SPN fic: Red 5/10

Oct 25, 2006 19:19

The Suits: have the complete right to claim ownership over the Winchesters. To my eternal sorrow, I know that.

Warning! It’s PG-13, but it’s dancing a fine line. Gen, kids in dangerous situations, swearing, adult content, violence. WIP, will be 10 chapters.

The Puppeteers: Those two people with their hands up my back are lemmypie and jmm0001. Without them, this would be a pitiful piece of crap. Period.

Additional Culprit: I have to thank Tiny Coward over at ff.net, because she was the one who read another story of mine, Abracapocus, and wanted clarification on two points: things that Dean had done for a bed, and why Sam might not like men to look at Dean in a certain way. Merci, my dear.

Read Chapters 1-4

Read new stuff:

Story Thus Far:
Three intertwining stories about the wolves that hunt in the dark, whether in mountain forests or urban diners. Seattle, 1992: John has disappeared, Sam is sick and Dean, in a attempt to earn money, submits to the predations of an urban wolf. Five years later, Dean endures a rough initiation in a logging camp while Sam stays obliviously in town, tending to their injured father. At the camp, high in the mountains of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Dean runs into the timber scout, Ludovic. Memories begin to surface, which Dean ruthlessly suppresses. In the present day, Dean and Sam are once again drawn to the Quasilit Valley by reports of vanishing treeplanters. Sam takes a job with the planters, while Dean resumes old friendships and conflicts at the logging camp. Slowly, Sam is coming to understand that Dean knows more about what’s hunting in the forest than he’s letting on…


Quasilit Valley WA, present day

Today was a good day. Today Sam planted 1,947 seedlings, and today in the mess tent after dinner Tommy wandered over with a beer, told Sam that some of the guys were playing a game of hacky sack outside and that he should join them. Under the table, Ruby squeezed Sam’s thigh and he just about jumped three feet in the air.

A good day.

Theresa came in behind Tommy and sat across from them, hands big as oven mitts, teeth spaced daisy chain wide, and said that something was happening in the protestor’s camp down the hill. Someone had gone missing. Ruby had left her hand on Sam’s leg and he was acutely aware of it. Despite this distraction, he listened closely to Theresa but his eyes roved the tent. He’d seen Lukas earlier at dinner and earlier still on the block, but the highballer had kept his distance, not just from Sam, but from everyone.

Everyone except Ruby, which Sam didn’t miss. It was part of the reason he hadn’t stopped Ruby from doing things like setting a hand on his leg. Part of it, anyway. A strange and exhilarating dance, keeping Ruby close enough without leading her on. Sam sighed; he was totally leading her on, and he couldn’t even in truth say that she wasn’t his type. Dean was right and it was galling.

Right now, though, Sam couldn’t see Lukas, though he’d been there an hour ago to scarf down about four gallons of lentil soup and two loaves of spelt bread.

“You want to go down to the camp, see what’s up?” Sam asked Ruby. Her eyes sparkled; that would be a yes. A treeplanter’s date: wanna go hang out at the protest? “Give me a second, I’ll grab a sweater,” and he picked up her hand and laid it on the table. “Don’t go anywhere.”

Five minutes and one satellite phone call later, Sam and Ruby were on their way down the mountainside. Sam had convinced the crew boss to lend them one of the crew’s open-backed trucks. A miracle it wasn’t raining, just a calm early evening, bugs ridiculous, both of them stinking of repellent. Sam had noticed that the general organic vibe of the camp drew the line at bugs: you probably legally required some kind of pesticide license to use the stuff they slathered on like sunscreen at the beach.

During the past week, they had passed the protest village a number of times: a collection of ten or so tents, careful fires, a large number of increasingly sophisticated signs. Now, always, some van or other from one of the network feeds, and at least one company truck with a rep. A number of reporters, sometimes a cop. Sam hadn’t seen or heard any news, but he gathered from camp talk that the Granny-Up-a-Tree story had some legs.

Now a Washington State Patrol vehicle was parked near the tree, and two tall troopers wandered among the protestors, chatting with them, notebooks pulled out, hats tucked under elbows. Enough people around that Sam and Ruby didn’t stand out. The evening was still early, sun wouldn’t go down for an hour or so, but the mountains cast shadows deep into the valley and the day was darker than it should have been.

