Pairings Dean/Paul, Ruby/Mr. Friendly
Art Post: Here, with art by caelith
Rating: Rated R
Word Count: 17,075
Universe: Brokeback Mothman
Summary: The Relic must die.
Warnings: Violence, some sexual content (het and slash), language
Beta Thanks: Beta'ed by Sammie. Tank you!
Author's Notes: Sammie also suggested the label "The Mast" and found the description of a mast that was used in the story.
How Ruby became involved in all this will be revealed in another story, whenever I get to writing that one.
I think that this is the first time I've ever had such a short summary. :D It's just too perfect.
Although this universe will explore some of the canon concepts from later seasons of SPN, it's still technically AU. I don't intend for Sam's problem from season 4 to come between Dean and Sam; it will be explored, though, as you can probably guess from the things Ruby says in this story.
Made by caelith
She couldn't quite put her finger on it.
Mrs. Murtaugh knew there was something wrong with her son, something very off, shortly after he came home from the hospital. Everyone told her it was because of the shootings and resulting catatonia, that Kellen just needed time, that eventually, he would be the old Kellen again. But a mother knew when there was something so off about her own child that he didn't even seem to be the same person anymore. Mrs. Murtaugh knew it everytime she stood outside his bedroom door with a load of clean laundry or a plate of food and got that disturbing chill up her spine, that horrible crawly feeling of being watched by something dark and evil. Like the house had been inhabited by a presence ever since Kellen had come home.
Like he brought something back with him.
This wasn't something Mrs. Murtaugh felt she could share with anyone, not even her husband. Anytime she brought up the changes in her son to anyone, they would blame it on the awful tragedy he had endured. A traumatic event like that was bound to change a person.
But she was his mother, and she knew it was worse than all that. If only she had some way to verbalize what she was feeling... knew the right person to talk to...
Maybe things would get better. Kellen was almost done with his senior year of high school and had applied to three local colleges, all good educational institutions. He had eventually made up all the school he missed while in the hospital - it looked like he was back on track. If it wasn't for the spooky atmosphere surrounding the house, the occult books lining Kellen's shelves, and the sarcastic way he now spoke to his parents, Mrs. Murtaugh would be able to feel hope regarding his future like everyone else.
There had been some strange friends in the last few years, roughnecks that Mrs. Murtaugh just couldn't like no matter how hard she tried, so it was almost a blessing when he started hanging out with the pretty blonde. Robin Finch. Sure, she wore a bit too much makeup - the girl looked more like 25 than 18 - but Kellen's grades had improved once she came into his life a year ago. If they were romantically involved, no one had seen any evidence of it. Still, she seemed to be good for him.
When Robin showed up at the house one morning with a folder full of notes on various local colleges, wanting to go over them with Kellen, Mrs. Murtaugh had shown her right to the boy's room. She even planned to leave them alone in there, her trust was so great. Perhaps it had more to do with relief than trust, though, as she wanted her son to get back to a normal life, and a normal life for a boy his age involved young, pretty girls.
Escorting Robin up to Kellen's room, she knocked on the door. "Kellen? Look who's here."
When the door opened, the demon inside the boy put on a smile. Kellen's little friend was quite comely, and Mr. Friendly would love to have screwed her brains out by now, but she was always rebuffing his advances. Soon, he would tire of her. "Oh, hi Robin. Come on in."
A minute later and they were alone in his room. Robin opened her little folder with a smirk on her face. She didn't plan to waste anymore time. "Kellen, I haven't been totally honest with you... for quite a while, really."
"No. You see, this folder doesn't have any college brochures or campus maps in it." Robin moved from the chair by the door and sat on the corner of Kellen's desk. "It's full of photographs."
There had been a complete shift in the girl's tone and stance; it was almost like she had something on him. Even so, Mr. Friendly remained jovial. "Really? What kind of photos? Did you and your friends finally have that pillow fight in your underwear?"
In the past, she would have giggled and smacked him somewhere for a joke like that, but now, Robin only smirked again. "That's cute. No, see, I have a business associate who's been very busy, running around taking all sorts of pictures, and I asked her to get one of you. Call it a hunch, but I knew there was something different about you." Robin took a photograph out of her folder and laid it on the desk.
When she mentioned the photo was of him, Mr. Friendly had frowned. Something was up. The photo showed Kellen with a strange aura of orange light around his body, but Friendly had expected that. What he didn't expect was for Robin to be acting like this about it. He sat back in the big desk chair, squinting at her. "You caught me."
Friendly continued to look her over. "You're having a rather calm reaction to this picture. Most girls would say, 'Hey Kellen, isn't that freaky, there's orange light radiating from your body.' But it seems almost routine to you." He leaned forward. "Who's in there with you, Robin?"
"Oh, no." Friendly bowed to her from his seated position, holding out a hand to the girl in a flourish. "Ladies first."
She shrugged. "Alright." Robin blinked, and her eyes were inky black from corner to corner. The girl blinked again a few seconds later, and they were back to normal. "My name is Ruby. Now you."
"Well, I don't have that neat eye change thing, but you've seen my aura in your little picture, so I don't suppose you need further proof. They call me Mr. Friendly." He snorted, amused. "Isn't this an ironic little twist?"
