Word Count: 8360
Summary: Jared is a hunter, but he is about to find out that evil isn’t just the preserve of demons.
Pairing: J2 eventually
Warnings: Non-Con and excessive abuse of Jensen.
Disclaimer: As far as I know Jared isn’t engaged in hunting monsters and last time I checked Jensen wasn’t chained up naked in the basement of a church and wasn’t in a relationship with Jared, so please don’t sue.
Notes: Here I offer thanks and unending praise to garvaldmains , who has helped, improved and encouraged me with endless patience when I gibbered at her, and she also provided the awesome banner! *Big, Big Hugs*.
Beta: by the awesome bigj52 .
“Hello, sheriff. It’s Alan Ackles. I’m calling about Jensen.”
“Hello, Alan. Is Jensen alright? I hope nothing has happened to him, I’m sorry I was so angry earlier.” The Sheriff’s voice was filled with sincerity as it rang out over the speaker.
“No, sheriff, you were right. Jensen’s unnatural lifestyle led a good man astray and I have convinced him to leave.” Alan’s face was a picture of grief as he spoke; Jensen gave his father an encouraging nod.
“Why are you calling me, Alan? Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I just want you to make sure that Jensen gets out of town safely. I may not welcome what he is but he is still my son. Besides, Donna would never forgive me if anything happened to him while he is under our roof.” Alan hoped his words were convincing.
“Alan, I understand. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you can tell me which road Jensen will be travelling and when, then I’ll make sure he gets out of town safely.” Alan relaxed; it was working and he saw Chris give a malevolent grin.
“Thank you, sheriff. I told him to use the road that will take him past the old Welling farm; one of Reverend Colt’s men, Jared, will be driving him. From what I heard them say they’ll be leaving in about ten minutes.”
“The old Welling farm? That’s the long way out of town. Why did you tell him to use that road?” There was uncertainty in the sheriff’s voice.
“I thought it would be for the best. Not many people go that way now and if there are people looking to harm Jensen, then this is the quietest road and he can slip away without being seen. I don’t think anyone will expect him to travel after the exorcism last night.”
There was a tense silence as they waited for the sheriff to make up his mind, “No problem, Alan. I’ll send some deputies to shadow them and make sure they are left alone. Good-bye.”
The phone went dead and Alan slumped back in the chair. Donna squeezed his hand tight, “Ok then, Mr Ackles. Damn good job. Now we wait and see if the bastard took the bait. Chris, is Aldis on the line?” Jim was getting ready to move and now everything hinged on the next few minutes.
“Hey Jim, the call’s coming through now.” Aldis’ voice came over Chris’ phone.
“Ok Aldis, let her rip. Let’s see what those bastards are gonna do.” Jim was all business now.
“Hey sheriff, any news?” Eddie sounded impatient.
“Look, we don’t have much time. One of the Reverend Colt’s men is driving Ackles out of town in ten minutes and will be going by the old Welling farm. Do you think you can make it there in time? And do you want me and the boys to slow ‘em down? Or should we make certain they git to you?” The sheriff sounded anxious that Eddie might not get to Jensen.
“Look sheriff, don’t worry about me. I’m en route already and, like I said before, I need you to stay clear. How did you find out?”
“His father told me. The poor bastard thinks he’s protecting his faggot son. Eddie, just promise me you’ll get justice for the Preacher.” The sheriff’s voice dripped with venom.
“Oh, I will. I promise you, Ackles will pay. Have no fear. Listen. Make sure that you and your deputies are seen in town. I want you to be above suspicion, and sheriff, thank you for your help.” Eddie disconnected the call.
Jim looked grim, “Ok, we got ‘em on the hook, and Aldis, are you ready to block all of Eddie’s texts or calls.”
“Already there, man. Eddie has just sent some texts, several of them are sending the recipients in the totally wrong direction and two are giving the correct address. What do you want me to do, Jim?
“Ok Aldis, send the ones with the wrong details and let them answer. The other two, send them ours instead and make sure to send Eddie our replies so he ain’t wise to the fact they ain’t comin.” Jim relaxed a little; so far it was playing out how he’d planned.
“It’s done, Jim. I’ll keep tracking their positions and if anything changes you’ll be the first to know. Speak to you soon.” Aldis rang off.
Jim looked round the room. He could see that Donna was fighting back tears, knowing it was time to get her children to safety. She nodded to Jim; it was time for them to go.
“Ok ladies, it’s time to go. Let’s not give them time to figure out that something’s gone wrong and re-group. Kane, I’ll go first; make sure the deputies are gone. I’ll call give you the all clear. Jared, you and Jensen bring up the rear; we’ll be waiting for you. Good luck, boys. It’s time.” Jim left the Ackles’ house, knowing he would be going back there once the kids where clear. He gave a grim smile, “Here we come, Eddie, ready or not.”
Mackenzie walked towards where her parents sat. Alan stood up awkwardly as if he didn’t know what to do; Mackenzie stepped forward and hugged her father, “Listen, dad. You’ve been an idiot, but you did the right thing in the end. I promise I’ll come back at Easter; the crap should’ve stopped hitting the fan by then. Just promise you’ll be careful, right? I don’t want to have to ask Chris to come and bust somebody’s head.” Alan smiled down at his daughter.