Ruby jumped out the truck as soon as Sam stopped. She’d brought a plastic grocery bag filled with apples and sandwiches. For the Granny, she said, and pointed out a protestor, a girl with long braids, someone she knew from college. She leaned over, kissed Sam on the cheek and went to find out how to get the food up.

Sam waited in the driver’s seat until another truck pulled into the clearing, this one splattered with mud and blaring some southern rock band that Sam recognized but couldn’t name, and then he got out, happy to see his brother in one piece.

“Hey,” Sam said, approaching. “How’s your week going?”

Dean made a face. “It’s going. Haven’t seen a damn thing. Now a missing girl,” and his voice stuck on something that made Sam wince. Guilt, mixed with anger. Dean’s guilt was for himself, but some of the anger was for Sam, for talking him out of letting Lukas know that he was here.

And what had Sam’s stall accomplished? Sam didn’t have access to any resource materials, only the first hand accounts of the planters, and what they’d seen or hadn’t seen when the two girls had gone missing. Lots of bears around this time of the year, never a cougar, not this season so far. No one knew much about Lukas, other than the fact he’d come to the Pacific Northwest sometime around the early part of the Yugoslav wars, maybe fifteen years ago or so, perhaps a refugee, perhaps a war criminal. That was sheer speculation, though. Lukas had apparently worked for several logging companies before becoming a planter. He was a strange one, a loner who could survive in the woods with a minimum of gear, who planted with cold precision, unbelievable stamina and legendary speed.

Dean shrugged when Sam told him all this, was already walking towards Ruby and her friend. Sam got in front of him, knew he’d have more luck when it came to questions. Just shut up, Dean, let me do the talking.

“Hey, Ruby, you remember Dean?” and she darted Sam a surprised glance. So much for their date, or whatever she’d thought this trip to the camp was going to be about. “Who’s this?”

Ruby introduced them to Astrid, and the tall protestor gravely shook hands with both Winchesters. “Sorry to hear about the girl who’s gone missing,” Sam started, but was interrupted.

“Heather’s twenty-two. She’s not a girl.” Astrid appeared to have been made from telephone wire and vinegar, as cuddly as a blackberry bush.

Okay. Now he really had to make sure Dean didn’t open his mouth or this was all going to go to hell in a handbasket. He stepped back onto Dean’s toe, but his brother was wearing steel-capped boots and the gesture was probably lost on him. “Sure. So what do you think happened?”

Astrid shrugged. “No one has any idea. She was out last night, went to scout out some trees for…” and her hard stare landed on Dean, took in his grease-smeared plaid shirt and big boots and knew right away which side he was on. “Went out and then no one heard anything else. Nothing. Just wandered off. Maybe she went back down with a group that left early this morning. That’s what the cops are checking.” And she gestured to the cops and she didn’t like them any more than Dean usually did. Common ground there.

“Hey, Ruby, that some food for Eileen?” Dean asked suddenly, his deep voice an aggressive bark. He slapped a biting mosquito on his arm. Sam wondered if he shouldn’t just find a little owl and let Dean snap its neck to complete the picture of insensitive logger. “Why don’t you let me take it up?”

Sure, she was going to let him do that. Dean flicked a glance to Sam: What? What did I say?

Sam cleared his throat. “Dean, do you think the, er, company would let you do that?” And sure enough, one of the logging corporation trucks was right next to the Granny’s cedar, monitoring who was having access to the Granny. One of their own contract fallers bringing food up to a protestor might not paint the right picture.

“Okay,” Dean said blandly. “You do it. I got some calk boots in the truck.”

Astrid crossed her arms. “Eileen has a basket; we can ask her to lower it.”

“A hand delivery is so much more personal,” Dean smiled tightly and Sam grabbed his arm, marched him towards the truck like a cop with his collar.

“Eileen’s got dynamite eyesight and a pretty good view of these woods,” Dean hissed, wrenching his elbow away as soon as they were by the truck. “Maybe she saw something.”

Sometimes, Dean surprised the shit out of Sam. “You know her?”

