Sequel to Removed
Author: Mink & Jink
Rating: R - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
For a long time, Dean listened. Pure silence anywhere, he knew was rare.
Hunter that he was, he assessed his surroundings with his ebbing strength. The cold drip of water from the nearby bathroom sink. The wind outside. The house beyond the knobless door was quiet and still. He had sat as long as he could in the dark before his mind gave up for him and he drifted into a restless doze. He did not remember closing his eyes but came to when the cold woke him from his place on the floor.
He looked around with a gasp, unsure of where he was. His eyes adjusted in the dim light. Conquering his misgivings about the bed he resolved it would be a better place than where he was to sort himself. Small rationales kept him focused. Right now what he needed was heat. All he would do was close his eyes. It seemed like only a few seconds later when they opened again.
He drew back the warm musty wool and found the room still in pitch blackness, the glow on his watch telling him he'd been flat out for five hours.
Getting up, he rubbed his face and wondered what he should do next. It would be daylight by now. If he was counting on residual adrenaline and rage to keep his cool, he had lost it with sleep. He must have been more tired than he realized. Dean's stomach cramped in hunger. His head was on its way to a nice sharp headache from the caffeine withdrawal. He was fucked both ways on his own. Might as well wait until someone decided to play.
The light suddenly came on, the burning filaments blinding him momentarily as he stumbled away from it.
There were footsteps at the door. Dean tensed, readying his fists. How had they known he was awake? He glanced around warily for more hidden cameras. The deadbolt was drawn back, the locks clicked in succession. Dean steadied himself, his cold muscles cramped, his head dizzy from lack of water and food. Whatever came through that door was going to get it, and they were going to get it all--
It was old man that had brought him to the ranch. He was holding a tray and he looked completely terrified.
"What the hell is goin on here Johnson?"
Dean tried to contain his rage but the old man was vacant. He wouldn't even look Dean in the eyes as he shuffled past the threshold muttering in a low voice.
"I used to read all day you know. Collected the damnest things. F-F-From all over!" He stammered. "Shared my books with you type, you hunters, and everyone left me be.'
"Mr. Johnson I--"
"Quiet." He hissed. But the man didn't seem as angry as he was scared. "Don't let them hear you talkin’ too much! Y'hear me?"
Too late for that.
A man stood in the dim light of the hallway beyond with a cocked rifle at the ready. Johnson slowly put the covered tray down on the unmade bed and looked at Dean distrustfully.
"I don't know what you did to these folks, but that's on your head. Not mine!"
Dean was paying closer attention to the man in the hallway. He remembered him very well. It was the youngest of the band of three. The one that always fed him and made sure he had water. Dean looked down at the tray that smelled vaguely like burnt toast. A glass of clear fluid, maybe water, sat next to the plate.
"You best eat." Johnson said as he pushed past him.
Swallowing, Dean stepped backwards. Looking down at the tray, his fist clenched. With a growl, he flung it and its contents against the wall, sending a spray of soggy toast and underdone scrambled eggs onto the floor. The glass of cloudy water crashed and soaked into the grimy wooden planks.
The rifle was set aside and the man stepped into the doorway, into the light.
Dean remembered every set and feature of the calm face. How it swiftly shifted to anger, how it remained almost blank when he was held down and forced to take fluids or food.
“You’re nearly an adult Dean.” He said like he was greeting an old friend he hadn’t seen in a long while. “How’s your arm?”
“Right as rain.” Dean mumbled, unable to take his eyes away from the large person that was coming closer to him. But Dean wasn’t restrained this time. He wasn’t helpless. He could fight back whenever he wanted—
“That’s good.” He said looking down at the arm in question. “But about the food Dean. You have to eat. No getting around that. And you've made a mess. That's not good."
A fist out of nowhere sent Dean sprawling on his back on the floor. Cursing, he made ready to spring back up when felt the cold hard end of the shotgun press firmly against his heaving chest.
"Let’s just take this one step at a time okay?”
"W-Whatever, pal." Dean spat red before the fist came down again, sending his head cracking against the floor.
