to the wound even as he yanked his phone out. Only one shot had been fired which meant Dean was the target. “Ash, Sam’s friend Dean’s been shot by a sniper.” Before he could say more Acheron was in the small alley with them.
Dean was gasping for air and coughing blood, obviously in pain as Ash knelt beside him. He looked at the wound in surprise, that shot would have killed a human within seconds and yet Dean was still alive. A hand came up to weakly grip his arm. “Easy Dean. You’re luck sucks.” He commented, two fatal wounds only days apart? What were the odds? He gently removed the bullet and watched as Dean began to heal.
Talon blinked in shock at the sight. It was obviously a new development since he’d had to heal Dean’s leg for him. Just what had happened during his year missing? He watched as Dean’s breathing eased and the pain faded.
“Ash?” Dean asked dazedly and Ash pulled him up.
“Talon get him to Sam’s place. I’m going after the shooter.” With that he vanished and Talon wrapped an arm around Dean’s waist after doing the younger man’s jacket up to cover the blood, calling a taxi since there was no way Dean was with it enough to hold onto the bike. During the drive, he called his wife to let her know he’d had to leave due to an old work emergency. Once they arrived he helped Dean out and up to the house, getting the door unlocked and helping him inside. A minute later a sleepy, armed, Sam appeared and stared in horror at Dean’s blood-soaked shirt.
Acheron saw the man who had attempted to kill Dean and realised immediately who he was, John Winchester. The man had just attempted to assassinate his own son, if not for Gabriel’s gift or quick intervention from him or Talon, Dean would be dead. And why? Because the man had fallen for a Demon’s plan and believed his son to be evil incarnate. He even blamed the boy for his Mother’s death. To see how he had raised Dean made Ash feel rage. Thankfully the abuse hadn’t become sexual but he had harmed Dean in nearly every other way possible. No wonder Dean had run rather than ask for their help against the demon. The man was making for an old black Impala and it was easy to disable the car and walk up to the man, he would not kill him, but he would ensure his punishment and he knew just the being to do it. He grabbed John and before the man could react they vanished from the street and reappeared in an apartment somewhere.
“Wasn’t expecting to see…. oh, well isn’t this a nice surprise.” Gabriel commented. “What happened?”
“He found Dean and shot him. He actually believed the story the demon put around about Dean.”
Gabriel snorted. “Of course, he did. No one ever said John here could think for himself.” He sneered at the restrained mortal. “The demon is dead, I killed it. Despite everything you did and all the temptation offered him, Dean never turned and he paid the ultimate price for it. I burned the demonic blood from his body and gifted him, he is one of mine now and I will defend him. Maybe I should introduce myself. Gabriel, Archangel and Messenger.”
Ash let Gabriel with John. Having a claim on Dean meant he could deal with him as he pleased. “I’ll leave you to it.”
“Thank you for bringing him. Dean healed?”
“Once I removed the bullet. He was a bit dazed, shock and blood loss probably.”
Gabriel nodded. “Now what to do with you John.” He smirked and Ash left him to it.
Sam rushed into the room as he heard screaming to find Dean thrashing and still asleep. He got on the bed and gently ran his fingers through the sweat dampened blonde hair. “It’s alright Dean, you’re safe.” He soothed and soon fear laced green eyes opened, the fear fading as he focused on Sam, panting softly for air.
“I’m here, you’re safe.” He whispered and Dean curled closer, seeking comfort. The last three days Dean had woken every time with screaming nightmares. Memories of John’s abuse, the demon, and who knew what else. Even with the little he knew, he didn’t blame Dean. His own Father had tried to kill him and that had to have a massive affect.
“I hate him.” Dean whispered and Sam shifted to lie beside him, pulling him close and Dean let him.
“So, do I.” Sam admitted, he’d never even met the man but his actions had been enough. Every time Dean was getting over things something new came up and pushed back his mental and emotional recovery. Hopefully this attack would be the last and Dean could recover fully.
“Yes.” Sam agreed, tightening his grip slightly and Dean closed his eyes, trying to sleep again.
A week later Sam led Dean into Sanctuary, they both needed a way to blow off some steam safely. A few beers, a game of pool, good food, what more could they ask for? They sat in a booth and ordered, Sam watching the crowd, picking out several Apollites who eyed him warily.
“This isn’t just a bar, is it?” Dean asked, looking around and Sam realised he could pick out the non-humans in the crowd, even if he might not know what they were.
“The name Sanctuary is literal. It’s run by were-hunters so the warning about peace or pieces is literal. No violence is allowed within a Sanctuary.” He explained as their drinks were delivered. Dean nodded, that was very good to know. Knowing there was the ultimate safe place in the city was good. Their food was delivered and they ate hungrily, Sam would have to patrol later but for now they could have fun.
