( & continued in sequel Indoctrination)
Author: Mink & Jink
Rating: R - hurt!Dean - abducted!Dean - Gen
Spoilers: General to all aired ep in USA
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
He woke up slowly.
A weird kind of mechanical sound whispered all around him, tiny bright explosions he could almost feel behind his eyelids.
First he felt the cold tile under his cheek. The dull rattle of chains as he automatically tried to reach up to rub at his eyes. His shoulder ached from being pressed down on the hard floor, his thighs and knees cramped from being in the same position over night. His throat burned. His tongue was dry. He worked his jaw and swallowed realizing that the gag was gone.
Opening his eyes he saw two of the three men were seated around the lone and only table in the center of the room. They were the older of the trio, grizzled gray with bodies as solid as any college football player.
A brilliant flash of light ignited the room and he reflexively tried to shield his eyes with his bound hands. Confused he slowly lowered them, his sight filled with bright spots zig zagging in molten lines across his vision.
It was a camera.
"W-what the--?" His throat was thick with disuse, words slurred and strange to him.
"Slept long enough."
The table was cluttered. Styrofoam boxes lay open with steaming food. A red and gold carton had tipped over leaving a messy pile of rice on the floor several feet from his face.
Dean swallowed again, the sight and scent of food causing his stomach to go into knots. He was in between some stage of hungry and sick, the need and the revulsion almost equal in his gut. His head was pounding from lack of water. He had fought hard the last time they had tried to give him the tube by jerking his head around so much they had to pull the thing out before it choked him to death. What they had managed to get into him didn't last long and had ended up in a pool on the floor.
If he got sick they usually just tried it again but they hadn't that last time. He was vaguely surprised how much worse he felt without it. It felt almost like a hangover, his body’s absence of good old fashioned fluids making him feel ragged and even more run down than the drugs did.
The camera clicked and whirred again, leaving his vision a sheet of chaotic white.
"Take him out front." Came an order from the dinner table.
It was the youngest of them that held the camera. A youth that was pushing his late forties easily. He stood tall and pocketed the digital camera as he complied. He got down on one knee beside Dean and gave him a small smile as he held up a key.
"No funny stuff okay?"
Dean had nothing funny planned so he just nodded in some kind of agreement.
The metal sprung away from his ankles, his sore flesh burning from their constant presence. The chain rattled through the loop and out between his wrists which remained safely locked.
"Come on now." He slipped a thick arm under Dean's elbow and eased him to a sitting position.
His legs felt numb and useless, slipping out from under him when the man attempted to get him to stand. When he finally managed to keep on his feet, his muscles trembled, the effort to support his weight hurting up and down his frame. The man nudged him forward.
Walk? This guy wanted him to walk? Okay. Dean took two faltering steps forward and almost landed back on the floor if not for the strong arm helping him stay upright.
"You just need to stretch them out a little bit." The man assured him as he lead them past the table and towards the one and only door.
Dean wanted to ask for water but he decided it wasn't worth it. That fucking tube would be coming sooner or later. His biological needs had been set to some clockwork that didn't jive with his own needs. When he didn't want food, it was pumped into his stomach. When he lay all night thinking about one sip of water they left him alone to his own suffering.
“Wha-what’s with the camera?”
His handler almost looked a little embarrassed.
“I like to archive the process Dean.” He explained. “One day you’ll look at them and you’ll laugh. I promise.”
The only door lead out to the front of what looked like used to be a meat market. The glass cases dark and empty, the broad front windows covered with brown paper, taped up in patches. Small jagged pieces of sun leaked in making beams of light filter through the dusty air.
Dean stopped short when his eyes caught something in the meager light. A large section of the floor was covered in a dark brown rusty stain, pieces of cardboard tossed over it and soaked through. It smelled old, like rotted meat.
"Taking your work home with you?" Dean asked as he was gently pushed forward again.
"Sometimes." The man sighed.
Their destination was the bathroom and as usual, the man stood standing there while Dean relieved himself of the water they gave him every three hours on the hour. He was about to zip his jeans back up when he noticed the new contraption set up along the wall that he hadn't noticed when they had walked in. It reminded him of when their father would get creative outside of conventional plumbing. If you didn't have running water in your cabin you made do with what you could. Seemed like these guys had done the same.
"Give me your clothes."
The man twisted on the sink's taps and the hose bracketed to the wall jerked, the nozzle hissing to life with flowing water.
Slowly kicking off his boots, Dean stepped out of his jeans and handed them over.
Solving the problem of having no bathing facilities in their den, they had rigged a hose up from the bathroom sink to pour downwards in the semblance of a shower. The tiled room had a central drain in its floor. It was almost luxurious.