“You take care now, Mac and behave at college. Listen to me. I’ll call you when it’s safe to come back. Now go on before Kane picks you up and carries you out of here.” He kissed Mac and wiped the tears from her face. Mac turned to her mother.
“I’d like to see him try. Mom, promise me you’ll behave. I know you, you’re worse than me.”
Donna hugged Mackenzie close, “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I won’t do anything you wouldn’t do.”
“I know and that’s what worries me. Bye mom.” Mac broke free of her mother’s embrace and walked to where Chris stood, waiting. As she reached him his phone rang once.
“Sorry Mac, but that’s the signal. We got to go. Goodbye, Mr and Mrs Ackles. I promise to look after Mac and I’ll send Eddie your warm regards. Sasquatch, see you real soon. I’ll even let you hold my coat when Eddie and me have our little chat.”
“That’s only if I don’t get to him first. If I’m feeling generous I might let you pick over what’s left.” The two men grinned at one another and Chris ushered Mac from the house. Alan watched his daughter go, then when the front door closed he turned back to his son, walking to where Jensen was seated on the couch.
Alan knelt in front of Jensen, “There can never be the words to tell you how sorry I am, Jensen, and if I could swap places with you, I would in a heartbeat. I don’t know when I’ll get to see you again or even if you’ll want to see me again.” Alan sounded beaten; he didn’t know how to put right what he’d done.
Jensen leant forward and put his hand on his father’s shoulder, “Dad, all that matters now is I know you never hated me, and I promise I’ll see you again soon.” Jensen looked over his father’s shoulder at his mom and Jared; he nodded to Jared, showing he was ready to go.
Just before Jared stepped forward to help Jensen, Donna rested her arm on his, “Take care of him for me, Jared. He’s been through so much lately, I think you both have. Just promise me you’ll take it easy, he needs time to heal. Thank you for being there for him, I’m sure you’ll both be fine.” Jared frowned slightly at Donna, puzzled by her words. Of course he’d take care of Jensen. Jared wondered what she meant by they had both been through a lot. Before he could ask her to explain he heard Jensen move.
Jared’s attention was focused solely on Jensen. He watched as Alan stood and helped his son to his feet, Jensen clinging to his father for support. Jared bit his lip; there was no way Jensen should have to go through this, but what with the sheriff and Eddie it was for the best that Jensen left now. He knew that Jensen would never forgive himself if anything happened to his family because of him.
Donna walked forward and wrapped her arms round her son and her husband. She was whispering something to Jensen, and Jared saw the gleam of unshed tears in Jensen’s eyes. Jensen nodded at her and looked over to Jared and gave him a shaky smile.
“Come on, Jensen. We got to get you to the truck and what with you moving like an old man, I think we should start now. We don’t want Chris to start without us, do we?” Jared joined the Ackles’ and slipped his arm round Jensen to help him walk.
They made slow but steady progress to the door and Jared watched the colour slowly drain from Jensen’s face. He was just about to open his mouth....“Don’t even think the words pain pills! I will take them after we’ve gotten clear of here, not before, right? Now just let me say goodbye to mom and dad, please Jared.” Jensen’s tone had gone from determined to pleading to be allowed a final good-bye.
Jared nodded and stepped back, hovering in case Jensen collapsed. He hugged Donna tightly and promised to be careful and he would call her as soon as he could. Then came Alan’s turn, and once again Jensen was wrapped in his father’s arms. Jensen said good bye and then he leaned close to Alan and he whispered something to him. Alan jerked back, startled at whatever Jensen said. Tears welled up in his eyes and he left the room. Jensen looked at his mom and she said “I know, Jensen, and I understand. Good-bye, sweetheart. Don’t forget, Jared. Take your time and think about things.” She gave Jared an enigmatic smile and watched as he helped Jensen walk down to the waiting truck.
Jensen climbed slowly into the truck, hissing softly with pain as his body complained at the movement. Jared grabbed a blanket off the back seat and draped it round Jensen; he blithely ignored the glare Jensen shot him as he tucked him in. Jared shut the door and walked round to the driver’s side; just as he got in he looked over to Donna. She waved at them, a sad smile on her face and Jared waved back.
Jared climbed in the truck, closed the door and started the engine. Then he saw Jensen watching his mom, “Jensen, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what did you tell your dad? Your mom seemed to know what you said to him.” Jared glanced over at the man next to him.
Jensen gave him a pained smile, “When I came home there were two things I was gonna tell mom and dad. The first was I’m gay and I was keeping the second thing back to kind of soften the blow. But then Morgan happened and I didn’t get round to telling them. I just thought I should tell dad before I left.” Jensen went quiet and Jared didn’t know whether to press him on what he’d said.