Chapter 15: ch15
Disclaimer: not mine
Sorry for the very long wait.
Sam grinned as he pinned Dean to the training room floor only to find their positions suddenly reversed. He pushed up, trying to shift Dean, put he was well and truly restrained, he increased the strength in his pushing and yet nothing. Dean was no physically the stronger of the two of them. “Give,” he finally said, relaxing, and Dean got up, offering him a hand which he took. Dean needed to know just how much he’d been changed by Gabriel and Sam was quite willing to help him test it out. He’d survived a bullet to the heart after all, what else had changed? Better to find out under controlled circumstances than in the field.
Dean sat at the bar in Sanctuary, listening to the Howlers as he waited for Sam. Biker bars weren’t really his scene but having a safe place to relax made it worth it, and the food was pretty good. He could feel it now….the others here, that they weren’t human. He wished he could meet Gabriel to ask what the hell he’d done to him…well, he probably wouldn’t use that name around an actual angel. It was funny, accepting pagan gods was easier than angels, despite the fact he hunted demons.
It looked like Daimon activity was picking up which wasn’t good for the locals or tourists. He’d taken to helping out, patrolling separately to Sam and then meeting up with him for a final sweep for the night. So far, nothing had been said about him living with Sam, nothing from the Squire Council or Artemis. Ash wouldn’t say anything and had even suggested putting Dean on the payroll to ensure no one tried anything but for now they were holding off on that. However, his criminal record had been dealt with which was wonderful. He could now get a job, go back to school, catch a plane (not that he ever would, he hated flying), anything any other normal citizen could.
“Need a refill?”
Dean looked up and smiled at Cherise Gautier. “Sure, thanks.” He liked her; she was a great lady. Sam had introduced him to her son, Nick, a Squire. He sipped the bear, grinning when Sam walked in, waving at him. Sam walked over and took the seat next to him, nodding when Cherise passed him a bottle. They stayed for a while before heading out for their last round of the night.
"Die, Daimon snot!" she snarled at him an instant before she stabbed him straight in the chest. She pulled the dagger out instantly.
Valerius hissed and staggered back as pain ripped through his heart. He clutched at his chest, unable to think past the agony of it.
Tabitha bit her lip in terror as she saw the man recoil and not explode into dust. "Oh, shit," she breathed, rushing to his side. "Please tell me you're some screwed-up Dark-Hunter and that I didn't just kill an accountant or lawyer," she begged as he hit the street hard.
Tabitha rolled him over onto his back and checked his breathing. His eyes were partially opened, but he wasn't speaking. He held his jaw clamped firmly shut as he groaned deep in his throat. Terrified, she still wasn't sure who she had mistakenly stabbed. Her heart hammering, she pulled up his turtle-neck to see the nasty-looking stab wound in the centre of his chest. And then she saw what she had hoped for...
He had a bow and arrow brand above his right hipbone.
"Oh, thank God," she breathed as relief poured through her. He was in fact a Dark-Hunter and not some unfortunate human. She grabbed her phone and called Acheron to let him know one of his men had been hurt, but he didn't answer.
So she started dialling her sister Amanda until her common sense returned. There were only four Dark-Hunters in this city. Ash who led them. Shemu'el, an ancient Egyptian who she hadn’t met though she’d heard about him and this man was too tall for him. The former pirate captain, Jean-Luc. And...
Valerius Magnus. He was one of only two of the Dark-Hunters in New Orleans she didn't know personally. And he was the mortal enemy of her brother-in-law.
She hit the cancel button on her phone. Kyrian would kill this man in a heartbeat and bring the wrath of Artemis down fully upon his head. In return, the goddess would kill Kyrian for it and that was the last thing Tabitha wanted. Her sister would die if anything happened to her husband.
Come to think of it, if half of what Kyrian said about this man and his family was true, she should just leave him here and let him die.
But then Ash would never forgive her if she did that to one of his men. Besides she couldn't leave him here, not even she was that heartless. Like it or not, he had saved her life and she was honour-bound to return the favour.
Tabitha scrolled through the contacts until she found the number she was looking for and hit dial.
“Hello?” an unfamiliar voice asked.
“Is this Shemu'el?” she asked, hoping it was him.
“Who is this?”
“Tabitha Devereaux, my brother-in-law is Kyrian of Thrace and Ash is a friend. I'm in the old courtyard off Royal Street with a man down and I need help. Since you answered your phone, Ash gave me the number, I have to assume it’s Valerius. I uh…may have mistaken him for a Daimon,” she explained quickly, dawn wasn’t that far away.