Hygiene aside, Dean was much more interested in the water that was coming freely and not out of any goddamn tube. He stood under it, mouth open to the lukewarm rusty taste of unfiltered ground water. It tasted better than any icy cold bottled shit from a Nordic glacier could have ever hoped to be.
Dean turned back to his handler who was seated on a folding chair and turned away at an angle out of some respect for Dean's modesty. The man tossed him something without looking in his direction. A bar of soap.
Tonight was the night they’d agreed to meet with Sam again. The hunters had been tracking Sam’s work along side him on their own networked bank of laptops. All night Dean had been roused from his stupor on the floor by their small sounds of victory when another piece of an identity’s puzzle was fixed neatly into place. Complete proof that Sam was indeed fulfilling his side of the bargain with a speed that had impressed them all.
But Dean knew what would be waiting at that old barn when Sam came back. He knew Sam did too but the stupid kid would go anyway because he’d think Dean was there. There wouldn’t be any Dean and there wouldn’t be any ticker tape parade for his efforts either. All that waited for Sam was a loaded rifle and a fresh dug hole somewhere out in the woods out back.
He had to stop them from leaving, he had to do something. Anything. He swallowed hard, the muscles in his jaw aching from his entire body’s tension.
Dean stuck his head back under the barely warm water and numbly rubbed the soap on his arms and chest, wondering just how closely his body would listen to him if he choose to make a move now. His hands were still bound but he had his legs free.
It was an effort just standing upright under the makeshift shower. He was in no condition to go up against this well rested, well fed, giant of a man. Grinding his teeth in frustration, he worked the soap lather enough to move it through his hair. Soap had frequently doubled as shampoo as he grew up and he'd never quite fallen out of the habit of using it that way. He put the soap on the small metal shelf they had rigged under the hose. In the nature of the makeshift, it was shoddily made and half hanging off the wall. The weight of the soap alone made it sag even more.
But that was when Dean saw it.
A loose screw.
It almost fell out into his hand.
"Met your dad once."
Dean froze, his hand hovering under the small metal shelf.
"Hell, I might even have met you too." His chest hitched in a small laugh. "Everyone thought he'd lost his mind, dragging kids around with him like that."
Dean turned, pretending to work the suds down one arm as he snapped the small piece of loose metal and then quickly wiped his hand across his mouth. He had it. Tucked into the bottom of his cheek digging sharp into his gums.
"I liked him tho." He added. "Somethin’ about him."
Dean listened to him as he rubbed his face with water. There was a shakiness he couldn't seem to lose, a mild elation and horrible lightheadedness that never went away. Whatever they were dosing him with had a long lifespan and they were keeping him on it steady.
"Knew where you stood with a fella like that." He said almost nostalgically down at the wet tile floor. He let out a deep breath and stood, his eyes still averted slightly to the right so as to respect the captive's privacy. "You about done?"
Careful with his new tool, Dean gulped down a few more mouth fulls of water before stepping out from under the sputtering hose. The hissing water stopped and his handler tossed him a towel.
There were clothes neatly folded and left on the chair. A pair of worn and faded green and gray fatigues, some boxers still in their plastic wrapping and an army green t-shirt.
"Those aren't mine." Dean said, the cool air of the room finally feeling cold and making him shiver where he stood. The towel against his face was stiff and smelled like bleach.
"They're yours now." He smiled.
Dean’s jeans were gone and unless he wanted to go back out there in nothing but his boots he had no choice but to obey. His face flushed in his anger at being lead into complying. Leaving him no choices but theirs. Is this how they did it? Just made sure you had no free will of your own until you stopped trying all together. The handcuffs were removed.
Dean stared down at his freed hands and met the man opposite him square in the eye.
"Just go ahead and put them on like a good kid." The gaze was kind but hard. This hunter was prepared for any bullshit Dean might pull. And if he did, this man already knew who would come out on top. "Shirt first."
Dean reluctantly picked up the T-shirt and slipped it over his head. It fit perfectly.
"Tomorrow we'll talk about shaving." The man told him. "Electric razor of course."
The cuffs were reattached, their weight making Dean clench his teeth. He next pulled on the warmth of the boxers and fatigues and felt his jaw twitch in his effort not to say anything. The small piece of metal stayed painfully in place, his tongue pushing down as far as it possibly go.
"You're quiet." The tone of his voice changed. "Don't got such a smart mouth now?"
"Sorry." Dean mumbled downwards as he fastened the trousers top button and sat down to awkwardly pull on his boots with bound hands.
His chin was caught in a large hand forcing him to look up.
The man studied him curiously, his suspicions sparked by the slightest change in the environment and everything that moved in it. Dean's smart mouth was something he had obviously grown accustomed to when the gag was not in place.