"Yes, it's quite the coincidence. Although, not entirely." Ruby leaned toward him, arm draped across her knee. "I befriended Kellen because of the tragedy he witnessed in his past. Where there is murder and mayhem, there is black energy. Where there is grief, there is pain. Among all of these things is power. I thought perhaps the boy could serve as an antenna for that power, but I see someone beat me to him." She had to laugh. "Maybe it's better this way. Would you consider working with us?"
"Hm... I don't know." Friendly picked up one of the toys from Kellen's desk, a slingshot that propelled brightly colored Koosh balls across the room, and began to snap it just to hear the rubber part make that delightful twang sound. "Maybe. What else you got in that folder, Ruby?" He smiled at her. "What is this all about?"
Ruby took a stack of photos from the folder and sifted through them, putting them in a specific order. "This... this is about the Apocalypse, Mr. Friendly. Something we hear you've been trying to bring about."
Still grinning, he put his feet up on the desk, leaning far back in the chair, nonchalant and cocky. "My reputation precedes me. Yes, that has been one of my pet projects. I've been trying to figure out the best way to do it, but really, any ol' way will do, don't you think? As long as humanity is wiped from the Earth."
"Oh, but you must acknowledge that some methods are better than others." Hopping down to the floor, Ruby circled the desk as she spoke, running her hand over the back of the desk chair as she passed. "Some methods are more interesting... more fun... some cause more pain than others... some do more damage." She formed a steeple with her fingers, just thinking for a moment. "My ultimate goal is to use the Apocalypse to free Lucifer from Hell."
"Ah, the old classics!" Friendly leaned so far back he was now looking at the ceiling, and swiveled himself a few inches back and forth in the chair. "That would be something to see."
"Wouldn't it?" Ruby returned to her folder. "As I mentioned, I have associates who are helping me with this goal. We performed a spell to have some of our questions answered. This is what was revealed to us." She began to lay the other photos out on the desk. "These are the major players in the Apocalypse. Several of them will be working against us, others are our allies, and others still could go either way. It is our job to see that our enemies are destroyed and our numbers are increased, and that we turn as many fence-sitters as possible."
Friendly nodded, sitting forward in his chair so he could see the photographs better.
Ruby put a photocopy on top of the pictures, a copy of an elaborate drawing out of a book; it was of an object that Friendly instantly recognized. "Our enemies have this in their possession. The most important weapon of their ideology. If they are able to use it, it would stop the Apocalypse cold."
His eyes grew big, almost frightened, at the sight of what was in that drawing. "Now that... it is something that man was not meant to disturb." At first, he smirked at his little joke, but then began to cringe in on himself, cowering back in the chair. "Put it away. Put it away! I can't even look at it!" Friendly covered his eyes with his shaking arm and whimpered, batting at the open air with his other hand.
Ruby turned the drawing over with a shudder. "I know. I don't like looking at it either. But, there are things you need to know about it." She took a photograph from the pile, putting the drawing on the bottom. "This weapon has been hidden away somewhere, and only one person can control it. He is known as The Relic."
Lowering his arm, Friendly looked at the photo of this man. "Ohhhh..."
"You know who that is, don't you?"
"Yes," he replied, nodding his head. "I should have known."
"Yes... well, we all knew he was important. Everyone has been talking about him for so long... maybe we all should have known." Ruby sighed. "But it's alright. He's just as fragile as any other human being. If we kill him, then there will be no one left to control the holy weapon except a being of much greater power... such as Lucifer."
Slapping his knee in triumph, Friendly cackled with glee. "Oh, wouldn't that be rich! Their own weapon used against them! Do you really think it could work?"
"Well, he is a fallen angel."
"You've got a point there." Friendly, looking over the other pictures, asked, "Who is that?"
"Some of these people, you've never encountered before." She pointed people out as she said their names. "You know Paul Callan, Alva Keel, and Evelyn Santos, but these two men are just as important." An amused grin came to her face. "That is Dean and Sam Winchester. They've hooked up with the members of SQ, which isn't a good sign for us. But it's not too late."
"What about these other people?"
"They all have a part to play. As I said, this person is The Relic." Ruby touched one of the pictures. "And this is The Sacrifice, someone who gives of themself for the happiness of others." She touched a photo with each title she explained. "The Illuminati, an extremely intelligent scholar and leader. The Compass, one who will give them spiritual guidance and information. The Mast..." Ruby smiled especially big at that one. "...this person can be turned. The mast of a ship swings from side to side in the wind, tossed by the rough seas, and is often in danger of falling. It is an essential part of a vessel. This one, I will work on personally."
"What about this group?" Friendly pointed out the bottom two rows of pictures.
"They are the key components to how the Apocalypse will work, if everything goes according to plan." Ruby pointed to two photos at once. "This is The Catalyst, and this is The Offering. The Catalyst can be manipulated into helping to start the Apocalypse, the one who will bring ruin to the world. The Offering would be the blood sacrifice that opens the gates. This other person here serves as The Circuit, the one who conducts the power that comes through once those gates are swung open.
"We have many helpers in this, but this one will be crucial. He is The Disciple. He's a very good pupil. One day, he will break one of the others."