Jared was just about to pull away when Jensen carried on, his voice almost a whisper, “I told dad I made it - I qualified as a doctor. I just hope he’s proud of me.” Jared remembered the look on Alan’s face and the tears in his eyes. He looked back towards the house at Donna and he smiled.
“Trust me, Jensen; I think your dad is damn proud of you, just like your mom is. Should we go and have a little chat with Eddie now, or do you want Kane to have all the fun?” Jared grinned at Jensen, seeing a weight lift off his shoulders at his words.
“Come on then, we don’t want Kane to get carried away.” Jensen laughed and Jared pulled away from the house.
Eddie sat waiting patiently; everything was falling into place. He’d driven right to the old Welling farm after talking to the sheriff. Marv and Tony would be making sure that pretty was coming right to him. Once they got him to the farm he would get his boys to take Colt’s man for a nice long drive somewhere and dump him. Marv and Tony had been just fine with holding Jensen down when they thought he was possessed while Eddie had beaten the crap out of him. That they were doing God’s work not his and Morgan’s.
Eddie knew that they wouldn’t be so happy to do the same while he had his fun with Jensen, just like he’d promised pretty he would. It would be better if they were kept busy and out of the way. Eddie looked round at his location and smiled. Hell! It couldn’t be better if he’d picked it himself. The farm house would allow him plenty of privacy to do what he liked to Jensen, and there was the added bonus of a bed. Fuck! He didn’t want to hurt his knees and just maybe he could get ‘creative’. Morgan wasn’t the only one with an imagination. Just then he heard the sound of an approaching vehicle. Grinning, he climbed out of his truck, “Well, well pretty, it’s show time.”
The journey to the farm had been uneventful and quiet as Jared left Jensen alone with his thoughts. He knew that Jensen needed time to gather himself together; he wasn’t as fine as he made himself out to be. Jared would put some distance between themselves and town and let Jensen get some rest. In fact, he was more worried with how he was going to cope with Jensen, rather than how Jensen was going to cope with being alone with him.
“Jared, just promise me one thing. I don’t mind you and Chris talking to Eddie but I don’t want him hurt too badly.” Jensen’s quiet words surprised Jared.
“Why not, Jensen? After what he’s done to you, I’d have thought you’d be baying for his blood.” Jared was intrigued; he was worried Jensen was closing down again.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong. You can beat the crap out of him but just make sure that Chris doesn’t do something too stupid.” Jensen sounded determined, and then Jared understood. It wasn’t Eddie he was worried about. It was him and Chris and the possibility of them getting into trouble. Jared felt warmth spreading through him; it had been a long time since someone had worried about him.
“Look, I promise to put a muzzle on Chris and hit him with a rolled-up newspaper if things get too bad.” Jared gave a reassuring smile. He spotted Chris’s truck waiting for them then his phone rang.
Jared pressed the speaker button, “Ok Sasquatch, we’re nearly there. Jim has gone round so he’ll be coming up behind Eddie. Are you ready to hold a reasonable debate with our friend, Brother Eddie?”
Jared laughed at the question, “If you like, I could discuss some of the finer points of gathering evidence.” Jared heard Chris snort down the phone just as they drove past him. The line went dead and Jared saw Chris take up position behind them, closing his phone just as they rounded the corner.
Eddie stood in the middle of the road; his truck turned sideways, blocking it. He was smirking and in his hands was a baseball bat; he was taking practice swings. When he saw the two men his smile broadened.
Jared made a show of panicking, slamming the brakes on, turning his truck slightly; in effect, cutting off Eddie’s escape route. Eddie was so busy looking at Jensen he didn’t realize another truck had pulled up behind his, boxing him in.
Eddie began to swagger towards Jared’s truck. He’d seen a second truck pull up behind that vehicle, making sure that Jensen was going nowhere fast. He reached the vehicle and Jared rolled down the window. “What do you want, Eddie? And why are you armed? Look! I’m trying to get Jensen to safety as per Reverend Colt’s instructions. Please let us through.”
As Jared spoke he watched through his rear view mirror as the door of the truck behind opened. Chris slid out and began stalking towards Eddie, the promise of almost biblical retribution in his eyes. Eddie was ignoring Jared, his eyes fixed on Jensen. He licked his lips at what he saw. Yup, pretty was in no fit state to run, it was gonna be easier than he thought.
“I told you, me an’ you was gonna be spending some time together, pretty. Now, my boys are gonna take your boyfriend for a little drive. Then we get to spend some alone time. I hope we left some fight in ya. I want this to be interesting.”
Eddie let his glance flick over to Jared and suddenly a chill ran through him. There was no fear in his eyes - only a cold, calculating anger. Then a voice muttered in his ear, “Hi again, Eddie. I think it’s time we had a little chat over what you’ve done to Jensen. Like the good book says, an eye for an eye.”
Eddie froze at the sound, too terrified to turn round. That voice promised pain and a lot of it. By the look on Jared’s face, the voice was going to have help.
“Now, boys. I thought we agreed to let him have a fighting chance.” Eddie heard yet another voice, it was vaguely familiar from somewhere. He felt the threatening presence fade a little and he risked turning round. He would be leaving his back exposed to Jared but he really needed to know who had spoken to him.