He lay dizzy and disoriented on the ground for several moments, waiting for the fist to come again and again like it had the last time he’d been left in this man’s care. The taste of blood was thick in his mouth. But nothing was happening. Dean realized that the room was empty again. It was just him and that open door. But then what? This house was surely filled with those other two. And then even if he got past them, then what would he do with the 20 odd mile hike that would get him to the access road? The highway was another 10 after that. Dean briefly wondered if his car was even where he’d left it.
The side of his face throbbed where he'd been hit, hot and swelling. Dean groaned and stirred, getting to his knees and trying to stand up.
"You okay, Dean?" The man entered again, carrying another tray.
The tray he'd upturned remained where it had fell, the stench coming from it making him want to gag. Swaying on his feet, he gave a short sigh and waited for what would come next.
"Now what say we try again?"
Staggering backwards, Dean teetered and fell back onto the bed. Why wasn’t he throwing punches at this guy? The door was wide open, all he had to do was fight. All he had to do was stand up.
“W-what’s your name?” Dean suddenly had to know. These men that knew all his details and addressed him as if they’d known him all their lives were still nameless.
“Lieutenant Franklin Edwards.” The large man saluted curtly and causally with his free hand.
“Former what?” Dean guessed. “Army? Ranger?”
Dean felt his mouth fall open just a little bit. There weren’t copious amounts of people in the world that he felt he couldn’t afford to fuck with but a goddamn Navy SEAL was one of them. Those guys were built and trained like machines. Now that he thought back on it all, Edwards being a SEAL made perfect sense.
“Dishonorable discharge.” The man finished, his eyes slightly downcast at the omission.
“Let me guess, you offed somebody you shouldn’t have. Hey, maybe all you did was squeeze a little too hard—“
Former Navy SEAL Lt. Franklin Edwards ignored him and got back to the business at hand.
“Since you’re all grown up Dean, I can give you what an adult deserves. I can give you a choice.”
“A choice." Dean repeated tonelessly.
“You can go ahead and eat the food and drink all of your water. All of it, with a fork and knife, real civilized like. Or?”
Dean moved backwards on the bed until he felt the wall at his back.
“Or, we can do what we did last time.” He sighed. “I want you to know that it makes no difference to me how it gets into ya. As long as it's in ya.”
Dean blinked, his mouth dry and his stomach churning into knots. He felt a cold sweat break out on his arms and face. He looked at the cloudy water in the glass and remembered the drugs they had kept him nearly out of his mind with.
“No.” He shook his head.
“Then you know what I have to do?“
“Call it a day and forget about it?” Dean tried.
Dean was already on the bed but he wasn’t prepared for the hunter to move so fast. He had convinced himself over the hours that he would fight the second he had the chance but his limbs felt sluggish and unresponsive. Every attempt at his own defense was delayed like he was moving through water. He struggled under the Lieutenant’s grip wondering what could have possibly happened to him. He hadn’t drunk anything or eaten anything—
One of his wrists was trapped and went flying back against the bed. Dean watched the small cloud it made upon impact with the piles of thick blankets. It wasn’t dust. It was chalky white. The blankets. He growled in anger, the blankets had been dosed with something and he’d been wrapped up under them for at least five hours.
Dean squeezed his eyes shut when he saw the tube appear. A knee came down on his chest, half smothering him. Hands were on Dean’s face, tipping his head back and opening his mouth.
He bit down hard on plastic, his head feeling lighter.
It was happening. It was happening again. The hard plastic snaking down his throat, the strange feel of the cold water rushing down without ever making contact with his skin. The prolonged gagging and suffocation as time slowly passed until there was finally an empty bottle.
Dean gasped and coughed harshly as the tube was withdrawn.
“Now Dean, about the food?”
Dean searched his face, heaving breathlessly. “Wh-what...?" He writhed away from under the man, landing hard on the floor.
“What is your choice?”
"Aw, y-you gotta be kidding me." Dean let his head thunk weakly against the floor.