“I won’t make it in time to get the two of us to safety. Did you call Ash?”
“Alright, I’m sending a friend. Don’t stab him, he’s blonde but not a Daimon.” With that he hung up and she put her phone away before bending to drag Valerius deeper into the shadows. Hopefully, he would really send help and not leave Valerius for the sun.
Ten minutes later she heard a car pull in and someone get out, soft, deliberate footsteps approaching. “I’m not a Daimon so please don’t stab me,” a male voice called out. “Shemu'el sent me.” He stepped into sight and she knew why she’d been warned. He was tall and blonde, though his eyes were green, and he was dressed in jeans and a leather jacket. He was attractive but…not quite to the level of an Apollite or Daimon. Something about him felt…different, but not evil. So she stepped into view and he nodded. “Miss Devereaux?”
“Tabitha,” she corrected.
“Dean, let’s get him to safety before he ends up extra crispy,” he offered, and she moved to show him where Valerius lay. Dean knelt down and winced when he saw the hole in his shirt.
“Are you a Squire?” she asked as he got his hands under Valerius’ shoulders and heaved him up.
“Not exactly,” he answered as they moved to the waiting car. “Where are we taking him? Sam didn’t know his address.”
“Sam?” She asked in confusion.
“Unlike some, Shemu'el can move with the times. Samuel is a more modern version of his name.”
“Huh, not stark in the dark ages huh?” She grinned and Dean laughed.
“Try 18th Dynasty.”
“Wow, not my area. I studied Greece and Rome, so did most of my family with an interest in history.”
“I haven’t studied any of them,” he shrugged as he hauled him into the car. “So, location? Can’t take him home with me, he and Sam will drain each other.”
“Guess that leaves my place, I have a shop on Bourbon Street with rooms above.”
“Okay, get in,” he got in and she followed into the front passenger seat. Dean drove over, having to use the street behind since Bourbon was closed to traffic after dark. The horizon was beginning to lighten as she opened the door and led the way upstairs, quickly closing all the blinds. Dean lay him on the bed and yanked his shoes off. Valerius groaned, eyes fluttering open slightly. “Easy, you’re safe, well I think,” Dean glanced up at her and she sighed.
“I promise, I won’t stab him again,” she rolled her eyes and Dean nodded.
“Alright, what about his Squire?”
“Not answering. He can spend the day here and head home once the sun’s down. Thanks…for the help.”
“No problem,” he glanced around. “Got a pen and paper?” he asked, and she grabbed some, watching him write. “My number, call me if you need anything.”
“Why were you and Sam willing to help him, none of the others will.”
“As Sam put it, the past is the past, it doesn’t matter now. Egypt, Greece, Rome, they’re all long gone and holding a grudge over things that are literally ancient history. Besides, I read the handbook, Valerius wasn’t even ten when Kyrian died, there was nothing he could have done.”
“I see…well thanks for the help.”
Valerius would never understand this woman or her strangeness. In the back of his mind was an image of Tabitha in the slinky black negligee he'd found under her pillow. The image haunted him. "I would love to go home with you, Tabitha," he said. "But I can't right now. I have to do my job."
She smiled, then kissed him again so passionately that it made his entire body sizzle. Pulling back, she breathed in his ear. "And that makes me want you even more." He shivered as she delivered one long, sensuous lick to his lobe. "When the dawn comes, I'm going to make you scream in pleasure."
His groin jerked in eager anticipation. "Promise?" The word was out before he could stop it.
She took a step back and let her hand fall from his face to his chest where she traced a path to his belt. He burned in the wake of her touch. "Oh yeah, baby," she said teasingly. "I intend to squeeze you until you pop."
That thought alone was enough to turn his blood into lava. He couldn't suppress the fantasy of Tabitha's long legs wrapped around his hips, her body warm and wet as she welcomed him in. He pulled her close to him so that he could kiss her even though they stood in the middle of the street. He'd never done anything so lowborn. Nor had he ever enjoyed anything more than the taste of her lips. Her spicy-sweet scent invaded his senses and made his entire body burn for her. This was going to be the longest night of his life. Taking a deep breath, he reluctantly stepped away from her. "So where should we start patrolling?"
"You're not going to try and force me home?"
"Could I?" He didn’t believe for a second she would do so if he suggested it.
"Not bloody likely."
"Then where should we start patrolling?" he asked again.
Tabitha laughed. "Aren't you a little overdressed for stalking the undead?"
"Not really. It's rather fitting, don't you think, that I should look like I'm going to a funeral?"