Friendly looked up from the photo. "He looks like Paul Callan."
"Yes. Someone who should've been part of his support group, but things didn't quite work out that way." She snickered, satisfied with their chances of winning.
"Why is there a picture of you in here?"
Ruby picked up the photograph and smiled at it. "Because I... am The Alchemist. Alchemy wasn't all about changing lead into gold. It was also about trying to achieve higher spiritual states, to escalate the soul into something greater. That's what I'm doing right now, and what I will try to do in my manipulation of the others."
"How?" he asked.
Ruby mimed that she was cutting her wrist, then put it up to her mouth and made a sucking sound.
Friendly grinned, eyes wide. "Oh! Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." He brought his feet down and leaned forward. "What does it do to humans when they drink your blood?"
"All sorts of interesting things. Gives them powers, fucks with their chemistry... gets them high."
Laughing, Friendly said, "Take me along next time you feed someone. I want to see a thing like that."
She leaned toward him. "So you do want to join up with us?"
Friendly shrugged, leaning back again. "I dunno. Maybe."
"You know..." Ruby held up the photo of Friendly in Kellen's body. "...there is a spot left." She put this photo with the others.
Friendly's eyes gleamed. "You mean, there's another person who plays a large part in the Apocalypse?"
"Uh huh. The Contender." Ruby regarded his photo thoughtfully. "He is a person with great potential, who has the desire and the drive to go far. Someone who goes from a nobody to a somebody by working hard to achieve a goal." She put down the picture, now looking at him. "I'm sure that's something you want, isn't it, Friendly? To go from being a smalltime demon to someone who helped break the seals that freed the King of Hell?"
Friendly nearly salivated at the thought. "There's nothing I want more."
"Then...?" Ruby held out her hand. "Will you be our Contender?"
Grabbing her hand, Friendly pulled her onto his lap. "I will. Maybe we should seal this deal with a kiss?"
Rolling her eyes, Ruby replied, "You've been trying to get me in the sack for months."
"Is it finally working?"
She shrugged. "What the hell," Ruby said, and planted a deep kiss on his mouth.
The heavenly smell of breakfast food preceded Dean as he entered the SQ office with large sacks of croissants, english muffins, and bagels in his hands. "I don't smell coffee brewing!" he called. Sam and Paul, who were right behind him, grinned at each other. "Woman! I bring you breakfast and you can't even have some coffee ready for me?"
The area near the door was overwhelmed with stacks of heavy file boxes; the last stack in the row began to lean right as Dean came near it. They heard Evie let out a frustrated cry and dive for the top box, but it was to no avail. The entire stack came down, barely missing Dean, Evie falling and riding the spilling files like a wave to the floor.
"Damn!" she cried, and pounded the cement floor with a fist.
"Are you okay?" Paul asked.
Joking, Dean said, "I'm fine," and stepped over the files.
Sam and Paul helped her up. "Real classy Dean, just passing by," Sam remarked.
"Uh, first of all, my hands are full," retorted Dean, holding up the sacks of food. "Second, you don't help a person up when they just tried to kill you with an avalanche of file boxes."
"Dean, if it was my goal to kill you, you'd know it, trust me," Evie said. She dusted her hands off on her jeans.
"Mmm! Sassy! Are you trying to turn me on?"
Making a face, Evie replied, "I take it back. I was trying to kill you."
"And after I brought your favorite kind of bagels..."
Evie went over to the table and opened one of the bags. "Are those garlic?"
Dean just grinned and nodded.
"How do you even know what my favorite kind of bagels are?"
He waved his hand back and forth in front of his nose. "By your breath."
Pulled in by the scent of breakfast, Alva emerged from his office. "Ah, do I smell croissants?"
"Alva, did you see what just happened over there?" Evie pointed to the stacks of boxes. "I was almost killed by those things."
Alva leaned over to see past everyone to the mess on the floor. "Oh. I'm sorry. Was anyone hurt?"
They all shook their heads.
"Things around here are getting completely out of control. I can't investigate cases and stay on top of the backlog of files at the same time."
"Well, what do you want me to do about it?" Alva asked.
Opening up her arms in a full body shrug, Evie said, "Would it kill you to hire a part-time girl to help out around here?"
The others began to lay out the cartons of food on the conference table as they listened to Alva and Evie argue.
"Do you think we can afford that?"
"How can we afford not to?"
Alva went to start a pot of coffee. "I don't know, Evelyn..."
"Oh come on, Keel, how much could it cost?" Paul chimed in. "We need somebody around here to answer phones, shred old documents, organize your piles of bizarre research articles..." He indicated what Alva was doing. "...make coffee."
"And help me get these file boxes in order so we know which ones to store and which ones to keep close at hand," Evie added. "Wouldn't it be nice not to take three hours to find one article that could instead be right at your fingertips?"
Alva seemed to think it over. "How much do you think we should pay her?"
Evie pumped a fist in triumph and gave a happy little jump. "Yes!"
His mouth half stuffed with an English muffin, Dean added, "And make sure she's hot."