His insides roiling with impotent rage, he flung out a hand at the proffered tray, knocking the plastic cover over onto the floor with the rest of it. There was a blackened piece of toast. A mass of yellow scrambled eggs. The smell of the underdone breakfast made Dean’s head swim and his recently filled stomach lurch.
“It’s this or some protein supplements in the tube Dean.” He said. “Which would you rather?”
Dean did not bother with an answer.
“Okay.” Edwards sighed.
Somewhere behind the deafening buzz of his blood pounding in his ears and brutal grip closing around his throat, Dean had to admit that Ed had always been the nice one.
"Dean, good to see ya."
The leader of these hunters had somehow thought it necessary to dress semi-formally. His flannel had been washed and pressed even, his boots nearly clean. It was the man that had stood outside his door that night and spoke to him as if he was welcoming him home.
Dean laid panting, insides churning, the front of his shirt stained with what had come back up.
“Get him secured would ya?” The older man stood and stretched. “I’m gonna grab a coffee.”
Dean bit back his words when Edwards’ broad hand picked him up and moved him through the hall and out into the dusty living room. Edwards quickly pushed his charge backwards into one of the cracked sofas and knelt down before him. When Dean heard the clink of metal his knee automatically flew up to catch the man under the chin. He was stopped by the palm of a hand, and a sharp whip across the face. Hard enough to burn but not enough to make him bleed.
Metal clicked around the leather of his boot ankles and Dean tried one more time to stop what was coming for his wrists but someone else appeared behind him. It was the third man, the one that looked as old as the guy who had gone for coffee. He pulled Dean’s head back hard with a hand under his chin. Distracting their captive long enough, Dean’s grasping hands were quickly caught and cuffed, and then tethered to the bottom of it through a chain that looped through his ankles.
Dean shook his head loose of the grip, angrily twisting his trapped feet and hands.
“Captain Yueller wants to have a small talk with you,” Edwards told him as he stretched out a piece of rubber with a thin piece of black tubing in the middle of it. “You have to just sit still and listen.”
More military. Probably some ex special ops. The real deal.
“What’s with the, why are you—“
“When you leave your room you will always have to be restrained.” Edwards explained. “Do you understand?”
Dean listened numbly.
“Do you understand that if you have acknowledged to me your understanding of a subject, that you are not to ask the question again?”
“What happens if I don—“
He didn’t even see the hand coming before he was off the sofa edge and on the floor. The worn wood was cold and hard under his cheek, the hot tang of blood from the inside of his mouth flowed out over his lip.
“You’ll receive a reprimand Dean.” He hauled him back to his seat by his network of chain. “Is that understood?”
Dean worked his jaw back and forth. “Loud and clear.” He glanced up despondently at a nearby stuffed owl that sat stiffly on a fake styrofoam perch.
The band of rubber was wrapped around his head, the thin black piece eased and worked between his teeth and flat down against his tongue. Dean shook his head as if he could rid himself of it, but then quickly realized his small audience was watching with semi-amusement. Like he was some new pet they’d acquired that didn’t quite know the ropes yet. He strained as hard as he could in his binds, making a small pained sound when the metal wouldn’t give him one centimeter of slack. Frustrated and his nerves sparking he bowed his head, trying to even his breathing and not to make himself such a fucking spectacle for these bastards.
The very same hands that held him down and forced him to eat and drink, scruffed his hair and gave him a pat.
The older man, now with coffee, sat down in front of him and smiled. “Edwards, he's gonna be your best friend."
Dean would have liked to say he already was. He had puked all over the guy. How much closer could they possibly get?
He focused his attention on the older hunter, trying to ignore the physical contact of the hand that was still in his hair. He wondered what they would do if he started to throw up again, only this time with their fancy new gag on.
“Hey Edwards, why you don’t go and do somethin’ about that big black car we got out back?” The hunter in charge suggested. “Hide it in one of those barns just in case someone comes callin’ for old Mr. Johnson.”
The hand vanished, and with light tread of footsteps for such a large man, he was gone.