Dean wasn’t looking at him, he was buried in the back of the truck’s cab, throwing around ropes and a red toolbox and a bunch of plaid and denim clothing. Finally, he withdrew, holding a pair of boots. “They’re Dave’s, but he has monster feet just like you.”

“Dean, she’s gotta be parked at fifty feet.” Might as well say it. “It’s a long way up.”

That killer grin. “Great view, like I said. Went up a few days ago. It’s not hard.” And as they walked back to the tree under the watchful eye of the logging corporation’s media relations officer, Dean gave Sam some tree-climbing tips: plan your moves, test the weight, dig in. If an old lady can do it, Sam Winchester, don’t let me hear…and Sam waved a hand at him, signaling ‘shut up’.

A small tug, and Ruby was on his arm, handing him the food bag, all smiles and Sam couldn’t look at Dean for fear of needing to smack away whatever expression was on his face. “Tell her I think what she’s doing is great,” Ruby said softly, meaning the whisper to be in his ear, but Sam was too tall for most people to do that, so Dean inevitably heard everything. Sam tied the bag to his belt and it swung awkwardly. Maybe he should have brought his backpack.

“What she’s doing is crazy, not to mention illegal,” Dean muttered.

Sam started to climb, not wanting to get involved in the argument that was now bound to erupt. He could make out Dean’s amused rumble and Ruby’s sharp retorts for a number of feet, but then he needed to concentrate because he’d kill himself if he fell from this height. He shook his hair out of his eyes, both hands occupied with the patently unsafe task ahead. This was insanity.

Not to mention that night was fast approaching, so he’d have to make it a short with the Granny unless he wanted to add to the difficulty level by climbing down in the dark.

Unfortunately, the Granny had been up the tree for several days now and appeared to be starved for company.

“Thank god you’ve come,” were the first words out her mouth, which twitched slightly. Sam couldn’t afford her much attention at the moment because he was trying to find a spot where he could safely perch. When he felt moderately secure, or at least as secure as you could five stories up in a tree when a slight breeze swayed the known world, he looked around. She’d set herself up all right: hammock, food basket, a large plastic water container with a red spigot tied to one branch, a blue tarp spread over top to repel the rain, and enough outerwear options to fill an L.L. Bean mail order catalog.

“Eileen, right? I’m Sam, my brother Dean says he was up here a few days ago,” and he gestured down to where he could see Dean and Ruby almost directly below. From this angle, Ruby’s arms were flapping so much she looked like she might take off. Dean had his arms crossed, and he suddenly looked up, shaded his eyes against the angle of the low sun. Sam waved, and then felt foolish. Dean looked away, maybe in disgust.

“He was very nice.” Sam wondered if she was losing it up here, because ‘nice’ was not a word most protestors would associate with Dean. “Are you a logger too?” the Granny asked.

Sam undid the bag from his belt which was a slightly scary proposition considering that he needed two hands to do it. He handed it over and shook his head. “No, I’m planting the other side of the valley with Ruby there,” and he pointed again. Ruby was looking up at them and she waved. Eileen waved back this time.

The woman nodded her thanks for the food and placed it in another hanging bag. “Your brother warned me,” Eileen said suddenly and Sam was surprised by the shake in her voice. In no way did she seem like someone who rattled easily. “He said there was something dangerous in the woods.”

Sam swallowed, a crack of unexpected fear buzzing through nerve endings. Up till now, just Dean and his evasions. But this was third party corroboration. “What did you see?”

“It’s what I heard,” she whispered. “Heather was going to chain herself to a tree today, but wanted to be lower down, take advantage of the news cameras. She was trying to decide which tree. I watched her.” She stopped suddenly and Sam said nothing, didn’t know if that would be encouraging enough. He thought it might be.

He was right.

“There was something in the shadows…I didn’t see it directly; we’re coming up to the new moon and there’s precious little light. Even so, I saw Heather, and I saw something that seemed light colored, but then a little while later, darker. And it…” she wasn’t precisely frightened, Sam realized, just trying to find the right way to describe it. “It made a rasping noise.”

“Rasping?” Sam repeated, when it seemed Eileen wasn’t going to give him much else.

Eileen clutched her throat, dragged her fingers down it. “Like that.”