He was surprised to see Reverend Colt and his other helper, Christian or something but they didn’t look like they had last night. Colt was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt and a truckers cap, there was no sign of the suit from before. Chris was also in jeans and a shirt, his long hair was loose, and he knew it had been his voice he’d heard whispering to him.
Colt scratched at his beard, “Well, it’s good to see ya, Eddie and it’s like this. Sadly your little friends ain’t invited to this party. But I told Jared and Chris they could have a little chat with you and I’ll even let you keep the bat to even things up. Chris, back up and give Eddie some room. Oh Jared, you’ll have to wait your turn. I think Chris is impatient to start.”
Eddie thought about running when he heard the sound of a gun being cocked. Colt held a gun in his hand, he looked relaxed with it. He shook his head at Eddie and he knew he had no choice but to fight. Eddie was weighing up his opponent; he was taller and heavier than Chris and he was armed with the bat. He should be able to take the guy down.
“Eddie, I’m just here to see fair play. I tell you what. If you manage to put Chris and Jared down you can walk away in one piece. I just think the boys are a little upset about how you treated Jensen while he was in your care.”
Eddie started to laugh, “So that’s what this is all about? That little faggot? I never even got to find out what all the fuss was about. Well, come on then, boys. I don’t suppose this will take all that long.” Eddie twirled the bat, grinning as Chris prowled back and forth.
Eddie took Chris’ careful circling as a sign of fear, due to him being armed. Eddie stepped forward and hefted the bat, leering at Chris, “Hey there, sugar. Do ya want pretty over there to braid ya hair? It looks like it might git in your eyes.” Just as he swung, Chris darted forward under the arc of the bat. Eddie felt an explosion of pain in his knee as Chris aimed a well-placed kick behind the joint, followed by a rabbit punch to his kidneys.
Eddie found himself on the ground, eyes wide with shock. Chris had resumed his pacing. Shit! It hadn’t been fear. He was just waiting for him to get up again. Eddie licked at his lips and wondered how to play this. He heard the sound of a door opening and saw Jared climbing out of his truck,
“Uh huh, Sasquatch, this guy is all mine. You and Jensen damn near promised me. Well, come on, Eddie. Can’t you deal with someone who ain’t tied down and outnumbered three to one? Don’t disappoint me. I was hoping for more fire from you.” Chris growled the words and he got closer to him as he spoke.
Eddie grabbed a handful of dirt and suddenly flung it into Chris’s face. Chris roared with pain as Eddie drove upwards, knocking him to the ground. Eddie straddled the fallen hunter and let loose a flurry of blows, one right hook snapped Chris’ head viciously to the side.
“Well, come on then. Is this enough fucking fire for you? Hey girlie, just you hold on. I’ll be with you in a minute,” Eddie crowed at Jared. Hell, he didn’t need the damn bat. This moron had just walked right into a trap.
Jared shot a worried look at Jim who just shook his head, amusement on his face. Jared looked back down in time to see Chris block a punch. He grabbed Eddie’s fingers then he jerked them back sharply. There was a loud crack as his fingers broke. Eddie howled with pain and reared back, giving Chris the opportunity to sit up and dislodge the man off him. Eddie rolled over, whimpering at the pain in his hand. He managed to get to his feet, trying to avoid Chris.
Chris moved with a lethal grace, his movements economical. No need to showboat - each strike was telling and exact. One quick jab and Eddie’s lip split. Chris danced by, letting fly with an elbow straight to the solar plexus. Eddie was gasping for air as Chris brought his boot-clad heel down hard on top of Eddie’s foot, breaking the bone on impact.
Eddie fell to the ground and crawled backwards, picked up the bat and worked out his situation. Chris was advancing on him and Jared was keeping pace to the side of him, stalking him. Eddie suddenly realized where he was - he was by Colt. Taking a deep breath that made his ribs scream in protest, he swung the bat with all the force he could muster and the gun flew free of Colt’s grip.
Suddenly the four men froze and it was a race for the gun. Chris came close but the bat caught him behind the knees, throwing him against Colt. Eddie reached the gun and rose to his feet. As he did, he swung the bat out backwards and caught Jared a glancing blow in the ribs. Eddie backed away from them, making sure he had the three of them in his line of sight.
“Well fucking well! Ya all thought you could show me who was boss, did ya? I’ll fucking show you! Who’s first, then? Or better yet why don’t Mac find me something to tie you up with? Then you can watch me have a little fun...hey, what was it pretty said back in the church? He had never done a brother and sister before? Well, neither have I! I think it’s time to rectify that situation, don’t you?” Eddie smirked evilly at the three hunters.
“Don’t you fucking dare touch her! Do you hear me?” Chris snarled at Eddie, making him laugh gleefully.
“Oh, now that’s just priceless! You got the hots for that sweet little piece of tail. Oh, it just gets better. Hey Mac, why don’t you come out here where I can see you? Or I’ll put a bullet in your boyfriend. Say, a gut shot? A nice, slow way to die, that one.”