Half an hour later, Alva, Evie, and Paul had their heads together trying to decide what they should put in the ad for their new receptionist. As Dean and Sam were alone at the table, finishing off the croissants, Dean felt like it was safe to ask him a few questions about something he wanted to do, something that could get him into trouble. "Hey Sam, you think the county records office in Boston has an alarm system?"
Sam furrowed his brow at him. "I don't know."
"Do you remember one of them ever having an alarm before? We broke into some of those in other cities."
Shrugging, Sam replied, "There were a couple that had silent alarms. But we knew that beforehand, and were able to work around them, remember?"
"Do you think they might have a nightwatchman?"
Putting down his croissant, he looked at Dean for a moment before saying, "Dean, are you asking me to break into the county records office with you?"
Dean shook his head. "No. It's a small errand; I was just going to go by myself, in case I get caught."
"What are you looking for there?"
"Uh..." Sheepish, Dean absently scratched the back of his neck. "...I was going to break into the confidential files and find out who Paul's father is."
Sam blinked at him several times, taken aback. That wasn't an answer he'd even considered. "Really?"
"Yeah. He doesn't know, and it means a lot to him." Turning to Sam, he said, "Sammy, if you just could've seen his face when he told me about it... how he wants to meet his dad but the bastard doesn't want to meet him... Paul requested to be able to view the file and the coward sealed it. Paul will never know who his father is unless I do this. And, I want to... I want to do this for him. Because he's our friend."
At that moment, looking at the boyish vulnerability on his brother's face, Sam wanted to give him a big hug. It was an extremely selfless gesture, one born out of his feelings for Paul. "I think that would be a really nice thing for you to do for him, Dean. But do you think that's a chance he wants you to take?"
"No, Paul would probably tell me not to risk it. But I'm doing it anyway."
"Well, if you're determined to do it... I could get on the computer today and see what I can find out."
Dean clapped his brother on the shoulder. "Thanks, Sammy."
Rolling over in bed, Mr. Friendly rested his cheek on his hand, considering what sort of trouble he and the other demon could scare up. "Now... who should we kill first?"
Ruby got out of bed and began to get dressed. Wham, bam, thank you demon, that was her usual way. "The Relic. If we can kill The Relic, it will be the end for all of them."
"I thought you said Lucifer wanted to use the weapon to end the world?"
"He does. But, we discovered something very interesting about The Relic while doing our spell. The weapon is permanently linked with the soul of its user. Each time The Relic has died and been reincarnated, the weapon has gone with him. He is just as fragile as any other human being. If we kill The Relic, he will be reincarnated as a baby. Helpless. Pliable. He will not be able to wield the weapon, and we can have our Apocalypse now." She snapped her bra together in the back. "It takes an adult to use it. A soul that has been at least partially formed, not a baby."
Nodding, Friendly said, "And if Lucifer is somehow unable to control this weapon, then he can work on The Relic from birth. Turn him to our side before he even becomes an adult."
"You're right, but I wouldn't worry about that. Lucifer will be able to control it." Ruby grinned, wide and wicked. "Lucifer can do anything."
"While I know that's true, I have to wonder... how would we get access to the weapon if The Relic is dead?"
She stepped into her jeans, one leg at a time. "Through his soul. Wherever his soul goes, so goes the weapon."
"Ah! And it isn't that hard to steal someone's soul."
"No. There are several ways." Ruby looked down at him, still lying in bed. "Get dressed. We've got to meet someone. If we're going to kill The Relic, we'll need help."
Friendly sat up. "Who?"
"When I did the first spell, I used up a lot of juice, and it'll take a day or two for me to recuperate. Killing The Relic... that will take much more." Ruby handed him his pants. "My business associate knows a woman very skilled in the use of Black Magick. She will help us."
"We can't have her come over here, though - Kellen's mother wouldn't like it. She's a little older than us."
Fifteen minutes later, the two said goodbye to Mrs. Murtaugh and headed off to meet a career counselor. Mrs. Murtaugh smiled and waved as they drove away in Kellen's car. Yes, it looked like everything was going to be okay with her son.
They arranged to meet this woman for lunch at an expensive restaurant. When the two demons approached her table, they were still going on about the topic they'd begun in the car. "Werewolves," Friendly said. "We'll get a bunch of werewolves to rip him up."
"No... they're a bit hard to control. Oh! I've got it!" Ruby's eyes practically sparkled as she announced, "Hell hounds."
Friendly reacted as if he was just as young as Kellen, hopping up and down excitedly. "Oh, stellar, yes! Yes!" He held up his hand for a high-five. Ruby gave it to him. "Hell hounds, that's perfect! Rip 'im up!"
The woman sitting at the table before them visibly tensed at the mention of hell hounds. "Exactly who do you think is going to help you call up these creatures?" she asked.
Friendly looked at her, recognizing a British accent in her voice. "Isn't it you?"
"No. I don't fuck with hell hounds."
Friendly now looked at Ruby. "She doesn't fuck with hell hounds."
Rolling her eyes, Ruby pulled out her chair and took a seat. "What do you mean?" She indicated that Friendly should sit down too.
"Exactly what I said. Hell hounds are what Lilith calls up when she claims a soul," the woman explained.