A naked man changing into wolf form? Sam guessed, but he was only guessing. New moon. What werewolf changed at the new moon? “What about Heather?”

Eileen shrugged. “It seemed to be tailing her, but she was too far away for me to shout a warning.” Her eyes said, And what would I have shouted?

“Where did you last see it?” he asked and Eileen gestured for him to come closer. It meant literally going further out on a limb than he felt safe doing, but she was pointing through a break in the cedar branches that he couldn’t see from where he was. He inched along and Eileen finally grabbed his hand and pulled him.

“Oh,” she said in surprise.

Someone was standing in the clearing she’d been pointing out. Someone tall, blond hair tied back, dressed in blue and khaki, moving towards the protestors camp like a cat, all sinew and stealth. Lukas, Sam thought.

And looked down fifty feet, where his brother was still arguing with Ruby, oblivious.


Quasilit Valley WA, 1997

Okay, maybe annihilating Brent with paintballs hadn’t been the smartest idea in the world, but it sure felt good at the time. Shooting something, anything, but especially Brent Proctor, had taken away some of the shit of the last two weeks.

Not that Brent had stayed dead, not even when he was supposed to. He’d jumped back up, all Dean’s teammates shouting at him to stay down. Dumbass fucker. Dean had pointed out to Brent that he was already dead each time he shot him.

Traveling at high velocity, those little paintballs left huge welts when fired directly onto exposed skin and Brent had been walking around with a big red mark right in the middle of his forehead for a week now. It wasn’t the only place Dean had got him, only the most obvious and the one that had provoked the most ribbing from the other guys.

The rest of the crew had chanted ‘Kid, Kid, Kid’ and bought him rounds at the Cut Anchor while Brent had glowered.

Retaliation was a given.

Sun low in the sky, Dean looked around the clear cut, a horrific mangle of saplings and shredded earth and stumps and salal. Like standing at ground zero in Hiroshima. He was incredibly hungry mostly because his lunch had been sabotaged beyond his ability to salvage and it was now dinnertime. New cuts and bruises ran up his arms and down his legs, the legacy of various ‘accidents’. Neither lunches nor bruises were Dean’s present problem, though.

The crew trucks were way down in the valley, heading towards camp, kicking up plumes of dust, sun glinting off their whiteness like beacons of civilization in this wilderness.

Without him.

Dean didn’t know what had happened, not really, but when he got back to camp, he was pretty sure he’d hear something along the lines of: Hey, sorry Kid, thought that you’d come down in the other truck. Our mistake.

Fuck, it was a long trek back to camp and he had the saw with him and his heavy belt. He balled his hands on his hips, watching the last white pickup truck scramble like a Tonka toy in the distance, too far away to see or hear him. Running after it completely pointless.

“Fuck you Brent fucking Proctor!” he shouted and drop-kicked his helmet as far as he could. His breath came ragged for a few minutes as he collected himself. Camp was a twenty-minute drive through rough terrain. How long to walk?

Long enough to think of a dozen different ways to fuck up Brent Proctor, that’s what. The helmet was long gone, no sense in trying to find it. It would be dark soon and if he lost the road somehow, he would be in serious trouble. They’d sighted lots of bear over the last week, coming down through the cuts looking for food. Young males, hungry, landless, without fear. At least it wasn’t raining, but clear skies meant cold evenings. And the bugs were diabolical.

Nothing for it, so he started the descent.

For a few miles, it was okay. He went fast enough to outdistance the worst of the bugs, but the chainsaw was close to seventeen pounds and he considered leaving it behind. It wasn’t his, though, and it was an expensive Stihl 066, an upgraded loan from Uncle G. So he balanced it across one shoulder and shuffled down the hillside, the spikes so handy for keeping your feet when scrambling over slash now a complete nightmare on the dirt road, tripping him up.

He was bathed in sweat, but cold, because the mountain air was cooling rapidly. He tried not to swear, but soon he was chanting obscenities under his breath, a marching tune of the damned.

A deep metallic toc in the far woods, a black jumping hop in the slash. Raven. Five of them, wheeling and huge, finding small rodents in the cut. What a racket. They hopped and fought each other for something bloody and furry and Dean stopped, watching them. Tricksters, he thought, recalling local legends, and smiled.