Chris glared at Eddie, about to shake his head at Mac when he saw her approaching. But what he also saw made his heart accelerate. Jensen had quietly climbed out of Jared’s truck and was slowly making his way forward.
Mac deliberately moved quickly to stop Eddie turning round to watch her brother’s painful progress towards him. She stood in front of Eddie, hands on hips, face like thunder, spoiling for a fight. “Fuck you, Eddie! You always were a shit! What? Can’t you get it up without ropes and chains? Need to scare the shit out of somebody or can’t you find anybody dumb enough to fuck you willingly?”
Eddie just smiled at Mac’s fiery outburst, “Damn! And I thought your brother had one smart mouth on him. Look! I’ll tell you what. If pretty boy spreads his legs like a good little whore I’ll leave you alone. I’m sure he’d do anything to protect his baby sister.”
Jared had somehow managed to keep his eyes mostly on Eddie, so as not to give Jensen away. He limped towards him almost silently, grim determination in his eyes as he pushed himself forward, ignoring the pain that was etched on his face.
Eddie felt another presence behind him. He spun round, his eyes widened in shock as Jensen drew back his fist and let fly at him. It caught Eddie right on the jaw, snapping his head back, dazing him. Jensen grabbed the gun, throwing it to Chris before hauling Eddie to him, “You’re right, Eddie. I’d do anything for Mac, even break your miserable neck.” Eddie was shaking off his stupor and was about to swing for Jensen, when Jensen pushed him back. This time the punch he threw rocked Eddie off his feet and he was out cold before he hit the ground.
Jensen staggered back, breathing heavily, shivering a little in the cold air; the walk to Eddie had brought him out in a sweat, and now it felt as if it was turning to ice on his skin. He swayed unsteadily, and Jared leapt forward, catching him and supporting him in his arms. “Goddamnit Jensen! You keep on doing this and you’ll give me a heart attack! What the hell did you think you were doing?” Jared was shouting now.
Jensen tilted his head back and smiled at Jared, “You’re welcome, by the way. Talk about ungrateful. I just save that gorgeous ass of yours and all you can do is bitch. Oh, you might want to tie Eddie up. You don’t want him getting away, do you? I think you’ve had your little chat now.” His voice weakened as he spoke and his legs buckled. Mac stepped forward to help Jared with her brother.
“Guys, I’m gonna put Jensen back in the truck now, and I’m going to give him some pain killers, no matter what he says.” Jared’s face was a picture of resolve.
“You know, pain pills sound real good about now. Are you gonna tuck me in again?” Jensen sounded weaker. Jared was worried after the fight they had earlier over the medication, Jensen giving in was a scary prospect. Jared didn’t wait; he picked Jensen up and walked back to the truck with Mac accompanying them.
Chris was finishing tying Eddie up; he looked at Jim, “What are we gonna do with this guy? I never gave it a thought. Did you see the way Jensen laid the guy out? Damn! There is more to the kid than meets the eye.” Chris stood up and watched Jim’s face, his eyes narrowed. “Ok, Jim, spill. We got a little time before Jared comes back.”
Jim looked over Chris’ shoulder; he watched as Jared put Jensen in the truck and settled him in, wrapping him in the blanket. Mac passed him a bottle of water and Jared shook out two tablets from Jensen’s prescription. He handed them over to him, giving him a look that brooked no argument. “Ok, listen. I’ll tell you all about it when those two have gone. But you need to know I’m going back into town to help the Ackles’ expose the sheriff and Eddie. They don’t want Mac and Jensen to worry. I’ll just have to stash Eddie somewhere till later.”
Chris nodded and then he grinned. Flipping his phone open, he dialled, “Hey Misha, how far out are ya? Oh really? Right then. Look, can you wait around until I call you back? I need a little favour, thanks man. See you soon.”
“Shit! Misha’s here? Oh, so that’s what the text was. He didn’t want to leave his pet with you and he’s coming to get it, right?” Several things clicked into place for Jim as he watched Chris grin.
Just then Mac and Jared started to walk back towards them. Jim leant towards Chris, “So ya could’ve taken Jensen home, then?” The two men looked at one another and smiled, Chris’ face a picture of wounded innocence.
Jared stood in front of the two men, “Look. I think we better get out of here now, the longer we hang around the more chance that someone will come looking for Eddie. Jim, Chris, I’ll call you with a progress report, and I’ll let you know when I’m available to hunt again.” Jim stepped forward and gave Jared a hug.
“Now just you remember, no damn heroics driving him home. It won’t kill you to have a little down time, Jared. The hunt will still be there in a week or two. Take care and I’ll call you. Bye son.”
Chris shook his hand, “Get goin’, Sasquatch. I have a feeling that you are goin’ to have a real interesting time. Just don’t throttle him after all our hard work.” Jared laughed, turning to Mac.
“You take good care of my big brother, you hear. Don’t make me hunt you down and hurt you.” Mac had a steely look in her eyes and Jared laughed nervously.