She laughed at his morbid sense of humour. "I suppose. Do you always wear a suit?"
"I'm most comfortable in one. I'm not really a jeans and T-shirt sort of man."
"Yeah, I imagine you look like I do whenever I have to wear a suit. Itchy." Tabitha indicated the street with a tilt of her head. "Shall we?"
"Do we have to do Bourbon? Can't we go down Chartres or Royal?"
"Bourbon's where the crowd is."
"But the Daimons like to kill over by the Cathedral." He was suddenly very uncomfortable.
"What's wrong with Bourbon Street?" she demanded warily.
"There are lots of unsavoury people there,” he responded stiffly, not wanting to get into it.
Now that offended her. "Excuse me, I live on Bourbon. So you're calling me unsavoury?"
"No. Not exactly. But you do own a sex shop."
That set off her hackles even more. "Oh! That's it. Nothing for you tonight, Count Penicula. You can go roast your own-"
"Tabitha, please. I don't like Bourbon Street."
"Fine," she said sharply as she stalked away from him. "You go that way. I'm headed this way."
Valerius clenched his teeth as she left him standing there. He truly hated to step one foot into this area. It was bright, loud, and filled with people who hated his guts. Just go. Forget her. He should. He really should, but he couldn't. Before he could stop himself, he headed off after Tabitha. By the time he caught up to her, she was already on Bourbon Street.
"What are you doing here?" she asked as he came up beside her. "I would hate to sully you."
"Tabitha, please stay with me. I didn't mean to offend you."
She turned on him with a curled lip. The instant Tabitha opened her mouth to let him have it, someone tossed a bucket of foul-smelling water from over a balcony and doused Valerius.
He went ramrod stiff while she frowned, then looked up to see Charlie, one of the doormen for the Belle Queen strip club, laughing. He set the bucket up and high-fived another man standing beside him.
"Charlie Laroux, what the hell are you doing?" Tabitha yelled up at them.
"Me?" he asked indignantly. "Since when are you hanging out with enemies? Nick done told us all about that ass-wipe and I promised Nick that if I ever caught Dick on our street again, I'd make him regret it."
Tabitha couldn't have been more stunned had Charlie slapped her. She looked at Valerius, who'd taken a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe his face while that angry tic worked in his jaw. "I swear, Charlie, if you were down here, I'd wring your neck."
"Why? You know our code, Tabby. Why you violating it?"
"Because there's nothing wrong with Val other than the fact that Nick needs to get a life. Just you wait, Charlie. I'm going to have a nice long talk with Brandy and when I finish with her, you'll be lucky if she lets you park your car in her driveway to sleep in it." Brandy was Charlie's girlfriend, a regular customer in Tabitha's shop.
Charlie went pale while she reached to take Valerius' arm. She pulled him across the street, toward her store.
"I can't believe them!" she snarled.
"It's why I hate this street," he said in an emotionless voice. "Every time I come here; I end up walking the gauntlet through Nick's friends."
"That asshole!" Tabitha had never been more furious in her life. She led him into her store and didn't even stop to chitchat with her employee. She took him upstairs to her bathroom and grabbed a towel and washcloth from the closet. "Go ahead and take a bath. I'll borrow some clothes from my roomie."
He went pale. "No offense, but silver sequins and pastels are not my style."
She smiled in spite of herself. "I won't borrow from Marla; I'll borrow from Marlon."
"Her alter ego. He doesn't visit here much, but she keeps a few of his things for whenever he feels the need to come out."
"I don't think I quite understand."
"Go bathe," she said, urging him into the room.
Valerius didn't argue. The fetid stench of the water was truly unbearable. He was just grateful that Tabitha was willing to tolerate him long enough to allow him to clean up. He'd barely stripped his clothes off and entered the shower before the door opened. Valerius froze.
"It's just me," Tabitha said from the other side of the shower curtain. "I found a pair of black slacks and sedate black shirt for you. The pants are probably a little too big in the waist, but they should be long enough. I'm not sure about the shirt. You might end up wearing one of my tees."
"Thank you," he said.
Before he realized what she was doing, the curtain opened to show her standing outside with a hungry look on her face. "You're welcome."
Valerius didn't move as he stood facing her with the hot water sliding down his spine. Her bold, intense stare made his body harden against his will.
She didn't seem to mind at all. Indeed, a small smile spread across her face.
"Do you always spy on your guests?" he asked quietly.
"Never, but I couldn't resist getting a peek at what I intend to savory later."
"Are you always this brazen?"
"No, I'm not normally quite this obnoxious and you're the last man on the planet I should be considering. But I can't seem to help myself."
