Title: Thirteen part 1 - part 2 - part 3 *Completed*
Rating: R - Outside POV - Gen - hurt!Dean - abducted!Dean
Spoilers: General to all aired ep in USA
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: An unnatural kind of serial killer decides to make Hunters its victim of choice...
Over the decades, he’d been obliged to exercise a little creativity over his task.
No human being was created alike thus none could ever be undone in the same means. Although the period of learning had long since ended, he never ceased to marvel at mankind’s ability to offer something new. The discovery of another nuance of humanity’s deviation flowed into the hollow well of his skull and brought echoes of fulfillment. He was ages done with the insubstantial pleasures of bodily gratification. Food no longer needed to be eaten. The gentle smile of a comely female no longer aroused him. He barely retained the faintest memory of his own urges let alone the needs of another.
Reaching under his shirt, he scraped his fingertips into the bloodless wounds that covered his torso. Easing out another piece of buckshot that had been embedded in his flesh, he dropped it like a pebble to the ground. Ever since the hunters had riddled him with their bullets he had withstood the dull anguish of his body’s slow rejection of the foreign matter. This membrane that covered his frame now only adequately harbored pain. To achieve any other sensation outside of his apathy he immersed his clotting mind into his pursuits.
Like a connoisseur, he had become an expert at the appraisal of souls. Each had a quality he alone could distinguish and assess, like wine over the tongue. Clarity and strength were desirable. Even the rough imperfections, the scratches and bruises deepened the flavor.
The harvest was all his joy.
He could have the coffers overflow with the purity of newborns if he desired it; raw green like the buds of flowers and with little substance. The clean glare of the rigidly devout was equally as alluring and almost as simple to reap. To find handfuls of nothing but foul rot, he needed only wander the midnight streets. The dull succinct rainbow of the spirit held no wonder for a man who knew of the possibility of the truly exotic.
That was why he preferred the brilliantly muddled makeup of the Hunter. All of them wore the masks of executioners, saviors, believers and doubters. Every facet of the human condition, noble and vile, glimmered dark and bright on their insides all at once.
The young man’s glazed eyes blinked uncertainly from his kneel on the floor when the front door banged shut. The chain rattled when he jerked away from what was dropped onto the ground before him. There hadn’t been much to collect from the battered old pickup parked in the mud behind the decrepit farmhouse. The flatbed of the aging vehicle contained what few spoils there were to be found in the motel room the previous night. It was a regrettable happenstance that the only items for keeping were limited to what the hunter had on his person at the time. But considering what chaos went into subduing his prize, he suspected he ought to be grateful for even that much.
Leaning down, he spread the leather jacket and green flannel shirt on the floor, making sure to place the wallet and ornaments along next to it. The thin wicked blade he had discovered strapped to the boy’s ankle was arranged neatly between the necklace and thick silver ring. Waiting for the evening to finish and the night to begin, he had decided to occupy himself with preparations. There was no doubt that if he were to go astray in his work a catastrophe would ensue. The blistering magic he employed was an ancient and volatile thing. He did not own it or harness it. He need only ask its permission.
Dean stirred in his bonds and grimaced.
“I should let ya know,” his gaze moved skeptically over the scattered belongings. "I've been to weird."
As he considered the words, he studied the fine muscle tremors that had ran through the shoulders. Cramped thighs shook from the duration of his constrainment, and his body was racked with chills despite the sweat beaded on his skin. In exhaustion, his knees had slowly spread further apart which only made the rope above become more and more unforgiving.
The hunter managed a pained grin.
"Y-You'll have to do a little better than this if you want your own HBO documentary."
The warm smile he returned drained the cockiness from the boy's face.
A single touch of his forefinger and the green eyes lost their hard glint, his chin falling limply once again against his chest.
The defiant mockery disagreed with him but it would be foolish to waste energy on something as trifling as rage. He forced his eager hands to busy themselves with the personal effects until the clock struck the prerequisite hour. Now the priming could begin. It was always difficult to pick and choose but a collector learned how to select the most remarkable from the lot. An etched Zippo he found in the jacket was immediately put aside as was the curious necklace he’d found around the boy’s neck. He’d also kept a ring from the hunter’s hand and a small laminated prayer card to St. Michael that he found in the leather wallet. He agonized over several other items before he decided what to keep and what he would later bury.
His search through the various forms of identification brought him the other half of his guest’s name.