Turned to keep up his steady pace and froze. Ludovic was twenty feet in front of him.

He hadn’t been there a moment ago, had simply appeared like a mirage, glowing with the fading sun, calm and serene and somehow breathtakingly deadly. The ravens toc toc tocced and flew off. Ludovic followed their flight, then turned his attention back to Dean.

Dean felt himself vibrate like one of those freaky tuning forks, struck but not yet pressed to a hard surface where he’d make a noise. Mute.

Ludovic smiled slowly, took a step. Then another.

Dean backed up and Ludovic halted quietly, waiting.

“Dean,” Ludovic said, the accent like sand swirling in a tin basin, panning for gold nuggets. “All alone again.”

Blood. Dean remembered blood. And that voice, the circling scrape of sand and the silk of an executioner’s blindfold. Another step back. Jesus Christ, he whispered and for once in his life, might even mean it. He dug deep for anything that might help, because here, completely alone on the cut block, facing this, he was scared. And he didn’t know why, goddamn it, didn’t quite know the reason for it.

“Back off,” he growled, but it sounded far away. For a moment, he doubted whether he’d actually said it. But then Ludovic held his arms out like a hostage negotiator, maybe to show that he was unarmed. That was ludicrous; he was armed to the teeth.

“Just me,” Ludovic replied. The sun sat halfway across the horizon and Dean knew if he watched it, he’d be able to track its descent. Ludovic’s arms dropped and Dean suddenly knew that the timber scout was capable of incredible speed, that he could move unnaturally fast. Knew it because he’d witnessed that before. I’ve seen him run before, Dean thought.

Ludovic shook his head slightly. A good half-foot taller than Dean, more than a fifty pounds difference, likely. A reach like an orangutan. Stay out of his reach because he’ll grab. Remembered those fingers in his hair, snapping his head back like a Pez dispenser.

Ludovic tilted his head to the side, curious maybe. His nostrils flared and Dean’s stomach rolled like a little boat far at sea. Getting my scent.

“You don’t remember, do you?”

Don’t say anything. Dean recognized his father’s voice inside his head. Dean’s words, but Dad’s voice, snapped on like a kid’s nightlight. So fucking weird, because Dad’s advice usually consisted of recommending firearms.

Ludovic was very still, but that only reminded Dean of the motion, did nothing to allay any fears. “You took a long time to come back,” Ludovic murmured

Dean swallowed hard, felt sick. Night. Seattle. Rain and Sam’s cough and the abandoned car. Tanya, salmon burgers, chocolate milk. Mrs Fucking Legris. Hunger and need and no choice. Hunger and desire and howling need to consume whole, to envelop, to own, to possess utterly.

Oh fuck, Dean thought, trying to shut it down, because none of it was helping, but too late, here it comes - night alley, dark as a Black Hole, slamming car door, hotwettalk, fingers and hair - and grinding and rasping, wet like raw meat, a tongue caught between teeth, and bloodbloodblood.

He staggered back a step, overwhelmed and exposed. Again, he felt ill, his stomach dropping, that hot tight ache across his face as he flushed.

What had stopped it then? I’m still here, so something must have stopped it, right?

And realized, right then, that he had a chainsaw in his hand.

So fuck this loser, he thought and pulled the cord. The machine was still warm, didn’t need primed and was coddled like a royal baby. It started without hesitation, revved up at a hundred kph, with the same attention-getting force as an AK-47. Ludovic faltered, but Dean couldn’t see his face anymore because the sun had gone behind the hills. Just a moment, then Ludovic crouched deep down, bent unnaturally at the knees, arms long against the dirt road, and moved as fast as Dean remembered. Swept into the bush beside the road, low as a hunting cat.

Without the ear protectors, starting up the Stihl was like having a Harley Davidson in your hands, and twice as loud. So Dean didn’t hear the truck, only saw the sweep of lights and by the time his dazzled eyes looked for Ludovic, he was gone.

He cut the engine and Uncle G jumped from the cab, smile white against his dark face, gestured to the chainsaw. “I have no idea what you think you’re doing, Dino, but Proctor’s a prick and you shouldn’t be out here alone, cutting up whatever shit you think should be cut up in the dark on a clear cut.”