Valerius reached out to touch her. She really was too good to be true. "I've never known anyone like you."
She covered his hand with hers, then turned her face to kiss his palm. "Hurry and shower. We have work to do." She pulled away and he felt her absence immediately.
What was it about her? Unwilling to think about it, he quickly bathed, then dressed. He found Tabitha in her bedroom, sitting in the chair and flipping through one of her books.
Tabitha looked up as she felt Valerius' presence. He stood silently in the doorway. He appeared to be completely in his element, except for the clothes that didn't quite fit. Getting up, she offered him a kind smile. Once she reached him, she unbuttoned the cuffs of the sleeves that were a little too short for his arms and rolled them back on his forearms. Then she untucked his shirt.
"I know it's not your style, but it looks much better this way."
"Are you certain?"
He looked delectable. "Oh yeah."
He held a long, retractable sword in his hand. "The only problem is if I don't have long sleeves, I can't wear this."
Tabitha sucked her breath in at the quality of his weapon. "Very nice piece of work. Is it Kell's?" she asked. Kell was a Dark-Hunter stationed out in Dallas who made a lot of the heavy weapons the Dark-Hunters used.
"No," he said with a deep breath. "Kell doesn't deal with anyone from Rome."
He took the weapon from her. "He's from Dacia and his people waged war against mine. He and his brothers were captured and taken to Rome to be gladiators. Two thousand years later, he's still rather upset at all of us."
"Okay, I've had it with this. Why doesn't Ash stop them from treating all of you like dirt?"
"How can he stop it?"
"Beat some sense into them?"
"It wouldn't work. My brethren and I have learned to just leave the rest of them alone. We're few in number and there's no need in even arguing."
Tabitha growled. "Fine, let them all rot then. Though you should know, when I stabbed you I called the only other Dark Hunter I could, and he sent a friend to help get you back here. Shemu'el said the grudges between Greeks and Romans are stupid basically. His friend Dean seems to agree. I agree with them.”
He was shocked by that; he had wondered how she had gotten him to the store. Knowing that another Hunter had sent aid when none ever had before. He hadn’t exactly been polite the first time they met…though Shemu'el had aided him in that fight. He shrugged it off, they needed to get to work, he could consider things later. Valerius placed his sword on her dresser and left it there before the two of them went back outside.
Tabitha quickly led him away from the sidewalks so that no one else could toss a bucket at them and kept her arm wrapped around his. "You know, I don't see how you can do your duties with Zarek taking pot-shots at you from Olympus and the rest of the losers on the street gunning for you."
"I learned quickly to avoid Bourbon Street and leave it for Talon or now Jean-Luc to patrol while I take the areas where no one knows Nick," he admitted stiffly.
"And Zarek?" She pressed. He didn't comment. They turned down Dumaine Street. Neither spoke. They hadn't gone far when Tabitha felt a weird sensation whip through her. "Daimons," she whispered, unaware she had spoken until Valerius let go of her.
He pulled a dagger from his pocket as he turned around in the street as if trying to catch a scent. There was nothing.
Tabitha could feel the evil presence, but she couldn't pinpoint it either.
Something whistled before an unexpected wind danced down the street. It carried the sound of faint, maniacal laughter. "Tabitha..."
Her blood ran cold at the sound of her name whispered out of darkness.
"We're coming for you, little girl." The laughter echoed loudly, then faded into nothing.
Terrified, Tabitha couldn't breathe.
"Where are you?" Valerius called. No one answered. Valerius wrapped Tabitha in his arms as he reached out with every sense he possessed, but could find no trace of who or what had spoken.
Valerius turned sharply at the sound of a voice directly behind him.
It wasn't human. Nor was it Daimon. It was a spirit. A ghost. It opened its mouth as if to scream, then evaporated into an eerie mist that ran over and through her, leaving her body completely cold. It was as if something had actually brushed her soul.
Valerius could feel Tabitha shaking, but to her credit, she didn't scream or lose control of herself.
"Is it gone?" she asked.
"I think so." At least he no longer felt it.
"What was that thing?" she asked with a tiny trace of hysteria in her voice.
"I'm not sure. Did you recognize it or the voice?"
She shook her head.
A human scream rang out.
Valerius let go of her so that he could run toward the sound. He knew Tabitha was right behind him and he made sure he kept her there. The last thing he wanted was to leave her behind for that thing to attack. It didn't take long to reach the small, dark alcove where the scream had originated. Unfortunately, they were too late. A body lay on the street in a heap.
"Stay back," he told Tabitha as he inched closer to it.