Placing his finger under the entry in the ledger, he slowly added the word: Winchester to the other diligently placed notes. Besides broken weapons and worn property, the journal entries were the only physical evidence of his claims. There was no horde beneath the floorboards, no treasure trove behind the dry wall. Nothing was lying locked under a moth eaten carpet in the silent attic above. A broad hand rubbed his chest to feel the strong and steady thud of his aged heart.
His finds were kept where only he could touch them again.
It sickened him to think of his private collection ever being available for anyone else’s consumption. It reminded him of priceless paintings mounted for all to gape at in crowded public museums. As soon as the miserly owner was no longer able to sequester their personal masterpieces away, the filthy masses pounced upon it as if each and every one had a right to view such sanctity.
Closing the book, he set it aside and felt around his belt for the tool he kept. Drawing it out of its long leather sheath, he admired the polished edge in the warm firelight.
His timing was appropriate. The boy had begun to regain himself. Fear was shadowed by outrage at the sight of the blade. The indignity of being bled like a trussed animal in a barnyard seemed to infuriate the hunter more than the approach of his death. It pleased him that the hunter was offended at the thought of such an end.
His intentions, however, were different.
“Be very still, he whispered.
It only took a few seconds to saw through the taut rope.
The boy choked as he tried not to whimper, finally able to slump forward to the floor. Grinding his forehead into the ground, he bit back his pain with angry growls as the blood flooded back into numb arms and hands. He heaved himself over onto his side, the short reach of the chain allowing him to lie down and take the weight off his skinned knees.
“Aw, fuck...,” Eyes squeezed closed, Dean weakly rocked on his side as his muscles seized into knots. “Goddamit.”
The curses he breathed were impotent and almost charming. This hunter would not reduce himself with pleading, not yet anyway.
Letting him alone for a moment, he turned his attention to the largest oak table in the room. Now cleared of the teetering piles of books and clutter that amassed on every bare surface of his neglected home, he dragged it away from the wall. With some effort he pushed the heavy slab across the floor. His work now demanded light. Closest to the fire and directly below the candelabra filled with new candles that would burn to their wicks.
Relocating the hunter would not be very troublesome.
The boy was enraged but spent, his cramping muscles as useless as if the binds were still in place. Any struggle he made now would be as ineffectual as his deflated threats. Undoing the tight buckles on the collar, he smoothed a hand over the chafed red skin beneath it before he rolled the hunter onto his back. Dean resisted when a spindly arm firm as an iron bar slipped behind his shoulders and under his knees. The boy twisted violently in his grasp, a lumbering hindrance that nearly sent them both crashing to the floor. They both gasped as the body was roughly slammed onto the table’s hard surface, knocking the wind out of him. Dean laid panting and bucking under the grip, staring up at him with fury in his gaze.
He frowned at this unexpected struggle. He could not restrain his catch any further without causing more harm. The job ahead required the boy to be as silent and sedentary as a waiting canvas. Any error in application would be disastrous.
The body under his hands tensed when he paused.
“D-don’t touch...m-me..." Dean’s jaw shook.
The usual methods were useless with this one.
Taking a deep breath, he brushed his hands together before gently laying them into place. It was a delicate thing to produce, these small deaths. Sometimes it was as easy and mundane as sleep. Deprive them of food for a few days and some simply stopped caring. It took so little. One palm pressed over the mouth, stifling the hot breath beneath. The other came to rest above the center of the chest. The rush of usurped energy was immediate. His victim writhed under his touch and he fought a rush of lightheadedness that made the room tilt nauseatingly on an angle. He counted a full minute before he breathlessly severed himself. Taking an unsteady step backwards, he waited for the unsettling sensation to fade.
All the worrisome resistance was gone.
He could drain Dean’s fight away, but the anger was still in place. When the knife cut the bruised wrists free, the boy’s limbs were as compliant as a corpse as they were placed at his sides. The hands twitched on the table’s surface but did not rise. When the hunter struggled to speak, his speech was slurred, eyes half mast and trance-like.
He smoothed the damp hair from the kid’s forehead and let his flesh linger so as to push him closer to the brink.
“It will soon be over."
The hunter would not submit to full sleep so he withdrew his touch. Briefly, he considered completely paralyzing him. At best it would quiet the adrenaline, stifle all consciousness and leave nothing but a cold numb awareness. But meddling there was not always successful. Sometimes they stopped breathing.
He would have to endure then.