Still shivering from the water, Dean stood, his chin just about reaching the larger man's shoulder. The man was looking down at him. Looking at him real close.
Thinking fast, Dean jerked forward in a feigned harsh cough, bringing his hands up to his mouth. In one motion he'd moved the metal piece to the palm of his hand. Actual pain swiftly replaced his act and almost doubled him over, a very real cough taking control and ravaging his raw throat.
When he finally stopped, a thumb slipped between his lips and pulled his jaw down. Dean resisted the strong urge to bite down on the fingers that ran back over and under his teeth. His chest heaved in simmering rage as he was inspected, a hand even running carefully through his damp hair and along the backs of his ears.
Some of the man's smile came back but not all of it.
"You're doing real good Dean." He said softly. "Don't you go now and mess it all up."
Dean's anger doubled when he realized he'd used the word without even thinking about it.
This was all a lot easier with the gag.
Two of them were gone.
They were out the door by 10PM. Right on the dot of their careful schedule to meet Sam at the appointed place and finish their business with him. They had left behind the youngest again. He was the only one that ever bothered to really speak to their new charge, the one that usually administrated most of his feedings and the only one Dean wasn’t completely unsure he could take in a fight.
Dean silently thanked the hypnotic and distracting power of football.
A small TV on a rusted oil drum and the boredom of his babysitter were on his side. His body, however, was not.
The drugs, he had long since realized, were insurance. Through one way or another they knew just about everything Dean was capable of and they weren’t taking any chances. The caution exercised was almost flattering. Fortunately, stealth on blunted senses was a pleasure he had experience in. Several slow deep breaths curbed the shakes, summoning enough focus to bring his hands covertly to his mouth. He spat the rusted screw into his palm, tasting rust and grit on his bottom lip.
Deftly, he began to work on the large locks securing his ankles, gritting his teeth when the tiny piece of metal fell from his shaking hands, clattering softly against the tiles.
"Nonono..." He breathed, bending to feel for it, relieved when he snatched it back up in his sweaty palm. He leaned over, fighting for focus, straining carefully against his restraints to try the lock once more.
A job like this, with what he had, took time, patience and focus. It was not impossible, just tedious. Time played with him, vision going in and out, muscles trembling from exertion. A slight twitch, a sharp twist and finally the blessed click.
Dean tried very hard not to make noise. Breathing deeply, he regained himself, waited until his heart slowed before maneuvering out of the leg restraints. One lock, then the other and his ankles were free.
The man in the chair was locked on the television.
It took him a few seconds to keep balance, reacquaint himself with his own body again. The drugs weighing his movement and clouding his judgment were cut by adrenaline, the sudden euphoria of freedom. Cautiously he glanced to the side, ready to bring his bound fists into play.
The man hadn't moved. Dean tensed, listening closely. An explosive snore broke through the white noise from the TV set.
He was asleep.
Dean could have wept but he didn’t really have the time.
He had a car to jack.
It was easy to find the one and only two lane interstate that lead anywhere at all out of town. Dean idled in the stolen pick up at the red light, his choice of north or south making or breaking the whole entire situation.
He shut his eyes, remembering the ride the first time he’d taken it, blind and restrained. The rain had fallen unevenly and in muted thudding drops over the trunk hood as they went. As if the water was set loose by gusts of wind through the trees they passed under.
Looking south he saw nothing but open grazing fields and stacked stone walls. Turning north he saw the asphalt lined on either side with the drape of ancient and budding oaks, almost a canopy over the roadway, the branches reaching the other large trees on the other side.
Dean shifted into gear and started up the northern route on instinct alone.
If he was right, there’d be a turn off in about 12 miles and at the end of that, there’d be a party to crash.
He knew he was in trouble when he couldn’t manage to keep the pickup off the center yellow lines.
The radio was stuck on some half way hiss of bluegrass and a news station drone of transmission frayed voices. The volume didn't work at all, the tuner knob was missing completely. The interior smelled like stale tobacco and wet dog. There was a half empty Budweiser can in the plastic cracked drink holder.
Checking to see if it wasn’t just there for spitting chew into, Dean downed it, flat and warm, the slightest touch of the alcohol sharpening in through the drugs, and parting the hazy curtains just enough that he could keep on one side of the road.
Briefly, he wondered what it would feel like to keep driving and putting as many miles as he could between him and these men. That goddamn hard floor, those heavy shackles and the feel of the tube down his throat. He gripped the steering wheel hard and he eased his foot back down hard on the gas. Going to confront two of them on his own carried an uneasiness that he wasn’t used to experiencing. He realized it was some variation or form of fear. Dean frowned, crushing the empty can in his fist and pitching it out the rolled down window.