And Dean had never been so glad to see anyone in his entire life.


Quasilit Valley, present day

Getting down the tree took less time than going up for two reasons: gravity and fear.

Sam slid some, swung some and basically bounced down the tree like he’d been dropped. He’d seen how fast Lukas was moving, had seen him in the field, and knew he’d never get down in time. Still, he didn’t see him now, couldn’t see much actually, needed to concentrate. He shouted his brother’s name and Dean looked up; in the darkening evening gloom, Sam couldn’t make out his expression.

Still no Lukas; maybe he was in the bushes, looking, not attacking?

“Dean,” Sam repeated, dropping to the forest floor. “I saw Lukas, over there,” and peered round, past the tents.

Both Ruby and Dean looked at him impassively. Well, Ruby more confused than impassive. “Lukas gets around,” she said. “It’s nothing for him to hike down here from the planting camp. What’s the big deal?”

“’Bout time,” Dean growled, and Sam didn’t see any fear or hesitation. Didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

“Dean,” Sam’s voice dropped and he laid one arm on Dean’s sleeve and felt a shiver pass through him. “Dean, get out of here.” Sam moved his big hand to Dean’s shoulder, pulled him round and pushed him towards the truck, crowding him from behind, moving him. He didn’t resist like Sam thought he might.

Dave’s truck was unlocked and Dean rested one foot on the step to the cab, the interior light hitting his face.

“Go,” Sam said, and Dean’s gaze flickered behind them, then met Sam’s. “I mean it.”

Dean’s lips pursed, wondering maybe, if he should push it. “I got a radio transmitter in the cab, and a chainsaw in the back,” he said to Sam, cat-tongue rough. “I’m so fucking fine with all this, it’ll make you crazy.”

Well, it would, he was right about that. But nowhere in the known universe was Dean fine with this. And he didn’t look like he was going to go anywhere, was still leaning casually against the open door, and Sam realized that he was presenting himself, was daring Lukas to see him, mark which logging company he was with. Oh, Dean.

Dean stared at Ruby like he was going to lick her or something, which must have made her slightly uncomfortable, because she squeezed Sam’s upper arm and walked towards where Astrid was talking to a reporter.

“Sam, don’t go all girlie on me,” Dean warned, but he was smiling which somehow made it worse. “I can handle this.”

Really? Sam knew that he could get Dean out of here with just a few words, and he said them. “So, tell me. Ninety-seven was the last time you faced this thing. When was the first?” He hated the fear that hovered in Dean’s eyes, but that question would either result in some needed information, or Dean getting himself to safety, and either of those things was A-OK with Sam.

“I told you: 1997.” But wouldn’t look at him. Shook his head, crossed his arms, shivered and Sam could see it. “And, yeah. It changes. You could call it a wolf.” And swung up into the cab, slammed the door. Through the open window Sam laid a hand on Dean’s forearm, knew he had that worried expression on his face, the one that made Dean mental.

“Dean?” Sam asked, a whisper.

Dean nodded as though Sam had answered a question correctly. “I’m going to kill this thing.” Bald statement, inevitable as a Black Hole, said in the sort of voice that you didn’t argue with. “You gotta radio in your truck?” As though he hadn’t said the first thing, the thing that meant I’m scared and I’m furious and Don’t stand in my way.

Sam opened his mouth, unsure. This was a difficult Dean to deal with: hiding and sore and angrier than Sam could ever remember. And not answering any questions. The idea of giving Dean some space to turn around in was a good one, and one that required time, which was the last thing they actually had. Still, the only other option was to argue, and that got Sam precisely nowhere with his brother.

So he rubbed his mouth with one hand, sighed and knew Dean would understand that he was giving him room. But that he also had his measure. If Dean wanted to talk about radios, they could talk about radios. Ruby had briefed Sam on logging road etiquette and radio transmissions; the radio took the place of all usual traffic rules on logging roads. Of course they had one. “Yeah.”

“Well, you’ll know when I’m back in camp then.” He met Sam’s stare. They were level with each other, Dean in the cab and Sam with his height. Dean then made the world’s most half-assed attempt to mollify his brother. “Don’t worry.”