“Are you sure I can’t take Mac instead? She scares me more than Jensen.” Chris and Jim shook their heads at that. Jared gave a put-upon sigh and his shoulders slumped then he gave them the benefit of the full stomped-on puppy. Mac just folded her arms and glared, making Chris laugh.
“Damn! I must be losing my touch. See you guys soon.” Jared waved and walked away. The three of them watched as he climbed in beside Jensen, made a final check that he was comfortable then started the engine and drove away.
“Ok then, how long before Misha gets here?” As Jim asked the question there was the sound of an engine, well, more of a whine and rattle and a beat-up old Chevy turned the corner and pulled up behind Jim’s truck.
Mac watched in astonishment as a figure climbed out; the man was as tall as Chris. He was wearing sandals, a shirt with a mandarin collar, and battered faded jeans. As he walked towards them Mac saw he had several day’s growth of beard, his hair was short but unkempt and his face wore a dreamy expression. “Chris, is he stoned?” Mac whispered in awe.
“I’d say generally, yeah, but I promise you he ain’t high. That’s just Misha on a good day. Catch him on a bad day and by the end of it you’re convinced you’re the one who is high.” Chris ginned happily at Mac.
Misha walked over to Jim, looked at him solemnly, his blue eyes brimming with tears before pulling the startled man forward into a tight embrace, “Jim, are you alright? Did she serve her purpose? I’m just so sorry you had to suffer to gain your justice.” Misha’s voice was a deep, warm baritone; Mac could’ve have listened to him talk for hours.
“Err ok there, Misha. So you’ve come to collect your....?” Jim struggled for words. Misha always viewed his little collection as members of his family and it freaked everybody out. Misha stood back and gave the sweetest of smiles.
“Oh, I just wanted to make sure she travelled home in comfort after her ordeal. I don’t want her anymore distressed than she has to be.” Mac’s eyes had grown wide and she stared at the three men, wondering what was going on.
Misha turned round and looked at her. Mac felt frozen to the spot by those intense blue eyes. He walked forward and took her hand in both of his, “Ahh good afternoon, Mackenzie. I trust you are well? And have no fear. I’m sure that Chris will be the perfect gentlemen on your journey back to college. And I assure you Jared will take very good care of your brother.”
Mac leaned round Misha and looked at the other two men who were trying not to laugh at her what-the-hell expression.
“I’m sure you have many questions for me. I will try and answer them in order. I’m the custodian of a collection of artefacts deemed to be too dangerous to be at large. I treat them with respect. After all, it’s not their fault. Nothing we make is either good or evil - it’s how we use them that makes them so.” Before Misha could continue Chris broke in.
“Ahh, come on, Misha. Your house is like Warehouse Thirteen for Supernatural Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dude, I only set foot in your place after bathing in holy water.”
“I know. Chris and I appreciate you cleansing your aura; some of my little family can find you a little threatening.” Jim gave up at that point and burst out laughing.
“Ah damn, I gotta tell Jared that one! Some of the most cursed objects on the planet are scared of Chris. Oh, he is gonna love that. An’ as much as I’m grateful for you being here and the timing is perfect....Misha, I need to know if you are using the Cassandra deck again.” Jim had sobered during his speech.
Misha nodded happily at Jim’s question, “I find the deck very useful especially if used correctly. After all, it’s what made me loan you the necklace. I just wished you’d listened to my instructions properly, but there was no lasting harm done. Now that favour you wanted me to do?”
Mac watched Chris’s jaw drop open and his eyes bulged at Misha’s relaxed attitude, “Damnit Collins, the Cassandra deck sends people crazy!...and... well, I suppose you’re half way there anyhow. No offence, dude.”
Misha waved a dismissive hand, “None taken, I assure you, Chris. People misuse the deck; their questions are too broad. I never ask about my own future and I only ever ask about the immediate future of those in need of my help. That’s why I brought my truck. I believe you need me to look after someone for a while or even take him for a long ride?”
Mac watched the drama unfold and she had a question. Misha turned and answered it for her “The Cassandra deck is considered to be the most potent tarot deck of all time. It is frighteningly accurate and it can become addictive. People have been known to spend more time reading the cards than living their lives. I use it sparingly and, after today, I will not touch the deck for a least twelve months and only then in an emergency.
In the words of Doc Brown from Back to the Future – ‘it’s too dangerous to know too much about your own future’. Does that help at all? And would you like to help me move your friend on the ground and we can have a little chat? Jim and Chris have something they need to discuss privately. Don’t worry. It’s nothing sinister, just hunter’s talk. All very boring, I assure you. Oh, and Chris, can I get my girl out of your truck? I have her proper home with me”
Chris nodded his permission, just glad to be rid of the damn thing. With that, Misha held out his arm for Mac to take. She accepted the proffered arm and they went to where Eddie lay on the ground, still out cold. Misha picked up his feet and gestured to Mac to take the one leg while he held the other and with that, they began to drag Eddie towards Misha’s transport.
Once they were out of earshot, Chris spoke, “Right then, Jim, talk. I get the feeling that Misha will keep Mac busy until we’re good and ready. So come on, then, what gives with Jensen?”