Dean focused on this Yueller guy and tried for his own sake to pretend they were seated in any old living room and about to have some kind of everyday conversation. It just happened to also be the kind of exchange that he’d have no part in whatsoever.
The old hunter was a tall man, probably just about his dad’s height and most likely pushing it into his late fifties. He didn’t move like it though. The guy was solid. His gray hair cut short and precise, his gray eyes steady and discerning. His beard was neatly clipped, his simple green fatigues were something vet would wear to a parade or to a local VFW. His voice had an easy twang to it. Probably Texas.
Yueller took a sip of black coffee before he started.
“My name is Jack, but I’d like you to refer to me as Captain, Captain Yueller, or Sir.”
Dean remembered what Edwards said about asking questions or more likely, about being a smartass and thought it was probably a good thing that they had strapped a rubber gag across his face.
The Captain gestured to the man that was still standing behind Dean.
“This is David Keens, he’s never served, not even a week, but we don’t hold that against him.” He grinned at his own joke. “You will refer to him only as Mr. Keens, or Sir.
Dean weakly returned the Captain’s smile. Two ex-military and one civilian. Probably just as well trained in the private sector. Maybe ex-government.
“The same goes for the Lieutenant whom you already know quite well. Do you understand me so far?”
Dean slowly nodded.
“You see Dean, at this point in my experience, this would be right about the time I would be telling my newest recruit that he is not the most special and unique snowflake that has ever fallen from the sky. I would call him a dime a dozen. Average and just about everything outside the extraordinary...”
Dean wondered just exactly how many had sat in a chair like this before he had and where they were now. He had a pretty good feeling that they didn’t elect to step out of Captain Yueller’s unit all on their own.
“But you are different Dean.” He settled back with his mug on one knee. “You are about as different as they come.”
Dean felt his eyebrows rise as he rolled his eyes. If this guy thought this was big news, he should get a look at what his brother could do with a spoon...
“You were raised with it. Grown up training right in the thick of it. The largest unseen war that rages right here on American soil.” Yueller said, his voice half lost in his own awe. “And here you are, right alongside us now.”
Dean’s expression darkened.
“I know, don’t worry, I’m well aware we ain’t quite there just yet.” He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. “It’ll take some time, but you’ll get to liking it here with us soon enough.”
Dean made a noise indicating his strong disbelief in that eventuality.
The Captain smiled again, a broad real smile as if Dean’s stifled defiance pleased him. He reached and unsnapped the gag, taking it away and placing it aside on the table.
“Now, today I would like to teach you your first and most important lesson.”
“Never liked school much.” Dean mumbled, his speech slurred slightly by the prior blow to his mouth. His throat was raw from breakfast the hard way and he wasn’t sure just how many lessons he could live through in just one day.
Yueller just kept on smiling that sure as shit smile.
“The first thing I need you to learn about life here is that you should never speak unless directly addressed.” He held up his hands in something of an apology. “I know, it sounds hard. But we can help you.”
“Help me how?” Dean asked unenthusiastically as he tried to slide the rest of the way down into the sofa, but his bound wrists were caught up in Mr. Keens’ grasp.
"Well,” Yueller said. “For instance, just now? You weren’t asked a question or directly addressed but you spoke. You spoke out of turn. I realize that for someone like you, well, it must be difficult to restrain these impulses.”
“You could say that.” Dean watched as the man pulled out a desk drawer and took out something that looked like a few strands of electrical wire.
“The method is simple.” He assured him. “It’s used in various animal behavioral trials, using painful stimuli to discourage and thereby abolish unwanted behaviors.”
Dean’s shirt was yanked up and a clear gel applied, making his skin prickle.
“That’s fancy talk for: if it hurts, quit doing it.” Yueller winked.
Dean watched as white contact points were placed up on his chest, sticky on his skin.
“We’ll start them in a place that won’t hurt that much.”
Dean felt himself breathing faster, the contacts were right above his heart and down under his lungs. He didn’t really want to find out where the more painful places happened to be.