God, yeah, I’ll be sleeping like a baby, Dean. “I’ll be listening,” he said instead, holding Dean to it, and Dean started the truck.


Seattle WA, 1992

Front seat, back seat, what did it matter? Let’s get this over with.

The guy pulled open the passenger side door like he was a chauffeur, and Dean couldn’t even look at him, he was shaking so badly. He forced himself to get in. It’s a dry place, he thought, because he was soaked right through, brought his cold wet place with him, wore it as a second skin. No getting dry tonight.

Silence as the man - who Dean thought of as ‘the Wolf’ because of how he moved and the pitiless stare - came around the other side of the luxury car. A Cadillac, for god’s sake. In a black alley in the pouring rain in this part of town and no one was going to save him now.

Shutupshutupshutup, he whispered between clattering teeth.

The Wolf opened the back door, driver’s side, and got in behind Dean. Slammed the door and the red plush interior plunged into sudden blackness. Dean whipped his head around, surprised, not liking the sensation of someone behind him. What the fuck? Wolf hadn’t said a word, like they already had some kind of arrangement, an agreement. This false intimacy made Dean feel dirty, somehow, beyond the obvious.

Just you wait, Winchester. And he pushed that voice down, hard.

The Wolf’s eyes were very blue, Dean remembered, but he couldn’t see that now, because it was so dark. The soft velvet car upholstery grabbed at his pants, at the back of his sopping jacket as he turned in the seat, trying to figure out what was going on.

The Wolf was just a shadow against blackness. “Don’t turn around,” he said, softly but curt, and then, like a sliver of glass pressed against a throat, “Dean.”

Tanya had shouted it across the restaurant. Fuck, what did it matter now? What did anything matter now?

Dean turned to the front, could only see oily wet blackness in front, a pale smudge of his own face reflected back from the passenger side window. Inside the car, the air warmed slightly, smelled of dog hair and meat. Like being inside the belly of an animal. The Wolf rustled in the back, the sound of clothes being removed, the metallic run of a zipper being drawn down. Dean closed his eyes for moment, a bitter bile on his tongue, then the salty taste of blood. He’d bitten the inside of his mouth. It didn’t hurt.

He put one hand inside his jeans pocket. He had a knife. He’d left the gun with Sam, of course, and Sam had taken it in feverish hands, eyes owl big and solemn. Just don’t fucking shoot me when I get back, he’d said to the kid. Now thought: I’ll probably want to do that myself.

“So,” and was surprised at how steady his voice sounded. “So, how much money are we talking here?”

Then, right by his ear, breath warm, close enough that Dean felt the glide of teeth, “How much do you need?”

Oh, Christ, he was not going to be able to do this, knew it right then.

“Fifty, usually. But you?” and the voice receded, but Dean’s galloping heart just kept right on going. “Anything you want.”

“I want to see the money now,” Dean replied, didn’t know where this reasonable, matter-of-fact voice of his was coming from, because it wasn’t the one in his head.

More soft crumplings of cloth and leather, and a tearing noise, paper thin. A bare arm snaked over the back, the hand running over Dean’s shoulder like a rodent, one thumb stroking inquiringly across his neck before showing Dean what was in the hand: half a one hundred dollar bill.

“Half now,” the Wolf said, his voice like soft fabric, a caress, “the other half is in my pocket. You can have it when we’re done.”

Jesus. Smart asshole, okay. Dean snatched the half-bill from the hand, cringing and mad and just so…trapped. He continued biting his mouth, something to do, something that he had control over.

Let’s get this over with, he thought, clearly, suddenly empty of all the anger and fear and shame, just done with it all. He was here, now, and had a job and a responsibility and there was no point, no point whatsoever, in questioning any of it, or being a fucking baby about it.

“What do I do?” he asked. This’ll be over soon, and I’ll look back and…and I’ll never look back on this, not ever. A sudden gasp came from the back, and the Wolf’s hands were on the back of Dean’s head, moving like it was trying to find something. Fingers on his ear, circling his temple, through his hair, questing, searching, knowing. Oh, man, this was - shut up. Just shut up, he told himself roughly, biting hard.