Tabitha started to argue, but didn't really want to see what was obvious. To be honest, she'd seen more than her share of dead bodies.
Valerius knelt down and felt for a pulse. "He's dead," he said.
Tabitha crossed herself, then glanced away. As her gaze touched on the building, she frowned. There on the old faded brick was bloody Greek writing. Tabitha could speak the language, but couldn't read the Greek words. "Do you know what that says?"
Valerius looked up. His face turned to stone. "It says, 'Death to those who meddle.'"
As soon as he read it, the words vanished. She swallowed as a new wave of panic swept through her. "What is going on here, Val?"
"I don't know," he said before he pulled out his phone and called Tate, the parish coroner who was a long-time friend of the Dark-Hunters.
"I'm surprised Tate will talk to you," she said after Valerius hung up.
"He doesn't like me, but after Ash had a talk with him, he's learned to tolerate me." Valerius re-joined her. "We better go before Tate arrives with the police."
"Yeah," she said, feeling sick to her stomach. "Do you think we should call Ash and tell him what happened?"
"We don't really know what happened. There wasn't enough time for a Daimon to kill him and steal his soul."
"So what does that mean?"
"Have you or your sister conjured up anything?"
"No!" she said indignantly. "We know better."
"Well, something seems to have your number, Tabitha, and until we find out what it is, I don't think I should let you out of my sight."
Tabitha couldn't agree more. In all honesty, she didn't want to be out of his sight. Not if that... thing was going to come back. "Tell me something, Val. Are Dark-Hunters any good against ghosts?"
"Not a damn bit. In fact, if we're not careful, we can become possessed by them."
She went cold at his words. "Are you telling me that if that spook comes back, he could take you over?"
Valerius nodded. "And God help you and the rest of this city if it does."
Dean winced in sympathy as he carefully cleaned the wound on Sam’s shoulder and back where he’d been cut by a sword. “I thought you said Mardi Gras was the crazy time?”
“These Daimons are different,” Sam admitted as Dean finished. “These ones aren’t running from us.”
“Yeah, I noticed,” Dean admitted. He was glad he was no longer mostly human or else he’d be a lot more injured than Sam. “They’re faster and stronger too, with training.”
“I’ve got a really bad feeling Dean, there is something very wrong with what’s happening. Something evil.”
“I know,” Dean whispered. “I…I can feel it, like something cold. Guess that’s the advantage to being brought back by an angel. Something really wants a lot of people dead.”
“They’re hitting us from every side they can, wearing us down.”
“If these were the usual weaklings I’d say slip word to hunters through Bobby about some mutant vampires or something. But not with these things.” They could use the extra manpower, but human hunters would get killed since they couldn’t tell them exactly what they were facing. “Come on, you need to get some sleep to heal.” Dean urged Sam to his bedroom to sleep for the day.
Sam stripped down and Dean got him settled, sitting down on the edge of the bed when Sam grabbed his wrist. “Stay?” he mumbled, already falling asleep and Dean kicked his shoes off, lying on top of the sheet to get some rest as well.
Sam paused as Ash’s phone rang, nodding when Dean put a mug of coffee down beside him. He couldn’t be addicted to anything, but he still enjoyed coffee. Dean leant against the counter with his own mug, the gash on his face healing before their eyes, the fact it was still healing half an hour later proved how bad it had been. They both saw Ash jerk in surprise and then Dean yelped as the counter was gone from behind him and Sam stumbled as he went from sitting to standing.
“"What?" Ash asked and Sam recognised Valerius, which made the woman Tabitha.
Tabitha froze for a second as she realized what Ash had just done. He really was scary at times. She hung up the phone again and repeated everything, including details about the ghost they'd seen the night before.
Ash got a faraway look in his eyes, tilting his head as if listening to someone.
"Can you see her death?" she asked him.
Ash stood there, his heart thumping wildly as he tried to clear the mist that surrounded Amanda and Kyrian's future. He saw nothing. He heard nothing. Dammit. It was why he did his best never to let anyone too close to him. Anytime he allowed himself to care about someone or they were a part of his own future, he was blind to their destinies. There was nothing but blackness where Kyrian and Amanda were concerned, and he hated that most of all.
"Talk to me, Ash."
He looked back at Tabitha and heard and felt the fear and panic in her mind. Her thoughts that rambled as she sought a comfort he couldn't give. Even her future was forbidden to him now. "Her destiny was to be happy," he said quietly. But the key word to that statement was ‘was’. Free will could, and often did, alter fate. What had changed? Something must have and Amanda had glimpsed it in her sleep. He held enough belief in Amanda's powers not to doubt her in the least If she foresaw their deaths, then it was a likely outcome unless he could find the cause and change it before it was too late. “Are you getting anything Sam?” he looked to one of the best of his men at sensing the future other than himself. Ash closed his eyes as he let himself feel the minds of the humans. He searched for what could possibly change Amanda's fate, but he found nothing. Nothing. Dammit!