Fear did nothing but piss him off.
A light rain had started falling, dotting the dusty windshield and coming in through the window, cool and fresh on his forearm. He cut the headlights when he made the turn off, the unpaved road familiar in its bumps and water filled pot holes. When he knew for a fact that he hadn’t even made it half way to the barn he drove the truck into the cover of the woods and slipped out into the damp rainy night.
The barn was dark, no gas lamps lit, none of the stark electrics that hung in decades old ceramic fixtures were burning.
The rain had gotten a little heavier. That suited Dean fine, the sound of it through the leaves covered the sound of his passage through the undergrowth. He paused and took a good look 360 degrees around him. Unfortunately, the game played both ways, his hearing was impaired too. Made even worse by the phantom sounds he was hearing, the drugs rushing and whooshing with the wind when it struck overhead through the trees. Taking deep breaths, he steadied himself on the rough wet trunk of a tree as he crouched down low to the muddy ground.
The Impala wasn’t here.
But that wasn’t all there was too it. Dean had slowly realized as he made a careful search of the barn’s perimeter that the car wasn’t hidden down the dirt lane, or parked off the main road so no one would know it had arrived.
Sam had known very well that his brother wouldn’t be here waiting for him when he returned. So Sam had performed another no show for the benefit of his blackmailers. But he had done all the work they had asked for and if they couldn’t silence him with a round of bullets, the only matter left was Dean.
The sudden realization that he was completely and utterly fucked hit him like a blow. He let his forehead knock in frustration against the damp tree, cursing softly.
He was worse than stupid. He was unprepared, off his game and in the open.
Best be getting gone.
He turned around and was suddenly facing off with two chests.
Turned out he was making more noise than he thought he was. Or sleeping beauty back at base woke up long enough to let his friends here know that the lock down hadn’t quite worked. He almost wanted to tell them that it had all come down to one tiny rusty screw but by the looks on their faces he didn’t think they were in the mood.
Whenever Dean faced his doom, all he could think to do was grin.
"Uh, hi?" He said dumbly.
He was off and running before the first fist could even come down.
Dean cursed the drugs, cursed the rain, and above all his own stupidity as he bounded across what used to be a cow field. The wet ground was slippery, causing him to skid in the mud while he tried to stay ahead of two enraged men built like brick walls and both wearing brass knuckles. Reaching out, he snagged a fallen tree branch, wood soft and wet but solid. He swung at one of them, nearly falling backwards when the man simply made a grab for it. He tried again, managing to drive the jagged splinter of wood deep into the shoulder of the enraged man.
He was briefly glad to see blood spurt in flecks from the wound but he didn’t have time to gloat before he had to hit the deck to avoid being decapitated by his own ploy. Throwing himself face down into the muddy grass, he received only half the force of the blow from the elbow that sank into his shoulder.
The man was nice enough to take some time to grind it in his ligaments and bone.
He was done for, he knew. But there was no way he would admit it. Even when his own blood flooded his mouth from the steady flow of strikes to his face. Even if there was mud slick in his eyes, he swung out at them, kicked, cursed, and even managed to get a hard bite to what might have been a leg. But the fists were solid and relentless, one after the other like an avalanche, crushing bone and reducing his vision to nothing but white.
Dean was hopeful when it finally stopped.
He could barely feel them holding him up, or hear the shouting merged with the sick high buzz in his head. Every noise, small or great, had become scattered in confusing fragments. The rain, the flashes of lightening and dull thunder, the thrashing trees, the jingle of metal keys.
He did not know why they stopped, vaguely aware he had been dropped and dragged by the ankle back across the wet, muddy field, clothes catching on jagged stone. He felt his head come into forceful contact with the rim of the trunk, handled as though he were baggage. Disobedient baggage.
Let them do what they wanted. Drug him. Beat him. Hell, even kill him. Sam was safe. He breathed that through the blood welling in his swollen mouth.
“Y-You fuckers didn’t… didn’t get him.” He wheezed in a half smile.
Plastic cord was looped and cinched too tightly around his wrists, it hissed and zipped his knees together, his boot ankles locked together so tightly that his feet immediately went numb.
It was about then that Dean started laughing.
Even when the trunk lid came down, he couldn’t stop, and he was almost positive his keepers could hear it from the front seat how matter how deafening the weather had started to become.
Tethered painfully and soaking wet, Dean soon quieted. But his tired smile stayed. Every good hunter had several safe houses in and around the places they moved.
And maybe Sammy’s no show had been for a reason.
Maybe his younger brother was getting closer to just where exactly they might be hiding Dean in the dark.
And if he tried, maybe Dean could be patient.