“Now, we're gonna start off nice and easy, ok?” The machine under his hand hummed to life, a series of lights coming on one by one. “State your name.”
Dean half smiled, his swollen lip making a full one just about impossible.
The smile on the man opposite him faded. He gestured to the man behind Dean. “Better hold him, he might hit his head.”
Dean narrowed his eyes. “W-what are –”
He felt the fire uncurl and roil through his chest, seize his heart and make it skip. Several rapid palpitations ended with a hard thump that left him lightheaded. Panting, he lifted his head again slowly. He smelled a burning static smell, felt cold sweat on his skin.
"What you just experienced is called a PVC. That fluttery feeling in your chest is your heart doin' a little dancin’. Nothing to worry about right away but if you get more than six, please let us know. We wouldn't want you to arrest now."
“What the fu—“ His words were silenced, his jaw convulsively clenched shut as the circuit flowed through him again.
When the roar faded and he could hear again, he heard the man named Keens behind him. A slow voice with a drawl to it. Deep south and in no hurry even for a warning.
"Careful there Jack, careful he don't go and bite his tongue."
It stopped again. “I--I swear when I get out of—-" His eyes squeezed shut again, all of his body tensed hard and onto itself, painfully cramping and contorting.
“You see?” The cool even smile was back. “I think you’re getting the gist of this exercise.”
“Y-You fucking piece of—-ah!”
Dean felt his muscles seize and contract with the current, the power not being shut off after a few seconds as it had the first few times. It kept going... He gasped, the pain building, his lungs felt as though they were filled with concrete, going into spasms to take in air, his heart thudding off rhythm—
It suddenly stopped.
“That will be all for today.” Yueller said as he removed the contacts and rolled them neatly back into a ball. “Don’t feel too disappointed, you’ll do better in time.”
Dean tried to find his voice and couldn’t. He didn’t realize Keens was the only reason he was still upright until he was tipped back against the sofa and left there to recover.
“But now,” The Captain sat back in his chair. “It’s your turn.”
“I—I get to do that to you?” Dean stammered hopefully. “Then this place might not be, might not be so bad, a-after all...”
“Now it’s your turn to ask me your questions.” He said, ignoring Dean’s comment as if he hadn’t even heard it. “I know you got a couple for me. Go right on ahead.”
Dean felt his teeth grind together as he steeled his gaze against this man that was holding every single one of the damn cards. Dean didn’t have an inch and this guy knew it. Reveled in it. Wanted it. He had after all, even arranged it all to be just like this. But questions? Well, he pretty much knew why he was here. They wanted a new member for what they thought of as their private Elite and Dean was the lucky draft pick. The other things, their tactics, vocabulary, and methods, that was all explained by their military backgrounds.
But one thing had been on his mind.
“Y-You leave my brother out of this.”
“That’s not a question.” Yueller chided. “But don’t you worry none, our current interest in your brother is zero.”
Dean watched Keens come into view, standing stoically still behind his seated superior.
“Don’t get us wrong?” Yueller quickly started to explain. “Keens here wanted to hunt the boy down and take his skin for that stunt he pulled back over in Wyoming.”
Dean met Keen’s look. He looked like some slightly shorter version of Yueller, darker hair, thinner tighter beard, a baseball cap on with his army issue clothes. Remembering his last stay with the trio, Dean wondered when Army green would be what he’d be wearing too.
“Bringing the feds right down on top of us?” Yueller laughed a little bit. “That was a hell of a time, I have to admit!”
Dean swallowed uncomfortably, his wrists starting to throb, his fingers tingling from the tightness of his binds. He remembered this. Hours of this. He sighed, watching Yueller tap out a cigarette and light it. Sam wasn’t going to come looking for him for a real long time and when he did there was a big wide-open place to start looking. These guys were onto them both now. They’d see someone coming in their direction more than a mile away.
“Okay.” Dean said. “I have a question.”
Yueller slowly exhaled a lungful of smoke, his eyes curious and expectant.
“When do we start hunting?”
Captain Yueller lost what was left of his levity.
“I’m glad you asked.”