Sam closed his eyes focusing his powers, trying to find anything. he opened his eyes and looked at Tabitha. “I need to touch your hand please, you’re twins right?” he asked, and Tabitha nodded, glancing at Ash who nodded so she held out her hand to him and Sam took it. Sam frowned as he focused all his talents on getting some sort of read on what would happen. Precognition, Clairsentience and Presentience when used together could give him a lot of information. “There’s danger centred on the whole family…especially the twins…something so angry at them…at Kyrian…dead but not dead…” Sam shook his head as he lost it, letting go of her hand and stepping back.
Dean forcing the coffee he’d still been holding into his hands. Dean tended to dump sugar in his and Sam could use it, he looked wiped. Sam leant against Dean, feeling his powers draining due to Valerius.
"Tell me exactly what happened last night," Ash said to Tabitha. Tabitha related the whole scene with the ghost while Valerius filled in a few details. "Urian!" Ash called, summoning his Spathi contact.
Tabitha frowned. Ash was acting very strange and she could sense his worry. "Who's Urian?"
Before she finished the question another tall, insanely handsome man appeared in her kitchen. Dressed in black leather pants and a black shirt, he had white-blond hair and blue eyes.
He looked less than pleased as he narrowed those baby blues on Ash. "Don't take that tone of voice with me, Ash. I don't care who you are, I don't like it."
"Like it or not, I need to know what the Spathis are up to. More precisely, I need to know if Desiderius is back on the playing field."
Horror filled her.
Urian curled his lip. "Why are you worried about him? Des is a punk."
"Desiderius is dead," Tabitha said emphatically. "Kyrian killed him."
Urian scoffed. "Yeah, and I'm the Easter Bunny-see my fluffy tail? You don't just kill a Spathi, little girl. All you do is take him out of commission for a while."
"Bullshit!" Tabitha snarled.
"No, Tabitha," Ash said, gentling his voice. "Desiderius's essence was released. But if one of his brethren or children wanted to bring him back, they could. It's not easy to do, but it is possible."
She was aghast that Ash had kept something this important from them. "Why didn't you ever tell us this?"
"Because I was hoping it wouldn't happen."
"Hoping?" Tabitha shrieked. "Please tell me you weren't pinning my sister's life and Kyrian's on a hope."
Ash didn't answer.
Meanwhile the true significance of the last few days settled fully on her shoulders. "So those really were Spathis I fought the night I met Valerius."
Urian snorted. "Trust me, little girl, you must have faced the neophytes. Had those been true Spathis, you'd both be dead now."
His arrogance was seriously starting to piss her off. Just who was this jerk anyway? "How do you know so much about them, Dr. Intellect?"
"I used to be one."
Her fury breaking, Tabitha rushed him.
Sam caught her and pulled her back. He lifted her up off the floor. Tabitha kicked and cursed as she struggled to reach Urian, who watched her with a smirk.
“Easy, calm down,” he urged, his hold enough to restrain without hurting. “He’s right, the old Spathi would have killed you the other night.”
“A Hunter with brains huh?” Urian looked him over.
“Old enough to have met some,” Sam corrected.
Urian frowned and then his eyes widened. “You wouldn’t happen to be Egyptian?” Sam smirked and Urian looked from him to Acheron. “You’re the infamous Archivist, aren’t you?”
“Who?” Valerius looked to Ash.
“Who do you think kept the records before the Squires Council really came together?” Urian asked rhetorically as Sam released Tabitha who stepped back to stand with Valerius. “Daimons hunted for him for centuries. All that information on Dark Hunter movements, powers… all hidden with the one Dark Hunter who would rather read a book than fight. The child of merchants, killed for defending his sister from a government official.”
“That’s enough,” Ash snapped, seeing Sam’s eyes narrow at the mention of his long dead sister. "Urian is on our side now. Believe me, he has paid for his allegiance to the other side more than you will ever know,” he told Tabby as Dean pressed his shoulder to Sam’s.
Yeah, right. "How could you bring a Daimon into my house after what they did to me? To my family?" she demanded.
"Oh, I'm not a Daimon anymore, little girl," Urian said, his eyes flashing dangerously. "If I were-"
"You'd be dead," Valerius said, cutting him off with a sinister tone. "By my hand."