Jim looked heavenwards for a moment, “Do ya want the long or short version?”
“How about the medium-length version?” Chris settled back against Jim’s truck.
“Ok then, here we go. Do you remember Jensen mentioning Father Kim Manners?” Jim paused and Chris nodded his head.
“Well, Kim was one of us, not a hunter as such but probably the best damn researcher I have ever met. In fact, it was Kim who trained me how to research and put patterns together. Not only did Kim provide valuable Intel, he also dealt in something else. He dealt in sanctuary. If a hunter got hurt or needed to lay low and he was close enough, he only had to get to Richardson and Kim would look after him.” Jim watched Chris’s face as he weighed up what Jim had said.
“Richardson? Do ya think that Kim knew Jensen? And that homeless shelter, should I substitute hunter shelter for that?” Chris continued to watch Jim.
“Answering the last part first. Yup. Kim’s homeless shelter also helped a hell of a lot of hunters; I stayed with him once or twice myself. One of the times I stayed with Kim he told me about a kid from the town who was helping him, said the boy was damn smart. Kim was teaching him Latin and a few other tricks of the trade, research and the like. He said the boy would make one hell of a hunter but he was pushing him towards the medical profession. The kid would help take care of the injured and he was good at it. To be honest, I’d forgotten all about it until I met Jensen and he mentioned Kim’s name. Another thing Kim said about the kid was he had all the instincts of a hunter, just none of the psychotic need for revenge. Kim never told me his name, used to call him J, though.”
“Chris shifted slightly, “Ok then, so Jensen is the kid Kim was on about, what now? And what happened to Father Manners?”
“Well, Kim passed. When he died of cancer he left me his entire archive. And as for J....Well, from what I remember, Kim finally encouraged him into college and nursing. But Kim always felt that it would only take the slightest nudge and J...well, he thought J would find his way to hunting eventually.” Jim fell silent at that.
“So then, we have sent Jared off with a wannabe? Damn, Jim! That’s the last thing Jay needs.” Chris stood up and glared at him.
“No, Jensen ain’t no wannabe. Kim used to say that J saw hunting as the ultimate way to help people but if he was given the right push no power on earth would prevent him from hunting. That’s why Kim convinced him to join the medical profession, to keep him away from hunters.” Jim finished speaking and looked at Chris
Chris drew in a deep breath, “Well, thank God Jared will keep him as far away as possible from our world. ‘Cause I know I don’t want to be the one to tell Mac that Jensen’s out there hunting scary monsters.”
“Who is hunting scary monsters, Chris?” Chris whirled round to see Mac and Misha stood, looking at him.
“I err...well... errm.” Chris looked desperately at Jim.
Mac hugged him, “Don’t worry, Chris. I’m sure whatever super secret hunter business you were discussing is well above my poor little head.” She kissed him on the cheek.
“Misha and I had a lovely little chat all about the necklace and what happened to Morgan. He even said sorry to me about Jensen. Were you ever going to tell me?” Mac’s voice held a hard edge.
“I’m sorry, Mac. That was my fault entirely. All Chris did was deliver the damn thing and before you ask, I ain’t sorry for Morgan’s death. I’m just damn sorry I dragged Jensen into it.” Jim looked at her with regret in his eyes.
“It’s alright, Jim. Misha explained everything and don’t get mad at him, I’m with you. Morgan deserved it. If it’s of any comfort to you, if Jensen had known what the necklace was going to do he would still have said yes to you doing it.” Mac walked forward and hugged Jim.
Chris coughed softly, “I hate to do this but I think it’s time for us to go, Mac. Like Jay said, the longer we hang around here, the more chance someone will come looking.” Mac nodded and pulled away from Jim.
“It was great to meet you, Jim. Misha, I wish it could have been under better circumstances.” Mac walked away with Chris who looked back over his shoulder at Jim and nodded.
Jim and Misha watched as they drove away, “Ok then, Misha, what else did you see? I need to know.”
Misha gave a sigh, “You know, I won’t tell you, Jim, because no matter what you promise, you will subconsciously try to control events to match what I tell you. As for Eddie, how about I take him for a little drive over the state line? And won’t I be surprised when I take the injured man to the police that his face and name will be flagging alerts, due to his involvement with a Militia plot to attack the federal building in Houston? At the very least he will be taken into custody as a material witness. By the time the Feds figure out what’s happened, I’m pretty sure Aldis will have come up with something very creative for him. I don’t need the deck to tell me there will be a lot of orange in Eddie’s future.”
Jim tilted his head to one side then his phone beeped; it was a text from Aldis making the same suggestion. “So then, a falling-out between conspirators is gonna be the story? You just happened to find a beaten man by the side of the road and brought him to the police? I like it and just don’t even tell me how you’re gonna make ‘em forget what you look like.” Misha beamed at Jim in response.