It took Ruby a moment to get it. "Oh. Ohhhh. I see." She gave this some thought before continuing. "But hell hounds are perfect. They're so loyal. And there are lots of different breeds. Lilith only uses the most basic kind."
The British woman thought it over. "Shrikers," she finally said. "I'll help you call up shrikers. They're a type of spectral dog from back home."
Ruby sighed. "But they're not invisible."
The woman would not be swayed. "It's shrikers or nothing."
"Okay... shrikers it is," Ruby replied with a shrug.
Looking from one person to the other, Friendly asked, "Ruby? Aren't you going to introduce me?"
"Oh, sorry." She indicated Friendly as she said, "This is Mr. Friendly. Friendly, this is our associate..." Ruby grinned, gesturing toward the woman. "...Bela Talbot."
Bela held out her hand. "Charmed."
Night came to the city. Dean waited for the others to become too wrapped up in ordering dinner to notice what he and his brother were doing. "What'd you find out for me, Sammy?"
Sam checked to make sure that none of the members of SQ were close enough to hear him. He spoke in a quiet voice. "The records building is in the middle of renovation. Most of the windows are sealed closed, but three on the west side of the building have not been replaced yet. They can be jimmied open."
"What about a silent alarm?"
With a grin, Sam replied, "It doesn't look like the building has any type of security system."
"You're sure of that?"
"Not even a security guard?"
Sam shook his head. "No security guard. The offices are locked up at night, and that's always been enough, apparently."
"Yeah, until we blew into town." Rubbing his hands together, Dean chuckled to himself. "I'll wait until Paul falls asleep tonight, and then I'll go."
"You sure you don't want me to go with you?" asked Sam.
"I'm sure. Don't worry about it; it'll be a quick in and out."
Friendly wasn't looking forward to hearing it from Kellen Murtaugh's mother when he got home. It was nearly midnight, and they were still in the middle of this spell. He wouldn't get back until way after the kid's curfew. Oh well, it was worth it. Soon, The Relic's blood would be spilled all over the ground and there would be nothing standing between them and bringing about the Apocalypse.
Bela shuddered a little when they first heard the sound of dog paws padding toward them. Five large black dogs came out of the forest into the clearing, five dogs big as wolves, with the appearance of vicious rottweilers, their panting mouths foaming with a maroon spittle. Everything in the atmosphere around them said they were something to be feared. They growled, eyes glowing green.
"Is that blood coming from their mouths?" Friendly asked casually. He knew he had nothing to fear from the dogs.
Ruby whispered back, "No. Shrikers have a special poison in their saliva that can kill anyone they bite. It just happens to be dark red."
"Oh, sure. I should have known that."
Shushing them, Bela crouched to spread the ashes of the burnt offering over the ground. She used her finger to write "The Relic" in the ashes, then looked up at the supernatural dogs. "This is your target," she instructed. "Find him and rip him apart. Bring me his heart as proof that you have done your job. You've got until sunrise."
The lead shriker made a sudden cry that sounded like a mixture of a bark and a man shrieking in terror. It was a horrible, chilling sound. The other dogs answered with their own shrieks and the pack took off running.
Bela stood up straight, watching the dogs go. "If this works, do you think it might please Lilith?" She turned to Ruby. "She will hear about all the help I've given you, won't she?"
Ruby pretended she cared about the British woman's nattering. "Oh, of course, of course."
A genuine smile came to Bela's face. She turned and looked after the running dogs, who had become black dots in the distance. "Go. Find The Relic and bring us his heart."
Carefully, quietly, Dean slipped out of bed and crept into the living room with his clothes draped over his arm. He could see the small amount of light in the room reflecting off Sam's open eyes. "I'm going now," he whispered to his brother.
Sam turned over on the air mattress. "I'm only gonna ask you one more time - "
"No, Sam, I don't want you to come with me." Dean put on his jeans. "This is not a case, it's a simple mission. But keep your phone on vibrate. If I encounter any zombie file clerks between me and the records, I'll call you."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Ha, ha."
Dean had been very quiet and very careful on his way out of Paul's building, and then on his drive to the records building. Nothing stood between him and finding out this explosive secret that had been kept from Paul his whole life. He would do nothing to tempt the police on his way - no speeding, no talking on his cell phone (as if he had anyone to call this late at night anyway), and definitely no drinking, not even his favorite large coffee from Starbucks. Nothing to tempt fate on this important night.
On the way over, Dean fantasized about what Paul would do when he told him what the file said. Would he be angry? No, Dean didn't think so. Dean figured he'd be grateful once he got over the initial shock of this major revelation. Paul would probably hug his neck and give him a kiss once Sam left the room. Then, they would make love. Slow, sweet, and gentle, and Dean planned to savor it.
He noticed the huge black dog circling the perimeter of the parking lot as soon as he stepped out of the car. Someone must've left their gate open. It didn't seem at all strange to him until he saw the second one. Huh. This one sat down on the other end of the parking lot and just stared at him, watching, waiting for something. They were big dogs. Dean didn't know what was up, but it unsettled him, and he decided he'd better hurry.
When he climbed through the last window on the west side of the building, he made sure to close it behind him.