Urian laughed. "Yeah, right." He looked at Ash. "The arrogance of your Hunters truly knows no bounds. You should spend more time educating them about us, Ash. Or let him do the teaching,” he motioned to Sam.
"I need you to go in and find out what's going on. Are there any left who might still be loyal to you?"
The Daimon shrugged. "I can probably dredge up a flunky or two. But..." Urian's gaze went to Tabitha. "If Des really is back, he'll want to finish what he started. May the gods help you all if he has been reincarnated. It's going to get bloody in New Orleans."
"Who would want to bring that monster back?" Tabitha asked.
"His children," Urian and Ash said simultaneously.
Tabitha still couldn't believe what she was hearing. But as she seethed, Urian's face finally looked compassionate. Haunted.
When he spoke, the arrogance was gone from his voice. "Trust me, it's hard to let go of the loyalty you feel to a father who saved you from dying a horrible death at twenty-seven." Something in his tone said he spoke from experience.
"Is your loyalty to your father?" she asked.
Urian's face turned to stone. "I would have done anything for my father until the day he killed me and took from me the only thing that meant more to me more than my life. Any bonds I felt for that man were shattered instantly." He looked at Ash. "I'll see what I can find out."
A bright orange engulfed Urian an instant before he flashed out of her kitchen. Even so, his malevolence still clung to the air around them.
“Archivist?” Valerius looked to the other Hunter who shrugged.
“Someone needed to keep the records and while there were squires around they were nowhere near as organised as they would be later. I was used to keeping records and books from my Father’s business. I lived on the move to stay ahead of the Daimons.”
“How old are you?” Tabitha asked, curious, and Sam shrugged.
“Somewhere around three and a half thousand years. There are older, like Callabrax and Kyros.”
“They were all soldiers and warriors, Shemu'el was one of the few with a more academic and economic mindset, which made him the better choice,” Acheron added before looking Valerius and Tabitha. "While Urian is busy, I need for the two of you to stay together and watch each other's backs. Desiderius is the son of Dionysus, and Dionysus is still upset at me over what happened at Mardi Gras three years ago. I don't think he's stupid enough to help Desiderius, but I wouldn't put anything past either one of them."
He looked meaningfully at Tabitha. "Even if Daddy doesn't help him, Desiderius still has a lot of god powers that can be deadly, as you no doubt remember."
"Yeah," she said sarcastically as she recalled the way he and his Daimons had cut through her and her friends as if they were straw. "I remember."
He looked at Valerius. "Desiderius can manipulate people. Possess them, if you will. Tabitha is stubborn enough that the only thing that can possess her is the spirit of chocolate. We're lucky there. But Marla could be swayed. Otto should be safe. But the rest of your staff... you might want to think about giving them some time off."
By the look on Valerius' face, Tabitha could tell he'd rather be dead. "I can handle them."
"You have to sleep sometime. One of the servants could easily break into your bedroom and kill you. I don't think any of them love you so much that they will hesitate over Desiderius's orders the way Kyrian's cook did."
Valerius' nostrils flared.
Ash ignored the pain that Tabitha felt from Valerius. "I need you two together on this. I have to go warn Janice and Jean-Luc about what's up." He turned to face her. "Tabitha, pack a bag and move in with Valerius for a while."
"What about my store?"
"Have Marla watch over it for a couple of weeks."
“I can check in on it to,” Dean offered, and Ash nodded, thanks to Gabriel’s work, Dean would be safe.
Ash's features hardened. "Don't argue with me, Tabitha. Desiderius is a major power with one hell of a grudge against you, your sister, and Kyrian. He's not going to be playing with the three of you this time. He's going to kill you."
Normally, she would argue with him just for spite. But she knew that tone of voice. No one argued with Ash for long. "Fine."
"You have your orders, General," Ash said sternly to Valerius. Valerius gave him a rather sarcastic Roman salute. Rolling his eyes, Ash flashed out of the room, taking Sam and Dean with him.
“Well, that went well,” Dean offered, and Sam shook his head while Ash found himself chuckling at the deadpan delivery.
“Be careful Dean, while he can’t possess you, we don’t know how much damage a Godbolt will do to you.”
“Understood.” Dean put the now empty mug in the sink. “Should I get Bobby to put a warning out to my kind of Hunters to stear clear of the city for now?”
“Last thing we need is the death toll getting higher because they think they can handle it.”
“Alright, we heading out again?”
“Stay in for the rest of the night,” Ash ordered before leaving.
“Research?” Dean asked and Sam nodded. They needed to know everything they could about Spathi, Desiderius, and anything else that might be relevant to what was happening.