“And of course, the more he tries to wriggle out of this, the more he will incriminate himself in Jensen’s kidnap, so he will have to keep quiet. Using domestic terrorism will mean no phone call, so the sheriff will be blissfully ignorant. Yup, I like this a lot, Misha. I have one more question, though. Can you tell me anything about those four? Am I gonna have to rescue Chris and Jared from the Ackles’ or should I just leave ‘em to get on with it?”
Misha threw back his head and laughed, “Jim, I think some things are best left to chance, don’t you? Or are you thinking about getting a new truckers cap for the weddings?”
Jim joined in with the laughter. He pushed himself off his truck and held out his hand, “Well, good luck, Misha and thanks again for everything. Just promise me that you’ll leave that damn deck alone. I like you too much to see you in a strait jacket.”
“I promise, Jim. I have pushed my luck with it the last couple of days but I needed to know you three would be safe. You take care now and I can’t wait for you to bring me the next addition to my family.” Misha walked away to his truck, watching as Jim drove off towards town. He quickly checked that Eddie was still out; a light sedative was ensuring Eddie’s co-operative behaviour.
If Mac had seen Misha’s face now she would have been very surprised. Gone was the dreamy hippy; in his place was a man with a purpose, and now it was time to get things moving. Misha picked up his phone and dialled, “Hi Rufus? It’s Misha. It’s been too long, my old friend....you have a new artefact for me? Oh wonderful. Bring it over as soon as you want. Rufus, I have a little favour to ask you. I need you to ring Jared Padalecki in a couple of days....no, I’ll let you know when.... I need you to pass on a hunt to him....No, I’m sure you’re more than capable; it just has to be Jared, that’s all. But I do have some promising leads I can pass onto you...Good. I’ll speak to you soon, Rufus. Bye.”
Misha relaxed after making the call now that things were being set into motion. He started the engine and his eyes drifted to the road Jim had taken, “Chris and Mac I will leave to chance, Jim. But Jared and Jensen may just need a little push in the right direction. After that, the rest is up to them.”
After Jared had driven away he kept a close watch on Jensen who sat shivering beside him. Jared turned up the heat in the truck. He watched as Jensen shifted constantly in an attempt to get comfortable. Jared was in two minds about what to do. Should he put some distance between themselves and Richardson? But this would mean Jensen was uncomfortable. Or should he risk stopping close by and chance being discovered by someone from the town?
Jensen made the decision for him. He gradually settled as the pain medication took effect, his eyes growing heavy. Jared was amused, seeing him fight the effect of the drugs. His eyes would close and his head droop forward then he would jerk awake and blink in an attempt to stay awake. Finally Jensen could fight it no longer and he leaned against the window and succumbed to sleep. When that happened, Jared decided to put some miles between them and Jensen’s former home. He considered getting on the freeway and just driving hard to get Jensen back to L.A.
He saw a sign for the freeway and for a second he was sorely tempted to take it then he thought about his life. He had been hunting non-stop for two years, even injury barely slowed him down, and maybe Jim had been right - it was time to slow down for a while. A soft moan came from beside him; Jensen’s face had contorted slightly in pain. Jared was just about to pull over when Jensen managed to move and ease his discomfort and he went back to sleep once more. Jared reached over and pulled the blanket higher, his hand lingered on Jensen’s shoulder. Jared smiled at the sleeping man, his decision made. The hunt could wait. He was going to look after Jensen until he was stronger.
Jared put the radio on quietly to keep him company while Jensen slept. A song he liked came on and Jared sang along. His singing caused Jensen to wake up. Jensen looked around, confused, “Jus’ few more minutes, please. I swear I’ll get up in a minute.” Jensen rubbed tiredly at his eyes and gave a yawn.
“You go back to sleep now, just relax.” Jared’s voice was gentle, trying to lull Jensen back to sleep; Jensen snuffled and turned towards Jared.
“I heard the alarm. I gotta get up for work. My shift starts soon, don’ wanna be late.” Jensen’s voice trailed away as he drifted back to sleep. Jared relaxed and continued to drive into the late afternoon sun. Another couple of hours passed and it had gotten dark, Jared had to admit he was lost; he’d just driven away from Richardson, not paying too much attention to where he was going.
Jared noticed he was approaching a diner. He decided it was time to stretch his legs and find out exactly where they were. He pulled off the road and parked; he undid his seat belt and checked on Jensen once more. Happy he was sound asleep Jared got out of the truck. He walked towards the diner, stretching the kinks out of his back. As he reached the door he thought about asking for some pie to take out and find the nearest motel to take it to.
Jensen stirred in his sleep; he was starting to wake up, the pain killers wearing off slightly. His eyes fluttered open; he was confused. Where was Jared? Why weren’t they moving anymore? Oh God! What if Eddie had gotten loose? Jensen began to panic; he had to find Jared. He could be hurt. Jensen clawed at the blanket and struggled with his seat belt. He desperately tried to open the door. Finally the door swung open and Jensen tumbled out of the truck, staggered forward and fell to his knees. He managed to get back to his feet and he lurched back to the truck, using it to support himself. He moved round the truck trying to get his bearings. Lost and in a daze he pushed himself away from the truck and started to walk, whispering one word....”Jared."