Sam cringed when he saw Paul step from his room and glance around the apartment. He pretended to be asleep, although he should have known it would do no good. "Sam? Sam." Paul crouched next to the air mattress and began to shake him.
Sam acted like he was just waking up. "Oh, hey Paul. What's up?" He threw in a yawn for effect.
"Sam, where's your brother? I woke up and he was gone."
"Uh, I dunno. Maybe he's in the bathroom."
Paul gestured to the open bathroom door. "I don't think so. Besides, he laid some clothes out over my chair, and they're gone now. Do you know where he went?"
Unable to help it, Sam felt guilty for lying; he knew how much a thing like this had to mean to Paul, but Dean wanted it to be a surprise. "Maybe he went out for a late night snack. You know how restless Dean can be."
Paul tilted his head, glaring at him. "You're lying."
He rolled his eyes and sighed. "Sam, do I really have to remind you that I'm an empath?"
Now Sam had to sigh. "Oh, yeah. That's not very nice, just dipping into a guy's emotions without permission."
"You know I have little control over it." Paul crossly furrowed his brow. "Where did Dean go?"
Just staring at the ceiling for a moment, Sam decided he might as well tell Paul the truth. "Paul... he went to the county records building to find out who your father is."
Paul's eyes grew wider and wider as this news sunk in. "What?"
"Dean knew it was important to you and he wanted it to be a surprise."
Standing up, Paul paced to the other side of the room and back again, instantly nervous over several possibilities he now had to face. "How could he do something so rash? What if he gets caught? What if...?" What if I'm not ready to know? "God, Sam, your brother is one reckless, brash human being."
"Don't I know it."
"Well, I'm just going to have to go over there and stop him. If he gets caught, he'll be in a great deal of trouble."
"Don't worry about that, Paul. Dean and I are very good at breaking into places like this," Sam assured him.
"So, he's just going to jimmy open the front door of the damn building?"
"No. I did some research for him this afternoon - "
Paul pointed at him, then snapped. "That's what you two had your heads down all day about!"
Sam continued. " - and I found out that the building is under renovation. There are three windows on the west side that can still be opened. Dean went in through the one on the end."
"Thanks. If I get there and he's already gone inside, then I know how I can get in after him." Paul headed for his bedroom.
"Paul, no. You could just draw attention to the two of you. Let Dean finish and he'll come home."
Stopping long enough to shake his head, Paul disappeared into his bedroom with a short, "No."
"Sam, this is my business," he called from the bedroom. Sam could hear him putting on some clothes. Cryptically, Paul added, "It's my father."
"You're just going to get in the way." When Paul said nothing, Sam added, "Let me go get him."
"No," Paul said again.
Sam didn't think there was anything he could do to keep Paul from going except physical restraint, and he wasn't willing to do that. For a moment, he thought maybe he should insist on coming along, but then remembered what Dean was going there to find out. If Dean had managed to get the name of Paul's father, it was the kind of moment between them that Sam didn't want to be there to spoil. It was a personal moment between a man and his lover. Sam decided he'd just have to call Dean and warn him once Paul left. At least then, he could be ready.
When Paul walked out into the living room, Sam said, "Just be careful, okay? Don't call the attention of the police."
Paul held up his cell phone. "You're forgetting, I have a friend who used to be on the force," he said, and quietly opened his front door. "I'm gonna go get your brother and drag him back here."
As soon as Paul closed the door, Sam began trying to reach Dean. It was a relief to have been reminded about Evie; at least she might be able to cajole her cop friends into dropping any charges if the two men were caught. But Dean still needed a head's up that Paul was coming his way.
On the way to the records building, Paul's anger began to soften. At first, he wasn't sure how to feel about what Dean was doing for him. This was his father, his private business. What right did Dean have poking around in Paul's confidential files? But the more he thought about it, he realized that having Dean in his private affairs wasn't so bad.
That was one of the first signs that one was falling in love with someone, wasn't it? When one willingly allowed that person into their private life. When one actually kind of liked having that other person involved in their secret business, sharing their intimate thoughts, helping them deal with the most private things they had to endure.
It was just Dean's methods of obtaining information that made Paul still feel a little cross with him. He could get himself into some real trouble. Paul didn't want Dean getting arrested for trying to help him.
When he pulled into the parking lot, everything was deathly quiet. The only sounds were the crickets chirping in the grass and the streetlights humming over his head. He thumped the Impala as he passed it on his way to the building. "Damn you, Dean," Paul whispered to himself.
He stopped on the edge of the parking lot and stared down at some droplets on the ground, fresh drops of dark red liquid, his stomach turning over in dread. Was that blood?
As he rushed toward the window Sam had told him about, Paul didn't notice the dogs creeping after him.
The front of the filing cabinet was marred by several scratches. It had been harder for Dean to get it open than he thought it would be. Oh well, nothing he could do about it now, as nothing was going to keep him from getting this information for Paul. But now, as he stared at the papers inside the file, Dean closed his eyes and breathed out a heavy sigh. This wasn't what he expected to find at all. He leaned on the filing cabinet with his eyes closed.