The blade sliced neatly through the laces in his boots.
“...shit...shit.” Dean’s eyes watered as he tried to form each word.
Sliding the sharp instrument carefully into the seam of the thick denim, he lifted the cutting edge upwards. He listened to Dean breathe the cheap curse again. The knife hissed neatly through the fabric until he reached the creases of the cloth around the hips. The material at the waist was as tough to hack through as cured leather. The kid kept on softly repeating the swear like a mantra as he stared hard straight up at the ceiling. As he took the knife to the other leg, he listened as the steady litany became fainter and weaker. Although the fire roared in the hearth and the room was boiling with heat, the hunter was shivering on the table when the last of the clothing was removed.
Snapping his fingers before Dean’s blank eyes he was contented to detect a minute reaction. Like a patient not sent down far enough into the oblivion of anesthesia, the hunter was now alert but unable to move. As he turned to a much smaller table where he had arranged the book of markings, he picked up the bottle of ink and the ready brush. The indigo pigment had always been the signature of his industry. Certainly he would be lost without the thorough diagram laid out in the ancient tome. Nonetheless, if the ink were imperfect then all that would come from his labors would be a hollow replication of another man’s skill.
Dean sucked in a breath when the blade slicked across the inside of his wrist. He spoke no words to him. All communication now would come from steel, the deep incision and the pot of ink held below the trickling drip.
The hunter had good blood.
The pot swirling over the open flame crackled and sparked. Wiping the tool delicately on the glass lip, he formed the brush into a fine point. The thick warm fluid mixed well with the other components in the dye. He considered his canvas before he decided where to first touch ink to skin.
He savored this part of the task.
The binding on the inner part, that which made the hunter more than husk, was firm and tough if not slightly frayed at the edges. It would make no difference. The young ones were often tenacious to pry but they were of a dependable stock. Care had to be taken to preserve quality. He attempted to pay no attention to the harsh groans of protest the hunter forced through numbed lips as fine cuts were made. Deeper ones absorbed the pigment like a sponge, staining him on the inside. Even the beds of his fingernails had begun to take the hue.
Dean’s eyes fluttered, head turning weakly from side to side as the fine point etched the paint beneath sensitive flesh. He held the kid gently by the throat to steady the meager struggles as he drew the curving patterns on his cheek, down the hard ridge of his brow and the sculpture of his nose. He felt his fear, understood it. This boy was a predator and his fear was a tenuous thing, an unpreventable reaction he had been taught to control. But hunters came seeking their deaths, found the creatures out in the dark, and knew where to look. This boy knew exactly why to be afraid. Their kind was wonderfully foolish and most difficult to extract the shimmered gauzy thing that flickered in their chests like a fragile wing. Handled too roughly or improperly, it would break; become useless.
Then there was nothing but spoiled meat.
He started, nearly spilling the ink when a shaking hand slipped suddenly over his, Dean’s arm wrenched arduously up to interfere with the gentle maiming of his skin. Calmly, he clenched Dean by the wrist and replaced the arm again at his side. He felt the strong muscles clench and go tight, heard the thrum of Dean’s heart as its beat fluttered in the hollow of his throat.
“…I-I’m gonna kill you…”
He had to smile at that.
It didn't take very much to win his love. And yes, love was necessity if this were to be done exactly right.
A sudden shrill sound startled them both.
Confused, he stumbled backwards looking in every direction for the source of the piercing noise. He quickly realized the shriek was coming from the pile of the hunter’s belongings brought in from his pickup. The source of the racket was in the crumpled leather jacket he had left wadded on the floor along with the other items he had decided to discard.
Slipping the device out of an inside pocket he had missed, he held the tiny portable telephone.
These trinkets were more amusing than fascinating. No one seemed to be without them these days. In his time, the same was said of a firearm. Everyone concealed one for convenience’s sake. He’d seen and heard these plastic annoyances before but he’d never used one. The cool blue display on its back was a strange shade of light that didn’t agree with his eyes. It was too flat and cold. It was made of the chemicals that composed all the artificial illumination that lit up the undersides of the clouds at night. He wondered if the thing had been singing its sharp song all day long out in the cab of the truck.
The hunter on the table roused enough to react to the sound of the small machine in his hand. Small, desperate sounds rose from his throat as his leaden limbs shook.