“Keep talking,” Wolf whispered, thin, like he was clenching his teeth. A thumb dug into the hollow at the base of Dean’s skull, pressing hard. “Just…keep talking.”

About what? But he knew it didn’t matter, this guy just wanted to do whatever he was going to do and somehow Dean talking was part of it. But if he thought he’d get Dean’s true voice, the one that knew everything about all he was, all those strange and wonderful things that actually turned Dean on…well, no way. That was private in a way that his body, apparently, was not.

So, fine.

“Season’s really going to be a good one, I think. Ken Griffey Jr’s got such a sweet swing, arm like a cannon. No one’s gonna touch him in the outfield. All-Star, definitely. And maybe Edgar Martinez too, big guy, few words, you gotta like that. They really should think about a new field, though, the Kingdome is a piece of crap…” His ability to talk baseball was neutral and pretty much inexhaustible.

Something was happening in the backseat, though, and Dean both tried to figure it out and didn’t want to figure it out, didn’t want to have an imagination about any of this. A hand was still on his head and the Wolf was now pressing his mouth against the back of Dean’s neck and Dean’s voice sped up, “…and Buhner’s not bad, a bit of a sack of cement, don’t think he’ll amount to much. Randy Johnson, though. What a fucking freak of nature, looks like that dude from the Headless Horseman, Ichabod whatever…”

A noise like the Wolf was gargling, or swallowing his tongue, a harsh breathy, wet noise, smell of meat overpowering, the hand splayed over Dean’s skull, nails digging in, face wet against the nape of his neck.

“…calling him the Big Unit, what a crock of shit, always think they’re calling him the Big Eunuch, which cracks me the fuck up, cause he doesn’t look like he could get a date to save his life and that hair of his? Man, worse than…” and couldn’t say Sam’s name here and now, couldn’t, “…just that fucked-up long in the back, looks like it’s attached to his cap, what a storky freak…”

Nails really digging in, hard enough to hurt, and Dean flinched, tried to move, couldn’t.

Hush, darling, hush, and Dean’s baseball talk faltered, dropped away like a motorcycle disappearing down a stretch of highway. Oh god, and for the first time that night he felt tears in his eyes. Hush, don’t talk to it. Shshshshsh. This wasn’t Dad’s voice, advising him to take his fucking knife out and slash this asshole behind him. This was…this was…and he hadn’t heard this voice for so long, for almost ten years and why was she here now?

“Keep…” and the Wolf’s tongue was too close, the words mangled hopelessly, almost not human, “keep…go…”

Shhhsh, baby, you should get out of here…

Almost too fast to follow, certainly too fast for thought, Dean pulled out the knife, a switchblade that he’d already been warned not to bring to school, brought it out and turned quickly, wanting the thing behind him dead.

And was not fast enough.

The hand bunched in Dean’s too-long-for-him hair and pulled his head back against the bench seat, the other hand grabbing his chest, pulling him over, nails not nails but claws, the skin of bare arms giving way to coarse gray hair, the teeth sharper than any human’s and fuck it, fuck it, if Dean didn’t suddenly get it.

This was more than some creep who liked his boys. Way more.

He slashed the knife against the claws holding his jacket, pulled away, leaving his jacket behind, smashing the car door handle with his foot, getting it open, cold slash of night cutting the carnal air, blood all over the place, fuck it, whose? Feet spinning in the air as he was lifted, the car dome light suddenly ON and goddamn, he’d seen one or two weird things in his life, but this took the fucking cake.

Despite the teeth buried in his shoulder, on his neck, the slaver of wolf-goo all down him, maybe rain, maybe blood, who the fuck knew? - he still had the knife, brought it down and across again and again, but didn’t know if he was hitting anything or hitting himself, blood in his eyes now, but there was a sudden slackness, an opportunity, and goddamn it if Dean wasn’t going to take it.

No jacket, only a t-shirt and that ripped to shreds, and he wheeled out the door, slamming it, and ran. Ran down the alley, skidded out the end as he looked over his shoulder to see the loping speed of the thing that followed him, only one glance because if he stopped to look, it would have him.

Ran, and running, could only think of one place to go.


Go to Chapter 6


red, supernatural, fanfic

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