As he hurried past the big fountain in the lobby, Paul looked up at the mezzanine above him. The records rooms were up there. He was halfway up the stairs when he felt Dean for the first time. Paul had to take a moment to just stand there and breathe, feeling Dean in every fiber of his being, Dean, whole, alive, unharmed. Disappointed. Deeply, mournfully disappointed, but alive. Paul heaved a sigh of relief.
Putting the file back in the cabinet, Dean closed the drawer and grunted in annoyance when his phone began to vibrate in his pocket for the fifth time. Why did Sam keep calling him? He wasn't going to answer right now. The double doors nearby were open onto the mezzanine and the security lights beyond, lights that stayed on all night, and he now looked from the dark office into the lit area beyond those doors. Dean expected to see someone there without really knowing why. A split second later, he knew why Sam kept calling.
Paul stepped around the corner into the light. He stared at Dean like a teacher might look at a student who'd been caught playing hooky. "Dean," he snapped, sounding cross. "What are you doing here?"
Dean took the time to glare back. "I might ask you the same question, mister."
"Don't try to be playful," Paul said, attempting to keep up the charade that he was actually mad. "You could have been caught, breaking into a government building. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking... that this would be a great way for us to get some time alone." Putting on a swagger, Dean approached him, grinning.
Paul slowly backed up, Dean continuing to come toward him. "Oh, sure. Dean, I know what you came here for. Sam told me."
Shrugging, Dean backed him into the ornate wrought iron railing. "That's, um... let's not talk about that now. It's a big deal, right?"
"Right," Paul replied with an emotional swallow.
"It's better if we talk about it when we get back to your place."
He just nodded. Dean gripped the rail on either side of Paul's body. It brought them very close together. "Dean, that was a... it was..." He swallowed again. "I can't believe you did this for me."
"Well... it was something you really wanted to know. It's important to you."
The vulnerable look in Dean's eyes, that look of... Paul couldn't bring himself to call it love. But it was so pure and warm, it instantly made his heart soar with fondness for the other man. He leaned forward until their lips brushed. "Thank you," Paul whispered.
Swallowing down a lump in his throat, Dean said back, "Don't thank me yet, okay?" He started to pull away.
Dean had put a grey hoodie on over his T-shirt and a black leather vest over that. Before he could move away, Paul slipped his hands inside the vest and pulled Dean toward him until their bodies were touching. "It doesn't matter what you did or didn't find out," he said, indicating that he thought Dean might've not been able to gain access to the file. "Just the fact that you did this for me... it was rash, and bold, and all kinds of other ridiculous adjectives I can't think of right now, but you did it because you care about me. I'm touched."
Dean looked at him with an uneven expression on his face, unsure how to feel at a moment like this. When Paul took hold of his chin and guided him forward into a kiss, at first he wouldn't allow himself to get into it, but after a few seconds, Dean was melting into the show of gratitude and affection, kissing Paul back. His arms slipped around Paul's waist.
When they broke the kiss, they hovered about each other, brushing their lips together and whispering softly. "I want you to make love to me," Paul said.
Dean smiled a little. "Where? Right here?"
"No. We'll go somewhere in your car, and make love before we go home."
Arousal burned through Dean's crotch; just the sound of such words coming out of Paul's mouth made him hot. His hands ran over Paul's chest. "You've got another one of those sweater vests on. You're all fuzzy. You know I don't like 'em on you. Gotta take that right off."
"This time, it's a full sweater. It's a little cold outside."
"Oh. Hm, well, I better take it off anyway."
"Baby, you can take it all off me," Paul replied with a grin.
They kissed again, running their hands all over each other. "Well, I guess a full sweater isn't so bad. It's warm and soft." Dean rubbed his hands over Paul's sides and around to his back. "Fuzzy Paul feels real nice."
Paul closed his eyes and just felt how good it was to have Dean caress him. "What do you want to do to fuzzy Paul?"
"Get him out of here... lay him down in the back seat of my car... take off his clothes..."
Paul let out a small moan.
Dean, leaning against him, rubbed their noses together and gave Paul a fond, sound kiss. "Let's go, okay?"
But they didn't leave immediately. Instead, they spent another minute rubbing against each other and kissing, their mutual affection becoming more and more involved. Paul had handfuls of Dean's ass, squeezing, and Dean was rubbing his crotch against Paul's when the noise came from behind him.
Dean almost didn't hear it. He had gone in to nibble at Paul's neck while rubbing him into a state of arousal, Paul letting out small, needy moans in his ear, when the brief growl sounded in the records room. Both men stopped, hands going still.
"Did you hear that?" Paul whispered.
Although he didn't want to do it, Dean let Paul go and looked behind him into the dark room. There didn't appear to be anything there. He stepped a few feet away, listening, allowing his instincts to take over. Although Dean didn't see anything now, he knew they hadn't imagined that noise.
Leaning against the railing behind him, Paul looked around. They were alone in the building... weren't they?
His breath stopped in his throat when he spotted the dog on the stairs. A large, threatening dog, frothing at the mouth with bubbles of what looked like blood.
Before Paul could even utter Dean's name, another dog stepped out of the dark only fifteen feet in front of them. Both dogs began to growl.
Their eyes glowed green.
From that, the two men knew they weren't dealing with a normal pack of dogs. Dean slowly reached for the gun tucked into the back of his pants. He hoped the animals wouldn't react to the movement if he just went slow.