Its insistent ring kept repeating, the blue square of light on its smooth surface brightening each time. He pulled the thin pieces of metal apart and studied the buttons on its inside. As soon as he started wondering how to turn it off without simply destroying it, he heard a faint and urgent voice. He had activated it somehow. Quickly snapping the metal closed the soft light blinked out. A name and a phone number had appeared on the display.
“Sam,” he stared at the surname that flashed on the tiny screen. “Another Winchester?”
Dean’s hands trembled on the network of ink that decorated his chest.
He had been admittedly disappointed with the loss of the second hunter but he had never once considered that the two could have been related. Never in all his searches had he come across a family. He had never even heard of anything like them. The thought that such a unique find had slipped through his fingers had made him furious. Now that the hunter was alone it wouldn’t be half as interesting or valuable. Slamming his knuckles down into the wood table he felt the surge of frustration flare through his calm.
A sudden thought occurred to him.
“Would you like to talk to Sam Winchester?” he opened the phone again. “I think you would.”
The hunter rolled his head back and forth in wordless agitation.
Before he could worry about how to make the telephone work again, the thing started abruptly ringing again. He had found many hunters to be solitary creatures, evaporating from sight when they were spooked or wounded. There were certainly notions of loyalty amongst their kind, but he hadn’t seen much of it. Their sense of community ended as soon as it became inconvenient. However, surely a blood relation might venture closer to danger no matter how reckless the outcome.
One could always trust certain behavior from Hunters no matter what shade of solider they were on the spectrum. All of them seemed to be extremely fixated on preparing and dealing with their dead properly. It was maybe the only sentimental trait their jumbled ranks had in common.
“Say your goodbyes, Dean.”
He found himself becoming excited to be present for the sharing of a last exchange with family. It was like all of the delectable lasts he would savor from this human being. Things only he would see and hear and that he would share with no one. The phone stopped ringing when he opened it. Knowing that the hunter could not hold it himself, he pressed the machine up to the side of his face like he’d observed others do.
Dean was confused at first by the noise on the other end. His unfocused eyes blinked uncertainly with the slow realization that the sound he was hearing was not a phantom. The voice calling his name was not something he'd conjured in the churning disorder of his head. His glazed eyes widened in a futile hope as he comprehended that the voice was real.
The far away voice raised in a palpable anxiety.
“...it’s me...” Dean forced each word out from behind the fog.
He felt his eyes burn with delight. He would listen closely and add what precious dialogue he overheard in the ledger.
When he caught up with this other Winchester he would read it aloud to him if he so wished it when his own time came. Impatiently awaiting the faltering banal poetry of a desperate man, he heard instead the silence of concentration. What came after it wasn’t some departing sentiment or anything else as gratifying. It in fact, made no sense at all.
Dean was softly repeating the numbers and letters over and over again, his rasping voice barely audible.
He blinked when he comprehended that he had no idea what the string of gibberish meant.
The telephone was tersely snapped closed.
While he did feel special to have been witness to this small intimate parting, the nonsensical phraseology irritated him. Surely this fool could have thought of something better to provide his brother with. Certainly there were superior scraps of fact to use in an effort to save your own life. Tossing the phone back with the jacket, he decided that Dean had used his last moments to verbalize a last will and testament. It was most likely some locker combination or a safe deposit box. The assurance of wealth being passed on was a comfort the dying took all the time.
However, he dearly hoped that the sound of the last wish would help motivate the other hunter.
If this man’s next of kin was foolish as he was, he would come looking for him. His wizened tongue all but moistened at the possibility of two new gems in his collection. Their vessels he would use for medicine, perhaps nourishment if the craving took him. The rest he would leave piled in a tangled embrace as their hot blood drained into the soft wet soil.
The thought of such a lovely and exclusive acquirement made him dizzy with rapture.
The brass bell clock on the wall began to chime the hour.
The tedious rendering was simply an outline so far, the pattern of lines a tracing of the soul’s flowing structure over the corporal skeleton. Embellishments and details would be saved until the end.
“He might not find me...” Dean swallowed.
The brush rattled in the near empty ink well. He decided it was in time for a refilling. Dean flinched when the bandage was ripped from the freshly congealed wound on the tender skin of his wrist.
“...but he’ll find you.”
He finally had to force two fingers between his clenched teeth, into his mouth to deaden his tongue and stop the distraction of half formed words. Dean's eyes rolled back in his head, body finally succumbing to the dark.
Pulling a sheet up over the boy’s body, he certainly hoped the hunter was right.