"Dean... there's another one on the stairs," Paul said, trying to speak quietly. He tensed up, ready to run. "Are they spectral dogs?"
Sometimes, Dean forgot that Paul investigated the paranormal too; he almost asked him how he knew that. "Yeah. Some kind of spectral dog."
"What are they doing here?"
"I don't know."
Paul saw the gun that Dean was reaching for. "You brought a gun?" he asked, a bit surprised. Somehow, he'd missed that in his exploration of Dean's body.
"Habit," was all Dean said in reply.
Either way, Paul was very glad for Dean's "habits" at that moment. The gun may just get them out of there alive.
The dog in front of Dean took two steps forward. Dean took two steps back. "Move real slow toward the other set of stairs," he told Paul.
Turning that way, Paul gasped. "Dean... there's another one, blocking that way too."
The third dog looked up at him, growling along with its packmates.
The gun was their only possible way out. Dean had just gotten his fingers on it when the dog in the records room let out a loud, shrieking cry. The sound made both Dean and Paul cringe.
The dog then lunged forward.
Although Dean was closer to the beast, he realized instantly that it was going to pass him up and go for Paul. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Paul instinctively move to one side, and knew that if he did the same, he'd be right in the dog's path.
At the last second, Dean did it.
The shrieking dog leapt toward them. Dean shot it in the chest a split second before it was on him, sinking its teeth through each layer of clothing and into his shoulder. He and the dog both went backward over the railing and plunged into the fountain below.
It took Paul a few seconds to realize what had just occurred, it happened so fast. When the dog leapt at him, he threw his hands up over his face; there was nothing else to do. But then there had been a loud gunshot, and a dog's howl, and Dean grunting in pain. The railing had shaken violently against Paul's back as the wind of Dean's body flipping over backward whooshed past his head. He turned just in time to see Dean and the dog land in the fountain, splashing up a large wave of water. "DEAN!" he screamed.
Paul barely had time to see Dean floating in the water before the other dogs were after him. The two from the stairs came toward him, making those same shrieking barks. Letting out a frightened yelp, Paul turned and ran into the records room - there was nowhere else to go. He slammed the double doors shut just seconds before the dogs lunged against them. The doors had metal handles, and when the orange bar that hung there was placed between them, it would hold the doors shut with its plastic arms. Paul had to lean all of his weight against them to keep the dogs from pushing them open while he slid the bar into place, screaming in effort the whole time. Once the bar was secured, he moved away from the doors, hoping it would hold. It did at first, but he could tell by the cracking sounds it made as the dogs strained against it that the bar wouldn't hold forever.
Paul nervously ran his hands through his hair. After turning on the lights, he looked around the room for a weapon, something he could use to fend off the dogs.
"Dean... oh my God, Dean..." Was Dean drowning in the fountain at that very moment? Were there more dogs, attacking him? Was he even alive down there? Paul took out his cell phone and dialed Sam's number.
Sam assumed his brother was finally calling him back. When he saw PAUL CALLAN on his caller ID, he just looked at his phone for a moment, and then answered with a confused, "Paul?"
"Sam, you gotta come quick!" Paul said, his voice shaking with concern and fear. "Dean and I were attacked by spectral dogs. Dean was bitten and the dogs are trying to get in here!"
"Spectral dogs? What?!"
"We don't know where they came from either! Dean shot one and I think it's dead, so you should bring a gun too."
"Where is Dean now?" Sam asked, throwing back his covers and sliding over to the edge of the mattress.
Paul tried to calm down enough to tell Sam a short but intelligible version of what had just happened. "The dogs came out of nowhere. One of them bit Dean and knocked him over the railing into the fountain. He was able to shoot it first, and by the time they hit the water, the dog wasn't moving. But I don't know what happened next because I had to lock myself in the records room to keep them from tearing me apart!"
"Is Dean okay?" Sam stood up and began to gather his clothes. "Was he conscious?"
"I don't know!" Paul wailed, his voice full of anguish.
"What kind of gun did Dean have? Just regular bullets?"
"Yeah. I don't see why he would have brought a special gun to a records building."
Paul had a point there; it was just one of Dean's regular guns with normal bullets. Good. Sam dug through his bag and pulled out a handgun. "How many dogs?"
"Besides the one Dean shot, two, but it sounds like there are more out there now."
"Okay." Several thoughts ran through Sam's mind like a ticker tape, things they always had to consider at times like these. Cops, hospitals, explanations. "Evie was a cop. She still own a gun?"
"Oh right, Dean told me. Call her and tell her to meet me there, with her gun. Will she be cool about this? She still has friends on the force?"
Paul nodded as if Sam could see him, then said into the phone, "Yes, she'll help us."
"Good, 'cause people in the neighborhood might call the police when they hear gunshots." His phone squeezed between his shoulder and his ear, Sam pulled on his jeans. "I'll get there just as soon as I can. Call Evie." He hung up.
Once Paul had hung up too, he clutched his phone tightly in his hands for a moment, listening to the dogs shriek outside the doors. Then he dialed Evie's number and prayed she would answer at this hour.
On to Part 2.